Posts Tagged ‘west

30
May
14

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Barack Obama lays a Presidential challenge coin on a grave in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., May 30, 2011. Section 60 is reserved for military personnel who have lost their lives while fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern)

* President Obama appears on Kelly and Michael – check your local listings here

10:15: President Obama meets with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, Oval Office

11:0: The President meets with the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force

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11:15 EDT: President Obama Makes a Statement

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1:0: Jay Carney briefs the press

2:15: The President attends a hurricane preparedness meeting, FEMA Headquarters

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Fareed Zakaria: Obama’s leadership is right for today

…. Obama is battling a knee-jerk sentiment in Washington in which the only kind of international leadership that means anything is the use of military force. “Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail,” he said in his speech Wednesday at West Point.

A similar sentiment was expressed in the farewell address of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a strong leader who refused to intervene in the Suez crisis, the French collapse in Vietnam, two Taiwan Strait confrontations and the Hungarian uprising of 1956.

At the time, many critics blasted the president for his passivity and wished that he would be more interventionist. A Democratic Advisory Council committee headed by Acheson called Eisenhower’s foreign policy “weak, vacillating, and tardy.” But Eisenhower kept his powder dry, confident that force was not the only way to show strength. “I’ll tell you what leadership is,” he told his speechwriter. “It’s persuasion — and conciliation — and education — and patience . It’s long, slow, tough work. That’s the only kind of leadership I know — or believe in — or will practice.”

Maybe that’s the Obama Doctrine.

Full article here

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Fred Kaplan: Obama Lays Siege to His Critics

President Obama’s speech at West Point on Wednesday morning could be called a tribute to common sense, except that the sense it made is so uncommon. The ensuing cable pundits’ complaints—that it was insufficiently “muscular” or “robust”—only proved how necessary this speech was.

Obama’s point was not (contrary to some commentators’ claims) to draw a “middle-of-the-road” line between isolationism and unilateralism. That’s a line so broad almost anyone could walk it.

The president’s main point was to emphasize that not every problem has a military solution; that the proper measure of strength and leadership is not merely the eagerness to deploy military power; that, in fact, America’s costliest mistakes have stemmed not from restraint but from rushing to armed adventures “without thinking through the consequences, without building international support and legitimacy for our action, without leveling with the American people about the sacrifice required.”

More here

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Graduating cadets listen to President Obama deliver the commencement address at West Point, May 28, 2014 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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NPR: Transcript And Audio: President Obama’s Full NPR Interview

NPR’s Steve Inskeep interviewed President Obama on Wednesday about foreign policy, including his approaches to Syria, Ukraine and China, as well as his remaining White House priorities and his effort to close Guantanamo Bay prison. A full transcript of the interview follows:

STEVE INSKEEP: I want to begin this way. You’re here at this historic place, trying to speak with a sense of history. And I was thinking of past presidents that I know you have studied and commented on. And a couple came to mind who were able to express what they were trying to do in the world in about a sentence. Reagan wanted to roll back communism by whatever means. Lincoln has a famous letter in which he says, I would save the union by the shortest means under the Constitution. As you look at the moment of history that you occupy, do you think you can put into a sentence what you are trying to accomplish in the world?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’m not sure I can do it in a sentence because we’re fortunate in many ways. We don’t face an existential crisis. We don’t face a civil war. We don’t face a Soviet Union that is trying to rally a bloc of countries and that could threaten our way of life. Instead, what we have is, as I say in the speech, this moment in which we are incredibly fortunate to have a strong economy that is getting stronger, no military peer that threatens us, no nation-state that anytime soon intends to go to war with us. But we have a world order that is changing very rapidly and that can generate diffuse threats, all of which we have to deal with.

More here

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My Brother’s Keeper Task Force Report to the President – PDF

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Greg Sargent: GOP retreat on Obamacare continues apace

A new report this morning confirms that House Republicans are likely to delay plans to offer an alternative to Obamacare until after the elections; that multiple Republican candidates are retreating from repeal; and that they are increasingly mouthing support for the law’s general goals. Once again: There’s no real policy space for a meaningful alternative, but the base still sees repeal as its lodestar, yet everyone else opposes repeal, forcing Republicans to claim they’d scrap it and replace it with something or other doing all the popular things in it, without saying what.

More here

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 Justin Wolfers (NYT): Deceptive Dip in G.D.P. Points to Perils of Election Forecasting

An economic report issued [yesterday] provides a good example of the hazards facing election forecasters. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that in the first quarter of this year, Gross Domestic Product, a broad indicator of the health of the economy, shrank at an annual rate of 1 percent. Even worse, an alternative and more accurate measure, called Gross Domestic Income, shrank at an annual rate of 2.3 percent. If that persisted, we’d call it a sharp recession.

But no one is using the R-word. Nor should they. Markets have taken the news in their stride, and few economists have changed their view that the economy is growing and will continue to through 2014. Likewise, consumers remain confident about their economic prospects. Their confidence rests partly on other indicators that suggested far better growth throughout the quarter, such as nonfarm payrolls, which grew by 569,000 over the same period.

More here

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National Journal: Lies, Damn Lies, and Global-Warming Rules

The president is about to take a major step to fight global warming. Here’s what you need to know.

President Obama promised to take action on global warming with or without Congress’s permission. Next week, he’ll tell the world how he plans to do it.

The administration is preparing to release the central pillar of Obama’s climate-change agenda: a proposal for far-reaching rules that will require power companies to cut carbon emissions.

The rules will mark the most significant federal action on climate change since Democrats’ cap-and-trade bill died in the Senate four years ago, and they’re Obama’s best shot at adding broad action on global warming to his legacy.

The rules will also touch off a political war of the first order, offering battleground for environmentalists, industry groups, and politicians to fight over the nation’s energy future.

Here’s what to watch for when the administration pulls back the curtain.

More here

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ThinkProgress: Redskins’ Twitter Campaign To Defend Their Name Goes About As Well As You’d Expect

The Washington Redskins — desperate to defend the name that Native Americans, members of Congress, a majority of the United States Senate, religious leaders, civil rights groups, several current and former NFL players, United Nations Human Rights representatives, and even President Obama have said should be changed because it is a “dictionary-defined” racial slur — started a Twitter campaign to rally support Thursday afternoon.

It started with this tweet asking fans to tell Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has made a habit of chiding the team over its name, how they felt:

More here

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USA Today: Biden to attend U.S. World Cup soccer match

The United States men’s World Cup soccer team will have a particularly vocal fan when it takes on Ghana next month: Joe Biden.

The vice president will attend the U.S.-Ghana match on June 16 in Natal, Brazil, as part of a trip that will also take him to Colombia and the Dominican Republic as well as Brazil.

More here

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I’m not sure whether to love this video, or be freaked out by it:

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 I shouldn’t laugh, but:

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On This Day

Sen Obama attends a rally in Great Falls, Montana, whilst campaining in the race for the White House. May 30, 2008

Sen. Obama addresses a rally at The Four Seasons Arena May 30, 2008 in Great Falls, Montana

Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine’

16
Apr
14

The President and Vice President’s Day

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President Barack Obama is introduced by Vice President Joe Biden as he arrives at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale, Pa., The visit was to announce $600M in grants as part of the administration’s Opportunity for All program to train the work force for careers in fields with a growing demand.

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Washington Post: Obama Announces $600M In Grant Programs To Prepare Workforce For Jobs

President Obama on Wednesday announced a pair of grant programs designed to bring academic institutions and businesses closer together to help prepare the American workforce for jobs that may otherwise go unfilled. The grant programs total $600 million, money already in the federal budget. The decision to designate the money for these grants arose from a review of federal jobs programs by Vice President Biden, who joined Obama at a community college here outside Pittsburgh to make the announcement. The grant programs Obama announced fall into two categories. The first, to which $500 million is being dedicated, is a competitive process that seeks the best programs linking community colleges with businesses.

The idea is to expand the programs nationally, in part by linking them with industry associations. The other is also competitive and provides $100 million in grants to expand apprentice programs across the country. The United States has far fewer apprentice positions than do European nations, which look to on-the-job training as vital to maintaining capable workforces. Because the money has already been allocated, the grant programs allow the president to bypass a divided Congress, as Obama has made clear he intends to do when he thinks it necessary.

More here

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President Barack Obama tours a classroom with Paul Blackford, instructor of the Mechatronics Program, at Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center

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President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden tour the Community College of Allegheny West Hills Center with students in the Mechatronics program

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13
Dec
13

West Wing Week: “Madiba, Farewell”

Chat on!

06
Dec
13

Rise and Shine

Love this front page from Belgium today

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Today (all times Eastern):

1:0: Jay Carney briefs the press

5:0: The First family attends the National Christmas Tree lighting; President Obama delivers remarks

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So much for my intention never to watch anything from MSNBC again … but I never knew the story behind this photo – here it is:

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NYT (June 2013): In Mandela, Obama Found a Beacon Who Inspired From Afar

Barack Obama had been a United States senator for just weeks in early 2005 when Oprah Winfrey offered to carry a message for him to Nelson Mandela, the iconic South African leader.

Mr. Obama disappeared into a back room in Ms. Winfrey’s television studio to write the note, but he was gone so long that his spokesman, Robert Gibbs, popped his head in after half an hour.

“You’ve got to give me some time here,” Mr. Obama, pen in hand, told Mr. Gibbs, who recalled the moment recently. “I can’t just wing a note to Nelson Mandela.”

…. The two have met in person only once, in a spontaneous encounter in Washington in 2005, when Mr. Mandela was in town and was urged by advisers to take a few minutes to meet a rising Democratic senator named Barack Obama.

Mr. Obama was in a car, on the way to a meeting, but diverted to the Four Seasons hotel in Georgetown, where Mr. Mandela was staying. The conversation produced a lasting image of Mr. Obama, in silhouette, standing next to a reclining Mr. Mandela.

More here – thank you Meta

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@GoogleEarthPics: The Eiffel Tower has been lit up in the colours of the South African flag to grieve over Nelson Mandela’s death

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USA Today: Obama expected to attend Mandela’s funeral

Expect President Obama to confirm soon he will attend Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

Officials have held off on a formal announcement as travel plans are worked out; Mandela’s funeral will be part of a mourning period in South Africa that will last about ten days.

In the meantime, Obama has directed that American flags be lowered to half-staff through Monday in honor of the freedom fighter who died Thursday at age 95.

More here

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A Word from Japa:

I have deliberately stayed away from commenting on Mandela, not because I have no appreciation for who he was and what he did, but rather both who he was and what he did are beyond my ability to pay tribute to.

I first heard about him about the same time I was reading Patton’s Cry, The Beloved Country. Looking back, it was like it was fated the two would happen together. Here I was reading, and being deeply influenced by, a book that exposed the worse of the apartheid system while along came a person who was willing to sacrifice everything to bring it to an end.

I remember being aghast at the hatred I heard expressed whenever his name was mentioned and the open support for the system of apartheid. Remember, this was during the Civil Rights era here and I was old enough to recognize that part of the support for apartheid was a defense of this country’s segregation policies. I think many were so against Mandela because they knew that if South Africa was able to end its racist approach to existence then the US would be at the forefront of nations that deliberately and maliciously oppressed a major segment of its population.

LL made a comment last night about how in SA they were celebrating his life, not mourning his loss. And that is the way it should be. The man gave so much of himself not for his own glory, which I think matter not one whit to him, but for the welfare of his people. And by “his people” I mean the people of SA, no matter what their color or religion was. He knew that oppression impacts both the oppressed and the oppressors in negative ways. He was never into revenge for prior wrongs but rather about having all move forward. Considering all that was done to him, that may well be his greatest legacy.

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I’m breaking my MSNBC boycott again :???: – but only for the President!

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Steve Benen: Job growth picks up steam, unemployment drops

Expectations going into this morning’s new monthly jobs report were fairly strong, and as it turns out, the totals from the Bureau of Labor Statistics were even better than expected.

According to the new BLS report, the U.S. economy added 203,000 jobs in November, ahead of economists’ predictions. In a pleasant change of pace, the public sector did not drag down the overall figures – the private sector added 196,000 jobs, while the public sector, which has hemorrhaged jobs in recent years, added 7,000.

The overall unemployment rate dropped 7%. That’s a five-year low, though it’s a little misleading – it reflects furloughed federal workers who returned to their jobs after the government shutdown ended.

More here

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Bloomberg: Payroll Gains in U.S. on Track for Best Year Since 2005

Job growth in November was probably strong enough to keep payroll gains on track for the best year since 2005, economists said before a report today.

Employers added 185,000 workers last month after taking on 204,000 in October, based on the median forecast of 89 economists in a Bloomberg survey before today’s report from the Labor Department. The unemployment rate dropped to 7.2 percent, matching an almost five-year low, from 7.3 percent as federal employees returned to work, according to the survey median.

The pickup in employment over the last three months signals companies are confident that demand will improve and gives American workers the means to spend.

More here

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Washington Post: Refusing Medicaid expansion will cost states billions of dollars

When the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the federal government could not compel states to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, it gave Republican opponents of the measure the opportunity to decline to participate in one of the law’s central tenets. But a new study estimates the decision not to participate will cost those states billions of dollars over the next decade — costs that will be passed on to taxpayers.

…. By refusing to expand Medicaid, Texas will forgo $9.2 billion in federal funding in 2022. Florida, another state that has said it won’t expand Medicaid, stands to lose more than $5 billion.

Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia will all forgo more than $2 billion in federal funding, while Louisiana, Oklahoma and Wisconsin will miss out on more than $1 billion. Both Tennessee and Indiana, two states that have yet to formally decide whether to expand the program, face losing more than $2 billion in federal funding if they decide against expansion.

More here

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On This Day:

As overflow guests look on in the Grand Foyer, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wait to be introduced before the Kennedy Center Honors event that was held in the East Room of the White House, Dec. 6, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)


Pete Souza: “Having seen more than 25 Bruce Springsteen concerts since 1978 and having seen just about every movie Robert DeNiro has ever made, it was a great thrill to be in their presence as the President greeted them before the Kennedy Center Honors at the White House.” Dec. 6, 2009

President Obama and Vice President Biden talk before the start of the Kennedy Center Honors at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Dec. 6, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama applaud Bruce Springsteen during the Kennedy Center Honors, Dec. 6, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pose for a formal portrait in front of the official White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room of the White House, Dec. 6, 2009 (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Obama tours the biotech facilities at Forsyth Technical Community College West Campus in Winston-Salem, N.C., Dec. 6, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

Pete Souza: “En route to his speech at Osawatomie High School in Kansas, I noticed a lot of people lining the motorcade route. So on departure, I rode in his vehicle so I could photograph some of the onlookers waving to the President.” Dec. 6, 2011

President Obama arrives aboard Marine One at Osawatomie-Paola Municipal Airport in Osawatomie, Kan., Dec. 6, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama prays with, from left: Richard Santana, Velma Massenburg, Jimmie Massenburg, and Tiffany Santana, during a visit to the Santana’s home in Falls Church, Va., Dec. 6, 2012 (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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Morning everyone.

18
Oct
13

Chat Away

13
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

A Year Ago Today: Fredericksburg, September 13, 2012

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Today (all times Eastern):

1:15: The President holds a bilateral meeting with the Amir of Kuwait; the Vice President also attends

3:35: The President and Vice President meet with Labor Leaders

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Eugene Robinson: Yes, Vladimir, America is exceptional

…. when Putin tries to lecture “the American people and their political leaders” from a position of moral superiority, no one on earth can take him seriously. As for Syria, the sinister and barbarous government of dictator Bashar al-Assad would not last one week without the military hardware that Russia generously provides. Putin thus has the blood of tens of thousands of civilians on his hands.

…. To me, the concept of exceptionalism underpins Obama’s strongest argument for taking military action in Syria. When we see more than 1,400 men, women and children killed with poison gas, it is not our nature to look away. We ask ourselves whether there is anything we should do. We weigh the costs and benefits, the risks and rewards, and we do what we can. The moral case for a strike against the Assad regime is predicated on the fact that if the United States doesn’t do something, nobody will.

Yes, Mr. Putin, you can call that American exceptionalism. I like it a lot better than the Russian kind.

Full post here

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USA Today: Obama’s day: A new economic adviser

President Obama closes a long week Friday by meeting with labor leaders and the Amir of Kuwait, and by tapping a new top economic adviser.

Obama is expected to announce that former White House official Jeffrey Zients will be the next director of the National Economic Council; Zients will replace Gene Sperling, who will depart at the start of next year.

….. Secretary of State John Kerry is still in Switzerland, talking with Russian officials about a plan to have Syria turn over its chemical weapons to international control; the U.S. is insisting on verification, and reserving the right to use military action.

Later this afternoon, Obama and Vice President Biden meet with labor leaders who have questions and criticism of the new health care plan.

Full post here

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BBC: Kerry calls Syria chemical weapons talks ‘constructive’

US Secretary of State John Kerry has described as “constructive” talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on securing Syria’s chemical weapons.

The two men began a second day of talks in Geneva by meeting UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to discuss the wider issue of peace in Syria.

Talks between Mr Kerry and Mr Lavrov on the weapons issue began on Thursday and could continue over the weekend.

Mr Kerry said they were working hard to find “common ground”.

The BBC’s Paul Adams in Geneva says this is a moment of diplomatic momentum over Syria that has not been seen for a couple of years and both parties want to make the most of that.

More here

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ThinkProgress: How Obamacare Could Revolutionize Addiction Treatment

Obamacare’s treatment of alcoholism and other drug addiction as chronic diseases that must be covered by insurance plans could lead to as many as 40 million Americans entering rehabilitation programs, according to California Health Report.

Government data shows that about 24 million Americans aged 12 and older require treatment for a substance abuse issue — but only 11 percent of them received it at a specialty facility. These facilities charge an average of $4,000 for admission, and even outpatient facilities cost an average of $1,500 per course of treatment.

Obamacare could help eliminate those cost barriers for people seeking treatment. “I don’t think there’s another illness that will be more affected by the Affordable Care Act,” said Dr. Thomas McLellan, former deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy…

More here

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ThinkProgress: Don’t Worry, Young People Won’t Avoid Signing Up For Obamacare

Uninsured young people are eager to sign up for health care coverage, a new Reuters survey finds, suggesting that the new health care exchanges that are part of the Affordable Care Act could attract enough healthy people to “offset the costs of covering sicker Americans and keep the system afloat financially.”

Half of Americans between the ages of 18 through 34 support the health care law, the poll found, while one-third of “young adults in the poll said they are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ likely to buy insurance through their state’s exchange.” As Sharon Begley writes, if half of that population follows through and purchases coverage, “the White House would easily meet its goal of getting 2.7 million young adults – out of about 16 million uninsured 19-to-29-year-olds – to buy Obamacare insurance for 2014.”

More here

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ThinkProgress: D.C. United Sign On To Help Promote Obamacare

Major League Soccer’s D.C. United have signed on to help promote DC Health Link, the health care exchange that opens in just three weeks as part of Obamacare, President Obama’s major health care reform law. United are the second major franchise to agree to promote the law, after the National Football League’s Baltimore Ravens agreed to partner with the state of Maryland to promote an exchange there.

United will promote the law through on-field activities, public address announcements, and tailgating at RFK Stadium, United’s home, during an October 4 home game….

More here

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Steve Benen: House GOP like a jukebox that only plays one song

….. Their irrational, wild-eyed hatred of “Obamacare” has become all consuming, GOP lawmakers can apparently think of little else. Real work is pushed to the backburner so symbolic “message” votes like these can make the right feel better about itself.

Indeed, it’s this mindless contempt for the moderate health care law that’s become all-consuming for congressional Republicans – it’s why a government shutdown is increasingly likely and why the GOP may very well trash the full faith and credit of the United States next month for the first time in American history.

“Obamacare,” in other word, has pushed Republicans to madness, for no particular reason….

Full post here

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Business Insider: You Can’t Resist The Medicaid Expansion — Another Republican Governor Wants In

Even though conservatives want to resist Obamacare implementation in any way they can, nine of 30 Republican governors have pushed for their states to participate in Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. It looks like that number is about to rise to 10.

According to various publications Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) will announce on Monday a plan for his state to expand Medicaid …. Corbett, like other Republican governors, is in a tough position. Conservatives are obsessed with blocking Obamacare and they don’t want states to participate in any way, even if the federal government will pay substantially all the costs. But when Republican state officials decline to participate, they will have to explain to both medical providers and potential Medicaid beneficiaries that they turned down free federal money just to spite the president.

More here

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TPM: Florida Takes Obamacare Obstruction To Whole New Level

The Florida Department of Health took a big step toward obstructing Obamacare outreach this week — then almost immediately walked it back Thursday, at least in one of the state’s biggest counties.

The state health department quietly sent a directive Monday to local county health departments, telling them that Obamacare’s so-called navigators — federally funded groups that are charged with helping people sign up for coverage under the law — would not be allowed to do outreach in their offices.

…. County Commissioner Kenneth Welch, a Democrat, told TPM that the actions of the state health department, which is under the authority of Gov. Rick Scott, a vehement Obamacare opponent, were “purely political.”

“It makes no sense whatsoever. It’s ridiculous,” said Welch, whose county is the sixth-largest in Florida. “They’re reaching for any way to obstruct anything that’s related to the Affordable Care Act.”

More here

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TPM: Revealed: The Secret Koch Group That Gave Conservatives $236 Million In 2012

An almost completely unknown group with strong ties to the Koch brothers has identified itself as the secret source of almost a quarter of a billion dollars received by conservative political groups in 2012.

The group, Freedom Partners, raised $256 million in the year following its creation in November 2011, and made grants totaling $236 million to conservative groups, according to Politico, which was shown a draft of an IRS document the group plans to file shortly. As Politico put it, the upshot of Freedom Partners’ revelation is that “a totally unknown group was the largest sugar daddy for conservative groups in the last election, second in total spending only to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS.”

More here

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The Hill: Biden calls House GOP ‘Neanderthals’

Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday called House Republicans “Neanderthals” for initially opposing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).”

“I’m going to say something outrageous,” Biden said at a party at his home in Washington to celebrate the 19th anniversary of VAWA …. “I think I understand the Senate better than any man or women who’s ever served in there, and I think I understand the House … I was surprised this last time … The idea we still had to fight? We had to fight to reauthorize [VAWA]?”

Biden then blamed “this sort of Neanderthal crowd” in the House for initially opposing the legislation.

“Did you ever think we’d be fighting over, you know, 17, 18 years later to reauthorize this?,” he asked.

More here

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A Year Ago Today:

Ricky Watson of Littleton, Colorado wipes tears from his eyes after he thanked President Barack Obama for repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at a campaign rally in Golden, Colorado, September 13, 2012. Watson was kicked out of the Air Force 25 years ago for being gay.

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MooooOOOOoooorning! A billion, trillion, zillion, gazillion thanks to UT for all of yesterday’s posts after I had to disappear again – Chelsea Girl is soooOOOooomething else.




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