Archive for October 26th, 2013

26
Oct
13

Tweets Of The Day

Continue reading ‘Tweets Of The Day’

26
Oct
13

Comforter-In-Chief

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Joshua Dubois: What Obama ‘Did In Secret’ In Newtown

The White House is not supposed to be a place for brokenness. Sheer, shattered, brokenness. But that’s what we experienced on the weekend of December 14, 2012. I was sitting at my desk around midday on Friday the 14th when I saw the images flash on CNN: A school. A gunman. Children fleeing, crying. But the private facts we received in the White House from the FBI were even worse. How the gunman treated the children like criminals, lining them up to shoot them down. How so many bullets penetrated them that many were left unrecognizable. How the killer went from one classroom to another and would have gone farther if his rifle would’ve let him.

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“The President reacts as John Brennan briefs him on the details of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The President later said during a TV interview that this was the worst day of his Presidency.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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We prepared seven or eight classrooms for the families of the slain children and teachers, two or three families to a classroom, placing water and tissues and snacks in each one. Honestly, we didn’t know how to prepare; it was the best we could think of. The families came in and gathered together, room by room. Many struggled to offer a weak smile when we whispered, “The president will be here soon.” A few were visibly angry—so understandable that it barely needs to be said—and were looking for someone, anyone, to blame. Mostly they sat in silence.

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“The President works on his Newtown speech at an auditorium in suburban Washington. Two days earlier, I had photographed him when John Brennan first briefed him on the shootings. Throughout that day, he reacted as we all did, which people witnessed when he delivered his statement a few hours later. Before we headed to Newtown for the Sunday night vigil, he went to watch his daughter Sasha, 11, at her rehearsal for the Nutcracker; he would be unable to attend her performance because of the trip to Newtown. During breaks in the rehearsal, he worked on his speech. His expression in this photograph may be subtle to the viewer, but not to me. There is emotion and resolve etched on his face, and he knew the importance of this speech for the nation.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Person after person received an engulfing hug from our commander in chief. He’d say, “Tell me about your son. . . . Tell me about your daughter,” and then hold pictures of the lost beloved as their parents described favorite foods, television shows, and the sound of their laughter. For the younger siblings of those who had passed away—many of them two, three, or four years old, too young to understand it all—the president would grab them and toss them, laughing, up into the air, and then hand them a box of White House M&M’s, which were always kept close at hand. In each room, I saw his eyes water, but he did not break.

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And then the entire scene would repeat—for hours. Over and over and over again, through well over a hundred relatives of the fallen, each one equally broken, wrecked by the loss. After each classroom, we would go back into those fluorescent hallways and walk through the names of the coming families, and then the president would dive back in, like a soldier returning to a tour of duty in a worthy but wearing war. We spent what felt like a lifetime in those classrooms, and every single person received the same tender treatment. The same hugs. The same looks, directly in their eyes. The same sincere offer of support and prayer.

More here

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“Two days after the shootings at Newtown, the President traveled to Connecticut to meet with the victims’ families and give remarks at a prayer vigil. The President spent hours greeting family members. Difficult as that was for everyone, the one moment that helped sooth the pain was when he posed for a photo with the siblings and cousins of Emilie Parker, one of the 20 children who died that day in Newtown. I see both sadness and hope in this photograph, and I know after a lot of tears that day, it meant so much to the President that everyone was able to smile for a moment in this family photo. Thanks to the Parker family for allowing us to show this photograph publicly.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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26
Oct
13

ObamaCare Is More Than Just A Website

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@CallOut4

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26
Oct
13

Chat Away

@petesouza: Pres Obama at Junior’s Cheesecake in Brooklyn yesterday

26
Oct
13

The Week Ahead

The Week Ahead:

Saturday and Sunday: The President has no public events scheduled

Monday: The President will attend the installation of FBI Director James Comey at FBI Headquarters in Washington

Tuesday: Attends a memorial service for former Speaker Tom Foley at the Capitol

Wednesday: Travels to Boston where he will speak on the importance of quality health insurance. The President will also attend a fundraiser for the DCCC:

Thursday: Hosts and delivers remarks at the SelectUSA Investment Summit. In the evening, the President and the First Lady will welcome local children and children of military families to trick-or-treat at the South Portico of the White House

Friday: The President will host Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at the White House

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Chat away!

26
Oct
13

Rise and Shine

A Year Ago Today: The President pretends to be caught in Spider-Man’s web as he greets Nicholas Tamarin, 3, just outside the Oval Office, Oct. 26, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Steve Benen: The Right’s Realization: Websites Can Be Fixed

The political establishment has obviously been deeply invested this week in exploring the technical problems associated with the Affordable Care Act’s website, and the glitches are now the core Republican message. But there’s always been a serious flaw with the GOP’s strategy.

For one thing, tech troubles don’t reflect on the underlying merits of “Obamacare” itself. For another, as some in the party are starting to realize, website glitches, no matter how severe or systemic, can be fixed …

…. I get the sense that GOP officials, feeling desperate after their party’s standing went into free fall after their government shutdown, saw website glitches as a life-preserver ….  But as the storm subsides, Republicans find themselves adrift with an unhelpful floatation device. They’re not only attacking a health care law that’s far more popular than they are, they’re also relying heavily on a problem with a finite end….

Full post here

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Jonathan Cohn: A Chart That Will Help Dispel Your Obamacare Hysteria

The Obamacare online saga may be reaching the phase where media and political hysteria is out of proportion to the actual problem. A case in point is the controversy over enrollment numbers.

…. I suspect the numbers will come out soon enough …. when they do, enrollment in Obamacare private plans will probably look pretty dismal. Most people will assume that’s primarily because of website problems at healthcare.gov. They will be wrong.

The main reason for low enrollment will be that people don’t sign up for health insurance programs right away. They wait until the last minute. This is true of public insurance and this is true of private insurance. And while you’ve heard people (including me) say this for months, this is one of those cases when numbers tell the story better than words. And there are some numbers very few people have seen.

The numbers are from Massachusetts, the state whose health reforms became the template for the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion….

More here

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Michael Tomasky: The Republicans’ Food Stamp Fraud: It’s Not About Austerity

What’s the single worst thing the Obama-era Republicans have done? Tough one, I know.

But spare me a moment here — plus a thousand words down the page — and I think maybe you’ll agree with me that the single worst thing the Obama-era Republicans have done is try to push through a $40 billion cut to the food-stamps program. It’s just unspeakably cruel.

They usually say publicly that it’s about saving money. But sometimes someone—one congressman in particular—lets slip the real reason: They want to punish poor people. The farm bill, which includes the food-stamp program, goes to conference committee next week. That’s where, the cliché has it, the two sides are supposed to “iron out their differences.” The only thing the Democrats on this committee should do with an iron is run it across the Republicans’ scowling faces.

More here

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CBS: President Obama Orders Review Of U.S. Spying As World Leaders Push For New Limits On Surveillance

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “We wanted to ensure we’re collecting information because we need it and not just because we can.” But Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron pointed the finger back at Snowden, saying the leak of classified information would make it harder for his and other countries to keep citizens safe. He said, “What Snowden is doing, and to an extent what the newspapers are doing in helping him doing what he’s doing, is frankly signaling to people who mean to do us harm how to evade and avoid intelligence and surveillance.”

 The U.S. already has a no-spying agreement with four countries: Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Senior officials in the White House tell CBS News they’re giving allies a heads-up on what may come next as a result of Snowden’s leaks. They also say the White House is open to talks with European governments about a no-spying agreement. Germany and France want to be added to the list. And Brazil is leading a push for a United Nations resolution to limit intelligence gathering. If it passes, it will be non-binding.

More here

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Star Tribune: MNsure Signs Up 3,700 So Far For Health Insurance; Another 1,800 Finish Applications

Minnesota’s health insurance exchange on Wednesday released its first data on enrollment, showing that two weeks into its launch more than 3,700 people have signed up for health insurance coverage. MNsure’s executive director, April Todd-Malmlov, said she expects the pace of enrollment to pick up speed with the approach of a Dec. 15 deadline to lock down coverage before it takes effect Jan. 1. Between those who already signed up and those who just need to pick an insurer, 5,569 people in all have completed the application process. MNsure estimates the number of people who will be covered under those plans at 11,684 — since many plans cover more than one person in a family.

Mitch Grussing, a self-employed musician from St. Paul, told the MNsure board Wednesday that he had successfully signed up for coverage through the site. There were a few technical glitches, he said, and he was still waiting for the ability to make his initial payment. But Grussing said he will save about $35 a month on his premium compared with his previous insurance, that his deductible would be cut in half and that he’d be eligible for more office visits. “I would say MNsure has done its job, at least for me,” Grussing said. “I got exactly what I wanted to get out of it.”

More here

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BBC: JP Morgan Settles For $5.1bn With U.S. Housing Regulator

JP Morgan has reached a $5.1bn (£3.2bn) settlement with the US Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) over charges it misled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the housing boom. A separate settlement with the US Justice Department is expected to be announced soon.

“This is a significant step to address outstanding mortgage-related issues,” the FHFA said in a statement. It is the biggest settlement ever by a US bank. As part of the agreement with the FHFA, the bank will pay $4bn to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to settle claims that it violated US securities law. It will pay the agencies an additional $1.1bn for misrepresenting the quality of single-family mortgages.

More here

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On This Day:

Bo peers into the Outer Oval Office from the White House Colonnade, Oct. 26, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama jokes with Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and personal aide Reggie Love, right, prior to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reception at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, Fla., Oct. 26, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama adjusts Sway Calloway’s hat following an interview for a Live MTV special, in the Blue Room of the White House, Oct. 26, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama greets guests at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reception at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, Fla., Oct. 26, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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26
Oct
13

Early Bird Chat

♥ ♥ ♥ Have a perrrrrrrrrfect day, looooooooove from TOD! ♥ ♥ ♥




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