Archive for November 12th, 2013

12
Nov
13

A Tweet Or Two

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Continue reading ‘A Tweet Or Two’

12
Nov
13

The Power of Education

First Lady Michelle Obama hugs Menbere Assefa, alumni of Bell High School, as they participate in a conversation on higher education with sophomores at Bell Multicultural High School, in Washington, D.C on November 12

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Text of remarks here

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… with Menbere Assefa and Education Secretary Arne Duncan

12
Nov
13

Silence Is Sometimes Golden

‘Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt’ ~ Abraham Lincoln

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Jonathan Cohn: Bill Clinton’s Obamacare Comments Are Wrong

in a new interview already getting attention and sure to get more, Clinton didn’t explain things very well. He made a statement that’s likely to create some misimpressions about the possibilities of health care reform, while giving the administration and its allies yet another political headache.

He said that some young people facing higher premiums under the new system should have the right to keep their old plans, even if it requires a change in the law. Clinton framed it carefully: He said specifically he had in mind only those young people whose incomes were higher than four times the poverty line, making them ineligible for subsidies. (That’s about $45,000 for a single adult.) But he also suggested it was a matter of principle, because those people had heard the vow that they could keep their plans: “I personally believe, even if it takes a change to the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got.”

Clinton’s statement makes it seem as if there is some simple way to let people keep their current plans—to avoid any disruption in the existing non-group market while still delivering the law’s benefits. As readers of this space know, no such magic solution exists.

Broadly speaking, the Affordable Care Act seeks to make two sets of changes to what’s called the “non-group” market. It establishes a minimum set of benefits, which means everything from covering “essential” services to eliminating annual or lifetime limits on payments. At the same time, the law prohibits insurers from discriminating among customers: They can’t charge higher prices, withhold benefits, or deny coverage altogether to people who represent medical risks. They have to take everybody, varying price only for age (within a three-to-one ratio) and for tobacco use.

More here

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12
Nov
13

A Few Truths

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Continue reading ‘A Few Truths’

12
Nov
13

Rise and Shine

President Barack Obama greets U.S. troops at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, before he departed to Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 12, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern):

11:15: First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at Bell Multicultural High School in Washington

11:45: President Obama meets with tribal leaders

12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

5:30: President Obama meets with combatant commanders and military leadership; VP Biden attends

7:30: President Obama hosts a dinner for combatant commanders and military leadership. VP Biden, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden also attend.

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Yahoo: Medicaid Is Health Overhaul’s Early Success Story

Often dismissed, Medicaid has signed up 444,000 people in 10 states in the six weeks since open enrollment began, according to Avalere Health, a market analysis firm that compiled data from those states. Twenty-five states are expanding their Medicaid programs, but data for all of them was not available.

“Medicaid is exceeding expectations in most places,” said Dan Mendelson, Avalere’s president. “It is definitely a bright picture in states that have chosen to expand.” Starting Jan. 1, the law expands Medicaid eligibility to those with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level — $15,856 for an individual or $32,499 for a family of four.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that 9 million people will gain coverage through expanded Medicaid next year, with another 7 million signing up for private coverage through the online markets

More here

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NYT: Michelle Obama Edges Into A Policy Role On Higher Education

Michelle Obama will begin a new initiative on Tuesday that seeks to increase the number of low-income students who pursue a college degree. The goals of the program reflect the first lady’s own life and will immerse her more directly in her husband’s policies.  In her new project, Mrs. Obama will work with the Education Department to help further President Obama’s initiative to vault the United States from 12th to first in the world in the percentage of college graduates by 2020.

In the past year in Chicago, she has led an exercise session with hundreds of city children and addressed 60 teenagers at the Urban Alliance, a group that offers professional job training and internships for underserved youth.

One teenage girl who had been reluctant to apply to college came to the Urban Alliance after Mrs. Obama had spoken to her, recalled Sandra Abrevaya, the executive director of the organization. The young woman is now at the end of her first semester at Harry S. Truman College in Chicago.

More here

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Mother Jones: House Dems Can Block GOP Food Stamp Cuts – By Killing The Farm Bill

The food stamps program—which helps feed one in seven Americans—is in peril. Republicans in the House have proposed a farm bill—the five-year bill that funds agriculture and nutrition programs—that would slash food stamps by $40 billion. But by taking advantage of House Republicans’ desire to cut food stamps as much as possible, Democrats might be able to prevent cuts from happening at all.

To pull it off, Democrats would have to derail the farm bill entirely, which would maintain food-stamp funding at current levels. Here’s how it would work, according to House Democrats who’ve considered the idea.

It’s an idea rooted in the last food stamp fight: In June, the House failed to pass a farm bill that cut $20 billion from the food stamp program. The bill went down because 62 GOP conservatives thought the $20 billion in cuts weren’t deep enough, while 172 Democrats thought they were too drastic. After the bill failed, House conservatives passed a much more draconian food stamps bill with $40 billion in cuts. But that bill was dead-on-arrival in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

More here

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Jamelle Bouie: The Right’s Slavery Obsession

Chattel slavery stands apart in American history. It was unlike anything else in the Antebellum world: a comprehensive system that touched every life, from slave owners and overseers to notaries and store-owners. It was incredibly lucrative, laying the foundation for American commercial success and driving economic growth throughout the Union, from manufacturers in the North to millionaires in the South. (Prior to the Civil War, Natchez, Mississippi, had the most millionaires per capita of any city in the country.)

It was also brutal, an institution that sanctioned terrible, existential violence against black families, that tore children from their parents and sold them for a profit. [Palin’s ignorant statement is in the article] Nothing about this statement is accurate. Yes, at $1.28 trillion, China is the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt. But the vast majority of American debt is owned by Americans. We’re borrowing from ourselves, and in the current economic environment of mass unemployment and sluggish growth, this isn’t a huge concern.

More here

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Brian Beutler: GOP About To Hurt Itself Again!: New Ploy To Kill Obamacare Will Blow Up

Starting on Jan. 1, votes to repeal Obamacare will become votes to take health insurance away from a lot of people. Just how many people will depend on when the votes take place (assuming they take place at all), and when Healthcare.gov is finally up and running. But repeal votes will cease to be abstractions. They’ll be deeply relevant to hundreds of thousands of people. And because politics don’t always obey the laws of entropy, it’s safe to assume that Democrats will characterize past votes for repealing Obamacare as if they’d taken place in 2014.

Which is why the GOP’s latest tactical assault on Obamacare merits so much attention. It underscores how unviable the repeal platform will be by the time Republicans have the power to enact it. And it even suggests repealers have so successfully blinded themselves to the positive consequences of the Affordable Care Act that they can’t see how badly they’re now undermining their own campaign.

More here

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Roger Simon: President Obama Needs Legacy, GOP Needs Votes

If you like your president, you’re going to be able to keep him. In fact, even if you don’t like your president, you’re going to keep him. He’s here until Jan. 20, 2017.  The president not only knows this, he has started talking about it. Friday, at a fundraiser in Florida, he said: “I’ve run my last election. And along with the gray hair, what comes with being president is that you take the long view and you start thinking about 10 years from now or 20 years from now or 30 years from now.”

Except not really. Barack Obama is an activist president who still has an agenda to pass in his second term, and he is thinking about 10 months, 20 months and 30 months from now. And in his second term, he wants a big legacy issue, like health care was in his first term. He wants immigration reform and a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented workers in the United States.

More here

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Think Progress: Voters Overwhelmingly Support a $9 Minimum Wage

Three out of four Americans would vote for a $9 minimum wage if it were on the ballot, according to a Gallup poll released Monday. Overall support is up by 5 percentage points from March. Gallup’s survey found 76 percent of Americans would vote yes on a referendum raising the minimum wage up from $7.25 to $9 per hour. Just under 70 percent support tying minimum wage increases to inflation.

A full 58 percent of self-identified Republicans support raising the wage to $9, but they oppose automatic increases to keep pace with inflation by a 56-43 margin. The new numbers come a week after workers won minimum wage victories in New Jersey and the Washington town that hosts the Seattle-Tacoma airport. Most of the legislative action on wages this year has come at the state and locallevel as congressional and White House efforts to promote federal action have stalled thanks to Republican opposition.

More here

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On This Day:

Aides brief President Obama aboard Air Force One en route to Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama with Canadian PM Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen at the APEC summit dinner on November 12 2011 at the Hale Koa Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host a dinner for leaders during the APEC summit in Honolulu, Nov. 12, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

First Lady Michelle Obama during a visit to MA’O Organic Farms in Waianae, Hawaii, Nov. 12, 2011

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Chips: MoooOOOooorning! I was so delayed (well, okay, slow) getting this R&S done, I only had the pics collected up to 20 minutes ago – and then the Mighty UT came to my rescue and added all the brilliant newsie links. So, 976 billion thanks to UT, without her your R&S would have arrived around, oh, midnight.

12
Nov
13

Early Bird Chat

President Barack Obama greets Richard Overton, with Earlene Love-Karo, in the Blue Room of the White House, Nov. 11, 2013. Mr. Overton,107 years old and the oldest living World War II veteran, attended the Veteran’s Day Breakfast at the White House. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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MoooOOOooorning!




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