Archive for November 16th, 2013

16
Nov
13

Chat On!

@TheObamaDiary:

‘When I grow up I’m going to be President.’

‘Ha, yeah, right!’

(Noelani Kindergarten Class, Hawaii 1966-67)

16
Nov
13

Saturday evening music chat – W.C. Handy

From the librarian’s friend, Wikipedia:

William Christopher Handy (November 16, 1873 – March 28, 1958) was a blues composer and musician.[1] He was widely known as the “Father of the Blues”.

Handy remains among the most influential of American songwriters. Though he was one of many musicians who played the distinctively American form of music known as the blues, he is credited with giving it its contemporary form. While Handy was not the first to publish music in the blues form, he took the blues from a regional music style with a limited audience to one of the dominant national forces in American music.

Handy was an educated musician who used folk material in his compositions. He was scrupulous in documenting the sources of his works, which frequently combined stylistic influences from several performers.

Without the blues, there would have been no Duke Ellington. There would have been no Elvis Presley. There would have been no British Invasion, and there’d be no hip hop. There’d be, in essence, no recognizable popular American music as we now know it. So, in celebration of the father of everything we listen to today, some of his music.

Memphis Blues

St. Louis Blues

Continue reading ‘Saturday evening music chat – W.C. Handy’

16
Nov
13

A Funny Thing Happened

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16
Nov
13

Chat Away

@Dudette9t9: Beautiful portrait of President #Obama by @RJacksonART

16
Nov
13

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Barack Obama listens during a meeting with aides on Air Force One en route to Beijing, China, Nov. 16, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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The Week Ahead:

Today: The President has no public events scheduled

Tomorrow: The First Family will attend the game between the University of Maryland and Oregon State University at College Park, Md

Monday: The President will attend meetings at the White House

Tuesday: Will deliver remarks at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council’s annual meeting

Wednesday: The President will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom; the First Lady will also attend

Thursday: The President will attend meetings at the White House

Friday: The President will host King Mohammed XI of Morocco at the White House

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Bill Scher: Another Way Obamacare Is Not Katrina

…. The failed Katrina response was the result of Bush taking an well-functioning government agency and deliberating degrading it: taking it from disaster managmement professionals, giving it to political cronies and beginning a process of reckless privatization.

With the Affordable Care Act, President Obama is not tearing down an existing agency, but trying to build up a new government program from scratch. As I’ve written before, new government programs typically suffer bumpy beginnings, but by facing up to new challenges, our government innovates and advances to better address problems the public wants solved.

In other words, Bush made government dumber. Obama, and Obamacare, is making government smarter.

Full post here

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Dean Baker: No, Obama Didn’t Lie To You About Your Health Care Plan

President Obama has been getting a lot of grief in the last few weeks over his pledge that with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in place, people would be able to keep their insurance if they like it. First, it is important to note that the ACA grand-fathered all the individual policies that were in place at the time the law was enacted. This means that the plans in effect at the time that President Obama was pushing the bill could still be offered even if they did not meet all the standards laid out in the ACA.

The plans being terminated because they don’t meet the minimal standards were all plans that insurers introduced after the passage of the ACA. Insurers introduced these plans knowing that they would not meet the standards that would come into effect in 2014. Insurers may not have informed their clients at the time they sold these plans that they would not be available after 2014 because they had designed a plan that did not comply with the ACA.

More here

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The “attack” label is ridiculous

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Ed Kilgore: Re The Collapse In Obama’s Approval Ratings

After reading Jonathan Bernstein’s essay on the massive over-reaction to the president’s sag in approval ratings—some of it based, no doubt, on media cherry-picking of whichever polls had the lowest numbers—I went back and looked at Gallup’s weekly approval rating averages over the last few weeks.

The CW is that Obama and the Democrats were riding high—on the brink, perhaps, of a history-defying 2014 sweep of Congress—when the government shutdown ended. That week Gallup had Obama’s approval ratio at a 43/51 average. The latest Gallup weekly average of Obama’s approval ratio is at 41/52, a booming one-and-a-half point deterioration since the shutdown ended.

What does it all mean? Probably that most people aren’t breathlessly following events in Washington other than to register their heat and noise. And there’s not much indication just yet that America sees itself as represented by the worried holders of existing individual health insurance policies. So yeah, once again, everyone should chill.

More here

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Queen Of Spain Blog: We Just Enrolled In Obamacare

Yup. The entire family just ditched my husband’s employer provided health insurance* and as of January 1, 2014 we’ll be on a plan with a different insurance company. One that, unlike Aetna, decided to go after our business and compete in the marketplace. Our old plan had deductibles, and the out-of-pocket costs were 6k for individuals and 12k per family. This new plan from Blue Shield of California? No deductibles. Lower out-of-pocket maximums. Lower copays. Lower drug costs.

All of our doctors are in-network minus one. But that’s why I got the PPO. It’s also a 90/10 which means we pay 10% of things normally not totally covered like hospital stays and MRIs and what not. Our old plan? 80/20 in network and 60/40 out of network. Keeping in mind just about EVERYTHING for me was out of network. After doing all the math, just to start, we’ll be saving $18,900 per year. That is without knowing if I will be hospitalized in 2014, or need surgery or any of those things. In 2013 I was hospitalized once in July and the bill is still sitting on my desk. I’ve been making payments.

If the judge from my Social Security Disability case rules in my favor, that means I’ll be eligible for Medicare as well. IF that happens, that will mean we may not have much out of pocket at all. This makes me shake and cry. We are one of those families who have been buried in medical debt since I got sick. We’re one of those families the President talks about…the ones who are so close to losing everything because Mom got sick. We’ve re-financed our mortgage using the HARP/HAMP plans with JP Morgan Chase. It wasn’t easy or pretty, but we managed to save some money per month to keep our home. Now we are utilizing Obamacare. And yeah, go ahead and call it Obamacare, because without the President we wouldn’t have this opportunity.

More here

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Washington Post: How many Democrats voted for the ‘Keep Your Health Plan Act?’

The House voted Friday to approve a measure allowing Americans to keep current health-care plans, even if they don’t meet requirements established by the new Affordable Care Act. Passage of the “Keep Your Health Plan Act” was never in doubt — the only question was how many Democrats might defect and support the legislation. The Democratic defectors were: Rep. Ron Barber (Ariz.) Rep. John Barrow (Ga.) Rep. Ami Bera (Calif.) Rep. Tim Bishop (N.Y.) Rep. Bruce Braley (Iowa) Rep. Julia Brownley (Calif.) Rep. Cheri Bustos (Ill.) Rep. Jim Costa (Calif.) Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.) Rep. Suzan DelBene (Wash.) Rep. Tammy Duckworth (Ill.)

Rep. William Enyart (Ill.) Rep. Elizabeth Esty (Conn.) Rep. Bill Foster (Ill.) Rep. Pete Gallego (Texas) Rep. John Garamendi (Calif.) Rep. Joe Garcia (Fla.) Rep. Ron Kind (Wis.) Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (N.H.) Rep. Dave Loebsack (Iowa) Rep. Dan Maffei (N.Y.) Rep. Sean Maloney (N.Y.) Rep. Jim Matheson (Utah) Rep. Mike McIntyre (N.C.) Rep. Jerry McNerney (Calif.) Rep. Patrick Murphy (Fla.) Rep. Rick Nolan (Minn.) Rep. Bill Owens (N.Y.) Rep. Scott Peters (Calif.) Rep. Gary Peters (Mich.) Rep. Colin Peterson (Minn.) Rep. Nick Rahall (W. Va.) Rep. Raul Ruiz (Calif.) Rep. Bill Schneider (Ill.) Rep. Kurt Schrader (Ore.) Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.) Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) Rep. Filemon Vela (Texas) Rep. Tim Walz (Minn.).

More here

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Michele Richinick: Obamacare To Save Family $18,900

In a country discouraged by last month’s health care rollout and corresponding widespread problems, Erin Kotecki Vest and her family are rejoicing. Obamacare will save them almost $19,000 each year. “When the president says no family should lose their home because someone got sick, no family should go bankrupt because somebody got sick, that is us. That is absolutely us,” she told msnbc.

In 2010 doctors diagnosed Kotecki Vest with Lupus, an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks healthy tissue. Three days every other week she undergoes intravenous therapy, which lasts three to five hours each visit. And that, she said, is when “everything is going well.”

Additionally, she takes Rituxin, which is also administered to her intravenously every four months in two different six-hour sessions. Doctors have prescribed her Prednisone for the past three years. Complications from her diagnosis caused her to suffer from a stroke, lose her gall bladder and the majority of her colon, and undergo a hysterectomy.

More here

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Steve Benen: Right Still Pushing ‘Don’t Enroll’ Crusade

Of all the things conservatives have done to sabotage and derail the Affordable Care Act – and good lord, is this a long list – nothing seems quite as offensive as the right’s campaign to encourage those without coverage to stay uninsured, on purpose, to advance an ideological cause.

Regular readers may recall that we covered this quite a bit over the summer. Conservatives launched organized efforts to convince the uninsured to voluntarily “refuse to enroll” – because if fewer people participate in the system, costs would soar, and in theory the system could become unsustainable. Struggling families will of course be completely screwed in this scenario, but for the right, that’s a small price to pay – and a sacrifice they’re willing to see others make.

Eric Lach, referencing a report from the Alaska Dispatch, noted yesterday that the campaign is still very much underway. Indeed, it appears far-right Floridians are now lobbying Alaskans to stay uninsured on purpose.

More here

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Think Progress: Obama Will Halt Deportation And Grant Legal Status To Some Relatives Of Military Personnel

Federal immigration authorities will no longer deport non-criminal immigrant family members of former and active duty members of immigrants serving in the U.S. military, according to a new Department of Homeland Security memoreleased on Friday. Most notably, some undocumented family members of military personnel would also have a chance to adjust to permanent legal status.

The memo in part states that relatives without criminal records and who aren’t national security risks could apply for a “parole in place” status, thereby having their deportations suspended. The parole status is authorized in one-year increments and allows relatives who are legally here to adjust for permanent legal status. Others who can adjust their status include undocumented immediate relatives and employment-based immigrants who fell out of status for less than six months.

More here

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Paul Waldman: Memo To Democratic Chicken Littles: The Sky Is Not Falling

Ah, now this is what politics is supposed to be like: Ruthless Republicans, gleeful at the prospect that they might increase the net total of human suffering. Timorous Democrats, panicking at the first hint of political difficulty and rushing to assemble a circular firing squad. And the news media bringing out the “Dems In Disarray!” headlines they keep in storage for just this purpose.

The problems of the last couple weeks “could threaten Democratic priorities for years,” says Ron Brownstein. It’s just like Hurricane Katrina, says The New York Times (minus the 1,500 dead people, I guess they mean, though they don’t say so). “On the broader question of whether Obama can rebuild an effective presidency after this debacle,” says Dana Milbank, “it’s starting to look as if it may be game over.” Ruth Marcus also declares this presidency all but dead: “Can he recover? I’m sorry to say: I’m not at all confident.” Oh please. Everyone just chill out.

More here

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Arthur Delaney: Obama Pushes To Save The Holiday Season For A Million Unemployed People

The Obama administration on Friday came out strongly in support of extending long-term unemployment insurance past its current expiration date. Top economic adviser Gene Sperling said in a statement to The Huffington Post there is “no question” that Congress should extend emergency unemployment insurance for the more than 1 million workers who could be affected when benefits expire between Christmas and the New Year.

“We have always done so when unemployment is this high and would make little sense to fail to do so now when we are still facing the burdens of the worst downturn since the Great Recession,” Sperling said. “It is high bang for the buck for the economy, reduces poverty and helps workers who lost jobs due to no fault of their own get back on their feet.”

More here

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David Ignatius: The Stakes Of An Iranian Deal

Netanyahu seems to think that if sanctions have brought Iran to the table and gained concessions, then more sanctions will force Tehran to give up its nuclear program altogether. But administration officials fear that imposing more sanctions at this delicate moment (as Netanyahu is pushing Congress to do) will just blow up the negotiations.

My sense is that Israel and Saudi Arabia would love to scuttle an American rapprochement with an Iran they regard as a deadly adversary. But if Obama presses ahead, Netanyahu is bidding to replace the United States as military protector of the status quo, including the security of the Gulf Arabs.

Strategically, this de-facto Israeli alliance with the Saudis is an extraordinary opportunity for Israel.  The Obama administration would counter (correctly, I think) that embracing the Saudi strategy of an ever-deepening Sunni-Shiite divide is unwise. The schism will fuel permanent sectarian war in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Better to seek a turn in relations with Iran through diplomacy that can limit its nuclear program, Obama reasons. He’s right.

More here

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On This Day:

President Obama arrives at Beijing Capital International Airport on November 16, 2009

Signing an autograph during a working lunch with Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng in Shanghai, China, Nov. 16, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

Arriving at Canberra’s Fairbairn Airport for the start of his two-day visit to Australia, Nov 16, 2011

Participating in an official arrival ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra on November 16, 2011

Greeted by students as he arrives with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard at Parliament House in Canberra on November 16, 2011

Prime Minister Gillard proposes a toast to President Obama during the Parliamentary Dinner at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, Nov. 16, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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16
Nov
13

Early Bird Chat

On This Day: President Obama and Australian PM Julia Gillard greet students gathered at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, and the President gets a hug from Chelsea Gallagher, Nov 16, 2011

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MoooOOOooorning – Happy Saturday!




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