The President and First Lady arrive for the 2013 National Medal of Arts and the National Medal of Humanities Medal ceremony
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Attendees of the Summit of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders cheer as President Obama announces that the program will be renamed in honor of former South African President Nelson Mandela
Something feels different about this Israeli war. Previous incursions have gone without much import, the IDF killing hundreds of Palestinians, Palestinians making the diplomatic rounds excoriating Israel, and then everything settling back down into a dull stalemate. Even with US media bias, it’s gotten through the media filter that Israel’s war against Gaza is both disproportionate and horrific. When you trap a population in a Mediterranean gulag, and then pummel it, even the most jaundiced see that it’s morally reprehensible. No, Hamas shouldn’t launch rockets at Israel. But Israel has a rather effective missile defense system. Gaza has AK-47s. It is not an equal contest.
Perhaps it’s the prevalence of social media. During Israel’s previous incursion into Gaza, Twitter was in its infancy. Now with over a billion users, real time pictures from the killing zone are scrolling across millions of Twitter feeds. News organizations won’t show photographs of the dead and maimed; Twitter users will. Smoke plumes, flattened buildings, and screaming children are just a few of the images completely and effectively circumventing the media filter.
LEO Weekly: Medicaid Expansion Leads To Booming Reimbursements, Plunging Uninsured Rate In Kentucky
Kentucky’s Department of Medicaid Services has also provided this map that shows how the uninsured rate has plummeted within each county since 2012, assuming that 75 percent of Kynect enrollees did not previously have insurance (as indicated in their Kynect application): While this drop is staggering through the state, it is most pronounced in the four eastern Kentucky counties of Harlan, Letcher, Leslie and Perry, who went from 17-20 percent uninsured to less than 5 percent. These four counties went from some of the highest uninsured rates to the lowest in the entire state. Thanks, Obama.
While rural hospitals in Kentucky still face unique challenges that must be addressed, including how well Medicaid managed care is able to meet the increased demand for providers, the rosy estimates given by Gov. Beshear last year on the effects of embracing the Affordable Care Act appear to be coming to fruition. The question still remains whether Kentucky’s legislature will decide to continue these efforts next year, or whether a possible new Republican majority in the state House will decide to roll back the clock.
Mary Meehan: Affordable Care Act Refunds Due From Four Kentucky Insurers
Kentucky families will receive $6.2 million in refunds, an average of $43 per family, under a provision of the Affordable Care Act known as the 80/20 rule. The refunds announced Thursday by the federal government are the result of the rule requiring insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of the money paid in premiums on patient care. If the companies don’t reach that amount with spending on bonuses or red tape, it must be refunded to their customers.
According to a news release from the federal Department of Health & Human Services, consumers nationwide will receive $330 million. Four Kentucky health insurance plans will refund money. Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky had by far the largest refund at $4.4 million. Humana Health Plan was at $766,295, Golden Rule Insurance Co., $342,336, and Time Insurance Co., $333,096.
Trevor LaFauci (The People’s View): Looking Back: An American History Lesson from the year 2034
“Today’s topic: The Obama Years. First off, let’s generate some background information from you, the students. What are some things that you’ve heard or that your parents might have experienced during Barack Obama’s presidency? Call them out and we’ll make a list on the board.”
“He helped my Dad get home from Iraq!”
“He helped my grandparents regain their lost savings!”
“He helped my mom make more money from her job!”
“He helped give rights to my Dads!”
“He helped my parents save money with their health care!”…..
“Good, so the themes I have listed here on the board are jobs, rights, health care, money, and family. Based on your own personal responses, how do you think the country as a whole felt about President Obama? Call out some words that you think people used when they talked about our 44th President.”
AP: President Barack Obama to rename Young Africans program for Nelson Mandela
A program designed to foster a new generation of young African leaders will be renamed after former South African President Nelson Mandela.
President Barack Obama, who has said he was one of the untold millions of people around the world who were inspired by Mandela’s life, is set to announce the name change at a town hall-style event Monday in Washington with several hundred young leaders from across sub-Saharan Africa.
The youngsters are participating in the inaugural Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, part of the broader Young African Leaders Initiative that Obama launched in 2010 to support a new generation of leadership there.
“Africa’s future belongs to its young people… We need young Africans who are standing up and making things happen not only in their own countries but around the world… We want this to be the beginning of a new partnership and create networks that will promote opportunities for years to come.”
–President Barack Obama
South Africa, June 2013
The Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. Fellowships provide outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. university, and with support for professional development after they return home.
Israelis and Palestinians are imprisoned in what seems increasingly like a hermetically sealed bubble. Over the years, inside this bubble, each side has evolved sophisticated justifications for every act it commits.
Israel can rightly claim that no country in the world would abstain from responding to incessant attacks like those of Hamas, or to the threat posed by the tunnels dug from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Hamas, conversely, justifies its attacks on Israel by arguing that the Palestinians are still under occupation and that residents of Gaza are withering away under the blockade enforced by Israel.
Inside the bubble, who can fault Israelis for expecting their government to do everything it can to save children on the Nahal Oz kibbutz, or any of the other communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip, from a Hamas unit that might emerge from a hole in the ground? And what is the response to Gazans who say that the tunnels and rockets are their only remaining weapons against a powerful Israel? In this cruel and desperate bubble, both sides are right. They both obey the law of the bubble — the law of violence and war, revenge and hatred.
But the big question, as war rages on, is not about the horrors occurring every day inside the bubble, but rather it is this: How on earth can it be that we have been suffocating together inside this bubble for over a century? This question, for me, is the crux of the latest bloody cycle.
Steve Benen: Congress reaches preliminary deal on veterans’ aid
As of Thursday, a pending bill to expand veterans’ benefits appeared to be just about dead. What had been a bipartisan issue had turned into yet another partisan food fight, with House Republicans rejecting multiple compromise offers and walking away from the negotiating table. The Senate Democratic caucus, led in this fight by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), was apoplectic, blasting House GOP lawmakers for killing legislation that should be approved easily.
If the goal of the Democratic outrage was to force House Republicans to reconsider, the apoplexy worked. GOP lawmakers, reluctant to get blamed for killing another veterans-aid package, were shamed into renewing talks, and last night, negotiators struck a deal.
Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, center, holds the autographed basketball given to him by President Obama following their Oval Office meeting Tuesday, July 28, 2009, to discuss the outcomes of the first U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Looking on at left is Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama bids farewell to Chinese Ministers in the Roosevelt Room of the White House after the first U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue on July 28, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
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President Obama picks up his sub after meeting with five small business owners at Tastee Sub Shop in Edison, N.J., July 28, 2010. The President visited Edison to discuss the economy and urge Congress to pass support for small businesses (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama records an episode of The View at ABC Studios in New York, N.Y., July 28, 2010. Pictured, from left, are Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck (Photo by Pete Souza)
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First Lady Michelle Obama watches the swimming finals and medal ceremonies at the Olympic Park Aquatics Center during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England, July 28, 2012 (Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)
First Lady Michelle Obama watches the women’s singles tennis match between Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic of Serbia at the All England Lawn Tennis Club during the London 2012 Olympics Games, July 28, 2012
.. with Venus Williams and former gymnast Dominique Dawes
Serena Williams gives a thumbs up gesture toward her sister Venus and First Lady Michelle Obama after she defeated Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic