Archive for the 'Articles' Category

24
May
17

A Villa In Tuscany

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Brittney Stephens

Is anyone having more fun than Barack and Michelle Obama post-presidency? Barack and Michelle met up for another round of sightseeing fun, this time at the five-star Borgo Finocchieto estate in Tuscany; the adorable couple cuddled up while their friend snapped pictures of them

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22
May
17

Golfing And Gelato In Italy

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Monica Sisavat

Barack Obama is currently vacationing in Italy, and on Saturday, the former president stopped by the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco to play a round of golf. Barack certainly looked the part in his white collared shirt, matching pants, and cap and appeared to be in a good mood

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First Lady Michelle Obama in Montalcino, Italy

28
Apr
17

Our Forever First Lady

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Jeff Weiner

Obama participated in a 45-minute Q&A during the American Institute of Architects’ annual conference at the Orange County Convention Center on Thursday. She spoke about adjusting to life after the White House and discussed her goals for the future and causes she hopes to support. “One issue that I am excited about continuing to work on is … to help young girls get an education around the world,” she said, citing the Let Girls Learn initiative she launched as first lady. Obama also stressed the need to combat violence against women and improve their access to healthcare.

Obama said said she and her family were enjoying the freedoms of post-White House life, such as being able to open their windows at night, travel without a motorcade and answer their own front door. Despite her hesitance to seek elected office in the future, Michelle Obama pledged that she and her husband will be active in social causes. “Barack and I have been in public service our whole lives,” she said. “Public service will always be in our blood.”

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30
Mar
17

Smarts. Class. Grace.

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Ariel Foxman: First Lady Michelle Obama On Style, Social Media, And The Biggest Challenges Facing Girls Today

“Sixty-two million girls around the world aren’t in school, and the first thing that comes to my mind is, ‘That could’ve been me.’ [I think about] how I would have felt at the age of 10 or 11 or 12 if somebody walked up and said, ‘That’s it. Your dreams are over! You’re going to have to leave school and get married to somebody twice your age and start having kids.'” “We can fool ourselves into thinking that everybody is still watching the evening news, but I live with Generation Z, and I know that their habits, the way they take in information in, is so different. And they’ve changed…

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We’ve got to meet our constituents where they are, and they’re on Snapchat.” For more from the First Lady, pick up the October issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download Friday, September 16. Coming soon: InStyle’s super-chic designer tote collection to benefit the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund. Sign up for an email alert and be first to shop the collection when it launches on Monday.

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29
Mar
17

Paid Leave: A Necessity; Not A Luxury

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Noam Scheiber: U.S. Will Require Its Contractors To Provide Paid Sick Leave

The Obama administration, in its latest effort to update workplace policies it says have lagged far behind the realities of Americans’ lives, will require federal government contractors to provide paid sick leave to their workers. The rule, which was issued on Thursday and which the Labor Department estimates will directly affect more than 1.1 million people once fully in effect, enables workers to accrue up to seven days of paid sick leave a year. The move serves as a coda to the administration’s ongoing efforts to enhance rights and protections for workers, including making millions more eligible for overtime pay and expanding workers’ rights to sue over pay discrimination.  In recent years, more than 20 cities and states around the country have passed laws mandating paid sick leave,

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which voters generally support, polls show. New York City passed its own such law in 2013 and expanded it the next year. Republican-leaning Arizona appears on the verge of enacting such a measure by a ballot initiative this fall. But legislation that would mandate paid sick leave nationwide, notably the so-called Healthy Families Act, has stalled in Congress for years, prompting the administration to seek alternative ways of achieving the policy’s goals. The rule, which does not need additional approval, requires that workers in assignments related to many federal contracts receive one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work, for up to 56 hours of leave a year. Workers will be able to use the days to receive medical attention, care for a relative or deal with complications arising from domestic violence or sexual assault. The rule affects only contracts solicited by the government beginning on Jan. 1, 2017.

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20
Mar
17

The Boss In Chief

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Alyssa Mastromonaco: What I Learned From 10 Years Working With Barack Obama

After I became then-Illinois Senator Barack Obama’s adviser/ director of scheduling in late 2004, [chief of staff ] Pete Rouse became my spiritual guide and mentor. Pete had worked on Capitol Hill for about 40 years, many of those as chief of staff to Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, and was known as the “101st senator” and “mayor of Capitol Hill.” There is no one more thoughtful in the way he gives advice. He returns every e-mail, makes every connection, and does it all while being a wheeler and dealer. When we got to the Senate, Possum drafted one of his famous “strategic plans”—lengthy, painfully thorough memos about how to get something done.

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In this case, it was the strategic plan for Senator Obama’s first year, and it could be summed up as “workhorse, not show horse.” It included lots of time with constituents and in Illinois, and less time with D.C. insiders and celebrities. Obama was quite fine with that. Every decision we made had to stand up to the workhorse vs. show horse test. Obama had a political action committee called the Hope Fund that was right down the street from the Hart Senate Office Building. The Hope Fund ran initiatives for getting young adults from diverse backgrounds into community organizing and politics; it also managed Obama’s political engagements

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10
Mar
17

The Always Stunning Obamas

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First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama out and about in New York

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04
Mar
17

Saving ACA

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WhatIsWorking

Good Saturday to you all

I wanted to ask for your help. While we all chase the Russia Story, Republicans are planning on repealing the ACA without a budget score, and without showing it to anyone until it is on the floor.

STRATEGY FOR AREAS with a R SENATOR or CONGRESSPERSON

Get on the phone and leave a message with their local office today and EVERDAY until we win this thing.

Tell them – NO SECRET BILL, let us publicly debate what it will cost in $$ and in human suffering.

Show up at their local offices, be brave and be strong.

Then call 10 people you know and ask them to do the same thing

STRATEGY FOR BLUE DISTRICTS

Join a Virtual bank from home (where you use a tablet or computer to access names, phone # and a script) and call into TN, AZ, Maine, NV or AK.

Send me a note if you need links to make these calls. Everyone needs to do this

Here is our latest update on the Republican plan

REPUBLICAN PLAN TO RUSH THRU ACA REPEAL

There will be a bill released on Monday that will then go to markup in both Ways and Means and E&C on Wednesday/Thursday. It will more or less be what we saw in the earlier draft, with a few modifications for the worse. It will not be scored and there will probably not be amendments.

Presuming passage, it will go to the Budget Committee the following week and then to Rules on 3/20 or earlier–with the goal to have it to the Floor of the House on 3/23, which is the 7th anniversary of the passage of the ACA.

McConnell has committed to put the bill on the floor immediately, with no changes, following a Bryd bath, meaning it will be voted on before the Easter recess (4/7).

This is far more accelerated timeline than any of us were thinking, and we were assuming we would have process in the Senate (meaning it would go through Senate Committees however that is not the plan). We need to get as much done in the next 2 1/2 weeks as possible.

Thank you in advance for your help with this issue

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07
Feb
17

Living The Well Earned Good Life

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It was a huge honour to be able to invite President Barack and Michelle Obama down to the British Virgin Islands for a complete break after Barack finished his second term as President and the family left the White House. One of the first stories Barack told me when he and Michelle arrived on Moskito Island was how, just before he became President, he had been surfing on a dangerous break in Hawaii. When he came in from an exhilarating session, the new head of his security team turned to him and said: “This will be the last time you surf for eight years.” For the next eight years he didn’t have the chance to surf, enjoy watersports or do many of the things he loved. So it was tremendous to offer him the chance to learn to kitesurf.

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20
Jan
17

What To Do On January 20th

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Zizi2

Our 2,922+ Days with Prez Obama

“The road ahead will be long,
Our climb will be steep,
We may not get there in one year, or even one term,
But America, I have never been more hopeful
Than I am tonight that we will get there.”… (Prez Barack Obama, 11/4/2008)

Put down the Kleenex. Tilt your head up high. Now shout at the top of your lungs. YES WE DID!!! We Obamacrats, Americans, and world citizens can proudly puff out our chests and say we got us a really fine gem of a president. He not only served us productively during his 8-year tenure, he did so without a whiff of scandal, his diligence razor sharp, his humility and empathy never in doubt, and lit up our dreary moments with that smile and quick wit.

How many of us young and young at heart, and even detractors, can say we’ve ever been so absorbed day in and day out with any President at such a granular level, as we have Prez Barack Hussein Obama? Sure, the technologies of our age simulate such high levels of intimacy with political leaders we may never meet. But the Obamas made us live vicariously in the warm embrace of their hugs.

Beyond policy convergence, we felt their human connection to us to be genuine. Not posturing. And prior to winning the presidency, candidate Obama himself opened the sluice gates to many of us to dive into political engagement through both electronic media and human to human contact in the streets

How many of you got connected politically with complete strangers for the first time by signing up on http://www.barackobama.com and eagerly awaited David Plouffe’s weekly map update? How many of you created “Dashboard” pages on that website to organize people you knew, to volunteer, donate, host house meetings and parties, make calls, register people in the streets, enter registration data, or even quit your jobs to go to “Summer organizing school”?

Be honest, how many of us of a certain age (wink, wink) would have gotten clued in to much of Social media — Twitter, Snapchat, etc. or programs consumed mostly by millennials such as Between Two Ferns with Zack Galifianakis, and You Tube sensations like Ms. Glozell Green, Ingrid “Glamourazzi” Nilsen, Adande “sWoozie” Thorne…., and much of social media lingo, if not for Barack H. Obama?

Besides substantial policy advances, he and First Lady Michelle Obama, made us all indulge in the hip and cool. We dropped the mic and sang soul and karaoke along with them. We ooohed and aaaahed the marshmallow cannon and others at the geeky WH science exhibits. We clutched our virtual passports, got aboard Airforce One on its 400 flights, and trekked all 50 states of America and around the world with them – Dublin, Myanmar, Moneygall, Moscow, Canberra, Strasbourg, Prague, Havana, Dakar, Accra, ……

But why did many of us suspend our cynicism during the Obama presidency? Why did we believe him? The historical track record of politicians has earned that species a well-deserved cynicism. But not Barack Obama. Why? Sure, policy disagreements and all for some, but few besides his virulent opposition and rabid racists doubted his integrity.

We checked our cynicism at the door because he invited us, as thinking people, to embark on the tough journey of making America a “more perfect union” with him, warts and all. He also welcomed us to peer into the depths of his humanity (not like GW Bush looking into Putin’s soul), and many of us felt comfortable, even inspired. He was more than family even if some never physically met him. He never patronized us. He never left us out in the cold. Never.

Some of us ached with anguish when the opposition slammed the political barricades hard in his face at a time when this country teetered on the brink of economic collapse, and we thought “surely, country first, right?” Wrong.

With President Obama, many of us were jolted to the harsh reality that Republicans cared more about raw power than America’s wellbeing. They dragged us through an orgy of vileness on every front imaginable. Worst of all, the electorate rewarded them up and down this country with more power to destroy all the pillars of democracy and human rights that had been fought for with blood and toil. What country is this!

As a naturalized American citizen, whose very first vote in this country was for candidate Obama during the 2008 Democratic primaries, I, along with many of you feel a certain sense of co-ownership of the Obama presidential journey. It was us at our very best! We chose well. Eight years, no scandals. NONE! Competence, class, dignity, vision, empathy, real accomplishments.

Barack Obama is the stuff legends are made of. And we were lucky to witness it, and co-write this chapter of America’s story. So yeah, tilt that chin up. Y’all did good.

“Hard things are hard,” is inscribed on a plaque in the Obama White House. Yep, they are. And once achieved they must be safeguarded with hawk eyes, else a Trump wrecking ball overruns us.

But as President Obama said, we’re just getting started. We’re not gonna turn him into a fossil to gaze at on a pedestal in a shrine. As CITIZENS our task, our vigilance shifts to second gear tomorrow. Foot to the pedal. Stay Woke.

P.S. Our gratitude knows no bounds for Chips and NerdyWonka, who captained this incredible electronic corner of bliss and sanity for our journey with the Obama Family, in a sea of venom. Thank you thank you, thank you.

And kudos to all you fellow travelers on this site. You made this Obama story possible. You made it fierce. Let’s ALL #staywoke.

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