Archive for the 'Articles' Category

18
Nov
16

First Lady Michelle Obama: A Champion For The World

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Jonathan Van Meter: Michelle Obama: A Candid Conversation With America’s Champion And Mother in Chief

Once she got her daughters acclimated—she routinely referred to herself as “Mom in chief”—the Harvard-educated lawyer took on issues like support for military families and healthy eating. “It was pooh-poohed as a sort of soft swing at the ball,” she says. By the middle of the second term, she had become more ambitious—launching two education initiatives, Reach Higher and Let Girls Learn—and over the past year and a half finding her métier, turning herself into the First Lady of Popular Culture, mastering social media (thanks to her proximity to a certain couple of teenage girls), appearing as herself on shows like NCIS and Parks and Recreation, singing karaoke with James Corden, and basically charming the pants off of everyone. Somewhere along the way, she became the greatest political communicator of our time—better than Bill Clinton, better than her husband—someone whose speeches actually start national conversations. And throughout all of this, she has remained one of the most glamorous women in the world—admired by teenagers and grandmothers alike—

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whose daring fashion instincts have won her near-universal accolades from an industry that had a champion in the White House for the first time in decades. When she wore that showstopping Atelier Versace rose-gold chain-mail column to her final state dinner in October, the Internet worked itself into a state of collective mourning over the fact that there will be no more Michelle Obama fashion moments to obsess about. The White House has changed quite a bit in the past eight years, becoming much warmer, far less formal, and distinctly more diverse. Obamalot, if you will. They have created an ecosystem that is so effortlessly inclusive that, for example, Joe Mahshie, a trip coordinator for the First Lady, and Brian Mosteller, director of Oval Office operations, were married by Joe Biden at his home just a few months ago. Mahshie, my minder today, tells me that he first met Mrs. Obama when his then boyfriend Mosteller took him to join the SoulCycle class that the First Lady goes to once a week with White House staffers. Mahshie and Mrs. Obama struck up a conversation; one of her staffers was taken aback by his forwardness: “Do you know her?” No, we just met, he replied. “Was I not supposed to talk to her? Should I have curtsied?” He laughs. “She creates that possibility.”

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26
Oct
16

The Consequences Of Obama Derangement Syndrome

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Brian Beutler: Obama Was Right About Republican Extremism All Along

He has become the Democratic nominee’s most unvarnished and indispensable champion. the president clearly takes extra pleasure campaigning in battleground states against Republicans who didn’t consider Trump an affront to the conscience until the GOP nominee’s poll numbers tanked. Obama is repurposing a critique he’s been making for years, in public and in private, directed at Republican officeholders themselves. His retooled stump speech is crafted not just to fire up Democratic voters against Trump, but to overwhelm other Republican politicians with a sense of dread by making them recognize the huge mistake they made not listening to him. Some of these Republicans are only now realizing that Obama was right all along. But, as he’s now saying, it’s too late. Obama’s taking his argument to the voting public, and Trump is precisely the totem he needs to make it stick.

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 [T]here are a lot of politicians who knew better. There are a lot of senators who knew better. But they went along with these stories because they figured, you know what, this will help rile up the base, it will give us an excuse to obstruct what we’re trying to do, we won’t be able to appoint judges, we’ll gum up the works, we’ll create gridlock, it will give us a political advantage. So they just stood by and said nothing. And their base began to actually believe this crazy stuff. So Donald Trump did not start this. Donald Trump didn’t start it. He just did what he always did, which is slap his name on it, take credit for it, and promote it. That’s what he does. And so now when suddenly it’s not working, and people are saying, wow, this guy is kind of out of line, all of a sudden, these Republican politicians who were okay with all this crazy stuff up to a point, suddenly they’re all walking away. “Oh, this is too much.” … Well, what took you so long? What the heck?

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17
Oct
16

President Obama: A Champion For Students

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Molly Hensley-Clancy: The Industry That Was Crushed By The Obama Administration

When Barack Obama took office, America’s seven largest publicly traded college operators were worth a combined $51 billion, with more than 815,000 students enrolled at campuses spread across the country. The schools were flooded with with people seeking shelter from the recession, returning to school to pick up new skills. Almost eight years later, the industry has been decimated. The seven largest listed operators are worth just over $6 billion, and the most valuable company in the sector has spent the last two years desperately trying to become a non-profit. Two of the largest companies in 2009 are now bankrupt, and two more are in the process of being taken private. A withering war on for-profit schools by federal and state authorities, combined with an improving economy that made trade schools less lucrative, has left the industry a shadow of its former self. It could be one of the defining legacies of the Obama era.

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The administration’s more aggressive approach hit its stride in its final two years, as the Education Department honed and expanded its power. It pushed through a set of strict new rules late in 2014, and is preparing to pass another that could have even more far-reaching impact. Last month, one of its long-standing foes, the ITT Tech chain of for-profit colleges — valued at $4.6 billion in early 2009 — filed for bankruptcy after an Education Department ruling effectively ended its viability as a business. The Education Department has begun to turn the tables on for-profit schools by using their almost total dependence on government money as an avenue for regulatory power. It is seeking to make access to federal dollars conditional on schools changing their practices — for example, by requiring schools to eliminate mandatory arbitration clauses from their enrollment contracts, giving students the right to sue.

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14
Oct
16

‘Enough Is Enough, Through And Through’

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Jacqueline OBoomer

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The Michelle Obama Lesson Plan

She rose up and she stood up
And she said, “Listen here”
And she was our grandmothers
And mothers through the years
This was the lesson they all had tried
To teach us to take in our stride:

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To rise up and stand up
To rise up and stand up.
Treat us with dignity
We are your women and girls
Treat us as equals
We are your diamonds and pearls
Treat us with respect
We are your soulmates and loves
Treat us as partners

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When push comes to shove
Give us our due
As we return it to you
Rise up and stand up
Speak up and give a hand up ~
Enough is enough
Enough is enough, through and through

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28
Sep
16

Early Bird Chat

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On Air With Ryan Seacrest: President Obama On Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton’s First Debate, Biggest Concerns For Future & College Lingo

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton went head to head at Long Island’s Hofstra University for the first presidential debate of the 2016 general election Monday night. Moderated by NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, Trump and Clinton presented two conflicting visions for the country as they laid out their blueprint for the economy, crime and policing, foreign policy, and argued about each other’s temperament, “birtherism,” and more.

Audio Here

Following the heated debate, President Barack Obama called On Air with Ryan Seacrest Tuesday morning (National Voter Registration Day) to weigh in on Trump and Clinton’s exchange, admit his biggest concerns for the future, and to remind listeners to register to vote before the general election deadline on October 24. “We’ve got a website, IWillVote.com, and you can text forward to 47246. Get information about the place in your state where you can vote online, or where your precinct is. A lot of states now you can vote by mail.”

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All Times Eastern

10AM: President Obama receives the Presidential Daily Briefing

11AM: President Obama welcomes Kyle Busch and his team members to the White House

12:35PM: President Obama departs the White House

1:30PM: President Obama arrives in Richmond, Virginia

2:25PM: President Obama participates in a military town hall conversation hosted by CNN in Fort Lee, Virginia. It will air tonight at 9PM EDT on CNN

4PM: President Obama delivers remarks to troops

5:20PM: President Obama departs Richmond

6:15PM: President Obama arrives at the White House

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27
Sep
16

Your Body, Your Choice. Thanks, President Obama

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Laura Bassett: Obama Moves To Protect Planned Parenthood Funding, Permanently

The Obama administration has proposed a new rule that would prevent states from defunding Planned Parenthood or any other family planning provider for political reasons. The new rule which the Department of Health and Human Services proposed last week, says that states cannot withhold Title X federal family planning money from certain recipients for any reason other than the “provider’s ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner.” That means states can no longer vote to defund Planned Parenthood because some of its clinics offer abortion services.

“This will make a real difference in so many people’s lives,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood. “Thanks to the Obama administration, women will still be able to access the birth control they need to plan their families, and the cancer screenings they need to stay healthy.” The Title X program provides basic preventive health care and family planning services for 4 million low-income Americans. About 85 percent of patients who use Title X have incomes below $23,500. Planned Parenthood serves about a third of those patients, using the $70 million a year it receives in Title X grants to subsidize contraceptives and cancer and sexually transmitted infection screenings for people who can’t afford them.

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18
Sep
16

673 And Counting. Thanks, President Obama

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Carrie Johnson: Obama Grants Clemency To 111 Prisoners; DOJ ‘Confident’ It Will Clear Backlog

President Obama shortened the prison sentences of 111 inmates Tuesday, including 35 people who had expected to spend the rest of their lives in federal custody, authorities told NPR. Word of the new batch of clemency grants came as the second in command at the Justice Department told NPR that lawyers there have worked through an enormous backlog of drug cases and, despite doubts from prisoner advocates, they will be able to consider each of the thousands of applications from drug criminals before Obama leaves office in 2017.

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“At our current pace, we are confident that we will be able to review and make a recommendation to the president on every single drug petition we currently have,” Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates said. The early releases apply to mostly nonviolent drug offenders who would have received lighter punishments if they committed the same crimes today. The new commutations mean this White House has granted 673 commutations, more than the past 10 presidents combined. Tuesday’s grants follow 214 more earlier this month.

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09
Sep
16

A Shining Beacon

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Taylor Lewis: President And Michelle Obama’s Legacy Lives On In October Issue Of ESSENCE

It’s the end of an era. While the Obamas are hoping that their initiatives—My Brother’s Keeper, Let’s Move, Let Girls Learn, to name a few—will live on, the couple hopes to hold onto the memories that they’ve made during their eights years in DC. Some of my fondest memories of the White House are just being with the girls on a summer night and walking the dogs around the South Lawn, talking and listening to them, trying to get Bo to move because sometimes it’s hot.”

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“I think when it comes to Black kids, it means something for them to have spent most of their life seeing the family in the White House look like them,” Mrs. Obama said. “It matters. All the future work that Barack talked about, I think over these last few years, we’ve kind of knocked the ceiling of limitation off the roofs of many young kids; imaginations of what’s possible for them. And as a mother, I wouldn’t underestimate how important that is, having that vision that you can really do anything—not because somebody told you, but because you’ve seen and experienced it. I think that will be a lasting impact on our kids.”

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07
Sep
16

The Uninsured Rate Falls To 8.6%. Thanks, President Obama

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Sarah Frostenson: America’s Uninsured Rate Just Dropped To A New Low

Fewer Americans are uninsured than ever before, new federal data shows.Quarterly numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) show that the uninsured rate fell to 8.6 percent during the first three months of 2016. That’s the lowest rate the government has on record.

States that opted to expand Medicaid coverage to include lower-income individuals have managed to cut their uninsured rate from 18.4 percent in 2013 to 9.2 percent in the first three months of 2016. The uninsured rate has fallen most dramatically for nonwhite adults since 2013. For Hispanic adults, the uninsured rate has been cut nearly in half, dropping from 40.6 percent in 2013 to 24.5 percent in 2016.

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29
Aug
16

#ThanksObama: $2.6 Trillion Saved On Healthcare

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Carolyn Y. Johnson: U.S. Will Spend $2.6 Trillion Less On Health Care Than Expected Before Obamacare, Study Projects

A new study predicts that the federal forecast of national health care spending under President Obama’s signature health law was a big overestimate — by $2.6 trillion over a five-year period. Looking forward, the study’s authors also point to recent evidence that a 2014 uptick in health spending that had seemed to signal a return to higher growth may have been temporary. If slower growth persists, they argue that it will become harder to argue that it is just the economy and not the cost containment policies enabled by the Affordable Care Act that are tempering spending. Hempstead said it’s becoming increasingly plausible that the federal policies included in the Affordable Care Act —

and its ripple effects as programs implemented within Medicare influence the private market — are having a tempering effect. Hempstead thinks that some of the policies that came with health reform have contributed. For example, she pointed to a policy that was intended to cut hospital readmissions by introducing financial penalties for hospitals with excessive readmissions. Being readmitted to the hospital isn’t good for patients or for payers — a report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that 3.3 million adult hospital readmissions racked up $41.3 billion in hospital costs in 2011. Hospital readmission rates fell after the Affordable Care Act was implemented, both for conditions targeted by policy and those that weren’t.

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