President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House. President Obama met with Vice President Joseph Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Adviser Susan Rice and spoke on the gunmen attack at the office of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France.
President Barack Obama approaches Marine One on the snow covered South Lawn prior to his departure from the White House
President Barack Obama, accompanied by 89th Airlift Wing Commander Col. John Millard, smiles as they walk on the tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.
President Barack Obama, followed by Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich and Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., as they arrive on Air Force One at Detroit Metro Wayne County Airport in Detroit
President Barack Obama speaks at Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., about the resurgent American automotive and manufacturing sector
Ford plant manager, Phillip Calhoun, President Barack Obama, Mark Fields, president and CEO of Ford, and Bill Ford eye a new mustang at Ford Michigan Assembly Plant
On This Day: President Obama talks with Rachel Robinson, widow of Jackie Robinson, before the “42” movie screening with Robinson family members, cast, and crew in the Family Theater at the White House, April 2, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Let’s introduce a new category into the discussion. So far we’ve had two. The first is that Obamacare may make it by the skin of its teeth. The second is that’s it’s a total failure and the worst thing since unsliced bread. Time for a third: It’s a huge success and a triumph and a historic achievement and an immeasurable benefit to the American people.
I’ll stake out this lonely ground, because the allowed media narratives have other things to do….
The People’s View: President Obama Opens Can of Whoop-Ass on Opponents of Health Care as Exchanges Enroll 7.1 Million
Hours ago, a triumphant President Obama opened a can of whoop-ass on opponents of the Affordable Care Act as he announced 7.1 million Americans have already signed up for health insurance through the exchanges – beating even the best estimates of 7 million. The number is likely to inch even higher as individuals who began their application before yesterday’s deadline are allowed to finish their sign-ups. Just months ago, pundits were Very Seriously (TM) postulating that it won’t even cross 5 million.
The president openly called out Republican governors for obstructing the health care law and keeping millions more who could get health insurance today from getting it (5 million, to be exact, is the number of people GOP governors are denying health care to by refusing a fully federally funded expansion of Medicaid).
With the recent closure of the initial enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there is enormous jockeying around interpreting the number of enrollees in state and federal exchanges. Proponents and opponents of the law are interpreting the preliminary numbers in the way that best makes their case. But what neither side is emphasizing enough is that enrollment in the ACA is far from over now that March 31st has passed. This is because millions of individuals will lose their insurance during 2014 – and Obamacare will be there to catch them.
When President Obama took a brief victory lap on the South Lawn yesterday afternoon, he included a specific taunt that, by my ear, seemed ad-libbed.
“[T]his law is doing what it’s supposed to do. It’s working. It’s helping people from coast to coast, all of which makes the lengths to which critics have gone to scare people or undermine the law, or try to repeal the law without offering any plausible alternative so hard to understand. I’ve got to admit, I don’t get it. Why are folks working so hard for people not to have health insurance? Why are they so mad about the idea of folks having health insurance?”
Note how this turns the Republican line against them. Indeed, Obama’s questions need not be rhetorical — why are so many on the right working so hard to deny Americans access to affordable medical care? Why haven’t the ACA’s critics bothered to present a plausible alternative?
TPM: Conservatives Discover That Obamacare Will Help A Lot Of People
Obamacare crossed the 7 million sign-ups milestone before the midnight deadline Monday, sparking angst and introspection among conservative policy wonks about the future of their quest to wipe the health care law off the books.
Central to their dilemma is the emerging discovery that many people will end up benefiting from Obamacare. Despite the health care law’s problems, unanswered questions and unknown costs, it can hardly be denied that millions of American are slated to reap the benefits of its insurance subsidies, the Medicaid expansion and beefed-up consumer protections.
Politicususa: Stephen Colbert Flawlessly Mocks Republican Heartbreak In Wake Of Obamacare Success
On Tuesday night’s episode of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert began the show with a bang. The mock conservative host lampooned Republicans by lamenting the fact that millions of Americans now have health insurance. He then showed clips from earlier in the day revealing that due to Obamacare, 7.1 million people have been able to obtain a private health insurance plan in the marketplace.
After playing those clips, Colbert complained about how crowded his doctor’s office will be now that there will be 7.1 million other patients in line before him. He then pointed out that in recent weeks, conservatives had assured him that there was no way that the ACA would meet its goal. This was followed by clips from right-wing pundits, mostly on Fox News, stating with absolute certainty that Obamacare would fall far short of its intended target.
The clips Colbert played included some priceless statements from notable conservatives…
Greg Sargent: Obamacare is a disaster. But KyNect is awesome!
The office of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear just announced that more than 370,000 people have now signed up for Obamacare on KyNect, the state exchange. More than one out of every dozen Kentuckians — 8.6 percent of the state population — now has obtained coverage through the exchange, Beshear’s office said, claiming that a preliminary analysis has established that three out of four enrollees has reported that they were uninsured before signing up.
Beshear’s office adds that more than 21,000 signed up in the last three days alone.
But as recently as three days ago, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was denouncing Obamacare as “disastrous,” lamenting the “catastrophic effects” the law has had on Kentucky families, and insisting that “the pain caused by this terrible law is easy to see.”
Ugh, hate linking to anything by Zeke Miller, but this is a good read:
Time: All The President’s Celebrities: How The White House Used Stars To Sell Obamacare
The Obama administration turned to a powerful source to help persuade 7 million uninsured Americans to enroll in health care plans under the Affordable Care Act — a veritable army of celebrities
In the summer of 2013, when the White House was gearing up to sell the Affordable Care Act, senior aide Valerie Jarrett convened a meeting of some of the nation’s biggest celebrities to secure their advice and help sell the law to the American public.
The meeting brought together singer and actress Jennifer Hudson, actor and on-off White House staffer Kal Penn and comedienne Amy Poehler, as well as Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and YouTube Comedy’s Daniel Kellison, and representatives for Oprah Winfrey, Alicia Keys, and Bon Jovi. Nine months and hundreds of videos, tweets and media appearances later, the White House believes the meeting paid dividends, with the celebrities helping the administration enroll more than 7.04 million people in Obamacare through Monday night, the end of the open enrollment period in the healthcare exchanges.
Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin, and most recent First Runner-Up in our national vice-presidential pageant, has released another “budget,” this one a sham even by his remarkable standards because this is an election year and nobody is going to vote for a budget, even a fake one, unless it includes free money, doughnuts, and oral sex for everyone in the country. Anyway, it’s pretty much what we have come to expect from Ryan. More money for the military, more granny-starving for the rest of us.
First Lady Michelle Obama poses with G-20 Summit Spouses at the Royal Opera House in London, April 2, 2009 (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
President Obama is seen through an oval window as he meets with senior staff members Robert Gibbs, left, and David Axelrod following a press conference at the G-20 Summit at the ExCel Centre in London, England, April 2, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama walks with Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, left, and President Felipe Calderón of Mexico following their joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, April 2, 2012 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
President Obama looks out over the Rose Garden as he walks along the Colonnade of the White House, April 2, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama talks with, from left, Pete Rouse, Counselor to the President, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, and Vice President Biden in the Oval Office, April 2, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and Vice President Biden meet with James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, during the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office, April 2, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)
First Lady Michelle Obama, alongside Harrison Ford and Rachel Robinson, Jackie Robinson’s widow, welcomes high school and college students from across the country for a workshop with the cast and crew of the film 42, April 2, 2013
Pete Souza: “Interrupting a Christmas Holiday photo line, the President confers with Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, about the latest developments in the payroll tax cut extension as the First Lady waits in the background.” Dec. 15, 2011
6:20 EST: The First Family attends Christmas in Washington, National Building Museum
The schedule for the week ahead has not yet been released, but the First Family will depart the White House en route Honolulu, Hawaii on Friday
Friend just found out on Obamacare she will pay $495 less for health insurance! Yeah common sense reform NOT scare tactics.
Many years ago when I was a 23-year-old working as a hostess-with-the-mostess at a fancy seafood restaurant, saving up money to go back to school. I was hanging out in my apartment one night when my vision suddenly tunneled, and an unbearable pain exploded in the left side of my head. I couldn’t make a fist with my right hand. It was super scary. I called my Dad, who said “Go to the hospital right now.” The doctors at the emergency room took great care of me, and determined that no, I was not having a stroke. They took a spinal tap, did some scans, and sent me home a few hours later with ample headache pills. But the headache kept coming back, unbearably painful such that I couldn’t function at work and spent as much time as possible lying down.
I eventually landed back in the ER and even had to be admitted over night, until the doctors figured out that my spinal tap never healed — as 10-20% don’t, causing a slow drip of brain juice out the bottom of your spinal column. And then the hospital bills came.At first I was afraid to open them — and that’s even though I was thankfully still covered by my Mom’s health insurance plan through her job. After all, just walking into the ER cost me $100 in co-pays each time.
Finally, I opened the big envelopes from the hospital and found a bill for $55,000. The amount I owed? $0. That’s right. Zero dollars. Because when I got my freak $55,000 headache, I was covered. No one plans to have emergency medical care — but we can prepare for the possibility of it happening by signing up with healthcare.gov. Of course, now that migraine — and my later gap in health insurance coverage — can’t come back to bite me in the butt later, because thanks to the Affordable Care Act I can’t be denied coverage for “pre-existing conditions” and I can’t be screwed over for gaps in consistent insurance coverage.
I am one of the few people who has good things to say about Obamacare. You probably only hear from those who complain. My daughter has applied on the Internet for health insurance. She had no problem whatsoever linking to the site. Everything worked like a dream. My daughter is self-employed in a small business. She has been paying more than $2,800 every other month for her health insurance. Her entire yearly salary pays for the cost of her current insurance. She received a letter from her insurance company telling her that under Obamacare, this very same policy — without any change — will cost her $625 per month. This is less than half the price of what she is currently paying, which has been highway robbery.
In June 2009, the last auto plant in Detroit was idle, mausoleum-quiet and a symbol of failure. Weeds had grown three-feet tall around Chrysler’s sprawling Jeep factory at the desolate crossroads of Jefferson and Conner as the company went dark during bankruptcy. Among the bills the near-dead automaker couldn’t afford to pay: lawn service. Yet on one Monday morning came the drone of lawn mowers and buzz of weed whackers — sounds of rebirth. Chrysler was emerging from Chapter 11 and something had to be done about the eyesore the plant had become. The Detroit Three also overhauled their lineups to field their best cars in a generation, which now command higher prices than formerly formidable foreign offerings. Ford’s fashionable Fusion, whose looks draw comparisons to Aston Martin, has an average price of $27,444, which exceeds the Toyota Camry by $3,251, according to researcher Kelley Blue Book.
“It’s flipped,” marveled Lutz, 81, who served as a senior executive at all three Detroit automakers over the last half-century before retiring in 2010. “All of a sudden, the Japanese are behind.” Detroit’s new strength is embodied in Chrysler’s reborn Jefferson North Assembly Plant. The Jeep factory has gone from barely breathing to bursting at the seams. Its future was in doubt when it closed during Chrysler’s 2009 bankruptcy. Since then, employment there has more than tripled to 4,500, from fewer than 1,400 when Chrysler went bankrupt, and production has more than quintupled to 325,000 models this year, from 60,584 four years ago. It spits out Jeeps 20 hours a day, seven days a week and still can’t keep up with demand for the Grand Cherokee. Sales soared 21 percent for the hot model last year and are up 15 percent more this year through November. Chrysler said it expects to make as much as $2.2 billion this year.
When the Obamacare exchanges became open for enrollment this fall, I eagerly went online to check out my options for affordable health care in my state. It was exciting to know that I could potentially afford health insurance. I considered how my life would be affected: doctors’ visits, blood tests, checkups, an eye exam,a teeth cleaning—all the things I’ve longed for as an uninsured adult. After wading through a sea of questions about my income and expenses to determine my eligibility, I discovered what I had not considered a possibility: I qualify for Medicaid. Wow. Am I that poor? For so long I made just enough money to not qualify for Medicaid. Now, I do qualify.
While I was relieved to know I wouldn’t need to pay out-of-pocket each month for health care, I felt uncomfortable. I had originally intended to write about my experiences navigating Obamacare, how I’m weighing the options or different health-care plans in my state. But how was I going to write about that now? I couldn’t possibly share my experiences navigating Medicaid in public. My initial thoughts and feelings were rooted in shame. I didn’t want people to know my income is so low that I qualify for Medicaid. Shame is a tool. It keeps people immobilized, silent, and afraid. It keeps people in closets, in hiding, invisible.
And I’m sure this is only one of the reasons why nearly 700,000 people nationwide who qualify for Medicaid haven’t enrolled in the program. Money and time is spent to keep the “welfare queen” mythology alive, not only informing budget cuts, but also the minds of people who qualify for public assistance but decide not to use it. Shame is ridiculous. It will have you believe you deserve nothing—that you don’t deserve the resources you qualify for, resources that can support your livelihood.
Ari Berman: North Carolina Shows Why The Voting Rights Act Is Still Needed
A federal judge in Winston-Salem today set the schedule for a trial challenging North Carolina’s sweeping new voter restrictions. There will be a hearing on whether to grant a preliminary injunction in July 2014 and a full trial a year later, in July 2015. This gives the plaintiffs challenging the law, which includes the Department of Justice, the ACLU and the North Carolina NAACP, a chance to block the bill’s worst provisions before the 2014 election. Earlier this year, in July 2013, the North Carolina legislature passed the country’s worst voter suppression law, which included strict voter ID to cast a ballot, cuts to early voting, the elimination of same-day voter registration, the repeal of public financing of judicial elections and many more harsh and unnecessary anti-voting measures.
These restrictions will impact millions of voters in the state across all races and demographic groups: in 2012, for example, 2.5 million North Carolinians voted early, 152,000 used same-day voter registration, 138,000 voters lacked government-issued ID and 7,500 people cast an out-of-precinct provisional ballot. These four provisions alone will negatively affect nearly 3 million people who voted in 2012. Ironically, it took the North Carolina legislature less than a month to approve the law, but it will take a year before an initial hearing on it and two years before a full trial. That’s because in June 2013 the Supreme Court invalidated Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which meant that previously covered states like North Carolina, with the worst history of voting discrimination, no longer had to clear their voting changes with the federal government.
With her confirmation to the second highest court in the nation very early Thursday morning, Judge Nina Pillard should immediately rocket to the top of the Democratic shortlist of potential nominees to the Supreme Court. Though there are a number ofDemocratic judges who possess the youth, brilliance and legal credentials required from a new Supreme Court justice, Pillard brings something to the bench that is quite rare among judges — she’s won two of the most important civil rights victories to reach the Supreme Court during her career.
Pillard was a member of the legal team in United States v. Virginia, which eliminated the Virginia Military Institute’s discriminatory policies against women and cemented the rule that no law may engage in gender discrimination unless there is an “exceedingly persuasive justification” for doing so. Seven years later, Pillard argued and won Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs, an important case helping women (and men) with families to have a fair opportunity to participate in the workplace.
No amount of live video feeds or news stories can convey the essence of EuroMaidan. The Dec. 11 massive attack by Berkut riot-control police, for example, took people by surprise. Although there was an alert from the leaders of the political opposition that there would be a police raid at 1 a.m., people simply dismissed as ludicrous the idea that a raid would happen that night. I left Maidan around 1 a.m., with no visible signs of an imminent attack, and with just a few handfuls of protesters shivering near the stage. I rushed back to find it completely transformed in a matter of 15 minutes after receiving a tip-off that Berkut is advancing.
When Berkut started crashing through the first barricade, it was truly scary. It was not clear what their plan was, and at that point it seemed that it would be a miracle if no blood got spilled. Now, when we know that only 20 people required hospital treatment after that night, it does seem nearly miraculous. It soon became clear that Berkut was acting under orders to go easy on the protesters, and the resulting scuffle looked like a practice session of police units, not real action. As police broke through the first barricade, the church bells of St. Michael’s started to ring – an ancient and powerful call for alarm and mobilization.
For hours that followed, those watching Maidan saw massive shoving between Berkut and demonstrators, and its footage was top news around the world. But what was even more striking is how quickly Kyiv mobilized and moved into the city center, turning a crowd of a few hundred into a mass of tens of thousands of people in a matter of several hours. There was a lot of dignity in it, and a lot of pride. This was the massive proof that EuroMaidan is not about its leaders, that it’s truly the will of the people.
I’ve watched liberal and right wing commentators alike blame the president for being lynched. They say “he’s not reaching out enough” or “he’s too cold.” It’s the equivalent of assuming that the black man being beaten by a couple of thug cops must have “done something.” I am a white privileged well off sixty-one-year-old former Republican religious right wing activist who changed his mind about religion and politics long ago. Weirdly, I just realized that through all my writing, this has been the first time in my life I’ve personally gone to bat for a black man. It just happens that he’s a president. But my emotional stake in his life is now personal. So I’ve changed from a white guy who used to read news about some black man getting shot or beaten by cops or stand-you-ground types who assumed that the black man must have “done something,” to a white guy who figures that the black man was probably getting lynched. I’ve changed ideology but I’ve also changed my gut intuitive reactions.
I’ve changed because if this country will lynch a brilliant, civil, kind, humble, compassionate, moderate, articulate, black intellectual we’re lucky enough to have in the White house, we’ll lynch anyone. What chance does an anonymous black man pulled over in a traffic stop have of fair treatment when the former editor of the Harvard Law review is being lynched? One famous liberal commentator wrote a book on how Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil could disagree and still be friends. Why, he asked on many a TV show promoting his book, couldn’t President Obama be like that? Because, I yelled at the screen, those two men were white Irish Americans and part of a ruling white oligarchy.
Because, I yelled, you might as well ask why Nelson Mandela didn’t talk his jailers in South Africa into seeing reason. Because, I yelled, the president is black and anytime he’s reached out he’s pulled back a bloody stump. Because, I yelled, liberal white commentators have been as bothered by a black man in the White House, who’s smarter than they are as much as right wing bigots have been bothered. Because, I yelled, President Obama has been lied about, attacked, vilified, and disrespected since Day One. Because, I yelled, this country may have passed laws so blacks can vote and eat in a white man’s world, but in our hearts are stuck in a place more like 1952 than 2013.
First Lady Michelle Obama greets guests in the Grand Foyer of the White House during a holiday party, Dec. 15, 2009 (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
President Barack Obama walks from the White House to Blair House in Washington, D.C., to attend a working meeting with business leaders, Dec. 15, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama is joined by First Lady Michelle Obama and Bo, the Obama family dog, as he delivers remarks during a Christmas holiday reception in the Grand Foyer of the White House, Dec. 15, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama descend the Grand Staircase to greet guests at a holiday reception in the Grand Foyer of the White House, Dec. 15, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)
9:0 PM EDT: President Obama delivers remarks at the CBC Foundation Annual Phoenix Awards; First Lady Michelle Obama attends.
5:0 PM EDT: President Obama Speaks at the Memorial for Victims of the Navy Yard Shooting
The Week Ahead:
Monday: The President and First Lady will travel to New York City for the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly. They will remain overnight in New York City.
Tuesday: The President will deliver remarks to the U.N. General Assembly. The First Lady will attend. Later in the day, the President will attend the Clinton Global Initiative, where he and President Clinton will engage in a conversation about the benefits and future of health care reform in America and access to quality health care around the globe. In the evening, the President will attend an event for the DNC before returning with the First Lady to the White House.
Wednesday and Thursday: The President will attend meetings at the White House.
Friday: The President will welcome Prime Minister Singh of India to the White House for a bilateral meeting.
President Obama waves to the crowd after speaking to workers during a visit to the Ford Kansas City Stamping Plant on September 20, in Liberty, Missouri
Republicans’ obsession with overturning ObamaCare is getting sillier and more dangerous at the same time. Now that they’ve failed to kill the law every way the rules allow — in Congress, the Supreme Court and in a presidential election — the opponents are taking hostages and, in effect, threatening to shoot them if they don’t get their way.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, the hostages are the federal government and the U.S. economy.
… If there’s a comic aspect to all this, it’s how much the extremism is being driven by schoolyard taunting between House and Senate Republicans about who hates ObamaCare the most.
But the potential impacts of their strategy, if that’s what you can call something destined to fail, are distinctly un-funny.
Spandan (The People’s View): CBO Report is Damning for Ideologues – Right and Left
The Congressional Budget Office released its 2013 long term budget outlook on Tuesday. The document is the most significant vindication of President Obama’s economic policies to date, both enacted and proposed, and it is the most damning thing to the president’s economic critics, both Left and Right. The CBO reports that thanks to the president’s strong leadership in investing in America’s future and raising taxes on the wealthy, by 2015, the deficit will have been cut by 80% relative to the size of the economy from when President Obama took office.
Early this year, Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, made headlines by telling his fellow Republicans that they needed to stop being the “stupid party.” Unfortunately, Mr. Jindal failed to offer any constructive suggestions about how they might do that. And, in the months that followed, he himself proceeded to say and do a number of things that were, shall we say, not especially smart.
Nonetheless, Republicans did follow his advice. In recent months, the G.O.P. seems to have transitioned from being the stupid party to being the crazy party.
I know, I’m being shrill. But as it grows increasingly hard to see how, in the face of Republican hysteria over health reform, we can avoid a government shutdown — and maybe the even more frightening prospect of a debt default — the time for euphemism is past.
It helps, I think, to understand just how unprecedented today’s political climate really is.
ThinkProgress: What You Need To Know About The Funding Extension That Just Passed The House
The House of Representatives has passed a continuing resolution that would keep the government funded through Dec. 15 and withhold funding for the Affordable Care Act. The 230-189 vote comes just 10 days before a possible shutdown and includes instructions authorizing the Treasury “to pay some bills and not others in the event that no deal is reached in October on increasing the debt limit.” Rep. Scott Rigel (VA) was the only Republican to vote against the measure, while just two Democrats — Reps. Jim Matheson (UT) and Mike McIntyre (NC) voted for it.
As the resolution now moves to the Senate, here is what you have to know about the fight ahead…
Steve Benen: Warren Buffett and Obamacare: A case study
Rep. Jim Jordan, a far-right Ohio Republican, told reporters this week that the anti-healthcare forces have the wind at their backs. “All the momentum is in our direction,” he said. “Warren Buffett said yesterday, ‘Scrap the bill.'”
…. did the Sage of Omaha actually say “Scrap the bill” this week? Wouldn’t that have been a pretty big story?
…. the quote was taken out of context from something Buffett said in 2010. In fact, he actually supports Obamacare with a fair amount of enthusiasm. He said what Americans “have now is untenable” three years ago in reference to the health care system before the Affordable Care Act.
Washington Post: Shutting down the government won’t stop Obamacare. It might even help it.
There’s a cold logic behind the willingness of some conservatives to risk everything to stop Obamacare. But it’s not that Obamacare will fail. After all, if the law will just be a debacle, Republicans should let it take effect, ride the catastrophe to overwhelming victory in the 2014 midterms, and then use their massive congressional majorities to repeal it.
Rather, as EJ Dionne writes, the real fear is that the law will succeed. Once Obamacare begins delivering health insurance to millions of Americans it will become effectively impossible to repeal. That’s what’s happened in every other country that’s introduced a national health-care system. That’s why the right needs to stop Obamacare before it begins.
The irony of their strategy, though, is that shutting down the federal government won’t stop Obamacare. It might even help it….
ThinkProgress: The Complete Guide To The GOP’s Three-Year Campaign To Shut Down The Government
As the nation races toward another budgetary crisis next month, Republican leaders are using the prospect of a government shutdown and the need to raise the nation’s debt ceiling as leverage points to undermine the Affordable Care Act — just days before uninsured Americans are expected to sign up for health care coverage — and extract additional cuts to government programs.
Past Congresses have used the debt ceiling as a “vehicle for other legislative matters” or nongermane amendments, but as the timeline below demonstrates, the Republicans that came to power after the 2010 midterm elections demanded something entirely different: they threatened to push the nation into default and shut down the government unless Congress approves deep structural budget cuts during a period of economic recession.
Washington Post: House Republicans voted to cut food stamps by $39 billion. Here’s how.
The House just voted 217 to 210 to approve a GOP bill to cut food-stamp spending by $39 billion over the next ten years. That’s roughly a 5 percent cut compared with current law.
The House legislation isn’t expected to get past the Senate, but it’s worth a closer look. The bill would spend $725 billion on food stamps over the next ten years, compared with about $760 billion in the Senate farm bill.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a long analysis looking at how, specifically, the House GOP would rein in food-stamp spending through a variety of restrictions on eligibility. About half the savings come from new curbs on aid to unemployed, childless adults between the ages of 18 and 50. Here’s the full rundown of cuts….
The Sterling Road: My Name Is Jason, I’m A 35-Yr-Old White Male Combat Veteran…And I’m On Food Stamps
My name is Jason. I turned 35 less than a week ago. My first job was maintenance work at a public pool when I was 17. I worked 40-hours a week while I was in college. I’ve never gone longer than six months without employment in my life and I just spent the last three years in the military, one of which consisted of a combat tour of Afghanistan.
Oh, and I’m now on food stamps. Since June, as a matter of fact.
Why am I on food stamps?
The same reason everyone on food stamps is on food stamps: because I would very much enjoy not starving.
There is one main reason why Iran is making conciliatory noises about its relationship with the U.S. and about the future of its nuclear program, and there is one main reason why Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian dictator, is signaling his intention to give up his stockpiles of chemical weapons.
The reason: President Barack Obama’s toughness.
Yes, I know. Toughness isn’t a quality lately ascribed to the president. But hear me out.
On the night of September 10, hours before President Obama addressed the nation about developments surrounding the crisis in Syria, NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams huddled with Meet The Press host David Gregory to analyze the day’s top story.
Events were moving quickly. After weeks of Obama threatening to use military strikes against Syria in the wake of President Bashar Al-Assad being accused of gassing his own people with chemical weapons as part of a “massive attack,” a sudden diplomatic opening had appeared. Rather than bombing Syria, the United States might be able to work with Russia and get Syria to voluntarily hand over its chemical weapons.
Good news? Not necessarily according to Williams and Gregory….
….. The Syria coverage represents a clear case of the press adopting style over substance, as well as channeling Republican spin. Of treating foreign policy as if it were a domestic political campaign and insisting that a story unfolding half-a-world away was really all about Obama and how it affected (and/or damaged) his political fortunes….
Since the D.C. shooting, Republicans care about mental health! Yet they opposed—and want to defund—the law that does more to advance the cause than any in history.
So now we’re being treated to the charming spectacle of Republicans, or a few of them anyway, purporting to care about mental-health treatment in the wake of the Washington Navy Yard shooting. How touching. This doesn’t mean, of course, that they care about mental health. They’re just coming up with something to say in the wake of the tragedy that sounds to the willfully credulous like action and that won’t offend the National Rifle Association.
Meanwhile, they have devastated mental-health funding since you-know-who became president. And more important than that, they voted against, and are now preparing to vote en bloc to defund or delay, the law that will do more to address mental health and give society at least a chance that future Aaron Alexises will get treatment that could prevent them going on shooting sprees since … well, pretty much since ever.
Sept. 21, 2011: “The First Lady reacts to something the President whispered to her at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in between events related to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City” (Pete Souza)
Sept. 21, 2010: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk along the Colonnade of the White House (Pete Souza)
Sept. 21, 2011: First Lady Michelle Obama talks with Director and Chief Curator Thelma Golden during a tour of the Studio Museum in Harlem, in New York (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
MoooOOOooorning! And huuuuuuuuge thanks again to UT for all of yesterday’s posts – and to the Toon Master, Amk.
And thanks to the mighty blog tyrants, it’s been an amazing week at TOD, around 100,000 hits since last weekend – lots of them for Zizi’s post on PBO’s foreign policy, LL on Chuck Todd and Co, and UT’s newsie round-ups. Thank you, legends!
We’ll try and put all the visits to good use in the days ahead by doing lots of features on Obamacare.
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks alongside actors Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman as she welcomes high school and college students from across the country for a workshop with the cast and crew of the film 42
Michael Cohen (The Guardian): Two conventions, two Americas. Seldom has the divide been greater – Witnessing both conferences is to see anger from the Republicans and abiding hope from the Democrats
…. the philosophical and tonal divide between them has never felt broader. Quite simply, Democrats and Republicans operate in two completely distinct realms, one that is defined by an attachment to reality and one that is increasingly detached from it.
…. Republicans reside in a fantasy world where government plays no role but that of malevolence, where the free market is the salvation to all that ails this nation and where the country is locked in a Manichaean struggle between the forces of freedom and a failed, socialist interloper named Barack Obama.
…. For four decades, Republicans have relied on an undercurrent of white resentment toward social and economic change to maintain their pre-eminence in national politics. But with an African-American president and the country moving closer to “minority-majority” status, that dominance is slipping away and it feeds the sense of anger and desperation they tried to keep hidden in Tampa, but that all too often crept to the surface….
…. the contrast between the hues in Charlotte and Tampa was remarkable. The Democratic party is a party that looks like the palette of the American experience, not just in skin colour, but in class level. The Republican party (the one in the Tampa convention hall) is one that looks like Sunday brunch at a country club.
AP: Ford is adding 1,200 workers to a suburban Detroit factory to build the Fusion, a sign of confidence that the revamped sedan will be a big seller.
Ford Americas President Mark Fields told workers at the Flat Rock plant Monday that the Fusion’s market segment is growing two times faster than the rest of the U.S. auto industry. The new Fusion goes on sale this fall.
…. Ford will hire the 1,200 new workers starting next spring. It will also invest $555 million in new equipment at the plant.
President Obama demonstrates size of bounce received by Romney after Republican convention:
Florida, Sept. 9
R.E.M.‘s “Losing My Religion” was used in the Fox News coverage of the Democratic National Convention last night. R.E.M. today, through its music publisher, Warner-Tamerlane Music, demanded that Fox News cease and desist from continuing its unlicensed and unauthorized use of the song. Michael Stipe said, “We have little or no respect for their puff adder brand of reportage. Our music does not belong there.”
Steve Kornacki (Salon): Barack Obama is winning …and he has been pretty much all year
The final evidence isn’t in yet, but there are strong indicators that Barack Obama received a real boost from the Democratic convention – bigger than the paltry bump Mitt Romney got out of his party’s gathering and potentially big enough to push Obama’s national lead to heights not seen since Romney emerged from the GOP primaries back in the spring.
Gallup’s daily trendline, which remained flat during and immediately after the Republican convention, has spiked in Obama’s favor over the last few days; as of Sunday afternoon, his lead was five points. He’s also pulled a few points ahead in Rasmussen’s daily poll, which has tended to be more Romney-friendly than other surveys, grabbed a four-point lead in a Reuters/Ipsos poll, and seen his job approval rating crack the 50 percent mark. A PPP poll released Sunday night also showed Obama hitting 50 percent in Ohio…..
The movement in Obama’s direction reinforces a point that many neutral campaign observers have been reluctant to make for months now: The presidential race is not, and has not been, a virtual tie – Obama is, and has been, winning.
LA Times: Nationwide home prices shot up 3.8% in July, making their largest year-over-year leap since 2006…. The gain marks the fifth straight rise in the gauge, part of a positive swing following a year and a half of slumps. The last time prices rose so much was in August 2006, when they jumped 4.1%.
Prices in California bounded up 4.4%. Without distressed sales – including foreclosures and short sales – national prices were up 4.3% compared with last July.
The report, coming as a glut of house-hunters clamor after a shrinking inventory, suggests that the real estate market is “clearly seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel,” said CoreLogic Chief Executive Anand Nallathambi in a statement.