Pete Souza: President Obama greets His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama at the entrance of the Map Room of the White House today
Pete Souza: President Obama greets His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama at the entrance of the Map Room of the White House today
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.
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.
The Week Ahead:
Today, tomorrow and Monday: The President has no public events scheduled.
Tuesday: The President will attend meetings at the White House. In the evening, he will depart Washington, DC en route Stockholm, Sweden.
Wednesday: The President will arrive in Stockholm. While there, he will hold a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with Prime Minister Reinfeldt. He will then participate in an event honoring Raoul Wallenberg at the Great Synagogue in Stockholm and tour an expo featuring clean energy innovations at the Royal Institute of Technology. In the evening, he will take part in a dinner with Nordic Leaders.
Thursday: The President will hold a bilateral meeting with the King and Queen of Sweden. He will then depart Stockholm en route Saint Petersburg, Russia where he will attend the G-20 Summit.
Friday: Attends the G-20 Summit. Returns to Washington, DC on Friday evening.
Vice President Biden listens as President Obama speaks to members of the media about Syria during a meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30
Washington Post: The one map that shows why Syria is so complicated:
…. The map, from Columbia University’s really exceptional Gulf/2000 Project, shows the different ethnic and linguistic groups of the Levant, the part of the Middle East that’s dominated by Syria, Lebanon and Israel. Each color represents a different group. As you can see, there are a lot of groups swirled together. There are enclaves, and there is overlap.
Ethnic and linguistic breakdowns are just one part of Syria’s complexity, of course. But they are a really important part. The country’s largest group is shown in yellow, signifying ethnic Arabs who follow Sunni Islam, the largest sect of Islam. Shades of brown indicate ethnic Kurds, long oppressed in Syria, who have taken up arms against the regime. There are also Druze, a religious sect, Arab Christians, ethnic Armenians and others.
Graphic showing foreign forces and bases in the Middle East and selected military equipment
Washington Post: 9 questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask
The United States and allies are preparing for a possibly imminent series of limited military strikes against Syria, the first direct U.S. intervention in the two-year civil war, in retaliation for President Bashar al-Assad’s suspected use of chemical weapons against civilians.
If you found the above sentence kind of confusing, or aren’t exactly sure why Syria is fighting a civil war, or even where Syria is located, then this is the article for you. What’s happening in Syria is really important, but it can also be confusing and difficult to follow even for those of us glued to it.
Here, then, are the most basic answers to your most basic questions.
— Al Jazeera America (@ajam) August 31, 2013
A Word from CarolDuhart:
This week more than ever has reminded me of how lucky and blessed we are to have chosen Obama. His deliberation in the face of a howling chorus is a far contrast to any other President in my lifetime. And in far contrast to the other alternatives. Those emoprogs and those having Iraq flashbacks and comparing him to Bush need to remember that unlike Bush, Obama makes his own decisions based on logic, truth, and in his own time. He doesn’t lie, he doesn’t chestbeat, he doesn’t rush in without planning. He doesn’t need to cement a place in history: just being the first African-American President has secured that. Obama is the man that Shrub could never be, the President he couldn’t even try to be. That very maturity drives both right and left crazy, for we haven’t had a President like him, really, ever. Think about it: a President who isn’t driven by his insecurities like Nixon or Carter, who doesn’t buy into ideological crap like Reagan or Daddy Bush, or sometimes the captive of his appetites like Clinton, or lazy like Bush. There are no hooks on him to make him do something he doesn’t want to do.
Sometimes I think many on the left have issues with power and the responsibility it brings. Having been the subjects of the abuse of power has allowed a certain “righteousness” without responsibility. It’s easy to think all uses of American military or financial power are corrupt without nuance. As long as daddy “conservatives” ran the place, there was no need to think about the deep decisions regarding America’s place in the world. Instead one could choose to “drop out” or talk “third party” or be haplessly pacifist in the face of an armed world. And one could have a progressive fiefdom of adoring followers without the need to reach out to others or be civilly engaged.
Syria is a tough cookie, no matter how you slice it. Assad is just like his father, a brutal bastard who has shown he would kill everyone he can to keep a power that was never granted to him either by election or a legitimate monarchy. And while many of the rebels just want Assad gone and a chance to take their lives in their own hands, some of the assistants just want another theocracy like Iran, which is simply tyranny by another name. But chemical weapons are the cruelest of all weapons. Even after the dead are buried, the soil is heavily contaminated, killing people long after the war is over. So Obama has a hard decision to make, but he’s up to the task and I trust him based on experience to make the right one or at least the best one he can make. If he goes for it, he has a plan to get things done. If he pulls away from the brink, he’ll have something to show for it.
Obama was right about Iraq, right about Afghanistan, right about Libya, right about Bin Laden. What was the media right about? Romney’s win?
— BWD (@theonlyadult) August 30, 2013
Spandan C (The People’s View): The US Intelligence Assessment on Syria and the Next Steps in the National Debate
…. This president and his administration has done everything possible up to this point to avoid getting involved in Syria militarily, against the drum beats of the war mongers. Even now, he has shown considerable restraint. But it is important to remember that Barack Obama was not elected on the promise of complete and total pacifism; he was elected on the promise of careful consideration, judgment and letting the facts speak for themselves.
Whatever the president does, I am sure his critics will be many and the criticisms will be far and wide. As has been noted, he has no good options here. But as we debate this going forward, I want us to understand the complexity of the issue, drop the righteousness (either side – no one should take the idea of dropping bombs lightly just as no one should make light of the massacre from the chemical weapons), and do something the pundits won’t do – let’s keep it on the facts, not the conjectures and the rhetoric.
Full post here
SmartyPants: In the meantime…progress
As we’ve all been consumed with what President Obama will do in Syria, this administration is making some serious progress in other areas. For example:
President Obama took executive action to close gun purchase loopholes.
The IRS will recognize all gay marriages.
HHS announced that Medicare benefits will be extended to same-sex couples.
In yet another step to end the “war on drugs,” Attorney General Eric Holder gave a green light to state measures legalizing recreational use of marijuana.
But yeah, to some folks, Obama is just like Bush. LOL
See post here – with links to all that beautiful progress
— OFA TruthTeam (@OFATruthTeam) August 30, 2013
— OFA (@OFA) August 30, 2013
Washington Post: Ginsburg will be first justice to officiate at same-sex wedding
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will become the first Supreme Court member to conduct a same-sex marriage ceremony Saturday when she officiates at the Washington wedding of Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser.
The gala wedding of Kaiser and economist John Roberts at the performing arts center brings together the nation’s highest court and the capital’s high society and will mark a new milepost in the recognition of same-sex unions.
…. During a recent interview, Ginsburg seemed excited about being the first member of the court to conduct such a ceremony and said it was only a logical next step.
“I think it will be one more statement that people who love each other and want to live together should be able to enjoy the blessings and the strife in the marriage relationship,” Ginsburg said.
— The People’s View (@thepeoplesview) August 30, 2013
Dallas News: Wendy Davis raises $470,000 from outside Texas following her nationally viewed filibuster
In the six weeks following her headline-grabbing filibuster, Wendy Davis raised $1.2 million — nearly 40 percent of it from outside Texas. Davis drew national attention following the filibuster against an abortion-restriction bill that helped shut down the Texas Senate and prompted Gov. Rick Perry to call lawmakers back into another special session. In the wake of Davis’ new-found fame, Davis has been urged by some Democrats to run for governor next year. She says she will announce her political plans — whether to run for reelection as a senator from Fort Worth or as a Democrat for governor — in a few weeks.
Hey, our very brilliant Liberal Librarian has a new admirer, the very brilliant Kurt Eichenwald of Vanity Fair:
@TheObamaDiary GREAT line: “They’re not standing on shoulders of giants; they’re dancng on their graves, understandng not a thing they did.”
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) August 30, 2013
Congratulaaaaaaaaations LL!! But if you end up being hired by Vanity Fair, don’t forget us!
In case you missed it: LL’s post on Syria yesterday here
Not such a good time, though, for another of our friends on Twitter – Jovie, I should not (literally) cry laughing at your misfortune, but it’s reeeeeeally hard:
This morning: “New account it’s my fifth in 2 weeks.
Guinness book world of records.”
A group of protesters display placards as Mitt Romney’s motorcade arrives in Minnetonka Beach, Minnesota, on August 23
Wonkette – thank you Isonprize!
Balloon Juice (Thanks amk)
Angel Garcia Palacios holds his U.S. citizenship certificate as he gets his picture taken standing next to a cardboard cut out of President Barack Obama in a voter registration booth sponsored by the Democratic party after a naturalization ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center on August 23
Chat away …. hopefully not in italics😕
Where TOD’s 2011 visitors came from.
From ‘The Obama Diary Annual Report’ WordPress emailed me tonight …. jeez, they make the blog sound like Bain Capital😕
In order of visitors: 1 USA, 2 Canada, 3 UK
And the most popular post: so, you love the first lady? hey, you’re not the only one….. (link)
Thank you everyone for your support, I’d still be talking to myself if it wasn’t for you (although, I do that quite a bit any way).
Wooooooooooot! What a way to end 2011 and start 2012 ….. you ridiculously good people pushed us past our $10,000 target.
Happy New Year everyone, thank you for your company on this beautiful journey.
See you next year – ie tomorrow😉
President Obama has dinner with campaign donors and winners of the “Dinner with Barack” contest at The Liberty Tavern in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, Va.
MSNBC: Medicare’s basic monthly premium will rise significantly less than expected next year, the government announced Thursday. That could pay political dividends for President Barack Obama and for Democrats struggling to win over seniors in a close election.
…. In a statement accompanying release of the Medicare premiums, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asserted that seniors have nothing to fear from the new health care law.
“The Affordable Care Act is helping to keep Medicare strong and affordable,” she said. “People with Medicare are seeing higher quality benefits, better health care choices and lower costs.”
Full post here
Crooks and Liars: …. why in the hell does Pat Buchanan still have a job at MSNBC?
Color of Change would like to know the answer to that and ask for your signature on a petition to MSNBC (you can sign the petition here)
…..There’s no excuse for lending legitimacy and a national platform for such archaic and hateful attitudes. MSNBC has fired others for much less. Pat Buchanan needs to go.
More at Media Matters
ThinkProgress: Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry released a tax plan this week that he and many media reports called a “20 percent flat tax.” But Perry’s new alternative tax scheme is hardly “flat”.
Leaving aside the fact that it is layered on top of the existing tax code, it establishes not one but two different tax rates: 20 percent for wages, and zero percent for investment income. Because capital gains and dividends would be sheltered from taxes under Perry’s plan, some of the wealthiest Americans would wind up paying nowhere near 20 percent overall.
In fact, billionaire Warren Buffett, who has lamented the fact that he currently pays only 11 percent of his adjusted gross income in federal income taxes, would pay as little as 0.2 percent under Perry’s plan.
Full post here
ABC: Today’s New York Times story … includes an intriguing reference to a staff memo directing those traveling in a car with Mr. Cain, “Do not speak to him unless you are spoken to.”
Could the affable Mr. Cain really have a “don’t-talk-to-me-unless-I-talk-to-you” policy?
Yes. He does. Really.
A top aide to Mr. Cain explains to me why.
“It’s the same policy for any Secretary of Defense or four-star general,” a senior Cain staffer explained to ABC News. “You don’t talk to them unless they talk to you, generally. Sometimes you get guests in the car and they want to talk and talk and talk, and then Mr. Cain wants to prepare for the next interview or the next speech and he’s very engaging, so it can be a distraction. After a while, he gets to the point where he doesn’t want to talk, but wants to prepare for what he’s doing next.”
More excellent comedy from Dick Halperin today in Time. He magnificently ignored all the polls that show President Obama leading RomPerryCain in swing states, and concluded that if the election was held today he’d lose.
It’d be nice, though, if Halperin had an original thought:
Mark Halperin (today): Is President Obama on the ropes? …. The coalition that helped elect the President …. has been disbanded.
Mark Halperin (December 2010): The coalition that got Barack Obama elected President just two years ago has been shattered ….
Last year, Alex Pareene of Salon (which I seriously hate linking because it’s become Firebagger Central) did a series on “the worst columnists and cable news commentators America has to offer …. the most predictable, dishonest and just plain stupid pundits in the media.” Halperin had to settle for the runners-up prize, behind Richard Cohen. It’s worth a read again:
Alex Pareene (2010): Mark Halperin – The Drudge-loving political analyst who gets everything wrong …. his belief in the unerring political instincts of Karl Rove and the godlike omniscience of Matt Drudge ….
…. Halperin’s worst quality is actually that he is constantly wrong. He is a professional political analyst, yet he often seems to be completely, 100 percent wrong about even the horse-race aspects of politics that he specializes in. He kept promising, in 2006, that Bush’s approval ratings would once again surge past 50 percent. Remember when John McCain “suspended his campaign” to fix the economy? Mark Halperin said McCain won the week.
The book Halperin wrote …. “The Way to Win,” his preview of “the way to win” the presidential election in 2008. His advice was to emulate Karl Rove and worship Matt Drudge – the key to victory seemed to involve a lot of Matt Drudge – and the 2008 election as it actually happened made the whole book (which he co-wrote with Politico co-founder John Harris!) look utterly ridiculous.
… All we ask for is a little accountability. At the very least, Halperin’s TV chyron should read, “ALWAYS WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING.”
Repeat offenses: Obsequious relationship to power, Drudge-baiting, awfulness, self-promotion, getting everything wrong.
Representative quote: “To see what the future could look like, click here.”
(The link, posted the night before the selection of Joe Biden as Barack Obama’s running mate, led to a photo of Sen. Obama with Sen. Dick Lugar.)
Full article here
When you click that link now, you get:
Saintroscoe? I think I love you:
Marketwatch: With a little more than two trading days left in the month, it is shaping up to be the best October ever for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. And that is saying something, since the Dow has existed since 1896, 115 years ago.
As of mid-day trading on Thursday, the Dow INDU is ahead more than 11% for the month. The previous record for the month of October was held by 1982, when the Dow turned in a 10.7% return. That’s an auspicious historical precedent, since that month came very early in that decade’s spectacular bull market which, arguably, didn’t end until nearly 20 years later.
President Barack Obama talks with Mike Froman, Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs, in the Oval Office, Oct. 27, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Mother Jones: On Thursday, Senator Dick Durbin held a hearing on the rash of restrictive voter ID laws being pushed by Republicans all over the country. Voting rights activists have argued the laws will reduce turnout among minorities and the poor.
Republicans’ huge midterm victory last November translated into increased control of state legislatures, which they’ve used to pass new, more onerous restrictions on voting, sometimes explicitly for the purpose of suppressing votes from Democratic-leaning constituencies. Judith Brown Dianis of the Advancement Project called the wave of restrictions the largest effort to suppress the vote “since Reconstruction”.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights has produced a map showing how many states are in the process of passing such laws (see above).
What the map doesn’t show is that five states, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio, and West Virginia, have actually curtailed early voting as well. As Ari Berman reported, some of these ban voting on “the Sunday before the election — a day when black churches historically mobilize their constituents.”
Full post here
Yep, we had another Tea Partier visit tonight.
He left a very intelligent comment …. kidding: he advised us all to listen more carefully to Glenn Beck, only then will we learn the, um, truth. I can’t remember the precise details, I clicked the ‘trash’ button way too quickly, but I think the gist of it was that President Obama is conspiring with three-eyed men from Mars and tribesmen from that well known African village of South America to overthrow the democratically elected leader ….😐 …. of “Egpyt”.
PS Apologies for bringing you the thoughts of the former half term Governor of Alaska on Egypt, but, in fairness, she has provided an insight to the situation that is quite, quite unique:
“….nobody yet has, nobody yet has explained to the American public what they know, and surely they know more than the rest of us know who it is who will be taking the place of Mubarak and um, no, not, not real um enthused about what it is that that’s being done on a national level and from dc in regards to understanding all the situation there in Egypt.”
It’s no wonder, though, that the half-termer is so concerned – as a Fox ‘News’ viewer she thinks “Egpyt” borders Iran:
Um, Fox? Try this one:
The Irish Times
Thanks so much Tea Partiers for trying to comment here and defend Sarah Palin with your delightful Tea Party language – but sorry, we like to keep this place a Tea Party-free zone (you have plenty of other places to play).
But to the two guys who insisted – as Palin’s spokeswoman did – that they were “surveyor’s symbols” on that map targeting Gabrielle Giffords and 19 other Democrats….. a story they only came up with after the shootings …. well, someone disagreed with you as far back as November:
Mind you, she didn’t even get that right: they weren’t bulleyes, they were, quite obviously, crosshairs …. no mention of “surveyor’s symbols” though. And remember the accompanying Tweet from Palin – “don’t retreat, RELOAD”? Since when do you reload surveyor’s symbols?
So, even if it could be proved that they were “surveyor’s symbols”, Palin thought they were targets.
You must try harder covering up for your Queen.