“Where the jazz makes you cry, the funerals make you dance, and the bayou makes you believe all kinds of things.”
President Barack Obama holds a child as he greets residents in the the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans for the 10th anniversary since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Tremé is one of the oldest black neighborhoods in America
President Barack Obama with Mayor Mitch Landrieu
President Barack Obama sits for lunch at Willie Mae’s restaurant with young men from My Brother’s Keeper initiative
President Barack Obama participates in a roundtable on Hurricane Katrina at the Andrew P. Sanchez Community Center in New Orleans
President Barack Obama speaks during an event to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on August 27, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. President Obama spoke at the Andrew P. Sanchez & Copelin-Byrd Multi-Service Center located in the Lower 9th Ward, a largely African-American neighborhood that was one of the hardest hit by the storm
11:30: VP Biden meets with law enforcement officials to discuss common sense immigration reform
1:30: Jay Carney briefs the press
5:0: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host the Diplomatic Corps Reception (Closed press)
Occupy Democrats: Watch a Doctor Destroy a Koch Brother-Funded Anti-Obamacare Ad in 2 Minutes:
The Hill: The Obama administration on Thursday highlighted lower-than-expected premiums for healthcare plans sold through ObamaCare’s new insurance marketplaces.
In the 11 states that have released rates for next year, premiums for a middle-of-the-road plan are an average of 18 percent cheaper than the Congressional Budget Office had expected.
…. New York is the latest state to report that premiums for plans offered through its exchange would be cheaper than expected — and, on average, 50 percent cheaper than comparable policies available in the state today …. California also reported lower-than-expected premiums…
Six states have released rate filings for plans available to small businesses through a separate exchange. Those policies are also an average of 18 percent cheaper than existing coverage options, HHS said.
President Obama on Thursday touted some good news about Obamacare. And, lord knows, he’s earned the right. Republicans and conservative intellectuals keep seizing on setbacks — some real, some imagined — and predicting that Obamacare will be a catastrophe. They are almost certainly wrong.
Ironically, one of the best reasons to believe in Obamacare may be the very issue that has inspired so much chortling on the right: The insurance premiums for people who buy on their own, because they don’t get coverage from an employer or through a government program.
Insurers around the country have already submitted bids…. they are coming in lower than most experts had predicted….
…. it means the overall price of Obamacare — the amount of money the government must spend, in order to make the law function — is going to be even lower than predicted.
ThinkProgress: Most Media Coverage Ignores Premium Drop, Focuses On GOP Effort To Undermine Obamacare
Early on Wednesday, as House Republicans prepared to vote for a delay of the Affordable Care Act’s employer and individual mandates, New York state officials announced that health care premiums in the new exchange will plummet by at least 50 percent as a result of the law.
For reform advocates, the story represented a reprieve from the constant drum beat of media coverage about implementation delays, predictions of rate shock, and employers dropping coverage. But a ThinkProgress analysis of television reports about the health care law for Wednesday, July 18th, confirms that even with good news to report, bookers and segment producers are still far more interested in broadcasting stories about the political brinkmanship in Washington, DC than the actual, tangible progress of implementation.
Steve Benen: The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act did not actually strike down the entire civil-rights law, but rather, gutted it by rejecting Section 4 of the VRA. The burden then shifted to Congress to find a remedy …. Yesterday, the House held its first hearing on the VRA since the court ruling, and if the public comments were any indication, the odds of success in the near future appear long…
Most of the Republican members of the panel apparently didn’t think the hearing was especially important – which is to say, they didn’t show up ….
… Anyone predicting congressional Republicans might do the right thing on voting rights should probably adjust their expectations accordingly. GOP policymakers at the state level are rushing to impose new restrictions to keep voters from participating in their own democracy, and GOP policymakers at the federal level appear content to do nothing to stop them.
As part of our Summer Of Fakery, the House allegedly has taken up the job of repairing the damage done to the Voting Rights Act that occurred when John Roberts declared the day of jubilee. One of the witnesses today was Hans von Spakovsky, who’s been scamming this particular scam for over a decade now. Anyway, this is what von Spakovsky was peddling today.
“[That section] was an unprecedented, extraordinary intrusion into state sovereignty……..”
…. Not to bring that pesky Constitution into things again, but here’s an extraordinary intrusion into state sovereignty:
Amendment XIII: Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction…..
…. If you want to understand why modern conservatives seem so impatient with settled law, remember that they owe their modern ascendancy to the people who refused to accept any of these three Amendments because they didn’t believe the freaking Civil War changed anything.
ThinkProgress: On Thursday, three Texas Republicans filed a measure that would criminalize abortion services after a fetal heartbeat can be detected — which typically occurs around six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they’re pregnant.
The Texas legislature is currently in the midst of a special session that was convened specifically to give lawmakers more time to consider abortion restrictions. The session will end on July 31. Until then, GOP lawmakers have been busy proposing a slew of anti-abortion bills in the hopes of being able to rush them through.
Michael Tomasky: Well, we learned something new about what’s going on in wingnut land. Apparently, you see, there are four–no; make that at least four!–diplomatic officials who are in possession of vital information about Benghazi: the department’s (er, Hillary’s) refusal to increase security in the months before the attack; the diplo security forces (er, Hillary’s) failure to respond to the attack in the most forceful way; and finally, the administration’s (er, Hillary’s) cover-up and lies in the aftermath.
Ed Henry asked about this right off the bat, injecting a dose of Breitbartism into the proceedings. Like everyone else in America who tries not to patronize the fever swamps, I went “huh?” Then I Googled it and got this Fox News piece laying out the whole vast conspiracy:
Senator Tim Kaine: Nearly four months after the horrific Newtown shootings, the Senate is poised to do something that hasn’t been done for a long time in Congress – actually have a meaningful floor debate on reducing gun violence. Some senators and lobbyists are trying to make sure that no vote can take place. This should outrage the strong majority of American citizens who believe in reasonable gun rules to protect public safety.
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and 11 other senators have promised to filibuster any discussion of gun safety rules. Instead of just voting against restrictions they don’t like, they are trying to block any vote whatsoever….
…. There are those who believe the National Rifle Association and its allies are so powerful that no legislation will pass. But the power of the organization’s leadership is vastly overrated. I’ve run three statewide races in the NRA’s home state. Its leadership campaigned vigorously against me each time, spending nearly $800,000 against me in my 2012 Senate race. I won all my races anyway.
Steve Benen: I’ve long believed we can learn a lot about politicians by how they conduct their campaigns. Candidates who are honest and above board before the election tend to be honest and above board after the votes are tallied. Those who choose to be dishonest and sleazy during the race are often less than forthright once in office.
And if this adage is true, we’re learning some unsettling things about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell…
Greg Sargent: …. The suggestion by the McConnell campaign that Mother Jones engaged in “Watergate-style tactics to bug campaign headquarters” is intriguing; it constitutes a suggestion that Mother Jones broke the law. To my knowledge, the McConnell campaign didn’t provide CNN with any evidence of this. (The Mother Jones story only says that a “recording” of the strategy session “was obtained by Mother Jones.”) It’s a serious charge, and if it were made without evidence by the campaign of the Senate minority leader — perhaps the most powerful Republican elected official the country — it’s a big deal.
Since late last week, we have been fed a steady diet of grandma on catfood and the eeeebil Obama that is trying to make that happen. As usual, focusing on the method of inflation adjustment (that isn’t simply applicable to Social Security but all of government), our venerable Leftist talking heads are missing the forest for the trees. Well, more like they’re missing the forest for the branches. While people are howling at a revised method of calculating inflation, they are completely missing broader perspective on how this president is devising a more expansive social safety net.
So let’s get some perspective. This president has expanded the social safety net in more broadly than anyone since the passage of Social Security – through health care reform, through expanding children’s health insurance, through student aid expansion and through Medicare reforms. Let’s talk about those.
Charles Pierce: …. the senior members of the Republican party reminded us today that, no matter how much lipstick they slather on the pig in order to fool the more credulous members of the courtier media, the heart of their party is still black and withered and smells of death and corruption.
…. This is what prevails when you scratch down beneath the pretty surface — a party so completely fking unhinged that it thinks that a treaty on the rights of disabled people is some sort of one-world plot to steal the liberty of a third-rate moron like Jim Inhofe. …. They simply do not care. Their prejudices and their paranoia must have pride of place over any help to be given to the less fortunate among us….
…. I can hardly wait for the next Beltway hummer in which Rubio is promoted as “the changing face of the Republican party.” They can’t stand up to the lunatic base because the lunatic base is all they have.
Steve Benen: Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole made a rare Senate appearance this morning, sitting in a wheelchair just off the floor so that members would have to see him as they entered the chamber. Why? Because they were poised to vote on ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and Dole hoped to send a message.
It didn’t work. The Senate killed the treaty this afternoon, with a final vote of 61 to 38, which seems like a lopsided majority, but which fell short of the two-thirds necessary for ratification. Eight Republicans broke ranks and joined Democrats in support of the treaty, but the clear majority of the Senate GOP voted to block it.
Charles Pierce: “Mike Huckabee …. the de-bloated god-bothering whackaloon who is occasionally mistaken for a nice guy.”
Bob Costas responds to Fox News attacks: “Sometimes The Quality Of The Thinking Of Those Who Oppose You Speaks For Itself.” (See video at Media Matters)
…. Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades said as soon as Ryan and Romney started campaigning together, during his daily calls with Romney “it was like talking to your buddy who just met a girl and is giddy.” Romney pollster Neil Newhouse said when he saw the chemistry of Ryan and Romney together, he thought, “it was like a bromance.” (Lynn Sweet)
President Obama sits on the famed Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford Museum following an event in Dearborn, Mich., April 18 (Pete Souza)
“I just sat in there for a moment and pondered the courage and tenacity that is part of our very recent history but is also part of that long line of folks who sometimes are nameless, oftentimes didn’t make the history books, but who constantly insisted on their dignity, their share of the American dream.”
On Wednesday, the state reported that the unemployment rate fell to 8.5% for March, a level not seen since August 2008 and down 2 percentage points from a year ago. The jobless rate in metro Detroit fell to 9.4%, down 2.3 percentage points from a year ago.
…. And a PNC Bank survey of small companies in Michigan found that 35% plan to hire full-time or part-time employees sometime in the next six months …. worker rolls have increased across various industries, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting 22,000 more workers in southeast Michigan this year than last year.
…. That increase in workers is partly responsible for a first-quarter, 47% increase in housing starts in southeast Michigan when compared with the same three months last year….
2:20: PBO welcomes the BCS National Champion University of Alabama Crimson Tide to the White House to honor their 14th championship
4:20: PBO attends a campaign event in DC (closed press)
National Journal: A big lead among women voters is fueling a slight advantage for President Obama in the early phase of his contest with likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney, according to a poll published Thursday morning by Quinnipiac University.
In line with other national polls published this week, the new Quinnipiac poll showed Obama with a narrow lead over Romney, in this case, 46 percent to 42 percent. Among women, Obama’s enjoys a yawning lead of 49 to 39 percent….
ThinkProgress: As part of his attempt to appear more relateable, presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney sat with a handful of regular, working Americans in Pennsylvania today to discuss their plight in the struggling economy. But the Romney campaign may not have vetted the attendees to make sure they were sufficiently anti-tax before giving them access to the candidate and his picnic table full of lemonade and pretzels.
Charles Pierce: Things In Politico That Make Me Want To Guzzle Antifreeze, Part The MCLIV
Business Insider: Despite the ground Mitt Romney has gained in recent polls, he will be in the record books for a statistic he would probably rather forget.
Romney is the least likable presidential candidate in 30 years, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll. Since Walter Mondale. And he is the first candidate ever that more people view unfavorably than favorably.
USA Today: Republicans were quick to rebuke the Obama administration after a third clean-energy company to receive taxpayer dollars, Ener1, filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this week.
But absent from their critique of Ener1 — which was awarded a $118.5 million grant from the Department of Energy in 2009 to expand an Indianapolis manufacturing plant — has been any mention that the electric battery manufacturer was also championed by one of the GOP’s rising stars, Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Atlantic): All parties agree that Ron Paul is not, personally, racist and that he didn’t write the (newsletters) passages …. As I’ve said before, we all must make our calculus in supporting a candidate or even claiming he is “good” for the debate. But it must be an honest calculus.
If you believe that a character who would conspire to profit off of white supremacy, anti-gay bigotry, and anti-Semitism is the best vehicle for convincing the country to end the drug war, to end our romance with interventionism, to encourage serious scrutiny of state violence, at every level, then you should be honest enough to defend that proposition.
What you should not do is claim that Ron Paul “legislated” for Martin Luther King Day, or claim to have intricate knowledge of Ron Paul’s heart, and thus by the harsh accumulation of evidence, be made to look ridiculous.
9:50: PBO departs the White House en route to Joint Base Andrews
10:05: Departs Joint Base Andrews en route to Cedar Rapids, Iowa
12:20: Arrives in Cedar Rapids
12:40: Tours Conveyor Engineering & Manufacturing
12:55: Delivers remarks
2:30: Departs Cedar Rapids en route to Phoenix, Ariz
5:35: Arrives in Phoenix
6:30: Delivers remarks at Intel Ocotillo Campus
8:35: Departs Phoenix, Ariz. en route to Las Vegas, Nevada
9:30: Arrives in Las Vegas
John Cole (Balloon Juice): I gotta say, every time I get some one on one time with that guy, which is basically what the SOTU is- an opportunity for the President to speak to America, I just want to vote for him early and often. The contrast between Obama and the crowd of miscreants in the GOP running to replace him is just striking.
…. every time I hear him speak, I am still aware of all the things I disagree with him on, but think “That is a good man doing what he thinks is best.”….
Paul Krugman: From the Daniels reply to the State of Union: Contrary to the President’s constant disparagement of people in business, it’s one of the noblest of human pursuits. The late Steve Jobs – what a fitting name he had – created more of them than all those stimulus dollars the President borrowed and blew.
…. Steve Jobs designed great products. It’s very, very hard to make the case that he created large numbers of jobs in this country. Obama’s auto bailout, just by itself, saved a lot more jobs than Apple’s US employment.
David Corn (Mother Jones): …. With this speech, Obama forcefully presented a view of the nation and the tasks at hand that positioned him as a can-do, patriotic, forward-looking optimist against obstructionist Republicans with a dark take on the nation’s prospects. He pitched government policies that would bolster middle-class security ….. “Take the money we’re no longer spending at war,” he declared, “use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home.”
… This State of the Union — Obama’s best so far — won’t move the needle (as politicos like to say) in Washington. The president’s calls for bipartisan cooperation, for reforming the easy-to-abuse rules of the Senate, for campaign finance reform, and for lowering the heated rhetoric will not be heeded. But he demonstrated that when it comes to concocting a political messaging — and tethering it to his past achievements and current proposals — he can be masterful….
Steve Benen: Daniels is the serious one? Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels delivered the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, to the delight of GOP insiders who still hope he might run for president. The national platform offered Daniels an opportunity to back up the hype — pundits routinely praise the former Bush budget director as a serious, thoughtful conservative, and this was his chance to prove it.
President Obama phones Jessica Buchanan’s father John last night to inform him of her rescue.
MSNBC: In a daring nighttime raid Tuesday, U.S. Navy SEALs rescued two hostages, including one American, who were being held by kidnappers in Somalia, U.S. officials tell NBC News.
American Jessica Buchanan, 32, and a 60-year-old Dane, Poul Thisted, were working for a Danish relief organization in northern Somalia when they were kidnapped last October. U.S. officials described their kidnappers as heavily armed common criminals with no known ties to any organized militant group.
Boston.com: Members of Congress of both parties often complain about fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid (M&M), usually charging that the President is not doing enough to keep bad guys from stealing money from these vital programs.
Guess what? Thanks to provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA/ObamaCare) and to an unprecedented effort by the Obama Administration, more progress has been made in the past three years to combat health care fraud and abuse than ever before.
Mitch Stewart (from email): People have been sending around two videos here at headquarters this morning, and I thought you’d want to see them, too. This first one was posted to YouTube almost exactly four years ago. It’s Barack Obama’s “closing argument” to Iowans the night before the caucuses in 2008.
It’s pretty incredible to see candidate Obama talk about what President Obama ultimately did. He makes four specific promises – on reforming health care, making college more affordable, ending the war in Iraq, and putting us on the path to energy independence – all of which today, four years later, are promises kept.
The second video is from yesterday – posted by the New York Times reporters on the ground in Iowa. It’s a sneak peek into the “the best-organized presidential campaign in Iowa.” Spoiler alert: It’s not Mitt Romney. Or Ron Paul. Or Rick Santorum.
Both these videos are pretty near and dear to my heart. I was the campaign’s Iowa caucus director in 2008, and I know how hard people are working there right now, opponent or no opponent: