Posts Tagged ‘stamps

07
Apr
15

First Lady Michelle Obama Honors Those Who Give Their All For The Country

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Cindi Leive: Michelle Obama, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kerry Washington: The Important Cause Bringing Three Powerhouse Women Together

First Lady Michelle Obama and actresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Kerry Washington are sitting in the Blue Room at the White House. This trio of female forces, who know one another through their work on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, aren’t here just to catch up on life. They’re here today to spread a crucial message: This Memorial Day, America’s servicewomen, veterans, and military wives—courageous women—need our help. Over a decade ago, during the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, our servicemen and -women were constantly in the public eye, in newspapers, music videos, car commercials. Today, most of the more than 2.5 million men and women who deployed are home safe—but they deserve just as much attention as when they were braving IEDs and insurgents.

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During this reentry period, advocates point out, many veterans face hardships (from homelessness and unemployment to post-traumatic stress disorder and the effects of sexual trauma), and we can’t underestimate the support they need. MO: One thing I want to clarify—that every service member, veteran, wants us to remember—is that the vast majority of people returning from service come back completely healthy…. But when we do come across someone who is struggling…we have to develop a culture of open arms and acceptance so that they feel comfortable saying, “I’m a veteran. And by the way, I need little help.” Think about the amount of training the average veteran has received through the military—physical training, project management training, public relations work. Think of an average tour of duty in a foreign land, the money we put into developing that, and then they’re discharged, and what, we let that investment go? Absolutely not. These are some of the best-trained people in our society.

More here

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Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Megan Brennan,  Eleanor Traylor, Nikki Giovanni, Ross Rossin

First Lady Michelle Obama participates in the unveiling of the Maya Angelou Forever Stamp, at the Warner Theater in Washington. From left are, Eleanor Traylor, English Professor at Howard University; poet Nikki Giovanni; Mrs. Obama; Postmaster General Megan Brennan; Oprah Winfrey, and artist Ross Rossin

Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey,  Megan Brennan, Sonia Sanchez, Eleanor Traylor, Nikki Giovanni, Ross Rossin, Ethel Kessler

12
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

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Today:

The President has no public events scheduled

12:45 Jay Carney briefs the press

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NYT Editorial: In the House, a Refusal to Govern

On two crucial issues this week, the extremists who dominate the Republican majority in the House of Representatives made it clear how little interest they have in the future prosperity of their country, or its reputation for fairness and decency.

The House will refuse to consider a comprehensive immigration bill that could lead to citizenship for millions of immigrants, Republican leaders said on Wednesday, and will slowly and casually consider a few border-security measures that have no chance of passing on their own.

And, on Thursday, the House passed a farm bill that stripped out the food stamp program, breaking a pact that for decades has protected the nutrition needs of low-income Americans. It was the first time since 1973 that food stamps haven’t been part of a farm bill, and it reflected the contempt of the far right for anyone desperate enough to rely on the government for help to buy groceries.

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Robert Greenstein: For several decades, legislation to reauthorize farm programs and SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) have moved together. Now, the House Republican leadership is splitting the bills, moving a stand-alone farm bill today and planning to move a separate SNAP bill later.

The reason is clear. Even though the farm bill the House defeated a few weeks ago contained more than $20 billion in SNAP cuts (nearly all of them in food assistance benefits) as well as an unprecedented measure allowing states to cut families off SNAP if a parent wants to work but can’t find a job and letting state politicians take half of the resulting savings and use them for any purpose, that wasn’t enough for many of the most conservative House Republicans.  So the House leadership has dropped the SNAP provisions and plans to come back later with a still harsher SNAP bill designed to pass solely with Republican votes.

This turn of events is deeply disturbing….

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Andrew Rosenthal (NYT): Just because there is no sign of actual governing arising from Congress, it doesn’t mean that the right-wing dominated House Republican Caucus is just sitting around doing nothing. To the contrary, in addition to plotting the demise of the first real chance at immigration reform in decades, House G.O.P. leaders are thinking of new ways to continue their long-running show of trying to stop health care reform from taking effect.

…. Nothing is going to stop Congressional Republicans from this kind of outrageous behavior. It’s worth keeping an eye on, though, if for no other reason than to see your tax dollars at work.

Full post here

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Wendy Davis: It’s the real Texans who count

I stood up and began talking on the floor of the Texas State Senate not long ago because I hoped the Republicans in power would listen to how their latest cruel health care proposal would hurt the women of Texas.

Simply put, this bill would take away access to the most fundamental form of health care women need.

It would close down almost 90% of the women’s clinics in this state. This comes after more than 50 women’s health clinics providing cancer screening and family planning services were closed because the Republicans withdrew state-financed support from them. We now have 42. Under this draconian proposal, a state as expansive as Texas would have only five clinics remaining to serve thousands and thousands of women.

Real Texans don’t want any woman to die of cancer because she can’t get decent health care or medical advice. Real Texans don’t want any woman to lose control of her life because she can’t get birth control.

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Texas Tribune: The abortion fight that has engulfed the Texas Capitol this summer appears headed toward a dramatic conclusion today.

At 2 p.m., the state Senate will take up the sweeping abortion legislation that late last month fell victim to a filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis, giving rise to two weeks of fiery protests and sustained national media attention.

The House approved the legislation — which would ban abortion after 20 weeks and potentially close up to 90 percent of the state’s abortion clinics — on Wednesday, leaving only Senate approval standing between the bill and Gov. Rick Perry’s desk.

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Steve Benen: Back in April, the federal government ran a surplus of $113 billion. In case anyone’s forgotten what a surplus is – the word largely disappeared from our vernacular after Bush/Cheney took office in 2001 – it’s the opposite of a deficit. In the month of April, the federal government took in $113 billion more than it spent.

And then in June, it happened again:

The U.S. government posted an unexpectedly large budget surplus in June, a further sign of the rapid improvement in public finances that has taken the heat off Congress to find savings and raise the nation’s borrowing limit.

Rising tax revenue, public spending cuts and big payments to the Treasury from government-backed mortgage companies helped the government take in $117 billion more last month than it paid out, the U.S. Treasury said on Thursday.

It was the largest monthly surplus in the United States in over five years, and the largest June surplus in the nation’s history….

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Jon Favreau: The GOP Is Terrified Obamacare Could Be a Success

I know, we’re all supposed to think the End Is Nigh because the government has decided to give the 10 percent of large employers who don’t insure their workers another 365 days to do so before levying a small penalty. This could not possibly be a reasonable accommodation to protect jobs and businesses, because as everybody knows, this president hates jobs and businesses.

No, this brief delay must be a sign that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is destined to result in abject failure. After all, that’s what every Congressional Republican with the ability to hit send on a press release has told us, over and over again, hoping that repeating their prediction enough times will somehow make it true.

But here’s my question: if Republicans are so confident Obamacare will end badly, why not just shut up about it? It’s not like they have the votes to repeal the law — a math problem they still haven’t solved after 37 different tries. Their appeal to the Supreme Court ended in defeat at the hands of a conservative chief justice. And now the bulk of the plan will begin to take effect in just a few months.

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Arizona Daily Star: Less than five months before the Affordable Care Act fully kicks in, hospitals are improving care and saving millions of dollars with one of the least touted but potentially most effective provisions of the law.

While much of the focus on the health law has been on the government rush to open insurance exchanges by Oct. 1, 252 hospitals and physician groups across the country have signed up to join the administration’s accountable-care program, in which they share the financial risk of keeping patients healthy.

…. The government expects the savings may be as much as $1.9 billion from 2012 to 2015. Early indications suggest they are starting to add up.

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Jonathan Chait: Obamacare Haters Struggling to Understand What ‘Nonessential’ Means

Many of us have suggested that the employer mandate, which the Obama administration is delaying for a year, isn’t a crucial element to making the law work. Cato scholar Michael Tanner has a killer reply: “If the provision is so unimportant, one might wonder why it was included in the law in the first place, given its potential for reducing employment.” Well, then I guess Michael Tanner has proven that every single provision of the Affordable Care Act is essential to the entire thing. Why would it be in there if it wasn’t absolutely necessary?

It’s surprising to encounter such naïveté in a professional policy analyst, let alone one of staunch anti-government bent, but here goes: Sometimes laws contain provisions that are not essential to their central purpose. (I hope this revelation does not so sadden Tanner as to make him even more dogmatically anti-government than he already is.) Some of those extraneous provisions served useful ancillary purposes. For instance, Obamacare requires restaurant menus to label calories, a helpful health-related measure, but one that could be removed without harming the main functions of the law.

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Business Insider: Elizabeth Warren Introducing A Bill That Would Be Wall Street’s Worst Nightmare

Elizabeth Warren is making good on her promise to scare Wall Street. Today (Thursday), she’ll introduce a bill to reenact Glass-Steagall.

Glass-Steagall is the 1933 law that separated commercial and investment banking. Back in 1999 it was repealed by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act at the urging of Wall Street heavyweights like then-Citi CEO Sandy Weill.

Then the financial crisis happened. Many banks failed and others got swallowed up into larger banks.

…. Elizabeth Warren was elected to the Senate based in part on her crusade against Wall Street excess. For many, this is one massive way to do that….

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Washington Post: Democrats offer new evidence that IRS targeted progressive groups

The House Oversight committee’s top Democrat on Friday will release new evidence that the Internal Revenue Service targeted both progressive and conservative groups for extra scrutiny during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said in a draft letter to committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif) that congressional investigators have discovered training materials from an July 2010 “Screening Workshop” that prove IRS agents were told to be on the lookout for groups from both sides of the political spectrum.

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Timothy Egan (NYT): The Charade of Darrell Issa

So, this guy who made a stink-pile of money in the car alarm business, and had some youthful trouble with the law over auto-related liberties, gets the break he’s been waiting for after Republicans win control of the House in 2010. He’s given the keys to the biggest Caddie in Congress: the main oversight committee. It’s loaded with everything — subpoena power, an overhead cam worth of auditors and investigators, a hyperkinetic staff devoted to keeping shine on the boss.

He’s got plans, lots of plans. He’s going to stage television-ready hearings and investigations of the White House. He will bring Barack Obama to his knees. “I want seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks,” he says. Don’t worry about substance, he says of one subject field, “it’ll be good theater.”

… But then, after millions of dollars in investigative forays, the wheels come off the ride. Fast and Furious … Move along …. Solyndra …. Next…. Internal Revenue Service …. D’oh!

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USA Today: PETA is especially happy with President Obama’s newly proclaimed love of broccoli.

So much so that the animal rights group is offering a special “Broccoli Obama” T-shirt, perhaps in an effort to discourage the president from future hamburgers, ribs or steaks.

“Now you can celebrate our veggie-loving commander-in-leaf,” PETA says on its website…..

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On this day….

July 12, 2012: President Obama blows a kiss to Oren Baer, son of Ken Baer, the departing Associate Director for Communications and Strategic Planning at OMB, during a visit to the Oval Office (Photo: Lawrence Jackson)

July 12, 2011: First Lady Michelle Obama with Nancy Reagan, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rosalynn Carter at the funeral of former First Lady Betty Ford at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, Calif. (Photo: Chuck Kennedy)

July 12, 2011: President Obama talks with Andrew Kline, outgoing Chief of Staff, Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement, in the Oval Office. Kline’s daughter, Logan, sits atop the Resolute Desk (Photo: Pete Souza)

July 12; 2011: President Obama hugs Bertha Petry, the grandmother of Sergeant First Class Leroy Arthur Petry, U.S. Army, in the Blue Room of the White House. The President later awarded SFC Petry, left, the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions during combat operations against an armed enemy in Paktya, Afghanistan, in May 2008. (Photo: Pete Souza)

July 12, 2010: President Obama shakes hands with Cub Scout Raphael Cash from Bowie, Md., in the Oval Office (Photo: Pete Souza)

July 12, 2010: First Lady Michelle Obama walks along the beach during her visit to Panama City Beach, Fla. (Photo: Samantha Appleton)

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MoooOOOooorning! 50 gazillion thank yous to UT, LP and LL for their posts yesterday, I wasn’t (unexpectedly) able to be around at all, so endless thanks for posting such brilliant stuff and keeping the ship sailing – legends!

11
Jul
13

And herein lieth the problem…

Cross posted on The People’s View.

Erstwhile journalist McKay Coppins had a HILARIOUS tweet regarding the Farm Bill passed by the GOP-led House:

The inside-the-beltway humor would be amusing save for one thing: the GOP bill excised all funding for food stamps from it, which normally makes up 80% of the spending in any agriculture bill. Families barely making it with that assistance are now facing a bleak summer. Will the House take up SNAP funding separately? Will Speaker John Boehner cobble together a coalition with Democrats to make sure that families aren’t starving on the streets of the world’s only superpower?

Oh, of course, these are rhetorical questions. Yet all the same, they are pertinent, and deserve some type of, if not answer, then an explanation.

Continue reading ‘And herein lieth the problem…’

31
May
13

Rise and Shine

@lacasablanca: Oval Office meeting: President Obama and @sr_simone of “Nuns on the Bus” discussed #ImmigrationReform

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Today:

10:20: The President delivers remarks on student loans (White House Live)

10:50: Meets with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

12:30: Press Briefing by Jay Carney

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Yep, how things have changed…..

Washington Post (March 2006): Off the Record, Bush Makes Media Inroads …. As he defends his Iraq policy with a public campaign of speeches and a recent news conference, President Bush also has been waging a private campaign that has included off-the-record sessions with White House reporters….

One gathering, which took place Thursday in the White House residence, was an unusual gesture by Bush, who has agreed to comparatively few lengthy exchanges with reporters during his five years in office….

Last week’s session involved reporters from several prominent broadcast and print outlets, including ABC News and The Washington Post. Under the off-the-record ground rules, the journalists were barred from reporting what was discussed. White House officials said they also hoped the meetings’ mere existence would remain under wraps….

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Joe Conason (National Memo): …. The notion that Barack Obama is “Nixonian” – or that his administration’s recent troubles bear any resemblance to “Watergate” – is the biggest media lie since the phony “Whitewater scandal” crested during the Clinton presidency.

…. Only in a country afflicted with chronic historical amnesia could they issue such accusations without shame or embarrassment. Only under those circumstances could the Republicans continue their fitful fabrication of a “Democratic Watergate” without fear of being laughed off the stage….

…. But certain liberals in the media have fretted loudly over Obama’s “scandals,” too …..  is it all just trumped-up hysteria? To answer those questions, it helps to remember what Nixon and his gang actually did to America – and why they were driven out of Washington and, in many cases, sent to prison….

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Steve Benen: Student loans reclaim center stage ….. President Obama will deliver remarks, flanked by college students, on a subject that too often goes overlooked: student loans. With a looming interest rate hike, the president will reportedly “call on Congress to help keep college affordable for middle-class families and students by preventing student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1.”

…. House Republicans say they’ve already passed a bill on this, which is true. They also say their bill is worthwhile and consistent with White House demands, which is not true…..

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SmartyPants

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Yep, austerity works so well:

Bloomberg: Euro-area unemployment increased to a record in April after the currency bloc’s recession deepened in the first quarter, increasing pressure on its leaders and the European Central Bank to spur economic growth.

The euro-area jobless rate rose to 12.2 percent from 12.1 percent in March…. to 19.38 million in April, up 95,000 from the previous month. Youth unemployment was at 24.4 percent …. Spain had the highest rate at 26.8 percent. No April data were available for Greece, which had a 27 percent rate in February.

More here

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@WhiteHouse

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08
Feb
12

evening all

ABC: President Obama “reinforced” his stance on the controversial contraception mandate while speaking at the Democrats’ annual retreat at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. today, Senate Democrats said.

Following President Obama’s speech at the retreat, a small group of Senate Democrats, mostly women, left the retreat early in order to hold a news conference on Capitol Hill to counter the Republicans’ news conference today at which they called for the mandate to be overturned.

Democrats said they will “fight strongly” to keep the mandate in place …. “It’s time to tell Republicans ‘mind your own business,’” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. ”Ideology should never be used to block women from getting the care they need to lead healthier lives.

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Michelle Goldberg (Daily Beast): Mitt Romney has been railing again the Obama administration’s refusal to exempt Catholic-affiliated institutions like hospitals and universities from its mandate that health insurance cover contraception …. Perhaps no one told him that such rules were in place in Massachusetts the entire time he was governor, because as far as I’ve been able to tell, he never raised a word of objection then.

…. many Catholic institutions are already operating in states that require contraceptive coverage, such as New York and California. Such laws are on the books in 28 states, and only eight of them exempt Catholic hospitals and universities. Nowhere has the Catholic Church shut down in response.

…. Nationwide, major Catholic universities including Fordham, Georgetown, and DePaul all offer birth-control coverage. So does Dignity Health, until recently known as Catholic Healthcare West, the fifth-largest health system in the country. In Massachusetts, the six former Caritas Christi Catholic hospitals, which were recently acquired by Steward Health Care System, all complied with the state law.

…. The Obama administration, then, was acting in line with several longstanding state and federal precedents when it issued these new regulations, something that’s been totally obscured amid all the caterwauling we’ve heard in response….

Full post here

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Michael Tomasky (Daily Beast): Seriously? He lost to Santorum? …. At this point, it’s fair to start questioning how Romney can really unite this party behind him eventually and make people enthusiastic about him. It sure doesn’t look, on the evidence of last night, like he’ll seriously be able to compete with Obama in Colorado or Minnesota. Even Missouri, which Obama lost by 0.1 percent last time, looks problematic for him right now.

But the Romney contests to watch in some ways aren’t against Obama or Santorum or Newt Gingrich, but against himself and against history – his numbers, and the overall turnout numbers, from last time. If he doesn’t show impressively in Arizona and Michigan on Feb. 28, GOP power brokers are really going to start wondering what they’ve bought into.

More here

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USA Today: President Obama will sign the last piece of legislation sponsored by former representative Gabrielle Giffords on Friday, the White House announced today.

The Arizona Democrat and her husband, Mark Kelly, as well as Vice President Biden will be on hand in the Oval Office for the signing. The legislation gives law enforcement greater authority to combat drug trafficking between the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders.

The bill was the last piece of legislation that Giffords voted on before she resigned on Jan. 25 …

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President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with members of the national security team on Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the Situation Room of the White House, Feb. 8, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Sun Times: First Lady Michelle Obama to embark on three day national tour celebrating second anniversary of Let’s Move!

Thursday: Des Moines, Iowa / Little Rock, Arkansas / Fort Worth, Texas

Friday: Dallas, Texas / Homestead, Florida / Orlando, Florida

Saturday: Longwood, Florida / Orlando, Florida

More here

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