News Of The Day!

Supreme Court Upholds Obama's Affordable Care Act

The Hill: Consumers saved nearly $4 billion on their insurance premiums last year because of new rules in President Obama’s healthcare law, the administration said Thursday. The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) said consumers saved $3.9 billion last year from new rules that govern insurance companies’ spending. The rules have saved consumers roughly $5 billion over the past two years, HHS said. The health law requires insurance plans to spend 80 or 85 percent of their premiums on medical costs, leaving only the remaining 15 or 20 percent for profit and administrative expenses. They must pay a rebate if they miss the threshold.

Consumers saved money as insurers changed their premiums to comply with the requirement, HHS said in a report Thursday. The new rules first took effect in 2011. That year, insurers paid out more than $1 billion in rebates. Last year saw fewer rebates and more up-front savings, according to the HHS report. Consumers saved $3.4 billion last year as insurance companies lowered their premiums to comply with the new rules. Consumers also received $500 million in rebates from insurers that did not meet the new standards.

More here





We all remember the last Kids State Dinner!


And then this wonderful moment happened!


Washington Post: The House just voted down the five-year, $940 billion farm bill on the floor. The final tally: 195 yeas and 234 nays. This was unexpected, to say the least. Farm bills have historically sailed through Congress without too much trouble. Yet the House farm bill, supported by the GOP leadership, has faced a particular dilemma. Most Democrats opposed the revised version because it cut spending on food stamps for low-income families by $20.5 billion over the next 10 years.

On the other hand, many conservative Republicans also opposed the bill because it didn’t cut spending enough. Squeezed on both sides, the bill failed after House Speaker John Boehner brought it up for a vote. So what happens next? The White House, recall, had already threatened to veto the House farm bill because of its cuts to food-stamp programs. So it likely wasn’t going to become law anyway. But if the House bill had passed, Republicans could have at least gone to conference and tried to reconcile it with the $955 billion Senate version, which contained far lighter cuts to food-stamps funding.

More here




Roll Call: The House defeated the farm bill resoundingly on a 195-234 vote Thursday, dealing a blow to Speaker John A. Boehner and prompting a bitter round of finger pointing between Democratic and Republican leaders. Most Democrats opposed the bill, unhappy with a deep $20.5 billion, 10-year cut to food stamps and backed by a White House veto threat, while Republicans split into competing factions, with a sizable group opposing the bill over concerns it did not cut deeply enough. Sixty-two Republicans voted against the bill, while two dozen Democrats supported it. The bill’s defeat on Thursday came as a shock to Republican leaders.

The farm bill had been one of the first big tests for the Speaker this year, with immigration and budget battles yet to come.

More here




Farm Bill Debacle Shows John Boehner Needs Nancy Pelosi

Greg Sargent: In another embarrassment for House Speaker John Boehner, the farm bill went down to a surprise defeat in the House this afternoon, 195-234. Most Democrats voted against it, because of its deep cuts to food stamps, but what really sealed its fate is that in spite of those cuts, 62 Republicans voted against it, too, apparently because it didn’t cut spending enough.

I’d add, however, that this is useful in a perverse way, as a reminder of the degree to which the House GOP leadership needs Democrats to get things done, given its inability to count on the support of House conservatives. And this has implications for the immigration debate, too. “This underscores that Boehner cannot pass bills on his own,” Congressional scholar Norman Ornstein told me in a quick interview today. “He can’t do anything with only Republicans. The real power center in the House is not Boehner.

More here




Jamelle Bouie: There are two things you need to know about the federal government’s current budget situation. First, if you’re concerned with deficits and federal debt, things are getting better. The combination of spending cuts, tax increases, and modest economic growth has significantly decreased the government’s annual deficit, and if current projections hold, it will continue its downward slide. Second, health care costs — the main driver of future federal spending — are decreasing. And this is not an artifact of bad economic conditions either. “National health spending grew by 3.9 percent each year from 2009 to 2011, the lowest rate of growth since the federal government began keeping such statistics in 1960,” noted the Kaiser Family Foundation in a recent report.

All of which makes it particularly odd that the Chamber of Commerce has rededicated itself to an effort to slash Social Security. The simple fact is this: The Chamber of Commerce wants to do as much as possible to cut retirement programs, regardless of whether its necessary to deal with the country’s fiscal situation. And in that, they have the support of the Republican Party, which continues to push for massive spending cuts to all areas of government, regardless of need or necessity.

More here



Nicole Flatow: Under a law signed by President George W. Bush, organizations that receive federal funding for HIV and AIDS prevention were required to openly oppose both prostitution and sex trafficking — a mandate that put organizations who often deal precisely with those populations in a particularly untenable position.

 In a 6-2 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court said this anti-prostitution pledge violates the groups’ First Amendment rights, holding that organizations cannot be required to “pledge allegiance to the Government’s policy of eradicating prostitution” as a condition of federal funding. This means that the federal government cannot use federal funds as “leverage” to suppress speech it doesn’t like. It can, however, dictate that that only particular kinds of speech can be funded by the government’s money, so long as organizations are permitted to fund other speech through other sources.

More here



VP Biden speaking to @Esperanza_us 2013 National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast this morning.


Rebecca Leber: In the latest entry of destructive laws in North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory (R) has signed a bill repealing the “Racial Justice Act,” which allowed inmates to challenge a death row sentence if they showed racial bias played a major role. North Carolina’s choice to repeal a law passed by the Democratic legislature four years before is widely seen as reopening the door to executions in the state, since nearly all of the 152 death row inmates challenged their sentences under it. However, few received hearings and four had their sentences commuted to life without parole.

Reuters reports that of the 152 people on death row, 80 are black, while African-Americans make up a fifth of the state’s population. Racial bias is a widespread issue in the justice system. Statistics show that blacks and Latinos receive harsher sentences than whites, and a person is over three times as likely to receive a death sentence if the victim was white.

More here



Pete Souza: Brian Mosteller, Director of Oval Office Operations, sits with Bo, the Obama family dog, in the Outer Oval Office, June 20, 2012.


Pete Souza: President Barack Obama talks with Vice President Joe Biden on the Colonnade of the White House outside the Oval Office, June 20, 2011.


Pete Souza: President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with National Security Staff in the Situation Room of the White House, June 20, 2011


124 Responses to “News Of The Day!”

  1. 1 vitaminlover
    June 20, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    I love the Obamas

  2. 3 57andfemale
    June 20, 2013 at 5:26 pm


  3. 7 57andfemale
    June 20, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Here’s some of the crap that was in the crap farm bill:

    In addition to cutting $2 billion from the SNAP program, the House also approved this.

    The House late Wednesday voted to give states the authority to conduct drug testing on people applying for food stamps under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). […]

    Cutting SNAP

    The House today approved a stunning, extreme amendment to the farm bill from Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL) that would allow states to require most adults who receive or apply for SNAP — including parents with children as young as 1 year old and many people with disabilities — to work or participate in a work or training program for at least 20 hours a week or else have their entire family’s SNAP benefits cut off.

    And the amendment gives states a powerful financial incentive to do this. It allows them to keep half of the savings from cutting these people off and to use the money for whatever they want — tax cuts, special-interest subsidies, or anything else.


  4. June 20, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Have a good evening, everyone 🙂

  5. 16 vitaminlover
    June 20, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Certainly hope all of the First Family is just chillin’ today.

  6. 18 Judith Fardig
    June 20, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Boehner is pathetic! He needs to stop using the Hastert Rule and actually work with Nancy Pelosi to get a sensible immigration reform bill through, or he is DONE as Speaker and his party is toast. Not that I don’t want to see that, but too many people are getting hurt in the current GOP process of killing everything that doesn’t benefit the Romney crowd.

  7. 19 jacquelineoboomer
    June 20, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Beautiful post, UT! Good early evening, all. What did I miss? (I shall go look for myself.) 🙂

  8. June 20, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    HI Everyone!

    Having a good day?

    • 22 hopefruit2
      June 20, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      How ’bout you gb? How are things coming along with therapy, new roommate, etc. ?

      • June 20, 2013 at 9:13 pm

        Therapy was good. I am learning to use crutches (the ones that wrap around your forearms) properly — awwkward. Steps were easier and faster today.

        Roommate – Loud and doesn’t know how to use the call button. Instead she yells out into the hallway for help and gets mad when nobody comes. She is demanding and easy to annoy but hard to dislike her much because she is quite liberal with compliments.

        My mother is visiting from Florida so she’ll be coming to see me at the hospital soon. I see a few days of good food in my future 🙂

    • 24 Layla
      June 20, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      Hey GB, better now that you are here!

  9. June 20, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    A piece I just put together for TPV: Open thread – Republicans really aren’t good at this.

    I *was* going to post it here, but energizer bunny UT beat me to the punch. 😉

    It’s just delicious to see the GOP flailing about.

    • 27 utaustinliberal
      June 20, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      Good analysis. It really is going to get bumpier before any smooth sailing is on the horizon and the horror of not winning in 2014 is painful. That’s what Democrats should be focused on because with redistricting and gerrymandering, the climb is very very very steep.
      But, there’s always hope on the horizon and that keeps me pushing on.

      • June 20, 2013 at 6:51 pm

        I can’t say that I’ll succeed, but in my writing I’ll try to ignore the poser Left and focus on the true enemy, the fascist Right. GG and his ilk have sucked up enough oxygen.

  10. June 20, 2013 at 5:44 pm

  11. June 20, 2013 at 5:44 pm

  12. 40 vcprezofan2
    June 20, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    I’m beginning to think you guys take pleasure in playing with our minds/eyesight. Sigh!

    • 41 vcprezofan2
      June 20, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      I sit back to enjoy one post, pause and stroll off to check out a topic on google, return and ….:???: Uh! Where am I? … um…uhm

      • 42 Layla
        June 20, 2013 at 6:03 pm

        As the sign in the mall says: You are here

        • 43 vcprezofan2
          June 20, 2013 at 6:07 pm

          😀 That oh-so helpful ‘You are here’ sign! Thanks for the reminder, Layla. 😛

          • 44 MightyPamela
            June 20, 2013 at 6:23 pm

            Which, alas, then begs the question, “Where is Here?”! 😆

            • 45 vcprezofan2
              June 20, 2013 at 6:33 pm

              H E R E! Right here, not over there. 😉 😉 How come YOU are here too? Shouldn’t you be preparing supper for your guests and entrancing them with meaningful conversations? 😛

              • 46 MightyPamela
                June 20, 2013 at 7:46 pm

                Heavens NO! They are cooking for ME! Daughter is an amazing cook, and friend loves to do the clearing up! I am to sit with my feet up (have been practicing this) and observe! Very entertaining, I could get used to this (as if I will have the chance)! 😆 Anyway, I’m on a break from being gracious, as they have taken my car to the emissions testing station, but it needs a good long drive first, as it has been sitting in the driveway unused since mid-March. Quite pouring this afternoon, but I don’t mind it.

                • 47 vcprezofan2
                  June 20, 2013 at 8:20 pm

                  ‘Feet up’ and in observation mode! Wooo weeee – so now it’s not just Mighty P, it’s Queen Pamela. Good for you, and good of them!

  13. 48 57andfemale
    June 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    Expect the GG to hit the fan again – he ‘reported’ something new today that absolutely ‘proves’ there are no warrants necessary.

    I need to get the hell out of the office. Salon is covering it. It sounds like every NCIS or Castle episode but what do I know?

  14. 58 arapaho415
    June 20, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Someone mentioned on the thread that *POOF* disappeared the fact that

    “USIS, a contractor that performs over two-thirds of the security background checks for the Office of Personnel Management, conducted Edward Snowden’s security background investigation in 2011. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said at the start of a special Senate hearing that USIS is being probed for a “systematic failure to conduct investigations,'” according to the WSJ. *

    * behind a paywall, but you can view by Googling: Feds probe firm that did Snowden background check wsj.com

    I’m so glad that this investigation is being chaired by Claire McCaskill; she’s just the no-nonsense, get-er-done type of person we need in unraveling the bureaucratic holy mess that exists at the NSA now. Really don’t envy Susan Rice, but she and McCaskill will make a formidable team.

    See this article:
    The ranks of contract workers helping to do background checks on contractors and federal employees swelled 15 percent to almost 6,800 last year from fiscal 2011, according to the Office of Personnel Management. The agency’s spending on investigative services jumped 16 percent to $474 million last year from fiscal 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg….

  15. June 20, 2013 at 6:16 pm

  16. June 20, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    wow…what is the implication of this..

  17. 67 MightyPamela
    June 20, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Bye bye y’all, I need a nap – these young folks are energetic! As well they should be! BBL, hugs all around. A special for {{{{{{HZ}}}}}}, you have been very much on my mind lately, I hope you are well and feeling the benefits of this lovely Solstice energy!

  18. June 20, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Can’t believe people still go to Netroots Nation.

  19. 71 No Child Left Behind
    June 20, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Great post, UT. As usual.

    I don’t know if this has been posted elsewhere. But I think it is a great news for all, Christians, the gay community, and any sound person with a degree of tolerance against what is different, new, other, or incomprehensible.


  20. 72 donna dem 4 obama
    June 20, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Get your free bumper sticker

  21. June 20, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Refresher on J. Comey who President Obama is nominating to become F.B.I. Director tomorrow….

    • 74 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
      June 20, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      This nomination is truly an act of exceptional beauty beyond the fact that Mr Comey will be an outstanding FBI Chief …


  22. June 20, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Hello everyone! I’ve been keeping up with all the great reading you make available. It leaves little time for comment. 🙂 Spent my days beating up Congressmen about the Farm Bill. I cannot believe the callous indifference of people. Obviously, I’m exhilarated that it failed.

    Just wanted to say hello and thank you once again for the great, informative threads.

  23. 79 4morefor44
    June 20, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    so great to be a liberal (actual one, not posers like greenwald). they’re so much smarter. where do you see anything even remotely close to this interesting and intelligent around the republican-promoting blogs?

  24. June 20, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    So, I’m sorry, but not only is GG’s new “revelation” a nothing-burger, but it undercuts all the hysteria he reported two weeks ago. Good lord, now he’s just sad.

    • 81 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
      June 20, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      Exactly ….

    • 82 arapaho415
      June 20, 2013 at 7:05 pm

      Response to @ggreenwald’s latest pathetic straw-grasp from LAT’s National Security reporter:

      • June 20, 2013 at 7:16 pm

        I just can’t connect to this outrage. The need for privacy from a bunch of folks who put everything from their babies to their naked butts on Facebook is a mystery to me.

        • 84 hopefruit2
          June 20, 2013 at 7:31 pm

          They’re not concerned about privacy – they’re concerned about ginning up outrage to tear down PBO and to raise $$$$….

  25. 85 arapaho415
    June 20, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    • 86 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
      June 20, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      As noted yesterday ….

      …. folk pushing all their conspiracy crapola about Hastings need professional psychiatric care and appropriate medication.

      • 87 hopefruit2
        June 20, 2013 at 7:32 pm

        As I noted yesterday, if Hastings did in fact contact a lawyer and said that the FBI was investigating him (as Wikileaks claimed), then Hastings himself clearly needed some mental health treatment.

  26. 89 CEB
    June 20, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    This is not related to anything under discussion, but I love seeing pictures like those of the children of the embassy staffs with the Obamas or any of children who are visiting the White House that show them all dressed up in what we use to refer to as their “Sunday Best.” We have become overly casual at times and there are many young people and their parents who have no idea what it means to be appropriately dressed. It is nice to see young children looking so nice and to know that their parents respect the Obamas and the occasion enough to make the effort. I am especially looking forward to photos and videos of the 2nd Kids’ State Dinner.

    • 90 vcprezofan2
      June 20, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      ‘there are many young people AND their parents who have no idea what it means to be appropriately dressed.’

      So, so true (And I am fashion challenged), Ceb! Another aspect of appropriate dress that ‘bugs’ me are people wearing their baseball caps during the national anthem! Of course, some of the young people are influenced by their peers, or by a certain nonchalance. I find I’m currently having that battle with offspring, after years of no problem.

      -You’re not wearing that outside, are you?
      -What’s wrong with it?
      -Well, it’s not appropriate for X, Y, Z AND it’s not ironed.
      -It’s fine. I’m okay with it. You worry too much.

  27. 91 CindyH
    June 20, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Phone banking tonight to save early voting in NC – we’re asking folks to call Speaker Tillis and tell him not to support any bill that would reduce early voting and same day registration. One woman I called said she’d be happy to call and I asked if I could give her his number. She responded that she already has his number as she has to call about so many issues.

    So disgusted with this NC legislature.

    • 92 amk for obama
      June 20, 2013 at 7:20 pm

      Keep up the good work. Evil succeeds when good does nothing. I really feel the peak wingnut has been reached and 2014 will be the turning point back to sanity.

  28. 93 amk for obama
    June 20, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Great thread, ut. Farm bill going down, even for contradictory reasons, shows that all braggadocio is really bs and boner is impotent. This is huge boost for immigration bill.The congress teabaggers are isolated voted after vote.

    • 94 utaustinliberal
      June 20, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      Thanks Amk. Your analysis is spot on. If they couldn’t come together to pass a batcrap crazy farm bill (thankfully, it was going nowhere in the senate and white house), immigration reform is going to be a real doozie for them. They need it for 2014 because if they continue to be seen as obstructionists to progress, Democrats will be in a better place (as long as they capitalize on it and also sell laws like ObamaCare, economic recovery, etc.)

      The rightwing in the House is going full on anti-immigration and they are taking Boehner and their colleagues right over the cliff. We’re certainly in interesting times to say the least.

  29. 95 dotster3
    June 20, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    This is so sad, you guys. Miss Ann is having to deal with delays in processing permits for renovations to her $12 million beach house. I can’t think of anything worse. Lose the presidency, and now this???!!!

  30. June 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    So I was just talking to my Republican friend who said, “The problem with you Liberals is you think you’re so much smarter than Conservatives, but it isn’t true. We are very smart.”

    So I asked, “Then why do you elect so many stupid people?” He hung up in my face. Is it me?

  31. 117 Jovie
    June 20, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Iceland screwing America. Lots of Volcanoes though, nice place to visit.

  32. June 20, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Ok, a bit of housekeeping.

    Any of the bt’s coming up with a new post? If not I can have one ready in 5 minutes.

  33. 120 Layla
    June 20, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    One of the biggest celestial events of the year is almost upon us!

    Set to peak on Sunday, June 23, the 2013 supermoon is noteworthy not only for the remarkable sight it will present to skywatchers but also because it will be the largest supermoon this year.

    Also known as a perigee full moon, the event occurs when a full moon lines up with the Earth and the sun at a specific point in its orbit, called the lunar perigee. That’s the point at which the moon is nearest to Earth as it traces its elliptical path around our planet.

    Since it’s closer to us, the moon appears up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than usual. Coined by astrologer Richard Nolle, the term “supermoon” essentially means a bigger and brighter full moon.

    But what makes Sunday’s supermoon so special?

    While skywatchers will be able to spot another supermoon in July, the moon will not be this close again until August 2014.

    The moon will turn full at 7:32 a.m. EDT Sunday. It will reach its closest point to the Earth 22 minutes earlier and will be visible after the sun sets that evening.

    So be sure to step outside Sunday night to catch a glimpse of the June 2013 supermoon. (To see the perigee moon in all its oversized glory, try to spot it at moonrise or moonset, when it’s on horizon.)

    Can’t make it outside? Follow HuffPost Science’s coverage and see photos from around the world.

    • 121 Vicki
      June 20, 2013 at 7:39 pm

      Thanks for this information, layla. I will be out on my balcony gazing upwards and hoping for a clear night in NYC Sunday.

  34. 122 amk for obama
    June 20, 2013 at 7:34 pm

  35. 123 hopefruit2
    June 20, 2013 at 7:36 pm

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