Rise and Shine

On This Day – Pete Souza: “Late at night in the Treaty Room office in the White House Residence, the President speaks on the phone to President Lee of South Korea after North Korea had conducted an artillery attack against the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong.” Nov. 23, 2010




AP: Obama Officials Upbeat About Health Site Fixes

There won’t be a magic moment, but the Obama administration’s much-maligned health insurance website should be able to weather an expected year-end crush of customers, officials asserted Friday.

A combination of software fixes, design changes, added hardware and newly announced wiggle room should provide the right combination to finally deliver a workable website, White House troubleshooter Jeffrey Zients said in an upbeat assessment.

The added leeway comes in the form of an extra eight days this year for consumers nationwide to sign up and still get insurance by Jan. 1. A previous Dec. 15 deadline was stretched to Dec. 23. Policyholders must pay their premiums by Dec. 31.

More here




Arun Chaudhary: I Was With President Obama When He First Visited George W. Bush

I was surprised by my first reaction to George W. Bush in person. “Oh wow, look at how gray he’s gotten!” It was 2008, and I was in the Oval Office as President-elect Obama’s official photographer, which was my position during the presidential transition. President Bush was giving Obama a tour of his soon-to-be home. The president was showing the president-elect a few of his favorite things. “See this room?” he said, sounding astonishingly like Will Ferrell doing his best “W” impression. “This is a good room for sittin’, Barack. I like to do a lot of sittin’ right here.”

That the presidency is taxing, grueling, and aging is cliché, but I think one of the most underappreciated parts—and tricky to observe in the veritable flipbook of pool photos of the graying President—is the vast emotional intelligence required to shift between different frequencies for different events, day out and day in. One minute, I’d be filming a tearful embrace between POTUS and a shooting victim’s family member in the oval office; the next I’d be helping Samantha Tubman, deputy Social Secretary, pep up a drooping sports team unused to standing for hours in suits.

More here



Lori Greenstein Bremner: Cancer Survivor: Obamacare Got Me Covered

As a 36-year cancer survivor, I am watching with great interest as the debate rages over whether the Affordable Care Act strengthens the individual insurance market, as the law’s supporters contend, or dismantles it, as critics say. Having been repeatedly denied health coverage I needed and wanted to buy because of my pre-existing condition, I know that provisions of the law can dramatically improve the quality and cost of insurance for people shopping for coverage on their own. I was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia as a college student. After nearly five years of aggressive chemotherapy, immunotherapy, bone marrow harvests and more, I was cancer-free. My cancer has never returned, but since then I have waged a battle of a different kind — a three-decade struggle to obtain quality, affordable coverage.

After months of searching, I found an expensive plan with limited benefits through a professional association, and ever since I have paid to be a member of the organization just so I can maintain coverage. For 15 years my sons and I have struggled to afford the plan’s annual deductibles of up to $3,000 per person and monthly premiums that have risen about 30% each year. Every couple of years I reduced our coverage and gave up our trusted providers to avoid yet another premium increase, until we reached the plan’s minimum coverage level. Now a single mom with three sons to put through college, I’ve had to make some very tough choices.

I visited California’s marketplace, CoveredCA.com, on October 1 — the day it went live. At first I encountered technical problems, as so many others have, that were caused in part by the large number of people trying to find coverage. But I knew I had until December 15 to enroll for coverage to begin January 1. Recently I tried again and enrolled in my chosen plan in about 15 minutes. In January, for the first time since my diagnosis 36 years ago, I will have an individual health plan that offers quality coverage for me and my family. I will save $628 every month on premiums. Best of all — I wasn’t even asked if I’ve ever had cancer.

More here




HHS.Gov: Progress On Capacity

Jeff Zients offered an update on our efforts to improve HealthCare.gov; data on key metrics on site performance, the progress made this week and the view looking forward. In late October, we appointed QSSI as the general contractor to deploy their expertise in technology and program management to lead this project forward.

The team from QSSI continues to work with people from CMS and other contractors around the clock to troubleshoot the system, prioritize fixes, and provide real-time management decision making. Thanks to this team effort, we have made measurable progress.

More here




TPM: Admin To Launch ‘Direct Enrollment’ Obamacare Pilots In Three States

The Obama administration is launching a pilot program in Florida, Ohio, and Texas that will allow insurance companies to sign people up for coverage under Obamacare directly and forgo HealthCare.gov. The administration has been considering the process, known as “direct enrollment,” for some time.

“This is one more way we are working to offer consumers a variety of ways to enroll in affordable coverage. Direct enrollment is one more option,” Julie Bataille, spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services, wrote in a blog post Friday announcing the program. “By strengthening the multiple channels to enroll in quality, affordable coverage through the Marketplace, we are ensuring that every American who wants it can gain access to these new coverage options.”

More here




Desert News: Hospital Association Supports Medicaid Expansion For Low-Income Utahns

As the governor and state Legislature continue to mull over the decision to expand Medicaid in Utah, the Utah Hospital Association has come out with a position to do it — but only for a portion of the state’s low-income population. The health care policy and advocacy group believes it is important for the state of Utah to “take care of its own,” but to also thoughtfully develop a unique solution to insure individuals up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, according to the association’s new president, former Lt. Gov. Greg Bell.

Others throughout the state chimed in Wednesday as well, rallying at the Capitol rotunda to ask the governor to adopt Medicaid expansion, albeit a full and wide-sweeping model. “I think the whole reason for us here on the Earth is to learn to be compassionate,” said Nelda Bishop, one of roughly 150 who gathered in support of expansion. “We’re the richest nation in the world. Surely we can find a way to get basic health care to our poor,” Dr. Ray Ward, a family physician and expansion supporter, told the Deseret News.

More here




Ryan Cooper: Pundits Bemoan End Of Filibuster

The partial end of the filibuster has inspired a good deal of wailing and garment rending among Washington establishmentarians, who see it as only the latest sign of the demise of bipartisanship and comity in the Senate. Putting aside that there hasn’t been a scrap of bipartisanship in Washington since January 2009, criticism of the Dem decision to go nuclear is, in effect, tantamount to legitimizing, or at least accepting, the Republican position. The choice Dems faced was very simple: Either they accept the blanket GOP filibuster designed to block Obama from filling any vacancies on the second most important court in the country — one pivotal to the success of his agenda – or they change the rules.  What’s the argument in defense of the GOP power grab?

Notably,  pundits who are bemoaning the Dem decision to go nuclear haven’t been offering one. Instead, they admit that Republican obstruction was unjustified, but still blame the Democrats simply because they supposedly worsened D.C partisanship by doing something in response to that unjustified GOP obstruction. Both sides should have come to a compromise, they say. But what is to be done when one side’s position is that important judicial vacancies shall remain empty simply because filling them would help advance Obama’s regulatory agenda? They don’t say. Establishment pundits seem destined ever to pine for a mythical Golden Age of Congress when Senators hashed out deals over steak and cigars. But insofar as those days ever existed at all, it hasn’t been for thirty years or more. So let’s not shed any tears about the partial end of the filibuster. This is about giving the American government an angioplasty.

More here




Washington Post: State-Run Health Insurance Exchanges Report November ‘Enrollment Surge’

After anemic enrollment in the federal health insurance marketplace, several states running their own online exchanges are reporting a rapid increase in the number of people signing up for coverage, a trend officials say is encouraging for President Obama’s health-care law. By mid-November, the 14 state-based marketplaces reported data showing enrollment has nearly doubled from last month, jumping to about 150,000 from 79,000, according to state and federal statistics.

The nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, which has been tracking the data, called the most recent numbers “a November enrollment surge.”

Health policy experts said the momentum from state exchanges is encouraging. California, which has had about 80,000 sign-ups, is now reporting about 2,000 enrollments per day. New York and Washington state reported enrollment numbers in the tens of thousands as of this week. “It’s not all doom and gloom,” Kaiser Family Foundation President Drew Altman said. “What this says is that the problems are system problems, not problems with demand or interest.”

More here




On This Day:

President Obama waves after greeting children at Sycamore Elementary in Kokomo, Ind., Nov. 23, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and Vice President Biden walk arm and arm before speaking at the Chrysler Transmission Plant in Kokomo, Ind., Nov. 23, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama stops to buy treats at the Gingerbread House Bakery in Kokomo, Ind., Nov. 23, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama greets people outside the Gingerbread House Bakery in Kokomo, Ind., Nov. 23, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama pardons the 2011 Thanksgiving Turkey, Liberty, alongside his daughters Sasha and Malia on the North Portico of the White House, November 23


131 Responses to “Rise and Shine”

  1. 15 africa
    November 23, 2013 at 10:12 am

    My God, the first lady is magnificent in that dress. She is so beautiful. Wow.

  2. 16 utaustinliberal
    November 23, 2013 at 10:13 am

  3. 17 africa
    November 23, 2013 at 10:16 am

    This is happening in my red district. These signs were all over this low income neighborhood I passed yesterday. Obamacare is on the move.

  4. November 23, 2013 at 10:20 am

    This was from an earlier bilat:

  5. 20 desertflower
    November 23, 2013 at 10:21 am


    For the first time, the Obama administration is taking action against wind farms for killing eagles.

    Studies shows more than a dozen birds die each year through collisions with turbines, and that wind energy facilities can also cause harm through the loss of natural habitat.

    In a settlement announced Friday, Duke Energy will pay $1 million for killing 14 golden eagles over the past three years at two wind farms in Wyoming.

    The company says it pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

    The case is the first to be prosecuted under that law for a wind company by the Obama administration, which has championed pollution-free wind power.


  6. 29 utaustinliberal
    November 23, 2013 at 10:25 am

  7. 30 amk for obama
    November 23, 2013 at 10:27 am

    • November 23, 2013 at 10:31 am

      I’m going to have freaky nightmares after that 😥

      • 32 lockewasright
        November 23, 2013 at 11:39 am

        Oh Chipsticks, I had the worst nightmare ever about a tsunami sweeping my little boy away from me as he stubbornly refused to listen to me about fleeing. This was right after Phuket had been in the news. He can be pretty obstinate if he doesn’t like my tone, so the dream felt real. I went into his room and hugged him at 3 in the morning! He gave me a pretty baffled look and said: “I love you too daddy. It’s too early in the morning. Go back to bed.”

  8. 34 Mellesia Barnett
    November 23, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Good Morning everyone!

  9. 36 Linda
    November 23, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Good Morning

    I saw this on HBO last night and it is uncanny…..JFK’s insight in to the Presidency and also Forign Relations ” After he was on the job” is exactly what I think we will hear from PBO after his term is over.

    JFK was honestly stunned by the scope of the job….

    JFK : In his own words

  10. 37 desertflower
    November 23, 2013 at 10:39 am


    So I sort of lament that Harry Reid did what he did yesterday, but the problem has just gotten ridiculous, and don’t let anybody tell you it’s not a problem specifically of Republican obstruction. Yes, Democrats have done it too, but the historical pattern since the 1970s has essentially been that Republicans started blocking, taking the use of the filibuster up to threat level A; then Democrats, when it was their turn, also increased to level A. Then Republicans took it to threat level B, and the Democrats responded in kind. Then level C.

    But with respect to judges, Republicans have always been worse. Don’t be fooled by anecdotal examples. The percentages are here. Republicans approved only 79 percent of Bill Clinton’s judicial nominees. But did Democrats counter? No; they approved 91 percent of George Bush’s. Now, Republicans have approved 76 percent of Obama’s. So they’re at level D, while Democrats stayed at C or arguably even B.

    And with regard to executive-branch appointments, it’s been even worse. There’s just no justification in the world for the idea that it should have to count as some major political victory for someone to be appointed to head a government agency. None in the world. It should be routine.

    This is not how things were ever supposed to be.

  11. November 23, 2013 at 10:43 am

    GM TOD. Congrats on first, Africa! Hope everyone enjoys their weekend…..

    There are times when music can seem a solitary experience. That goes for the listener, sectioned-off from the world in headphones or listening solo and glorying in “their” music through speakers. It also goes for performers, so often portrayed as ego-driven – and indeed some soloists can only survive the nerves, the lonely travelling life and the terrifying exposure through an assertion of ego. In a cacophonous age, the choice of music can define and anchor the individual. But there are times, of collective crisis or celebration, when music can remind us what a society is. And on Friday November 22, 1963, at the top of a concert by the Boston Symphony Orchestra that happened to also be a WGBH radio broadcast and so was captured for posterity, the BSO’s revered music director Erich Leinsdorf broke some unimaginable news to a crowded symphony hall……

  12. 39 MightyPamela
    November 23, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Hey Y’all! {{{{TOD}}}}

  13. 43 Dudette
    November 23, 2013 at 10:55 am

    A gift my geeky-nerdy Chips-Chica!!! 😀


    El Tango De Spock (Kirk/Spock)
    Uploaded on Aug 27, 2007 by gin1119
    SUMMARY: Kirk gets very jealous when the Romulan Commander tries to steal his Spock.

  14. 46 vcprezofan2
    November 23, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Morning folks! Really nice to know the lights are always on tn the village! Thanks!

  15. November 23, 2013 at 10:58 am

    When John Kerry succeeded Hillary Clinton as secretary of state in February, Clinton’s emotional departure from the State Department received blanket media coverage. Kerry’s arrival received next to none. “So here’s the big question before the country and the world and the State Department after the last eight years,” Kerry said in a speech to State Department employees on his first day on the job. “Can a man actually run the State Department? I don’t know.” As the crowd roared with laughter, Kerry pushed the joke too far. “As the saying goes,” he said, “I have big heels to fill.”……

    ……As Kerry’s provisional successes on disparate fronts pile up, the White House’s praise for him, both in public and in private, has become more fulsome. “If you step back and look at his stature in the administration and the world, you know, it’s been consistently elevated,” says Ben Rhodes, a deputy national-security adviser and a longtime speechwriter for President Obama, referring to Kerry’s work on Israel-Palestine, Syria, and Iran. “He’s front and center on all these issues. That clearly represents a very ambitious first year for any secretary of state.”……..

    • November 23, 2013 at 11:01 am

      Moooooooorning LP! Fingers crossed for a positive outcome on this, it would be an amazing diplomatic achievement.

      • November 23, 2013 at 11:06 am

        GM Chips! Fingers crossed over here as well…….reports are SOS Kerry will be in London tomorrow, deal or no deal. So we will know today…. Regardless, what remarkable progress has been made on so many fronts, in such a short period of time! We are so lucky to have such wonderful representatives in President Obama, SOS Kerry, and his whole administration so admirably representing us across the world.

    • 50 Vicki
      November 23, 2013 at 11:12 am

      Boy, have you nailed it this time, not for the first time, lovely plains.
      When Hillary arrived at the State Dept we were treated to her new employees standing on the staircase clapping and cheering.
      If there was a similar welcome for SOS Kerry I missed it. As you said, HRC departure was also a big deal in the MSM but probably no place else.

      Now John Kerry and President Obama seem poised for a number of tremendous successes.
      Will the inference be drawn that our Foreign Policy began to percolate at an accelerated pace once PBO got a SOS he could trust entirely?
      Will we ever know?

      • November 23, 2013 at 11:35 am

        I wish I could take credit, Vicki…..very kind of you, but I just pulled a few quotes (that I thought were telling) out of the Reuters profile. It is a long read, but done by an objective reporter, David Rhodes. We probably will not hear if a deal is struck until tonight or in the morning….so if you have some time it is a good read 🙂

  16. 52 carolyn
    November 23, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Well, I’ve enjoyed al the priceless pieces this morning…..but, now I’m going to get ready for my birthday lunch with my family. They’re taking me to my favorite restaurant for lunch, La Baguette. Delicious foo. Two brothers from France settled here about 25 years ago because one brother married a woman from OKC. We are fortunate to have this place!!! It feels like a Parisian bistro inside, and the food is great!
    See you on the flip side, as we used to say.

  17. 71 anniebella
    November 23, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Did anyone catch MHP letter to that writer who wrote that article on our First Lady in GOPolitco.? She out that writer in her place.

  18. 73 utaustinliberal
    November 23, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Sometimes, MHP pisses me off. Other times, she calls it right. Her letter of the week to Michelle Cottle of Politico Magazine questioning First Lady Michelle Obama’s feminism bona fides was freaking fantastic. A must watch. She read Cottle for filth. FILTH!

    • 74 anniebella
      November 23, 2013 at 11:12 am

      You saw her ut.

      • 75 anniebella
        November 23, 2013 at 11:17 am

        I don’t watch MHP that often, but I’m glad I saw her this morning when she told that Cottle woman off. Anytime you can call a racists hater like Palin a feminist idol you just prove you aren’t worth shit yourself. Excuse my language,

    • 76 Vicki
      November 23, 2013 at 11:14 am

      Agree anniebella and ut. Brilliant takedown of Michelle Cottle. Still my tv is off. kay bailey Hutchison?
      I was just lucky to be drying my hair when the Cottle segment came on and gave me something that didn’t make me want to throw things.

    • 77 hopefruit2
      November 23, 2013 at 11:14 am

      Thanks for sharing ut. Anniebella also mentioned the segment a couple posts up. MHP should be encouraged to do more of THIS kind of punditry, and less of the emoprogery…. 🙂 🙂

  19. November 23, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Here’s a toon for the filibuster:

  20. 83 utaustinliberal
    November 23, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Go Texas!!!!!!!!

    • 84 hopefruit2
      November 23, 2013 at 11:27 am

      A very promising start in the quest to turn Texas BLUE! Thanks ut for keeping us updated on the goings on in the Lone Star State. 🙂

  21. 85 hopefruit2
    November 23, 2013 at 11:25 am

  22. 86 Dudette
    November 23, 2013 at 11:28 am

    For Carolyn

  23. 87 Dudette
    November 23, 2013 at 11:30 am

  24. 96 hopefruit2
    November 23, 2013 at 11:31 am

  25. 98 Dudette
    November 23, 2013 at 11:32 am

  26. 99 Dudette
    November 23, 2013 at 11:34 am

  27. 100 Dudette
    November 23, 2013 at 11:38 am

    • 101 Nena20409
      November 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      The Real Time with Bill Maher show last night, he concluded his season with a truly awesome tribute to JFK by making JFK The Real Our JFK…..he took down Reagan using wicked delicious humor. It was A-OK, a must see.

  28. 102 amk for obama
    November 23, 2013 at 11:43 am

  29. 104 amk for obama
    November 23, 2013 at 11:44 am

  30. 108 amk for obama
    November 23, 2013 at 11:50 am

  31. 109 Dudette
    November 23, 2013 at 11:52 am

  32. 110 vcprezofan2
    November 23, 2013 at 11:53 am

    I love FLOTUs, and I love her in the standing picture of her in that gold dress, but I confess I am not enamoured of that sitting pose. It’s the first time I can remember seeing her in a picture that looks ‘staged’. She doesn’t look like her natural, relaxed and sincere self, IMO.

    • November 23, 2013 at 12:03 pm

      I had mixed feelings about the photos VC, I thought FLOTUS looked absolutely stunning but was annoyed that they were airbrushed, as all these flippin’ magazines seem to do to their images. Why did they have to do that? She has amazing skin, she’s sensationally beautiful, leave the pics ALONE!

      • 112 vcprezofan2
        November 23, 2013 at 12:10 pm

        I honestly think for many today – professionals and pundits alike – they have a pattern, or formula, and can only think/perform within that pattern. I see the same ‘pattern’ in their dealings with the President. Generally, IMO, these professionals/pundits do not know how to treat a product that is perfect in its own way so they tinker with what doesn’t need tinkering, trying to bring it in line with *their* idea of perfection. At least, that’s how I see it.

      • November 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm

        I agree that the close-up of her has been too photoshopped. She’s a gorgeous woman in her own right. She doesn’t need any polishing.

  33. 114 HZ
    November 23, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Good Morning Chips and my TOD family. Thank you for such wonderful and informative news. I want to thank UT also for such great coverage . You all are so brilliant.

    Congratulations to Amk’s lovely daughter. Proud Father, enjoy.

    Beautiful Collegekay is moving in this world. Congratulations Collegekay. You make us proud.

    Happy Birthday to our Carolyn. Enjoy every moment during your wonderful celebration.

    And just take a look again of our beautiful First Lady. You are so beautiful to all of us, First Lady, Michelle Obama.

    Good to see MightyPamela. (((( Love you))))

    Everyone have a wonderful and delicious Sat. Our Sec. of State is getting it done. TY, Mr. Sec.

    Our President is the Best. We have your back, Mr. President.

    Be kind within your space, love your time in that space, and be gentle on your spirit as you journey through your space today. ((((Love you all)))HZ

  34. 116 Dudette
    November 23, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Hawt-hawtness 😀

  35. 119 Dudette
    November 23, 2013 at 12:04 pm

  36. 125 Nena20409
    November 23, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Bill Maher’s New Rule 😉

    In Color 🙂

  37. 126 Dudette
    November 23, 2013 at 12:20 pm

  38. November 23, 2013 at 12:38 pm

  39. 130 Dudette
    November 23, 2013 at 12:44 pm

  40. 131 Jovie
    November 23, 2013 at 12:46 pm

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