Archive for November 26th, 2013

26
Nov
13

Yes We Can, Iran Style

The Atlantic: Iran’s President Has Released His Own ‘Yes We Can’ Video

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s charm offensive continues at home with a musical clip that seems to have been inspired by President Obama’s “Yes We Can” music video. The beautifully made black-and-white clip, which includes segments of the Iranian president’s August 3 inauguration speech mixed with music, singing, and sign language, has been released to mark the first 100 days of his presidency.

…. Rouhani’s video was posted on his website and shared on Twitter by the unverified account of the Iranian president, which is said to be maintained by his media team.

…. In the clip, unprecedented for an Iranian president, people of all ages play musical instruments and sing to Rouhani’s words in Persian, but also in the languages of Iran’s minorities, including Kurdish and Arabic….

The main takeaway of the clip seems to be unity….

More here

26
Nov
13

California Dreaming

A member of the audience hugs President Obama after he spoke to workers on the economy at DreamWorks Animation in Glendale, California, November 26

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President Obama greets employees at DreamWorks Animation

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President Obama bumps arms with actor Steve Martin, as actor actor Jim Parsons watches at right, during the president’s tour of the Recording studio at DreamWorks Studios in Glendale. The actors where rehearsing for the upcoming animated movie ‘Home’. Martin didn’t shake hands because he said he had a cold and didn’t want to make Obama sick

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President Obama tours the motion graphics stage with CEO Jeffery Katzenberg

President Obama watches motion capture at the set of “How to Train Your Dragon 2”

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And a couple of ‘On This Days’ I missed this morning:

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at Oregon State Beavers v Towson Tigers game at the Towson Center on November 26, 2011

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Huuuuuuge thanks again to Zizi and LL for their wonderful posts today, a complete honor to have them here.

26
Nov
13

The conservative movement’s death wish

Conservative lion, adulterer, and all around mensch Dinesh D’Souza decided to get into the Tweet machine and send off a Tweet—since deleted—about what he was grateful for this Thanksgiving.

I am thankful this week when I remember that America is big enough and great enough to survive Grown-Up Trayvon in the White House!

When a storm of feces descended upon him in response, he, for a moment, struck a defiant pose, in another since-deleted tweet:

Feigned outrage on the left over me calling Obama ‘grown up Trayvon’ except that Obama likened himself to Trayvon!

Now, Mr. D’Souza is a graduate of Dartmouth, so one would think he had some basic research skills. What President Obama actually said was that if he had a son, “he’d look like Trayvon.” Not that he, Obama himself, was Trayvon. Again, five seconds of Google time would have avoided quite a dust-up.

But that’s neither here nor there. At some very early point, Mr. D’Souza came to the realization that the fellatio he was receiving from his “supporters” didn’t quite outweigh the opprobrium raining down on him. So he did what any stalwart defender of conservative values would do: he deleted the offending Tweets, again proving that conservatives don’t know how the Internet works.

D’Souza’s flameout is just the most glaring example of a conservative movement which has no idea what it’s doing or how to sell itself. From John Boehner fabricating a horror story about signing up for Obamacare—which went up in smoke when HIS OWN STAFF admitted that it took less than an hour to do so—to neo-conservative Defenders of Israel having their heads explode at the thought of no bombing on the ancient culture of Iran, the conservative movement, while not in its death throes, is doing not at all well.

Continue reading ‘The conservative movement’s death wish’

26
Nov
13

Pay Michelle Obama a Salary, then We’ll Talk

by @zizii2

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Listen, Misses Michelle Cottle, Keli Goff, Time Mag’s Kay Hymowitz, and your ilk:

This is 2013 not 1851, or 1619 for that matter. FLOTUS Michelle Obama is NOT Sojourner Truth who carried the cause of the Suffragettes on her burdened shoulders in Akron Ohio, knowing perfectly well that the women on whose behalf she spoke were not going to fight her battles with her against slavery, and certainly not her particular oppression as a black woman. And Ms Truth said as much in her famous speech “Aren’t I a Woman”?

“Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?”

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And what were the Suffragettes fighting for? Repeal of women’s status as legal minors, recognition of their rights to property, and the right to vote. None of these were ever going to accrue to Sojourner Truth.

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But she knew the value of the recorded word and like a Troubadour, used it to full effect to wedge her place into American history. As for those on whose behalf she spoke, the fact that as recently as 1998 there was even a battle over her inclusion in the statue of 19th Century Women’s Rights activists belatedly installed in the Capitol Rotunda, says volumes about the rifts between modern day heiresses of the Women’s Rights Movement, and People of Color, as well as economically disadvantaged women of all races. Incidentally, those claiming the need to preserve the “artistic fidelity” of the 1920s sculptor of the statue won that fight to exclude Ms. Truth from that effigy in 1997-1998.

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It was only in 2009 that FLOTUS Michelle Obama helped unveil the stand alone bust of Sojourner Truth in the Capitol Rotunda. She is the one who Michelle Obama looks up to fully appreciate the long road women of color have traveled from the plantations and ghettoes to pave the way for her own current perch.
She said (starting from 2:10 min mark):

“I hope that Sojourner Truth would be proud to see me, a descendant of slaves serving as the First Lady of the United States of America. So I am proud to be here on this day for this dedication…”

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If you privileged snobs had your druthers about you you’d realize that Michelle Obama’s chosen causes to fight for are all founded on the principle of “EXPANDING ACCESS TO OPPORTUNITY” to as many people as possible who would otherwise have those DOORS PERMANENTLY SHUT in their faces. Her concern is about the broad base of the pyramid not about how high the tip can pierce clouds and ceilings, glass or otherwise.

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Shocking, I know, that a highly accomplished woman in her own right would forego the pedestal altogether in order to bring the largest number of potentially talented but economically disadvantaged young’uns along to sit, read, dance or stoop with her, be it at the children’s state dinners she pioneered, read-ins at schools, founding a seldom publicized mentoring program pairing accomplished women with teenage girls, or encouraging kids and parents to see exercise as fun not drudgery, or plant, harvest, cook and drool over fresh produce.

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That you think what she is doing is “safe” and “inconsequential” says a lot more about your hubris and poverty of imagination, than it actually measures the worth of her actions. You, ladies are blinded by your beltway status and privileged life.

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Have you walked to any of the run-down schools in communities surrounding your beltway cocktail junket circuit? Know why several of those bright eyed kids become sad statistics? They are no less intellectually endowed than you were at their age. Opportunity. Access. Simple.

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And Michelle Obama’s doing her bit to ensure those young bodies survive physically, live healthily, thrive intellectually, and gain confidence professionally. It is the unsexy work most in need of doing. She chose to spend her unpaid tenure as First Lady to help crack those doors a little wide open. And you in your infinite wisdom, or is it stupidity, have a problem with that?

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Many commentators have already said plenty to debunk both your premise and arguments about Michelle Obama’s relevance to “the feminist cause” (there is only ONE? Right there is the problem). I just wanna ask you.

Have you already Deconstructed the “patriarchal trap” embodied in the FLOTUS position itself at your most recent professional conference? And you expect Michelle Obama to turn into Superwoman and instantly transform an unelected position into the ramparts of the battleground to fight your ideological battles? For the insults you’ve rained on her, exactly HOW MUCH ARE YOU PAYING Michelle Obama to serve as First Lady?

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Your feminist forebears rode Sojourner Truth and all unsung heroines like her, like mules, expecting them to leave their own children (if they’ve not been sold downriver!) caterwauling in their shacks, to take care of your children, spiffy up your manses, lace up your stays and undergarments, fetch your chamberpots, your stirrups and riding clothes, primp your hair.

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Now about that war you want Michelle Obama Joan of Arc-ing herself for, where are you yourselves positioned on that front? You Ms Cottle, praise Sarah Palin then expect someone else to fight back against her religious fundamentalists’ and Tea Party’s War on Women? Did I see you jump up to defend 9 year old Quvenzhane Wallis when she was viciously attacked by your fellow media? How about the myriad times Mrs Obama herself has been ferociously attacked? Did you speak up to defend her? See, as we say in my homeland, “hand go, hand come”.

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I’m sorry, but SHOW MICHELLE THE MONEEEEEEEEEYYYYYY, then we’ll talk. Until then, Ms Obama gon take care of her own. “You better call Tyrone, but you can’t use Michelle’s phone.” Secret Service on line One…Ma’am!

26
Nov
13

President Obama Speaks on the Economy

3:15 EST President Obama Speaks on the Economy, Glendale, California

White House Live * C-Span

26
Nov
13

Chat Away

President Obama bumps elbows as a greeting with actor Steve Martin, as fellow actor Jim Parsons looks on, during Obama’s tour of Dream Works Animation in Glendale, California, November 26

26
Nov
13

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama talks with Vice President Biden in the hallway outside of the Oval Office following a meeting, Nov. 26, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern):

12:0: President Obama attends a DNC event

1:50: Tours DreamWorks Animation

2:10: Meets with film industry representatives

3:15: Delivers remarks at DreamWorks Studios

4:40: Departs Los Angeles en route Washington

9:20: Arrives at the White House

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Enroll America

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LA Times: The Obamacare success stories you haven’t been hearing about

Last summer Ellen Holzman and Meredith Vezina, a married gay couple in San Diego County, got kicked off their long-term Kaiser health plan, for which they’d been paying more than $1,300 a month…

That’s when they discovered the chilly hazards of dependence on the individual health insurance market. When they applied for a replacement policy with Anthem Blue Cross of California, Ellen, 59, disclosed that she might have carpal tunnel syndrome … “They said, ‘We will not insure you because you have a pre-existing condition,'” Holzman recalls.

But they were lucky, thanks to Obamacare. Through Covered California, the state’s individual insurance marketplace, they’ve found a plan through Sharp Healthcare that will cover them both for a total premium of $142 a month….

…. Holzman and Vezina are exactly the type of people Obamacare is designed to help – indeed, rescue from the cold, hard world of individual health insurance of the past. That was a world where even an undiagnosed condition might render you uninsurable. Where your insurance could be canceled after you got sick or had an accident. Where your financial health was at risk as much as your physical well-being.

These are the stories you’re not hearing ….Let’s hear from a few more of them….

More here

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Generation Progress: My Obamacare: The Best Insurance I Have Ever Had

After college graduation, my student debt was not the major financial headache in my life; rather, it was how I was going to pay for my health insurance …. As a freelance journalist, I was going to need to find our own health insurance plan, and when I saw the costs last spring, I dreaded graduation….

…. On October 1, I logged on to healthcare.gov as soon as the site went live, and I created an account despite a few glitches during registration. That did not upset me, though – I once waited in line four hours for a special deal on a laptop. I could handle a few bumps in the road to find out if a different plan could make things a little easier for my wife and I.

…. I discovered that I could get a top Silver plan for $43 per month total for both my wife and I. The plan had cost more than $500 per month before the ACA, but now our benefits will be the best I have ever had.

… Come January 1, my wife and I will have truly comprehensive, affordable coverage for the first time in our adult lives, and all for less than I spend during any given month on coffee.

Full post here

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Generation Progress: Daniel McNaughton, 22, Bought Obamacare’s Gold Plan For $70

Daniel McNaughton, 22, a college student in Orlando, FL, has health insurance. He successfully enrolled in the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Gold plan — and it’s only costing him $70 a month.

Thanks to the ACA and beginning January 1, 2014, when the plan goes into effect, his first three doctor visits are free and generic prescriptions are $4 for a month’s supply. Those prices fit nicely with this college student’s budget.

Previously, McNaughton purchased his own independent catastrophic health insurance plan starting when he was 19 years old; however, that plan came with a hefty price tag and limited coverage.

“The plan I have right now only allows me three doctor visits a year,” McNaughton said. “I have a $5000 deductible for medical, $1000 for prescriptions, and an additional $5,000 co-insurance after the deductible with an out of pocket maximum of $11,000.”

More here

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WTAE: Pittsburgh woman finds incredible deal with Affordable Care Act – Gail Roach says she couldn’t believe astonishing low premium rates

…. Gail Roach simply picked up the phone and asked a specialist to walk her through her options …. Roach, 57, said she found plenty, and suddenly she realized she would have the opportunity to walk away from her retirement health care package that required her to pay $509 a month for her premium.

Roach has Type 2 diabetes, which drove up her costs. However, through the Affordable Care Act, she found a policy offering a monthly premium at only $70.

“I couldn’t believe it. I just couldn’t believe it. But it was within my budget,” Roach said.

…. “I’m telling people they need to look into it. They need to be patient about it,” said Roach. “Go to the website. If you can’t get on, call the number on the website and just be very patient because it’s very much worth it.”

Full post here

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Let’s Enroll Texas

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Kansas Health Consumer Coalition: 627,000 Kansans Have Pre-Existing Conditions; Gain Protection Under the ACA

Families USA released their report on Kansans with pre-existing conditions. The report, called “Worry No More: Kansans with Pre-Existing Conditions Are Protected by the Health Care Law” is available in its entirety here.

…. Overland Park resident Harry Kass is one of those Kansans with a pre-existing condition. Harry had insurance through his employer ten years ago when he was diagnosed with leukemia. After losing his job, he managed to maintain COBRA coverage for 18 months. But once it expired he was not able to get coverage, even though he continued to need chemotherapy treatments. Over the years, Harry has had to make payments on his medical bills entirely out of pocket. “I’ve usually scraped together what I need to pay for preventative care, but if I have more serious health issues, it’s a problem,” he said.

Recently, Harry was accepted into the Kansas pre-existing condition insurance plan, which the state now offers under the Affordable Care Act to help cover adults with pre-existing conditions between now and 2014. He is already being helped by the health reform law. In 2014, when guaranteed issue under the ACA goes into effect, he will be able to purchase insurance in the private market without fear of being denied or charged more because of his prior health condition.

More here

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Toledo Blade: Outreach workers being trained – ‘Navigators’ will help others with marketplace

Health-care outreach worker Robin Deters persisted, and after many attempts she successfully enrolled in a health insurance plan on the healthcare.gov Web site.

She has been without health insurance for 18 years, and now she and her husband have coverage and have qualified for a “considerable amount of tax subsidies and credits” to help cover the cost of their new silver plan, Ms. Deters said.

“[The site went] down on me several times but finally on Sunday I got through it,” she said.

Ms. Deters is one of four outreach workers hired with grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and given to nonprofit agencies for training of outreach workers and “navigators” to provide free information about the health-care marketplace to consumers.

More here

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NYT: In the Health Law, an Open Door for Entrepreneurs

In the weeks since the health insurance marketplaces of the Affordable Care Act went online, a well-publicized ripple of alarm and confusion has permeated the ranks of small-business owners. But less well known is the response of another contingent: newcomers to entrepreneurship who see the legislation as a solution to the often insurmountable expense of getting health insurance. Some even view the Affordable Care Act itself as a business opportunity.

The hopeful include founders of start-ups who otherwise wouldn’t have access to affordable health insurance — people like Rajeev Jeyakumar, a co-founder of Skillbridge, a Manhattan-based online job marketplace for business consultants.

Mr. Jeyakumar is uninsured. But unlike many people who were thwarted by the government’s faulty health care website, he was able to sign up for individual coverage three weeks ago. He will pay just $74 a month, after tax credits, for his new plan through the New York State exchange.

More here

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Steve Benen: Boehner’s publicity stunt goes awry

It probably seemed like a good idea at the time. Thanks to a Republican provision in the Affordable Care Act, members of Congress have to sign up for health care coverage through exchange marketplaces, so House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) decided to make a little show of it, using his own personal enrollment experience to prove … something.

The Republican Speaker invited a photographer to his office to help document the process, and wrote a blog post about the “frustrating” error messages he received online. Soon after Boehner updated his post – he “called the DC Health Link help line,” and a “few hours later,” he’d signed up for coverage.

Even on the surface, Boehner’s experience seemed mildly inconvenient, but it wasn’t that bad. The trouble is, more details came to light in the days that followed, making this publicity stunt far more embarrassing for the Speaker than he’d hoped.

More here

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Spandan (The People’s View): The President of Peace

I know I have been absent from the blogging scene, but today is a fantastic day to return. It’s a good day because of what happened over the weekend – President Obama, one more time, has proven to be the anti-Reagan. From the moment he took office, this president has been enamored with accusations of weakness from the Right and warmongering from the Left when it came to international affairs. From the media, the accusations have been alternating between the two, with seemingly no hint of irony.

But it has been this president who has been the most effective advocate of peace on the world stage of any American president since John F. Kennedy. President Obama has ended two wars started by his predecessors, disarmed Syria of its chemical weapons without firing a single shot (even if no one in the media noticed, it did happen), and now is poised to permanently keep Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon. In the agreement unveiled over the weekend, it seems that President Obama, Secretary Kerry and their team has had yet another major Middle-East breakthrough…

More here

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Mike Caccioppoli: More Tough Talk From Chicken Hawks

Another great foreign policy achievement from the Obama administration as Iran has agreed to halt their nuclear weapons program for six months while more talks take place. This comes after Syria agreed to destroy their chemical weapons. Which came after Gaddafi was removed from power in Libya. Which came after the Iraq war was ended. Which of course came after Bin Laden was killed. Get the point?

Of course the Republican party led by the Tea Party, is once again trying to not only downplay the achievement of our first black President, but to actually try to say that Obama is allowing Iran to get a bomb? WTF? Then there is the more idiotic “argument” that Obama is using Iran as a “distraction” from the ACA.

So they are saying that Obama wants to change the subject from giving health care to millions who don’t have it in order to bring peace to the world. Great argument! Only in this fucked up country (and yes folks proof it’s fucked up is that we are talking about this at all) would the media be giving ANY attention to these people. Problem is many of them are running the country.

More here

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Nance Greggs (Democrats for Progress): Please Proceed, GOP

Over the past four-plus years, it has been downright mind-blowing to watch you, the GOP, rewrite history in a never-ending attempt to compare the current administration to the overwhelming failure that was the Dubya presidency – and somehow come to the conclusion that between our man and your boy, Obama is the one who is somehow found wanting.

You have compared every aspect of Obama’s term in office to the Reign of Error that preceded him. And while those comparisons have been blatantly ridiculous, the entertainment value of watching you equate the astounding accomplishments of one with the dismal record of the other is priceless.

For the record, let me remind you of history as it actually unfolded, rather than as you want it to be perceived….

More here

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@WhiteHouse

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From Time – First Lady Michelle Obama

Back when my husband first decided to run for President, and I was preparing to go out on the campaign trail for the first time, I was a little bit nervous – afraid that I would say the wrong thing, or be asked a question I couldn’t answer – so I decided I would focus on what I knew. As a working mom, I thought I knew a thing or two about balancing a full-time job with the round-the-clock needs of my family, so I decided to start by meeting with groups of working women to listen to their concerns and tell them how my husband could help.

For the most part, I was prepared; in the stories I heard, I recognized my own story. But there was one group of people whose stories were new to me – and whose questions I often couldn’t answer. I met them in just about every community all across the country. They were military spouses – mainly women, but a few good men as well – whose husbands and wives were serving our country, putting their lives on the line to keep us safe.

Their stories took my breath away…..

More here

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On This Day:

On This Day: President Obama talks with American service men and women during phone calls from the Oval Office on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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MoooOOOooorning again! Huuuuuuuuge thanks to LovelyPlains for so many of the links to the wonderful Obamacare stories.

Happy Tuesday!

26
Nov
13

Early Bird Chat: #CheesyPuffDiplomacy

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#CheesyPuffDiplomacy! I hereby declare ForUS TOD’s Cheesy Puff Goodwill Ambassador

MoooOOOoooorning everyone!




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