President Obama’s America



Quinn Brenneke: Unemployment Down, Ed Neufeldt’s Bracelets Come Off

Ed Neufeldt vowed to wear three green bracelets until unemployment rates fell below 7 percent. He told The Elkhart Truth in 2012, “I may be wearing them to my casket,” but on Thursday they came off. “I thought that would never happen,” he said looking at the bracelets in his hand. Unemployment rates posted this week prompted Neufeldt to symbolically remove his three bracelets, which represented unemployment rates in the U.S., Indiana and Elkhart County. Rates in all three are now below seven percent.


Neufeldt began speaking about unemployment to media outlets especially after he introduced President Obama during his visit to Elkhart County in 2009. Neufeldt said he thinks he has had 80 media interviews since. The future of Elkhart County, he said, is optimistic. “Elkhart County has hope for the future,” he said. His 18-year-old daughter recently started her first job. “Five years ago,” he said, “you couldn’t event go out and get a job.” “I think Elkhart County is blessed,” he said. “We have recovered.”

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David Lat: How Did Two Young Lawyers Get To Have Dinner With The Obamas?

Caleb Ballew and Kourtney Ballew. They’re a pair of twenty-something, small-firm lawyers from Huntsville, Alabama. Say what? Did the Obama White House get Salahi’d again? Actually, no. The Ballews came as honored guests of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Because the Obamas have had so few state dinners, invitations to the ones they do host are in especially high demand. How did two recent law school graduates score one of the most coveted invites in the country? Near the end of 2010, out of financial necessity, the Ballews allowed Kourtney’s health insurance to lapse. She hadn’t had any major health issues up until that point, and they expected that it would be a temporary measure. But during that time period when she was uninsured, Kourtney got diagnosed with a medical condition that could require multiple — and expensive — surgical procedures. Luckily, as a result of health care reforms initiated by President Obama, Kourtney was able to avail herself of a government-run Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. This allowed Kourtney to have her two surgical procedures — which went smoothly, thankfully — at a fairly minimal cost. Had the Ballews had to pay out of pocket for the surgeries, it would have been crippling.


In November 2012, shortly after President Obama won re-election, Caleb sent a heartfelt letter of gratitude to the president. In the letter, which Caleb described to AL.com as “a pretty emotional letter,” he congratulated the president on his reelection, praised him for delivering on his campaign promises, and thanked him for making such a huge difference in the Ballews’ lives. On Monday, February 3, Caleb received an email inviting him to the State Dinner for President Hollande taking place on Tuesday, February 11. When they reached President Obama, a White House functionary announced the Ballews to the president. As they shook hands, the president said to Caleb, without any prompting, “I really enjoyed your letter. Thank you so much for that.” “I was very impressed,” Caleb said. “There were a number of us ordinary citizens at the dinner, and I was so impressed that the president remembered me and my letter.” After Caleb and President Obama exchanged some pleasantries, the president said to Caleb, “You’re sitting at my table.” “I thought he just used that line on everyone,” Caleb told me. “So I said to him, ‘Mr. President, I don’t believe they’d seat me at your table.” “I’m pretty sure,” President Obama said to Caleb. “I’ll see you in there.” When they arrived, Caleb asked one of the honor guards where he could find the Ballews’ table, table 19. Caleb expected it to be a table somewhere off in a corner. The guard, without even having to look around, directed Caleb towards the large rectangular table directly in front of the stage. “I said a four-letter word to Kourtney,” Caleb recalled, “then said, ‘We are sitting with the president tonight!’”

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205 Responses to “President Obama’s America”

  1. February 17, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I think the TPM headline of the Zimmerman interview says it all. “Evil, clueless, and stupid.”

  2. 8 Allison
    February 17, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    If you so desire, check out Piers Morgan’s TL. He is going after the Killer (who was set free) big time.

    • February 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      Would rather do that than listen to Z. There was an acronym for him. Something about He who shall not be named, but I don’t think that was it. Anyone remember?

  3. 10 Nerdy Wonka
    February 17, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    REMINDER For TODer’s and Lurkers: VOTE, VOTE, VOTE for Meta’s Pastry Studio to get in the finals. This is just phase one, so do your part. Get your mom, dad, daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, grandparents, cousins, godchildren, step-children, neighbors, best friends, frenemies, and booty call buddies to vote. 😀

    Vote Here: http://www.thekitchn.com/nominate-for-your-favorite-sweets-baking-cooking-blog-for-the-homies-awards-the-homies-2014-200246

  4. February 17, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Thank yooooooooou Legend!!!!!

  5. February 17, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Love that Elkhart story, but did you see Michael Grunwald’s tweet?

    • 16 Nerdy Wonka
      February 17, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      Sweeet. I vividly remember Elkhart and President Obama’s visit because it had one of the nation’s worst unemployment rate and to see it turned around in five years, is an economic miracle.

      • 17 theo67
        February 17, 2014 at 1:50 pm

        I remember Elkhart, because even in the midst of the worst of the economic crisis, they were hopeful and had faith that things would turn around. Their hearts have continuously been hopeful, and I’m so glad that they’ve come through the crisis and are seeing brighter days.

        • 18 jackiegrumbacher
          February 17, 2014 at 3:45 pm

          Wonder if Elkhart voted for PBO? Or if he’ll recognize that no Republican president would ever care enough about the unemployment rate unless it benefited the rich.

          • 19 theo67
            February 17, 2014 at 4:06 pm

            Every time I’ve seen video of the people of Elkhart – mostly during the President’s visits – they’ve been very kind and respectful to the President, and to his efforts to help them come out of the recession whole. It seems like they’re good people, generally, with a level of integrity uncommon among the right wingers. They’ve always impressed me with how they have risen to the challenges in front of them, and how they consistently respected the President. How they voted may be another matter, but they know who was helping them.

  6. February 17, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    I voted for your blog, Meta 🙂 I was #72 lol Good luck! Have a good week TOD’ers.

  7. 26 sherijr
    February 17, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    I love our President… this response to Caleb : You’re sitting at my table.” “I thought he just used that line on everyone,” Caleb told me. “So I said to him, ‘Mr. President, I don’t believe they’d seat me at your table.” “I’m pretty sure,” President Obama said to Caleb. “I’ll see you in there.”

    When POTUS says he’s ‘pretty sure” ~ whelp.. believe.

    • 27 Judith Fardig
      February 17, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      What a wonderful story about the Ballews!

      • 28 carolyn
        February 17, 2014 at 1:45 pm

        This story is just one example of “Change has come to America”……this would never have happened in previous administrations. The first table was reserved for well known, wealthy people. (contributors)

        • 29 vcprezofan2
          February 17, 2014 at 3:18 pm

          And isn’t that one of the reasons the DC crowd is so ticked off with/by the Obamas! 😛

        • 30 vcprezofan2
          February 17, 2014 at 3:23 pm

          I loved this ‘grassroot-y’ comment, as it so beautifully reflects the way this First Family has ‘changed’ the WH dynamics.

          ‘But nobody seemed to be putting on airs.

          “I never got the feeling that these A-listers and big-time people were sending out the image of being super-important,” said Caleb. “Everyone was so down to earth; that’s the vibe I got.” ‘

      • 31 sherijr
        February 17, 2014 at 1:48 pm

        agree, completely sweet.

    • February 17, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      sherijr, thanks so much for tweeting that incredibly wonderful story! It’s the best account of the WH State Dinner I’ve read so far. What a fortunate couple. Just amazing that POTUS and FLOTUS do every single they can to make the WH the People’s House.

      • 33 sherijr
        February 17, 2014 at 2:17 pm

        agree meta, I have never seen a President ever -that is so mindful that it’s about the people of this country.

  8. 34 Nerdy Wonka
    February 17, 2014 at 1:42 pm

  9. February 17, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Putin does realize that there’s still another 6 days left of the Olympics, no?

    Hotel guests are walking, unchecked, past unused metal detectors. Security guards are no longer poking around at the pockets and ankles of every single person entering Olympic facilities. Tangerines and bottles of Coke are making it through security barriers that banned them two weeks ago.

    For all the warnings that security in Sochi would be invasive and aggressive, it’s appearing more and more uneven, and in places almost relaxed.

  10. February 17, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Happy Presidents’ Day, everyone.

    I’ve been taking a bit of a sabbatical this weekend. Saturday the missus and I sent Stewie to boarding school so we could have a day to ourselves. We went out to eat, shopping, the movies, the whole shebang. We got home and I saw the Michael Dunn verdict, and I was just disgusted. Usually I’d have an essay up, but it seems I write the same essay after every similar travesty, and nothing changes. I guess the best we can hope for is to be witnesses, and not let evil go unremarked. Hope to be back in full effect this week.

  11. 39 amk for obama
    February 17, 2014 at 1:50 pm

  12. 55 Vicki
    February 17, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    That photo shows the incomparable elegance, grace and beauty of our POTUS and FLOTUS.

  13. 56 amk for obama
    February 17, 2014 at 2:00 pm

  14. February 17, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Yay, Meta’s one ahead of Joy again – TAKE THAT JOY!!! 😎

  15. February 17, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    TODers, please read and RT this great story sherijr found:

    • 69 sherijr
      February 17, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      Meta, I didn’t find it 🙂 – our Nerdy Wonka put it up top, I just followed her link- had to read the rest of the story 🙂 🙂

      • February 17, 2014 at 3:14 pm

        I always think I’ve read all the stories and links for R & S and it turns out there’s so much info I invariably miss something. I’m going over it all again now, to be sure!

        • 71 sherijr
          February 17, 2014 at 3:15 pm

          I do the same thing.. sometimes I race down to see all the current comments and then forget to go read all the news at top ;(

          • February 17, 2014 at 3:19 pm

            Or I go back to the previous thread to make sure I caught everything and then come back, get distracted and forget which thread I’m on. Embarrassment of riches.

            • 73 vcprezofan2
              February 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm

              Me likey this assessment, Meta ••► ‘Embarrassment of riches’! I get caught by it fairly regularly on this blog. 😆 😆

            • 74 jackiegrumbacher
              February 17, 2014 at 3:51 pm

              Happens with me all the time, meta. Worse is when I get caught up in links within comments. Then I forget which comment it came from and which post it was part of. It’s like getting tangled up in yarn.

    • 75 idon
      February 17, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      What a beautiful inspiring story. I hope POTUS and FLOTUS do get a chance to visit the Ballews in northern Alabama. They just an awesome young couple.

  16. 76 hopefruit2
    February 17, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Seems that Piers has had a major falling out with GZ…

    • 77 Nena20409
      February 17, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      Piers looking for a TeaNN ratings? He had this killer’s brother and his lawyers on many times. I don’t trust piers. TeaNN gave a platform to a Child killer. That is what Fox did. And for that, I have lost all respect for TeaNN.

  17. 78 hopefruit2
    February 17, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    • 79 GGail
      February 17, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      Whoa! he who’s name will not be acknowledged by me – has found a way to royally piss Piers Morgan off – HA!

  18. 80 donna dem 4 obama
    February 17, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Good Afternoon TOD

    I’ve been completely off the grid this weekend babysitting the baby grands. D-I-L’s mother was suppose to fly in on Thursday and stay with them this weekend but due to the bad weather she was unable to get here. So I was the lucky one and got to keep the girls all weekend. I am worn out. It takes a lot to care for two infants but I cherished every minute of it.

    I am just catching up.

    Ms Chips I’m sending prayers for a speedy recovery to {{{Mama Chips}}}. She will be in my thoughts.

    Nerdy Wonka, you are magnificent!!. A simple thank you isn’t strong enough to express my gratitude of your work to keep us up to date and completely informed.

    Meta, as always when called on our TOD family rises to the occasion to support one of our own. We’ve got your back. One question. Why are there two post for the Pastry Studio? There is the one in the lead and another down towards the bottom with 7 votes. Will they combine those votes I wonder????

    I’ll resume our Black History Month “Did You Know” tomorrow.

    • 81 Nerdy Wonka
      February 17, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      Thank you so much for your very kind words, Donna.

    • February 17, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      Thanks, Donna. I just check and I have no idea why they did that. I do hope they consolidate.

      Good for you for stepping in and taking sweet care of your little girls. Now go and put your feet up!

      • 83 donna dem 4 obama
        February 17, 2014 at 3:30 pm

        I’m on a House of Cards Binge. Help me I think I need counseling . I don’t seem to be able to stop. 🙂

        • February 17, 2014 at 3:38 pm

          LOLz. I’m about to finish the first season this afternoon. It’s horrid and addictive!

        • February 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm

          How can you actually watch House of Cards? Do you need to rent it on Netflix and how do you do that?

          • 86 Obama Grandmama
            February 17, 2014 at 7:56 pm

            House of Cards is a Netflix original series. The first season premiered last year. The second season premiered on Valentines Day. It is available on the online streaming plan. Online means you can watch as many episodes as you want at a time. That tends to allow for addictive behavior. When the first season came out I watched the entire season in three days. This time I am limiting my watching to one episode at a time due to being sad when it is over. To anyone that did not see season one be sure to watch it first. In answer to your question you would need a subscription to Netflix online and a wireless connection.

            • February 17, 2014 at 8:15 pm

              Thanks Grandmama. How much is a subscription? I got on the Netflix site and I noted you could get one month free and either cancel or join but nowhere could I see the subscription price.

      • 88 vcprezofan2
        February 17, 2014 at 4:02 pm

        ‘I have no idea why they did that. I do hope they consolidate.’

        Is there any way you can check, Meta. I don’t like it because I seem to remember when I first went there yesterday it was at ‘7’. Also, you are only allowed to vote once for a particular blog, yet I was just able to add a vote to the ‘7’ just now whereas the top PS was already showing I’d voted. Hope they don’t have a problem with the top Pastry Studio moving so fast. 😕

    • 89 vcprezofan2
      February 17, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      Yo, GrandmaDD, next time you get an entire weekend, bring the girls over and we’ll help. Some of us are fascinated by the idea of caring for twins, and there you are getting a second taste of the reality. 😉 😉

  19. 90 jacquelineoboomer
    February 17, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Chips – I’ve missed the message about your mom – hope she (and you) are doing okay! Hugs to you both!

  20. 91 amk for obama
    February 17, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Ok, 3 large rounds of Ballantine’s scotch on the rocks as nightcap is doing its intended work.

    Gunnite folks.

    PS: meta still owes me a cake. Jus’ sayin’.

  21. February 17, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Happy Presidents Day! Here is a presidential trivia question:

    Which president said after leaving office, “Some of the presidents were great and some of them weren’t. I can say that because I wasn’t one of the great presidents.”

  22. 98 desertflower
    February 17, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    meta’s blog is now up by 1 nomination:) Let’s keep this moving in the right direction for her!! Great job everyone!!

  23. February 17, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Chips, your mom’s ill? I’m so sorry. Here’s to a speedy recovery! (Hint: whiskey has never hurt.)

    • February 17, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      That whiskey suggestion sounds excellent, LL! All’s good now, she had a bad fall late last Thursday night and cut her head, lots of drama with ambulances and hospitals and squads of doctors, her worst nightmare. But she’s home now and recovering, although I’m making her dinner so I hope that doesn’t set her back. Thanks LL.

  24. 114 susanne
    February 17, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    woohoooo! good morning todville!

    meta’s #1 🙂

    what a great team this is!

  25. 115 desertflower
    February 17, 2014 at 2:43 pm


    More military families used food stamps to buy milk, cheese, meat and bread at military grocers last year.
    Food stamp redemption at military grocers has been rising steadily since the beginning of the recession in 2008. Nearly $104 million worth of food stamps was redeemed at military commissaries in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30.

    If Republicans really supported our vets…this would NOT be happening right now! The minimum wage would be raised and food stamps just might become a thing of the past…or at least a hand up for a lesser share of the population. This is so unsat!

  26. February 17, 2014 at 2:45 pm

  27. February 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Count another vote for Meta!

  28. February 17, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Would someone help me with the new heart please? I’m obviously not doing it right. &heart;

  29. 134 JER
    February 17, 2014 at 2:58 pm

  30. 135 donna dem 4 obama
    February 17, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    True Confessions. I never watched House of Cards so since today is a holiday I binge-watched Season One and just watched the first episode of Season Two…. All I can say is O-M-G. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after that one. Frank is something else. I cannot stand him but I can’t stop watching him either.

  31. 154 donna dem 4 obama
    February 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Sort of Re-post:

    Why does Meta’s site have two entries in the contest??? Did anyone else notice this?

  32. 158 jacquelineoboomer
    February 17, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    In case you thought America had some weirdo lawmakers …


  33. 163 otter44
    February 17, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Delurking to help Meta. i was the 80th. Love and Health to all.

  34. 165 jacquelineoboomer
    February 17, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    How does one get to meet this George fella? Asking for a friend.

  35. 178 MadameSoph
    February 17, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Happy President’s Day TODers!

    Thank you Nerdy Wonka for the wonderful reminders on why THIS President and his many accomplishments on behalf of the people are the best reasons to celebrate today!

    I was just catching up on today’s posts and I have to mention just a couple of things:

    Chips, first of all, wising your mother a speedy and full recovery!

    Second, in defense of AMK and Mayor Di Blasio’s pizza eating methods, I must tell you that I am both American and Italian and eating pizza with a knife and fork is the way it’s done in Italy. Pizzas in Italy are not big giant pies cut into slices and shared by the whole table or bought on the run. Pizzas are served individually, like a sandwich would be, and you eat the whole pie (much smaller than in the US) with a knife and fork. The big giant NYC slice is awesome, and I know the proper way to eat those is folded in with your hands, but that’s not how it’s done in the place where pizza making originated.

    So, eating with a knife and fork may be unforgivable for New Yokers, even New Yorkers of Italian descent, but in Italy it’s standard practice.

    Hope I’m not banned now 🙂

    • February 17, 2014 at 3:37 pm

      MadameSoph? Banned!!! 😆

      I can’t believe Amk has a pizza/knife/fork ally, he’ll be foxtrotting about the place when he wakes up.

      Huge thanks for your well wishes for my mother Soph, so kind.

      • 180 MadameSoph
        February 17, 2014 at 3:45 pm

        😉 Daring to defy my ban…

        Even though I don’t post often, I read every day and when a TODer (or family member) needs light visualized around them for healing, I always include them in my prayers.

        This place is such a source of light and love, one can’t help but participate!

    • 182 Nerdy Wonka
      February 17, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      Thank you, Madame Soph!

  36. 183 hopefruit2
    February 17, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    • February 17, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      I just did – now I’m hungry, for some reason. Off in search of food – from the vending machine. 😦

    • February 17, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      How are you CarolMae? Feeling better, I hope.

      • February 17, 2014 at 4:40 pm

        My eye still hurts and I shouldn’t be on here but I was getting lonely for everyone. Thanks for asking. I’m hoping to get into a specialist soon. I have to jump through hoops to see her but she is supposed to be worth it. It’s only 190 miles away. 😦 I might not be here for awhile after today. I needed the support of our community after the Dunn trial and now I want to support you and honor our President Obama.

        • February 17, 2014 at 4:43 pm

          Oh, I hope you get great care SOON. Please take it easy and let us know how you’re doing as soon as you can. We’ll be thinking about you and will keep you in our thoughts for highest healing.

          • February 17, 2014 at 4:45 pm

            Thank you Meta. It’s my right eye and I’m wearing an eye bandage over it so it doesn’t get light and that helped a lot with the pain.

            • 191 99ts
              February 17, 2014 at 8:10 pm

              Thinking of you CarolMae – take good care of yourself – we’ve been thinking about where to live in retirement – sadly access to doctors/hospitals has a part to play. My dad used to live about 250 miles a surgeon who was just amazing & gave him at least 20 more years of life – I used to be the driver – 300 miles to get him – 500 for the return trip to doctor/hospital & 300 home! but it was worth every minute and every mile.

              • February 17, 2014 at 8:26 pm

                Yes, it’s tough to live so far from major cities, but we like it here too much to move. In spite of all the Repubs. It’s funny though, people here think nothing of driving that far to see a doctor. Hubby had a sixty mile one way commute everyday on a bus to work. We do have a very good local hospital and regular doctors, just not eye specialists. If we went to a city we would need to get recommendations to the really good doctors anyway.
                We actually drove about 400 miles to take one of our sweet dogs to an animal hospital to see if there was a miracle cure, sadly there wasn’t.
                Thank you for your kind thoughts. I was just lying down with a cold pack eye gel mask on my eyes because I think I over did it today. That really helped too. Thank goodness for Amazon shopping. 😉

                • 193 99ts
                  February 17, 2014 at 8:49 pm

                  My dad thought like you – he lived in the city for about 10 years of his life and spent that time trying to get out! The rest of us liked city living – but in those times the man was the wage earner so we moved. I enjoyed my 10 years in the country but have been a city person ever since – although my 15 mile commute to work probably took as long as your husbands 60 miles 🙂

                  • February 17, 2014 at 9:00 pm

                    Yes, his commute was open road and 65 speed limit. We both grew up on farms but near a fairly big city, so we’d be fish out of water in a city. Although I did see that we took long weekends to see ballets and theatre and of course professional sports. And I enjoyed the shopping too.

  37. 195 hopefruit2
    February 17, 2014 at 3:54 pm

  38. 200 Linda
    February 17, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    They are still counting PBO’s golf games….

    Let us know when he surpasses Eisenhower who played over 800 times.

  39. 201 hopefruit2
    February 17, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Didn’t take Old Orange long to jump on the Hillary bandwagon…and notice the difference in tone – makes me even more suspicious now…this whole Hilary inevitability thing is a GOPer’s wet dream….

  40. February 17, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    February 17, 2014: It’s not obscure or strange, but I wanted to draw George and Abe for Presidents Day. But we do have two lesser-known days to combine with our founding fathers: Random Acts of Kindness Day and National Cafe au Lait Day.

  41. 205 JER
    February 17, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Motorcade gathering at Sunnylands to escort President Obama to Palm Springs Airport for departure.
    Live Coverage when it happens at: http://www.kesq.com/watch-live-news-channel-3-cbs-local-2-news/-/233230/23569678/-/dlqu5r/-/index.html

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