Posts Tagged ‘Food Stamps

09
Apr
15

A Tweet Or Two

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The cops are out of control. This is barbaric

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Continue reading ‘A Tweet Or Two’

27
Feb
15

A Tweet or Two

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His last tweet. Just perfect. He gave joy to millions of people. May he rest in peace

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A legend lost. May he rest in peace

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Continue reading ‘A Tweet or Two’

15
Feb
15

A Tweet Or Two

This is a MUST read

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Today is the last day. Go Get Covered

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12
Nov
13

Rise and Shine

President Barack Obama greets U.S. troops at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, before he departed to Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 12, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern):

11:15: First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at Bell Multicultural High School in Washington

11:45: President Obama meets with tribal leaders

12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

5:30: President Obama meets with combatant commanders and military leadership; VP Biden attends

7:30: President Obama hosts a dinner for combatant commanders and military leadership. VP Biden, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden also attend.

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Yahoo: Medicaid Is Health Overhaul’s Early Success Story

Often dismissed, Medicaid has signed up 444,000 people in 10 states in the six weeks since open enrollment began, according to Avalere Health, a market analysis firm that compiled data from those states. Twenty-five states are expanding their Medicaid programs, but data for all of them was not available.

“Medicaid is exceeding expectations in most places,” said Dan Mendelson, Avalere’s president. “It is definitely a bright picture in states that have chosen to expand.” Starting Jan. 1, the law expands Medicaid eligibility to those with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level — $15,856 for an individual or $32,499 for a family of four.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that 9 million people will gain coverage through expanded Medicaid next year, with another 7 million signing up for private coverage through the online markets

More here

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NYT: Michelle Obama Edges Into A Policy Role On Higher Education

Michelle Obama will begin a new initiative on Tuesday that seeks to increase the number of low-income students who pursue a college degree. The goals of the program reflect the first lady’s own life and will immerse her more directly in her husband’s policies.  In her new project, Mrs. Obama will work with the Education Department to help further President Obama’s initiative to vault the United States from 12th to first in the world in the percentage of college graduates by 2020.

In the past year in Chicago, she has led an exercise session with hundreds of city children and addressed 60 teenagers at the Urban Alliance, a group that offers professional job training and internships for underserved youth.

One teenage girl who had been reluctant to apply to college came to the Urban Alliance after Mrs. Obama had spoken to her, recalled Sandra Abrevaya, the executive director of the organization. The young woman is now at the end of her first semester at Harry S. Truman College in Chicago.

More here

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Mother Jones: House Dems Can Block GOP Food Stamp Cuts – By Killing The Farm Bill

The food stamps program—which helps feed one in seven Americans—is in peril. Republicans in the House have proposed a farm bill—the five-year bill that funds agriculture and nutrition programs—that would slash food stamps by $40 billion. But by taking advantage of House Republicans’ desire to cut food stamps as much as possible, Democrats might be able to prevent cuts from happening at all.

To pull it off, Democrats would have to derail the farm bill entirely, which would maintain food-stamp funding at current levels. Here’s how it would work, according to House Democrats who’ve considered the idea.

It’s an idea rooted in the last food stamp fight: In June, the House failed to pass a farm bill that cut $20 billion from the food stamp program. The bill went down because 62 GOP conservatives thought the $20 billion in cuts weren’t deep enough, while 172 Democrats thought they were too drastic. After the bill failed, House conservatives passed a much more draconian food stamps bill with $40 billion in cuts. But that bill was dead-on-arrival in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

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Jamelle Bouie: The Right’s Slavery Obsession

Chattel slavery stands apart in American history. It was unlike anything else in the Antebellum world: a comprehensive system that touched every life, from slave owners and overseers to notaries and store-owners. It was incredibly lucrative, laying the foundation for American commercial success and driving economic growth throughout the Union, from manufacturers in the North to millionaires in the South. (Prior to the Civil War, Natchez, Mississippi, had the most millionaires per capita of any city in the country.)

It was also brutal, an institution that sanctioned terrible, existential violence against black families, that tore children from their parents and sold them for a profit. [Palin’s ignorant statement is in the article] Nothing about this statement is accurate. Yes, at $1.28 trillion, China is the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt. But the vast majority of American debt is owned by Americans. We’re borrowing from ourselves, and in the current economic environment of mass unemployment and sluggish growth, this isn’t a huge concern.

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Brian Beutler: GOP About To Hurt Itself Again!: New Ploy To Kill Obamacare Will Blow Up

Starting on Jan. 1, votes to repeal Obamacare will become votes to take health insurance away from a lot of people. Just how many people will depend on when the votes take place (assuming they take place at all), and when Healthcare.gov is finally up and running. But repeal votes will cease to be abstractions. They’ll be deeply relevant to hundreds of thousands of people. And because politics don’t always obey the laws of entropy, it’s safe to assume that Democrats will characterize past votes for repealing Obamacare as if they’d taken place in 2014.

Which is why the GOP’s latest tactical assault on Obamacare merits so much attention. It underscores how unviable the repeal platform will be by the time Republicans have the power to enact it. And it even suggests repealers have so successfully blinded themselves to the positive consequences of the Affordable Care Act that they can’t see how badly they’re now undermining their own campaign.

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Roger Simon: President Obama Needs Legacy, GOP Needs Votes

If you like your president, you’re going to be able to keep him. In fact, even if you don’t like your president, you’re going to keep him. He’s here until Jan. 20, 2017.  The president not only knows this, he has started talking about it. Friday, at a fundraiser in Florida, he said: “I’ve run my last election. And along with the gray hair, what comes with being president is that you take the long view and you start thinking about 10 years from now or 20 years from now or 30 years from now.”

Except not really. Barack Obama is an activist president who still has an agenda to pass in his second term, and he is thinking about 10 months, 20 months and 30 months from now. And in his second term, he wants a big legacy issue, like health care was in his first term. He wants immigration reform and a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented workers in the United States.

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Think Progress: Voters Overwhelmingly Support a $9 Minimum Wage

Three out of four Americans would vote for a $9 minimum wage if it were on the ballot, according to a Gallup poll released Monday. Overall support is up by 5 percentage points from March. Gallup’s survey found 76 percent of Americans would vote yes on a referendum raising the minimum wage up from $7.25 to $9 per hour. Just under 70 percent support tying minimum wage increases to inflation.

A full 58 percent of self-identified Republicans support raising the wage to $9, but they oppose automatic increases to keep pace with inflation by a 56-43 margin. The new numbers come a week after workers won minimum wage victories in New Jersey and the Washington town that hosts the Seattle-Tacoma airport. Most of the legislative action on wages this year has come at the state and locallevel as congressional and White House efforts to promote federal action have stalled thanks to Republican opposition.

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On This Day:

Aides brief President Obama aboard Air Force One en route to Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama with Canadian PM Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen at the APEC summit dinner on November 12 2011 at the Hale Koa Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host a dinner for leaders during the APEC summit in Honolulu, Nov. 12, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

First Lady Michelle Obama during a visit to MA’O Organic Farms in Waianae, Hawaii, Nov. 12, 2011

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Chips: MoooOOOooorning! I was so delayed (well, okay, slow) getting this R&S done, I only had the pics collected up to 20 minutes ago – and then the Mighty UT came to my rescue and added all the brilliant newsie links. So, 976 billion thanks to UT, without her your R&S would have arrived around, oh, midnight.

09
Nov
13

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Barack Obama reads in the Rose Garden of the White House, Nov. 9, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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The Week Ahead:

Today: President Obama departs Miami (3:25 EDT), arrives at the White House (5:55 EDT)

Sunday: The President has no public events scheduled

Monday: The President and First Lady host a breakfast for veterans from across the country. Later in the morning, the President will travel to Arlington National Cemetery where he will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony and deliver remarks there

Tuesday: The President will attend meetings at the White House

Wednesday: The President will address the 2013 Tribal Nations Conference

Thursday: The President will travel to Philadelphia where he will participate in a campaign event for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

Friday: The President will attend meetings at the White House

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@sdtilock

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WH.gov: The Affordable Care Act: Making A Difference In Our Neighborhoods

Community Health Centers enable people to receive health care in the neighborhoods where they live so they can get high-quality care close to home. That’s why the Affordable Care Act builds on this model of care, by making critical investments in new facilities, doctors, nurses, and staff. This week, HHS announced new primary care sites in 236 communities for 1.25 million additional patients, made possible by the Affordable Care Act. These investments will make an enormous difference in people’s lives by increasing access to the care they need, where they need it.

As you can see from the media coverage in states around the country, these types of primary care investments are critical for families who need care. Here’s just a sample of the coverage:

AZ – Arizona Daily Star: New U.S. grant to pay for Sierra Vista community health care A new community health clinic will be operating in Sierra Vista by February, due to an unexpected federal grant of nearly $1 million. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Director Kathleen Sebelius announced Thursday that $150 million in Affordable Care Act funds will be going to 236 health programs in 43 states. LINK

CA – Recordnet.com: Grants awarded for health center The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday awarded a $691,667 grant to Community Medical Centers Inc. to help it establish a new health center service delivery site. LINK

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Steve Benen: Mental Health Parity

That this health care breakthrough is a long time coming doesn’t detract from its significance:

The Obama administration on Friday will complete a generation-long effort to require insurers to cover care for mental health and addiction just like physical illnesses when it issues long-awaited regulations defining parity in benefits and treatment.

The rules, which will apply to almost all forms of insurance, will have far-reaching consequences for many Americans. In the White House, the regulations are also seen as critical to President Obama’s program for curbing gun violence by addressing an issue on which there is bipartisan agreement: Making treatment more available to those with mental illness could reduce killings, including mass murders.

…. It’s easy to grow weary with unprecedented obstructionism blocking legislation on Capitol Hill, but once in a while, we’re reminded that progress is still possible.

Full post here

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NYT: Cut In Food Stamps Forces Hard Choices On Poor

For many, a $10 or $20 cut in the monthly food budget would be absorbed with little notice. But for millions of poor Americans who rely on food stamps, reductions that began this month present awful choices. Mr. Simmons’s allotment from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly called food stamps, has dropped $9. He has already spent the $33 he received for November.

Food stamps are likely to be cut more in the coming years if Congress can agree on a new farm bill, which House and Senate negotiators began tackling this week. The Republican-controlled House has approved cutting as much as $40 billion from the program over 10 years by making it harder to qualify. The Democratic-controlled Senate is suggesting a $4 billion cut by making administrative changes. “We’ll be on our last $3 at the end of the month,” said Rafaela Rivera, 34, a home health aide who earns $10 an hour.

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@I_Karumba

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Media Matters: Former 60 Minutes Producer Mapes: Benghazi Story Aimed At “Obsessed” Right-Wing Audience

Former 60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes, who was fired for her role in a controversial 2004 story about President Bush’s service in the Air National Guard, accused CBS News of pandering to a right-wing audience with her former program’s recent Benghazi report, for which the network has been criticized and forced to retract.

“My concern is that the story was done very pointedly to appeal to a more conservative audience’s beliefs about what happened at Benghazi,” Mapes said by telephone from her Texas home. “They appear to have done that story to appeal specifically to a politically conservative audience that is obsessed with Benghazi and believes that Benghazi was much more than a tragedy.”

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Ed Kilgore: Supply Meets Demand On Benghazi

…. the reporter, Lara Logan, has long expressed righteous anger that the killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens hasn’t been avenged. So Logan had a personal agenda that nicely merged with her personal interest in getting a big “scoop”.

…. Lara Logan brought the supply and Lindsey Graham brought the demand and a bill of goods were sold. Graham and other Republicans, of course, can now simply argue the dubious report “raised questions,” and that’s all they need for more wallowing in the “story.” An apology from their supplier isn’t enough.

Full post here

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Charles Pierce: My Profession Steps On A Rake

It seems that Senator Aqua Buddha has been shitcanned by the ghost of Sun Myung Moon just in time to get hired by the ghost of Andrew Breitbart. This is a remarkably straight career path into the manure bin for the formerly rising young champion of the brogressive Left, especially those who don’t want to be droned before they score with that cute barista. (Guess what? The champion of human freedom voted against ENDA because liberty!)….

And then there’s 60 Minutes.

Oy. Also, vey.

I held off for a while on this because history tells us that jumping ugly early can have very unfortunate results on stories like this but, Jesus H. Christ on tour with Iron Maiden, does it look like the show screwed the pooch on its big scoop regarding Benghazi, Benghazi!, BENGHAZI! ….

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Business Insider: Here’s The Real Reason People Hate Their Individual Market Health Insurance

Unlike people on Medicare, Medicaid and employer-based insurance, people who buy coverage in the individual market know exactly how much they’re paying for it. A plan that you would only rate “fair” when you have to pay $5,000 for it might merit an “excellent” if its apparent cost to you were only $1,000. Almost all of us should be dissatisfied with our health plans, because the American health care system involves paying twice as much as people in other rich countries do to achieve similar health outcomes.

People love their employer-provided coverage because they have no idea how much it’s costing them. One of the reasons I like the disruptions created by Obamacare, and wish there were more of them, is that many of them involve exposing the true cost of American health care to consumers.

The law requires employers to start reporting the cost of employer-sponsored insurance on W-2 forms, so people know how much of their compensation is eaten up by health insurance. Successful health reform should bring that transparency to other parts of the market. That will make the public angry — not because they’re being made worse off, but because they’re finally realizing how bad they’ve had it all along.

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Igor Volsky: Oversight Chairman Accused Of Leaking Misleading Information About Obamacare Implementation

Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are accusing Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) of selectively leaking misinformation about HealthCare.gov in an effort to portray administration officials as misleading the public about the implementation of Obamacare. On Thursday, Issa appeared on Fox News and claimed that he had obtained documents proving that contractors working on Healthcare.gov believed that the site could only handle 1,100 users before launch.

U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had publicly stated that the administration believed that the site could handle 60,000 concurrent users. But in a letter to Issa, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the ranking member on the Committee, pointed to an interview Issa’s own staff conducted with Henry Chao, the Deputy Information Officer. Chao explained that the 1,000 figure were “the results of a much smaller testing environment” and were not conducted “with final production testing of the system at full capacity.”

More here

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On This Day:

President Obama offers a toast during the state dinner hosted by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Istana Negara State Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, Nov. 9, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

First Lady Michelle Obama winks at another guest at the head table as she participates in a state dinner for her husband President Obama at Istana Merdeka

03
Nov
13

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama looks out the window in the Blue Room of the White House before holding a press conference, Nov. 3, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today: President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe at 2PM ET.

The Week Ahead:

Monday: The President will welcome the five-time Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks, to the White House to honor the team and their 2013 Stanley Cup victory. Following the visit, he will deliver remarks at an Organizing for Action event.

Tuesday: The President will travel to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and visit with wounded warriors who are being treated at the hospital and with their families. He will also visit the Fisher House, a program that supports military families by welcoming them to stay at the house while their loved ones receive specialized medical care.

Wednesday: The President will travel to Dallas to participate in DSCC events.

Thursday: The President will attend meetings at the White House.

Friday: The President will travel to the New Orleans area for an event on the economy. Later that day, he will travel to Miami, Florida to participate in DNC and DSCC events.

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AP: Obama: Budget Is About Choices, Priorities

President Barack Obama says budget negotiations in Congress are about choices and priorities. In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama urges Congress to pass a budget that includes spending on education, infrastructure and research. Obama says there’s an obsession with cutting spending just for the sake of cutting. He says it’s not helping grow the economy. He’s pointing out that deficits are falling fast on his watch.

More here

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Elizabeth Drew: The Republican’s War On The Poor

The way the program to provide the poor with the bare minimum of daily nutrition has been handled is a metaphor for how the far right in the House is systematically trying to take down the federal government. The Tea Party radicals and those who either fear or cultivate them are now subjecting the food-stamp program to the same kind of assault they have unleashed on other settled policies and understandings that have been in place for decades. Breaking all manner of precedents on a series of highly partisan votes, with the Republicans barely prevailing, the House in September slashed the food-stamp program by a whopping $39 billion and imposed harsh new requirements for getting on, or staying on, the program. The point was to deny the benefit to millions.

Food stamps are largely responsible for the near-elimination of the severe hunger and malnutrition that was widespread in many poverty-stricken areas,” says Bob Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Food stamps are far from an extravagant benefit. The average allocation is $1.40 per person per meal. (Try it some time.)

More here

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NYT: This Is Why We Need Obamacare

Far more serious is the kind of catastrophe facing people like Richard Streeter, 47, a truck driver and recreational vehicle repairman in Eugene, Ore. His problem isn’t Obamacare, but a tumor in his colon that may kill him because Obamacare didn’t come quite soon enough. Streeter had health insurance for decades, but beginning in 2008 his employer no longer offered it as an option. He says he tried to buy individual health insurance but, as a lifelong smoker in his late 40s, couldn’t find anything affordable — so he took a terrible chance and did without.

By September, Streeter couldn’t stand the pain any longer. He went to another doctor, who suggested a colonoscopy. The cheapest provider he could find was Dr. J. Scott Gibson, a softhearted gastroenterologist who told him that if he didn’t have insurance he would do it for $300 down and $300 more whenever he had the money. Streeter made the 100-mile drive to Dr. Gibson’s office in McMinnville, Ore. — and received devastating news. Dr. Gibson had found advanced colon cancer.

“It was heartbreaking to see the pain on his face,” Dr. Gibson told me. “It got me very angry with people who insist that Obamacare is a train wreck, when the real train wreck is what people are experiencing every day because they can’t afford care.”

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Advocate: How Obamacare Will Affect Trans Folks And Families

Anand Kalra: Yes. First, the Affordable Care Act opens the door to coverage for a group of people that have been held outside. The ACA makes it illegal for an insurance company to refuse to sell an insurance plan to someone because they have “pre-existing conditions.” Historically, health insurance companies have considered gender identity disorder, the psychiatric diagnosis used to enable access to transition-related care, such as hormone replacement therapy, a pre-existing condition. So, if anywhere in your medical record you had been diagnosed with GID, an insurance company could use that against you, and refuse to insure you. Starting on January 1, 2014, that practice is prohibited for any diagnosis, including gender identity disorder.

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Irin Carmon: Abortion Restrictions In Oklahoma

On their last night in Dallas, the ramen noodles and microwave popcorn were finished. The money for the motel had run out too. So on a hot August night Jessica and Erick Davis and their three young kids slept in the Mazda rented for the trip. It had only been a few hours since Jessica’s abortion. Because the procedure needed to be performed later in her pregnancy, it stretched over three days.

 Earlier that month, at home in Oklahoma City, the Davises were told that the boy she was carrying had a severe brain malformation known as holoprosencephaly. It is rare, though possible, for such a fetus to survive to birth, but doctors told them that he would not reach his first birthday. “He would never walk, lift his head,” Jessica, 23, recalled in an interview. “I could let my son go on and suffer,” she said. Or she could accept a word she didn’t like – abortion – “and do the best thing for my baby.”

The Davises’ ordeal was always going to be painful. But the grim path that led them to a night in the car was determined, nearly every step of the way, by a state that has scrambled to be the most “pro-life” in the nation. There are no exceptions for families like the Davises. Oklahomans brag that theirs has become the reddest state.

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William H. Gross (Co-Founder of PIMCO): Scrooge McDucks

I would ask the Scrooge McDucks of the world who so vehemently criticize what they consider to be counterproductive, even crippling taxation of the wealthy in the midst of historically high corporate profits and personal income, to consider this: Instead of approaching the tax reform argument from the standpoint of what an enormous percentage of the overall income taxes the top 1% pay, consider how much of the national income you’ve been privileged to make. In the United States, the share of total pre-tax income accruing to the top 1% has more than doubled from 10% in the 1970s to 20% today. Admit that you, and I and others in the magnificent “1%” grew up in a gilded age of credit, where those who borrowed money or charged fees on expanding financial assets had a much better chance of making it to the big tent than those who used their hands for a living.

Yes I know many of you money people worked hard as did I, and you survived and prospered where others did not. A fair economic system should always allow for an opportunity to succeed. You did not, as President Obama averred, “build that,” you did not create that wave. You rode it. And now it’s time to kick out and share some of your good fortune by paying higher taxes or reforming them to favor economic growth and labor, as opposed to corporate profits and individual gazillions. You’ll still be able to attend those charity galas and demonstrate your benevolence and philanthropic character to your admiring public.

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LOL GOP: Obamacare ‘Horror’ Story Turns Out To Be Obamacare Success Story

This week Diane Barrette was briefly the poster woman for the estimated 3% of America in the private insurance market who will lose their insurance and pay more to get coverage that meets the new minimum standards laid out by the ACA. It turns out that she was paying $56 a month for a plan that covered — according to Yiddish experts — bubkis.

“She’s paying $650 a year to be uninsured,” Karen Pollitz, an insurance expert at the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, told Consumer Reports. “I have to assume that she never really had to make much of a claim under this policy. She would have lost the house she’s sitting in if something serious had happened. I don’t know if she knows that.”

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Ian Millhiser: What You Need To Know About The Severely Conservative Judge Who Just Ruled Against Birth Control

Nine years ago, the California Supreme Court upheld a state law similar to the Affordable Care Act’s rules requiring most employers to include birth control coverage in their employee health plans. The sole dissent in that case was Justice Janice Rogers Brown. Nearly a decade later, Brown got her revenge. Though no longer a member of California’s highest court — President George W. Bush appointed her to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit over the strenuous objections of Democrats

Judge Brown is now the author of a 2-1 opinion holding that religious employers can ignore the federal birth control rules. What was once a fringe view held by a lone holdout is now the law in the second most powerful court in the country. There is a lesson here for Democrats trying to decide whether to invoke the nuclear opinion in the D.C. Circuit fight that Senate Republicans started this week. When Republicans had the courage to demand what they wanted and put a serious threat behind it, they got two of the most conservative judges in the country.

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Star Telegram: Voter ID Law Snags Former House Speaker Jim Wright

Former House Speaker Jim Wright was denied a voter ID card Saturday at a Texas Department of Public Safety office. “Nobody was ugly to us, but they insisted that they wouldn’t give me an ID,” Wright said. The legendary Texas political figure says that he has worked things out with DPS and that he will get a state-issued personal identification card in time for him to vote Tuesday in the state and local elections.

But after the difficulty he had this weekend getting a proper ID card, Wright, 90, expressed concern that such problems could deter others from voting and stifle turnout. After spending much of his life fighting to make it easier to vote, the Democratic Party icon said he is troubled by what he’s seeing happen under the state’s new voter ID law.

More here

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Jonathan Cohn: From Boston, A Lesson About Obamacare

President Obama was in Boston on Wednesday—not to watch a baseball game, but to send a message about health care reform: The idea really works. Given all the news about Obamacare lately, it’s a message the country very much needs to hear. The template for the Affordable Care Act is the reforms that Massachusetts officials enacted in 2006.  As almost everybody knows by now, the Red Sox organization promoted the Massachusetts health reforms, sponsoring efforts to enroll people and even having players appear in ads directly addressing the young, healthy people who might think insurance was unnecessary.

That spirit still exists today, all across the country, although you might not have noticed. Leaders of the health care industry have been generally supportive of reform. You can see this clearly in the hospital industry, which rather than screaming publicly about payment changes in Medicare is quietly reinventing itself in ways that will, hopefully, make health care efficient. You also see it with the insurance industry, which rather than use website problems to endorse repeal has instead been lending the federal government technical assistance to get things working. Like everybody else in the health care business, these groups have plenty of financial incentive for playing nice. More people insured means more people paying bills.

That attitude has not prevailed in politics, obviously. At both the state and national level, Republicans have been at best indifferent and at worst hostile to implementation of the law—in some cases, openly wishing for its failure and urgingpotential partners with or surrogates for the federal government not to help enrollment.

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On This Day:

President Obama makes an election night phone call to Rep. John Boehner from his Treaty Room office in the White House residence a couple of minutes after midnight, Nov. 3, 2010 (Pete Souza)

President Obama talks with Vice President Biden in the Oval Office, Nov. 3, 2010 (Pete Souza)

Milwaukee, November 3, 2012

Gambier, November 2012 (Photo by Thomas Miller for Obama for America)

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02
Nov
13

Rise and Shine

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Pete Souza: President Obama hugs Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell after viewing his statue in Boston earlier this week

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The Week Ahead:

Monday: The President will welcome the five-time Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks, to the White House to honor the team and their 2013 Stanley Cup victory. Following the visit, he will deliver remarks at an Organizing for Action event.

Tuesday: The President will travel to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and visit with wounded warriors who are being treated at the hospital and with their families. He will also visit the Fisher House, a program that supports military families by welcoming them to stay at the house while their loved ones receive specialized medical care.

Wednesday: The President will travel to Dallas to participate in DSCC events.

Thursday: The President will attend meetings at the White House.

Friday: The President will travel to the New Orleans area for an event on the economy. Later that day, he will travel to Miami, Florida to participate in DNC and DSCC events.

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TPM: Obamacare Birth Control Mandate Struck Down By Appeals Court

A divided appeals court panel is siding with Ohio business owners who challenged the birth control mandate under the new federal health care law. The business owners are two brothers who say the mandate to provide contraceptive coverage would make them violate their Roman Catholic beliefs.

The ruling Friday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is one of many on the birth control issue, which likely will be resolved by the Supreme Court. The appeals court panel says the mandate limits the right of free exercise of religion. The brothers are Francis and Philip M. Gilardi. They say they don’t want to provide contraceptives like the Plan B pill for their employees. The Gilardis own Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics of Sidney, Ohio.

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AP: US Manufacturing Expands At Best Pace In 2½ Years

U.S. factory activity expanded in October at the fastest pace in 2½ years, suggesting that the 16-day partial shutdown of the government had little effect on manufacturers. Instead, overseas demand and healthy U.S. auto sales appear to be supporting factory output. The housing recovery is also lifting the furniture and wood products industry despite a recent slowing in home sales.

“We’ve become accustomed to the way Washington operates in the past couple of years and assume that it will get resolved eventually, however painfully,” said Bradley Holcomb, head of the survey committee of the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers that on Friday reported a solid manufacturing figure for October. The ISM’s manufacturing index rose to 56.4 from 56.2 in September. A reading above 50 indicates growth. U.S. factory activity has now risen at an increasingly fast pace for five straight months, according to the ISM’s index.

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USA Today: Health Website Load Times Improve By 80%

During the first few weeks of Healthcare.gov’s launch, people waited an average of eight seconds for each page to load. As of yesterday, they’re waiting less than one second, the Obama administration reported Friday.

“This is more than an 80% improvement,” said Jeffrey Zients, the former Office of Management and Budget deputy director brought in to manage the site’s upgrades. “We’re on a path to improve Healthcare.gov each week and to meet our target by the end of November,” he said in a briefing with reporters.

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Caitlin MacNeal: Biden: ‘Worth Considering’ Senate Nuclear Option For Nominees

Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that it might be a good idea to change the rules of the Senate for nominee confirmations, known as the “nuclear option,” according to the Huffington Post. “I think it’s worth considering,” Biden told reporters after he was asked if nominations should only need a simple majority, as opposed to requiring 60 votes.

On Thursday Republicans blocked two of President Obama’s nominations by voting against cloture. Patricia Millett was nominated to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court and Rep. Mel Watt’s(D-NC) was nominated to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Biden told reporters that Watt is completely qualified to become chief of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. “Mel Watt is absolutely, totally, thoroughly qualified and it’s a gigantic disappointment,” Biden said.

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Bloomberg: Google, Oracle Workers Enlisted For Obamacare ‘Tech Surge’

Google Inc., Red Hat Inc., Oracle Corp. and other technology companies are contributing dozens of computer engineers and programmers to help the Obama administration fix the U.S. health-insurance exchange website. Michael Dickerson, a site reliability engineer on leave from Google, and Greg Gershman, innovation director for smartphone application maker Mobomo, are among those helping, the Obama administration said yesterday.

“They are working through the analytics of what happens on the site to prioritize what needs to be fixed,” Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told reporters on a conference call. Dickerson is working to improve the stability of the website, while Gershman is “helping the development process be more agile.”

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Dylan Scott: What Really Happens To People Whose Insurance Is ‘Canceled’ Because Of ObamaCare

About 80 percent of people, those who receive insurance through their employer or are already enrolled in a government program, won’t experience any change at all, Gruber said. (The Kaiser Family Foundation puts the number at 79 percent). Another 14 percent are currently uninsured people who will now be able to get covered because of the Affordable Care Act, Gruber said. (Kaiser pegs it at 16 percent uninsured). How many of those actually get covered depends on a few variables — like whether Republicans states come around and expand Medicaid — but that’s the share that stands to gain.

So then you have 6 percent who might receive a cancelation letter (Kaiser says the individual market is 5 percent). Of those, Gruber argued, about half aren’t really going to see a change: They’ll technically enroll in a new plan, but it’ll be very similar to what they already had. That leaves 3 percent who will have to buy significantly different plans, some of whom might have to pay more for them (at least before the law’s tax credits and other financial assistance kick in).

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TPM: Everything That’s Happened Since Supreme Court Ruled On Voting Rights Act

NORTH CAROLINA: Two months after the Supreme Court decision, North Carolina passed a number of measures, including strict new photo ID requirements. The law also eliminates same-day voter registration, shortens the early voting period by seven days, and specifies that ballots cast at the wrong polling station will be thrown out.

Some changes will be phased in starting in 2014, and the photo ID provision goes into effect in 2016. The North Carolina NAACP and a civil rights group called the Advancement Project have filed a lawsuit challenging the changes. The Justice Department also filed a suit of its own. But the suits venture into some new legal territory.

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AP: Still All Smiles: Newly Insured Who Became Latest Faces Of Health Overhaul Defend Their Choice

The Obama administration is now asking people who have successfully purchased health insurance to let their pictures be used. Two of them told The Associated Press they found the site easy to navigate, were happy with the plans they purchased and were eager to share their stories in any format, including becoming the new face of the health care overhaul.

Not long after she enrolled on Oct. 3, Deborah Lielasus of Portsmouth was contacted by the Department of Health and Human Services “I think it’s important to show them that you shouldn’t hide from being honest and being sincere and talking about something that you believe in,” she said. In Orlando, Fla., 22-year-old Daniel McNaughton said his experience was similar.

McNaughton, a student at Valencia College, said he will be paying $70 per month for a plan that covers “anything I could possibly need.” That’s about what he’s paying now for a catastrophic plan that covers only three doctor visits per year. “I won’t have to ration my doctor’s visits,” he said. “It gives me good peace of mind.” He told administration officials it was “more than OK” with him if they wanted to use his picture on HealthCare.gov.

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LA Times: Interior Chief Emphasizes Conservation In First Major Speech

She called out Congress for failing to add a single acre of public land to the park or wilderness systems in three years, saying that the country needs a comprehensive public lands package. “We cannot and will not hold our breath forever,” Jewell said.

She also announced an initiative to help young people connect to public lands, laying out a plan that by 2017 will: create outdoor recreational opportunities for 10 million youths in 50 cities, provide educational opportunities for 10 million elementary students, add 1 million volunteers to parks and refuges, and offer work and training opportunities for 100,000 young people.

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Media Matters: The D.C. Press Yawns While Republicans Return To Radically Obstructionist Ways

The historic element of the Watt rejection was that throughout American history it has been virtually unheard for a sitting member of Congress to be filibustered — to be denied the courtesy of a final vote — when selected by the president to fill an administration position. Prior to this week’s partisan blockade of Watt, a Congressional rejection like his hadn’t happened since before the Civil War, in 1843.

That important historical context should have been included in every story about the Watt filibuster, but it wasn’t. That’s not surprising considering the Beltway press corps seems to have made a conscious decision during the Obama presidency to omit virtually all context with regards to the Republicans’ continued radical behavior as they cling to filibusters to methodically block, stall and reject most White House policy proposals, as well as countless nominations.

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On This Day:

Ohio State Capitol, November 2, 2008 (Photos by David Katz/Obama for America)

Cleveland Mall, November 2, 2008

President Obama listens during a terrorism threat briefing in the Situation Room of the White House, Nov. 2, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

Hilliard, November 2, 2012 (Photos by Scout Tufankjian)

Lima, Nov 2, 2012 (Photos by Thomas Miller)

Beloit, Nov 2 (Photo by Christopher Dilts)

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26
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13

Rise and Shine

A Year Ago Today: The President pretends to be caught in Spider-Man’s web as he greets Nicholas Tamarin, 3, just outside the Oval Office, Oct. 26, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Steve Benen: The Right’s Realization: Websites Can Be Fixed

The political establishment has obviously been deeply invested this week in exploring the technical problems associated with the Affordable Care Act’s website, and the glitches are now the core Republican message. But there’s always been a serious flaw with the GOP’s strategy.

For one thing, tech troubles don’t reflect on the underlying merits of “Obamacare” itself. For another, as some in the party are starting to realize, website glitches, no matter how severe or systemic, can be fixed …

…. I get the sense that GOP officials, feeling desperate after their party’s standing went into free fall after their government shutdown, saw website glitches as a life-preserver ….  But as the storm subsides, Republicans find themselves adrift with an unhelpful floatation device. They’re not only attacking a health care law that’s far more popular than they are, they’re also relying heavily on a problem with a finite end….

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Jonathan Cohn: A Chart That Will Help Dispel Your Obamacare Hysteria

The Obamacare online saga may be reaching the phase where media and political hysteria is out of proportion to the actual problem. A case in point is the controversy over enrollment numbers.

…. I suspect the numbers will come out soon enough …. when they do, enrollment in Obamacare private plans will probably look pretty dismal. Most people will assume that’s primarily because of website problems at healthcare.gov. They will be wrong.

The main reason for low enrollment will be that people don’t sign up for health insurance programs right away. They wait until the last minute. This is true of public insurance and this is true of private insurance. And while you’ve heard people (including me) say this for months, this is one of those cases when numbers tell the story better than words. And there are some numbers very few people have seen.

The numbers are from Massachusetts, the state whose health reforms became the template for the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion….

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Michael Tomasky: The Republicans’ Food Stamp Fraud: It’s Not About Austerity

What’s the single worst thing the Obama-era Republicans have done? Tough one, I know.

But spare me a moment here — plus a thousand words down the page — and I think maybe you’ll agree with me that the single worst thing the Obama-era Republicans have done is try to push through a $40 billion cut to the food-stamps program. It’s just unspeakably cruel.

They usually say publicly that it’s about saving money. But sometimes someone—one congressman in particular—lets slip the real reason: They want to punish poor people. The farm bill, which includes the food-stamp program, goes to conference committee next week. That’s where, the cliché has it, the two sides are supposed to “iron out their differences.” The only thing the Democrats on this committee should do with an iron is run it across the Republicans’ scowling faces.

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CBS: President Obama Orders Review Of U.S. Spying As World Leaders Push For New Limits On Surveillance

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “We wanted to ensure we’re collecting information because we need it and not just because we can.” But Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron pointed the finger back at Snowden, saying the leak of classified information would make it harder for his and other countries to keep citizens safe. He said, “What Snowden is doing, and to an extent what the newspapers are doing in helping him doing what he’s doing, is frankly signaling to people who mean to do us harm how to evade and avoid intelligence and surveillance.”

 The U.S. already has a no-spying agreement with four countries: Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Senior officials in the White House tell CBS News they’re giving allies a heads-up on what may come next as a result of Snowden’s leaks. They also say the White House is open to talks with European governments about a no-spying agreement. Germany and France want to be added to the list. And Brazil is leading a push for a United Nations resolution to limit intelligence gathering. If it passes, it will be non-binding.

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Star Tribune: MNsure Signs Up 3,700 So Far For Health Insurance; Another 1,800 Finish Applications

Minnesota’s health insurance exchange on Wednesday released its first data on enrollment, showing that two weeks into its launch more than 3,700 people have signed up for health insurance coverage. MNsure’s executive director, April Todd-Malmlov, said she expects the pace of enrollment to pick up speed with the approach of a Dec. 15 deadline to lock down coverage before it takes effect Jan. 1. Between those who already signed up and those who just need to pick an insurer, 5,569 people in all have completed the application process. MNsure estimates the number of people who will be covered under those plans at 11,684 — since many plans cover more than one person in a family.

Mitch Grussing, a self-employed musician from St. Paul, told the MNsure board Wednesday that he had successfully signed up for coverage through the site. There were a few technical glitches, he said, and he was still waiting for the ability to make his initial payment. But Grussing said he will save about $35 a month on his premium compared with his previous insurance, that his deductible would be cut in half and that he’d be eligible for more office visits. “I would say MNsure has done its job, at least for me,” Grussing said. “I got exactly what I wanted to get out of it.”

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BBC: JP Morgan Settles For $5.1bn With U.S. Housing Regulator

JP Morgan has reached a $5.1bn (£3.2bn) settlement with the US Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) over charges it misled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the housing boom. A separate settlement with the US Justice Department is expected to be announced soon.

“This is a significant step to address outstanding mortgage-related issues,” the FHFA said in a statement. It is the biggest settlement ever by a US bank. As part of the agreement with the FHFA, the bank will pay $4bn to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to settle claims that it violated US securities law. It will pay the agencies an additional $1.1bn for misrepresenting the quality of single-family mortgages.

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On This Day:

Bo peers into the Outer Oval Office from the White House Colonnade, Oct. 26, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama jokes with Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and personal aide Reggie Love, right, prior to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reception at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, Fla., Oct. 26, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama adjusts Sway Calloway’s hat following an interview for a Live MTV special, in the Blue Room of the White House, Oct. 26, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama greets guests at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reception at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, Fla., Oct. 26, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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