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Rise and Shine

President Obama with Bo during a brief break from meetings on the South Lawn of the White House May 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)


Today (all times Eastern)

11:0: President Obama meets with President Jose Mujica Cordano of Uruguay

11:0: First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Host Their Annual Mothers Day Tea to Honor Military Mothers

1:15: Jay Carney briefs the press

5:25: The President honors the 2014 National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) TOP COPS award winners


The Week Ahead

Tuesday: The President will award Kyle J. White, a former active duty Army Sergeant, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.

Wednesday: The President and the First Lady will travel to New York. While there, the President will host an event on the economy and attend DNC and DSCC events. More details will be forthcoming.

Thursday: The President and the First Lady will tour the National September 11th Memorial and Museum; the President will also deliver remarks at the dedication ceremony. Following his remarks, the President and the First Lady will return to Washington, DC.

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



BBC: Nigeria kidnapped girls ‘shown’ in new Boko Haram video

A new video released by Islamist militants Boko Haram claims to show around 130 girls kidnapped from a school in Nigeria last month.

The group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, said they would be held until all imprisoned militants had been freed.

He said the girls had converted to Islam. The video, released on Monday, claims to show them praying.

Boko Haram abducted more than 200 girls in northern Nigeria on 14 April and threatened to sell them.

The BBC’s John Simpson in the northern city of Maiduguri said Boko Haram’s comments showed signs that the group was willing to negotiate.

More here



AP: Pregnant women gain new options under health law

The health care law has opened up an unusual opportunity for some mothers-to-be to save on medical bills for childbirth.

Lower-income women who signed up for a private policy in the new insurance exchanges will have access to additional coverage from their state’s Medicaid program if they get pregnant. Some women could save hundreds of dollars on their share of hospital and doctor bills.

Medicaid already pays for nearly half of U.S. births, but this would create a way for the safety-net program to supplement private insurance for many expectant mothers.

Officials and advocates say the enhanced coverage will be available across the country, whether or not a state expands Medicaid under the health law. However, states have different income cutoffs for eligibility, ranging from near the poverty line to solid middle class.

More here



Miami Herald: The Affordable Care Act gives former foster kids healthcare benefits to age 26, though they may not know it

Rain clouds couldn’t spoil Kenisha Anthony’s afternoon as she emerged from the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables on Saturday with an associate degree in social work from Miami Dade College. The 22-year-old from Miami had survived the school of hard knocks that is Florida’s foster care system to reach this moment. Now a provision of the Affordable Care Act promises to help her make an even better start.

As of Jan. 1, Anthony and others who aged out of foster care became eligible for Medicaid until they turn 26, just as other young adults can stay on their parents’ health plans to that age as part of the ACA. But not all former foster children may know about this little-discussed Obamacare benefit, especially if they’re no longer in the system.

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Business Insider: The GOP’s Latest Anti-Obamacare Talking Point Just Went Down In Flames

Last week, the Republican-led House Committee on Energy and Commerce released information claiming only 67% of enrollees in insurance exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act made their first premium payment. The data was paraded around as a talking point ahead of the Obama administration’s final release of stats from the law’s first open enrollment period.

On Wednesday, that talking point blew up.

Three of the country’s largest insurers — Aetna, WellPoint, and Health Care Service Corp., which operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in several states — said between 80-90% of new customers who enrolled through Obamacare paid their first month’s premiums. Executives from the companies announced the news in testimony before the very same House Committee on Energy and Commerce where Republicans touted the contrary data last week.

More here



ThinkProgress: GOP Blatantly Manipulates Obamacare News Footage

The Republican National Committee altered a video clip of a local news story about health insurance premiums in North Carolina to imply that rates would increase under the Affordable Care Act, cutting off the segment just before the reporter explained that “not everyone could be in for the sticker shock.”

The report, aired on the local ABC affiliate last week and posted and tweeted by the RNC, argues that since enrollment of young people did not meet expectations, health insurance would “eventually cost you more.” A small business owner interviewed for the package adds that her family’s premiums have increased since passage of the law and reporter Angelica Alvarez notes that Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina, the state’s largest insurance provider, “is warning customers now about what premium prices can look like in 2015.”

But just as Alvarez begins to explain that most customers are unlikely to experience significant premium hikes, the RNC clip abruptly ends.

More here



Michael Tomasky: Beirut Barracks vs. Benghazi

Republicans are trying to criminalize a tragedy — wholly unprecedented, even after 241 Marines died because of a massive U.S. intelligence failure.

One of the most maddening things about this Benghazi nonsense is the way Republicans have gotten a lot of Americans to go along with the idea that 10 investigations of something is normal; that as long as there’s one unanswered question, one area where the administration’s position is ambiguous or where its cooperation has been anything other than the immediate handing over of any conceivably related document, we still need to get to the bottom of matters.

…. I’m trying to explain as calmly as I can here, to readers with no allegiance to either party, why what the Republicans are doing with Benghazi is so out of bounds. They are turning a political situation into a legal case. They’re trying to impose the standards of the courtroom onto a place where they clearly don’t belong. It’s an awful, poisonous precedent, especially given that the incident in question was a tragedy. Using a national tragedy, the kind of event that used to unite Americans, to turn a political matter into a legal one is just a shocking thing to do, wholly outside the American tradition.

More here



Paul Waldman: The five stages of GOP scandal-mongering: A reader’s guide

The House of Representatives voted to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, on the grounds that she had asserted her Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer their questions, thereby depriving them of the opportunity for what they hoped would be some spectacular grandstanding. You might think that a group of people with such reverence for the Constitution wouldn’t get so angry when certain portions of it, like the Fifth Amendment, become inconvenient to their political ends. But this contempt vote was like the end of a toddler’s tantrum, the final hoarse scream before the child collapses in an exhausted heap on the floor.

You may be wondering: what ever happened to that IRS scandal, anyway? It went the way of pretty much every Obama administration “scandal,” which is that it turned out to be not nearly as scandalous as Republicans had hoped.

In fact, a clear pattern has emerged on how these scandals have unfolded, one that might be helpful to keep in mind as we start paying attention to Benghazi again. Here’s a handy guide:

More here



Steve Benen: On Capitol Hill, it’s all about priorities

Since Congress returned from its spring recess, House Republicans have gone to almost comical lengths to focus on discredited “scandals.” GOP lawmakers have created a new special Benghazi committee; they battled each other for slots on the investigatory panel; they’ve voted to hold a former IRS official in contempt; and they’ve talked to the media an awful lot about both “controversies.”

And so it was rather amusing to listen to the Republican Party’s weekly address over the weekend, in which GOP officials demanded to know why those rascally Democrats won’t follow Republicans’ lead and focus on job creation.

…. Let’s make this very simple for everyone involved: if House Republicans are sincere about focusing on job creation, they can (a) give up the witch hunts that they know to be ridiculous; (b) put together a serious jobs package; (c) subject it to independent scrutiny to determine how many jobs the package would create and at what cost; and (d) invite Democrats to the table for talks.

Until then, the propaganda is just noise.

Full post here



BBC: Ukraine crisis: Self-rule referendums ‘a farce’

Ukraine has condemned two unofficial referendums organised by pro-Russia groups in the east of the country as “a farce” with no legal basis.

Separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions say 89% and 96% respectively voted in favour of “self-rule”.

BBC reporters at polling stations on Sunday witnessed few checks on identity and multiple voting in places.

Russia has called for the results to be implemented without any further outbreaks of violence.

More here


Smartypants: President Obama’s legacy: A foundation for peace

Let’s be honest – after the terrorist attack on 9/11 this country went on a bit of a freak-out…wars, torture, Gitmo, terror threat levels, TSA, warrantless surveillance, etc. Its easy to simply blame the Bush/Cheney administration. But the truth is, they got re-elected after most of that was underway. So there’s plenty of blame to go around.

President Obama had to deal with the legacy of that freak-out from the moment he was first elected. He assumed office knowing that another terrorist attack like the one this country experienced in 2001 could ignite more of the same. And he knew that allowing that to happen would threaten any attempt to wage a lasting peace.

More here



Media Matters: Top Cable News Coverage Of Federal Climate Change Report Cast Doubt On Science

Climate Keeps Changing, But Cable Network Reporting Stays The Same

A Media Matters analysis of major cable news coverage of the National Climate Assessment (NCA) revealed that CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News devoted more than three hours of total coverage to the report on its release date, May 6, and the day after. Some reporting, however, gave false balance a national platform, and cable news outlets were more likely to interview politicians than scientists about the threat of global warming.

More here



ABC: Obama Congratulates Michael Sam

President Obama congratulated Michael Sam today, after he made history as the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL when he was picked by the St. Louis Rams, the White House said.

“The President congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward today in our Nation’s journey. From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are,” a White House official emailed to ABC News.

More here



This cracked me up:


On This Day

Sens. Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Boxer confer during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting to vote on the nomination of John Bolton to be the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. on May 12, 2005, on Capitol Hill


Sen. Obama plays a game of pool during a stop at Schultzie’s Bar & Hot Spot, May 12, 2008 in Springhill, West Virginia


Sen. Obama greets supporters before speaking at a campaign rally at the Charleston Civic Center, May 12, 2008 in Charleston, West Virginia


President Obama and Vice President Biden walk to the Rose Garden of the White House to take part in the Top Cops ceremony May 12, 2009 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Obama pets the family dog, Bo, during a brief break from meetings on the South Lawn of the White House May 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama looks through the Oval Office door peephole as his personal secretary Katie Johnson watches, March 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama, receptionist Darienne Page, and Vice President Biden share a laugh outside the Oval Office, May 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama, Vice President Biden, Tom Nee, President of the National Association of Police Organizations, and Attorney General Eric Holder, in the Oval Office before speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House at an event honoring the National Association of Police Organization’s Top Cops May 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder (background) greet the crowd following the Top Cops ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House May 12, 2009 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Obama signs the Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009 bill into law in the Oval Office of the White House Tuesday, May 12, 2009. With President Obama are from left: Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL); Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY); Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA); Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO); Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk to the East Room for “An Evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word, May 12, 2009

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at the first White House Poetry Jam in the East Room of the White House, May 12, 2009 (Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Poet Maya del Valle performs in the East Room at the first White House Poetry Jam performance event, May 12, 2009 (Photo by Samantha Appleton)


First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during the “When Parents Deploy: Understanding the Experiences of Military Children and Spouses” luncheon at Georgetown University Conference Center on May 12, 2010


President Obama takes the stage before addressing the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast at the Mellon Auditorium May 12, 2011

President Obama arrives for a ceremony honoring the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) TOP COPS in the Rose Garden at the White House, May 12, 2011




more pete souza genius

Members of the audience cheer as President Obama delivers remarks on the American Jobs Act at Manchester Central High School, N.H., Nov. 22

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden talk with First Lady Michelle Obama in the Oval Office, Nov. 21

President Obama greets people following a ceremony to honor the French and American Alliance, at a World War I Memorial at the Hotel de Ville in Cannes, France, Nov. 4

President Obama says goodbye to students after a visit to the Yeadon Regional Head Start Center in Yeadon, Pa., Nov. 8

President Obama talks with Chief of Staff Bill Daley before the APEC CEO business summit in Honolulu, Hawaii, Saturday, Nov. 12

President Obama has his picture taken with a member of the U.S. Navy on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson, Nov. 11

President Obama looks out a window of Air Force One during the flight from Canberra to Darwin, Australia, Nov. 17

Members of the Townson University football team take pictures of President Obama during halftime of the Oregon State vs Towson University basketball game in Towson, Md., Nov. 26

And from Lawrence Jackson:

First Lady Michelle Obama walks with children past the official White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room, Nov. 30. Mrs. Obama welcomed military families to the White House for for the first viewing of the 2011 holiday decorations.

See all the photos at Flickr


And here’s Oliver Willis with the Obamas:


the time 100

Professor David Kennedy: “We remain a young nation,” Barack Obama said in 2009, but he added an unsettling admonition that “in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.” No passage in his Inaugural Address more vividly reflected the President’s vision of his country and his times or more accurately foreshadowed the vexations that were to beset his leadership.

Like FDR before him, Obama, 49, has looked beyond the near horizon. He has paid the political price of setting far-visioned initiatives on health care and financial reform ahead of short-term relief. And he has tried to persuade his countrymen to shed some of their youthful illusions: to forsake the frontiersman’s faith in unbridled individualism for a recognition of the complex interdependencies of modern life, to replace the rebel’s fear of government with the citizen’s trust that government of the people and by the people is for the people too, to stop assuming that Santa Claus will give us cheap energy forever and the Easter Bunny will pay our bills. Whatever the near term holds, history is likely to record that Obama set the country on the path to a future with fewer illusions.

Kennedy is a professor of history at Stanford University

Rahm Emanuel: The partnership between any President and Vice President is like a shotgun wedding: Sometimes it works well. Most of the time, it does not. But the relationship between Barack Obama and Joe Biden is as successful a public partnership as I have ever seen.

They began as rival politicians who merged to form a ticket, which is not a prescription for harmony and close cooperation. But in my two years in the White House, I saw these onetime rivals become solid allies and then close friends. I saw a deep bond of trust grow between them, forged in a crucible of crisis.

Biden, 68, has been a wise counselor – unfailingly frank with the President behind closed doors and unwaveringly loyal on the public stage.

With 36 years of experience in the U.S. Senate and a wealth of relationships and insight, Biden has been an invaluable lieutenant on a wide variety of issues. And the President has trusted him with some of the most critical assignments, from the $787 billion Recovery Act to the transition in Iraq.

This is one shotgun wedding that works.

Jamie Oliver: Declaring herself “first mom,” Michelle Obama got right to work on the defining issues of her children’s generation: obesity and improving the health of America’s kids.

Her Let’s Move campaign put obesity in the headlines in part because Americans under 25 are the first generation expected to live shorter lives than their parents because of diet-related illnesses. But Obama, 47, urged people to get up and do something. She convinced her husband to establish America’s first Childhood Obesity Task Force…..

She’s encouraging mayors around the country to embrace obesity-prevention programs. And perhaps most incredibly, she’s had frank and challenging dialogues with some of America’s largest corporations and persuaded them to change their business practices for the sake of the children.

While she knows none of these changes are easy, she’s stood firm in her conviction that if we all just eat better and move more, then we can fight obesity. For her inspirational work, I salute First Lady Michelle Obama – a true revolutionary.

President Obama: The violence in Tucson earlier this year was made all the more shocking by the quintessentially American scene that it shattered: folks of different backgrounds yet part of the same community gathering to share their hopes and ask questions of their elected representative. To put it simply, they came to do the daily work of democracy.

Before that morning, Gabrielle Giffords may not have been a household name. But the reason she has long been admired by people of all political stripes is that she embodies the best of what public service should be: hard work and fair play, hope and resilience, a willingness to listen and a determination to do your best in a busy world. As hard a battle as Giffords, 40, now fights every day, she’s got a strong partner in her husband Mark Kelly, who visits her daily while training to command the space shuttle Endeavour. And she’s got the prayers of a nation rooting for her, a model of civility and courage and unity — a needed voice that cannot return soon enough.


Thank you Tommy 😉


a good deal for the right? in what respect, charlie?

Oliver Willis: President Obama has brokered a deal between the Democratic-run Senate and the Republican-run House that avoids a shutdown of the federal government, while also stripping the bill of issues such as Planned Parenthood funding and decisions about the EPA’s authority.

Yet somehow, I’m seeing from some – particularly Ezra Klein, who should honestly know better – that this was a bad deal for the President.

On policy, of course these budget cuts targeted at programs that assist the poor and middle class suck. But they were always going to suck. The minute the House of Representatives flipped from Democratic to Republican, anyone without giant stores of money had a target at their back. The Republicans negotiated their way to a $39 billion cut.

But let us remember that these are the same Republicans who campaigned on cutting $100 billion from the budget. Just a couple months ago, conservative blogs were despairing that the cuts had been sliced down to $78 billion.

And John Boehner, wily trickster that he is, has made an agreement – which probably does not have the support of his caucus, possibly needing Democratic help – that cuts that ransom demand in half…

What did the polls show that Democrats and Independents wanted out of these negotiations? A compromise that kept the doors open on our government. And that’s what we got. Faced with a fundamentally flawed budget process thanks to the outcome of the November elections, President Obama presided over a bipartisan result that avoided the attempt to scuttle women’s health issues and environmental concerns…

It was enough to prompt Tea Party Nation to claim they will primary Boehner, while base conservatives on the depraved Free Republic gnashed their teeth and made the following statements: “GOP sells out all GOP sucker voters!,” “Cowards, more interested in keeping their jobs then doing what’s right for the country.,” and “The GOP are the modern day Whigs.” This sentiment goes on for quite a few pages.

…Obama and Reid were operating in an environment infected by the Tea Party House, and secured a deal that averted shutdown and showed the President to be the adult here. Yet a few people seem to think this is the kind of thing that is good news for the right. As a failed vice-presidential candidate once asked: In what respect, Charlie?

Full post here


faces in the crowd

Helen Thomas

West Wing actor Richard Schiff

Dennis Quaid and Wolf Blitzer

Scarlett Johansson

Ashley Judd

Arianna Huffington and Joy Behar

Larry King and Michael Douglas

Julianna Margolis and her husband Keith Lieberthal

Colin Powell

Bill Maher and Cara Santa Maria

Senator Chris Dodd and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Wolf Blitzer and Queen Latifah

Rupert ‘Teabagger’ Murdoch and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich

The Jonas Brothers

Justin Bieber and Marlon Wayans

Al Sharpton shakes hands with Jon Bon Jovi’s wife Dorothea

The Daily Show’s John Oliver

Steven Weber

Kim Kardashian

Sanjay Gupta

Katie Couric

The 2010 White House Correspondents’ Dinner







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