JanF

Weekly Address: President Obama – The Affordable Care Act is here to stay

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President called the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act a victory for hardworking Americans across the country, whose lives are more secure because of this law. The Affordable Care Act is working, and it is here to stay. So far more than 16 million uninsured Americans have gained coverage. Nearly one in three Americans who was uninsured a few years ago is insured today. The uninsured rate in America is the lowest since we began to keep such records. With this case behind us, the President reaffirmed his commitment to getting more people covered and making health care in America even better and more affordable.

President Obama: “We must not allow ourselves to slip into comfortable silence again”

From the White House:

President Obama travels to the College of Charleston in South Carolina to deliver a eulogy for Reverend Clement Pinckney and 8 other congregation members of Emanuel AME who were killed on June 17, 2015. June 26, 2015.

President Obama:

Over the course of centuries, black churches served as “hush harbors” where slaves could worship in safety; praise houses where their free descendants could gather and shout hallelujah — rest stops for the weary along the Underground Railroad; bunkers for the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement. They have been, and continue to be, community centers where we organize for jobs and justice; places of scholarship and network; places where children are loved and fed and kept out of harm’s way, and told that they are beautiful and smart — and taught that they matter. That’s what happens in church.

That’s what the black church means. Our beating heart. The place where our dignity as a people is inviolate. When there’s no better example of this tradition than Mother Emanuel — a church built by blacks seeking liberty, burned to the ground because its founder sought to end slavery, only to rise up again, a Phoenix from these ashes.

On the Confederate flag and its removal:

For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. We see that now.

Removing the flag from this state’s capitol would not be an act of political correctness; it would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers. It would simply be an acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought — the cause of slavery — was wrong — the imposition of Jim Crow after the Civil War, the resistance to civil rights for all people was wrong. […]

For too long, we’ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present. Perhaps we see that now. Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty, or attend dilapidated schools, or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career.

On the work ahead:

… it would be a betrayal of everything Reverend Pinckney stood for, I believe, if we allowed ourselves to slip into a comfortable silence again. Once the eulogies have been delivered, once the TV cameras move on, to go back to business as usual — that’s what we so often do to avoid uncomfortable truths about the prejudice that still infects our society. To settle for symbolic gestures without following up with the hard work of more lasting change — that’s how we lose our way again.

Full transcript below …

President Obama: “The Affordable Care Act is here to stay”

From the White House:

On March 23, 2010, I sat down at a table in the East Room of the White House and signed my name on a law that said, once and for all, that health care would no longer be a privilege for a few. It would be a right for everyone.

Five years later, after more than 50 votes in Congress to repeal or weaken this law and multiple challenges before the Supreme Court, here is what we know today:

This law worked. It’s still working. It has changed and saved American lives. It has set this country on a smarter, stronger course.

And it’s here to stay.

If that means something to you today, add your voice here.

This morning, the Supreme Court upheld one of the most critical parts of health reform — the part that has made it easier for Americans to afford health insurance, no matter where you live.

If the challenges to this law had succeeded, millions would have had thousands of dollars in tax credits taken away. Insurance would have once again become unaffordable for many Americans. Many would have even become uninsured again. Ultimately, everyone’s premiums could have gone up.

Because of this law, and because of today’s decision, millions of Americans will continue to receive the tax credits that have given about 8 in 10 people who buy insurance on the new Health Insurance Marketplaces the choice of a health care plan that costs less than $100 a month.

If you’re a parent, you can keep your kids on your plan until they turn 26 — something that has covered millions of young people so far. That’s because of this law. If you’re a senior, or have a disability, this law gives you discounts on your prescriptions — something that has saved 9 million Americans an average of $1,600 so far. If you’re a woman, you can’t be charged more than anybody else — even if you’ve had cancer, or your husband had heart disease, or just because you’re a woman. Your insurer has to offer free preventive services like mammograms. They can’t place annual or lifetime caps on your care.

And when it comes to preexisting conditions — someday, our grandkids will ask us if there was really a time when America discriminated against people who got sick. Because that’s something this law has ended for good.

Five years in and more than 16 million insured Americans later, this is no longer just about a law. This isn’t just about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

This is health care in America.

Today is a victory for every American whose life will continue to become more secure because of this law. And 20, 30, 50 years from now, most Americans may not know what “Obamacare” is. And that’s okay. That’s the point.

Because today, this reform remains what it always has been — a set of fairer rules and tougher protections that have made health care in America more affordable, more attainable, and more about you.

That’s who we are as Americans. We look out for one another. We take care of each other. We root for one another’s success. We strive to do better, to be better, than the generation before us, and we try to build something better for the generation that comes behind us.

And today, with this behind us, let’s come together and keep building something better. That starts right now.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

The president and vice president, Thursday morning:

Transcript below.

SCOTUS Watch – Friday, June 26th – UPDATE: Court rules that same-sex marriage is a right

June is SCOTUS Decision month, when all eyes turn to the Supreme Court for rulings on the cases argued this term (before the court adjourns on June 30th for the summer). The calendar normally calls for orders and opinions to be released every Monday – 9:30am for orders and 10:00am for opinions. However, history has shown that additional “opinion days” are often added as the month unfolds and this year is no different as last week we had our first Thursday opinion day and this week the court is adding Thursday and Friday.

The Friday Liveblog will start at 9:00am Eastern with opinions at 10:00am. We expect the last day of opinions to be Monday, June 29th after which the court will adjourn until the Fall term.

As always, the Moose News Network will cover the SCOTUS events with the help of SCOTUSblog and Twitter.

 
All eyes turn to the court

UPDATE: Obergefell v. Hodges. 6th Circuit overturned, ruling is for Obergefell and affirms a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry. Decision 5-4, Kennedy writing majority. Opinion (PDF)

Johnson v. U.S. Ruling is for Johnson and that the Armed Career Criminal Act denies due process. Ruling is 8-1, with Scalia writing majority opinion. Opinion (PDF)

The Supreme Court will be in session this morning for opinions starting at 10:00am Eastern. SCOTUSblog will liveblog at this link starting at 9:00am Eastern.

Included in the list of cases heard in the current term but not yet decided are these:
DECIDED: 6th Circuit overruled. Same-sex marriage is a right. The marriage equality cases, listed under Obergefell v. Hodges (6th Circuit ruled in favor of the state bans)
– The “can citizens redistrict?” case, Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (the Federal District Court upheld the redistricting, legislature appealed directly to Supreme Court)
– A death penalty case related to the drugs used, Glossip v Gross (Oklahoma wants to change its drug protocol, 10th Circuit ruled against the plaintiffs and for the state)
– Three suits against the EPA over its regulation of utilities and “failure” to consider costs, listed as Michigan vs. the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (The states are appealing a ruling upholding EPA rule making procedures)

A full list of pending cases (with links) is below the fold.

SCOTUS Watch – Thursday, June 25th – UPDATED: ACA Wins! Fair Housing Wins!

June is SCOTUS Decision month, when all eyes turn to the Supreme Court for rulings on the cases argued this term (before the court adjourns on June 30th for the summer). The calendar calls for orders and opinions to be released every Monday – 9:30am for orders and 10:00am for opinions. However, history has shown that additional “opinion days” are often added as the month unfolds and this year is no different as last week we had our first Thursday opinion day and this week the court is adding Thursday and Friday.

The Thursday Liveblog will start at 9:00am Eastern with opinions at 10:00am. Friday’s Liveblog will start at 9:00am Eastern also with opinions at 10:00am. We expect the last day of opinions to be Monday, June 29th after which the court will adjourn until the Fall term.

As always, the Moose News Network will cover the SCOTUS events with the help of SCOTUSblog and Twitter.

 

All eyes turn to the court

The Supreme Court will be in session this morning for opinions starting at 10:00am Eastern. SCOTUSblog will liveblog at this link starting at 8:30am Eastern.

Included in the list of cases heard in the current term but not yet decided are these:
– The marriage equality cases, listed under Obergefell v. Hodges (6th Circuit ruled in favor of the state bans)
– DECIDED: 4th Circuit Affirmed! Subsidies are available on Federal Exchange as well as State Exchange!!The Affordable Care Act state exchange case, King v Burwell (4th Circuit ruled in favor of Burwell)
– The “can citizens redistrict?” case, Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (the Federal District Court upheld the redistricting, legislature appealed directly to Supreme Court)
– A death penalty case related to the drugs used, Glossip v Gross (Oklahoma wants to change its drug protocol, 10th Circuit ruled against the plaintiffs and for the state)
– DECIDED: 5th Circuit Affirmed! Disparate Impact Survives!! An assault on the Fair Housing Act, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. (The 5th Circuit ruled against the state agency’s mis-application of the Fair Housing Act)
– Three suits against the EPA over its regulation of utilities and “failure” to consider costs, listed as Michigan vs. the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (The states are appealing a ruling upholding EPA rule making procedures)

A full list of pending cases (with links) is below the fold.

Let Our People Vote

Today, Democrats in Congress will introduce the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015, a bill intended to repair the damage done to the Voting Rights Act by the Shelby County v Holder Supreme Court ruling two years ago.

The bill will face an uphill battle because one of our major national parties (sadly, the one in a majority right now) is bent on shrinking the franchise in order to continue to hang onto power. But it is important to present the Good Government alternative to their obstructionism:

The Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 would compel states with a well-documented history of recent voting discrimination to clear future voting changes with the federal government, require federal approval for voter ID laws, and outlaw new efforts to suppress the growing minority vote.

The legislation will be formally introduced tomorrow by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and leaders of the Black Caucus, Hispanic Caucus, and Asian Pacific American Caucus in the House. Civil-rights icon Representative John Lewis will be a co-sponsor. The bill is much stronger than the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (VRAA), Congress’s initial response to the Supreme Court’s decision, which garnered bipartisan support in the House but was not embraced by the congressional Republican leadership, which declined to schedule a hearing, let alone a vote, on the bill.[…]

The 2016 election will be the first in 50 years where voters will not have the full protections of the VRA, which adds urgency to the congressional effort.

The 2016 election can be summed up pretty succinctly as the “Use It Or Lose It” election as Democrats, including our likely nominee Hillary Clinton, have lined up on the side of expanding voting rights … and Republicans have made it clear that they have no interest in fixing any of the problems with our current system (the bill has no Republican sponsors).

Leonard Pitts: “Where can we find sanctuary?”

Leonard Pitts, widely syndicated opinion writer for the Miami Herald, published an editorial yesterday: There is no sanctuary

He begins with the definition of “sanctuary”:

The main hall of a church is called a sanctuary.

It is where you go to worship, to seek fellowship and solace, and commune with your maker. The dictionary definition of the word adds an additional layer of resonance. A sanctuary is where you are sheltered and protected. A sanctuary is where you are safe.

Wednesday night, Emanuel AME church in Charleston, S.C., was a church without a sanctuary. Wednesday night, Emanuel AME was a killing ground.

The killer, dishonoring sanctuary, shouted out his manifesto of hatred:

“I have to do it,” [confessed killer Dylann] Roof is quoted as saying. “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”

If there is reason to believe the Rev. Pinckney or any of his congregants guilty of raping anyone or plotting to overthrow the government, it has not yet come to light.

But of course, when Roof said “you,” he did not mean “you,” singular. Rather he meant, “you,” plural. “You” people. “You” all. Individuality is, after all, the first casualty of racism.

In a country that Pitts points out is in the grip of gun fetishism, he suggests that this crime is not surprising. And he goes on to talk about the myth that allows people who should know better to declare that our country is post-racial and challenges them:

Let them go to any of a hundred cities and talk to black people who are sick of hearing how America overcame, learned its lesson, reached the Promised Land, yet somehow, sister can’t get a loan, dad can’t find a job, brother has to factor stop-and-frisk encounters into his travel time to and from school, and Walter Scott gets shot in the back while running away. All for rapes they never committed and government takeovers they never planned.

This!

Solange Knowles, sister of Beyonce, put it as follows Thursday in a tweet: “Was already weary. Was already heavy hearted. Was already tired. Where can we be safe? Where can we be free? Where can we be black?

Where, in other words, can we find just a moment to breathe free of this constant onus? Where can we find sanctuary?

It is up to white allies, people of goodwill, willing to own our part in what our country has become, to declare ourselves people who refuse to bury our heads in the sand, people who won’t just say “this has to stop” but will vow to MAKE IT STOP.

The promises of Abraham Lincoln in the Emancipation Proclamation (underscored by the sacrifices of those who died to preserve the union and end slavery) should not be left unfulfilled 150 years later, the promises of Lyndon Baines Johnson and the Democratic Congresses of the early 1960s (passing into law the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act) should not be left unfulfilled over 50 years later. It is time we, all Americans, fulfilled those promises … and provide sanctuary.

GOP Primary Primacy – NBC/WSJ Poll

Jeb!mentum and Trumpmania were the watchwords last week as the clown car swelled by two. Word was that Bobby Jindal, dictator of Louisiana, was to have announced on Saturday but probably held up as he went looking for a Confederate flag to hang in the capitol in Baton Rouge so that someone … anyone! … would notice that he can be a world class racist as well as the next guy.

National polls show that Jeb Bush got a bump and now leads all Republican candidates.

Jeb Bush 22%
Scott Walker 17%
Marco Rubio 14%
Ben Carson 11%
Mike Huckabee 9%
Rand Paul 7%
Rick Perry 5%
Ted Cruz 4%
Chris Christie 4%
Carly Fiorina 2%

Donald Trump 1%
Lindsey Graham 1%
John Kasich 1%
Bobby Jindal 0%
Rick Santorum 0%
George Pataki 0%

(The top ten will be invited to the Fox News debate. Carly Fiorina says that she needs to be invited so that she can “throw punches” at Hillary Clinton. Stay classy, Carly!!.)

I am sure that Rick Santorum has more than 0 actual supporters … well, on second thought, maybe not.

For what it is worth, none of these candidates believe that global warming is caused by human activity and most are quite peeved that the Pope stuck his nose where it was did not belong!

WASHINGTON—In response to a 184-page papal encyclical that urges immediate action to address the environmental and social consequences of global warming, a coalition of frustrated Republican leaders issued statements Thursday arguing that Pope Francis should leave scientific matters to scientists who deny climate change. “Frankly, it’s not really anyone’s place to make declarations about climate science or global temperature changes unless they’re a scientific expert who has spent years rejecting the concept of climate change,” said former Florida governor Jeb Bush, … “The pope should just stick to theology and let the several dozen scientists who support the scientifically disproven point of view on global warming do the talking.” Bush also told reporters that Pope Francis was unqualified to issue policy recommendations of any kind unless he had personally accepted money from the fossil fuel industry.

SCOTUS Watch – Monday, June 22nd – UPDATED

June is SCOTUS Decision month, when all eyes turn to the Supreme Court for rulings on the cases argued this term (before the court adjourns on June 30th for the summer). The calendar calls for orders and opinions to be released every Monday – 9:30am for orders and 10:00am for opinions. However, history has shown that additional “opinion days” are often added as the month unfolds and this year is no different as last week we had our first Thursday opinion day (no word yet on this week) THERE WILL BE A THURSDAY OPINION DAY – Liveblog to start at 8:30am Eastern, opinions at 10:00am and also Friday at 10:00am.

As always, the Moose News Network will cover the SCOTUS events with the help of SCOTUSblog and Twitter.

 
All eyes turn to the court

UPDATE: Four cases
– The City of Los Angeles vs. Patel – 9th Circuit upheld in matter of turning over guest registries. The city has no right to the guest registries.
– Kimball v Marvel Entertainment LLC – Marvel wins. Lower court rulings upheld that the original holder of a patent is not entitled to royalties after the patent expires.
– Kingsley v Hendrickson – 7th Circuit overruled in a Due Process case granting protections to a jail inmate.
– Horne v Department of Agriculture – 9th Circuit overruled. Raisin farmer entitled to compensation for raisins seized in the excess raisin program.

The Supreme Court will be in session this morning for orders and opinions starting at 9:30am Eastern. SCOTUSblog will liveblog at this link starting at 9:00am Eastern.

Included in the list of cases heard in the current term but not yet decided are these:
– The marriage equality cases, listed under Obergefell v. Hodges (6th Circuit ruled in favor of the state bans)
– The Affordable Care Act state exchange case, King v Burwell (4th Circuit ruled in favor of Burwell)
– The “can citizens redistrict?” case, Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (the Federal District Court upheld the redistricting, legislature appealed directly to Supreme Court)
– A death penalty case related to the drugs used, Glossip v Gross (Oklahoma wants to change its drug protocol, 10th Circuit ruled against the plaintiffs and for the state)
– An assault on the Fair Housing Act, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. (The 5th Circuit ruled against the state agency’s application of the Fair Housing Act)
– Three suits against the EPA over its regulation of utilities and “failure” to consider costs, listed as Michigan vs. the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (The states are appealing a ruling upholding EPA rule making procedures)
DECIDED – 9th Circuit Upheld A 4th Amendment case involving hotel guest registries, The City of Los Angeles vs. Patel (the city is appealing 9th Circuit ruling that the registries do not need to be turned over)

A full list of pending cases (with links) is below the fold.