JanF

Weekly Address: President Obama – If you haven’t gotten covered, here’s your chance

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 discussed the importance of reducing the number of people without health insurance. Because of the Affordable Care Act, more people now have the security of health insurance than ever before. As the law’s coverage provisions have taken effect, 17.6 million Americans have gained coverage, and the nation’s uninsured rate now stands at its lowest level ever. The ACA is working, making health care more affordable, accessible, and of higher quality for millions of people. But there are still Americans around the country who are eligible for Marketplace coverage yet remain uninsured. The President encouraged those who do not have health insurance at this point, especially those whose communities are part of the Healthy Communities Challenge, to go online, take advantage of the open enrollment period that began this past weekend, and sign up for health care coverage.

In this week’s address, the President discussed the importance of reducing the number of people without health insurance.

President Obama: “We are going to lead by example””

Today, President Obama has announced his decision to not approve the building of the Keystone XL pipeline:

President Obama announces that his Administration is rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline. November 6, 2015.
President Obama:

This morning, Secretary Kerry informed me that, after extensive public outreach and consultation with other Cabinet agencies, the State Department has decided that the Keystone XL Pipeline would not serve the national interest of the United States. I agree with that decision. […]

America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change. And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that’s the biggest risk we face — not acting.

Today, we’re continuing to lead by example. Because ultimately, if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.

This is still our time … and we have work left to do

Seven years ago last night, this happened:

President-Elect Barack Obama:

This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can.

And if we ignore the naysayers and shut out the haters, we can continue on the path towards reclaiming the American Dream. Because this is more than just one person – this is a movement and it is our movement. Yes We Can.

President Obama: “Ban the Box”

On Monday, President Obama appeared at an event in Newark NJ to announce actions the Administration is taking to help rehabilitate Americans who have paid their debt to society.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

Now, a lot of time, [a criminal] record disqualifies you from being a full participant in our society — even if you’ve already paid your debt to society. It means millions of Americans have difficulty even getting their foot in the door to try to get a job much less actually hang on to that job. That’s bad for not only those individuals, it’s bad for our economy. It’s bad for the communities that desperately need more role models who are gainfully employed. So we’ve got to make sure Americans who’ve paid their debt to society can earn their second chance. […]

Number one, my administration is announcing new grants to help returning citizens seize that second chance through education and job training and housing and legal help and children’s services. (Applause.) […]

Point number two, I’m taking action to “ban the box” — (applause) — for the most competitive jobs at federal agencies.

Now, the federal government is a big employer, as you know, and like a lot of big employers, on many job applications there’s a box that asks if you have a criminal record. If you answer yes, then a lot of times you’re not getting a call back. We’re going to do our part in changing this. The federal government, I believe, should not use criminal history to screen out applicants before we even look at their qualifications. We can’t dismiss people out of hand simply because of a mistake that they made in the past.

(Full text of transcript below the fold)

FACT SHEET: President Obama Announces New Actions to Promote Rehabilitation and Reintegration for the Formerly- Incarcerated

Each year, more than 600,000 individuals are released from state and federal prisons. Advancing policies and programs that enable these men and women to put their lives back on track and earn their second chance promotes not only justice and fairness, but also public safety. That is why this Administration has taken a series of concrete actions to reduce the challenges and barriers that the formerly incarcerated confront, including through the work of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, a cabinet-level working group to support the federal government’s efforts to promote public safety and economic opportunity through purposeful cross-agency coordination and collaboration.

Weekly Address: President Obama – It’s Time To Reform our Criminal Justice System

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 spoke to the need for meaningful criminal justice reform in America. America faces a cycle of poverty, criminality, and incarceration that traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities. The President believes that we can disrupt the pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails, and make our criminal justice system smarter, fairer, and more effective. That’s why in recent weeks, he has been traveling the country and meeting with Americans who are working to improve the criminal justice system, from law enforcement officials working to lower the crime and incarceration rates, to former prisoners who are earning their second chance. And on Monday, the President will travel to Newark, New Jersey to highlight efforts to help Americans who’ve paid their debt to society rejoin their communities.

Passing the Baton to the Next Democratic President

Arriving in my Inbox last night was an email from David Plouffe, Barack Obama’s campaign manager from the 2008 election.

But it didn’t come from barackobama.com this time … it came from the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign!

Friend —

During the most intense days of the 2008 primary, while I was serving as the Obama campaign manager, I would never have imagined writing this email.

But eight years later, I believe Hillary Clinton should — and will — be our next president. She will make an outstanding and worthy successor to President Obama. She will do big and important things — and we will all look back and be proud of whatever we did to help elect her.

Here’s what I (and so many fellow Obama campaign veterans) have learned about Hillary Clinton:

She doesn’t quit — and there were times I wish she had! But you have to deeply admire that strength and persistence. From her job at the Children’s Defense Fund to her work as First Lady of the United States, as a U.S. Senator for New York, and as the Secretary of State, she’s been working everyday to make people’s lives better.

You won’t find anyone in this race more determined than Hillary to make sure every single American has a fair shot to live up to their potential. There is no one more prepared, more diligent, or more ready with detailed plans for how to make it happen.

Hillary will protect President Obama’s legacy — and like President Obama before her, she will make history. I look forward to the day my daughter, who was born a little more than 48 hours after the glorious scene in Grant Park in 2008, will know just as well as my son that she can grow up to be anything she wants, even president of the United States.

The stakes in this election are enormous. The difference between Hillary and a Trump, Carson, or Rubio could not be more profound. Once again, we need a president who understands the challenges we face — someone who can and will do something about it.

Hillary Clinton is that leader. And if we step up to fight alongside her, she’ll be the next president of the United States.

Go win this thing, Madam Secretary.

Sincerely,

David Plouffe

David Plouffe also posted his thoughts on Medium: Why I’m for Hillary Clinton.

In that post, he referenced Candidate Barack Obama’s speech at the 2007 Iowa Jefferson-Jackson dinner, a speech that set the tone for his campaign … and really his presidency.

This year’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner was held last night and Hillary Clinton spoke at this one as well but not as a challenger to Barack Obama but as a candidate glad to take the baton from President Obama and continue his legacy and further advance Democratic Party principles.

Transcript snippets:

“I’M RUNNING AS A PROUD DEMOCRAT”.

“WE DEMOCRATS ARE OFFERING REAL SOLUTIONS. LIKE PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS DONE FOR THE PAST 6.5 YEARS.”

“HE SAVED THE AUTO INDUSTRY. HE IMPOSED TOUGH, NEW RULES ON WALL STREET. AND HE EXTENDED HEALTH CARE TO 18 MILLION AMERICANS. [APPLAUSE]”

“WE NEED TO DEFEND THE PROGRESS THAT WE HAVE MADE UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA. AND WE NEED TO BUILD ON IT, UNTIL THE RECOVERY IS SECURE, AND ALL AMERICANS HAVE A CHANCE TO RAISE THEIR INCOMES.”

I echo David Plouffe: “Go win this thing, Madam Secretary.”

Weekly Address: President Obama – Protecting Our Planet for Future Generations

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 laid out the importance of serving as good stewards of the environment and maintaining the planet for generations to come. Since taking office the President has prioritized protecting the places that make America special. He has repeatedly said that no challenge poses a greater threat to our future than a changing climate, which is why he’s taken bold actions at home and encouraged historic action abroad on the issue. In his address, he encouraged Congress to reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund which has protected more than 5 million acres of land for more than half a century, without costing taxpayers a dime. Republicans in Congress let the fund expire despite strong bipartisan support. And he reminded us that we all have to do our part to address climate change, promote clean energy and energy efficiency, and ensure a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations.

President Obama Speaks on Criminal Justice Reform and “Black Lives Matter”

The White House hosted a panel discussion on criminal justice reform with law enforcement officials.

(President Obama hosts a panel discussion on criminal justice reform in South Court Auditorium at the White House. October 22, 2015.)

The president made a point of explaining Black Lives Matter, a movement and a hashtag that are often misunderstood, sometimes willfully:

“I think the reason that the organizers used the phrase “black lives matter” was not because they were suggesting nobody else’s lives matter,” [President Obama] said. “What they were suggesting was, there is a specific problem that is happening in the African-American community that’s not happening in other communities. And that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address.”

… the meaning of the phrase has been perverted by media pundits and some members of law enforcement, who argue that it is inflammatory rhetoric. The phrases “all lives matter” and “blue lives matter” sprang up in direct response to activists who have mobilized against police brutality and attacks on black lives.

“It started being lifted up as ‘these folks are opposed to police, and they’re opposed to cops, and all lives matter.’ So the notion was somehow saying black lives matter was reverse racism, or suggesting other people’s lives didn’t matter or police officers’ lives didn’t matter,” he said.

Obama then pointed out that saying “black lives matter” is not about reducing the importance of other groups.

He also spoke about the need to take the onus off the law enforcement community:

I think there’s been a healthy debate around police-community relations and some of the episodes that we’ve seen around the country, but we, as a society, if we are not investing in opportunity for poor kids, and then we expect just the police and prosecutors to keep them out of sight and out of mind, that’s a failed strategy. That’s a failure on our part, as a whole.

Full text of the transcript is below.