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President Obama Speaks on Health Care in America

The President spoke about health care in America on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.

(Transcript: Remarks by the President at the Catholic Hospital Association Conference)

From President Obama:

On a day in early September of 2009, I received the following letter from Senator Edward Kennedy. He’d written in May of that year, shortly after he learned that his illness was terminal. He asked that it be delivered to me upon his death.

It is a letter about the cause of his career — what he called “that great unfinished business of our society” — health care reform.

“What we face,” he writes, “is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.”

Senator Kennedy never stopped asking what he could do for his country. Today, tens of millions of Americans are better for it.

And while Teddy didn’t live to see his life’s work signed into law, more than five years after its passage, the spirit of his words ring true. This is, fundamentally, about the character of our country. Doing right by one another.

It’s who we are.

Tomorrow, I will deliver remarks about health care in America. Get a history of where we’ve been, and let me know you’ll be watching.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

From the White House: Health Care in America

News about the latest attacks on the president’s health care initiatives are below …

SCOTUS Watch – Monday, June 8th – Updated

June is SCOTUS Decision month, when legal geeks look to the Supreme Court for rulings on the cases argued this session before the court adjourns on June 30th for the summer. The calendar calls for orders and decisions to be released every Monday at 10:00am but history has shown that additional “decision days” are often added as the month unfolds.

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: Court rules on only one case today suggesting that they will need to add decision days to get through the remaining cases before June 30. Today’s case:
Zivotofsky v. Kerry Issue(s): Whether a federal statute that directs the Secretary of State, on request, to record the birthplace of an American citizen born in Jerusalem as born in “Israel” on a Consular Report of Birth Abroad and on a United States passport is unconstitutional on the ground that the statute “impermissibly infringes on the President’s exercise of the recognition power reposing exclusively in him.

DC Circuit ruling upheld in a 6 to 3 decision, Kennedy writing: the president has the exclusive power to recognize … statute is not permissable.

The Supreme Court will be in session this morning for orders and opinions starting at 10:00am Eastern. SCOTUSblog will liveblog at this link starting at 9:30am 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)
– 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 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)
– Some other First Amendment cases:
    – The Confederate license plate case, Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans (5th Circuit ruled against state, state appealed)
    – A signage case Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona (9th Circuit ruled that the restrictions were reasonable, Reed appealed)
– 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)
– A 4th Amendment case involving hotel guest registries, The City of Los Angeles vs. Patel (city is appealing 9th Circuit ruling)

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

Weekly Address: President Obama – Celebrating Immigrant Heritage Month

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 recognized Immigrant Heritage Month, an occasion that allows us to celebrate our origins as a nation of immigrants. The basic idea of welcoming people to our shores is central to our ancestry and our way of life. That’s why the President asked everyone to visit whitehouse.gov/NewAmericans and share stories of making it to America.

And as we celebrate our heritage and our diversity, the President promised to continue to fight to fix our current broken immigration system and make it more just and more fair, strengthening America in the process.

How did that turtle get there?

Yesterday, June 4th, was the 96th anniversary of the day that Congress passed the 19th Amendment, granting the right of women to vote, and sent it to the states for ratification. That act was an example of what happens when people of goodwill come together to right a wrong. It happened again in 2006 when a Republican president signed the re-authorization of the Voting Rights Act … a bill that had passed 98 to 0 in the U.S. Senate and 390 to 33 in the House of Representatives.

Since 2006, this happened:

First, in 2013, Chief Justice John Roberts declared that there is no racial discrimination in America, none, zero, zilch, nada … and that the quaint pre-clearance rules in the Voting Rights Act should be relegated to the dustbin of history. Then, to exactly no ones surprise, in 2013 and 2014, teaparty governments in states that would have been subject to pre-clearance passed some of the most onerous voter suppression laws in the country.

Hillary Clinton, June 4, 2015:

‘You find a turtle on a fence post, it did not get there on its own.’ Well, all of these problems with voting did not just happen by accident. And it is just wrong, it’s wrong to try to prevent, undermine, inhibit Americans’ rights to vote. Its counter to the values we share. And at a time when so many Americans have lost trust in our political system, it’s the opposite of what we should be doing in our country.

From HillaryClinton.com:

During a speech at Texas Southern University in Houston, Hillary Clinton called for expanding Americans’ voting rights while decrying Republican efforts to restrict them. The latest in her long history of fighting to expand voting rights, she called for universal, automatic voter registration for every American in every state when they turn 18. She called for a new national standard of no fewer than 20 days of early in-person voting in every state, including opportunities for weekend and evening voting. And she urged Congress to restore key sections of the Voting Rights Act, which the Supreme Court invalidated

VIDEO from CSPAN:

Secretary Clinton was at Texas Southern Universty to accept the inaugural Barbara Jordan Public-Private Leadership Award from The Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs and the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at the university. She spoke to the gathering:

… like every woman who has run for national office in this country in the last four decades, I stand here on the shoulders of Barbara Jordan and so does our entire country. […]

… unfortunately, Barbara isn’t here to speak up for them and so many others. But we are. And we have a responsibility to say clearly and directly what’s really going on in our country—because what is happening is a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people, and young people from one end of our country to the other.

Because since the Supreme Court eviscerated a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, many of the states that previously faced special scrutiny because of a history of racial discrimination have proposed and passed new laws that make it harder than ever to vote. […]

Today, Republicans are systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting. What part of democracy are they afraid of? […]

We need a Supreme Court that cares more about protecting the right to vote of a person to vote than the right of a corporation to buy an election. […]

But of course, you know what we really need? We need more elected leaders from Houston to Austin to Washington who will follow in the footsteps of Barbara Jordan and fight for the rights and opportunities of everyday Americans, not just those at the top of the ladder. And we need to remember that progress is built on common ground, not scorched earth. […]

As Barbara Jordan famously reminded us, when the Constitution was first written, it left most of us here out. But generations of Americans fought and marched and organized and prayed to expand the circle of freedom and opportunity. They never gave up and never backed down.

And nearly a century ago on this very day, after years of struggle, Congress finally passed the 19th amendment to give women the right to vote in the United States.

So that is, that is the story of progress, courageous men and women, expanding rights, not restricting them. And today we refuse, we refuse to allow our country or this generation of leaders to slow or reverse America’s long march toward a more perfect union.

Commentary and full transcript below …

President Obama: “It’s never too late to say thank you”

On Tuesday, President Obama presented Medals of Honor, posthumously, to two soldiers from World War I , Private Henry Johnson, of Albany, New York, an African-American, and Sergeant William Shemin, of Bayonne, New Jersey, a Jewish man.

We are a nation — a people — who remember our heroes. We take seriously our responsibility to only send them when war is necessary. We strive to care for them and their families when they come home. We never forget their sacrifice. And we believe that it’s never too late to say thank you. That’s why we’re here this morning.

Today, America honors two of her sons who served in World War I, nearly a century ago. These two soldiers were roughly the same age, dropped into the battlefields of France at roughly the same time. They both risked their own lives to save the lives of others. They both left us decades ago, before we could give them the full recognition that they deserved.

Our country did not do a great job with the “caring for them and their families when they come home” part when it came to Private Henry Johnson:

Henry was one of the first Americans to receive France’s highest award for valor. But his own nation didn’t award him anything –- not even the Purple Heart, though he had been wounded 21 times. Nothing for his bravery, though he had saved a fellow solder at great risk to himself. His injuries left him crippled. He couldn’t find work. His marriage fell apart. And in his early 30s, he passed away.

Now, America can’t change what happened to Henry Johnson. We can’t change what happened to too many soldiers like him, who went uncelebrated because our nation judged them by the color of their skin and not the content of their character. But we can do our best to make it right. In 1996, President Clinton awarded Henry Johnson a Purple Heart. And today, 97 years after his extraordinary acts of courage and selflessness, I’m proud to award him the Medal of Honor.

Full transcript below.

SCOTUS Watch – Monday, June 1st

It’s June! Time for legal geeks to look to the Supreme Court for rulings on the cases argued this session before the court adjourns on June 30th for the summer. The calendar calls for orders and decisions to be released every Monday at 10:00am but history has shown that additional “decision days” are often added as the month unfolds.

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 decided, two that we were tracking:
– EEOC v Abercrombie & Fitch: ruled 8 to 1 that the job applicant was discriminated against for her religion because the employer would not make an accommodation for her religious headgear in their “no head gear” policy. Win for EEOC.

– Elonis v US: ruled 7-2 that “reasonable person would think it was a threat” was not enough, that the court has to show that the defendant meant it as a threat. Remanded.

The Supreme Court will be in session this morning for orders and opinions starting at 10:00am Eastern. SCOTUSblog will liveblog at this link starting at 9:30am Eastern.

Included in the list of cases heard in the current term but not yet decided are these:
DECIDED: The Facebook threat case, Elonis v. U.S.
– The marriage equality cases, listed under Obergefell v. Hodges
– The Affordable Care Act state exchange case, King v Burwell
– The “can citizens redistrict?” case, Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission
– A death penalty case related to the drugs used, Glossip v Gross
– Some other First Amendment cases:
    – The Confederate license plate case, Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans
    – A signage case Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona
    – DECIDED: A religious liberty case Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) vs. Abercrombie & Fitch
– An assault on the Fair Housing Act, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.
– Three suits against the EPA over its regulation of utilities and “failure” to consider costs, listed as Michigan vs. the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
– A 4th Amendment case involving hotel guest registries, The City of Los Angeles vs. Patel

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

Good Government: The EPA Protects Our Drinking Water

Clean water rules released on Wednesday will give the EPA more power to protect our drinking water:

The Waters of the United States rule, developed by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, offers protection to two million miles of streams and 20 million acres of wetlands that, until now, were not clearly designated under the Clean Water Act. The rule clarifies what tributaries and wetlands are part of the overall water system and will decrease confusion and expense, the EPA and Army Corps said Wednesday.

“For the water in the rivers and lakes in our communities that flow to our drinking water to be clean, the streams and wetlands that feed them need to be clean too,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Protecting our water sources is a critical component of adapting to climate change impacts like drought, sea level rise, stronger storms, and warmer temperatures – which is why EPA and the Army have finalized the Clean Water Rule to protect these important waters, so we can strengthen our economy and provide certainty to American businesses.”

Weekly Address: President Obama – Honoring Our Fallen Heroes this Memorial Day

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 commemorated Memorial Day by paying tribute to the men and women in uniform who have given their lives in service to our country.

The President will spend the first Memorial Day since the end of the war in Afghanistan at Arlington Cemetery, remembering the more than 2,200 American patriots who gave their lives in that conflict, as well as all of our fallen soldiers. The President asked that all Americans spend Monday honoring the memory and sacrifice of those heroes, and remain committed to the cause of freedom and the country for which they fought.

Rhododendron Time

2014-05-19 Garden St.

 

Spring time is Rhododendron time around the world. These prolific bloomers are native to Asia, North America, Australia, and Europe. They are members of the Genus Rhododendron and the Family of Ericaceae (Heaths). The name is derived from ancient Greek (rhódon “rose” or “red“) and déndron “tree”). There are some 800 to 1,000 species and 28,000 cultivars listed by the Royal Horticultural Society. Azaleas are a subgenera of Rhododendron.

President Obama: “Climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security”

In an address to Coast Guard graduates, President Obama on Wednesday made his strongest statements yet about the impact of climate change not only on our ability to survive as a species but on the threat it poses to national security:

“I am here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security, and make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country,” he said during the Coast Guard Academy’s graduation ceremony.

Speaking to cadets, who he said were already battling climate change, Obama said, “This is not just a problem for countries on the coast or for certain regions of the world. Climate change will impact every country on the planet. No nation is immune.” …

The Pentagon has called climate change “a threat multiplier,” making conflicts more difficult to confront.

Obama said Wednesday that this threat multiplier is not just about the future. The burdens of climate change, he said, are already felt by the U.S. national security apparatus.

He said that in Nigeria and Syria the effects of climate change have given radical groups space to capitalize on existing instability.

The President’s address is below the fold …