National Geographic Magazine: The New Face of Hunger.


The Militant Negro

The Militant Negro

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Millions of working Americans don’t know where their next meal is coming from. We sent three photographers to explore hunger in three very different parts of the United States, each giving different faces to the same statistic: One-sixth of Americans don’t have enough food to eat.

 

The New Face of Hunger

 

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Osage, Iowa PHOTOGRAPHS BY AMY TOENSING On our nation’s richest lands, farmers grow corn and soybeans used to feed livestock, make cooking oil, and produce sweeteners. Yet one in eight Iowans often goes hungry, with children the most vulnerable to food insecurity.

Bronx, New York PHOTOGRAPHS BY STEPHANIE SINCLAIR Urban neighborhoods with pervasive unemployment and poverty are home to the hungriest. The South Bronx has the highest rate of food insecurity in the country, 37 percent, compared with 16.6 for New York City as a whole.

Bronx, New York
PHOTOGRAPHS BY STEPHANIE SINCLAIR
Urban neighborhoods with pervasive unemployment and poverty are home to the hungriest. The South Bronx has the highest rate of food insecurity in the country, 37 percent, compared with 16.6 for New York City as a whole.

Houston, Texas PHOTOGRAPHS BY KITRA CAHANA Despite a strong economy, Houston is ringed by neighborhoods where many working families can’t afford groceries. Hunger has grown faster in America’s suburbs than in its cities over the past decade, creating a class of “SUV poor.”

Houston, Texas
PHOTOGRAPHS BY KITRA CAHANA
Despite a strong economy, Houston is ringed by neighborhoods where many working families can’t afford groceries. Hunger has grown faster in America’s suburbs than in its cities over the past decade, creating a class of “SUV poor.”

 

On a gold-gray morning in Mitchell County, Iowa, Christina Dreier sends her son, Keagan, to school without breakfast. He is three years old, barrel-chested, and stubborn, and usually refuses to eat the free meal he qualifies for at preschool. Faced with a dwindling pantry, Dreier has decided to try some tough love: If she sends Keagan to school hungry, maybe he’ll eat the free breakfast, which will leave more food at home for lunch.

 

Dreier knows her gambit might backfire, and it does. Keagan ignores the school breakfast on offer and is so hungry by lunchtime that Dreier picks through the dregs of her freezer in hopes of filling him and his little sister up. She shakes the last seven chicken nuggets onto a battered baking sheet, adds the remnants of a bag of Tater Tots and a couple of hot dogs from the fridge, and slides it all into the oven. She’s gone through most of the food she got last week from a local food pantry; her own lunch will be the bits of potato left on the kids’ plates. “I eat lunch if there’s enough,” she says. “But the kids are the most important. They have to eat first.”

 

The fear of being unable to feed her children hangs over Dreier’s days. She and her husband, Jim, pit one bill against the next—the phone against the rent against the heat against the gas—trying always to set aside money to make up for what they can’t get from the food pantry or with their food stamps, issued by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Congressional cuts to SNAP last fall of five billion dollars pared her benefits from $205 to $172 a month.

On this particular afternoon Dreier is worried about the family van, which is on the brink of repossession. She and Jim need to open a new bank account so they can make automatic payments instead of scrambling to pay in cash. But that will happen only if Jim finishes work early. It’s peak harvest time, and he often works until eight at night, applying pesticides on commercial farms for $14 an hour. Running the errand would mean forgoing overtime pay that could go for groceries.

It’s the same every month, Dreier says. Bills go unpaid because, when push comes to shove, food wins out. “We have to eat, you know,” she says, only the slightest hint of resignation in her voice. “We can’t starve.”

 

Chances are good that if you picture what hunger looks like, you don’t summon an image of someone like Christina Dreier: white, married, clothed, and housed, even a bit overweight. The image of hunger in America today differs markedly from Depression-era images of the gaunt-faced unemployed scavenging for food on urban streets. “This is not your grandmother’s hunger,” says Janet Poppendieck, a sociologist at the City University of New York. “Today more working people and their families are hungry because wages have declined.”

In the United States more than half of hungry households are white, and two-thirds of those with children have at least one working adult—typically in a full-time job. With this new image comes a new lexicon: In 2006 the U.S. government replaced “hunger” with the term “food insecure” to describe any household where, sometime during the previous year, people didn’t have enough food to eat. By whatever name, the number of people going hungry has grown dramatically in the U.S., increasing to 48 million by 2012—a fivefold jump since the late 1960s, including an increase of 57 percent since the late 1990s. Privately run programs like food pantries and soup kitchens have mushroomed too. In 1980 there were a few hundred emergency food programs across the country; today there are 50,000. Finding food has become a central worry for millions of Americans. One in six reports running out of food at least once a year. In many European countries, by contrast, the number is closer to one in 20.

 

To witness hunger in America today is to enter a twilight zone where refrigerators are so frequently bare of all but mustard and ketchup that it provokes no remark, inspires no embarrassment. Here dinners are cooked using macaroni-and-cheese mixes and other processed ingredients from food pantries, and fresh fruits and vegetables are eaten only in the first days after the SNAP payment arrives. Here you’ll meet hungry farmhands and retired schoolteachers, hungry families who are in the U.S. without papers and hungry families whose histories stretch back to theMayflower. Here pocketing food from work and skipping meals to make food stretch are so common that such practices barely register as a way of coping with hunger and are simply a way of life.

It can be tempting to ask families receiving food assistance, If you’re really hungry, then how can you be—as many of them are—overweight? The answer is “this paradox that hunger and obesity are two sides of the same coin,” says Melissa Boteach, vice president of the Poverty and Prosperity Program of the Center for American Progress, “people making trade-offs between food that’s filling but not nutritious and may actually contribute to obesity.” For many of the hungry in America, the extra pounds that result from a poor diet are collateral damage—an unintended side effect of hunger itself.

 

 

Help for the Hungry

More than 48 million Americans rely on what used to be called food stamps, now SNAP: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

 

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In 2013 benefits totaled $75 billion, but payments to most households dropped; the average monthly benefit was $133.07 a person, less than $1.50 a meal. SNAP recipients typically run through their monthly allotment in three weeks, then turn to food pantries. Who qualifies for SNAP? Households with gross incomes no more than 130 percent of the poverty rate. For a family of four that qualifying point is $31,005 a year.*

 

As the face of hunger has changed, so has its address. The town of Spring, Texas, is where ranchland meets Houston’s sprawl, a suburb of curving streets and shade trees and privacy fences. The suburbs are the home of the American dream, but they are also a place where poverty is on the rise. As urban housing has gotten more expensive, the working poor have been pushed out. Today hunger in the suburbs is growing faster than in cities, having more than doubled since 2007.

Yet in the suburbs America’s hungry don’t look the part either. They drive cars, which are a necessity, not a luxury, here. Cheap clothes and toys can be found at yard sales and thrift shops, making a middle-class appearance affordable. Consumer electronics can be bought on installment plans, so the hungry rarely lack phones or televisions. Of all the suburbs in the country, northwest Houston is one of the best places to see how people live on what might be called a minimum-wage diet: It has one of the highest percentages of households receiving SNAP assistance where at least one family member holds down a job. The Jefferson sisters, Meme and Kai, live here in a four-bedroom, two-car-garage, two-bath home with Kai’s boyfriend, Frank, and an extended family that includes their invalid mother, their five sons, a daughter-in-law, and five grandchildren. The house has a rickety desktop computer in the living room and a television in most rooms, but only two actual beds; nearly everyone sleeps on mattresses or piles of blankets spread out on the floor.

Though all three adults work full-time, their income is not enough to keep the family consistently fed without assistance. The root problem is the lack of jobs that pay wages a family can live on, so food assistance has become the government’s—and society’s—way to supplement low wages. The Jeffersons receive $125 in food stamps each month, and a charity brings in meals for their bedridden matriarch.

Like most of the new American hungry, the Jeffersons face not a total absence of food but the gnawing fear that the next meal can’t be counted on. When Meme shows me the family’s food supply, the refrigerator holds takeout boxes and beverages but little fresh food. Two cupboards are stocked with a smattering of canned beans and sauces. A pair of freezers in the garage each contain a single layer of food, enough to fill bellies for just a few days. Meme says she took the children aside a few months earlier to tell them they were eating too much and wasting food besides. “I told them if they keep wasting, we have to go live on the corner, beg for money, or something.”

 

Stranded in a Food Desert

Tens of thousands of people in Houston and in other parts of the U.S. live in a food desert: They’re more than half a mile from a supermarket and don’t own a car, because of poverty, illness, or age. Public transportation may not fill the gap. Small markets or fast-food restaurants may be within walking distance, but not all accept vouchers. If they do, costs may be higher and nutritious options fewer.

 

 

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Jacqueline Christian is another Houston mother who has a full-time job, drives a comfortable sedan, and wears flattering clothes. Her older son, 15-year-old Ja’Zarrian, sports bright orange Air Jordans. There’s little clue to the family’s hardship until you learn that their clothes come mostly from discount stores, that Ja’Zarrian mowed lawns for a summer to get the sneakers, that they’re living in a homeless shelter, and that despite receiving $325 in monthly food stamps, Christian worries about not having enough food “about half of the year.”

Christian works as a home health aide, earning $7.75 an hour at a job that requires her to crisscross Houston’s sprawl to see her clients. Her schedule, as much as her wages, influences what she eats. To save time she often relies on premade food from grocery stores. “You can’t go all the way home and cook,” she says.

 

On a day that includes running a dozen errands and charming her payday loan officer into giving her an extra day, Christian picks up Ja’Zarrian and her seven-year-old, Jerimiah, after school. As the sun drops in the sky, Jerimiah begins complaining that he’s hungry. The neon glow of a Hartz Chicken Buffet appears up the road, and he starts in: Can’t we just get some gizzards, please?

Christian pulls into the drive-through and orders a combo of fried gizzards and okra for $8.11. It takes three declined credit cards and an emergency loan from her mother, who lives nearby, before she can pay for it. When the food finally arrives, filling the car with the smell of hot grease, there’s a collective sense of relief. On the drive back to the shelter the boys eat until the gizzards are gone, and then drift off to sleep.

Christian says she knows she can’t afford to eat out and that fast food isn’t a healthy meal. But she’d felt too stressed—by time, by Jerimiah’s insistence, by how little money she has—not to give in. “Maybe I can’t justify that to someone who wasn’t here to see, you know?” she says. “But I couldn’t let them down and not get the food.”

To supplement what they get from the food pantry, the cash-strapped Reams family forages in the woods near their Osage home for puffball mushrooms and grapes. Kyera Reams cans homegrown vegetables when they are in season and plentiful, so that her family can eat healthfully all year. “I’m resourceful with my food,” she says. “I think about what people did in the Great Depression.”

To supplement what they get from the food pantry, the cash-strapped Reams family forages in the woods near their Osage home for puffball mushrooms and grapes. Kyera Reams cans homegrown vegetables when they are in season and plentiful, so that her family can eat healthfully all year. “I’m resourceful with my food,” she says. “I think about what people did in the Great Depression.”

Of course it is possible to eat well cheaply in America, but it takes resources and know-how that many low-income Americans don’t have. Kyera Reams of Osage, Iowa, puts an incredible amount of energy into feeding her family of six a healthy diet, with the help of staples from food banks and $650 in monthly SNAP benefits. A stay-at-home mom with a high school education, Reams has taught herself how to can fresh produce and forage for wild ginger and cranberries. When she learned that SNAP benefits could be used to buy vegetable plants, she dug two gardens in her yard. She has learned about wild mushrooms so she can safely pick ones that aren’t poisonous and has lobbied the local library to stock field guides to edible wild plants.

“We wouldn’t eat healthy at all if we lived off the food-bank food,” Reams says. Many foods commonly donated to—or bought by—food pantries are high in salt, sugar, and fat. She estimates her family could live for three months on the nutritious foods she’s saved up. The Reamses have food security, in other words, because Kyera makes procuring food her full-time job, along with caring for her husband, whose disability payments provide their only income.

But most of the working poor don’t have the time or know-how required to eat well on little. Often working multiple jobs and night shifts, they tend to eat on the run. Healthful food can be hard to find in so-called food deserts—communities with few or no full-service groceries. Jackie Christian didn’t resort to feeding her sons fried gizzards because it was affordable but because it was easy. Given the dramatic increase in cheap fast foods and processed foods, when the hungry have money to eat, they often go for what’s convenient, just as better-off families do.

 

It’s a cruel irony that people in rural Iowa can be malnourished amid forests of cornstalks running to the horizon. Iowa dirt is some of the richest in the nation, even bringing out the poet in agronomists, who describe it as “black gold.” In 2007 Iowa’s fields produced roughly one-sixth of all corn and soybeans grown in the U.S., churning out billions of bushels.

These are the very crops that end up on Christina Dreier’s kitchen table in the form of hot dogs made of corn-raised beef, Mountain Dew sweetened with corn syrup, and chicken nuggets fried in soybean oil. They’re also the foods that the U.S. government supports the most. In 2012 it spent roughly $11 billion to subsidize and insure commodity crops like corn and soy, with Iowa among the states receiving the highest subsidies. The government spends much less to bolster the production of the fruits and vegetables its own nutrition guidelines say should make up half the food on our plates. In 2011 it spent only $1.6 billion to subsidize and insure “specialty crops”—the bureaucratic term for fruits and vegetables.

Those priorities are reflected at the grocery store, where the price of fresh food has risen steadily while the cost of sugary treats like soda has dropped. Since the early 1980s the real cost of fruits and vegetables has increased by 24 percent. Meanwhile the cost of nonalcoholic beverages—primarily sodas, most sweetened with corn syrup—has dropped by 27 percent.

“We’ve created a system that’s geared toward keeping overall food prices low but does little to support healthy, high-quality food,” says global food expert Raj Patel. “The problem can’t be fixed by merely telling people to eat their fruits and vegetables, because at heart this is a problem about wages, about poverty.”

When Christina Dreier’s cupboards start to get bare, she tries to persuade her kids to skip snack time. “But sometimes they eat saltine crackers, because we get that from the food bank,” she said, sighing. “It ain’t healthy for them, but I’m not going to tell them they can’t eat if they’re hungry.”

The Dreiers have not given up on trying to eat well. Like the Reamses, they’ve sown patches of vegetables and a stretch of sweet corn in the large green yard carved out of the cornfields behind their house. But when the garden is done for the year, Christina fights a battle every time she goes to the supermarket or the food bank. In both places healthy foods are nearly out of reach. When the food stamps come in, she splurges on her monthly supply of produce, including a bag of organic grapes and a bag of apples. “They love fruit,” she says with obvious pride. But most of her food dollars go to the meat, eggs, and milk that the food bank doesn’t provide; with noodles and sauce from the food pantry, a spaghetti dinner costs her only the $3.88 required to buy hamburger for the sauce.

What she has, Christina says, is a kitchen with nearly enough food most of the time. It’s just those dicey moments, after a new bill arrives or she needs gas to drive the kids to town, that make it hard. “We’re not starved around here,” she says one morning as she mixes up powdered milk for her daughter. “But some days, we do go a little hungry.”

 

Crops Taxpayers Support With Subsidies

Federal crop subsidies began in the 1920s, when a quarter of the U.S. population worked on farms. The funds were meant to buffer losses from fluctuating harvests and natural disasters. Today most subsidies go to a few staple crops, produced mainly by large agricultural companies and cooperatives.

 

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How Subsidized Crops Affect Diet

Subsidized corn is used for biofuel, corn syrup, and, mixed with soybeans, chicken feed. Subsidies reduce crop prices but also support the abundance of processed foods, which are more affordable but less nutritious. Across income brackets, processed foods make up a large part of the American diet.

 

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Thanks to the National Geographic….

 

Tracie McMillan is the author of The American Way of Eating and a Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University. Photographers Kitra Cahana, Stephanie Sinclair, and Amy Toensing are known for their intimate, sensitive portraits of people.

The magazine thanks The Rockefeller Foundation and members of the National Geographic Society for their generous support of this series of articles.

Maps and graphics by Virginia W. Mason and Jason Treat, NGM Staff. Help for the Hungry, sources: USDA; Food Research and Action Center; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Stranded in a Food Desert, sources: USDA; City of Houston; U.S. Census Bureau. Crop Subsidies, research: Amanda Hobbs. Sources: Mississippi Department of Human Services; Environmental Working Group; National Cancer Institute.

Related Links:

http://food.nationalgeographic.com/

 

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/hunger/

 

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/140722-hacking-future-food-vin

 

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/land-grab/

 

http://proof.nationalgeographic.com/2014/07/23/amy-toensing-on-hunger-in-america-iowas-breadbasket/

 

http://proof.nationalgeographic.com/2014/07/24/kitra-cahana-on-hunger-in-america-the-suburbs/

 

http://theplate.nationalgeographic.com/2014/07/24/jose-andres-what-it-means-to-cook-american-food/

 

http://theplate.nationalgeographic.com/2014/07/25/small-changes-for-big-results-how-to-feed-3-billion-more-people/

 

 

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The Week Of July 14th To July 18th, 2014.


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The White House Week Ahead™

 

WASHINGTON : In the week ahead, President Barack Hussein Obama meets with new ambassadors on Monday; on Tuesday goes to the Washington suburb of McLean, Va. to talk about the economy and on Thursday heads to New York City for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser. Wednesday & Friday are meetings at The White House.

 

White House Schedule – July 14th, – July 18th, 2014

 

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday July 14th, 2014

 

DAILY GUIDANCE AND SCHEDULE FOR
MONDAY, JULY 14th, 2014

 

WEEKEND GUIDANCE AND SCHEDULE FOR
SUNDAY, JULY 13, 2014

 

On Sunday, the President has no public events scheduled.

 

Schedule for the Week of July 14th, To July 18th, 2014

 

On Monday, the President will participate in an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony in the Oval Office. At this event, the President will receive the credentials from foreign Ambassadors recently posted in Washington. The presentation of credentials is a traditional ceremony that marks the formal beginning of an Ambassador’s service in Washington. In the evening, the President will host an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan at the White House.

 

On Tuesday, the President will deliver remarks on the economy at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Virginia.

 

On Wednesday, the President will attend meetings at the White House.

 

On Thursday, the President will travel to New York City area to attend a DNC roundtable. Further details on the President’s travel to New York will be made available in the coming days.

 

On Friday, the President will attend meetings at the White House.

 

 

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In Memory Of The Verdict That Freed A Killer…July13th, 2013

 

George Zimmerman Verdict: One Year Later (The Stand-Your-Ground Curse and Rachel Jeantel Interview)

 

Published on Jul 12, 2014

Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the George Zimmerman, ‘not guilty’ verdict. Since then, there has been a rash of murders in the name of ‘Stand-Your-Ground’, most notably, the movie theater murder (because the shooter “felt threatened”). This video revisits the Zimmerman case with new commentary by Al Sharpton (00:22) and Erin Burnett (09:10), interviews with Florida State Representative, Perry Thurston (03:04), attorney, Lisa Bloom (04:44), attorney, Rod Vereen (10:43), and, the close friend of Trayvon Martin, Rachel Jeantel (10:14). ***Watch Video***

 

 

Rest In Peace My Brother…..We Will Vindicate Your Murder.

 

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ENTIRE Family Of Good Guys Shoots Each Other, Including 11-Year-Old

 

Published on Jul 13, 2014

“An 84-year-old man shoots his son. So what does his grandson do, according to authorities, in his own father’s defense?

Shoot — fatally, it turns out — his grandfather.

That’s what authorities said happened Monday night in Kittrell, a small North Carolina town of less than 500 people located about 35 miles south of the Virginia border.”

 

 

 

Josh Earnest’s first Sunday interview

 

Published on Jul 13, 2014

New WH Press Secretary Josh Earnest steps away from the podium and talks to Brian Stelter about his new role.

 

 

 

TED Talk: Nick Hanauer “Rich people don’t create jobs”

 

Published on May 17, 2012

Via Business Insider: “As the war over income inequality wages on, super-rich Seattle entrepreneur Nick Hanauer has been raising the hackles of his fellow 1-percenters, espousing the contrarian argument that rich people don’t actually create jobs.

 

 

 

Wealth Inequality in America

 

Published on Nov 20, 2012

Infographics on the distribution of wealth in America, highlighting both the inequality and the difference between our perception of inequality and the actual numbers. The reality is often not what we think it is.

 

 

 

Malala Meets ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ Activists

 

Published on Jul 13, 2014

Subscribe for more Breaking News:http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress

Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by militants, has traveled to Abuja to meet members of the group, “Bring Back Our Girls” and relatives of Nigerian schoolgirls who have been kidnapped by Boko Haram. (July 13)

 

 

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Lucy Official International Trailer #1 (2014) – Scarlett Johansson Movie HD

 

 

 

Reverend Dr. William Barber

 

Published on Jul 11, 2014

Moral Monday founder Reverend Barber fires up AFT delegates with a message about what true morality means.

 

 

 

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Eric Holder Destroys Sarah Palin in One Sentence

 

 

 

Space Station Shipment Launched From Virginia

 

Published on Jul 13, 2014

Space station shipment launched from Virginia, astronauts getting food, stink-free gym outfits. (July 13)

 

 

 

Protestors Say No to Fracked Gas Export Expansion Plan

 

Published on Jul 13, 2014

Activists gather in DC over plans to expand Maryland’s Cove Point facility into a liquidation and export terminal as safety risks and pollution concerns remain unanswered.

 

 

 

Fox News Has Typical Ironic B*tchfest Over Atheist Ad

 

Published on Jul 13, 2014

“The New York Times ran a full page ad last week from the Freedom From Religion Foundation railing against the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision. But the ad happened to mention the Supreme Court is majority-Catholic, leading Fox News’ Andrea Tantaros to ask if the Times is “profiting off of bigotry.”

 

There are exactly two mentions of Catholicism in the ad: once where it says “All-Male, All-Roman Catholic Majority On Supreme Court Puts Religious Wrongs Over Women’s Rights,” and again, a little farther down, where it reads “The Supreme Court’s ultra-conservative, Roman Catholic majority..

 

 

 

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By Jueseppi B...The Militant Negro.

The White House Week Ahead™


By Jueseppi B.....The Militant Negro

By Jueseppi B…..The Militant Negro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WASHINGTON–President Barack Obama has no public events this weekend. In the week ahead, Obama meets with new ambassadors on Monday; on Tuesday goes to the Washington suburb of McLean, Va. to talk about the economy and on Thursday heads to New York City for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser.

 

White House Schedule – July 12th, – July 2014

 

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday July 12th, 2014

 

DAILY GUIDANCE AND SCHEDULE FOR
SATURDAY, JULY 12th, 2014

 

WEEKEND GUIDANCE AND SCHEDULE FOR
SATURDAY, JULY 12, 2014 AND SUNDAY, JULY 13, 2014

 

On Saturday, the President has no public events scheduled.

 

On Sunday, the President has no public events scheduled.

 

Schedule for the Week of July 14th, To July 18th, 2014

 

On Monday, the President will participate in an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony in the Oval Office. At this event, the President will receive the credentials from foreign Ambassadors recently posted in Washington. The presentation of credentials is a traditional ceremony that marks the formal beginning of an Ambassador’s service in Washington. In the evening, the President will host an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan at the White House.

 

On Tuesday, the President will deliver remarks on the economy at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Virginia.

 

On Wednesday, the President will attend meetings at the White House.

 

On Thursday, the President will travel to New York City area to attend a DNC roundtable. Further details on the President’s travel to New York will be made available in the coming days.

 

On Friday, the President will attend meetings at the White House.

 

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From The Hill:

 

White House: Obama talks about gun violence when he can

By Justin Sink

President Obama has left little doubt about his views on gun violence, the White House said Friday amid questions on why the president hasn’t been more vocal on the issue amid recent tragedies in Texas and Chicago.

 

“When the president has the opportunity to talk about this issue, he does so, I think, you know, with a lot of conviction and with a lot of clarity,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

 

Earnest said it wasn’t “fair” to say Obama spoke about gun violence only when he was asked about the subject, and defended the president’s silence on the issue during an economic speech Thursday in Austin.

 

In Houston on Wednesday, a man allegedly killed his ex-wife and five members of her family, including four children. Over the July 4 holiday weekend, 82 people were shot in Obama’s hometown of Chicago.

 

“There are a lot of common-sense economic policies the president’s put forward that Congress is also blocking. Yesterday, the president chose in his remarks to highlight those,” Earnest said. “But the president feels strongly about some of the common-sense measures that Republicans have blocked related to gun safety, as well.”

 

Earnest said that kind of gun violence was “tragic” and that Obama would “continue to make the case” that lawmakers should adopt some gun controls.

 

Following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012, Obama implemented a series of new administrative actions designed to help curb gun violence, and asked Congress to pass legislation implementing greater gun controls. That bill, which would have closed the loophole enabling the purchase of weapons without a background check at gun shows, stalled in the Senate.

 

Since then, Obama has not discussed the topic with the same frequency. During a White House town-hall event hosted by Tumblr last month, he acknowledged the political difficulties surrounding the issue.

 

“Most members of Congress — and I have to say, to some degree, this is bipartisan — are terrified of the NRA,” Obama said. “The combination of the NRA and gun manufacturers are very well financed and have the capacity to move votes in local elections and congressional elections. And so if you’re running for office right now, that’s where you feel the heat.”

 

 

Rubio: I can beat Hillary

 

By Rachel Huggins

 

Sen. Marco Rubio says he can beat Hillary –and so can many others

 

 

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) believes he can beat Hillary Clinton in the race for the 2016 presidency.

 

“Multiple people can beat her. Hillary Clinton is not unbeatable,” the GOP presidential hopeful told radio host Hugh Hewitt in an interview Friday.

 

When asked whether he’s concerned about Clinton’s extensive foreign policy background if he or another Republican candidate ran against her, Rubio quickly slammed the potential Democratic frontrunner.

 

“I’d ask her: You were the secretary of State during the first four years of the Obama administration, name one significant foreign policy achievement, now or after you left?”, he said.

 

“The reset with Russia has been a disaster, the Middle East is more unstable today than it’s been in I don’t know when, our relationships with Latin America and democracy have deteriorated…our partners around the world view us as less reliable.”

 

The Florida lawmaker also weighed in on Lebron James’ surprise move back to the Cleveland Cavaliers after four seasons with the Miami Heat.

 

“I read the article he wrote in Sports Illustrated and it’s actually very compelling. And I have a lot of respect,” he said.

 

“The way I view it, he gave us four extraordinary years in Miami, a very special experience and on a personal note he allowed me, along with his teammates, to share with my sons memories they’ll treasure for the rest of their lives.”

 

Thank you The Hill.

 
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From Politico:

 

The verdict is in: Obamacare lowers uninsured

 

By DAVID NATHER
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The evidence is piling up now: Obamacare really does seem to be helping the uninsured.

 

Survey after survey is showing that the number of uninsured people has been going down since the start of enrollment last fall. The numbers don’t all match, and health care experts say they’re not precise enough to give more than a general idea of the trend.

 

But by now, the trend is unmistakable: Millions of people who didn’t have health insurance before the Affordable Care Act have gained it since last fall. The law is not just covering people who already had health coverage, but adding new people to the ranks of the insured — which was the point of the law all along.

 

There’s still a lot of variation in the numbers, too much for health care experts to pin down an exact number with any confidence. But even health care analysts who think the law is a bad idea acknowledge that the evidence suggests the uninsured are being helped. Given the predictions of doom that accompanied the law’s passage and launch, that’s a sweet bit of vindication for the president and ACA supporters.

 

“It will be better when we’ve got a whole year behind us, so we can tell how much [in the surveys] was noise and how much was reality,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the conservative American Action Forum, a frequent critic of the law. “Having said that, it sure looks like there are more people covered, and that’s a good thing.”

 

survey by the Commonwealth Fund found that 9.5 million fewer adults are uninsured now than at the beginning of the Obamacare enrollment season. The Urban Institute’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey found a similar drop, with 8 million adults gaining coverage. And Gallup-Healthways survey reported that the uninsured rate has fallen to 13.4 percent of adults, the lowest level since it began tracking health coverage in 2008.

 

That was all on Thursday. In recent months, other surveys in the Gallup series have consistently found the same downward trend, and a RAND survey in April estimated that the law extended health coverage to 9.3 million Americans.

 

That’s not going to end the fights over the health care law — not even close. Republicans say the debate isn’t just about whether the law has helped uninsured people, but about all the side effects, like canceled health plans, higher premiums for some people with individual health insurance, reduced work hours for part-time employees, and the long-term costs to the nation.

 

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who led the battle to defund the law last fall and could fight it again on the presidential campaign trail in 2016, insists the new surveys don’t change the debate at all — because the real issue, in his view, is still the disruption of the canceled plans and higher premiums.

 

“Four years ago, before the law was implemented, it was possible to have good-faith disagreements about whether the law would work,” Cruz told POLITICO on Thursday. “Today, seeing the utter disaster that has played out … to me, it is the essence of pragmatism to realize that the law isn’t working, and to repeal it and start over.”

 

And even though the law’s performance has stabilized since the clumsy rollout last fall, there are plenty of ways the side effects could still flare up again — through big premium increases for next year (they’ve been modest so far), another possible round of canceled plans and the potential for angry customers next year if they’ve received too much in subsidies and have to pay them back.

 

“The Republican argument was never that a trillion or two dollars would never cover any more uninsured. It was that the cost of doing so in higher health care costs and premiums, cancelled policies, increased government control of health care, and a myriad other negatives—were not worth it,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres.” That argument still holds.”

 

But the latest surveys have been a huge morale boost for the Obama administration and congressional Democrats, who now have armfuls of statistics to prove that the law is doing what it’s supposed to do: help the uninsured.

 

“No matter whose estimates you look at, the facts about the Marketplace’s first year are this: Millions of people have gained coverage because of the ACA, and millions more could if the remaining states did the right thing and expanded Medicaid,” said an Obama administration official.

 

Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, declared that “Republicans have constructed an alternate reality in which the sky is always falling on Obamacare, but the facts tell a different story.”

 

The new surveys have taken a lot of the uncertainty out of the Affordable Care Act’s impact on the uninsured. Earlier this year, it appeared that it could be months, if not years, before Americans would answer the most basic questions about whether the law had actually covered uninsured people, thanks to the lag time in official government surveys and the vague wording of the questions in Obamacare applications.

 

Health care experts still want to see the official government surveys, but they say there are now enough unofficial surveys to prove that the law is reaching uninsured people. There are some people who are replacing old health coverage with new coverage, but it’s now clear that millions of the law’s customers didn’t have health insurance before.

 

“One has to acknowledge that at this point, despite some continuing bumps in the road, the ACA is largely on track to accomplishing what it set out to do,” said Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation. “That, of course, doesn’t mean that everyone is benefiting from it or agrees with it. The law wasn’t designed to create all winners and no losers.”

 

Because of the variation in the surveys’ numbers, “it could be a couple million more or less” than the Commonwealth estimates, Levitt said. And some of the reduction could be due to an improving economy, he added — but “the reductions we’re seeing clearly swamp any effect from lower unemployment.”

 

Still, Republicans aren’t likely to give the Obama administration a lot of credit. Lately, they’ve been minimizing the significance of the big enrollment numbers by saying, hey, of course people are signing up — they’ll have to pay fines under the individual mandate if they don’t. “They made it illegal for it not to work. You have to be covered,” Holtz-Eakin said.

 

But the Commonwealth Fund survey also suggested that most of the people who have signed up for the Affordable Care Act are happy with their coverage — and aren’t just disgruntled people who were already insured and liked their own coverage better.

 

According to the survey, 58 percent of the Obamacare customers said they were better off under their new health coverage, and only 9 percent said they were worse off than they were before. Even among people who previously had health insurance — the ones who might resent having to switch — 52 percent liked the new coverage, while 16 percent said they were worse off.

 

Republicans on Capitol Hill, however, insisted they hear more from people who have had their own health insurance disrupted by the health care law — not the ones who have gained coverage.

 

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“The White House wants everyone to forget about the people who lost their insurance” because of canceled health plans, Cruz said. Even if most of those people have been able to replace it since then, he said, there are still many other Americans who have had their work hours reduced so their employers won’t have to provide health coverage. And he predicted that “this fall, we’re going to see premiums skyrocket again.”

 

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) dismissed the surveys, saying he is “hearing disproportionately from people who are unhappy with the way the law is affecting their own pocketbooks” — especially by “paying for more insurance than they need or want or will ever use.”

 

The unspoken political reality is that Republican base voters aren’t ready to let the GOP give up the fight, even if they wanted to. But there are also so many other issues in the fight — including the impact on other people’s coverage and the cost of the law — that it was never likely to just go away, no matter how many uninsured people have been helped.

 

“I don’t think it changes the debate, because the debate has so many dimensions,” said Holtz-Eakin.

 

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The Last 24™: Whats Barack Been Up To? West Wing Week. The Weekly Address.

 

White House Blog Updates™

 

HOUSE GOP MOVES AHEAD ON SUING OBAMA: House Has No Legislation On JOBS, Immigration OR Gun Reform…BUTT Let’s Fuckin Sue The POTUSA.

 

What Did Barack Do Today™

 

AMBER ALERT: Iowa Amber Alert, Blackhawk County. Nevaeh Hogan (Infant), Brooklyn Anne-Marie Gaffney (Child), Mia Elaine Gaffney (Child).

 

On The Road With Barack™, During A Twitter Storm™, While It’s Raining Videos™, All In The Last 24™.

 

On The Road With Barack™: Denver, Colorado. Dallas & Austin, TexASS.

 

It’s Raining Videos™

 

The Last 24™

 

Dumbfuckery Of The Day: Boehner: Why We Must Now Sue The President. {Cause We Can’t Beat Him Legally}

 

A Brand New Day™

 

Dispatches With Dr. Jill Biden: On The Road In The Democratic Republic Of Congo (DRC).

 

 

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Branford Marsalis & Others Buckshot LeFonque CD1 03 I Know Why The Caged Bird Sing

 

 

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Op-Ed By President Obama: White House Summit On Working Families. POTUSA & FLOTUSA Speak At The White House Summit On Working Families.


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Op-Ed by President Obama on the White House Summit on Working Families

In an op-ed published on the Huffington Post, President Obama writes about the importance of today’s White House Summit on Working Families and his commitment to creating a 21st century workplace that works for all Americans.

 

The following op-ed by President Obama appeared on the Huffington Post.

 

Family-Friendly Workplace Policies Are Not Frills — They’re Basic Needs

 

Family-Friendly Workplace Policies Are Not Frills — They’re Basic Needs

 

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As President, my top priority is rebuilding an economy where everybody who works hard has the chance to get ahead.

 

That’s the subject of the first White House Summit on Working Families, which is taking place today. We’re bringing together business leaders and workers to talk about the challenges that working parents face every day and how we can address them.

 

Take flexibility — the ability to take a few hours off for a school play or to work from home when your kid is sick. Most workers want it, but not enough of them have it — even though studies show that flexibility makes workers happier and helps companies lower turnover and raise productivity.

 

Take paid family leave. Many jobs don’t offer adequate leave to care for a new baby or an ailing parent, so workers can’t afford to be there when their families need them the most. And the United States is the only developed country in the world without paid maternity leave.

 

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Take childcare. Most working families I know can’t afford thousands a year for childcare, but often, that’s what it costs. I recently got a letter from a woman in Minnesota whose kids’ preschool is so expensive it costs more every month than her mortgage.

 

And take the minimum wage. Nearly 28 million Americans would benefit if we raised the minimum wage to $10.10. And we’re not just talking about young people on their first job — the average worker who would benefit from an increase is 35 years old. Many have kids. And a majority are women. Right now, many full-time minimum-wage workers aren’t even making enough to keep their kids out of poverty.

 

Family leave, childcare, flexibility and a decent wage aren’t frills. They’re basic needs. They shouldn’t be bonuses — they should be the bottom line.

 

Parents who work full-time should earn enough to pay the bills and go to work every day knowing that their kids are in good hands. Workers who give their all should know that if they need some flexibility, they can have it — because their employers understand that it’s hard to be productive when you’ve got a sick kid at home or a childcare crisis. And talented, hard-working people should be able to say yes to a great new opportunity without worrying that their families will pay the price. Nearly half of all working parents surveyed say they’ve chosen to turn down a job not because they didn’t want it, but because it would be too hard on their families. When that many members of our workforce are forced to choose between a job and their family, something’s wrong.

 

Some businesses are realizing that family-friendly policies are a good business practice, because they help build loyalty and inspire workers to go the extra mile. JetBlue offers a flexible work-from-home plan for its customer-service representatives. Google increased its paid parental leave to five months — and the rate of women leaving the company decreased by half. Cisco lets their employees telecommute as needed, which they estimate saves them over $275 million every year.

 

And there’s a bigger economic case here, too. The strength of our economy rests on whether we’re getting the most out of all of our nation’s talent — whether we’re making it possible for all our citizens to contribute to our growth and prosperity. That’s the key to staying competitive in the global economy. Right now, we’re leaving too many people on the sidelines who have the desire and the capacity to work, but are held back by one obstacle or another. It’s our job to remove those obstacles. That’s what supporting working families is all about.

 

States are getting on board, too. California, Rhode Island and New Jersey give workers paid family leave. Connecticut offers paid sick days. So does New York City. Since I asked Congress to raise the minimum wage last year, 13 states have taken steps to raise it on their own.

 

But all Americans should get to benefit from these policies. That’s why we need to see some action here in Washington.

 

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I’ll work with anyone — Democrats or Republicans — to increase opportunity for American workers. But in this year of action, whenever I can act on my own, I will.

 

Today, I’ll sign a Presidential Memorandum directing every agency in the federal government to expand access to flexible work schedules, and giving employees the right to request them.

 

I’m calling on Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, because too many pregnant workers are forced to choose between their health and their job. They can get fired for taking too many bathroom breaks, or forced on unpaid leave just for being pregnant. It’s inhumane, and it needs to stop.

 

And to help parents trying to get ahead, I’m directing my Secretary of Labor to invest $25 million in helping people who want to enroll in job-training programs, but don’t currently have access to the childcare they need to do it.

 

I take this personally — as the son and grandson of some strong women who worked hard to support my sister and me; as the husband of a brilliant woman who struggled to balance work and raising our young ladies when my job often kept me away; and as the father of two beautiful girls, whom I want to be there for as much as I possibly can — and whom I hope will be able to have families and careers of their own one day.

 

We know from our history that our country does better when everybody participates; when everyone’s talents are put to use; when we all have a fair shot. That’s the America I believe in. That’s the America I’ll keep fighting for every day.

 

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Obama Grabs a Bite at Chipotle Before Summit

 

 

 

Obama: Paid Leave Basic Need, Not Bonus

 

 

 

President Obama Grabs a Bite at Chipotle Before Summit!!

 

 

 

The White House Summit on Working Families {Full Summit}

 

 

 

Remarks by President Obama at the White House Summit on Working Families | June 23, 2014

 

 

A Letter to the President: Rebekah

 

 

 

The First Lady Speaks at the Working Families Summit

 

 

 

President Obama Speaks at the Working Families Summit

 

 

 

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Where In The World Is Barack Today™: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. New York City, N.Y.


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Where In The World Is Barack Today™: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. New York City, N.Y. 

 

US President Barack Obama holds his first Twitter Town Hall

 

On Tuesday, President Obama will travel to TechShop Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to deliver remarks on the economy.  Following this, he will travel to New York City to attend the DNC LGBT Gala and take part in another DNC Event.

 

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In the morning, the President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. This meeting is closed press.

Later in the morning, the President will travel to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The President’s departure from White House and the arrival at Pittsburgh International Airport are open press.

While in Pittsburgh, the President will tour the TechShop Pittsburgh, deliver remarks and answer questions on the additional ways we can continue to create good jobs and expand opportunity for Americans by spurring American manufacturing and innovation. There will be out-of-town travel pool coverage of the tour, and the remarks are open to pre-credentialed media.

In the afternoon, the President will depart Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania en route New York, NY. The departure from Pittsburgh International Airport and arrival at the John F. Kennedy International Airport are open press.

While in New York, the President will attend a Senate Majority PAC roundtable event at the Intercontinental Hotel. This roundtable is closed press. Following this event the President will attend and deliver remarks at the DNC LGBT Gala. There will be expanded pool coverage of this event.

In the evening the President will attend a DNC roundtable at a private residence. The roundtable is closed press. Following the roundtable, the President will depart New York City en route Washington, DC. The departure from John F. Kennedy International Airport and the arrival on the South Lawn are open press.

 

White House Schedule – June 17th, 2014

 

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THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday June 17th, 2014

 

THE WHITE HOUSE GUIDANCE & SCHEDULE
TUESDAY June 17th, 2014

 

Tuesday June 17th 2014  All Times ET

 

8:00 AM: The Vice President holds a bilateral meeting with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. Local Event Time: 9:00 AM, Palácio do Planalto – Brazil.

 

9:30 AM: The Vice President holds a bilateral meeting with Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer. Local Event Time: 10:30 AM, Vice President Michel Temer’s residence – Brazil

 

10:00 AM: The President receives the Presidential Daily Briefing, Oval Office.

 

10:50 AM: The President departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews, South Lawn.

 

11:05 AM: The President departs Joint Base Andrews en route Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Joint Base Andrews.

 

11:15 AM: The Vice President and Vice President Temer deliver statements to the press. Local Event Time: 12:15 AM, U.S. Embassy – Brasilia.

 

12:00 PM: The President arrives Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh International Airport.

 

1:25 PM: The President tours TechShop Pittsburgh, Techshop Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh.

 

1:45 PM: The President delivers remarks and answers questions, Techshop Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh.

 

3:25 PM: The President departs Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania en route New York, NY, Pittsburgh International Airport.

 

4:35 PM: The President arrives New York, NY. John F. Kennedy International Airport.

 

5:25 PM: The President attends a Senate Majority PAC roundtable event, Intercontinental Hotel – New York.

 

8:00 PM: The Vice President arrives at El Dorado International Airport. Local Event Time: 7:00 PM, El Dorado International Airport – Bogota.

 

8:05 PM: The President delivers remarks at the DNC LGBT Gala, Gotham Hall – New York.

 

9:00 PM: The President attends a DNC roundtable, Private Residence – New York.

 

10:40 PM: The President departs New York, John F. Kennedy International Airport.

 

11:35 PM: The President arrives Joint Base Andrews, Joint Base Andrews.

 

11:50 PM: The President arrives at the White House, South Lawn.

 

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 White House LIVE!! 

 

Now Streaming…
June 17, 2014 11:35 AM EDT
White House Honors Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) Champions of Change
The White House,  White House LIVE!! 

 

 
Next Up…
June 17, 2014 1:45 PM EDT
President Obama Delivers Remarks and Answers Questions at TechShop Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,  White House LIVE!! 

 

 

President Obama Delivers Remarks and Answers Questions at TechShop Pittsburgh

 

 

 

 

 

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Whats The Tweets In The Twitterverse…….

 

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U.S. embassy on alert in Iraq

 

 

 

ISIS moves closer to Baghdad

 

 

 

Kurdish fighters trying to keep ISIS at bay

 

 

 

Insurgent advance spreads in Iraq’s northwest

 

 

 

Behind the Scenes: Inside the U.S. National Team Locker Room

 

 

 

theweekahead

 

On Wednesday, the President will host the first ever White House Maker Faire and meet with students, entrepreneurs and everyday citizens who are using new tools and techniques to launch new businesses, learn vital skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and fuel the renaissance in American manufacturing.

 

On Thursday, the President will award Corporal William “Kyle” Carpenter, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.

 

On Friday, the President will meet with Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand to highlight our increasingly close relationship with New Zealand and our collaboration on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, climate change, and military-to-military cooperation.  The President looks forward to consulting with Prime Minister Key on these and other issues, including the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, regional maritime security issues, and global security issues.

 

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