Can Everybody Please Shut Up About The Obama Funeral Selfie?

selfie

It happened on Tuesday. One day before the Fake Sign Language Interpreter Scandal broke, United States President Barack Obama put on the Classic Overbite Selfie Face for a photo with some mobile-phone-wielding blonde (who happened to be Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt) and British Prime Minister David Cameron at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, a photo that has now become known as the Obama Funeral Selfie and has inspired the Great Obama Funeral Selfie Scandal of 2013, otherwise known as Selfie-gate. Read more »

Market Report: Obamas are Officially Best-Dressed Political Family

MR13

  • Check out Sasha and Malia’s coats. And that suede dress on FLOTUS! [Huffington Post]
  • From intern to head of Moschino: Jeremy Scott takes over. [Style.com]
  • Today, Mr. Porter (the menswear arm of luxury shopping site Net-a-porter) launched a six-piece capsule collection with Marni, designed exclusively for the site. [Mr. Porter]
  • Here, a roundup of every celebrity that has dressed up as Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke. [E! Online]

Even more fun things ahead. (No more Miley, promise.)

Too Much Eye Contact: Maybe This Is Why the Government Shut Down!

Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Photograph by Jeff Fusco

So yesterday John Boehner and President Obama sat down for a face-to-face chat, and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAPPENED. Throughout the country, journalists lamented: How can this be? Isn’t a good old-fashioned tête-à-tête the best recipe for resolution in a standoff? Shouldn’t two reasonable men of wildly divergent opinions sitting eyeball to eyeball be able to work out a compromise?

Uh, no. The results of new research at Germany’s University of Freiburg show just the opposite, in startling contrast to the advice I’ve been giving my kids from the day they were born. (You know: Firm handshake, look the other person in the eye … ) Note to said kids: If you’re in search of compromise, look ’em in the mouth instead.

Read more »

Toomey Joins Wacko-Bird Caucus

Pat Toomey, Joe Manchin

Senator Pat Toomey has joined marathon-pseudo-filibusterer Ted Cruz and 17 other Republicans in voting against a bill that would keep the government running. Why? Because it wouldn’t include a provision that also sought to defund Obamacare. (Next up: The Senate sends the bill back to the House, which then gets to decide whether or not they want to let the government die.) It’s one thing for unruly populist Tea Partiers in the House to bring the country to the brink of shutdown every few months or so; it’s another altogether when 19 members of the more cautious (read: sane) upper chamber join the “wacko-bird” caucus too. Toomey, for the record, said he would vote to keep the government running if the Senate added a provision repealing Obamacare’s controversial medical device tax. It did not, so here we are. [Slate]

PA Obamacare Rates Among the Lowest in the Country

The Department of Health and Human Services has released estimates for how much those newfangled Obamacare health insurance packages will cost in each state. The good news? The cost of the insurance plans are among the lowest in the country, at an average of $286 a month. “Factoring in tax credits [for lower-income individuals] a family of four with $50,000 in annual income will pay an average $282 a month. It would cost $675 without the credits.”

The bad news?

One hitch in Pennsylvania is that it is likely that many childless adults and some others with incomes below 100 percent of the federal poverty level — $11,490 for a single person — will not be eligible for a tax credit or for Medicaid because Corbett and the state Legislature have not signed on to a Medicaid expansion that was envisioned by the 2010 federal health care law.

Still, $286 is less than the national average of $328 and much, much less than the $385 New Jerseyans will be paying. The plans will be available through the exchange, or insurance marketplace, being run by the feds. [AP]

Obama Blocks Mega-Beer Merger to Keep Your Beer Cheap

The Department of Justice is suing Budweiser’s parent company to prevent it from buying the Modelo Group, which makes Corona, in order to control more of the Latino market, based primarily in Texas and California. (Modelo also owns the Modelo triumverate of beers.) If a sale were completed, the Belgian conglomerate InBev would control 46% of all beer sales in the United States, which the DOJ thinks is too much.

What’s more, InBev would control both Budweiser and Corona, which stay cheap in lare part because they compete against each other. Think of it this way: It’d be like if the Jets simply tried to buy the Sharks, and the president said ‘No, because if you did that, West Side Story will never get made.’ More or less. [LA Times]

NRA VP Statement: More Guns and Police in Schools

Earlier this year National Rifle Association Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre accused Barack Obama of giving “first term lip service to gun owners” to “deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment.” This wasn’t unusual talk from LaPierre, the public face of America’s most powerful interest group. Even so, LaPierre’s letter, issued a week after the Newtown shooting, was remarkably combative, often addressing the NRA’s critics directly. LaPierre’s two central solutions are to lessen access to violent video games and movies, and install police officers in schools (as he recommended after the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting) for protection. Here are some key tidbits:

  • “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
  • “With all the foreign aid the United State does…can’t we afford to put a police officer in every single school?”
  • “What if, when Adam Lanza started shooting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, he had been confronted by qualified, armed security? Will you at least admit it’s possible that 26 innocent lives might have been spared? Is that so abhorrent to you that you would rather continue to risk the alternative?
  • “Why is the idea of a gun good when it’s used to protect our President or our country or our police, but bad when it’s used to protect our children in their schools?”
  • “There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people…And here’s one: it’s called Kindergarten Killers. It’s been online for 10 years. How come my research department could find it and all of yours either couldn’t or didn’t want anyone to know you had found it?”

[The Guardian]

Obama Nominates Philly Lesbian for Judge

Judge Nitza I. Quiñones Alejandro could become the nation's first openly lesbian Latina to serve on the federal court

Philadelphia’s own Judge Nitza I. Quiñones Alejandro, who currently serves on the county’s Court of Common Pleas, has been nominated for a federal judgeship by President Obama. She could become the first openly gay Latina in the nation to serve on the U.S. District Court in Eastern Pennsylvania. She’s among several nominations Obama made this week – and one who is said to have been recommended by Sen. Bob Casey.

“These men and women have had distinguished legal careers and I am honored to ask them to continue their work as judges on the federal bench,” the president said. “They will serve the American people with integrity and an unwavering commitment to justice.”

She is the eighth openly gay life-tenured federal court judicial nominee named by Obama. Prior to this administration, only one openly gay person had been confirmed to serve with lifetime tenure on the federal judiciary, according to the HRC.

She previously worked as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She was also a staff attorney for Community Legal Services here in Philadelphia after graduating with her law degree from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law in 1975.

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