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Found 14 results

  1. And then compare Chuck Schumer's fake tears vs. his voice years earlier.
  2. The Obama administration is giving consumers a few extra days to sign up on HealthCare.gov in time for health insurance coverage to take effect Jan. 1. The new deadline is 11:59 p.m. Pacific time on Monday, Dec. 19, says Kevin Counihan, CEO of the federal health insurance markets. The unexpected extension was announced after close of business Thursday. Counihan said it's due to strong interest. The old deadline was Thursday. The Obama administration has set a goal of signing up 13.8 million people for 2017, a modest increase. So far enrollment is running about on par with last year, but the share of new customers is down. Open enrollment ends Jan. 31. President-elect Donald Trump and the GOP Congress have vowed to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law.
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  3. Prince reportedly once said he wanted President Obama to outlaw birthdays and Christmas. “Why doesn’t Obama just outlaw birthdays?” the “Purple Rain” singer once asked Van Jones, the CNN political commentator reveals in a story published Thursday in GQ magazine. The “Purple Rain” singer, who died in April at age 57 from an accidental drug overdose, was baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness in 2003. Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate birthdays because they “believe that such celebrations displease God” and because Christmas has pagan roots, according to the Church’s official website. “Although we choose not to celebrate Christmas ourselves, we respect each person’s right to decide for himself in this matter. We do not interfere in the Christmas celebrations of others,” the website states. Jones said Prince told him, “I was hoping that Obama as soon as he was elected, would get up and announce there’d be no more Christmas presents and no more birthdays — we’ve got too much to do. Jones, who indicated he was laughing during the conversation with the music superstar, replied, “I don’t know if that would go over too well.”
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  4. President Barack Obama holds a robotic arm being controlled by the mind of the man in the wheel chair at right as he makes a stop at the exhibition hall of the White House Frontiers Conference on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, in Pittsburgh. (Michael Henninger/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP) (Associated Press) WASHINGTON — A paralyzed man shared a handshake with President Barack Obama on Thursday by using a mind-controlled robotic arm that, in a first for medical research, is helping to restore his sense of touch. Obama fist-bumped Nathan Copeland’s robotic hand, and tiny chips implanted in Copeland’s brain let him use his thoughts to move the Star Trek-looking metal arm attached to his wheelchair — and also let him feel subtle pressure in his own fingers when the artificial ones were touched. He had “pretty impressive precision,” Obama said. “When I’m moving the hand, it is also sending signals to Nathan so he is feeling me touching or moving his arm.” The president congratulated the University of Pittsburgh researchers who are developing the technology, saying, “what a story.” The research is part of a quest to make artificial limbs that can feel. On Thursday, the Pittsburgh team reported important early findings: When they blindfolded Copeland, he could correctly identify which robotic finger they touched 84 percent of the time. “The majority of them, it felt like a pressure or a tingling” in his own corresponding finger, said Copeland, 30, of Dunbar, Pennsylvania, who was left paralyzed after a car accident. When a researcher touched two fingers at the same time, “I just laughed and I said, ‘Are you trying to be tricky or something?” Preparing to show the president how the cutting-edge research worked, Copeland said he was “circling between excited and nervous every half-hour.” Harnessing brain waves to power prosthetics is a hot field, with a goal of giving the disabled more independence and improving artificial limbs for amputees as well. Headlines in recent years have reported experiments that let paralyzed people move a robotic arm to touch a loved one or take a drink simply by imagining the motion. Their thoughts activate brain implants that relay electrical signals needed to command movement. The signals are transmitted through a computer to the robotic limb. What’s new is recreating sensation using this brain-controlled technology. After all, proper motion depends on more than muscle movement. Reach for something and that sense of touch helps you naturally grasp with just enough force to hang on while not either dropping something or crushing it. “It’s not only that emotional connection we get,” said Robert Gaunt, a Pittsburgh assistant professor of rehabilitation who led the new study. “People have an incredibly difficult time interacting with objects, picking objects up, manipulating them, doing fairly basic things with the hand if they don’t have a very basic sense of touch.” Step one is placing sensors in prosthetics. The next hurdle is how to allow feedback to and from those sensors. For amputees, some scientists are attempting to wire nerves left in the remaining part of the person’s natural limb directly to the robotic arm. That’s not possible if a spinal cord injury has interrupted the messages that normally flash between the hand and the brain. But previous monkey research had suggested brain implants could bridge that gap. So surgeons at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center implanted electrodes in the part of Copeland’s brain that controls what his hands feel. Electrically stimulating those cells worked even though the car wreck that left Copeland mostly paralyzed happened over a decade ago, Gaunt noted. “This shows you can get natural sensation” through the brain implant, added Pittsburgh neurobiologist Andrew Schwartz. Thursday’s report in Science Translational Medicine details the first six months of experiments after Copeland received the brain implants in March 2015. The ongoing research is becoming more sophisticated, as he picks up objects while the electrodes stimulate different amounts of force, Copeland said in a phone interview. While the work is in just one patient, it’s a step toward creating touch capability, said Richard Andersen, a neuroscientist at the California Institute of Technology whose team also studies mind-controlled prosthetics and is about to begin a similar experiment. “It still needs to be determined if this tactile feedback will improve performance” in using the robotic arm, Andersen cautioned. Copeland doesn’t get to take the robotic arm home but is proud of helping to advance the science. “Technically when it’s over, I will have netted nothing except having done some cool stuff with some cool people,” Copeland said. “It’s cheesy, but Luke Skywalker loses his hand and then basically the next day he’s got a robot one and it’s working fine. We have to get to that point, and to do that, someone has to start it.”
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  5. Envía misiva ayer domingo, antes de comenzar la semana patria. Un mensaje al gobierno nicaragüense por razones de celebrar el mes patrio envió el presidente de los Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, ayer domingo. El saludo fue por la conmemoración del 195 aniversario de la Independencia de este país centroamericano el próximo 15 de septiembre de los corrientes. “En esta ocasión histórica, quiero reafirmar el compromiso de los Estados Unidos de construir una relación de colaboración con el pueblo de Nicaragua, para ayudar a asegurar un futuro seguro, democrático y próspero para el hemisferio”, redacto Obama en la carta enviada al presidente Daniel Ortega. Al final del mensaje Obama señaló que “el pueblo de los Estados Unidos se une a mí para desearle a los nicaragüenses un feliz día de independencia”. Los presidentes de Irán, Cuba y México ya han felicitado a Nicaragua por la celebración de su Día de la Independencia.
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  6. A gay rights activist celebrates outside of the iconic Stonewall Inn on the day the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states. (Yana Paskova/Getty Images) President Obama is poised to declare the first-ever national monument recognizing the struggle for gay rights, singling out a sliver of green space and part of the surrounding Greenwich Village neighborhood as the birthplace of America’s modern gay liberation movement. While most national monuments have highlighted iconic wild landscapes or historic sites from centuries ago, this reflects the country’s diversity of terrain and peoples in a different vein: It would be the first national monument anchored by a dive bar and surrounded by a warren of narrow streets that long has been regarded the historic center of gay cultural life in New York City. Federal officials, including Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), will hold a listening session on May 9 to solicit feedback on the proposal. Barring a last-minute complication — city officials are still investigating the history of the land title — Obama is prepared to designate the area part of the National Park Service as soon as next month, which commemorates gay pride. Protests at the site, which lasted for six days, began in the early morning of June 28, 1969 after police raided the Stonewall Inn, which was frequented by gay men. While patrons of the bar, which is still in operation today in half of its original space, had complied in the past with these crackdowns, that time it sparked a spontaneous riot by bystanders and those who had been detained. Although national monument designations are partly symbolic, backers of the move said it could bolster the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, which led to the landmark 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. “We must ensure that we never forget the legacy of Stonewall, the history of discrimination against the LGBT community, or the impassioned individuals who have fought to overcome it,” Nadler, who has co-authored legislation that would make it a national park, said in a statement. “The LGBT civil rights movement launched at Stonewall is woven into American history, and it is time our National Park system reflected that reality.” The president described Stonewall as a critical event in the nation’s social progress during his second inaugural speech, reflecting the idea “that all of us are created equal,” and alluded to it again when celebrating the 50th anniversary of the march on Selma, Ala. Interior Department spokeswoman Amanda Degroff said Obama “has made clear that he’s committed to ensuring our national parks, monuments and public lands help Americans better understand the places and stories that make this nation great” — though at the moment the administration has no official announcement on the designation. Noting that Jewell and Jarvis are attending next week’s public meeting at the invitation of Nadler and federal, state and local officials, Degroff added, “Insights from meetings like this one play an important role in identifying the best means to protect and manage significant sites like Christopher Park, whether a designation is established by Congress or through executive authority.” Nadler and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have asked the president to protect the site under the 1906 Antiquities Act. In a sign of how much has changed since 1969, the three officials who represent the area — City Council member Corey Johnson, state assembly member Deborah Glick and state senator Brad Hoylman — are all openly gay and endorse the idea of making it a monument, as does the local community advisory board. The decision to recognize a critical moment in the fight for gay rights, at a time when politicians in several states are moving to strip away legal protections for transgender, gay, lesbian and bisexual residents, enjoys considerable support within the administration. But the path to declaring the monument has been a complicated one, largely because the site involves private property and a dense urban area where land-use planning is never simple. But late last month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed legislation, backed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and several state lawmakers, that would allow the city to transfer ownership of Christopher Park to the federal government should it become designated as a monument. That patch of green, spanning less than two-tenths of an acre, lies opposite the Stonewall Inn. n the same way Chicago’s Pullman National Monument — which Obama declared last year to highlight the struggle for labor and civil rights a century ago — encompasses a federally owned former railroad-car factory and part of the surrounding neighborhood, the proposed monument would include several streets that served as a battlefield between activists and law enforcement. “History’s messy,” said David Stacy, government affairs director of the Human Rights Campaign, whose group has pushed for the designation along with others such as the National Parks Conservation Association and Gill Foundation. “This raised the consciousness of people throughout the country. It said to people, you don’t have to be quiet. You don’t have to stay in the closet.” Gill Foundation president and chief executive Courtney Cuff, whose group helped fund a two-year study to identify what LGBT sites might qualify for National Park Service recognition, said a monument designation would mean “interpreters will be talking to visitors about the LGBT community and the contributions of the LGBT movement writ large.” Hoylman, who lives in the neighborhood with his husband and 5-year-old daughter Silvia, said he has taken her there and “tried to explain to her how important it is to her daddy and her papa.” “The president has mentioned Stonewall along with Selma and Seneca Falls in his second inaugural. So it’s fitting that he would be the president to bring this forward,” he said. “It’s breathtaking how far we’ve come, in so short a time.” Source:
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    A plaque noting the site of the 1969 Stonewall Riots is affixed to the front of The Stonewall Inn, in New York's Greenwich Village, on May 29, 2014. (Richard Drew/AP)
  7. The president will submit a request to Congress on Monday President Obama is asking Congress to provide $1.8 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus, the mosquito-borne illness that could be causing the proliferation of a rare birth defect in some Latin American countries. The president will submit a formal request to Congress on Monday requesting money to up increase mosquito control programs, help build response and support capacities in states and territories where transmission is possible, expand research into the link between the virus and birth defects, and help countries currently facing the virus keep it from spreading. “There is much we do not yet know about Zika and its relationship to the poor health outcomes that are being reported in Zika-affected areas,” a White House Fact Sheet reads. “We must work aggressively to investigate these outbreaks, and mitigate, to the best extent possible, the spread of the virus.” Brazil has been hardest hit by the virus, which has been detected in 26 countries and territories in the Americas. World health officials believe it could spread to three or four million people this year, including in the United States. The request also includes an additional $250 million in federal assistance in Puerto Rico for women and children who are at risk for or have been diagnosed with microcephaly, the birth disorder linked to the virus. A public health emergency has been declared in the U.S. territory because of the virus. Democrats in Congress pushed the president to formulate aproper response plan for the virus and called for additional resources and an interagency response to fighting the virus. The White House has been insistent that the administration is responding aggressively to the virus, which has not yet been transmitted via mosquito in the U.S. The virus has already been transmitted on U.S. soil via sexual contact. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been actively working to keep the public informed about the virus. Officials are now advising pregnant women and their male partners to use condoms or abstain from sex if either have traveled to or live in Zika infected areas. Video Source:
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    “There is much we do not yet know about Zika and its relationship to the poor health outcomes that are being reported in Zika-affected areas,” a White House Fact Sheet reads. “We must work aggressively to investigate these outbreaks, and mitigate, to the best extent possible, the spread of the virus.” Brazil has been hardest hit by the virus, which has been detected in 26 countries and territories in the Americas. World health officials believe it could spread to three or four million people this year, including in the United States. The request also includes an additional $250 million in federal assistance in Puerto Rico for women and children who are at risk for or have been diagnosed with microcephaly, the birth disorder linked to the virus. A public health emergency has been declared in the U.S. territory because of the virus. Democrats in Congress pushed the president to formulate aproper response plan for the virus and called for additional resources and an interagency response to fighting the virus. The White House has been insistent that the administration is

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