“Our politics are divided. They have been for a long time. And while I know that division makes it…”

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

Our politics are divided. They have been for a long time. And while I know that division makes it difficult to listen to Americans with whom we disagree, that’s what we need to do today.

I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party. Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.

We didn’t fight for the Affordable Care Act for more than a year in the public square for any personal or political gain – we fought for it because we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course.

Nor did we fight for it alone. Thousands upon thousands of Americans, including Republicans, threw themselves into that collective effort, not for political reasons, but for intensely personal ones – a sick child, a parent lost to cancer, the memory of medical bills that threatened to derail their dreams.

And you made a difference. For the first time, more than ninety percent of Americans know the security of health insurance. Health care costs, while still rising, have been rising at the slowest pace in fifty years. Women can’t be charged more for their insurance, young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26, contraceptive care and preventive care are now free. Paying more, or being denied insurance altogether due to a preexisting condition – we made that a thing of the past.

We did these things together. So many of you made that change possible.

At the same time, I was careful to say again and again that while the Affordable Care Act represented a significant step forward for America, it was not perfect, nor could it be the end of our efforts – and that if Republicans could put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost, I would gladly and publicly support it.

That remains true. So I still hope that there are enough Republicans in Congress who remember that public service is not about sport or notching a political win, that there’s a reason we all chose to serve in the first place, and that hopefully, it’s to make people’s lives better, not worse.

But right now, after eight years, the legislation rushed through the House and the Senate without public hearings or debate would do the opposite. It would raise costs, reduce coverage, roll back protections, and ruin Medicaid as we know it. That’s not my opinion, but rather the conclusion of all objective analyses, from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which found that 23 million Americans would lose insurance, to America’s doctors, nurses, and hospitals on the front lines of our health care system.

The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.

Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.

I hope our Senators ask themselves – what will happen to the Americans grappling with opioid addiction who suddenly lose their coverage? What will happen to pregnant mothers, children with disabilities, poor adults and seniors who need long-term care once they can no longer count on Medicaid? What will happen if you have a medical emergency when insurance companies are once again allowed to exclude the benefits you need, send you unlimited bills, or set unaffordable deductibles? What impossible choices will working parents be forced to make if their child’s cancer treatment costs them more than their life savings?

To put the American people through that pain – while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return – that’s tough to fathom. But it’s what’s at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need.

That might take some time and compromise between Democrats and Republicans. But I believe that’s what people want to see. I believe it would demonstrate the kind of leadership that appeals to Americans across party lines. And I believe that it’s possible – if you are willing to make a difference again. If you’re willing to call your members of Congress. If you are willing to visit their offices. If you are willing to speak out, let them and the country know, in very real terms, what this means for you and your family.

After all, this debate has always been about something bigger than politics. It’s about the character of our country – who we are, and who we aspire to be. And that’s always worth fighting for.

President Barack Obama, June 22, 2017 (via ericmortensen)

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nubbsgalore: nubbsgalore: Happy #ObamaDay (photos by pete…

Friday, January 20th, 2017

nubbsgalore:

nubbsgalore:

Happy #ObamaDay

(photos by pete souza, official white house photographer)

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thank you.

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micdotcom: Michelle Obama’s farewell speech is what we need…

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

micdotcom:

Michelle Obama’s farewell speech is what we need going into the next four years

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peterwknox: obama-taught-me: Year in Review! These are all…

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

peterwknox:

obama-taught-me:

Year in Review! These are all from the official White House (x) Facebook page! 

Jan. 5, 2016
“With sunlight streaming through a window in the Green Room, President Obama listens to his introduction by Mark Barden, whose 7-year-old son Daniel was killed during the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Later, as he made remarks in the East Room, he began to cry as he recalled the day of the shootings; he called it the worst day of his Presidency.”

Feb. 23, 2016
“This photograph evokes the President in deep thought, which is not always an easy mood to convey. He was prepping with his national security staff before a teleconference with European leaders.”  

Feb. 18, 2016
“President Obama watches the First Lady dance with 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin in the Blue Room of the White House prior to a reception celebrating African American History Month.”

March 10, 2016
“What an honor to watch these girls grow up. Malia, foreground, and Sasha were both invited guests for the State Dinner in honor of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and Mrs. Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau. Following the actual sit-down dinner in the East Room, they made their way down the Great Hall to the State Dining Room for the musical entertainment.”

March 16, 2016
“It just happened spontaneously one afternoon as the President began dancing in the Outer Oval with Personal Aide Ferial Govashiri. As I recall, he was helping her practice for her upcoming wedding.”

March 20, 2016
“‘I love that picture,’ the President said to me when he saw this one hanging on the walls of the West Wing. Truth be told, he says that about every picture that features Malia or Sasha. The President and Malia were sharing a laugh as Malia interpreted in Spanish for a restauranteur in Havana, Cuba.”

April 22, 2016
“I was under strict instructions not to exit the helicopter as Queen Elizabeth approached upon the President and First Lady’s arrival. So I positioned myself near the cockpit to make this photograph. It’s kind of a disjointed composition but I thought it showed what the scene is like to be welcomed by the Queen at Windsor Castle.”

April 22, 2016
“Originally it was unclear whether I would be permitted to photograph the President meeting Prince George. But the night before, our advance team called and said they had gotten word from Kensington Palace that they would allow me access to make candid photographs during their visit. Afterwards, this photograph garnered the most attention but at the time all I could think was how the table at right was hindering my ability to be at the optimum angle for this moment.”

June 4, 2016
“The Vice President chases children and members of the press with a super soaker during the 2016 Biden Beach Boardwalk Bash held at the Naval Observatory Residence in Washington, D.C.”

June 21, 2016
“For eight years, President Obama has visited wounded warriors on a regular basis at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Here he participates in an agility drill (top) and box jump with Navy Lt. Cmdr. John “Jae” Terry.”

Aug. 4, 2016
“With some staff watching in the background, President Obama blows out candles after the Vice President surprised him with some birthday cupcakes.”

Aug. 5, 2016
“When Stevie Wonder stopped by for a visit, the President described many of the items in the Oval Office including the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

Aug. 17, 2016
“Members of the Biden family cross the highway to a dedication ceremony for a road that was named by the Government of Kosovo in honor of Joseph R. “Beau” Biden, III as a sign of respect and gratitude for Beau’s contributions to Kosovo, outside Camp Bondsteel. Pictured (L to R) are Hunter Biden, Hallie Biden, Natalie Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, the Vice President, Hunter Biden, and Valerie Biden Owens.”

Sept. 5, 2016
“President Obama talks with President Vladimir Putin of Russia following their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China.”

Sept. 7, 2016
“The President sips from a coconut during his visit in Luang Prabang, Laos. This was just after it was chopped open, splattering pieces of coconut on his shirt.”

Sept. 12, 2016
“The First Lady goes shopping at a CVS Pharmacy in preparation for life after the White House during a segment taping for the Ellen DeGeneres Show in Burbank, Calif.”

Sept. 12, 2016
“After a meeting with actor and human rights activist George Clooney, the President invited him and three of his colleagues to shoot hoops on the White House basketball court. This photo garnered a lot of attention when it was hung on the walls of the West Wing.”

Sept. 24, 2016
“The First Lady hugs former President George W. Bush as she and President Obama take the stage during the opening ceremony of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.”

Oct. 14, 2016
“There was almost no light remaining at the end of the day when the President and First Lady walked out to the South Lawn for a ‘Fourth Quarter’ toast to White House staff.”

Oct. 21, 2016
“Bill Murray stopped by the White House to be honored as the recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. When the President opened the door to the Oval Office, he laughed that Bill was in full Chicago Cubs regalia just before the Cubs were to begin the World Series. After the presentation, Murray demonstrated his prowess in putting, ‘sinking’ several putts into a White House drinking glass, all while doing a public service announcement to sign up for the Affordable Care Act.”

Oct. 31, 2016
“The President was about to welcome local children for Halloween trick-or-treating when he ran into Superman Walker Earnest, son of Press Secretary Josh Earnest, in the Ground Floor Corridor of the White House. ‘Flex those muscles,’ he said to Walker.”

Nov. 9, 2016
“It was the morning after the election and the President wanted to speak to Press Secretary Josh Earnest about how to characterize his thoughts to the press. When he heard Josh was meeting with his team, the President sent word to bring the team with him, thinking it was just a few others. But it turned out that Josh had the entire communications, speechwriting and research team in his office and they all filtered in to the Oval, some for the first time.”

Nov. 8, 2016
“The President had just walked in from the dining room and sitting on the floor in the Oval Office was Evelyn ‘Evie’ Cushman, daughter of Chase Cushman, Director of Scheduling and Advance. He immediately dropped down to his hands and knees and began tossing a ball back and forth with her.”

Model Role Model.

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cath822: micdotcom: in case you haven’t cried enough about the…

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

cath822:

micdotcom:

in case you haven’t cried enough about the Obamas leaving the White House

THAT LAST GUY IS MY FRIEND HENRY OMG! 

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agentlewoman: “Let me tell you, this generation coming up —…

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

agentlewoman:

“Let me tell you, this generation coming up — unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic — I’ve seen you in every corner of the country. You believe in a fair, and just, and inclusive America; you know that constant change has been America’s hallmark, that it’s not something to fear but something to embrace, you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward. You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result the future is in good hands.

My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you. I won’t stop; in fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my remaining days. But for now, whether you are young or whether you’re young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your president — the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago.

I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change — but in yours.”

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Photos of President Obama and Family Visiting National Parks

Friday, January 13th, 2017

rjzimmerman:


President Obama snorkeling off Midway Island.

Grand Canyon National Park.

Yellowstone National Park.

Yosemite National Park.

Acadia National Park. (Note his stone skipping technique is seriously flawed.)

Great Falls National Park.

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whitehouse: One last dad joke.

Friday, January 13th, 2017

whitehouse:

One last dad joke.

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lulabo: iloveyouandilikeyou: poehlaris: typingtess: I rarely…

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

lulabo:

iloveyouandilikeyou:

poehlaris:

typingtess:

I rarely get misty at the news.  I got misty at this.

[crying noise]

he had no goddamn idea, and the shock on his face was SOMETHING ELSE.

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NBC News on Twitter

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

NBC News on Twitter:

You have to watch the video.

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joequesada: I don’t post a lot on social media these days and I…

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

joequesada:

I don’t post a lot on social media these days and I rarely if ever post anything personal. But I have two personal stories that I’ve never really told publicly that I feel I need to tell today.

About seven years ago there was a letter in my mailbox from the White House. To be clear, not just the White House, but from the newly elected President Of The United States. Wow, maybe this had something to do with his appearance in an issue of Amazing Spider-Man, but oddly enough it was addressed to my then 8 year old daughter. It seems that unbeknownst to her parents, my little girl mailed a letter to President Obama wishing him well and offering him advice as only an 8 year old could.

And he wrote back.

In the letter he thanked and commending her for passing along her thoughts and engaging in this wonderful thing we call Democracy. To this day I still tear up remembering the look on her face as she read that letter realizing that not only did the President Of The United States write back, but that she lived in a country in which this was possible.

Two years later I was sitting in my office at Marvel when my phone rings and a gentlemen claiming to be an assistant to the President Of The United States tells me that the POTUS would like to commission me to do a piece of art for him. Thinking it was a prank I told him I’d love to discuss it further but I was rushing off to a meeting and would gladly call him back. I took down his info, did a quick Google search and confirmed that the number on my caller I.D. was indeed coming from an office in the White House. Wait, what?!?

As it turned out a close friend of the President, Patrick Gaspard, who was the Director of the White House Office of Political Affairs, was leaving to take on his new role as the Director of the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Gaspard happened to be a HUGE Marvel Comics fan. We’re talking a full on True Believer since childhood, and President Obama thought that a perfect parting gift for his service to the administration would be a custom piece of art featuring Mr. Gaspard, himself and several Marvel heroes standing in front of the White House and for some godforsaken reason he was asking me to draw it. I of course had to get approval from the highest levels of Marvel where it was met with nothing but enthusiasm and a big thumbs up.

Now as unlikely as all of this sounds, nothing was more surreal than when I was sending off rough sketches to White House for the President’s approval and getting back notes. I’d never been more thrilled to get art revisions in my life! Once the piece was finished inked and colored by Danny Miki and Richard Isanove respectfully, I received word that the President was thrilled with the results and Mr. Gaspard was over the moon with the final framed surprise gift.

Admittedly, for those close to me that knew about the assignment, I’d make it a point to boast as often as I could that I was now officially the very first United States Sequential Artist Laureate. Quite frankly, I don’t see why that shouldn’t be a thing.

A short time later I was at San Diego Comicon signing books at the Marvel booth when someone extended a hand for me to shake. I looked up and the gentlemen said, “Do you recognize me?” How could I not, I had spent a week drawing him. It was of course Mr. Gaspard and he wanted to thank me personally for the art and to express how much Marvel had meant to him growing up and still means to him today. Patrick and I have kept in touch ever since and while his current tenure as Ambassador to South Africa is coming to an end, I’m looking forward to catching up with him when he’s back in the States and making good on my promise to bring him on to the set of Defenders or taking him to a Mets game.

And yes, I was lucky enough to meet President Obama. like I said, I don’t usually like to post things of a personal nature, but today I feel compelled to simply convey my own humble experience of having the great honor of meeting the most powerful man on the planet when he was in office. A man who was nothing but kind, appreciative and generous to me, who demonstrating a genuine love for the medium of comics and took more time than he ever needed to to express his appreciation for the work I created and the medium of comics itself. The same man who also took time to write a simple yet eloquent response in 2009 to a little girl who express love and hope, not for herself, but for her President and his future.

Godspeed President Obama, thank you for your service. I have no doubt and look forward to how you will continue to serve and change our world for the better.

Joe Quesada

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jaybushman: turnabout: betheboy: yayponies: shananaomi: shan…

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

jaybushman:

turnabout:

betheboy:

yayponies:

shananaomi:

shananaomi:

In my much angrier days I read a lot of Larry Kramer, and then had the chance to work with him as an editor and an activist. Of all the things he taught me about how to use my anger to make good in the world the one I remember best is quiet and small, or as quiet and small as a loud man like Larry Kramer ever gets. It’s from the speech he made at New York’s gay community center in March 1987, the speech that helped launch ACT UP, the movement that changed not only AIDS awareness but health care and the concept of patients’ rights worldwide.

He said:

“I want to talk to you about power. We are all in awe of power, of those who have it, and we always bemoan the fact that we don’t have it. Power is little pieces of paper on the floor. No one picks them up. Ten people walk by and no one picks up the piece of paper on the floor. The eleventh person walks by and is tired of looking at it, and so he bends down and picks it up. The next day he does the same thing. And soon he’s in charge of picking up the paper. And he’s got a lot of pieces of paper that he’s picked up. Now – think of those pieces of paper as standing for responsibility. This man or woman who is picking up the pieces of paper is, by being responsible, acquiring more and more power. He doesn’t necessarily want it, but he’s tired of seeing the floor littered. All power is the willingness to accept responsibility.”

This idea is at the heart as I know it of community organizing, of leadership, of being a person who wants to leave the world a little better than you found it. It’s a quiet and small gesture to make, especially for a man on the cusp of having an immense amount of power.

This is the caption from the above photo, via Getty: US Democratic presidential candidate Illinois Senator Barack Obama picks up a water bottle cap he dropped after speaking during a rally at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, October 28, 2008.

Power is the willingness to accept responsibility. Leadership is the willingness to accept that power, and the responsibility that comes with it. Leadership is picking up little pieces of paper off the floor while the world watches.

I wrote that on October 28, 2008, the day the above photo was taken. 

I don’t know if Obama’s farewell speech tonight was what I needed or wanted to hear, but it was in so many ways exactly the same point he’s been making all along. 

It’s our fight to take up, our power to use. 

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vox: Michelle Obama’s last speech as first lady was a tearful,…

Friday, January 6th, 2017

vox:

Michelle Obama’s last speech as first lady was a tearful, impassioned defense of American diversity

Michelle Obama’s final speech as first lady Friday was, on the surface, an innocuous event — it honored the national school counselor of the year.

But wrapped in a speech ostensibly about the importance of supporting kids’ dreams, Obama seemed to be making an emotional, implicit criticism of President-elect Donald Trump’s vision for America.

“This country belongs to you — to all of you, from every background and walk of life,” Obama said in a speech addressed to the young people of America. She singled out immigrants, the children of immigrants, children from poor families, and children of every faith, saying, “Our glorious diversity, our diversities of faiths and colors and creeds, that is not a threat to who we are,” she said. “It makes us who we are.”

Just as she did on the campaign trail, Obama — who became one of Hillary Clinton’s most effective surrogates — never mentioned Trump’s name. Her speech was ostensibly about the importance of education and the caring work school counselors do.

But, like her speech at the Democratic National Convention, which claimed the mantle of “family values” for Democrats, her final message from the White House conspicuously stressed the virtues of diversity in what seemed to be an implicit contrast to much of Trump’s rhetoric:

“Do not let anyone make you feel like you don’t matter, or you don’t have a place in our American story,” Obama said. “Because you do, and you have a right to be exactly who you are.”

“But I also want to be very clear: This right isn’t just handed to you. This right has to be earned every single day. You cannot take your freedoms for granted. Just like generations who have come before you, you have to do your part to preserve and protect those freedoms — and that starts right now, when you’re young.”

She ended her speech, tearfully, with a plea not to be afraid — a word she had used earlier in reference to the stress of college applications but which, at the end of the address, may have been speaking to much larger anxieties.

“I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong,” Obama said. “So don’t be afraid. You hear me? Young people, don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourselves with a good education. Then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise. Lead by example with hope, never fear. And know that I will be with you, rooting for you and working to support you for the rest of my life.”

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missymalice:Best first lady ♡

Friday, January 6th, 2017

missymalice:

Best first lady ♡

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beeishappy: 39th Annual Kennedy Center Honors | 29.12.2016

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

beeishappy:

39th Annual Kennedy Center Honors | 29.12.2016

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Photo

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

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In Review: The Most Memorable We the People Petitions

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

In Review: The Most Memorable We the People Petitions:

Moved by the tragic suicide of a transgender teenager whose parents had forced her to attend conversion therapy, citizens used a We the People petition to support a ban on the practice. In a response, the White House did just that, and President Obama threw his support behind state-level efforts to ban conversation therapy for minors. Prior to this response, the White House had not taken an official stance on the issue.

“This Administration believes that young people should be valued for who they are, no matter what they look like, where they’re from, the gender wiht which they identify, or who they love.”

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““I offer my sincere and everlasting condolences to the souls of those who lost their lives here, as…”

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

“I offer my sincere and everlasting condolences to the souls of those who lost their lives here, as well as to the spirits of all the brave men and women whose lives were taken by a war that commenced in this very place, and also to the souls of the countless innocent people who became victims of the war,” Mr. Abe said. He added, “We must never repeat the horrors of war again.”

For his part, Mr. Obama described in detail what occurred on the day of the attack, highlighted acts of heroism by American service members and said that the visit of Mr. Abe “reminds us of what is possible between nations and between peoples.’’

Mr. Obama added, in what seemed a warning after the scorching American presidential campaign: “Even when hatred burns hottest and the tug of tribalism is at the most primal, we must resist the urge to turn in. We must resist the urge to demonize those who are different. The sacrifice made here, the angst of war, reminds us to seek the divine spark that is common to all humanity.”

The president and prime minister made their remarks at the end of a long pier that overlooks Pearl Harbor and the memorial to the attack — a small building on top of the carcass of the battleship Arizona in Pearl Harbor, where 2,400 American sailors, Marines and others were killed in the surprise military strike on Dec. 7, 1941. Mr. Abe and Mr. Obama laid wreaths made of white peace lilies at the memorial, and then dropped purple Hawaiian orchids into the water.

Japanese Leader Offers Condolences in Visit to Pearl Harbor – The New York Times
(via dendroica)

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“When President Barack Obama signed an update to U.S. law protecting religious freedom late last…”

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

“When President Barack Obama signed an update to U.S. law protecting religious freedom late last week, one provision drew special attention: U.S. law now recognizes non-believers as, in essence, a religious group. Obama’s signing of amendments to the International Religious Freedom Act on Friday wasn’t widely noticed — except among the community of atheists, agnostics and others who categorize themselves as “humanists.” For the first time, the law — which was originally passed in 1998 — specifies that “the freedom of thought, conscience, and religion is understood to protect theistic and non-theistic beliefs and the right not to profess or practice any religion.””

With Obama’s Signature, U.S. Religious Freedom Law Protects Atheists – NBC News
(via dendroica)

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romanovass: favorite lyrics from Hamilton, in no particular…

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

romanovass:

favorite lyrics from Hamilton, in no particular order 44/?

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