OMG LOL WTF? That may be your first thought when you head over to BuzzFeed and notice this odd post from the viral site's latest community member, the White House. Yes, with only days to go before the end-of-month deadline to obtain insurance or face a fine, the Obama administration is launching a full court press — with gifs — to encourage you to get covered in time.
The decision to advertise with humor on a popular website may seem puzzling, but it's actually a pretty smart idea. ObamaCare needs a big pool of young enrollees, and pitching the law this way almost guarantees it will get plenty of visibility among that demographic. As President Obama's recent appearance on Between Two Ferns showed, humor and viral marketing can be very effective tools to generate buzz and boost enrollments.
Now, critics will probably complain that Obama has once again degraded the office of the presidency, as they did when he went on Ferns. But really, a little sense of humor is refreshing in Washington. And this is, after all, a crucial marketing blitz. The White House would be foolish to not utilize the most engaging means possible to achieve its goals. Jon Terbush
The Girl Scouts of Western Washington returned a $100,000 gift after the donor asked that the money "not be used to support transgender girls," the organization said.
The group was "thrilled" when they first received the donation, which would have provided financial support for 500 scouts. Once the donor sent a follow-up note with the request, the money was returned, and a new fundraising campaign was launched on Indiegogo, using the hashtag #ForEVERYgirl. "Girl Scouts empowers every girl regardless of her gender identity, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity [and] sexual orientation," the group said in a campaign video. "Every girl deserves access to a safe, friendly environment where she can stand up for what she believes in and be proud of who she is."
The message worked; in less than 24 hours, the Girl Scouts of Western Washington raised enough to replace the $100,000, and then some. Catherine Garcia
Cliven Bundy, the rancher who made headlines last year for not paying the $1 million in fines he owed to the Bureau of Land Management for letting his cattle graze on government-owned land, met privately with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Monday, and said he educated him on federal land oversight and states' rights.
"I don't think he really understood how land rights really work in the western United States," he told Politico. "I was happy to be able to sort of teach him." The Republican presidential candidate was in Mesquite, Nevada, to speak with supporters, and shared his thoughts on land rights. "I think almost all land use issues and animal issues, endangered species issues, ought to be handled at the state level," Paul said. "I think that the government shouldn't interfere with state decisions, so if a state decides to have medical marijuana or something like that, it should be respected as a state decision."
Bundy said he spoke with Paul for 45 minutes (Paul's spokesman told Politico he didn't have an scheduled meetings with any of the attendees, and didn't speak to anyone for 45 minutes) and disagreed with Paul over the actions of groups like American Lands Council, which uses litigation and legislation to get land from the federal government to give to states. "My stand is we are already a sovereign state," he said. "The federal government doesn't need to turn this land back to us. It's already state land."
Bundy became a conservative hero after the BLM came to impound his cattle as penalty for not paying the grazing fees, and hundreds of armed militia members came to his ranch to show their support. The tide turned after he made derogatory statements about "the negro," alluding that black people might have been better off under slavery. Once those comments were made public, former supporter Paul released a statement saying Bundy's "remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with him." Catherine Garcia
The United States defeated Germany 2-0 Tuesday in a Women's World Cup semifinal game, and will now advance to Sunday's final in Vancouver. The team will go up against the winner of Wednesday's other semifinal match between England and Japan. Carli Lloyd scored during a penalty kick in the 69th minute, and Kelley O’Hara made another goal in the 85th minute. Going into the game, Germany was the top-ranked team in the competition. Catherine Garcia
Iconic American fashion designer Donna Karan is stepping down as chief designer of Donna Karan New York (DKNY), the company announced Tuesday.
Karan, 66, founded the fashion house in 1984, along with her late husband, Stephen Weiss, and Takiyaho Inc. In 2001, LVMH Moët Hennessey Louis Vuitton invested hundreds of millions of dollars to grow DKNY into Donna Karan International, ABC News reports. While she will remain an adviser under a long-term agreement, Karan plans on spending more time on her Urban Zen foundation, which she founded in 2007 to improve health care treatment for patients and their families. It is not yet known who will take over as chief designer.
"Over the past three decades, Donna Karan has inspired women around the world to embrace their power and sensuality," DKNY said in a statement. "Donna Karan is an icon, visionary designer, and a passionate philanthropist. She believes in dressing and addressing women. Her impact on American fashion has been extraordinary and she will continue to influence and inspire for years to come." Catherine Garcia
Greece missed the deadline to make a €1.6 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday, hours after European ministers rejected requests from the country to extend its bailout.
Greece is the first developed country to fail to repay a loan to the IMF. Once the eurozone bailout expired, Greece did not have access to billions of euros in funds, and was unable to make the IMF payment, the BBC reports. Eurogroup chairman and Dutch Finance Minister Jereon Dijsselbloem said that it was "crazy" for the Greek government to expect the bailout to extend past its midnight expiration, since the country did not want to go along with proposals from the European Commission, primarily to raise taxes and cut welfare spending.
On Tuesday night, thousands of protesters marched in Athens to urge the Greek parliament to vote "yes" in a referendum scheduled for Sunday on whether Greece should accept those proposals. Leaders in the EU have said a "no" vote would mean Greece leaving the eurozone. Catherine Garcia
On Wednesday, the United States and Cuba will announce an agreement to open embassies in each other's capitals, senior administration officials said Tuesday, formally reestablishing diplomatic relations between the two countries for the first time since 1961.
President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry will share the news, officials said. Since Obama announced in December that he was working on normalizing relations with Cuba, the U.S. has removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, and issued licenses for ferry and flight services between Florida and Cuba. Catherine Garcia
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush published a whopping 33 years of personal tax returns to his campaign website Tuesday, a new record in American politics. The former Florida governor reported an effective rate of 36 percent over the years.
"In my case, I paid the government more than one in three dollars that I earned in my career. Astounding," Bush writes. "I think I speak for everyone, no matter your tax rate: we need to get more money back in your pocket and less in the federal kitty."
The move, which happened weeks after fellow candidate Marco Rubio came under fire for his shaky personal finances, represents Bush's effort to underscore his commitment to transparency. It also stands in stark contrast to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's secrecy and silence regarding her use of a private email account during her tenure as secretary of state. Bush's disclosure arrives hours before the State Department is set to publicize thousands of Clinton's emails. Stephanie Talmadge