Michelle Obama's Swagger: Who Can Stop Her?

In today's link roundup: The first lady attends a major dinner and then announces the best picture Oscar winner. Plus: Voting Rights Act provision in jeopardy.

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Michelle Obama multitasks at Governors' Dinner and then the Oscars on Sunday: For the evening, the first lady wore Naeem Khan, choosing a strapless silver design that perfectly complemented her blunt bangs, the Huffington Post reports. The first lady's second-term swagger is simply marvelous.

Voting Rights Act "bailout provision" could play an outsize role in Alabama Supreme Court case: The Voting Rights Act has effectively tackled discrimination at the polls by keeping a close watch on places with a history of blocking minorities on Election Day. Any changes, from moving a polling place to redrawing electoral districts, can't take effect without approval from the Justice Department or federal judges in Washington, the Huffington Post reports. But the Voting Rights Act allows governments that have reformed their ways to get permission through a "bailout provision." The viability of that provision could be a key part of arguments the court will hear on Wednesday in one of the term's most important cases: Shelby County, Ala.'s challenge to the Voting Rights Act.

New federal rule requires insurers to offer mental-health coverage: The Obama administration issued a decision on Feb. 20 defining "essential health benefits" that must be offered by most health insurance plans next year, and it said that 32 million people would gain access to coverage of mental-health care as a result, the New York Times reports.

The White House releases state-by-state breakdown of sequester's effects: The Washington, D.C., area would be hit hard, the Washington Post reports. Virginia, Maryland and the District cumulatively would lose $29 million in elementary and high school funding, putting at risk 390 teacher and teacher-aide jobs and affecting 27,000 students. About 2,000 poor children would lose access to early education. In the area of public health, less funding would mean 31,400 fewer HIV tests. 

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Sept. 19 2014 8:34 AM