Read all posts from September 2009
Dr. Jill BidenSeptember 22, 2009
12:55 PM EDTI wanted to share some photos and thoughts about my day yesterday; I was able to spend time on two areas I care very deeply about: community colleges and military families.In the morning I traveled with the President to Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, New York. As I told the students and teachers I met there, I felt right at home. Today I’m already back in my own community college classroom teaching English. President Obama and I toured several high-tech classrooms and spoke with students who are working on transformers and other emerging technologies to meet the workforce needs of their region. President Obama is making an historic commitment to higher education and brining more and more students to colleges like Hudson Valley. I was truly proud to introduce our President and be a part of yesterday’s visit.After leaving the college, I went on to the headquarters of the New York National Guard in Albany. I spent several hours there meeting with New York National Guard soldiers, family members of deployed soldiers, and professionals who support the Guard with their Family Program services. I was heartened to learn more about the New York National Guard’s reintegration programs and the critical ways the Guard is working to support our soldiers and their families before, during and after deployments. As a military mom this is personal to me – and I hope to do as much as I can to raise awareness of the special challenges that Guard members and their families face. Every state has a National Guard – and every National Guard relies heavily on volunteers. Maybe today you could consider reaching out to your state Guard to see if you can offer to help? I know you won’t regret it.-Jill
September 22, 2009
12:13 PM EDTCross-posted from the DHS blog.Today, Secretary Napolitano, United States Citizen and Immigration Service (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas, and White House Chief Performance Officer Jeff Zients will be unveiling a new and improved USCIS website at USCIS’ headquarters.Ninety days ago, President Obama called for new USCIS technology to improve transparency and efficiency in the immigration system. USCIS met the President’s directive by developing a re-designed and enhanced website, available in English and Spanish, to help customers navigate the immigration system more effectively. Essentially, the new USCIS website will be a "one-stop shop" for immigration information.For example, the new USCIS.gov website includes a "Where to Start" tool that helps customers easily navigate the new site, a "My Case Status" tool that allows customers to check the status of their application via email and text message alerts, and a "National Dashboard" that provides national data on volumes and trends in the immigration system. We are also proud to introduce a Spanish language version of our website, which is available at: www.uscis.gov/espanol.Take a minute to check out the new site today and spread the word!Graves Spindler works for the Department of Homeland SecuritySu punto de partidaVersión traducida del blog de DHS.Hoy, la Secretaria del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional Janet Napolitano, el Director del Servicio de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de los Estados Unidos(USCIS) Alejandro Mayorkas y el Oficial Principal de Rendimiento de la Casa Blanca Jeff Zients presentaron el nuevo y rediseñado sitio web de USCIS en las oficinas principales de USCIS.Hace noventa días, el Presidente Obama hizo un llamado al uso de nuevas tecnologías en USCIS para mejorar la transparencia y eficiencia en el sistema de inmigración. USCIS cumplió con la directriz del Presidente al rediseñar y mejorar su sitio web, disponible en inglés y español, para ayudar los usuarios a navegar a través del sistema de inmigración de manera más eficaz. Esencialmente, el nuevo sitio de USCIS será "su punto de partida" de información sobre inmigración.Por ejemplo, el nuevo sitio USCIS.gov, provee la herramienta "Dónde empezar" la cual ayudará al usuario a navegar el sitio de manera más facil, la herramienta "El estatus de mi caso" le permitirá al usuario recibir información sobre el estatus de su solicitud a través de su correo electrónico o mensajes de texto y el "tablero de información" le brindará información nacional sobre volumen y tendencias en el sistema de inmigración. Nos sentimos orgullosos de presentarles también la versión en español del sitio web disponible en www.uscis.gov/espanol.¡Tome un minuto para que revise el nuevo sitio y dígale a todos!Graves Spindler trabaja para el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional.
September 21, 2009
05:20 PM EDTToday, Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan issued a video announcement encouraging students to respond to the President's call to take responsibility for their education. Students aged 13 or older are invited to create videos up to 2 minutes long, describing the role education will play in achieving their dreams, and the goals they will set for themselves to get there. The top three videos will each win a $1,000 prize, issued by the US Department of Education. Students can submit videos until November 2. There are no style restrictions - so be creative!
Learn more at Ed.gov/IAmWhatILearnLiz Utrup is Special Assistant for Communications at the Department of Education
- The contest rules are as follows:
- Video must be 2 minutes or less in length
- Each video must be submitted by an active student, age 13 and older
- Contestants chosen as finalists will be contacted through their YouTube account and must respond within 7 business days to confirm eligibility
- Students under the age of 18 must submit a parental consent form
- The Department of Education's website (www.ED.gov/IAmWhatILearn) must be featured in the video
- The video must be unique in content
- The video must convey the importance of education as well as the student’s individual academic goals
September 21, 2009
03:31 PM EDTPresident Obama laid out his vision for innovation, growth, and quality jobs earlier today at Hudson Valley Community College. The President's plan is grounded not only in the American tradition of entrepreneurship, but also in the traditions of robust economic thought.During the past two years, the ideas propounded by John Maynard Keynes have assumed greater importance than most people would have thought in the previous generation. As Keynes famously observed, during those rare times of deep financial and economic crisis, when the "invisible hand" Adam Smith talked about has temporarily ceased to function, there is a more urgent need for government to play an active role in restoring markets to their healthy function.The wisdom of Keynesian policies has been confirmed by the performance of the economy over the past year. After the collapse of Lehman Brothers last September, government policy moved in a strongly activist direction.As a result of those policies, our outlook today has shifted from rescue to recovery, from worrying about the very real prospect of depression to thinking about what kind of an expansion we want to have.An important aspect of any economic expansion is the role innovation plays as an engine of economic growth. In this regard, the most important economist of the twenty-first century might actually turn out to be not Smith or Keynes, but Joseph Schumpeter.One of Schumpeter’s most important contributions was the emphasis he placed on the tremendous power of innovation and entrepreneurial initiative to drive growth through a process he famously characterized as "creative destruction." His work captured not only an economic truth, but also the particular source of America’s strength and dynamism.One of the ways to view the trajectory of economic history is through the key technologies that have reverberated across the economy. In the nineteenth century, these included the transcontinental railroad, the telegraph, and the steam engine, among others. In the twentieth, the most powerful innovations included the automobile, the jet plane, and, over the last generation, information technology.While we can't know exactly where the next great area of American innovation will be, we already see a number of prominent sectors where American entrepreneurs are unleashing explosive, innovative energy:In information technology, where tremendous potential remains for a range of applications to increase for years to come;In life-science technologies, where developments made at the National Institutes of Health and in research facilities around the country will have profound implications not just for human health, but also for the environment, agriculture, and a range of other areas that require technological creativity; and,In energy, where the combination of environmental and geopolitical imperatives have created the context for an enormously productive period in developing energy technologies as well.Looking across the breadth of the U.S. economy, the prospects for transformational innovation to occur are enormous. But to ensure that the entrepreneurial spirit that Schumpeter recognized in the early twentieth century will continue to drive the American economy in the twenty-first century requires a role for government as well: to create an environment that is conducive to generating those developments.The President’s program is directed at strengthening our economic ecology—an educated workforce, a fluid environment that stimulates entrepreneurship, and building blocks in key areas of the economy—that has long been central to America's prosperity. These were core design considerations in putting together over $100 billion of Recovery Act funds that support innovation and they will continue to be core concerns going forward. With steps like these, the entrepreneurial spirit that Schumpeter recognized in the early twentieth century will continue to drive the American economy in the twenty-first century.I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read the President remarks today or, to delve into more detail, into a new white paper prepared by the National Economic Council about the policies President Obama is implementing to create a broader, more inclusive, more prosperous America based on the ingenuity of our people.
Lawrence H. Summers is Director of the National Economic Council
September 21, 2009
12:36 PM EDT
download .mp4 (510 MB)In case you missed it, on Friday the First Lady spoke with clarity and conviction to 140 women's health advocates on how health insurance reform impacts women and families. She also highlighted women's crucial role in making sure reform is passed. As a young woman working to improve the health of women and girls, I was honored to take part in the event. Before the First Lady spoke, three women shared their stories of battling the health insurance system after getting sick or losing a loved one. While the circumstances of Debi, Easter, and Roxi were different, their collective suffering inflicted by the current system made it clear that the status quo is inadequate and unacceptable -- a point emphasized by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius in her introductory remarks.The First Lady started by reminding us of the deeply personal nature of health insurance reform. She too had experienced the pivotal role of health insurance in moments when her father and infant daughter became ill. Framing health insurance reform as a women's issue, the First Lady described the many unique ways in which the health care debate affects women. Women shoulder the burden of making health care decisions for their families, and women need routine screening and care, such as pap smears and mammograms, that may not be covered by insurance. The health insurance system also discriminates against women, as having a C-section or experiencing domestic violence can be used as reasons to deny coverage. Finally, women pay more for health insurance, but earn less than men.As the First Lady noted, women across the United States are being crushed by the current structure of our health care. Surrounded by individuals who have paved the way for women to reach higher and achieve more, I realized that now is the time for younger women to step up and voice our need for a more just system. At the conclusion of the First Lady's speech, I felt energized and ready to redouble our efforts to pass health insurance reform.Margaret Chen is Special Assistant to the White House Council on Women and Girls
Cross-posted from the Broadband.gov blog.The Internet is the most transformational communications breakthrough of our time. It has become essential to the fabric of the daily lives of Americans.More and more, the Internet is how we get news, information, and entertainment; how we stay in touch with our friends and family; how we work and start new businesses; how we — and people across the globe — learn about our communities and express points of view.The Internet has also been an extraordinary platform for innovation, job creation, economic growth, and opportunity. It has unleashed the potential of entrepreneurs and enabled the launch and growth of small businesses across America.The key to the Internet’s success has been its openness.The Internet was designed to be "future-proof" — to support ideas, products, and services that today's inventors have not yet imagined. In practice, it doesn't favor or disfavor any particular content or application, but allows end users, content creators, and businesses of every size and in every sector of the economy to communicate and innovate without permission.Notwithstanding its unparalleled record of success, today the free and open Internet faces emerging and substantial challenges.We’ve already seen some clear examples of deviations from the Internet's historic openness. We have witnessed certain broadband providers unilaterally block access to VoIP applications and implement technical measures that degrade the performance of peer-to-peer software distributing lawful content. We have even seen one service provider deny users access to political content.And as many members of the Internet community and key Congressional leaders have noted, there are compelling reasons for concern about even greater challenges to openness in the future, including reduced choice in the Internet service provider marketplace and an increase in the amount of Internet traffic, which has fueled a corresponding need to manage networks sensibly.The rise of serious challenges to the traditional operation of the Internet puts us at a crossroads. We could see technology used to shut doors to entrepreneurs instead of opening them. The spirit of innovation stifled. A full and free flow of information compromised.Or we could take steps to preserve a free and open Internet, helping to ensure a future of opportunity, prosperity, and the vibrant flow of information and ideas.I believe we must choose to safeguard the openness that has made the Internet a stunning success. That is why today, I delivered a speech announcing that the FCC will be the smart cop on the beat when it comes to preserving a free and open Internet.In particular, I proposed that the FCC adopt two new rules to help achieve this.The first says broadband providers cannot discriminate against particular Internet content or applications. The second says broadband providers must be transparent about their network management practices. These principles would apply to the Internet however it is accessed, though how they apply may differ depending on the access platform or technology used. Of course, network operators will be permitted to implement reasonable network management practices to address issues such as spam, address copyright infringement, and otherwise ensure a safe and secure network for all users.I also proposed that the FCC formally enshrine the four pre-existing agency policies that say network operators cannot prevent users from accessing the lawful Internet content, applications, and services of their choice, nor can they prohibit users from attaching non-harmful devices to the network.This is just the first step in what will be an ongoing process. While these goals are clear, the best path to achieving them is not, and involves many hard questions about how best to maximize the innovation and investment necessary for a robust and thriving Internet. That is why we have created www.OpenInternet.gov.This site is a place to join the discussion about the free and open Internet. OpenInternet.gov is in Beta, and we’ll be adding features to enable participation in the near future. I encourage you to check it out to offer your input, or simply to read or watch today's speech.With the help of all stakeholders, the FCC can help secure a bright future for the Internet, and make sure that the garage, the basement, and the dorm room remain places where inventors can not only dream, but bring their ideas to life.And no one should be neutral about that.Julius Genachowski is the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission
Macon PhillipsSeptember 19, 2009
September 19, 2009
12:00 PM EDTThe President released the following statement today to mark the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid-ul-Fitr:"As Muslims in the United States and around the world complete the month of Ramadan and celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, Michelle and I would like to extend our personal greetings on this joyous occasion. Eid is a time to celebrate the completion of 30 days and nights of devotion. But even on this festive occasion, Muslims remember those less fortunate, including those impacted by poverty, hunger, conflict, and disease. Throughout the month, Muslim communities collect and distribute zakat-ul-fitr so that all Muslims are able to participate in this day of celebration. As I said in Cairo, my Administration is working to ensure that Muslims are able to fulfill their charitable obligations not just during Ramadan, but throughout the year. On behalf of the American people, we congratulate Muslims in the United States and around the world on this blessed day. Eid Mubarak."Over the past month, the President and several government Agencies participated in events to mark Ramadan – the President continued the tradition of hosting an Iftar here at the White House while the U.S. Department of Agriculture hosted the first in their history. The Corporation for National and Community Service spearheaded "Interfaith Service Week" as part of the President and First Lady's Summer of Service initiative and many other groups and individuals came together to make this month a time of giving and reaching out to our neighbors in need.The President and the First Lady extend their personal greetings on this special day. May you be well throughout the year.D. Paul Monteiro is Deputy Associate Director, White House Office of Public Engagement[Editor's note: Also see the video statement from Secretary Clinton]
Jesse LeeSeptember 19, 2009
12:01 AM EDTWith the next G20 Summit approaching in Pittsburgh, the President goes over the progress in stemming a global economic crisis. He discusses the impact of the Recovery Act, and pledges that "lobbyists for big Wall Street banks" will not prevent real reform for the future, including a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency.
September 18, 2009
05:49 PM EDTStudents across the country can learn about H1N1 Flu and ask questions of the government’s leading experts during a free webinar on September 22nd. The event, offered as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Ready Classroom campaign, is open to any class interested in joining and aims to address the science behind H1N1, preventative steps students can take to avoid getting the flu, and general preparedness activities.Throughout the hour-long webinar, students and teachers will get the opportunity to post questions about the presentation, which will then be answered by the speakers:
Providing an interactive and engaging way to learn about H1N1 Flu will ensure that students have the latest information about the ongoing flu season and know what they can do to stay healthy.Teachers and classrooms wishing to join can register free of charge at http://tinyurl.com/H1N1Preparedness.
- Dr. Ann Schuchat, Director, Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases
- Bill Modzeleski, Associate Assistant Deputy Secretary of the U.S., Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools
- Representatives from Discovery Education and FEMA
September 18, 2009
03:52 PM EDTAs part of her initiative to create a healthier America and her dedication to supporting the local community here in DC, the First Lady made sure to stop by opening day of the Freshfarm Market, located just steps from the Obama residence -- and the workplaces of thousands of DC employees, including more than 1,700 White House staffers.The farmer's market will be open for business (and free sample consumption) Thursdays until October 29. After picking up some chocolate milk, fingerling potatoes, and pears, the First Lady gave a few remarks in honor of the new addition to the neighborhood:Farmers' markets are a simple but major ingredient in solving access issues in many communities. And for those who think that fresh fruits and vegetables are out of their reach financially, as the Secretary mentioned, and I want to reinforce the fact that this market and other farmers' markets around the city participate in the WIC program, the SNAP program, the Double Dollar program, and the Seniors benefits program. And each SNAP and WIC dollar equals two dollars at a farmers' market to purchase fresh produce. (Applause.) So that's something -- and we want to get that word out as well.So if you know people who have access to these benefits, they should understand that these farmers' markets are there for them as well. And there is an incentive for them to use and buy their fruits and vegetables here. So we want to get that word out.And farmers' markets do more than just help Americans feed their families healthy meals. They help America's family farmers, as you've met some of our great farmers here, and you'll get to know them. That's the good thing about farmers' markets. You get to know the people who grow your food, how they do it, you know, who they are as people. That makes a huge difference. These farmers provide a critically important role in feeding this nation. Small and mid-size farmers grow the fruits and vegetables that we find on our supermarket shelves as well and at farmers' markets, and they are an important part of creating a healthier environment, healthier communities, and healthier families, and we have to support them.And I want to thank all of the farmers and all the purveyors who have come out today to make this market such a wonderful, wonderful resource for this community. Events like this one are more than just about the opportunity to provide good food. It's also about creating better communities.We know that when we start coming out to these markets, we're going to start talking to each other. We're going to talk about, where'd you get those peaches, and which stand, and let me try them, and what's fresh. We talk to each other in different ways.So this market is not just about food. It's about our community. And this is just the beginning of the discussion. (Applause.)
Jesse LeeSeptember 18, 2009
12:02 PM EDTThe Vice President just returned to Wilmington, Delaware after three days in Iraq. He met with local and national leaders, helping to keep Iraq moving towards a secure, united future. Speaking to the press alongside the president of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani, he laid out the Administration’s sustained commitment to Iraqi independence:The United States fully understands -- recognizes, and supports -- the notion that there's a sovereign Iraqi government. But we stand ready to use our good offices to support Iraqi national unity. Above all, the United States remains committed to a long-term, bilateral relationship with a united Iraq. We stand ready to continue this partnership with President Barzani and the other leaders of Iraq -- all those who are willing to make this country safer -- and to take the concrete, although difficult steps that still remain to ensure Iraq's long-term success and unity.Watch a photo gallery of his trip:
Luis MirandaSeptember 18, 2009
09:08 AM EDT¿Le gusta servir a la comunidad, ya sea organizando proyectos o participando como voluntario? La administración del presidente Obama está poniendo a su disposición el sitio web Servir.gov, contraparte en español de Serve.gov, como parte de la iniciativa "servimos unidos".
En Servir.gov podrá organizar, registrar y promover sus propios proyectos de servicio voluntario o encontrar opciones de voluntariado para servir a las comunidades. También puede compartir sus comentarios sobre su experiencia de servicio.
Lea el comunicado de prensa a continuación sobre la anuncioA continuación el comunicado de prensa sobre el nuevo sitio web, el cuál también será presentado por la Primera Dama a través de un mensaje especial en video durante la ceremonia de los premios ALMA de NCLR en ABC esta noche.Gobierno del Presidente Obama presenta Servir.gov para difundir su llamado al voluntariado.
Nueva página web en español se incorpora a la iniciativa "Servimos Unidos" del Presidente.(Washington DC) -- Para informar a millones de hispanohablantes sobre el llamado a servir que hizo el Presidente Obama, su gobierno ha inaugurado hoy Servir.gov, una página web en español que facilita que los estadounidenses organicen voluntariados en sus comunidades.
La página web estará disponible a principios del Mes de la Hispanidad, cuando la nación reconoce las contribuciones que los latinos de todas las esferas hicieron por nuestro país durante su historia.
La primera dama Michelle Obama aparecerá en un video presentando la nueva página y hablando sobre la importancia del voluntariado durante los Premios NCLR ALMA del 2009 en ABC."Todo este verano hemos animado a los estadounidenses a unirse a fin de ayudar a fortalecer y construir los cimientos para la prosperidad futura de nuestra nación, comunidad por comunidad", dijo la primera dama Michelle Obama. "El servicio comunitario es una sólida tradición en la comunidad latina, y esperamos que la nueva página web Servir.gov ayude a conectar a más estadounidenses con proyectos de voluntariado en sus propias comunidades."
La nueva página web acompaña Serve.gov, otro enlace que la Administración lanzó en junio como parte de su iniciativa Servimos Unidos (United We Serve). Las dos páginas web están a cargo de la Corporación para el Servicio Nacional y Comunitario (Corporation for National and Community Service), una agencia federal que administra programas de voluntariado y dirige la iniciativa Servimos Unidos.En Servir.gov, los visitantes pueden buscar oportunidades de voluntariado en su vecindario, idear un proyecto independiente de voluntariado al estilo de «Hágalo-usted-mismo», contar acerca de sus experiencias de voluntariado o reclutar a voluntarios para sus propios proyectos. La página web pone de relieve un video de bienvenida en español presentado por el secretario del Interior Ken Salazar, quien reflexiona sobre la importancia del voluntariado en momentos difíciles."Hoy en día nuestras comunidades han descubierto de nuevo el poder del voluntariado para unirnos en un propósito común", dijo Salazar. "Los invito a unirse a la iniciativa Servimos Unidos del Presidente Obama y a ayudarnos a demostrarle al mundo que cualquiera puede lograr cosas extraordinarias con las herramientas adecuadas.""El presidente ha hecho un llamado audaz al voluntariado en un momento de gran necesidad, y los estadounidenses estamos preparados para actuar", afirmó Nicola Goren, la actual jefa ejecutiva de la Corporación. "Con la página web Servir.gov, esperamos que más estadounidenses encuentren maneras de aportar a sus comunidades y ayudar en la recuperación de nuestra nación."Goren señaló nuevas investigaciones hechas por la Corporación para el Servicio Nacional y Comunitario que indicaban que más de 4.7 millones de adultos latinos realizaron trabajo voluntario a través de una organización formal en el 2008, un incremento de 400,000 más que en el año anterior. Los voluntarios latinos donaron aproximadamente 532 millones de horas como voluntarios, lo equivalente a $10,700 millones en las comunidades de Estados Unidos.La página web Servir.gov incluye varias características para promover el voluntariado:
Para ayudar a solidificar la página web, La Corporación para el Servicio Nacional y Comunitario pide a organizaciones que actualmente buscan voluntarios hispanohablantes que anuncien sus oportunidades de voluntariado en español e inglés accediendo a Servir.gov.El programa Servimos Unidos se concibió como una manera de lograr la participación directa de los estadounidenses en la solución de los problemas de sus comunidades. Aunque se aprecia cualquier tipo de servicio voluntario, los esfuerzos de la iniciativa se centran en cinco áreas clave: educación, salud, energía y medio ambiente, renovación de la comunidad, seguridad y protección.Los esfuerzos vienen en un momento de gran necesidad e impulso del servicio voluntario, ya que la crisis económica pone en peligro a más estadounidenses y aumenta la demanda de servicios sociales. Al mismo tiempo, muchas organizaciones sin fines de lucro están experimentando una bonanza de compasión con un aumento en el número de voluntarios, ya que muchos estadounidenses desean tenderles la mano a sus vecinos. Servimos Unidos aspira a aprovecharse de este creciente interés y enfocarlo para solucionar necesidades comunitarias específicas."Los desafíos a los que nos enfrentamos no tienen precedente en su tamaño y alcance, y ni las chapuzas ni respuestas fáciles nos ayudarán a encaminarnos hacia la recuperación", dijo el Presidente Obama al inaugurar Servimos Unidos. "La recuperación económica depende tanto de lo que ustedes hacen en sus comunidades como de lo que hacemos nosotros en Washington – y se necesita que todos nosotros trabajemos juntos.***
- Busque una oportunidad de voluntariado: Los visitantes pueden ingresar su código postal e intereses personales para enterarse de oportunidades de voluntariado cerca de su vecindario en una base de datos de más de 250,000 oportunidades en todo el país.
- Registre su proyecto: Las organizaciones o individuos que deseen reclutar voluntarios para sus proyectos pueden anunciar sus oportunidades de voluntariado (en inglés o español).
- Organice su propio proyecto: Para ayudar a cualquiera a organizar sus propios proyectos, como el planeamiento de una campaña de donación de libros, la creación de un jardín comunitario o evaluación del consumo de energía en viviendas. Traducciones al español realizadas por la AARP.
- Cuéntenos su historia: Se invita a los visitantes a compartir sus historias de cómo están teniendo un impacto a través de su servicio.
Announcing Servir.govAre you a someone who likes to serve your community by either organizing projects or volunteering? The Obama Administration has launched Servir.gov, the Spanish version of Serve.gov, as part of the initiative "United We Serve".In Servir.gov you can create, register and promote your own projects and find volunteer opportunities to serve the community. You can also share your comments about your service experience.Below is the release on the new site, which will also be promoted by the First Lady during tonight’s 2009 NCLR Alma Awards on ABC in a special video message;Obama Administration Launches Servir.gov Website to Broaden Call to Service
New Spanish Language Website Part of President’s United We Serve InitiativeWashington DC) -- To carry President Obama’s call to service to millions of Spanish-speakers, the Obama Administration today launched Servir.gov, a Spanish-language website that makes it easy for Americans to find or organize volunteer projects in their communities.The website is being launched at the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, when the nation recognizes the contributions Hispanics from all walks of life have made to our country throughout its history. First Lady Michelle Obama will appear in a video highlighting the new site and the importance of service airing during the 2009 NCLR ALMA Awards Friday night on ABC.
"All summer long we’ve encouraged Americans across the country to come together to help strengthen and build the foundation for our nation’s future prosperity one community at a time," said First Lady Michelle Obama. "Service to community is a strong tradition in the Hispanic community, and we hope the new Servir.gov website will help connect more Americans with service projects in their own communities."The new website is a companion to Serve.gov, which the Administration launched in June as part of its United We Serve initiative. Both sites are managed by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that administers service programs and is leading the United We Serve initiative.
On Servir.gov, visitors can search for volunteer opportunities in their neighborhood, get ideas for "do-it-yourself" volunteer projects, submit their service stories, or recruit volunteers for their own volunteer efforts. The website features a welcome video in Spanish by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who reflects on the importance of service during tough times.
"Today our communities have rediscovered the power of service to unite us in a common sense of purpose, and Americans are turning out to volunteer like never before," said Salazar. "I invite you to join in the President’s United We Serve initiative, and help us show the world the extraordinary things that ordinary people can achieve with the proper tools."
"The President has made a bold call to service at a time of great need and Americans are ready to respond," said Nicola Goren, the Corporation's Acting CEO. "Through the Servir.gov website, we hope more Americans will find ways to give back to their communities and help in our nation’s recovery."Goren pointed to new research from the Corporation for National and Community Service that found more than 4.7 million Hispanic adults volunteered through a formal organization in 2008, an increase of 400,000 over the previous year. Hispanic volunteers donated approximately 532 million hours of service, worth more than $10.7 billion to America’s communities.The Servir.gov website includes a number of features to promote volunteer service:
To help make the site more robust, the Corporation for National and Community Service is asking organizations that are looking for Spanish-language speaking volunteers to submit volunteer opportunities in Spanish and English by visiting Serve.gov.The United We Serve initiative was conceived as a way to directly involve Americans in tackling problems in their communities. While any kind of volunteer service is encouraged, the effort focuses on five key areas education, health, energy and the environment, community renewal, and safety and security.The effort comes at a time of strong need and momentum for service, as the economic downturn puts more Americans at risk and increases the demand for social services. At the same time, many nonprofit groups are experiencing a ‘compassion boom' of increasing volunteers as Americans reach out to help their neighbors. United We Serve aims to tap this growing interest and focus it on addressing specific community needs."The challenges we face are unprecedented in their size and scope, and we cannot rely on quick fixes or easy answers to put us on the road to recovery," said President Obama in announcing United We Serve. "Economic recovery is as much about what you're doing in your communities as what we're doing in Washington – and it's going to take all of us, working together."***
- Find A Volunteer Opportunity: Visitors can enter their zip code and interests to find local volunteer opportunities from a database of more than 250,000 opportunities across the country
- Register Your Project: Organizations or individuals looking to recruit volunteers for their efforts can post their volunteer opportunities (in English or Spanish)
- Plan Your Own Project: To help individuals plan their own projects with their friends, family, or neighbors, easy-to-use toolkits in Spanish are available on projects such as organizing a book drive, creating a community garden, or conducting a home energy audit. Spanish translation provided by AARP.
- Share Your Story: Visitors are invited to share how they are making a difference through service
- Busque una oportunidad de voluntariado: Los visitantes pueden ingresar su código postal e intereses personales para enterarse de oportunidades de voluntariado cerca de su vecindario en una base de datos de más de 250,000 oportunidades en todo el país.
Jesse LeeSeptember 17, 2009
07:49 PM EDTToday the President awarded Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in the East Room of the White House. Sergeant First Class Monti received the Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroic actions in combat in Afghanistan, which the President recounted alongside his parents Paul and Janet Monti:That's when Jared Monti did what he was trained to do. With the enemy advancing -- so close they could hear their voices -- he got on his radio and started calling in artillery. When the enemy tried to flank them, he grabbed a gun and drove them back. And when they came back again, he tossed a grenade and drove them back again. And when these American soldiers saw one of their own -- wounded, lying in the open, some 20 yards away, exposed to the approaching enemy -- Jared Monti did something no amount of training can instill. His patrol leader said he'd go, but Jared said, "No, he is my soldier, I'm going to get him."It was written long ago that "the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet, notwithstanding, go out to meet it." Jared Monti saw the danger before him. And he went out to meet it.He handed off his radio. He tightened his chin strap. And with his men providing cover, Jared rose and started to run. Into all those incoming bullets. Into all those rockets. Upon seeing Jared, the enemy in the woods unleashed a firestorm. He moved low and fast, yard after yard, then dove behind a stone wall.A moment later, he rose again. And again they fired everything they had at him, forcing him back. Faced with overwhelming enemy fire, Jared could have stayed where he was, behind that wall. But that was not the kind of soldier Jared Monti was. He embodied that creed all soldiers strive to meet: "I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade." And so, for a third time, he rose. For a third time, he ran toward his fallen comrade. Said his patrol leader, it "was the bravest thing I had ever seen a soldier do."They say it was a rocket-propelled grenade; that Jared made it within a few yards of his wounded soldier. They say that his final words, there on that ridge far from home, were of his faith and his family: "I've made peace with God. Tell my family that I love them."And then, as the artillery that Jared had called in came down, the enemy fire slowed, then stopped. The patrol had defeated the attack. They had held on -- but not without a price. By the end of the night, Jared and three others, including the soldier he died trying to save, had given their lives.I'm told that Jared was a very humble guy; that he would have been uncomfortable with all this attention; that he'd say he was just doing his job; and that he'd want to share this moment with others who were there that day. And so, as Jared would have wanted, we also pay tribute to those who fell alongside him: Staff Sergeant Patrick Lybert. Private First Class Brian Bradbury. Staff Sergeant Heathe Craig.And we honor all the soldiers he loved and who loved him back -- among them noncommissioned officers who remind us why the Army has designated this "The Year of the NCO" in honor of all those sergeants who are the backbone of America's Army. They are Jared's friends and fellow soldiers watching this ceremony today in Afghanistan. They are the soldiers who this morning held their own ceremony on an Afghan mountain at the post that now bears his name -- Combat Outpost Monti. And they are his "boys" -- surviving members of Jared's patrol, from the 10th Mountain Division -- who are here with us today. And I would ask them all to please stand. (Applause.)Like Jared, these soldiers know the meaning of duty, and of honor, of country. Like Jared, they remind us all that the price of freedom is great. And by their deeds they challenge every American to ask this question: What we can do to be better citizens? What can we do to be worthy of such service and such sacrifice?Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti. In his proud hometown of Raynham, his name graces streets and scholarships. Across a grateful nation, it graces parks and military posts. From this day forward, it will grace the memorials to our Medal of Honor heroes. And this week, when Jared Monti would have celebrated his 34th birthday, we know that his name and legacy will live forever, and shine brightest, in the hearts of his family and friends who will love him always.May God bless Jared Monti, and may He comfort the entire Monti family. And may God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
Jesse LeeSeptember 17, 2009
07:25 PM EDTSpeaking in College Park to the University of Maryland, the President saw some of the same passion for change that consumed much of the country for the years leading up to his election.Make no mistake, health insurance reform is something every young person should care about for themselves. As HealthReform.gov detailed in a new report this morning, young people entering the workforce are more and more getting the short end of the health insurance stick. We also launched a Facebook version of our "What’s In Reform for You?" quiz, which is guaranteed to surprise you no matter how young or old you are.But there was no question that this audience of young people, hungry for that change, understood the moral dimension, and even the historical dimension, as well if not better than anybody.The President opened talking about the young woman who introduced him, who had undergone amazingly trying times dealing with cancer:I'm sure that some of you wondered why this college required that all new students have health insurance this semester. Well, here's why. Here's why. Every day, the one in three adults -- one in three young adults who don't have health insurance live one accident or one illness away from bankruptcy. Think about what would have happened with Rachel if she hadn’t had health insurance. Nearly half of these young people have trouble paying their medical bills. Nearly 40 percent are in debt because of them. I mean, think about adding the debt you already have for college -- on top of that, another $10,000 or $20,000 or $30,000 or $50,000 worth of debt because you get sick.Some of these Americans don’t get insurance because they feel young and healthy. But some work part-time or for small businesses, where you aren’t offered health insurance. And it’s just too expensive to buy coverage on your own.Even if you have coverage, insurance companies today, they can drop it or water it down when you’re sick and you need it the most. Or they can decide that they won’t pay the full cost of your care and make you pay the rest of it out of pocket, even if it’s thousands upon thousands of dollars. That’s why more than one-third of all young adults -- including those with insurance – have had trouble paying their medical bills. That's why one-fourth of all young adults are paying off medical debt.And we’ve heard some horror stories during the course of this debate. There’s the young father I met in Colorado -- his child was diagnosed with severe hemophilia the day after he was born. And they had insurance, but because there was a cap on their coverage, as one child’s medical bills piled up, this father was left frantically to search for another option, or face tens of thousands of dollars of debt. (Audience interruption.)Another woman from Texas was about to get a double mastectomy when her insurance company canceled her policy because she forgot to declare a case of acne. By the time she had her insurance reinstated, her breast cancer -- (audience interruption.) What's going on, guys? We're doing okay. Relax. Everybody is all right. We're doing fine. (Applause.)I want everybody to understand this. You had a young woman who was diagnosed with cancer, but because she had a case of acne that the insurance company said hadn’t been declared, they decided they wouldn't cover her. By the time her insurance was reinstated, her breast cancer had more than doubled in size. TheNow, these stories are heartbreaking; they are wrong. Nobody in America should be treated that way. And we are going to bring about change this year. (Applause.)Now, at its core -- listen up. At its core, that’s what this issue is about. Health care is about more than the details of a policy. It’s about what kind of country you want to be. Young people, it's about what kind of country you want to be. We are the only nation on Earth that leaves millions of people without health insurance. We spend more than any country on Earth, and we're not any healthier for it. So this is about what kind of country you want your children to grow up in.A lot of you here today and a lot of young people across the country gave your time and your effort to this campaign because you believed that America can still do great things. (Applause.) You believed that in this country, we don't fear the future; we shape the future. (Applause.) We don't feed on division and anger; we feed on hope and possibility. That's what America is about. (Applause.) that's what we're called to affirm right now.
Luis MirandaSeptember 17, 2009
04:47 PM EDTHoy se cumplen 222 años desde que 39 delegados de la Asamblea Constitucional firmaron nuestra Constitución. El Presidente ayer promulgó una proclama para conmemorar el Día de la Constitución y el Día de la Ciudadanía, y la Semana de la Constitución. La proclama describe los principios y las garantías de nuestras libertades establecidos por la Constitución "como un rayo de esperanza para los estadounidenses y quienes buscan una nueva vida en Estados Unidos". Por eso también celebramos nuestra ciudadanía y reconocemos a aquellos que se han unido a nuestro país y hoy se convierten en ciudadanos estadounidenses, llegando un paso más cerca al sueño Americano.DÍA DE LA CONSTITUCIÓN Y DÍA DE LA CIUDADANÍA, SEMANA DE LA CONSTITUCIÓN DEL 2009
PROCLAMA HECHA POR EL PRESIDENTE DE ESTADOS UNIDOS DE NORTEAMÉRICALa Constitución de Estados Unidos ha permanecido firme con el paso del tiempo durante más de dos siglos como la carta de gobierno y garantía de nuestras libertades. Este documento de la fundación, suscrito en Filadelfia el 17 de septiembre, 1787, refleja nuestros valores básicos y ratifica los hechos presentados por la Declaración de Independencia: que a cada uno de nosotros se nos ha conferido derechos inalienables. Como beneficiarios de dichos derechos, todos los estadounidenses tienen la obligación solemne de participar en nuestra democracia, para que siga siendo dinámica y sólida, y responda a las necesidades de nuestros ciudadanos.
Para que triunfe, la democracia creada por nuestra Constitución requiere de la participación activa de sus ciudadanos. Cada uno de nosotros tiene la responsabilidad de aprender sobre nuestra Constitución y enseñarles a las generaciones futuras sobre su contenido e historia. Al cumplir con sus deberes cívicos, participar en el gobierno a nivel local, estatal y federal, y prestar servicios voluntarios en nuestras comunidades, las personas particulares pueden hacer que nuestro país sea mejor y darle vida a las libertades establecidas por la Constitución.
El derecho a participar en un gobierno propio y las muchas otras libertades garantizadas por nuestra Constitución inspiran sueños y ambiciones en muchos que viven dentro de nuestras fronteras y fuera de ellas. Estos principios son como un rayo de esperanza para los estadounidenses y quienes buscan una nueva vida en Estados Unidos. Todos los días, acogemos historias y patrimonios nuevos y diversos al gran mosaico de nuestra nación. Unidos por una devoción a la Constitución y a la participación cívica que inspira, los estadounidenses seguimos dedicándonos a los principios fundamentales establecidos hace más de doscientos años.
A manera de recordatorio de la firma de la Constitución y como reconocimiento a los estadounidenses que se esfuerzan por cumplir con los deberes y las responsabilidades de la ciudadanía, el Congreso, por resolución conjunta del 29 de febrero, 1952 (36 U.S.C. 106), designó el 17 de septiembre como el "Día de la Constitución y Día de la Ciudadanía", y por resolución conjunta del 2 de agosto, 1956 (36 U.S.C. 108), solicitó que el Presidente proclame la semana que se inicia el 17 de septiembre y termina el 23 de septiembre de todos los años como la "Semana de la Constitución".
AHORA POR TANTO, YO, BARACK OBAMA, Presidente de los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica, por la presente proclamo el 17 de septiembre, 2009, como el Día de la Constitución y el Día de la Ciudadanía, y del 17 de septiembre al 23 de septiembre, 2009, como la Semana de la Constitución. Aliento a todos los funcionarios federales, estatales y locales, como también a los líderes de organizaciones cívicas, sociales y educativas, a que realicen ceremonias y programas que rindan homenaje a nuestra Constitución y reafirmen nuestros derechos y obligaciones como ciudadanos de nuestro gran país.
EN FE DE LO CUAL, suscribo la presente este decimosexto día de septiembre del año de Nuestro Señor dos mil nueve, y ducentésimo trigésimo cuarto de la Independencia de Estados Unidos de Norteamérica.BARACK OBAMAEl Servicio de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de los EE.UU. estará celebrando este día con ceremonias de naturalización a través del país. Puedes visitar su sitio web para obtener más información.Puedes aprender más sobre este día o leer la Constitución de los Estados Unidos en el sitio web de los Archivos Nacionales y Administración de Documentos.----------------------------------Constitution and Citizenship Day
It’s been 222 years today, since 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed our Constitution. Yesterday the President signed a proclamation to commemorate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, and Constitution Week. The proclamation describes the principles and guarantees of our liberties established by the Constitution as a "beacon of hope for Americans and those who seek new lives in the United States. That’s why today, we also celebrate our citizenship and recognize those who came to our country and are today becoming U.S. Citizens, coming one step closer to the American Dream.CONSTITUTION DAY AND CITIZENSHIP DAY, CONSTITUTION WEEK, 2009
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATIONThe United States Constitution has withstood the test of time for more than two centuries as our Nation's charter of government and the guarantor of our liberties. Signed in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787, this founding document reflects our core values and enshrines the truths set forth in the Declaration of Independence, that we are each endowed with certain unalienable rights. As the beneficiaries of these rights, all Americans have a solemn obligation to participate in our democracy so that it remains vibrant, strong, and responsiveto the needs of our citizens.
To succeed, the democracy established in our Constitution requires the active participation of its citizenry. Each of us has a responsibility to learn about our Constitution and teach younger generations about its contents and history. By fulfilling civic duties, engaging government at the local, State, and Federal level, and volunteering in our communities, individual citizens can better our country and breathe life into the freedoms established in the Constitution.
The right to participate in self-government, and the many other freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution, inspire the dreams and ambitions of many inside and outside our borders.These principles serve as a beacon of hope for Americans and those who seek new lives in the United States. Every day, we welcome new and diverse stories and heritages into the great patchwork of our Nation. United by our devotion to the Constitution and to the civic engagement it inspires, Americans remain committed to the fundamental principles established over two hundred years ago.
In remembrance of the signing of the Constitution and in recognition of the Americans who strive to uphold the duties and responsibilities of citizenship, the Congress, by jointresolution of February 29, 1952 (36 U.S.C. 106), designated September 17 as "Constitution Day and Citizenship Day," and by joint resolution of August 2, 1956 (36 U.S.C. 108), requestedthat the President proclaim the week beginning September 17 and ending September 23 of each year as "Constitution Week."
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 17, 2009, as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, and September 17 through September 23, 2009, as Constitution Week. I encourage Federal, State, and local officials, as well as leaders of civic, social, and educational organizations, to conduct ceremonies and programs that celebrate our Constitution and reaffirm our rights and obligations as citizens of our great Nation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.BARACK OBAMAThe U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services celebrate this day with special naturalization ceremonies throughout the country. Visit their website for more information.Learn more about this celebration or read the U.S. Constitution at the National Archives and Records Administration website.
Danielle BorrinSeptember 17, 2009
04:35 PM EDTRead translations of the President's Remarks here. Languages include Arabic, French, Hebrew, Persian, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.At sundown this Friday night, the Jewish community here in the United States and all over the world will celebrate the start of the new year. Rosh Hashanah, literally "head of the year," marks not only a time of prayer and self-reflection, but also a time of celebration, rejuvenation and hopefulness for the days and year to come.For many, the sounds of the shofar serve as an emotional high point during the period leading up to and during the High Holy Days. The sounds emanating from the ram’s horn awaken our spirits and compel the listener to repentance and to action. In the first Presidential video message for the High Holy Days, President Obama describes how:"[T]his sacred time provides not just an opportunity for individual renewal and reconciliation, but for families, communities and even nations to heal old divisions, seek new understandings, and come together to build a better world for our children and grandchildren."At the dawn of this New Year, let us rededicate ourselves to that work. Let us reject the impulse to harden ourselves to others’ suffering, and instead make a habit of empathy – of recognizing ourselves in each other and extending our compassion to those in need."Let us resist prejudice, intolerance, and indifference in whatever forms they may take -- let us stand up strongly to the scourge of anti-Semitism, which is still prevalent in far too many corners of our world."Let us work to extend the rights and freedoms so many of us enjoy to all the world’s citizens – to speak and worship freely; to live free from violence and oppression; to make of our lives what we will."As the new year begins, let each of us respond to the call of those who are important to us, of our children, our communities, our nation, our conscience. From the White House, we hope everyone has a happy, healthy, peaceful and sweet New Year.Danielle Borrin is the Associate Director, White House Office of Public Engagement & Special Assistant, Intergovernmental Affairs & Public Engagement, Office of the Vice President
Jesse LeeSeptember 17, 2009
04:30 PM EDTThere's no question that reforming our health insurance system is a top priority for this Administration, but there should be no mistake: the focus on the economy is unflinching.There has been a lot of news on the economy that you may not have heard, including some very promising signs that the economy many thought was heading towards depression earlier this year is in the process of turning around.That’s why we thought it was important to have Austan Goolsbee, one of our top economic minds out of the Council of Economic Advisers, sit down and discuss the state of play. Hear him out and tell him what you want to know.