Megan SlackNovember 02, 2011
06:38 PM EDT
Watch First Lady Michelle Obama's full remarks here.
Today, First Lady Michelle Obama honored organizations from across the country that are committed to providing enriching arts and humanities programs for young people. These organizations, recipients of the President’s Council on Arts and the Humanities Youth Award, work both in and out of schools to encourage young people to experience every facet of the arts, from dance and theater to media arts and music composition.
Groups being honored include:
- An art center in South Philidelphia that provides free art classes to 2,000 students a year, many of them immigrants
- A summer workshop in Seattle that teaches students about Shakespeare
- A 10-day, five-state “moving classroom experience” that takes students along the path of the Civil Rights in the southern United States
Colleen CurtisNovember 02, 2011
06:26 PM EDT
First Lady Michelle Obama visited the Royal Castle Child Development Center in New Orleans yesterday, where she led the toddlers in some exercises and read them a book that is an Obama family favorite.
Mrs. Obama was in New Orleans to highlight the importance of building healthy habits at a very young age, a key component of the Let's Move Child Care initiative, which is designed to get child care centers to promote healthy eating and exercise habits. After she finished a round of stretching, jumping and marching in place, the First Lady read two books to the children and their parents. First up was "Lunch" by Denise Fleming, about a mouse that eats vegetables and fruit, followed by "Where the Wild Things Are," the children's classic (beloved by the Obamas) by Maurice Sendak.
Ronnie ChoNovember 02, 2011
02:25 PM EDT
Every day I have the pleasure of meeting and working with the best this generation has to offer and it’s been my mission to spotlight and support the extraordinary work of America’s youth. Today, I’m thrilled to present a new opportunity to do just that.
The White House Office of Public Engagement and mtvU are proud to announce the first ever Campus “Champions of Change” Challenge. The Challenge invites college and university students from across the country to demonstrate how their student led project is improving their campus community and helping America win the future.
Here’s how it works:
- Submit an online application detailing your student-led program at www.WhiteHouse.gov/CampusChallenge.
- The White House will select 15 finalists based on input from a panel of judges.
- The public will then have an opportunity to weigh in and vote on the top five projects they think best embody the President’s goal to win the future.
The top five finalists will be named Campus Champions of Change, and will be invited to the White House for a culminating event. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to work with mtvU, and MTV Act to create short features about their projects that will air on mtvU and be featured on MTV.com. The winning team will also host an episode of mtvU’s signature program, “The Dean’s List”.
Today’s students are not just winning the future, but creating effective change in the present. As the President has said: “All Across America, college and university students are helping our country out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. I hope this challenge shines a light on their efforts, and inspires Americans of all ages to get involved in their communities.”
For more information and to submit your application visit: www.whitehouse.gov/campuschallenge. The deadline for applications is Friday, December 9, 2011.
For the latest news on this and other engagement opportunities for young Americans sign-up for email updates.
Secretary Ray LaHoodNovember 02, 2011
01:49 PM EDT
Ed. Note: Cross-posted with the Department of Transportation blog, Fastlane.
It was an honor to stand with President Obama earlier today by the Francis Scott Key Bridge between Washington, DC, and Virginia. There, the President urged Congress to pass the infrastructure provisions in the American Jobs Act.
I've been pretty vocal about how important it is to put these transportation investments into action and get hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads, bridges, airports, and transit systems. So it was my pleasure, today, to hear the President make the case for what has been historically the kind of bill that gets bipartisan support.
I hope the United States Senate heard his call and will pass the transportation provisions of the American Jobs Act this week.
It was entirely fitting that the President made his case at the Key Bridge because this important crossing, which carries 62,000 vehicles each day, is one of America's more than 70,000 bridges in need of repair. Like many of the other bridges on the Federal Highway Administration's list of structures that need to be monitored, inspected, and repaired, thousands of people rely on this bridge to get to work and school and to deliver goods every day. And, like many of the other bridges, the Key Bridge is years away from getting the rehabilitation it requires.
However, if Congress passes the transportation pieces of the American Jobs Act, state departments of transportation across the country can finally begin long-deferred repairs on many of these aging bridges and put construction workers back on the job.
America's economy relies on transportation infrastructure; without a well-functioning system of roads and highways, public transit, railways, seaports, and aviation, much of our economic activity would simply grind to a halt. But, to meet the needs of a growing economy, we must maintain, upgrade, and expand that infrastructure.
That's not a Democratic idea or a Republican idea--it's a common-sense idea: Investments that create, maintain, or expand transportation networks create construction jobs even as they promote economic activity.
To demonstrate this, the White House released a report (pdf) today that highlights the economic value of improving the nation's transportation system. The report documents the terrific benefits of projects in 20 different states and the District of Columbia.
The Administration has also asked DOT to step up our awarding of TIGER grants by several months, so we can get workers back to their jobsites more quickly. And, we're shortening the 2012 TIFIA application process to accelerate private financing for bridges, tunnels, transit, and other projects.
President Obama and the Department of Transportation are doing what we can to connect the men and women who need work with the work America needs to get done. But we can't do it alone. We need Congress to pass this bill.
Megan SlackNovember 02, 2011
12:04 PM EDT
The United States is falling behind on investing in the roads, bridges, airports, and transit systems that keep our economy humming. We spend just 2 percent of our GDP on infrastructure projects. Europe and China invest 5 percent and 9 percent of their respective GDPs on developing infrastructure.
Functioning infrastructure provides a critical backbone for a strong economy. Research shows that investments in creating, maintaining, or expanding transportation networks promote efficiency, productivity, and more rapid economic growth.
Today, President Obama is calling on Congress to pass a piece of the American Jobs Act that will invest $50 billion in our nation’s transportation infrastructure and $10 billion in a National Infrastructure Bank. Together, these initiatives will put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads, rails, and runways. With 1.1 million constructions workers out of work, we can’t wait to invest in our infrastructure.
Dan PfeifferNovember 02, 2011
06:00 AM EDT
As we continue to climb out of the worst recession since the Great Depression and Americans continue to struggle, it is clear that the need for continued action is urgent. There are things that Washington can do right now to create jobs and grow the economy, and the President has put together the American Jobs Act to do exactly that.
Unfortunately, even as the President is doing all he can through his executive powers in the "We Can't Wait" campaign, the American Jobs Act is being blocked by Republicans in the Senate who have voted in unison against these common sense, broadly supported proposals, and Republicans in the House refuse to even give the bill a vote. Senate Republicans have offered their own alternative as an excuse to oppose the President's plan, but a look at them side by side leads to only one conclusion: one is truly a jobs plan, and one is not.
Megan SlackNovember 01, 2011
06:26 PM EDT
In 2009, President Obama challenged the Federal Government to lead by example by becoming leaner, greener and more efficient. He asked agencies and departments to become more energy efficient, reduce waste and water use, and use its purchasing power as the largest energy consumer in the U.S. economy to support more environmentally responsible products and technologies in their operations.
The GreenGov Presidential Awards celebrate extraordinary achievement in the pursuit of President Obama's challenge. Given in six different categories, the awards honor Federal civilian and military personnel, agency teams, agency projects and facilities, and agency programs that exemplify President Obama's charge to lead by example toward a clean energy economy.
Meet this year’s winners and learn about the award they are receiving below.
Matt ComptonNovember 01, 2011
02:45 PM EDT
Bonnie Frawley is a pharmacy manager for Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, and drug shortages have become a too frequent fact of her work life.
She says the situation has reached a "critical level" and that it affects patient care, "sometimes on a daily basis."
Watch as she describes why we can't wait to help our nation's hospitals -- and how the President Obama's executive order will bring attention to the issue and mean fewer drug shortages.
Secretary Kathleen SebeliusNovember 01, 2011
02:22 PM EDT
Last July, I wrote about a new and innovative effort to help address sexual assault and dating violence. While women of any age can be targets of this kind of abuse, young women aged 16-24, experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault, and 1 in 5 will be a victim of sexual assault during college. Many of these assaults occur when the offender, often an acquaintance, has targeted and isolated a young woman in vulnerable circumstances. Moreover, sixty percent of college students who have been in an abusive relationship say no one helped them.
Working with the Office of the Vice President and the White House Office of Science and Technology, we launched the Apps Against Abuse technology challenge – calling on software innovators to harness the power of mobile technology to help prevent dating violence and abuse by keeping young adults connected to trusted friends and providing easy access to important resources for help including local police and abuse hotlines.
Today, we are pleased to announce the winners of the challenge: “Circle of 6” and “On Watch.” Prototypes of the two winning applications were selected from a pool of over 30 entries submitted to Challenge.gov.
Vice President Biden applauded the winning applications earlier today during a conference call with hundreds of college and university officials to discuss ongoing efforts to help better prevent and respond to sexual assault and violence on campuses across the country. He encouraged the college and university leaders to make students on their campuses aware of the applications when they become available for download in 2012.
Ken SalazarNovember 01, 2011
12:07 PM EDT
Today is truly an historic day for America as President Obama is announcing the establishment of Fort Monroe National Monument -- a historic fort in Virginia’s Tidewater region that was integral role to the history of slavery, the Civil War, and the U.S. military -- as the 396th unit of the National Park System.
With the strong support of the people of Virginia, from the congressional delegation to Governor McDonnell to Mayor Ward and the citizens of Hampton, President Obama has ensured that this historic fort, a symbol of the long struggle for freedom for African Americans, will be preserved as a national park for generations to come.
Fort Monroe is one of 101 projects that I have highlighted as part of the America’s Great Outdoors initiative, representing what states believe are among the best investments in the nation to support a healthy, active population, conserve wildlife and working lands, and create travel, tourism and outdoor-recreation jobs across the country.
This Thursday at 1:00 pm EDT, we will release the final 50-state report outlining some of the country’s most promising ways to reconnect Americans to the great outdoors. As part of that launch, I’ll be participating in a live web chat, where I will answer your questions about the America’s Great Outdoors initiative, Ft. Monroe National Monument, and how conservation and outdoor recreation initiatives are strong economic engines for our nation’s economy.
Click here (firstname.lastname@example.org) to send me your questions in advance or tweet them to me at #askken.
I look forward to answering many of your questions on Thursday at 1:00 pm ET.
Megan SlackNovember 01, 2011
11:59 AM EDT
America's national parks make up an important part of our society. Besides preserving our history and protecting natural ecosystems, national parks are economic engines. Every $1 of federal investment in our national parks creates $4 of economic value to the public. These investments include projects to build, maintain, and repair facilities, replace outdated machinery and equipment with more energy efficient systems, and preserve natural and cultural resources. In fact, national parks generate $13.3 billion in local private-sector activity and support 267,000 private-sector jobs nationwide due to economic activity they generate.
Today, President Obama designated Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, as our 396th national park. Fort Monroe, a historic fort in Virginia’s Tidewater region, played a pivotal role in the history of slavery in the United States. During the Civil War, the fort remained in Union possession and became a place for escaped slaves to find refuge. Fort Monroe closed its doors as a military base in September, but today’s proclamation ensures its legacy continues as a national monument.
November 01, 2011
11:52 AM EDT
Today President Obama proclaimed that this November is National Entrepreneurship Month, a time when “we celebrate the remarkable and everyday successes of our entrepreneurs and innovators, and we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring our economy remains the engine and the envy of the world.”
We understand that entrepreneurs are responsible for virtually all new job growth across the country. Starting this year, the White House Startup America initiative has accelerated the success of high-growth entrepreneurs by unlocking access to capital, cutting red tape, and expanding mentorship opportunities, complemented by major private sector commitments.
The President’s American Jobs Act will go even further, allowing entrepreneurs to raise capital in innovative ways and using unemployment insurance to turn job-seekers into job-creators. And because we can’t wait for Congress to act, just this past week the President announced new executive actions that will reduce student loan burdens for young entrepreneurs, accelerate cutting-edge research from lab to market, and create a one-stop shop for businesses to access federal resources and boost exports.
One of the most exciting things about working for the White House is getting to engage with so many different entrepreneurs doing so many amazing things. America is teeming with innovative startups – not just in technology, and not just in Silicon Valley. Here is just a small sample of the path-breaking entrepreneurs we’ve gotten to know over the past few months:
- The Army doctor who returned from Afghanistan and created a new way to improve the health of our military veterans.
- The biotech entrepreneur in Cleveland who is turning university research into a new therapy to heal wounds faster.
- The former French teacher in Detroit who started with one crepe shop and has new locations sprouting up all over town.
- The founder and “head janitor” in Phoenix who is turning industrial cleaning green.
- The media entrepreneurs who started an international ad agency in rural Virginia.
- The mobile-tech entrepreneur who is helping you hail a cab with your cell phone.
- The epidemics expert in Wisconsin who is using open government data to improve asthma management.
- The college football player who is manufacturing sustainable apparel right here in the U.S.
- The immigrant who came to America with just $13 and grew a national sushi distributor in North Carolina.
Throughout National Entrepreneurship Month, we’ll be posting more stories of American entrepreneurs embracing the unknown, growing innovative companies, and creating jobs all across the country.
November 01, 2011
10:48 AM EDT
Recently, the U.S. General Services Administration joined with New York City officials for the groundbreaking of a project that will transform a former Navy supply warehouse in Brooklyn, built in 1918, into a small business incubator. Once completed, no longer will the nine-story structure represent a vacant excess federal building. It will soon be a hub of activity as approximately 400 construction workers prepare the structure for manufacturing businesses that are anticipated to provide 1,300 permanent jobs in the planned state of the art industrial center.
Last summer, GSA completed the successful sale of this former federal building to the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which had selected a private developer to redevelop the 1.1 million square foot warehouse. The federal government received $10 million through GSA’s negotiated sale to the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
As part of the White House Campaign to Cut Waste, the Obama Administration is moving aggressively on disposal of excess properties such as this one to save taxpayer dollars and make more efficient use of the government’s real estate assets. President Obama has directed federal agencies in a Presidential Memorandum to focus on improving the management of the government’s real estate and getting unneeded properties off our books. Agencies have risen to the challenge and identified opportunities that exceed the President’s goal to realize $3 billion in savings from the government’s properties by September 30, 2012.
With a portfolio including 350 million square feet of public buildings, 200,000 federal vehicles, and a flow of goods and services throughout government totaling $95 billion, GSA is uniquely suited to ensure federal tax dollars are not wasted on properties that are excess to the Federal government’s needs. Since 2002, GSA’s Real Property Utilization and Disposal office, working with all federal landholding agencies, has disposed of over 3,355 unneeded federal properties resulting in over $5.6 billion in proceeds. With our position as the leading federal asset manger, we will continue to work with agencies to aggressively identify and dispose of underutilized buildings to make our government more sustainable and efficient.
The sale of the Brooklyn warehouse to the New York City Economic Development Corporation will deliver jobs to the region while relieving the federal government of a property that has outlived its utility.
Colleen CurtisOctober 31, 2011
08:00 PM EDT
Watch Jay Cuetara, a cancer patient and advocate for drug shortage reform, speak about President Obama's executive action to reduce prescription drug shortages in America here.
President Obama today signed an executive order that directs the FDA to step up work to reduce the drug shortages and protect consumers. Jay Cuetara know just how important this is: in August, the center where he was receiving chemotherapy ran out of the drug being used to treat his cancer, which "can mean the difference between curing your cancer and not," the San Francisco man explained.
The President's action means that drug companies will be required to let the FDA know earlier about the potential for drug shortages so that they can respond successfully. If we find out that prices are being driven up because shortages are being made worse by manipulations of companies or distributors, agencies will be empowered to stop those practices. And the FDA and the Department of Justice will be investigating any kinds of abuses that would lead to drug shortages.
As the President said today, we can't wait for action. "We'll still be calling on Congress to pass a bipartisan bill that will provide additional tools to the FDA and others that can make a difference. But until they act, we will go ahead and move."
Update: Check out a video from Bonnie Frawley, a pharmacy manager from Boston, who talks about what the President’s order will mean for hospitals.
Megan SlackOctober 31, 2011
05:46 PM EDT
The number of prescription drug shortages tripled between 2005 and 2010. Besides having serious consequences for people's health and well-being, drug shortages drive vendors to charge outragous prices for drugs that are normally affordable when in stock. One report found that price-gouging vendors mark up prices on drugs in short supply by 650 percent, on average.
Another report about these “grey market vendors”—companies that inflate prices of drugs running in short supply—found that a leukemia drug whose typical contract price is about $12 per vial was being sold at $990 per vial. At the extreme, a drug used to treat high blood pressure that was normally priced at $25.90 was being sold at $1,200 due to a drug shortage.
Only a very small number of drugs are affected by such shortages, but for many patients, changing medications may be the difference between getting healthier and getting sicker. Drugs affected by shortages include cancer treatments, anesthesia drugs, and other medications that are critical to the treatment and prevention of serious diseases and life-threatening conditions.
Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order that will help prevent shortages that lead to this type of price gouging. The order directs the Food and Drug Administration to expand reporting about situations that might lead to drug shortages, and also to work with the Department of Justice to investigate illegal price gouging.
Secretary Kathleen SebeliusOctober 31, 2011
02:30 PM EDT
Sometimes the most important component of a patient’s treatment is the type of medication they receive and the consistency at which they receive it. For some Americans, a change in their treatment regimen or a substitution of a medication can seriously threaten their ability to get better.
Between 2005 and 2010, the number of prescription drug shortages nearly tripled. While the FDA successfully prevented 137 drug shortages between January 1, 2010 and September 26, 2011, prescription drug shortages continue to threaten the health and safety of the American people. Today, too many people are waiting for their prescription to become available. Some are forced to switch from the medication they prefer, while others go without their medicine altogether. In some cases, drug shortages can even force people to stop a course of treatment before it finishes.
We cannot control the factors that cause these drug shortages. But we are committed to doing our part to counteract them. Which is why President Obama signed an Executive Order today that will lead to earlier FDA notification of any impending shortages for certain prescription drugs. Early notification can help prevent a shortage from becoming a crisis by allowing hospitals, doctors and manufacturers to take action to ensure medications remain available.
In addition, the President’s Executive Order will call on FDA to work with the Justice Department to examine whether “gray market” profiteers are responding to potential drug shortages either by hoarding medications or charging exorbitant prices. In recent months, we’ve heard reports of enormous markups such as a blood pressure medicine usually priced at $26 being sold for $1,200. And under this Executive Order, the Justice Department will watch the market closely to make sure companies are not exploiting drug shortages to raise their profits at the expense of patients.
Kori SchulmanOctober 31, 2011
02:26 PM EDT
In 2009, President Obama challenged the Federal Government — the biggest energy consumer in the US economy, to become leaner, greener, and more efficient. Now in its second year, the White House Council on Environmental Quality is hosting the GreenGov Symposium to bring leaders in sustainability together under one roof.
Join the White House and Mother Nature Network for a live panel discussion at 12:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, November 1st. Administration officials will answer questions submitted by the public on clean power, energy security, green fleets and more. Participants include:
- Brian Deese, Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council;
- Michelle Moore, Federal Environmental Executive at the White House Council on Environmental Quality;
- Jonathan Powers, Special Advisor on Energy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army;
- Michael Robertson, U.S. General Services Administration Chief of Staff;
- Rachel Tronstein, Clean Energy Advisor in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy; and
- the panel will be moderated by Dr. Heidi Cullen, Director of communications and senior research scientist for Climate Central
Right now, you can submit your questions for the panel:
- Email questions to email@example.com (include name and location)
- Ask your questions through facebook or Twitter
Then, tune in for the live event:
Katelyn SabochikOctober 30, 2011
11:16 AM EDT
Watch the White House get a Halloween makeover here.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed area students and the children of military families to the White House for the annual Halloween celebration and trick-or-treating on Saturday night.
The President and First Lady handed out cookies, White House M&M's and dried fruit mix to trick-or-treaters at the North Portico of the White House. Check out these videos for the behind the scenes preparations and watch the main event with the President, Mrs Obama and all the costumed kids.
Watch President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hand out treats to area students and the children of military families here.
The White House and the surrounding grounds were decorated in celebration of Halloween. As the trick-or-treaters made their way across the North Lawn to the North Portico they were entertained by the Marine Band playing Halloween music and spooked by in-costume actors from Washington-area theatres, brought together by theatreWashington.
Check out the White House Halloween recipes below.
The White House Sweet Dough Butter Cookie Recipe
1 lb Sugar 1 tsp Vanilla
2 lbs Butter 1 tsp Salt
3 Eggs 3 lbs All Purpose Flour
Mix the butter and sugar till soft and well beaten. Then add eggs, vanilla, salt and half the flour. Beat on slow speed till mixed, then add the rest of the flour and mix until incorporated.
Push flat onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate overnight. Roll out to one quarter inch thick and cut out cookie shapes with cookie cutter.
Bake at 350F for 14 minutes and then allow to cool.
Make Your Own Dried Fruit Mix
Dried Apples Dried Pineapple
Dried Apricots Dried Papayas
Dried Pears Dried Cherries
Dried Blueberries Banana Chips
Combine ingredients and serve.
Download the recipes and make these treats yourself. (pdf)
Matt ComptonOctober 29, 2011
05:30 AM EDT
President Obama says that we can’t wait for Congress to take action to grow the economy and create jobs -- and highlights actions he took to help families refinance their mortgages, put veterans to work, and lower the cost of student loans.
Watch President Obama's full remarks here.
Megan SlackOctober 28, 2011
07:07 PM EDT
Our economy is struggling. Our infrastructure is failing. Millions of Americans are out of work, many of them for longer than six months.
That’s why President Obama introduced the American Jobs Act.
The proposal includes funds to retain and hire teachers and keep first responders on the job. It invests $50 billion in infrastructure projects to modernize our roads, railways, and airports, which will create hundreds of thousands of jobs. It offers tax breaks to small businesses to encourage hiring, and payroll tax cuts for 98 percent of businesses to put more money in everyone’s pockets. It will help connect unemployed workers with pathways back to work.
We’ve created an interactive state-by-state map to show how the American Jobs Act will affect your state, including how many teaching jobs it will create, how much money will be invested in infrastructure projects, and the number of unemployed workers who will be connected with jobs. Check it out and see why we can’t wait to pass the American Jobs Act.
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