Colleen CurtisMay 22, 2012
03:56 PM EDT
Last night, PBS broadcast "In Performance at the White House: Burt Bacharach & Hal David: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song," a tribute to one of America's most successful songwriting teams. Before the event took place earlier this month in the East Room, we spoke to some of the performers about what it was like to be a part of this celebration in the White House. Check it out here:
Matt ComptonMay 22, 2012
03:22 PM EDT
Of all the incredible stories to come out of the effort to rebuild Joplin, Missouri after the May 22, 2011 tornados, few are more powerful than that of the response from volunteers -- everyday people from all over the country and the world who poured into the community and returned again and again to help with the recovery.
In the year since the storm, more than 126,800 individuals put in some 755,300 hours of community service in the Joplin area. Their efforts in everything from clean-up and repairs to home construction represent more than 82 years of community service.
Megan SlackMay 22, 2012
02:09 PM EDT
Summer Jobs+ is a call to action for businesses, non-profits, and government to work together to provide pathways to employment for young people in the summer of 2012. It's about helping people find their first jobs.
Andy Katz, a sports reporter and analyst, got his first job at a sporting goods store, where he once sold a pair of hand weights to then-Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis. Katz said Gov. Dukakis used the weights as he walked to the state capitol in Boston.
So far, employers have listed more than 300,000 jobs, mentorships, and other employment opportunities this summer through Summer Jobs+.
You heard about Andy Katz’s first job. Now go find yours.
May 22, 2012
01:45 PM EDT
Ed. note: This is cross-posted from HealthCare.gov
Judy Lamb from Colorado is an inspiration. Despite fighting breast cancer that has spread to her bones and liver and undergoing weekly chemotherapy, she has a positive outlook on life.
“I have three children, I’m married, and I cook dinner every night. It’s not really exciting, but it’s a wonderful life. I’m so glad I’m here, because without my treatments I wouldn’t be here,” she says.
She is able to maintain her positive attitude partly because the Affordable Care Act has removed a tremendous burden: the fear that her health plan would stop paying for her treatments.
Matt ComptonMay 21, 2012
11:58 PM EDT
Speaking tonight to the first group of students to graduate from Joplin High School since a tornado ripped through the Missouri city one year ago, President Obama praised the resilience of its community.
“No matter how we might try to avoid it, life surely can bring some heartache, and life involves struggle. And at some point life will bring loss,” he said. “But here in Joplin, you’ve also learned that we have the power to grow from these experiences. We can define our lives not by what happens to us, but by how we respond.”
The President called the example set by the people of Joplin -- in the hard work they've put into the recovery, in the imagination they've shown in remaking their city -- "an inspiration."
To learn more about the effort to rebuild Joplin, go to whitehouse.gov/joplin.
Kori SchulmanMay 21, 2012
10:43 PM EDT
Ed. Note: The event has concluded. Check out the full Q&A below or on Storify.
Over the past few weeks, President Obama has traveled around the country to talk to Americans about a set of common sense initiatives that'll create jobs and help the middle class. The President is calling on Congress to act on a to-do list that will: help more Americans save money on their mortgages; invest more in clean energy and small businesses; help more veterans find work; and make it easier for companies to bring jobs back to America.
Do you have questions about the President's plan? On Tuesday, May 22nd at 12:00 p.m. ET, we're holding a special session of White House Office Hours on Twitter to answer your questions.
Here's how you can join:
- Right now, you can ask your questions on Twitter with the hashtag #WHChat
- Follow the Q&A live through the @WHLive Twitter account
- If you miss the live Q&A, the full session will be posted on WhiteHouse.gov and Storify.com/WhiteHouse
So, what's on the to-do list? Here are the items at a glance. You can learn more and check out videos at WhiteHouse.gov/todolist
Matt ComptonMay 21, 2012
07:27 PM EDT
Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the deadly tornado that ripped through Joplin, Missouri, killing 161 and displacing thousands.
Tonight, President Obama will deliver the commencement address to the Joplin High School class of 2012 -- the first group of students to graduate since the storm. You can watch his remarks live at 9:15 PM ET.
To mark the anniversary, we've put together a piece featuring interviews with those who've witnessed and contributed to the city's remarkable recovery, photos from the effort to rebuild, and video from President Obama's visit to Joplin.
Check it out: http://www.whitehouse.gov/joplin
Ari Isaacman AstlesMay 21, 2012
07:14 PM EDT
To engage with Latinos active in social media, the White House Office of Public Engagement held a briefing for LATISM bloggers with Senior White House and Administration officials. Over 75 people from across the country attended the event at the White House to discuss a diverse range of issues important to the Latino community. Take a look at the tweets shared by #LatismAtTheWH attendees below or on Storify. Stay connected to the White House en español at WhiteHouse.gov/Espanol, follow us on Twitter @lacasablanca, and sign up for email updates here.
Learn more about the topics discussed during today’s briefing:
- College Affordability: http://wh.gov/double
- Education Civil Rights: Know your Rights (English) | Recursos de la Oficina Para Derechos Civiles (en Español)
- Health Care: Healthcare.gov (English) | Cuidadodesalud.gov (en Español)
- Nutrition: www.myplate.gov (English) | Mi Plato (en Español)
- Fixing Our Broken Immigration System: President’s Blueprint on Immigration Reform (English) | (en Español)
- The Hamilton Project Speech by Cecilia Muñoz: watch video here | text of remarks (English) | text of remarks (en Español)
Megan SlackMay 21, 2012
06:40 PM EDT
President Obama wrapped up the second and final day of the NATO Summit in Chicago on Tuesday.
In the morning, he participated in a meeting with leaders from the 50 nations that make up the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan to discuss the next step in the transition of power there—setting a goal for Afghan forces to take the lead for combat operations across the country in 2013.
- President Obama’s remarks at the ISAF Meeting
- Fact Sheet: Afghanistan Transition Interim Milestone
- Fact Sheet: NATO’s Enduring Presence in Afghanistan after 2014
In the afternoon, President Obama and his NATO counterparts met with leaders from non-NATO nations that are making significant financial, operational, and political contributions to NATO operations. These types of partnerships allow NATO to extend its reach and better shoulder shared burdens.
Later in the afternoon, President Obama held a press conference before departing for Missouri, where he will deliver the commencement address at Joplin High School.
Howard A. SchmidtMay 21, 2012
02:17 PM EDT
While the cyber threat remains one of the most serious challenges we face as a nation, we have made some tremendous progress recently working together with industry on meaningful ways to secure our nation’s critical infrastructure.
Earlier this month, we gave the green light to two long-awaited Defense Industrial Base (DIB) efforts efforts designed to help companies protect critical information related to Department of Defense programs and missions. The DIB Cybersecurity/Information Assurance (CS/IA) program allows eligible DIB companies and the Government to share cybersecurity information. The Government shares cybersecurity threat and mitigation information with DIB companies to incorporate into their security practices, and, in turn, DIB companies report known intrusion events that may compromise DOD information to the Government and participates in damage assessments as needed. In addition, DIB enhanced Cybersecurity Services -- a joint DOD-DHS activity and based on lessons learned from the 2011 DIB Pilot -- is available as an optional part of the DIB CS/IA program in which the Government will furnish classified information that enables DIB companies or participating commercial service providers to counter additional types of known malicious activity for participating DIB companies.
Karen MillsMay 21, 2012
11:02 AM EDT
Throughout the next few days, we will celebrate our nation's entrepreneurs during National Small Business Week. At the U.S. Small Business Administration, we have the great privilege to work with many amazing small business owners -- so we asked them to share their stories in a short video that demonstrates how their small business makes a difference in their local community. The response to SBA's first video contest was incredible.
On Wednesday, May 23, 2012, at 3:00 pm ET during a Google+ Hangout hosted by SBA and the White House, we will announce the winning entries. I will be joined by the small business owners who submitted the winning videos, along with special guest moderator, Diana Ransom, contributing editor of Entrepreneur.com. We'll discuss how SBA assistance helped their small business and what inspired their successes.
If you're interested in starting or growing a business, the Google+ Hangout is a great opportunity for you to learn more about the many programs available to help you achieve your goals. We will also take your questions live during the hangout via Twitter with the hashtag #WHHangout.
Here's how you can join:
May 21, 2012
10:24 AM EDT
Ed note: In honor of Small Business Week, StartUp America is highlighting success stories from American enterpreneurs
Stockbox Grocers is a startup out of Seattle, WA that places neighborhood grocery stores throughout urban areas to increase access to fresh produce, essential staples, and good meals. Stores are tucked inside empty storefronts or reclaimed shipping containers that can be dropped into available parking lots. As a community focused for-profit, we’ve been able to leverage a wide range of support to grow our business from an idea into reality and we expect to continue to fund our development by further cultivating relationships within our community and across the country.
In Fall 2011, Stockbox opened a prototype store that allowed us to test our unique business model, receive direct feedback from customers, and test key design features. We converted an 8’ x 20’ box into an inviting retail space complete with signage, curtains, community boards, a sitting area, and over 300 unique items sourced from a co-op distributor and local farms. Customers were blown away by the large variety of affordable and fresh food and this new alternative to local mini-marts.
We were able to open the store in only a few months because of our supporters: community groups welcomed our concept with open arms; local non-profits and government offices helped with outreach and implementation; and we raised much of our funding via a donation-based crowdfunding campaign. This online fundraising platform allowed us to share our story and develop an even wider range of support, collecting almost 200 donors from Seattle and other cities, who contributed more $21,000 in 45 days.
The JOBS Act will expand opportunities for Stockbox and other startups to raise funds through similar crowdfunding websites – not just donations but true investments. Stockbox sees these new options as powerful tools in building relationships with investors who are interested in supporting community-based businesses, as opposed to the traditional venture capitalist format. This will help us reach more people and raise more funds from ordinary Americans (not just the wealthy “accredited” investors currently allowed to invest in most private companies) in a way that is in line with our company’s mission. And this provides us with resources to scale, in order to open more stores and create more jobs within communities.
Megan SlackMay 20, 2012
09:19 PM EDT
President Obama was in Chicago today for the first day of the NATO summit, a gathering of leaders from the 28 member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
In the morning, he held a bilateral meeting with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan to discuss implementation of the Strategic Forces Agreement. The agreement, which the two leaders signed in Kabul earlier this month, lays out the future relationship between the United States and Afghanistan.
In the afternoon, President Obama met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to discuss goals of the NATO Summit in Chicago.
Later in the day, President Obama spoke at the opening session of the North Atlantic Council, and participated in a working dinner with NATO leaders.
Matt ComptonMay 20, 2012
08:00 AM EDT
This week, leaders from the 28 member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will gather in Chicago for a summit aimed at discussing international security and the war in Afghanistan. This will be the 25th time NATO has held a summit and the first time the United States has hosted the event since 1999. It will also be the largest such event in the organization’s history.
Throughout the day on Sunday and Monday, the U.S. State Department will broadcast events with President Obama and foreign leaders. Click here to watch.
Megan SlackMay 19, 2012
08:01 PM EDT
This weekend, the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia joined President Obama at Camp David for the annual G8 Summit. The leaders met to address major global economic, political, and security challenges, including energy and climate change, food security and nutrition, Afghanistan’s economic transition and transitions taking place across the Middle East and North Africa.
- Read the G8 Declaration
- View a slideshow from the weekend
- President Obama’s Remarks at the close of the G8 Summit
Energy and Climate Change:
At the Camp David Summit, G-8 Leaders recognized that the development of and universal access to environmentally safe, sustainable, secure, and affordable sources of energy is essential to global economic growth and to their overall efforts to address climate change.
May 19, 2012
11:02 AM EDT
This week, we got some terrific news about new ways individuals can protect their privacy on the internet.
Twitter announced it will support the new Do Not Track feature in web browsers, giving users one-click control over whether or not Twitter keeps track of which websites they visit. This is an important step is part of a larger Obama Administration strategy to encourage more consumer privacy protections on the internet.
As much as people use and love the internet and other digital technology, there has been a growing concern that rapid advances in technology can lead to an erosion of personal privacy. As the Internet evolves, maintaining consumer trust is essential for the continued growth of the digital economy. That's why the Obama Administration unveiled a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights in February, to give users more control over how their information is used online (download as PDF). Immediately an association of over 500 companies (including search engines, internet platforms, advertising networks and browser developers) committed to expanding individual control with “Do Not Track” technology before the end of 2012.
Matt ComptonMay 19, 2012
05:30 AM EDT
President Obama discusses the reforms to Wall Street that he put in place to protect consumers and make Wall Street play by the same set of rules -- and calls on lawmakers to finish implementing these reforms so that we can prevent excessive risk-taking and help create an economy that is built to last.
May 18, 2012
04:31 PM EDT
A quick glimpse at this week on WhiteHouse.gov:
Fight for Your Seat: President Obama traveled to New York City to deliver his first commencement address of the year at Barnard College, one of the famous “Seven Sisters” private female liberal arts colleges. HIs first piece advice to the graduates was: “Don’t just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table.”
Megan SlackMay 18, 2012
03:44 PM EDT
Approximately 1 billion people worldwide suffer from chronic hunger-- a prolonged, life-threatening lack of food.
Hunger threatens the health and well-being of a nation’s citizens, and increases a country’s risk of democratic failure, rioting, violence, and civil conflict. It costs developing countries approximately $450 billion per year in lost GDP.
Poverty is a principal cause of hunger—it prevents people from having access to food and the tools they need to grow it. Natural disasters, conflict, lack of infrastructure, and poor farming practices also contribute to the growing problem of hunger as the world population increases.
But as President Obama explained today at the Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security, history teaches us that one of the most effective ways to pull people and entire nations out of poverty is to invest in their agriculture.
This weekend, G8 and African leaders will meet to discuss a major new alliance with private sector partners to reduce hunger and lift 50 million people out of poverty by investing in Africa’s agricultural economy. This new partnership builds on the commitment leaders made during the 2009 G8 meeting in L’Aquila to put the fight against hunger at the forefront of global development.
Colleen CurtisMay 18, 2012
03:31 PM EDT
President Obama today met with French President Francois Hollande for the first time when the newly-inaugurated leader stopped at the White House in advance of the G8 Summit which starts tonight at Camp David.
While much of the conversation in the Oval Office was focused on the economic situation in the eurozone -- which President Obama said will also be central to the discussions throughout the weekend when they are joined by leaders from Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia -- others issues concerning areas of our nations' mutual cooperation were on the agenda:
We also discussed the situation in Afghanistan, in anticipation of our NATO meeting in Chicago on Saturday and Sunday. And we agreed that even as we transition out of a combat phase in Afghanistan that it's important that we sustain our commitment to helping Afghans build security and continue down the path of development.
We also identified the issues of Iran and Syria, the transition that's taking place in countries like Egypt and Tunisia as topics of critical importance. And we'll be devoting extensive time to those issues throughout the G8 meeting. France has shown great leadership on these issues, and as I indicated to President Hollande, when the United States and France, along with our other key allies, make up our minds to stand firm on the side of democracy and freedom and development, that enormous progress can be made.
A unique view of 2012