Our Top Stories
August 16, 2012
01:25 PM EDT
Ed. Note: Earlier this year, President Obama announced the Summer Jobs + initiative, a call to action for businesses, non-profits, and government agencies to work together to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth for the summer of 2012. More than 150 companies and non-profits, plus cities and federal agencies committed to providing more than 300,000 opportunities for the summer of 2012. Commitments included more than 100,000 paid jobs, as well as hundreds of thousands of mentorships, internships and other training opportunities.
Dunkin’ Brands was among the companies that answered the President’s challenge, directly hiring people aged 16-24 for the summer season at more than 8,000 Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins stores. The company also expanded their corporate summer intern program to include 28 additional paid internships in 2012. The Dunkin’ Brands internship program provides on-the-job development opportunities in multiple career-focused areas as well as professional career services, including resume writing workshops and interview skills analysis, to help interns further achieve future career goals. David, a senior student athlete at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, interned in Dunkin’ Brands marketing department. He shares his experience here:
During my time as a marketing intern, I was provided with an extensive overview of Dunkin’ Brands and the teams that work together to support the franchisees. I worked on marketing initiatives that will generate revenue and customer growth for the franchisees. I was part of various advertising committees and had the opportunity to participate in several events with NFL teams, including the Patriots and Giants.
Macon PhillipsAugust 16, 2012
01:11 PM EDT
I'm really excited to welcome AmeriCorps alumni to the White House tomorrow because, well, I'm one myself! Having served as an AmeriCorps*VISTA with the Dream Program in Burlington, VT, I know first-hand how incredibly powerful and rewarding the experience can be. Simply put, it changed my life – and I'll talk about that tomorrow, so join us. We'll also recognize some of the amazing work that's happening around the country and, who knows, perhaps inspire a few more people to take the plunge and join!
Here's the scoop:
AmeriCorps is a national service opportunity that has helped more than 775,000 Americans serve more than 1 billion hours since 1994 (with more than 88,000 Americans serving this year alone). In FY 2011, AmeriCorps reached more than 3.5 million disadvantaged youth through tutoring, mentoring, and other services.
Tomorrow, the White House will welcome more than 150 AmeriCorps Alumni leaders from across the country. While the Alumni are here, they'll participate in a day-long briefing, and we'll honor 12 of them as Champions of Change, a program created to honor ordinary Americans doing great work in their communities.
But tomorrow isn't just for the AmeriCorps Alumni joining us here at the White House. It's also a chance to engage with everyone who can't make it to Washington. That's why we'll be holding a live Google+ Hangout moderated by myself and Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Wendy Spencer at 12:00 p.m. EDT. We're hoping you'll join the conversation.
Here's how to participate:
- Ask your questions on Twitter using the hashtag #WHHangout, or submit questions through WhiteHouse.gov here.
- Tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. EDT, watch on our Google+ page, or on WhiteHouse.gov/Live.
- During the Hangout, you can continue to ask questions and participate in the discussion using the #WHHangout and #WHAmeriCorps hashtags.
We'll also be live-streaming the remainder of the day on WhiteHouse.gov/Live, be sure to check it out.
Acting Secretary Rebecca BlankAugust 16, 2012
11:00 AM EDT
I just returned from the White House Business Council American Economic Competitiveness Forum on Manufacturing, where I had an opportunity to hear from a group of American manufacturers—representing businesses of all sizes from across the country—about how the Obama Administration can continue to support them as they build things here and sell them everywhere. As we have seen in recent months, manufacturing is one of the bright spots for our economy. Over the past two and a half years, more than half-a-million manufacturing jobs have been created in the U.S. – the strongest job growth in that sector since the 1990s. In fact, just last month, an additional 25,000 new manufacturing jobs were added.
In terms of production, manufacturing output is up 20 percent since 2009, and increased again in July. One manufacturing sector that has been consistently strong is the motor vehicles and parts industry, which has added 165,000 jobs since June 2009— a sector that might not even exist in the U.S. today if not for the assistance this Administration gave to the U.S. auto industry in 2009.
This matters because we know that manufacturing jobs are good jobs that pay more than average and provide greater benefits. They strengthen economic security for middle class families.
August 16, 2012
10:38 AM EDT
Ed. note: This post was originally published on energy.gov.
10. Human civilizations have harnessed wind power for thousands of years. Early forms of windmills used wind to crush grain or pump water. Now, modern wind turbines use the wind to create electricity. Learn how here.
9. A wind turbine has as many as 8,000 different components.
8. Wind turbines are big. A wind turbine blade can be up to 150 feet long, and a turbine tower can be over 250 feet tall, almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty.
7. Higher wind speeds mean more electricity, and wind turbines are getting taller to reach higher altitudes where it’s even windier. See the Energy Department’s wind resource maps to find average wind speeds in your state or hometown.
6. Most of the components of wind turbines installed in the United States are manufactured here. Facilities for building wind turbine parts are located in over 40 states, and the U.S. wind energy industry currently employs 75,000 people.
Matt ComptonAugust 15, 2012
03:22 PM EDT
A year ago today, President Obama kicked off a bus tour to meet with people throughout America's heartland for discussions about the economy. At townhalls in Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois, the President discussed ways to strengthen the middle class and accelerate hiring in local communities and took questions on renewable energy, health care, and Social Security.
Check out a full recap here.
August 15, 2012
02:55 PM EDT
Ed note: PBS invited White House Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses to share his favorite memory of Julia Child to mark the 100th anniversary of her birthday. Read more tributes on their website http://www.pbs.org/food/blogs/julia-child-100-birthday-cookforjulia/
Julia Child inspired many chefs in her long career, myself included. And her infectious laugh and personality were as influential as her deep knowledge of the principles of good cooking. She minced onions but no words when it came to those who took kitchen shortcuts or who didn’t fully acquire cooking skills. The best party I ever attended was organized by the ebullient chef Michel Richard in celebration of Julia Child’s 80th birthday in February 1993 in Marina del Rey in California. She had actually turned 80 the year before but no matter, any excuse for a good “fête.”
Megan SlackAugust 15, 2012
01:53 PM EDT
Unless the House of Representatives takes action before January 1, 2013, taxes will go up on 114 million middle-class families. Nearly everyone in Washington agrees that’s a bad idea. That’s why President Obama is calling for -- and the Senate has already passed -- legislation that will keep the middle class from paying thousands of extra dollars next year.
Republicans in the House of Representatives, however, are refusing to extend middle-class tax cuts without also giving massive tax cuts to the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. In fact, House Republicans have proposed their own tax plan that would actually raise taxes on 25 million families making less than $250,000, while giving families making more than $1 million an average tax cut of $160,000 next year.
Here are 11 facts about the two plans and what's at stake for middle-class families.
August 15, 2012
11:55 AM EDT
Ed. note: This post was originally published on dhs.gov.
Today, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will begin accepting requests for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals. Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Under this process, USCIS will consider requests on a case-by-case basis. While this process does not provide lawful status or a pathway to permanent residence or citizenship, individuals whose cases are deferred will not be removed from the United States for a two year period, subject to renewal, and may also receive employment authorization. To be considered for this process, you must show that:
- You came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday
- You have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time
- You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
- You entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012
- You are currently in school, have graduated or obtained your certificate of completion from high school, have obtained your general educational development certification, or you are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States
- You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat
- You were present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS
August 15, 2012
11:21 AM EDT
Ed. note: This is cross-posted from healthcare.gov.
Jill from North Carolina is a writer and a tutor, but she’s also a runner. A few years ago, she was even training for the Olympic trials in the marathon. But one day, she suddenly passed out in a parking lot. She was diagnosed with a heart condition, atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT).
The good news was that the condition could be remedied with a surgical procedure.
The bad news was that Jill could not afford the surgery.
For years following her diagnosis, she lived within reach of a cell phone just in case she had to call 911. Her condition worsened. “I did stop running; I stopped exercising completely because any kind of exertion would trigger an episode. So I went from running marathons competitively to doing nothing,” Jill says.
She applied for insurance that might cover her surgery, but was turned down due to her pre-existing condition. Her appeal was denied.
There didn’t seem to be a place in the health care system for her situation.
In 2011, Jill heard about the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP). PCIP is a program created by the health care law. It is designed to provide affordable health coverage for people who were otherwise locked out of the private system. It also serves as a bridge to 2014, when insurance companies are prohibited from refusing to sell coverage based on someone’s pre-existing condition.
August 14, 2012
01:39 PM EDT
Ed. note: This is cross-posted from energy.gov.
Today, the Energy Department and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released a new report highlighting strong growth in America’s wind energy market in 2011 and underscoring the importance of continued policy support and clean energy tax credits to ensure that the U.S. remains a leading producer and manufacturer in this booming global industry.
As President Obama has made clear, we need an all-of-the-above approach to American energy and the U.S. wind industry is a critical part of this strategy. In fact, wind energy contributed 32 percent of all new U.S. electric capacity additions last year, representing $14 billion in new investment.
In the United States, domestic clean energy production and manufacturing competitiveness work hand-in-hand. The report finds total U.S. wind power capacity grew to 47,000 megawatts by the end of 2011 and has since grown to 50,000 megawatts, enough to power 12 million homes annually -- as many homes as in the entire state of California. And as wind energy capacity has grown, more and more wind turbines and components like towers, blades, gears, and generators are “Made in America.” Nearly 70 percent of all of the equipment installed at U.S. wind farms last year came from domestic manufacturers, doubling from 35 percent in 2005.
Matt ComptonAugust 13, 2012
07:08 PM EDT
Farmers in Iowa are among those struggling with the fallout from the historic drought. Almost half of the corn crop is in poor or very poor condition. The same is true for more than a third of the soy bean crop. Disappointing yields are in turn driving up feed prices, and farmers and ranchers are having trouble feeding livestock. And there are similar stories throughout the nation's heartland.
Today President Obama saw the damage first-hand and described a new effort to help livestock producers.
Touring McIntosh Family Farms in Missouri Valley, Iowa, the President announced that the Department of Agriculture will begin to buy up to $170 million worth of pork, chicken, lamb, and catfish. And the President is directing the Department of Defense -- which purchased more than 150,000 million pounds of beef and pork in the last year alone -- to encourage its vendors to accelerate meat purchases for the military and freeze it for future use.
The goal is to give farmers and ranchers an opportunity to sell more of what they produce and save taxpayers money on food the government would have purchased for military bases, hospitals, schools, and food banks anyway.
"Understand this won't solve the problem. We can't make it rain," the President said. "But this will help families like the McIntoshes in states across the country, including here in Iowa. And we're going to keep doing what we can to help because that's what we do. We are Americans. We take care of each other."
To deliver more expansive aid for those hit by the drought, President Obama said that Congress needs to act.
"They need to pass a farm bill that not only helps farmers and ranchers respond to natural disasters, but also makes necessary reforms and gives them some long-term certainty," he said.
But in the meantime, the President won't wait for lawmakers to begin helping those struggling with the high temperatures and the lack of rain.
- The Department of Agriculture is collecting resources for farmers, ranchers, and small businesses wrestling with this crisis at USDA.gov/drought.
- President Obama discusses his administration's all-hands-on-deck approach to the drought in the Weekly Address.
- More information still is available at WhiteHouse.gov/drought.
August 13, 2012
07:02 PM EDT
As President Obama said in a recent Weekly Address, Americans could not be prouder of the men and women representing our country in London, in both the recently concluded Olympics and in the upcoming Paralympics. And this year, Team USA included a record number of soldier athletes, both active duty and members of our reserves. The servicemen and women competing in these games represent the best of our military, and the best of our nation.
Matt ComptonAugust 13, 2012
02:00 PM EDT
It's been one week since NASA's Curiosity rover touched down on the surface of Mars and began peeling back the mysteries of the red planet.
Today, President Obama called the team responsible for that success to praise their ingenuity and urge them to continue the good work. "Through your dedicated efforts, "Curiosity" stuck her landing and captured the attention and imagination of millions of people not just across our country, but people all around the world, including Times Square," he said. "And being able to get that whole landing sequence to work the way you did is a testimony to your team."
The goal of Curiosity is to do more than just deepen our understanding of our closest planetary neighbor -- it's to pave the way for future missions, including a man-led visit to Mars by 2030. The rover is currently undergoing a software update that will allow it to launch into its two-year exploration in earnest.
The President made a special point to congratulate some of the leaders of the effort, including Charles Elachi, the head of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Adam Steltzner, who helped to design the sky crane that lowered the 1-ton rover to the Martian surface.
But another NASA staffer got a special shout out -- flight director Bobak Ferdowsi, whose Mohawk helped to launch an instant Internet meme.
"[I], in the past, thought about getting a Mohawk myself," the President joked. "But my team keeps on discouraging me. And now that [Ferdowsi has] received marriage proposals and thousands of new Twitter followers, I think I'm going to go back to my team and see if it makes sense."
Read the full remarks here.
Erin LindsayAugust 13, 2012
11:44 AM EDT
Like people all over the world, the White House has been using Twitter to celebrate the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
As head of the Delegation in London, First Lady Michelle Obama represented the White House at the Opening Ceremonies. While in London, she also met with Team USA to wish them luck, hosted a Let's Move event for over 1,000 American military children and British students, and cheered our Olympians as they competed. All along the way, she documented her travels on Twitter at @LetsMove.
On August 4th, President Obama dedicated his Weekly Address to letting our Olympic and Paralympic athletes know that that the American people could not be more proud of them, and thanked them for reminding us that we are one people, and by working together we can achieve great things.
Additionally, throughout the Olympics, the President, First Lady, Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden took to Twitter to cheer on and congratulate Team USA.
You can check out all of these moments and more below and over on Storify.
Jennifer PalmieriAugust 12, 2012
02:37 PM EDT
This morning, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty appeared on ABC and discussed the letter he signed (pdf) along with 28 other Republican Governors asking for more flexibility administering programs that move Americans from welfare to work. Here’s what he said:
“Governors like me and other Republican governors wanted more flexibility generally, but no -- none of us wanted to waive or dismantle the work requirement within the landmark welfare reform legislation of the 1990s. And it would be very easy for the president to clear up this controversy. If he's saying he's not as part of his directive going to rescind or undermine the work requirements, then just clarify that part of it…”
We agree with Governor Pawlenty: no one wants to waive or dismantle the work requirement within the landmark welfare reform legislation of the 1990s. Secretary Sebelius made clear in a letter to Congressional leaders that Governors could have more flexibility operating their welfare programs only if their plans move more people from welfare to a job. And she reiterated that any proposals from Governors that undermine the work requirement would be rejected. Here’s what she said:
“The Department is providing a very limited waiver opportunity for states that develop a plan to measurably increase the number of beneficiaries who find and hold down a job. Specifically, Governors must commit that their proposals will move at least 20% more people from welfare to work compared to the state's past performance. States must also demonstrate clear progress toward that goal no later than one year after their programs take effect. If they fail, their waiver will be rescinded. And if a Governor proposes a plan that undercuts the work requirements established in welfare reform, that plan will be rejected.”
Moving more Americans from welfare to work is a goal we all share and the Administration’s proposal will maintain a strong work requirement while giving Governors the chance to implement programs that put more Americans back to work.
Katelyn SabochikAugust 11, 2012
02:19 PM EDT
Last night, President Obama hosted his fourth Iftar dinner as President in the State Dining Room of the White House. The Iftar is the meal that breaks the day of fasting during Ramadan, when Muslim families and communities eat together after sunset.
During his remarks at the dinner, the President reflected on the importance of religious freedom and the important role Muslims have played throughout our country’s history.
Of all the freedoms we cherish as Americans, of all the rights that we hold sacred, foremost among them is freedom of religion, the right to worship as we choose. It’s enshrined in the First Amendment of our Constitution -- the law of the land, always and forever. It beats in our heart -- in the soul of the people who know that our liberty and our equality is endowed by our Creator. And it runs through the history of this house, a place where Americans of many faiths can come together and celebrate their holiest of days -- and that includes Ramadan.
As I’ve noted before, Thomas Jefferson once held a sunset dinner here with an envoy from Tunisia -- perhaps the first Iftar at the White House, more than 200 years ago. And some of you, as you arrived tonight, may have seen our special display, courtesy of our friends at the Library of Congress -- the Koran that belonged to Thomas Jefferson. And that's a reminder, along with the generations of patriotic Muslims in America, that Islam -- like so many faiths -- is part of our national story.
Matt ComptonAugust 11, 2012
05:30 AM EDT
Valerie JarrettAugust 10, 2012
05:06 PM EDT
Eqlima is a young girl from Afghanistan. She lived with an abusive father and stepmother who often beat her. They even set her hair on fire. She escaped to a U.S. State Department-supported women’s shelter. The staff helped move her away from her father and stepmother, and now is helping her move in with her older brother.
Stories like these are all too common. From beatings, to “honor” killings, to sexual violence as a tactic of war, from intimate partner violence to human trafficking-- the forms of gender-based violence are varied, but their scope, and their impact are devastating. Globally, an estimated one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime.
When women and girls are denied the chance to fully contribute to society because of the violence or fear they face, our entire world suffers. That’s why President Obama has made the treatment of women an essential part of our global vision for democracy and human rights. A key part of that effort is stopping violence against women and girls.
Last December, President Obama released the first ever U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security and signed an Executive Order directing the Plan’s implementation. This action signaled a key commitment of the Obama Administration: to put gender equality and the advancement of women and girls at the forefront of our foreign policy.
Today, I am proud to announce that the President has taken another important step to prioritize and protect the rights of women and girls. President Obama issued an Executive Order on Preventing and Responding to Violence Against Women and Girls Globally. The Executive Order requires enhanced coordination of the United States’ efforts through the creation of an interagency working group, co-chaired by Secretary of State Clinton and USAID Administrator Shah, designed to leverage our country’s tremendous expertise and capacity to prevent and respond to gender-based violence globally as well as establish a coordinated, government-wide approach to address this terrible reality.
August 10, 2012
12:32 PM EDT
The White House Photo Office just released their latest batch of behind-the-scenes photos, including the Independence Day celebrations at the White House, President Obama meeting with Team USA before the Olympics, and the First Lady in London. Check out a few of the images below, then head over to Flickr to see all 50 images in the gallery.
See more recent photo galleries
Adam GarberAugust 10, 2012
12:00 AM EDT
Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, the President continued to push for middle class tax cuts, spoke with both the AAPD Summer interns with disabilities and with the White House Summer Interns of 2012, signed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act, and convened his Rural Council to discuss ways to ease the burden of drought. That’s August 3rd to August 9th or “We Have A Moral, Sacred Duty.”