Kasie CoccaroOctober 19, 2012
03:55 PM EDT
This month, the White House once again opened its gardens and grounds to visitors from across the country, continuing First Lady Michelle Obama's commitment to opening up the White House to more Americans.
As the First Lady has explained, "This is really what the White House is all about. It’s the 'People’s House.' It’s a place that is steeped in history, but it’s also a place where everyone should feel welcome. And that's why my husband and I have made it our mission to open up the house to as many people as we can."
During these Fall Garden Tours, visitors experienced the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, the Rose Garden, and the South Lawn of the White House as well as the White House Kitchen Garden – the first vegetable garden planted at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden.
Those taking the tour were encouraged to use the hashtag #WHGarden to share photos of their experience. Check out a selection of photos:
Check out the full 2012 fall garden tour booklet here
Matt ComptonOctober 19, 2012
10:35 AM EDT
Spirit Day -- the celebration to honor and support young people who have been victims of bullying -- is now three years old.
It has become a day when people the world over rally for LGBT community and speak out against the bullying of LGBT teens.
And this year, the White House is once again going purple online. You can check out our Twitter feed or our Facebook page to see how we're marking the day -- and take part by making your social networking icon purple or adding a statement of support.
To learn more about what you can do to support kids and stop bullying, check out stopbullying.gov/.
Macon PhillipsOctober 19, 2012
08:00 AM EDT
This morning I'm pleased to announce something you may have already noticed: an improved homepage for WhiteHouse.gov.
We're always working to make WhiteHouse.gov easier to use and provide clearer paths to key information. Over the past eighteen months, we’ve launched a new White House blog, updated the Briefing Room and Issues sections of the site, and expanded Inside the White House, an inside look at the history of this great building. We’ve also rolled out a new version of our mobile site, rebuilt the White House iPhone app, and released new applications for Android and iPad.
This upgrade is the latest step in that process.
What makes it better?
Most visitors aren't just stopping by; they're looking for specific information about the President and his policies. With these changes, we're applying the lessons we’ve learned from our earlier updates and making sure that the homepage is a gateway to our most timely and important content. It puts tools to search the site front and center and makes the page easier to navigate. We've also made it easier to catch live events broadcast on WhiteHouse.gov/live and highlighted the many White House social media accounts.
We believe that these changes will help to make visiting WhiteHouse.gov a better experience. Take a look around let us know what you think: drop a line via our contact form or tweet @WHWeb on Twitter.
Adam GarberOctober 19, 2012
12:00 AM EDT
This week, the President reflected on the state of the auto industry, the White House opened its garden to the public for its annual tours, and marked Blog Action Day -- while Bill Allman spoke on the history of the Presidential Seal.
Colleen CurtisOctober 18, 2012
10:37 AM EDT
There's no doubt you have seen the official Seal of the President of the United States, it is one of the most recognized symbols in the world. But did you know that in 1945, President Harry Truman issued an Executive Order that made a significant change to the Seal, one which reflected important changes he was making throughout the government?
Learn more about this iconic logo from White House Curator Bill Allman, in our latest installment of Catching Up with the Curator:
October 17, 2012
04:25 PM EDT
More than a century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt set aside a tiny bird rookery off the coast of Florida, Pelican Island, as the first national wildlife refuge. Since then the Refuge System has grown to become one of our greatest treasures with refuges from the Caribbean to the Pacific, from Maine to Alaska.
This week (Oct. 14-20) we celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week with special events for the public to enjoy at our 560 national wildlife refuges from coast to coast.
Our refuges include examples of every type of ecosystem in North America including boreal forests, wetlands; deserts, grasslands; arctic tundra and remote islands. They provide habitat for 700 species of birds, 220 species of mammals, 250 species of reptiles and amphibians, and more than 1,000 species of fish and countless invertebrates and plants.
Macon PhillipsOctober 15, 2012
04:11 PM EDT
Update: The signatures threshold for petitions on the We the People platform to receive an official response from the White House has changed since this blog post was published. See the latest signature thresholds.
Following last year’s contribution for Blog Action Day (that addressed the devastating crises in the Horn of Africa), we have returned to focus on a more domestic issue and reflect on moments over the past year when everyday Americans joined together to demonstrate the “power of we.”
The White House is constantly looking to expand public engagement and public involvement, making government both accessible and responsive to the needs of its citizens. Three examples stand out among many others.
In December of 2011, and again in February of 2012, the American people took to the Internet to tell Washington in no uncertain terms that letting the payroll tax cut expire was not acceptable. If Congress let the payroll tax cut expire, a typical family of four earning $50,000 a year would see about $40 less in each paycheck. For many middle class families struggling to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression, losing $40 a week would have meant a lot. Tens of thousands of Americans spoke out to share their simple but powerful stories about what losing $40 per paycheck would mean for them and their families.
Thanks to their voices, middle-class Americans scored a major victory when Congress took action and President Obama was able to sign this extension into law.
When I first heard the topic for Blog Action Day, I immediately thought of a video called “Why Your Voice Matters” that features some of the people who believed that their voice could make a difference and had the courage to speak out:
Or check out a slideshow featuring 50 Americans across 50 states who, through the Power of We, helped ensure that taxes didn’t go up on 160 million of their fellow citizens.
Michael DanielOctober 15, 2012
04:04 PM EDT
We depend on the Internet and digital tools for many aspects of our daily lives. This fundamental reliance is why our digital infrastructure is a strategic national asset, and why today I joined leaders from the Department of Homeland Security, members of Congress, and leaders from across New York and financial world to support National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) and the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign.
This month, we recognize the role we all play in ensuring our information and communications infrastructure is interoperable, secure, reliable, and open to all. NCSAM reminds us that being safer and more secure online is a shared responsibility. That’s why, during the month of October we pay special attention to “Achieving Cybersecurity Together.”
While increased connectivity has enormous benefits, it has also increased the importance and complexity of our shared risk. Many of our lives depend on technology, which makes cybersecurity one of our country’s most important national security priorities. Our economy and critical infrastructure depend upon the Internet, as nearly all public and private sector entities conduct business and store critical data on Internet-connected networks.
Emerging cyber threats require engagement from the entire American community. This morning, I met with public and private leaders from the financial sector – individuals in the vanguard for securing our online banking systems, financial transactions and e-commerce. This afternoon, I’ll engage with the U.S. Secret Service’s Electronic Crimes Task Force to examine law enforcement’s coordinated efforts to combat cybercrime. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, from government and law enforcement to the private sector and members of the public, working together to create a safe, secure, and resilient cyber environment.
We know it only takes a single infected computer to potentially infect thousands and perhaps millions of others. It’s our goal to make basic cybersecurity practices as reflexive as putting on a seatbelt – using antivirus software, being careful which websites you visit, not opening emails or attachments that look suspicious. These basic measures can improve both our individual and our collective safety online.
Matt ComptonOctober 13, 2012
05:30 AM EDT
October 12, 2012
04:00 PM EDT
Here’s a quick glimpse at what happened this week on WhiteHouse.gov:
Honoring the Memory of César Chávez: On Monday, President Obama honored César Chávez, one of America’s great civil rights leaders, and established the César Estrada Chávez National Monument in Keene, California.
The new national monument is located at Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz (La Paz) and includes Chávez’ home, the headquarters of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) and the Memorial Garden where Chávez is buried. On Monday, the site because the 398th unit of our National Park System. The President celebrated Chávez’ commitment to our country, and remarked:
He believed that when a worker is treated fairly and humanely by their employer that adds meaning to the values this country was founded upon, and credence to the claim that out of many, we are one. And he believed that when a child anywhere in America can dream beyond her circumstances and work to realize that dream, it makes all our futures just a little bit brighter.
To learn more:
- Read the President's full remarks here.
- Read Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar’s blog post about the national monument ceremony.
- Read what the monument means to Associate Director of Latino Affairs and Immigration for the Office of Public Engagement Julie Chávez—granddaughter of César Chávez .
Breast Cancer Awareness Month: The White House was illuminated pink on October 1 to mark the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness month. In a Presidential Proclamation President Obama asked Americans to “honor those we have lost, lend our strength to those who carry on the fight, and pledge to educate ourselves and our loved ones about this tragic disease.” This month is also a time to recognize the importance of prevention and early detection in the fight against breast cancer.
During last year’s Breast Cancer Awareness month, Dr. Jill Biden, Jennifer Aniston and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius visited Inova Breast Care Center in Virginia to meet with breast cancer survivors and discuss the role access to care has in breast cancer prevention. Watch the video here.
Celebrating the Power of Girls: The White House proudly joined the global community in marking the first-ever International Day of the Girl. Every year, on October 11, countries around the world will honor the importance of empowering girls to reach their full potential. Earlier this week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, along with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, spoke to a group of about 200 Girls Scouts at the State Department about raising the status of girls around world. Learn more about the International Day of the Girl.
Happy Birthday, Bo: On Tuesday, the Obama family dog—the most beloved pet at the White House—turned four years old. Check out some of our favorite moments with America’s First Dog at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Matt ComptonOctober 12, 2012
12:12 PM EDT
It's Fire Prevention Week -- when Americans are called up to renew our efforts to prevent fires and their tragic consequences.
So it's fitting that we begin a new video series, Catching up with the Curators, with White House Curator Bill Allman discussing an important moment that came two years into the War of 1812 -- when British troops invaded Washington, DC and burned the White House.
To learn more about fire prevention or emergency preparedness check out http://www.ready.gov.
October 12, 2012
11:03 AM EDT
The White House Photo Office just released its latest set of behind the scenes photos, including images from President Obama's trip to view the damage from Hurricane Isaac, his participation in the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York, the visit of the 2012 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams to the White House, plus a new portrait of the Obama family dog, Bo. Check out a few images below, then head over to Flickr to see all 20 images in the gallery.
Adam GarberOctober 12, 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 established a new, national monument in honor of Cesar Chavez, declared Fire Prevention Week, and sat down with Diane Sawyer, while the White House honored educational innovators and 4-H and FFA Champions of Change. That's October 5th to October 11th or "Our Journey Is Never Hopeless, Our Work Is Never Done."
October 11, 2012
05:34 PM EDT
The White House is proud to join the world community in marking the first-ever International Day of the Girl and has released a statement which can be found here. Every year, on October 11, countries around the world will honor the importance of empowering girls so that they can reach their full potential.
Yesterday Secretary Clinton, along with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, spoke to a group of about 200 Girl Scouts at the State Department about raising the status of girls around the world. Secretary Clinton announced new US Government and private sector initiatives to prevent child marriage and promote girls education.
October 09, 2012
12:23 PM EDT
It has been a very busy year for America's First Dog here at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Check out some of our favorite moments, below:
Megan SlackOctober 09, 2012
12:16 PM EDT
October marks Breast Cancer Awareness month, a time to honor those lost to the disease and recognize the importance of prevention and early detection in the fight against breast cancer.
During last year’s Breast Cancer Awareness month, Dr. Jill Biden, Jennifer Aniston and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius visited Inova Breast Care Center in Virginia to meet with breast cancer survivors and discuss the role access to care has in breast cancer prevention.
With regular screenings, breast cancer often can be found early, when the chance of successful treatment is best. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, preventive benefits like mammograms and well-woman visits are now covered with no out-of-pocket cost for 20.4 million women.
Julie Chavez RodriguezOctober 08, 2012
05:42 PM EDT
Growing up in La Paz I spent a lot of time with my grandfather and my grandmother Helen, who still lives on the property. I ran around like any child, playing with my cousins, enjoying the beautiful nature that surrounds it, going on hikes, and even doing Yoga with my grandfather. But I also grew up sitting in on organizing sessions with thousands of farmworkers who prepared for any number of campaigns for basic rights, like clean drinking water, protection from pesticides, or just basic wages. There wasn’t a day I didn’t hear stories from my mom and her sisters about how difficult it was working in the fields when they were younger, so when it became our turn to do our part to support my grandfather, I didn’t think twice. Often times we’d go for “a drive” with my grandfather and find ourselves spending the day leafleting and knocking on doors to mobilize farmworkers. La Paz was my grandparents’ home, my home, and home to hundreds of volunteers that built the farm workers movement, but I always knew it was so much more than that.
Ken SalazarOctober 08, 2012
05:31 PM EDT
Today, I had the privilege of joining President Obama as he honored one of the great civil rights leaders in American history in establishing the César Estrada Chávez National Monument in Keene, California.
Located at Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz (La Paz), the new national monument becomes the 398th unit of our National Park System and will include Chávez’ home, the headquarters of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) and the Memorial Garden where Chávez is buried.
By establishing this new national monument, President Obama has ensured that future generations will have a place to learn about this extraordinary man and the farm labor movement that improved the lives of millions of workers and continues to inspire us to achieve a more perfect union.
President Obama’s establishment of the César Estrada Chávez National Monument is especially meaningful as we strive to tell a more diverse, rich and complete history of our nation – one that more fully recognizes the many contributions of women and minorities throughout history.
Megan SlackOctober 06, 2012
05:30 AM EDT
In this week’s address, President Obama says that Congress should act to keep our nation moving forward by keeping taxes low for 98 percent of Americans, cutting red tape so responsible homeowners can save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage by refinancing at lower rates, and creating a veterans jobs corps to help our returning heroes find work.
Valerie JarrettOctober 05, 2012
05:46 PM EDT
Today, I joined Samantha Power in participating in our first White House Office Hours on Twitter, where we took questions about Equal Futures, a new partnership to advance the rights and opportunities of women and girls. Last week, the U.S., along with12 other founding member countries, launched this partnership at the UN General Assembly. During our live Twitter Q&A, we discussed how the U.S. and other countries can advance the political and economic empowerment of women and girls around the world.
Check out the full Q&A below and learn more about Equal Futures here and here. To view more conversations like this one, check out some of our recent White House Twitter “Office Hours” at Storify.com/WhiteHouse.
A unique view of 2012