President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Business Roundtable
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to elected officials and representatives from 63 cities and counties across the country to celebrate their commitment to building healthier communities as part of her Let’s Move! initiative
President Barack Obama tosses up a basketball given to him by coach Geno Auriemma while honoring the 2015 NCAA Women’s Basketball Champion University of Connecticut Huskies during a ceremony in the White House. President Obama honored the Huskies for winning their third consecutive title with 10 overall
President Barack Obama shakes hands with King Felipe VI of Spain during a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office. King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia are visiting Washington
First Lady Michelle Obama and Queen Letizia
FLOTUS: Earlier today the First Lady hosted Queen Letizia of Spain for tea at the @WhiteHouse.
@CasaReal: La Primera Dama de EEUU @MichelleObama, con la Reina Letizia. Viaje Oficial a EEUU
@CasaReal: End of the meeting at the @Whitehouse: The King and Queen of Spain, US president and M. Obama
Sho Chandra: Retail Sales Show Broad Gain As U.S. Consumers Spur Growth
Sales at U.S. retailers rose in July on growing demand for everything from cars to clothing, and a decline the previous month was wiped away, signaling consumers are propelling growth in the world’s largest economy. Eleven of 13 major categories showed gains. Rising employment, stronger finances and still-cheap fuel is helping draw consumers into stores and auto dealerships.
Growth in household spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, is bolstering the expansion as Federal Reserve policy makers move toward lifting interest rates this year for the first time since 2006. “The consumer-driven recovery of the economy continues on track,” said Harm Bandholz, chief U.S. economist at UniCredit Group in New York, who correctly projected the gain. “The fundamentals are all in place for solid consumer spending. The outlook remains strong for the second half of the year.”
President Barack Obama greets people outside the Old Market Deli in Cannon Falls, Minn. Aug. 15, 2011. The President stopped to have lunch with five post-9/11 veterans from Minnesota during a three-day bus tour in the Midwest. Photo by Samantha Appleton
President Barack Obama holds a baby as he arrives for lunch at the Old Market Deli in Cannon Falls, Minn., during a three-day bus tour in the Midwest, Aug. 15, 2011. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama prepares to autographs books and photographs in a backstage holding room following a town hall meeting on health care insurance reform at Central High School in Grand Junction, Colo. on Aug. 15, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama waves to people along a road in Harmony, Minn., Aug. 15, 2011, during a three-day bus tour in the Midwest. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama visits Sunset Lake in Yellowstone National Park on Aug. 15, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama react to daughter Sasha’s hole in one while playing miniature golf at Pirate’s Island Golf in Panama City Beach, Fla., Saturday, Aug. 14, 2010. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama casts his line while fishing for trout on the East Gallatin River near Belgrade, Mont., on Aug. 14, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama, center, and his fishing party head for the water during his first fly fishing outing near Belgrade, Mont., on Aug. 14, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama and local fishing guide Dan Vermillion fish for trout on the East Gallatin River near Belgrade, Mont., on Aug.14, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
Local fishing guide Dan Vermillion reacts as President Barack Obama almost hooks a trout on the East Gallatin River near Belgrade, Mont., on Aug. 14, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama (hand, at right) greets members of the U.S. Coast Guard after making a statement at the U.S. Coast Guard Panama City District Office, Panama City, Fla, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2010. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus hold a roundtable discussion with business owners and officials at the United States Coast Guard district office in Panama City, Fla., Saturday, Aug. 14, 2010. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama has a beer with patrons at the Pump Haus Pub and Grill in Waterloo, Iowa, Aug. 14, 2012. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama talks with Alyssa Mastromonaco, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, and Trip Director Marvin Nicholson in an elevator at the Bridgeport Arts Center in Chicago, Ill., Aug. 12, 2012. Photo by Pete Souza
President Obama is getting seriously serious about supercomputing — here's why that's awesome: bit.ly/1Tbpo40
Max Plenke: Obama’s Getting Serious About The Future Of Supercomputing. Here’s Why That’s Awesome
Gird your technological loins, world: President Barack Obama is paving the way for the Usain Bolt of computers with the processing power of the human brain. A technology program called the National Strategic Computing Initiative seeks to invest heavily in high-performance hardware. The goal is to position the United States as the king of the supercomputing mountain. The speed it’s going for: one exaflop, or almost 30 times faster than the fastest computer in the world, China’s Tianhe-2, below. He’s thinking about saving the world. Or at least making it better. With an exaflop of computing power, scientists and researchers would be able to run incredibly complex and accurate simulations, like simulating the global climate to make global warming predictions.
The ability to handle a lot of data might be the supercomputer’s largest contribution. Think of all the simulations you can run: modeling aircraft, modeling guns, predicting weather anomalies or even figuring out long-term dilemmas, like what the agricultural industry’s impact will be in, say, 50 years.Medicine takes all kinds of analysis, deep dives into our DNA and biological informatics — things that take a level of computing power we’ve scratched but haven’t come close to mastering. The White House’s Precision Medicine Initiative would use high-performance computing to collect and create huge amounts of health and genomic data to tailor treatment for individuals.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talk in the Blue Room of the White House before the start of the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony on Aug. 12, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama hugs Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient actor Sidney Poitier during the award ceremony in the East Room of the White House, on Aug. 12, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Joseph Medicine Crow shows a drum to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama during a reception for recipients and their families in the Blue Room of the White House on Aug. 12, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama greet guests at a reception for Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients and their families in the Blue Room of the White House on Aug. 12, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama waits in the Blue Room of the White House for the start of an East Room ceremony to present 16 individuals the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Aug. 12, 2009. Standing in the background, from left, are Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients; Muhammad Yunus, Stuart Milk, nephew of slain San Francisco councilman Harvey Milk, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Dr. Janet Davison Rowley, and former President of Ireland Mary Robinson. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama talks with Stephen Hawking in the Blue Room of the White House before a ceremony presenting him and 15 others the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Aug. 12, 2009. The Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor. Photo by Pete Souza
First Lady Michelle Obama greets former White House staffer Franny Starkey and her daughter Willa prior to an event at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver in Denver, Colo., Aug. 11, 2012. Photo by Sonya N. Hebert
President Barack Obama takes the stage to deliver remarks on housing and home ownership at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Ariz., Aug. 6, 2013. Photo by Pete Souza
All Times Eastern
12:30PM: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest
2:10PM: President Obama holds a video conference to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. Congressman John Lewis and Attorney General Loretta Lynch will join him. It will be live streamed at WhiteHouse.gov/VotingRightsAct
The U.S. has begun conducting air strikes over Syria from a base in southern Turkey wapo.st/1MP3RZR
Missy Ryan: U.S. Conducts First Islamic State Strike Launched From Turkish Soil
The United States has begun conducting airstrikes over Syria from a base in southern Turkey, the Pentagon said Wednesday, opening a new front in the Obama administration’s air war against the Islamic State. Capt. Jeff Davis, a Defense Department spokesman, told reporters at the Pentagon that a U.S. drone had hit an Islamic State target in Syria on Tuesday. He declined to say exactly where the strike took place or whether it was successful. The beginning of combat flights from Incirlik Air Base is a sign of deepening U.S.-Turkish cooperation against militants in Syria, where the expansion of the Islamic State poses a growing threat to Turkey and the West.
Christopher Ingraham: Americans Say Racism Is A Bigger Problem Today Than At Any Point In The Past 20 Years
Half of Americans — exactly 50 percent — say racism is a “big problem” in this country, according to a fascinating new Pew poll released today. That’s up an astonishing 17 points since the last time pollsters asked this question in 2010. And it represents the highest level of concern about racism in this country in at least 20 years. So what’s changed? In a word: Ferguson.
And of course, everything that’s followed since. The Pew numbers reflect some of this. Americans are divided on the extent of the racism problem in this country. 73 percent of blacks call it a big problem, compared to 44 percent of whites. Democrats (61 percent) are also considerably more likely to see a major problem than Republicans (41 percent).
Nearly one year after Michael Brown was shot dead by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, a new poll shows a growing number of people believe there’s much to be done before black lives will be valued as much as others. Fifty-nine percent of Americans now believe changes are needed to give African-Americans equal rights, according to a Pew Research Center poll released on Wednesday. That’s up from 46 percent in a Pew poll just last year, before Brown was killed by officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, setting off a series of demonstrations and fueling the Black Lives Matter movement.
The poll saw increases in the number of blacks, whites and Hispanics who felt more changes were needed. In 2014, only 39 percent of whites said more needed to be done. In 2015, that number jumped to 53 percent. For blacks, the numbers increased from 79 percent to 86 percent, and for Hispanics, 54 percent to 70 percent. The Pew poll comes after a year of heightened Black Lives Matter activism, including numerous rallies, die-ins and acts of civil disobedience.
President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
First Lady Michelle Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush participate in a symposium on advancement for women and girls in Africa, with U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit spouses at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2014. Photo by Amanda Lucidon
President Barack Obama walks with Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the South Lawn of the White House upon returning from the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
First Lady Michelle Obama watches a performance during a symposium program on advancement for women and girls in Africa, with U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit spouses at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2014. Seated with her, from left, are: Constancia Mangue de Obiang, First Lady of Equatorial Guinea; former First Lady Laura Bush; Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, First Lady of the Gabonese Republic; and Tina Tchen, Chief of Staff to the First Lady. Photo by Amanda Lucidon
President Barack Obama joins Jay Leno for a taping of the “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in Burbank, Calif., Aug. 6, 2013. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama autographs a banner following his remarks on the economy at Gelberg Signs in Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2010. Photo by Pete Souza)
Venture capitalists will pledge concrete measures to bring greater diversity to their predominantly white male profession during a high-profile event at the White House. For its part, the National Venture Capital Association is making a commitment “to advance opportunity for women and underrepresented minorities in the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” the trade group says in a letter to President Obama that was exclusively shared with USA TODAY. The trade group’s task force, formed in December, to tackle the profession’s lack of diversity “is committed to developing both near and long-term solutions to effect positive change,” the letter reads.
It was signed by 45 venture capital firms including Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Battery Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners. Among the steps the National Venture Capital Association is promising to take: to conduct and share research that measures diversity at venture capital firms and their portfolio companies, develop model human resources policies to encourage more inclusive work environments and participate in programs to encourage women and minorities to pursue careers as entrepreneurs or venture capitalists. These are just initial steps to address the yawning racial and gender gap, said Silicon Valley venture capitalist Kate Mitchell.
Wesley Lowery: Police Shot And Killed More People In July Than Any Other Month So Far This Year
More people were shot and killed by on-duty police officers in July than in any other month so far in 2015. At least 103 people were shot and killed by police officers last month, according to a Washington Post database tracking all fatal on-duty police shootings this year. That is 13 more fatal police shootings than March, the second most deadly month, during which 90 people were shot and killed by police. As of today, The Post has tracked 570 fatal police shootings.
California restored voting rights Tuesday to tens of thousands of criminals serving sentences under community supervision, reversing a decision by a state official that they could not participate in elections. Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced the settlement between the state and the American Civil Liberties Union of California, which sued on behalf of nearly 60,000 convicts who became ineligible to vote when then Secretary of State Debra Bowen determined in 2014 that community supervision was equivalent to parole. Her decision stemmed from a 2011
realignment of the state’s criminal justice law that aims to reduce overcrowding in state prisons by sending people convicted of less serious crimes to county jails or alternative treatment programs. A judge later overturned Bowen’s policy, stating that community supervision and parole are different. Bowen’s office appealed the decision, but Padilla, a fellow Democrat, decided to let the court ruling stand. Earlier this summer, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, vetoed a bill that would have extended the right to vote to roughly 40,000 convicts on probation or parole.
President Barack Obama’s daughter Sasha hides behind the sofa as she sneaks up on him at the end of the day in the Oval Office, Aug. 5, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2014. Photo by Lawrence Jackson
President Barack Obama talks with Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice outside the Oval Office upon arrival from the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama participates in a discussion with moderator Takunda Chingonzo at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
First Lady Michelle Obama talks with President Ali Bongo Ondimba of the Gabonese Republic during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit dinner on the South Lawn of the White House, Aug. 5, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama talks with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough after meeting with senior advisors in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Aug. 5, 2013. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama greets group and poses for a photo in the Rose Garden of the White House, August 5, 2009. Photo by Lawrence Jackson