President Barack Obama addresses the National Clean Energy Summit at the Mandalay Bay Resort Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The White House expanded its push for greater renewable energy adoption, announcing fresh financial incentives for solar panels, smart grid technology and other alternative energies for homeowners and builders
Tara Culp-Ressler: The Obama Administration’s Strategy On Heroin Addiction: Treat It As A Public Health Problem
The Obama administration unveiled a new strategy to combat heroin abuse on Monday, pledging $2.5 million in additional funds to target five “high intensity drug trafficking areas.” The plan, which aims to pair law enforcement officials with health experts, is notable for its emphasis onconnecting heroin users with treatment rather than focusing on putting them behind bars. In the 15 states participating in the pilot program, a
public health official will coordinate “heroin response teams” and help track the number of overdoses in their region. More first responders will be trained about how to administer naloxone, a drug that can reverse overdoses from heroin and prescription painkillers. The new strategy “demonstrates a strong commitment to address the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic as both a public health and a public safety issue,” according to Michael Botticelli, the Obama administration’s director of national drug control policy.
Katie Valentine: Here’s How The Government Plans To Cut Emissions From Landfills
The Environmental Protection Agency announced plans Friday that aim to reduce landfill emissions of methane and other greenhouse gases by nearly a third, in an attempt to more tightly regulate a sector that accounts for nearly a fifth of total U.S. methane emissions. The proposals seek to update methane regulations on new and existing landfills. If enacted, the EPA says the regulations would reduce methane emissions from municipal solid waste landfills by487,000 tons a year beginning in 2025. Since methane is about 25 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide, that reduction would be equal to cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 12.2 million metric tons — the amount emitted by more than 1.1 million homes.
Under the proposed rules, landfills would have to start capturing two-thirds of their methane and other hazardous emissions by 2023. That’s 13 percent more than they’re currently required to capture. The proposed regulations would apply to the more than 2,000 active municipal solid waste landfillsin the United States, which together make up the nation’s third-largest source of methane emissions. These emissions are produced when organic matter, such as food waste, decomposes in a landfill. Once the EPA’s proposed rules are filed in the federal register, they’ll be subject to a 60-day public commenting period.
For the first time since the Ebola outbreak was declared in Sierra Leone, the country has recorded zero new infections. There were no new Ebola cases reported last week according to the WHO. At the height of the outbreak Sierra Leone was reporting more than 500 new cases a week. Last week, for the first time since May last year, there were zero new cases.
But authorities are warning against complacency. OB Sisay, Director of the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC), said: “This does not mean Sierra Leone is suddenly Ebola free. “As long as we have one Ebola case we still have an epidemic. People should continue to take the public health measures… around hand-washing, temperature checks, enhanced screening.”
President Barack Obama disembarks Air Force One upon arrival at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 18, 2012. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama talks with, from left, Tony Blinken, Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, and Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer in the Outer Oval Office before making a statement in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Aug. 18, 2014. Photo by Chuck Kennedy
President Barack Obama meets the Weithman family: Joe, Rhonda, and their children, Rachel, 9, and Josh, 11, in their home in Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 18, 2010. 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
President Barack Obama participates in a town hall-style question-and-answer session with participants from the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Mandela Washington Fellowship Presidential Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. Identified as Sub-Saharan Africa’s ‘most promising young leaders,’ 500 people were invited by the U.S. State Department for the three-day summit where they interact with representatives from the public, private, and non-profit sectors
Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Mandela Washington Fellowship participants sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama embraces Nigerian disability-rights activist and musician Grace Alache Jerry
President Barack Obama speaks about climate change during an event in the East Room at the White House. President Obama announced a major climate change plan aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s coal-burning power plants
President Barack Obama talks with Members of Congress after signing the Fair Sentencing Act in the Oval Office, Aug. 3, 2010. Participants include, from left, Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC. Photo by Pete Souza
All Times Eastern
10:00AM: President Obama receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
11:10AM: President Obama delivers remarks at the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Mandela Washington Fellowship Presidential Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel
12:30PM: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest
2:15PM: President Obama delivers remarks on the Clean Power Plan in the East Room
5:20PM: President Obama participates in an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony in the Oval Office
Timothy Cama: Obama Doubles Down On Historic Climate Rule For Power Plants
The Obama administration on Sunday unveiled a tougher climate change rule for power plants, demanding that generators cut their carbon dioxide output 32 percent in the first ever limits on the pollutant. The historic regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the main pillar of President Obama’s climate agenda. It is the biggest piece of his drive to create a legacy and go down in history as the first United States president to take comprehensive action against climate change by cutting emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.
The EPA is asking states to formulate plans to reach specific carbon reduction goals assigned to them by 2030, from a 2005 starting point, adding up to a 32 percent reduction nationwide. If the states do not submit plans — as multiple conservative states have threatened — the EPA will write and impose its own strategies upon them. The administration estimates that the climate benefits, in addition to benefits from reducing other pollutants from power plants, would result in a net $46 billion benefit to the nation by 2030, along with thousands of avoided premature deaths and asthma attacks.
U.S. backers of the Iran nuclear deal are increasingly confident of enough Democratic support to ensure it survives review by Congress, despite fierce opposition by majority Republicans and a massive lobbying drive. By the time the House of Representatives recessed for the summer last week, no senior Democrat in the chamber had come out formally against the agreement and several central figures, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, were strongly in favor.
Pelosi said she was confident that if, as expected, Republicans pass a “resolution of disapproval” to try to sink the deal, a promised veto of that measure by President Barack Obama would be sustained. At least 44 Democrats in the House and 13 Democrats in the Senate would have to defy Obama and join Republicans in opposing the deal to get the two-thirds majorities in both chambers needed to override a veto. “More and more of them (House Democrats) have confirmed to me that they will be there to sustain the veto,” Pelosi told reporters.
Rebecca Klein: Black Students In The U.S. Get Criminalized While White Students Get Treatment
When black and white kids act up or display troubling behavior at schools, teachers and administrators often address it with differing responses split along racial lines, new research shows. Black students are more likely to be punished with suspensions, expulsions or referrals to law enforcement, a phenomenon that helps funnel kids into the criminal justice system. Meanwhile, white kids are more likely to be pushed into special education services or receive medical and psychological treatment for their perceived misbehaviors, according to a study released last week in the journal Sociology of Education.
Overall, this pattern often leads to the criminalization of young black students and the medicalization of white students. The study, conducted by Pennsylvania State University assistant professor of sociology and criminology David Ramey, analyzed the rates of suspensions, expulsions and police referrals at 59,000 schools across the country. He also looked at how many students in these schools were enrolled in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, two programs designed to help kids in need of special services. Ramey found that schools with larger populations of black students also had higher rates of suspensions, while schools with more white students had a greater number of kids in programs designed for students with special needs.
Adele Stan: The Progressive Movement Has A Race Problem
We want a nation where a young black man or woman can walk down the street without worrying about being falsely arrested, beaten, or killed,” Bernie Sanders told some 8,000 supporters in Dallas on July 19, the day after his contentious encounter with protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement at Netroots Nation. While Sanders, the socialist U.S. senator from Vermont who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, appeared to have learned his lesson quickly, the same cannot necessarily be said for some of his most ardent followers, or for the progressive movement more broadly, where power rests primarily in the hands of white men.
But if Sanders is a standard-bearer for the progressive movement, then his lack of resonance among black voters is a problem not just for the senator’s campaign, but for the movement itself. Among the most daunting obstacles to racial equality is the white liberal who thinks he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. Because we all do. This is America, after all, where we all have brains peppered since birth with racial stereotypes and tropes. Denying that won’t cure the ill; transcendence is the real medicine. Transcending beliefs virtually etched in one’s DNA requires sustained and conscious effort. It’s uncomfortable. It meets with resistance from within and without. But until white progressives are willing to take a cold, hard look at why our movement is viewed with suspicion by those who feel shut out, a truly progressive future will be a promise unfulfilled.
President Barack Obama waits with Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Amir of Kuwait, outside the Oval Office, as they were about to walk to the State Dining Room on Aug. 3, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama has lunch at Good Stuff Eatery in Washington, D.C., with staff members who worked on the debt negotiations, Aug. 3, 2011. From left are: Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew; National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling; Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; and Bruce Reed, Chief of Staff to the Vice President. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama works on his statement on the compromise reached to reduce the deficit and avert a default, in the Outer Oval Office, Aug. 2, 2011. Standing in the background are, from left: Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer; Press Secretary Jay Carney; Jon Lovett, Associate Director of Speechwriting; and Senior Advisor David Plouffe. Photo by Pete Souza
If Republicans win the White House next year, they’ll almost certainly control the entire federal government. Many of them, running for president or aspiring to leadership roles in Congress, are trying to block the nuclear deal with Iran. This would be a good time for these leaders to show that they’re ready for the responsibilities of national security and foreign policy. Instead, they’re showing the opposite. Over the past several days, congressional hearings on the deal have become a spectacle of dishonesty, incomprehension, and inability to cope with the challenges of a multilateral world.
When the hearings began more than a week ago, I was planning to write about the testimony of Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. But the more I watched, the more I saw that the danger in the room wasn’t coming from the deal or its administration proponents. It was coming from the interrogators. In challenging Kerry and Moniz, Republican senators and representatives offered no serious alternative. They misrepresented testimony, dismissed contrary evidence, and substituted vitriol for analysis. They seemed baffled by the idea of having to work and negotiate with other countries. I came away from the hearings dismayed by what the GOP has become in the Obama era. It seems utterly unprepared to govern.
Don Thompson: Suicide Spike Boosts Oversight Of California Women’s Prison
A spike in suicides and attempted suicides has prompted corrections officials to step up oversight at a California women’s prison as inspectors try to pinpoint the cause of the troubling increase. Four women have killed themselves at California Institution for Women in San Bernardino County in the last 18 months, according to state records. The suicide rate at the facility is more than eight times the national rate for female inmates and more than five times the rate for the entire California prison system.
In California, the Institution for Women is the only women’s prison in the state to have had any suicides in the last five years, and another 20 of the prison’s 2,000 inmates have attempted suicide during the last year and a half. It is a shocking turnaround at a facility that last year was cited as a rare example of California providing proper mental health treatment for inmates. All four women who died were receiving mental health treatment in the days before their deaths.
Letitia Stein: March To Washington Begins With Civil Rights Rally In Selma
NAACP leaders launched a 40-day march across the U.S. South on Saturday with a rally in Selma, Alabama, drawing on that city’s significance in the 1960s civil rights movement to call attention to the issue of racial injustice in modern America. Organizers of “America’s Journey for Justice” want to build momentum behind a renewed national dialogue over race relations prompted by the killing of a number of unarmed black men by police officers over the past year.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People leaders at the rally urged marchers to honor the memories of New York’s Eric Garner and Cincinnati’s Samuel DuBose, two of the unarmed black men killed in the police confrontations. The march, which would cover nearly 900 miles, began on Selma’s historic Edmund Pettus Bridge, where police beat peaceful marchers with clubs and doused them with tear gas in 1965. The infamous confrontation was a catalyst for the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act, signed into law 50 years ago this week.
National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice helps Vice President Joe Biden with a spot on his suit jacket, in a hall outside the Oval Office, Aug. 2, 2013. Robert Cardillo, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Intelligence Integration, watches at right. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama talks with diners at Lechonera El Barrio restaurant while waiting for his lunch order during a stop in Orlando, Fla., Aug. 2, 2012. Photo by Pete Souza
Jack Jenkins: More Than 180 Evangelical Leaders Endorse Obama’s Carbon Reduction Plan
More than 180 evangelical Christian leaders signed a letter this week backing President Barack Obama’s plan to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, the latest effort in a growing faith-based environmental movement to curb the effects of climate change. On Thursday, theologically conservative faith leaders sent a letter to President Obama endorsing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP),
a sweeping, historic project unveiled in June and set to be officially released next week. Signers of the letter, which was posted on the Evangelical Environmental Network’s website, framed their support in explicitly moral terms. “We see overcoming the climate challenge as one of the great moral opportunities of our time, a chance to fulfill the Great Commandments to love God, our neighbors, and ourselves,” the letter read. “It is God’s love that calls all of us to take on this challenge. That is why we write to offer our support and encouragement for your efforts to overcome the climate challenge.”
The Texas trooper who arrested Sandra Bland after a confrontation that began with a traffic stop was once cautioned about “unprofessional conduct” in a 2014 incident while he was still a probationary trooper, according to documents released Friday. The Texas Department of Public Safety released Encinia’s personnel file in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from The Associated Press. Encinia had been with the department for a little over a year. For the most part, his file was unremarkable. He received “competent” ratings in all of the evaluations that were released.
However, in an evaluation that covered September and October 2014, his supervisor noted that Encinia “was given a written counseling for unprofessional conduct … for an incident occurring while at a school in Austin.” The documents provided no additional details and a Department of Public Safety official did not return a phone call seeking comment Friday night. The evaluation goes on to say, “In the future, Trooper Encinia should conduct himself at all times in a manner that will reflect well upon himself, the Department, and the State of Texas. This supervisor will ensure that this is done by meeting periodically with Trooper Encinia.”
AP: Suspected Jewish Extremists Burn Palestinian Child To Death
Suspected Jewish assailants set fire to a West Bank home on Friday and burned a sleeping Palestinian toddler to death in an attack that drew Palestinian rage and widespread Israeli condemnation. The attack, which threatens to set off another violent escalation, shines a light on the growing lawlessness of extremist Jewish settlers that Israel is either unable or unwilling to contain. The extremists have for years staged attacks against Palestinian property, as well as mosques, churches, dovish Israeli groups and even Israeli military bases.
The attacks, known as “price tags” because they exact a price for Israeli steps seen as favorable to the Palestinians, have stirred fear in Palestinians and frustration among critics who say Israel has not done enough to quell the assaults. “This is a direct consequence of decades of impunity given by the Israeli government to settler terrorism,” said Palestinian official Saeb Erekat. “This is the consequence of a culture of hate funded and incentivized by the Israeli government and the impunity granted by the international community.”
Tara Culp-Ressler: Some Of The Videos Targeting Planned Parenthood May Be Illegal, Court Rules
An anti-abortion group that has so far released four inflammatory videos accusing Planned Parenthood of profiting from the sale of “aborted baby parts” will not be allowed to publish additional footage featuring a California company that facilitates fetal tissue donation, thanks to a temporary restraining order issued by the Los Angeles Superior Court. The court order issued this week blocks the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) from releasing video footage featuring employees who work at StemExpress, a biological company that partners with some Planned Parenthood clinics to help transfer fetal tissue donations to medical research facilities.
The unfolding controversy plaguing Planned Parenthood has been focused on this type of tissue donation, which CMP misleadingly characterizes as trafficking in baby parts. Planned Parenthood emphasizes that it’s simply helping patients who choose to donate fetal tissue, which can play a role in helping scientists develop treatments for degenerative diseases. The national women’s health organization has condemned CMP’s secret recordings for potentially violating the privacy of staff and patients at their clinics.