Friday afternoon announcements in Washington are usually aimed at attracting as little attention as possible, but last Friday was different. President Obama’s decision to nominate Eric Fanning — an openly gay man — to head a branch of the military which only four years ago did not allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, was both historic and attention-grabbing. And it underscored an often-overlooked feature of the Obama presidency: Obama has presided over the most demographically diverse administration in history, according to a new analysis of his top appointments. The majority of top policy appointments within the executive branch are held by women and minorities for the first time in history. The shifts are significant enough, experts say, that they may have forever transformed the face of government. The Obama White House, by contrast, has established specific programs to boost diversity among appointees.
For the 1st time ever the majority of top exec branch posts aren't held by white men. Here's how @POTUS @vj44 did it wapo.st/1KsI5Xk
The Presidential Personnel Office targets historically black colleges and universities, as well as minority-serving institutions, as part of a new campus recruitment program. It has a liaison to identify candidates by working with leaders from underrepresented groups, including those who are LGBT or have disabilities. The impact of Obama’s diversity efforts could reverberate for decades in people such as Michael Blake, a son of Jamaican immigrants who was homeless as a child but worked on Obama’s two presidential campaigns and in the White House as associate director of public engagement. Last year, Blake won election to the New York State Assembly, with the help of a lot of other Obama alumni, including Marlon Marshall, who is now Hillary Rodham Clinton’s director of state campaigns and political engagement. Blake’s campaign slogan was about his transformation: “No House to the White House.” Obama, Blake said, has helped create a new network of people of color now climbing the ranks of government. “He did that,” Blake said. “He grew that.”
President Barack Obama speaks from the Oval Office on the shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, vowing to conduct a prompt and thorough probe of the shooting
President Barack Obama speaks after touring the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma. President Obama is the first sitting US President to visit a federal prison, in a push to reform one of the most expensive and crowded prison systems in the world
As part of a weeklong focus on inequities in the criminal justice system, President Barack Obama will meet separately Thursday with law enforcement officials and nonviolent drug offenders who are paying their debt to society at the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution, a medium-security prison for male offenders near Oklahoma City
President Barack Obama announces more than $240 million in pledges to boost the study of STEM fields. This year’s White House Science Fair is focused on diversity.
President Barack Obama laughs as Stephanie Bullock, 15, of Saint Croix, Virgin Islands, far right, explains her team’s rocket design during the President’s tour of the White House Science Fair. With Bullock are Maria Haywood, 12, and Shimeeka Stanley, 14
"Science is for all of us. And we want our classrooms and labs and workplaces and media to reflect that." —President Obama #WHScienceFair
President Barack Obama poses with six-year-old Girl Scouts from Tulsa, Okla. during the White House Science Fair. The Girl Scouts, including, Emily Bergenroth, Alicia Cutter, Karissa Cheng, Addy O’Neal, and Emery Dodson, used Lego pieces and designed a battery-powered page turner to help people who are paralyzed or have arthritis
Sahil Doshi, 14, of Pittsburgh shows his carbon-dioxide powered battery idea to President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama tries out a wheelchair with a design modification that makes wheelchair movements easier by Kaitlin Reed, 16, of Dover, Mass., next to Mohammed Sayed, 16, of Cambridge, Mass., who is originally from Afghanistan, and designed a 3D-printed modular arm. Obama will announce more than $240 million in pledges to boost the study of those fields, known as STEM. This year’s fair is focused on diversity.
Harry Paul, 18, of Port Washington, N.Y., shows President Barack Obama his “growing spine implant” that helps in the treatment of scoliosis
President Barack Obama deadpans a remark to reporters about how impressed he is by the work of Anvita Gupta, 17, from Scottsdale, Arizona, about developing a computer algorithm to assess drugs’ effectiveness in the fight against Ebola, Cancer, and Tuberculosis
"Today, I can announce that we have achieved that goal." —Obama on providing 98% of Americans with access to high-speed wireless internet
Victor Cruz of the NFL’s New York Giants smiles as President Barack Obama mentions him in his remarks
President Barack Obama reacts while listening attentively to Nikhil Behari, 14, from Sewickley, Pennsylvania, who is designing a biometric security system for computers to help identify a user by their typing style
"There’s always more to learn, to try, to imagine—and…it’s never too early, or too late, to create or discover something new." —Obama
Bill Nye ‘The Science Guy’ acknowledges applause as U.S. President Barack Obama mentions him in his remarks
President Barack Obama speaks with Kristian Sonsteby and Corine Peifer of Pennsylvania, about their invention of a power generator which stores energy created by the natural motion of a floating dock moving up and down with a lake’s natural currents
"That’s why we love science: It’s more than a school subject, or the periodic table...it is an approach to the world." —Obama #WHScienceFair
President Barack Obama speaks with Ruchi Pandya from San Jose, California, about her nanotechnology project to test biological samples
President Barack Obama speaks at the SelectUSA Investment Summit in National Harbor, Md. SelectUSA, created in 2011, is the first-ever federal effort to bring job-creating investment to the United States, promoting the United States as the world’s premier business location, and providing easy access to federal-level programs and services related to business investment
President Barack Obama speaks at an event for the Senior Executive Service at the Washington Hilton in Washington, DC. The Senior Executive Service (SES) is composed of the senior leadership of the Federal workforce
President Barack Obama takes a question about immigration reform during a visit to Casa Azafran in Nashville, Tennessee. Casa Azafran, located in Nashville’s most international and socially diverse district, is a community center and home to a number of immigrant-related nonprofits
Father Breen tells President he and others are proud of his actions.#ObamaInNashville
Rabbi David Saperstein claps as President Obama approaches to sign an executive order to protect LGBT employees from federal workplace discrimination
Surrounded by LGBT supporters, including Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, President Barack Obama signs executive orders to protect LGBT employees from federal workplace discrimination in the East Room of the White House. President Obama’s executive orders prohibit discrimination against gay and transgender workers in the federal government and its contracting agencies, without a new exemption that was requested by some religious organizations
President Obama arrives to make a statement on the situation in Ukraine and Gaza
President Obama attends a town hall meeting to discuss his My Brother’s Keeper initiative while at the Walker Jones Education Campus in Washington. President Obama announced that leaders of 60 of the largest school systems have pledged to expand minority boys’ access to better preschools and advanced classes and to try to prevent grade retention, suspensions and expulsions
President Obama bestows former Army Staff Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts with the Medal of Honor in the East Room of the White House. Pitts is the ninth living recipient of the nation’s highest decoration for battlefield valor for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan
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Chips butting in on Nerdy’s post:
A year ago today, the weirdest thing happened: Manchester United and Chelsea teamed up.
Yup, it’s exactly 12 months since Chelsea Girl took over the running of TOD with me, and I don’t have to tell you how much she has contributed since then, or how much work she has put in to the site with wonderful posts like this, every single day. And without her, TOD honestly wouldn’t even exist any more.
Thank you for everything – your intelligence, your energy, your passion, your determination, your dedication, your friendship, and your support.
It was a very, very happy day when you came in to TOD’s life, and mine.
Valerie Bauman: Federal Money Adds 24 New Medical Residencies In Washington State’s Most Doctor-Starved Regions
As of this year, 24 new primary care residency spots will have been created in Washington through a five-year federal program dedicated to getting doctors to regions that need it most. The latest influx of federal money is $6.3 million, reported earlier this week, more than the combined $2.55 million that the program provided for Washington residencies between 2011-2013. Each new residency position is the equivalent of a three-year, guaranteed residency spot for one new doctor. It’s never been more important for Washington to grow its pipeline of new doctors, particularly in underserved urban and rural areas. The state’s projected doctor shortage has Washington State University considering opening its own medical school in Spokane.
Why people keep doubting Obama, I'll never know. The man turns Republican tears into wine every time.
It is unique because it partners medical residents with community health clinics that typically work with low-income or underserved populations. It benefits the resident by giving a new doctor real world experience, and helps communities by getting more doctors where they are needed most. The program was created in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act, and brought the first round of new residency spots to Washington in 2011. Initially, Yakima and Ellensburg received the funding for residents, but as more money has come in through the program, it’s been expanded to Tacoma, Spokane and to the Puyallup Tribal Health Authority.
This morning, the Senate confirmed three federal judges. On the one hand, they are not unique; like all of the President’s judges and judicial nominees, they have the necessary intellect, experience, integrity, and temperament. But they are special in that each of them is a trailblazer on their courts:
Judge Darrin Gayles, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, is the first openly gay African American man to be confirmed as a lifetime-appointed federal judge in our nation’s history.
Judge Salvador Mendoza, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, is the first Hispanic judge to serve on his court.
Staci Yandle, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, is the first African American to serve on her court and the first openly gay lifetime-appointed federal judge in Illinois.
President Obama has now appointed more female judges and more Hispanic judges than any other President: wh.gov/lHujw
Today’s confirmations also set historic milestones: For the first time in history, the Senate has confirmed two openly gay judges on the same day. President Obama has now appointed more female judges than any other President, breaking the record previously set by President Clinton. President Obama also has now appointed more Hispanic judges than any other President, breaking the record previously held by President George W. Bush. As we’ve said before, these “firsts” — and these milestones — are important, not because these judges will consider cases differently, but because a judiciary that better resembles our nation instills even greater confidence in our justice system, and because these judges will serve as role models for generations of lawyers to come. Congratulations to our newest federal judges, who we are confident will serve with honor, distinction, and fidelity to the rule of law.
President Barack Obama smiles as he is shown wooden art made using a laser etcher by James Gyre during his tour of TechShop, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. President Obama traveled to Pittsburgh and visited TechShop, a fabrication and prototyping studio open to the public via paid memberships, to deliver remarks on the economy
President Barack Obama makes remarks after touring Bakery Square’s TechShop, a membership-based manufacturing workshop in Pittsburgh, that’s a model for the kind of sharing of resources he wants to see more of. The president announced a plan to open the doors of more than 700 federal labs across the country to give innovators access to more than $5 billion in equipment, research and resources to develop new technologies. Additionally, he outlined a $150 million investment in research to support the Materials Genome Investment, a public-private endeavor that aims to reduce the time it takes to develop new materials that can be used in advanced manufacturing
On a stop at Bakery Square’s TechShop in Larimer this afternoon, President Barack Obama announced a plan to give fledgling businesses expanded access to high-tech resources whether from the government or through wider sharing of private and university-based data and facilities. Administration officials said the access to expensive equipment and facilities is designed to lower the barriers to innovation. The president announced the initiative after a tour of TechShop, a membership-based manufacturing workshop that’s a model for the kind of sharing of resources he wants to promote. Coming the day after Mr. Obama announced an executive order to ban discrimination against members of the LGBT community in federal contracting, the innovation order was one more example of the administration’s efforts to pursue policy initiatives that don’t depend on action by Congress.
During his visit, the president also described new manufacturing investment commitments from 90 mayors cross the country, as well as a plan to provide private-sector innovators with access to expensive federal equipment such as wind tunnels at NASA and supercomputers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The plan would provide access to more than $5 billion worth of research, prototyping and testing equipment at more than 700 federal facilities. The president’s plan aims to give innovators – dubbed “makers” by the White House — access to equipment that no individual or small business could afford on its own, said Jeff Zients, director of the National Economic Council. “[We are] talking about using spare capacity when it’s available to give access to local makers and entrepreneurs,” he said. Mr. Zients said the president’s plan does not require legislative approval and has no cost to the federal government.
Zack Ford: Obama Administration Announces Executive Order Protecting LGBT Employees Of Federal Contractors
The White House announced Monday that President Obama will issue an executive order requiring that all companies who contract with the federal government must not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The order, expected to be finalized in the coming weeks, is an extension of orders previously issued by past presidents — most recently Johnson — similarly banning employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin among all contractors and subcontractors who do over $10,000 in business with the government in any one year. The protections will reach over one million LGBT workers across the country, making it the single largest expansion of LGBT workplace protections in our country’s history. There continue to be 29 states that offer no employment protections on the basis of sexual orientation and 32 with no protections based on gender identity, but many LGBT workers in those states will now have workplace protections for the first time ever. As many as 43 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people and 90 percent of transgender people have experienced some form of harassment or discrimination in the workplace.
One of the largest companies that could be impacted by the executive order is Exxon Mobil, which last month voted down LGBT employment protections for the 17th time. The company claims to have a “zero tolerance” policy on the books for mistreatment, but that does not have the same legal force or consistency as the protections shareholders have voted down each year. As many as 9 out of 10 voters believe federal law already protects LGBT workers from discrimination. Though this isn’t true, many of the country’s biggest companies do already have corporate policies prohibiting such discrimination. Businesses of all sizes have found that nondiscrimination protections are good for their bottom line, improving the recruitment, retention, and productivity of talented employees and appealing to a wider customer base. A new Human Rights Campaign poll finds that 63 percent of voters support federal LGBT employment protections.
When President Bush II left the White House in 2009, the 13 U.S. courts of appeal were firmly under Republican appointees’ control. Ten appeals courts had majority GOP judges, two were evenly split and only one had a majority of Democrats. President Obama’s 49 appeals court appointees have dramatically altered the landscape. As of the Senate’s recess on May 23, nine of those courts had majority Democratic appointees and four had Republican majorities.
(There are 10 vacancies in the circuit courts. One Obama nominee is awaiting a Senate vote and three nominees pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.) The change, much feared by Republicans, is not necessarily shocking. But the transformation, in just 5 1/2 years, said University of Pittsburgh law professor Arthur D. Hellman, an authority on the federal circuit courts, marks ”a huge shift in a very short period of time.” And it means that Democratic appointed judges “have the ability to control every important case if they wish to” in those nine circuits, he said.
Timothy B. Lee: Obama Has Secured Democratic Majorities On Most Federal Appeals Courts
A president’s Supreme Court nominees get a lot of attention, but presidents shape less visible parts of the judiciary too. Barack Obama is no exception. The Washington Post has a chart showing how the president has changed the composition of the nation’s appeals courts over the last five and a half years: Now, it’s important to say that courts are not supposed to be partisan institutions.
Still, Democratic judicial nominees tend to be more liberal than Republican nominees. And so the growing number of Democrat-appointed judges in our appeals courts will push American jurisprudence to the left on a wide range of issues. And because Obama’s nominees will stay on the bench long after Obama leaves office, these nominations will be one of his most durable legacies.