President Barack Obama with Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, Air Force Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, and Anthony Sadler, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, to honor them for heroically subduing a gunman on a Paris-bound passenger train last month
First Lady Michelle Obama greets students at Howard Community College in Columbia, Md as part of her ‘Reach Higher’ initiative
President Barack Obama speaks while participating in a roundtable discussion on the impacts of climate change on public health with Vivek Murthy, U.S. surgeon general, left, Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), second from right, and Charlotte Wallace, sustainability coordinator at Anne Arundel Medical Center, third from right, at Howard University
Cindi Leive: Michelle Obama, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kerry Washington: The Important Cause Bringing Three Powerhouse Women Together
First Lady Michelle Obama and actresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Kerry Washington are sitting in the Blue Room at the White House. This trio of female forces, who know one another through their work on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, aren’t here just to catch up on life. They’re here today to spread a crucial message: This Memorial Day, America’s servicewomen, veterans, and military wives—courageous women—need our help. Over a decade ago, during the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, our servicemen and -women were constantly in the public eye, in newspapers, music videos, car commercials. Today, most of the more than 2.5 million men and women who deployed are home safe—but they deserve just as much attention as when they were braving IEDs and insurgents.
During this reentry period, advocates point out, many veterans face hardships (from homelessness and unemployment to post-traumatic stress disorder and the effects of sexual trauma), and we can’t underestimate the support they need. MO: One thing I want to clarify—that every service member, veteran, wants us to remember—is that the vast majority of people returning from service come back completely healthy…. But when we do come across someone who is struggling…we have to develop a culture of open arms and acceptance so that they feel comfortable saying, “I’m a veteran. And by the way, I need little help.” Think about the amount of training the average veteran has received through the military—physical training, project management training, public relations work. Think of an average tour of duty in a foreign land, the money we put into developing that, and then they’re discharged, and what, we let that investment go? Absolutely not. These are some of the best-trained people in our society.
First Lady Michelle Obama participates in the unveiling of the Maya Angelou Forever Stamp, at the Warner Theater in Washington. From left are, Eleanor Traylor, English Professor at Howard University; poet Nikki Giovanni; Mrs. Obama; Postmaster General Megan Brennan; Oprah Winfrey, and artist Ross Rossin
On This Day: President Obama greets members of the Byrd family at the West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., July 2, 2010. The President and Vice President Joe Biden attended the memorial service for Sen. Robert Byrd, who died June 28, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Today (all times Eastern)
12:0: The President meets with economists for lunch, Old Family Dining Room
12:30: Josh Earnest briefs the press
4:05: The President meets with Secretary of Treasury Lew
We get the government we deserve, and we are on track for one that is heedless of concern for women’s health, and poised to eliminate unions.
… Over the weekend, I watched the PBS documentary on Freedom Summer, the effort 50 years ago to register African Americans to vote in the state of Mississippi, the effort that cost so many people so dearly, especially the families of Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Mickey Schwerner, who were beaten and shot to death, and buried in a dam, because the state of Mississippi had local police forces shot through with the Ku Klux Klan.
Now, five decades later, with a Republican House far gone into nihilistic vandalism, and with the Senate hanging in the balance, and a Supreme Court one septuagenarian’s heartbeat away from a return to the golden days of the last Gilded Age, and a Democratic president in the White House on whom those responsible for the previous three phenomena have painted a bullseye, we keep hearing about how hard it is going to be for the Democratic party to turn out its voters this fall to take advantage of the opportunities for which Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner gave their lives, and did so in my lifetime, not in a distant antebellum episode in some backwater.
VoteRiders is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure that all citizens are able to exercise their right to vote. Through resources and media exposure, VoteRiders supports on-the-ground organizations that assist citizens to secure their voter ID and inspires local volunteers and communities to sustain such programs and galvanize others to emulate these efforts.
How We Started
Knowing that millions of potential voters may be disenfranchised by the increasing number of stringent voter ID laws, Kathleen Unger decided to take action. With her extensive professional and volunteer experience in the non-profit sector, Ms. Unger decided to start her own non-profit dedicated to helping citizens to obtain their voter ID so they can exercise their fundamental right to vote. It was important to Ms. Unger that VoteRiders not duplicate what other organizations are doing to protect the right to vote. Thus, VoteRiders was founded in April 2012.
Steve Benen: Obama no longer cares whether the GOP is outraged
It’s become clear in recent weeks that President Obama and congressional Republicans are reading from very different scripts. The notion that the two institutional forces are butting heads is plainly wrong – they are two trains on separate tracks moving in completely different directions.
…. Clearly, the president’s willingness to keep governing without them has only enraged congressional Republicans – who were already livid. But it’s now obvious that the president simply does not care. Not even a little. The more GOP lawmaker scream, “No more executive actions!” the more Obama thinks to himself, “I wonder what other executive actions I can take.”
….. this is a president who no longer cares whether his unhinged critics are unhappy.
ThinkProgress: Meet The People, And The Families They Care For, Whose Lives Just Got Harder Thanks To The Supreme Court
When Dorothy Glenn and Flora Johnson, two home care workers who belong to the SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas, first started out in their line of work, both made just $1 an hour. By the end of this year, thanks to the collective bargaining agreement reached by their union, they’ll be making $13 an hour. They also now have health care and paid training opportunities thanks to agreements obtained by the union. Such benefits could now become harder to secure.
On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a decision in the case Harris v. Quinn that was not as wide-sweeping as some labor advocates had worried — making it so that any public employees could opt out of paying union dues even if a union is negotiating on their behalf — but still ruled that home care workers in Illinois, who are paid by the state through Medicaid, no longer have to pay union fees. That loss of money could make it harder for the union to continue its organizing work.
ThinkProgress: What Every Governor Really Believes About Climate Change, In One Handy Map
With all the recent talk at the federal level about the EPA’s proposed carbon regulations for new and existing power plants, it’s easy to forget about the executives that have front row seats to cutting American carbon pollution. And though climate deniers run rampant through the halls of Congress, a new analysis from the CAP Action War Room reveals that half of America’s Republican governors agree with the anti-science caucus of Congress.
Fifteen out of twenty-nine sitting Republican governors deny climate science despite the overwhelming level of scientific consensus, the enormous cost to taxpayers, and the critical place governors occupy in implementing new limits on carbon pollution. None of the country’s Democratic governors have made public statements denying climate change.
Orlando Sentinel: In Orlando, Michelle Obama calls counselors key to school success
School counselors have one of “the most underappreciated jobs” in the country but are key to in the White House’s goal to have more students pursue education after high school, first lady Michelle Obama said Tuesday in Orlando.
“You’re the one planting the seeds about college” and creating a climate where “higher education is the expectation, not the exception,” Obama told hundreds of counselors at an annual convention.
But counselors, she said, too often struggle with an “outrageous” caseload — one counselor to 451 students is the average in Florida — and school policies that view them as an extra that can be cut during lean budget years or asked to do other duties, such as serve as proctors during testing.
“School counseling should not be an extra or a luxury,” Obama said to loud applause. “School counseling is a necessity.”
Counselors at the American School Counselor Association’s convention at a Walt Disney World resort cheered the first lady’s remarks, saying she had validated their profession and frustrations.
Forbes: Leadership Lessons From Admiral Michelle Howard, The Highest Ranking Woman In Naval History
This morning, in a ceremony at the Women In Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, Howard became the first woman in the U.S. Navy’s 236-year history to be promoted to four-star admiral and Vice Chief of Naval Operations, the second highest position in the Navy.
While today’s precedings make history, Howard is no stranger to firsts. In 1999 she became the first African American woman to command a Naval ship, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore. Howard was also the first African American woman in any branch of the military to reach three stars. In the past she’s been deployed to Indonesia for tsunami relief efforts, participated in Maritime security operations in the North Arabian Gulf, and served as commander of a Counter-Piracy Taskforce where–three days into the job–she spearheaded the rescue of Captain Phillips from Somali pirates.
President Obama tests out the new Federal Government IT Dashboard outside of the Oval Office on July 2, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama gestures as he speaks on innovation and jobs in the Rose Garden of the White House as business leaders listen July 2, 2009
President Obama heads a soccer ball at Ubungo Power Plant in Dar es Salaam July 2, 2013. The ball called a “soccket ball” has internal electronics that allows it to generate and store electricity that can power small devices
On This Day – Pete Souza: “Two days after the shootings at Newtown, the President traveled to Connecticut to meet with the victims’ families and give remarks at a prayer vigil. The President spent hours greeting family members. Difficult as that was for everyone, the one moment that helped sooth the pain was when he posed for a photo with the siblings and cousins of Emilie Parker, one of the 20 children who died that day in Newtown. I see both sadness and hope in this photograph, and I know after a lot of tears that day, it meant so much to the President that everyone was able to smile for a moment in this family photo. Thanks to the Parker family for allowing us to show this photograph publicly.” Dec. 16, 2012
Today (all times Eastern):
1:0: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
2:0: First Lady Michelle Obama visits the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington
Steve Benen: Why there’s no Republican health care plan
Where’s the Republican alternative to the Affordable Care Act? The question is generally best suited for milk cartons – it’s pretty clear GOP officials would love to “repeal” the federal health care law, but we’ve been waiting for years to know what they’d “replace” it with.
…. As for why Republicans have no rival plan, there’s no great mystery. Every credible, effective solution requires some combination of regulating the private insurance market and investing in broader coverage for consumers. There’s just no way around that, and as a result, GOP officials are left with an ideological hurdle they simply cannot clear.
And so Republicans spin their wheels, condemning a policy that they used to like – remember, the basic ACA blueprint was a conservative approach to health care reform – while pretending to have an alternative they can’t identify in earnest.
Another Sunday full of talking heads concerning their empty little selves with how Politifact’s ridiculous Lie of the Year determination might hurt Democrats.
…. If only Politifact had been around when George W. Bush was lying to us about Iraq and WMD. Maybe we could have saved thousands of lives by opposing that war before they sent troops into that godforsaken place for no specific purpose other than settling the score and Dubya’s Daddy issues.
Meanwhile, our panelists completely ignore the true liars in Politifact’s lie of the year: Insurers. Once again, I urge them to read the transcript of an actual telephone call which took place in 2010 luring an insured in a grandfathered plan out of that plan and into one that wasn’t grandfathered.
ThinkProgress: Newtown Victim’s Sister: ‘It Only Takes 90 Seconds’ To Do A Background Check
One year ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a 27-year-old teacher, Victoria Leigh Soto, threw herself between her first graders and Adam Lanza, taking the bullets he meant for them. A photograph of her younger sister, Carlee, receiving the news of Vicki’s death on her cell phone quickly became a symbol of national heartbreak over the shooting.
On this week’s Fox News Sunday, Carlee Soto, 21, spoke with host Chris Wallace about that day and her newfound advocacy on gun violence. Soto expressed her frustration with the Senate’s failure to pass bipartisan background check legislation in April…
Pete Souza: “The President works on his Newtown speech at an auditorium in suburban Washington. Two days earlier, I had photographed him when John Brennan first briefed him on the shootings. Throughout that day, he reacted as we all did, which people witnessed when he delivered his statement a few hours later. Before we headed to Newtown for the Sunday night vigil, he went to watch his daughter Sasha, 11, at her rehearsal for the Nutcracker; he would be unable to attend her performance because of the trip to Newtown. During breaks in the rehearsal, he worked on his speech. His expression in this photograph may be subtle to the viewer, but not to me. There is emotion and resolve etched on his face, and he knew the importance of this speech for the nation.” Dec. 16, 2012
Eknoor Kaur, 3, stands with her father Guramril Singh during a candlelight vigil outside Newtown High School before an interfaith vigil with President Obama, Dec. 16
Members of the Sikh community hold a candlelight vigil outside Newtown high school
President Obama holding the granddaughter of Dawn Hochstrung, the Sandy Hook Elementary School principal who died in the shootings. Dec 16, 2012
“My mom would be SO proud to see President Obama holding her granddaughter” (@Chass63)
President Obama with Robbie Parker, father of Emilie, one of the 20 children who died in Newtown
President Obama attends a Sandy Hook interfaith vigil at Newtown High School, Dec. 16, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
People hold hands in a bar near Sandy Hook Elementary School as President Obama speaks in Newtown
In the year since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, the American gun debate was thrust into the center of the national conversation. The horrific shooting, which left 20 children and 6 adults dead, galvanized both advocates and opponents of stricter gun regulation. 2013 saw a slew of new gun laws in virtually every state; 29 states weakened gun restrictions while 21 others and DC strengthened them. Even after a widely popular bipartisan bill to expand background checks on gun sales failed in the Senate, Newtown continues to shape the way Americans think about guns — and the way activists talk to them.
Below is a rundown of where gun activists stand one year after Newtown…
First Lady Michelle Obama delivers toys donated by White House staff to the Marine Corps Base Quantico Toys for Tots Campaign warehouse in Stafford, Va., Dec. 16, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
The White House and the National Christmas Tree are illuminated at dusk in Washington, D.C., Dec. 16, 2009. (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Pete Souza: “This is a photograph I’d been trying unsuccessfully to make for some time. This is looking in the back windows of the Oval Office, an unusual vantage point that only I have access to. I wanted to shoot it at dusk, so there was still a little of light remaining in the sky. He was seated at the desk for most of the call, so I waited a long time hoping he would stand up so I could see him more clearly.” Dec. 16, 2009
First Lady Michelle Obama carries a bag of toys donated by Executive Office staffers into a Toys for Tots event at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling on Dec. 16, 2011
First Lady Michelle Obama delivers toys and gifts donated by White House staff to the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots campaign at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C., Dec. 16, 2011 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)