President Barack Obama and Major General Bradley A. Becker, Commander of the Military District of Washington, listen to the US national anthem before placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns to honor Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Amphitheater after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
President Barack Obama lays a coin on a grave in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at the Union Market to celebrate International Women’s Day. First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to women gathered to mark the first anniversary of the Let Girls Learn initiative
"The confidence to stand up and demand justice and equality – all of that starts with education." —The First Lady on #InternationalWomensDay
Happy Presidents Day, everyone! Last week, I traveled back to Springfield, Illinois – where I got a chance to reflect a little bit on my favorite president and fellow Illinoisan – Abraham Lincoln.
As I said there, Lincoln wasn’t always the giant of history that we think of today. He didn’t have formal schooling. His businesses and his law practice often struggled. He left Congress after just one term because his opposition to the Mexican-American War damaged his reputation. But then, something happened that shook his conscience. Congress effectively overturned the Missouri Compromise, that flawed law that had prohibited slavery in the North and legalized it in the South.
Over the next six years, his arguments with Stephen Douglas and others helped shape the national debate around slavery. And it was on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield where he uttered those brilliant words, that “A house divided against itself cannot stand;” and that “this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free.”
Lincoln went on to become the first Republican President, and I believe our greatest president. Through his will, his words, and most of all, his character, he held a nation together and helped free a people.
Late at night, I sometimes walk down the hall to a room Lincoln used as his office that contains an original copy of the Gettysburg address. I linger on a few words that have helped define our American experiment: “A new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Lincoln grasped, maybe more than anyone, the burdens required to give those words meaning. And he understood that it is through the toil and sacrifice of ordinary men and women that our country is built and freedom is preserved.
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
Happy Father’s Day also, to the men of TOD – be you biological, adopted, step, father figure. Thank you for having our backs, thank you for the smiles, thank you for the encouragement, thank you for your bad dad jokes, thank you for the embarrassment, thank you for the hi-5’s, thank you for letting us know that as long as we give it our best shot, we are more than good enough; thank you for the foundation that allows us to lift our heads high as we venture out into the world. Thanks for being great dads!