By Jueseppi B.
By Kori Schulman February 13, 2013
On Thursday, February 14th at 4:50 p.m. EST, President Obama will sit down with Americans from all across the country for a “Fireside Hangout” – our 21st century take on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fireside chats. The President will join a live, completely virtual interview from nowhere other than the Roosevelt Room in the White House’s West Wing.
This online event comes just days after the State of the Union address, where the President laid out his plan to create jobs and strengthen the middle class. During the hangout, which is hosted and moderated by Google, the President will connect with people who are active online to discuss the policies and proposals in the speech.
Do you have a question that you’d like President Obama to answer? Right now, you can submit a text or video question for the President, and also vote on your favorites. Then, be sure to tune in for the hangout live on Thursday, February 14th at 4:50 p.m. EST. Watch it live on the White House YouTube Channel,Google+ page and at WhiteHouse.gov/live.
Thursday’s event with the President is the latest in a series of Fireside Hangouts and White House engagement programs on Google+. Last month, Vice President Biden kicked off the series with a virtual conversation about reducing gun violence. And after President Obama presented his plan to fix our broken immigration system, Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, joined a Fireside Hangout on the issue.
The White House uses Google+, and other social media networks and online tools, to directly connect President Obama and his Administration directly with the American people. Since our inaugural White House hangout with President Obama after the State of the Union in January 2012, the White House has hosted hangouts about everything from healthy families to small business and mortgage refinancing to human trafficking.
More than 1.4 million people have followed the White House since we joined Google+ a little over a year ago — and we’ve invited those followers to join hangouts with senior staff and Cabinet members and come to the White House for special events, like our State of the Union Social and a Google+ photowalk. Follow us on Google+ to stay connected to the White House and get the latest updates on how you can engage. You can also check out the White House on Twitter,Facebook and Pinterest. Learn more about all the ways you can engage with the White House at WhiteHouse.gov/engage.
By Secretary Arne Duncan February 13, 2013
Editor’s note: This post was originally published on the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education.
“… My administration will release a new “College Scorecard” that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria — where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.” – President Obama, 2013 State of the Union
The interactive College Scorecard gives students and families five key pieces of data about a college: costs, graduation rate, loan default rate, average amount borrowed, and employment.
Too often, students and their families don’t have the right tools to help them sort through the information they need to decide which college or university is right for them. The search can be overwhelming, and the information from different colleges can be hard to compare.
That’s why, today, our Administration released a “College Scorecard” that empowers families to make smart investments in higher education. As the President said last night, we want to help families get the most bang for their educational buck.
The College Scorecard – as part of President Obama’s continued efforts to hold colleges accountable for cost, value and quality – highlights key indicators about the cost and value of institutions across the country to help students choose a school that is well-suited to meet their needs, priced affordably, and is consistent with their educational and career goals.
The tool is interactive, so students can choose among any number of options based on their individual needs – including location, size, campus setting, and degree and major programs.
Each Scorecard includes five key pieces of data about a college: costs, graduation rate, loan default rate, average amount borrowed, and employment. These data will be updated periodically, and the Department plans to publish information on average earnings in the coming year.
Get started by visiting WhiteHouse.gov/scorecard.
By Megan Slack February 13, 2013
Today, Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, answered questions from the public about President Obama’s State of the Union Address in an “Open for Questions” session moderated by Babble. Check it out below.
Open for Questions: The State of the Union and Education
Published on Feb 13, 2013
In a virtual Q&A live from the White House, Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, answers questions submitted by citizens via Twitter, Google+ and Facebook about the President’s education policies.
Watch President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address and share your Citizen Response.
By Colleen Curtis February 13, 2013
First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during a “Beasts of the Southern Wild” movie workshop in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 13, 2013. Participating, from left, are: movie director Benh Zeitlin; actor Dwight Henry; actress Quvenzhané Wallis; and moderator Rachel Goslins, a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. (Official White House Photo by ) (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
First Lady Michelle Obama today welcomed 80 middle and high school students to an interactive workshop with the cast and crew of the film Beasts of the Southern Wild, in the State Dining Room. The students, who were from Washington, DC and New Orleans, LA, got to talk with director Benh Zeitlin, actor Dwight Henry and the movie’s 9-year-old star, Oscar-nominated actress Quvenzhané Wallis, who stars as Hushpuppy.
Mrs. Obama described the film as “beautiful, joyful and devastatingly honest,” and praised its underlying message of strength and resilience:
It’s a movie that makes us all think deeply about the people we love in our lives who make us who we are. It shows us the strength of our communities, no matter what they look like. It shows us that those communities can give us the power to overcome any kind of obstacles. And it also tells a compelling story of poverty and devastation, but also of hope and love in the midst of some great challenges.
So there are so many important lessons to learn in that little 93 minutes. That’s the other cool thing — that a director and a set of writers and producers can say so much in just 93 minutes. And it doesn’t always happen in a movie, quite frankly, but this one did it, and that’s why I love this movie so much and why our team wanted to bring it here to the White House and share it with all of you.
Interactive Film Workshop for Students: Beasts of the Southern Wild
Published on Feb 13, 2013
First Lady Michelle Obama welcomes 80 middle and high school students from the DC area and New Orleans to take part in an interactive student workshop with the cast and crew of the film Beasts of the Southern Wild.
By Megan Slack February 13, 2013
Today, Alan Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, answered questions from the public about President Obama’s State of the Union Address in an “Open for Questions” session moderated by Yahoo! Finance. Check it out below.
Open for Questions: The State of the Union and the Economy
Published on Feb 13, 2013
In a virtual Q&A live from the White House, Alan Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, answers questions submitted by citizens via Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. about the President’s plan to create jobs and strengthen the economy.
Watch President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address and share your Citizen Response.
By Michael Daniel February 13, 2013
The Nation increasingly relies on the Internet to run the systems that light our houses, provide gas for our cars, and ensure our water is safe to drink. Collectively, these diverse systems represent our cyber critical infrastructure. Linking our critical infrastructure to the Internet brings considerable benefits, but our daily reliance on this critical infrastructure means that we are vulnerable to disruptions in our ability to use it. Unfortunately, the threats against our cyber critical infrastructure are numerous, ranging from sophisticated nation states to common criminals.
The government’s senior-most civilian, military, and intelligence professionals all agree that inadequate cyber security within this critical infrastructure poses a grave threat to the security of the United States. Most recently, we have seen an increased interest in targeting public and private critical infrastructure systems by actors who seek to threaten our national and economic security. Along with dissuading their actions, we must better protect the critical systems that support our way of life.
Because of the importance of our cyber critical infrastructure, and the seriousness of the threats, the President issued an Executive Order yesterday directing federal departments and agencies to use their existing authorities to provide better cyber security for the Nation. These efforts will by necessity involve increased collaboration with the private sector and a whole-of-government approach.
In developing the order, the Administration sought input from stakeholders of all viewpoints in industry, the public sector, the legislative branch, and the advocacy community. Their input has been vital in crafting an order that incorporates the best ideas and lessons learned from industry experience, legislative efforts, and successful federal efforts. Over the course of the past six months, we hosted over 30 organizations, representing all 18 critical infrastructure sectors, and heard from over 200 companies directly. We also met with trade associations representing an additional 6,000 companies, over $7 trillion in annual economic activity, and over 15 million employees to discuss their concerns and ideas for solutions. As a result of our outreach, numerous stakeholders responded positively to the Executive Order.
The Executive Order: Improving security for our cyber critical infrastructure presents a set of complex issues. The Executive Order addresses the three areas that are necessary to address the problem holistically: information sharing, a flexible risk-based Framework of core practices based on existing standards, and privacy protections. (For more details, see our Fact Sheet on the Executive Order.)
Information Sharing. It is a national priority to efficiently, effectively, and appropriately increase the volume, timeliness, and quality of cyber threat information shared with authorized individuals and companies. One of the primary efforts of the Executive Order is to better enable information sharing on cyber threats between the private sector and all levels of government. The Executive Order fosters improved public-private sharing in three important ways.
First, it expands the Department of Homeland Security’s Enhanced Cyber security Services program to provide near real-time sharing of information on cyber threats with critical infrastructure companies and state and local governments.
Second, it directs federal agencies to provide timely notification to companies if we have information indicating that a company is the target or victim of a cyber intrusion. Finally, the Executive Order directs DHS to expedite the processing of clearances for appropriate state and local government and private sector personnel to enable the federal government to efficiently share cyber threat information at the sensitive and classified level.
Cybersecurity Framework: The Executive Order directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to lead the development of a framework to reduce cyber risks to critical infrastructure. NIST will work with industry to identify existing voluntary consensus standards and industry best practices to incorporate into the framework.
The Administration recognizes that there are private-sector cyber leaders in our critical infrastructure sectors who are already implementing strong cyber security controls, policies, and procedures. Rather than burdening such organizations with more to do, the Executive Order puts these innovators at the core of informing and driving the development of voluntary best practices for the framework. In this way, we can distill common cyber security practices from the experts that know them best and leverage them to improve the security of the Nation’s critical infrastructure.
The framework does not dictate “one-size fits all” technological solutions. Instead, it promotes a collaborative approach to encourage innovation and recognize the differing needs among critical infrastructure sectors. Organizations who want to upgrade their cyber security will have the flexibility to decide how best to do so using a wide range of innovative products and services available in the marketplace.
Privacy and Civil Liberties Protections: The Executive Order reflects the Administration’s deep commitment to ensuring that processes for sharing cyber threat and incident information between the federal government, state, and local government, and private companies incorporates rigorous protections for individual privacy and civil liberties. Accordingly, the Executive Order directs departments and agencies to incorporate privacy and civil liberties protections into cyber security activities based upon widely-accepted Fair Information Practice Principles, and other applicable privacy and civil liberties frameworks and polices. The Executive Order also requires regular privacy assessments and public reporting of any privacy and civil liberties impacts.
More Action is Needed: This Executive Order represents an important step in improving cybersecurity protections for our critical infrastructure, and reflects recommendations from many different groups, including the bi-partisan Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency and the Recommendations of the House Republican Cyber security Task Force. However, more is needed. Executive action alone cannot create the new tools and authorities needed to meet the Nation’s collective cyber security challenges. The Administration continues to urge Congress to pass legislation to more fully address our Nation’s cyber security needs.
For decades, industry and all levels of government have worked together to protect the physical security of critical assets that reside in private hands – from airports and seaports to national broadcast systems and nuclear power plants. Similarly, we must now work in partnership to protect the cyber critical infrastructure systems upon which so much of our economic well-being, national security, and daily lives depend.
As we have made clear, industry has a significant role to play as well. As a first step, I would urge Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) to ask their team these five questions and ensure that they are satisfied with the answers. Additionally, I ask that industry, academia, the advocacy community, and all who are interested, participate in the NIST process to develop the Cyber security Framework. Visit NIST’s website to view NIST’s request for information (RFI) and find out how to participate.
As the President’s Cyber security Coordinator, I look forward to engaging all stakeholders in this important national mission.
Michael Daniel is Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator.
President Obama Speaks on the Economy
Published on Feb 13, 2013
President Obama highlights the manufacturing policies unveiled last night in the State of the Union Address.
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
Remarks by the President on Manufacturing — Asheville, NC
Asheville, North Carolina
12:10 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! (Applause.) Hello, North Carolina! (Applause.) It is good to be back. I love coming to Asheville. (Applause.) Love coming to Asheville. Michelle and I always talk about how after this whole presidency thing, we’re looking for a little spot to — (applause) –
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Come on down.
THE PRESIDENT: Come on down? (Applause.) Play a little golf, do a little hiking, fishing, barbecue. There are two things that keep bringing me back here. Number one is I really like the people. And number two is 12 Bones, which I will be stopping on the way back to the airport. (Laughter and applause.)
Now, I want to start off by thanking Stratton for the wonderful introduction. And what made it wonderful was not only did he do a great job, but it was really brief. (Laughter.) And I also want to thank Frank and Jim and everybody at Linamar for hosting us and giving me this terrific tour of the plant.
I want to point out two elected officials who are with us here today –- first of all, your Mayor, Terry Bellamy. (Applause.) Where is Mayor Bellamy? There she is. Good to see you. Plus, you got a wonderful mayor. I like that in you, too. And also, Congressman Mel Watt is here. So give Congressman Watt a big round of applause. (Applause.)
So last night, I delivered the State of the Union Address. (Applause.) And I talked about steps we can take right now to strengthen our recovery, but also to build up our middle class. And I said that while we’re seeing some signs of solid progress — car sales are up, housing is starting to recover — we’re still a ways away from where we need to be. There are still too many Americans who are out there every day. They’re pounding the pavement. They’re looking for work. You guys probably know friends or family members who are still pretty strapped, having a difficult time. And while it’s true that corporate profits have rocketed to an all-time high, it’s also true that for more than a decade now, wages and incomes haven’t gone up at all just about.
So we’ve got a lot of work to do. And our job — and this is a job for everybody; it’s not a Democratic thing or a Republican thing. Our job as Americans is to restore that basic bargain that says if you work hard, if you’re willing to meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead. You can get ahead. (Applause.) It doesn’t matter what you look like. It doesn’t matter where you come from. That’s what we should be focused on: How do we make sure that people who are willing to work hard can make a decent living and look after their family?
Because the true engine of America’s economic growth has always been our middle class. Now, there are a lot of countries that have folks at the top who are doing real well, and a bunch of folks at the bottom, but part of what set America apart was ordinary folks, if they worked hard, they could do well. Our middle class when it’s growing, when it’s thriving, when there are ladders of opportunity for people to do a little bit better each year and then make sure that their kids are doing even better than them — that’s the American Dream. That’s what we got to fight for. That has to be the North Star that guides everything we do.
And as I said last night, we should be asking ourselves three questions every single day. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in North Carolina or Texas or California or Oregon. It doesn’t matter. Wherever we are, three things we should be asking. Number one — how do we bring more jobs to America? Number two — how do we equip people with the skills they need to do those jobs? And number three — how do we make sure that once they have a job, it leads to a decent living?
I believe we reward effort and determination with wages that allow working families to raise their kids and get ahead. (Applause.) And that’s part of the reason why I said last night that it’s time for an increase in the minimum wage, because if you work full-time, you shouldn’t be in poverty. (Applause.)
I also believe we provide our people skills and training by investing in education, and that has to start early. It has to start early. So I talked about making sure that kids are getting an early childhood education, making sure that our high schools are preparing our children for a high-tech economy, and making sure that colleges are affordable and accessible to every single American. (Applause.)
And I believe we attract new jobs to America by investing in new sources of energy and new infrastructure and the next generation of high-wage, high-tech American manufacturing. I believe in manufacturing. I think it makes our country stronger. (Applause.)
So that’s what we can do together. And that’s why I wanted to come down here to Asheville, because there’s a good story to tell here. I know that a few years ago, manufacturing comebacks in North Carolina, a manufacturing comeback in Asheville may not have seemed real likely, because Volvo had just left town. This plant had gone dark — 228 jobs had vanished. And that was a big blow for this area, because part of what happens is when those manufacturing jobs go away, then suddenly the restaurant has fewer customers, and suppliers for the plant start withering. And it’s hard for everybody. It has a ripple effect.
But then local officials started reaching out to companies, offering new incentives to take over this plant. Some of the workers who got laid off, like Stratton, went back to school and they learned new skills. And then, a year later, Linamar showed up. They were looking for a place to build some big parts. And these parts are big, I got to say — (laughter) — hubs and wheels and anchors for 400-ton mining trucks. And while they could have gone any place in the world, they saw this incredible potential right here in Asheville. They saw the most promise in this workforce, so they chose to invest in Asheville, in North Carolina, in the United States of America. (Applause.)
So to date, Linamar has hired 160 workers. It will be 200 by the end of the year, and it’s just going to keep on going after that. (Applause.) So the folks at Linamar said, they came to Asheville to grow their business. They came here to stay and put down some roots.
And the good news is what’s happening here is happening all around the country. Because just as it’s becoming more and more expensive to do business in places like China, America is getting more competitive and more productive.
After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have now added about 500,000 jobs over the past three years. (Applause.) And I mentioned this last night — Caterpillar, which I know you guys supply, they’re bringing jobs back from Japan. Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico. After placing plants in other countries like China, Intel is opening its most advanced plant here in the United States. Apple is starting to make Macs in America again. (Applause.)
So we’re seeing this trend of what we call in-sourcing not just outsourcing. And the reason is because America has got outstanding workers. We’re starting to produce more homegrown energy, which is driving down our energy costs. And, obviously, we’ve still got the biggest market in the world. And if we try to improve our infrastructure a little bit more, then we’re going to be even that much more competitive.
Now, I want to be honest with you. We’re not going to bring back every job that’s been lost to outsourcing and automation over the last decade. I was talking to some of the guys who were showing me their facilities who had been in manufacturing for 20 years, and they explained how things had changed. It used to be you had to — you wanted to do the kind of stuff you guys are doing here — everything was done manually. Now you’ve got a computer and you’re punching in stuff. So it’s changed, and that means that you can just produce a lot more with fewer people.
But there are things we can do right now to accelerate the resurgence of American manufacturing.
Number one — we can create more centers for high-tech manufacturing in America. Last year, my administration created our first manufacturing innovation institute. We put it in Youngstown, Ohio, which had been really hard-hit when manufacturing started going overseas. And so you have a once-shuttered warehouse — it’s now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering what’s called 3-D printing, which has the potential to revolutionize the way we make everything. That’s the future. And there’s no reason that those same kinds of projects can’t take root in other cities and towns.
So last night, I announced the launch of three more institutes. And I’m calling on Congress to help us set up 15 institutes –- global centers of high-tech jobs and advanced manufacturing around the country. (Applause.)
The second thing we need to do is make our tax code more competitive. Right now, companies get all kinds of tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas, but companies that stay here get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. That doesn’t make any sense. So what I’m proposing is that we reform our tax code, stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, reward companies that are creating jobs right here in the United States of America. That makes sense. (Applause.)
Number three — if you’re a manufacturing town, especially one that’s taken a hit — that’s seen a company close up shop or a plant shut down — I want to partner with local leaders to help you attract new investment. Because once that investment starts coming in, things can start turning around. And that means infrastructure gets modernized and research facilities get built, and suddenly a community that was knocked down is getting back up, and they’re attracting new manufacturers who want to come and expand and hire.
So I want us to focus on — if a place like — when Asheville lost the Volvo plant, we’ve got to come in here real quick and help them figure out, all right, what is it that we need to attract a new employer.
Number four — we’ve got to help our workers get the training to compete for the industries of tomorrow. At least a couple of the guys that I had a chance to meet as we were taking the tour told me they were out of work for a year — in one case, two years — in part because we kept unemployment insurance in place so folks could get back on their feet, they were able to go back to school, and now are gainfully employed. No job in America should go unfilled because somebody doesn’t have the right skills to get that job — nobody. (Applause.)
So if there is a job open, we should train those folks right away, so that they can do the job. And that’s why I’m proposing a national goal of training 2 million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job. And we know this works. After Linamar came to town, they started working with AB-Tech, one of the community colleges here in Asheville. (Applause.) And AB-Tech and Linamar worked together to do something that is really smart. Rather than have kids just — or in some cases not kids, older workers — show up and they’re taking a bunch of classes but they don’t know how this is directly going to lead to a job, what you do is you customize the class to train people so they can come and work at the plant and they’re getting experience that’s directly applicable to what’s being done here at the job. (Applause.)
That’s good for the community. It’s good for Linamar, because they’re getting workers who they know can do the job. It’s good for the folks who are going to the community college, because they know if they work hard and they do well in the class there’s a job waiting for them. It’s good for the economy as a whole.
So those are four common-sense steps that we can take right now to strengthen manufacturing in America. There’s no magic bullet here. It’s just some common-sense stuff. People still have to work hard. Companies like Linamar still have to make good products. But the point is, is that if we can just do a few things, then over time what happens is we start rebuilding our manufacturing base in a way that strengthens our economy as a whole.
Now, I’m doing what I can just through administrative action, but I need Congress to help. I need Congress to do their part. (Applause.) I need Congress to take up these initiatives, because we’ve come too far and we’ve worked too hard to turn back now.
And you think about all that this city and all of you have been through over the last few years. Think about folks like Jeff Brower. Now, Jeff was in the trucking industry for over a decade. Two years ago, he got laid off. He lost his job as a diesel mechanic. That’s a tough thing to go through, even though Jeff is a pretty tough guy. But he bounced back. He decided it was time for him to change careers. He decided it was time to get some new skills. He went to AB-Technology, took a class in automated machining. A few months ago, Jeff got his diploma. He graduated on a Wednesday, interviewed at this plant on Thursday. By Friday, he was working as a machine operator. (Applause.)
Where’s Jeff? There he is, right here. (Applause.) Now, obviously, Jeff is pretty good at interviews — (laughter) — because he just got hired like that. I hope he can give me some advice. (Laughter.)
But here’s the thing. The reason Jeff did all that — obviously, a lot of it was to support himself and his family — but it wasn’t just to punch a clock at a new plant or pick up a paycheck from a new company. It was to make sure he could have a better future for his family and for his community and his country. Jeff said, “Getting my foot in the door has opened my eyes to bigger horizons. And I want to keep on going.” I want to keep on going. (Applause.)
So that’s our story. That’s the American story. We don’t give up. We get up. We innovate. We adapt. We learn new skills. We keep going. And I just want everybody here to know at this plant, but everybody in Asheville, everybody in North Carolina and everybody all across the country — I want you to know as long as you’re out here fighting every day to better your lives and to better the lives of your children, then I’ll be back in Washington fighting for you. (Applause.) I will be back there fighting for you — because there’s nothing we can’t do and no possibilities we can’t reach when we’re working together. We just have to work together.
And we’ve got to stop with some of the politics that we see in Washington, sometimes that’s focused on who’s up and who’s down. Let’s just focus on the same kind of common sense and cooperation that we’re seeing at this plant and we see all across the country.
So thank you, everybody. God bless you. God bless America. Thank you.
12:30 P.M. EST
Statements and Releases
Statement from United States President Barack Obama, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso
This image provided by Vogue shows former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., left, with her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, during a photo shoot at their home in Tucson, Ariz. The image and accompanying article by John Powers will be published in the March 2013 issue of Vogue. From Boston.com.
Today has been exactly 62 days since December 14th, 2012. Sandy Hook Elementary School. Newtown, Connecticut.