Barack After Dark™: State of the Union with Cody Keenan. Call to Action to End Rape and Sexual Assault.


By Jueseppi B.





Cody Keenan
January 22, 2014
05:01 PM EST


In less than a week, President Obama will deliver his fifth State of the Union address from the Capitol. I’m the President’s chief speechwriter and today I’ll be taking over the White House Instagram account to give you a look inside the process. I hope you’ll follow along.


A Day in the Life: Inside the State of the Union with Cody Keenan


President Obama’s Chief Speechwriter Cody Keenan takes over the White House Instagram account to give you a look inside the process.


A new draft for POTUS to review tonight. Thanks for following along - check out to watch it live next Tuesday. #InsideSOTU -Cody

A new draft for POTUS to review tonight. Thanks for following along – check out to watch it live next Tuesday. #InsideSOTU -Cody

This is one of our speechwriters, Laura, calling someone who sent President Obama a letter to ask if the President could share their story. #InsideSOTU

This is one of our speechwriters, Laura, calling someone who sent President Obama a letter to ask if the President could share their story. #InsideSOTU

Hey, everybody. I'm Cody Keenan, the President's Chief Speechwriter, and today I'm taking over the @WhiteHouse Instagram account to give you a look inside the State of the Union. I hope you'll follow along. #InsideSOTU

Hey, everybody. I’m Cody Keenan, the President’s Chief Speechwriter, and today I’m taking over the @WhiteHouse Instagram account to give you a look inside the State of the Union. I hope you’ll follow along. #InsideSOTU


Want to get involved in this year’s State of the Union?



Cody Keenan is Assistant to the President and Director of Speechwriting


Related Topics: State of the Union


Get Ready: President Obama’s 2014 State Of The Union Address On January 28 At 9 PM ET/8 PM CT.




President Barack Hussein Obama signs a memorandum creating a task force to respond to campus rapes during an event for the Council on Women and Girls

President Barack Hussein Obama signs a memorandum creating a task force to respond to campus rapes during an event for the Council on Women and Girls


Valerie Jarrett
Valerie Jarrett

January 22, 2014
07:55 PM EST


As part of an unprecedented national effort to address alarming rates of sexual assault on college campuses, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum today to establish the “White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.” The taskforce will be charged with sharing best practices, and increasing transparency, enforcement, public awareness, and interagency coordination to prevent violence and support survivors. The creation of this Task Force builds upon the President’s 2010 call to action, which urged the federal government to support survivors and aggressively take action against sexual assault.


The statistics around sexual assault in this country are nothing short of jarring. A report just released by the White House Council on Women and Girls entitled, “Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action” reveals that nearly 1 in 5 women, and 1 in 71 men have experienced rape or attempted rape in their lifetimes. These statistics are stunning, but still can’t begin to capture the emotional and psychological scars that survivors often carry for life, or the courage needed to recover.


Today’s report states that students experience some of the highest rates of sexual assault. This violence, and the stress, fear, and mental health challenges that often follow, combine to increase dropout rates and limit opportunities for success in college for women and girls. The Administration is committed to investing in women’s education, training, and full inclusion in the workforce, and the President strongly believes that combatting sexual assault is vital to that effort.




The President and Vice President Speak on Preventing Sexual Assault

January 22, 2014 | 17:31 |Public Domain


President Obama says that as a government, and as a nation, we have the capacity to stop sexual assault, support those who have survived it, and bring perpetrators to justice.




It’s important that we keep the faces, and life-stories of our women and girls in mind as we continue this work. My office was recently connected with a young woman named Lauren who had personally experienced an attack, and who began to speak out last year in hopes that she may help more women deal with the pain, and complex layers of grief that afflict millions of women in this country every year.


Lauren was raped during her sophomore year in college, by someone she knew and trusted. This is the case more often than not. The trauma of her attack was debilitating on several levels, but as she put it, it was her inability to tell anyone was caused the most harm. She worried it was her fault. Had she drank too much? Did she lead him on? Did he not hear her say “no?” Was it no one’s fault at all, because he had been drinking too?


Lauren put on a brave face to make her way to classes, to work, and across campus, day in and day out, but her heart ache was profound. She felt unsafe, unclean, and consumed by unrelenting feelings of guilt, shame, and anger. For six months, Lauren bore that pain in her heart, and retreating from the world; crying through most nights, and skipping most meals. She couldn’t eat, she struggled to interact with her friends and loved ones, she felt perpetually on the verge of tears, and at times couldn’t find the strength to get out of bed for days at a time.


With time, and eventually, the aide of a psychiatrist, and friends and family who she felt comfortable sharing her story with, Lauren began to find her way back. Every survivor’s story, and the challenges they face is unique, but ‘unique’ in this case, unfortunately does not mean rare. Lauren’s story is the story of millions of women, and one that we must never forget. In the years since, she has used her voice and her writing to raise awareness and advocate for other survivors. She is doing everything in her power to make sure that women know that what happened to her is wrong and inexcusable. It is deserved by no one. And it is her right to tell her story without shame or fear. Lauren is not alone, and we should all join in her in making sure that no one facing this kind of pain ever feels that they are.


We all have roles to play in preventing experiences like these. Through better education and awareness training for our young women. Through the improved mentor-ship and socialization of our boys and young men. Through the empowerment of bystanders to recognize dangerous situations and to speak up.Through improved survivor support services, and more victim-centered incident intake and justice response policies on our campuses.


President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, delivers remarks during a White House Council on Women and Girls meeting in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 22, 2014.President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, delivers remarks during a White House Council on Women and Girls meeting in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 22, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)


The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault builds on federal efforts already underway which seek to break devastating cycles of violence on campuses, and around the country. For example:


  • In 2012, the federal government issued a revised definition of rape that includes rapes of men, and which better reflects the realities of sexual assault. This new definition will improve our understanding of where and how often this crime occurs.
  • In 2011, the Department of Education and Vice President Joe Biden announced historic guidance to help schools understand their obligations to prevent and respond to campus sexual assault, as well as increase federal compliance and enforcement actions.
  • President Obama signed a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in March 2013. The revised legislation includes protections for LGBT, Native American, and immigrant victims that experience some of the highest rates of violence. VAWA also funds specialized training for law enforcement and prosecutors. In order to support survivors in the healthcare system, the legislation increases funding for specially trained sexual assault nurse examiners.


Both the President, and all of us on the Council on Women and Girls are committed to ending sexual assault and supporting survivors by improving school responses to violence, bettering criminal justice responses to survivors, and committing vital resources where it will do the most good. The Administration will also work empower both women and men to stand up against sexual assault, in order to change a culture of passivity and tolerance in this country, which too often allows this type of violence to persist.


We can and must change our nation’s attitudes toward these devastating crimes, and we all have a role to play in preventing violence, and supporting the millions of survivors across the country as they seek to rebuild their lives. The President has renewed his call to action to bring an end to sexual assault, and his entire team is eager to partner across government education, academia, and communities everywhere to ensure that our women and girls feel safe, secure, and in position to thrive when they head to school, and out into the world.


Remarks by the President and Vice President at an Event for the Council on Women and Girls














President Obama Meets with the Presidential Commission on Election Administration




January 22, 2014 | 3:46 |Public Domain


President Obama meets with members of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, which was created following the President’s 2013 State of the Union pledge to identify non-partisan ways to shorten lines at polling places, promote the efficient conduct of elections, and provide better access to the polls for all voters. There will be a pool spray at the top of the meeting.




Remarks by the President Before Meeting with the Presidential Commission on Election Administration


Roosevelt Room


10:53 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  Glad you guys made it to work.




I just want to say thank you publicly to all the wonderful people here who served on the Presidential Commission on Election Administration.  I think all of us recall that in the last election in 2012, we had reports around the country of tremendously long lines for people when they tried to vote, and in some cases for hours they were stuck.  The day of the election I said that we’re going to need to do something about it.


I think all of us share the belief that, regardless of party affiliation, that our democracy demands that our citizens can participate in a smooth and effective way.  And I called on Congress to work with us, but I also thought that it was important for us to have a bipartisan, independent panel that could actually dig into the facts and try to determine what can we do to improve this situation.


And unlike a lot of countries, we’ve got a pretty complex system.  We vote a lot.  We have local jurisdictions that run these elections and it makes things a little bit more complicated.  But I was confident that if we put some good minds to work, they could come up with some recommendations.  As a consequence, we set up this commission.


I asked my top attorney during my election campaign, Bob Bauer, to join with Mitt Romney’s top attorney in 2012, Ben Ginsberg, to co-chair this commission.  I think it’s fair to say that they may have voted for different candidates in 2012 — (laughter) — but what they shared was a reputation for integrity, for smarts, and a commitment to making sure that our democracy works the way it’s supposed to.





And they have now, working with the rest of this commission, put together an outstanding series of recommendations with an important goal, which is that no American should have to wait more than half an hour to vote.  And they should know they should be confident that their vote is being properly counted and is secure.  A lot of the recommendations they’ve made are common sense; they are ones that can be embraced by all of us.  Importantly, my understanding is a lot of the commission recommendations are directed not simply to Congress or the federal government, but rather to the state and local jurisdictions who are largely responsible for our elections.


And so we intend to publicize this and to then reach out to stakeholders all across the country to make sure that we can implement this, in part because one of the troubling aspects of the work that they did was hearing from local officials indicating that we could have even more problems in the future if we don’t act now.  The good news is, is that the recommendations that are contained in this commission report are eminently glittering.






So I just want to publicly, again, thank both Bob and Ben for taking on this largely thankless job.  And I want to thank all of you for being so diligent and maintaining a sense of urgency, producing an outstanding report in a relatively short period of time.


So thank you very much, everybody.

10:57 A.M. EST





Press Briefing

January 22, 2014 | 53:26 |Public Domain


White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.






Statements and Releases January 22, 2014


Statement by the President on Roe v. Wade Anniversary


Today, as we reflect on the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, we recommit ourselves to the decision’s guiding principle: that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health.  We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom.  And we resolve to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and continue to build safe and healthy communities for all our children.  Because this is a country where everyone deserves the same freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams.













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Wendy Davis’ Ex-Husband Admirably Refuses To Play GOP’s Gotcha Game

Originally posted on The Fifth Column:


Wendy Davis – Texas State Senator

Good for him…


On Tuesday, Jeff Davis declined CNN’s request to appear in an on-camera interview regarding Wendy Davis’ personal life story. Instead, he gave them an email response stating that he feels that Wendy Davis “would make a very capable governor.” This was not only an instance of Mr. Davis showing the utmost respect for his ex-wife and her current situation, but also his refusal to play the media ‘gotcha’ game that the GOP was hoping for. He is not allowing himself to get caught up in a non-story that is only out there in an attempt to bring down a person that scares the crap out of the Republican Party and Texas conservatives.

This all stems from supposed ‘discrepancies’ in Wendy Davis’ past comments about her life. Basically, Republicans are trying to discredit her story that she went from being a…

View original 569 more words

Caesared Brussel Sprouts – “A Salad For Each Week” #17

Originally posted on Whole to the Core Blog:


I love my mom’s Caesar salad dressing and have been making a lot of it lately since my girls love it too. But it doesn’t just go well with crisp romaine- it goes great on roasted brussel sprouts! I tossed the sprouts in the caesar dressing and roasted them at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Warm, slightly sweet, and garlicky all at the same time- yummy!

Caesar Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 inches of anchovy paste

  • 2-3 cloves of garlic

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • Fresh grated Parmesan

On a cutting board, place the anchovy paste, dry mustard, and pepper in a pile. Put the garlic cloves onto them and begin to mince and mash together until it resembles a chunky paste. Pour the oil and Worcestershire sauce into a glass jar with a lid (I like to use my…

View original 146 more words

This Kind Man Took Poverty-Stricken Children to McD With His First Salary.

Originally posted on Kindness Blog:

"This guy took some poverty-stricken children to McD with his first salary. Salute!"

Read what happened…

After completing my post graduation and certifying it with a job ( for my relatives) my mother asked me to donate some part of my 1st salary in some temple nearby where I was staying (Indian Tradition).

Well for me there is only one God.
Its definition according to me is some supreme power responsible for sustaining everything on this beautiful planet and that power is everywhere around you. Hence, I never believed in visiting temples and for that matter spending a single penny on them (with no disrespect to anyone’s religious sentiments).

I thought of many things but this was the only feasible option that came to my mind.
I gathered all the poor kids (around 14-15) around a famous mall in Hasratganj, Lucknow, India. And took them to McDonalds.

The entire happenings of that day:

The Mall

As, we were entering the mall the security…

View original 566 more words

8-Year-Old Tyler J. Doohan Dies Rescuing 6 Relatives From Trailer Fire, Dies Trying To Save The 7th Relative.


By Jueseppi B.





From The Democrat & Chronicle


Chief: Boy ‘saved those other 6 people’




Tyler J. Doohan knew he didn’t have school Monday morning because of the holiday, and asked his mother if it would be OK if he stayed at his grandfather’s trailer at the East Avenue Manufactured Home Community off Route 441 in Penfield.


It was a place Tyler knew well. He stayed there frequently, playing with other kids in the neighborhood and having barbecues and bonfires with his family in the summer.


It was in the back bedroom of that small, single-wide trailer at 39 Fondiller Ave. that firefighters found Tyler’s body Monday morning, just a few feet away from the bed of his disabled Uncle Steve, who investigators believe Tyler was trying to save.


Firefighters say Tyler, an 8-year-old who seemingly spent much of his young life in different homes and school districts, was killed along with his grandfather, Louis J. Beach, 57, and Steven D. Smith, 54, in a fire that appears to have been caused by an electrical problem at the front of the trailer.


And as Penfield firefighters — working their third trailer fire in a little more than a year — sorted through the rubble of melted toys and furniture charred beyond recognition, neighbors discussed the number of people who’d taken up residence in a metal home which they say had been deemed unlivable more than once.


“The roof had collapsed on the front half of the trailer and one of the individuals was found there, probably on a couch but there was nothing left to even see if it was furniture,” said Penfield Fire Chief Chris Ebmeyer.


“In the rear, there was a bedroom and the other deceased male was found in a bed. The child was a few feet way.”



8 year old boy saves 6 in blaze before dying while trying to save another


Published on Jan 22, 2014

An 8-year-old boy was killed in a mobile-home fire in upstate New York early Monday while attempting to rescue a disabled relative inside.


‘Too many people’

Ebmeyer said the fire started about 4:45 a.m. and spread quickly as the trailer’s nine occupants slept. It’s unknown whether there was a working fire alarm in the home.


Tyler was able to wake six people — including two other children, ages 4 and 6 — who all escaped. It was when Tyler tried to help Smith, who uses a wheelchair and crutches because he was without part of a leg, that he was killed.


The relatives who escaped the fire, who neighbors said included Tyler’s grandmother, aunt and cousins, were taken to Strong Memorial Hospital with injuries that were not considered life threatening. One woman suffered second-degree burns as she helped others from the burning trailer, Ebmeyer said.


Ebmeyer said the casualties of the fire could have been much worse if not for Tyler’s actions, given the fact that so many people were staying in the home.


“He saved those other six people,” he said, adding that he was unaware of the sleeping arrangements of the nine people in the trailer.


A dozen neighbors expressed a similar concern as they moved about the trailer community Monday morning, many still dressed in pajamas, drinking coffee and trying to find out what happened.


Some said they had been told by Beach family members and officials of Morgan Management, which owns the park, that the trailer had been deemed unlivable on at least one occasion (Beach had to replace the roof and the windows of the trailer within the past year) and that Louis Beach had been told there were too many people living on the, whose son, Dillinger, would occasionally play with Tyler in the summer, and who at times grew concerned enough about the number of people living in the trailer to consider calling county officials.


“There was too many people, where would you put all those people?” said neighbor Michelle Brosseau, whose son, Dillinger, would occasionally play with Tyler in the summer, and who at times grew concerned enough about the number of people living in the trailer to consider calling county officials.


“Now, maybe, I wish I had called,” she said.


Darren Button, community manager of East Avenue, did not return a call for comment.


Ebmeyer said there are no occupancy restrictions governing trailers, and few fire regulations on trailers if they are privately owned.


“If it were a rental or an apartment building or a rented house it would be under the guise of the Fire Marshal’s Office regarding occupancy and inspections, but you can have 50 people living in your house, there’s no limit,” Ebmeyer said.


Regarding fire inspections: “People own these, some of them are rented by the park, this one was owned,” Ebmeyer said. “It’s the same as if you own your home. I’m sure at the factory they were inspected, but after that, it’s on the individual to maintain the trailer just as it is on the homeowner to maintain their home.”



‘Busy for trailer fires’

There are roughly 2,150 manufactured homes in Monroe County, according to the most recent available data from the U.S. Census Bureau.


One of the county’s largest manufactured home communities is East Avenue, where the fatal fire occurred. That community, located north of Linden Avenue, is owned by Morgan Management of Perinton. It has about 220 lots, according to a map on the company’s website.


Morgan Management also owns 125-lot Forest Lawn, located off Linden Avenue a half-mile west of the East Avenue community.


Separating the two is an even larger mobile-home community owned by Harper Homes.


Ebmeyer said the Penfield fire district has had an unusually high number of problems with trailer fires lately..


“We’ve had three working fully involved trailer fires in the last 13 months. It’s been kind of busy for trailer fires for us in Penfield,” he said. “I don’t know why because we’ve gone many years without one. We used to have fires back, early on, maybe 15 to 20 years ago.”

The causes of those fires have all been accidental, he said.


Once a trailer catches fire, the damage is often “immense,” he said.


“Trailers are constructed in a manner that keeps them light, very poorly insulated,” he said. “Very few windows, small windows if there are windows. All the utilities are contained inside the trailer, there are no basements.


“It’s essentially a metal box with flammable material inside and once it gets hot enough it will all ignite; and once it gets started it burns quickly.”

‘Bravely and selflessly’


Part of the reason there were so many people living in the home was because longtime resident Beach opened up his trailer to family members who needed a place to stay.


Tara DiMartino, a neighbor and family friend, said Beach’s granddaughter, Connie, was one of the people in the home who was able to escape the fire. She and her boyfriend and their three children had been staying in the trailer temporarily while they “got back on their feet.”


“They were trying to look for another place,” said DiMartino, who knew Beach as “Grandpa” and Smith as “Uncle Steve.”


Barbara Coffin, who has lived in the mobile home park for six years, described Beach as a nice man who helped people out all the time by clearing their driveways of snow or other home projects, despite health problems with his heart, back and hips.


“He’d go by and always talk to you and always help out people around here,” she said. “He was a really nice guy, he just had too many people in there.”


Neighbors described Tyler as an energetic and sometimes mischievous boy who liked to play kickball and tag.


“Tyler was always outside playing around, getting into things,” said DiMartino. “He was only there on occasion. During the summer there was always a lot of cookouts and bonfires and he was over there.”


According to information from school officials from three different districts, Tyler’s young education was replete with stops and starts.


For much of his time between kindergarten and second grade, Tyler was a student at Indian Landing School in the Penfield Central School District, according to a news release.


“A current Indian Landing student was also home at the time of the fire, but managed to escape and is expected to be OK,” Superintendent Stephen Grimm said. Counselors will be available at the school in 2010 at School 22 in northeast Rochester before leaving the district.


City School District spokesman Chip Partner said Tyler spent a few months of his first-grade year in 2010 at School 22 in northeast Rochester before leaving the district.


He enrolled in the city again in March of 2012 in second grade and attended School 43 on Lyell Avenue until May 2013, leaving before the school year ended, Partner said.


Tyler was currently enrolled as a fourth-grader in the East Rochester Central School District where officials on Monday called him a “hero” and said principals, psychologists, and other support staff were contacting the families of his classmates. Counseling and support will be available to all students and staff Tuesday.


“With great sadness, the East Rochester School District confirms one of the three victims of an early-morning fire in Penfield was a fourth-grade boy at our school,” reads a news release from interim Superintendent Richard Stutzman Jr.


“It is extremely important to remember that according to emergency personnel, (Tyler) was the person who discovered the fire and tried to wake the eight other people in the residence at the time. In bravely and selflessly giving his own life, he was able to save the lives of six others — and he is truly a hero.”










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