Barack After Dark™: White House Cheese. Raise The Minimum Wage. State of the Union Pete Souza.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Erin Lindsay
Erin Lindsay

January 24, 2014
05:33 PM EST
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President Obama has always been dedicated to the idea that the White House is truly “The People’s House” and has worked to make 1600 Pennsylvania and his administration open and accessible.

 

Big Block of Cheese Day: Virtual Edition

 

Published on Jan 24, 2014

On Wednesday, January 29th, with a nod to history (and maybe the TV show the West Wing), the Obama Administration is hosting the first-ever virtual “Big Block of Cheese Day,” during which dozens of White House officials will take to social media for a day long ‘open house’ to answers questions from everyday Americans in real-time on Twitter,Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and via Google+ Hangout

 

 

 

This isn’t a new idea, the same can be said of President Andrew Jackson. On February 22, 1837, President Jackson hosted an open house featuring a 1,400-pound block of cheese that sat in the main foyer of the White House. This original “Big Block of Cheese Day” opened the doors of the White House to thousands of citizens to interact with cabinet members and White House staff – and carve off a slice of the four foot by two foot thick slab of cheddar.

 

On Wednesday, January 29th, with a nod to history (and maybe the TV show the West Wing), the Obama Administration is hosting the first-ever virtual “Big Block of Cheese Day,” during which dozens of White House officials will take to social media for a day long ‘open house’ to answers questions from everyday Americans in real-time on TwitterFacebookTumblrInstagram and via Google+ Hangout.

 

So be sure to visit WH.gov/SOTU to watch the State of the Union Address live on January 28, 2014 at 9 p.m. ET and stay tuned for a complete schedule of engagement events for virtual “Big Block of Cheese Day.”  You can start asking questions now using the hashtag #AsktheWH.

 

 

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Press Briefing

January 24, 2014 | 59:06 |Public Domain

 

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

 

 

 

Kori Schulman
Kori Schulman

January 24, 2014
07:42 PM EST

 

In just five days, President Obama will deliver his fifth State of the Union address to the nation. Ahead of the speech, Pete Souza, President Obama’s Chief Official Photographer, takes you behind the scenes on Instagram.

 

Take a look inside SOTU below, or over on Storify. Then, be sure to watch the speech live on Tuesday, January 28th at 9 pm ET right here.

 

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

 

 

Related Topics: Inside the White House
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A Day in the Life: Inside the State of the Union

 

A Day in the Life: Inside the State of the Union with Cecilia Muñoz

 

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

 

A Day in the Life: Inside the State of the Union with Valerie Jarrett

 

Join a Virtual Road Trip with President Obama on Google+

 

 

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Secretary Thomas E. Perez
Secretary Thomas E. Perez

January 24, 2014
06:01 PM EST

 

Ed. Note: This blog is cross-posted from the U.S. Department of Labor

 

When I became labor secretary a little over six months ago, I made increasing the minimum wage one of my top priorities. During the time since, I’ve met with hard-working Americans who’ve shared with me their heart wrenching stories about what it’s like to live on the minimum wage, making constant choices between things like paying the rent or putting food on the table.

 

In the wealthiest nation on earth, no one who works a full time job should have to live in poverty. That’s a fundamental value proposition, an article of faith in our country that I know an overwhelming majority of Americans agree on.

 

Today I had the chance to hear from twenty men and women who run businesses, including many who own small businesses. They’ll be directly affected by any increase in the minimum wage. I learned it’s not just workers who support a federal increase; What I heard from these business owners is that raising the wage would help their businesses, too, by putting more money in the pockets of those in their communities. Here’s what a few of them had to say:

 

Charmington’s Cafe in Baltimore, Md.

Amanda Rothschild runs a small café in Baltimore in which she pays her employees just above the current federal minimum wage, and she does so because it’s good for her bottom line. She told me that when you put more money in workers’ pockets, they stay on the job longer which reduces turnover and training costs: “Our training costs would be significantly higher if we paid lower wages and we had the kind of turnover that you typically see in a restaurant.” She also said that she wants to see an increase in the minimum wage so that more people in her community could spend money in her café.

 

Emory Knoll Farms in Street, Md.

John Shepley runs Emory Knoll Farms, a small wholesale nursery in Maryland. He makes a strong economic argument for paying those at the bottom of the income ladder a little bit more: “They’re spending 100-percent of their take-home pay in the local economy. It’s recirculating. They’re spending it on rent, groceries, cars, new tires – all the things you need to live.”

 

Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis, Mo.

Lew Prince runs Vintage Vinyl, a record store in St. Louis and is a survivor in an industry that’s seen a significant downsizing in recent years. He echoed Amanda’s words that increasing the minimum wage would lead to worker retention and a stronger local economy:: “I’m in an industry where 60% of the businesses are closed in the 21st century. If you think about having a relationship with your community and a relationship with your customers, it starts with your relationship to your employees.”

 

These business owners are not alone. A broader coalition and consensus is emerging. Yesterday I was in Silicon Valley where I met with business leaders and employers who aren’t directly paying any of their workers the minimum wage. But even they understand the issues that affect their bottom line. They want to make sure that people have money in their pockets to buy the products they’re making.

 

The take-away from these conversations is simple: When we lift the wage floor, it not only betters the lives of those whose wages are directly affected, it also lifts the economy as a whole.

 

The business leaders I’ve talked to in the last few days shatter the myth that a higher minimum wage hurts the bottom line. They know that our economy is powered by consumer demand, and it will benefit from more money in the pockets of working families who will spend it on goods and services. Better than anyone, business leaders know that leads to business growth and job creation. It’s time Congress acted to #raisethewage.

 

Chicago Raise the Min Wage Rally-thumb-580x365-5724

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Alicia Oken
January 24, 2014
07:05 PM EST
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State of the Union Next Week: Next Tuesday, January 28 is President Obama’s 5th State of the Union address. This year, while the President is speaking at the Capitol, you can view an enhanced version of the speech on WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU, share exclusive graphics and tune in to hear White House official’s reactions immediately following the address.

 

In honor of the upcoming State of the Union address, President Obama’s speechwriter Cody KennanValerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, and Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz  took over the White House Instagram account this week in order to give followers a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the making of the speech.

 

 

Later next week, the President will take part in the first-ever Google+ virtual road trip to discuss the issues and policies he laid out in his speech. Want to be a part of this event? Click hereto find out how you can submit a question to the President.

 

 

Call to Action to End Rape and Sexual Assault: On Wednesday, the President and Vice President spoke on the urgent need for new measures to protect students from sexual assault. Studies show that about one in five women is a survivor of attempted or completed sexual violence while in college. “This is a priority for me not only as President and Commander-in-Chief, but as a husband and a father of two extraordinary girls,” the President said. In order to address these alarming statistics, the President signed a Presidential Memorandum establishing the “White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.”

 

I’ve often said in my travels around the world: You can judge a nation, and how successful it will be, based on how it treats its women and its girls. Those nations that are successful, they’re successful in part because women and girls are valued. And I’m determined that, by that measure, the United States of America will be the global leader.

 

Read the President’s full remarks here.

 

 

The First Lady and Athletes Pile on the Veggies: The First Lady was joined by athletes and local children at a D.C. Subway restaurant on Thursday to announce Subways’ commitment to market healthier choices to kids. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin, and New York Giants player Justin Tuck were on hand to show kids that piling on the veggies doesn’t have to be a tough choice. “I don’t know how many kids are athletes here, or who are dancers, who are movers, who want to do something important with their bodies — what you eat, what you put into it makes a huge difference,” the First Lady said.

 

On Tuesday, Let’s Move! released a PSA of the First Lady and members of the Miami Heat that highlights the importance of eating healthy and drinking water. Make sure to check out how LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Ray Allen eat healthy. If you haven’t already, check out this awesome gif and watch the video.

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Big Block of Cheese Day: Fan of The West Wing? Next Wednesday, January 29th the White House will be hosting “Big Block of Cheese Day” – just like they did in President Jackson’s day. In homage to President Jackson keeping the White House “The People’s House,” we are hosting the first-ever virtual “Big Block of Cheese Day,” as a way to let citizens interact with White House officials in real-time on social media. Be sure to stay tuned for a complete schedule of events.

 

 

Mayors Conference: On Thursday, the President was joined by more 250 mayors from around the country who participated in the 82nd winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The President spoke on the importance of working together to impact people’s lives. “Hard work can transform communities block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood,” he said. “And to see the resilience and the strength of people, and the incredible vibrancy that cities bring to not just those who live within the boundaries of cities but entire regions, that’s what you understand. And I want to make sure that I’ve got your back in everything that you do.

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January 24th, 2014: Photo of the Day

 

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President Barack Obama talks with Cody Keenan, Director of Speechwriting, as they work on the State of the Union Address in the Oval Office, Jan. 24, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama talks with Cody Keenan, Director of Speechwriting, as they work on the State of the Union Address in the Oval Office, Jan. 24, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Hey, Instagram! I'm Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. I'm taking over the account today to give you an inside look at how the policy teams help build the State of the Union speech. (Won't my daughters be surprised!) #InsideSOTU -Cecilia

Hey, Instagram! I’m Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. I’m taking over the account today to give you an inside look at how the policy teams help build the State of the Union speech. (Won’t my daughters be surprised!) #InsideSOTU -Cecilia

Filming this week's Spanish Weekly Address. This is good prep for the press we'll do after el Estado de la Unión! #InsideSOTU -Cecilia

Filming this week’s Spanish Weekly Address. This is good prep for the press we’ll do after el Estado de la Unión! #InsideSOTU -Cecilia

Today's fuel for the policy-making process: Indian food. #InsideSOTU #Eggplant #Spicy #FoodForThought -Cecilia

Today’s fuel for the policy-making process: Indian food. #InsideSOTU #Eggplant #Spicy #FoodForThought -Cecilia

Signing off with a #TBT with then-State Senator Obama and @MichelleObama circa 2003. Thanks for joining me for a look #InsideSOTU! Watch the President deliver his 5th State of the Union address next Tuesday at wh.gov/sotu. -Valerie

Signing off with a #TBT with then-State Senator Obama and @MichelleObama circa 2003. Thanks for joining me for a look #InsideSOTU! Watch the President deliver his 5th State of the Union address next Tuesday at wh.gov/sotu. -Valerie

Hey everyone! I'm Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, and I'm taking over the @whitehouse Instagram today. From meetings in the West Wing to calls with some amazing Americans, I hope you'll follow along for a look #InsideSOTU. -Valerie

Hey everyone! I’m Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, and I’m taking over the @whitehouse Instagram today. From meetings in the West Wing to calls with some amazing Americans, I hope you’ll follow along for a look #InsideSOTU. -Valerie

Check-in with my team: Paulette Aniskoff, David Agnew and Yohannes Abraham. We're following up on a series of conversations with folks from around the country about what they hope to hear from the President in his address. #InsideSOTU -Valerie

Check-in with my team: Paulette Aniskoff, David Agnew and Yohannes Abraham. We’re following up on a series of conversations with folks from around the country about what they hope to hear from the President in his address. #InsideSOTU -Valerie

Moderating a panel with Secretary Duncan, Secretary Donovan, Secretary Foxx and Secretary Perez. We're meeting with more than 250 mayors from across the country on how we can work together to grow our economy, create jobs, and better serve our constituents. #InsideSOTU -Valerie

Moderating a panel with Secretary Duncan, Secretary Donovan, Secretary Foxx and Secretary Perez. We’re meeting with more than 250 mayors from across the country on how we can work together to grow our economy, create jobs, and better serve our constituents. #InsideSOTU -Valerie

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The Outrageously Inhumane Treatment of Darrin Manning by Philadelphia Police


Originally posted on United States Hypocrisy:

The following piece is reprinted with permission from LiberationNews.org:

Philly police assault 16-year-old basketball player

Darrin Manning requires emergency surgery on genitals

By Ethan Jury
JANUARY 18, 2014

Darrin Manning in a wheel chair after Philadelphia police sexually harassed him

Darrin Manning in a wheel chair after Philadelphia police sexually harassed him

Darrin Manning, a 16-year-old high school basketball player was brutally assaulted by police Jan. 7 in Philadelphia, receiving emergency surgery on his genitals following the arrest.

Manning had been walking to a basketball game with his entire team, wearing hats and scarves given to them by their principal to protect them from the cold, when they were approached by police, sending the group running—all except Manning, who felt he had done nothing wrong.

Police allege that they had observed a group of males covering their faces with ski masks but this is clearly another case of racist profiling by police that has become a common theme throughout the…

View original 305 more words

There Has Been An Average Of One School Shooting Every Other School Day So Far This Year


Originally posted on The Fifth Column:

Purdue Shooting | CREDIT: AP

When will the gun lobby understand that this is not about taking their guns away, it’s about lives being taken…

Think Progress

Last year was supposed to be a year of action to curb gun violence in our schools. But three weeks into the new year, statistics suggest that the problem could actually be worsening.

Though the sample size is far too small to draw any definitive conclusions, 2014 is off to a deadly start: in the first 14 school days of the year, there have been at least 7 school shootings. For sake of comparison, there were 28 school shootings in all of 2013, according to gun violence prevention group Moms Demand Action.

Purdue University is the most recent, when a 23 year old teaching assistant fired four shots inside a campus building on Tuesday, killing a 21 year old senior. One day…

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Mike Huckabee and women’s uncontrolled libido, or, Uncle Sugar


Originally posted on The Fifth Column:

The Washington Post

The GOP will have a much easier time talking to women once they realize that women can HEAR them.

“They can hear us now? Right now?”

Oh yes. And it isn’t sounding so good.

Mike Huckabee (Former Arkansas Governor, present talking head) made some remarks to the RNC Thursday that have (unfortunately for him) not gone unremarked. You don’t even need an indignation machine to get worked up about this one.

Huckabee said, in full glorious resplendent context,

“I think it’s time for Republicans to no longer accept listening to Democrats talk about a war on women. Because the fact is, the Republicans don’t have a war on women. They have a war FOR women. For them to be empowered; to be something other than victims of their gender. Women I know are outraged that Democrats think that women are nothing more than helpless and hopeless creatures…

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TheObamaCrat™ Potpourri. Thats Right, It’s BACK!!!


 

By Jueseppi B.

000obamacratpotpourri

 

 

A Day in the Life: Inside the State of the Union with Cecilia Muñoz

 

Cecilia Muñoz
Cecilia Muñoz

January 24, 2014
11:31 AM EST

 

For my team, the 2014 State of the Union process started months ago.

It started with a pile of folders, papers, and a lot of ideas — from the President, regular people, and policy experts — that we want this speech and this year to focus on.

That’s our team’s job: We take the President’s ideas and priorities and we execute the policies that will put them into action.

 

Today, I took over the White House’s Instagram to share a couple shots from my day. Take a look — and if you haven’t already, make sure you let us know you’ll be watching next Tuesday.

 

Ultimately, everything that goes into the President’s address and the work that follows – work that is focused on making life a little better for millions of Americans — all started, at some point, with a letter to the President or an idea in a binder.

 

It’s a pretty cool job and one I’m honored to have.

 

If you want to see how it all comes together, make sure you’re watching on Tuesday.

 

A Day in the Life: Inside the State of the Union with Cecilia Muñoz

 

Cecilia Muñoz, the Director of President Obama’s Domestic Policy Council, takes over the White House Instagram account to give you a look inside the State of the Union process.

 

Hey, Instagram! I'm Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. I'm taking over the account today to give you an inside look at how the policy teams help build the State of the Union speech. (Won't my daughters be surprised!) #InsideSOTU -Cecilia

Hey, Instagram! I’m Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. I’m taking over the account today to give you an inside look at how the policy teams help build the State of the Union speech. (Won’t my daughters be surprised!) #InsideSOTU -Cecilia

Filming this week's Spanish Weekly Address. This is good prep for the press we'll do after el Estado de la Unión! #InsideSOTU -Cecilia

Filming this week’s Spanish Weekly Address. This is good prep for the press we’ll do after el Estado de la Unión! #InsideSOTU -Cecilia

Today's fuel for the policy-making process: Indian food. #InsideSOTU #Eggplant #Spicy #FoodForThought -Cecilia

Today’s fuel for the policy-making process: Indian food. #InsideSOTU #Eggplant #Spicy #FoodForThought -Cecilia

 

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

 

Related Topics: Inside the White House
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Michelle Patron
January 24, 2014
03:02 PM EST

 

Last June, President Obama unveiled his Climate Action Plan to combat climate change through domestic and international action. In his Georgetown speech announcing the plan, the President directed his Administration to “launch negotiations toward global free trade in environmental goods and services, including clean energy technology, to help more countries skip past the dirty phase of development and join a global low-carbon economy.” This week, the United States and like-minded trading partners took an important step in pushing forward this initiative, which will support green jobs here at home and level the playing field for our exporters abroad.

 

Today the United States announced plans for a new initiative with 13 other partner countries – find the list here – to eliminate tariffs on environmental goods in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The countries participating in today’s announcement account for 86 percent of global trade in environmental goods, such as such as solar water heaters, wind turbines, and catalytic converters.

 

Eliminating tariffs on renewable and clean energy technologies can make them cheaper and more accessible for everyone. Tariffs add unnecessary costs to the technologies needed to fight pollution and protect the environment, such as water filtration and renewable energy technologies. Total global trade in environmental goods totals nearly $955 billion annually, and some countries currently apply tariffs as high as 35 percent.

 

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said, “Our announcement here today is just the beginning, and in the coming weeks and we will be consulting closely with our stakeholders, including our Congress, business and environmental communities, to ensure that such an agreement advances our environmental objectives and supports economic growth, green jobs and innovation.”

 

This WTO initiative will build on the initiative that started with the President’s leadership at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Honolulu in 2011 and continued into 2012, when APEC leaders committed to cut tariffs on a list of 54 environmental goods to five percent or less by 2015.  The negotiations will be open to any WTO member that shares a similar commitment to trade liberalization and environmental protection.

 

With today’s announcement, the U.S. demonstrates its ongoing leadership in addressing climate change and the importance of cooperation with other major emitting countries, including China, to confront these global challenges together in a way that protects the environment and promotes economic growth.

 

Michelle Patron is the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Energy and Climate Change on the National Security Staff

 

Related Topics: Energy and Environment

 

 

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1/24/14: White House Press Briefing

 

Published on Jan 24, 2014

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

 

 

 

Statements and Releases January 24, 2014

 

President Obama Announces Key White House Posts

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama announced the following individuals will serve in key White House posts:

 

  • David Simas, Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach
  • Broderick Johnson, Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary
  • Amy Brundage, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Communications Director
  • Anne Wall, Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs & Senate Liaison
  • Amy Rosenbaum, Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs

 

President Obama said, “Ed Pagano is a true public servant, and I am grateful to him for his tireless work on behalf of the American people.  Ed’s strong relationships with leaders in the Senate, his experience, his commitment, and his ability to forge consensus and get things done have made this country stronger.  I wish Ed all the best in his future endeavors.

 

The American people will be greatly served by the talent and dedication that David, Broderick, Amy, Anne and Amy bring to their new roles. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead as we continue to move our country forward.”

 

 

Statement by the Press Secretary on H.R. 3527, S. 230

 

On Friday, January 24, 2014, the President signed into law:

 

H.R. 3527, the “Poison Center Network Act,” which reauthorizes appropriations through Fiscal Year 2019 for Poison Control Program activities at the Department of Health and Human Services, specifically a Poison Control Center grant program, a nationwide toll-free number, and a national media campaign; and

 

S. 230, which authorizes the Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation to establish a commemorative work with regard to the Peace Corps in the District of Columbia and its environs.

 

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Huckabee said that Democrats tell women “they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government.”

This kind of extreme, anti-women rhetoric effortlessly aligns with McConnell’s abysmal record on issues important to women and families. Mitch owes us an explanation.

 

 

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