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A New Feature On WhiteHouse.gov: Tools You’ll Use.


 

 

By Jueseppi B.

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There are a lot of .gov websites out there. But with so many, you might miss some of the ones that are most useful for you.

That’s why we’re launching WhiteHouse.gov/Tools: It’s a collection of tools from across the government that can make your life easier.

And those are just some of the tools we’re spotlighting.

 

 

TOOLS YOU’LL USE

 

Spotlighting government tools that make your life easier.

 

 

COLLEGE SCORECARD

 

I want to find a college that’s a good fit for me or my kids.

You can use the scorecard to get a sense of a college’s affordability and value – helping you make an informed decision about which college to attend. Additionally, you can get scorecards based on programs or majors offered, location, and enrollment size.

 

College Scorecards in the U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center make it easier for you to search for a college that is a good fit for you. You can use the College Scorecard to find out more about a college’s affordability and value so you can make more informed decisions about which college to attend.
To start, enter the name of a college of interest to you or select factors that are important in your college search. You can find scorecards for colleges based on factors such as programs or majors offered, location, and enrollment size.

 

 

 

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Assess the energy efficiency of your home and see how it measures up:

 

EPA‘s Home Energy Yardstick provides a simple assessment of your home’s annual energy use compared to similar homes. By answering a few basic questions about your home, you can get:

  • Your home’s Home Energy Yardstick score (on a scale of 1 to 10);
  • Insights into how much of your home’s energy use is related to heating and cooling versus other everyday uses like appliances, lighting, and hot water;
  • Links to guidance from ENERGY STAR on how to increase your home’s score, improve comfort, and lower utility bills; and
  • An estimate of your home’s annual carbon emissions.

Learn more about how the Home Energy Yardstick works.

See a sample results page.

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Getting Started:

To calculate your Yardstick score, all you need is some basic information about your home:

  • Your ZIP code;
  • Your home’s square footage;
  • Number of full time home occupants;
  • A list of all the different fuels used in your home (e.g., electricity, natural gas, fuel oil); and
  • Your home’s last 12 months of utility bills (usually found in the 12 month summary provided on your bill or through a Green Button file ?).

Having trouble with the Home Energy Yardstick? Contact us at yardstick@energystar.gov.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass

 

With the tools below, learn about how USDA and our federal partners support local and regional food economies; see communities putting these resources to work; and explore the map to find out what’s happening near you. Use the tools and get involved!

 

 

Welcome to the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass

 

Uploaded on Feb 28, 2012

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan introduce the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass, an electronic document and interactive map that will help you support local and regional food systems.

 

 

 

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To select different vehicle pairs including non-hybrid models or to consider additional cost factors, visit the Vehicle Cost Calculator at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center.

Note: This tool compares hybrids to their non-hybrid counterparts in very simple terms—only fuel costs and MSRP are considered. Other factors, such as insurance, maintenance, or resale value, are not considered since they can vary widely.

Every effort was made to match each hybrid vehicle with a conventional vehicle from the same manufacturer that is as similar as possible in terms of amenities and utility. For unique hybrids with no conventional counterpart like the Toyota Prius, Prius c and the Honda Insight, a different model was chosen from the same manufacturer if it appeared to be reasonably similar. Ultimately, consumers will have to judge for themselves how similar the vehicles are.

 

 

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We developed a shorter, simpler credit card agreement that spells out the terms for the consumer. Note that this is not a model form, and use is not mandatory. Our prototype is shown here. We believe our approach will help consumers better understand their credit card agreements. Tell us what you think of it.

 

Review the sample agreement below. (You can also view a PDF copy.) The terms that are underlined in the agreement are defined in a separate list of definitions of credit card contract terms. Click any section of the agreement to learn more about it. Then leave your comments about the agreement or the definitions at the bottom of the page.

 

If you want to see what current agreements look like, check out our Credit Card Agreement Database.

 

 

 

 

Been Sued or Gotten a Demand Letter?
Answers To Common Questions About Abusive Patent Litigation

Received a letter about or been sued over a patent? You’re in the right place. See below for answers to common questions:

 

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In June 2013, President Obama ordered the creation of this website to empower those who have received a demand letter or may be threatened with a patent lawsuit with information about their options. In response, the USPTO has created this site.

The information presented on this site does not constitute legal advice. It should not be considered to replace advice from an attorney. Reference to any specific organizations, attorneys, law firms, corporations, or websites does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the USPTO.

We welcome your comments and suggestions in the box below.

 

 

Have you seen something we should feature here? Tell us about it.

 

See something you think we should spotlight? Tell us here. And for even more, go to USA.gov.

 

 

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Some House Republicans Press For Vote On Unemployment Extension


 

By Jueseppi B.

The Democratic-led U.S. Senate agreed by a voice vote to begin debate on a bipartisan bill to renew expired jobless benefits for 2.2 million Americans.

The Democratic-led U.S. Senate agreed by a voice vote to begin debate on a bipartisan bill to renew expired jobless benefits for 2.2 million Americans.

 

The action cleared a second Republican procedural roadblock in as many weeks and moved the bill toward anticipated Senate passage later this week.

 

But the White House-backed measure is expected to die when it reaches the Republican-led House of Representatives.

 

House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, has called the bill “unworkable,” citing concerns by state administrators.

 

BUT there my be some hope.

 

From 

 

Some House Republicans Press for Vote on Unemployment Extension

 

 

The bipartisan five-month unemployment insurance extension pending in the Senate appears to be driving a wedge between segments of the House Republican Conference.

 

Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and other House leaders portrayed the extension as unworkable after a three-month break in such benefits, and they are arguing for GOP alternatives to spur growth and job creation. But Rep. Peter T. King of New York said Thursday he and Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo of New Jersey had sent a letter urging Boehner and his team to move the Senate proposal (HR 3979) or an alternative.

 

“We want it extended,” King said. “We respectfully request that the House immediately consider this bill or a similar measure to restore unemployment benefits to struggling Americans,” the letter said.

 

The Senate voted, 61-35, to invoke cloture on the measure Thursday, clearing the way for passage Monday, leaving House Republicans to decide on how to deal with it.

 

Five Republicans besides King and LoBiondo signed the letter asking Boehner to bring something to the floor: Joe Heck of Nevada; Jon Runyan and Christopher H. Smith, both of New Jersey; and Chris Gibson and Michael G. Grimm, both of New York.

 

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers of Washington, head of the Republican Conference, said party leaders had not decided how to handle the measure and would discuss it next week. “There will be a conversation. We’re waiting to see what the Senate actually passes,” she said.

 

For some Republicans, the Senate measure presents an enticing vehicle for a flock of stalled proposals to cut taxes, curb regulations and undo mandates under the health care overhaul (PL 111-148, PL 111-152). If leadership decides to attach such provisions, they will have to weigh how far they believe they can go in pushing Democrats into a corner to accept the package before they invite criticism that they are obstructing the bill.

 

Rep. Steve Southerland II of Florida, a member of the leadership team, said the idea of adding GOP proposals had strong appeal. “I am always for doing things that get good policy done for us,” he said.

 

But he added that many conservatives favored allowing expiration of broader unemployment benefit that were created in 2008 in response to the financial crisis. “You have to overcome that argument. We need to do the right thing: allow the economy to create jobs,” Southerland said.

 

Democrats made clear Thursday they would press for quick House floor action on the Senate package, without changes. Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said he had no plans to open talks with House Republicans to tweak the package.

 

“I want them to pass this,” he said. “They can do whatever they want. … Find out what they do, then I’ll react to it.”

 

Some Republicans have urged leaders to use the bill for action on a House-passed proposal (HR 803) by Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., to meld job training programs. The Foxx bill faces strong opposition from Senate Democrats including Labor, Health, Education and Pensions ChairmanTom Harkin of Iowa, who has advanced a separate job training plan (S 1356).

 

Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, a leader of the centrist Tuesday Group of Republicans, said he was urging party leaders to combine the Senate measure with at least one of a trio GOP priorities. They include medical device tax repeal, approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and an increase (HR 2575) in the work-week trigger for the employer mandate to cover full-time employees under the health care overhaul. “I offered three suggestions. If I got one, I’d be happy,” Dent said.

 

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said she doubted any of them would be acceptable as add-ons to the measure.

 

Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the Democrats’ point person on jobless aid, said any negotiations likely will be handled in the House. Assistant Minority Leader James E. Clyburn of South Carolina said Democrats were not planning to open talks on any changes, for now, and instead would press House leaders to allow a floor vote on the Senate package.

 

Thank you .

 

 

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Consolidated Appropriations Act, Worth $82.2 Billion For SNAP In Fiscal Year 2014, Passes Both Houses And Signed Into Law By POTUS.


 

By Jueseppi B.

SNAP

 

Hat Tip/Shout Out to Ms. Beth Havens:

 

From Barbara Boxer United States Senator

 

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Dear Ms. Havens:

 

Thank you for writing to express your support for federal investment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

 

I am pleased to tell you that the Consolidated Appropriations Act will provide $82.2 billion for SNAP in Fiscal Year 2014.  This bill passed both the House and Senate with bipartisan majorities and was signed into law by President Obama on January, 17, 2014.

 

As you may know, in recent years, many families have been forced to make tough choices during the economic downturn and I believe that we must continue our support for ongoing federal investment to provide food benefits to families and individuals in need.

 

SNAP benefits are essential to ensuring that low-income households in our country are not left hungry.  Be assured that I will continue to support funding for SNAP so that every American family has access to a healthy diet.

 

Again, thank you for writing to me.  Please do not hesitate to contact me again about this or any other issue of importance to you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

 

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If you would like to comment on legislation, please visit my website and use the correspondence form at https://www.boxer.senate.gov/en/contact/policycomments.cfm

 

 

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Barack After Dark™: The White House Blog


 

By Jueseppi B.

barackafterdark

 

 

Lisa Pino
December 19, 2013
05:57 PM EST

 

The country’s nutritional health remains a top priority for the Obama Administration. What and how we eat affects our ability to succeed, our hopes and dreams, the economy, the environment, and most of all, our children.

 

Despite the sobering news that 49 million Americans are food insecure, this figure has remained relatively stable since 2008. One key reason why is the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) direct ability to mitigate American hunger. When SNAP participation grew during the recession, the program expanded as intended. By providing a nutritional safety net during our economic recovery, SNAP puts food on the table for struggling Americans while they get back on their feet. SNAP also helps to feed the 15 million children living in food insecure households, as 20% of American children are living in poverty.

 

Today, SNAP is serving 47 million Americans. As the economy continues to improve, SNAP participation began to plateau in 2012 and is declining. The program’s ability to expand and contract with the economy reflects both President John F. Kennedy’s intention when he developed a 1961 pilot, and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s commitment to ending hunger by signing the Food Stamp Act of 1964. Thanks to their vision, SNAP still supplements the diet of food insecure Americans so that all Americans can have the food needed for an active, healthy life.

 

Read More

 

 

Hallie Schneir
Hallie Schneir

December 19, 2013
01:31 PM EST

 

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama meet with mothers regarding the Affordable Care Act in the Oval OfficePresident Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama meet with mothers regarding the Affordable Care Act in the Oval Office, Dec. 18, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

On Wednesday afternoon, President Obama and the First Ladymet with a group of moms (and one aunt!) in the Oval Office to talk about how health reform has benefitted their families. They talked about the critical role that moms are playing in helping their families access quality, affordable health care by encouraging their adult children, family members and their peers to sign up for coverage.

 

Because many women in the group know first-hand why having the security of health insurance is so important, they’ve been working tirelessly to make sure that everybody in America is able to get high-quality health care coverage that provides them with financial protection and looks after them when they get sick.

 

“I think this conversation really drove home in a very personal way why this is important,” President Obama said. “Sometimes here in Washington, this is a very abstract conversation or an entirely political conversation. But when you boil it down to stories and people hear what it means to have the security of solid health insurance at an affordable price when you need it, it reminds me at least of why we’ve been fighting so hard to get this done.”

 

Read More

 

 

Jason Furman
Jason Furman

December 19, 2013
01:00 PM EST

 

The economy is finishing 2013 in a stronger place than where it began the year, though more work remains to grow the economy, create jobs, and strengthen the middle class. This is especially notable given the general fiscal environment, including the onset of the sequester in March, and the government shutdown and debt limit brinksmanship in October. The recent budget bill passed by Congress on a bipartisan basis will contribute to certainty, a better fiscal stance over the next year, and more funding for the critical ingredients of longer run growth. But more needs to be done, most immediately extending Unemployment Insurance benefits, and beyond that increasing investments to strengthen growth and making sure that growth is shared.

 

The slides below highlight the key themes and developments in the economy over the course of the year, and also touch on a few longer-term structural trends that continued to unfold in 2013 and will support growth into the future.

 

The strengthening of the economy over the course of 2013 is a testament to America’s resilient private sector and America’s workers. Businesses have added 8.1 million jobs over the past 45 months, and are on track to register the third consecutive year of job growth in excess of two million.

 

The growth rate of gross domestic product has risen for four straight quarters, and the private components of GDP have grown at a robust 3.7 percent annualized rate over the last two quarters. One of the biggest contributors to recent GDP growth has been the housing sector, which was the epicenter of the financial crisis but is bouncing back and has significant potential going forward.

 

There are also several emerging structural trends that supported growth in 2013 and will continue to play an important role in our economy. The United States is now the largest producer of oil and gas in world, passing Russia and Saudi Arabia, and for the first time since 1995, the United States is producing more oil domestically than it imports. A second, less widely appreciated trend is the dramatic slowdown in health care cost growth that in part reflects critical reforms under the Affordable Care Act. Slower health care cost growth means less pressure on employers and the federal budget and more take-home pay for families. Lastly, technological contributions such as cloud computing and mobile broadband and mobile devices continue to help the economy.

 

Read More

 

 

Amy Pope, Ricardo Zuniga
December 19, 2013
12:25 PM EST

 

Today the United States and Canada released the 2013 Implementation Report on the Beyond the Border Initiative. The report highlights the significant progress we have made over the last year to enhance economic cooperation and to address threats before they reach our common border. Our two countries are doing all we can to make trade and travel easier and less expensive, supporting economic competiveness and prosperity, while partnering to keep our communities safe.

 

Since President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Harper announced the Beyond the Border Declaration in 2011, we have worked together to benefit residents, travelers, and industry in both countries while enhancing security, trade and travel facilitation, critical infrastructure protection, and emergency management.  We are jointly collaborating before goods or travelers even arrive at the border, embracing a perimeter security approach where possible.

 

For example, this year, under the “cleared once, accepted twice” principle, both countries have started to rely on the other’s offshore inspections of marine shipments to reduce the need for re-inspection at the land border. Also, the U.S. truck cargo pre-inspection pilot in Surrey, British Columbia, tested new approaches for conducting screening at the land border. We are building on these accomplishments to complete preclearance negotiations for all transportation modes. Each of these initiatives helps goods move securely and more quickly across our shared border.

 

Read More

 

 

Cecilia Muñoz
Cecilia Muñoz

December 19, 2013
10:54 AM EST

 

Yesterday, the President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama met in the Oval Office with a group of moms who have been working to encourage their families, neighbors and friends to #GetCovered under the Affordable Care Act.

 

Women have a huge influence on their families and are a key demographic for the ongoing effort to ensure that consumers know about the benefits they can access through the health law. Moms understand how vital it is to nurture our kids to help them grow up strong and healthy.

 

As a proud mother of two college-age daughters, the President’s health care law has already ensured my own peace of mind, by allowing my soon-to-be college graduates’ to stay on my plan until age 26. It used to be the case that many insurance companies would kick young adults off of their parents’ health plans on their 19th birthday or when they stopped being a full-time student. For a lot of young adults, that’s the exact time when they need the stability of staying on their parents’ health plans because they are transitioning in and out of school or jobs.

 

And my daughters are just two of the nearly 1 million young Latinos under the age of 26 who have benefitted from the health care law. Instead of worrying what may happen if they get sick, our children can focus on other important things, like getting an education.

 

Read More

 

 

in-case-you-missed-it

 

Jade Mullally, Missing Child. Our Daughter Jade Mullally Missing: How You Can Help

 

President Obama Announces Presidential Delegations For Opening & Closing Ceremonies – 2014 Olympic Winter Games

 

Guest Blog Post: Dr. Rex Horty, “The Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline.” STOP It.

 

Mayors Against Illegal Guns & Moms Demand Action Joins Forces: Unite A National Movement To Protect Communities & Save Lives

 

Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson Suspended By A&E Over Anti Gay & Racist Comments

 

President Obama Grants Pardons And Commutation

 

New National And State Reports Showing Costs Of Repealing The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (ObamaCARES)

 

 

Michelle Obama on The Madison Show

 

Published on Dec 19, 2013

Michelle Obama on The Madison Show discussing the Affordable Care Act!

 

 

 

Statements and Releases

 

Statement by the Press Secretary on the National Defense Authorization Act

The Administration appreciates the bipartisan work of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, and their continued support of our service members and national defense.  The bill will, among other things, assist the Armed Forces in operating in unconventional and irregular warfare and countering unconventional threats, support capacity building efforts with foreign military forces, and support contingency or stability operations.

 

While the bill does not address all of the Administration’s concerns, its provisions regarding foreign transfers of detainees held at the U.S. Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba will provide the Administration additional flexibility to transfer detainees abroad consistent with our national security interests.  The Administration commends the Congress for its work to expand efforts to prevent sexual assault and significantly strengthen protections for victims as well as extending important compensation and benefits for our service members, which are important for recruitment, retention and morale of our Armed Forces.

 

Although the bill includes a number of provisions that restrict or limit the Defense Department’s ability to align military capabilities and force structure with the President’s strategy and implement certain efficiencies, overall the Administration is pleased with the modifications and improvements contained in the bill that address most of the Administration’s significant objections with earlier versions regarding these issues.   The Administration supports passage of the legislation.

 

 

Holidays at the White House

 

Streamed live on Dec 19, 2013

Over the course of the season, about 70,000 people will tour the White House holiday decorations. On Thursday, you’re invited to take a peek virtually through a Google+ Hangout. During a live event from the State Floor, White House pastry chef Bill Yosses and florist Laura Dowling will discuss this year’s décor and answer questions from young people around the country.

 

 

 

December 19th, 2013: White House Photo of the Day

 

First Lady Michelle Obama collects toys from military children during a Toys for Tots event at the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Distribution Center in Washington, D.C., Dec. 19, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

First Lady Michelle Obama collects toys from military children during a Toys for Tots event at the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Distribution Center in Washington, D.C., Dec. 19, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

 

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December 4th 2013 Is National Cookie Day


 

By Jueseppi B.

Nationalcookieday

 

 

National Cookie Day

It’s National Cookie Day! Did you know that the English word “cookie” is derived from the Dutch word “koekje,” which means little cake? Dutch bakers used to test oven temperatures on small amounts of batter so that they would not waste the entire cake mix if the temperature wasn’t right. It was not long before they discovered that these tiny pieces of cooked batter were actually quite tasty!

 

Cookies come in all different flavors, shapes, and sizes. To celebrate National Cookie Day, bake a few batches of your favorite variety and invite your friends over for a cookie swap!

 

377x377-choc-dipped-sugar-shortbread

 

Chocolate Dipped Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

 

INGREDIENTS

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1⁄2 cup packed brown sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional)
2-1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips
2 teaspoons shortening

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Beat in brown sugar, salt, and, if desired, pumpkin pie spice, scraping the bowl occasionally. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with a spatula or wooden spoon. Use your hands to bring dough together in a ball.
  2. Pat or roll dough into a 12×8-inch rectangle (about 1/4 inch thick) on an ungreased baking sheet. Cut the 8 inch side of the dough into eight 1-inch strips (do not separate strips). Cut each strip lengthwise into six 2-inch sections (do not separate rectangles). After cutting, there should be 48 rectangles measuring 1×2-inches. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until cookies are lightly browned and crisp. Cool on cookie sheet on a wire rack.
  3. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine Ghirardelli® 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips and shortening. Microwave on medium power (50 percent) for 1 minute. Remove and stir. If chocolate is not melted, return to microwave and repeat heating step, stirring every 30 seconds to avoid scorching. Stir until smooth. Dip cookies in melted chocolate; let excess drip back into the bowl. Placed dipped cookies on waxed paper; let stand until set. Enjoy immediately, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze up to 3 months.

 

Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 25 minutes

 

PRODUCTS USED IN THIS RECIPE

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