West Wing Week 07/25/14 or, “The Irrefutable Rightness of Your Cause”
This week, the President introduced a historic Executive Action for LGBT rights, continued to address the ongoing conflicts in the Ukraine and Gaza, hosted a town hall in support of his My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, and traveled to California to deliver his response to some very striking letters he’d received … in person.
Celebrating 24 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act
July 25, 2014
03:25 PM EDT
Tomorrow marks the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — a landmark law that transformed American society for people with disabilities. It provided for full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for those of us living with disabilities, and also provided Americans with disabilities with legal remedies to safeguard all of those rights.
Watch the President’s ADA anniversary message below:
Presidential Proclamation — Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act
ANNIVERSARY OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, 2014
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Over two decades ago, Americans — some in wheelchairs, some using sign language, and all with an abiding belief in our Nation’s promise — came together to strengthen our commitment to equality for all. At a time when people with disabilities were turned away at movie theaters, rejected for employment, and measured by what so many thought they could not do, leaders and activists refused to accept the world as it was. In small towns and big cities, they spoke out. They staged sit-ins, authored discrimination diaries, and scaled the Capitol steps. Finally, they realized their call for simple justice in one of the most comprehensive civil rights bills in our country’s history. On the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we honor those who fought against discrimination, and we recommit to tearing down barriers and guaranteeing all Americans the right to pursue their own measure of happiness.
The ADA promises equal access and equal opportunity — regardless of ability. It secures each person’s right to an independent life, and it enables our country and our economy to benefit from the talents and contributions of all Americans.
Even as we commemorate this milestone, we recognize that too often, casual discrimination or fear of the unfamiliar still prevent disabled Americans from achieving their full potential. That is why my Administration is pushing to fulfill the promise of and better enforce the ADA. Fifteen years after the Olmstead decision — in which the Supreme Court ruled it discrimination to unjustifiably institutionalize someone with a disability — we have increased the number of homes integrated into communities that are available for persons with disabilities. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are banned from discriminating on the basis of pre-existing conditions, medical history, or genetic information. Expanding on my Executive Order to establish the Federal Government as a model employer of individuals with disabilities, my Administration is also providing Federal contractors with the tools and resources to recruit, retain, and promote people with disabilities.
The nearly one in five Americans living with a disability are our parents, children, neighbors, colleagues, and friends. They are entitled to the same rights and freedoms as everyone else. Today, we celebrate their accomplishments, stand against discrimination in all its forms, and honor all who sacrificed so future generations might know a more equal society.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 26, 2014, the Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I encourage Americans across our Nation to celebrate the 24th anniversary of this civil rights law and the many contributions of individuals with disabilities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
What You Missed: A Tumblr Q&A with Valerie Jarrett on Expanding Opportunity for the LGBT Community
05:28 PM EDT
This afternoon, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, took to Tumblr to answer some of your questions on the President’s newest Executive Order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. She also answered your questions on marriage equality, bullying prevention, Star Wars, and more.
If you missed the live event, you can check out a full recap right here: A Tumblr Q&A with Valerie Jarrett
03:00 PM EDT
In September 2009, the President announced that—for the first time in history—White House visitor records would be made available to the public on an ongoing basis. Today, the White House releases visitor records that were generated in April 2014. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 3.81 million—all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.
Making the Business Case for Rural America
Secretary Tom Vilsack
12:12 PM EDT
Ed. note: This is cross-posted from the USDA Blog, see the original post here.
These days, it seems like it’s easier than ever to turn a good idea into reality. This is the era of Kickstarter, where entrepreneurs can connect with potential investors at the click of a button.
Of course, it takes more than money to grow an idea. It takes an atmosphere that fosters creativity and rewards innovation. And at a deeper, less obvious level, it requires strong, secure infrastructure—roads and bridges, but also internet access and community facilities like hospitals and schools—that improves connectivity and access to information, moves products to market, and makes communities competitive and attractive to new businesses and investments.
Part of the challenge we face in rural America is that in too many places, infrastructure is outdated and cannot support the same kinds of opportunities that are easily found in cities and larger towns.
President Obama Meets with Central American Presidents
Published on Jul 25, 2014
After delivering remarks, President Obama meets with President Molina of Guatemala, President Hernandez of Honduras, and President Ceren of El Salvador, July 25, 2014.
Obama Called “Antichrist” By Insane Heckler
Published on Jul 25, 2014
President Obama was confronted by an angry heckler who interrupted his speech and repeatedly called him “the antichrist.” This incident epitomizes the blind hatred Obama – America’s first African American President – has faced throughout his time in office.
The video of the heckler is courtesy of our friends over at Occupy Democrats
Statements and Releases – July 25th, 2014
FACT SHEET: Visit of President Perez Molina of Guatemala, President Hernandez of Honduras, and President Sanchez Ceren of El Salvador
Statement by the Press Secretary on H.R. 255, H.R. 272, H.R. 291, H.R.330, H.R.356, H.R. 507, H.R. 697, H.R 876, H.R. 1158, H.R. 1216, H.R. 1376, H.R. 1813, H.R. 2337, H.R. 3110
A Call Answered: Unlocking America’s Cell Phones
R. David EdelmanJuly 25, 2014
04:12 PM EDT
Last year, over 114,000 of you made your voice heard and petitioned the Administration to restore a basic consumer freedom: to take your mobile service — and a phone or tablet you already own — to the carrier that best suits your needs.
It’s common sense, good for competition and innovation, and essential to consumers. That’s why the Administration declared last March that “It’s time to legalize cell phone unlocking,” and today the President commended Congress for doing just that:
I applaud Members of Congress for passing the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act. Last year, in response to a “We the People” petition from consumers across our country, my Administration called for allowing Americans to use their phones or mobile devices on any network they choose. We laid out steps the FCC, industry, and Congress should take to ensure copyright law does not undermine wireless competition, and worked with wireless carriers to reach a voluntary agreement that helps restore this basic consumer freedom. The bill Congress passed today is another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cell phone carrier that meets their needs and their budget. I commend Chairmen Leahy and Goodlatte, and Ranking Members Grassley and Conyers for their leadership on this important consumer issue and look forward to signing this bill into law.
Everyone has done their part to get here — from the FCC convening carriers, to the industry agreeing to voluntary steps to make their unlocking process transparent and reliable. And as he said today, the President looks forward to signing this bill into law. It’s just one more way he is taking the lead in making life a little easier for the middle class, and ensuring our technology remains the envy of the world.
You called, the President answered, and together we made cell phone unlocking happen.
Connecting African Leaders to U.S. Industry Beyond the Beltway
July 25, 2014
09:47 AM EDT
The upcoming U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which is the largest single engagement by any U.S. President with our African partners, will help the United States play a driving role in the continent’s future development.
Many Americans are aware that sub-Saharan Africa is a fast-growing region with tremendous potential, but they may not know about significant plans to develop infrastructure across the continent. We believe that these plans represent enormous business opportunities for U.S. companies of all sizes, and that is why we have invited key African decision-makers to meet with private-sector leaders in Chicago and Houston prior to the Summit.
These African Leaders’ Visits, which the U.S. Trade and Development Agency is partnering with the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Energy to host from July 30 to August 1, will highlight the United States’ experience fostering economic growth through key infrastructure investments. These Visits are the only commercially focused events to take African leaders to major U.S. cities outside of Washington, D.C. on the occasion of the Summit.
A Day in the Life: Deric from Baltimore
11:23 AM EDT
Deric Richardson had been out of work for over a year. He had a GED and a Microsoft Office certificate, but needed an opportunity to improve his skills. That opportunity came in the form of tuition-free training in laboratory skills provided by the nonprofit BioTechnical Institute of Maryland. Shortly after successfully completing the training, Deric was hired by Baltimore-based Paragon Bioservices in July 2010.
Today, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez is traveling to Baltimore to meet with him.
Deric’s story is just one great example of how job-driven training is working for Americans across the country. When we talk about “job-driven” training, we’re talking about making sure we’re providing people with the skills that employers are looking for right now to fill available jobs. Earlier this week, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which will elevate more job-driven programs like BTI.
This is the second in a series of “day in the life” trips Secretary Perez — in addition to other secretaries across the President’s cabinet — will be taking over the next few months. It’s a chance to talk directly with the people the Labor Department works for every day.
We want to make sure you see what he sees, too. Follow along today to see live updates and highlights from Secretary Perez’s day.
ALERT: Russia Sending More Powerful Weapons to Rebels in Russia
Published on Jul 25, 2014
BREAKING: Russia is firing across border into Ukraine.
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) – Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the crisis.
Russia accused Washington of lying and charged Ukraine with firing across the border on a Russian village. It also toughened its economic measures against Ukraine by banning dairy imports.
Senator Rips Republicans for ‘Nickel and Diming’ Veterans After Wasting Trillions on Iraq War
NYPD’s “chokehold” killing of father sparks outrage
Published on Jul 25, 2014
The New York City Police Department is under intense fire from community members after video emerged online of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, dying after officer’s placed him in a chokehold for selling bootleg cigarettes. Critics are equating the department’s use of the controversial move with murder, angry it continues to be widely used despite a more than 20-year-old ban. RT’s Anastasia Churkina speaks to activists and takes a look at the practices use nationwide.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta: The science of identifying a tragedy
Published on Jul 25, 2014