The Last 24™: The White House.
This afternoon, President Obama traveled to Worcester, Massachusetts to deliver the commencement address at Worcester Technical High School.
I’m here today because there is nothing ordinary about Worcester Tech or the Class of 2014. You have set yourselves apart. This high school has set itself apart.
Over the past four years, some of you have learned how to take apart an engine and put it back together again. Some of you have learned how to run a restaurant, or build a house, or fix a computer. And all of you are graduating today not just with a great education, but with the skills that will let you start your careers and skills that will make America stronger.
“The thing I really want to do,” he said, “is make sure that what we’ve learned here at this high school we can lift up for the entire nation. I want the nation to learn from Worcester Tech.”
Worcester Technical High School
A Step Toward Cleaner Air and Healthier Communities
05:14 PM EDT
Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency released a vital component of the President’s Climate Action Plan – proposed common-sense carbon pollution standards for existing power plants. Since air pollution from power plants can worsen asthma and other breathing problems, EPA’s guidelines will help protect the health of vulnerable Americans, including children and the elderly.
In a big step forward, yesterday the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates, a body representing more than 500 medical associations and organizations, voted to formally reaffirm their support for carbon pollution standards for power plants and committed to submit comments on the EPA’s proposal underscoring the need to keep strong standards that protect public health. AMA’s vote puts them alongside other public health organizations that have taken leadership on this issue, including the American Thoracic Society and the American Lung Association.
In addition to cutting carbon emissions from the power sector by about 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, EPA’s plan will also decrease that sector’s emissions of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by about 25 percent. From the soot and smog reductions alone, for every dollar invested through the Clean Power Plan, American families will see up to $7 in health benefits.
In the first year that these standards go into effect, up to 100,000 asthma attacks and up to 2,100 heart attacks will be prevented. These standards will also help more kids to be healthy enough to show up to school – with up to 72,000 fewer absences in the first year. The benefits increase each year from there.
President Obama: “There’s No Advanced, Developed Country on Earth That Would Put Up with This”
03:36 PM EDT
During yesterday’s Tumblr Q&A at the White House, the President answered a question on the epidemic of gun violence in America.
“My biggest frustration so far,” he said, “is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do just unbelievable damage.” Talking about the increasing frequency of school shootings across the country, the President noted that the U.S. is the only developed country where this is routine.
“The country has to do some soul-searching about this,” President Obama said. “This is becoming the norm, and we take it for granted in ways that, as a parent, are terrifying to me.”
He also stressed that the only thing that is going to reverse this alarming trend is public opinion. “If public opinion does not demand change in Congress, it will not change.”
Until there is a fundamental shift in public opinion in which people say, enough, this is not acceptable, this is not normal, this isn’t sort of the price we should be paying for our freedom, that we can have respect for the Second Amendment and responsible gun owners and sportsmen and hunters can have the ability to possess weapons but that we are going to put some commonsense rules in place that make a dent, at least, in what’s happening — until that is not just the majority of you — because that’s already the majority of you, even the majority of gun owners believe that. But until that’s a view that people feel passionately about and are willing to go after folks who don’t vote reflecting those values, until that happens, sadly, not that much is going to change.
President Obama noted that he has issued more than 20 executive actions this year to try to tighten up some of the rules in the law, but it’s not possible to get even the slightest restrictions through Congress right now, “and we should be ashamed of that.”
President Obama’s Tumblr Q&A at the White House
President Obama Answers the Question “Where Do You See Yourself in 10 Years?”
Remarks by the President in Q&A with David Karp, CEO of Tumblr (Full Transcript)
#LunchWithFLOTUS: The First Lady’s Twitter Q&A on Healthy School Lunches
12:30 PM EDT
Today, millions of kids across America are eating better school meals because of healthier lunch standards from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Thanks to the hard work of school chefs and food service workers around the country, 90 percent of our schools are now meeting modern nutrition standards — and the USDA is working to provide greater flexibility and more assistance to help the remaining schools catch up.
As part of her Let’s Move! initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama has helped raise awareness around the importance of our kids eating healthy and getting the nutrition they need — and now she’s taking to Twitter to answer your questions.
Tomorrow, Thursday, June 12, at 2:30 p.m. ET, join the First Lady for a Twitter Q&A on school nutrition and healthy school lunches on her Twitter handle, @FLOTUS.
Here are the details:
- Ask your questions now and during the live event on Twitter with the hashtag #LunchWithFLOTUS
- Follow the Q&A live through the @FLOTUS Twitter handle
- If you miss the live Q&A, the full session will be posted on WhiteHouse.gov and Storify.com/whitehouse
Learn more about the First Lady’s initiative to encourage healthy eating at Letsmove.gov/eat-healthy, and then join the First Lady for a Twitter chat on @FLOTUS on Thursday, June 12 at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Upcoming Guidance for First Lady Michelle Obama
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Washington, DC * 3:30 PM – The First Lady will join local students and school nutrition directors from across the country to harvest the summer crop from the White House Kitchen Garden. In 2009, Mrs. Obama planted a vegetable garden on the South Lawn to initiate a national conversation around the health and wellbeing of our nation—a conversation that evolved into her Let’s Move! initiative. Since Mrs. Obama launched Let’s Move! in 2010, parents, business leaders, educators, elected officials, military leaders, chefs, physicians, athletes, childcare providers, community and faith leaders, and kids themselves have stepped up to improve the health of our nation’s children. And thanks to these efforts, we are moving toward a healthier new norm all across the country.
To help with this summer’s harvest, the First Lady invited local school children whose schools are successfully implementing national school lunch standards. Children from these Washington, D.C. schools joined Mrs. Obama in April for the spring garden planting and will now have the opportunity to harvest the produce they recently planted:
- Cleveland Elementary School
- Friendship Public Charter School
- Kimball Elementary School
- Bancroft Elementary School
- Harriet Tubman Elementary School
Mrs. Obama is also inviting school nutrition directors from Orlando, FL, Dallas, TX, and West Virginia to participate in the harvest. These school nutrition directors have seen success in their new school lunch programs thanks to the standards put in place by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Today, thanks to the hard work of school chefs, food service providers, and school nutrition directors across the country, 90 percent of schools are now meeting modern nutrition standards, including the schools in attendance at the harvest. Because of these improvements, consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains has significantly increased, and over 600,000 kids are now getting a nutritious breakfast. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided greater flexibility and is working to give more assistance to help the remaining schools meet these standards.
The following school nutrition directors will participate in this summer’s garden harvest:
- Lora Gilbert, MS, RD, FADA, SNS, Senior Director, Food and Nutrition Services, Orange County Public Schools, Orlando, FL
- Richard Goff, MBA, Executive Director, Office of Child Nutrition, West Virginia Department of Education
- Dora Rivas, MS, RDN, SNS, Executive Director, Food and Child Nutrition Services Department, Dallas Independent School
This event will be livestreamed at www.whitehouse.gov/live.
First Lady Michelle Obama and Epicurious Announce Winning Recipes in Townwide “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge”
Thoughts on Fatherhood in the 21st Century
June 11, 2014
10:36 AM EDT
Working Families Summit: A Fatherhood Lead-Up Event
This was originally posted on the Huffington Post, and is part of a series of essays about the issues facing working families in the 21st century, leading up to the White House Summit on Working Families on June 23, 2014.
You can learn more about the Summit and how you can get involved at www.workingfamiliessummit.org.
Growing up, if I wanted to play catch, I often had to play it alone. Sometimes I’d even aim at a tree for lack of person with a glove at the other end of the yard. I admit, the tree wasn’t a very good replacement. But when you’re a kid — and you don’t have a dad to play catch with — you’ll toss a ball at anything. Even if that thing is a 40-foot-tall oak and unlikely to toss the ball back.
In this respect, I’m probably not unique. Far too many children grow up without a dad in their lives, like I did. And for many, the effects cut deeper and last longer than being forced to have a one-way game of catch.
I’m a father now. My daughter was born 10 years ago, and my son soon after. And one of my greatest challenges, having never grown up with a father myself, is figuring out what a dad is supposed to do. I got the memo about taking out the garbage. And I change more light bulbs than Thomas Edison. But when it comes to preparing your kids for the slings and arrows of life, that’s something I’ve only learned about fairly recently.
And here’s the key: I only learned about it because I was able to make the time.
Statements and Releases – June 11th, 2014
Remarks by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice Keynote Address at the Center for a New American Security Annual Conference
Remarks by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice
“The Strength of American Leadership, the Power of Collective Action”
Keynote Address at the Center for a New American Security Annual Conference
As Prepared for Delivery
Thank you so much Richard for that kind welcome. And, to my good friends and former colleagues— Michele Flournoy and Kurt Campbell— I can’t help but note how well-rested you both look. I’m only a little bitter. Still, I want to thank you for your stellar service to our country both from inside government and now, again, as leading thinkers on national security.
CNAS, which you founded, does a remarkable job of preparing our next generation of national security leaders. That work is critical, because our nation needs bright, dedicated young women and men who care deeply about our world. We need a diverse pipeline of talent ready and eager to carry forward the mantle of American leadership. So, thank you all.
As President Obama told West Point’s graduating class two weeks ago, the question is not whether America will lead the world in the 21st century, but how America will lead. No other nation can match the enduring foundations of our strength. Our military has no peer. Our formidable economy is growing. We are more energy independent each year. Our vibrant and diverse population is demographically strong and productive. We attract hopeful immigrants from all over the world. Our unrivaled global network of alliances and partnerships makes us the one nation to which the world turns when challenges arise. So, American leadership is and will remain central to shaping a world that is freer, more secure, more just and more prosperous.
At West Point, President Obama outlined how America will lead in a world that is more complex and more interdependent than ever before. As we move out of a period dominated by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we will lead by drawing on every element of our national power. That power starts with our unparalleled military might, used wisely and when necessary to defend America’s core interests – the security of our citizens, our economy, and our allies. We will lead by strengthening effective partnerships to counter an evolving terrorist threat. We will lead by rallying coalitions and marshaling the resources of our partners to address regional and global challenges. And, we will lead by standing firm in defense of human dignity and equality, while steering the course of history toward greater justice and opportunity for all.
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