The Last 24™


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Why Job-Training Programs Matter:

 

In the President’s State of the Union address, he tasked Vice President Biden with leading a review of federal employment and training programs, with the goal of training workers with the skills that today’s economy demands.

 

The review is now complete, and we’ve identified what’s working around the country. The Vice President’s report highlights successful job-training programs, details executive actions by the federal government, and aims to help more Americans in getting and moving up in high-demand jobs and careers.

 

See how job-training programs across the country are making a difference.

 

 

President Obama Presents the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts

 

At a ceremony at the White House yesterday afternoon, President Obama presented the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts for his unwavering courage in one of the fiercest battles of the Afghanistan war.

 

READ MORE

 

 

A New Executive Order to Protect LGBT Workers

 

In the East Room of the White House this morning, the President signed an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

READ MORE

 

 

The President Gives an Update on the Situation in Ukraine

 

Yesterday, President Obama made a statement on the current situation in Ukraine, in the wake of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 being shot down last week over territory controlled by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine.

 

READ MORE

 

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All times are Eastern Time (ET)

10:35 AM: The President meets with Apollo 11 representatives.

 

11:00 AM: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

 

12:10 PM: The President signs H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act; the Vice President also delivers remarks.

 

1:00 PM: The President departs the White House.

 

1:15 PM: The President departs Joint Base Andrews.

 

6:15 PM: The President arrives Seattle, Washington.

 

8:05 PM: The President attends a DNC event.

 

9:00 PM: The President attends a Senate Majority PAC roundtable.

 

10:25 PM: The President departs Seattle.

 

12:10 AM: The President arrives San Francisco.

 

The President will remain overnight in San Francisco.

 

 

"President Barack Obama in Denver, CO"

 

NEW REPORT: Ready to Work

If you’re ready to work, you should be able to find a job that fits your skills, or get the skills you need for a better job. Let’s help our workers compete in the 21st-century economy.

 

President Barack Obama signs the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act; a job-training legislation which aims to help job seekers gain valuable employment skills, as guests and members of Congress look on at the White House

President Barack Obama signs the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act; a job-training legislation which aims to help job seekers gain valuable employment skills, as guests and members of Congress look on at the White House

 

The First Significant Legislative Reform of Our Job-Training System in a Number of Years

 

 

The President Signs the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

 

Published on Jul 22, 2014

President Obama and Vice President Biden deliver remarks before the signing of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, July 22, 2014.

 

 

 

We need to make sure workers in America can find jobs that meet their skills, or get trained with the skills they need for a better job.

That’s why, in this year’s State of the Union address, President Obama tasked Vice President Biden with leading a review of our country’s job-training programs to make sure that they have one mission: training our workers with the skills employers need, and matching them to good jobs that need to be filled right now.

The effort to make our federal training programs more job-driven was also bolstered by the bipartisan passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which President Obama signed into law this afternoon.

 

Read More.

 

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President Obama Visits the Dutch Embassy: “We’re All Heartbroken by What’s Happened”

 

President Barack Obama visits the Embassy of the NetherlandsPresident Barack Obama visits the Embassy of the Netherlands in Washington, D.C., July 22, 2014, to sign a condolence book honoring those who were lost in the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine. Standing with President Obama is Peter Mollema, the deputy chief of mission for the Netherlands Embassy. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

 

President Obama visited the Embassy of the Netherlands this morning, signing a condolence book for those killed in the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Ukraine. In the condolence book, the President wrote:

 

On behalf of the American people, I extend our deepest condolences to the people of the Netherlands as they mourn the loss of so many family and friends. No words can adequately express the sorrow the world feels over this loss. It is made more acute by the deep ties of friendship between our two countries. Bound by that friendship, we will not rest until we are certain that justice is done.

 

While there, the President expressed his deep sympathy over the lives lost last week:

 

Obviously, we’re all heartbroken by what’s happened. And this is an opportunity for me to extend on behalf of all the American people our deepest condolences over the loss of family and friends; to express our solidarity with the people of the Netherlands, with whom we’ve been friends and had the deepest ties for centuries; and to assure the Dutch people that we will work with them to make sure that loved ones are recovered, that a proper investigation is conducted, and that ultimately justice is done.

Peter Mollema, Deputy Chief of Mission for the Embassy, also thanked the President for being there today. “There’s been an outpouring of support from the American people,” Mollema said, “and I can only say that on behalf of the Dutch people, we’re deeply grateful. Thank you very much.”

The President Offers Condolences at the Dutch Embassy

 

Published on Jul 22, 2014

President Obama visits the Embassy of the Netherlands in Washington, D.C. and signs a condolence book for those killed in the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine. July 22, 2014.

 

 

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The Apollo 11 Mission: 45 Years Later

 

Forty-five years ago today, two American astronauts — Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong — landed on the moon’s Sea of Tranquility, and Neil Armstrong planted the first footprint on the surface of the moon. As he made those first steps, Armstrong uttered that simple phrase we still remember today: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

 

Today, President Obama joined all Americans honoring that giant leap forward, by inviting Neil Armstrong’s wife, Carol, Michael Collins, the astronaut who piloted the spacecraft that orbited the moon, and Buzz Aldrin, to the White House. Armstrong passed away in 2012.

 

President Barack Obama meets with Apollo 11 astronauts President Barack Obama meets with Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, right, Carol Armstrong, widow of Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, and Patricia Falcone, OSTP Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs, left, in the Oval Office. This week marked the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. July 22, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

In the President’s statement on today’s meeting, he honored the bravery and leadership that these heroes displayed, and acknowledged the influence that their mission has had on mankind:

 

The United States of America is stronger today thanks to the vision of President Kennedy, who set us on a course for the moon, the courage of Neil, Buzz, and Michael, who made the journey, and the spirit of service of all who’ve worked not only on the Apollo program, but who’ve dared to push the very boundaries of space and scientific discovery for all humankind.

As we commemorate that day, we take a look back at the Apollo 11 mission and the extraordinary influence of the U.S. space program.

 

President Barack Obama meets with Apollo 11 astronauts Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission

President Barack Obama meets with Apollo 11 astronauts Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission

 

Read More.

 

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When Climate Change Hits Home – A Partnership for the Future

 

Last week, we had the privilege of meeting with President Obama, members of his Cabinet, and 24 other state, local, and tribal leaders for the fourth and final meeting of the President’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. It was an important milestone in a productive and collaborative process.

We discussed the Task Force’s draft recommendations, including many steps that we hope federal agencies will take to help states and communities like ours get ready for climate change, and the Administration announced bold new actions it is taking to support climate preparedness.

Sitting there together, we recalled how the partnership between Vermont and Fort Collins, Colorado, began in far less auspicious circumstances. In September 2013, floods devastated many Colorado communities along the front range. Vermont, having recently rebuilt hundreds of bridges, roads, and homes after the record-setting Tropical Storm Irene, sent a team led by Vermont’s former recovery officer and current transportation Deputy Sue Minter, to provide advice and support to Colorado leaders as they faced the epic challenge of organizing a swift recovery.

The experience of a severe disaster in both our jurisdictions, and our deep concern that the risk of such events is worsening with climate change, has galvanized our determination to strengthen the resilience of our state and city, and to work together with leaders across the country as we “bounce forward,” and make our communities safe and prosperous during a time of increased climate-related risks.

 

Read More.

 

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President Obama at My Brother’s Keeper Town Hall: “America Will Succeed If We Are Investing in Our Young People.”

 

President Obama Presents the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts

 

 

What They’re Saying: President Obama Signs Executive Order on LGBT Workplace Equality

 

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President Obama Signs a New Executive Order to Protect LGBT Workers

 

 

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Presidential Actions

 

Executive Order — Further Amendments to Executive Order 11478, Equal Employment Opportunity in the Federal Government, and Executive Order 11246, Equal Employment Opportunity

 

Presidential Proclamation — Captive Nations Week, 2014

 

Presidential Memorandum — Proposed Amendment to the 1958 Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

 

Presidential Memorandum — Expanding Public-Private Collaboration on Infrastructure Development and Financing

 

 

Statements and Releases

 

First Lady Michelle Obama Announces Seven Organizations Join Drink Up Effort to Encourage Americans to Drink More Water, More Often

 

Drink Up! with First Lady Michelle Obama

 

Published on Jul 22, 2014

First Lady Michelle Obama announces new supporters who have joined the Drink Up effort, and joins children from local YMCA and National Recreation and Parks Association centers on the South Lawn of the White House, July 22, 2014.

 

 

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7/21/14: White House Press Briefing

 

 

 

7/22/14: White House Press Briefing

 

 

 

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Raise the Wage Champions of Change

 

Published on Jul 22, 2014

The White House honors leaders and ordinary Americans taking action to raise wages for working women and men around the country, July 22, 2014.

 

 

 

Earnest: WH ‘Confident’ in Legal Basis for Health Care Law

 

Published on Jul 22, 2014

The White House doubled-down on its support for the 2010 health care law Tuesday, following a federal appeals court ruling that some say could derail the law’s success.

 

“You don’t need a fancy legal degree to understand that Congress intended for every eligible American to have access to tax credits that would lower their health care costs, regardless of whether it was state officials or federal officials who were running the marketplace,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. “This will work its way through the legal process and we are confident in the legal case that the Department of Justice will be making.”

 

 

 

Painted fences bring Austin together

 

Published on Jul 22, 2014

Artists and citizens in North Austin collaborate to paint fences with the phrase “beauty will save the world” in various languages, reflecting the 30 languages spoken in the neighborhood. KLRU, Austin public television, went to North Lamar Boulevard to check out this effort to beautify the area and help build community spirit.

 

 

 

‘Putin is getting away with murder,’ McCain says

 

Published on Jul 22, 2014

Sen. John McCain directly blames Russia and President Vladimir Putin for the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash.

 

 

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Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment

 

Published on Jul 21, 2014

As combat operations in Afghanistan wind down, tens of thousands of service members face a daunting reality – an unemployment rate for veterans that is higher than the national average. One Army veteran turned a hobby into an opportunity. (July 22)

 

 

 

Sen. Warren Says Happy Birthday to the CFPB

 

Published on Jul 22, 2014

Senator Warren gives a floor speech to mark the 3rd anniversary of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau opening its doors. Remarks delivered on July 22, 2014.

 

Warren for President

 

 

 

Anti Immigration Bigot Says Brutal Execution “Too Good” for Pres Obama

 

 

 

FAA bans flights to Israel for 24 hours

 

 

 

Hamas spokesman likens Netanyahu to Hitler

 

 

 

Jesse Uncensored: MH17 Disaster & the Gaza Crisis | Jesse Ventura Off The Grid – Ora TV

 

Published on Jul 22, 2014

If you’re keeping up with the news, it may seem like the world is coming to end. Jesse speaks out on the latest headlines taking over the nation, including the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the current turmoil in Gaza. Watch now for the Governor’s uncensored take on these headline-grabbing conflicts — agree or disagree with Jesse? Go to ora.tv/offthegrid/askjesse and tell him what you think!

 

 

 

Deputy National Security advisor on Hamas, Russia sanctions

 

Published on Jul 22, 2014

Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes says U.S. intelligence has confirmed that the missile that brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 originated in Ukrainian territory controlled by pro-Russian rebels, but that Russia is not yet absolved of complicity. He joins Judy Woodruff to discuss coordination with Europe on potential sanctions against Russia and U.S. hopes for a Mideast cease-fire.

 

 

 

Dove of Peace

 

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What Did Barack Do Today™


By Jueseppi B. The Militant Negro

By Jueseppi B. The Militant Negro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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President Barack Obama on Monday delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine from the South Lawn. He also signs an executive order to protect LGBT’s at work. The president also visits the  Walker Jones Education Campus here for a town hall focusing on new or bolstered programs, including in Chicago that are part of his My Brother’s Keeper initiative. Later, Obama  will award Ryan M. Pitts, a former active duty Army Staff Sergeant, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.

 

Later in the morning, the President will deliver a statement on the situation in Ukraine. The President’s statement will be on the South Lawn.

 

The President Gives an Update on Ukraine and Gaza

 

Published on Jul 21, 2014

President Obama makes a statement on the current situation in Ukraine, as well as the situation in Gaza, July 21, 2014.

 

 

The President Gives an Update on the Situation in Ukraine

 

This morning, President Obama made a statement on the current situation in Ukraine, in the wake of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 being shot down last week over territory controlled by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine.

 

Following his press statement on Friday, the President restated today that “our immediate focus is on recovering those who were lost, investigating exactly what happened, and putting forward the facts. We have to make sure that the truth is out and that accountability exists.”

 

He also noted that international investigators are already on the ground, prepared and organized to conduct “the kinds of protocols and scouring and collecting of evidence that should follow any international incident like this.” President Obama then called on Russia — and President Vladimir Putin in particular — to “insist that the separatists stop tampering with the evidence, [and] grant investigators who are already on the ground immediate, full, and unimpeded access to the crash site.”

 

At the beginning of his statement, the President also took a moment to address the situation in Gaza. He reiterated that Israel has a right to defend itself against rocket and tunnel attacks from Hamas, but that we also have “serious concerns about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives.”

 

“That is why it now has to be our focus, and the focus of the international community,” he said, “to bring about a ceasefire that ends the fighting and that can stop the deaths of innocent civilians — both in Gaza and in Israel.”

 

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine, on the South Lawn of the White House, July 21, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine, on the South Lawn of the White House, July 21, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

 

White House Schedule – July 21, 2014

 

In the morning, the President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. This meeting is closed press.

 

Later in the morning, the President will deliver a statement on the situation in Ukraine. The President’s statement on the South Lawn is pooled press.

 

Later in the morning, the President will sign an Executive Order to protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination. This event in the East Room is open press. Following this event, the President will visit the Walker Jones Education Campus in Washington, DC to participate in a town hall focusing on his My Brother’s Keeper initiative. This event is open to pre-credentialed media.

 

In the afternoon, the President will award Ryan M. Pitts, a former active duty Army Staff Sergeant, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.  Staff Sergeant Pitts will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as a Forward Observer with 2nd Platoon, Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, during combat operations at Vehicle Patrol Base Kahler, in the vicinity of Wanat Village in Kunar Province, Afghanistan on July 13, 2008. Staff Sergeant Pitts will be the ninth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. This event in the East Room is open to pre-credentialed media.

 

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday July 21st, 2014

 

DAILY GUIDANCE AND SCHEDULE FOR
MONDAY, JULY 21st, 2014

 

 

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Monday, July 21 2014  All Times ET

 

9:30 AM: The President receives the Presidential Daily Briefing, Oval Office.

 

10:15 AM: The President signs an Executive Order to protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination, East Room.

 

10:50 AM: The President delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine, South Lawn.

 

11:45 AM: The President participates in a town hall focusing on the importance of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, Walker Jones Education Campus – Washington.

 

12:00 PM: The Vice President delivers remarks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention. Local Event Time: 11:00 AM. America’s Center Convention Complex – St. Louis.

 

1:00 PM: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest, Brady Press Briefing Room.

 

3:05 PM: The President awards Ryan M. Pitts, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor, East Room.

 

 

White House Week Ahead Schedule – July 22nd – July 25th, 2014

 

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On Tuesday, the President will deliver remarks and sign H.R. 803, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, at an event at the White House; the Vice President will also attend. Afterward, the President will travel to Seattle, WA to attend a DNC event. Later in the day, the President will travel to San Francisco, CA, where he will remain overnight.

 

On Wednesday, the President will attend a DCCC event in the San Francisco area, and later in the day will travel to the Los Angeles area, where he will remain overnight.

 

On Thursday, the President will visit a community college in Los Angeles to deliver remarks on the importance of job-driven skills training, particularly for fast-growing sectors such as health care. Later, he will attend a DNC event. Further details about the President’s travel to Washington and California will be made available in the coming days.

 

On Friday, the President and the Vice President will welcome President Otto Perez Molina of Guatemala, President Juan Orlando Hernandez of Honduras, and President Salvador Sanchez Ceren of El Salvador to the White House. The four leaders and Vice President Biden will discuss how to reinforce our ongoing collaboration to stem the flow of undocumented migrants from Central America to Mexico and the United States.

 

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President Obama at My Brother’s Keeper Town Hall: “America Will Succeed If We Are Investing in Our Young People.”

 

 

This afternoon, President Obama visited the Walker Jones Education Campus in Washington, D.C. to participate in a town hall with youth, and to announce new commitments in support of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative.

As the President said today, “We want fewer young men in jail; we want more of them in college. We want fewer young men on the streets; we want more in the boardrooms. We want everybody to have a chance to succeed in America. And it’s possible if we’ve got the kind of team that we set up today.”

Watch President Obama answer questions during today’s town hall:

 

My Brother’s Keeper Town Hall

 

Published on Jul 21, 2014

President Obama speaks at the My Brother’s Keeper town hall at the Walker Jones Education Campus in Washington, D.C., July 21, 2014.

 

 

 

President Obama: “Everything you do that’s worthwhile requires work.”

 

Published on Jul 21, 2014

President Obama participates in a My Brother’s Keeper town hall
on helping more young men of color succeed. July 21, 2014.

 

 

Read More.

 

 

President Obama Presents the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts

 

 

Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts Receives the Medal of Honor

 

Published on Jul 21, 2014

President Obama presents the Medal of Honor to Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts in the East Room of the White House, July 21, 2014.

 

 

At a ceremony at the White House this afternoon, President Obama presented the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts for his unwavering courage in one of the fiercest battles of the Afghanistan war.

In the summer of 2008, when our forces in Afghanistan were stretched thin across isolated outposts, Ryan was serving alongside 48 American soldiers charged with using little resources to defend a post with significant vulnerabilities. Mountains stood sky-high on every side of the village of Wanat, diverting aerial surveillance and delaying the heavy equipment they needed for their defense.

In the pre-dawn darkness of one fateful July morning, while manning this small, unfinished base, Ryan and his fellow soldiers were attacked by 200 assailants who were determined to take their post. “Those 200 insurgents were firing from ridges and from the village and from trees,” President Obama said. “Down at the base, a vehicle exploded—scattering its missiles, back at our soldiers. It was, said a soldier, ‘hell on earth.’”

 

Read More.

 

 

President Obama Signs a New Executive Order to Protect LGBT Workers

 

 

The President Signs an Executive Order on LGBT Workplace Discrimination

 

Published on Jul 21, 2014

President Obama signs an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, July 21, 2014.

 

 

 

“Many of you have worked for a long time to see this day coming.”

 

Those were President Obama’s words to the audience in the East Room of the White House this morning, before he signed an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

At the signing, the President explained how, because of their “passionate advocacy and the irrefutable rightness of [their] cause, our government — government of the people, by the people, and for the people — will become just a little bit fairer.”

 

Read More.

 

 

What They’re Saying: President Obama Signs Executive Order on LGBT Workplace Equality

 

 

Earlier today, President Obama signed an Executive Order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Order also ensures that federal employees – who are already protected on the basis of sexual orientation – will now formally be protected from discrimination based on gender identity as well.

 

In response to the President’s actions today, many national organizations dedicated to LGBT equality, civil rights, and religious freedom expressed their support.

 

Anthony Romero, Executive Director, ACLU:

 

This is one of the most important actions ever taken by a president to eradicate LGBT discrimination from America’s workplaces. By signing this order, President Obama is building on a bipartisan tradition, dating back over 70 years, of barring discrimination without exception when taxpayer dollars are involved.

Barry Curtiss-Lusher, National Chair, and Abraham Foxman, National Director, Anti-Defamation League:

 

For nearly 50 years it has been illegal for federal contractors to discriminate in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This action by President Obama continues his historic leadership in promoting LGBT rights and equality and moves our nation closer to full equality in the workplace.

 

Read More.

 

 

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President Obama’s Day In A Slide Show

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Emotional MH17 Crash Speech By Netherlands Delegate to UN

 

Published on Jul 21, 2014

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Frans Timmermans gives an emotional speech from the UN Security Council Meeting on Ukraine. The Netherlands lost the most lives of any country, 193 of the 298 people on board, when MH17 was shot down over Eastern Ukraine.

 

 

 

Rebels turn over MH17 black boxes, victims’ bodies

 

Published on Jul 21, 2014

Eastern Ukrainian rebel leaders Monday evening turned over to international investigators the black boxes belonging to downed Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. The move came shortly after the bodies of the victims were handed over and placed onto a train that will travel to the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. A reported 298 individuals were on board the aircraft when it was reportedly shot down Thursday over the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. After reaching Kharkiv, the victims’ remains will be transported to the Netherlands and other countries. RT’s Roman Kosarev reports from the Donetsk region with more details.

 

 

 

Lack of International Pressure Permits Endless Assault On Gaza

 

Published on Jul 21, 2014

Vijay Prashad says that without international pressure, Israel will not be held accountable for the crimes it commits against the Palestinians.

 

 

 

UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe

 

Published on Jul 21, 2014

Subscribe for more Breaking News: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress

The United States is blasting Moscow for its support of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine where the Malaysia Airlines plane went down. But it’s welcoming Russia’s support of a U.N. resolution calling for an investigation of the crash site. (July 21)

 

 

 

U.S. decries ‘armed thugs’ at crash site

 

Published on Jul 21, 2014

The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. says Russia must convince pro-Russian rebels to allow access to the MH17 crash site.

 

 

 

UN Security Council unanimously adopts resolution on MH17 crash

 

Published on Jul 21, 2014

The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a resolution, introduced by Australia, demanding international access to the eastern Ukraine crash site of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. RT’s Marina Portnaya has more.

 

 

 

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Guest Blogger, Ms. Valentine Logar: Jesus was a Socialist


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By Ms. Valentine Logar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This post is written by gust blogger, Ms. Valentine Logar. Visit her at QBG_Tilted Tiara.

 

Jesus was a Socialist

 

By Ms. Valentine Logar

 

Jesus was the very first Socialist. Got your attention with that statement, didn’t I?

 

Over the past several months, many of my more politically right friends and family members have grown quite bellicose during discussions about the current administration and in particular the current President. One of the most frequent slanders I have heard is, “Obama is a Socialist!” Well, as I have heard this label more than once applied to this President, to many Liberal Democrats, and to others myself included who believe there are better options than flat out capitalism I decided to look into the situation and determine for myself the following:

 

A) Is Obama really a Socialist?

B) Is Socialism an entirely bad economic framework?

C) What was the basis of Socialism, where did it start?

 

In the West, we have peculiar views of Socialism. In fact, all too often, we wrongly equate Socialism with Nazism, the Third Reich, and post WWII Russia Communism / Marxism, in truth many pundits, those talking heads where so much of our social views seem to be derived from have put horns, cloven hooves, and a tail on socialism and call it evil. Further, we wrongly connect Socialism with a political movement, which it is decidedly not. Consider the definition of Socialism, there are many however, for the purpose of this discussion I will use the following classic definition:

 

“Socialism”. Oxford English Dictionary. “1. A theory or policy of social organization which aims at or advocates the ownership and control of the means of production, capital, land, property, etc., by the community as a whole, and their administration or distribution in the interests of all. 2. A state of society in which things are held or used in common.”

 

I want to go a step further and identify the historically and generally accepted forms of socialism; I believe they are applicable. During my reading, I found many different theories, different standards, and applications. I was surprised to learn how far back the theory of Socialism went, the first writings of which were by Henri de Saint-Simon in 1823. What you say, nearly 200 years ago that can’t be right; nevertheless, it is indeed the truth Utopian Socialism emerged as a economic theory in the early 19th-century laying the groundwork for modern Socialist thought.

 

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What I found in my reading were two distinct schools of thought:

 

The first is the Social Democrats; this theory proposes a mixed economy with the nationalization of key industry. Social Democrats promote private ownership of property, capital, and enterprise. What appears to be the differentiators in those nations where Social Democrats hold or have held sway is market-regulation and tax funded welfare programs.

 

The other school of thought is the Libertarian Socialist; this theory rejects all forms of state control and private ownership reverting instead to collective ownership of production and the economy. Decision-making done via councils or workplace democracy. The Libertarian Socialist movement is more closely aligned to the original Utopian view of Socialism, which espoused communal ownership and no private property or enterprise.

 

Now, having established the forms of Socialism as both economic and social theories it is time to examine why I believe Jesus was the first Socialist.

 

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Jesus was the first Socialist, this isn’t really a question, but a statement of fact based upon the New Testament Bible. In fact I find it an interesting phenomenon that those who are most vocal in their rejection of social programs to assist the poor and displaced of our society are the very same who in most cases call themselves the “Moral Majority” and espouse Christian values as the basis of their political stance. Nevertheless, let me return to my proofs of why Jesus was the first Socialist, how I have arrived at this conclusion.

 

I am going to start with Mark Chapter 10:21-25 21Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” 24The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

 

So here, we have a very good example of Utopian Socialism in action with Jesus telling the wealthy young man the only way to follow him and gain heaven was to give away his great wealth to the poor, in other words redistribution of personal wealth to those with great need from those with great riches. Naturally, this must be very difficult for some to swallow, notice that the young mans face ‘fell’ when told he must give away his wealth to follow Jesus. Here though is our first proof, we must have no personal wealth beyond our needs; Socialism seems to be de rigueur.

 

Moving on to the next area that might prove my point and which certainly has a few feathers ruffling today; that of health care or in this case Jesus Healing those in need. He certainly didn’t seem to pay much attention to the conventions of the time, like oh say working on the Sabbath, which got him into a few bits of trouble with the powers that be. Nonetheless, heal he did without concern or consideration for pre-existing conditions or whose toes he was stepping on Jesus made his way through the land casting out demons, healing leprosy, epilepsy, and other dastardly illnesses that afflicted the people, he cared not a whit for whether a person was rich or poor, of the ruling class, or the most destitute beggar before the temple he healed them. The Pharisees, although the ruling class within the temple at the time and thus in control of wealth, law, and healing could not prevent him from teaching or healing, even on the Sabbath. There are many examples of this sprinkled throughout the New Testament, here are just a few:

 

Matthew 4:23, 9:35, 17:14

Mark 7:31, 8:22

John 9:1-41

 

Now to one of the best proofs and that is found in Matthew 25:31-46: The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. For those that don’t know this one the key statement is as follows:

 

41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life”.

 

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Finally, the teachings continued after the death of Jesus, the best example of the Utopian Socialism being the following by James found in 2:1-7:

 

1My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. 2Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. 3If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

 

5Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?

 

So now, we circle back around to my original questions; is the current President, Barack Obama a Socialist? I think the answer is that he is not any more a Socialist than any other American is, we simply have a difficult time recognizing ourselves or our economy for what it truly is. The fact is the current economic system has some aspects of Socialism including government regulation of certain industries, provisioning of health insurance for the elderly (Medicare), provisioning of care for the poor at a state level (Welfare, WIC, and Medicaid), taxing authority supported police, fire, and aid (911) are all examples of socialist programs. Each is generally found in countries with mixed economies, that is Socialism and Capitalism are both at work. Thus, my first conclusion Barack Obama is not a Socialist he is not even very far left of the middle; he is a Democrat and that is all he is.

 

The next question I asked is easily answered, is Socialism an entirely bad economic framework? The answer is yes, it is a bad framework as a stand-alone economy it is not possible to successfully manage a country in a pure Socialist economy. Nevertheless, the mixed economy of capitalism and Social Democracy is the appropriate and moral basis of a successful nation. This is true both from an economic standpoint and from the standard of ensuring all members of a society are able to their ability to be educated, work in relevant jobs, participate in government, and be cared for when necessary. Providing for the weakest members of society should be a given rather than a fight. Just as a purely Socialist economy is not sustainable neither is a purely Capitalist driven economy as we have ample proof of today in the United States.

 

So I say again, Jesus was the first Socialist. Perhaps all those who shout from their pulpits and their soapboxes about their moral right to gain riches on the backs and at the cost of others should check their premise. While they are pointing fingers and calling names, perhaps they should read the book they are standing upon, yes that would be the Bible they so readily reference usually incorrectly. During their ranting and ravings, their demand that the government “keep their hands off their Medicare”; perhaps it would serve them well to review the statements and teachings of the man who is the basis of their entire belief system, maybe this would help them.>

 

Obama is not a Socialist. Jesus however was the first Socialist.

 

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The White House DAILY SNAPSHOT™


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What You Might Have Missed This Week

 

 

This week, President Obama addressed the crash of Flight MH17, talked about investing in our country’s infrastructure, and continued to take important steps to respond to a changing climate — and the First Lady hosted the Kids’ State Dinner, featuring 54 delicious recipes from around the country.

Check out what else you may have missed in this week’s wrap up.

 

 

Weekly Address: Equipping Workers with Skills Employers Need Now and for the Future

 

In this week’s address, the President discussed the importance of ensuring that the economic progress we’ve made is shared by all hardworking Americans. Through his opportunity agenda, the President is focused on creating more jobs, educating more kids, and working to make sure hard work pays off with higher wages and better benefits.

 

This week, the President will visit a community college in Los Angeles to highlight the need to equip our workers with the skills employers are looking for now and for the good jobs of the future, and he will continue looking for the best way to grow the economy and expand opportunity for more hardworking Americans.

 

 

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President Obama on the Crash of Flight MH17

 

 

Yesterday, President Obama delivered a statement to the press in the wake of the tragic crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17:

 

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 took off from Amsterdam and was shot down over Ukraine near the Russian border. Nearly 300 innocent lives were taken — men, women, children, infants — who had nothing to do with the crisis in Ukraine. Their deaths are an outrage of unspeakable proportions

 

 

President Obama noted that this was “a global tragedy — an Asian airliner was destroyed in European skies, filled with citizens from many countries.” And as a result, there now needs to be a credible, international investigation into exactly what happened.

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“Let’s Build Some Bridges. Let’s Build Some Roads.”

 

Thursday afternoon, President Obama spoke about the importance of long-term investments in our country’s infrastructure in front of Delaware’s Interstate 495 Bridge.

 

President Barack Obama delivers remarks before he signs an executive action creating the Build America Investment Initiative.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks before he signs an executive action creating the Build America Investment Initiative during an event near the Interstate 495 Bridge at the Port of Wilmington in Wilmington, Del., July 17, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

 

We know that in the 21st century economy, businesses are going to set up shop wherever they find the best roads, the best bridges, the fastest Internet connection, the fastest rail lines, the smartest airports, the best power grid. First-class infrastructure attracts investment and it creates first-class jobs.

The President Talks About the Economy in Delaware

July 17, 2014 | 16:30 | Public Domain

 

At the Port of Wilmington in Delaware, President Obama delivers remarks on the economy.

 

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Barack-oli and Mich-room Obama-lette

 

The First Lady hosted the 2014 Kids’ State Dinner today at the White House. Fifty-four winners were selected out of more than 1,500 delicious recipes — one of those 54 recipes included the Barack-oli and Mich-room Obama-lette.

 

The President and First Lady at the 2014 Kids’ State Dinner

July 18, 2014 | 18:40 | Public Domain

 

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama deliver remarks at the 2014 Kids’ State Dinner in the East Room of the White House.

 

 

President Obama also made a surprise visit and talked about the First Family’s “pig-out indulgence food[s].”

 

“My big thing — chips and guacamole. Basically, if there is a bowl of good chips and guacamole — I lose my mind.”

 

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West Wing Week 07/18/14 or, “Where Are You Going to Go Build Your Widgets?”

 

 

Welcome to Infrastructure & Transportation Week here at West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening infrastructurally and transportationally here at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and beyond.

 

 

 

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Weekly Address: Equipping Workers with Skills Employers Need Now and for the Future

 

 

In this week’s address, the President discussed the importance of ensuring that the economic progress we’ve made is shared by all hardworking Americans. Through his opportunity agenda, the President is focused on creating more jobs, educating more kids, and working to make sure hard work pays off with higher wages and better benefits.

 

This week, the President will visit a community college in Los Angeles to highlight the need to equip our workers with the skills employers are looking for now and for the good jobs of the future, and he will continue looking for the best way to grow the economy and expand opportunity for more hardworking Americans.

 

Equipping Workers with Skills Employers Need Now and for the Future

July 19, 2014 | 3:00 | Public Domain

 

 

 

VIDEO MENSAJE DE LA CASA BLANCA: Capacitando a los trabajadores para más oportunidades

July 19, 2014 | 3:50 | Public Domain

 

En el mensaje de esta semana, la Directora de la Casa Blanca Consejo de Política nacional Cecilia Muñoz habló sobre el progreso de nuestra economía, pero también subrayó la necesidad de seguir avanzando la agenda de oportunidad del Presidente para crear más puestos de trabajo, capacitar a más trabajadores, educar a todos nuestros niños y garantizar que el trabajo duro sea recompensando con salarios más altos y mejores beneficios. Según la Organización para la Cooperación y el Desarrollo Económico (OCDE), los adultos hispanos son cuatro veces más propensos a tener bajos niveles de alfabetización, lo que representa una gran barrera para las personas en Estados Unidos que trabajan duro para ascender en la escala de la carrera a trabajos mejor remunerados que apoyen su sueño americano. Este país debe seguir siendo el lugar en el que todos los que trabajan duro pueden tener éxito si intentan.

 

 

 

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Preparing for a Changing Climate

 

Throughout the week, President Obama has been talking about how our nation’s infrastructure is vital for a world-class economy. But there’s another reason for all of this: climate change

 

 

Last November, the President established the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, which is made up of 26 governors, mayors, and county and tribal officials from across the country. On Wednesday, the Task Force came to the White House for their final meeting, before presenting the President their recommendations in the fall

 

 

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5.5 Billion Hours

 

5.5 billion hours — that’s how much time Americans spend sitting in traffic each year. That costs us $120 billion in wasted time and gas.

 

We need to make driving safer and smarter — which is one of the reasons why President Obama visited the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center on Tuesday, to talk about the importance in investing in new infrastructure technologies and renewing the Highway Trust Fund.

 

 

There are bipartisan bills moving forward in both the House and the Senate to fund the Highway Trust Fund for the short term — bills that the President supports. But he reiterated that there must be a long-term, comprehensive solution — which is something the President already put forth earlier this year.

 

 

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PBS News Hour: Why political division is multiplying in Wisconsin

 

Published on Jul 18, 2014

The residents of metropolitan Milwaukee, Wisconsin are increasingly split by race, political party and geography. A major fight over Gov. Scott Walker in 2012 helped widen the divide. Gwen Ifill talks to residents and local politicians about the fractured political landscape and what the polarization means on a national level, and Mark Shields and David Brooks weigh in with analysis.

 

 

 

NYPD Kills Man For Selling Untaxed Cigarettes

 

Published on Jul 18, 2014

“A Staten Island man died Thursday after police placed him in a chokehold as they attempted to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes.

 

According to authorities, Eric Garner, 43, went into cardiac arrest and died at Richmond University Medical Center following the arrest that was filmed by several witnesses, the New York Daily News reported.

 

In the video, Garner can be seen telling police that he had not been selling cigarettes, repeatedly saying, ” I didn’t sell anything,” before insisting, “I’m minding my own business, please leave me alone.”

 

After a standoff, five officers tackled the 400-pound Garner — with one placing him in a chokehold — and wrestled him to the ground as they attempted to put handcuffs on him.

 

As Garner lay on the ground, with one officer pushing his head into the pavement, he can be heard saying, “I can’t breath. I can’t breath,” over and over.”

 

 

 

‘She was about bringing people together’

 

Published on Jul 18, 2014

Lucy Thackray of “The Daily Mail” shares memories of MH17 victim Sister Philomene Tiernan, a nun she called her mentor.

 

 

 

RAW: World mourns MH17 crash in Ukraine

 

Published on Jul 19, 2014

Mourners from around the globe left flowers, candles and stuffed animals for the victims of the MH17 crash in Ukraine. In Amsterdam’s airport where the plane took off, to the small flower shop that two of the victims owned, people paid their respects to those who died.

 

 

 

Typhoon Rammasun makes landfall in China

 

Published on Jul 19, 2014

Typhoon Rammasun has made landfall in China much earlier than expected. Meteorologist Karen McGinnis has the details

 

 

 

Controversies cloud new NFL season

 

Published on Jul 19, 2014

The NFL is starting its latest season with controversies on several fronts. Geoff Foster, sports editor for the Wall Street Journal, discusses the latest drug inquiry as well as the ongoing Redskins saga.

 

 

 

GOP Faithful Want Obama Impeached, Why? He’s Obama, That’s Why

 

Published on Jul 19, 2014

“About one-third of U.S. adults and 68 percent of Republicans agree with Sarah Palin that President Obama deserves impeachment, a new poll found.

 

The split along partisan lines in the new Huffington Post/YouGov poll was stark. While 68 percent of Republicans said impeachment would be justified, only 8 percent of Democrats agreed and independents were evenly split 37 percent on each side.

 

Just over one quarter, 26 percent, of respondents who did not describe themselves as Republicans called for impeachment.”

 

 

 

 

What happened to him could happen to anyone

 

Published on Jul 19, 2014

Two years ago, Stephen Barton was shot in the face and neck at the 2012 Aurora theater shooting in Colorado. He survived and joined the fight to stop gun violence — hear what he has to say.

 

 

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TheObamaCrat™ Slide Show

 

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Variety: Michelle Obama Calls For Focus On The Arts In Grammy Museum Speech.


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Michelle Obama Calls for Focus on the Arts in Grammy Museum Speech

 

By , Variety Magazine.

 

First lady Michelle Obama appeared in Los Angeles before a crowd of music professionals, educators and students on Wednesday, as she called for greater recognition of the value of arts education.

 

“We cannot be satisfied until every child in America has some exposure to the arts,” Obama said at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live.

 

Obama’s address was part of the Grammy Museum’s Jane Ortner Education Award Luncheon, named in honor of the late public school teacher Jane Ortner, who promoted music education.

 

Obama said that some 6 million school children have no music or arts classes in their schools, a problem exacerbated by cuts in public education.

 

She said that for many young people, “the arts are a way to channel that pain and frustration into something meaningful and productive and beautiful.”

 

“For many young people and arts education is the only reason they get out of bed in the morning,” she said, her voice often passionate as she delivered her remarks.

 

She also called on arts organizations across the country to adopt programs that include activities for students, as the Grammy Museum does. The museum participates in an educational component of the White House’s concert series, which airs on PBS as “In Performance at the White House.”

 

The honorees at the event were educator Sunshine Cavalluzzi and singer Janelle Monae, who performed “Q.U.E.E.N.” and “Tightrope.” The award honors educators and artists who are dedicated to education through the arts.

 

Introducing Monae, Obama said, “I love to hear her perform, and yes, she was on a table, in the White House, and that’s our little secret.” She praised Monae as “one of the young artists here who is making music that means something. … She serves as a role model and an inspiration to so many young people.” The first lady also said she was “honored to be the first Electric Lady.”

 

“I got my letter in the mail. I framed it. It’s up,” she said.

 

Ortner’s husband, entertainment attorney Charles, is a board member of the museum, and told the luncheon that a goal is to “enhance the education environment through music, even though these are not music teachers per se.” The music is a way in to match, the sciences and history, with lesson plans posted for free on the Grammy Museum website. Joining him were his children, Eric and Amy.

 

The first lady’s visit to Los Angeles included a speech at the Unite for Veterans Summit, organized by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the Federal Reserve Bank and USC. On Tuesday, she appeared at a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee at the home of HBO’s Michael Lombardo and architect Sonny Ward.

 

First Lady Michelle Obama, right, hugs six-time Grammy nominee singer Janelle Monae at the Grammy Museum’s Jane Ortner Education Award Luncheon in Los Angeles Wednesday, July, 16, 2014. The first lady says every arts organization in the country should embrace the mission of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, which focuses on education.

First Lady Michelle Obama, right, hugs six-time Grammy nominee singer Janelle Monae at the Grammy Museum’s Jane Ortner Education Award Luncheon in Los Angeles Wednesday, July, 16, 2014. The first lady says every arts organization in the country should embrace the mission of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, which focuses on education.

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at the Grammy Museum’s Jane Ortner Education Award Luncheon in Los Angeles Wednesday, July, 16, 2014. Obama says every arts organization in the country should embrace the mission of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, which focuses on education.

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at the Grammy Museum’s Jane Ortner Education Award Luncheon in Los Angeles Wednesday, July, 16, 2014. Obama says every arts organization in the country should embrace the mission of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, which focuses on education.

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Thank you Variety Magazine.

 

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Remarks by the First Lady at Grammy Museum’s Jane Ortner Education Award Luncheon

Grammy Museum
Los Angeles, California

12:32 P.M. PDT

 

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MRS. OBAMA:  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)  Well, hello, everyone!  How are you guys doing?

 

AUDIENCE:  Good!

 

MRS. OBAMA:  It’s really exciting, huh?

 

AUDIENCE:  Yeah!

 

MRS. OBAMA:  Well, it is a pleasure for me to be here for the inaugural Jane Ortner Education Award Luncheon.  I want to start by thanking Bob for that very kind introduction and for his visionary leadership of the Grammy Museum, and for sharing that story.  And in response, yes, we did hear.  (Laughter.)  We heard everything.  We can hear everything that goes on on the State floor upstairs.  But as Bob noted, it was a beautiful sound.  It was the sound of growth and victory and happiness, and it filled the White House just as Barack and I had imagined.  So we were grateful for that night and so many, many wonderful nights shared with this organization.

 

I want to thank Chuck Ortner and his family for their tremendous generosity in making this luncheon possible.  Yes.  (Applause.)  And I want to give a special thank-you to your fabulous mayor, Mayor Garcetti.  We’re just thrilled that he could join us today, and we are grateful for his leadership.  (Applause.)

 

And I’d like to thank and congratulate today’s honorees — my dear, dear friend, Janelle Monae, as well as Sunshine Cavalluzzi, who I will get to meet.  (Applause.)  Sunshine — I’m going to see Sunshine soon.  We are so inspired by the both of you and so grateful for everything you do for our children.

 

And of course, I want to thank everyone here today for your support to bring arts education to young people across this country.  Your work has been at the heart of our vision for the White House right from the very beginning, as Bob shared.

 

Now, traditionally, when it comes to hosting cultural events, the White House has always brought in the most renowned performers in the world.  And in the past, the audiences for these performances were usually a lot of pretty fancy people — politicians, business leaders, celebrities — the kind of folks who get invited to the White House all the time.

 

But when Barack and I first came to Washington, we decided that it was time to shake things up a little bit.  We wanted to do everything we could to make the White House the “People’s House.”  We wanted to open it up to as many people in this country as possible, especially our young people.  So when we started inviting performers to the White House, as Bob mentioned, we told everyone that we also expected them to spend some time with young people, doing workshops and these wonderful mentoring sessions.

 

And that’s where all of you came in.  Thanks to your generosity, the Grammy Museum has flown nearly 1,000 students to Washington to visit the White House and take part in these programs, and thousands more have participated by video.  These young people have had so many once-in-a-lifetime experiences. They’ve explored soul music with Janelle Monae, Melissa Etheridge, Patti LaBelle — that was good.  (Laughter.)  They’ve learned about country music with Lyle Lovett, Darius Rucker, Kris Kristofferson.  As you heard, they talked about Motown with Smokey Robinson and John Legend.  I could go on and on.  These sessions are amazing.

 

And I have to tell you, these are some of my favorite events at the White House.  They’re these truly intimate moments when the artists and the kids are sitting around in the State Dining Room.  Very special.  I make sure they know they’re sitting where we host kings and queens and leaders from all over the world.  And in that room, they’re pouring their hearts out to each other.  They get really close.  They’re not just talking about music — they’re talking about their hopes and dreams and their fears.  They’re talking about the value of hard work, things like staying true to yourself, picking yourself up when you fall.  That’s one thing I always say to the students — failure is your only guarantee in life.  So you got to figure that out.

 

And let me tell you, so many of the young people who’ve had these experiences, they walk away transformed — how can you help but not be transformed — with a new sense of purpose and hope.

 

Just take the example of a young woman named Trina Vargas who attended a workshop — she attended that first workshop on the music of the civil rights, back in 2010, that Bob talked about.  Now, Trina was raised by a single mother, much like many of the artists who perform and we have known and love.  She’s from Guatemala.  Her mother never had a chance to go to college herself.  And while Trina worked hard in school, she wasn’t always sure that hard work would really pay off.

 

But her trip to the White House opened her eyes, and as she put it — and these are just a few of her words — she said, “I saw for the first time how education and hard work could open doors I never dreamed possible.”  And she said, even though it isn’t easy to — and “it’s easy to feel discouraged at times,” she said, “I won’t stop chasing my dreams.”

 

Well today, four years later, Trina has graduated Summa Cum Laude from SUNY Albany, and she’s now working her way towards law school.  (Applause.)  And I’m sure I could share hundreds of stories just like that.

 

So make no mistake about it, programs like this aren’t just about taking a fun field trip to Washington, and they shouldn’t just be luxuries for kids who can afford it.  Because we know that engagement in the arts can unlock a world of possibilities for our young people, especially when it comes to their education.

 

Studies show that kids who are involved in the arts have higher grades, higher graduation rates, higher college enrollment rates.  And when you think about it, that’s not really surprising.  Because for many young people, arts education is the only reason they get out of bed in the morning.  Just like Janelle, they go to school each day because there’s an instrument they want to play, a musical they want to perform in, a painting they are dying to finish.  See, and then once they arrive in those classrooms, that’s when we can teach them something else, like math and writing and science.  That is the power of the arts for so many of our young people.

 

But today, as we honor your work to promote arts education and we recognize leaders like Sunshine and Janelle, we also need to be thinking about all the young people who will never have these opportunities in this country.  We need to be thinking about the six million children in this country who don’t have a single art or music class in their schools.  (Applause.)

 

So for every Janelle Monae, there are so many young people with so much promise [that] they never have the chance to develop.  And think about how that must feel for a kid to have so much talent, so much that they want to express, but it’s all bottled up inside because no one ever puts a paintbrush or an instrument or a script into their hand.

 

Think about what that means for our communities, that frustration bottled up.  Think about the neighborhoods where so many of our kids live — neighborhoods torn apart by poverty and violence.  Those kids have no good outlets or opportunities, so for them everything that’s bottled up — all that despair and anger and fear — it comes out in all the wrong places.  It comes out through guns and gangs and drugs, and the cycle just continues.

 

But the arts are a way to channel that pain and frustration into something meaningful and productive and beautiful.  And every human being needs that, particularly our kids.  And when they don’t have that outlet, that is such a tremendous loss, not just for our kids, but for our nation.  And that’s why the work you all are doing is so important.

 

But we can’t stop here.  Yes, you all have an abundance of riches here in Los Angeles.  And yes, we do have a pretty big platform at the White House; people do tend to accept our invitations to perform and interact with young people.  We’ve got a little leverage.  But let’s not forget that there are theaters and symphonies and museums in cities and towns all across this country.  And with every exhibit and performance they put on, these folks should be asking themselves, “How can we get some kids in here?  How can we get these artists and performers to connect with young people in those communities?”

 

In other words, every arts organization in this country should be embracing the mission of the Grammy Museum.  Because we cannot be satisfied until every child in America has some kind of exposure to the arts — every child.  Every child.  (Applause.)

 

And to all the young people here today, I just want to urge you all to take the fullest advantage of these opportunities when you get them.  Try as many new art forms as you can, and take some risks.  Don’t be afraid to express yourself.  And most importantly, take the lessons you learn through arts and apply them at school, and bring that same passion and dedication to getting the education you need to fulfill your dreams.  And so many of you are already doing that, and I am incredibly proud of you all.

 

But today, I want to urge you to dream even bigger, work even harder, and don’t ever give up, no matter what challenges you face.  Because if you do that, there is no limit to what you can achieve.  And remember, there are so many people who believe in you.  I believe in you.  Your President believes in you.  And all of these people here today believe in you.

 

So go out there and make us proud.  And more importantly, make yourselves proud.  Yes.  (Applause.)

 

And to all of you here today who are doing so much to support these amazing young people, I want to end as I started by once again saying thank you.  Thank you for your commitment to their future, to our country’s future.  And I do look forward to continuing our work together in the months and years ahead.

 

Thank you all so much.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

 

I have one more wonderful task here today.  You know that little fireplug of a woman that just stood here today?  Well, I’m going to introduce her, because she’s going to come out here and do her thing.

 

But let me just say something about this young, beautiful, talented woman.  First of all, I am honored to be the first Electric Lady.  (Laughter.)  I got my letter in the mail — I framed it; it’s up.  But when you listen to Janelle, when you hear her speak — I love to hear her perform.  And yes, she was on a table in the White House.  And that’s our little secret.  (Laughter.)  But I love to hear her perform, but I love to hear her talk.  I love Janelle’s message.

 

I love that she is one of the young artists here who is making music that means something.  She has a message.  She has a voice.  She has a power in her.  And she understands the responsibility she has within her grasp to take these opportunities and just take off with them.  She serves as a role model and an inspiration to so many young people.  And I am happy to call her my friend.  I am so proud of her.

 

It is my pleasure to introduce the one, the only — Janelle Monae.  (Applause.)

 

END
12:46 P.M. PDT

 

janelle-monae

 

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