The Vice President Joey B. Swears In Julián Castro As New HUD Secretary


Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swears in Julian Castro as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, in the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House, August 18, 2014. Also pictured are Secretary Castro's wife Erica, and daughter Carina. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swears in Julian Castro as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, in the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House, August 18, 2014. Also pictured are Secretary Castro’s wife Erica, and daughter Carina. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)


The Vice President Swears In Julián Castro as New HUD Secretary



Earlier this afternoon, Vice President Biden ceremonially swore in former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro as the new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.


Secretary Castro — who was confirmed by the Senate last month in a 71-26 vote — made significant progress in San Antonio and implemented a number of housing and economic development programs to help the city’s residents. In a statement last month, President Obama called Secretary Castro “a proven leader — a champion for safe, affordable housing and strong, sustainable neighborhoods.”


The President also voiced his confidence that Secretary Castro will work in his new role to “build on the progress we’ve made battling back from the Great Recession” — rebuilding America’s housing market, reducing veteran homelessness, and connecting neighborhoods with good schools and jobs that help Americans succeed.



Learn more:

Related Topics: Housing, Urban Policy


Julián Castro (/ˌhliˈɑːn/ hoo-lee-ahnSpanish pronunciation: [huˈljan] ;) (born September 16, 1974) is an American politician who has been the 16th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development since July 28, 2014. Castro served three terms as the Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, from 2009 through 2014.



Julian Castro
Julián Castro's Official HUD Portrait.jpg
16th United States Secretary of Housing and

Urban Development

Assumed office
July 28, 2014
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Shaun Donovan
Mayor of San Antonio
In office
June 1, 2009 – July 22, 2014
Preceded by Phil Hardberger
Succeeded by Ivy Taylor
Personal details
Born September 16, 1974 (age 39)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Erica Lira
Children Carina
Alma mater Stanford University
Harvard University
Religion Roman Catholicism


Early life and family

Julián Castro was born in San Antonio, Texas, on September 16, 1974, to Maria “Rosie” Castro and Jessie Guzman. He is the identical twin brother of current United States Representative Joaquín Castro. His mother was a Chicana political activist who helped establish the Chicano political party La Raza Unida. She ran unsuccessfully for San Antonio City Council in 1971. Castro once stated, “My mother is probably the biggest reason that my brother and I are in public service. Growing up, she would take us to a lot of rallies and organizational meetings and other things that are very boring for an 8-, 9-, 10-year-old”. His father, Jessie Guzman, is a retired math teacher and political activist. Never married, Rosie and Jessie separated when Castro and his brother were eight years old. Castro’s roots trace back to 1920, when his grandmother, Victoria Castro, joined extended family members there as a six-year-old orphan from northern Mexico.


In 2007 Castro married Erica Lira Castro, an elementary school teacher. In 2009 their daughter Carina Castro was born.




Castro attended Thomas Jefferson High School, where he played football, basketball and tennis; he also collected trading cards. He skipped his sophomore year and graduated in 1992, ranking ninth in his class. He had received an offer to play tennis at Trinity University, a NCAA Division III school, but chose to attend Stanford University.


He graduated from Stanford in 1996 with a bachelors degree in political science and communications. He said he began thinking about entering politics while at Stanford, where he and his brother launched their first campaigns and won student senate seats, tying for the highest number of votes. Castro has credited affirmative action for his admission into Stanford, telling The New York Times, “Joaquín and I got into Stanford because of affirmative action. I scored 1,210 on my SATs, which was lower than the median matriculating student. But I did fine in college and in law school. So did Joaquín. I’m a strong supporter of affirmative action because I’ve seen it work in my own life”.


Castro entered Harvard Law School in 1997 and graduated with a Juris Doctor in 2000. His brother graduated from both schools with him. After law school, the two brothers worked for the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld before starting their own firm in 2005.



Political career

San Antonio

Castro was elected to the San Antonio City Council in 2001, winning 61 percent of the vote against five challengers. At age 26 he was the youngest city councilman in San Antonio history, surpassing Henry Cisneros (later mayor of San Antonio and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development), who won his council seat in 1975 when he was 27 years old. Castro represented District 7, a precinct on the city’s west side with 115,000 residents. The population was 70 percent Hispanic and included a large number of senior citizens. As a councilman from 2001 to 2005, he had opposed a PGA-approved golf course and large-scale real estate development on the city’s outer rim.


Castro ran for Mayor of San Antonio in 2005 and was widely viewed as the front runner in a field that also included retired judge Phil Hardberger and conservative city councilman Carroll Schubert. However, he was defeated by approximately 4000 votes when Hardberger received 51.5% of the votes.


Julian Castro and his twin brother Representative Joaquin Castro at the LBJ Presidential Library

Julian Castro and his twin brother Representative Joaquin Castro at the LBJ Presidential Library


Castro ran for Mayor of San Antonio again in 2009, announcing his candidacy on November 5, 2008. Castro won the election on May 9, 2009 with 56.23% of the vote, his closest opponent being Trish DeBerry-Mejia. He became the fifth Latino mayor in the history of San Antonio. He was the youngest mayor of a top-50 American city.


In 2010 Castro created SA2020, a community-wide visioning effort. It generated a list of goals created by the people of San Antonio based on their collective vision for San Antonio in the year 2020. SA2020 then became a nonprofit organization tasked with turning that vision into a reality.


In 2010 he established Cafe College, which offers college guidance to San Antonio area students. In 2012 he led a voter referendum to expand pre-kindergarten education.


Castro was re-elected in 2011, running against four candidates; he received 82.9% of the votes.


Castro gained national attention in 2012 when he was the first Hispanic to deliver the keynote address at a Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.


In 2013, Castro was re-elected for a third term as Mayor of San Antonio. Castro won 67% of the votes but did very little campaigning, as none of his opponents made a serious attempt to win the mayoral election.


U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid meets with Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Nominee Julián Castro on July 7, 2014

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid meets with Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Nominee Julián Castro on July 7, 2014


Castro has been an advocate for LGBT rights and has stated that he opposes the law in Texas that bans gay marriage.


He resigned as mayor effective July 22, 2014, so that he could take up his duties in Washington. The San Antonio City Council elected council member Ivy Taylor to replace him.



Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

On May 22, 2014 the White House announced Castro as the nominee to be the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by President Barack Obama. He was confirmed by the Senate on July 9, 2014 by a vote of 71-26 and will replace Shaun Donovan, who was nominated to be the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. He took office on July 28, 2014 as United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Following the announcement, Castro was discussed as a potential 2016 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee. On July 28, 2014, his first day in office, Castro was honored at a reception called “Celebrating Latino Cabinet Members” hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.



Julián Castro: New HUD Secretary


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TheObamaCrat Wake-Up Call™ For August 18th, 2014: Barack Returns To D.C. Early From Vacation.




White House Schedule – August 18, 2014


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


Afterward, the President and Vice President will meet with members of the National Security Council to receive an update on Iraq. There will be a photojournalist spray at the top of this meeting in the Roosevelt Room.


In the afternoon, the President and the Vice President will meet for lunch in the Private Dining Room. This lunch is closed press.


Later in the afternoon, the President will meet with Attorney General Holder to receive an update on the situation in Ferguson, Missouri. There will be a photojournalist spray at the top of this meeting in the Oval Office.




Monday, August 18 2014  All Times ET


10:00 AM: The President and Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing,Oval Office.


10:35 AM: The President and Vice President meet with members of the National Security Council to receive an update on Iraq, The Roosevelt Room.


12:30 PM: The President and Vice President meet for lunch, Private Dining Room.


1:15 PM: The President meets with Attorney General Holder to receive an update on the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, Oval Office.


1:45 PM: The Vice President ceremonially swears in Julián Castro as United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Eisenhower Executive Office Building.


4:00 PM: The President delivers a statement to provide an update on Iraq and the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, Brady Press Briefing Room.


President Obama Delivers a Statement


Started on Aug 18, 2014

Live from the Brady Press Briefing Room. The President will deliver a statement to provide an update on Iraq and the situation in Ferguson, Missouri.




President Barack Hussein Obama Heading Back To D.C.




President Barack Hussein Obama Heading Back To D.C. 


By Associated PressBy JULIE PACE, AP White House Correspondent:


(AP) — President Barack Obama is getting off the island.

In a rare move for him, the president planned a break in the middle of his Martha’s Vineyard vacation to return to Washington on Sunday night for unspecified meetings with Vice President Joe Biden and other advisers.

The White House has been cagey about why the president needs to be back in Washington for those discussions. Part of the decision appears aimed at countering criticism that Obama is spending two weeks on a resort island in the midst of so many foreign and domestic crises.

Yet those crises turned the first week of Obama’s vacation into a working holiday. He made on-camera statements on U.S. military action in Iraq and the clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. He called foreign leaders to discuss the tensions between Ukraine and Russia, as well as between Israel and Hamas.

“I think it’s fair to say there are, of course, ongoing complicated situations in the world, and that’s why you’ve seen the president stay engaged,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.

Obama is scheduled to return to Martha’s Vineyard on Tuesday and stay through next weekend.

Even though work has occupied much of Obama’s first week on vacation, he still found plenty of time to golf, go to the beach with his family and go out to dinner on the island. He hit the golf course one more time Sunday ahead of his departure, joining two aides and former NBA player Alonzo Mourning for an afternoon round.

Earlier in the week, Obama attended a birthday party for Democratic adviser Vernon Jordan’s wife, where he spent time with former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

That get-together between the former rivals-turned-partners added another complicated dynamic to Obama’s vacation. Just as Obama was arriving on Martha’s Vineyard, an interview with the former secretary of state was published in which she levied some of her sharpest criticism of Obama’s foreign policy.

Clinton later promised she and Obama would “hug it out” when they saw each other at Jordan’s party. No reporters were allowed in, so it’s not clear whether there was any hugging, but the White House said the president danced to nearly every song.


Follow Julie Pace on Twitter at

Thank you Associated Press


President Barack Obama bike rides with daughter Malia Obama on the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest bike path, Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, outside of West Tisbury, Mass., during the Obama family vacation on the island of Martha's Vineyard. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Barack Obama bike rides with daughter Malia Obama on the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest bike path, Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, outside of West Tisbury, Mass., during the Obama family vacation on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Two people on a motor scooter, left, drive by as law enforcement officials from Secret Service and Massachusetts State Police stand outside State Road Restaurant where President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have dinner with friends, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in West Tisbury, Mass. President Obama is staying on Martha's Vineyard for what is expected to be a two-week summer vacation. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Two people on a motor scooter, left, drive by as law enforcement officials from Secret Service and Massachusetts State Police stand outside State Road Restaurant where President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have dinner with friends, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in West Tisbury, Mass. President Obama is staying on Martha’s Vineyard for what is expected to be a two-week summer vacation. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Two law enforcement officials use binoculars near the entrance to State Road Restaurant, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in West Tisbury, Mass., moments before the arrival of President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for dinner with friends. President Obama is staying on Martha's Vineyard for what is expected to be a two-week summer vacation. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Two law enforcement officials use binoculars near the entrance to State Road Restaurant, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in West Tisbury, Mass., moments before the arrival of President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for dinner with friends. President Obama is staying on Martha’s Vineyard for what is expected to be a two-week summer vacation. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)




Winter - Snow - Peace





Screenshot (254)


The White House Blog Updates For August The 13th, 2014.




New Commitments to Improve College Opportunity


Last January, I listened to the President ask hundreds of college presidents to increase college opportunity for all Americans. He asked them to help because a college degree remains one of the surest pathways into the middle class in America, and is an especially powerful engine of social and economic mobility.


Over this decade, nearly 8 in 10 new jobs will require some postsecondary education or training beyond high school. And of the 30 fastest growing occupations, half require a college degree. At the same time, college graduates earn an average of 77 percent more per hour than a high school graduatePresident Obama set forth a goal early in his first term to guide our work in education – to lead the world with the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020.


And yesterday, I had the privilege of joining Secretary Duncan in meeting with community college leaders who have made new commitments to ensure student success, because, in order to make progress on our goal to be first in the world, we need to embrace some of the foundational challenges to college enrollment, persistence, and completion.


Our nation’s community colleges are the engines of our higher education system. As the largest part of America’s higher education system, these institutions provide the education and training to prepare our 21st century workforce and are an ideal place to raise the knowledge and skills of our workforce – and to meet the academic needs of a diverse population of learners, from recent high school graduates to adults seeking new skills


Read More


Join Us for a Maker Camp Field Trip to the White House Kitchen Garden


Watch the Maker Camp Field Trip below starting at 2 p.m. ET



Get ready to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty! White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford is inviting you to join a virtual Maker Camp Field Trip to the White House Kitchen Garden on Wednesday, August 13 at 2:00 p.m. ET.


Google and Make have come together to put on Maker Camp, a free online summer camp for building, tinkering and exploring available online and in local neighborhoods. With Maker Camp, teen inventors and artists around the world can make awesome projects, participate in epic virtual field trips and meet the world’s coolest makers. Tomorrow, Chef Comerford will give participants a look inside the First Lady’s Kitchen Garden, share tips for cooking and gardening at home, and more.


Here’s how you can join:

  • Watch the virtual field trip live right here or on Maker Camp’s Google+ page on Wednesday, August 13 at 2 p.m. ET
  • Got a question about the White House garden? Ask it during the event right here.


In June, President Obama hosted the first-ever White House Maker Faire to celebrate America’s students and entrepreneurs who are inventing the future with new technologies such as 3D printers, laser cutters, easy-to-use design software, and desktop machine tools. The event brought together more than 100 students, entrepreneurs, engineers, and researchers from 25 states ­all of whom love to “Make” stuff.


We hope you can “Make” it to Wednesday’s event and join the conversation live from the White House Kitchen Garden.



White House Award Ceremony with Youth and Environmental Educators


Published on Aug 12, 2014

Senior White House and Administration officials join an awards ceremony honoring recipients of the Presidential Environmental Youth Award and the Presidential innovation Award for Environmental Educators. August 12, 2014.







Statements and Releases – August 13th, 2014


Readout of the President’s Call with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel

President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu discussed today by phone the ongoing negotiations in Cairo to achieve a sustainable ceasefire agreement.  The President reaffirmed the United States’ support for Egypt’s mediation efforts and underscored the importance of achieving a sustainable outcome that ensures Israel’s security and addresses Gaza’s humanitarian crisis.



Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on the Death of Eduardo Campos

We were deeply saddened to learn of the plane crash that appears to have taken the life of Brazilian Presidential candidate Eduardo Campos as well as his travel companions. We extend our profound condolences to the family and other loved ones of the deceased and to the people of Brazil. The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with Brazil on this tragic occasion.



FACT SHEET: Improving College Opportunity


Statement by the President on the Passing of Michael Brown




Giving America a Raise: A Progress Report



In this year’s State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour—a move that would boost the bottom lines of businesses and increase the earnings of 28 million hardworking Americans.


It’s a commonsense proposal that Republicans in Congress continue to block—which is why President Obama took action to raise the minimum wage for workers on new federal contracts. And states, cities, and businesses across the country are doing their part, too.


A new White House report released today looks at the progress businesses and communities are making in raising the minimum wage for millions of workers. In fact, since the President first called for a minimum wage increase in 2013, 13 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws to increase their minimum wage, which will benefit about 7 million workers.


The economic evidence is clear: It’s time to give America a raise. Find out how many more workers would benefit if Congress would take action to raise the wage:




Learn more about why we must act now to raise the wage and ensure a growing economy that works for everyone:










Climate Change & Wildfires Explained in Less Than Three Minutes

August 05, 2014 | 2:38 | Public Domain

President Obama’s Science Advisor, Dr. John Holdren, explains in less than three minutes how the growing number of intense wildfires are linked in part, to climate change. Learn more at



















I have supported Barack Hussein Obama since 1997 when I first noticed him in and around the Hyde Park neighborhood. I still support him 5000%, although we disagree on Israel. This post published by 


Thought Provoking Perspectives


Mirrors exactly how I feel about the attention paid to the Black American community since 2009 by MY President Of The United States of America. It’s an interesting read from a Black American who sometimes thinks about things as I think about things.


Butt I’d still crawl thru hell wearing gasoline soaked boxers for Barack Hussein Obama. Even though we disagree on Palestine/Israel.


This thought provoking article is by Thought Provoking Perspectives…..

Please Mr. President


It expresses exactly how I feel at this moment in time.






Anonymous: Audio Tapes (St. Louis Dispatch)


Published on Aug 13, 2014


We are Anonymous.

These files compiled in this video contains audio of St. Louis police dispatch from the date of August 9th 2014, the day Mike Brown was murdered by a Ferguson PD officer. We have released these tapes to the public so as they are able to get a sense of the atmosphere the moments before and the hours after Mike Brown was shot.

These raw audio files have been compiled and long quiet moments have been cut down. Time stamps are available within the video.

Incident begins at around noon..(9:08 time stamp)











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TheObamaCrat Wake-Up Call™ For Monday The 11th of August: Barack In Tisbury, Massachusetts.




On Monday, August 11, the President will attend a DSCC event at a private residence in Tisbury, Massachusetts. There will be print pool coverage for remarks only. The First Family is on a well deserved vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.


Enjoy Your Well Deserved Vacation.


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Raw: President Golfs on Martha’s Vineyard


Published on Aug 9, 2014

President Barack Obama kicked off a two-week vacation by playing golf on Martha’s Vineyard Thursday, which comes as the U.S. is engaged in military airstrikes against Islamic militant targets in Iraq. (Aug. 9)




White House Schedule – August 11th, 2014


On Monday, August 11, the President will attend a DSCC event at a private residence in Tisbury, Massachusetts. There will be print pool coverage for remarks only.


Monday, August 11 2014  All Times ET


5:55 PM: The President delivers remarks and answers questions at a DSCC event, Private Residence — Massachusetts.





The White House Blog


Airstrikes in Iraq: What You Need to Know


President Obama has authorized the U.S. military to execute targeted airstrikes in Iraq.


The President takes no decision more seriously than the use of military force. So it’s worth taking a few minutes to make sure you understand exactly what is happening in Iraq right now, who is involved, and why we are taking action. Here are a few answers to some key questions Americans may be asking:


1. What exactly did the President do?

On August 7, 2014, President Obama authorized two operations in the northern region of Iraq. First, he authorized the military to use limited airstrikes to protect American diplomatic and military personnel serving in the city of Erbil. Second, the United States is delivering humanitarian aid to thousands of Yezidis, Iraqi civilians, who have been forced to flee their homes and are now stranded on a mountainside — facing near-certain death without our assistance.



2. Why are airstrikes needed now?

Terrorist forces known as ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) have been advancing across Iraq. ISIL had moved toward the city of Erbil, where many American diplomats and military advisors are currently serving. By August 7, ISIL forces had taken positions only minutes from Erbil.


In order to stop ISIL’s advance from threatening our people and facilities, the President ordered targeted airstrikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move toward Erbil.



3. Why can’t we just evacuate the Americans from Erbil instead of taking military action? 

The American personnel in Erbil are vital to joint operations with the Kurds and the Iraqi government. Right now, we have the capability to see what’s happening on the ground and we have military capability to hit strategic targets.



4. What about the humanitarian mission? Why is that needed? 

ISIL forces have acted with particular brutality toward ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq, including the Yezidi people in northern Iraq. Not only have they conducted executions and enslaved Yezidi women, they have threatened to systematically destroy the entire Yezidi people, which would constitute an act of genocide.


Thousands of Yezidis have fled their hometowns to Mount Sinjar in order to escape the advancing ISIL forces. They have no access to food or water — many are dying of thirst.


The United States has been airdropping food and water to the Yezidis on Mount Sinjar to prevent the loss of innocent lives. As the President said, “The United States of America cannot turn a blind eye. We can act, carefully and responsibly, to prevent a potential act of genocide.”



5. Will airstrikes be used to protect the Yezidi people on the mountain? 

The U.S. military has been undertaking limited airstrikes to help Iraqi forces that are fighting to beat back ISIL’s siege on the mountain and to protect the civilians there.



6. Are we the only ones fighting ISIL?

No. The United States is providing urgent assistance and arms to Iraqi forces in the region so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL. Britain and France have also committed to joining the United States in providing humanitarian aid to the Yezidi people.



7. Is ISIL more dangerous than al-Qaeda right now? 

While both are terrorist forces, they have different ambitions. Al-Qaeda’s principal ambition is to launch attacks against the west and U.S. homeland. That’s the direct threat that we have taken direct action against for many years. Right now, ISIL’s primary focus is consolidating territory in the Middle East region to establish their own Islamic State. So they’re different organizations with different objectives.



8. Are we at war with ISIL? Will we be sending troops back to Iraq? 

No. There is no U.S. military solution to the larger situation in Iraq. The United States’ chief goals are to protect our personnel and facilities, and to prevent a potential act of genocide. That is the scope of these operations. As the President said, we will support Iraqis as they take the fight to these terrorists, but no American combat troops will be returning to fight in Iraq.



9. What’s our plan moving forward? 

We will protect our citizens, and we will work with Iraqis and the international community to address the humanitarian crisis facing the Yezidi people.

As we carry out that mission, we will pursue a strategy that empowers Iraqi leaders to come together, forge an inclusive government, and build security forces that can fight back against threats like ISIL. The Iraqi people have named a new President, a new Speaker of Parliament, and working to choose a new Prime Minister. The U.S. will work with this new government and other countries in the region on a broader counterterrorism strategy moving forward


Learn more about the situation in Iraq and our plan to help ensure the security of Americans serving in Erbil.






Summer Mailbag: Ask the White House Your Questions



It’s that time of year again! We’re bringing back the Summer Mailbag edition of West Wing Week. If you’ve got a question about President Obama’s policies, what it’s like to work at the White House, or really, anything you’ve been meaning to ask about his day-to-day life or his Administration, we want to hear from you.


  • We’re asking people across the country to submit their questions on social media — and administration officials will answer some of them in West Wing Week. Here’s how it works:


    1. Ask your questions on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, or Google+ using the hashtag #AskTheWH.
    2. We’ll send some of your questions over to White House staffers for them to answer.
    3. Be sure to watch the Summer Mailbag edition of West Wing Week to find out if your question got answered.


    Need some inspiration? Check out last year’s Summer Mailbag edition, and stay tuned for this year’s episode over the next couple of weeks.




The President Gives an Update on the Situation in Iraq




This morning, from the South Lawn of the White House, President Obama made a statement on the situation in Iraq, detailing the progress of current American operations in the country:


Good morning.  Over the past two days, American pilots and crews have served with courage and skill in the skies over Iraq.

First, American forces have conducted targeted airstrikes against terrorist forces outside the city of Erbil to prevent them from advancing on the city and to protect our American diplomats and military personnel.  So far, these strikes have successfully destroyed arms and equipment that ISIL terrorists could have used against Erbil.  Meanwhile, Kurdish forces on the ground continue to defend the city, and the United States and the Iraqi government have stepped up our military assistance to Kurdish forces as they wage their fight.

Second, our humanitarian effort continues to help the men, women and children stranded on Mount Sinjar.  American forces have so far conducted two successful airdrops — delivering thousands of meals and gallons of water to these desperate men, women and children.  And American aircraft are positioned to strike ISIL terrorists around the mountain to help forces in Iraq break the siege and rescue those who are trapped there.


The President added, however, that the United States is continuing to pursue our broader strategy in Iraq, even while dealing with these immediate situations:

We will protect our American citizens in Iraq, whether they’re diplomats, civilians or military. If these terrorists threaten our facilities or our personnel, we will take action to protect our people.

We will continue to provide military assistance and advice to the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces as they battle these terrorists, so that the terrorists cannot establish a permanent safe haven.

We will continue to work with the international community to deal with the growing humanitarian crisis in Iraq.  Even as our attention is focused on preventing an act of genocide and helping the men and women and children on the mountain, countless Iraqis have been driven or fled from their homes, including many Christians.

This morning, I spoke with Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom and President Hollande of France.  I’m pleased that both leaders expressed their strong support for our actions and have agreed to join us in providing humanitarian assistance to Iraqi civilians who are suffering so much.  Once again, America is proud to act alongside our closest friends and allies.

More broadly, the United Nations in Iraq is working urgently to help respond to the needs of those Iraqis fleeing from areas under threat.  The U.N. Security Council has called on the international community to do everything it can to provide food, water and shelter.  And in my calls with allies and partners around the world, I’ll continue to urge them to join us in this humanitarian effort.

“Finally,” the President concluded, “we continue to call on Iraqis to come together and form the inclusive government that Iraq needs right now.”

All Iraqi communities are ultimately threatened by these barbaric terrorists and all Iraqi communities need to unite to defend their country.

Just as we are focused on the situation in the north affecting Kurds and Iraqi minorities, Sunnis and Shia in different parts of Iraq have suffered mightily at the hands of ISIL.  Once an inclusive government is in place, I’m confident it will be easier to mobilize all Iraqis against ISIL, and to mobilize greater support from our friends and allies.  Ultimately, only Iraqis can ensure the security and stability of Iraq.  The United States can’t do it for them, but we can and will be partners in that effort.

One final thing — as we go forward, we’ll continue to consult with Congress and coordinate closely with our allies and partners.  And as Americans, we will continue to show gratitude to our men and women in uniform who are conducting our operations there.  When called, they were ready — as they always are.  When given their mission, they’ve performed with distinction — as they always do.  And when we see them serving with such honor and compassion, defending our fellow citizens and saving the lives of people they’ve never met, it makes us proud to be Americans — as we always will be.

Read the full transcript of the President’s statement, along with the questions he answered from the press.

President Obama delivers a statement to the press on the South Lawn before he departs for Martha's VineyardPresident Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press on the South Lawn of the White House before he departs for Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., Aug. 9, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)


August 2014: Photo of the Day




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Statements and Releases – August 11th, 2014


Readout of the Vice President’s Call with Iraqi President Fuad Masum

Vice President Biden called Iraqi President Fuad Masum this morning to discuss the ongoing government formation process in Baghdad and to express the United States’ full support for his role as guarantor of the Iraqi Constitution. President Masum discussed with the Vice President the nomination of Hayder al-Abadi to be the next prime minister. The Vice President commended Masum for meeting this key milestone and reiterated President Obama’s repeated calls for the timely creation of a new, more inclusive government that will be able to address the legitimate concerns of all Iraqis. Vice President Biden also emphasized President Obama’s desire to boost coordination with a new Iraqi government and Iraqi Security Forces to roll back gains by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. President Masum thanked the Vice President for his continued support.




President Obama Explains the Ebola Outbreak


Published on Aug 9, 2014

With Ebola spreading in West Africa, President Obama discusses the outbreak and what the United States is doing to help improve the situation.
More on the Ebola outbreak:…




#GazaDayofRage: Tens of thousands march worldwide in support of Palestinians


Published on Aug 9, 2014

People across the globe have gathered to support the plight of Gaza, with the most impressive turnout taking place in London. Since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict a month ago, over 1,800 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed.




Police Brutality: Ferguson teen killing fuels fears of more innocent victims




Anonymous – #OpFerguson




Police: St. Louis, Missouri teen killed after altercation




I Can’t Breathe


Published on Jul 31, 2014


On July 29th, at 6pm WalkRunFly Productions (Warren Adams & Brandon Victor Dixon) partnered with poet Daniel J. Watts, and over 100 Broadway stars, directors, producers, musicians, choreographers, designers and technicians in Times Square to send a message about violence and the killing of Eric Gardner.




Police: Black Teen Shot in Missouri Was Unarmed


Published on Aug 10, 2014

An 18-year-old black man shot and killed by a suburban St. Louis police officer was unarmed, police said Sunday during a news conference that occurred while hundreds of angry protesters gathered outside to demand answers. (Aug. 10)




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Domestic violence victim has gun taken by police while suspect is free


Published on Aug 10, 2014

(MyFoxDetroi) CITY OF DETROIT – Keisha Thomas was married to 42-year-old James Alderidge for four years but after years of physical abuse – she did what most women don’t.


She left, they divorced and that’s when Thomas says Alderidge began making violent threats to hurt the people closest to her, including her brother and 16-year-old son.


“All I can hear is my nephew saying, ‘Somebody shoot him, somebody get him, he’s killing my daddy he’s killing my daddy,'” Thomas said. “I have a gun. I have a (concealed pistol license). My gun jammed that’s the only reason why I wasn’t able to protect him.”


“My ex-husband shot my brother eight times, he almost killed him.”


Domestic violence never effects just the people involved. It touches entire families, children, mothers, sisters and brothers. And in Detroit — a city with a well-documented culture of violence and a code of street justice – domestic violence is often deadly.


Last year in Michigan there were 122 homicides.


“My marriage was like hell and that’s why I filed for divorce,” Thomas said.


The Detroit couple divorced in 2013. Thomas said that is when the threats from him began.


“Every morning I come home he’s sitting in front of my house waiting on me or calling my house or sending people down there or looking in my windows,” Thomas said. “It’s not the first time he pulled a gun on my brother and he stalked me. I lost a job because of him.”

“I filed personal protection order violations and they gave him probation, and he has continued to harass us.”


The violations are well documented with Detroit Police. But the follow-through on violent confrontations with Thomas’ family don’t count because they don’t involve her. Domestic abuse experts say that’s a common tactic.


“I think this situation illustrates how abuse does escalate when a victim chooses to leave their partner,” said Emily Matuszczak, senior director of programs at Haven. “And they will use whatever means are available to get back at her and to continue to try and scare her.”


But Friday Aug. 1 when Alderidge was spotted in the neighborhood, Thomas’ brother and ex-husband began to fight. Witnesses say Alderidge shot Thomas’ brother eight times.


“He has no kidneys, they took his pancreas, they took half of his colon,” Thomas said. “He broke his left leg, he has to wear a colostomy bag.”


The story gets very complicated. According to the police report, Alderidge was shot in the leg.


A source tells Fox 2 that it was Thomas’ brother who pulled the trigger. But her family says the gun was fired by someone in the large crowd at the scene.


Thomas also legally carries a weapon which was confiscated as part of the investigation. Now she says she can’t protect herself and to make matters worse, Alderidge was released from custody pending charges and he is back on the streets.


“I want him in jail,” Thomas said. “I want him to suffer in jail for the rest of his life and think about all the things he has done to hurt people.”


Investigators believe it was Thomas’ brother who fired the first shot which could lay the ground work for a possible self-defense plea. Even though Thomas’ brother was shot eight times, prosecutors say there is not enough evidence to prove assault with intent to commit murder. That is why Alderidge was released.


The case is still under investigation, anyone with information should call Detroit Police at (313) 596-5200.



























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