The Military Is Only Part of the Story

I am not running down the military. What I am saying is that military men (and women) are specialists, highly trained for one important purpose: to wage war when all else has failed, to be prepared to do so should that happen and to do so only when in possession of orders from the civilian leaders whom U.S. citizens have elected. Naturally, they must be accorded warm public appreciation when the job is well done. Those who have died must be buried with full honors. Those who are wounded or otherwise harmed must receive first rate rehabilitation administered in a timely, ungrudging fashion. While in uniform, service men and women should be protected from loan sharks, and when they need help in transitioning back into civilian society they should not be shunted into for-profit diploma mills that prepare them for nothing at tax payers’ expense. Perhaps a truly thankful bipartisan Congress could do something about ending such entrepreneurial exploitation. Read more »

#JonVoyage: Our 4 Favorite Moments from President Obama’s Interviews on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”

"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" has become one of the most influential programs on television by offering honest, passionate analysis and satirical commentary of the news. Politicians, network executives, and everyday Americans tune in four times a week and esteem his segments for their thoughtful monologues, sharp correspondents, and well-timed celebrity guests.

Since 1999, Jon Stewart has tackled current events and changed the way we talk about the world around us. His episodes show incredible range of emotion — from hilariously referring to President Obama as “dude,” to his powerful, solemn monologue after the shooting in Charleston.

Tonight, Stewart will give his last performance on "The Daily Show." He and President Obama have shared the screen a total of seven times over the past 10 years, discussing the President's work as a Senator, on campaigns, and in the White House. Most recently, President Obama sat down with Stewart last month as part of the trailblazing final season.

Here are four of our favorite moments Jon Stewart has shared with President Obama over the years:

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President Obama Celebrates 25 Years of the ADA

Yesterday, President Obama celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at the White House.

In the East Room, President Obama honored those who made the ADA the law of the land – the activists, congressional representatives, and stakeholders who worked tirelessly to ensure that millions of Americans with disabilities had the chance to make their contributions to the world.

"Thanks to the ADA, the places that comprise our shared American life -- schools, workplaces, movie theaters, courthouses, buses, baseball stadiums, national parks -- they truly belong to everyone."

— President Obama

President Obama during 25th anniversary ADA remarks

An interpreter signs in the foreground while President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, delivers remarks during a reception for the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the East Room of the White House, July 20, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama outlined the commitments that the government has made to be more responsive to people with disabilities since the passage of the ADA — and reiterated his own commitment to continuing the legacy set in place by President George H.W. Bush when the ADA was signed in 1990.

The Obama administration created the first office within FEMA dedicated to disabilities - so that if and when a disaster strikes we are prepared to help everyone – and created the first special advisor for international disabilities at the State Department. The Administration has also worked to make sure that federal contractors have plans in place for hiring people with disabilities, and has encouraged all others to do the same.

The President lauded the contributions of the ADA, and highlighted that more people with disabilities are in the workforce today than at any point in the last 30 years because of this legislation. He also explained how the ADA was personal to him - his father-in-law, Fraser Robinson, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his early 30s, before the passage of the ADA, and could have benefited from its provisions.

“And just through the power of his example, he opened a lot of people’s eyes, including mine, to some of the obstacles that folks with disabilities faced and how important it is that the rest of us do our part to remove those obstacles,” the President said.

Read the President’s full remarks from yesterday's ADA reception here.

See more on what the Obama administration has done to help people with disabilities here.

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WEEKLY ADDRESS: A Comprehensive, Long-Term Deal with Iran

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, July 17, 2015.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, July 17, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week's address, the President explained the comprehensive, long-term deal announced earlier this week that will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. This agreement cuts off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon, implements unprecedented monitoring and inspections of Iran’s key nuclear facilities, and ensures that if Iran violates these terms, the strict sanctions previously imposed on the country will snap back into place. This is a good deal that demonstrates that American diplomacy can bring about real and meaningful change that makes our country, and the world, safer and more secure.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, July 18, 2015.

Transcript | mp4 | mp3

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The Oldest Living Veteran Meets the President

This afternoon, President Obama invited 110-year-old Emma Didlake -- believed to be the country's oldest living veteran -- to the Oval Office. "It's a great honor to have her here." the President said.

President Obama meets the nation's oldest vet, Emma Didlake

President Barack Obama greets the nation’s oldest living veteran, Emma Didlake, in the Oval Office, July 17, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Emma Didlake was a 38-year-old wife and mother when she decided she wanted to join the military. In 1943, she signed up for the Women’s Auxiliary Corp (WAC) and served as an Army private and driver for almost a year during World War II.

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The Iran Deal:

This morning, the President sent the following message to the White House email list, explaining the details of today's historic nuclear deal with Iran and how it will make our country, our allies, and the world safer and more secure. 

Watch the highlights from his speech today -- then read his email below:

 
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Watch President Obama speak on the historic deal to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon: http://go.wh.gov/IranDeal #IranDeal

Posted by The White House on Tuesday, July 14, 2015

 

Didn't get the President's message? Sign up for email updates here

Today, after two years of negotiations, the United States -- together with our international partners -- has achieved what decades of animosity has not:

A comprehensive, long-term deal that will verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

This deal shows the real and meaningful change that American leadership and diplomacy can bring -- change that makes our country and the world safer and more secure.

We negotiated from a position of strength and principle -- and the result is a nuclear deal that cuts off every pathway to a nuclear weapon.

I want to make sure every American knows what this deal means and how it works. Take a look here.

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This Day in History: Construction Began on Hoover Dam

On July 7, 1930, construction began on the Hoover Dam. President Herbert Hoover was deeply devoted to protecting the environment, particularly focusing on pollution-free water, flood control, and fisheries. After a disastrous Mississippi River flood in 1927, Hoover recommitted to bettering American infrastructure to prevent another catastrophe.

Hoover Dam Workers

Before the Dam could be built the Colorado River had to be diverted through tunnels. This piece of equipment, named a Jumbo Rig, was designed to speed up the tunnel drilling process. Built on the back of a 10-ton truck, 24 to 30 drills could be operated at once. (Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation)

“[Hoover] Dam will probably be the biggest dam, perhaps the biggest man-made thing in the whole wide world.”

— Fortune Magazine, September 1933

Hoover Dam Early Construction

Early construction in Black Canyon (Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation)

Think of it as a giant Lego set, with over 200 blocks fitted together to stand 726 feet tall. The Hoover Dam has been called the Eighth Wonder of the World, comparable to the Great Pyramids of Egypt, and “a vision in the desert.”

In the 1940s, the Hoover Powerplant was the largest hydroelectric installation in the world. Today, over 1.3 million people benefit from the 4 billion kilowatt-hours of hydroelectric power the Dam generates each year.

Hoover Dam View from Crest

View from dam's crest during test of Jet Flow gates. (Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation)

In addition to being an engineering masterpiece, controlling flooding and generating hydroelectric power, the Dam is a national gem, showcasing diverse artistry. Norwegian immigrant Oskar J.W. Hansen sculpted the Winged Figures of the Republic, a pair of 30-foot bronzed statues which guard the Nevada side of the Dam. Hansen stated that the sentinels symbolize "the immutable calm of intellectual resolution, and the enormous power of trained physical strength, equally enthroned in placid triumph of scientific accomplishment." The angels stand on a magnificent terrazzo floor patterned with a star chart from the 1935 date of dedication by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

"The waters of this great river, instead of being wasted in the sea, will now be brought into use by man. Civilization advances with the practical application of knowledge in such structures as the one being built here in the pathway of one on the great rivers of the continent. The spread of its values in human happiness is beyond computation."

—Herbert Hoover, November 1932

Hoover Dam Jet Flow Gate Testing

Jet Flow Gate Testing, June 1998 (Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation)

Hoover Dam was completed two years ahead of schedule and millions of dollars under budget. Over the years, investment in our nation’s infrastructure has fallen on the backburner, despite its importance for American citizens and our economy. The President has a plan to fix that, by reforming our programs and increasing funding to support our growing population and millions of jobs. It’s time to rebuild America.

President Obama at Hoover Dam

President Barack Obama views the Hoover Dam during a stop at the 1,900-foot long structure which spans the Colorado River at the Arizona-Nevada border, Oct. 2, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama Provides an Update on Our Strategy to Degrade and Destroy ISIL

President Barack Obama delivers a statement and answers a few questions from the press following his meeting with Defense Department and military leadership regarding the campaign against ISIL, at the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., July 6, 2015.... Read more »

The Letter the President Carried:

Today at 2:30 pm ET in Nashville, TN, President Obama is participating in a discussion on how we can build on the progress we've made under the Affordable Care Act. Watch live:

Natoma Canfield Letter

A letter from Natoma Canfield, a woman from Ohio that President Barack Obama met who didn’t have health insurance, hangs on the wall in the hall between the Oval Office and the President's Private Office in the West Wing. June 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

More than five years ago, as Congress engaged in heated debates over the Affordable Care Act, President Obama carried a single piece of paper with him every single day: this letter from Natoma Canfield.

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In Charleston, President Obama Honors the Life of Pastor and State Senator Clementa Pinckney

Watch on YouTube

"We are here today to remember a man of God who lived by faith. A man who believed in things not seen. A man who believed there were better days ahead, off in the distance. A man of service who persevered, knowing full well he would not receive all those things he was promised, because he believed his efforts would deliver a better life for those who followed."

-- President Obama, on the late Rev. Clementa Pinckney

Today, President Obama traveled to Charleston, South Carolina to honor the life of pastor and state senator Clementa Pinckney -- one of the nine who lost their lives in last week's shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

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