Pres Obama visits Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma & El Reno FCI

PBO Choctaw Nation OKChoctaw Chief Gary Batton on PBO visit

PRESIDENT OBAMA TO VISIT CHOCTAW NATION IN OKLAHOMA ON WEDNESDAY

July 11, 2015 nativenewsonline.net

WASHINGTON—The White House announced on Friday, President Barack Obama will visit the Choctaw Nation next week.

“On Wednesday, July 15th, the President will travel to Durant, Oklahoma, where he will visit the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and deliver remarks on expanding economic opportunity,” White House spokesman Keith Maley said.

The president will remain overnight in Oklahoma and visit a federal prison the next day where he will be interviewed for a documentary about the American justice system. The documentary will be broadcast this fall.

The president’s visit will be his second visit to an American Indian tribe since he became president of the United States. In June 2014, President Obama visited the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

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FACT SHEET: ConnectHome: Coming Together to Ensure Digital Opportunity for All Americans

Today, the President will travel to Durant, Oklahoma, to announce ConnectHome, a new initiative with communities, the private sector, and federal government to expand high speed broadband to more families across the country. The pilot program is launching in twenty-seven cities and one tribal nation and will initially reach over 275,000 low-income households – and nearly 200,000 children – with the support they need to access the Internet at home. Internet Service Providers, non-profits and the private sector will offer broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and devices for residents in assisted housing units.

ConnectHome is the next step in the President’s continued efforts to expand high speed broadband to all Americans and builds on his ConnectED initiative that is on track to connect 99 percent of K-12 students to high-speed Internet in their classrooms and libraries over the next five years.  ConnectHome will help ensure that these students still have access to high-speed Internet once they are home.

For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/15/fact-sheet-connecthome-coming-together-ensure-digital-opportunity-all

Choctaw soldiers in training in World War I for coded radio and telephone transmissions

Choctaw soldiers in training in World War I for coded radio and telephone transmissions

Wednesday, July 15, 2015
President Obama meets with Choctaw Nation Chief Batton and Tribal Elders on expanding economic opportunity for for communities across the country
Durant High School, Choctaw Nation, Durant, Oklahoma

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US Government & Indigenous Peoples Timeline 1819-2016 ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™

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#GenI

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(BOP) – On Thursday, July 16th, President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI), El Reno, Oklahoma. This visit marks the first time in history a United States President has visited a federal prison while in office. He will be accompanied by Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Charles E. Samuels, Jr.

The President will meet with inmates and speak with staff. This is a great opportunity for the Bureau of Prisons (Bureau) to show President Obama, and the Nation, the outstanding work performed daily at all Bureau institutions in meeting our mission to protect society and prepare inmates for reentry. The Bureau is honored that the President decided to make this visit.

FCI El Reno is a medium-security federal prison housing more than 1,000 male offenders. Another 248 male offenders reside at an adjacent minimum-security camp. Originally authorized by Congress in 1930 as a facility to rehabilitate, train and educate young offenders, FCI El Reno has a long and diverse history within the agency. It is home to one of the two remaining farms in operation within the Bureau, the other being at the Federal Correctional Complex, Lompoc, California.

Excerpts from 7/14/15 President Obama’s remarks at the 2015 NAACP Conference:

“The United States is home to 5 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.

Our incarceration rate is four times higher than China’s.

We keep more people behind bars than the top 35 European countries combined.

In 1980, there were 500,000 people behind bars in America — half a million people in 1980. In 2015 there are 2.2 million.  It has quadrupled since 1980.  Our prison population has doubled in the last two decades alone.

Studies show that up to a certain point, tougher prosecutors and stiffer sentences for these violent offenders contributed to the decline in violent crime over the last few decades.  Although the science also indicates that you get a point of diminishing returns.  But it is important for us to recognize that violence in our communities is serious and that historically, in fact, the African American community oftentimes was under-policed rather than over-policed.  Folks were very interested in containing the African American community so it couldn’t leave segregated areas, but within those areas there wasn’t enough police presence.

Over the last few decades, we’ve also locked up more and more nonviolent drug offenders than ever before, for longer than ever before.   And that is the real reason our prison population is so high.  In far too many cases, the punishment simply does not fit the crime.  If you’re a low-level drug dealer, or you violate your parole, you owe some debt to society.  You have to be held accountable and make amends.  But you don’t owe 20 years.  You don’t owe a life sentence.  That’s disproportionate to the price that should be paid.

[United States] taxpayers are picking up the tab for that price.  Every year, we spend $80 billion to keep folks incarcerated — $80 billion.  Now, just to put that in perspective, for $80 billion, we could have universal preschool for every 3-year-old and 4-year-old in America.  That’s what $80 billion buys.  For $80 billion, we could double the salary of every high school teacher in America.  For $80 billion, we could finance new roads and new bridges and new airports, job training programs, research and development.  We’re about to get in a big budget debate in Washington — what I couldn’t do with $80 billion. For what we spend to keep everyone locked up for one year, we could eliminate tuition at every single one of our public colleges and universities.”

For the entire transcript: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/14/remarks-president-naacp-conference

FACT SHEET: Enhancing the Fairness and Effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System

Today the President will lay out the case for meaningful juvenile and criminal justice reform that makes our system, fairer, smarter and more cost-effective while keeping the American people safe and secure.  Across the political spectrum, there is a growing consensus to make reforms to the juvenile and criminal justice systems to ensure that criminal laws are enforced more fairly and efficiently.  Unwarranted disparities and unduly harsh sentences undermine trust in the rule of law and offend the basic principles of fairness and justice.  In an era of limited resources and diverse threats, there is a public safety imperative to devote the resources of the criminal justice system to the practices that are most successful at deterring crime and protecting the public.

This Administration has taken a series of actions to enhance fairness and efficiency at all phases of the criminal justice system and to better address the vicious cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration that traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities.  Now, it is time for Congress to act.  Meaningful sentencing reform, steps to reduce repeat offenders and reform of the juvenile justice system are crucial to improving public safety, reducing runaway incarceration costs and making our criminal justice system more fair.

* A Smarter and Fairer Approach to Charging and Sentencing

* Enhancing the Credibility and Accountability of the Justice System

* Focus on Effective Prisoner Reentry and the Cycle of Incarceration

* Support for State and Local Law Enforcement

* Working with State and Local Law Enforcement to Build Community Trust

* Working with State and Local Law Enforcement to Build Community Trust

For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/14/fact-sheet-enhancing-fairness-and-effectiveness-criminal-justice-system

Thursday, July 16, 2015
President Obama delivers remarks on Enhancing the Fairness and Effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System
El Reno Federal Correctional Institution, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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28 thoughts on “Pres Obama visits Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma & El Reno FCI

  1. WH

    Wednesday, July 15, 2015

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    President Obama holds a press conference
    East Room

    2:00 PM
    2:20 PM
    President Obama departs White House

    2:35 PM
    President Obama departs Joint Base Andrews

    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    5:20 PM
    President Obama arrives North Texas Regional Airport, Denison, Texas

    5:45 PM
    President Obama meets with Choctaw Nation Chief Batton and Tribal Elders on expanding economic opportunity
    Durant High School, Choctaw Nation, Durant, Oklahoma

    6:00 PM
    6:45 PM
    President Obama delivers remarks on expanding economic opportunity for for communities across the country

    Durant High School, Choctaw Nation, Durant, Oklahoma

    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    8:25 PM
    President Obama departs North Texas Regional Airport
    North Texas Regional Airport

    9:00 PM
    9:10 PM
    President Obama arrives Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    Tinker Air Force Base

    President Obama overnights in Oklahoma

    10:00 PM

  2. President Obama visits Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma & El Reno FCI

    PRESIDENT OBAMA TO VISIT CHOCTAW NATION IN OKLAHOMA ON WEDNESDAY

    July 11, 2015 nativenewsonline.net

    WASHINGTON—The White House announced on Friday, President Barack Obama will visit the Choctaw Nation next week.

    “On Wednesday, July 15th, the President will travel to Durant, Oklahoma, where he will visit the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and deliver remarks on expanding economic opportunity,” White House spokesman Keith Maley said.

    The president will remain overnight in Oklahoma and visit a federal prison the next day where he will be interviewed for a documentary about the American justice system. The documentary will be broadcast this fall.

    The president’s visit will be his second visit to an American Indian tribe since he became president of the United States. In June 2014, President Obama visited the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

    • July 15, 2015

      FACT SHEET: ConnectHome: Coming Together to Ensure Digital Opportunity for All Americans

      Today, the President will travel to Durant, Oklahoma, to announce ConnectHome, a new initiative with communities, the private sector, and federal government to expand high speed broadband to more families across the country. The pilot program is launching in twenty-seven cities and one tribal nation and will initially reach over 275,000 low-income households – and nearly 200,000 children – with the support they need to access the Internet at home. Internet Service Providers, non-profits and the private sector will offer broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and devices for residents in assisted housing units.

      ConnectHome is the next step in the President’s continued efforts to expand high speed broadband to all Americans and builds on his ConnectED initiative that is on track to connect 99 percent of K-12 students to high-speed Internet in their classrooms and libraries over the next five years.  ConnectHome will help ensure that these students still have access to high-speed Internet once they are home.

      For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/15/fact-sheet-connecthome-coming-together-ensure-digital-opportunity-all

    • July 15, 2015

      Remarks by the President on Launch of ConnectHome Initiative

      Durant High School
      Durant, Oklahoma

      6:07 P.M. CDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Oklahoma! (Applause.) Halito!

      AUDIENCE: Halito!

      THE PRESIDENT: Everybody, please have a seat. Have a seat. It’s good to see you. How is everybody doing? (Applause.)

      First of all, Michelle says hi. (Laughter.) And I want to thank all of you for helping to build the terrific partnership that we share with the Choctaw Nation.

      AUDIENCE MEMBER: Love you!

      THE PRESIDENT: I love you, too. (Laughter.) So I want to first of all thank Chief Gary Batton and the many tribal leaders who are here today. (Applause.) I want to thank the extraordinary young people that I just had a chance to meet with. Give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) They were just exceptional, and gave me all kinds of interesting thoughts and ideas about how young people can lead and thrive, and reshape America. And I could not be prouder of them.

      As many of you know, we’ve held a Tribal Nations Conference each year that I’ve been President. And just last week, as part of what we call our Generation Indigenous initiative, focused on young people, we hosted our first-ever Tribal Youth Gathering with over 1,000 young leaders from 230 tribes -– including several Choctaw youth. (Applause.) You spend time with these young people from all across the country and they will blow you away. They are smart, and they’re passionate, and they are ready to seize the future.

      And Michelle and I believe we’ve got a special obligation to make sure that tribal youth have every opportunity to achieve their potential not just for the benefit of themselves and their communities, but for our entire nation; that all of you young people have a chance to succeed not by leaving your communities, but by coming back and investing in your communities, and that you have a whole range of options that can lift us all up. And so we are really excited about what you’re doing, and we’re really excited about some of the work that’s going to be done not just here but all across the country. That’s why I’m here today.

      For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/15/remarks-president-launch-connecthome-initiative

  3. July 15, 2015

    Press Conference by the President

    East Room

    1:25 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Yesterday was a historic day. The comprehensive, long-term deal that we achieved with our allies and partners to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon represents a powerful display of American leadership and diplomacy. It shows what we can accomplish when we lead from a position of strength and a position of principle, when we unite the international community around a shared vision, and we resolve to solve problems peacefully.

    As I said yesterday, it’s important for the American people and Congress to get a full opportunity to review this deal. That process is now underway. I’ve already reached out to leaders in Congress on both sides of the aisle. My national security team has begun offering extensive briefings. I expect the debate to be robust — and that’s how it should be. This is an important issue. Our national security policies are stronger and more effective when they are subject to the scrutiny and transparency that democracy demands.

    And as I said yesterday, the details of this deal matter very much. That’s why our team worked so hard for so long to get the details right. At the same time, as this debate unfolds, I hope we don’t lose sight of the larger picture — the opportunity that this agreement represents. As we go forward, it’s important for everybody to remember the alternative and the fundamental choice that this moment represents.

    With this deal, we cut off every single one of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear program — a nuclear weapons program, and Iran’s nuclear program will be under severe limits for many years. Without a deal, those pathways remain open; there would be no limits on Iran’s nuclear program, and Iran could move closer to a nuclear bomb.

    With this deal, we gain unprecedented, around-the-clock monitoring of Iran’s key nuclear facilities and the most comprehensive and intrusive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated. Without a deal, those inspections go away, and we lose the ability to closely monitor Iran’s program and detect any covert nuclear weapons program.

    With this deal, if Iran violates its commitments, there will be real consequences. Nuclear-related sanctions that have helped to cripple the Iranian economy will snap back into place. Without a deal, the international sanctions regime will unravel, with little ability to re-impose them.

    With this deal, we have the possibility of peacefully resolving a major threat to regional and international security. Without a deal, we risk even more war in the Middle East, and other countries in the region would feel compelled to pursue their own nuclear programs, threatening a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world.

    As I said yesterday, even with this deal, we will continue to have profound differences with Iran — its support for terrorism and its use of proxies to destabilize parts of the Middle East. Therefore, the multilateral arms embargo on Iran will remain in place for an additional five years, and restrictions on ballistic missile technology will remain for eight years. In addition, the United States will maintain our own sanctions related to Iran’s support for terrorism, its ballistic missile program, and its human rights violations. And we’ll continue our unprecedented security cooperation with Israel and continue to deepen our partnerships with the Gulf States.

    But the bottom line is this: This nuclear deal meets the national security interests of the United States and our allies. It prevents the most serious threat — Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon, which would only make the other problems that Iran may cause even worse. That’s why this deal makes our country, and the world, safer and more secure. It’s why the alternative — no limits on Iran’s nuclear program, no inspections, an Iran that’s closer to a nuclear weapon, the risk of a regional nuclear arms race and a greater risk of war — all that would endanger our security. That’s the choice that we face. If we don’t choose wisely, I believe future generations will judge us harshly for letting this moment slip away.

    For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/15/press-conference-president

  4. Building Resilience to Climate Change Impacts in Vulnerable Communities

    Streamed live on Jul 15, 2015

    On July 15 at 2pm EDT, the White House holds a Google+ Hangout to discuss the important role that community service can play in helping vulnerable communities become more resilient in the face of a changing climate. The event will feature speakers from the Administration, The Rockefeller Foundation, Cities of Service, and community leaders engaged in building on-the-ground resilience. Members of the public are encouraged to ask the participants questions during the livestreamed conversation using #ActOnClimate.

  5. WH

    Thursday, July 16, 2015

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    Dr. Jill Biden travels to the Republic of Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Japan

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    11:10 AM
    President Obama meets with both law enforcement officials and inmates and tapes an interview with VICE
    El Reno Correctional Institution, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    11:55 AM
    President Obama delivers remarks on Enhancing the Fairness and Effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System
    El Reno Federal Correctional Institution, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    1:45 PM
    President Obama departs Oklahoma
    Tinker Air Force Base

    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    4:10 PM
    President Obama arrives Joint Base Andrews

    4:25 PM
    President Obama arrives White House

    4:30 PM
    Vice President Biden Speaks at Generation Progress’s 10th Annual Make Progress National Summit
    Washington, DC

    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  6. President to Visit FCI El Reno

    For the first time in history, a United States President visits a federal prison.

    July 14, 2015 bop.gov

    (BOP) – On Thursday, July 16th, President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI), El Reno, Oklahoma. This visit marks the first time in history a United States President has visited a federal prison while in office. He will be accompanied by Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Charles E. Samuels, Jr.

    The President will meet with inmates and speak with staff. This is a great opportunity for the Bureau of Prisons (Bureau) to show President Obama, and the Nation, the outstanding work performed daily at all Bureau institutions in meeting our mission to protect society and prepare inmates for reentry. The Bureau is honored that the President decided to make this visit.

    FCI El Reno is a medium-security federal prison housing more than 1,000 male offenders. Another 248 male offenders reside at an adjacent minimum-security camp. Originally authorized by Congress in 1930 as a facility to rehabilitate, train and educate young offenders, FCI El Reno has a long and diverse history within the agency. It is home to one of the two remaining farms in operation within the Bureau, the other being at the Federal Correctional Complex, Lompoc, California.

    • July 14, 2015

      Remarks by the President at the NAACP Conference

      Pennsylvania Convention Center
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

      (EXCERPTS)

      “The United States is home to 5 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.

      Our incarceration rate is four times higher than China’s.

      We keep more people behind bars than the top 35 European countries combined.

      In 1980, there were 500,000 people behind bars in America — half a million people in 1980. In 2015 there are 2.2 million. It has quadrupled since 1980. Our prison population has doubled in the last two decades alone.

      Studies show that up to a certain point, tougher prosecutors and stiffer sentences for these violent offenders contributed to the decline in violent crime over the last few decades. Although the science also indicates that you get a point of diminishing returns. But it is important for us to recognize that violence in our communities is serious and that historically, in fact, the African American community oftentimes was under-policed rather than over-policed. Folks were very interested in containing the African American community so it couldn’t leave segregated areas, but within those areas there wasn’t enough police presence.

      Over the last few decades, we’ve also locked up more and more nonviolent drug offenders than ever before, for longer than ever before. And that is the real reason our prison population is so high. In far too many cases, the punishment simply does not fit the crime. If you’re a low-level drug dealer, or you violate your parole, you owe some debt to society. You have to be held accountable and make amends. But you don’t owe 20 years. You don’t owe a life sentence. That’s disproportionate to the price that should be paid.

      [United States] taxpayers are picking up the tab for that price. Every year, we spend $80 billion to keep folks incarcerated — $80 billion. Now, just to put that in perspective, for $80 billion, we could have universal preschool for every 3-year-old and 4-year-old in America. That’s what $80 billion buys. For $80 billion, we could double the salary of every high school teacher in America. For $80 billion, we could finance new roads and new bridges and new airports, job training programs, research and development. We’re about to get in a big budget debate in Washington — what I couldn’t do with $80 billion. For what we spend to keep everyone locked up for one year, we could eliminate tuition at every single one of our public colleges and universities.”

      For the entire transcript: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/14/remarks-president-naacp-conference

    • 11:10 AM ET
      President Obama meets with both law enforcement officials and inmates and tapes an interview with VICE
      El Reno Correctional Institution, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    • July 16, 2015

      Remarks by the President after Visit at El Reno Federal Correctional Institution

      El Reno, Oklahoma
      11:25 A.M. CDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. So I’m just going to make a very quick statement.

      I want to thank the folks who were involved here in helping to arrange this visit at El Reno Federal Penitentiary. And this is part of our effort to highlight both the challenges and opportunities that we face with respect to the criminal justice system.

      Many of you heard me speak on Tuesday in Philadelphia about the fact that the United States accounts for 5 percent of the world’s population, we account for 25 percent of the world’s inmates. And that represents a huge surge since 1980. A primary driver of this mass incarceration phenomenon is our drug laws –our mandatory minimum sentencing around drug laws. And we have to consider whether this is the smartest way for us to both control crime and rehabilitate individuals.

      This is costing taxpayers across America $80 billion a year. And as I said on Tuesday, there are people who need to be in prison, and I don’t have tolerance for violent criminals. Many of them may have made mistakes, but we need to keep our communities safe. On the other hand, when we’re looking at nonviolent offenders, most of them growing up in environments in which the drug traffic is common, where many of their family members may have been involved in the drug trade, we have to reconsider whether 20-year, 30-year, life sentences for nonviolent crimes is the best way for us to solve these problems.

      Here at El Reno, there’s some excellent work that’s being done inside this facility to provide job training, college degrees, drug counseling. The question is not only how do we make sure that we sustain those programs here in the prison, but how do we make sure that those same kind of institutional supports are there for kids and teenagers before they get into the criminal justice system, and are there ways for us to divert young people who make mistakes early on in life so that they don’t get into the system in the first place.

      The good news is, is that we’ve got Democrats and Republicans who I think are starting to work together in Congress, and we’re starting to see bipartisan efforts in state legislatures as well to start to reexamine some of these sentencing laws, to look at what kinds of work we can do in the community to keep kids out of the criminal justice system in the first place, how we can build on the successes for rehabilitation of all individuals who are incarcerated, and then what can we do to improve reentry going forward.

      For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/16/remarks-president-after-visit-el-reno-federal-correctional-institution

  7. Netroots Nation
    July 16 -1 19, 2015
    Phoenix, Arizona

    Lineup: Lori Adelman, Jenifer Fernandez Ancona, Dagoberto Bailón, Beth Becker, Heather Booth, Glynda C. Carr, Gregory Cendana, Jess X. Chen, Austen Levihn-Coon, Benjamin O’Keefe, Robin Reineke, Justin Robinson, Palak Shah, Wagatwe Wanjuki, Elon James White, Teresa C. Younger, and Deanna Zandt.

    Schedule Overview http://www.netrootsnation.org/nn15/schedule-overview/

  8. Jobless Claims in U.S. Fell Last Week for First Time in a Month

    July 16, 2015 bloomberg

    Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits declined last week for the first time in a month, heading back toward the lowest levels in more than a decade and signaling firings remain muted.

    Jobless claims fell 15,000 to 281,000 in the week ended July 11 from a revised 296,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington. The median forecast of 46 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 285,000.

    Jobless claims can see-saw at this time of year as automakers shutter plants to retool operations for the new-model year, making it more difficult to discern the underlying trend. Firings have held below 300,000 for 19 consecutive weeks, the longest streak since 2000 and a sign of a stronger labor market.

    The low level of filings this year “just shows you how well the labor market is doing, at least on the layoffs side,” Gennadiy Goldberg, U.S. strategist at TD Securities USA LLC in New York, said before the report. “Claims are still quite consistent with stronger labor market growth.”

    Estimates in the Bloomberg survey for jobless claims ranged from 260,000 to 296,000. The Labor Department revised the prior week’s reading from an initially reported 297,000.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-16/jobless-claims-in-u-s-fell-last-week-for-first-time-in-a-month

  9. Builder Confidence Hits Highest Level Since November 2005

    July 16, 2015 nahb.org

    Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes in July hit a level of 60 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today while the June reading was revised upward one point to 60 as well. The last time the HMI reached this level was in November 2005.

    “The fact that builder confidence has returned to levels not seen since 2005 shows that housing continues to improve at a steady pace,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo. “As we head into the second half of 2015, we should expect a continued recovery of the housing market.”

    “This month’s reading is in line with recent data showing stronger sales in both the new and existing home markets as well as continued job growth,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “However, builders still face a number of challenges, including shortages of lots and labor.”

    For more: http://www.nahb.org/en/news-and-publications/Press-Releases/2015/july/builder-confidence-hits-highest-level-since-november-2005.aspx

  10. Port Chicago disaster

    The Port Chicago disaster was a deadly munitions explosion that occurred on July 17, 1944, at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in Port Chicago, California, United States. Munitions detonated while being loaded onto a cargo vessel bound for the Pacific Theater of Operations, killing 320 sailors and civilians and injuring 390 others. Most of the dead and injured were enlisted African-American sailors.

    A month later, continuing unsafe conditions inspired hundreds of servicemen to refuse to load munitions, an act known as the Port Chicago Mutiny. Fifty men—called the “Port Chicago 50″—were convicted of mutiny and sentenced to long prison terms. Forty-seven of the 50 were released in January 1946; the remaining three served additional months in prison.

    During and after the trial, questions were raised about the fairness and legality of the court-martial proceedings. Due to public pressure, the United States Navy reconvened the courts-martial board in 1945; the court affirmed the guilt of the convicted men. Widespread publicity surrounding the case turned it into a cause célèbre among African Americans and white Americans; it and other race-related Navy protests of 1944–1945 led the Navy to change its practices and initiate the desegregation of its forces beginning in February 1946. In 1994, the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial was dedicated to the lives lost in the disaster.

    For more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Chicago_disaster

  11. July 09, 2015

    Dr. Jill Biden to Travel to Asia

    Dr. Jill Biden will travel to the Republic of Korea, Vietnam, and Laos on July 16-22, 2015 where she, along with Catherine Russell, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, will engage government and civil society partners on issues related to economic empowerment and educational opportunity for women and girls. Dr. Biden will also travel to Japan on July 22-23 to participate in events as part of her Joining Forces initiative to support service members, veterans, and military families.

    ——–

    Dr. Jill Biden is also traveling Okinawa, Japan for her final stops on a four-country visit to Asia

    • July 17, 2015

      Dr. Jill Biden Travels to Seoul, Republic of Korea to Highlight Women’s Empowerment

      Dr. Jill Biden is traveling to Seoul, Republic of Korea for her first stop on a four-country visit to Asia to engage government and civil society partners on issues related to economic empowerment and educational opportunities for women and girls. She will also participate in events in Japan as part of her Joining Forces initiative to support service members, veterans, and military families. Dr. Biden is joined by Catherine Russell, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues; Scot Marciel, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs; and Christie Vilsack, Senior Advisor for International Education, USAID.

      Upon arrival in Seoul on Saturday, Dr. Biden will visit the Jinkwansa Temple, where she will meet with female monks and discuss the role they play in the lives of the community.

      Later, Dr. Biden will meet with the Republic of Korea’s Minister of Gender Equality and Family, H.E. Kim Hee-Jung, at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. Following the meeting, Dr. Biden will deliver remarks at a reception hosted by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, where she will highlight the power of education, the value of leadership roles and business opportunities for women in the workplace, and the importance of ensuring that women’s voices are heard in the political process.

      On Sunday morning, Dr. Biden will depart Seoul, Republic of Korea en route Hanoi, Vietnam.

    • Dr. Jill Biden Speaks in Seoul on Economic and Educational Empowerment for Women & Girls

      Published on Jul 18, 2015

      In the Republic of Korea, Dr. Jill Biden delivers the keynote address at a reception hosted by the Minister of Gender Equity & Family.

    • July 17, 2015

      Written Q&A with Dr. Jill Biden in Vogue Korea

      The following written Q&A with Dr. Jill Biden appeared on-line in Vogue Korea. Below is an English language version:

      The Second Lady Who Takes Action: Jill Biden

      July 16, 2015

      Even after Jill Biden became the Second Lady, she did not leave the field of education. She takes matters into her own hands to better the lives of women based on her own experiences as a working mom. The message she wanted to convey to Vogue Korea was “the power of education.”

      Q. This is the first time a Second Lady from the U.S. has visited the Republic of Korea. We are very curious about the reasons for your visit. Is there a special purpose or goal for your visit?

      Dr. Jill Biden: The United States and Republic of Korea have a very close and strong relationship. The purpose of my visit is to build upon our joint efforts to expand economic opportunities for women in Asia and to give girls around the world an equal shot in the classroom. Women and girls in Republic of Korea have made tremendous strides over the past few decades, but I know they still encounter many difficulties, just as women do in many countries, including the United States. When women are unable to fully participate in the workforce, it impacts not only their lives, but their families, their communities, and the economy. During my visit I hope to follow up with the participants from the Republic of Korea who attended the White House Summit on Working Families, learn more about how women and girls contribute to their country, and discuss more ways that we can improve quality education for girls and economic opportunities for women.

      For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/17/written-qa-dr-jill-biden-vogue-korea

    • July 18, 2015

      Dr. Jill Biden Travels to Hanoi, Vietnam to Highlight Women’s Empowerment

      Dr. Jill Biden is traveling to Hanoi, Vietnam for her second stop on a four-country visit to Asia to engage government and civil society partners on issues related to economic empowerment and educational opportunities for women and girls. She will also participate in events in Japan as part of her Joining Forces initiative to support service members, veterans, and military families. Dr. Biden is joined by Catherine Russell, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues; Scot Marciel, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs; and Christie Vilsack, Senior Advisor for International Education, USAID.

      Upon arrival in Hanoi on Sunday, Dr. Biden will commemorate the 20th anniversary of normalization of U.S.-Vietnam diplomatic relations by participating in an event highlighting the public-private partnership between the U.S. Embassy and the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, Helmets for Kids. At the event, Dr. Biden will meet with local children and who have recently received bicycle helmets as part of an effort to curb the high number of Vietnamese kids who do not have protective helmets.

      For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/18/dr-jill-biden-travels-hanoi-vietnam-highlight-women’s-empowerment

    • Guest Teaching with Dr. Jill Biden

      Published on Jul 21, 2015

      At the American Center in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Dr. Jill Biden guest teaches a training program for Vietnamese English Teachers.

    • July 22, 2015

      Dr. Jill Biden Travels to Luang Prabang, Laos and Okinawa, Japan

      Dr. Jill Biden is traveling to Luang Prabang, Laos and Okinawa, Japan for her final stops on a four-country visit to Asia. Throughout the trip, Dr. Biden has engaged government and civil society partners on issues related to economic empowerment and educational opportunities for women and girls. Dr. Biden is joined by Catherine Russell, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues; Scot Marciel, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs; and Christie Vilsack, Senior Advisor for International Education, USAID.

      Upon arrival in Luang Prabang on Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Biden will visit Wat Xieng Thong, a temple that was recently renovated with help from the United States government. The visit serves as a symbol of the U.S. commitment to protecting Laos’ cultural heritage.

      Afterward, Dr. Biden will participate in a World Food Program briefing where she will hear about efforts to improve economic conditions in Laos, particularly for women and girls. Then, Dr. Biden will visit a book boat on the Mekong River that promotes learning opportunities by delivering educational supplies to remote villages.

      Afterwards, Dr. Biden will depart Luang Prabang en route Okinawa, Japan.

      For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/22/dr-jill-biden-travels-luang-prabang-laos-and-okinawa-japan

  12. July 16, 2015

    Statement by the President on the Occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr

    Michelle and I would like to extend our warmest wishes to Muslims in the United States and around the world celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr. As Muslims mark the end of the month, they are reminded that Ramadan is a time to reflect spiritually, build communally, and aid those in need. While Eid marks the end of Ramadan, it marks a new beginning for each individual – a reason to celebrate and express gratitude on this holiday.

    For millions of Muslims, the morning of Eid is marked with the call to prayer echoing through cities and towns across the globe. Millions of people head to local mosques for special Eid prayers followed by festive gatherings, gift exchanges, and feasts among friends, neighbors and families. The diversity of traditions paint the vibrant images we see from around the world capturing the spirit and excitement of Eid – colorful dresses or white garments decorating the masses of people standing in lines for prayer, lanterns and ornaments lighting up bazaars and neighborhoods, intricate henna designs painted on hands of young girls and women, and an abundance of delectable foods and aromatic cuisines.

    As Muslim Americans celebrate Eid across America, the holiday is a reminder to every American of the importance of respecting those of all faiths and beliefs. This past year New York City Public Schools announced adding Eid to their official school calendars alongside Christmas, Hanukkah and other holidays – an acknowledgement of the great diversity and inclusiveness that adds to the richness of our nation. During this year’s White House Iftar, I had the opportunity to meet inspiring young Muslim Americans who are leading efforts for greater understanding and unity across diverse communities. Following the Iftar, one of the young attendees helped spearhead an effort that raised more than $75,000 for the churches burned in the wake of the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Americans of all faiths and beliefs must stand together to protect our democracy and strengthen our country as a whole.

    Michelle and I hope today brings joy to all of your homes, both here in the U.S. and around the world. From my family to yours, Eid Mubarak!

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