Tag Archives: white house

The Vice Presidents that history forgot

A well written, entertaining piece by Tony Horwitz about his visit to the museum of Vice Presidents:

It is a nonpartisan collection of stories and artifacts on all 47 vice presidents – the only museum in the land devoted to the nation’s second-highest office. This neglect might seem surprising, until you tour the museum and learn just how ignored and reviled the vice presidency has been for most of its history. John Nance Garner, for one, said the job wasn’t worth a bucket of warm spit.

Humor is laced throughout the piece, but not because of the author – because Vice Presidents have been so ridiculed. Some deservedly so – like the drunken gambler who had congress dock his pay – and some not so, like the small-town lawyer who was nearly president during World War I, when Woodrow Wilson had a series of strokes.

Though that same lawyer quipped, “one ran away to sea, the other was elected vice president, and nothing was ever heard of either of them again.”

A fun read – The Vice Presidents That History Forgot.

 

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Mitt Romney begins foreign tour of UK, Israel and Poland

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is in Britain on the first leg of a week-long foreign tour that includes stops in Israel and Poland.

He is to meet political leaders and attend the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in the next three days.

The former governor of Massachusetts is not expected to make any policy announcements in London, but correspondents say the visit will give him the chance to show himself to the US electorate in the international arena.

…Critics have accused him of having a weak background in foreign policy, the same claim made about Mr Obama, who was a first-term senator during his 2008 White House campaign when he made a high-profile trip to the Middle East and Europe.

That tour culminated with a speech to hundreds of thousands of people outside the Victory Column in Berlin, Germany.

 

Source: BBC - Mitt Romney begins foreign tour of UK, Israel and Poland

 

 

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Learn more about the Affordable Care Act – summary of Medicare reforms

A summary from the White House:

 

*Note: Medicare is for the elderly and Medicaid is for the poor. Most of the controversy and supreme court discussion is around Medicaid, not the below Medicare.

 

Strengthening Medicare

Nearly 50 million older Americans and Americans with disabilities rely on Medicare each year, and the new health care law makes Medicare stronger by adding new benefits, fighting fraud, and improving care for patients. The life of the Medicare Trust Fund will be extended to at least 2024 as a result of reducing waste, fraud, and abuse, and slowing cost growth in Medicare. And, over the next ten years, the law will save the average person in Medicare $4,200. People with Medicare who have the prescription drug costs that hit the so-called donut hole will save an average of over $16,000.

Lower Cost Prescription Drugs: In the past, as many as one in four seniors went without a prescription every year because they couldn’t afford it. To help these seniors, the law provides relief for people in the donut hole – the ones with the highest prescription drug costs. As a first step, in 2010, nearly four million people in the donut hole received a $250 check to help with their costs. In 2011, 3.6 million people with Medicare received a 50 percent discount worth a total of $2.1 billion, or an average of $604 per person, on their brand name prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole. Seniors will see additional savings on covered brand-name and generic drugs while in the coverage gap until the gap is closed in 2020.

Free Preventive Services: Under the new law, seniors can receive recommended preventive services such as flu shots, diabetes screenings, as well as a new Annual Wellness Visit, free of charge. So far, more than 32.5 million seniors have already received one or more free preventive services, including the new Annual Wellness Visit.

Fighting Fraud: The health care law helps stop fraud with tougher screening procedures, stronger penalties, and new technology. Thanks in part to these efforts, we recovered $4.1 billion in taxpayer dollars in 2011, the second year recoveries hit this record-breaking level. Total recoveries over the last three years were $10.7 billion. Prosecutions are way up, too: the number of individuals charged with fraud increased from 821 in fiscal year 2008 to 1,430 in fiscal year 2011 – nearly a 75 percent increase.

Improving Care Coordination and Quality: Through the newly established Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, this Administration is testing and supporting innovative new health care models that can reduce costs and strengthen the quality of health care. So far, it has introduced 16 initiatives involving over 50,000 health care providers that will touch the lives of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in all 50 states.

Providing Choices while Lowering Costs: The number of seniors who joined Medicare Advantage plans increased by 17 percent between 2010 and 2012 while the premiums for such plans dropped by 16 percent – and seniors across the nation have a choice of health plans.

 

More from this series:

White House creates – U.S. Ignite program – to make internet 90% cheaper and start building gigabit networks

The President is set to sign an executive order today (June 13, 2012) that aims to cut the cost of broadband construction across federal roadways and properties by up to 90 percent. The White House is also is looking to improve “next-generation applications and (the) digital experience,” running on networks that are a heady 100 times faster than what’s in use today.

Called – U.S. Ignite – the partnership aims to push the growth of next-generation broadband networks, teaming up with over 100 start-ups, universities and existing tech companies like HP, Comcast and Verizon for the project.

The National Science Foundation has thrown in $250 million to assist the partnership’s creation of a national 1-gigabit network that would connect together academic and developer hubs.

Mozilla has decided to team up with the foundation to offer up a $500,000 prize pot for developers looking to help create the “internet of the future”.

via Engadget

 

Follow the U.S. Ignite program on: FacebookTwitter

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Girls in STEM: A New Generation of Women in Science

Girls in STEM, featuring young women scientists and engineers who wowed the President and the nation at the White House Science Fair in February, shines a spotlight on these extraordinary young role models and their exciting projects — ranging from a machine that detects buried landmines, to a prosthetic hand device, to a lunchbox that uses UV light to kill bacteria on food. - whitehouse.gov/stem

 

STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering and Math


Most of us would probably survive a nuclear blast in Washington D.C.

It’s the most nightmarish scenario—a nuclear device being detonated in downtown Washington.

Whammo and good night, right?

For most of us, actually, that wouldn’t be the case, according to a recent study by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The 120-page report, “Key Response Planning Factors for the Aftermath of Nuclear Terrorism,” was released last November.

The FEMA report posits a detonation a few blocks from the White House. Everything within a half-mile radius would be reduced to rubble and be so irradiated as to make any rescue operations unfeasible. Between half a mile and one mile out, there would still be significant damage and heavy injuries, but the area would be approachable by emergency responders.

And further out, there would just be a lot of broken glass from windows shattered by the force of the explosion, but few, if any, injuries that would require medical attention. (Aside from those sustained by people running face first into their bursting windows when they try to look outside to see what is happening.)

So, good chance of injury, temporary blindness, destroyed hospitals and a massive fallout cloud—but more likely than not, you’d live. At least until the radiation settles in.

 

via DCist - **click for the full report and much more gruesome details**

 

Thx to Shevonne Polastre

 

// Photo – James Nash

“Trust, but verify” – the code of nuclear treaties

English – “trust but verify”

Russian – “doveryai, no proveryai”

The phrase was used by U.S. President Ronald Reagan at a press conference with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev during the of the signing the INF Treaty at the White House in 1987.

After Reagan used the phrase, Mikhail Gorbachev responded: “You repeat that at every meeting,” to which Reagan answered “I like it.” (thx to Darin McClure)

Why the treaty was important:

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was unique when negotiated and remains so. It was designed as a global ban on all U.S. and Soviet missiles having a range of 500-5500 kilometers and, for the first time in U.S. treaty history, contained verification measures that permitted the presence of U.S. inspectors on Soviet soil, and vice versa. The fact that inspectors could for the first time enter sensitive U.S. and Soviet missile facilities was a breakthrough and harbinger of the end of the Cold War.

The treaty not only eliminated an entire class of nuclear missiles but also “brought about a new standard of openness.”

by Rose Gottemoeller

 

Brought up as my local nuclear power plant faces a growing tide of questions about a nuclear leak. The authorities and corporations involved are providing limited information and asking us to trust them.

Sure, we can trust, but we want to verify.

White House names the next CTO of the United States – an “entrepreneur in residence”

Todd Park has been named the next U.S. Chief Technology Officer by the White House.

A profile of him in O’Reilly Radar written by Alex Howard:

Park has been working to revolutionize the healthcare industry at HHS since 2009, and in the private sector as an entrepreneur since 1997. Now he’ll have the opportunity to try to improve how the entire federal government works through technology. It’s a daunting challenge, but one that he may have been born to take on. Park is charismatic, understands technology on a systems level, and has been successful in applying open innovation and a lean startup approach to government at HHS.

It’s extremely exciting to hear that HHS’s “entrepreneur in residence” is moving into a much bigger stage.

On a 30,000-foot level, his personal story is deeply compelling. He’s the son of a brilliant immigrant who came here from Korea, attained a graduate-level education, spent his career in a company in the United States and raised a family, including a son who then went on to live the American dream.

The full profile including several video interviews

 

Follow Mr. Park on Twitter - @Todd_Park