White House … updates

The White House

Today, I would like to share with you some of the ways in which President Obama and his Administration continue to address the diverse needs of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, including by honoring the life and legacy of Senator Daniel Inouye, the highest-ranking Asian American in the United States government.

To learn more about the White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House Initiative on AAPIs, visit http://whitehouse.gov/aapi and encourage your friends and colleagues to sign up for updates!
Best Regards,
Gautam Raghavan Office of Public Engagement The White House aapi@who.eop.gov

President Obama and Administration Officials Mark the Passing of Senator Daniel Inouye

President Barack Obama speaks at the funeral service for Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Dec. 21, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Earlier today, President Obama delivered a eulogy at the memorial service for Senator Daniel Inouye, President pro tempore of the United States Senate, saying in part:

I think it’s fair to say that Danny Inouye was perhaps my earliest political inspiration.  And then, for me to have the privilege of serving with him, to be elected to the United States Senate and arrive, and one of my first visits is to go to his office, and for him to greet me as a colleague, and treat me with the same respect that he treated everybody he met, and to sit me down and give me advice about how the Senate worked and then regale me with some stories about wartime and his recovery — stories full of humor, never bitterness, never boastfulness,  just matter-of-fact — some of them I must admit a little off-color.  I couldn’t probably repeat them in the cathedral.  (Laughter.)  There’s a side of Danny that — well.
Danny once told his son his service to this country had been for the children, or all the sons and daughters who deserved to grow up in a nation that never questioned their patriotism.  This is my country, he said.  Many of us have fought hard for the right to say that.  And, obviously, Rick Shinseki described what it meant for Japanese Americans, but my point is, is that when he referred to our sons and daughters he wasn’t just talking about Japanese Americans.  He was talking about all of us.  He was talking about those who serve today who might have been excluded in the past.  He’s talking about me.
And that’s who Danny was.  For him, freedom and dignity were not abstractions.  They were values that he had bled for, ideas he had sacrificed for, rights he understood as only someone can who has had them threatened, had them taken away.

Read the President’s full remarks.

In addition to the eulogy, the President also issued a statement on the Senator’s passing as well as a Presidential Proclamation directing that the flag of the United States be flown at half-staff at the White House and other public buildings and grounds until sunset on the day of Senator Inouye’s interment.

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, attend the funeral service for Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Dec. 21, 2012. Senator Inouye’s family is at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In addition, Vice President Biden issued a statement on the Senator’s passing, delivered remarks at the Arrival Ceremony for Senator Inouye at the United States Capitol, and today also delivered remarks at the memorial service.

Other senior Administration officials also released statements:

Statement by the President on the Presidential Election in the Republic of Korea

Recently, President Obama issued a statement on the election of President-elect Park Geun-hye, who will become the first female president of the Republic of Korea:

I congratulate President-elect Park Geun-hye on her success in the election held on Wednesday. I look forward to working closely with the Park Administration to further enhance our extensive cooperation with the Republic of Korea on a wide range of important bilateral, regional and global issues. The U.S.-ROK alliance serves as a linchpin of peace and security in the Asia Pacific and our two nations share a global partnership with deep economic, security, and people-to-people ties. I also wish to reiterate my admiration for all that President Lee has done to strengthen U.S.-ROK relations and promote a Global Korea.

On Friday, the President also called the President-elect – click here for a readout of that call.

Blog Highlights

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, delivers a statement and takes questions about the Administration’s gun policy process in the wake of the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Dec. 19, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Plan B exposed ::: White House ::: Get the Facts

With tax cuts for middle-class families set to expire soon, Republicans in Congress have proposed legislation known as “Plan B” that not only raises taxes on 25 million middle-class families, but cuts taxes for households making more than $1 million each year.

We’ve put together a graphic to help explain the proposed legislation. Check it out:

Under The Republicans' Plan B

AmeriCorps and Sandy


National Service in the News


4 Stranded dolphins rescued on Cape
Associated Press, November 23, 2012
Rescuers and volunteers from IFAW, AmeriCorps and the National Park Service released one dolphin bull and three cows from Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown.

AmeriCorps NCCC

AmeriCorps available to help local homeowners
Shore News Today (New Jersey), November 29, 2012
The Brigantine Beach Community Center was able to offer new assistance this week as representatives of FEMA’s AmeriCorps came to town. Two six-person teams, one from the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) and the other from the Minnesota Conservation Corps, arrived in Brigantine to set up a Volunteer Reception Center.

AmeriCorps VISTA

VISTA member works to help inmates transition back into society
KRTV.com (Montana), November 30, 2012
Jill Jennings, a volunteer in the AmeriCorps VISTA program, has dedicated the last year of her life to creating a transition coalition in Great Falls to help inmates integrate back into society and become productive citizens.

Senior Corps

Achieve More Initative proves great success during Minnesota College Application Week
Crookston Times (Minnesota), November 29, 2012
Launched in fall 2012, the project is a collaborative effort among the Center for Adult Learning (CAL), the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), and the Crookston Area Chamber of Commerce.

Social Innovation Fund

ActionAIDS awarded large national grant
EPGN (Pennsylvania), November 22, 2012
The Prison Linkage Program allows ActionAIDS case workers to connect with the HIV-positive prison population and ensure proper access to medical care and other resources upon their release. The funding is made possible by a grant from the Social Innovation Fund. The other awardees are headquartered in Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana and California.

Hurricane Sandy

Young FEMA Corps volunteers appreciated by Sandy victims
Atlantic City Press (New Jersey), November 28, 2012
When FEMA arrived after Hurricane Sandy the workers included young volunteers from a new FEMA Corps program started in March as part of a partnership between FEMA and the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps program.

Club Red, Disaster Relief Group, Offers Assistance to Victims of Sandy
Elizabethtown College (Pennsylvania), November 28, 2012
Creme is also an AmeriCorps scholar. Because she is an AmeriCorps scholar, Creme had to pick a primary organization as her focus for volunteering. Creme, with her friends senior Caitlin Cecco and senior Elyse Archambeault, looked at some of the work that the Red Cross was already working on and together the girls figured out what they could do to help out the College and the surrounding community.

Reorganized Red Cross in N.J. faced first test during Hurricane Sandy
Independent Press (New Jersey), November 28, 2012
FEMA community relations staff and FEMA Corps personnel help Red Cross volunteers at the FEMA center in Springfield provide household items and clothing donated for Hurricane Sandy relief.

FEMA Officials Praise Hoopa Service Teams
Two Rivers Tribune (California), November 27, 2012
Hoopa AmeriCorps and Tribal Civilian Community Corps (TCCC) members were praised by U.S. government officials for their hard work and dedication as part of the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in New York.

FEMA Mobile Disaster Assistance Center Open in Mastic, Southold and East Hampton
Hamptons.com, November 27, 2012
There will be a FEMA mobile disaster assistance center in Mastic, Southold and East Hampton over the next couple of days.

Coney Island: a month after Hurricane Sandy, still in need
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel(Wisconsin), November 26, 2012
The backbone of the volunteer efforts consisted of church-based volunteers, AmeriCorps members from throughout the country who were staying at a union hall in Queens, and local organizations such as the Doe Fund’s Ready, Willing & Able initiative that is a transitional work program for those with a history of homelessness or substance abuse. They are there for the long haul.

Jamie Rappaport Clark, Defenders of Wildlife

Thank You!

Let’s not sugarcoat it — these are tough times for wildlife lovers. But even the darkest times have inspiring moments.Thanks to you and other steadfast wildlife lovers, we have some important victories to celebrate from this past year. Here are three things we are thankful for here at Defenders:Make Way for Bison! We took a giant step in 2012 toward returning wild bison to the heart of their historic range in America’s Great Plains. Sixty one pure American bison from Yellowstone National Park made a 500-mile journey to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Eastern Montana. The move marks the beginning of efforts to restore wild bison herds of 1,000 or more to areas where they once thundered in the millions.

Roadless Rule Upheld. The Supreme Court handed conservationists a huge victory when they rejected an appeal to the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, allowing this rule to stay intact. The provision, signed by President Clinton in 2001, bans road construction or timber harvesting in nearly 60 million acres of National Forest lands. The rule protects more than 1,600 vulnerable wild plant and animal species whose habitat would be at risk if road building was permitted.

A Lone Wolf Arrives in California. There has not been a wild wolf in California since the 1920s. That is until OR-7, a young male born in Eastern Oregon, made his way into Northern California’s Cascades region early this year. It was a landmark moment for wolf conservation, and for a while OR-7 was undoubtedly the world’s most famous wolf.

We here at Defenders cannot thank you enough for your passionate support in 2012. Let’s draw encouragement and renewed energy from these wins to meet the conservation challenges ahead!

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

Jamie Rappaport Clark
Sincerely,Jamie Rappaport Clark
Defenders of Wildlife