A Walk with the President:

President Obama walks with his personal secretary.

President Barack Obama walks with Personal Secretary Ferial Govashiri along the West Colonnade of the White House, Aug. 7, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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From 1600 Penn …

whitehousebannerWeekly Address: Reaffirming Our Commitment to Protecting the Right to Vote

In this week’s address, the President celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act by underscoring the importance of one of the most fundamental rights of our democracy — that all of us are created equal and that each of us deserves a voice.


West Wing Week: “The Measure of a Leader”

Last week, the President announced a new historic action to cut harmful carbon pollution, advocated for the Iran deal, celebrated his 54th birthday, and inaugurated a new class of Mandela fellows.


Business Schools Come Together to Expand Opportunities for Women in Business

Last Wednesday, the Council on Women and Girls and the Council of Economic Advisers hosted a convening focused on opportunities for business schools and the business community to work together to ensure that students are trained to lead in the 21st century and to expand opportunities for women in business.


Casey Stevens via ColorOfChange.org

ColorOfChange member Casey Stevens started an iam.colorofchange petition to Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, and all other Reddit advertisers stating:

“Audible showed itself to be a good corporate citizen by taking a stand and pulling its ads. I am now asking that you do the same until Reddit bans hate speech entirely. Will you please make a public commitment to cancel your advertising on Reddit until it accomplishes the following:

I am calling on Netflix and the other advertisers who remain to pull their ads from Reddit until they institute the following policies:

1)Ban any speech intended to dehumanize, demean or degrade a group of people based on inherent personal characteristics like race, gender, sexuality, religion, and the like.

2)Ban users from forming groups solely devoted to hating other people.

3)Ban the rest of the subreddits devoted to hate, not just CoonTown.”

Dump Reddit


I just started a petition titled

“Don’t Fund the Next Dylann Roof: Dump Reddit” 

Here’s why this is important:

Online hate speech leads to violence in the real world.

Less than two months ago, nine people were killed as they worshipped at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. The young man who murdered them did so as a result of his indoctrination by various websites espousing racial hatred. The website Stormfront has already been linked to upwards of 100 murders. Despite recently banning CoonTown, its largest “subreddit,” or forum, dedicated to anti-Black racism, Reddit still hosts tens of thousands of white nationalists and other racist activists in the many racist subreddits that remain, and CoonTown users have already announced plans to re-form. These users recently began outpacing Stormfront users in measures of engagement like subscriber growth and page views, which spells danger; in its report on murderers linked to Stormfront, the Southern Poverty Law Center noted that more time spent on hate sites was a common characteristic of those who went on to kill.

Reddit validates hate speech by giving it space on one of the largest, best-known websites on the web. White supremacist groups have also recognized the site as a fertile breeding ground for their ideologies, and have provided a template for using Reddit to recruit new blood to their cause. The “containment” strategy that Reddit CEO Steve Huffman announced earlier this month is not keeping hate contained; racist content shows up all over the site, and subscribers to hate subreddits continue to harass other users, particularly users on Black-interest subreddits.

Reddit has repeatedly shown that it will not act to protect women or people of color without public and financial pressure to do so. Child porn and other forms of non-consensual pornography, such as revenge porn, were only recently banned, and only after a barrage of negative media attention and celebrity involvement. Despite publicly announcing a crack down on subreddits that harass others and promote violence, Reddit continues to look the other way as subscribers to its racist subreddits harass users of color, celebrate violence against black and Jewish people, and call for racial holy war.

With the momentum building and in response to pressure from activists and supporters like yourself, Reddit announced August 5th that it would ban some of its racist subreddits, including “CoonTown.” However, in doing so, Reddit didn’t articulate a clear hate speech policy, and made no moves to stop the violent anti-black racism that dominates the site. They banned CoonTown because it became an “annoyance” to them. Reddit’s announcement was so egregious that Gizmodo published a piece titled “Reddit Bans /r/Coontown For All the Wrong Reasons.

Reddit needs to see that they cannot hide their hate problem; if they do not address it head on, their advertisers will face a consumer backlash that will force them to #DumpReddit.

Please join me,

Casey Stevens


The Buckeye Squeeze


Ohio’s Middle Class Is Hurting, And GOP Policies Will Just Make It Worse

In a little more than 24 hours, 10 Republican men will take the stage in Cleveland for the first GOP primary debate. More than likely, most candidates will claim they are champions of Ohio’s middle class.

It is true that Ohio’s working families need a champion, as a new CAP Action report indicates. The Cleveland Plain Dealer discusses the report’s key points ahead of debate night, highlighting that that the median household income in Ohio has dropped by more than 6% in the last 30 years. As the Plain Dealer states, “only three states fared worse” than Ohio in terms of median household income.

However, another new CAP Action report shows that Republican rhetoric on how they value working Ohioans is far different than reality. Actually, many GOP candidates supporting policies that benefit the wealthy at the expense of the Ohio middle class.

In short, GOP candidates’ policies would hurt Ohio’s working families. Here are a few key examples:

  • Conservative tax policies overwhelming benefit the wealthiest Americans at the expense of working families. For example, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rick Perry have all called for eliminating or drastically reducing the capital gains tax, a policy that would benefit 92% of Ohio taxpayers who made $1 million or more in 2012, but would have almost no impact on Ohio’s middle class.
  • Conservative policies make it harder to create good-paying jobs. Right-to-work laws, like the one signed by Gov. Scott Walker, are associated with average wages that are 3.1% lower than wages in states without right-to-work laws. Ohio governor and GOP candidate John Kasich pushed anti-worker legislation, which was rejected by Ohio voters, that would have likely lowered incomes and hurt job growth.
  • GOP candidates oppose policies that help families balance work and home. Women are the sole, primary, or co-breadwinners in more than 68 percent of Ohio families, yet Republican candidates oppose key policies such as paid sick days, paid family and medical leave, equal pay, and access to childcare. Gov. Walker and Gov. Jindal signed pre-emption laws, preventing cities in their states from requiring paid sick leave.
  • GOP governors ignore runaway tuition costs. Under Gov. Jindal and Gov. Perry, students faced exploding costs. College tuition and fees grew 44 percentage points in Louisiana and 69.3 percentage points more in Texas, respectively, more than in Ohio.

BOTTOM LINE: GOP candidates may claim they will help the middle class, but their policies benefit the wealthy while hurting job growth and making it harder for families to balance work and home and afford college for their children. With a falling median income, Ohio’s middle class cannot afford the choices offered by this class of Republican candidates.