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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

El Niño’s impact on continental evaporation

El Niño’s impact on continental evaporation

El Niño’s impact on continental evaporation

El Niño’s impact on continental evaporation

The Naked Mountain

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=82859&src=eoa-iotd

Thursday, January 16, 2014

STUDENT VISITORS RECEIVE REMARKS BY STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Remarks to Visiting Students from the Joint Forces Staff College
Remarks
Tom Kelly
Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Washington, DC
January 13, 2014

Thank you, Under Secretary Gottemoeller for those remarks and for taking time out of your busy schedule to address this group. Good morning everyone. It is my great privilege to welcome you all to the State Department. I want to single out for welcome your senior mentor General John Foss – sir, thank you for joining us today – as well as Col. Richard Wiersma, the Director of the Joint Advanced Warfighting School.

I’d also like to thank Robert Murphy for arranging this event. I was struck by Mr. Murphy’s name – not just because, if it weren’t for the Murphys, Kelly would be the top Irish surname. That’s because 72 years ago, President Roosevelt named the first POLAD, or Foreign Policy Advisor, to serve with our military. His name was Ambassador Robert Murphy. He served on General Eisenhower’s staff, becoming one of the General’s most influential aides. Like many trailblazers, Ambassador Murphy often had to explain himself. He said that “war is a projection of policy when other means fail. The State Department is responsible to the President for foreign policy… And that is why I am here.”

Ambassador Murphy’s words, made in the middle of World War II, are still true today – and they are still a good explanation for the existence of why my part of the State Department, the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. Today more than ever, the Departments of State and Defense need to work together to preserve our nation’s security. The Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, or PM, serves as the principal link between our two Departments.

My main goal this morning is to explain to you what we do in PM and how you can use us in the future to solve the problems that will confront you as military leaders. Our bureau has the lead on several issues that directly affect your jobs – issues like security assistance, foreign military sales, military access and defense cooperation agreements, to name just a few – but we also encourage our military colleagues to use as a one-stop shop for our foreign policy needs. The State Department is a complicated organization, and my 375 colleagues and I can help you to decipher it.

Now I realize that some people may be surprised that we have so many professionals at the State Department who work on bread-and-butter security issues. But from the way we handle national security policy in the United States, it makes good sense. For us, just like it was for Ambassador Murphy, defense and foreign policy are two sides of the same coin. When the United States enters a military partnership with a foreign country, our bilateral relationship becomes more intimate and enduring. And we diplomats can help our military colleagues – all of you -- to handle the many challenges that confront them in foreign theaters of operation.

At the forefront of our nation’s foreign policy is the notion that America helps itself by helping others. At his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary Kerry said, “Global leadership is a strategic imperative for America, not a favor we do for other countries. It amplifies our voice and extends our reach….and it really matters to the daily lives of Americans.”

The challenges we face today typically can’t be solved by just our military, or our economic engagement, and – while it pains me to say this as a State Department official – we can’t resolve everything just with diplomacy, either. Addressing today’s challenges demands we utilize all of these elements of national power. I know you all have now heard this many times before – but addressing the world’s toughest problems really does take a whole-of-government effort. So we at the State Department -- at the direction of the President -- are working harder than ever before to improve our cooperation and coordination with the Defense Department and its agencies.

So let’s talk about specifics. Security cooperation plays a central role in American foreign policy. In PM, we spend a great deal of time tending to our nation’s security partnerships. In my capacity as Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs, I meet with my counterparts from the Office of the Secretary Defense regularly to discuss our approach to the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, to how to best calibrate our security assistance to Egypt, to ways to expedite military equipment to Iraq to help them defeat Al Qaeda. The list of issues goes on.

What many often don’t realize is that according to the Arms Export Control Act, it is the Secretary of State who oversees all U.S. arms sales and transfers. DoD provides a great deal of technical expertise throughout the process, but the final decisions rest in this Department. This is because the provision of security assistance to a foreign nation, a foreign security force, is inherently an act of foreign policy. So the Political-Military Affairs Bureau bridges the institutional and cultural gap between the Departments to provide the global perspective to administer the Secretary’s authority. For four consecutive years, U.S. Foreign Military Sales have exceeded $30 billion.

When the United States transfers a weapon system, especially through our Foreign Military Sales program, we are not just providing a country military hardware or capabilities. We are also reinforcing diplomatic relations and establishing a long-term security partnership, which in turn reinforces our diplomatic relationship. Defense trade also often increases inter-operability between forces. The use of similar military platforms helps streamline operations and maintenance, and reduces the potential for problems when coordinating between highly advanced and complicated defense systems in a coalition environment.

Additionally, the complex and technical nature of advanced defense systems most often requires substantial interaction between the U.S. and our partners over the life of that system. When a country purchases an advanced, U.S.-manufactured defense system, such as an F/A-18 fighter aircraft, it is not just getting the hardware. The purchase allows partner countries to work in partnership with the United States to secure training, upgrades, and repairs throughout the system’s lifespan, which in the case of a fighter jet can be as long as 40 years.

Our defense trade strengthens diplomatic ties between countries and the United States over the long term. And this again is why all sales and arms transfers are reviewed and assessed by the State Department to determine whether a sale is in the best foreign policy and national security interests of the United States.

When a country is willing to cooperate with us in the security sector – perhaps the most sensitive area for any country – it serves to strengthen our broader diplomatic relationships. This means that in purchasing the U.S. defense products, partner nations are investing in a broader, long-term relationship with the United States.

The State Department’s security cooperation efforts include a broad array of tools, including direct grant assistance, the sale or transfer of military items and equipment, training peacekeepers, and supporting demining efforts. I’ll be happy to talk more about these in the Q and A if you’d like. But let me just briefly describe some of our concrete achievements recently, working with our partners in DoD, the regional combatant commands, and our diplomatic missions around the world:

In Asia, we developed over $20 billion in potential arms sales to Asia; developed 15 co-production defense projects to advance our burgeoning security relationship with India;
In the Middle East, PM notified to Congress the largest sale of standoff weapons to Gulf countries ($10.4 billion to the UAE and Saudi Arabia); and helped re-prioritize the U.S. security assistance program for Egypt during a period of considerable turmoil.
We also play an unremarked, but quite remarkable, role, setting the stage for DoD operations around the world. PM leads the U.S. Government's negotiation of status of forces agreements, defense cooperation agreements, burden-sharing and facilities access agreements, transit and overflight arrangements, and state flights agreements. Collectively, these arrangements facilitate the deployment of U.S. forces and materiel abroad and provide protections for U.S. service members operating overseas. Recently, PM concluded a defense cooperation agreement with Qatar governing the 10,000 U.S. personnel stationed there. And just last week, we concluded a burden-sharing agreement in which Korea will contribute almost one billion dollars to U.S. military infrastructure costs. Negotiating these agreements is a core diplomatic function, and a fine example of the enabling role that the State Department plays for the Department of Defense.

Building security partnerships starts at home. It requires our diplomacy and defense to be on the same page and it requires State and DOD to coordinate and work more closely than ever before. And today I can tell you from my unique vantage point in the PM bureau that the current level of cooperation between State and DoD is just unprecedented. We are seeing more interaction, more coordinated engagements, more personnel exchanges than ever before.

One way that you build cooperation between institutions is to exchange some of your best personnel. Over the past few years, we’ve dramatically increased the number of personnel exchanged between the Departments of State and Defense. We signed a formal memorandum of understanding between State and DOD in January of 2012 that greatly expanded our Foreign Policy Advisor [POLAD] Program, which will provide senior Foreign Service Officers to DOD commands, including the first ever State Department foreign policy advisor to serve on the staff of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The agreement also doubles the number of uniformed personnel serving here in the Department of State. We’ve always had a great contingent of uniformed personnel serving in the Political-Military Bureau. My office mate is Rear Admiral Sam Perez, who is a key member of my leadership team as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and the highest-ranking military officer here at State. But the agreement has enabled us to put military officers in virtually every single bureau of the State Department. And believe me, demand for the unique skills that folks like you bring to the table is very high over here, giving more senior policymakers here in Foggy Bottom with access to military expertise as they make decisions with implications for the U.S. military.

We have also expanded the POLAD program a great deal. The more senior POLADs have always been a mainstay of the program. General Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, has been able to benefit from the advice of an experienced Senior Foreign Service Officer during his time as chairman. The same goes for General Austin at CENTCOM, Admiral Locklear at PACOM, and Admiral McRaven at SOCOM. These POLADs, like Ambassador Robert Murphy during World War II, advise these military commanders on the broader foreign policy effects of their decisions. Admiral McRaven likes to say that anytime he makes a key decision about anything, he asks for his POLAD’s advice.

What’s new is that we’ve expanded the program, providing subordinate commands with POLADs for the first time and expanding the number of Foreign Service Officers serving at the regional combatant commands. This means that we have many mid-level officers serving in the POLAD program for the first time. This gives the program new energy and it helps us at State to build a cadre of officers who know the DoD from the inside out and will provide us with a cadre of experienced pol-mil officers who can provide leadership on critical national security issues in the decades to come.

I’m very happy to advise you that the POLAD program is more popular than ever at State, as Foreign Service Officers come to understand how rewarding and career-enhancing it is to serve in the commands as a Foreign Policy Advisor. The number of FSOs expressing interest in POLAD jobs is growing dramatically. Barely three years ago, just over 150 FSOs bid on POLAD positions. This year, that number grew to about 350. And for what it’s worth, POLADs who perform well at their respective commands are getting promoted within the Foreign Service to work at the NSS or to serve as Deputy Chief of Mission or Ambassador. This shows the value the State Department places on cooperation and coordination with its most important interagency partner, the Department of Defense.

It is not only their regional or functional expertise that military commanders seek from a POLAD. It is also FSOs’ability to reach back to the appropriate bureaus within the Department of State to provide immediate support to military commanders for planned engagements or for crisis response. We have seen this time and again – most recently in the events of South Sudan – and we are now seeing a new generation of leaders in the Department of Defense who both want and expect top quality FSOs to provide linkages and coordination with the Department of State.

Building the capacity of our partners and allies is a strategic imperative for the United States, and it’s one that we focus on here in PM. The United States can’t fix every problem in the world alone. Our government lacks the funds to make that happen, our citizens won’t stand for it, and it’s bad policy anyway. That’s why it’s important to use cost-effective ways to achieve U.S. strategic objectives at home and abroad. Building partner capacity, so that we can help friendly countries help us to keep the world safe and secure, is a prudent investment which defends U.S. interests in an era of diminishing resources.

It’s not hard to think of recent examples. Recent crises in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Mali call attention to another important joint State-DOD effort known as the Global Peace Operations Initiative or GPOI. In all of those countries, peacekeeping troops from other countries have prevented those troubled countries from spiraling further into chaos. Those troops have saved thousands of lives in the past few months. We’re proud in PM that we’ve partnered with DoD to train many of them. The GPOI Initiative is a global peacekeeping capacity building program managed by PM in close consultation with and with tremendous support from DOD. The combatant commands play a critical role in implementing the training, education, equipment delivery, and facilities improvements sponsored by GPOI in 66 countries and three regional organizations around the world. Since its inception in 2005, GPOI has facilitated the training of 247,000 peacekeepers, supported 52 national and regional peace operations training centers, and has also facilitated the deployment of over191,000 soldiers from 38 countries to 27 operations around the world. The more the United States builds the capacity of other countries to contribute to international peace and security, the less the U.S. will be expected to be the only option for responding to crises as they appear across the globe.

Finally, the State Department, led by PM, is working with DoD to deal with transnational security challenges where international coordination and a comfort with foreign settings is critically important. A good example is the U.S. government effort to confront modern-day piracy off the coast of Somalia.

Back in late 2008, Somali piracy was spiraling out of control. Attacks were escalating, and pirates were expanding operations far into the Indian Ocean. Ransom payments in the millions brought more and more Somali men to the water. At the peak of this activity, Somali pirates held nearly 600 mariners hostage and roamed an area as large as the continental United States in their search for new victims. In addition to the threat posed to innocent mariners, pirate activity was costing the global economy an estimated $7 billion a year.

In response, PM brought State and DoD together to coordinate a multifaceted response that turned the tide against the pirates. Part of the response was military and involved one of the largest naval coalitions ever assembled, with NATO member navies working in common cause with those from countries like the UAE, India, Pakistan, Viet Nam, and Japan. Another key part of the response was diplomatic. Four years ago, the United States helped establish the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia in January 2009, which now includes more than 80 nations, non-governmental organizations, and industry groups working together to take the fight to pirates. We worked on a lot of fronts, fought back against the pirates, and put about 1,000 of them in prisons in 20 different countries.

The results of all of these efforts is what I think is one of the most important multilateral success stories of this young century. There has not been a single successful attack against commercial shipping in the Indian Ocean in more than a year and a half. Pirates no longer control a single hijacked ship. A few years ago pirates held over 600 hostages, today, they hold only a few dozen, and we are doing all we can to facilitate their return.

So, from peacekeeping and counter-piracy, to defense cooperation and diplomacy, we can draw the same conclusion over and over again: By working together, the Departments of State and Defense can successfully tackle some of the world’s toughest problems. That’s what the Political-Military Bureau does every day.

With that, I’m happy to take any questions.

Food Safety in the College Dorm (+playlist)

Le réveil le plus important du Système Solaire

Le réveil le plus important du Système Solaire

Labor Department News Releases Update

Labor Department News Releases Update

The First Lady and Alicia Keys Discuss Education at the White House

DRUG SHORTAGES

http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/DrugShortages/ucm050792.htm?source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Press Briefing | The White House

Press Briefing | The White House

President Obama's Bilateral Meeting with President Rajoy of Spain | The White House

President Obama's Bilateral Meeting with President Rajoy of Spain | The White House

ACCELERATED APPROVAL GRANTED TO TRAMEITNIB AND DABRAFENIB

FROM:  FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION

Trametinib and Dabrafenib

The U. S. Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to trametinib (Mekinist tablets, GlaxoSmithKline, LLC) and dabrafenib (Tafinlar capsules, GlaxoSmithKline, LLC) for use in combination in the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma with a BRAF V600E or V600K mutation as detected by an FDA-approved test.
Trametinib was previously approved in 2013 as a single agent for treatment of BRAF V600E or V600K mutation-positive unresectable or metastatic melanoma.   Dabrafenib was also approved in 2013 as a single agent for treatment of BRAF V600E mutation-positive unresectable or metastatic melanoma. Trametinib and dabrafenib target two different tyrosine kinases in the RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK pathway.
 
Approval of the combination therapy was based on the demonstration of durable objective responses in a multicenter, open-label, randomized (1:1:1), active-controlled, dose-ranging trial enrolling 162 patients with histologically confirmed Stage IIIC or IV melanoma determined to be BRAF V600E or V600K. No more than one prior chemotherapy regimen and/or interleukin-2 were permitted. Patients with prior exposure to BRAF inhibitors or MEK inhibitors were ineligible.
 
Patients were randomized to receive trametinib 2 mg orally once daily in combination with dabrafenib 150 mg orally twice daily (n=54), trametinib 1 mg orally once daily in combination with dabrafenib 150 mg orally twice daily (n=54), or single-agent dabrafenib 150 mg orally twice daily (n=54). Of the 162 patients enrolled, 57% were male, the median age was 53 years, all had baseline ECOG PS of 0 or 1, 67% had M1c disease, and 81% had not received prior anticancer therapy for unresectable or metastatic disease. All patients had tumor tissue with mutations in BRAF V600E (85%) or V600K (15%) on local or centralized testing.
 
The investigator-assessed objective response rates and response duration were 76% (95% CI: 62, 87) and 10.5 months (95% CI: 7, 15), respectively, in the trametinib 2 mg plus dabrafenib combination arm and 54% (95% CI: 40, 67) and 5.6 months (95% CI: 5, 7), respectively, in the single-agent dabrafenib arm. Objective response rates were similar in subgroups defined by BRAF V600 mutation subtype, V600E and V600K. Analyses of objective response rates based on blinded independent central review were consistent with the investigator results.
 
The incidence of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (including squamous cell carcinomas of the skin and keratoacanthomas), the trial’s primary safety endpoint, was 7% (95% CI: 2, 18) in the trametinib 2 mg plus dabrafenib combination arm compared to 19% (95% CI: 9, 32) in the single-agent dabrafenib arm.
 
The most frequent (greater than or equal to 20% incidence) adverse reactions from trametinib in combination with dabrafenib were pyrexia, chills, fatigue, rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, peripheral edema, cough, headache, arthralgia, night sweats, decreased appetite, constipation, and myalgia. The most frequent grades 3 and 4 adverse events (greater than or equal to 5% incidence) were acute renal failure, pyrexia, hemorrhage, and back pain.
 
Serious adverse drug reactions occurring in patients taking trametinib in combination with dabrafenib were hemorrhage, venous thromboembolism, new primary malignancy, serious febrile reactions, cardiomyopathy, serious skin toxicity, and eye disorders such as retinal pigmented epithelial detachments.
 
Granting of this accelerated approval is contingent upon the successful completion of the ongoing MEK115306 trial to verify the clinical benefit of trametinib for use in combination with dabrafenib. MEK115306 is an international, multicenter, randomized (1:1), double-blind, placebo-controlled trial comparing the combination of dabrafenib and trametinib to dabrafenib and placebo as first-line therapy in approximately 340 patients with unresectable (Stage IIIC) or metastatic (Stage IV) BRAF V600E or V600K mutation-positive cutaneous melanoma.  The primary endpoint is progression-free survival.  Overall survival is a key secondary endpoint.
 
The recommended dose and schedule for trametinib and dabrafenib when used in combination is trametinib 2 mg orally once daily with dabrafenib 150 mg orally twice daily continued until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity occurs. Trametinib and dabrafenib should be taken at least one hour before or two hours after a meal. The once daily dose of trametinib can be taken at the same time as either dose of dabrafenib.
 

Convocatoria de medios: desayuno informativo con el Director General de la ESA

Convocatoria de medios: desayuno informativo con el Director General de la ESA

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Portable telemedicine device for medics

Portable telemedicine device for medics

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Cyberbullying (+playlist)

Gaia gearriveerd op zijn bestemming

Gaia gearriveerd op zijn bestemming

SECRETARY KERRY HOSTS HOLIDAY RECEPTION

FROM:  STATE DEPARTMENT 
Secretary of State John Kerry Hosts the Unaccompanied Tour Families Holiday Reception
Remarks
John Kerry
   Secretary of State
William J. Burns
   Deputy Secretary of State
Ben Franklin Room
Washington, DC
January 7, 2014

DEPUTY SECRETARY BURNS: Good afternoon, everybody and welcome home to the Department of State. Thank you all very much for coming, and Happy New Year.

We gather today to honor those who are serving with distinction in some of the world’s most complicated places, from South Sudan to Iraq, from Yemen to Afghanistan. We gather today to express our gratitude to their loved ones – to all of you, for your service, your sacrifice, and your resiliency during months of separation, anxiety, missed birthdays, and dropped Skype calls. And we gather today to remember and celebrate the fact that during these challenging times, we have one another.

All of you know, as well as I do, that through the ups and downs of life in the Foreign Service few things remain constant. Policies changes, jobs change, schools change, ambassadors come and go. But you can always count on your State Department family being there for you. And I know that as the demands on our diplomats grow, so too do the bonds that tie us together. My family has relied on the incredible support of this remarkable institution and its remarkable people for more than three decades. There is truly no greater honor than to serve alongside all of you.

Secretary Kerry has been part of the State Department family his whole life. He knows how much we ask of our diplomats and their families, and he knows just how indispensable your efforts are to promote American interests and values and advance the cause of peace and prosperity here at home and around the world. We’re very fortunate to have him as the champion for the people of this Department and its mission, and I’m very fortunate to have the honor to introduce him this afternoon.

Mr. Secretary. (Applause.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. Thank you. Well, good afternoon and Happy New Year to everybody. And as you all know, we did not originally plan to say Happy New Year, we originally planned to say happy holidays and Merry Christmas, but because of the schedule as well as storms and different things that invaded us, here we are on what I think may well be the 13th day of Christmas. (Laughter.) I’ve heard of 12 Days of Christmas. We can rewrite the song and go from there.

Thank you to our Deputy Secretary Bill Burns for his generous introduction and for his comments about all of you and about the families around the world and your loved ones around the world. I want you to know President Obama once said that Bill Burns is that rare commodity in Washington. He’s someone who doesn’t speak loudly, but actually has something to say. (Laughter.) And I couldn’t agree more. I have really relied on his extraordinary judgment and his experience since the day I came here. And it’s really invaluable, and we’re blessed to have him in his continued service here.

Thanks a lot for joining us today. Kids, thank you. Thank you, all of you. I hope you had good holidays. Good so far? Is it cold enough for you out there? (Laughter.) This is what we call a polar vortex, and for any of you who are confused or frightened by it, this is springtime in Boston. (Laughter.) Just roll with the punches.

I really hope you’re enjoying a few moments up here to celebrate. And probably this is in keeping with the new Washington. Nothing around here happens on time anymore. But I – next year, we’re going to guarantee this party – actually this year, we’re going to guarantee this party happens this year. (Laughter.) And we’ll schedule it far enough in advance to make sure that happens.

It’s really special for me to be able to welcome all of you here at the State Department here today, to the Ben Franklin Room. I can’t tell you how proud we are of your service and the service of your loved ones. And I have to tell you, this is a family affair because it is family. Everybody is serving. And those of you who are here know as well as any people, because of the unaccompanied tours, just how much of a burden that service is and what it means. And I want you to know how incredibly grateful we are here at the Department, the President, the White House, people in the country for what you do for our nation.

Your contribution is as important as anybody’s. You remember the old saying from wartime: They also serve who stand and wait. So for each and every one of you this is really important. And I know for kids not to have whether it’s dad or mom or a spousal partner, whoever it is, not here, that’s a big deal.

I know also that every single one of you do incredible things to stay in touch with your loved ones, whether it’s Skype-ing or FaceTime-ing, which we never had. I remember standing in line for several hours Christmas of 1968 to get what we then called a MARS phone and we were – had this distant thing that sounded like you were on another planet. And you got about a minute and a half. And if after standing in line for two and a half hours, or whatever it was, you got up there and the person wasn’t there when you got there, that was it. You went to the back of the line or you didn’t get your call. So believe me, Skype-ing, FaceTime, you have a whole new world of opportunity.

And my chance to be able to say thank you to you is very personal, partly because I did spend Christmas of 1968 in uniform away from my family. I remember getting that package about two weeks after Christmas with stale brownies and hardened candy, and man, it tasted good no matter what. (Laughter.) But during the Foreign Service time we were never separated from my father, but I will tell you I can imagine and know from my own personal experience of being away from family at that special time how difficult it is.

So we’re really happy to welcome you here today. I’m absolutely stunned. It is true we have Coca-Cola floats here? Is that true? I’ve got to get one of those before I leave here. (Laughter.)

This is a demanding enough job – ask anybody who’s doing it even with their family, you can ask my family – but when you’re doing it without your family and without the whole nuclear unit, it’s even tougher. And so I just wanted to have a firsthand opportunity to be able to visit with all of you.

I thank all the members of the Diplomatic Corps who have joined us today to be able to celebrate a little bit with you, and I particularly want to thank a group of private partners who’ve joined us who’ve made this possible. This is sponsored by some private companies who care about you and care about what we’re doing. And I start by thanking our lead sponsor, the Chevron Corporation, and Mondelez International, the Coca-Cola Company, Hallmark Cards who are here and you’ll see.

Each of you are going to get a special packet when you leave. And I will tell you in advance-- I also want to thank Copiosity because Copiosity is a company that does decorative materials and wrapping. They help us with the sending of all of our care packages around the world to people, and they have helped put together this package you’re going to get. And please forgive me if you get a football that says New England Patriots on it – (laughter) – and if you get a that says Boston Red Sox, I want you to wear it with pride as an extended member of Red Sox Nation.

But most importantly, I just want to say a huge thank you to every single one of you. And I want to have a chance not to make a speech but to shake hands and take some pictures. And I particularly want to, as I say, thank you on behalf of President Obama and the country. I want to ask all the kids – by the way, I love the holiday sweaters still and the holiday dress, and it’s making me feel great because it ended too quickly. It reminds me when I was running for president out in Iowa. Everybody in Iowa wears a holiday Christmas sweater at parties, and it just sort of creates an atmosphere, and I see a lot of that here today.

So kids, if you will join me, will you all come up here on the podium and we can take a great picture with all of you? And meanwhile, happy holidays. I hope everybody has a spectacular 2014 and I look forward to seeing you later in the year. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. (Applause.)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Three Probable Cold Weather Deaths in Wisconsin

Three Probable Cold Weather Deaths in Wisconsin

PRESIDENT'S STATEMENT ON COPTIC CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE

Statement by the President on the Celebration of Coptic Christmas

Michelle and I wish Coptic Orthodox Christians in the United States and around the world a joyous Christmas.  On this special day, we celebrate the messages of peace and hope that continue to inspire congregations more than 2,000 years after Jesus’ birth.  During this season, we reaffirm the commitment of the United States to work for the protection of Christians and other people of faith in Egypt and around the world.  The freedom to practice our faiths is critical to stable, pluralistic, and thriving societies, and the United States will continue to be vigilant in its work to protect that freedom.  We wish Coptic Christians the blessings of this season and join them in offering prayers for peace in the year ahead.

Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health

Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health

La garra de Valencia

La garra de Valencia