“[We have to] ensure that in the years ahead we are welcoming the talents of all who can contribute to this country and that we’re living up to the basic American idea that you can make it here if you try.
That’s the idea that gave hope to José Hernández. I want you to think about this story. José’s parents were migrant farm workers. And so, growing up, he was too. He was born in California, though he could have just as easily been born on the other side of the border, if it had been a different time of year, because his family moved around with the seasons. So two of his siblings were actually born in Mexico.
So they traveled a lot, and José joined his parents picking cucumbers and strawberries. And he missed part of school when they returned to Mexico each winter. José didn’t learn English until he was 12 years old. But you know what, José was good at math and he liked math. And the nice thing is that math was the same in every school, and it’s the same in Spanish as it is in English.
So José studied, and he studied hard. And one day, he’s standing in the fields, collecting sugar beets, and he heard on a transistor radio that a man named Franklin Chang-Diaz—a man with a surname like his—was going to be an astronaut for NASA. So José decided—right there in the field, he decided—well, I could be an astronaut, too.
So José kept on studying, and he graduated high school. And he kept on studying, and he earned an engineering degree. And he kept on studying, and he earned a graduate degree. And he kept on working hard, and he ended up at a national laboratory, helping to develop a new kind of digital medical imaging system.
And a few years later, he found himself more than 100 miles above the surface of the Earth, staring out of the window of the shuttle Discovery, and he was remembering the boy in the California fields with that crazy dream that in America everything is possible.
“Right now, there are brilliant students from all over the world sitting in classrooms at our top universities. They’re earning degrees in the fields of the future, like engineering and computer science. But once they finish school, once they earn that diploma, there’s a good chance they’ll have to leave our country. Think about that.
Intel was started with the help of an immigrant who studied here and then stayed here. Instagram was started with the help of an immigrant who studied here and then stayed here. Right now in one of those classrooms, there’s a student wrestling with how to turn their big idea—their Intel or Instagram—into a big business. We’re giving them all the skills they need to figure that out, but then we’re going to turn around and tell them to start that business and create those jobs in China or India or Mexico or someplace else? That’s not how you grow new industries in America. That’s how you give new industries to our competitors. That’s why we need comprehensive immigration reform.”—President Obama in Nevada today, laying out a four-part plan for comprehensive immigration reform
“On the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we reaffirm its historic commitment to protect the health and reproductive freedom of women across this country and stand by its guiding principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters, and women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care. Today and every day, my Administration continues our efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and minimize the need for abortion. On this anniversary, we recommit ourselves to supporting women and families in the choices they make and redouble our efforts to promote safe and healthy communities.”—President Obama on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade
“Our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law—for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.”—President Obama, second inaugural address
“We have to examine ourselves in our hearts and ask ourselves what is important. This will not happen unless the American people demand it. If parents and teachers, police officers and pastors, if hunters and sportsmen, if responsible gun owners, if Americans of every background stand up and say enough—we’ve suffered too much pain and care too much about our children to allow this to continue—then change will come. That’s what it’s going to take.”—
“We are not a deadbeat nation… So we’ve got to pay our bills. And Republicans in Congress have two choices here. They can act responsibly, and pay America’s bills, or they can act irresponsibly and put America through another economic crisis. But they will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy … We’ve got to stop lurching from crisis to crisis to crisis when there’s this clear path ahead of us that simply requires some discipline, some responsibility, and some compromise. That’s where we need to go. That’s how this needs to work.”—POTUS (via kateoplis)
The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:
The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?
However, look carefully (here’s how) and you’ll notice something already floating in the sky—that’s no Moon, it’s a Space Station! Yes, we already have a giant, football field-sized International Space Station in orbit around the Earth that’s helping us learn how humans can live and thrive in space for long durations. The Space Station has six astronauts—American, Russian, and Canadian—living in it right now, conducting research, learning how to live and work in space over long periods of time, routinely welcoming visiting spacecraft and repairing onboard garbage mashers, etc. We’ve also got two robot science labs—one wielding a laser—roving around Mars, looking at whether life ever existed on the Red Planet.
We are living in the future! Enjoy it. Or better yet, help build it by pursuing a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field. The President has held the first-ever White House science fairs and Astronomy Night on the South Lawn because he knows these domains are critical to our country’s future, and to ensuring the United States continues leading the world in doing big things.
If you do pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field, the Force will be with us! Remember, the Death Star’s power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.
Paul Shawcross is Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget
“As I was coming over here, I was hearing about a guy named Willie. Now, in case you haven’t heard of him, they actually call him ‘Pretty Willie.’ Now, I got to say you got to be pretty tough to have a nickname like “Pretty Willie.” He’s tough.
On Wednesday, Willie will celebrate 60 years working at Detroit Diesel—60 years. Willie started back on December 12, 1952. I was not born yet. Wasn’t even close to being born. He made $1.40 an hour. The only time he spent away from this plant was when he was serving our country in the Korean War. So three generations of Willie’s family have passed through Detroit Diesel. One of his daughters works here with him right now—is that right? There she is.
In all his years, Willie has been late to work only once. It was back in 1977. It’s been so long he can’t remember why he was late—but we’re willing to give him a pass.
So Willie believes in hard work. You don’t keep a job for 60 years if you don’t work hard. Sooner or later, someone is going to fire you if you don’t work hard. He takes pride in being part of something bigger than himself. He’s committed to family; he’s committed to community; he’s committed to country. That’s how Willie lives his life. That’s how all of you live your lives.
And that makes me hopeful about the future, because you’re out there fighting every day for a better future for your family and your country. And when you do that, that means you’re creating value all across this economy. You’re inspiring people. You’re being a good example for your kids. That’s what makes America great. That’s what we have to stay focused on.”—President Obama yesterday at the Daimler Detroit Diesel Facility in Redford, Michigan