[syndicated profile] whitehouseblog_feed

Posted by Dana Frayne

An interpreter signs in the foreground while President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, delivers remarks during a reception for the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the East Room of the White House, July 20, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
An interpreter signs in the foreground while President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, delivers remarks during a reception for the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the East Room of the White House, July 20, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today marks the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a comprehensive piece of legislation signed by President George H.W. Bush that has paved the way for the over 50 million Americans with disabilities. 

"Today more people with disabilities are working with us than at any point in the last 30 years. Some of these folks are some of my closest colleagues and have been incredible leaders on behalf of the administration on a whole host of issues, and I’m grateful for their contributions every single day."
 President Obama on the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

As an intern at the White House, I recently had the opportunity to witness the White House's environment of inclusion at an intern program led by Leah Katz-Hernandez, West Wing Receptionist and Coordinator for Operations, and Maria Town, Disability Community Liaison in the Office of Public Engagement. It was incredible to learn about the numerous ways that the Administration is making a conscious effort to make the White House as inclusive as possible -- from having sign language interpreters and visual aids at White House events to ensuring that all videos on the White House digital platforms have closed captions.

The mother of Dana Frayne
My mother

While I was listening to Ms. Katz-Hernandez's and Ms. Town's stories, I was so moved that I left the event with tears in my eyes. It was the first time that I had heard two professionals openly talk about how it is becoming the norm for individuals with disabilities to not only find employment at places they love, but that individuals with disabilities have just as much a chance to be successful and fulfilled at their jobs.

That hits close to home for me. My mom has difficulty hearing and recently returned to the workforce. As she is figuring out what she is passionate about, she has thought about becoming a teacher who works with children with disabilities or an administrative assistant. My mother is one of the smartest people that I know, but I think that it can be discouraging when people are often too quick to make assumptions about her competence when she is unable to hear everything that’s going on in a conversation.

Under the Obama administration, the country has made tremendous gains to continue to improve accessibility in education, employment, health care, and more. The President has bolstered efforts to improve opportunities for young Americans with disabilities through signing the Every Student Succeeds Act to assist teachers in learning about the best ways to support their students with disabilities. The President signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to provide more employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities and youth with disabilities.

And, of course, since taking office, President Obama has made health care reform a priority. With the Affordable Care Act, we've ended discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and medical history or genetic information, along with additional policies to protect the rights of Americans with disabilities. In May, the Obama administration enhanced protections against disability-based discrimination. The President created the Administration on Community Living, which works to help people with disabilities can live in their homes and not in institutions.

Recognizing that Americans with disabilities are especially underrepresented in the federal workforce, the President issued Executive Order 13548, which set the historic goal of hiring more individuals with disabilities in the federal government. Leading by example, the President has hired more individuals with disabilities to serve in this administration than any other president in the past 33 years.

One of these hires is Leah Katz-Hernandez, who is the first deaf West Wing receptionist. As President Obama has said, "She is poised, she is talented - and as she puts it, a lot of her accomplishments may not have been possible without the ADA.

I applied to intern at the White House because I wholeheartedly believe in the President's proven track record of giving all Americans a fair shot. Yet, no amount of research could have prepared me for the overwhelming realization that the President's attitude toward accessibility is not just words written on a page, but can be felt through his conscious actions to make the White House an accessible space for all Americans.

Learn more about what the President is doing to support Americans with disabilities.

Also, read Leah Katz-Hernandez's blog post from when she was an intern at the White House.

Dana Frayne is an intern in the Office of Digital Strategy. 

[syndicated profile] 221b_recs_feed

Posted by snarryfool

Title: Inscrutable to the Last
Author: DiscordantWords
Pairings: John/Mary; John/Sherlock (ultimately)
Length: 48,843
Rating: Mature/R
Verse: BBC Sherlock
Author's Summary: He wasn't Sherlock, he couldn't work miracles. All he'd ever been able to do was write about them.
Reccer's Comments: Let us suppose, gentle readers, that Sherlock Holmes is dead and has never returned, and that John is married to a nurse named Mary, who is not now and never has been pregnant. Let us suppose that John has made a life for himself. Really. He has. And as part of that life, he is writing a sort of novel that he keeps on his laptop and whose events, to a startling degree, resemble the events of S3.

You may go into this expecting a supernatural story in which John's novel comes true. It isn't. It's much more clever and surprising than that. And you will notice that I have not included a "character death" warning, okay?

It is beyond me why this fic hasn't had more readers. Also, I have checked the spreadsheet of past recs about half a dozen times, because how has this not been recced before?

Here's an excerpt from the opening.


Mary's voice had gone strange. The tone made something lurch in his chest.

He looked up from his newspaper, from where he sat on the sofa. She was sitting at the little desk in the corner, staring down at her laptop—except—no, no, it wasn't her laptop at all. It was his.

"What's this?" she asked, and her voice was definitely strange, high and strained.

It set his heart pounding, thudding a steady beat of no no no, each jump of his pulse flooding him with a sickening dread. He wanted to throw his newspaper down, bolt for the door, flee into the damp evening air. He wanted to stand up and snap his laptop shut, like he'd done to Sherlock all those years ago—except, no, best not think of that.

He did none of those things. Instead, he rustled his newspaper, folded it neatly and set it down on the coffee table, and met her eyes. He sat very still.

"Hm?" he said. "What's that, then?" He feigned casual, did a crap job of it, and why did he even bother, she'd always been adept at seeing right through him, right from the very start. That's why he'd—

Read on the AO3.

[syndicated profile] 538_feed

Posted by FiveThirtyEight

We’ll be reporting from Philadelphia all week and live-blogging each night. Check out all our dispatches from the Democratic convention here.


Subscribe: iTunes |Download |RSS |Video

The theme of the first night of the Democratic National Convention was “United Together,” but there are still doubts about whether the party is going to achieve that goal. For our Tuesday morning podcast, Farai Chideya, Clare Malone, Galen Druke and Jody Avirgan got together to discuss the role Bernie Sanders and his supporters are playing at the DNC.

On Monday afternoon, a vocal group of California delegates booed during several speeches on the convention floor, and Sanders supporters and DNC protesters marched three and half miles in sweltering heat from Philadelphia’s City Hall to the Wells Fargo Arena, where the convention is being held. There, protesters heckled delegates as they entered the arena.

Although Pew Research Center reported that 90 percent of Sanders supporters plan to vote for Hillary Clinton in the fall, the protesters in Philadelphia represent a group of hard-core Sanders supporters who still don’t find that option palatable.

Instagram Photo


Click play above to hear the full podcast. Here are some highlights from our conversation.

Farai Chideya:

Once again I’m reminded that the American political system is in the minority globally. We are a two-party democracy in a world filled with multiparty democracies, and this year more than ever shows why that can be full of violent disagreement. You have the establishment GOP versus the Trump GOP, and here you‘ve had the Warren/Sanders wing of the Democratic Party and the Clinton wing, the left-centrist wing of the Democratic Party.

In the end it will all work out because it always does, because someone’s got to make the doughnuts and keep America running. But the fact is that American political opinion has to be pushed into a funnel of two parties, when, frankly, there are many factions of American political opinion, and I don’t think two parties adequately reflect that.

Clare Malone:

To me, talking to protesters outside, it really felt like the continuation of the Occupy movement. Not just the fact that there were tents in FDR Park in Philadelphia and people were sort of communally gathering and finding each other through activist pages. It was a good reminder that Sanders really is the fruit born of the Occupy movement a few years ago. People coming from Houston, people coming from Tennessee, that’s striking.

You can stream or download the full episode above. You can also find us by searching “fivethirtyeight” in your favorite podcast app, or subscribe using the RSS feed. Check out all our other shows.

If you’re a fan of the elections podcast, leave us a rating and review on iTunes, which helps other people discover the show. Have a comment, want to suggest something for “good polling vs. bad polling” or want to ask a question? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments.

Missed opportunity

Jul. 26th, 2016 12:28 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
[personal profile] bironic
Oh, one more thing I wish had been true about Star Trek: Beyond:

spoiler )

Hugo Reading update

Jul. 26th, 2016 10:17 am
owlmoose: stack of books (book - pile)
[personal profile] owlmoose
I haven't talked much about the Hugos this year, in part because there hasn't been as much conversation on the topic this year. Like Abigail, I blame fatigue -- this is the second or third year in a row of this particular drama, depending on what you count -- along with a whiff of despair that we're never going to escape it. Although I don't subscribe to that philosophy myself, I can certainly understand why people might feel that way. But with only a week to go until the deadline, I wanted to say a few words before voting closes.

Because two of the novels were already on my Hugo nomination ballot (and one only just missed making the cut), and I'd also already checked out some of the shorter fiction (notably Binti and Cat Pictures Please, both of which I adored), I didn't have all that much to read this year. Unlike last year, when I no-voted most of the slate on principle, this year I decided to give some of the works a shot (more details in my post on the short list), and overall I'd say the stories I chose to read were worth my time. I didn't like all of them -- some (like The Builders and And You Shall Know Her...) were Not For Me, and others (like Obits and Perfect State) had some aspects I enjoyed and others that annoyed me. But I'd rather dwell on the stories that I liked, so a few words on each of them:

Seveneves )

Penric's Demon )

Slow Bullets )

Folding Beijing )

Still on my to-do list for the next few days: I want to check out the excerpt of the Jim Butcher book that was included in the Hugo packet. I've never read a Butcher novel, despite being curious about such a popular urban fantasy author, mostly because the Harry Dresden character did not appeal to me. But this is the first book of a new series, so I feel that I should at least give it a shot. Also I admit to wild curiosity about the Chuck Tingle story, although the odds of me actually voting for it seem vanishingly small. But otherwise, this is a good place to wrap up my Hugo reading for the year. Now I can (mostly) relax and look forward to WorldCon. If you'll be there, let me know!

Oblique specificity of description

Jul. 26th, 2016 10:04 am
swan_tower: (Default)
[personal profile] swan_tower

That phrase probably makes no sense, but it’s the best I can do.

There’s a thing certain writers are capable of: Dorothy Dunnett and Dorothy Sayers are the ones who come immediately to mind, and Sonya Taaffe (she has a Patreon for her movie reviews — I’m just sayin’), but I’m sure there are others I’m not thinking of at the moment. These people are brilliant at describing characters. And what makes them brilliant is what, for lack of a better term, I keep thinking of as “oblique specificity.”

By this I mean something like the “telling detail” writing-advice books are always going on about, but leveled up. It’s the ability to find that one thing about a character, be it physical or psychological, that isn’t in the list of the top ten features that would probably come to mind if somebody said “describe a character,” but winds up encapsulating them in just a few words. And it’s the ability to make those words not the ones you expected: the line that sparked this post is from the Peter Wimsey novel Murder Must Advertise, where Lord Peter is playing a cricket match and accidentally goes to town when up ’til then he’s pretended to be just an ordinary guy. There are lots of phrases I would think of to describe how he starts showing a higher degree of power than he’s exhibited before, but “opening up wrathful shoulders” is not one of them — and yet, it works.

I want to read more authors like this. (Because I want to dissect what they’re doing until I’ve figured out how it ticks.) So: recommend authors to me?

I’d especially love to see this done in different contexts, because one thing Dunnett, Sayers, and Taaffe share is that they’re all writing from a more omniscient perspective than you’d ordinarily see in a modern novel. I think the added distance helps, because description doesn’t have to be delivered through the perspective of a character; not all characters are really suited to that kind of descriptive artistry. Though no examples are leaping to mind at the moment, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a variant of this done with first-person narrators, using the narrative voice to give descriptions more punch than they would otherwise have, but I’m not sure that’s always quite the same thing that I’m thinking of. (Since I’m kind of vague on what exactly I’m thinking of, this distinction is subject to debate.) I think I’ve seen it much less, though, with third-person limited narration, which lacks both the unfiltered individuality of good first-person narration and the analytical distance of omniscient. Then again, maybe that’s just a function of who I’ve been reading. I welcome any and all recommendations, especially if you can quote lines to show me how that author approaches it.

But do keep it limited to description of characters, rather than other things. Scene-setting and action and so forth are worthy topics in their own right, but right now it’s the evocation of character that I’m particularly interested in dissecting.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat

Jul. 26th, 2016 11:43 am
giandujakiss: (Default)
[personal profile] giandujakiss
And other shocking news.

Amazing, isn't it, that Democrats often want to limit their primary voting to ... Democrats.

Big News From Tor Books

Jul. 26th, 2016 03:45 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

Involving my editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden and others. Allow me to reprint the press release:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden has been named Associate Publisher of Tor Books, effective immediately. This award-winning 28-year veteran of Tor has brought numerous prestigious and bestselling authors to the list, including John Scalzi, Cory Doctorow and Charlie Jane Anders, to name a few. His vision has been instrumental in the development of Tor.

Devi Pillai, who led the US division of Orbit to its position as Tor’s fastest-growing competitor, will be joining Tor, also as Associate Publisher. “I’ve watched Devi’s work with admiration for a long time now; her qualifications are outstanding, and she’ll be a great addition to our team,” said Tor Books publisher Tom Doherty. “As we continue our 35-year commitment to adult SF and fantasy, Devi and Patrick will work alongside each other to oversee our numerous editors who work primarily in these twin genres,” he continued.

In addition, Doherty has named Linda Quinton Publisher of Forge Books. Previously she was Associate Publisher and Vice President of marketing for Tor/Forge. Forge publishes many popular and bestselling authors, including William R. Forstchen, Eric Lustbader, Douglas Preston, Patrick Taylor and Bruce Cameron. The company will announce a new head of marketing and publicity in the near future to fill the role Quinton leaves behind.

Kathleen Doherty, Publisher of Tor Teen and Starscape, has spent 30 years growing our YA and middle-grade publishing, first through book clubs and book fairs, and then by developing our program into a pair of full-fledged, NYT-bestselling imprints full of excellent YA and middle-grade authors. Kathleen has also been responsible for the tremendous school, library, and educational market growth that our whole house has benefited from over the past three decades. The company intends to increase the marketing support we provide to her excellent team.

“At a time when so many of our competitors are cutting back, consolidating imprints, and reducing staff, it’s wonderful to know that Macmillan enthusiastically supports our plan for growth,” says Doherty.

“We will shortly be announcing further additions and promotions within our editorial staff. Here’s to an amazing team that it’s my privilege to lead into a great future.”

I am first hugely thrilled for Patrick, with whom I have worked for the entire length of my novel-writing career. Hugely thrilled but not in the least surprised. He’s been at Tor for nearly three decades and has had a very large role in making it the success it has been to date. He’s a natural hire here.

I’m also hugely thrilled for Devi Pillai, and for Tor that they have managed to convince her to join the team. She’s generally considered to be one of the smartest people in the field and she’s done fantastic work at Orbit, hands down. They couldn’t have picked better.

And I’m hugely thrilled for me, and other Tor writers, present and future. It is in fact a big deal that Macmillan is investing Tor rather than standing pat, or cutting back. It’s important for authors, no matter who they are or how they publish, that the total ecosystem for publishing is robust and offers a range of options to get their work out in the world. So whether you’re self-pubbed, small-pubbed or large-pubbed (or some combination of the three), one of the largest publishing companies in the world deciding to grow its science fiction and fantasy publisher is an unambiguously good thing. I’m glad to be a Tor author today and look forward to continuing to be one for some time to come.

but i am le tired

Jul. 26th, 2016 12:35 pm
sixbeforelunch: iron man on a pink background, text reads "everyone needs a hobby" (mcu - iron man hobby)
[personal profile] sixbeforelunch
Sometimes I come across my WIP and read what I have so far and think, "This isn't bad. I'd like to see where it goes. Someone should really finish it."

Then I remember that someone is me, and I get sad.

Cheltenham Science Festival 2016

Jul. 26th, 2016 05:28 pm
purplecat: (lego robots)
[personal profile] purplecat
As ever, I have got behind on posting about events. I knew the end of May and early June were going to be hectic with trips to Dagstuhl, Bristol and Cheltenham all happening in short order, but somehow things never really let up and it was only last week that I began to think life was beginning to get back to normal a little.

Last year Cheltenham proved to be a major undertaking which swallowed a good part of my time for four to six weeks for, I felt, somewhat dubious returns in terms of actual engagement with the public. This year we were actually approached to participate, rather than volunteering via various contacts which was nice. The Research Councils were jointly sponsoring a marquee with a space theme (the Space Dome) in order to capitalise on all the excitement around Tim Peake.

We took the decision that we would participate for half the week. The Space theme meant we wouldn't have to alter the Lego Rover activity in anyway to make it work with the marquee theme and I thought that three days would actually be considerably easier than six to manage in terms of the number of volunteers required etc. Instead of taking a team of eight people, some of whom only did a few days, I took a team of two. I worked them pretty hard but over three days that didn't actually exhaust anyone. Apart from the discovery that we didn't have enough hotel nights booked, everything went pretty smoothly and the amount of preparation needed in advance was minimal.

I think our stand worked a lot better as well. This was mostly a case of the additional programming work that had taken place over the summer. Thanks to some money from the STFC we'd hired a student to implement the activity on Android tablets, rather than on laptops. But I think the practice we'd had running the activity at various local events during the year meant we were much better at actually moving children at the stand beyond the "drive a robot" stage and into discussions of sensors and programming and so on.

It still cost in the region of a couple of thousand pounds to do, so if we get asked in future we'll have to think about budget and what we get out of it. I think it is fun, is a good experience for the PhD students who help out, and raises our profile as a public engagement activity. I think we did better in terms of actual engagement with science this year, but I find it hard to evaluate how much value we actually deliver in those terms and I continue to think that school visits are more worthwhile on that front. All in all I think the costs versus the benefits are fairly borderline. I certainly think we'd need something more (which might involve broadening our stand to include more of the robotics work at Liverpool or some such) before I'd contemplate putting the resources into a whole week.

Can we all take a moment to enjoy

Jul. 26th, 2016 11:18 am
giandujakiss: (Default)
[personal profile] giandujakiss
that for decades, Republicans built their brand on red-baiting and opposition to Russia?
kyburg: (Default)
[personal profile] kyburg
#BlackSpecFic — Fireside Fiction:

Fiction, We Have a Problem: It’s Racism

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2aunLin

This escalated quickly

Jul. 26th, 2016 11:47 am
inkstone: Nami from One Piece defeated and sweatdropping (sweatdrop)
[personal profile] inkstone
So a day after I asked about the existence of a Pokémon Go community here on DW, [community profile] pokestop is up and running. I made this:

PokeStop - a Pokémon Go community

It's not fancy, but simple and functional has always been my speed.

If you'd like to use the banner to help spread the word, you can use this code:

The Daily Round

Jul. 26th, 2016 11:54 am
malkingrey: ((default))
[personal profile] malkingrey
A good thing: new slippers from L. L. Bean, to replace the ones I got for Christmas back in 2013. The old ones led a hard life and were coming apart at the seams; the new ones are the same make and mod as the old ones, only without the rips and tears.

An annoying thing: still playing find-a-roofer.

A resolve: to stop reading the political news, because it only annoys me. I already know who I'm going to vote for, and I'm well aware that my persuasive abilities, as far as convincing anybody else to change their minds, are close to nil. (It's the anti-Trump Hillary-haters that come the closest to setting me gibbering, the ones who say things like, "Trump is a horrible man and a dreadful candidate and a fascistic demagogue . . . but I won't vote for Hillary because [insert noble and high-minded reason here.]" To which I want to say nothing so much as, "I hope you enjoy your scrap of moral high ground when everything else is washing away in the flood." High-minded people . . . they'll sell you out for abstract principle every time.)
[syndicated profile] 538_feed

Posted by Harry Enten

We’ll be reporting from Philadelphia all week and live-blogging each night. Check out all our dispatches from the Democratic convention here.

PHILADELPHIA — This is the bounciest time of the campaign season.

Donald Trump has clearly gotten a polling bounce out of his convention. How long that will last may be complicated by a number of factors, including any bounce Hillary Clinton might get out of her convention here. But before we even begin to measure Clinton’s convention bounce, we need to watch out for her VP bounce.

Why would picking Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia as her running mate give Clinton a bump in the polls? Most vice-presidential announcements, like conventions themselves, have provided a polling bounce to the candidate in question. Look at the press reaction after the Kaine announcement: Clinton grabbed the headlines on Friday night, and Kaine’s first speech as Clinton’s running mate, on Saturday, was heavily covered.

The media reaction to Kaine is typical. Take the fairly successful rollout of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate in 2008. (It’s easy to forget, because of all that came afterwards, that the Palin pick looked pretty successful in the beginning.) Her announcement as McCain’s No. 2, immediately after the 2008 Democratic convention, pumped up Republican voters and short-circuited a news cycle that had been focused on then-Sen. Barack Obama’s nomination party. McCain rode this momentum into his convention and took a lead in the polls.

But it’s difficult to measure vice-presidential bounces because running mates recently have typically been unveiled right before each candidate’s convention (see both selections this year). Still, I’ve looked at the polling immediately before and after every running-mate selection since 1984 to get the best idea possible.

1984DWalter MondaleGeraldine Ferraro+2
1988DMichael DukakisLloyd Bentsen+2
1988RGeorge H.W. BushDan Quayle
1992DBill ClintonAl Gore+12
1996RBob DoleJack Kemp+11
2000DAl GoreJoe Lieberman+9
2000RGeorge W. BushDick Cheney+3
2004DJohn KerryJohn Edwards+7
2008DBarack ObamaJoe Biden+1
2008RJohn McCainSarah Palin+4
2012RMitt RomneyPaul Ryan+3
Don’t forget about the VP bounce

Quayle was announced at the convention. Lieberman and Palin were announced in between the two major-party conventions which makes determining their exact impact more difficult. Not including them in this analysis does not have a significant effect
on its results, however.

Some candidates that we remember now as mediocre selections, such as John Edwards in 2004, seemed to provide a large and immediate campaign boost. The Edwards selection occurred three weeks before the convention, which itself didn’t provide much of a lift to John Kerry. Other VP candidates, such as Lloyd Bentsen in 1988, who provided one of the most memorable moments in debate history, barely gave their running mates a jump in the polls at all.

What kind of boost will Kaine provide? It’s hard to know. My guess — and it’s just a guess — is that there won’t be a substantial Kaine bounce. He was an expected pick that occurred at an expected time in a race in which Clinton doesn’t seem to be underperforming the “fundamentals” (structural factors that affect the race like the economy). Moreover, Kaine isn’t exactly loved by progressives, some of whom have been holding out their support from Clinton. Then again, even Dick Cheney gave George W. Bush a 3-percentage-point bounce.

What Kaine could do is help to halt Trump’s convention bounce. If a Kaine bounce does occur, expect to see the polls, which have been moving toward Trump, move back to Clinton, even before the DNC is completed. Still, it will be difficult to figure out if any trend away from Trump is really because of the Kaine announcement; there’s just so much going on right now. But if Trump’s bounce doesn’t begin to recede, then that probably means the Kaine announcement didn’t help and that should be worrisome to the Clinton campaign.

VIDEO: What would a woman president mean?


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