Friday, December 27, 2013

West Wing Week 12/24/13 or, "The Holiday Card"



wh.gov: West Wing Week 12/24/13 or, "The Holiday Card"

This week, we will be celebrating the season by taking you behind the scenes as the White House is transformed into a yuletide masterpiece with the help of volunteers from across the country. We will also stop into a news conference the president held before he departed for the Hawaiian island of Oahu to have a Mele Kalikimaka with family and friends. That's December 20th to Christmas eve or the "Holiday Card Edition."

Thursday, December 26, 2013

African Americans Celebrate Kwanzaa



VOAVideo: African Americans Celebrate Kwanzaa

African-Americans as well as Africans throughout the world celebrate Kwanzaa. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa (Dec 26-Jan 1) is dedicated to one of the following principles, as follows:

  • Unity
  • Self-Determination
  • Collective Work and Responsibility
  • Cooperative Economics
  • Purpose
  • Creativity
  • Faith

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Washington Crossing the Delaware, Christmas Night 1776

Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emmanuel Leutze, 1861
uscitizenpod: A brief history (and puzzle) of Washington Crossing the Delaware, Christmas Night 1776 (download pdf)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

USPS Christmas Stamps, FOREVER!


Also see: Arago:The Art of Christmas Stamps

USCIS 100:100. Name two national U.S. holidays.

▪ New Year’s Day
▪ Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
▪ Presidents’ Day
▪ Memorial Day
▪ Independence Day
▪ Labor Day
▪ Columbus Day
▪ Veterans Day
▪ Thanksgiving
▪ Christmas

Monday, December 23, 2013

US Ethnic Communities Celebrate Christmas



VOAVideo: US Ethnic Communities Celebrate Christmas

Christmas is a highlight for many immigrant communities in the United States who bring colorful traditions from their countries of origin. Mike O'Sullivan looks at the holiday celebrations of three ethnic communities in Los Angeles.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Michael Barone on World War II as a Unifying Experience for the US part 7 of 7




VOAVideo: Michael Barone on World War II as a Unifying Experience for the US

As the White House and Congress debate immigration reform in the United States, host Carol Castiel and reporter Reuben Sanon speak with historian and political analyst Michael Barone about his new book "Shaping Our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and its Politics." Barone explores how dramatic waves of immigration have sculpted the US political, economic and cultural landscape from pre-independence days to the present.

For update on Press Conference USA, and other VOA's programs, follow host Carol Castiel on Twitter: @CarolCastielVOA

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Michael Barone on Immigration and Politics Part 6 of 7



VOAVideo: Michael Barone on Immigration and Politics

As the White House and Congress debate immigration reform in the United States, host Carol Castiel and reporter Reuben Sanon speak with historian and political analyst Michael Barone about his new book "Shaping Our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and its Politics." Barone explores how dramatic waves of immigration have sculpted the US political, economic and cultural landscape from pre-independence days to the present.

For update on Press Conference USA, and other VOA's programs, follow host Carol Castiel on Twitter: @CarolCastielVOA

Friday, December 20, 2013

Michael Barone on the Irish and German Migrations Part 5 of 7



VOAVideo: Michael Barone on the Irish and German Migrations

As the White House and Congress debate immigration reform in the United States, host Carol Castiel and reporter Reuben Sanon speak with historian and political analyst Michael Barone about his new book "Shaping Our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and its Politics." Barone explores how dramatic waves of immigration have sculpted the US political, economic and cultural landscape from pre-independence days to the present.

For update on Press Conference USA, and other VOA's programs, follow host Carol Castiel on Twitter: @CarolCastielVOA

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Michael Barone on New Migration Patterns and Economy Part 4 of 7



VOAVideo: Michael Barone on New Migration Patterns and Economy

As the White House and Congress debate immigration reform in the United States, host Carol Castiel and reporter Reuben Sanon speak with historian and political analyst Michael Barone about his new book "Shaping Our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and its Politics." Barone explores how dramatic waves of immigration have sculpted the US political, economic and cultural landscape from pre-independence days to the present.

For update on Press Conference USA, and other VOA's programs, follow host Carol Castiel on Twitter: @CarolCastielVOA

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Michael Barone on Latin America Migration into US Part 3 of 7



VOAVideo: Michael Barone on Latin America Migration into US

As the White House and Congress debate immigration reform in the United States, host Carol Castiel and reporter Reuben Sanon speak with historian and political analyst Michael Barone about his new book "Shaping Our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and its Politics." Barone explores how dramatic waves of immigration have sculpted the US political, economic and cultural landscape from pre-independence days to the present.

For update on Press Conference USA, and other VOA's programs, follow host Carol Castiel on Twitter: @CarolCastielVOA

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Michael Barone on First Waves of Migrations in US part 2 of 7



VOAVideo: Michael Barone on First Waves of Migrations in US

As the White House and Congress debate immigration reform in the United States, host Carol Castiel and reporter Reuben Sanon speak with historian and political analyst Michael Barone about his new book "Shaping Our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and its Politics." Barone explores how dramatic waves of immigration have sculpted the US political, economic and cultural landscape from pre-independence days to the present.

For update on Press Conference USA, and other VOA's programs, follow host Carol Castiel on Twitter: @CarolCastielVOA

Monday, December 16, 2013

Michael Barone on the Evolution of the Democratic and Republican Parties Part 1 of 7



VOAVideo: Michael Barone on the Evolution of the Democratic and Republican Parties

As the White House and Congress debate immigration reform in the United States, host Carol Castiel and reporter Reuben Sanon speak with historian and political analyst Michael Barone about his new book "Shaping Our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and its Politics." Barone explores how dramatic waves of immigration have sculpted the US political, economic and cultural landscape from pre-independence days to the present.

For update on Press Conference USA, and other VOA's programs, follow host Carol Castiel on Twitter: @CarolCastielVOA

UScIS Naturalization Self-Test

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Practice your knowledge of U.S. history and government with these 4 different self-tests. This is 1 of 4 practice tests available for you to try.
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Practice your knowledge of U.S. history and government with these 4 different self-tests. This is 1 of 4 practice tests available for you to try.
laptop icon
Practice your knowledge of U.S. history and government with these 4 different self-tests. This is 1 of 4 practice tests available for you to try.
laptop icon
Practice your knowledge of U.S. history and government with these 4 different self-tests. This is 1 of 4 practice tests available for you to try.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Holidays at the White House - Building the 2013 Gingerbread White House

USCIS 96:94. What is the White House?



wh.gov: Holidays at the White House - Building the 2013 Gingerbread White House

As part of White House holiday tradition, the State Dining Room is home to the famous gingerbread house. Over the course of several weeks, Pastry Chef Bill Yosses and his talented team created a 300-pound, edible White House replica. This year's creation features a mini Bo and Sunny sitting on the front steps of the house lit from within, and a functioning replica of the North Lawn fountain.

old USCIS 96:94. What is the White House?

  • The President’s official home

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Flag of Honor

As a nation, we can’t stop every act of violence. We can’t heal every troubled mind. But if we want to live in a country where we can go to work, send our kids to school, and walk our streets free from fear, we have to keep trying. We have to keep caring. We have to treat every child like they’re our child. Like those in Sandy Hook, we must choose love. And together, we must make a change.
WH.gov: Weekly Address: Marking the One-Year Anniversary of the Tragic Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut  Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

WH.gov: President Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama Mark the One-Year Anniversary of the Sandy Hook Shooting

VOAVideo: US Passion for Guns Survives the Newtown School Shooting


Friday, December 13, 2013

West Wing Week 12/13/13 or, "Madiba, Farewell"



wh.gov: West Wing Week 12/13/13 or, "Madiba, Farewell"

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and far beyond. This week, the Vice President wrapped up a six-day, diplomatic mission to Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea, while the President spoke on achieving peace in the Middle East at the Saban Forum, honored and lit the National Christmas Tree, and traveled to Johannesburg to honor the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. That's December 6th to December 12th or "Madiba, Farewell."

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Quia Citizenship: Vocabulary Hangman!

Quia Citizenship: Vocabulary Hangman!

Try to guess these words from the USCIS Reading and Writing Vocabulary Word Lists. These words will be used during the Reading and Writing tests at your USCIS Citizenship Test. Try to guess all the correct letters before the little bear falls down!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Universal Declaration of Human Rights Day



For more info, visit Human Rights Action Center or

You just watched a video about the Universal declaration of Human Rights. 

USCIS 100:9. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?

▪ life
▪ liberty
▪ pursuit of happiness

Monday, December 9, 2013

Facing Modern Day Enslavement

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invites you to participate in a webinar on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. to discuss the various relief options available to victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, and other serious crimes.



VOAVideo: Facing Modern Day Enslavement

Human trafficking exists in almost every region around the globe - children, young women, even men - entrapped and forced into prostitution, involuntary labor and other forms of servitude, unable to escape. The best estimates indicate that 100,000 children and adults are trafficked within the U.S. every year. As VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports, though, a variety of activists have mobilized to fight it. Faith Lapidus narrates.

For more info, see USCIS: Victims of Human Trafficking & Other Crimes

There are two types of immigration relief we provide to victims of human trafficking and other crimes:

T Nonimmigrant Status (T Visa)
T nonimmigrant status provides immigration protection to victims of trafficking. The T Visa allows victims to remain in the United States and assist law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking cases.

U Nonimmigrant Status (U Visa)
U nonimmigrant status provides immigration protection to crime victims who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime. The U visa allows victims to remain in the United States and assist law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.

Resources
USCIS offers resources for victims of human trafficking and other crimes and the organizations that serve them. This information is designed to help answer any questions you or your family might have about obtaining T or U Nonimmigrant status.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

USCIS 100:10. What is freedom of religion?



The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception located in Washington, D.C., honors Mary, the mother of Jesus, as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the Patroness of the United States and celebrates the diversity of the American Catholicism. As a Roman Catholic, I am proud to share my religious and cultural heritage that informs my work as an ESL/Citizenship teacher. (take a virtual tour)

USCIS 100:10. What is freedom of religion?

▪ You can practice any religion, or not practice a religion.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

US Observes Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack

USCIS 100:81. Who did the United States fight in World War II?


VOANews: US Remembers Pearl Harbor, 70 Years Later

Hundreds estimated to be gathered at Pearl Harbor, where new visitor's center is to open at scene of attack (plus streaming audio)

VOANews: Pearl Harbor Fact Box

USCIS 100:81. Who did the United States fight in World War II?
  • Japan, Germany, and Italy

Friday, December 6, 2013

West Wing Week 12/06/13 or, "Olde English"



wh.gov: West Wing Week 12/06/13 or, "Olde English"

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This week, the President spoke on the importance of addressing economic mobility and supporting implementation of the Affordable Care Act, visited fasting immigration reform activists, marked World AIDS Day, celebrated Hanukkah, and visited a local bookstore for Small Business Saturday. That's November 29th to December 5th or, "Olde English."

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mandela Through His Own Words



VOAVideo: Mandela Through His Own Words

Inaugural Speech, Pretoria [Nelson Mandela]- 5/10/94

Subject: Nelson Mandela's inaugural speech - Pretoria May 10 From: ancdip@WN.APC.ORG (tim jenkin) Date: Wed, 11 May 1994 13:37:00 -0400
STATEMENT OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS,NELSON MANDELA, AT HIS INAUGURATION AS PRESIDENT OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, UNION BUILDINGS, PRETORIA, MAY 10 1994

Your Majesties, Your Highnesses, Distinguished Guests, Comrades and Friends:

Today, all of us do, by our presence here, and by our celebrations in other parts of our country and the world,confer glory and hope to newborn liberty.

Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud.

Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity's belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all.

All this we owe both to ourselves and to the peoples of the world who are so well represented here today.

To my compatriots, I have no hesitation in saying that each one of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the bushveld.

Each time one of us touches the soil of this land, we feel a sense of personal renewal. The national mood changes as the seasons change.

We are moved by a sense of joy and exhilaration when the grass turns green and the flowers bloom.

That spiritual and physical oneness we all share with this common homeland explains the depth of the pain we all carried in our hearts as we saw our country tear itself apart in a terrible conflict, and as we saw it spurned, outlawed and isolated by the peoples of the world, precisely because it has become the universal base of the pernicious ideology and practice of racism and racial oppression.

We, the people of South Africa, feel fulfilled that humanity has taken us back into its bosom, that we, who were outlaws not so long ago, have today been given the rare privilege to be host to the nations of the world on our own soil.

We thank all our distinguished international guests for having come to take possession with the people of our country of what is, after all, a common victory for justice, for peace, for human dignity.

We trust that you will continue to stand by us as we tackle the challenges of building peace, prosperity, non-sexism,non-racialism and democracy.

We deeply appreciate the role that the masses of our people and their political mass democratic, religious, women, youth,business, traditional and other leaders have played to bring about this conclusion. Not least among them is my Second Deputy President, the Honourable F.W. de Klerk.

We would also like to pay tribute to our security forces, in all their ranks, for the distinguished role they have played in securing our first democratic elections and the transition to democracy, from blood-thirsty forces which still refuse to see the light.

The time for the healing of the wounds has come.

The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come.

The time to build is upon us.

We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation. We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.

We succeeded to take our last steps to freedom in conditions of relative peace. We commit ourselves to the construction of a complete, just and lasting peace.

We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the millions of our people. 
We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity - a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.

As a token of its commitment to the renewal of our country,the new Interim Government of National Unity will, as a matter of urgency, address the issue of amnesty for various categories of our people who are currently serving terms of imprisonment.

We dedicate this day to all the heroes and heroines in this country and the rest of the world who sacrificed in many ways and surrendered their lives so that we could be free.

Their dreams have become reality. Freedom is their reward.

We are both humbled and elevated by the honour and privilege that you, the people of South Africa, have bestowed on us, as the first President of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa, to lead our country out of the valley of darkness.

We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom.

We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success.

We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.

Let there be justice for all.

Let there be peace for all.


Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.


Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.


Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.

Let freedom reign.


The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement!


God bless Africa!


Thank you.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Capitol Dome's 150th anniversary



60 Minutes: The Capitol Dome's 150th anniversary

It's hard to imagine America without the Capitol Dome, but when you hear how it was created it becomes hard to imagine it exists at all. Scott Pelley reports.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient - Arturo Sandoval



wh.gov: Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient - Arturo Sandoval

Arturo Sandoval is a celebrated jazz trumpeter, pianist, and composer. Born outside Havana, he became a protégé of jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie and gained international acclaim as a dynamic performer. He defected to the United States in 1990 and later became an American citizen. He has been awarded nine Grammy Awards and is widely considered one of the greatest living jazz artists. (read more)

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Star Spangled Banner Presented by the United States Air Force Band



ListenAndReadAlong: The Star Spangled Banner Presented by the United States Air Force Band

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Information presented on the United States Air Force Band site is considered public information and may be distributed or copied. Use of appropriate byline/photo/image credits is requested.

This media file is a work of a U.S. Department of Defense employee, made during the course of the person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the media file is in the public domain.

Generally speaking, works created by U.S. Government employees are not eligible for copyright protection in the United States. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office.

This Composition is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1923 are now in the public domain.

This composition is also in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris) in this case Francis Scott Key (August 1, 1779--January 11, 1843) and John Stafford Smith (March 30, 1750 -- September 21, 1836), and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from December 31 of that date.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Activists Fast for Immigration Reform



VOAVideo: Activists Fast for Immigration Reform

A group of activists has been fasting in Washington for more than two weeks to pressure Speaker of the House John Boehner to allow a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. As VOA Correspondent Cindy Saine reports, those who are fasting have captured the attention of some members of Congress and of President Obama.