BuzzFeed News is interviewing the President on Tuesday, and we want your ideas. Submit a photo of yourself and your question (like the sample above!) and Ben Smith will select from your toughest questions for his interview with President Obama in our interview. We’ll share his answers with you here on Tumblr!

Image source: The Found Animals Foundation

Friday Reads | A quick collection of the best things we’ve been reading this week.

For the first Friday Reads of 2015, we wanted to do things a little differently and thank you for reading us through 2014. Here were your favorite posts from the year: 

  1. Obama IRL: Whitehouse Q&A on Tumblr with david
  2. Doctor Who Season 8 Premiere on Tumblr
  3. “…Instagram PR is the ultimate tool for pseudo-intimate fan management…”
  4. The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies on Tumblr
  5. Halloween on Tumblr 2014
  6. We’re Using Twitter, Facebook Less, Instagram, Tumblr More, Says Data [STUDY] | AllTwitter 
  7. Big Hero 6 on Tumblr: Big Hero Baymax 
  8. Interstellar on Tumblr
  9. Into The Woods on Tumblr 
  10. Sherlock on Tumblr 

Thanks again for following, for reading, and for sharing our posts! What do you want to see more of from us in 2015?

After a month of media attention-grabbing shootings in Isla Vista, California, Las Vegas, and now at an Oregon high school, President Obama devoted some time in a Tuesday Q&A session on Tumblr.com to these sad incidents, saying that we should “be ashamed” to have failed to address these tragedies.

Now, failing to solve the real problem of gun violence means one thing only to executive power – that there have been no gun control measures passed for private citizens. Considering the blood on the hands of Obama – who is “really good at killing” and all – it feels repellent to see him mourning people who lost their lives to their fellow Americans.

More to the point, though, with that answer Obama was simply perpetuating – sincerely or cynically, it hardly matters – the cultural myth that a few more laws will stop people from committing murder. And more to the point still, the myth that violence is only wrong when it’s committed by private citizens sans an official uniform. Homicide, rape, assault, and every other type of crime has plunged in the last two decades. Between 1993 and 2010, the gun homicide rate was halved. (The reason for the dramatic decline in national crime since the 1990s is still being debated by criminologists and sociologists.) That’s not something you see stressed in terrified, post-Columbine, post-Virginia Tech, Post-Sandy Hook media narratives. (Certainly not when the perpetrators of any shootings can be tied to the right in any fashion.) Instead, we must do something about school, workplace shootings – anywhere there’s violence where it shouldn’t be. But the offered solution is invariably disarm people, or add more laws, or further restrictions on the rights to bear arms. Restrictions on police or government actions are not even considered for a moment.

Like their president, the “left” are dead-convinced that more laws will fix myriad social problems, including mass shootings. And the more moderate of them, such as Gawker’s Adam Weinstein, will even brush over the alarming state of police in this country while they are busy advocating for further gun control for private citizens. Gawker constantly covers police misconduct and brutality, yet after the Isla Vista shooting, Weinstein’s laundry list of “never again” suggestions includes “More cops. Not armed private citizens, cops.” You know, “a guy whom we as a society have decided is good. Don’t trust cops? Then work to create better-trained, savvier cops. Don’t complain about the evils of policing like it means something.”

After every police shooting – just or otherwise – the clichés roll out from the PR flaks: “officer safety is paramount”, “split-second decision”, “reached for waistband” and “our officers felt threatened.” To question whether an individual tasked with legal lethal force should have waited to make sure the old woman concerned over a potential break-in, the teenage graffiti artist running away, or the peaceful protester was a real threat is to not care whether these brave officers live or die…

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Steve Stockman Friday asked the National Security Agency to turn over all its metadata on the email accounts of former Internal Revenue Service Exempt Organizations division director Lois Lerner for the period between January 2009 and April 2011.

The request comes just hours after the IRS claimed it “lost” all of Lerner’s emails to or from Lerner and outside agencies or groups during that period, in which she allegedly coordinated with the White House, House Democrats and political groups to harass and deny tax-exempt status to groups critical of the President. The IRS blames a “computer glitch” for erasing the emails which could have implicated Agency employees in illegal activity.

He might be a Politician but, at least he has a sense of humor. :)


Behind the scenes of that thing that happened. This is the last post we’ll make about it, we swear. Now go and have a good weekend. Drink something out of a coconut.

Why should anyone trust a government that has condoned torture, spied on at least 35 world leaders, supports indefinite detention, places bugs in thousands of computers all over the world, kills innocent people with drone attacks, promotes the post office to log mail for law enforcement agencies and arbitrarily authorizes targeted assassinations? Or, for that matter, a president that instituted the Insider Threat Program, which was designed to get government employees to spy on each other and ‘turn themselves and others in for failing to report breaches,’ which includes ‘any unauthorized disclosure of anything, not just classified materials.’
—  Professor Henry Giroux
This is what I was in DC to support and these Senators just voted NO! They voted for the Rich instead of helping the next generation of home owners, car owners, employers, small businesses, and parents to be able to refinance their student loans. This type of actions will be felt for a long time. We must stand up and demand the passing of the Warren Bill. It is important to all current and future students… Don’t let their inaction be forgotten. Send a strong message!
One began this way: “I’m currently worth more dead (with my life insurance policy) than alive (with my student loan debt).” Another writer said she became disabled during her college years, and went on SSDI. Her loan, worth $57,000, is now in default, and she is curious whether her disability payments will be cut as a result. One said simply, “Why do I have to make a life-changing decision of what job I’ll have for the rest of my life when only a week prior I had to ask to use the bathroom?”
—  The Exciting-but-Depressing Obama-Tumblr Student-Loan Summit - The Daily Beast, a great piece by adulting, one of the amazing bloggers who helped select questions for #ObamaIRL this week
Thoughts on the White House Social:
  • First off:  Experience of a life time.  The White House doesn’t give tours anymore, so being able to go *in* is a treat, and then to sit in the State Dining room just a few feet a way from the President for an hour?  Awesome!
  • I wondered exactly how or why we all were chosen.  There were about a 100 of us there, and it seemed maybe 20 of those were tumblr staffers.  It became apparent that all of the bloggers there cared about the issue deeply–either they were in college admissions, were teachers like myself, or college students trying to figure finances out.  (One girl had to get back for her senior prom.  So cute.) 
  • I wasn’t surprised that it wasn’t an open Q & A.  I was WAS surprised that it appeared that no one there–other than chels, I know for sure–had their question asked.  I thought there would be more, “Here’s David, he asked…."  and "This here is Haley, and she wants to know…”
  • So we were essentially a live audience for an interview/press conference on a very important issue. 
  • I think tumblr missed an opportunity to really celebrate community there.  It was a bright, intelligent group of people.  We instantly were talking, “What’s your blog?  What do you blog about?  What do you do?  Where are you from?"  I wanted to sit down and talk to everyone there…which reminds me…
  • I got there absurdly early and a tumblr staffer also early said, "You’re not at [random cafe]?"  And I was all, "Nope!"  and he said, "Yeah, [staffer] was taking some of the blogger to [random cafe]"  *pulls up his email to check* "Yep, she’s got some people down there!"  And sure enough later, a staffer shows up with maybe 12 tumblrs in tow.  A lot of us didn’t get that email.  (I know, "Wah, wah, GWALP wasn’t invited to the big kid’s party…”)
  • So I know you can’t fit 80-100 tumblrs in a starbucks, but with the about of staffers they had there, would it have been hard for some to “host” a group of maybe 15-20 at some nearby locations for a mini meetup?  That would’ve been an amazing opportunity to not only extend the event and also build excitement online and IRL. 
  • This was my second time seeing Obama speak.  The first time was in the primaries in 2008.  I covered a campaign stop in Terre Haute for the newspaper.  He’s an excellent public speaker and he knows his content.  I can tell he’s gotten older though, for sure!
  • All the Armed Forces officers working the White House were so polite and nice!  (And cuuuuuuute!)
  •  Like I said, it was awesome.  I learned a lot about the Warren bill and what is a breaking, crumbling student loan system.  I’m still learning more about it, but I know I can help my students make decisions in this big, important decision for their lives. 

Any questions for me about the trip?

Watching Obama’s interview about student debt.  Halfway through, he’s said little to nothing that might assist me or any other people that went to college to work low paying jobs that better the community.  Nursing school was expensive dude. Get your shit together.