Today, President Obama exercises the most robust of presidential powers and officially pardons two lucky turkeys. These gobblers spend the remainder of their days at Morven Park farm in Virginia, rather than as the star of the Obama family’s Thanksgiving feast.
Presidents used to receive turkeys from various groups all across the country, but today, the pardoned turkeys are presented by the National Turkey Federation (NTF).
Two turkeys are chosen and sent to Washington—while only one appears at the ceremony, both receive the pardon. This year’s birds have been chosen from a flock of 80 on a farm in Badger, Minnesota. NTF Chairman, John Burkel selects the turkeys based on their ability to handle all the cameras and excitement of the ceremony.
Texting while driving is extremely hazardous because it involves visual, manual, and cognitive attention, but any activity that distracts a driver can lead to a serious accident.
Other common distractions include eating, grooming, reading directions, and adjusting the radio.These activities may seem harmless, but the fact is that hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. are killed or injured every year as a result of distracted driving.
More than 8 percent of Americans have diabetes and about 35 percent of American adults have prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal. Without healthy lifestyle changes, those with prediabetes may develop diabetes.
To protect your health, get information about:
Risk Factors - Family history, blood pressure, and other factors can affect your chances of developing diabetes. Take a quick test to learn your level of risk.
Prevention - The onset of Type 2 diabetes can sometimes be prevented or delayed through moderate weight loss, good nutrition and exercise.
How to Manage Diabetes - If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, learn how to stay healthy and keep the disease under control.
Statistics - Get some basic facts, including the prevalence of Type 1 versus Type 2 diabetes.
Diet Supplement Recalled After Being Linked to Liver Failure and Death
OxyElite Pro, a diet supplement marketed for weight loss and muscle growth, was recalled after being linked to acute liver failure and cases of hepatitis. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that the supplement caused one death and several patients required liver transplants.
The FDA is advising people to immediately stop using OxyElite Pro and another supplement, VERSA-1, which are both manufactured by the same company. VERSA-1 has also been linked to health problems.
If you experience problems after taking OxyElite Pro or VERSA-1, report them online or call 1-800-332-1088 and request a complaint form.
The company that makes OxyElite Pro will destroy the remaining supply of supplements under supervision from the FDA.
U.S. coins list the amount on the reverse side of the coin. For example, a penny says “one cent” on the back and a nickel says “five cents.” But why does the dime says “one dime” instead of “ten cents”?
According to the U.S. Mint, the inscription “one dime” first appeared on the coin in 1837. The word dime is based on the Latin word “decimus,” meaning “one tenth.” The French used the word “disme” (pronounced the same as it is today) when they came up with the idea of money divided into ten parts in the 1500s.
Before the introduction of the nickel (5-cent coin), the U.S. actually had a half dime coin, with the words “half dime” inscribed on it. We checked with the U.S. Mint and they think that the use of “one dime” could have simply been a common inscription between the two coins.
In the winter, when many people turn on their heaters and put up holiday lights, gas and electric bills can be much higher than usual.
According to the Department of Energy (DOE), a family spends more than $1,900 a year on electricity bills and other utilities. A big part of those costs come from wasted energy during those cold months.
However, you can save on winter energy costs if you make some changes in certain areas of your home.
Improve the lighting in your home and save energy.
Replace traditional light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs, which last between six and 12 times longer. Remember to turn off any lights that aren’t in use.
Consider using LED lights for Christmas decorations. These use 90 percent less energy than the standard Christmas lights.
Thermostats and heating
Keep your home warm and comfortable.
Install a programmable thermostat for your home’s heating system.
Keep the doors and windows closed while the heat is on.
Frequently change the filters in your furnace.
Set the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Be energy efficient throughout your home.
Only use the exhaust fan in the kitchen and bathrooms when necessary.
Repair any water leaks in the bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room, etc.
Use power strips to plug in portable heaters, television and cell phone chargers. That way, you can turn off the power switch when the devices are not in use.
If you’re thinking of replacing your appliances, make sure they have an Energy Star logo. Energy Star products are more energy efficient.
Programs for low-income families
During the winter, the government helps low-income families with their energy bills.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP, helps families pay some of their heating costs. To see if you qualify for these benefits, contact your local LIHEAP office for more information.
After the Typhoon: How to Find People in the Philippines and How You Can Help
Locating People who were in the Philippines at the Time of the Storm
If you are trying to find an American citizen who was in the Philippines at the time of the storm, you can call the Overseas Citizens Services Department of State line at 1-888-407-4747 from the United States or Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.
Telecommunications have been disrupted as a result of the storm. If you can’t reach a loved one directly by phone, the State Department recommends trying to send a text message. Often text messages can be transmitted faster than phone calls.
Donating to Storm Relief Efforts
Many groups are involved in helping with relief efforts in the Philippines. The American and Philippine governments have provided information on relief activities to which you may contribute:
If you decide to donate to a charity not included on these lists, make sure you take some time to verify the charity is legitimate.
During times of crisis, scammers often prey on people looking to donate to relief efforts. They call, email or solicit donations online the same way a legitimate charity does, but then keep your money or lie about how exactly your money will be used.
The “Star-Spangled Banner,” “Old Glory,” the “Stars and Stripes” — no matter the name, the American flag is a familiar, important symbol of our nation.
And what could be more authentically patriotic than owning a flag that flew on top of the Capitol Building?
Since 1937, when a member of Congress requested a flag flown on the top of the Capitol, a part of the duties of the Architect of the Capitol has been to distribute requested flags to members of Congress - and the general public.
Currently, the Architect of the Capitol fulfills requests from the members of the Senate and the House, averaging about 100,000 flag requests annually with a steadily increasing number of requests each year. To request your own personal 3-by-5-foot or 5-by-8-foot flag, you should contact your representative or senator directly.
To find contact information for your Congressional representatives, visit:
If you’re interested, visit the Architect of the Capitol’s website to learn more about their duties. The position has existed since the laying of the Capitol cornerstone in 1793 - serving as builder and steward of some of the country’s landmarks, including the Capitol Building, the Senate and House office buildings, the Supreme Court, Library of Congress and Botanical Garden.
Keeping your kids healthy is one of your top priorities as a parent, but it’s not always an easy task. Between staying on top of their normal checkups and trying to get them to wash their hands before dinner, there are a lot of things that could slip through the cracks. Use these tips from we rounded up from across the government to make managing your kids’ health a little easier.
Stay up-to-date with your children’s immunizations and developmental milestones with an easy tracking chart you can download for free from Publications.USA.gov. It reminds you of all the necessary immunizations from infancy through age six. It also highlights developmental milestones—like recognizing a caregiver’s voice and learning to talk—that you can monitor as your children grow up.
If you’re struggling to pay for health insurance for your kids, they may be eligible for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP offers free or low-cost medical coverage for kids up to 19 years old. Coverage for eligible children includes checkups, hospital visits, dental coverage, immunizations and more. Find out if they’re eligible at InsureKidsNow.gov/chip.
Sometimes your kids don’t want to listen to mom or dad, but you want them to get information from a trusted source. Point them to the health resources on Kids.gov, where they can learn about everything from keeping their eyes safe to understanding germs and where they can play fun games that drive home the importance of brushing their teeth or getting their shots.
The U.S. Government is providing $20 million in immediate humanitarian assistance to benefit populations affected by Typhoon Haiyan, including the provision of emergency shelter, food assistance, relief commodities, and water, sanitation, and hygiene support.
After a decade of trans fats slowly disappearing from some American food, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will now require that trans fats be gradually phased out of all foods because trans fats threaten people’s health.
Trans fats are the “bad” fats that cause plaque build-up in the arteries and lead to heart disease. They are found in many processed foods, and in oils used for frying in restaurants.
While many companies have already removed trans fats after new nutrition labels were introduced in 2006, the FDA estimates that requiring trans fats not be used will decrease cases of heart disease by 7,000 annually and prevent 20,000 heart attacks per year.
The FDA plans to release a timeline for the phase-out in the near future.
Domestic violence is a type of abuse in which someone close to you is hurting you.
If you have a partner or spouse who abuses you emotionally, physically, and/or sexually, get help. If you are in immediate danger, call 911. For information about local shelters and other resources, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).
Giant panda Mei Xiang gave birth to a cub at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo on August 23, 2013. The cub is healthy and growing quickly! It is Chinese tradition to celebrate the name of a new life on the 100th day, and we need your help picking the name! Vote for your favorite name below.