Daily Archives: February 25, 2010

First Lady Michelle Obama: Eliminating Food Deserts in America

Posted by: Audiegrl

Food desert?… What’s a food desert?

As part of Lets Move!, the campaign to end childhood obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama is taking on food deserts. These are nutritional wastelands that exist across America in both urban and rural communities where parents and children simply do not have access to a supermarket. Watch the video below and learn what the First Lady is doing to help families in these areas across the country.

More than 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods that are more than a mile from a supermarket. These communities, where access to affordable, quality, and nutritious foods is limited, are known as food deserts. By using the new interactive Food Environment Atlas, users can see the location of food deserts across the country and other indicators of how successful communities are in accessing healthy food. Lack of access to proper nutrition is one reason why many children are not eating the recommended levels of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Food insecurity and hunger among our children is even more widespread. A recent USDA report showed that in 2008, an estimated 49.1 million people, including 16.7 million children, lived in households that experienced hunger multiple times throughout the year. (Household Food Security in the United States, 2008) Too often, these same school age children are not eating the recommended level of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low fat dairy products. (source) So, Let’s Move! to ensure that all families have access to healthy, affordable food in their communities.

Let's Move!As part of the President’s proposed FY 2011 budget, the Administration announced a new program – the Healthy Food Financing Initiative — a partnership between the U.S. Departments of Treasury, Agriculture and Health and Human Services which will invest $400 million a year to provide innovative financing to bring grocery stores to underserved areas and help places such as convenience stores and bodegas carry healthier food options. Grants will also help bring farmers markets and fresh foods into underserved communities, boosting both family health and local economies. Through these initiatives and private sector engagement, the Administration will work to eliminate food deserts across the country within seven years.

This Spring, LetsMove.gov will unveil specialized tool kits and strategies to help increase access to healthy, affordable food in communities across the country.

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Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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Filed under Childhood Obesity, Children, First Lady Michelle Obama, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube

One School’s Teachers Get an F – for Fired

Posted by: BuellBoy

Rhode Island Hopes to Fix a Failing School with a Plan to Fire All 88 Teachers

Teachers are rallying for their jobs, anticipating the vote for a mass firing.  (CBS)

Teachers are rallying for their jobs, anticipating the vote for a mass firing. (CBS)

CBS/Jim Axelrod~Central Falls, Rhode Island has long been among the state’s most troubled school districts – one in five students live in poverty, reports CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod. Many struggle with English in this immigrant community – and that’s just for starters.

We lose 52 percent of our students between 9th grade and the 12th grade,” Central Falls Superintendent Fran Gallo told Axelrod. “They don’t graduate.”

Eighty-eight teachers at Central Falls High School could be terminated. Teachers are rallying for their jobs, anticipating the vote for a mass firing.

The teachers’ union is also fighting back with a video on its Web site, featuring upset students at a recent school board meeting.

We have teachers at the high school that have grown up in this community,” said Jane Sessums of the teachers union. “That’s what education at Central Falls is about – and what they’re planning tonight will set that back and ruin it – and it’s horrible for our students.”

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Filed under Children, Education, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube

Liberal is….Evil

Posted by: BetsM

Op-ed by Gary Hart

Gary HartWar is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” Once again we turn to George Orwell to understand the perverse need of some among us to reverse the meaning of words. As the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four knew, totalitarianism begins with the perversion of language.

Thus, it is not accidental that the rise of the new right began with demonization of perfectly sound words like liberal. Hence, Roget gives these synonyms for liberal: magnanimous; benevolent; open-minded; generous; and unselfish.

We describe our form of government as liberal democracy. It embodies principles of freedom, liberty, equality, and justice. Its princples were set forth by John Locke and embodied in our Bill of Rights. We engage in wars to bring this same government to others.

Most recently, a highly intelligent writer, Timothy Ferris, known primarily for his clear elucidation of science, has written a piece entitled: “Conservative is Not Opposite Liberal: That’s Totalitarianism.” To be illiberal, he writes, is not to be conservative; it is, as Orwell had it, to be totalitarian. Ferris correctly says: “Liberalism is an independent political philosophy, with no inherent connection to either the Left or the Right.”

It is understandable that the far right fulminators begin by perverting language. They are profoundly illiberal in every sense of the word. The values of magnanimity, benevolence, open-mindedness, generosity, and unselfishness are anathema to them. Nor is it coincidence that the age of anti-liberalism is one decidedly anti-scientific, whether having to do with our evolution, changing climate, or stem cell research. Totalitarianism has always wanted to control science for its own purposes.

If we restore the true meaning of important words like liberal, perhaps at least a few politicians will not be afraid to use them. As a free man, and a liberal man, I know I am not.

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Filed under Democrats, Politics, Uncategorized

First Lady Michelle Obama Shares the Emotions Behind Her Movement to Boost Kids’ Health

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle ObamaWashington Post/Robin Givhan~~First lady Michelle Obama sits in an upholstered armchair in her East Wing office, a generous bowl of fresh apples on a nearby table. She wears a body-conscious gray sleeveless sheath with an artful corsage of matching fabric decorating the right shoulder. A petite Georgetown student — one of the young ladies from the White House mentoring program Obama established last year — quietly observes as the first lady discusses the role physical fitness played in her Chicago girlhood.

The tableau contains all the elements that have defined Obama’s time in the White House: youth outreach, distinctive style, healthful food and fitness. Of all these, nutrition and physical activity are key to the legacy Obama would like to leave. They’re essential to her national rallying cry to end the crisis of childhood obesity in a generation.

Obama launched her sweeping initiative, Let’s Move, in an early February publicity surge that had her discussing “food deserts” and the urgency of clearer labeling. She lobbied the National Governors Association before its members partied at the White House. She visited schools and at a Philadelphia grocery store pulled out a $20 bill to buy a banana-strawberry smoothie. The statistics she has repeated are both jarring and daunting: One in three children is overweight or obese. The dollars she has proposed the federal government dedicate to the dilemma are significant: at least $10 billion over 10 years.

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Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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Filed under Childhood Obesity, Children, First Daughters, First Lady Michelle Obama, Health, Uncategorized, Women's Issues