Daily Archives: March 17, 2010

First Lady Michelle Obama Takes Mentee’s to Visit Supreme Court Justices

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama listens as Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor talk with a group of young women, during a mentoring event at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., March 17, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

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Filed under Courts, First Lady Michelle Obama, Justice Sonya Sotomayer, Students, Supreme Court, Uncategorized, Young Women

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the White House

Posted by: Audiegrl

The fountain in front of the White House flows with green water, Tuesday, March 17, 2009, in honor of St. Patrick's Day in Washington. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Saint Patrick’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig) is a yearly holiday celebrated on 17 March. It is named after Saint Patrick (circa AD 387–461), the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland. It began as a purely Catholic holiday and became an official feast day in the early 1600s. However, it has gradually become more of a secular celebration of Ireland’s culture.

It is a public holiday on the island of Ireland (both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) and widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora in places such as Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and Montserrat.

First Lady Michelle Obama brought a new tradition to the White House in 2009. She asked groundskeepers to dye the White House’s fountain water green for St. Patrick’s Day, paying homage to a long-time tradition in her home in Chicago. Each year the windy city’s Chicago River is dyed green for the St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

President Barack Obama (R) meets with the Taoiseach of Ireland Brian Cowen, in the Oval Office at the White House on March 17, 2010 in Washington, DC. Taoiseach Cowen is in Washington for St. Patrick's Day to meet with President Obama and later this afternoon will have lunch with members of Congress at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America)

(AFP)~President Barack Obama on Wednesday thanked Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen for his support on “critical” global issues, and feted the Irish diaspora in America on Saint Patrick’s Day.

Obama welcomed the Irish leader to the Oval Office, in line with regular Saint Patrick’s Day tradition, and was also due to host a reception later in the evening to mark Ireland’s national celebration.

The president, wearing a green tie, thanked Cowen for Ireland’s assistance on “critical international issues,” noting that many US troops transited through Ireland on the way to Afghanistan.

He also praised the Irish government for the role its police were playing in training police forces in Afghanistan and said 36 million people who trace their lineage to Ireland had made a great contribution to American life.

Obama praised Cowen’s government for the role it was playing along with Britain and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in “reaffirming the progress that has been made in Northern Ireland.”

Cowen praised Obama’s sense of “mission” in the way he is positioning America around the world and praised the efforts the US leader had made since coming to office last year in repairing US banks and reviving the economy.

Read President Obama’s Transcript

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First Lady Michelle Obama appeared at an event sponsored by Newsweek at Washington's Newseum, where she spoke about her campaign to improve fitness and combat obesity in children. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite/March 17 2010)

Following her cover story for Newsweek, the First Lady talked with Newsweek’s Editor Jon Meacham about her Let’s Move campaign at the Newseum in Washington D.C. today. She discussed the magnitude of the problem of childhood obesity, especially during current times as a busier culture:

We’re also a culture and a society right now that snacks a lot more. Just some of the statistics I talked about in my speech yesterday was that the average snack amount when I was growing up was one snack a day, if you were lucky. And now it’s averaging two to three. They say the average school-age kid is getting six snacks a day. So we’re taking 200 more calories than we were 40 years ago, 30 years ago just from snacks alone.

She explained the importance of food manufacturing industries providing clear food labels so people can easily make decisions about what foods are healthy. “Parents have to understand what’s in the Twinkie; again, how does it fit into the overall diet. So we don’t need a warning, we need information. And we need information that’s easy to understand.”

The First Lady also talked about passing legislation that will set nutritional guidelines for school lunch programs and vending machines. President Obama signed an Executive Order creating the Council on Childhood Obesity that will review every program and policy regarding education and nutrition.

Visit LetsMove.gov to learn more about the initiative to address the growing health epidemic of childhood obesity.

Remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama at Newsweek’s Newseum Event

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President Barack Obama (R) talks to U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (L) during a departure from the annual St. Patrick?s Day Capitol Hill luncheon March 17, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Obama will host Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen for a St. Patricks Day reception at the White House in the evening. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)

ABC~At House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s annual Friends of Annual luncheon this afternoon, President Obama told the crowd that the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., was paying attention to the health care reform battle as it reaches its final hours.

The president said that today “we all feel the heavy absence of one of our greatest Irish-Americans; a man who loved this day so much; a man who I believe is still watching this body closely, particularly this week — and that is our beloved Ted Kennedy.

Kennedy was a longtime advocate of expanding government-run health insurance and would have played a key role in the formation of the health care reform bill had he not taken ill.

At the luncheon, the president noted the presence of Kennedy’s widow Victoria Reggie and his son Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-RI.

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In the evening, the President and the First Lady hosted the Taoiseach and Mrs. Cowen at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Reception held in the East Room. The President and the Taoiseach delivered remarks and participated in a traditional Shamrock Ceremony. The Vice President introduced the President. Prior to their arrival, the Keltic Dreams, an after school Irish dancing troupe from Public School 59 in the Bronx, and the City of Washington Pipe Band performed.

President Barack Obama (R) receives a bowl of shamrocks from Prime Minister of Ireland Brian Cowen (L) during the annual St. Patrick's Day Reception in the East Room of the White House, March 17, 2010 in Washington, DC. Obama and Cowen delivered remarks and participated in a traditional shamrock ceremony. Also in the picture is Mary Cowen (2nd L), wife of Prime Minister of Ireland Brian Cowen, and First Lady Michelle Obama (R).(Photo by Pool/Getty Images)

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Filed under (Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi, First Lady Michelle Obama, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, St. Patrick's Day, Uncategorized, Vice-President Joe Biden, Video/YouTube

Nuns Show Support for Healthcare Bill

Posted by: Bluedog89

Nuns show support for the hotly-debated healthcare reform bill.

AP ~ In a rare public disagreement that will reverberate among the nation’s 70 million Catholics, leaders of religious orders representing 59,000 nuns sent lawmakers a letter urging lawmakers to pass the Senate health care bill. Expected to come before the House by this weekend, the measure contains abortion funding restrictions that the bishops say don’t go far enough.

“Despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions,” said the letter signed by 60 leaders of women’s religious orders. “It will uphold longstanding conscience protections and it will make historic new investments … in support of pregnant women. This is the real pro-life stance, and we as Catholics are all for it.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Right to Life Committee have denounced the bill as a backdoor subsidy for abortion. But the nuns and the Catholic Health Association – representing some 600 hospitals – say restrictions in the Senate bill would still prevent taxpayer funding for abortion, although the legal mechanism for doing so is different from what the bishops prefer.

“This is politics; this isn’t a question of faith and morals,” said Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a national Catholic social activism lobby. “We are the ones who work every day with people who are suffering because they don’t have health care. We cannot turn our backs on them, so for us, health care reform is a faith-based response to human need.”

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Filed under Abortion, Health Care Reform, Religion, Senate, United States, Women's Issues

Kucinich says “Yea” to Health Care Reform

BREAKING:  Health bill gains ground; weekend vote likely

President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care legislation won precious support from a longtime liberal holdout in the House on Wednesday and from Catholic nuns representing dozens of religious orders, gaining fresh traction in the run-up to a climactic weekend vote. “It’s a good sign,” said Obama, two weeks after taking personal command of a campaign to enact legislation in what has become a virtual vote of confidence in his still-young presidency.

Cross-posted from T-Time

Rep. Dennis Kucinich has announced his intention to vote yes for passage of President Obama’s Health Care Reform legislation…

Kucinich Will Vote ‘For’ Democrats’ Health Care Overhaul

One of the most liberal members of Congress, Democrat Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, just dropped his opposition to the health care overhaul legislation being championed by his party and President Barack Obama.

“I have taken this fight fa rther” than any other member who supports the so-called public option and other measures that aren’t in the legislation, Kucinich just declared at a Capitol Hill news conference.

“This is not the bill I wanted to support,” Kucinich continued. “However, after careful discussions with President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, my wife Elizabeth and close friends, I’ve decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation.

One of the most liberal members of Congress, Democrat Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, just dropped his opposition to the health care overhaul legislation being championed by his party and President Barack Obama.

“I have taken this fight fa rther” than any other member who supports the so-called public option and other measures that aren’t in the legislation, Kucinich just declared at a Capitol Hill news conference.

“This is not the bill I wanted to support,” Kucinich continued. “However, after careful discussions with President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, my wife Elizabeth and close friends, I’ve decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation.

more here:  Kucinich to vote ‘yes’ on healthcare, giving a boost to Democrats

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First Lady Michelle Obama Talks Anti-Obesity to Food Giants

Posted by: Audiegrl

The First Lady Calls for Industry-Wide Effort to Provide Healthier Foods

First Lady Michelle Obama continues her campaign to improve fitness and combat obesity in children as she speaks at the Grocery Manufacturers Association Science Forum meeting in Washington, Tuesday, March 16, 2010. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

AP~Michelle Obama is urging the nation’s largest food companies to speed up efforts to make healthier foods and reduce marketing of unhealthy foods to children.

Obama asked the companies, gathered at a meeting of the Grocery Manufacturers Association on Tuesday, to “step it up” and put less fat, salt and sugar in foods.

We need you not to just tweak around the edges but entirely rethink the products you are offering,” she said.

The first lady has talked to schools and nutrition groups across the country in her effort to reduce childhood obesity. This is the first time she has confronted the food companies that make the snacks and junk food that stuff grocery aisles and school vending machines.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association — which counts Kraft Foods Inc., Coca Cola Co. and General Mills Inc. among its members — invited her to speak at its science forum this week and attendees gave her a standing ovation.

Welcoming the First Lady and embracing her campaign for healthier kids, launched earlier this year, could have advantages. The industry is positioned to take some blows in the coming year, including a child nutrition bill about to move through Congress that could eliminate junk food in schools, digging into some companies’ profits.

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Photos courtesy of AP and the White House

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) represents the world’s leading food, beverage and consumer products companies. The Association promotes sound public policy, champions initiatives that increase productivity and growth and helps ensure the safety and security of consumer packaged goods through scientific excellence. The GMA board of directors is comprised of chief executive officers from the Association’s member companies. The $2.1 trillion food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry employs 14 million workers, and contributes over $1 trillion in added value to the nation’s economy.

  • Read the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture’s hearing on ‘Child Nutrition,’ March 4, 2010
  • Read the letter from over 40 food and beverage company CEO’s to First Lady Michelle Obama applauding her childhood obesity initiative, February 9, 2010
  • See GMA’s Ad in Politico supporting First Lady Michelle Obama’s anti-childhood obesity campaign, February 9, 2010

Let's Move!“Everyone has a role to play, including government, if we are going to meet the First Lady’s goal of ending childhood obesity within a generation. We look forward to continuing our work with the First Lady, the Obama Administration and Congress to help all Americans build and maintain a healthy diet.”~Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)

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Filed under Childhood Obesity, Children, First Lady Michelle Obama, Health

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Meets with Northern Ireland Leaders

Posted by: Audiegrl

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) speaks to reporters with Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson (L) and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (R) before their meeting at the State Department on March 16, 2010 in Washington, DC. Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness are also in the US capital for the St Patrick's Day celebrations. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images North America)

BBC~Northern Ireland’s First and Deputy First Ministers have held talks with the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington DC.

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness are in the US for meetings with political and economic representatives.

The meeting with Secretary Clinton followed a major business briefing event organized by US Economic envoy Declan Kelly.

Deputy First Minister McGuinness said the meeting “provided an opportunity for us to further cement the close ties that we have with this and previous US administrations“.

Over many years Secretary Clinton has played a hugely supportive role in that process, and in our discussions today I welcomed her determination to continue that role,” he said.

First Minister Robinson said they briefed the Secretary of State on “ongoing political developments and on our efforts to promote investment in Northern Ireland“.

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Secretary Clinton’s Remarks

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Filed under Hillary Rodham Clinton (Sec of State), Ireland, Obama Administration, Politics, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube