Category Archives: Governors

First Lady Michelle Obama To Governors: ‘Let’s Act‘ On Obesity

Posted by: Audiegrl

First lady Michelle Obama applauds the spouses of the nation's governors as she begins her address on childhood obesity at the at the start of the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

First Lady Michelle Obama applauds the spouses of the nation's governors as she begins her address on childhood obesity at the at the start of the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

(AP)~~First lady Michelle Obama appealed to governors on Saturday for help in reducing child obesity and said they had a moral and financial imperative to act.

She praised states for their steps already and assured state leaders that the federal government had no interest in taking over their efforts.

Let’s stop wringing our hands and talking about it and citing statistics,” she told governors at their winter meeting. “Let’s act. Let’s move. Let’s give our kids the future they deserve.”

The first lady found a high-powered audience to make the case for her new campaign on obesity. One in three American children is overweight or obese, a condition that raises their risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other illnesses.

Obama sought support from leaders of both parties and made sure to respect the influence of the states.

The way I see this, there is nothing Democratic or Republican, there is nothing liberal or conservative about wanting our kids to lead active, healthy lives,” she said. “There’s no place for politics when it comes to fighting childhood obesity. And I know all of you agree.”

The first lady’s campaign has four parts: helping parents make better food choices, serving healthier food in school vending machines and lunch lines, making healthy food more available and affordable, and encouraging children to exercise more.

In talking to the governors, she emphasized the importance of empowering parents who feel helpless because they don’t feel they have the time, money or information to provide healthy meals or safe places to exercise.

First Lady Michelle Obama is greeted by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III, as she is introduced to speak at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

First Lady Michelle Obama is greeted by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III, as she is introduced to speak at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Mindful that the governors face economic crises in their states, Obama said the obesity solutions need not be expensive. She encouraged them to take steps such as providing access at school ball fields to the community at nights, or requiring the construction of sidewalks when new roads are being built.

Comprehensive and coordinated doesn’t mean centralized,” she added. “I’ve spoken to so many experts on this issue and not a single one of them has said that the solution is for the federal government to tell people what to do. That doesn’t work.”

The governors are trying to find political solutions to soaring health care costs as President Barack Obama seeks to do the same. Michelle Obama said the money crunch cannot be solved without addressing child obesity.

If we think our health care costs are high now, just wait until 10 years from now and think about the many billions we’re going to be spending then,” she said. “Think about how high those premiums are going to be when our kids are old enough to have families of their own and businesses of their own.”


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

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First Lady Michelle Obama Travels to Philadelphia: Making Healthy Food Accessible & Affordable

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks on the "Let's Move" health initiative at Fairhill Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 19, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks on the Let's Move health initiative at Fairhill Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 19, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)


With Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in tow, First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Philadelphia yesterday as part of the Let’s Move! campaign, a nationwide effort to rally the country around one goal, ending the epidemic of childhood obesity.

During her remarks at Fairhill Elementary School, Mrs. Obama applauded the city of Philadelphia for their “stand” to end childhood obesity:

Six years ago, when this city had fewer supermarkets per person than almost anywhere in America, all right, that was six years ago, when many folks had no access to healthy foods; six years ago many neighborhoods had alarming rates of obesity-related conditions like heart disease and diabetes — the folks in this city, you all could have decided that you had an unsolvable problems on your hands, right? You could have done that. You could have decided that these problems were just too big and too complicated and too entrenched and thrown your hands up and walked away.

But instead you all took a stand, a really important, collaborative stand. You decided first that no family in this city should be spending a fortune on high-priced, low-quality foods because they have no other options. You decided that no child should be consigned to a life of poor health because of what neighborhood his or her family lives in. And you decided that you weren’t going to just talk about the problem or wring your hands about the problems, but you were going to act.

And that’s precisely the kind of determination, the kind of commitment that we need to address the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country. And this issue is an issue of great concern to me, and I’ve said this before, not because I’m First Lady — or not just because I’m First Lady of this country — but because I’m a mother, and I care about my kids and I care about all of our kids. And I know that this issue is a great concern to all of you, everyone around this country. We all care about our kids. That’s why last week we enthusiastically and proudly launched “Let’s Move.” (Applause.) “Let’s Move” is a nationwide campaign to rally this country around one single but ambitious goal, and that is to end the epidemic of childhood obesity in a generation so that the kids born today grow up with a healthy weight. Simple but ambitious.

Mrs. Obama also announced a new part of Let’s Move! — the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, a multi-million dollar public and private investment to eliminate food deserts in America within seven years:


“So with your success here in Pennsylvania, what you’ve shown us is that when we provide the right support and incentives, then business leaders like Pat Burns and Jeff Brown, they’re going to take the chance to invest in our communities. And when we bring fresh, healthy food to communities, what do we learn? People will buy it, right? People will buy it. These stores are turning a profit. And what’s going on is that they’re doing well by doing good. Isn’t that something? (Applause.)

So it’s because of this example that part of “Let’s Move” we created this Healthy Food Financing Initiative that’s modeled on what’s been going on here. And as Secretary Geithner said, with a modest initial investment of about $400 million a year, we’re going to use that money to leverage hundreds of millions more from private and non-profit sectors to bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to underserved communities all across this country. If you can do it here, we can do it around the country. (Applause.) And our goal is ambitious. It’s to eliminate food deserts in America completely in seven years. (Applause.)

Again, we know this is ambitious, but we also know that tackling the issue of accessibility and affordability is key to achieving the overall goal of solving childhood obesity in this generation.”

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To learn more about what you can do to help solve the childhood obesity epidemic – visit LetsMove.gov and become a fan of Let’s Move! on FaceBook.

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

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Republicans — Not Obama — More Often on Wrong Side of Public Opinion

Posted by: BuellBoy

Nate SilverFiveThirtyEight/Nate Silver~One of the more commonplace assertions among pundits on the center-right — made rather carelessly by Victor Davis Hanson and more thoughtfully by Jay Cost, is that agenda put forward by Obama and the Democrats is overwhelmingly unpopular and that Democrats are simply getting their comeuppance for having pushed such a liberal set of reforms forward. These claims, however, rely on selective evidence, invariably citing policies like health care and the GM bailouts which are indeed unpopular (strongly so, in some cases), while ignoring many other issues on which Obama has been on the right side of public opinion.

In fact, a more objective and equivocal evaluation of public opinion on more than two dozen specific issues finds that the Republican Congress has far more often been on the wrong side of it. Attempting to be as comprehensive as possible, I’ve identified 25 issues that Obama and the Democrats have made an affirmative effort to push forward since taking office a year ago, and summarized public opinion on each of them. Most of the numbers that I’ve cited come from PollingReport.com.

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Why Do People Often Vote Against Their Own Interests?

Posted by: Buellboy

Americans voicing their anger at the healthcare proposals at a town hall meeting


The Republicans’ shock victory in the election for the US Senate seat in Massachusetts meant the Democrats lost their supermajority in the Senate. This makes it even harder for the Obama administration to get healthcare reform passed in the US.

Political scientist Dr David Runciman looks at why is there often such deep opposition to reforms that appear to be of obvious benefit to voters.

Last year, in a series of “town-hall meetings” across the country, Americans got the chance to debate President Obama’s proposed healthcare reforms.

What happened was an explosion of rage and barely suppressed violence.

Polling evidence suggests that the numbers who think the reforms go too far are nearly matched by those who think they do not go far enough.

But it is striking that the people who most dislike the whole idea of healthcare reform – the ones who think it is socialist, godless, a step on the road to a police state – are often the ones it seems designed to help.

In Texas, where barely two-thirds of the population have full health insurance and over a fifth of all children have no cover at all, opposition to the legislation is currently running at 87%.

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The Death of U.S. Political Democracy For The People

Posted by: LibbyShaw

Will the Senator from Wal-Mart please yield to the Senator from Halliburton? The Congressman from Black Water has 5 minutes remaining before the Congresswoman from United Health may speak.

Mark your calendars, folks. January 21, 2010 is the day the radical and activist Supreme Court of the United States delivered the U.S. Democracy into the hands of the corporate sector and special interests groups. According to an article in the New York Times corporations, lobbyists and unions can now legally purchase their candidates of choice.

“We have got a million we can spend advertising for you or against you – whichever one you want,’ ” a lobbyist can tell lawmakers, said Lawrence M. Noble, a lawyer at Skadden Arps in Washington and former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission.

The decision yesterday will usher in unimaginable numbers of Swift Boat attack ads. Corporate fat cats can now threaten and bully politicians to do their bidding or else.

“It will put on steroids the trend that outside groups are increasingly dominating campaigns,” Mr. Ginsberg said. “Candidates lose control of their message. Some of these guys lose control of their whole personalities.”

“Parties will sort of shrink in the relative importance of things,” he added, “and outside groups will take over more of the functions – advertising support, get out the vote – that parties do now.”

Front row: Associate Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, John Paul Stevens, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Antonin G. Scalia, and Clarence Thomas. Back row: Associate Justices Samuel A. Alito, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor.

Some have called the SOTUS decision a power grab that is intellectually dishonest.

In opening the floodgates for corporate money in election campaigns, the Supreme Court did not simply engage in a brazen power grab. It did so in an opinion stunning in its intellectual dishonesty.

Many of those commenting on the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission have focused on the power-grab part. I agree with them. It was unnecessary for the court to go so far when there were several less-radical grounds available. It was audacious to seize the opportunity to overrule precedents when the parties had not pressed this issue and the lower courts had not considered it. It was the height of activism to usurp the judgments of Congress and state legislatures about how best to prevent corruption of the political process.

“If it is not necessary to decide more, it is necessary not to decide more,” a wise judge once wrote. That was Chief Justice John G. Roberts — back when — and dissenting Justice John Paul Stevens rightly turned that line against him.

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Republicans naturally and predictably love this recent ruling. But of course they would. Republicans embrace and fully support authoritarian forms of government. And the sad truth of the matter is the GOP has always worked for the corporate sector.

It is devastatingly unfortunate that Republican voters have never been able to understand the hard, cold and mean reality of those they elect into office. Politicians take an oath to serve the people in their districts but many merely give their constituents nothing but empty rhetoric. If one were to closely examine one’s Republican lawmakers’ voting records one would find who their elected officials really work for.

My guess is the teabaggers will wraps it head around the reality of the SCOTUS decision like we progressives have, for the only one imperative we do share in common is a collective outrage over the corporate takeover of the U.S. government and its legislative process by special interest groups and corporations.

But unfortunately teabaggers, unlike progressives, are far too easily led astray by the likes of Dick Armey, one of the numerous behind the scenes leaders of the teabagger movement. Armey’s main mission is to promote the interests of the health care industry. He and his organization, Freedom Works, uses teabaggers as its tools.

Republicans and teabaggers alike have been led to believe that the government is the root of everything evil while progressives know that government is the only force that can and will protect us from the evils of self-serving greed mongers of the corporate sector.

We are where we are today b/c the corporate sector has been enabled to run rough shod over the American people. We are broke. There are no jobs. We lost homes. We lost retirement savings. Meanwhile on Wall St. the fat cats who can now purchase politicians get richer by the minute.

Elections have consequences. The nice guy or girl candidate with whom to have a beer could very well be an anti-political democracy devil in disguise who has every intention of throwing the middle and working classes to the lions.

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Oh, and Prince Alwaleed, grandson of the King of Saudi Arabia and the largest individual shareholder in Citigroup and second biggest shareholder in News Corp (Murdock’s FOX “News”) doesn’t like Obama’s tax on the banks.

Who would have thought?

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Groundbreaking gay marriage trial starts in Calif

posted by GeoT
Prop. 8 trial to include unprecedented testimony

Challengers of the same-sex marriage ban plan to call to the stand homosexual couples, experts on the history of sexual discrimination and marriage, and the architects of the ballot measure.


Prop. 8 trial Day 1: Live updates from inside the courtroom:


Scholars, gay and lesbian partners and opponents of same-sex marriage are expected to testify about the nature of marriage and homosexuality during an unprecedented federal trial today to determine whether gays and lesbians may marry.

The case, Perry vs. Schwarzenegger, is expected to become a landmark that eventually will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Both sides have hired leading legal advocates with lots of experience before the high court.

San Francisco’s U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker, a Republican appointee known for independence, will decide whether Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage violates U.S. constitutional rights of equal protection and due process. Walker’s pretrial rulings have tended to favor supporters of same-sex marriage.

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related story: Top US Court Halts Broadcast of Gay-Marriage Trial

Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) — The US Supreme Court placed a two- day halt on the planned YouTube broadcast of a trial on the constitutionality of …

source: Business Week

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The GOP Refuses to Read a Bill it Opposes

Posted by: LibbyShaw

What is it with Republican Party? Does it utterly despise hard working and desperate Americans?

Is the GOP too stubborn, lazy or too dumb to wrap its head around a very complex bill? Or maybe reading is a very tedious and beyond boring act that takes time that could be otherwise spent playing golf or sipping martinis with health insurance lobbyists.

Hundreds of Americans die every month because they lack health care insurance. Do Republicans, including the self-serving,vindictive and tool for the health insurance companies, Joe Lieberman care?

Can obese pigs fly?

I did not think so.

Everyone is entitled to one’s opinion but not to making up the facts.

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Whether it is health care reform or the economic meltdown, Republicans refuse to realistically acknowledge the domestic disasters that confront us whether it has to do with thousands upon thousands of Americans who die because of lack of access to health insurance. Republicans are also unmoved by the thousands upon thousands of Americans who have lost their jobs, homes and everything they have worked so hard to achieve.

Check out how the Republican tools for health insurance lobbyists operate.

Witness a work in narcissism.

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Oh, so, Republicans want to improve the bill? For whom? The insurance health care industry?

You betcha.

Oh, Joe, come on, be brave and come out of your Republican closet. Admit that you are a tool for the fat cat health insurance lobbyist. And so is your wife. Come on Joe, admit this is all about you and you don’t give a rat’s derriere about your constituents who will die sooner than they should because you care about your ego more than you do about the people who elected you.

The inconvenient facts.

Disaster and Denial.

Given this history, you might have expected the emergence of a national consensus in favor of restoring more-effective financial regulation, so as to avoid a repeat performance. But you would have been wrong.

Talk to conservatives about the financial crisis and you enter an alternative, bizarro universe in which government bureaucrats, not greedy bankers, caused the meltdown. It’s a universe in which government-sponsored lending agencies triggered the crisis, even though private lenders actually made the vast majority of subprime loans. It’s a universe in which regulators coerced bankers into making loans to unqualified borrowers, even though only one of the top 25 subprime lenders was subject to the regulations in question.

Oh, and conservatives simply ignore the catastrophe in commercial real estate: in their universe the only bad loans were those made to poor people and members of minority groups, because bad loans to developers of shopping malls and office towers don’t fit the narrative.

In part, the prevalence of this narrative reflects the principle enunciated by Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” As Democrats have pointed out, three days before the House vote on banking reform Republican leaders met with more than 100 financial-industry lobbyists to coordinate strategies. But it also reflects the extent to which the modern Republican Party is committed to a bankrupt ideology, one that won’t let it face up to the reality of what happened to the U.S. economy.

Republicans are not going to lift a finger to help our country recover from the carnage wreaked by its ideologies and agendas since Ronald Reagan.

I think we can safely trust that Republicans will never get it b/c their salaries, as quoted above, depend upon their never getting it.

Nor do the Republicans give a rat’s derriere about the recent poll that reveals the full extent of the horrible misery and suffering taking place throughout the United States.

A few mere examples of the extent of the suffering.

More than half of the nation’s unemployed workers have borrowed money from friends or relatives since losing their jobs. An equal number have cut back on doctor visits or medical treatments because they are out of work.

Almost half have suffered from depression or anxiety. About 4 in 10 parents have noticed behavioral changes in their children that they attribute to their difficulties in finding work.

Joblessness has wreaked financial and emotional havoc on the lives of many of those out of work, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll of unemployed adults, causing major life changes, mental health issues and trouble maintaining even basic necessities.

The results of the poll, which surveyed 708 unemployed adults from Dec. 5 to Dec. 10 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points, help to lay bare the depth of the trauma experienced by millions across the country who are out of work as the jobless rate hovers at 10 percent and, in particular, as the ranks of the long-term unemployed soar.

Roughly half of the respondents described the recession as a hardship that had caused fundamental changes in their lives. Generally, those who have been out of work longer reported experiencing more acute financial and emotional effects.

Republican solution: Tax cuts for the wealthy. Trickle down economics works.

With unemployment driving foreclosures nationwide, a quarter of those polled said they had either lost their home or been threatened with foreclosure or eviction for not paying their mortgage or rent. About a quarter, like Ms. Newton, have received food stamps. More than half said they had cut back on both luxuries and necessities in their spending. Seven in 10 rated their family’s financial situation as fairly bad or very bad.

But the impact on their lives was not limited to the difficulty in paying bills. Almost half said unemployment had led to more conflicts or arguments with family members and friends; 55 percent have suffered from insomnia.

“Everything gets touched,” said Colleen Klemm, 51, of North Lake, Wis., who lost her job as a manager at a landscaping company last November. “All your relationships are touched by it. You’re never your normal happy-go-lucky person. Your countenance, your self-esteem goes. You think, ‘I’m not employable.’ “

Republican solution: Let the banks continue to rip off and rob the American people. Block all efforts at regulating the banks. Fight President Obama’s job efforts. Solution: tax cuts for the wealthy. Trickle down economics is what we need.

“Every time I think about money, I shut down because there is none,” Ms. Linville said. “I get major panic attacks. I just don’t know what we’re going to do.”

Nearly half of the adults surveyed admitted to feeling embarrassed or ashamed most of the time or sometimes as a result of being out of work. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the traditional image of men as breadwinners, men were significantly more likely than women to report feeling ashamed most of the time.

There was a pervasive sense from the poll that the American dream had been upended for many. Nearly half of those polled said they felt in danger of falling out of their social class, with those out of work six months or more feeling especially vulnerable. Working-class respondents felt at risk in the greatest numbers.

Nearly half of respondents said they did not have health insurance, with the vast majority citing job loss as a reason, a notable finding given the tug of war in Congress over a health care overhaul. The poll offered a glimpse of the potential ripple effect of having no coverage. More than half characterized the cost of basic medical care as a hardship.

Many in the ranks of the unemployed appear to be rethinking their career and life choices. Just over 40 percent said they had moved or considered moving to another part of the state or country where there were more jobs. More than two-thirds of respondents had considered changing their career or field, and 44 percent of those surveyed had pursued job retraining or other educational opportunities.

Joe Whitlow, 31, of Nashville, worked as a mechanic until a repair shop he was running with a friend finally petered out in August. He had contemplated going back to school before, but the potential loss in income always deterred him. Now he is enrolled at a local community college, planning to study accounting.

“When everything went bad, not that I didn’t have a choice, but it made the choice easier,” Mr. Whitlow said.

Republican reaction: Fight, block and obstruct the Obama Administration and Democratic Party’s efforts at reform. Solution: tax cuts for the wealthy. Trickle down economics is the solution we need.

Sure, that and there is a boatload of cheap oceanfront property for sale in the middle of the blistering Mojave Desert.

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