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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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First Lady Michelle Obama Unveils Let’s Move…A Nationwide Campaign to Combat Childhood Obesity

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Obama Signs Childhood Obesity Memorandum

President Barack Obama signs the memorandum on childhood obesity, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010, in the Oval Office of the White House,Washington. Standing, from left are, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Health and Human Secretary Services Kathleen Sebelius, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

On Tuesday, First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled her nationwide anti-childhood obesity initiative. President Obama signed a Memorandum on Childhood Obesity with the First Lady proudly standing by his side.

Mrs. Obama’s East Wing said she will be “joined by members of the president’s cabinet, as well as media, sports, entertainment, and business leaders,” plus mayors, member of the medical community and others at the White House event. Her press office has confirmed the following attendees:

  • Mayors Chip Johnson of Hernando, Mississippi, and Joseph Curtatone of Somerville, Massachusetts, who are leading efforts in their communities to reduce childhood obesity
  • Dr. Judith Palfrey, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Will Allen from Milwaukee, WI, who is a leader in the effort to bring fresh produce to inner cities and urban areas
  • Local students, including a student from DC’s Bancroft elementary school, and members of the 2009 national championship pee-wee football team—Watkins Hornets
  • Tiki Barber, NBC correspondent and former NFL football player

“Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled; nearly one third of children in America are now overweight or obese,” the East Wing said in a statement. “The First Lady will announce the elements of the nationwide campaign, which will put us on track to solve the problem of childhood obesity in a generation.”

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First Lady Michelle Obama hugs student Tammy Nguyen in the Red Room of the White House before an event announcing a campaign to combat the rapidly growing problem of childhood obesity while Tiki Barber checks his notes before they take the stage, Feb. 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

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First Lady Michelle Obama’s PSA for Let’s Move
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Let's Move

Click to visit Let's Move

Childhood obesity or excess weight threatens the healthy future of one third of American children. We spend $150 billion every year to treat obesity-related conditions, and that number is growing.

Obesity rates tripled in the past 30 years, a trend that means, for the first time in our history, American children may face a shorter expected lifespan than their parents.

We need to get moving. Join First Lady Michelle Obama, community leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, moms and dads in a nationwide campaign to tackle the challenge of childhood obesity.

Let’s Move! has an ambitious but important goal: to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation.

Let’s Move will give parents the support they need, provide healthier food in schools, help our kids to be more physically active, and make healthy, affordable food available in every part of our country.

On Tuesday morning, Mrs. Obama sat down with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, and in the evening with CNN’s Larry King to discuss her childhood obesity initiative Let’s Move Here’s are some excerpts of the those interviews:

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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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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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Supreme Court rolls back campaign spending limits

posted by GeoT
**BREAKING**
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations may spend freely to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress, easing decades-old limits on their participation in federal campaigns.

By a 5-4 vote, the court on Thursday overturned a 20-year-old ruling that said corporations can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to pay for campaign ads. The decision, which almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns, threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.

The justices also struck down part of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill that barred union- and corporate-paid issue ads in the closing days of election campaigns.

Advocates of strong campaign finance regulations have predicted that a court ruling against the limits would lead to a flood of corporate and union money in federal campaigns as early as this year’s midterm congressional elections.

The decision, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, removes limits on independent expenditures that are not coordinated with candidates’ campaigns.

It leaves in place a prohibition on direct contributions to candidates from corporations and unions.

The case also does not affect political action committees, which mushroomed after post-Watergate laws set the first limits on contributions by individuals to candidates. Corporations, unions and others may create PACs to contribute directly to candidates, but they must be funded with voluntary contributions from employees, members and other individuals, not by corporate or union treasuries.

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New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees and President Obama Team Up for Children’s Fitness

Posted by Buellboy

Dallas Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware, President Barack Obama, Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Pittsburgh Steelers' Troy Polamalu with Washington, D.C.-area children at the White House. Brees said it was the only time he had thrown a pass to someone wearing a Chicago Bears jacket.

Times-Picayune—In support of his United We Serve initiative, President Barack Obama and NFL stars Drew Brees, DeMarcus Ware and Troy Polamalu team up to highlight the importance of fitness for America’s children.

Obama joins Saints quarterback Brees, Steelers safety Polamalu and Cowboys linebacker Ware in a special public service announcement debuting during each of the three NFL games played on Thanksgiving.

The 90-second PSA is a joint effort of the NFL’s PLAY 60 campaign, a league-wide effort to fight childhood obesity by getting kids active for 60 minutes a day, and United We Serve, the president’s initiative encouraging all Americans to participate in community service.

The spot will continue airing throughout the rest of the season in a shorter format.

Through United We Serve, I have challenged all Americans to roll up their sleeves and engage in sustained service to strengthen our communities,” the president said. “For some of us that means volunteering at a soup kitchen or cleaning up a local park. For others, it means taking time to build a playground or volunteering your time to improve the life of a child.

Quarterback Drew Brees

No matter how we serve, we find common purpose when we dedicate ourselves to helping others. This holiday season, I am asking all Americans to find their own way to give back to their communities.”

The Saints’ Brees, who has been a national spokesman for the PLAY 60 campaign for the past two years, said, “We had about 25 minutes and did three different takes. I threw him a couple of passes. He was wearing his Chicago Bears jacket, so there was some ribbing about that.

Thanksgiving is a time when families come together, and it is also a perfect time to focus on the importance of keeping kids healthy and active,” Brees said. “I was honored to spend time with the president on an issue that is clearly important to him. I was also impressed by his wide receiver skills.”

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SC Governor Mark Sanford Faces 37 Charges By Ethics Panel– Impeachment hearings begin today

TPM/—South Carolina’s ethics commission is investigating 37 allegations of lawbreaking by Gov. Mark Sanford in connection with travel and use of campaign funds — charges his lawyer described just last week as “minor, technical matters.”

Sanford is accused of violating ethics laws barring officials from buying high-priced airfare — including on trips to visit his lover in Argentina last year — as well as using state airplanes for personal travel, The State reports.

Sanford’s lawyers told The State that amid the investigation, the governor had added disclosures of flights he took on planes owned by friends and donors, as required by law.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan panel of South Carolina legislators are set to take up impeachment proceedings against Sanford on Tuesday. He has over a year left in his term.

SC State Ethics Commission Complaint Against Gov. Mark Sanford (11/23/09)

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**44-D Update**:
SC legislators begin Sanford impeachment hearings

Columbia, S.C. (AP) —

Legislators irked for months over Gov. Mark Sanford’s summertime vanishing act and his tearful revelation that he was in Argentina for a rendezvous with his lover plan to start debating a measure Tuesday that ultimately would remove him from office.

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*Another Opinion* Tina Brown: “Palin Newsweek cover is NOT sexist”

posted by GeoT

Daily Beast founder’s commentary: “Palin’s outrage is calculated”

    By Tina Brown Founder, editor of The Daily Beast

Now that Palin has stopped pretending to be a politician — there’s been zero effort in any interview so far to leave the EQ stuff behind and divert to a policy message — the abdicated Alaskan governor is back to being as appealing as she was when she first made her debut at the GOP convention at John McCain’s side. (Admit it: We loved her at first when she thumbed-over-the-shoulder the now famous crowd-pleaser “The governor’s private plane? I put it on eBay!).

With Oprah, she was once again fun when she shafted Levi Johnston, that feckless dope of a near-miss son-in-law. She was wonderfully sly when, the next day, Barbara Walters on Good Morning America gravely quoted McCain adviser Steve Schmidt’s assessment that as VP she would have been an unmitigated disaster. With a roguish smile, Palin responded, “That sounds like Steve Schmidt!” And the appearance of her genuinely fond-seeming teenage daughter Willow with her younger sister — cute as can be Piper, who told Barbara it was “sad” when her mother was criticized — gave us, for the first time, a whiff of authentic Palin family feeling.‪
-snip-

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My only regret in this recent series of star turns was Palin’s denunciation of the current Newsweek’ cover to her Facebook following as “sexist.” That’s the boring old fake-gravitas Sarah speaking. The Newsweek cover shot, a months-old Google chestnut from Runner’s World of sassy Sarah in shorts, didn’t show much journalistic enterprise on the magazine’s part, but you can hardly call it sexist. No one cried sexism when New York magazine took a photo of fallen Gov. Eliot Spitzer and added the word “brain” with an arrow to his crotch. And circa 1994 we were all happy to ogle Bill Clinton in his running shorts and never called out the media’s ethical judgment. If you don’t want the moment captured on film, don’t show up in sporty hot pants for a photo shoot.
But Palin, like Carrie Prejean, is savvy enough to know that umbrage is a great Day 3 story when you are running the media marathon.‪
Indeed, her “hurt” retaliation is probably doing the same thing for Newsweek’s sales as what she suggests an appearance on her old foe Letterman’s show would do for the sales of her book (hint, hint). Everyone is someone else’s catalyst for selling something these days. And right now, by golly, Sarah Palin is out there selling herself.

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