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A Veterans Day Message from First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Dr. Jill Biden


On the eve of Veteran’s Day, I wanted to write today with a simple message to our nation’s veterans: thank you. Over the past two years, I have joined with our First Lady to explore the issues faced by our service members and their families – while they are deployed and once they return home. In my work and travels, I am always inspired by the commitment of our military service members and truly grateful for all they do for our country. This Administration is working hard to care for our service members and veterans – making historic investments in health, family support, education, and economic opportunity for our veterans – but there is a role for every one of us in showing support.

The First Lady and I recently taped the following public service announcement together to honor our Veterans on November 11, 2010 and encourage you to visit Veterans.com and Serve.gov. On Veteran’s Day and every day, it’s our sacred duty to honor the service of those who sacrifice for our country – and we all can play a role. Through groups like MissionServe and opportunities at www.Serve.gov, Americans can find a way to help in their own communities. Please join me in this effort.

Thanks,
Jill

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Filed under Change, Dr. Jill Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, Military, Uncategorized, Veterans, Veterans Day

Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference 2010

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Tina Tchen

Today, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will speak at the California Women’s Conference 2010, hosted by California First Lady Maria Shriver and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The annual Women’s Conference inspires, empowers and educates women to be Architects of Change in their own lives and in the lives of others.

Last year, I was honored to attend the event where Valerie Jarrett participated in parts of the Conference’s A Woman’s Nation: The Status of the American Woman panel. There she represented the Council on Women and Girls and discussed our efforts to improve workplace flexibility both in the federal government and the private sector.

We are excited that the Administration can be a part of this important event again and we encourage you to participate as well!

You can learn more by reading First Lady Michelle Obama’s remarks as well as Dr. Jill Biden’s remarks.

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***Photos include attendees, performers and speakers: Dr. Jill Biden, Jane Goodall, Oprah Winfrey, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Former First Lady of the US Laura Bush, Diane Swayer, Former Associate Justice Sandra Day O’ Connor, Sister Terry Dodge, Associate Justice Sonya Sotomayer, Tennis player Billie Jean King, Associate Justice Elena Kaegan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jerry Brown, Anne Sweeney, Victoria Beckham, Recording artist Mary J. Blige, Author Deepak Chopra, Recording artist Sarah MacLachlan, Brian Williams, Phil Knight, Poet Mary Oliver, Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Nick Kristof, Suze Orman, Howard Schultz, and Oral Lee Brown.

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The First Lady, The President, The Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden Serve on 9/11

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Kori Schulman

On September 11, 2010, the First Lady, the President, the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden engaged in service activities to support our veterans, troops and military families, following remarks. Watch a video that takes you to service projects in McLean, VA, Washington, DC and New York City on the National Day of Service and Remembrance.

The National Day of Service and Remembrance was developed by 9/11 families and established into law by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which President Obama signed in April 2009. Visit Serve.gov to find volunteer opportunities in your community.

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The President, the Vice President, the First Lady and Dr. Biden: A Day of Service and Remembrance

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Jesse Lee

President Barack Obama pauses during a moment of silence in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House at 8:46AM, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010, in remembrance of the time that the first plane hit the World Trade Center in 2001. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President was joined by Defense Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs at the Pentagon Memorial.  Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden were at Zuccotti Park in New York City.  And the First Lady was with Mrs. Laura Bush at the memorial ceremony in honor of the passengers and crew of United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

All of them took part in service projects afterwards, and Serve.gov is helping Americans across the country take part in this Day of Service and Remembrance.  Excerpts of their remarks below.

President Barack Obama participates in a service project at Ronald H Brown Middle School September 11 2010 in the Washington, DC. Obama attended an 9/11 anniversary memorial at the Pentagon earlier in the day. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)

The President:

Nine years have now passed.  In that time, you have shed more tears than we will ever know.  And though it must seem some days as though the world has moved on to other things, I say to you today that your loved ones endure in the heart of our nation, now and forever.

Our remembrance today also requires a certain reflection.  As a nation, and as individuals, we must ask ourselves how best to honor them — those who died, those who sacrificed.  How do we preserve their legacy — not just on this day, but every day?

We need not look far for our answer.  The perpetrators of this evil act didn’t simply attack America; they attacked the very idea of America itself — all that we stand for and represent in the world.  And so the highest honor we can pay those we lost, indeed our greatest weapon in this ongoing war, is to do what our adversaries fear the most — to stay true to who we are, as Americans; to renew our sense of common purpose; to say that we define the character of our country, and we will not let the acts of some small band of murderers who slaughter the innocent and cower in caves distort who we are.

They doubted our will, but as Americans we persevere.  Today, in Afghanistan and beyond, we have gone on the offensive and struck major blows against al Qaeda and its allies.  We will do what is necessary to protect our country, and we honor all those who serve to keep us safe.

They may seek to strike fear in us, but they are no match for our resilience.  We do not succumb to fear, nor will we squander the optimism that has always defined us as a people.  On a day when others sought to destroy, we have chosen to build, with a National Day of Service and Remembrance that summons the inherent goodness of the American people.

They may seek to exploit our freedoms, but we will not sacrifice the liberties we cherish or hunker down behind walls of suspicion and mistrust.  They may wish to drive us apart, but we will not give in to their hatred and prejudice.  For Scripture teaches us to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”

They may seek to spark conflict between different faiths, but as Americans we are not — and never will be — at war with Islam.  It was not a religion that attacked us that September day — it was al Qaeda, a sorry band of men which perverts religion.  And just as we condemn intolerance and extremism abroad, so will we stay true to our traditions here at home as a diverse and tolerant nation.  We champion the rights of every American, including the right to worship as one chooses — as service members and civilians from many faiths do just steps from here, at the very spot where the terrorists struck this building.

Those who attacked us sought to demoralize us, divide us, to deprive us of the very unity, the very ideals, that make America America — those qualities that have made us a beacon of freedom and hope to billions around the world.  Today we declare once more we will never hand them that victory.  As Americans, we will keep alive the virtues and values that make us who we are and who we must always be.

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The First Lady:

(L-R) Gordon W.Felt, president of Families of Flight 93 and Joanne Hanley Superintendent of the Flight 93 National Memorial show U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and former first lady Laura Bush the future site of the memorial that's under construction during a 9/11 Flight 93 commemoration September 11, 2010 in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. People gathered to honor the 40 victims of Flight 93 on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. (Photo by Archie Carpenter/Getty Images North America)

The men and women of Flight 93 were college students and grandparents.  They were businessmen, pilots, and flight attendants.  There was a writer, an antique dealer, a lawyer, an engineer.

They came from all different backgrounds and all walks of life, and they all took a different path to that September morning.

But in that awful moment when the facts became clear, and they were called to make an impossible choice, they all found the same resolve.

They agreed to the same bold plan.

They called the people they loved –- many of them giving comfort instead of seeking it, explaining they were taking action, and that everything would be okay.

And then they rose as one, they acted as one, and together, they changed history’s course.

And in the days that followed, when we learned about the heroes of Flight 93 and what they had done, we were proud, we were awed, we were inspired, but I don’t think any of us were really surprised, because it was clear that these 40 individuals were no strangers to service and to sacrifice.  For them, putting others before themselves was nothing new because they were veterans, and coaches, and volunteers of all sorts of causes.

There was the disability rights advocate who carried a miniature copy of the Constitution everywhere she went.

There was the Census director who used to return to the homes she’d canvassed to drop off clothing and food for families in need.

There was the couple who quietly used their wealth to make interest-free loans to struggling families.

And to this day, they remind us -– not just by how they gave their lives, but by how they lived their lives -– that being a hero is not just a matter of fate, it’s a matter of choice.

I think that Jack Grandcolas put it best –- his wife, Lauren, was one of the passengers on the flight — and he said: “They were ordinary citizens thrown into a combat situation.  No one was a general or a dictator.  Their first thought was to be selfless.  They knew ‘There was a 98 percent chance we’re not going to make it, but let’s save others’.”

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Vice President Joe Biden (L)) and his wife Jill Biden (R) delivesr remarks during the annual 9/11 memorial service September 11, 2010 in New York City. People gathered at the World Trade Center site to mark the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)

Vice President Biden gave a reading of The Builders by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

All are architects of Fate,
Working in these walls of Time;
Some with massive deeds and great,
Some with ornaments of rhyme.

Nothing useless is, or low;
Each thing in its place is best;
And what seems but idle show
Strengthens and supports the rest.

For the structure that we raise,
Time is with materials filled;
Our to-days and yesterdays
Are the blocks with which we build.

Truly shape and fashion these;
Leave no yawning gaps between;
Think not, because no man sees,
Such things will remain unseen.

In the elder days of Art,
Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part;
For the Gods see everywhere.

Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen;
Make the house, where Gods may dwell,
Beautiful, entire, and clean.

Else our lives are incomplete,
Standing in these walls of Time,
Broken stairways, where the feet
Stumble as they seek to climb.

Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
With a firm and ample base;
And ascending and secure
Shall to-morrow find its place.

Thus alone can we attain
To those turrets, where the eye
Sees the world as one vast plain,
And one boundless reach of sky.


(L to R) New York Governor David Patterson, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Dr Jill Biden, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are relected in the reflecting pool at Ground Zero during the annual memorial service for September 11, 2010 in New York City. People gathered at the World Trade Center site to mark the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)


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White House Photostream: Behind the Scenes in July 2010

Posted by: Audiegrl

The White House Photo Office just released a new batch of photos from the second part of July on the Official White House Flickr. Where else are you going see the President take a hike along the coastline, sign the hood of a Chevy Volt and joke with the Chicago Bulls? View the July slideshow below.

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First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Promote Health Care and Preventive Services

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Katelyn Sabochik

Starting in September, insurance plans will be required to pay the entire cost of recommended, preventive services. That means that, without paying a deductible, co-pay or coinsurance, many Americans will be able to take the preventive steps needed to keep themselves and their families healthy. To help raise awareness about this important issue, The First Lady and Dr. Biden recorded this video message:

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The newly-launched HealthCare.gov not only provides information about the new rule for prevention and what services will be included, it also lets you compare hospital data and shows you a comprehensive list of the insurance options available to you, your family, or your small business.

And a little background on the importance of these new preventative care benefits.  Chronic conditions are impacting America’s men, women and children every day.  Nearly one-third of kids are overweight or obese, putting them at risk for conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, and 12% of children have not had a doctor’s visit in the past year. About 210,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will occur among women in the United States during 2010, and an estimated 40,000 women are expected to die from breast cancer this year. But the good news is that, as devastating as these illnesses can be, many of these conditions are preventable.   With expanded access to preventive services, individuals can get the information they need to make the health decisions that are right for them.  Preventing illness before it starts is key to keeping America healthy but it is also an important step in reducing health care costs.   Each year chronic conditions, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75% of the nation’s health spending.

To learn more visit HealthCare.gov.

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Filed under Childhood Obesity, Dr. Jill Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, Health Care Reform, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Attend Affordable Care Act Event

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden attend an event about the Affordable Care Act at George Washington University Hospital July 14, 2010 in Washington, DC. Hospital employees also attended this event, including Inger Mobley, left, Clinical Manager of the Breast Care Center. Obama pointed out new regulations in the Affordable Care Act that will require new health plans to cover the cost of preventive screenings for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)

Earlier today, I joined First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to discuss how the Affordable Care Act will give millions of Americans access to preventive care through their private health insurance.

Today, too many Americans today aren’t getting the preventive health care they need. Right now, for example, 59 million adults and 11 million children depend on private health insurance that doesn’t adequately cover immunizations. And 12 percent of children haven’t visited a doctor in the last year.

The statistics are even more troubling in our minority communities. African-American mothers are 2.5 times as likely as white mothers to begin prenatal care in the 3rd trimester, or not receive it at all. And only 37 percent of Latinos were screened for colon cancer in 2007, compared to 57 percent of whites.

Our challenge is to remove the obstacles between patients getting the preventive services that they need to stay healthy. If we fail in this challenge, we all pay the price. If we succeed — we are on our way to a healthier nation. According to one study, if people got just five types of preventive services when they needed to — colorectal and breast cancer screening, flu vaccines, counseling to help them quit smoking, and regular aspirin use to prevent strokes — we could avert 100,000 deaths each year. Use of preventive services can also help bring costs down in a variety of ways. For example, people who are obese have health care costs that are 39 percent above average, and reducing obesity and the diseases related to it could lower premiums overall by 0.05 to 0.1 percent.

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Those are just a few of the reasons why President Obama has made improving access to preventive care a priority from his first day in office and why we released new rules requiring all new private health insurance plans with plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010 to cover recommended preventive services without cost-sharing when delivered by a network provider. The new rules mean that services like blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests, cancer screenings, routine vaccinations, and well-baby visits will be provided without a deductible, co-pay or co-insurance.

We know that eliminating these costs for regular preventive services can ensure more Americans will use these services. And we know these services can save lives.

At the announcement yesterday, we met Maggie Roberts from California. When Maggie’s son was just a toddler, he was diagnosed with cancer during a routine checkup. Because they caught it early, the cancer was successfully treated, and years later he is still cancer-free. It’s a powerful story of how important preventive care can be.

You can learn more about the new preventive benefits available under the law, and get more tips on how to stay healthy by visiting our new website, www.HealthCare.gov.

Kathleen Sebelius is Secretary of Health and Human Services

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