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First Lady Michelle Meets with Members of Congress and Cabinet Secretaries

Posted by: Audiegrl

US First Lady Michelle Obama (C) seated alongside Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (L) and Democratic Senator Tom Harkin (R) of Iowa

US First Lady Michelle Obama (C) seated alongside Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (L) and Democratic Senator Tom Harkin (R) of Iowa

First Lady Michelle Obama met today with Members of Congress and Cabinet Secretaries in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House. Discussing her childhood obesity initiative and steps that families, schools and communities can take to fight it.


First Lady Michelle Obama: “I want to begin just by thanking you all for taking the time to come and join us today.

As you are probably now more than aware, we’re in the process of launching a nationwide effort to dealing with the obesity epidemic in this country. And as you’ve seen, as I’ve been out there, as a parent, this is an issue that I care deeply about and I’ve spoken about in a very personal level. But I’ve learned that there are many parents around this country who are struggling with this issue, who are concerned about it and are looking for ways to help.

But one of the good news — pieces about this challenge is that this problem is imminently solvable, and that’s the good news. But it’s going to require us working together — not just the administration, but Congress, governors, mayors, parents, teachers. Anyone who has access to children in their lives is going to have to work together. And one of the things that’s also very clear is that this problem won’t be solved by any single federal solution. This is going to require national action.

So I’m very excited about the conversation that we’re going to have. The initiative that’s going to launch is really going to look at four key areas. And I talked about these before, but we’re going to try to increase the number of healthy schools in this country. We’re going to work hard to increase the level of regular physical activity that kids are getting in this country. One of the tougher challenges that we need to look at is improving the accessibility and affordability of foods because there are many food deserts in this nation, which makes it difficult for families trying to access good options. And we also want to do more to empower consumers to make better choices in their own lives.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Cabinet, Childhood Obesity, Children, Culture, Democrats, Education, First Lady Michelle Obama, Government, Health, Kathleen Sebelius (Sec of HHS), Media and Entertainment, News, Obama Administration, Politics, Presidents, Senate, Students, Women's Issues

It’s National Influenza Vaccination Week!

Posted by: Audiegrl

This past weekend, President Obama issued a proclamation identifying the week of January 10-16, 2010, as National Influenza Vaccination Week. He encouraged Americans to observe the week by getting the H1N1 flu vaccine, if they have not yet done so, and by asking their families, friends, and co-workers to do the same. Here’s an excerpt from the proclamation:


Every American has a role to play in fighting the H1N1 flu. Expectant mothers, children, young adults, and all those under the age of 65 with chronic health conditions are at high risk for H1N1 flu-related complications and should get the vaccine as soon as possible. Those not at high risk can protect themselves and prevent the virus from spreading to more vulnerable members of their families and communities by getting vaccinated as well.

This week presents a window of opportunity for us to prevent a possible third wave of H1N1 flu in the United States. I strongly encourage those who have not yet received the H1N1 flu vaccine to do so. Visit flu.gov to find vaccination sites in communities across our country and to stay informed. Together, we can all fight the H1N1 flu and help protect our families, friends, and neighbors.

Read the full proclamation.

In support of National Influenza Vaccination Week, there are a number of national and regional vaccination activities happening this week, including: school-based H1N1 vaccination clinics in Alabama; a day-long vaccination event for the Navajo Division of Health employees in Arizona; a “Spread the Word, Not the Flu” media campaign in Florida; Medical Reserve Corps volunteers coordinating with local health departments, town emergency planners, local police, and emergency medical technicians to provide vaccinations in Massachusetts; free immunizations for children without health insurance in Washington; and a live appearance by the ‘Flu Bug’ at a vaccination clinic in Wyoming.

With so many ongoing activities, it is easy to get involved. Read the blog post from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for additional details about National Influenza Vaccination Week and visit Flu.gov to locate a vaccination clinic in your area, learn more about this week’s events, or list your community event.

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Filed under Barack Obama, H1N1/Swine Flu, Health, Kathleen Sebelius (Sec of HHS), Media and Entertainment, Medicine, Obama Administration, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, Uncategorized

President Obama: Three New Initiatives to Help Community Health Centers

Posted by Audiegrl

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius after signing a memorandum expanding government funded health clinics across the country, Dec. 9, 2009

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius after signing a memorandum expanding government funded health clinics across the country

White House.gov—Two causes all Americans can get behind are initiatives to improve our health care system and create jobs in a struggling economy. In an effort to accomplish both at once, today President Obama announced that $600 million in stimulus money will go towards improving community health centers across the country:

Starting today, we’re making $88 million in funding available for centers to adopt new health information technology systems to manage their administrative and financial matters and transfer old paper files to electronic medical records. These investments won’t just increase efficiency and lower costs, they’ll improve the quality of care as well –- preventing countless medical errors, and allowing providers to spend less time with paperwork and more time with patients.

That’s the purpose of the final initiative I’m announcing today as well -– a demonstration project to evaluate the benefits of the “medical home” model of care that many of our health centers aspire to. The idea here is very simple: that in order for care to be effective, it needs to be coordinated. It’s a model where the center that serves as your medical home might help you keep track of your prescriptions, or get the referrals you need, or work with you to develop a plan of care that ensures your providers are working together to keep you healthy.

So taken together, these three initiatives –- funding for construction, technology, and a medical home demonstration –- they won’t just save money over the long term and create more jobs, they’re also going to give more people the peace of mind of knowing that health care will be there for them and their families when they need it.

And ultimately, that’s what health insurance reform is really about. That’s what the members of Congress here today will be voting on in the coming weeks.

Now, let me just end by saying a little bit about this broader effort. I know it’s been a long road. I know it’s been a tough fight. But I also know the reason we’ve taken up this cause is the very same reason why so many members from both parties are here today –- because no matter what our politics are, we know that when it comes to health care, the people we serve deserve better.

President Obama announces that the Recovery Act will provide new funding for Community Health Centers to finance new construction, modernize information technology, and build a “medical home” model. December 9, 2009

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Filed under Barack Obama, Change, Computers, Democrats, Health, Health Care Reform, Kathleen Sebelius (Sec of HHS), Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, Stimulus, TARP, Technology, United States, Video/YouTube

Debbie Wasserman Schultz for President/Vice-President in 2016?

Written by Guest Contributor 2morrowknight

Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz

It almost happened in 2008. It could happen in 2016. At some point, and some point soon, we’ll see a woman in the White House. And her name might not necessarily be Hillary or Sarah. How’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz sound? I know, I know, you’re saying, “I’ve never heard of her. She doesn’t have the name recognition of Sarah Palin or the major public policy buzz of Kathleen Sebelius. And while she doesn’t have the baggage of a Michelle Bachman, she’s not a Governor or U.S. Senator.” All true. But listen up: Wasserman Schultz is riding a wave that will only get bigger, and she’s got a few advantages that few others in the field — woman or man — can match.

Here are five reasons she could be on the Democratic ticket in 2016:

Democratic Unifier
Throughout the 2007 and 2008 primary season, Wasserman Schultz was resolute in her support for Hillary Clinton. Whether on TV, radio, or in the blogosphere, Wasserman Schultz was unflappable. But when Barack Obama won the nomination, Wasserman Schultz quickly endorsed him and campaigned vigorously. None of this has been lost on Democratic leaders. Her tireless efforts to unify the Obama and Clinton camps won her kudos from the party faithful, and instantly made her a power player in national politics.

Florida. Florida. Florida.
Rep. Wasserman Schultz at a April town hall with her constituents.

Rep. Wasserman Schultz at a April town hall with her constituents.

Wasserman Schultz represents the Sunshine State in the U.S. Congress; having her on the ticket would give the Democrats the upper hand in the infamous I-4 corridor connecting Daytona Beach, Orlando and Tampa. Grab the middle and you win the state — Wasserman Schultz could be the Dems’ surest bet.

Her Jewish Heritage
Before last fall, nobody thought a Jewish-American would ever have a legitimate chance at the White House. But with the tolerant views of 80 million politically involved millennials who helped elect President Obama, Wasserman Schultz’s Jewish heritage won’t be a liability. How she weighs in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict between now and then will have a real impact on her standing in the Jewish community, but if she can find a way to please those folks while maintaining cred with younger voters, she could bring far more voters to the polls than Joe Lieberman did for Al Gore in 2000.

She’s Tough … Seriously!
Rep. Wasserman Schultz testifies during the nomination hearings for Judge Alito in January 2006.

Rep. Wasserman Schultz testifies during the nomination hearings for Judge Alito in January 2006.

By all accounts, she’s funny, engaging and benevolent. But if you’ve seen her on cable and network shows, you’ll know she’s also very skilled at dismantling nonsensical arguments, and, leaving unprepared opponents picking their faces up off the ground. And she has used her tenacity, and tirelessness, to fight for the rights of families, women and children.

The 2016 and 2020 Anniversaries
2016 isn’t just a presidential election year, it’s also the 100th anniversary of Jeannette Rankin being the first woman elected to the Congress. Her victory was all the more remarkable because women couldn’t vote — that didn’t come until four years later. The 2016 and 2020 elections promise to be reflective, euphoric and celebratory periods — and with her considerable political gifts, Wasserman Schultz could take full advantage of the great national mood.

And yes, I know, it’s still very, very early. A day in politics is like an eternity, and one day’s worth of political earthquakes could shake up or diminish any predictions. I know. But don’t tell me that a woman won’t be either president of vice-president seven years from now. I just wouldn’t bet against it. And I wouldn’t bet against Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz being that woman.

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Meet 2morrowknight…

2morrowknightlrgHe’s a author, blogger, and community activist whose work has been published in the Huffington Post, The Stimulist, Womentality Magazine and Essence.com. He has lectured at leading colleges and universities, including Morehouse, Spelman, and Emory University. As a volunteer internet strategist for the Obama Presidential Campaign, he created an effective, “50 State” email list that helped increase traffic to the campaign website and helped neutralize the falsehoods and misconceptions about then candidate Obama. 2morrowknight’s first children’s book is scheduled to be released in early 2010. Follow 2morrowknight on Twitter

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Filed under 2016 Elections, Democrats, Elections, Opinions, Politics, Uncategorized, Washington, DC, Women's Issues