Archive for February 25th, 2014

25
Feb
14

A Tweet Or Two And The Incomparable VP Biden

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Continue reading ‘A Tweet Or Two And The Incomparable VP Biden’

25
Feb
14

First Lady Michelle Obama Announces New School Wellness Standards

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First Lady Michelle Obama announces proposed guidelines for local school wellness policies during an event in the East Room at the White House

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NYT: Obesity Rate For Young Children Plummets 43% In A Decade

Federal health authorities on Tuesday reported a stunning 43 percent drop in the obesity rate among 2- to 5-year-old children over the past decade, the first broad decline in an epidemic that often leads to lifelong struggles with weight and higher risks for cancer, heart disease and stroke. The drop emerged from a major federal health survey that experts say is the gold standard for evidence on what Americans weigh. The trend came as a welcome surprise to researchers. New evidence has shown that obesity takes hold young: Children who are overweight or obese between age 3 and 5 are five times as likely to be overweight or obese as adults.

“This is the first time we’ve seen any indication of any significant decrease in any group,” said Cynthia Ogden, a researcher for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the author of the report, which will be published in JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, on Wednesday. “It was exciting.” Another explanation is that some combination of state, local and federal policies aimed at reducing obesity is starting to have an effect. Michelle Obama has led a push to change young children’s eating and exercise habits and 10,000 child care centers across the country have signed on. The news announcement from the C.D.C. included a remark from Mrs. Obama: “I am thrilled at the progress we’ve made over the last few years in obesity rates among our youngest Americans.”

More here

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, introduces JoAnne Hammermaster, from Vienna, Va., who is co-founder and president of Real Food For Kids, and her son Sam Hammermaster, before First Lady Michelle Obama announced proposed guidelines for local school wellness policies

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First Lady Michelle Obama recites a “wrap” song written by students from George C. Marshall High School in Falls Church, Va., about healthy eating

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First Lady Michelle Obama helps Naeem Khan make history!

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This handout photo provided by the Smithsonian shows a dress designed by Indian-American designer Naeem Khan for First Lady Michelle Obama. It was worn to the 2012 Governors Dinner and is now on display at the Smithsonian’s first major exhibit: “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation” on Indian-American influences in U.S. history. Khan has designed several dresses for Mrs. Obama. The exhibit opens Thursday.

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*Ahem* Ladies? You’re welcome

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Sam Kass, Executive Director of Let’s Move! and Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy speaks to guests before First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announce proposed guidelines for local school wellness policies

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First lady Michelle Obama gives a hug at a Miami parks and recreation center during a visit to promote her “Let’s Move” campaign

25
Feb
14

President Obama delivers remarks at the National Organizing Summit

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6:05 EST: President Obama delivers remarks at the National Organizing Summit, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Washington, DC

(If they don’t switch over to PBO in time, I’m going to send them a recording of me singing)

Also streaming here

25
Feb
14

President Obama Delivers Remarks on Manufacturing Innovation Institutes

3:05 EST: President Obama delivers remarks on manufacturing innovation institutes, The East Room

Also at White House Live

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3:0 EST: We the Geeks: Celebrating Black History Month

Watch live on Google+ or at WH.gov/We-the-Geeks

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Later:

6:05 EST: President Obama delivers remarks at the National Organizing Summit, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Washington, DC (will be streamed live)

7:10 EST: Delivers remarks and answers questions at an Organizing for Action dinner, Mandarin Oriental Hotel (Print Pool for Remarks Only)

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25
Feb
14

Of subhuman mongrels and keeping away the gay

Well, we’ve certainly been treated to a meltdown in what passes for the Right in this country in the age of Obama.

The examples are legion. Obama’s election, a moment seen by many of us as a signal achievement, also brought out, well, the lunatics who saw their country falling away from them. From Joe “You Lie” Wilson to “Second Amendment solutions”, we’ve had almost six years of increasingly unhinged rhetoric, rhetoric which was once confined to the purview of Aryan Nations—or Ron Paul—newsletters.

Imagine, if you will, if Bruce Springsteen had called George W. Bush “a subhuman cowboy”. Even The Boss might not have been popular enough to withstand the torrent of opprobrium.

And yet, here we have belle of the right wing ball, Ted Nugent, calling President Obama a “subhuman mongrel,” with the man whom he was supporting, Republican candidate for governor of Texas Greg Abbott, not casting him aside with the morning’s recycling. Nugent “apologized”, not for the content of his remarks, but because it embarrassed his friend Abbott (who, again, showed no signs of being embarrassed).

When Barack Obama came out in favor of marriage equality, suddenly the cause gained a momentum which has only increased year on year. So, of course, it was only obvious that the Arizona state legislature just passed a law allowing business owners to refuse service to gay customers. (Really, unless a gay man walks in swishing in the most stereotypical manner, how could a good, God-fearing business owner be sure that he wasn’t serving gays unwittingly? Is a sin of ignorance less awful in the eyes of the Lord than a willful transgression?) Because Arizona, faced with the myriad problems all our localities face, decided that this was a problem which needed urgent legislative attention. Why, if gays can eat openly in restaurants across the state, pretty soon they’d be coming out of the closet and playing on NFL and NBA teams! The horror!

Oh, we can laugh, but there’s something serious to consider. And it’s something which should both give us pause and ultimately encourage us.

Continue reading ‘Of subhuman mongrels and keeping away the gay’

25
Feb
14

Coming Up

11:0: School Wellness Announcement by the First Lady and Secretary Vilsack

White House Live

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12:45: Press Briefing by Jay Carney

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3:0 We the Geeks: Celebrating Black History Month

Watch live on Google+ or at WH.gov/We-the-Geeks

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3:05: President Obama delivers remarks on manufacturing innovation institutes, The East Room

6:05: Delivers remarks at the National Organizing Summit, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Washington, DC (Pooled for TV)

7:10: Delivers remarks and answers questions at an Organizing for Action dinner, Mandarin Oriental Hotel (Print Pool for Remarks Only)

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Chat away!

25
Feb
14

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama is seen through a door to the pantry near the State Dining Room of the White House as he waits to meet with the National Governors Association, Feb. 25, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern):

11:0: School Wellness Announcement by the First Lady and Secretary Vilsack (WH Live)

11:30: President Obama meets with Speaker Rusty Boehner

12:45: Press Briefing by Jay Carney

3:0 We the Geeks: Celebrating Black History Month

3:05: President Obama delivers remarks on manufacturing innovation institutes, The East Room

6:05: Delivers remarks at the National Organizing Summit, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Washington, DC (Pooled for TV)

7:10: Delivers remarks and answers questions at an Organizing for Action dinner, Mandarin Oriental Hotel (Print Pool for Remarks Only)

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Wednesday: The President will travel to the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area for an event on the economy.

Thursday: The President will host an event on his ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative.

Friday: The President will attend a DNC event in Washington.

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@WhiteHouse: RT to share how President Obama’s already made progress to expand #OpportunityForAll in 2014

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WH.gov: Celebrating Black History Month

African Americans are making amazing contributions in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). But we need to make sure that African American students today also see themselves as tomorrow’s discoverers, explorers, developers, and STEM innovators.

At 3:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, February 25th, we’re hosting “We the Geeks: Celebrating Black History Month” – a Google+ Hangout with some of our foremost African American STEM innovators and education advocates.

During the live Hangout, these leaders will share their inspiring personal stories and thoughts on how we can all help to ensure that America’s next generation of inventors, discoverers, and innovators fully reflects our nation’s diversity…..

Guests include:

Dr. Paula Hammond — David H. Koch Professor in Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi — Assistant Professor in Physics/Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology

Mr. Calvin Phelps — jet engineer designer, Pratt & Whitney

Ms. Crystal Brockington — winner of Siemens’ “We Can Change the World Challenge”

   Evan Jackson, Alec Jackson, and Caleb Robinson — kid inventors; winners of the Toshiba/National Science

Teachers Association ExploraVision Competition; participants in the 2013 White House Science Fair

Watch live on Google+ or at WH.gov/We-the-Geeks

More here and here

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Paul Krugman: Health Care Horror Hooey

Remember the “death tax”? The estate tax is quite literally a millionaire’s tax — a tax that affects only a tiny minority of the population, and is mostly paid by a handful of very wealthy heirs. Nonetheless, right-wingers have successfully convinced many voters that the tax is a cruel burden on ordinary Americans — that all across the nation small businesses and family farms are being broken up to pay crushing estate tax liabilities.

You might think that such heart-wrenching cases are actually quite rare, but you’d be wrong: they aren’t rare; they’re nonexistent. In particular, nobody has ever come up with a real modern example of a family farm sold to meet estate taxes. The whole “death tax” campaign has rested on eliciting human sympathy for purely imaginary victims.

And now they’re trying a similar campaign against health reform.

I’m not sure whether conservatives realize yet that their Plan A on health reform — wait for Obamacare’s inevitable collapse, and reap the political rewards — isn’t working. But it isn’t.

More here

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A journalist who actually believes it is part of his job to correct GOP lies: @hiltzikm

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Michael Hiltzik (LA Times): Who really cost Mrs. Blackwood her cancer medicine?

Stephen J. Blackwood is utterly, unalterably convinced that his mother has lost access to her cancer medicine because of Obamacare.

That’s the theme of his passionate op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal. The piece currently tops the most-read list over at the Journal website and has shot around conservative websites with the speed of a measles virus in an unvaccinated population.

Since we recently expressed perplexity about how easy it is to debunk most (if not all) Obamacare horror stories being retailed by Republicans and other critics of the Affordable Care Act, it’s only fair to take a look at this one. It’s not quite like many of the others, which present as victims people who actually are clear beneficiaries of the act. By contrast, Blackwood’s mother appears to have been genuinely abused by the health insurance system.

But the story is a lot more complicated than the version laid out in the Wall Street Journal. In fact, the problem with the article is that it points the finger in the wrong direction.

More here

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Steve Benen: Why actual ACA ‘victims’ are so elusive

It’s practically a running joke at this point. The Affordable Care Act’s conservative detractors have spent the last several months in a desperate search for “Obamacare victims” to be used in various partisan attacks, and quite a few regular folks have received quite a bit of attention.

The problem, of course, is that all of these examples, once they’re subjected to even minor scrutiny, have fallen apart – the “horror stories” really aren’t so horrible.

More here

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Steve Benen: Holder moves to protect reporters’ records

Time for a quick quiz. Last spring, much of the political media slipped into a frenzy for a few weeks, telling the public that the Obama White House was ensnared in three “big,” “mushrooming” scandals at the same time. Nine months later, can you name all three?

One was the IRS controversy, which turned out to be meaningless. The second was the Benghazi attack from the year before, and more fair-minded people would have to agree that the allegations and conspiracy theories involving this story turned out to be baseless.

The third was … what exactly?

More here

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ThinkProgress: Conservative Lawmakers And Arizona Businesses Urge Governor To Veto Anti-Gay Bill

The national spotlight is now shining on Arizona as Gov. Jan Brewer (R) weighs whether to sign the controversial “license to discriminate” bill (SB 1062) passed by the legislature last week. Though the potential consequences are broad, at the very least it would seemingly allow businesses to use religion as an excuse to legally refuse service to LGBT people. She’s receiving a lot of encouragement to veto the bill from groups and individuals across the state, including from one lawmaker who even voted for it, many of the state’s representatives in Congress, and the state’s largest newspaper.

State Sen. Steve Pierce (R) voted for the bill, but admits now, “I screwed up. I’m trying to make it right.” He does not like the “negative picture of Arizona” the bill has painted, which he why he’s “on board asking the governor to veto the bill.”

More here

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Chicago Tribune: Wilmette man crafts table for Obama to give as gift

As a custom furniture designer on the North Shore, Rohan Ward has had his share of discerning and distinguished clients.

But when Ward, 37, was hired to create a table for President Barack Obama to present to French President Francois Hollande, the usually unflappable Wilmette resident was a bit intimidated by the task.

“But when your phone rings and they ask if you’re interested in building a table for the president of the United States, you’re going to say yes,” Ward said.

More here – thank you Dotster!

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On This Day:

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at a White House concert honoring Stevie Wonder in the East Room for “PBS/Stevie Wonder In Performance at the White House,” Feb. 25, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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First Lady Michelle Obama greets Mrs. Margarita Zavala de Calderon, the First Lady of Mexico, in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House, Feb. 25, 2010 (Photo by Samantha Appleton)

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President Obama drops by a farewell reception for U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk in the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House, Feb. 25, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

First Lady Michelle Obama, with Dr Jill Biden, delivers remarks during the National Governors Association meeting in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 25, 2013 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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MoooOOOooorning!




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