President Barack Obama hugs Victoria Bellucci, a 2014 graduate of Huntingtown High School in Huntingtown, Md., after she introduced Obama to speak at the White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Bellucci played four years of women’s varsity soccer where she was a team captain and an All-State selection. By the time her high school and club soccer careers ended in 2013, Bellucci had suffered five concussions. President Obama was hosting the summit with representatives of professional sports leagues, coaches, parents, young athletes, researchers and others to call attention to the issue of youth sports concussions.
President Barack Obama talks at the White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit. Listening is Dr. Gerard Gioia
President Barack Obama is introduced by Victoria Belluci of Huntington, Md. at the White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit. Listening are moderator Pam Oliver and Dr. Gerard Gioia
CBS: President Obama Calls For More Robust Research Into Youth Concussions
The commander-in-chief wants to know more. President Barack Obama called Thursday for more robust research into youth concussions, saying there remains deep uncertainty over both the scope of the troubling issue and the long-term impacts on young people. “We want our kids participating in sports,” Obama said as he opened a day-long summit on concussions at the White House. “As parents though, we want to keep them safe and that means we have to have better information.” The summit signaled an effort by Obama to use the power of the presidency to elevate a national conversation over youth concussions. The White House brought together representatives of professionalsports leagues, coaches, parents, young athletes, medical professionals and others for the event.
"Sports teach us about teamwork and hard work and what it takes to succeed not only on the field, but in life." —Obama #HeadsUp4Safety
Obama, an avid sports fan and father of two daughters involved in athletics, highlighted millions of dollars in pledges and other support from the National Football League, the National Institutes of Health and others to conduct research that could begin to provide answers and improve safety. Among the financial commitments is a $30 million joint research effort by the NCAA and Defense Department and an NFL commitment of $25 million over the next three years to promote youth sports safety. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that can be caused by a blow to the head, or a blow to the body powerful enough to jostle the brain around inside the skull. Nearly 250,000 kids and young adults visit hospital emergency rooms each year with brain injuries caused by sports or other recreational activity, the White House said.
President Barack Obama shakes hands with former football player Lavar Arrington, as former professional soccer player and current ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman watches
USA Today: Obama: We Need ‘Better Data’ On Sports Concussions
President Obama told a White House meeting of athletes, coaches and medical experts Thursday that there are no “solid numbers” on the extent of the concussion problem in football and other contact sports. “We’ve got to have better research, better data, better safety equipment, better protocols,” Obama said at the first White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit. While “sports are vital to this country,”
"That’s what today’s about—let’s give parents the information they need to help their kids compete safely." —President Obama #HeadsUp4Safety
Obama said, society needs to make sure that young people “are able to participate as safely as possible.” The purpose of the summit is to look for better ways to determine the severity of head injuries that could affect the brain, and how to treat them. Moreover, adults need to discourage a “suck-it-up” culture that encourages young athletes to pay through pain, Obama said.
President Barack Obama speaks at the White House Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit. Pictured from left to right: LaVar Arrington, former NFL linebacker; Victoria Bellucci, a high school soccer player from Huntingtown, Md.; Taylor Twellman, former professional soccer player; Gen. Ray Odierno, Chief of Staff of the United States Army; R. Dawn Comstock, who runs the national high school sports injury surveillance program called High School RIO; Gerard A Gioia, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Neuropsychology at Children’s National Medical Center, Pam Oliver, a reporter with NFL on FOX
Youth sports concussions draw Obama's attention, #NCAA and Defense Department launch $30M effort: apne.ws/1ivCnGf
Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama, and Bobby Titcomb attend the Oregon State University versus University of Akron college basketball game at the Diamond Head Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu
Greetings again from Texas. I just had the opportunity to visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Clinic which is doing some great work here in Dallas to help Texans learn about their new options under the Affordable Care Act. I wanted to share the stories of a couple of these people who I met today in Dallas: Misty Parker is a 31 year-old who works with a community-oriented startup company, which does not currently offer insurance. Misty says that because of the Health Insurance Marketplace, with financial help, she was able to sign up for a Bronze plan for $38 a month. She had questions, but Misty says she was able to get answers from the call center.
I also met Amanda Waddle, who shared her and her husband Brian’s story about getting covered through the Marketplace. They both enjoy playing hockey and were concerned about what might happen if they got injured on the ice. A 26-year-old graduate student, Amanda said she couldn’t afford insurance on the private market. Brian also didn’t have coverage despite working two jobs as a waiter and a broadcast statistician for the Dallas Stars hockey team. Thanks to the choices, competition, and financial help in the Marketplace, Amanda says she and her husband were able to get covered for only $105 a month. She also signed up for a dental plan for $10 a month.
So I invite you to follow Misty’s and Amanda’s lead! You can learn about your new options online at HealthCare.gov or by phone at 1-800-318-2596/TTY 1-855-889-4325. You can also find help in your community at localhelp.healthcare.gov. You have more than three months, until the end of March to enroll in coverage for 2014. If you’d like your coverage to begin January 1st, you have until December 23 to sign up.
So here’s the key thing: Today is the last day to sign up if you want to get insurance coverage that starts in January of next year. But if you’re currently uninsured and you don’t sign up today, nothing bad happens to you. It’s just that starting on January 1 you’ll still be uninsured. You have until March to sign up and avoid paying the individual mandate fee. The main reason an uninsured person will probably want to sign up for an exchange plan is the same as the main reason that people whose employers offer work-linked insurance plans generally sign up—due to subsidies it’s a good deal in actuarial terms for most people, and even when it isn’t the sense of confidence and security (“insurance,” some might call it) offered by insurance coverage is valuable.
President Obama plans to sign up for health insurance through an Affordable Care Act exchange before the end of the day Monday, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said. Jarrett made the announcement in an interview with April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, apparently ahead of the White House’s planned rollout. Officials did not respond to repeated requests for confirmation. The White House first said back in 2010 that the president, who has coverage through the federal government and gets his care from White House doctors, would sign up for insurance through an exchange.
Ian Millhiser: Justice Department Calls In The Big Guns To Stop Voter Suppression
It’s difficult to exaggerate the prominence Stanford Law Professor Pam Karlan enjoys within the progressive legal community. Karlan is one of the most active members of the Supreme Court bar — among other things, she co-authored the brief that convinced the justices to strike down the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act last June. She is a former litigator for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and she is among the most widely regarded voting rights experts in the nation. So when the Justice Department revealed on Friday that Karlan would become the nation’s top voting rights attorney, it was as if Marsellus Wallace called up the many voters being disenfranchised in states like Texas and North Carolina, and told them that he’s sending The Wolf.
Karlan will take over as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division’s voting rights section. In this role, she will oversee the Justice Department’s most important challenges to voter suppression laws — including its efforts to restore federal oversight of Texas’ election law and its challenge to the nation’s worst voter suppression law in North Carolina. As a senior member of the Civil Rights Division, Karlan will work under soon-to-be Assistant Attorney General Debo Adegbile, who President Obama recently nominated as the nation’s top civil rights attorney. Like Karlan, Adegbile is himself a leading expert on voting rights law
Zack Ford: New Mexico Supreme Court: Marriage Equality Is State Law
The New Mexico Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that same-sex marriage is legal across the state, cementing it as the 17th state to offer full marriage equality to same-sex couples. The state had been a bit of an oddity, in that it had no specific prohibition nor allowance written into law, leaving marriage equality an open question. The Court noted that although some of the marriage laws stipulate gender-specific language, preventing same-sex couples would deprive them of their rights
USA Today: Utah Same-Sex Marriage Ban Back In Court
A federal judge on Monday is set to consider a request from the state of Utah to block gay weddings that have been taking place since Friday when the state’s same-sex marriage ban was overturned. U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled Utah’s law passed violates gay and lesbian couples’ rights under the 14th Amendment. Lawyers for the state want the ruling put on hold as they appeal the decision that has put Utah in the national spotlight because of its long-standing opposition to gay marriage. Shelby will hold a hearing on the request Monday morning. On Sunday, a federal appeals court rejected the state’s emergency request stay the ruling, saying they couldn’t rule on a stay since Shelby hasn’t acted on the motion before him.
Following Shelby’s surprising ruling Friday afternoon, gay and lesbian couples rushed to a county clerk’s office in Salt Lake City to get marriage licenses. More than 100 couples wed as others cheered them on in what became an impromptu celebration an office building about three miles from the headquarters of the Mormon church. Hundreds of couples are expected to arrive at county clerks offices early Monday morning in hopes of getting marriage licenses before a possible halt if Shelby grants the stay its request. Legal experts say that even if a stay is granted, the licenses that have already been issued will likely still be valid. For now, a state considered as one of the most conservative in the nation has joined the likes of California and New York to become the 18th state where same-sex couples can legally wed.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama react with daughters Malia Obama and Sasha Obama while attending a basketball game between Oregon State and the University of Hawaii in Honolulu on December 22, 2013
MoooOOOooorning Early-ish Birds! Running verrrry late today, but will catch up … eventually!