President Barack Obama and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny shake hands during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to leading parenting bloggers, online influencers, and content creators in the East Room. The First Lady hosted an event attended by about 150 people addressing the health of the nation’s kids as part of the “Let’s Move!” initiative
On This Day: President Obama and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick listen as students from Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Roxbury, Mass., perform Dr. Marin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Feb. 28, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Today (all times EST):
1:0: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
2:40: The White House Student Film Festival
3:45: President Obama delivers remarks at the White House Student Film Festival; East Room
4:50: Delivers remarks at a DNC meeting, Washington (Open to media)
5:20: Attends a DNC event, Washington (Closed press)
“My Brother’s Keeper” has a much nicer ring than “stop and frisk.” It also promises to be a more effective, less self-defeating way to address the interlocking social and economic crises afflicting young men of color. I’ll go out on a limb and predict that President Obama gets some heat for launching a program whose benefits are aimed solely at African American and Hispanic men and boys.
The nation’s first black president gets slammed by critics who accuse him of “playing the race card” every time he acknowledges that race and racism still play a role in determining opportunities and outcomes. But obviously they do. My Brother’s Keeper, which Obama announced Thursday, is the kind of targeted public-private initiative that might actually do some good, even without tons of new federal money thrown in.
LA Times: Obamacare Draws Younger Consumers Online As Deadline Looms, Report Says
The average premium paid for Obamacare coverage on a leading insurance website has dropped by nearly $100 a month since October as more young people sign up, a new industry report shows. The average age of people buying coverage at online broker EHealthInsurance.com dropped from 44 mid-October to 36 in late February, according to the company.
The average premium for 2014 health plans sold through EHealth tumbled from $370 a month to $273 over that period, which the company said reflects a higher proportion of younger applicants. Attracting enough younger and healthier customers is crucial to help offset the higher medical costs of older, sicker policyholders in the overall insurance pool. EHealth said last week when it announced fourth-quarter results that 40% of its applicants in the fall were between the ages 18 to 34.
AP: Obama Seeks More Federal Spending To Train Doctors
President Barack Obama will ask Congress to approve spending more than $5 billion on medical training to turn out some 13,000 primary care providers over the next 10 years. Obama will include the proposal in the budget he sends to Congress next week. The new funding is aimed at training more doctors who can work in underserved areas, including rural communities.
The president’s budget also will seek to expand the National Health Service Corps, a federal program that connects primary care physicians with communities in need. Obama wants to expand the corps from 8,900 providers to 15,000 over the next six years.
Molly Redden: This Program Is Helping Crush Childhood Obesity. Guess What Republicans Want To Do To It
Researchers are still exploring what factors caused the early childhood obesity rate to plummet43 percent over the last decade. But a group of health experts at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill think that they have found at least part of the answer: changes to the federally funded Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children that gave poor mothers the means to purchase more fresh produce for their children.
This program, which is better known as WIC, provides billions of dollars per year in nutritious food vouchers for low-income pregnant women, breast-feeding women, and children younger than five. WIC was created in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until 2009 that it provided mothers with vouchers for fruits and vegetables. That’s the change that the North Carolina researchers think may have contributed to the stunning decline in obesity rates. Republicans looking to slash federal spending have targeted WIC in recent years. In March 2012, for example, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives tried to cut $243 million from WIC.
ThinkProgress: Federal Government Expands Access To Healthy Food For Low-Income Moms And Babies
A government program that gives federal food assistance to an estimated 9 million women and children is getting revamped for the first time in more than three decades. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children — more commonly known as WIC — will now provide low-income Americans with more options for culturally specific food, as well as increase funding for some healthy options.
WIC is a nutritional assistance program intended to help women and their babies afford healthy food. It diverges from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, because it’s specifically targeted at improving healthy pregnancies and birth outcomes. This year, the program marked its 40th anniversary.
Raw Story: US, NATO Warn Russia To Avoid ‘Miscalculation’ In Ukraine
US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday joined NATO in warning Russia not to take any action that could lead to “miscalculation” amid rising tensions on Ukraine’s majority-Russian Crimea peninsula. Speaking after pro-Kremlin gunmen seized regional administration buildings in Crimea and Moscow ordered snap combat readiness drills near the border, Hagel warned: “I am closely watching the Russian military exercise.
“I expect them to be transparent about these activities,” he told a press conference at the close of a two-day NATO defence ministers meeting. “I urge them not to take steps that could be misinterpreted or lead to miscalculation.” The crisis in Ukraine dominated the gathering, with an emergency meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission added to the agenda at the last moment. Hagel said Washington was concerned about the latest developments, especially in Crimea, and was continuing “to talk to our Russian counterparts” about their intentions.
TPM: Newspaper Says Mysterious Phone Call With Dem Candidate Was Actually Wrong Number
A local Michigan paper on Thursday said a mysterious January interview with a Democratic congressional candidate was actually a misdial.
In January National Review highlighted a peculiar report from The Daily Mining Gazette about Democratic congressional candidate Jerry Cannon, who is running against Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI).
The original Daily Mining Gazette report quoted Cannon as criticizing Obamacare. The paper later backtracked on the story and National Review suggested that someone else had perhaps answered the phone and been impersonating Cannon.
Now, in a story titled “Gazette Looks To Set The Record Straight,” the Daily Mining Gazette said the call for the complete interview was to a wrong number….
TPM: Jason Collins Visits Matthew Shepard’s Parents, Brings Gifts
Jason Collins had plenty of gifts for Matthew Shepard’s parents: a basket, a blowout, an autographed No. 98 jersey that he wears in honor of their son. They also shared some laughs.
Collins played the final eight minutes of the Brooklyn Nets’ 112-89 romp over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night, and although his three points and four fouls weren’t much to look at in the boxscore, rarely has the 35-year-old center been this proud of a performance.
“I got them a bucket,” the center said.
After his cameo in Brooklyn’s recovery from a 44-point loss against the Trail Blazers 24 hours earlier, Collins, the first openly gay athlete in America’s four major sports, met with the parents of the slain Wyoming college student who was tortured and murdered in 1998 because he was gay.
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.”
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
First Lady Michelle Obama recites a “wrap” song written by students from George C. Marshall High School in Falls Church, Va., about healthy eating
First Lady Michelle Obama helps Naeem Khan make history!
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.
*Ahem* Ladies? You’re welcome
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
Let’s Move: Four Years Of Showing How We’re Moving Towards A Healthier Nation
Four years ago, First Lady, Michelle Obama launched a national movement, Let’s Move!, to create a healthier future for kids and families. Four years later, Let’s Move! has moved a nation in a healthier direction, and this nation is on the move. This healthier movement is the new norm, and it is happening all over the country. From child care centers through high school and after school, from sun up to sun down, the country is moving faster every day towards a healthier future. Over the last four years, Let’s Move! has worked to create more opportunities for physical activity and to improve the overall quality of school meals. Across the nation, communities have gained access to healthy and affordable food, and families have gained the information needed to make more nutritional choices.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found obesity rates among low-income preschoolers declined, from 2008 through 2011, in 19 of 43 states and territories studied. The First Lady – in collaboration with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) – launched the Drink Up campaign, an unprecedented collaboration of companies coming together to encourage Americans across the country to drink more water. It’s a simple message that everyone can do to stay energized, focused, and refreshed.
In 2010, the Partnership for a Healthier America and First Lady Michelle Obama announced a commitment with 16 companies in the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) pledging to take action to reduce 1 trillion product calories by 2012 and 1.5 trillion product calories by 2015. Last month, it was announced that these food and beverage companies sold 6.4 trillion fewer calories in the United States in 2012 than they did in 2007, thus exceeding the HWCF’s 2015 goal by more than 400 percent, and this translates into a reduction of 78 calories per person in the United States per day. USDA implemented new school lunch and breakfast standards starting in the 2012-2013 academic year and implementation of the new Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards will start in the 2014-2015 school year. These standards mean the quality of food sold in school vending machines and a la carte lines will change significantly.
SUBWAY Famous Fan and 18-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, joins the First Lady Michelle Obama, and famous fan Justin Tuck, and local area kids for lunch at a SUBWAY store
First Lady Michelle Obama teams up with Subway to promote a revamped kids’ menu. Olympian Michael Phelps, joins her.
White House: First Lady Michelle Obama Announces Commitment by Subway® Restaurants to Promote Healthier Choices to Kids
Today, First Lady Michelle Obama joined the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) and SUBWAY® along with SUBWAY® Famous Fans Michael Phelps, Nastia Liukin, and Justin Tuck at a local Washington, DC, SUBWAY® Restaurant, to announce a three-year commitment by the chain in support of her Let’s Move! initiative to promote healthier choices to kids, including launching its largest targeted marketing effort to date. In addition to strengthening its already nutritious menu offerings to kids, SUBWAY® will launch a new series of campaigns for kids aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and will set new standards for marketing products to families.
“I’m excited about these initiatives not just as a First Lady, but also as a mom,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Subway’s kids’ menu makes life easier for parents, because they know that no matter what their kids order, it’s going to be a healthy choice.” As part of its commitment, the SUBWAY® restaurant chain will: only offer items on its kids menus that meet strong nutritional guidelines informed by federal standards for the national school lunch program, including offering apples as a side and low-fat or non-fat milk or water as a default beverage. deliver $41 million in media value in the next three years to market healthier options to children and families, with a specific focus on increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables. This is the brand’s largest kid-focused marketing campaign to date, and includes general marketing, in-store merchandising, television, social and digital media and public relations.
SUBWAY Famous Fans Justin Tuck, and Nastia Liukin work behind the counter to serve up Fresh Fit sandwiches to First Lady Michelle Obama and local area children during an event in Washington, D.C., to announce SUBWAY Restaurants’ recent recognition by the Partnership for A Healthier America. Also pictured at left is Jared Fogle “The Subway Guy”, and famous fan Michael Phelps.
ALERT: PRESIDENT OBAMA WILL BE ON THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO AT 11:35PM ET / 10:35PM CT
President Barack Obama smiles as he is warmly received before speaking about housing at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Arizona.
USA Today: Obama Says It Is Time To Wind Down Fannie And Freddie
Almost five years after taxpayers bailed out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, President Obama said on Tuesday that it’s time for private investors to take a bigger role in the mortgage market. Fannie and Freddie collapsed in 2008 before being bailed out with almost $200 billion in taxpayer funds. But with the nation’s real estate market on the mend, Obama said in an address in Phoenix on home ownership that it is time to wind down the two companies and make clear that the days of a guaranteed government bailout are over.
“For too long, these companies were allowed to make big profits buying mortgages, knowing that if their bets went bad, taxpayers would be left holding the bag,” Obama said. “It was heads we win, tails you lose. And it was wrong.” With his remarks, Obama for the first time endorsed bipartisan efforts in the Senate for mortgage reform. At the same time, he made it clear that he expects any legislation will spell out a limited government role for backing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the future, and that it must ensure Americans’ continued access to a 30-year mortgage at a fixed interest rate.
USA Today: U.S. Files Criminal Charges Over Benghazi Attack
A Libyan militia leader has been charged in last year’s terrorist attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead, two federal officials said.
Ahmed Kattalah is the first person to be charged in the Sept. 11 incident that sparked a political firestorm about the initial U.S. response to the assault.
Because the charges remain under seal, the officials were not authorized to comment publicly.
The U.S. government has accused Bank of America Corp. of civil fraud, saying the company failed to disclose risks and misled investors in its sale of $850 million of mortgage bonds during 2008. The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the bank and several subsidiaries in federal court in Charlotte, N.C., where Bank of America is based. The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a related lawsuit against Bank of America there, too.
The lawsuits accuse the second-largest U.S. bank of misleading investors about the risks of the mortgages tied to the securities. And the government said the bank failed to tell investors that more than 70 percent of the mortgages backing the investment were written by mortgage brokers outside the banks’ network. That made the mortgages more vulnerable to default, they said. The bank disclosed the percentage of such mortgage loans in the investment only to a select group of investors, the suits alleged.
CBS News: CDC: Obesity Rates Falling Among U.S. Preschoolers
A new government study of preschoolers shows there has been progress in the fight against childhood obesity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new report found about one in eight preschool-aged kids are obese, but the rates may be falling. CDC researchers studied more than 11 million low-income preschool children in 43 U.S. states and territories from 2008 through 2011. They found obesity rates fell in 18 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Health officials hope the findings are a sign of things to come.
“Today’s announcement reaffirms my belief that together, we are making a real difference in helping kids across the country get a healthier start to life,” Mrs. Obama said in a news release from the White House. “Yet, while this announcement reflects important progress, we also know that there is tremendous work still to be done to support healthy futures for all our children,” she said.
Jessica Chasmar: Oprah Winfrey: Trayvon Martin ‘Same Thing’ As Emmett Till Lynching
While promoting her new movie “The Butler,” Oprah Winfrey told The Grio that the death of Trayvon Martin was the “same thing” as the lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till for allegedly flirting with a white woman in 1955. “Let me just tell you — in my mind, same thing,” she said in a preview of the interview on MSNBC. Last week, Oprah said Americans know “diddly-squat” about the history of the civil rights movement. She also said that when she hears the N-word, she thinks of the “millions” of people “who heard that as their last word as they were hanging from a tree.
The Grio: Michelle Obama Turns To Hip-Hop To Promote Childhood Obesity Campaign
Michelle Obama is adding another fun element to her healthy kids campaign that seeks to tackle the issue of childhood obesity. Like her husband, the first lady has turned to hip-hop to demonstrate a point. She is distributing a hip-hop album complete with 10 music videos and 19 tracks to support her “Let’s Move!” nutrition program. Obama is partnering with Hip-Hop Public Health and Partnership for a Healthier America to release thenSongs for a Healthier America album on September 30th.
The single “Everybody” features the first lady joined by songstress Jordin Sparks, emcee Doug E. Fresh, and medical expert Dr. Oz. The video shows children of all ages dancing lightheartedly between takes of kids doing jumping jacks push ups, and drills.
“For years I have known that we need to reach children in the formative years to educate them to live a life of prevention,” said Dr. Mehmet Oz. “The best way to do this is to build a bridge with the artists that they see on television and listen to. When someone like Doug E. Fresh shows our youngsters that health can be fun and cool, we are winning the battle.” Some other songs on the album include “Veggie Luv”, “Hip Hop LEAN”, and “Get Up Sit Up” most of which will be hip-hop based, according to U.S. News and Wold Reports.
President Barack Obama listens as Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, briefs him on the terror threat, in the Map Room of the White House, Aug. 6, 2013. Also participating in the briefing are National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama meets with former Negro League baseball players in the Cross Hall of the White House, Aug. 5, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama talks on the phone in the Oval Office, Dec. 11. Pictured, from left, are: Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer; Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; and Chief of Staff Jack Lew. (Pete Souza)
12:0: President Obama holds a conference call with a bipartisan group of mayors and community leaders
12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press
Paul Krugman: Both Jonathan Chait and Charles Pierce have a field day with a Politico piece titled, without a hint of irony, Crafting a boom economy. In said piece they talk to various Very Serious People, and divine the insider consensus on What Must Be Done – which mainly seems to involve, naturally, cutting Social Security and Medicare while reducing corporate tax rates.
What I find remarkable about this piece is that after everything that has happened these past five years or so, Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen still take it for granted that these people actually know what they’re talking about….
…. The whole theme of the Politico piece is that great things would happen if only the insiders could override all this messy democracy stuff. But the real lesson is that those insiders are not only self-dealing, but profoundly ignorant and wrong-headed. It’s too bad that so many journalists still can’t see that.
See also Liberal Librarian’s post at The People’s View: ‘More adventures in our failed media experiment’
Steve Benen: There was a widely held fear after Election Day that systemic voting restrictions would soon be forgotten. The outrage over voter-suppression tactics was real – unnecessary voter-ID laws, closed early voting windows, ridiculously long lines and waiting times – but once the election came and went, would the political world’s short attention span forget the fiascos?
Fortunately, no – or at least, not yet. Several Democratic members of Congress have already unveiled modest-but-helpful election reforms, and in the Obama administration, Attorney General Eric Holder continues to take the issue very seriously….
NYT: A broad swath of the nation’s leading chief executives dropped its opposition to tax increases on the wealthiest Americans on Tuesday, while the White House quietly pressed Wall Street titans for their support as well.
Before Tuesday’s about-face, the Business Roundtable had insisted that the White House extend Bush-era tax cuts to taxpayers of all income brackets, but the executives’ resistance crumbled as pressure builds to find a compromise for the fiscal impasse in Washington before the end of the year.
“We recognize that part of the solution has to be tax increases,” David M. Cote, chief executive of Honeywell, said on a conference call with reporters. “That’s the only thing that allows a reasonable compromise to be reached.”
TPM: As Michigan Republicans pushed their controversial right to work legislation another step forward Tuesday, organized labor’s promise not to go quietly was realized.
…. labor groups say they’ve found a way to unwind the Michigan Republicans’ attempt to write the law in a way that makes it impossible to be overturned at the ballot box …. A high-ranking labor source told TPM unions are ready to turn Michigan into the next Ohio.
“If this bill is signed today, it will be Thunderdome for Governor Snyder and Michigan for the next two years,” the official said. “There are multiple options for a referendum, for the voters to have their say on this issue and all options are on the table, the fight is far from over.”
First Lady Michelle Obama during an event with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition on the South Lawn of the White House, May 9, 2011 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
NYT: After decades of rising childhood obesity rates, several American cities are reporting their first declines. The trend has emerged in big cities like New York and Los Angeles, as well as smaller places like Anchorage, Alaska, and Kearney, Neb. The state of Mississippi has also registered a drop, but only among white students.
“It’s been nothing but bad news for 30 years, so the fact that we have any good news is a big story,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, the health commissioner in New York City, which reported a 5.5 percent decline in the number of obese schoolchildren from 2007 to 2011.
The drops are small, just 5 percent here in Philadelphia and 3 percent in Los Angeles. But experts say they are significant because they offer the first indication that the obesity epidemic, one of the nation’s most intractable health problems, may actually be reversing course.
I haven’t made this up, honest – even though it sounds like something you’d read in The Onion. I’m not going to link this nonsense, but if you want yet more evidence of how desperate and idiotic these people are, read on.
A Washington radio station (which proudly carries Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity’s shows) interviewed a spokesman for The Governors Highway Safety Association regarding a 0.4 percent increase in pedestrian deaths in the first half of 2010 – the station’s report on its website claimed that “the First Lady’s program to get Americans to be more active could be partly responsible”!
The spokesman, Jonathan Adkins, said that Michelle Obama is “trying to get us to walk to work and exercise a little bit more. While that’s good, it also increases our exposure to risk”.
So, there you are, by encouraging people to exercise, the First Lady is actually sending them to their deaths. Does that mean her Let’s Move campaign is actually a dastardly plot to kill Americans?
First Lady Michelle Obama addresses hundreds of chefs from around the country during a “Let’s Move!” event on the South Lawn of the White House, June 4, 2010. The First Lady called on chefs to get involved by adopting a school and working with teachers, parents, school nutritionists and administrators to help educate kids about food and nutrition. June 4, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)