Darrell Issa Is Concerned Over White House Security. We NOW Have The Next Scandal/Oversight Committee Investigation.


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Armed Intruder At The White House Got To East Room…And Lives.

 

From The New York Times:

 

SEPT. 29, 2014

 

Omar J. Gonzalez, who jumped the White House fence this month, reportedly got as far as the entrance to the Green Room before being stopped. CreditMichael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency

WASHINGTON — An armed man who jumped the White House fence this month made it far deeper into the mansion than previously disclosed, overpowering a Secret Service agent inside the North Portico entrance and running through the ceremonial East Room before he was tackled, according to a member of Congress familiar with the details of the incident.

The man, Omar J. Gonzalez, who had a knife, was stopped as he tried to enter the Green Room, a parlor used for receptions and teas, said the congressman, Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, the Republican chairman of a subcommittee looking into the security breach. Earlier, Secret Service officials indicated that Mr. Gonzalez, 42, had only made it steps inside the North Portico after running through the door.

Route Taken by the White House Intruder

 

The intruder who jumped the fence this month made it to several rooms inside the White House.

The hearing is set to focus on a series of security embarrassments over the last several years, including a breach that occurred when a couple crashed a state dinner in 2009, a 2011 incident when bullets struck the White House, scandals involving drinking and prostitution on overseas trips in 2012 and 2013, and 16 separate cases of people scaling the White House fence in the last five years. Ms. Pierson became director in 2013.

According to a law enforcement official briefed on the current investigation, uniformed Secret Service officers at the White House failed to follow several of the agency’s protocols. Although the protocols call for an officer to be standing outside the North Portico door, there was no officer there as Mr. Gonzalez made his way up the steps. The officer who was stationed inside the door failed to lock it after an alarm was sounded that someone had jumped over the fence, the official said.

“At all times there is supposed to be someone at the outside and the inside of the door,” the official said. “The intruder was running so fast that he gets right past the woman who didn’t lock the door. She tries to catch him, and eventually she and another officer tackle the man to the ground, but by that time he was pretty far in.”

It has been unheard of in recent decades for an intruder to force his way into the White House, even if only a few steps inside what is supposed to be one of the most secure buildings in the world. Officials in Washington were stunned that Mr. Gonzalez was able to pass by the staircase that leads to the White House family quarters and get as far as the East Room, the ballroom where the cellist Pablo Casals played for President John F. Kennedy and where President Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden.

Mr. Chaffetz said that Mr. Gonzalez ran from the north front of the White House into the Entrance Hall and then into the 80-foot-long East Room, where he was finally stopped by Secret Service officers at a Green Room entrance near the south side of the mansion. The Obama family was not home at the time.

In addition, Mr. Chaffetz said a system designed to alert agents that a breach of security was in progress apparently did not work as intended, allowing Mr. Gonzalez to surprise the officer at the door. Mr. Chaffetz said that he was told the “crash box” had been silenced or muted at the request of White House ushers, who had complained the boxes were too noisy.

“It’s an astounding set of facts,” said Representative Gerald E. Connolly of Virginia, a Democratic member of the committee. “It just boggles the imagination and is deeply destabilizing in terms of public confidence in the Secret Service and how it is carrying out its mission.”

The new details are strikingly different from what Secret Service officials first said happened on Sept. 19, the day Mr. Gonzalez breached the building. In a statement on Sept. 20, the agency said Mr. Gonzalez “was physically apprehended after entering the White House North Portico doors” — leaving the impression that Secret Service officers tackled Mr. Gonzalez just steps after he opened the door and walked through. Secret Service officials said nothing in their public comments to suggest otherwise.

In its initial briefings, the Secret Service did not inform the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the agency, that the intruder had made it so far inside the White House, according to an official familiar with the conversations. But the official said that until a final investigation was complete, the department could not confirm or deny the new account.

 

Asked about the new developments on Monday, Mr. Earnest said that the president retained “full confidence” in Ms. Pierson but that the incident was “an issue that the president is obviously concerned about.”

It is unclear when Mr. Obama learned of how far Mr. Gonzalez had penetrated the White House. West Wing officials previously said Ms. Pierson briefed Mr. Obama about the incident during an Oval Office meeting last week, but they would not say what details she disclosed at the time.

On Tuesday, Ms. Pierson will appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and will hear from lawmakers in both parties who said they would demand explanations for other breaches as well, including recent revelations about a slow and incomplete response by the Secret Service to the incident in 2011, when a man fired seven shots into the south side of the White House.

 

“Have there been some other serious breaches?” Mr. Chaffetz said. “Absolutely.” He said the 2011 incident was “about as bungled as could possibly be,” but he said lawmakers on the committee have received numerous reports about security breaches that have not yet been made public.

The Washington Post reported that Mr. Obama and Michelle Obama were furious that they had not been made aware of the 2011 incident until days after it happened.

Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the senior Democrat on the committee, said he would insist that Ms. Pierson explain why Secret Service officials in charge of protection around the grounds of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue appear not to have listened to agents on the ground that night in 2011 who believed shots had been fired at the White House. “I want to know what culture allows that to happen in an organization that is supposed to be the most elite protective agency in the world,” Mr. Cummings said.

 

Secret Service officers stopped Omar Jose Gonzalez last month as he carried a hatchet in front of the White House, but let him go even though he had been arrested this summer in Virginia with a mini-arsenal of semiautomatic weapons, a sniper rifle and a map clearly marking the White House’s location.

Prosecutors on Monday also said Mr. Gonzalez, 42, an Iraq war veteran who on Friday scaled an iron fence and made his way through the front door of the White House before he was apprehended, had 800 rounds of ammunition, two hatchets and a machete in his car when law enforcement officers searched it after Friday’s incident.

A judge on Monday agreed to a request by the prosecutors that Mr. Gonzalez, who is from Copperas Cove, Tex., and believed to have been living out of his car, remain in custody until a hearing next month because he posed a danger to President Obama.

The disclosures raised further questions about whether the Secret Service, which has the responsibility for protecting the president, could have prevented the breach into the White House.

Omar Gonzalez, White House Fence-Jumper Gets Far Past Front Door

 

 

 

White House intruder: Omar Gonzalez made it into East Room

 

 

 

Armed White House intruder sparks calls for investigation

 

Published on Sep 23, 2014

Omar Gonzalez, an Army veteran from Texas, made it all the way through the unlocked White House front door with a three-inch knife last Friday before being stopped. The Secret Service immediately increased surveillance and foot patrols, but the incident renewed criticism for the president’s security team and a House hearing was scheduled for next week. Judy Woodruff reports.

 

 

 

White House Security Breach Worse Than Feared

 

Published on Sep 29, 2014

New details of the breach come as a House committee prepares to question the head of the Security Service about the incident.An armed intruder got further inside the White House than previously admitted by the Secret Service, it has been claimed.

 

Omar Gonzalez is said to have run past a female guard at the front door after climbing over a perimeter fence.

 

The 42-year-old then passed a staircase leading to the Obamas’ living quarters on his way to the East Room, where he was apprehended.

 

Republican congressman Jason Chaffetz says his committee was given the information by whistleblowers.

 

The account contrasts sharply with that of a Secret Service spokesman shortly after the incident on 19 September.

 

Spokesman Ed Donovan told The Associated Press that Gonzalez had been arrested just inside the North Portico doors of the White House.

 

White House Security

Security guards outside the White House

 
The Secret Service also said that night the man was unarmed, although it emerged the following day he had a knife on him.

 

He also had hundreds of rounds of ammunition in his car.

 

“I’m worried that over the last several years, security has gotten worse – not better,” Mr Chaffetz said.

 

He said his committee’s request for a briefing on the incident from the Secret Service had been denied.

 

The latest details about the security breach are expected to dominate questioning when Secret Service Director Julia Pierson appears before a House committee today.

 

Omar Gonzalez
Gonzalez was arrested two months ago by state troopers

 
She has ordered an investigation into the incident and a review of security measures in and around the White House.

 

It has emerged Gonzalez was on the Secret Service radar as early as July when state troopers arrested him in Virginia.

 

They said he had an illegal sawn-off shotgun and a map of Washington tucked inside a Bible with a circle around the White House and other monuments.

 

 
The troopers also seized a stash of other weapons and ammunition found in his car.

 

Gonzalez was interviewed by the Secret Service but they were unable to hold him and he was released on bail.

 

He was stopped and questioned again on 25 August while walking along the south fence of the White House.

 

He had a hatchet but no firearms, and he was not arrested on that occasion.

 

 

 

Alarming failures of Secret Service

 

 

 

Why did every security layer fail during White House breach?

 

Published on Sep 29, 2014

How was Omar Gonzalez, the man who jumped the White House fence and ran into the mansion, able to breach every layer of security designed to keep intruders out? Judy Woodruff speaks with Carol Leonnig of The Washington Post, who broke stories on the most recent threat, as well as how the Secret Service fumbled the investigation of a 2011 shooting at the White House.

 

 

 

Why was Omar Gonzalez, who got as far inside The White House as The East Room…outside The Green Room,….allowed to live?

 

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Remember Ms. Miriam Carey? 

 

Driver Miriam Carey killed in U.S. Capitol Shooting

 

Published on Oct 3, 2013

Miriam Carey, the woman identified in news reports as the suspect in a shooting incident that left Capitol Hill on lockdown for a brief period Thursday afternoon, and has now reportedly been shot dead by police. Carey, a 34-year-old dental hygienist.

 

Miriam Carey and her 1-year-old girl led Secret Service and police on a harrowing car chase from the White House past the Capitol Thursday, attempting to penetrate the security barriers at both national landmarks before she was shot to death, police said. The child survived.

 

“I’m pretty confident this was not an accident,” said Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier. Still, Capitol Police said there appeared to be no terrorist link. The woman apparently was unarmed. Tourists, congressional staff and even some senators watched as a caravan of law enforcement vehicles chase a black Infiniti with Connecticut license plates down Constitution Avenue outside the Capitol. House and Senate lawmakers, inside debating how to end a government shutdown, briefly shuttered their chambers as Capitol Police shut down the building.

 

 

 

Now Ms. Carey was gunned down miles from The White House, in her car, and she was UNARMED. YET, Omar Gonzalez is allowed to live after gaining access to THE INSIDE OF THE WHITE HOUSE, GETTING AS FAR AS THE EAST ROOM JUST OUTSIDE THE GREEN ROOM. Why is Miriam dead and Omar alive?

 

Miriam Carey: Woman Shot and Killed by Capitol Police After Chaotic Chase from White House

 

 

 

Michael Savage: Congress Applauding The Execution Of Mentaly Ill Mother, Miriam Carey By D.C. Cops

 

Published on Oct 5, 2013

Michael Savage Discusses Killing of “Miriam Carey” by D.C. Cops w/ Black Caller, Fascist Police State Aired on October 4, 2013 – (The Savage Nation) – Michael Savage Discusses Killing of Miriam Carey by D.C. Cops w/ Black Caller, Fascist Police State, Lack of Outrage.

 

 

 

Police State Conditioning: Miriam Carey DC Unarmed Driver Executed

 

Published on Oct 5, 2013

According to authorities, On Thursday, October 3, 2013, Miriam Carey “rammed” a couple of checkpoints near the White House entrance. She then sped away and was chased by police officers who then shot her dead while her 18 month old daughter was in the vehicle. She was unarmed, yet the Congress and the mainstream media have praised the “heroic” action by police in their killing this erratically-driving mother. This is the definition of police state. Everyone living in so much manufactured fear that they will praise the killing of any “terrorist” that steps out of line in any form or fashion.

 

 

 

The Public Execution of Miriam Carey

 

Published on Oct 5, 2013

Miriam Carey was shot and killed by police in Washington D.C. on September 3, 2013 as her one year-old child looked on. Carey was in her car and was afraid to stop for the police. She was shot over a dozen times. Later, the entire assembly of law makers would give a symbolic standing ovation in recognition of the bravery of the Capitol Police. Carey was a dental hygienist from Stamford, Connecticut.

 

 

 

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Someone caucasian please explain to me which of these two cases pose a more imminent danger to The President. How was Omar Gonzalez, the man who jumped the White House fence and ran into the mansion, able to breach every layer of security designed to keep intruders out…allowed to live…..while Ms. Miriam Carey was shot over a dozen times as her one year-old child looked on?

 

If you live in The United States Of AmeriKKKa and believe race does not play a major part in every issue that faces Americans….you are either stupid, ignorant, have your head up your anus or are a flaming blatant racist.

 

If you believe the mindset of the male Unsupreme Court Justices, that racism does not exist in 2014….try being “Black Like Me” for one year. Then return to tell me YOUR experiences.

 

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Portrait Of A President.


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The New York Times:

 

Meditation on President Obama’s Portrait

 

By 

 

Dawoud Bey’s photograph of the man who would soon be president was taken on a Sunday afternoon in early 2007, at Barack and Michelle Obama’s Hyde Park home in Chicago. The portrait is at once stately and informal. Mr. Obama’s hands are folded gracefully in his lap. He wears an elegant suit and white shirt, but no tie. He stares intensely into the camera.

 

The Museum of Contemporary Photography had commissioned Mr. Bey the year before to take a portrait of a notable Chicagoan. He had known the Obamas for several years and saw them periodically at social gatherings. Impressed with Mr. Obama’s keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic convention, Mr. Bey sensed a “growing air of expectancy” about him.

“When I was asked who I wanted to photograph,” Mr. Bey said, “it took me but a second to decide that I wanted to photograph him.”

Mr. Bey posed Mr. Obama at the head of the dining room table, light reflecting off its polished surface, and photographed him from an angle. “I wanted an interesting animation of the body, and finally through camera positioning and having him turn himself slightly I figured it out,” Mr. Bey said.

 

The photographer and his subject were comfortable with each other. Mr. Bey recalls that he asked Mr. Obama, who intended to be photographed in shirt sleeves, to put on a jacket. “I told him that I didn’t want the portrait to be that informal, and he was fine with that,” Mr. Bey said.

The portrait, which was featured in the Whitney Biennial this spring, reminds us how much has changed in the intervening seven years. Looking back, we grasp the physical toll the weight of presidential responsibility has taken on Mr. Obama. His hair is considerably darker and his expression more serene than in photographs of him today.

“It’s an unguarded intimate moment that Barack’s becoming president made less possible,” Mr. Bey said. “Certainly the ease with which the photograph was made, the lack of security, hanging out in the kitchen afterwards, all of that changed.”

The photograph depicts its famously private and introspective subject only months before he was to step into the abyss of presidential politics. And it defines him free of the stereotypes and myths that have come to characterize his presidency.

Idolized by supporters and attacked by enemies, presidents to a great extent lose control of their public image. They inevitably become the one-dimensional clichés that underwrite popular conceptions of them: John F. Kennedy as the tragic hero of an unattainable Camelot, for example, or Richard M. Nixon as the faithless “Tricky Dick.”

Mr. Obama’s race has rendered him particularly vulnerable to this kind of myth making. Right-wing extremists see him as an exemplar of what is wrong with America. He has become a symbol of a dark and foreign otherness, a threat to white supremacy and racial purity. To some, he is a Muslim conspirator, bent on dismantling American mores and traditions. To others, he is an angry black man covertly intent on avenging slavery and other historic injustices.

This myth making has not been limited to conservatives. A year after Mr. Bey photographed Mr. Obama, the candidate was rousing messianic fantasies on the left, stoked by the election’s most memorable image: Shepard Fairey’s “Hope” poster.

Distributed independently by the artist and later adopted by the Obama campaign, the poster was visually dynamic and politically effective. It radiated an aura of confidence and optimism. But Mr. Fairey’s schematic rendering of Mr. Obama — branded by a single, amorphous word — reduced the candidate to a cartoon like, racially ambiguous cipher.

Raking across Mr. Obama’s face, in a picture devoid of the color brown, was a broad swath of off-white paint, a metaphoric blank screen onto which voters were invited to project their dreams and aspirations. The “Hope” poster visually transformed a man who unambiguously defined himself as black into an icon of the unthreatening “postracial” politician.

The poster foreshadowed the myriad ways the image of this president would be appropriated, for better or worse, for political effect. In hindsight, Mr. Bey’s nuanced portrait — intimate and complex — provides a corrective to history. Rejecting political clichés and symbols, the artist reveals a dimension of Mr. Obama rarely evident in his politically charged public image: his humanity.

“The portrait conveys a degree of complexity, a sense of engagement, comfort, and a hint of weariness,” Mr. Bey observes in retrospect. “It breathes with the sense of a real person being described. That’s always what I hope to come away with: not merely the visualization of Barack Obama, but a momentary sense that a full and dimensional person is being described and looking back at you.”

This essay is co-published by the Hillman Photography Initiative at the Carnegie Museum of Art, which investigates the life cycle of images: their creation, transmission, consumption, storage, potential loss and re-emergence. For more on the Initiative and to offer public commentary on this image, click here.

Maurice Berger is a research professor and the chief curator at the Center for Art Design and Visual Culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a consulting curator at the Jewish Museum in New York.

 

Thank you New York Times & Mr. .

 

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Michelle Obama Interviews Richard Sherman For Lets Move.


 

By Jueseppi B.

 

 

Michelle Obama Interviews Richard Sherman

 

by  May 29, 2014

 

First lady Michelle Obama interviews NFL cornerback Richard Sherman in a new video promoting her Let’s Move! campaign.

 

Sherman was visiting the White House with his team, the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks, earlier this week.

 

During the video, Sherman demonstrates healthy cooking, and Obama jumps in as a sideline reporter, spoofing Sherman’s post-game rant that garnered national attention.

 

“Take me through your final plate,” the first lady says in the short clip.

 

“Well let me tell you,” Sherman responds. “We the best chefs in the game, so when you try us with an easy meal like salmon cakes and succotash, that’s the results you’re gonna get.”

 

Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign works to combat childhood obesity and encourages exercise and healthy eating.

 

Watch the full video below!

 

 

Thank you The Grio

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Campaign for Junk Food: First Lady Michelle Obama on Attempts to Roll Back Healthy Reforms.

 

 

The First Lady Speaks at a School NutritionDiscussion

 

Published on May 27, 2014

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks before a discussion with school leaders and experts on issues about school nutrition

 

 

 

From The New York Times:

 

The Opinion Pages | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

 

The Campaign for Junk Food: Michelle Obama on Attempts to Roll Back Healthy Reforms.

 

MAY 28, 2014

 

WHEN we began our Let’s Move! initiative four years ago, we set one simple but ambitious goal: to end the epidemic of childhood obesity in a generation so that kids born today will grow up healthy.

To achieve this goal, we have adhered to one clear standard: what works. The initiatives we undertake are evidence-based, and we rely on the most current science. Research indicated that kids needed less sugar, salt and fat in their diets, so we revamped school lunch menus accordingly. When data showed that the lack of nearby grocery stores negatively affected people’s eating habits, we worked to get more fresh-food retailers into underserved areas. Studies on habit formation in young children drove our efforts to get healthier food and more physical activity into child care centers.

Today, we are seeing glimmers of progress. Tens of millions of kids are getting better nutrition in school; families are thinking more carefully about food they eat, cook and buy; companies are rushing to create healthier products to meet the growing demand; and the obesity rate is finally beginning to fall from its peak among our youngest children.

So we know that when we rely on sound science, we can actually begin to turn the tide on childhood obesity.

But unfortunately, we’re now seeing attempts in Congress to undo so much of what we’ve accomplished on behalf of our children. Take, for example, what’s going on now with the Women, Infants and Children program, known as WIC. This is a federal program designed to provide supplemental nutrition to low-income women and their babies and toddlers. The idea is to fill in the gaps in their diets — to help them buy items like fresh produce that they can’t afford on their own — and give them the nutrition they’re missing.

Right now, the House of Representatives is considering a bill to override science by mandating that white potatoesbe included on the list of foods that women can purchase using WIC dollars. Now, there is nothing wrong with potatoes. The problem is that many women and children already consume enough potatoes and not enough of the nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables they need. That’s why the Institute of Medicine — the nonpartisan, scientific body that advises on the standards for WIC — has said that potatoes should not be part of the WIC program.

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Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated occurrence. We’re seeing the same kind of scenario unfold with our school lunch program. Back in 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which set higher nutritional standards for school lunches, also based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine. Today, 90 percent of schools report that they are meeting these new standards. As a result, kids are now getting more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other foods they need to be healthy.

This is a big win for parents who are working hard to serve their kids balanced meals at home and don’t want their efforts undermined during the day at school. And it’s a big win for all of us since we spend more than $10 billion a year on school lunches and should not be spending those hard-earned taxpayer dollars on junk food for our children.

 

Yet some members of the House of Representatives are now threatening to roll back these new standards and lower the quality of food our kids get in school. They want to make it optional, not mandatory, for schools to serve fruits and vegetables to our kids. They also want to allow more sodium and fewer whole grains than recommended into school lunches. These issues will be considered when the House Appropriations Committee takes up the annual spending bill for the Agriculture Department on Thursday.

 

 

Remember a few years ago when Congress declared that the sauce on a slice of pizza should count as a vegetable in school lunches? You don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that this doesn’t make much sense. Yet we’re seeing the same thing happening again with these new efforts to lower nutrition standards in our schools.

Our children deserve so much better than this. Even with the progress we have made, one in three children in this country is still overweight or obese. One in three is expected to develop diabetes in his or her lifetime. And this isn’t just about our children’s health; it’s about the health of our economy as well. We already spend an estimated $190 billion a year treating obesity-related conditions. Just think about what those numbers will look like in a decade or two if we don’t start solving this problem now.

The bottom line is very simple: As parents, we always put our children’s interests first. We wake up every morning and go to bed every night worrying about their well-being and their futures. And when we make decisions about our kids’ health, we rely on doctors and experts who can give us accurate information based on sound science. Our leaders in Washington should do the same.

 

 

Michelle Obama is the first lady of the United States.

 

 

Thank you The New York Times.

 

 

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The Campaign for Junk Food: First Lady Michelle Obama on Attempts to Roll Back Healthy Reforms.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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The First Lady Speaks at a School Nutrition Discussion

 

Published on May 27, 2014

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks before a discussion with school leaders and experts on issues about school nutrition

 

 

 

Michelle Obama vs. Congress

 

 

 

 

 

From The New York Times:

 

The Opinion Pages | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

 

The Campaign for Junk Food: Michelle Obama on Attempts to Roll Back Healthy Reforms.

 

MAY 28, 2014

 

WHEN we began our Let’s Move! initiative four years ago, we set one simple but ambitious goal: to end the epidemic of childhood obesity in a generation so that kids born today will grow up healthy.

To achieve this goal, we have adhered to one clear standard: what works. The initiatives we undertake are evidence-based, and we rely on the most current science. Research indicated that kids needed less sugar, salt and fat in their diets, so we revamped school lunch menus accordingly. When data showed that the lack of nearby grocery stores negatively affected people’s eating habits, we worked to get more fresh-food retailers into underserved areas. Studies on habit formation in young children drove our efforts to get healthier food and more physical activity into child care centers.

Today, we are seeing glimmers of progress. Tens of millions of kids are getting better nutrition in school; families are thinking more carefully about food they eat, cook and buy; companies are rushing to create healthier products to meet the growing demand; and the obesity rate is finally beginning to fall from its peak among our youngest children.

So we know that when we rely on sound science, we can actually begin to turn the tide on childhood obesity.

But unfortunately, we’re now seeing attempts in Congress to undo so much of what we’ve accomplished on behalf of our children. Take, for example, what’s going on now with the Women, Infants and Children program, known as WIC. This is a federal program designed to provide supplemental nutrition to low-income women and their babies and toddlers. The idea is to fill in the gaps in their diets — to help them buy items like fresh produce that they can’t afford on their own — and give them the nutrition they’re missing.

Right now, the House of Representatives is considering a bill to override science by mandating that white potatoes be included on the list of foods that women can purchase using WIC dollars. Now, there is nothing wrong with potatoes. The problem is that many women and children already consume enough potatoes and not enough of the nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables they need. That’s why the Institute of Medicine — the nonpartisan, scientific body that advises on the standards for WIC — has said that potatoes should not be part of the WIC program.

000000

Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated occurrence. We’re seeing the same kind of scenario unfold with our school lunch program. Back in 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which set higher nutritional standards for school lunches, also based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine. Today, 90 percent of schools report that they are meeting these new standards. As a result, kids are now getting more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other foods they need to be healthy.

This is a big win for parents who are working hard to serve their kids balanced meals at home and don’t want their efforts undermined during the day at school. And it’s a big win for all of us since we spend more than $10 billion a year on school lunches and should not be spending those hard-earned taxpayer dollars on junk food for our children.

 

 

Yet some members of the House of Representatives are now threatening to roll back these new standards and lower the quality of food our kids get in school. They want to make it optional, not mandatory, for schools to serve fruits and vegetables to our kids. They also want to allow more sodium and fewer whole grains than recommended into school lunches. These issues will be considered when the House Appropriations Committee takes up the annual spending bill for the Agriculture Department on Thursday.

 

 

 

Remember a few years ago when Congress declared that the sauce on a slice of pizza should count as a vegetable in school lunches? You don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that this doesn’t make much sense. Yet we’re seeing the same thing happening again with these new efforts to lower nutrition standards in our schools.

Our children deserve so much better than this. Even with the progress we have made, one in three children in this country is still overweight or obese. One in three is expected to develop diabetes in his or her lifetime. And this isn’t just about our children’s health; it’s about the health of our economy as well. We already spend an estimated $190 billion a year treating obesity-related conditions. Just think about what those numbers will look like in a decade or two if we don’t start solving this problem now.

The bottom line is very simple: As parents, we always put our children’s interests first. We wake up every morning and go to bed every night worrying about their well-being and their futures. And when we make decisions about our kids’ health, we rely on doctors and experts who can give us accurate information based on sound science. Our leaders in Washington should do the same.

 

 

Michelle Obama is the first lady of the United States.

 

 

Thank you The New York Times.

 

 

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#BringBackOurGirls


 

By Jueseppi B.

bringback

These are the names of the kidnapped girls of Nigeria.

 

From The New York Times:

 

Nigerian Islamist Leader Threatens to Sell Kidnapped Girls

 

By 

 

DAKAR, Senegal — In a video message apparently made by the leader of the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls nearly three weeks ago, called them slaves and threatened to “sell them in the market, by Allah.”

“Western education should end,” Mr. Shekau said in the 57-minute video, speaking in Hausa and Arabic. “Girls, you should go and get married.” The Islamist leader also warned that he would “give their hands in marriage because they are our slaves. We would marry them out at the age of 9. We would marry them out at the age of 12.”

The message was received by news agencies in Nigeria on Monday and is similar to previous videos purportedly from Boko Haram. It is the first time the group has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings, which have gripped Nigeria, ignited a rareantigovernment protest movement and embarrassed the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, who has so far been unable to rescue any of the teenage girls. They were abducted from their school in a remote corner of northeastern Nigeria on April 14.By some counts 276 remain missing.

 

At a rally in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, protesters pushed for the release of teenage girls abducted from their school in Chibok nearly three weeks ago. Credit Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters

At a rally in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, protesters pushed for the release of teenage girls abducted from their school in Chibok nearly three weeks ago. Credit Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters

 

The kidnappings are the latest assault by Boko Haram, which has committed dozens of massacres of civilians in its five-year insurgency in Nigeria’s north with the aim of destabilizing and ultimately overthrowing the Nigerian government. Earlier this year, for instance, more than 50 teenage boys were slaughtered — some burned alive — at a government school in the north. That attack, like many others, was quickly forgotten in Nigeria and barely noticed outside of it.

But the kidnappings of the girls have attracted rare international attention, with foreign governments weighing in.

Obama administration officials said on Monday that the United States had offered intelligence and information sharing to the Nigerian authorities, although they declined to specify what federal agency or agencies were helping to locate the missing girls. Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, told reporters at a daily briefing that American officials had indications that many of the girls had “likely been moved out of the country to neighboring countries at this point.” She declined to specify which countries.

Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, said that President Obama had been briefed several times on the abductions and that the State Department had been “in regular touch with the Nigerian government about what we might do to help support its efforts to find and free these young women.”

The government’s helplessness so far — the army first claimed to have rescued the girls, then retracted the claim — has shaken Mr. Jonathan’s administration, and the president has spoken of reaching out to other governments, including the United States, for help, a rare admission of incapacity for a Nigerian leader.

In a vivid demonstration of how sensitive the issue has become for the government, two women protesting its response to the kidnappings were arrested Monday after a meeting in Abuja, the capital, with the wife of the president, according to leaders of the protest movement. The country is preparing to host a major economic summit meeting this week, making the unresolved kidnappings all the more embarrassing for officials there.

 

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The leader of Nigeria’s terrorist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, said his group was fighting to reinstate a medieval Islamic caliphate in northern Nigeria.

 

Last week, protesters marched on the country’s National Assembly in Abuja, and it was leaders of those marches who apparently angered Patience Jonathan, the wife of the president.

Mrs. Jonathan had invited mothers of the abducted girls to come to Abuja from Chibok, the remote northeastern town where the girls were seized, according to Hadiza Bala Usman, the organizer of the protests. But the “timeline was too short,” Ms. Usman said — there are no flights, and Chibok is several days’ journey by road.

The mothers from Chibok “delegated the responsibility” of meeting with Mrs. Jonathan to neighbors who were already in Abuja. But when the president’s wife discovered that the women with whom she met were not mothers of the missing girls, she became enraged, according to Ms. Usman and Pogu Bitrus, a Chibok official who knows both women.

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Mrs. Jonathan told the women, “You lied to us by saying you are a mother,” according to Ms. Usman. “Because of that we are detaining you.”

Mr. Bitrus said that Mrs. Jonathan “ordered that they be arrested for impersonation.”

A spokesman for the president, Reuben Abati, could not be reached Monday. A spokesman for Mrs. Jonathan was quoted in news reports as denying that anybody had been arrested.

The message from the Boko Haram leader once again highlighted the extent to which secular, Western-style schools are a principal target of the group, whose name roughly translates as “Western education is forbidden,” in an amalgam of pidgin English, Arabic and Hausa, one of the most commonly spoken languages in Africa. Mr. Shekau emphasized that the girls were taken because they were attending such a school.

“Western education is sin, it is forbidden, women must go and marry,” he said in the video message. Mr. Shekau also tried to justify the abduction of the girls by noting that Boko Haram members remain imprisoned in Nigeria.

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