Gotta love her! First Lady Michelle Obama actually started her White House garden last week along with 25 school children to help. Before leaving on her European trip, the First Lady broke ground on what would become the White Houses’ first garden since the mid 1900′s. But really, who thought that Michelle Obama was really gonna get down in the dirt and start planting seedlings?
Kudos to the First Lady!
The White House garden will include annual and perennial herbs such as mint, garlic, chives, thyme, oregano, anise, basil, cilantro, dill and fennel.
Assorted vegetable also will grace the White House table. Different varieties of lettuce, spinach, onions, black kale, shard, snap peas, shell peas, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, tomatillos and cucumbers were planted. The White House garden functions as a duel purpose. To feed and inform. The White House garden will feed, not only the First Family, but neighboring soup kitchens. Most importantly, the White House garden will promote national awareness of eating good, natural healthy foods that families can grow for pennies. It is economical and heart-smart.
But where are the collard and mustard greens? Where’s the cabbage and corn? Something tells me that there is another more secret garden close by!
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ESTABLISHMENT OF THE WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF HEALTH REFORM
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in the interest of providing all Americans access to affordable and high-quality health care, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. Reforming the health care system is a key goal of my Administration. The health care system suffers from serious and pervasive problems; access to health care is constrained by high and rising costs; and the quality of care is not consistent and must be improved, in order to improve the health of our citizens and our economic security.
Sec. 2. Establishment. (a) There is established a White House Office of Health Reform (Health Reform Office) within the Executive Office of the President that will provide leadership to the executive branch in establishing policies, priorities, and objectives for the Federal Government’s comprehensive effort to improve access to health care, the quality of such care, and the sustainability of the health care system.
(b) The Secretary of Health and Human Services, to the extent permitted by law, shall establish within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) an Office of Health Reform, which shall coordinate closely with the White House Office of Health Reform.
Sec. 3. Functions. The principal functions of the Health Reform Office, to the extent permitted by law, are to:
(a) provide leadership for and to coordinate the development of the Administration’s policy agenda across executive departments and agencies concerning the provision of high-quality, affordable, and accessible health care and to slow the growth of health costs; this shall include coordinating policy development with the Domestic Policy Council, National Economic Council, Council of Economic Advisers, Office of Management and Budget, HHS, Office of Personnel Management, and such other executive departments and agencies as the Director of the Health Reform Office may deem appropriate;
(b) work with executive departments and agencies to ensure that Federal Government policy decisions and programs are consistent with the President’s stated goals with respect to health reform;
(c) integrate the President’s policy agenda concerning health reform across the Federal Government;
(d) coordinate public outreach activities conducted by executive departments and agencies designed to gather input from the public, from demonstration and pilot projects, and from public-private partnerships on the problems and priorities for policy measures designed to meet the President’s goals for improvement of the health care system;
(e) bring to the President’s attention concerns, ideas, and policy options for strengthening, increasing the efficiency, and improving the quality of the health care system;
(f) work with State, local, and community policymakers and public officials to expand coverage, improve quality and efficiency, and slow the growth of health costs;
(g) develop and implement strategic initiatives under the President’s agenda to strengthen the public agencies and private organizations that can improve the performance of the health care system;
(h) work with the Congress and executive departments and agencies to eliminate unnecessary legislative, regulatory, and other bureaucratic barriers that impede effective delivery of efficient and high-quality health care;
(i) monitor implementation of the President’s agenda on health reform; and
(j) help ensure that policymakers across the executive branch work toward the President’s health care agenda.
Sec. 4. Administration. (a) The Health Reform Office may work with established or ad hoc committees, task forces, or interagency groups.
(b) The Health Reform Office shall have a staff headed by the Director of the Health Reform Office (Director). The Health Reform Office shall have such staff and other assistance as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this order.
(c) As requested by the Director, each executive department and agency shall designate a liaison to work with the Health Reform Office on improving access to health care, the quality of health care, and the sustainability of the health care system.
(d) All executive departments and agencies shall cooperate with the Health Reform Office and provide such information, support, and assistance to the Health Reform Office as it may request, to the extent permitted by law.
Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) authority granted by law to a department, agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals. (b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations. (c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
April 8, 2009.
Kicking off his very first visit to the Motherland by making a stop in Cameroon, Pope Benedict XVI said Tuesday to reporters that condoms are not the solution to the AIDS / HIV epidemic that is ravishing the continent.
Pope Benedict XVI said that AIDS “is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems.”
The pope, who according to the teachings of the Catholic Chruch, is a human spokeman or mouth piece for God, told those who gathered to greet him at the Yaounde airport, that “the traditional teaching of the Church is the only sure way of preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS.” How archaic is that particular line of reasoning? In the worldwide scheme of things, not everyone is a Catholic or practice catholicism. So, what about those individuals? Are we all heathens and doomed to die in a fiery Hell because we are not Catholics and do not subscribe to the “traditional teachings of the Catholic Church?”
For arguments sake, lets suggest that everyone became a Catholic and abstained from premarital sex or remained fatihful to our spouses. That would be only one part of the equation. What happens to the twenty-two million people who are living with HIV or AIDS? Do we turn our back on them? Pope Benedict XVI says that AIDS / HIV “cannot be overcome by money” but wouldn’t you agree that it takes money, and lots of it to fund programs that assist the millions suffering from AIDS / HIV in Africa?
What about the 1.8 million children who are orphaned because of losing their parents to AIDS? How about the plight of 12 million African women who are living with AIDS / HIV? Pope Benedict XVI made the claim that “the Catholic Church is at the forefront of the battle against AIDS.” In what is that the case? By offering dead-end solutions?
The Catholic Church needs to revise its’ “traditional teaching” to include the needs of those who aren’t Catholics, or Christians. Visiting the Motherland for a week should enlighten the pope to the numerous religious and tribal belief systems that many Africans hold dear. Not only that, it is important for the pope and the Catholic Church to note that educating Africans about AIDS / HIV is the dominant means to prevent the spread of this disease. Using condoms is a must. But if African women are still living within a culture that makes them less third class citizens with absolutely no say so over their own bodies, how does the “traditional teachings of the Catholic Church” help them?
Pope Benedict XVI is in a position to really help the people of the Motherland. However, from his mouth, we have learned that that help is limited at best. In fact, virtually non-existent. Instead of spouting religious rhetoric that is valueless to the hearers, the pope should offer realistic solutions that can bring the desired results. If he really cares about the people of Africa, this week in the Motherland should provide Pope Benedict XVI eyewitness testimony of how the Catholic Church is ineffectively doing what it can to stop the spread of AIDS / HIV.
Friday GM officials announced that the nations largest automotive maker sustained major third-quarter losses at a sum of $2.5B. Officials say that during the current quarter, GM has used $6.9B, which means that GM “will approach the minimum amount necessary to operate its’ business.”
This desperate news has temporarily halted talks between GM and Chrysler about a possible merger. GM has proposed a plan to stop the bleeding that will affect its’ white and blue collar employees. GM says that it will indefinitely lay-off 3,600 salaried employee positions, which will save the automotive giant $500M. In January, 10 plants will began a slow-down in production.
If you are employed by GM, get that resume updated and start a account with Monster.Com. Don’t wait for the pink slip to find you with your undies down around your ankles. Take it from me.
An indefinitely laid-off Chrysler employee.
Publicists for Natalie Cole, in a statement released late Wednesday, announced that the Grammy-Award winning songstress and author, is battling Hepatitis C.
It is strongly suspected that the legendary diva contracted the disease during her drug usage hey days, publicists for Natalie Cole acknowledged.
Contributed by Lavande’ & Chocolat Amer Staff Writer