Obama: The Time To Embrace Clean Energy Is Now

President Obama meets with BP executives Wednesday for the first time since the company’s deep-water oil well in the Gulf of Mexico blew up eight weeks ago.

A new government estimate says the runaway well is spitting out up to 60,000 barrels of oil every day. That’s two or three times as much as BP has been able to capture each day.

In his first use of the Oval Office to address the nation, Obama promised to clean up the oil-soaked area, restore the Gulf environment and compensate people whose jobs have dried up because of the spill. He also used the Gulf Coast disaster to renew his push for cleaner forms of energy.

Obama likened the oil spill to an ongoing epidemic that the country will be battling for months or years to come. But beyond treating the symptoms of oil-stained beaches and out-of-work fishermen, he also wants the country to come to grips with what he regards as the underlying disease: a longstanding dependence on fossil fuels.

“The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now,” Obama said.

The House of Representatives already has passed sweeping legislation to promote clean energy and curb greenhouse gases. But a similar bill in the Senate — authored by Democrat John Kerry and Independent Joe Lieberman — has been blocked by filibuster threats, and would need support from at least one Republican to have a chance.

So far, that vote is not there. Obama acknowledged that this month in a speech at Carnegie Mellon University.

“The votes may not be there right now, but I intend to find them in the coming months. I will continue to make the case for a clean energy future wherever and whenever I can,” he said.

Environmentalists have been urging the president to make that case more aggressively, saying Americans are eager for ambitious energy and climate legislation — even if it raises the price of a gallon of gas.

Recent polls have supported that notion, including one released this week by the Pew Research Center and one from the League of Conservation Voters that said two out of three voters feel this way.

League President Gene Karpinski said the BP spill should be the “final wake-up call.”

“Band-Aids are not enough,” Karpinski added. “We need to move in an entirely new direction and begin to reduce our dependence on oil. And that’s why Congress needs to pass a comprehensive bill.”

Supporters argue that cleaner alternative sources of energy will flourish in the U.S. only if buyers and sellers of traditional fossil fuels have to pay a price for the greenhouse gases those fuels produce.

Sens. Kerry and Lieberman insist that price need not be prohibitive to be effective. On Tuesday, Lieberman touted a new EPA estimate saying his bill would cost the average family less than $150 a year.

“Is the American household willing to pay less than $1 a day so we don’t have to buy oil from foreign countries, so we can create millions of new jobs, so we can clean up our environment? I think the answer is going to be yes,” Lieberman said.

That may be the answer for Democrats and Independents. But in the League of Conservation Voters’ survey, Republican voters were more likely to oppose an energy and climate bill. And Republican lawmakers decry the proposal as a “job-killing energy tax.”

In his speech Tuesday night, Obama said the nation can’t afford not to change its energy mix. But he left the door open to supporting less ambitious energy legislation — like the bill put forward by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), which promotes efficiency but does not include a carbon tax or limits on greenhouse gases.

“All of these approaches have merit and deserve a fair hearing in the months ahead,” Obama said. “But the one approach I will not accept is inaction. The one answer I will not settle for is the idea that this challenge is somehow too big and too difficult to meet.”

The president noted that Americans’ huge appetite for oil is what pushed companies like BP to drill in ever deeper, riskier waters.

The millions of barrels of oil now fouling the Gulf of Mexico would have powered the U.S. economy for less than four hours.



June 16, 2010. Just personal and important. Leave a comment.

Thank You for the Yellow


My dear Miss Behne thank you for the yellow
For it made me a better kid a day after, just a bit mellow
School year is over; I’ll miss your flash cards, your sweet hello
My dear Miss Behne thank you for the yellow

Remember Your Sweet Ones from Uly Labilles on Vimeo.

June 4, 2010. 1, Just personal and important. Leave a comment.

Roller blade safety and other Basic Facts

Learn the basic rules of roller blade safety and avoid accidents and injury:
Inline skating is a popular sport and great exercise. You can find people of all ages skating wherever you go and outdoor rinks are popping up faster than mini malls these days. Inline skating takes a bit more balance than regular roller skating, which are practically obsolete with the exception of indoor skating rinks. Inline skating can be likened to ice skating, where you are balancing your weight on an edge rather than being supported by two wheels on each side of your foot. It is critical to learn proper safety for inline skating if you want to avoid serious injury and it is important to make sure you have all of the protective equipment you need as well. When you are skating, you can get moving pretty fast, and there is no airbag to stop you when you fall.
The most important piece of safety equipment for skating is by far, the helmet. Make sure you have a good quality helmet that fits your head properly. One that is too large will lop from side to side and just be an annoyance; one too small won’t fit on your head! Helmets come with cushioned padding inserts to allow you to adjust their fit, make yours comfortable for you and be sure the strap are adjusted to hold the helmet snugly on your head. Never skate without a helmet.
Other important safety equipment you should have includes wrist guards, elbow pads and knee pads. The wrists, elbows and knees are the areas of the body that you will land on if you fall and if you are not protected in these areas, you may find yourself with a shattered knee cap or broken wrist. Wear your pads and you won’t have to worry about skinned knees when you are out skating. Besides, do you have room in those fancy Speedos for a first aid kit?

If you are skating after dark or at twilight, be sure to wear reflective clothing and you can use reflective tape on the back of your skates. Skating in the dark is probably not a good idea, however, unless you decide to tape flashlights to your skate’s boots.
Now that you’re all suited up, start rolling. If you are a beginner, don’t skate near other skaters. You’re going to fall; there are no two ways about it. Pick a secluded area like your driveway, a parking lot or deserted area in the park where you won’t be in danger of falling on top of anyone and people skating by can’t distract you and cause you to loose your balance.
When you are skating, you should use the same hand signals used by cyclists to let other skaters, cyclists and cars know when you are going to turn or stop. Don’t ever wear a walkman when skating near traffic as you will not be able to hear car horns or those people who drive by and swear at you!
Done safely, inline skating is a great way to get exercise and have fun. Wear the proper equipment and observe the same safety rules you would use on a bike. If you fall down, get up and if you fall down a lot, you may want to consider a small pillow inserted in your Speedos!

Basic Facts:
ROLLER SKATING: Roller skating is traveling on smooth terrain with roller skates. It is a form of recreation as well as a sport, and can also be a form of transportation. Skates generally come in two basic varieties: inline skates and traditional quad skates, though some have experimented with a single-wheeled “happy skate” or other variations on the basic skate design.
The first recorded use of roller skates was in a London stage performance in 1743. The inventor of this skate is lost to history. The first recorded skate inventor was Jean-Joseph Merlin, who demonstrated a primitive inline skate with metal wheels in 1760. M. Petitbled patented the first patented roller skate design in France, in 1819. These early skates were similar to today’s inline skates, but they were not very maneuverable; it was very difficult with these skates to do anything but move in a straight line and perhaps make wide sweeping turns. During the rest of the 19th century, inventors continued to work on improving skate design.
The four-wheeled turning roller skate, or quad skate, with four wheels set in two side-by-side pairs, was first designed in 1863 in New York City by James Leonard Plimpton in an attempt to improve upon previous designs. The skate contained a pivoting action using a rubber cushion, and this allowed the skater to skate a curve just by leaning to one side. It was a huge success, so much so that the first public skating rink was opened in 1866 in Newport, Rhode Island with the support of Plimpton. The design of the quad skate allowed easier turns and maneuverability, and the quad skate came to dominate the industry for more than a century.
Arguably, the most important advance in the realistic use of roller skates as a pleasurable pastime took place in Birmingham, England in 1876 when William Bown patented a design for the wheels of roller skates. Bown’s design embodied his effort to keep the two bearing surfaces of an axle, fixed and moving, apart. Bown worked closely with Joseph Henry Hughes, who drew up the patent for a ball or roller bearing race for bicycle and carriage wheels in 1877. Hughes’ patent included all the elements of an adjustable system. These two men are thus responsible for modern day roller skate and skateboard wheels, as well as the ball bearing race inclusion in velocipedes—later to become motorbikes and automobiles.
Another improvement came in 1876, when the toe stop was first patented. This provided skaters with the ability to stop promptly upon tipping the skate onto the toe. Toe stops are still used today on most quad skates and on some types of inline skates.
Roller skates were being mass-produced in America as early as the 1880s, the sport’s first of several boom periods. Micajah C. Henley of Richmond, Indiana produced thousands of skates every week during peak sales. Henley skates were the first skate with adjustable tension via a screw, the ancestor of the kingbolt mechanism on modern quad skates.
In 1884 Levant M. Richardson received a patent for the use of steel ball bearings in skate wheels so as to reduce friction. This also allowed skaters to increase speed with minimum effort. In 1898, Richardson started the Richardson Ball Bearing and Skate Company, which provided skates to most professional skate racers of the time, including Harley Davidson (no relation to the Harley-Davidson motorcycle brand).
The design of the quad skate has remained essentially unchanged since then, and in fact remained as the dominant roller skate design until nearly the end of the 20th century.
In 1979 Scott Olson and Brennan Olson of Minneapolis, Minnesota came across a pair of inline skates created in the 1960s by the Chicago Roller Skate Company and, seeing the potential for off-ice hockey training, set about redesigning the skates using modern materials and attaching ice hockey boots. A few years later Scott Olson began heavily promoting the skates and launched the company Rollerblade, Inc.. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Rollerblade-branded skates became so successful that they inspired many other companies to create similar inline skates, and the inline design became more popular than the traditional quads. The Rollerblade skates became synonymous in the minds of many with “inline skates” and skating, so much so that many people came to call any form of skating “Rollerblading,” thus becoming a genericized trademark.
For much of the 1980s and into the 1990s, inline skate models typically sold for general public use employed a hard plastic boot, similar to ski boots. In or about 1995, “soft boot” designs were introduced to the market, primarily by the sporting goods firm K2 Inc., and promoted for use as fitness skates. Other companies quickly followed, and by the early 2000s the use of hard shell skates became primarily limited to the aggressive skating discipline.
The single-wheel “quintessence skate” was made in 1988 by Miyshael F. Gailson of Caples Lake Resort, California, for the purpose of cross-country ski skating and telemark skiing training. Other skate designs have been experimented with over the years, including two wheeled (heel and toe) inline skates, but the vast majority of skates on the market today are either quad or standard inline design.

Inline skates usually have 4 or 5 wheels, arranged in a single line. Most commonly, if they have a stop, it is a heel stop. Inline skating is often done on the same surfaces as skateboarding: on the road, sidewalk, various street furnishings like fences and steps, and on special tracks and areas. Some inline skaters compete in artistic skating events, though quads are still more typical for that use. Inline skates for artistic use tend to be designed more as an analog of the ice skate or artistic quad skate design, with a toe stop and rockered wheels.
The growth of inline skating in the United States was explosive in the early 1990s, but since 1996 sales have dropped as the market became saturated, many retailers failed to offer lessons on how to use the heel brake effectively and the sport’s trendy status began to fade. This is mostly due to the common accessories, most notably the fanny pack and headband. Drew Lane, from the Drew and Mike Show in Detroit, is most responsible for this trend. Among children, inline skates were supplanted in popularity by new designs of kick scooters; meanwhile for adolescents there was resurgence in the popularity of skateboarding. Today inline skaters can be found sharing public and private skate parks with skateboarders in cities around the world.
Because inline skating is associated with a variety of potential injuries (particular wrist and other orthopedic fractures), proper safety equipment is strongly recommended, including wrist guards, knee, elbow pads, a helmet. New skaters should consider getting rollerblading lessons from certified instructors.
Aggressive Skating
In addition to speed, fitness, artistic, or recreational skating, some skaters prefer aggressive skating. Aggressive skating is also often referred to by participants as rollerblading, rolling or freestyle rolling and includes a variety of grinds, airs, slides and other advanced skating maneuvers. It also includes “vert”, “park” and “street skating” which refer to tricks performed on almost any obstacle. Street skating specifically refers to tricks performed on non-allocated obstacles (”i.e.” not skate parks). There are three major types of aggressive inline skates: hard boots, soft boots, and skeletal skates (e.g. Xsjado, pronounced “shadow”). Hard boots are very rigid and often heavy compared to speed skates and recreational skates. Soft boots offer more flexibility than hard boots, but are normally just as heavy. Xsjado skates were first released in 2004 and were designed by Shane Coburn (the company was recently acquired by Salomon).
Aggressive inline has been on a slight decline overall for some time. However, during 2000-2003 there was a major increase in hope for the sport when street skating became increasingly popular. At this time professional skaters including Brian Shima, Chris Haffey, Alex Broskow, Aaron Feinberg, and Carlos Pianowski among others were pushing unseen boundaries in performing seemingly impossible and dangerous stunts in mostly street settings. In addition, the IMYTA (I Match Your Trick Association) provided a venue for skaters to demonstrate these tricks. The IMYTA held contests at a street location and the skaters would have to match each trick in the first round of skating or be eliminated. The progression continued with the pool of skaters dwindling and more dangerous and difficult tricks would then be performed and a winner declared. What competitions such as the IMYTA did do however was to encourage skaters from many different countries to set up their own local real street competitions.
Free skating
A skating category that lies somewhere between aggressive and recreational skating, free skating, also known as urban skating or free riding, includes many tricks such as jumps and slides, but not other tricks such as grinds. The emphasis of free skating is getting from A-to-B by the fastest possible route, by skating quickly through city streets and negotiating all obstacles. The boots on skates suitable for free skating tend to be more rigid for better leg support, like the aggressive skate, whilst the wheels tend to be large, like those found on recreational skates, and the frames short, like those found on hockey skates. Popular brands of freeskate include Salomon’s FSK series, the RollerBlade Twister and the MX Seba.
Slalom Skating
There are two types of slalom skating: Free Style Slalom and Speed Slalom. Both of which are controlled by the IFSA. They involve navigating a series of cones placed on the ground.

Among skaters not committed to a particular discipline, a popular social activity is the ”group skate” or street skate, in which large groups of skaters regularly meet to skate together, usually on city streets. Although such touring existed among quad roller skate clubs in the 1970s and 1980s, it made the jump to inline skates in 1990 with groups in large cities throughout the United States. In some cases, hundreds of skaters would regularly participate, resembling a rolling party. In the late 1990s, the group skate phenomenon spread to Europe and East Asia. The weekly Friday night skate in Paris, France (called Pari Roller) is believed to be one of the largest repeating group skates in the world. At times, it has had as many as 35,000 skaters participating on a single night. The Sunday Skate Night in Berlin also attracts over 10,000 skaters during the summer, and Munich, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, London, New York and Tokyo host other popular events. For some group skates in both North America and Europe, Halloween is the most popular event of the year. Charity skates in Paris have attracted 50,000 participants (the yearly Paris-Versailles skate).
Skating federations
In the United States, the controlling organization is USA Roller Sports, headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska, also home of the National Roller Skating Museum. Nationals are held each summer with skaters required to qualify through regional competitions.
Other groups include:
• International Freestyle Skating Association (IFSA)
• Federation Internationale de Roller-Skating, the international organization for competitive roller sports
• British Federation of Roller Skating
• Canadian Skating Association
• Aggressive Skaters Association (ASA), not apparently connected with the Olympic-movement organizations such as FIRS, and apparently a subsidiary of ASA Events, an “action sports event and television production company”
• Real Street Skating Association (RSSA) – Dedicated to the advancement of all skaters
• Roller Skating Association International which is the only trade association for owner operators of roller skating centers. Located in Indianapolis, IN we are the Association dedicated to supporting our members and the sport of roller skating. For more information, please visit our web site at http://www.rollerskating.org. RSAI will be celebrating 75 years in 2012. For more information email RSAI at: rsa@rollerskating.com

May 19, 2010. Just personal and important. 1 comment.

Savings the Lives of Mothers Worldwide

Mother’s Day is a celebration of life and reflects the importance of women to their families, communities and countries. Yet every hour, 40 pregnant women and new mothers around the world die–and seven of those 40 perish not because of a lack of emergency obstetrical care, but because of HIV/AIDS.

While a recent report in the Lancet provides news that we can celebrate–maternal mortality worldwide has dropped from 525,000 to 340,000 deaths per year between 1980 and 2008– the report also underscores that were it not for the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in pregnant women around the world, the maternal death rate would be almost 20 percent lower, to 280,000 deaths annually. That means that the lives of 60,000 pregnant women and new mothers are lost every year because of HIV/AIDS, particularly in eastern and southern Africa.

Globally, HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age. Sub-Saharan Africa now accounts for over half of all maternal deaths in the world, up from 23 percent in 1980, in large part because of the rapid rise in maternal mortality beginning in the early 1990s, linked to increasing HIV infection rates in women. And in spite of global decreases, all six countries in southern Sub-Saharan Africa have experienced increases in maternal mortality, defined as death during pregnancy or within 42 days after the end of pregnancy, over the past three decades.

Reasons for the increase in maternal deaths linked to HIV/AIDS require further study, but research suggests that it may be attributable to higher rates of all-cause mortality due to this disease, an elevated rate of pregnancy-related complications in HIV-positive women (such as hemorrhage, opportunistic infections, and sepsis), the pervasive stigma that discourages women from seeking care and impedes access to services, and a shortage of safe blood for transfusions. Another contributing factor in these countries may be the limited availability of skilled birth attendants because of the burden of HIV on the health system and the AIDS-related deaths of these health care workers.

While there has been great success in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, intensified efforts are needed to protect the health of HIV-positive mothers as well. Prenatal care and delivery is an entry point for women into the health care system and an opportunity to treat women who are infected with HIV. Short-course antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy and labor has proven very effective in reducing the risk of HIV spread from mother to child in both the industrialized world and in resource-poor settings. Furthermore, in the developing world, HIV-positive mothers are not often prescribed further treatment for HIV to prevent the development of AIDS. This start-and-stop therapy is not only a missed opportunity for intervention but also can lead to drug resistance, making future efforts to treat this disease in women even more difficult.

HIV/AIDS continues to cause the deaths of more than 1 million women annually, including pregnant women and those in the postpartum period. That is why we must intensify efforts to save the lives of pregnant women and new mothers, employing a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach. This strategy must involve continuing treatment of women with antiretroviral medications after they give birth, preventing HIV infection in all women and their partners before pregnancy, testing and early treatment of HIV, reducing stigma, as well as improving the economic status, educational opportunities and the empowerment of women worldwide.

The enormity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in many countries means that addressing AIDS is central to advancing other health and development goals, including reducing maternal mortality. Therefore, addressing and funding these issues independently can lead to a fragmentation of efforts and missed opportunities. Reducing maternal mortality is a cornerstone of the Administration’s Global Health Initiative (GHI), and should be coordinated with GHI’s programming to eradicate AIDS including strengthening support of the President’s Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) which has produced lifesaving benefits. Insufficient funding for HIV/AIDS initiatives will shortchange those who are most vulnerable, particularly women, who now represent half of all people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. Integration of initiatives will improve results, efficiency and the effectiveness of efforts.

The saved lives of nearly 200,000 new mothers every year represent a triumph of the safe motherhood movement, but those 60,000 deaths from HIV/AIDS annually represent a tragic, preventable loss that must be redressed. So starting this Mother’s Day, let’s work together to deliver a world to women where twinning a focus on maternal mortality and AIDS results in a significant decline in both of these major public health problems.

Rear Admiral Susan Blumenthal, M.D. (ret.) is Senior Policy and Medical Advisor at amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. She also serves as a Clinical Professor at Georgetown and Tufts University Schools of Medicine, and Chair of the Global Health Program at the Meridian International Center. She served for more than 20 years in health leadership positions in the Federal government, including as Assistant Surgeon General of the United States, the first Deputy Assistant Secretary of Women’s Health, as a White House Advisor on Health, and as Chief of the Behavioral Medicine and Basic Prevention Research Branch at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Blumenthal has received numerous awards including honorary doctorates and has been decorated with the highest medals of the US Public Health Service for her pioneering leadership and significant contributions to advancing health in the United States and worldwide. She is the recipient of the 2009 Health Leader of the Year Award from the Commissioned Officers Association.

By: Susan Blumenthal, M.D.

Co-authored by Melissa Shive, a medical student at the University of California, San Francisco. She served as a Research Assistant at amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research in Washington DC and graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania.

Courtesy of: The Huffington Post

May 10, 2010. Just personal and important. Leave a comment.

ON MOTHER’S DAY OR ANY DAY “Cinnamon Buns in the Morning”

Everyone thinks that their mother is the best cook in the world. My mother, Lucy, had to be an excellent cook because she is the mother of ten children. She called herself Lucia Child and the name was well deserved. In spite of her Irish background, and because she was married to my Italian father, Pete, she could whip up delicious food of all types. (It is fortunate that my 87 year old mother gets her news from the print media since I just took a swipe at the culinary skills of the Irish, a crime punishable with eternal pursuit by the banshees.)

It does seem that everyone cherishes some special dish that their mother made for them. For some people it may be the only really evocative memory that they have from childhood. Whether it’s pork chops pan fried with herbs in a skillet, or stuffed grape leaves, or the best strawberry rhubarb pie on Cape Cod, these are the everyday things that create the texture of childhood and our memories are laced with these tastes and smells and even the sounds of food preparation.

In my big family, each of us has our favorites. I think P.J. might lean toward Mom’s angel food cake, and her fried chicken and biscuits. We all consumed vast quantities of her Million Dollar fudge. I loved my mother’s tetrazzini. All of these recipes can be found on DishandDine. In fact, one of the reasons I created the website was to save the recipes that make up a part of my family’s past in a very tangible, visceral way that I can’t explain but that I know is important and that I don’t want to lose. I felt this would be true for other families, too. And it’s great to know where to look for them!

Recently, our mother was very sick. While she was in the hospital her own mother, who died when I was three, was very present to my mother. Of course, that made a lot of sense. We all want our mother there with us when things are not going well and we are hurting. As Mom got better, her own mother left her side, so to speak.

We feel very lucky to have our mother with us this Mother’s Day, and I’d like to share one of her very best dishes and a favorite of all ten of us: her Cinnamon Buns. Every Sunday morning, Mommy would make these cinnamon buns, and the smell of them baking and the aroma of the cinnamon and the butter and the sugar bubbling in the oven filled the whole house. It brought all six of my brothers and four sisters out of bed, regardless of the ungodly hour the eldest might have returned home. You just followed the scent down the steps in a transom, as an old friend called it, because you really had to get one of the first buns hot out of the oven. So what if you burned the top of your mouth, it was SO worth it to have that caramel melt in your mouth and have that hot buttery, cinnamon roll slide down your throat. Now, that’s heavenly. Proust had no idea what sensory memories a cinnamon bun can evoke.

My youngest brother, Cory, still makes these cinnamon buns every Sunday at his home down at the Jersey Shore. And they are SO easy to make. You buy bread dough at the market, cover it with butter and cinnamon and sugar, and put brown sugar in the pan. As it cooks, the smells that waft through the house are indescribably delicious–and you will want to repeat them often. Surprise your Mom with this treat for Mother’s Day breakfast or any day, for that matter! And make it for yourself and your significant other and you kids, too. We all need a cinnamon bun in our life sometime! Happy Mother’s Day to all!



1 ball bread dough or pizza dough from the market

½ cup light brown sugar

¼ cup white sugar

¼ cup nuts (optional)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Karo or maple syrup

1 stick butter softened


Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an angel food cake pan (bundt pan) or round Pyrex casserole dish. Grease pan well, coat bottom of pan with ½ cup light brown sugar. Set the pan aside.

Get 1 ball of bread dough or pizza dough from the market. Dust the board with flour. Stretch dough out a little. Rub softened butter over top of dough.

Mix together in small bowl ¼ cup white sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle mixture over dough evenly. Add chopped nuts if you would like to. Gently roll the dough like a jellyroll. Cut roll into 1 ½ inch slices.

Put the slices into greased pan right next to each other. Cover with a towel. Let buns rise for at least 10 minutes. Pour Karo or maple syrup over top of buns. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Then turn over carefully onto a serving plate, and they’re done!!

By: Cheryl Carlesimo

Courtesy of: The Huffington Post

This recipe and many other family favorites are available on DishandDine.com. Stop by and become part of this food community! Your kids will love to know where to find your best recipes!

DishandDine – It’s All About Food




Follow Cheryl Carlesimo on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Cheryl Carlesimo

May 8, 2010. Just personal and important. Leave a comment.

“For Mother’s Day, Hope for Work-Life Balance and Workplace Flexibility”

As we approach Mother’s Day, the biggest gift that many moms are looking for is a gift of time and balance. There is a mismatch between the structure of American work and the needs of most families. Fortunately, there may be increasing hope for parents and others struggling with work life balance. Poll after poll shows the desire for more workplace flexibility for American workers and families.

The landscape might finally be turning towards constructive action in this space. On March 31, President Obama hosted the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility. The President and the First Lady talked about their work-life balance challenges in a way that could resonate with the 85% of Americans who report that they struggle with work-life balance. More and more companies are turning to workplace flexibility policies to recruit and retain workers. Consequently, last spring, the Society for Human Resource Management announced a work-life balance policy platform, which highlighted workplace flexibility, and included recommendations to help businesses provide extended time off. At the White House Forum, Office of Personnel Management Chief John Berry announced plans to expand telework and efforts to make the federal government a more flexible employer. On April 22, the House Worker Protection Subcommittee held a hearing on the Work Life Balance Award Act of 2010, which would create and recognize incentives for businesses to support work-life balance, and has real potential for bipartisan support.

Moreover, the development in Australia of new “right to request” legislation provides a possible model for the U.S. Employers who have told me over and over that if employees simply ask for flexibility and time off, they would grant the requests in most cases. Great Britain enacted a law in 2004 to give employees the right to “request” a flexible schedule. However, “right to request” legislation has gone nowhere in the U.S., in no small part because most proposals contain enforcement mechanisms that are unacceptable to business. The Australian model allows an employer to deny the request for legitimate business reasons and there is no review of the decision. With the enforcement provisions removed, the Australian model, or some version of it, provides a starting point for a model bipartisan conversation about increasing such workplace flexibility. Conversations between employers and employees about flexibility are going on in the private sector each day and efforts to enhance them, such as Australia’s model, are significant.

Finally, the economic downturn has potential to highlight bipartisan work-life balance policies. An April 5 paper, co-authored by Kevin Hassett of the conservative American Enterprise Institute and Dean Baker of the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research, argues that the best way for America to reduce its near-double digit unemployment rate is to promote work-sharing. The idea is that rather than laying off workers, employers would be encouraged by federal policy to reduce the hours of workers. So more workers would stay attached to work, but work fewer hours. Rather than paying unemployment insurance to workers who have been laid off and have no workforce attachment, those same funds would help make up the salaries of the workers who have reduced hours. Work-sharing is an important work-life balance concept that allows people to work reduced hours and spend more time with family. Interesting, the depression era Fair Labor Standards Act and its 40 hour work week became law as a kind of work sharing concept to reduce unemployment. The economic crisis is allowing leaders on both sides of the aisle to come together to argue for the expansion of flexibility policies.

The result of the White House Forum is new momentum on workplace flexibility. For the first time in many years, the environment is beginning to look more promising for policies that help mothers, and all Americans, find more work-life balance.

By: David Gray

Courtesy of: The Huffington Post

May 8, 2010. Just personal and important. Leave a comment.

Mother’s Day: A Countdown to Make Mother’s Day Every Day

The Huffington Post’s Living section joins the Mothers Day Every Day, a joint campaign of the White Ribbon Alliance and CARE, in a daily countdown to Mothers Day with special voices working to help save the lives of mothers and newborns around the world. Mothers Day Every Day is advocating for more progress and investments toward safe pregnancy and healthy babies because when women survive childbirth, they give birth to healthier families, communities, and nations.

Shija Kangwe lives in Gabajiga village in Tanzania. Shija was pregnant with her eighth child when she started bleeding. She walked to the village health dispensary, about five minutes by foot, with her sister. The nurse told her she needed to go to Koromijie clinic for better care. Community transport took her to the main paved road, where her sister flagged down a car. The car took them past the clinic to the closest hospital, called Sumve, but by the time she arrived, it was too late and she miscarried.

Shija’s story is unfortunately a familiar one. Delays in receiving proper medical attention result in tragic consequences for far too many women.

New data by the Lancet, a medical journal, show increases in the numbers of women surviving childbirth is cause for celebration. The good news is that even in the most challenging settings, women’s lives are being saved. Yet with more than an estimated 340,000 women still dying each year from pregnancy and childbirth, we cannot become complacent.

We know what to do to save women’s lives. Countries with dramatic decreases in maternal deaths are those where more girls are educated and more women access high quality health care, including family planning, prenatal care and skilled care during and after birth. Yet, of the 181 countries surveyed, only 23 are on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal to reduce maternal mortality by 75 percent by 2015.

Around the world, everyday heroes are taking action to prevent maternal and newborn deaths. Here are just two Stories of Mothers Saved from the hundreds gathered by the White Ribbon Alliance from its members in 30 countries.

• Chandrakali Kurmi, a community health volunteer in Nepal, prepared Najini and her husband for a home birth and if necessary, a trip to the hospital. After giving birth, Chandrakali gave Kurmi misoprostol medication to prevent bleeding. When the bleeding would not stop, Najini and her husband rushed to the hospital where doctors performed an operation that saved her life.

• Madjiguene Ciss, a community health worker in Senegal, was worried when Maimouna Faye, an older woman with a history of multiple pregnancies, experienced severe vomiting, weakness and dizziness early in her pregnancy. Madjiguene was there every step of the way, providing emotional and logistical support, as she referred Maimouna to the health center, hospital and a Pregnant Women’s Solidarity Circle, all integral to Maimouna’s healthy pregnancy and safe childbirth.

By working in partnership with others, organizations like CARE are transforming health systems to increase women’s access to skilled care and life saving medicines. Here are just a few examples of how CARE is putting this into practice in the over 70 countries where they work.

• In India, CARE advanced a 10-year program in nine states – one of the largest NGO public health programs in the world. The goal was to strengthen the quality and coverage of maternal and child health services and to engage communities in improved maternal and child survival in more than 90,000 villages. Recent evaluations show newborn deaths decreased from 9 percent to 5 percent and deliveries with a skilled birth attendant rose from 37 percent to 84 percent in many communities. Use of family planning services also rose from 7 percent to 35 percent.

• After a CARE project reduced maternal deaths by 50 percent in a remote highland region of Peru, the Peruvian Ministry of Health used the project to establish new national guidelines and training for obstetric emergencies. Prior to the program, the region had had one of the worst maternal death rates in Peru. Afterwards, the number of women who sought treatment for obstetric complications jumped from 30 to 75 percent.

We know that skilled health care during pregnancy and at delivery reverse maternal death rates. We have the tools to keep these numbers going down. All we need are financial resources and the political will to be successful. This Mother’s Day, join the bi-partisan coalition appealing to the Obama Administration and Congress to increase foreign assistance for maternal, newborn and child health programs. Together we can put an end to stories like Shija’s. Do your part by visiting http://www.mothersdayeveryday.org and pledging your support. We must not stop because giving life should be a joyous – and safe – experience for all women.

Theresa Shaver and Helene Gayle are the Co-Founders of Mothers Day Every Day.

Check out the rest of our Countdown to Mothers Day series:








By: Theresa Shaver

May 8, 2010. Just personal and important. Leave a comment.

Mother’s Day New Rule According to Bill Maher

“New Rule: This Mother’s Day, Americans Must Extend a Special Thanks to Their Nannies”

This Mother’s Day, all Americans must pause and extend a special thanks to the women who maintain our homes, who take care of our kids, and who still make time for sex with Dad. I’m talking, of course, about our nannies. Lost in this whole immigration debate is why Americans want to be so harsh on the people who, in so many and varied ways, enable them to sit on their fat asses. Nannies, valet parkers, gardeners, all the people who do the things we’re a little too busy or important to do. There are plenty of people to be mad at our there — the jerks at Goldman Sachs, the idiots at BP, the guy who charged you fifty bucks for these tickets — why set our crosshairs on the humble, servile people?

I’ll tell you why. Because we’re bullies. Instead of confronting real threats, like the debt or the environment or Utah, we pick out the poorest, most defenseless kid on the block — illegal immigrants — and say, “What are you looking at?” But I’ll tell you something, you anti-immigrant hoopies — as usual you’re mad at the wrong people. It was corporate America that busted your unions and didn’t keep your pay up to the cost of living, causing your wife to have to go to work and Esmeralda to have to come in to watch the kids. Your problem is low wages, not low riders. A middle class life can now only be maintained with the presence of an underpaid underclass. In the 1940s, fewer than one in five moms worked outside the home. Ironically, mostly in bomber factories, to beat Nazi Germany, a place, like Arizona, where you always had to show your papers. I kid, that’s an unfair comparison. The Germans knew how to dress.

All this anger that we see aimed at the Mexican underclass might be more understandable if illegals came here with a bad attitude and sent the crime rate soaring — but they don’t. The Justice Department says violent crime in Arizona is at its lowest point since 1971. Property crime is at its lowest since 1966. There is no problem. There’s only dicks and the politicians who pander to them.

I know this is anecdotal, but I’ve hired several immigrant housekeepers — legal immigrants, I might add, in case anyone at the White House is considering me for a Cabinet position — and they’ve all done great work. Especially on my monologue. While the one American-born Caucasian guy I hired to do some handyman work stole my tools. You know who you are, Stephen Baldwin.

And when I drive home every day and see maids trudging up a steep hill to the mansions where they work, and I offer them a ride, I’m astounded: they never refuse, because they’re so exhausted that they’ll accept a ride from a mysterious gringo blasting rap music, even though that’s the beginning of every slasher movie ever. You know, neighbors, you’re trusting these women to clean your homes, feed your pets, and give your kids their daily dose of Ritalin — the least you can do is not make them walk up the hill.

Some time in the distant future, brown people are probably going to — and I say this without judgment — breed their way to power in both Europe and America. Arab populations are growing in countries like France and Holland, and I think we all see where this Mexican thing is going in America. That’s right, because they fuck more, the darker skinned people are going to rule the world, and white people, for their own self-preservation, should get a start on being nice to them now! Nice! Just be nice, to the poor and desperate people who change our Depends and cook our food, hopefully not in that order.

By: Bill Maher
Extracted from: The Huffington Post

May 8, 2010. Just personal and important. Leave a comment.

StoryCorps Celebrates Moms, This Time In Print

Mothers are venerated, praised, remembered and celebrated on this weekend every year — the least we can do for those who give us life, care for us, and love us like no one else.

Dave Isay, who founded the StoryCorps project that’s heard on NPR, has been recording stories about mothers — by children, spouses, siblings, friends and mothers alike. He’s collected some of them into a book called Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from Storycorps.

by NPR Staff

I found the following story on my NPR iPhone App:

Copyright 2010 National Public Radio

May 8, 2010. Just personal and important. Leave a comment.