Happy Lunar New Year 2016

Lion dance performers pose with cardboard cutouts of President Obama and the First Lady at the Multicultural Festival in Canberra.http://canberra.usembassy.gov/events20100206.html
Lion dance performers pose with cardboard cutouts of President Obama and the First Lady at the Multicultural Festival in Canberra.

Asian Lunar New Year  refers to the beginning of the year in several calendars, it is based on a lunar calendar and is celebrated by the Chinese, Korean, Mongolian, Tibetan and Vietnamese cultures.  The lunar new year of the Snake 蛇 is celebrated on February 8, 2016.

.

Xīnnián hǎo……..Kung Hei Fat Choy…….Saehae bog manh-i bad-euseyo……..Sheen Jileen Min Hurgee……..Losar La Tashi Delek…….Chúc mừng năm mới

WHIAAPI_Logohttp://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/aapi
.

” Michelle and I want to send our best wishes to everyone celebrating the Lunar New Year, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Growing up in Hawaii, I remember all the excitement surrounding the Lunar New Year – from the parades and the fireworks to the smaller gatherings with family and friends.  It has always been a time for celebration and hope.”

President Barack Obama

#LunarNewYear

Obama_Biden_thumbnail

DNC 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidates’ Debate – N.H.


Proud to be a Democrat


The Democratic National Party
For more than 200 years, our party has led the fight for civil rights, health care, Social Security, workers’ rights, and women’s rights.

We are the party of Barack Obama, John F. Kennedy, FDR, and the countless everyday Americans who work each day to build a more perfect union.

. ..

2016 Presidential Democratic Candidates - Feb 2016

2016 Democratic Presidential Candidates’ Debate

Democratic National Committee announced that six debates are scheduled — at a pace of roughly one per month , this will give voters ample opportunities to hear the 2016 Democratic Presidential candidates discuss their visions for our country’s future.

Debates provide a opportunity for our candidates to engage in a rigorous discussion, not only with each other, but also to show the American people where Democrats stand. The Democratic National Committee has scheduled six debates that will highlight the stark differences between Democrats and Republicans, and help ensure that whoever caucus goers and voters choose as the Democratic nominee will become the 45th President of the United States.

 

What?

Our Democratic candidates are committed to fighting for middle-class families and expanding opportunities to pursue the American Dream, while Republicans continue to push for policies that are out of date and out of touch.

Who?

Hillary Clinton
Bernie Sanders

When?

February 4, 2016
9 PM ET
University of New HampshireNew Hampshire
Hosted by MSNBC/NH Union Leader moderated by “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow

Why?

The choice the American people will face in next November’s election couldn’t be more important. Voters across the country are going to decide between two very different plans for our country — an economy built to last that will strengthen and sustain our middle class, or the failed trickle-down economics of the past. These debates will highlight the Democratic Party’s policies, which will continue to strengthen the middle class, and we hope Americans across the political spectrum will tune in.

Since 1848, the Democratic National Committee has been the home of the Democratic Party, the oldest continuing party in the United States.

Today we are millions of supporters strong, fighting for progress and helping elect Democrats across the country to state government, Congress, and the White House.

There are several core beliefs that tie our party together: Democrats believe that we’re greater together than we are on our own—that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules. Our party, led by President Obama, is focused on building an economy that lifts up all Americans, not just those at the top.

That’s why Democrats are working to make progress on issues like job creation, equal pay, education, health care, and clean energy.

For more: http://www.democrats.org/Post/democratic-national-committee-announces-six-primary-debates

.

Democratic Party
Democratic Party History
Democratic Party Leaders
Democratic Party Organization
Democratic State Parties
DNC Facebook
DNC Twitter
DNC Pinerest
DNC Youtube.

 

Hillary Clinton on the Issues

 (source: hillaryclinton.com)

Businesses

  • Launch a national effort to cut the red tape holding small businesses back.
  • Provide targeted tax relief for small businesses and simplify tax filing.
  • Give small businesses—in particular, minority and women-owned businesses—more access to the financing and new markets they need to grow.
  • Provide a tax credit for businesses that create high-quality apprenticeships that lead to jobs.

Civil Rights

  • It’s not enough to condemn campus sexual assault. We need to stop campus sexual assault.
  • Restore the crucial provisions of the Voting Rights Act.
  • Implement universal, automatic voter registration for eligible 18-year-olds.
  • Set a new national standard allowing early voting to begin 20 days or more before an election.

Climate Change

  • Create good-paying jobs by making the United States the clean energy superpower of the 21st century.
  • Set national goals to have 500 million solar panels installed; generate enough renewable energy to power every home in America; cut energy waste in homes, schools, and hospitals by a third; and reduce American oil consumption by a third.
  • Lead the world in the fight against climate change by bringing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below what they were in 2005 within the next decade—and keep going.

Criminal Justice Reform

  • End the era of mass incarceration, reform mandatory minimum sentences, and end private prisons.
  • Encourage the use of smart strategies—like police body cameras—and end racial profiling to rebuild trust between law enforcement and communities.
  • Help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully re-enter society.

Defense

Disability Rights

  • Realize the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Improve access to meaningful and gainful employment for people with disabilities.
  • Provide tax relief to help the millions of families caring for aging relatives or family members with chronic illnesses or disabilities.

Drug Addiction

  • Empower communities to implement preventive programming for adolescents about drug use and addiction.
  • Ensuring that everyone who needs access to continuing support and treatment.
  • All first responders have access to naloxone, which can prevent opioid overdoses from becoming fatal
  • Require licensed prescribers to meet requirements for a minimum amount of training, and consult a prescription drug monitoring program before writing a prescription for controlled medications.

Economy

  • Give working families a raise, and tax relief that helps them manage rising costs.
  • Create good-paying jobs and get pay rising by investing in infrastructure, clean energy, and scientific and medical research to strengthen our economy and growth.
  • Boost federal investment by $275 billion over the next five years.
  • Create a $25 billion infrastructure bank to support critical infrastructure improvements.
  • Harness public and private capital to fix and build new roads and bridges, expand public transportation, give every American access to broadband internet, and more.

Education

  • Ensure no student has to borrow to pay for tuition, books, or fees to attend a four-year public college in their state.
  • Enable Americans with existing student loan debt to refinance at current rates.
  • Hold colleges and universities accountable for controlling costs and making tuition affordable.
  • Invest in early childhood programs like Early Head Start.
  • Ensure that every 4-year-old in America has access to high-quality preschool in the next 10 years.
  • Provide child care and scholarships to meet the needs of student parents.

Election Reform

  • Overturn Citizens United.
  • End secret, unaccountable money in politics.
  • Establish a small-donor matching system to amplify the voices of everyday Americans.

Energy and Environment

  • Set national goals to have 500 million solar panels installed; generate enough renewable energy to power every home in America; cut energy waste in homes, schools, and hospitals by a third; and reduce American oil consumption by a third.
  • Lead the world in the fight against climate change by bringing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below what they were in 2005 within the next decade—and keep going.

Foreign Policy

  • Defeat ISIS and global terrorism and the ideologies that drive it.
  • Strengthen our alliances and nurture new relationships to tackle shared challenges such as climate change, cyber threats, and highly contagious diseases.

Gun Violence

  • Strengthen background checks and close dangerous loopholes in the current system.
  • Hold irresponsible dealers and manufacturers accountable.
  • Keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, domestic abusers, other violent criminals, and the severely mentally ill.

Health Care

  • We can prevent, effectively treat, and make an Alzheimer’s cure possible by 2025.
  • Defend the Affordable Care Act and build on it to slow the growth of out-of-pocket costs.
  • Crack down on rising prescription drug prices and hold drug companies accountable so they get ahead by investing in research, not jacking up costs.
  • Protect women’s access to reproductive health care.
  • Guarantee up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.
  • Ensure at least a two-thirds wage replacement rate for workers.
  • Pay for paid leave by making the wealthiest pay their fair share—not raising taxes on working families.
  • Fight any effort to privatize or weaken Medicare and Social Security, and expand Social Security for future generations by asking the wealthiest to contribute more.
  • Reform our health care system to incentivize and reward quality care.

Homeland Security

  • Keep America safe and secure by defending our core values and leading with principle.

Immigration Reform

  • Enact comprehensive immigration reform to create a pathway to citizenship, keep families together, and enable millions of workers to come out of the shadows.
  • End family detention and close private immigrant detention centers.
  • Defend President Obama’s executive actions to provide deportation relief for DREAMers and parents of Americans and lawful residents, and extend those actions to additional persons with sympathetic cases if Congress refuses to act.

LGBT Equality

  • Ensure full federal equality for all LGBT Americans.
  • Support LGBT kids, parents, and elders.
  • Secure affordable treatment for people living with HIV and AIDS.

Racial Justice

Seniors & Social Security

  • Demand lower prices for prescription drugs for seniors receiving Medicare.
  • Expand Social Security benefits for widows and those who took time out of the paid workforce to care for a child or sick family member.
  • Fight any effort to privatize or weaken Medicare and Social Security, and expand Social Security for future generations by asking the wealthiest to contribute more.

Supreme Court Appointees

Taxes

  • Close corporate tax loopholes and make the most fortunate pay their fair share.
  • Provide targeted tax relief for small businesses and simplify tax filing.
  • Provide a tax credit for businesses that create high-quality apprenticeships that lead to jobs.

Technology

  • Harness public and private capital to fix and build new roads and bridges, expand public transportation, give every American access to broadband internet, and more.

Unions

  • Strengthen unions and protect worker bargaining power.
  • Raise the minimum wage and strengthen overtime rules.
  • Support working families through equal pay, paid family leave, earned sick days, fair schedules, and quality affordable child care.

Veterans

  • Put our veterans needs first by ensuring access to timely and high quality care and blocking efforts to privatize the VA.
  • Ensure that the men and women who risk their lives for our country have access to a good education and good jobs when they come home by solidifying services and programs that connect veterans to jobs after their service.
  • Strengthen services and support for military families who serve alongside our service members.

Wall Street Reform

  • Veto Republican efforts to repeal or weaken Dodd-Frank.
  • Tackle dangerous risks in the big banks and elsewhere in the financial system.
  • Hold both individuals and corporations accountable when they break the law.

Women

  • Ensure equal pay for women.
  • Defend women’s health and reproductive rights against attacks.
  • Fight for paid family leave and affordable child care.

Hillary Clinton Presidential Primary 2016 Endorsements 

~~~~~~~

Bernie Sanders on the Issues 

(source: berniesanders.com)

Businesses

  • Breaking up huge financial institutions so that they are no longer too big to fail.
  • Unions
  • Making it easier for workers to join unions by fighting for the Employee Free Choice Act

Civil Rights

  • We must rein in the National Security Agency and end the bulk collection of phone records, internet history, and email data of virtually all Americans.
  • Our intelligence and law enforcement agencies must have the tools they need to protect the American people, but there must be legal oversight and they must go about their work in a way that does not sacrifice our basic freedoms
  • U.S. must never again embrace torture as a matter of official policy. In an increasingly brutal world, the wanton use of torture by the Bush administration simply meant we lost our moral standing to condemn others who engage in merciless behavior.

Climate Change

  • Reclaim our democracy from the billionaire fossil fuel lobby
  • Accelerate a just transition away from fossil fuels
  • Invest in clean, sustainable energy
  • Revolutionize our electric and transportation infrastructure
  • Lead the international community to solve climate change and prevent international conflict

Criminal Justice Reform

Defense

  • U.S. military must be equipped to fight today’s battles
  • Our defense budget must represent our national security interests and the needs of our military, not the reelection of members of Congress or the profits of defense contractors
  • U.S. must never again embrace torture as a matter of official policy. In an increasingly brutal world, the wanton use of torture by the Bush administration simply meant we lost our moral standing to condemn others who engage in merciless behavior.
  • Close the Guantanamo Bay detention center

Disability Rights

  • Protect and expand the Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI)
  • Increase employment and education opportunities for persons with disabilities
  • Fight for the U.S. ratification of the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities

Economy

  • Increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2020
  • Putting at least 13 million Americans to work by investing $1 trillion over five years in infrastructure improvement
  • Reversing trade policies like NAFTA, CAFTA, and PNTR with China that have driven down wages and caused the loss of millions of jobs
  • Creating 1 million jobs for disadvantaged young Americans by investing $5.5 billion in a youth jobs program.
  • Fighting for pay equity by signing the Paycheck Fairness Act into law.

Education

  • Making tuition free at public colleges and universities throughout America
  • Setting student loan interest rates would go back to where it was in 2006
  • Allow Americans would be able to refinance their student loans at today’s low interest rates
  • Prevent the federal government from profiteering on the backs of college students and use this money instead to significantly lower student loan interest rates.
  • Require public colleges and universities to meet 100% of the financial needs of the lowest-income students
  • Enacting a universal childcare and prekindergarten program.

Election Reform

  • Fight to pass a constitutional amendment making it clear that Congress and the states have the power to regulate money in elections
  • Fight for a publicly financed, transparent system of campaign financing that amplifies small donations, along the lines of the Fair Elections Now Act
  • Insist on complete transparency regarding the funding of campaigns, including through disclosure of contributions to outside spending groups, via legislation, action by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Election Commission, and Federal Communication Commission, and an executive order requiring government contractors to disclose their political spending.
  • Fight to eliminate super PACs and other outside spending abuses.
  • Work to aggressively enforce campaign finance rules.

Energy and Environment

  • Invest in clean, sustainable energy

Foreign Policy

  • Strength through diplomacy
  • Voted against the Iraq War
  • Prevent a nuclear Iran
  • U.S. must play a leading role in creating a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine
  • Expand our global influence by promoting fair trade, addressing global climate change, providing humanitarian relief and economic assistance, defending the rule of law, and promoting human rights.

Gun Violence

Health Care

  • Guaranteeing healthcare as a right of citizenship by enacting a Medicare for all single-payer healthcare system.
  • Requiring employers to provide at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave; two weeks of paid vacation; and 7 days of paid sick days
  • Require Medicare to use its bargaining power to negotiate with the prescription drug companies for better prices – a practice that is currently banned by law.
  • Last year there were more than 37 million Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in private Part D plans. 90 percent of seniors take at least one prescription. Many seniors – almost two-thirds – take three or more prescription drugs.
  • Negotiate substantially reduce prices seniors and people with disabilities pay for drugs, it could save Medicare between $230 billion to $541 billion dollars over the next decade.
  • 83 percent of Americans support allowing the federal government to negotiate with drug companies for better prices.
  • Allow individuals, pharmacists, and wholesalers to import prescription drugs from licensed Canadian pharmacies.
  • Prohibit the United States from agreeing to provisions in international trade deals that would raise drug prices in the United States or extend the monopoly period when a brand name drug company has no generic competition.
  • Suspend the government’s authority to destroy packages of imported drugs at the border until new legislation is passed ensuring that Americans can import safe and affordable drugs from Canada.
  • Prohibit deals that keep generic drugs off the market
  • Enact stronger penalties for healthcare fraud
  • Require pricing and cost transparency

Homeland Security

  • Our country must remain vigilant to protect us from terrorist attacks at home, whether from organized international terrorist networks, or from “lone wolf” extremists

Immigration Reform

  • Allow immigrants to purchase health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Issue whistleblower visas for workers who report abuse and employer violations.
  • Redirect resources away from boondoggle walls to modernize our border and ensure proper oversight that protects border communities.
  • Employ humanitarian parole to ensure the return of unjustly deported immigrants and unify broken families.
  • Ensure our border remains secure and protects local communities.
  • Regulate future flows via a reformed visa system and reworked trade agreements.
  • Put a stop to the notion that the border must be secured before a legalization can happen.
  • Dismantle inhumane deportation programs and private detention centers.
  • Reject “The Great Sanctuary City Slander” as the politics of fear, and support humane local and state laws that integrate immigrants to our society.

LGBT Equality

  • Sign into law the Equality Act, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, and any other bill that prohibits discrimination against LGBT people.
  • Work with HHS to ensure LGBT Americans have access to comprehensive health insurance which provides appropriate coverage and do not have to fear discrimination or mistreatment from providers.
  • Continue the great work of the State Department’s Special Envoy for LGBT Rights and ensure the United States helps protect the rights of LGBT people around the world.
  • Advance policies to ensure students can attend school without fear of bullying, and work to reduce suicides.
  • Require police departments to adopt policies to ensure fairer interactions with transgender people, especially transgender women of color who are often targeted by police unfairly, and institute training programs to promote compliance with fair policies.
  • Bar discrimination against LGBT people by creditors and banks so that people will not be unfairly denied mortgages, credit cards, or student loans.
  • Veto any legislation that purports to “protect” religious liberty at the expense of others’ rights.

Racial Justice

  • We must demilitarize our police forces so they don’t look and act like invading armies.
  • We must invest in community policing. Only when we get officers into the communities, working within neighborhoods before trouble arises, do we develop the relationships necessary to make our communities safer together
  • We must create a police culture that allows for good officers to report the actions of bad officers without fear of retaliation and allows for a department to follow through on such reports.
  • We need police forces that reflect the diversity of our communities, including in the training academies and leadership.
  • At the federal level, we need to establish a new model police training program that reorients the way we do law enforcement in this country
  • We need to federally fund and require body cameras for law enforcement officers to make it easier to hold them accountable.
  • We need to require police departments and states to collect data on all police shootings and deaths that take place while in police custody and make that data public.
  • We need new rules on the allowable use of force. Police officers need to be trained to de-escalate confrontations and to humanely interact with people who have mental illnesses.
  • States and localities that make progress in this area should get more federal justice grant money. Those that do not should get their funding slashed.
  • We need to make sure federal resources are there to crack down on the illegal activities of hate groups.

Rural Economies

  • Make sure that family farmers and rural economies thrive;
  • Expand support for young and beginning farmers;
  • Produce an abundant and nutritious food supply;
  • Establish an on-going regeneration of our soils; and
  • Enlist farmers as partners in promoting conservation and stewardship to keep our air and water clean and to combat climate change.
  • Family farms instead of factory farms
  • Fighting for America’s small and mid-sized farms.
  • Encouraging the growth of regional food systems
  • Reversing trade policies like NAFTA
  • Enforcing our country’s antitrust laws against large agribusiness and food corporations
  • Improving our electric grid
  • Investing in broadband and high-speed Internet services

Seniors & Social Security

  • Expanding Social Security by lifting the cap on taxable income above $250,000.
  • Restore discount drug prices for low-income seniors

Supreme Court Appointees

  • Only appoint Supreme Court justices who will make it a priority to overturn Citizens United and who understand that corruption in politics means more than just quid pro quo.

Taxes

  • Wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes

Technology

  • Improving our electric grid
  • Investing in broadband and high-speed Internet services

Veterans

  • Fully fund and expand the VA so that every veteran gets the care that he or she has earned and deserves.
  • Substantially improve the processing of Veterans’ claims for compensation.
  • Expand the VA’s Caregivers Program.
  • Expand mental health service for Veterans.
  • Make comprehensive dental care available to all veterans at the VA.

Women

  • Sign the Paycheck Fairness Act into law to end wage discrimination based on gender.
  •  Expand, not cut, funding for Planned Parenthood, the Title X family planning program, and other initiatives that protect women’s health, access to contraception, and the availability of a safe and legal abortion
  •  Nominate Supreme Court justices who understand that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and recognize the rights of women to have access to family planning services
  • Make high-quality childcare and Pre-K available to every American, regardless of income.
  • Increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour would significantly boost the wages of more than 15 million women and help close the gender wage gap.
  •  Increasing the tipped minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2023 would lift millions of women out of poverty and significantly reduce the gender pay gap
  • Substantially increase funding for this program so that every low-income mother and her children receive the nutrition they need to live healthy lives.


Bernie Sanders Presidential Primary 2016 Endorsements

vote_democrat_sml
2016 Democratic Presidential Candidates’ Debate
February 4, 2016
9:00 PM ET
University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire
Hosted by MSNBC/NH Union Leader
 

Live Stream: MSNBC.com/DemDebate

#DemDebate

Obama_Biden_thumbnail

15th Amendment – 146th Anniversary

15th_Amendment

 

The Fifteenth Amendment (Amendment XV) to the United States Constitution prohibits the federal and state governments from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen’s “racecolor, or previous condition of servitude.” It was ratified on February 3, 1870, as the third and last of the Reconstruction Amendments.

In the final years of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction Era that followed, Congress repeatedly debated the rights of the millions of black former slaves. By 1869, amendments had been passed to abolish slavery and provide citizenship and equal protection under the laws, but the election of Ulysses S. Grant to the presidency in 1868 convinced a majority of Republicans that protecting the franchise of black voters was important for the party’s future. After rejecting more sweeping versions of a suffrage amendment, Congress proposed a compromise amendment banning franchise restrictions on the basis of race, color, or previous servitude on February 26, 1869. The amendment survived a difficult ratification fight and was adopted on March 30, 1870.

United States Supreme Court decisions in the late nineteenth century interpreted the amendment narrowly. From 1890 to 1910, most black voters in the South were effectively disenfranchised by new state constitutions and state laws incorporating such obstacles as poll taxes and discriminatory literacy tests, from which white voters were exempted by grandfather clauses. A system of whites-only primaries and violent intimidation by white groups also suppressed black participation.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

"The first vote" A.R. Waud. Wood engraving. 1867. Prints & Photographs Division. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-19234
“The first vote”
A.R. Waud.
Wood engraving. 1867.
Prints & Photographs Division.
Reproduction Number:
LC-USZ62-19234

Our Documents, 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, National Archives and Records Administratio

American Treasures of the Library of Congress – The Fifteenth Amendment

#RestoreTheVRA

Obama_Biden_thumbnail

Zika Virus

Zika 101

Summary:
The Zika virus is spread to people through the bite of infected mosquitos. About 1 in 5 people who get infected with Zika virus will show symptoms.

In the past several weeks, increased cases of Zika virus disease (Zika) have been reported in South and Central America, and to a limited degree in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a US territory, and the US Virgin Islands.  Zika is a little known illness spread by a certain type of mosquito. Although most people who may be exposed to Zika virus will have only mild or no symptoms, there has been evidence linking Zika virus to negative effects on pregnancies in some cases, which has received widespread public attention. We understand that this news is concerning, especially to pregnant women and their families who may travel to or live in affected areas. Here are some answers to common questions about Zika.

What is Zika?

The Zika virus is spread to people through the bite of infected mosquitos. About 1 in 5 people who get infected with Zika virus will show symptoms. Most of those who get sick experience only mild symptoms that last about a week. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes (conjunctivitis). It’s rare for someone infected with Zika to become seriously sick or die. Zika is not spread through routine direct person-to-person contact.

Zika and Pregnancy

While anyone can be infected with Zika, what makes it stand out from other mosquito-borne illnesses, is the effect it appears to have on pregnancy. We know that Zika can spread from a pregnant mother to her baby, and that infection during pregnancy may be linked to birth defects, such as a condition called microcephaly (when a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared with babies of the same sex and age). Our understanding of the link between Zika and pregnancy is evolving.

Because of the possible risk to unborn babies, CDC recommends that women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant consider postponing travel to areas with local Zika transmission. If you are pregnant and must travel to one of these areas, talk to your healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites. As we learn more about this disease, our guidance may change based on new information important for the public to know.

How to Protect Yourself from Zika

Because there are currently no vaccines or treatment for Zika, the best way to protect yourself is to prevent mosquito bites. You can do this by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants and treating your clothing and other items with permethrin. Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellant as directed. You shouldn’t use insect repellant on babies younger than 2 months of age; instead, dress your baby in clothing that covers arms and legs and cover the crib, stroller, or baby carrier with mosquito netting.

If you’ve recently traveled to an area with Zika and develop a rash, joint pain, or red eyes, tell your doctor that you traveled to a country with Zika virus. Because the symptoms of Zika are similar to dengue and chikungunya, special blood tests may be needed.

If you get sick with Zika, make sure to get plenty of rest and fluids, and take medicines like acetaminophen or paracetamol to reduce fever and pain. Don’t take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. You can also prevent others from getting sick by avoiding mosquito bites during the first week of illness following the same steps outlined above, because Zika virus can stay in the blood during the first week of infection.

Zika in the Continental US?

Although Zika has been in the news recently, outbreaks of Zika have previously been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization issued an alert for the first confirmed infection in Brazil. Since then, local transmission of Zika virus has been reported in more than 20 other countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean. Because the mosquitoes that spread Zika are found throughout the tropics, outbreaks of the disease will likely continue.

Zika is currently not found in the continental United States, but cases of Zika have been reported in returning travelers. Because of the recent outbreaks in the Americas, we expect to see more cases of Zika in travelers visiting or returning to the United States. Many areas in the continental U.S., primarily in the Southeast and Gulf Coast regions, have mosquitoes that can become infected with and spread Zika virus, so it is possible that these imported cases could result in local spread of the virus in some areas of the United States. Limited local transmission may occur in the mainland United States, but we believe it is unlikely that we will see widespread transmission of Zika in the mainland United States. Recent outbreaks in the United States of chikungunya and dengue were quite small compared with outbreaks in South America.

For more: http://www.hhs.gov/blog/2016/01/28/zika-101.html

.

Centers For Disease Control & PreventionCDC.gov

 

 

WHO Director-General summarizes the outcome of the Emergency Committee on Zika

WHO statement on the first meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee on Zika virus and observed increase in neurological disorders and neonatal malformations

1 February 2016

 

I convened an Emergency Committee, under the International Health Regulations, to gather advice on the severity of the health threat associated with the continuing spread of Zika virus disease in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Committee met today by teleconference.

In assessing the level of threat, the 18 experts and advisers looked in particular at the strong association, in time and place, between infection with the Zika virus and a rise in detected cases of congenital malformations and neurological complications.

The experts agreed that a causal relationship between Zika infection during pregnancy and microcephaly is strongly suspected, though not yet scientifically proven. All agreed on the urgent need to coordinate international efforts to investigate and understand this relationship better.

The experts also considered patterns of recent spread and the broad geographical distribution of mosquito species that can transmit the virus.

The lack of vaccines and rapid and reliable diagnostic tests, and the absence of population immunity in newly affected countries were cited as further causes for concern.

After a review of the evidence, the Committee advised that the recent cluster of microcephaly cases and other neurological disorders reported in Brazil, following a similar cluster in French Polynesia in 2014, constitutes an “extraordinary event” and a public health threat to other parts of the world.

In their view, a coordinated international response is needed to minimize the threat in affected countries and reduce the risk of further international spread.

Members of the Committee agreed that the situation meets the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

For more: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2016/emergency-committee-zika-microcephaly/en/

#Zika

Child Hunger in America

Child Hunger in America

Building on the Administration’s ongoing commitment to expanding access to opportunity and reducing food insecurity, the event brought together families, academics, practitioners, advocates, religious leaders, and federal, state, and local officials to discuss the persistence and effects of hunger in America and what must be done to ensure all American families have access to an adequate, nutritious diet.

Today, the White House will host a conversation about child hunger in America, with experts and direct service providers discussing how hunger continues to harm children across the country. Participants will discuss the role of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other core nutrition programs in ensuring American children have the fuel they need to thrive. The conversation will include SNAP recipients, academics, direct service providers, advocates, faith leaders, and federal, state, and local officials and will focus on the critical role of SNAP in reducing food insecurity and poverty, and the high-cost consequences when benefits are not enough to sustain a family to the end of the month.  The agenda for today’s event is available HERE.

The Obama Administration is dedicated to ensuring American children and families have the support they need to build a better future, especially when weathering life’s ups and downs, such as loss of a job, illness, or work that pays less than a livable wage. SNAP and other nutrition programs, like school meals, make a real and measurable difference in the lives of children and their families and provide a stronger future for the entire country. Building on its commitment to expanding access to opportunity for all, today the Obama Administration will announce additional actions to ensure American children have the food they need to grow, learn, and succeed.

NEW FEDERAL ACTIONS

  • Ensuring all low-income children have year-round access to the food they need to learn and grow. 
  • Allowing States to use Medicaid data to automatically link low-income children to school meals. 

For the entire article: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/01/27/fact-sheet-obama-administration-announces-major-investments-preventing

 

~~~~~~~~

A White House Conversation on Child Hunger in America

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Agenda

1:00 PM
Opening Remarks
Secretary Thomas Vilsack, U.S. Department of Agriculture

1:20 PM
Panel: Research Evidence on Child Hunger in America and the Role of SNAP

  •  Moderator: Dr. Shiriki Kumanyika, Emeritus Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
  •  Dr. Hilary Hoynes, Professor of Public Policy and Economics, Haas Distinguished Chair in Economic Disparities, Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California Berkeley
  •  Dr. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research; Associate Professor, Human Development and Social Policy, Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy
  • Dr. Adam Drewnowski, Professor of Epidemiology, Director, Nutritional Sciences Program, School of Public Health, University of Washington
  •  Dr. Hilary Seligman, Associate Professor, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine; Lead Scientist and Senior Medical Advisor, Feeding America
  • Dr. Parke Wilde, Associate Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University

2:45 PM
Break

3:00 PM
Panel: Practitioner and Beneficiary Perspectives on SNAP, Hunger, and Children’s Life Outcomes

  • Moderator: Representative Jim McGovern (MA)
  •  Dr. Sandra Hassink, Immediate Past President of the American Academy
     of Pediatrics
  •  Dawn Pierce, former SNAP recipient, Boise, ID
  •  Clint Mitchell, Principal, Bel Air Elementary School, Prince William County, V
  •  Carlos Rodriguez, Executive Director, Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean
    Counties, Neptune, NJ
  •  Les Johnson, Vice President of Grant Management Services, Area Resources for
    Community and Human Services, St. Louis, MO

4:15 PM
Closing remarks
Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director of Domestic Policy Council

January 27, 2016 – 1:00 PM ET
A White House Conversation on Child Hunger in America
The White House

.

Live Stream: WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

Obama_Biden_thumbnail

Guiding our Youth

life-choices-quote

What Are You Doing With Your Life?
When a teenager tries to break into her home, Joey Garcia asks him an unexpected question.

Dec 29, 2015 By Joey Garcia – KQED Perspectives

I was at my laptop working on a poem when I realized that late afternoon had darkened into evening. I should probably close the windows in the front of the house, I thought.

The early evening light was dim but when I walked into the kitchen, I could clearly see the young man straddling the windowsill, breaking into my home.

He was a teenager, 17 or 18 years old. I felt strangely calm, probably because of my two decades as a high school teacher and life coach for teens. So it didn’t surprise me when a sincere question came into my mind:

“What are you doing with your life?”

He froze. I asked again, louder this time, my hands flapping emphatically: “What are you doing with your life?”

Watching me carefully for a moment, he seemed to ponder the question. Then he began to back out of the window.

I told him I would count to three and yell for help.

The young man ran. With shaky hands, I closed and locked my windows, careful not to touch the one he had entered, or the screen he had removed to break in. Evidence, I thought.

When the police officer arrived, he asked me what happened. When I explained, he asked if I knew the young man. “No” I said. The officer narrowed his eyes. “Then why did you ask, ‘What are you doing with your life?'”

I don’t remember what I told him. But the truth is, I feel responsible for all kids. Every child is my child. I believe that every adult is responsible for guiding teens to maturity. We must all help every teenager we meet to navigate a path into a rewarding life.

Looking back, I think I understand why the young man ran away. To be asked, “What are you doing with your life?” is to be acknowledged as if you matter, are loved and are valued.

In the end, I committed the bolder theft. He tried to break into my house, but I tried to break into his consciousness.

For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.kqed.org/a/perspectives/R201512290643

.

Resources

Obama_Biden_thumbnail

24th Amendment – 52nd Anniversary

24th AmendmentThe Twenty-fourth Amendment (Amendment XXIV) prohibits both Congress and the states from conditioning the right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or other types of tax. The amendment was proposed by Congress to the states on August 27, 1962, and was ratified by the states on January 23, 1964.

Poll taxes appeared in southern states after Reconstruction as a measure to prevent African Americans from voting, and had been held to be constitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in the 1937 decision Breedlove v. Suttles. At the time of this amendment’s passage, five states still retained a poll tax: Virginia, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi. The amendment made the poll tax unconstitutional in regards to federal elections. However, it was not until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6–3 in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections (1966) that poll taxes for state elections were unconstitutional because they violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24th_Amendment

Voting Rights Act - Weakened 1 of 1Voting Rights Act - Weakend 2 of 2

Bruised and weary, the Voting Rights Act celebrates its 49th birthday

Forty-nine years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965, taking an enormous step toward protecting the right to vote for all Americans.Decades of concerted effort on the part of state and local officials to disenfranchise African Americans through the use of poll taxes, literacy tests and sheer intimidation had inspired little action from Congress.

But the momentum created by the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the horrified reaction to violence inflicted upon voting-rights protesters marching from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in March 1965, drove federal legislators to craft a response.

The resulting legislation, signed into law at the Capitol with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and other civil-rights leaders looking on, has stood firmly for nearly half a century.

Among other measures, the VRA outlawed literacy tests and empowered the U.S. Department of Justice to challenge the use of poll taxes in state and local elections. Passage of the 24th Amendment in 1964 already barred the use of poll taxes in national elections.

Section 2 is largely a restatement of the 15th Amendment, prohibiting any voting rules or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race or color. Amendments to the VRA in 1975 extended its protections to members of a language minority group, such as speakers of Spanish or Native American languages.

Moreover, thanks to another round of amendments in 1982, citizens today who challenge voting regulations under Section 2 need only prove that, in the “totality of the circumstance of the local electoral process,” the rules have merely the effect of abridging the right to vote.

In crafting the original VRA, Congress also provided for special intervention in jurisdictions where racial discrimination is believed to be greatest. Under Section 5, those parts of the country identified by a formula established in Section 4 must obtain “pre-clearance” from the DOJ or the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia before making any changes to its voting laws.

In Shelby County v. Holder (2013), however, the Supreme Court struck down the Section 4 formula, leaving Section 5 intact but requiring legislators to redraw its coverage before further enforcement. Since the ruling, several amendments have been proposed but Congress has thus far declined to act.

For more: http://goo.gl/KBUX5o


Voting Rights Act of 1965 – Now Weaker due to Supreme Court 2013 Ruling

..

PBO's Statement on Supreme Court's decision on Shelby vs Holder

Holder to black leaders: ‘Sacred’ right to vote under attack

5/30/12 11:28 AM EDT By JOSEPH WILLIAMS – POLITICO

Attorney General Eric Holder told a council of African American church leaders Wednesday that the “sacred” right to vote is under assault nationwide, with federal lawsuits and at least a dozen state laws that could weaken — or block — minority access to the ballot box this fall.

Forty-seven years after President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, “overt and subtle forms of discrimination still exists,” Holder said in a speech before the Council of Black Churches. The twin factors of lingering bias and systematic assaults from the right, he said, means that “for the first time in our [lifetimes], we are failing to live up to one of our most noble ideals” – the right to equal access to the vote.

The brief speech was a call to arms for the black church, which since the days of the civil rights movement has been active in fighting for equal voting right for minorities. Holder, who was warmly received by the audience, told them his office is “aggressively” taking on the task of protecting that right, including challenging several state lawsuits that would overturn key provisions of the Voting Rights Act involving redistricting in Southern states and strict new voter I’d laws that could keep minorities, the elderly and young people of all races from casting ballots in the 2012 election – which analysts expect will be decided by a narrow margin.

Ensuring that everyone who is qualified can vote “is one of our highest priorities,” Holder told the council, adding that during his watch the Justice Department has taken on more than 100 cases involving voting within the past year, “a record number.” Since President Bush re-authorized the Section 5 provision of the Voting Rights Act, which requires some Southern states to get federal approval before making broad changes to laws involving voting, “it has consistently come under attack by those who say it is no longer needed.”

Holder also rejected conservatives’ contention that making it easier to vote invites fraud, a key argument in calling for tougher voter I’d laws. Recalling that protesters and faith leaders faced violence and death to gain that right during the 1960s civil rights movement, Holder called on black churches to mobilize as an ally of the Justice Department, informing the larger community and pushing back against restrictive proposals.

“We have to honor the generations that took extraordinary risks” to guarantee equal access to the polls, Holder said. The nation has made tremendous progress, he added, but “this fight must go on.”

.

Tribal leaders welcome Holder’s voting access plan

Tuesday, 10 June 2014 15:28 by RACHEL D’ORO, Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday his office will consult with tribes across the country to develop ways to increase voting access for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Holder said the goal is to require state and local election officials to place at least one polling site in a location chosen by tribal governments in parts of the nation that include tribal lands. Barriers to voting, he said, include English-only ballots and inaccessible polling places.

In Alaska, for example, the village of Kasigluk is separated into two parts by a river with no bridge. On election day, people on one side have just a few hours to vote before a ballot machine is taken by boat to the other side. Several other Alaska villages have been designated as permanent absentee voting areas, which is something allowed by regulation, according to Gail Fenumiai, director of the state Division of Elections.

In Montana, a voting rights lawsuit is pending from tribal members on the Crow, Northern Cheyenne and Fort Belknap reservations. They want county officials to set up satellite voting offices to make up for the long distances they must travel to reach courthouses for early voting or late registration.

“These conditions are not only unacceptable, they’re outrageous,” Holder said. “As a nation, we cannot — and we will not — simply stand by as the voices of Native Americans are shut out of the democratic process.”

After consulting with tribal leaders, his office will seek to work with Congress on a potential legislative proposal, Holder said.

For more: http://www.nativetimes.com/index.php/news/politics/10019-tribal-leaders-welcome-holder-s-voting-access-plan


#RestoreTheVRA - John Lewis

#RestoreTheVRA