Sunday, March 14, 2010

Get Moving America

Well, we've taken the plunge.
All of us in the house walked around the block for exercise. My son is on the cross country track team at school so he went for the fun more than the exercise. My daughter and I went for health. We decided to take a page from First Lady Michelle Obama's plan for a healthier America. She promotes getting teens in shape to prevent or combat teen obesity so I modified it to include myself. Here is the video:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Amnesty International Report Finds Appalling U.S. Death Rate for Women Having Babies

Systemic Failures and Shocking Disparities in Maternal Health Care System

New York Is 47th Among All States in Maternal Mortality; 40 Percent of Women Live in a Medically Underserved Areas

NEW YORK, March 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Amnesty International calls today on President Obama to establish an office of maternal health to lead government effort to reduce appalling U.S. death rate for women having babies. This announcement follows the release of a new report on maternal health nationwide.
Amnesty International revealed that flaws and shocking disparities in maternal health care that the government is ignoring lead to two to three women dying daily in the United States from pregnancy-related complications, with half of these deaths believed preventable, according to the Centers for Disease Control. A state-by-state examination shows that New York is 47th on a maternal mortality ranking, with 16 deaths per 100,000 live births. National Women's Law Center, National Report Card on Women's Health, Maternal Mortality Rate Table; available at spx.

The new Amnesty International report, Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA, also reveals that severe pregnancy-related complications that nearly cause death -- known as "near misses" -- are rising at an alarming rate, increasing by 25 percent since 1998; currently nearly 34,000 women annually experience a "near miss" during delivery. With a lifetime risk of maternal deaths that is greater than in 40 other countries, including virtually all of the industrialized countries, the United States has failed to reverse the two-decade upward trend in preventable maternal deaths, despite pledges to do so.

The report cited numerous causes for the crisis and offers lengthy recommendations on improving maternal health care.

Inadequate prenatal care is cited as a contributing factor in the crisis; women who do not get prenatal care are three to four times more likely to die than women who do. In New York, one in six women (15 percent) receive delayed or no prenatal care. The number rises to one in five women (19.1 percent) among women of color.

Obstacles to care are widespread: the most obvious being that across the United States nearly 13 million women of reproductive age (15 to 44), or one in five, have no health insurance. In New York, nearly 15.1 percent are uninsured; among women of color the number of uninsured climbs to 21.2 percent. The state's Medicaid eligibility level for working parents is also low, $26,400. Lack of access to health care centers and providers is a problem nationwide, the report found; in New York 40 percent of women live in medically underserved areas.

"It is inexcusable that the United States is facing a crisis in maternal health care," said Josh Rubenstein, Northeast Regional Director for Amnesty International USA. "Pregnancy and childbirth are not new or rare diseases; they are exceedingly common medical events that impact every family in the nation. The maternal health crisis should be addressed as a matter of national urgency and political unity to better the health and dignity of all Americans."

Maternal health is a human right for every woman in the United States, regardless of race or income. Yet, the United States lacks a systematic, robust government response to this critical problem. Amnesty International is urging President Obama to work with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to establish, and seek Congressional funding, for a single office responsible for ensuring that all women receive quality maternal health care. An Office of Maternal Health would lead government action to reduce the soaring pregnancy-related complications and maternal deaths nationwide.

Additionally, Amnesty International calls for vigorous enforcement of federal non-discrimination laws and an increase in support for Federally Qualified Health Centers by 2011 to expand the number of women who can access affordable maternal health care.

"This country's extraordinary record of medical advancement makes its haphazard approach to maternal care all the more scandalous and disgraceful," said Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA. "Mothers die not because the United States can't provide good care, but because it lacks the political will to make sure good care is available to all women."

Amnesty International's analysis shows that health care reform before Congress does not address the crisis of maternal health care.

"Reform is primarily focused on health care coverage and reducing health care costs, and even optimistic estimates predict that any proposal on the table will still leave millions without access to affordable care," said Rachel Ward, one of the authors of the Deadly Delivery report. "Furthermore, it does not address discrimination, systemic failures and government accountability documented in Amnesty International's report."

Rapid and comprehensive federal leadership is required, as the report found numerous systemic failures, including the following:

-- Burdensome bureaucratic procedures in Medicaid enrollment
substantially delay access to vital prenatal care for pregnant women
seeking government-funded care. Twenty-one states do not offer
"presumptive eligibility" which allows pregnant women to temporarily
access medical care while their permanent application for Medicaid is
pending. Women who do not receive any prenatal care are three to four
times more likely to die than women who do.
-- The number of deaths is significantly understated because there are no
federal requirements to report maternal deaths or complications and
data collection at the state level is insufficient.
-- Oversight and accountability is lacking. 29 states and the District of
Columbia have no maternal death review process at all.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

For more information or to take action, please visit:\deadlydelivery

Thursday, February 18, 2010

An "ugly" win but a(n) Olympic) win nonetheless: Shani Davis Medals Gold Again

I said something really dumb to a friend the other day.
I was describing the young woman, Hannah Kearney, who won the freestyle moguls--the one where they jump twice and hockey stop style ski down the hilly slope--and how much air she got and how great I felt just watching her go so high. It was very graceful.Anyway, my friend asked were there any blacks in the winter olympics games and I said no. We both remembered there was a black speed skater but I, full of puffery, demanded she believe that he was no longer competing. I was wrong.
Of course my friend gave up on the argument because I am incorrigible and also because she was right.
Not only is Shani Davis competing but he has metaled gold already!
Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports writes that Davis repeated his Turin win in the 1,000 meter. Wetzel sorta kinda indicated that Davis barely won and really worked to get there. However, the last time I checked, an Olympic gold medal was still an Olympic gold medal. Why diminish that earning? Also, Wetzel didn't write very much about Davis except that he won ugly. Well, the rest of America congratulates you, Shani Davis and enjoy the winner's circle. Please continue to win gold.
Uh Oh! This just in courtesy of Google Search...
Well, it seems Adam Thompson, of the Wall Street Journal cares a little bit more about our gold metal Olympic athletes. (Thanks Google Search Engine)
Thompson writes that Davis is the first Olympic speed skater to win the event twice and the first U.S. speed skater to defend a gold medal title. Hmmmm. Newsworthy stuff.
Also, note that Davis hails from the Chicagoland area and since his Turin win, is the first Black to ever to earn a Winter Olympic gold medal in an individual sport. Double Hmmmmm.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

By the People: The Election of Barack Obama

I watched them write the speeches, I heard them flesh out the words. I relived every moment of that magnanimous night–that time we as Americans made our voices heard. Then they flashed a photo of the 44th President of the United States: Barack Obama.
You must see, "By the People: The Election of Barack Obama." I will remind you of why you vote. I got my copy from Netflix–no late fees involved–however, I will purchase a copy to have permanently.
I never want to forget the campaign. I cried and relived every moment. We have to remember as a nation, as a supporter, as voters, who we voted for and why. Don't believe the spin on the nightly news. It is not always true.
I entered the campaign after the Iowa win. Up until that point, I thought Barack Obama would follow in the footsteps of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and rack up some votes and yet again prove a point but not win the presidency. I didn't know Barack Obama then and was prepared to vote for Hillary Clinton. At best, I would have voted for John Edwards. I just didn't know any better and that is so sad. Then, during my nightly routine, I saw him during the Iowa Caucus victory speech and then I believed.
I saw that he thought as I thought, he believed as I believed. He had my voice and he has carried it to the highest seat in our nation. He was me and so I voted for myself. I never in my life thought I would hear someone echo my thoughts about my country and society the way our president did as he campaigned. I was astonished but I knew if I voted for Barack, then I would be voting for myself. This DVD helped me relive all of that. Don't miss it! Get it today.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"We Don't Quit"–State of the Union Address Highlights Increased American Exports, Jobs

Order your "I Don't Quit" t-shirt here!
"We don't quit. I don't quit. We are Americans. We are resilient."
Not only was President Barack Obama's January 12 State of the
Union Address peppered with good, usable sound bites, it held simplified
concepts anyone listening could grasp.

Contrasting some of his speeches that contain high-level
conceptual ideas–that the average I-didn't-take-Poli-sci citizen
may miss–the address highlighted what the president campaigned
on and reminded the base and those who voted for him, why they
put him in office in the first place.

Sticking to a Budget
Congress passed the PayGo or Pay-as-you-go law Thursday January 28, the president announced during a Tampa speech, that will help cut the deficit. Instead of living on extensions of credit, the country will now roll back to having honest accounting in place. In other words, using only cash
on hand for project funding will restore America to 1990s

The president also said he will enact reforms and new initiatives
to defend the middle class -- to create millions of new jobs,
support small businesses, and drive up wages; to invest in the
education of our children and the clean energy technology that
must power our future; and to protect the economy from reckless
Wall Street abuses.

"That is why I called for a robust jobs bill without delay. It's
why I proposed a small businesses tax credit, new investments in
infrastructure, and pushed for climate legislation to create a
clean energy economy."

"It's why we're taking on big banks, reforming Wall Street,
revitalizing our education system, increasing transparency -- and
finishing the job on health insurance reform."
Order your "I Don't Quit" t-shirt here!
The president also said change is never easy.
"Change on the scale we seek does not come easily. But I will
never accept second place for the United States of America," he
told the American people.
He went on to say that he is not disconnected from the American
public and that he recognizes the struggles and anxieties that
plague people.

"That's why I ran for president. I read it in letters each night.
I've witness this for years. I have spent my adult life (fighting
for people.)" he said.

Students will get to pay only 10 percent of their salaries to student loan debt each month and the debt will be forgiven after 20 years. Student loan debt forgiveness occur after 10 years if the student works for the government.

President Obama explained and drew parallels between his campaign
promises, his agenda and what he is now doing.
Concentrating on offshore drilling, clean coal technology, a clean
energy economy and exporting more American goods will help create
more jobs and keep America a global leader, he said.
Order your "I Don't Quit" t-shirt here!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

People Believe What They See on TV

If the news prognosticators, political commentators like the president, then they will say favorable things about him. Keep in mind that many of them are more likely to earn over $250,000 per year than the audience they address each day.
So goes what we are hearing on the tele about the president. Most of it is just reading from a teleprompter and all opinions have an agreed upon right-slant tone.
I don't really know where anyone gets their opinions these days but no one in Massachusetts speaks for me. They are no longer Democratic in my opinion because they put a Republican in the U.S. Senate to represent them. It is as if the majority of the people there have changed their mind about the POTUS. They are speaking for themselves, not the real Democrats, like the Kennedy family. I do not understand what they are doing or why a Kennedy does not have that Senate seat. They have given so much for the American people to have basic human rights.
If the people of Massachusetts people are upset about joblessness, then get angry with the North America Free Trade Agreement. While I understand protectionism is out of style these days, NAFTA is a boon for Big Business not so much for the People. American companies are making more money because of NAFTA but the American people are suffering.
Why can't Corporate America hire more people since, at least in theory, they are making more profit?
Why? If I own a profitable company and I don't have to hire, why would I? That is an extra yacht for me or a longer European vacation, etc. What incentive does a company have to hire American, rebuild in America, stay in America?
When will we start looking at some of the existing laws that have been passed in the last 20 years and get all Teaparty-ish about that? Or how about that the unspoken deal between the financial district and the American people that they would loan money to the average person at a higher interest rate so that they could purchase a home? It used to be that not everyone could qualify for a mortgage or a credit card. Remember those days? There would be some who gloated about how nice their wardrobe was or how beautiful their home was and how not everyone could have the things that they have. And how having those things made them better people.(Capitalism and Classicism seem to go hand-in-hand) Then all of a sudden, college students were getting credit on signature! Anyone could have it for a price--now that is Capitalism. Now things have swung back to where they were previously–high credit score determines what you can borrow from banks. We have lost many beloved, long-standing businesses. Good American businesses and good American jobs. This happened way before Barack Obama became president.
What if all of those mortgage backed securities had worked out for everyone? What if no one was late on their mortgage? WE would not be having this conversation right now and quite possibly, Barack Obama would not be our president. Anger at the Establishment swept him into office and it looks as if that same anger is chipping away at a portionof his base of supporters now that Massachusetts has found its Great White Hope.
Every morning, I hear negative chatter about how the POTUS is doing and it all sounds like a personal problem these people have with him. Most of it is hypocritical cross-talk directed from some lofty position above. An above $250,000 per year position. Keep that in mind as you listen to what comes down to sour grapes.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The President's Health Care Bill

Once the healthcare bill passes, no longer will Americans fear losing their health coverage if they want to make a move or lose their job.
Everyone will always have access to health benefits. This is a new way of thinking for all of us. Keeping a job just to have benefits will not exist. This will allow more upward mobility in our population. This is only my opinion.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Elite Advantage Card for Steppers

The Elite Advantage Card is here, and trust me, the picture does it no justice. The card is made with a metallic silver background, silver frosted tip VIP numbers (like those on a credit card ... you can't see this feature on the picture), and a signature strip on the back for personalization. The design features the Chicago skyline in the background, paying homage to Steppin's roots, but the network is Nationwide. ChiStepper will work daily to expand our Elite Advantage Card offerings and make the card more attractive to both national and local audiences.

The purpose of the card is to offer the Steppin' Community exclusive discounts and access to services that they'd most likely have to pay full price for. Now when you go to a Workshop, Private Steppers Lesson, Steppers Party, or even a local business, you can flash your Elite Advantage Card and receive a discount or related Special Offer. ChiStepper will also hold raffles and giveaways which will only be available to Elite Advantage Card holders.

We've launched with a solid list of participants offering a variety of discounts, including: Charnice Simmons, Dre & Company, Keith Hubbard, Sunshine Haywood, and Tyk Myn, businesses like Jackson Hewitt Tax Services, and parties like Ken Bedford's Afterwork Networking and Steppers Affair, The Majestic Gents, DeJa Vu and the Sam Chatman,, and Dre & Company Capricorn Ball. Speaking of the Capricorn Ball, the first 10 people to purchase the card GET IN FREE! ChiStepper also has verbal commitments from VIP Productions, Lady Margaret, and others who are still creating their promotions!

The Card costs $25, but that's a small price if you consider the savings, exclusive access, and prize participation activities that you'll benefit from for an entire year. That's right, the Card doesn't expire until December 31st, 2010. To purchase the card and see all of the promotions, CLICK HERE or check out the main navigation link titled "Elite Advantage Card" above, and make sure to check out the drop down menu where the various promotional categories are hosted.

If you're a promoter, instructor, or business owner in any state and you'd like to participate, email to request a brief enrollment form where you can create a promotion. It's totally free to enroll and offer a promotion. Steppers, check the lists daily to see the new additions. If there is a certain discount category and/or group that you'd like to participate, let us know and we'll go after them.
Be part of the Elite Club and don't forgot, the first 10 purchases will get FREE ADMISSION to the Sam Chatman,, and Dre & Company Capricorn Ball at the MultiMillion dollar establishment, Alhambra Palace. That's a $15 savings for a $25 card ... can you beat that? Purchase the card by CLICKING HERE.