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H1N1 Flu Guide Helping Community and Faith-based Organizations across the Country

To help keep communities healthy during the flu season, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (Partnerships Center) led by Alexia Kelley and with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released an H1N1 Flu guide specifically targeted to help community and faith-based organizations.  Flu season is in full swing, and communities are finding innovative ways to spread awareness through community outreach programs. LINK

Initial Results Show Pregnant Women Mount Strong Immune Response to One Dose of 2009 H1N1 Flu Vaccine

Healthy pregnant women mount a robust immune response following just one dose of 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine, according to initial results from an ongoing clinical trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health.  LINK

H1N1 Flu Resources for Parents/Educators

ED has issued new guidance for school officials regarding the disclosure of personally identifiable information when addressing an H1N1 flu outbreak. See this and other guidance, videos, Q&As, and more.  LINK

Green Jobs Grants, Seizing the Opportunity of a Clean Energy Economy

Today the Department of Labor announced nearly $55 million in grants to help workers, many in underserved communities, find jobs in expanding green industries.  As a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, these grants reflect the administration’s long-term commitment to fostering both immediate economic growth and a clean energy future. It’s an investment that will help American workers do well, while doing good. LINK

Obama Administration Releases New Date On Making Home Affordable Program, Includes State-Specific Modifications to Date

WASHINGTON – Recently, the Obama Administration released the next monthly report for the Making Home Affordable (MHA) loan modification program. As part of an ongoing commitment to transparency, the report includes for the first time state-specific trial modification numbers. With more than 650,000 modifications under way across the country, the program is on track to meet its goals over the next several years.  LINK

From OVW Acting Director Catherine Pierce

As we commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, there is no better time to renew our commitment to ending gender-based violence right here in the United States and there is no better time to strengthen our partnerships.  LINK

Fiscally Responsible Health Reform Redux

Every two weeks or so, there seems to be a story ringing the alarm bells over the fiscal dimension of health reform. As I’ve said time and again, the President is committed to signing a health reform bill that is deficit neutral in the first decade — and deficit reducing thereafter. The legislation under consideration in the Senate and the bill passed Saturday by the House both meet these tests.  LINK

Agency News

SECRETARY VILSACK ANNOUNCES ALMOST $35 MILLION IN FUNDING FOR DISTANCE LEARNING AND TELEMEDICINE PROJECTS

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that 111 projects in 35 states have been selected to receive more than $34.9 million in grants to increase educational opportunities and expand access to health care services in rural areas. The funding will be provided through USDA Rural Development’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program.   LINK

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY VILSACK ANNOUNCES FOOD PURCHASES FOR DOMESTIC NUTRITION PROGRAMS, ASSISTS PORK, CHERRY, PLUM AND APPLE FARMERS

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced USDA’s intention to purchase $82.6 million worth of pork, cherry, plum and apple products for federal food nutrition assistance programs. Vilsack made this announcement today at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting annual convention.  LINK

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY VILSACK ANNOUNCES THAT USDA AND DEFENSE DEPARTMENT WILL PARTNER TO SUPPORT MILITARY CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA will partner with the Department of Defense to form the Extension-Military Partnership, which will bring the extension expertise of land-grant universities to military family support programs. USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics Rajiv Shah made the announcement today at the National Leadership Summit on Military Families. LINK

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY VILSACK ANNOUNCES NEARLY $56.2 MILLION IN LOAN ASSISTANCE TO HELP RURAL BUSINESSES

Guaranteed Loans Provided Through Recovery Act Funds Will Help Strengthen Rural Businesses and Communities Throughout America

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced $56.2 million in loan guarantees to assist 12 rural businesses though funding made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.   LINK

US Department of Labor’s OSHA provides workplace H1N1 influenza precaution and protection information for workers and employers

New Web site offers fact sheets with practical information

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued commonsense fact sheets that employers and workers can use to promote safety during the current H1N1 influenza outbreak.

The fact sheets inform employers and workers about ways to reduce the risk of exposure to the 2009 H1N1 virus at work. Separate fact sheets for health care workers, who carry out tasks and activities that require close contact with 2009 H1N1 patients, contain additional precautions.  LINK

Secretary Sebelius Releases New Report on Health Insurance Reform and Diabetes in America

As the nation marks American Diabetes Month, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a new report today, Preventing and Treating Diabetes: Health Insurance Reform and Diabetes in America. The report comes one day after Sebelius toured the East Manatee Family Healthcare Center in Bradenton, Fla. At the center, Secretary Sebelius held a roundtable discussion with Floridians with diabetes.  LINK

HHS Secretary Calls on States and Communities to Get Health Coverage to Uninsured Children

Conference Kicks Off National Outreach Campaign

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today called on states and communities to join with HHS to redouble efforts to find and enroll the 5 million children who are currently eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), but are not yet covered.  The Secretary issued this call to action as she opened the National Children’s Health Insurance Summit in Chicago, kicking off the nation’s largest campaign to find and enroll uninsured children in over a decade.  LINK

Arkansas Man Sentenced on Civil Rights Charges in Cross Burning Conspiracy

Dustin Nix of Donaldson, Ark, was sentenced today in federal court in Fort Smith, Ark, on federal civil rights charges related to a conspiracy to drive a woman and her children from their home because they associated with African-Americans. Nix was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, three years of post-incarceration supervision, a fine of $5,000, and a $200 special assessment.  LINK

ADMINISTRATION CALLS ON CONGRESS TO APPROVE KEY HOUSING MEASURES

WASHINGTON, DC – Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan called on Congress to approve three important measures to improve housing and the housing market for Americans: extension of the First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit for a limited period, extension of higher loan limits for home mortgages, and secure funding for the Housing Trust Fund.  LINK

Highway Investment Hits $20 Billion
Recovery Putting People to Work on Investments with Long-Term Benefit

WASHINGTON – The Federal Highway Administration crossed the $20 billion mark in approved obligations for highway, road and bridge projects this week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today. Of the $26.6 billion available for federal highway and bridge projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, more than 75 percent has now been obligated.  LINK

Deputy Secretary Poneman: Recovery Act Putting Americans to Work and Accelerating Important Work at Savannah River Site
Launches video highlighting the jobs created at SRS through Recovery

Aiken, South Carolina – At a community breakfast in Aiken, South Carolina today, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman discussed how funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is accelerating environmental cleanup work at the Savannah River Site and creating or saving thousands of jobs in the area.  Additionally, he discussed how the Recovery Act is putting Americans to work helping weatherize homes and improve energy efficiency in communities throughout Georgia and South Carolina. LINK

DOE and USDA Select Projects for more than $24 Million in Biomass Research and Development Grants

Washington, DC – The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy announced projects selected for more than $24 million in grants to research and develop technologies to produce biofuels, bioenergy and high-value biobased products.  LINK

U.S. Department of Education Opens Race to the Top Competition

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today released the final application for more than $4 billion from the Race to the Top Fund, which will reward states that have raised student performance in the past and have the capacity to accelerate achievement gains with innovative reforms.  LINK

Economic Security and a 21st Century Education: Secretary Arne Duncan’s Remarks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Education and Workforce Summit
Good morning and thank you for the opportunity to discuss the state of American education—which in some ways is one and the same with the American economy.  I believe that the quality of our education system says as much about the long-term health of our economy as the stock market, the unemployment rate and the size of the gross domestic product.  LINK

Celebrating Excellence

Principals and teachers from 321 schools came to Washington, D.C., this week to celebrate being named 2009 Blue Ribbon Schools.  LINK

$1.4 Billion in Recovery Funds Now Available for Pennsylvania to Save Jobs and Drive Education Reform
Application for Part 1 of Pennsylvania’s State Stabilization Funds Approved Today
U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced that $1.4 billion is now available for Pennsylvania under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. This funding will lay the foundation for a generation of education reform and help save hundreds of thousands of teaching jobs at risk of state and local budget cuts. Pennsylvania will be eligible to apply for another $514,403,320 later this fall. Today’s funding is being made available per Pennsylvania’s successful completion of Part 1 of the State Stabilization Application, which was made available on April 1.  LINK

President Obama Launches Major Veterans Employment Initiative

On Monday, the White House announced the launch of an initiative designed to transform the federal government into the model employer of America’s veterans.  LINK

EPA’s Energy Star Program Hits Major Milestone: 1 Million Energy Star Homes Built in the United States / Houston, Dallas and Las Vegas top the list for most Energy Star homes

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today reaches a milestone for the Energy Star program by passing the 1 millionth Energy Star qualified home mark. With more than 15,000 partners in sectors all across the economy, Energy Star has been enormously successful at saving consumers money by reducing the energy usage of products used in the home and office everyday. Since the program began labeling new homes in 1995, Americans have saved $1.2 billion on their energy bills, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 22 billion pounds. This year alone, families living in Energy Star qualified homes will save more than $270 million on their utility bills, while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from about 370,000 vehicles.  LINK

EPA Soliciting Applications for Environmental Justice Grant Funding

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is accepting grant applications for a total of $1 million in funding for projects aimed at addressing environmental and public health issues in communities. EPA expects to award approximately 40 grants of up to $25,000 each and will accept applications until January 8, 2010. Local governments and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply.

LINK

Statement from Administrator Mills on Continuing Support for Small Businesses through SBA Recovery Programs

WASHINGTON – SBA issued the following statement today from Administrator Karen Mills regarding efforts to ensure continued funding for two key provisions in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009:

“Over the course of the last few months, the Obama Administration has announced several steps to ensure the continued recovery of small businesses, including our commitment to working with Congress to increase maximum loan sizes for the 7(a), 504 and microloan programs and plans to make access to capital from government lending programs easier for small banks in communities across the country.  LINK

In Case You Missed It…

Web Chat on H1N1 and Diabetes

Experts from HHS and the CDC held a web chat this week about perils of H1N1 and diabetes.  If you missed the live broadcast, visit the video archive “Know What To Do About The Flu” at www.flu.gov to catch it as well as other recent programs examining common concerns about the H1N1 flu virus and vaccine.

SBA Administrator Mills Takes Your Questions on Small Business and the Economy

SBA Administrator Karen Mills discusses lending and other issues affecting small business in the economic recovery during a special online discussion.  LINK

Stories of Interest

Black Enterprise.com – Obama Planning Jobs Summit

As unemployment figures continue to rise, the American public is losing hope about job prospects. In fact, a recent Gallup poll found that their optimism has reached a new low, and only 8% of Americans believe that now is a good time to find a job. For months, Republicans have criticized their Democratic colleagues for not placing enough emphasis on job creation and voters in New Jersey and Virginia recently seconded the emotion by choosing the Republican candidate in their gubernatorial races earlier this month.  LINK

EURWeb.com – Senate healthcare bill hits Obama cost target

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Senate healthcare reform plan to be unveiled on Wednesday meets President Barack Obama’s goals on costs and deficit reduction, budget analysts said, a finding that could boost its chances in a sharply divided Senate.  LINK

BlackAmericaWeb.com – Urban Affairs Chief: Cities Getting the Focus

The head of the White House Office of Urban Affairs said the Obama administration is moving forward with its ambitious plan to revitalize metropolitan centers across the country, with a special focus on transportation and education.  LINK

Esssence.com – A Spot of Tea with the Military

With the President in Asia for a series of diplomatic trips (meeting today with the President of South Korea), First Lady Michelle Obama’s been keeping busy. This morning she visited a Virginia middle school to highlight a USDA initiative on nutrition and physical education, and later hosted a tea in honor of women in the military.  LINK

And Finally…

You don’t have to be a fan of classical music to enjoy this great clip from the White House Evening of Classical Music as Cellists Alisa Weilerstein and 8 year-old Sujari Britt perform Luigi Boccherini’s Sonata for Two Cellos in C Major, 1st movement: Allegro moderato.  Ms. Britt is once again proof that we can do anything we put our minds to, and she will make you smile from ear to ear.  Enjoy.  LINK

Dr. Frederick D. Haynes talks to Dallas South about his new radio venture “Freddy Haynes Unscripted” (Part 1 of 2)

They say membership has its privileges. I was fortunate to grab a few moments with my pastor, Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III to discuss his new radio show that’s scheduled to start in March on 94.5 K Soul.

In Part 1 of this 2 part interview, Dr. Haynes talks about what “Freddy Haynes Unscripted” will focus on when it debuts next month and how the idea for the radio show (not station as you will hear me ask) came about.

Then make sure you log back in tomorrow for Part 2 of the interview when Pastor Haynes shares his views on the pending economic stimulus package and how his show will differ from folks like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Many thanks to Dr. Haynes as well as Veta Holt for facilitating the interview.

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MLK Memorial (statue) to be redisigned, causing discussion among Black Blogosphere

I’m happy to announce a third contributor to Dallas South, this time a blogger. Ruth from Vibrant Life will post here from time to time. For her first post, Ruth is discussing something near and dear to my heart: The Martin Luther King Memorial.

Near and dear because dear old A Phi A initiated the memorial and I’ve put quite a few dollars into the project over the years. I hope you enjoy Ruth’s take as much as I did, and please welcome her to the Dallas South family!

 

By Ruth of Vibrant Life

The Washington Post story and photos have black blog-sphere discussing the current controversy Mlk_design surrounding Dr. MLK Jr’s proposed statute design by Chinese master sculptor Lei Yixin. The commission which by law must approve the final design describes it as too confrontational. This term has generated an initial reaction of criticism from blacks suggesting that only a less threatening image of Dr. King will satisfy a white audience. I really do not agree with that theory.

First, sorry call me a protectionist, but I do have a problem with the idea that once again we are “outsourcing” something to China. Recognizing that Dr. King’s mission changed not only our nation but thus the world – he certainly championed American workers of all stripes but could we not pay homage to him through the talent of an American artist? Some say that perspective is bigoted – not intended so sorry if that is the take away. Also, in fairness, keeping in mind that our best known statue is likely the Statute of Liberty – a gift from France – I have no idea who designed the other monuments in Washington.

Regarding the design – sorry but it does not capture the spirit of Dr. King’s legacy. Some are tripping up over the commission’s term “confrontational” with the man emerging from stone and folded arms. That is not what bothers me – humility is not a sign of weakness in the message of the Gospel – bearing in mind Dr. King never sat aside that he was a minister of God first and foremost. This image does not reflect humility. When I think of the greatness of Dr. King’s message it was that he helped to generate so much change through peaceful – intelligent – challenge for change. Certainly he had no problem with standing on the frontline and spending many nights in jail. But it was not done with an air of arrogance, which this image projects.

We each take away from common history that which speaks to us most. For some it was his community organizing skills, for many it was his oratory skills and ability to move a nation beyond their fears to their humanity, for me it was his ability to combine those forces. He crafted a movement that inspired the working men and women to risk their lives, while through his intellect he moved the white community beyond their fears and comfort with the status quo. He spoke with such authenticity to both audiences that he was able to help them find common ground. Dare I say, and you knew I would have to mention our friend, that is part of the appeal of the presumptive Democratic party nominee, Senator Barack Obama.

On a side note, I must say that the image of his features are a good representation.

To return to the discussion regarding the Chinese designer some have suggested the image reflects a persona more common with totalitarian ideals and even reminds them of Lenin. Perhaps the designer is influenced, though he is in exile for speaking out about his country’s policies I believe, by the political climate of his homeland. But I believe Dr. King’s character was attacked enough in that area in life, and I would not want a design selected that would reopen that debate.

Sadly I cannot draw a tree…LOL…no I really can’t. So it is not my place to lecture someone with great talent but to advise the decision makers to remember this is a man who looms very large today even among those of us too young to know Dr. King beyond videos and written speeches. They will never satisfy everyone, but I think a great deal of people can agree – the current design is not the right direction.