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Archive for January 25th, 2012

President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address

Posted by Admin On January - 25 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

“No, we will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits…” – President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, January 24, 2012

 

(Full text of President Obama’s State of the Union Address)

 

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq.  Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought — and several thousand gave their lives.

We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world.  For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq.  For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country.  Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated.  The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.

These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces.  At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations.  They’re not consumed with personal ambition.  They don’t obsess over their differences.  They focus on the mission at hand.  They work together. 

Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example. Think about the America within our reach:  A country that leads the world in educating its people.  An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs.  A future where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world.  An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.

We can do this.  I know we can, because we’ve done it before.  At the end of World War II, when another generation of heroes returned home from combat, they built the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known. My grandfather, a veteran of Patton’s Army, got the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.  My grandmother, who worked on a bomber assembly line, was part of a workforce that turned out the best products on Earth.
 
The two of them shared the optimism of a nation that had triumphed over a depression and fascism.  They understood they were part of something larger; that they were contributing to a story of success that every American had a chance to share — the basic American promise that if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement. 

The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive.  No challenge is more urgent.  No debate is more important.  We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. What’s at stake aren’t Democratic values or Republican values, but American values.  And we have to reclaim them.

Let’s remember how we got here.  Long before the recession, jobs and manufacturing began leaving our shores.  Technology made businesses more efficient, but also made some jobs obsolete.  Folks at the top saw their incomes rise like never before, but most hardworking Americans struggled with costs that were growing, paychecks that weren’t, and personal debt that kept piling up.

In 2008, the house of cards collapsed.  We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them.  Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money.  Regulators had looked the other way, or didn’t have the authority to stop the bad behavior.

It was wrong.  It was irresponsible.  And it plunged our economy into a crisis that put millions out of work, saddled us with more debt, and left innocent, hardworking Americans holding the bag.  In the six months before I took office, we lost nearly 4 million jobs.  And we lost another 4 million before our policies were in full effect.

Those are the facts.  But so are these:  In the last 22 months, businesses have created more than 3 million jobs. 

Last year, they created the most jobs since 2005.  American manufacturers are hiring again, creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s.  Together, we’ve agreed to cut the deficit by more than $2 trillion.  And we’ve put in place new rules to hold Wall Street accountable, so a crisis like this never happens again.  (Ap

The state of our Union is getting stronger.  And we’ve come too far to turn back now.  As long as I’m President, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum.  But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place.   

No, we will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits.  Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward, and lay out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last -– an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.

Now, this blueprint begins with American manufacturing.

On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse.  Some even said we should let it die.  With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen.  In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility.  We got workers and automakers to settle their differences.  We got the industry to retool and restructure.  Today, General Motors is back on top as the world’s number-one automaker.  Chrysler has grown faster in the U.S. than any major car company.  Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants and factories.  And together, the entire industry added nearly 160,000 jobs.   

We bet on American workers.  We bet on American ingenuity.  And tonight, the American auto industry is back. 

What’s happening in Detroit can happen in other industries.  It can happen in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Raleigh.  We can’t bring every job back that’s left our shore.  But right now, it’s getting more expensive to do business in places like China.  Meanwhile, America is more productive.  A few weeks ago, the CEO of Master Lock told me that it now makes business sense for him to bring jobs back home. Today, for the first time in 15 years, Master Lock’s unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity.

So we have a huge opportunity, at this moment, to bring manufacturing back.  But we have to seize it.  Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple:  Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed. 

We should start with our tax code.  Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas.  Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world.  It makes no sense, and everyone knows it.  So let’s change it. 

First, if you’re a business that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn’t get a tax deduction for doing it. That money should be used to cover moving expenses for companies like Master Lock that decide to bring jobs home. 

Second, no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas. From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax.  And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here in America.    

Third, if you’re an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut.  If you’re a high-tech manufacturer, we should double the tax deduction you get for making your products here.  And if you want to relocate in a community that was hit hard when a factory left town, you should get help financing a new plant, equipment, or training for new workers. 

So my message is simple.  It is time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America.  Send me these tax reforms, and I will sign them right away.    

We’re also making it easier for American businesses to sell products all over the world.  Two years ago, I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years.  With the bipartisan trade agreements we signed into law, we’re on track to meet that goal ahead of schedule.  And soon, there will be millions of new customers for American goods in Panama, Colombia, and South Korea.  Soon, there will be new cars on the streets of Seoul imported from Detroit, and Toledo, and Chicago.    

I will go anywhere in the world to open new markets for American products.  And I will not stand by when our competitors don’t play by the rules.  We’ve brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate as the last administration –- and it’s made a difference. Over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tires.  But we need to do more.  It’s not right when another country lets our movies, music, and software be pirated.  It’s not fair when foreign manufacturers have a leg up on ours only because they’re heavily subsidized.

Tonight, I’m announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trading practices in countries like China. There will be more inspections to prevent counterfeit or unsafe goods from crossing our borders.  And this Congress should make sure that no foreign company has an advantage over American manufacturing when it comes to accessing financing or new markets like Russia.  Our workers are the most productive on Earth, and if the playing field is level, I promise you -– America will always win. 

I also hear from many business leaders who want to hire in the United States but can’t find workers with the right skills.  Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job.  Think about that –- openings at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work.  It’s inexcusable.  And we know how to fix it.  

Jackie Bray is a single mom from North Carolina who was laid off from her job as a mechanic.  Then Siemens opened a gas turbine factory in Charlotte, and formed a partnership with Central Piedmont Community College.  The company helped the college design courses in laser and robotics training.  It paid Jackie’s tuition, then hired her to help operate their plant.

I want every American looking for work to have the same opportunity as Jackie did.  Join me in a national commitment to train 2 million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job.  My administration has already lined up more companies that want to help.  Model partnerships between businesses like Siemens and community colleges in places like Charlotte, and Orlando, and Louisville are up and running.  Now you need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers -– places that teach people skills that businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.

And I want to cut through the maze of confusing training programs, so that from now on, people like Jackie have one program, one website, and one place to go for all the information and help that they need.  It is time to turn our unemployment system into a reemployment system that puts people to work.
   
These reforms will help people get jobs that are open today.  But to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, our commitment to skills and education has to start earlier.

For less than 1 percent of what our nation spends on education each year, we’ve convinced nearly every state in the country to raise their standards for teaching and learning — the first time that’s happened in a generation.

But challenges remain.  And we know how to solve them.

At a time when other countries are doubling down on education, tight budgets have forced states to lay off thousands of teachers.  We know a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000.  A great teacher can offer an escape from poverty to the child who dreams beyond his circumstance.  Every person in this chamber can point to a teacher who changed the trajectory of their lives.  Most teachers work tirelessly, with modest pay, sometimes digging into their own pocket for school supplies — just to make a difference.

Teachers matter.  So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer schools a deal.  Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones.  And in return, grant schools flexibility:  to teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn.  That’s a bargain worth making. 

We also know that when students don’t walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma.  When students are not allowed to drop out, they do better.  So tonight, I am proposing that every state — every state — requires that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18. 

When kids do graduate, the most daunting challenge can be the cost of college.  At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July. 

Extend the tuition tax credit we started that saves millions of middle-class families thousands of dollars, and give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work-study jobs in the next five years.

Of course, it’s not enough for us to increase student aid.  We can’t just keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition; we’ll run out of money.  States also need to do their part, by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets.  And colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down.

Recently, I spoke with a group of college presidents who’ve done just that.  Some schools redesign courses to help students finish more quickly.  Some use better technology.  The point is, it’s possible.  So let me put colleges and universities on notice:  If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down. Higher education can’t be a luxury -– it is an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.

Let’s also remember that hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face another challenge:  the fact that they aren’t yet American citizens.  Many were brought here as small children, are American through and through, yet they live every day with the threat of deportation.  Others came more recently, to study business and science and engineering, but as soon as they get their degree, we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else. 

That doesn’t make sense.   

I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration.  That’s why my administration has put more boots on the border than ever before.  That’s why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office.  The opponents of action are out of excuses.  We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now. 

But if election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let’s at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, defend this country.  Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship.  I will sign it right away. 

You see, an economy built to last is one where we encourage the talent and ingenuity of every person in this country.  That means women should earn equal pay for equal work.  It means we should support everyone who’s willing to work, and every risk-taker and entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs.  

After all, innovation is what America has always been about.  Most new jobs are created in start-ups and small businesses.  So let’s pass an agenda that helps them succeed.  Tear down regulations that prevent aspiring entrepreneurs from getting the financing to grow.  Expand tax relief to small businesses that are raising wages and creating good jobs.  Both parties agree on these ideas.  So put them in a bill, and get it on my desk this year.

Innovation also demands basic research.  Today, the discoveries taking place in our federally financed labs and universities could lead to new treatments that kill cancer cells but leave healthy ones untouched.  New lightweight vests for cops and soldiers that can stop any bullet.  Don’t gut these investments in our budget.  Don’t let other countries win the race for the future.  Support the same kind of research and innovation that led to the computer chip and the Internet; to new American jobs and new American industries.

And nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy.  Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I’m directing my administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources. Right now — right now — American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years.  That’s right — eight years.  Not only that — last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past 16 years.

But with only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, oil isn’t enough.  This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy.  A strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.

We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years.  And my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy.  Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.  And I’m requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use.  Because America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.

The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy. And by the way, it was public research dollars, over the course of 30 years, that helped develop the technologies to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock –- reminding us that government support is critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground.        

Now, what’s true for natural gas is just as true for clean energy.  In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries.  Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled, and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it. 

When Bryan Ritterby was laid off from his job making furniture, he said he worried that at 55, no one would give him a second chance.  But he found work at Energetx, a wind turbine manufacturer in Michigan.  Before the recession, the factory only made luxury yachts.  Today, it’s hiring workers like Bryan, who said, “I’m proud to be working in the industry of the future.”

Our experience with shale gas, our experience with natural gas, shows us that the payoffs on these public investments don’t always come right away.  Some technologies don’t pan out; some companies fail.  But I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy.  I will not walk away from workers like Bryan.  (Applause.)  I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here. 

We’ve subsidized oil companies for a century.  That’s long enough.  It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that rarely has been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that never has been more promising.  Pass clean energy tax credits.  Create these jobs. 

We can also spur energy innovation with new incentives.  The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change.  But there’s no reason why Congress shouldn’t at least set a clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation.  So far, you haven’t acted.  Well, tonight, I will.  I’m directing my administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power 3 million homes.  And I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, working with us, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history -– with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year. 

Of course, the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy.  So here’s a proposal:  Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings.  Their energy bills will be $100 billion lower over the next decade, and America will have less pollution, more manufacturing, more jobs for construction workers who need them.  Send me a bill that creates these jobs. 

Building this new energy future should be just one part of a broader agenda to repair America’s infrastructure.  So much of America needs to be rebuilt.  We’ve got crumbling roads and bridges; a power grid that wastes too much energy; an incomplete high-speed broadband network that prevents a small business owner in rural America from selling her products all over the world. 

During the Great Depression, America built the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge.  After World War II, we connected our states with a system of highways.  Democratic and Republican administrations invested in great projects that benefited everybody, from the workers who built them to the businesses that still use them today.

In the next few weeks, I will sign an executive order clearing away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects.  But you need to fund these projects.  Take the money we’re no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home. 

There’s never been a better time to build, especially since the construction industry was one of the hardest hit when the housing bubble burst.  Of course, construction workers weren’t the only ones who were hurt.  So were millions of innocent Americans who’ve seen their home values decline.  And while government can’t fix the problem on its own, responsible homeowners shouldn’t have to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom to get some relief.  

And that’s why I’m sending this Congress a plan that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage, by refinancing at historically low rates.  No more red tape.  No more runaround from the banks.  A small fee on the largest financial institutions will ensure that it won’t add to the deficit and will give those banks that were rescued by taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust. 

Let’s never forget:  Millions of Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a government and a financial system that do the same.  It’s time to apply the same rules from top to bottom.  No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts.  An America built to last insists on responsibility from everybody. 

We’ve all paid the price for lenders who sold mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them, and buyers who knew they couldn’t afford them.  That’s why we need smart regulations to prevent irresponsible behavior.  Rules to prevent financial fraud or toxic dumping or faulty medical devices — these don’t destroy the free market.  They make the free market work better.

There’s no question that some regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too costly.  In fact, I’ve approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his. I’ve ordered every federal agency to eliminate rules that don’t make sense.  We’ve already announced over 500 reforms, and just a fraction of them will save business and citizens more than $10 billion over the next five years.  We got rid of one rule from 40 years ago that could have forced some dairy farmers to spend $10,000 a year proving that they could contain a spill — because milk was somehow classified as an oil.  With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk. 

Now, I’m confident a farmer can contain a milk spill without a federal agency looking over his shoulder.  Absolutely.  But I will not back down from making sure an oil company can contain the kind of oil spill we saw in the Gulf two years ago.  I will not back down from protecting our kids from mercury poisoning, or making sure that our food is safe and our water is clean.  I will not go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny your coverage, or charge women differently than men.  And I will not go back to the days when Wall Street was allowed to play by its own set of rules.  The new rules we passed restore what should be any financial system’s core purpose:  Getting funding to entrepreneurs with the best ideas, and getting loans to responsible families who want to buy a home, or start a business, or send their kids to college.

So if you are a big bank or financial institution, you’re no longer allowed to make risky bets with your customers’ deposits.  You’re required to write out a “living will” that details exactly how you’ll pay the bills if you fail –- because the rest of us are not bailing you out ever again.  And if you’re a mortgage lender or a payday lender or a credit card company, the days of signing people up for products they can’t afford with confusing forms and deceptive practices — those days are over.  Today, American consumers finally have a watchdog in Richard Cordray with one job:  To look out for them. 

We’ll also establish a Financial Crimes Unit of highly trained investigators to crack down on large-scale fraud and protect people’s investments.  Some financial firms violate major anti-fraud laws because there’s no real penalty for being a repeat offender.  That’s bad for consumers, and it’s bad for the vast majority of bankers and financial service professionals who do the right thing.  So pass legislation that makes the penalties for fraud count. 

And tonight, I’m asking my Attorney General to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorney general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis. This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans. 

Now, a return to the American values of fair play and shared responsibility will help protect our people and our economy.  But it should also guide us as we look to pay down our debt and invest in our future.

Right now, our most immediate priority is stopping a tax hike on 160 million working Americans while the recovery is still fragile. People cannot afford losing $40 out of each paycheck this year.  There are plenty of ways to get this done.  So let’s agree right here, right now:  No side issues.  No drama.  Pass the payroll tax cut without delay.  Let’s get it done. 

When it comes to the deficit, we’ve already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings.  But we need to do more, and that means making choices.  Right now, we’re poised to spend nearly $1 trillion more on what was supposed to be a temporary tax break for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.  Right now, because of loopholes and shelters in the tax code, a quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households.  Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.  

Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans?  Or do we want to keep our investments in everything else –- like education and medical research; a strong military and care for our veterans?  Because if we’re serious about paying down our debt, we can’t do both.  

The American people know what the right choice is.  So do I.  As I told the Speaker this summer, I’m prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long-term costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors. 

But in return, we need to change our tax code so that people like me, and an awful lot of members of Congress, pay our fair share of taxes. 

Tax reform should follow the Buffett Rule.  If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes.  And my Republican friend Tom Coburn is right:  Washington should stop subsidizing millionaires.  In fact, if you’re earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn’t get special tax subsidies or deductions.  On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn’t go up. You’re the ones struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages.  You’re the ones who need relief.   

Now, you can call this class warfare all you want.  But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes?  Most Americans would call that common sense. 

We don’t begrudge financial success in this country.  We admire it.  When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it’s not because they envy the rich.  It’s because they understand that when I get a tax break I don’t need and the country can’t afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference — like a senior on a fixed income, or a student trying to get through school, or a family trying to make ends meet.  That’s not right.  Americans know that’s not right.  They know that this generation’s success is only possible because past generations felt a responsibility to each other, and to the future of their country, and they know our way of life will only endure if we feel that same sense of shared responsibility.  That’s how we’ll reduce our deficit.  That’s an America built to last. 

Now, I recognize that people watching tonight have differing views about taxes and debt, energy and health care.  But no matter what party they belong to, I bet most Americans are thinking the same thing right about now:  Nothing will get done in Washington this year, or next year, or maybe even the year after that, because Washington is broken.

Can you blame them for feeling a little cynical? 

The greatest blow to our confidence in our economy last year didn’t come from events beyond our control.  It came from a debate in Washington over whether the United States would pay its bills or not.  Who benefited from that fiasco?

I’ve talked tonight about the deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street.  But the divide between this city and the rest of the country is at least as bad — and it seems to get worse every year.

Some of this has to do with the corrosive influence of money in politics.  So together, let’s take some steps to fix that.  Send me a bill that bans insider trading by members of Congress; I will sign it tomorrow. Let’s limit any elected official from owning stocks in industries they impact.  Let’s make sure people who bundle campaign contributions for Congress can’t lobby Congress, and vice versa — an idea that has bipartisan support, at least outside of Washington. 

Some of what’s broken has to do with the way Congress does its business these days.  A simple majority is no longer enough to get anything -– even routine business –- passed through the Senate. Neither party has been blameless in these tactics.  Now both parties should put an end to it. For starters, I ask the Senate to pass a simple rule that all judicial and public service nominations receive a simple up or down vote within 90 days.

The executive branch also needs to change.  Too often, it’s inefficient, outdated and remote. That’s why I’ve asked this Congress to grant me the authority to consolidate the federal bureaucracy, so that our government is leaner, quicker, and more responsive to the needs of the American people.  

Finally, none of this can happen unless we also lower the temperature in this town.  We need to end the notion that the two parties must be locked in a perpetual campaign of mutual destruction; that politics is about clinging to rigid ideologies instead of building consensus around common-sense ideas. 

I’m a Democrat.  But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed:  That government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.  That’s why my education reform offers more competition, and more control for schools and states.  That’s why we’re getting rid of regulations that don’t work.  That’s why our health care law relies on a reformed private market, not a government program. 

On the other hand, even my Republican friends who complain the most about government spending have supported federally financed roads, and clean energy projects, and federal offices for the folks back home. 

The point is, we should all want a smarter, more effective government.  And while we may not be able to bridge our biggest philosophical differences this year, we can make real progress.  With or without this Congress, I will keep taking actions that help the economy grow.  But I can do a whole lot more with your help.  Because when we act together, there’s nothing the United States of America can’t achieve. That’s the lesson we’ve learned from our actions abroad over the last few years.

Ending the Iraq war has allowed us to strike decisive blows against our enemies.  From Pakistan to Yemen, the al Qaeda operatives who remain are scrambling, knowing that they can’t escape the reach of the United States of America. 

From this position of strength, we’ve begun to wind down the war in Afghanistan.  Ten thousand of our troops have come home.  Twenty-three thousand more will leave by the end of this summer.  This transition to Afghan lead will continue, and we will build an enduring partnership with Afghanistan, so that it is never again a source of attacks against America. 

As the tide of war recedes, a wave of change has washed across the Middle East and North Africa, from Tunis to Cairo; from Sana’a to Tripoli.  A year ago, Qaddafi was one of the world’s longest-serving dictators -– a murderer with American blood on his hands.  Today, he is gone.  And in Syria, I have no doubt that the Assad regime will soon discover that the forces of change cannot be reversed, and that human dignity cannot be denied. 

How this incredible transformation will end remains uncertain.  But we have a huge stake in the outcome.  And while it’s ultimately up to the people of the region to decide their fate, we will advocate for those values that have served our own country so well.  We will stand against violence and intimidation.  We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings –- men and women; Christians, Muslims and Jews.  We will support policies that lead to strong and stable democracies and open markets, because tyranny is no match for liberty.

And we will safeguard America’s own security against those who threaten our citizens, our friends, and our interests.  Look at Iran.  Through the power of our diplomacy, a world that was once divided about how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program now stands as one.  The regime is more isolated than ever before; its leaders are faced with crippling sanctions, and as long as they shirk their responsibilities, this pressure will not relent.

Let there be no doubt:  America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal. 

But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better, and if Iran changes course and meets its obligations, it can rejoin the community of nations.

The renewal of American leadership can be felt across the globe.  Our oldest alliances in Europe and Asia are stronger than ever.  Our ties to the Americas are deeper.  Our ironclad commitment — and I mean ironclad — to Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history. 

We’ve made it clear that America is a Pacific power, and a new beginning in Burma has lit a new hope.  From the coalitions we’ve built to secure nuclear materials, to the missions we’ve led against hunger and disease; from the blows we’ve dealt to our enemies, to the enduring power of our moral example, America is back. 

Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about. 

That’s not the message we get from leaders around the world who are eager to work with us.  That’s not how people feel from Tokyo to Berlin, from Cape Town to Rio, where opinions of America are higher than they’ve been in years.  Yes, the world is changing.  No, we can’t control every event.  But America remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs –- and as long as I’m President, I intend to keep it that way. 

That’s why, working with our military leaders, I’ve proposed a new defense strategy that ensures we maintain the finest military in the world, while saving nearly half a trillion dollars in our budget.  To stay one step ahead of our adversaries, I’ve already sent this Congress legislation that will secure our country from the growing dangers of cyber-threats. 

Above all, our freedom endures because of the men and women in uniform who defend it. As they come home, we must serve them as well as they’ve served us.  That includes giving them the care and the benefits they have earned –- which is why we’ve increased annual VA spending every year I’ve been President.  And it means enlisting our veterans in the work of rebuilding our nation.

With the bipartisan support of this Congress, we’re providing new tax credits to companies that hire vets.  Michelle and Jill Biden have worked with American businesses to secure a pledge of 135,000 jobs for veterans and their families.  And tonight, I’m proposing a Veterans Jobs Corps that will help our communities hire veterans as cops and firefighters, so that America is as strong as those who defend her. 

Which brings me back to where I began.  Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn a thing or two from the service of our troops.  When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian, Latino, Native American; conservative, liberal; rich, poor; gay, straight.  When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails.  When you’re in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one nation, leaving no one behind.

One of my proudest possessions is the flag that the SEAL Team took with them on the mission to get bin Laden.  On it are each of their names.  Some may be Democrats.  Some may be Republicans.  But that doesn’t matter.  Just like it didn’t matter that day in the Situation Room, when I sat next to Bob Gates — a man who was George Bush’s defense secretary — and Hillary Clinton — a woman who ran against me for president. 

All that mattered that day was the mission.  No one thought about politics.  No one thought about themselves.  One of the young men involved in the raid later told me that he didn’t deserve credit for the mission.  It only succeeded, he said, because every single member of that unit did their job — the pilot who landed the helicopter that spun out of control; the translator who kept others from entering the compound; the troops who separated the women and children from the fight; the SEALs who charged up the stairs.  More than that, the mission only succeeded because every member of that unit trusted each other — because you can’t charge up those stairs, into darkness and danger, unless you know that there’s somebody behind you, watching your back.

So it is with America.  Each time I look at that flag, I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those 50 stars and those 13 stripes.  No one built this country on their own.  This nation is great because we built it together.  This nation is great because we worked as a team.  This nation is great because we get each other’s backs.  And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard.  As long as we are joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, and our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

United States Capitol
Washington, D.C.

January 24, 2012

9:10 P.M. EST

Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union Address

Posted by Admin On January - 25 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 

Mitch Daniels: Obama has “held back” economy, made debt “radically worse”

   

(Full text of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels Republican response) 

 

“The status of ‘loyal opposition’ imposes on those out of power some serious responsibilities: to show respect for the Presidency and its occupant, to express agreement where it exists. Republicans tonight salute our President, for instance, for his aggressive pursuit of the murderers of 9/11, and for bravely backing long overdue changes in public education. I personally would add to that list admiration for the strong family commitment that he and the First Lady have displayed to a nation sorely needing such examples.

“On these evenings, Presidents naturally seek to find the sunny side of our national condition. But when President Obama claims that the state of our union is anything but grave, he must know in his heart that this is not true.

“The President did not cause the economic and fiscal crises that continue in America tonight. But he was elected on a promise to fix them, and he cannot claim that the last three years have made things anything but worse: the percentage of Americans with a job is at the lowest in decades. One in five men of prime working age, and nearly half of all persons under 30, did not go to work today.

“In three short years, an unprecedented explosion of spending, with borrowed money, has added trillions to an already unaffordable national debt. And yet, the President has put us on a course to make it radically worse in the years ahead. The federal government now spends one of every four dollars in the entire economy; it borrows one of every three dollars it spends. No nation, no entity, large or small, public or private, can thrive, or survive intact, with debts as huge as ours.

“The President’s grand experiment in trickle-down government has held back rather than sped economic recovery. He seems to sincerely believe we can build a middle class out of government jobs paid for with borrowed dollars. In fact, it works the other way: a government as big and bossy as this one is maintained on the backs of the middle class, and those who hope to join it.

“Those punished most by the wrong turns of the last three years are those unemployed or underemployed tonight, and those so discouraged that they have abandoned the search for work altogether. And no one has been more tragically harmed than the young people of this country, the first generation in memory to face a future less promising than their parents did.

“As Republicans our first concern is for those waiting tonight to begin or resume the climb up life’s ladder. We do not accept that ours will ever be a nation of haves and have nots; we must always be a nation of haves and soon to haves.

“In our economic stagnation and indebtedness, we are only a short distance behind Greece, Spain, and other European countries now facing economic catastrophe. But ours is a fortunate land. Because the world uses our dollar for trade, we have a short grace period to deal with our dangers. But time is running out, if we are to avoid the fate of Europe, and those once-great nations of history that fell from the position of world leadership.

“So 2012 is a year of true opportunity, maybe our last, to restore an America of hope and upward mobility, and greater equality. The challenges aren’t matters of ideology, or party preference; the problems are simply mathematical, and the answers are purely practical.

“An opposition that would earn its way back to leadership must offer not just criticism of failures that anyone can see, but a positive and credible plan to make life better, particularly for those aspiring to make a better life for themselves. Republicans accept this duty, gratefully.

“The routes back to an America of promise, and to a solvent America that can pay its bills and protect its vulnerable, start in the same place. The only way up for those suffering tonight, and the only way out of the dead end of debt into which we have driven, is a private economy that begins to grow and create jobs, real jobs, at a much faster rate than today.

“Contrary to the President’s constant disparagement of people in business, it’s one of the noblest of human pursuits. The late Steve Jobs – what a fitting name he had – created more of them than all those stimulus dollars the President borrowed and blew. Out here in Indiana, when a businessperson asks me what he can do for our state, I say ‘First, make money. Be successful. If you make a profit, you’ll have something left to hire someone else, and some to donate to the good causes we love.’

“The extremism that stifles the development of homegrown energy, or cancels a perfectly safe pipeline that would employ tens of thousands, or jacks up consumer utility bills for no improvement in either human health or world temperature, is a pro-poverty policy. It must be replaced by a passionate pro-growth approach that breaks all ties and calls all close ones in favor of private sector jobs that restore opportunity for all and generate the public revenues to pay our bills.

“That means a dramatically simpler tax system of fewer loopholes and lower rates. A pause in the mindless piling on of expensive new regulations that devour dollars that otherwise could be used to hire somebody. It means maximizing on the new domestic energy technologies that are the best break our economy has gotten in years.

“There is a second item on our national must-do list: we must unite to save the safety net. Medicare and Social Security have served us well, and that must continue. But after half and three quarters of a century respectively, it’s not surprising that they need some repairs. We can preserve them unchanged and untouched for those now in or near retirement, but we must fashion a new, affordable safety net so future Americans are protected, too.

“Decades ago, for instance, we could afford to send millionaires pension checks and pay medical bills for even the wealthiest among us. Now, we can’t, so the dollars we have should be devoted to those who need them most.

“The mortal enemies of Social Security and Medicare are those who, in contempt of the plain arithmetic, continue to mislead Americans that we should change nothing. Listening to them much longer will mean that these proud programs implode, and take the American economy with them. It will mean that coming generations are denied the jobs they need in their youth and the protection they deserve in their later years.

“It’s absolutely so that everyone should contribute to our national recovery, including of course the most affluent among us. There are smart ways and dumb ways to do this: the dumb way is to raise rates in a broken, grossly complex tax system, choking off growth without bringing in the revenues we need to meet our debts. The better course is to stop sending the wealthy benefits they do not need, and stop providing them so many tax preferences that distort our economy and do little or nothing to foster growth.

“It’s not fair and it’s not true for the President to attack Republicans in Congress as obstacles on these questions. They and they alone have passed bills to reduce borrowing, reform entitlements, and encourage new job creation, only to be shot down time and time again by the President and his Democratic Senate allies.

“This year, it falls to Republicans to level with our fellow citizens about this reality: if we fail to act to grow the private sector and save the safety net, nothing else will matter much. But to make such action happen, we also must work, in ways we Republicans have not always practiced, to bring Americans together.

“No feature of the Obama Presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others. As in previous moments of national danger, we Americans are all in the same boat. If we drift, quarreling and paralyzed, over a Niagara of debt, we will all suffer, regardless of income, race, gender, or other category. If we fail to shift to a pro-jobs, pro-growth economic policy, there will never be enough public revenue to pay for our safety net, national security, or whatever size government we decide to have.

“As a loyal opposition, who put patriotism and national success ahead of party or ideology or any self-interest, we say that anyone who will join us in the cause of growth and solvency is our ally, and our friend. We will speak the language of unity. Let us rebuild our finances, and the safety net, and reopen the door to the stairway upward; any other disagreements we may have can wait.

“You know, the most troubling contention in our national life these days isn’t about economics, or policy at all. It’s about us, as a free people. In two alarming ways, that contention is that we Americans just can’t cut it anymore.

“In word and deed, the President and his allies tell us that we just cannot handle ourselves in this complex, perilous world without their benevolent protection. Left to ourselves, we might pick the wrong health insurance, the wrong mortgage, the wrong school for our kids; why, unless they stop us, we might pick the wrong light bulb!

“A second view, which I admit some Republicans also seem to hold, is that we Americans are no longer up to the job of self-government. We can’t do the simple math that proves the unaffordability of today’s safety net programs, or all the government we now have. We will fall for the con job that says we can just plow ahead and someone else will pick up the tab. We will allow ourselves to be pitted one against the other, blaming our neighbor for troubles worldwide trends or our own government has caused.

“2012 must be the year we prove the doubters wrong. The year we strike out boldly not merely to avert national bankruptcy but to say to a new generation that America is still the world’s premier land of opportunity. Republicans will speak for those who believe in the dignity and capacity of the individual citizen; who believe that government is meant to serve the people rather than supervise them; who trust Americans enough to tell them the plain truth about the fix we are in, and to lay before them a specific, credible program of change big enough to meet the emergency we are facing.

“We will advance our positive suggestions with confidence, because we know that Americans are still a people born to liberty. There is nothing wrong with the state of our Union that the American people, addressed as free-born, mature citizens, cannot set right. Republicans in 2012 welcome all our countrymen to a program of renewal that rebuilds the dream for all, and makes our ‘city on a hill’ shine once again.”

Original copy of Amendment that ended slavery goes on display February 1 at Presidential Museum

Posted by Admin On January - 25 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – It officially started the process to free the slaves, and now you’ll be free to see it starting February 1 through May 31 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield .

A fully signed and recently restored copy of the Congressional resolution for a 13th Amendment to the Constitution, the official act that would abolish slavery in the United States , will be on display in the Museum’s Treasures Gallery starting February 1, the 147th anniversary of its signing.  The vellum document, 20 by 16 inches, bears Abraham Lincoln’s original signature plus those of Vice President Hannibal Hamlin and 139 members of Congress who voted for the resolution.  Lincoln and the others had signed this and a few other commemorative copies on February 1, 1865 after the House passed the resolution in a tight vote the night before.  The document was carefully restored free of charge by Graphic Conservation Company of Chicago and returned to Library and Museum officials in December 2011.

There are 15 remaining original copies of the Resolution for a 13th Amendment signed by Lincoln .  Only eight of these also include the congressional signatures, including Illinois ’ copy, and only three of these eight also have Lincoln ‘s note “Approved, February 1, 1865” on it.  Moreover, the Illinois copy is unique in having the signatures in four columns instead of five, making them a little easier to read and suggesting that this was the first one made.

The State of Illinois purchased its copy in June 1941, and it has since been part of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s collection.

The 13th Amendment will be part of a Treasures Gallery display that includes other original artifacts pertaining to slavery – a reward notice that was posted in Springfield in 1841 for a family of escaped slaves from Missouri , and an 1859 slave sale document from Lincoln ’s birth county in Kentucky.

“These documents tell the three-part story of slavery in Lincoln ‘s life,” said James Cornelius, curator of the Lincoln Collection at the Presidential Library and Museum. “He was born surrounded by it in Kentucky , and it continued in his home county.  In Springfield , freedom-seekers hid out just four blocks from his rented room.  And finally, his and Congress’ final great action of his presidency ended the national travesty.”

There was no legal reason for the 13th Amendment copies to be created, but the signers wanted to capture the historic change permanently in ink for friends in either chamber of Congress.  When the vote passed, joyful Congressmen had “wept like children,” and women in the observer’s gallery “rose in their seats and waved their handkerchiefs,” according to the Congressional Globe.  The next morning, the Washington Daily Morning Chronicle vowed that the signers’ names would go into history with those who signed the Declaration of Independence.

Two of the principal architects of the 13th Amendment were U.S. Senator Lyman Trumbull from Alton , Illinois , who suggested the final wording, and President Lincoln.  Under the U.S. Constitution, any such resolution from Congress has to be approved by three-quarters of the state legislatures.  The Illinois General Assembly was proud to be the first to ratify the 13th Amendment, within minutes of the passage of the House resolution in Washington , since they were following its progress by telegraph from the Old State Capitol in Springfield .

President Lincoln did not live to see the amendment officially enacted, though there was little doubt that the states would agree.  When Georgia ‘s newly reorganized state government ratified it on December 9, 1865 the Amendment cleared the final hurdle, and slavery was forever dead in the United States .

For more information about the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, visit www.presidentlincoln.org.

Heart & Soul Magazine purchased by Brown Curry Detry Taylor Associates, LLC

Posted by Admin On January - 25 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

New owners to expand focus to women of color and reemphasize fitness

Silver Spring, MD (BlackNews.com) — Heart & Soul magazine, an 18-year-old national wellness publication, has been purchased by Brown Curry Detry Taylor & Associates, LLC (BCDT), a media content company based in Silver Spring, Md. Clarence I. Brown, BCDT president and CEO, announced today that the company acquired all assets of Heart & Soul Enterprises, LLC, the parent company of the magazine, from its owner, Edwin V. Avent, a Baltimore-based businessman.

“We are excited about our acquisition of this important brand and readers will quickly notice a revamped, first-rate print edition and more engaging digital version of Heart & Soul,” said Brown. “We will focus on repositioning the brand back to fitness, health and wellness and broadening the content, the audience, and the advertisers.”

Heart & Soul has historically targeted African-American women. In one of its first moves, BCDT will broaden the magazine’s audience to include all women of color, one of the fastest growing segments in the nation. Racial and ethnic minorities constituted 91.7 percent of the U.S. population growth between 2000 and 2010 and are projected to make up a majority of the country’s population by 2042. By broadening its audience, Heart & Soul becomes the only national publication that targets multicultural women ages 21 to 55 in the health, fitness and wellness category.

“When you look at the statistics and see the significant health disparities that exist between Caucasian women and women of color, you look for ways to close those health gaps,” Brown explained. “Women of color are disproportionately affected by a number of diseases and health conditions and many of those problems can be avoided or minimized through optimizing nutrition and regular physical activity. Heart & Soul will provide readers valuable information, expert advice and relevant resources that will help reduce the disparities and improve the lives of all women of color.”

BCDT, which stands for Brown, Curry, Detry and Taylor, was formed by four highly-respected media and marketing veterans: Clarence I. Brown, George E. Curry, Patrick H. Detry and Pamela E. Taylor. All the principals have past ties to Heart & Soul. Brown was responsible for daily management of the magazine when it was owned by BET, Curry was editor of Emerge when Heart & Soul was part of the BET magazine group and Detry and Taylor provided consulting services to Edwin Avent, the former owner.

“It helps that all of us are familiar with our new acquisition,” explained Brown. “Because we have a history with Heart & Soul, we are uniquely positioned to take it to a higher level.”

Heart & Soul was first published in 1993 as part of a joint venture between Reginald Ware and Rodale Press. It was later owned by BET, Vanguarde Media and, more recently, Edwin V. Avent. The new owners have relocated the magazine’s headquarters from Baltimore to Silver Spring, Md.

M.A. Graham & Associates was responsible for identifying and attracting the capital to complete the transaction. Garland Group LLC provided financial services support during the acquisition.
About BCDT Principals

Clarence Brown, President and CEO – Brown managed the Black Entertainment Television (BET) magazine group that once included Heart & Soul, Emerge, YSB and BET Weekend. He was Vice President of Operations and Associate Publisher of the BET Publishing Group and responsible for managing an annual budget of $15 million. Brown was also instrumental in creating MSBET, a joint venture between BET and Microsoft. Prior to joining BET, Brown worked for Time magazine for 12 years, serving as Makeup Manager, Manager for Special Advertising, and Traffic Manager for Time U.S.

George E. Curry, Executive Vice President, Content – Curry is the former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA). He was also a reporter for Sports Illustrated and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before serving as a Washington correspondent and New York bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune. Curry was elected president of the American Society of Magazine Editors, the first African-American to hold the association’s top post. He is a syndicated columnist and author of three books.

Patrick H. Detry, Executive Vice President, Advertising – Detry worked at some of the top ad agencies in the world, including J. Walter Thompson, Benton & Bowles (now DMB&B) and UniWorld Group before moving to the sales side of the business. He was the top sales person and Director of Ad Sales for BET Interactive, bringing in such major advertisers as GM, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Ford, DaimlerChrylser and Nike. Prior to joining BET, Detry sold advertising for Time, Redbook, USA Today, TV Cable Week, Sky Radio and Black Rock Digital.

Pamela E. Taylor, Executive Vice President, Marketing – Taylor has spent more than 25 years directing strategic marketing, promotions and advertising for such blue-chip companies as Spiegel, Sears, United Airlines, Hewlett-Packard, Soft Sheen Products and McDonald’s Corporation. For McDonald’s, she served as Account Director for The Marketing Store, the global promotional agency of the company. In that capacity, she managed all U.S. Hispanic, African-American and Asian promotional sponsorships activations. She also worked in advertising, managing key client accounts at Burrell Communications Group.
About M.A. Graham & Associates

M.A. Graham & Associates specializes in identifying and securing growth and acquisition capital for small businesses. The group works with experienced management teams seeking to acquire businesses or expand their existing platforms. M.A. Graham & Associates acts as a strategic partner in assisting businesses to enhance performance and create long-term value accretion. The owners have collective experience in excess of 50 years in private equity, financial management and marketing. (www.magrahamandassociates.com)
About Garland Group

Garland Group LLC is an accounting and corporate finance consulting firm specializing in providing acquisition support services to high growth private entrepreneurial companies. Garland Group, LLC is a Certified Public Accounting firm registered in Maryland. (www.gargroup.com)

Senator Kirk's family overwhelmed by "Outpouring" of support

Posted by Admin On January - 25 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – The office of Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) released the following statement at the request of Senator Kirk’s family:

“We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support we’ve received over the last couple of days — from President Obama, Leader McConnell, Senator Durbin, Governor Quinn, Mayor Emanuel, the Illinois delegation and so many others across the state, the nation and beyond.  Words cannot describe how much Joe Manchin’s friendship and support means to us and especially to Mark.  We are truly blessed to have such amazing family and friends.”

Kirk suffered a stroke on Saturday.

Kirk suffered a stroke on Saturday.

Physicians Medical Forum hosts day-long conference to recruit African American students to attend medical school and practice in the Oakland/San Francisco Bay area and Northern California

Posted by Admin On January - 25 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 

Pre-med, University/College & Post-baccalaureate Students
And High School Seniors Invited to Take Part Saturday, Feb. 18th

 

 

(PR, et Cetera, Inc.) – The number of African American students applying to medical school is increasing. First-time applicants to medical school reached an all-time high in 2011, increasing nationally by 2.6 percent over last year, according to new data released in October, 2011 by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Total applicants rose by 2.8 percent with gains across most major racial and ethnic groups for a second year in a row… African American applicants increased by 4.8 percent.

 

OAKLAND/SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA/
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA


The Physicians Medical Forum (PMF) aims to increase the number of African American physicians, residents and medical students in the Oakland/San Francisco Bay and Northern California, while helping to improve the delivery of culturally competent medical care to better meet the health care needs of African Americans and community at-large. To that end, on February 18th, the non-profit organization will host its annual “Doctors on Board Program—a day-long, tuition-free, information-filled series of seminars, workshops and case studies to encourage

2011 DOB Program students wear doctor’s coats and stethoscopes preparing to train in the mock medical clinic

the increase of black students attending medical school.

 

The October, 2011 AAMC report is encouraging,” said J. Renee Navarro, PharmD, M.D., Vice-Chancellor for Diversity & Outreach at the University of California, San Francisco.  “This is truly a sign that the pipeline programs are successful and beginning to reach black and other minority students.  Programs like “Doctors On Board” are essential in providing mentorship, linkages and networks for students interested in becoming physicians.”

 

Several of the Bay Area’s most prominent physicians and medical school representatives will provide students with an innovative and exciting opportunity to explore varied facets of medicine and provide information about medical school preparation, medical specialties, and life as a physician.  Segments of the “Doctors on Board Program” will include: a workshop on admissions & financial aid; a seminar with currently-enrolled medical students and residents; a “mock” Ethicon Knot Tying Basic Skills Training Session; “mock” medical clinics with real patients; and a workshop for parents of future doctors. Upon completion of the program, students will be awarded certificates with a reception immediately following.

 

There is no cost for students to attend the conference sponsored by Physicians Medical Forum. Students who wish to take part in this groundbreaking, one-day program must submit the Student Application by Monday, February 6, 2012. 

 

WHO:

Physicians Medical Forum (PMF)

WHAT:

“Doctors on Board Program” (Pre-med Recruitment Conference)

WHEN:

Saturday, February 18, 2012 | 6:30 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.
Registration & breakfast (6:30 A.M. – 8:00 A.M.) 
Workshops, lunch, mock training & medical clinics (8:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.)
Award ceremony and networking reception (4:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M.)

WHERE:

Oakland Marriott City Center | 10th and Broadway, downtown Oakland, CA

 

Dr. Albert L. Brooks, PMF President and Chief of Medical Services at Washington Hospital in Fremont, California said, “I am proud to be a part of the Physician’s Medical Forum, and look forward to meeting and mentoring young African American students who aspire to become doctors. It is rewarding to know that so many physicians from throughout Northern California are donating their time to encourage young minds to consider attending medical school.”

 

Members of the PMF Board of Directors, Sinkler Miller Medical Association (SMMA), and Student National Medical Association (SNMA) Region 1; students from UCSF, UC Davis, and Stanford University Schools of Medicine; and numerous other prominent physicians, faculty, residents, administrators, and business professionals will instruct, mentor, and network with student participants.

 

PMF Executive Director Stalfana Bello said, “PMF understands that an active, viable, diverse and thriving medical community is key to retaining physicians.  The “Doctors On Board Program” is vital in its effort to encourage students to pursue careers in medicine, which is so imperative to maintaining healthy inner-city communities.”

 

The “Doctors on Board Program” is supported by Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. Physicians Medical Forum has also received grants from Wells Fargo, California Healthcare Foundation, California Endowment, Safeway, Inc., SGC Financial & Insurance Services, and Kaplan Test Prep.

 

ABOUT PHYSICIANS MEDICAL FORUM (PMF):

 

The Physicians Medical Forum is an Oakland, CA-based non-profit 501(c) (3) supported by a grant from Alta Bates Summit Medical Center.  The organization’s mission is to recruit and retain African American physicians to eliminate health disparities; improve access to care; and maintain diversity within the profession, thereby improving the quality of life for people of color.  

 

One of PMF’s primary goals is to partner with medical schools and universities to develop and maintain sustainable initiatives, programs, events, mentoring, and organizational support that serves to encourage residents and medical students to practice in the Northern California area.

 

Other PMF programs and initiatives include: African American Physicians Directory; studies on physicians retention and recruitment; providing workshops for physicians training, education and development; providing scholarships for medical students and residents; networking with legislators and medical organizations; and community outreach programs.

Chicago lagged on biking and walking funding in 2010

Posted by Admin On January - 25 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS
(News from the Active Transportation Alliance)
 

Chicago ranks 46 out of 51 large cities for spending on walking and bicycling in 2010
 

The Active Transportation Alliance lauds recent investments and urges elected officials to secure more federal funding

 

According to a report released by the Alliance for Biking & Walking, a national advocacy organization, Chicago ranked 46 out of 51 large cities for per capita spending on improving walking and bicycling in 2010. The Active Transportation Alliance believes the report shows clear support for local elected officials to secure additional federal funding that could improve infrastructure, safety and education programs for walking and biking.

The “Bicycling and Walking in the U.S.: 2012 Benchmarking Report” ranks Chicago 12th out of 51 large cities for percentage of people commuting to work by walking (5.8 percent) or biking (1.1 percent bicycling). Despite the lack of investment, Chicago ranks higher than the nationwide average of 2.9 percent walking and 0.6 percent biking, but not as good as Minneapolis, which boasts 6.4 percent of commuting trips on foot and 4.1 percent of commuting trips on a bike.

Over a five year average (2006-2010), Chicago spent .2 percent of its federal transportation funding on bike and pedestrian projects for a total of $561,871.

“Chicago’s recent investment in biking and walking infrastructure served as a shot in the arm to help offset years of underfunding,” said Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance. “It’s an exciting time for biking and walking in Chicago, and we’re thrilled to help Mayor Emanuel’s administration bring these plans to fruition.”

Burke said the planned network of protected bike lanes and neighborhood greenways, as well as the crosswalks, plazas and other types of pedestrian infrastructure will certainly boost the number of people walking and biking in Chicago. 

Overall, the report makes a strong case for boosting active transportation funding nationwide. “A much greater investment is needed in biking and walking to increase active transportation,” said Jeffrey Miller, Alliance for Biking & Walking president/CEO. “The Benchmarking Report shows that biking and walking are smart and cost-effective solutions that will pay for themselves many times over in healthcare savings and impact on local economies.”

“Bicycling and Walking in the U.S.: 2012 Benchmarking Report” was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and made possible through additional support from AARP and Planet Bike. For more information and to download the report, visit www.PeoplePoweredMovement.org/benchmarking.

The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. The Active Transportation Alliance is North America’s largest transportation advocacy organization, supported by nearly 6,000 members, 1,000 volunteers and 40 full-time staff. For more information on the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.  

Alliance for Biking & Walking is the North American coalition of nearly 200 grassroots biking and walking advocacy organizations. The Alliance works to strengthen state and local organizations through research, sharing best practices, training, resources, and grants. For more information or to find a local organization visit www.PeoplePoweredMovement.org.

Educated consumers result in fewer complaints says the Better Business Bureau

Posted by Admin On January - 25 - 2012 1 COMMENT

(From the Better Business Bureau)                                                                         

 

 

CHICAGO, IL – Inquiries for Business Reviews to the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois (BBB) jumped by over 16-percent in 2011, a sign consumers are taking the initiative to investigate companies before doing business with them.  

 

“We are very pleased the BBB has become a greater resource for consumers who are following our advice to check out free BBB Business Reviews before signing a contract or making a purchase,” says Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “If consumers would consistently do this simple first step, there would be fewer upset and dissatisfied shoppers.”

 

The total number of inquiries fielded by the BBB in 2011 was 4,482,760, a marked increased over the 3,853,476 in 2010. Visits to the BBB website, www.bbb.org/chicago, increased by 40-percent.

 

“The reason for the inquiry increases,” explained Bernas, “is the intensive education campaign the BBB has sponsored through its use of billboards, radio, print, online advertising and public events.”

 

Complaints to the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois dropped by nearly 5,000 in 2011 compared to the 55,528 handled in 2010.

 

The top 10 types of businesses receiving complaints for northern Illinois in 2011 were: Department Stores, Financial Services,Insurance Companies, Auto Repair & Services, New Car Auto Dealers, Airlines, Collection Agencies, Retail Florists, Used Car Auto Dealers, and Restaurants. 

 

Consumers seeking Free BBB Business Reviews can visit their website at www.bbb.org

 

Illinois Lt. Governor Simon: "President Obama's blueprint for our economy is built on a strong, skilled American workforce"

Posted by Admin On January - 25 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 

Lt. Governor Simon Statement on State of the Union

 

CARBONDALE, IL - Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon pledged to work with President Obama and Illinois schools to send more students into the workforce with college credentials that qualify them for in-demand jobs.

“President Obama’s blueprint for our economy is built on a strong, skilled American workforce,” Simon said. “A growing number of jobs require employees to hold more than a high school education, but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree. Illinois community colleges are poised to help more students earn career certificates and associate degrees that translate to good-paying jobs. I will work with the colleges, state leaders, and President Obama to ensure that we offer clear paths to employment. If our students work hard in school, we want them to find a job here in Illinois that will enable them to raise a family, own a home, and save for retirement. Our focus on college completion will help create an America that’s built to last.”

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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