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Archive for September 3rd, 2013

President Obama’s statement on Syria

Posted by Admin On September - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Statement by the President on Syria

Rose Garden

President Barack Obama: Good afternoon, everybody.  Ten days ago, the world watched in horror as men, women and children were massacred in Syria in the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century.  Yesterday the United States presented a powerful case that the Syrian government was responsible for this attack on its own people.

Our intelligence shows the Assad regime and its forces preparing to use chemical weapons, launching rockets in the highly populated suburbs of Damascus, and acknowledging that a chemical weapons attack took place.  And all of this corroborates what the world can plainly see — hospitals overflowing with victims; terrible images of the dead.  All told, well over 1,000 people were murdered.  Several hundred of them were children — young girls and boys gassed to death by their own government.

This attack is an assault on human dignity.  It also presents a serious danger to our national security.  It risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons.  It endangers our friends and our partners along Syria’s borders, including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq.  It could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons, or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm.

In a world with many dangers, this menace must be confronted.

Now, after careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets.  This would not be an open-ended intervention.  We would not put boots on the ground.  Instead, our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope.  But I’m confident we can hold the Assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons, deter this kind of behavior, and degrade their capacity to carry it out.

Our military has positioned assets in the region.  The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has informed me that we are prepared to strike whenever we choose.  Moreover, the Chairman has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time-sensitive; it will be effective tomorrow, or next week, or one month from now.  And I’m prepared to give that order.

But having made my decision as Commander-in-Chief based on what I am convinced is our national security interests, I’m also mindful that I’m the President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy.  I’ve long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  And that’s why I’ve made a second decision:  I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress.

Over the last several days, we’ve heard from members of Congress who want their voices to be heard.  I absolutely agree. So this morning, I spoke with all four congressional leaders, and they’ve agreed to schedule a debate and then a vote as soon as Congress comes back into session.

In the coming days, my administration stands ready to provide every member with the information they need to understand what happened in Syria and why it has such profound implications for America’s national security.  And all of us should be accountable as we move forward, and that can only be accomplished with a vote.

I’m confident in the case our government has made without waiting for U.N. inspectors.  I’m comfortable going forward without the approval of a United Nations Security Council that, so far, has been completely paralyzed and unwilling to hold Assad accountable.  As a consequence, many people have advised against taking this decision to Congress, and undoubtedly, they were impacted by what we saw happen in the United Kingdom this week when the Parliament of our closest ally failed to pass a resolution with a similar goal, even as the Prime Minister supported taking action.

Yet, while I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course, and our actions will be even more effective.  We should have this debate, because the issues are too big for business as usual.  And this morning, John Boehner, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell agreed that this is the right thing to do for our democracy.

A country faces few decisions as grave as using military force, even when that force is limited.  I respect the views of those who call for caution, particularly as our country emerges from a time of war that I was elected in part to end.  But if we really do want to turn away from taking appropriate action in the face of such an unspeakable outrage, then we must acknowledge the costs of doing nothing.

Here’s my question for every member of Congress and every member of the global community:  What message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain sight and pay no price?  What’s the purpose of the international system that we’ve built if a prohibition on the use of chemical weapons that has been agreed to by the governments of 98 percent of the world’s people and approved overwhelmingly by the Congress of the United States is not enforced?

Make no mistake — this has implications beyond chemical warfare.  If we won’t enforce accountability in the face of this heinous act, what does it say about our resolve to stand up to others who flout fundamental international rules?  To governments who would choose to build nuclear arms?  To terrorist who would spread biological weapons?  To armies who carry out genocide?

We cannot raise our children in a world where we will not follow through on the things we say, the accords we sign, the values that define us.

So just as I will take this case to Congress, I will also deliver this message to the world.  While the U.N. investigation has some time to report on its findings, we will insist that an atrocity committed with chemical weapons is not simply investigated, it must be confronted.

I don’t expect every nation to agree with the decision we have made.  Privately we’ve heard many expressions of support from our friends.  But I will ask those who care about the writ of the international community to stand publicly behind our action.

And finally, let me say this to the American people:  I know well that we are weary of war.  We’ve ended one war in Iraq.  We’re ending another in Afghanistan.  And the American people have the good sense to know we cannot resolve the underlying conflict in Syria with our military.  In that part of the world, there are ancient sectarian differences, and the hopes of the Arab Spring have unleashed forces of change that are going to take many years to resolve.  And that’s why we’re not contemplating putting our troops in the middle of someone else’s war.

Instead, we’ll continue to support the Syrian people through our pressure on the Assad regime, our commitment to the opposition, our care for the displaced, and our pursuit of a political resolution that achieves a government that respects the dignity of its people.

But we are the United States of America, and we cannot and must not turn a blind eye to what happened in Damascus.  Out of the ashes of world war, we built an international order and enforced the rules that gave it meaning.  And we did so because we believe that the rights of individuals to live in peace and dignity depends on the responsibilities of nations.  We aren’t perfect, but this nation more than any other has been willing to meet those responsibilities.

So to all members of Congress of both parties, I ask you to take this vote for our national security.  I am looking forward to the debate.  And in doing so, I ask you, members of Congress, to consider that some things are more important than partisan differences or the politics of the moment.

Ultimately, this is not about who occupies this office at any given time; it’s about who we are as a country.  I believe that the people’s representatives must be invested in what America does abroad, and now is the time to show the world that America keeps our commitments.  We do what we say.  And we lead with the belief that right makes might — not the other way around.

We all know there are no easy options.  But I wasn’t elected to avoid hard decisions.  And neither were the members of the House and the Senate.  I’ve told you what I believe, that our security and our values demand that we cannot turn away from the massacre of countless civilians with chemical weapons.  And our democracy is stronger when the President and the people’s representatives stand together.

I’m ready to act in the face of this outrage.  Today I’m asking Congress to send a message to the world that we are ready to move forward together as one nation.

Thanks very much.

The New White Negro

Posted by Admin On September - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

This article is the Eighth of an 11-part series on race

What it means that family breakdown is now biracial

By Isabel Sawhill

In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan released a controversial report written for his then boss, President Lyndon Johnson. Entitled “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” it described the condition of lower-income African-American families and catalyzed a highly acrimonious, decades-long debate about Black culture and family values in America.

The report cited a series of staggering statistics showing high rates of divorce, unwed childbearing, and single motherhood among Black families. “The white family has achieved a high degree of stability and is maintaining that stability,” the report said. “By contrast, the family structure of lower class Negroes is highly unstable, and in many urban centers is approaching complete breakdown.”

Nearly 50 years later, the picture is even more grim-and the statistics can no longer be organized neatly by race. In fact, Moynihan’s bracing profile of the collapsing Black family in the 1960s looks remarkably similar to a profile of the average White family today. White households have similar-or worse-statistics of divorce, unwed childbearing, and single motherhood as the Black households cited by Moynihan in his report. In 2000, the percentage of White children living with a single parent was identical to the percentage of Black children living with a single parent in 1960: 22 percent.

What was happening to Black families in the ’60s can be reinterpreted today not as an indictment of the Black family but as a harbinger of a larger collapse of traditional living arrangements-of what demographer Samuel Preston, in words that Moynihan later repeated, called “the earthquake that shuddered through the American family.”

That earthquake has not affected all American families the same way. While the Moynihan report focused on disparities between White and Black, increasingly it is class, and not just race, that matters for family structure. Although Blacks as a group are still less likely to marry than Whites, gaps in family formation patterns by class have increased for both races, with the sharpest declines in marriage rates occurring among the least educated of both races. For example, in 1960, 76 percent of adults with a college degree were married, compared to 72 percent of those with a high school diploma-a gap of only 4 percentage points. By 2008, not only was marriage less likely, but that gap had quadrupled, to 16 percentage points, with 64 percent of adults with college degrees getting married compared to only 48 percent of adults with a high school diploma. A report from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia summed up the data well: “Marriage is an emerging dividing line between America’s moderately educated middle and those with college degrees.” The group for whom marriage has largely disappeared now includes not just unskilled Blacks but unskilled Whites as well. Indeed, for younger women without a college degree, unwed childbearing is the new normal.

These differences in family formation are a problem not only for those concerned with “family values” per se, but also for those concerned with upward mobility in a society that values equal opportunity for its children. Because the breakdown of the traditional family is overwhelmingly occurring among working-class Americans of all races, these trends threaten to make the U.S. a much more class-based society over time. The well-educated and upper-middle-class parents who are still forming two-parent families are able to invest time and resources in their children-time and resources that lower- and working-class single mothers, however impressive their efforts to be both good parents and good breadwinners, simply do not have.

The striking similarities between what happened to Black Americans at an earlier stage in our history and what is happening now to White working-class Americans may shed new light on old debates about cultural versus structural explanations of poverty. What’s clear is that economic opportunity, while not the only factor affecting marriage, clearly matters.

The journalist, Hanna Rosin, describes the connection between declining economic opportunities for men and declining rates of marriage in her book The End of Men. Like Moynihan, she points to the importance of job opportunities for men in maintaining marriage as an institution. The disappearance of well-paying factory jobs has, in her view, led to the near collapse of marriage in towns where less educated men used to be able to support a family and a middle-class lifestyle, earning $70,000 or more in a single year. As these jobs have been outsourced or up-skilled, such men either are earning less or are jobless altogether, making them less desirable marriage partners. Other researchers, including Kathryn Edin at Harvard, Andrew Cherlin at Johns Hopkins, and Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute, drawing on close observations of other working-class communities, have made similar arguments.

Family life, to some extent, adapts to the necessities thrown up by the evolution of the economy. Just as joblessness among young Black men contributed to the breakdown of the Black family that Moynihan observed in the ’60s, more recent changes in technology and global competition have hollowed out the job market for less educated Whites. Unskilled White men have even less attachment to the labor force today than unskilled Black men did 50 years ago, leading to a decline in their marriage rates in a similar way.

In 1960, the employment rate of prime-age (25 to 55) Black men with less than a high school education was 80 percent. Fast-forward to 2000, and the employment rate of White men with less than a high school education was much lower, at 65 percent-and even for White high school graduates it was only 84 percent. Without an education in today’s economy, being White is no guarantee of being able to find a job.

That’s not to say that race isn’t an issue. It’s clear that Black men have been much harder hit by the disappearance of jobs for the less skilled than White men. Black employment rates for those with less than a college education have sunk to near-catastrophic levels. In 2000, only 63 percent of Black men with only a high school diploma (compared with 84 percent of White male graduates) were employed. Since the recession, those numbers have fallen even farther. And even Black college graduates are not doing quite as well as their White counterparts. Based on these and other data, I believe it would be a mistake to conclude that race is unimportant; Blacks continue to face unique disadvantages because of the color of their skin. It ought to be possible to say that class is becoming more important, but that race still matters a lot.

Most obviously, the Black experience has been shaped by the impact of slavery and its ongoing aftermath. Even after emancipation and the civil rights revolution in the 1960s, African-Americans faced exceptional challenges like segregated and inferior schools and discrimination in the labor market. It would take at least a generation for employers to begin to change their hiring practices and for educational disparities to diminish; even today these remain significant barriers. A recent audit study found that White applicants for low-wage jobs were twice as likely to be called in for interviews as equally qualified Black applicants.

Black jobless rates not only exceed those of Whites; in addition, a single-minded focus on declining job prospects for men and its consequences for family life ignores a number of other factors that have led to the decline of marriage. Male employment prospects can lead to more marriages, but scholars such as Harvard’s David Ellwood and Christopher Jencks have argued that economic factors alone cannot explain the wholesale changes in the frequency of single parenting, unwed births, divorce, and marriage, especially among the least educated, that are leading to growing gaps between social classes. So what else explains the decline of marriage?

First, and critically important in my view, is the changing role of women. In my first book, Time of Transition: The Growth of Families Headed by Women, published in 1975, my coauthor and I argued that it was not just male earnings that mattered, but what men could earn relative to women. When women don’t gain much, if anything, from getting married, they often choose to raise children on their own. Fifty years ago, women were far more economically dependent on marriage than they are now. Today, women are not just working more, they are better suited by education and tradition to work in such rapidly growing sectors of the economy as health care, education, administrative jobs, and services. While some observers may see women taking these jobs as a matter of necessity-and that’s surely a factor-we shouldn’t forget the revolution in women’s roles that has made it possible for them to support a family on their own.

In a fascinating piece of academic research published in the Journal of Human Resources in 2011, Scott Hankins and Mark Hoekstra discovered that single women who won between $25,000 and $50,000 in the Florida lottery were 41 percent to 48 percent less likely to marry over the following three years than women who won less than $1,000. We economists call this a “natural experiment,” because it shows the strong influence of women’s ability to support themselves without marriage-uncontaminated by differences in personal attributes that may also affect one’s ability or willingness to marry. My own earlier research also suggested that the relative incomes of wives and husbands predicted who would divorce and who would not.

Women’s growing economic independence has interacted with stubborn attitudes about changing gender roles. When husbands fail to adjust to women’s new breadwinning responsibilities (who cooks dinner or stays home with a sick child when both parents work?) the couple is more likely to divorce. It may be that well-educated younger men and women continue to marry not only because they can afford to but because many of the men in these families have adopted more egalitarian attitudes. While a working-class male might find such attitudes threatening to his manliness, an upper-middle-class man often does not, given his other sources of status. But when women find themselves having to do it all-that is, earn money in the workplace and shoulder the majority of child care and other domestic responsibilities-they raise the bar on whom they’re willing to marry or stay married to.

These gender-related issues may play an even greater role for Black women, since while White men hold slightly more high school diplomas and baccalaureate degrees than White women, Black women are much better educated than Black men. That means it’s more difficult for well-educated Black women to find Black partners with comparable earning ability and social status. In 2010, Black women made 87 percent of what Black men did, whereas White women made only 70 percent of what white men earned. For less educated Black women, there is, in addition, a shortage of Black men because of high rates of incarceration. One estimate puts the proportion of Black men who will spend some time in prison at almost one third.

In a forthcoming book, Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City, Timothy Nelson and Edin, the Harvard sociologist, describe in great detail the kind of role reversal that has occurred among low-income families, both Back and White. What they saw were mothers who were financially responsible for children, and fathers who were trying to maintain ties to their children in other ways, limited by the fact that these fathers have very little money, are often involved in drugs, crime, or other relationships, and rarely live with the mother and child. In other words, low-income fathers are not only withdrawing from the traditional breadwinner role, they’re staging a wholesale retreat-even as they make attempts to remain involved in their children’s lives.

Normative changes figure as well. As the retreat from marriage has become more common, it’s also become more acceptable. That acceptance came earlier among Blacks than among Whites because of their own distinct experiences. Now that unwed childbearing is becoming the norm among the White working class as well, there is no longer much of a stigma associated with single parenting, and there is a greater willingness on the part of the broader community to accept the legitimacy of single-parent households.

Despite this change in norms, however, most Americans, whatever their race or social class, still aspire to marriage. It’s just that their aspirations are typically unrealistically high and their ability to achieve that ideal is out of step with their opportunities and lifestyle. As scholars such as Cherlin and Edin have emphasized, marriage is no longer a precursor to adult success. Instead, when it still takes place, marriage is more a badge of success already achieved. In particular, large numbers of young adults are having unplanned pregnancies long before they can cope with the responsibilities of parenthood. Paradoxically, although they view marriage as something they cannot afford, they rarely worry about the cost of raising a child.

Along with many others, I remain concerned about the effects on society of this wholesale retreat from stable two-parent families. The consequences for children, especially, are not good. Their educational achievements, and later chances of becoming involved in crime or a teen pregnancy are, on average, all adversely affected by growing up in a single-parent family. But I am also struck by the lessons that emerge from looking at how trends in family formation have differed by class as well as by race. If we were once two countries, one Black and one White, we are now increasingly becoming two countries, one advantaged and one disadvantaged. Race still affects an individual’s chances in life, but class is growing in importance. This argument was the theme of William Julius Wilson’s 1980 book, The Declining Significance of Race. More recent evidence suggests that, despite all the controversy his book engendered, he was right.

To say that class is becoming more important than race isn’t to dismiss race as a very important factor. Blacks have faced, and will continue to face, unique challenges. But when we look for the reasons why less skilled Blacks are failing to marry and join the middle class, it is largely for the same reasons that marriage and a middle-class lifestyle is eluding a growing number of Whites as well. The jobs that unskilled men once did are gone, women are increasingly financially independent, and a broad cultural shift across America has created a new normal.

Isabell Sawhill, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, has written extensively on the family and the economy. Her most recent book is “Creating an Opportunity Society.”  This article, the eighth of an 11-part series on race, is sponsored by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and was originally published by the Washington Monthly Magazine.

Gloucester’s Rebellion: Another Lesson About Our Character

Posted by Admin On September - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

By Benjamin Todd Jealous

President and CEO of the national NAACP

Three hundred years before a multiracial coalition stormed Washington’s National Mall to demand equal rights and economic justice, the working men of Gloucester County, Va., made a stand of their own based on class, not race. We often ask whether Martin Luther King Jr. would recognize the world in 2013, but it is equally valid to ask whether he would have recognized the world of 1663, when Black and White children of slaves and servants did play together in the tobacco fields.

One of the forgotten landmarks of civil rights history occurred 350 years ago Sunday: Sept. 1, 1663. This day marks the first recorded instance of African slaves and European indentured servants standing together for justice against the ruling elite.

The Gloucester County Conspiracy took place at a time when Virginia tobacco growers relied on both slaves and indentured servants to farm tobacco. Management treated their workers with cruel abandon, regardless of color.

Unwilling to accept their fate, a group of black and white workers met in secret to plan a revolt. After securing weapons and a drum, they would “march from house to house” until they reached the mansion of Royal Governor Sir William Berkeley. They would demand their freedom, and resort to force if necessary.

Though the plot failed, the landowners recognized the power that the Gloucester rebels possessed when banded together. Over the next several decades, they sought to breed racial contempt between the white and black members of the underclass. On the plantation level, they gave whites nominal control in the field. On the colony level, they allowed whites to join the militia and carry firearms. As historian Edmund Morgan writes, the landowners used racism as a device for control.

On this 350th anniversary, the Gloucester rebellion can teach us as much about our character as the March on Washington.

The rebels in Gloucester recognized what King memorialized in his famous remarks: we are, by our nature, capable of great things when we judge one another solely on the content of our character, not by the color of our skin.

The original state of race relations in America is one of shared struggle, not mutually assured destruction. It is ultimately the introduction of an outside variable – money, power, or the desire for control – that tends to alter that natural state.

It turns out that 2013 is a perfect year for this lesson. The fight for voting rights is making its own 50th anniversary curtain call, in the form of the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder and countless voter suppression laws that affect African-Americans but also Americans of all colors, ages and incomes. The failed War on Drugs continues to destroy families in black inner city America, and, increasingly, white rural America.

Finally, 45 years after King was killed in the midst of his Poor People’s Campaign, low-wage workers of all hues are organizing across geographic and demographic lines to demand a higher minimum wage.

Politics is a lot like physics. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and objects in motion eventually return to their original state. As we tackle these challenges, let us consider that the original state of race relations in America may be one of unity – and that the possibility of moving beyond our nation’s legacy of racism is obtainable.

In his 1869 speech “Our Composite Nationality,” Frederick Douglass wrote about the unique phenomenon and mission of America. On this anniversary, let us remember his words: “Our geographical position, our relation to the outside world, our fundamental principles of Government … our vast resources, requiring all manner of labor to develop them, and our already existing composite population, all conspire to one grand end, and that is to make us the most perfect national illustration of the unity and dignity of the human family, that the world has ever seen.”

Benjamin Todd Jealous is the president and CEO of the national NAACP.

This column was first published in USA TODAY. Contact: Ben Wrobel 917-846-0658 bwrobel@naacpnet.org @NAACPPress

Seriously? Scoring Zero

Posted by Admin On September - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

By William Spriggs

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The current tracking of Congress’ popularity shows that only 15 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing. Now, House Speaker John Boehner struck another tone deaf moment at a political fundraiser in Idaho when he warned that when Congress returns in September, he will lead Republicans in holding up the government’s business to pick a fight with President Obama over the nation’s debt ceiling.

More than 11.5 million Americans are out actively looking for work, while the economy languishes with 2 million fewer jobs than at the end of 2007, more than five and a half years ago. Median family income remains thousands of dollars below the level it reached in 2007. And thousands of America’s workers are staging strikes this week to raise their low-wage pay to something respectable. Americans want more jobs and a raise in pay now. How does a showdown on the integrity of the United States of America and paying its bills help address jobs and pay now? They don’t.

The United States’ credibility rests firmly on a decision made at its founding that the debt of the young, fledgling country was good. The country has never looked back and remains the most sought after currency because the word of the United States is as good as gold-it will pay its debts. Today, the economy stands more than $652 billion above its peak in 2007. The federal budget deficit as a share of the economy has shrunk in half since 2008. And, this year, the deficit is projected by the Congressional Budget Office to shrink by 40 percent from last year’s. So, there is no need to debate the obligation of Congress to quickly pass legislation to insure the United States lives up to its word and continues to pay its bills.

What Mr. Boehner risks is more discussion of downgrading the credit worthiness of the United States, and adding too much uncertainty to a world economy that is already nervous. And, what he is proposing is to waste the time of Congress debating the honor of the United States, rather than addressing restoring the almost 330,000 local educators lost to our children’s public schools because of this economic downturn.

In fact, given the effect that sequestration is having on Americans, in light of the data coming in, Congress should be passing legislation to end sequestration now. For the thousands of Americans struggling looking for work it is more important to restore their unemployment benefits. For the thousands of children being shut out of Head Start programs to build their foundation for learning and America’s prosperity it is more important to restore their Head Start program slots.

Mr. Boehner has made it clear. If there is a wasteful debate on raising the debt ceiling, it will be the Republicans in the House of Representatives who will be initiating it and dragging it on. Obviously, he will not rest until his actions lead to crippling the American economy for a chance to blame President Obama for a failing economy. He is instead making it clear to the 77 percent of Americans who disapprove of the job he and Congress are doing, that it is time for his leadership to end, and to send him home in 2014.

This week we have all been reminded of the 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom on the mall in Washington. The post-World War II era saw several recessions: in 1948, 1953, 1957 and 1960. It seemed the government’s promise in the Employment Act of 1946 to keep unemployment down was hollow. Short bursts of full-employment appeared to be the outcome of war time fervor; not a real goal of policies. Mr. Boehner’s actions remind us today, that there are those who oppose full employment, or at least do not see it as a real policy goal. He wants Americans to believe he is pre-occupied with debt and government spending; not believable concerns given his deafening silence when George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the rich and reckless wars drove up government spending and reversed government surpluses into soaring government debt.

No, there will be no one else to blame except Mr. Boehner if the fragile economy continues to stall with inadequate job growth and stagnant wages. He is not leading a charge with an infrastructure program to rebuild America’s falling roads or bridges and get Americans back to work. He is not leading a charge to get the money to our local school systems lost because of local revenue declines caused by continued high unemployment and low family incomes, so we can hire back the teachers needed for our children’s classrooms. He is not leading a charge to get the wages for the jobs the economy is creating up to something decent; raising the minimum wage so Americans can help support their families. Those are the programs the American people expect Congress to be working on.

The current string of months with positive job growth has now reached 34 months. The longest string of consecutive months with job gains since 1939 is 48 months. The second longest string is 45. So, there is a real chance we are running into the end of this engine of growth, which has been modest in its performance. It may stop before we regain all the jobs lost since the end of 2007. And, that would be very bad news for the economy.

As in 1963, there is a real urgency of now. We must act quickly to get the millions of Americans back to work, and the income of those working up so they can ride the waves of the economy. With no time to waste, Mr. Boehner is scoring a zero. The same score his side needs to get in votes in 2014.

Follow Spriggs on Twitter: @WSpriggs.

Contact: Amaya Smith-Tune Acting Director, Media Outreach AFL-CIO 202-637-5142.

Tom Joyner Foundation and Denny’s to give away thousands in 2013-2014 scholarships to minority students

Posted by Admin On September - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Deadlines to apply are in September and October 2013

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — The 2013-2014 Denny’s Hungry For Education Scholarship program is back, and aims to recognize students by awarding deserving high school and college students with scholarships for their ideas to help Denny’s efforts to fight childhood hunger.
The scholarships will be given away in partnership with many organizations including the Tom Joyner Foundation, Urban League of the Upstate, and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).
For the Tom Joyner Foundation scholarships, the applicant must be a full-time enrolled student, and have one of the qualifying declared majors. He/she must also have a demonstrated financial need, and be in good academic standing.
For the Urban League scholarships, applicants must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. Grades and academic performance will serve as indicators of potential; however, an emphasis may be placed on the individuals essay submission.

For more details about the Denny’s Hungry For Education Scholarship program, visit:
www.scholarshipsonline.org/2013/06/dennys-hungry-for-education-scholarship.html
To search hundreds of other 2013-2014 scholarships, visit:
www.ScholarshipsOnline.org

National Veterans Art Museum joins Smithsonian Magazine’s Ninth Annual Museum Day Live!

Posted by Admin On September - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Museums and Cultural Institutions throughout the country Offer free admission on September 28, 2013

CHICAGO, IL – The National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM) will open its doors free of charge on Saturday, September 28, 2013, as part of Smithsonian magazine’s ninth annual Museum Day Live! A nationwide event, Museum Day Live! offers free admission to visitors presenting a Museum Day Live! ticket at participating museums and cultural institutions.

Inclusive by design, the event represents Smithsonian’s commitment to making learning and the spread of knowledge accessible to everyone, giving museums across all 50 states the opportunity to emulate the admission policy of the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. Last year’s event drew over 400,000 participants, and this year’s event expects record-high participation.

The NVAM offers free admission to visitors year-round, but is excited to join the Smithsonian in this effort to make cultural and learning experiences available and accessible to all. The NVAM recently launched The Things They Carried Interactive, a website designed to make the arts and history of their permanent exhibition The Things They Carried, based on Tim O’Brien’s book of the same name, available and accessible to all, free of charge. The Things They Carried Interactive is available through www.nvam.org.

“Museum Day Live! is a great opportunity for individuals throughout our country to take advantage of the wealth of resources in museums and cultural institutions near them. We hope our neighbors in Chicago use this day to discover the cultural and artistic offerings of museums like ours,” said Executive Director Levi Moore.

Current exhibitions at the NVAM include The Things They Carried, which features work from the permanent collection and is inspired by Tim O’Brien’s book of the same name; Not About Bombs, which features work by five female Iraqi artists and will be on display until October; and Tenacity and Truth: People, Places and Memories, which opened on Memorial Day 2013 and will remain on display through May 2014. Tenacity and Truth is the NVAM’s widest-ranging show, featuring artists from WWII, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, and the Iraq War. In addition, patrons can have a sneak peek at the newest acquisitions to the permanent collection.

The Museum Day Live! ticket will be available to download beginning in August at Smithsonian.com/museumday. Visitors who present the Museum Day Live! ticket will gain free entrance for two at participating venues for one day only. No ticket is required for admission to the NVAM. One ticket is permitted per household, per email address. For more information about Museum Day Live! 2013 and a list of participating museums and cultural institutions, please visit Smithsonian.com/museumday.

About Smithsonian Media
Smithsonian Media comprises of its flagship publication, Smithsonian publication, as well as Air & Space, goSmithsonian, Smithsonian Media Digital Network, and the Smithsonian Channel. Smithsonian Media is a division of Smithsonian Enterprises, the revenue-generating business unit of the SMithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park, and nine research facilities. Approximately 30 million people from around the world visit the museums annually.

About the National Veterans Art Museum
The National Veterans Art Museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and exhibition of art inspired by combat and created by veterans. No other gallery in the world focuses on the subject of war from an artistic perspective, making this collection truly unique. The National Veterans Art Museum addresses both historical and contemporary issues related to military service in order to give patrons of all backgrounds insight into the effects of war and to provide veterans an artistic outlet to work through their military and combat experiences.

The National Veterans Art Museum is located at 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. The National Veterans Art Museum will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is free. For group admission reservations, call the Museum at 312/326-0270 or visit www.nvam.org.

Patrons of the museum can access art from the permanent collection and biographical information on the artists through the NVAM Collection Online, a recently launched online and high-resolution archive of every piece of art in the museum’s permanent collection. The NVAM Collection Online can be found at www.nvam.org/collection-online.

Best-Selling Author releases new book “Ex-Felon Survival Guide”

Posted by Admin On September - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS


Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Best selling author Dr. Tracy Andrus has released another book entitled Ex-Felon Survival Guide, which is destined to become another best-seller. Dr. Andrus shares his life experiences with readers regarding what it has taken for him to remain free for the last 19 years. This book offers some of the best advice ever for ex-felons being released from prisons throughout the United States.

Dr. Andrus’ story is one of the most inspirational stories ever recorded in the United States by an ex-felon. He was sentenced to 57 years in prison for check kiting and felony theft in 1989 and served three years in prison. After his release in 1994, Andrus entered college and earned his associates, bachelors, masters and became the first African American in the United States to earn a PhD degree in Juvenile Justice.

He graduated from Prairie View A&M University in 2005, and today Dr. Andrus is Director of Criminal Justice at an HBCU in Texas and Pastor of Edwards Chapel B. C. in Marshall, TX.

Dr. Andrus is also author of Beneath the Skin of Black Folks, How Black Folks In America Really Feel, Why Are So Many Black Folks in Jail, and a Macro Analysis of Poverty and African American Incarceration. All of his books are available on Amazon.com.

Photo Caption: Bookcover

Roche Schulfer celebrates 40 years with Goodman Theatre

Posted by Admin On September - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Executive leader to be honored on the “Walkway of Stars” on September 4, and at the September 24 Season Opening Celebration

CHICAGO, IL – Lifelong Chicagoan Roche Edward Schulfer’s 40 years of distinguished service to Goodman Theatre—a rarely-exceeded tenure at a single American theater—will be celebrated with a star on the “Walkway of Stars” beneath the iconic Goodman marquee, and at the 2013/2014 Season Opening Celebration on September 24. One of the most respected theater producers in the country, Schulfer has been central to the Goodman’s emergence as a major cultural institution and leading U.S. theater. He began his theater career in the Goodman’s box office in 1973, and quickly rose through the ranks; he currently serves as Goodman Theatre’s Executive Director (a position he has held since 1980) and, with Artistic Director Robert Falls, shares a 27-year producing partnership—one of the longest in the industry.  Schulfer has overseen the production of close to 350 plays (including 125 world or American premieres), has negotiated the presentation of Goodman productions at national and international venues and established Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas Carol as an annual Chicago holiday tradition (marking its 36th production this season). He coordinated the development of the $46 million new Goodman Theatre complex from 1998 – 2000, which served as a catalyst for Chicago’s Theater District. In honor of Schulfer’s milestone anniversary, the Goodman’s Boards, artists, staff and friends contributed more than $1 million in special gifts, bringing the $15 million Endowing Excellence Campaign near completion. Schulfer’s star will be unveiled on September 4 at 11am; call 312.443.5151 to make media arrangements.

“On behalf of the City of Chicago, I congratulate Roche Schulfer on four decades of leadership of Goodman Theatre,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Roche’s efforts at the Goodman have helped Chicago earn our reputation as a global destination for theater, and his visionary leadership has transformed the Goodman and introduced theater to thousands across our City. I congratulate Roche on this milestone achievement.”

During the leadership of Schulfer and Falls, the Goodman’s attendance has averaged 90% capacity; sales revenue has grown from $2.5 million to $11.5 million; and public support has grown from $2 million to $6.6 million. Under their leadership, the theater has made community engagement a core value of the institution, establishing a diverse array of youth and lifelong learning programs. The Goodman has received numerous awards and accolades for excellence, including the Pulitzer Prize for Ruined by Lynn Nottage (2009); “Best Regional Theater in the United States” by Time magazine (2003); the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater (1992); and numerous Joseph Jefferson awards for outstanding achievement in Chicago-area theater. Schulfer is a founder and two-time chairman of the League of Chicago Theatres and a founding member, past chair and current board member of Arts Alliance Illinois. “Schulfer’s love for the theater is palpable, but his business skills have made the difference in what his loyalists believe is the Goodman’s very existence” (Chicago Sun-Times).

“As the current Goodman Theatre Chair and on behalf of those who have preceded me in this role, it is a privilege to work with Roche Schulfer—a charismatic arts advocate with remarkable business acumen whose leadership led to the establishment of quality, diversity and community as the core values of the Goodman,” said Ruth Ann M. Gillis, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Exelon Corporation, and President, Exelon Business Services Co. “Roche has championed cultural diversity and gender equality on and off the stage, and his entrepreneurial and strategic initiatives have made theater accessible to all.”

Theater management as a career evolved during the 1960s and 1970s, after the founding of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the rise of both public and private funding for the arts.

“Roche is among the early trailblazers of this work, and has set a towering and inspiring example for the field,” said Teresa Eyring, Executive Director of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national service organization for more than 450 not-for-profit theaters. “He is one of the only practitioners in the American theater field who has been elected to multiple separate terms on TCG’s board over the last three decades, and is deeply respected by his peers and by emerging leaders—who literally soak up his wisdom. As a producer, Roche is well known for his fiscal brilliance, but he is also a tremendous advocate for artists—helping to ensure that artists have a home at the Goodman, and that the wider community is aware of the challenges faced by freelance theater artists. He has also been a committed, consistent presence at the national level advocating for the entire performing arts sector.”

Following Schulfer’s graduation from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Economics, he was hired on September 4, 1973 as a Box Office Attendant at Goodman Theatre under then-Artistic Director William Woodman (at the Goodman’s previous 200 S. Columbus Drive location). He was promoted to Assistant to the Managing Director in 1974 (under Managing Director John Economos); General Manager in 1977 (working with Managing Director Janet Wade) and was named Managing Director in 1980, working with then-Artistic Director Gregory Mosher. From 1974 to 1983, Schulfer produced the works in Goodman Stage 2, which became a force in the growth of Chicago theater through premieres of David Mamet’s American Buffalo, A Life in the Theatre, Edmond and Glengarry Glen Ross. He also worked with Mosher to make Goodman productions more representative of the diverse Chicago community through new programming, casting and marketing strategies. In addition, in 1976, he founded the off-Loop Producers Association—the predecessor of the League of Chicago Theatres.

“There simply is no better, smarter or more generous collaborator in the American theater than Roche Schulfer,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls. “An enormously gifted producer and shrewd business strategist, he has shepherded productions like Death of A Salesman, Desire Under the Elms and Chinglish to theaters on Broadway and beyond. Roche is also a thoughtful, caring leader who has promoted diversity, inclusion and support for theater workers fighting HIV/AIDS, consulted with many emerging theater companies and mentored countless young professionals—including many outstanding leaders in the Chicago and national theater community.”

One such leader, Rachel Kraft, worked for 12 years at the Goodman under Schulfer prior to becoming Executive Director for Chicago’s celebrated Lookingglass Theatre. “When Roche hired me to be the Director of Development for Goodman Theatre, I had only been working there for six months and was still very green in the field. He explained my promotion to the board as ‘we hire people, not resumes’—which not only reinforced his confidence in my work, but in me as a person. His philosophy informed every hire I’ve made since, and I know that it was his investment in me that directly led to my current position,” said Kraft.

In addition to his work with TCG, Schulfer has served in leadership roles with the Performing Arts Alliance (the national advocacy consortium of more than 18,000 organizations and individuals); the League of Resident Theatres (the management association of 65 leading US theater companies); and Lifeline Theatre of Rogers Park. He has been recognized by Actors’ Equity Association for promoting diversity and equal opportunity in Chicago theater; the American Arts Alliance for national arts advocacy leadership; the Arts & Business Council for distinguished contributions to Chicago’s artistic vitality for more than 25 years; Chicago magazine and the Chicago Tribune as a “Chicagoan of the Year”; the City of Chicago; Columbia College Chicago for entrepreneurial leadership; Arts Alliance Illinois for state and local advocacy leadership; the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee for his partnership with Falls; North Central College with an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree; Lawyers for the Creative Arts; Lifeline Theatre’s Raymond R. Snyder Award for Commitment to the Arts;  Season of Concern for support of direct care for those living with HIV/AIDS; and the Vision 2020 Equality in Action Medal for promoting gender equality and diversity in the workplace. He is a longtime adjunct professor at DePaul University, helping to nurture the next generation of theater professionals. He is married to the distinguished actor Mary Beth Fisher.

Women’s Business Development Center offers September Programs that support and accelerate Women’s Business Ownership

Posted by Admin On September - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

WBDC provides a continuum of business development services to prospective and established women entrepreneurs including counseling, training, financial, certification and procurement assistance.

CHICAGO, IL – Here is a list of workshops/events offered in September 2013 by the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC), a nationally and internationally recognized women’s business assistance center providing services and programs that support and accelerate women’s business ownership and strengthen the impact of women on the economy:

Wednesday, September 4, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

“Wisdom, Wine & Cheese: An Introduction to WBDC Services”
Description: Whether you’re thinking about starting your own business or growing the business you already have, this session will help you clarify your needs and learn more about Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) resources. If you’re looking for assistance in pursuing government or corporate contracts, need financing to grow your business or just need guidance to learn how to work ON your business, come join the WBDC circle of help!

Cost: $10.00 in advance, $20.00 at the door

Location: Women’s Business Development Center, 8 S. Michigan Ave., 4th Floor, Chicago, IL 60603

Registration: http://www.wbdc.org/Events/UpcomingWorkshopsEvents/tabid/107/vw/3/itemid/276/d/20130904/Default.aspx

Tuesday, September 10, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

“Is Certification Right for You?”

Description: Have you been asked, “Are you certified as a minority or woman-owned business?” by corporations and government agencies? If so, and you don’t know where to start, this workshop is for you. Presented by the Certification Program Manager of the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC), you will learn the differences and benefits of Minority (MBE) and Women (WBE) owned business certifications on Federal, State, Local and Private levels; benefits and process of WBE certification offered by the WBDC through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC); and what certification you should obtain based on your business needs

Cost: Free

Location: Women’s Business Development Center, 8 S. Michigan Ave., 4th Floor, Chicago, IL 60603

Registration: http://www.wbdc.org/Events/UpcomingWorkshopsEvents/tabid/107/vw/3/itemid/330/d/20130910/Default.aspx

Thursday, September 12, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

“It’s All About the Money: Financial Principals & Loan Opportunities for Child Care Centers”

Description: From revenue projections to cash flow to profit/loss this session will cover information that you need to make informed financial decisions for your business.  After attending you will feel confident discussing financial statements and gain a better understanding of financial concepts that business owners need to know.
The WBDC is now offering financing through its Micro Finance program and if you have not been able to obtain traditional bank financing this session will provide information on the requirements to become eligible and an opportunity to talk one-on-one with loan officers. Additionally you will hear how lenders make financial decisions including the 5c’s of credit.

Cost: Free

Location: Martin Luther King Community Services Center, 4314 S. Cottage Grove, Chicago, IL

Registration: http://www.wbdc.org/events/upcomingworkshopsevents/tabid/107/ctl/viewdetail/mid/765/itemid/317/d/20130912/Its-All-About-the-Money-Financial-Principals–Loan-Opportunities-for-Child-Care-Centers.aspx

For further information about these or other WBDC workshops, visit http://www.WBDC.org or call (312) 853-3477. Now in its 27th year of operation, the WBDC provides a continuum of business development services to prospective and established women entrepreneurs including counseling, training, financial, certification and procurement assistance in Spanish and English.

Chicago Moms join thousands to rally in all 50 states to end American maternity crisis

Posted by Admin On September - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

U.S. ranks highest in cost, 45th in safety for moms

CHICAGO, IL– Yesterday,  some of Chicagoland families joined an estimated 12,000 parents, healthcare providers and advocates in all 50 states at Labor Day rallies around the country to call attention to the crisis in American maternal healthcare.

The 2013 Rally to Improve Birth will take place in more than 170 U.S. cities, Japan, Australia, and Canada, at 10 a.m. local time, Monday, Sept. 2. Supporters will call for safer, evidence-based birth practices that put women and babies before profits, convenience and liability concerns. A listing of all rally locations is available at www.rallytoimprovebirth.com; Chicago’s rally will be held at 515 N. State St.

Illinois’s C-section rate of 33% is significantly higher than the 15% suggested by the World Health Organization as a highest recommended rate. While some will point to older, more obese, less healthy mothers as the reason for such high rates of Cesarean surgery, research shows that the most variability in rates is currently among low-risk women, and the Joint Commission, the national accrediting body for hospitals, recently pointed to “physician factors” as the driving force in these differences.

And, though the U.S. has the highest maternity care costs in the world, it ranks 45th in maternal safety, according to data from the United Nations, which lists our nation’s maternal death rate as tied with that of Iran and Hungary.

Rally attendees will call for maternity practices that put mothers and babies first, including obtaining fully informed consent, using medical interventions only when necessary and reducing the rate of Cesarean section. This major surgery occurs in one in three American births – more than double the highest recommended rate by the World Health Organization.

“We’re in a true crisis, with the highest costs in the world and some of the worst health outcomes related to childbirth,” said Dawn Thompson, president of ImprovingBirth.org, the mothers’ advocacy group organizing the rally. “Nine out of 10 American women receive care that increases the risks of harm to them and their babies. We must do better.”

Policymakers who support better maternal care lauded the family-friendly rallies, which will also highlight barriers to evidence-based care. Some states, under pressure from well-funded hospitals and professional lobbyists, have effectively banned proven, cost-effective options for families like birth centers and midwifery care.

“I find it a travesty that despite a vast body of knowledge regarding best evidence-based practices in maternity care, current U.S. practice has not followed that research,” said U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif. “That is why I introduced the MOMS for the 21st Century Act in Congress, and why I will continue to fight for a national focus on evidence-based, optimal maternity care for all women. I believe that if we all work together towards this goal the day will come when the holistic model of listening to the evidence, listening to women, and trusting in the normalcy of childbirth will be the norm rather than the exception for all women and newborns.”

Recent studies show that there is often a drastic difference between evidence-based care (practices proven best by science for mothers and babies) and the care women receive in labor and delivery rooms. (See 2012 State of Maternity Care Table for a comparison.) Caregivers are often driven by routine, profits, convenience and liability, rather than the needs of families and mothers, many of whom say they did not provide fully informed consent to medical procedures during birth.

“Evidence-based practices and fully informed consent should be paramount in the dialogue between the practitioners and patients,” said Dr. Nikolas Capetanakis, a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist in San Diego. “The patient should be part of the decision making process both before and, most critically, during labor.”

For local rally information, interview contacts, and photographs, contact your local rally contact (at top) or ImprovingBirth.org vice president and spokesperson Cristen Pascucci at 443.622.2892 or cristen.pascucci@improvingbirth.org.

ImprovingBirth.org is a national nonprofit 501(c)3 advocacy organization by moms, for moms, and is dedicated to evidence-based, humane maternity care. For more information, visit www.ImprovingBirth.org.

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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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