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Archive for January 29th, 2014

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address

Posted by Admin On January - 29 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

(State of the Union Address in its entirety)

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans:

Today in America, a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it, and did her part to lift America’s graduation rate to its highest level in more than three decades.

An entrepreneur flipped on the lights in her tech startup, and did her part to add to the more than eight million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years.

An autoworker fine-tuned some of the best, most fuel-efficient cars in the world, and did his part to help America wean itself off foreign oil.

A farmer prepared for the spring after the strongest five-year stretch of farm exports in our history.  A rural doctor gave a young child the first prescription to treat asthma that his mother could afford.  A man took the bus home from the graveyard shift, bone-tired but dreaming big dreams for his son.  And in tight-knit communities across America, fathers and mothers will tuck in their kids, put an arm around their spouse, remember fallen comrades, and give thanks for being home from a war that, after twelve long years, is finally coming to an end.

Tonight, this chamber speaks with one voice to the people we represent: it is you, our citizens, who make the state of our union strong.

Here are the results of your efforts:  The lowest unemployment rate in over five years.  A rebounding housing market.  A manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s.  More oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world – the first time that’s happened in nearly twenty years.  Our deficits – cut by more than half.  And for the first time in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the world’s number one place to invest; America is.

That’s why I believe this can be a breakthrough year for America.  After five years of grit and determined effort, the United States is better-positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on Earth.

The question for everyone in this chamber, running through every decision we make this year, is whether we are going to help or hinder this progress.  For several years now, this town has been consumed by a rancorous argument over the proper size of the federal government.  It’s an important debate – one that dates back to our very founding.  But when that debate prevents us from carrying out even the most basic functions of our democracy – when our differences shut down government or threaten the full faith and credit of the United States – then we are not doing right by the American people.

As President, I’m committed to making Washington work better, and rebuilding the trust of the people who sent us here.  I believe most of you are, too.  Last month, thanks to the work of Democrats and Republicans, this Congress finally produced a budget that undoes some of last year’s severe cuts to priorities like education.  Nobody got everything they wanted, and we can still do more to invest in this country’s future while bringing down our deficit in a balanced way.  But the budget compromise should leave us freer to focus on creating new jobs, not creating new crises.

In the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together.  Let’s make this a year of action.  That’s what most Americans want – for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations.  And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all – the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.

Let’s face it: that belief has suffered some serious blows.  Over more than three decades, even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good, middle-class jobs, and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on.

Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better.  But average wages have barely budged.  Inequality has deepened.  Upward mobility has stalled.  The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead.  And too many still aren’t working at all.

Our job is to reverse these trends.  It won’t happen right away, and we won’t agree on everything.  But what I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class.  Some require Congressional action, and I’m eager to work with all of you.  But America does not stand still – and neither will I.  So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.

As usual, our First Lady sets a good example.  Michelle’s Let’s Move partnership with schools, businesses, and local leaders has helped bring down childhood obesity rates for the first time in thirty years – an achievement that will improve lives and reduce health care costs for decades to come.  The Joining Forces alliance that Michelle and Jill Biden launched has already encouraged employers to hire or train nearly 400,000 veterans and military spouses.  Taking a page from that playbook, the White House just organized a College Opportunity Summit where already, 150 universities, businesses, and nonprofits have made concrete commitments to reduce inequality in access to higher education – and help every hardworking kid go to college and succeed when they get to campus.  Across the country, we’re partnering with mayors, governors, and state legislatures on issues from homelessness to marriage equality.

The point is, there are millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of stale political arguments, and are moving this country forward.  They believe, and I believe, that here in America, our success should depend not on accident of birth, but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams.  That’s what drew our forebears here.  It’s how the daughter of a factory worker is CEO of America’s largest automaker; how the son of a barkeeper is Speaker of the House; how the son of a single mom can be President of the greatest nation on Earth.

Opportunity is who we are.  And the defining project of our generation is to restore that promise.

We know where to start: the best measure of opportunity is access to a good job.  With the economy picking up speed, companies say they intend to hire more people this year.  And over half of big manufacturers say they’re thinking of insourcing jobs from abroad.

So let’s make that decision easier for more companies.  Both Democrats and Republicans have argued that our tax code is riddled with wasteful, complicated loopholes that punish businesses investing here, and reward companies that keep profits abroad.  Let’s flip that equation.  Let’s work together to close those loopholes, end those incentives to ship jobs overseas, and lower tax rates for businesses that create jobs here at home.

Moreover, we can take the money we save with this transition to tax reform to create jobs rebuilding our roads, upgrading our ports, unclogging our commutes – because in today’s global economy, first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure.  We’ll need Congress to protect more than three million jobs by finishing transportation and waterways bills this summer.  But I will act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible.

We also have the chance, right now, to beat other countries in the race for the next wave of high-tech manufacturing jobs.  My administration has launched two hubs for high-tech manufacturing in Raleigh and Youngstown, where we’ve connected businesses to research universities that can help America lead the world in advanced technologies.  Tonight, I’m announcing we’ll launch six more this year.  Bipartisan bills in both houses could double the number of these hubs and the jobs they create.  So get those bills to my desk and put more Americans back to work.

Let’s do more to help the entrepreneurs and small business owners who create most new jobs in America.  Over the past five years, my administration has made more loans to small business owners than any other.  And when ninety-eight percent of our exporters are small businesses, new trade partnerships with Europe and the Asia-Pacific will help them create more jobs.  We need to work together on tools like bipartisan trade promotion authority to protect our workers, protect our environment, and open new markets to new goods stamped “Made in the USA.”  China and Europe aren’t standing on the sidelines.  Neither should we.

We know that the nation that goes all-in on innovation today will own the global economy tomorrow.  This is an edge America cannot surrender.  Federally-funded research helped lead to the ideas and inventions behind Google and smartphones.  That’s why Congress should undo the damage done by last year’s cuts to basic research so we can unleash the next great American discovery – whether it’s vaccines that stay ahead of drug-resistant bacteria, or paper-thin material that’s stronger than steel.  And let’s pass a patent reform bill that allows our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not costly, needless litigation.

Now, one of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to American energy.  The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades.

One of the reasons why is natural gas – if extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change.  Businesses plan to invest almost $100 billion in new factories that use natural gas.  I’ll cut red tape to help states get those factories built, and this Congress can help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas.  My administration will keep working with the industry to sustain production and job growth while strengthening protection of our air, our water, and our communities.  And while we’re at it, I’ll use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations.

It’s not just oil and natural gas production that’s booming; we’re becoming a global leader in solar, too.  Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar; every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can’t be outsourced.  Let’s continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don’t need it, so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.

And even as we’ve increased energy production, we’ve partnered with businesses, builders, and local communities to reduce the energy we consume.  When we rescued our automakers, for example, we worked with them to set higher fuel efficiency standards for our cars.  In the coming months, I’ll build on that success by setting new standards for our trucks, so we can keep driving down oil imports and what we pay at the pump.

Taken together, our energy policy is creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet.  Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth.  But we have to act with more urgency – because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods.  That’s why I directed my administration to work with states, utilities, and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air.  The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way.  But the debate is settled.  Climate change is a fact.  And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.

Finally, if we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement – and fix our broken immigration system.  Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted.  I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same.  Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades.  And for good reason: when people come here to fulfill their dreams – to study, invent, and contribute to our culture – they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone.  So let’s get immigration reform done this year.

The ideas I’ve outlined so far can speed up growth and create more jobs.  But in this rapidly-changing economy, we have to make sure that every American has the skills to fill those jobs.

The good news is, we know how to do it.  Two years ago, as the auto industry came roaring back, Andra Rush opened up a manufacturing firm in Detroit.  She knew that Ford needed parts for the best-selling truck in America, and she knew how to make them.  She just needed the workforce.  So she dialed up what we call an American Job Center – places where folks can walk in to get the help or training they need to find a new job, or better job.  She was flooded with new workers.  And today, Detroit Manufacturing Systems has more than 700 employees.

What Andra and her employees experienced is how it should be for every employer – and every job seeker.  So tonight, I’ve asked Vice President Biden to lead an across-the-board reform of America’s training programs to make sure they have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now.  That means more on-the-job training, and more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life.  It means connecting companies to community colleges that can help design training to fill their specific needs.  And if Congress wants to help, you can concentrate funding on proven programs that connect more ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs.

I’m also convinced we can help Americans return to the workforce faster by reforming unemployment insurance so that it’s more effective in today’s economy.  But first, this Congress needs to restore the unemployment insurance you just let expire for 1.6 million people.

Let me tell you why.

Misty DeMars is a mother of two young boys. She’d been steadily employed since she was a teenager.  She put herself through college.  She’d never collected unemployment benefits.  In May, she and her husband used their life savings to buy their first home.  A week later, budget cuts claimed the job she loved.  Last month, when their unemployment insurance was cut off, she sat down and wrote me a letter – the kind I get every day.  “We are the face of the unemployment crisis,” she wrote.  “I am not dependent on the government…Our country depends on people like us who build careers, contribute to society…care about our neighbors…I am confident that in time I will find a job…I will pay my taxes, and we will raise our children in their own home in the community we love.  Please give us this chance.”

Congress, give these hardworking, responsible Americans that chance.  They need our help, but more important, this country needs them in the game.  That’s why I’ve been asking CEOs to give more long-term unemployed workers a fair shot at that new job and new chance to support their families; this week, many will come to the White House to make that commitment real.  Tonight, I ask every business leader in America to join us and to do the same – because we are stronger when America fields a full team.

Of course, it’s not enough to train today’s workforce.  We also have to prepare tomorrow’s workforce, by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education.

Estiven Rodriguez couldn’t speak a word of English when he moved to New York City at age nine.  But last month, thanks to the support of great teachers and an innovative tutoring program, he led a march of his classmates – through a crowd of cheering parents and neighbors – from their high school to the post office, where they mailed off their college applications.  And this son of a factory worker just found out he’s going to college this fall.

Five years ago, we set out to change the odds for all our kids.  We worked with lenders to reform student loans, and today, more young people are earning college degrees than ever before.  Race to the Top, with the help of governors from both parties, has helped states raise expectations and performance.  Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C. are making big strides in preparing students with skills for the new economy – problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, and math.  Some of this change is hard.  It requires everything from more challenging curriculums and more demanding parents to better support for teachers and new ways to measure how well our kids think, not how well they can fill in a bubble on a test.  But it’s worth it – and it’s working.

The problem is we’re still not reaching enough kids, and we’re not reaching them in time.  That has to change.

Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education.  Last year, I asked this Congress to help states make high-quality pre-K available to every four year-old.  As a parent as well as a President, I repeat that request tonight. But in the meantime, thirty states have raised pre-k funding on their own.  They know we can’t wait.  So just as we worked with states to reform our schools, this year, we’ll invest in new partnerships with states and communities across the country in a race to the top for our youngest children.  And as Congress decides what it’s going to do, I’m going to pull together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high-quality pre-K they need.

Last year, I also pledged to connect 99 percent of our students to high-speed broadband over the next four years.  Tonight, I can announce that with the support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, we’ve got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and twenty million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit.

We’re working to redesign high schools and partner them with colleges and employers that offer the real-world education and hands-on training that can lead directly to a job and career.  We’re shaking up our system of higher education to give parents more information, and colleges more incentives to offer better value, so that no middle-class kid is priced out of a college education.  We’re offering millions the opportunity to cap their monthly student loan payments to ten percent of their income, and I want to work with Congress to see how we can help even more Americans who feel trapped by student loan debt.  And I’m reaching out to some of America’s leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing tough odds stay on track and reach their full potential.

The bottom line is, Michelle and I want every child to have the same chance this country gave us.  But we know our opportunity agenda won’t be complete – and too many young people entering the workforce today will see the American Dream as an empty promise – unless we do more to make sure our economy honors the dignity of work, and hard work pays off for every single American.

Today, women make up about half our workforce.  But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.  That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work.  She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job.  A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship – and you know what, a father does, too.  It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode.  This year, let’s all come together – Congress, the White House, and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street – to give every woman the opportunity she deserves.  Because I firmly believe when women succeed, America succeeds.

Now, women hold a majority of lower-wage jobs – but they’re not the only ones stifled by stagnant wages.  Americans understand that some people will earn more than others, and we don’t resent those who, by virtue of their efforts, achieve incredible success.  But Americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.

In the year since I asked this Congress to raise the minimum wage, five states have passed laws to raise theirs.  Many businesses have done it on their own.  Nick Chute is here tonight with his boss, John Soranno.  John’s an owner of Punch Pizza in Minneapolis, and Nick helps make the dough.  Only now he makes more of it: John just gave his employees a raise, to ten bucks an hour – a decision that eased their financial stress and boosted their morale.

Tonight, I ask more of America’s business leaders to follow John’s lead and do what you can to raise your employees’ wages.  To every mayor, governor, and state legislator in America, I say, you don’t have to wait for Congress to act; Americans will support you if you take this on.  And as a chief executive, I intend to lead by example. Profitable corporations like Costco see higher wages as the smart way to boost productivity and reduce turnover. We should too.  In the coming weeks, I will issue an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour – because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.

Of course, to reach millions more, Congress needs to get on board. Today, the federal minimum wage is worth about twenty percent less than it was when Ronald Reagan first stood here.  Tom Harkin and George Miller have a bill to fix that by lifting the minimum wage to $10.10.  This will help families.  It will give businesses customers with more money to spend.  It doesn’t involve any new bureaucratic program.  So join the rest of the country.  Say yes.  Give America a raise.

There are other steps we can take to help families make ends meet, and few are more effective at reducing inequality and helping families pull themselves up through hard work than the Earned Income Tax Credit.  Right now, it helps about half of all parents at some point.  But I agree with Republicans like Senator Rubio that it doesn’t do enough for single workers who don’t have kids.  So let’s work together to strengthen the credit, reward work, and help more Americans get ahead.

Let’s do more to help Americans save for retirement. Today, most workers don’t have a pension.  A Social Security check often isn’t enough on its own.  And while the stock market has doubled over the last five years, that doesn’t help folks who don’t have 401ks.  That’s why, tomorrow, I will direct the Treasury to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings: MyRA. It’s a new savings bond that encourages folks to build a nest egg.  MyRA guarantees a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in.  And if this Congress wants to help, work with me to fix an upside-down tax code that gives big tax breaks to help the wealthy save, but does little to nothing for middle-class Americans.  Offer every American access to an automatic IRA on the job, so they can save at work just like everyone in this chamber can.  And since the most important investment many families make is their home, send me legislation that protects taxpayers from footing the bill for a housing crisis ever again, and keeps the dream of homeownership alive for future generations of Americans.

One last point on financial security.  For decades, few things exposed hard-working families to economic hardship more than a broken health care system.  And in case you haven’t heard, we’re in the process of fixing that.

A pre-existing condition used to mean that someone like Amanda Shelley, a physician assistant and single mom from Arizona, couldn’t get health insurance.  But on January 1st, she got covered.  On January 3rd, she felt a sharp pain.  On January 6th, she had emergency surgery.  Just one week earlier, Amanda said, that surgery would’ve meant bankruptcy.

That’s what health insurance reform is all about – the peace of mind that if misfortune strikes, you don’t have to lose everything.

Already, because of the Affordable Care Act, more than three million Americans under age 26 have gained coverage under their parents’ plans.

More than nine million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage.

And here’s another number: zero.  Because of this law, no American can ever again be dropped or denied coverage for a preexisting condition like asthma, back pain, or cancer. No woman can ever be charged more just because she’s a woman.  And we did all this while adding years to Medicare’s finances, keeping Medicare premiums flat, and lowering prescription costs for millions of seniors.

Now, I don’t expect to convince my Republican friends on the merits of this law.  But I know that the American people aren’t interested in refighting old battles.  So again, if you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, and increase choice – tell America what you’d do differently.  Let’s see if the numbers add up.  But let’s not have another forty-something votes to repeal a law that’s already helping millions of Americans like Amanda.  The first forty were plenty.  We got it.  We all owe it to the American people to say what we’re for, not just what we’re against.

And if you want to know the real impact this law is having, just talk to Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky, who’s here tonight.  Kentucky’s not the most liberal part of the country, but he’s like a man possessed when it comes to covering his commonwealth’s families.  “They are our friends and neighbors,” he said.  “They are people we shop and go to church with…farmers out on the tractors…grocery clerks…they are people who go to work every morning praying they don’t get sick.  No one deserves to live that way.”

Steve’s right.  That’s why, tonight, I ask every American who knows someone without health insurance to help them get covered by March 31st.  Moms, get on your kids to sign up.  Kids, call your mom and walk her through the application.  It will give her some peace of mind – plus, she’ll appreciate hearing from you.

After all, that’s the spirit that has always moved this nation forward.  It’s the spirit of citizenship – the recognition that through hard work and responsibility, we can pursue our individual dreams, but still come together as one American family to make sure the next generation can pursue its dreams as well.

Citizenship means standing up for everyone’s right to vote.  Last year, part of the Voting Rights Act was weakened.  But conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats are working together to strengthen it; and the bipartisan commission I appointed last year has offered reforms so that no one has to wait more than a half hour to vote.  Let’s support these efforts.  It should be the power of our vote, not the size of our bank account, that drives our democracy.

Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day.  I have seen the courage of parents, students, pastors, and police officers all over this country who say “we are not afraid,” and I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook.

Citizenship demands a sense of common cause; participation in the hard work of self-government; an obligation to serve to our communities.  And I know this chamber agrees that few Americans give more to their country than our diplomats and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces.

Tonight, because of the extraordinary troops and civilians who risk and lay down their lives to keep us free, the United States is more secure.  When I took office, nearly 180,000 Americans were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Today, all our troops are out of Iraq.  More than 60,000 of our troops have already come home from Afghanistan.  With Afghan forces now in the lead for their own security, our troops have moved to a support role. Together with our allies, we will complete our mission there by the end of this year, and America’s longest war will finally be over.

After 2014, we will support a unified Afghanistan as it takes responsibility for its own future.  If the Afghan government signs a security agreement that we have negotiated, a small force of Americans could remain in Afghanistan with NATO allies to carry out two narrow missions: training and assisting Afghan forces, and counterterrorism operations to pursue any remnants of al Qaeda.  For while our relationship with Afghanistan will change, one thing will not: our resolve that terrorists do not launch attacks against our country.

The fact is, that danger remains.  While we have put al Qaeda’s core leadership on a path to defeat, the threat has evolved, as al Qaeda affiliates and other extremists take root in different parts of the world. In Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and Mali, we have to keep working with partners to disrupt and disable these networks. In Syria, we’ll support the opposition that rejects  the agenda of terrorist networks. Here at home, we’ll keep strengthening our defenses, and combat new threats like cyberattacks.  And as we reform our defense budget, we have to keep faith with our men and women in uniform, and invest in the capabilities they need to succeed in future missions.

We have to remain vigilant.  But I strongly believe our leadership and our security cannot depend on our military alone. As Commander-in-Chief, I have used force when needed to protect the American people, and I will never hesitate to do so as long as I hold this office.  But I will not send our troops into harm’s way unless it’s truly necessary; nor will I allow our sons and daughters to be mired in open-ended conflicts.  We must fight the battles that need to be fought, not those that terrorists prefer from us – large-scale deployments that drain our strength and may ultimately feed extremism.

So, even as we aggressively pursue terrorist networks – through more targeted efforts and by building the capacity of our foreign partners – America must move off a permanent war footing.  That’s why I’ve imposed prudent limits on the use of drones – for we will not be safer if people abroad believe we strike within their countries without regard for the consequence.  That’s why, working with this Congress, I will reform our surveillance programs – because the vital work of our intelligence community depends on public confidence, here and abroad, that the privacy of ordinary people is not being violated.  And with the Afghan war ending, this needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay – because we counter terrorism not just through intelligence and military action, but by remaining true to our Constitutional ideals, and setting an example for the rest of the world.

You see, in a world of complex threats, our security and leadership depends on all elements of our power – including strong and principled diplomacy.  American diplomacy has rallied more than fifty countries to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands, and allowed us to reduce our own reliance on Cold War stockpiles.  American diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syria’s chemical weapons are being eliminated, and we will continue to work with the international community to usher in the future the Syrian people deserve – a future free of dictatorship, terror and fear. As we speak, American diplomacy is supporting Israelis and Palestinians as they engage in difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there; to achieve dignity and an independent state for Palestinians, and lasting peace and security for the State of Israel – a Jewish state that knows America will always be at their side.

And it is American diplomacy, backed by pressure, that has halted the progress of Iran’s nuclear program – and rolled parts of that program back – for the very first time in a decade.  As we gather here tonight, Iran has begun to eliminate its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium.  It is not installing advanced centrifuges.  Unprecedented inspections help the world verify, every day, that Iran is not building a bomb.  And with our allies and partners, we’re engaged in negotiations to see if we can peacefully achieve a goal we all share: preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

These negotiations will be difficult.  They may not succeed.  We are clear-eyed about Iran’s support for terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, which threaten our allies; and the mistrust between our nations cannot be wished away.  But these negotiations do not rely on trust; any long-term deal we agree to must be based on verifiable action that convinces us and the international community that Iran is not building a nuclear bomb.  If John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan could negotiate with the Soviet Union, then surely a strong and confident America can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today.

The sanctions that we put in place helped make this opportunity possible.  But let me be clear: if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it.  For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed.  If Iran’s leaders do not seize this opportunity, then I will be the first to call for more sanctions, and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon.  But if Iran’s leaders do seize the chance, then Iran could take an important step to rejoin the community of nations, and we will have resolved one of the leading security challenges of our time without the risks of war.

Finally, let’s remember that our leadership is defined not just by our defense against threats, but by the enormous opportunities to do good and promote understanding around the globe – to forge greater cooperation, to expand new markets, to free people from fear and want.  And no one is better positioned to take advantage of those opportunities than America.

Our alliance with Europe remains the strongest the world has ever known.  From Tunisia to Burma, we’re supporting those who are willing to do the hard work of building democracy.  In Ukraine, we stand for the principle that all people have the right to express themselves freely and peacefully, and have a say in their country’s future.  Across Africa, we’re bringing together businesses and governments to double access to electricity and help end extreme poverty.  In the Americas, we are building new ties of commerce, but we’re also expanding cultural and educational exchanges among young people.  And we will continue to focus on the Asia-Pacific, where we support our allies, shape a future of greater security and prosperity, and extend a hand to those devastated by disaster – as we did in the Philippines, when our Marines and civilians rushed to aid those battered by a typhoon, and were greeted with words like, “We will never forget your kindness” and “God bless America!”

We do these things because they help promote our long-term security.  And we do them because we believe in the inherent dignity and equality of every human being, regardless of race or religion, creed or sexual orientation.  And next week, the world will see one expression of that commitment – when Team USA marches the red, white, and blue into the Olympic Stadium – and brings home the gold.

My fellow Americans, no other country in the world does what we do.  On every issue, the world turns to us, not simply because of the size of our economy or our military might – but because of the ideals we stand for, and the burdens we bear to advance them.

No one knows this better than those who serve in uniform.  As this time of war draws to a close, a new generation of heroes returns to civilian life.  We’ll keep slashing that backlog so our veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned, and our wounded warriors receive the health care – including the mental health care – that they need.  We’ll keep working to help all our veterans translate their skills and leadership into jobs here at home.  And we all continue to join forces to honor and support our remarkable military families.

Let me tell you about one of those families I’ve come to know.

I first met Cory Remsburg, a proud Army Ranger, at Omaha Beach on the 65th anniversary of D-Day.  Along with some of his fellow Rangers, he walked me through the program – a strong, impressive young man, with an easy manner, sharp as a tack.  We joked around, and took pictures, and I told him to stay in touch.

A few months later, on his tenth deployment, Cory was nearly killed by a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan. His comrades found him in a canal, face down, underwater, shrapnel in his brain.

For months, he lay in a coma.  The next time I met him, in the hospital, he couldn’t speak; he could barely move.  Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, and hours of grueling rehab every day.

Even now, Cory is still blind in one eye.  He still struggles on his left side.  But slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the community around him, Cory has grown stronger. Day by day, he’s learned to speak again and stand again and walk again – and he’s working toward the day when he can serve his country again.

“My recovery has not been easy,” he says. “Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.”

Cory is here tonight.  And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit.

My fellow Americans, men and women like Cory remind us that America has never come easy.  Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy.  Sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged.  But for more than two hundred years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress – to create and build and expand the possibilities of individual achievement; to free other nations from tyranny and fear; to promote justice, and fairness, and equality under the law, so that the words set to paper by our founders are made real for every citizen.  The America we want for our kids – a rising America where honest work is plentiful and communities are strong; where prosperity is widely shared and opportunity for all lets us go as far as our dreams and toil will take us – none of it is easy.  But if we work together; if we summon what is best in us, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrow – I know it’s within our reach.

Believe it.

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

NAACP responds to State of Union Address

Posted by Admin On January - 29 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC – The NAACP released the following statements regarding the State of the Union Address.

Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors:

“Tonight we heard President Obama issue a call for action that creates economic opportunity in his State of the Union Address,” stated Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the Board for the National NAACP. “President Obama challenged Congress to follow his lead and increase the minimum wage to give America a raise. He also urged lawmakers to create opportunities for citizenship through comprehensive immigration reform. The President called on all Americans to work hard, take responsibility and get everyone health insurance to secure a more prosperous future.”

NAACP Interim President Lorraine C. Miller:

“President Obama put himself in the shoes of the American public and addressed the bread and butter issues that we all face,” stated NAACP Interim President and CEO Lorraine C. Miller.  “From raising the minimum wage to job training, the President brought the issue of economic inequality front and center and offered practical solutions to close the gap.  President Obama has embraced the social justice movement that is moving across this nation and has boldly called on all Americans to do the same.  The NAACP will heed his call and continue to be leaders in the effort end the inequalities that have plagued our nation for centuries.”

U.S. Senator Kirk: “Congress should put aside pointless partisan political bickering…”

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Kirk statement in response to the State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) issued the following statement this evening in response to the State of the Union Address:

“Congress should put aside pointless partisan political bickering and tackle the toughest challenge our country faces, which is overspending by our federal government. The best way to do this is to embrace the Simpson-Bowles bipartisan commission report, which would cut federal spending by over $4 trillion. That single action is the best way to restore confidence in the American economy.

“I invited the Mayor of Washington, Illinois, Gary Manier to attend the State of the Union to highlight a highly flawed formula in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Hundreds of families were devastated last November when a series of deadly tornadoes ripped through Illinois. Those families were then denied public assistance from FEMA. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and I introduced legislation to level the playing field for future federal disaster declarations. Illinois deserves equal treatment from FEMA.”

Logan Square tenants To picket developer over evictions

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Reportedly, divisive developer drives neighbors from neighborhood


Mass evictions and drastic rent increases have long been a staple tool of the Real Estate Developer.

Tenants in 2536 N. Sawyer, a 50-unit apartment complex purchased by M. Fishman & Co., are fighting back. In December, M. Fishman gave many rent-paying tenants 30-day eviction notices or a $250 rent increase.

The picketing will begin at 4:30 p.m., Thursday January 30th, on the corner of Kedzie and Fullerton. The crowd will march to Fishman’s office, 3215 W. Fullerton, where tenants will give testimonies about their experiences. Afterward, the crowd will march to M. Fishman owned Logan Theater to distribute leaflets and speak with patrons. M. Fishman bought and rehabbed the Logan Theater with $1,000,000 in TIF money. Tenants are outraged that a developer who used money from the community is now displacing it.

Tenants include veterans, seniors, and young mothers. Many of the children in the building have attended local public schools for years. Ined Rosario says, “We deserve respect and the right to be heard. We won’t be pushed from neighborhood to neighborhood because we can’t afford it. We’re people and our lives are worth more than money.”

Mark Fishman, President of the company and resident of Deerfield, IL, started an organization called I am Logan Square to “support the arts and cultural development”. Yet, tenant Paul Donnely says, “through these evictions, Mark Fishman shows that the working families who already are Logan Square aren’t even considered in his development plan.”

Tenants have requested to meet with M. Fishman & Co. Initially, M. Fishman employees agreed to meet with 2-3 representatives. However, after tenants asked that they meet with everyone affected, that offer was verbally retracted, and written communication to the tenants from Fishman and Co. has completely ceased.

The Metropolitan Tenants Organization is the largest organizer of tenants and tenants associations in Chicago.

Metropolitan Tenants Organization

2150 S. Canalport Ave. Suite 2-B2

Chicago, IL 60608

www.tenants-rights.org

Midwest Premiere: Ruth Gruber, Photojournalist – February 16 – June 1, 2014

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At the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

SKOKIE, IL – The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center announced the Midwest premiere of Ruth Gruber: Photojournalist, a fascinating exhibition which celebrates the remarkable life, vision, and heroic tenacity of a 20th century pioneer and trailblazing photojournalist.

Now 102 years old, Gruber’s work spans more than five decades, from her groundbreaking work in the Soviet Arctic in the 1930s and her iconic images of Jewish refugees on the ship Exodus 1947, to her later work in the 1980s documenting Ethiopian Jews in the midst of a civil war. Ruth Gruber: Photojournalist features a selection of vintage prints that are presented alongside contemporary prints made from original negatives, early film footage, and ephemera from Gruber’s personal archive.

Gruber’s life and work have been inextricably bound to the lives of the refugees whose plight she has showcased, and dedicated to their rescue, sanctuary, and liberation. Her tools have been her boundless tenacity, empathy, razor-sharp intellect, a Hermes typewriter, and a camera. With these tools, she has documented successive waves of migrants from Yemen, Iraq, Romania, Morocco, Tunisia, and Ethiopia, photographing often perilous journeys of emigration, small Jewish villages in North Africa and the establishment of new lives in Israel.

“We are delighted to recognize this extraordinary woman who used photography as a means to stand up for those in peril, even if it meant risking her own life in the process,” said Arielle Weininger, Chief Curator of Collections and Exhibitions. “Not only did Gruber break tremendous barriers as a female photojournalist, she represented the power of one person to be a voice for countless voiceless victims.”

Gruber is the author of twenty books and is the recipient of the 2011 Infinity Awards Cornell Capa Award. Her reportage and photojournalism have acted as advocate and witness for her subjects throughout her long career. Ruth Gruber: Photojournalist will introduce the broader photography community to one of the twentieth century’s great humanitarians and photojournalists.

The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center’s feature program in conjunction with this exhibition will be held on Sunday, February 23, 2014. A film screening of Ahead of Time: The Extraordinary Life of Ruth Gruber will be followed by a discussion with the film Executive Producer, Patti Kenner and a rare conversation via Skype with Ruth Gruber.To register for this event or to learn more, visit www.ilholocaustmuseum.org or call 847-967-4889.

This exhibition was made possible by friends of Ruth Gruber, and is a traveling exhibition of the International Center of Photography, New York. The Golder Family Foundation is lead sponsor for all Illinois Holocaust Museum special exhibitions. Additional local support provided by the David C. & Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Holocaust by honoring the memories of those who were lost and by teaching universal lessons that combat hatred, prejudice and indifference. The Museum fulfills its mission through the exhibition, preservation and interpretation of its collections and through education programs and initiatives that foster the promotion of human rights and the elimination of genocide. The Museum is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.; Thursday evenings until 8:00 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Learn more at www.illinoisholocaustmuseum.org

President Obama casts ugly glare on race tainted Drug War

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President Obama Casts Ugly Glare on Race Tainted Drug War

New America Media

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

President Obama again cast an ugly glare on the race tainted drug laws in a recent interview and in reports from the White House. He specifically finger pointed marijuana. Virtually all medical professionals have repeatedly said that marijuana use is no more damaging than alcohol, and so did Obama. If anything, judging from the thousands of family break ups, the mountainous carnage from alcohol related accidents and physical deaths from liquor addiction, marijuana use is far safer than alcohol. But marijuana, as with the wildly disparate racial hammering of minorities with cocaine drug busts, has also been yet another weapon in the ruthless, relentless and naked drug war on minorities, especially African Americans. The difference is that the gaping racial disparities in crack cocaine prosecutions and sentencing have gotten massive public attention, White House and legislative action to close the legal gap. Marijuana, by contrast, has flown far under the public and lawmaker’s radar scope.

But the racial war that has been blatantly evident in the drug war is just as, if not more blatant, in who’s arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced for marijuana use and sale. Take two states, Minnesota and Iowa. Minorities and especially blacks make up a relatively tiny overall percentage of residents of these two states. Yet blacks were eight times more likely to be arrested than whites. An ACLU study released last June found that in nearly every county in the nation the arrest rate for marijuana possession among blacks was at least four times higher than that for whites. Even worse the big gaping disparities in arrest numbers for blacks and whites come at a time when public attitudes have radically softened on both personal and medicinal marijuana use. Many states and locales have drastically decriminalized marijuana possession, and two states have legalized its use, and other states are poised to vote on legalization. Even worse, the huge race tinged arrest numbers come at a time when the incidences of nearly every other type of crime has plummeted.

The reasons aren’t hard to find. The near institution of open and covert stop and frisk laws that target minorities, incentives to pad arrest numbers to insure greater federal funding and to bolster the perceived crime fighting stature of police agencies, and the ease and cheapness of focusing on low level crimes are major reasons for the continued war on minorities for marijuana use.

Then there are the public attitudes toward black and white drug offenders. The top-heavy drug use by young whites has never stirred any public outcry for mass arrests, prosecutions, and tough prison sentences for them, many of whom deal drugs that are directly linked to serious crime and violence.

Whites unlucky enough to get popped for drug possession are treated with compassion, prayer sessions, expensive psychiatric counseling, treatment and rehab programs, and drug diversion programs. And they should be. But so should those blacks and other non-whites victimized by discriminatory drug laws.

A frank admission that the laws are biased and unfair, and have not done much to combat the drug plague, would be an admission of failure. It could ignite a real soul-searching over whether all the billions of dollars that have been squandered in the failed and flawed drug war — the lives ruined by it, and the families torn apart by the rigid and unequal enforcement of the laws — has really accomplished anything.

This might call into question why people use and abuse drugs in the first place — and if it is really the government’s business to turn the legal screws on some drug users while turning a blind eye to others?

The greatest fallout from the nation’s failed drug policy and that certainly includes racially skewed marijuana arrests is that it is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it further embeds the widespread notion that the drug problem is exclusively a black problem. This makes it easy for on-the-make politicians to grab votes, garner press attention, and balloon state prison budgets to jail more black offenders, while continuing to feed the illusion that we are winning the drug war. On the other, the easing up of marijuana arrests and prosecutions of whites permits much of the public and lawmakers to delude themselves that the nation has become much more prudent and enlightened in how it views the drug fight.

In his interview Obama was blunt, “We should not be locking up kids or individuals for long stretches of jail time when those writing the laws have probably done the same thing.” Obama certainly could testify to that since he has frankly admitted his use of drugs in his youthful days. This frank admission and the realization that more prisons, the hiring and maintaining of waves of corrections officers, and the bloating state budgets in the process, not to mention political pandering is a lose-lose for the nation. The biggest loser of all with the nation’s disastrously failed and flawed drug war, is minorities and especially blacks. Marijuana is no different.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a frequent MSNBC contributor. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KTYM 1460 AM Radio Los Angeles and KPFK-Radio and the Pacifica Network.

New book for young readers on African American film pioneer

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“Oscar Micheaux: A Self-Made Man” Profiles the Struggle and Success of the First Great Black Filmmaker


Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) — Oscar Micheaux: A Self-Made Man, a new release from The Hollywood Press, brings the story of America greatest African American filmmakers to life. The book is designed for everyone who loves the movies and would like to introduce young audiences to the history of film. The illustrated soft cover book provides insightful glimpses into the lives and work of African American filmmakers, memorable screen icons and less familiar figures.

Written by Jeremy Geltzer, a film professor, entertainment lawyer and author, the book is targeted to middle grade readers ages 9-13. Oscar Micheaux’s life vividly demonstrates the American Dream. The son of ex-sharecroppers, Micheaux worked odd jobs from Pullman Porter to Dakota homesteader before becoming one of the first black filmmakers. He made films outside Hollywood that were tailored to black audiences using his own stars. Among Micheaux’s discoveries were Paul Robeson and Robert Earl Jones, father of James Earl Jones.

In less than 30 years Micheaux directed over 40 films. While the director has been passed over in many film history books, his story remains inspirational. Micheaux believed in his dream; he struggled to share his message of self-reliance and betterment. Other chapters in the book chronicle the African American community’s hard fought battle for recognition in Hollywood, from Sidney Poitier to Octavia Spencer and other black directors from the silent era to Spike Lee and Lee Daniels.

Oscar Micheaux: A Self-Made Man is available for $5.39 from Amazon.com and $3.99 e-book at the Apple e-bookstore. More information is available at www.Hollywood-Press.com and on Twitter @HollywoodBabel.

Photo Caption: Bookcover

Beautiful mysteries of nature captured in debut Poetry Book

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Written by Denise Bossarte and illustrated by Nancy Standlee, ‘Dreams of the Turtle King’ is an imaginative journey along the beaches of South Florida. The free verse poetry and immersive watercolors will transport readers to a place where animals and people are brought to startling life, and the sound of waves crashing on the shore is closer than they think…


Houston, TX – Walking along a beach can be a contemplative, relaxing experience, but accompanied by the words of Denise Bossarte, and the watercolor illustrations from award-winning artist Nancy Standlee, the sand and sea are just the beginning.

In ‘Dreams of the Turtle King’, Bossarte weaves a magical spell and peels back the first layer of the natural world to reveal the vibrant life beneath. Inspired by her strolls at sunrise along the beaches of South Florida, the free verse poetry is intimate, explorative and reflective of the deep colors of the landscape.

“The things that caught my attention the most,” says Bossarte, “were what others would ignore, or pass by without noticing. Often, it would just be an image – perhaps a bird’s wing against the sky – and as I walked, I wove these images into short, descriptive poems. I wanted to get to the heart of what I was experiencing.”

Bossarte created ‘Dreams of the Turtle King’ and collaborated with Nancy Standlee to produce the illustrations. It was a labor of love, and meticulously researched.

“Nancy read each poem carefully, and would do hours of investigating,” says the author. “If there was a turtle nest in the poem, she researched its intricacies, and then created absolutely stunning imagery to complement my words. It was truly a partnership.”

Synopsis:

You can find so much more than just sand on the beach. You can find people, animals, interesting and unusual objects, and occasionally, deep thoughts! In this collection of free verse poems, Denise Bossarte takes you on an adventure to explore the things you can find on the beach. Each poem’s imagery is reflected in a paired watercolor illustration by award-winning artist Nancy Standlee.

‘Dreams of the Turtle King’ was, fittingly, a ‘dream’ for the poet long before its release to the public.

“This book was one waiting to be completed for a long time. I wrote the poems years ago, but had to wait to find an artist whose style matched the feel of the poems,” says Bossarte. “I was blessed in finding an artist as talented as Nancy.”

“I think what is captivating about the book is how it combines poems and images to bring the reader back to those wonderful moments of summer vacations and carefree times at the beach. Who doesn’t have a memory of splashing in the water or digging for shells? It’s a book for children and for adults who are children at heart,” says the author.

Since its publication, the book has earned glowing reviews from readers.

Betty Grummer wrote: “I grew up near beaches and both the author and illustrator captured the scenes and thoughts of beach life. As I was reading the words and looking at the lovely watercolors it even brought to my mind the sounds of the waves rolling in from the ocean. Lovely book.”

“Having been raised on the beaches of Southern California, I found myself back there through the eyes of this author and artist. I received Dreams of a Turtle King in my Christmas stocking. Such a little treasure chest of dreams and memories and sand under my toes,” wrote PRaso.

‘Dreams of the Turtle King’, is available now from Amazon: http://amzn.to/1hM5OFI

About the Author:

Denise Bossarte is a poet and photographer whose passion is nature and abstract photography. Her daytime job in IT helps to keep the household running. She enjoys writing, teaching Miksang contemplative photography workshops, and going on photo shoots to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary world. She teaches and photographs near her home in Texas.

In addition to the Dreams of the Turtle King children’s poetry book, you can purchase Denise’s photography from her “Radiant Heart Photography” store on Amazon!

She invites you to visit:

Dreams of the Turtle King blog: http://www.dreamsoftheturtleking.com
Photography blogs:
http://www.radiantheartphotography.com
http://foundworldsphotography.blogspot.com
Photography website: http://foundworlds.com

Contact: Denise Bossarte / 713-726-4624 / photos@foundworlds.com

Image:

‘An African American History Celebration with Solutions’

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CHICAGO, IL – People adhering to the clarion call for peace will come together in support of Probation Challenge/PCC Internet Network’s ‘An African American History Celebration.’  This historical gathering and its taping will take place, Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at Josephine’s Cooking, formerly known as Captain Hard Time, 436 East 79th Street, in Chicago, said Rev. Harold E. Bailey, president of Probation Challenge.

Bailey said the event will be taped and will later air on the PCC Internet Network, which is WWW.ProbationChallenge.org.

According to Bailey, “the presentation is expressly for the purpose of reaching the hearts and minds of youth and elders around the world.” He said solutions to crime, drugs and violence are reachable, however solutions are not implemented for the fear of their being a massive reduction in the multi-billion dollar prison industry. He will explain why some continue to wink at true and lawful solutions.

Bailey, who once served as a member and chairman of the Cook County Board of Corrections, has often said that crime and drugs have been allowed to happen for monetary gain… with African Americans and Hispanics having to suffer the blunt of a massive concerted effort to incarcerate underprivileged persons of color.

Asked why he would challenge the status quo, Bailey answered, “It is simply our ministerial mission to dispense a large dose of education and spiritual information to those not acquainted with the evils that lurch in the hearts of those sitting in seats of authority planning the detriment of others.”

Adding, Bailey said “Education brings about awareness, and awareness brings on the ability to think! When one can think – prayerfully they can make rational decisions.”

Why would those in a position to educate – not do so? “When you educate well you won’t have to incarcerate! It’s just that simple,” said Bailey.

Bailey, under his auspices, gave birth to the Probation Challenge organization from the courtroom of the late Justice R. Eugene Pincham. For 34-years, Bailey has continued on his mission to educate young men and women filtering through what he calls ‘The Criminal Just Us System.’

Probation Challenge, which was a state mandated program, was illegally evicted from the Olive-Harvey College campus, where it was housed for 27-years … without a hint of scandal, Bailey noted. He said at the death of Justice Pincham and in the same breath… the program was issued an order to vacate the campus. This sent thousands back into the streets of Chicago, causing havoc and an increase in the rate of recidivism.

With no support from the powers-that-be, Bailey continues to lend his assistance to youth who are not mandated by the courts to his program, but are void of educational understanding – which leads to jail and prison!

Guest will include: Marshall Thompson of the Chi-Lites, Pastor Mitty Collier, Geri Patterson, Claudette Henderson, Queen Mother Helen Sinclair, Chinta Strausberg, Juanita Bratcher, Maureen ‘Moe’ Forte’, Rev. A.J. Bailey, Jr., John Davis, Howard Saffold, Hubert C. Jackson, Toure Muhammad, Marvin Forbish, and others with expertise in workable solutions! The event presentation is free to the public.

Josephine Wade, known to many as Mother Wade, with a giving heart, opened her business for this special occasion and, as always she renders support for the purpose of curbing crime in the Chicago community. You may at this event purchase one of Josephine’s Cooking great meals.

This presentation is in memory of the late Justice R. Eugene Pincham

For more information, contact Rev. Harold E. Bailey, President, Probation Challenge. Tel: 773-978-3706

Free Christian Books for Prisoners

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Tampa, FL – A & A Publishing announced the release of its book, “You’re Never Going Back          Prison Series,” by Pastor Frank M. Bafford Sr. The free prison books are sent to inmates across the United States to help build their relationship with God and to encourage them not to return to prison.

“I was tired of being locked up, but I couldn’t break the pattern; I didn’t know how to stay out of prison,” said Roy White, an inmate in the Florida State Prison System. While serving his sentence of 68 months, White received “You’re Never Going Back: How to Leave a Prison a New Person and Never Return,” in the mail.

“I started to read that book and the first seven pages locked me in. After reading it, I don’t think that I’ll be coming back to prison once I get out,” said White.

Pastor Bafford is the founder of Tampa for Christ Church. The prison book series originated from sermons that Pastor Bafford delivered as a prison ministry volunteer with Abe Brown Ministries. Each book is written with prisoners in mind, from large print for poorly lit rooms to full scriptures for prisoners without Bibles. Book titles in the series include, “You’re Never Going Back: How to Leave Prison a New Person and Never Return,” “One Sin One Solution,” “You are Somebody,” “Iron Sharpens Iron,” “Respect for the Little,” and “I’m Saved and Struggling with Sin.”

White openly shared his book with other inmates. “I never did get that book back, but I got another one so that I can share it with those that I think need to read it,” said White.

To place an order for a book to be sent to an inmate or to make a donation, visit www.freeprisonbooks.org. Books are free for inmates only, but can be purchased at www.aapublishing.org.

For more information, contact: Tampa for Christ Church, Attention: Free Prison Books

P.O. Box 1192,Thonotosassa, FL 33592

Email: contact@freeprisonbooks.org

Photo Caption: Bookcover

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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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