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Archive for May 28th, 2014

National Black Church Initiative Urges 15.7 Million Members to Withhold Contributions to NPR

Posted by Admin On May - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on National Black Church Initiative Urges 15.7 Million Members to Withhold Contributions to NPR

Washington DC – The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African American churchgoers calls on African Americans to withhold contributions to NPR in response to their stifling of minority voices through the cancellation of Tell me More.

The weekday NPR program was a strong voice on issues of race, identity and faith, and host Michel Martin was a crucial voice for the Black Church community. Tell me More’s cut was attributed to budget cuts, alongside the 28 positions that were eliminated along with the show.

In a tough letter to NPR CEO Jarl Mohn, Rev. Anthony Evans, NBCI President, went on to say

This cancellation disheartens us deeply. Tell me More is a brilliantly formatted radio program that showcases a multitude of viewpoints. Michel Martin is a wonderful host, whose interview skills unquestionably represent some of the best in the nation. The show represents some a shining light for African American broadcasters, and serves a much-needed role of minority voices in the media. NPR has abandoned the African American community, and we must turn a deaf ear to you.

As a result of this cancellation, NBCI has urged its 15.7 million members to not consider donations to NPR, and to stop donations that are currently underway. The Black Church cannot be expected to donate to a station who has failed minority voices in America.

Fact Sheet: Bringing the U.S. War in Afghanistan to a Responsible End

Posted by Admin On May - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on Fact Sheet: Bringing the U.S. War in Afghanistan to a Responsible End

Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States and Afghanistan have partnered together to respond to threats to international peace and security and to help the Afghan people chart a secure, democratic, and prosperous future.  Since President Obama took office in 2009, we have pursued a focused strategy, alongside our NATO allies and partners, to strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan’s security forces and government to take full responsibility for their country’s future while we have struck significant blows against al-Qa’ida’s leadership and prevented Afghanistan from being used to launch attacks against our homeland.  Today’s announcement by President Obama continues this strategy by responsibly drawing down the U.S. military presence to end our combat mission and giving the Afghan people the opportunity to succeed as they stand on their own.

Bringing our Troops Home

The troop surge that the President announced at West Point in December 2009 set the conditions that allowed us to push back the Taliban and build up Afghan forces.  In June 2011, the President announced that we had completed the surge and would begin drawing down our forces from Afghanistan from a peak of 100,000 troops.  He directed that troop reductions continue at a steady pace and in a planned, coordinated, and responsible manner.  As a result, 10,000 troops came home by the end of that year, and 33,000 came home by the summer of 2012.

In February 2013, in his State of the Union address, the President announced that the United States would withdraw another 34,000 American troops from Afghanistan within a year — which we have done.

Today the President announced a plan whereby another 22,000 troops will come home by the end of the year, ending the U.S. combat mission in December 2014.  At the beginning of 2015, and contingent upon the Afghans signing a Bilateral Security Agreement and a status of forces agreement with NATO, we will have 9,800 U.S. service members in different parts of the country, together with our NATO allies and other partners.  By the end of 2015, we would reduce that presence by roughly half, consolidating our troops in Kabul and on Bagram Airfield.  One year later, by the end of 2016, we will draw down to a normal embassy presence in Kabul, with a security assistance component, as we have done in Iraq.  Beyond 2014, the mission of our troops will be training Afghan forces and supporting counterterrorism operations against the remnants of al-Qa’ida.

Afghans Taking the Security Lead

At the 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon, Afghanistan and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) nations agreed to transfer full responsibility for Afghanistan’s security to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) by the end of 2014.  This transition process has allowed the international community to responsibly draw down our forces in Afghanistan, while preserving hard-won gains and setting the stage to achieve our core objectives -– disrupting threats posed by al-Qa’ida; supporting Afghan Security Forces; and giving the Afghan people the opportunity to succeed as they stand on their own.

At the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago, Afghanistan and ISAF nations reaffirmed this framework for transition and agreed on a milestone in mid-2013 when the ISAF mission would begin to shift from combat to support.  Last June, the Afghans reached that milestone as the ANSF assumed the lead for security across the whole of Afghanistan and our coalition forces shifted their focus to the training, advising, and assisting of Afghan forces.

Today, Afghan forces provide security for their people and plan and lead the fight against the insurgency.  The most recent example of this transition was the effective security provided by the ANSF to enable the April presidential and provincial elections.  The ANSF will maintain its current surge strength of 352,000 to reinforce this progress and provide for a secure environment in Afghanistan.

Commitment to the U.S.-Afghanistan Partnership

In May 2012, the President signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement between the United States and Afghanistan that defined a future in which Afghans are responsible for the security of their nation.  The two countries pledged to build an equal partnership between two sovereign states premised on mutual respect and shared interests.  U.S. commitments to support Afghanistan’s social and economic development, security, and institutions and to promote regional cooperation are matched by Afghan commitments to strengthen accountability, transparency, and oversight and to protect the human rights of all Afghans –- men and women.  The Strategic Partnership Agreement includes mutual commitments in the areas of: protecting and promoting shared democratic values; advancing long-term security; reinforcing regional security and cooperation; social and economic development; and strengthening Afghan institutions and governance.

The United States continues to support a sovereign, stable, unified, and democratic Afghanistan and will continue our partnership based on the principles of mutual respect and mutual accountability.  We remain fully supportive of our partners in the Afghan security forces, and we continue to proudly work side-by-side with the many Afghans who work to ensure the stability and prosperity of their fellow citizens.

International Support for Afghanistan

The United States’ support is part of an international effort to assist Afghanistan as it enters the “Transformation Decade” of 2015-2024.  At the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago, Afghanistan and NATO reaffirmed its commitment to further develop an enduring partnership that would last beyond the transition of full security responsibility for Afghanistan from ISAF to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.  This commitment is a clear message to the Afghan people that they will not stand alone as they take responsibility for their security.  At the 2012 Tokyo Conference, Afghanistan and the international community also committed to support the sustainable growth and development of Afghanistan.  The international community pledged financial support, through 2017, at or near levels of the past decade, to respond to Afghanistan’s projected budget shortfalls.

Political Transition

As the Afghans took control for their security, they also worked to usher in a historic transfer of power in Afghanistan.  We congratulate the millions of Afghans who voted in the presidential elections in April, and we look forward to the inauguration of their next president later this summer.  The United States affirms its support for a fair, credible, and Afghan-led election process and does not support any candidate in the elections — the choice of who leads Afghanistan is for Afghans alone.

The United States also believes that an Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process is the surest way to end violence and ensure lasting stability for Afghanistan and the region.  As the President has said, the United States will support initiatives that bring Afghans together with other Afghans to discuss the future of their country.  The United States and the Afghan government have called upon on the Taliban to join a political process.  We have been clear that the outcomes of any peace and reconciliation process must be for the Taliban and other armed opposition groups to end violence, break ties with al-Qa’ida, and accept Afghanistan’s constitution, including its protections for the rights of all Afghan citizens, both men and women.

We believe that a stable and prosperous Afghanistan can only be possible in a stable and prosperous region.  We endorse Afghanistan’s vision for building strong, sustainable bilateral and multilateral relationships with its neighbors and regional partners.  We encourage Afghanistan’s further economic integration into the region and support the principles of good-neighborly relations, which include non-interference and respect for sovereignty.

Economic Transition

Afghanistan has experienced rapid economic growth and remarkable improvements in key social indicators:

  • Afghanistan’s gross domestic product has grown an average of 9.4 percent per year from 2003 to 2012.
  • In the last decade, life expectancy at birth has increased by 20 years to over 62 years.
  • In 2002, an estimated 900,000 boys were in school and virtually no girls.  Now there are 8 million students enrolled in school, more than a third of whom are girls.
  • In 2002, only 6 percent of Afghans had access to reliable electricity.  Today, 28 percent of the population has access to reliable electricity, including more than 2 million people in Kabul who now benefit from electric power 24 hours a day.

However, challenges remain, and Afghanistan will require continued international assistance to sustain its gains and further meet its development goals.  In January 2013, the President reaffirmed the conclusions of the Tokyo Conference, including that the U.S. commitment to align 80 percent of our aid with Afghan priorities and channel at least 50 percent of development assistance through the national budget of the Afghan government as part of the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework.

Source: Whitehouse.gov

NAACP Applauds Massachusetts’ New Early Voting Law

Posted by Admin On May - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on NAACP Applauds Massachusetts’ New Early Voting Law

BOSTON – Massachusetts’ voters will be able to cast their ballots up to 11 days before Election Day beginning in 2016, under a new law signed by Gov. Deval Patrick on Thursday.  Additionally, the new law allows 16-and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, in an effort to help encourage teens to continue voting through their adulthood. The new law also requires an online portal to check voter registration status and allows postelection audits of randomly selected precincts after presidential elections.

“The NAACP applauds Gov. Deval Patrick for embracing a law that expands access to the ballot box for more citizens. This is a great step forward for Massachusetts’ voters and an example that governors throughout the nation should follow,” states Jotaka Eaddy, Senior Advisor to President & CEO and Senior Director of Voting Rights at the NAACP. “Voting is the foundation of our democracy and its imperative that citizens of every race, color and creed have unfettered access to the ballot box.”

“This new voting law is about giving more people access to the ballot box and encouraging youth participation in future elections. We applaud Gov. Deval Patrick for signing a bill into law that puts Massachusetts at the forefront of expanding voter participation,” said Juan Cofield, President of the NAACP New England Area Conference. “Whenever more people have an opportunity to vote, our democracy is strengthened.”

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.  You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our five “Game Changer” issue areas here.

Rasmea Yousef Odeh to appear in Detroit court today

Posted by Admin On May - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on Rasmea Yousef Odeh to appear in Detroit court today

(From Rasmea Defense Committee)

Palestinian American organizer from Chicago, Rasmea Yousef Odeh, will appear in U.S. District Court at 231 W. Lafayette Blvd., in Detroit, Michigan, on Wednesday, May 28th, 2014, with a new attorney, Michael Deutsch of the People’s Law Office in Chicago.  Last week, Odeh decided not to accept a plea agreement that would have revoked her U.S. citizenship and forced her deportation, and instead dismissed her previous attorney.  Judge Paul Borman requested that she retain a new one for her pre-trial conference today.

Odeh is being charged with Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization, but is strongly asserting her innocence and appearing in court this morning at 10:30 AM with Deutsch, who has represented political activists and victims of police and government civil rights violations since 1970.  He was one of the lawyers for the Attica prisoners following the 1971 uprising and state massacre, and won an acquittal in 2006 for Muhammad Salah, who was accused of running a terrorist-recruiting and financing cell in the U.S.

Odeh has been in this country for 20 years, a citizen for 10 of them, and has been a social justice activist for close to 50 years.  “This immigration charge is nothing but a pretext,” said Muhammad Sankari of Chicago’s Coalition to Protect People’s Rights, which is leading the national Rasmea Defense Committee.  “Rasmea is being targeted because of who she is, a Palestinian Arab Muslim woman who continues to organize for Palestinian freedom and liberation.”

Borman may set a trial date today, and Odeh’s supporters will be mobilized from across the country to rally in her defense, and fill the courtroom every day of the trial.  Some of them will be distributing literature about the case today as well, starting at 9:30 AM.  Hatem Abudayyeh of the Rasmea Defense Committee will be available to the press, and Deutsch may be available after the court proceeding.

No Surprise Racism Lurked Underneath U.C. Santa Barbara Mass Murderer’s Rage

Posted by Admin On May - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on No Surprise Racism Lurked Underneath U.C. Santa Barbara Mass Murderer’s Rage

No Surprise Racism Lurked Underneath U.C. Santa Barbara Mass Murderer’s Rage

New America Media

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

There was no surprise that in between U.C. Santa Barbara’s mass murderer Elliot Rodger’s warped, sick, and perverse harangues against women, he also laced in a generous dose of racist rage and stereotyping.

I passed by this restaurant and I saw this black guy chilling with 4 hot white girls. He didn’t even look good. Then later on in the day I was shopping at Trader Joe’s and saw an Indian guy with 2 above average White Girls!!!

He returns to these hate mongering digs at black, Hispanic and Asian-American men for having the temerity to associate with white women, and worse their reciprocation with minority men more than a few times.

Rodger’s murderous psychosis is certainly evident in these rants. But that doesn’t tell the whole story of why a conflicted mixed race young guy would act out his rage in a deadly spree against innocents. The racial targeting can well be chalked up to ignorance, confusion, racial denial, and closet bigotry. But there have been several compelling hints that the racial blinders are tied chokingly tight on many whites, particularly young whites, as well as those who are conflicted about race, such as Rodger.

Racial digs that mock blacks, Latinos and Asians have been a common feature on more than a few college campuses in recent times. There’s the wave of fraternities that have been called on the carpet for mocking black notables and rappers, holding slave auctions, minstrel shows, displaying the Confederate flag in front of frat dorms, and for their members sporting the flag on tee shirts. Many have also been reprimanded for their vicious mocking of Latin and Asian immigrants. This was not merely a free speech issue, or a case of zany college kids making utter fools of each other. This was blatant racial slander.

An AP poll in 2012 also found that a majority of non-blacks had anti-black prejudices. But it also found that a significant number of those who held the same prejudices and outright bigoted views were in the under age 30 crowd. That’s precisely the age demographic of Rodger. His rants proved once more that bigotry, with all its twisted, warped, and psychotic delusions, fears and hates can explode any time, and anywhere in the orgy of murderous rampages that Americans are getting far too accustomed to seeing, and being victimized by. Rodger’s “Manifesto” tell that same sordid tale once more.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the author of How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour heard weekly on the nationally network broadcast Hutchinson Newsmaker Network.

60 Years After Brown

Posted by Admin On May - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on 60 Years After Brown

By William Spriggs

The weekend of May 17 marked the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in the five related cases known as Oliver Brown et. al. v. the Board of Education of Topeka. It struck down the principal that segregation was legal under the Constitution and was the crowning intellectual achievement of the Howard University Law School.

Rarely has one institution played such a profound role in changing history. With the exception of Louis Redding and Jack Greenberg, who argued the companion case about segregated schools in Delaware, all the cases-involving public elementary schools in Kansas, Virginia, South Carolina and a separate case for Washington, D.C.-were argued by faculty or alumni of the Howard Law School. Under the direction and mentorship of Charles Hamilton Houston, Howard single-handedly took on the challenge to dismantle segregation; with the spotlight on his protégé Thurgood Marshall and a legal who’s who of Leon Ranson, William Hastie, Oliver Hill, Spotswood Robinson, George E. C. Hayes, James Nabrit, Jr., Loren Miller, Dovey Johnson Roundtree, Frankie Muse Freeman and Robert L. Carter.

While Brown crowned that intellectual feat, earlier victories were also important. Led by Marshall, these cases broke down barriers in higher education, equal pay, public transportation and residential segregation. In 1936 with Houston in Pearson v. Murray, ended segregation of the University of Maryland Law School (which had denied Marshall entry based on his race). In 1938 in Missouri ex. rel. Gaines v. Canada ruled that Missouri could not meet the needs of Black students pursuing law by sending them to other states to study.

Marshall, in cases argued with Houston, Hastie, Hill and Ranson in 1939 and 1940, oversaw Mills v. Board of Education of Anne Arundel County and Alston. v. School Board of the City of Norfolk, winning equal pay for Black public school teachers; in 1946 with Hastie in Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia ruling that federal anti-discrimination laws on interstate bus routes trumped Virginia’s segregation laws; in 1948 in Sipuel v. Board of Regents of Univ. of Oklahoma ending segregation at Oklahoma’s only public law school, and with Miller in Shelley v. Kramer that while race restrictive covenants in deeds were permissible, they could not be enforced by a court, removing an important pillar that maintained housing segregation; and 1950 in Sweat v. Painter on the inadequacy of Texas’ racially separate law schools. McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Board of Regents ended practices of racial isolation of a doctoral student.

On the immediate heels of the Brown decision, later in 1954 Freeman was the lead in Davis et al. v. the St. Louis Housing Authority ending segregation in public housing in St. Louis, and in 1955 Roundtree in Sarah Keys v. Carolina Coach Company settled the legal issue ending segregation on interstate buses.

The litany of cases highlights a legacy of barriers in all walks of life, a history driven home in a poignant article by Ta-Nehisi Coates making a case for reparations. A key contribution of Coates’ article is to remind America that “equal opportunity” is a meaningless concept when centuries old legacies deal hands that are inherently unequal due to malice.

A report released last week by the National Urban League’s Washington Bureau on access to college for African Americans underscores the problems faced in bringing the full promise of Brown and equal educational opportunity to the 21st Century. As Coates quotes Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 Commencement Address to Howard University that “Negro poverty is not white poverty,” African American college students are not white college students.

Black college students are the poorest of any racial group, with 47.4 percent of those who are dependent on parents coming from families with incomes below $30,000; explaining why 83.5 percent apply for aid and 59.9 percent qualify for zero expected family contributions toward their education and 22.5 percent getting near the maximum Pell Grant. This still leaves them needing to borrow 64.6 percent of their unmet college cost need.

Overcoming all these barriers, the Center for Economic Policy and Research reports that last year, 2013, 12.4 percent of recent Black college grads were unemployed, compared to 5.6 percent for all recent grads. And, among those employed, 55.9 percent were stuck in jobs that don’t require college degrees, which a recent Demos report notes makes the higher debt load of black college students different.

These differences need to weigh heavily on how we have structured higher education to be privately financed by students, not as a public investment in our nation’s future. And, when we design higher education policy guidelines to create accountability in the system, we need to think of the challenge those legacies mean for Historically Black Colleges, like Howard University – schools that remain committed to educating large numbers of Black students.

Follow Spriggs on Twitter: @WSpriggs. Contact: Amaya Smith-Tune Acting Director, Media Outreach AFL-CIO 202-637-5142

Dr. Ben Carson Offers A Powerful Cure to get America on the Right Track

Posted by Admin On May - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on Dr. Ben Carson Offers A Powerful Cure to get America on the Right Track

New Book, One Nation, Calls On Left And Right To Toss Aside Unanimity of Party Speech And Thought And Concentrate On Respectful Dialogue For Real Problem Solving

“The John’s Hopkins neurosurgeon may not be politically correct, but he’s closer to correct than we’ve heard in years.” — The Wall Street Journal

One Nation By Dr. Ben Carson

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — In his new book, One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future, famed Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon and political pundit, Dr. Ben Carson delivers a way out of the American decline—appealing to every American’s decency and common sense.

In One Nation (Sentinel, May 20), the sequel to their #1 New York Times bestseller, America the Beautiful, Dr. and Mrs. Carson offer a refreshing and bold plan to halt the country’s spiral into fiscal and moral decay. Avoiding the political correctness of politicians and the animosity of Washington lawyers, Dr. Carson calls for respectful problem-solving skills he honed as a surgeon, and fearlessly tackles tough issues such as education, health care, family values, race relations, taxes, charity, and the role of faith in public life.

Dr. Carson believes America has inexplicably lost the ability to discuss important issues calmly and respectfully regardless of party affiliation or other differences. One Nation thoughtfully suggests practical ways to overcome the needless bickering and impasse of progress. As a surgeon rather than a politician, Dr. Carson cares deeply about what works—not whether someone has an (R) or a (D) after their name.

Dr. Carson understands that Americans must come together. One Nation explains that by respecting others it’s possible to engage in intelligent conversation about differences of opinion without becoming enemies, eventually allowing us to move forward through meaningful compromise.

One Nation is a clarion call to return to our historic culture of personal responsibility in order to solve the expanding list of America’s ills, including:

* Growing debt and the resulting burdens of fiscal uncertainty
* Deteriorating morals that have driven America far from the founders’ intent
* Failing to make significant progress in basic education
* Resolving the Obamacare mess—a threat to health, liberty, and financial stability
* Tempering media elitism and political correctness and its chilling effects on a meaningful national dialogue

Dr. Carson believes America’s best days are ahead, but contends these serious issues must first be resolved with reason and compromise from both sides of the political aisle.

In his journey from poverty to the top of his field, Dr. Carson has lived the American dream. He shows how we can save that dream for future generations by restoring a moral, informed citizenry that will support “one nation, under God, indivisible.”


BEN CARSON, MD, raised by a poor single mother in Detroit, recently retired as the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital after a groundbreaking medical career of more than thirty-five years. Now a Washington Times columnist and FOX News contributor, he is the author of five previous books, including the New York Times bestsellers Gifted Hands and, most recently, America the Beautiful, coauthored with his wife, Candy Carson. A former member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, he is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the country.

Dr. and Mrs. Carson together founded the Carson Scholars Fund, dedicated to recognizing the academic achievements of deserving young people. They have three grown children and two grandchildren and now live in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Dr. and Mrs. Carson will be making 29 stops on a bus tour from Florida to Texas from May 31 to June 8. Please visit www.realbencarson.com for the complete tour schedule.


“Dr. Ben Carson has proven himself to be one of the great leaders of today. He has demonstrated his intelligence and his character in every endeavor he has undertaken, in medicine, in education and in public life.” — DR. JOHN C. MAXWELL

“Dr. Carson prescribes a dose of ‘tough love’ to cure the nation’s ills and restore our faith in government and ourselves.” — SAM DONALDSON

“Worthy of Booker T. Washington . . . The beauty of Carson’s argument exceeds its simplicity.” — JONAH GOLDBERG, NATIONAL REVIEW

“His groundbreaking contributions to medicine and his inspiring efforts to help America’s youth fulfill their potential have strengthened our nation.” — PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM, 2008


Title: One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future
Author: Ben Carson, MD with Candy Carson
On-Sale Date: May 20, 2014
Price: $25.95
Pages: 256
ISBN: 987-1-59523-112-3
Imprint: Sentinel Penguin

Twitter: @realbencarson
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DrBenjaminCarson

Photo Caption: Bookcover

Kirk, Mikulski, 15 Senators Urge Obama to Strengthen Commitment to Poland

Posted by Admin On May - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on Kirk, Mikulski, 15 Senators Urge Obama to Strengthen Commitment to Poland

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), along with 15 other Senators,  sent a letter to President Obama asking him to announce a strengthened U.S. commitment to Poland and the Polish people during his upcoming visit to this important U.S. ally. The Senators asked the President to announce a set of strong pro-Poland measures, including increased U.S. and NATO support for Poland’s armed forces, enhanced missile defense efforts, and a strong U.S. commitment to support all efforts to help Europe diversify its energy supplies away from Russia.

The cosponsors are Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho).

President Obama’s visit is timed for the 25th anniversary of Poland’s first partially free elections, which marked the beginning of the country’s liberation from communism.

“We know from history what happens when Western leaders abandon Poland,” said Senator Kirk. “This bipartisan effort is a call to action for the President to show Poland and her people that the United States stands firmly with them against the threat of Russian aggression and for a Europe whole, free, and at peace.”

“I applaud the President for his commitment to strengthening ties with Poland and focusing on security in the region,” said Senator Mikulski. “Poland is a steadfast and true ally and we must take this opportunity to reaffirm the strong alliance between our two countries.”

A copy of the letter is below:

May 23, 2014

Dear Mr. President:

As champions of the U.S.-Poland partnership, we welcome your decision to visit Poland on June 4.  This visit is vitally important, as it comes not only on the 25th anniversary of Poland regaining its liberty from communism, but also at the most challenging moment for the region since the fall of the Iron Curtain.

We therefore urge you to announce during your visit a set of decisive measures to strengthen America’s commitment to Poland and the Polish people.  These measures should encompass a renewed and long-term U.S. military commitment to NATO and Poland, as well as a U.S. government commitment to help Europe diversify its energy supplies away from Russia.

First and foremost, we encourage you to publicly reaffirm to the Polish people America’s ironclad commitment to Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty.  As part of this commitment, we urge you to propose a plan to increase U.S. and NATO support for the armed forces of Poland.

Second, we urge you to announce to continue to work with the Polish government to enhance U.S. missile defense efforts in Europe and in Poland.  This plan should include a range of options, including a firm commitment to place a land-based interceptor site in Poland as well as full U.S. technical cooperation with Polish efforts to acquire their own missile defense.

Third, we urge you to announce that the U.S. government is fully committed to helping Europe diversify its energy supplies.  Poland, along with our allies in the region, is heavily reliant on Russian energy that also makes it vulnerable to Russia’s political pressure, as amply demonstrated when Gazprom cut supplies to Europe in 2008-2009 in its dispute with Ukraine.  To help Europe lessen this dangerous dependence, U.S. must support all efforts to bring additional supplies to the market.

Mr. President, Russian aggression against a sovereign Ukraine represents a grave threat to the region and a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace.  We must stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Polish allies to confront this challenge.

We look forward to your immediate response.


DePaul Divest Declares Victory in Student Campaign

Posted by Admin On May - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on DePaul Divest Declares Victory in Student Campaign

Student coalition DePaul Divest declares victory in campaign calling for student support to divest from corporations that profit off of human rights abuses against Palestinians.

CHICAGO, IL – Following two months of campaigning at DePaul University, student coalition DePaul Divest have declared victory in a campaign to divest from corporations that profit off of human rights violations perpetrated against Palestinians via the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.

While a majority of campus divestment campaigns across the country have been carried out through student government resolutions, DePaul Divest opted to pose the question of divestment to the entire DePaul student body through a Student Government Association (SGA) referendum this week. With a majority of 1575 votes in favor and 1333 against, it is clear that Palestinian human rights, the rights of minorities within Israel, and ethical investment are issues that concern the DePaul student body.

This victory did not come without outside interference by pro-Israel lobby group StandWithUs, whose paid staff, frequently presenting themselves as individuals affiliated with DePaul University, canvassed the student body in a counter campaign to DePaul Divest.

“Scare tactics were used to deter the student body from voting to affirm the human rights of Palestinians, but our victory today is evidence that this was not enough to stop DePaul students from standing on the side of justice,” said campaign organizer Areej Hamdan.

In the days leading up to the student vote, members of the opposition circulated false rumors and misinformation about the DePaul Divest campaign, despite the clarity and transparency of the movement’s goals. This misinformation was addressed in a May 18 DePaulia article, “DePaul Divest speaks out: No more intimidation, no more misinformation”.

While the passage of this referendum is not binding on the administration, the SGA is prohibited from passing resolutions in the upcoming school year that contradict the results of the referendum.

DePaul Divest organizers will now turn their attention to working with the DePaul administration in moving forward with implementing divestment from these corporations. Working with the Fair Business Practices Committee, DePaul Divest organizers will encourage the university administration to establish investment screens. This will require that the human rights record of each potential investment is investigated, making ethical investment a priority and requirement for the university’s money managers.

“It is clear that DePaul students do not wish to have their tuition dollars invested in weapons manufacturers,” said student organizer Roya Naderi. This has generated discussion on ethical investment on campus, with students in agreement that DePaul University should not be invested in war profiteers.

While campaigning at the university is now over, divestment does not end here. This is a moment in which the student body has taken a stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, long denied of their basic human rights. The passage of this divestment referendum is a step towards removing the university’s complicity in the occupation of Palestine, and is a step towards establishing a standard of ethical investment practices at DePaul University.

DePaul Divest is a coalition of students, student organizations, staff, faculty and alumni that call on the DePaul University administration to pull its investments from corporations that profit off of the illegal occupation of Palestine and the human rights abuses these companies help perpetuate. For more information, visit

Hot House Announces June Cultural Events at Lakeside Inn

Posted by Admin On May - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on Hot House Announces June Cultural Events at Lakeside Inn

R.J. Taylor on Benton Harbor’s House of David

Jazz on a Summer’s Day concert features Saalik Ziyad’s Connective

In June, the non-profit arts organization HotHouse will present two exciting cultural programs in the ballroom and studios of the historic Lakeside Inn.

The first event on Saturday, June 28 at 7pm HotHouse will present a program exploring the fascinating history and future plans of Benton Harbor’s House of David.

Resident member RJ Taylor will give the talk and slide presentation as part of HotHouses series of public programs, summer workshops & artists in residence programs in Lakeside Studios. RJ has been a member of the religious community since 1974 and is himself an artist as well as caretaker of the site. By 1906, The House of David colony soon had several hundred members and owned about 1,000 acres in Benton Harbor, Michigan. There the colony harvested fruit from a dozen orchards and cultivated grain. The commune had its own cannery, carpenter shop, coach factory, tailor shop, and steam laundry. They also owned and operated their own electricity plant, providing lighting to the community. It had three brass bands and two orchestras, and a zoological garden. The Baseball team toured nationally and was legendary in its own right. The Amusement Park drew thousands of visitors and is being reintroduced this year as a new attraction to the area. More about the program follows under “about the artist and programs”

On Sunday June 29 at 4pm HotHouse presents its third concert in this years Jazz on a Summer’s Day concert series. This month the featured group is Saalik Ziyad’s Connective.


Jazz on a Summer’s Day

Produced by HotHouse

In the Ballroom of The Lakeside Inn

15251 Lakeshore Road, Lakeside Michigan

Telephone number at The Lakeside Inn 269 469-0600269 469-0600
Tickets are available on the HotHouse web-site:  www.hothouse.net

Information: hothouse3.0 at gmail.com

Jazz on a Summer’s Day 2014 Season Schedule (remaining)



Saalik Ziyad’s Connective



Reggie Nicholson and Robert Griffith play homage to the music of Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell


Edward Wilkerson Septet



San featuring Donna Lee Kwon, Tatsu Aoki and Jeff Chan



Proyecto Libre



Oliver’s Cinema



Saturday June 28, 7pm $5

The Israelite House of David is a communal religious society co-founded by Benjamin and Mary Purnell in Benton Harbor, Michigan, in 1903. By 1906, the House owned about 1,000 acres, on which the colony harvested fruit from a dozen orchards and cultivated grain. The commune had its own cannery, carpenter shop, coach factory, tailor shop, and steam laundry. They also owned and operated their own electricity plant, had three brass bands and two orchestras, a zoological garden and nationally famous amusement park: Eden Springs. In 1913, the Israelite House of David began to play competitive baseball and by 1915, they became famous as a barnstorming baseball team which toured rural America from the 1920s through the 1950s. They were known for their skill and played against some of the greatest teams in the country. The House of David played against Major League, Minor League, independent and Negro League teams.

Ron Taylor is one of the last surviving members of the House and an artist. His grandparents joined the House of David community at Sydney, Australia in 1919 and RJ worked part time at the House of David while in art school. He joined the community in 1977 and has resided there for 40 years. As of 2009, he is the sole trustee of the property (81 structures and 141 acres). His work in preservation of the City of David properties began in 1991 and was awarded the honor of National Register significance in 2009. RJ will present a pictorial history presentation on the House of David using 100 vintage images visually brings to life a vibrant story that reaches back to England of the 1650s. He will narrate this fascinating story of America’s third oldest Christian community that caught the attention of America through its baseball teams, traveling jazz orchestras and legal problems; an organization that dominated Berrien County’s fruit industry and tourism for most of the twentieth century.

Sunday June 29    4pm  $20

The Saalik Ziyad Connective

Blessed with a smooth, buff baritone and a powerful artistic persona, Ziyad can infuse a timeless ballad with just the right emotion and in the next breath, sail into a hard-bop anthem or modern jazz composition with equal conviction. Ziyad’s unique style and voice ranges from jazz to classical and has afforded him the opportunity to perform worldwide.  Here the Saalik Ziyad Connective will be focusing on original compositions written by Saalik Ziyad featuring music influenced by his global travels. Featured in the instrumentation this concert are the oud and the sitar. Saalik performs here with a roster of talents: Taalib-Din Ziyad, Ed Wilkerson, Shanta Nuralluh, Alex Wing, Dushun Mosley.

Saalik Ziyad

Blessed with a smooth, buff baritone and a powerful artistic persona, Ziyad can infuse a timeless ballad with just the right emotion and in the next breath, sail into a hard-bop anthem or modern jazz composition with equal conviction. Ziyad’s unique style and voice ranges from jazz to classical and has afforded him the opportunity to perform worldwide.

Alex Wing

Alex Wing is a guitarist, bassist, oud player and creative musician living and working in Chicago.  He has played with David Boykin, Hanah Jon Taylor, Nicole Mitchell, Avreaayl Ra, Mwata Bowden, Paul Hartsaw, Saalik Ziyad and many more.

Taalib-Din Ziyad

A deep rich bass baritone vocalist, flutist, composer and poet that brings sounds of spiritual and cosmic vibrations of love and healing.

Shantah Nurullah

Shanta is an internationally known storyteller and musician. She plays bass, sitar, and percussion and was co-founder of the women’s bands Sojourner and Samana.

Dushun Mosley

Dushun Mosley, Percussionist, is a performer, bandleader. He is the band leader of his group the Vizitors and well as a member of various groups including 8 Bold Souls, Douglas Ewart Inventions, AACM Great Black Music Ensemble and many others.

Edward Wilkerson Jr.

Edward L. Wilkerson, Jr., is an internationally recognized American jazz composer, arranger, musician, and educator based in Chicago. Wilkerson has toured festivals and concert halls throughout the United States. Wilkerson has performed in many groups including his own group Shadow Vignettes and 8 Bold Souls. He is currently with his own quartet and also the band Frequency with Nicole Mitchell, Hamid Drake and Harrison Bankhead


JAZZ ON A SUMMER’S DAY presented by HotHouse, is a chance to encounter some of the world’s most innovative and compelling artists in an intimate, seductive, arts-centric environment.

Featured in this year’s season are some of the music world’s most treasured creative artists. While each performance on the bill is uniquely representative of the genre -jazz/creative improvised music, altogether and over the years, dedicated audiences can appreciate the comprehensive language of the improviser and how the music is continually being advanced through contemporary exploration.  In fact, the point of the series is to take audience members on a journey through modern music and provide opportunities to experience art and have access to musicians in a way that they might not otherwise enjoy.


In the 1960’s the studios behind the Lakeside Inn were developed by John Wilson, the internationally known print dealer and an early founder of the Art Expositions at Navy Pier. During the early years of the Lakeside Center for the Arts, the artists working on premise included Richard Hunt, Ed Paschke, and Roger Brown, all of whom are now world famous.

After Wilson sold the hotel in 2005, the studios lay dormant. Then in 2010, HotHouse a well-known cultural presenter in Chicago inaugurated the Jazz on a Summer’s Day concert series in the ballroom of the Inn. Since then HotHouse has expanded its range of programmatic offerings at Lakeside and has subsequently re-introduced Lakeside Studios. In 2013, HotHouse hosted twelve art-making workshops in the Studios including a course in Astrophotography and Creative Writing. As part of an international exchange program funded by the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the organization converted the studio into a woodshop and brought one of Mexico’s most revered jarana makers from Jaltipan, Mexico to teach the art of traditional instrument making. Five students travelled to the site from all throughout the US to take the immersive workshop. One of the participants was a 63 year old retired school teacher from Valparaiso and a second- generation immigrant from Mexico. Profoundly moved by the week he spent in the course, he wrote that this was one of the most important experiences in his life. Remarkably, this was the first workshop of its kind in the country.

HotHouse has made a commitment to return to Lakeside a center for cultural exploration. Jazz on a Summer’s Day and the Lakeside Studios are two 2014 programs that advance this commitment.  Nestled in the trees behind the Lakeside Inn and steps from the beach, Lakeside Studios is the perfect location for contemplation, creative experimentation, and ongoing adult education.

ABOUT HotHouse

HotHouse was founded in 1987 to provide a forum for expression in the arts that was under-represented elsewhere in the Chicago cultural community. It was created primarily to curate multi-arts and educational activities that bolstered the prominence of innovative artists working in the margins of the commercial market and to facilitate events that amplified a variety of progressive social movements. The New York Times wrote of HotHouse “few clubs anywhere offer a wider range of first-rate world music, from wildly vibrant Afro-pop to avant-garde jazz than HotHouse.” And a  “Best of Chicago” award opined “from European avant-garde jazz acts that don’t even play in this hemisphere to performance art to world music to the city’s more esoteric acts, [HotHouse] has consistently pulled in some of the planet’s most innovative acts.”

For two decades the organization maintained two award-winning cultural centers where it presented its programs-the first catalyzed growth in the Wicker Park neighborhood (1987-1995) and the second spurred development in the South Loop in downtown Chicago (1995-2007). The board of directors is currently pursuing plans to build its third site.

HotHouse develops its programs in response to a variety of community needs and seeks to extend the milieu of the academy and position high caliber (and international) arts innovation before underserved populations throughout the Chicago metropolitan region.

Jazz on a Summer’s Day is part of our larger initiative to develop an art making workshop and artists -in- residence program at Lakeside.


Behind the lodge, nestled in the pines, is a studio that is being reintroduced by HotHouse as Lakeside Studios. In 2013, we hosted twelve art-making workshops in the Studios including a course in Astrophotography and Creative Writing. As part of an international exchange program funded by the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, our organization converted the studio into a woodshop and brought one of Mexico’s most revered jarana makers from Jaltipan, Mexico to teach the art of traditional instrument making. Five students travelled to the site from all throughout the US to take the immersive workshop. One of the participants was a 63 year old retired school teacher from Valparaiso and a second- generation immigrant from Mexico. Profoundly moved by the week he spent in the course, he wrote that this was one of the most important experiences in his life. Remarkably, this was the first workshop of its kind in the country.

The program will be expanded in 2014.

HotHouse has made a commitment to return to Lakeside a center for cultural exploration. Jazz on a Summer’s Day and the Lakeside Studios are two 2014 programs that advance this commitment.


The Lakeside Inn, is a landmark hotel perched on the shores Lake Michigan, a speedy 90 minute drive from Chicago. The Inn remains a charming wooden structure dating from the 1880’s and has long been associated as a destination for artists and day trippers escaping the hectic city. Furnishings reminiscent of the early 20th century create a casual atmosphere and decorate the 31 rooms, the fabulous porch laden with rocking chairs, and the ballroom with its impressive stone fireplace. The Lakeside Inn is a centerpiece of the fascinations found in Harbor County- an area next to the Indiana Dunes that has long been a favored place for respite and rejuvenation.

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