August 31, 2012

GOP Gone Wild: Christine O'Donnell Indicates that Barack Obama is a Communist

Did you see former GOP senatorial candidate Christine 'I'm Not a Witch' O'Donnell on CNN earlier this morning? She tried that old GOP line that Obama is a communist ... and Soledad O'Brien wasn't having it. Here is the full interview on video:

I think that Christine O'Donnell may be the dumbest politician in the country. I won't be surprised to see her up in Missouri endorses Rep. Akins next. What is your take on Christine O'Donnell?

August 30, 2012

Michelle Obama on Magazine Cover as a Nude Slave; Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?

It is so easy to get mixed messages across cultural lines. However People of African descent in America don't see anything positive about our nation's ugly history of slavery. How could the editor at the Fuera de Serie magazine think it was a good idea to place a picture of First Lady Michelle Obama on cover looking like a slave with her right breast bared?!?


The image is a unauthorized version of a classic French painting and although the gesture was meant to be a positive nod to Obama's public persona ... it didn't work!

Buzzfeed writes:
The image appears on the August 2012 cover of Spanish magazine Fuera de Serie. A number of sites have called the cover inappropriate because it depicts First Lady Michelle Obama in imagery closely associated with slavery.

French artist Marie-Guillemine Benoist completed the "Portrait d'une négresse" by the year 1800 — six years after the abolition of slavery in France (and two years before it was partially reinstated by Napoleon Bonaparte). Critics generally regard the painting as a show of support for feminism and Black rights.

Art historian James Smalls writes that "the artist responded to early nineteenth-century French racialism and the less-than-desirable treatment of women," concluding that "her painting may be seen as a voice of protest, however small, in the discourse over human bondage."
The magazine used the photo to run alongside a story about Obama's popularity and strength in the White House, stating, "Behind every great man there is a great woman." While the Spaniards may understand their own message behind the image, none of us here in the Electronic Village are having it.

What has Obama Done? Here Are 200 Accomplishments! With Citations!

by Milt Shook
If you’re one of those who thinks President Obama is a “disappointment,” my condolences for you not getting your unicorn. And it’s time to grow up, and get over it. We have a little over two months to go before an election that will feature more political ads than you have ever seen before. We don’t just have to beat Willard Romney; we also have to beat Citizens United.
There will be TWO choices for president; it’s not a smorgasbord. You can either work for Obama and every other Democrat (yes, including Blue Dogs), or you can sit back and watch Willard Romney complete the job of taking apart the social fabric of the country that was first undertaken by Ronald Reagan 32 years ago. That is your choice.

What makes the “disappointment” argument even more irritating is that it’s simply not true. He’s done nearly everything we elect a president to do, and he did it all with little support from the left, and massive obstruction from the right. .

Is he perfect? No, he’s human. Does he deserve some criticism? Of course, but at this point, it really doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that this president has compiled a STELLAR record given the circumstances under which he took office. If you can look at this list of the president’s accomplishments and not be excited, you have a serious problem with perspective.

Pass this list around to everyone you know. And don’t be afraid; unlike many such lists, every item includes a link to a citation supporting it.
 He Returned The Executive Branch To Fiscal Responsibility After the Bush Debacle

1. Within his first week, he signed an Executive Order ordering an audit of government contracts, and combating waste and abuse. http://1.usa.gov/dUvbu5

2. Created the post of Chief Performance Officer, whose job it is to make operations more efficient to save the federal government money. http://n.pr/hcgBn1

3. On his first full day, he froze White House salaries. http://on.msnbc.com/ewJUIx

4. He appointed the first Federal Chief Information Officer to oversee federal IT spending. http://www.cio.gov

5. He committed to phasing out unnecessary and outdated weapons systems. To that end, he also signed the Democratic-sponsored Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act, which attempted to put a stop to waste, fraud and abuse in the defense procurement and contracting system. http://bit.ly/hOw1t1 http://bit.ly/fz8GAd

6. Through an executive order, he created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. http://bit.ly/hwKhKa

He Improved the Economy, Preventing a Bush Depression

7. Pushed through and signed the Democratic-sponsored American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, otherwise known as “the stimulus package.” The bill passed, even though only three Republicans voted for it. In a major departure from the previous administration, he launched recovery.gov, a website that allows taxpayers to track spending from the Act. http://1.usa.gov/ibiFSs http://1.usa.gov/e3BJMk

8. The Bush-led Great Recession was costing the economy nearly 800,000 jobs per month by the time President Obama took office. But by the end of his first year, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created and sustained 2.1 million jobs and stimulated the economy by 3.5%. http://reut.rs/i46CEE

9. Not only did he completed the massive TARP financial and banking rescue plan, he also leaned on the banks and others, and recovered virtually all of the bail-out money. http://1.usa.gov/eA5jVS http://bit.ly/eCNrD6

10. He created the Making Home Affordable home refinancing plan. http://1.usa.gov/goy6zl

11. Oversaw the creation of more jobs in 2010 alone than Bush did in eight years. http://bit.ly/hrrnjY

12. Along with Democrats, and almost no Republicans, implemented an auto industry rescue plan, and saved as many as 1 million jobs. http://bit.ly/ibhpxr Many are of the opinion that he saved the entire auto industry, and even the economy of the entire Midwest. http://bit.ly/gj7mt5 This resulted in GM returning to its place as the top car company in the world. http://lat.ms/zIJuQx Willard Romney, on the other hand, advocated for the entire industry to go belly-up. http://nyti.ms/k0zp

13. Doubled funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which is designed to improve manufacturing efficiency. http://bit.ly/eYD4nf

14. Signed the Democratic-sponsored Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act giving the federal government more tools to investigate and prosecute fraud in every corner of the financial system, and create a bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to investigate the financial fraud that led to the economic meltdown. http://abcn.ws/g18Fe7

15. Signed the Democratic-sponsored Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, which was designed to to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive credit card practices. http://1.usa.gov/gIaNcS

16. Increased infrastructure spending after years of neglect. http://bit.ly/f77aOw

17. Signed the Democratic-sponsored and passed Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, expanding on the Making Home Affordable Program to help millions of Americans avoid preventable foreclosures. The bill also provided $2.2 billion to help combat homelessness, and to stabilize the housing market. http://bit.ly/eEpLFn

18. Through the Worker, Home-ownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, he and Congressional Democrats provided tax credits to first-time home buyers, which helped the U.S. housing market recovery. http://bit.ly/dZgXXw http://bit.ly/gORYfL

19. Initiated a $15 billion plan designed to encourage increased lending to small businesses.
http://1.usa.gov/eu0u0b

20. Created business.gov, which allows for online collaboration between small businesses and experts re managing a business. (The program has since merged with SBA.gov.) http://www.business.gov

21. Played a lead role in getting the G-20 Summit to commit to a $1.1 trillion deal to combat the global financial crisis. http://nyti.ms/gHlgp5

22. Took steps to improve minority access to capital. http://bit.ly/f9xVE7

23. Signed an Executive Order instructing federal agencies to review all federal regulations and remove any unnecessary or burdensome regulations from the books. http://1.usa.gov/Lpo5bd

24. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, saved at least 300,000 education jobs, such as teachers, principals, librarians, and counselors that would have otherwise been lost. http://1.usa.gov/ez30Dc

25. Dismantled the Minerals Management Service, thereby cutting ties between energy companies and the government. http://nyti.ms/bw1MLu

26. Along with Congressional Democrats, provided funding to states and the Department of Homeland Security to save thousands of police and firefighter jobs from being cut during the recession. http://bit.ly/g0IKWR

27. Used recovered TARP money to fund programs at local housing finance agencies in California, Florida, Nevada, Arizona and Michigan. http://on.msnbc.com/i1i8eV

28. Crafted an Executive order establishing the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability to assist in financial education for all Americans. http://bit.ly/eyqsNE

He Fostered Greater Transparency and Better Government, After the Excesses of the Bush Years

29. Signed an order banning gifts from lobbyists to anyone in the Executive Branch. http://bit.ly/fsBACN

30. Signed an order banning anyone from working in an agency they had lobbied in previous years, and put strict limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House. http://nyti.ms/gOrznV

31. Held the first-ever first online town hall from the White House, and took questions from the public. http://bit.ly/gVNSgX

32. Became the first to stream every White House event, live. http://1.usa.gov/kAgOP5

33. Established a central portal for Americans to find service opportunities. http://www.serve.gov

34. Provided the first voluntary disclosure of the White House Visitors Log in history. http://1.usa.gov/hQ7ttV

35. Issued an Executive Order on Presidential Records, which restored the 30-day time frame for former presidents to review records, and eliminated the right for the vice president or family members of former presidents to do the reviews. Provides the public with greater access to historic White House documents, and severely curtails the ability to use executive privilege to shield them. http://1.usa.gov/gUetLb

36. Improved aspects of the Freedom of Information Act, and issued new guidelines to make FOIA more open and transparent when processing FOIA requests. http://1.usa.gov/gjrnp2

Wall Street Reforms and Consumer Protection

37. Ordered 65 executives who took bailout money to cut their own pay until they paid back all bailout money. http://huff.to/eAi9Qq

38. Along with Congressional Democrats, pushed through and got passed Dodd-Frank, one of the largest and most comprehensive Wall Street reforms since the Great Depression. http://bit.ly/hWCPg0 http://bit.ly/geHpcD

39. Through Dodd-Frank legislation, created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau http://1.usa.gov/j5onG

40. Through Dodd-Frank, the Executive Branch fashioned rules that reduce the influence of speculators in the oil market. http://bit.ly/MDnA1t

41. Fashioned rules so that banks can no longer use YOUR money to invest in high-risk financial instruments that work against their own customers’ interests. http://bit.ly/fnTayj

42. Supported the concept of allowing stockholders to vote on executive compensation. http://bit.ly/fnTayj

43. Endorsed and supported the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2009 that would close offshore tax avoidance loopholes. http://bit.ly/esOdfB http://bit.ly/eG4DPM

44. Negotiated a deal with Swiss banks that now permits the US government to gain access to the records of criminals and tax evaders. http://bit.ly/htfDgw

45. Signed the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, which closed many of the loopholes that allowed companies to send jobs overseas, and avoid paying US taxes by moving money offshore. http://1.usa.gov/bd1RTq

46. Established a Consumer Protection Financial Bureau designed to protect consumers from financial sector excesses. http://bit.ly/fnTayj

47. Oversaw and then signed a Democratic bill constituting the most sweeping food safety legislation since the Great Depression. http://thedc.com/gxkCtP

48. Through the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act, extended the False Claims Act to combat fraud by companies and individuals using money from the TARP and Stimulus programs. http://bit.ly/SLTcSa

He Ushered Through Many Changes That Enhanced Civil Rights and Anti-Discrimination

49. Along with Congressional Democrats, advocated for and signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which made it a federal crime to assault anyone based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. http://bit.ly/gsMSJ7

50. Pushed through, signed and demanded the Pentagon enact a repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that forced soldiers to lie in order to be eligible to fight for their country, and put our troops at risk by disqualifying many qualified soldiers from helping. http://bit.ly/fdahuH http://bit.ly/mZV4Pz

51. Extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. http://1.usa.gov/g2RLCj

52. Appointed more openly gay officials than anyone in history. http://bit.ly/g1lA7D

53. Appointed first openly transgender Cabinet Official in History. http://bit.ly/58zUp7

54. Changed HUD rules to prohibit gender and sexual orientation-based discrimination in housing bit.ly/9RxEnP

55. Changed his mind and publicly expressed support for the right to enter into a same-sex marriage. http://bit.ly/JsiFKp

56. Issued a Presidential Memorandum reaffirming the rights of gay couples to make medical decisions for each other. http://1.usa.gov/aUueGT

57. Wrote and signed an Executive Order establishing a White House Council on Women and Girls to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies evaluate the effect of their policies and programs on women and families. http://bit.ly/e1puTk http://1.usa.gov/rFfqMM

58. Signed the Democratic-sponsored Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restored basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers. This was after the GOP blocked the bill in 2007. Only 5 Republican Senators voted for the bill. http://bit.ly/fT3Cxg

59. Expanded funding for the Violence Against Women Act. http://1.usa.gov/dSbI0x

60. Under his guidance, National Labor Relations Board issued final rules that require all employers to prominently post employees’ rights where all employees or prospective employees can see it, including websites and intranets, beginning November 2011. http://1.usa.gov/qu2EhQ

61. Advocated that United Nations adopt a policy supporting gay rights worldwide. http://lat.ms/pQe1RS

62. Issued an order requiring hospitals to allow visitation by same-sex couples. reut.rs/llNJek

63. Appointed Kareem Dale as the first ever Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy. http://1.usa.gov/fi5IY0

64. Helped Democrats in Congress pass and signed the Civil Rights History Act. http://bit.ly/th0JC8

He Made Major Improvements in Foreign Relations and American Status Around the World

65. Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any previous president during his first six months in office. http://bit.ly/hZycda

66. As he promised, he gave a speech at a major Islamic forum in Cairo early in his administration. http://nyti.ms/dKvY4g

67. Helped to restore America’s reputation around the world as a global leader that does the “right thing” in world affairs, at least according to the rest of the world. http://bit.ly/h743y7 http://bit.ly/ho4TCr

68. Re-established and reinforced our partnership with NATO and other allies on strategic international issues. http://1.usa.gov/e7QuDj

69. Closed a number of secret detention facilities. http://nyti.ms/rpUc9l

70. Improved relations with Middle East countries by appointing special envoys. http://1.usa.gov/tiGAGe

71. Pushed for military to emphasize development of foreign language skills. http://bit.ly/AxUCLV

72. Offered $400 million to the people living in Gaza, called on both Israel and the Palestinians to stop inciting violence. http://bit.ly/9axfWh

73. Refused to give Israel the green light to attack Iran over their possible nuclear program, and thus avoid another war that Republicans wanted. http://bit.ly/xVmSZK

74. Worked with Democratic Congress to make donations to Haiti tax deductible in 2009. http://huff.to/6YkAVY

75. Established a new U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. http://1.usa.gov/eX28DP

76. Issued Executive Order blocking interference and helping to stabilize Somalia. http://1.usa.gov/hxdf8U

77. Established new, more reasonable policies in our relations with Cuba, such as allowing Cuban-Americans to visit their families and send money to support them. http://n.pr/hY3Kwa http://nyti.ms/emQBde

78. Ordered the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay. It was Republicans (and, unfortunately, progressive Democrats) who prevented follow through. http://bit.ly/eW6CVF

79. Ordered a review of our detention and interrogation policy, and prohibited the use of torture, or what Bush called “enhanced interrogation.” He ordered interrogators to limit their actions to the Army Field manual. http://bit.ly/g6MTuC

80. Ordered all secret detention facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere to be closed. http://bbc.in/h6N9ax

81. Released the Bush torture memos. http://bit.ly/hWJ5z0

82. On his second day in office, he signed a detailed Executive Order that banned torture, reversed all Bush torture policies, and put the United States in compliance with the Geneva Convention. http://1.usa.gov/dL6Zve http://nyti.ms/hzWWys

83. In response to the emerging “Arab Spring,” he created a Rapid Response fund, to assist emerging democracies with foreign aid, debt relief, technical assistance and investment packages in order to show that the United States stands with them. http://bit.ly/zfmGv9

84. Passed the Iran Sanctions Act, to prevent war, and to encourage Iran to give up their nuclear program. http://1.usa.gov/wLtNjb

85. Ended the Iraq War. http://tgr.ph/ru0tyS

86. Authorized and oversaw a secret mission by SEAL Team Six to rescue two hostages held by Somali pirates. http://bit.ly/y8c9Fz

He Took a More Realistic Approach to “Defense

87. Created a comprehensive new strategy for dealing with the international nuclear threat. http://1.usa.gov/gDX1nE

88. Authorized a $1.4 billion reduction in Star Wars program in 2010.  http://1.usa.gov/gLFZl2

89. Restarted nuclear nonproliferation talks and built up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols to where they had been before Bush. http://lat.ms/gkcl3i

90. Signed and pushed through ratification a new SALT Treaty. http://bit.ly/f3JVtw

91. Negotiated and signed a new START Treaty that will lst until at least 2021. http://1.usa.gov/cI1bC4

92. Through the Defense Authorization Act, reversed the Bush Administration and committed to no permanent military bases in Iraq. http://bit.ly/hk73OJ

93. Developed first comprehensive strategy with regard to Afghanistan and Pakistan designed to facilitate the defeat of al Qaeda and the withdrawal of most troops, as well as the rebuilding of Afghanistan. http://wapo.st/ee4Xcs

94. Returned our focus to Afghanistan, stabilized the country, and began the process of withdrawing our troops from the country. http://bit.ly/lNXUna

95. Negotiated a deal with Afghan government, to withdraw troops and military support, while assisting in rebuilding and modernizing of the country. http://bit.ly/K362an

96. Took steps to severely weaken al Qaeda and limited their ability to terrorize the world. http://yhoo.it/n5lXs6

97. Negotiated and signed a nuclear nonproliferation treaty with India. http://1.usa.gov/aHp0Cn

98. Took decisive action to use NATO to limit the slaughter of innocents in Libya, so that the Libyan people could topple a despotic government and determine their own fate. http://aje.me/qAh4Sj

His Administration Treated Soldiers and Veterans with Respect That Was Missing Previously

99. Along with Congressional Democrats, not only reauthorized families of fallen soldiers to be able to visit when the body arrives at Dover AFB, but also provided funding for it. Ended the media blackout on coverage of the return of fallen soldiers. http://nyti.ms/glqN66 http://bbc.in/gWSSkA

100. Funded Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with an extra $1.4 billion to improve veterans’ services. http://1.usa.gov/huhqfo

101. Provided active combat troops with better body armor. http://bit.ly/hzSv2h

102. Created Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record program for military personnel, in order to improve the quality of their medical care. http://1.usa.gov/f4yaxW

103. Put an end to the Bush-era stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan beyond their enlistment date. (personal note: my son will be in harm’s way for six fewer months with Obama as president, so you know I love this one.)  http://nyti.ms/e2YQ7Q

104. Along with Congressional Democrats, supported and signed Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, which made more money available to enable better medical care for veterans. http://1.usa.gov/fN4ur1

105. Along with Congressional Democrats, ushered through largest spending increase in 30 years for Department of Veterans Affairs, with money to go to improved medical facilities, and to assist states in acquiring or constructing state nursing homes and extended care facilities. http://1.usa.gov/gY8O3x

106. Created the Green Vet Initiative, which provided special funding to the Labor Department to provide veterans with training in green jobs. http://bit.ly/epwUQY

107. Initiated and signed a recruitment and employment plan to get more veterans into government jobs. http://bit.ly/b48coi

108. Oversaw a $4.6 billion expansion of the Veterans Administration budget to pay for more mental health professionals. http://bit.ly/gjzTxX

109. Signed the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act, which ensures that spouses of military personnel who are forced to move because their spouse is posted for military duty will be able to avoid state taxes in their temporary residence. http://bit.ly/1Gh0NX

He Refocused the Federal Government on Education

110. Repeatedly increased funding for student financial aid, and at the same time cut the banks completely out of the process. http://bit.ly/gYWd30 http://bit.ly/e9c7Dr http://bit.ly/eEzTNq

111. Reformed student loan program, to make it possible for students to refinance at a lower rate. http://nyti.ms/dMvHOt

112. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , invested heavily in elementary, secondary and post-secondary education. http://1.usa.gov/gGRIAr

113. Created the Race to the Top program, which encouraged states to come up with effective school reforms and rewards the best of them. http://bit.ly/NHtZ7L

114. Oversaw major expansion of broadband availability in K-12 schools nationwide. http://bit.ly/fNDcj3

115. Oversaw major expansion in school construction. http://bit.ly/fYwNrV

116. Also through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he put $5 billion into early education, including Head Start. http://1.usa.gov/tzT2Rr

117. Signed the Democratic-sponsored Post-9/11 GI Bill, also known as GI Bill 2.0 http://bit.ly/hPhG7J

118. Oversaw expansion of the Pell Grants program, to expand opportunity for low income students to go to college. http://bit.ly/hI6tXz

119. Along with Democratic Congress, passed and signed Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which provided an extra $12.2 billion in funds. http://1.usa.gov/dQvtUe

120. Took major new steps to protect students from ineffective for-profit colleges through “gainful employment” measures, whereby schools have to demonstrate that its students actually find work to get federal aid. http://1.usa.gov/jkzQe2

121. With First Lady Michelle Obama, passed the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, which will improve nutrition in schools and make children healthier. http://1.usa.gov/GAXkSk

He Pushed Through Improvements in National Safety and Security

122. Restored federal agencies such as FEMA to the point that they have been able to manage a huge number of natural disasters successfully. http://bit.ly/h8Xj7z

123. Authorized Navy SEALS to successfully secure the release of a US captain held by Somali pirates and increased patrols off the Somali coast. http://nyti.ms/efBO7B

124. Has repeatedly beefed up border security. http://bit.ly/mMYB4i

125. Ordered and oversaw the Navy SEALS operation that killed Osama bin Laden. http://bit.ly/jChpgw

Reoriented Government to an Adult View on Science, Technology and Health Care

126. Created a Presidential Memorandum to restore scientific integrity in government decision-making. http://1.usa.gov/g2SDuw

127. Opened up process for fast-tracking patent approval for green energy projects. http://bit.ly/j0KV2U

128. Eliminated Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, and provided increased federal support for biomedical and stem cell research. http://bit.ly/h36SSO http://ti.me/edezge

129. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, committed more federal funding, about $18 billion, to support non-defense science and research labs. http://nyti.ms/fTs9t7

130. Signed Democratic-sponsored Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, the first comprehensive attempt to improve the lives of Americans living with paralysis. http://bit.ly/fOi2rb

131. Expanded the Nurse-Family Partnership program, which provides home visits by trained registered nurses to low-income expectant mothers and their families, to cover more first-time mothers. http://bit.ly/jRRRJc

132. Obama EPA reversed research ethics standards which allowed humans to be used as “guinea pigs” in tests of the effects of chemicals, to comply with numerous codes of medical ethics. http://bit.ly/bKgqdS

133. Conducted a cyberspace policy review. http://1.usa.gov/gmbdvC

134. Provided financial support for private sector space programs. http://bit.ly/fn8ucr

135. Oversaw enhanced earth mapping, to provide valuable data for agricultural, educational, scientific, and government use. http://bit.ly/dNTRyP

136. Along with Democrats in Congress, ushered through and signed a bill authorizing FDA to regulate tobacco. http://on.msnbc.com/fiKViB As a result, the FDA has Ordered Tobacco Companies to Disclose Cigarette Ingredients and banned sale of cigarettes falsely labeled as “light.”

137. Through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provided $500 million for Health Professions Training Programs. http://bit.ly/ecQSgA

138. Increased funding for community-based prevention programs. http://bit.ly/frMPG3

139. Oversaw a 50% decrease in cost of prescription drugs for seniors. http://bit.ly/e5b1iq http://1.usa.gov/fVNkt9

140. Eliminated the Bush-era practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug companies on price. http://bit.ly/fOkG5b

141. Two weeks after taking office, signed Democratic-sponsored Children’s Health Insurance Re-authorization Act, which increased the number of children covered by health insurance by 4 million. http://bit.ly/fDEzGv

142. Urged Congress to investigate Anthem Blue Cross for raising premiums 39% without explanation. Democratic Rep. Waxman responded by launching a probe, and Anthem Blue Cross put increase on hold for two months. http://yhoo.it/e8Tj9C

143. Ushered through and signed Affordable Care Act, which expanded health insurance coverage to at least 30 million more people, ended many common insurance company practices that are often detrimental to those with coverage. He also established healthcare.gov, so that taxpayers could keep up with developments. http://www.healthcare.gov/

144. Through ACA, allowed children to be covered under their parents’ policy until they turned 26. http://nyti.ms/fNB26V

145. Through the ACA, provided tax breaks to allow 3.5 million small business to provide health insurance to their employees, and 29 million people will receive tax breaks to help them afford health insurance. http://nyti.ms/fNB26V

146. Through the ACA, expanded Medicaid to those making up to 133% of the federal poverty level. http://nyti.ms/ekMWpo

147. Through the ACA, health insurance companies now have to disclose how much of your premium actually goes to pay for patient care. http://nyti.ms/fNB26V

148. Provisions in theACA have already resulted in Medicare costs actually declining slightly this fiscal year, for the first time in many years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The increase in 2011 was 4%, which is very low compared to the average 12% annual inflation rate during previous 40 years. http://1.usa.gov/oMxpTh

149. Through the ACA, expanded space exploration and discovery options to more players.  http://bit.ly/PNTS7e

150. Through the Connect America Fund, pushed through and received FCC approval for a move of $8 billion in subsidies away from telephone landlines to assist lower-income rural families in accessing broadband. http://lat.ms/vhRUEs

He Took Steps to Strengthen the Middle Class and Families, and to Fight Poverty

151. Worked to provide affordable, high-quality child care to working families. http://bit.ly/fNfidS

152. Cracked down on companies that were previously denying sick pay, vacation and health insurance, and Social Security and Medicare tax payments through abuse of the employee classification of independent contractor. http://nyti.ms/fOGLcj

153. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , cut taxes for 95% of America’s working families. http://bit.ly/eSEI4F

154. Tax rates for average working families are the lowest since 1950. http://bit.ly/f74pD8

155. Extended and fully funded the patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax for 10 years. http://bit.ly/eFeSdP

156. Extended discounted COBRA health coverage for the unemployed from 9 months to 15 months, and he’s extended unemployment benefits several times. http://aol.it/evtVxD http://nyti.ms/emrqKJ http://bit.ly/hOtIpg http://bit.ly/fTT7kz

157. Provided a $20 billion increase for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps). http://nyti.ms/gfLqyM

158. Signed an Executive Order that established the White House Office of Urban Affairs. http://wapo.st/eWECA8

He Took Concrete Steps to Improve Our Environment and Address Our Energy Needs

159. Fast-tracked regulations to allow states to enact fuel efficiency standards that exceeded federal standards. http://nyti.ms/e8e94x

160. Fast-tracked increased fuel economy standards for vehicles beginning with the 2011 model year. It was the first time such standards had been increased in a decade. http://politi.co/hiaPKM

161. Oversaw establishment of an Energy Partnership for the Americas, to create more markets for American-made bio-fuels and green energy technologies. http://bit.ly/lZp73y

162. Obama EPA reversed a Bush-era decision to allow the largest mountaintop removal project in US history. http://bit.ly/lP3yEL

163. Ordered the Department of Energy to implement more aggressive efficiency standards for common household appliances. http://1.usa.gov/g3MTbu

164. Ordered energy plants to prepare to produce at least 15% of all energy through renewable resources like wind and solar, by 2021. http://reut.rs/fV155p (As you can see, Republicans are trying hard to kill it.)

165. Oversaw the creation of an initiative that converts old factories and manufacturing centers into new clean technology centers. http://bit.ly/mjnq2R

166. Bypassed Republican opposition in Congress and ordered EPA to begin regulating and measuring carbon emissions. http://bit.ly/froaP5

167. Obama EPA ruled that CO2 is a pollutant. http://bit.ly/iQTSNN

168. Oversaw doubling federal spending on clean energy research. http://bit.ly/iN0sCE

169. Pushed through a tax credit to help people buy plug-in hybrid cars. http://bit.ly/j8UP5Y

170. Created a program to develop renewable energy projects on the waters of our Outer Continental Shelf that will produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents. http://1.usa.gov/fgfRWq

171. Reengaged in the climate change and greenhouse gas emissions agreements talks, and proposed one himself. He also addressed the U.N. Climate Change Conference, officially reversing the Bush era stance that climate change was a “hoax.” http://bit.ly/dX6Vj3 http://bit.ly/fE2PxK http://nyti.ms/hfeqvv

172. Fully supported the initial phase of the creation of a legally-binding treaty to reduce mercury emissions worldwide. http://bit.ly/eJ6QOO

173. Required states to provide incentives to utilities to reduce their energy consumption. http://bit.ly/lBhk7P

174. Following the neglect of Bush’s eight year reign, he reengaged in a number of treaties and agreements designed to protect the Antarctic. http://bit.ly/fzQUFO

175. Created tax write-offs for purchases of hybrid automobiles, and later he and Democrats morphed that program into one that includes electric cars. http://bit.ly/glCukV

176. Mandated that federal government fleet purchases be for fuel-efficient American vehicles, and encouraged that federal agencies support experimental, fuel-efficient vehicles. http://bit.ly/h5KZqy http://1.usa.gov/fLWq5c http://1.usa.gov/hmUSbk

177. Oversaw and pushed through amendment to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 authorizing advances from Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. http://1.usa.gov/yTRYVo

178. Actively tried to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to eliminate the liability limits for those companies responsible for large oil spills. http://nyti.ms/bxjDi3

179. Initiated Criminal and Civil inquiries into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. http://nyti.ms/bVuB7a

180. Through his EPA, he asserted federal legal supremacy, and barred Texas from authorizing new refinery permits on its own. http://bit.ly/ww8eMd

181. Strengthened the Endangered Species Act. http://bit.ly/hscjsH

182. Obama EPA improved boiler safety standards to improve air quality, and save 6500 lives per year. http://bit.ly/jYH7nt

183. Through the EPA, attempted to take steps to severely limit the use of antibiotics in livestock feed, to increase their efficacy in humans. http://bit.ly/fBuWd2

184. Through new EPA regulations, he created a pretext for closing the dirtiest power plants in the country, by limiting emissions of mercury and other toxic gasses. http://bit.ly/rQCIgA

185. Increased funding for National Parks and Forests by 10%.  http://bit.ly/fbJPjY

186. Announced greatly improved commercial fuel efficiency standards. http://1.usa.gov/oQiC1K

187. Announced a huge increase in average fuel economy standards from 27.5mpg in 2010 to 35.5mpg starting in 2016 and 54.5 starting in 2025 http://1.usa.gov/qtghsW

But That’s Not All…

188. Expanded trade agreements to include stricter labor and environmental agreements such as NAFTA. http://bit.ly/etznpY

189. Oversaw funding of the design of a new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History, which is scheduled to open on the National Mall in 2015. He protected the funding during the recent budget negotiations. http://on.fb.me/fD0EVO http://bit.ly/ff5Luv

190. Oversaw and passed increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. http://bit.ly/dFb8qF

191. Nominated Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Sotomayor is the first Hispanic Justice in the court’s history, and the women represent only the third and fourth women to serve on the court, out of a total of 112 justices. http://huff.to/eOChg6 http://bit.ly/i02wgP

192. Appointed the most diverse Cabinet in history, including more women than any other incoming president. http://bit.ly/dX6vNB

193. Eliminated federal funding for abstinence-only education, and rescinded the global gag rule. http://bit.ly/eCFAI1 http://bit.ly/f92drF

194. Loosened the rules and allowed the 14 states that legalized medical marijuana to regulate themselves without federal interference. http://huff.to/eQfa7j

195. Signed national service legislation, increasing funding for national service groups, including triple the size of the Ameri-Corps program. http://bit.ly/idgQH5

196. Signed an Executive Order that will speed up deployment of a more comprehensive broadband infrastructure. http://1.usa.gov/M7rVpe

197. Signed an Executive Order creating jobs immediately by instructing them to reduce the time needed for review and permitting of infrastructure projects. http://1.usa.gov/GHxaYt

198. Signed a bill that provided $4.3 billion in additional assistance to 9/11 first responders. http://bit.ly/o7cWYS

199. Signed an Executive Order pledging support for efforts to end the global problem of violence against women and girls. http://1.usa.gov/MHTRVU

And Did You Know?

200. Despite the characterizations of some, Obama’s success rate in winning congressional votes on issues was an unprecedented 96.7% for his first year in office. Though he is often cited as superior to Obama, President Lyndon Johnson’s success rate in 1965 was only 93%. http://n.pr/i3d7cY

August 29, 2012

Speech by Condoleezza Rice at Republican National Convention (Text / Video)



Here is the full text of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's remarks at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday evening:

"Good evening. Distinguished delegates, fellow Republicans, fellow Americans.

We gather here at a time of significance and challenge. This young century has been a difficult one. I will never forget the bright September day, standing at my desk in the White House, when my young assistant said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center – and then a second one – and a third, the Pentagon. And then the news of a fourth, driven into the ground by brave citizens that died so that many others would live. From that day on our sense of vulnerability and our understanding of security would be altered forever. Then in 2008 the global financial and economic crisis stunned us and still reverberates as unemployment, economic uncertainty and failed policies cast a pall over the American recovery so desperately needed at home and abroad.

And we have seen once again that the desire for freedom is universal – as men and women in the Middle East demand it. Yet, the promise of the Arab Spring is engulfed in uncertainty; internal strife and hostile neighbors are challenging the fragile democracy in Iraq; dictators in Iran and Syria butcher their own people and threaten the security of the region; China and Russia prevent a response; and all wonder, “Where does America stand?”

Indeed that is the question of the moment- “Where does America stand?” When our friends and our foes, alike, do not know the answer to that question – clearly and unambiguously -- the world is a chaotic and dangerous place. The U.S. has since the end of World War II had an answer – we stand for free peoples and free markets, we are willing to support and defend them – we will sustain a balance of power that favors freedom.

To be sure, the burdens of leadership have been heavy. I, like you, know the sacrifices that Americans have made – yes including the ultimate sacrifice of many of our bravest. Yet our armed forces remain the sure foundation of liberty. We are fortunate to have men and women who volunteer – they volunteer to defend us on the front lines of freedom. And we owe them our eternal gratitude.

I know too that it has not always been easy – though it has been rewarding – to speak up for those who would otherwise be without a voice – the religious dissident in China; the democracy advocate in Venezuela; the political prisoner in Iran.

It has been hard to muster the resources to support fledgling democracies– or to help the world’s most desperate - the AIDs orphan in Uganda, the refugee fleeing Zimbabwe, the young woman who has been trafficked into the sex trade in Southeast Asia; the world’s poorest in Haiti. Yet this assistance – together with the compassionate works of private charities – people of conscience and people of faith - has shown the soul of our country.

And I know too that there is weariness – a sense that we have carried these burdens long enough. But if we are not inspired to lead again, one of two things will happen – no one will lead and that will foster chaos --- or others who do not share our values will fill the vacuum. My fellow Americans, we do not have a choice. We cannot be reluctant to lead – and one cannot lead from behind.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan understand this reality -- that our leadership abroad and our well being at home are inextricably linked. They know what needs to be done. Our friends and allies must be able to trust us. From Israel to Poland to the Philippines to Colombia and across the world -- they must know that we are reliable and consistent and determined. And our adversaries must have no reason to doubt our resolve -- because peace really does come through strength. Our military capability and technological advantage will be safe in Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s hands.

We must work for an open global economy and pursue free and fair trade – to grow our exports and our influence abroad. In the last years, the United States has ratified three trade agreements, all negotiated in the Bush Administration. If you are concerned about China’s rise – consider this fact – China has signed 15 Free Trade Agreements and is negotiating 20 more. Sadly we are abandoning the playing field of free trade – and it will come back to haunt us.

We must not allow the chance to attain energy independence to slip from our grasp. We have a great gift of oil and gas reserves here in North America that must be and can be developed while protecting our environment. And we have the ingenuity in the private sector to tap alternative sources of energy.

And most importantly, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will rebuild the foundation of American strength – our economy – stimulating private sector led growth and small business entrepreneurship. When the world looks at us today they see an American government that cannot live within its means. They see a government that continues to borrow money, mortgaging the future of generations to come. The world knows that when a nation loses control of its finances, it eventually loses control of its destiny. That is not the America that has inspired others to follow our lead.

After all, when the world looks to America, they look to us because we are the most successful political and economic experiment in human history. That is the true basis of “American Exceptionalism.” The essence of America – that which really unites us -- is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion – it is an idea -- and what an idea it is: That you can come from humble circumstances and do great things. That it doesn’t matter where you came from but where you are going.

Ours has never been a narrative of grievance and entitlement. We have not believed that I am doing poorly because you are doing well. We have not been envious of one another and jealous of each other’s success. Ours has been a belief in opportunity and a constant battle – long and hard -- to extend the benefits of the American dream to all – without regard to circumstances of birth.

But the American ideal is indeed endangered today. There is no country, no not even a rising China, that can do more harm to us than we can do to ourselves if we fail to accomplish the tasks before us here at home.

More than at any other time in history –the ability to mobilize the creativity and ambition of human beings forms the foundation of greatness. We have always done that better than any country in the world. People have come here from all over because they believed in our creed – of opportunity and limitless horizons. They have come from the world’s most impoverished nations to make five dollars not fifty cents– and they have come from the world’s advanced societies – as engineers and scientists -- to help fuel the knowledge based revolution in the Silicon Valley of California; the research triangle of North Carolina; in Austin, Texas; along Route 128 in Massachusetts – and across our country.

We must continue to welcome the world’s most ambitious people to be a part of us. In that way we stay perpetually young and optimistic and determined. We need immigration laws that protect our borders; meet our economic needs; and yet show that we are a compassionate people.

We have been successful too because Americans have known that one’s status at birth was not a permanent station in life. You might not be able to control your circumstances but you could control your response to your circumstances. And your greatest ally in doing so was a quality education.

Let me ask you, though, today, when I can look at your zip code and can tell whether you are going to get a good education – can I really say that it doesn’t matter where you came from – it matters where you are going. The crisis in K-12 education is a grave threat to who we are.

My mom was a teacher – I have the greatest respect for the profession – we need great teachers – not poor or mediocre ones. We need to have high standards for our students – self-esteem comes from achievement not from lax standards and false praise. And we need to give parents greater choice – particularly poor parents whose kids – most often minorities -- are trapped in failing neighborhood schools. This is the civil rights struggle of our day.

If we do anything less, we will condemn generations to joblessness, hopelessness and dependence on the government dole. To do anything less is to endanger our global economic competitiveness. To do anything less is to tear apart the fabric of who we are and cement a turn toward grievance and entitlement.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will rebuild us at home and inspire us to lead abroad. They will provide an answer to the question, “Where does America stand?” The challenge is real and these are tough times. But America has met and overcome difficult circumstances before. Whenever you find yourself doubting us – just think of all the times that we have made the impossible seem inevitable in retrospect.

America’s victorious revolutionary founding – against the greatest military power of the time; a Civil War – hundreds of thousands dead in a brutal conflict – but emerging a stronger union; a second founding – as impatient patriots fought to overcome the birth defect of slavery and the scourge of segregation; a long struggle against communism – that ended with the death of the Soviet Union and the emergence of Europe, whole free and at peace; the will to make difficult decisions, heart-wrenching choices in the aftermath of 9/11 that secured us and prevented the follow-on attacks that seemed preordained at the time.

And on a personal note– a little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham – the most segregated big city in America - her parents can’t take her to a movie theater or a restaurant – but they make her believe that even though she can’t have a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter – she can be President of the United States and she becomes the Secretary of State. Yes, America has a way of making the impossible seem inevitable in retrospect. But of course it has never been inevitable – it has taken leadership, courage and an unwavering faith in our values.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have the experience and the integrity and the vision to lead us – they know who we are, what we want to be and what we offer the world.

That is why this is a moment – an election – of consequence. Because it just has to be – that the most compassionate and freest country on the face of the earth – will continue to be the most powerful!

May God Bless You – and May God continue to bless this extraordinary, exceptional country – the United States of America."

August 28, 2012

Speech by Democrat Turncoat Artur Davis at the Republican National Convention (Text / Video)



Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.

Some of you may know, the last time I spoke at a convention, it turned out I was in the wrong place.

So, Tampa, my fellow Republicans, thank you for welcoming me where I belong.

We have a country to turn around. This week you will nominate the most experienced executive to seek the presidency in 60 years in Mitt Romney.

He has no illusions about what makes America great, and he doesn’t confuse the presidency with celebrity, or loftiness with leadership.

What a difference four years makes.

The Democrats’ negative ads convince me that Governor Romney can’t sing, but his record convinces me he knows how to lead, and I think you know which skill we need more.

Now, America is a land of second chances, and I gather you have room for the estimated 6 million of us who know we got it wrong in 2008 and who want to fix it.

Maybe we should have known that night in Denver that things that begin with styrofoam Greek columns and artificial smoke typically don’t end well.

Maybe the Hollywood stars and the glamor blinded us a little: you thought it was the glare, some of us thought it was a halo.

But in all seriousness, do you know why so many of us believed? We led with our hearts and our dreams that we could be more inclusive than America had ever been, and no candidate had ever
spoken so beautifully.

But dreams meet daybreak: the jobless know what I mean, so do the families who wonder how this Administration could wreck a recovery for three years and counting.

So many of those high-flown words have faded.

Remember the President saying of negative politics and untrue ads, “not this time?”

Who knew “not this time” just meant “not unless the economy is still stuck and we can’t run on our record?”

Remember, too, when he said, “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal?”

Who knew the plain English version of it was, “middle America, get ready to shell out 60 bucks to fill up your car?”

And in terms of their crown jewel legislative achievement: who knew that when asked, “will government impose a new federal mandate requiring middle class Americans to buy health
insurance whether they can afford it or not?”

The answer would be “Yes we can!”

So, this time, in the name of 23 million of our children and parents and brothers and sisters who are officially unemployed, underemployed, or who have stopped looking for work, let’s put the
poetry aside, let’s suspend the hype, let’s come down to earth and start creating jobs again.

This time, instead of moving oceans and healing planets, let’s get our bills in order and pay down the debt on that wall so we control our own future.

And of course, we know that opportunity lies outside the reach of some of our people.

We don’t need flowery words about inequality to tell us that, and we don’t need a party that has led while poverty and hunger rose to record levels to give us lectures about suffering.

Ladies and gentlemen, there are Americans who are listening to this speech tonight who haven’t always been with you, and I want you to let me talk — just to them – for a moment.

I know how loaded up our politics is with anger and animosity, but I have to believe we can still make a case over the raised voices.

There are Americans who voted for the president, but who are searching right now, because they know that their votes didn’t build the country they wanted.

To those Democrats and independents whose minds are open to argument: listen closely to the Democratic Party that will gather in Charlotte and ask yourself if you ever hear your voice in the clamor.

Ask yourself if these Democrats still speak for you.

When they say we have a duty to grow government even when we can’t afford it, does it sound like compassion to you — or recklessness?

When you hear the party that glorified Occupy Wall Street blast success; when you hear them minimize the genius of the men and women who make jobs out of nothing, is that what you teach your children about work?

When they tell you America is this unequal place where the powerful trample on the powerless, does that sound like the country your children or your spouse risked their lives for in Iraq or
Afghanistan?

Do you even recognize the America they are talking about? And what can we say about a house that doesn’t honor the pictures on its walls?

John F. Kennedy asked us what we could do for America. This Democratic Party asks what can government give you. Don’t worry about paying the bill, it’s on your kids and grandkids.

Bill Clinton took on his base and made welfare a thing you had to work for; this current crowd guts the welfare work requirement in the dead of night.

Bill Clinton, Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson reached out across the aisle and said meet me in the middle; but their party rammed through a healthcare bill that took over one-sixth of our economy, without accepting a single Republican idea, without winning a single vote in either house from a party whose constituents make up about 50 percent of the country.

You know, the Democrats used to have a night when they presented a film of their presidential legends: if they do it in Charlotte, the theme song should be this year’s hit, “Somebody That I Used to Know.”

My fellow Americans, when great athletes falter, their coaches sometimes whisper to them “remember who you are.” It’s a call to their greatness at a moment when their bodies and spirit are too sapped to remember their strength.

This sweet, blessed, God-inspired place called America is a champion that has absorbed some blows.

But while we bend, we don’t break.

This is no dark hour; this is the dawn before we remember who we are.

May it be said of this time in our history: 2008 to 2011: lesson learned.

2012: mistake corrected.

God bless you, God bless America. Thank you.

Speech by Mia Love, Mayor of Saratoga Springs, UT to the Republican National Convention (Text / Video)



Let me tell you about the America I know. My parents immigrated to the U.S. with ten dollars in their pocket, believing that the America they had heard about really did exist. When times got tough they didn’t look to Washington, they looked within.

So the America I came to know was centered in personal responsibility and filled with the American dream.

The America I know is grounded in the determination found in patriots and pioneers, in small business owners with big ideas, in the farmers who work in the beauty of our landscape, in our heroic military and Olympians.

It’s in every child who looks at the seemingly impossible and says, “I can do that.” That is the America I know!

President Obama’s version of America is a divided one — pitting us against each other based on our income level, gender, and social status. His policies have failed! We are not better off than we were 4 years ago, and no rhetoric, bumper sticker, or campaign ad can change that.

Mr. President I am here to tell you that the American people are awake and we are not buying what you are selling in 2012.

The American Dream is our story. It is a story of human struggle, standing up and striving for more. Our story has been told for over 200 years with small steps and giant leaps; from a woman on a bus to a man with a dream; from the bravery of the greatest generation, to the entrepreneurs and the innovators of today.

This is our story. This is the America we know because we built it.

With Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan we can restore the America we know and love. The world will know it, our children will tell it and our grandchildren will possess it for years to come!

God bless America.

Good News Tuesday: Rear Admiral Michelle Howard (US Navy)

Soulclap to Black Politics on the Web for this good news!

Vice Adm. Michelle Janine Howard has been a trail-blazer throughout her entire career. She was the first African American woman to command a U.S. Navy warship, the first female graduate of the Naval Academy to achieve the rank of rear admiral, and the first African American woman to command an Expeditionary Strike Group at sea.

Howard reached another milestone Aug. 24, when she became the first African American woman promoted to three-star rank in the U.S. Armed Forces with the assumption of her new job as deputy commander, U.S. Fleet Forces headquartered here.

With a career highlighted by firsts, the path to Howard's current assignment as a Navy vice admiral initially began with an obstacle. It is an obstacle that taught her to embrace change, find strength in the challenges she faced, and to not be afraid to lean on others.

Howard said her Navy career began as a chance encounter while watching television. It was a documentary about one of the military service academies that opened Howard’s eyes to a possible future career as an officer in the military. But as Howard learned, not all opportunities were available to women at that time.

The 12-year-old Howard went to her older brother to get his opinion on her becoming an officer. He informed her that U.S. military academies were not open to women.

Undeterred, she spoke to her mother who told her that if she really wanted to join the military as an officer, she would have to wait until she was old enough. Hopefully by that time, society would change, and if it does; then she should go after it. And go for it Howard did.

Four years after that discussion, the federal law concerning the acceptance of women into the nation's service academies changed. At 17, Howard applied and was accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

In 1978, Howard entered the Naval Academy as a freshman. She was in only the third class to accept women. At that time women made up only five percent of the Navy. With more than 200 years of naval history and traditions, there was some resistance to change.

With a self-deprecating laugh Howard said that the Academy wasn’t easy. In retrospect, she’s realized that expecting a smooth sail wouldn’t have been very realistic.

When you look at where society was at the time, this was before there was even a woman on the Supreme Court, before Sally Ride was an astronaut, and it was also only five or six years after we became an all volunteer force in the military, so our society was still going through a lot of changes.”
She says the one person who was incredibly helpful in putting her experiences in context was Wesley Brown. Brown was the first Black Naval Academy graduate, Class of 1949. They met when Howard was a lieutenant commander.
He talked about how great this country is and how much it has changed; that as the country changed, people changed. And even though he was the only African American to attend Annapolis in the 1940s, when he attended reunions he was a member of that class,” said Howard. “What I really learned from him was that he was a man who could forgive and go on with his life. There is a lot of strength in that.”
Change is inevitable, and Howard rode a wave of it as she moved through her career.
In the 1980s when the Navy opened the logistics ships to women, that was huge, because it allowed a lot of opportunities for women to serve at sea. Then it was just a few years later that we were engaged in Operation Desert Storm. So even though women weren’t serving on warships, women were still serving in a combat arena, and that started a national conversation.

‘What is a woman’s role in the military?’ So coming out of that time frame, the combat exclusion law was repealed and that meant that women were going to serve on combat ships and fly combat aircraft
,” said Howard.
After serving sea tours aboard several ships, Howard fulfilled her dream in 1999 of commanding a Navy warship at sea. She took command of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47), becoming the first African-American woman in such a role.
The crew was wonderful. To this day that’s what I think about. When you are going into command you think it’s going to be challenging, you believe it’s going to be fun, and it definitely was fun, but there are always challenges you don't expect. At the same time you go in with the expectation that Sailors can do anything, and that was the ship that proved it. We are so lucky that we have the people who not only have the talent, but who care and want to get it right.”
Howard was selected for the rank of rear admiral lower half in 2006, making her the first admiral selected from the United States Naval Academy class of 1982 and the first woman graduate of the United States Naval Academy selected for flag rank.

In 2009, Howard put on her second star and assumed command of Expeditionary Strike Group 2 and deployed in the Gulf of Aden to conduct anti-piracy operations. Within one week of checking aboard her flag ship, amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), she was immersed in the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips, commanding officer of the MV Maersk Alabama.
That’s an eye-opening way to start a new job. Very quickly we had several ships, special forces, aircraft and it seemed like everyone in the world was focused on one American and trying to make sure he didn’t end up on shore in Somalia. Synchronizing that kind of might and capability was pretty amazing.
Not including the 3,000 Sailors and Marines in her task force, Howard said they also had support from reconnaissance aircraft out of Djibouti, intelligence support from the United States, and she was in constant communication with the staff at U.S. 5th Fleet in Bahrain.
When you think about it that’s a lot of people, and I’m going to say that’s the right call. The Department of Defense is there to protect America’s interest, America’s property and America’s citizens. And in the end there is a deterrence factor. You want the average pirate to look at an American ship and say, ‘we’ll just let that one go by.’
For the women who are following in her footsteps, Howard has this advice.
You have to keep your sense of humor. You have to develop stamina and you need to be adaptable. Finally, you need to stay connected to women. It’s important to be able to share experiences and to be able to tap into those shared experiences.”
During her career, Howard has seen dramatic changes in the Navy and the nation, but there is one more change she’d like to witness.
I would like to see our nation appreciate the importance of the Navy. We are blessed to live in a time where the average citizen really appreciates their Sailors; when we walk anywhere in a uniform we get thanked. If I could change anything I’d like to have Americans understand who they are thanking and why. How do you convince a nation this big that they are a maritime nation? Our founding fathers got it; they understood the importance of international commerce and that is why they said maintain a Navy in the Constitution. And ironically enough, we are even more dependent on maintaining safe water ways now than they were then.”
Howard may get her wish. As the newest vice admiral in the Navy and deputy commander of U.S. Fleet Forces she will have the opportunity to reach a much larger audience than ever before.

As she has proven time and again, there is a first for everything.

This blog will continue to seek out Good News stories about people of African descent and share them with you each Tuesday. We need to tell the positive and upbeat information about OURstory. We can't depend on others to do it for us. Please pass along any Good News story that comes your way. In the case of bloggers ... we want you to join our Good News parade every Tuesday.

August 27, 2012

VIDEO: Chris Matthews Unleashed on Mitt Romney's Racist Campaign Strategy

Chris Matthews, going ballistic on Mitt Romney and Republicans ... and RNC Chair Reince Priebus is helpless and unable to respond.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

August 24, 2012

State Senator Nina Turner Blasts Voter Suppression Efforts in Ohio

State Senator Nina Turner (D-OH) is a rock star. She ain't no Aunt Jemima! The Republican effort to suppress the vote in Ohio is the "biggest story in this presidential race," according to Ed Schultz. And in a fiery appearance on Ed's show, Turner pulled no punches in describing what's happening.

The GOP has shortened voting hours in all 88 counties since 2008 when 47% of voters — predominantly African Americans — took advantage of extended hours to cast their ballots.

Nina Turner took it from there.
"This is nothing more than uniform voter suppression, make no mistake about it".

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
Nina Turner became one of my political favorites last night! She is obviously an outspoken advocate of the disenfranchised and under-represented and I hope she runs for statewide office in the near future!

August 23, 2012

The Romney-Ryan-Akin Platform for Women

Any of us that are checking out the 2012 presidential elections have to think that it is very difficult for any woman to vote in favor of the GOP. Here is video that puts many of the odd positions of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and Todd Akin in focus.


August 22, 2012

GOP Wingnut: Obama Re-Election Could Lead To ‘Civil War,’ I’m Ready To ‘Take Up Arms’

These GOP dumb-asses are coming out of the woodwork as we move closer to the election in November. Did you see where Tom Head, a county judge in Lubbock, Texas, advocated for a tax increase in order to protect his constituents from the civil war that he predicts will come when President Barack Obama is re-elected?

Head told FOX34 that Lubbock’s law enforcement needed extra tax dollars in order to be prepared for a full-scale uprising, which he said could be a byproduct of Obama’s reelection. According to Head, the president is seeking to sign a variety of United Nations treaties that will effectively take precedent over domestic law.



He’s going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N., and what is going to happen when that happens?” Head asked. “I’m thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we’re not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we’re talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy.”
Head says that he wants to join the anti-Obama resistance when the time comes. The judge knows that he messed up ... so he taped a home-video to try to clarify his earlier idiocy.

Where does Mitt Romney find these cretins? And how do they get into these public offices?

August 21, 2012

Can Mitt Romney Win Presidency With Zero Support From Black Community?

Mitt Romney has a difficult time getting votes from women and Hispanics ... but, his problems getting voting support from the Black community hit an all-time low based on NBC/WSJ poll showing that ZERO PERCENT of the Black electorate [SOURCE]

NBC News breaks down the polls as follows:
- Obama continues to lead Romney among key parts of his political base, including African Americans (94 percent to 0 percent), Latinos (by a 2-to-1 margin), voters under 35-years-old (52 percent to 41 percent) and women (51 percent to 41 percent).

- Romney is ahead with whites (53 percent to 40 percent), rural voters (47 percent to 38 percent) and seniors (49 percent to 41 percent).

- And the two presidential candidates are essentially even when it comes to the swing groups of suburban voters, Midwest residents and political independents.
It appears that folks like Artur Davis, Clarence Thomas, Allen West and Cornel West and their ilk are statistical insignificant in current polls.