September 29, 2012

Actors For Obama: Samuel L. Jackson, 'Wake the Fuck Up'

There are dozens of political ads. However, some are more memorable than others. Here is a very memorable political ad by Samuel L. Jackson in favor of President Barack Obama.



Have you seen any other actors with ads you enjoy about either Romney or Obama?

September 28, 2012

Taser Death: Timothy Dennis (Oklahoma City, OK)

It happened again! This time an unidentified Oklahoma City police officer used his taser on an unarmed man, Timothy Dennis. The taser didn't kill him immediately. Mr. Dennis died after spending three days on life support. [SOURCE]

Police were called in on Sunday evening based on a call that a man was walking down the street firing a gun. The police arrived. Mr. Dennis didn't show enough deference and he was shocked once with 50,000 volts of electricity from a taser.

No evidence has been reported by the police about a gun being found on or near Mr. Dennis ... that means he was unarmed, huh?

Dennis' death is being investigated by the department's homicide and internal affairs units. I imagine that we will get stories of his past police record. However, the bottomline is that a man is dead after being electrocuted by a police taser ... evidently another unarmed man.

September 23, 2012

Spoken Word: 'Raising Black Boys' by Javon Johnson

Actually, I don't know the actual title of this spoken word composition by Javon Johnson so I'm calling it 'Raising Black Boys' until Bro. Javon comes by to correct me! In any case, a rose by any other name is still some powerful commentary that speaks to the soul of any of us that are engaged in raising a Black boy in America.



Did you hear the truth in his poetry?

September 21, 2012

GOP Gone Wild: Racist Texan Lynches 'Invisible' Obama Chair

Clint Eastwood sent out his dog whistle to the GOP wing-nuts in the nation during the Republican National Convention when he had his stage conversation with an empty chair that supposedly had an invisible President Obama sitting in it. Texas Republican Bud Johnson heard the dog whistle and took the skit to a disgusting level, by lynching an invisible Obama in a chair.

Any American recognizes that lynching is a direct reference to the racial strife in this nation when African Americans were lynched (primarily in the Southern states) by racist whites. Homeowner Bud Johnson has a “lynched” empty chair on display in his front yard to depict President Obama.

When asked about his front yard display, Johnson was unapologetic. [SOURCE]
I don’t really give a damn whether it disturbs you or not,” Johnson said. “You can take [your concerns] and go straight to hell and take Obama with you. I don’t give a shit. If you don’t like it, don’t come down my street.”
I guess that our President must be getting used to the racist backlash to his presidency. At a GOP Convention in Montana, birthers put on a nasty display to demonstrate their disdain for President Obama by setting up an outhouse labeled 'Obama’s Presidential Library'.

A photo of an anti-Obama bumper sticker, labelled 'Don’t Re-Nig In 2012,' above smaller print that read, 'Stop repeat offenders. Don’t re-elect Obama!' went viral in March.

In addition, President Obama has also been referenced as a tar baby and un-American, which many consider code speak for 'not one of us' because he’s Black.

September 20, 2012

Spoken Word: 'Beautiful is Black' by Prentice Powell

I heard this brother earlier this week on TV-One show called, 'Verses & Flow'. I thought that others in the 'village' would enjoy this spoken word by Prentice Powell. Share this link with the Black men in your life!



It is nice to flip the script on the world! What say u?

September 18, 2012

Romney: 'My Job is Not to Worry About THOSE People'

Mitt Romney has a mindset that simply isn't fit for leadership of our nation. He feels that 47% of American are moochers, freeloaders and losers. They aren't worthy of his attention and he has written them off as Obama supporters. Ann Romney wasted her breath during the Republican National Convention.  Even she can't make this 'Thurston Howell' character lovable.

During a private fundraiser earlier this year, Romney told a small group of millionaires what he truly thinks of all the voters who support Obama. A donor asked how he could triumph in November, Romney replied:
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax."
Romney went on: "[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."



Soulclap to Mother Jones for bringing this story to light.

When given a chance to retract his statements ... he chose not to do so.

Taser Death: Bill Williams (Everett, WA)

A 60-year-old man who had long suffered from bipolar disorder died in a jail cell Friday, September 14th, hours after police tased him and placed him in isolation. Bill Williams was arrested for shoplifting at a gas station in Snohomish County, Washington. He had recently stopped taking his medication, and his family said they called the police and his case manager the previous week saying he needed to be hospitalized, but were ignored.

Williams' family says that he was mentally ill. Does it seem that police have a taser-happy trigger finger when they are in the presence of the mentally ill? And since when is it appropriate for the police to electrocute an unarmed senior citizen to death for the crime of 'shoplifting'?

September 11, 2012

9/11 Numbers

The initial numbers are indelible: 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m. Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes. Time they took to fall: 12 seconds. From there, they ripple out.













  • Total number killed in attacks: 2,819
  • Number of WTC companies that lost people: 60
  • Number of nations whose citizens were killed in attacks: 115
  • Ratio of men to women who died: 3:1
  • Bodies found "intact": 289
  • Body parts found: 19,858
  • Number of families who got no remains: 1,717
  • Number of people who lost a spouse or partner in the attacks: 1,609
  • Estimated number of children who lost a parent: 3,051
  • Days fires continued to burn after the attack: 99

September 9, 2012

Obama's Weekly Address: Coming Together to Remember September 11th



President Obama marks the eleventh anniversary of the September 11th attacks by remembering the innocent lives lost, and honoring the first responders and men and women in uniform who have served and sacrificed to keep our country safe.

September 7, 2012

Jesse Jackson Joins Cornel West, Tavis Smiley and Others in My 'Hall of Shame'

I enjoyed the 3-day coverage of the Democratic National Convention held in Charlotte NC this week. The speeches were outstanding. I was uplifted by Michelle Obama; educated by Bill Clinton; delightfully surprised by both Julian Castro and Deval Patrick; inspired by Gabrielle Giffords; proud of Joe Biden; and reminded of the hope that our nation has invested in Barack Obama.

The only downer for me was when the camera panned into the crowd and I saw Rev. Jesse Jackson in the crowd.


I still find myself feeling a physical sense of disgust whenever I see Rev. Jesse Jackson on television. I saw him milling around the floor during the DNC Convention and wondered how he got a ticket. I should probably forgive the guy ... but, his back-stabbing comment in advance of the 2008 presidential election -- joking about castration ain't funny, especially when the suggestion is directed at Barack Obama.

Jackson is 70-years old. He may have been the first credible Black candidate for president (with apologies to Shirley Chisolm) when he ran back in the day. He connected with me when I was younger. I chanted 'Run, Jesse, Run!' with the best of them back in the day.

Today, I just want the guy to fade into obscurity. Why does he show up at these things? I didn't see Cornel West or Tavis Smiley in the audience. Artur Davis, Herman Cain nor Allen West were anywhere to be seen in Charlotte. Sadly, I tend to think of Jesse Jackson having more in common with these brothers than he does with President Barack Obama.

Jesse Jackson lives in Chicago ... but, I tend to believe that the security guards in the lobby of the Obama Campaign Headquarters in that city have a photo taped to their desk with instructions not to let him anywhere near the elevators.

You just can't joke about cutting the boys off
!

My mom would counsel me to 'Let Go and Let God' ... and I 'spose that at some point I will forgive Jesse Jackson. But, this week, when I saw his face on my television screen I wanted to puke.

Black Unemployment Drops to 14.1% in August 2012

The United States added 96,000 jobs in August 2012 - making it 30 consecutive months of private sector job growth - and unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent.  You can click here to check out the unemployment rate in your state.

There are about 12.5 million unemployed people in the country - and our nation's unemployment metrics don't provide Gov. Mitt Romney with the fodder he needs to beat on the head of President Obama.  That won't stop him from trying to do so ... but, any possible movement in the unemployment numbers should be a good thing, shouldn't it?

The numbers in the Black community are bad!

The unemployment rate in the Black community dropped in August 2012 to 14.1%. This compares to previous months:

The Labor Department said private companies accounted for virtually the entire 96,000 increase in jobs last month.  Employment levels stayed about the same for government jobs last month.  Since the beginning of this year, employment growth has averaged 139,000 per month, compared with an average gain of 153,000 in 2011.

Employment increased 28,000 in the food services and drinking places category; while another 27,000 new jobs were created in the professional and technical services.

The health-care and wholesale-trade industries also added 17,000 jobs in August.

What is your opinion of the unemployment data that was released today?

September 6, 2012

Speech by President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention (Text / Video)



THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you so much.

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

Michelle, I love you so much. A few nights ago, everybody was reminded just what a lucky man I am. (Applause.) Malia and Sasha, we are so proud of you. And, yes, you do have to go to school in the morning. (Laughter.)

And, Joe Biden, thank you for being the very best Vice President I could have ever hoped for, and being a strong and loyal friend. (Applause.)

Madam Chairwoman, delegates, I accept your nomination for President of the United States. (Applause.)

Now, the first time I addressed this convention in 2004, I was a younger man, a Senate candidate from Illinois, who spoke about hope -- not blind optimism, not wishful thinking, but hope in the face of difficulty; hope in the face of uncertainty; that dogged faith in the future which has pushed this nation forward, even when the odds are great, even when the road is long.

Eight years later, that hope has been tested by the cost of war, by one of the worst economic crises in history, and by political gridlock that’s left us wondering whether it’s still even possible to tackle the challenges of our time.

I know campaigns can seem small, even silly sometimes. Trivial things become big distractions. Serious issues become sound bites. The truth gets buried under an avalanche of money and advertising. If you’re sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me, so am I. (Laughter and applause.)

But when all is said and done -- when you pick up that ballot to vote -- you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation. Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington on jobs, the economy, taxes and deficits, energy, education, war and peace -- decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and on our children’s lives for decades to come.

And on every issue, the choice you face won’t just be between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America, a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.

Ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known -- (applause) -- the values my grandfather defended as a soldier in Patton’s Army, the values that drove my grandmother to work on a bomber assembly line while he was gone.

They knew they were part of something larger -- a nation that triumphed over fascism and depression; a nation where the most innovative businesses turned out the world’s best products. And everyone shared in that pride and success, from the corner office to the factory floor.

My grandparents were given the chance to go to college, buy their own home, and fulfill the basic bargain at the heart of America’s story -- the promise that hard work will pay off, that responsibility will be rewarded, that everyone gets a fair shot and everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, D.C. (Applause.)

And I ran for President because I saw that basic bargain slipping away. I began my career helping people in the shadow of a shuttered steel mill at a time when too many good jobs were starting to move overseas. And by 2008, we had seen nearly a decade in which families struggled with costs that kept rising but paychecks that didn’the; folks racking up more and more debt just to make the mortgage or pay tuition, put gas in the car or food on the table. And when the house of cards collapsed in the Great Recession, millions of innocent Americans lost their jobs, their homes, their life savings -- a tragedy from which we’re still fighting to recover.

Now, our friends down in Tampa at the Republican Convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America. But they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right. (Applause.) They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan. And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescriptions they’ve had for the last 30 years -- Have a surplus? Try a tax cut. Deficit too high? Try another. Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations and call us in the morning. (Applause.)

Now, I’ve cut taxes for those who need it -- middle-class families, small businesses. But I don’t believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores or pay down our deficit. I don’t believe that firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid will grow the economy, or help us compete with the scientists and engineers coming out of China. (Applause.)

After all we’ve been through, I don’t believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street will help the small businesswoman expand or the laid-off construction worker keep his home.

We have been there. We’ve tried that and we’re not going back. We are moving forward, America. (Applause.)

Now, I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. (Applause.)

And the truth is it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It will require common effort and shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one. (Applause.) And, by the way, those of us who carry on his party’s legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington.

But know this, America -- our problems can be solved. (Applause.) Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I’m asking you to choose that future. (Applause.)

I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country -- goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit -- real, achievable plans that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation. That’s what we can do in the next four years -- and that is why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT: We can choose a future where we export more products and outsource fewer jobs. After a decade that was defined by what we bought and borrowed, we’re getting back to basics, and doing what America has always done best: We are making things again. (Applause.)

I’ve met workers in Detroit and Toledo -- (applause) -- who feared they’d never build another American car. And today, they can’t build them fast enough, because we reinvented a dying auto industry that’s back on the top of the world. (Applause.)

I’ve worked with business leaders who are bringing jobs back to America -- not because our workers make less pay, but because we make better products. Because we work harder and smarter than anyone else. (Applause.)

I’ve signed trade agreements that are helping our companies sell more goods to millions of new customers -- goods that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: U.S.A! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

THE PRESIDENT: And after a decade of decline, this country created over half a million manufacturing jobs in the last two and a half years.

And now you have a choice: We can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here, in the United States of America. (Applause.) We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years. You can make that happen. You can choose that future.

You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy. After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. (Applause.) We have doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by 1 million barrels a day -- more than any administration in recent history. And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in the last two decades. (Applause.)

So now you have a choice -- between a strategy that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it. We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we’ll open more. But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers. We’re offering a better path. (Applause.)
We’re offering a better path, where we -- a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred-year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone. (Applause.)

And, yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet -- because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They are a threat to our children’s future. And in this election, you can do something about it. (Applause.)

You can choose a future where more Americans have the chance to gain the skills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how much money they have. Education was the gateway to opportunity for me. It was the gateway for Michelle. It was the gateway for most of you. And now more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle-class life.

For the first time in a generation, nearly every state has answered our call to raise their standards for teaching and learning. Some of the worst schools in the country have made real gains in math and reading. Millions of students are paying less for college today because we finally took on a system that wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on banks and lenders. (Applause.)

And now you have a choice -- we can gut education, or we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have her dreams deferred because of a crowded classroom or a crumbling school. (Applause.) No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don’t have the money. No company should have to look for workers overseas because they couldn’t find any with the right skills here at home. That’s not our future. That is not our future. (Applause.)

And government has a role in this. But teachers must inspire; principals must lead; parents must instill a thirst for learning. And, students, you’ve got to do the work. (Applause.) And together, I promise you, we can out-educate and out-compete any nation on Earth. (Applause.)

So help me. Help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers within 10 years and improve early-childhood education. Help give 2 million workers the chance to learn skills at their community college that will lead directly to a job. (Applause.) Help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the next 10 years. We can meet that goal together. You can choose that future for America. (Applause.) That’s our future.

In a world of new threats and new challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven. Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did. (Applause.) I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. And we have. (Applause.) We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over. (Applause.)

A new tower rises above the New York skyline; al Qaeda is on the path to defeat; and Osama bin Laden is dead. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

THE PRESIDENT: Tonight, we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm’s way. We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made this country safer and more respected. We will never forget you. And so long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. (Applause.) When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you’ve served us -- because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their heads, or the care that they need when they come home. (Applause.)

Around the world, we’ve strengthened old alliances and forged new coalitions to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. We’ve reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers. From Burma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignity of all human beings -- men and women; Christians and Muslims and Jews. (Applause.)

But for all the progress that we’ve made, challenges remain. Terrorist plots must be disrupted. Europe’s crisis must be contained. Our commitment to Israel’s security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace. (Applause.) The Iranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions. The historic change sweeping across the Arab world must be defined not by the iron fist of a dictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebrate here today. (Applause.)

So now we have a choice. My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy -- (laughter and applause) -- but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly.
After all, you don’t call Russia our number-one enemy -- not al Qaeda -- Russia -- unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War mind warp. (Applause.) You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally. (Applause.)

My opponent said that it was "tragic" to end the war in Iraq. And he won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan. Well, I have -- and I will. (Applause.)

And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don’t even want, I will use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work rebuilding roads and bridges and schools and runways. Because after two wars that have cost us thousands of live and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home. (Applause.)

You can choose a future where we reduce our deficit without sticking it to the middle class. Independent experts say that my plan would cut our deficit by $4 trillion. And last summer I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut a billion [trillion] dollars in spending -- because those of us who believe government can be a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it so that it’s leaner and more efficient and more responsive to the American people. (Applause.)

I want to reform the tax code so that it’s simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 -- the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was President; the same rate when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history and a whole lot of millionaires to boot. (Applause.)

Now, I’m still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission. No party has a monopoly on wisdom. No democracy works without compromise. I want to get this done, and we can get it done. But when Governor Romney and his friends in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficits by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy, well, what did Bill Clinton call it -- you do the arithmetic. (Applause.) You do the math. (Applause.)

I refuse to go along with that and as long as I’m President, I never will. (Applause.) I refuse to ask middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut. (Applause.)
I refuse to ask students to pay more for college, or kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor and elderly or disabled -- all so those with the most can pay less. I’m not going along with that. (Applause.)

And I will never -- I will never -- turn Medicare into a voucher. (Applause.) No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. They should retire with the care and the dignity that they have earned. Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care -- not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more. (Applause.)

And we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it, not by turning it over to Wall Street. (Applause.)

This is the choice we now face. This is what the election comes down to. Over and over, we’ve been told by our opponents that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way -- that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing. If you can’t afford health insurance, hope that you don’t get sick. If a company releases toxic pollution into the air your children breathe, well, that’s the price of progress. If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, take my opponent’s advice and borrow money from your parents. (Laughter and applause.)

You know what, that’s not who we are. That’s not what this country’s about. As Americans, we believe we are endowed by our Creator with certain, inalienable rights -- rights that no man or government can take away. We insist on personal responsibility and we celebrate individual initiative. We’re not entitled to success -- we have to earn it. We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk-takers, the entrepreneurs who have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system, the greatest engine of growth and prosperity that the world’s ever known.

But we also believe in something called citizenship. (Applause.) Citizenship: a word at the very heart of our founding; a word at the very essence of our democracy; the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations.

We believe that when a CEO pays his autoworkers enough to buy the cars that they build, the whole company does better. (Applause.) We believe that when a family can no longer be tricked into signing a mortgage they can’t afford, that family is protected, but so is the value of other people’s homes and so is the entire economy. (Applause.) We believe the little girl who’s offered an escape from poverty by a great teacher or a grant for college could become the next Steve Jobs or the scientist who cures cancer or the President of the United States, and it is in our power to give her that chance. (Applause.)

We know that churches and charities can often make more of a difference than a poverty program alone. We don’t want handouts for people who refuse to help themselves and we certainly don’t want bailouts for banks that break the rules. (Applause.) We don’t think that government can solve all of our problems, but we don’t think that government is the source of all of our problems -- any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays, or any other group we’re told to blame for our troubles. (Applause.)

Because, America, we understand that this democracy is ours. We, the people, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which asks only "what’s in it for me," a freedom without commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism is unworthy of our founding ideals and those who died in their defense. (Applause.)

As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us; it’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That’s what we believe. (Applause.)

So, you see, the election four years ago wasn’t about me. It was about you. (Applause.) My fellow citizens, you were the change. (Applause.) You’re the reason there’s a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who will get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can’t limit her coverage. You did that. (Applause.)

You’re the reason a young man in Colorado who never thought he’d be able to afford his dream of earning a medical degree is about to get that chance. You made that possible. (Applause.)

You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever called home
-- (applause) -- why selfless soldiers won’t be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love; why thousands of families have finally been able to say to the loved ones who served us so bravely: “Welcome home." "Welcome home.” You did that. You did that. You did that. (Applause.)

If you turn away now -- if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible, well, change will not happen. If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void -- the lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are making it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should be making for themselves. (Applause.)

Only you can make sure that doesn’t happen. Only you have the power to move us forward. (Applause.)

I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention. The times have changed, and so have I. I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the President. (Applause.)

And that means I know what it means to send young Americans into battle, for I have held in my arms the mothers and fathers of those who didn’t return. I’ve shared the pain of families who’ve lost their homes, and the frustration of workers who’ve lost their jobs.

If the critics are right that I’ve made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them. (Laughter.) And while I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved together, I’m far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, "I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go." (Applause.)

But as I stand here tonight, I have never been more hopeful about America. Not because I think I have all the answers. Not because I’m naïve about the magnitude of our challenges. I’m hopeful because of you.

The young woman I met at a science fair who won national recognition for her biology research while living with her family at a homeless shelter -- she gives me hope. (Applause.)

The autoworker who won the lottery after his plant almost closed, but kept coming to work every day, and bought flags for his whole town, and one of the cars that he built to surprise his wife -- he gives me hope. (Applause.)

The family business in Warroad, Minnesota, that didn’t lay off a single one of their 4,000 employees when the recession hit, even when their competitors shut down dozens of plants, even when it meant the owner gave up some perks and some pay because they understood that their biggest asset was the community and the workers who had helped build that business -- they give me hope. (Applause.)

I think about the young sailor I met at Walter Reed hospital, still recovering from a grenade attack that would cause him to have his leg amputated above the knee. Six months ago, we would watch him walk into a White House dinner honoring those who served in Iraq, tall and 20 pounds heavier, dashing in his uniform, with a big grin on his face, sturdy on his new leg. And I remember how a few months after that I would watch him on a bicycle, racing with his fellow wounded warriors on a sparkling spring day, inspiring other heroes who had just begun the hard path he had traveled -- he gives me hope. He gives me hope. (Applause.)

I don’t know what party these men and women belong to. I don’t know if they’ll vote for me. But I know that their spirit defines us. They remind me, in the words of Scripture, that ours is a "future filled with hope."

And if you share that faith with me -- if you share that hope with me -- I ask you tonight for your vote. (Applause.) If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election. If you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election. (Applause.)

If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape, that new energy can power our future, that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules -- then I need you to vote this November. (Applause.)

America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now. Yes, our path is harder, but it leads to a better place. Yes, our road is longer, but we travel it together. We don’t turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you. God bless you. (Applause.) And God bless these United States. (Applause.)

Speech by Sen. John Kerry at Democratic National Convention (Text / Video)

John Kerry might have won the presidency if he had given speeches like this one back in the day!



The following is a copy of a speech, as prepared for delivery, by The Honorable John Kerry, Member of the U.S. Senate, Massachusetts, at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, September 6, 2012:

In this campaign, we have a fundamental choice. Will we protect our country and our allies, advance our interests and ideals, do battle where we must and make peace where we can? Or will we entrust our place in the world to someone who just hasn't learned the lessons of the last decade?

We've all learned Mitt Romney doesn't know much about foreign policy. But he has all these "neocon advisors" who know all the wrong things about foreign policy. He would rely on them—after all, he's the great outsourcer.

But I say to you: This is not the time to outsource the job of commander in chief. Our opponents like to talk about "American exceptionalism," but all they do is talk. They forget that we are exceptional not because we say we are, but because we do exceptional things. We break out of the Great Depression, win two world wars, save lives fighting AIDS, pull people out of poverty, defend freedom, go to the moon—and produce exceptional people who even give their lives for civil rights and human rights.

Despite what you heard in Tampa, an exceptional country does care about the rise of the oceans and the future of the planet. That is a responsibility from the Scriptures—and that too is a responsibility of the leader of the free world. The only thing exceptional about today's Republicans is that—almost without exception—they oppose everything that has made America exceptional in the first place. An exceptional nation demands the leadership of an exceptional president. And, my fellow Americans, that president is Barack Obama.

Just measure the disarray and disaster he inherited. A war of choice in Iraq had become a war without end, and a war of necessity in Afghanistan had become a war of neglect. Our alliances were shredded. Our moral authority was in tatters. America was isolated in the world. Our military was stretched to the breaking point. Iran was marching unchecked towards a nuclear weapon. And Osama bin Laden was still plotting.

It took President Obama to make America lead like America again. It took President Obama to restore our moral authority—and to ban torture. This president understands that our values do not limit our power—they magnify it. He showed that global leadership is a strategic imperative for America, not a favor we do for other countries.

And President Obama kept his promises. He promised to end the war in Iraq—and he has—and our heroes have come home. He promised to end the war in Afghanistan responsibly—and he is—and our heroes there are coming home. He promised to focus like a laser on al-Qaeda—and he has—our forces have eliminated more of its leadership in the last three years than in all the eight years that came before. And after more than ten years without justice for thousands of Americans murdered on 9/11, after Mitt Romney said it would be "naive" to go into Pakistan to pursue the terrorists, it took President Obama, against the advice of many, to give that order to finally rid this earth of Osama bin Laden. Ask Osama bin Laden if he is better off now than he was four years ago.

Barack Obama promised always to stand with Israel to tighten sanctions on Iran—and take nothing off the table.

Again and again, the other side has lied about where this president stands and what this president has done. But Prime Minister Netanyahu set the record straight—he said, our two countries have "exactly the same policy…"—"our security cooperation is unprecedented..." When it comes to Israel, I'll take the word of Israel's prime minister over Mitt Romney any day.

President Obama promised to work with Russia to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons and signed an historic treaty that does just that. He promised to lock down nuclear materials around the world, and he has done just that. He refused to accept the false choice between force without diplomacy or diplomacy without force. When a brutal dictator promised to kill his own people "like rats," President Obama enlisted our allies, built the coalition and shared the burden, so that today—without a single American casualty—Moammar Gadhafi is gone and the people of Libya are free.

So on one side of this campaign, we have a president who has made America lead like America again. What is there on the other side? An extreme and expedient candidate, who lacks the judgment and vision so vital in the Oval Office. The most inexperienced foreign policy twosome to run for president and vice president in decades.

It isn't fair to say Mitt Romney doesn't have a position on Afghanistan. He has every position. He was against setting a date for withdrawal—then he said it was right—and then he left the impression that maybe it was wrong to leave this soon. He said it was "tragic" to leave Iraq, and then he said it was fine. He said we should've intervened in Libya sooner. Then he ran down a hallway to duck reporters' questions. Then he said the intervention was too aggressive. Then he said the world was a "better place" because the intervention succeeded. Talk about being for it before you were against it!

Mr. Romney—here's a little advice: Before you debate Barack Obama on foreign policy, you better finish the debate with yourself!

"President Mitt Romney"—three hypothetical words that mystified and alienated our allies this summer. For Mitt Romney, an overseas trip is what you call it when you trip all over yourself overseas. It wasn't a goodwill mission—it was a blooper reel.

But a Romney-Ryan foreign policy would be anything but funny. Every president of both parties for 60 years has worked for nuclear arms control—but not Mitt Romney. Republican secretaries of state from Kissinger to Baker, Powell to Rice, President Bush, and 71 United States senators all supported President Obama's New Start treaty. But not Mitt Romney. He's even blurted out the preposterous notion that Russia is our "number one geopolitical foe." Folks: Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from Alaska; Mitt Romney talks like he's only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV.

So here's the choice in 2012. Mitt Romney: out of touch at home, out of his depth abroad and out of the mainstream. Or Barack Obama: a president who is giving new life and truth to America's indispensable role in the world; a commander-in-chief who gives our troops the tools and training they need in war, the honor and help they've earned when they come home; a man who will never ask other men and women to fight a war without a plan to win the peace.

And let me say something else. No nominee for president should ever fail in the midst of a war to pay tribute to our troops overseas in his acceptance speech. Mitt Romney was talking about America. They are on the front lines every day defending America, and they deserve our thanks.

Some of us from a prior war remember coming home was not always easy. President Obama has made it his mission that we welcome our troops home with care, and concern, and the respect they deserve. That is how an exceptional nation says "thank you" to its most exceptional men and women. Mitt Romney says he "believes in America" and he'll restore "American exceptionalism." I have news for him: We already have an exceptional American as president—and we believe in Barack Obama!

God bless you, and God bless America!

Taser Death: Denis Chabot (Houston, TX)

It happened again! Another unarmed and confused man was electrocuted with over 50,000 volts of electricity from a taser-happy policeman. This time the judge, jury and executioner was an unidentified officer of the Houston Police Department (HPD) who thought apparently didn't have the necessary training to subdue 38-year old Denis Chabot without using lethal force on September 1st. [SOURCE]

Denis Chabot was visiting a friend at a motel in north Houston when he got agitated. The motel manager and motel security guard called the problem into the Houston Police Department. The manager and guard wanted Chabot to leave.

When officers arrived, Chabot tried to leave. The unidentified police officers didn't want him to leave at that point ... so they unleashed their taser gun on him. A short time later Chabot was dead.

Not surprisingly, the police have been trying to spin the story by letting folks in the media know that Chabot had been arrested in the past for possession of marijuana, theft, robbery by threats and unauthorized use of a vehicle. They also want folks to know that Chabot lost his parental rights as a result of the arrests.
"His death could have been prevented if (HPD) had acted with sympathy toward someone who had problems with drugs," said the victim's brother, Christian Chabot.
What his past behavior has to do with the decision of the Houston Police Department to kill him is beyond my understanding. Chabot was unarmed. The fact that he used drugs is not ordinarily something we punish folks with the death penalty, yet, here we are ... a man is dead.

Family members are questioning the arrest protocol of the Houston police. His brother was 5-foot-5 and 125 pounds, Christian Chabot said,
"How much force is needed to put a guy that size down? My brother's death is a tragedy and he met an untimely and unjust end."

September 5, 2012

GOP Gone Wild: Texas-area Billboard Prays for Death of President Obama

It is obvious that the fear of a Black president continues to infiltrate the unstable minds of many in our nation. Did you see where a GOP wing-nut in Victoria, Texas put up a billboard that says, "Pray for Obama" with a reference to the Bible, "Psalms 109:8".

It seems innocent at first. Until you read the Bible verse,
"May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership."
The guy who put up the billboard is Milton Neitsch, Jr. Milton is a sly gentleman. But the sign seems hateful and inappropriate in so many ways. I was pleased to see that the Secret Service got involved. [SOURCE]

September 4, 2012

Speech by First Lady Michelle Obama at Democratic National Convention (Text / Video)



Below are the prepared remarks of First Lady Michelle Obama for the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Thank you so much, Elaine…we are so grateful for your family's service and sacrifice ... and we will always have your back.

Over the past few years as First Lady, I have had the extraordinary privilege of traveling all across this country.

And everywhere I've gone, in the people I've met, and the stories I've heard, I have seen the very best of the American spirit.

I have seen it in the incredible kindness and warmth that people have shown me and my family, especially our girls.

I've seen it in teachers in a near-bankrupt school district who vowed to keep teaching without pay.

I've seen it in people who become heroes at a moment's notice, diving into harm's way to save others ... flying across the country to put out a fire…driving for hours to bail out a flooded town.

And I've seen it in our men and women in uniform and our proud military families ... in wounded warriors who tell me they're not just going to walk again, they're going to run, and they're going to run marathons…in the young man blinded by a bomb in Afghanistan who said, simply, "... I'd give my eyes 100 times again to have the chance to do what I have done and what I can still do."

Every day, the people I meet inspire me…every day, they make me proud…every day they remind me how blessed we are to live in the greatest nation on earth.

Serving as your First Lady is an honor and a privilege ... but back when we first came together four years ago, I still had some concerns about this journey we'd begun.

While I believed deeply in my husband's vision for this country…and I was certain he would make an extraordinary President…like any mother, I was worried about what it would mean for our girls if he got that chance.

How would we keep them grounded under the glare of the national spotlight?

How would they feel being uprooted from their school, their friends, and the only home they'd ever known?

Our life before moving to Washington was filled with simple joys…Saturdays at soccer games, Sundays at grandma's house ... and a date night for Barack and me was either dinner or a movie, because as an exhausted mom, I couldn't stay awake for both.

And the truth is, I loved the life we had built for our girls…I deeply loved the man I had built that life with…and I didn't want that to change if he became President.

I loved Barack just the way he was.

You see, even though back then Barack was a Senator and a presidential candidate…to me, he was still the guy who'd picked me up for our dates in a car that was so rusted out, I could actually see the pavement going by through a hole in the passenger side door ... he was the guy whose proudest possession was a coffee table he'd found in a dumpster, and whose only pair of decent shoes was half a size too small.

But when Barack started telling me about his family – that's when I knew I had found a kindred spirit, someone whose values and upbringing were so much like mine.

You see, Barack and I were both raised by families who didn't have much in the way of money or material possessions but who had given us something far more valuable – their unconditional love, their unflinching sacrifice, and the chance to go places they had never imagined for themselves.

My father was a pump operator at the city water plant, and he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when my brother and I were young.

And even as a kid, I knew there were plenty of days when he was in pain…I knew there were plenty of mornings when it was a struggle for him to simply get out of bed.

But every morning, I watched my father wake up with a smile, grab his walker, prop himself up against the bathroom sink, and slowly shave and button his uniform.

And when he returned home after a long day's work, my brother and I would stand at the top of the stairs to our little apartment, patiently waiting to greet him…watching as he reached down to lift one leg, and then the other, to slowly climb his way into our arms.

But despite these challenges, my dad hardly ever missed a day of work…he and my mom were determined to give me and my brother the kind of education they could only dream of.

And when my brother and I finally made it to college, nearly all of our tuition came from student loans and grants.

But my dad still had to pay a tiny portion of that tuition himself.

And every semester, he was determined to pay that bill right on time, even taking out loans when he fell short.

He was so proud to be sending his kids to college…and he made sure we never missed a registration deadline because his check was late.

You see, for my dad, that's what it meant to be a man.

Like so many of us, that was the measure of his success in life – being able to earn a decent living that allowed him to support his family.

And as I got to know Barack, I realized that even though he'd grown up all the way across the country, he'd been brought up just like me.

Barack was raised by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills, and by grandparents who stepped in when she needed help.

Barack's grandmother started out as a secretary at a community bank…and she moved quickly up the ranks ... but like so many women, she hit a glass ceiling.

And for years, men no more qualified than she was – men she had actually trained – were promoted up the ladder ahead of her, earning more and more money while Barack's family continued to scrape by.

But day after day, she kept on waking up at dawn to catch the bus…arriving at work before anyone else ... giving her best without complaint or regret.

And she would often tell Barack, "So long as you kids do well, Bar, that's all that really matters."

Like so many American families, our families weren't asking for much.

They didn't begrudge anyone else's success or care that others had much more than they did...in fact, they admired it.

They simply believed in that fundamental American promise that, even if you don't start out with much, if you work hard and do what you're supposed to do, then you should be able to build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids and grandkids.

That's how they raised us…that's what we learned from their example.

We learned about dignity and decency – that how hard you work matters more than how much you make ... that helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself.

We learned about honesty and integrity – that the truth matters ... that you don't take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules…and success doesn't count unless you earn it fair and square.

We learned about gratitude and humility – that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean ... and we were taught to value everyone's contribution and treat everyone with respect.

Those are the values Barack and I – and so many of you – are trying to pass on to our own children.

That's who we are.

And standing before you four years ago, I knew that I didn't want any of that to change if Barack became President.

Well, today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn't change who you are – it reveals who you are.

You see, I've gotten to see up close and personal what being president really looks like.

And I've seen how the issues that come across a President's desk are always the hard ones – the problems where no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer…the judgment calls where the stakes are so high, and there is no margin for error.

And as President, you can get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people.

But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as President, all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are.

So when it comes to rebuilding our economy, Barack is thinking about folks like my dad and like his grandmother.

He's thinking about the pride that comes from a hard day's work.

That's why he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help women get equal pay for equal work.

That's why he cut taxes for working families and small businesses and fought to get the auto industry back on its feet.

That's how he brought our economy from the brink of collapse to creating jobs again – jobs you can raise a family on, good jobs right here in the United States of America.

When it comes to the health of our families, Barack refused to listen to all those folks who told him to leave health reform for another day, another president.

He didn't care whether it was the easy thing to do politically – that's not how he was raised – he cared that it was the right thing to do.

He did it because he believes that here in America, our grandparents should be able to afford their medicine…our kids should be able to see a doctor when they're sick…and no one in this country should ever go broke because of an accident or illness.

And he believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care…that's what my husband stands for.

When it comes to giving our kids the education they deserve, Barack knows that like me and like so many of you, he never could've attended college without financial aid.

And believe it or not, when we were first married, our combined monthly student loan bills were actually higher than our mortgage.

We were so young, so in love, and so in debt.

That's why Barack has fought so hard to increase student aid and keep interest rates down, because he wants every young person to fulfill their promise and be able to attend college without a mountain of debt.

So in the end, for Barack, these issues aren't political – they're personal.

Because Barack knows what it means when a family struggles.

He knows what it means to want something more for your kids and grandkids.

Barack knows the American Dream because he's lived it ... and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we're from, or what we look like, or who we love.

And he believes that when you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity…you do not slam it shut behind you ... you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.

So when people ask me whether being in the White House has changed my husband, I can honestly say that when it comes to his character, and his convictions, and his heart, Barack Obama is still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago.

He's the same man who started his career by turning down high paying jobs and instead working in struggling neighborhoods where a steel plant had shut down, fighting to rebuild those communities and get folks back to work…because for Barack, success isn't about how much money you make, it's about the difference you make in people's lives.

He's the same man who, when our girls were first born, would anxiously check their cribs every few minutes to ensure they were still breathing, proudly showing them off to everyone we knew.

That's the man who sits down with me and our girls for dinner nearly every night, patiently answering their questions about issues in the news, and strategizing about middle school friendships.

That's the man I see in those quiet moments late at night, hunched over his desk, poring over the letters people have sent him.

The letter from the father struggling to pay his bills…from the woman dying of cancer whose insurance company won't cover her care…from the young person with so much promise but so few opportunities.

I see the concern in his eyes...and I hear the determination in his voice as he tells me, "You won't believe what these folks are going through, Michelle ... it's not right. We've got to keep working to fix this. We've got so much more to do."

I see how those stories – our collection of struggles and hopes and dreams – I see how that's what drives Barack Obama every single day.

And I didn't think it was possible, but today, I love my husband even more than I did four years ago ... even more than I did 23 years ago, when we first met.

I love that he's never forgotten how he started.

I love that we can trust Barack to do what he says he's going to do, even when it's hard – especially when it's hard.

I love that for Barack, there is no such thing as "us" and "them" – he doesn't care whether you're a Democrat, a Republican, or none of the above ... he knows that we all love our country…and he's always ready to listen to good ideas ... he's always looking for the very best in everyone he meets.

And I love that even in the toughest moments, when we're all sweating it – when we're worried that the bill won't pass, and it seems like all is lost – Barack never lets himself get distracted by the chatter and the noise.

Just like his grandmother, he just keeps getting up and moving forward…with patience and wisdom, and courage and grace.

And he reminds me that we are playing a long game here…and that change is hard, and change is slow, and it never happens all at once.

But eventually we get there, we always do.

We get there because of folks like my Dad…folks like Barack's grandmother…men and women who said to themselves, "I may not have a chance to fulfill my dreams, but maybe my children will…maybe my grandchildren will."

So many of us stand here tonight because of their sacrifice, and longing, and steadfast love ... because time and again, they swallowed their fears and doubts and did what was hard.

So today, when the challenges we face start to seem overwhelming – or even impossible – let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation…it's who we are as Americans…it's how this country was built.

And if our parents and grandparents could toil and struggle for us ... if they could raise beams of steel to the sky, send a man to the moon, and connect the world with the touch of a button…then surely we can keep on sacrificing and building for our own kids and grandkids.

And if so many brave men and women could wear our country's uniform and sacrifice their lives for our most fundamental rights…then surely we can do our part as citizens of this great democracy to exercise those rights ... surely, we can get to the polls and make our voices heard on Election Day.

If farmers and blacksmiths could win independence from an empire…if immigrants could leave behind everything they knew for a better life on our shores…if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote…if a generation could defeat a depression, and define greatness for all time ... if a young preacher could lift us to the mountaintop with his righteous dream…and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love…then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream.

Because in the end, more than anything else, that is the story of this country – the story of unwavering hope grounded in unyielding struggle.

That is what has made my story, and Barack's story, and so many other American stories possible.

And I say all of this tonight not just as First Lady…and not just as a wife.

You see, at the end of the day, my most important title is still "mom-in-chief."

My daughters are still the heart of my heart and the center of my world.

But today, I have none of those worries from four years ago about whether Barack and I were doing what's best for our girls.

Because today, I know from experience that if I truly want to leave a better world for my daughters, and all our sons and daughters…if we want to give all our children a foundation for their dreams and opportunities worthy of their promise…if we want to give them that sense of limitless possibility – that belief that here in America, there is always something better out there if you're willing to work for it…then we must work like never before…and we must once again come together and stand together for the man we can trust to keep moving this great country forward…my husband, our President, President Barack Obama.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

Speech by San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro at Democratic National Convention (Text / Video)




The following is a transcript of a speech, as prepared for delivery, by The Honorable Julián Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, September 4, 2012:


My fellow Democrats, my fellow Texans, my fellow Americans: I stand before you tonight as a young American, a proud American, of a generation born as the Cold War receded, shaped by the tragedy of 9/11, connected by the digital revolution and determined to re-elect the man who will make the 21st century another American century—President Barack Obama.

The unlikely journey that brought me here tonight began many miles from this podium. My brother Joaquin and I grew up with my mother Rosie and my grandmother Victoria.

My grandmother was an orphan. As a young girl, she had to leave her home in Mexico and move to San Antonio, where some relatives had agreed to take her in. She never made it past the fourth grade. She had to drop out and start working to help her family. My grandmother spent her whole life working as a maid, a cook and a babysitter, barely scraping by, but still working hard to give my mother, her only child, a chance in life, so that my mother could give my brother and me an even better one.

As my grandmother got older, she begged my mother to give her grandchildren. She prayed to God for just one grandbaby before she died. You can imagine her excitement when she found out her prayers would be answered—twice over. She was so excited that the day before Joaquin and I were born she entered a menudo cook-off, and she won $300! That's how she paid our hospital bill.

By the time my brother and I came along, this incredible woman had taught herself to read and write in both Spanish and English. I can still see her in the room that Joaquin and I shared with her, reading her Agatha Christie novels late into the night. And I can still remember her, every morning as Joaquin and I walked out the door to school, making the sign of the cross behind us, saying, "Que dios los bendiga." "May God bless you."

My grandmother didn't live to see us begin our lives in public service. But she probably would have thought it extraordinary that just two generations after she arrived in San Antonio, one grandson would be the mayor and the other would be on his way—the good people of San Antonio willing—to the United States Congress.

My family's story isn't special. What's special is the America that makes our story possible. Ours is a nation like no other, a place where great journeys can be made in a single generation. No matter who you are or where you come from, the path is always forward.

America didn't become the land of opportunity by accident. My grandmother's generation and generations before always saw beyond the horizons of their own lives and their own circumstances. They believed that opportunity created today would lead to prosperity tomorrow. That's the country they envisioned, and that's the country they helped build. The roads and bridges they built, the schools and universities they created, the rights they fought for and won—these opened the doors to a decent job, a secure retirement, the chance for your children to do better than you did.

And that's the middle class—the engine of our economic growth. With hard work, everybody ought to be able to get there. And with hard work, everybody ought to be able to stay there—and go beyond. The dream of raising a family in a place where hard work is rewarded is not unique to Americans. It's a human dream, one that calls across oceans and borders. The dream is universal, but America makes it possible. And our investment in opportunity makes it a reality.

Now, in Texas, we believe in the rugged individual. Texas may be the one place where people actually still have bootstraps, and we expect folks to pull themselves up by them. But we also recognize there are some things we can't do alone. We have to come together and invest in opportunity today for prosperity tomorrow.

And it starts with education. Twenty years ago, Joaquin and I left home for college and then for law school. In those classrooms, we met some of the brightest folks in the world. But at the end of our days there, I couldn't help but to think back to my classmates at Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio. They had the same talent, the same brains, the same dreams as the folks we sat with at Stanford and Harvard. I realized the difference wasn't one of intelligence or drive. The difference was opportunity.

In my city of San Antonio, we get that. So we're working to ensure that more four-year-olds have access to pre-K. We opened Cafe College, where students get help with everything from test prep to financial aid paperwork. We know that you can't be pro-business unless you're pro-education. We know that pre-K and student loans aren't charity. They're a smart investment in a workforce that can fill and create the jobs of tomorrow. We're investing in our young minds today to be competitive in the global economy tomorrow.

And it's paying off. Last year the Milken Institute ranked San Antonio as the nation's top performing local economy. And we're only getting started. Opportunity today, prosperity tomorrow.

Now, like many of you, I watched last week's Republican convention. They told a few stories of individual success. We all celebrate individual success. But the question is, how do we multiply that success? The answer is President Barack Obama.

Mitt Romney, quite simply, doesn't get it. A few months ago he visited a university in Ohio and gave the students there a little entrepreneurial advice. "Start a business," he said. But how? "Borrow money if you have to from your parents," he told them. Gee, why didn't I think of that? Some people are lucky enough to borrow money from their parents, but that shouldn't determine whether you can pursue your dreams. I don't think Governor Romney meant any harm. I think he's a good guy. He just has no idea how good he's had it.

We know that in our free market economy some will prosper more than others. What we don't accept is the idea that some folks won't even get a chance. And the thing is, Mitt Romney and the Republican Party are perfectly comfortable with that America. In fact, that's exactly what they're promising us.

The Romney-Ryan budget doesn't just cut public education, cut Medicare, cut transportation and cut job training.

It doesn't just pummel the middle class—it dismantles it. It dismantles what generations before have built to ensure that everybody can enter and stay in the middle class. When it comes to getting the middle class back to work, Mitt Romney says, "No." When it comes to respecting women's rights, Mitt Romney says, "No." When it comes to letting people marry whomever they love, Mitt Romney says, "No." When it comes to expanding access to good health care, Mitt Romney says, "No."

Actually, Mitt Romney said, "Yes," and now he says, "No." Governor Romney has undergone an extreme makeover, and it ain't pretty. So here's what we're going to say to Mitt Romney. We're going to say, "No."

Of all the fictions we heard last week in Tampa, the one I find most troubling is this: If we all just go our own way, our nation will be stronger for it. Because if we sever the threads that connect us, the only people who will go far are those who are already ahead. We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.

Republicans tell us that if the most prosperous among us do even better, that somehow the rest of us will too. Folks, we've heard that before. First they called it "trickle-down." Then "supply-side." Now it's "Romney-Ryan." Or is it "Ryan-Romney"? Either way, their theory has been tested. It failed. Our economy failed. The middle class paid the price. Your family paid the price.

Mitt Romney just doesn't get it. But Barack Obama gets it. He understands that when we invest in people we're investing in our shared prosperity. And when we neglect that responsibility, we risk our promise as a nation. Just a few years ago, families that had never asked for anything found themselves at risk of losing everything. And the dream my grandmother held, that work would be rewarded, that the middle class would be there, if not for her, then for her children—that dream was being crushed.
But then President Obama took office—and he took action. When Detroit was in trouble, President Obama saved the auto industry and saved a million jobs. Seven presidents before him—Democrats and Republicans—tried to expand health care to all Americans. President Obama got it done. He made a historic investment to lift our nation's public schools and expanded Pell grants so that more young people can afford college. And because he knows that we don't have an ounce of talent to waste, the president took action to lift the shadow of deportation from a generation of young, law-abiding immigrants called dreamers.

I believe in you. Barack Obama believes in you. Now it's time for Congress to enshrine in law their right to pursue their dreams in the only place they've ever called home: America.

Four years ago, America stood on the brink of a depression. Despite incredible odds and united Republican opposition, our president took action, and now we've seen 4.5 million new jobs. He knows better than anyone that there's more hard work to do, but we're making progress. And now we need to make a choice.

It's a choice between a country where the middle class pays more so that millionaires can pay less—or a country where everybody pays their fair share, so we can reduce the deficit and create the jobs of the future. It's a choice between a nation that slashes funding for our schools and guts Pell grants—or a nation that invests more in education. It's a choice between a politician who rewards companies that ship American jobs overseas—or a leader who brings jobs back home.

This is the choice before us. And to me, to my generation and for all the generations to come, our choice is clear. Our choice is a man who's always chosen us. A man who already is our president: Barack Obama.

In the end, the American dream is not a sprint, or even a marathon, but a relay. Our families don't always cross the finish line in the span of one generation. But each generation passes on to the next the fruits of their labor. My grandmother never owned a house. She cleaned other people's houses so she could afford to rent her own. But she saw her daughter become the first in her family to graduate from college. And my mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.

And while she may be proud of me tonight, I've got to tell you, Mom, I'm even more proud of you. Thank you, Mom. Today, my beautiful wife Erica and I are the proud parents of a three-year-old little girl, Carina Victoria, named after my grandmother.
A couple of Mondays ago was her first day of pre-K. As we dropped her off, we walked out of the classroom, and I found myself whispering to her, as was once whispered to me, "Que dios te bendiga." "May God bless you." She's still young, and her dreams are far off yet, but I hope she'll reach them. As a dad, I'm going to do my part, and I know she'll do hers. But our responsibility as a nation is to come together and do our part, as one community, one United States of America, to ensure opportunity for all of our children.

The days we live in are not easy ones, but we have seen days like this before, and America prevailed. With the wisdom of our founders and the values of our families, America prevailed. With each generation going further than the last, America prevailed. And with the opportunity we build today for a shared prosperity tomorrow, America will prevail.

It begins with re-electing Barack Obama. It begins with you. It begins now. Que dios los bendiga. May God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.

Speech by Gov. Deval Patrick at Democratic National Convention (Text / Video)



The following is a transcript of a speech, as prepared for delivery, by The Honorable Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts, at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, September 4, 2012.

Good evening, Democrats! Are you fired up? Are you ready to go? I hope so.

This is the election of a lifetime. Because more than any one candidate or policy, what's at stake is the American dream. That dream—the ability to imagine a better way for ourselves and our families and then reach for it—is central to who we are and what we stand for as a nation. Whether that dream endures for another generation depends on you and me. It depends on who leads us, too.

In Massachusetts, we know Mitt Romney. By the time he left office, Massachusetts was 47th in the nation in job creation—during better economic times—and household income in our state was declining. He cut education deeper than anywhere else in America. Roads and bridges were crumbling. Business taxes were up, and business confidence was down. Our clean energy potential was stalled. And we had a structural budget deficit. Mitt Romney talks a lot about all the things he's fixed. I can tell you that Massachusetts wasn't one of them. He's a fine fellow and a great salesman, but as governor he was more interested in having the job than doing it.

When I came to office, we set out on a different course: investing in ourselves and our future. And today Massachusetts leads the nation in economic competitiveness, student achievement, health care coverage, life sciences and biotech, energy efficiency and veterans' services. Today, with the help of the Obama administration, we are rebuilding our roads and bridges and expanding broadband access. Today we're out of the deficit hole Mr. Romney left, and we've achieved the highest bond rating in our history. Today—with labor at the table—we've made the reforms in our pension and benefits systems, our schools, our transportation system and more that Mr. Romney only talked about. And today in Massachusetts, you can also marry whomever you love. We have much more still to do. But we are on a better track because we placed our faith not in trickle-down fantasies and divisive rhetoric but in our values and common sense.

The same choice faces the nation today. All that today's Republicans are saying is that if we just shrink government, cut taxes, crush unions and wait, all will be well. Never mind that those are the very policies that got us into recession to begin with! Never mind that not one of the governors who preached that gospel in Tampa last week has the results to show for it. But we Democrats owe America more than a strong argument for what we are against. We need to be just as strong about what we are for.

The question is: What do we believe? We believe in an economy that grows opportunity out to the middle class and the marginalized, not just up to the well connected. We believe that freedom means keeping government out of our most private affairs, including out of a woman's decision whether to keep an unwanted pregnancy and everybody's decision about whom to marry. We believe that we owe the next generation a better country than we found and that every American has a stake in that. We believe that in times like these we should turn to each other, not on each other. We believe that government has a role to play, not in solving every problem in everybody's life but in helping people help themselves to the American dream. That's what Democrats believe.

If we want to win elections in November and keep our country moving forward, if we want to earn the privilege to lead, it's time for Democrats to stiffen our backbone and stand up for what we believe. Quit waiting for pundits or polls or super PACs to tell us who the next president or senator or congressman is going to be. We're Americans.

We shape our own future. Let's start by standing up for President Barack Obama.
This is the president who delivered the security of affordable health care to every single American after 90 years of trying. This is the president who brought Osama bin Laden to justice, who ended the war in Iraq and is ending the war in Afghanistan. This is the president who ended "don't ask, don't tell" so that love of country, not love of another, determines fitness for military service. Who made equal pay for equal work the law of the land. This is the president who saved the American auto industry from extinction, the American financial industry from self-destruction, and the American economy from depression. Who added over 4.5 million private sector jobs in the last two-plus years, more jobs than George W. Bush added in eight.

The list of accomplishments is long, impressive and barely told—even more so when you consider that congressional Republicans have made obstruction itself the centerpiece of their governing strategy. With a record and a vision like that, I will not stand by and let him be bullied out of office—and neither should you, and neither should you and neither should you.

What's at stake is real. The Orchard Gardens Elementary School in Boston was in trouble. Its record was poor, its spirit was broken, and its reputation was a wreck. No matter how bad things were in other urban schools in the city, people would say, "At least we're not Orchard Gardens." Today, thanks to a host of new tools, many enacted with the help of the Obama administration, Orchard Gardens is turning itself around. Teaching standards and accountabilities are higher. The school day is longer and filled with experiential learning, art, exercise and music.

The head of pediatric psychology from a local hospital comes to consult with faculty and parents on the toughest personal situations in students' home lives. Attendance is up, thanks to a mentoring initiative. In less than a year, Orchard Gardens went from one of the worst schools in the district to one of the best in the state. The whole school community is engaged and proud.

So am I. At the end of my visit a year and a half ago, the first grade—led by a veteran teacher—gathered to recite Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech. When I started to applaud, the teacher said, "not yet." Then she began to ask those six- and seven-year-olds questions: "What does 'creed' mean?" "What does 'nullification' mean?" "Where is Stone Mountain?" And as the hands shot up, I realized that she had taught the children not just to memorize that speech but to understand it.

Today's Republicans and their nominee for president tell us that those first-graders are on their own—on their own to deal with their poverty; with ill-prepared young parents, maybe who speak English as a second language; with an underfunded school; with neighborhood crime and blight; with no access to nutritious food and no place for their mom to cash a paycheck; with a job market that needs skills they don't have; with no way to pay for college.

But those Orchard Gardens kids should not be left on their own. Those children are America's children, too, yours and mine. And among them are the future scientists, entrepreneurs, teachers, artists, engineers, laborers and civic leaders we desperately need. For this country to rise, they must rise—and they and their cause must have a champion in the White House.

That champion is Barack Obama. That cause is the American dream. Let's fight for that. Let's canvass and phone bank and get out the vote for that. Let's go tell everyone we meet that, when the American dream is at stake, you want Barack Obama in charge.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States.