Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2015

01/16/2015

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a United States federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr.  King was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.

The national Martin Luther King Day of Service was started by former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, who co-authored the King Holiday and Service Act. The federal legislation challenges Americans to transform the King Holiday into a day of citizen action volunteer service in honor of Dr. King. The federal legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 23, 1994. Since 1996, the annual Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service.  has been the largest event in the nation honoring Dr. King. In honor of MLK, volunteers across the country donate their time to make a difference on this day.

Explore the mlkday.gov site to learn more about MLK Day and how you can participate. Below area few links to get you started.

 

MLK Day: Final Freedom Train in Bay Area ends 30 years of celebrating King’s legacy

1/19/2015 11:36:32 AM PST mercurynews.

SAN JOSE — America’s final Freedom Train chugged out of San Jose’s Diridon Station and into the history books Monday, ending three decades of tributes on the nation’s rails that celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s enduring legacy.

After years of declining interest, the chartered Caltrain roared to San Francisco on its final journey with a rejuvenated spirit and about 1,500 passengers — five times more than last year.

Packed joyously in 10 train cars, the multicultural mix of pilgrims sang civil rights hymns, read MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech and shared personal stories. Michelle Geary’s mother, Arlee Geary, made sure their family was onboard.

“My mom called me and said, ‘I grew up on Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy and if this is going to be the last train I want all of us to ride it,” said Michelle Geary of San Jose whose son and husband were also part of the final ride.

King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, started the Freedom Train celebrations in dozens of cities across the country to commemorate the historic civil rights march her husband led from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

But with so many new competing events over the years marking MLK’s birthday, the train journeys faded away, leaving the Bay Area’s as the last to survive. This year, after the police killings of unarmed black men in Missouri and New York, the traditional day of service also became a day of civil rights protests.

“All those people protesting these days, they ought to be demanding the continuation of the Freedom Train because losing this is a really a shame,” said Charles Herndon, who was the conductor on the first 25 years of MLK trains before retiring. He rode the farewell train as a passenger Monday.

For more: http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_27350087/mlk-day-final-freedom-train-bay-area-ends



Call on Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act

01/15/2015

FACT SHEET: White House Unveils New Steps to Strengthen Working Families Across America

Tomorrow, the President will unveil new proposals to strengthen the middle class by giving working families the flexibility to balance their families and jobs and giving all Americans the opportunity to earn sick days.  Building on the steps the Administration announced last year during the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families, tomorrow’s announcement includes:

  • Calling on Congress, as well as States and cities, to pass legislation [The Healthy Families Act] that would allow millions of working Americans to earn up to seven days of paid sick time per year;
  • Proposing more than $2 billion in new funds to encourage states to develop paid family and medical leave programs and announcing that the Department of Labor will use $1 million in existing funds to help States and municipalities conduct feasibility studies; and
  • Modernizing the Federal workplace by signing a Presidential Memorandum directing agencies to advance up to six weeks of paid sick leave for parents with a new child and calling on Congress to pass legislation giving federal employees an additional six weeks of paid parental leave.

The challenge of balancing work and family has grown as families have shifted so that today in most families all parents work and all parents contribute to caregiving.  Across married and single parent families, all parents are working in more than 60 percent of households with children, up from 40 percent in 1965.  And today, more than 60 percent of women with children under the age of 5 participate in the labor force, compared with around 30 percent in the 1970s.  Yet the fundamental structure of work has not kept pace with the changing American family, and many families are struggling to balance obligations at home and on the job. In fact, the United States remains the only developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave.

That is why the President is announcing additional efforts to help working families that build on the steps he announced at last June’s White House Summit, including support for states to design paid leave programs and a Presidential Memorandum that established a “right to request” flexible workplace arrangements for Federal workers and directed Federal agencies to expand flexible workplace policies to the maximum possible extent. The White House Council on Economic Advisers also released a report (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/leave_report_final.pdf) last June on the economic benefits of paid leave. From increasing the minimum wage, to equal pay for women, to workplace flexibility, to child care, to paid leave – President Obama is taking action on issues that impact America’s working families.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/14/fact-sheet-white-house-unveils-new-steps-strengthen-working-families-acr

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Maternity Leave Law by Countries

The United States it the only developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave.

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Congressional Progressive Caucus

01/11/2015
2014 Congressional Progressive Caucus

2014 Congressional Progressive Caucus

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) consists of one United States Senator and seventy five members of the United States House of Representatives, and is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus. Established in 1991, the CPC reflects the diversity and strength of the American people and seeks to give voice to the needs and aspirations of all Americans and to build a more just and humane society.

The Co-Chairs of the CPC–U.S. Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07) and Keith Ellison (MN-05) . For entire list of caucus members: http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/caucus-members/

CPC Caucus members promote a strong, progressive agenda, what we call “The Progressive Promise–Fairness for All”. The Progressive Promise is rooted in four core principles that embody national priorities and are consistent with the values, needs and aspirations of all the American people, not just the powerful and the privileged. They reflect a fundamental belief in government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

The four, core principles of the Progressive Promise:

1. Fighting for economic justice and security for all;
2. Protecting and preserving our civil rights and civil liberties;
3. Promoting global peace and security; and
4. Advancing environmental protection and energy independence

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Congressional Progressive Caucus’ Priority Issues:

For more: http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov

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Most Recent Actions

.Congressional Progressive Caucus logo

FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/USProgressives

Twitter https://twitter.com/USProgressives

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/ProgressiveCaucus

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Pre-SOTU: Pres Obama on 21st Century Digital Infrastructure & Cybersecurity

01/10/2015

Cyber

President Obama recognizes that technology is an essential ingredient of economic growth and job creation. Ensuring America has 21st century digital infrastructure—such as high-speed broadband Internet access, fourth-generation (4G) wireless networks, new health care information technology and a modernized electrical grid—is critical to our long-term prosperity and competitiveness.

President Obama is committed to ensuring America has a thriving and growing Internet economy. The Internet has become a global platform for communication, commerce and individual expression, and now promises to support breakthroughs in important national priorities such as health care, education and energy. Additionally, the Internet and information technology can be applied to make government more effective, transparent and accessible to all Americans.

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FACT SHEET: Safeguarding American Consumers & Families

Today, President Obama will build on the steps he has taken to protect American companies, consumers, and infrastructure from cyber threats, while safeguarding privacy and civil liberties.  These actions have included the President’s 2012 comprehensive blueprint for consumer privacy, the BuySecure initiative—launched last year— to safeguard Americans’ financial security, and steps the President took earlier this year by creating a working group of senior administration officials to examine issues related to big data and privacy in public services and the commercial sector.

In an increasingly interconnected world, American companies are also leaders in protecting privacy, taking unprecedented steps to invest in cybersecurity and provide customers with precise control over the privacy of their online content.  But as cybersecurity threats and identity theft continue to rise, recent polls show that 9 in 10 Americans feel they have in some way lost control of their personal information — and that can lead to less interaction with technology, less innovation, and a less productive economy.

At the Federal Trade Commission offices today, President Obama will highlight measures he will discuss in the State of the Union and unveil the next steps in his comprehensive approach to enhancing consumers’ security, tackling identity theft, and improving privacy online and in the classroom.  These steps include:

President Obama Proposes that Congress passes into law:

Learn more:

“In this interconnected, digital world, there are going to be opportunities for hackers to engage in cyber assaults both in the private sector and the public sector.  Now, our first order of business is making sure that we do everything to harden sites and prevent those kinds of attacks from taking place…But even as we get better, the hackers are going to get better, too.  Some of them are going to be state actors; some of them are going to be non-state actors.  All of them are going to be sophisticated and many of them can do some damage.

This is part of the reason why it’s going to be so important for Congress to work with us and get an actual bill passed that allows for the kind of information-sharing we need.  Because if we don’t put in place the kind of architecture that can prevent these attacks from taking place, this is not just going to be affecting movies, this is going to be affecting our entire economy in ways that are extraordinarily significant.”

 – President Obama, December 19, 2014

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Monday, January 12
President Obama delivers remarks on tackling identity theft and improving consumer and student privacy
Federal Trade Commission, Washington DC

Tuesday, January 13
President Obama delivers remarks on cybersecurity, including ways of getting the private sector and federal government to voluntarily share more cybersecurity information.
National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, Washington DC

Wednesday, January 14
President Obama delivers remarks on making affordable, high-speed Internet available nationwide
Cedar Falls Utilities, Cedar Falls, Iowa

Thursday, January 15
Vice President Biden holds a roundtable discussion on training Americans to join the cybersecurity workforce
Norfolk State University, Norfolk, Virginia

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U.S. Supreme Court Docket: Gay Marriage

01/08/2015

Seal_of_the_United_States_Supreme_Court


PBO Strive for Complete Equality for LGBT

U.S. High Court Will Consider Taking Up Gay Marriage in January

Dec 23, 2014 11:37 AM PT By Greg Stohr – TheHill

The U.S. Supreme Court will say as early as Jan. 9 whether it will consider legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide in what would be a landmark clash over an issue that has divided the country.

Five gay-marriage appeals will be before the justices when they meet that day for a private conference, according to an update today on the court’s online docket. A decision to take up the issue would probably mean a ruling by June.

Cases testing bans in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Louisiana are all pending, in some cases with advocates on both sides seeking Supreme Court review.

The court varies in how quickly it acts after discussing a case at its conference. An immediate announcement on gay marriage is possible so that the lawyers will have time to file their briefs for a late-April argument session.

The Supreme Court in October refused to take up the issue, leaving intact federal appeals court rulings that said gay marriage is a constitutional right. Since then, a different U.S. appeals court has reached the opposite conclusion, increasing the pressure on the Supreme Court to resolve the issue.

The justices have let rulings legalizing gay marriage take effect even while sidestepping the underlying constitutional issue.

The high court last week brought the number of gay-marriage states to 36 by clearing weddings to begin in Florida next month. Two justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, dissented and said they would have blocked the trial court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in the state.

The number of gay-marriage states has tripled in the 18 months since the Supreme Court ruled in two pivotal cases, including a 5-4 decision requiring the federal government to give equal treatment to legally married same-sex couples. The District of Columbia also allows gay marriage.

For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-23/u-s-high-court-will-consider-taking-up-gay-marriage-in-january.html

 

Petitions for US Supreme Court Conference of 01.09.2015

Docket Case Page Issue(s)

14-596 Robicheaux v. George
(1) Whether a state’s constitutional and statutory bans denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry and recognition of their marriages validly entered in other jurisdictions violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

14-574 Bourke v. Beshear
(1) Whether a state violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment by prohibiting gay men and lesbians from marrying an individual of the same sex; and (2) whether a state violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment by refusing to recognize legal marriages between individuals of the same sex performed in other jurisdictions.

14-571 DeBoer v. Snyder
(1) Whether a state violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by denying same-sex couples the right to marry.

14-562 Tanco v. Haslam
(1) Whether a state violates the Due Process or Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by depriving same-sex couples of the fundamental right to marry, including recognition of their lawful, out-of-state marriages; (2) whether a state impermissibly infringes upon same-sex couples’ fundamental right to interstate travel by refusing to recognize their lawful out-of-state marriages; and (3) whether this Court’s summary dismissal in Baker v. Nelson is binding precedent as to petitioners’ constitutional claims.

14-556 Obergefell v. Hodges
(1) Whether Ohio’s constitutional and statutory bans on recognition of marriages of same-sex couples validly entered in other jurisdictions violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; and (2) whether Ohio’s refusal to recognize a judgment of adoption of an Ohio-born child issued to a same-sex couple by the courts of a sister state violates the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Source: http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/petitions-were-watching/

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UPDATES: 

1/9/15 Supreme Court kicks gay marriage down the road again

1/16/15 Gay marriage: High court sets stage for historic ruling (cases will be argued in April, and a decision is expected by late June)

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Rainbow spectrum

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Pres. Obama Pre-SOTU travel to Michigan, Arizona and Tennessee

01/06/2015

PBO Pre-SOTU travelRebuiling the Economy From Middle Class

Riding high on economic growth, Obama hits the road 

01/03/15 By Sarah Muller – msnbc

Riding high on the surge of recent economic growth, President Barack Obama plans to start the new year laying out a mix of executive actions and policy proposals on the economy, teeing up to the highly-anticipated State of the Union Address at the end of the month.

While a new GOP-controlled Congress reconvenes in Washington on Tuesday, the president will hit the road this week to highlight economic progress, building off the strong momentum of the latest GDP numbers which show the fastest U.S. growth in more than a decade. Obama is scheduled to travel to Detroit and Phoenix in the three weeks prior to delivering his State of the Union speech. He’ll also made a joint appearance with Vice President Joe Biden in Tennessee.

According to White House spokesperson Eric Schultz, Obama will address ways to help more Americans become homeowners and get college educations. The president also plans on discussing his plan to create more good-paying jobs.

The push begins Wednesday with the Detroit portion of his trip. While in the Motor City, he’ll focus on the automotive industry’s bounce back from the bailout, which has impacted more than one million jobs. The next day in Phoenix, an area with the housing sector on the mend, he will announce new measures to help more Americans achieve the dream of home-ownership. Obama plans to spotlight during his stop in Tennessee his administration’s efforts to create new manufacturing jobs.

“The President is eager to get to work, and looks forward to working with the new Congress on policies that will make sure middle class Americans are sharing in the economic recovery,” said Schultz. “There are a number of issues we could make progress on, but the President is clear that he will not let this Congress undo important protections gained — particularly in areas of health care, Wall Street reform and the environment.”

For more: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/riding-high-economic-growth-obama-hits-the-road

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United States of America Annual Gross Domestic Product

Year    U.S. GDP
2005  $13,093,700,000,000
2006  $13,855,900,000,000
2007  $14,477,600,000,000
2008  $14,718,600,000,000
2009  $14,418,700,000,000
2010  $14,964,400,000,000
2011  $15,517,900,000,000
2012  $16,163,200,000,000
2013  $16,768,100,000,000
2014  $17,555,000,000,000

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President Obama will travel to Detroit, Phoenix and Knoxville to preview his plans for the US to building on the economic gains of 2014

Wednesday, Jan 7

President Obama delivers remarks on the return of manufacturing jobs and his decision to bail out the auto industry
Ford Motor Company, Wayne, Michigan

Thursday, Jan 8

President Obama delivers remarks on new initiatives he will propose to help Americans buy a home
Central High School, Phoenix, Arizona

Friday, Jan 9

President Obama delivers remarks on new educational opportunity initiatives
Pellissippi State Community College, Knoxville, Tennessee

President Obama delivers remarks on Manufacturing Jobs
Techmer PM, Clinton, Tennessee

 

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2nd Annual U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue

01/04/2015

Pres Obama pic Español

US Mexico flags

THE HIGH-LEVEL ECONOMIC DIALOGUE

In Mexico City in May 2013, President Barack Obama and President Enrique Peña Nieto announced the formation of the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue (HLED) to promote economic growth in the United States and Mexico, create jobs for citizens on both sides of the border, and ensure our nations can compete globally, making North America more competitive.

The HLED meet annually at the cabinet level and will build on and promote sustained progress in a range of existing successful bilateral dialogues and working groups. Mexico and the United States have developed a work plan laying out potential areas for cooperation under three broad pillars including: promoting competitiveness and connectivity; fostering economic growth, productivity, entrepreneurship, and innovation; and partnering for regional and global leadership.

The HLED is an annual meeting chaired by Vice President Biden and attended by cabinet secretaries from both countries to give strategic direction to initiatives designed to improve economic competitiveness.

FACT SHEET: U.S.–Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue

Joint Statement: United States-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue

U.S.-Mexico Trade http://www.ustr.gov/countries-regions/americas/mexico

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January 6, 2015
Vice President Biden hosts the second United States-Mexico High-Level Economic Dialogue (HLED) meeting
White House

President Obama hosts bilateral meetings with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto 
White House

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