Keeping the Promise of Religious Freedom

By Diana L. Eck

Two of the bedrock principles of the United States are religious liberty and the separation of church and state. At the time the Republic was founded more than two centuries ago, the overwhelming majority of Americans were Christians. Since that time, however, as the author of this article documents in her book, A New Religious America, the United States has become the world’s most religiously diverse society, especially during the last several decades.

Diana L. Eck is professor of comparative religion and Indian studies on the faculty of arts and sciences and a member of the faculty of divinity at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The huge white dome of a mosque with its minarets rises from the cornfields just outside Toledo, Ohio. You can see it as you drive by on the interstate highway. A great Hindu temple with elephants carved in relief at the doorway stands on a hillside in the western suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee. A Cambodian Buddhist temple and monastery with a hint of a Southeast Asian roofline is set in the farmlands south of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The religious landscape of America has changed radically in the past 40 years, a change gradual and colossal at the same time. It began with the “new immigration,” spurred by the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act, as people from all over the world came to the United States and became citizens. With them have come the religious traditions of the world – Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, Zoroastrian, African, and Afro-Caribbean. The people of these faiths have moved into American neighborhoods, tentatively at first, their altars and prayer rooms in storefronts and office buildings, and basements and garages, nearly invisible to the rest of us. But since the 1990s, their presence has become evident. Not all Americans have seen the Toledo mosque or the Nashville temple, but they will see places like them in their own communities. They are the architectural signs of a new religious structure in the United States.



256 thoughts on “Faith

  1. WH

    Saturday Jul. 24, 2010

    All Times Eastern

    Pres Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

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  2. Faith-based Office Participates in Forum on Engaging Religious Communities Abroad

    7/21/10 Posted by Mara Vanderslice –

    This Monday I participated in a United States Institute for Peace half day conference on “Engaging Religious Communities Abroad.” The event brought together government leaders with leading experts on the role of religion in foreign policy, including Doug Johnston of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, Marc Gopin, George Mason University, Tom Farr, Georgetown University, Chris Seiple, Institute for Global Engagement, and others.

    I delivered opening remarks from the White House on our Interagency Working Group on Religion and Global Affairs (RGA) and the effort we are undertaking to better understand how agencies across the U.S. government relate to religious actors and faith-based institutions in our work overseas.

    After the opening remarks we broke out into groups to discuss how we can improve and increase the government’s relationships to religious organizations abroad. We asked questions like what kind of trainings are currently available or being developed to equip foreign service officers and how does religious freedom promotion relate to religious engagement and support the Administration’s priorities for development and conflict resolution?

    We look forward to continuing the dialogue with these experts in this important area.

    Mara Vanderslice is the Deputy Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

    • All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear, when the holy land of the three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be, when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed — peace be upon them — joined in prayer.

      BARACK OBAMA, speech, Jun. 4, 2009

    • September 10, 2010

      Press Conference by President Obama

      Anne Kornblut [Washington Post reporter asks a question]

      Q Thank you, Mr. President. Nine years after the September 11th attacks, why do you think it is that we are now seeing such an increase in suspicion and outright resentment of Islam, especially given that it has been one of your priorities to increase — to improve relations with the Muslim world?

      THE PRESIDENT: I think that at a time when the country is anxious generally and going through a tough time, then fears can surface, suspicions, divisions can surface in a society. And so I think that plays a role in it.

      One of the things that I most admired about President Bush was after 9/11, him being crystal-clear about the fact that we were not at war with Islam. We were at war with terrorists and murderers who had perverted Islam, had stolen its banner to carry out their outrageous acts. And I was so proud of the country rallying around that idea, that notion that we are not going to be divided by religion; we’re not going to be divided by ethnicity. We are all Americans. We stand together against those who would try to do us harm.

      And that’s what we’ve done over the last nine years. And we should take great pride in that. And I think it is absolutely important now for the overwhelming majority of the American people to hang on to that thing that is best in us, a belief in religious tolerance, clarity about who our enemies are — our enemies are al Qaeda and their allies who are trying to kill us, but have killed more Muslims than just about anybody on Earth. We have to make sure that we don’t start turning on each other.

      And I will do everything that I can as long as I am President of the United States to remind the American people that we are one nation under God, and we may call that God different names but we remain one nation. And as somebody who relies heavily on my Christian faith in my job, I understand the passions that religious faith can raise. But I’m also respectful that people of different faiths can practice their religion, even if they don’t subscribe to the exact same notions that I do, and that they are still good people, and they are my neighbors and they are my friends, and they are fighting alongside us in our battles.

      And I want to make sure that this country retains that sense of purpose. And I think tomorrow is a wonderful day for us to remind ourselves of that.”

      For the entire transcript:


      President Obama: 9/11 a Day to Remember Religious Tolerance

      Uploaded by PBSNewsHour on Sep 10, 2010

      • Obama talks about his faith

        8/21/12 12:44 PM EDT POLITICO44

        In an interview with the Washington National Cathedral magazine, President Obama discussed how his faith influenced his politics — saying that at the end of the day ‘God is in control.’

        “First and foremost, my Christian faith gives me a perspective and security that I don’t think I would have otherwise: that I am loved. That, at the end of the day, God is in control,” Obama said.

        Obama also tied faith in God to his belief in a compassionate role for government.

        “Faith tells us that there is something about this world that ties our interest to the welfare of a child who can’t get the health care they need, or a parent who can’t find work after the plant shut down, or a family going hungry,” Obama told the magazine.

        “Faith has always provided a moral framework and vocabulary for this country to come to terms with its most pressing challenges. One of the great things about this nation is that it is a place where people from all walks of life can advocate on behalf of their faith and beliefs and be open about what drives and motivates them,” Obama said.

        “From slavery to the suffrage movement to civil rights, faith — and the moral obligations that derive from our faith — have always helped us to navigate some of our greatest moral challenges with a recognition that there’s something bigger than ourselves: we have obligations that extend beyond our own self-interest,” Obama said.

        Obama also briefly addressed the ongoing (false) doubts about his faith — including rumors that he is a Muslim (which he is not).

        “I have a job to do as president, and that does not involve convincing folks that my faith in Jesus is legitimate and real. I do my best to live out my faith, and to stay in the Word, and to make my life look more like His,” Obama said “What I can do is just keep on following Him, and serve others—trying to make folks’ lives a little better using this humbling position that I hold.”

        Obama also nodded to religious pluralism in the U.S. — and the idea that there are people of many faiths in the country.

        “This country has a rich tradition of seeking to create an environment where people of different beliefs can live together and share common goals. As Americans, I think we understand that—in protecting our ability to advocate for our own positions—we must protect the ability of those who come from different backgrounds and beliefs to do so as well. Faith demands that we see the image of God in one another and respect it,” Obama said.

        “Faith can express itself in people in many ways, and I think it is important that we not make faith alone a barometer of a person’s worth, value, or character,” Obama said.

    • Remarks at Reception Marking Eid ul-Fitr

      Hillary Rodham Clinton
      Secretary of State
      Ben Franklin Room
      Washington, DC

      September 13, 2012

      SECRETARY CLINTON: Good evening, and although I am many weeks overdue in saying it: Eid Mubarak. No matter how belated we are honoring Eid and the end of Ramadan, this is a cherished tradition here at the State Department. And I would like to thank all of you for being here, including the many members of the Diplomatic Corps.
      Tonight, our gathering is more somber than any of us would like. This comes during sad and difficult days for the State Department family. We lost four Americans. They were good and brave men. They were committed to the cause of building a brighter future for the people of Libya. And we condemn the violence in the strongest terms, the violence against our posts in Benghazi, in Egypt, and now in Yemen.

      The Libyan ambassador is with us tonight, and I want to take a moment to thank him for the support that his government and the Libyan people have shown to the United States in this tragedy, particularly the outpouring of feelings of grief and loss because of the killing of our ambassador.

      Ambassador Aujali, would you mind saying a few words?

      AMBASSADOR AUJALI: Thank you very much, Secretary Clinton. Standing beside you here in the Department of State, it shows the world how much the Americans are standing by the Libyans and the Libya revolution. You do support us during the war, but you have to support us during the peace. We are going through a very difficult time, and we need the help of friends.

      It is a very sad day for me, since I learned of the death of my dear friend and colleague, Ambassador Chris Stevens. I knew Chris for the last six years. We play tennis together, we drive in one car, and we had some traditional Libyan food in my house. I must tell you, Madam Secretary, and tell the American people, that Chris is a hero. He is a real hero. He’s the man who believes in the Libyans and the Libyan ability that they will achieve democracy after 42 years of the dictatorship.

      Now we are facing a serious problem, and we have to maintain and we have to – we need security and stability in our country. The government, unfortunately, faces a serious problem, personnel and equipment. And the support of you and the friends who support us during the war is very important.

      I want to show you and to show the American people how much it was – we were shocked by the death of four American diplomats. It is a very sad story to tell. But I am sure that it is our responsibility, and the responsibility of the Libyan people, that we have to protect our people, we have to protect the Americans in the first place and have to protect all the diplomatic missions who are serving in our country. I am sure that without the help, we will not be able to do it.

      I hope that this sad incident which happened, this terrorist attack which took place against the American consulate in Libya, it will tell us how much we have to work closely. Our religion, our culture, never tells us that this is the way to express your view. It is – in fact (inaudible) a terrorist act. This is condemned by all the world and by all the Libyans at the top level of the Libyan authority.

      Please, Madam Secretary, accept our apology and accept our condolence for the loss of the four Americans, innocent people. They lost their lives in the Libyan territory. Chris, he loves Benghazi, he loves the people, he talks to them, he eats with them, and he committed — and unfortunately lost his life because of this commitment.

      Madam Secretary, thank you very much indeed. (Applause.)

      SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Ambassador. I know that that was a very personal loss for you, as it was for me. I’m the one who sent Chris to Benghazi during the revolution to show support and be able to advise our government about what we could do to bring freedom and democracy and opportunity to the people of Libya.

      Religious freedom and religious tolerance are essential to the stability of any nation, any people. Hatred and violence in the name of religion only poison the well. All people of faith and good will know that the actions of a small and savage group in Benghazi do not honor religion or God in any way. Nor do they speak for the more than one billion Muslims around the world, many of whom have shown an outpouring of support during this time.

      Unfortunately, however, over the last 24 hours, we have also seen violence spread elsewhere. Some seek to justify this behavior as a response to inflammatory, despicable material posted on the internet. As I said earlier today, the United States rejects both the content and the message of that video. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. At our meeting earlier today, my colleague, the foreign minister of Morocco, said that all prophets should be respected because they are all symbols of our humanity, for all humanity.

      But both of us were crystal clear in this paramount message: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind. And we look to leaders around the world to stand up and speak out against violence, and to take steps to protect diplomatic missions from attack.

      Think about it. When Christians are subject to insults to their faith, and that certainly happens, we expect them not to resort to violence. When Hindus or Buddhists are subjected to insults to their faiths, and that also certainly happens, we expect them not to resort to violence. The same goes for all faiths, including Islam.

      When all of us who are people of faith – and I am one – feel the pain of insults, of misunderstanding, of denigration to what we cherish, we must expect ourselves and others not to resort to violence. That is a universal standard and expectation, and it is everyone’s obligation to meet that, so that we make no differences, we expect no less of ourselves than we expect of others. You cannot respond to offensive speech with violence without begetting more violence.

      And I so strongly believe that the great religions of the world are stronger than any insults. They have withstood offense for centuries. Refraining from violence, then, is not a sign of weakness in one’s faith; it is absolutely the opposite, a sign that one’s faith is unshakable.

      For more:

  3. Secretary Duncan Encourages Faith Leaders to Support Remaking American Education

    6/11/10 Posted by Peter Groff-

    Secretary Arne Duncan Speaks at the 96th Annual Minister’s Conference at Hampton University

    Secretary Arne Duncan addresses the 96th Annual Minister’s Conference at Hampton University on June 9, 2010.
    This week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan addressed the 96th Annual Minister’s Conference at Hampton University on June 9. Dr. William Harvey, the President of Hampton University since 1978, introduced Secretary Duncan as a leader who has exhibited courage in proposing new education strategies.

    In his remarks, Secretary Duncan discussed the role of faith leaders in remaking American education. He pointed to the role of African American religious leaders to provide moral leadership, referin to them as “the trumpets of conscience.” The Secretary noted the historic role of the African American church in transforming the American landscape and exhorted the crowd to once again shape the future as it has done in the past and demand better schools, demand more from parents and students and demand more from teachers, but most of all demand more from themselves.

    The Secretary noted that faith communities across the country are already demanding more from themselves by establishing effective programs for those in their community. For instance, Secretary Duncan showcased an after school program funded by the Minnesota Council of Churches that provides academic enrichment with a focus on African-American studies in St. Paul, Minnesota; a program in Orlando, Florida, where churches are adopting neighborhood schools and listing the schools’ needs in the Sunday bulletin to encourage their members to volunteer and assist; and a faith-based program called Kids Hope that provides mentors to students in desperate need of meaningful adult relationships and positive role models in Zeeland, Michigan.

    For me, the remarks highlight key elements for our Center to emphasize as we work with faith-based and community leaders to move more and more students toward the President’s goal to have the highest-percentage of college-educated workers by the end of this decade.

    Peter Groff is Director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Education

  4. Supporting those who Serve: Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships in Disaster Response

    5/17/10 Posted by David Myers –

    Faith-based and neighborhood partnerships have been a key part of the conversation and discussion at the 18th Annual National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (National VOAD) conference. The conference, held in Orlando this past week, was at maximum capacity as it brought together more than 530 people representing multiple national VOAD organizations and local VOAD members in 55 states and territories as well as emergency management partners and private sector partners.

    You might be asking yourself, what is a VOAD? The first thing I can tell you is that National VOAD is a key partner of FEMA and the DHS Faith/Community Center. National VOAD is a nonprofit membership organization whose members are national nonprofit organizations whose mission includes programs in disaster preparedness, response and/or recovery. Since its founding, state and local equivalents of VOAD have emerged to foster cooperation, communication, coordination and collaboration at the state and local level–the heart of any disaster response.

    This conference is one of the only times during the year that these groups come together in non-disaster events. Our Center at DHS contributed to the training and discussions here at the conference by providing expertise from FEMA headquarters and from Voluntary Agency Liaison offices throughout the 10 FEMA regions to participate in and lead workshops and seminars.

    Highlights of the conference included presentations by Joshua DuBois, Executive Director of the Office of White House Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships, and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. DuBois said, “You make wonders happen.” He described the work of disaster volunteers and staff gathered at the conference: “With the government’s partnership and your works of faith and service, people made hungry and homeless from disaster are fed and housed.” In the wake of recent tornadoes, floods and storms, DuBois emphasized the point that federal government cannot help everyone alone. “You [volunteer] not because you have been assigned to do it. No one has conscripted anyone into service. You are there, voluntarily, because you cannot do otherwise.”

    Administrator Fugate added to these thoughts by commending the 40 years of work and success of the volunteers of National VOAD:

    Just as FEMA is not the whole team, we are part of the team, and the team is strengthened by your efforts in assisting your neighbors during their time of need. We appreciate all the work you have done and we look forward to your contributions over the next 40 years and beyond to help ensure this nation is prepared for all emergencies.

    David Myers is Director for the Center for Faith-based and Community Initaitives at the Department of Homeland Security

  5. A Vision for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

    2/18/10 Posted by Mara Vanderslice-

    Friends, Joshua DuBois delivered a speech at the Brookings Institution earlier today on the broad vision of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, as well as our work over this first year. I thought you would like to read the speech; it’s included below, as prepared for delivery.
    A Vision for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships: Speech to the Brookings Institution

    Joshua DuBois, Executive Director, White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

    Good morning!

    It’s really a pleasure to be here this morning.

    Thank you, E.J. and Melissa, for that wonderful introduction. It has been an honor to work with and learn from you for quite a while now, and I’m deeply appreciative of your leadership in this critical arena of faith and public life.

    I also want to thank members of our staff at the White House and across the federal agency Centers that have joined us today, especially our core team in the White House of Mara Vanderslice, Ben O’Dell and Michael Wear. I want to thank members of our Presidential Advisory Council and other key leaders who will participate in panels throughout the rest of the day. It promises to be a fascinating series of conversations, and I’m so glad the Brookings Institute put this together.

    And finally, on behalf of President Obama, I want to thank all of you. I want to thank you for being here today, but more importantly for your interest in helping the federal government navigate the fascinating, important and sometimes fraught currents of religion and American life.

    Through your work in nonprofit organizations, through your scholarly efforts, through your reporting and blogging and advocacy and litigation, you are partaking in the difficult but rewarding task of finding an appropriate intersection between personal faith and public affairs.

    That journey – that search for the right balance between religion and politics in America – is one President Obama has been on for quite a long time. And for a number of years, I’ve been honored to walk that road with him. I am going to spend most of my time talking about our Office today, and the road ahead. But first I’d like to tell you a bit about how this all started.

    My first foray into the mix of religion and politics with this President was in the late Summer and Fall of 2005. The President was, of course, the junior Senator from Illinois at the time, working hard on behalf of the good folks of Chicago, downstate Illinois and points in between.

    And I was a very young Senate staffer for him, fresh out of a graduate degree in public affairs and some brief time on the Hill, still affiliated as an associate pastor with a small church in Cambridge, MA.

    The President’s Christian faith was very important to him, as it is today. And as not only a Christian but also a Constitutional scholar, then-Senator Obama had strong beliefs about how religion and the government could responsibly connect, and where those two forces should diverge as well.

    For the entire article:

  6. June 4, 2009

    Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you very much. Good afternoon. I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning; and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt’s advancement. And together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. I’m grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. And I’m also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: Assalaamu alaykum. (Applause.)
    We meet at a time of great tension between the United States and Muslims around the world — tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of coexistence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.
    Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of September 11, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights. All this has bred more fear and more mistrust.
    So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, those who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. And this cycle of suspicion and discord must end.
    I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles — principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

    For the entire transcript:

    • President Obama Speaks to the Muslim World from Cairo, Egypt

      June 4, 2009

      “A New Beginning” The President gives a speech in Cairo, Egypt, outlining his personal commitment to engagement with the Muslim world, based upon mutual interests and mutual respect, and discusses how the United States and Muslim communities around the world can bridge some of the differences that have divided them.

  7. American Society for Muslim Advancement, reprinted from NPR News, July 15, 2010

    Islamic Center Near Ground Zero Sparks Anger

    by Margot Adler

    A proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque two blocks from the site of the destroyed World Trade Center has become a flash point of controversy.

    The plan for Cordoba House has been in the works for a number of years. It is to be built on the site of the old Burlington Coat Factory store on Park Place, just about two blocks from ground zero.
    The Islamic center is supported by most politicians in Manhattan and by religious leaders of many faiths. It is opposed by some Sept. 11 families, by conservative politicians, bloggers and Tea Party activists.

    In the last weeks, meetings have been raucous, tensions growing and emotions raw.

    An Imam’s Dream

    The plan for Cordoba House — which those who oppose it call a mosque, and those who support it call a cultural center with a place for prayer — has been the dream of Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan. Khan describes it somewhat like the Jewish Community Center uptown, with facilities for athletics, arts, performances, lectures series, forums and weddings, as well as a prayer space.

    Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf considers himself an orthodox Muslim, but he is also a Sufi, a contemplative and mystical path in Islam. The offices of the Imam and his wife are in a building used by many faiths that is part of Riverside Church in upper Manhattan, a liberal bastion of interfaith work. When you listen to Khan speak, she sounds very much in that tradition.

    “Our religion has been hijacked by the extremists,” she says. “This center will create this kind of counter momentum which will amplify the voices of the moderate Muslims. If we have to defeat the extremists, Muslims have to be leading that effort.” ….

    •, July 20, 2010:

      Why is Fox pushing a falsehood to fuel outrage over NYC Muslim community center?

      Following right-wing media who pushed the claim without providing evidence, Fox News falsely reported that the Muslim community center and mosque set to be built near Ground Zero will open on the anniversary of 9-11. However, Daisy Khan, executive director of one of the organizations leading the project, told Media Matters that the allegation is “absolutely false” and that “the timeline has yet to be determined.”….

      In a conversation with Media Matters, Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, one of the organizations spearheading the project, called the allegation “absolutely false.” Khan also said, in a statement:

      “We are in the preliminary planning stages of the center and the timeline has yet to be determined..

      We do agree with Ms. Palin and others that it is time to heal from the wounds of the tragic events of 9/11. We peace- loving Muslims have a responsibility to lead the effort of rebuilding Lower Manhattan. We envision a community center for multi-faith collaboration that is focused on promoting integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion.”

  8. White House video, August 20, 2009 –

    President Obama Gives Ramadan Message

    President Obama extends his best wishes to Muslims around the world during Ramadan.

  9. The White House Blog, July 22, 2010:

    Trip to the Gulf: Day of Prayer for the Gulf

    Posted by Mara Vanderslice, Deputy Director for the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

    On Sunday, I joined the National Association of Evangelicals and the Evangelical Environmental Network for a sunrise service in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Gulf Shores is one of dozens of small towns along the Gulf impacted by the BP oil spill. The event was a part the National Day of Prayer for the People of the Gulf….

    I brought greetings to the group gathered on behalf of the White House to let them know that we will remain focused on the people of the Gulf and the impacts the spill is having on their communities. Although we received the good news the day before the oil well cap was secured, we know that the economic impacts on these communities are just beginning.

    Many people we met have lost their source of livelihood in a community that is driven by fishing and tourism. However, dozens of faith-based and community groups are responding to lift up their communities in a number of ways. We visited Romar Beach Baptist Church where we learned that they had already begun programs to collect and distribute food and school supplies. They were also making their retreat center available to those made homeless by loss of jobs and to volunteer groups that want to come down to help out….

  10. Hi everybody..Somebody on my timeline on twitter shared this UStream recording of Van Jones speaking to the netroots people…its really good..He let them know that their fire should not be aimed at the White House..

    Here’s the link —-> <—-

    • tigerfist I listened to the video of his entire speech earlier this evening and he is great. I really hope the people there took heed. He basically said that all of us have our one individual issues which we concentrate on but in the WH you have all of this coming at you and it is not easy. It was a very inspirational speech.

  11. SBARTSTV video of White House release, April 03, 2010 –

    President Obama’s Easter and Passover Holiday Message 2010

    In this week of Easter, Passover, and faithful celebration, the President uses his address to offer his holiday greeting and to call on people of all faiths and nonbelievers to remember our shared spirit of humanity.

    • Office of the Press Secretary, April 3, 2010:

      Weekly Address: President Obama Extends Holiday Greeting


      This is a week of faithful celebration. On Monday and Tuesday nights, Jewish families and friends in the United States and around the world gathered for a Seder to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt and the triumph of hope and perseverance over injustice and oppression. On Sunday, my family will join other Christians all over the world in marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

      And while we worship in different ways, we also remember the shared spirit of humanity that inhabits us all – Jews and Christians, Muslims and Hindus, believers and nonbelievers alike.

      Amid the storm of public debate, with our 24/7 media cycle, in a town like Washington that’s consumed with the day-to-day, it can sometimes be easy to lose sight of the eternal. So, on this Easter weekend, let us hold fast to those aspirations we hold in common as brothers and sisters, as members of the same family – the family of man….

  12. White House video, October 15, 2009 –

    The President extends holiday wishes for Diwali, or festival of lights.

  13. Before I turn in for tonight, I just wanted to post this story airing Sunday July 25 on Dateline. It is about hunger in Southern Ohio and how the people sent PBO messages about being hungry on thousands of plates.

    Sunday, July 25: ‘America Now: Friends and Neighbors’
    Ann Curry/NBC News
    For some this economy may be turning around but the reality is millions of families are at risk of going hungry, in one of the richest nations on earth. In the past two years alone, the number of Americans visiting food pantries has jumped 30 percent. Over the last nine months, “Dateline” focused its cameras on how the Great Recession has impacted some of the poorest people in America – those who are the first to feel the downturn, and will likely be the last to feel the recovery.

    For the report, “America Now: Friends & Neighbors,” airing on Sunday, July 25 (7:00 PM/ET), “Dateline” anchor Ann Curry travels to Ohio where the hardworking poor, with deep traditions in mining, manufacturing and military service, are increasingly seen in food pantry lines ashamed and angry. Recently, the people of Southeast Ohio made pleas for jobs and food written on thousands of paper plates to President Obama. One message reads: “My husband worked hard all his life and he died hungry.” Curry interviews people struggling with poverty and unemployment, and reports on what they’re doing to make their lives, and their children’s lives, better.

    Their stories, and the images, push beyond stereotypes and reveal a hidden America that is both surprising and haunting but nevertheless, hopeful. While most television news reporting on the recession has focused on those with a voice and influence — the middle class — this hour-long look at how the recession has affected America’s poor is a rare chance for viewers to get a comprehensive look at what poverty looks like over time in the heartland.

    Viewers will hear from a woman who despite being poor herself, opened a food pantry, “Friends & Neighbors,” that feeds thousands; a young mother who spent Ohio’s cold month of November sleeping in a van with her children ages 1, 2 and 3; an extended family of 14 crowded into a 4-bedroom house to survive; and a father who was laid off and unable to pay for heat so he woke every two hours to feed the woodstove to keep his two young sons warm.

  14. U.S. Official at OSCE Conference on Racial, Ethnic Discrimination

    Spratlen speaks on combating racial violence, intolerance in OSCE region

    07 July 2010

    United States Mission to the OSCE
    As prepared for delivery by Deputy Chief of Mission Pamela Spratlen
    to the OSCE High-Level Conference on Tolerance and non-Discrimination
    June 29, 2010

    Session 3: Combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination, also focusing on intolerance and discrimination against Christians and members of other religions

    As many of us grapple with the new realities of our multi-ethnic societies, we cannot fail to note the marked increase in prejudice, discrimination, and violence directed against both citizens and migrants with different racial, ethnic, linguistic, and religious backgrounds in the OSCE region.

    Whether we want to blame the economic crisis, immigration, or national security concerns, the reality is that negative perceptions of vulnerable groups have intensified in many corners of the OSCE region. That, in turn, has fueled hate crimes, discriminatory policing, xenophobic political platforms, and inequality.

    Skin color prejudice or racial bias, in particular, has been central to these manifestations of intolerance in the region. Whether citizens, asylum seekers, refugees, or migrants – persons of Romani, African, Asian, Arab and other origins who are easily identifiable or “visible” because of their darker-skin color or other distinguishing physical features, are experiencing heightened levels of discrimination. In our country this has been marked by increases in hate crimes towards Latinos according to our Department of Justice most recent Hate Crimes Statistics. The recent “EU-MIDIS: European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey,” similarly found that a third of the Romani and African respondents had been victims of racial violence and discriminatory policing or racial profiling within the last year. The recently released ODIHR Report, “Addressing Violence, Promoting Integration, Field Assessment of Violent Incidents Against Roma in Hungary: Key Developments, Findings and Recommendations,” offers further insight into the violence faced by the Roma community. Following the recent EU Roma Summit and United Nations designation of 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent, it is especially timely that we address these issues with concrete actions.

    Read more:

    • July 24, 2010

      Weekly Address:

      President Obama Praises New Wall Street Reform Law; Says GOP Plan Will Take Us Backward

      WASHINGTON – In this week’s address, President Obama praised the Wall Street reform bill that he signed into law on Wednesday and explained how it fits into the greater strategy to bring the country out of recession and build an economy for the long run. The president’s plan is aimed at strengthening the middle class and gives tax breaks to small businesses that creates jobs here, invests in homegrown, clean energy, and cuts taxes for working families. Unfortunately, when the Republican leader in the House offered his plan to create jobs this week, he presented the same policy ideas that led to this recession – ideas that will kill jobs instead of create them, and will add $1 trillion to the deficit, not reduce it.

      For the entire transcript:

  15. Refocus on education
    Obama to give ‘major’ reform speech

    7/23/10 By MATT NEGRIN – POLITCO

    President Obama will seek to return the country’s attention to education next week when he delivers a “major” speech to the National Urban League.

    Obama will speak Thursday at the group’s 100th anniversary convention and will speak about efforts to “improve teacher effectiveness and transform persistently low-performing schools,” the White House said in a statement.

    The administration credits “his signature Race to the Top program and other initiatives” with spurring changes in education across the country. On June 1, the Education Department announced that 35 states and the District of Columbia had applied for the second round of the program, which rewards states for adopting the White House’s recommended policies and standards.

    The New York Times reported Wednesday that 27 states have accepted new national standards for English and math, prompted by the Race to the Top contest.

    In his speech on Thursday, Obama “will highlight the unprecedented support for and adoption of common standards by a majority of states already, and the Administration’s commitment to develop the next generation of high-quality assessments benchmarked to common standards,” the White House said.

    Here’s the White House’s statement on the speech:

    “On Thursday, July 29th at the National Urban League 100th Anniversary Convention in Washington, DC, President Obama will deliver a major education reform speech emphasizing how his signature Race to the Top program and other initiatives are driving education reform across the country and focusing the nation on the goal of preparing students for college and careers. He will highlight the unprecedented support for and adoption of common standards by a majority of states already, and the Administration’s commitment to develop the next generation of high-quality assessments benchmarked to common standards. The President’s speech will focus on the dramatic reforms that states, school districts, schools and teachers unions have undertaken over the past 18 months, including steps to improve teacher effectiveness and transform persistently low-performing schools.”

  16. Tying it together
    Biden: GOP is ‘party of the tea party’


    Vice President Biden portrayed the GOP as a larger extension of the tea party movement on Friday, as he said at a South Carolina fundraiser that Republicans are “dead set on moving us backward.”

    Stumping for Rep. John Spratt, Biden said that on his way to the event at the South Carolina State Museum, his motorcade passed by a tea party protest.

    “Today’s Republican Party is not your father’s Republican Party,” Biden told 150 supporters, according to the pool report. “It’s the party of the tea party, some of whom I passed outside. I’m not questioning their integrity. I’m questioning their judgment.”

    At the beginning of his remarks, Biden paused when Rep. Jim Clyburn, who has suggested that elements of racism exist in the tea party, entered the auditorium. “Hey, Jim, how are you doing?” Biden said as the crowd applauded.

    Biden spoke earlier at a dedication ceremony for the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library, a University of South Carolina building named for his former Senate colleague, Fritz Hollings.

  17. NPR’s Scott Simon Remembers Daniel Schorr

    7/24/10 by Scott Simon – NPR

    No other journalist in memory saw as much history as Daniel Schorr.

    He was born the year before the Russian Revolution and lived to see the Digital Revolution. He was there before the Berlin Wall went up and there a generation later when it came down. He was born before people had radio in their homes but pioneered the use of radio, television, satellites and then the Web to report the news.

    How many people were personal acquaintances of Edward R. Murrow, Nikita Khrushchev, Frank Zappa and Richard Nixon?

    For all the history that he reported, Dan Schorr will always be remembered for the moment he stood before live television cameras in 1974 with a breaking bulletin about a list of enemies compiled by the White House.

    Schorr began to read the names. One of them was his own. “The note here is, ‘A real media enemy,'” he read, before continuing through the list.

    “What went through my mind was, ‘Don’t lose your cool. Be professional,'” he said years later.

    Dan became a professional at the age of 12. A woman jumped off the roof of his family’s apartment building in the Bronx. While police and fire crews rushed to the scene, Dan called the Bronx Home News — and got paid $5 for the story.

    He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, went to Europe, and freelanced for several U.S. news services before becoming one of the last reporters hired by Edward R. Murrow. Dan opened the CBS bureau in Moscow and, as the premier of the Soviet Union discovered, soon became famous for a pointed interviewing style.

    For the entire article and audio interview:

  18. Good morning CR, Donna, BWD and Rock. I have a lot of catching up to do. I missed the First Lady, the President, and most of yesterday’s thread. Hope you all have a great day.

  19. Faith

    Faith is the confident belief or trust in the truth or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing. The word “faith” can refer to a religion itself or to religion in general.

    As with “trust”, faith involves a concept of future events or outcomes, and is used conversely for a belief “not resting on logical proof or material evidence.” Informal usage of the word “faith” can be quite broad, and may be used in place of “trust” or “belief.”

    Faith is often used in a religious context, as in theology, where it almost universally refers to a trusting belief in a transcendent reality, or else in a Supreme Being and/or this being’s role in the order of transcendent, spiritual things.

    Faith is in general the persuasion of the mind that a certain statement is true. It is the belief and the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, based on his or her authority and truthfulness. The English word faith is dated from 1200–50, from the Latin fidem, or fidēs, meaning trust, akin to fīdere, which means to trust.

    Ethical Culture

    Ethical Culture is a humanist religion that centers on living an ethical life. With its emphasis on human worth and dignity, it asks that all actions elicit the best in others in order to bring out the best in the self. The faith is in the interrelatedness of all people and in an improvable future in this world.

    Largest religions or belief systems

    * Christianity
    * Hinduism
    * Islam
    * Judaism
    * Sikhism
    * Bahá’í Faith
    * Cao Dai
    * Cheondoism
    * Chinese folk religions (includes Taoism & Confustionism)
    * Folk religions (of the Africa, Asia, Americas)
    * Jainism
    * Seicho-no-Ie
    * Sekai Kyuseikyo
    * Shinto
    * Tenrikyo
    * Rastafari movement
    * Unitarian Universalism
    * Wicca

    Source: Wikipedia

  20. In European news :

    Toxic legacy of US assault on Fallujah ‘worse than Hiroshima’

    The shocking rates of infant mortality and cancer in Iraqi city raise new questions about battle

    By Patrick Cockburn
    Saturday, 24 July 2010

    Dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which was bombarded by US Marines in 2004, exceed those reported by survivors of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, according to a new study.
    Iraqi doctors in Fallujah have complained since 2005 of being overwhelmed by the number of babies with serious birth defects, ranging from a girl born with two heads to paralysis of the lower limbs. They said they were also seeing far more cancers than they did before the battle for Fallujah between US troops and insurgents.
    Researchers found a 38-fold increase in leukaemia, a ten-fold increase in female breast cancer and significant increases in lymphoma and brain tumours in adults. At Hiroshima survivors showed a 17-fold increase in leukaemia, but in Fallujah Dr Busby says what is striking is not only the greater prevalence of cancer but the speed with which it was affecting people.
    Of particular significance was the finding that the sex ratio between newborn boys and girls had changed. In a normal population this is 1,050 boys born to 1,000 girls, but for those born from 2005 there was an 18 per cent drop in male births, so the ratio was 850 males to 1,000 females. The sex-ratio is an indicator of genetic damage that affects boys more than girls. A similar change in the sex-ratio was discovered after Hiroshima.
    Dr Chris Busby, a visiting professor at the University of Ulster and one of the authors of the survey of 4,800 individuals in Fallujah, said it is difficult to pin down the exact cause of the cancers and birth defects. He added that “to produce an effect like this, some very major mutagenic exposure must have occurred in 2004 when the attacks happened”.
    US Marines first besieged and bombarded Fallujah, 30 miles west of Baghdad, in April 2004 after four employees of the American security company Blackwater were killed and their bodies burned. After an eight-month stand-off, the Marines stormed the city in November using artillery and aerial bombing against rebel positions. US forces later admitted that they had employed white phosphorus as well as other munitions.

    • Good day and thank you for the informative article Bert!

      I listen to the NPR BBC broadcast hour each day to get an “outside of the American bubble” prospective of the world events but I did not hear of this going on in Iraq!

  21. Happy Saturday and bonjour and hallo CR, Blackwaterdog, Tigerfists, Jackie, Donna and Bert and all friends!


  22., July 24, 2010:

    President Obama Planning 2 More Michigan Visits

    DETROIT — President Obama is planning another trip to Michigan to defend the stimulus bill. He plans to visit two auto plants, a Chrysler and a General Motors Plant in Detroit and Hamtramck on Friday, July 30.

    He also plans to stop by a Ford plant back home in Chicago on August 5. The focus of the trips will be to talk about the success of the auto bailouts.

  23. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle, July 24, 2010:

    Biden to tout stimulus projects in Yellowstone

    By Karin Ronow

    The White House is dispatching Vice President Joe Biden to Yellowstone National Park Monday to highlight the millions of Recovery Act dollars being spent to fix long-deferred maintenance projects and create jobs in the park.

    The White House confirmed Friday that Biden would visit the nation’s first national park Monday morning as part of “Recovery Summer.”

    The buzz in the Gallatin Valley, however, is that Biden is tacking a couple days of Big Sky vacation onto his official visit. Biden was expected to arrive on Air Force 2, flying into Gallatin Field on Friday night, and the skies over the Bozeman and Big Sky area have been declared “National Defense Airspace” through Tuesday morning.

    The schedule released by the White House only covers Monday’s event, when Biden is scheduled to speak to park workers outside the Madison Junior Ranger Station at 11:45 a.m., along with Jonathan Jarvis, National Park Service director….

    “Overall, there are 800 Recovery Act projects under way at national parks across the country this summer – eight times as many as there were last summer,” the White House statement said.

    In Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Park — another gem in the national park system, where Biden is scheduled to speak Tuesday — $25 million in stimulus money has been poured into 17 projects that employ more than 1,000 workers, according to the White House. The stimulus budget was $862 billion….

    As for other Yellowstone visitors afraid that Biden’s visit may clog roads or complicate travel on Monday, Nash said not to worry.

    “I would say with the number of visitors we might expect on a busy July day, I seriously doubt if many of them will see any impact from the vice president’s visit,” he said. “Are they likely to encounter congestion or traffic jams? Yes, but probably because of a bear or a bison.”

  24. Your Saturday Morning Inspiration!

    Everytime one of my Republican friends sends me one of those stupid emails railing against the Obama Administration I respond with this. It drives them crazy 🙂

  25. Commerce Department, July 22, 2010:

    Breaking the Language Barrier: NIST Tests Afghan Language Translation Devices for U.S. Troops

    For the past four years, scientists at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have been conducting detailed performance evaluations of speech translation systems for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Previous systems used microphones and portable computers. In the most recent tests, the NIST team evaluated three two-way, real-time, voice-translation devices designed to improve communications between the U.S. military and non-English speakers in foreign countries.

    Traditionally, the military has relied on human translators for communicating with non-English speakers in foreign countries, but the job is dangerous and skilled translators often are in short supply. According to NIST’s Brian Weiss, the DARPA project, called TRANSTAC (spoken language communication and TRANSlation system for TACtical use), aims to provide a technology-based solution. Currently, the focus is on Pashto, a native Afghani tongue, but NIST has also assessed machine translation systems for Dari—also spoken in Afghanistan—and Iraqi Arabic.

    All new TRANSTAC systems all work much the same way, says project manager Craig Schlenoff. An English speaker talks into the phone. Automatic speech recognition distinguishes what is said and generates a text file that software translates to the target language. Text-to-speech technology converts the resulting text file into an oral response in the foreign language. This process is reversed for the foreign language speaker.

    • usnistgov, July 19, 2010 –

      The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is helping the Defense Department evaluate the in-the-field performance of two-way, real-time voice translation systems for use in Afghanistan.

  26. Good morning, OTeam. I hope everyone has an enjoyable day in your corner of the world.

    I watched the whole Van Jones video and I think he has a very fine line to walk in terms of being a far left-wing progressive and being supportive of PBO and the administration. I think he does a great job of doing both, holding to his principles and seeing how important it is to have someone like PBO in the WH. He has such a beautiful spirit and so much energy and passion for his work. I really admire him but I must say he lost me there at the end when he said the first thing he reads each morning is HuffPo and what a great person Arriana is. I don’t know how he can feel that way but I guess they’re friends and maybe the raging screaming anti-PBO headlines don’t bother him in the same way that they bother us. I just don’t see how people think she is a liberal in any way. And I really didn’t appreciate Howard Dean’s message. It hardly sounded like someone who used to be in charge of the DNC. Although I think he did a good job then, he mostly just irritates me now because of his rantings during the HCR debate.

    Nancy Pelosi is speaking at NN today. I truly hope they show her all the respect she deserves. She has been such a tough fighter for every single thing to better this country. I always feel a deep sense of pride for her and her achievements.

    • Good Morning meta. I agree with everything you just wrote. I had the same reaction when he mentioned Huffpuff and Arianna. I hope that his words last night will register with netnoots nation, hopefully they will regroup and start with a different plan of action to help PBO advance his agenda.

    • Meta, I agree with Sandy and Kat. Your summary is perfect. I kinda cringed when he mentioned HuffPo. Arianna Huffington is no liberal. With her background and history, it is hard to consider her a liberal. I feel the same about Ed Schultz. I see more self-interest than anything in both.

    • Good afternoon! Yes, Van Jones’ speech was on point, and I am sure Ariana is a lovely person, but her politics and her business dealings are not. So maybe he separates the 2.

  27. DODvClips, July 23, 2010:

    Helping Afghan Farmers

    U.S. troops with the Kunar Province Agricultural Team are helping Afghan farmers improve their livelihood by maintaining the health of their livestock.

  28. Department of Energy, July 23, 2010:

    New facility in Boston to test large-scale wind blades

    America’s first-of-its-kind wind blade testing facility — capable of testing a blade as long as a football field — almost never was.

    Because of funding woes, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), which owns and will operate the testing center, was going to scale down to a smaller facility, a move that would have sent American manufacturers elsewhere for testing and stunted a domestic wind industry that’s moving towards bigger blades.

    “That is just unacceptable,” says Rahul Yarala, executive director of the Wind Technology Testing Center at the MassCEC, the state-funded organization created to spur economic growth for Massachusetts in the clean energy sector. Instead of three testing units, they were going to scale back to two, as well as shrink the footprint of the building. A smaller building couldn’t accommodate 300-foot blades.

    “But then the [U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)] came in and said, ‘If we’re going to do this, let’s do it right,'” Yarala says.

    The $40 million center was given new life with $25 million in funds from the DOE under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.


    The facility, set to open later this year at the Massachusetts’s Port Authority in Boston, will support the United States’ growing wind industry by helping to reduce blade and turbine costs and attract companies to design, manufacture and test their products domestically.

    The 50,000 sq. ft. facility will also promote the growth of U.S. companies that are part of the wind turbine production supply chain —including fiberglass distributors and advanced composite materials manufacturers.

    “With this project, we are not only catching up [with the other countries that have large-scale testing centers], but we are going to get ahead the curve,” Yarala says.

    Yarala says the facility itself is expected to create up to 300 construction jobs, about 30 design and eight administrative positions when it is completed.

    Practice field

    As the amount of energy generated from wind grows, so do the size of wind turbine blades. In the 1980s, blades were 65 feet long. Now blades are about 200 feet in the U.S. and, in the future, blades will be roughly the size of a football field….

    • Speaker Pelosi to PBO: If you had not been elected President, we would not have had this tremendous victory (passing health care reform).

      Thank you, Madam Speaker!!!

    • Awesome! The President speaks via video: Change doesn’t come from the top down, it comes from the bottom up.

      A good reminder for those “progressives” who seem to want him to be some kind of dictator or absolute monarch, making things happen through direct orders.

      • Yes Kat to see PBO speake via video was a nice treat. The fact that they had to show a video of his major accomplishments to a so-called progressive group is sad, although I am happy that he did. Last night Rachel also did a segment on PBO accomplishments.

        Someone mentioned Howard Dean up thread and disappointment. When I saw him speak, I hate to say that I felt the same way. What happened to Howard?

    • The moderator made me smile when someone shouted from the audience — “I’m going to release the kraken!”

      • I wonder if the folks who are asking these questions think that Nancy can just wave a magic wand and put all of these things on the agenda and get them passed in one day? That is my perception what they think.

  29. State Department:

    Religious Freedom

    The Office of International Religious Freedom has the mission of promoting religious freedom as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy. Headed by Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, its Office Director and staff monitor religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, recommend and implement policies in respective regions or countries, and develop programs to promote religious freedom.

    Given the U.S. commitment to religious freedom, and to the international covenants that guarantee it as the inalienable right of every human being, the United States seeks to:

    Promote freedom of religion and conscience throughout the world as a fundamental human right and as a source of stability for all countries;
    Assist newly formed democracies in implementing freedom of religion and conscience;
    Assist religious and human rights NGOs in promoting religious freedom;

    Identify and denounce regimes that are severe persecutors of their citizens or others on the basis of religious belief.

    The office carries out its mission through:

    The Annual Report on International Religious Freedom. The report contains an introduction, executive summary, and a chapter describing the status of religious freedom in each of 195 countries throughout the world. Mandated by, and presented to, the U.S. Congress, the report is a public document available online and in book form from the U.S. Government Printing Office.

    The designation by the Secretary of State (under authority delegated by the President) of nations guilty of particularly severe violations of religious freedom as “Countries of Particular Concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (H.R. 2431) and its amendment of 1999 (Public Law 106-55). Nations so designated are subject to further actions, including economic sanctions, by the United States.

    Meetings with foreign government officials at all levels, as well as religious and human rights groups in the United States and abroad, to address problems of religious freedom.

  30. State Department, June 15, 2010:

    Nomination of Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made the following statement regarding the nomination of Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom:

    I welcome the nomination of Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook to be Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. Dr. Johnson Cook is an experienced religious leader with a passion for human rights and an impressive record of public service. President Obama could not have found a more fitting choice for this important position. I look forward to working with Dr. Johnson Cook, if she is confirmed, to bring greater focus to international efforts to ensure that people everywhere enjoy the global standards of religious freedom enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    She will serve as a principal advisor on religious freedom to me and to the President, and she will be supported by the Office of International Religious Freedom in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Dr. Johnson Cook is the Founder and President of Wisdom Worldwide Center and served as the Senior Pastor of the Bronx Christian Fellowship Baptist Church in New York City and is a Founder/Board Member of the Multi-Ethnic Center, an enrichment program for youth. She served as an advisor on President Clinton’s Domestic Policy Council and Chaplain to the New York Police Department. She has spoken throughout the United States, Africa and the Caribbean.

  31. So many people seem to think PBO is able to just implement his promises, on his own. They are angry when he doesn’t. I have been thinking about this lately.

    Do you all think it would maybe a good idea for the President to explain the senate/house procedures for ensuring a bill becomes law?

    Maybe this could be suggested to the DNC? I am not in a position to do that as I am a Canadian; just think of the scandal if I did? (lol)

    • Hi Barb, I’m sure no one could explain it better than PBO. I can just imagine the uproar that would ensue — remember when he spoke to the nation’s children and told them to study and stay in school. The noise machine warned he was indoctrinating them in socialism!!

      BTW, you mentioned loonies and toonies the other day — I’ve got a two-dollar here. Love the polar bear on the back. I like currency that shows creative design.

      • That’s the toonie. Would you like the loonie; I can send you one. Here’s my email: (feel safe giving it out on this blog). Send me your snail mail address & consider it done, as soon as I find a shiny new one.

        • Oh, I forgot to say we have a loonie as well. Looking at it now. There’s the mighty loon! Thank you, Barb, that was thoughtful!

    • Do you think you would be able to send this to DNC and ask them to send it out to their members, asking them to forward it on to others?
      I just think a lot of people don’t understand this.

      • Good afternoon CanadaBarb!

        These School House Rock cartoons ran on Saturday mornings between 1973 and 1999. This bill passage School House Rock cartoon was one of the most popular.

        I think the ones that are screaming the loudest about Pres Obama not doing this or that are not necessarily mad at PBO but mad at Congress members who want to use their vote as a weapon to posture instead of for the good of the American public. Then there are some like the TeaBaggerParty/FOXNews who are on a mission to make PBO look bad just so that they can look good despite if their actions hurt America.

  32. Obama, family going to Martha’s Vineyard in August

    7/23/10 AP

    WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is taking his family back to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., for summer vacation next month.

    The White House announced the vacation plans on Friday, one day after disclosing that the Obamas would overnight somewhere along Florida’s oil-threatened Gulf Coast on the weekend of Aug. 14.

    The Obamas are scheduled to arrive on the Massachusetts island on Aug. 19 and return to the White House on Aug. 29.

    Last year’s vineyard getaway wasn’t all rest and relaxation for the president. During that stay, Obama nominated Ben Bernanke to a second term as Federal Reserve chairman. He also went to Boston to eulogize his friend and former colleague, the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.

    THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is taking his family back to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., for summer vacation next month.

    The White House announced the vacations plans on Friday, one day after disclosing that the Obamas would overnight somewhere along Florida’s oil-threatened Gulf Coast on the weekend of Aug. 14.

    The Obamas are scheduled to arrive on the Massachusetts island on Aug. 19 and return to the White House on Aug. 29.

    Last year’s vineyard getaway wasn’t all rest and relaxation for the president. During that stay, Obama nominated Ben Bernanke to a second term as Federal Reserve chairman. He also went to Boston to eulogize his friend and former colleague, the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.

    • HOPE this year’s getaway will be a little more relaxed for our First Family!

    • Change is hard but it promotes progress….
      Change is possible… all depends if YOU VOTE!
      Change comes from the bottom up…so VOTE

      Thank you BWD, Rachael Maddow and President Obama!!!

  33. Harry Reid is scheduled to speak at Net Roots today also. Al Franken will give the closing speech.

    July 24: House Majority Leader Harry Reid Q&A session.
    @ 12:30 pst and 3:30 est

    July 25: Sen Al Franken gives closing key note

  34. 2 American troops missing in eastern Afghanistan

    7/24/10 By ROBERT H. REID, AP – 2 hrs 23 mins ago

    KABUL, Afghanistan – Two U.S. troops are missing in eastern Afghanistan, a military official said Saturday. An Afghan official said one may have been killed and the other captured by the Taliban.

    Also Saturday, five American troops died in bombings in the south where international forces are stepping up the fight against the insurgents.

    The two missing service members had left their compound the previous day in Kabul and did not return, a NATO statement said. It did not identify the pair by nationality, but U.S. officials said they were American.

    The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.

    The military dispatched vehicles and rotary-winged aircraft to search for the two and their vehicle.

    Samer Gul, district chief of Charkh district in Logar province, said that a four-wheel drive armored vehicle was seen Friday night by a guard working for the district chief’s office. The guard tried to flag down the vehicle, carrying a driver and a passenger, but it kept going, Gul said.

    “They stopped in the main bazaar of Charkh district. The Taliban saw them in the bazaar,” Gul said. “They didn’t touch them in the bazaar, but notified other Taliban that a four-wheel vehicle was coming their way.”

    The second group of Taliban tried to stop the vehicle, but when it didn’t, insurgents opened fire and the two occupants in the vehicle shot back, he said.


    Please light another candle for these missing troops and for all our servicemen and servicewomen!

  35. Bonnie barely a tropical depression in Gulf

    7/24/10 AP

    MIAMI – Bonnie is barely a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico and the storm with winds near 30 mph (50 kph) is not expected strengthen as it heads toward the site of the blown-out oil well.

    Forecasters with the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Saturday that Bonnie was hanging on as a depression, but the storm was not expected to change strength before the center reaches the coast.

    The center of Bonnie came ashore Friday near Cutler Bay, about 20 miles south of Miami. It moved into the eastern Gulf and was about 165 miles (265 kilometers) east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River at 11 a.m. EDT Saturday.

    Forecasters say they have canceled a tropical storm warning from Destin, Fla. to Morgan City, La.

    Bonnie is moving west-northwest near 17 mph (28 kph).

  36. One More Ride On The Space Shuttle (Simulator)

    7/24/10 Scott Simon NPR

    Houston, we have a problem. The U.S. Space Shuttle program is shutting down. After 30 years, two tragedies, and 130 successful missions that seemed to make space flight almost routine, the shuttle program is coming to a close. What’s next in manned space flight for America is unclear.

    The command crew of Endeavor STS-134 is scheduled for lift-off in February 2011. Before then, they will go through hundreds of practice runs in a flight simulator at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

    “We go in the office, and we’ll say, ‘Okay, what do we want to do today?’ Steven Messersmith says. He directs the flight simulation team and says their role is to come up with a script of possible malfunctions. They deliver those malfunctions to the crew in the simulator with the tap of a button on a touch-screen computer.

    In this simulation, they kill one fuel cell and then another.

    “Oh, that’s not good. That’s not good,” one crewmember groans, before the team coolly proceeds into a sequence of actions to conserve power and bring the simulation home safely.

    The simulation is an exact mock-up of the flight deck that never leaves the ground – but shakes, rattles and rolls with some of the sensations of space flight. The run-through lasts for almost two hours and ends with a successful landing, despite the onslaught of problems.

    But not every practice is perfect. Cmdr. Mark Kelly will command Endeavor’s final mission and says sometimes mistakes happen.

    “Not frequently,” he says. “I did have a couple of weeks ago an incident where it was unrecoverable. We lost control, and if it happened in flight, we would have died. That’s something you don’t like to happen.”

    When that does happen, Kelly adds, it can be a good thing – because they won’t be likely to make that mistake once they’re in space.

    For the entire video and audio interview:

  37. NPR Wants Helen Thomas’ Prime Front-Row Real Estate


    NPR has stepped forward to ask for Helen Thomas’ former seat in the front row of the White House briefing room, according to Michael Calderone.

    The seat will be assigned on August 2 by the newly elected White House Correspondents Association board, which will have to decide between NPR, Bloomberg and Fox News.

    “Even in these difficult economic times, as many other news organizations are forced to cut back, NPR routinely represents the radio pool on trips other news organizations cannot take,” wrote NPR managing editor David Sweeney in a letter to USA Today’s David Jackson, president of the WHCA. Mr. Sweeney also emphasized his company’s expanding reach and emphasis on White House coverage.

  38. Just heard Peter Sagal say this on NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me“:

    “(Former Alaska Gov ) Tweeted this quote “Peaceful Muslims please refudiate.”

    Referring to a mosque to be built near ground zero (former Twin Towers in New York). She can create new words with the power of her mind. She has to do that because she won’t use a thesaurus…she said that everyone knows that they are extinct.”
    Sorry but I don’t want to soil my site with her name so

    To read about the witless wonder’s quote click here

  39. Judge Blocks Arizona Law That Would Eliminate Domestic Partner Benefits For Gay State Workers

    7/23/10 Huffington Post

    PHOENIX — A federal judge is blocking Arizona from implementing a state law that eliminates domestic partner benefits for gay and lesbian state employees.

    U.S. District Judge John Sedwick on Friday issued a preliminary injunction that requires the state to still make family health insurance available to gay and lesbian state employees who have established relationships that meet standards set under state administration rules.

    The judge also dismissed part of a lawsuit challenging the prohibition but left another part intact, allowing the suit to continue.

    The Legislature included the prohibition in a budget law enacted last September.

    • He’s running through every achievement of this Democratic Congress and getting a big hand for each one.

      “We’ve got to be realistic…. Keep this reform in context.” Generations tried to do what we did regarding health care.

      “Senate Republicans have veered so far to the right, they don’t care who they run over.”

      “People say why didn’t you do more with 60 votes — we only had 60 votes for a few weeks!”

      “Don’t badmouth all Republicans.” Thanks to Senators Snowe and Collins — hopes he doesn’t get them in trouble by saying somethng nice about them.

      We’ve had the least bipartisan cooperation in history.

      • Moderator congratulates Speaker Reid on Congress’s achievements and says unfortunately we’re here to talk about what you didn’t get done. [Kat says: Way to reinforce the message to voters that Democrats are useless! *eyes roll*]

        HR explains lengthy process of bringing bills to cloture and debate because of GOP time-wasting.

        No one has worked harder on a piece of legislation than John Kerry has worked on energy.

        HR “has the scars to prove” he’s worked hard on immigration but the Senators from Arizona won’t let it come up.

        • Guys, if the Arizona Senators (McCain and Kyl) won’t let the subject of immigration come up in the Senate, why are we not calling out John McCain because his campaign ads are all about immigration.

    • HR: Social Security is safe. It’s the most successful social program in the history of the world. Speaking to Netroots: Work with me and fight the fear tactics of those who say it’s about to go broke.

      Plans in development to address filibuster reform to prevent abuse of rules. Over 70 Presidential appointments, including 22 judges, currently being stalled by Republicans.

      HR talks about Senators Kennedy and Byrd. Senator K: sense of humor, booming voice, used to visit HR’s office and look at a letter from President-elect JFK and say, “That’s his signature!” (not auto-pen). Sen. Byrd’s life was in the Senate, “a brilliant man.”

  40. Oil pipeline prompts fears for Nebraska farms’ water

    24 July 2010 BBC

    A proposed pipeline to pump oil from Canada to Texas would cut across America’s agricultural heartland. Some farmers fear it could threaten the water supply to an entire region, the BBC’s Ben Bevington reports from Nebraska.

    “If oil gets into the water we’re done,” said Nebraska farmer Randy Thompson, as he stood in one of his corn fields.

    “You can’t drink oily water and you can’t irrigate crops with it.”

    A Canadian company, TransCanada, is seeking US government permission to build a pipeline that would carry more than half a million barrels of oil per day across Nebraska and over the Ogallala aquifer, which provides drinking water to two million people in the region.

    Once completed, the 1,600-mile Keystone XL pipeline would stretch from the tar sands of Alberta in Canada across five Great Plains states to refineries on the Gulf coast in Texas.

    It would cross Mr Thompson’s land, and he worries that it would threaten the water he uses in his pastures and farmland here in the Great Plains.

    For the entire article:

  41. Secretary LaHood: Republicans Tell Me In Private The Stimulus Is Working

    Thu Jul 22, 2010 Sam Stein – Huffington Post

    Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said on Wednesday that despite all their public criticism, Republican lawmakers tell him in private that they think the administration’s stimulus package has been a success.

    “I believe the economic recovery plan has worked,” LaHood said, in an interview with the Huffington Post, “and I’ve had Republican members tell me that when I’ve gone in and done projects or been with them or visited them in their offices… They know that we have dollars that have put people to work.”

    Speaking days before he was set to address a conference of progressive activists, LaHood’s remarks were offered as part of a broader defense of the president’s economic recovery agenda. The Transportation Secretary has been one of the administration’s main pitchmen and administrators for the stimulus package, overseeing the roughly $50 billion that has been set aside for infrastructure projects. But his unique expertise comes from having served — prior to his current post — as a Republican member of the House of Representatives.

    LaHood was largely diplomatic when asked to reflect on his former colleagues’ criticism. But in saying that Republicans have privately told him that the stimulus is working, he added fuel to the debate over whether the GOP has been duplicitous or unfair in their critiques. Already, there have been numerous press reports of lawmakers attending stimulus-related ribbon cutting ceremonies in their districts as well as lobbying different government agencies for stimulus funds.

    “There would be thousands of people out of work if it weren’t for the economic recovery program. Thousands of people,” LaHood said of the Recovery Act. “We know that thousands of jobs have been created. We know that thousands of projects are underway. All you have to do is travel around American, see the orange cones, and see the men and women working on infrastructure, working on projects, resurfacing roads… there is a lot of activity in America and a lot of people working. This would not have happened if not for the economic recovery.”

    For the entire article:

    • We know they’re begging for the money in private and condemning it in public. Campaign ad material there.

      • I am just watching Harry Reid answer questions. Kat did you see the moderator give Harry Dan Choy’s ring and discharge papers per his instructions? Wow!!!

        • Quite a moment, COS! And HR handed it back to the moderator saying please return this to him when DADT is repealed! One of so many goals to reach with no help from the other side!

          • I was glad that Harry did that instead of not saying anything. Choy gave him a hug. Harry let them know how hard it is to get legislation passed. Harry speaks softly but carries a big stick.

  42. Top US Military Officer Tours Northern Pakistan


    The top U.S. military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, spent more than two hours Saturday flying over Northern Pakistan with his counterpart, General Ashfaq Kiyani, to get a bird’s eye view of some of the rough terrain where Pakistani forces are taking on insurgent groups. The aerial tour was part of a 24-hour visit – the 19th by Admiral Mullen since he took office 2.5 years ago.

    Admiral Mullen says the flight gave him greater appreciation for the “degree of difficulty” Pakistani forces face as they battle insurgent groups and try to assert government control in areas where tribal leaders have reigned and insurgents have sometimes had free access.

    Another U.S. military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Pakistani forces have cleared about 4,000 square kilometers of insurgents, about half of the area where the militants operated as recently as 16 months ago.

    But the officer says the scope of the military operation is not as important as the civilian follow-up, designed to convince the local people to help the government keep the insurgents out in the future. And the officer says while Pakistan has done more than anyone could have expected, there are still more things the United States would like the Pakistani forces to do, including targeting insurgent groups that attack U.S. forces in Afghanistan and conduct international terrorism.

    For the entire article:

  43. Third Republican Backs Kagan

    7/23/10 By BLOOMBERG NEWS

    Senator Susan Collins of Maine said she would vote to confirm Elena Kagan to the United States Supreme Court, becoming the third Republican to endorse her. Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Richard G. Lugar of Indiana have also announced their support. The full Senate is expected to vote on Ms. Kagan’s nomination during the week of Aug. 2.

  44. Obama urges liberals to ‘keep up the fight’
    1 hour ago
    LAS VEGAS — President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders sought to soothe relations with the party’s disgruntled left wing Saturday in advance of elections in which Republican gains could upend the White House agenda.

    “Change hasn’t come fast enough for too many Americans. I know that,” Obama said in a surprise video appearance to liberal activists and bloggers at Las Vegas convention.
    “I know it hasn’t come fast for many of you who fought so hard during the election.”

    In a year when Democrats are expected to lose seats in Congress, party leaders have grown increasingly concerned with malaise running through the left wing.
    Liberals who helped elect Obama in 2008 have grown disenchanted on issues from the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the failure to create a government-run insurance option in the health care overhaul, and many believe the White House has been too accommodating with Republicans.

    In his remarks to the annual Netroots Nation gathering, the president said the combat mission in Iraq would soon end, and that the administration is working to repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gays and close the U.S. prison for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay.
    Rest of article;

  45. I find it funny how the evening news did not mention tne Net Roots convention at all but they always mention the tea party and any type of republican get together. Do you find this unusual?

  46. Here’s a link to Sen. Kyl’s op-ed in my AZ Star newspaper today…
    If you can stomach reading it without puking….

    Kyl: Mccain And I Back Extension Of Unemployment Benefits

    Story by Sen. Kyl, claiming he & Sen. McCain were FOR extending unemployment benefits…
    But that they wanted it “paid for” first.

    This is the same Sen. Kyl who figures that TAX CUTS for the wealthiest Americans don’t need to be “paid for” though…

    When my daughter & son-in-law had to accept jobs with much lower pay at start of this recession, they immediately started cutting their expenses, due to having LESS income.

    But Sen. Kyl thinks the Federal Government doesn’t need to compensate for LESS income…..

    Because that’s “Tax CUTS” he says….


  47. VP Biden Coming To Arizona

    7/23/10 Jim Nintzel –

    Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords tells us that Vice-President Joe Biden will be joining the summer tourist crowd at the Grand Canyon:

    As part of Recovery Summer, next week Vice President Biden will visit Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks, where $25 million in Recovery Act funding is creating jobs and jump-starting previously-deferred construction and maintenance projects. More than 1,000 workers have already been part of the seventeen Recovery Act projects at Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. Overall, there are 800 Recovery Act projects underway at National Parks across the country this summer — eight times as many as there were last summer.

    On Monday, July 26, the Vice President will visit Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, where Recovery Act projects are generating economic activity and preserving the life of the park. At 11:45 AM MT, the Vice President will deliver remarks to workers outside the Madison Junior Ranger Station, joined by Director of the National Park Service Jonathan Jarvis. These remarks will be open press; a media RSVP is required to attend. Additional media details are below.

    On Tuesday, July 27, the Vice President will deliver remarks at Hopi Point on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Additional media details about this event will be released in the coming days.

  48. USCGC STRATTON (WMSL 752) Keel

    First Lady makes history as a Coast Guard ‘first’

    7/24/10 LT Connie Braesch –

    Capt. Dorothy Stratton has captured the attention of many people since her inception as the first female in the Coast Guard in 1942, but I wonder if she ever thought the list would include the First Lady of the United States, the Secretary of Homeland Security the 24th Commandant of the Coast Guard, the Governor and First Lady of Mississippi, and many other distinguished guests – all at the same time.

    “It a wonderful day for women,” said the First Lady of Mississippi, Marsha Barbour. “We are making history here in Mississippi today!”

    The audience’s overwhelming patriotism and pride radiated as handheld American flags waved above heads and the crowd of more than 3,000 roared with applause as the First Lady walked on to the stage.

    “Our service could not be more honored than to have our First Lady, Michelle Obama, serve as the Stratton’s sponsor and carry on this time honored tradition,” said Adm. Robert Papp, Coast Guard Commandant.

    “I am very excited and honored to be the first First Lady to christen a Coast Guard ship,” said Obama. “Dorothy Stratton was one of the finest first women in uniform.”

    As Obama spoke of Capt. Stratton, she recalled the strength and tenacity it must have required to break through the barriers Capt. Stratton faced.

    “Perhaps most remarkably, Captain Stratton broke all these barriers in just four short years. Yet those four years gave birth to a legacy that lives on even today,” said Obama.

    “Captain Dorothy Stratton taught us about the power of a single individual to bring about real change,” she said. “Captain Stratton taught us what’s possible when people are given the opportunity to show their potential.”

    Walking behind the stage out to the christening platform that hugs the bow of the Stratton, the First Lady prepared to break the christening bottle of champagne against the ship.

    “In the name of the United States of America, I christen thee Stratton. May God bless this ship and all who sail on her,” she recites.

    Two hard swings and the bottle cracked, slightly spraying the First Lady and simultaneously giving rebirth to Capt. Dorothy Stratton’s legacy as the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton officially received her name.

    For the entire article:
    WhiteHouse Transcript:


    • Senator Reid was most gracious. Mr. Choi needs to try confronting Republicans.

      • Good morning O family. I totally agree. While I respect Mr. Choi for his service to our country, I think what he did was in very poor taste. All of the protesters seem to have forgotten who put DADT on the agenda to be repealed. This also goes for the hecklers at PBO rallys.

  49. Good Sunday Morning O’Team. Let us start this week off with Hope for Peace around the world.

  50. Induldge me for bragging about my Congresswoman Rep. Donna Edwards at Netroots Nation. She is simply awesome:

  51. A Russian milestone: 1st black elected to office


    NOVOZAVIDOVO, Russia – People in this Russian town used to stare at Jean Gregoire Sagbo because they had never seen a black man. Now they say they see in him something equally rare — an honest politician.

    Sagbo last month became the first black to be elected to office in Russia.

    In a country where racism is entrenched and often violent, Sagbo’s election as one of Novozavidovo’s 10 municipal councilors is a milestone. But among the town’s 10,000 people, the 48-year-old from the West African country of Benin is viewed simply a Russian who cares about his hometown.

    He promises to revive the impoverished, garbage-strewn town where he has lived for 21 years and raised a family. His plans include reducing rampant drug addiction, cleaning up a polluted lake and delivering heating to homes.

    “Novozavidovo is dying,” Sagbo said in an interview in the ramshackle municipal building. “This is my home, my town. We can’t live like this.”

    “His skin is black but he is Russian inside,” said Vyacheslav Arakelov, the mayor. “The way he cares about this place, only a Russian can care.”

    For the entire article:

  52. San Jose holds first annual West Coast Disability Pride Parade

    7/24/10 By Linda Goldston – San Jose Mercury News

    “Say it loud,

    We’re disabled, and we’re proud.”

    As marchers neared the balloons and white awnings outside the Silicon Valley Center for Independent Living on Saturday, shouts and cheers competed to be heard.

    Red faces dripped sweat, smiles shimmered all through the crowd.

    Hundreds of people marched in San Jose’s first ever West Coast Disability Pride Parade on North First Street, spreading out along a one-mile section of road closed to traffic. The event was to mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and to encourage the disabled to fight for the rights the law promised.

    “This landmark piece of legislation says you can’t discriminate against me because I have a disability,” Sarah Triano, executive director of the Independent Living Center, told the enthusiastic crowd at the completion of the parade. “Sorry doesn’t cut it, folks. Access is our civil right.”

    Marchers were treated to a festival at the end of their walk, with a center stage for speakers, box lunches and live music, including a unique song by Triano, a self-described “crip hip-hop artist” in her spare time. Participants also were treated to a tour of the center’s new location at 2202 N. First St.

    Throughout the march and the festival, seeing-eye dogs mingled with hearing dogs, wheelchair and scooter riding marchers mixed with able-bodied people and little people sat or stood alongside taller people.

    For the entire article:

  53. U.S., South Korea Begin Large-Scale War Games Off Korean Coast


    A large 4-day exercise involving U.S and South Korea forces is under way in the Sea of Japan.

    It comes in response to the sinking of a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, four months ago. An international investigation blamed a North Korean torpedo attack for the incident.

    The war games off the east coast of the Korean peninsula were called to send a strong message of deterrence to Pyongyang.

    The joint military exercise is known as “Invincible Spirit.” And while the forces of the United States and South Korea routinely conduct drills together, this war game is considered unprecedented in scope.

    For the first time, the most advanced fighters of the U.S. Air Force are participating. They are the F-22 Raptors. U.S. officials say four of the stealth technology jets are taking part, along with nearly 200 other aircraft.

    At sea is the strike group of the USS George Washington. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is accompanied by three destroyers.

    U.S. and South Korean top military officials say the exercises are a significant show of force intended to deter North Korea from further aggression.

    For the entire article:

  54. Netroots Nation


    Netroots Nation amplifies progressive voices by providing an online and in-person campus for exchanging ideas and learning how to be more effective in using technology to influence the public debate. Within that campus, we strengthen community, inspire action and serve as an incubator for progressive ideas that challenge the status quo and ultimately affect change in the public sphere.

    Netroots Nation 2010

    The fifth annual gathering of the Netroots (formerly known as the YearlyKos Convention) will be held July 22-25 at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV. Netroots Nation 2010 will include panels led by national and international experts; identity, issue and regional caucuses; prominent political, issue and policy-oriented speakers; a progressive film screening series; and the most concentrated gathering of progressive bloggers to date.


    • Primaries Matter: Reclaiming the Democratic Party
      Thu, 07/22/2010 – 9:00am, Brasilia 6

      Grassroots activists worked to elect Democratic majorities in 2006 and 2008 by supporting Democrats across the political spectrum—from conservatives to progressive and everything in between. Now that Democrats have majorities in both Houses of Congress and the White House, the grassroots that brought the Democratic Party back to power are working to elect not just more Democrats, but better Democrats. This is a panel discussion from the progressive leaders supporting better Democrats across the country and in Congress.

      PANELISTS: Arshad Hasan, Stephanie Taylor, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, A.J. Carrillo, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga

  55. FCC chief Genachowski brings Silicon Valley mindset to the job

    7/25/10 By Mike Zapler – San Jose Mercury News

    WASHINGTON — People generally know what they want from the Internet: fast speeds at affordable prices with easy access to whatever website or application they choose. The job of Julius Genachowski — probably the most powerful figure in Washington on the technology front, other than his old friend Barack Obama — is to make sure they get it.

    Ah, if only it were that easy.

    In the year since he assumed the chairmanship of the Federal Communications Commission, Genachowski (jen-a-COW-ski) has laid out an ambitious, Internet-centric agenda: Extend high-speed Web access to millions of Americans who lack it. Prevent Internet service providers from slowing or blocking websites that compete with their own offerings. And head off a looming “spectrum crunch,” which he warns could cripple the booming market for smartphones, tablet computers and other wireless devices.

    Each of these items inevitably gores the ox of some entrenched interest group; together, they would test the skills of the most seasoned political operative. It remains to be seen whether Genachowski can pull it all off. But with Silicon Valley’s economy tightly linked to new devices and websites that rely on a fast and vibrant Internet, the region has a lot riding on Genachowski’s getting it right.

    What’s clear is that his blend of government and business experience — from two-time Supreme Court clerk and top FCC attorney in the 1990s to, more recently, Advertisement
    Internet firm executive and venture capitalist — has equipped Genachowski with a detailed understanding of both worlds. And at an agency frequently pitting big telecom firms like Comcast and Verizon against Web giants like Google and Facebook, Genachowski’s background has made him particularly attuned to the views of Silicon Valley — a rare quality in Washington.

    For the entire article:

    • Interesting facts in the foot note from the article above:


      Age: 47
      Position: Chairman, Federal Communications Commission
      Education: B.A. in history, Columbia University; J.D., Harvard Law School

      Career: Law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justices William Brennan and David Souter; chief counsel to former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt; chief of business operations at IAC/InterActiveCorp, an Internet firm owned by media mogul Barry Diller; co-founder of two venture capital firms, LaunchBox Digital and Rock Creek Ventures

      1. Played in Sunday basketball games for nearly 20 years, at times with President Obama.

      2. Was certified as an emergency medical technician, worked on an ambulance in Manhattan.

      3. Plays Scrabble on his iPad and reads his Kindle every night; carries a BlackBerry and iPhone.

      4. One of the first students at Columbia to own a Mac, used to launch a college newspaper.

      5. Likes to play Texas Hold “em, a variation of poker,
      to relax.

      Yeah an Obama chairman of the FCC and a Mac person!!!

  56. It is perfect weather here in Vancouver, BC. Around mid 80’s F, with a lovely breeze. Look forward to going for a nice walk along the boardwalk.

    • Tiny Irish Village Is Latest Place to Claim Obama as Its Own

      7/13/07 By Mary Jordan- Washington Post Foreign Service

      MONEYGALL, Ireland — Here they call him O’Bama.

      Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, Democratic candidate for president, is the talk of this village because recently unearthed records indicate that he is a son of Moneygall.

      Stephen Neill, a local Anglican rector, said church documents he has found, along with census, immigration and other records tracked down by U.S. genealogists, appear to show that Obama’s great-great-great-grandfather, Fulmuth Kearney, was reared in Moneygall, then left for America in 1850, when he was 19.

      Megan Smolenyak, chief family historian for, an online repository of family history records, said that although no single “smoking gun” document was found, there are about 20 different records that when pieced together make her “absolutely certain” of Obama’s Moneygall roots.

      Kearney sailed to New York aboard the S.S. Marmion at a time when legions of Irish were leaving their famine-stricken island. The shoemaker’s son made a life in America, and his family line eventually produced Ann Durham, who was born in Kansas, according to The Web site has posted some of Obama’s records online.

      Durham married a Kenyan, also named Barack Obama, who was studying in Hawaii, and in 1961 they had a son, now a leading candidate to become president of the United States.

      While neither Obama nor his campaign has confirmed the connection, it has created a buzz in Moneygall, which has one stoplight, two pubs and a population of 298.

      “Sure, it’s great!” said Henry Healy, 22, a villager who said family records indicate he is distantly related to Obama. Like many Moneygall residents, he is suddenly following the U.S. presidential race more closely and rooting for his kinsman. “It would be brilliant if he won because for one thing, he is related to me, and also it would be good for the village.”

      For the entire article:

    • Wonderful article, COS. Sounds like Rev. DuBois has energy to match the President’s and a lot of similar thoughts. I’m glad PBO has this spriritual resource.

  57. Happy Sunday and bonjour CR, COS, Donna, Jackie, Vero, Sandy and Barb and all friends!


  58. SenateDemocrats, July 23, 2010 –

    Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks at a media availability following a Senate Democratic Caucus meeting to discuss energy legislation.

    “We have a responsibility — both to our constituents and our children — to take on America’s energy challenge,” said Senator Reid. “Many of us want to do that through a comprehensive bill that creates jobs, breaks our addiction to oil and curbs pollution. Unfortunately, at this time not one Republican wants to join us in achieving this goal. That isn’t just disappointing. It’s dangerous.

    “So, the President, Senator Kerry, and I will continue to reach out to Republicans and work with the environmental and energy community to garner the support needed to move forward on a larger bill. But Republican political calculations don’t change our obligation to lay the foundations of a safer and stronger future. So in the coming days we’re going to introduce a solid four-part bill.”

    • Land and Water Conservation Fund

      The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was established by Congress in 1965. The Act designated that a portion of receipts from offshore oil and gas leases be placed into a fund annually for state and local conservation, as well as for the protection of our national treasures (parks, forest and wildlife areas). LWCF has a broad-based coalition of support, including the National Parks and Recreation Association, The Wilderness Society, and the Land Trust Alliance.

      For over thirty years, LWCF has done much to create and maintain our system of state, local and national parks — from local baseball fields to Yellowstone National Park — and ensure equal access to parklands for all Americans. Since its inception, LWCF has helped state agencies and local communities acquire nearly seven million acres of land; in addition, LWCF has underwritten the development of more than 37,000 state and local park and recreation projects. Federal LWCF project sites include such popular recreational areas as Harper’s Ferry in West Virginia, California’s Big Sur Coast, and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in Montana. Stateside LWCF project sites include New York City’s Central Park, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, and Custer State Park in South Dakota, as well as thousands of local playgrounds, soccer fields, and baseball diamonds.

      For the entire article:

  59. AssociatedPress, January 17, 2010 –

    “It’s faith that keeps me calm. It’s faith that gives me peace.”

    Pres. Barack Obama speaks at Washington’s Vermont Avenue Baptist Church on the eve of a federal holiday marking Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

    • Oh, I remember this Kat. He is human and sensitive just like we are in spite of what people say.

  60. Hi guys

    Going to rant a little bit, i hope you won’t mind:

    Okay, this president can not be at 44%. Something gotta change. The WH needs a serious shake up, because the current tactic obviously does not work. I don’t accept that it’s because of the economy. Part of it, sure, maybe big part of it, but the most accomplished president in decades can not be at 44%, always be on the defensive, always be on the reacting side, always being blamed for every freaking thing, always being smeared – and no one is pushing back.

    It’s such a mind blowing injustice, and if the trend won’t change soon, it’ll be difficult to change it at all. Someone needs to wake up and fast.

    Thanks for bearing with me.

    • I feel ya, BWD. We have talked about this quite a bit on here…we are on the defensive entirely too much. I feel like the shhh hit the fan when the BP oil spill happened. We have been seriously defensive since then.

      Don’t know what needs to change, but something does have to give. It’s not enough to trust that America’s will reward the president’s hard work, and will reward him once they understand the bills passed. We’ve got to start changing the narrative.

    • COS, this is great. Another link to e-mail!

      “As citizens, let’s demand that all Democrats, Independents, and sane Republicans get out and work with the President for the people and for this country, and don’t underestimate Barack Obama. He is a force to be reckoned with. Let’s join his energy in getting Americans back to work, because Obama has done more than enough as president. It’s time he gets the credit that he deserves.”

        • BWD Kathleen just emailed me that she is having problems with her computer.

          I just checked and the author goes by Joy50

          • Joy50 certainly nailed this one. I will definitely mail this link and ask other friends to do the same.

  61. My Sunday Adventure 🙂

    Ok Sundays are usually family day. My family comes over and we eat, talk and we girls make the guys watch romantic comedies and the lifetime channel.

    This week the twins and their significant others went on vacation to Florida so I decided that hubby and I would go downtown and visit the National Mall, walk past the WH and go to some museums.

    Let me preface this by telling you that I love the city but my hubby cannot stand to go into DC. It takes some real convincing to get him to do anything in Washington, DC.

    So Ok he finally decides to go with me. When we left the house it was sunny and clear and 96 degrees. We drive downtown because hubby hates the subways and we know DC pretty well and know where to find parking. The drive into DC from our home takes about 15 minutes on the weekends. Today it took us 2 1/2 hours to get downtown because traffic was horrible.

    Every Boy Scott in the United States of America is in DC this weekend. Therefore, the police have shutdown most all of the side streets in DC. Then about an hour into this little venture of mine the air conditioner stops working in hubby’s car. Then I noticed that it was starting to get overcast and cloudy. Suddenly the wind starts blowing like a hurricane is upon us. Trash is blowing, trash cans are turning over debris is everywhere and I can’t roll the windows up because the air isn’t working.

    We continue our drive because hubby has to take detours because of the Boys Scouts so we end up in Rock Creek Park which is a low lying area in DC and it runs along a creek and wouldn’t you know a tree falls right in front of our car from this sudden rain storm. We stop in time no arm done. We get around the tree and continue to our destination but now the Park is flooding from the rain. We wade through the water with no damage.

    Now can you imagine what this ride is like being in the car with no air and my husband who I practically had to beg to go on this venture with me. It was so bad that I just started laughing uncontrollably. It was something out of a comedy skit.

    Finally I told him lets just go home and he looked at me and said OH NO you wanted to do DC and by god you are going to get DC after all of this.

    Soon after his declaration the rain stopped the winds died down and the sun came out and the temperature dropped 20 degrees.

    We had a lovely day in DC on the Mall and visiting Museums.

    Hope you all had a nice quiet Sunday!

    • OH MY Donna! Tell your husband that I said “Atta Boy” to him. I hate crowds and traffic so I understand. I am so sorry that you had a terrible time getting to the mall! So you FINALLY went to the Mall! I am glad that you two had a good time!

      What a great place that is FOR THE PEOPLE! I heard so many languages spoken when I was touring the different museums! You could easily spend weeks just touring all the different museums around there. The metro is great and so were the people who helped me navigate it!

    • Donna, I think you’ve just written the Great American Novel. I was riveted and open-mouthed.

    • OMG Kat and CR it was sooo bad that it became hilarious. When I said lets just go home he also said….I’ve been through horrible traffic with no air conditioner, detours, wind, rain, falling trees and a flood there is no going home after all THAT! I was ROFL at this point.

      It was one of the more comical days that I have ever spent with him.

      • Donna, you’re a great storyteller. It’s like the world was ending but No We Are Going to Do This or Die Trying. Awesome!

  62. US holds drills off Korea as Pyongyang talks war

    7/25/10 ERIC TALMADGE, AP

    ABOARD USS GEORGE WASHINGTON – Fighter jets buzzed the skies and submarines cruised underwater Sunday as a flotilla of U.S. and South Korean warships led by a nuclear-powered U.S. supercarrier began exercises that have enraged North Korea.

    U.S. officials denied North Korea’s claims the maneuvers off Korea’s east coast were a provocation, but said they were meant to send a strong message over the sinking of a South Korean warship in March that left 46 sailors dead.

    The drills, set to run through Wednesday, involve about 8,000 U.S. and South Korean troops, 20 ships and submarines and 200 aircraft. The USS George Washington, with several thousand sailors and dozens of fighter jets aboard, was deployed from Japan.

    “We are showing our resolve,” said Capt. David Lausman, the carrier’s commanding officer.

    The exercises will be the first in a series of U.S.-South Korean maneuvers conducted in the East Sea off Korea and in the Yellow Sea closer to China’s shores in international waters.

    The exercises also are the first to employ the F-22 stealth fighter — which can evade North Korean air defenses — in South Korea.

    North Korea has called the drills an “unpardonable provocation” and threatened to retaliate with “nuclear deterrence” and “sacred war.”

    The North routinely threatens attacks whenever South Korea and the U.S. hold joint military drills, which Pyongyang sees as a rehearsal for an invasion. The U.S. keeps 28,500 troops in South Korea and another 50,000 in Japan, but says it has no intention of invading the North.

    Still, the North’s latest rhetoric carries extra weight following the sinking of the Cheonan warship in late March.

    For the entire article:

    • timesofearth, July 25, 2010 –

      A large 4-day exercise involving U.S and South Korea forces is under way in the Sea of Japan.

      It comes in response to the sinking of a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, four months ago. An international investigation blamed a North Korean torpedo attack for the incident.

      The war games off the east coast of the Korean peninsula were called to send a strong message of deterrence to Pyongyang….

  63. Ariz. law comes after years of mounting anger


    PHOENIX – As the days tick down until the Arizona immigration law takes effect, the state stands as a monument to the anger over illegal immigration that is present in so many places.

    The anger has been simmering for years, and erupted into a full-blown fury with the murder of a prominent rancher on the border earlier this year. The killing became a powerful rallying cry for immigration reform and the sweeping new law set to take effect Thursday, barring any last-minute legal action.

    But it does not tell the whole story about how Arizona got to this point.

    Turn on the evening news in Arizona and some report reflecting the state’s battle with illegal immigration will likely flash across the screen.

    A drop house crammed with illegal border-crossers smack in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. Traffic patrols and workplace raids that net the arrest of dozens of illegal immigrants, often in heavily Hispanic communities. Politicians speaking venomously about border violence and the leech of immigration costs on the state treasury.

    For the entire article:

  64. Netroots Nation: Candidate meet market


    LAS VEGAS — In five years, the annual convention of progressive bloggers known as Netroots Nation has grown to become one of the premier events on the Democratic calendar.

    It’s also turned into a leading event on the Democratic candidate circuit, a showcase of political talent and a prerequisite for aspiring politicians who are looking to catch the attention of some of the most important and influential voices on the left — and hopefully tap into the vein of Internet fundraising.

    The halls of the Rio Hotel here in Sin City aren’t exactly choked with pols running for office. But it’s not uncommon to find candidates from some of the top races in the nation quietly huddling with bloggers and activists over coffee, holding small fundraisers or showing up at after-hours events where they can get acquainted with online activists who stand to have a powerful effect on their races by virtue of their blogging platforms and broad, politically-inclined readerships.

    Dozens of candidates have made the rounds of this progressive meet market over the past two days, ranging from House and Senate candidates to those running for state legislature and even for the Texas state board of education.

    “It’s to meet people and network and draw inspiration and also to create some buzz across the nation,” said Krystal Ball, a House candidate in Virginia who was one of more than a dozen congressional candidates in attendance. “Last year, I made a lot of connections that have been of inestimable value. That’s part of why we’re here.”

    Read more:

    • So this is what an organized, productive, intelligent gathering of the minds is like.

      Big difference from the crazed angry rants of the TeaBaggers Party.

  65. (CBS) A Bush appointee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights denounced allegations by some pundits that the Justice Department is refusing to pursue a voting rights case against members of the New Black Panther Party because of race, and suggested that the charges being made by right-wing figures are politically motivated.

    Conservative broadcasters and websites have claimed that the Obama administration is dropping prosecution of New Black Panther activists who were videotaped outside a Philadelphia polling station on Election Day 2008, making intimidating remarks; one man was carrying a nightstick.

    Earlier this month former Justice Department lawyer and Republican activist J. Christian Adams testified to the commission that senior officials in the department are not applying voting rights laws in a race-neutral way, by refusing to press charges against African Americans on these issues.

    A recent Media Matters investigation has debunked charges that the Obama administration withdrew criminal charges against the Panthers (in fact, the Bush administration decided not to pursue criminal charges, with Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez testifying that the Bush Justice Department “determined that the facts did not constitute a prosecutable violation of the criminal statutes”; a civil lawsuit was filed in the last days of the Bush administration, and a judgment won by the Obama Justice Department in May 2009).

    Media Matters also found no evidence that any voters in the predominantly-black voting district had been prevented from voting.

    I think if there was a benefit to the whole Sherrod fiasco is that just maybe these networks will now start doing their homework. I can only hope.

  66. 9/28/10 POLITICO 44

    12:00 pm The President meets with Albuquerque family and holds a back yard town hall

    ECONOMY OUT WEST: A woman asks three questions to President Obama: Why is he a Christian, what’s his view on abortion, and a less serious question about her husband’s chili peppers.

    Obama begins by explaining: “I’m a Christian by choice. My family didn’t … frankly, they weren’t folks who went to church every week. My mother was one of the most spiritual people I knew, but she didn’t raise me into church. I came to my Christian faith later in life. … It was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life I would want to lead. Being by brother’s keepers … treating others as they would treat me … also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings. … We’re sinful, and we’re flawed, and we make mistakes, and we achieve salvation through the grace of God. … We can still see God in other people and do our best to help them find their own grace. So that’s what I strive to do and pray to do every day. … I think my public service is a part of that effort to express my Christian faith.”

    He adds, “But the one thing I want to emphasize … as president of the United States, I’m also someone who deeply believes part of the bedrock strength of this country is that it embraces people of many faiths and of no faiths. This is a country that is still predominantly Christian, but we have Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, and their own path to grace is one that we have to revere and respect as much as our own, and that’s part of what makes our country what it is.” (12:50 p.m.)

  67. *********************

    NBLB Come on over to my newest post

    titled: “US National Park Service ”

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