Category: Parenting


Congressional Black Caucus

In the past few weeks, there appears to be some turbulence in the relationship between the President Obama and the (CBC) Congressional Black Caucus. Many of our congressional leaders, and political spokespersons felt the president was not concerned with African Americans or forgot we had special issues and problems.

Based on the present unemployment numbers for Blacks at 16%, and the national unemployment numbers stand at 9%, there is a crisis in our community. In certain cities, the unemployment numbers for African American men is over 50%, and there are no jobs or businesses in the community. It is obvious that the economic recovery has missed these communities, and the president refused to address these problems.

It was also in the news that the president and his advisors had canceled meetings with the CBC, and the relationship was strained with the 43-member organization. There was a need for the president and the CBC to sit down and clear the air, and work on having a better relationship.

Last week President Obama had a meeting with the CBC in the State Dining Room of the White House. The focus of the meeting was to discuss job creation, economic growth, and unveil a plan to help young people find jobs for low-income youth. He also introduced a plan for “Growth Zones”, designed to give tax incentives for investments in economically distressed areas.

A majority of the members of CBC represent residents who live in these kinds of communities and they need special help. The CBC has long complained that the president was not addressing their core problems and had negotiated away funding for key social programs. With the unemployment numbers for Blacks at almost 50% more than the national average, the CBC was frustrated with the president and his administration.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, head of the CBC

Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), chairman of the caucus, insisted that the organization’s relationship with the president is strong. “We want nothing more than to see the president succeed. No good solid relationship is devoid of disagreements. We look forward to building upon our strong relationship.”

The White House insists President Obama has not forgotten the problems that confront African American residents. In meeting with the CBC, the president is making sure the lines of communication with the CBC are open. The president is also aware that 80% of African Americans support his administration.

Very rarely has many Blacks heard the president talk about the African American community and poor people. The president always talks about the middle class and it appears that his target is Middle America. As the 2012 election gets closer, it will be important and essential to include all the races, with a special focus on African Americans and Hispanics.

The nation’s economic recovery missed the African American community, and it will take more targeted investments to move the needle. Money must be spent on education and economic development in the Black community. It will take more than talk, because there is a need for tangible programs that invest and modernize distressed communities.

With the Republicans in control of the House, a battle is brewing, and no one can predict the outcome. The president has taken a positive step by sitting down with the CBC to clear the air and present new programs. The programs will only get so far without proper funding.

The African American community has given and given when the president needed extraordinary support. It is time that the president gives extra support to the African American community with job creation and special investments for expanding small businesses.

Billboard asking about Obama's birthplace

Last week President Obama released his long-form birth certificate, and he hopes there are no more questions about the legitimacy of his presidency. Even though the governor of Hawaii and independent investigations by news outlets has confirmed that President Obama was born there, there is a movement to discredit the information.

In the Republican Party, 45% are sure the President was born outside of the United States, and 22% are not sure where he was born. With the Independents, 46% are not sure where the President was born and some believe he was born outside of the country. Now with the White House release, there are still birthers’ who don’t believe the certified records and facts.

Michael Tomasky, reporter from British paper, The Guardian

Michael Tomasky, reporter from The Guardian, wrote in his column, “The birthers’ conspiracy had to be the only explanation for how this black man got to the White House. If you think race isn’t what this is about at its core, ask yourself if there would be a birther conspiracy if Barack Obama were white and named Bart Oberstar.”

This movement or conspiracy is silly and makes no sense, but the leader, Orly Taitz, has filed many unsuccessful lawsuits and questioning the new document’s authenticity. With the release of the president’s birth certificate, the only explanation for the movement is white supremacy and racism. Many of the birthers are angry with having a Black man as the head of the country.

Many were under the impression when an African American became president that mentally our country had reached a milestone spiritually and psychologically. America was finally practicing what it preached, and all men were created equal. Any person born in America had an opportunity to become president or start a company and make millions.

Barack Obama as a baby with his mom

But instead of the country moving forward, there are millions that have deep seated hostilities about race. These millions want to turn back the clock and live in a world where the white race makes the rules, and every other race is expected to follow. Even though they are delusional, and racism is a sickness, it is still very prevalent in every system in our society and world.

Political candidate and business conglomerate, Donald Trump

The birthers’ controversy is not going away, as much as we hoped it would just disappear. The reality of a Black man running the country does not sit well with millions of Americans. Donald Trump is taking credit for the publication of the document. He is honored and proud of his accomplishment.

Obama's actual birth certificate

Here is a man who is worth millions, and could be making a significant contribution to the poor and disenfranchised in the country. Instead, he would rather worry about the birth of our president, as opposed to making a difference in someone’s life.

As the country gets closer to the 2012 election, the attacks against the President will get more vicious. Legally, many “birthers” know that they can’t be overt with their racism so they will have to use code words and symbols. Many of the birthers believe that President Obama is less American and a socialist.

With the pervasiveness of the media, the racist elements against our president will start a new silly conspiracy soon. The birthers will have to evolve into another side-show. With the campaign beginning, everyone is looking for dirt to thrown at President Obama. The “birther” conspiracy did not stick, but it did get media coverage, and a public discourse.

Racism is based on ignorance and the “birther” movement fits the model. It is time for the president to debate legitimate issues with organizations that are based on truth and knowledge. It is my hope that the release of the long-form birth certificate has closed the foolish chapter of the birther movement.      

President Obama

 The Democrats and the Republicans are on different sides of the fence, and neither party has a plan to reduce federal deficits, balance the budget, and cut spending. The Republicans in the House want to cut $61 billion to fund the government thru September 2011, and the Democrats in the Senate want to cut around $10 billion.

There is a huge gap between what the Republicans want to cut, and what the Democrats are willing to cut. The two parties were able to work out a deal to keep the federal government running until March 18, 2011. This Continuing Resolution included $4.1 billion in cuts, with $650 million from the highway, $468 million from Department of Education, and the rest from programs that were going to be cut by the president in his 2012 budget.

“I’m pleased that Democrats and Republicans in Congress came together and passed a plan that will cut spending and keep the government running for the next two weeks,” said President Obama. He also stated, “we cannot keep doing business this way. Living with the threat of a shutdown every few weeks is not responsible, and it puts our economic progress in jeopardy.”

Both parties in the two Houses have an agenda and there is little room for compromise. As our leaders continue to operate the government with the threat of a shutdown, everyone is operating from an emergency mindset. Everyone is stressed and many of the plans and policies at this point are not well thought out.

In all probability, the two parties will pass another short term Continuing Resolution before the March 18, 2011 deadline, but still there is no movement on the $61 billion cuts that the House has agreed on. Somewhere in this bureaucratic mess, there is a need for leadership and direction from the president.

Michael Petit: president of Every Child Matters

The majority of the cuts that the Republicans are proposing in the House impact government social programs, children, youth, the poor, and families. Michael Petit, president of the Every Child Matters Education Fund, said: “Even before the House adopted its shortsighted budget; the United States was far behind most other developed nations in caring for children. To further shred our nation’s already frayed safety net with additional cuts to babies and mothers are unacceptable.”

The cuts that the Republicans in the House are proposing will cripple our country’s most vulnerable group of citizens and will attack social programs. Some of the programs that will be impacted if the Democrats in the Senate agree to the cuts by Republicans would be as follows: Head Start cut by $1.1 billion, Maternal and Child Health Block Grant cut by $50 million, School Health Clinics cut by $380 million, Low Income Heating Assistance Program cut by $390 million, Pell Grant Program cut by $5.7 billion, and other Block Grants cut by $55 million.

There appears to be an all out assault on our children, youth, and mothers and we hear very little from the president. The president has stated that he would not sign a bill that harms our children, but how far will he go to appease the radical arm of the Republicans?

President Obama is still talking compromise and bipartisan, but the Republicans in the House are pushing their agenda. The stage has been set and everyone is waiting for leadership from the president. He is always talking about shared responsibility, but the social programs are for the citizens who have barely anything.

It is time for President Obama to take a stand and protect the social programs that many of the citizens need. As the president takes a stand, more citizens will also take a stand and support the president’s initiatives. There are other ways to save money, than cutting programs that hurt children, youth, mothers and the poor.

by Roger Caldwell

President Obama made an historic appearance on Comedy Central’s “Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” This was an unprecedented performance for the president and a special format for the show. It was the first time that one guest was scheduled for a single episode, who happens to be the sitting president of the United States.

Jon Stewart has recently been described as a talk show host, a comedian, a media critic, America’s anchor in waiting, the court jester, and the mouthpiece. For the president to be a guest on a comedy show indicates the collective power that television programming and stars have, and how they influence our country’s thinking. Jon Stewart has become famous by making jokes about politicians and prominent people and built his show into a successful media franchise.

On Wednesday October 27, 2010, President Obama was the featured guest, and even though there were some laughs, the tone of the show was serious. It was no mistake that President Obama was on the show six days before November 2, 2010: Election Day. Jon Stewart is a progressive liberal whose show’s demographics can help mobilize Democratic supporters and deliver the vote.

Their discussion was respectful with a touch of humor, but candid, political, informative, and educational. The show started with some humor from Jon Stewart asking the president why the Democrats were begging the country for votes by saying, “Please baby give me one more chance.” The mood of the country has changed from two years ago when the country was excited about change and the new president.

President Obama responded to this humorous question with a serious answer, and the friendly sparring was on. Obama indicated that he was well aware that the “honeymoon” with the American public would not last. He was not surprised when there was a backlash, and when the economy was not improving fast enough.

Obama talks about the unemployment rate at 9.6% and over a quarter of all the homes in America, where the price of the house is more than the market selling price. He realized that many Americans are frustrated.

Jon Stewart is extremely articulate and he kept the president on the “hot seat.” “Is the difficulty that you have here the distance between what you ran on and what you delivered? You ran with such, if I may audacity, yet legislatively it has felt timid at times,” said Stewart.

The president’s answer to this question was, “Jon I love your show, but this is something where I have a profound disagreement with you, this notion that the health care was timid. Many people concentrate on the 10% we didn’t get and forget the 90% we did get.”

It was obvious there were contentious moments during the president’s interview with Jon Stewart. As a spectator, we will never know what was rehearsed for the 30 minute program, but the host never backed down. There are questions on the American public’s mind and our president was transparent and communicative.

The president is aware in the last 18 months his administration has been extremely busy getting new laws and reforms that will fundamentally change our system. The major problems with many of the reforms are that they are still in the formative stages and they have not gotten to the citizens, on the grassroots level.

Moving forward the president made it aware that he never promised that change would be easy and it would happen overnight. In 18 months, the president is content with his accomplishments, but is not satisfied with meeting his expectation level. There are many promises that the president made during his campaign that remained unfulfilled.

When Jon Stewart asked the humorous question if the president was planning a surprise party filled with jobs and health care, I really thought for a minute, maybe the president’s second term, he could make this happen. I bet the president didn’t think this was funny.

Check Roger’s other posts and columns, PRESIDENT OBAMA WATCH at http://www.presidentobamawatch.wordpress.com OR blospot.com

In the month of September 2010, there were four US teens that received local, regional, and national exposure from the media, because they committed suicide as a result of bullying. It is obvious that there is a fundamental problem in our culture, when teenagers are threatened, intimidated and abused because their sexual orientation is different.

These tragic incidents indicate that our society is failing in protecting our children, and parents, teachers, administrators and leaders are looking the other way and not doing their job. For example, in Florida, James Jones, a father decided to take matters into his own hands and admitted getting on a school bus, and threatened students who were bullying his daughter. There is an epidemic in our schools and it is terrible that someone has to die or almost die before laws are enacted.

At a federal seminar this year, the Education Secretary Arne Duncan gave 2007 bullying statistics, which are appalling and an indictment on safety in our schools. In 2007, 1 out of 3 students in middle school and high school during the school year reported being bullied. Over 2.8 million students said they have been pushed, shoved, or spit on during the school year. Over 1.5 million have been threatened with harm and 900,000 high school students reported being cyber- bullied.

In every school system, there is a need for diversity training and respect for alternative lifestyle choices. It is important that parents and teachers receive training with the students and learn what to do when there is a problem. The parents and teachers must be aware of the signs, when a student needs help.
New Jersey student Tyler Clementi jumped from a bridge after his roommate allegedly taped him having sex with a man and posted it on the internet. Asher Brown, a 13 year old from Houston Texas shot himself after being accused of being gay. Seth Walsh and Billy Lucas of Indiana hung themselves for being bullied for their sexual orientation.
Teasing and practical jokes is something that teens and young adults do when they are having fun. However, there is a thin line when the teasing is vicious, malicious, and becomes a criminal act. Laws will have to be enacted to stop and control bullying in our schools.

Opening the lines of communication with the students is vital, if our society accepts respect for everyone. Because someone is different or sick does not condone disrespectful, bullying, and aggressive behavior.