Tag Archive: children


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.

There are defining moments in each president’s term of office. The death of

President Obama

Osama bin Laden may become the most important incident that President Obama has done as the leader of America. This successful mission has given Americans the opportunity to be patriotic and believe in the president.

There will always be a debate on what happened to the body and why was it buried at sea? There will always be the non-believers who don’t believe that Osama bin Laden was a real person, and news of his death was a fabrication of facts and information.

Mitt Romney

But for the millions of Americans who feel they have been vindicated by Bin Laden’s death are able to celebrate with other citizens. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney called it “a great victory for lovers of freedom and justice everywhere, and praised our intelligence community, and military, and the president.”

President Obama’s poll numbers have increased by 10%, and he is being congratulated by many of his enemies. This is a great time for his presidency and he has changed the national narrative into a positive discourse about our strengths as a nation. The president is now thought of as a powerful commander-in-chief, who is under control and can fulfill his promises.

In 2008 during the presidential campaign, Obama promised to bring the troops home from Iraq, and

Al Queda

pledged to pursue Bin Laden until he was caught. “We will kill Bin Laden. We will crush Al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority,” said Obama in an October 2008 debate during the campaign.

The president’s track record has been based on transparency, integrity, and credibility, and with the killing of Bin Laden, it is hard not to trust the president. Even Al Qaeda has publicly issued a statement that Bin Laden is dead. They have confirmed the information from President Obama that he is dead.

President Obama could not have better timing with his announcement on last Sunday. The president will benefit from a new wave of patriotic sentiment, as he begins to campaign for his re-election for 2012. President Obama was able to accomplish the mission of the death of Bin Laden in 2 ½ years, when President Bush had tried to complete it, in 8 years, but was unsuccessful.

Rush Limbaugh

Even Rush Limbaugh said, “Thank God for President Obama,” and he was always condemning everything the president proposed. Many in the opposition party, who are diehard Republicans are acknowledging a job well done. They are being forced to concede that the president is not weak, and he has the ability to protect American citizens.

As the entire country celebrates the death of Bin Laden, it is necessary for our leaders to re-evaluate our foreign policy. For the past 10 years, our country spent $400 billion dollars to track down and kill someone, who at one time was a friend and ally. There is some thing fundamentally wrong with our foreign policy when our enemy is living in a country that claims to be our friend.

The killing of Bin Laden closes a chapter on the war of terror, but it does not end the insanity of global killing and war. Our president was able to get the job done with 2 helicopters, 40 navy seals, and great intelligence. But our president is spending trillions of dollars around the world, and we are not sure who we are fighting.

Life at this moment is good in the White House, and many citizens are proud to be Americans. But America needs a foreign policy, where there is less violence and less of an over-use of military power.

 

Libya on the streets in protest

As President Obama takes a five day trip to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador, there are many major events bombarding the president. There are a series of bloodless revolutions and bloody civil wars that have spread through Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Libya. In Japan, there is an earthquake and tsunami, with the possibility of 10,000 people dead, and trillions worth of property destroyed.

Everyone has been waiting for decisive action from the president on global issues, and on Saturday, March 19, 2011, President Obama authorized limited military action against Libya. France, Britain, and the United States have warned Gadhafi that they would resort to military measures if he ignores the United Nations resolution demanding a cease-fire. 

Initially Libya agreed to a cease-fire, and promised to stop military operations against its citizens to prevent international military intervention. The United Nations authorized a “no-fly zone” and all necessary measures to prevent the regime from striking and killing its own people. Once this announcement came from the Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa

Moussa Koussa, foreign minister of Libya

 Koussa, it was followed with a fierce attack by Gadhafi’s forces against Misrata, the last rebel-held city in the western half of the country.

Once the coalition forces observed that Gadhafi was not going to abide by the United Nations cease-fire resolution, it was time to take decisive action. The United States is taking part in a five country operation, “Odyssey Dawn”: along with Britain, France, Canada, and Italy. Their goal is to stop the innocent slaughter of the civilians.

U.S. Navy soldiers stand in preparation for efforts towards Libya

The United States has a host of forces and ships in the area, including submarines, destroyers, amphibians’ assault and landing ships. A senior military official said the United States launched air defenses with strikes along the Libyan coast that were launched by Navy vessels in the Mediterranean. The assault would unfold in stages, and Obama once again stated that the United States would not send ground troops to Libya.

America is in a precarious situation in this particular conflict. This country is still one of Africa’s largest oil producing countries on the continent. We know we need oil and President Obama has emphasized that the purpose of this operation is not to get rid of Gaddafi.

In a letter to President Obama, Gaddafi said, “If you found rebels taking over American cities with armed force, tell me what would you do?” There is no simple answer to this question, because all around the world, in Asia and Africa there are civil wars with governments against rebels and grassroots people. Many of these people are deprived of their human rights and dignity, but very little is done because countries have their own national sovereignty.

President Obama addressing Libyan conflict

President Obama has laid out a leadership role for the United States for the Libyan civil war. “In this effort, the United States is prepared to act as part of an international coalition. American leadership is essential, but that does not mean acting alone – it means shaping the conditions for the international community to act together,” says Obama.

It appears that the United States has learned its lessons in going into countries without international support. It makes sense to strategically plan responses to international conflicts, because once you are in, it is hard to get out. Hopefully the Libyan conflict will not be a long protracted war, but a quick conflict where the different factions can reach a compromise.  

President Obama is taking a stand concerning global justice and other tyrants and dictators should take notice. There are basic human rights that all citizens should have protected, and global coalitions can bring this to fruition. It is easy to talk justice and treating everyone with human rights, but it is hard to make it a reality.

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.

During the Thanksgiving holiday, President Obama was playing basketball and received a swollen lip which required 12 stitches. The media is digging and trying to find out who gave the president a swollen lip and on the other side of the world, South Korea and the United States are implementing military exercises with the 70,000 ton aircraft carrier, USS George Washington accompanied by 10 other smaller warships.

This operation is a direct response of North Korea shelling the small island of Yeonpyeong, on Tuesday, November 23, 2010, which killed four people and destroyed dozens of houses. The North said it was responding to live fire from the South into its waters.

“The situation on the Korean peninsula is inching closer to the brink of war due to the reckless plan of those trigger-happy elements to stage again war exercises targeted against the North,” said North Korea’s news agency. “The army and people of North Korea are greatly enraged at the provocation of the puppet group of South Korea, if they dare encroach again upon North Korea’s dignity and sovereignty even in the least.”

President Obama and the United Stated have aligned itself with South Korea, and China has aligned itself with North Korea. There are 28,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, and the Pentagon is quick to point out the naval exercises are “defensive in nature.” The Pentagon also acknowledged that this joint exercise is a reminder of U.S. military strength and American’s allegiance with South Korea.

The Korean peninsula is a very complicated region, and the Yellow Sea impacts the borders of the country of China. China has been low-key with its response to North Korea’s shelling of the island, and there has been a flurry of diplomatic activity with the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and Chinese diplomats.

President Obama and China’s President Hu Jintao have a scheduled meeting in January 2011 in Washington DC, and a war between North Korea and South Korea would make the meeting extremely awkward. As a result, both countries are asking for restraint, and the world and the citizens of the United States are waiting for an official statement from President Obama.

China is protesting the United States and South Korea’s joint exercises following North Korea’s artillery attacks on Tuesday. China opposes any military operations near its territorial waters. “The Korean peninsula situation is highly complicated and sensitive, and all parties concerned should stay calm and exercise restraint,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei in a statement.

As this tense situation continues, President Obama must walk on a tight rope, because China and the United States have common interest with the economic factor being the most important. The United States has a trade deficit with China of $226 billion and Chinese businesses are heavily invested in American markets. China needs American businesses and American businesses need the Chinese population to grow their business markets. The difference in ideological and government systems explains why the two countries do not trust each other and are neither friends nor partners.

The war exercises in the Yellow Sea started on November 28, 2010, and will last for four days. There are six South Korean War Ships and four other U.S. vessels: the USS Cowpens, USS Lassen, USS Stethen, and USS Fitzgerald. The participating forces will carry out firing and bombing drills, and these exercises will involve thousands of service personnel in the four-day drill.

No one can predict the outcome of this drill; however it is not helping to resolve the crisis and problems between South Korea and North Korea. Playing war games during a tense explosive situation can turn into an all out war where no one wins and everyone loses.

Check out Roger’s other columns at presidentobamawatch.blogspot.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.

With almost every school system in the country laying off teachers and cutting expenses, the President is proposing longer school days and possible additional weeks to the school year. Education is the key to move our country forward and help our children realize their dream with a good paying job. Almost every job is connected to a computer, or some form of advanced technology, and our president received a good education.

At three and four, children learn how to operate a computer and some already have an email. Learning and knowledge will be based on the student’s individual commitment to achievement, and twelve year olds will have the ability to operate on an advanced high school level.

Nevertheless, there is a crisis in public education and in certain school districts where forty percent of the children do not graduate. Our schools are failing the American student and on a global scale, our children are behind in every subject. In math, our 15-year old students lag behind 31 countries in a recent international educational study.

The Secretary of Education states, “Our children have stagnated educationally, putting our long term economic security at-risk.” The president is correct when he wants our educational system to stay competitive on a global level. But the major issue is “How do you transform a system that is failing our children and is deteriorating every year and not able to pay its bills?”

Children who do not graduate are 8 times more likely to go to jail and earn less. Black 12th graders read on a white 8th grade level and this generation will be less literate. In our communities the system is broken, and our children are set up to fail.

There is a fundamental problem with the educational system today and making the school year longer will not correct the problem. Education will have to become a priority in every school system in the country with excellence as the focus. The parents and teachers will have to stop giving lip-service to excellence, and practice it on a daily basis.

Inner-city school districts should receive a larger percentage of financial expenditures and resources, and the administrators improve the educational facilities. If the leaders and administrators do not take pride in world class facilities, how do they expect the children to function on a world class level?
President Obama and his Secretary of Education are big supporters of the charter schools and parents are taking their children out of the public schools because they are failing and broken. There is a crisis in the public school system that can turn into a catastrophe, and it will be impossible to learn in an inner-city school. If the students at charter schools can learn, than the public school system can be fixed.

It is time for a dialogue with school administrators, teachers, parents, and resource employees. The time that we waste using antiquated teaching skill practices can be achieved in least time with individual computer work stations. Instead of making the school day longer, the school day can become shorter.
Learning and education can become a joy and the student is motivated and inspired. It is time for our educators to get outside of the box and make education fun. Once we stop operating our schools like prison, the students will start treating knowledge as a gift.

There is power in partnerships and our schools have the ability to make learning practical and applicable to real life situations. Making the school year longer will only frustrate the teachers, parents, and students. Using technology and individual study will create a better student who has a goal and purpose with his education.

Check out other blogs by Roger at https://presidentobamawatch.wordpress.com