Archive for August 17th, 2015

17
Aug
15

The Monday Chuckles

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17
Aug
15

We The People: The President Speaks

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President Barack Obama: President Obama’s Letter To The Editor

‘We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union. …’’ It’s a cruel irony that the words that set our democracy in motion were used as part of the so-called literacy test designed to deny Rosanell and so many other African-Americans the right to vote. Yet more than 70 years ago, as she defiantly delivered the Preamble to our Constitution, Rosanell also reaffirmed its fundamental truth. What makes our country great is not that we are perfect, but that with time, courage and effort, we can become more perfect. What makes America special is our capacity to change. Nearly three decades after Rosanell testified to her unbroken faith in this country, that faith was vindicated.

The Voting Rights Act put an end to literacy tests and other forms of discrimination, helping to close the gap between our promise that all of us are created equal and our long history of denying some of us the right to vote. The impact was immediate, and profound — the percentage of African-Americans registered to vote skyrocketed in the years after the Voting Rights Act was passed. But as Rutenberg chronicles, from the moment the ink was dry on the Voting Rights Act, there has been a concentrated effort to undermine this historic law and turn back the clock on its progress. I am where I am today only because men and women like Rosanell Eaton refused to accept anything less than a full measure of equality. Their efforts made our country a better place. It is now up to us to continue those efforts. Congress must restore the Voting Rights Act.

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17
Aug
15

Chat Away

President Barack Obama presents a birthday cake to Military Aide Major Barrett Bernard aboard Air Force One during the flight from Seattle, Wash., to Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 17, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

President Barack Obama surprises Military Aide Major Barrett Bernard with a birthday cake aboard Air Force One during the flight from Seattle, Wash., to Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 17, 2010. Photo by Pete Souza

17
Aug
15

Rise And Shine

President Barack Obama and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke look at Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier out an Air Force One window during a flight from Los Angeles, Calif., to Seattle, Wash., Aug. 17, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)za) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

President Barack Obama and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke look out a window at Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier during a flight aboard Air Force One from Los Angeles, Calif., to Seattle, Wash., Aug. 17, 2010. Photo by Pete Souza

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Alan Schwarz: With Clemency From Obama, Drug Offender Embraces Second Chance

Rudolph Norris walked out of Morgantown federal prison two weeks ago carrying a duffel bag like no other. First, he had spent six months hand-stitching it himself from dozens of mottled leather scraps, symbolizing the shards of his life he longed to piece back together. Then he unzipped it and pulled out his invitation to try. “Dear Rudolph,” the letter began, “I wanted to personally inform you that I have granted your application for commutation.” It was signed “Barack Obama.” Mr. Norris’s 22 years behind bars over with the stroke of the president’s pen. Mr. Norris, 58, was one of 22 federal prisoners released on July 28 through a continuing bipartisan push to shorten the sentences of nonviolent drug offenders who, during the war-on-drugs fervor of decades ago, received punishments far lengthier than they would have drawn today.

Mr. Norris immediately called his parole officer to learn his responsibilities and pledge to follow them. (His clemency does not vacate the eight years of probation to which he was originally sentenced.) He applied for food stamps and, because all he had was his Morgantown inmate card, pursued a more marketable driver’s license. His commitment to playing by the rules was so strong that he avoided a day-labor landscaping opportunity because it paid in cash, and he wanted to pay taxes like everyone else. “As I navigate my way back to society and begin a productive life,” he wrote to Mr. Obama in April, “one of the first and foremost thoughts on my mind will be my solemn commitment to prove to you that your faith in me was not at all misplaced.”

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Robert Greene II: Julian Bond And American Intellectual History

Julian Bond personified the Civil Rights Movement, and more broadly, the history of the twentieth century iteration of the Black Freedom Struggle. His death will leave a gaping hole in national leadership on the question of civil and human rights in American society. As historians, we need to recognize the many ways he led during his long—although it feels like it wasn’t long enough—life. And as Bond’s life continued, he never stopped being an exemplar of African American achievement and intellect. He taught at several universities and authored books.

Bond served as a Georgia state representative and senator for twenty years, before losing a controversial Democratic primary race for U.S. Congress seat to John Lewis—a race that included accusations of drug use against Bond and was an ugly episode in the post-Civil Rights Movement legacy of two icons. A consummate Southerner who worked his entire life to change the South, and the nation, into a better place, Bond was a founder of the Institute for Southern Studies in 1970, and later led the Southern Poverty Law Center from 1971 until 1979. He served as Chairman of the NAACP from 1998 until 2009, and also wrote a syndicated newspaper column, Viewpoint, as well as hosted seventeen seasons of the political commentary show, America’s Black Forum.

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Bravo to these two amazing women!

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President Barack Obama holds a round table discussion with local small business owners during a stop at Grand Central Bakery in Seattle, Wash., Aug. 17, 2010. The President met with the group to discuss strengthening the economy and creating jobs for the families and businesses of Washington State. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton, right, listens as President Barack Obama holds a round table discussion with local small business owners during a stop at Grand Central Bakery in Seattle, Wash., Aug. 17, 2010. The President met with the group to discuss strengthening the economy and creating jobs for the families and businesses of Washington State. Photo by Pete Souza

Galesburg Senior High volleyball players join in a cheer after meeting President Barack Obama during an unannounced stop in Galesburg, Ill., Aug. 17, 2011, as part of a three-day bus tour in the Midwest. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Galesburg Senior High volleyball players join in a cheer after meeting President Barack Obama during an unannounced stop in Galesburg, Ill., Aug. 17, 2011, as part of a three-day bus tour in the Midwest. Photo by Pete Souza




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