Tagged National

Senator Calls for Equal Playing Field for Small Businesses

Mary Landrieu

U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary Landrieu, D-La., sent a letter to all federal agencies calling on them to begin implementing the contracting parity provisions included in the Small Business Jobs Act that President Obama signed into law last month.  These provisions put the small business government contracting programs – Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone), 8(a), Women-Owned small business (WOSB) and Service Disabled Veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB)– on an equal playing field when competing for government work.
“Existing statute allows contracting officers’ discretion when choosing to award a federal contract to a small business participating in these programs,” Senator Landrieu said in the letter.  “However, misinterpretation of Congressional intent by the courts as well as recent decisions by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have forced contracting officers to give priority to small businesses participating in the HUBZone program when awarding Federal contracts. These decisions have had a negative and detrimental effect on the ability of small businesses participating in other contracting programs to effectively compete for and win federal contracts. Read more

Blacks Leaders Snowjobbed at White House

President Obama Resists Calls for Special Programs for Black Jobless

Jobs Are Coming Back—But Are They Black?

By  Dayo Olopade

From left, NACCP chief executive Benjamin Todd Jealous, Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network and National Urban League president Marc Morial, speak to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House following their meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

The employment statistics for January are out—and the jobless rate for America now sits at 9.7 percent. While the country lost 20,000 jobs last month, this figure is a slight improvement over December’s rate of 10 percent, and a five month low. The United States gross domestic product grew by a healthy 5.7 percent in the last quarter of 2009, and in some sectors—manufacturing, part-time health work, and the automobile industry, for example—there are signs that recovery is happening. In addition, the number of involuntary part-time workers (who had been working fewer hours because of job scarcity) dropped by roughly 850,000, suggesting that employers are converting part-time employees back to full-time jobs.
The unemployment rate is still differentiated by gender and race: Joblessness among women decreased to 8.4 percent, while for men it dropped by a smaller amount, to 10.8 percent.
But the news for black America is not so encouraging: While the overall rate of unemployment dropped slightly, the unemployment rate for African-Americans rose to 16.5 percent, and for black men rose a full percentage point to 17.6 percent—a high for the ongoing recession.
Christina Romer, chair of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, doesn’t have a clear reason for why this is happening to black America. “In terms of what in particular is driving that, we don’t yet have the answers on that,” she said, while briefing reporters on the new numbers. “There is of course…what economists would call ‘noise,’” she continued, suggesting that month-to-month movement in the jobless rate does not yet constitute a pattern.

Sotomayor: “Si Se Puede”

By Michael Shear, Debbi
Wilgoren and Robert Barnes
Washington Post

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President Obama this week nominated U.S. Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor of New York to replace retiring Justice David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court, hailing her as “an inspiring woman” with a moving personal story and broad professional experience who would bring new perspective to the court.
If confirmed, Sotomayor, 54, would be the first Supreme Court justice of Hispanic descent and only the third woman ever to sit on the panel. She  grew up in a Bronx housing project, went on to Princeton University and Yale Law School, and has stirred controversy by saying that judges’ legal findings are informed by their own life experiences as well as their legal research.
Obama, too, has said jurists’ life experiences are a key part of their legal makeup, and he cited Sotomayor’s compelling personal story as one of the motivations for his choice. Aides said Obama met Sotomayor in person for the first time Thursday, and made his decision to nominate her last night.
“Over a distinguished career that spans three decades, Judge Sotomayor has worked at almost every level of our judicial system, providing her with a depth of experience and a breadth of perspective that will be invaluable as a Supreme Court justice,” Obama said.
Describing the sacrifices made by Sotomayor’s parents, who came from Puerto Rico to New York to raise their family and focused all their efforts on their children’s education, Obama said the family exemplified the American dream.
Obama said of his nominee, “Walking in the door, she would bring more experience on the bench and more varied experience on the bench than anyone currently serving on the United States Supreme Court had when they were appointed.”

Congress Passes Credit Card Bill

Congresswoman Barbara Lee this week voted for a national credit card bill of rights to protect consumers against unfair practices.
The legislation, passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 361– 64, will now go on to President Barack Obama’s desk to be signed into law. The law would end the unfair practices of the credit card industry and protect consumers from the abusive tactics that have driven so many Americans deeper and deeper into debt.
“It’s unacceptable that during these incredibly difficult and challenging economic times, our constituents are increasingly being squeezed with egregious fees and dubious business practices by the very banks that their tax dollars have been bailing out,” said Lee.
“The bill will level the playing field between card issuers and cardholders by applying common sense regulations that would ban most retroactive interest rate hikes on existing balances, double-cycle billing and due-date gimmicks. While I believe the consumer protections in this bill should have gone into effect sooner, I am pleased that Congress has taken swift action to get this legislation to the President’s desk.
Lee said she was disappointed that the final bill retains language to allow guns in national parks. This language is not only unnecessary but unrelated to the goals of this bill which is to provide critical credit protections to consumers, she said.
“We cannot continue to allow the gun lobby to hold us hostage to their agenda,” she said.
The credit card bill would ban most interest rate increases on existing balances and increases notice of interest rate hikes going forward on new purchases. It requires that bills be sent 21 days before the due date; prohibits charging fees just to pay a bill by phone, mail or web; bans over-the-limit fees unless a consumer opts-in in advance; bans due-date tricks; requires payments to be applied fairly to the highest interest rate balance first; and strengthens credit card protections for young people.

Utah Governor Named As Ambassador to China

By Lisa Riley Roche
Deseret News

President Barack Obama announces the nomination of Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr., center, to U.S. Ambassador to China in the Diplomatic Room at the White House Saturday in Washington. At right is Huntsman’s wife Mary Kaye. Manuel Balce Ceneta, Associated Press

President Barack Obama announces the nomination of Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr., center, to U.S. Ambassador to China in the Diplomatic Room at the White House Saturday in Washington. At right is Huntsman’s wife Mary Kaye. Manuel Balce Ceneta, Associated Press

Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. was named Saturday by President Barack Obama to be U.S. ambassador to China.
“I wasn’t looking for a new job in life, but a call from the president changed that,” Huntsman said, standing beside Obama at a White House press conference.
Obama described the importance of the post and asked Utahns to forgive him for taking away a popular governor.
“There are few countries in the world with a past so rich or a future so full of possibilities as China, with a vast population, growing economy and far-reaching influence, China will have a crucial role in confronting all the major challenges that face Asia and the world in the years ahead,” the president said.
During the early morning announcement, President Obama noted the GOP governor had played a key role in the campaign of his rival for the White House, Arizona Sen. John McCain. “I know Jon is the kind of leader who always put country ahead of party,” the president said, noting he understood Huntsman’s decision to join a Democratic administration would not be easy to explain to some in the GOP.
The appointment of Huntsman means Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert will take over as the state’s chief executive.  Huntsman, a Republican, met late last year with representatives of the Democratic president’s administration about a possible appointment.
The governor, 49, has served as U.S. ambassador to Singapore, and was on a short list to fill the same role in China under President George W. Bush. He was also a U.S. trade ambassador to the region and has negotiated agreements with the Chinese government.
Huntsman speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese learned for an LDS Church mission to Taiwan. He and his wife, Mary Kaye, adopted a daughter from China.

Obama Names Oakland Director Rosa “Rosie” Gumataotao Rios as U.S. Treasurer

Rosa “Rosie”  Gumataotao Rios

Rosa “Rosie” Gumataotao Rios

President Barack Obama has nominated former City of Oakland Director Rosa “Rosie” Gumataotao Rios for United States Treasurer.
With more than 21 years of real estate and urban development experience, Rios served as the director of the Redevelopment and Economic Development departments for the City of Oakland. Rios has a long track record in California economic development with municipal governments in the cities of Fremont, San Leandro and Union City.
“I am so very pleased that my constituent,  … who I enthusiastically supported, has been chosen to serve as our new U.S. Treasurer,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee.
“While working for the City of Oakland, she led the efforts to facilitate development and business opportunities within Oakland and revitalize the city’s downtown and neighborhood corridors,” Lee said.
Rios currently is Managing Director of Investments for MacFarlane Partners, one of the leading real estate investment management firms in the U.S. She serves as the primary liaison with the firms’ real estate and capital partners to facilitate investments located in urban and high-density suburban markets and recently closed on over $345 million worth of equity commitments.
She also serves as a Trustee of the Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association and is a board member of the California Association of Local Economic Development and the Fruitvale Spanish-Speaking Unity Council. A graduate of Harvard University, she is a Fellow with the Royal Society of the Arts.

President Signs Law to Preserve Civil Rights History

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President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that will catalogue and preserve stories and experiences of Americans who were involved with the Civil Rights Movement.
The bill, H. R. 586, the Civil Rights Oral History Project, will create a joint effort between the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Library of Congress to collect oral histories of the people who were involved in the movement and preserve their stories for future generations.
“Because of the hundreds and thousands of ordinary people with extraordinary vision who participated in the Civil Rights Movement, we witnessed a non-violent revolution under the rule of law, a revolution of values and ideas that changed this nation forever,” said Rep. John Lewis.
“It is fitting and appropriate that President Obama signed a bill … designed to preserve and protect the story of this great movement and this great people for future generations to learn about and understand,” said Lewis, a co-sponsor of the bill.
The goal of the Civil Rights Oral History Project is to collect video and audio recordings of those who participated in the civil rights movement, providing a historic catalogue of this historic period.

Lynum Elected President of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials

 Orlando, Fla. – Orlando Commissioner Daisy W. Lynum was elected 2009 president of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO) this week during the group’s annual membership meeting at the National League of Cities’ (NLC) Congress of Cities in Orlando.

The Congress of Cities is the National League of Cities’ annual conference for city leaders. It encourages city leaders to exchange best practices and new program ideas that provide economic opportunities, make available more affordable housing, ensure public safety, and allow more effective interaction with state and federal agencies.

Lynum was first elected to the Orlando City Council in 1998, where her primary focus for Orlando citizens has been quality of life through sustainable neighborhoods. She is a member of NLC’s Bo ard of Directors and the Florida League of Cities. Read more

History!!

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Senator Barack Hussein Obama will make history on November 4, 2008 by becoming the first African-American to be elected President of the United States of America. The Post News Group and its publisher Paul Cobb proudly endorses him and urges all to vote for him and our slate of candidates in Tuesday’s election.

Sarah Palin’s Record on Alaska Native and Tribal Issues

By Sue Taylor,
Special to the Post

sarahpalin.jpgThe silence surrounding Sarah Palin’s “real” views is about to be broken on her record with Alaska’s Native tribes.
“Almost half the nation’s Native tribes are located in Alaska – most of them using subsistence fishing and hunting to have any food to eat.  Most are poor – way below poverty level. About 20% of all tribes are in California,” says a local Native-American attorney, who asked not to be identified.
“With Alaska and California having almost 70% of all Native tribes, it’s important to know how they are treated by current political leaders.”
Just as African Americans did, many Native-Americans did not vote until tribes fought for the right to vote and to have polling places on the tribal lands, not somewhere hundreds of miles away.
“Yes, these are recent fights,” says the local Berkeley attorney.  Read more

“Obama: From Promise to Power” by David Mendell

c.2007, Amistad    $14.95 paperback  

406 pages, includes notes

Enjoying 2008?

obamabook.jpgFor some of us, it’s been a year of new beginnings, new possibilities, and new adventures. For others, it’s been one of comforting predictability and a happy dearth of change.

For all of us, it’s a year campaign ads and – ultimately – a moving van at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Have you made up your mind to which candidate you’ll throw support?  If your opinion isn’t set in concrete, read “Obama: From Promise to Power” by David Mendell. It might not change your thinking, but it might make you take a second look.

Born to a white woman who was originally from Kansas, and a father born and raised in Kenya, Barack Obama is a self-admitted child of many cultures. When Barack (who was born in Hawaii and named for his father) was two years old, Obama Sr. left the family to attend Harvard, then returned to his native country.  Despite the abandonment, Obama’s mother painted her ex-husband in a very favorable light and taught her son positive history about African American culture.  Read more

“Hopes and Dreams: The Story of Barack Obama” by Steve Dougherty

c.2007, Black Dog & Leventhal 

$9.95 / $12.95 Canada 128 pages

According to a Gallup survey taken last month, 94% of Americans queried said they’d be willing to vote for an African American candidate for president next year, which leads politicians from both sides to wonder:

Will 2008 be the Year of Obama? 

No matter how you answer that question, you owe it to yourself to learn about all the candidates first, before you head to the polls.  In the new biography “Hopes and Dreams: The Story of Barack Obama” by Steve Dougherty, you’ll read about the charismatic Senator who might just make history.

When Barack Obama, “an utterly obscure Illinois state senator”, was tapped to give the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic convention, many people were surprised.  One of them was Obama himself.  Afterward, politicians from both parties hailed it as one of the greatest keynote speeches in memory, and Americans sat up and took notice. Read more

Obama's acceptance speech

Following is the text of Barack Obama’s speech accepting DNC nomination for president.To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation;

BarackObamamug.jpgWith profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.

Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest – a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours — Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia – I love you so much, and I’m so proud of all of you. Read more

Obama’s Electric Moment in Denver

situation.jpgFrom left to right: Post Publisher Paul Cobb, Kevin Jefferson, Conway Jones and Gay Plair Cobb in “the Post Situation Room” at the Sheraton Hotel in Denver. Photo by Ace Washington.

By Paul Cobb
Special from Denver, Co

The Post News Group converted the Denver Sheraton Hotel’s main lobby into its “situation room” during the Democratic national Convention. Many impromptu interviews and photo-ops were available. Senators, Governors, Mayors, Congresspersons, other electeds and many of the selecteds, along with “other ordinary greats” were “Posterized.” From the Post’s perch we were able to see the passersby; from Willie Brown to Rev. Amos Brown, from Jesse Jackson Sr. to Jesse Jackson, Jr., from Ray Taliaferro to Wade Woods from Desley Brooks to Dezie Woods Jones, from Alice Huffman to Chris Jackson, from Tom Hayden to Charles Rangel, from Barbara Lee to Bill Clinton from Delores Huerta to Gloria Allred, from Vernon Jordan to Percy Pinkney, from David Chai to Gay Plair Cobb, from Jean Quan to Alicia Wang, from Angela Glover Blackwell to Danny Glover and many more volunteers and political aficionados were interviewed, photographed and given bottles of H2Obama water to quench their thirsts for “Change”. Read more

Lee Alarmed By U.S. Census Bureau Report Findings

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-09) on Wednesday issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Census Bureau report that found that 8.4 percent of the residents over the age of 65 in Alameda County are living in poverty and that African-American households continue to pull up the rear when it comes to family incomes, earning substantially less than their Hispanic, Asian-American and non-Hispanic white counterparts.
“I am troubled by the statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau that found that the number of elderly residents living in poverty continues to increase throughout Alameda County,” Congresswoman Lee said. “It is unconscionable to have so many of our elderly residents living at or beneath the poverty line, especially when you consider that they reside in a state that is among the wealthiest in the nation. The report shows that we must redouble our efforts to ensure that those in the twilight of their lives can live comfortably. Read more

Convention to Highlight Diverse Faith Leaders

DENVER – In keeping with Barack Obama’s personal commitment and the commitment of the Democratic Party to put faith in action, the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) and the Obama for America campaign today announced that the 2008 Democratic National Convention will recognize the tireless efforts of those in the faith community working toward the common good.
“Senator Obama is a committed Christian, and he believes that people of all faiths have an important place in American life,” said Joshua Dubois, Obama For America Director of Religious Affairs. “He’s proud to work with the Democratic National Convention Committee on a Convention that fully engages people of faith in dialogue, celebration and prayer. We are honored that so many religious leaders are reaching across partisan and ideological lines in this Convention to address the values that matter to Americans.” Read more

Sports Owners Backing McCain

Owners of professional sports teams in the U.S. are overwhelmingly backing Republican John McCain over Democrat Barack Obama in the presidential race.
Through the end of June, team owners and their families in the four major sports — baseball, football, basketball, and hockey — have reportedly contributed or raised more than $3.2 million to aid McCain, compared to only $615,000 for Obama.
McCain even raised over six times more than Obama from the owners of teams in Obama’s hometown of Chicago.
And owners of the teams in McCain’s hometown, Phoenix, contributed or raised as much as $550,000 for the Republican — and nothing for Obama. Read more

Bush Signs H.R. 5501

bush.jpgPresident George W. Bush is joined by Barbara Lee (right) and Annette Lantos, right, and invited guests last week in the East Room of the White House, as he signs H.R. 5501, the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008.

White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian.

Lee’s Statement on Violence Against Women

Congresswoman Barbara Lee delivered the following remarks during a press conference in Mexico City on Monday regarding “Zero Tolerance: Stop Violence Against Women and Girls, Stop HIV/AIDS, Case Study of Country Scale Up.”
“I want to begin by thanking the Global AIDS Alliance, especially Paul Zeitz and Lisa Schechtman and all the staff for their work in producing this important report,” Congresswoman Lee said. “I am pleased to be with you here today to provide a brief Congressional perspective on the value of this report and on the need for policy makers to integrate programs to more comprehensively address violence against women and children within the context of HIV prevention programs.
“As we know the global AIDS pandemic is in many ways driven by the unequal status of women in the developing world.   A number of critical factors that make women and girls more vulnerable to HIV include:
· Lack of access to education, independent economic means, or property and inheritance rights. Read more

Lee Addresses PEPFAR and the Black America HIV/AIDS Epidemic

 Calls for Domestic Response to Rival Global Efforts

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-09) addressed “Black America and the Global AIDS Epidemic” during a press conference Monday at the XVII Annual International AIDS Conference in Mexico City where she is the only member of Congress in attendance.  The Congresswoman discussed the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which authorizes $48 billion to help millions of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS globally, as well as the growing epidemic among African Americans.
Congresswoman Lee was co-author of the original 2003 PEPFAR legislation and the 2008 reauthorization that was signed by the President on July 30.
“As a co-author of virtually every bipartisan global AIDS bill that has passed in Congress over the last ten years including the most recent legislation to extend and expand the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, I am pleased by our progress in combating this disease globally,” stated Congresswoman Lee. Read more

Obama As A Grass-Roots President

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Presidential candidate Barack Obama speaking at one of his rallies.

It’s far from clear that he could run the country the way he’s running his campaign.
More than any other candidate, Barack Obama has used the power of the Internet to involve millions of people in his campaign. His bottom-up approach tapped a wellspring of money and votes. But organizing from the grass roots is one thing. Could he govern that way?
He says he wants to, if elected. “Real change doesn’t begin in the halls of Washington, but on the streets of America. It doesn’t happen from the top down, it happens from the bottom up,” the presumed Democratic nominee told an Indiana crowd in April.
Only vigorous citizen involvement can overpower special interest groups and move dead-weight issues through Congress, Mr. Obama preaches. He and his potential White House advisers imagine mobilizing an e-army of millions with a keystroke, then steering it toward Washington on behalf of universal health care or reduced greenhouse gases. Read more

Black Think Tank Director Calls On “Millions of Combat Divas” in New Book

JuliaHare.jpgDr. Julia Hare, National Executive Director of The Black Think Tank, is calling on “millions of combat divas” in her much anticipated new book, The Sexual and Political Anorexia of the Black Woman. The author of numerous titles, including the bestseller “How to Find and Keep a BMW (Black Man Working)” raises an eleventh-hour reveille for all black women (“sistas”) in a massive quest for unity aimed to avenge “The Pain Guts and Glory of the Black Woman” (the book’s subtitle).
“The Pain Guts and Glory of the Black Woman” took hold when Dr. Hare was speaking at the University of Washington in Seattle, and saw a wall high portrait of a solitary black woman hanging in the black student center.
Beneath it lay the caption “Bearer of Pain,” illuminated by slivers of sunlight. Beneath it lay the caption “Bearer of Pain,” illuminated by slivers of sunlight shining through the window pointing the way to that painting and this book,” the author writes. Read more

Hillary Wins Pennsylvania

hclinton.jpgSenator Hillary Rodham Clinton seized on her decisive victory over Senator Barack Obama in Pennsylvania to proclaim “the tide is turning” in the Democratic nominating fight, arguing that her performance proved she was best suited to take on Senator John McCain in the fall because of her capacity to carry key swing states.
Mrs. Clinton won the Pennsylvania popular vote, 55 percent to 45 percent, giving her a critical boost as the she heads into the next nominating contests in North Carolina and Indiana in 13 days. Polls suggest that Mr. Obama is better positioned in those states than he was in Pennsylvania.