Sunday, March 29, 2009

Open Thread for Sunday Morning in plezWorld IX

At this posting, plezWorld is dog tired: I'm coming down off of the presentation high I got from the Power Up! America Campaign event that I co-hosted yesterday in Stone Mountain, Georgia (I really appreciate the 10 people who braved the torrential rains and a major power outage that lasted over an hour), I've also been prepping for a training class that I have to deliver on tomorrow (I just found out about the class on Friday morning and I still haven't received all of the training materials), and then later this evening, my new fraternity brothers at Georgia Tech are having their probate show.

WHEW! I'm tired just typing it... much less, having to live it. And to think that I have to be up at the break of dawn on Monday to get ready to deliver the first of two whole days of training... yippee! At least it's a paycheck (something that I haven't seen in the past couple of months)!

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The Commodores sang, "That's why I'm easy... easy like Sunday morning."

plezWorld won't be taking it easy today, but I'd still like for you to write what you'd like.

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Friday, March 27, 2009 Power Up America Campaign

The Power Up Campaign kicks off nationwide on Saturday, March 28, 2009. Our country faces daunting challenges and needs your help. Millions of Americans are losing their jobs and their homes. The country has relied on foreign oil and has an addiction to dirty and unsustainable energy.

There's a clear path forward to solve many of these problems: President Obama's plan to create millions of new green jobs and make a massive switch to a New Energy Economy. But the big oil and coal lobbies will fight tooth and nail to preserve the status quo.

Working on a grassroots level, will support President Obama's plan and pressure members of Congress to support this initiative. In the coming months, will do the following:
  • Get Congress to support New Energy Economy
  • Promote New Energy Economy through media and coalition efforts
  • Support the Obama Plan to invest $150 billion in the New Energy Economy

The following video highlights the Call to Action called the Power Up America Campaign:

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plez sez: i have been invited to speak at the local Power Up America campaign kick-off in Stone Mountain, Georgia at 1:00 pm on saturday. plezWorld will be speaking on how we can become green and how the new green economy will spur job growth in our region as it has done in other parts of the country.

i'm looking forward to helping President Obama stimulate the economy by bringing "green" jobs to DeKalb County, Georgia and helping to create the New Energy Economy.

if you are in the area and would like to attend, send me an e-mail message and i'll send you an invite.

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The PickensPlan site supports the Power Up America in Dallas, TX.

The St. Louis Design Community Connections site supports the Power Up America campaign in St. Louis, MO.

The Patriotic Resistance blog has a post about's grassroots campaign for the New Energy Economy.

Check out the Green for All site for more information about the Green Economy.

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About Political Action, one of the largest Political Action Committees in the country, brings real Americans into politics to fight for a more progressive America and elect progressive candidates. It conducts major campaigns, from its work to protect the Supreme Court from a hard-right justice to its campaign to defeat the right wing and elect moderates and progressives in 2008. But in contrast to most PACs, which funnel industry contributions to candidates in exchange for access, Political Action brings hundreds of thousands of small donors together to elect candidates who will represent the American people. With one secure online credit card transaction, you can immediately make contributions to several campaigns. All contributions go to the individual campaigns in the amounts you specify. Political Action takes care of all the required FEC paperwork by transmitting necessary contributor information to each campaign.

Because it’s a federal PAC, Political Action can’t accept donations greater than $5,000. And in fact, Political Action is mostly funded by people who give less than $100 – folks who don’t have a lot of money but want to see a change. Through 2004, Political Action raised approximately $11 million for 81 candidates from over 300,000 donors. In 2005, Political Action grew to 3.2 million members and 125,000 members contributed $9 million to progressive candidates and campaigns (average donation: $45).

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Obama Administration - Open for Questions

Open for Questions

On Thursday morning at 11:30 AM EST, President Obama will conduct an online town hall on the economy and answer some of the most popular questions live.

"Open for Questions" is an opportunity to open up the White House to all Americans.

It's an experiment designed to encourage transparency and accountability by giving you a direct line to the White House.

This first round will deal with the economy. Americans deserve to know what their government is doing to get our economy back on track. But it's up to you to participate and make this experiment a success.

Join the discussion here

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plez sez: this is an interesting way for the President to keep in touch with everyday Americans. i applaud his ability to take his message to the people rather than hiding behind a press secretary in the white house.

as of this posting, close to 57,000 questions had been logged and over 2 million votes had been cast. and on thursday morning, the president will answer the questions that have the most votes.

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Read the article about President Obama's 21st century town hall meeting.

Go here to submit your questions and vote.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dr. John Hope Franklin - Black Historian

The world mourns the passing of Dr. John Hope Franklin of North Carolina. By most accounts, he is the greatest historian of African American history.

This is Dr. Franklin's biography on the Duke University website, where he was the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History:

John Hope Franklin was the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History, and for seven years was Professor of Legal History in the Law School at Duke University. He was a native of Oklahoma and a graduate of Fisk University. He received the A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Harvard University. He has taught at a number of institutions, including Fisk University, St. Augustine's College, North Carolina Central University, and Howard University. In 1956 he went to Brooklyn College as Chairman of the Department of History; and in 1964, he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago, serving as Chairman of the Department of History from 1967 to 1970. At Chicago, he was the John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor from 1969 to 1982, when he became Professor Emeritus.

Professor Franklin's numerous publications include The Emancipation Proclamation, The Militant South, The Free Negro in North Carolina, Reconstruction After the Civil War, and A Southern Odyssey: Travelers in the Ante-bellum North. Perhaps his best known book is From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans, now in its seventh edition. His Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities for 1976 was published in 1985 and received the Clarence L. Holte Literary Prize for that year. In 1990, a collection of essays covering a teaching and writing career of fifty years, was published under the title, Race and History: Selected Essays, 1938-1988. In 1993, he published The Color Line: Legacy for the Twenty-first Century. Professor Franklin's most recent book, My Life and an Era: The Autobiography of Buck Colbert Franklin, is an autobiography of his father that he edited with his son, John Whittington Franklin. His current research deals with "Dissidents on the Plantation: Runaway Slaves."

Professor Franklin was active in numerous professional and education organizations. For many years he served on the editorial board of the Journal of Negro History. He also served as President of the following organizations: The American Studies Association (1967), the Southern Historical Association (1970), the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa (1973-76), the Organization of American Historians (1975), and the American Historical Association (1979). He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Fisk University, the Chicago Public Library, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association.

Professor Franklin served on many national commissions and delegations, including the National Council on the Humanities, from which he resigned in 1979, when the President appointed him to the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. He also served on the President's Advisory Commission on Ambassadorial Appointments. In September and October of 1980, he was a United States delegate to the 21st General Conference of UNESCO. Among many other foreign assignments, Dr. Franklin served as Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at Cambridge University, Consultant on American Education in the Soviet Union, Fulbright Professor in Australia, and Lecturer in American History in the People's Republic of China.

Professor Franklin was the recipient of many honors. In 1978, Who's Who in America selected Dr. Franklin as one of eight Americans who has made significant contributions to society. In the same year, he was elected to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. He also received the Jefferson Medal for 1984, awarded by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. In 1989, he was the first recipient of the Cleanth Brooks Medal of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and in 1990 received the Encyclopedia Britannica Gold Medal for the Dissemination of Knowledge. In 1993, Dr. Franklin received the Charles Frankel Prize for contributions to the humanities, and in 1994, the Cosmos Club Award and the Trumpet Award from Turner Broadcasting Corporation. In 1995, he received the first W.E.B. DuBois Award from the Fisk University Alumni Association, the Organization of American Historians' Award for Outstanding Achievement, the Alpha Phi Alpha Award of Merit, the NAACP's Spingarn Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1996, Professor Franklin was elected to the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Frame and in 1997 he received the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award. In addition to his many awards, Dr. Franklin has received honorary degrees from more than one hundred colleges and universities.

Professor Franklin has been extensively written about in various articles and books. Most recently he was the subject of the film First Person Singular: John Hope Franklin. Produced by Lives and Legacies Films, the documentary was featured on PBS in June 1997.

Professor Franklin died of congestive heart failure at Duke Hospital on the morning of March 25th, 2009. He is survived by his son, John Whittington Franklin, daughter-in-law Karen Roberts Franklin, sister-in-law Bertha W. Gibbs, cousin Grant Franklin Sr., a host of nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, other family members, many generations of students and friends. There will be a celebration of his life and of his late wife Aurelia Franklin at 11 a.m. June 11 in Duke Chapel in honor of their 69th wedding anniversary.

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What follows is the article on the life of Dr. Franklin:

John Hope Franklin winced when people called him America’s greatest black historian, as many did. It would be more fitting to call him the greatest historian of black America.

In more than 70 years of scholarship, he documented the African-American experience as no one had done before — a body of work that earned him more than 100 honorary degrees, making him perhaps the most decorated academician of his time.

Franklin, 94, died Wednesday of congestive heart failure at Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C. He was best known as the author of the groundbreaking chronicle, “From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans.”

Published in 1947, the book was updated eight times and sold more than 3 million copies. But that was only his most visible achievement.

Starting in 1936 at Fisk University in Nashville, Franklin published hundreds of academic articles and 16 books about African-American and Southern history before ending his career as a professor at Duke. He was part of a generation of historians, including C. Vann Woodward and David Potter, who challenged the racial stereotyping and Lost Cause sentimentality that had dominated the study of Southern history.

Unlike earlier historians, for instance, Franklin viewed the Civil War as more of a liberation than a defeat for the region. “It had been delivered from the domination of an institution that had stifled its economic development and rendered completely ineffective its intellectual life,” he wrote.

Franklin challenged prevailing thought outside the ivy walls as well. Early in his career, he helped research the lawsuit that Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP took to the Supreme Court in 1954 to overturn public school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education.

Decades later, he went to Capitol Hill to testify against the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Robert Bork, whom he saw as an enemy of civil rights. In the 1990s, President Bill Clinton appointed Franklin chairman of his national commission on race relations.

Franklin’s activism was rooted in the indignities of his personal experience.

Born in 1915 in Oklahoma, Franklin was the son of a lawyer and a schoolteacher who named him John Hope after the president of Atlanta University. The family was moving to Tulsa in 1921 when one of the worst race riots in American history broke out and Mr. Franklin’s law office was burned down. He worked out of a tent for months.

Franklin planned to follow his father into law when he went away to college at Fisk. Instead, he fell under the sway of a white history professor, Theodore Currier, who inspired him to change disciplines and enroll at Harvard, then loaned him $500 when he was accepted. He earned his doctorate there in 1941.

Holding a degree from a prestigious university didn’t shield Franklin from racial insults.

When he returned south to teach at St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, N.C., he caused a stir by walking into the whites-only state archives. It had never occurred to anyone there that a black scholar might want to use the archives.

Franklin was given a room of his own to work in, safely segregated from the other scholars.

It was one of many such slights over the years. After Pearl Harbor, Franklin attempted to volunteer for a Navy desk job but was turned down because of his skin color. As president of the Southern Historical Association, he organized a convention in Memphis but declined to attend because he couldn’t stay in the segregated headquarters hotel.

When he was named history chairman at Brooklyn College — the first black man to head a history department at a major, predominantly white college — scores of real estate agents refused to show houses to him and his wife.

Despite such episodes, Franklin’s work remained remarkably free of anger or ideology. “He has never bowed to the pressure of fashions and the propaganda of black nationalism,” Woodward, the eminent historian of the South, said in 1991.

Franklin had published only one book when editor Alfred Knopf approached him in the 1940s about writing a history of Negro Americans. Franklin didn’t want to do it at first; the subject seemed too broad. But he acquiesced, in part because no comprehensive history existed.

The result, “From Slavery to Freedom,” was “the story of the strivings of the nameless millions who have sought adjustment in a new and sometimes hostile world,” as Franklin put it in the preface.

Franklin wrote and edited many other books during a career that took him from St. Augustine’s to North Carolina Central (1943) to Howard University (1947) to Brooklyn College (1956) to the University of Chicago (1964). One of the best received works, “The Militant South” (1956), seemed particularly relevant; it explored the antebellum roots of the region’s martial spirit and appetite for violence, which were again rearing their heads during the civil rights struggle.

After years of teaching in the North, Franklin moved back South in 1980 and eventually took professorships in Duke’s history and law departments. The move suited him. Franklin cut a distinguished figure, with his erect 6-foot frame, thin mustache and courtly manners, and he found the gentler pace of Southern life more to his liking.

“The South, as a place, is as attractive to blacks as it is to whites,” he explained in 1995. “Blacks, even when they left the South, didn’t stop having affection for it. They just couldn’t make it there. Then they found the North had its problems, too, so you look for a place of real ease and contentment where you can live as a civilized human being. That’s the South…. It’s home.”

Franklin lived in Durham with his former college sweetheart and wife of 59 years, Aurelia, a librarian who died in 1999. Their only child, John W. Franklin, became a program director at the Smithsonian Institution.

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plez sez: i am a bit of a history buff and join the world in mourning the loss of this country's greatest historian of Black's in America. like me, Dr. Franklin wasn't born in the south, but we both had an affinity as this being the natural home for Black Americans.

i join the world in thanking dr. franklin in shining a light on the accomplishments and facts of our involvement in the building of America.

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Read the Dr. Franklin's biography here.

Read the article about the life and times of Dr. John Hope Franklin.

Read the article about the passing of Dr. John Hope Franklin.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why the Dow Jumped 497 Points on Monday

The Dow Jones average took a leap that hasn't been seen in quite some time. Wall Street literally got high, on the news of the Treasury secretary's plan to buy up bad bank assets. Here are excerpts from the CNN Money article about the Dow increase:

NEW YORK ( -- Stocks surged Monday, recharging the rally, after Treasury's plan to buy up billions in bad bank assets and a better-than-expected existing home sales report raised hopes that the economy is stabilizing.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) gained 497 points, seeing its biggest one-day point gain since Nov. 21. The gain was equivalent to 6.8%, which was the biggest one-day percentage gain since Oct. 28.

The S&P 500 (SPX) index rose 54 points, its best one-day point gain since Nov. 13. The percentage gain of 7.1% was the best since Oct. 28.

The Nasdaq composite (COMP) added 99 points or 6.8% for the best one-day point and percentage gain since Oct. 28.

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plez sez: consumer confidence is still in the crapper, but it is a good sign when wall street can begin to see light at the end of the tunnel. with the Obama administration's plan to buy close to $1 trillion in bad bank assets and housing starts up for the first time in close to a year, there are hopes that a recovery is in the offing.

unfortunately, wall street will reap the rewards of a recovery long before main street begins to feel it.

in other good news, it appears that a majority (15 of the 20 top executives) of the bonus money will be returned to a.i.g. coffers... the outstanding bonus money went to overseas executives.

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Read the CNN Money article about how the Dow jumped almost 500 points on Monday.

Read the article about how congressional Republicans don't like Tim Geithner's plan to buy up toxic assets from banks.

Read the article about David Gergen's take on Geithner's plan for the banks.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Why Some Black Leaders 'Hate' President Obama

The following is a re-print of the March 9, 2009 New America Media article by Cash Michaels (writing for The Wilmington Journal). Going back to the 2008 presidential campaign, it highlights the backlash to the Barack Obama campaign and early presidency by those in the Black community who's voices make it into the news.

The article does not necessarily reflect the views of plezWorld.

In the aftermath of President Barack Obama’s historic address to a joint session of Congress last week, the reaction to his call for American courage in the face of economic uncertainty has been widely hailed.

"Tonight, President Obama set forth a powerful vision for our country and an agenda for change that deserves the support of all Americans," said Sen. Edward Kennedy (D- Mass).

“President Obama is exactly the kind of leader we need in the face of our nation's significant challenges,” echoed Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

Instant national polls afterward showed well over 65 percent of Americans surveyed viewed the first Black president and his message favorably, with almost that many saying that they trust his leadership in this time of crisis.

And, of course, it’s no secret that ever since he mounted his historic run for the White House two years ago, Obama has ultimately enjoyed the overwhelming support of his natural constituency - the African-American community. Most Blacks see both Obama’s election, and leadership, not only as a tremendous source of pride, but an extraordinary example of excellence and achievement that all African-Americans, especially young people, should follow.

“Children with foreign-sounding names learned that they too can be president of the United States, and the electoral aspiration of almost an entire generation of young American voters was realized,” Benjamin Jealous, president/CEO of the NAACP, said the day after Obama’s historic election last November.

But not every Black leader is as fond or as proud of the new president as the NAACP and the American people are.

In fact, there are a number Black “leaders,” who span the spectrum of religion, politics and gender, who expressed during the presidential campaign, and many who continue to expound today, assessments of President Obama that range from philosophical annoyance, to petty envy, and even, in at least one case, absolute hatred.

Some actively worked to stop Obama’s election, and at least one is feverishly at work trying to legally undo it.

Normally these “leaders” - many, but not all of whom, serve as mouthpieces for right-wing organizations or interests that mightily tried to cripple Obama’s presidential candidacy - are ignored, if not dismissed, not only by the African-American community, but the public at-large.

But given the tremendous challenges Pres. Obama faces on the economic and national security fronts in his still infant administration, if his massive $787 billion stimulus plan fails to produce jobs and recovery, or if the nation is struck once again 9/11-style with a crippling terrorist attack, Obama’s critics, especially in the Black community, will gain instant currency to undermine his leadership, and possibly destroy his presidency.

One need only look at the extraordinary cast of Black characters who are fully invested in creating dire drama for President Obama.

Number one on the list is a former 2008 presidential candidate himself, arch-conservative Alan Keyes.

''Obama is a radical communist, and I think it is becoming clear,” Keyes, who lost to Obama in a contentious 2004 U.S. Senate race in Illinois, told Nebraska TV station KHAS-TV two weeks ago. “That is what I told people in Illinois and now everybody realizes it's true.''

Then Keyes, who also has at least four failed runs for the White House under his own belt, issued this dire prediction on-camera, ''He is going to destroy this country, and we are either going to stop him or the United States of America is going to cease to exist.''

Keyes, who is party to a lawsuit alleging that President Obama assumed the office illegally because he has not proven to Keyes that he is a natural-born citizen (the state of Hawaii, which has Obama’s original 1961 birth certificate locked away, confirms the president’s citizenship), alleges even further constitutional calamity for the nation.

"I'm not sure he's even president of the United States," Keyes, who refuses to address Obama as “president” continued, "and neither are many of our military people...who are now going to court to ask the question, 'Do we have to obey a man who is not qualified under the constitution?'”

Apparently the TV reporter off-camera openly displayed mocking disbelief of Keyes’ pointed charges, causing the Black conservative to say, “We are in the midst of the greatest crisis this nation has ever seen, and if we don't stop laughing about it and deal with it, we're going to find ourselves in the midst of chaos, confusion and civil war.''

To say that Keyes, who once served in the Reagan Administration, is obsessed with Pres. Obama is an understatement.

On his website, “Loyal to Liberty,” Keyes not only calls Obama a “coward,” “tyrant” and “communist,” but even suggests that the president may “threaten” Keyes’ very life and liberty with counter legal action because of the Black conservative’s efforts to remove him from office.

“To any who insist on questioning his actions, he offers the drastic change of ruin and destruction,” Keyes writes, later adding, “To tell you the truth, I expected Obama's ruthlessness, as I expect that it will escalate until his threats extend to liberty and even life itself. Tyrants are like that.”

When Irving Joyner, associate professor of law at North Carolina Central University’s School of Law in Durham, saw Keyes’ KHAS-TV interview online, he couldn’t believe it.

“Alan Keyes is the worst example of radical right-wing politics even as he clothes himself in Black skin,” Prof. Joyner told The Carolinian. “It is certainly tragic that Keyes is able to obtain undeserved and unwarranted press attention by being a lead ''attack dog'' for interests and sentiments which are in direct opposition to the best interests of the vast majority of African-Americans.”

Joyner continued, “It also demonstrates how desperate Keyes has become, and the unmitigated gall which he exhibits when he goes to any [length] to obtain some attention and public exposure, especially when it is done at the expense of the most successful African-American political leader in American history...President Obama's political success and leadership paint a vivid picture of the scope of Keyes' failures and the pitiful depths to which he has sunk.”

George Curry, veteran journalist and former editor of Emerge Magazine, was blunt.

“People such as Alan Keyes and [conservative commentator] Larry Elders have zero credibility in our community. Therefore, I never think about what they think or if they think at all,” Curry said.

Stella Adams, newly elected First Vice Chair of the NC Democratic Party, agrees.

“As an African-American who fully embraces the agenda that has been set by our President Barack Obama, I am perplexed and dismayed by the remarks of Alan Keyes and others who have made outlandish and very close to seditious statements against our President, she told The Carolinian.

“I find it hard to believe that men like Alan Keyes, Larry Elder and others are sincere in their demagoguery but rather they understand that their outlandish positions will extend their 15 minutes of fame,” Adams continued. “Unfortunately, the media believes that it must put forward the opinions of any Black pundit who speaks in opposition to President Obama regardless of its relevance, I guess it is no different from the coverage that Ann Coulter receives.”

As both Adams and Prof. Joyner indicated, Keyes heads a long list of Black conservatives who have worked overtime trying to claim Obama’s rhetoric head for their mantle.

Black conservative Ken Blackwell, the Republican former Ohio secretary of state who failed in his bid recently to become the new chairman of the Republican National Committee is another who relentlessly branded Obama a “socialist” and questioned his patriotism based on Obama’s “questionable” association with controversial figures like is former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and 60’s Weatherman radical Prof. William Ayers.

“I want to make sure we protect the integrity of our democracy,” Blackwell told conservative commentator Glen Beck last year when asked why he opposed Obama.

Conservative author Shelby Steele wrote the book, “Bound Man: Why We are Excited About Obama and Why He Can’t Win,” postulating that the Black liberal presidential candidate, like all Black liberal public figures, would have to bargain with whites that if they would forget he’s black, he won’t accuse anyone of racism. Steele felt that Obama, as some point, would undoubtedly fall short of the bargain, and lose, because, using the word “cowardice,” he refuses to define himself.

“Sometimes, he’s Martin Luther King, sometimes, he's a Black militant from the Sixties, then he’s a Baptist minister. He can be so different. There’s not yet an Obama voice. That troubles me on other levels. It’s hard to know what bag he’s going to come out of when he takes to the podium,” Steele said in an interview with Kam Williams.

Months later, when it was clear that Obama was a lot more talented than he thought and stood an excellent chance to win, Steele admitted to Fox News’ Sean Hannity that the “Why he can’t win” subtitle was an ill advised “afterthought” that he “regretted.”

Other noted Black conservatives like Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell have attacked Obama as “lacking in character, values and understanding,” and “is himself a lie.”

On the journalistic front, they’ve been joined by Juan Williams, prizewinning author of “Eyes on the Prize,” national correspondent for National Public Radio, and frequent commentator on Fox News’ Sunday and The O’Reilly Factor.

Williams, originally thought to be politically moderate, has distressed many in both the liberal and African-American communities with his remarks about both President Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama.

In March 2008 during the height of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy, Williams was frequently appearing on Fox News blasting Obama for remaining a member of Wright’s church for 20 years.

“This is the closest Black people have ever been to having a president of the United States of America. And suddenly you see, wait a second, he's playing games and corners here on the race question. He's not being straight ahead and saying, "You know what, I stand astride racial polarization.''

He's saying, ''I play racial polarization at one moment to my advantage - Reverend Wright - next moment I will distance myself and disavow Reverend Wright when that's convenient, too,” Williams said.

None other than arch-conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, famous for playing the “Barack the Magic Negro” song on his program and calling Obama a “half-rican” because his mother was White and his father was a black African, applauded Williams’ charge of dishonesty against Obama.

Recently after the inauguration, Williams was forced to apologize when he suggested on Fox’s The O’Reilly Factor that First Lady Michelle Obama “she's got this Stokely Carmichael-in-a-designer-dress thing going. If she starts talking…her instinct is to start with this ''blame America,'' you know, 'I'm the victim.' If that stuff starts to come out - people will go bananas.”

NPR, Williams’ primary employer, was so deluged with complaints about Williams’ remarks on Fox, that the company formerly asked Fox to no longer identify Williams’ association with NPR during his appearances. He was forced to apologize, and now there’s pressure to have him fired from NPR.

The brazen attacks on Pres. Obama haven’t been limited to just politics and commentators. Several Black ministers have gotten in on the act, using the Bible to say some of the most outlandish things about the historymaker.

Conservative Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, a frequent guest with Sean Hannity on Fox News Channel, heads up a Los Angeles-based organization called BOND Action, Inc. He has issued “10 Reasons to Fear an Obama Nation” which include “dangerous, corrupt appointments; surrender in the war on terror; perpetuating genocide against the unborn; and 'unrestrained socialism' which he further describes as “turning America into a ghetto.”

Peterson is known for saying that only Republicans and conservatives can be Christian, and “96 percent of Black people are racist” towards Whites.

When preachers like T.D. Jakes and pastor Shirley Caesar hailed President Obama’s victory, Rev. Peterson publicly attacked them as “worshiping the wrong Messiah.”
But even Peterson’s rhetoric is nothing compared to fiery attacks leveled by Rev. James David Manning, pastor of Atlah Worldwide Church in Harlem, NY.

Rev. Manning, who has made numerous radio and television appearances, and can be seen on YouTube online, made headlines last year for saying that Obama “was born trash” because he had a White mother and Black African father. He has also called Obama a “mack-daddy.”

“He got started — you didn’t notice him ’til he brought out those big-chested White women with their tight T-shirts and their short pants,” Rev. Manning preaches in one of his infamous videos. “That’s what a pimp does. He’s a mack daddy. He pimps White women and Black women. Obama is a long-legged mack daddy.”

Rev. Manning has also alleged that every speech Pres. Obama has made is tinged with his “hatred for America” and White people.

Recently, Manning has alleged that “the jury is still out on whether Obama is Black or not,” and suggested that Blacks really had nothing to be proud of in his election.

Amazingly, Manning does have a growing following, thanks to the Internet. Black Republicans like new GOP chair Michael Steele have taken shots at Obama in the past, and still do, but mostly those jibes are political in nature and rarely as deeply personal.

Many analysts say that what many of Obama’s critics have in common is that they are virtually divorced from the African-American community. They have no real base of Black support.

Intellectuals like Shelby Steele and Walter Williams work at high profile universities and conservative think tanks, so their salaries are paid by whites, not Blacks.

That’s one of the reasons why when they attack Obama or anyone else in the black community, they are seen as doing so from outside of the community, and thus, get no respect from inside.

The list of Black notables who have sought to personally and politically diminish Barack Obama is by no means limited to conservatives, a fact proven in January 2008 during the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary when billionaire Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson, a Hillary Clinton friend and supporter, tried to undermine Obama, telling an audience that then candidate Sen. Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, ''have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues — when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood; I won't say what he was doing, but he said it in his book — when they have been involved.''

Johnson was making a thinly veiled reference to Obama’s published admission of drug and alcohol usage as a troubled youth. Johnson later apologized, but three months later, bashed Obama again when he said that if Obama were White, he wouldn’t be leading the Democratic primary race over Clinton.

Conservatives, both Black and White, were enjoying the free-for-all as Black Democrats seemed to line up to take cheap potshots at the young, foreign-named political rookie who dared to say he wanted to be the next Commander-in-chief.

When then- Sen. Obama prepared to face-off against Sen. Clinton and others in the primaries in December 2007, former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, a close lieutenant to slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., made it clear during a television interview that as far as he was concerned, the Illinois senator was an upstart and lightweight.

Referring to former Pres. Bill Clinton’s alleged philandering in an effort to question how “Black” Obama was, Young, in an apparent tasteless dig, said, “Bill is every bit as Black as Barack. He’s probably gone with more Black women than Barack.”

Immediately realizing how off-color his remark was, Young quipped, “I’m clowning.”

During that same interview, Young said, “I want Barack Obama to be president…in 2016. It’s not a matter of being inexperienced. It’s a matter of being young.”

Even though no one from the traditional Democratic or civil rights leadership publicly came to Andrew Young’s defense, even after he later apologized, it was common knowledge that there was a resentment on the part of some of the old guard like Rev. Jesse Jackson, Young and others towards Obama because he didn’t come to them to ask for either their blessing or guidance.

That resentment was especially apparent with Rev. Jackson, who, even though he publicly supported Obama, openly criticized the Democratic candidate if he didn’t speak out on an issue of Black concern, like the Jena 6 controversy.

Jackson’s angst, and some say jealousy over the fact that Obama had clearly gone much further in his presidential aspirations than Jackson’s two unsuccessful tries in the late 1980’s, apparently boiled over when he was secretly taped in a Fox News studio last July telling a fellow guest that he would like cut Obama’s privates off because he was “talking down to Black people” about parenting.

“You are hurting Black America and Senator Obama,” Los Angeles community activist Najee Ali angrily wrote in an open letter to Jackson afterwards. “Your continued verbal attacks (see Jena 6 drama) are unwarranted. It is as if you're jealous that he has eclipsed you and both of your campaigns for the Democratic nomination.”

Rev. Jackson, who apologized even before the tape became public, has been kept at considerable distance from Obama ever since.

For many Black Democrats who supported Hillary Clinton last year, it took well into the general election before many of them finally accepted that Barack Obama could be, and should be the next president.

For many Black conservatives and religious figures, however, their opposition to Obama, and what they believed he stands for, only increased after he won election.

“It is fair game to challenge President Obama on ideological or political grounds,” Prof. Irving Joyner told The Carolinian. “That is a principled position, even if the position opposes policies of the Obama administration...It is despicable to attack the President based on his race, and the fact that Obama has succeeded where others, like Keyes, have failed. This is especially true when the attacks come from someone with the hue of an African-American.

Keyes and other 'haters of color' diminish our entire race and cheapens the historic struggles and political progress which African-Americans have made.”

Joyner continued, “Keyes' attacks are unprincipled in every respect and he, and others like him, should be condemned by every African-American in this country. It is to be remembered that success needs no explanation or justification, and failures, like Alan Keyes, have none.”

Joyner concluded, “We all should pray for Alan Keyes...because he is truly one of the very few lost sheep.”

Other defenders of Pres. Obama agree that where there is truly constructive criticism of the president and his policies from political adversaries, that should be both respected, and debated.

“I believe we have to take seriously the actions of [GOP Chair] Michael Steele and other sincere Republicans who have different but legitimate views of President Obama's agenda,” Stella Adams, NCDP First Vice Chair, said. “We must agree to disagree with their arguments and look for common ground where we can work together for the benefit of the African American community. I am eager in my position as 1st Vice Chair of the Democratic Party to explain to our community why President Obama has provided a clear path to the future for our community and our country.”

~ ~ ~

plez sez: this was a cool article and is great compendium of those Blacks who took issue with the candidacy of President Barack Obama. unfortunately, i don't recall any mention of any Black "leaders" in the entire article (Jesse Jackson? Andrew Young? Alan Keyes?)... did you?

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the New America Media Cash Michaels article.

Read the Wilmington Journal article.

Read the New America Media article about significance of Black History in the Age of Obama.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Open Thread for Sunday Morning in plezWorld VIII

If you haven't noticed, plezWorld has been taking a break for last couple of days. Blog burnout?!? Who knows... but I'll be back on Monday.

~ ~ ~

The Commodores sang, "That's why I'm easy... easy like Sunday morning."

plezWorld is taking it easy today, so write what you'd like.

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Go to Kimistry 101 and check out her post on Black Marriage Day... thanks for the comment!

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Breakfast Song - Tupelo, Mississippi

Someone sent me the link to this song and I just had to share it with plezWorld.

The song aired in 2004 on "The Kay Bain Show," a morning show on NBC affiliate WTVA in Tupelo, MS. It features Minister Cleo Clariet accompanied by his fiance Katherine Lane. Enjoy!

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plez sez: INSERT "joke about mississippi" HERE!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

plezWorld on the 2009 NCAA Basketball Tournament

Louisville, UConn, and Pittsburgh stroll into the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament from the Big East Conference (with a strong showing from North Carolina from the ACC).

Surprising? No.

Fair? Maybe.

What about Duke (winner of the ACC)? What about Memphis (from last year's tournament final and winner of Conference USA)?

Excerpts from article about the 2009 NCAA brackets:

( -- The Big East made history again. The conference that came together for basketball decades ago hit another milestone Sunday, when three of its teams earned top seeds in the NCAA tournament.

Louisville, Pittsburgh and Connecticut were all No. 1, joined by North Carolina of the Atlantic Coast Conference, never an outsider this time of year.

The conference also broke new ground in 1985, when it became the first to place three teams in the Final Four.

"It speaks volumes for what it means to win the Big East," said Louisville coach Rick Pitino, whose Cardinals are the tournament's overall top seed and will play in the Midwest.

The Cardinals (28-5), winners of the regular-season and conference championships in the nation's top-ranked conference, will open against the winner of an opening-round game Tuesday between Alabama State and Morehead State.

The Final Four is scheduled for Ford Field in Detroit on April 4 and 6. Last year, all four No. 1 teams made it to the Final Four. But Pitt (East), Carolina (South) and UConn (West) all know its called March Madness for a reason -- things rarely go to form.

So, time to break out the brackets, sharpen some pencils and pay into an office pool (or two).

Maybe do a little griping here and there.

Among the aggrieved: Duke and Memphis, both overlooked in the quest for top seeding, settling for No. 2 seeds despite winning their conference tournaments. Memphis is often downgraded for playing in the less-than-steller Conference USA, but John Calipari's team proved people wrong last year, making it to the national title game.

~ ~ ~

plez sez: not much interest in plezWorld until the second weekend (when all those 10 thru 16 seeds have been eliminated). i really enjoy it when it comes down to the elite eight.

the only upset i see is memphis taking out uconn to go to the final four.

~ ~ ~

in a related story, the georgia tech women's basketball team is going to its third ncaa tournament in three years... GO JACKETS! they have become a bigger force in the acc than the men's team!

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the video and article about 2009 NCAA bracket breakdown.

Read the articles breaking down the EAST, SOUTH, MIDWEST, and WEST.

Read the article about how Georgia Tech and UGA are sending teams to the 2009 NCAA basketball tournament - the women's tournament.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Obama Moves to Stop AIG Bonuses reports that President Barack Obama is outraged by the $163 million in bonus money that is earmarked for distribution to AIG executives as bonus money:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Obama said Monday he will attempt to block bonuses to executives at ailing insurance giant AIG, payments he described as an "outrage."

"This is a corporation that finds itself in financial distress due to recklessness and greed," Obama told politicians and reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, where he and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner were unveiling a package to aid the nation's small businesses.

The president expressed dismay and anger over the bonuses to executives at AIG, which has received $173 billion in U.S. government bailouts over the past six months.

"Under these circumstances, it's hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay. I mean, how do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?"

Obama was referring to the bonuses paid to traders in AIG's financial products division, the tiny group of people who crafted complicated deals that wound up shaking the world's economic foundations.

The president said he has asked Geithner to "pursue every single legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole."

Obama spared AIG's new CEO, Edward Liddy, from criticism, saying he got the job "after the contracts that led to these bonuses were agreed to last year."

But he said the impropriety of the bonuses goes beyond economics. "It's about our fundamental values," he said.

"All across the country, there are people who are working hard and meeting their responsibilities every single day, without the benefit of government bailouts or multimillion-dollar bonuses. You've got a bunch of small-business people here who are struggling just to keep their credit line open," Obama said.

"And all they ask is that everyone, from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, play by the same rules. That is an ethic that we have to demand."

Obama said he would work with Congress to change the laws so that such a situation cannot happen again.

Then, coughing, he added in jest, "I'm choked up with anger here."

Under pressure from the Treasury, AIG scaled back the bonus plans and pledged to reduce 2009 bonuses -- or "retention payments" -- by at least 30 percent. That has did little to temper outrage over the initial plan, however.

Obama received support from fellow Democrats, including Sen. Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. "This is another outrageous example of executives -- including those whose decisions were responsible for the problems that caused AIG's collapse -- enriching themselves at the expense of taxpayers," the Democrat from Connecticut said.

He noted in a written statement that executives at other companies that received bailout funds have volunteered to forgo bonuses. "There's no reason why those at AIG shouldn't do the same," he said.

Later, Dodd told CNN he is considering an unusual approach to get the bonus money back.

"One idea we're kind of thinking about is a tax provision," the Connecticut Democrat said. "We have a right to tax. You could write a tax provision that's narrowly crafted only to the people receiving bonuses. That's a way maybe to deal with it."

Dodd said the notion is in the "earliest of thinking" and has not been settled on as a way to resolve the issue that has set off outrage in Washington and across the country.

~ ~ ~

plez sez: while taking taking taxpayer money with one hand, these guys are enriching their pockets with the other... this type of behavior is reprehensible.

if AIG is in such horrible shape financially, then how in the heck is anyone there eligible for a bonus? every bonus plan i have been involved with has been tied to individual and company performance. the company performance obviously trumps any individual gains by $173 billion!!!

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the New York Times article about how Obama tells Geithner to go after AIG bonuses.

Read the Washington Post article about how President Obama is pissed off about the AIG bonuses.

Read the article about Obama's outrage about AIG bonuses.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Open Thread for Sunday Morning in plezWorld VII

I spent all weekend in South Carolina doing my duty as alumni advisor for my fraternity chapter at Georgia Tech - by the way, the chapter has four new members. As you can guess, I'm tired and road weary after the long drive back home... so I'm going to take it easy and take a chill pill in plezWorld today.

See you on Monday.
~ ~ ~

The Commodores sang, "That's why I'm easy... easy like Sunday morning."

plezWorld is taking it easy today, so write what you'd like.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Michael Jackson Returns to Stage - July 2009

The WORLD will hold its collective breath as the King of Pop makes his final appearance in London at the O2 Arena for only 10 shows in July 2009.

A couple of teasers for your MJ fix:

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~ ~ ~

plez sez: it's been twelve long years since the best entertainer in the world has graced the stage for a world tour.

i saw his "Dangerous" tour back in the early 90's... the boy is bad!

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

View the This Is It press conference HERE.

Read the article about the O2 Arena concert by the King of Pop.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Friday, March 13, 2009

Forbes List of World's Billionaires

Excerpts for the article about the world's billionaires:

The richest people in the world have gotten poorer, just like the rest of us. This year the world's billionaires have an average net worth of $3 billion, down 23% in 12 months. The world now has 793 billionaires, down from 1,125 a year ago.

After slipping in recent years, the U.S. is regaining its dominance as a repository of wealth. Americans account for 44% of the money and 45% of the list's slots, up seven and three percentage points from last year, respectively. Bill Gates lost $18 billion but regained his title as the world's richest man. Warren Buffett, last year's No. 1, saw his fortune decline $25 billion as shares of Berkshire Hathaway fell nearly 50% in 12 months. Mexican telecom titan Carlos Slim Helú maintains his spot in the top three but lost $25 billion.

The world has become a wealth wasteland. Like the rest of us, the richest people in the world have endured a financial disaster over the past year. Today there are 793 people on our list of the World's Billionaires, a 30% decline from a year ago.

Of the 1,125 billionaires who made last year's ranking, 373 fell off the list--355 from declining fortunes and 18 who died. There are 38 newcomers, plus three moguls who returned to the list after regaining their 10-figure fortunes. It is the first time since 2003 that the world has had a net loss in the number of billionaires.

Bill Gates lost $18 billion but regained his title as the world's richest man. Warren Buffett, last year's No. 1, saw his fortune decline $25 billion as shares of Berkshire Hathaway (nyse: BRK.A - news - people ) fell nearly 50% in 12 months, but he still managed to slip just one spot to No. 2. Mexican telecom titan Carlos Slim Helú also lost $25 billion and dropped one spot to No. 3.

It was hard to avoid the carnage, whether you were in stocks, commodities, real estate or technology. Even people running profitable businesses were hammered by frozen credit markets, weak consumer spending or declining currencies.

The biggest loser in the world this year, by dollars, was last year's biggest gainer. India's Anil Ambani lost $32 billion--76% of his fortune--as shares of his Reliance Communications, Reliance Power and Reliance Capital all collapsed.

~ ~ ~

plez sez: the rich get richer... but i ain't drinking the haterade. one of these days, you might see ole plezWorld on the list!

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the article about the slipping riches of the world's riches people.

Read the article with the complete list of the world's billionaires.

Read the article about the new billionaires.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spring Has Sprung in plezWorld

Sunday of last week it snowed in plezWorld, this Sunday it was 75 degrees and my daffodils made an appearance. Spring has sprung in Atlanta.

Picture courtesy of my Palm Treo 680.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Barack Obama - The Education President

President Obama began to flesh out the details of one of his signature campaign promises Tuesday, outlining his plan for a major overhaul of the country's education system "from the cradle up through a career."

Obama said in an address to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, "We have let our grades slip, our schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short and other nations outpace us. The time for finger-pointing is over. The time for holding ourselves accountable is here. The relative decline of American education is untenable for our economy, unsustainable for our democracy and unacceptable for our children, and we cannot afford to let it continue."

The president outlined a five-tier reform plan, starting with increased investments in early childhood initiatives:
  • Fifty-five thousand first-time parents will receive "regular visits from trained nurses to help make sure their children are healthy and prepare them for school and life." In addition, there will be a boost of federal support in the form of "Early Learning Challenge" grants to states that develop plans to strengthen early education programs.

  • States will be enabled to develop standards "that don't simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test[,] but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking, entrepreneurship and creativity."

    To help promote this goal, Obama said he would push for funding in the No Child Left Behind law to be more effectively tied to results. The Education Department, he said, would "back up this commitment to higher standards with a fund to invest in innovation in our school districts."

  • Federal dollars have been set aside in the stimulus plan to help prevent teacher layoffs. He also reiterated a promise to support merit pay, as well as extra pay for math and science teachers with the goal of ending a shortage in both of those subjects.

  • The promotion of educational "innovation and excellence" by renewing his campaign pledge to support charter schools. He called on states to lift caps on the number of allowable charter schools. In addition, he promoted the concept of a longer school calendar.

    "I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas," Obama said. "But the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom."

  • In an effort to boost college access, the maximum Pell Grant award will be raised to $5,550 a year with indexing above the rate of inflation. This initiative also includes a $2,500 a year tuition tax credit for students from working families.
~ ~ ~

The national teacher's unions were generally surprised and supportive of the Presidents initiatives. Excerpts from the AP below:

"We finally have an education president," said Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.4 million-member American Federation of Teachers. "We really embrace the fact that he's talked about both shared responsibility and making sure there is a voice for teachers, something that was totally lacking in the last eight years."

The president of the 3.2 million-member National Education Association, Dennis van Roekel said, "President Obama always says he will do it with educators, not to them."

"That is a wonderful feeling, for the president of the United States to acknowledge and respect the professional knowledge and skills that those educators bring to every job in the school," van Roekel said.

Van Roekel insisted that Obama's call for teacher performance pay does not necessarily mean raises or bonuses would be tied to student test scores. It could mean more pay for board-certified teachers or for those who work in high-poverty, hard-to-staff schools, he said.

The union leaders also liked that Obama took on Republicans in his speech, saying the GOP has refused to spend more money on early childhood programs despite evidence they make a difference.

There also has been considerable friction over charter schools, which are publicly funded but operate independently, free from some of the rules that constrain regular schools. Many teachers are concerned that such schools drain money and talent from regular schools.

However, Obama said state limits on numbers of charter schools aren't "good for our children, our economy or our country." He said many of the innovations in education today are happening in charter schools.

Obama addressed the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a setting intended to underscore the need to boost academic performance, especially among Latino and black children who sometimes lag behind their white counterparts.

~ ~ ~

Broadly speaking, Obama wants changes at every level from before kindergarten through college. He is putting special focus on solving the high school dropout crisis and pushing states to adopt more rigorous academic standards.

Some of his promises already are in the works: Public schools will get an unprecedented amount of money — double the education budget under Bush — from the economic stimulus bill over the next two years. To get some of those dollars, Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan insist states will have to prove they are making good progress in teacher quality, on data systems to track how students learn and on standards and tests.

After the scheduled event, Obama made a surprise visit with Duncan to a meeting of state school chiefs at a Washington hotel. Duncan said last Friday that states will get the first $44 billion by the end of the month.

Obama also wants kids to spend more time in school, with longer school days, school weeks and school years — a position he admitted will make him less popular with his school-age daughters.

Children in South Korea spend a month longer in school every year than do kids in the U.S., where the antiquated school calendar comes from the days when many people farmed and kids were needed in the fields.

"I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas, not with Malia and Sasha," Obama said as the crowd laughed. "But the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom."

"If they can do that in South Korea, we can do it right here in the United States of America," Obama said.

~ ~ ~

plez sez: finally! finally, a president who genuinely understands the value of education and what a handicap a poor education means to those who receive them.

george w. bush was born into a life of privilege and given a top notch education (private boarding schools, yale, harvard business school), but to this day probably doesn't understand the privilege that was extended to him just because he was the son of george h. w. bush.

BARACK OBAMA on the other hand was born to educated parents (his mother and father met at the university of hawaii), but being a minority afforded him an opportunity to see and feel the affects of a sub-par education on students, especially minority students. there is a reason why black and latino students do not perform as well as their white counterparts on standardized tests. hopefully, Obama's initiatives will begin to close the "education gap" in the united states.

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the New York Times article about how Obama plans to change the education system in the US.

Read the Associated Press article about Obama backs merit pay for teachers and charter schools.

Read the article about how Obama wants to change the education system from 'cradle to career'.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Obama Removes Limits to Stem Cell Research

In another rebuke of the neanderthal administration of George W. Bush, President Barack Obama reversed the Bush administration limits on embryonic stem-cell research. This is a bold move to separate politics from science.

Obama overturned an order signed by President Bush in 2001 that barred the National Institutes of Health from funding research on embryonic stem cells beyond using 60 cell lines that existed at that time. Bush twice vetoed legislation that would have expanded federally funded embryonic stem cell research. Those siding with Bush say scientific advances allow researchers to conduct groundbreaking research without destroying human embryos.

What follows are excerpts from the Boston Globe story of Obama's lifting of the ban on embryonic stem cell research:

CAMBRIDGE - Feasting on a celebratory spread of pastries, sheet cake, and foil-wrapped chocolate eggs, Harvard scientists watched in rapt silence, smiles spreading over their faces, as President Obama yesterday lifted eight-year-old restrictions on stem cell research and announced a broader commitment to science.

At the morning screening, held in a fourth-floor conference room just down the hallway from biology laboratories, students gathered alongside senior researchers to revel in a moment that will change their careers - whether they are just about to set up their own laboratories or are looking back on years of work that has been hindered by Bush administration limits on human embryonic stem cell research.

"I have never been comfortable as being seen in opposition to my government, let alone our nation's leader," said Douglas Melton, co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. "The dark ages are now over for our lab."

Obama yesterday followed through on promises he made during his election campaign, signing an executive order allowing federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and directing the National Institutes of Health to write guidelines within 120 days for how the research should be conducted.

"Ultimately, I cannot guarantee that we will find the treatments and cures we seek. No president can promise that," Obama said. "But I can promise that we will seek them - actively, responsibly, and with the urgency required to make up for lost ground."

He also signed a memorandum to elevate science within his administration, clarify the responsibilities of the office of science and technology policy, and ensure that "we base our public policies on the soundest science . . . and that we are open and honest with the American people about the science behind our decisions."

At a press conference later in the day, Lawrence Tabak acting deputy director of the NIH, which received $8.2 billion for research in the stimulus package, said the agency planned to move quickly so that embryonic stem cell work could be funded through that package.

"We anticipate that stimulus resources will be able to be used under the context of the new guidelines," Tabak said, although he did not have specifics on how much money would be allocated.

Human embryonic stem cells have the capacity to develop into any tissue in the body, such as insulin-producing cells that might eventually be used to treat diabetes, or neurons that could replace ones that die off during Lou Gehrig's disease. The potent cells are seen as important research tools, as well as promising treatments. But they have caused much political and ethical debate because human embryos are destroyed when the cells are extracted.

In relation to Obama's overturn of stem cell research limits, Nancy Reagan released the following statement. Nancy Reagan has been an outspoken advocate of stem cell research — and scientists hope that the research could someday lead to a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, which afflicted her late husband, President Ronald Reagan.

I’m very grateful that President Obama has lifted the restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research,” she wrote in a statement released shortly after Obama reversed the Bush administration limits. “These new rules will now make it possible for scientists to move forward. I urge researchers to make use of the opportunities that are available to them and to do all they can to fulfill the promise that stem cell research offers.

Countless people, suffering from many different diseases, stand to benefit from the answers stem cell research can provide. We owe it to ourselves and to our children to do everything in our power to find cures for these diseases — and soon. As I’ve said before, time is short, and life is precious.

~ ~ ~

During his first weeks in office, Obama made good on his promise that scientific decisions must be "based on facts, not ideology."

The Bush administration came under frequent criticism from environmentalists who warned the president wasn't doing enough to lessen what they saw as the damaging impact the United States has on the globe.

Within a week of taking office, Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency to review a California application to regulate greenhouse gases and told his Department of Transportation to begin implementing fuel efficiency standards passed last year but not implemented by the Bush administration. If the EPA grants a waiver allowing California to set its own emissions standards, the nation's most populous state will be allowed to require automakers to produce trucks and cars that get better mileage than what is required under the current national standard. Thirteen other states could take similar action.

The Bush administration rejected California's application, agreeing with automakers that the creation of another set of rules regarding pollution standards for some states would be confusing and unenforceable. In Obama's recent speech to Congress, the president said the United States will double its supply of renewable energy in three years. To do so, he's calling on a new class of workers to be trained in environmental fields. Green jobs training programs will get $500 million from his stimulus package.

In another break from the Bush administration, Obama last week overturned a regulation that many environmentalists claim weakened the Endangered Species Act. The regulation, issued a few weeks before Bush left office, made it easier for federal agencies to skip consultations with government scientists before launching projects that could affect endangered wildlife.

By overturning the regulation, Obama said he had restored "the scientific process to its rightful place at the heart of the Endangered Species Act, a process undermined by past administrations."

Obama hasn't shied away from talking about climate change. He campaigned on promises to eliminate oil imports from the Middle East, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent and create a green energy economy.

~ ~ ~

plez sez: it took about 2 seconds before the first right wing nut job threw a hizzy fit over PRESIDENT OBAMA lifting the ban on embryonic stem cell research. in an interview, newt gingrich - former speaker of the house and probable 2012 republican contestant for president - said that the Obama move was an "ideological sideshow." claiming this move will embolden the right wing coalition to stop everything. hmmmm... didn't every last member of the house vote against the stimulus plan? i don't think this move will move the needle for these guys.

personally, i think that these kind of decisions, especially in the realm of pure medical science, the need for government intervention and oversight is stifling to creativity and innovation. if one were to go back and look at what dr. jonas salk did in creating the polio vaccine, we'd probably be shocked at some of his experiments. as the old saying goes: "you gotta break some eggs to make an omelet!" oops... maybe this wasn't the best time for that analogy! *smile*

when medical issues are no longer politicized, there can be advances when scientists and doctors can do what they do best... do research! i'm sure if there weren't such a stigma (gay men, black men, sex, illegal drug use, etc.) attached to HIV & AIDS, there'd be a cure by now.

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the Boston Globe article about Obama reversing Bush's ban on embryonic stem cell research.

Read the article about Obama moves to separate science from politics.

Read the Washington Post article about Obama and stem cell research limits.

Read the article about Nancy Reagan's praise of Barack Obama.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Monday, March 09, 2009

IBM Appears Upbeat in Faltering Economy

In a move that appears to run counter to the way things are going in the economy, the CEO of IBM issued an optimistic, forward looking statement about IBM's plans for the future. They plan to engage in with governments in those areas that are soon to be enriched by President Obama's stimulus package.

What follows is the entire New York Times article:

By now, much of corporate America is humbled and hunkered down, hoping to survive an economic crisis that seems to get worse day by day. That is certainly not the posture at I.B.M.’s headquarters in Armonk, N.Y.

In a spirited message in the annual report sent to shareholders on Monday, Samuel J. Palmisano, I.B.M.’s chief executive, writes, “We entered this turbulent period strong, and we expect to exit it stronger.” Later, Mr. Palmisano adds, “We will simply not ride out the storm. Rather, we will take a long-term view, and go on offense.”

Mr. Palmisano struck a similar tone when the company reported its strong quarterly results in late January. And certainly history could prove Big Blue’s against-the-grain confidence to be short-lived and misplaced. But in his lengthy “letter from the chairman,” Mr. Palmisano presents a detailed case for I.B.M.’s comparative optimism. It centers in good part on the assumption that countries — and large corporations — around the world are going to make investments in so-called smart infrastructure projects in transportation, electrical grids, health care information technology, telecommunications, food distribution and water systems.

And, in I.B.M.’s view, its portfolio of technology services, software and research make it ideally positioned to be the general contract of choice for such projects.

Two things lend support to the I.B.M. strategy. First, governments around the world are putting such projects in their stimulus packages as they try to stabilize their economies. In the United States, the Obama administration included big investments in smart electric grids and health technology, for example.

Second, we do appear to be entering a corporatist era in which big government and the big corporations who are still healthy are looked to as engines of recovery. Large corporations and governments are I.B.M.’s prime clients.

In this environment, the strong, big corporations seem to be positioned to be the consolidators in their industries. Wal-Mart, which raised its dividend last week, amid the carnage in the retailing sector, is one. And in technology, I.B.M. clearly hopes to be another.

“The coming era will not be kind to enterprises or institutions that have failed to step up to unresolved issues in their core models, strategies or operations,” Mr. Palmisano writes. “In our view, this is not simply a cyclical downturn, but a major shift in the global economy and society.”

~ ~ ~

plez sez: IBM had a strong january despite estimates, but they've also gone through massive layoffs and have exported tens of thousands of jobs overseas (the day after the january earnings report, they laid off 1,400 workers around the country). if there are no "american-only jobs" provision in the stimulus package, then the stimulus package will turn out to be a big mistake.

i used to work for big blue as a consultant, they will squeeze profits from government contracts and send jobs overseas without blinking!

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the New York Times article about IBM promises contracts with governments.

Read the New York Times article about IBM lays off thousands after a strong January 2009.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Open Thread for Sunday Morning in plezWorld VI

If it's Sunday morning, that means the SugarPlum and I are on our way to the Waffle House. So while we share an "All-Star Breakfast" - with an extra waffle - at the local greasy spoon, you take it easy and leave a little love in plezWorld.

That's right... I'm gonna be easy... like Sunday morning.

~ ~ ~

The Commodores sang, "That's why I'm easy... easy like Sunday morning."

As with most Sundays, plezWorld is taking it easy today, so write what you'd like.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~