Category: News Briefs Written by Huffington Post
Ndamukong Suh has had his problems on the road.
He crashed a muscle car during December in Portland, Ore., and is now being sued for more than $1 million by a woman who claims she was injured in the accident. In March, he was cited for cruising 91 mph in a 55 mph zone in Portland.
And now, Suh has been accused of sideswiping a man as he drove to the Detroit Lions’ practice facility Thursday morning in Allen Park, Mich. Suh is also accused of leaving the scene of an accident and berating the man whose car he hit. Dearborn Police are investigating the matter.
My Fox Detroit has the complete story, including an interview with Steve Vines, who says Suh, in a black Range Rover, sideswiped the Ford Escort he was driving as they merged onto a ramp.
“I look over at him and he started yelling at me, 'Trying to cut me off. Get out of the way.' And I just said, 'Really?'” Vines told Fox. "He just started yelling about getting the hell out of his way and cutting him off."
Vines called 911 and watched as the driver of the vehicle went into the Lions facility. At that point, Suh laid into Vines some more.
“That's when he said, 'I advise you to leave, now,’” Vines told Fox. “And I said, 'I'm not going anywhere. I talked to the police.' (He said), 'I don't care what they said. You need to get out of here.' And then he said, 'I'm advising you to leave, now.'"
Last Updated on Friday, 12 October 2012 09:53
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - Police say they pulled a body from the Detroit River on Thursday near the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit.
Sgt. Eren Stephens a citizen discovered the body in the river near Rivard Street around 6:15 p.m. and called police.
Authorities say the body is that of a man in his 60s. His identity wasn’t immediately known.
It’s not clear how long the body had been in the water.
An autopsy is planned for Friday.
Detroit police were assisted by the Detroit Fire Department as well as the U.S. Coast Guard.
Last Updated on Friday, 12 October 2012 09:46
Category: Breaking News Written by Keli Goff, The Root
Raddatz, Biden, Ryan (Getty)
As Biden and Ryan spar, a moderator shines, and yet too many Americans are ignored.
Finally. After the disappointment that was Jim Lehrer’s performance as moderator during the first presidential debate of the 2012 election (which was widely panned) viewers, and voters, were graced with a debate moderator who was cool, calm, collected and in control. Martha Raddatz of ABC News had faced pre-debate criticism from conservative corners because President Obama was a peer of her ex-husband at the Harvard Law Review and subsequently attended the couple’s wedding decades ago. (Wouldn’t the fact that the president is friends with her ex-husband -- as in former spouse -- arguably work in the GOP’s favor in the present? But I digress.) For the most part, however, her performance at the vice presidential debate last night has been received widespread praise.
Also receiving high marks? Vice President Joe Biden, who in the eyes of many progressives did what President Barack Obama did not last week: forcefully question the honesty and accuracy of the Romney/Ryan ticket’s policy claims.
It appeared the vice president had actually been sent to a debate boot camp where he was coached in using as many synonyms for the words “liar” and “lying” and “lies” as possible. Some we heard tonight: “Not true,” “Not mathematically possible,” “This is a bunch of stuff,” and my new personal favorite “malarkey” an Irish expression, as Rep. Paul Ryan explained to those of us who aren’t of Irish origin. (Both vice presidential candidates are.)
At times Biden let his passion get the better of him. I question whether there were female viewers who were as uncomfortable as I was with his continued pointing at the moderator for emphasis. It’s rude to do with any gender, but somewhat menacing when a man does it to a woman.
But when it comes to the question of which of the two candidates won the debate it was no contest, particularly on foreign policy. There were moments when Rep. Ryan looked almost as in over his head as Sarah Palin did four years ago -- only she’d never held Congressional office. He has.
As they sparred over foreign policy there was a clear knowledge and experience gap. For instance, when the vice president referred to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “Bibi,” this demonstrated a level of comfort in that arena Ryan simply cannot match and his expression seemed to indicate that he knew it. When it came to domestic policy, however, at times the gap was much closer. Ryan is, after all, chairman of the House budget committee.
Anyway, Ryan didn’t blow it and since people don’t vote for vice presidents separately from presidents, not blowing it was really all Ryan had to do. It was the same four years ago: No one watching that debate left it believing Sarah Palin was ready for the presidency -- even many Republicans didn’t believe that -- but she wasn’t a total disaster, and that, frankly, was enough for that night.
I doubt few people listened to Ryan debate foreign policy and believed that he would be ready to assume the presidency should the need arise any time soon. But after the president’s performance last week, which wasn’t good, Ryan’s less-than-impressive foreign policy grasp is not likely at the forefront of voters’ minds. A possibly overwhelmed, overmatched and underwhelming president is.
To be clear, while there were two clear victors tonight -- Raddatz and Biden -- Ryan wasn’t really the biggest loser. People of color and the poor were.
Yes, the words “poor” and “poverty” were actually mentioned tonight—an improvement over the last debate. Interestingly, they were mentioned by Paul Ryan while the vice president referred to, “people like my parents” and similar phrases to denote the working class.) But, there was little substantive discussion of how to help those in poverty move up, or even survive, while the middle class received a number of mentions. Ryan gets credit for referencing the fact that “fifteen percent of Americans are in poverty” but what do we do to help them? Neither candidate addressed that satisfactorily.
It’s an omission that is especially relevant to communities of color, where poverty has a greater impact and the income disparity with whites is persistent. According to the National Poverty Center, in 2010 27.4 percent of blacks and 26.6 percent of Hispanics were poor, compared to 9.9 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 12.1 percent of Asians. While the Obama administration recently celebrated news that the unemployment rate has finally dipped below 8percent for the first time in four years, unemployment for black Americans remains at a staggering 13.4 percent. And yet if you were to listen to watch the first two debates these statistics might come as a shock to you, because people of color have been treated virtually invisible, even in the age of a black president.
I previously speculated about the questions I thought a black debate moderator might ask, something about which I can only speculate because there will not be one this election season. While I applaud Martha Raddatz’s performance for the most part, the vice presidential debate served as a powerful reminder that the diversity of moderators can affect the diversity of the policy topics discussed in a debate. For instance, in this debate there was a question specifically relating to women, when Raddatz asked about abortion, thus sparking a conversation about it and contraception.)
Here’s hoping people of color will not be losers for the third time in next week’s town hall-style debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney.
Last Updated on Friday, 12 October 2012 09:38
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - Six drivers in Wayne County have been ordered to turn over the keys to the vehicles they used to drag race down Detroit area streets.
Chief Judge Virgil Smith delivered the ruling Thursday afternoon in Wayne County Circuit Court, saying the evidence against the defendants “was overwhelming”
Smith said the six vehicles were seized during “chaotic scenes” at the intersections of Fort and Woodmere streets, and also at Warren and Livernois Avenue, in late July.
Those six vehicles include:
• 1997 Ford Mustang (owner appeared in court and stated her son was drag racing in the vehicle)
• 1988 Fort Mustang (owner did not contest forfeiture)
• 1984 Chevy S-10 (Redford Township owner outfitted vehicle with nitrous oxide)
• 1996 Cadillac (River Rouge owner stated her son was drag racing in the vehicle)
• 1994 Chevy Camaro (Owner stated her son was drag racing in the vehicle, investigators also witnessed car doing donuts with a passenger hanging out of the car)
• 2001 Ford Mustang (Detroit owner stated his girlfriend’s son took the car without permission to drag race)
“(Wednesday’s) rulings will go a long way to show we are serious about ending this nonsense. Drag racing is dangerous, it threatens lives and ruins the peace that hardworking citizens deserve in their neighborhoods,” Sheriff Benny Napoleon said in a statement. “These defendants have had to relinquish their cars because of their actions and if the drag racing continues, they won’t be alone.”
Napoleon stressed that street racing is illegal and terrorizes citizens who are subjected to the chaos and violence that come with it.
In the last year, police say two people have been fatally shot, two officers wounded by gunfire and many others hurt in crashes associated with drag racing. In addition to the violence, officers say they’ve made arrests on narcotics, morality and weapons violations.
Detroit police say confiscated vehicles may be auctioned off to support ongoing narcotics and law enforcement operations for the agency.
If illegal street racing is occurring in your neighborhood, call the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office tip line anonymously at 313-833-3190.
Last Updated on Friday, 12 October 2012 09:35
Category: Breaking News Written by Zerlina Maxwell, The Grio
After some very confusing statements about abortion over the past two days, the Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has some explaining to do to American women.
Yesterday, Romney told the Des Moines Register that “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” Immediately afterwards, likely in order to calm criticism from his right wing base, his campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul told the conservative National Review online: “Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life, and he will be a pro-life president.”
But Team Romney didn’t stop there. Even after the statement to the National Review, Saul seemed to shift Romney’s position on abortion yet again, this time to the AP saying: “Gov. Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life.”
Romney’s epic abortion flip flops are nothing new. In 1994, when he was running for the U.S. Senate against Ted Kennedy, Romney was pro-choice. In 2002, when he was running for governor of Massachusetts, he was so emphatically pro-choice, he disavowed the endorsement of a prominent pro-life organization in his then home state. By 2005, Romney had suddenly become pro-life, but allowed for exceptions in cases of rape and incest. And now that the Republican party platform includes a complete abortion ban with no exceptions and personhood language, Romney opposes abortion in the strongest terms possible (except when he’s trying to win over undecided women voters.)
This latest shift on abortion is different from the rest. This isn’t a flip flop. Obama’s Deputy Campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said on a call with reporters on Wednesday: “We now know that the real Mitt Romney will say anything to win. With just 27 days left before the election, he’s cynically and dishonestly hiding his real positions, but voters shouldn’t be fooled and won’t be fooled…He’s trying to hide his real position, but there’s no hiding when you are President. And on this issue and so many others, women simply cannot trust Mitt Romney.”
And why should women trust that the position Romney articulated yesterday on abortion will be his final answer? The issues facing women are just too important and Mitt Romney can’t seem to keep his story straight.
On the same call Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, who is taking time out to volunteer with the Obama campaign, said, “I don’t think this is about flip-flopping. I think this is about completely trying to distance himself from the positions he has taken repeatedly. Obviously he took these positions as he was running for the Republican primary. I mean, his three main positions when it comes to women’s health are: he wants to get rid of women’s access to birth control through insurance plans, he wants to get rid of Planned Parenthood, and he wants to overturn Roe. I think it’s completely disingenuous to say this is not part of his agenda.”
By Wednesday afternoon, Mitt Romney was back to vowing to be “a pro-life president,” saying in Ohio: “I think I’ve said time and again that I’m a pro-life candidate and I’ll be a pro-life president.” Romney added: “the actions I’ll take immediately [are] to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget. And also I’ve indicated that I will reverse the Mexico City position of the president. I will reinstate the Mexico City policy which keeps us from using foreign aid for abortions overseas.”
Removing funding from Planned Parenthood has serious consequences. Richards notes that “[t]he reason why Planned Parenthood is still being able to provide cancer screenings and birth control to women in America is because President Obama has stood up to the Tea Party Congress, and said we are simply not going to get rid of that. And so I do think that he’s trying to have it both ways, by saying that’s it’s not part of his agenda, but giving complete license to the most extreme part of his party when it comes to repealing access to healthcare that women have had for decades.”
Abortion, contraception, and health care are economic issues for women — disproportionately so for women of color, who are more likely to be uninsured. Mitt Romney cannot speak out of both sides of his mouth three weeks before Election Day to try to sound like he won’t take women back to the pre-Roe v Wade world of back alley abortions. A Romney administration also would mean women living in a pre-Obamacare world where breast cancer is a pre-existing condition.
Voters cannot trust a man running for president who articulates all sides of every issue impacting women. These issues are too important to let him do his best slick salesman impression to destroy decades of progress for the lives, safety, status, and health of American women.
Last Updated on Friday, 12 October 2012 09:27
Category: Breaking News Written by Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY
OAKLAND — Justin Verlander has thrown two no-hitters and struck out as many as 14 batters in a game twice. None of those ranked as high in his estimation as Thursday night's performance.
With the Detroit Tigers staring at a huge collapse against an Oakland Athletics club that seemed destined to continue its storybook season, Verlander took control of his team's destiny as few pitchers players.
The defending American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner threw the first postseason shutout of his career, holding the A's to four hits and striking out 11 as Detroit claimed this AL Division Series with a 6-0 win in Game 5.
"This is win or go home,'' Verlander said. "My team needs me, and I was able to go out there and have one of the better performances I've had. For me, I think this is No. 1.''
The Tigers, preseason favorites who had to win eight of their last 10 games to reach the playoffs, made it to the AL Championship Series for the second year in a row, a franchise first.
After taking a 2-0 series lead, they had to fight every step of the way to fend off the A's, who stunned them with a ninth-inning three-run rally the night before to force a decisive game.
Detroit will play the winner of the New York Yankees-Baltimore Orioles series, which is tied 2-2 going into Friday's finale. Last year Detroit outlasted the Yankees in the Division Series before falling to the Texas Rangers in six games in the ALCS. The Tigers last made it to the World Series in 2006.
"We had our horse, and our horse stepped up,'' Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said, his shirt soaked in celebratory champagne.
Verlander, who had held Oakland to three hits and a run over seven innings in a 3-1 victory in Game 1, was even stingier this time. He didn't allow a runner to reach third base and kept the A's from even entertaining the kind of late rally that had become their trademark as they won 15 games in walk-off fashion, including Wednesday's 4-3 victory.
"After yesterday's loss, I'm sure everybody in Detroit thought we were not going to win today,'' catcher Alex Avila said, "but we had the best pitcher in the game going and I liked our chances.''
Rookie starter Jarrod Parker kept Oakland in the game until the seventh, when the Tigers combined four hits, a walk, a hit-by-pitch and sloppy A's fielding for four runs that increased their lead to 6-0.
In the bottom half, Verlander retired the heart of Oakland's lineup 1-2-3, quashing any notions of a comeback.
"You know you're in for a battle every single pitch,'' said Coco Crisp, who hit a homer off Verlander leading off Game 1 but went 0-for-4 Thursday. "His changeup was really good tonight. He utilized that well, keeping us off-balance.''
With Detroit's potent duo of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder held in check — they combined for three RBI in the series — secondary figures did much of the damage.
Leadoff man Austin Jackson drove in the game's first run with a third-inning double, then pushed the lead to 2-0 when he scored on Parker's second wild pitch of the inning.
Last-place hitter Omar Infante, who went 3-for-8 with three runs scored in the first two games, made an impact again with two hits, a walk and two runs.
"Your big guys can't do it every game,'' Dombrowski said. "They're really good and they're going to have their days in the postseason, but they can't do it every day, so you have to have other people pick it up. They get the attention, but Jackson's a really good player; he's had a tremendous year. And Infante's been a really nice addition for us.''
After the A's storybook season ended as their feast-or-famine offense was shut down, most of the sellout crowd of 36,393 stayed and paid them tribute with a sustained ovation.
The players came out of the dugout to acknowledge the cheers, and some Tigers even interrupted their on-field celebration to tip their caps to a club of rookies and rejects that somehow took them to the edge of elimination.
"There's quite a few teams not playing tomorrow. I don't know if any other teams got that ovation we got,'' A's outfielder Jonny Gomes said. "We compete, we battle, we fight, but that was one of the most professional things I've seen on the field, what the Tigers did for us.''
It might have been a different story, except for what Verlander did for the Tigers.
Last Updated on Friday, 12 October 2012 09:24
Category: Breaking News Written by Perry Bacon Jr, The Grio
DANVILLE, Kentucky – Joe Biden seemed to watch everything President Obama did last week in his debate and do the exact opposite.
The president looked on as Mitt Romney spoke over the moderator last week, seeming more observer than participant at times. Biden repeatedly interrupted not only Paul Ryan but also ABC’s Martha Raddatz. Obama didn’t bring up Mitt Romney’s controversial 47 percent remark, but the vice-president attacked not only that one, but a similar 30 percent remark Ryan made.
Obama wouldn’t accuse Romney of lying, while Biden at one point accused Ryan of speaking ” a bunch of malarkey” and later said, “not a single thing he’s said has been accurate.”
Biden at times seemed determined to list every fact possible to rebut Ryan, reeling off controversial comments and stands by Romney and Ryan.
The debate wasn’t a blowout: Ryan gave strong answers on many questions, and Biden’s smirking and interruptions at times seemed over the top.
But Biden’s performance is likely to comfort Democrats, who have been worried over the last week’s debate, which resulted in Romney moving to a tie in most polls with the president. It could blunt a further shift away from the president.
Last Updated on Friday, 12 October 2012 09:00
Category: Breaking News Written by Carolyn M. Brown, Blackenterprise
The U.S. Small Business Administration and U.S. Black Chamber Inc. have teamed up to help small minority businesses access guidance on federal contracting, face-to-face meetings, and match-making opportunities in teaming up with larger companies and graduates of SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program. The new partnership recently gave way to a one-day free National 8(a) Training, Business Matchmaking and Awards Ceremony held at the Carnegie Library in Washington, DC on October 10.
“SBA and U.S. Black Chamber are partners in a major effort to expand outreach and support to underserved minority business communities that have been hit harder by the economy than other sectors,” says SBA Deputy Administrator Marie C. Johns. The goal is to help participating companies leverage their assets and capabilities and to take businesses to a higher level.
Co-hosting this special event, “was an exceptional opportunity to partner with the SBA and provide a chance to recognize the firms who have worked diligently over the last year, despite harsh economic conditions, and managed to successfully grow their businesses,” adds Ron Busby, President and CEO of the U.S. Black Chamber Inc., the trade group supporting African American Chambers of Commerce and small business organizations nationwide.
During several scheduled forums, small businesses will learn how to market themselves to the federal government and go after federal contracting opportunities. The forum also will offer help with strategic alliances, joint venture opportunities, and mentor-protege arrangements within the 8(a) Program. The SBA encourages larger firms to team with a smaller firm to help with financing, management, and technical assistance
“The SBA does an incredible job of taking companies like mine and putting them together with companies that can enhance their business. They vet those particular companies and grow those companies that are part of 8(a),” says Keith Tillage, the co-owner of Tillage Construction LLC, an SBA assisted business based in Baton
Rouge, Louisiana. “I started with the 8(a) program in 2003. My company wouldn’t be where it is today without it.”
Tillage used the SBA’s help in developing a strategic business plan. The SBA also helped expand and increase the company’s contracting opportunities by linking the firm with federal agencies through the 8(a) program. The company’s first major client was the United States Department of Agriculture. Today, Tillage Construction is working federal contracts worth about $20 million.
Tillage Construction was a finalist for the 2012 Black Enterprise Small Business of the Year award and named the PTAC HUBZone Business of the Year. It was recognized in 2012 as one of the fastest growing private companies in America by Inc. 5000.
The family business has evolved from a simple hobby of making cabinets started by Keith’s father, Ken Tillage, 20 years ago into a full-service commercial construction company. After leaving corporate America, Keith teamed up with his father in 2000 to form Tillage Construction, a general contracting business specializing in design build, renovation, new construction, and demolition for the government and the private sector. Tillage Construction grew revenues 285% from $2 million in 2007 to $7.7 million in 2010. Revenues for 2011 topped $18.3 million with a staff of 16 full-time employees.
Not only does Tillage hire many of the residents from the Baton Rouge community, but he also utilizes as many subcontractors located in the area as possible. Those subcontractors who do not have the capacity to work on projects with Tillage Construction are encouraged to use the company as a resource and mentor to assist in their growth and development.
Tillage is excited about the National 8(a) Training and Matchmaking forum, noting how critical SBA programs are in helping small disadvantaged businesses to grow and compete in the open market. “I started very small and built my company brick by brick,” says Tillage. “You have to build your own capacity so that you get to a point where you are a viable player, where you can really sit down at the negotiation table and become a joint venture partner.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 October 2012 17:09
Category: Breaking News Written by John Whitesides, Huffingtonpost
DANVILLE, Ky., Oct 11 (Reuters) - With the Republicans grabbing the momentum in a shifting White House race, Vice President Joe Biden will look to recover some ground and ease Democratic worries on Thursday in a high-stakes debate against Republican challenger Paul Ryan.
Mitt Romney's steady climb in polls since President Barack Obama's poor performance in last week's first debate has raised the importance of the vice presidential showdown, which is rarely a critical event in White House campaigns.
This time it comes at a critical juncture, with Romney enjoying one of his best weeks of the campaign and Obama suffering the fallout from his passive performance four weeks before the Nov. 6 election.
"This has turned into a legitimate high-stakes debate because the ground has shifted so profoundly on the Democrats," said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Texas.
"Biden at least has to hold his own so panic doesn't set in for Democrats," he said. "They don't want to lose two in a row."
Biden and Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, meet at 9 p.m. EDT (0100 GMT Friday) in the nationally televised debate from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.
Romney and Republicans have been on a roll since last week's first debate, which came just as Obama appeared to be taking command of the race. A Reuters/Ipsos online poll on Wednesday showed Romney taking his first lead over Obama in more than a month, 45 percent to 44 percent.
It was one of several national polls showing the debate helped Romney significantly improve his personal image and his standing on key issues like handling the economy, as well as bolster his standing in key swing states that will decide the election.
Democrats have accused Romney of shifting or misrepresenting his positions on issues during and after the debate. Biden is expected to be more confrontational than Obama in an encounter that will include both domestic and foreign policy issues.
"He's going to have to be on his toes," Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs said of Biden on MSBNC.
"My guess is you're going to see what Mitt Romney tried to do, which is Paul Ryan ... walk away from the positions that he's held during this campaign and give a much much different, softer image for the American people," he said.
Democrats accused Romney of shifting positions again on Tuesday when he told the Des Moines Register that he was "not familiar with" any specific legislation targeting abortion that he would pursue. They said he was trying to soften his opposition to abortion rights to appeal to women.
'A PRO-LIFE CANDIDATE'
But Romney denied he was easing his strong anti-abortion rights stance. "I think I've said time and again that I'm a pro-life candidate and I'll be a pro-life president," he told reporters at a campaign stop in Ohio.
Ryan told reporters in Florida that he and Romney were unified on the abortion issue. "Our position is consistent and hasn't changed," he said.
Biden, the former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations and Judiciary committees, has much more experience on the national stage than Ryan, a 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman.
He was a strong performer in the Democratic primary debates during his failed 2008 run for the White House and fared well against Republican Sarah Palin in the 2008 vice presidential debate.
But he also has a reputation for gaffes, most recently his remark that the middle class has been "buried for the last four years" - the span of Obama's presidency - by a bad economy.
Obama, in an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, said he was not worried about Biden.
"I think Joe just needs to be Joe. Congressman Ryan is a smart and effective speaker. But his ideas are the wrong ones and Joe understands that," he said.
Ryan's previous debate experience consists of a few congressional debates in his native Wisconsin. He was happy to raise expectations for Biden's performance.
"Sure it's a nervous situation. Joe Biden's one of the most experienced debaters we have in modern politics," Ryan told reporters. "But the Achilles' heel he has is President Obama's record."
Ryan's budget plan, which has made him a hit with conservatives, is likely to play a starring role. Ryan proposes slashing government spending and creating a "voucher" system for the Medicare healthcare program for seniors, which Democrats say would leave some seniors paying more of their medical costs.
"The challenge for Biden, and Obama didn't do this at all, is to put the other side on the defensive and make them explain themselves and their policies," said Steven Schier, a political scientist at Carleton College in Minnesota.
Biden said he has been studying Ryan's plan during his debate preparations. Democratic Representative Chris Van Hollen has played Ryan in mock debates, while Ryan has been prepped by former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson.
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 October 2012 16:40
Category: Breaking News Written by Abena Agyeman-Fisher , Newsone
In a six-person roundtable meeting (pictured with NewsOne Senior Editor pictured left in black) in Leesburg, Va., First Lady Michelle Obama discussed her reaction to her husband’s debate performance, what’s at stake in this election, and whether Black women have her husband’s back before connecting with local residents in a electrifying rally.
Dressed in a lovely patterned dress that accentuated her svelte frame, the distinguished First Lady didn’t mince words on how she felt President Obama fared on his first debate last week.
“You know I’m biased. I think my husband has done a phenomenal job not just in the debate but over these last three and a half years, and I continue to be in awe with just how poised and consistent and honest he is and his ability to lay out a detailed and common sense plan,” Mrs. Obama said.
“I always sit there, like, He’s right! This is where we need to go! So I don’t feel the horse race of it. We just don’t spend a lot of time talking about it. I’m so proud of him, and I make sure that he knows it every single day.”
Proving just how unfazed they — and Obama supporters — were by any negativity stemming from President Obama’s performance, Mrs. Obama added that afterward, they not only went on to celebrate their 20th anniversary privately at a restaurant, but then the next day, the President was met with 35,000 “passionate” ralliers.
“There was a 35,000-person rally in Madison, Wisc. So what we always see is there’s sort of the scrum [the drama] and then there’s what’s happening in the world. You have 35,000 people…feel so passionate about this race that they want to make sure that they are engaged. That’s always been this road we’ve been on: There’s sort of this scrum, the punditry, and the analysis — and then there’s the passion we see every single day.”
To Mrs. Obama, voters are more concerned with the real issues as opposed to what the media and various politicos have to say, “People are really focused on the choices. And the choices are clear. Like the debate or don’t like the debate, the truth is there are a lot of women out there who care deeply that we and our daughters have the right to make decisions about our own bodies. We have people who are desperate to ensure that their kids can stay on their insurance until they are 26 years old.”
Shifting gears, the First Lady shared her thoughts about what is at stake this election. Under GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, the Affordable Health Care Act — which will grant 32-million Americans access to health insurance and stop insurance companies from denying children health insurance due to pre-existing conditions among other sizable gains — will likely be repealed. Legislation won decades ago in the Roe v. Wade landmark case for abortion rights is also threatening to be dialed back.
Attuned to the reality of what’s at stake, Mrs. Obama further expounded on these potential losses, “I think it is important for [voters] to understand that you are always fighting, you are always in there, you always have to vote. We said this at the last election to all the supporters, ‘It’s not just about this one election.
“Voting is our most-important nonviolent tool for change. And every now and then there is that reminder that someone with a different agenda may come in and completely disagree with everything that we take for granted. So if we want to protect it, young people, you’ve got to be at the table if you want to define the country you are going to inherit. Otherwise, you can’t be mad!
“So the solution is to get involved…I think it is important that we focus on making sure what is at stake. Whatever you believe, vote. And you’ve got to pay attention.”
It is no secret that a large segment of the African-American community put President Obama in office, with 95 percent of African Americans voting for him in 2008. And according to the NY Times, “Virtually every Black woman who voted did so for Mr. Obama,” making African-American women the largest voting bloc among all groups.
Mrs. Obama believes that Black women will continue to lead in voting because many of the hot-button issues that are at stake in this upcoming election affect our community directly.
“There’s definitely urgency this this election, but I think the urgency is different from 2008. In the first election, there was urgency, pride, and being a part of history with electing the first Black African American [President] and having a Black family in the White House and having a First Lady that women could identify with.
“But now it is about something bigger.
“For me, when I talk to Black women, when I see them out there, the issues are the same. It’s fighting about health care. The issue of health reform is a Black women’s issue. In so many instances, not only do you have gender disparities, but you have race disparities. If you look at breast cancer and the like, many of us [Black women] get it [illness] in a more dramatic form. Many of us are still [late in] getting preventative care and doing our mammograms.
“And then if you don’t have access to preventative care, you don’t have a regular doctor; you’re not able to go to a nutritionist. Then we catch our diseases way down [the road]. We’re Stage 4 by the time we are diagnosed.”
Obviously, health care isn’t the only issue that is an obstacle for our community. While the Labor Department released numbers last week that indicated that Black unemployment has dropped from from 14.1 to 13.4 percent and African-American teen joblessness has dropped slightly from 37.9 to 36.7 percent, we still continue to have the highest jobless rate in the nation.
Contrary to what some may think, Mrs. Obama didn’t skirt this issue, contending that how this nation addresses education, with the majority of African-American youth being a product of public schools and Black women facing stiff financial struggles during college, translates directly to our ability to succeed:
“Employment, is a huge issue for us. Making sure that we are on the right track, that we aren’t balancing the budget and lowering the deficit at the expense of education for our children. It is important that we are bolstering the public school system, which many of our children are coming out from.
“College is big for Black women and so many of us, me, my husband, we could not have gone to college without financial aid and that’s true for so many of us, Black, White, Blue, Green, you name it. But it is particularly true [for Black people] because so many of us are still first-generation college kids,” the First Lady said.
“There are Black women who didn’t go to college because their parents weren’t willing to sign the FASFA [Free Application for Student Aid form] and have their financial package looked at. Many Black women are going through college all alone coming out on the other end with so much debt, and you can’t even think about buying a home even if you are a lawyer because you are trying to pay down $100,000 to $200,000 on loans.
“So the issues are real and they are still there. So there is a seriousness about the direction of the country but let me tell you, older Black women love Barack Obama! Don’t mess with Barack Obama! There’s a lot of prayers going out and when you see the secret service, they’ve got to bolster up because they [Black women] are not going to let that [Obama losing the presidency] go!”
On a cool autumn day, hundreds of supporters stood for hours in — what looks to be — a barnyard. There are old people sitting along with rotund babies in strollers and children running to and fro in anticipation of hearing what the First Lady has to say. Not far from visible tractor trailers and rolling plains with grass that itches one’s ankles as they walk, Obama supporters jam out to everything from Bruce Springsteen‘s “We Take Care of Our Own” to Jennifer Hudson‘s “Love You I Do.” Right before Mrs. Obama hits the stage (pictured throughout), she explains why this November we can’t let up:
“The rhythm of the election is still the same. The ups, the downs, that was a part of it too — that we’ll never make it or we’re not raising enough money, but yeah, we are actually raising a lot of money. The last election, there were so many things I’d read in the paper and I’d go, No, it’s great out there!
I still feel that [way], but I think it is important for us to not take anything for granted. We have to be hungry, but it’s not just about re-electing Barack Obama, it’s about us voting and being engaged.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 October 2012 16:16
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