Aug 31, 2008

I swear Obama is damned if he do and damned if he don't. Everybody acrossed the board has praised Obama's acceptance speech, but that is not good enough for these people. They chose to criticize him for the fact that he didn't use call Dr. King by name. Are you serious? Was the speech really that great that that was the only criticism you could come up with? Dr. Maleveaux and Dr. West are better than this. If you are going to criticize the man, criticize him on legitamate things such as how he plans on paying for all the things he proposed in his speech. This is something we should critique each of the nominees on, but to talk about the fact that he didn't mention Dr. King whereas Hillary talked about Harriet Tubman is frivolous and shows how out of touch our black "intelluctuals" really are. Stop questioning the man's blackness. We get it. He's never going to be black enough for you. Get over it!!!

Aug 29, 2008

Labor Day! A day for relaxation and celebration of the American worker. A time to indulge in your holiday favorites.

As you prepare for a day filled with a lot of eating, just remember to make sensible choices. Most are getting ready to grill a variety of meat that include steaks, hot dogs, sausages, ribs and burgers; and you’ll more than likely prepare mounds of potato salad, macaroni salad, and baked beans; and the traditional desserts like pound cake, apple pie, German chocolate cake, and peach cobbler. All of which translates to a lot of fat, sodium, carbohydrates, and sugar.

There are some simple things you can do to minimize the damage while still enjoying your holiday. Instead eating the high fatty meat… choose meats lower in fat like marinated chicken breast, or seafood like halibut, salmon, scallops or shrimp. Instead of hamburgers with ground beef, choose to make your burgers with ground turkey or chicken. Trade in your traditional white bun for a whole-wheat bun, your iceberg lettuce for mixed greens, and your mayonnaise for honey mustard. I know you’re thinking about the potato salad. Well, let’s face it; a summer get together wouldn't be right without potato or macaroni salad. One trick to reducing the fat and calories is to replace mayonnaise with light mayo.

If you’re hosting the Labor Day party, minimize the alcoholic beverages and include an array of healthier items such as vegetables and fruit. Use low-calorie and fat-free salad dressings. Make the healthier items the center piece choices rather than the sweets and meats. Give your guests choices that provide a better chance of not overdoing it with high-fat, high-calorie choices.

Don’t forget to include some activities to get you and your family and friends moving like flag football or a basketball game, tossing a frisbee, playing volleyball or swimming.

Don't be discouraged if you give in to temptation. Don't abandon all the good work you have done so far. You can always go back to your healthy eating the following day.

Have a wonderful holiday…

Fitness coach Bridgette Collins is the author of IMAGINE LIVING HEALTHIER: MIND, BODY AND SOUL

Are America’s Married Fathers, Divorced Fathers, Teenaged Fathers, Single Fathers, Custodial Fathers, Non-Custodial Fathers, “Long Distance” Fathers and “Stay-At-Home” Fathers getting what they need to create key “pieces of the puzzle” that will enable them to provide for and strengthen and empower their families and the communities in which they live and work? Are America’s Married Fathers, Divorced Fathers, Teenaged Fathers, Single Fathers, Custodial Fathers, Non-Custodial Fathers, “Long Distance” Fathers and “Stay-At-Home” Fathers getting what they need to create key “pieces of the puzzle” that will enable them to positively shape the minds and souls of our children – our future – our bridge to the future?

Is a National Fatherhood Platform a viable vehicle that would enable America’s Married Fathers, Divorced Fathers, Teenaged Fathers, Single Fathers, Custodial Fathers, Non-Custodial Fathers, “Long Distance” Fathers and “Stay-At-Home” Fathers to get what they need to create key “pieces of the puzzle” that will enable them to provide for and strengthen and empower their families and the communities in which they live and work? Is a National Fatherhood Platform a viable vehicle that would enable America’s Married Fathers, Divorced Fathers, Teenaged Fathers, Single Fathers, Custodial Fathers, Non-Custodial Fathers, “Long Distance” Fathers and “Stay-At-Home” Fathers to get what they need to create key “pieces of the puzzle” that will enable them to positively shape the minds and souls of our children – our future – our bridge to the future?

Is America ready for a National Fatherhood Platform?

Is America ready for a National Fatherhood Platform that would seek to resolve the health crisis for men in the United States?

Heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, prostate cancer, hypertension, and Alzheimer's Disease are just a few of the unique health issues that confront men in the United States.

It is estimated that approximately 22.1% of men in the United States have coronary heart disease.

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer accounts for approximately 9% of all cancer-related deaths in men. At least 186,320 new cases of prostate cancer will be reported in 2008 according to the American Cancer Society. It is estimated that in 2008, approximately 28,660 prostate cancer patients will die.

While colorectal cancer is believed to be the third most common form of cancer in the United States, men have a slightly higher risk of developing colorectal cancer than women. It is estimated that, in 2008, the number of adults diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the United States will reach approximately 148,810 – 77,250 of these individuals will be men and 71,560 will be women.

It is estimated that, in 2008, approximately 49,960 colorectal cancer patients will die. And it is further estimated that 24,260 men will succumb to colorectal cancer in 2008.

Approximately 5,000,000 individuals in the United States have Alzheimer’s Disease. It is estimated that 1 in every 10 men is expected to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease by their 55th birthday.

Could a National Fatherhood Platform effect with deliberate speed the passage of the Men’s Health Act of 2007 (House Bill H.R.1440 and Senate Bill S.640) -- legislation which is designed to establish an Office of Men’s Health within the United States Department of Health and Human Services responsive to the severe health crisis that exists for American men in the same manner that the Office of Women’s Health responds to the unique health issues of American women?

Could a National Fatherhood Platform be the vehicle through which Equal Parenting would become the law of the land and eradicate parental alienation syndrome?

In October 2007, Equal Parenting became the law of the land in Denmark. In the United States, Equal Parenting Initiatives have been launched in a number of states which include California, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio and West Virginia to amend existing legislation governing parental custodial rights in separation and divorce cases. The Equal Parenting Initiatives seek to create legislation which allows for the granting of equal legal custody and equal physical custody of children whose parents have either separated or divorced. Equal Parenting Initiatives seek to provide children of separated or divorced parents with equal access to both parents and allow both parents although they may be separated or divorced to equally nurture and mentor their children.

Could a National Fatherhood Platform be the first step in returning Fathers in America to the Parenting Equation?
Are you serious John McCain? Do you really think this is the way to get the Hillary supporters? The fact that he think the only reason women will support a woman is because she is a female is so condescending. I will have you know, Sen. McCain, there is no one harder on women than other women. Women judge each other like it's nobody's business. I am really shocked by your pick. There were other women in the Republican party you could have gone with such as Condoleeza Rice (this would have been a masterful chess move), Kay Bailey Hutchison or Christie Todd Whitman. These would have been women that I could have seen some of Hillary supporters going for, but you have to be kidding me if you think these women are so stupid that they would support you just because you chose a former beauty queen. I am insulted for them. Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton and the fact your campaign would try to compare the two is beyond mind-boggling.

You attacked Barack Obama on his lack of experience and the fact that he wasn't ready to be Commander-in-chief, but yet you go and chose someone who has less than two years of experience as an executive of a state. Are you serious? So you are saying to America that this woman is more qualified than Barack Obama to run this country. Unbelievable!!!

Oh, and to all the pundits that said Joe Biden would have to handle her with kid gloves in the VP debate please get over yourselves. Hillary Clinton has set the bar when it comes to debates. She won every debate she was in and no one treated her with kid gloves. Trust me, if Sarah Palin wants to stump around the big league she better be able to hold her own. Politics is a tough game especially on the national level so she better be ready. She does not need to be treated like a poor helpless woman because that is not what we want from our female leaders. So I say Joe Biden gives her all he got.

Just because she has your anatomy does not mean she has your viewpoint. I hope the Hillary supporters keep that in mind.
Barack Obama Campaign Spokesman Bill Burton:

"Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies -- that's not the change we need, it's just more of the same."

Rep. Rahm Emanuel:

"Is this really who the Republican Party wants to be one heartbeat away from the Presidency? Given Sarah Palin's lack of experience on every front and on nearly every issue, this Vice Presidential pick doesn't show judgment: it shows political panic."

Rep. Jim Clyburn :

"I do believe that McCain has to do something to reshuffle the cards, shake up the establishment, do something unexpected and Governor Palin has all the kinds of things that McCain might see as a way to shake things up. I think [her selection] would be something similar to Dan Quayle. Dan Quayle proved to be sort of an embarrassment as a campaigner. Being thrust on a national stage like that could be very tough. Now Mondale tried to shake things up by going with Geraldine Ferraro.she proved to be a disaster as a running mate. And as a campaigner, she was absolutely awful. And so I just think that it is very risky for McCain to do this, but it may be all he has left."

Type rest of the post here

Wow!!!! I must say I am really surprised. This pick is really telling of Sen. McCain. Here he has been campaigning against Sen. Obama on the fact that he lacks experience, but then he goes and chooses a 1st time governor from Alaska who has only been in office for two years. I really want to know how that Texas delegate that was crying on CNN about Hillary Clinton feels about this. Since experience is such a big thing to these people I would think they would feel insulted by this pick. Do he really think that women are so shallow that we would settle for just any woman being on the ticket? Maybe he does.

Gov. Palin is 44 years old so I guess John McCain was taking this into account also since today is his 72nd birthday. Oh, and did I forget to mention that Gov. Palin is also under investigation in Alaska:

But Palin’s seemingly bright future was clouded in late July when the state legislature voted to hire an independent investigator to find out whether she tried to have a state official fire her ex-brother-in-law from his job as a state trooper.

The allegation was made by former Department of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, whom Palin fired in mid-July. (Source)

I am really shocked he made his pick, but I'm pretty sure the Obama people are happy he took the experience thing off the table because you can't argue about experience when the person you've selected as your running mate has absolutely none.

I want to see how the PUMA people react to this especially since Gov. Palin is Pro-Life.

Aug 28, 2008

Now, I see how people who were around when John F. Kennedy was president felt. Obama and his family really mad me proud tonight.

Read the text of the speech after the jump.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama
"The American Promise"
Democratic National Convention
August 28, 2008
Denver, Colorado

As prepared for delivery


To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation;

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

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

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story - of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart - that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That's why I stand here tonight. Because for two hundred and thirty two years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women - students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors -- found the courage to keep it alive.

We meet at one of those defining moments - a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land - enough! This moment - this election - is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough."

Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives - on health care and education and the economy - Senator McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made "great progress" under this President. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisors - the man who wrote his economic plan - was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a "mental recession," and that we've become, and I quote, "a nation of whiners."

A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that I know.

Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it.

For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy - give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is - you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps - even if you don't have boots. You're on your own.

Well it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America.

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President - when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job - an economy that honors the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great - a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She's the one who taught me about hard work. She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.

I don't know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as President of the United States.

What is that promise?

It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves - protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.

That's the promise of America - the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper.

That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.
Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes - cut taxes - for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he's said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy - wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans.

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don't have that chance. I'll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American - if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don't, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime - by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less - because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy.

And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our "intellectual and moral strength." Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can't replace parents; that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility - that's the essence of America's promise.

And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America's promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next Commander-in-Chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.

For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just "muddle through" in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell - but he won't even go to the cave where he lives.

And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush Administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we're wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That's not the judgment we need. That won't keep America safe. We need a President who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

You don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice - but it is not the change we need.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans -- Democrats and Republicans - have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America - they have served the United States of America.

So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose - our sense of higher purpose. And that's what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America's promise - the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what - it's worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.

I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been about you.

For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us - that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it - because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

America, this is one of those moments.

I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I've seen it. Because I've lived it. I've seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I've seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.

And I've seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they'd pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit - that American promise - that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours - a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln's Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there could've heard many things. They could've heard words of anger and discord. They could've been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead - people of every creed and color, from every walk of life - is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.

"We cannot walk alone," the preacher cried. "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."

America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise - that American promise - and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.

Check out John McCain's ad congratulating Barack Obama on his historic nomination after the jump.

I must say I am completely shocked by this development. My heart really goes out to the children that are affected by this. The adults involved in this situation have really failed these children in every way imaginable. I find it hard to believe that something like this could have taken place in a predominantly white school district. I know people that are personally affected by this and I just don't know what to say. This really breaks my heart.

The AJC reports:
Clayton County schools are the first in the nation in the last 40 years to lose accreditation, failing to meet eight of nine improvement mandates.

The action came a few hours prior to Gov. Sonny Perdue’s announcement that he was immediately removing four school board members found to have flouted the law. A state administrative judge had recommended their removal.

In an overview of the system’s loss of accreditation, officials for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools said problems with the board were a factor.

The main problem was that the school system did not have a functioning board, said Mark A. Elgart, president and chief executive officer of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The board’s conflicts affected everything from teaching and learning to staffing and allocation of resources, accreditors said.

“It affected the entire school system,” Elgart said Thursday afternoon at a news conference. “Today, the students’ education in this particular district is being compromised.”

A loss of accreditation means the 50,000 Clayton students could have trouble getting into some colleges and universities, or receiving scholarship money.

In March, the national Accreditation Commission, which governs SACS, ordered the school system to meet nine mandates or lose accreditation by Sept. 1.

The commission on Tuesday reviewed the school system’s progress and found only one mandate had been fully met, Elgart said.

Click here to read further on this report.

Now you see why Joe Biden was the selection. FANTASTIC!!!!

Continue after the jump to see Bill Clinton's passionate speech.

Good Job, Mr. President.

Aug 27, 2008

You know when you're stressed. Your heart beats faster, your muscles tense, your stomach gets tied in knots. But the effects of stress don't stop there. Stress may be affecting your health, and you may not even realize it. Stress is a reaction to the outside world, be it work, family or the home. It’s so powerful that it can weaken the body making it easier for a condition or illness to appear.

It has been estimated that two-thirds of all visits to physicians are for stress-related problems. Recent evidence indicates that the physical changes associated with stress may contribute to the leading causes of death - heart disease and cancer.

Stress symptoms often mimic symptoms of other problems. You may think illness is to blame for that nagging headache, your frequent forgetfulness or your decreased productivity at work. But the common denominator may be stress. Indeed, stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior.

Affects on your body include… headache, chest pain, high blood pressure, shortness of breath, muscle aches, tiredness, and sleep problems.

Affects on your thoughts and feelings include… anxiety, restlessness, worrying, irritability, depression, sadness, anger, job dissatisfaction, forgetfulness, and burnout.

Affects on your behavior include… overeating, undereating, angry outbursts, drug abuse, excessive drinking, and increased smoking.

Whatever your situation, stress need not damage your health. If you handle your stress now, you can quickly be on the road to a healthier, happier life. Eliminating stress completely from your life is impossible. However, implementing some stress management techniques can subdue some of its' harmful effects. Stress management includes following a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and making time for uninterrupted relaxation.

What’s the impact of stress in your life?

Fitness coach Bridgette Collins is the author of IMAGINE LIVING HEALTHIER: MIND, BODY AND SOUL


I'm speechless...

I just found out that Mrs. Anne Price-Mills is a delegate from Texas.

I'm still speechless!!!!

John Lewis Commenting on Obama Clinching the Nomination
The Faith and Fiction Retreat 2008 Recap

(to the left authors at eh Retreat's Lua and another pic of beautiful Destin, Florida)

Last week I returned from Destin, Florida and the Faith and Fiction Retreat.
The purpose of the retreat is to allow readers to come together in a spirit of sisterhood and to get up-close-and-personal with their favorite Faith Authors!

Author and playwright, Tiffany Warren hosted the event. This week I would like to share what I learned from the retreat. I hope it will help you have just as great of an experience as I had.

Today I want to talk about retreat on the side of a book marketing promotion.

2. How to Hack Your Book Event

Now it's a an author your main goal when attending a book event is to sale books. However, when you think about your writing career you should first and foremost think of a book event is an opportunity to build lasting relationships with likeminded readers. Afterall, authors are readers, too.

But if you've attended a book event, you know that they are busy. One of the major gripes I hear from my author friends and clients is that there are too many authors and too little opps to sale books. However, I disagree. If you are a savvy sista writer, then you have to bring some savvy pr sense to the book signing table.

Let me give you my three good cents. You need to become a pro at hacking book events. More savvy than crashing a party, hacking an event is taking down your competitors, slashing titles, bringing the attendees to your table.) Here's how.

You need to prepare to accomplish three things in three phases at the event.
  1. Before the event
Not only do you need to finalize logistics, lodgings, how your books will be sold, etc, but you need to decide what kind of connections you want to make while there. Be it you want to reconnect with certain authors, you want to be introduced to an author, you need an author as a mentor, you want to connect with a bookclub president...before you get to the event you need to reach out to those individuals and invite them to enter a conversation with you now and to close it at the event. Set up a meeting, a dinner, an elevator chat--something scheduled--to make this connection. If you need to make restaurant reservations, cook a meal, whatever, take care of those things as well before you leave.

2. At the event- End the Conversation and Make New Connections

Be the life of the event. Make every opportunity to smile and connect with readers. Eat with readers. Befriend at least three and having a blast. Meet with your preconnections share your vision and have more fun.

3. After the event - Start a New Conversation

Wait about a week and reconnect with your new and old friends. Listen to the conversation, then start a new one, perhaps the one you were to chicken to ask when you met in person for the first time...And have fun.


To create long lasting relationships with your writing community and to give yourself something to look forward to besides selling and to change your mindset about the task. If you are a closet shy person like myself than the thought of selling your novel takes you mentally out your element and away from your fun zone. Remember if you're not having fun, then you're doing something wrong.


Dee Stewart is a writing diva mother, News Editor for Hope for Women Magazine(covering the DNC this week,) inspirational book reviewer for Romantic Times Magazine, Atlanta Satellite Bookseller for Mocha Readers Bookstores, and owner of Christian Fiction Blog and The Christian Fiction Network. Her writings have appeared in: Spirit Led Woman, Gospel Today, Good Girl Book Club, The Dabbling Mum, Atlanta Christian Family, Mosaic Literary, Precious Times, Vertical Fix just a few. Visit her at Follow me on Twitter at DeeGospel

You can say what you want about Hillary Clinton, but that lady gave one hell of a speech last night. She reminded me exactly what it was that I liked about the Clinton's in the 90's.

She had some very poignant quotes in this speech. These are a few of my favorites:

"No way. No how. No McCain,"

"We don't need four more years ... of the last eight years,"

And my personal favorite:

"...With an agenda like that, it makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities, Because they're awfully hard to tell apart."

I really believe that an Obama/Biden ticket is a formidable ticket, but I think there would have been something magical about an Obama/Clinton ticket. It's really too bad some people let pride get in the way. I think Hillary Clinton was spectacular last night.

Aug 26, 2008

I am honored to be here tonight. A proud mother. A proud Democrat. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama.

My friends, it is time to take back the country we love.

Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines.

This is a fight for the future. And it’s a fight we must win.

I haven’t spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women’s rights at home and around the world . . . to see another Republican in the White House squander the promise of our country and the hopes of our people.

And you haven’t worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.

No way. No how. No McCain.

Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our President.

Tonight we need to remember what a Presidential election is really about. When the polls have closed, and the ads are finally off the air, it comes down to you -- the American people, your lives, and your children’s futures.

For me, it’s been a privilege to meet you in your homes, your workplaces, and your communities. Your stories reminded me everyday that America’s greatness is bound up in the lives of the American people -- your hard work, your devotion to duty, your love for your children, and your determination to keep going, often in the face of enormous obstacles.

You taught me so much, you made me laugh, and . . . you even made me cry. You allowed me to become part of your lives. And you became part of mine.

I will always remember the single mom who had adopted two kids with autism, didn’t have health insurance and discovered she had cancer. But she greeted me with her bald head painted with my name on it and asked me to fight for health care.

I will always remember the young man in a Marine Corps t-shirt who waited months for medical care and said to me: “Take care of my buddies; a lot of them are still over there….and then will you please help take care of me?”

I will always remember the boy who told me his mom worked for the minimum wage and that her employer had cut her hours. He said he just didn’t know what his family was going to do.

I will always be grateful to everyone from all fifty states, Puerto Rico and the territories, who joined our campaign on behalf of all those people left out and left behind by the Bush Administrtation.

To my supporters, my champions -- my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits – from the bottom of my heart: Thank you.

You never gave in. You never gave up. And together we made history.

Along the way, America lost two great Democratic champions who would have been here with us tonight. One of our finest young leaders, Arkansas Democratic Party Chair, Bill Gwatney, who believed with all his heart that America and the South could be and should be Democratic from top to bottom.

And Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a dear friend to many of us, a loving mother and courageous leader who never gave up her quest to make America fairer and smarter, stronger and better. Steadfast in her beliefs, a fighter of uncommon grace, she was an inspiration to me and to us all.

Our heart goes out to Stephanie’s son, Mervyn, Jr, and Bill’s wife, Rebecca, who traveled to Denver to join us at our convention.

Bill and Stephanie knew that after eight years of George Bush, people are hurting at home, and our standing has eroded around the world. We have a lot of work ahead.

Jobs lost, houses gone, falling wages, rising prices. The Supreme Court in a right-wing headlock and our government in partisan gridlock. The biggest deficit in our nation’s history. Money borrowed from the Chinese to buy oil from the Saudis.

Putin and Georgia, Iraq and Iran.

I ran for President to renew the promise of America. To rebuild the middle class and sustain the American Dream, to provide the opportunity to work hard and have that work rewarded, to save for college, a home and retirement, to afford the gas and groceries and still have a little left over each month.

To promote a clean energy economy that will create millions of green collar jobs.

To create a health care system that is universal, high quality, and affordable so that parents no longer have to choose between care for themselves or their children or be stuck in dead end jobs simply to keep their insurance.

To create a world class education system and make college affordable again.

To fight for an America defined by deep and meaningful equality - from civil rights to labor rights, from women's rights to gay rights, from ending discrimination to promoting unionization to providing help for the most important job there is: caring for our families. To help every child live up to his or her God-given potential.

To make America once again a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.

To bring fiscal sanity back to Washington and make our government an instrument of the public good, not of private plunder.

To restore America's standing in the world, to end the war in Iraq, bring our troops home and honor their service by caring for our veterans.

And to join with our allies to confront our shared challenges, from poverty and genocide to terrorism and global warming.

Most of all, I ran to stand up for all those who have been invisible to their government for eight long years.

Those are the reasons I ran for President. Those are the reasons I support Barack Obama. And those are the reasons you should too.

I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?

We need leaders once again who can tap into that special blend of American confidence and optimism that has enabled generations before us to meet our toughest challenges. Leaders who can help us show ourselves and the world that with our ingenuity, creativity, and innovative spirit, there are no limits to what is possible in America.

This won’t be easy. Progress never is. But it will be impossible if we don’t fight to put a Democrat in the White House.

We need to elect Barack Obama because we need a President who understands that America can’t compete in a global economy by padding the pockets of energy speculators, while ignoring the workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas. We need a President who understands that we can’t solve the problems of global warming by giving windfall profits to the oil companies while ignoring opportunities to invest in new technologies that will build a green economy.

We need a President who understands that the genius of America has always depended on the strength and vitality of the middle class.

Barack Obama began his career fighting for workers displaced by the global economy. He built his campaign on a fundamental belief that change in this country must start from the ground up, not the top down. He knows government must be about “We the people” not “We the favored few.”

And when Barack Obama is in the White House, he’ll revitalize our economy, defend the working people of America, and meet the global challenges of our time. Democrats know how to do this. As I recall, President Clinton and the Democrats did it before. And President Obama and the Democrats will do it again.

He’ll transform our energy agenda by creating millions of green jobs and building a new, clean energy future. He’ll make sure that middle class families get the tax relief they deserve. And I can’t wait to watch Barack Obama sign a health care plan into law that covers every single American.

Barack Obama will end the war in Iraq responsibly and bring our troops home – a first step to repairing our alliances around the world.

And he will have with him a terrific partner in Michelle Obama. Anyone who saw Michelle’s speech last night knows she will be a great First Lady for America.

Americans are also fortunate that Joe Biden will be at Barack Obama’s side. He is a strong leader and a good man. He understands both the economic stresses here at home and the strategic challenges abroad. He is pragmatic, tough, and wise. And, of course, Joe will be supported by his wonderful wife, Jill.

They will be a great team for our country.

Now, John McCain is my colleague and my friend.

He has served our country with honor and courage.

But we don’t need four more years . . . of the last eight years.

More economic stagnation …and less affordable health care.

More high gas prices …and less alternative energy.

More jobs getting shipped overseas …and fewer jobs created here.

More skyrocketing debt ...home foreclosures …and mounting bills that are crushing our middle class families.

More war . . . less diplomacy.

More of a government where the privileged come first …and everyone else comes last.

John McCain says the economy is fundamentally sound. John McCain doesn’t think that 47 million people without health insurance is a crisis. John McCain wants to privatize Social Security. And in 2008, he still thinks it’s okay when women don’t earn equal pay for equal work.

With an agenda like that, it makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities. Because these days they’re awfully hard to tell apart.

America is still around after 232 years because we have risen to the challenge of every new time, changing to be faithful to our values of equal opportunity for all and the common good.

And I know what that can mean for every man, woman, and child in America. I’m a United States Senator because in 1848 a group of courageous women and a few brave men gathered in Seneca Falls, New York, many traveling for days and nights, to participate in the first convention on women’s rights in our history.

And so dawned a struggle for the right to vote that would last 72 years, handed down by mother to daughter to granddaughter – and a few sons and grandsons along the way.

These women and men looked into their daughters’ eyes, imagined a fairer and freer world, and found the strength to fight. To rally and picket. To endure ridicule and harassment. To brave violence and jail.

And after so many decades – 88 years ago on this very day – the 19th amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote would be forever enshrined in our Constitution.

My mother was born before women could vote. But in this election my daughter got to vote for her mother for President.

This is the story of America. Of women and men who defy the odds and never give up.

How do we give this country back to them?

By following the example of a brave New Yorker , a woman who risked her life to shepherd slaves along the Underground Railroad.

And on that path to freedom, Harriett Tubman had one piece of advice.

If you hear the dogs, keep going.

If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.

If they're shouting after you, keep going.

Don't ever stop. Keep going.

If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.

Even in the darkest of moments, ordinary Americans have found the faith to keep going.

I’ve seen it in you. I’ve seen it in our teachers and firefighters, nurses and police officers, small business owners and union workers, the men and women of our military – you always keep going.

We are Americans. We're not big on quitting.

But remember, before we can keep going, we have to get going by electing Barack Obama president.

We don't have a moment to lose or a vote to spare.

Nothing less than the fate of our nation and the future of our children hang in the balance.

I want you to think about your children and grandchildren come election day. And think about the choices your parents and grandparents made that had such a big impact on your life and on the life of our nation.

We've got to ensure that the choice we make in this election honors the sacrifices of all who came before us, and will fill the lives of our children with possibility and hope.

That is our duty, to build that bright future, and to teach our children that in America there is no chasm too deep, no barrier too great – and no ceiling too high – for all who work hard, never back down, always keep going, have faith in God, in our country, and in each other.

Thank you so much. God bless America and Godspeed to you all.

Risky behaviors are those lifestyle choices that will eventually cause you to experience some health problems.

One major risky behavior we constantly hear about is smoking. Health concerns associated with smoking include lung disease, early menopause, infertility, and pregnancy complications. Smoking triples the risk of dying from heart disease among those who are middle-aged. Second-hand smoke – smoke that you inhale when others smoke – also affects your health. If you smoke, quit today! Help lines, counseling, medications, and other forms of support are available to help you quit.

Two other risky behaviors include eating fatty foods and drinking too much alcohol. We all know that high fatty foods can increase the risk of developing a particular chronic disease, such as heart disease. But, there is also the issue of drinking alcohol. There is much information available regarding the benefits of alcohol consumption, as well as the risks, causing such conflict that the information can be confusing and frustrating. The key is moderation. Studies have indicated that red wine can raise HDL cholesterol (the Good cholesterol) and prevent LDL cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol) from forming. It may help prevent blood clots and reduce the blood vessel damage caused by fat deposits. As far as moderate alcohol consumption, it is also suggested that alcohol, other than wine, reduces your risk of developing heart disease, whereas excessive alcohol consumption can lead to serious health problems, including cancer of the pancreas, mouth, esophagus and liver, as well as breast cancer, sudden death in people with cardiovascular disease, and cirrhosis of the liver. The key is moderation. If you go to happy hour two to three nights during a given week, and drink an array of drinks – Cosmos… Chocolate and Apple Martinis… that’s more than a moderate amount.

Living healthy now determines how long and how well you live. Avoiding a lifestyle that puts you at risk for disease has long-term benefits, allowing you not only to avoid chronic diseases, but also disability that can hamper enjoyment of your long life. It's time to lessen the impact on our healthcare system. It's time for you to avoid those risk behaviors.

Fitness coach Bridgette Collins is the author of IMAGINE LIVING HEALTHIER: MIND, BODY AND SOUL

Now I realize I am one of the most anti-mainstream media people out there, but I saw this on MSNBC yesterday and I thought it was about damn time someone challenge these PUMA's (Party Unity My Ass) on their insanity. How can you be a supporter of Hillary Clinton and turn around and vote for John McCain? These are the type of people that are willing to cut off their noses to spite their face...SMDH!!!

You may be asking yourself why I keep asking you to watch the DNC live; well, the answer is actually quite simple. If you are trying to watch it on mainstream media then you should realize that they are not showing you all the speeches. The only speeches they are concerned with are of those people who are "high-profiled." One of the most powerful speeches given tonight was by a woman from North Carolina who talked about the fact that she and her husband worked their entire life but then one day the textile mill that kept their town functioning decided to close up one day. Not only did the mill close, but the CEO of the company was given a "golden parachute." Sounds familiar...huh. Her husband, who is 62, decided to go back to school but until then the two of them have been forced to live off his social security. Sounds familiar?

I suggest you watch the DNC live and make up your mind for yourself. Not listening to these pundits who tell you what you are supposed to think and make up your mind for yourself. That is the reason God gave you your own brain; so you can think for yourself.

If you do not wish to watch it on your computer then turn to CSPAN on your television and watch it there. I promise you it's worth it.

Wake Up America - Dennis Kucinich

Oh, here's another speech I'm pretty sure you didn't see on mainstream news media. WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aug 25, 2008

My momma has always said you can tell alot about a man based on the woman he chooses as a spouse. Based on Barack Obama's choice, I can tell he is a very smart man because on a smart man would choose a woman like Michelle. As a black woman, this sista has made me so proud that words cannot explain how I am feeling right now. She looked absolutely stunning and she was beyond eloquent, graceful, and dignified. She exemplifies the traits that are shared by my mother, my grandmother, my sisters, aunts, and cousins. Michelle you made a little colored girl from Georgia really proud today. God bless you and your family sista!

Read the entire text of Michelle's speech after the jump.

As you might imagine, for Barack, running for President is nothing compared to that first game of basketball with my brother Craig.

I can't tell you how much it means to have Craig and my mom here tonight. Like Craig, I can feel my dad looking down on us, just as I've felt his presence in every grace-filled moment of my life.

At six-foot-six, I've often felt like Craig was looking down on me too...literally. But the truth is, both when we were kids and today, he wasn't looking down on me - he was watching over me.

And he's been there for me every step of the way since that clear February day 19 months ago, when - with little more than our faith in each other and a hunger for change - we joined my husband, Barack Obama, on the improbable journey that's brought us to this moment.

But each of us also comes here tonight by way of our own improbable journey.

come here tonight as a sister, blessed with a brother who is my mentor, my protector and my lifelong friend.

I come here as a wife who loves my husband and believes he will be an extraordinary president.

I come here as a Mom whose girls are the heart of my heart and the center of my world - they're the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, and the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night. Their future - and all our children's future - is my stake in this election.

And I come here as a daughter - raised on the South Side of Chicago by a father who was a blue collar city worker, and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me. My mother's love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion, and her intelligence reflected in my own daughters.

My Dad was our rock. Although he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in his early thirties, he was our provider, our champion, our hero. As he got sicker, it got harder for him to walk, it took him longer to get dressed in the morning. But if he was in pain, he never let on. He never stopped smiling and laughing - even while struggling to button his shirt, even while using two canes to get himself across the room to give my Mom a kiss. He just woke up a little earlier, and worked a little harder.

He and my mom poured everything they had into me and Craig. It was the greatest gift a child can receive: never doubting for a single minute that you're loved, and cherished, and have a place in this world. And thanks to their faith and hard work, we both were able to go on to college. So I know firsthand from their lives - and mine - that the American Dream endures.

And you know, what struck me when I first met Barack was that even though he had this funny name, even though he'd grown up all the way across the continent in Hawaii, his family was so much like mine. He was raised by grandparents who were working class folks just like my parents, and by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills just like we did. Like my family, they scrimped and saved so that he could have opportunities they never had themselves. And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them.

And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children - and all children in this nation - to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.

And as our friendship grew, and I learned more about Barack, he introduced me to the work he'd done when he first moved to Chicago after college. Instead of heading to Wall Street, Barack had gone to work in neighborhoods devastated when steel plants shut down, and jobs dried up. And he'd been invited back to speak to people from those neighborhoods about how to rebuild their community.

The people gathered together that day were ordinary folks doing the best they could to build a good life. They were parents living paycheck to paycheck; grandparents trying to get by on a fixed income; men frustrated that they couldn't support their families after their jobs disappeared. Those folks weren't asking for a handout or a shortcut. They were ready to work - they wanted to contribute. They believed - like you and I believe - that America should be a place where you can make it if you try.

Barack stood up that day, and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about "The world as it is" and "The world as it should be." And he said that all too often, we accept the distance between the two, and settle for the world as it is - even when it doesn't reflect our values and aspirations. But he reminded us that we know what our world should look like. We know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. And he urged us to believe in ourselves - to find the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be. And isn't that the great American story?

It's the story of men and women gathered in churches and union halls, in town squares and high school gyms - people who stood up and marched and risked everything they had - refusing to settle, determined to mold our future into the shape of our ideals.

It is because of their will and determination that this week, we celebrate two anniversaries: the 88th anniversary of women winning the right to vote, and the 45th anniversary of that hot summer day when Dr. King lifted our sights and our hearts with his dream for our nation.

I stand here today at the crosscurrents of that history - knowing that my piece of the American Dream is a blessing hard won by those who came before me. All of them driven by the same conviction that drove my dad to get up an hour early each day to painstakingly dress himself for work. The same conviction that drives the men and women I've met all across this country:

People who work the day shift, kiss their kids goodnight, and head out for the night shift - without disappointment, without regret - that goodnight kiss a reminder of everything they're working for.

The military families who say grace each night with an empty seat at the table. The servicemen and women who love this country so much, they leave those they love most to defend it.

The young people across America serving our communities - teaching children, cleaning up neighborhoods, caring for the least among us each and every day.

People like Hillary Clinton, who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters - and sons - can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher.

People like Joe Biden, who's never forgotten where he came from, and never stopped fighting for folks who work long hours and face long odds and need someone on their side again.

All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won't do - that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.

That is the thread that connects our hearts. That is the thread that runs through my journey and Barack's journey and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the current of history meets this new tide of hope.

That is why I love this country.

And in my own life, in my own small way, I've tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. That's why I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities. Because I believe that each of us - no matter what our age or background or walk of life - each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation.

It's a belief Barack shares - a belief at the heart of his life's work.

It's what he did all those years ago, on the streets of Chicago, setting up job training to get people back to work and afterschool programs to keep kids safe - working block by block to help people lift up their families.

It's what he did in the Illinois Senate, moving people from welfare to jobs, passing tax cuts for hard working families, and making sure women get equal pay for equal work.

It's what he's done in the United States Senate, fighting to ensure the men and women who serve this country are welcomed home not just with medals and parades, but with good jobs and benefits and health care - including mental health care.

That's why he's running - to end the war in Iraq responsibly, to build an economy that lifts every family, to make health care available for every American, and to make sure every child in this nation gets a world class education all the way from preschool to college. That's what Barack Obama will do as President of the United States of America.

He'll achieve these goals the same way he always has - by bringing us together and reminding us how much we share and how alike we really are. You see, Barack doesn't care where you're from, or what your background is, or what party - if any - you belong to. That's not how he sees the world. He knows that thread that connects us - our belief in America's promise, our commitment to our children's future - is strong enough to hold us together as one nation even when we disagree.

It was strong enough to bring hope to those neighborhoods in Chicago.

It was strong enough to bring hope to the mother he met worried about her child in Iraq; hope to the man who's unemployed, but can't afford gas to find a job; hope to the student working nights to pay for her sister's health care, sleeping just a few hours a day.

And it was strong enough to bring hope to people who came out on a cold Iowa night and became the first voices in this chorus for change that's been echoed by millions of Americans from every corner of this nation.

Millions of Americans who know that Barack understands their dreams; that Barack will fight for people like them; and that Barack will finally bring the change we need.

And in the end, after all that's happened these past 19 months, the Barack Obama I know today is the same man I fell in love with 19 years ago. He's the same man who drove me and our new baby daughter home from the hospital ten years ago this summer, inching along at a snail's pace, peering anxiously at us in the rearview mirror, feeling the whole weight of her future in his hands, determined to give her everything he'd struggled so hard for himself, determined to give her what he never had: the affirming embrace of a father's love.

And as I tuck that little girl and her little sister into bed at night, I think about how one day, they'll have families of their own. And one day, they - and your sons and daughters - will tell their own children about what we did together in this election. They'll tell them how this time, we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming. How this time, in this great country - where a girl from the South Side of Chicago can go to college and law school, and the son of a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House - we committed ourselves to building the world as it should be.

So tonight, in honor of my father's memory and my daughters' future - out of gratitude to those whose triumphs we mark this week, and those whose everyday sacrifices have brought us to this moment - let us devote ourselves to finishing their work; let us work together to fulfill their hopes; and let us stand together to elect Barack Obama President of the United States of America.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. (Source)

This is the video that Michelle Obama's mother, Marian, narrated that introduce Michelle to the audience of the Convention.

Let me just say that woman made me so proud with her speech that I felt as though my heart was going to jump out of my chest. Here was a true representation of me and her name was Michelle Obama.

It’s back to school time for our kids. And as the nation’s schools open their doors this week, there may be changes in the “student body.” More than ever before, many children and youth will be entering those school doors overweight or obese. And the implications are devastating – unchecked obesity at a young age escalates into years of poor health, thereby increasing the likelihood of disease and illness.

Over the past 30 years, the percent of overweight children aged 6 to 11 has more than doubled. Nearly half of American youth ages 12-21 years in the United States are not vigorously active on a regular basis and approximately 14% of young people report no recent physical activity. Overweight children are more likely to become obese adults. Overweight and obese adults are at increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, some types of cancer and an array of other diseases and illnesses.

So, what’s the root cause of this growing epidemic? For the most part, kids are spending less time exercising and more time in front of the TV, surfing the Internet, playing video games, working on school assignments, or chatting with their friends online or via their cell phones. And today's busy families have fewer free moments to prepare nutritious, home-cooked meals, day in and day out. From fast food to electronics, quick and easy seems to be the mindset of many people, young and old, in the new millennium. So, what can a parent or guardian do? The health experts say in order to prevent your child(ren) from becoming overweight, you must change the way you and your family eat and exercise and spend time together. Helping your children lead healthy lifestyles begins with you, the parent, and leading by example. Do you have the courage to change the state of your child's health?

Fitness coach Bridgette Collins is the author of IMAGINE LIVING HEALTHIER: MIND, BODY AND SOUL