Feb 27, 2009

Feb 26, 2009

I received this in an email and I wanted to share it with anyone. If you have any positive news you wish to share with me please feel free.

These sistas are the all African American women crew that operated Flights 5202 and 5106 (a jet owned by Atlantic Southeast Airlines) on Thursday, Ferbraury 12, 2009. They are not sure if they made history, but as far as I am concerned they did. They operated flight 5202 from Atlanta to Nashville and flight 5106 from Nashville back to Atlanta . The crew included CPT Rachelle Jones, FO Stephanie Grant, FA's Robin Rogers and Diana Galloway.



Newbos: The Rise of Americs's New Black Overclass premieres Thursday, February 26th 9p | 1a ET

Via CNBC:
It's an American success story. Self-made black multimillionaires, many of whom grew up poor, have made vast fortunes in the sports, entertainment and media industries.

The new moguls made their millions under the age of 40, primarily by taking more ownership and control over their brands than their predecessors. Collectively, black athletes in the NFL, NBA, and in Major League Baseball earned nearly $4 billion last year and the nation's 20 highest-paid hip-hop entrepreneurs brought in more than $500 million. Now, with their newfound wealth come responsibilities to their family, friends, and community.

Based on Lee Hawkins' forthcoming book of the same title, NEWBOs: The Rise of America's New Black Overclass examines the growing responsibilities of black celebrities in the Obama age. The project features personal stories and interviews with some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment. It's an inside look into how each successful NEWBO surmounted challenges to achieve the American Dream.


So is it safe to assume that the only way African Americans can become successful in this country is for them to be an athlete or an entertainer? Rich black celebrities are nothing new. People are well aware of the fact that we have wealthy rappers, athletes, and entertainers, but where is the story about the successful businessmen like Dick Parsons. I'm so sick and tired of stories coming out that act as though the only way an African American can be successful is if they dribble a ball or know how to recite a nice rhyme. This is the main reason why when you ask so many black children what they want to be when they grow up they always answer: a football player, a rapper, or a basketball player. Rarely do they answer with anything else because they are not afforded the opportunbity to see anything else. I am not hating on athletes, entertainers, or the like (hell, make that money and don't let that money make you), but I do have a problem with Black people being placed in a box when it comes to being successful. We have to stop putting limitations on our potential and the potential of our children. They are so many paths to success. We are some of the most innovative and creative people in the world. Surely, we can find other avenues in which to amass our wealth.

And before I step off my soapbox let me be the first to say I hate the name Newbo. It sounds a little too much like Sambo to me...LOL!!! Maybe it's just me.


Can someone please tell me, "Who in da hell left the gate open?" I'm just don't understand. You really expect me to believe some 16 year old girls came up with the idea to pimp out their classmates. There is an adult involved in this somewhere and right now he or she are getting off scott free while these two young victims' (yeah I said victims) lives are ruin. If you think these girls came up with this scheme on their own then you give them far more credit than I do because I just don't see it. This has the markings of a real Pimp all over it.

Please check out the accompanying article with this story after the jump.



Via CNN.com:

CNN) -- The grandmother of a 16-year-old Arizona girl accused of prostitution -- and recruiting and pimping other teen girls -- said Wednesday she hopes to fight the charges in court.

"I really want to take it to trial," Linda Tye, grandmother of Tatiana Tye told CNN Radio. "She needs to meet her accusers."

Tatiana Tye and a second 16-year-old girl, Jazmine Finley, were indicted earlier this week by a grand jury, Maricopa County, Arizona, prosecutors said in a statement. Although the girls are juveniles, prosecutors released their names and said they will be tried as adults.

Tye is charged with one count of child prostitution and three counts of pandering, or serving as a go-between or liaison for sexual purposes, prosecutors said.

Finley faces nine counts of child prostitution; two counts of receiving earnings of a prostitute; and one count of pandering. All the charges are felonies, prosecutors said.

The two were arrested last week after a five-month investigation, Phoenix police told reporters. Authorities believe Tye and Finley recruited at least five girls, ranging in age from 14 to 17, on the campuses of their high schools, police spokesman Sgt. Andy Hill said in a Monday news briefing posted on the Web site of CNN affiliate KTVK.

"We have a situation of two girls, 16 years old, who are, in essence, pimps," Hill said. "And they ran their own brothel."

Prosecutors, citing a police probable cause statement, said the teenagers recruited girls by telling them of "all the money they would be making. Additionally, they were told that it was better working for them as opposed to male pimps because they would not get beat up."

Hill said, "I think we were all surprised at, you know, were these 16-year-old girls that were arrested, were they running this business? And the answer is yes, they were."

In a jailhouse interview with KTVK, Tatiana Tye blamed Finley for introducing her to the world of prostitution, and said she was "a follower, not a leader, following whatever Jazmine does, and those were bad things."

She denied recruiting anyone or receiving any money, although she did acknowledge she was scared at times.

"All I'm saying is, before (Finley) came into my life, none of this stuff was going on," Tatiana Tye said. "I don't even know much about prostitution and stuff. I've seen it before, because Jazmine had a pimp."

However, she refused to answer questions about whether she had worked as a prostitute or about the apartment.

KTVK said it attempted to interview Finley, but her guardian failed to show up at the jail to give permission.

Accompanied by her grandmother, Tatiana Tye told reporters she didn't want to talk to them initially, but "then again, I thought about, people need to know the truth. I mean, I would never, ever call myself a pimp or a madam."

Asked what she would say to other teens, she said, "I would just tell them, don't hang out with people that you know are doing bad stuff, because they'll drag you down with them."

Linda Tye said she had custody of her granddaughter, who moved in with her after leaving her mother's home.

She said Tatiana Tye "admits to knowing Jazmine, hanging out and being with Jazmine. That she admits to. The rest, she doesn't really want to talk about before she goes to trial and talks to her lawyers."

As of Wednesday, she said, attorneys had only visited her granddaughter briefly, but longer visits are planned.

She said she is worried about Tatiana Tye's health in jail, as she is eating only grapefruit and refuses to drink the water. The girl's younger sister, 13, misses her and hasn't been able to see her, she said.

She told CNN she does not understand how prosecutors can try her granddaughter as an adult.

"I want (people) to know that my little granddaughter, she is a loving person. She smiles all the time ... she's a little confused, but that's no reason, and people shouldn't sit and judge people. I just don't like that. You don't know the facts, you don't know the truth, don't do that," Linda Tye said.

But asked whether she had any advice for others, she said, "Pay attention to your kids. If you're a grandparent, pay attention to your grandchildren, because you never know what they're up to. This is a big mess, and that's what it is."



Could these people please just got away already. Tom Delay is the last person who needs to be criticizing anybody on anything. He is so crooked I don't understand how he even sits up straight. How dare these so-called "conservatives" think they have the right to chastise anyone on the economy. They are the reason we are in this mess that we are in. Tom Delay is one of the chief architects of this mess we are in. They keep forgetting that President Obama inheirted this debt. These people kill me with the select amnesia. Tom Delay is right when he says we are in an economic crisis, but he and the republicans are the architects of this crisis.


Via Huffingtonpost:

The Obamas honored Stevie Wonder on Wednesday night during a concert in the East Room of the White House held to celebrate the musician being awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

The president candidly discussed the importance role that Wonder played in his own romantic life with the First Lady, calling it "the essence of our courtship," explaining that if he had not been a Stevie Wonder fan, Michelle would never had dated him, let alone married him.


You can also view a slideshow of last night event by clicking here.


Via Yahoo.com:

LOS ANGELES – Tyler Perry wants Madea dead.

That may come as a surprise, given the big-hearted but foul-tempered, pistol-packin' granny has emerged as director-writer-producer-actor Perry's signature character — and, now, his cash cow.

"Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail" topped the U.S. box office last weekend with $41 million in its first three days of release. The dramedy marks Perry's all-time opening weekend, and is poised to sprint past the overall take of his top-grossing film, "Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion" (2006).

Still, Perry confesses: "I would love to see Madea die a slow death in the next film."

The reason? It takes a lot of effort to turn the 6-foot-5-inch Perry into big momma Madea.

He knows she's "a whole lot of fun to watch. But to do it is a nightmare," Perry says.

"It's all one suit that I'm zipped into, so it's all heavy. The hips are heavy. And the more I sweat, the heavier it gets. I see why women have back problems who have large breasts. Holding those things upright can be tough."

Come summer, the 39-year-old Perry — whose Atlanta-based media empire includes films, books, videos, theatrical productions and TV shows — will be back on the big screen making a cameo appearance in director J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek."

Next is Perry's own period drama "A Jazz Man's Blues."

Then, more Madea, with "Madea's Class Reunion."

Perry said that it's clear that fans want more of her. "As long as they want to see her, she'll stay around. But, I'm telling you, if they ever stop coming, she's going to die a quick death. `Madea's Funeral.' That's what you look forward to."


Roland Martin will have a primetime slot on CNN well at least temporarily (we'll take whatever we can get) when he fills in for Campbell Brown when she goes on maternity leave for eight weeks. Maybe Martin can breathe some life into her show No Bias/No Bull because honetly it's one of the shows that me no watchy (I prefer Keith Olbermann). Here is the statement CNN released on the transistion:

“In early April, Campbell Brown will take maternity leave for about 8 weeks and Roland S. Martin will fill in for her during that time.

“Roland is a solid journalist and a terrific communicator. He’s been a regular part of the No Bias, No Bull family and our audience knows him well. He has also served as a contributor/analyst for CNN, and in fact, he’s been transparent about whom he has supported for president, whether it was George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush or Barack Obama.

“We look forward to Roland’s smart, energetic and spirited reporting in this role, and in the future on CNN. Following his stint filling in for Campbell, CNN plans to develop a weekend program with Roland.”


I hope this development leads to Roland getting a show of his own. Now that would truly be some interesting television. Now when are we going to get a black female with her own show. I'm rooting for my girl Tamron on MSNBC.


Wearing a beautiful Tracy Reese dress, the First Lady covers the latest issue of People Magazine. Now maybe it's just me but I can't remember the last time so many black people were on the cover of People. Now granted it's the same black people but even still.

Here's a snippet of the article in which Mrs. Obama talks about the White House rules for her daughters:

Their father may have run on a platform of change, but for First Daughters Malia and Sasha Obama, the rules are the same in the White House as they were in their home in Chicago, PEOPLE reports in its new cover story, on sale Friday.

Start with the girls' chores. They're still making their own beds, cleaning their rooms and clearing their dishes. And even with their grandmother, Marian Robinson, 71, staying in a third-floor guest room to help out, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, must show responsibility.

Their mother, Michelle Obama, has asked the White House staff not to do too much. "People want to make your life easy, and when you have small kids – I've explained this to the staff – they don't need their lives to be easy. They're kids," she says.

The girls do have roaming privileges all around the historic mansion and can pop into the Oval Office whenever they want. "I've tried to encourage them to feel like this whole place is their home," Mrs. Obama tells PEOPLE. "We actually had this conversation – just let us know where you're going."

For more on White House life, including family games, dinner-table conversations and new bedtime-reading habits, pick up this week's PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday


(Source)

Feb 25, 2009

I think it's safe to say that Gov. Jindal's response to President Obama's address last night was (fill in the blank). I left it blank because I want to focus on the financial dilemma that he represents for the constituents across his state. With his state in dire straights and a $2 billion dollar budget deficit fast approaching, we would think that Jindal would take every penny of the $4 billion dollar stimulus package. Especially being that the hurrican ravaged regions could benefit tremendously from the $538,575,876 that has been allocated to Louisiana. Under the stimulus plan the state stands to gain 50,000 jobs within two years. Let's say that he didn't take the money. Louisiana is currently is on track to create 347,790 by 2016. The stimulus plan will accelerate this by at least one year. The city of New Orleans has been limping along since Katrina and really wasn't on top it's game before the storm either. The cost to rebuild the coastal infrastructure is immense and the jobs that will come, will bring tax revenue, which will bring replenished budgets and thats how you rebuild, from the bottom up.

With that being said, it's clear that the GOP's new pawn that got thrown under the bus Tuesday evening, just doesn't get it. Sound like anyone else we know? I'm more amazed at the fact that we walked smack into a political minefield and started breakdancing with a G.W. hand movements and the Nixon smirk. I penned a brief response to President Obama's address, the one that a well qualified and level headed GOP member should have made. An address that is free of pork in the form of self interest. Ladies and gentleman, here it goes...

Greetings,

My heart is heavy and there is such a joy that I’m going to attempt to put into words. I had the pleasure of speaking with a gentleman prior to the polls closing on November 4th and part of the discussion was on his experience as a child not being able to drink from a non colored water fountain. He was amazed that during his lifetime he will see an African American man become president of the United States.

His words brought to my mind the many living legends that braved water hoses, stones, dogs, batons, fires and all other manners of oppression. It brought to mind C.T. Vivian, Andrew Young, John Lewis and Dick Gregory. I watched as Rev. Jesse Jackson was in tears as President Obama took the stage to make an address heard around the world. I listened as the congratulatory words were brief and the reality of the day was expressed. We must come together and move forward as one, this is that reality.

No longer can we rest on the uncultivated laurels of the aberrant undertones in the civic, social and business communities. We can no longer excuse nor fool ourselves in thinking that there is strength in solitude and liberation without liability. We govern and preside over an immense cornucopia of individual organizations, non profits, small and large businesses, representing millions of employees. We also govern over 4 million unemployed Americans that are ready to hit the ground running and proudly get back into the workforce here in the United States. The nation has galvanized as one voice. The business community must galvanize as one voice. The financial industry, the auto industry, the oil industry must break their silence in transparency and galvanize as part of this one voice. The government can no longer be mute to the collective voices screaming for change. We, as a congress must be the ever listening ear to receive this growing voice.

As we move forward together and as we mission to rebuild the legacy of our country and respect of our new allies found around the world; let us move forward in boldness and with a relentless creed to no longer accept ignorance, otiose, mediocrity and apathy from one another.

Thank you and God Bless America


I think a lot of people remember when President Obama mentioned the school in South Carolina where the teachers had to stop teaching because a train was coming by because the school was so close to the train tracks. Well, Ty'Sheoma Bethea is a student at that archaic school and on Tuesday night she became the new face of the President's stimulus package. She is only one of millions of students that are forced to go to antiquated schools in this country, but her desire to be heard is what put her in the spotlight.

Via CNN.com:
(CNN) -- Her school has become a symbol of the kind of crumbling infrastructure that President Obama hopes his stimulus bill will improve.

But on Tuesday, Ty'Sheoma Bethea became the face of the issue, when she joined first lady Michelle Obama as her guest for the president's first speech to a joint session of Congress.

The White House invited Ty'Sheoma, a student at the J.V. Martin Junior High School in Dillon, South Carolina, after a letter she sent lawmakers appealing for help rebuilding her school made its way to the president.

The eighth-grader reportedly boarded her first plane with her mother, Dina Leach, from South Carolina to Washington to attend the speech.

The eighth-grader was inspired to write the letter by Obama, who mentioned her school in his first presidential news conference on February 9. After visiting the school, he referenced J.V. Martin as evidence of educational institutions that would benefit from school construction funding in his $787 billion stimulus package.

In her letter, Ty'Sheoma described the dilapidated conditions plaguing her school, which was built in 1896, claiming the funds would improve the building and the quality of education.

"We are just students trying to become lawyers, doctors, congressmen like yourself, and one day president, so we can make a change to not just the state of South Carolina, but also the world. We are not quitters."

Poorly maintained and ill-equipped schools in South Carolina's "corridor of shame" were an issue during the Democratic primary as evidence that education reform had to be an imperative for the next president.

The schools became an issue again last week when South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, a Republican, said he might turn down some of the money in the stimulus. And South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, the highest-ranking African-American in Congress, said turning down money was an "insult" to blacks.

"We have legislation here now with the money to do something about the schools, do something about water and sewage along that corridor in these 12 counties. And now the governor says, 'I don't want to accept the money.' That's why I called this an insult, that's why I said this is a slap in the face, because a majority of those counties are, in fact, inhabited by African-Americans," Clyburn said on CNN's Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.

In his speech Tuesday, Obama vowed that education is among the top priorities of his administration and urged Americans to take advantage of the promise of an education.
Via Politico.com:
http://www.politico.com/blogs/glennthrush/0209/Jindal_praises_raceprofiling_lawman.html


 
In his response to Barack Obama tonight, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal spoke glowingly of the late Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee.

It was a curious, even provocative choice: Lee, a colorful 300-lb. Chinese-American lawman was repeatedly accused of racially profiling blacks in the predominantly white parish he dominated prior to his death in Oct. 2007.

Jindal:


During Katrina, I visited Sheriff Harry Lee, a Democrat and a good friend of mine. When I walked into his makeshift office I'd never seen him so angry. He was yelling into the phone: 'Well, I'm the Sheriff and if you don't like it you can come and arrest me!' I asked him: 'Sheriff, what's got you so mad?' He told me that he had put out a call for volunteers to come with their boats to rescue people who were trapped on their rooftops by the floodwaters. The boats were all lined up ready to go - when some bureaucrat showed up and told them they couldn't go out on the water unless they had proof of insurance and registration. I told him, 'Sheriff, that's ridiculous.' And before I knew it, he was yelling into the phone: 'Congressman Jindal is here, and he says you can come and arrest him too!' Harry just told the boaters to ignore the bureaucrats and start rescuing people.


In the wake of Katrina, Lee grabbed national headlines by suggesting his deputies could randomly stop blacks to combat a rise in drug crimes caused by the displacement of low-income New Orleans residents.


He later abandoned the idea -- but never apologized.


In an earlier incident, Lee sparked a firestorm by ordering his force to arbitrarily stop "young blacks in rinky-dink cars" driving in white neighborhoods, according to The Associated Press. He backed off that plan, calling it a mistake after the NAACP called on him to resign.

Shortly before his death, Lee stoked controversy again, telling a TV reporter: "We know the crime is in the black community. Why should I waste time in the white community?"
 



Via TheTandD.com:

Rapper, actor and philanthropist David Banner told students gathered at South Carolina State University's Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium that black people should not accept media portrayals of African-Americans.

In the midst of Black History Month, Banner, the graduate of two historically black colleges and universities, stunned an audience of more than 300

African-Americans with the accusation: "African-Americans don't love themselves."

"Black people have accepted what the media have portrayed them to be," Banner said. "We have to work to repaint the picture of black folks."

Banner's appearance kicked off the second annual Hip-Hop Symposium, sponsored by the Miller F. Whittaker Library in collaboration with the Campus Activity Board's "Awakening Lecture Series."

The theme this year is "Black on Black Crime."

In a question-and-answer session, Banner challenged black women in attendance to explain why they perm and straighten their hair.

In response came the defense that "hair perming" is equated with being able to get a decent job as a professional and not being viewed as a threat by bosses who are usually of a different race.

"This is what I mean when I say black people don't love themselves," Banner said. "Perming your hair is a clear example of 'black-on-black crime' and media control. Black-on-black crime is not just a black person committing a violent act against another black person."

Focusing deeper on the media's impact, Banner said the continuing depiction of blacks as aggressive and as a threat to society lowers the value of black life.

"Blacks have accepted the way they are portrayed in the media as a reality," Banner said. "This sad reality makes it easier for a black person to commit a crime against other people of color."

Touching on a recent issue in the news, Banner labeled as unfair the media coverage of domestic violence allegations against singer Chris Brown regarding striking his girlfriend, Pop singer Rihanna.

"Chris Brown is being convicted and character assassinated in the media and we don't even know what Rihanna did yet," Banner said.

Banner emphasized the importance of African-American couples staying together to properly raise a child in a world much different from when their parents were growing up.

"It's up to you to raise your children," Banner said. "If you don't, someone else will."

The mission of the Hip-Hop Symposium is to inform students about the crisis of black-on-black crime and encourage dialogue.

"We hope that this symposium will bring awareness to a very important social issue in our community," said Sherman Pyatt, coordinator of collection development.

"We hope to encourage our students, faculty, staff and the Orangeburg community to identify problems, search for answers and discuss these issues in a critical manner," he said.


I guess I may be in the minority on this one because I understand exactly where David was going with this. I think alot of people are getting caught up on the messenger and not the message. Although, Banner went too far when he brought up Rihanna and Chris Brown, I must say I understand the sentiments of his earlier statement. My only problem with Banner is the fact that he is a perpetuator of this hatred. I can't name one video of his in which a female lead has natural hair so in fact he is not praticing what it is that he is preaching. He is no better than the rest of these so called Rap-prophets. They say one thing to the people, but do something entirely different when it comes to their own actions.

Now don't get me wrong I know God has a way of using interesting messagers to deliver his message. As a sista that perms her hair, I can understand why he would say it is a form of Black on Black crime. We (black women) have been conditioned in this country to believe that white is right and so whatever we can do to make ourselves more appealing to a European esthetic is what we are going to do in order to get the job done. I'm not saying it's right but that is the way it is. We have made progress in this hair issue, but we have a long way to go. Maybe when we start controlling our image than we might become more accepting of it. I know you guys are probably going to beat me up on this one, but I'm ready.
Via Yahoo.com:

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- There's still no firm proof that raunchy music makes kids have sex, but a new study provides another suggestion that there's at least some kind of link between "degrading" songs and teenage sexual activity.

The findings indicate that "people who are exposed to certain messages in music are more likely to copy or emulate what they hear," said Dr. Brian A. Primack, a pediatrician and lead author of the study released Tuesday.

In other words, teens who hear about degrading sexual practices in their favorite songs might decide to try them out themselves. However, it's also possible that the reverse is true: Kids who have sex just happen to like raunchy music.

Expanding on previous research that linked sexually charged songs to sex itself, the researchers surveyed 711 Pittsburgh-area ninth-grade students in 2006 and 2007 about their sexuality activity and the songs they liked to listen to.

The researchers then determined how many of the 279 most popular songs in 2005 were "degrading" because they referred to sex that's "based only on physical characteristics" and features a "power differential" instead of being mutually consensual.

For example, "Wait (The Whisper Song)" by the rap group known as Ying Yang Twins was deemed degrading, apparently because it included a reference to rough intercourse.

By contrast, the lyrics of the rap song "Baby I'm Back" by Baby Bash, including the lines "I wanna be stronger than we've ever been/I'm here to cater to you," was said to be not degrading.

The researchers looked for links between the listening habits of the students and their sexual activity. Their findings are scheduled to be published in the April issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

After adjusting the statistics in their findings to account for the possible influence of such factors as race and age, the researchers found that youths who listened most to "degrading" songs were more than twice as likely to have had intercourse.

But the findings don't prove that the music caused kids to have sex, acknowledged Primack, who's an assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

"The opposite could be true -- that people who have more sex then go out and seek music with degrading sexual messages," he said.

Other researchers have linked music to sexual activity, but evidence of a direct cause-and-effect relationship remains elusive.

In the current study and an earlier one based on the same analysis of 279 songs from 2005, the researchers did not identify any degrading songs by title and disclosed lyrics from only a handful of them.

They said that 64 percent of rap songs analyzed were sexually degrading, compared with 7 percent of country songs and 3 percent of pop songs.

What to do? Laura Lindberg, senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute in New York City, said that teens need to learn how to interpret and analyze the messages they see in the world around them.

But, "there's no silver bullet," she said. "If you get all teenagers to turn in their iPods, the teen pregnancy rate is not going to automatically decline."
Remember this infamous dance routine:



Well, one of the administators that allegedly approved this routine is now fighting a five day suspension. Now I am one of those people who believe that the school administrators bare some of the blame for the simple fact that if they deemed the routine so inappropiate why didn't they just stop it midway. There is no reason those girls should have performed that entire routine, but I digress. You already know my opinion of this so let's just get to the story at hand.


Via AJC.com:

Jonesboro High School assistant principal has appealed her five-day suspension for allegedly signing off on a provocative student dance team performance.

School administrators suspended assistant principal Sandra Nicholson for three days without pay.

Nicholson refused the punishment and filed an appeal. Three days later, Superintendent John Thompson increased her suspension to five days, said Keith Martin, Nicholson’s lawyer.

“She saw a limited part of the performance,” Martin said. “I think she was treated unfairly and Georgia law provides her opportunity to have a hearing.”

Nicholson will explain her case before a tribunal on March 6.

The complaint stems from a Jan. 13 performance by eight high school girls during halftime at a boy’s basketball game. The girls — dressed in tiny shorts, thigh-high stockings and tight shirts — danced around boys seated in chairs.

Nicholson and another assistant principal were at the game, but did not stop the performance.

“She thought it was inappropriate, but there was nothing she could do about it,” Martin said. “Dr. Thompson said that they danced in a sexually suggestive manner and they were dressed inappropriately. He described their acts as lewd and lascivious.”

After complaints, school officials disbanded the team for being too provocative and removed coach Rebecca Buchanan.

Buchanan was suspended for two days without pay from her teaching job, Martin said. She did not return two phone calls Tuesday.

Two other assistant principals who attended the game also were suspended two days, Martin said.

School district spokesman Charles White said he could not comment because it is a personnel issue and the case is still open.

Martin said the dancers had performed a portion of the performance for Nicholson prior to the game, but they were not dressed in the outfits nor were the boys involved.

“She saw the outfits in a catalogue,” Martin said.

Allison Bryant, whose daughter Exia is on the team, said Nicholson saw the entire performance and signed off on everything. Bryant said she did not see anything wrong with the dance.

Nicholson, an educator for 19 years, joined Clayton schools in 2003.


Via Eurweb.com:

Stevie Wonder's big White House tribute tonight will include serenades from Martina McBride, who will sing Wonder's hit "You and I," Will.I.Am, Tony Bennett, Paul Simon and India.Arie.

Tonight, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will present Wonder, 58, with the Library of Congress's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

Obama has called Wonder his musical hero and played some of his classic hits during stops on the presidential campaign trail. Obama last year told Rolling Stone that he really got into music during Wonder's heyday in the early '70s, when he released albums like "Talking Book," "Innervisions" and "Songs in the Key of Life."

The salute will be held in the White House's East Room and broadcast Thursday night on PBS.

Feb 24, 2009



So what did you guys think?

Check out the GOP's response given by Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana after the jump.







Via HuffingtonPost.com:

As the Chairman of the New York Post, I am ultimately responsible for what is printed in its pages. The buck stops with me.

Last week, we made a mistake. We ran a cartoon that offended many people. Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted.

Over the past couple of days, I have spoken to a number of people and I now better understand the hurt this cartoon has caused. At the same time, I have had conversations with Post editors about the situation and I can assure you - without a doubt - that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation. It was not meant to be racist, but unfortunately, it was interpreted by many as such.

We all hold the readers of the New York Post in high regard and I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community.


Yesterday I had a conversation with a white colleague of mine and he asked me how I felt about the cartoon. I told him I found it offensive and he asked my why because he didn't understand why people were so upset, but once I explain to him the history of African Americans being referred to as Baboons, chimps, and monkeys in this country he understood. I said this to say that even in our angry we have to understand that there are honestly some people who are ignorant to the plight of us as a people and if we can use this as a catalyst to discuss race we should. The only way it will stop being a problem is if we address the problem heads on.
CIS Program Seeks to Resolve the Digital Divide Between African-American Women with New Grant

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Computer Information Sciences (CIS) Program, housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, is the recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant valued at $552,000 dedicated to recruiting minority women to computer science and information technology disciplines.

“The numbers are staggering,” said Jason T. Black, Ph. D., assistant professor in CIS. “The latest data shows that out of all U.S. entering freshmen declaring a major in computer science, African-American women made up only 3.3 percent. The fact is that women are not choosing technology, and this is a dangerous predicament. When you couple that with the fact that it is estimated that 75 percent of all jobs by the year 2020 will require a technology background, it becomes a crisis call.”

The program, entitled African-American Women in Computer Science, (AAWCS), is a four-year program that provides scholarships and other assistance to women who express a financial need and an interest in computer science or information technology.

AAWCS, created by Black, also the principal investigator for the program, and Edward L. Jones, Ph. D., chair of the CIS program, will directly address the dismal number of minority women, particularly African-American women that pursue degrees in computer science or information technology.

Women who apply to AAWCS will be accepted based on financial need, and will be awarded a scholarship of between $3,000 and $5,000 per semester. In addition to the funding, the women will participate in CIS departmental clubs and organizations, such as the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Club, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and the CIS Mentoring Organization (CISMO). AAWCS scholars will also be involved in other STEM programs, such as the Florida/Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (FGLSAMP) scholarship program, and the Students and Technology in Academia, Research and Service (STARS) Alliance, both NSF-funded programs.

An added benefit to the students is the conference participation, where selected AAWCS scholars will be chosen to attend two national conferences, paid for by the grant, each year, such as the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and the National Conference of Women in Information Technology (NCWIT).

The AAWCS program begins operation on July 1 and will run until June 30, 2012.

Applications for the program can be requested by contacting Black at jblack@cis.famuThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . edu or (850) 412-7354.


Via Livesteez:

A Craven County Couple are in the Guinness Book of World Records. The two did nothing outlandish such as sky-diving upside down or having the most tattoos. No, Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher of the Brownsville community have been married for more than 84 years. That is a feat in itself. They have the world record of the longest marriage for a living couple. They can thank their granddaughter Iris Godette for getting the recognition. She submitted the information to the Guinness Book of Records. The information was apparently checked by Guinness and a certificate was given to the couple. Herbert was born June 10, 1905. His hearing is going but his mind is sharp. Zelmyra was born Dec. 10, 1907. She uses a walker to get around the house and yard. The two of them can still give their reasons for marrying on May 13, 1924. "He was not mean; he was not a fighter," Zelmrya said. "He was quiet and kind. He was not much to look at but he was sweet."
Ladies, I attended the Black Engineer of the Year Awards Conference this year as a recruiter for my job and what I saw caught me completely off-guard. There were more black male engineering students than females. I really wasn't expecting this. I know I'm not the only one who reads the statistics about the fact that there are more females in college than males, so to actually see more men was shocking to me. As someone who works in the engineering field, I can vouch for the fact that it is a male (as in white male) dominated field, but never in my wildest dreams did I expect to see so many brothers from around the country. I was so amazed that I asked one of the applicants about the fact that there were more black men than females at the job fair and the response he gave me was wonderful. He said, "Ms. Melanie, we are just trying to catch up with you guys." I love that answer. I love the fact that we have wonderful young black men that are trying to do the damn thing. So many times we try to paint our brothers with broad brushes, but the truth of the matter is the fact that there are some black men that are doing great things and we need to acknowledge this.

These applicants came from all the major HBCU's and they were looking for work and they were very professional and well prepared. There were students from FAMU, Morgan State, Howard, Norfolk State, Tennessee State, Southern, Tuskegee, Alabama A&M, North Carolina A&T and so forth. It really made me proud to know that we have kids that are interested in engineering. I also love the fact that the conference invites little kids from elementary school and up to interact with the recruiters because I believe the earlier these children are exposed to engineering the sooner they'll realize there is another career opportunity out there for them besides being a rapper or a football player.

So, if you've never attended the Black Engineer of the Year Awards Conference I definitely suggest you make plans to do so next year. It was definitely worth it and it was definitely an experience. Who knows you may even find your significant other because Lord knows there is nothing like a BMW (black man working). [And the church said, "AMEN."]
Via Eurweb.com:

TMZ.com's head honcho Harvey Levin is defending his Web site's posting of a battered Rihanna against speculation that they were given the photo by someone in the Los Angeles Police Department.

Levin will not reveal how he obtained the photo, but says he believes it was not an image taken by the LAPD. "And we still are not convinced it is," he told Fox News' Greta Van Sustren.

The LAPD has launched its own internal investigation and said the image "has the appearance of one taken during an official domestic-violence investigation."

Levin said on Sustren's "On The Record" show Friday, "It is a photograph of Rihanna that was taken shortly after the alleged beating a couple of weeks ago. We, obviously, believed at the time, convincingly, that it was Rihanna and put it up on the site. ... I'm not saying anything bad at all about the LAPD. I mean, what they needed to do, they felt, was conduct an internal-affairs investigation because they felt there was a leak. In so doing ... they did authenticate the picture."

Levin said it was important to post the photo because it presents both sides of the story on the alleged incident, which has brought the issue of domestic abuse into the spotlight.

"Chris Brown is not going to just say, 'I'm going to lie down on this one and not fight,'" Levin said of the 19-year-old singer, who issued a statement on Feb. 15 saying he was "sorry and saddened" over the incident. "I guarantee you that Chris Brown is going to mount a defense in this case. I know that. He will mount a defense in this case. So, the picture is not the be-all and the end-all, as far as he's concerned. ... But what it does do is it puts a face on what both sides really have been kind of leaking out over the last couple of weeks. ... Well, the bottom line is, here's the photograph, here's the end result. And frankly, Greta, I think it's pretty horrifying."

Brown, who turned himself in on the night of the Grammys and was booked on suspicion of making criminal threats, has not been charged in the incident.

Feb 20, 2009

First and foremost, I want to say thank you to both TheIcon and TheDiva for inviting me on their 1st Blog Talk Radio show this past Sunday. It was an awesome experience!!! Be sure to tune in on Sundays at 6pm by visiting http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thesavvysista

I'm amazed at what big businesses and government can do when a nations back is up against a wall. I am a few days behind in posting this because of the amount of financial happenings in the last few days was overwhelming. So now that I've been able to take it all in, including the New York Post's idea of a comic strip (no comment) let's break down what it all means for you.
On Tuesday The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 was signed into law. 24 hours later on Wednesday, President Obama announced his Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan and with the strokes of several very nice pens, the future of over 7 million homeowners became a little bit brighter. But was does it mean for you and your neighbors and how soon will the tension begin to get relieved from this $75 billion dollar investment. Well lets begin with the facts. The gives way to new provisions that will put lenders in a do or die situation. Lenders have until March 4th to decide if they will meet the following requirements:
  • Reduce the interest rates to an agreed affordability level which is set at a 38% Debt -To-Income (DTI) Ratio on the borrowers current income.
  • Partner with the federal government, who will match dollar for dollar, the further reduction of mortgage payments to a 31% DTI ratio.
  • Agree to maintain the newly modified payment and interest rate in place for five years and have the option to reduce the mortgage principal in order to meet this requirement. The lowest interest rate that can be obtained is 2%

So you may be wondering what's in it for the lenders and servicers, because we all have seen that generosity isn't exactly at the center of their business model. Keep in mind that many mortgage lenders OWN the servicing entities as well. You knew there was going to be some shadiness. Well here's what they'll get:

  • $1000 up front for every eligible modification that servicers establish after March 4th and $3000 over 3yrs if the borrower stays current on the modified loan.
  • $1500 for mortgage holders and $500 for each modification made while the mortgage is still current

Now that you see that the lenders and servicers aren't going to be participating solely out of the goodness of their heart, be sure to call them up after you read this to make sure that they will be participating in the initiative. The will be compensated plenty of money for doing what they should have been able to do on their own all along. In essence, the funds given to participating lenders and servicers is going to determine your eligibility. If its going to cost the lender less money to foreclose on your property than it will to modify your loan, you may be in trouble. Additional funds, short sales and other measures will be made available by the initiative to offset the difference on a case by case basis because most homeowners will not fall into this dilemma.

There is a win win for current homeowners, however the eligibility requirements are as follows.

  • Your mortgage MUST be a CONFORMING LOAN owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Before you get too excited, double check with your mortgage holder to make sure that your loan falls within this category.
  • Being late on your mortgage or at risk of going into foreclosure
  • Mortgaged property MUST be OWNER OCCUPIED and the mortgage balance cannot be higher than Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac's current conforming loan limits. If you are an investor looking to flip properties or save your vacation home, sorry for you.
  • If your total household expenses (mortgage, car note, utilities, etc.) is greater than or equal to 55% of your total household income then you will be required to complete a debt counseling program. Whether or not it needs to be completed before or after your modification has not been determined yet.

If you want to know what the limits are for your area,

Visit Fannie Mae at
http://www.fanniemae.com/aboutfm/loanlimits.jhtml?p=About+Fannie+Mae&s=Loan+Limits



Visit Freddie Mac at
http://www.freddiemac.com/singlefamily/news/newsletter/2008/11/limits.html



Borrowers that are able to have their loans modified and stay current on their payments get a $1000 a year reduction in their principal balance for up to 5 years courtesy of the initiative. If you have met all of your lender or servicer qualifications and you are still unable to get a modification, a bankruptcy judge will have the authority to waive any balance above the homes current appraised value and modify the payment and principal balance . Now that's powerful. Considering that it is limited to the middle class homeowner properties that are within the conforming limits set by Fannie & Freddie.

Now after all of this, you're probably wearing a grin that says “this sounds great, but how can we know that we wont get the shaft for the 3rd time? Well, the Obama Administration, the FDIC and several other organizations are developing newer, stronger and more detailed guidelines that will be in place by March 4th, 2009 and will be available online. All participating financial institutions and credit unions will be required to show and prove that they have modification plans in place that strictly adhere to the guidelines that will be created.

In my opinion this plan will work well for those that need it the most and it will irritate those that it doesn't. At the end of the day, there will never be a plan that will help and please everyone, so they went for the greater piece of the pie which is homeowners with conforming loans.

Job well done Mr. President.



BRAVO Mr. Holder!!!! One should never be afraid to speak truth to power. Now watch as all the cowards call for Mr. Holder to apologize.

Please read the transcript of his remarks after the jump.



Every year, in February, we attempt to recognize and to appreciate black history. It is a worthwhile endeavor for the contributions of African Americans to this great nation are numerous and significant. Even as we fight a war against terrorism, deal with the reality of electing an African American as our President for the first time and deal with the other significant issues of the day, the need to confront our racial past, and our racial present, and to understand the history of African people in this country, endures. One cannot truly understand America without understanding the historical experience of black people in this nation. Simply put, to get to the heart of this country one must examine its racial soul.

Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race. It is an issue we have never been at ease with and given our nation’s history this is in some ways understandable. And yet, if we are to make progress in this area we must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us. But we must do more- and we in this room bear a special responsibility. Through its work and through its example this Department of Justice, as long as I am here, must - and will - lead the nation to the "new birth of freedom" so long ago promised by our greatest President. This is our duty and our solemn obligation.

We commemorated five years ago, the 50th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. And though the world in which we now live is fundamentally different than that which existed then, this nation has still not come to grips with its racial past nor has it been willing to contemplate, in a truly meaningful way, the diverse future it is fated to have. To our detriment, this is typical of the way in which this nation deals with issues of race. And so I would suggest that we use February of every year to not only commemorate black history but also to foster a period of dialogue among the races. This is admittedly an artificial device to generate discussion that should come more naturally, but our history is such that we must find ways to force ourselves to confront that which we have become expert at avoiding.

As a nation we have done a pretty good job in melding the races in the workplace. We work with one another, lunch together and, when the event is at the workplace during work hours or shortly thereafter, we socialize with one another fairly well, irrespective of race. And yet even this interaction operates within certain limitations. We know, by "American instinct" and by learned behavior, that certain subjects are off limits and that to explore them risks, at best embarrassment, and, at worst, the questioning of one’s character. And outside the workplace the situation is even more bleak in that there is almost no significant interaction between us. On Saturdays and Sundays America in the year 2009 does not, in some ways, differ significantly from the country that existed some fifty years ago. This is truly sad. Given all that we as a nation went through during the civil rights struggle it is hard for me to accept that the result of those efforts was to create an America that is more prosperous, more positively race conscious and yet is voluntarily socially segregated.

As a nation we should use Black History month as a means to deal with this continuing problem. By creating what will admittedly be, at first, artificial opportunities to engage one another we can hasten the day when the dream of individual, character based, acceptance can actually be realized. To respect one another we must have a basic understanding of one another. And so we should use events such as this to not only learn more about the facts of black history but also to learn more about each other. This will be, at first, a process that is both awkward and painful but the rewards are potentially great. The alternative is to allow to continue the polite, restrained mixing that now passes as meaningful interaction but that accomplishes little. Imagine if you will situations where people- regardless of their skin color- could confront racial issues freely and without fear. The potential of this country, that is becoming increasingly diverse, would be greatly enhanced. I fear however, that we are taking steps that, rather than advancing us as a nation are actually dividing us even further. We still speak too much of "them" and not "us". There can, for instance, be very legitimate debate about the question of affirmative action. This debate can, and should, be nuanced, principled and spirited. But the conversation that we now engage in as a nation on this and other racial subjects is too often simplistic and left to those on the extremes who are not hesitant to use these issues to advance nothing more than their own, narrow self interest. Our history has demonstrated that the vast majority of Americans are uncomfortable with, and would like to not have to deal with, racial matters and that is why those, black or white, elected or self-appointed, who promise relief in easy, quick solutions, no matter how divisive, are embraced. We are then free to retreat to our race protected cocoons where much is comfortable and where progress is not really made. If we allow this attitude to persist in the face of the most significant demographic changes that this nation has ever confronted- and remember, there will be no majority race in America in about fifty years- the coming diversity that could be such a powerful, positive force will, instead, become a reason for stagnation and polarization. We cannot allow this to happen and one way to prevent such an unwelcome outcome is to engage one another more routinely- and to do so now.

As I indicated before, the artificial device that is Black History month is a perfect vehicle for the beginnings of such a dialogue. And so I urge all of you to use the opportunity of this month to talk with your friends and co-workers on the other side of the divide about racial matters. In this way we can hasten the day when we truly become one America.

It is also clear that if we are to better understand one another the study of black history is essential because the history of black America and the history of this nation are inextricably tied to each other. It is for this reason that the study of black history is important to everyone- black or white. For example, the history of the United States in the nineteenth century revolves around a resolution of the question of how America was going to deal with its black inhabitants. The great debates of that era and the war that was ultimately fought are all centered around the issue of, initially, slavery and then the reconstruction of the vanquished region. A dominant domestic issue throughout the twentieth century was, again, America's treatment of its black citizens. The civil rights movement of the 1950's and 1960's changed America in truly fundamental ways. Americans of all colors were forced to examine basic beliefs and long held views. Even so, most people, who are not conversant with history, still do not really comprehend the way in which that movement transformed America. In racial terms the country that existed before the civil rights struggle is almost unrecognizable to us today. Separate public facilities, separate entrances, poll taxes, legal discrimination, forced labor, in essence an American apartheid, all were part of an America that the movement destroyed. To attend her state’s taxpayer supported college in 1963 my late sister in law had to be escorted to class by United States Marshals and past the state’s governor, George Wallace. That frightening reality seems almost unthinkable to us now. The civil rights movement made America, if not perfect, better.

In addition, the other major social movements of the latter half of the twentieth century- feminism, the nation's treatment of other minority groups, even the anti-war effort- were all tied in some way to the spirit that was set free by the quest for African American equality. Those other movements may have occurred in the absence of the civil rights struggle but the fight for black equality came first and helped to shape the way in which other groups of people came to think of themselves and to raise their desire for equal treatment. Further, many of the tactics that were used by these other groups were developed in the civil rights movement.

And today the link between the black experience and this country is still evident. While the problems that continue to afflict the black community may be more severe, they are an indication of where the rest of the nation may be if corrective measures are not taken. Our inner cities are still too conversant with crime but the level of fear generated by that crime, now found in once quiet, and now electronically padlocked suburbs is alarming and further demonstrates that our past, present and future are linked. It is not safe for this nation to assume that the unaddressed social problems in the poorest parts of our country can be isolated and will not ultimately affect the larger society.

Black history is extremely important because it is American history. Given this, it is in some ways sad that there is a need for a black history month. Though we are all enlarged by our study and knowledge of the roles played by blacks in American history, and though there is a crying need for all of us to know and acknowledge the contributions of black America, a black history month is a testament to the problem that has afflicted blacks throughout our stay in this country. Black history is given a separate, and clearly not equal, treatment by our society in general and by our educational institutions in particular. As a former American history major I am struck by the fact that such a major part of our national story has been divorced from the whole. In law, culture, science, athletics, industry and other fields, knowledge of the roles played by blacks is critical to an understanding of the American experiment. For too long we have been too willing to segregate the study of black history. There is clearly a need at present for a device that focuses the attention of the country on the study of the history of its black citizens. But we must endeavor to integrate black history into our culture and into our curriculums in ways in which it has never occurred before so that the study of black history, and a recognition of the contributions of black Americans, become commonplace. Until that time, Black History Month must remain an important, vital concept. But we have to recognize that until black history is included in the standard curriculum in our schools and becomes a regular part of all our lives, it will be viewed as a novelty, relatively unimportant and not as weighty as so called "real" American history.

I, like many in my generation, have been fortunate in my life and have had a great number of wonderful opportunities. Some may consider me to be a part of black history. But we do a great disservice to the concept of black history recognition if we fail to understand that any success that I have had, cannot be viewed in isolation. I stood, and stand, on the shoulders of many other black Americans. Admittedly, the identities of some of these people, through the passage of time, have become lost to us- the men, and women, who labored long in fields, who were later legally and systemically discriminated against, who were lynched by the hundreds in the century just past and those others who have been too long denied the fruits of our great American culture. The names of too many of these people, these heroes and heroines, are lost to us. But the names of others of these people should strike a resonant chord in the historical ear of all in our nation: Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. DuBois, Walter White, Langston Hughes, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, Charles Drew, Paul Robeson, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Vivian Malone, Rosa Parks, Marion Anderson, Emmit Till. These are just some of the people who should be generally recognized and are just some of the people to whom all of us, black and white, owe such a debt of gratitude. It is on their broad shoulders that I stand as I hope that others will some day stand on my more narrow ones.

Black history is a subject worthy of study by all our nation's people. Blacks have played a unique, productive role in the development of America. Perhaps the greatest strength of the United States is the diversity of its people and to truly understand this country one must have knowledge of its constituent parts. But an unstudied, not discussed and ultimately misunderstood diversity can become a divisive force. An appreciation of the unique black past, acquired through the study of black history, will help lead to understanding and true compassion in the present, where it is still so sorely needed, and to a future where all of our people are truly valued.

Thank you.



WTF Chris Brown!!! I have to admit I was one of those people who was reserving judgment until some photos came out. I'm not one to pass judgment based on speculation alone, but this right here is no longer speculation. Someone needs to put Chris punk a$$ underneath the jail. I just can't imagine a scenario where a man would have to beat a woman like this. This is a damn shame. I'm Team Rhi Rhi on this one all day. Any man that beats a woman is a coward in my book. I'm pretty sure people will never look at Chris Brown the same after this. His career is pretty much a wrap as far as I am concerned. Damn b!tch-a$$ Woman-Beater!!! I'm so pissed right now.

Rihanna we have your back baby!!!!!!

Feb 19, 2009



Text of Speech:

I'm here today to talk about a crisis unlike any we've ever known - but one that you know very well here in Mesa, and throughout the Valley. In Phoenix and its surrounding suburbs, the American Dream is being tested by a home mortgage crisis that not only threatens the stability of our economy but also the stability of families and neighborhoods. It is a crisis that strikes at the heart of the middle class: the homes in which we invest our savings, build our lives, raise our families, and plant roots in our communities.


So many Americans have shared with me their personal experiences of this crisis. Many have written letters or emails or shared their stories with me at rallies and along rope lines. Their hardship and heartbreak are a reminder that while this crisis is vast, it begins just one house - and one family - at a time.

It begins with a young family - maybe in Mesa, or Glendale, or Tempe - or just as likely in suburban Las Vegas, Cleveland, or Miami. They save up. They search. They choose a home that feels like the perfect place to start a life. They secure a fixed-rate mortgage at a reasonable rate, make a down payment, and make their mortgage payments each month. They are as responsible as anyone could ask them to be.

But then they learn that acting responsibly often isn't enough to escape this crisis. Perhaps someone loses a job in the latest round of layoffs, one of more than three and a half million jobs lost since this recession began - or maybe a child gets sick, or a spouse has his or her hours cut.


In the past, if you found yourself in a situation like this, you could have sold your home and bought a smaller one with more affordable payments. Or you could have refinanced your home at a lower rate. But today, home values have fallen so sharply that even if you made a large down payment, the current value of your mortgage may still be higher than the current value of your house. So no bank will return your calls, and no sale will return your investment.

You can't afford to leave and you can't afford to stay. So you cut back on luxuries. Then you cut back on necessities. You spend down your savings to keep up with your payments. Then you open the retirement fund. Then you use the credit cards. And when you've gone through everything you have, and done everything you can, you have no choice but to default on your loan. And so your home joins the nearly six million others in foreclosure or at risk of foreclosure across the country, including roughly 150,000 right here in Arizona.

But the foreclosures which are uprooting families and upending lives across America are only one part of this housing crisis. For while there are millions of families who face foreclosure, there are millions more who are in no danger of losing their homes, but who have still seen their dreams endangered. They are families who see "For Sale" signs lining the streets. Who see neighbors leave, and homes standing vacant, and lawns slowly turning brown. They see their own homes - their largest single assets - plummeting in value. One study in Chicago found that a foreclosed home reduces the price of nearby homes by as much as 9 percent. Home prices in cities across the country have fallen by more than 25 percent since 2006; in Phoenix, they've fallen by 43 percent.

Even if your neighborhood hasn't been hit by foreclosures, you're likely feeling the effects of the crisis in other ways. Companies in your community that depend on the housing market - construction companies and home furnishing stores, painters and landscapers - they're cutting back and laying people off. The number of residential construction jobs has fallen by more than a quarter million since mid-2006. As businesses lose revenue and people lose income, the tax base shrinks, which means less money for schools and police and fire departments. And on top of this, the costs to a local government associated with a single foreclosure can be as high as $20,000.

The effects of this crisis have also reverberated across the financial markets. When the housing market collapsed, so did the availability of credit on which our economy depends. As that credit has dried up, it has been harder for families to find affordable loans to purchase a car or pay tuition and harder for businesses to secure the capital they need to expand and create jobs.

In the end, all of us are paying a price for this home mortgage crisis. And all of us will pay an even steeper price if we allow this crisis to deepen - a crisis which is unraveling homeownership, the middle class, and the American Dream itself. But if we act boldly and swiftly to arrest this downward spiral, every American will benefit. And that's what I want to talk about today.

The plan I'm announcing focuses on rescuing families who have played by the rules and acted responsibly: by refinancing loans for millions of families in traditional mortgages who are underwater or close to it; by modifying loans for families stuck in sub-prime mortgages they can't afford as a result of skyrocketing interest rates or personal misfortune; and by taking broader steps to keep mortgage rates low so that families can secure loans with affordable monthly payments.

At the same time, this plan must be viewed in a larger context. A lost home often begins with a lost job. Many businesses have laid off workers for a lack of revenue and available capital. Credit has become scarce as the markets have been overwhelmed by the collapse of securities backed by failing mortgages. In the end, the home mortgage crisis, the financial crisis, and this broader economic crisis are interconnected. We cannot successfully address any one of them without addressing them all.

Yesterday, in Denver, I signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which will create or save three and a half million jobs over the next two years - including 70,000 in Arizona - doing the work America needs done. We will also work to stabilize, repair, and reform our financial system to get credit flowing again to families and businesses. And we will pursue the housing plan I am outlining today.

Through this plan, we will help between seven and nine million families restructure or refinance their mortgages so they can avoid foreclosure. And we are not just helping homeowners at risk of falling over the edge, we are preventing their neighbors from being pulled over that edge too - as defaults and foreclosures contribute to sinking home values, failing local businesses, and lost jobs.

But I also want to be very clear about what this plan will not do: It will not rescue the unscrupulous or irresponsible by throwing good taxpayer money after bad loans. It will not help speculators who took risky bets on a rising market and bought homes not to live in but to sell. It will not help dishonest lenders who acted irresponsibility, distorting the facts and dismissing the fine print at the expense of buyers who didn't know better. And it will not reward folks who bought homes they knew from the beginning they would never be able to afford. In short, this plan will not save every home.

But it will give millions of families resigned to financial ruin a chance to rebuild. It will prevent the worst consequences of this crisis from wreaking even greater havoc on the economy. And by bringing down the foreclosure rate, it will help to shore up housing prices for everyone. According to estimates by the Treasury Department, this plan could stop the slide in home prices due to neighboring foreclosures by up to $6,000 per home.

Here is how my plan works:

First, we will make it possible for an estimated four to five million currently ineligible homeowners who receive their mortgages through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to refinance their mortgages at lower rates.

Today, as a result of declining home values, millions of families are "underwater," which means they owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. These families are unable to sell their homes, and unable to refinance them. So in the event of a job loss or another emergency, their options are limited.

Right now, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - the institutions that guarantee home loans for millions of middle class families - are generally not permitted to guarantee refinancing for mortgages valued at more than 80 percent of the home's worth. So families who are underwater - or close to being underwater - cannot turn to these lending institutions for help.

My plan changes that by removing this restriction on Fannie and Freddie so that they can refinance mortgages they already own or guarantee. This will allow millions of families stuck with loans at a higher rate to refinance. And the estimated cost to taxpayers would be roughly zero; while Fannie and Freddie would receive less money in payments, this would be balanced out by a reduction in defaults and foreclosures.

I also want to point out that millions of other households could benefit from historically low interest rates if they refinance, though many don't know that this opportunity is available to them - an opportunity that could save families hundreds of dollars each month. And the efforts we are taking to stabilize mortgage markets will help these borrowers to secure more affordable terms, too.

Second, we will create new incentives so that lenders work with borrowers to modify the terms of sub-prime loans at risk of default and foreclosure.

Sub-prime loans - loans with high rates and complex terms that often conceal their costs - make up only 12 percent of all mortgages, but account for roughly half of all foreclosures.

Right now, when families with these mortgages seek to modify a loan to avoid this fate, they often find themselves navigating a maze of rules and regulations but rarely finding answers. Some sub-prime lenders are willing to renegotiate; many aren't. Your ability to restructure your loan depends on where you live, the company that owns or manages your loan, or even the agent who happens to answer the phone on the day you call.

My plan establishes clear guidelines for the entire mortgage industry that will encourage lenders to modify mortgages on primary residences. Any institution that wishes to receive financial assistance from the government, and to modify home mortgages, will have to do so according to these guidelines - which will be in place two weeks from today.

If lenders and homebuyers work together, and the lender agrees to offer rates that the borrower can afford, we'll make up part of the gap between what the old payments were and what the new payments will be. And under this plan, lenders who participate will be required to reduce those payments to no more than 31 percent of a borrower's income. This will enable as many as three to four million homeowners to modify the terms of their mortgages to avoid foreclosure.

So this part of the plan will require both buyers and lenders to step up and do their part. Lenders will need to lower interest rates and share in the costs of reduced monthly payments in order to prevent another wave of foreclosures. Borrowers will be required to make payments on time in return for this opportunity to reduce those payments.

I also want to be clear that there will be a cost associated with this plan. But by making these investments in foreclosure-prevention today, we will save ourselves the costs of foreclosure tomorrow - costs borne not just by families with troubled loans, but by their neighbors and communities and by our economy as a whole. Given the magnitude of these costs, it is a price well worth paying.

Third, we will take major steps to keep mortgage rates low for millions of middle class families looking to secure new mortgages.

Today, most new home loans are backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which guarantee loans and set standards to keep mortgage rates low and to keep mortgage financing available and predictable for middle class families. This function is profoundly important, especially now as we grapple with a crisis that would only worsen if we were to allow further disruptions in our mortgage markets.

Therefore, using the funds already approved by Congress for this purpose, the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve will continue to purchase Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities so that there is stability and liquidity in the marketplace. Through its existing authority Treasury will provide up to $200 billion in capital to ensure that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can continue to stabilize markets and hold mortgage rates down.

We're also going to work with Fannie and Freddie on other strategies to bolster the mortgage markets, like working with state housing finance agencies to increase their liquidity. And as we seek to ensure that these institutions continue to perform what is a vital function on behalf of middle class families, we also need to maintain transparency and strong oversight so that they do so in responsible and effective ways.

Fourth, we will pursue a wide range of reforms designed to help families stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure.

My administration will continue to support reforming our bankruptcy rules so that we allow judges to reduce home mortgages on primary residences to their fair market value - as long as borrowers pay their debts under a court-ordered plan. That's the rule for investors who own two, three, and four homes. It should be the rule for ordinary homeowners too, as an alternative to foreclosure.

In addition, as part of the recovery plan I signed into law yesterday, we are going to award $2 billion in competitive grants to communities that are bringing together stakeholders and testing new and innovative ways to prevent foreclosures. Communities have shown a lot of initiative, taking responsibility for this crisis when many others have not. Supporting these neighborhood efforts is exactly what we should be doing.

Taken together, the provisions of this plan will help us end this crisis and preserve for millions of families their stake in the American Dream. But we must also acknowledge the limits of this plan.

Our housing crisis was born of eroding home values, but also of the erosion of our common values. It was brought about by big banks that traded in risky mortgages in return for profits that were literally too good to be true; by lenders who knowingly took advantage of homebuyers; by homebuyers who knowingly borrowed too much from lenders; by speculators who gambled on rising prices; and by leaders in our nation's capital who failed to act amidst a deepening crisis.

So solving this crisis will require more than resources - it will require all of us to take responsibility. Government must take responsibility for setting rules of the road that are fair and fairly enforced. Banks and lenders must be held accountable for ending the practices that got us into this crisis in the first place. Individuals must take responsibility for their own actions. And all of us must learn to live within our means again.

These are the values that have defined this nation. These are values that have given substance to our faith in the American Dream. And these are the values that we must restore now at this defining moment.

It will not be easy. But if we move forward with purpose and resolve - with a deepened appreciation for how fundamental the American Dream is and how fragile it can be when we fail in our collective responsibilities - then I am confident we will overcome this crisis and once again secure that dream for ourselves and for generations to come.

Thank you, God Bless you, and God bless America.



Can someone please explain to me where in the hell Ron Christie came from? I agree with Roland, this dude is delusional.