Keyser menaces reporter: ‘My dog’s bigger than you are. A big guy. Very protective.


CO-Sen: It’s official: former state Rep. Jon Keyser’s campaign for Senate is officially in meltdown mode. Just two days after Denver7 reporter Marshall Zelinger discovered that Keyser submitted multiple forged signatures to get on the June primary ballot, Keyser participated in a Republican debate, where a moderator repeatedly pressed him on the matter. Keyser refused to directly answer any questions, just saying, over and over again, “I’m on the ballot” and accusing liberal billionaire George Soros of trying to “derail my campaign.”

Following the debate, Zelinger attempted to interview Keyser on camera and asked the same questions the moderator had. Keyser again tried to evade, but then things took a turn for the bizarre—deeply bizarre:

Keyser: Were you the guy who was creepin’ around my house yesterday?

Zelinger: I knocked on your door.

K: You woke up my kids—my baby cried for an hour after that.

Z: I apologize.

K: Did you get to meet my dog?

Z: I met your dog and your nanny—she was very kind. Your dog was kind.

K: My dog is—he’s a great dog. He’s bigger than you are. He’s huge. He’s a big, big guy, very protective.

Z: I don’t know what that meant, but okay.

K: Oh, he’s a great, he’s a great, he’s a great dog.

Z: His size—what did you mean by his size?

K: Oh, have you seen him? He’s a Great Dane—he’s 165 pounds. He’s a good dog.

Was Keyser quasi-threatening Zelinger with his “big, big” “very protective” “huge” dog who’s “bigger than you are”? How the hell else to interpret those remarks? Zelinger finally managed to re-rail the interview, but Keyser simply wouldn’t say anything about the forgeries—because what is there to say? And wait, sorry, we’re still not over the dog. What on earth was that?

Anyhow, if Keyser survives this nightmare, he’d be like Gandalf returning from the dead. Somehow, though, we don’t think he has any wizardly powers. ProgressNow Colorado, the group that first discovered a forged signature among Keyser’s petitions, has asked the Denver and Jefferson County district attorneys to investigate. Even if a criminal inquiry never takes root, you’ve gotta believe that at least one of Keyser’s Republican opponents will take him to court to try to knock him off the ballot—if, that is, Keyser doesn’t drop out first … to spend more time with his ginormous dog, of course.

Senate:

FL-Sen: Hardee har har. On Thursday, TPM reporter Lauren Fox caught up with Florida “Senator” Marco Rubio on Capitol Hill and asked if he was thinking about seeking re-election. Rubio’s response was decidedly wishy-washy: “I’m not focused on that. I’ve already said what my intentions are and at this point you know [we] have people out there running already.” Fox then noted that Rubio had until the end of June to change his mind. Walking away, Rubio turned to smile and cited the precise filing date: “June 24.”

So was this some kind of ZOMG moment? Was Rubio really thinking about upending Florida politics and running for another term in the Senate despite burning bridges with plenty of Republicans in his home state, performing miserably in Florida’s presidential primary, and just generally showing zero interest in remaining a legislator? Turns out, no. A spokesman subsequently told Fox, “It was a joke. He’s going to serve out the rest of his Senate term and become a private citizen in January 2017.” A joke, indeed—just like Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign.

GA-Sen: Wealthy Democratic businessman Jim Barksdale has released his first TV ad of the race, and it’s, well, a bit awkward. Narrating the spot himself, Barskdale says, “I’m not a politician, and I can prove it: I wear this hat”—as he tugs a newsboy cap over his bald head. What exactly is the message here? That real politicians would never be caught dead in such a hat? Or that only authentic reg’lar folks wear cloth caps like this?

Barksdale then proceeds with what is mostly a standard-issue outsider’s message, saying he’s an “investment manager” who “stood against the Wall Street crowd to protect my clients’ retirement.” He continues by promising he’ll “stand against the Washington crowd and their bad trade deals, wasteful spending, and mass incarceration.” The “bad trade deals” sounds a lot like Bernie Sanders, but it’s that last bit that’s the most interesting, since you don’t typically expect a white guy running in Georgia to run against mass incarceration, even in a Democratic primary.

The size of the buy isn’t known, but Barksdale’s put $1 million into his own campaign and has apparently bought TV time “in every significant Georgia market.” Barksdale faces two Some Dude opponents for the Democratic nomination, which will be decided later this month. Assuming he’s successful, he’ll get to take on GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson in November. We currently rate this contest Safe Republican, but if Georgia comes into play in the presidential race, funky things could happen downballot, too.

IA-Sen: The pro-Democratic Constitutional Responsibility Project is out with a TV spot against Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley and as you can probably guess from their name, they’re hitting him on the GOP’s Supreme Court blockade. The commercial starts with a 2006 clip of Grassley declaring that a “Supreme Court nomination isn’t a forum to fight any election,” before voters accuse him of now being a part of the problem in DC. There’s no word on the size of the buy, though the CRP has spent a total of $150,000 on similar ads in Ohio and Pennsylvania so far.

IL-Sen: For years, Republicans have been convinced that a long-running legal battle would one day tank Rep. Tammy Duckworth’s political career. Two former employees of Duckworth’s at the Illinois Department of Veterans affairs filed a suit all the way back in 2008 alleging that Duckworth had engaged in improper retaliation against them after they filed complaints against the acting director of the facility at which they worked.

The case was dismissed by a federal judge, who called it a “garden-variety workplace case,” then was refiled in state court, only to get dismissed once more. It was then refiled a third time on narrower grounds; the judge hearing the matter declined to dismiss the case a third time, and this week, he tentatively scheduled a trial date for August.

Republicans still think the case will damage Duckworth, while her campaign has dismissed it as “politically motivated.” The state attorney general’s office, which is defending Duckworth, has said the plaintiffs claims are merely “petty complaints by two malcontents.” Duckworth is the Democratic nominee against Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, and the GOP knows that Kirk faces tough odds in this blue state. Team Red has been attacking Duckworth over this matter for many years, but they’ve never drawn much blood. Maybe this time will be different, but so far, this affair just has not been the political kryptonite Republicans wish it were.

OH-Sen: Republican Sen. Rob Portman has a huge financial edge over Democratic ex-Gov. Ted Strickland, and he’s going to make the most of it. On Thursday, Portman announced that he’s reserved $14 million in TV time from June to Election Day, plus he’s setting aside another $1 million for YouTube. Portman held a $13.4-million-to-$2.7-million cash-on-hand advantage over Strickland at the end of March, so we’ve always known Portman would swamp his opponent on the airwaves.

Democrats won’t abandon Strickland, of course. The DSCC has reserved $10 million in Ohio (to the NRSC’s $6 million), and other organizations on both sides will get involved here. But unfortunately for Strickland, party committees and super PACs need to spend far more money than campaigns to purchase ad time because FCC regulations give candidates—but not outside groups—discounted rates on TV and radio. So while allies can help Strickland make up some of the gap, Portman’s dollars will stretch much further.

Gubernatorial:

NC-Gov: The Republican Governors Association is out with their second 15-second TV spotattacking Democrat Roy Cooper. Once again, they go after him on taxes, accusing him of wanting to tax everything in sight. The RGA recently launched an opening $510,000 buy here.

WA-Gov: The GOP wants to unseat Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee this year, but Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant hasn’t exactly emerged as a fundraising dynamo yet. Thanks in part to a $300,000 transfer from the state Democratic Party, Inslee widened his already large financial in April. Inslee currently holds a $2.5 million to $626,000 cash-on-hand edge; a month before, Inslee led $1.9 million to $700,000.

House:

FL-10: Ex-Orlando Police Chief Val Demings has consolidated support from national Democrats and she recently earned a prominent local endorsement from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. However, the Central Florida Police Benevolent Association announced this week that they would back Bob Poe, a wealthy former state party chair and Demings’ most prominent foe in the August primary. It’s a pretty against-type endorsement, especially since Demings’ husband is the sheriff of Orange County.

NC-02: Rather unusually, GOP Rep. George Holding’s own pollster, Carter Wrenn, just told Roll Call that his boss is in a “statistical dead heat” with fellow Rep. Renee Ellmers in their redistricting-induced primary, a topic Wrenn discussed at much greater length in a blog post earlier this month. While Wrenn, a longtime aide to the late Sen. Jesse Helms, didn’t divulge the actual toplines of his polling, he says that in early March, Holding, who represents a plurality of the redrawn 2nd, had a 10-point lead on Ellmers, with 25 percent of voters undecided.

But after tea partying physician Greg Brannon, who’d run a couple of unsuccessful campaigns for Senate, decided to run for the House later that month, his entry scrambled the race. Wrenn says that Brannon cut into Holding’s support with conservative voters, resulting in Holding and Ellmers winding up “neck-and-neck” at about 25 percent apiece, with Brannon “running below 20.” But Wrenn also notes the difficulty of polling this race, since the state had to push its House primaries to June 7 thanks to the same court-ordered redistricting that pitted Ellmers and Holding against one another in the first place. Simply put, no one knows how many voters will turn out for what is an unusually timed election for North Carolina.

All external signs, however, point to success for Holding. The Club for Growth has hated Ellmers for a while due to her votes to raise the debt ceiling and reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, and they’ve pledged to “actively oppose her”in the June primary. The Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity is planning a “six-figure” media blitz, hitting Ellmers for her supposed conservative apostasies, though it appears the campaign is confined to mail and digital platforms—no TV.

To make matters worse for Ellmers, the Susan B. Anthony List, a bizarro-world version of EMILY’s List that supports “pro-life” Republican women, has broken its own rules to endorse Holding over Ellmers. (Last year, Ellmers dissuaded House leaders from moving forward with a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy because it contained an incendiary provision that would have only permitted an exception in the case of rape if the victim reported her assault to the authorities first.) SBA List is a pretty small-time operation and nothing compared to AFP, but with both economic and social conservatives ganging up against her, it’s quite evident that Ellmers simply has no friends left.

Holding is also airing a new ad on his own behalf, a truly feeble spot with languid editing and cheap production values that tries to push back against an Ellmers mailer that supposedly claimed Holding “opposed the United States Army.” You’d think he could afford better.

NC-13: The Club for Growth recently endorsed gun range owner Ted Budd in the 17-way June 7 GOP primary, and they’re out with their first spot for him. The whole commercial is painfully generic, with the narrator stressing that Budd’s a conservative who hasn’t run for office before. There is no word on the size of the buy, but the Club usually spends big to help their friends. No influential outside groups have sided with any of Budd’s foes yet; if the Club ends up running most of the ads here (boring as they may be), it could make all the difference next month in this red Greensboro-area seat.

NH-02: The June 10 filing deadline is coming up, and the GOP is still struggling to find a viable candidate to face Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster. State Rep. Eric Estevez says he’s considering and plans to decide in June. Estevez doesn’t exactly come across as a very intimidating contender. Estevez was dogged by several questions about his resume and campaign endorsements during his failed 2010 run for the Massachusetts state legislature. (Estevez had unsuccessfully campaigned for the New Hampshire state House in 2006.) Last year, Estevez also got into a heated argument with Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau (a fellow Republican) after he showed up to a Lozeau event he was not invited to, and reportedly called her a “bitch”. So yeah, Estevez’s not an ideal nominee for this 54-45 Obama seat.

Kuster hasn’t emerged as a GOP target this cycle, and the quality of her opponents shows it. Ex-state Rep. Jim Lawrence recently formed an exploratory committee, but his 2014 campaign was far from impressive. Lawrence raised a total of $42,000 during his 2014 campaign andtook only 19 percent in the primary. Ex-state House Majority Leader Jack Flanagan, who actually has declared he’s in, raised just north of $5,000 over the first three months of 2016.

NV-03: With a month to go before the GOP primary for this swing seat, state Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson is airing out wealthy perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian’s dirty laundry in a new spot. The narrator notes that “[a] federal judge ordered Danny Tarkanian to pay $17 million for a fraudulent development scheme,” and goes on to accuse him of defrauding creditors and lying under oath.

The commercial refers to the $17 million judgment Tarkanian and his family was hit with in 2012 from a lawsuit over bad loans that Tarkanian had personally guaranteed. As the narrator later mentions, Tarkanian declared bankruptcy because he didn’t have $17 million, and he finally settled the matter for just $525,000. (Tarkanian emerged from bankruptcy protection last year, just in time to launch another campaign.) The ad doesn’t mention that these loans were for the family’s planned “equestrian destination resort,” which if anything makes Tark look a lot worse.

Grab Bag:

Where Are They Now?: About to be in jail. On Thursday, Dean Skelos, the former Republican leader of the New York state Senate, was sentenced to five years in prison for corruption; his son Adam was given a longer six-and-a-half year sentence. Just last week, ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, was sentenced to 12 years for a different corruption scandal. Who knows, maybe they’ll be cellmates—and believe it or not, that kind of thing has happened before.

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir and Jeff Singer, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and Stephen Wolf.

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May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month


Girl sitting outside and blowing her nose

 

05/26/2016 10:00 AM EDT
Children are magnets for colds. But when the “cold” won’t go away for weeks, the culprit may be something else: allergies.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines that offer allergy relief, as well as allergen extracts used to diagnose and treat allergies. And parents should take particular care when giving these products to children.

May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. Read the Consumer Update to learn more about allergy relief for kids.

Brandi Collins, ColorOfChange.org


Black people read more books than anyone else.

Shouldn’t booksellers make it easy to find books that reflect us?

Amazon wouldn’t be the biggest bookseller in the world without our business.

Tell Amazon to increase visibility and accessibility of books by Black authors or with Black protagonists.

 

 

As one of the largest booksellers, and the largest ebook retailer, the power of Amazon to influence the success or failure of products cannot be overstated. How a book is classified, listed, and ranked by genre, section, or algorithmic determination directly affects how many copies are sold.1 74% of all US ebook purchases and 71% of all US consumer dollars spent on ebooks go through Amazon’s website.2 For some authors, such as those who are self-published or in partnership with small publishers, visibility and accessibility can make or break their literary career. For Black authors and other authors of color especially, the lack of a specialized section where their novels are highlighted and made easily accessible further diminishes their already small presence in the majority white literary industry.

It’s time for Amazon to show that they understand the desires of the Black readers.

Amazon has recognized the need for minority-specific genres and section headings in the past, and taken steps to allow specific categories or headings for work by certain groups, such as LGBT authors in 2014.3 However, they have not extended the same attention towards the needs or concerns of other groups. All people of color, whether Black, Latino, Asian American & Pacific Islander, or Native American & Indigenous, deserve to have their voices heard and their literary interests represented by booksellers. The lack of these sections leaves many books and authors unknown to their desired audiences. As the largest and one of the most influential booksellers, Amazon should take the lead in showing that they hear and understand the desires of their customers.

The lack of the speculative fiction sections for Black people gives the impression that science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories featuring people of color don’t exist. Let’s change that.

Currently, there is no specific way to find science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories written by or featuring Black people as main characters when browsing Amazon’s online stores. Additionally, when the genre specific categories are used to search, works by Black authors are lost among results with no way to sort them out specifically. Even within the African American literature section, there are no sub-genre headings for science fiction, fantasy, or horror. College-educated Black women are the group in the U.S. most likely to read books, and Black people read more of every type of book overall.4 Creating genre headings within the African American literature section and an African American grouping under science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres is not only good business sense.5 It is the morally right thing to do in ensuring diverse literary representation, and that Black people and other people of color can easily find books which reflect their their experiences and creativity.

Thanks and peace,

–Brandi, Rashad, Arisha, Bernard, Brittaney, Evan, and the rest of the ColorOfChange team

References:

1. “How to Engage Amazon’s algorithms to sell more books.” Readers in the Know, 12-14-2014. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6095?t=5&akid=5835.1174326.uWog3D’s-algorithms-to-sell-more-books

2. “October 2015 – Apple, B&N, Kobo, and Google: a look at the rest of the e-book market.” Author Earnings, 10-2015. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6096?t=7&akid=5835.1174326.uWog3D

3. “Dear Mr. Bezos: Pushing Queer Romance Forward with Community Action.” Lambda Literary, 09-16-2014. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6097?t=9&akid=5835.1174326.uWog3D

4. “The Most Likely Person to Read a Book? A College-Educated Black Woman.” The Atlantic Wire, 01-16-2014. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/5965?t=11&akid=5835.1174326.uWog3D

5. “Thinking About Writing in Multiple Genres? Here’s What You Need to Know.” The Book Designer, 11-11-2016http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6098?t=13&akid=5835.1174326.uWog3D

Fact Sheet: The American Jobs Act … remember this


whitehouselogoThe White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
September 08, 2011

Fact Sheet: The American Jobs Act

THE AMERICAN JOBS ACT

1. Tax Cuts to Help America’s Small Businesses Hire and Grow

  • Cutting the payroll tax in half for 98 percent of businesses: The President’s plan will cut in half the taxes paid by businesses on their first $5 million in payroll, targeting the benefit to the 98 percent of firms that have payroll below this threshold.
  • A complete payroll tax holiday for added workers or increased wages: The President’s plan will completely eliminate payroll taxes for firms that increase their payroll by adding new workers or increasing the wages of their current worker (the benefit is capped at the first $50 million in payroll increases).
  • Extending 100% expensing into 2012: This continues an effective incentive for new investment.
  • Reforms and regulatory reductions to help entrepreneurs and small businesses access capital.

2. Putting Workers Back on the Job While Rebuilding and Modernizing America

  • A “Returning Heroes” hiring tax credit for veterans: This provides tax credits from $5,600 to $9,600 to encourage the hiring of unemployed veterans.
  • Preventing up to 280,000 teacher layoffs,while keeping cops and firefighters on the job.
  • Modernizing at least 35,000 public schools across the country,supporting new science labs, Internet-ready classrooms and renovations at schools across the country, in rural and urban areas.
  • Immediate investments in infrastructure and a bipartisan National Infrastructure Bank, modernizing our roads, rail, airports and waterways while putting hundreds of thousands of workers back on the job.
  • A New “Project Rebuild”, which will put people to work rehabilitating homes, businesses and communities, leveraging private capital and scaling land banks and other public-private collaborations.
  • Expanding access to high-speed wireless as part of a plan for freeing up the nation’s spectrum.

3. Pathways Back to Work for Americans Looking for Jobs.

  • The most innovative reform to the unemployment insurance program in 40 years: Aspartofan extension of unemployment insurance to prevent 5 million Americans looking for work from losing their benefits, the President’s plan includes innovative work-based reforms to prevent layoffs and give states greater flexibility to use UI funds to best support job-seekers, including:
    • Work-Sharing: UI for workers whose employers choose work-sharing over layoffs.
    • A new “Bridge to Work” program: The plan builds on and improves innovative state programs where those displacedtake temporary, voluntary work or pursue on-the-job training.
    • Innovative entrepreneurship and wage insurance programs: States will also be empowered to implement wage insurance to help reemploy older workers and programs that make it easier for unemployed workers to start their own businesses.
  • A $4,000 tax credit to employers for hiring long-term unemployed workers.
  • Prohibiting employers from discriminating against unemployed workers when hiring.
  • Expanding job opportunities for low-income youth and adults through a fund for successful approaches for subsidized employment, innovative training programs and summer/year-round jobs for youth.

4. Tax Relief for Every American Worker and Family

  • Cutting payroll taxes in half for 160 million workers next year: The President’s plan will expand the payroll tax cut passed last year to cut workers payroll taxes in half in 2012 – providing a $1,500 tax cut to the typical American family, without negatively impacting the Social Security Trust Fund.
  • Allowing more Americans to refinance their mortgages at today’s near 4 percent interest rates, which can put more than $2,000 a year in a family’s pocket.

5. Fully Paid for as Part of the President’s Long-Term Deficit Reduction Plan.To ensure that the American Jobs Act is fully paid for, the President will call on the Joint Committee to come up with additional deficit reduction necessary to pay for the Act and still meet its deficit target. The President will, in the coming days, release a detailed plan that will show how we can do that while achieving the additional deficit reduction necessary to meet the President’s broader goal of stabilizing our debt as a share of the economy.

AMERICAN JOBS ACT OVERVIEW

The American people understand that the economic crisis and the deep recession weren’t created overnight and won’t be solved overnight. The economic security of the middle class has been under attack for decades. That’s why President Obama believes we need to do more than just recover from this economic crisis – we need to rebuild the economy the American way, based on balance, fairness, and the same set of rules for everyone from Wall Street to Main Street. We can work together to create the jobs of the future by helping small business entrepreneurs, by investing in education, and by making things the world buys. The President understands that to restore an American economy that’s built to last we cannot afford to outsource American jobs and encourage reckless financial deals that put middle class security at risk.

To create jobs, the President unveiled the American Jobs Act – nearly all of which is made up of ideas that have been supported by both Democrats and Republicans, and that Congress should pass right away to get the economy moving now. The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. And it would do so without adding a dime to the deficit.

Tax Cuts to Help America’s Small Businesses Hire and Grow

New Tax Cuts to Businesses to Support Hiring and Investment:The President is proposing three tax cuts to provide immediate incentives to hire and invest:

  • Cutting the Payroll Tax Cut in Half for the First $5 Million in Wages:This provision would cut the payroll tax in half to 3.1% for employers on the first $5 million in wages, providing broad tax relief to all businesses but targeting it to the 98 percent of firms with wages below this level.
  • Temporarily Eliminating Employer Payroll Taxes on Wages for New Workers or Raises for Existing Workers:The President is proposing a full holiday on the 6.2% payroll tax firms pay for any growth in their payroll up to $50 million above the prior year, whether driven by new hires, increased wages or both. This is the kind of job creation measure that CBO has called the most effective of all tax cuts in supporting employment.
  • Extending 100% Expensing into 2012:The President is proposing to extend 100 percent expensing, the largest temporary investment incentive in history, allowing all firms – large and small – to take an immediate deduction on investments in new plants and equipment.
  • Helping Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses Access Capital and Grow: The President’s plan includes administrative, regulatory and legislative measures – including those developed and recommended by the President’s Jobs Council – to help small firms start and expand. This includes changing the way the government does business with small firms. The Administration will soon announce a plan to accelerate government payments to small contractors to help put money in their hands faster. The President is also charging his CIO and CTO to, within 90 days, stand up a one-stop, online portal for small businesses to easily access government services. As part of the President’s Startup America initiative, the Administration will work with the SEC to conduct a comprehensive review of securities regulations from the perspective of these small companies to reduce the regulatory burdens on small business capital formation in ways that are consistent with investor protection, including expanding “crowdfunding” opportunities and increasing mini-offerings. Finally, the President’s plan calls for Congress to pass comprehensive patent reform, increase guarantees for bonds to help small businesses compete for infrastructure projects and remove burdensome withholding requirements that keep capital out of the hands of job creators.

Putting Workers Back on the Job While Rebuilding and Modernizing America

  • Tax Credits and Career Readiness Efforts to Support Veterans’ Hiring:The President is proposing a Returning Heroes Tax Credit of up to $5,600 for hiring unemployed veterans who have been looking for a job for more than six months, and a Wounded Warriors Tax Credit of up to $9,600 for hiring unemployed workers with service-connected disabilities who have been looking for a job for more than six months, while creating a new task force to maximize career readiness of servicemembers.
  • Preventing Layoffs of Teachers, Cops and Firefighters:The President is proposing to invest $35 billion to prevent layoffs of up to 280,000 teachers, while supporting the hiring of tens of thousands more and keeping cops and firefighters on the job. These funds would help states and localities avoid and reverse layoffs now, requiring that funds be drawn down quickly. Under the President’s proposal, $30 billion be directed towards educators and $5 billion would support the hiring and retention of public safety and first responder personnel.
  • Modernizing Over 35,000 Schools – From Science Labs and Internet-Ready Classrooms to Renovated Facilities:The President is proposing a $25 billion investment in school infrastructure that will modernize at least 35,000 public schools – investments that will create jobs, while improving classrooms and upgrading our schools to meet 21st century needs. This includes a priority for rural schools and dedicated funding for Bureau of Indian Education funded schools. Funds could be used for a range of emergency repair and renovation projects, greening and energy efficiency upgrades, asbestos abatement and removal, and modernization efforts to build new science and computer labs and to upgrade technology in our schools. The President is also proposing a $5 billion investment in modernizing community colleges (including tribal colleges), bolstering their infrastructure in this time of need while ensuring their ability to serve future generations of students and communities.
  • Making an Immediate Investment in Our Roads, Rails and Airports: The President’s plan includes $50 billion in immediate investments for highways, transit, rail and aviation, helping to modernize an infrastructure that now receives a grade of “D” from the American Society of Civil Engineers and putting hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job. The President’s plan includes investments to improve our airports, support NextGen Air Traffic Modernization efforts, and resources for the TIGER and TIFIA programs, which target competitive dollars to innovative multi-modal infrastructure programs. It will also take special steps to enhance infrastructure-related job training opportunities for individuals from underrepresented groups and ensure that small businesses can compete for infrastructure contracts.The President will work administratively to speed infrastructure investment through a recently issued Presidential Memorandum developed with his Jobs Council directingdepartments and agencies to identify high impact, job-creating infrastructure projects that can be expedited in a transparent manner through outstanding review and permitting processes. The call for greater infrastructure investment has been joined by leaders from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue.
  • Establishing a National Infrastructure Bank:The President is calling for Congress to pass a National Infrastructure Bank capitalized with $10 billion, in order to leverage private and public capital and to invest in a broad range of infrastructure projects of nationaland regional significance, without earmarks or traditional political influence. The Bank would be based on the model Senators Kerry and Hutchison have championed while building on legislation by Senators Rockefeller and Lautenberg and the work of long-time infrastructure bank champions like Rosa DeLauro and the input of the President’s Jobs Council.
  • Project Rebuild: Putting People Back to Work Rehabilitating Homes, Businesses and Communities. The President is proposing to invest $15 billion in a national effort to put construction workers on the job rehabilitating and refurbishing hundreds of thousands of vacant and foreclosed homes and businesses. Building on proven approaches to stabilizing neighborhoods with high concentrations of foreclosures, Project Rebuild will bring in expertise and capital from the private sector, focus on commercial and residential property improvements, and expand innovative property solutions like land banks. This approach will not only create construction jobs but will help reduce blight and crime and stabilize housing prices in areas hardest hit by the housing crisis.
  • Expanding Access to High-Speed Wireless in a Fiscally Responsible Way: The President is calling for a deficit reducing plan to deploy high-speed wireless services to at least 98 percent of Americans, including those in more remote rural communities, while freeing up spectrum through incentive auctions, spurring innovation, and creating a nationwide, interoperable wireless network for public safety.

Pathways Back to Work for Americans Looking for Jobs

  • Reform Our Unemployment Insurance System to Provide Greater Flexibility, While Ensuring 6 Million People Do Not Lose Benefits: Drawing on the best ideas of both parties and the most innovative states, the President is proposing the most sweeping reforms to the unemployment insurance (UI) system in 40 years help those without jobs transition to the workplace. Alongside these reforms, the President is reiterating his call to extend unemployment insurance, preventing 6 million people looking for work from losing their benefits and extending what the independent Congressional Budget Office has determined is the highest “bang for the buck” option to increase economic activity.
  • Reemployment Assistance: States will be required to design more rigorous reemployment services for the long-term unemployed and to conduct assessments to review the longest-term claimants of UI to assess their eligibility and help them develop a work-search plan. These reforms are proven to speed up UI beneficiaries’ return to work.
  • Work-sharing:The President will expand “work-sharing” to encourage arrangements using UI that keep employees on the job at reduced hours, rather than laying them off.
  • State Flexibility for Bold Reforms to Put the Long-Term Unemployed Back To Work:The President is proposing to provide additional funds to allow states to introduce new programs aimed at long-term unemployed workers, including:
  • Bridge to Work” Programs:States will be able to put in place reforms that build off what works in programs like Georgia Works or Opportunity North Carolina, while instituting important fixes and reforms that ensure minimum wage and fair labor protections are being enforced. These approaches permits long-term unemployed workers to continue receiving UI while they take temporary, voluntary work or pursue work-based training. The President’s plan requires compliance with applicable minimum wage and other worker rights laws.
  • Wage Insurance: States will be able to use UI to encourage older, long-term unemployed Americans to return to work in new industries or occupations.
  • Startup Assistance: States will have flexibility to help long-term unemployed workers create their own jobs by starting their own small businesses.
  • Other Reemployment Reforms: States will be able to seek waivers from the Secretary of Labor to implement other innovative reforms to connect the long-term unemployed to work opportunities.
  • Tax Credits for Hiring the Long-Term Unemployed:The President is proposing a tax credit of up to $4,000 for hiring workers who have been looking for a job for over six months.
  • Investing in Low-Income Youth and Adults: The President is proposing a new Pathways Back to Work Fund to provide hundreds of thousands of low-income youth and adults with opportunities to work and to achieve needed training in growth industries. The Initiative will do three things: i) support summer and year-round jobs for youth, building off of successful programs that supported over 370,000 such jobs in 2009 and 2010; ii) support subsidized employment opportunities for low-income individuals who are unemployed, building off the successful TANF Emergency Contingency Fund wage subsidy program that supported 260,000 jobs in 2009 and 2010; and iii) support promising and innovative local work-based job and training initiatives to place low-income adults and youths in jobs quickly.
  • Prohibiting Employers from Discriminating Against Unemployed Workers: The President’s plan calls for legislation that would make it unlawful to refuse to hire applicants solely because they are unemployed or to include in a job posting a provision that unemployed persons will not be considered.

More Money in the Pockets of Every American Worker and Family

  • Cutting Payroll Taxes in Half for 160 Million Workers Next Year: The President’s plan will expand the payroll tax cut passed last December by cutting workers payroll taxes in half next year. This provision will provide a tax cut of $1,500 to the typical family earning $50,000 a year. As with the payroll tax cut passed in December 2010, the American Jobs Act will specify that Social Security will still receive every dollar it would have gotten otherwise, through a transfer from the General Fund into the Social Security Trust Fund.
  • Helping More Americans Refinance Mortgages at Today’s Historically Low Interest Rates: The President has instructed his economic team to work with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, their regulator the FHFA, major lenders and industry leaders to remove the barriers that exist in the current refinancing program (HARP) to help more borrowers benefit from today’s historically low interest rates. This has the potential to not only help these borrowers, but their communities and the American taxpayer, by keeping borrowers in their homes and reducing risk to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Fully Paid for as Part of the President’s Long-Term Deficit Reduction Plan.

  • To ensure that the American Jobs Act is fully paid for, the President will call on the Joint Committee to come up with additional deficit reduction necessary to pay for the Act and still meet its deficit target. The President will, in the coming days, release a detailed plan that will show how we can do that while achieving the additional deficit reduction necessary to meet the President’s broader goal of stabilizing our debt as a share of the economy.

Memorial day … in memory of


a repost from 2014TumblrDoves-doves-31209090-2560-2069

Most if not all memorial days are full of wonderful events and more often than not they all provide unforgettable programs!  I would like to share 3 incredible finds … In memory of

This video is no longer available. i appreciate the access i did have because he is a cousin and nice to see him helping out!

The first includes an old HGTV and Change the World show that aired in 2010; apparently they were or still are collaborative organizations that help Vets renovate existing housing that provides housing and education to the Vets in their respective communities.  A great show that also recognizes a man named Hence Forland.  I tuned into this repeat special which made me think about my own brother and others we know who volunteer, sacrifice themselves to serve and protect us in the military, but

what a surprise to see spoon giving up his NFL jersey to one of  the Vets who is doing great things in his community by providing veterans a place to stay, rest, think and move on to better things after coming back from War.

The second is an amazing repeat  of  a show done in 2006; about Pearl Fryar;  a self- made man and Topiary Garden Artist in Bishop, SC;

his amazing gift for making shrubs into magnificent pieces of art was very moving and yes i cried; if you see the show on cable … it tells his story, the son of a share-cropper who listened to his dad and made something of himself… as Pearl says and while his neighbors, friends and some relatives wondered what was going on with this man so obsessed, so determined who truly loved but wanted to perfect his art, it became obvious that his gift…self-taught,was definitely centered from something deep and beyond.  The viewer hears the history and witnesses the progress of his story …his idea of love, peace and goodwill in a town with racial tension he not only brought people into a town that was suffering economically but some folks from the area who normally avoided each other crossed paths just to see his artistry.

pearlfryar.com

The Garden

Since the early 1980s, Pearl Fryar has created fantastic topiary at his garden in Bishopville, South Carolina. Living sculptures, Pearl’s topiary are astounding feats of artistry and horticulture. Many of the plants in Pearl’s garden were rescued from the compost pile at local nurseries. With Pearl’s patience and skilled hands, these “throw aways” have thrived and have been transformed into wonderful abstract shapes. Pearl Fryar and his garden are now internationally recognized and have been the subject of numerous newspaper and magazine articles, television shows, and even a documentary, A Man Named Pearl. Today, the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden draws visitors from around the globe.

Visitors to the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden experience a place that is alternately beautiful, whimsical, educational, and inspiring. Pearl’s garden contains over 300 individual plants and few are spared from his skilled trimming. His extraordinary topiary is complemented by his “junk art” sculptures placed throughout the garden. Pearl’s garden is a living testament to one man’s firm belief in the results of positive thinking, hard work, and perseverance, and his dedication to spreading a message of “love, peace and goodwill.”

In 2006, the Garden Conservancy and the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden, Inc. formed a partnership with Pearl Fryar. Through this partnership, they hope to preserve and maintain the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden and to further Pearl’s message of inspiration and hope.

Please consider donating to the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden, Inc. to help ensure that Pearl’s garden is cared for and kept open to inspire future generations.

For more information about the Garden Conservancy and its mission to protect exceptional American gardens, please visit the Garden Conservancy website.

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The last is a c-span(video 2010) story that we cannot continue to ignore, deny or shove under the rug, c-span interviews the author of a book about Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot; 2010

An update needs to be included as the Lacks family, after years of litigation did gain an agreement

NIH makes privacy agreement with Henrietta Lacks’ family http://usat.ly/1esA2JK via @usatoday ~ 2013

Henrietta’s story starts in 1920 her birth and ends sometime in the early fifties, this story seems only to be coming into the light of day and while i cried again while watching this, it is sad, might be unacceptable by some, even after several children, after years of reports, publicity and whatnot the Lacks family seems to be the only one who didn’t benefit from the story of this woman whose cells were used to create a cell line for medical research but got nothing in return.   I first heard about the Lacks story in 2010 while in a coffee shop, then we all heard Oprah and some associates decided to make a movie…hopefully some of the revenue will be given to the family.   It is a story that makes you gasp, gets you upset, mad and it will make you cry and wonder how the science community got away with not paying Henrietta Lacks and or her family for her contribution.   If I understood the interviewer the Lacks family has recently gotten more PR about their Mother’s story but it’s unclear if anyone paid money for all the stories and or tv programs about her. It is a story that  appears on the surface a story of unintentional theft of her cells then used by a scientist who did not tell her or her family even after it was evident that the cells were unusual, that they were used and what effect they would eventually have on science today.I understand that back then technology may not have been as advanced but it did advance and still if the reports are correct, the science community gave Henrietta nothing or her family. It happened in a time when minorities were treated very poorly and even if the reports state that standard procedure was this that and the other .. .the 70″s gave way to new ways to handle science technologies; it’s time to pay Henrietta Lacks and her family back.

Just some things to remember … Happy Memorial Day Weekend