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President Obama speaks at the Congressional Black Caucus Dinner (Updated with Transcript)

Saturday evening, President Obama spoke at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 45th Annual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards Dinner.

(Transcript below the fold)

WaPo:

President Obama pressed on Saturday night for a greater focus on helping black women who are more likely to be stuck in minimum wage jobs, have higher rates of illness and face higher rates of incarceration than other women. […]

Obama described the important and too often anonymous role that black women played during the civil rights movement and praised the recent push to put a black woman’s picture on the $10 bill. But he insisted that such symbolic actions fell short of what was needed. “We’ve got to make sure they are getting some ten dollar bills,” he said, “that they are getting paid properly.” […]

Obama made the case for better job training and more mentorship programs to encourage women of color to pursue careers in math and science.

President Obama: “Don’t play chicken with our economy!”

On Wednesday, President Obama spoke at a gathering of the Business Roundtable, an “association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies working to promote sound public policy and a thriving U.S. economy.” The president had some strong words for those who want to shut down the government over their ideology.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

[The] fact is, what I’ve called middle-class economics has been good for business. Corporate profits have hit an all-time high. Slowing health care prices and plummeting energy costs have helped your bottom lines. Manufacturing is growing at the fastest clip in about two decades. Our workforce is more educated than ever before. The stock market has more than doubled since 2009, and 2015 is on pace to be the year with the highest consumer confidence since 2004. And America’s technological entrepreneurs have continued to make incredible products that are changing our lives rapidly.

Now, you wouldn’t know any of this if you were listening to the folks who are seeking this office that I occupy. (Laughter.)

In the echo chamber that is presidential politics, everything is dark and everything is terrible. They don’t seem to offer many solutions for the disasters that they perceive -– but they’re quick to tell you who to blame.

I’m here to say that there’s nothing particularly patriotic or American about talking down America, especially when we stand as one of the few sources of economic strength in the world. […]

Democrats are ready to sit down and negotiate with Republicans right now, today, as we speak. But it should be over legitimate questions of spending and revenue –- not unrelated ideological issues. You’ll recall that two years ago Republicans shut down the government because they didn’t like Obamacare. Today, some are suggesting the government should be shut down because they don’t like Planned Parenthood. That’s not good sense and it’s not good business. The notion that we’d play chicken with an $18 trillion economy and global markets that are already skittish all because of an issue around a women’s health provider that receives less than 20 cents out of every thousand dollars in the federal budget, that’s not good policymaking.

The last time Republicans shut down the government, it cost our economy billions of dollars; consumer confidence plummeted. I don’t think anybody here thinks that’s going to be good for your business.

It is not good for business … or labor or, really, any segment of society other than those who fundraise off lies and who could not care less who suffers as long as the outrage fuels their own political careers.

One of these days, the members of the Business Roundtable, and the Chamber of Commerce, will realize that business needs a rational governmental presence and that the nihilism promoted by the Republican Party is NOT in their best interests. For all of our sakes, I hope that day comes sooner rather than later.

Congress has 11 days to pass a budget or to pass a Continuing Resolution to fund the government until a budget can be agreed upon.

The clock is ticking …

(Transcript below the fold).

A toxic mix: Anti-immigrationism, racism, nativism and Islamophobia.

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As Republican rhetoric against immigrants is being ramped up by their candidate clown-car—currently driven by Donald Trump—a lot of attention has been focused on Latinos as the targets of their nativist, birthright, xenophobic ire. We need to also remember that many immigrants to the U.S. are black, and not only face our foundational racism, but immigrants to the U.S. from Muslim countries in Africa face discrimination that is Islamophobic.

A Rising Share of the U.S. Black Population Is Foreign Born

Black immigrants are from many parts of the world, but half are from the Caribbean alone. Jamaica is the largest source country with about 682,000 black immigrants born there, accounting for 18% of the national total. Haiti follows with 586,000 black immigrants, making up 15% of the U.S. black immigrant population.

However, much of the recent growth in the size of the black immigrant population has been fueled by African immigration. Between 2000 and 2013, the number of black African immigrants living in the U.S. rose 137%, from 574,000 to 1.4 million. Africans now make up 36% of the total foreign-born black population, up from 24% in 2000 and just 7% in 1980.

Weekly Address: President Obama – A New College Scorecard

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President announced the launch of a new College Scorecard, meant to help students and parents identify which schools provide the biggest bang for your buck. Designed with input from those who will use it most, the Scorecard offers reliable data on factors important to prospective students, such as how much graduates earn, and how much debt they have when they graduate. In an economy where some higher education is still the surest ticket to the middle class, the choices that Americans make when searching for and selecting a college have never been more important. That’s why the President is committed to making sure there exists reliable information that helps students find the college that best fits their needs so that they can succeed.

THE COLLEGE SCORECARD

| READ THE FACT SHEET

Senate Democrats Reject War (UPDATED with video)

NY Times Email:

BREAKING NEWS Senate Democrats clear way for Iran nuclear deal

Thursday, September 10, 2015 4:08 PM EDT

Senate Democrats delivered a major victory to President Obama on Thursday when they blocked a Republican resolution to reject a six-nation nuclear accord with Iran, ensuring that the landmark deal will take effect without a veto showdown between Congress and the White House.

A procedural vote fell short of the number needed to break a Democratic filibuster. It culminated hours of debate on the Senate floor and capped months of discord since the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China announced the agreement with Iran in July.

After Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attempts to rewrite history, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid points out that McConnell lives in an alternate reality.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) shows some spine and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) melts in a puddle of Obama Derangement Syndrome on the Senate floor.

Film at 11 below the fold.

The White House “Back-to-School Tour”: #HeadsUpAmerica

The White House has launched their “2015 Back-to-School Tour” to promote the administration’s community college initiative, America’s College Promise, and announce a new initiative: Heads Up America, an independent campaign to raise awareness about the importance of America’s community colleges.

First stop, Macomb Community College in Warren MI with Dr. Jill Biden and President Barack Obama:

From the Michigan Daily

The president and Dr. Jill Biden, a professor at Northern Virginia Community College and the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, addressed a crowd of several hundred people at Macomb Community College. During the event, Obama rolled out a $175 million apprenticeship grant program through the U.S. Department of Labor and rallied support for a proposal he announced in January to provide a guaranteed two free years of community college.

Obama announced this plan in his State of the Union address with the goal of offering responsible students the opportunity to attend two years of community college for free. He emphasized the need for every student to have a chance to succeed, arguing that the benefits of a community college degree and job skills training include the chance to live a more prosperous life.

Dr. Biden:

“Our administration believes you should have the education and skills you need to succeed without being saddled with decades of debt,” she said. “Because it’s too hard to get ahead when you start off from so far behind.”

President Obama:

“A big part of making sure today’s economy works better for ordinary folks goes back to the issue of education,” he said. “Every American willing to work hard should have a shot at higher education because as the economy globally becomes more competitive, everybody’s got to upgrade their skills a little bit.”

(Transcript below)

Weekly Address: President Obama – This Labor Day, Lets Talk About the Budget

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President recognized Labor Day by highlighting the economic progress our country has made, and underlining what needs to be done to continue that growth. Our businesses have created 13.1 million new jobs over the past five and a half years, the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in seven years, and seventeen states across the country have raised the minimum wage. The President stressed that to continue this progress, Congress needs to avoid a government shutdown that would hurt middle-class Americans and pass a responsible budget before the end of September. The President emphasized that Congress should not play games with our economy, and instead pass a budget that invests in our middle-class and helps those who work hard and play by the rules to get ahead.

On oppressing people of color while appropriating our cultures.

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Blackface. An example of cultural appropriation from a 1900 William H. West minstrel show poster.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to study oppression, and to participate in movements that fight against it, in many forms. I am not speaking simply of oppression along white-black lines, since my own life has led me to supporting struggles of people of color in the broader sense—Native Americans and other indigenous peoples, Asian-Americans and Latinos along with issues around gender and sexual identity.

Not all these issues are focused on the direct violence of genocide, slavery, lynching, rape and police violence. We are no longer limited to simple discussions of racism, or sexism after several decades developing critical race and gender theory. We have moved into exploring “intersectionality” as a way to bring race, class, ethnicity and gender together. Our dialogues now include thoughts on “privilege”, but also on “microaggressions“, and examinations of “cultural appropriation.” The push-back, both academic and popular (as always) has been swift, and loud. We are labelled “PC” as an insult and to shut-down discussion, as if there is something wrong with pointing out inequity and exploitation.

President Obama: “Climate change is no longer some far-off problem. It is happening here. It is happening now.”

President Obama is in Alaska for a three day visit. While there, he attended the GLACIER conference. GLACIER is “Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement, and Resilience” and is chaired by Secretary of State John Kerry.

President Obama:

… climate change is no longer some far-off problem. It is happening here. It is happening now. Climate change is already disrupting our agriculture and ecosystems, our water and food supplies, our energy, our infrastructure, human health, human safety — now. Today. And climate change is a trend that affects all trends — economic trends, security trends. Everything will be impacted. And it becomes more dramatic with each passing year.[…]

I’ve come here today, as the leader of the world’s largest economy and its second largest emitter, to say that the United States recognizes our role in creating this problem, and we embrace our responsibility to help solve it. And I believe we can solve it. That’s the good news. Even if we cannot reverse the damage that we’ve already caused, we have the means — the scientific imagination and technological innovation — to avoid irreparable harm. […]

… the time to heed the critics and the cynics and the deniers is past. The time to plead ignorance is surely past. Those who want to ignore the science, they are increasingly alone. They’re on their own shrinking island.

FACT SHEET: President Obama to Announce New Steps to Enhance Administration Collaboration with Alaska Natives, the State of Alaska, and Local Communities

President Obama will meet with leaders from the Alaska Native community along with Governor Bill Walker, Lt. Governor Byron Mallott, and Senator Lisa Murkowski to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation between the Federal Government and Alaska Native tribes, including by furthering progress in developing cooperative management strategies for fish and wildlife. The President will also announce that the Federal Government has officially restored the Koyukon Athabascan name of Denali to the tallest mountain in North America, previously known as Mt. McKinley. This designation recognizes the sacred status of Denali to generations of Alaska Natives.

Rabbis march for civil rights on the Journey for Justice

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Photo from twitter: Rabbi David Levy, left, with his son Josh and NAACP president Cornell Brooks.

The Journey for Justice marchers entered North Carolina on Saturday. One of the heartening stories unfolding about the walk from Selma Alabama to Washington DC is the participation of rabbis, and members of their congregations from across the country.

Wanted to share some of the news items and tweets I found about what is taking place.

Follow me below the fold.