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Monday, April 29, 2013

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx Nominated As New Secretary of Transporta​tion

Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, Anthony Foxx has some big shoes to fill.

The newly nominated Secretary of Transportation will succeed the outgoing transportation secretary, Ray LaHood.

During today's nomination the president called LaHood possibly the "best Secretary of Transportation that the nation's ever had."

Anthony Foxx (middle) nominated as new Secretary of Transportation.  Getty photo.

LaHood, a native of Illinois, has held the position since 2009.

"From the day that he was sworn in, Ray has fought tirelessly to rebuild America’s infrastructure creating good jobs that strengthen our economy and allow us to better compete in the global economy", said Obama. 

"Over the past four years, thanks to Ray's leadership, we’ve built or improved more than 350,000 miles of road enough to circle the world more than 14 times.  We’ve upgraded more than 6,000 miles of rail  enough to go coast to coast and back.  We’ve repaired or replaced more than 20,000 bridges, and helped put tens of thousands of construction workers back on the job.  And that’s all due in no small part to Ray LaHood's leadership."

Mayor Foxx, having also held his position as mayor since 2009, is responsible for expanding the city's international airport, as well as extending the city’s light rail system; accomplishments that bode well with the president, who called Foxx his "friend".

"I know Anthony’s experience will make him an outstanding Transportation Secretary.  He’s got the respect of his peers, mayors and governors all across the country." 

Foxx was Charlotte's youngest mayor.  Today's official announcement comes on the heels of Foxx's 43rd birthday which he will celebrate tomorrow, April 29th. 

The nomination of Foxx helps improve the lack of diversity that is needed in the Obama administration.   There are only two people of color on the president's current Cabinet, Presidential Advisor Valerie Jarrett and Department of Justice's Attorney General, Eric Holder.

Obama has come under fire from members of the media who insist more diversity is needed.

Foxx is married with two children - both present during today's announcement.  Also in attendance was the wife of Foxx, Samara Ryder, an attorney, along with his grandmother who worked in the White House in the Truman administration.


UPDATE:  May 1st , 2013 -  On Wednesday, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) to direct the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) which administers or has oversight for the FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.

Melvin Luther "Mel" Watt (born August 26, 1945) is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives. He has served North Carolina's 12th congressional district since 1993. An attorney from Charlotte, North Carolina, Watt previously served one term as a state Senator and served as campaign manager for former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt.*

That makes two African Americans added to the president's staff, amazingly, in one week.

Both Foxx and Watts have served North Carolina.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

National Teacher of the Year and TOTY Finalists Honored at the White House.

On Monday afternoon, Dr. Jill Biden, an educator for more than 30 years, hosted a reception honoring the 2013 National Teacher of the Year and State Teachers of the Year at the Vice President’s Residence.  This is the fifth year in a row that Dr. Biden will host this group of accomplished teachers.

Today, at the White House, President Obama paid homage in the Rose Garden of the White House.
President Obama with 2013 Teacher of the Year finalists. Photo/CD Brown.
State finalist I'Asha Warfield has been a teacher for 13 years.  Ms. Warfield teaches 7th grade at Oakland, CA’s Unified School District and paid homage to her colleagues in her district back home. 
“We are grounded by 53 incredible teachers", Warfield boasted.
That’s something that most people may not recognize.

“You mostly hear negative things about the town that I love", said Warfield. "For a teacher from Oakland to get this award just proves there is great teaching happening in Oakland, California.”
How do her students feel about their teacher receiving such an honor?
“My students are going around calling themselves the California students of the year.”

Warfield, the only African American teacher nominated with this year’s class of teachers told us, “I think I was surprised when I noticed it, because I know there is great teaching within our community.”  
Proud of her students at Unified Warfield gives them high praise.
“My students are incredible”, Warfield explained. “They can debate, they can support with proof, and they know who they are.”

 Jeffrey Charbonneau was this year’s National teacher of the year.  Said Charbonneau, “Being a teacher is one of the greatest jobs in the world.”
 “I would ask those that are out there and in school right now to consider joining me in my ranks and become a teacher as well."
National Teacher of the Year, Jeffrey Charbonneau, shares a laugh
with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.  Photo/CD Brown.
Charbonneau praised President Obama for being a "regular guy" and extending a warm courtesy. 
“He was absolutely fantastic to me and my family, but most of what we discussed was the importance of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) and how that will evolve the landscape of the future.”
Charbonneau¸ an educator of twelve years, is a Zillah High School science teacher and regional STEM innovator.
When asked how he's dealt with the hard task of disciplining students over the years, Charbonneau responded, “The more students are involved in your classroom, the less discipline problems you have.”
Admitting he doesn’t have all the answers, Charbonneau believes that making school work more challenging is key.

2013 Teacher of the Year award.  Photo/CD Brown
 “If I make my classes a little harder, more rigorous, those students will be challenged, they won’t be bored in the classroom and all of a sudden the discipline problems seem to disappear.”

Citing “having positive relationships with students” is key, Charbonneau says he hasn’t had to write a referral in about eleven years.

In the District of Columbia, DC Prep won finalist honors.  Their motto, “Every child will be prepared academically and socially for a successful future” was reiterated when DC Prep teacher Julia king gave her remarks. 
“It’s an honor to celebrate my students, and it’s proof that with hard work [and] excellent instruction, all students can succeed.”
Teachers have a warm spot in the heart and mind of President Obama who celebrated the winners of the 2013 Science Fair for students on yesterday at the White House.

Said the president during today’s ceremony, “People who know me know I’ve just got a soft spot for teachers, partly [because] my sister is a teacher, [and] my mom was a teacher for a while.  And if there’s one thing we can’t say enough to our nation’s educators, it is "thank you."  So today, we’ve got a chance to do that - to show our extraordinary appreciation for the difference that they make in the lives of our children and the lives of our nation.”

Also present at the event was Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.

The National Teacher of the Year is chosen from among the State Teachers of the Year by a national selection committee representing the major national education organizations organized by the Council of Chief State School Officers.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

President Obama Remarks at Boston Interfaith Ceremony For Boston Bombing Victims

President Obama told the city of Boston, "You will run again".  

Attending today's Interfaith service honoring the victims of this week's Boston marathon bombing that killed three people and injuring dozens of others, the president speaking at the Cathedral of Holy Cross said, "We will finish this race".

The ceremony's theme is 'Healing Our City'.   [View the Healing Our City program here].

The president also reaffirmed that those responsible will be brought to justice. "Bet on it", he said to the generous applause of those in attendance.

Joining the president on the trip to Boston were First Lady Michelle Obama, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator William “Mo” Cowan, Representative Michael Capuano, Representative Stephen Lynch, Representative Bill Keating, Representative John Tierney, Representative Richard Neal
and Vicki Kennedy, wife of the late senator Ted Kennedy.

No suspects have yet been found in the bombing that left many victims without limbs. The latest news is that an image of a potential suspect has surfaced. 

[UPDATE:  Suspects (Dzhokar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev) captured. One killed, with ties to DMV area].

The Boston marathon is the oldest big city marathon, dating back to the early 1900s.

Said President Obama, "Tomorrow the sun will rise over Boston."


A person named 'Michael' called into CSPAN Radio's Washington Journal broadcast on Tuesday morning, claiming to be a part of a 'militia' group.  The caller told the show's  host that "he wondered why no one had suspected a militia group" as being responsible for the marathon bombing.

The caller further stated that several militia would not be in favor of their Second Amendment gun rights being taken away.

No reports have surfaced suggesting or indicating any militia group was responsible for the Boston marathon bombing, or that the bombing had anything to do with the debates over gun control.

Presidential Weekly Address:  America Stands With Boston
The 'Country's Character' Revealed

Thursday, April 11, 2013

First Lady Michelle Obama to Address 2013 Graduating Seniors

This year, First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver commencement addresses at Eastern Kentucky University, Bowie State University, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Magnet High School for Health Sciences and Engineering at Historic Pearl High (MLK).
The First Lady will be speaking at Eastern Kentucky University as part of her Joining Forces initiative because of its outstanding record supporting veterans and military families; she will be speaking at Bowie State University because of its legacy as Maryland's oldest Historically Black University; and she will be speaking at MLK Magnet as it is consistently ranked among the best public schools in the nation for its academic rigor and high graduation rate.
See the schedule of appearances below.
Eastern Kentucky University
Mrs. Obama will deliver remarks at the Eastern Kentucky University commencement in Richmond, KY on Saturday, May 11 at 7:30 PM, where she will address graduates from the College of Education and the College of Business and Technology in the last of three ceremonies that day. The First Lady will be speaking at EKU as part of her Joining Forces initiative to support veterans and military families. The University has received national recognition in recent years for its commitment to helping veterans further their education. The university, one of only 16 Tillman Military Scholar Partner Universities in the nation, is recognized for its Veterans Success Center that is a one-stop-shop for numerous services, from specialized job placement for veterans to full-time advisors and counselors dedicated to serving their community. EKU is also a recipient of the “Best for Vets” honor by the Military Times EDGE magazine, as well as the “Military Friendly Schools” for G.I. Jobs Magazine, placing Eastern among the top colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide for embracing America’s student veterans. Already home to more than 1,275 veterans and their families. EKU is ranked 16th nationally among the 2013 “Best for Vets: Business Schools” by Military Times EDGE magazine.
Bowie State University
The First Lady will speak at the commencement ceremonies for Bowie State University, in Bowie, MD, on the morning of Friday, May 17. Bowie State University is part of the rich legacy of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that have been instrumental in educating generations of African Americans. The President and First Lady both have recognized the important contributions of HBCUs across the country and have delivered commencement addresses to highlight their successes. This year commemorates Bowie State University's 148th anniversary as Maryland's oldest historically black university and one of the oldest in the nation. The University educates students from diverse academic and socioeconomic backgrounds, seeking a high quality and affordable public comprehensive university. Bowie State places special emphasis on the disciplines of science, technology, teacher education, business, and nursing within the context of a liberal arts education.
Martin Luther King Academic Magnet High School for Health Sciences and Engineering
Mrs. Obama will deliver the commencement address to graduates of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Magnet High School for Health Sciences and Engineering at Historic Pearl High in Nashville, TN on May 18 at 1:00 PM. The school serves approximately 1,200 students in grades 7 through 12 with a curriculum that emphasizes mathematics and science. Housed in the historic Pearl High School building, MLK is consistently ranked among the best public schools in the nation for its academic rigor and high graduation rate. The school recently unveiled a community-supported wellness center and students have been active in planting and caring for a community garden at the nearby community center; both efforts align with First Lady Michelle Obama’s and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s healthy lifestyle initiatives. MLK is part of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, the nation’s 42nd largest district, which is preparing more than 81,000 students to excel in higher education, work and life with the goal of being the first choice for Nashville’s families.


Recent commencement addresses by First Lady Michelle Obama.
In 2009, Mrs. Obama spoke at Anacostia Senior High School and at the graduation of University of California Merced’s first full senior class. She also addressed the Washington Math and Science Tech Public Charter High School Graduation in Washington DC.
In 2010, Mrs. Obama addressed graduates of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and the George Washington University.
In 2011, Mrs. Obama delivered commencement addresses at the University of Northern Iowa, Spelman College, and Quantico Middle High School. The First Lady also spoke to graduates and families at West Point.
In 2012, Mrs. Obama spoke at the graduation of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), Agricultural and Technical State University (North Carolina A&T), and Oregon State University (OSU), where her brother, Craig, coaches men's basketball.

First Lady Gives First Priority to the Issues

'Safer Communities, Brighter Futures'.

First Lady Michelle Obama, in unison with her husband on the issues of gun violence and youth education, spoke at two events in her hometown of Chicago this week.

Speaking on Wednesday at a joint luncheon meeting in Chicago hosted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel that included members of Chicago's leading civic organizations, Mrs. Obama urged Chicago¹s business leaders to invest in expanded opportunities for youth across Chicago¹s neighborhoods.

The first lady reminded the assembled audience that one doesn't have to be born of wealth and privilege to be successful, as long as the community provides opportunities.

"But thanks in part to this city, our lives were still rich with opportunities.  We had decent public schools.  I am a product of our public schools.  We attended the Chicago Park District summer camps.  Got a lot of ribbons from those camps I’m quite proud of.  Played basketball on city courts.  Our churches ran programs to expose us to music and the arts.  So we didn’t have to be children of privilege to get the opportunity to enrich ourselves."

Mrs. Obama frequently talks about her journey as a child growing up on the South Side of Chicago to reaching amazing heights as First Lady of the United States.

"So, you in this room know firsthand the impact that we can have when this city truly invests in our children", said Mrs. Obama.  "And that’s something I know from my own experience, which is why it was so important for me to be here today."

The first lady also spoke, in Chicago, at a William Harper High School on the issue of gun violence.

Mrs. Obama wanted to not only give advice, but was also present as one concerned about their issues.

"I'm a participant in today's activities", the first lady said.  "And I want you to feel  free to do what you do, but I want you to at some point be able to ask me whatever you want to know.  Whatever I can tell you, I find it's always better to hear from you and hear what you  want, to find out what I can tell you" she said.

In her hometown, as in other major cities across the country, youth gun violence is a major issue.  There have been more than 200 gun related deaths in Chicago this year, however, it has taken the tragic event at Sandy Hook for the Obama administration to begin to fiercely act on the issue of gun violence, asking for universal background checks for gun purchasers, among the items slated to make it harder for 'dangerous' Americans to obtain guns.

Gun advocates are in opposition of the Obama strategy arguing that the Second Amendment rights of individuals would be violated.

Initially, the current legislation garnered a small amount of bipartisan support.  Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey have offered their support for the gun legislation, while the majority of Republicans have not been as forth coming.

Grateful for the support of Manchin and Toomey, the president is suggesting that other Congressional leaders get on board.

Said President Obama, "Congress needs to finish the job.  The Senate must overcome obstruction by defeating a threatened filibuster, and allow a vote on this and other commonsense reforms to protect our kids and our communities.  Any bill still has to clear the House.  So I’m going to keep asking the American people to stand up and raise their voices, because these measures deserve a vote – and so do the families and communities they’re designed to protect."

The president traveled to Hartford, CT this past Monday where he gave remarks on reducing gun violence.

A Win for the Administration?

The Huffington Post is reporting that earlier today The Senate cleared a major procedural hurdle on Thursday as it voted to overcome a Republican filibuster effort and begin debate on a gun control package.

Senators voted 68 to 31 take up the bill put forward by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that would expand background checks to more gun buyers, form a national commission on mass violence, create a federal gun trafficking statute and enhance school safety measures. The procedural motion required 60 votes to pass, and Republicans had been dodging questions for days on how they would vote.

How the administration planned to reduce gun violence
 Let your voice be heard.  Click here.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:
Mark Gaston Pearce, Nominee for Member, National Labor Relations Board, and upon appointment to be designated ChairmanMark Gaston Pearce is currently Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a position he has held since August 2011.  He has served as a Member of the NLRB since March 2010.  Previously, Mr. Pearce was a founding partner of Creighton, Pearce, Johnsen & Giroux from 2002 to 2010.  Before founding the Creighton, Pearce firm, Mr. Pearce worked as an associate and junior partner at Lipsitz, Green, Fahringer, Roll, Salisbury & Cambria LLP from 1994 to 2002.  From 1979 to 1994, he was a district trial specialist for the NLRB in Buffalo, NY.  He has been a Board Member of the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals, and he has taught labor studies courses at Cornell University’s School of Industrial Labor Relations Extension.  Mr. Pearce received a B.A. from Cornell University and a J.D. from State University of New York at Buffalo.
Harry I. Johnson, III, Nominee for Member, National Labor Relations Board
Harry I. Johnson, III is currently partner with Arent Fox LLP, a position he has held since 2010.  Previously, Mr. Johnson worked at Jones Day as partner from 2006 to 2010 and as an associate from 1994 to 2005.  In 2011, he was recognized by The Daily Journal as one of the “Top Labor & Employment Attorneys in California”.  Mr. Johnson received a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University, an M.A.L.D. from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Philip A. Miscimarra, Nominee for Member, National Labor Relations Board
Philip A. Miscimarra is partner in the Labor and Employment Group of Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, a position he has held since 2005.  Since 1997, Mr. Miscimarra has been a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Business School.  Mr. Miscimarra worked at Seyfarth Shaw LLP as partner from 1990 to 2005 and associate from 1987 to 1989.  Mr. Miscimarra received a B.A. from Duquesne University, an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Executive Orders & Memorandi Signed By President Obama

President Obama issued the following Executive Orders and Memorandums today, Friday, April 5, 2013.

Executive Order -- Continuanc​e of Advisory Council
Executive Order -- Adjustment​s of Certain Rates of Pay

More International Leaders To Visit President Obama At White House

As President Obama met with leaders of African countries last week at the White House, and welcomed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore to the White House on April 2nd, more visits from heads of international countries have been planned for Spring, 2013.

African Leaders leave White House after rapping up meetings with President Obama on March 28, 2013. Photo/CD Brown.
The president will meet with His Highness Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani of Qatar on Tuesday, April 23rd.  The

President Obama will host His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan at the White House on Friday, April 26. The visit by King Abdullah comes on the heels of the president's visit to Jordan and other cities in the Middle East last month.

On Thursday, May 16, President Obama will welcome Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to the White House. Planned discussions the ERdogan include Syria, trade and economic cooperation, and countering terrorism.

African American Think Tank Group to Obama: End The War on Drugs

Speaking at the National Press Club yesterday, Dr. Ron Daniels, noted lecturer at York College City University of New York and president of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century has an immediate call to action and fervent message for President Obama: Stop ignoring the plight of African Americans.

Dr. Ron Daniels at National Press Club announcing IBW's Day of Direct Action. Photo/CD Brown.
When 27 elementary children at a Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut were assassinated during on a regular school day, President Obama was there - front and center - vowing for tougher gun laws. When a hurricane and winds pummeled cities and towns of New Jersey last year, President Obama was there.  To thwart women being discriminated against in the work place, President Obama took swift and immediate action.

As the president continues his push for the rights of the middle class, immigration reform (mainly for those of Hispanic descent), and equal treatment for LGBT communities, many are noticing that the president has had little to say or do with the concerns of inner-city communities.  One such concern is the so-called War on Drugs that has incarcerated more than a million African Americans across the nation.

Says Daniels, "For far too long, this nation has ignored the myriad crises in urban inner-city neighborhoods, choosing instead to substitute paramilitary policing tactics like stop-and-frisk, tougher sentencing, and mass incarceration for social, economic and racial justice."

The press conference, held on the memorial of the April 4, 1967 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, and his iconic speech Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence, also served as the announcement of the IBW's June 17th, 2013 Day of Direct Action which will call upon President Obama to:
  • Intensify efforts to eliminate the disparity in sentencing between powdered and crack cocaine
  • Issue an Executive Order terminating the War on Drugs, replacing it with a national initiative that treats drugs and drug addition as a public heath issue.
  • Issue an Executive Order ending the practice of using incarcerated persons as prison labor.
  • Publicly support decriminalization of the possession of small quantities of marijuana.
  • Allocate more federal funds for drug education, counseling and treatment.
  • Mobilize moral and political support for direct public sector jobs and sustainable economic development programs with priority inclusion of formerly incarcerated persons targeted to transform distressed Black communities.
  • Form a Presidential Commission to initiate a National Dialogue on the regulation and taxation of drugs.
In a 2012 article written in the Washington Post by Columbia University professor Frederick Harris, Still Waiting For Our First Black President, Harris purports to reveal and vent what appears to be his own frustrations with how the president seems ignore immediate concerns within the African American community.

Writes Harris, "Obama has pursued a racially defused electoral and governing strategy, keeping issues of specific interest to African Americans — such as disparities in the criminal justice system; the disproportionate impact of the foreclosure crisis on communities of color; black unemployment; and the persistence of HIV/AIDS — off the national agenda.

To its credit, however, in April of 2012, the Obama administration released its 21st Century Drug Policy Strategy claiming to outline "113 specific actions to be undertaken throughout the Federal government to reform U.S. drug policy through innovative and evidence-based public health and safety approaches aimed at reducing drug use and its consequences."

Gil Kerlikowske, the Obama Administration's Director of National Drug Control Policy was on the record saying, “Outdated policies like the mass incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders are relics of the past that ignore the need for a balanced public health and safety approach to our drug problem", adding, "...we cannot simply arrest our way out of the drug problem.”

Writes Daniels, in his essay, President Obama Ignores Crises in America's Dark Ghettoes, "Mr. President, it's time for a wake-up call". 

"The agenda you have put forth is commendable, but it simply does not go far enough to combat the crises in urban inner-city neighborhoods.  We respect you, but just as MLK, Jr. and other civil rights leaders were compelled to confront John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson to demand government action to end southern apartheid, we today must raise our voices to demand social and economic justice for distressed Black communities.  There is a growing concensus among civil right/human rights and political leaders in Black America that you must call for and educate the American people on the urgent need for social and economic policies and programs targeted directly to ending the State of Emergency in America's dark ghettos."

The press conference also addressed the difficulties of returning citizens to find viable employment.  (Incidentally, today, the White House released employment figures for March).  The presser also addressed the stigmas associated with being a convicted felon, as well as stop-and-frisk policies being implemented nationwide.

The Day of Action date, June 17th, coincides with the War On Drug policy expanded by President Ronald Reagan, which many have called a failed policy.

WATCH: Testimony, Recordings at Trial Reveal the Racial Biases and Arrest Quotas Behind NYPD’s Stop & Frisk
WATCHEducating Black Boys Bullying and Bias for Baltimore's Black Youth

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Honoring the Memory of Ron Brown

The White House is honoring the anniversary of the passing of former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown.

Secretary Brown was a dedicated public servant whose untimely death during a trade mission to Croatia on April 3, 1996 ended his life far too soon. His vision continues to be important and today’s work at the Department of Commerce builds on his legacy.

Brown served his country in Korea as a soldier in the U.S. Army and in the halls of Congress as chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. He also broke down barriers – becoming the first African American chairman of the Democratic National Committee and the first African American to serve as U.S. Secretary of Commerce. In this latter role, he made perhaps his largest impact.During his tenure at Commerce, Secretary Brown pioneered a focus on exports that helped to boost the U.S. economy in the 1990s and contributed to one of the largest periods of economic expansion in our nation’s history.

During a time when emerging markets in Asia and Latin America were opening up to trade, Secretary Brown led a concerted effort to support this advancement and to secure access for U.S. goods and services. He was a proponent of free trade, seeing business as a powerful force to create good jobs at home and to accelerate prosperity around the world. He also was an advocate of fair trade, seeking to ensure that U.S. workers would be helped and not harmed by new trading arrangements that would increase flows of capital and commerce.This focus has endured long after his passing. His legacy is embedded in the sustained commitment of successive administrations from both parties to assist American companies in expanding their global reach, both small businesses and large corporations. President Obama has embraced this approach, laying
out a clear path to double exports and to lock in high labor and environmental standards in countries around the world, potentially generating billions of dollars in trade, creating millions of jobs, and ensuring the healthy growth of communities around the planet.

The plane crash that killed Secretary Brown also took the lives of 34 other individuals, including 11 Commerce employees serving with Secretary Brown on the trade mission, who dedicated their lives to serving this country.  This group included Commerce staff members Duane Christian, Adam Darling, Gail Dobert, Carol Hamilton, Kathryn Hoffman, Kathy Kellogg, Charles Meissner, William Morton, Lawrence Payne, and Naomi Warbasse.As President Obama has said, “Ron Brown embodied the values and the ideals, that sense of possibility, that is at the heart of the American story.” 

Brown has a street named after him in downtown DC.

The Ron Brown Cover-Up
Proof Of A Cover Up?

Article exerpted from here.


The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge” Welcomes Children and Their Parents to Create Healthy Lunch Recipes for an Invite to a Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House

With the overwhelming success of the inaugural Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids' “State Dinner” in 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama is again teaming up with Epicurious, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Department of Agriculture to host a nationwide recipe challenge to promote healthy eating among America’s youth.

“Last year’s Kids State dinner was one of my favorite events we’ve ever done for Let’s Move! because it perfectly captured how young people, parents, community leaders and businesses can come together for innovative, healthy solutions,” said First Lady Michelle Obama.  “Last year’s young chefs impressed and inspired me with their creativity, and I can’t wait to welcome a whole new group to the White House this summer and taste their creations.  So kids, let’s get cooking!”

The second Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids' “State Dinner” invites parents or guardians and their children, ages 8-12, to create and submit an original lunch recipe that is healthy, affordable, and tasty.  In support of Let’s Move!, launched by the First Lady to solve the issue of childhood obesity, each recipe must adhere to the guidance that supports USDA’s MyPlate (at to ensure that the criteria of a healthy meal are met.  Entries must represent each of the food groups, either in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy foods, with fruits and veggies making up roughly half the plate or recipe.

All U.S. states and territories, including Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands, are invited to participate. Fifty-six children and their parent/guardian (one pair from each of the 50 states, plus the U.S. Territories, D.C., and Puerto Rico) will be flown to the nation’s capital where they will have the opportunity to attend a Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House this summer, hosted by Mrs. Obama.  A selection of the winning healthy recipes will be served. 

“In order to promote a healthier next generation of Americans, we need to encourage kids to make healthier choices now – which they can carry into adulthood,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.  “USDA is thrilled to be part of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge again this year because it inspires kids to use USDA’s MyPlate to take a hands-on approach to building healthier meal times.”

“We know healthy kids are healthy students, and healthy students are better able to engage in the classroom and excel academically,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “If we can get our children to eat healthier and exercise more, that’s a recipe for success. Kids are the best judges of what looks and tastes good, so we’re challenging them to create lunches that all their peers will enjoy.”

“We are thrilled to once again partner with Mrs. Obama, and to champion her Let’s Move! initiative, in an effort to raise awareness for the importance of healthy eating among kids,” said Tanya Steel, editor-in-chief of Epicurious.  "Through ‘The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge,’ we will, for the second year, create a call to action for kids, highlighting the importance of healthy meals. This initiative will continue to make a positive impact on the way our children eat, and will reinforce that meals, especially school lunches, can be delicious and nutritious.”

The winning recipes will be chosen by a panel of judges, including Tanya Steel, Let’s Move! Executive Director Sam Kass, USDA and U.S. Department of Education representatives, as well as a celebrity chef, to be named.  At the conclusion of the Challenge, a free, downloadable and printable e-cookbook featuring the winning recipes, nutritional analysis, photos and drawings, will be available via,, and

The White House Kids’ “State Dinner” is currently scheduled to take place in July or August 2013.  Recipes can be submitted April 3 through May 12, online at, or via mail at “The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge c/o,” 1166 Avenue of the Americas, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036. Winners will be notified at the end of June.

For more information and contest rules visit