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March 3, 2009




Letter from the heart lands teen in first lady’s box for tonight’s speech
By Howard Witt | Tribune correspondent
9:34 PM CST, February 24, 2009

First Lady Michelle Obama hugs Ty’Sheoma Bethea, an 8th grader from Dillon, S.C., as President Barack Obama introduces her to a joint session of Congress. Obama invited the teenager to Washington after she sent a letter to Congress about the economic stimulus package. (Getty photo by Alex Wong / February 24, 2009)

HOUSTON—I met Ty’Sheoma Bethea, the teenage girl invited by President Barack Obama to sit beside the First Lady during his speech to Congress on Tuesday night, quite by accident a couple of weeks ago.

I was visiting the J.V. Martin Junior High School in Dillon, S.C., a decrepit facility where the roof leaks and winter classroom temperatures hover in the 50s, to learn about how one impoverished school district was hoping for some financial help from the stimulus bill then being debated in Congress.

I knocked on the door of a rusting mobile-classroom trailer where an 8th-grade social studies class was under way, and the teacher graciously allowed me to interrupt his lesson. When I asked the students whether they knew anything about Congress and the fiercely contested stimulus bill, Ty’Sheoma was one of the few students to raise her hand.

“All I know is that the Congress might not agree that we need help and they might deny the president the money he needs to help us,” the 14-year-old explained.

Related links
Dying S.C. school sees Obama stimulus plan as lifeline
Ty’Sheoma’s letter Later that evening, after our exchange in her classroom, Ty’Sheoma decided to walk to the town library. She sat down in front of a computer and typed out a single-spaced letter which began, “Dear Congress of the United States.”

In rough but passionate prose, the teenager beseeched the faceless representatives to help her school.

“People are starting to see my school as an hopeless, uneducated school which we are not,” Ty’Sheoma wrote. “We finally want to prove to the world that we have an chance in life just like other schools and we can feel good about what we are doing because of the conditions we are in now we can not succeed in anything.”

The next morning, Feb. 11, Ty’Sheoma gave her letter to Amanda Burnette, the principal of the school. Burnette promptly scanned it and e-mailed copies to South Carolina’s representatives in Congress, as well as the White House. I featured Ty’Sheoma’s letter in the story I wrote that night about the J.V. Martin school.

Obama was already personally familiar with the dire conditions at the school, which was built in 1896 and has been partially condemned. He visited J.V. Martin twice during the presidential campaign and mentioned it again during his first presidential news conference.

Ty’Sheoma’s letter made its way to the president’s desk, and last week, he invited the teenager and her mother to sit in First Lady Michelle Obama’s mezzanine box in the House of Representatives to watch the president’s first address to Congress.

Ty’sheoma smiled as the president read out some of her words from her letter.

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

At that, the audience rose to give the teenager a standing ovation.


Monday, May 4, 2009
Run-down SC school featured by Obama gets facelift

Here’s a heartwarming story to scrub Bachmann and Scarborough out of your brain.

DILLON, S.C.—Students who had grown resigned to old, “nasty” furnishings at their dilapidated middle school in rural South Carolina were elated Monday to find new furniture and a freshly painted cafeteria, thanks to a student’s plea, a president’s speech and a businessman’s response.

“I was amazed. They changed the whole thing,” said J.V. Martin Junior High eighth-grader Jessica Manning, 13. “It let me know somebody cares about us.”

President Barack Obama brought national attention to the school Feb. 24 in his first address to Congress when he read a letter from eighth-grader Ty’Sheoma Bethea asking for help replacing her run-down school.

Bethea had addressed her letter to Congress, so her principal sent it to the White House and South Carolina’s congressional delegation.

Darryl Rosser, CEO of classroom furniture supplier Sagus International, called Principal Amanda Burnette the day after Obama read Bethea’s plea. After visiting the campus four weeks ago, Rosser said he knew he had to do what he could.

Over the weekend, Sagus sent nearly 2,000 pieces of furniture on four tractor-trailer loads. Volunteers worked throughout the weekend to put the surprise together, including a final coat of paint about 8 p.m. Sunday.

The furniture, plus setup and shipping by Sagus partners, was worth an estimated $250,000, Rosser said.

On Monday, Rosser said students’ reactions made it all worthwhile.

“It was heartwarming,” he said, smiling widely.

Posted by Paddy at 5:00 PM

Lucy said…
Oh my! That is a tear jerker! I am so happy for the students. I am grateful for everyone who made it possible.

May 4, 2009 5:39 PM
Paddy said…
Yep, the guy did a good thing and got paid back big time in happy.

May 4, 2009 5:46 PM
coffeenotKool_aid said…
yes, am intimately familiar with the south carolina school system. Dirtbags!!! So once again the private sector steps in to fix the problem.

May 4, 2009 6:00 PM
Dr. Toketee said…
Is anyone noticing? Wherever Obama meets people and learns their plight, when it becomes public, others are inspired to help them. Oh, wait – there was one exception: Joe the Plumber. Others came to EXPLOIT him.

May 4, 2009 6:13 PM
coffeenotKool_aid said…
Yeah, reminds me of Jesus.

May 4, 2009 6:20 PM
hippie_cyndi said…
maybe soon into the near future one day these stories won’t be an anomaly….but the norm in most American public school….in educating and caring for our kids.

May 4, 2009 9:24 PM
wotching said…
Sweet story – very happy for the students and their wonderful benefactor.

May 4, 2009 9:40 PM


February 20, 2009

from – African-American culture, news commentary, politicsHomeContactResearchFAQ’sPodcastMediaVideoLinks Subscribe Awww, come one! Black Cubans just don’t know how good they have it
Jun.21, 2007 in Uncategorized
More info you will not hear Castro sympathizers (especially the Black ones) mention.


( HAVANA — Six-foot-two, brown skinned and with semi-curly hair, Denny walked confidently into a government warehouse for a recent job interview. Sitting across from the white manager, he rattled off his qualifications: high school diploma, courses in tourism, hard worker.

They weren’t good enough: He needed his white brother-in-law to vouch for him, Denny recalled.

“Black people tend to do everything bad here,” the manager said.

After Fidel Castro’s revolution triumphed in 1959, he declared that Cuba would be a raceless society, banned separate facilities for blacks and whites and launched a string of free education and health programs for the poor — most of them blacks.

Many blacks people still support Castro, saying that without him they would still be peons in the sugar cane fields. One black Cuban diplomat said he had no hope of an education, and his grandmother no medical care for her glaucoma, until the revolution came along.


In recent years, a new attitude has been emerging quietly, almost secretly, among Afro-Cubans on what it means to be black in a communist system that maintains ‘‘No hay racismo aquí” — there’s no racism here — and tends to brand those who raise the issue of race as enemies of the revolution.

“The absence of the debate on the racial problem already threatens . . . the revolution’s social project,” wrote Esteban Morales Domínguez, a University of Havana professor who is black, in one of his several little-known papers on race since 2005.

In another paper, he noted that “much of the research that has been done on the subject in general has been put away in drawers, endlessly waiting to be published.” Black filmmaker Rigoberto López also broached the sensitive topic in a TV appearance in December, saying that while the revolution had brought about structural changes toward racial equality, “its results do not allow us to affirm that its goals have been achieved in all their dimensions.”


Castro’s own Communist Party and government fall short on the race front. Only four recognizably black faces sit on the party’s 21- member Political Bureau, and only two sit on the government’s top body, the 39- member Council of Minis- ters.


And yet, black faces populate Cuba’s political prisons. Some of the nation’s best known dissidents are black. They include independent librarian Omar Pernét Hernández, mason Orlando Zapata Tamayo and physician Oscar Elias Biscét. The latter was sentenced to 27 years for, among other things, organizing a seminar on Martin Luther King’s non–violent forms of protest.


Television programs overwhelmingly show most blacks in menial jobs, and Cubans, like other Latin Americans, still use a cutting expression for a black they admire: El es negro, pero . . . ” — He is black, but . . .



This is part of a wonderful series produced by the Miami Herald entitled “A Rising Voice: Afro-Latin Americans”. This series also includes short slide presentations complete with audio covering the African diaspora throughout Latin America. Take the time to check it out as you will find this very informative.

On a side note, the photography is probably the best that I have seen covering this topic.

No Comments on “Awww, come one! Black Cubans just don’t know how good they have it”
June 21st, 2007 at 8:40 pm
Yep…yet folks like Glover and Belafonte will never get it.
YEYE AKILIMALI FUNUA OLADE Your comment is awaiting moderation.
February 20th, 2009 at 5:53 am
Glad you are informing us of racism in Cuba. Will post and give credit and a link on my blog:


BLACK ON!-keep on tellin’ the BLACK truth!


February 19, 2009





Michelle Obama Opens the White House to Kids
February 18, 2009 6:32 PM

ABC NEWS’ Yunji de Nies reports:

First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed 180 children to the White House today to listen to a performance by Sweet Honey in the Rock, an all female African American a capella ensemble, as part of a celebration of African American History Month. The children were mostly sixth and seventh graders from local Washington DC schools. Children of the White House staff and residence staff were invited as well.

“We were all very much kids like you guys,” Mrs. Obama told the children, “We just figured out one day that our fate was in our own hands. We made decisions to listen to our parents, our teachers, and work very, very hard for everything in life. And then we worked even harder anytime anyone doubted us.”

Dressed in a crisp white shirt, green sweater with blue patent leather belt and tweed skirt, Mrs. Obama gave the kids a short history lesson – touching on several Black history milestones at the White House. She explained that the White House had been built by in part by slaves, that President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation in the Lincoln bedroom upstairs, and that Dr. Martin Luther King Junior and other civil rights leaders had come to the White House to meet with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Then she asked, “And of course, who lives here now?”
“President Obama!” the kids answered in unison

“President Obama. And he’s making history every single day. Why?” she asked.

One girl’s voice rose above the crowd, and the First Lady asked her to stand and speak up.

“He’s the first African American president of the United States,” the girl said.

“The next chapter in history is written by you,” Mrs. Obama said. “That’s not just a story that Barack Obama is writing…Those are the stories that we’re all writing together, and you’re an important part of that.”

Mrs. Obama then introduced Sweet Honey in the Rock, a D.C. based a cappella ensemble, founded in 1973. The group, sang several songs – including “This Little Light of Mine,” “The Ballad of Harry T. Moore,” and “Young and Positive.” They stopped periodically to speak about African American history and involved the children in call and response songs. Mrs. Obama watched the performance with daughters Sasha and Malia, along with their grandmother Marian Robinson.

After the performance, Mrs. Obama stood by the door and shook the hands of the children as they left. Over the last two weeks, the First Lady has spoken repeatedly about her desire to open the White House and become more involved in the Washington community. Her staff says this is just the first of many events for children at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

— Yunji de Nies

February 18, 2009 | Permalink | User Comments (16)

User Comments

First Lady Michelle is classy, unpretentious and “real”. Thanks Michelle, keep it real. You go girl.

Posted by: sngeorgia | Feb 19, 2009 7:10:59 AM

ann savage: what did you for Hurricane Katrina??????Did you voice your concern to George W. Bush……Let’s come together and give love, fast and pray. Michelle, you are truly a FIRST LADY. You wear it well!!

Posted by: ldsmith | Feb 19, 2009 3:22:06 AM

Obamacrat for Palin, if you can flip on him that quickly, there is nothing he can do that would make you happy. What have you done to help the people in Kentucky? Why are you waiting for him to save them? Every little bit helps.

As far as Michelle Obama, it is almost surreal, but I am so impressed with her so far.

Keep up the good work I say.

Posted by: ms. Kay | Feb 19, 2009 12:08:23 AM

Too bad Genna, you have to keep looking.

Posted by: Bill M | Feb 18, 2009 11:36:28 PM

Great Job Michelle Letting the Kids in the White House What a Great Experience For them

Posted by: josh | Feb 18, 2009 11:34:52 PM

Surprising, but well done Michelle Obama. I know First Ladies do things like this all the time, but I don’t know if the children they bring to the WH come from Southeast DC. Somehow I doubt it.

This is the first time in my lifetime that the District and Washington will actually be one city.

I’m sure that there is weeping and gnashing of teeth in some parts of political Washington about the spectacle of it all. But I’m so excited about what might become possible for D.C. after so many years languishing.

As far as the Kentucky comment, I’m not sure it can’t be a both/and scenario. After watching Bush botch the Hurricane season and other natural disasters, I too am looking forward to competent leadership. Somehow I doubt if Palin had the metal in 08, then she will overcome it in 12. One W. president is enough for my lifetime.

Posted by: Genna | Feb 18, 2009 11:23:08 PM

I watched this today, it was great. good job Mrs. O. I had never heard of that group prior to this, I am gonna download their stuff off itunes later.

Posted by: violetmellis | Feb 18, 2009 10:50:12 PM

It was nice of her to let them imagine a future. Too bad the public schools in DC are so bad many of them will not get a good education, unlike her children in private school.

Posted by: Bill M | Feb 18, 2009 9:38:27 PM

omg in love her sooooooooooooooo much i wish i could meet her….!!!!! but i hope that she and barack keep up the good work

I love that she was able to tie the past into the future, and to enable these children to see that anything is possible if you work for it. Kudos to our fantastic First Lady!!

Posted by: Debzilla | Feb 18, 2009 7:35:13 PM

Sweet Honey in the Rock is a true DC treasure! Love their work.

Posted by: Jo | Feb 18, 2009 7:23:48 PM

What’s not to like?

Posted by: matt | Feb 18, 2009 7:06:15 PM

Bravo Michelle!

Posted by: cheguevera | Feb 18, 2009 6:56:25 PM


This is Michelle ObamaMichelle Obama, from my point of view Michelle Obama celebrate Black History Month
2009 February 22
First lady hosts Black History Month celebration
By DARLENE SUPERVILLE – WASHINGTON (AP) — Foot-stomping music filled the East Room of the White House on Wednesday as first lady Michelle Obama hosted nearly 200 schoolchildren for a Black History Month celebration featuring Sweet Honey in the Rock, an award-winning female a cappella ensemble.

Mrs. Obama seemed a bit surprised when the sixth- and seventh-graders from three local schools said yes, they knew slaves helped build the White House, that President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation upstairs in a bedroom named for him, and that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders met in the building with Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson to discuss the end of segregation.

“So you guys know your history. That’s a good thing,” she said. “That means your parents and teachers are doing their jobs.”

Mrs. Obama encouraged them to look beyond the names in the history books and to “think about the extraordinary people who live in your own world,” like parents, grandparents and teachers, “all those folks who play important roles in black history and American history every single day.”

She said they will write history’s next chapter and they should work hard every day, always put their best foot forward, even when no one is looking, and support their families at home by making their beds, putting away dishes and cleaning their rooms.

“That’s part of the preparation,” said Mrs. Obama, whose daughters, Malia and Sasha, sat in the front row with her mother, Marian Robinson.

Before Mrs. Obama spoke, the students listened as retired Rear Adm. Stephen Rochon told his own story. In 2007, Rochon became the first black man to be named chief usher at the White House and director of the executive residence.

President Barack Obama and the first lady have talked about opening up the White House and making it more accessible to the public.

Wednesday’s event with Sweet Honey in the Rock, a Grammy Award-winning ensemble, was the first with a student audience, including some whose parents are members of the White House’s professional staff. The students attend Shaw and Stuart-Hobson middle schools, and KIPP DC: KEY Academy, a charter school.

It’s so nice to said Michelle Obama doing saome normals things, even if it’s a publicity stunt(which I doubt). This was Thrusday 2/19/09


February 19, 2009


Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Brazilian Carnival queen will have Obama painted on her body

They like him!! They really, really do!! I’m guessing this will be the subject of some hard core ribbing in the Obama household.

SAO PAULO — The Carnival beauty famed for proving it’s possible to get too naked for Brazil’s samba parades is looking for the spotlight again – by painting her body with an image of President Barack Obama.

Viviane Castro last year made headlines by appearing as a samba school drum queen while wearing nothing but a tape 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) wide – managing to violate a little-enforced nudity rule and drawing a penalty for her group.


“This year I will come back with minimal clothing again but honoring the great political figure Barack Obama,” Castro told the G1 Web site in comments confirmed by Neiva. “Everyone, in a certain way, is looking at him to create a good government and take the world out of the crisis.”


Plastic replicas of Obama are also the top-selling masks for Carnival this year.
ADDED-OMG, Ms Castro does video!! I can’t find any pics of her not 99.99% nekkid, so you get a generic Carnival queen.

Posted by Paddy at 6:22 PM
Labels: Brazil, Brazilian Carnival, strange places to put pictures of President Obama
Paddy said…
Follow the links at your own peril Clancy…

February 18, 2009 6:33 PM
selene denise said…
hell,if I looked like that, I’d go nekked too

February 18, 2009 6:40 PM
mellowjohn said…
hokey smokes. does she put her jeans on with a paintbrush?

February 18, 2009 6:45 PM
Dr. President said…

February 18, 2009 7:00 PM
chris said…
it’s like having extra helpings of Clancy Candy. psst – I’m kinda missing the bon-bons, BTW. I’ve had to go hunt them up by my lazy old self…

February 18, 2009 7:00 PM
Paddy said…
Sigh, I’ve kind of been on strike ’cause Bucky doesn’t come around any more. I’ll have to rename them “Chris’s Crumpets” or somefin.

February 18, 2009 7:01 PM
chris said…
LOL! I find it hard to believe that I’m the only female who clicked on those. Can’t view them at work anyway – that would be frowned upon.
Not trying to put pressure on you, Paddy. You and Laffy do an incredible job here day in and day out and it’s much appreciated, even if the number of nude male photos has decreased. :)

February 18, 2009 7:41 PM
Clancy said…
Too late! My Lord, I think I need to go to Brazil some day.

Paddy, I think you should keep up the bon bons too. Heck, even I clicked through once or twice out of curiosity. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Perfectly natural.

February 18, 2009 7:45 PM
chris said…
of course it is, Clancy…. :D

February 18, 2009 8:06 PM
hippie_cyndi said…
lool..I love Sao Paulo…..been there last yr…its awesome.

February 18, 2009 8:07 PM


February 18, 2009



February 18, 2009


Washington with Marc Ambinder

Feb 17 2009, 12:38 pm by Marc Ambinder
The Biggest Tax Cutter

Don’t know if anybody has yet noticed in the Republican Party but President Obama was presented last week a major talking point for 2012.

He’ll sign today one of the largest tax cuts in history.

In spite of the White House pointing this out to journalists, it is funny how little remarked-upon this is.

It’s hard imagine we won’t hear about this four years from now. And if that’s not boxing a future Republican candidate in ahead of time, I don’t know what is.

Think about how many potential Republican arguments are going to be pre-empted by that nice little fact?

February 18, 2009


January 19, 2009


sisters20williams106433547001Australia Open Tennis


January 15, 2009


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Leadership in action: Obama’s speed and balancing act

By GottaLaff

When I first learned to type, my teacher’s mantra was “speed and accuracy”. P.E. Obama must have had the same teacher:

Barack Obama was back in the Capitol on Tuesday, not yet president but seeming to manage three governments at a time while taking questions from old Senate colleagues.

First is Obama’s own administration, still being assembled and facing a few rough patches a week before his Inauguration. Next is his ambitious economic recovery bill, approaching $850 billion and fast becoming a second government in its own right. Third is the leftover business of the outgoing Bush White House: what to do with the last $350 billion in a financial markets rescue fund approved a month before Obama’s election.

Moving fast has always been an Obama trademark. The man scarcely stayed in the Senate two years before running for president. And his appearance at the Democratic luncheon followed the same format: a brief summary of the business at hand followed by opening up the floor to questions.

“He makes his points,” Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) said, grinning slightly. “He allows everyone to ask questions, and that’s a sign of leadership.”

Lawrence Summers, the former Harvard president and Clinton Treasury secretary, was on hand — but also largely unneeded by Obama.

“Let’s put it this way,” said Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.). “We didn’t ask any questions that stumped him.”
Energizer Barack.

Posted by GottaLaff at 1:34 PM
Labels: leadership, president elect obama
GottaLaff said…
I need his energy today. You?

January 14, 2009 1:45 PM
SeattleDan said…
Oh, yeah.

January 14, 2009 1:58 PM
Vicki Cana said…
Me, I really liked the quote,

“We didn’t ask any questions that stumped him.”

January 14, 2009 8:49 PM
GottaLaff said…
My favorite part, too, Vicki! : )

January 14, 2009 8:50 PM


January 15, 2009


Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Comcast launches all-Obama channel

Heh, in the comments at Mike’s place one of the wingers bitched that pretty soon we’d need to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine to protect them from all the Obama news. Gotta love it. Looking it over, it seems it’s more of a President’s channel than an Obama channel, citing the White House and Air Force one stuff.

In several markets, Comcast cable is launching an all-Obama, On Demand channel. (In D.C., it’s channel 963).

Leading up to Inauguration, the channel will offer a number of Obama-related programs, according to a release: “Barack Obama’s most famous speeches to date, from his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 through his election night victory speech in Grant Park; Barack Obama biography; Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech; a tour of the White House; and the history of Air Force One.”

Posted by Paddy at 4:21 PM
Labels: Barack Obama, comcast, inauguration, obama channel
Dr. President said…

January 13, 2009 5:33 PM
Nellcote said…
move over Howard Stern, the new “King of All Media” is here. Long live the king!

January 13, 2009 6:37 PM


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