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November 18, 2009

Health Care Reform: Don’t Be Distracted By The Abortion Talk

Six in ten Americans favor a ban on the use of federal funds for abortion. Fine.  But let’s not let that stop us from passing Health Care Reform. The abortion issue and Health Care Reform are two completely different issues.  Don’t be distracted.  Don’t lose your focus.

I personally don’t believe in abortions but I believe in a woman’s right to chose.  I am not God and will therefore not judge someone else’s circumstances.  I do not believe that “the public at large” or our law makers should create legislation that would prevent many women from getting their health insurance plan to cover the cost of an abortion, even if no federal funds are involved. That’s just too black and white — what about women who are in a medical crisis?

These same people who are screaming that government is too big are the same people who want to micro-manage other people’s reproductive organs and choices.  Hypocrites!!!

Most Americans like most of the current House bill.  They like the parts that add new regulations to the health insurance industry that will stop them from discriminating against pre-existing conditions and provide more coverage for people who can’t afford health care.  Americans also like the language in the bill that requires companies to provide health insurance to their workers. But most of us are not so sure about the language that requires people to get health insurance on their own if they don’t get it through another source.  We agree with and understand the philosophy behind it, but it’s worrisome.

Folks, let us work this out.  Let us create a bill that benefits the majority of Americans.  Let us pass Health Care Reform.  Send a letter via US mail or send an email or call your elected officials and tell them what you don’t like about the existing bill and what you do like and support. Your voice matters.

Participate in the process.  Let your voice be heard. Tell our law makers to make the current House bill even better but please continue to support Health Care Reform.

Contact your elected officials — everyone from our President, Vice President, Senators, US Representatives, Governors and State legislators — by going to http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

October 7, 2009

Michelle Obama’s Roots — A Complex Path From Slavery

Fraser and Marian Robinson with Craig and Michelle

In First Lady’s Roots, a Complex Path From Slavery

By RACHEL L. SWARNS and JODI KANTOR

WASHINGTON — In 1850, the elderly master of a South Carolina estate took pen in hand and painstakingly divided up his possessions. Among the spinning wheels, scythes, tablecloths and cattle that he bequeathed to his far-flung heirs was a 6-year-old slave girl valued soon afterward at $475.

In his will, she is described simply as the “negro girl Melvinia.” After his death, she was torn away from the people and places she knew and shipped to Georgia. While she was still a teenager, a white man would father her first-born son under circumstances lost in the passage of time.

In the annals of American slavery, this painful story would be utterly unremarkable, save for one reason: This union, consummated some two years before the Civil War, marked the origins of a family line that would extend from rural Georgia, to Birmingham, Ala., to Chicago and, finally, to the White House.

Melvinia Shields, the enslaved and illiterate young girl, and the unknown white man who impregnated her are the great-great-great-grandparents of Michelle Obama, the first lady.

Viewed by many as a powerful symbol of black advancement, Mrs. Obama grew up with only a vague sense of her ancestry, aides and relatives said. During the presidential campaign, the family learned about one paternal great-great-grandfather, a former slave from South Carolina, but the rest of Mrs. Obama’s roots were a mystery.

Now the more complete map of Mrs. Obama’s ancestors — including the slave mother, white father and their biracial son, Dolphus T. Shields — for the first time fully connects the first African-American first lady to the history of slavery, tracing their five-generation journey from bondage to a front-row seat to the presidency.

The findings — uncovered by Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist, and The New York Times — substantiate what Mrs. Obama has called longstanding family rumors about a white forebear.

While President Obama’s biracial background has drawn considerable attention, his wife’s pedigree, which includes American Indian strands, highlights the complicated history of racial intermingling, sometimes born of violence or coercion, that lingers in the bloodlines of many African-Americans. Mrs. Obama and her family declined to comment for this article, aides said, in part because of the personal nature of the subject.

“She is representative of how we have evolved and who we are,” said Edward Ball, a historian who discovered that he had black relatives — the descendants of his white slave-owning ancestors — when he researched his memoir, “Slaves in the Family.”

“We are not separate tribes of Latinos and whites and blacks in America,” Mr. Ball said. “We’ve all mingled, and we have done so for generations.”

The outlines of Mrs. Obama’s family history unfolded from 19th century probate records, yellowing marriage licenses, fading photographs and the recollections of elderly women who remember the family. Ms. Smolenyak, who has traced the ancestry of many prominent figures, began studying the first lady’s roots in earnest after conducting some preliminary research into Mrs. Obama’s ancestry for an article published in The New York Times earlier this year.

Of the dozens of relatives she identified, Ms. Smolenyak said, it was the slave girl who seemed to call out most clearly.

“Out of all Michelle’s roots, it’s Melvinia who is screaming to be found,” she said.

When her owner, David Patterson, died in 1852, Melvinia soon found herself on a 200-acre farm with new masters, Mr. Patterson’s daughter and son-in law, Christianne and Henry Shields. It was a strange and unfamiliar world.

In South Carolina, she had lived on an estate with 21 slaves. In Georgia, she was one of only three slaves on property that is now part of a neat subdivision in Rex, near Atlanta.

Whether Melvinia labored in the house or in the fields, there was no shortage of work: wheat, corn, sweet potatoes and cotton to plant and harvest, and 3 horses, 5 cows, 17 pigs and 20 sheep to care for, according to an 1860 agricultural survey.

It is difficult to say who might have impregnated Melvinia, who gave birth to Dolphus around 1859, when she was perhaps as young as 15. At the time, Henry Shields was in his late 40s and had four sons ages 19 to 24, but other men may have spent time on the farm as well.

“No one should be surprised anymore to hear about the number of rapes and the amount of sexual exploitation that took place under slavery; it was an everyday experience, “ said Jason A. Gillmer, a law professor at Texas Wesleyan University, who has researched liaisons between slave owners and slaves. “But we do find that some of these relationships can be very complex.”

In 1870, three of Melvinia’s four children, including Dolphus, were listed on the census as mulatto. One was born four years after emancipation, suggesting that the liaison that produced those children endured after slavery. She gave her children the Shields name, which may have hinted at their paternity or simply been the custom of former slaves taking their master’s surnames.

Even after she was freed, Melvinia stayed put, working as a farm laborer on land adjacent to that of Charles Shields, one of Henry’s sons.

But sometime in her 30s or 40s, census records show, Melvinia broke away and managed to reunite with former slaves from her childhood on the Patterson estate: Mariah and Bolus Easley, who settled with Melvinia in Bartow County, near the Alabama border. Dolphus married one of the Easleys’ daughters, Alice, who is Mrs. Obama’s great-great-grandmother.

A community “that had been ripped apart was somehow pulling itself back together,” Ms. Smolenyak said of the group in Bartow County.

Still, Melvinia appears to have lived with the unresolved legacy of her childhood in slavery until the very end. Her 1938 death certificate, signed by a relative, says “don’t know” in the space for the names of her parents, suggesting that Melvinia, then in her 90s, may never have known herself.

Sometime before 1888, Dolphus and Alice Shields continued the migration, heading to Birmingham, a boomtown with a rumbling railroad, an iron and steel industry and factories that attracted former slaves and their children from across the South.

Dolphus Shields was in his 30s and very light skinned — some say he looked like a white man — a church-going carpenter who could read, write and advance in an industrializing town. By 1900, he owned his own home, census records show. By 1911, he had opened his own carpentry and tool sharpening business.

A co-founder of First Ebenezer Baptist Church and Trinity Baptist Church, which later became active in the civil rights movement, he supervised Sunday schools at both churches, which still exist today, and at Regular Missionary Baptist Church.

“He was the dean of the deacons in Birmingham,” said Helen Heath, 88, who attended church with him. “He was a serious man. He was about business.”

He carried his family into the working-class, moving into a segregated neighborhood of striving black homeowners and renters. In his home, there was no smoking, no cursing, no gum chewing, no lipstick or trousers for ladies and absolutely no blues on the radio, which was reserved for hymns, remembered Bobbie Holt, 73, who was raised by Mr. Shields and his fourth wife, Lucy. She said the family went to church “every night of the week, it seemed like.”

He carried peppermints for neighborhood children, Mrs. Holt said, and told funny stories about his escapades as a boy. But his family struggled.

His first wife, Alice Easley Shields, moved around after they split up, working as a seamstress and a maid, and two of their sons stumbled.

Robert Lee Shields, Mrs. Obama’s great-grandfather, married Annie Lawson in 1906 and worked as a laborer and a railroad porter, but disappeared from the public record sometime around his 32nd birthday.

Willie Arthur Shields, an inventor who obtained patents for improving dry cleaning operations, ended up working as a maintenance man, Mrs. Holt said.

As for his ancestry, Dolphus Shields didn’t talk about it.

“We got to the place where we didn’t want anybody to know we knew slaves; people didn’t want to talk about that,” said Mrs. Heath, who said she assumed he had white relatives because his skin color and hair texture “told you he had to be near white.”

At a time when blacks despaired at the intransigence and violence of whites who barred them from voting, from most city jobs, from whites-only restaurants and from owning property in white neighborhoods, Dolphus Shields served as a rare link between the deeply divided communities.

His carpentry shop stood in the white section of town, and he mixed easily and often with whites. “They would come to his shop and sit and talk,” Mrs. Holt said.

Dolphus Shields firmly believed race relations would improve. “It’s going to come together one day,” he often said, Mrs. Holt recalled.

By the time he died in 1950 at age 91, change was on the way. On June 9, 1950, the day that his obituary appeared on the front page of The Birmingham World, the black newspaper also ran a banner headline that read, “U.S. Court Bans Segregation in Diners and Higher Education.” The Supreme Court had outlawed separate but equal accommodations on railway cars and in universities in Texas and Oklahoma.

Up North, his grandson, a painter named Purnell Shields, Mrs. Obama’s grandfather, was positioning his family to seize the widening opportunities in Chicago.

But as his descendants moved forward, they lost touch with the past. Today, Dolphus Shields lies in a neglected black cemetery, where patches of grass grow knee-high and many tombstones have toppled.

Mrs. Holt, a retired nursing assistant, said he came to her in a dream last month. She dug up his photograph, never guessing that she would soon learn that Dolphus Shields was a great-great-grandfather of the first lady.

“Oh my God,” said Mrs. Holt, gasping at the news. “I always looked up to him, but I would never have imagined something like this. Praise God, we’ve come a long way.”

Jim Sherling contributed reporting from Rex, Ga. Kitty Bennett contributed research.

This article can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/08/us/politics/08genealogy.html

 

October 5, 2009

Elizabeth Edwards — Divorcing John Edwards?

Elizabeth and John Edwards  Supposedly Elizabeth Edwards has threatened to divorce John Edwards and claim her share of their $53 million estate amassed over 32 years of marriage.

The National ENQUIRER has learned Elizabeth dropped the divorce bombshell after learning a former campaign aide is claiming Rielle Hunter, the mother of Edwards’ love child, isn’t the only woman he seduced on the campaign trail.

“Elizabeth had always sworn she wouldn’t divorce John. But every person has a breaking point, and Elizabeth’s friends believe she’s reached hers,” an insider told The ENQUIRER.

 “Elizabeth knows every dirty little secret in her husband’s political past. She’s been his confidant for years, and she’s always kept quiet. But now she’s prepared to reveal all his secrets in open court.”

Elizabeth’s patience finally ran out when she learned about the scandalous claims in a tell-all book by her husband’s former campaign aide Andrew Young, the married father of three who once claimed that he’d fathered Edwards’ love child that Edwards had other affairs on the campaign trail over the years.

“Elizabeth was read portions of Young’s book proposal, and she flipped out,” said the source.

“Elizabeth basically told John that if she found out that was true, she’d have to divorce him because then he’d be a ‘serial cheater.’

“John claims Young’s book is a pack of lies.”

How sad that Elizabeth is going through this at this stage in her life.  This is so sad, but is it even true that she’s contemplating a divorce? 

I am NOT defending John Edwards in any way but would Elizabeth want all of John’s crap exposed for her children to see when they will have to depend on their father when she passes? 

If their children end up hating John it would almost be as if they have no parents.

This is so tragic and beyond sad.

September 23, 2009

Important Facts About Healthcare Reform

Benefits of Healthcare Reform:

So what does reform mean for you? In short, it means stable, quality, affordable care that you can depend on when you need it.

Here are five ways that health care reform will help lower costs, improve quality and bring stability to your health care.

  1. You & Your Doctor Make Decisions
    Health Care Reform Means You and Doctor Will Make Health Care Decisions
     
  2. Stable Coverage If You Have a Pre-Existing Condition or Get Sick
    Health Care Reform Means Stable Coverage for You and Your Family if You Have a Pre-Existing Condition or Get Sick.
     
  3. Lowers Cost & Caps Out-of-Pocket Expenses
    Health Care Reform Lowers Costs, Caps Out-of-Pocket Expenses and Eliminates Limits on Annual or Lifetime Care.
     
  4. Focuses on Preventive Care
    Health Care Reform Focuses on Preventive Care to Fend Off Illnesses and Save Costs.
     
  5. Relief to Employers
    Health Care Reform Provides Relief to Employers.

For more information go to: http://www.factsaboutreform.org/index.html

September 11, 2009

Healthcare: Senator Edward (Teddy) Kennedy’s Letter To President Obama

Please read the Honorable Edward Kennedy’s letter to President Obama below.  The letter was delivered to our President after Senator Kennedy died.  Senator Kennedy said it all in his letter.

Let’s get this bill signed for Uncle Teddy.  It’s simple, click on the link below, plug in your zip code and the list of all your elected officials that you should call will pop up with their phone number.  Call each of your elected official’s office and simply say, “I am calling to express my support for President Obama’s healthcare reform plan” or something like that.  They’ll ask for your zip code – that’s it.  They won’t ask for any personal information — and if they do you don’t have to share it.  They are logging calls to keep count of  support for healthcare reform- you can also call more than once. 

When I worked in news and we got calls because a story impacted the public in some profound way each call was calculated as 100 people because they figure for every call they receive from the public 100 people were thinking of making that call.   We are trying to get 5,000 individual calls to every elected official.  Please call and encourage your friends to call as well…please.  Pass this information on.  Let’s get this done.

Let’s be able to look back one year from now and marvel at our tremendous accomplishment.  

Democracy is not a spectator sport – we all have to participate for it to work. Please participate today.

Let’s do this for the late and great Senator Edward M. Kennedy.  Click the link below.

Add your voice: Ask your representatives to support my plan for real health reform in 2009.

 

Edward M. Kennedy

May 12, 2009

Dear Mr. President,

I wanted to write a few final words to you to express my gratitude for your repeated personal kindnesses to me – and one last time, to salute your leadership in giving our country back its future and its truth.

On a personal level, you and Michelle reached out to Vicki, to our family and me in so many different ways. You helped to make these difficult months a happy time in my life.

You also made it a time of hope for me and for our country.

When I thought of all the years, all the battles, and all the memories of my long public life, I felt confident in these closing days that while I will not be there when it happens, you will be the President who at long last signs into law the health care reform that is the great unfinished business of our society. For me, this cause stretched across decades; it has been disappointed, but never finally defeated. It was the cause of my life. And in the past year, the prospect of victory sustained me-and the work of achieving it summoned my energy and determination.

There will be struggles – there always have been – and they are already underway again. But as we moved forward in these months, I learned that you will not yield to calls to retreat – that you will stay with the cause until it is won. I saw your conviction that the time is now and witnessed your unwavering commitment and understanding that health care is a decisive issue for our future prosperity. But you have also reminded all of us that it concerns more than material things; that what we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.

And so because of your vision and resolve, I came to believe that soon, very soon, affordable health coverage will be available to all, in an America where the state of a family’s health will never again depend on the amount of a family’s wealth. And while I will not see the victory, I was able to look forward and know that we will – yes, we will – fulfill the promise of health care in America as a right and not a privilege.

In closing, let me say again how proud I was to be part of your campaign- and proud as well to play a part in the early months of a new era of high purpose and achievement. I entered public life with a young President who inspired a generation and the world. It gives me great hope that as I leave, another young President inspires another generation and once more on America’s behalf inspires the entire world.

So, I wrote this to thank you one last time as a friend- and to stand with you one last time for change and the America we can become.

At the Denver Convention where you were nominated, I said the dream lives on.

And I finished this letter with unshakable faith that the dream will be fulfilled for this generation, and preserved and enlarged for generations to come.

With deep respect and abiding affection,

Ted

August 26, 2009

Edward Moore Kennedy — An American Hero Dies

Edward Moore Kennedy

Edward Moore Kennedy is an American hero.

He was born in Boston, Massachusetts on February 22, 1932 and there are not adequate words to describe all he did – known and unbeknownst – for America.  Because of all his work and diligence he made America a better place than she was before he was born. He is one of the greatest legislators in American history and was the voice of progressivism in the United States.

He received his higher education at Harvard University and the University of Virginia Law School and became assistant district attorney for Suffolk County, Massachusetts, and served on John F. Kennedy’s election campaign in 1960.

In 1962 he was elected at the age of 30 to the Senate seat which his brother had vacated in 1960. In 1964 he was re-elected for a full term to the Senate and won subsequent re-election in 1970, 1976, 1982, 1988 and 1994 and continued to serve America until August 25, 2009.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy has represented Massachusetts in the United States Senate for forty-three years. Throughout his career, Kennedy has fought long and hard for issues that benefit the citizens of Massachusetts and the nation.

He is a true American hero that gave of himself selflessly.

Senator Edward Kennedy (Uncle Teddy) 2008 Democratic Convention:

Senator Edward Kennedy (Uncle Teddy) 1978  Democratic Convention on Health Care:

Let us rename the Health Care Reform bill the “Edward Kennedy Health Care Bill” and STAND TALL, BE COURAGEOUS and get his life long dream and hope of a Health Care bill passed.

RIP Senator Kennedy, RIP!

August 13, 2009

Former Senator John Edwards Takes DNA Test. He Is The Father of Rielle Hunter’s Daughter

Rielle Hunter Baby Frances  Former U.S. Senator John Edwards has secretly undergone a DNA test and supposedly the test confirms that he’s the father of his former mistress’ 18 month old daughter Frances Quinn.

Since there seems to be proof positive of Edward’s infidelity it is believed that Edwards and Rielle Hunter are now negotiating child support payments because Rielle says she fears that Frances will not receive financial support from Edwards in the future.

Rielle recently testified against Edwards before a federal grand jury that’s probing whether he broke campaign finance laws by secretly redirecting money to her.  Hunter’s testimony could get Edwards in serious hot water with the law.

Also read:

https://letustalk.wordpress.com/2008/07/23/scandal-john-edwards-alleged-lover-in-the-beginning-part-one/

https://letustalk.wordpress.com/2008/07/23/scandal-john-edwards-alleged-lover-today-part-2/

https://letustalk.wordpress.com/2008/08/08/john-edwards-admits-affair-denies-love-child-is-his/

https://letustalk.wordpress.com/2008/08/09/show-me-the-money-john-edwards-mistress-will-not-seek-paternity-test/

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