The Last 24™

The Militant Negro

The Militant Negro


President Obama Awards the 2013 National Medals of Arts and Humanities




This afternoon, the President and the First Lady honored the 2013 National Medals of the Arts and Humanities recipients at the White House. The President told the recipients that their “accomplishments enrich our lives and reveal something about ourselves and our country.”


This year’s recipients consisted of a diverse array of indidivuals and groups who have done groundbreaking work in the arts and humanities, including architecture, choreography, East Asian Studies, and documentary filmmaking – all of whom have made significant contributions to the human experience.


When we read a great book or experience a powerful documentary, we are often transformed – and these experiences can help us understand the world around us just a little bit better. The President illustrated what these experiences mean to those who witness the great work of this year’s honorees.


“The moments you help create – moments of understanding or awe or joy or sorrow – they add texture to our lives,” the President said. “They are not incidental to the American experience; they are central to it – they are essential to it. So we not only congratulate you this afternoon – we thank you for an extraordinary lifetime of achievement.”


Before presenting the medals to the honorees, the President concluded with a story illustrating the effect that the arts and humanities have had on American history, dating back to a historic event that took place at the White House in 1862:


President Lincoln called together a meeting of his Cabinet to present them with the Emancipation Proclamation. But that was not the first item on his agenda. This is a little-known story. Instead, he began reading out loud from a story from the humorist Artemis Ward. It was a story called, “High-Handed Outrage at Utica.” According to one often-repeated account, after he finished a chapter, Lincoln laughed and laughed. His cabinet did not. So Lincoln read them another chapter. And they still sat there in stony silence. Finally, he put the book down, and said, “Gentlemen, why don’t you laugh? You need this medicine as much as I do.”


To be clear, I probably will not be trying this in my Cabinet meetings. Certainly not if I’m presenting something like the Emancipation Proclamation. But what Lincoln understood is that the arts and the humanities aren’t just there to be consumed and enjoyed whenever we have a free moment in our lives. We rely on them constantly. We need them. Like medicine, they help us live.


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The President Presents the 2013 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal


Published on Jul 28, 2014

President Obama delivers remarks at the presentation of the 2013 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal, in the East Room of the White House, July 28, 2014.




Here is the full list of recipients from this year’s event:


2013 National Medal of Arts

  • Julia Alvarez, Novelist, Poet, and Essayist
  • Brooklyn Academy of Music, Presenter
  • Joan Harris, Arts Patron
  • Bill T. Jones, Dancer and Choreographer
  • John Kander, Musical Theater Composer
  • Jeffrey Katzenberg, Director and CEO of DreamWorks
  • Maxine Hong Kingston, Writer
  • Albert Maysles, Documentary Filmmaker
  • Linda Ronstadt, Musician
  • Billie Tsien and Tod Williams (receiving individual medals), Architects
  • James Turrell, Visual Artist


2013 National Humanities Medal

  • M.H. Abrams, Literary Critic
  • David Brion Davis, Historian
  • Darlene Clark Hine, Historian
  • Anne Firor Scott, Historian
  • William Theodore De Bary, East Asian studies scholar
  • Johnpaul Jones, Architect
  • Stanley Nelson, Filmmaker
  • Diane Rehm, Radio Host
  • Krista Tippett, Radio Host
  • American Antiquarian Society, Historical Organization


Find out more about the recipients of the 2013 National Humanities Medal and the 2013 National Medal of Arts.





Empowering Africa’s Next Generation of Leaders


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President Obama’s town hall today with 500 of Africa’s most promising young leaders provided an inspiring window into what the future holds for Africa, and the world.


The 500 participants in the Washington Fellowship program were selected from nearly 50,000 applicants from across Africa, as part of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). YALI was launched by President Obama in 2010, as part of a long-term investment in the next generation of African leaders. It aims to sharpen their skills, to improve their networks, and to strengthen partnerships between the United States and Africa for years to come.




The President announced during the town hall that the Washington Fellowship was being renamed as the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, in honor of the former South African President, Nelson Mandela. Mandela Washington Fellows represent the best and brightest from communities across Africa, and fields ranging from education, medicine, law, business, and beyond. These are the young leaders whose skills, passion, and visions for the future, will help shape the fate of their countries and the world. It is in everyone’s best interest to help them prepare with the tools they need to build a healthier, more secure, more prosperous, and more peaceful Africa, which is why President Obama launched YALI in the first place.


President Obama also took today’s opportunity to preview another historic event planned for next week. The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit will be hosted in Washington, by President Obama, and will represent the largest gathering any American president has ever hosted with African heads of state and government.


The President Holds a Town Hall with Young African Leaders


Published on Jul 28, 2014

President Obama delivers remarks at the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Presidential Summit Town Hall in Washington, D.C., July 28, 2014.



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The President pointed out today, “even as we deal with crises and challenges in other parts of the world that often dominate the headlines; even as we acknowledge the real hardships that so many Africans face every day — we have to make sure that we’re all seizing the extraordinary potential of today’s Africa, the youngest and fastest-growing continent.”


YALI is about capitalizing on the creativity and talent of Africa’s young leaders by empowering them with the skills, training, and technology necessary to make lasting change, and meaningful progress back home. And to do so, we are engaging public and private sector partners to create new Regional Leadership Centers across Africa to reach more young leaders.  We’re joining with American universities, African institutions and business partners like Microsoft and MasterCard Foundation. Starting next year, young Africans can come to these centers to network, access the latest technology, and get training in management and entrepreneurship. The first centers will be located in Senegal, Ghana, South Africa and Kenya —  and will provide tens of thousands of young Africans the resources they need to put their ideas into action.


President Obama: “If you’re a strong man, you should not feel threatened by strong women.”


Published on Jul 28, 2014

President Obama participated at a Young African Leaders Presidential Summit Town Hall in Washington, D.C., July 28, 2014




As last year came to a close, the world said goodbye to one of the brightest lights the world has ever known — President Nelson Mandela. His life was proof of the power within each of us to leave the world better than we found it. Yet, as that brilliant star dimmed, we now have the opportunity to see 500 more shine brightly this week.


One of this summer’s Fellows, Sobel Ngom from Senegal, captured the spirit of his experience in the YALI program this way: “Here, I have met Africa. The [Africa] I have always believed in. She is beautiful, young, full of talent, motivation and ambition.”  And being here with all of his Fellow Mandela Washington Fellows — learning together, working together, dreaming together — has only strengthened his determination, he says, to realize his aspirations for his country and his continent.


Click here for more information on the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.


Click here for more information on President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).



The Young African Leaders Initiative


Published on Jul 28, 2014

The Obama administration’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. Nearly 1 in 3 Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and approximately 60 percent of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35. President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.








Speeches and Remarks – July 28th, 2014


Remarks by the President at the Presentation of the 2013 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal


Remarks by the President in Town Hall with the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders




Statements and Releases – July 28th, 2014


President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to the Kingdom of Belgium to Attend the World War I Centennial Commemoration


Readout of the President’s Video Teleconference with Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom, President Hollande of France, Chancellor Merkel of Germany, and Prime Minister Renzi of Italy


President Obama Signs Nebraska Disaster Declaration


President Obama Announces Another Key Administration Post


FACT SHEET: The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders


BACKGROUND & FACT SHEET: The President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)


Statement by the President on the Occasion of Eid-al-Fitr





Boosting Our Global Competitiveness: It’s Time to Invest in America’s Roads, Rails, and Bridges


When it comes to investing in our infrastructure, the President’s message has been loud and clear: We must upgrade our roads and rails and bridges to grow our economy and create good American jobs. Over the last five decades, U.S. investments in transportation have fallen by nearly 50 percent as a percentage of GDP. So it is not surprising that in the most recent World Economic Forum rankings, the U.S. has fallen from 7th to 18th overall in the quality of our roads in less than a decade.

Earlier this month, we released a report that shows our transportation infrastructure system is in dire need of investment. The data tells an important story: 65 percent of America’s major roads are rated in less than good condition; one in four bridges require significant repair or cannot handle today’s traffic; and 45 percent of Americans lack access to transit.

We know what we need to do – and there are two compelling reasons for doing it right now. First, our global competiveness is directly linked to the strength of our infrastructure – investing in it can serve as a clear source of competitive advantage. Second, these investments will create jobs, help American businesses, and grow our economy. The President has put forth a long-term proposal that would make these investments and pay for them by closing unfair tax loopholes and making commonsense reforms to our business tax system. The President’s GROW AMERICA Act would support millions of jobs and position our economy for lasting growth.


Read More.



Medicare Trustees Report Shows Significant Improvements for Seniors and Taxpayers


Today’s annual report from the Medicare program’s Boards of Trustees brings good news about the program’s financial future: Its Trust Fund will last four more years, to 2030, and projected Part B premiums for 2015 will not increase for the second year in a row.


As we celebrate Medicare’s 49th birthday this week, we will recommit to ensuring that the program continues providing health and economic security for the nation’s elderly and people with disabilities through the 21st century and beyond. Today’s news shows that we are on the right track, and we are optimistic that the promising results we’ve seen in recent years can continue into the future.


In 2009, the Trustees projected the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund would not be able to pay its bills in 2017 – just three years from now. Today’s new date is 2030, 13 years later than that projection – an improvement that is thanks in part to reforms in the Affordable Care Act (Chart 1). The law implemented changes to promote value-based payments, reduce waste and fraud, and strengthen the program’s benefits. These changes, for example, have reduced hospital spending on preventable readmission, helping to lower hospital costs, which constitute a significant portion of trust fund spending.


Read More.



Training a Workforce for Today’s and Tomorrow’s Jobs


It’s no secret that the American economy is changing, and some of the most in-demand skills today barely existed a generation ago. The average worker graduated high school around twenty years ago, when the personal computer was in its infancy, and only the most technical professions demanded a fluency in information technology (IT).


But times have changed, and some of the best ladders to well-paying, middle-class jobs are in IT fields across our economy. That’s because the average salary in a job that requires IT skills — whether in manufacturing, advertising, hospitality, or banking — is more than one and a half times higher than the average private-sector American job.


This week, the President and Vice President are announcing important reforms in the way Federal programs train and retrain workers. To meet the demand for IT and cybersecurity skills, we will also be kicking off a significant new effort focused on bridging the gap between workers, technology skills, and employers.


Read More.





7/28/14: White House Press Briefing


Published on Jul 28, 2014

White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing













Silence of a Nation (GAZA The Broken Hearted)


Uploaded on May 10, 2010

Dedicated to the children of GAZA……. Excerpts from a speech by: Chris Hedges…….. The author spoke at the Revolution Books Town Hall Meeting at Ethical Culture Society on January 13, 2009 condemning Israel and USA complicity in Israel’s murderous destruction and genocide of the innocent men, women and children of GAZA and the West Bank.




GRAPHIC: Children killed in missile attack on Gaza refugee camp


Published on Jul 28, 2014

At least seven children have been killed after more rockets were showered on a Palestinian refugee camp. The Israel Defence Forces pointed the finger at Hamas, saying it bombed its own territory. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Palestinians must brace themselves for a prolonged operation.











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