Friday, April 18, 2014

Great Email To Get Today

I know. It's not that much but it nonetheless brought a smile to my face earlier. I kinda can't wait to pick this up, I adore her and some comedy would be a welcome relief.

Kansas City Public Library - Plaza Branch
Plaza Branch
4801 Main St
Kansas City, MO

          William Keil Rosen
          Kansas City, MO

Dear William Rosen,
"Library Material PICKUP Notice" Requested Item(s) is available for pickup from
the Library. (See Return Address) These material(s) will be available for
pickup for 6 days from the date on this notice.
Thank you

  1   Uganda be kidding me / Chelsea Handler
      Handler, Chelsea.
      call number:818.602 H23U 2014         

Monday, April 14, 2014

Senator Roy Blunt Is An Asshole: Volume 943

April 14, 2014

In this MegaVote for Missouri's 5th Congressional District:

Recent Congressional Votes
Senate: Unemployment Benefits Extension – Passage
Senate: Equal Pay – Cloture
House: Budget Resolution – Passage
Editor's Note: Both the House and Senate are in recess until the week of April 28.

Recent Senate Votes
Unemployment Benefits Extension – Passage - Vote Passed (59-38, 3 Not Voting)

Senators passed a bill on Monday that, as amended, would extend unemployment benefits through May 31, 2014.

Sen. Roy Blunt voted NO
Sen. Claire McCaskill voted Not Voting

Equal Pay – Cloture - Vote Rejected (53-44, 3 Not Voting)

The Senate failed to invoke cloture on a bill that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (PL 75-718), requiring employers to demonstrate that wage gaps between men and women with similar qualifications in similar jobs have a business justification. The bill would also prohibit employers from retaliating against employees seeking salary information to investigate gender discrimination in wages.

Sen. Roy Blunt voted NO
Sen. Claire McCaskill voted YES

Recent House Votes
Budget Resolution – Passage - Vote Passed (2019-205, 8 Not Voting)

On Thursday, the House adopted a concurrent resolution that would provide $2.842 trillion to fund the federal government in fiscal 2015. The resolution assumes $5.1 trillion in spending reductions over 10 years and reductions in personal and corporate tax rates.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II voted NO

When Will There Be A Time To Love?

"A Time To Love" (feat. India.Arie)

We have time for racism
We have time for criticism
Held bondage by our ism's 
When will there be a time to love

We make time to debate religion
Passing bills and building prisons
For building fortunes and passing judgements
When will there be a time to love

At this point in history we have a choice to make
To either walk a path of love
Or be crippled by our hate

We have time to cause pollution
We have time to cause confusion
All wrapped up in our own illusions
When will there be a time to love

We make time to conquer nations
Time for oil exploration
Hatred, violence and terrorism
When will there be a time to love

At this moment in time
We have a choice to make
Father God is watching
While we cause mother earth so much pain
It's such a shame

Not enough money for
The young, the old and the poor
But for war there is always more
When will there be a time to love

We make time for paying taxes
Or paying bills and buying status
But we will pay the consequences
If we don't make the time to love

Now's the time to pay attention
Yes now is the time... to love...
A time love... Love...
A time to Love
Please, please won't you tell me
When will there be a time to love...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Does Anyone Have $1,500 I Can Borrow?

Just got this email from google glass:

Hi there,

Hooray - it's Saturday morning! Whether you're curled up with cereal and cartoons or hitting the weekend warrior path, we have some exciting news for you.

We're seeking new Explorers and we're opening up some spots in the Glass Explorer Program. Any adult in the US can become an Explorer by visiting our site and purchasing Glass ... including you!

This isn't the same Glass you saw last April. In the past year, we've released nine software updates, 42 Glassware apps, iOS support, prescription frames, and more, all largely shaped by feedback from our Explorers. The Explorer bundle costs $1,500 + tax and includes Glass, charger, pouch, mono earbud, and your choice of a shade or a frame for no additional charge. Check out the styles of frames and shades and pick your favorite.

Spots are limited, so mark your calendar if you want to get in. Sorry, you can't prepurchase, but you can find us on Tuesday at

Use this link to add a reminder for April 15th to your Google Calendar. Explore the frames and shades and select your complimentary style here.

For help purchasing please visit the Glass Help Center.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

YouTube Videos Surface of HMC and GMC's Performance in St. Louis

This always happens with every show...and it's going to keep on happening because everyone has a portable movie studio on their phones now....So..some clips surfaced on youtube today of the Heartland Men's Chorus performance in St. Louis and also some of the Gateway Men's Chorus. I promise it wasn't me this time Rick Fisher! HAHAHA!

So here's one clip of us singing "Give 'Em Hope". He said the reason why he had to stop recording was because his phone ran out of memory. I completely understand how that It's still pretty cool though:

Gateway Men's Chorus singing "Light"

Gateway Men's Chorus singing "Candlelight"

Google Voice Widget

my charger has officially kicked the bucket this until I get a new one my phone is dead. My google voice number is ....well use this widget.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Senate Panel Votes To Declassify Torture Report

This is awesome:

Senate panel votes to declassify interrogation report
By Jeremy Herb

The Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday voted to declassify parts of its controversial report on Bush-era interrogation tactics, paving the way for the report’s public release.

The Intelligence panel voted 11-3 to declassify the report’s 400-page executive summary and its conclusions and recommendations.

Read the story here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

We Are All Harvey Milk

Phenomenal review of my show this weekend from KCMetropolis:

We Are All Harvey Milk

By Anthony Rodgers   
Tue, Apr 01, 2014

Collaborating with the Gateway Men's Chorus from St. Louis, the Heartland Men's Chorus presented an evening of encouraging song and a grandiose tribute to the work and message of Harvey Milk.

“We gotta give them hope.” These words of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person elected to public office, were taken to heart by the Heartland Men's Chorus, who joined with the Gateway Men's Chorus from St. Louis this weekend at the Folly Theater. After each ensemble sang selections of their own, Andrew Lippa's large work I Am Harvey Milk received its Midwest premiere, forcing an element of introspection on the part of everyone present and a call for action to end all remaining hate.

The Gateway Men's Chorus started the concert with a performance of Candlelight, a work by their conductor, Al Fischer; due to some timid sounds from the lower voices, the work was a bit unstable. However the ensemble quickly regrouped for a thrilling choral version of “Simple Joys” from Pippinto demonstrate their exceptional musicality. Intoning the words of John Donne, No Man Is An Island resembled the solemnity of a Germanic Requiem, and the chorus's clean intervals sung at a soft dynamic were impressive. Borrowing again from musical theatre, GMC closed with “Light,” the final number from Next to Normal, unifying all of their works in a subtly inspirational set and what seemed to be their own tribute to the Harvey Milks of the world.

The Heartland Men's Chorus began their segment with Dan Forrest's The Music of Living, a subdued fanfare that showcased the sheer power of the men's combined voices. I Met A Boy was a humorous and humbling juxtaposition of the years 1958, 1976, and 2010, highlighting societal changes in regard to homosexuality. A beautiful timbre was created at the beginning of Inscription of Hope, a piece remembering the Holocaust, by piano, string quartet, oboe, and a wordless choir. The rich, dark sound in the choir continued through the opening of Give 'Em Hope, which gradually shifted to a lighter, gospel style, during which it was hard not to feel inspired to dance along.

I Am Harvey Milk was an ambitious project involving both choruses, three soloists, a chamber orchestra, and a great deal of projected imagery. Not a biographical work, the oratorio-like work instead examined various aspects of Milk's life, asking the listener to examine his or her place in a changing world and find something relatable in the life and words of one iconic man.

The voice of Milk haunted the hall before the large chorus began the movement “I Am The Bullet,” influenced by postminimalism, speaking to a silent population of opinion-less persons. Converting the Folly into a 1970s disco, “Friday Night in the Castro” was a lively number involving group choreography that was engaging overall, although risky at times when not everyone remembers to fully participate. As homosexual slurs were written on a screen like graffiti, the words echoed through the room with a modified version of the familiar rhyme “Sticks and Stones,” and as the terms shifted to include derogatory slang for racial groups, the global impact of hateful words grew realized and heavy. The projections were distracting at times, however, particularly during the beautiful “San Francisco.” Perhaps the most rousing of the numbers was the finale, “Tired of the Silence,” as Milk's moving words rallied listeners to victory by being one's self.

As Harvey Milk, Tom Lancaster was a perfect fit, bringing elements of his musical theatre background to this concert stage, truly embodying the icon himself. His voice during “You Are Here” was commanding, supple, and always under control. Portraying a young Milk, Cam Burns had a remarkable voice, full of the innocence and ambition desired from the character. Sylvia Stone, soprano, faltered often on sustained lines, going noticeably flat, but her stage presence was spot-on with each portrait, and the recitative sections in “Leap” were clean and easily understood.

Additional elements of the event included the well-balanced chamber ensemble that was never overbearing or overpowered. Sign language interpreter John T. Adams did more than offer his interpretive services, dancing along with the music happening behind him—an appreciated subtlety. The lighting effects were well done, always appropriate to the moods and lyrics of individual movements and pieces.
All in all, these components worked together to convert an anticipated choral concert into the uplifting and inspirational event that it was, echoing the message of Harvey Milk that “hope will never be silent."

Heartland Men's Chorus, featuring special guests Gateway Men's Chorus of St. Louis
I Am Harvey Milk
March 29–30 (Reviewed Saturday, March 29, 2014)
Folly Theater
300 W. 12th St., Kansas City, MO
For more information visit

Top Photo: Tom Lancaster (Harvey Milk) with Heartland Men’s Chorus and Gateway Men’s Chorus (Photo courtesy of Heartland Men’s Chorus)  
By Anthony Rodgers

Excerpt From Obamas Speech In Belgium

In the end, the success of our ideals comes down to us -- including the example of our own lives, our own societies. We know that there will always be intolerance. But instead of fearing the immigrant, we can welcome him. We can insist on policies that benefit the many, not just the few; that an age of globalization and dizzying change opens the door of opportunity to the marginalized, and not just a privileged few. Instead of targeting our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, we can use our laws to protect their rights. Instead of defining ourselves in opposition to others, we can affirm the aspirations that we hold in common. That’s what will make America strong. That’s what will make Europe strong. That’s what makes us who we are.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Claire McCaskil Responds To My Inquiry

April 1, 2014
Dear Mr. Rosen,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the unacceptable problem of sexual assault in the military.  I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.

In December, 2013, I joined a bipartisan group of my colleagues in passing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014, which included historic reforms I fought to include that address sexual assault in the military.  This legislation will force the military to better protect survivors and hold perpetrators accountable.  Rape and sexual assault have no place in the military, and I am pleased that these historic reforms will become law. 

As a former prosecutor who has tried many challenging rape and sexual assault cases, I have held the hands of survivors of sexual assault.  I have comforted them about their fears in testifying against those who attacked them.  I know how difficult it is for a survivor to come forward.  Survivors must be encouraged to report the assaults against them, perpetrators must be held accountable, and survivors must receive the care they need.  Unfortunately, the U.S. military has failed to provide such an environment for victims of sexual assault in its ranks, leading to unacceptably high numbers of unreported incidents, insufficient numbers of prosecutions and inadequate support of victims.  In the face of this crisis, I have joined with many of my colleagues in the Senate to work to pass laws to force change and to further demand that military leaders act to remedy this situation.  Getting more survivors to report the crimes that have been committed against them is a particularly important step in changing the tide of sexual assault in the military. 

One especially important provision in the NDAA strips military commanders of the authority to vacate or nullify a jury verdict, a provision I fought to include after I learned of a case at Aviano Air Force base in Italy where a military commander used his authority to dismiss a jury conviction against a military sex offender, reinstate him in the Air Force, and expunge his record.  My provision will ensure that this never happens again.  The bill also strengthens accountability in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) by requiring commanders to provide written justification for any modification they make to a criminal sentence.

To prevent commanders from dismissing a sexual assault case against the advice of legal counsel, the NDAA includes a provision requiring that any case involving sexual assault where a commander overrules the advice of a Staff Judge Advocate to proceed to court martial be automatically referred to the civilian Service Secretary for a final decision on how to proceed.  This means the top civilian leaders in the Department of Defense will have the final decision on whether to take these cases to court martial.  The bill also makes it a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice to retaliate against a servicemember who has reported a crime.  In addition, any person found guilty of an offense of rape, sexual assault, forcible sodomy, or an attempt to commit any of those offenses will be required to receive a punishment that includes, at a minimum, a dismissal or dishonorable discharge.

The NDAA also includes a number of provisions strengthening protections for survivors.  For example, the NDAA requires each of the military services to provide victims with their own lawyer, which will provide a level of legal support that is unmatched in the civilian justice system.  I also fought to include provisions ensuring that military commanders have the authority to move from a unit an individual accused of sexual assault in order to protect a victim from unwanted contact with the reported perpetrator and requiring a commander to receive input from a victim before arriving at any decision to modify the sentence of a convicted offender.  These changes will serve to create a more supportive environment where a victim's voice can be heard and where victims will feel safer and more confident about reporting crimes against them, a step that requires both strength and courage.

In addition, recent media reports have detailed the case of a female Midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy who was subjected to nearly 30 hours of intimidating and invasive questioning by attorneys representing her alleged assailants during an Article 32 proceeding - a pre-trial investigation required before a case can be referred to a general court-martial.  Too often, victims come forward only to be re-victimized during the Article 32 process.  The NDAA includes a provision I fought for that will ensure that victims who come forward to report sexual assault are not harassed and intimidated during Article 32 proceedings.  Specifically, the bill will limit the scope of the proceedings to the question of probable cause and would allow a victim to submit a sworn statement rather than undergo direct questioning at the proceeding.

The reforms enacted in the NDAA represent a significant first step in how the military handles cases of sexual assault within its ranks, however further improvements are needed.  For this reason, on March 10, 2014 the Senate passed a bill that I introduced, S. 1917, the Victims Protection Act of 2014, by a vote of 97-0.  This bipartisan bill builds on the reforms passed into law with the NDAA, including the elimination of the "Good Soldier Defense." The Victims Protection Act specifically prevents individuals from using good military character as a valid defense against sexual assault charges. Additionally, this legislation would, among other things, ensure commanders are held more accountable by linking their promotion reviews to their handling of allegations of sexual assault and the treatment of those under their command who report these crimes.

I believe that the reforms included in the Victims Protection Act and the NDAA represent the strongest possible protections for victims.  As you may know, an alternative approach, proposed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, would strip commanders entirely of their responsibilities, including their ability to convene and proceed to courts martial.  I do not believe that this approach would result in stronger protections for victims or increased prosecutions.

Over the past two years, there have been at least 93 cases in which prosecutors declined to pursue charges, but in which a commander ultimately decided to proceed to a court martial.  Those 93 survivors would not have had their day in court under this alternative proposal.  In fact, the ongoing case at the Naval Academy will proceed to a court martial because the Commander at the Naval Academy has ordered a trial, even though the Judge who conducted the initial investigation recommended that the case not proceed to trial.  Without a commander being involved and being interested in maximizing discipline as well as empowering a victims' voice, this victim would never get her day in court.

Additionally, stripping commanders of their ability to move cases forward removes a key tool for protecting survivors - command support is crucial in creating a climate of acceptance and protection for survivors, a climate that is vital for increasing the number of victims who feel comfortable coming forward to report.  Removing the chain of command from the decision making process has been tried by some of our allies and has not resulted in an increase in reporting of sexual assaults.  In fact, a panel created by Congress to study sexual assaults in the military verified that none of America's allies who made this change did so to protect victims, and none saw significantly more victims come forward.  Finally, removing commanders from this process would create a separate, parallel legal systems for handling sexual assault, resulting in a number of constitutional and procedural problems that would only serve to re-victimize survivors and prolong legal proceedings.  For all of these reasons, I strongly believe that the reforms in the NDAA will better protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable.   

The historic reforms included in the NDAA and the Victims Protection Act are a step in the right direction to combat sexual assault in the military.  However, if the military continues to fail to address the crisis of sexual assault, more changes will be forthcoming.  I will not rest until I am confident that survivors in the military feel comfortable coming forward, perpetrators are fully held accountable, and survivors are receive the care and support they need.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance to you on this or any other issue.


Claire McCaskill
United States Senator

P.S. If you would like more information about resources that can help Missourians, or what I am doing in the Senate on your behalf, please sign up for my email newsletter at

Friday, March 28, 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014

Virginia Laws Against Anal, Oral Sex Go Down, And Now You Can Too!

Virginia Laws Against Anal, Oral Sex Go Down, And Now You Can Too!

Wonkette / by DDM / 2 days ago

Virginia is now really, truly for lovers. And not just the boring penis-in-vagina kind of lovers, but now you can put your naughty bits in whatever orifice you would like, even in the butt! 

Per WaPo:More than a decade after the Supreme Court declared such bans unconstitutional, Virginia lawmakers have taken a ban on oral and anal sex out of the state code.

Congrats, Virginia! Welcome to life in post-Puritan America. We look forward to cops high-fiving Larry Craig blowing Rick Santorum’s brains out in the men’s room of Dulles airport. Since the Supreme Court had already ruled consensual oral and anal sex as Constitutional, this victory is mainly symbolic. However, it only happened because Terry McAuliffe is the state’s new governor. Had Ken ‘The Cooch” Cuccinelli been successful, he probably would have vetoed the bill:

[B]ecause of the way the code was written, the “crimes against nature” statute was still being used to prosecute other sex crimes. Former attorney general Ken Cuccinelli II attempted, unsuccessfully, to revive the law under such circumstances last year.

However, there are plenty of other laws against actual sex crimes. Cuccinelli was just being a giant dick by trying to use this law and keep it on the books, because knuckle-dragging narrow-minded bigots and assholes who make up the social conservative wing of the Republican Party really like these stupid laws on the books. In fact:More than a dozen other states still have sodomy bans on the books. A lawmaker in Louisiana is pushing to undo that state’s ban but faces opposition from social conservative groups.

Perhaps the social conservatives and religious nutjobs should be a little cautious. Clearly none of us were there, but historical records indicate that Jesus hung out for three years with a bunch of dudes. We’re not saying definitively that there was a relationship with Peter’s peter that caused JC to call him ‘the Rock,’ but who knows that happens when you turn one too many jugs of water into wine?

As for the good people of Louisiana, we recommend that instead of a sit-in, you stage a ‘sit-on-my-face-in.’ We would like to see at least one protest poster saying ‘Mustache Freedom Ride For Freedom,’ also, too. If you need practice, we suggest a lovely trip to Virginia, where this weekend we encourage all Virginians to make full and extensive use of your newly granted liberties.[Washington Post]

It has always been Constitutional to follow DDM on Twitter (@Wonksplainer)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

More Amazing Policies From Barack Obama

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
February 27, 2014

FACT SHEET: Opportunity for all: President Obama Launches My Brother’s Keeper Initiative to Build Ladders of Opportunity For Boys and Young Men of Color

“I’m reaching out to some of America’s leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing especially tough odds to stay on track and reach their full potential.”– President Barack Obama, January 28, 2014

There are a lot of kids out there who need help, who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement.  And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?”– President Barack Obama, July 19, 2013

President Obama is taking action to launch My Brother’s Keeper – a new initiative to help every boy and young man of color who is willing to do the hard work to get ahead. For decades, opportunity has lagged behind for boys and young men of color.  But across the country, communities are adopting approaches to help put these boys and young men on the path to success. The President wants to build on that work. We can learn from communities that are partnering with local businesses and foundations to connect these boys and young men to mentoring, support networks, and skills they need to find a good job or go to college and work their way up into the middle class. And the Administration will do its part by helping to identify and promote programs that work. That starts by using proven tools that expand opportunity at key moments in the lives of these young people.  The President believes this includes ensuring access to basic health, nutrition, and to high-quality early education to get these kids reading and ready for school at the youngest age.  But that’s not enough.  We need to partner with communities and police to reduce violence and make our classrooms and streets safer.  And we need to help these young men stay in school and find a good job– so they have the opportunity to reach their full potential, contribute to their communities and build decent lives for themselves and their families.

New Presidential Task Force to Expand Opportunity. 

President Obama will sign a Presidential Memorandum establishing the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, an interagency effort, chaired by Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson, that will help us determine what public and private efforts are working and how to expand upon them, how the Federal Government’s own policies and programs can better support these efforts, and how to better involve State and local officials, the private sector, and the philanthropic community in these efforts. The Task Force will work across executive departments and agencies to:

Assess the impact of Federal policies, regulations, and programs of general applicability on boys and young men of color, so as to develop proposals that will enhance positive outcomes and eliminate or reduce negative ones.

Recommend, where appropriate, incentives for the broad adoption by national, State, and local public and private decision makers of effective and innovative strategies and practices for providing opportunities to and improving outcomes for boys and young men of color.

Create an Administration-wide “What Works” online portal to disseminate successful programs and practices that improve outcomes for boys and young men of color.Develop a comprehensive public website, to be maintained by the Department of Education, that will assess, on an ongoing basis, critical indicators of life outcomes for boys and young men of color in absolute and relative terms.

Work with external stakeholders to highlight the opportunities, challenges, and efforts affecting boys and young men of color.

Recommend to the President means of ensuring sustained efforts within the Federal Government and continued partnership with the private sector and philanthropic community as set forth in the Presidential Memorandum

Investments from Leading Foundations and Businesses to Advance the Achievement of Boys and Young Men of Color.  Leading foundations and businesses have long worked with others in philanthropy to create opportunities for young men and boys of color and today are committing significant resources to research critical intervention points in the lives of boys and young men of color; change the often-damaging narrative about them; and catalyze coordinated investments to seed, replicate, and scale up effective community solutions.The foundations supporting today’s call to action have already made extensive investments, including  $150 million in current spending that they have already approved or awarded. Building on that, today these foundations are announcing that over the next five years they seek to invest at least $200 million, alongside additional investments from their peers in philanthropy and the business community, to find and rapidly spread solutions that have the highest potential for impact in key areas, including: early child development and school readiness, parenting and parent engagement, 3rd grade literacy, educational opportunity and school discipline reform, interactions with the criminal justice system ladders to jobs and economic opportunity and healthy families and communities.The foundations will work over the next 90 days to design a strategy and infrastructure for coordination of these investments, which can be aligned with additional commitments from a diverse array of actors from other sectors.These foundations, who are joining President Obama at today’s announcement, include The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The California Endowment, The Ford Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Open Society Foundations, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and The Kapor Center for Social Impact. Many of the foundations are members of the Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color – a coalition of philanthropic institutions committed to leveraging philanthropy’s role in improving life outcomes for boys and men of color.In addition to the leadership from the philanthropic community, the My Brother’s Keeper initiative will leverage participation from the business community and elected officials to support this cross-sector effort. 

As part of today’s announcement, President Obama will meet with a number of business leaders – including Joe Echevarria of Deloitte, Magic Johnson of Magic Johnson Enterprises, Glenn Hutchins of Silver Lake Partners, Adam Silver of the National Basketball Association and Thomas Tull of Legendary Entertainment – to discuss ways in which they and their companies can work with the Initiative to improve the life outcomes of boys and young men of color.The President will also be joined today by public sector leaders including General Colin Powell, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Honorable Michael Bloomberg.  Additionally, several other prominent members of the business community—including Rosalind Brewer of Sam’s Club, Ken Chenault of American Express, and Don Thompson of McDonald’s—have already expressed their support for this effort, and the White House expects additional commitments in the coming days and months.     *  * 
*Data shows that boys and young men of color, regardless of socio-economic background, are disproportionately at risk throughout the journey from their youngest years to college and career.  For instance, large disparities remain in reading proficiency, with 86 percent of black boys and 82 percent of Hispanic boys reading below proficiency levels by the fourth grade – compared to 58 percent of white boys reading below proficiency levels.  Additionally, the disproportionate number of black and Hispanic young men who are unemployed or involved in the criminal justice system alone is a perilous drag on state budgets, and undermines family and community stability.  These young men are more than six times as likely to be victims of murder than their white peers and account for almost half of the country’s murder victims each year.  The effort launched today is focused on unlocking the full potential of boys and young men of color – something that will not only benefit them, but all Americans.  The Task Force and new private sector partnership will take a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach to building ladders of opportunity.  Both the Task Force and the partnership will take action immediately while planning for long-term success.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

from todays white house press briefing: question on Uganda

Q Thanks, Jay. As you know, Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, signed today an anti-gay bill that in some cases would penalize homosexual acts with life imprisonment. I saw your statement, but my question is, what details do you have about the impact of signing that bill on U.S.-Uganda relations? The President earlier said signing that bill would complicate the relationship. Will that affect the $400 million a year the United States gives to Uganda in foreign aid?

MR. CARNEY: I think I would point you to our statement, which I believe reflects our strong disagreement with the decision to sign that legislation. It’s a sad day for Uganda. Instead of standing on the side of freedom, justice, and equal rights for its people, today, regrettably, Ugandan President took Uganda a step backward by signing into law legislation criminalizing homosexuality.

As President Obama has said, this law is more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda; it reflects poorly on the country’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people and will undermine public health, including efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. We will continue to urge the government of Uganda to repeal this abhorrent law and to advocate for the protection of the universal human rights of LGBT persons in Uganda and around the world. What I can tell you about steps the United States might take in response is that we are undertaking a review of our relationship with Uganda in light of this decision.

Q When will that review come to an end?

MR. CARNEY: I’m sorry?

Q When will that review be complete?

MR. CARNEY: I don’t have a timetable for you, but we are undertaking a review.

Q And National Security Advisor Susan Rice -- you tweeted out last week I think that she had a conversation with President Museveni about the bill. I was wondering, were there any conversations with her and President Museveni? Or between President Obama and President Museveni, either immediately prior to or after the signing of that bill?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I think that in that conversation, Ambassador Rice made clear our very strong view on this matter, and unfortunately and regrettably the President signed into law this legislation, which has caused the reaction that we gave today.

Yes, Wendell.