My father, Lou Cannon, covered the White House with distinction for the Washington Post for many years, beginning in the Nixon administration. He employed an easy rule of thumb when fielding phone calls from anonymous tipsters:If the caller said, "I have a story that will make Watergate look like a picnic," Dad would hang up on him.In the past week, Richard Nixon's name has been invoked often, and not in a way that pleases President Obama or his loyalists. Unless it's a reference to his dramatic 1972 visit to China, Nixon is not the president any of his successors...
The gang revealed that they didn't know a lot about the country they lived in on the latest episode of "Breaking Amish: Brave New World." When they reached Washington DC on their road trip to Florida, they were unimpressed with most of what they saw.
Sabrina compared the White House to a dollhouse. "Really? The President of the United States lives in that?" she said. "Like, I’ve seen Amish houses that are bigger than that.”
After they were done bashing the white house, they headed over to the Lincoln Memorial, where Rebecca revealed that she had no clue who Abraham Lincoln was. Sabrina thought the Gettysburg Address was the Declaration of Independence. This all led to Kate admitting that they probably all needed to go back to school.
Maybe they'll get their chance soon. Ratings for the premiere last week were down 44% from last year's big "Breaking Amish" finale, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the show fizzles and dies, they'll be free to go back and learn something about the "Brave New World" they're trying to be a part of.
Catch new episodes of "Breaking Amish: Brave New World" every Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on TLC.
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WASHINGTON -- Military families are always moving around, and those shifts can be tough for children who have to adjust to new surroundings. School districts that serve these students often try to ease the transition by providing counselors for them to talk with. But thanks to sequestration, the Leemore School District in central California has had to get rid of that service.
"These [military parents] go out on crews on a ship for nine months. The kids don't see a parent or two for that long. So they have to deal with that," said Jack Boogaard, the assistant superintendent of schools in Leemore, Calif.
"The military child moves quite often," he said. "We talk to some kids out there -- and they're young -- and they've already moved four or five times. So they have to deal with new friends, new schools, and now with tight budgets, we're not able to service them. We used to have a counselor; we don't have a counselor anymore."
Leemore schools receive what is known as "impact aid," which the federal government gives to schools that educate children who live on Indian reservations, military bases or in low-income housing. The government assistance is intended to make up for decreased property taxes in school systems based on federal land.
In total, the more than 1,300 schools that receive impact aid will receive $60 million less than expected this year, according to the Department of Education, as a result of the wide-ranging spending cuts known as sequestration.
Boogaard's schools alone, which serve children from both the nearby military base and Indian land, lost $350,000 this year due to the cuts.
Eliminating the counselor was just the tip of the iceberg for Leemore. The district has also stopped filling vacant positions, meaning that overworked staff are now taking on multiple roles.
"Not only do I take care of the business end of the schools, but I also take care of facilities," Boogaard said. "We have another assistant superintendent -- she has human resources, she has special ed, she has technology, she has curriculum. In some districts, each one is one position."
Leemore has also had to cut its technology program. So while the schools have technology labs, there are no teachers devoted to the subject. Students only get experience if their primary teachers have the expertise and decide to take them to the labs.
Bryan Jernigan is communications director at the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools, which represents more than 400 schools receiving impact aid. He watched as Congress rushed to provide reprieve for the problems sequestration caused the Federal Aviation Administration as soon as travelers -- and lawmakers -- became inconvenienced by long lines at airports. He said while NAFIS always thought sequestration was bad policy, the group believed the spending cuts were going to affect programs across the board. But things began to change with the FAA fix.
"Whether they understood that at the time or not, we felt like they had automatically prioritized commuting and addressing long lines at airports over the education of children," he said. "That is really unacceptable to us."
Jernigan's group is working on a survey of how its members are dealing with sequestration, due out in the next few weeks. He shared some of the initial findings with The Huffington Post. Schools said they were cutting back on music and physical education programs, eliminating positions and delaying facility repairs needed for safety and health reasons. Down the road, they're looking at increasing class size, lowering salaries, laying off employees and even closing schools.
Keith McVay is superintendent at the McLaughlin School District in northern South Dakota, which educates a large number of American Indian students. Until last year, the district offered summer school, like so many others do around the country. But McVay just doesn't have the resources to do so anymore, thanks to sequestration, and the program has been eliminated.
The school also used to have a bus to take students home after sports practice -- some children live 20-25 miles away -- but that service is now also gone.
When asked whether he thought the school district would have to close some schools, McVay replied, "I don't think next year; but I would think if sequestration continues, I would say down the road, it would happen."
Not surprisingly, that uncertainty is taking a toll on employees.
"The last thing you want your teachers to do is be concerned about getting a paycheck," said Mike Rabideaux, superintendent of the Fond du Lac Ojibwe School in Minnesota, who has already had to lay off staff. He added that even in the best of times, it's tough to hire quality employees because the school is limited in what it can offer for salaries; sequestration is compounding that problem.
"I have young, talented teachers and administrators telling me, 'I have to look elsewhere, I have to support my family and I have to somehow meet their needs. As much as I love my job, I'm going to be looking elsewhere ... where there's more stability,'" said Brent Gish, executive director of the National Indian Impacted Schools Association.
Gish has spent 40 years working for Indian land schools. He said that cuts to school support staff -- who come from the native communities they serve -- is simply increasing an unemployment rate that often exceeds 50 percent in some areas.
"Many times these support staff are the primary breadwinner in the families," he said. "So we are taking an independent family and saying, 'No, you're unemployed, and you've become dependent on this other system [federal unemployment benefits]."
It seems unlikely that impact aid schools will be getting their own special fix anytime soon. And at the moment, a full replacement for sequestration is nowhere near reality.
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) recently spoke on the Senate floor about the harmful effects of sequestration, specifically mentioning what tribal schools are going through.
“The severe cuts made to programs that benefit Native American Students are a distressing reminder of why we need to replace the entire sequester," Franken said in a statement to The Huffington Post. "The U.S. Department of Education estimates that Minnesota school districts may lose almost one million dollars in critical funding for these students. As a result, students could see increased class sizes, fewer afterschool programs, and maintenance projects at their schools delayed. Children in Indian Country are hurting because of the sequester, and it's only going to get worse if we don't get something done.”
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has acknowledged that the impact aid schools are going to get hit hardest by sequestration but said there is not much he can do unless Congress acts.
"There's very little to nothing I can do," said Duncan in February, "to mitigate what's going to be devastating for children and for teachers and for schools at a time when we need to get better."
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) confirmed on Sunday that he is proposing an amendment to the upcoming farm bill that would eliminate the "Monsanto Protection Act."
Officially known as the Farmer Assurance Provision, the controversial agricultural provision was surreptitiously tucked into budget legislation -- passed by Congress in March and signed into law by President Barack Obama -- that was intended to avoid a government shutdown. The provision, which the public at large caught wind of only after the bill's passage, allows agricultural companies such as Monsanto to ignore court orders against selling genetically-engineered seeds.
As HuffPost's Ryan Grim explained last week:
Federal courts have recently ruled that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had failed to consider the potential harm some genetically engineered crops may have, and acted too hastily in approving their sale. The industry fought back with the [Monsanto Protection Act], preventing the enforcement of court rulings.
Monsanto, which does significant business in genetically-modified seeds and recently fought a successful Supreme Court battle to protect its interest in them, was reportedly involved in crafting the legislation.
Merkley sent an email to supporters on Sunday, in which he called the measure "one of the most outrageous special interest provisions in years," and declared his intention to kill it.
Merkley's full email stated:
It's one of the most outrageous special interest provisions in years.
Written anonymously, the Monsanto Protection Act allows corporations to sell genetically-modified seeds even when federal courts have blocked them from doing so.
Think about that: We have a process for making sure that genetically-modified seeds aren’t sold, planted and grown until we know that they don’t pose a threat to other crops or to humans.
The Monsanto Protection Act overrides that process. It lets Monsanto and others ignore a court order designed to protect other farmers, the environment, and human health.
That's just wrong.
And even worse, the Monsanto Protection Act was passed in secret, stuffed quietly into the budget bill that averted a government shutdown.
That's why I've proposed an amendment to the Farm Bill that would repeal the Monsanto Protection Act. Please join me - and demand a vote in the U.S. Senate that would end this outrageous special interest override of judicial decisions.
-Senator Jeff Merkley
An aide for Merkley previously signaled the senator's intention to repeal the bill last week.
WASHINGTON -- Every day for two weeks, 10-year-old Stephanie Pucheta sat down in front of a camera and talked about her father, Julio Cesar Pucheta, who was deported in January. She talked about the day a judge told her father he would be forced to leave home, about how she was removed from the room because she couldn't stop crying, about her mother's chronic illness, and about doing her homework alone without her father's help.
"My life has changed without my father," Stephanie, an American citizen born in the United States, said to the camera in Spanish. She began to cry. "Since he's been gone, I miss him every day. Every morning when I wake up I wonder why they didn't let him stay here. Why do they have to be so cruel to the families that are here?"
When she was done, she sent the video to Cuéntame, an organization that shares immigrant stories. Cuéntame had sent her a video camera so she could use it to tell hers. The video above was her first take.
Stephanie had contacted Cuéntame earlier this year, one of countless groups she reached out to in a desperate bid to find someone who could help her stop her father from being sent to Mexico, but it was too late. Now she, like thousands of other children in the U.S., is living in the country without one of her parents because of an immigration policy that often leaves family-child relationships out of the equation.
Congress has been debating comprehensive immigration reform since 2001, aimed at preventing predictable tragedies like the one that hit Stephanie. Families like hers are paying the daily price for the ongoing congressional failure to pass a bill and the Obama administration's track record of deporting immigrants at record-setting rates.
The current iteration of the reform bill includes many provisions that would be good for families like Stephanie's. The legislation proposed by the bipartisan "gang of eight" senators would provide some undocumented immigrants with a pathway to citizenship and allow some who have already been deported to come back to the U.S. and reunite with their families. Immigration officials would be given more discretion to consider the hardships faced by children when a parent is up for deportation.
But the bill has to make it through the Judiciary Committee, where it is now under consideration, and pass on the Senate floor. A number of amendments could threaten those provisions during that process. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) proposed one that would prevent immigration judges from using discretion to decline to deport someone because of the presumed hardship on their U.S. citizen child. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), proposed one that would make citizenship an almost impossible goal for poor undocumented immigrants, due to restrictively high income requirements, and another that would make it harder for would-be immigrants to come to the U.S. based on family ties here.
Axel Caballero, the founder of Cuéntame, said the group hopes sharing Stephanie's video will help lawmakers think about families like hers when working on immigration reform. HuffPost readers: If you have a story to tell about deportation or detention, send a clip to firstname.lastname@example.org or call to record your story at 860-348-3376.
"Stephanie’s story is emblematic of the over 25,000 immigrants who apply for family unity waivers each year only to be torn apart by an immigration system that emphasizes blind enforcement policies over sensible and human rights solutions," Caballero said in an email. "We are urging our legislators to listen to Stephanie and the thousands of defenseless migrant children looking for a prompt and effective solution in as they discuss immigration reform provisions."
Stephanie Pucheta was born in Georgia in 2002, a few years after her parents came to the U.S. from Mexico without authorization. She didn't find out about her parents' undocumented status until she was 8 years old while working on a project for school. Her father was picked up after a traffic arrest in 2012 and detained for a year before he was deported. Stephanie's mother, Maria Ortiz, is ill with a chronic condition and the family fears Stephanie could be left alone -- losing one parent to death, the other to deportation.
With Julio Cesar Pucheta in Mexico, Stephanie and her mother could move there to be with him, but they do not know if Maria could receive the same level of medical treatment. And Stephanie, as an American citizen, does not believe she should have to leave her home country. She wants to stay here in the U.S. and become an immigration attorney.
"Sometimes I think about it," she said in a phone interview about moving to Mexico. "But sometimes I say, I shouldn't go because I got an education here, and like my mom said, I want to be somebody in this world."
In the next several weeks the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the requirement that several states, mostly in the South, get "pre-clearance" from the Justice Department before they make any changes to their election laws. The requirement was part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was an emergency measure to outlaw the profound racial discrimination that was disenfranchising African-Americans.
Here’s the White House view of the current trilogy of so-called scandals: Republicans are trying to destroy President Barack Obama’s second term by magnifying bureaucratic miscues and distorting policy realities. This isn’t without some merit.On none of these issues -- the deadly debacle at the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Libya, the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups, or the Justice Department’s secret and sweeping seizure of Associated Press phone records in an anti-leaks case -- is there any suggestion of wrongdoing...
What to make of the political scandals that are dominating the headlines and forcing the Obama administration into Nixonian damage control? Technology is finally doing to big government what it has done to big business, big media and other institutions that once could operate with nearly full control over information. The government is losing the ability to manipulate information to avoid accountability.
One of the most memorable ads from the last Super Bowl featured the poem by radio broadcaster Paul Harvey called "So God Made a Farmer." It was a fitting tribute heard during the pinnacle of a uniquely American sport, as farming is such a central part of the American identity.
Farming and our relationship with the land represented the expansion of the nation and helped define America's sense of freedom. However, with the encroachment of modern mega-farms and agriculture's patented technology -- with its costly chemical war with our pocketbooks, nature and our health -- these are a set of values and practices that are disappearing fast.
Fifty three percent of the world's seeds, and thereby our food supply, are controlled by just three companies. And though 'Big Ag' would have us believe otherwise, through beautiful marketing with soft earthy colors, lofty promises and happy pictures, the vast majority of food production has changed significantly. Transitioning away from what we commonly envision as that iconic rural American farm family to what is more akin to a factory.
The Farm Bill, which should more accurately be called the Food and Farm Bill, is currently making its way through the House and the Senate. There are parts of the bill that remain vital and work towards preserving many of the principles central to American health and freedom.
While there is a little good news in the farm bill -- both versions of the bill do provide small amounts for good programs like the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative, and pilot Farm to Schools projects -- it is unfortunately a bill full of mainly bad news.
The new era of farming has come under control of massive agribusinesses and much of the nearly trillion-dollar Farm Bill exists as giveaways to big business. For instance, 75 percent of crop subsidy payments go to a scant 10 percent of farmers, with only 10 percent also receiving just over half of total crop insurance subsidies, some of whom received $1 million each in insurance subsidies.
The Farm Bill provides for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which helps feed 47 million people. It is awful that the Senate version of the bill would cut $4.7 billion from the program and even more devastating that the House version would cut $20 billion, which could mean that millions of people will go hungry.
The House version of the bill eliminates funding for the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program and fails to adequately reform the crop insurance system.
In a blatant attack on states' rights, an amendment offered by Congressman Steve King of Iowa and adopted into the House bill, undermines the longstanding Constitutional rights of states to protect the health, safety and welfare of their citizens and local businesses. The amendment, passed in the House Agriculture Committee by voice vote, would nullify more than 150 state laws related to everything from child labor and migrant workers to pesticide use, animal welfare and food safety, if it makes in into the final bill at conference.
Don't want a children's toy containing lead paint manufactured with child labor in your state? Congressman King and the House Agriculture Committee say "tough." Want the workers in your state to have a better chance? Farmed animals to live in better conditions? Your state won't have the right to choose. The Feds are encroaching.
While meddling in unnecessary and inappropriate ways, the Farm Bill ignores one of the biggest problems facing farms and food production: the decline of pollinators like bees. It is estimated that one in three bites of the food we eat was produced with the help of pollinators like honey bees, who contribute over $15 billion to the U.S. agricultural economy per year.
Pollinator losses, or colony collapse disorder (CCD) as it is known, represent a serious threat to the agricultural industry and our nation's food security.
While there has been some movement to protect habitats or increase research funding, honey bees are dying at alarming rates -- a situation that has been linked by scientists to the indiscriminate use of a group of toxic pesticides called neonicotinoids. On average, U.S. beekeepers lost 45.1 percent of the colonies in their operation during the winter of 2012-2013. Congress cannot ignore the linkage between pesticides and bee declines and must do more to address this threat as the Farm Bill is debated on the Senate floor beginning next week.
This one-trillion dollar bill has many elements. Whatever it is that you care about in this bill, join the food movement -- get involved, contact your representative's office and stand for what you want seen in the bill, and call out that which should be removed. There's still a little time!
President Barack Obama visited Morehouse College on a rainy Sunday afternoon to give a refrain on the responsibility of Morehouse Men and black America to find dignity and progress in self-reliance, a refrain that has simultaneously proven exciting and excruciating for African Americans over the last four years.
His commencement speech was highly-anticipated as an opportunity to reconnect the Obama Administration with black legislators and thought leaders whom have sharply criticized his approach to executive diversity, and policy directives aimed squarely and publicly at addressing social and financial disparities overwhelmingly affecting African-Americans. So anticipated was the president's visit, Morehouse leadership became mired in controversy for the botched handling of an alumnus baccalaureate speaker who criticized the president in an editorial in early April.
President Obama touched on race, opportunity, tradition and commitment, carefully couched within familiar anecdotes and colloquialisms designed to give signs and signals to black America that he is still our guy.
But key words stood out in the president's address -- bitterness, excuses, standards -- and one particular part of his speech that acknowledged the generational burden of the black American experience, but sternly cautioned against it as a crutch for failure to achieve the American dream.
We've got no time for excuses -- not because the bitter legacies of slavery and segregation have vanished entirely; they haven't. Not because racism and discrimination no longer exist; that's still out there. It's just that in today's hyperconnected, hypercompetitive world, with a billion young people from China and India and Brazil entering the global workforce alongside you, nobody is going to give you anything you haven't earned. And whatever hardships you may experience because of your race, they pale in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured -- and overcame.
Some will call the president's speech good medicine for black America to cure the prevalent self-imposition of fear and failure in our culture. Some will call it racial contempt and a lack of nuanced awareness or concern about the painful and lasting affects of slavery. But in any interpretation, the most glaring omission from his address was the need for education, and specifically historically black colleges and universities, to be at the center of any cultural reform for Black America.
The Morehouse address was a chance for the president to tout the culture-based mission and access provided by HBCUs to the working and middle-class, populations he name-checked in his speech as beneficiaries of his advocacy for "an America where everybody has a fair shot in life." It was a moment for him to lift up HBCUs to the world's best and most stable resources committed to preserving racial pride and American patriotism through intellectual and professional innovation, all against the backdrop of America's lingering racial animus and covert segregation tactics.
Instead, he focused more on the product of HBCUs -- capable and brilliant black graduates -- and not the process by which they are molded and made. Throughout the speech, he gave examples of Morehouse alumni and new graduates as the models of hard work who, without complaint or concern for obstacles, have shaped and will shape a better way of life for themselves and their families.
But those examples have not been enough to change philanthropic priorities for wealthy Americans who are not engaged with black colleges, not enough to force federal agencies to make equitable grant-making opportunities for HBCUs in agriculture, science and tech, and the social sciences, and not enough foster greater partnerships between the private sector and these schools.
Most of all, his speech was not enough to convince the next generation of high-achieving black students that black colleges should be the destination for those who genuinely want to being a life of service and example for black communities.
And that may be President Obama's biggest challenge in crafting his impact as America's first black president on black people in the 21st century. His belief in the individual potential of black people is instantly recognizable, but his disconnection from creating attention and support for systems which specifically cultivate and inspire black people to realize that potential has been startling.
One thing we can all agree on his President Obama's optimism and insistence on what black men can do to secure our communities.
There are some things, as black men, we can only do for ourselves. There are some things, as Morehouse Men, that you are obliged to do for those still left behind. As graduates -- as Morehouse Men -- you now wield something even more powerful than the diploma you are about to collect. And that's the power of your example.
It would be nice if we could rely upon the president to embed that same message in his commentary for the institutions best equipped to develop that example -- historically black colleges and universities.
Many countries and a handful of American cities have more or less done away with this supposed convenience item, by discouraging its use through plastic-bag taxes at checkout counters or outright bans. Walk down the streets of Dublin or Seattle or San Francisco and there is barely a bag in sight. Life continues. “It didn’t take people very long to accommodate at all,” said Dick Lilly, manager for waste prevention in Seattle, where a plastic-bag ban took effect last summer. “Basically overnight those grocery and drugstore bags were gone.”
As anyone who observed the last two election cycles knows, predicting the outcome of an election this far in advance is dangerous. At this point in 2009, Senate Republicans appeared headed for further losses, yet ended up flipping seven seats, including in reliably Democratic states. At this point in 2011, the GOP looked prime to win back the Senate, yet the Democrats actually picked up two seats on Nov. 6 of last year. But independent analysts say that if Republicans do win control of the Senate in 2014, this last week could prove pivotal. Even if the three issues that have Obama under fire...
Sure, Christie goes out of his way to say nice things about President Obama, who worked closely with the governor to provide immediate and essential support to New Jersey communities battered by Superstorm Sandy. And yes, Christie’s been willing to call out some of the most absurd excesses of his fellow Republicans. But these gestures are about style, not policy. The first-term governor has been meticulous about positioning his fall re-election campaign as a “bipartisan” effort. Christie knows that New Jersey, which gave Obama 58 percent of the vote last November...
Americans are focusing on the wrong IRS scandal, according to Michael Moore.
During an appearance on “Real Time With Bill Maher” earlier this week, the activist filmmaker accused the Internal Revenue Service of not doing its part to collect enough taxes from profitable corporations. The IRS has come under fire over the past week after news broke that the agency targeted Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt status. The IRS acting director resigned Wednesday over the scandal.
“The real problem with the IRS is that they let General Electric not pay any taxes -- and 50 other corporations -- that’s the real scandal,” Moore said.
In an email to The Huffington Post on Sunday, GE spokesman Seth Martin wrote that the company paid $3.2 billion in cash income taxes worldwide, including in the U.S., in 2012. In addition, he stated, GE paid more than $1 billion in other state, local and federal taxes.
“GE is one of the largest payers of corporate income taxes,” Martin wrote.
Still, GE and other hugely profitable U.S.-based companies like it have come under fire in recent years over their tax practices. Tax breaks given to corporations cost the U.S. government $180 billion per year, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office. In addition, companies are likely stashing $1.9 trillion overseas in an aim to avoid paying U.S. taxes on those profits, according to a March analysis by Bloomberg.
GE parks the most profits offshore of any company, Bloomberg found. Many companies including, Apple, Microsoft and Google allegedly employ this strategy of keeping money overseas to avoid paying U.S. taxes on those profits.
The New York Times accused GE of using that tactic in part to reduce its tax bill to nothing in 2010.
Martin disputed this, claiming the company paid taxes in 2010. “GE’s overall tax rate for 2010 was low because we lost $32 billion in our financial business during the global financial crisis,” he wrote.
GE did pay taxes in 2012 at a rate of 8.2 percent, which is still lower than the top corporate tax rate of 35 percent, according to the left-leaning think tank the Center for Tax Justice. CTJ also found that the company paid an average tax rate of about negative 11 percent over the past four years.
E.W. Jackson, the conservative minister nominated to run for lieutenant governor by the Virginia Republican Party, once compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan, Politico reported Sunday.
In a video posted to YouTube last September, the minister and activist urged black Christians to reject the "ridiculous lies" of the "Democrat Party."
"It is time to end the slavish devotion to the Democrat Party," Jackson says in the clip. "They have insulted us, used us and manipulated us. They have saturated the black community with ridiculous lies... They think we are stupid and that these lies will hold us captive while they violate everything we believe as Christians.
He continues, "The Democrat Party has created an unholy alliance between certain so-called civil rights leaders and Planned Parenthood, which has killed unborn black babies by the tens of millions. Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was. And the Democrat Party and the black civil rights allies are partners in this genocide."
Watch Jackson's full video above.
On Saturday, Virginia Republicans selected Jackson over six other potential candidates to run with gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli, an outspoken tea party favorite. Jackson will be the first African-American nominee for a statewide post in Virginia in more than two decades.
Jackson spoke Saturday at the Virginia GOP convention, vowing to "get the government off our backs, off our property, out of our families, out of our health care and out of our way," according to the Washington Post.
Jackson is no stranger to inflammatory remarks. As BuzzFeed reported Sunday, the minister wrote in a 2010 blog post that Obama has a "Muslim perspective" on the world.
"Obama clearly has Muslim sensibilities," he wrote. "He sees the world and Israel from a Muslim perspective ... Those who are paying attention and thinking about these issues do not find it unreasonable to consider that President Obama is influenced by a strain of anti-Semitism picked up from the black community, his leftist friends and colleagues, his Muslim associations and his long period of mentorship under Jeremiah Wright. If this conclusion is accurate, Israel has some dark days ahead."
Cuccinelli will face off against former Democratic National Committee chair Terry McAuliffe in November's general election. The Democrats have yet to select their candidate for lieutenant governor.
BY DARLENE SUPERVILLE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
President Barack Obama, in a soaring commencement address on work, sacrifice and opportunity, told graduates of Morehouse College Sunday to seize the power of their example as black men graduating from college and use it to improve people's lives.
Noting the Atlanta school's mission to cultivate, not just educate, good men, Obama said graduates should not be so eager to join the chase for wealth and material things, but instead should remember where they came from and not "take your degree and get a fancy job and nice house and nice car and never look back."
"So yes, go get that law degree. But if you do, ask yourself if the only option is to defend the rich and powerful, or if you can also find time to defend the powerless," Obama declared. "Sure, go get your MBA, or start that business, we need black businesses out there. But ask yourself what broader purpose your business might serve, in putting people to work, or transforming a neighborhood."
"The most successful CEOs I know didn't start out intent on making money - rather, they had a vision of how their product or service would change things, and the money followed," he said.
For those headed to medical school, Obama said "make sure you heal folks in underserved communities who really need it, too." He asked those headed to law school to think about defending the poor.
Rain drenched the audience gathered in Atlanta for the outdoor ceremony before Obama arrived, forcing many guests to wear clear plastic ponchos over what amounted to Sunday-best clothes. Rain began to fall again, and thunder clapped, minutes after Obama began his address.
"I also have to say you all are going to get wet," he said. "I would be out there with you if I could. But Secret Service gets nervous, so I'm going to have to stay here, dry. But know that I'm with you in spirit."
The speech was Obama's second commencement address of the season, following remarks last Sunday at Ohio State University in Columbus. His third and final graduation address will come Friday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
At Morehouse, Obama also urged graduates to "inspire those who look up to you to expect more of themselves." As America's first black president addressing a predominantly black audience, Obama also talked about his personal story, growing up without a father he wished had been around and involved, and his desire to a better father to daughters Malia and Sasha than his father was to him.
"We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices," he said. "Growing up, I made quite a few myself. Sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down. I had a tendency sometimes to make excuses for me not doing the right thing. But one of the things that all of you have learned over the last four years, is there's no longer any room for excuses."
"I understand there's a common fraternity creed here at Morehouse: excuses are tools of the incompetent, used to build bridges to nowhere and monuments of nothingness," he said. "Well, we've got no time for excuses - not because the bitter legacies of slavery and segregation have vanished entirely; they haven't.
"Not because racism and discrimination no longer exist; we know those are still out there," he added. "It's just that in today's hyper-connected, hyper-competitive world, with millions of young people from China and India and Brazil, many of whom started with a whole lot less than all of you did, all of them entering the global workforce alongside you, nobody is going to give you anything that you haven't earned."
"And moreover," the president said, "you have to remember that whatever you've gone through pales in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured - and they overcame, and if they overcame them, you can overcome them too."
About 500 students received undergraduate degrees from the historically black, all-male institution in Atlanta, becoming "Morehouse Men."
After the speech, Obama was to attend a Democratic Senate fundraiser, also in Atlanta.