Articles & Op-Eds

Members of Congress urge ‘reinforced’ U.S.-Armenia ties

April 08, 2014

Over 25 Members of Congress signed a letter in support of "strengthening American diplomacy" and reinforcing "ties with Armenia," reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) on April 2. Spearheaded by Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) and Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), the letter calls for "at least $5 million...for humanitarian and development programs in Nagorno Karabakh," the suspension of U.S. military assistance to Azerbaijan, "not less than $40 million" in ov… Continue Reading

Elizabeth Warren schools Paul Ryan on poverty in 80 seconds

April 08, 2014

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is the latest lawmaker to go after Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and his recent controversial comments about men in inner cities not valuing the “culture of work.” And it only took Warren 80 seconds to make her case. Warren, the progressive consumer advocate, recently spoke at the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor’s Humphrey-Mondale Dinner, quoting Ryan’s remarks on poverty in American during a conservative radio program last month. R… Continue Reading

Democrats Request CBO Analysis of Ryan Budget’s Impact on Poverty

April 07, 2014

The latest Ryan budget is no more likely than its predecessors to become law. But as with those those earlier documents, this year’s spending blueprint is giving both parties plenty of election-year ammunition. Democrats, looking for some policy heft to leverage their political talking points, have asked the Congressional Budget Office to analyze the impact on poverty of Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan’s fiscal 2015 budget. “Our budgets serve as an important tool for expressing Congress’s lev… Continue Reading

Where Martin Luther King’s dream lives on

April 05, 2014

When National Civil Rights Museum officials cut through a chain to officially mark the museum’s re-opening here on Saturday, a pastor declared the site “holy ground” and intoned that violence would no longer be victorious. Doves were released from white baskets with red roses woven into the lids, and the birds flew over the museum, housed in part in Memphis’ old Lorraine Motel, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated 46 years ago. The museum - which opened its doors on Satur… Continue Reading

The Pentagon's New Target: Hairstyles Worn By Black Women?

April 05, 2014

The U.S. army has strict rules about the physical appearance of its members, even about the kind of umbrella they can carry. But when it recently issued new rules for hairstyles, it faced a backlash from black women who said they were offensive and biased. Now, U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has responded to the brewing controversy. On Tuesday, he ordered a review of not only the army’s hairstyle policies but also those of the navy, marines, and air force. They have three months to examin… Continue Reading

HIV services derailed in wake of Nigeria, Uganda laws panelists say

April 04, 2014

When Nigeria passed its “Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Law,” banning gay people from gathering, and criminalizing “gay clubs, societies, organizations,” and their “sustenance,” the work of reaching men who have sex with men life-saving HIV prevention, treatment and other health services in the country with the world’s second largest HIV epidemic, had only begun to make headway. With same sex relationships already criminalized, information on risks and needs had been nonexistent when researcher… Continue Reading

Oakland: Martin Luther King III speaks at Allen Temple Baptist

March 30, 2014

Youthful passion, profound music and the messages of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were the heart and soul of the Barbara Lee & Elihu Harris Lecture Series presentation Saturday at Allen Temple Baptist Church. Freedom fighter activist and singer Bettie Mae Fikes, the Allen Temple Unity Choir and keynote speaker Martin Luther King III, the oldest son of the late civil rights leader and Coretta Scott King, delivered a one-note missive: the work of Dr. King remains unfinished. Following song… Continue Reading

Rep. Barbara Lee rips Bill O’Reilly ‘code words’

March 27, 2014

Rep. Barbara Lee is firing back at Bill O’Reilly, saying the Fox News host’s comments about race were “disgusting.” “Unfortunately we’ve come to expect language like ‘welfare queens,’ ‘food stamp president,’ and now ‘race hustlers’ from the right wing and Mr. O’Reilly,” the California Democrat said in a statement Wednesday. “It is disgusting and divisive and should never be accepted in our national discourse.” O’Reilly had Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on his program Tuesday night to discuss con… Continue Reading

Dem Rep. Barbara Lee Fires Back at O’Reilly for Calling Her a ‘Race Hustler’

March 26, 2014

Congressman Paul Ryan came under fire this week for a remark about inner city culture that set off accusations of racism, including a condemnation from Congresswoman Barbara Lee that Ryan’s words were “deeply offensive” as well as “statistically inaccurate.” Bill O’Reilly found Lee’s response to be beyond absurd, and twice this week referred to her as a “race hustler.” The first time was on Monday, when he read Lee’s statement calling Ryan’s words a “thinly veiled racial attack” and said, “Ms… Continue Reading

2 Investigates: Family seeks answers about East Bay woman detained overseas

March 26, 2014

2 Investigates recently spoke with the daughters of 59-year-old Meheret Tzegai, a woman they say has been detained in her home country of Eritrea in East Africa for nearly two years. Her family tells 2 Investigates they don't know where she is being held and she hasn't been charged with any crime. Human rights activists call Eritrea one of the most repressive nations in the world. Tzegai, a U.S. citizen, travelled to Eritrea in May of 2012. Her daughters said she was returning to celebrate… Continue Reading

Mike Honda Asks House Committee to Remove Barriers for Reducing Rape Kit Backlog

March 26, 2014

Across the country there is an estimated backlog of nearly 500,000 rape kits awaiting testing, including about 2,000 in Alameda County alone. To alleviate the backlog, Bay Area Congressman Mike Honda asked a House Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday to allow the FBI to eliminate a time-consuming bureaucratic step. Honda, along with FBI Director James Comey, also recommended Alameda County serve as a pilot for the plan. The backlog of untested rape kits has long been a concern to Alameda Cou… Continue Reading

Oakland-based Asian Health Services receives a $2.8 million grant

March 25, 2014

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded a $2.8 million grant to Oakland-based Asian Health Services, Rep. Barbara Lee announced Tuesday. The grant will allow the health clinic to provide quality and affordable medical and dental services to underserved populations in the East Bay, said Lee, D-Oakland. Monday is the last day to enroll for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. For additional information, contact Asian Health Services at 510-986-6880 or go to ww… Continue Reading

What Paul Ryan's 'Inner City' Constituents Had To Say About His Comments

March 19, 2014

RACINE, Wisconsin-Who better to react to Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) recent comments blaming poverty on "inner city" men who don't have "the culture of work" than his own constituents who live in the inner city? ThinkProgress spoke with voters in Racine, a relatively impoverished city in Ryan's district, on Tuesday about the congressman's assertion. "He's out of touch with reality," said Ricky McMorris, who noted that he was laid off when a company shipped its operations overseas. He said that… Continue Reading

More than 200 Congressional Democrats Call on Obama to Issue LGBT Workers' Order

March 18, 2014

WASHINGTON - Nearly all Senate Democrats and roughly three-quarters of House Democrats are sending a letter to President Obama calling on him to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers. The move comes as the White House has maintained that Obama's preferred path is passage of Employment Non-Discrimination Act into law rather than signing the executive order. Advocates have pushed for the executive order in the wake of last fall's Senate pa… Continue Reading

Paul Ryan, Poverty, Dog Whistles, and Electoral Politics

March 18, 2014

Politicians do radio and television hits all of the time -- and, typically, very few people pay any attention to what they say on-the-air. That had to be what former Republican Vice Presidential nominee and Congressman Paul Ryan (Wis) was expecting when he agreed to appear last Wednesday on Bill Bennett's Morning in America. Instead, Ryan unleashed a weeks-worth of backlash, accusations of racism, and the latest chapter in the long and ongoing narrative of the GOP attempting figure out … Continue Reading

The Culture Gap

March 18, 2014

Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, who chairs the House Committee on the Budget, ran into strong headwinds this week when he made comments regarding the culture in our inner cities. During an interview on William "Bill" Bennett's Morning in America radio program, Congressman Ryan in response to questions from Bennett stated: We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about wor… Continue Reading

President Obama's Surprising Job Record

March 17, 2014

(NNPA) Although unemployment rates are unacceptably high, especially for African Americans, President Obama has done a better job improving the jobless rate than most critics are willing to concede. That becomes abundantly clear when reading FactCheck.org's dismantling of Senator Rand Paul's attack on the president's unemployment record. Just as he was caught plagiarizing, Paul has been caught again, this time for providing misleading information about Obama's accomplishments. FactCheck.or… Continue Reading

Paul Ryan: 'Inarticulate' about comments on inner cities

March 13, 2014

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan said comments he made about men in inner cities not "learning the value and culture of work" were "inarticulate" and not about race. Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, issued a statement Thursday about his remarks, which came during an interview with Bill Bennett on the former Education secretary's radio show. "After reading the transcript of yesterday morning's interview, it is clear that I was inarticulate about the point I was trying to make," … Continue Reading

Paul Ryan: Poverty comments were ‘inarticulate’

March 13, 2014

Rep. Paul Ryan on Thursday called remarks he made the day before "inarticulate," responding to a firestorm from the left that accused him of racially insensitive comments. "After reading the transcript of yesterday morning's interview, it is clear that I was inarticulate about the point I was trying to make," Ryan said in a statement emailed to reporters. The Wisconsin Republican was promoting his proposals for addressing poverty on Bill Bennett's "Morning in America" radio show Wednesda… Continue Reading

Paul Ryan insists his ‘inarticulate’ comments about ‘inner city’ men were not about race

March 13, 2014

Paul Ryan attempted to walk back Wednesday's comment in which described a "culture in our inner cities in particular of men not working, and just generations of men not even thinking about working and learning the value and culture of work." In a statement issued to ThinkProgress, Ryan insisted that his comment wasn't "a thinly veiled racial attack," as Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, characterized it. "It is clear that I was inarticulate about the poin… Continue Reading

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