STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
On Monday, March 30, 2009, the President signed into law: H.R. 1512, the “Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2009,” which extends through September 30, 2009, authorities to: collect taxes that fund the Airport and Airway Trust Fund; make expenditures from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund; and make grants to airports under the Airport Improvement Program.
Dr. John Hope Franklin was a noted and celebrated scholar and historian of African and World History. The scholarship of Dr. Franklin is well-respected in almost every segment of historical and intellectual thought. Dr. Franklin became a professor of history at Duke University in 1983 and soon accepted the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History in 1985. He was also the professor of Legal History at Duke University Law School from 1985-1992.
Dr. John Hope Franklin received his A.M and Phd. degrees in history from Harvard University. Dr. Franklin served on the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, led by Thurgood Marshall, that developed the groundbreaking Brown V Board of Education.
A distinguished and prolific author, Dr. John Hope Franklin, a professional typist, ( a little known fact) wrote many books about the African American experience in America:
” The Emancipation Proclamation”
“The Militant South”
“The Free Negro in North Carolina”
“Reconstruction After the Civil War: From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans” (Seventh Edition)
In 1995, Dr. John Hope Franklin was awarded the highest honor an American civilian can receive, the Presidential Medal Of Freedom. 2002, Dr. Franklin was listed as one of the 100 Greatest African Americans. The John Kluge Prize in Human Sciences was awarded to Dr. Franklin. At his home in North Carolina, Dr. Franklin nurtured one of his greatest passions. That of raising orchids. In a greenhouse built on his property, Dr. Franklin loved and nurtured orchids from around the world. He once said that he owned 85 books on orchids.
A Celebration of the life of Dr. John Hope Franklin and that of his late wife, Aurelia Franklin, will be held June 11, 2009 at 11am in the Duke University chapel. For more info on Dr. John Hope Franklin, go to: www.duke.edu/johnhopefranklin
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT TO COMMEMORATE CESAR CHAVEZ’S BIRTHDAY
President Barack Obama today made the following statement to commemorate Cesar Chavez’s birthday:
“Today, on what would have been his 82nd birthday, Cesar Chavez’s legacy as an educator, environmentalist, and as a civil rights leader who struggled for fair treatment and fair wages for America’s workers is important for every American to remember.
Having begun as a farmworker, Cesar Chavez eventually co-founded the United Farm Workers and struggled to provide hundreds of thousands of people with better working conditions and the chance to live a better life. The cause of fair treatment and fair wages for America’s workers lives on today through the work of countless others.
Chavez’s rallying cry, “Sí Se Puede” – “Yes We Can,” was more than a slogan, it was an expression of hope and a rejection of those who said farmworkers could not organize, and could not take on the growers. Through his courage, Cesar Chavez taught us that a single voice could change our country, and that together, we could make America a stronger, more just, and more prosperous nation.”
Remarks of President Barack Obama—As prepared for delivery
Announcement on the Auto Industry
March 30, 2009
One of the challenges we have confronted from the beginning of this administration is what to do about the state of our struggling auto industry. In recent months, my Auto Task Force has been reviewing requests by General Motors and Chrysler for additional government assistance as well as plans developed by each of these companies to restructure, modernize, and make themselves more competitive. Our evaluation is now complete. But before I lay out what needs to be done going forward, I want to say a few words about where we are, and what led us to this point.
It will come as a surprise to no one that some of the Americans who have suffered most during this recession have been those in the auto industry and those working for companies that support it. Over the past year, our auto industry has shed over 400,000 jobs, not only at the plants that produce cars but at the businesses that produce the parts that go into them, and the dealers that sell and repair them. More than one in ten Michigan residents is out of work – the most of any state. And towns and cities across the great Midwest have watched unemployment climb higher than it’s been in decades.
The pain being felt in places that rely on our auto industry is not the fault of our workers, who labor tirelessly and desperately want to see their companies succeed. And it is not the fault of all the families and communities that supported manufacturing plants throughout the generations. Rather, it is a failure of leadership – from Washington to Detroit – that led our auto companies to this point.
Year after year, decade after decade, we have seen problems papered-over and tough choices kicked down the road, even as foreign competitors outpaced us. Well, we have reached the end of that road. And we, as a nation, cannot afford to shirk responsibility any longer. Now is the time to confront our problems head-on and do what’s necessary to solve them.
We cannot, we must not, and we will not let our auto industry simply vanish. This industry is, like no other, an emblem of the American spirit; a once and future symbol of America’s success. It is what helped build the middle class and sustained it throughout the 20th century. It is a source of deep pride for the generations of American workers whose hard work and imagination led to some of the finest cars the world has ever known. It is a pillar of our economy that has held up the dreams of millions of our people. But we also cannot continue to excuse poor decisions. And we cannot make the survival of our auto industry dependent on an unending flow of tax dollars. These companies – and this industry – must ultimately stand on their own, not as wards of the state.
That is why the federal government provided General Motors and Chrysler with emergency loans to prevent their sudden collapse at the end of last year – only on the condition that they would develop plans to restructure. In keeping with that agreement, each company has submitted a plan to restructure. But after careful analysis, we have determined that neither goes far enough to warrant the substantial new investments that these companies are requesting. And so today, I am announcing that my administration will offer GM and Chrysler a limited period of time to work with creditors, unions, and other stakeholders to fundamentally restructure in a way that would justify an investment of additional tax dollars; a period during which they must produce plans that would give the American people confidence in their long-term prospects for success.
What we are asking is difficult. It will require hard choices by companies. It will require unions and workers who have already made painful concessions to make even more. It will require creditors to recognize that they cannot hold out for the prospect of endless government bailouts. Only then can we ask American taxpayers who have already put up so much of their hard-earned money to once more invest in a revitalized auto industry. But I am confident that if we are each willing to do our part, then this restructuring, as painful as it will be in the short-term, will mark not an end, but a new beginning for a great American industry; an auto industry that is once more out-competing the world; a 21st century auto industry that is creating new jobs, unleashing new prosperity, and manufacturing the fuel-efficient cars and trucks that will carry us toward an energy independent future. I am absolutely committed to working with Congress and the auto companies to meet one goal: the United States of America will lead the world in building the next generation of clean cars.
No one can deny that our auto industry has made meaningful progress in recent years. Some of the cars made by American workers are now outperforming the best cars made abroad. In 2008, the North American Car of the Year was a GM. This year, Buick tied for first place as the most reliable car in the world. And our companies are investing in breakthrough technologies that hold the promise of new vehicles that will help America end its addiction to foreign oil.
But our auto industry is not moving in the right direction fast enough to succeed. So let me discuss what measures need to be taken by each of the auto companies requesting taxpayer assistance, starting with General Motors. While GM has made a good faith effort to restructure over the past several months, the plan they have put forward is, in its current form, not strong enough. However, after broad consultations with a range of industry experts and financial advisors, I’m confident that GM can rise again, provided that it undergoes a fundamental restructuring. As an initial step, GM is announcing today that Rick Wagoner is stepping aside as Chairman and CEO. This is not meant as a condemnation of Mr. Wagoner, who has devoted his life to this company; rather, it’s a recognition that it will take a new vision and new direction to create the GM of the future.
In this context, my administration will offer General Motors adequate working capital over the next 60 days. During this time, my team will be working closely with GM to produce a better business plan. They must ask themselves: have they consolidated enough unprofitable brands? Have they cleaned up their balance sheets or are they still saddled with so much debt that they can’t make future investments? And above all, have they created a credible model for how to not only survive, but succeed in this competitive global market? Let me be clear: the United States government has no interest or intention of running GM. What we are interested in is giving GM an opportunity to finally make those much-needed changes that will let them emerge from this crisis a stronger and more competitive company.
The situation at Chrysler is more challenging. It is with deep reluctance but also a clear-eyed recognition of the facts that we have determined, after a careful review, that Chrysler needs a partner to remain viable. Recently, Chrysler reached out and found what could be a potential partner – the international car company Fiat, where the current management team has executed an impressive turnaround. Fiat is prepared to transfer its cutting-edge technology to Chrysler and, after working closely with my team, has committed to building new fuel-efficient cars and engines here in America. We have also secured an agreement that will ensure that Chrysler repays taxpayers for any new investments that are made before Fiat is allowed to take a majority ownership stake in Chrysler.
Still, such a deal would require an additional investment of tax dollars, and there are a number of hurdles that must be overcome to make it work. I am committed to doing all I can to see if a deal can be struck in a way that upholds the interests of American taxpayers. That is why we will give Chrysler and Fiat 30 days to overcome these hurdles and reach a final agreement – and we will provide Chrysler with adequate capital to continue operating during that time. If they are able to come to a sound agreement that protects American taxpayers, we will consider lending up to $6 billion to help their plan succeed. But if they and their stakeholders are unable to reach such an agreement, and in the absence of any other viable partnership, we will not be able to justify investing additional tax dollar to keep Chrysler in business.
While Chrysler and GM are very different companies with very different paths forward, both need a fresh start to implement the restructuring plans they develop. That may mean using our bankruptcy code as a mechanism to help them restructure quickly and emerge stronger. Now, I know that when people even hear the word “bankruptcy” it can be a bit unsettling, so let me explain what I mean. What I am talking about is using our existing legal structure as a tool that, with the backing of the U.S. government, can make it easier for General Motors and Chrysler to quickly clear away old debts that are weighing them down so they can get back on their feet and onto a path to success; a tool that we can use, even as workers are staying on the job building cars that are being sold. What I am not talking about is a process where a company is broken up, sold off, and no longer exists. And what I am not talking about is having a company stuck in court for years, unable to get out.
It is my hope that the steps I am announcing today will go a long way toward answering many of the questions people may have about the future of GM and Chrysler. But just in case there are still nagging doubts, let me say it as plainly as I can – if you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors, you will be able to get your car serviced and repaired, just like always. Your warrantee will be safe. In fact, it will be safer than it’s ever been. Because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warrantee.
But we must also recognize that the difficulties facing this industry are due in no small part to the weakness in our economy. Therefore, to support demand for auto sales during this period, I’m directing my team to take several steps. First, we will ensure that Recovery Act funds to purchase government cars go out as quickly as possible and work through the budget process to accelerate other federal fleet purchases as well. Second, we will accelerate our efforts through the Treasury Department’s Consumer and Business Lending Initiative. And we are working intensively with the auto finance companies to increase the flow of credit to both consumers and dealers. Third, the IRS is today launching a campaign to alert consumers of a new tax benefit for auto purchases made between February 16th and the end of this year – if you buy a car anytime this year, you may be able to deduct the cost of any sales and excise taxes. This provision could save families hundreds of dollars and lead to as many as 100,000 new car sales.
Finally, several members of Congress have proposed an even more ambitious incentive program to increase car sales while modernizing our auto fleet. Such fleet modernization programs, which provide a generous credit to consumers who turn in old, less fuel efficient cars and purchase cleaner cars have been successful in boosting auto sales in a number of European countries. I want to work with Congress to identify parts of the Recovery Act that could be trimmed to fund such a program, and make it retroactive starting today.
Let there be no doubt, it will take an unprecedented effort on all our parts – from the halls of Congress to the boardroom, from the union hall to the factory floor – to see the auto industry through these difficult times. But I want every American to know that the path I am laying out today is our best chance to make sure the cars of the future are built where they’ve always been built – in Detroit and across the Midwest; to make America’s auto industry in the 21st century what it was in the 20th century – unsurpassed around the world. This path has been chosen after consulting with other governments that are facing this crisis. We have worked closely with the Government of Canada on GM and Chrysler, as both companies have extensive operations there. The Canadian Government has indicated its support for our approach and will be announcing their specific commitments later today.
While the steps I am talking about will have an impact on all Americans, some of our fellow citizens will be affected more than any others. And so I’d like to speak directly to all those men and women who work in the auto industry or live in the countless communities that depend on it. Many of you have been going through tough times for longer than you’d care to remember. And I will not pretend the tough times are over. I cannot promise you there isn’t more pain to come. But what I can promise you is this – I will fight for you. You are the reason I am here today. I got my start fighting for working families in the shadows of a shuttered steel plant and I wake up every single day asking myself what I can do to give you and working people all across this country a fair shot at the American dream.
When a community is struck by a natural disaster, the nation responds to put it back on its feet. While the storm that’s hit our auto towns is not a tornado or a hurricane, the damage is clear, and we must respond. That is why today, I am designating a new Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers to cut through red tape and ensure that the full resources of our federal government are leveraged to assist the workers, communities, and regions that rely on our auto industry. Edward Montgomery, a former Deputy Labor Secretary, has agreed to serve in this role. Together with Labor Secretary Solis and my Auto Task Force, Ed will help provide support to auto workers and their families, and open up opportunity in manufacturing communities. Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and every other state that relies on the auto industry will have a strong advocate in Ed. He will direct a comprehensive effort that will help lift up the hardest hit areas by using the unprecedented levels of funding available in our Recovery Act and throughout our government to create new manufacturing jobs and new businesses where they are needed most – in your communities. And he will also lead an effort to identify new initiatives we may need to help support your communities going forward.
These efforts, as essential as they are, will not make everything better overnight. There are jobs that cannot be saved. There are plants that will not reopen. And there is little I can say that can subdue the anger or ease the frustration of all whose livelihoods hang in the balance because of failures that weren’t theirs.
But there is something I want everyone to remember. Remember that it is precisely in times like these – in moments of trial, and moments of hardship – that Americans rediscover the ingenuity and resilience that makes us who we are. That made the auto industry what it once was. That sent those first mass-produced cars rolling off assembly lines. That built an arsenal of democracy that propelled America to victory in the Second World War. And that powered our economic prowess in the first American century.
Because I know that if we can tap into that same ingenuity and resilience right now; if we can carry one another through this difficult time and do what must be done; then we will look back and say that this was the moment when America’s auto industry shed its old ways, marched into the future, and remade itself, once more, into an engine of opportunity and prosperity, not only in Detroit, and not only in our Midwest, but all across America.
REVISED EXCERPTS OF THE PRESIDENT’S OPENING REMARKS AT TONIGHT’S NEWS CONFERENCE
[W]e’ve put in place a comprehensive strategy designed to attack this crisis on all fronts. It’s a strategy to create jobs, to help responsible homeowners, to re-start lending, and to grow our economy over the long-term. And we are beginning to see signs of progress.
The budget I submitted to Congress will build our economic recovery on a stronger foundation, so that we do not face another crisis like this ten or twenty years from now. We invest in the renewable sources of energy that will lead to new jobs, new businesses, and less dependence on foreign oil. We invest in our schools and our teachers so that our children have the skills they need to compete with any workers in the world. We invest in reform that will bring down the cost of health care for families, businesses, and our government. And in this budget, we have made the tough choices necessary to cut our deficit in half by the end of my first term – even under the most pessimistic estimates.
At the end of the day, the best way to bring our deficit down in the long run is not with a budget that continues the very same policies that have led to a narrow prosperity and massive debt. It’s with a budget that leads to broad economic growth by moving from an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest.
That’s what clean energy jobs and businesses will do. That’s what a highly-skilled workforce will do. That’s what an efficient health care system that controls costs and entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid will do. That’s why this budget is inseparable from this recovery – because it is what lays the foundation for a secure and lasting prosperity.
We will recover from this recession. But it will take time, it will take patience, and it will take an understanding that when we all work together; when each of us looks beyond our own short-term interests to the wider set of obligations we have to each other – that’s when we succeed. That’s when we prosper. And that’s what is needed right now. So let us look toward the future with a renewed sense of common purpose, a renewed determination, and most importantly, a renewed confidence that a better day will come.
U.S. Joins United Nations In Decriminalizing Homosexuality Around The World! Only Country To Not Sign Charter During Bush Years!
The Obama administration has really been working overtime these sixty days, wouldn’t you say? It almost appears as if it is the administration’s sole purpose to discredit the Bush years. Erase them totally from the country’s collective memory. However, Americans and Bush enthusiasts would argue that that would be a near impossibility. The so-called war in Iraq and the bust of the American economy are every day reminders of those eight years we call the Bush administration.
As President Obama continues to blast through Washington on a mission of “change” and “reform,” it has become a hobby for us to document those policies and agendas that the Bush administration implemented, over-turned. Prime example below:
The Obama administration on Wednesday formally endorsed a U.N. statement calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality, a measure that former President George W. Bush had refused to sign.
The move was the administration’s latest in reversing Bush-era decisions that have been heavily criticized by human rights and other groups. The United States was the only western nation not to sign onto the declaration when it came up at the U.N. General Assembly in December.
“The United States supports the U.N.’s statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity and is pleased to join the other 66 U.N. member states who have declared their support of the statement,” said State Department spokesman Robert Wood.
“The United States is an outspoken defender of human rights and critic of human rights abuses around the world,” Wood told reporters. “As such, we join with other supporters of this statement, and we will continue to remind countries of the importance of respecting the human rights of all people in all appropriate international fora.”
The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the administration would endorse the statement.
Gay rights groups hailed the move.
“The administration’s leadership on this issue will be a powerful rebuke of an earlier Bush administration position that sought to deny the universal application of human rights protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals,” said Mark Bromley of the Council for Global Equality, which promotes equal rights for homosexuals.
“This is long past overdue and we are encouraged by the signal it sends that the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people will now be considered human rights,” said Rea Carey, the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Human rights groups had criticized the Bush administration when it refused to sign the statement when it was presented at the United Nations on Dec. 19. U.S. officials said then that the U.S. opposed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but that parts of the declaration raised legal questions that needed further review.
According to negotiators, the Bush team had concerns that those sections could commit the federal government on matters that fall under state jurisdiction. In some states, landlords and private employers are allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation; on the federal level, gays are not allowed to serve openly in the military.
But Wood said a “careful interagency review” by the Obama administration had concluded that “supporting this statement commits us to no legal obligations.”
When it was voted on in December, 66 of the U.N.’s 192 member countries signed the nonbinding declaration, which backers called an historic step to push the General Assembly to deal more forthrightly with anti-gay discrimination. It was endorsed by all 27 European Union members as well as Japan, Australia and Mexico.
But 70 U.N. members outlaw homosexuality — and in several, homosexual acts can be punished by execution. More than 50 nations, including members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, opposed the declaration.
Some Islamic countries said at the time that protecting sexual orientation could lead to “the social normalization and possibly the legalization of deplorable acts” such as pedophilia and incest. The declaration was also opposed by the Vatican.
***From the Associated Press, Thank You!!!***
Houses Passes Mandatory National Service Bill! Selective Service Becomes Compulsory If Bill Is Passed By Senate!
Thursday, the House of Representatives passed the H.R. 1388 bill. H.R. 1388 is also known as “The Generation Invigorating Volunteerism And Education Act” or GIVE. The GIVE Act is supposedly formulatted to stimulate a spirit of “volunteerism and charity” in the American public. However upon a second, more intense glance, the GIVE Act gives off the impression that volunteering for one’s country is an honorable act.
But under the cloak of ‘goodwill’, ‘charity,’ and ‘patriotism,’ the GIVE Act is nothing more than a fancy twenty-first century bill, that if passed by the Senate into a law, will ‘force’ Americans to perform some sort of compulsory act of ‘charity.’ Is that the meaning of volunteering? No. Yet, if the Senate passes H.R. 1388, Americans will find themselves in a predicament.
The GIVE Act is crafted in a way that every age group is affected. The most vulnerable group that will be targeted is the 18-24 year olds. In order to receive federal loans, work study programs and grants, students will have to sign up for this “voluntary” program. Mandatory personal ID will be enforced and it will become a crime not to ‘register’ your information into the proposed national data base. In other words, “Selective Service” will become mandatory service.
Non profits and other organizations seeking federal assistance will have to ‘recruit’ volunteers to perform charitable deeds of ‘good will’ for their communities. Universities and colleges in need of funding will also have to ‘recruit’ volunteers in order to receive financial aid. These volunteers, in turn, will have to perform an alloted amount of hours in order for the organization or institution gets federal dollars. Some of these volunteers will be slated for military training.
Co-creator of the GIVE Act, Rep. George Miller, Chairman of the Education Commitee, said that “national and community service can help make Americans a part of the solution to get our country through this economic crisis.”
Rachel Racusen, George Miller’s spokeswoman commented to a major news outlet that “it’s ridiculous to suggest that our bill includes any effort to make service a mandatory requirement. All of the opportunities our bill provides to Americans are voluntary.”
Oh really? Here is a portion of the GIVE Act where “voluntary” service becomes “mandatory,”:
(c) Call to Service Campaign and September 11th Day of Service- Section 198 (as amended by subsection (b) (42 U.S.C. 12653) is further amended by adding at the end the following:
‘(j) Call to Service Campaign- Not less than 180 days after enactment of this Act, the Corporation shall conduct a nationwide ‘Call To Service’ campaign, to encourage all people of the United States, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, religion, or economic status, to engage in full- or part-time national service, long- or short-term public service in the nonprofit sector or government, or volunteering. In conducting the campaign, the Corporation may collaborate with other Federal agencies and entities, State Commissions, Governors, nonprofit and faith-based organizations, businesses, institutions of higher education, elementary schools, and secondary schools.
‘(k) September 11th Day of Service-
‘(1) FEDERAL ACTIVITIES- The Corporation may organize and carry out appropriate ceremonies and activities, which may include activities that are part of the broader Call to Service Campaign, in order to observe September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance at the Federal level.
‘(2) ACTIVITIES- The Corporation may make grants and provide other support to community-based organizations to assist in planning and carrying out appropriate service, charity, and remembrance opportunities in conjunction with the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance.
‘(3) CONSULTATION- The Corporation may consult with and make grants or provide other forms of support to nonprofit organizations with expertise in representing September 11th families and other impacted constituencies, in promoting the establishment of September 11th as an annually recognized National Day of Service and Remembrance.’
INTERVIEW OF THE PRESIDENT
BY JAY LENO, “TONIGHT SHOW”
4:22 P.M. PDT
Q The 44th President of the United States, please welcome President Barack Obama. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.)
Q Good to see you.
THE PRESIDENT: It is good to see you and –- (applause.) Thank you. Let me just say, I think Kevin looks good in a suit. (Laughter.)
Q Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: He looks a little like Secret Service. (Laughter.)
Q He does, doesn’t he? Yes. And you’re the only guy who can get him to wear it. (Laughter.)
Now, you know, it’s funny, because the last time you were here, you walked in, you had your jacket on your finger and you had the two guys with you.
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
Q And that was it. Big change?
THE PRESIDENT: You know, I was mentioning earlier, we landed yesterday and then –- this is an example of life in the bubble. We landed at the fairground down in Costa Mesa. And I see the fairground where I think we’re having this town hall and I said, well, why don’t we walk over there? Secret Service says, no, sir, it’s 750 yards. (Laughter.)
So I was trying to calculate –- well, that’s like a five-minute walk? “Yes, sir. Sorry.” (Laughter.)
Now, they let me walk on the way back. But, you know, the doctor is behind me with the defibrillator. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Michelle jokes about how our motorcade –- you know, we’ve got the ambulance and then the caboose and then the dog sled. (Laughter.) The submarine. (Laughter.) There’s a whole bunch of stuff going on.
Q Now it’s only, what, 59 days now, right?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, 59 days.
Q And so much scrutiny. Is it fair to judge so quickly? I mean –-
THE PRESIDENT: Well, look, we are going through a difficult time. I welcome the challenge. You know, I ran for President because I thought we needed big changes. I do think in Washington it’s a little bit like “American Idol,” except everybody is Simon Cowell. (Laughter.)
Q Wow. Wow. That’s rough. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Everybody’s got an opinion. But that’s part of what makes for a democracy. You know, it’s contentious and people are hitting back.
I do think, though, that the American people are all in a place where they understand it took us a while to get into this mess, it’s going to take a while for us to get out of it. And if they have confidence that I’m making steps to deal with issues like health care and energy and education, that matter deeply to their daily lives, then I think they’re going to give us some time. (Applause.)
Q Let me ask you about this. I know you are angry –- because, you know, doing what I do, you kind of study body language a little bit. And you looked very angry about these bonuses. Actually, stunned.
THE PRESIDENT: Stunned. “Stunned” is the word.
Q Tell people what happened. I know people have been over it, just –-
THE PRESIDENT: Well, look, here’s what happened. You’ve got a company, AIG, which used to be just a regular, old insurance company. Then they insured a whole bunch of stuff and they were very profitable and it was a good, solid company.
Then they decided –- some smart person decided, let’s put a hedge fund on top of the insurance company and let’s sell these derivative products to banks all around the world –- which are basically guarantees or insurance policies on all these sub-prime mortgages.
And this smart person said, you know, none of these things are going to go bust; this sub-prime thing, it’s a great deal, you can make a lot of profit. So they sold a whole bunch of them –- billions and billions of dollars. And what happened is, is that when people started going bust on sub-prime mortgages you had $30 worth of debt on every dollar worth of mortgage –- and the whole house of cards just started falling down.
So the problem with AIG was that it owed so much and was tangled up with so many banks and institutions that if you had allowed it to just liquidate, to go into bankruptcy, it could have brought the whole financial system down. So it was the right thing to do to intervene in AIG.
Now, the question is, who in their right mind, when your company is going bust, decides we’re going to be paying a whole bunch of bonuses to people? And that, I think, speaks to a broader culture that existed on Wall Street, where I think people just had this general attitude of entitlement, where, we must be the best and the brightest, we deserve $10 million or $50 million or $100 million dollar payouts –-
THE PRESIDENT: And, you know, the immediate bonuses that went to AIG are a problem. But the larger problem is we’ve got to get back to an attitude where people know enough is enough, and people have a sense of responsibility and they understand that their actions are going to have an impact on everybody. And if we can get back to those values that built America, then I think we’re going to be okay. (Applause.)
Q Well, you know, it’s interesting, when you said -– it’s, like, I had to laugh the other day when the CEO of AIG said, okay, I’ve asked them to give half the bonuses back. Now, if you rob a bank and you go into court –- (laughter) –- and you go, Your Honor, I’m going to give you half the money back. (Laughter.) And they seem stunned that we’re not jumping at this wonderful offer.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you know, the only place I think that might work is in Hollywood. (Laughter.)
Q Let me ask you this. Now, I heard them say, well, one of the problems is it’s contractual and if we don’t pay these bonuses, well, they can sue us. All the time people say, so sue me.
THE PRESIDENT: So sue me, right.
Q I mean, the federal government is in debt a trillion dollars. We’re broke — sue us. Sue me. (Laughter and applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: In fairness, I think that part of the calculation they were making was the way the contracts were written said, if you don’t pay us immediately, then we can claim three times as much as we were owed under the bonuses. And so they were making a legal calculation, and their legal judgment was not necessarily wrong.
But there’s a moral and an ethical aspect to this, as well. And I think that’s what has gotten everybody so fired up. The main thing –- we’re going to do everything we can to see if we can get these bonuses back. But I think the most important thing that we can do is make sure that we put in a bunch of financial regulatory mechanisms to prevent companies like an AIG holding the rest of us hostage. Because that’s –- that’s the real problem.
The problem is not just what’s happened over the last six months. The problem is what was happening for years, where people were able to take huge, excessive risks with other people’s money, putting the entire financial system at risk –- and there were no checks, there were no balances, there was nobody overseeing the process.
And so what we’re going to be moving very aggressively on –- even as we try to fix the current mess –- is make sure that before somebody makes a bad bet you say, hold on, you can’t do that.
Q Well, here’s something that kind of scared me. Today they passed this thing that says we’re going to tax 90 percent of these bonuses. And the part that scares me is, I mean, you’re a good guy –- if the government decides they don’t like a guy, all of a sudden, hey, we’re going to tax you and then, boom, and it passes. I mean, that seems a little scary as a taxpayer, they can just decide –- you want to take a break and answer that when we come back? Okay, hold that answer.
THE PRESIDENT: I will. I’ve got a good answer, too. (Applause.)
* * * * *
Q Welcome back. We are talking with President Barack Obama.
Before the break I mentioned that they had just passed this new bill which will tax them 90 percent — and I said it was frightening to me as an American that Congress, whoever, could decide, I don’t like that group, let’s pass a law and tax them at 90 percent.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, look, I understand Congress’ frustrations, and they’re responding to, I think, everybody’s anger. But I think that the best way to handle this is to make sure that you’ve closed the door before the horse gets out of the barn. And what happened here was the money has already gone out and people are scrambling to try to find ways to get back at them.
The change I’d like to see in terms of tax policy is that we have a system, going back to where we were back in the 1990s, where you and I who are doing pretty well pay a little bit more to pay for health care, to pay for energy, to make sure that kids can go to college who aren’t as fortunate as our — as my kids might be. Those are the kinds of measured steps that we can take. But the important thing over the next several months is making sure that we don’t lurch from thing to thing, but we try to make steady progress, build a foundation for long-term economic growth. That’s what I think the American people expect. (Applause.)
Q I just read today about Merrill Lynch. They handed out $3.6 billion — it’s not even million anymore, it’s billions in bonuses. I know it would make me feel good — shouldn’t somebody go to jail? (Laughter and applause.) I say that because I watch those people in New York, even people who had lost everything — when Bernard Madoff went to jail, at least they felt they got something.
THE PRESIDENT: Right. They got some satisfaction. Here’s the dirty little secret, though. Most of the stuff that got us into trouble was perfectly legal. And that is a sign of how much we’ve got to change our laws — right? We were talking earlier about credit cards, and it’s legal to charge somebody 30 percent on their credit card, and charge fees and so forth that people don’t always know what they’re getting into. So the answer is to deal with those laws in a way that gives the average consumer a break.
When you buy a toaster, if it explodes in your face there’s a law that says your toasters need to be safe. But when you get a credit card, or you get a mortgage, there’s no law on the books that says if that explodes in your face financially, somehow you’re going to be protected.
So this is — the need for getting back to some common sense regulations — there’s nothing wrong with innovation in the financial markets. We want people to be successful; we want people to be able to make a profit. Banks are critical to our economy and we want credit to flow again. But we just want to make sure that there’s enough regulatory common sense in place that ordinary Americans aren’t taken advantage of, and taxpayers, after the fact, aren’t taken advantage of. (Applause.)
Q Yes — because when I was a kid, we would — banks or credit cards would lend you money so you would pay it back. Now they lend you money so you can’t pay it back. (Laughter.) It’s like we were talking before, I mentioned we all saw A Wonderful Life — Mr. Potter, the meanest man — remember he owned the whole town? You know what he charged on a mortgage? Two percent. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: He’s like Mother Teresa now. (Laughter.)
Q Like Mother Teresa now. (Laughter.) He makes VISA look like ohhhh —
THE PRESIDENT: Well, and part of what happened over the last 15, 20 years is that so much money was made in finance that about 40 percent, I think, of our overall growth, our overall economic growth was in the financial sector. Well, now what we’re finding out is a lot of that growth wasn’t real. It was paper money, paper profits on the books, but it could be easily wiped out.
And what we need is steady growth; we need young people, instead of — a smart kid coming out of school, instead of wanting to be an investment banker, we need them to decide they want to be an engineer, they want to be a scientist, they want to be a doctor or a teacher. And if we’re rewarding those kinds of things that actually contribute to making things and making people’s lives better, that’s going to put our economy on solid footing. We won’t have this kind of bubble-and-bust economy that we’ve gotten so caught up in for the last several years.
Q Now, Treasury Secretary Geithner, he seems to be taking a little bit of heat here. How is he holding up with this? He seems like a smart guy —
THE PRESIDENT: He is a smart guy and he’s a calm and steady guy. I don’t think people fully appreciate the plate that was handed him. This guy has not just a banking crisis; he’s got the worst recession since the Great Depression, he’s got an auto industry on — that has been on the verge of collapse. We’ve got to figure out how to coordinate with other countries internationally. He’s got to deal with me; he’s got to deal with Congress. And he’s doing it with grace and good humor. And he understands that he’s on the hot seat, but I actually think that he is taking the right steps, and we’re going to have our economy back on the move.
Q Now, see, I love that it’s all his problem. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, no —
Q — I mean, when he came in you probably said, hey, this is not a problem. Now, it’s, hey, you got this, you got that, hey, good luck. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, but this is the point that I made, I think two days ago, when somebody asked, well, do you have confidence in Tim Geithner. I said, look, I’m the President, so ultimately all this stuff is my responsibility. If I’m not giving him the tools that he needs to make sure that we’re moving things forward, then people need to look at me.
On the AIG thing, all these contracts were written well before I took office, but ultimately I’m now the guy who’s responsible to fix it. And one of the things that I’m trying to break is a pattern in Washington where everybody is always looking for somebody else to blame. And I think Geithner is doing an outstanding job. I think that we have a big mess on our hands. It’s not going to be solved immediately, but it is going to get solved. And the key thing is for everybody just to stay focused on doing the job instead of trying to figure out who you can pass blame on to.
Q Well, when will the money — this money was given out to the banks. I would have thought by this time it would have sort of trickled down to Main Street, to people wanting to get loans — I mean, it all went out there months and months ago. Where is it?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, what’s happening is a lot of these banks are keeping it in the bank because their balance sheets had gotten so bad that they decided, you know what, for us to stay solvent we need to maintain certain capital ratios; we’ve got to have a certain amount of capital in the bank — and they haven’t started lending it yet. And that’s why what we’ve got to do — right now what we’re doing is essentially doing a diagnostic test — trying to use some auto language here so you — (laughter) — we’re doing a diagnostic on each of the banks, figuring out what are their capital levels? Can they sustain lending? And then I think we’re going to separate out — those banks that are in good shape, we’re going to say to them, all right, you’re on your own; go start lending again. Those banks that still have problems, we’ll do a little more intervention to try to clean some of those toxic assets off their books.
But I actually have confidence that we’ll get that done. In the meantime, we’re taking a lot of steps to, for example, opening up — open up separate credit lines outside of banks for small businesses so that they can get credit — because there are a lot of small businesses out here who are just barely hanging on. Their credit lines are starting to be cut. We’re trying to set up a securitized market for student loans and auto loans outside of the banking system. So there are other ways of getting credit flowing again.
But that’s why we’ve got to solve the banking problem and we’ve got to solve issues like health care, energy, and education that will put us on a pathway for long-term economic growth.
Q We’re going to take a break. When we come back I want to ask you what we can do — (applause) — all right, we’ll take a break. We’ll be right back.
* * * * *
Q Welcome back. Talking with President Barack Obama. So I was going to ask you before we went to the break. So you have –- obviously we have a lot of people with a few dollars — couple of hundred, couple of thousand — but there’s millions of them. Okay, obviously that’s a tremendous financial forest. What should they do? Put their money in the bank? Should they be spending money? Should they hide it under their mattress?
THE PRESIDENT: Look, first of all, everybody should have complete confidence in the banks. They’re deposits are protected. They shouldn’t be putting it in their mattresses. I will leave it up to others to provide individual, personal financial advice.
But I will say this, that if you’re working right now, obviously you’ve got to be prudent and you’ve got to recognize that the economy has been in a tough way. But, you know, we’ve still got kids who are going to need a coat for winter or a computer for school. You know, that young family is still going to at some point need to buy a house. And right now cars, for example, we know that typically you need about 14 million cars for this population –- and right now only 9 million are being sold every year. So at some point those inventories are going to run down and people are going to start buying cars again.
So, you know, what people should not do is forget that what has built America has always been a faith and a confidence in the future. And our future is bright if we take some smart steps right now. And that’s what we’re working on in Washington. And I think if everybody stays focused on getting through these tough times, the future is going to be very bright for all of us.
Q Now, you mentioned cars a minute ago. You went to the electric car, you went to look at some batteries today.
THE PRESIDENT: I did. It’s spectacular what is being down now with plug-in hybrids, where not only are you getting the hybrid technology, but now you can plug it in at home in your garage. And potentially we could see cars getting 150 miles to a gallon of gas.
And when you get home you could potentially sell the energy in your car back into the grid, back to your utility and get money.
So we’re going to be investing billions of dollars in research and development around these technologies. I know that you were mentioning you’ve got a hydrogen car –-
Q I’ve got the GM hydrogen car. That’s a whole new —
THE PRESIDENT: That’s a whole new level of technology. That’s what’s going to create the auto industry of the future. That’s where we’re going to win back manufacturing. But right now we’re behind. These batteries are being made in Japan –- just like wind power is being made in Europe. We need to bring that here, and that’s part of what my budget and part of what our Recovery Act is all about.
Q Let me ask you some personal things. Now, how cool is it to fly in Air Force One? (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Now, let me tell you, I personally think it’s pretty cool. Especially because they give you, you know, the jacket with the seal on it. (Laughter.)
Q Oh, yeah. See, I still get the little wings when I fly.
THE PRESIDENT: So you have the jacket. I will tell you, though, Malia and Sasha, my daughters, they’re just not as impressed. The first time we went on Marine One -– right, you’ve got the Marines in front and they’re saluting you. And we go up and we’re passing the Washington Monument, circling around on the way to Camp David –- and Sasha looks over and she says, “Are those Starbursts?” (Laughter.) There’s, like, the candy in the little canister. (Laughter.) That’s –- “Can we have some?” (Laughter.)
So they’re splitting up the Starbursts and we’re flying over the Lincoln Memorial. So they got a whole ‘nother level of cool. (Laughter.)
Q Now, are they going to put a basketball –- I imagine the bowling alley has been just burned and closed down.
THE PRESIDENT: No, no. I have been practicing all –- (laughter.)
Q Really? Really?
THE PRESIDENT: I bowled a 129. (Laughter and applause.)
Q No, that’s very good. Yes. That’s very good, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: It’s like — it was like Special Olympics, or something. (Laughter.)
Q No, that’s very good.
THE PRESIDENT: No, listen, I’m making progress on the bowling, yes.
Q And how about, are you going to put in a basketball court?
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, yes. Yes. Well, we have a basketball court already at Camp David. We just had a little rim that was inadequate –- (laughter) –- at the White House. But there are tennis courts, so we’re going to just get those –- you know, those rims that you can roll in and out. And then we’ll just put them on either –-
Q Let me ask you, when people –- Mr. President, would you like to play? Yes, I would. Do they throw the game? Come on. (Laughter and applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t see why they would throw the game — except for all those Secret Service guys with guns around. (Laughter.)
Q Yes, exactly.
THE PRESIDENT: I will say that I don’t think I get the hard fouls that I used to. Usually I don’t –-
Q Yes, Reggie goes, ohhh, I missed, ohhh. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Reggie doesn’t do that. This is Reggie Love, my assistant. He played for Duke, very competitive guy. He doesn’t let me win because, as he pointed out, if you lose to Obama you never hear the end of it. (Laughter.)
Q See, there you go. Now, have you picked a final four?
THE PRESIDENT: I did.
Q Okay. How about your final one, who do you got?
THE PRESIDENT: I got North Carolina Tar Heels. (Applause.)
Q North Carolina.
THE PRESIDENT: I think I got –- I got a hard time from Reggie, because he played at Duke, and you know, Coach K, being competitive, I think was a little –- you know, pushed back a little bit today. And I understand that. That’s what you want. You want everybody to be competitive. I think these are all great teams.
Q Like, do you look at the whole picture when you do that? For example, isn’t that a swing state? (Laughter and applause.) I’m just saying, are you looking at the whole picture when you pick?
THE PRESIDENT: I mean, the fact that teams from North Carolina, Indiana, Iowa, all seem to do well in my bracket –- (laughter) –- I think is a complete coincidence. Absolutely.
Q All right, one last question. Now, when is the dog coming? I keep hearing about the dog. It seems to me –- when was the dog supposed to be there by? I thought it was, like, as soon as –
THE PRESIDENT: Listen, this is Washington –- (laughter) –- that was a campaign promise. (Laughter.)
Q Oh, wow. Wow. Man. (Laughter and applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: I’m teasing. The dog will be there shortly. (Laughter.)
Q How soon?
THE PRESIDENT: We have actually sort of been laying the groundwork here. We’ve got a trip, I’ve got to go to the NATO summit. When we get back, dog will be in place.
Q Wow. And it’s, what, a Portuguese water head? (Laughter.) What is it, what kind of dog is it?
THE PRESIDENT: It’s not that. (Laughter.)
Q It’s not that.
THE PRESIDENT: It’s not a “water head.” (Laughter.)
Q Whatever they are, I don’t know what they are.
THE PRESIDENT: That sounds like a scary dog. (Laughter.) Sort of dripping around the house. (Laughter.)
Q I don’t know what it is.
THE PRESIDENT: No, no. We’re going to get a dog that is –- that I think the girls will have a great time –- I think I’m going to have a lot of fun with it. You know, they say if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog. (Laughter.)
Q Exactly. Mr. President, I must say, this has been one of the best nights of my life. Thank you very much, sir.
The President of the United States. (Applause.)
Breaking News: Donte’ Stallworth Legally Drunk When He Killed A Pedestrian Last Weekend, According To Reports!
Warning: This is another news bite about an African American athlete or celebrity in trouble with the law.
According to reports circulating around Miami Beach, courtesy of the Miami Herald, Cleveland Browns’ wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth might be chucking his football uniform for prison ready wear shortly.
The Miami Herald is reporting that Donte’ Stallworth was in fact legally drunk when he struck and killed a pedestrian in Miami Beach last weekend. Miami’s WSVN – FOX 7 reported during its’ evening broadcast that Stallworth’s blood alcohol level was .12. The legal blood alcohol limit is .08.
Stallworth’s civil attorney, Robert Switkes, says that he not “seen the toxicology reports” and “has no comment” at this time.
Let’s hope that this is a bogus story and that Donte’ Stallworth didn’t hack his career and his life to shreds by irresponsibly getting behind the wheel of his Bentley, while intoxicated, and ending another human beings life.
President Barack Obama reportedly earned $2.5 million in book royalties last year. Needless to say, President Obama can add ‘best-selling author’ to his cred. When his presidency is completed, President Obama will somewhere along the way chronicle his White House journey, among other interesting issues. The following article is brought courtesy of the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama already has a job lined up after his presidency: writing another book.
The best-selling author reached a new book deal a few weeks before his inauguration. A financial disclosure report released this week shows Obama amended his agreement with Crown Publishing Group to deliver a new nonfiction book after he leaves office.
Obama also approved an abridged version of his book, “Dreams From My Father,” suitable for middle-school or young adult readers. The publisher is giving him a $500,000 advance for that. Obama didn’t say how much his deal for the new nonfiction book might be worth.
Obama received nearly $2.5 million in book royalties last year.
The deal was first reported by The Washington Times.
***Thank You Associated Press!***
Kicking off his very first visit to the Motherland by making a stop in Cameroon, Pope Benedict XVI said Tuesday to reporters that condoms are not the solution to the AIDS / HIV epidemic that is ravishing the continent.
Pope Benedict XVI said that AIDS “is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems.”
The pope, who according to the teachings of the Catholic Chruch, is a human spokeman or mouth piece for God, told those who gathered to greet him at the Yaounde airport, that “the traditional teaching of the Church is the only sure way of preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS.” How archaic is that particular line of reasoning? In the worldwide scheme of things, not everyone is a Catholic or practice catholicism. So, what about those individuals? Are we all heathens and doomed to die in a fiery Hell because we are not Catholics and do not subscribe to the “traditional teachings of the Catholic Church?”
For arguments sake, lets suggest that everyone became a Catholic and abstained from premarital sex or remained fatihful to our spouses. That would be only one part of the equation. What happens to the twenty-two million people who are living with HIV or AIDS? Do we turn our back on them? Pope Benedict XVI says that AIDS / HIV “cannot be overcome by money” but wouldn’t you agree that it takes money, and lots of it to fund programs that assist the millions suffering from AIDS / HIV in Africa?
What about the 1.8 million children who are orphaned because of losing their parents to AIDS? How about the plight of 12 million African women who are living with AIDS / HIV? Pope Benedict XVI made the claim that “the Catholic Church is at the forefront of the battle against AIDS.” In what is that the case? By offering dead-end solutions?
The Catholic Church needs to revise its’ “traditional teaching” to include the needs of those who aren’t Catholics, or Christians. Visiting the Motherland for a week should enlighten the pope to the numerous religious and tribal belief systems that many Africans hold dear. Not only that, it is important for the pope and the Catholic Church to note that educating Africans about AIDS / HIV is the dominant means to prevent the spread of this disease. Using condoms is a must. But if African women are still living within a culture that makes them less third class citizens with absolutely no say so over their own bodies, how does the “traditional teachings of the Catholic Church” help them?
Pope Benedict XVI is in a position to really help the people of the Motherland. However, from his mouth, we have learned that that help is limited at best. In fact, virtually non-existent. Instead of spouting religious rhetoric that is valueless to the hearers, the pope should offer realistic solutions that can bring the desired results. If he really cares about the people of Africa, this week in the Motherland should provide Pope Benedict XVI eyewitness testimony of how the Catholic Church is ineffectively doing what it can to stop the spread of AIDS / HIV.
The creator and executive producer of fan favorites “The Tyra Banks Show” and “America’s Next Top Model,” Tyra Banks, issued a statement concerning the riot-like situation that took place among “Top Model” hopefuls in front of a Manhatten hotel last week.
“We are concerned by the events. We still don’t know all the details of what triggered the event,” Banks and “Top Model” producer Ken Mok said in a joint statement. “We appreciate the the efforts of the NYPD and will assist them in any way possible.”
Thousands of hopefuls turned out for a chance to be featured on the show, only to have the NYPD cancel the audition. Six people were injured and three people were arrested and charged with inciting to riot and disorderly conduct.
The following are excerpts of President Barack Obama’s press conference held Monday:
“But before I talk about the new steps we’re taking to get credit flowing to small businesses across our country, I want to comment on the news about executive bonuses at AIG.
“This is a corporation that finds itself in financial distress due to recklessness and greed.
“Under these circumstances, it’s hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay. How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?
“In the last six months, AIG has received substantial sums from the US Treasury. I’ve asked Secretary Geithner to use that leverage and pursue every legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole.
“I know he’s working to resolve this matter with the new CEO, Edward Liddy, who came on board after the contracts that led to these bonuses were agreed to last year.
“This isn’t just a matter of dollars and cents. It’s about our fundamental values.
“All across the country, there are people who work hard and meet their responsibilities every day, without the benefit of government bailouts or multi-million dollar bonuses. And all they ask is that everyone, from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, play by the same rules.
“That is an ethic we must demand.
“What this situation also underscores is the need for overall financial regulatory reform, so we don’t find ourselves in this position again, and for some form of resolution mechanism in dealing with troubled financial institutions, so we have greater authority to protect the American taxpayer and our financial system in cases such as this. We will work with Congress to that end.”
**From the Office of The Press Secretary**
The widow of legendary entertainer Sammy Davis Jr., Altovise Davis, died Saturday at Cedar – Sinai Medical Center in L.A. after suffering a stroke on Thursday. She was 65.
Altovise Joanne Gore Davis was born on August 30, 1943 in Charlotte, North Carolina, but she was raised in Brooklyn, New York. Davis was an actress and a dancer making guest appearances on shows such as “Charlie’s Angel’s” and “CHiPS.” Film credits include: “Kingdom of Spiders” (1977), “Boardwalk” (1979), and “Can’t Stop The Music” (1980).
Altovise Davis met her future husband, Sammy Davis Jr. on the set of “Golden Boy” in 1967. A relationship began culminating with marriage May 11, 1970. It would be Altovise’s first and Sammy’s third. Together they adopted a son.
Numerous Davis biographers have noted that the marriage was a tumultuous one at best. Sammy Davis, Jr. was plagued with alcoholism coupled with bad financial handlers and managers that squandered his fortune and indebted him to the IRS. Upon his death on May 16, 1990, Sammy Davis, Jr. was flat broke, having sold off some of his most prized possessions.
After her husband’s death, Altovise was forced to sell what was left of Sammy Davis, Jr.’s estate to appease the federal government. But with a deliquent tax bill estimated by some to have been some where between $10 – $20 Mil, it was unfathomable that Altovise would be able to satisfy it in its entirety. In fact, at the time of her death, Altovise Davis still carried an inherited tax debt of $2,708,901.75.
Funeral arrangements for Altovise Davis are incomplete at this time.
It seems as if Bravo’s “Housewives of Atlanta” very own egotistical, self-centered and designer labeled down Sheree Whitfield might not be doing all of that massive shopping that she’s notorious for. “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” began taping this week and it will be amusing to discover just how Sheree Whitfield will manage her time without financial ends.
Late last year, Whitfield attempted to squeeze more money out of her ex, Bob Whitfield, claiming that she was uneducated and therefor not able to support herself and her children. That argument didn’t pan out because ole Bob is broke!
Then, a few weeks ago, Sheree found herself in some legal trouble and requested court appointed legal representation because she was unable to financially acquire one for herself. Now, Sheree’s divorce attorneys are suing her. These attorneys say that Sheree Whitfield owes them $87,000! According to them, Sheree hasn’t paid them a cent since 2006!
However, wasn’t that Sheree who was spending all kinds of dough throwing herself a swanky birthday party, complete with a designer bag birthday cake that probably cost a few thousand? How about that fashion show that wasn’t? Remember Sheree’s big fashion line reveal that revealed nothing?
For a sista that flashes money in the form of minks, diamonds, designer purses, personal shoppers and private showings, one would think that Sheree Whitfield could have at least broke her attorneys off a little something something? If she could have gone in her closet and consigned some items or maybe even gave her attorneys a mink or two in exchange for their services, perhaps Sheree’s bill would not be so high.
We don’t know. But it sure is a shock to learn that perhaps Sheree Whitfield’s well was already dry during season one of the “Housewives” and that she could possibly be a fraud!
When Jay Leno announced on his show late Tuesday that his comedy show would debut in one of his “favorite” cities, Detroit, Detroiters were beyond excited! “Jay’s Comedy Stimulus Plan,” according to the comedian, is intended to bring much needed laughter and hope into a city that has been crippled with political, economical, and social strive. Leno said that his show was primarily for those Detroiters who are homeless and jobless.
The only problem with that is the comedy show is not really in Detroit. It’s in a fairly affluent suburb of Detroit. Auburn Hills. Homeless and jobless Detroiters have no means to take this trek out into suburbia. If you are homeless, do you have the bus fare needed to ride out to Auburn Hills and back? If you don’t have a job, do you have the money or can you afford to spend your unemployment check on putting gas in your car to drive out to Auburn Hills?
Detroit City Councilwoman Martha Reeves wondered the exact same thing.
“When I heard Jay Leno say Detroit is one of his favorite places and he’s going to do a free concert for the people laid off, to people who don’t have any money right now, given the economic state we’re all in, I was elated,” Reeves said. “Then he said Auburn Hills… and that’s not Detroit.”
Councilwoman Reeves also told the press Wednesday that there are several venues available for Jay Leno’s comedy tour in the city of Detroit such as: Ford Field, Joe Louis Arena and Comerica Park. These places could very well hold a great deal of disenfranchised Detroiters in need of comedy relief. Maybe Jay Leno needs to reaccess his list of “favorite cities.” Detroit and Auburn Hills are two distinctive places on the map of Michigan. You can’t confuse the two or exchange one for the other.
Kwame Kilpatrick: I Was Cold Busted And Found To Be A Flat Out Liar, But It’s Not My Fault! It’s SkyTels! Files A $100 Million Lawsuit Against Communications Provider!
Well, well, well! Former Detroit mayor and convicted felon Kwame Kilpatrick just doesn’t know how to exit stage left. What is it going to take to get this man to sit down somewhere and shut up? $100 million big ones, that’s what!
Yep. Kwame Kilpatrick has decided that since he went down, it’s high time that those who helped him on his way, should go down too! Kilpatrick attorneys have filed a lawsuit against one time Detroit city communications provider Skytel. The suit alleges that Skytel violated Kilpatrick’s privacy and Constitutional rights by leaking the infamous sex-text messages to the Detroit Free Press.
Those sex-text messages revealed that Kwame Kilpatrick and his mistress of the moment, former chief of staff Christine Beatty, were indeed having a torrid affair and plotted against everyone that had this knowledge by setting them up and firing them on trump up complaints of ineptness. It’s all there in those sex-text messages.
Not only that, while testifying in the whistle-blower trial that saw two Detroit police officers fighting for their lives because of the set-up, Kilpatrick and Beatty perjured themselves over and over again. “We’re not having an affair!” “We’re friends and business associates who respect each other!”
Yeah. Liars. These two cost the city of Detroit millions of dollars and hundreds of hours of television coverage that was a huge embarrassment! Now, Kwame Kilpatrick, true to form, wants someone else to pay for his irresponsible behavior! We are hoping that Skytel has access to some top notch attorneys, too, because Kilpatrick should not be allowed to extort one more red penny to further his ridiculously flawed agenda that is fueled by a warped ego!
“Everyone is entitled to privacy as given to us by the U.S. Constitution and other laws that govern this great nation. My client’s constitutional rights have been violated in the worst of ways, and we are merely seeking justice. We aren’t asking for any favoritism, we just want justice,” Kilpatrick attorneys told the press Tuesday.
That statement has got to be a joke! Justice? Justice? Kilpatrick lied his behind off to save his own skin and that of his Girl Friday. A whole city was divided over this issue! When he knew that he was dead in the water politically and criminally, Kwame Kilpatrick refused to resign, flaunted his ridiculous self in front of local media and acted as if it was THEIR fault that crap went down the way it did! Where’s the justice in that?
If Kwame Kilpatrick wins that lawsuit against Skytel, IF he wins, he should be forced to turn over that money to the city of Detroit and everybody he slandered, spit upon, shoved, fired and ran out of town because he wanted to play hide and seek with Christine Beatty on the down low!
Detroiters need to wake up and stand outside and yell: “We are mad as &^%$ and we aren’t going to take it anymore!” Citizens should be suing Kilpatrick for a $100 Mil for all the humiliation, time and energy that was expended on a lie that didn’t have to be.
If it’s worth anything, Skytel deserves a standing ovation!