Posted by: Audiegrl
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Posted by: Audiegrl
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon will unveil steps next week that the military will take to lay the ground for a repeal of its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which permits gays to serve in uniform as long they hide their sexual orientation, officials said on Thursday.
Defence Secretary Robert Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, will present an “implementation plan” to U.S. lawmakers next Tuesday, spelling out measures that the Pentagon will take internally before the White House and the Congress move to change the law.
In his first State of the Union speech on Wednesday, President Barack Obama called for ending the policy, saying: “This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.”
From NBC’s Courtney Kube
A senior defense official says to expect Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen provide more details about the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” during the Senate Budget hearings next Tuesday and Wednesday.
Posted by: Audiegrl
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to the Pacific January 11-19, 2010.
Secretary Clinton will deliver a policy speech in Honolulu, Hawaii on January 12, focused on Asia-Pacific multilateral engagement, and will be consulting with Pacific Command.
From Hawaii, Secretary Clinton will travel to Papua New Guinea on January 14 where she will hold bilateral meetings as well as meet with local civil society leaders to discuss environmental protection and women’s empowerment.
On January 15, Secretary Clinton will travel to Auckland, where she will meet with senior New Zealand officials, including Prime Minister John Key. In addition, the Secretary will engage in discussions with New Zealand citizens and meet with U.S. and New Zealand veterans at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Secretary Clinton will continue on January 17 to Canberra, Australia and Melbourne, Australia. While in Canberra, the Secretary, along with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, and Australian Defense Minister John Faulkner, will participate in the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) to discuss key global and regional security challenges.
Forbes— In its inaugural list of the world’s most powerful people, Forbes has the News Corp. chief at No. 7, ahead of such luminaries as the king of Saudi Arabia (No. 9), Pope Benedict XVI (No. 11) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (No. 17),Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, is No. 10. Murdoch is the only pure media mogul to crack the top 10, though Brin and Page certainly dabble in media, as does No. 6 on the list Carlos Slim Helu, the Telmex CEO who recently purchased a 6.4% stake in the New York Times.
Topping the list is President Obama, followed by China president Jintao Hu, Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
Other media bigwigs on the Forbes list of the 67 most powerful people include No. 13 Jeff Immelt, the CEO and chairman of NBC Universal parent GE.
Prime Minister of Italy and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi is No. 12, while New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, founder of the business news service that bears his name, is No. 20.Oprah Winfrey is No. 45, New York Times editor William Keller is No. 51, Al Jazeera director-general Khanfar Wadah is No. 54, Apple founder and Disney director Steve Jobs is No. 57 and BBC director-general Mark Thompson is No. 65.
Forbes held its list to 67 “based on the conceit that one can reduce the world’s 6.7 billion people to the one in every 100 million that matter.”
Its criteria consisted of: the number of people one influences; one’s ability to project power beyond one’s immediate sphere of influence; control of or access to significant financial resources; and how actively one wields power.
Posted by Audiegrl
BlackAmericaWeb.com/Jackie Jones—The South Carolina Parole and Pardons Board has unanimously granted Tom Joyner a posthumous pardon for his great-uncles, Thomas and Meeks Griffin, who were executed in 1915 for a crime they didn’t commit.
Officials believe the men are the first in the state to be posthumously pardoned in a capital murder case.
Joyner, his brother, Albert, and two sons, Thomas and Oscar, were joined by Harvard scholar Henry Louis “Skip” Gates and his legal team in presenting their case. The host of “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” called in to the program right after the decision came down shortly after 9:30 a.m. to inform co-hosts Sybil Wilkes and J. Anthony Brown, along with his nationwide listening audience, who’d been texting their well-wishes for the family all morning.
“They did give my uncles a posthumous pardon,” Joyner said. “We’re getting ready to go now for the signing of the pardon letter.”
Joyner had been on a quest to clear his uncles’ names after learning of their story when Gates announced the results of genealogy research conducted on Joyner’s family as part of the 2008 PBS special, “African American Lives II.”
Joyner, with help from Gates and South Carolina attorney Stephen K. Benjamin, put together the case petitioning the state to exonerate his maternal great-uncles.
The brothers were executed with two other black men for the April 1913 shooting death of John Lewis, 73, a wealthy Confederate veteran living in a town 40 miles north of Columbia.
The Griffin brothers were indicted in July 1913 and given just two days to prepare the case. The family was forced to sell 130 acres of land to finance the defense. Their lawyer sought a delay but the request was denied, leaving just one day to get ready. Later, the state Supreme Court said the denial was insignificant to the outcome of the case.
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The video clip below is poignant moment from the documentary where Dr. Gates stuns Joyner by telling him that his great-uncles were electrocuted by the State of South Carolina, for a murder they didn’t commit. Historically, of the 47 people who were put to death in South Carolina between 1912 and 1920, 44 were Black.
Albany Law School professor Dr. Paul Finkelman, who helped with the research on the case, says he’s never seen a case in which so many white public officials and sentences came forward to try to help black men who had been convicted.
“The Griffin brothers stand for the thousands of people who are unjustly accused, unjustly convicted,“ he said after the pardon was granted. “It’s not just Tom Joyner’s family. This is a much bigger story and there are other stories that need to be told.”
Put Tom Joyner’s life and ancestry in historical context with the PBS Interactive Historical Timeline
Tom Joyner’s Falsely Executed Relatives Cleared – 94 Years Too Late
SC Board Pardons 2 Black Men Executed 94 Years Ago
Posted by Audiegrl
New York Times/Rachel L. Swarns & Jodi Kantorr—In 1850, the elderly master of a South Carolina estate took pen in hand and painstakingly divided up his possessions. Among the spinning wheels, scythes, tablecloths and cattle that he bequeathed to his far-flung heirs was a 6-year-old slave girl valued soon afterward at $475.
In his will, she is described simply as the “negro girl Melvinia.” After his death, she was torn away from the people and places she knew and shipped to Georgia. While she was still a teenager, a white man would father her first-born son under circumstances lost in the passage of time.
In the annals of American slavery, this painful story would be utterly unremarkable, save for one reason: This union, consummated some two years before the Civil War, represents the origins of a family line that would extend from rural Georgia, to Birmingham, Ala., to Chicago and, finally, to the White House.
Melvinia Shields, the enslaved and illiterate young girl, and the unknown white man who impregnated her are the great-great-great-grandparents of Michelle Obama, the First Lady.
Viewed by many as a powerful symbol of black advancement, Mrs. Obama grew up with only a vague sense of her ancestry, aides and relatives said. During the presidential campaign, the family learned about one paternal great-great-grandfather, a former slave from South Carolina, but the rest of Mrs. Obama’s roots were a mystery.
Now the more complete map of Mrs. Obama’s ancestors — including the slave mother, white father and their biracial son, Dolphus T. Shields — for the first time fully connects the first African-American first lady to the history of slavery, tracing their five-generation journey from bondage to a front-row seat to the presidency.
The findings — uncovered by Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist, and The New York Times — substantiate what Mrs. Obama has called longstanding family rumors about a white forebear.
Recent research from Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist, and reporting by The New York Times offers previously undisclosed details of First Lady Michelle Obama’s family tree. The findings provide the first link to a white ancestor in Mrs. Obama’s past, and trace the steps her family members took as they journeyed from slavery to the nation’s most storied house in five generations. Click here to view.
Henry Louis Gates Jr., Annette Gordon-Reed and others discuss what Michelle Obama’s family tree says about America. Click here for the discussion.
posted by GeoT
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama met with senior counselors for three hours Wednesday to launch his review of Afghan war strategy, amid indications that his defense secretary — the key link between the White House and the military — is among those undecided about the right approach.
In an interview Wednesday, a senior defense official said that Defense Secretary Robert Gates now worries that counterinsurgency might no longer be a viable approach for countering the Taliban violence roiling once-stable parts of north and west Afghanistan.
Mr. Gates, a Bush administration holdover, has emerged as one of Mr. Obama’s most trusted advisers, so his views carry significant weight in the deliberations.
“Even 40,000 more troops don’t give you enough boots on the ground to protect the Afghans if the north and west continue to deteriorate,” the official said. “That may argue for a different approach.”A shift in Mr. Gates’s thinking would be particularly striking because he has long been a major advocate of counterinsurgency, which is credited with helping to sharply reduce Iraq’s once-unrelenting violence. Full Story Here
Posted by TheLCster
Boston Globe/Bryan Bender—An article in the Pentagon’s top scholarly journal calls in unambiguous terms for lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces, arguing that the military is essentially forcing thousands of gay men and women to lead dishonest lives in an organization that emphasizes integrity as a fundamental tenet.
The article in the upcoming issue of Joint Force Quarterly, which is published for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was written by an Air Force colonel who studied the issue for months while a student at the National Defense University in Washington and who concludes that having openly gay troops in the ranks will not hurt combat readiness.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of Pentagon leaders, but their appearance in a publication billed as the Joint Chiefs’ “flagship’’ security studies journal signals that the top brass now welcomes a debate in the military over repealing the 1993 law that requires gays to hide their sexual orientation, according to several longtime observers of the charged debate over gays in the military.
While decisions on which articles to publish are made by the journal’s editorial board, located at the defense university, a senior military official said yesterday that the office of Admiral Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs chairman who is the nation’s top military officer, reviewed the article before it was published.
“After a careful examination, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that unit cohesion will be negatively affected if homosexuals serve openly,’’ writes Colonel Om Prakash, who is now working in the office of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. “Based on this research, it is not time for the administration to reexamine the issue; rather it is time for the administration to examine how to implement the repeal of the ban.’’
related story: Sen. Reid Letter Appeals Directly To Obama: “Help Us Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
Full Text here:: Sen. Reid’s Letter to President Obama