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How Ben Carson, Whom Murdoch Calls a “Real Black President,” Will Govern

News mogul Rupert Murdoch stirred mild fury when he claimed GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson would be a “real black president.”


Forget the racial insult, the stock rightwing putdown of Obama, and the fact that this preposterous dig came from Murdoch. What is more interesting is Murdock’s rationale for calling Carson a “real black president.” Carson, presumably, would bridge the racial divide, says Murdoch, and that means he’d be the true unifier the country needs. There’s really no need to recite the long and steadily growing litany of Carson’s idiocies on everything from taxes “simply tithe,” to comparing Obamacare to slavery, claiming that arming kindergarten teachers is the way to stop a mass killer, and his equating homosexuality with bestiality. Or even his reach back a millennium to chastise the citizens of Pompeii for not running away from the lava to save their lives when Vesuvius erupted.

Carson is on an incredible roll. He knows that his nutty quips will be spread eagled over every media outlet and roil legions on Facebook and social media. He’s at or near the top of heap in some polls as a top GOP presidential candidate and that show him even more implausibly actually beating Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical head to head showdown. But beyond his endless milking of his rags-to-successful-neurosurgeon story and the inane quips about President Obama and Democrats before packs of ultraconservative fawners and groupies, what makes him real political timber, let alone presidential stuff?

Carson initially got and keeps currency because he’s black and can be relied on to make the most ridiculous, media grabbing quips on anything that crosses his mind. But as Murdoch hints in his “real black president” tout of Carson, he can say what GOP ultraconservatives and unreconstructed bigots want to say about Obama, but it just sounds better coming out of Carson’s mouth. The GOP has turned this tactic into a studied art with black conservatives such as Clarence Thomas. But Carson makes far better copy than Thomas, because, unlike Thomas, Carson actually speaks, and when he does, he’ll say something just ludicrous enough to get attention.

In the Obama era the GOP has worked overtime to tout, cultivate, prop up, and showcase a motley collection of black GOP candidates for a scattering of offices. The aim is two-fold: to find that someone who can have just enough luster and media appeal to be a counterbalance to Obama while at the same time allowing the party to thump its chest and claim it’s not racist.

But let’s assume that Carson has a real chance to bag the GOP nomination and even the presidency. How would this “real black president” actually govern? Carson has so far not put pen to paper and laid out a comprehensive program and position on the budget, government spending, civil rights enforcement, the environment, crime control, the military, and foreign policy.

“President “ Carson’s position’s on the issues must be pieced together from his statements in debates and interviews and speeches He will spend big on and radically expand the size of the military. In the process, he will not tie the military’s hands. He backs the use of torture in fighting terrorism He will boost trade and eliminate deficits by imposing “stiff tariffs” on all imported goods. On civil rights and civil liberties, he sees no pattern of racial profiling in the disproportionate number of minority arrests. He touts stand your ground laws. And on his signature worry, gay rights, he will accept gay marriage because it’s the law, but would do nothing to expand protections and rights for gays.

He would covertly spy on government workers to make sure they are not slacking off. And while he’s at it, he would unilaterally cut the budget by 10 percent for every government agency. Public education would go the same way. He called it a “propaganda system.” He would ignite a stampede by the government to back vouchers, charter schools, and any and every type of private school to take up the slack.

Since he has relentlessly attacked the Affordable Care Act, branding it tantamount to slavery, he would cheer yet another effort to gut, if not outright eliminate it altogether. The climate change argument will get nowhere with Carson. He has called it “distracting and irrelevant.” Being the loud outspoken man of the faith he purports to be, he’s declared creationists, not evolutionists, have “god’s ethics.” He will give a fresh nod to creationism in the schools. Likewise, given his staunch pro-life, anti-abortion view, he will ban all abortions soon after fertilization and absolutely oppose any abortion for “convenience”

Carson’s fervent backers see all of this as the prescription for a new type of White House, and better still a change in the substance and style of governance. It will, of course, be nothing short of a colossal disaster and turn government into a laughingstock. But then again that’s how Murdoch’s “real black president” will govern.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of Torpedoing Hillary: The GOP Plan to Stop a Clinton White House (Amazon ebook). He is a frequent MSNBC contributor. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KTYM 1460 AM Los Angeles and KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network

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Keystone XL: Hillary Clinton Opposes, Native Activists Guardedly Optimistic

“I think it is imperative that we look at the Keystone pipeline as what I believe it is—a distraction from important work we have to do on climate change,” said Clinton at a town hall meeting in Iowa on September 22, according to the Associated Press. “I oppose it because I don’t think it’s in the best interest of what we need to do to combat climate change.”

As Secretary of State, Clinton had supported the project. But she had not expressed a position since announcing her Presidential run. The switch drew some skepticism at the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). Noting the growing nationwide resistance to the 1,179-mile-long, 830,000-barrel-per-day pipeline, which would traverse treaty lands of the Oceti Sakowin Great Plains tribal nations, the Indigenous Environmental Network said that besides lacking consent from those tribes,TransCanada also does not have permits to run the route through South Dakota or Nebraska.

“Now, with Clinton joining fellow Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in opposition to this tar sands pipeline, all focus now lies on President Obama to deliver the final blow and reject the Keystone XL pipeline,” the Indigenous Environmental Network said in a statement on September 23.

“We were disappointed when Hillary Clinton took a stand supporting KXL as Secretary of State but we are happy to hear of her changed position now opposing the tar sands pipeline,” said Gay Kingman, Executive Director of Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association Coalition of Large Tribes, in a statement from the network. “Hillary Clinton’s new stance reflects the clear facts that this pipeline is all risk with no rewards for the people of this land. Now, it is time for President Obama to end this debate once and for all and reject KXL.”

However, the optimism about Clinton was cautious and was not accompanied by trust.

“Hillary’s switched opinion on KXL is a plus for our climate change efforts. However, given her previous support of this pipeline, our celebratory reaction as Oceti Sakowin people remains guarded,” said Ihanktonwan Treaty Council spokesperson Faith Spotted Eagle. “Hillary is like sand cherries to us, moving in whatever direction the strongest wind is blowing. She knows how to harvest votes. It’s ok though, we from the Oceti Sakowin appreciate her new position on Keystone XL. Mr. Obama, reject the pipeline now.”

Others called on her to go verbal opposition, and to take action.

“Hillary Clinton, your stance opposing Keystone XL pipeline is encouraging yet is met with skepticism,” said Pt’e Ospaye Headsman Byron Buffalo in the IEN statement. “The indigenous people of America stand strong against the Black Snake known as KXL. We implore you to not only voice your opposition but to actively seek ways to stop the climate destroying corporations that believe continued mutilation of our earth is the only way progress can be made. All we have this one Earth, we must ALL protect it, for we, ALL living beings, are truly ALL related. Mitakuye Oyasin.”

They and Bold Nebraska, which has represented farmers and ranchers against the project, also called upon President Barack Obama to take a stand and reject the project.

“Secretary Clinton stood with farmers and ranchers over foreign oil by opposing Keystone XL today,” said Bold Nebraska Director Jane Kleeb in a statement that also invoked tribal interests. “All front runners in the Democratic Party see the lies Big Oil tried to tell in order to shove this export pipeline down our throats. Now all that is left is for Pres. Obama to reject the permit so landowners and Tribal Nations can get on to producing food with clean water.”

“Hillary Clinton is just now realizing that foreign tar sands crude, by way of the Keystone XL pipeline, is NOT for the American people,” said Greg Grey Cloud, Wica Agli, who famously got arrested for singing an honor song after a Keystone XL vote in the Senate last November.

“However, I see yet another political ploy taken as a wrongful gain to run for president,” Grey Cloud said. “I reserve my celebration for the moment President Obama takes action and rejects the permit for KXL.”


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Youth Service Officers: We are not Abusing Kids in Jail

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A state investigation that uncovered improper use of restraint and seclusion at Connecticut’s juvenile correction facilities left out one important element, front line staff members say: their voices.

“We cannot and will not be portrayed as the enemy or the abuser of the young people we are dedicated to helping and healing,” says Suzanne Borner, a teacher at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School for boys in Middletown.

“We ask you to remember that every story has another side, and a whole lot more context. Please hear ours,” said George Register, a youth service officer of eight years.

For example, consider  the story of Jennie.

A video of her being violently tackled from behind in a hallway was among those made public by the Office of the Child Advocate and became a centerpiece of the investigation‘s condemnation the juvenile facilities’ practices. Jennie had refused to return to her cell in the Pueblo Unit, the secure facility for girls.

“What people don’t realize is that back in July there was a huge riot where every single resident in the facility at the Pueblo Unit was involved. There were staff assaults. There were youth assaults. And there was mass destruction on an entire floor of the facility because the fire system was pulled,” said Sarah Levok, a youth service officer of 13 years. A fight involving four girls happened the night before the incident with Jennie.

“The staff that were still working were under the directive to make sure that they could keep the residents contained, but they still had to have some of their needs met where the kids would have to come out to use the bathroom,” said Levok.

And when Jennie was let out and refused to be locked up in her room again, staff decided they would physically escort her back into her room.

“She did have to get secure and get placed back to where she needed to be in order to keep the unit secure,” said Levok.

Jennie and a male youth service officer were injured in the incident. Last year, 160 staff were injured restraining youth at the state-run jails costing the state nearly $1 million in medical bills or lost time from work, reports the Department of Administrative Services.

The staff’s response to noncompliance of youth in their custody has been the center of debate among mental health experts and state legislators after the release of the Jennie video and seven others showing youth being violently restrained and dragged into seclusion.

Sarah Eagan, the state’s child advocate,  points to state law which only permits restraint or seclusion when there is an imminent risk of injury to the child in custody or others.


“That’s not really what happened here. What we had here was a youth standing in the common area and who didn’t want to go to her room which does not necessitate the type of intervention we see here,” she explained during a webinar when releasing the videos last month.

“The fact that they see restraint and seclusion as the only response to the fight the night before is telling,” she said Friday. “They didn’t even have a clinician present. Everyone is such a danger, but they didn’t have a clinician there to help.”

In her 68-page investigation, she documents dozens of stories of youths being restrained or put into solitary confinement for extended periods of time for not following orders.

Frontline staff members counter that they are unfairly being demonized, that the videos are being taken out of context and that they are just following the training they have received to deal with what they describe as a dangerous population.

“Many of our residents are the size of full-grown adults. They are big kids with developmental temperaments of teenagers and oftentimes toddlers. Whatever their history, their diagnosis, no matter how strong our relationships with them, each and every one of our youth at CJTS at any given moment can become aggressive and violent. Each and every one of them is inherently an  imminent risk to themselves and other residents and staff,” explained Peter Maylor, a youth service officer of nine years.

The primary crimes that result in incarceration for youths are mostly nonviolent offenses such as larceny or drug possession, according to the 2014 annual report of CJTS. The training school and Pueblo Unit house youth who commit crimes not serious enough to warrant handling them in the adult corrections system. Last year, 163 boys and girls under age 18 were incarcerated in adult prisons run by the Connecticut Department of Correction.

But several mental health experts said after reviewing the videos that the way the youth are handled might actually be contributing to the volatile environment.

Dr. Julian Ford, a psychiatry professor at the University of Connecticut Health Center, said the videos “show adults using force and coercion in ways that worsen — or actually create — conflict by provoking and escalating youths’ stress reactions.”

Staff members say they are just using the training they have received.

“In order for YSOs to do their work safely and effectively, we need more support from our agency. We need training moments, not ‘Gotcha’ moments. We are striving to do the best we can,” said Register.

“You don’t hear about all the times that staff are talking to kids, building relationships. There are a 1,000 times a day things are deescalated as a result of relations,” said Paula Dillon, a teacher at CJTS.

Staff members explained to reporters last week at their union hall in New Britain what preceded the incidents on the videos and shared stories of the good work that takes place inside the facilities. The unionized mental health professionals that work at the correction centers did not attend the event and have not yet publicly spoken.

Surveillance videos from CJTS

With the release of the videos and the sudden changes that have been made by top officials at DCF and the public spotlight on them, they say it is hard for them to do their jobs.

“Right now our structure is compromised. Our safety is compromised and security is compromised and we are just doing our best to hold it together,” said Levok. “It is very difficult for our managers to know what to tell us. The direction that we are headed in and what to do a lot of the YSOs and staff in general are unclear what their role is. They’re doing their best to use the training.”

DCF officials have said they are working to train staff on trauma-informed best practices that refrain from using restraints and seclusion.

“The men and women working at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School and the Pueblo Girls Unit have extremely demanding jobs,” said DCF spokesman Gary Kleeblatt “The quality of these programs depends on our staff, so it is the department’s responsibility to provide them with our fullest support… We are committed to reducing the use of restraints whenever possible because we are convinced that will be better for youth and safer for staff.  We thank our staff at these programs for the hard work and dedication that they bring every day as they care for these youth. We know how difficult their jobs are and will do everything possible to support the staff in helping the youth. This includes reducing physical interventions.”

Asked if any of the incidents on the videos on the tapes were problematic, staff members who met with reporters last week said no.

hose videos just portrayed us in that one moment. It just looks like people ganging up on kids and restraining them. It never goes like that. There is a great deal of counseling that goes on before anything happens physically with youth,” said James Core, a youth service officer of nine years.

Frontline staff described the hours of talking with youngsters about their problems and the “watch sheets” that show staff checking in on he children when they are in seclusion.

“There’s staff right outside the doors, watching and checking on them,” said Levok.

While she respects their perspective, Eagan said, her investigation revealed that the staff relies too heavily on restraint and closed-door seclusion as opposed to therapeutic interventions and that the agency was unwilling to investigate her concerns.

“These issues are not created by staff and are not unique to Connecticut, but rather can be found in juvenile prisons around the country,” she said. “The videos depict common protocols and procedures in the facility and the additional harms that come to youth and staff through depicted interventions.”

Kristy Ramsey, assistant superintendent of CJTS

In the case of Jennie’s handling, DCF officials have also concluded that their personnel acted improperly, though no staff members have been disciplined for their conduct. Jennie ultimately injured herself after the incident and was hospitalized.

“We recognized immediately that that was not the best way to handle that situation and that was the finding of our own internal review,” Kristy Ramsey, the assistant superintendent of the facility told state legislators two days after the release of the videos.

So far, the legislative hearings about CJTS  have included testimony from DCF officials and mental health experts. No hearings have taken place where the public has had a chance to testify, though top legislators have said they plan to hold one.

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Congress Shuts Loan Program that Helps Thousands of CT Students

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WASHINGTON  – Congress may have averted a government shutdown, but it failed to prevent the demise of the nation’s oldest student aid program, known as the Perkins loan.

Authority for the Perkins loan program expired at midnight on Wednesday, so beginning Thursday, Connecticut colleges – and schools across the nation – can no longer accept applications for the program, aimed at helping  low-income students when grants and other loans did not cover the cost of their education.

Dominic Yoia, director of financial aid at Quinnipiac University, said 273 of the university’s students took out Perkins loans this year, down from 492 last year. He said students who have applied for Perkins loans before the Sept. 30 deadline will receive their money. But there will be an impact in subsequent years, Yoia said.

“It’s been helpful for students that have been struggling and need an extra thousand dollars or two thousand dollars,” he said “Now we’ll be down a financial aid program.”

Michael Kozlowski, spokesman for Connecticut’s Board of Regents, said the state’s community colleges and Charter Oak State College don’t participate in the program, but the other schools in the Connecticut college system do, with about 600 students receiving the loans this year.

The House voted, without controversy, on Monday to extend the program.

But in the Senate, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the head of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, blocked consideration of legislation to reauthorize the program.

He thought the Perkins loans, inaugurated in 1958, were outdated and needed to be streamlined. He also thought the 5 percent interest charged on Perkins loans is too steep.

“Senator Alexander believes there are better options for low-income students, such as Pell grants,” and aide to the GOP senator said.

Most of Connecticut’s four-year colleges use the Perkins loan program, and President Obama wanted the program reauthorized.

But Congress has not provided funding for the program in about a dozen years.

With no new money of the program, Quinnipiac University has been doing what other schools were doing – making loans from the money that was available from students who had repaid their Perkins loans.

At the University of Connecticut, there’s been a steep decline in the amount of money loaned through the Perkins loan program, from about $4 million in the 2005-2006 school year to about $1.5 million in the 2012-2013 school year.

But Democrats, including Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, argued this week there is a need to continue the program.

“While Congress narrowly managed to avert a full government shutdown yesterday…. Republican dysfunction has once again halted a critical federal program aimed to help the neediest students achieve the dream of college education,” Courtney said. “Playing politics with critical student loan aid in the midst of the school year is a shameful attack on needy students, and I urge Chairman Alexander and Senate Republicans to listen to the hundreds of thousands of students and families around the country who need the Perkins program reauthorized immediately.”

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GOP Calls for Renewed Session to Discuss Budget Cuts

By Ann-Marie Mesquita, Staff Writer

General Electric, the biggest company on Connecticut’s grand list,  is making plans to move out of the state because it “does not support job creation, where it’s attractive to talent.”

That’s why some Republican legislators are calling for a special session to revisit the budget after Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced a series of cuts that will hit nonprofit hospitals hard, according to some business observers. So far, a $190 million cut to hospitals is slated for the 2015-2016 budget, which began July 1.

These cuts, some say, scare off big businesses.

The Connecticut General Assembly’s Senate and House Republican leaders in a press release on Thursday shared concerns about the state’s business environment and General Electric’s potential move.

Among the cuts slated for the fiscal year is a $63.4 million reduction in Medicaid payments to hospitals. This would also trigger a loss of $128 million in matching federal dollars, state officials said.

Connecticut Hospital Association CEO Jennifer Jackson said hospitals provide many programs in their communities, which will have to be cut.

Hospital leaders said the cuts would also force them to lay off workers.

“People are going to lose their jobs at a time when we dramatically need job growth in the state of Connecticut,” Jackson said, calling the cuts “a crisis situation.”

Sen. Tony Hwang the “crisis situation”also serves to scare away big businesses like GE.

“Our state is in a crisis. Our financial house is falling apart and the very foundation is crumbling as more and more businesses and residents leave for states with a stable and livable tax structure. This situation will only get worse if we do nothing. A crisis demands immediate attention,” Hwang said.

All Republicans voted against the state budget passed earlier this year saying cuts to hospitals, which are job creators, scares away other companies.

GE spends more than $14 billion with other businesses in Connecticut to support their operations. Republican leaders said that those relationships impact over 65,000 supplier jobs across the state.

“Seeing GE leave would not only spell trouble for GE employees, perhaps even more damaging to the thousands of individuals who have jobs because of the business GE provides to other companies within our state,”said . The majorities’ decisions are driving companies and jobs out.”

Lawmakers also emphasized the need for changes in the state budget to benefit all businesses as GE is only one of many companies considering leaving the state.

“A special session to rethink this budget is needed to send a strong message to businesses, to communities, to families, that lawmakers are listening and we want to help create a better future for our state,” said House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby).

 Photo courtesy of CTMIRROR.


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Feds tell States to Stop Processing Food Stamp Benefits

WASHINGTON –The state’s 423,000 food stamp recipients could soon be early victims of Washington’s budget crisis.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has instructed the Connecticut Department of Social Services and similar agencies in all of the states to not dispense any October benefits to food stamp recipients “until further notice.”

The USDA cites the threat of a federal government shutdown on Oct. 1 as the reason for holding up the benefits. Some $60 million in food aid could hang in the balance, one Connecticut official said.

“Considering the operational issues and constraints that exist in automated systems, and in the interest of preserving maximum flexibility, we are directing States to hold their October issuance files and delay transmission to State electronic benefit transfer (EBT) vendors until further notice,” the USDA letter from Food and Nutrition Service Administrator Audrey Rowe said.

The stopping of processing October’s benefits means recipients are likely to suffer a delay in benefits, even if Congress resolves the standoff over the federal budget in the next few days.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, a champion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, (SNAP) the formal name for food stamps, said she spoke with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Tuesday and was told there is not enough money in a contingency fund to continue benefits past the end of the month.

“To hear of this impending disaster when we are preparing to hear from His Holiness Pope Francis, who has spoken so eloquently about hunger, is nothing short of a cruel joke,” DeLauro said. The Pope arrived in Washington D.C. on Tuesday.

The last time the government shut down, in 2013, SNAP benefits continued because there was enough money left in a stimulus bill fund to keep the program running. This time that is not the case.

Congress is running out of time to approve a budget for fiscal year 2016 or even approve a short term funding bill, called a continuing resolution. The bill is stymied by the insistence of conservative Republicans that Planned Parenthood be defunded in the legislation.

“What kind of morality moves them?” DeLauro asked.

GOP lawmakers were prompted to defund Planned Parenthood after a series of undercover videos were released, showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing — sometimes in a cavalier manner — arrangements to provide fetal tissues to medical laboratories.

“Republicans in Congress are proposing to deprive people of food – literally. And they’re doing it over bogus videos,” said Devon Puglia, a spokesman for Gov. Dannel Malloy. “That Congress would shut down the government over bogus videos and in the process, deprive families in need of food is unbelievably alarming and unbelievably reckless.”

David Dearborn, spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Social Services, said like many other states, Connecticut administers SNAP benefits through a federal account – not grants or a reimbursement program.

“If that federal account is actually frozen in October, about $60 million in food benefits would be withheld from Connecticut households and the food economy, ranging from supermarkets to farmers’ markets, throughout the state,” Dearborn said.

Lucy Nolan, executive director of End Hunger Connecticut!, a non-profit that helps Connecticut residents sign up for the food stamp program, said damage has been done already, even if there is no shutdown. That’s because it will take a few days for benefits distribution to resume and recipients, especially the elderly, are likely to drop off the program.

“If they go to shop and there’s nothing on their cards, they are going to think they’ve been cut off,” Nolan said.

She said she would try to warn recipients about the situation. “Meanwhile, I hope the food banks and food pantries are prepared,” Nolan said.

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White House to Host Pope Francis, Renew Talk

By Ann-Marie Adams I The Hartford Guardian
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama is expected to meet with His Holiness Pope Francis on his visit to America next Tuesday.

In preparation for the Pope’s visit,  White House officials said in a phone call to reporters that they are looking to ensure that his visit “has lasting value” and will serve to elevate the aspirations of the Obama administration.



“This is a very unique visit.  It’s quite different from any other type of visit that we would receive from a leader of a foreign government in the sense that the Pope is the leader of an incredibly important institution that is deeply valued by many, many Americans, and he’s also a prominent, if not preeminent, moral and spiritual leader around the world on a whole host of issues,” said  Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes. “So we see this as an opportunity to continue our engagement with Pope Francis and the Vatican, but also to receive the visit of a leader who is incredibly important to many Americans and many people around the world.”

The president is also expecting to renew his talks that he started last March in Italy , said Senior Director for European Affairs and National Security Council Charlie Kupchan.

On Tuesday, the Pope will arrive at  Andrews Airforce Base and will be greeted by the president, selected officials from the administration and local residents in Washington, D.C.

On Wednesday, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will have an arrival ceremony for the Pope on the South Lawn of the White House.


Also on the pope itinerary is the Sept.  23 Mass for 25,000 people on the east portico of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception overlooking the University Mall at The Catholic University of America. During the Mass, the Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, the 18th century Franciscan missionary who founded missions and evangelized in California.


This will be the first canonization on U.S. soil.

Pope Francis will end his visit in America with a ceremony in Philadelphia. The ceremony will be hosted by Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden.


The Pope has been a leading voice for peace and for dialogue between people of different faiths and nations.  He is  scheduled to speak at the United Nations next week.

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Hartford Democratic Voters Ask for Change

Democratic voters overwhelmingly picked first-time candidate Luke Bronin to win the Democratic Mayoral Primary over incumbent mayor: Pedro Ernesto Segarra.

After a long day on Wednesday, Segarra opted to get rest to think about why—for perhaps the first time in history—an incumbent mayor lost the Democratic endorsement and the primary. Hartford is overwhelmingly Democratic.

Of the more than 46,000 registered voters, 35,745 are Democratic voters. About 9,500 — or 26 percent–voters turned out on Wednesday.

They wanted change.

editorialbannerthumbThat’s because Segarra is seemingly a “good person” led astray. His staff and his political team were not the best, some political insiders said. And Segarra and his staff brought on a lot of “additional problems” to the city, according to Hartford City Councilman Raul DeJesus.

Indeed. Segarra has been hampered by what is perceived to be an incompetent staff, several of whom he has had to demote or fire in the last two years.

Segarra replaced the former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez in 2010 after Perez was convicted of corruption. Before he was sworn in as the 66th mayor, Segarra pledged to change how city government runs.

About two years into his tenure, turmoil ensued. First, Segarra and a few staffers were caught dining on caviar at Max Downtown on the city’s credit card. Not long after, Segarra accepted the resignation of his first chief of staff: Jared Kupiec. Kupiec was arrested by the Hartford Police Department and accused of driving a city vehicle more than 1,000 miles after work hours.

Most recently, Segarra accepted the resignation of his Corporation Counsel Saudra Kee Borgues and demoted the lead counsel Catherine Freeman. The corporation counsel and her staff failed to realize that inaction toward legal matters—that can be avoided– only serve to deplete the city’s coffers.

David Medina, the Hartford Board of Education communications director, retired from his duties. Before retiring, Medina had failed to realize that all of Hartford residents need to be informed.

The city needs a strong mayor, who is competent enough to surround himself with a strong team. Perhaps Bronin, 36, got lucky despite his thin political resume because of Segarra’s “unfortunate string of misfortunes” since 2010.

After the mayor rests up, he will have to consider whether he as an unaffiliated candidate can win the general election in 2016 by garnering those voters he and his staff mostly ignored : small business owners, marginalized Hartford residents and Independent voters—the kind of voters Bronin worked to secure for a victory over what was a formidable incumbent.

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Celebrating Immigrants’ Contributions on Constitution Week

Leon Rodriguez, New America Media

Traducción al español

This week we celebrate Constitution Week, a time to reflect on the uniquely American idea that citizenship in this country is a matter of commitment and conscience.

Constitution Week focuses largely on September 17, “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day” – a recognition of naturalized American citizens and an opportunity for them to express their pride in their citizenship. We also celebrate the Constitution and the rights and responsibilities it bestows in all of us.

At U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Constitution Week is an opportunity to celebrate the way in which the Constitution set the foundation for welcoming new Americans – those who have chosen to subscribe to our civic ideals of “liberty and justice for all” and have committed themselves to join “we the people” in our pursuit of “a more perfect union.”

Our celebration includes administering special naturalization ceremonies across the nation, highlighting the connection between the Constitution and the honor, privilege, and responsibility of becoming a U.S. citizen through naturalization.

These ceremonies have special meaning to me. My parents and grandparents were refugees from Cuba. And as a young boy, I watched as my parents studied for, and took, their citizenship test. Before they took the Oath of Allegiance, I did not fully appreciate what citizenship truly meant. But seeing how proud they were to naturalize made it clear to me, even then, that they were fulfilling a life-long dream – for them and for me.

As a public servant for most of my professional career, I have often taken oaths to support and defend the Constitution. But as Director of USCIS, one of my highest privileges is to administer the Oath of Allegiance – the same oath my parents took – at a naturalization ceremony and welcoming new citizens to the promise and hope of America.

Today, the United States has almost 9 million lawful residents who are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship. I encourage each of them to step forward and complete their journey in becoming an American citizen. And I pledge that at each step of the way, USCIS will be there to help, expanding our ability to reach as many audiences and communities as possible.

We have already partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency to expand services to agricultural and rural communities. This week, naturalization applicants can start using credit cards to pay fees. Also this week, we will launch the next phase of our Citizenship Public Education and Awareness Campaign, with new online test preparation tools. We are also announcing new award recipients under our Citizenship and Integration Grant Program to help build community capacity to prepare immigrants for citizenship.

Each new American citizen brings a unique set of skills and experiences which they can use to improve our communities and our nation. And each of them can help renew our shared hope that unlimited possibilities are available to everyone who embraces the opportunities that this country offers under its Constitution.

On that first Constitution Day in 1787, Benjamin Franklin emerged from the Constitutional Convention and was asked what kind of government had been created. “A Republic,” Franklin replied, “if you can keep it.”

That is the challenge on this Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. But I am fully confident that “we the people,” if we are faithful to ourselves and to each other, will “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” that we ordained and established by our Constitution.

León Rodríguez is Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. He spoke last week in Dallas at the national United for Citizenship conference organized by the New Americans Campaign.

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White House Celebrates Huskies NCAA Win

By Ann-Marie Adams I The Hartford Guardian

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Tuesday honored the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team at the White House.

This was the Huskies’ third celebratory gathering at the White House during Obama’s tenure and the team’s 10th National Championship under Coach Geno Auriemma.

The Huskies won their 10th title after defeating Notre Dame in the April  championship game in Tampa.

Auriemma said it was a “special feeling”to be at the White House again.

“This is an incredible honor and it doesn’t matter how many times you are here,” Auriemma said. “When you walk into that door [at the White House] it’s still a special feeling.

President Obama recognized senior Breanna Stewart, the two-time national player of the year.

“[Stewart] has game,” Obama said. “She reminded how hard the team works to be the best by saying ‘We make it look easier than it is, but it comes with a lot of hard work … You don’t just step onto the court and get the trophy.”

Obama also praised the team for academic accomplishment and civic volunteerism, saying that these women do Thanksgiving and winter food drives.

They also spend their afternoons with senior citizens, Obama said.

Sport fans say UConn women are favored to win the title in 2016, which will be Obama’s final year in office.

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