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Pres. Obama and Trump let their guards down at White House

buzzz worthy. . . By Mona Austin President Obama and Donald Trump met for the first time on Thursday to begin talks about the official...


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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Listen: Tony Terry has a new single, "All I Need"

Tony Terry, an R&B/Soul singer who has charted 14 times on the US Billboard R&B Charts and 6 times on the US Billboard Hot 100 Chart, released the long-awaited single “All I Need” on Valentine’s Day. This single promises to deliver that silky golden voice dancing effortlessly over a beautiful and transcending melody.

Mr. Terry is best known for classics such as “With You”, “Lovey Dovey”, “She’s Fly” and “Everlasting Love” but “All I Need” will undoubtedly seduce the ears of a whole new generation of music lovers.    All I Need” will be available on itunes as well as all other digital download sites on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2013.

The singer’s album “iTony” is slated to be released later this year.  "This album will quiet questions as to whether real R&B music is dead," says Terry's Manager Tony Sander!


Listen to "All I Need":

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Adele, J Hud, Queen Latifah, Kristin Chenoweth are among the Oscars 2013 performers and presenters

buzzz worthy. . .KRISTIN CHENOWETH AND SETH MACFARLANE 
PERFORM SPECIAL OSCAR® CLOSING NUMBER
ADELE AND CAST OF LES MISERABLE WILL ALSO TAKE
THE STAGE AT THE OSCARS

The closer we get to Oscar Sunday, more names of entertainers  that will make up the show's  "cast" are being released.  And from the look of things, music is going to be in the spotlight more that any other art form.

Kristin Chenoweth, star of Broadway's "Wicked" and host Seth MacFarlane will participate in a special show-closing musical performance. As the brains behind "Family Guy" MacFarlane is expected to drop some jokes, but the addition of a singing number is quite the surprise.
"After the Best Picture award has been given, Seth and Kristin will perform a special number and we think it  will be a 'can't miss' moment," said producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.
Fresh off her Superbowl performance with the children's choir from Sandyhook Elementary school, Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson will also sing.

Even though the Bond movie "Skyfall" was not nominated, the Academy will do a tribute to the 50 years of 007. For the first time anywhere, Adele will sing the "Skyfall" theme live.
Chenoweth joins a stellar list of previously announced performers including Jennifer Hudson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks, Aaron Tveit and Helena Bonham, Adele, Dame Shirley Bassey, Norah Jones and Barbra Streisand and presenters including Jennifer Aniston, Michael Douglas, Jamie Foxx, Paul Rudd, Salma Hayek Pinault, Melissa McCarthy, Liam Neeson, John Travolta, Ben Affleck, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Mark Wahlberg, Ted and "Marvel's The Avengers" cast members Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo; returning 2011 Oscar winners Jean Dujardin, Christopher Plummer, Octavia Spencer and Meryl Streep; "Chicago" cast members Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, Renée Zellweger and Zeta-Jones; and special guests Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Daniel Radcliffe, Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron.











British vocal phenom Adele will sing "Skyfall" the theme from the last James Bond movie by the same theme.
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Friday, February 22, 2013

Staples singer Cleotha Staples Passes Away

buzzz worthy. . .
ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAMER
CLEOTHA STAPLES
OF THE LEGENDARY STAPLE SINGERS DIES AT 78

Cleotha Staples is pictured second form the left.
 
 
 
Cleotha ‘Cleedi’ Staples, the eldest sister in the Staplease Singers has died.  Cleotha was a founding member of the pioneering folk-gospel group, along with her father "Pop" and sister Mavis. She had gracefully battled Alzheimer’s disease for the last decade and passed away peacefully at her Chicago home on the morning of February 21, 2013 at the age of 78.
 
Staples was born April 11, 1934 in Drew, Mississippi.  She was the first-born child of Roebuck “Pops” Staples and his wife, Oceola.  The family moved to Chicago in 1936 for better job opportunities. In the Windy City, siblings Pervis, Yvonne, Mavis and Cynthia were born. Pops worked a variety of manual labor jobs during the day and Oceola worked at the Morrison Hotel at night. To entertain the children in the evening, Pops began to teach them gospel songs while he strummed along on his ten-dollar guitar. His sister Katie enjoyed the sing-a-longs so much that she arranged for the family to sing at her church one Sunday morning in 1948.  The family was called out for three encores and more than $7 was raised in the offering basket.  Pops realized the family group had a future, and The Staple Singers were born.
 
The group began to sing on WTAQ 1360 AM radio and made its first recording with “These Are They” for Pops’ own Royal Records in 1953. They then recorded for United Records before striking gold with Vee Jay Records where they recorded “If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again” in 1956. With Pops’ blues-influenced guitar, Cleotha’s bright high notes, Pervis’ falsetto and Mavis rich contralto, they were on their way to stardom. They became one of the biggest gospel outfits of the era and turned out best-selling gospel classics such as “On My Way To Heaven,” “Will The Circle Be Unbroken,” “Don’t Knock,” “Pray On” and their signature hit, “Uncloudy Day,” generally accepted to be the first gospel record to sell one million copies.
 
The family became active in the Civil Rights movement after hearing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preach at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, AL in 1962 while on tour, and they often performed at events at the request of Dr. King.  As they became immersed in the Movement, their music broadened from gospel music to more mainstream material.  In 1963 they became the first black recording artists to cover a Bob Dylan song (“Blowin’ in the Wind”), and they also recorded songs of protest such as “For What It’s Worth,” “Freedom Highway” and “Why? (Am I Treated So Bad).”  By 1968, when Pervis had left the group for the Army and Yvonne Staples took his place, they began to record for Stax Records, home of southern soul stars such as Otis Redding, Booker T. & The MGs and Sam & Dave.
 
At Stax, the Staples enjoyed a run of Top Forty hits, becoming known as “God’s greatest hitmakers” with such songs as “Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom Boom Yeah)” (1971), “This World” (1972), “Oh La De Da” (1973), “Touch A Hand, Make A Friend” (1974) and “City in the Sky” (1974).  The iconic million-seller “I’ll Take You There” spent a week at Number One on the Billboard pop singles chart and four weeks at that spot on the R&B singles chart. The group also earned two other million-sellers at Stax with “Respect Yourself” (1971) and “If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me)” (1973).
 
Although Pops and Mavis usually handled vocal leads on Staple Singers songs, Cleotha was featured with Eddie Floyd (of “Knock on Wood” fame) on “It’s Too Late” from the 1969 Stax Records duets LP Boy Meets Girl.  Her velvety soprano was powerful and dynamic on the bluesy ballad about a lost love.  She also appeared with her family’s group in Ghana in 1971 at the Soul To Soul concert, appearing along with Wilson Pickett, Ike & Tina Turner and Santana; at the historic 1972 Wattstax festival in Los Angeles and in Martin Scorsese’s landmark 1978 concert film “The Last Waltz,” in which Ms. Staples and her family sang “The Weight” with The Band.  The Soul To Soul concert and the Wattstax Festival, known as “the Black Woodstock,” have both been the subject of recent documentaries
 
The Staple Singers moved to Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom label in the mid-1970’s, where they scored another number one smash, “Let’s Do It Again,” in December 1975 before signing with Warner Bros. Records.
 
Cleotha’s last recordings were with the Staple Singers for backing sessions on Abbey Lincoln’s Devil Got Your Tongue CD (1993) and Pops Staples’ two solo albums, Peace To The Neighborhood (1992) and the GRAMMY Award-winning Father Father (1994).  After Pops died in 2000, the Staple Singers ceased to perform as a group.
 
Ms. Staples was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with her family in 1999 and also received a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
 
Cleotha is survived by her siblings Pervis, Yvonne and Mavis, her dedicated caretakers Penny and Sushi, and a loving and wonderful extended family of nieces, nephews and treasured friends.
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

VIDEO: A taste of sweet funk from Cherry Royale, "Sugar Junkie"

buzzz worthy. . .

Atlanta-based Dirty Bomb Records is proud to announce the release of“Sugar Junkie”, the debut single/video from southern born, Oakland based funk/soul band Cherry Royale.  Taken from their upcoming debut EP “Say What?!", Sugar Junkie is being released for radio play and is available to fans at
http://cherryroyalemusic.bandcamp.com/track/sugar-junkie for free download or donation. 


A limited edition cherry red 7” vinyl pressing  the B-side instrumental “EKG” will be available for sale in late February andincludes a free download of the entire EP.  See the video on You Tube athttp://youtu.be/9qJEwWqonvc.

Cherry Royale brings together various musical backgrounds to create a
fresh and modern take on classic funk/soul.  Led by Alvetta Newby-Jones’s
powerful vocals, Sugar Junkie tells the age old story of love addiction. 

Sugar Junkie is a perfect example of the upbeat funk that Cherry Royale
has become known for while touring extensively throughout the United
States over the last three years.  “This song is one of the first ones allfive of us truly collaborated on to write and arrange...,” says guitaristSlappy, "...Sugar Junkie has been a long time coming.”

For more music and information about the band please visit
cherryroyale.com and follow them on Twitter @cherry_royale.  Cherry
Royale’s “Say What?!” Tour begins this March and they are currently
accepting performance dates in conjunction with the single release and
upcoming EP.
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Oprah's the "mane" attraction at pre-Oscar event

buzzz worthy. . .

Oprah makes so few appearances that when she does show up it's a big deal. Displaying a big, bold crown of wavy hair,  the T.V. mogul's new tresses were the "mane" attraction at two Pre-Oscar events that spotlighted African American women in the business.

Winfrey was an honoree at the 6th  Annual  Essence Women in Hollywood Luncheon held at the Beverly Hilton. Kelly Roland, Holly Robinson-Pete and Jennifer Hudson were in attendance. "O" reminisced about Essence being the first magazine to offer her the cover and the women's empowerment glossy bering her "Bible." Said Ms. Winfret in accepting the Power Award,  "There's nothing better than being honored by your own."

Several students from her girls school in South Africa were her guests.

HipHollywood founder Kevin Frazier caught up with Lady O as she dropped by Alfre Woodard's 4th Annual Cinema Sistah's Soiree to surprise the ladies in attendance who included Halle Berry, Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, Zoe Saldanaand Loretta Devine to name a few. Winfrey told Frazier that she just had to come after years of being invited. She also revealed if she'll be at the Oscar's on Sunday, saying, "I'll be in my pajama's. I have those froggy slippers I got from when I was on GMA celebrating Robin Roberts, I'll be in my froggy slippers watching."


Students from Oprah's South African school join her at the Essence magazine awards luncheon on February 21, 2013.


in 2011 Oprah was a presenter at the Oscars.
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WORSHIP ARTIST KYLE SHERMAN JOINS FRANCESCA BATTISTELLI’S HUNDRED MORE YEARS TOUR FEATURING THE AFTERS AND THE OUTCOME

buzzz worthy. . .



(Los Angles, Calif.) Feb. 21, 2013—RayLynn Records’ flagship worship artist Kyle Sherman is slated to open for GRAMMY ® nominated artist and Dove Award winner Francesca Battistelli on her new spring tour titled “Hundred More Years.”  Sherman will be accompanied by pop-rock group The Afters and The Outcome.

The tour will kick off in Amarillo, Texas on March 21 and carry through to May 5, wrapping the spring leg in Bellefontaine, Ohio.  The musical acts will entertain audiences across the country including those in Ft. Wayne, Ind., Montgomery, N.Y. and Madison, Wis. (See tour dates below).

“I have been a fan of Francesca Battistelli and The Afters for years now,” says Sherman. “I have so much respect for both of them. I am completely stoked to be on tour with these amazing artists!”

Sherman will perform selections from his debut album Hear Me, which includes his latest single “The Greatest Tear;” a song that he calls his “ultimate love song.” Written by Bob Simpson, co-founder of RayLynn Records and country singer-songwriter Mark Collie (Tim McGraw, Martina McBride and Garth Brooks) “The Greatest Tear” tells the story of eternal love and how God felt the day His son Jesus was crucified.

Since the Ft. Worth Texas-based singer/songwriter made his album debut, he has toured with some of his personal favorites including Phil Wickham and Shane & Shane, and has appeared on Daystar’s “Celebration,” on gmc online, New Release Tuesday, AllAccess.com, Baptist Standard and more.

For additional information on Kyle Sherman and the “Hundred More Years Tour,” please visit www.kyleshermanmusic.com.

“Hundred More Years Tour” (Dates subject to change):
Thu, Mar 21     Amarillo, TX
Fri, Mar 22       Plainview, TX
Sat, Mar 23      Edna, TX
Sun, Mar 24     Longview, TX
Thu, Mar 28    Decatur, IL
Fri, Mar 29      Bartlesville, OK
Thu, Apr 4        Rothschild, WI
Fri, Apr 5          Spring Lake Park, MN
Sat, Apr 6         Fort Wayne, IN
Thu, Apr 11      Barre, VT
Fri, Apr 12       East Longmeadow, MA
Sat, Apr 13       Charleston, ME
Sun, Apr 14       Montgomery, NY
Sat, Apr 20      Marriottsville MD
Sun, Apr 21      Mooresville, NC
Fri, Apr 26        Waukesha, WI
Sat, Apr 27       Madison, WI
Sun, May 5       Bellefontaine, OH


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First Lady Michelle Obama and Big Bird Team Up to Help Get Kids Healthy New Let’s Move! Public Service Announcements Filmed in the White House Encourage Kids to Eat Healthy and Get Active

buzzz worthy. . .


Washington, D.C. – First Lady Michelle Obama and Sesame Street’s Big Bird teamed up to film two public service announcements encouraging kids to eat healthy and get active. The new PSAs, which can be viewed HEREand HERE, are launched as part of the third anniversary celebration of Let’s Move! – Mrs. Obama’s initiative to ensure that all our children grow up healthy and reach their full potential.

The new PSAs feature Mrs. Obama and Big Bird in the White House showing kids how easy and delicious it is to eat healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables and demonstrating fun ways to get active like dancing and jumping. Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, will distribute these PSAs to 320 PBS Stations, Sesame Workshop’s partner channels as part of their Healthy Habits for Life Initiative. The PSAs are also posted on the Sesame Street and Let’s Move! websites.

These PSAs are part of the celebration of Let’s Move!’s third anniversary. Next week, the First Lady will kick off a two day nation-wide tour celebrating the anniversary by showcasing progress and announcing new ways the country is coming together around the health of our children.

Mrs. Obama launched Let’s Move! on February 9, 2010 to unite the country around our kids’ health and create real support for families to live healthier lives. Since then parents, business leaders, educators, elected officials, military leaders, chefs, physicians, athletes, childcare providers, community and faith leaders, and kids themselves have stepped up to improve the health of our nation’s children.

Thanks to these efforts, families now have access to more information to make healthier decisions for their children. Young people now have more opportunities for physical activity in their communities. Food in schools has been dramatically improved.  More Americans now have access to healthy, affordable food closer to home. And the national childhood obesity rate has leveled off, and even declined in some cities and states.

More information on three years of healthy changes can be found here: http://www.letsmove.gov/blog/2013/02/08/lets-move-three-years-working-towards-healthier-generation-children



The First Lady is looking as vibrant and healthy as ever as she shows off her birthday bangs in her second official White House photo.

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Bishop Alfred Owens recovers from heart attack

buzzz worthy. . .

Archbishop Alfred C. Owens, leader of the Greater Mt. Calvary Holiness Church is recovering from a mild heart attack. 

Shortly after the 8:00 a.m. service on Sunday, a service that was dedicated to the 65th birthday of Co-Pastor Susie Owens, while sitting in his office Bishop Alfred C. Owens, he began to feel ill. He was soon taken by paramedics to the Washington Hospital Center. According to an official statement from the church, extensive evaluation and testing concluded on Monday that he had suffered a mild heart attack, likely in his office after the service. 

For the love of the people and his beloved wife, Bishop “preached his heart out.” Now with his wife at his side and a cadre of family and friends praying for him, Bishop is doing well at home. Co-Pastor Owens said, “Having Bishop alive is the best birthday gift I could have."
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Oscar 2013 Predictions: A look at the best films, directors, actors and actresses

buzzz worthy. . .



Last year Ben Affleck's "Argo," was the big film coming out of the Oscars. I didn't see the film, but I remember the film for that very reason. Each year the Oscar's introduces many people and films that are obscure outside of the members of the Academy.

The Oscar's should pull a sizeable viewing audience based on its diverse inventory.

This year Spielberg's "Lincoln" has the most nominations. "Beast of the Southern Wild" 9-year-old  actress Quvenzhane Willis, the youngest person ever nominated for an Oscar is getting a fair share of attention.  Each of the nominees on the Best Supporting Actor category have all won Oscars in the past. The talent and product that came out of the film industry in 2013 truly makes so many of the categories hard to call. (Albeit, Jamie Fox and the other African Amereican actors in Terrentino's  "Django" should not have been snubbed). Below I have highlighted who I think should win in yellow and the likely winner in pale blue.

  What film will get the Best Picture  title at he 85th Annual Academy Awards? What actor, actress or director will be deemed the best of the best?  Take a look at the contenders in the major categories below:

Best Picture:Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty

Best Actor in a Leading Role:Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix, Denzel Washington

Best Actress in a Leading Role:Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Emmanuelle Riva, Quvenzhané Wallis, Naomi Watts

Best Director:Amour (Michael Haneke), Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin), Life of Pi (Ang Lee), Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell), Lincoln (Steven Spielberg)

Don't forget to join me on Oscar Night for and online OSCAR PARTY right here as I blog live about the fashion and the winners in the major categories.  Feel free to leave a comment on your predictions.
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Clive Davis Comes out of the closet at 80


buzzz worthy. . .


 
Music mogul Clive Davis, 80, has come out in the autobiography, “The Soundtrack of My Life.”  The book covers memories from his 45 year career in music and portions of his personal life. Davis, a father of four  revealed he is bi-sexual.  The music executive said he became open to the possibility of having a relationship with a man after his second marriage ended.  For the first 50 years of his life Davis was straight and said he remains attracted to women.  In his book he refutes the long held attitude regarding sexuality that either you are gay, you are straight or you are lying.  On  Tuesday, February 19, Davis told the co-hosts of The View that he is living the reality of he bi-sexual experience.

Clive Davis launched the careers of numerous mega stars including the late Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen and Rod Stewart.



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Chrisette Michelle is in the hospital, cancels NY show

buzzz worthy. . .


Singer Chrisette Michelle has been hospitalized with a ruptured appendix.  Last night she cancelled a show in Time Square and later Tweeted a pic of her hospital i.d. bracelet.  The Grammy winning singer, 30, left a heart felt message for her fans: "I hate that I can't perform tonight... But I have no choice. I love you NYC. I swear. Xo"

Her studio album "Better" will be released on April 30.

Get will soon Chrisette!
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

VIDEO: "Be Good" by Gregory Porter

buzzz worthy. . .

It's nice to have a little poetry with soul music.  The impatience in the gutsy, honest lyrics often found in blues and soul are arresting and I appreciate their concreteness.  But sometimes I'd rather be moved like a feather floating from the push of a breeze.  Rarely does a song woo, take it's time with the listener. The voice of Gregory Porter is what has been missing. "Be Good" by Gregory Porter meets this need.  The song and video both are creatively mindful that music is a form of art.

"Be Good"  poetically uses the  metaphor of "Be Good" a dancer teasing a caged "lion" who longs to love her, dance with her.  She's cautious, afraid of being hurt."She said lions are made for cages just to look at in delight.  You dare not let them out or they just might bite," go the lyrics. It's video is an equally satisfying piece of art that uses color, vintage attire,  and abstract objects  to bring about theatrical depth in the same way Porter's voice does the job in the song through timing, tone and phrasing.





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President Obama presses Congress to avert sequestration by March 1 deadline

buzzz worthy. . .



 As the March 1 deadline for the sequestration looms, at 10:50 a.m. (EST) today President Obama explained why  mandatory budget cuts from Congress will slow economic recovery. The impact of the sequestration taking affect could mean more job loss across the board. Read his entire remarks from the White House:


     THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  (Applause.)  Please have a seat.  Well, welcome to the White House. 

As I said in my State of the Union address last week, our top priority must be to do everything we can to grow the economy and create good, middle-class jobs.  That’s our top priority.  That's our North Star.  That drives every decision we make.  And it has to drive every decision that Congress and everybody in Washington makes over the next several years. 

And that’s why it’s so troubling that just 10 days from now, Congress might allow a series of automatic, severe budget cuts to take place that will do the exact opposite.  It won't help the economy, won't create jobs, will visit hardship on a whole lot of people.

Here’s what’s at stake.  Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce our deficits by more than $2.5 trillion.  More than two-thirds of that was through some pretty tough spending cuts.  The rest of it was through raising taxes -- tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans.  And together, when you take the spending cuts and the increased tax rates on the top 1 percent, it puts us more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances.

Now, Congress, back in 2011, also passed a law saying that if both parties couldn’t agree on a plan to reach that $4 trillion goal, about a trillion dollars of additional, arbitrary budget cuts would start to take effect this year.  And by the way, the whole design of these arbitrary cuts was to make them so unattractive and unappealing that Democrats and Republicans would actually get together and find a good compromise of sensible cuts as well as closing tax loopholes and so forth.  And so this was all designed to say we can't do these bad cuts; let’s do something smarter.  That was the whole point of this so-called sequestration.

Unfortunately, Congress didn’t compromise.  They haven't come together and done their jobs, and so as a consequence, we've got these automatic, brutal spending cuts that are poised to happen next Friday. 

Now, if Congress allows this meat-cleaver approach to take place, it will jeopardize our military readiness; it will eviscerate job-creating investments in education and energy and medical research.  It won’t consider whether we’re cutting some bloated program that has outlived its usefulness, or a vital service that Americans depend on every single day.  It doesn’t make those distinctions. 

Emergency responders like the ones who are here today -- their ability to help communities respond to and recover from disasters will be degraded.  Border Patrol agents will see their hours reduced.  FBI agents will be furloughed.  Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go.  Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, which means more delays at airports across the country.  Thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off.  Tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find childcare for their kids.  Hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose access to primary care and preventive care like flu vaccinations and cancer screenings.

And already, the threat of these cuts has forced the Navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf.  And as our military leaders have made clear, changes like this -- not well thought through, not phased in properly -- changes like this affect our ability to respond to threats in unstable parts of the world. 

So these cuts are not smart.  They are not fair.  They will hurt our economy.  They will add hundreds of thousands of Americans to the unemployment rolls.  This is not an abstraction -- people will lose their jobs.  The unemployment rate might tick up again. 

And that’s why Democrats, Republicans, business leaders, and economists, they’ve already said that these cuts, known here in Washington as sequestration, are a bad idea.  They’re not good for our economy.  They’re not how we should run our government.

And here’s the thing:  They don’t have to happen.  There is a smarter way to do this –- to reduce our deficits without harming our economy.  But Congress has to act in order for that to happen.

Now, for two years, I’ve offered a balanced approach to deficit reduction that would prevent these harmful cuts.  I outlined it again last week at the State of the Union.  I am willing to cut more spending that we don’t need, get rid of programs that aren’t working.  I’ve laid out specific reforms to our entitlement programs that can achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms that were proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.  I’m willing to save hundreds of billions of dollars by enacting comprehensive tax reform that gets rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well off and well connected, without raising tax rates.

I believe such a balanced approach that combines tax reform with some additional spending reforms, done in a smart, thoughtful way is the best way to finish the job of deficit reduction and avoid these cuts once and for all that could hurt our economy, slow our recovery, put people out of work.  And most Americans agree with me. 

The House and the Senate are working on budgets that I hope reflect this approach.  But if they can’t get such a budget agreement done by next Friday -- the day these harmful cuts begin to take effect -- then at minimum, Congress should pass a smaller package of spending cuts and tax reforms that would prevent these harmful cuts -- not to kick the can down the road, but to give them time to work together on a plan that finishes the job of deficit reduction in a sensible way.

I know Democrats in the House and in the Senate have proposed such a plan -- a balanced plan, one that pairs more spending cuts with tax reform that closes special interest loopholes and makes sure that billionaires can’t pay a lower tax rate than their salary -- their secretaries.

And I know that Republicans have proposed some ideas, too.  I have to say, though, that so far at least the ideas that the Republicans have proposed ask nothing of the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations, so the burden is all on first responders or seniors or middle-class families.  They double down, in fact, on the harsh, harmful cuts that I’ve outlined.  They slash Medicare and investments that create good, middle-class jobs.  And so far at least what they’ve expressed is a preference where they’d rather have these cuts go into effect than close a single tax loophole for the wealthiest Americans.  Not one. 

Well, that’s not balanced.  That would be like Democrats saying we have to close our deficits without any spending cuts whatsoever.  It’s all taxes.  That's not the position Democrats have taken.  That's certainly not the position I’ve taken.  It’s wrong to ask the middle class to bear the full burden of deficit reduction.  And that’s why I will not sign a plan that harms the middle class.

So now Republicans in Congress face a simple choice:  Are they willing to compromise to protect vital investments in education and health care and national security and all the jobs that depend on them?  Or would they rather put hundreds of thousands of jobs and our entire economy at risk just to protect a few special interest tax loopholes that benefit only the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations?  That's the choice. 

Are you willing to see a bunch of first responders lose their job because you want to protect some special interest tax loophole?  Are you willing to have teachers laid off, or kids not have access to Head Start, or deeper cuts in student loan programs just because you want to protect a special tax interest loophole that the vast majority of Americans don't benefit from? That's the choice.  That's the question. 

And this is not an abstraction.  There are people whose livelihoods are at stake.  There are communities that are going to be impacted in a negative way.  And I know that sometimes all this squabbling in Washington seems very abstract, and in the abstract, people like the idea, there must be some spending we can cut, there must be some waste out there.  There absolutely is.  But this isn’t the right way to do it.

So my door is open.  I’ve put tough cuts and reforms on the table.  I am willing to work with anybody to get this job done. None of us will get 100 percent of what we want.  But nobody should want these cuts to go through, because the last thing our families can afford right now is pain imposed unnecessarily by partisan recklessness and ideological rigidity here in Washington. 

As I said at the State of the Union, the American people have worked too hard, too long, rebuilding from one crisis to see their elected officials cause yet another one.  And it seems like every three months around here there’s some manufactured crisis. We’ve got more work to do than to just try to dig ourselves out of these self-inflicted wounds.

And while a plan to reduce our deficit has to be part of our agenda, we also have to remember deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan.  We learned in the 1990s, when Bill Clinton was President, nothing shrinks the deficit faster than a growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs.  That should be our driving focus -- making America a magnet for good jobs.  Equipping our people with the skills required to fill those jobs. Making sure their hard work leads to a decent living.  Those are the things we should be pushing ourselves to think about and work on every single day.  That’s what the American people expect.  That’s what I’m going to work on every single day to help deliver.

So I need everybody who’s watching today to understand we’ve got a few days.  Congress can do the right thing.  We can avert just one more Washington-manufactured problem that slows our recovery, and bring down our deficits in a balanced, responsible way.  That’s my goal.  That’s what would do right by these first responders.  That’s what would do right by America’s middle class.  That’s what I’m going to be working on and fighting for not just over the next few weeks, but over the next few years.

Thanks very much, everybody.  Thank you, guys, for your service.  (Applause.)
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Monday, February 18, 2013

Kirk Franklin Join American Bible Challenge Show


buzzz worthy. . .

GRAMMY winner and multi-platinum-selling musician and producer Kirk Franklin—will join THE AMERICAN BIBLE CHALLENGE as musical co-host for the second season of the network’s highly rated original one-hour game show. Franklin, along with musical director Kris Pooley, will lead the show's choir with additional new members joining to support GSN’s hit series. Season 2 of THE AMERICAN BIBLE CHALLENGE, hosted by Jeff Foxworthy and produced by RelativityREAL, will premiere on Thursday, March 21st at 8 pm ET/PT on GSN. 

“We are excited that Kirk will bring his exuberant sound to THE AMERICAN BIBLE CHALLENGE,” said Amy Introcaso-Davis, Executive Vice President of Programming for GSN.  “Kirk Franklin, the consummate musician, joins host Jeff Foxworthy, the consummate comedian - a combination of incredible talent that will prove to be entertaining, fun and inspirational in this truly unique game format.”

“I’m very excited to create the musical environment for THE AMERICAN BIBLE CHALLENGE,” says Franklin. “The show is a fresh and fun approach to celebrating the Word of God, and being able to provide an element of praise, worship and honor is both exciting and humbling.” 

The AMERICAN BIBLE CHALLENGE is the top show on GSN.
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