Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gabby Douglas donates Olympic items to Smithsonian

Gabrielle Douglas of the United States celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Individual All-Around final on Day 6 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 2, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) reported — Olympic gymnast Gabrielle is donating personal items to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Douglas won Olympic gold at the age of 16 in the 2012 London games. She was the first African American woman to win gold in the individual all-around competition. The U.S. women’s team also won gold.
The Virginia Beach, Va., native is giving the museum the leotard she wore during her first competitive season in 2003. She’s also giving the wrist tape and uneven bar grips she used in the 2012 Olympics, as well as her mother’s ticket to the games, personal photos and her Olympic credentials.
The items go on display Friday at the National Museum of American History. The black history museum is slated to open in 2015.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hadiya Pendleton, teen performer at Obama inaugural events, fatally shot in Chicago


The AP reported today--A 15-year-old majorette who performed at some of President Barack Obama's recent inauguration festivities has been shot to death in Chicago.

Police say Hadiya Pendleton died after she was shot in the back while hanging out with a group of teens in Vivian Gordon Harsh Park about 2:30 p.m.

Pendleton was taking shelter from the rain under a canopy, when an unidentified man or boy jumped a fence and ran toward the group and opened fire, police said. The shooter then fled in a vehicle. The man fled the scene in a vehicle. No arrests have been made.

A teenage boy was also shot in the leg during the shooting, which occurred in the 4500 block of South Oakenwald Avenue, near King College Prep High School.

The pair was taken to University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, where Pendleton died at 3:10 p.m., according to police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

Hadiya belonged to the King College Prep High School band, which performed at several inaugural events in Washington, D.C.

Police said Pendleton was not a gang member and was most likely not the shooter’s intended target. But most of the teens with her, who also fled the scene, are believed to be gang members, police said.

Residents of the upscale, white-collar neighborhood were dismayed by the shooting, which some said was a first for their block.

"I was torn apart, shocked. I cried when I heard about it," said resident Robin Hollis, who has lived across the street from the park for about 20 years.

Earlier in the day 27-year-old Devin Common was shot dead while two other men were critically wounded in a Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood shooting, according to family members and authorities.

The three were shot shortly after noon in the 7400 block of South Champlain Avenue, police spokesman Michael Sullivan said. Police took at least one person in custody and recovered a weapon, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, citing a source.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Chicago woman loses 4th child to gun violence

Simeon High School students join an anti-violence rally in the Loop April 1, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich joined several hundred Chicago school students at the rally which was held to draw attention to the 21 students murdered in the city so far this school year. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CHICAGO (AP) — At least five people were gunned down Saturday in Chicago, including a 34-year-old man whose mother had already lost her three other children to shootings.
Ronnie Chambers, who was his mother Shirley’s youngest child, was shot in the head while sitting in a parked car on the city’s West Side. A 21-year-old man who was also in the car was wounded, police said.
Shirley Chambers, whose two other sons and daughter were shot in separate attacks more than a decade ago, was left grieving again on Saturday, WLS-TV reported.
“Right now, I’m totally lost because Ronnie was my only surviving son,” Chambers said.
Shirley Chambers’ first child, Carlos, was shot and killed by a high school classmate in 1995 after an argument. He was 18. Her daughter Latoya, then 15, and her other son Jerome were shot and killed within months of one another in 2000.
“What did I do wrong? I was there for them. We didn’t have everything we wanted but we had what we needed,” she asked Saturday.
Chambers said despite this latest tragic chapter in her life, she’s not bitter or angry.
“They took my only child. I have nobody right now. That’s my only baby,” she said.
A few hours after Ronnie Chambers was killed, a gunman opened fire on three men near a South Side eatery, killing two of them and wounding the third, police said.
On Saturday afternoon, detectives were called to the scene of another shooting in which a man in his 30s and a teenager were shot to death. There had been no arrests.
Chicago’s homicide count eclipsed 500 last year for the first time since 2008. As grim as it is, Chicago’s homicide rate was almost double in the early 1990s — averaging around 900 — before violent crime began dropping in cities across America.
Last year’s increase, though, stood in sharp contrast to New York, where homicides fell 21 percent from 2011, as of early December.
Food for thought:  As America continues its ongoing debate over gun control and new gun reform laws, I encourage everyone on both sides to take heed to the message being conveyed in this article.  A mother should never have to suffer the lose of any child, especially the lost of all her male children.  Being killed in action while serving in the military is one thing, but to be gunned down in the streets of America by some ruthless thug, angry or deranged person or racists, is another.
Before another innocent life is lost, I pray that President Obama and Vice President Biden will soon enforce better laws.   Preventing another parent from suffering the lost of their child due to ineffective gun laws in America.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Obama expresses support for US women in combat


WASHINGTON (AP) — Allowing women to serve in combat roles will strengthen the U.S. military’s ability to win wars, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday, shortly before his official announcement of the landmark lifting of the ban.
President Barack Obama supports the Pentagon’s decision and believes the country should continue to remove “unnecessary gender-based barriers to service,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
More than 150 women have been killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while serving in support roles. The decision to lift the ban on them serving in combat presents a daunting challenge to top military leaders who now will have to decide which, if any, jobs they believe should be open only to men.
Women comprise about 14 percent of the 1.4 million active military personnel, and more than 280,000 women have been sent to Iraq, Afghanistan or to jobs in neighboring nations in support of the wars. Of the more than 6,600 U.S. service members who have been killed, 152 have been women.
“Our military is more capable, and our force is more powerful, when we use all of the great diverse strengths of the American people,” Panetta said Thursday morning at a Pentagon ceremony in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr.
Panetta’s move comes in his final weeks as Pentagon chief and just days after Obama’s inaugural speech in which he spoke passionately about equal rights for all. The new order expands the department’s action of nearly a year ago to open about 14,500 combat positions to women, nearly all of them in the Army.
“Every person in today’s military has made a solemn commitment to fight and, if necessary, to die, for our nation’s defense,” Panetta said. “We owe it to them to allow them to pursue every avenue of military service for which they are fully prepared and qualified. Their career success and their specific opportunities should be based solely on their ability to successfully carry out an assigned mission. Everyone deserves that chance.”
Read full article here: thegrio.com/2013/01/24/obama-expresses-support-for-us-women-in-combat/
Food for thought:   Be careful what you ask for!
As a "young" woman who spent 20 years serving in the military, I say this is long over due.  Just to be given an opportunity and choice (in my view) is all women are asking for.  Having spent 7 years enlisted and 13 years as an officer (give or take 5 months), I know what's its like to be denied your equal rights.  Being denied your civil rights, is a topic for another discussion. 
Ladies, I'm proud that you are taking a stand, demanding "equal rights", but I caution you,  watch the movie" G.I. Jane."  Although its a Hollywood movie,  in my view, it clearly depicts the physical challenges of physically qualifying to serve on the front line.
The military have rules, regulations and "standards".  These standards are "physical fitness and readiness standards" which are typically designed as a means to "weed out" a certain group.  I'm just saying...

Oversight Committee makes bipartisan call for appointment of State Department IG


Yesterday, pogo.org reported --  As the Senate began confirmation hearings of John Kerry to become the next Secretary of State today, senior members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform made a bipartisan call to the President to nominate a State Department Inspector General.

“The Department has not had a Senate-confirmed Inspector General since 2008, which is the longest vacancy of any of the 73 Inspector General positions across the federal government,” wrote Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings, Subcommittee on National Security Chairman Jason Chaffetz, and Ranking Member John F. Tierney in a letter to President Obama.
The letter quotes the Project On Government Oversight’s testimony before the Committee last year to explain why this ongoing vacancy matters:
"Permanent IGs are in a better position to be viewed as credible than are Acting IGs for a number of reasons. One is that permanent IGs are selected for the position on the basis of their qualifications to lead an IG office, whereas a temporary IG may be a good auditor or investigator, but may not be as qualified for a leadership role. That is especially true for the IGs that require a nomination by the President with confirmation by the Senate—they go through a rigorous vetting process, which helps establish that both Congress and the President believe they are qualified for the position."
The House Members concluded, “In the context of the upcoming confirmation hearings for Senator John Kerry as your nominee to become the next Secretary of State, we are sure that the question of who you plan to nominate to serve as Inspector General for the State Department will be a top priority for Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.”
According to POGO’s IG Vacancy Tracker, the State Department IG vacancy is by far the longest of the eight current vacancies, at five years. The next longest vacancy is that of the Department of Interior IG, at four years. POGO applauds the House members for their call to action, and believes the ongoing IG vacancies should be a top priority for the new Administration.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

In memory of my beloved father, Happy Birthday


Dear Father
(Dedicated to the memory of my father, Richard Penland)
©2011 Syneeda Penland

You once called me your ‘little Rose
I was the sunshine of your eye,
your teachings always kept me centered
throughout my life
I remained grounded – humble,
always will, until I die.

You were a man of strength and courage
I obeyed the wisdom of your every word,
when faced with adversity,
your teachings taught me
how to, NEVER get discouraged.

Your light shines down from heaven
to be the beacon in my life,
long after your spirit transcended to heaven
well into the afterlife.

Dear Father,
thank you for your care,
your love and affection.
Most of all,
thank you for your words of wisdom
that will always protect me from pain,
sorrow and affliction.

I love you and may you Rest in Peace!

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Importance of a Right Outlook - Part 1 - Jan 6, 2013



Wow, is all I can say after watching the first 2:40 mins of this video.  Mr. Jakes puts it so eloquently, our spiritual connection to God!

Thoughts of Inspiration


Look at Me Now
© 2010 Syneeda Penland

Look at me now
I’m on top of the world,
I’ve come along way
from a scared little girl.

I never gave up
I knew I could make it,
I followed my dreams
I was determined to make it.

I can’t believe I’m here
look at where I’ve been,
it’s been a long journey
one I thought would never end.

I fought hard along the way
had the door slammed in my face.
Was it because I’m a girl?
Was it because of my race?

I never gave up
I was determined to make it,
with the glass ceiling over my head
I was determined to break it!

I shattered the glass,
I broke down the walls!
Finally making it to the top
Standing strong!
Standing tall!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

PIC OF THE DAY... Christian Bishop Larry Trotter in the bathtub with his grand daughter


The following image was taken from a news feed posted on "The Honorable Elijah Muhammad Teachings Testimonial facebook page, with the following caption:


"NO SIR BISHOP TROTTER!!! No man should ever ever ever take a bath with a female in his family or friends. That's only for a man and his WIFE! This is totally inappropriate behavior!"

Food for thought: As a woman who prefers to walk along the path of "righteousness", I must agree that the Bishop's behavior goes beyond inappropriate!  It's when our brother's, father's, uncle's, cousins, etc. invite us into situations like this, making us vulnerable for sexual abuse.  

Bishop, how can you be a man of faith, when you advertise to the world, what moral conscience African American mothers and fathers not only object to, but are willing to risk our lives to protect our children from situation like this!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Time to Break the Silence - Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Jr

Free yourself from mental slavery by evolving your mind to the 21st century!

Happy Birthday Dr. King, as we continue to celebrate your Legacy




An excerpt from a speech written by America’s most monumental Civil Rights Leaders 
I Have a Dream

“And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats,
or talk about the threats that were out.
What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?
Well, I don't know what will happen now.
We've got some difficult days ahead, but it doesn't matter with me now.
Because I've been to the mountaintop and I don't mind.
Like anybody, I would like to live a long life.
Longevity has its place, but I'm not concerned about that now.
I just want to do God's will and He's allowed me to go up to the mountain.
And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land.
I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight,
 that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.
So I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything.
I'm not fearing any man,
mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

Monday, January 14, 2013

U.S. Civil Rights Commission tasked to examine sexual assault in the military



For over a year, my blog post has been focused more towards the U.S. military and its unfair treatment towards both active duty veterans and disabled veterans.  While re-editing my manuscript, I’ve had to relive countless horrific episodes of ongoing racial and gender discrimination I’d experienced throughout my entire 20 year military career.

As seen throughout history, laws are only changed, in some instances, to protect the “guilty” and not the innocent. 

Until the President amends the Civil Rights Act, extending protection for ALL American’s human rights, the military will be allowed to continue to govern themselves.  

It’s perfectly clear the EEOC is under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Labor, who is charged with upholding equal employment rights of civilian employees, which translates to, “foreigners working in the U.S. on a working visa have more rights than military veterans.”

The Secretary of Defense is the delegated body to manage military civil rights affairs, which translates to the 1950 Feres Doctrine, this law protects the government from being sued by service members, their spouses and/or dependents, for malpractice or civil rights violations.

As a former Inspector General Investigator and victim of workplace abuse, I’m not sure if this is a plow to simply “gather” statements from veterans and create a database, listing the names of potential claims "against" the government.

The alternative is to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect ALL American’s human rights.  This way, our veterans are protected, the LGBT community will be better protected, and the precious lives of our innocent children will also be protected. 

As a 100% disabled veteran and human rights activist, I’m making a special plea to President Obama to take our cases seriously and grant us protection of our human rights.

Until our civil and military laws are changed, I don’t see a clear victory for veterans or our families over the horizon.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

This poem is a dedication for the Bravery and Courage of President Barack Obama, May God continue to watch over you!



Decisions
© 2007 Syneeda Penland

Sitting here numb
my thoughts are frozen in time.
Wondering, how did I get here?
Stop! Let me rewind.

Retracing my steps
revisiting each decision I’ve made;
subsequently, sitting here pondering
“For a better life would I trade?”

The cost of Freedom is priceless
no more conforming to the norm,
my life is now my own
no longer will they bring me harm.

To be a prisoner of an institution
filled with lies and deceit,
those wearing the uniform of top brass
from our pockets they cheat!

As a proud American it’s an honor to serve,
defending our country
“A Free Nation” is what we deserve.

I will not go along - to get along,
 I stand behind my conviction;
remaining fully committed to the LORD,
His word,
His powerful intervention!



Friday, January 11, 2013

US Government Hostage to Israel? -- Interview with Mark Bruzonsky

Republican Congressman tells women, "their place", in the military



MSNBC reported -- "Arkansas Congressman Tom Cotton told Laura Ingraham on her radio show Tuesday that military women are physically unfit to serve in combat due to their “nature.” Cotton, a former Army infantry officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, explained that female soldiers should limit their military duties to non-infantry combat roles and that women should continue to be legally barred from competing with men for infantry combat roles.
“To have women serving in infantry, though, could impair the mission-essential tasks of those units. And that’s been proven in study after study, it’s nature, upper body strength, and physical movements, and speed, and endurance, and so forth.”
Women have long been prohibited from front-line combat positions, but steps are being taken for women to join the ranks on the front lines. The two women to enroll in the Marine pilot program did not pass (26 out of the 107 men who enrolled in the course also failed), adding fodder to the institutional thinking that women do not belong in combat.
Last year, the Defense Department reviewed its ground combat exclusion policy for women, and announced that women would be formally allowed in crucial and dangerous positions closer to the front lines. The Pentagon opened up 14,000 combat-related jobs to more women in the military, including tank mechanics and front-line intelligence officers. Even with this small step, women are still prevented from being able to serve in combat.
Although a recent survey indicated that female solders showed little interest in serving as front-line fighters who must go through a grueling training, another survey by the British Ministry of Defense listed more than 11 countries that allow women in front-line roles. However, restrictions to female participation in combat operations are still limited.
Rep. Cotton expanded on Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s “concerns”expressed on the Today show about having women in combat since “men have emotions when you see a woman in harm’s way.”
Despite small steps being taken for a more inclusive and fair combat policy, obstacles and views such as Congressman Cotton’s remain as obstacles to women’s advancement in the military, where discrimination has long been an impediment."
Food for thought: Today the U.S. Civil Rights Commission began accepting statements from military veterans who experienced military sexual trauma, or had their civil or human rights violated at some point during his or her career.  I strongly encourage victims to stand up and come together, as a collective to have our voices heard.

As an advocate for upholding veterans "equal rights", I've decided to finally come forward to speak out about the many ways our civil rights are being violated "behind the iron curtain our military."

Through the pages of my memoir, "Broken Silence", I reveal the ongoing corruption amongst the ranks of the military's so-called "Good ol Boys", they remind me of Congressmen Tom Cotton.

When I once served as the only female on board a Navy warship, for almost a year I was the only female onboard, I was told by my (then) executive officer, "Women don't belong on board a warship, they belong at home, "barefoot in the kitchen."

It was during this assignment that I had to remind myself that I was a WOMAN to be to be reckoned  with, there's just certain mistreatment "southern women" DO NOT TOLERATE!

For nearly 20 years, last serving as a senior comptroller Navy Supply Corps Officer,  through God's grace, I survived both gender and racial discrimination.  For the past 7 years I've been held in a state of "mental captivity" by holding back the truth of the misdeeds of my fellow Naval officers.  NO MORE!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

This poem is dedicated to the eternal legacy of President Cesar Chavez



Dawning of a New Day
 ©2008 Syneeda Penland

Up against a mountain I stand tall,
I’ve weathered the storm,
I fought them all.

They gathered their armies
while slandering my name,
forcing me into hiding
to avoid any shame.

I’ve suffered pain and agony
of living in fear,
always running and hiding
the closer they drew near.

Tired of feeling helpless
from not submitting to Da’ Man,
I got down on my knees
and prayed to the LORD
for His plan.

I donned GOD’s armor
preparing for the next battle of war,
while facing adversity
I was determined to settle the score.

My enemies stood before me
their evil words pierced my shield,
yet I never surrendered to the wickedness
while in the sorcerer’s field.

I broke away from my silence
and cried out from the mountain top,
demanding PEACE
for this WAR to stop.

The arrogance of their egos
forbid them to quit,
take responsibility for their actions
they will never admit.

My enemies would rather live in sin
and carry their lies to their grave,
rather than submitting to the LORD
for their souls to be saved.

LORD, this victory is yours
I’m forever blessed to have served
as one of your soldiers
who’ll remain forever committed
to your word!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Have a Dream


"When we let freedom ring, 
When we let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet, 
From every state and every city, 
We will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children,
Black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles,
Protestants and Catholics, 
Will be able to join hands and sing,
In the words of the old spiritual, "Free at last, free at last"
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."

Monday, January 7, 2013

As defense secretary, Chuck Hagel would have to shrink Pentagon immediately


Washingtonpost.com reported today: "If he is confirmed as the next secretary of defense, former senator Chuck Hagel will face the immediate and daunting prospect of shrinking the Pentagon, a job that is likely to persist for the duration of President Obama’s second term and reshape the mission and makeup of the armed forces.
With the war in Iraq over and the conflict in Afghanistan steadily winding down, Obama and Congress have ordered nearly $500 billion in reductions to the defense budget over the next decade. But with the country still confronting record deficits, many leaders at the Pentagon are resigned to the likelihood that further cuts are inevitable, followed by fresh rounds of infighting over money.
Read full article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/as-defense-secretary-chuck-hagel-would-face-shrinking-pentagon-immediately/2013/01/07/1f14f8c4-58fa-11e2-95d2-c7e9f0ba96c8_story.ht
Food for thought:  I support using a Senator like Chuck Hagel to head-up the draw down of our military forces, but a person who's not sensitive to human rights issues, ie."supporting Gay rights in America", well that's a different story.  With more gays openly serving in the military, something tells me, you guys will be the first to go if he's confirmed by the Senate.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO BE HEARD



 The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will be holding a briefing concerning Military Sexual Trauma on Jan. 11, 2013 at 9:30 AM. Active duty and former service members, particularly those who have been victims of sexual assault are encouraged to submit written comments. These public comments may be submitted until COB Monday, February 11, 2013 and may be sent by any of three ways: 
1) by mail to 1331 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Suite 1150, Washington, D.C., 20425,
2) emailed to publiccomments@usccr.gov, or
3) faxed to (202) 376-1163
Food for thought:  As a veteran who's civil rights were violated, for the most part throughout my entire military career, I encourage ALL service members, MEN and WOMEN of all nationalities; to speak out about any and all injustices you've either experienced or witnessed while serving in uniform  For this is a chance for our voices to finally be heard.  We don't have to continue to suffer SILENCE!