Tag Archives: King

Michelle Obama Delivers Commencement Speech at Nashville High School

First lady Michelle Obama doled out hugs and quick words of encouragement as each of 170 Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High graduates walked the stage Saturday in Nashville, creating an unforgettable milestone for them, reports The Tennessean.
But it was no less a milestone for Ruth Coffman, 92, introduced to the crowd as the oldest graduate of segregated Pearl High, which later became the academic magnet school it is today. She was there to celebrate the by graduation of two great-grandchildren and wonder at the nation’s first African-American first lady.
“That was a thrill for me, because I am the great-granddaughter of a slave,” Coffman said. “I am thrilled and blessed to be here. I’m so glad God gave them brains to be in this magnificent Martin Luther King school.”
MLK’s graduation, held in the Gentry Center at Tennessee State by University, was the only high school commencement where Obama spoke this year, she said in her address. It was chosen, she said, because of its history and emergence as one of the nation’s top-ranked public schools.
“This school is truly the realization of the dream of educational empowerment for all, a dream that began 130 years ago, back when your Pearl building first opened its doors as a school for young African-Americans,” Obama said. “And since that building became home to MLK, students from every background, every culture, every ZIP code throughout Nashville have walked through your halls each day to read and to write, and to think and to dream.”
The idea for Obama’s visit originated with a school counselor and took flight with the help of a congressman
(Jim Cooper).
Note: Text of Michelle Obama’s remarks below.

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Documents on FBI Informant’s Reporting on Martin Luther King Released

The National Archives and Records Administration has released 785 pages of documents related to Ernest Withers, a photographer and free lance newsman acting as an FBI informant on activities of Dr. Martin Luther King as part of a legal settlement between the FBI and The Commercial Appeal, which filed a lawsuit seeking the information.
The CA has a report on what’s said in the documents in Sunday’s newspaper that begins as follows:
James Bevel flashed a wide smile, looking more like a guest at a cocktail party than a suspected subversive whose picture was about to land in an FBI file.
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s head of “direct action,” Bevel was in Memphis on this March 1968 afternoon to help organize a massive demonstration King planned. And when news photographer Ernest Withers began shooting pictures, as he routinely did at civil rights meetings throughout the South, Bevel grinned without a hint of concern.
Yet, unknown to Bevel and others at this gathering at LeMoyne-Owen College, Withers, a paid FBI informant, passed photos he snapped that day to an FBI agent, along with details he overheard. His report fueled deepening skepticism within an already hostile FBI as to whether King intended to keep his movement nonviolent.
“He (Bevel) gave a most virulent black power talk,” agent William H. Lawrence wrote after debriefing Withers. Reportedly saying whites will use economic pressure to “attempt to exterminate the Negroes in the United States in some form of genocide,” Bevel encouraged the group to read the black separatist newspaper, Muhammad Speaks, and “come into the black power movement.”

$4 Million Plane Added to State Air Fleet

A $4 million plane has been added to the fleet of aircraft used to fly Gov. Bill Haslam and members of his cabinet around the state, reports WTVF-TV.
The King Air 350, a 2007 twin-engine turboprop purchased back in December, is now the lead plane in the fleet operated by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
“The governor is always the first priority for this aircraft,” said Lyle Monroe, the state’s chief pilot.
Monroe said the aircraft has lots of advantages over the 1985 model King Air that Tennessee’s governors have flown for years, including more powerful, more efficient engines.
“We can burn the same amount of fuel and get further with this aircraft because of the increased speed,” he said.
Inside the cockpit, it’s got more advanced systems to make the pilots’ jobs easier — including conflict-avoidance systems to help then steer clear of other aircraft.
“If an aircraft encroaches within a certain limit of the airspace, it’ll tell us pull up, turn left, turn right — and it’ll keep telling us to do that until we’ve actually gotten out of the conflict area,” he added.
Inside the cabin, the aircraft provides comfortable seating for nine people, not counting the two-member flight crew.
“It’s not something that we started and did quickly. We’ve been looking at this for several years,” the chief pilot added.

Tax Bill for Building Boat May Inspire Tax Bill in Legislature

A dustup earlier this year between a Murfreesboro man and the Tennessee Department of Revenue over taxes on a home-built boat has led one lawmaker to consider reforming the state’s tax laws, according to TNReport.
The problems began for Johnathan King, 39, when he attempted to register a 14-foot boat, which he had built in his garage for personal use, with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Association. The boat, made of plywood, fiberglass overlay and epoxy, had been built with materials purchased locally, a motor purchased in Hermitage four years ago, and plans purchased over the Internet, King said.
…The department sent King a bill amounting to over $500 for the estimated taxes on his boat, which included sales and use tax on the materials used to build the boat, as well as the threat of a lawsuit if he did not pay. King, a former employee of the Internal Revenue Service, has since gotten the bill reduced to $40.
King’s case also attracted attention from Capitol Hill.
Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas, King’s representative, said the law governing King’s tax case is overly broad and ambiguous and gives state tax collectors too much wiggle room. Carr says the state should not have compelled King to pay the tax on the boat since he had already paid sales taxes on the materials.
“That’s just an example of an overbearing bureaucracy that has too much latitude with regards to how a statute or regulation can be interpreted,” Carr said.

Fable, Part 2: Good King Billy Learns of Legislatorland

And so the counselors of Good King Billy, at the outset of his reign, were summoned to the presence of the monarch, who proceeded to speak unto them thusly:
“A wondrous vision has come unto me of change that shall come to pass under my rule in this land of the Tense Sea, wherein children now foolish shall become filled with knowledge in their Temples of Learning, wherein the common people now wretched shall be gainfully employed and wherein the noble barons of business and even ordinary merchants shall be freed of onerous edicts issued by kings of old, to whom I mean no disrespect, so that they may assist children in their learning to perform beneficial tasks of the future and their parents to prosper such tasks now.
“This vision shall be called the New Normal. I hereby decree that it shall be done. And without any expenditures from the royal treasury, save that necessary as incentives to the barons of business and such as may be necessary to maintain health and happiness of the people.
“Toward that end, I declare that ye shall conduct a top-to-bottom review of the Old Normal to ascertain the revisions that need be made for the New Normal, so that I may issue the appropriate edicts. For I humbly confess, forsooth, that I am sore perplexed by many things of which I hear from those subjects who beseech me for the granting of favors.
“I further command that a great sword be forged, as also pledged in my campaign of the red umbrella and chocolate pie, that shall be called Dashboard and be made mystical by the kingdom’s best magicians so that it may guide me in the accomplishment of royal deeds.”

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A Fable: How Good King Billy Came to Rule

And it came to pass that a new king arose to rule the Land of the Tense Sea, a young prince beloved among eastern chieftains of the tribe called Grizzled Ole Plutocrats, or GOPs for short, who had fought for as long as tales are told with the warlike Demoncrat tribe.
But the Demoncrats had fallen into disarray in the wars of recent years, even as one of their number, King Philip, held the throne, while the GOPs grew strong and bold. And Philip grew old in his reign and abdicated. It is said that fearful visions of a Demoncrat Obamanation had something to do with this, but that is another story.
The new king was named William, or Billy for short, and he was the son of Baron Big Jim, patriarch of a clan that had come into great wealth and power as keepers of small pastures known as grass stations, where travelers might graze their oxen, horses and other beasts of burden for a small fee. At the grass stations, Big Jim would erect a lamp and signs declaring “Here is Grass” so that passing folk might know to pilot themselves to the pasture, even in darkness.
And Big Jim saw to it that the grass was good and cheaper than the competition’s, so that citizens of the realm would ask, upon seeing a patch of green as they sought sustenance for their beasts, “Has it a Lamp?” And the clan became known as “Has Lamp” for the affirmative reply.
Now, the Has Lamp clan was great amongst the GOPs, serving as counselor and provider of swords and sustenance to many legendary tribal leaders. Among them were the Lord Lamar, Corkerer the Sorcerer and the exiled monarch, Donnie the Sun King, who had reigned over the land in peace until he came to believe in the End Comes Text, whereupon he was overthrown by the Demoncrat Philip, the Well Bred Son, who aligned himself with many GOPs. (Some whisper that Big Jim, quietly, was among them during Philip’s skirmish with a rebellious GOPs warlord known as the Hilarious One.)
Billy was a gentle and scholarly youth, who thought once of becoming a priest among the common people. But the Has Lamp family called, and Billy labored long and hard in the grass stations until the fortune of the family and himself was secured
He wedded the Countess Crissy, a fair lady of the western lands of the Tense Sea, and they settled with others of the Has Lamp clan in the Ville of Knocks, a fiefdom then ruled by a GOP lord called The Victor. When The Victor went away to become ambassador to a far land, Billy came to rule in his stead after being counseled by Corkerer the Sorcerer and rallying the people with the aid of the Has Lamp clan.
And so, when King Philip declared that he would leave the throne, Billy summoned his family, friends and many GOP nobles and laid plans to succeed him. But other GOPs had the same notion, including Ramses, a warlord of Legislatorland, and the Wampster, a shaman of the Southeast, who declared themselves men of the far righteousness ready to destroy all Demoncrats, cursing them as Obamanations and waving battle axes.
But Billy Has Lamp spoke only of his love for the people and, sometimes, of chocolate pie. He bore a red umbrella as he went among the people, who praised him as “a nice guy.” Ramses and the Wampster shouted and called him foul names such as “moderate” and even “liberal.” Billy explained that this was not so.
Then he spoke of his plans to bring a new normal to the people, to fashion a sword called Dashboard, to use a mysterious device called matrix and other magical means to bring peace, happiness and jobs to all the land without any taxes — after a top-to-bottom review.
The GOPs all across the Tense Sea rallied to the Billy of the Has Lamp and paid no heed to Ramses and the Wampster, who eventually bowed, paid homage and spoke no more ill of him.
Oh, and a Demoncrat peddler of ale and other beverages, known as bald Michael and son of the great King Ned the Bald of past glory, briefly tried to rally remnants of his tribe against Billy’s assumption of the throne. But it was a time of GOP glory and Michael was easily vanquished.
And so Good King Billy assumed the throne and, assembling a group of wise counselors, began the top-to-bottom review.
(To be continued.)

Labor Secretary Honors Memphis Strikers, Swipes at Anti-Collective Bargaining Governors

WASHINGTON (AP) — Labor Secretary Hilda Solis on Friday honored the 1,300 black workers who took part in the Memphis sanitation strike of 1968, taking a swipe at governors who are trying to curtail public union employees’ benefits.
The strike, where Martin Luther King Jr. made his final campaign before an assassin’s bullet took his life, played a major role in the civil rights movement and the fight for social and economic justice for black workers. It is also considered a watershed moment in the history of collective bargaining rights for public employees, a point Solis raised as she criticized the move in some states to curb bargaining rights for public workers.
“Today, some governors are using the financial crisis as an excuse to take this country backward, instead of forward,” Solis said in a ceremony at the agency’s headquarters. “But we know American workers still want and need a voice at the table. We know collective bargaining gives them that seat.”

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