Saturday, July 14, 2012

Romney narrows Veep choices -- Condi emerges as frontrunner.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster Jul 14, 2012

Thu Jul 12 2012 19:30:01 ET


Late Thursday evening, Mitt Romney's presidential campaign launched a new fundraising drive, 'Meet The VP' -- just as Romney himself has narrowed the field of candidates to a handful, sources reveal.

And a surprise name is now near the top of the list: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice!

The timing of the announcement is now set for 'coming weeks'.

It was Condi who received two standing ovations at Romney's Utah retreat a few weeks ago, and everyone left with her name on their lips.

Rice made an extended argument for American leadership in the world.

In recent days, she emailed supporters:

"2012 is perhaps a turning point for the United States."

"The upcoming elections loom as one of the most important in my lifetime," she warned. "I'm very often asked to speak about our current foreign policy and the challenges that lie before us. However, we, as a country, are not going to be able to address any of those international challenges unless we first get our domestic house in order."


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Low-life lesbian potty-mouth Wanda Sykes takes cheap shot at Romney, Mormonism and polygamy.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster USA DOT COM

Trying to get this lamebrain loser to use words with at least five letters is a lost cause.

Noel Sheppard's picture
Polygamy was officially banned by the Mormon Church in 1890. Mitt Romney has been married to only one woman for 43 years.
But that didn’t stop perilously liberal comedienne Wanda Sykes from taking a polygamist swipe at Romney on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live Wednesday (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):

Sykes and her host were talking about elements of her lesbian marriage. She mentioned that because they both work, it’s hard to manage the kids.
“Right now, I’m really trying to talk her into getting another wife,” Sykes joked. “We have a great nanny, but we need another wife. Nannies, they want days off, you know, they work certain hours. Wives, nobody cares. They just work.”
“You just say ‘thank you,’” Sykes continued, “send them some flowers, take them to dinner every now and then. You know, I told my wife you don’t have to worry about it because, you know, we’ll be married so you know there’s no sex involved.”
“That’s why I’m kind of leaning towards Romney right now,” added Sykes.
[Add rimshot here.]
Not surprisingly, Kimmel and his audience thought this was hysterical.
You see, irrespective of the facts about Mormonism and Romney’s marriage, cheap shots at his religion and polygamy are held in great esteem by liberal media members much like penis and flatulence jokes on the playground.

Twenty Republicans set to uphold controversial UN treaty. Reagan rejected it. We should too.


Verne Strickland Blogmaster / July 12, 2012 / article referred by Heather Harrison.

Upon the advice of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Obama has confirmed his intention to sign two controversial U.N. treaties -- the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) and the so called "small arms" treaty.
Although many citizens and elected representatives are sounding the alarm about the small arms treaty, such as this entry Sunday at the Daily Paul, some political observers note that the treaty is unlikely to pass the Senate. But a very different scenario is developing for the Law of the Sea.
Twenty Republican senators are set to join with Democrats in upholding LOST. Some who are included in the list of 20 are those who have not yet decided how they will vote on the issue. Thus, the list of 20 includes those who have either declared support for LOST or declined to indicate their views on the subject one way or the other
In a breaking update, two of the 20 Republican senators have now indicated they will oppose the Law of the Sea Treaty. One political activist stated that it is important for citizens to call the offices of all 20 to make sure those Senators are on the record with their intent to vote against the treaty. McConnell and Toomey now state they will vote no.
The U.S. Constitution grants authority to presidents to enter into treaty agreements with other nations and entities. But due to the fact that a treaty, if approved, becomes the law of the land, the U.S. Senate must approve by an exact two-thirds majority rather than the simple supermajority of 60 votes. This means that 67 votes are needed in the Senate to approve a treaty.
Most political observers believe that all 53 Democrats in the Senate will vote to approve LOST. And if the 20 Republicans who have failed to indicate opposition to the treaty hold firm, the Senate will have more than the required 67 votes to pass.
The 20 Republicans who are apparently set to uphold the treaty, or who have not yet decided, are Enzi, McConnell, Hutchison, Toomey, Johanns, Ayotte, Graham, McCain, Lugar, Kirk, Snowe, Collins, Murkowski, Isakson, Grassley, Portman, Corker, Cochran, Brown, and Alexander.
This is a continually developing story that is changing on an hour by hour basis. For the latest information on who in the Senate has decided to oppose the treaty, consult late breaking articles here and here.
In 1983 President Ronald Reagan rejected LOST outright due to encroachments on U.S. sovereignty. Thus, the question arises as to why these 20 Republicans would be indicating support for a treaty that Reagan saw as an international attempt to usurp American sovereignty and thus supersede the U.S. Constitution.
The small arms treaty, on the other hand, is facing a much more difficult task in gaining the approval of the Senate. Although it is possible to muster 67 votes to approve, too many Democrats are facing reelection in states where gun rights are important. Democrats now have a 53 seat majority. Even if all of the Democrats voted in favor, 14 Republicans would have to join them in order for the measure to pass.
In an election year during a period of time in U.S. history when citizens have indicated in various ways that they oppose any more gun control in any form, it is difficult to imagine 14 Republicans voting in favor of such a treaty.
But as indicated by Forbes Magazine such assumptions are premature. Some senators are always loathe to oppose any treaty signed by a president for the fear of negatively impacting U.S. prestige on the international stage.
Thus, conservatives have sounded the alarm about the treaty to make sure citizens pressure their senators to vote no.
A look at some of the provisions of the treaty will reveal why many conservatives are alarmed. By international law all citizens in the United States would find it more difficult to purchase firearms due to tough registration and licensing requirements. The sale and private ownership of all semi-automatic firearms would be banned. And an international registry of gun owners would be created, which many gun rights enthusiasts view as a precursor to a worldwide ban on gun ownership.
Using the United Nations to enact strict gun control measures on Americans could be what Obama meant when he stated months ago that his administration is working on gun control "under the radar."
A new entry in my regular series Musings After Midnight is now posted at my blog, The Liberty Sphere. It's titled "So What Was Roberts REALLY Up To In His ObamaCare Ruling?" Don't miss it!
Visit my ministry site at Martin Christian Ministries.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

U.S. House again votes to repeal Obama's Health Care Law.

U.S. House Again Votes to Repeal Obama's Health Care Law
Speaker John Boehner during a news conference in the Capitol after a meeting of the House Republican Conference where he and other members addressed issues including the efforts to repeal the health care law. Photographer: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

Bloomberg News  

By Roxana Tiron and James Rowley on July 11, 2012 


The Republican-led U.S. House voted to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law, an action party leaders said was intended to demonstrate their resolve to undo the president’s main domestic-policy achievement.
The bill, H.R. 6079, was passed on a vote of 244-185 today, with five Democrats joining Republicans in voting for repeal. The vote represents the 33rd time that House Republicans have voted to revoke all or parts of the 2010 health care law, known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The measure won’t advance in the U.S. Senate, where Democrats hold the majority.
Unless Republicans win the presidency and gain the Senate majority next session, their attempts to repeal the law will go no further than the House.
The health-care law ”is making our economy worse,” House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said today before the vote. “Americans want a step-by-step approach that protects the access to care that they need, from the doctor they choose at a lower cost.”
Boehner called today’s House vote another chance for Senate lawmakers “to reconsider” their refusal to pass legislation to rescind the law.
Democrats, who lost control of the House in 2010, provided all of the votes to pass the health-care overhaul. The House Democrats voting today to scrap the law were Dan Boren of Oklahoma; Larry Kissell of North Carolina; Mike McIntyre of North Carolina; Jim Matheson of Utah and Mike Ross of Arkansas.
Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court on June 28 upheld the core of the health care law. The justices, voting 5-4, said Congress can require Americans to carry insurance or pay a penalty, which the court said was within lawmakers’ constitutional power to tax.
Democrats, cheering the court’s decision, went on the offensive with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, calling the repeal provision “useless” and a “bill to nowhere.” Pelosi said the law makes health care “a right, not a privilege for a few.”
Michigan Republican Dave Camp criticized the overhaul law, saying “health care premiums are not going down as a result of this law, they are going in the other direction.”
Camp, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, said the law contains a “pervasive incentive” for “employers to drop coverage because it’s cheaper to pay the tax” rather than insurance premiums.

Premiums’ Cost

In a column in today’s Washington Post, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius disputed Camp’s contention about rising premiums. She also said the share of small businesses offering employee health-care coverage has held steady at 59 percent since the law passed.
“This is another of their message weeks dedicated solely to the politics of their base,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said of the Republican efforts.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, was booed today when he told the national convention of the NAACP in Houston that he would repeal the health-care law.
House Republicans had pledged to “repeal and replace” the health care overhaul. Now, Republican leaders have dropped the word “replace” from their promise.
The omission is the result of an election-year calculation: They figure they stand to gain from public distaste for the 2010 measure’s central provision, the requirement that most Americans buy health insurance, and will lose if they start providing details about what they would do instead.

Status Quo

“They don’t care to replace it,” Ross Baker, a professor of American politics at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, said in a telephone interview. “They want to revert to the status quo. Whatever plan they have is going to end up alienating somebody, especially during a presidential campaign.”
The House won’t pursue other major health-care legislation before the November election because “the big thing is going to be the election,” Representative Wally Herger, a California Republican who leads the health subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee, said in an interview. “Everybody is looking to the election, everything is second fiddle to November.”
To contact the reporters on this story: Roxana Tiron in Washington at; James Rowley in Washington at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at

Afghans protest execution of woman. Gruesome, execution-style killing captured on video.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / USA DOT COM / July 11, 2012


By DEB RIECHMANN 07/11/12 07:32 AM ET AP
KABUL, Afghanistan -- Dozens of men and women took to the streets of Kabul on Wednesday to protest the recent public slaying of an Afghan woman accused of adultery whose gruesome, execution-style killing was captured on video.
The footage, which surfaced recently, shows the woman being shot multiple times about 10 days ago in Parwan province, north of the Afghan capital. The gunman was encouraged by people who stood nearby, smiling and cheering.
Police in Parwan said the Taliban were behind the killing, but the insurgents have denied they ordered or carried out the slaying.
The death of the unidentified woman, who was said to be in her 20s, set off a storm of condemnation. President Hamid Karzai, the U.S. Embassy, the top NATO military commander in Afghanistan and activist groups all denounced the killing.
It was a reminder that girls and women still suffer shocking abuse in Afghanistan, but the protest also indicated that people's views on women's rights here could be slowly changing.
"We want the government to take action on behalf of these women ... who are victims of violence and who are being killed," said Zuhra Alamyar, a woman activist who was at the Kabul rally. "We want the government to take serious action and stop them."
The crowd of about 50 demonstrators carried large white sheets that said "International community: Where is the protection and justice for Afghan women?" They marched from the Afghan Ministry of Women's Affairs to a traffic circle near a U.N. compound, and some shouted: "Death to those who did this act!"
Despite guaranteed rights and progressive new laws, the U.N. Development Program still ranks Afghanistan as one of the world's worst countries when it comes to equal rights for women. Afghan advocates say attitudes have subtly shifted over the years, in part thanks to the dozens of women's groups that have sprung up.
Still, ending abuse of women is a huge challenge in a patriarchal society where traditional practices include child marriage, giving girls away to settle debts or pay for their relatives' crimes and so-called honor killings in which girls seen as disgracing their families are murdered by relatives.
Women activists worry that gains made in recent years could erode as the international presence in Afghanistan wanes and the government seeks to negotiate a settlement with the hardline Islamic Taliban insurgents.
During the Taliban regime, women were banned from working and going to school, or even leaving home without a male relative. In public, all women were forced wear a head-to-toe burqa veil, which covers even the face with a mesh panel.
The video surfaced just before donor nations met this weekend in Tokyo and pledged $16 billion in aid for Afghanistan. The donors expressed strong concerns over how the money will be handled and also called on Kabul to improve human rights, especially women's rights.
"We want from the government to follow the killing of the women in Afghanistan and hand over those responsible to face justice," said Afghan woman's rights activist Simi Samar.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a NATO service member died Wednesday in a roadside bombing in the south. NATO did not disclose any other information about the death.
So far this year, 232 NATO service members have been killed in Afghanistan.
Separately, an Afghan policeman has been arrested in connection with the alleged rape of a 16-year-old boy in Zabul province in southern Afghanistan, the interior ministry said Wednesday.
A video, which was taken with a mobile phone and widely shared throughout the province, shows the policeman sexually assaulting a boy inside a room earlier this year. The commander of the accused policeman's unit also has been detained, along with two other people suspected of being involved in the alleged assault.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Will right-leaning Democrats tumble across the aisle? McIntyre might.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / USA DOT COM / July 10, 2012
Rep. Mike...

Monday, Jul. 09, 2012 - Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- The fine line between a Southern conservative Democrat and a Republican continues to fade – fast.
That certainly appears to be the case in North Carolina, where two of the remaining House Democrats have adopted the tactic that in order to win re-election, they must steer clear of President Obama and the Democratic Party.
In the past two weeks, N.C. Democratic Reps. Mike McIntyre and Larry Kissell have announced they will not endorse Obama and, furthermore, plan to vote to repeal his signature health care plan.

In North Carolina, some former supporters say it’s time for Kissell and McIntyre to change parties.
John McNeill, Democratic chairman of McIntyre’s home, Robeson County, is more understanding. He says Obama’s lack of popularity in the state’s 7th Congressional District won’t help McIntyre at the polls, but he also encourages caution.
“Obviously from a pure political viewpoint, McIntyre has to separate himself from the president by a large degree, but by the same token I don’t think he needs to endorse the Republican economic issues,” McNeill said.
Others are less sympathetic. The former Democratic chairman in Montgomery County, Ralph Bostic, said Kissell should jump the aisle. And on Thursday, black political leaders who had supported Kissell announced they will not be endorsing him.
McIntyre and Kissell, of Biscoe, N.C., are seen as two of the most vulnerable Democrats nationally up for re-election. They survived the 2010 Republican onslaught by carefully tending to the temperament of the conservative voters back home. More than 50 Democratic colleagues from across the country didn’t make it, such as longtime incumbent Bob Etheridge of Lillington, N.C., who has said his vote for the health care bill cost him his re-election.
With the backing of such conservative groups as the National Rifle Association, the two Democrats take pride in their independent streak. They also have said they’re unsure whether they’ll join Obama for his nomination ceremony at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. McIntyre said he’ll be there for the first day of the convention, but maybe not when the balloons drop.
Fourteen other Democratic congressional candidates have said they plan to stay home and campaign rather than attend their party’s convention, including Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Jon Tester of Montana. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia told reporters in April that he was unsure if he will vote for Obama or GOP nominee Mitt Romney in November.The widening gap between some Democrats and the president raises the question: What does it take to call yourself a true Democrat? McIntyre and Kissell have voted with the party about 70 percent of the time in the current congressional term, according to, but they have repeatedly broken with their party on high-profile votes, such as those related to health care and the cap-and-trade climate bill, which are seen as a litmus test for some Democratic voters.The real problem, McIntyre says, is that party leadership has pushed its members into ideological corners, which prevents any hope of working together to solve the nation’s problems.
“Both parties are saying, ‘Oh no, you can’t do that.’ You can’t reach out and work with the other side because that means you’re not being a purist and you’re not being true to your ideological roots,” McIntyre said. “I’m not saying to compromise core principals, but at some point you have to be able to work together and find compromise if you’re going to legislate. Or else you remain at loggerheads and nothing gets accomplished and that serves no one. And that’s what happened. And it’s unfortunate.”
Kissell said too much of the focus in Washington has been placed on loyalty to the party and not enough on loyalty to the constituents.
“The job is to represent your district,” Kissell said. “If you go up there and you’re concerned about other people and their opinions of you then you shouldn’t be up there. You go up there to represent your district.”
Democrats cried foul when N.C. Republicans redrew voting districts that made it significantly harder for several Democratic congressmen to keep their seats. Republicans hope to pick up as many as four House seats, including those held by Kissell and McIntrye. Democratic Reps. Brad Miller of Raleigh and Heath Shuler of Waynesville already announced they would not run again in the new districts.It’s not the first time redistricting has been used as a political weapon. The practice reached a boiling point in Texas in 2003 when Republican Rep. Tom DeLay made no secret about his intent to redistrict the state to the advantage of his party. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually stepped in and allowed the main elements of DeLay’s plan to stand.
Despite their votes on big issues like health care, Democrats need conservative members like Kissell and McIntyre if they want to retake control of the House. The party that has majority control sets the legislative agenda, chooses the speaker of the House and assigns committee chairs.
“The majority party has essentially a monopoly on the floor agenda,” said Andy Taylor, a political scientist at N.C. State University. “The members of the minority have very little influence, especially on legislation of national scope.”
It’s for this reason that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is tasked with electing more House Democrats, has pledged its support by reserving $1 million in TV advertising for McIntyre and $1.1 million for Kissell.
“Both Larry Kissell and Mike McIntyre continue to win the support of Democrats, independents and Republicans because each of them have been independent voices for their districts focused on creating jobs, honoring our military families and protecting seniors,” said Stephanie Formas, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
One incumbent Democrat said leaders must often ask themselves how important is it to have a member with a ‘D’ instead of an ‘R’ next to their name.
“It’s a dilemma that many of us in the progressive community find ourselves in from time to time,” said G.K. Butterfield, a Wilson, N.C., Democrat among those who are angry with Kissell. “Would we prefer to hold our nose and continue to support a Democrat who does not support the Democratic agenda and Democratic values just in the interest of not having a right-wing Republican in the seat? It’s very frustrating. I don’t have the magic answer.”
Obama desperately wants to win the swing state of North Carolina again, but it could be tougher without the support of the two House Democrats. But McIntyre and Kissell are running in new districts that have been redrawn to include thousands more Republicans.
The candidates have likely held conversations with the president’s campaign staff saying it’s probably best not to run together, Taylor said.
They’d probably prefer the president not campaign at all in North Carolina, Taylor said. “But you can’t tell the president where to spend his time, because he’s going to spend it wherever he wants and you’re not going to be able to persuade him otherwise,” he said.

Read more here:

House panel probes suspicious UN agency's tech shipments

  •  By DONNA CASSATA  AP  Monday, July 9, 2012

  • WASHINGTON (AP) - A House panel launched an investigation Monday into whether a U.N. agency sent computers and other technology to Iran and North Korea in possible violation of U.N. Security Council sanctions.
    The Foreign Affairs Committee probe comes on the heels of a State Department review of the U.N. World Intellectual Property Organization, which insisted last week that it did nothing wrong in providing “standard IT equipment” to the patent and trademark offices in the two countries. The 185-member organization focuses on patents, copyright, trademarks and designs.
    Those assurances failed to mollify members of Congress.
    “Providing these thugs with sensitive technology has the potential to enable their dangerous agendas,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., chairwoman of the committee, said in a statement. “This serious offense cannot go overlooked or unpunished.”
    In Geneva last week, WIPO legal counsel Edward Kwakwa said none of the technology or training provided to Iran and North Korea violated U.N. Security Council sanctions. However, he said that because of American concerns the U.N. agency will “systematically refer relevant cases of technical assistance” to sanctions officials.
    State Department officials were pressed on the issue last Thursday. They said they were aware of allegations that the transfer or material may have violated U.N. sanctions and they were reviewing development projects for both countries.
    “We’re working with both the (WIPO) director general and other member-states to institute reforms that will ensure future development projects are properly reviewed prior to being approved and implemented,” said spokesman Patrick Ventrell. “And we’re working in New York to ensure that the U.N. Security Council Sanctions Committees play a more active role in advising international organizations on how to remain compliant with U.N. sanctions.”
    Last month, Rep. Howard Berman, the Foreign Affairs Committee’s top Democrat, raised concerns about the transfer with Commerce Department officials.
    “I have been closely following reports that WIPO officials have been transferring computers, firewalls, and other technological devices to the governments of North Korea and Iran,” said the California congressman. “Needless to say we find this highly distressing, not only because it potentially violates a slew of U.N. Security Council Resolutions and very possibly our country’s policies on internet freedom, but also because these technology transfers were carried out by an organization largely funded by U.S. inventors.”
    Teresa Stanek Rea, deputy undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and deputy director of the Patent and Trademark Office, told Berman and members of the House Judiciary Committee that the office found the allegations disappointing.
    “From what I understand (WIPO) Director General Francis Gurry has not yet been fully open as to all of the issues and that more information will likely be forthcoming,” Rea said. “The World Intellectual Property Organization is operating in our U.S. innovators and stakeholders best interest, but this issue is something that’s particularly distressing to us at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and that in collaboration with other U.S. government agencies we will do and handle it in a way that’s appropriate.”

    Monday, July 9, 2012

    Report: 83 percent of doctors have considered quitting over Obamacare!

    Verne Strickland Blogmaster / USA DOT COM

    An opponent of President Barack Obama's health care law demonstrates outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday, June 28, 2012, before the court's ruling on the law. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
    Published: 2:20 PM 07/09/2012

    Eighty-three percent of American physicians have considered leaving their practices over President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, according to a survey released by the Doctor Patient Medical Association.
    The DPMA, a non-partisan association of doctors and patients, surveyed a random selection of 699 doctors nationwide. The survey found that the majority have thought about bailing out of their careers over the legislation, which was upheld last month by the Supreme Court.
    Even if doctors do not quit their jobs over the ruling, America will face a shortage of at least 90,000 doctors by 2020. The new health care law increases demand for physicians by expanding insurance coverage. This change will exacerbate the current shortage as more Americans live past 65.
    By 2025 the shortage will balloon to over 130,000, Len Marquez, the director of government relations at the American Association of Medical Colleges, told The Daily Caller.
    “One of our primary concerns is that you’ve got an aging physician workforce and you have these new beneficiaries — these newly insured people — coming through the system,” he said. “There will be strains and there will be physician shortages.”
    The DPMA found that many doctors do not believe the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will lead to better access to medical care for the majority of Americans, co-founder of the DPMA Kathryn Serkes told TheDC.
    “Doctors clearly understand what Washington does not — that a piece of paper that says you are ‘covered’ by insurance or ‘enrolled’ in Medicare or Medicaid does not translate to actual medical care when doctors can’t afford to see patients at the lowball payments, and patients have to jump through government and insurance company bureaucratic hoops,” she said. (SEE ALSO: Jeremiah Wright: ‘White racist alien DNA’ running through synapses of Obama’s brain )
    The American Medical Association, which endorsed Obama’s health care overhaul, was not able to immediately offer comment on the survey. Spokesperson Heather Lasher Todd said it would take time to review the information in the survey.
    Janelle Davis of the American Academy of Family Physicians said the AAFP could not provide thoughtful commentary without studying the survey’s findings and methodology.
    1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (16 votes, average: 4.31 out of 5)

    Sunday, July 8, 2012

    Why can't black Americans swim? Whatever the excuse or purported reason, the cost in black lives is clear and excessive.

    Verne Strickland / Blogmaster / July 8, 2012

    Grieving family  

    The drownings shocked the community and sparked a campaign
    A month ago, six African-American teenagers drowned in a single incident in Louisiana, prompting soul-searching about why so many young black Americans can't swim.
    When 15-year-old DeKendrix Warner accidentally stepped into deeper water while wading in the Red River in Shreveport, he panicked.
    JaTavious Warner, 17, Takeitha Warner, 13, JaMarcus Warner, 14, Litrelle Stewart, 18, Latevin Stewart, 15, and LaDarius Stewart, 17, rushed to help him and each other.
    None of them could swim. All six drowned. DeKendrix was rescued by a passer-by.

    US swimming stats

    • USA Swimming/University of Memphis study found ethnic differences
    • 68.9% of African-American children with no or low ability to swim
    • 57.9% of Hispanic children
    • 41.8% of white children
    • Study quizzed 2,000 children and parents in six US cities
    • CDC recorded 3,443 fatal accidental drownings in 2007
    • Drowning is second greatest cause of accidental death in children under 14
    • African-American children aged 5 to 14 3.1 times more likely to drown
    Maude Warner, mother of three of the victims, and the other adults present also couldn't swim.
    The US has almost 3,500 accidental drownings every year, almost 10 a day.
    But according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the fatal drowning rate of African-American children aged five-14 is three times that of white children.
    A recent study sponsored by USA Swimming uncovered equally stark statistics.
    Just under 70% of African-American children surveyed said they had no or low ability to swim. Low ability merely meant they were able to splash around in the shallow end. A further 12% said they could swim but had "taught themselves".
    The study found 58% of Hispanic children had no or low swimming ability. For white children, the figure was only 42%.
    "It is an epidemic that is almost going unnoticed," says Sue Anderson, director of programmes and services at USA Swimming.
    The swimming body would like all children to be taught to swim.
    Parents' responsibility
    "We would like it to be like seatbelts and bicycle helmets," says Ms Anderson.
    But the situation in the US can vary hugely even within a single state.
    Cullen Jones 
    Olympic gold medallist Cullen Jones is a spokesman for swimming initiatives
    Unlike the UK, where learning to swim is enshrined in the national curriculum except in Scotland, the ultimate responsibility in the US often lies with parents.
    "I would love to make it a rule like they have in the UK," says Cullen Jones, a gold medallist in the freestyle 100m relay in Beijing, and a spokesman for USA Swimming's Make a Splash campaign.
    "It isn't a requirement, it isn't a priority in the US."
    Jones's mother took him to swimming lessons after he nearly drowned at a theme park aged five. By eight he was swimming competitively.
    The Make a Splash campaign is targeting all non-swimmers and their parents but there is a particular focus on ethnic minority families.
    Fear factor
    Many black parents are not teaching their children to swim.
    Some might assume the fundamental reasons would be lack of money for swimming lessons or living in areas where there were no pools, but the reality is more complex.
    "Fear of drowning or fear of injury was really the major variable," says Prof Carol Irwin, a sociologist from the University of Memphis, who led the study for USA Swimming.

    "Swimming never became a part of African- American recreational culture"
    Prof Jeff Wiltse Author, Contested Waters
    Typically, those children who could not swim also had parents who could not swim.
    "Parents who don't know how to swim are very likely to pass on not knowing how to swim to their children," says Ms Anderson.
    In focus groups for the study, Prof Irwin said many black parents who could not swim evinced sentiments like: "My children are never going to learn to swim because I'm scared they would drown."
    The parents' very fear of their children drowning was making that fate more likely.
    The major reason behind the problem could lie in the era of segregation says Prof Jeff Wiltse, author of Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America.
    "The history of discrimination… has contributed to the drowning and swimming rates," says Prof Wiltse.
    In his work he identified two periods of a boom in swimming rates in the US - in the 1920s and 1930s when recreational swimming became popular and the 1950s and 1960s when the idea of swimming as a sport really took off.
    Black children in a swimming lesson 
    There are historical reasons why black children do not learn to swim
    The first boom was marked by the construction of about 2,000 new municipal pools across the nation.
    "Black Americans were largely and systematically denied access to those pools," he notes.
    "Swimming never became a part of African- American recreational culture."
    In the northern US that segregation in pools ended in the 1940s and early 1950s, but many white swimmers responded by abandoning the municipal pools and heading off to private clubs in the suburbs where segregation continued to be enforced.
    "Municipal pools became a low public priority," he notes.
    After the race riots of the 1960s, many cities did start building pools in predominantly black areas, says Prof Wiltse, but there was still a problem. Many of the new pools were small - often only 20 by 40ft (six by 12m) and 3.5ft (1m) deep.

    Theories for low black American swimming rates

    • Propagation of incorrect scientific theories such as black people being much less buoyant
    • Historic factors going as far back as slaves not being allowed to learn to swim
    • Denial of access to pools in 1920s and 30s causing ripple effect to present day
    • Lack of municipal pools in predominantly black neighbourhoods in 1960s onwards
    • Perception of swimming as elitist or white sport
    "They didn't really accommodate swimming. They attracted young kids who would stand in them and splash about. There really wasn't an effort to teach African-American children to swim in these pools."
    Although there are many poor or working class white children who cannot swim for similar reasons, swimming has gained an image as a "white sport".
    "It is [seen as] a country club sport that only very rich kids get to participate in. The swimming pool is [seen as] a very elitist thing to have in your backyard," says Prof Irwin.
    Bishop Larry Brandon, of the Praise Temple Full Gospel Baptist Cathedral, knew the Warner family, and is now persuading other pastors and ministers to use their pulpits to promote swimming.
    Shreveport has quickly established a new swimming programme in the victims names and there is a drive to challenge misconceptions about swimming.
    As well as the fear factor, Prof Irwin's study found that appearance was also a reason for African-Americans avoiding swimming.
    Cullen Jones in swimming lesson  
    Jones believes progress is being made
    Black respondents, far more than white or Hispanic respondents, were sometimes concerned about the effect chlorinated water would have on their hair.
    "African-American women, many of them if they go the beauty shop and get their hair fixed they are not going to swim," says Bishop Brandon.
    Perhaps the most alarming thing is that the studies suggest that those who cannot swim - like the Warners and Stewarts - often spend time in pools and other swimming sites.
    "Kids are going to be by the water, they love being by the water, and that's something that we really need to make a priority," says Jones.
    "Here everybody knows how to drive a car. It should also be a rite of passage to learn how to swim."

    RNC, Romney launch Victory Offices in Wilmington NC and across state.

    Verne Strickland Blogmaster USA DOT COM, July 8, 2012

    By: Katie Rufener NEWS 14 
    Updated 07/07/2012 05:41 PM 

    WILMINGTON—The Republican National Committee and the Romney for President campaign opened new Victory Offices on Super Saturday in several communities throughout North Carolina.
    Volunteers hit the streets and the phone lines to gather support for the republican candidates. While Republicans said it was a busy day, it was only the beginning of the long campaign trail ahead.
    Super Saturday got off to a roaring start. Republican volunteers made one campaign phone call after another. Fingers were dialing so quickly, the volunteers in the new Wilmington Victory Office ran out of numbers to call only one hour after starting.
    That was just one of four offices that opened across the state Saturday. Offices also opened in Fayetteville, Greenville and Winston-Salem.
    It is extra exposure that State Sen. David Rouzer said he hopes will turn into extra support when voters head to the polls.
    "This election is going to be a tight election. I have no doubt about that in 2012. It's the little things that make the big difference in a close contest," said Rouzer.
    Super Saturday volunteers said helping with the campaign was something they felt compelled to do. One volunteer, Barbara Ernest, explained.
    "I'm one of those people who always sit back and complain about what's going on in politics, and it's time to get out and do something," said Ernest.
    But when it comes to politics, there are always at least two sides. So, naturally, not everyone was supportive of the new Victory Offices' efforts. But regardless of their critics, the Republicans continued to charge forward and said it is all about making the connection with people and helping the undecided decide.
    There are now eight victory offices across North Carolina. The four already open prior to Saturday are located in Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro and Asheville.
    President Barack Obama's campaign currently has 16 offices in operation across the state.