It's 12:15 AM and I ought to be at least attempting to sleep.
But because of the power of blogs, I am instead reading fascinating columns and posts.
From a visit to Amy Ridenour's National Center Blog, I paid a call at Booker Rising, a fascinating site for black moderates and conservatives. (I might add that, quite fortunately, more and more seem to appear on the horizon.)
Molotov (Booker's voice) provided me with such worthy quotes as:
"What I know is, is that if you do work that you love, and the work fulfills you, the rest will come." - Oprah Winfrey
"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." - B.B. King
During my travels here, I also found a link to this fine column by actor and writer Joseph Phillips.
After receiving only 9 percent of the black vote, George W. Bush took office and proceeded to name the most diverse cabinet in the history of this country. In addition to secretaries Colin Powell, Rod Paige and Alphonzo Jackson, Bush named a black woman, Dr. Condoleeza Rice, his National Security Advisor. Toss in Special Assistant to the President on African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer and deputy assistant Anna Perez and black people wielded considerable international influence under this administration. In addition, Bush named four black Deputy secretaries who, combined, controlled roughly half of the federal budget.
Minority-owned small businesses suffered under Bill Clinton, but have gained new life under George Bush. According to Harry Alford, president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, This year, small businesses working under the SBA's "8a" business development program will "surpass an all-time record with more than $10 billion in receipts." The SBA lending programs will also break records for guaranteed loans and the annual growth for black businesses is cruising along at a healthy 28 percent clip.
Home ownership is also up under this president. 18 months ago, the President announced the goal of increasing the number of minority homeowners by 5.5 million before the end of the decade. Since that announcement, the census estimates more than 1.5 million new minority homeowners and for the first time in history more than half of all minority families own their own home.
Of all the cruelties visited on minority people in this country perhaps none is as repugnant as forcing black children into substandard public schools at the dawn of the 21st century. Since taking office "the president has increased elementary and secondary funding by 48%, Title 1 funding for low income students has increased by 52 percent and funding for special education has increased 75 percent." Funding for Pell grants has increased, as has federal funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Finally, this president has shown a compassion and commitment to Africa that is unparalleled. George Bush was the first Republican president to visit Africa and he didn't show up on the continent empty-handed. The president signed the Global AIDS initiative that provided $15 billion to help turn the tide of HIV/AIDS in Africa and introduced the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, which allows African businesses access to the American market. The administration has helped to create more than "150,000 new jobs in Africa and at least $437 million in business growth will be realized this year alone." Further, the administration is committed to a 50 percent increase in African business and industry development assistance over the next three years.
(I'd say "read the whole thing" - but I posted almost all of it! Still - do read the whole thing. Worth your time.)
Are there more links I'd like to follow? You betcha.
But now it's nearing 12:30 AM. Though I may fail, I am going to try to get some sleep!
(And if you are reading this soon after my post - you try to get some, too!)