Jueseppi B.:

A brand new blogger I have the pleasure of introducing you all to, who may not know of this blog…”Radical Amazement’. Meet Ms. Amy.

Originally posted on Radical Amazement:

“By taking care of the present moment, we take good care of the future. Working for peace in the future is to work for peace in the present moment.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

peace doves - stained glass by Nina SattelyPeace.  It’s always here.

Like the sun. Sometimes, you can’t see it for the clouds. You know – those cold winter days when the sky is dark and the rains come down forever, or weeks become months of white snow and gray skies – the sun is obscured, and you wonder if you will ever be warm again.

But the sun is still there. One day, the rain stops, the clouds part, the snow melts, and the sun… sure enough, it’s still there.  Beautiful to behold, this warm, life-giving ball of fire in the sky. Our moods lift: how wonderful to see it again!  Really, we knew it was there all along.

Peace is like that.


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Kaufman County Assistant DA Gunned Down In Broad Daylight Outside County Courthouse

By Jueseppi B.







From WFAA.Com Dallas/Ft. Worth:



Posted on January 31, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Updated today at 6:09 PM

Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was shot dead outside the courthouse Thursday, spurring a complete lockdown of the grounds and an active search for the two shooters.


Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Pat Laney said the suspects ambushed the assistant DA on his way in to court and shot him multiple times in a parking lot at about 8:50 a.m. They then fled the scene. The courthouse was locked down and later closed for the day.


As of 3:30 p.m., there’s been no arrest. During an afternoon press conference, Kaufman County Sheriff David Burns, District Attorney Mike McLellan and Police Chief Chris Albaugh begged the public for any information that could identify those responsible.


“We’re very confident that we’re going to find you, we’re going to pull you out of whatever hole you’re in, we’re going to bring you back and we’re going to let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” McLellan said.


Hasse, a longtime prosecutor for the Dallas County District Attorney‘s Office and current assistant DA for Kaufman County, is the man who was shot and killed, the Sheriff’s Office confirmed. He was a felony prosecutor who headed murder and drug cases.


Hasse joined the Kaufman County District Attorney’s Office in July 2010, records show.


“Mark was really a great guy, he was the consummate prosecutor, he was hard-working, loved his job, and juries loved him for some reason,” said Dallas attorney Ted Steinke, who oversaw Hasse in the Dallas County DA’s Office. “He wasn’t very large in stature, but juries loved him and he exuded confidence.”


Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood told News 8’s Jonathan Betz that he was not working on any high-profile cases that required any extra security. Investigators are following up on his caseload, however.


However, hours after Hasse was gunned down, the Department of Justice issued a release on its website crediting the Kaufman County District Attorney’s Office with helping investigate two known members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas gang. They pleaded guilty the day of the shooting to racketeering charges.


Before the release was issued, The Dallas Morning Newscredited “authorities with knowledge of the assistant DA’s caseload” as saying he was “heavily involved” in an investigation of the Aryan Brotherhood. According to the release, Ben Christian Dillon, aka “Tuff”, of Houston, and James Marshall Meldrum, aka “Dirty”, of Dallas, both “agreed to commit multiple acts of murder, robbery, arson, kidnapping and narcotics tracking” for the Aryan Brotherhood.


During the press conference, Burns and Albaugh each warned against speculation, saying they are both following “several” leads.


“Due to the nature of them, we can’t discuss them,” Albaugh said. “As soon as we’re able to, we’d be be glad to help you.”


Earlier, Wood  classified Hasse’s shooting as an “ambush” and told Betz that courthouse security is always tight, but not in the parking lot.


“It’s a scary deal,” Steinke said. “Every prosecutor every once in a while gets a death threat, and we take them seriously, but this is the first time in 20 years that I can remember here in North Texas a prosecutor actually being assaulted.”


During a press conference, Sheriff David Burns and Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh said Hasse was heading to misdemeanor court when he was assaulted and gunned down.


“When you get up into the level, you are really attacking society as a whole because our whole society is based on our criminal justice system and getting our day in court,” Burns said. “This is not how to handle our business.”


The Texas Department of Public Safety sent out an alert for troopers to be on lookout for a silver “older model” Ford Taurus. According to the alert, the two suspects are wearing all black and at least one is in a tactical vest. DPS choppers are flying low over the treeline in north Kaufman.


Kaufman County Crime Stoppers issued a reward that quickly swelled to $30,000 Thursday afternoon for information leading to who is responsible. To submit an anonymous tip, you’re asked to call 817-847-7522. 


Kaufman Independent School District Superintendent Todd Williams said all schools in the district are also locked down as authorities search for the shooters. Forney ISD spokesman Larry Coker said all schools have been ordered to lock their doors until the suspects are caught. Administrators will reevaluate the plan at 2 p.m.


Forney is about 22 miles northwest of Kaufman.


“This is a crime, as our county judge said, that is against the very basis of our fabric,” McLellan said. “As far as I know, this has never been done before.”


In an email sent to staff Thursday morning, the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office confirmed the victim was a prosecutor and was fatally shot.


Below is the entire email sent by the Dallas County DA:

“This message is not intended to scare anyone but please be advised. A Kaufman County prosecutor was fatally shot a few minutes ago outside the Kaufman County Courthouse in Kaufman. Two masked gunman are the suspects. They have not been apprehended yet.

Please be aware of your surroundings when leaving the building for your safety. This is probably a isolated incident but until further notice if you plan to work past dark today please be careful and ask security for assistance escorting you to your vehicles if needed. I will keep you informed as to the arrest of the suspects when i am notified. Don’t panic but please be aware of your environment when leaving the building.”


Employees at businesses nearby say they’ve seen heavy police activity and heard reports of the shooting. Cathy Coulson, a real estate agent at Re/Max across from the courthouse, said she was not at work when the shooting happened, but reported seeing police helicopters searching overhead.


“I didn’t hear anything, I came into my office right after it happened, but I talked to one of my clients that’s two blocks behind us and he said that he heard it,” Coulson said, adding that she’s seen police walking the streets. “They don’t have time to come tell us to lock down, we have enough sense to do that; we’ve seen them going around and the helicopters.”


Tonya Ratcliff, a clerk at The Kaufman County Tax Office located to the right of the courthouse, said officers came inside and asked them to lock their doors.


Kaufman is a town of 7,000 about 30 miles east of Dallas.




Investigators placed evidence markers in the spot where Kaufman County Assistant DA Mark Hasse was gunned down on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: WFAA




Texas Department of Public Safety troopers line a street in north Kaufman following a shooting at the Kaufman County Courthouse that left a assistant district attorney dead. (Marcus Moore/WFAA)




A prosecutor was shot dead outside the Kaufman County courthouse on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: Jonathan Betz/WFAA)




Kaufman County authorities gather after Assistant DA Mark Hasse was murdered outside the courthouse on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: WFAA)




The Kaufman County Courthouse was shut down after Assistant DA Mark Hasse was gunned down nearby on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: WFAA)




State troopers search a Kaufman neighborhood after the county’s assistant district attorney was gunned down on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: WFAA)



Get The Rest of The Story & Photos at WFAA.Com Dallas/Ft. Worth.















My GOD…if Hostess made cupcakes like these, they’d still be in business.

Barack’s White House Blog News








Watch: “Fireside Hangout” with Cecilia Muñoz on Immigration Reform


This afternoon, Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, sat down with a group of immigration reform advocates and leaders from across the country to discuss President Obama’s plan to fix our broken immigration system in a live Google+ Hangout. During the virtual round table discussion, participants asked questions about the President’s vision on topics ranging from creating an earned path to citizenship, the DREAM Act, Startup visas for entrepreneurs, and the role of the faith community in the immigration reform debate.  In case you missed the live event, check out the full video and learn more about the plan.


This “Fireside Hangout” was moderated by Jose Antonio Vargas,a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and founder of Define American, and guests included America Ferrera, co-chair of Voto Latino’s I’m Ready for Immigration Reform campaign, Jim Wallis, President and CEO of Sojourners, Cristina Jimenez, Managing Director of United We Dream and Shervin Pishevar, Managing Director at Menlo Ventures and co-founder of Start Up Visa Movement.


The hangout is part of an ongoing series of conversations with administration officials on Google+. In the weeks and months ahead, we’ll continue to host hangouts with White House staff on a range of second term priorities. Follow us on Google+ for updates from the Administration and opportunities to participate in online engagement events.



White House Hangout with Cecilia Muñoz on Immigration Reform


Published on Jan 31, 2013

Cecilia Muñoz, the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, participates in a “Fireside Hangout” about immigration reform. Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and founder of Define America, moderated the hangout, and participants included America Ferrera, Jim Wallis, Cristina Jimenez, and Shervin Pishevar. January 31, 2013.







Highlighting Inclusion, Diversity and Human Rights at the Special Olympics World Winter Games


During recent days we have had the honor as part of a U.S. Presidential Delegation to accompany more than 150 U.S. Special Olympians to the 2013 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. In addition to the Opening Ceremonies of the games on Tuesday, the Presidential Delegation had a unique chance to spend time with the athletes and view some of the events.


While we have made a special effort to cheer on the U.S. athletes on behalf of the President, the Special Olympics is about far more than winning – it’s about encouraging diversity, celebrating inclusion and recommitting to the human rights of persons with disabilities around the world.


People with disabilities come from all walks of life, genders, every social class, and all religious traditions. Most of us have a family member, friend or acquaintance with a disability. People with disabilities make tremendous contributions to our society, to our families, to our neighborhoods – adding to the diversity that makes America a unique and special place to call home.


But we also know that too often, communities struggle to include people with disabilities. We frequently define success too narrowly, forgetting that all people have great potential to contribute to our society. This way of thinking excludes people with disabilities in the classroom, in the workplace and in the community.


President Obama has made a pointed commitment to ensuring people with disabilities are included in every facet of life – including at school and in the workplace. In 2010, the President issued Executive Order 13548, to be sure those with disabilities are included in the workforce of the United States Government. Last Friday, the President and Education Secretary Arne Duncan took an historic step to ensure that kids with disabilities aren’t left out in activities and on sports teams in U.S. schools.


We believe that through efforts like these and by raising awareness in communities across the country, the United States has much to offer in affirming the basic human rights of people with disabilities around the world.  We know that barriers to equal enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities are many and varied.  Pervasive discrimination leads to lack of access to basic public services, education and employment opportunities, political disenfranchisement, forced institutionalization and segregation, and poverty.


Disability-inclusive approaches to education, employment, and public services assure that people with disabilities are able to exercise their rights as full and equal participants in their societies. The Special Olympics stand as a wonderful example of this inclusiveness.


Over the course of this week, the U.S. Presidential Delegation has experienced the lasting power of the Special Olympics movement to promote awareness and appreciation of the human rights of those with disabilities.


The Games provide, through athletic competition, a unique path to strengthening civil rights – as they have for more than four decades. We have witnessed amazing things from Special Olympians who are pushing hard to meet and exceed their best. All of the athletes remind us that every person has potential, and that we can all strive for the utmost success in our endeavors.


Tom Vilsack is the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Head of the Presidential Delegation to the 10th Special Olympics World Winter Games. Judith Heumann serves as Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State and is a member of the Presidential Delegation.


The Posse Foundation Selects First Cohort of Veterans for College Success Program


Battle buddies aren’t just for the Army. For the past quarter century, The Posse Foundation has been identifying talented students from large urban public school systems and sending them in teams (Posses) to some of the top colleges and universities in the nation. Since 1989, close to 5,000 students have received $500,000,000 in scholarships from Posse’s 44partner colleges and universities. These young people are graduating at a rate of 90 percent.


In an effort to increase the college-going and graduation rates of veterans at highly selective colleges and universities across the country, The Posse Foundation, in partnership with Vassar College joined forces to announce its Veterans Posse Program, a new college success initiative. Posse plans to expand this initiative to other colleges and other cities over the next several years.


By adapting the Posse model to serve U.S. Veterans, Posse believes that it can exponentially increase the college-going rates and success of veterans on elite college campuses. Vassar College has committed to adopting the program on its campus and will supplement GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon funding to guarantee full tuition for each admitted veteran. Posse, using its unique recruitment method, will each year identify, recruit and train the veterans. The Veterans Posse will attend college together and receive support from both Posse and Vassar through to graduation.


This year’s recipients have demonstrated exceptional leadership and remind us of the immense value that veterans can bring to selective institutions of higher education and to the workforce.


The members of this first class of veterans hail from all across the country, from communities big and small—from New York City to Copperas Cove, Texas. They have served in Afghanistan and Iraq as specialists in the Army, machine gunners in the Marine Corps, and engine mechanics in the Air Force, to name a few. Among them are:

  • A recipient of the Purple Heart whose heroism in combat was matched by the tenacity he displayed while recovering from severe head injuries sustained in battle;
  • A decorated veteran who led over 150 missions as one of the youngest tank commanders in his division and who, through community outreach and relationship building with residents in major opposition strongholds, facilitated successful elections in Baghdad in 2005;
  • A medic who risked his life saving a fellow soldier wounded by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Iraq and went on to become a researcher at the Institute for Surgical Research, exploring ways to improve battlefield treatments.



These are just a few of the many stories of leadership that characterize this distinguished group of men and women.


It is Posse’s ultimate goal to develop a new kind of national leadership network—one that is truly diverse and better able to reflect the voices of all Americans. Posse recognizes the important role that veterans will play in establishing this diverse network of leaders.


The Posse Foundation is one example of the many organizations around the nation working to improve veteran success on campus. Educational success continues to be a key element of ensuring our veterans continue to reach their true potential when they return home. For more information on The Posse Foundation visit www.possefoundation.org.  To learn more about what you can do to help veterans and military families, visit joiningforces.gov.




Statements and Releases



January 31, 2013

Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate



January 31, 2013

Conference Call on the Vice President’s Trip to Germany, France and the United Kingdom



January 31, 2013

Letter from the President — Regarding North Korea



January 31, 2013

President Obama Nominates Two to Serve on the US Court of Appeals





President Barack Obama meets with Chief of Staff Jack Lew in the Oval Office, Jan. 31, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
















Originally posted on theGrio:

The shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton has drawn national attention, prompting renewed calls for gun regulation and reigniting the public outrage created by the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Now, Hadiya’s story has reached the White House.

Asked about a petition posted on the White House’s “We the People” website, calling on President Obama and his family attend Pendleton’s funeral in their hometown of Chicago, spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Wednesday that he hadn’t heard about the signature gathering effort, but that “the president and first lady’s thoughts and prayers are with the family of Hadiya Pendleton.”

Pendleton was shot to death Tuesday as she and a group of friends stood beneath a bus shelter after taking final exams at nearby King College Prep. Pendleton, a majorette in the school’s marching band, had performed with the band in Washington D.C. during Obama’s second Inaugural.

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