All Articles Tagged "Obama"

A Biopic On President Obama’s College Years Is Coming To Netflix

September 18th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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Credit: WENN.com

Credit: WENN.com

With Barack Obama’s presidency coming to a close, he’s been making many headlines with various initiatives to push the country and the black community forward. In addition, he’s also influenced many with his success story.

After the POTUS and FLOTUS’ union inspired the biographical romantic drama film Southside With You, a new biopic on the Obama as a young college student. According to Variety, the film entitled Barry was bought by Netflix at the  Toronto International Film Festival on Friday (Sept. 16).

Set in 1981, the film walks us through the life of 20-year-old Barack Obama (played by newcomer Devon Terrell) who moved to New York City after transferring to Columbia University. The film raises questions about race, culture and identity, in addition to being “rooted in the murky, drifting, sleep-late-and-get-stoned-and-do-whatever nature of college life that the movies almost never get right,”adds Variety.

An Australian native, this role will be Terrell’s film debut after being discovered by 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen. “I was born in the States and grew up in Australia, and I’m mixed-race,” he says. “I’ve had that same experience of, like, where do I sit? He speaks to so many people like me all over the world. It doesn’t matter where you are or where you were born, you have a reason to be here and you belong somewhere.”

Apple, Facebook, Nike & Other Companies Take The White House Equal Pay Pledge

August 29th, 2016 - By Ann Brown
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equal pay dayAugust 26th was Women’s Equality Day and to mark the significance of the day, President Obama announced that 29 major U.S. employers have taken the White House Equal Pay Pledge. Under this pledge, the companies promise to do their part to close the gender pay gap. Among the companies were some major tech firms: Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Dropbox, and LinkedIn. Also taking the pledge were: Anheuser Busch, Delta Air Lines, Coca-Cola, General Motors, and Nike.

According to the White House, the pledge includes five main points, reported Engadget:
–Acknowledging the critical role businesses must play in reducing the national pay gap.
–Committing to conducting an annual company-wide gender pay analysis across occupations.
–Reviewing hiring and promotion processes and procedures to reduce unconscious bias and structural barriers.
–Embedding equal pay efforts into broader enterprise-wide equity initiatives.
–Pledging to take these steps as well as identify and promote other best practices that will close the national wage gap to ensure fundamental fairness for all workers.

The companies also vow to “conduct an annual company-wide gender pay analysis and to review hiring and promotion practices to reduce unconscious bias and structural barriers,” reported CNN.

“The typical woman working full-time all year in the United States only earns 79 percent of what a typical man working full-time all year earns,” said the White House statement. “While the gap has narrowed slightly over the past few years, there is much more work to be done to ensure fair pay for all.”

15 Reasons to Thank Obama That You’re A Woman In 2016

March 8th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

Did you know that women make up the majority of voters in any presidential election? Or that more women tend to vote for the Democratic party than any other? So in a way, women can take partial responsibility for bringing President Barack Obama into office. And he has returned the favor by making his time in office one of unprecedented gains for the women that helped him and the First Lady into office. From better health care for women of all ages (and their children) to giving every woman her own month-long holiday, Barack and Michelle Obama have been busy making sure that women are covered.

So this International Women’s Day, we thought we’d take a little time out to appreciate just why it’s great to be a woman in 2016. Read on to find out why a lot of us should be saying “thanks Obama,” and what benefits you could be taking advantage of right now.

Obama To Nominate First Openly Gay U.S. Army Leader

September 19th, 2015 - By Ashley Monaé
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Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

President Obama’s run in office has been one of numerous historical and pretty much epic moments. And before he concludes his presidency, he’s setting out to successfully accomplish more goals of his administration.

Yesterday (Sept. 18), Obama announced his intent to nominate Eric Fanning, 47, as Secretary of the Army, making him the first openly gay secretary of a U.S. military branch – if he is confirmed by the Senate. According to the Washington Post, Fanning “as been a specialist on national security issues for more than two decades and has played a key role overseeing some of the Pentagon’s biggest shipbuilding and fighter jet programs.” With the approval of the Senate, he will work alongside Gen. Mark Milley to run the largest section of the military.

This nomination reflects a major change in the Pentagon. However, according to the New York Times:

While the Pentagon lifted a prohibition on openly gay service members in 2011, it continues to struggle with a culture in which such members say they feel uncomfortable… But gay and straight service members say that ending the legal barriers has not erased all the cultural barriers. Some gay service members say they still experience harassment and discrimination.

Four years ago the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was lifted, as Obama administration worked hard to build a more “inclusive” and “tolerant” military that ended the ban on gay service-members.

“Eric brings many years of proven experience and exceptional leadership to this new role,” Obama said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Eric to keep our Army the very best in the world.”

 

Should Colleges Ban Speakers They Don’t Like? President Obama Says No

September 18th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

If someone says or does something you don’t agree with, what is your reaction? Do you shrug your shoulders in a let’s-agree-to-disagree kind of way, or do you write them off — never to give them another chance?

When it comes to colleges, President Obama believes the more differing viewpoints, the greater the opportunity for discussion. In fact, he thinks those campuses turn away speakers because students don’t agree with their views are, in many ways, doing a disservice to themselves.

Much of his sentiments about the matter are in an article on the Vanity Fair website that reveals POTUS isn’t always down with being politically correct.

I’ve heard of some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative. Or they don’t want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African Americans, or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women.

I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of views.

Should college campuses stop being so PC and turn away individuals — and anything else for that matter — that don’t align with their values, or beliefs? Is there no room at the table for those to serve up an opposing viewpoint? Ideally, the answer seems simple: Allow for others to express their opinions — and if you don’t like it, don’t attend the next event. At least if you hear or read something you don’t agree with, you can use it to fuel your argument.

Then again what can be said about certain individuals who some believe have crossed the line?

Is it reasonable to say individuals like Donald Trump who referred to Mexicans as thugs and rapists — not to mention, continues to disrespect women time and time again — get banned from a campuses who don’t need to hear anything else about what he stands on certain issues? Or should he still receive an invitation in the mail just because he has a “conservative viewpoint” (I use that term lightly as not all conservatives agree with Trump) that needs to be studied more in depth? Or what about a figure like Bill Cosby who has yet to be found guilty of the crimes he’s been accused of, but admits to more than questionable behavior? Are students “coddled” for not wanting him at their school?

Even though President Obama was talking about political views, you have to wonder if the sentiments of banning a speaker for the sake of political correctness translate elsewhere. Given most public speakers require a fee, or some sort of financial incentive, should an institution’s money fund that individual’s agenda, or invite them with open arms for students to come to their own conclusions?

Where do you stand?

From Commuting Sentences To Cutting Gas Prices: It’s Time To Give President Obama His Props

July 30th, 2015 - By Cynthia L. Dorsey
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Bitch You Guessed It! 15 Celebs Who Clapbacked On Their Haters

Image Source: WENN

Opinions vary when it comes to President Barack Obama and his administration. But one thing we can all agree on is his job is not an easy one, especially since he’s doing it without the support of his Congressional colleagues.

The United States has a history of tearing down its political leaders, especially ones of color. However, when they get old or have departed this earth, they then get a holiday, a street named after them, curriculum designed around their speeches and ideologies, and parks and buildings named after them. Similarly, when President Obama completes his term as president, he will grace the pages of U.S. history books and have a presidential library in his honor in Chicago. Thinking about these upcoming honors, as well as the talk about President Obama’s legacy and the continuous criticism, I couldn’t help but reflect. Reflect on the idea that it seems like our Black leaders are more valuable in death to people than they are while living.

Well, I refuse to wait. If you ask me, President Obama is one of the greatest commander-in-chiefs to take office, and he is past due some credit and some respect. Here’s why:

He has drastically cut the unemployment rate. For those who have never been unemployed, consider yourself extremely blessed because it can be one of the most discouraging predicaments to be in. Unemployment has dropped from 10.1 percent in October 2009 to 5.1 percent by the spring of 2015. This translates to more than 12 million new jobs.

He was the first U.S. President ever to visit a federal prison, as his administration is making it a priority to target criminal justice reform. The United States has the largest prison population in the world, weighing in at 2.3 million men and women. Of those millions of men and women, 1 million are African American. Earlier this month, President Obama commuted the sentences of 46 drug offenders. According to CNN, he has commuted more sentences than any president since Lyndon B. Johnson. As President Obama put it, “I believe that at its heart, America is a nation of second chances, and I believe these folks deserve their second chance.”

The President has established a clemency initiative that allows commutation for men and women serving prison sentences for outdated laws. One common offense is marijuana possession. Too many of our people are serving major sentences–including life–for minor crimes, and President Obama has started working to make changes for a more fair and effective criminal justice system.

Walking into office, President Obama inherited the mess left over from the Bush administration. The country was in a recession, and we were at war with Iraq. President Obama ended the war, and troops have been steadily removed from Afghanistan. And I know you haven’t forgotten about Osama Bin Laden…

We haven’t had any successful attacks in the United States from international terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, aside from the Boston Marathon bombing (the Tsarnaevs were heavily influenced by the group). In fact, our international relations have improved vastly since President Obama took office. Who knew we would ever rebuild our relationship with Cuba?

Obamacare has severely divided parties, but the facts are available in plain sight. About 16.4 million Americans have insurance due to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. That’s 16 million people who can now get care from a physician, pay reasonable prices for their medication, and have the surgery they may need to save their lives. Before, if an uninsured person fell ill and needed emergency room care, taxpayers would have to pay their medical bills. The Affordable Care Act gives people access to the healthcare we need, stabilizes Medicare for seniors, and saves taxpayers billions of dollars.

Gas prices have cut into the budget of every American citizen. “You got gas money?” at one point went from a running joke to a serious plea. Average gas prices a few years ago rose as high as $4.11 per gallon during the Bush administration. A lot of the increase in price was due to the country’s dependency on foreign oil. President Obama has cut that dependency and the U.S. now produces and exports a great deal of petroleum. Whether you want to admit it or not, gas prices are continuing to decrease, with the average for regular grade gas being $2.94 per gallon.

President Obama helped to revive the auto industry; froze White House salaries; bailed out the banks; helped families save their homes; improved the housing market; increased lending to small businesses; saved over 30,000 education jobs; banned “gifts” from lobbyists to the executive branch; reformed Wall Street; ordered execs who took bailout money to pay it back; extended benefits for same-sex couples, legalized marriage for same-sex couples; established a White House Council on Women and Girls; repealed “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”; reestablished a partnership with NATO; released Bush torture memos; banned Bush torture policies; improved veterans’ services; increased student financial aid; reformed the student loan and loan forgiveness program; and oversaw expansion in K-12 schools nationwide. And the list goes on.

Yet in our community you will always hear “What has Obama done for Black people?”

Everything.

He hasn’t been a perfect president by any means, and there is much to be done about police brutality and other major issues plaguing us. But every program, every initiative, and every piece of legislation the Black community can and has benefited from. Everything from unemployment and healthcare to appointing the most diverse cabinet of men and women of both African and Hispanic descent to make up his administration. But most importantly, President Obama has carried himself with the utmost dignity and respect in the midst of a most vile and egotistical Congress. Something we should all be proud of. If there is something that you want to see happen, don’t wait for it to trickle down from the federal level. Go out into your community and work for your community. And by all means, exercise your right to vote for better city and state level officials, because that’s where change begins.

Again, if you ask me, President Obama should be commended for his tenacity and dedication to serving the very people who disservice him. He is the prototype of what an American president should be. Thank you, sir. For everything.

President Obama On The Media: “Some Get On My Nerves More Than Others”

July 22nd, 2015 - By Tonya Garcia
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President Obama paid a final visit to The Daily Show before Jon Stewart steps down on August 6. And during the visit, which took up the entirety of the 30-minute program, he touched on everything from his relationship with the media, to the nuclear deal with Iran, to the successes of the Affordable Care Act.

At a time when the news revolves around the latest offense caused by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, the President talked about what he sees as the issues with the media and what his administration’s relationship with them was like.

“What I’m most concerned about is not that it’s unfair or too tough on government … but that it gets distracted to shiny objects and doesn’t always focus on the big tough choices and decisions,” he said. No mention specifically of any news outlet but he did say that he likes some more than others. Make of that what you will. Ahem.

He also noted that some of the problems with the relationship had to do with the old ways in which the White House press office operated, an issue that came up when he talked about the improvements in services to veterans, which are discussed in the extended clip above.

But it wasn’t all serious. He did propose an executive order to keep Jon Stewart on the show. And says after seven years on the job, he’s finally “figured this thing out.”

“Obviously we’ve been through a kinds of ups and downs,” the President said, by way of explaining how the hard work done at the beginning of his term is finally coming to fruition in a lot of areas, including with healthcare, “When the Supreme Court finally says definitively we can move forward with this, there was a lot of euphoria, but we’d already gotten 16 million people health insurance.”

He says there’s still a lot of work left to do in his final year, for instance in the area of climate change.

Click here for the full broadcast interview and for the other portion of the extended interview.

WATCH: Obama Sings “Amazing Grace” At Charleston’s Eulogy

June 27th, 2015 - By Courtney Whitaker
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President Barack Obama is truly unlike any other president we have seen in the office.

This past Friday, President Obama sang “Amazing Grace” at the funeral of Rev. Clementa Pinckey. CNN Reports,

The President’s speech will be remembered for a moment at the end when he launched into a solo of “Amazing Grace,” that at first stunned the mourners and then brought them to their feet as they joined him in song.

“As a nation, out of this terrible tragedy, God has visited grace upon us for he has allowed us to see where we’ve been blind,” Obama said. “He’s given us the chance, where we’ve been lost, to find our best selves.”

The President’s remarks at times felt like a sermon, with organ chords backing him during some of the most impassioned passages. The mostly African-American crowd was, at the end of the eulogy, on its feet, clapping and cheering Obama as he named each victim of the church shooting and declaring each “had grace.”

Take a look at the President’s solo.

Do You Really Need Camouflage In Missouri? Obama De-Militarizes Police Forces

May 19th, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Police in riot gear facing protesters in St. Louis. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Police in riot gear facing protesters in St. Louis. Scott Olson/Getty Images

You would think that police officers are battling ISIS with their access to grenade launchers, armored vehicles, and camouflage uniforms. President Obama is cracking down on the militarization of America’s police force and yanking those bayonets right out of their hands, Quartz reports.

The White House announced that police access to certain military equipment will be banned.  Public outrage took off when images revealed by news media showed local police forces confronting protesters in heavy military gear. Quartz points out that the lines between police and military operations were beginning to blur — especially in minority communities.

“We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force, as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them,” the AP quotes Obama, nine months after the Ferguson, MO protests. “It can alienate and intimidate local residents and send the wrong message,” he added.

On Monday, in Camden, NJ, Obama announced his move to demilitarize local police forces.

Under his order, tracked armored vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers, weaponized aircraft and vehicles, and large-caliber firearms and ammunition will no longer be provided to state and local police.

There is an exception, though. According to Quartz, “law enforcement agencies that meet certain standards for training—including policies in place for better relations with their communities—will be able to obtain certain controlled surplus items.”

(Media Matters notes the overstatement on Fox News. Obama is not “disarming” the police.)

Still, it’s a step in the right direction for critics who protested against police militarization, which rose into prominence last year with the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Acknowledging the outcry, Obama announced that he would order a review of the programs that provide the heavy military gear.

The review, published in December, found that five federal agencies spent $18 billion on military equipment, including 5,235 Humvees, 617 mine-resistant vehicles and 616 aircraft, according to AP.

The White House defended the expenses, arguing that the armory is useful in terrorism cases such as the Boston Marathon bombing.

Though POTUS is rescinding access to military gear, he’s pushing for police forces to wear body cameras to “increase accountability,” Quartz said.

Empty Pockets? President Obama Has Just $1,001 In His Savings Account

May 19th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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(Photo by Ron Sachs - Pool/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ron Sachs – Pool/Getty Images)

This may be hard to believe, but President Obama only has $1,001 in his savings account, according to current financial records recently released.

Obama’s annual financial disclosure report reveals just one only savings accounts, a “JP Morgan Chase Private Client Asset Mgmt Savings Account.” And his balance is just $1,000.

But don’t go thinking the Obamas are poor. Actually the President and the First Lady have put most of their earnings toward their daughters’ education. They have saved between $200,000 and $400,000 for Sasha and Malia to go to college. Add to this the the First Couple has more than $1 million in Treasury bills.

In all the President Obama has an estimated net worth of nearly $7 million, reports AOL. This is an increase from the $1.3 million he had in 2007. In fact, it is a 438% increase in net worth.

The Obamas also have personal properties, which were worth around $1.7 million. In December 2000, they paid $885,000 in cash and secured a $1.95 million mortgage for another home. But some experts say this was a bad financial move.

“The Obamas are throwing away thousands of dollars each year on a high-rate 30 year mortgage loan that hasn’t been refinanced since 2005. The President and First Lady are paying 5.625 per cent interest on the loan for their Chicago home, and owe between $500,001 and $1,000,000 on the note,” reports The Daily Mail. “Assuming only a half-million dollar loan, the Obamas are paying $2,879 per month on their home. They could be paying $2,335.”

But as far as top-earning White House couples go, Bill Clinton is considered the wealthiest president. He and Hillary’s combined net worth reached around $55 million, reports 24/7 Wall Street. And when Bill left the White House, according to 1999/2000 records the couple had as much as $15,000 in savings.