All Articles Tagged "Obama"

Will President Obama’s State of the Union Address Ease Americans’ Worries About The Inequality Gap?

January 25th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Even though the Great Recession came to an end almost five years ago, in June 2009, the gap between the rich and poor is growing at such an alarming rate that President Obama will highlight economic inequality as a priority during his State of the Union Address on Tuesday.

Amazingly, this is one thing all sides of the aisle agree on. Sixty-one percent of Republicans, 68 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of independents think the gap is widening and has to be addressed, reports USA Today.

And two-thirds of people surveyed in a new USA Today/Pew Research Center Poll, feel the gap is increasing. There is hard evidence: The wealthiest one percent of Americans saw its share of income double from less than 10 percent in 1980 to nearly 20 percent now. Even though the economy is improving, conditions are not improving for Americans across the board. About six in 10 people revealed in the poll that their family income is lagging behind the cost of living. Another third say they are just breaking even. Only seven percent feel they are ahead.

But Americans don’t just want talk. They want action. An overwhelming 82 percent want the government to reduce poverty. The President is expect to lay out his plan during the speech.

Obama says he understands the concerns. Last month during a speech he warned that higher inequality and lessening upward mobility “pose a fundamental threat to the American dream, our way of life and what we stand for around the globe.”

One way to improve conditions would be through an increased minimum wage, which Obama is pushing for and several states have already adopted. Seventy-three of those polled favor the minimum wage boost from $7.25 an hour to $10.10. They–63 percent–also want federal benefits for the long-term unemployed to be extended. Unfortunately, these proposals have both stalled in Congress.

People are divided on government aid to the poor. Some 49 percent agree government aid allows people to escape poverty. But 44 percent, say it makes people too dependent on government assistance.

However, only a third surveyed back the traditional Republican view that the private sector must step up. Instead  54 percent say increasing taxes on the wealthy and corporations to support programs for the poor would reduce poverty.

Despite the obvious inequality, Americans still believe in the American dream, found the USA Today survey. Sixty percent continue to believe that if you work hard, you will be rewarded. But a majority complain the country’s economic system “unfairly favors the wealthy.” Still about half say those who are rich are so because they worked harder, not due to more advantages in life.

And Americans  don’t blame the poor: “By 50 percent-35 percent, they say poverty is generally a result of circumstances beyond a person’s control, not a lack of effort,” reports USA Today.

Despite the optimism, Americans want the gap closed. Wages have been stagnant for 10 or more years and millions remain unemployed. All of this has hurt Obama’s job-approval rating.  Less than half of Americans– 43 percent–approve; 49 percent say he’s doing poorly. This is the lowest his approval rating in the Pew poll  since 2009, when Obama was first inaugurated. Just a year ago, he had a 52 percent approval rating.

What do you want to hear in Obama’s State of the Union speech?

Idris Elba Spills The Tea On Who The Hottest Actresses Are In His Book

November 11th, 2013 - By Madame Noire
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Brian To/WENN.com

Brian To/WENN.com

 

From Black Voices 

Among today’s talented crop of actors, many don’t have the prestige to boast about their unique connection to both America’s first black president, Barack Obama, and also South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela.

But if you’re Idris Elba, such bragging rights come with the territory as one of Hollywood’s leading black actors.

Later this month, the Golden Globe Award-winner will star as the famed South African leader in his highly-anticipated biopic, “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”The Weinstein Company release will top another successful year for the 41-year-old, who also took on the lead role in Toyota’s latest spy-themed advertising campaign, “Only the Name Remains,” and starred in the recently concluded season of BBC’s popular crime drama series, “Luther.”

And though he’s reluctant to address recent rumors regarding his love life, the transcontinental heart throb opened up to The Huffington Post about his latest roles, in addition to an update on his health.

How did you get involved with Toyota’s “Only the Name Remains” campaign?

That campaign was a very successful fruit of a relationship between myself and an advertising agency called Burrell. I’ve had a relationship with them and we’ve been trying to find the right sort of thing to do and this Toyota opportunity came by. They know I like cars and they knew that it would be a good fit for me in a campaign like that. So we sat down and talked about what the ideas were and before you know it we had this really great director that came on board and fleshed out the vision for it and the rest is history.

Were you inspired by any spy characters to portray the role?

No, not really. The inspiration was making the car look good and making the characters believable. That was the inspiration. I think the director’s inspiration was obviously the great spy movies, from “James Bond” to “Bourne,” all these films that have this sort of character. For me, I love to drive and some of those stunt sequences I did myself. So I was really excited to have that opportunity.

It’s ironic that you’re portraying a spy throughout the campaign, because it’s been rumored that you may very well go on to become the first black James Bond. Are there any updates on the role?

There’s no truth to that at all, brother. It’s a massive rumor. But, I don’t think that was intentional from my behalf, the whole spy, James Bond thing. The script and the storyline in the commercial was just so well presented that I wasn’t thinking about that rumor.

How did it feel to have President Obama host you at the White House for your Mandela screening?

I mean really, that was a great feeling. That was such a great moment for me to have the opportunity to present that film to the president. The president has oftentimes spoke very, very highly of Mr. Mandela and regards him as a friend and speaks of him fondly. So I felt very proud to play the character and be able to present it to Barack, who loves to watch films. And he has said to me in the past, “You’re one of my favorite actors.” Which is a great, great compliment.

Also, the fact that both of these men are so unique. Mr. Mandela was the first black president in South Africa and Obama being the first black president here, and somehow Idris Elba is connected between these two men. And that really does fill me with a lot of pride.

Read more at BlackVoices.com 

Happy Black Girl News: President Obama Appoints Shonda Rhimes As Trustee For The Kennedy Center

September 27th, 2013 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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WENN.com

WENN.com

 

 

From BlackVoices 

President Barack Obama is appointing the woman behind the television series “Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” to the Kennedy Center’s board of trustees.

Shonda Rhimes is a Golden Globe winner and three-time Emmy nominee. Her show “Scandal” stars actress Kerry Washington, a major Obama supporter.

Read more at BlackVoices.com 

They Look The Part: Our Actor Picks For Biopics That Need To Be Made

September 25th, 2013 - By Meghan Reid
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There have been many times when a biopic was made and you wondered how a particular actor got the lead role. You know, you said something like,”they look nothing alike” or “they can’t even act,” that’s why if we could be in the director’s chair these would be our 15 actor picks for biopics.

Actor Picks For Biopics

Sources: thirstyroots.com/WENN

Zoe Saldana as Phylicia Rashad

Zoe Saldana sure doesn’t look like Nina Simone, but if a director ever casts for a young Phylicia Rashad—she’s it! No word that there is a biopic on Mrs. Cosby, but it would be great to see. Phylicia Rashad’s poise and elegance can surely be pulled off by Zoe.

Don’t Believe The Hype: Obamacare Actually Helps Grow Jobs, Not Stifle Them

August 30th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

“Obamacare kills jobs!” naysayers screech. Affordable Care Act (ACA) cynics often point to Forever 21, which has already cut its employees’ hours, as an example of the horrors Obamacare may bring. But all the yapping about the detriments of Obamacare is just stifling the truth: “Despite claims to the contrary, Obamacare hasn’t constrained growth in hiring or work hours,” Marketplace reports.

Yes, that’s right. In fact, research has shown that many job sectors are showing growth under Obamacare. HR positions, for example, are seeing more job openings. If employers don’t correctly comply with the ACA, they can be fined up to $3,000 per worker. To avoid any costly blunders, they’re going to need workers to keep track of health expenses and employee hours.

“[Obamacare] adds new gravity to monitoring the amount of hours that people work, and being more diligent about awarding overtime hours, and making sure employees stay within additional limits,” said Michael Rynowecer, president of BTI Consulting.

Also under the ACA, hospitals can only use electronic methods to organize patient information. It’s going to be a complete pain in the you-know-what to transfer paper reports into digital data. As a result, more employers are looking for computer programmers to do all the dirty work. Engineers and techies are currently on the radar for hiring managers.

Along with tech workers, lawyers will be needed because—in all honesty—who the heck wants to read the complex mumbo jumbo that the ACA is comprised of? Ain’t nobody got time for that! “Everybody’s in sort of a muddle about it, so there is going to be an army of people at least in the short-term trying to figure out what people are supposed to be doing,” said Jon Osborne, from Staffing Industry Analysts. Employers are expected to spend $6 million, up from five percent in 2012, on attorneys to decipher Obamacare’s rules.

Customer service workers who will help the uninsured understand the complexities of the system they will soon be expected to purchase their insurance from are in demand. There are 8,000 job listings for medical billing coders. And, most obvious, healthcare is booming. Doctors, nursing assistants, fitness coaches, and occupational therapists all considered some of the fastest growing professions under the ACA.

With statistics emerging about growth, it’s mind-boggling how ACA detractors can condition a large population to believe invalidated claims. Okay, so Forever 21 is reducing full-time employees, but they’ve admitted that Obamacare had nothing to do with it. “Economists cannot seem to find any effect of the ACA on part-time work,” Media Matters said. So how is Obamacare a jobkiller again?

New Slaves? Obama Blames Kanye & Kim For Distorting American Dream

August 9th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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President Obama has come down hard on Kanye West again.

In the past Obama has called the rapper to task, even calling him a “jackass” on two separate occasions, reports Business Insider.

Now Obama has used KimYe as examples of a warped American dream.

During a recent interview with David Blum for Kindle Singles, Blum asks the president about the American dream: “Part of the American dream — even if you’re poor, or lower-middle class — involves yearning for tangible things you can’t afford. Were there things, when you were growing up, that you yearned for that you couldn’t afford?”

Obama answered that the American dream used to be simpler: an education, a steady job, a home, and family. “There was not that window into the lifestyles of the rich and famous.”

Then the President added it was a simpler time when “kids weren’t monitoring every day what Kim Kardashian was wearing, or where Kanye West was going on vacation, and thinking that somehow that was the mark of success.”

According to Obama, with more access to celebrities and fame, a “change in culture” has occurred, distorting how many young Americans view success.

As we recently reported, the obsession with successful entertainers and their lavish lifestyle leaves out a large segment of the population.

“Between billionaire and pauper there exists a middle ground that is rarely celebrated. As much as America claims to love its middle class, this country was built on the promise that you could escape it. Or bypass it altogether. We always want more; we always want the most.  It’s a sentiment that is strengthened in communities where walking, talking reality checks are absent. Where doing good work, taking care of your family and enjoying life isn’t celebrated as the ultimate success,” we wrote.

What do you think of the President’s comments?

Nelson Mandela’s Eldest Daughter Fed Up With The Media, Calls Them Racist

July 1st, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Nelson Mandela surrounded by celebs, including Will Smith, at a 2008 birthday concert in London. Credit: Daniel Deme / WENN

Nelson Mandela surrounded by celebs, including Will Smith, at a 2008 birthday concert in London. Credit: Daniel Deme / WENN

With a chaotic media frenzy crowding the hospital that houses former South African President Nelson Mandela, his oldest daughter Makaziwe is fed up. She simply wants the media, who are anxious to snap newsworthy photos and grab juicy interviews, to leave her ailing father in peace, reports the Huffington Post.

“Vultures” is what she called the foreign media in a South African interview. Makaziwe looked down on them for invading the privacy of her revolutionary anti-apartheid leader father.

“They are standing right there in the aisle,” she told the interviewer. “You cannot even enter [the] hospital and you can’t even go out of the hospital because they are making themselves such a nuisance.”

Makaziwe adds that if people truly care about Mandela, then they should respect him. She went so far as to refer to the media as “racist.” She notes that the media didn’t react so intensely for the death of Margaret Thatcher—a former White British prime minister. “I don’t know how people come here and violate everything,” she said in International Business Times. “When Margaret Thatcher was sick in [the] hospital, I didn’t see this kind of media frenzy where people crossed boundaries.”

She likened the media to the animal world — lurkers who wait for the lion to devour the buffalo, “waiting there for the last of the carcass,” The Week added.

While President Barack Obama was traveling to South Africa yesterday, he and the First Lady met with members of Mandela’s family. In accordance with their wishes, he didn’t visit Mandela in the hospital.

“I expressed my hope that Madiba draws peace and comfort from the time that he is spending with loved ones, and also expressed my heartfelt support for the entire family as they work through this difficult time. I also reaffirmed the profound impact that his legacy has had in building a free South Africa, and in inspiring people around the world – including me,” said the President in a statement.

On the condition of her father, Makaziwe says that “it doesn’t look good, I’m not going to lie,” in the interview. This is contrary to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s recent statement about Mandela showing improvement. But, according to Makaziwe, “when you touch him, he responds and I think for us, as his progeny, as long as [Mandela] is still responding…I think that gives us hope.”

Even as Mandela clings to life, the family drama continues, with his grandson Mandla (who’s also the chief of the Mvezo area in the Eastern Cape Province) fighting to have the bodies of three of Mandela’s deceased children moved. The family dispute was prompted by Mandela’s request to be buried next to them, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Should African Americans Discuss The Issue Of Absent Black Fathers Publicly?

June 11th, 2013 - By Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond
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Center for Urban Families founder Joseph T. Jones with President Obama.

Center for Urban Families founder Joseph T. Jones with President Obama. via The White House

 

When Barack Obama gave a 2008 Father’s Day speech to the congregation of Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, he spoke frankly on the subject of absent fathers in the black community. Echoing some of what Bill Cosby said in his viral “Pound Cake” speech to the NAACP in 2004, then-candidate Obama lamented: “Too many fathers… have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men.”

Citing statistics that show 64 percent of black children are raised in homes where the father is absent, he pointed out that children who grow up in households headed by a single mother are more likely to drop out of school, commit crime, go to prison, et-depressing-cetera.

Obama put it bluntly: “The foundations of our community and country are weaker because of this,” adding, “We can’t simply write these problems off to past injustices. Those injustices are real… but we can’t keep on using that as an excuse.”

Many cringed at his candor. Jesse Jackson famously criticized Obama for the speech, saying the candidate was “talking down to black people.” Jackson immediately apologized for the remarks (ironically meant for a private conversation that had been caught on a mic), and profusely expressed in a subsequent news conference, “I don’t want harm nor hurt to come to this campaign.”

Close ranks. Yank the dirty laundry off the line. End scene.

Just weeks ago, Obama repeated many of the sentiments articulated in his Father’s Day speech in a commencement address at Morehouse College. I have to admit, before reading the speech for myself, I was irritated by some of the soundbytes that buzzed across Facebook, Twitter and various blogs. Specifically, I was concerned the President’s remarks about fatherlessness to a class of graduating black men—men who had defied the stereotype—could be twisted in the public sphere, and used to support the caricature of pathological blackness many Americans still have.

Again, this fear—my fear—of dirty laundry.

But airing the laundry for all to see is a necessary step to correcting the problem, says Joseph T. Jones, Jr., founder of the Baltimore-based Center for Urban Families. “The problem is so massive that we can no longer have private conversations,” Jones explains. “We need other people to be engaged in this conversation.”

Career Redemption: Susan Rice Didn’t Become Secretary Of State, Will Be Appointed National Security Adviser

June 5th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

Susan Rice, the UN Ambassador that caused a firestorm of controversy over the handling of the tragedy in Benghazi and had to withdraw from the running to become Secretary of State, is now going to be appointed national security adviser. The move is being seen as a “defiant gesture” by the White House towards Republicans who had Rice in their cross hairs. It’s also shows that even when it looks like, professionally, things are going in the wrong direction, redemption could be on the way.

Rice had been rumored to take the spot months ago. The current national security adviser, Tom Donilon, had planned to leave before the start of President Obama’s second term, but stayed on to help with the new additions to the foreign relations team, namely Secretary of State John Kerry Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and CIA director John O. Brennan.

According to The New York Times, Donilon has been the source of some recent controversy over reports about the poor workplace dynamic between he and his colleagues. Donilon, who steps down in July, is credited with a number of foreign relations achievements, most prominently, in Asia.

Even after the firestorm over her actions and comments in the aftermath of the attack in Benghazi (the incident is still being investigated and nothing has shows that Rice did anything imprudent), President Obama continued to stand by Susan Rice. Aside from that she has served as a trusted confidante to the President, is a Rhodes Scholar, and served as the senior director of African affairs under President Clinton. So, yes, very qualified. And for this job, she doesn’t need Senate approval. So there isn’t much Congressional Republicans can do to stop this.

President Obama is also expected to appoint Samantha Power, a Pulitzer Prize winning human rights expert, to take Rice’s post.

News Flash! The GOP Is Unpopular With Large Swaths Of The Voting Population

June 5th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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It’s no secret that as 2016’s presidential election approaches, Republicans need to lure African Americans, Hispanic voters, a growing minority, and other racial groups to the right to have any chance of winning. Unfortunately for the GOP, there are other alarming members of the populace that may foreshadow their failure in the next election.

Single mothers, who are overwhelmingly Democratic, are on the rise, according to the The Washington Post. A half a century ago, unmarried single mothers only represented less than one percent of America. Currently, a report by the Pew Research Center says, mommies who have children out of wedlock constitute 11 percent of the United States.

The last presidential election with Obama emerging as victorious sent unnerving shockwaves through the GOP. There was a revelation that appealing solely to White and rural-dwelling voters was not sufficient. The changing demographics of the United States are posing a threat to Republicans in office across the country.

Back in 2008, Obama gained 74 percent of the single mom vote. Now with the steady increase of moms raising kids on their own, the number of women  expected to vote in favor of the Democrats for the next presidential race is climbing as well.

These never-married single moms are generally African American or Latina and under the age of 30. It is certainly no surprise that Blacks and Hispanics heavily supported Democrats as exit polls demonstrated last year; the real shocker lies in the fact that white single moms are beginning to lean towards the left as well.

Among white single mothers, 56 percent voted for Obama while a feeble 43 percent favored Romney. Single mothers of all races who had a household income of less than $50,000 supported Obama with 79 percent of their votes.

Not only are single moms gaining potency in the presidential race, but young voters are as well. Exit polls of 2004 demonstrated that Republicans (under Bush) won 45 percent of young voters between the ages of 18 and 29 years old. In 2012, Obama had 60 percent of the young population’s vote in that same age range, according to CNN.

Republican activists acknowledge that the reasons behind the GOP’s failure to attract more voters lie in seeming closed-minded, Republican voices having no filter, according to a report on Politico. A recent political and economic study by The College Republican National Committee that looked at polls for the groups we’ve discussed here shows that, on economic matters,“We’ve become the party that will pat you on your back when you make it, but won’t offer you a hand to help you get there.”

Do you think the GOP stands a chance in winning 2016’s election with an evolving American demographic?

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