All Articles Tagged "President Obama"
Barack Obama is arguably the funniest president ever. You may disagree with his policies, but you can’t deny his comedic timing! He’s definitely got the gift of the silver tongue and it’s helped him become a two-term president. Obama’s snappy comebacks — and even his hilarious facial expressions — never seem to disappoint when it comes to tickling America’s funny bone.
Even with all the BS happening in Congress, our President shows that he can still be lighthearted and full of laughs. From brushing his shoulders off (a la Jay Z) to explaining to a fourth-grader why people hate him, Obama has created numerous memorable moments that have left all of us chuckling.
He’s not always joking around. The image at left is a case in point. But he does know when to lighten up. “I laugh all the time,” Obama says, “…part of the way you survive the stress of the White House is being able to laugh.” Here’s a list of our favorite funny Obama moments.
‘What’s It Like To Be The Last Black President?’ Obama Sits ‘Between Two Ferns’ With Zach Galifianakis
Update: This clip has generated 5.6 million views in just one day. And, according to the White House senior communications advisor on healthcare Tara McGuinness, it’s the top referral source for today. As Mediaite points out, those people (presumably young people) need to enroll for it to make a difference. So far 19,000 people have followed the link from the video to Healthcare.gov, a .6 percent conversion rate. That’s definitely not great, but it’s also been a work day. Optimistically, we’re going to say that many people will want to be at home after hours before they start this process. So a bigger outcome awaits.
Much has been made about President Obama’s past appearances on Jimmy Fallon, The View, and other shows where he gets to talk a little policy and show his charisma.
But it was a shock to everyone this morning when we were treated to a clip of President Obama sitting on the web series “Between Two Ferns,” hosted by Hangover star Zach Galifianakis. The comedy show, which is housed on the Funny or Die website, is a send-off of traditional, though low-budget, talk shows, with Galifianakis asking celebrities awkward questions and otherwise making us laugh and cringe at the same time. Among the questions he asks Obama are, “What’s it like to be the last black President?” To which President Obama says, “If I ran a third time, it would be sort of like doing a third Hangover movie. It didn’t really work out very well, did it?” Zing!
And on whether or not the President is a nerd: “Do you think a woman like Michelle would marry a nerd?” To which Galifianakis asks if he can speak with her about it. “No way,” responds the President. “I’m not letting her near you.” Hi-lar-ious.
But really, the point is to push the President’s healthcare program. There are just a few weeks left for people to enroll, and the program will work best if younger people participate. Obama’s appearance is a direct appeal to this audience who are familiar with and fans of “Between Two Ferns.”
According to The New York Times, there was much discussion about whether this was a step to far in an attempt to reach the target audience. Of course, there are critics of this tactic, with Bill Clinton’s press secretary Mike McCurry worrying about the “dignity of the presidency” with this appearance. Given the way media is today — and the fact that the presidency has been compromised long ago — this could be just the thing that will drive this demographic to the Healthcare.gov site.
[via The Daily Beast]
From Black Enterprise
The battleground has been set for the 113thCongress with partisan polarization at its peak and November 2014 re-elections looming. The ongoing bickering among lawmakers has earned this Congress a “do-nothing” label. At the end of 2013, 56 bills had been signed into law in the first session of the 113th Congress. Add the fact that in October, the federal government had its first partial shutdown in nearly two decades.
A CNN/ORC International poll revealed that nearly three-quarters of the public say that this has been the worst Congress in their lifetime. Assuming legislators don’t pick up the pace this year, this will become the least productive Congress in at least the last 40 years, according to a CNN analysis of congressional records. Lawmakers must find a way to reach across the aisle to achieve any real progress although the House of Representatives (out of session until Feb. 26) is more divided than the Senate (back in session today), according to political pundits.
President Obama, in the first of potentially many executive actions tied to his State of the Union address, signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour, from $7.25. The President said like many presidents before him he would issue executive orders to address pressing issues that fall within his range of responsibility.
BlackEnterprise.com talked to political analysts to weigh in on the most pressing political issues for 2014 that will greatly affect the lives of all Americans, especially African Americans.
Click here to read on at BlackEnterprise.com.
Somewhere John Travolta is wiping his brow since The President’s recent spelling mistake may have taken the spotlight away from him butchering Idina Menzel’s name at the Academy Awards last weekend.
Aretha Franklin, Melissa Etheridge and Patti Labelle were just a few of the guests honored at a celebration honoring the Women of Soul at the White House on Thursday hosted by the POTUS and FLOTUS. President Obama introduced Franklin’s 1967 “RESPECT” saying,
“When Aretha first told us what R-S-P-E-C-T meant to her, she had no idea it would become a rallying cry for African-Americans and women and then anyone who felt marginalized.”
So maybe spelling wasn’t our President’s favorite subject, but the man was President of the Harvard Law Review…cut him some slack. It’s obvious he recognizes the flub as the crowd erupts in laughter, but being the boss he is he continues with the tribute anyway.
Check out The President’s minor spelling mistake around the 3:25 mark below:
Last week, President Obama had this to say in a speech to introduce his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which brings together private philanthropic foundations, businesses, state and local leadership, the religious community, and nonprofit organizations for the purpose of helping black and other boys of color, particularly those facing “tough odds,” reach their fullest potential:
“And I believe the continuing struggles of so many boys and young men, the fact that too many of them are falling by the wayside, dropping out, unemployed, involved in negative behavior, going to jail, being profiled, this is a moral issue for our country. It’s also an economic issue for our country. After all, these boys are a growing segment of our population. They are our future workforce.When generation after generation they lag behind, our economy suffers. Our family structure suffers. Our civic life suffers. Cycles of hopelessness breeds violence and mistrust, and our country’s a little less than what we know it can be. So, we need to change the statistics, not just for the sake of the young men and boys but for the sake of America’s future.”
Black feminist and political activist Frances Beal once noted, “Since our arrival on these alien shores, the black woman has been subjected to the worst kinds of exploitation and oppression.” However, you wouldn’t be able to tell that based upon the fact that so much emphasis is placed on black boys and the value we place on their success as a community.
I don’t mean to sound curt but I am quite over the narrative, which places black boys at the central of what ails – as well as what will fix – the community. Black men are no more or less hindered by “tough odds” than black women. Likewise, black men are no more or less dinged and obstructed by racism. And yet, when it’s time to put forth meaningful efforts meant at addressing the downtrodden and disadvantaged in our community, for black women and girls (in particular, funding for black women and girls) are often left out of the equation.
And I say this as somewhat of a fan of the president’s new charitable endeavor. At least he chose black boys. He could have chosen building houses or wheeling and dealing in Haiti like other ex-presidential pet projects. And at least there is some money behind it – at a minimum, $200 million. But I would be wrong if I didn’t point out this report, which shows that while donations to foundations for women and girls have grown at a rate faster than foundation giving as a whole, it still remains below 7.5 percent of all of overall foundation giving – and it has been like that for well over a decade and a half.
As noted by Brittany Cooper in her essay, Black girls’ zero-sum struggle: Why we lose when black boys dominate the discourse:
“I wish that black men — Barack Obama included — had the kind of social analysis that saw our struggles as deeply intertwined.
According to the African American Policy Forum, black girls are suspended at a higher rate than all other girls and white and Latino boys. Sixty-seven percent of black girls reported feelings of sadness or hopelessness for more than two weeks straight compared to 31 percent of white girls and 40 percent of Latinas. Single black women have the lowest net wealth of any group, topping out at $100. Single black men by contrast have an average net wealth of $7,900 and single white women have an average net wealth of $41,500. Fifty-five percent of black women (and black men) have never been married, compared to 34 percent for white women.
This situation is dire at every level. But perhaps the most troubling thing of all: The report indicates that while over 100 million philanthropic dollars have been spent in the last decade creating mentoring and educational initiatives for black and brown boys, less than a million dollars has been given to the study of black and brown girls!”
If you still had doubts about how little we tend to value black women and girls, there it is in dollars and in cents. On the flip side, we spend all this money on “saving our sons” and yet our sons are still in crisis mode. Consider this fairly recent report by The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Economic Mobility Project, which asserts that 68 percent of African Americans reared in the middle of the wealth ladder will not do as well as the previous generation – that compared to 30 percent of whites. I point to that particular study to show that black people still find themselves disenfranchised to whites, even when they are not going to jail or dropping out of school or being absent parents. And obviously there is something else going on her– like systematic racism.
And that’s one of my biggest problems with the “save the black man” ideology, because it puts the burden of change on the back of the victims – or at least half of the victims (the other half is invisible) – while completely ignoring other more worthwhile change-making pursuits, which would help not just black men and boys, but the equally burdened fairer sex as well. Pursuits like policy changes that address the systematic racism and inherent sexism – both of which are imperative to fix “for the sake of America’s future.”
Today, President Obama will announce a new task force aimed at helping at-risk men and boys of color called “My Brother’s Keeper,” an initiative that will bring together the leaders of a dozen nonprofits in a show of support. Michael Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Ford Foundation, Magic Johnson and other notable organizations will be in the East Room of the White House to announce the $200 million program. The money will be spent over the next five years, going towards early-childhood development, parenting, school readiness and discipline, the justice system, and educational opportunities. The plan is to move forward with programs that have a proven track record of success. The White House would also like to see companies and organizations step forward to offer mentoring opportunities.
The President and First Lady both became interested in this topic after the Trayvon Martin shooting.
“It’s something that’s deeply personal to the President and First Lady. I’m sure their commitment to this initiative will be a lifelong commitment. This is not something they simply want to do while he’s in office — it will continue,” Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to the President, has said.
For now, Broderick Johnson, Cabinet secretary and the President’s assistant, will lead up the initiative.
“Young black men persistently lag behind other groups in high school graduation rates and employment, and, as White House officials point out, they are six times more likely than their white peers to be murdered,” reports Yahoo News.
The New York Times notes that the President has taken some heat for what some say is the “languishing” of the black community during Obama’s two terms.
“The data is going to indicate sadly that when the Obama administration is over, black people will have lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category. On that regard, the President ought to be held responsible,” Tavis Smiley said on Fox News.
However, the President has been faced with a largely Republican opposition that has gutted, rejected, or simply failed to address a number of policies and proposals that would strengthen and fund programs that would do exactly what “My Brother’s Keeper” will. The President spoke about the need for universal pre-kindergarten during his State of the Union address, has vowed to bring back the losses from the Voting Rights Act and the Justice Department is working to lower the mandatory sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.
Following in Olivia Pope’s footsteps (sans the Scandal), you can find yourself working in Washington D.C.! The White House is offering internships to undergraduate and graduate Black students who have a passion for advancing education in the African American community, DallasWeekly reports.
This special opportunity is spearheaded by the White House Initiative’s Year-round Internship Program. The organization gives African-Americans the chance — through an unpaid summer internship — to learn about African-American-focused education policies at D.C.’s U.S. Department of Education.
The program was launched by President Barack Obama in July of 2012 “to improve educational opportunities for African American students and increase overall rates for students completing college,” DallasWeekly adds.
Their ideal applicant, according to the U.S. Department of Education, has a good grip on WordPress, HTML coding, Adobe Photoshop (or Illustrator) and Microsoft Office programs, is a team player, punctual, and has excellent communication skills.
You’ll get to join in on strategic planning for meetings, briefings, and/or local events, create fact-sheets, presentations, or talking-points, update the Initiative’s Twitter, blog, and site, respond to constituent inquiries (either verbally or in writing), greet and escort guests to meetings and more.
“In addition, opportunities for developmental growth are encouraged, such as interviewing senior Department officials and officials from external organizations, and attending internal/external presentations and briefings related to African American education,” The US Department of Education adds.
You have until March 15th to apply for this Summer 2014 internship. You must be enrolled — part-time or full-time — in a postsecondary institution.
You’ll be required to submit a cover letter, resume, unofficial transcript, internship application, Volunteer Service Agreement, an I-9 Form, and OF 306. Don’t miss this opportunity! Get started here.
There are times when you hear a rumor and instantly know that there’s some truth to it. There are other times when you hear a humor and wonder, “Where the heck did that come from?” The latest and most outrageous rumor to hit the Internet in a while is one that places Beyoncé and President Barack Obama in an adulterous affair.
The rumors supposedly began with French paparazzo, Pascal Rostain, who claimed that The Washington Post had big plans of publishing a full spread exposing the passionate affair sometime this week.
“You know, at this time, in the United States, there is something big that is happening,” Pascal revealed according to RumorFix. “It’ll go out tomorrow in The Washington Post — we can say that it is not the gutter press — an alleged affair between President Barack Obama and Beyoncé,”
“First, there are still or television images of the Obama couple becoming a little distant,” he reportedly explained. “It is legitimate to ask questions. We found the same thing, always through images, between [French President] Hollande and [his partner Valerie Trierweiler]. Afterwards, there was the rumor. Same for Obama and Beyonce, for example. Just because it’s a rumor doesn’t mean that one should not go in the field to check. We should not forget Marilyn [Monroe] or Monica Lewinsky.”
The alleged story, never ran. The allegations were so wild that we didn’t really expect anyone from Bey’s camp to even acknowledge them. But when RumorFix reached out to her reps, they surprisingly got a response—a slightly comical response, but a response nonetheless.
“Must be a very difficult thing to constantly ask absurd questions,” said the rep.
So yeah, Bey isn’t Olivia Pope-ing it up with President Obama.
The newly appointed head of the Small Business Administration (SBA), Maria Contreras-Sweet would bring years of real-world banking and SBA experience to the position. The Senate has scheduled a hearing Wednesday to confirm her appointment.
Contreras-Sweet would take the reins of the SBA nearly a year after the agency’s former administrator, Karen Mills, announced her resignation. She also would become the second Hispanic in Obama’s second-term Cabinet.
Contreras-Sweet knows firsthand what it means to start a small business. In 2006, she helped organize what is now called ProAmérica Bank in Los Angeles, and she remains its chairwoman. ProAmérica is a small bank with just $123 million in deposits and a loan portfolio of $108 million, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Read more at BlackEnterprise.com
During President Obama’s State of the Union address, he announced that he will raise the minimum wage for federally contracted workers through an executive order that will bring the hourly pay up to $10.10 from $7.25. According to the AP, the raise will only affect 10 percent of the total 2.2 million contracted workers and might not be renewed with those contracts come up for renewal. Nonetheless, security guards, housekeepers, and other low-wage workers can, and probably would, fight to hang on to and increase that amount.
This effort to raise wages is part of what President Obama called the “year of action.” Socioeconomic inequality will be a big focus.
“Those at the top have never done better,” the President said during his speech. “But average wages have barely budged. Inequality had deepened. Upward mobility has stalled.”
The President joins 10 states, including Arizona, Ohio, and Rhode Island, that have raised the minimum wage while Congress debates back and forth on the issue.
“That said, raising the minimum wage in and of itself can drastically raise the number of people affected. If the federal minimum wage grew to $10.10, suddenly not only the current minimum wage-earners (at $7.25 per hour) would be affected, but all of the $8 and $9 per hour workers likewise would slip below that bar and would need a raise,” according to US News. “According to the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive economic think tank, 30 million Americans would get raises in this circumstances.”
The Economic Policy Institute has a petition on its website that has been signed, according to the site, by 600 economists, advocating for a $10.10 minimum wage.
“The vast majority of employees who would benefit are adults in working families, disproportionately women, who work at least 20 hours a week and depend on these earnings to make ends meet. At a time when persistent high unemployment is putting enormous downward pressure on wages, such a minimum-wage increase would provide a much-needed boost to the earnings of low-wage workers,” the petition says.
Still, there’s debate over the impact of this increase.
“It’s important to understand who’s earning the minimum wage. Very few people are raising families on the minimum wage alone—for instance, just nine percent of employees affected by the $10.10 number that Congress is discussing are single parents. By contrast, 60 percent of affected employees are either living at home with family and relatives or they’re a second- or third- earner,” Michael Saltsman, research director at The Employment Policies Institute, a nonprofit organization that researches issues surrounding entry-level employment, told us via email.
Support for minimum wage hikes is growing, but the debate over who will benefit — and who will benefit most — continues. This Washington Post story has a series of charts that break down the impact that a $10.10 increase would have on various demographics.
“But there’s no question that a large share of the American workforce earns wages well below $10.10 and would be directly affected as long as their jobs aren’t lost,” the article says.