All Articles Tagged "President Obama"

Obama Pushes For Net Neutrality To Benefit Consumers

November 15th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

President Obama caused a major stir this week with his public call for net neutrality. Through his urging, the Federal Communications Commission could regulate broadband service like a utility. New neutrality advocates see it as a way to protect consumers’ ability to access all content, which most say would benefit consumers.

Even though the FCC is an independent agency that establishes its own rules, Obama’s very public nudge could push the agency to create a new set of regulations to permit greater oversight of Internet service providers.

“We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House. “I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online.”

Obama is calling for some important moves by the FCC. “Specifically, Obama called for prohibiting ISPs from blocking or deliberately slowing any legal content. His proposals also include a recommendation to mostly ban paid-for ‘fast-lane’ access, in which a content provider refusing to pay extra would be subject to slower Internet transmission,” reports USA Today.

Industry groups that represent ISPs are against the plan. “Such a move would set the industry back decades, and threaten the private sector investment that is critically needed to ensure that the network can meet surging demand,” the Telecommunications Industry Association in a statement.

And Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz compared the plan to Obamacare on Twitter, saying that “the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.”

The FCC had been expected to vote on new rules by the end of the year, but net neutrality “supporters have criticized early drafts of the rules saying they could allow ISPs to create ‘fast lanes’ that would cost consumers more,” reports USA Today.

In any case, net neutrality has been on Obama’s to-do list. During his first run for president, he made campaign promises to push for an open Internet, in which free speech was protected and content flowed equally.

White House Targets Men In Rape Prevention Campaign

November 13th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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White House Targets Men In Rape And Sexual Assault Prevention Campaign

Source: Shutterstock

Most times, when there’s a discussion about rape or sexual assault against women, we hear the same words we’ve heard since we first started leaving the house without our parents. “Don’t put yourself in a harmful or dangerous situation.” “Don’t leave your drink unattended.” “Don’t wear revealing clothing.” “Don’t walk alone.”

We’ve heard these warnings. We’ve been trained, coached and tested on what to do in a potentially dangerous situation, i.e. being in a place where men are present.

It’s nothing new. But since many women know these tips and tricks and are still being raped and assaulted at alarming rates, we’ve been wondering when are people going to start addressing the men who either perpetuate this violence or stand idly by while it happens?

Apparently, now is the time.

In an effort to address rape and sexual assault on college campuses, The White House launched a national campaign in September called “It’s On Us” that explicitly challenges men to not only examine their thoughts on sexual assault but also intervene when consent is not given and create environments where sexual assault is not tolerated or excused.

In promotion of this campaign, top Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett spoke to Buzz Feed about the reasons the campaign is specifically targeting men.

“Bystander involvement can be very important, and oftentimes men underestimate other men’s attitudes toward violence. They don’t understand that other men are opposed to violence too,” Jarrett said. “So if they get the sense that it’s OK [to intervene] because everyone else around the room feels the same way you do, so the first person who gets up will inspire the next person to get up, and the next person and a next person. Because everyone is uncomfortable with it, but as a general rule men don’t know that.”

In a new PSA, released by the White House, a man looks on, from the couch, as a woman, seemingly inebriated, is cornered by a man who is trying to prevent her from leaving a party.

Kyle Lierman, a member of Jarrett’s staff said, Most young men can relate to the guy that’s sitting on that couch. You have to show them how they can be a part of the solution.”

When the White House created a sexual assault task force, they found that activists thought the White House enforcement mechanisms were vague. And so they went back to the drawing board, to fine tune things.

Jarrett said, “It’s a whole new paradigm, because what we’re saying is that everyone has a role to play, and the responsibility should not simply be shouldered by the woman,” Jarrett said. “Historically, you’ve heard people say to women, ‘Well, take self-defense classes,’ and, ‘Don’t put yourself in a situation where harm could come to you.’ “We think by making this a responsibility of the entire community, it would take a little of that responsibility off of the woman and it would ensure a change in culture,” she said. “There are limits to what you can do with rules and regulations and laws. The only way you’re really going to change behavior is to change a culture of what’s acceptable behavior and what’s not acceptable.”

Thankfully, women and political entities aren’t the only ones talking about the issue of rape and assault. Jarrett says it’s become a national discussion.

“It’s becoming a part of the conversation that everyone is having,” she said. “I have several friends who have either juniors or seniors in high school. Every parent is asking the question, ‘What is the attitude of the college or university you’re considering toward sexual assault?’ When my daughter went to college 10 years ago, it never occurred to me to ask that question.”

Take a look at the most recent PSA in the video below.

C-SPAN caller uses N-word in Reference To Obama

November 9th, 2014 - By Courtney Whitaker
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IMG SRC: CSPAN

IMG SRC: CSPAN

A call-in debate took a turn for the worst on C-Span’s “Washington Journal”, when a California Republican used the N-word in reference to President Obama. The caller began his statement by telling republicans viewers Hillary Clinton would become president if they need to keep a moderate agenda. He then went on to use the n-word. 

“I would just like to say, that the Republicans — and I’m a Republican — please do not overreach,” the caller said. “I know they’re going to overreach but I’m telling you, if you advocate for the repeal of Obamacare and you get too extreme, then Hillary Clinton will be elected President in 2016.”

“This is about race,” 

“The Republicans hate that n—– Obama.”

C span host Steve Scully quickly jumped in and ended the conversation. The host stated, “Okay, I’m gonna stop you there, We’re not gonna use that kind of language.”

“You can certainly make your point, but you cross the line when you use language like that,” he finished. “And so to our viewers and listeners, I want to apologize.”

According to the DailyNews, a rep for C-SPAN said that the network does not use a delay for calls into their programs. Therefore it would be difficult to bleep out the word. However viewers should note, a video of the incident is STILL up on the C-SPAN website and the word is not bleeped.

Report: U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch Will Likely Become Nation’s First Black, Female Attorney General

November 7th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: Getty Images

Source: Getty Images

The nation was a bit surprised when our current Attorney General, Eric Holder announced his plans to step down in September. But the country must keeping forward. And the name of President Obama’s likely pick has hit the news cycle. Though it won’t be official until there is an announcement from the White House, CNN is reporting that the likely pick  is Loretta Lynch. 

Lynch is currently serving her second stint as U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York. President Obama appointed her to the position in 2010, after she had already served under President Clinton from 1999 to 2001.

If officially appointed, Lynch will become the first African American woman to hold the position.

She would be the second woman, after Janet Reno and the second African American after Eric Holder.

Lynch has built a solid reputation in Brooklyn, New York. Notably serving on the trial team that prosecuted and convicted New York City police officers for violating the civil rights of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima by beating and sodomizing him while he was in their custody.

Many believe with the current state of unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, after the shooting death of Michael Brown, Lynch’s experiences with civil rights matters could help.

CNN reports that Lynch has “quietly built a solid reputation” in NY. And in 2010, when she was nominated she gained Senate approval with a voice vote, meaning that Republicans didn’t find her controversial.

But that support might not be so unanimous this time around. For the past few months, Lynch has been leading the prosecution behind Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) for alleged tax fraud. Grimm retained his seat, winning reelection this week despite being under indictment and said that he felt the investigation was politically motivated.

According to CNN, GOP aides, upon hearing the news that she would be President Obama’s pick, said that they didn’t know much about her. Others grumbled, “It’d be nice if the White House called to let us know.”

The White House is not required to inform Congress in advance about their cabinet pickings. And judging by the turnout of this week’s election, I’m sure the president is not quick to inform the Republicans about a damn thing.

Ted Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas, after hearing of Lynch’s potential nomination, took to Twitter saying she shouldn’t be confirmed during the lame-duck session.

“Democratic senators who just lost their seats shouldn’t confirm, new Attorney General. Should be vetted by new Congress.”

But not everyone seems to be opposed to the choice, Republican senator Lindsey Graham said Lynch seems like a solid choice and is qualified for the position.

It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out. But we’re certainly rooting for Ms. Loretta Lynch to take this prestigious office.

You can learn a bit more about her in segment CNN recently aired.

The Problem With President Obama’s Cousin Pookie…

November 3rd, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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Image Source: WENN.com

Image Source: WENN.com

If there is no such thing as “talking White,” then explain to me why President Barack Obama, in particular, goes to such lengths to talk Black with Black people?

What are you talking about, Charing Ball?

This (from USA Today):

When President Obama returned to the campaign trail Sunday, he re-introduced one of his favorite characters.

Yes, “Cousin Pookie” is back.

As he has in previous elections, Obama cast Cousin Pookie and other family members as the kinds of disinterested voters that Democrats need to get to the polls this election.

“It’s not enough just for you to vote,” Obama told backers Sunday in Maryland. “You’ve got to get your family to vote. You’ve got to get your friends to vote. You’ve got to get your co-workers to vote.”

And, then: “You’ve got to get that Cousin Pookie sitting at home on the couch — he’s watching football right now instead of being here at the rally — you’ve got to talk to him and let him know it is not that hard to exercise the franchise that previous generations fought so hard to obtain.”

As mentioned in the blurb, this it is not the first time the “Cousin Pookie” trope has shown up in speeches before largely Black audiences. As this archived article in the Houston Chronicle notes, “Cousin Pookie” first made an appearance during the 2008 presidential campaign when the then-Senator Obama told a predominately Black rally in Kingstree, S.C., “I need you to grab Cousin Pookie to vote; I need you to grab Ray Ray to vote.” Cousin Pookie’s lazy ass would resurface again during the 42nd anniversary of the historic voting rights marches in Selma, Alabama, where he told the predominately Black audience: “If Cousin Pookie would vote, if Uncle Jethro would get off the couch and stop watching SportsCenter and go register some folks and go to the polls, we might have a different kind of politics.

It should also be noted that President Obama has also been called out over the years for his “blaccent” and overall code switching between Black and more mainstream audiences, in particular using Black slang and euphemisms like “Nawh, we straight!” In fact President Obama’s double speak has become so legendary, it recently became the subject of a hilarious Keys and Peele’s comedy sketch in which the president switches between formal greetings for White constituents and more relaxed and basically “Black” greetings for the brothers and the sisters.

So what’s the problem here? Isn’t it a common experience for Black people to “put on” for predominately White audiences and relax a bit among our own? Sure, which is why I’m also perplexed by the confusion over “talking White.” And as this 2012 New York Times article pointed out, it is not just Blacks, who engage in this sort of linguistic pandering, in particular noting:

Our last three presidents have all been able to shift their speaking styles — an ability that is distinct from eloquence or empathy. Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were known for speaking in a “folksy” manner: Mr. Clinton with black and Southern audiences, and Mr. Bush with Southern and Latino audiences (he would even switch into Spanish in his speeches). Before them, Lyndon B. Johnson was perhaps the president most notable for variation in speaking style. More recently, the blunt (and occasionally profane) style of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, and the strategic sprinklings of Spanish by Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, have contributed to their rising profiles in the Republican Party.”

In that respect, President Obama is no different than any other president or politician in general, who seeks to connect with his constituency. However, there are times when Obama’s code-switching when he does it to Black audiences, proves to be problematic. Take for instance Cousin Pookie.

The “Cousin Pookie” narrative is never mentioned to congratulate young Black men on graduating form college or for landing his first job. Instead this fictitious cousin of the Black voter has been painted mostly by the first Black president as lazy and shiftless. Basically, he is a man-child, who hangs out on couches all day and doesn’t vote. And just like Charles Barkley’s “unintelligent Blacks,” who keep the community from being successful, according to the POTUS, Cousin Pookie is  the reason why Black people are not being taken seriously in the political sphere. Despite the appearance of familiarity, Cousin Pookie isn’t really here to help President Obama connect with the community, but rather to help him serve the community a slice of the poundcake speech in disguise. Talk about a dog whistle…

President Obama Wants Us To “Get Smarter” With How We Use Our Vote

October 30th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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President Obama on Cafe Mocha RadioOn November 1, President Barack Obama will join the hosts of Café Mocha Radio Show — Loni Love, Mc Lyte and Angelique Perrin — to speak on how voting impacts Black communities. Midterm elections are taking place next Tuesday and there are some advanced polls showing that the GOP can walk away with a number of Congressional wins, possibly even the majority in the Senate.

“That’s a big responsibility to take on in a midterm. Census figures show that in recent congressional election years, around 4 in 10 black adults turn out to vote. In recent presidential election years, a majority of black adults reported voting, including more than 6 in 10 in 2008 and 2012,” reports the AP and WJLA. Blacks tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic and a new poll from the Associated Press and GfK shows that 85 percent of Black voters approve of the job that President Obama is doing.

President Obama is taking to the airwaves to drive the vote. In addition to Café Mocha, he’s also spoken on the Ricky Smiley Morning Show.

“The base voters Democrats are trying to get to the polls often don’t follow mainstream news media. The White House has found that black radio is a particularly powerful motivator, looking back on the voter response during Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns and enrollment increases under his health care law,” that AP/WJlA story says. Outside of the White House, online civil rights organization Color of Change has launched a video campaign, “If They Speak For Me,” that creatively illustrates what happens when you let others make decisions for you.

Even when Black voters get to the polls, the Center for American Progress finds that there are problems getting votes counted. A look at provisional ballots — votes cast through alternative methods when a voter shows up at the polls and runs into an issue — in 2012 found that nearly a third didn’t get counted. This disproportionately impacts people of color.

This issue of disenfranchisement is a serious one due to new restrictive voting laws that have taken effect in a number of states and antiquated processes that make the very act of voting difficult. Another organization, Common Cause, found that in 10 key swing states, suggestions made by the Presidential Commission on Election Administration have not been fulfilled following the 2012 election. That year, some people waited up to 10 hours to cast a vote.

So it’ll be important to get out your vote and be diligent to make sure it’s cast and counted. Moreover, we have to press our legislators in between elections to make the process fair for everyone.

Besides politics, the Café Mocha Radio Show has been running a monthlong initiative that was inspired by Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Titled “Get Smart,” it aims to empower women to make smart decisions in every area of their lives. Café Mocha is for women of color and is syndicated nationally in more than 25 markets and on Sirius/XM Channel 141,

During the two-hour show, you can also catch MadameNoire’s segment “Did Y’All See” in which we discuss the latest in entertainment news, lifestyle and relationship issues.

Additional contribution by Lauren R.D. Fox

Fellas, Don’t Sleep: President Obama Is Casting Votes And Stealing Girlfriends

October 21st, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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There’s so much drama in the LBC, a little levity every once in a while never hurt anybody. Today’s little feel good moment comes from our president.

President Obama was in his home stage of Illinois this morning to participate in early voting. And as you know, anytime the president shows up anywhere things get very official. People were snapping photos, the room goes extremely quiet as people wait for the president to utter a word on which they can hang. The scene was similar as the president was casting his ballot next to a woman, Aia Cooper. But things took a swift turn when Cooper’s boyfriend, Mike Jones, decided to have a little fun with the leader of the free world.

Jones walks past the President of the United States, points at him and says, “Don’t touch my girlfriend, now.”

Hilarious, right?

And since President Obama is rather witty and quick on his feet, he kept the banter going.

“There’s an example of brother just embarrassing me for no reason. Just for no reason whatsoever.”

He even predicted what Aia would say to her friends later.

“I can’t believe Mike, he’s such a fool. I was just mortified. But fortunately, fortunately the President was nice about it. So it’s aight.” 

The news transcripts read “alright” but you listen for yourself and tell me what the president said.

How nice! What could have been a mundane trip to the polls turned out to be a memorable, comedic encounter with President Obama, all because your boyfriend has no ackright.

Aia should marry that dude. Her life will never be boring.

And while Mike started it all, President Obama got the last laugh as he exited the room, hugging Cooper.

“Give me a kiss and give him something to talk about. Now, he’s really jealous.”

Yaaasss!

I’ve transcribed the juicy parts, but be sure to watch the video above to get the full effect and see what Mike and Aia had to say to the news cameras afterward.

Great moment.

Bronx Man Earns Over $60K Impersonating President Obama

October 7th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Growing up, Louis Ortiz, 43, wanted plastic surgery to fix his ears that noticeably stick out. Thankfully, Ortiz never had the opportunity to fix his ears. His current job is “Barack Obama impersonator.”

And it’s actually a lucrative career.

Ortiz says about himself, “I look at myself a lot in the mirror, and I start speaking like Barack. It’s like Barack is speaking through me, to me. . . . It’s weird.” Ortiz’s impersonator name is Bronx Obama and appears as President Obama two to three times a week. His appearances are booked through an agency and he usually works at parties or corporate conferences. Sometimes, he will even come unannounced to weddings as a guest. In an interview with the New York Daily News, Ortiz continues, “Real big Obama fans want me to come and say a surprise speech for the bride and groom. It’s entertainment while everyone’s all liquored up.”

Although it may seem like fun and games to act as the most powerful man in the United States, Ortiz’s salary fluctuates based on the President’s popularity. When the President’s popularity is high, Ortiz secures more appearances but that decreases once the President perception dips into unfavorable territory. Last year, Ortiz earned $60,000, a decrease from what he earned in 2012 when the President was reelected.

Despite the income flux, Ortiz may receive a bonus with a new Showtime documentary  that will focus on Ortiz’s life. Ortiz is of Puerto Rican heritage and grew up at 172nd Street; he has two children and served in the Army. Once he became a veteran, Ortiz worked for Verizon for 13 years as a field technician but found him out of work in 2008. Ortiz’s Obama doppelganger was born that same year which coincides with President Obama’s first election.

Secret Service Head Resigns Amid Reports That Obama Receives More Death Threats Than Bush

October 2nd, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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Image Source: WENN.com

Image Source: WENN.com

After revelations about flagrant security breaches and bipartisan backlash, Secret Service director Julia Pierson resigned from her post. The final straw was the news that an armed man rode the elevator with President Obama during a visit to the Centers for Disease Control in September. Despite having met with the President after the incident, the White House only found out about the incident in the days leading up to her resignation.

“You have a convicted felon within arm’s reach of the president, and they never did a background check. Words aren’t strong enough for the outrage I feel for the safety of the president and his family,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who heads a House subcommittee that oversees the Secret Service.

Talk about the Secret Service’s failures hit fever pitch when a 42-year-old-vet, Omar Gonzalez, jumped the White House fence and managed to not just enter the building, but make it all the way to an area near the First Family’s living quarters. At first, the public was led to believe that Gonzalez was stopped at the door.

Pierson was appointed to her post 18 months ago after a Secret Service prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Colombia. She has 30 years experience, but wasn’t the first choice. That person, David O’Connor, another former Serviceman, became the head of security at investment company, Bain Capital, instead. Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security, has appointed Joseph Clancy, a former Secret Service agent, as acting director.

The security issues at the department charged with protecting the President are particularly scary when you consider that President Obama has received four times the number of death threats than predecessor George W. Bush. According to The Guardianthe President gets more than 30 death threats per day. The Secret Service had to take extra precautions during Obama’s inaugurations and has had to field all sorts of reported plots against him, including one in which a group from Tennessee threatened to kill Black citizens before assassinating the President.

“Instead of bringing in more agents – instantly identifiable because of their bulky suits, worn over bullet-proof jackets, and earpieces – the Secret Service directed agents to work longer hours to cover the extra load and to miss firearms training, physical fitness sessions and tests,” reports the paper. Between these threats and the needs of the Vice President, the Secret Service is stretched thin.

Clearly, this is an agency in need of an overhaul.

“Barack Obama Is A Story That Hasn’t Finished Yet” Denzel Washington On Playing Barack Obama In Presidential Biopic

September 23rd, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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WENN

WENN

From The Grio

Denzel Washington was at Spain’s 62nd San Sebastian Festival to accept a career achievement Donostia Award. When asked about playing Barrack Obama, he answered:

“Barack Obama is a story that hasn’t finished yet. It’s not something I’m thinking about, and he’s busy.”

The casual, dark grey jacket he had on made him look very young. When asked about playing Martin Luther King, he said, “I’ve played Biko, Malcolm X, I can’t play everybody.”

However, during the San Sebastian press conference on Friday, Washington did say something about his future plans. We found out he will not top line Shovel Ready, which is a Warner Bros. adaptation of a novel written by Adam Sterbergh.

Variety asked about a sequel for The Equalizer. The star said it is too early to say something about that, even though it is reported Sony Pictures, Escape Artists and Richard Wenk, who wrote the first Fuqua/Washington The Equalizer, are working on it.

“People will decide if I do The Equalizer sequel, not me,” he declared. “If it’s a good script, it’s something I’ll consider, but I’m not considering it right now, because this [first] one hasn’t come out yet,” he continued.

Everyone knows Washington and Fuqua don’t waste time. They are a preparing for a remake of “The Magnificent Seven” at MGM. For this project, Washington says he is going to take riding classes. It looks like his and Fuqua’s movie will channel the Japanese original more. Talking more about it, Fuqua said “The Magnificent Seven” is a go project. Also attached to “Southpaw” at the Weinstein Company, Fuqua said to the Spanish press that “Seven Samurai” is his favorite movie of all times.

Read more about Denzel Washington on playing President Obama at TheGrio.com