All Articles Tagged "President Obama"
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.
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 Guardian, the 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
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
“Black Americans Have Lost Ground Under Obama”: Tavis Smiley Criticizes President Obama’s Performance
From Black Voices
Tavis Smiley’s relentless criticism aimed at President Barack Obama has made dozens of headlines throughout the commander-in-chief’s presidency. And though, some may have questioned the political commentator’s motive behind his personal analysis, he recently insisted during an interview on HuffPost Live that his commentary is rooted in holding Obama accountable as the nation’s president.
“I don’t have a monopoly on the truth. There is the truth, and then there is the way to the truth. And I’m always on that route to the truth. I don’t have a monopoly on it. I tell the truth as best as I see it, try to hold folk accountable, and do all that in love,” he admitted to host Marc Lamont Hill. “You will never find a tape anywhere of me being derisive, demeaning, derogatory, or demonizing about the president.”
“As Cornel West and I said many years ago; I respect the president, I will protect the president against white supremacist attacks or anything else he’s unfairly targeted for. So you’re respecting, you’re protecting, but you’re correcting when he’s wrong. Not because he’s Barack Obama, but because he’s the president.”
Smiley went on to add his thoughts concerning the current state of black Americans under Obama’s leadership.
Read more about Tavis Smiley’s commentary at BlackVoices.com
“These Are Your People!”: Diddy Calls Out President Obama, Tells Him To Do More To Help Ferguson, Missouri
Ever since news spread about Michael Brown being shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson, a lot of people have spoken out about the injustice. There have also been people who have criticized President Obama for his response to the riots and unrest in Ferguson, Missouri (and tried to question him for speaking on the death of Robin Williams first), and claimed that his speech last week (he spoke again yesterday on the situation there) wasn’t “enough.” Someone well-known who is expressing a similar sentiment is Diddy. In a crass manner, he tried to address the President of the United States through Instagram. The mogul posted, “WATCH DIS! DEAR PRESIDENT OBAMA!!!!!! IF YOU FEEL THE SAME WAY SEND A VIDEO MESSAGE TO THE PRESIDENT #DEAROBAMA” before posting the following video:
As someone making these statements from the comfort of what seemed to be his studio and not in Ferguson, I think it’s clear that Diddy went about expressing his concerns wrong. The mogul’s followers weren’t impressed:
“Everybody expecting for Obama to handle everything that man got so much on his plate right now sometimes it takes the hood to help the hood diddy I challenge you to go out there”
“Why are you watching? You should be there too!!! Those are YOUR people as well.”
“Ughh shut up, you went to Howard..I would expect you to know about the branches of govt & how things operate..why don’t you hop on a plane & go down there”
This isn’t the first time Diddy has criticized President Obama and claimed that he isn’t doing enough for the black community:
“I love the president like most of us. I just want the president to do better. There’s a difference between us voting for somebody and us believing in somebody. He’s the person that we believed in so I pray night and day that he understands how God ordained his presidency. I feel there was a promise made to God to look after people that was less fortunate, and [many] of those people are African-American…”
But what do you think about Diddy’s message to President Obama?
We Can’t Hear You: Why Those In Hip-Hop With The Most Influence Need To Start Speaking Up About Social Injustices
Hip-hop is protest, or at least, that’s what it used to be. The beauty of its art is that on a piano-driven or drum-fueled beat, someone who isn’t a politician, teacher or authority figure can reach the masses and educate.
The lessons aren’t conventional.
The lessons aren’t sugarcoated.
The lessons aren’t often very nice.
Despite the fact that we would like to believe that in 2014, black bodies are equally valued considering that this great nation elected a black president, that is simply not the case. Instead, everytime we look up, young black men are being killed by the police, and one another, with no justice being served. Most recently, 18-year-old Michael Brown lost his life at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson, shot multiple times while unarmed, his hands in the air. At the core of hip-hop, records like N.W.A’s “F**k The Police” and Nas’ “Sly Fox” never felt more fitting.
Despite what we see now and hear on the radio, hip-hop has a conscience. It is a genre that can provide a platform for those to represent the unheard in times of great unrest. While Ferguson, Missouri transformed into a war zone earlier this week, tracks like Twista and Faith Evans’ “Hope” and Jadakiss’ “Why” fit the startling images of chaos in the city as calls for peace are heard from Brown’s parents and President Obama.
In a time where we need people with influence to speak, I’m wondering, where have records like Tupac’s “Changes” retreated to? The records that explicitly detail a struggle that is still felt today? It appears strategic brand management has made artists fall quiet until the dust completely clears before they speak out about anything, or better yet, they say nothing at all. In a social media-driven society, it takes more than a tweet in solidarity to reach the masses.
Our lyricists shouldn’t shy away from stirring the pot with records directly influenced by the harsh realities of injustice. Jay Z penned records like “Minority Report” reflecting the everyday man’s trials, but now the genre as a whole has become consumed by Shmoney dances and lavish living. There is no sense of balance when it comes to popping bottles and dealing with everyday issues of the world we live in. What has changed us from being a culture of impact?
I get it. Rappers didn’t rise to fame to become activists. But for a genre to be so fundamentally based in social commentary, the disconnect these days is discouraging. Just like Game, Prodigy and 50 Cent communicated their discontent about Trayvon Martin’s death and David Banner has been vocal with his views about the killing of Brown, there is a need for others with great influence to speak up, and to record songs that stand the test of time, speak to the people and reach beyond the Twittersphere.
J. Cole has done just that. In his video for “Crooked Smile,” he dedicated the clip to 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones, who was killed during a police raid on her home in 2010, and the imagery is based on her life and death. And he’s done it again with the release of his song “Be Free,” sending this message about the song dedicated to Michael Brown:
“Rest in Peace to Michael Brown and to every young black man murdered in America, whether by the hands of white or black. I pray that one day the world will be filled with peace and rid of injustice. Only then will we all Be Free”
Thank you J. Cole for rising to the plate and detailing the pain felt throughout the nation at the unfortunate death of Michael Brown. All we want to do is be free, and what we need is people to speak out about these injustices in any and every way possible.
President Obama has hinted that he will have the opportunity to make another Supreme Court appointment before he leaves office in 2017.
The President, who is vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard, spoke to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee during a fundraiser and stressed the importance of hanging on to control of the government body. Polls show that the Republicans could snag enough votes to take control of the Senate.
“What’s preventing us from getting things done right now is you’ve got a faction within the Republican Party that thinks solely in terms of their own ideological purposes and solely in terms of how do they hang on to power,” he said during his remarks. “Not to mention the fact that we’re going to have Supreme Court appointments, and there are going to be a whole host of issues that many people here care about that are going to be determined by whether or not Democrats retain the Senate.”
President Obama wasn’t specific about who would be stepping down to make room for a new justice or when, but there has been talk suggesting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 81 years old, should retire. She has said she’s sticking around. Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy are both 78 years old. Neither of them has indicated that they’re going anywhere either. A White House official told Politico that the comments were just general statements about the importance of maintaining a majority in the Senate.
During his terms, President Obama has appointed Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Some of criticized the President for not appointing a Black justice to join Clarence Thomas on the High Court.
Justice Ginsburg has quite a following online, with people calling her the “Notorious RBG” because of her strong perspective on decisions including the Hobby Lobby case and the decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act. You can watch an interview between the justice and Katie Couric here and the Associated Press gathered a few of her thoughts here.
As we saw in both of those cases, Supreme Court choices are important. And with conservatives setting their sights on campaign finance, voting rights, abortion rights and other issues, appointments have taken on even greater importance.
A lot of people were complaining that while President Obama was quick to speak on the death of Robin Williams, he had yet to speak on unjust killing of unarmed teenager, Michael Brown.
But today the White House Press Secretary released a statement from the president. It read as follows:
“The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time. As Attorney General Holder has indicated, the Department of Justice is investigating the situation along with local officials, and they will continue to direct resources to the case as needed. I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country to remember this young man through reflection and understanding. We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds. Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community deserve.”
Are you glad to see President Obama spoke on the matter? What do you make of his statement?
The US-Africa Leaders Summit wrapped last week, but the effects of the landmark event is ongoing. The summit hoped to give America a much-needed push into Africa, one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
Other countries such as China, Portugal, France have long invested in the continent while the United States focused on aid. But now Obama wants American enterprises and entrepreneurs to take advantage of the business opportunities in Africa.
The Summit had many results. The most prominent result was $14 billion in U.S. corporate investments in Africa, reports The New York Daily News. And the United States will spend $7 billion in business exports and investments in Africa.
The mega investment will be in various sectors including construction, clean energy, banking, and information technology projects across Africa, according to a White House official.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. We have to do better — much better,” Obama said. “I want Africans buying more American products and I want Americans buying more African products.” An infusion of money and interest in African economies will open many doors for American businesses.
The Summit attracted more than 90 U.S. companies, including Chevron Corp, Coca-Cola, Citigroup Inc, Ford Motor Co, General Electric Co, Lockheed Martin Corp, Marriott International Inc, Morgan Stanley and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. More than 50 leaders from Africa attended. Among the deals revealed: General Electric will invest $2 billion into Africa by 2018 to develop the facilities and skills training. And IBM inked a $100-million deal to handle information technology for Fidelity Bank of Ghana.
The $14 billion is just the icing on the cake. “President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday that the U.S. government, World Bank and businesses will invest a combined $33 billion in Africa’s economy, showcasing America’s economic ties to a continent where trade and investment are increasingly dominated by China and Europe,” announced Politico.
On top of this, the World Bank, Sweden and private sources have vowed to give another $12 billion in funding for Obama’s Power Africa energy initiative. This brings the electrification program’s total funding to $26 billion.
The Power Africa initiative aims at helping 600 million sub-Saharan Africans gain access to electricity. As Obama pointed out during the Summit, a “new Africa [is] emerging,” with an exploding middle class, developing manufacturing and retail sectors, the fastest-growing telecommunications market and the world’s youngest population.
Sarah Palin stirred the pot a few weeks ago, calling for the President Obama’s impeachment. “His unsecured border crisis is the last straw…” the ultra-conservative squawk-box said on Breitbart.com. Though many Republicans share in Palin’s contempt for the Obama Administration, many have predicted that voting the POTUS off the island would be “politically toxic.”
And they were right on the money.
Just 24 hours after Palin made that impeachment call on July 8, the Democrats’ Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) received $500,000 in fundraising. But that’s nothing! Over the weekend, the DCCC reeled in a whopping $2.1 million.
It was “the best four-day haul of the current election cycle,” The Washington Post writes. Fear of impeachment and House Speaker John Boehner’s lawsuit against the POTUS have boosted donations for the left. And Boehner couldn’t be more peeved by the surge in support:
“This whole talk about impeachment is coming from the president’s own staff,” Boehner said, according to The Daily Caller. “And coming from Democrats on Capitol Hill. Why? Because they are trying to rally their people to give money and to show up in this year’s election.”
“We have no plans to impeach the president,” Boehner added. “…[I]t’s all a scam started by Democrats at the White House.”
Wasn’t it the former Alaskan governor that started it, House Speaker? But the Democrats are, indeed, taking advantage of Palin’s faux pas. As the saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.”
“I think the Republican strategy of lawsuits and impeachment is fundamentally misfiring,” said Steve Israel, chairman of the DCCC. “That just ignites our base in the form of donations, and of calls wanting to volunteer, and in the form of signing pledge cards wanting to vote.”
Though Palin was once John McCain’s running mate, McCain strongly disagrees with her. Looking back at Clinton’s impeachment, McCain said, “It was not a good thing to do. The American people didn’t like it.”
The DCCC currently has $50.9 million in the vault while the NRCC has $42.5 million, Washington Times says.