All Articles Tagged "President Obama"
Most consumers want to know right away when there has been a security breach at a retailer they frequent. But often times it takes weeks–or even months–for the retailer to disclose they have been the victim of a cyber attack.
Now President Obama has proposed a 30-day time limit for companies to disclose security breaches. According to the White House, Obama will call for new laws to make sure American companies tell their customers about consumer information being stolen in hack attacks, reports The New York Times.
Obama just proposed the new law, to be called the Personal Data Notification and Protection Act, during his recent speech at the Federal Trade Commission.
“If the proposal becomes law, the discovery of a breach would trigger a ’30-day shot clock’ requiring companies to disclose information. The law will also make it a crime to sell a person’s information overseas. The Federal Trade Commission, meanwhile, will be empowered to issue penalties to companies that fail to comply,” reports The Next Web.
Obama discussed another important issue: student privacy. “The president also proposed the Student Data Privacy Act, which would prohibit technology firms from profiting from information collected in schools as teachers adopt tablets, online services and Internet-connected software. And he will announce voluntary agreements by companies to safeguard home energy data and to provide easy access to credit scores as a ‘early warning system’ for identity theft,” reports The New York Times.
But Obama’s proposals might face some obstacles when facing the Republican-controlled Congress.
By now you might have heard the news that President Obama wants to make college free, at least for the first couple of years.
According to the fact sheet on White House.gov, the America’s College Promise proposal aims to provide free college, up to two years, for “responsible” American students. The proposal is estimated to save 9 million students, on average, $3,800 in tuition per year.
As the White House writes about the “whys” of this proposal:
“By 2020, an estimated 35 percent of job openings will require at least a bachelor’s ecegree and 30 percent will require some college or an associate’s degree. Forty percent of college students are enrolled at one of America’s more than 1,100 community colleges, which offer students affordable tuition, open admission policies, and convenient locations. They are particularly important for students who are older, working, need remedial classes, or can only take classes part-time. For many students, they offer academic programs and an affordable route to a four-year college degree. They are also uniquely positioned to partner with employers to create tailored training programs to meet economic needs within their communities such as nursing, health information technology, and advanced manufacturing.”
According to the proposal, students with a GPA of 2.5 or above and who are already attending college half-time will be eligible to have their tuitions waived. Likewise, the program aims to work with community colleges to help them offer “programs that either (1) are academic programs that fully transfer to local public four-year colleges and universities, giving students a chance to earn half of the credit they need for a four-year degree, or (2) are occupational training programs with high graduation rates and that lead to degrees and certificates that are in demand among employers.”
The proposal doesn’t say specifically how it plans to pay for the tuition waivers, which is estimated to cost $60 million over a decade. However, the White House writes that it is hoping to partner with interested states and will reimburse them for seventy-five percent of tuition costs for each individual student.
Admittedly, I haven’t been the biggest fan of all of the president’s policies; however, I must tip my hat to him for taking on such an ambitious proposal. If he is able to pull this off, he might be the most socially progressive president in our history. And that is a big “if.”
First, what I do like about the program is that it acknowledges what has long been a widely-known, but closely-held secret among many students and even faculty at four-year institutions: the first two-years of college are kind of bullshit. Okay, not exactly…
But there is a reason why most college guidance counselors advise students, particularly those who have yet to decide their majors, to explore and sample a variety of disciplines in your first couple of years in college before committing to a program in your final two years.
Personally speaking, I loved my humanities, political science and sociology classes. They added much needed perspective to my learning experience. However, there were other classes, which felt more like refreshers from high school. And while those classes were also helpful, I didn’t feel like they should have cost the same amount, per credit, as classes, which were more directly related to my major.
And this is important to note, as my tuition costs for the first two years of classes, which were unrelated to my major, started around $12 thousand. (That number includes on-campus living expenses.) That was the cost in the late ‘90‘s. Well over a decade later and the price of higher education has risen to astronomical levels. Even worse than the cost of college is the questionable job market, which in spite of its recovery, fails to produce sustainable incomes to college students upon graduation. This is important to highlight as American students are currently over $1 trillion dollars in debt and it is starting to have an effect on the overall economy, according to this article in Time magazine. Therefore, this proposal has the potential to make a four-year educational experience more cost-effective, which means less student loans.
Not to mention the proposal also seeks to make community college credits more easily transferrable to four-year institutions. As this report from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education notes, both “affordability and transfers” have long been major obstacles to four-year degree programs for over the 40 percent of all American students currently enrolled at community college.
Of course, this proposal is contingent on Congress’ approval and as Ben Miller, senior educational policy analyst at the New America Foundation tells the LA Times, “Anything involving more money to pay for things is going to be difficult in this Congress.”
Likewise there are concerns about the impact such a change will have on cheapening standards at traditional four-year universities and colleges. Public eduction advocate Diane Ravitch highlighted some of the opposition to the White House’s proposal on her personal blog. In particular, she references a letter she received from a college faculty member working at a university in Tennessee, which already offers free tuition for two years at community colleges. More specifically, the faculty member notes:
“Here is a concrete example from my university, The University of Memphis (UofM), that should give a pause to the celebration of free higher education. Last year, shortly after the announcement of a $20 million cut to UofM’s budget, came the announcement of Tennessee Promise that offers free education to all TN residents at public community colleges. In my opinion, TN Promise is a perfect example for taking money away from high quality education (UofM, in this case), and use the extra funds to invest in low quality education (community colleges). Then this lower quality education is offered to the masses as a solution to their educational needs.
To make the high-to-low quality education transformation explicit, I remark that we at UofM are now pressured to start accepting lower level courses to our major requirements to “ease the transition of students from community colleges to our university.”
In addition to the questions of who will pay for it and the impact such a proposal will have on traditional four-year institutions, I do also wonder the impact this proposal will have specifically on historically Black colleges and universities. Recent federal changes to the Pell Grant and to student loan qualifications have been really tough on many HBCUs that largely serve an economically-insecure student body who rely on federal assistance. This proposal has the potential to financially cripple those institutions even more by transferring a big chunk of dollars into the hands of community colleges.
Hopefully, the White House can get those issues sorted before – and if – this becomes an actual program. Or else the old adage about the road to Hell being paved with good intentions might ring true…
President Obama may have signed fewer executive orders than past presidents, but he’s been using a form of executive action known as the presidential memoranda more often than any other president in history.
When looking at both executive orders and presidential memoranda, Obama is on the road to take more high-level executive actions than any president since Harry Truman seven decades ago, found a USA Today review of presidential documents.
Among the executive orders Obama has issued is to give federal employees the day after Christmas off, to impose economic sanctions, and to determine how national secrets are classified. Meanwhile he has signed presidential memoranda for gun control policy, and to enact immigration and labor regulations. Most recently, he used a memorandum to declare Bristol Bay, AK, off limits to oil and gas exploration.
Presidential memoranda are similar to executive orders in that they don’t require action by Congress. “They have the same force of law as executive orders and often have consequences just as far-reaching. And some of the most significant actions of the Obama presidency have come not by executive order but by presidential memoranda,” reports USA Today.
Thing is President Obama has boasted of his low use of executive orders. Just last July he said in a speech in Austin, “The truth is, even with all the actions I’ve taken this year, I’m issuing executive orders at the lowest rate in more than 100 years. So it’s not clear how it is that Republicans didn’t seem to mind when President Bush took more executive actions than I did.”
As of December 16, Obama has issued 195 executive orders and 198 presidential memoranda. Obama thus far has signed 33 percent more presidential memoranda in less than six years than Bush did in eight. And he’s issued 45 percent more than the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton.
Other memoranda signed by Obama:
–In his State of the Union Address in January, Obama proposed a new retirement savings account for low-income workers called a MyRA. The following week, he issued a presidential memorandum for the Treasury Department to develop a pilot program.
— In April, Obama directed the Department of Labor to collect salary info from federal contractors and subcontractors to examine whether they’re paying women and minorities fairly.
— In June, Obama instructed the Department of Education to allow certain borrowers to cap their student loan payments at 10 percent of income.
–After the Sandy Hook school shooting two years ago ordered federal law enforcement agencies to track any firearm that’s part of a federal investigation, expanded the info available to the national background check system, and told federal agencies to research the causes and possible solutions to gun violence.
“Two more recent memos directed the administration to coordinate an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system — a move that congressional Republicans say exceeded his authority. Of the dozens of steps Obama announced as part of his immigration plan last month, none was accomplished by executive order,” reports USA Today.
Stacey Dash Reveals That Her Family, Including Damon Dash, Turned Their Back On Her Because Of Her Political Views
Remember back in the day when everybody used to love Stacey Dash? Well, these days, the love has gone ever since the actress decided to be a very outspoken Conservative and harshly criticize everyone from President Obama to Beyoncé and Jay Z, Kanye West (whose “All Falls Down” video she starred in back in the day), Democrats, and black folks in general (we’re “uneducated” and “feel worthless” under President Obama, according to her). Dash’s opinions haven’t necessarily been embraced (except by Fox News, who she now is a contributor for), and she knows that. But who knew that they affected her relationships with her family and friends?
In an interview with The Edit to promote her upcoming book, There Goes My Social Life, Dash revealed that her family was the main group of people telling her to keep her extreme right-wing opinions to herself, and when she didn’t, they fell out. She says that she’s also lost some friends for
being so thirsty her political views:
Being told that she is a traitor to her race because she turned her back on Obama and urged to kill herself must have been upsetting. But it was the effect Dash’s defection had on her personal life that hurt her most. “My family and I have not spoken,” she says more quietly. “My cousin Damon and my brother [Darien, CEO of DME Interactive Holdings] were role models to me because they were great capitalists. Now we’re not really talking because they were the ones who told me to keep my mouth shut. They felt that I should do certain things because I’m black.” She pauses. “Certain friends don’t speak to me any more either. But you know what? In the street I get [approached by] so many people of every color saying: ‘Thank you so much for standing up and being so brave.’ I thought it was time to have a black president and that it would unite us in such a profound way. But as a country, I don’t think we’ve been so divided since the Civil Rights Movement. I mean, isn’t it extraordinary that we are even discussing race in 2014?”
Stacey and Dame definitely used to seem pretty close, so it’s a shame that her views have put a dent in her relationship with those she cares about. And that’s all I’m going to say about that…
But what do you think?
ICYMI: Wills and Kate are in New York City and it’s great. (For people who spend too much time following the Royal Family at least.) (Yes I am one of those people. #RoyalWatcher) We’re already getting snapshots of the the Royal couple as they make their way up and down the East Coast. The Duchess of Cambridge was in Harlem today meeting the First Lady of New York Chirlane McCray (also an MN Boss) to wrap gifts for needy children at the Northside Center.
Then there was a meeting with volunteers and the children.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 8, 2014
The media is out in full force to cover every step the Royals make during their time in the city.
Meanwhile, we’re getting a double dose of yessss from Prince William and his visit to the White House with President Obama.
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) December 8, 2014
According to Time , they talked about the craziness surrounding the birth of Prince George last year. Prince George is hanging at home for this trip. Prince William then addressed The World Bank Group’s Biennial Meeting of the International Corruption Hunters Alliance, speaking as president of the group United for Wildlife.
Next, the Royals will be attending a Brooklyn Nets game tonight with the possibility that they will meet Jay Z and Beyonce. OMG… #BreaktheInternet. We heard on the news this morning that seats next to the Royal couple are going for as much as $17,000. No word on how close that would even be. Probably not as close as this lucky — and very happy — little boy.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 8, 2014
“We Lost Robin, We Lost Joan, And We Kind Of Lost Cosby”: Chris Rock Talks Bill Cosby, Obama, And His Daughters Preferring Kevin Hart
In the new issue of The New Yorker (which he covers), Chris Rock talks in depth about the struggle to be as funny as he wants to be in a politically correct-obsessed culture, fatherhood, the suicide of Robin Williams (and the dark sides of comedians), the ups and downs of Obama’s presidency, and of course, the accusations against Bill Cosby. There are quite a few great quotes as the Top Five (movie out on Friday, and it’s hilarious!) star has always been deep and hilarious at the same time, but these are the tidbits that stuck out to us the most:
Criticism Over His Jokes About Not Wanting To Visit The One World Trade Center After 9/11 And Political Correctness:
Oh, it’s back stronger than ever. I don’t pay that much attention to it. I mean, you don’t want to piss off the people that are paying you, obviously, but otherwise I’ve just been really good at ignoring it. Honestly, it’s not that people were offended by what I said. They get offended by how much fun I appear to be having while saying it. You could literally take everything I said on Saturday night and say it on Meet the Press, and it would be a general debate, and it would go away. But half of it’s because they think they can hurt comedians.
Which Comedian Gave Him A Hard Time When He First Came Out:
I mean, maybe Cosby early on, but he turned pretty quick. Other than that, nobody.
His Thoughts On The Allegations Against Bill Cosby:
I don’t know what to say. What do you say? I hope it’s not true. That’s all you can say. I really do. I grew up on Cosby. I love Cosby, and I just hope it’s not true. It’s a weird year for comedy. We lost Robin, we lost Joan, and we kind of lost Cosby.
What He Thought About Robin Williams’ Suicide:
Comedians kill themselves. Talk to 100 comedians this week, everybody knows somebody who killed themselves. I mean, we always say ignorance is bliss. Well, if so, what’s the opposite? Some form of misery. Being a comedian, 80 percent of the job is just you notice sh*t, which is a trait of schizophrenics too. You notice things people don’t notice.
You try to give yourself other things to focus on. I always say, my children saved me from my miserable self.
His Thoughts On President Obama’s Legacy:
I’m trying to figure out the right analogy. Everybody wanted Michael Jordan, right? We got Shaq. That’s not a disappointment. You know what I mean? We got Charles Barkley. It’s still a Hall of Fame career. The president should be graded on jobs and peace, and the other stuff is debatable. Do more people have jobs, and is there more peace? I guess there’s a little more peace. Not as much peace as we’d like, but I mean, that’s kind of the gig. I don’t recall anybody leaving on an up. It’s just that kind of job. I mean, the liberals that are against him feel let down because he’s not Bush. And the thing about George Bush is that the kid revolutionized the presidency. How? He was the first president who only served the people who voted for him. He literally operated like a cable network. You know what I mean?
He’s the first cable-television president, and the thing liberals don’t like about Obama is that he’s a network guy. He’s kind of Les Moonves. He’s trying to get everybody. And I think he’s figured out, and maybe a little late, that there’s some people he’s never going to get.
There’s an advantage that Bush had that Obama doesn’t have. People thinking you’re dumb is an advantage. Obama started as a genius. It’s like, What? I’ve got to keep doing that? That’s hard to do! So it’s not that Obama’s disappointing. It’s just his best album might have been his first album.
If There Has Been Much Change In Race Relations:
There’s always going to be people that don’t know that the war’s over. I’m more optimistic than you, but maybe it’s because I live the way I do. I just have a great life, so it’s easier for me to say things are great. But not even me. My brothers drive trucks and stock shelves. They live in a much better world than my father did. My mother tells stories of growing up in Andrews, South Carolina, and the black people had to go to the vet to get their teeth pulled out. And you still had to go to the back door, because if the white people knew the vet had used his instruments on black people, they wouldn’t take their pets to the vet. This is not some person I read about. This is my mother.
If His Daughters Find Him Funny:
Sometimes. My daughter Lola was like, “Kevin Hart’s funnier than you.”
Be sure to read Rock’s full interview with The New Yorker here and share your thoughts, and be sure to check out the new movie, Top Five, written and directed by Rock, out on Friday.
Smoking Gun Exposes Elizabeth Lauten’s Run-In With The Law As A Teen After Rude Comments About Malia And Sasha Obama
We told you yesterday that Elizabeth Lauten, the Republican congressional aide who publicly chastised Malia and Sasha Obama, resigned from her post as the communications director for Steven Fincher, a rep. from Tennessee. If you’ll recall, she criticized the 16 and 13-year-old sisters for looking bored and wearing skirts that were shorter than what she thought they should have on while President Obama pardoned some turkeys the day before Thanksgiving. She felt their behavior and attire didn’t show “respect” for their roles in the White House.
You would have thought they actually did or said something for all the pettiness she spewed on her Facebook page. But alas, with some people (folks with political beefs), you just can’t win no matter what.
Well, after apologizing (then taking that apology down) and then resigning, Lauten hasn’t found herself in the free and clear with people as of yet, and certainly not with The Smoking Gun. The website did some digging and shared that Lauten “was once arrested for larceny during her own ‘awful teen years,’ court records show.”
Back in December of 2000, a then-17-year-old Lauten was caught stealing from a department store in her hometown of North Carolina. As a first-time offender, her case was handled through a deferred prosecution program, and eventually her charges were dropped when she agreed to stay out of trouble. Others online have also dug up less than flattering photos of a young Lauten chugging a beer with friends:
At the end of the day, young people make mistakes so I’m not going to attack Lauten for those made back when she was 17. However, she should have kept her own past in mind before she decided to attack a 13 and 16-year-old, just because they weren’t smiling at the pardoning ceremony for some damn turkeys. Girl, bye.
Over the weekend, we told you about GOP staffer Elizabeth Lauten and the disgusting comments she made about Sasha and Malia Obama.
In case you missed it, Lauten, the communications director for Tennessee Representative Steven Fincher, took issue with the fact that Sasha and Malia appeared to be disinterested in their father’s pardoning of two turkeys in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday. Lauten thought because the girls didn’t look readily engaged and weren’t smiling idiotically that they were being disrespectful to the entire country. And she took to her Facebook page to say that not only were they being disrespectful, they looked like women at a bar.
It was vile.
And after several people told her so, she deleted the post. And then after hours of prayer, she said she realized just how hurtful her words were and apologized.
But as the song goes, sometimes it’s just “too late to apologize.”
And today, after this weekend’s debacle, Lauten announced her resignation. Earlier today, she told NBC, that her resignation was “in the works” before she made her comments.
But it matters not.
I’ll allow this gif featuring Sasha and Malia to explain my thoughts on Lauten.
Do better girl, do better.
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.
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.
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.