All Articles Tagged "President Obama"
Your smartphone just might be a lot cooler than our President’s mobile device. While everyone is flocking to Apple to purchase the new iPhone 5S, Barack Obama must tote around a once-popular phone that has grown obsolete — the dreaded BlackBerry, LA Times reports.
During an event promoting the Affordable Care Act at the White House, Obama admitted that he’s forbidden from owning an Apple mobile device. ”I’m not allowed for security reasons to have an iPhone,” he told the crowd. The Secret Service, according to The Week, is less wary of the Blackberry due to its “superior encryption standards.”
It’s important to note that back when Obama was sworn into office in 2009, the Secret Service didn’t even want him to own a BlackBerry either. But Obama begged to keep the business-oriented device; he told the agency that the phone could be programmed so that only 10 people can have access to his personal email. The secret service conceded. (The President does have an Apple iPad.)
If Obama did own an iPhone, his e-mail, GPS coordinates, personal photos, texts, and countless other classified material could easily be hacked by gadget-savvy troublemakers. So although the BlackBerry is seemingly doomed for failure among its rivals, the antiquated smartphone finds loyal customers within the political atmosphere.
Apple has been working on tightening its security measures “like encryption, forced PIN entry, and the ability to wipe your phone remotely if it’s stolen,” said Slate, but White House members just aren’t ready to risk using an iPhone.
Now as Obama’s comments imply that the iPhone compromises privacy, it brings up questions about the NSA and its data gathering practices, used for spying on Americans. It has been revealed that the NSA collects five billion geolocation records daily!
Slate writes, ”Apple was one of several major tech companies identified in leaked NSA documents as being part of the agency’s PRISM surveillance program. And while Apple has insisted that its users’ iMessages are secure, hackers have called those claims into question.”
As for Malia and Sasha, they are totally allowed to own Apple smartphones. Obama’s points out that his phone bill consistently reminds him of his daughters’ iPhone obsession. Those shots of the First Daughters snapping selfies at dad’s inauguration speak to that.
Nelson Mandela’s death has resonated through the hearts of millions around the globe — an inarguable truth as tens of thousands admirers filled the Johannesburg stadium to commemorate the great anti-apartheid activist and the founder of modern South Africa. The tribute housed a plethora influential figures from China to Zimbabwe. Representing the U.S., the Bush and Clinton families were in attendance along with former president Jimmy Carter and, of course, President Obama.
Obama, after a 16-hour trip to South Africa from Washington, delivered a grandiose eulogy that delved into Mandela’s inspirational legacy that left a momentous mark in our history. “The world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us,” he said to South Africans. “We will never seen the likes of Nelson Mandela again.” With his wife Michelle seated nearby, Obama received a standing ovation for his speech. All of the President’s gestures were watched closely.
We’ve known for some time that First Lady Michelle Obama is no joke. She’s not here for the foolishness. And though she often portrays the image of a dutiful wife, poised first lady and super mom, she’s also a woman. A woman with a full range of emotions that sometimes make their debut on her face. And it looks like today was one of those days. I’m not trying to start any trouble. I highly doubt that the Obama marriage is struggling or even that there was tension in this moment. (Anything could have contributed to that side eye.) I’m just saying it definitely looks like somebody was less than pleased.
So, all in good fun, caption this series of pictures of Michelle Obama side eyeing the president.
And on a more serious note, if you haven’t had a chance to listen to President Obama’s remarks on Nelson Mandela at his memorial, you can watch and listen to the full, moving speech in the video below.
Just when folks were starting to speculate that there was some underlying tension between the Obamas and Oprah, we learned, today she was at the White House accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
It’s not often that celebrities or media personalities receive these awards but…it’s Oprah so apparently folks made an exception. Plus her personal story and the trajectory of her career certainly make her worthy. According to The Washington Post, Winfrey got the award for being “one of the world’s most successful broadcast journalists” and philanthropists. The highest honor that can be bestowed upon a civilian, the Presidential Medal of Freedom was given to 16 people, including feminist writer and women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem, Washington Post editor Benjamin C. Bradlee and former president Bill Clinton. President Obama saved Clinton for last and thanked him for his advice, counsel and his work on helping natural disaster victims.
The Medal was also bestowed, posthumously, to Bayard Rustin, the openly gay civil rights leader who worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Post reports that when the president spoke about Oprah, he said: “…her bosses told her she should change her name to Susie. I have to pause here to say, I got the same advice. Oh, they didn’t say I should be named Susie, but they suggested I should change my name.”
He went on asserting that Oprah is living proof of the tenacity of the human spirit, referencing Oprah’s “childhood of poverty and abuse to the pinnacle of the entertainment universe.”
At the end of the ceremony, President Obama made these remarks:
“I hope we carry away from this a reminder of what JFK understood to be the essence of the American spirit. Some of us may be less talented, but we all have the opportunity to serve and to open people’s hearts and minds in our smaller orbits. So I hope that everybody’s been inspired as I have been, participating in being with these people here today.”
Congratulations to Lady O!
You can watch video of the ceremony below.
Kanye West Explains Gripe With President Obama: ‘People Were Fine With Me Being Everyone’s Punching Bag’
At this point, it’s pretty obvious that President Obama isn’t exactly a fan of Kanye West. Of course, there’s no love lost, as Kanye isn’t crazy about America’s first Black Commander-in-chief either. Though it’s unclear what initiated the tension, their feud was made evident a few years back after Kanye pulled his im’ma-let-you-finish stunt at the 2009 Video Music Awards. When asked what he thought of Kanye’s out-of-pocket antics, President Obama responded:
“I thought that was really inappropriate. You know it was like she’s getting an award — why are you butting in? The young lady seems like a perfectly nice person. She’s getting her award. What’s he doing up there? He’s a jackass. (Laughter) No, now — this — all this stuff — I’m assuming all this stuff. Where’s the pool? Come on guys. Cut the president some slack. I got a lot of other stuff on my plate.”
We could certainly see why this would cause a bit of friction. I mean, who wants to be called a “jackass” by the Leader of the Free World? The public feud between the POTUS and Yeezy only escalated since Pres. Obama’s original comment. Over the summer, the President made another apparent “dig” at Kanye and now-fiancée, Kim Kardashian.
“Part of the American dream — even if you’re poor, or lower-middle class — involves yearning for tangible things you can’t afford. Were there things, when you were growing up, that you yearned for that you couldn’t afford?”
“There was not that window into the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Kids weren’t monitoring everyday what Kim Kardashian was wearing, or where was going on vacation, and thinking that somehow that was the mark of success.”
Mr. West eventually , claiming that Michelle Obama could never pull off his reality TV star boo’s infamous white bikini selfie. This of course caused many of us, including the lovely Charing Ball, to question what’s really going on between the President and the “Flashing Lights” rapper. In an interview with Hot 107.9 Philly, Kanye sort of addressed the beef and while he didn’t specify what started it all, it seems obvious that Pres. Obama’s “jackass” comment hit a sore spot.
From Black Voices
In an interview with The Independent, Forest Whitaker said that he was once offered the chance to play Barack Obama on film, but turned down the opportunity.
“I was asked if I would play President Obama in ‘My Name is Khan,’” Whitaker told the publication. “I didn’t feel comfortable with doing it. Partly because he was still in office, but mainly because I felt that there were other people who were better suited to doing the role.”
The 2010 film would eventually cast Christopher B. Duncan in the role of President Obama. (For his part, Whitaker was hoping Will Smith would play the part.) Duncan, whose most famous role was that of Clarence Wiedman on the television series “Veronica Mars,” has impersonated Obama before, including for Jay Leno. (Video of Duncan’s Obama impression is below.)
Despite the missed opportunity, a connection between Whitaker and Obama still exists. The actor starred in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” a film that President Obama said made him cry.
Read more at BlackVoices.com
Low-wage employees have been protesting for an increase in the minimum wage and now they have the backing of the White House.
The President supports increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour from its current $7.25, reports The Huffington Post. This could dramatically change the lives of the country’s working poor.
Last week, President Barack Obama announced his support for legislation introduced by two Democratic senators which would be the first significant increase to the federal minimum wage in more than four years. Obama’s latest statements prove he’s ready to go further than his February proposal to push the minimum wage to $9. At that time many criticized it as a modest increase.
An increase to $10.10 could however be big enough to push a large number of the working poor (a group defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as those who fall below the poverty line despite working at least 27 weeks per year) out of poverty.
In fact, such a minimum wage would have pushed more than half — 58 percent — of the country’s 10 million-plus working poor out of poverty in 2011, according to a 2013 study by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, an advocacy group for the restaurant industry. Since prices have risen since 2011, a $10.10 minimum wage would not have quite as impact today as it would have back then.
“Here’s the bottom line,” U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez said Friday. “No one who works a full time job should have to live in poverty.”
It would seem about time for a change. The federal minimum wage is actually worth $2 less today than it was in 1968, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, reports HuffPo.
Not waiting for the federal government, some states have already increased the minimum wage. In fact, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation in September to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10 by 2016. This made the Golden State the first in the country to guarantee a double-digit hourly wage down the line.
Many Americans have been trying to sign on to Obamacare through the government website only to be met with tech glitches. So yesterday, the Obama administration granted a six-week extension until March 31 for citizens to register for coverage next year and avoid new tax penalties under the president’s Affordable Care Act, reports Business Insider.
The website was designed as the main enrollment portal for people who don’t get health care at work. But since it was launched, there have been countless technical problems.
“As a consequence, Republican lawmakers, and some Democrats as well, are calling for a one-year delay in the penalties most Americans will face starting next year if they remain uninsured,” reports Business Insider. Some complain that the latest move by the White House stops well short of that, and amounts only to a limited adjustment.
People who sign up by the end of open enrollment season on March 31 will not face a penalty. Previously you had to sign up by the middle of February, guaranteeing that coverage would go into effect March 1 and you would avoid fines for being uninsured.
The extension is granted for 2014 only and straightens out confusion that was created when the administration set the first open enrollment period under the law from Oct. 1 to March 31.
“The problem was that health insurance coverage typically starts on the first day of a given month, and it takes up to 15 days to process applications. So somebody signing up March 16 — well within the open enrollment period — wouldn’t get coverage until April 1, thereby risking a penalty for being uninsured part of the year,” reports Business Insider.
The Health and Human Services department is creating a special one-time hardship exemption for people who get covered by March 31. Also, they will not have to file additional paperwork to apply for the exemption.
The mandate to carry health insurance is the most unpopular requirement of the new health care law. It is meant to push as many people as possible into the insurance pool. The law also forbids insurers from turning away people with health problems.
The administration also released an analysis that found that nearly half of uninsured single young adults could buy a “bronze” level plan for $50 or less a month, after tax credits to offset the cost of premiums.
Have you been trying to enroll in Obamacare?
Image via K2 images / Shutterstock.com
In case you were unaware of just how smooth your President is, here’s a reminder. While delivering a speech regarding technical difficulties impacting Healthcare.gov at the White House, President Obama quickly realized that there was a slight medical emergency going on right under his nose. As he addressed the issues, a pregnant woman standing behind him–who was later identified as Karmel Allison–began feeling faint and appeared to be losing her balance. Though onlookers appeared to notice Karmel’s plight, the didn’t act quickly enough. Luckily, President Obama sensed some sort of commotion going on behind him and quickly caught the woman, placing his arm behind her before she could fall.
“There you go. You’re okay. I got you. You’re okay. You’ll be okay,” President Obama reassured her before a staff member came out to help her.
“This is what happens when I talk too long,” he joked.
It turns out that Karmel has been suffering from diabetes since she was 9 years old. A couple of weeks prior to the President’s speech, she wrote a blog post titled, What Obamacare Feels Like To A Diabetic. An excerpt from that post reads:
“On October 1st, I went to my state’s ACA exchange, CoveredCA. I was mostly curious, and wanted to see what the plans and rates would be; even if I want to change my healthcare, I intend to give this whole Obamacare thing a few months to make sure Congress doesn’t knife it in the back right after I make a switch.
But, noncommittal as I was, I was floored by what I saw. I filled out the simple questionnaire on the website to see my options. They asked me about my age, my income, my family size. And that was it. No medical history. No “Do you have diabetes?” No “Are you more likely than average to get kidney disease and retinal disease and neuropathy?” No “Do you cost a fortune because of all the medication you need?” No “Have you already had cataract surgery because of this stupid disease?” Age, income, family size, and then I was presented with options. The same options my healthy-young-male husband sees. The same options every late-twenty-something sees.
It’s an amazing feeling. After almost two decades of feeling tied to a single option– an option I like and am extremely grateful for, but still a single option — I felt liberated. Even now, I get chills just thinking about that feeling of, “Hey, you’re just one of us now.” It’s incredible. It’s profoundly American, to feel like I have choices and the freedom to move.”
The blog entry quickly spread across the Internet, making its way from the American Diabetic Association to the White House staff. She was eventually invited to the White House.
Watch the video on page two.
If the name Rielle Hunter sounds familiar, it’s probably because last year, the woman was everywhere in an attempt to promote her book, What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me. In it, she discussed her infamous affair with John Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina. Hunter and Edwards had a baby together that he tried to deny, but DNA tests proved that the baby girl was his. The fallout was incredible. His wife, Elizabeth Edwards (who was in remission of cancer at the time the affair came out), divorced him, and his political career ended in the ugliest manner.
And while Edwards’ family tried to heal, Hunter decided to speak openly for attention about the affair, including posing half-dressed in GQ. And if that wasn’t enough, after the death of Elizabeth Edwards to cancer, as her children were mourning, Hunter came out with her book, and in it, called the late woman everything from a “witch on wheels” to a “crazy” woman who drove John away. John Edwards’ daughter Cate spoke about her disappointment with such statements in an interview around the time the book came out. “I thought it was a poor choice, I guess, is all I can say.”
Fast forward to yesterday and it seems that Hunter is really sorry for her behavior during that whole scandal. She wrote an open letter on the Huffington Post called, I, Rielle Hunter, Apologize, where she comes clean about everything and says that she’s sorry to all of the people she hurt when she engaged in a relationship with John Edwards. She now realizes she was being selfish:
I behaved badly. That may seem obvious to you but it’s taken me a long time to admit that, even to myself. For years I was so viciously attacked by the media and the world that I felt like a victim. I now realize that the attacks are actually beside the point. The point is: I behaved badly.
I am very sorry for my wrong, selfish behavior. Back in 2006, I did not think about the scope of my actions, how my falling in love with John Edwards, and acting on that love, could hurt so many people. I hurt Elizabeth and her kids. I hurt her family. I hurt John’s family. I hurt people that knew Elizabeth. I hurt people who didn’t know Elizabeth but loved her from afar… I was selfish. I fell in love with John Edwards and wanted to be with him and that desire trumped everything else.
And then instead of apologizing when I should have, I went on to hurt more people by writing a book. I truly did not realize at that time how damaged I was and because of that, when I wrote my book I made more mistakes, ones I feel horrible about.
Hunter also opened up about being a “product of infidelity,” and how her parents cheating had an influence on her:
Both of my parents cheated on each other, and as a kid it damaged me. I then grew up, fell in love with a married man, and caused even more damage. I believe history often repeats itself if you do not take responsibility and change it. Infidelity is wrong…I am sincerely sorry for my bad behavior, and for hurting anyone. If I hurt you, I am sorry. It was not my intention, I was thoughtless and selfish, and I am sorry.”
I think it’s good that Hunter is owning up to her mistakes, but there’s still something odd about it since she’s promoting a “new” book about the situation called In Hindsight, What Really Happened: The Revised Edition: John Edwards, Our Daughter and Me. If she’s really sorry, I think it would help if she, from here on out, stopped talking publicly about the situation and backed away from the spotlight.
Check out the full apology over at The Huffington Post and let us know what you think.