All Articles Tagged "President Obama"
Black and Latino boys have long been disadvantaged at urban school districts. To rectify this, President Obama announced “My Brother’s Keeper” in February, a $200 million five-year initiative to bridge the gap between minorities and their more fortuitous peers. My Brother’s Keeper is now expected to receive an additional $104 million in funding, The New York Times reports.
The program’s new efforts will be sponsored by private and nonprofit organizations such as the NBA, Citi Foundation, and AT&T, The Daily Beast reports – not federal spending. The expansion seeks to include 60 of America’s school districts, all of them representing about 40 percent of minorities living below the poverty line.
My Brother’s Keeper, a program dedicated to improving the lives of African-American and Hispanic boys from pre-K to high school, will increase access to quality pre-schools, keep track of Black and Latino stats in academia, boost the number of minority boys who are placed in gifted, honors, or Advanced Placement courses, cut down on the number of minorities expelled and suspended, and improve the graduation rates of young men of color.
Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of Great City Schools, an organization that’s coordinating the initiative’s newest endeavors, says that while a few urban school districts have taken steps towards progress, there’s still much to be done:
“We need to move these numbers and improve these futures as a collective if the nation as a whole is to make any progress on this front. It’s not enough for us to do well in a small number of cities,” Casserly said. “The 50-year anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act reminded us that those great battles of the past were not fought over access to mediocrity. They were fought over access to excellence.”
According to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, Blacks and Latinos are more likely to attend schools with less skilled teachers and live in school districts that offer fewer math and science classes.
“Boys in particular are at a disadvantage,” the NY Times added. African-American and Hispanic males are less likely to graduate from high school compared to their white and minority female counterparts.
“I am only here because a bunch of folks invested in me,” Obama reminded us in May, according to The Hill. “We’ve got a huge number of kids out there who have as much talent, and more talent than I had, but nobody is investing in them.”
Today, the President followed this announcement with a town hall where he took questions from the young people who would be directly impacted by this initiative.
“Today, Magic Johnson Enterprises’ Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria launched the National Convening Council (“NCC”), an independent private sector initiative bringing together leaders from business, philanthropy and the faith, youth and nonprofit communities,” reports the Office of the Press Secretary. “Over the next several months, the NCC will travel the country, lifting up examples of cross-sector efforts that are having a positive impact on boys and young men of color.”
You can read more about the different organizations participating in this initiative in the press release here.
We’ve all been paying attention to the Emmy nominations for Kerry and Crazy Eyes, but what about the nomination that President Obama got?
The President and Zach Galifianakis got the nod for Outstanding Short-Form Live-Action Entertainment Program for their interview on “Between Two Ferns.” Posted back in March, it immediately went viral, inspired a ton of laughs (seriously hilarious) and, of course, inspired backlash from the right who said that the President shouldn’t have appeared in the skit. At the time, the President was pressing for enrollment in the new healthcare program and, no doubt, saw this as a way to get the word out to millennials and Internet cool people. (Yes they do exist.)
The competition is “Children’s Hospital” on Adult Swim starring Rob Corddry; “Parks & Rec in Europe” on NBC.com; “The Soup: True Detective” on the E! Network; and the Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show Starring Bruno Mars” on FOX .
Do you think the President should take home the statue?
One West Village newspaper is under fire after publishing an op-ed piece titled, “The N****r In The White House.” The article, which was written by writer and musician James Lincoln Collier, was actually presented from a pro-Obama standpoint and argues that the deeply rooted hatred felt by those who are against the POTUS is predominately based on the fact that he’s Black.
“It’s possible to only draw one conclusion: these far right voters hate Obama because he his black,” Collier wrote a July 2014 piece for West View News. “The simple truth is that there is still in America an irreducible measure of racism. A large minority have for some six years have been quietly angry that they must have in the White House a member of an inferior class of people. Until recently, however, they have felt constrained to keep their mouths shut.”
However, as to be expected, some are having an extremely difficult hard time getting past the shocking and rather disrespectful headline to even receive what Collier is saying.
“It’s disrespectful in any context to refer to the president of the United States as the N-word,” West Village resident Eugene May told the New York Post. “If you were quoting something or referring to the historic context of the word being used, I can understand the justification… [But it] seems he’s just using it for shock value.”
“My first take is, it’s sad,” added Joe Megie, West Village resident and CFO of Gay Men’s Health Crisis.
What are your thoughts on all of this?
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise
President Obama has asked Congress for an emergency infusion of cash, $3.7 billion, in order to manage the wave of unaccompanied children who are arriving at the US border. The money would be used for border patrol, detention facilities, surveillance and other legal necessities.
Republicans are already pushing back (of course) saying they’ll review the request, but have called for a deployment of the National Guard to the border areas. The situation is being approached as a humanitarian issue, according to The New York Times, making the request an urgent one.
“We are taking an aggressive approach on both sides of the border,” a White House official said this morning.
The President is also getting push back from immigration activists who would like to see the number of deportations decline. The Wall Street Journal took a look at the issue in May, showing that the number of deportations under President Obama has declined, though there is more of a focus on immigrants who engage in criminal activity.
There’s also been a dramatic decline in the number of minors who are deported, a downward trend that began with a law passed under President George W. Bush in 2008, which required that minors appear before a judge before being sent home. (That’s part of the reason why President Obama is asking for funds for judges.) It may also be spurring rumors in Central America that the US is more lenient on child immigrants, leading to the influx of minor children.
There are also some who say the executive action Obama took in 2012 permitting the “Dreamers” (children of illegal immigrants who had grown up in America) to legally work and obtain official documents including driver’s licenses for the recent influx of illegal immigrant children. Obama has issues 182 executive orders in the past, compared to President Bush who issues 291.
But this is just one conversation in the larger debate about immigration reform in the US. Noting that “America cannot wait forever,” President Obama announced on June 30 that he will fix America’s immigration issues via executive order rather than relying on congressional action.
Initially, his hopes were high after his immigration bill that passed the Senate 68-32 over a year ago that had many believing that reform was on the brink. A year later with no progress being made, the possibility of reform seems less promising. And this new fight, along with the emotion it has generated, makes it clear that progress will be difficult.
Currently, there are an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. And there have been loud calls on both sides of the issue for some sort of a resolution. The issue, as always, is compromise.
Additional contribution by Tonya Garcia
Even though Malia Obama, 16, recently worked as production assistant for famed film director Steven Spielberg, her parents–President Barack Obama and wife Michelle–say they want both she and Sasha, 13, to get a taste of life working for minimum wage.
President and Mrs. Obama each worked at minimum-wage jobs before they earned their law degrees: the president scooped ice cream at Baskin-Robbins, waited tables at an assisted-living facility for seniors and also worked as a painter; the first lady worked at a book binding shop, reports Huffington Post.
“I think every kid needs to get a taste of what it’s like to do that real hard work,” Michelle Obama told Parade magazine.
“We are looking for opportunities for them to feel as if going to work and getting a paycheck is not always fun, not always stimulating, not always fair,” the president said. “But that’s what most folks go through every single day.”
Even after they married, it was difficult surviving on low wages. They recalled how they lived for a year on the second floor of the house of Michelle’s mom Marian Robinson following law school, had a used car that they purchased for $1,000, and handled the stress of dealing with student loans and small children.
“But what it made me think about was people who were on the clock,” the president said. “If you’re an hourly worker in most companies, and you say, ‘I’ve got to take three days off,’ you may lose your job. At minimum, you’re losing income you can’t afford to lose,” he said.
The Obamas gave the Parade interview to help promote a summit the White House is holding today to discuss policies to help working families.
“There are structures that can help families around child care, healthcare, and schooling that make an enormous difference in people’s lives,” Obama said.
To advance his agenda on issues such as ensuring equal pay for women, expanding early childhood education and hiking the minimum wage, Obama needs Democrats to retain control of the Senate after November midterm elections. The Republicans have a good chance of getting a majority, and will most likely keep control of the House of Representatives.
“If we can highlight these issues and sustain it over the next year, it’s still possible to see bold action out of Congress,” Obama said.
The President went into further detail about the issues facing working women in this country. Total aside, whenever President Obama talks about his family, it makes us love him more.
Two weeks ago, over 200 men tried to talk some sense into President Obama about a major flaw of his My Brothers Keeper’s initiative – basically that without inclusion of women, it will be a doomed policy – but folks didn’t really hear them though.
But now that over a 1000 black women and girls, of all ages and backgrounds including the likes of Angela Davis, Anita Hill, Alice Walker, LisaGaye Hamilton, Rosie Perez and Rosario Dawson, among others… have stepped up to the plate and echoed everything the brothers are saying, some folks are willing to listen. Well, they are willing to listen long enough to tell the women and girls to shut up.
If you have not seen the open letter to President Obama, which was published to the African American Policy Forum website earlier this week, you can check it out in its entirety by clicking this highlighted link. But just to summarize, the letter talks about how black women and girls (and other girls of color) are too disproportionately at risk for a number of ills in our society. Among them is sexual assault, where according to the letter, “Black girls have the highest rates of interpersonal victimization from assault and are more likely to know their assailant than all other groups.” And then there is the homicide rate among black women between the ages of 10-24, which is also higher than our non-black counterparts. The letter also states that black girls are also three times more likely to be suspended from school and three times more likely to be incarcerated than white women and girls.
More specifically, the letter states:
“Girls and young women must be included in all our efforts to lift up the life chances of youth of color. To those who would urge us to settle for some separate initiative, we need only recall that separate but equal has never worked in conditions of inequality, nor will it work for girls and women of color here.
To those who would urge us to take up our concerns with the White House Council on Women and Girls, we note that the Council, like many gender-focused initiatives on women, lacks an intersectional frame that would address the race-based challenges faced by young women of color in a racially-stratified society. We note as well that the scale and magnitude of the issues addressed within MBK are specific to the needs of communities of color. The White House Council on Women and Girls should of course, be encouraged and supported to do more; however, girls and women of color suffer, struggle and succeed with the men and boys in their lives. Only together will our collective well-being improve.”
Those are all solid points, however that hasn’t stopped accusations that the letter writers (just the women) were attempting to undermine the black man. In particular TV One’s Roland Martin, who recently got on Tom Joyner morning show with Politic365.com’s Lauren Victoria Burke, argued that not only is a gender-specific initiative for men needed, but that Obama has already focused on women’s issues including the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which extended the time period that women could file a discrimination claim against their employee to recover wages lost due to discrimination. I don’t know exactly how that Act, in Martin’s mind addresses black women specifically (hell, it really doesn’t do much for most women in terms of mandating equal pay), but Martin has that covered too. By way of Olivia Pope. More specifically he said on the show:
“I recall the first lady bringing Kerry Washington and others to the White House and all of these initiatives where they were bringing in women of color, so I’m going, you have something here, why all of the sudden say let’s change this focus after it has been announced all of a sudden, includes girls.”
Well I guess we can all pack up and go home now because Kerry Washington was at the White House and sat on “all of these initiatives.” What were these initiatives, which required the expertise of a television show actress? Who cares? Point is she is black woman. And she sat down in the White House somewhere. And she probably took a picture with the First Lady too. So all you broads whining about sexism and what not, have nothing to complain about. You’re just being overly-sensitive and paranoid. I swear, you broads just enjoy being offended. Move on, already. I mean, what else do you all want? Honestly, if this were a white man being dismissive of calls to action against racism, much like Martin is with women in particular, we would be spitting mad and ready to march on the streets.
But Martin wasn’t done there. Later in the day, he took to twitter and again attacked the letter writers’ aims of inclusion, specifically tweeting:
“Memo to sisters who want to come at me over my criticism of #mybrotherskeeper critics: don’t try that “you-don’t-care-about-sisters” crap
So a brother stands up for #MyBrothersKeeper, he’s hating on sisters. But a sister criticizes MBK, she’s righteous? Ok. Gotcha.
I’m confused: I hear a bunch of sisters saying WH Office on Women/Girls is for white women, but where has their open letter been for 5 yrs?
Please show me where 1,000 sisters signed an open letter demanding the WH womens/girls office do more for minority women?
So instead of demanding the WH Women/Girls office create a TARGETED minority effort, the answer is to add girls to #MyBrothersKeeper?
So to everyone saying include girls in #MyBrothersKeeper, why do we have targeted efforts for prostate cancer & breast cancer?
It is laughable to listen to all of these academics act like we don’t have gender-specific initiatives in America, and Black America!
Except there are no targeted programs aimed at black women and girls coming out of any of the Administration efforts, which is part of the point. Not for breast cancer. Not for equal pay (because if white women are getting 77 cent per one white man’s dollar, you can imagine how much the sisters are getting). Not for domestic violence and sexual assault. And no, the episode of Black Girls Rock!, you saw on BET doesn’t count. Granted it is a wonderful program but does not have the capacity to deal with the millions of black girls around the country in need of various degrees of assistance. And despite Martin’s assertions of equality, there will be serious economic imbalances upon the implementation of this initiative. But I’ll let the brothers tell him, more specifically Paul Butler, a law professor at Georgetown University and former federal prosecutor, who writes in a piece for CNN:
“But this is not about a race to the bottom. It is about understanding that the economic and social conditions that prevent many people of color from achieving the American dream do not discriminate on the basis of gender. And neither should Obama’s most important race-based program to remedy these conditions.
Community organizations, many now strapped for cash, stand to receive millions of dollars from MBK. Unless the initiative expands to include women, these groups are likely to orient their programs to where the money is by, for example, restricting job training, college preparation and mentoring to boys only.
As a result of MBK, federal agencies are being asked to collect data about how their operations impact minority males. Unless the mission of this initiative is expanded, the data about girls apparently will be sent to the shredding bin. It’s an ironic result for an administration that prides itself on its support for women’s equality.
As someone with a non-profit background, there is lots of truth in what Butler says about dollar distribution and how it actually effects work on the ground. And as the money pool available to non-profits (as well as public schools, universities and other private/public partnerships) gets smaller, ultimately folks will go where the money is. And at a time when philanthropy dollars spent on all girls only stands at a dismal range of 3 percent to just over 6 percent of total grantmaking, guess who will get abandoned in the process? And how is that a way to build the community?
President Obama has signed an executive order that caps a student loan borrower’s monthly fees at 10 percent of their income. The order will help five million borrowers who took out loans before October 2007 or stopped borrowing by October 2011.
The order has been sent to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan with the goal of making it available in December 2015. There’s also an effort to renegotiate with loan providers to offer perks to borrowers who pay on time, create a six percent ceiling for active-duty military members and partner with H&R Block and Intuit (the tax preparation companies) to provide customers with info about tax breaks and education repayment options.
“The average debt per borrower from the class of 2012 ranged from $17,994 in New Mexico to as much as $33,649 in Delaware,” reports The Washington Post.
The Christian Science Monitor notes that, while the administration is doing a good job of acknowledging the issue of student debt, this action doesn’t address the underlying issues that lead to the sort of crippling debt that many students are dealing with. President Obama acknowledged as much with his support of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposal that will allow students to refinance high-interest debt. (It could come up for a vote tomorrow.) He noted in his remarks at the signing of the memo that Congress, as a whole, must take action as well.
Many say that the high level of student debt ($1.2 trillion) is keeping young adults from owning homes and cars, which is also having an impact on the economy as a whole.
Environmental Protection Agency Announces Regulations To Drastically Cut Emissions From Power Plants
Update: EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has announced the new emissions regulations with the goal of getting states to comply actually moved to 2017, the year after President Obama leaves office.
“The glue that holds this plan together — and the key to making it work — is that each state’s goal is tailored to its own circumstances, and states have the flexibility to reach their goal in whatever works best for them,” said McCarthy.
The speed on the implementation of this program is being called “modest,” according to the AP, but the time will be necessary to work out the details.
Power plants are the biggest producers of greenhouse gases in the country, creating one-third of the pollution the country emits into the environment. The use of coal in energy supply has been reduced from 50 percent to 40 percent with the growing use of gas and renewable energy. Power plants have reduced carbon dioxide emissions from 13 percent since 2005.
Your thoughts? Is climate change high on your concerns?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to announce today new regulations that will cut the emissions from power plants by 30 percent from 2005 standards by the year 2030. The new regulation is directed at US coal plants; there are about 600 of them.
“If it withstands an expected onslaught of legal and legislative attacks, experts say that it could close hundreds of the plants and also lead, over the course of decades, to the systemic changes to the American electricity industry including transformations in how power is generated and used,” reports The New York Times.
President Obama is using executive authority to get the new regulation in place. A bill was proposed in Congress during his first term and failed to pass. Obama has addressed climate change and the environment throughout his presidency and has faced opposition every step of the way.
To meet these new regulations, states will have options, including building new green energy sources (wind and solar, for instance) and joining “cap and trade” programs in which carbon emissions are paid for. Compliance will be required by 2016. In cutting carbon dioxide this deeply, the US will also be living up to its promise, made in a 2009 United Nations accord, to cut greenhouse gases by 17 percent by 2020, and 83 percent by 2050. Also, remarks the Times, it will add to President Obama’s legacy as his time in office begins to wind down.
The new regulation will no doubt also become a political issue for those running for office in this year’s midterm elections, with Republicans (many of whom will no doubt oppose the measure) using it to hit Democrats who support it. Cost will be an issue, with the question of whether consumers will have to pay more for power and a report from the US Chamber of Commerce saying the measure could cost the gross domestic product (GDP) $50 billion annually. And in states like West Virginia and Kentucky where the coal industry is large, there will be the issue of jobs.
“Although the Obama administration has reached out to both companies and environmental groups to broadly lay out the rulemaking’s goals, it in recent days tried to keep the proposal’s details quiet in the run-up to Monday’s announcement,” reports The Wall Street Journal.
There will be a period for public comment in which lobbyists, environmental groups and tons of others are expected to chime in with their thoughts on how this regulation should be shaped.
“The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But a low-carbon, clean energy economy can be an engine of growth for decades to come,” said President Obama during his radio address on Saturday.
President Obama announced today that the longest conflict in American history — the war in Afghanistan — will begin winding down with only 9,800 troops remaining after withdrawals later this year, the point at which the conflict will officially end. By 2016, even fewer troops will remain in the country.
“Obama’s decision is largely in line with what military commanders have been seeking and would allow the president to fully end the American-led military effort by the time he leaves office,” says the AP.
There are currently 32,000 US troops in Afghanistan. This new plan is dependent on Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s approval of the Bilateral Security Agreement, which he hasn’t given. However, a new president will be elected, and officials believe either candidate will likely support the move, which will continue to provide legal protection for our troops there.
In his remarks today from the Rose Garden at the White House, President Obama called this the “responsible end” to the war and a “new chapter in American foreign policy” that will allow those resources — both men and money — to be used for other things. At one point, there were as many as 100,000 troops in Afghanistan. We’ve been in that country for 13 years.
The 9,800 remaining troops will focus on counterterrorism and training for Afghan troops. Fewer than 1,000 will remain by the end of 2016, working in a Kabul security office.
The President is giving the commencement speech at West Point Military Academy tomorrow and is expected to give even more detail about the plan.
Over the weekend, President Obama made a trip to Afghanistan to visit the troops. And yesterday, during a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, he said, “By the end of this year, our war in Afghanistan will finally come to an end.”
According to USA Today, the Obamas have their listed assets valued at about $2 million to $7 million. Although for the average citizen, this information would be private, White House spokesperson Jay Carney reminds us that the opposite goes for the First Family.
“The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 requires high-level federal officials to publicly disclose their personal financial interests. The public filing system serves to prevent financial conflicts of interest by providing for a systematic review of the finances of government officials,” said Carney.
We see the President and First Lady so often, we think of them as celebrities. And many celebrities make many millions. So to see that the Obamas — he’s the leader of the free world and she’s the bomb — don’t have more in the bank might be a little jarring. (Mitt Romney, for instance, is said to be worth hundreds of millions.) But keep in mind, the President’s salary is $450,000, a figure that hasn’t gone up in the past fiscal year.
CNN Money tells us the Obamas have invested between $1 million to $5 million assets into U.S. Treasury securities. Their daughters, Malia and Sasha, will not have to take loans to fund their college educations; their parents allocated between $200,000 and $400,000 in 529 college savings plans for them.
However, some time has passed since President Obama’s bestselling books were smash hits. In comparison to their 2010 stats, the President’s memoir sales this year earned him about $165,000, a big drop from their $1.1 million sales. President Obama’s personal assets are reportedly worth between $1.95 and $7.15 million.
Their mortgage was the only liability listed by the Obamas in their financial disclosure.