All Articles Tagged "President Obama"

Skip The Hookups! Obamas Want Daughters To Get A Taste Of Working At Minimum Wage Jobs

June 23rd, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Image Source: WENN.com

Image Source: WENN.com

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.

Roland Martin’s Wrong: Why Girls And Women Should Be Included In “My Brother’s Keeper”

June 20th, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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Image Source: Shutterstock.com

Image Source: Shutterstock.com

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 Signs Executive Order That Puts A Cap On Student Loan Payments

June 10th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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obama exec order student loanPresident 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

June 2nd, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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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?

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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: Most Troops Will Be Out Of Afghanistan By 2016

May 27th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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President Obama announcing the troop draw down. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Obama announcing the troop draw down. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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.”

via Voice of America and Time

How Much Is The First Family Worth?

May 19th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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"The Obamas pf"

Shutterstock

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.

Mississippi Democratic Congressman Criticizes Opposition To President Obama As Racial Bias

May 4th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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thompson bashMississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson (D) went on the record again with CNN to explain why he thinks Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is an “Uncle Tom” who “doesn’t stand up for African Americans.”

“Well if you look at his decisions on the court, they have been adverse to the minority community, and the people I represent have a real issue with an African American not being sensible to those issues,” he told CNN’s Dana Bash.

“The people that I represent, for the most part, have a real issue with those decisions–voter ID, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act–all those issues are very important and for someone in the court who’s African American and not sensitive to that is a real problem,” he continued.

Rep. Thompson’s original remarks were made last weekend during an appearance on a New Nation of Islam radio show. He also accused Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) of racism and attributed the current “anti-government” attitude on the fact that President Obama is black.

“That Mitch McConnell would have the audacity to tell the president of the United States — not the chief executive, but the commander-in-chief — that ‘I don’t care what you come up with we’re going to be against it.’ Now if that’s not a racist statement I don’t know what is,” Rep. Thompson said.

He also slammed Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant for turning down funds for expanding Medicaid. (The governor said he did so in case the Affordable Care Act gets repealed. None of the many Republican efforts to get the law overturned have been successful.)

Rep. Thompson calls out Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner (R-Oh), and others for their sharp opposition to the Affordable Care Act while they showed no opposition to President George W. Bush’s prescription drug program.

“When a black man comes up with the idea, you understand,… there’s something wrong with it,” Rep. Thompson said. “So once again, it’s that race that’s creeping into the picture.”

On the anti-government attitude of those like Cliven Bundy, Rep Thompson said, “That kind of attitude has just been around the last 5 1/2 years.”

Buzzfeed has excerpts from the recording.

In his responses to CNN’s Bash, Rep. Thompson maintains that the topics he brought up have never been issues for other presidents. Thompson has been in Congress for 11 terms.

Your thoughts on Rep. Thompson’s comments? Per Bash’s question, are they appropriate?

Hollywood Actors Speak Out Against Sexual Assault In Obama Administration PSA

April 30th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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How many times have our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and fathers advised us on how to prevent the sexual assault that they knew was sure to come. They told us not to wear too short, too tight clothes, warned us about leaving our drinks unattended at parties and forwarded e-mails about how to protect ourselves from the potential attacks of strange men in the darkness.

Most of us have heard these things. But speeches about rape, consent and street harassment were rarely discussed with our brothers, cousins and, in the case of mothers, our sons.

It’s no secret that there is gross ignorance, misunderstanding and apathy among men when it comes to the sexual assault women experience, on a daily basis, in this country. But the White House is trying to combat that. After Vice President Joe Biden, delivered a speech on protecting students from sexual assault, the Obama administration introduced their new PSA and campaign against sexual assault.

The commercial features actors like Daniel Craig, Benicio Del Toro, Steve Carell, Seth Meyers and Dulé Hill as well as the president and vice president. It’s the second commercial in the president’s 1 is 2 Many campaign which featured celebrities like Eli Manning, Jeremy Lin and David Beckham.

Take a look at the PSA above and spread the word.

VP Joe Biden Joined Instagram Yesterday & It’s Already Great

April 17th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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Caption: "Found a friend to join my first selfie on Instagram. Thanks for following and stay tuned. –VP"

Caption: “Found a friend to join my first selfie on Instagram. Thanks for following and stay tuned. –VP”

VP Joe Biden joined Instagram yesterday and clearly he’s got a knack for it. He’s already posted the greatest selfie since the greatest celebrity selfie ever at the Oscars. And, knowing that we all love Uncle Joe and his wacky brand of cool, he posted this gem below, with his aviators.

vp joe aviators

 

The caption on that one: “Vice President Biden’s getting ready to head to Pennsylvania with President Obama this afternoon, where he’ll lay out steps we can take to train America’s workers with the skills they need for good middle-class jobs. Follow @VP for the latest from the Vice President, and the occasional aviators pic.” We’ll have more about that trip today as well.

Already, the Vice President has more than 61,000 followers.

We’re seeing more of the VP in the past week than we’ve seen in a while. Besides the appearance in Pennsylvania, he was also in Boston for the memorial service of the marathon bombing.

“America will never ever ever stand down. We are Boston. We are America. We respond. We endure. We overcome. And we own the finish line,” he said at one point in a speech that we’ve heard people applaud for its poignancy.

President Obama also fielded a question on CBS This Morning about whether he would support VP Biden if he ran for President in 2016. So the additional IG presence could be an attempt to draw more followers in preparation for a run for the White House. CBS’ White House correspondent Major Garrett says Biden “clearly” has intentions of running again though, when asked, Biden himself hasn’t said that.

“If I absolutely knew I wasn’t going to run or I absolutely knew I was, there’s nothing I’d do differently over the next seven, eight, 10 months,” Biden told CBS. “But that decision hasn’t been made, for real, and there’s plenty of time to make that. We have a lot of work to do between now and November.”

And as for the President’s endorsement, he says, “I’ve got somebody who I think will go down as one of the finest vice presidents in history, and he has been … a great partner in everything that I do. I suspect that there may be other potential candidates for 2016 who have been great friends and allies. Whoever the Democratic standard bearer is, is going to be continuing to focus on jobs, making sure that our kids are getting a great education, making sure that we’re rebuilding prosperity from the middle class out in this country – and I am very much interested in making sure that some of the stuff we’ve gotten started continues.”

That’s a great non-answer. In the meantime, enjoy the Vice President’s IG feed.

[h/t Business Insider]

He’s Got Her Back! President Obama Prevents Michelle’s Wardrobe Malfunction

April 12th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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President Obama Prevents Michelle's Wardrobe Malfunction 1

Source: AP Images

Ladies, you know how it is. The weather breaks and you want to show a little leg in a nice full skirt that just so happens to hit you right above the knee.

And that’s all fine and dandy until the wind decides to expose all of your business for the world to see. It happens to the best of us. Even our beloved First Lady, Michelle Obama, almost fell victim to this terrible fate. But her husband, President Obama, being the gentleman that he is, was there to save the day.

Earlier this week, Mr. and Mrs. Obama were boarding Air Force One in Houston when a gust of wind blew the First Lady’s skirt into the air. Her man was there to catch it though and prevented what could have been a terribly embarrassing moment…and no doubt a source for more Republican scrutiny (aka trolling).

The first couple were on this way to Austin, Texas to visit the Lyndon B Johnson Presidential Library where President Obama delivered an address to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

The couple finished their week with a viewing of Raisin in the Sun in New York City on Broadway. According to the Associated Press, the president and Mrs. Obama went backstage to greet the actors during intermission.

Gotta love these two!

President Obama Prevents Michelle's Wardrobe Malfunction

Source: AP Images