Recently in Obama Category

Mommy & Daddy Made Me Stay Home Today!

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C-SPAN / 18:00


There are parents and pundits who criticized Obama's attempt to encourage kids to dream a little and to use school as a way to fulfill those dreams. As many of you know, today, Obama went to Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia and delivered a speech to the nation's school kids. Schools around the country tuned in, and some did not. It was a speech that some parents felt might harm their kids in some way and so they kept them home from school. Some parents were concerned about "bias" in Obama's speech. Bias toward what? Going to school? Did they consider keeping their kids home a radical, political act of resistance? We have to ask, what were you resisting?

Some pundits and parents felt Obama's speech was a "policy speech." If talking about setting educational goals for yourself, believing in yourself, and living out your passions while helping to change the U.S. to be a more compassionate nation is the new U.S. policy, it's one to which more of us should subscribe, no?

In an article on CNN.Politics, one parent was quoted as saying: "Thinking about my kids in school having to listen to that just really upsets me . . . I'm an American. They are Americans, and I don't feel that's OK. I feel very scared to be in this country with our leadership right now." WOW! After actually hearing the speech, this mom from Colorado must be SO incredibly embarrassed. What in the world does being American or not have to do with getting your butt up in the morning, going to school, and engaging in intellectual questions, creativity, and challenge? The parent says knowing her kids will have "to listen to that." "That" to me was about education and if isn't school the place to talk about the challenges of being a kid in school. I think that was the real "that," and thus one of the main points of Obama's speech today.

What did these parents think Obama might say (and weren't their fears quelled by reading the speech which was provided beforehand)? Did they think Obama would use this platform to tout the virtues of socialism? Did they fear he might tell kids the truth about how some parents have been acting at recent health care forums, setting them ablaze with ire and shutting down all hopes of communication? Did they think he'd get up to the Wakefield High School stage and scream out, "You know what, y'all, Republicans suck!"? What in the world did they fear?

Obama asked kids to discover who they want to be as adults and to make those discoveries through school; he asked kids to set some goals, small ones like 'tonight I'll do my homework.' He told kids they won't succeed at everything, but they can accomplish many things. He talked about the initial struggles of J.K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter. He quoted Michael Jordan. To be quite honest, his speech sounded just like the kind of lectures my aunts, uncles, mother, and father used to give me when I was a kid (and at which, as a child, I sometimes rolled my eyes): "Don't ever give up on yourself." Okay, the part about if you give up on yourself you give up on your country was a bit of patrimony, but it wasn't some grave evil with which he was trying to inculcate our kids. It's not like he encouraged them to get naked and do the nasty right there on C-SPAN.

Will those parents who kept their kids home today be embarrassed some day? Imagine being the kid who has to go to school tomorrow and be the one who was kept home because his mommy and daddy were afraid of Obama's stay-in-school speech. Gee wiz, even Laura Bush shared that she felt Obama's speech was a good idea.

From Newsy.com: "Obama Joins Gates-Gate"

A representative of Newsy.com sent me this video compilation regarding Obama's response to the Gates incident and asked that I post it. She writes :

"[The video] uses news coverage from multiple sources to describe President Obama's involvement with the Henry Louis Gates scandal. It examines how the president's statements have affected media coverage of the issue, and raises questions about race relations in America. I hope you will consider embedding the video in Social Etymologies."


Obama Speaks Out on Gates Arrest

22 July 2009

"Now, I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that, but I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, number three, what I think we know, separate and apart from this incident, is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. And that's just a fact. . . . [the incident was] a sign of how race remains a factor in this society."

Obama's Speech to the NAACP

071609_obamanaacp.jpgIn his recent speech to the NAACP Centennial Convention, Obama did strike some balance in his reprimand of poor and working poor African Americans. Yet the NY Times focused on his admonishment rather than his acknowledgment of the reasons why people are poor.


President Obama delivered a fiery sermon to black America on Thursday night, warning black parents that they must accept their own responsibilities by "putting away the Xbox and putting our kids to bed at a reasonable hour," and telling black children that growing up poor is no reason to get bad grades.


Even as he urged blacks to take responsibility for themselves, he spoke of the societal ills -- high unemployment, the housing and energy crisis -- that have created the conditions for black joblessness. And he said the legacy of the Jim Crow era is still felt, albeit in different ways today. "Make no mistake, no mistake: the pain of discrimination is still felt in America," Mr. Obama said, by African-American women who are paid less for the same work as white men, by Latinos "made to feel unwelcome," by Muslim Americans "viewed with suspicion" and by "our gay brothers and sisters, still taunted, still attacked, still denied their rights."

Mr. Obama paid particular attention to education, declaring that more than 50 years after the Supreme Court's landmark segregation case, Brown v. Board of Education, "the dream of a world-class education is still being deferred all across this country" as African-American students lag behind white classmates in reading and math.-Sheryl Gay Stolberg, NY Times, 16 July 2009


I must admit that I do bristle when I think about the fact that African Americans received a sort of homily from a president who identifies as a biracial-African American. And, this they received via the mouthpiece of black propriety: the NAACP. Obama attended an elite secondary school and college and thereby entered formal adulthood with the very American necessity of social capital.

And the Nominees Might Be . . .

THE FOLLOWING ARE QUOTATIONS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES REGARDING FOUR POSSIBLE OBAMA NOMINEES TO THE US SUPREME COURT


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SONIA SOTOMAYOR

The second woman and second Puerto Rican to be appointed to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. (Hispanic PR Newswire 17 September 2007)

Born 1954 in Bronx, NY

Federal Judicial Service:
Judge, U. S. District Court, Southern District of New York
Nominated by George H.W. Bush on November 27, 1991, to a seat vacated by John M. Walker, Jr.; Confirmed by the Senate on August 11, 1992, and received commission on August 12, 1992. Service terminated on October 13, 1998, due to appointment to another judicial position.

Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Nominated by William J. Clinton on June 25, 1997, to a seat vacated by J. Daniel Mahoney; Confirmed by the Senate on October 2, 1998, and received commission on October 7, 1998.

Education: Princeton University, B.A., 1976; Yale Law School, J.D., 1979

Professional Career: Assistant district attorney, New York County District Attorney's Office, 1979-1984; private practice, New York City, 1984-1992.
(Federal Judicial Center)

Widely considered a political centrist by the American Bar Association Journal and others, Sotomayor was nominated on November 27, 1991, by President George H. W. Bush to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated by John M. Walker, Jr. (the president's cousin).

From The NY Times . . . "Questions for Bill Ayers: Radical Cheer"

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NEW YORK TIMES
By Deborah Solomon
10 FEBRUARY 2009

In your new book, “Race Course: Against White Supremacy,? you and your wife, Bernardine Dohrn, describe your long struggle against racism and social injustice. Do you think Obama’s victory has put America on a new course?


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The election of Obama is an important strike against white supremacy. On the other hand, if you claim we’re in a postracial society, how do you explain the fact that 40 percent of black kids under 5 live in poverty?

"Drunken Negro Face" Cookies On Sale at Greenwich Village Bakery

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Now this is something . . . Perhaps someone should put this into the hands of Dave Chappelle.



Here is an update to the NY cookie story by John Del Signore at the Gothamist.

UPDATE: We just spoke with Kefalinos on the phone and he remains utterly oblivious, telling us, "This whole thing was blown out of proportion." He says he's sold out of the "Drunken Negro Cakes" and doesn't plan to make anymore, despite the fact that many customers have been requesting them (he claims). When asked whether he understands that most African-Americans find the word "negro" offensive, Kefalinos explains, "It's a French word. It comes from the French."


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Community Board 2 was quick to call for a boycott of Lafayette French Pastry, to which Kefalinos responds, "I'm sorry they feel that way because I was trying to do a nice thing." Not seeming to grasp in any way the degree of outrage he's sparked, he added, "I did it and that's the end of it and it's over."

UPDATE 1/24: Now Ted Kefalinos apologizes: "Seriously, from the bottom of my heart, it was an innocent design I created. It was nothing more than just a piece of art."

Now That's an Image Reversal . . .

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Obama Closes Guantánamo Doug Mills NYT.jpg
"President Obama was joined by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and 16 retired generals and admirals in the Oval Office as he signed the executive orders" to close the CIA's secret prisons and torture chambers at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Doug Mills/The New York Times, 22 January 2009

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