Barack Obama Reemerges, Gives First Speech Since Presidency at University of Chicago

It’s been a grueling, and at times confusing 100 days for most of America after Barack Obama officially stepped out of office. General unhappiness and fear have replaced the sense of comfort that the 44th president brought to the country, yet he’s remained silent aside from the odd vacation picture. Not to say his time off was unwarranted, but it was a huge juxtaposition to the literal horror show that American politics have been in for the first months of Donald Trump’s presidency (still can’t believe we’re saying that).

Obama has finally reemerged, however, and this week he gave his first speech since he left office to the University of Chicago.

The former president was still as sharp as ever, dropping in his usual brand of dad jokes and engaging the audience with his specific brand of uplifting and inspiring commentary. He shied away from speaking on the issues that have befallen the country since he left, not wanting to take shots at Trump—even though he did bring up the immigration issue briefly. Other than the president doing his duty to enlighten the youth through telling them about his experiences, there are questions about what role (if any) he will play politically in galvanizing the still shell-shocked Democrats. He’s already being taken to task for reportedly taking money from Wall Street to give speeches, but his silence in regards to current events is telling if not a little worrying. We’ll just have to wait and see, but for now—I think we’re all glad that Obama is back in the public eye.

¿QUÉ BOLÁ CUBA? (What’s up, Cuba?)

In case you haven’t heard, President Barack Obama stepped foot on Cuban soil yesterday, making him the first sitting U.S. President to do so in 88 years. 88 years. This historic three-day visit to Cuba announced by Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro back in December 2014 marks the shift in diplomatic relations (from nonexistent to a questionable maybe).
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President Barack Obama Visits Internet Hit “Between Two Ferns”

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What happens when two world’s hilariously collide and promote the upcoming deadline for healthcare signups? Watch as President Barack Obama sits down with Zach Galifianakis for his most memorable interview yet.
Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama.

Blacks in 2012 voted at higher rate than whites for the first time

New data has emerged that shows  that blacks surpassed the number of whites in the 2012 elections. What’s interesting is that this is most certainly correlated to the election and re-election of America’s first black president. Here’s why:

“Blacks were the only race or ethnic group to show a significant increase between the 2008 and 2012 elections in the likelihood of voting (from 64.7 percent to 66.2 percent). The 2012 increase in voting among blacks continues what has been a long-term trend: since 1996, turnout rates have risen 13 percentage points to the highest levels of any recent presidential election. In contrast, after reaching a high in 2004, non-Hispanic white voting rates have dropped in two consecutive elections. Between 2008 and 2012, rates for non-Hispanic whites dropped from 66.1 percent to 64.1 percent. As recently as 1996, blacks had turnout rates 8 percentage points lower than non-Hispanic whites.”

“Overall, the percentage of eligible citizens who voted declined from 63.6 percent in 2008 to 61.8 percent in 2012.”

The Chicago Tribune also breaks it down reminding us that:

” Some of the increase in black voting stems from enthusiasm for President Obama and his campaign’s mobilization efforts, but much of the gain reflects a trend of ever-greater participation among blacks. Many were denied the right to vote until the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and have been the target of intensive voter registration and turnout efforts ever since.”

President Proclamation: “May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month”

There have been discussions for years about the relevancy of an initiative like “Black History Month” where Black cultural achievements are being celebrated for a month in countries like the United Kingdom, Canada & the United States.  Morgan Freeman famously called the “whole concept ridiculous“”I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history.” This argument was particularly strong if you consider that not many other cultures have their own month. Well this is changing as Barack Obama has called May “the American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month”. It makes sense coming from the first truly multicultural American president who was raised for part of his life in Hawaii. This initiative comes with a mission: addressing the disparities that still exist in health care, education, and employment and keep the community from getting ahead. How effective will it be, is celebrating one group’s cultural heritage a significant step in addressing many of the social issues that still prevail? Also is it justified to group Asian Americans with Pacific Islanders, shouldn’t they all have their own month?

“We remember a time 170 years ago, when Japanese immigrants first set foot on American shores and opened a path for millions more. We remember 1869, when Chinese workers laid the final ties of the transcontinental railroad after years of backbreaking labor. And we remember Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have made our country bigger and brighter again and again, from Native Hawaiians to the generations of striving immigrants who shaped our history — reaching and sweating and scraping to give their children something more. Their story is the American story, and this month, we honor them all.” (…)

This year, we recognize the 25th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act’s repeal — milestones that helped mend deep wounds of systemic discrimination. And with irrepressible determination and optimism, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have prevailed over adversity and risen to the top of their fields — from medicine to business to the bench. But even now, too many hardworking AAPI families face disparities in health care, education, and employment that keep them from getting ahead.”

 

 

 

‘Gang of Eight’ Immigration Bill Draws Mixed Reviews via USA Today

A subject that everyone has been keeping an eye on since the time of elections was how immigration reform would be handled.  The bipartisan team, nicknamed the ‘Gang of Eight’, has proposed their new immigration bill and as expected there are some positive reactions and some negative reactions. Hit the jump to see some infographics breaking it down and some other details.

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Jay-Z vs the White House…Again

This morning hip-hop artist/mogul Jay-Z released a new song called “Open Letter” that sent the internet in a frenzy. Jay addresses some politicians as well as his recent trip to Cuba. A representative from the White House challenged some of Jay-Z’s lines. In our opinion he’s taking the lyrics literally [even though he downplays it as just a song] when Jay-Z says he has White House clearance. We believe that line alludes more to the fact he is friends with the President more so than the White House clearing his Cuba trip. Details after the jump. Read More

More Obama, More Hate Groups… [VIDEO]

We’ve seen the disagreements between Barack Obama and Congress in regards to how much of a post-racial society we’ve become since electing Obama. Well, looks like this coincidental statistic shows we still have some room for improvement on the post-racial front. Read More

First Black Miss Israel Idolizes Obama [VIDEO]

In the last few days a lot has been made about Obama and his presence and perception in Israel. Well let’s look at what someone there with a very unique background thinks of Obama. Yityish Aynaw is the first black Miss Israel after immigrating there from Ethiopia. Another note of importance is noticing how immigration is a major contributor to diversity around the world. Read More

Over Obama’s objections, Supreme Court Pushes View of ‘Post-Racial’ America

With Barack Obama being elected President, and then re-elected many felt we had achieved a post-racial America. However the President himself still feels there is work to do and we have not quite reached that stage. The Supreme Court disagrees with the President as they push the view of a post-racial America. How does this divide affect us? Hit the jump to get an idea. Read More