Tag Archives: Obama

Rollback proposed for Michelle Obama school lunch guidelines

Rollback proposed for Michelle Obama school lunch guidelinesThe Trump administration on Friday took another step toward dismantling Michelle Obama's school nutrition guidelines, proposing a new rule that could lead to more pizza and fries and less fruit and a smaller variety of vegetables on school menus. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who announced the rule changes on Obama’s birthday, said they were needed to give schools more flexibility and reduce waste while still providing nutritious and appetizing meals. “What a shameless, embarrassing capitulation to lobbyists at the expense of American children and their well-being,” said Sam Kass, who served as executive director of Obama's “Let's Move" campaign to combat child obesity.



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Obama has reportedly 'gone to bat' for Elizabeth Warren to reluctant wealthy donors

Obama has reportedly 'gone to bat' for Elizabeth Warren to reluctant wealthy donorsFormer President Obama has reportedly been vouching for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to wealthy donors in an attempt to "rally the troops."Obama, The Hill reports, has in recent months "gone to bat" for the Democratic presidential candidate to "donors reluctant to support her given her knocks on Wall Street and the wealthy," describing her behind the scenes as a capable contender and encouraging them to support her if she's the nominee."He obviously thinks she's very smart," a Democratic donor said. "He thinks her policy ideas matter. And I think he sees her running the campaign with the most depth."Obama has not offered any 2020 endorsement and has made clear he'll stay out of the Democratic primary. Still, the Hill reports that those around Obama say he's concerned Democrats in financial services will, per one ally, "have an issue" with Warren as the nominee, hence his attempt to "rally the troops." One Obama source noted, however, he would do the same for any one of the 2020 Democrats.This comes after a report that Obama in 2015 said that if voters rallied behind Warren, who helped set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in his administration, it would be a "repudiation" of his economic policies. It also comes after a September report on the "far more combative relationship" between Warren and the Obama administration "than she usually discusses on the campaign trail."More stories from theweek.com How a 'legislative terrorist' conquered the Republican Party The West was profoundly wrong about Modi 19 references and callbacks you may have missed in The Rise of Skywalker



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Flake to GOP: What would you do if it were Barack Obama, not Donald Trump?

Flake to GOP: What would you do if it were Barack Obama, not Donald Trump?Jeff Flake wrote to his former Senate colleagues that not only is Trump on trial, but "so are you. And so is the political party to which we belong."



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Do Democratic candidates agree with Obama that women make better leaders?

Do Democratic candidates agree with Obama that women make better leaders?A question was poised about former Obama’s recent comments that if women were leaders, there would be “significant improvement across the board.”



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Mitch McConnell laughs about stopping Obama hiring judges, allowing Trump to fill courts with conservatives

Mitch McConnell laughs about stopping Obama hiring judges, allowing Trump to fill courts with conservativesSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell boasted about blocking former president Barack Obama's judicial appointments, a two-year effort that allowed Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled congress to stack courts with conservative judges and create a conservative majority on the nation's high court.Fox host Sean Hannity told the Kentucky senator that he was shocked that the Obama administration "left so many vacancies and didn't try to fill those positions".



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'He'd do it again': Former Obama official says Trump must be impeached

'He'd do it again': Former Obama official says Trump must be impeachedFormer acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, the author of the new bestseller “Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump,” believes the GOP notion that Congress can responsibly let voters decide if President Trump’s conduct is impeachable at the ballot box “makes no sense.”



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Buttigieg predicts a 'two-way' race against Warren as both compete to sound more like Obama

Buttigieg predicts a 'two-way' race against Warren as both compete to sound more like ObamaPete Buttigieg made waves with a suggestion — which he later partially retracted — that the 2020 Democratic primary contest is “getting to be a two-way” race between him and Elizabeth Warren. But opponents said Buttigieg’s remarks were presumptuous.



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Barack Obama thinks 'woke' kids want purity. They don't: they want progress

Barack Obama thinks 'woke' kids want purity. They don't: they want progressThe former president took black and progressive movements to task, without understanding his own failure to deliver change • Call-out culture: how to get it right (and wrong)Former president Barack Obama speaks with actress, model, and activist Yara Shahidi during the Obama Foundation summit in Chicago, on 29 October. Photograph: Ashlee Rezin Garcia/APOn Tuesday, in Chicago, former president Barack Obama joined actress Yara Shahidi in a conversation with activists from his Obama Foundation program. Over the nearly 1.5-hour Obama Foundation summit event, the beloved political figure deployed his trademark charm and humor while discussing the challenges of movement politics.Media attention has focused on a particular part of the conversation – Obama’s criticism of call-out culture and what he perceived as an excessively strident activist left. “We can’t completely remake society in a minute,” Obama said, “so we have to make some accommodations to the existing structures.”He added, “This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically woke and all that stuff, you should get over that quickly. The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids and share certain things with you.”He then made a separate point about social media activism:“If I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right or used the wrong verb, I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself. ‘Man you see how woke I was, I called you out.’” But “that’s not activism. That’s not bringing about change.”On its face, these are fair remarks. During the session, both Obama and Shahidi drew from examples of the nonviolent civil rights movement of the early 1960s, which required enormous faith, patience and compromise from its activists in the face of threats to their lives and livelihood. Today, as social justice activists’ material conditions have relatively improved, they will encounter people in positions of power with wealth and access, and they have to learn to work with them on some level, Obama implied. And no, tweeting about a verb probably won’t bring about change.However, we can’t look at Obama’s remarks in a vacuum. From 2016 – as he prepared to exert his influence over who would be the next Democratic nominee – to the present, Obama has often aimed his political critiques at youth-led, black and progressive movements. While upholding the necessity of nuance, Obama himself seems to force these movements into a box, cherry-picking anecdotes for a strawman: that these movements expect purity and demand perfection.> This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically woke … you should get over that. The world is messy. There are ambiguities> > Barack ObamaIn an early instance of this ideological pattern, at a 2016 youth town hall in London, Obama spoke generally of Black Lives Matter while referring to the handful of activists who confronted the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for her role in criminalizing black youth:“Once you’ve highlighted an issue and brought it to people’s attention … then you can’t just keep on yelling at them. And you can’t refuse to meet because that might compromise the purity of your position. The value of social movements and activism is to get you at the table, get you in the room.”A few months later in a Howard commencement address, with Chicago protests of the police killing of Laquan McDonald not far in the distance, he told the audience of mostly black students about his criminal justice reform as a state senator:“I can say this unequivocally: without at least the acceptance of the police organizations in Illinois, I could never have gotten those [criminal justice reform] bills passed … If you think that the only way forward is to be as uncompromising as possible, you will feel good about yourself, you will enjoy a certain moral purity, but you’re not going to get what you want.”And earlier this year, Obama again raised the amorphous specter of purity politics as people have embraced a leftward policy shift:“One of the things I do worry about sometimes among progressives in the United States … is a certain kind of rigidity where we say, ‘Uh, I’m sorry, this is how it’s going to be’ and then we start … a ‘circular firing squad’, where you start shooting at your allies because one of them has strayed from purity on the issues.”Obama has offered these platitudes without much evidence that progressives, Black Lives Matter activists or young voters expect purity. Impatience with the status quo is not purity. A consistent political project is not purity. And being patient has its limits.> For many Americans, the normalization of genuinely leftwing policies is providing the hope and change Obama campaigned onYou can gather from the general direction of Obama’s career, from turning down a route in corporate law to his community organizing, that he has some commitment to social justice. However, his remarks indicate discomfort with more radical tactics in achieving it, reducing them to petulant zeal and not a legitimate strategy among the broad scope of tools needed to dismantle oppressive systems.While discussing Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King as examples of patient progress, he freezes them in time. He failed to note either King’s or Parks’s evolutions. Over time King became more radicalized and questioned integration. When Parks was forced to Detroit to retreat from the backlash against her bus boycott activism, she became a proponent of the Panthers’ self-defense demands and identified Malcolm X as her personal hero.Obama also failed to discuss how, despite King’s strategies negotiating with Lyndon Johnson to sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Congress waffled in passing further civil rights measures until the 1968 riots after King’s assassination, when Congress was forced to swiftly pass the Fair Housing Act.Or go back further: despite the negotiations and patience of abolitionists in the 1800s, it was a steady stream of black uprisings, and an entire civil war, that gave abolition laws and the Emancipation Proclamation any teeth.Obama’s fundamental problem is in confusing a strategy of pragmatism with the strategy. Pragmatic approaches can coexist with more radical politics. But Obama’s pattern of dismissing radical demands altogether shows a serious unwillingness to appreciate the times. Obama is committed to a notion of reaching across the aisle that may have seemed necessary in 2012, but not so much in 2019.Americans in the throes of economic struggle and social oppression have been advised to hold their nose for so long that they’re suffocating. The labor movement is experiencing more worker strikes now than in the past 40 years. We’re in a 1968 moment, not 1963. But Obama has not accepted this evolution.As people demand universal policies for basic needs of shelter, food, freedom from police terror, and economic security, and when wealth inequality is the worst in a century, Obama has to reckon with his own questions. How is his form of calling out – scolding black, young and progressive movements – bringing about change? Is he part of the solution or part of the problem?For many Americans, the normalization of genuinely leftwing policies is providing the hope and change Obama campaigned on. This is the time for him to finally help achieve it.



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'That's not bringing about change': Obama advises 'woke' young people not to be so judgmental

'That's not bringing about change': Obama advises 'woke' young people not to be so judgmental"That's not bringing about change. If all you're doing is casting stones, you're probably not going to get that far," the former president said.



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Michelle Obama says white Americans 'still running' from black neighbors

Michelle Obama says white Americans 'still running' from black neighborsFormer first lady reflects on her experience of white flight in Chicago and says ‘when we moved in, white families moved out’Michelle Obama said: ‘I want to remind white folks that y’all were running from us. And you’re still running.’ Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty ImagesMichelle Obama has said that white Americans are “still running” from their non-white fellow citizens during a summit in which she detailed how her own experience of white flight unfolded during her upbringing on Chicago’s South Side.“We were doing everything we were supposed to do – and better,” the former first lady told attendees at the third annual Obama Foundation Summit, reported the Chicago Sun-Times as she talked about her childhood. “But when we moved in, white families moved out.”“I want to remind white folks that y’all were running from us. And you’re still running,” she also said, reportedly making a comparison between white flight and what immigrant families experience when they settle in US neighborhoods.At the meeting, Michelle Obama reportedly touted the benefits of building the Obama Presidential Center on 19.3 acres in historic Jackson Park on Chicago’s South Side. She said the project would feature a museum, library, gym, and forum.“Barack and I wouldn’t bring some crap up in our neighborhood,” she reportedly said. She pointed out that she hails from the area by birth and that her husband Barack comes from South Side by choice.During his speech at the forum, Barack Obama said: “We joke about it a little bit, like this is the mothership.”While they hope the center could anchor a potential economic revival in the area, there have been setbacks.Opponents of the project are pursuing a federal court appeal after losing a lawsuit. Federal authorities must also review the project, as Jackson Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In December, this review will have already spanned two years. It remains unclear when the review will end, according to the newspaper.



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