May 19th, 2011
Cornel West, a Princeton University professor and leading black intellectual, is harshly criticizing President Obama, a candidate he once supported but now calls “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.”
West, a former Harvard University professor, said during an interview with the website Truthdig posted yesterday that the president has not been true to his race.
“I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men,” West said. “It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white…When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening.”
The White House did not have an immediate comment. West did not respond to messages left at his office.
Republicans have questioned Obama’s origins — to the point where he felt compelled to release his long-form birth certificate to prove he was born in Hawaii — but West also uses Obama’s past to draw into question the president’s racial bearings.
“Obama, coming out of Kansas influence, white, loving grandparents, coming out of Hawaii and Indonesia, when he meets these independent black folk who have a history of slavery, Jim Crow, Jane Crow and so on, he is very apprehensive,” West said. “He has a certain rootlessness, a deracination. It is understandable.”
West is a professor at Princeton's Center for African American Studies and is the author of "Race Matters." He was a professor at Harvard, but left in 2002 amid quarrels with then-president Lawrence Summers.
West also recounts personal slights — that his phone calls didn’t get returned, and that he couldn’t get a ticket with his mother and brother to the inauguration.
It is not the first time West has raised questions about Obama. Last year, during an interview with NPR, he said he wished the president were more “Martin Luther King-like.”
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May 19th, 2011
During an appearance on Fox News' "Hannity" on Wednesday night, Sarah Palin suggested that David Gregory, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," asked a "racist-tinged question" in pressing presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on an eyebrow-raising characterization of President Barack Obama he made last week.
The former House Speaker criticized the president as "the most successful food stamp president in modern American history" while speaking in Georgia. Here's an excerpt of the exchange that went down between Gingrich and Gregory after a clip was played of the remarks:
GREGORY: First of all, you gave a speech in Georgia with language a lot of people think could be coded racially-tinged language, calling the president, the first black president, a food stamp president.
GINGRICH: Oh, come on, David.
GREGORY: What did you mean? What was the point?
GINGRICH: That's, that's bizarre. That -- this kind of automatic reference to racism, this is the president of the United States. The president of the United States has to be held accountable. Now, the idea that -- and what I said is factually true. Forty-seven million Americans are on food stamps. One out of every six Americans is on food stamps. And to hide behind the charge of racism? I have -- I have never said anything about President Obama which is racist.
GREGORY: Well, what did you mean?
GINGRICH: Well, it's very simple. He has policies -- and I used a very direct analogy. He follows the same destructive political model that destroyed the city of Detroit. I follow the model that Rick Perry and others have used to create more jobs in Texas. You know, Texas two out of the last four years created more jobs than the other 49 states combined. I'm suggesting we know how to create jobs. Ronald Reagan did it. I was part of that. We know how to create jobs. We did it when I was speaker. And, and the way you create jobs is you have lower taxes, you have less regulation, you have litigation reform. When the New York Stock Exchange puts its headquarters at Amsterdam, Holland and, by the way, follows 40 other companies in the last year; when General Electric pays zero in taxes; there's something fundamentally wrong with the current system. The Obama system of the National Labor Relations Board basically breaking the law to try to punish Boeing and to threaten every right-to-work state. The Environmental Protection Agency trying to control the entire American economy by bureaucratic fiat. The Obama system's going to lead us down the path to Detroit and destruction. I think we need a brand-new path. It's a path of job creation. And one of the central themes of this campaign is going to be paychecks vs. food stamps.
"Well, talk about racism, that was a racist-tingest question from David Gregory," said Palin of the exchange. "He made it sound like if you're black you're on food stamps and the president is referring to you as being on food stamps. I think that's racist. And, you know, enough is enough of this calling out, this racism, these false charges."
May 19th, 2011
May 18th, 2011
By Adam Levine, CNN National Security Producer
Washington (CNN) -- The ability of the United States to enter Pakistan, kill Osama bin Laden and leave without detection was a humiliation to Pakistanis, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Wednesday.
But Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, insisted there is no evidence Pakistani's senior leadership knew of the bin Laden compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
"If I were in Pakistani shoes, I would say I've already paid a price. I've been humiliated. I've been shown that the Americans can come in here and do this with impunity," Gates told reporters at the Pentagon, responding to a question about what should be done if someone in Pakistan's government did know. "I think we have to recognize that they see a cost in that and a price that has been paid."
Mullen told reporters the incident was a "humbling experience" for the Pakistanis that has led to "internal soul-searching."
"They've been through a lot tied to this, and their image has been tarnished. And they care, as we all do, and they care a lot about that. They're a very proud military," Mullen said.
Both he and Gates said there is nothing to suggest senior Pakistani leadership knew the al Qaeda leader was in their midst. The United States does suspect some in the government, military or intelligence knew, but for now that is just a U.S. suspicion. They said they have found no evidence to support it.
"I mean, the supposition is somebody," Gates said. "We don't know whether it was, you know, retired people, whether it was low-level. Pure supposition on our part. It's hard to go to them with an accusation when we have no proof that anybody knew."
Mullen said the relationship between the two countries faces challenges going forward but its continuance is crucial for the United States.
"I think it would be a really significantly negative outcome if the relationship got broken," Mullen said.
Gates said he is frustrated by the Pakistani reluctance to go after al Qaeda and Taliban elements in northwest Pakistan. The raid on bin Laden's compound has opened an opportunity to address that issue again but the Pakistanis have warned the United States that another such covert raid would not be tolerated.
"The Pakistanis, over the last couple of weeks, have expressed the view that they are willing to go after some of these people and that we should not repeat the bin Laden operation, because they will undertake this themselves," Gates said.
The secretary and the chairman also expressed great concern about all the details on the raid that have been made public.
Gates noted an agreement had been reached in the government not to discuss "operational details" but "that lasted about 15 hours."
"We want to retain the capability to carry out these kinds of operations in the future. And when so much detail is available, it makes that both more difficult and riskier," he told reporters.
Mullen warned the impact of all the leaks to the media is "close to jeopardizing this precious capability that we have."
His criticism was not aimed only at those inside the government who are talking to the press without authorization. In addition, he said, "we've had far too many retired members who've spoken up."
May 18th, 2011
By Brandi Cummings -
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A gas station on Columbia's North Main Street has been renamed and redecorated after President Obama.
Two gas stations sit at the corner of Columbia's North Main Street and Prescott Road, the El Cheapo and another station with a new name -- Obama.
"I see more people come in excited with the name," said owner Sam Alhanik, who got the idea from a friend who created an Obama Gas Station in Michigan.
Alhanik has only owned this station for two months. Although born in Yemen, he says he supports America's president. "It's the first president of black people," he said. "It's our president. We like him."
He says he's seen a boom in business since changing the name, one that has sparked quite the competition with the station across the street. Before our interview, the price at the Obama station was $3.59 for a gallon of regular. The price at El Cheapo $3.54.
When we mentioned the difference during our interview, Alhanik's cousin lowered the price to $3.53. Just seconds later, the price at the El Cheapo fell too.
"That's the business," said Alhanik. "I don't want to lose everything. It's a competition."
One that's great for frequent customers like Larry Nelson, who says his stops here more often because of the president's picture. "I feel like it does support him by coming here," said Nelson.
Alhanik spent $4,000 to change the name and the look. "I think it's a good marketing tool," said Chiquita Burton, who owns Salon 5710 on North Main.
Burton says the gas station name change has prompted discussions in her hair salon, but she does not like the idea. "A lot of people think that it's morally and ethically wrong to have the president beside beer, wine and cigarettes," she said. "That's portraying an image to society and also to the children here."
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