Posts Tagged ‘article

07
Dec
13

From the Archives: What Makes Obama Run? (Dec 7, 1995)

Barack Obama, Chicago, 1995 – Photo: Marc PoKempner

On This Day: December 7, 1995 -

Hank De Zutter (Chicago Reader): What Makes Obama Run?

Lawyer, teacher, philanthropist, and author Barack Obama doesn’t need another career. But he’s entering politics to get back to his true passion – community organization

When Barack Obama returned to Chicago in 1991 after three brilliant years at Harvard Law School, he didn’t like what he saw. The former community activist, then 30, had come fresh from a term as president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review, a position he was the first African-American to hold. Now he was ready to continue his battle to organize Chicago’s black neighborhoods. But the state of the city muted his exuberance.

“Upon my return to Chicago,” he would write in the epilogue to his recently published memoir, Dreams From My Father, “I would find the signs of decay accelerated throughout the South Side — the neighborhoods shabbier, the children edgier and less restrained, more middle-class families heading out to the suburbs, the jails bursting with glowering youth, my brothers without prospects…..”

Reading to young kids during 1995 IL State Senate campaign – Photo: Marc PoKempner

Today, after three years of law practice and civic activism, Obama has decided to dive into electoral politics. He is running for the Illinois Senate ….. Obama got all sorts of advice. Some of it perplexed him; most of it annoyed him. One African-American elected official suggested that Obama change his name, which he’d inherited from his late Kenyan father. Another told him to put a picture of his light-bronze, boyish face on all his campaign materials, “so people don’t see your name and think you’re some big dark guy.”

“Now all of this may be good political advice,” Obama said, “but it’s all so superficial …. Even those who are on the same page as me on the issues never seem to want to talk about them. Politics is regarded as little more than a career.”

Barack Obama in 1995 in his office at the University of Chicago Law School. On the wall is a portrait of the late Mayor Harold Washington. Photo: Marc PoKempner

Obama doesn’t need another career. As a civil rights lawyer, teacher, philanthropist, and author, he already has no trouble working 12-hour days. He says he is drawn to politics, despite its superficialities, as a means to advance his real passion and calling: community organization.

 ….. While no political opposition to Obama has arisen yet, many have expressed doubts about the practicality of his ambitions …. “Three major doubts have been raised,” he said. The first is whether in today’s political environment – with its emphasis on media and money – a grass-roots movement can even be created. Will people still answer the call of participatory politics?….

…. In 1992 Obama took time off to direct Project Vote, the most successful grass-roots voter-registration campaign in recent city history. Credited with helping elect Carol Moseley-Braun to the U.S. Senate, the registration drive, aimed primarily at African-Americans, added an estimated 125,000 voters to the voter rolls – even more than were registered during Harold Washington’s mayoral campaigns. “It’s a power thing,” said the brochures and radio commercials.

Campaigning for the Illinois State Senate in 1995, a race he easily won – Photo: Marc PoKempner

Obama’s work on the south side has won him the friendship and respect of many activists. One of them, Johnnie Owens, left the citywide advocacy group Friends of the Parks to join Obama at the Developing Communities Project. He later replaced Obama as its executive director.

“What I liked about Barack immediately is that he brought a certain level of sophistication and intelligence to community work,” Owens says. “He had a reasonable, focused approach that I hadn’t seen much of. A lot of organizers you meet these days are these self-anointed leaders with this strange, way-out approach and unrealistic, eccentric way of pursuing things from the very beginning. Not Barack. He’s not about calling attention to himself. He’s concerned with the work. It’s as if it’s his mission in life, his calling, to work for social justice.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I’m one of the most cynical people you want to see, always looking for somebody’s angle or personal interest,” Owens added.

“I’ve lived in Chicago all my life. I’ve known some of the most ruthless and biggest bullshitters out there, but I see nothing but integrity in this guy.”….

Read the full article here

Barack Obama collects signatures on his nominating petition for his first run for political office in 1995

09
Jun
13

‘After Newtown shooting, mourning parents enter into the lonely quiet’

A booster seat, once used regularly by 7-year-old Daniel Barden, remains in the family van. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

This is journalism:

Eli Saslow (Washington Post): They had promised to try everything, so Mark Barden went down into the basement to begin another project in memory of Daniel. The families of Sandy Hook Elementary were collaborating on a Mother’s Day card, which would be produced by a marketing firm and mailed to hundreds of politicians across the country. “A difference-maker,” the organizers had called it. Maybe if Mark could find the most arresting photo of his 7-year-old son, people would be compelled to act.

It hardly mattered that what Mark and his wife, Jackie, really wanted was to ignore Mother’s Day altogether, to stay in their pajamas with their two surviving children, turn off their phones and reward themselves for making it through another day with a glass of Irish whiskey neat.

“Our purpose now is to force people to remember,” Mark said, so down he went into his office to sift through 1,700 photos of the family they had been.

….  Mark turned on his computer and began looking for the right picture. “Something lighthearted,” he said. “Something sweet.” He had been sitting in the same chair Dec. 14, when he received an automated call about a Code Red Alert, and much of the basement had been preserved in that moment. Nobody had touched the foosball table, because Daniel had been the last to play. His books and toy trains sat in their familiar piles, gathering dust. The basement had always been Daniel’s space, and some days Mark believed he could still smell him here, just in from playing outside, all grassy and muddy.

Now it was Daniel’s face staring back at him on the computer screen, alit in an orange glow as he blew out seven candles on a birthday cake in September…..

Read the complete article here

After their children leave for school, Mark and Jackie walk back up the driveway to their house, back to the emptiness. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

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Click to see the rest of the post

18
Jan
13

‘The man behind a military patch that President Obama prizes’

Washington Post: That February morning in 2008 found Barack Obama decidedly out of sorts.

He was locked in one battle with Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination that showed no signs of ending — and another with a vicious cold that felt the same way.

As he rode the service elevator in the backway of a convention hotel here, the snowy-haired African American operating it turned suddenly. He held out a black-and-gold bit of fabric embroidered with a screaming eagle.

“Senator Obama, I have something I want to give you,” the man said. “I’ve carried this military patch with me every day for 40 years, and I want you to carry it, and it will keep you safe in your journey.” Obama tried to refuse, but the older man persisted.

Big endeavors can find their meaning in small moments.

Later that day, Obama and his aides discussed the encounter. The future president pulled the patch from his pocket, along with about a dozen other items people had pressed upon him.

“This is why I do this,” he said. “Because people have their hopes and dreams about what we can do together.”

Full article here

24
Jun
12

Rise and Shine

Morning everyone ;-)

A bit of a busy day again, but I’l be dropping in and out – very regularly – to see if Jovie, amk and VC are behaving. And I’ll update if anything historic happens, like Willard telling the truth. Meanwhile, chat away.

****

PS Thanks to Susanne and amk for the link to this story …. yep, America really needs Romney’s business ‘experience':

Boston.com: It was at the height of the 1980s buyout boom when Mitt Romney went in search of $300 million to finance one of the most lucrative deals he would ever manage. The man who would help provide the money was none other than the famed junk-bond king Michael Milken.

What transpired would become not just one of the most profitable leveraged buyouts of the era, but also one of the most revealing stories of Romney’s Bain Capital career. It showed how he pivoted from being a relatively cautious investor to risking his reputation for a big payoff. It is one that Romney has rarely, if ever, mentioned in his two bids for the presidency, perhaps because the Houston-based department store chain that Bain assembled later went into bankruptcy.

But what distinguishes this deal from the nearly 100 others that Romney did over a 15-year period was his close work with Milken’s firm, Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. At the time of the deal, it was widely known that Milken and his company were under federal investigation, yet Romney decided to go ahead with the deal because Drexel had a unique ability to sell high-risk, high-yield debt instruments, known as “junk bonds.”

More here

23
May
12

“I want to know if my hair is just like yours”

NYT: For decades at the White House, photographs of the president at work and at play have hung throughout the West Wing, and each print soon gives way to a more recent shot. But one picture of President Obama remains after three years.

In the photo, Mr. Obama looks to be bowing to a sharply dressed 5-year-old black boy, who stands erect beside the Oval Office desk, his arm raised to touch the president’s hair — to see if it feels like his.

…. The boy in the picture is Jacob Philadelphia of Columbia, Md. Three years ago this month, his father, Carlton, a former Marine, was leaving the White House staff….

When the pictures were taken and the family was about to leave, Mr. Philadelphia told Mr. Obama that his sons each had a question…

Jacob spoke first.

“I want to know if my hair is just like yours,” he told Mr. Obama, so quietly that the president asked him to speak again.

Jacob did, and Mr. Obama replied, “Why don’t you touch it and see for yourself?” He brought his head level with Jacob, who hesitated.

“Touch it, dude!” Mr. Obama said.

As Jacob patted the presidential crown, Mr. Souza snapped.

“So, what do you think?” Mr. Obama asked.

“Yes, it does feel the same,” Jacob said.

….Jacob, now 8, said he indeed does want to be president. “Or a test pilot.”

More here

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Brilliant find, BWD

15
Apr
12

rise and shine

Own up, which one of you wrote this for El Universal?

Eh, with thanks to Google Translate……

Obama, The Man of the Summit

El Universal: If those in the Gethsemane audience could vote in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, President Barack Obama would surely get plenty of votes….

… thunderous applause greeted the president when he made his entrance to the auditorium … which hosted the opening ceremony of the Sixth Summit of the Americas.

Obama has shown in Cartagena what we already knew: that he is a very charismatic person…. elegant…

…. walking down the red carpet to the Convention Center … Barack Obama, the “man of the Summit”, wore a white shirt, trousers and brown shoes and black jacket. In the lapel of his jacket he wore a pin with the flag of his country and the gray in his hair shone in the Cartagena sun….

This style and his permanent real smile make him a very charismatic man and even … attractive.

:cool:

****

Morning everyone ;-) I’ll be back later today – chat away.




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