President Barack Obama surprises Military Aide Major Barrett Bernard with a birthday cake aboard Air Force One during the flight from Seattle, Wash., to Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 17, 2010. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke look out a window at Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier during a flight aboard Air Force One from Los Angeles, Calif., to Seattle, Wash., Aug. 17, 2010. Photo by Pete Souza
Alan Schwarz: With Clemency From Obama, Drug Offender Embraces Second Chance
Rudolph Norris walked out of Morgantown federal prison two weeks ago carrying a duffel bag like no other. First, he had spent six months hand-stitching it himself from dozens of mottled leather scraps, symbolizing the shards of his life he longed to piece back together. Then he unzipped it and pulled out his invitation to try. “Dear Rudolph,” the letter began, “I wanted to personally inform you that I have granted your application for commutation.” It was signed “Barack Obama.” Mr. Norris’s 22 years behind bars over with the stroke of the president’s pen. Mr. Norris, 58, was one of 22 federal prisoners released on July 28 through a continuing bipartisan push to shorten the sentences of nonviolent drug offenders who, during the war-on-drugs fervor of decades ago, received punishments far lengthier than they would have drawn today.
Mr. Norris immediately called his parole officer to learn his responsibilities and pledge to follow them. (His clemency does not vacate the eight years of probation to which he was originally sentenced.) He applied for food stamps and, because all he had was his Morgantown inmate card, pursued a more marketable driver’s license. His commitment to playing by the rules was so strong that he avoided a day-labor landscaping opportunity because it paid in cash, and he wanted to pay taxes like everyone else. “As I navigate my way back to society and begin a productive life,” he wrote to Mr. Obama in April, “one of the first and foremost thoughts on my mind will be my solemn commitment to prove to you that your faith in me was not at all misplaced.”
Julian Bond personified the Civil Rights Movement, and more broadly, the history of the twentieth century iteration of the Black Freedom Struggle. His death will leave a gaping hole in national leadership on the question of civil and human rights in American society. As historians, we need to recognize the many ways he led during his long—although it feels like it wasn’t long enough—life. And as Bond’s life continued, he never stopped being an exemplar of African American achievement and intellect. He taught at several universities and authored books.
Bond served as a Georgia state representative and senator for twenty years, before losing a controversial Democratic primary race for U.S. Congress seat to John Lewis—a race that included accusations of drug use against Bond and was an ugly episode in the post-Civil Rights Movement legacy of two icons. A consummate Southerner who worked his entire life to change the South, and the nation, into a better place, Bond was a founder of the Institute for Southern Studies in 1970, and later led the Southern Poverty Law Center from 1971 until 1979. He served as Chairman of the NAACP from 1998 until 2009, and also wrote a syndicated newspaper column, Viewpoint, as well as hosted seventeen seasons of the political commentary show, America’s Black Forum.
Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton, right, listens as President Barack Obama holds a round table discussion with local small business owners during a stop at Grand Central Bakery in Seattle, Wash., Aug. 17, 2010. The President met with the group to discuss strengthening the economy and creating jobs for the families and businesses of Washington State. Photo by Pete Souza
Galesburg Senior High volleyball players join in a cheer after meeting President Barack Obama during an unannounced stop in Galesburg, Ill., Aug. 17, 2011, as part of a three-day bus tour in the Midwest. Photo by Pete Souza
Valerie Bauman: Federal Money Adds 24 New Medical Residencies In Washington State’s Most Doctor-Starved Regions
As of this year, 24 new primary care residency spots will have been created in Washington through a five-year federal program dedicated to getting doctors to regions that need it most. The latest influx of federal money is $6.3 million, reported earlier this week, more than the combined $2.55 million that the program provided for Washington residencies between 2011-2013. Each new residency position is the equivalent of a three-year, guaranteed residency spot for one new doctor. It’s never been more important for Washington to grow its pipeline of new doctors, particularly in underserved urban and rural areas. The state’s projected doctor shortage has Washington State University considering opening its own medical school in Spokane.
Why people keep doubting Obama, I'll never know. The man turns Republican tears into wine every time.
It is unique because it partners medical residents with community health clinics that typically work with low-income or underserved populations. It benefits the resident by giving a new doctor real world experience, and helps communities by getting more doctors where they are needed most. The program was created in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act, and brought the first round of new residency spots to Washington in 2011. Initially, Yakima and Ellensburg received the funding for residents, but as more money has come in through the program, it’s been expanded to Tacoma, Spokane and to the Puyallup Tribal Health Authority.
@petesouza: President Obama holds a 12th man flag with the Super Bowl Champs Seattle Seahawks
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, accompanied by quarterback Russell Wilson, and wide receiver Doug Baldwin
ABC News: Obama Salutes Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks
President Barack Obama congratulated the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks on Wednesday, saluting their victories on the field and their contributions to their community. Noting that some football analysts didn’t see Seattle as a top-tier team, Obama said he especially appreciated the team overcoming long odds.
“As a guy who was elected president named Barack Obama, I root for the underdog,” the president joked. The Seahawks clinched their first Super Bowl victory in the history of the franchise in February by beating the Denver Broncos 43-8.