President Barack Obama, with Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and Marty Nesbitt, founding board member of The Barack Obama Foundation, listens to a recording of a President Johnson phone call during a tour of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, April 10, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama walks across a lock after touring the Control Tower at the Panama Canal Miraflores Locks in Ancon, Panama, April 10, 2015. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama talks on the phone in his office aboard Air Force One, April 10, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama views a replica of the Oval Office at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, April 10, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
10:00AM: President Obama and Vice President Biden receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
11:00AM: President Obama and Vice President Biden hold a bilateral meeting United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
12:30PM: President Obama and Vice President Biden have lunch in the Private Dining Room
12:30PM: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest
3:15PM: President Obama views White House Demo Day exhibits
3:40PM: President Obama delivers remarks at the White House Demo Day
4:25PM: President Obama meets with American Jewish community leaders to discuss the Iran nuclear deal (he also did this in April, following the announcement of the Lausanne framework)
President Barack Obama watches the flame on the candle as he walks to the Brady Briefing Room to present cupcakes to Hearst White House columnist Helen Thomas in honor of her birthday, Aug. 4, 2009. Thomas, who turned 89, shares the same birthday as the President, who turned 48. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama, with daughter Sasha, looks at the card given to him during a birthday party with his staff in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, on Aug. 4, 2009. Daughter Malia and First Lady Michelle Obama look on at left. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama meets with advisors in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Aug. 4, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama holds the birthday card given to him during a group photo with interns on the South Portico of the White House. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama presents cupcakes with a candle to Hearst White House columnist Helen Thomas in honor of her birthday in the James Brady Briefing Room, on Aug. 4, 2009. Thomas, who turned 89, shares the same birthday as the President, who turned 48. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama jokingly points out cake crumbs that Vice President Joe Biden dropped on the floor in the Oval Office following a birthday celebration for the President on Aug. 4, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama tries out the fly fishing rod given to him on his birthday by a group of avid fisherman on his staff, on Aug. 4, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
Ali Meyer: Former Drug Dealer Released From Prison: “President Obama Saved My Life”
According to the White House, America spends about $80 billion each year on incarceration. They say that’s the same amount of money it would take to double every teacher salary in America or pay for every high school graduate to go to college. President Obama is focusing on criminal justice reform in his second term in office. This week, he commuted the sentences of more than 40 inmates convicted of low-level, non-violent drug offenses. Justice reformers say federal crack cocaine sentences unfairly put thousands of minority inmates behind bars for life prior to a change in federal law in 2010. The sentencing regime is costing taxpayers billions. Jason Hernandez was convicted in 1998 as a drug dealer in Texas.
Because the drug was crack, Hernandez got life in prison without the possibility of parole. Hernandez filed the clemency paperwork himself; an eight-page application with the potential to save his life. He works as a mentor for juvenile offenders in the kitchen at Cafe Momentum, a restaurant for youthful offenders. He’s using his circumstance to help kids change the course of their own lives in a way he couldn’t almost two decades ago. Jason Hernandez has two jobs; mentoring youth, and working as a welder at a muffler shop… a trade he picked up at federal prison in El Reno. “I was practically a dead man walking and President Obama gave me my life back. I see him like a father now. Like any son, you want to make your father proud, and that’s what my aim is,” Hernandez said.
On July 9, 28-year-old Sandra Bland of Naperville, Ill., drove to Texas to start a new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M. On July 10, police stopped Bland just outside the campus for allegedly failing to signal while changing lanes. Police claim that during the stop she became combative and that she was charged with “assault on a public servant.” Bland was arrested. On July 13, around 9 a.m., before her family could bail her out, Bland was found dead inside a Waller County, Texas, jail cell. Police claim she died from “self-inflicted asphyxiation.”
Her family and friends say that is impossible; that the woman they know, who fought strongly against police brutality and had just gotten a new job, would never have committed suicide. “I do suspect foul play,” a friend, Cheryl Nanton, told ABC 7. “I believe that we are all 100 percent in belief that she did not do harm to herself.” Video obtained by ABC 7 of Bland’s arrest doesn’t appear to show Bland being combative with officers, but does show two officers on top of Bland, who can be heard questioning the officers’ methods of restraint.