President Barack Obama delivers the commencement address to over 500 college graduates at Morehouse College on Sunday, May 19, 2013 (Photo credit: David Tulls, Newscom).
Last Sunday, President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address at Morehouse College. This marks the second time that Obama is delivering an address at an Historically Black College and University.
Obama spoke movingly about the power of setting examples – particularly in identifying and correcting the injustices within the world. He charged the graduating class to connect maximizing career opportunities while serving their respective communities: to practice law that defends the rich and powerful but also the powerless; to practice medicine and provide healing in well-served and underserved areas; and to run small business that create personal wealth while brings jobs to the economy and great products/services to the nation at large.
In speaking at the distinguished male-only college, the President situated himself within the legacy of luminaries: Ralph Abernathy, Ralph Bunche, Spike Lee, and Thurgood Marshall, and of course, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
With the facility of expression for which he is celebrated, President Obama used his life story – as well as the narratives of Drs. Benjamin E. Mays and Martin Luther King – to challenge the class of 2013 to exemplify excellence within their careers, communities, and families. If Morehouse Men could succeed during 1940’s and 1950’s, then so can you. If a skinny kid with a funny name can grow up to become President of the United States, then upward mobility is a dream within the reach of all black men. We’ve heard the refrains before, of course, but Obama delivered them with a noted vigor and vibrancy.
Still, President Obama delivered a rather safe speech – avoiding mention of what is often called the New Jim Crow; skipping over the massive loss of wealth among black families due to the Great Recession and mortgage crisis; and minimizing the role of structural discrimination within American labor markets by emphasizing the dog-eat-dog nature of a globalized labor market. A safe speech, but a strong one just the same. As the saying goes. You can tell a Morehouse Man – even an honorary one – but you can’t tell him much.
Yesterday, President Barack Obama delivered his second inaugural address at the steps of the United States Capitol. The eighteen-minute speech outlined his public policy priorities, invoked the Declaration of Independence, and attempted to strike a balance between liberty and equality. A video of the President’s remarks is embedded below:
Today, the Washington National Cathedral hosted an inaugural prayer service to seek the blessing and guidance of God concerning the nation’s welfare. As Christians, we can turn to Psalm 72 for instruction on mixing faith and politics. This psalm is the quintessential prayer of Scripture for political authority. It affirms God’s sovereignty and asks that the King of Israel would rule with judgment, equity, and protection for the oppressed. The text is composed in the context of Ancient Near Eastern norms of monarchy; it explicitly mentions the King as the agent to implement divine imperatives of compassion and equity.
The psalm, however, contains enduring relevance for every system and style of government. Christians ultimately trust that God will deliver his creation from the pervasive and pernicious influence of sin. But our legitimate penultimate expectation – our hope in the time between the first and second coming of Christ – is that political leadership governs justly by defending the poor, rescuing the children of the needy, and protecting all who are oppressed. Thoughtful Christians will disagree on the best way for a democratic society to carry out this biblical triad of social responsibilities. What we should all affirm is that poverty, the well-being of children, and the needs of the oppressed should be at the center of our nation’s public affairs – in and out of electoral season. As we move into the second term of Obama’s administration, let’s focus on the political wisdom of Psalm 72 and prioritize prudential conversation about poverty, children, and empowering the oppressed over ad-hominem attacks and excessive partisanship.
On Friday, May 20, 2011, the US reached the 60-day deadline according to the War Powers Act that requires military forces to cease action without approval from Congress. Congress introduced the Act during the Vietnam War. The President has the option to begin a 30-day withdrawal period.
Last week, Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as the head of the International Monetary Fund in the aftermath of the charges he’s facing for allegedly forcing himself on a hotel maid. The media focused on how sexual assault allegations against the French politician will affect his career and (along with the Arnold Schwarzenegger scandal) returned the spotlight to the predatory and sexually imperious behavior of powerful men, but the affair also brings to light the dangers hotel maids face working in isolation, as well as issues related to class and race. Strauss-Kahn’s alleged victim, a West African immigrant, reportedly is feeling overwhelmed and threatened by the global attention being paid to the case.
The 2011 tornado season has been particularly aggressive, killing more than 450 people and destroying millions of dollars worth of property. A series of devastating storms roared through the Midwest over the weekend, including a horrific tornado that killed at least 89 people in Joplin, Missouri. Our prayers go up for those affected by these and earlier storms. Check out these safety tips from ABC News for advice on preparing for the unpredictable weather activity of this crazy storm season.
Mary Mary continues to evolve. They know what their loyal fans want and they know how to grab a new batch of fans with every album release. The album debuted at number ten on the Billboard top 200 charts, with 42,000 copies sold in the first week. Watch Walking below!
Chris Barbic is the superintendent of a new special “Achievement School District” in Tennessee. The district includes five of the state’s worst-performing schools. Barbic, who has a reputation for his successful charter school career, seems more than qualified to lead the test run of the President’s reforms. Unlike previous school reforms, the state will control a small group of underperforming schools, rather than addressing the issue state-wide.
Groupon Now is designed to allow business’ to fill seats on slow days. The deals are only valid during certain hours and usually expire within 24 hours. This model allows business’ to manage their perishable inventory. This model is sure to change the way people view business in general; it gives local businesses a way to maintain a buzz rather than survive on ebbs and flows of business.
Netflix now accounts for nearly 30% of all broadband traffic during peak hours. BitTorrent is second at 21.6%. “Internet service providers, have argued that TV shows and movies streamed from Netflix add as an unsustainable burden to their network.” Providers are looking into placing caps on broadband and extra charges. Based on the growing internet usage, your monthly bill may soon be based on usage rather than speed or bandwidth alone.
The new Angel’s will star Minka Kelly, Annie Llonzeh and Rachel Taylor. The original series, which began in 1976, starred Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith. The executive producer, Drew Barrymore, is also a former Angel. Unfortunately, after watching the preview, I predict these angels won’t have their wings for long.
Never Back Down, released in 2008 and made $41 million worldwide. This summer, Sony Pictures will release Never Back Down 2, which White says will have a “darker installment…with more of a Dark Knight feel.” The film centers around the world of four fighters from different backgrounds training together under an ex-MMA star.
Oprah Winfrey, who has inspired millions, donated millions to charity, and created an empire founded in humility and service, was honored last week at a star-studded surprise thank you event at the United Center, in Chicago. Everyone from Tom Hanks to Michael Jordan showed up and shocked Ms. Winfrey with gratitude for her commitment to quality entertainment, inspiration and philanthropic deeds. Watch the event TONIGHT!
As the pastor of a church with a deep desire to love others as Christ would, I’ve recently been telling folks, “If you only read one book this year, then you must read The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns.” And that’s saying a lot, given that my own book just came out! I feel that strongly about Stearns’s message.