Author Archives: ecthompson

Obama at Morehouse

I know that some conservatives were licking their lips and drooling at the prospect of Barack Obama speaking at Morehouse College. I know that there were several commentators who spent a ridiculous amount of time stating that Barack Obama would not delivered the same speech at Harvard as he did at Morehouse. I find it relatively ridiculous that one would expect the President of the United States to deliver the exact same speech at Harvard that he would at historically black college like Morehouse. This was another great speech by Barack Obama. He was funny, he was serious, he was inspiring and delivered a message to a group of black men that he couldn’t and shouldn’t deliver at Harvard, Yale or almost any other college in the United States. He tailored his speech to his audience. This is exactly what you’re supposed to do if you are a good public speaker.

Excerpts from President Barack Obama’s Morehouse commencement address:

It was that mission — not just to educate men, but to cultivate good men, strong men, upright men — that brought community leaders together just two years after the end of the Civil War. They assembled a list of 37 men, free blacks and freed slaves, who would make up the first prospective class of what later became Morehouse College. Most of those first students had a desire to become teachers and preachers — to better themselves so they could help others do the same. Continue reading

President Obama Proposes Gun Control Measures

The basics in the President’s plan to reduce gun violence:

1. Making background checks universal. Obama wants every single gun owner to go through a proper background check, so it can be determined whether they have a criminal history or diagnosed mental illness. He wants Congress to close the gun show loophole that allows people at gun shows, and private buyers of used weapons, to avoid getting checked. He will also, through executive action, urge private sellers to conduct background checks, even if they aren’t mandatory.

2. Improving state reporting of criminals and the mentally ill. While all states are required to report to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) people who should not have access to guns, some states are sluggish about putting the data into the system. Obama will put more money into the hands of the states so that they can improve their reporting systems, and issue stronger guidelines to let states know when they should report people. Obama will also, through Presidential Memorandum, work to make sure agencies are regularly entering data into NICS.

3. Banning assault weapons. This is likely the most difficult battle Obama will undertake. He wants to reinstate the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, which outlaws military-grade weapons, like the AR-15 used by Newtown gunman Adam Lanza and by Aurora Theater gunman James Holmes. Obama wants Congress to pass the ban, and close some of the loopholes identified in its 1994 iteration.

4. Capping magazine clip capacity at 10 bullets. A military-grade weapon is dangerous, but so are its accessories: Obama proposes banning all extended magazine clips that hold over 10 bullets. Huge magazine clips allow a gunman to fire off hundreds of rounds without having to stop, even once, to reload. The high-capacity magazine ban was also part of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.

5. Purging armor-piercing bullets. The sale of armor piercing ammunition has been banned for quite some time, but is still legal to posess such bullets. Obama is calling on Congress to outlaw ownership and transfer of these bullets, instead of just the sale. Those who oppose any gun laws try to spin a ban on armor piercing bullets as a ban on deer hunting ammunition, but such ammo has the ability to penetrate bullet-proof vests, and is more colloquially known as “cop killer bullets.”

6. Funding police officers. Obama wants Congress to reverse its course of austerity for public employees by approving $4 billion to fund police enforcement around the country. Continue reading

Susan Rice

Ambassador Susan Rice

Well damn. It is official. Susan Rice, are Ambassador to the UN, has officially removed her name from being considered for the Secretary of State position that will be vacated by Hillary Clinton at the beginning of the year. This should be no surprise to anyone. Susan Rice, unlike Lindsey Graham, John McCain and other Senate Republicans, is a well-trained, ethical, thoughtful, intelligent woman. I am deeply saddened that she withdrew her name because of the ridiculous bloviating of Senate Republicans.

From the New York Times:

Susan E. Rice, the Obama administration’s ambassador to the United Nations, has withdrawn her name from consideration for secretary of state, in the face of relentless opposition from Republicans in Congress over her role in the aftermath of the deadly attack on the American Mission in Benghazi, Libya.

In a letter to President Obama, Ms. Rice said she concluded that “the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly — to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities. The tradeoff is simply not worth it to our country.”

Mr. Obama, who spoke with Ms. Rice on Thursday, said he accepted her request with regret, describing her as “an extraordinarily capable, patriotic, and passionate public servant.”