This morning, the White House released a report on sexual assault in college as the president announced a new initiative to improve the criminal justice response to rape on college campuses.
The report, “Rape And Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call To Action,” prepared by the White House Council On Women And Girls, notes that one in five women will be sexually assaulted during college and most are assaulted by someone that they know. Only 12 percent of these victims report the sexual violence. The report also notes that rapists tend to be repeat offenders, noting how one study had more than half of admitted rapists confessing to as many as six rapes each. Another huge problem is the often-dismissive response from local police and college administrations. Keep reading »
Here’s the Obama family posing on Sunday evening with five adorable little kids who are past or current patients at the Children’s National Medical Center. Gosh, whoever thought to put these kids in elf costumes deserves a raise. [NBC News] [Photo: Getty Images]
Photographer, Roberto Schmidt, who took the now infamous pic of Michelle Obama looking mortified while Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt posed for a selfie at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, is coming to the first lady’s defense.
“Photos can lie,” writes Schmidt on the AFP blog. “In reality, just a few seconds earlier the first lady was herself joking with those around her, Cameron and Schmidt included. Her stern look was captured by chance.” Keep reading »
We knew “funeral selfies” were all the rage for the young, dumb and impressionable … but President Obama took one, too? Here’s the president, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and Danish Prime Minister Helle-Thorning-Schmidt taking a selfie at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. How very gauche of them at a solemn occasion. I know funerals are boring, but this is not a good look. See, even Michelle is pretending she doesn’t know you. [Mediaite] [Image via Mediaite]
One of the most intriguing characters on “Scandal” is First Lady Mellie Grant. She’s not just a WASP sent from Central Casting, or a put-upon wife of a philanderer. Mellie gave up her Yale and Harvard-bred ambitions for the full-time job of photo ops and glad-handing as the First Lady. Just like Lucy Ricardo always wanted husband Ricky to just give her one opportunity to be in a show, Mellie Grant wants to influence policy and make big moves wherever she can. At every turn, she is stopped, often angrily, by her husband the President and his apoplectic Chief Of Staff. Both men remind her, every episode it seems, that the First Lady is supposed to be pretty sidekick, not a policy wonk. In one episode, Mellie is witheringly informed her job is to be “ornamental.”
Watching Mellie Grant on “Scandal” has made me look at Michelle Obama differently for sure. It’s not hard to imagine she, too, feels a bit trapped in a golden cage. We don’t exactly know whether Michelle Obama feels like her intellect is being wasted, but we do know from Jodi Kantor’s book, The Obamas, a portrait of the Obama marriage, that Barack’s high-level staff has bristled in the past at Michelle’s involvement. But also we know that Michelle dedicated her first year as First Lady to acclimating her two children to their new home and school and has spent many years since promoting healthy eating and exercise. All this has been summed up by Michelle Cottle, a Daily Beast scribe in a piece for Politico Magazine, as a feminist failure. Keep reading »
I love this photo mostly because of the absolute stars in Malia Obama’s eyes as she gazes at Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl targeted by the Taliban for her activism on behalf of girls’ education. So what did Malala and the President talk about? In a statement, the teen said:
“I thanked President Obama for the United States’ work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees. I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.”
Such a brave, wise soul in so many ways. Be sure to pick up her memoir, I Am Malala, when it comes out this Tuesday. [The Washington Post] [Photo: Getty Images]
Sure, Syria might have released chemical weapons on its own people this week. BUT I WANNA HEAR MORE ABOUT THE WHITE HOUSE’S NEW PUPPY GAAAAAAH! Here’s President Obama in an exclusive interview with CNN, talking about the new puppy Sunny (a Portuguese water dog like their four-year-old dog, Bo) and her accidents around the White House. Don’t worry, Hillary. They’ll be cleaned up by 2016. [Huffington Post]
It’s the day of bros bashing bros: President Obama has had a somewhat tortured relationship with Kanye West, at least as reported in the media. He memorably called the rapper a “jackass” in 2009, then later explained that he “liked” the “smart” and “talented” Kanye … though adding “he is a jackass.” Now Kanye’s name has popped up once again, in a Kindle Singles Interview about “the economy and the increasing need for government programs that [Obama] believes can make a difference.” Wait, wha? Yes. Read more at Newser…
Beginning less than an hour ago, President Barack Obama held a impromptu press conference in the briefing room to share his thoughts about the death of Trayvon Martin and the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. (This is on top of the brief statement he released earlier this week.) For nearly 17 minutes, the President gave what I would call an extraordinary and unprecedented speech that touched on the verdict itself, the need to review Stand Your Ground laws, and what it’s like to be a black boy/man in America, going one step further than he has in the past by saying, “Trayvon Martin could have been me.” I am so glad to see our President address this in such a thoughtful, nuanced way, especially given how many people would like to believe that his Presidency is indicative that we live in a “post-racial” world. You can watch the full briefing above (in two parts) and read a few of his most notable quotes after the jump. Keep reading »