Barack Obama Encourages Giving Back on Thanksgiving as He Shares Photo of His Own Family Serving Dinner

The Obamas | Barack Obama/Instagram
Barack Obama Encourages Giving Back on Thanksgiving as He Shares Photo of His Own Family Serving Dinner

As many begin to ponder everything they are grateful for this Thanksgiving, former President Barack Obama is reminding everyone to give back to those in need. On Thursday, Barack, 58, shared a candid photo of himself, former First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha serving canned goods.

A little girl is seen beaming with joy as she shook Barack’s hand while Malia, 21, looked on lovingly. Meanwhile, Michelle smiled widely as she filled a bag with food as Sasha, 18, did the same.

“Today, we give thanks for our blessings, give back to those around us, and enjoy some time — and turkey, and maybe a little football — with the ones we love,” Barack captioned the heartwarming image.

“From the Obama family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving,” the former president concluded.

While it is not immediately clear as to when and where the photo was taken, the Obamas have volunteered at food banks for many years.

Just before sharing the photo, Barack delivered another message to his followers on Twitter: Be kind to one another.

“Before arguing with friends or family around the Thanksgiving table, take a look at the science behind arguing better. And it’ll never hurt to try this: ‘Listen to people, get them to think about their own experience, and highlight your common humanity,” Barack alongside a link to an article on how to argue better.

The former president’s Thanksgiving messages come after his wife shared a holiday post of her own.

On Wednesday, the former first lady shared a group shot of her and her husband with Malia and Sasha.

The photo — a rare one of them all together, amid their diverging lives and retreat from the political spotlight — was taken in May before Sasha, then a high school senior and weeks away from turning 18, left for her prom.

The Obamas have stayed busy since President Obama left office, especially in the last year.

Michelle released her memoir, Becoming, in late 2018 to smash sales of more than 10 million copies and counting. She’s since spent much of the year on a book tour that recently resulted in a Grammy nomination for best spoken word album, an award her husband won in 2006 and 2008 for his own audiobooks.

The former first lady also announced the release of a new journalBecoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, which features an intro from her and 150 questions and quotes to inspire readers to write down their own journey.

Barack has been writing himself, with his new memoir possibly hitting shelves sometime before the 2020 election. He wrote a first draft on legal pads, just as he did for his first book, Dreams from My Father.

Neither Obama has endorsed a candidate — or even hinted at a preference — ahead of next year’s 2020 Democratic primary. The nominee will run against President Donald Trump.

A night of firsts: the candidates who made history in the 2018 midterms

Groundbreaking campaigns have broken barriers this election, with historic candidates changing the face of Congress and statehouses across the US. Women have run in record numbers, and Native Americans, Muslims, Latinos, immigrants, millennials and LGBT candidates have already made history with their campaigns.

Here are the key trailblazing candidates who are diversifying American politics and have already won their races so far.

a woman wearing a microphone: Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at her midterm election night party in New York City

Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at her midterm election night party in New York City Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, youngest woman elected to Congress

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s surprise victory in the June congressional primary in New York shook up Washington and the Democratic party. The progressive challenger and member of the Democratic socialist party unseated a powerful 10-term New York congressman, running with a campaign ad that said: “Women like me aren’t supposed to run for office.”

Now age 29, she has become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Elise Stefanik previously held the record when she was elected to Congress at age 30 in 2014.

Related: Ballot measures latest: Florida restores voting rights of ex-felons

Ocasio-Cortez is the daughter of a Puerto Rican mother and a Bronx-born father and grew up in a working-class community. She ran a grassroots campaign that took on the “Queens Democratic party machine” and championed progressive proposals, such as the abolition of the Immigration Customs Enforcement (Ice), a single-payer healthcare plan and tuition-free college.

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 04:  Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Councilwomen and House Democratic candidate, gives a victory speech at her primary night gathering after her opponent Mike Capuano conceded on September 4, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. Pressley beat Capuano, a 10-term incumbent, in Massachusetts' 7th District.

BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 04: Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Councilwomen and House Democratic candidate, gives a victory speech at her primary night gathering after her opponent Mike Capuano conceded on September 4, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. Pressley beat Capuano, a 10-term incumbent, in Massachusetts’ 7th District. Ayanna Pressley, first black House member from Massachusetts

Pressley was the first black woman to serve on Boston’s city council and made history again after defeating the 10-term incumbent Michael Capuano in the primary. She did not face a challenger in the general election, making her the first black member of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts.

In her victory speech in September, she said: “These times demanded more from our leaders and from our party. These times demanded an approach to governing that was bold, uncompromising and unafraid. It’s not just good enough to see the Democrats back in power but it matters who those Democrats are.”

Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, first Muslim congresswomen

Tlaib ran unopposed in her race to represent Michigan’s 17th district and has become the nation’s first Palestinian-American woman in Congress, and one of two Muslim women elected on Tuesday.

She is a Democratic-Socialist who served on the state legislature from 2009 to 2014 and ran her congressional primary campaign supporting Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage and abolishing Ice. Tlaib was famously escorted from a Trump rally in 2016 as she shouted questions at the candidate, asking him if he had ever read the constitution.

Ilhan Omar, also the first Somali-American in Congress, is a formerrefugee who spent the last four years as a state legislator. There, she pushed a progressive agenda, including a $15 minimum wage and subsidizing higher education costs for low-income students.

Her congressional platform has included the cancellation of student debt, banning private prisons and aggressive funding cuts to military spending. In 2016, she became the first Somali-American state legislator in the country.

Jared Polis, first openly gay man elected governor

As the Democratic nominee for governor in Colorado, Polis ran on a leftwing platform, which included single-payer healthcare, repeal of the death penalty, universal full-day preschool and stronger gun laws. Polis, who declared victory late Tuesday night, has long been outspoken in favor of marijuana legalization.

Kate Brown, who is bisexual, became the first openly LGBT person elected governor in 2016 when she won her Oregon race. Jim McGreevey, a Democrat and former New Jersey governor, came out while in office in 2004.

Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland, first Native American congresswomen

An attorney and former MMA fighter, Davids became the first Native American congresswoman and the first lesbian congresswoman from Kansas.

Raised by a single mother army veteran and a member of the Wisconsin-based Ho-Chunk Nation, Davids was a fellow in the Obama White House.

In New Mexico, Deb Haaland became the first Native American woman to chair a state political party. Now, the former Democratic chair has also become the first Native American congresswoman in the US, alongside Davids. A citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna tribe, Haaland is a longtime activist who ran on a progressive platform, including Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, and the impeachment of Trump.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club on Nov. 3, 2015.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club on Nov. 3, 2015. Marsha Blackburn, first female senator from Tennessee

A Republican who represents Tennessee’s 7th congressional district, Blackburn has become the first female senator in the state. Her race received national attention after the pop star Taylor Swift, who previously avoided politics, endorsed Blackburn’s opponent, the Democratic former governor Phil Bredesen. Blackburn has been closely aligned with Trump and is farther to the right than the GOP senator she is replacing.

Janet Mills, first female governor of Maine

Maine has elected its first female governor, the Democrat Janet Mills, who was the state’s attorney general. She declared victory early Wednesday morning and is replacing a controversial and bombastic Republican governor, Paul LePage. She regularly clashed with LePage, who is known for his overtly racist comments and was once caught threatening a state lawmaker in an an obscenity-laced voicemail.

Abby Finkenauer, first congresswoman from Iowa

In Iowa, Abby Finkenauer beat the Republican Rod Blum, who has held the seat since 2014. In addition to being the first woman elected to Congress from Iowa, at age 29, she is also one of the youngest people ever elected to the House. She is a two-term Democratic state representative.

T.I. slams Kanye West over Trump meeting: ‘I’m ashamed to have ever been associated with you’

The rapper, who has become one of Trump’s highest-profile celebrity supporters, visited the White House, where his planned lunch meeting with the president, Jared Kushner and Ivanka, Kid Rock and Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown gave way to a meandering 10-minute monologue. After running up to hug Trump in the Oval Office in his “Make America Great Again” cap, West told reporters that wearing it made him “feel like Superman” and reiterated his claim that he had been pressured not to wear it, as he said during his recent appearance on the season opener of “Saturday Night Live.”

Lots of people had strong reactions to Kanye West’s comments praising President Donald Trump during their White House meeting on Thursday.

And then there’s T.I.

The Atlanta rapper, who collaborated with ‘Ye on the 2006 track “Swagga Like Us,” publicly unfriended West in an NSFW Instagram post.

“At one time it was a pleasure to work alongside you… now, I’m ashamed to have ever been associated with you,” he wrote. “I’ve reached my limits. This is my stop, I’m officially DONE!!!!”

Maybe the plan was for a brief photo-op with rapper Kanye West and former NFL great Jim Brown to meet with President Donald Trump, before a lunch to talk about policies concerning blacks in America, but Kanye has an audience so… We show you Kanye from all angles in the Oval Office on Oct. 11, 2018.

T.I. prefaced his essay by saying, “Now I’ve been extremely patient and made it a point to not jump to any premature conclusions about Ye’ & his antics,” adding that he’d mishandled similar incidents involving his brother. “But now this (expletive) is next level, futuristic Sambo, Hopping Bob, Stephen off Django (expletive)…Ye!!!!”

The rapper, whose real name is Clifford Harris Jr., revealed he’d turned down West’s invitation to join him at the White House and called the meeting the “most repulsive, disgraceful, embarrassing act of desperation & auctioning off of one’s soul to gain power I’ve ever seen.”

The rapper, whose real name is Clifford Harris Jr., revealed he’d turned down West’s invitation to join him at the White House and called the meeting the “most repulsive, disgraceful, embarrassing act of desperation & auctioning off of one’s soul to gain power I’ve ever seen.” (Had he gone and West had behaved that “spinelessly,” T.I. said he would have felt “compelled to slap the (expletive) out of you, bro – for the people!”)

After accusing West of “bootlicking on a whole new level,” he declared, “I refuse to associate myself with something so vile, weak,& inconsiderate to the effect this has on the greater good of ALL OUR PEOPLE!!!!”

Next he addressed Kanye fans: “To all the people who follow Ye musically, socially, or even personally….who are confused, heartbroken, infuriated…. Let me make this clear… THIS (expletive) AINT COOL!!!”

The bottom line: “WE ARE NOT ON HIS MIND AS HE MAKES THESE COMMENTS AND DECISIONS. Don’t follow this puppet.”

Before dropping the mic, T.I. declared, “As long as I’ve lived I’ve learned that it benefits a man nothing at all to gain the world, if to do so, he must lose his soul. We just saw Mr.West’s soul on auction. If you listen closely you can hear the tears of our ancestors hit the floor.”


Grace International Church announces a praise-loaded 2018 Easter Season

Drs. Ayo and Alice Ajim will be hosting at this event.

International Guardian – HOUSTON, TXGrace International Church on Bellaire has announced her programs for 2018 Easter season. The events start Friday, March 30th with a 7 pm Communion Service; then a 9am and 11am Resurrection Services on Sunday, April 1. The Program will end with a free Easter Concert the same day, Sunday starting from 7 pm. Drs. Ayo and Alice Ajim,will be hosting at this event. Guest Psalmist will be Minister Frank Edwards, an award-winning international guest artist. He will be ministering at the 11am service and then at the concert later that evening.

“This year will be an “Easter to remember” says Dr. Ayo Ajim, the Senior Pastor of the Church. According to Dr. Ajim “Without a doubt this year will feature the greatest Easter Services we have ever had. We are expecting record attendances, our choir is preparing the greatest music, and our Pastors are preparing the most delightful anointed messages. It is going to be simply awesome! We are really trusting God for a most fulfilling and memorable time.”

Dr Mrs. Ajim said that Easter celebration at Grace has been a traditional prayerful and joyful moment where Houstonians converge to celebrate the Resurrection. “I ask everyone not to miss these glorious events for anything” she said. According to Dr. Mrs. Ajim, “It is going to be an Easter season like no other. In fact, all of the services and concert will be taking place at our church sanctuary on 15401 Bellaire Blvd. Be kind to call the church office during business hours if you have any additional questions. Also be kind if you want to especially volunteer, or if you have anything in your heart you may want us to know. Our number is (281) 56-GRACE”, she said.

“Without a doubt this year will feature the greatest Easter Services we have ever had. We are expecting record attendances, our choir is preparing the greatest music, and our Pastors are preparing the most delightful anointed messages. It is going to be simply awesome! We are really trusting God for a most fulfilling and memorable time.”

The primary focus of Grace International Church is to share the love and joy of Christ to the entire world. As a platform, Grace is a thriving and vibrant congregation set to worship God and experience a life of peace and abundance. The Easter celebration coincides with the Church values and expression of faith reflecting the principles of the Doctrine of Christ.

For more information about the Church, please call or stop by: 15401 Bellaire Blvd Houston, TX 77083 Phone: (281) 564-7223. Email:; or you may visit their Website:

Nigeria summons representative of US ambassador over Trump comments

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria’s government on Monday summoned a representative of the the U.S. ambassador to explain reported remarks by President Donald Trump that immigrants from Africa and Haiti come from “shithole countries”, the foreign ministry said.

Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama “sought clarification on the veracity or otherwise of the substance of the remarks, stressing that if they were true, they were deeply hurtful, offensive and unacceptable”, the ministry said in a statement.

Trump reportedly made the remarks at a private meeting with lawmakers on immigration on Thursday. A U.S. senator who attended the gathering said the president used “vile, vulgar” language, including repeatedly using the word “shithole” when speaking about African countries.

The Nigerian foreign ministry statement noted the “very warm and cordial relations that presently exist” between Nigeria and the U.S.

The United States, represented by Deputy Chief of Mission David J. Young as the ambassador was not in Nigeria, said there were contradictory accounts as to whether the remarks were made, the statement said.

In a separate statement, a U.S. embassy spokesman said Young “reiterated the excellent relations that exist between the United States and Nigeria and they discussed future cooperation between the two countries”.

The U.S. president on Friday denied using such derogatory language. But he has been widely condemned in many African countries and by international rights organisations. African Union countries demanded an apology on Friday.

(Reporting by Felix Onuah and Camillus Eboh; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram and Paul Carsten; Editing by Andrew Roche)

Nigeria’s economic slump deepens as oil output continues to drop

Nigeria’s economic slump deepened in the third quarter as oil production continued to fall and factory output was hit by a shortage of dollars.

Gross domestic product in Africa’s most populous country contracted 2.2 percent in the three months through September from a year earlier, after shrinking 2.1 percent in the second quarter, the Abuja-based National Bureau of Statistics said in an e-mailed statement Monday. The median of 15 economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg was for a 2 percent contraction. The economy expanded a non-seasonally adjusted 9 percent from the second quarter, the statistics office said.

Government revenue has plunged and foreign currency became more scarce with the decline of oil prices, the country’s main export, since mid-2014, and production fell as militants in the Niger River delta blew up pipelines. The authorities have struggled to manage the economic fallout, at one point pegging the exchange rate against the dollar for more than a year and more recently using law enforcement to bring down the street price of foreign currency.

“The key drag on the economy remains issues around oil production,” Wale Okunrinboye, an analyst at Asset & Resource Management Co. in Lagos, said in an e-mailed response to questions. “We do not think this reading is a trough for the economy and see downside to growth from a combination of continued militant attacks, depressed real wages and persisting dollar shortages.”

Crude production fell for the fourth consecutive quarter to 1.63 million barrels per day, from 1.69 million barrels in the three months through June, the statistics office said. The oil industry contracted by 22 percent from a year earlier. The non-oil sector, which includes manufacturing, banking and agriculture, expanded 0.03 percent. Factory output contracted 4.4 percent, the third consecutive quarter of decline, and construction shrank 6.1 percent, the fifth straight quarterly contraction.

Manufacturing was “affected by the foreign-exchange volatility and depreciation of the naira,” Damilola Akinbami, an analyst at Financial Derivatives Co. in Lagos, said by phone. “We saw significant injection in construction, but there is a time lag between when something is implemented and when you see the impact, that’s why we didn’t see the impact in the third quarter.”

The slump in oil and shortages of foreign currency and power could cause the economy to shrink 1.7 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. That would be Nigeria’s first full-year contraction since 1991, according to data from the Washington-based lender.

Budget Rejected

Nigeria’s Senate rejected the government’s spending plan for the next three years earlier this month because the proposals, which were meant to boost the economy, lacked details. Lawmakers also rejected President Muhammadu Buhari’s plan to borrow $30 billion abroad through 2018 on the same grounds.

The central bank removed its 197-199 naira per dollar peg on June 20, causing the currency to lose more than a third of its value.

The Monetary Policy Committee, which will announce its interest-rate decision on Tuesday, left the benchmark rate unchanged at a record-high 14 percent in September to help prop up the naira and fight inflation, which quickened to an 11-year high of 18.3 percent in October, even as the economic outlook deteriorated. All but two of the 18 economists in a Bloomberg survey forecast the MPC will keep the key rate unchanged.

While the third-quarter GDP data “will put pressure on the central bank as they meet, I don’t think it is going to change their stand as inflation remains very high,” Michael Famoroti, an economist at Lagos-based Vetiva Capital Management, said by phone. “Inflation is going to remain their focus, as well as the foreign-exchange market.”

♦ Culled from the Bloomberg

Donald Trump’s last chance: Plunges lower than ever

I have a confession to make: I’m not sure how much more of this election I can take.

After months scouring newspapers and websites for every drop of political news, wringing every bit of gossip from friends and contacts, I find myself turning to the sports pages first. That’s something I haven’t done since I was about 11. I can’t be alone. This campaign felt like it had gone on too long even before the word “pussy” was added to the discourse.
Now we have complaints from Donald Trump that the election is rigged, and I am reminded of the campaigns I covered as a foreign reporter in Uganda, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya and the rest, where similar advance allegations were lined up ready for use after defeat.
All that’s missing is the arrest of a candidate or two (and that is not as far-fetched as it once was).
It is not a good look for what is supposed to be the world’s greatest democracy.
And you can bet things are only going to get worse during the final two and half weeks: Donald Trump’s campaign seems to have made the calculation that a scorched earth policy might be the only way he can still win.
Since we learned who the two nominees would be, Trump has been ahead in the polls for only four days, according to the Real Clear Politics average. Those were around the Republican National Convention when he had the network TV spotlight to himself.
Since then, on the leash and off the leash, he has been behind Clinton. And her lead has only increased during a fortnight of Trump’s bungled debates, videos of sex talk on the bus and increasingly hysterical talk of conspiracy theories.
Even he seemed to sense the race was now a long shot when I saw him speak last week in Wilkes-Barre, the sort of blue-collar Pennsylvania town he so badly needs to win.
“I may be limping across the finish line, but we’re going to get across that finish line,” he said, promising six campaign events a day during the final week in the effort to get out his vote.
Such talk suggests he is not tanking his campaign deliberately. There are easier ways to lose an election.
Instead, it seems probable that his eleventh hour strategy of doubling down on hostility — whether towards women in general or Clinton in particular, the “rigged” American electoral system or the biased media — is part of a diabolical plan to turn us all off what happens next.
You see there is a body of thought among political scientists that the biggest impact of negative campaigns is to turn less committed voters off the election.
The calculation seems to be that with undecideds quite possibly lost to Trump, by taking the debate into the gutter it may be possible to disgust them so much they can’t face voting at all.
The turnout among millennials, in particular, is already a concern to Democrat strategists, so a low turnout may affect the Clinton vote more than the Trump vote.
So after a campaign in which the Republican candidate has mocked a disabled reporter, referred to the menstrual cycle of a questioner and demanded his rival be locked up, he is taking things to the next level.
His aim is not to burn down his opponent — who after 30 years of public life has seen her own unfavorability rating remain consistently high — but to burn down politics, delegitimize the election and make the whole shooting match seem utterly repugnant in order to depress turnout.
His scorched earth policy is designed to undermine American democracy and nab the White House.
It is a mighty strange way to Make America Great Again.
And if you are feeling queasy already, you might want to have some sick bags at the ready.
♦ Rob Crilly is a British journalist living in New York. He was The Telegraph’s Afghanistan and Pakistan correspondent and was previously the East Africa correspondent for The Times. The opinions in this article are those of the author. Some readers may find some of the language in this article offensive.

Hillary Clinton hits Donald Trump on taxes: ‘What kind of genius loses a billion dollars in a single year?’

Hillary's comment came a day after two of Trump’s top advisers — former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — praised the real estate mogul as a “genius” for apparently using the loss as a loophole to legally avoid paying taxes for years.
Hillary’s comment came a day after two of Trump’s top advisers — former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — praised the real estate mogul as a “genius” for apparently using the loss as a loophole to legally avoid paying taxes for years.

Hillary Clinton tore into Donald Trump over a New York Times report that he declared a $916 million loss in 1995 that could have allowed him to legally avoid paying federal income taxes for up to 18 years.

“What kind of genius loses a billion dollars in a single year?” Clinton said at a rally in Toledo, Ohio, on Monday. “How anyone can lose a dollar, let alone a billion dollars, in the casino industry is beyond me. It’s just hard to figure.”

Her comments came a day after two of Trump’s top advisers — former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — praised the real estate mogul as a “genius” for apparently using the loss as a loophole to legally avoid paying taxes for years.

Early Sunday, Trump himself took to Twitter to respond to the Times’ report.

“I know our complex tax laws better than anyone who has ever run for president,” the Republican nominee tweeted early Sunday. “And am the only one who can fix them…”

The Trump campaign did not dispute the newspaper’s findings, but claimed that the Times had “illegally obtained” the copy of Trump’s 1995 tax records from an anonymous source.

“Mr. Trump is a highly skilled businessman who has a fiduciary responsibility to his business, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required,” the campaign said.

On ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” Sunday, Giuliani was asked for his response to the news about Trump’s taxes.

“My response is he’s a genius,” Giuliani said on “This Week.”

“A genius?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“Absolute genius,” Giuliani replied. “This is a perfectly legal application of the tax code. And he would’ve been a fool not to take advantage of it.”

Christie, chairman of Trump’s transition team, also called Trump a “genius” for avoiding federal taxes.

“There’s no one who has shown more genius in their way to maneuver around the tax code and to rightfully use the laws to do that,” Christie said on “Fox News Sunday.” “And he’s already promised in his tax plan to change many of these special-interest loopholes and get rid of them so you don’t have this kind of situation.”

At her rally Monday, Clinton had no praise for Trump’s tax maneuvers.

“While millions of American families, including mine and yours, were working hard, paying our fair share, it seems he was contributing nothing to our nation,” the Democratic nominee said.

“Nothing for our veterans. Nothing for our military. And, you know, he’s been dissing America in this whole campaign. He talks us down, makes disparaging comments about our country, calls our military a disaster. It’s not, but it might have been if everyone else had failed to pay taxes to support our great men and women in uniform.”


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