Friday, July 26, 2013

A SECOND LOOK . . . 11,017

The Nobel Prize Winner

Original illustration from Tuesday March 27, 2012  (Gary McCoy)

*  Special thanks to "Google Images", "USA Today", "CNN" and "Rasumssen Reports"

by Felicity Blaze Noodleman
Los Angeles, CA

Last week’s article drew over 150 hits over the weekend and is a record for this Blog since we only average about between 60 to 80 at the most.  We were surprised!  This story indicates a high interest in the George Zimmerman trial in Florida.  It’s probably true that many of us have had after thoughts about the outcome for this trial and the protesting which followed.  Two thoughts seem to echo in the mind of this writer.  They are quotes from the past which would seem to apply.  

First: is a quote from Abraham Lincoln; “A house divided against itself cannot stand”.  

Secondly: is a quote from a more contemporary source; “Can’t we all just get along” from Rodney King”.

It is also probably true that many of have had regrets of all sorts over this last week’s events to be sure.  Personally, for me I regretted even hearing about the story.  This kind of discord deeply disturbs me.  To be brief, it’s a tragedy that two lives and the lives of those closest to these people had to be ruined over something which could have been avoided.  Tragedies are so often are indicative of events which could have turned out differently.

Our article this week almost where last week’s article left off.  We are having to rely on our cartoon illustrators a little more than usual to "dress up" this story.  President Obama issued a statement Thursday afternoon July 18, which we found to be somewhat profound.  There has been a lot of speculation about the Presidents interest in this case.  The White House usually makes an effort to honor youths who have excelled in the areas of scholastic achievement or some other endeavors.                              

Some have written things such as  "The truth is that Barack Obama would never had said anything about this case had Trayvon been white!   He would have said nothing about this case had the shooter been black!   He would have said nothing about this case had it not been thrown into the national spotlight.   Is he sorry for the family, yes I believe so.    Is he using this to gain political advantage, yes!   Does he in a stealth way fan the flames of racism, yes!  Is he the president of all the people, no!  Is he playing the race card on this shooting, you bet he is!"  

Little publicised photo of Zimmerman after confrontation with Trayvon Martin.
Obama asks what if Trayvon had the gun, could he have shot Zimmerman because he felt threatened? Contrary to the lie that Trayvon was attacked, eye witness testimony, Zimmerman's bloodied head, and Martin's girlfriend prove that Martin attacked him.  (Credits:   Sanford Police)

It is unusual for the White House to comment on a case like this, but all things considered we all understand.  We are posting two versions of the Presidents statements from the press conference; one from “USA Today” and the other from “CNN”.

The question of the media's involvement in this case should also be open for debate.  George Zimmerman, after all is a privet citizen and like all, he was Innocent until proven guilty.  With all the media coverage it will be hard for him to pick up the pieces of his life and continue.  His brother has spoken out publicly about threats made against the family and the media (Comedians like Stephen Colbert) have publicly ridiculed George and his acquittal verdict.

We also found the Presidents statements to be a little unusual since the administration has not taken much of a stance on crime since President Obama took office.  It leads one to wonder what motivated the President in this case.   Was the White House behind the media coverage from the beginning?  Can we look for the President to have George Zimmerman as a guest at the White House for "beer and pretzels"?  It's happened before! 

Finally we conclude with the Presidents approval ratings for his eighteenth quarter in office.  It’s a new low not only for the President but for the history of the Presidency.  All the sources agree from “Gallop” to “CNN” to “Rasmusen”.  Felicity writing for The Noodleman Group!

First Take: After Zimmerman, Obama Cautious on Race

President Obama made a statement about the George Zimmerman trial verdict saying that he could
have been Trayvon Martin 35 years ago. He said that the country needs to stop racial disparities.
(Photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP)

Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY
3:58 p.m. EDT July 19, 2013


·         Obama acknowledges he may not be best person to lead a dialogue on race
·         President was criticized for remarks in a prior race-related case
·         Suggests Americans give deeper thought to racial bias

WASHINGTON — When it comes to dealing with the sticky issue of race in America, President Obama has found that leading from behind might not be such a bad idea.
He was pilloried by critics on the right early in his presidency when he said a Cambridge, Mass., police officer "acted stupidly" when he arrested the black Harvard University scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. as he struggled to open the door of his home in a predominantly white neighborhood.
And Obama raised eyebrows, when he remarked after Trayvon Martin's death last year that "if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon."
So, it's no surprise that he took a cautious approach as he weighed in for the first time since a Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in the death of Trayvon.
STORY: Obama: Trayvon 'could have been me'
In a surprise appearance before reporters six days after the verdict, Obama spoke eloquently about Trayvon's family showing grace in the aftermath of the verdict, and he reiterated his understanding of the pain the African-American community feels over the outcome of the trial and the larger problem of racial profiling.
And Obama again connected himself directly to the teenager when he observed that he could have been Trayvon 35 years ago.
But the president, despite the historic nature of his presidency, also made clear that he's not the best person to be leading a difficult conversation about race.
Instead, he argued that the larger discussion of race belongs not with lawmakers in Washington but in living rooms, houses of worship and workplaces.
In such settings, Obama posited, "There's the possibility that people are a little bit more honest, and at least you ask yourself your own questions about, am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can?"
The president rightfully noted that as a nation we've made progress in our dialogue on race. But, as he also made clear, we're hardly in a post-racial era.
Obama, who has long contended with a portion of America's views about his "other-ness," seems to have realized that a president – even an African-American one – can sometimes serve the public dialogue on race best by merely participating in the conversation rather than directing it.

"USA Today"

Obama: 'Trayvon Martin Could Have Been Me'

Obama: Trayvon Martin could have been me.  Clearly the President is
disapointed; but why?

By Tom Cohen, CNN
updated 6:07 PM EDT, Fri July 19, 2013

·         NEW: Obama decided Thursday to speak out on the Martin case
·         NEW: Zimmerman's defense team says the verdict was just
·         President Obama explains African American frustration over the Trayvon Martin killing
·         He says demonstrations over the verdict must remain non-violent

Washington (CNN) -- In unscheduled and unusually personal remarks, President Barack Obama tried Friday to explain why African-Americans were upset about last week's acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin while lowering expectations for federal charges in the case.
"Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago," Obama told White House reporters in a surprise appearance at the daily briefing.

His remarks, which lasted about 20 minutes, escalated a nationwide debate on the verdict that has prompted protests, including some that turned violent.

A Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman last Saturday in Martin's February 26, 2012, shooting death, inciting anger among many who considered the incident racially motivated murder.
Obama issued a written statement on Sunday, noting that the jury had spoken and urging calm and reflection. Despite some calls for him to speak about the case, the nation's first African-American president had made no further public comment until Friday.

Speaking without a teleprompter, Obama noted a history of racial disparity in law as well as more nuanced social prejudice that contribute to "a lot of pain" in the African-American community over the verdict.

"There are very few African-American men in this country who have not had the experience of being followed when they are shopping at a department store. That includes me," the president said.
"There are probably very few African-American men who have not had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me - at least before I was a senator," he continued.

"There are very few African-Americans who have not had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had the chance to get off. That happens often," he said.

Saying he didn't intend to exaggerate those experiences, Obama added that they "inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida."

"The African-American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws, everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws," he said. "And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case."

African-Americans feel the context of the Martin killing is little known or denied, "and that all contributes, I think, to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different," Obama said.

These cases usually matter for states

At the same time, Obama responded to calls by civil rights groups for federal hate crimes charges to be filed against Zimmerman by saying the Florida legal process had reached a verdict.
"Once the jury's spoken, that's how our system works," the president said, later adding that while Attorney General Eric Holder was looking further at the case, those calling for federal charges must "have some clear expectations here."

In America, law enforcement and the criminal code are "traditionally done at the state and local levels, not at the federal level," he said.

On Saturday, "Justice for Trayvon" vigils are scheduled outside federal buildings across the country by Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network.

Sharpton called Obama's remarks Friday "significant and much needed," saying in a statement that the president "set a tone for both direct action and needed dialogue."

Martin's parents said they were "deeply honored and moved" that Obama spoke publicly about their son, saying the president's comments "give us great strength at this time."

"Trayvon's life was cut short, but we hope that his legacy will make our communities a better place for generations to come," said the statement by Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton. "We applaud the president's call to action to bring communities together to encourage an open and difficult dialogue."
However, some conservative commentators criticized Obama for what they called divisiveness by speaking as an African American instead of representing the entire country. Todd Starnes, a Fox News Radio anchor, tweeted "race-baiter in chief."

Stark contrast: How comments sparked very different reactions

Zimmerman's defense team cited Obama's courage in addressing the case and its racial context, but said the facts showed their client acted in self-defense and the jury reached the proper verdict.
"While we acknowledge the racial context of the case, we hope that the president was not suggesting that this case fits a pattern of racial disparity, because we strongly contend that it does not," the lawyers said in a statement.

A White House official told CNN Chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin that Obama decided Thursday night to make his public remarks after watching the reaction to the Zimmerman verdict over the past week.

The official, who spoke on condition of not being identified, said Obama talked to friends and family members about the verdict, and told his senior staff he wanted to speak publicly about it. His staff recommended that he make the remarks in the White House briefing room, as opposed to an interview.
In his remarks, Obama said demonstrations and other responses to the Zimmerman verdict must be non-violent or they will dishonor what happened to Martin and his family.

He outlined possible future steps, calling for the Justice Department, state governors and city mayors to work with law enforcement agencies "about training at the state and local levels in order to reduce the kind of mistrust in the system that sometimes currently exists."

For example, he noted that racial profiling legislation he pushed as a state senator in Illinois helped police departments think about the issue and act more professionally, which helped build trust with communities they serve.

Stand your ground laws

Obama also called for reconsideration of "stand your ground" self-defense laws in Florida and other states, that he said "may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than diffuse potential altercations."

Sharpton and other civil rights leaders call for abolishing the "stand your ground" laws.
"If we're sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms, even if there's a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we'd like to see?" Obama asked.
Protesters stand up to 'stand your ground,' but laws likely here to stay

To supporters of such laws, Obama said they should consider if the right to fight back with a gun would have applied to Martin.

"Do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman, who had followed him in a car, because he felt threatened?" the president said. "And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws."
While rejecting any "grand new federal program," Obama also called for providing more support for African-American boys and young mans who disproportionately end up in prison or homicide victims.

No national conversation

However, he rejected calls for him to launch a national conversation on race, saying "I haven't seen that be particularly productive when, you know, politicians try to organize conversations."
His comment could have been a slap at his own response to the 2009 arrest of African-American university professor Henry Louis Gates by a white police officer responding to a report of a possible burglary at his Boston-area home.

After coming under criticism for saying police acted stupidly, Obama later invited the Harvard professor and the arresting officer for a beer at the White House.

On Friday, Obama instead endorsed "soul-searching" discussions in homes, churches and workplaces where people might be more honest about whether they were "wringing as much bias" out of themselves as possible.

"As difficult and challenging as this whole episode has been for a lot of people, I don't want us to lose sight that things are getting better," the president concluded, making a reference to his daughters' generation.

"It doesn't mean we're in a post-racial society. It doesn't mean that racism is eliminated," he said. "But, you know, when I talk to Malia and Sasha and I listen to their friends and I see them interact, they're better than we are. They're better than we were on these issues. And that's true in every community that I've visited all across the country."


Daily Presidential Tracking Poll
in Politics

·         Confronting America's Racial Divide By Scott Rasmussen
·         What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls
·         61% Expect Health Care in U.S. To Get Worse Over Next Two Years
·         38% Think Government Is Best Bet for Alternative Energy Development
·         44% Rate Obama’s Handling of Health Care Positively
·         32% Have Favorable Opinion of Zimmerman, 48% Unfavorable
·         32% Say American Society is Unfair and Discriminatory
Bottom of Form
Monday, July 22, 2013
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that 47% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Obama's job performance. Fifty-two percent (52%) disapprove (see trends).

These figures include 23% who Strongly Approve of the way Obama is performing as president and 40% who Strongly Disapprove. This gives him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -17.  
Results are updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update).

As the president’s health care law draws closer to implementation, concerns are growing. Sixty-one percent (61%) now expect the health care system to get worse over the next couple of years. That’s up 13 points since February and the highest level of pessimism yet recorded. Overall, 78% are happy with the health care they currently receive, but only 36% rate the overall U.S. health care system as good or excellent.

Forty-eight percent (48%) believe research by private businesses seeking a profit will do more to meet the U.S. need for affordable energy sources than research by the government.
Check out our review of last week’s key polls to see “What They Told Us.”

 Scott Rasmussen's weekly newspaper column says America's race relations may have changed over the past half-century, "but we have failed to honestly confront our past." He adds, "If our nation is ever to truly become a land of liberty and justice for all, we need to have an honest discussion about race. The evidence of the past few weeks makes me doubt we are ready for that today." 

Currently, 32% of voters believe American society is generally unfair and discriminatory. That's near the highest level ever recorded.

To get a sense of longer-term job approval trends for the president, Rasmussen Reports compiles our tracking data on a full month-by-month basis.

Rasmussen Reports is a media company whose work is followed by millions on a wide variety of platforms. We regularly release our work at, through a daily email newsletter, a nationally syndicated TV show, a nationally syndicated radio news service, an online video service and a weekly newspaper column distributed by Creators Syndicate.

Rasmussen Reports has been a pioneer in the use of automated telephone polling techniques, but many other firms still utilize their own operator-assisted technology (see methodology).

Daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 500 likely voters per night and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. To reach those who have abandoned traditional landline telephones, Rasmussen Reports uses an online survey tool to interview randomly selected participants from a demographically diverse panel. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 1,500 Likely Voters is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Results are also compiled on a full-week basis and crosstabs for full-week results are available for Platinum Members. 

"Rasmussen Reports"


Gallup Puts Obama Approval Rating Last Quarter At 47.9%

(Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP)

David Jackson, USA TODAY
1:15 p.m. EDT July 22, 2013

President Obama's job approval for the last three full months averaged 47.9%, the second straight quarter in which his approval rating dropped,reports Gallup.

During the first quarter of 2013, Obama's approval rating averaged 49.7%.

Like most predecessors, Obama's best ratings with Gallup came during the first three months of his presidency, averaging 63%.

"His worst was 41% during his 11th quarter, at a time when he and Congress engaged in contentious negotiations to raise the federal debt limit, after which the United States' credit rating was downgraded and the U.S. stock market tanked," Gallup said.

Obama's average approval rating for the last quarter of 2012 -- the time in which he won re-election -- was 51.9%.

Gallup compared the trajectory of Obama's approval ratings to predecessors Harry Truman and George W. Bush:

"Obama will hope the remainder of his second term plays out better than it did for Truman and Bush, who experienced steady declines in their popularity and registered some of the lowest approval ratings in Gallup records late in their presidencies.

"Both Bush and Truman certainly had significant challenges in their second terms, including protracted U.S. military engagements that began on their watches, and economies that were heading into recession. ...
"Given the historical trends, it would not be unexpected for Obama's approval rating to decline further during his next quarter in office. However, his ability to respond to the challenges he faces will determine whether his approval ratings continue to decline or improve in his final years as president."

"USA Today"

Pritchett's Pen: Obama's Approval Ratings Dive. John Pritchett is one of Hawaii's leading cartoonists with his journalistic endeavors appearing weekly in Hawaii Reporter, Honolulu Weekly and Lahaina News.

* “The Noodleman Group” is pleased to announce that we are now carrying a link to the “USA Today” news site.We installed the “widget/gadget” August 20, and it will be carried as a regular feature on our site.Now you can read“Noodleman” and then check in to “USA Today” for all the up to date News, Weather, Sports and more!Just scroll all the way down to the bottom of our site and hit the “USA Today” hyperlinks.Enjoy!

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