Thursday, January 22, 2009

Barack Obama (aka Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.)

President Barack Obama acted swiftly after his inauguration on Tuesday (January 20th, 2009), suspending all trials at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp for 120 days, and freezing all last-minute legislation—known as "midnight legislation"—passed by former President George W. Bush. Obama also plans to meet with military and economic advisors today (January 21st, 2009) to discuss the $825 billion fiscal stimulus package as well as the Iraq war.

Obama's request on Guantanamo would stop the proceedings for 21 pending cases, including the death penalty case against the five prisoners accused of plotting the September 11th attacks. The president has made it known over the last few months that he intends to shut down the prison camp at Guantanamo, the detention center that was viewed globally as a gross violation of human rights. Plans are also in the works to have American troops withdraw from Iraq over a period of 16 months, and aides say Obama is also considering pulling all troops before the planned date of 2012.

The president's cabinet appointments are also in their last stages of approval through the U.S. Senate today. Officials are set to debate, and most likely approve, Sen. Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, in addition to Janet Napolitano for homeland security secretary; Steven Chu as energy secretary; and Timothy Geithner for treasury secretary.

Biography: Barack Hussein Obama was born Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. His father, Barack Obama, Sr., was born of Luo ethnicity in Nyanza Province, Kenya. He grew up herding goats with his own father, who was a domestic servant to the British. Although reared among Muslims, Obama, Sr., became an atheist at some point.

Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, grew up in Wichita, Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs during the Depression. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he signed up for service in World War II and marched across Europe in Patton’s army. Dunham’s mother went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the G. I. Bill, bought a house through the Federal Housing Program, and moved to Hawaii.

Meantime, Barack’s father had won a scholarship that allowed him to leave Kenya pursue his dreams in Hawaii. At the time of his birth, Obama’s parents were students at the East–West Center of the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Obama’s parents separated when he was two years old and later divorced. Obama’s father went to Harvard to pursue Ph. D. studies and then returned to Kenya.

His mother married Lolo Soetoro, another East–West Center student from Indonesia. In 1967, the family moved to Jakarta, where Obama’s half-sister Maya Soetoro–Ng was born. Obama attended schools in Jakarta, where classes were taught in the Indonesian language.

Four years later when Barack (commonly known throughout his early years as "Barry") was ten, he returned to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents, Madelyn and Stanley Dunham, and later his mother (who died of ovarian cancer in 1995).

He was enrolled in the fifth grade at the esteemed Punahou Academy, graduating with honors in 1979. He was only one of three black students at the school. This is where Obama first became conscious of racism and what it meant to be an African–American.

In his memoir, Obama described how he struggled to reconcile social perceptions of his multiracial heritage. He saw his biological father (who died in a 1982 car accident) only once (in 1971) after his parents divorced. And he admitted using alcohol, marijuana and cocaine during his teenage years.

After high school, Obama studied at Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years. He then transferred to Columbia University in New York, graduating in 1983 with a degree in political science.

After working at Business International Corporation (a company that provided international business information to corporate clients) and NYPIRG, Obama moved to Chicago in 1985. There, he worked as a community organizer with low-income residents in Chicago’s Roseland community and the Altgeld Gardens public housing development on the city’s South Side.


1 comment:

  1. I also hope he is able to reintroduce a positive image of America throughout the world, I do have some concerns that people expect more from him than one man can accomplish. Only time will tell!


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