President Barack Obama walks through the Colonnade at the White House January 12, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Tonight, from Chicago, President Barack Obama delivers his farewell speech to America. Not only will Obama’s address be a moment for him to reflect on his eight years in the Oval Office, it will also be an opportunity for the public to do the same. From promises that sank, to those that soared and everything in between – tell us – what will Obama’s legacy be for you?

Mentioned on Air

Guests:
Michael Shear, White House correspondent, The New York Times

  • Skip Conrad

    Obama has had an uncanny inability to work with the Congress. His typical retort, as reiterated by Pelosi and Reid much to their chagrin, has been that there are obstructionist Republicans in control of the Congress who will not work with him because they simply don’t like him. And they might not like him because he’s half-African, or because he’s a Democrat, or because he doesn’t have much experience, having only served part of a junior term in the the US Senate.
    Regardless, it is part of his job description to get along and to work with the Congress. If he can’t or wouldn’t do that, then he shouldn’t be president. That is a job skill you need to have. Perhaps Regan exemplifies that smoke-filled rooms, you-scratch-my-back, style best in his working relationship with Democrat Speaker Tip O’Neill.
    Obama was never able to do that – to have a relationship with either John Boehner or Mitch McConnell. Not so sure about Ryan.

    • Mason Gibb

      We can be glad of the obstructionist Congress in refusing to back up the White House’s “red line” in Syria (according to Seymour Hersh, intelligence agencies could not definitively link gas used in attacks to those in Syrian weapon stores).
      It is too bad Congress could not effectively reign in the executive’s war powers, as the House passed several resolutions demanding the US withdraw from Libya with no effect.

    • William – SF

      Ha! You got it backwards. A just-say-no congress.
      Read Jane Mayer’s Dark Money for the truth.

      • Kevin Skipper

        Suarez is still going to favor this and others like it. Listen to him now, reflexively excusing Obama’s care in refusing to look like he was at all intsrested in addressing the realities of increased racial aggression.

        He characterizes it as ‘decorum.’

  • JimmyOo

    kqed tv needs to air The Producers on its Saturday night movie, soon.

  • Mason Gibb

    Perhaps the most startling episode of the Obama Administration was approving the targeted assassination of an American citizen who posed no imminent threat to the US.

    • Robert Thomas

      I think that the same events have delineated the degree to which the United States has become very tender toward the civilian populations (of any nationality) who harbor those with violent ill-will toward the U.S.

      In the space of a mere seventy years, Americans went from blithely countenancing the fire bombing of Tokyo in March of 1945, an act under FDR which incinerated 150,000 civilians of that city in one night, to that of dropping munitions in the most dainty fashion. No great power in the history of the Western world has had such a conversion of gentility.

      For myself, on seeing the scheming Saudi Salafis flee to the comforting bosom of the Mullah Omar, the potentates of Kabul – themselves not only tolerated but praised by much of the populace – ought to have been offered the choice, either to the Saudis up or else suffer overwhelming devastation of total war. Or else, ignore their flight entirely and treat their acts as vandalism.

      • Mason Gibb

        I’m sure the people of the Middle East are comforted that we’re daintily dropping bombs in the 21st century.
        Unfortunately, the way we wage war, the US supported opium warlords like the Karzai family. From what I’ve read, the violence of the Northern Alliance matched that of the Taliban.

        • Robert Thomas

          When I was a kid, I read James Michener’s Caravans, set in 1946. I thought, ‘what a place to never try to be involved’. Michener isn’t exactly an anthropologist or sociologist but it’s astonishing to me how well his characterization of post-WWII Afghanistan comports with modern descriptions I’ve read contributed by such as Sarah Chayes. Sadly, GWB and his pack of jackals never had it on their summer reads bookshelf.

          “I’m sure the people of the Middle East are comforted that we’re daintily dropping bombs in the 21st century.”

          They really should be, as I note.

  • Curious

    Obama has been an unprecedented disaster. It will take decades for this country and the world to recover – if ever.

    • Another Mike

      All huffing and puffing, but no factual support.

      • Curious

        Lowest work force participation since 1977. Highest rate of poverty ever. Highest rate of food stamp dependence ever. Highest income inequality ever. Doubled our debt. Household income down. Household net worth down. Destroyed the healthcare system. Worst race relations in decades. World on the brink of WWIII. Imperial presidency. Heckuva job, Barry!

        • Another Mike

          Yes, Bush left Obama a giant mess to clean up. The health care system works for me the same way it did before. And there are fewer shooting wars going on than there have ever been.

          Black people are tired of being shot dead by our public servants, however.

  • jurgispilis

    His use of executive actions to bypass Congress and illegally expand immigration via DACA. The fact that he issued no executive orders, which are numbered and carry more accountability, shows he realized himself his actions were at the edge of the law.

  • Noelle

    I was glad about the release of non-violent drug offenders. But he wasn’t able to close Gitmo prison, due to obstruction from military and congress.

    • Mason Gibb

      He’s the commander in chief. Guantanamo is a military prison. He has total control over it. Throw them in Leavenworth or any other military brig. They got to Guantanamo through the actions of a commander in chief, they could have left the same way.

      • Noelle

        he’s not a dictator and can’t force closure: so Congress whines about bringing detainees here and they wont consider it, military wants to keep their jobs at Gitmo, so they don’t want detainees sent to Leavenworth

        http://time.com/4178779/obama-close-guantanamo-bay/

        • Curious

          Dems prevented the release. And Obama has acted like a dictator.

  • CSNIronclad

    The question is more whether after his term ends Obama has the decency to stay silent or whether his narcissism will have him trying to stay in the limelight.

    With the Clintons gone he’s all the Dems have though – so I think we wil see more of him than less

  • William – SF

    President Obama is the best President since FDR.

    President Obama is a President even Republican’s would wish to be!
    – Turned a cratering economy into the greatest economy ever
    – DOW goes from 6,800 to 19,000
    – Created more jobs than Ronald Reagan
    – Provided health care to over 25 million Americans that had none
    – Corporate profits at all time highs during his Presidency
    – Corporate cash-on-hand at all time highs
    – Ended 2 wars
    – Found and killed leader responsible for 9/11, Osama Bin Laden
    – Reduced the size of government

    • Curious

      Funny!!

    • Mason Gibb

      Which two wars did he end?
      Last I heard, US troops and planes are in Mosul. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 5k troops.
      I have no clue how many special forces we have in Afghanistan, but two were killed in November 2016.

      • William – SF

        There are over 28,000 American troops in South Korea – so we are at war with South Korea? Ha!

        • Mason Gibb

          Really? That’s your defense that there’s no war going on in Iraq or Afghanistan?

        • Bill_Woods

          Ended wars?

          The U.S. dropped an average of 72 bombs every day — the equivalent of three an hour — in 2016, according to an analysis of American strikes around the world.

          According to the New York City-based think tank, 26,171 bombs were dropped on Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan during the year.

          http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/u-s-bombed-iraq-syria-pakistan-afghanistan-libya-yemen-somalia-n704636

    • CSNIronclad

      I see the DNC paid posters are active today

      You want fries with that as far as jobs go?

      You seem to ignore the cost of those “accomplishments” too – 10 trillion in debt more isn’t anything to be proud of

      • William – SF

        $8.1 trillion for Obama, $4,4 trillion for Dubya, and Dubya walked into office with a near $200 billion surplus – or $5 trillion surplus. See http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/jun/02/steny-hoyer/steny-hoyer-says-george-w-bush-inherited-56-trilli/

        So you’ll be against The Apprentice reducing corporate taxes, or any tax reductions? Ha!

        • Curious

          On January 20, 2009, when he was sworn in, the debt was $10.626 trillion. Today it’s $19.78 trillion. Obama added $9 trillion to the debt, more than any other President.

        • CSNIronclad

          You also neglect to mention that the surplus was the result of the tech bubble that popped.

          And that Billy Clinton did zip for 8 years in Iraq and let 500,000 kids die waiting for Saddam to fall. And let al queda bomb all over the world as well as us ships – dumping that all on Bush.

          What’s obama”s legacy?

          Middle East in flames – islamists with a state – and Iran with a multi billion dollar pay off and now with more nuclear material than ever

          I love the racial healing too – his Chicago 4 thugs should be his legacy – tie up a mentally defective Man and force him to shout anti trump slogans

      • Another Mike

        Bush slashed taxes and put two wars on a credit card, thus adding $4.5 trillion to the deficit

        Then, Bush’s housing bubble burst, leading to the mortgage meltdown, leading to millions out of work, leading to lowered tax revenues. Employment is a lagging indicator, with its biggest effect once Obama took office.

        But feel free to blame all this on Obama, whose job it was to clean up Bush’s mess.

        • Curious

          Bush’s housing bubble?? You’re not serious? That can all be laid at the door of Clinton and Barney Frank.
          Biden and Clinton and most democrats wanted the war in Iraq way before Bush was elected.
          And Trump is being left with an even bigger mess by Obama.

          • Another Mike

            When was minority member Barney Frank ever in a position to do anything?
            The housing bubble didn’t start until after W. took office.
            And W. was basically showing off to his daddy that he wasn’t a total loser after all, that he could get Saddam Hussein where his daddy couldn’t.

          • Curious

            Wow. Just wow.

          • Another Mike

            Facts are stubborn things.
            GHWB had been propping up W. his whole life: getting him in the Air National Guard, finding managers and investors in Arbusto, getting someone to buy Arbusto so that W. could have a baseball team to play with, etc.

          • Curious

            Barney Frank was the principal advocate in Congress for using the government’s authority to force lower underwriting standards in the business of housing finance. Although he claims to have tried to reverse course as early as 2003, that was the year he made the oft-quoted remark, “I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation toward subsidized housing.” Rather than reversing course, he was pressing on when others were beginning to have doubts.

            http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/12/hey-barney-frank-the-government-did-cause-the-housing-crisis/249903/

          • Another Mike

            Barney Frank
            A D-E-M-O-C-R-A-T in a R-E-P-U-B-L-I-C-A-N- controlled Congress. That is to say, of little more influence that a flea passing gas in a hurricane.

          • William – SF

            It’s rare to pin a fault on a single person, even more so the housing collapse, but I’d put Phil Gramm on top of the list for his persuasion to protect derivatives, credit default swaps, and other financial machinations from regulation.
            http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/17/business/economy/17gramm.html

            Ultimately, greed gets a pointed finger – create an investment that appears risk free and insured by a great American insurance company and how can an investor lose? Oops, everyone lost, even those that created the investments, but as usual far worse for the average American. (Funny that Greenspan thought no one would consciously chose to act against their own best interests. Rare to learn what he really thought. Poor Ayn Rand, proven wrong.)

        • CSNIronclad

          Bush’s housing bubble? You mean the Barnie Frank one supporter by his dem “free houses for our voters” mob.

          Do tell me what Billy BJ did to resolve Iraq in his 8 years? Oh right – 500,000 kids dead is a real legacy.

          You pretend history starts with one guy – I assure you the guilt goes back

          • Another Mike

            I assure you that Barney Frank does not have supernatural powers.
            There was nothing left in Iraq to resolve once they withdrew from Kuwait.

          • CSNIronclad

            I assure you Barnie was instrumental in blocking action on the fraud in the loans

            And right on Iraq. – that’s why we kept a garrison force there because Saddam had “nothing”.

            500,000 dead kids during Clinton says baloney

          • Another Mike

            The sorry story of how Wall Street bundled junk loans made to risky borrowers and got the rating agencies to mark the resulting bundles investment-grade securities would take too much time and space to recount here. But Barney Frank’s footprints appear nowhere.

            And the last two facts appear nowhere in any history of Iraq I can access.

            How many soldiers in the garrison force, and where were they stationed, and when?
            Who were these half a million dead children, and where were they killed?

          • CSNIronclad

            The no fly zone was enforced after the Gulf war – I was in Saudi Arabia at the time and we had troops there to prptect the aircraft – as well as in Kuwait and Bahrain.

            http://www.historyguy.com/no-fly_zone_war.html

            And since the troops were not there in your fantasy world – Khobar Towers certainly could not have happened – right?

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khobar_Towers_bombing

            The half million Iraqi kids alone – your BJ Clinton’s Sec of State said their death was “worth it” to keep Saddam bottled up

            and it was a UN report –

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanctions_against_Iraq#Infant_and_child_death_rates

            But hey – libs only think history started when Bush 2 took office – the problem had reached a crisis point by then.

          • Another Mike

            Ah. When you said we kept a garrison “there,” I concluded “there” referred to Iraq, not Saudi Arabia.
            And thanks for the youtube reference. Yes, Clinton continued the UN sanctions the Security Council imposed both during the First Gulf War, and in 1991 — both sets imposed when GHWB was President. And the sanctions did result in a projected increase in the child death rate amounting to hundreds of thousands of children. I assumed that Clinton had bombed or otherwise attacked schools, orphanages, day care centers full of children — not simply continued a Bush I policy of sanctions to force Saddam Hussein to give up his WMD.

          • CSNIronclad

            Inaction that results in hundreds of thousands of deaths is culpable behavior – since the goal was to topple Saddam. The excuse that Clinton was “just following policy” sounds about as dubious as the guards in concentration camps doing the same.

            I think bush’s action to remove Saddam was correct , but trying to impose a democracy there was the mistake. Installing another thug that just didn’t invade his neighbor seems to be the only policy that actually provides any stability in the Middle East today. But more to the point too – if anyone claims that not invading Iraq to end Saddam was wrong – please let them justify the continued deaths that would have resulted from the sanctions. There never was a “clean” option as many claim

    • Kevin Skipper

      At least a couple of those bullets could be considered questionable.

      • Mason Gibb

        well…”greatest economy ever” would seem to be hyperbole, if not outright satire.

        • Kevin Skipper

          Greatest economy since 1999.

    • Kevin Skipper

      A novella of summary execution and dumping a bundle into the Indian Ocean is not quite the same as capturing and prosecution Bin Laden.

    • Curious

      Lowest work force participation since 1977. Highest rate of poverty ever. Highest rate of food stamp dependence ever. Highest income inequality ever. Doubled our debt. Household income down. Household net worth down. Destroyed the healthcare system. Worst race relations in decades. World on the brink of WWIII. Imperial presidency. Heckuva job, Barry!

    • 1PeterDuMont2STARALLIANCE8

      Thanks for that!

  • Kevin Skipper

    Prior to 2008, we had already attained a steady cruising velocity down the slurry-slicked slope of communofascism. 2001, Fox News and Bush had effectively installed a modified media-cracy in which emotionally loaded fear stories could be employed to essentially manufacture a pretext of public approval. The ultimate result has been what secretary Kerry refers to as Authoritarian Populism. Sure, I’m not the only one who sees the idiosyncratic, antithetical nature of that term.

    Obama’s years added to that the conflation of “Bi-racial African” and “African-American” to suggest that the nation had magically overcome it’s own legacy of racism and prejudice to create a condition of postmodern denialism. Nominal and costly initiatives to help immigrants, LGBT and certain liberal groups of women have effectively resulted in a virtual standstill in the progress of Black males and, to some degree, Black family structure.

    • Kevin Skipper

      I should add that this effect has certainly not been restricted to any specific racial group. Men and boys, across the board, have experienced an curious shift in which qualities of cooperativeness, feminity and passiveness are favored over qualities like leadership, achievement or excellence.

  • Muneer M Ali

    President Bush had made a major war, and bank mistake that cost the US billions of dollars and fall of the housing market. on the other hand President Obama had made major successive economical comebacks in the US and much well supported. Yet I must say that president Obama made major mistakes in the middle east that will likely to impacted for decays to come and that is simply due to the policies of neglect w/o sufficient responsible decisive decision that causing the rise of IS and vacuum for Iran in Iraq

  • Kevin Skipper

    The simplest thing I’ve noticed since Obama’s election has been here in Oakland.

    In 8 years, the city has closed many and built few schools. The same is true with playgrounds, community centers and other activities intended for the city’s youth. Inroads to higher education for people of color have been restricted while costs have risen and diversity in college enrollments is falling.
    Unincorporated districts still allow the most affluent residents to steer taxes away from the school systems that serve the classes that they employ and utilize. Still, hillside communities gush, liberally extolling the region’s “vibrant, colorful tapestry of diverse cultures and backgrounds (que the lyrical Libby Schaff voice and bouncy grocery store ad ukelele rhythm).

    Instead, we have literally scores of bars, breweries, beer gardens and nightclubs. Virtually all of them are for hipsters, by hipsters. Some call them techies, others gentrifiers or college-educated white adults. Either way, the effect has been what many see as the least inclusive, most segregated period in Bay Area history since the struggle for integration.

    Defensive, resentful and insular, incoming groups have been quick to settle into the secure paddocks that developers have provided for their exclusive enjoyment. The New Jim Crow has transported our community back to the mid-1980’s.

    • Robert Thomas

      More comforting, then, might be the OLD Jim Crow of my late Aunt Edith Moore’s home town of Tunica, Mississippi, off of Route 61. There, very little has changed since 1850 (they have electricity now, and motor cars). After the Democratic Party, in the 1940s under the influence of Eleanor Roosevelt and others, began its retreat from a history of white supremacy – which retreat made it an increasingly inhospitable political home for such as child rapist Strom Thurmond of South Carolina – Tunica and pretty much all of the Magnolia State were acquired by the Republican Party from the vanquished Democrats.

      Since the broadcast of Morley Safer’s 60 Minutes segment thirty years ago (see below), African American residents of Tunica were momentarily employed and alarmingly elevated as housekeeping staff of the nearby newly located riverside hotel-casinos. To the relief of town fathers and the scandalized First Baptist Church, such unsettling opportunities for “gentrification” have now abated, as these gambling meccas have fallen to more easily accessed regional dens of iniquity.

      The attempt to turn Sugar Ditch into a more modern open alimentary system brought trucks full of cement that will survive for a time as its concrete liner, but neglect and weather will doubtless return it to its bucolic natural state before too awfully long.

      “Tunica Sugar ditch (1985)”
      60 Minutes

      The Sugar Ditch, running north/south between Kesteven Alley and Houston Alley:

      Google Maps, 34.687821, -90.384535

      • Kevin Skipper

        Valid, I’m sure. Let us not forget that we aren’t South of the Mason Dixon. As someone raised in the S.F. Bay by S.F. Bay natives, I have the audacity to expect a little more. Besides, I’m getting tired of Californians, Black and White using vignettes of a dysfunctional Southland to make excuses for California’s history of contradictory policies. Either hold the State to a standard that matches our supposed values or concede to its existing record on race, especially as it relates to the present day.

        • Another Mike

          San Jose is just one degree north of the Mason Dixon (37.3 vs. 36.3)..

          • Kevin Skipper

            Well played. Cursing to myself as I thought of looking at a map as I made that statement. That was actually the second geographic reference you included and I neglected. I must be behind on sleep…

        • Robert Thomas

          Fair enough. Well then, what is to be done? What was your expectation from president Obama, that the federal government has neglected in Alameda county? What must be done now, in order to secure the blessings of liberty; ensure domestic tranquillity; promote the general welfare, of the people?

          I’m NOT a resident of Oakland. Should people recently arrived in Oakland recognize their error and now leave? What recompense do they owe, for the insulting choice they made, to live there? What error has the state made and what is the correction? As I say, I don’t live in Alameda county and am puzzled.

          What are private employers to do? Of the 2.5M people who live Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties 2.5% are African American. In the same population, 25% are Latino. When considering also San Francisco and Alameda Counties, of these 5M people, 6% are African American and 23% are Latino. All my adult life, the fact of my industry’s inability to employ a greater fraction of our Latino neighbors has stared me in the face. It’s a failing of industry and of civil society.

          • Kevin Skipper

            What’s to be done? Nothing.

            “Teachers,
            Keep on teaching.
            Preachers, keep on preaching
            World,
            keep on turning.
            Cause it wont be too long.
            Oh no.

            Lovers,
            Keep on lovin.
            Believers,
            Keep on believin’
            Sleepers,
            Just stop sleepin’
            Cause it wont be too long.
            Oh no.”

            “Higher Ground”
            Stevie Wonder
            Innervisions

          • Robert Thomas

            I’m off the hook, then. But not president Obama?

          • Kevin Skipper

            To answer the last part of your question, let’s bring it into a microcosmic perspective. You, Mr. Thomas, work in information technology in some engineering capacity. Recently, conditions have dictated that the bulk of your incoming talent comes from a pool representative of the region’s elite educational institutions which themselves tend to reflect families and communities for whom access has been historically reserved. While this has resulted in a high number of applicants, there has emerged a shortage of individuals qualified to apply critical thinking and analytical skills to real-world scenarios. Even more striking is the persistent lack of diversity, a quality known to be a central driver of innovation and market responsiveness.

            If your industry wishes to better employ Latinos or other people of color, simply see them as a community that is capable of serving you. Visualize your expertise as a fountain of education and training instead of relying solely upon more established channels of talent. It will take time in the beginning and will likely be restricted to grassroots efforts but in time, it will allow the industry to take better advantage of the abundant resource that is our existing and incoming communities of color.

            The idea of a failing depends on how you define the original purpose fr placing any industry here in the first place. Seems that if one wanted to install a commercial complex to support and manage the movement of information meant to maintain and increase established power structures over a long term track, what better place that Northern California?
            Given the law of precedent, it seems to me a resounding success is a centuries-long project of a liberal nationalist identity devoid of excessive levels of criticism or rebellion.

            It’s worth saying that my idea is not entirely original. At the higher levels, we have seen IT exchange talent with the legal and artistic fields and vice versa. Many companies are seeking to employ community based projects to broaden access to technical opportunities.

          • Robert Thomas

            I’ve worked with a good number of fine, un-degreed, locally (SC Valley) sourced, self-educated engineers (often also with military technical experience) but they’ve always been self-starters who were or would have been capable of contribution right out of high school. They’re among the best, actually, in my experience. But if such a candidate didn’t know what a freewheeling diode was or why one would choose a 2N3904 over a 2N2222 for a particular application – and if they didn’t know this sort of thing walking in the door, they weren’t attractive. This kind of person often appears in the capacity of a prototyping technician or a re-work artist.

            In the earlier part of my career, I served on several recruiting committees. Even in the 1980s and 1990s, I was pleased to work for employers who felt that a more diverse ethnic profile would provide intrinsic value for our teams.

            In these Forum pages I’ve written before of a particular, emblematic example of the experience I had trying to recruit African American engineers:

            I tried, really hard in the mid-1990s (’96, I think), to get two excellent African American candidates – one from Rutgers and one from Penn – to commit to Silicon Graphics. The company was flying high and had a weirdly high profile in those pre-World Wide Web days. I was in the position to recruit African Americans subsequently also but this case stands out in memory.

            We pulled out the stops, presenting opportunities to visit Japan and Switzerland, to work with Nintendo, interact with James Cameron and his team and with a high-profile molecular modeling project (which really enticed one of these young men) and so on. We failed.

            Sitting at a lunch table at Gordon Biersch in Palo Alto, one of the guys admitted to me that he had been to Portland, Maine for a school project but that even that was less white than our whole region [from Colma to Gilroy], “a fascinating sea of blinding pallor” – or something like that – I can’t remember. Now, I’ve worked in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin (Cray) and I can guarantee, it makes Santa Clara County seem like the United Nations but to this guy… well, the PA Gordon Biersch was maybe the wrong place to argue this point. An excellent female African American mechanical engineering candidate in her senior year at Georgia Tech was simultaneously also heavily recruited by my mech-E coworkers. That effort also failed. My Rutgers candidate went to work for IBM in New York; my Penn candidate I believe went to work in Philadelphia. Our mech-E candidate got a good offer from Marshall Space Flight Center, near her family home. All were tempted by our (very good) offers but all chose opportunities within a hundred miles of their mothers. In the following several years, I had three or four very similar experiences.

            Where we might have been successful in recruiting from the African American communities of the nation were with older people with spouses and children, willing to make a BIG commitment in the face of social dislocation. Probably the best candidates would have been experienced technical staff recently retired from the armed forces. I never saw candidates like that, and hiring established engineers away from across the country was never a priority.

          • Kevin Skipper

            Compelling, indeed. I’m actually at something of a loss as I remember those heady days of high engineering hopes for California’s students of color. I was a MESA student at Berkeley’s program in ’92 and ’93 and Summerbridge from ’93 to ’94. I still remember the boundless energy and what seemed like endless options. My instructors saw my talent and never failed to encourage me. Both programs continue today so it’s not like the initiative failed. Looking back on that time, I remember my parents being proud of my dedication but atnthe same time, claiming that BART fare and various incidental costs were too much. We lived in a cramped apartment in the student housing village and any excess resources were supposedly needed to support my stepmother’s protracted matriculation.
            It was a confusing time as I fought to understand why it wasn’t enough that I was talented. It seemed like I was the only kid of color I knew who wanted to go to school on Saturdays but couldn’t.
            The way it happened, I had nowhere to place my anger at that so I put my interests elsewhere. I played sports, tried to date and developed an interest in political science and history. I never lost my love for engineering but as life took me in other directions, it became plain that those who did take up the trade did so with specific practical training and exposure that is often available only to the very young, the terribly disciplined or the enlisted soldier who is often a mix of both .

            I didn’t make it as far as post secondary Engineering training bit I can certainly relate to some of the decisions faced by the candidates you mention.

            It seems pretty clear that while Silicon Valley offers many professional and creative opportunities, it is, to some, severely lacking in cultural opportunities. I often argue the specifics around this but the point is that this condition has been consistent. Without getting into the specific mechanisms and reasons behind this anomaly we can agree that it exists by way of powerful forces, the greatest of which being precedent.

            Perhaps that was the catalyst for your earlier lack of recruiting success. Talent, while plentiful and available, is subject to the viability of it’s surroundings to nurture it’s potential. No fault of California’s engineering profession, the state was conceived as a model to conserve traditional American habits of race relations while simultaneously embracing the benefits of postmodern globalist economic expansion.
            Precedent. We note it, respect it, and move on.

          • Kevin Skipper

            The question remains, what does the next dream candidate look like? Disciplined self-starters. Self sufficient survivalists. Diode freewheelers. Tinkerers in general. Judging from your comments and from my experience there will remain a wealth of untapped talent in our communities of color. If we can’t immediately overcome the disparities in opportunity, perhaps we can consider an approach that can work within existing realities.

            How do we sell the Bay Area as a place where diverse families can grow? If high salaries and growth are no substitute for, say, the ability to regularly see one’s family, or to safely drive across town at night, perhaps we must rethink the means by which individuals choose to arrive and remain here. In the meantime, perhaps we can accept that in its current form, California may have decades, or more, before it is considered hospitable to anyone darker than a Bengali or with kinkier hair than Gene Wilder.
            Lament it as I might, this appeal to a certain ‘social aesthetic’ may prove the greatest blessing yet. The resulting shortage of space and exploding prices make it easier to imagine telecommuting or distance applications like net-based 3-d printing.

            In short, it current conditions don’t allow us to turn Cali into an incubator for domestic Black talent, we must take what’s here and essentially replant it elsewhere. Individual contributors can meet in virtually realistic lab and conference spaces, contributing prototypes and computer models in real time.

            The revolution won’t be televised but it will have an address in cyberspace.

          • Kevin Skipper

            Still thinking about our conversation. Seeing how much I wrote, it’s really possible that I’m taking the long route to a solution. Why not use technology and communication to negate the effects of distance, cultural barriers, and other boundaries that limit access to talent not only nationally but globally. It should be easy to reach out to Kenya, Nigeria, Cambodia, Albania and Macedonia for talent other than war making and fake news stories. I can imagine a value exchange in which contributors exchange ideas and critique while building relationships that enable innovation, awareness and cultural expansion. If customer service and tech support could do it with call centers, why not take the next step and build virtual design and testing suites? It sould be like a cloud-based Space-X.
            If nothing else, it could be a sweet platform to sell B2B and DIY ad-space….

          • Kevin Skipper

            Incoming residents choice to be here is not the insult. Natives tend to be offended by a persistent refusal to reconcile the universal requirement to be aware and respectful of the cultural precedents that have created the society that they have bee so lucky to ‘find.” There’s no real error, just a simple choice between honesty and eye contact or sheepish, resentful self-suppression.

          • Kevin Skipper

            Do you own your own company? If so, what is the name?

          • Robert Thomas

            I’ve always served at the apex position for our region – as individual contributor. Since the time of Reynold Johnson at IBM San Jose and William Hewlett, inventor of “management by walking around”, the signature feature of our local technology industry is the primacy of the individual contributor. The best management, in this model, functions as support staff. This model is impossible for Easterners to understand. Their milieu is universally characterized by corporate climbing, The CEO as some kind of cliché John Galt character (kaff, kaff, Jobs; Zuckerberg kaff, kaff) is the only way in which New York or Washington or Hollywood can interpret our industry. I’ve rarely cared who my CEO was.

            The most joyous staff celebration I ever attended was thrown for a coworker who finally succeeded in negotiating himself back down to individual contributor, after seven years as an engineering director. He got to be an engineer again, a position for which he is admirably suited. Good beer was provided by the fellow’s VP, who reluctantly acquiesced to the transition.

      • Kevin Skipper

        That’s what’s happening now with that fictitious church-bombing story in Charleston. Liberal America shakes its head as mush-mouthed elderly former share croppers feebly recount their testimonies of an conveniently archetypical lone psychopathic gunman who, despite allegedly engaging in maladjusted dialogue with his attempted victims and essentially proving himself a nutcase is supposedly being peristalsically through the alimentary canal that is our criminal “justice” system. Conspicuously absent from the narrative is any mention of any of the male churchgoers even attempting to subdue the alleged assailant despite the pauses he must have taken during his impromptu soliloquies with children and deacons.

        What’s the point? Seems to be a mixture of expanding the prison industrial complex to deal with clinically mentally ill convicts and solidifying Black America’s image as helpless and completely incapable of protecting ourselves, our communities or our interests without the help of a sympathetic hand from the outside. I can only imagine the long term results when we revisit this debacle in a year, two or ten. Perhaps an irreverent visionary will create a commemorative stained glass depiction of the event replete with calligraphic transcripts.

        • Robert Thomas

          How do you really feel about these events?

          • Kevin Skipper

            I feel good. Their improvised and loosely integrated style, to me, belies a certain desperation that I, if wishfully, identify as the weakness of what is, to some, an insurmountable adversary. 12 rounds becomes 24 then 36 until what was a bully begins to show himself as a mere mercenary hack, susceptible to well-placed blows and strikes to it’s key supporting tenents.

          • Robert Thomas

            Pretty high-Skipper.

  • 1PeterDuMont2STARALLIANCE8

    The phrase that freqently comes to mind, with much appreciation, when thinking of President Obama’s style in office is “steady hand at the helm.”

  • Kevin Skipper

    Yeah, Suarez, we know what racist iconography looks like. We don’t need you to describe it at length while simultaneously offering a pass to the “First Black Oval Office” for effectively ignoring the increase in white racial resentment and sanctioned segregation.

  • Alexandra Laspesa

    Everyone wants to talk badly about the promises Trump has made and the consideration of retracting or altering those promises. What about all those lofty promises Obama made during both his campaigns and never came thru on those…..

    • Another Mike

      Obama lacked leverage over a Republican Congress, that flat-out refused to close Gitmo, because they were terrified of having possible terrorists in the homeland, even securely housed in a Supermax prison.

      • William – SF

        Why are Republicans sooooo scared!

      • Curious

        The U.S. Senate today voted overwhelmingly to block funding to shut down the detainee center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, dealing another blow to one of President Obama’s signature national security issues.

        Democrats have answered by rejecting Obama’s request for money to start the base closure.

        “Democrats under no circumstances will move forward without a comprehensive, responsible plan from the president. We will never allow terrorists to be released into the United States,” declared Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., at a press conference Tuesday after meeting with other Democratic senators.

        • Another Mike

          Are you arguing that Obama never came up with a comprehensive, responsible plan?

          • Curious

            No. Reid and the democratic senate are.

      • Bill_Woods

        Democrats had big majorities in both house of congress for Obama’s first two years. Opinion on Gitmo was bipartisan.

        • Another Mike

          The Senate had a filibuster-proof majority for 178 days. (Sore Loser Norm, dead Teddy Kennedy, Scott Brown.)

    • William – SF

      So your apprentice boy has free reign to convert your hope into change given he has a completely cooperative congress. No excuses.
      What do you predict he will do to elevate the middle class? Be specific.

      • William – SF

        That’s what I thought … no response. Supporters of The Apprentice and Republicans are great at critique but lack any real solutions. Yawn.

  • Another Mike

    Three key accomplishments:
    1. Unlike the last two charismatic Democratic presidents, Clinton and JFK, Obama has an exclusive relationship with his beautiful wife.
    2. Unlike three of the previous four administrations, no scandals or disasters on his watch.
    3. Like Truman with his recalcitrant “do-nothing” Congress, managed to accomplish a lot with Executive Orders.

    • Kevin Skipper

      Items one and two are not achievements. They are basic expectations for the decorum of a man in public office. Besides, even if one wanted to call a rash of police shootings, neo-segregatonism and Crimea/Allepo/DRC/Chicago/Miami disasters, harsh criticism of Obama has been effectively disallowed. Birthergate and a conveniently enabled, uncooperative Republican majority made it so that even rational doubt of his policies and orders could be shrugged off to his obstructionist adversaries.

    • Mason Gibb

      No scandal? Depends on where you’re looking from….
      Remember Snowden disclosures? America having to explain why we have Merkel’s phone line tapped? In international reporting, it was seen as a scandal.
      The arming of Syrian rebels with the assistance of Saudia Arabia and Qatar isn’t “scandalous” or “a disaster?”

      Perhaps there was no Iran-Contra level scandal. And no Hurricane Katrina level disaster. But the administration is neither free of scandal or disaster.

      • Bill_Woods

        Off the top of my head, scandals include Fast & Furious, IRS, SoS Clinton’s email server, etc.

      • Another Mike

        The Bush administration ordered Merkel’s phone tap. And when was Snowden working for the NSA?
        You’re kidding about arming Syrian rebels, right?

        • Mason Gibb

          I believe we’d been doing it for decades, going back to Kohl. It was a practice that continued through Obama. It was a scandal that broke during his administration.
          I’d say arming Syrian rebels has been a disaster. The Jordanian security forces embezzled millions of weapons and diverted them to the regional black markets. That would be a disaster and a scandal.
          https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/27/world/middleeast/cia-arms-for-syrian-rebels-supplied-black-market-officials-say.html?_r=0
          “Some of the stolen weapons were used in a shooting in November that killed two Americans and three others at a police training facility in Amman, F.B.I. officials believe after months of investigating the attack, according to people familiar with the investigation.

          The existence of the weapons theft, which ended only months ago after complaints by the American and Saudi governments, is being reported for the first time after a joint investigation by The New York Times and Al Jazeera. The theft, involving millions of dollars of weapons, highlights the messy, unplanned consequences of programs to arm and train rebels — the kind of program the C.I.A. and Pentagon have conducted for decades — even after the Obama administration had hoped to keep the training program in Jordan under tight control.”

      • Curious

        The IRS scandal. Clinton scandal. Benghazi. Guns to Mexico.

        • Another Mike

          Ten times as many “Tea Party” or “Patriot” groups claimed 501(c)(4) social welfare status as had left-wing agitprop groups. The “scandal” was merely the result of the IRS doing due diligence.

          Clinton did something stupid, that benefited no one at all.

          Four hundred Americans stationed overseas died on Reagan’s watch, mostly in the Beirut barracks, not four. But nobody was fazed by that at all.

          • Curious

            Barry used the IRS to silence dissent. Clinton’s acts were criminal. Obama and Clinton lied about Benghazi.

          • Another Mike

            Karl Rove discovered that 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations could be turned into dark money conduits for agitprop. They are not supposed to be used for political purposes AT ALL.

    • Kevin Skipper

      As for number three, seems the executive orders provided the fuel for resentment and divisiveness that allowed for Hillary’s presidential upset. An accomplishment whose benefits remain to be seen.

  • Kevin Skipper

    I see. The host is essentially assigning a populist bend to each call and comment. Thanks to Carnegie, Rockafeller, Kellogg and ExxonMobil.

  • Kevin Skipper

    I’d call the DNC hacks, CIA/FBI bumbling, NSA incompetence, fake news from Western Asia and a series of alleged Russian hacks somewhat scandalous.

    Same with the failure to decide on one name for the supposed terrorist caliphate (ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/MSNBC/CIA/MI456789).

  • Curious

    At least taxpayers will save tens of millions of dollars not having to pick up the tab for the Obama family’s hyper-luxury vacations.

    • Another Mike

      Like when the Secret Service had to accompany Barbara and Jenna Bush to Buenos Aires?

      • Curious

        Nope. Big bucks.

  • Hillary Clintub

    Nine more days and the Obama nightmare will finally be over.

  • JMS

    Gosh Ray, When did you turn into such a conservative hatchet. Seems like every comment that had something good to say about President Obama garnered a rebuttal based on your perspective. All the criticisms seemed to be taken as delivered (especially the comment near the end about “Obama’s narcissism”. (You want narcissism, sit back and watch the upcoming show).

    Personally, I couldn’t imagine anyone handling the obstructionism and vitriol with the grace that he has. Those who judge his presidency on one or two items fail to see the the greater aggregate. It’s going to be quite a comparison, and I fear, a dizzying fall backwards, tweeted live.

  • De Blo

    Best president ever.

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