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Trump's approval rating just reached its highest level yet in the gold standard of presidential indicators

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  • President Donald Trump's approval rating is at an all-time high of 45% in the Gallup weekly tracking poll.
  • And his disapproval rating has hit a near-low of 50%.
  • His current approval rating at his point in his presidency lines up with the ratings of other presidents at similar points in their first terms. 
  • His new spike in approval could take a hit due to the backlash against the administration's controversial policy that has led to separating families at the border. 

 

President Donald Trump's approval rating has reached an all-time high of 45% in a Gallup poll released on Sunday. 

Gallup, considered the gold standard of gauging approval ratings, polls a representative sample size of 1,500 Americans by telephone every week, with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points. 

Trump's disapproval rating is currently at 50%, the second-lowest point it's been since the very beginning of his first term in January 2017. His disapproval ratings have been as high as 60% in previous months.

Trump's current approval rating 513 days into his presidency is on par with the approval ratings of other presidents at similar points in their first terms. President Barack Obama's approval rating was 45% at day 523 of his presidency, and former President Bill Clinton held 44% approval on day 524.   

Data analyst and FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver theorized that Trump's sudden spike in approval ratings this week is most likely due to the positive reaction among Republicans to the summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Silver said that temporary increase would disappear in the coming weeks, as the Trump administration faces mounting backlash from Democrats and Republicans alike over it's controversial "zero-tolerance" policy that has led to the separation of parents and children at the US border. 

A Quinnipiac University poll from Monday found that Americans oppose the border separation policy 66% to 27%. The majority of Republicans support it, but by a narrow margin of 55% to 35%. 

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Advice to graduates: Pursue a PhD in common sense

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“Education must not simply teach work. It must teach life.”—W.E.B. DuBois

(TriceEdneyWire.com)—This time of year brings great pride and congratulations for graduates at all levels, from high school to doctorates. But the most important degree I can recommend is a PhD in common sense, with a concentration in thriving and surviving in 21st Century America.

Common sense is genius wrapped in work clothes.  And to achieve it, we must learn four lessons.

First lesson: Don’t ever forget from whence you came. Along the long journey of life, one need only recognize that as graduates of 2018, you’re standing on the shoulders of those who came before. As you celebrate your success after many years of hard work, financial sacrifice, long nights —in many cases working and going to school at the same time—there are many out there from your hometowns and neighborhoods, maybe in your own family, who will not have the opportunities you have today. This nation has too many children who are born into and grow up in poverty. This nation has a problem of mass incarceration. This nation still has too much gun violence. To whom much is given, much is expected, demanded and required. Go back to your high school, to your community, to the young people, and let them see your success. Let them hear your story. Let them understand what you had to do to get to today.

Lesson two: Pursue excellence in every instance. It is still an unfortunate fact that to be Black, you’ve got to be better. Your grandmother and mother will tell you that time and again. But you can be the best. Say no to mediocrity. Say no to half-stepping. Say no to foot-dragging. Be excellent. And remember, excellence is not perfection. No one is perfect. What excellence means is the pursuit of perfection and the faith that in all of our endeavors, you have given everything that God has given you to accomplish to achieve and to pursue your goals and your dreams.

Lesson three: In this nation today, racism is real. But you are not going to let racism break your spirit. Whether it’s Starbucks or Waffle House. Whether it’s Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown or Eric Garner. Whether it’s a student taking a nap from studying too hard in a student lounge at Yale university. Implicit and explicit bias is still a part of American life. It’s in the criminal justice system, where people of color who serve longer sentence than White men who commit same crimes. It’s in the scourge of hate crimes that have spiked over the last two years. It’s in the leaders talking about building walls when we should be talking about building bridges.

Racism is real. But you’re not going to let it break your spirit. Frederick Douglass didn’t let racism break his spirit, and he didn’t let Lincoln’s hand shake when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Racism didn’t break the spirit of Harriet Tubman, who carried members of her family through the back woods on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, time and time again, to freedom. Racism didn’t break the spirit of Thurgood Marshall in 1954 when he persuaded the Supreme Court to declare unanimously that school segregation is unconstitutional. Racism didn’t break the spirit of Booker T. Washington or W.E.B. DuBois. Remember that Rosa sat so Martin could march, so Barack could run, and Barack won so you can soar.

Finally, America respects economic power and political power. Now that you have a college degree, it’s time for you to build your assets. Building assets means investing in things that appreciate in value. Yes, you need a car but even the fanciest car doesn’t appreciate in value. Fancy handbags and fancy shoes don’t appreciate in value. Glam and glitter do not appreciate in value. Real estate does. Stock portfolios do. I know many  of you are saddled with student loan debt. But don’t ever think any dime you invested in yourself was a dime wasted. If it is within your vision for yourself and the skill set that God has given you, build a business. Hire more people. Grow that business and sell that business and build a new business. Economic power is what we need.

This nation understands political power. We shirk our duty and our responsibility when an election comes and we don’t vote. We surrender our power to others when an election comes and we don’t vote. We need to send a message to the people who lead this country that we do not want a divided America. We do not want an America of walls; we want an America of bridges. We do not want an America of hate; we want an America of cooperation and an America of love. We want an America where everyone, regardless of race, creed, color, religion, orientation, or national origin is respected and honored as one of God’s children.  That’s the America we want.

Of all the honors I’ve been humbled to receive in my life, and all the things I’ve learned from attending great institutions, the most important degree I got is the PhD in common sense I got from my mama. It came from these four lessons: Remember from whence you came. Pursue excellence. Racism is real but will not defeat us. And America respects economic power and political power and while we do not worship it, and we will build it each and every day of our lives.

Congratulations to the class of 2018!

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1968 and the black community’s lost legacy

1968 and the black community’s lost legacy

As our nation commemorates the 50th anniversary of the tribulations and triumphs of 1968, many herald the struggles and victories of the civil rights movement as the foundation for subsequent black progress. Yet, while we celebrate the accomplishments of the movement and its impact on policy, legislation and culture, we’ve largely forgotten a key element that gave it life and power — the robust, honest debate about strategies to achieve its goals.

Martin Luther King Jr. advocated the strategy of nonviolent resistance, which eventually led to the victories of the movement. There was room for competing points of view — ranging from Stokely Carmichael and the demands of his Black Power movement to those who were critical of King’s declaration that the greatest stumbling block to black progress was not the white Citizens’ Councils or the Ku Klux Klan, but the white moderate, fearing that he was jeopardizing their financial support.

This atmosphere of debate on strategy carried on a longstanding legacy of black leadership. Even during the era of slavery, the spectrum of voices included accommodationists who sought justice and rights within the slave laws of America; insurrectionists who advocated the use of force; and those who promoted a return to meccas of resettlement such as Sierra Leone and Liberia. At the same time, other blacks vigorously protested against the idea of leaving a country that had been built on the back of their forced labor; they cast their lot with the abolitionists and others working to dismantle the system of slavery.

Following Emancipation, the turn-of-the-century years were characterized by vigorous dialogue between preeminent black leaders of the day such as Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington. While the militant Douglass and the younger, more conservative Washington both promoted economic self-sufficiency for newly-freed blacks, they differed on the extent to which their goals could be achieved within the existing system.

As the century progressed, Washington’s gospel of black entrepreneurship and industrial training was challenged by yet another outstanding black thinker, W.E.B. DuBois, who espoused the concept of the “Talented Tenth,” an intellectual elite of social scientists and humanists who would create a black technocracy. DuBois set forth, for generations of black Americans, educational achievement as a vehicle for integration and acceptance into the mainstream of American society.

Tapping into the disillusionment of urban blacks following the first World War, Harlem-based Marcus Garvey glorified the African past as a source of pride and self-respect, and by the mid-1920s, the “Back to Africa” rallying cry of his Universal Negro Improvement Association had attracted nearly a million followers.

Free and open debate provided the backdrop for ideas to advance and take hold within the black community, the strongest ones emerging because of the underlying arguments.   

Since the death of Dr. King, however, open and honest debate within the black community has dwindled. As a consequence, though the United States has spent trillions of dollars on anti-poverty programs, one-third of black America is in danger of becoming a permanent underclass. Blacks now have political control of the country’s major cities.

While this scenario has been a boon to middle- and upper-class blacks who are employed within the government programs’ bureaucracies and have entered the ranks of elected and appointed officials, conditions of low-income blacks have continued to deteriorate. So, if political empowerment, the passage of civil rights laws, and a proliferation of high price-tag poverty programs have not yielded the promised benefits for those who are most in need, what should we do? Have low-income blacks been a casualty of the War on Poverty? How do we achieve victory in a war that we have won?

As Dr. King said, the highest expression of maturity is the ability to be self-critical. As a person who went to jail and fought hard in the civil rights movement, I unequivocally affirm my commitment to that movement. But I must also affirm my commitment to the truth: many of those who sacrificed most in the struggle for civil rights did not benefit from the change. When the doors of opportunity were opened, only those who were equipped to take advantage of those opportunities benefitted.

Yet, today, a monolithic voice of “spokespersons” for the black community insists that the villain that obstructs the rise of low-income and poor blacks is the inevitable legacy of the eras of slavery and Jim Crow laws and their vestiges, ranging from “institutional racism” to “microaggressions.” Guilt-ridden whites are too eager to self-flagellate and indulge in the patronizing exercise of accepting their “white privilege.”

An entire industry built around this racial-grievance narrative has emerged and has been profitable for those at its helm — including those who have capitalized on “white guilt,” such as those who have garnered hundreds of thousands of dollars for racial-sensitivity training in public and private institutions.

Sadly, an admonition from Booker T. Washington remains applicable today: “I am afraid that there is a certain class of race problem-solvers who don't want the patient to get well because, as long as the disease holds out, they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public.” 

The insistence on applying race-specific solutions to economic problems has snatched defeat from the jaws of our civil rights victories. We need to come together as a nation to address the problems of poverty by empowering those at the bottom. We must give them the opportunity to excel and participate in the free enterprise system. For many, a component of this is reviving the principles of self-determination, personal responsibility, vision and values.

This venture will require open and free debate regarding strategy, and the recognition of a new brand of “experts.” The destiny of those who have been left behind — and of this nation — depends upon what we do today.

Robert L. Woodson Sr. founded The Woodson Center in 1981 to help residents of low-income neighborhoods address problems of their communities. He has headed the National Urban League Department of Criminal Justice, and has been a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Foundation for Public Policy Research. Follow him on Twitter@BobWoodson.

Freed Inmate Alice Marie Johnson Calls Kim Kardashian's Advocacy 'a Miracle'

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She said on the "Today" show Thursday that she plans to use the second chance she's been given to advocate for other "first-time, nonviolent offenders who pose no safety risk to their communities"

Hours after she was released from prison on a commuted sentence, Alice Marie Johnson was joyous and thankful for President Donald Trump's clemency and the intervention from reality TV star Kim Kardashian West that brought Johnson's case to his attention.

In an interview on the "Today" show, Johnson called her commuted life sentence a miracle: "I know that only God could have touched Kim Kardashian's heart like that."

Kardashian West had championed Johnson's case after seeing a video about the 63-year-old grandmother by the digital news company Mic. The celebrity went to the White House in May to meet with Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and a senior adviser, and the president as well. A week later, Johnson was freed. 

"We have connected," Johnson said of Kardashian West. "She said that she felt something when she saw and heard my story and I'm just so thankful for it. I can't explain it. It's a miracle."

[NATL] Trump Commutes Sentence of Great-Grandmother After Meeting With Kim Kardashian
President Trump commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson Wednesday after meeting with Kim Kardashian in the Oval Office last week. Johnson, a 63-year-old great-grandmother, had served 22 years of a life sentence for a first time non-violent offense after being convicted of drug possession and money laundering. The commutation is different fro... 

Trump tweeted Thursday: "Good luck to Alice Johnson. Have a wonderful life!"

Kardashian West called Johnson's release the "BEST NEWS EVER!!!!" on Wednesday and said in a statement that she hopes to continue working with organizations that push for clemency for deserving prisoners.

"I'm so grateful to President Trump, Jared Kushner and to everyone who has showed compassion and contributed countless hours to this important moment for Ms. Alice Marie Johnson," Kardashian West said. "Her pardon and forthcoming release is inspirational and gives hope to so many others who are also deserving of a second chance.

Johnson was convicted in 1996 on eight criminal counts related to a Memphis-based cocaine trafficking operation involving more than a dozen people. The 1994 indictment describes dozens of deliveries and drug transactions, many involving Johnson.

She was sentenced to life in prison in 1997. Appeals court judges and the Supreme Court rejected her appeals. Court records show she had a motion pending for a reduction in her sentence, but federal prosecutors were opposed, saying in a court filing that the sentence is in accord with federal guidelines, based on the large quantity of drugs involved.

A criminal justice advocacy site, CAN-DO, and one of Johnson's lawyers said a request for clemency was rejected when Barack Obama was president. The reasons are unclear.

The White House said Johnson took responsibility for her behavior and has been a model prisoner.

Video footage showed Johnson run ecstatically toward her family Wednesday night after she was freed from federal prison in Aliceville, Alabama.

"I'm just so thankful, I feel like my life is starting over again. This is a beautiful day," Johnson told reporters at the time, thanking the president and revealing that it was Kardashian West who told her over the phone that she'd be released.

Johnson's conviction will remain on her record after her sentence was commuted.

She said on the "Today" show Thursday that she plans to use the second chance she's been given to advocate for other "first-time, nonviolent offenders who pose no safety risk to their communities."

"I can't just walk away and forget about those who are left behind," Johnson said.

She was seated next to daughter Catina Scales, who said it's still unbelievable she's sitting with her mother.

Johnson said she'll never make the mistake of taking her "family and life for granted" again.

Commuting her sentence was Trump's latest act of clemency in recent weeks. He recently pardoned conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza, who was convicted of a campaign finance violation, and granted a posthumous pardon to boxing's first black heavyweight champion, clearing Jack Johnson's name more than 100 years after what many saw as a racially charged conviction.

As with Alice Johnson, the boxer's pardon had a celebrity backer — actor Sylvester Stallone, who Trump said had brought the story to his attention in a phone call.

And more could be coming. A White House official has told NBC News that dozens of pardons have been prepared for Trump and he is considering them, though there was no indication he will move ahead with any or all of them.

This official did not name the people under consideration or what category of offense they would be pardoned for.

Trump has suggested he was considering acting to commute the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is serving 14 years in prison for corruption, and celebrity homemaker Martha Stewart, convicted of insider trading.

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Dungey Lauded For Pulling “Roseanne” Show After Barr’s Tweet

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Channing Dungey, the first African American president of ABC Entertainment, canceled “Roseanne” on May 29, and many well-known people congratulated the decision on social media.

Congressman John Lewis said, “Thank you, ABC Network. You did the right thing. There is not any room in our society for racism or bigotry.”

Joe Scarborough, MSNBC, tweeted, “Hey ABC, Roseanne Barr compared Valerie Jarrett to an ape. There is no apology she can make that justifies ABC turning a blind eye to this bigotry by airing another second of her show. Even in the Age of Trump, there are red lines that can never be crossed. This is one.”

Dungey, 49, made history in 2016 when she became president of a major TV network, ABC Entertainment Group. ABC recently cancelled the top-rated show because Barr tweeted, if the “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”

Barr was talking about former Obama White House adviser Valerie Jarrett. And Barr’s sitcom that returned in March after a two-decade absence to enormous ratings on ABC was suddenly history. Barr apologized but it came too late.

Announcing the show’s cancellation, Dungey said in a statement, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”

Robert A. Iger, the chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, ABC’s corporate parent, shared Dungey’s statement on his own Twitter account, adding, “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.”

Barr blamed her tweet on the insomnia drug called Ambien. However, the maker of Ambien said, “Racism is not a known side effect.” The drug maker Sanofi also took to social media to say, “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”

Barr’s agent also dropped her and several services pulled “Roseanne” reruns, according to news reports.

“Effective immediately, Roseanne Barr is no longer a client.” – ICM Partners, Roseanne Barr’s talent agency, said in a statement.

According to news reports, the actress has never been a nice person. “Everyone walked on eggshells on the “Roseanne” set in the 1990s, where the comedian apparently displayed a disturbing paranoia, one unidentified source said in a May 31 interview with Page Six.

“She was a yeller – she would yell at people especially to people she didn’t recognize and that’s scary when you’re exhibiting this extreme diva behavior to people who didn’t do anything,” said the former exec, who worked with Barr for two years in the ’90s.

The unidentified source added, “I grew to despise Roseanne because of the nasty s– she did to people for no reason – and it was always the people on lower pay, the defenseless and powerless people.”

In a recent tweet, actress Rita Moreno said, “You break my heart – You are a sorry excuse for a human being. How odd that you as a comedienne have forgotten the meaning of a ‘joke’ and a personal comment. Your meanness is staggering and will earn you a ticket to a sad, lonely and sorry life.”

Actress Viola Davis, star of “How to Get Away with Murder,” tweeted, “Thank you Channing Dungey!”

The executive producer of “Roseanne,” Tom Werner said he supported ABC’s decision. “Our goal was to promote constructive discussion about the issues that divide us,” Werner said. “It represented the work of hundreds of talented people. I hope the good work done is not totally eclipsed by those abhorrent and offensive comments, and that Roseanne seeks the help she so clearly needs.”

After the Roseanne show was canceled, the spotlight shifted to Dungey, with her name trending on Twitter and gratitude pouring in from celebrities such as Marlee Matlin and Kerry Washington. “My prayers go out to the cast and crew who will now pay the price. But THANK YOU,” Washington tweeted.

Star Jones, the former co-host of “The View” also congratulated Dungey, writing, “When you have a seat at the table, you have a say in the decisions that are made. When it’s your table you make the decisions.”

Dungey was named president of ABC Entertainment in February 2016, after overseeing drama development for the network, and launched many of ABC’s long-running series, including “Scandal,” “How to Get Away With Murder” and “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.”

Dungey’s current position includes oversight of all programming for ABC primetime as well as late night. A UCLA graduate, she joined ABC Studios in 2004, after working in feature films at various production companies and at Warner Bros.

“Roseanne” premiered to an unexpectedly large audience, after the 2016 election.

“Roseanne” earned an estimated $45 million in advertising revenue for ABC through its nine episodes that started airing in March, according to Kantar Media. The firm estimates that the 13 episodes that had been ordered for next season would have brought in as much as $60 million, with more through repeat episodes.

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