Barack Obama Spells Out Importance Of Georgia Runoff Elections

“We’re seeing how far some will go to retain power and threaten the fundamental principles of our democracy,” warned the former president.

Former President Barack Obama spelled out the importance of the Georgia runoff Senate elections in no uncertain terms on Monday.

“The stakes could not be higher,” Obama warned on social media, urging voters to help Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock unseat Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in races that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.

“We’re seeing how far some will go to retain power and threaten the fundamental principles of our democracy,” wrote Obama. “But our democracy isn’t about any individual, even a president ― it’s about you.”

Obama encouraged voters in Georgia to respond “with the most powerful tool we have as Americans — your vote.”

If the Democratic challengers win both seats, the Senate will be split 50-50 and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris can cast tie-breaking votes.

Obama’s posts came as his successor, President Donald Trump, continued to deny the reality of his 2020 election loss to President-elect Joe Biden. Trump over the weekend pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a recorded telephone call to “find” enough votes to overturn the state’s results.

At a rally in Georgia on Monday night, Trump falsely railed against the “rigged” election and claimed without proof that “Democrats are trying to steal the White House, you cannot let them.

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Black Millennials fueled a surprising 2020 home-buying surge for African Americans

Naomi Howe, 39, and her husband, Cliff Howe, 42, sit inside the new Bowie, Maryland, home they purchased in March.

Owning a home was never a priority for Kenyan immigrant Lynne Poole or her husband, Aaron prior to 2020. The newlyweds, like many Millennials, enjoyed the lifestyle that came with renting an apartment in a major city -- in their case, Denver.

Lynne, 31, moved there in 2016 to earn her master's degree in communications management before landing a marketing gig at Rental Kharma, a Denver-based company.
"We really liked the outdoors, eating out, nice restaurants close by," Lynne told CNN Business.
But everything changed in March, when Denver Mayor Michael Hancock declared a state of emergency because of Covid-19 and ordered local venues to close. Suddenly, the Pooles' 15th floor one-bedroom across the street from the governor's mansion wasn't so appealing.
    "We weren't looking forward to living far away because we were worried we wouldn't be able to see our friends as much," Lynne recalled. "Now with the pandemic, we couldn't see them anyway because of social distancing."
    Lynne Poole and her husband Aaron Poole stand outside the new home they purchased in 2020.
    In September, Lynne and her husband, who is White and 35, bought a three-bedroom house in Commerce City, a suburb six miles outside Denver, making her one of many Black Millennials who became first-time homeowners this year.
    close dialog
    She is part of a cohort of Black adults between the ages of 26 and 39 that sparked a nationwide rise in the overall home ownership rate for African Americans, which peaked in the spring, as millions of people were losing their jobs.
    A November National Association of Realtors analysis showed 5% of Americans who bought homes during the first three quarters of 2020 were Black, only one percentage point higher than 2019. Yet US Census data shows this cohort raised the home ownership rate for all Black Americans by more than two percentage points over the same time frame.
    The increase followed a 3% rise in Black home ownership in 2019, census data shows, and came despite this year's pandemic-fueled economic upheaval for many African Americans.
    The National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers both say first-time Black Millennial buyers made the bulk of African Americans' home purchases in 2020, as many fled apartments in major cities and purchased homes in suburbs.
    "Without a doubt, African-American Millennials are participating in this home-buying surge," National Association of Realtors economist Lawrence Yun told CNN Business. "The fact that Black home [purchases] are much higher now compared to before the pandemic is quite a surprise."
    Yun says the surge in Black Millennial home buyers is another example of the summer and fall's K-shaped economic recovery. Many people who were doing relatively well before the pandemic and managed to keep their jobs are thriving. Some even deposited their federal stimulus payments into savings accounts.
    A "for sale" sign in front of a home in Wyandanch, New York, on April 22, 2020.
    The added income and reduced personal spending has allowed wealthy and middle-class Black Millennials to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates in markets where available homes have been relatively scarce.
    Realtors and economists say they expect the Black Millennial home buying trend to continue in 2021.
    "We've already seen indicators of more houses starting to come on the market, more people being aggressive," said Baltimore realtor JoAnne Poole (who is no relation to Lynne Poole), broker manager at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Homesale Realty.
    Realtors say the pandemic, low mortgage rates and a new cultural emphasis on wealth building among African Americans are all factors driving "mortgage-ready" Black Millennials -- those with credit scores and income levels that make them suitable mortgage applicants -- to purchase houses in markets where owning a home is often cheaper than renting.
    Poole says her firm's business is up 12% year-over-year and estimates that sales to Black Millennials are about 2% higher than last year.
    Metro-Atlanta realtor Ennis Antoine, 57, of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Georgia Properties, says business in his market hasn't been this hot since before the 2008 market crash. He estimates sales of homes are up 30% in the Atlanta area and says Black Millennials earning annual salaries of $80,000 and up are the majority of his customers.
    "They're saying, 'Let me invest in myself, buy while I can,'" Antoine said.
    Physical therapist Naomi Howe, 39, gave birth to her first child in March, three days before she and her husband, Cliff, 42, completed their purchase of a two-story home in Bowie, Maryland.
    "The day we settled on our home was the week everything shut down because of Covid," Naomi recalled. Her husband is a military veteran who works as a federal contractor. "I have friends and family who were laid off or had to take time off. Even though we are doing well, that's not something that's always guaranteed."
    Firefighter Tony Joseph, 33, of Buffalo, New York, bought his 2,000-square-foot house in May after saving up for the down payment for about a year. It was a dream come true for the engaged father of two, who wanted more space for his family.
    "I didn't like the direction the world was going, but I did have something to look forward to," Joseph told CNN Business. "It made me feel good even though the world was a shambles."
    Economists and realtors caution that Black Millennials who bought homes in 2020 are not representative of the bulk of Black Americans, whose economic standing has worsened this year.
    Urban Institute research associate Jung Hyun Choi says before this year, economists were most concerned whether Black Millennials could even buy homes given their disproportionate rates of student loan debt and other systemic inequities.
      Now Choi says economists are worried about laid off Black homeowners who may soon face bank foreclosures. Most state and federal forbearance programs for homeowners who lost jobs in 2020 are set to expire by spring 2021, unless Congress passes a new stimulus package before then.
      "If the labor market doesn't recover and people fail to pay back bills before the [forbearance] period ends, it's very likely home ownership in the Black community will drop significantly," Choi said.

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      Trump is the most admired man in 2020, beating Obama, who's held the top spot on the Gallup list for the past 12 years

      • President Donald Trump is the most admired man in the country, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday.

      • Trump's top slot on the annual list overtakes former President Barack Obama, who's been No. 1 for the past 12 years.

      • Trump joins the top rank alongside former first lady Michelle Obama, who was named most admired woman.

      For the first time, President Donald Trump alone is the most admired man of the year, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday.

      The annual survey broadly asked Americans to name any living man around the world they admire most, and 18% out of 1,018 respondents chose Trump, beating former President Barack Obama, who has topped the list for the past 12 years.

      Obama was selected by 15% of respondents, followed by President-elect Joe Biden, named by 6% of respondents. Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci earned fourth place, mentioned by 3% of those polled.

      Incumbent presidents have historically ranked first in the poll, though when they don't, it's typically because of national unpopularity, according to Gallup.

      Trump's relatively low approval ratings as president over his four years in office may explain why he has never topped the list by himself. In both 2017 and 2018, Trump came in second to Obama. In 2019, Trump and Obama tied for the No 1. spot.

      For 2020, Gallup noted that Trump, despite the general public still viewing him unfavorably, finally overtook his predecessor mainly because of GOP support. Roughly 48% of Republicans named Trump in the poll, whereas Democrats split up their choices between Obama, Biden, Fauci and other prominent public figures this year.

      The poll suggests that although during his final year in office, Trump was impeached, oversaw a pandemic that has killed more than 335,000 people in the country and lost the 2020 presidential election, among several other issues, the president still retains influence and likeability within his party.

      Trump joins the top rank alongside former first lady Michelle Obama, who was named the most admired woman for the third consecutive year.

      Vice President-elect Kamala Harris fell behind her in second place, and first lady Melania Trump came in third.

      The poll was conducted to American adults from December 1 to 17 and has as a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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      Some HBCUs are seeing record increases in enrollments, but still grapple with funding challenges

      hbcu-colleges

      Oprah Winfrey, Spike Lee and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are some household names who have graduated from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

      The majority of HBCUs were founded after the Civil War to provide higher education for African Americans when most schools in the country prohibited Black people from attending.

      At the heart of every HBCUs is the Black experience. But beyond the culture is the curriculum.

      "Learning about my history, learning about where we come from before slavery. I think it's something that needs to be discussed because, in regular school, we don't learn that. That's not a part of the curriculum," Chandler Claiborne, a student at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, told "CBS This Morning: Saturday" co-host Michelle Miller.

      Since 1867, Howard University in Washington, D.C., has awarded more than 100,000 degrees. The university ranks among the highest producers of the nation's Black professionals.

      "Over the past 50 years, the number one producer of African Americans who went to Harvard's MBA program was a Harvard undergrad, and number two was Howard," Howard University President Wayne Frederick said.

      HBCUs have also produced 80% of the nation's Black judges and 50% of its Black doctors, according to the Network Journal.

      Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the first woman of color to be vice president, graduated from Howard University in 1986.

      "We have a history of turning out folks who are endued in with social justice," said Vann Newkirk, interim president of Fisk University.

      Some of those people include W.E.B. Dubois, Ida Wells, John Hope Franklin and John Lewis, Newkirk said.

      But despite the important role HBCUs have played in America's education system, Newkirk said many of the colleges and universities are facing funding challenges.

      "There were once about 400 historically Black institutions or HBCUs. There are about 100 left and they were the ones that survived and made it through all the tough times," he said.

      About one-third of HBCUs have experienced record increases in applications and enrollment over the past three years, according to the Rutgers Center For Minority Serving Institutions.

      Newkirk attributed the rise in the number of applicants to "what's going on in the nation right now," particularly the issues of social justice and racism.

      "You see students coming back to HBCUs, coming home. We want to make sure that we move more into the mainstream," he said. "And we become a university that is sustainable."

      That sustainability becomes even more challenging with students in need. According to the American Council On Education, more than 70% of HBCU students have limited finances.

      Michael Lomax, the CEO of United Negro College Fund, said HBCUs have rarely gotten large donations, resulting in endowments that are about 70% smaller than other schools.

      "For two reasons, one, the Black community is one of the poorest communities in America... and frankly, because philanthropy," Lomax said.

      2020 has brought some of the largest single donations to some HBCUs campuses. MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings donated millions of dollars to HBCUs to help with scholarships, campus infrastructure and talent retention.

      "These big gifts mean that American philanthropy is beginning to see that equity and equality mean equitable giving as well," Lomax said.

      The donations help students who feel that a price tag can't be put on what can be gained at historically Black colleges and universities.

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      Joe Clark, The No-Nonsense High School Principal Immortalized In ‘Lean On Me,’ Dies At 82

      NJ: Joe Clark Portrait

      Joe Clark, the no-nonsense principal of a high school in New Jersey who gained notoriety for his bare-knuckles approach to education and was immortalized on the big screen in the Hollywood production, “Lean on Me,” has died at the age of 82. He died Tuesday following a long battle with an undisclosed illness, Clark’s family said in a press release.

      Known for using extreme methods of communication in his prized Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey, Clark would routinely roam the hallways brandishing a bullhorn or baseball bat in an effort to both discipline and sow the seeds of learning into his student body — one that went from being ridden with truancy, drugs and crime to a group of straitlaced overachievers in the classroom.

      Highly scrutinized at first, Clark’s tactics ultimately gained attention across the country equally for its unique style as well as its effectiveness with a predominately Black student population in a neglected city near his hometown of Newark.

      Eastside High School principal Joe Clark holding bullhorn an

      Source: New York Daily News Archive / Getty

      While Clark was described as unorthodox, his brand of education administration drew on experience from his first job out of college: A U.S. Army Reserve Sergeant and Drill Instructor. That paved the way for his more than three decades in education, Clark’s family said.

      “First serving as a Paterson grade school teacher and the Director of Camps and Playgrounds in Essex County, NJ, Clark soon found his calling in administration as Principal of PS 6 Grammar School,” Clark’s family said in the press release. “Under Clark’s command, the once failing school was transformed into the ‘Miracle of Carroll Street.'”

      NJ: Joe Clark Portrait

      Source: Joe McNally / Getty

      When Clark was appointed to be the principal of Eastside High, he took extreme measures immediately. “In one day, he expelled 300 students for fighting, vandalism, abusing teachers, and drug possession and lifted the expectations of those that remained, continually challenging them to perform better,” the press release said before explaining the significance of Clark’s metaphorical use of a baseball bat: “a student could either strike out or hit a home run.”

      The success at Eastside got the attention of Hollywood producers, who cast the venerable Morgan Freeman to portray Clark in the 1989 film, “Lean on Me,” which introduced movie-goers to the New Jersey school and its fearless principal.

      Born in Rochelle, Georgia, on May 8, 1938, Clark moved to Newark when he was six years old and lived in New Jersey until he retired in 1989.

      Clark is survived by his three children, Olympian and businesswoman Joetta Clark Diggs; Olympic Athlete and Director of Sports Business Development for the Bermuda Tourism Authority Hazel Clark; and athlete and Director of Track and Field and Cross Country at Stanford University Joe (J.J.) Clark, Jr.; as well as three grandchildren, Talitha, Jorell, and Hazel.

      May he rest in the same power he enjoyed in life.

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