Five Days That Shaped a Presidency



New York Magazine

On August 25, after a short trip to Baton Rouge to assess flooding in Louisiana and before what will likely be his last visit to China on Air Force One, Barack Obama sat down at the White House to reflect on the past eight years. He led America through a period of dramatic, convulsive change — an era that New York Magazine explores this week in its cover story. Before his conversation with Jonathan Chait, he chose five moments that, he believes, will have outsized historical impact. Here is their conversation in full.

The Republicans

Let’s start with the time in 2010 when Mitch McConnell publicly says that his No. 1 goal is to make you a one-term president. How did that comment strike you? Was it news?
By that point it was pretty apparent by his actions that it was already his No. 1 goal. He validated what I think most of this town knew. When I came into office, my working assumption was that because we were in crisis, and the crisis had begun on the Republicans’ watch, that there would be a window in which they would feel obliged to cooperate on a common effort to dig us out of this massive hole. Probably the moment in which I realized that the Republican leadership intended to take a different tack was actually as we were shaping the stimulus bill, and I vividly remember having prepared a basic proposal that had a variety of components. We had tax cuts; we had funding for the states so that teachers wouldn’t be laid off and firefighters and so forth; we had an infrastructure component. We felt, I think, that as an opening proposal, it was ambitious but needed and that we would begin negotiations with the Republicans and they would show us things that they thought also needed to happen. On the drive up to Capitol Hill to meet with the House Republican Caucus, John Boehner released a press statement saying that they were opposed to the stimulus. At that point we didn’t even actually have a stimulus bill drawn up, and we hadn’t meant to talk about it. And I think we realized at that point what proved to be the case in that first year and that second year was a calculation based on what turned out to be pretty smart politics but really bad for the country: If they cooperated with me, then that would validate our efforts. If they were able to maintain uniform opposition to whatever I proposed, that would send a signal to the public of gridlock, dysfunction, and that would help them win seats in the midterms. It was that second strategy that they pursued with great discipline. It established the dynamic for not just my presidency but for a much sharper party-line approach to managing both the House and the Senate that I think is going to have consequences for years to come.

It’s been documented that Republicans held meetings before your inauguration in which they decided on this strategy. When did you find out that they had had these meetings?

Well, I didn’t find out about those until McConnell made that statement, and then some stories trickled in about some dinners with Gingrich and others, but as I said before, by that time, their strategy was apparent. There are two other elements that I think contributed to the Republican approach: The first was that even where their leadership wanted to cooperate, the tenor of the Republican base had shifted in a way that made it very difficult for them to cooperate without paying a price internally. Probably the best signifier of that — and I remember this vividly — was when Chicago had the bid for the 2016 Olympics. A very effective committee had flown to Copenhagen to make their presentation, and Michelle had gone with them, and I got a call, I think before the thing had ended but on fairly short notice, that everybody thought that if I flew out there we had a good chance of getting it and it might be worth essentially just taking a one-day trip. So we fly out there. Subsequently, I think we’ve learned that IOC’s decisions are similar to FIFA’s decisions: a little bit cooked. We didn’t even make the first cut, despite the fact that, by all the objective metrics, the American bid was the best. On the flight back, we already know that we haven’t got it, and when I land it turns out that there was big cheering by Rush Limbaugh and various Republican factions that America had lost the Olympic bid. It was really strange, but at that point, Limbaugh had been much clearer about wanting to see me fail and had, I think, communicated that very clearly to his listeners. Fox News’ coverage had already started to drift in that direction, and what you realized during the course of the first six, eight, ten months of the administration was that the attitudes, the moods that I think Sarah Palin had captured during the election increasingly were representative of the Republican activist base, its core. It might not have been representative of Republicans across the country, but it meant that John Boehner or Mitch McConnell had to worry about that mood inside their party that felt that, No, we shouldn’t cooperate with Obama, we shouldn’t cooperate with Democrats; that it represents compromise, weakness, and that the broader character of America is at stake, regardless of whatever policy arguments might be made. As a consequence, there were times that I would meet with Mitch McConnell and he would say to me very bluntly, “Look, I’m doing you a favor if I do any deal with you, so it should be entirely on my terms because it hurts me just being seen photographed with you.” During the health-care debate, you know, there was a point in time where, after having had multiple negotiations with [Iowa senator Chuck] Grassley, who was the ranking member alongside my current Chinese ambassador, [Max] Baucus, in exasperation I finally just said to Grassley, “Is there any form of health-care reform that you can support?” and he shrugged and looked a little sheepish and said, “Probably not.”

When was that? The fall?

Well, it probably would be late summer, late July possibly. But what you saw was just a series of moments as opposed to one big moment where Republican leadership felt their politics, both in terms of recapturing the majority in Congress but also protecting themselves from what would become the tea-party wing of the party, prevented them, in their minds, from working with this administration in any kind of constructive way. And that led to us having to work with very narrow majorities on just about every issue, and, to some extent, that shaped how policy was made. When I hear people say, for example, that the stimulus should have been bigger, I constantly have to remind people that I had to give Susan Collins; Arlen Specter, who was then a Republican; Ben Nelson; and Joe Lieberman — I had to get those votes to get any stimulus, which meant that the fact that we ended up getting the largest stimulus program in American history was no mean feat. Trying to take it over the trillion-dollar mark was going to be challenging even if it was good policy. Same thing with the public option[for health-care reform]. Even though we had very solid majorities in the House, the ceiling for what we could do was our decent, but, with the filibuster, constantly threatened majority in the Senate. That was complicated by the fact that, if you’ll recall, [Al] Franken hadn’t been seated yet, so that gave us even less room to maneuver.

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Larry Klayman Says Only Being Black Has Saved Obama From Impeachment

Larry Klayman Says Only Being Black Has Saved Obama From Impeachment


“This man, frankly, is a traitor to our country. If he had been anything other than African-American he would have been impeached…by now”

Insurrectionist Larry Klayman, who has long nourished dreams of overthrowing the Constitutionally-elected President of the United States, Barack Obama, and who has long and loudly proclaimed Obama to be a Muslim, not wants you to believe that only one thing has saved the president from impeachment: he is black:

“If he had been anything other than African-American…he would have been impeached and convicted by now.”

That’s right. Appearing on the Steve Malzberg show over at Newsmax, Klayman railed against the man he proclaimed 2015’s “Muslim of the Year”:

“Look, he’s half-Muslim, he associates with his father, he wrote a book extolling the virtues of his father … so he feels some affinity for Iran, and he’s acted that way at the expense of Israel. They’re now on the verge of nuclear weapons if they don’t already have it. And it’s totally consistent with his, frankly, anti-Semitic behavior and anti-Israeli behavior for the last seven years.”

The levels of delusion to be obtained by Klayman here are breathtaking: After years of Republicans trashing Obama to foreign powers and even undermining the president with foreign leaders on Capitol Hill, Klayman took offense at President Obama criticizing Trump in front of a foreign leader.

According to Klayman, Obama is a “traitor” because he called out Trump for his erratic and demagogic behavior. By that logic his Republican pals in Congress are traitors too but Klayman has never been one to let facts get in his way:

“Now, suppose Donald Trump actually wins the election. What has he done? He’s undercut the United States. This man, frankly, is a traitor to our country. If he had been anything other than African-American — and I don’t mean to cast aspersions on African-Americans, we have many colleagues that are that way and actually stand for really good values — but he would have been impeached and convicted by now. He’s a traitor to this country, Steve, and we’ve seen it over and over again and this is the latest example of it.”

Right. Because a bunch of racist white guys in Congress didn’t impeach Obama because he is black. They haven’t impeached him, obviously, because he has done nothing they can impeach him for. That hasn’t stopped them from obstructing him every step of the way, or suing him, or, like Klayman, talking insurrection.

More amusing yet, isn’t it Trump who is always going on about the evils of political correctness? So here we have a president declining to be politically correct and called Trump out for what he is – a dangerous demagogue. And Klayman takes offense.

Obviously, “political correctness” isn’t the real issue here, and the facts are plain: President Obama’s blackness has actually hurt him, and far from fostering racist sentiment, he has been the victim of it at the hands of people like Klayman himself. The idea that being black has saved Obama from being punished for crimes he didn’t commit in 2016 is the definition of insanity itself.


Obama Breaks Hundred Year Presidential Streak


“No president has campaigned strongly for his chosen successor in at least 100 years,” NPR reports.

“Tuesday’s event, with President Obama campaigning for Hillary Clinton, his former secretary of state and onetime rival, in North Carolina is remarkable for that reason. It kicks off what is likely to be a season of vigorous campaigning by the president.”

“There are reasons presidents haven’t campaigned strongly for a successor — sometimes they’re unpopular, some nominees try to distance, some presidents were in failing health.”



Best Comment to date… from original article above: (IMO – ks)

I am totally convinced that that smooth, elegant, soft spoken, suave guy can deliver some devastating shit on behalf of Hillary.

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Obama and Bibi Put Business Over Bad Blood in D.C.

U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval office of the White House in Washington November 9, 2015. The two leaders meet here today for the first time since the Israeli leader lost his battle against the Iran nuclear deal, with Washington seeking his re-commitment to a two-state solution with the Palestinians. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque       TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY        - RTS6685
Kevin Lamarque/Reuters


The two leaders managed to put their personal history aside Monday for an Oval Office meeting, with Netanyahu seeking military aid to guard against Iran, and Obama support for 2016.

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may put the best possible face on their relationship, but it’s the worst-kept secret in Washington that they don’t hold each other in high regard. In fact, the bad blood between the two men is likely the worst in modern times between two key allies.

“I don’t think either of them will be sorry that this is their last meeting,” said a former Senate Democratic aide, who is a bit freer to speak critically than officials at the White House, where everyone was on their best behavior Monday with the problematic prime minister visiting the Oval Office.

More important, the two leaders had urgent business to discuss, beginning with what really happened to that Russian jet that broke apart in midair over the Sinai Peninsula. If the crash was the result of a bomb placed by ISIS, it could be a game-changer in everything from how the Russians proceed in Syria to the conduct of global air traffic. “The Israelis have very good intel on what’s going on in the Sinai,” said the former Hill aide. “When interests are aligned, people work together.”

For all the dishing about the chilly relations between Obama and Netanyahu, officials in both governments have stressed that it’s business as usual when it comes to aid to Israel, or as Obama likes to put it, the administration has Israel’s back. Netanyahu is in Washington to nail down an increase in military assistance to deal with what he believes will be an increased threat from Iran in the aftermath of the nuclear deal that Obama negotiated and Netanyahu opposed.

There was even some nostalgia in the media coverage that for both leaders this could be their swan song, with Obama soon leaving office. As for Netanyahu, the former Hill aide scoffed at the notion that the Israeli prime minister is nearing the end of his political career. Unlike the U.S. presidency, which is term-limited, there is no limit on the number of times an Israel prime minister can serve. Netanyahu has already been elected prime minister four times—from June 1996 to July 1999 and from March 31, 2009, to the present—and he appears to be in a strong position domestically.

While some Democrats are amazed that Obama welcomed Netanyahu at the White House given the tension between them and the Israeli leader’s open support for Republican Mitt Romney in 2012, Obama was not about to seed another round of stories about how they don’t get along—not with another presidential election just a year away.

The Jewish vote in America is strongly Democratic, but Jewish donors are another matter, and Democrats don’t want to alienate key funders. Netanyahu’s unabashed past backing of Romney, his close alliance with GOP leaders on Capitol Hill, and his aggressive lobbying against the nuclear deal with Iran disturbed the political balance that politicians in both countries rely on.

If the U.S.-Israeli relationship were only about Obama and Netanyahu, the president could have skipped Monday’s meeting and just left it to a handshake at next year’s U.N. General Assembly meeting. “It must stick in Obama’s craw to go through this dance, knowing he’s not running again—and that he’s doing it all for other candidates,” said the former Senate aide.

With Hillary Clinton running to succeed him, Obama has no choice really but to be magnanimous with a key ally. On Tuesday, Netanyahu will sit down with Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and a strong Clinton supporter. Some Democrats are criticizing CAP for providing Netanyahu with a forum instead of giving him the cold shoulder. But the relationship between Israel and the Democratic Party is not one to be trifled with, and Clinton does not want any daylight between her campaign and the Israeli leader. Judging by the behavior of both Obama and Netanyahu at the White House on Monday, everybody is on the same page, for once.

Eleanor Clift

For the Community Organizer, the Struggle Continues for A More Perfect Union

Obama as an instructor/lecturer at The University of Chicago… 


“We are stronger not when we are alone, but when we bring the world together.” –President Barack Obama”

Watching President Barack Obama explain and defend the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group, I was struck by how fragile are the attempts at peace, and how inertia – be it short-sighted stubbornness, ideology, political partisanship and expediency, or a lucrative status quo invested in armaments, brinksmanship, and a permanent war footing – often tends to lead us to disunity, lawlessness and chaos.

I was also struck by how this president, derided by his critics as dangerously naïve,  feckless, a mere “community organizer,” embodies no less than the spirit and the vision of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who lifted this country out of the worst economic disaster in its history by first providing work, hope and inspiration to an impoverished nation and then, faced with the prospect of a holocaust engulfing Europe, organized the U.S. and other countries into an allied coalition which succeeded in turning the tide of history, liberating Europe and Asia from fascism, and ensuring decades of good relations between our former enemies.

Similarly, President John F. Kennedy sought to overcome the Cold War nuclear stalemate, brokering the historic Test Ban Treaty with the Soviets and staring down Premier Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis – but heroically avoiding war, over the objections of opponents who loudly urged him to show “leadership” and “strength.”

JFK also worked to promote American well-being and optimism through a widely shared prosperity and an emphasis on scientific, educational and cultural achievements, sought to community-organize through health care initiatives and civil rights reform, and promoted a sense of national purpose through initiatives such as the space program and the Peace Corps.

I was also reminded of last year’s US-Africa Leaders Summit – for which President Obama brought along 500 business men and women to forge greater economic ties with one of the world’s fastest growing regions – and how President Obama reached out to these nations as equals.


Obama held secret meetings with Jon Stewart

Obama Held Secret Meetings With Jon Stewart

'Daily Show' host Jon Stewart interviews President Barack Obama for the last time on July 21, 2015. [The Daily Show]
Daily Show’ host Jon Stewart interviews President Barack Obama for the last time on July 21, 2015. [The Daily Show]


President Barack Obama summoned television host Jon Stewart to the White House on several occasions before he made major announcements, according to a Politico article that revealed the secret connection between “The Daily Show” host and the president. News of the private meetings surfaced Tuesday as Stewart prepares to end his tenure as host on Aug. 6.

Some have questioned Stewart’s ethics because he did not disclose his connection to Obama. “The summoning of Stewart to the White House validates the belief that the comedian is more influential on the public discourse than any journalist,” said a Minnesota Public Radio article Tuesday. “But do the rules of journalism apply to a comedian who doesn’t consider himself a journalist even as the people watching consider him one?”

While still at the White House, former Obama advisor David Axelrod kept in touch with the host by phone and email. In an interview, Axelrod said Stewart was “a useful prod” for the administration. “I can’t say that because Jon Stewart was unhappy, policy changed. But I can say that he had forceful arguments, they were arguments that we knew would be heard and deserved to be answered,” said Axelrod, who also makes appearances on “The Daily Show.”

Stewart visited the Oval Office to meet with Obama privately on at least two occasions, one of which was in fall of 2011 while the administration dealt with heated budget negotiations. “The president wanted to counter his critics on the left and lay the groundwork for his 2012 re-election campaign,” former Obama aide Austan Goolsbee said to Politico.

As the Ukraine crisis broke out, the president met with Stewart in Feb. 2014 before a significant announcement. Later that day, Obama went on air to say that “there will be costs” if Russia continued its aggression towards Ukraine.

Obama frequently appears on the “The Daily Show,” and he visited most recently last Tuesday, close to Stewart’s departure date. He used the segment to discuss topics such as the Iran nuclear deal. Three of the seven times Obama has been on the show have been when he was in office.

Obama Transformed

President Barack Obama delivers the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney during Pinckney’s funeral service on June 26, 2015, in Charleston, South Carolina.
President Barack Obama delivers the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney during Pinckney’s funeral service on June 26, 2015, in Charleston, South Carolina. | Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

I’ve had some reservations about POTUS these past few months but I’m happy to see that he has prevailed over the GOP haters who wanted to see him defeated on every initiative he brought forth.  It’s time to put our differences aside and support this man who put his legacy on the line for the events that have been certified legal by the highest Court in the land this week.  (ks)


The remarkable week that roused the president from dejection and inspired a stirring call to action. 

A week ago, Barack Obama looked dissipated and dejected. He’d come to the White House press room to speak about the massacre in Charleston, South Carolina. The room, with its low ceiling and tight quarters, matched his mood. It’s a venue for tiny political fights relentlessly pursued in circles. The president testified to that lack of progress, showing visible frustration with his impotence in the face of gun violence and racial hatred.

A week later, the president’s mood had been transformed—he was as expansive as his new venue, the College of Charleston’s 5,000-seat arena. Out of the violence the president fashioned an argument for perseverance and found the spark for action that seemed to have been taken from him the week before.

The spark was located in the life of Clementa Pinckney, the state senator and pastor of the Mother Emanuel Church, whom the president was there to eulogize. It was also found in the grace he saw in the family members of the victims who had forgiven the shooter during his bond hearing, and in the reaction of the people of Charleston.

“This whole week I have been reflecting on this idea of grace,” the president said. He sure had. The speech wasn’t just a testimony about grace, it was a demonstration of it.

After talking about Pinckney, the president turned to the subject of grace and at that point, he stopped speaking sentences, but instead lines from the hymn “Amazing Grace.” In his rhetoric and in his preacher’s cadence, he was now praising Pinckney by channeling him. Then, for those not used to spending time in the pews, the president as professor returned. “According to the Christian tradition, grace is not earned, grace is not merited, it is not something we deserve … grace is the free and benevolent favor of God.”

Obama gave that Sunday school definition because he was preparing to make an argument. It was the preamble to the most religious speech of his presidency and one of the most overtly religious speeches from a president in a long while. How powerful was this grace, in the president’s vision? It had acted through the killer, who the president portrayed as an unwitting instrument of the Almighty: “He didn’t know he was being used by God.”

The president was no longer giving a speech about a tragedy; he was trying to leverage the grace displayed in the wake of that heinous act into a nation’s purpose. “As a nation out of this terrible tragedy, God has visited grace upon us,” he said. “He has allowed us to see where we have been blind.” It was that grace, the president argued, that helped South Carolina lawmakers conclude that the Confederate flag should come down.

But there was more power in grace than simply providing the impetus to lower a flag. “He has given us the chance where we have been lost to find our best selves,” the president said. “We may not have earned grace, but we got it all the same. He gave it to us anyway.” And that means, he continued, that America has a duty: “It is up to us now to make the most of it. To receive it with gratitude and prove ourselves worthy of this gift.”

The president then outlined the worthy fights, from lessening gun violence to tackling poverty to improving race relations. If you were moved by the response to the shooting, he was arguing, then you have a commitment to be true to what inspired that moving response. If Americans make those commitments and stay focused on improving those injustices, the president said, “by doing that, we express God’s grace.”

This was not a rhetorical exercise, or not merely one. It was a demonstration of the power the president had found in the example of the people of Charleston—both the living and the dead. He wasn’t just telling. He was showing—the power he was trying to summon in this speech came from his own feeling of gratitude and obligation to serve as an example of grace. Even if you didn’t agree with any of what the president said, the distance the president traveled in this one week was a kind of testimony of its own. By the end of his oration, the president was leading the congregation in an impromptu rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

It was the second time in the day, and the third time in two days, that the president had made testimonials to the power of keeping the faith. Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled on a legislative interpretation that allowed the Affordable Care Act to survive, enshrining the president’s signature legislative achievement after years of pitched battle. Friday, the Supreme Court announced that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry, rooted in the 14th Amendment, written in the wake of the Civil War to grant citizenship to people once enslaved.

Speaking in the Rose Garden on Friday morning the president said the same-sex marriage ruling was a testament to the power of perseverance in the struggle. “Progress on this journey often comes in small increments, sometimes two steps forward, one step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then sometimes, there are days like this, when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.”

The thunderbolts of change that struck this week seem to have energized the president. He might have given the same eulogy had he not had his opinions affirmed by the Supreme Court. But given the sense of vindication that he feels, it was easy to see how those secular victories gave him the confidence to make that soaring religious speech and to wipe away the intimations toward capitulation and defeat from just a little more than a week ago.

John Dickerson

10 things you need to know today: April 12, 2015

Santiago Armas / Xinhua Press / Corbis

The Week

1.President Obama, Raul Castro sit down in historic meeting
President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro on Saturday met on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas, marking the first sit-down between leaders of the two nations in a half-century. “It was my belief it was time to try something new, that it was important for us to engage with the Cuban government,”  Obama said shortly after the meeting. For his part, Castro noted that the two countries have “agreed to disagree,” on certain points, but that Cuba is prepared to discuss issues such as freedom of the press and human rights in a bid to “make progress.” Obama and Castro had already given several nods toward the meeting at the summit; the two shook hands on Friday night, and each called for cooperation between their countries in speeches at the summit.

Source: The New York Times, AFP

2.Hillary Clinton to launch presidential campaign Sunday
After years of buildup and tongue-in-cheek proto-campaigning, Hillary Clinton is expected to on Sunday formally announce her 2016 candidacy for the White House. Clinton will make expanding the middle class the focal point of her platform, much in the way Obama did in 2012, according to senior advisers to the former secretary of state who previewed the rollout to The Associated Press. Clinton is expected to make the official announcement on social media, and then follow up the long-awaited move with campaign stops over the next week in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Source: The Associated Press

3.Pope Francis calls Armenian slaughter ‘genocide’
Pope Francis on Sunday described the mass killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians as the “first genocide of the twentieth century.” Speaking during a  ceremonial Mass to mark the centennial of the killings, the pontiff, citing a declaration from his predecessor John Paul II, called it the first of “three massive and unprecedented tragedies,” adding that, “A century has passed since that horrific massacre which was a true martyrdom.” Turkey, which continues to deny the genocide ever took place, immediately summoned a Vatican ambassador to explain the remarks.

Source: The Guardian, BBC

4.Egypt sentences American citizen to life in prison
An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced an American citizen, Mohamed Soltan, to life in prison for participating in a protest in support of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in 2013. The court sentenced nearly three dozen other defendants to life in jail for their ties to the group, and handed down death sentences for another dozen, including Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie.

Source: Reuters, The New York Times

5.Saudi Arabia brushes off Iranian call for ceasefire
Saudi Arabia on Sunday rebuffed Iran’s request that it halt airstrikes in Yemen aimed at halting the advance of the Iranian-affiliated Houthi militia. “We came to Yemen to help the legitimate authority, and Iran is not in charge of Yemen,” Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said. Since last month, a Saudi-led coalition has launched strikes in Yemen to aid the embattled government.

Source: Reuters

6.U.S. Capitol locked down following suicide
The U.S. Capitol on Saturday was locked down “as a precautionary measure,” following an apparent suicide near the West Front of the complex, according to a Capitol spokesperson. An unidentified man carrying a backpack and rolling suitcase walked onto public grounds near the building before shooting himself, and police initially treated his luggage as a suspicious package. After investigating the incident, authorities determined there was “no nexus to terrorism,” Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said.

Source: CNN

7.More than 100 injured in Kenya university stampede
One student died and an estimated 141 were injured on Sunday after a stampede broke out over a mistaken terror scare at a university in Kenya. Students mistook the sound of an electrical transformer exploding late at night for a bomb, triggering a panic and leading some to leap from high windows in their dorms. The nation has been on edge since earlier this month when the Islamist group al-Shabab killed 148 students at a college in northern Kenya.

Source: BBC, USA Today

8.Rapper Nelly arrested on drug charges
Rapper Nelly was arrested in Tennessee on Saturday after police uncovered drugs during a traffic stop of his tour bus. Nelly and five others were in the bus when state troopers pulled it over for not displaying required stickers from the Transportation Department and the International Fuel Tax Association. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed “five colored crystal-type rocks” that tested as methamphetamine, according to a police statement, as well as marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and several handguns. Nelly, real name Cornell Haynes, was charged with felony possession of drugs, simple possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Source: The Washington Post

9. Jordan Spieth atop leaderboard for final day of Masters
With the final round of the Masters set to get underway Sunday, Jordan Spieth held a four-shot lead over the competition at 16-under-par. Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson surged toward the top of the leaderboard on Saturday to finish at four and five shots back, respectively, while Tiger Woods climbed into a fifth-place tie at six-under-par. Spieth finished the first two rounds at 14-under-par, setting a record for the lowest score through the first two rounds of the tournament.

Source: NBC

10.Ian McKellen joins live-action Beauty and the Beastreboot
British actor Ian McKellen has signed on to play Cogsworth, a magical talking clock, in Disney’s live-action reboot of the 1991 animated classic Beauty and the Beast, according to Variety. The film, which has a March 2017 release date, will also star Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, and Josh Gad.

Source: Variety