New Book Details Barack Obama’s First Love – And It’s Not Himself!

Well, it looks like filmmakers may have a concept for a prequel to Southside With You. That’s right: Barack Obama had a love before he met Michelle Robinson and it wasn’t himself!

That’s what we’re finding out from a new, nearly 1,500-page biography of the 44th president from Pulitzer Prize winner David J. Garrow. Rising Star, which releases May 9, looks at the young community organizer and the choices and decisions he made that put him on the path to left-wing political stardom. Garrow’s account is the first to mention Sheila Miyoshi Jager, a young woman who had a live-in relationship with Obama, and whom Obama intended on marrying before making more political calculations.

Obama and Jager met in Chicago, before the would-be president had taken up community organizing. Garrow contends that Jager’s multicultural heritage had to have appealed to young Obama, and that as an anthropology student, Jager almost certainly reminded Obama of his mother. Interestingly enough, Jager never spent much time with Obama’s friends and colleagues and never met Jeremiah Wright. She claimed that they became  “an island unto ourselves.”

Obama didn’t even write specifically about Jager in Dreams From My Father; instead, she became a composite character, melded with a couple of other girlfriends. But he did offer his hand in marriage.

“In the winter of ‘86, when we visited my parents, he asked me to marry him,” she told Garrow. Her parents were opposed, less for any racial reasons (Barack came across to them like “a white, middle-class kid,” a close family friend said) than for concern about Obama’s professional prospects, and because her mother thought Sheila, two years Obama’s junior, was too young. “Not yet,” Sheila told Barack. But they stayed together.

Not long after that, Jager says Obama began to change, when he became politically ambitious.

In early 1987, when Obama was 25, she sensed a change. “He became. . . so very ambitious” very suddenly,” she told Garrow. “I remember very clearly when this transformation happened, and I remember very specifically that by 1987, about a year into our relationship, he already had his sights on becoming president.”

The ambitious Obama also began to struggle with issues of identity and race, and those began to cloud his relationship with Jager.

Discussions of race and politics suddenly overwhelmed Sheila and Barack’s relationship. “The marriage discussions dragged on and on,” but now they were clouded by Obama’s “torment over this central issue of his life . . . race and identity,” Sheila recalls. The “resolution of his black identity was directly linked to his decision to pursue a political career,” she said.

Just before he left for Harvard Law School, Obama proposed to Jager once more. She declined, as she was heading to Seoul for a study program, and he seemed upset that she wouldn’t put her ambitions on hold for his. After Obama met Michelle Robinson, he still saw Jager from time to time, but their relationship fizzled to the occasional phone call. He essentially cut ties with her when he became angry with her for calling him “Barry” on the phone long after he had settled on going by Barack.

The Obama-Jager relationship sounds like one of the more interesting facets of Rising Star. Garrow’s book sounds like an exhaustive biography, but who would really want to read 1,472 pages about Barack Obama – other than his most dedicated fans?

Sonny Perdue Is Rethinking The School Lunch Program, And The Protestors Are Out In Force, Even Though They Don’t Know What They’re Protesting

New Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is looking at easing some of the regulatory burden of the National School Lunch Program – on a temporary basis, at least. Perdue visited two schools in Virginia on Monday to introduce an interim rule that introduces “regulatory flexibility” to the program and places a moratorium on implementing Tier 2 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the pet project of former first lady Michelle Obama.

What does it all mean? Basically, the rule eases some of the restrictions on school lunches and allows a little more discretion at the hands of local school systems – which is always a good thing.

Perdue said his office wants to have time to study the impacts of the stricter guidelines and make a decision on whether to move forward with them or, more likely, reverse them. He noted that schools nationwide are reporting that more food is ending up in the trash and the number of students participating in school breakfast and lunch programs has declined.

“We all know that meals can’t be nutritious if they’re not consumed—if they’re in the trash,” Perdue said. “We have to balance the sodium content, the wholegrain content with the palpability.”

Know what else it means? You guessed it – protestors showed up, though they weren’t exactly sure wha they were railing against. Over at RedState, Teri Christoph stopped by one of the protests and talked to some of the demonstrators who held signs with lame slogans like “Democracy Requires That We Care For Each Other.”

Sodium seemed to be the main concern of many. One lady told me that while she had no clue what was in the rule, she had heard sodium levels in the food would definitely rise. A local Democrat candidate for Congress was certain the new rule would lead to vending machines returning to schools and poor choices being made by students.

I asked several of the protesters if it wouldn’t be a good thing if the rule led to our school system having more control over meeting our kids’ needs, especially the needs of students who get free or reduced-price lunches, and was told unequivocally it would not be a good thing. Consensus was that the school lunch program would go to hell – a salty, salty hell – without minimum standards being set by the federal government.

The bottom line is this: what good is it to offer uber-healthy foods if kids aren’t eating them? Is it better for our kids (poor, middle class, and rich alike) to go hungry at school or to have some options that may not exactly be the ultimate in health food?

Perdue just might be on to something. Maybe these relaxed regulations will make school lunches tolerable again. After all, a little bit of healthy food is better than none at all.

Three’s Company: Valerie Jarrett Moves Into Obama Mansion to Help Plot “Insurgency”

Barack and Michelle Obama have moved into a beautiful, English-looking mansion just to miles from the White House. In what sounds like the premise of the least funny sitcom ever, Obama Svengali Valerie Jarrett has moved into the house with the former First Couple. Their purpose? To mount an “insurgency” against Donald Trump, according to the UK Daily Mail.

Obama’s goal, according to a close family friend, is to oust Trump from the presidency either by forcing his resignation or through his impeachment.

And Obama is being aided in his political crusade by his longtime consigliere, Valerie Jarrett, who has moved into the 8,200-square-foot, $5.3-million Kaloroma mansion with  the former president and Michelle Obama, long time best friends.

Jarrett played a vital – if at times low-key – role in the Obama presidency. She lived in the White House, dined with the Obamas, and help shape his domestic and foreign policies.

According to friends, Jarrett has prodded the Obamas to serve as a sort of opposition to the Trump administration as a way to preserve the former president’s legacy.

‘Obama is dismayed at the way Trump is tearing down his legacy—ObamaCare, the social safety net and the welcome mat for refugees he put in place,’ the source continued.

And if keeping Jarrett in the house with Obama and his family sounds creepy, remember she pulled the strings around the White House, involving herself in nearly every decision and serving as consigliere to the Obamas.

‘There was never any doubt that Valerie would have a suite of rooms in the house that the Obama’s are renting,’ said the source. ‘Obama trusts her judgment more than any other person on the planet, as does Michelle.

Obama doesn’t make a decision without her.’

The Daily Mail also states that Jarrett plans on traveling with the Obamas, as well as sharing residences in Hawaii and Chicago with them. No word on whether they will dine and drink at the Regal Beagle together or foil the plans of their nosy landlord, Mr. Roper, to find out the truth about their lives.

Fifty Shades of O

The entertainment business is kind of crazy.  You might have already gotten that impression, what with the La La Land fiasco at the Oscars last Sunday and the ability of the Kardashians to prosper in television work.  But make no mistake:  that special kind of boogaloo applies in spades to the book publishing world, where editors are hired and fired on seeming whims and everybody is looking for the Next Big Thing.  It’s how sparkly vampires and BDSM fanfic end up on the best seller lists, and ungodly sums of money get thrown at projects that never see the light of day.  The truth is, like in Hollywood, nobody really knows what’s going to work–and in a fickle market, where traditional publishers are struggling to find their way, any tentpole book can be a huge gamble that can quickly turn into a disaster.  Just ask Simon & Schuster after they published Hillary Clinton’s last tome.

That’s why I nearly shot coffee through my nose when I heard that Penguin Random House is shelling out north of $60 million to Barack and Michelle Obama for a combined two-book deal:

“We are absolutely thrilled to continue our publishing partnership with President and Mrs. Obama,” Penguin CEO Markus Dohle said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.

 

“With their words and their leadership, they changed the world, and every day, with the books we publish at Penguin Random House, we strive to do the same.”

Okay, I get it–the Obamas are superstars, particularly amongst the New York glitterati, and I’m quite certain that they’ll sell truckloads of books to their adoring fans.  But $60 million bucks worth?  That requires a pretty heavy suspension of disbelief, and here’s why.

For those not familiar with how a publishing contract works, it goes something like this:  A publisher wants to buy your book, so they offer you what’s called an advance against royalties.  Basically, the publisher thinks it can sell enough copies of your book so that eventually your share of the cover price of each book sold will equal or exceed that advance.  This is important, because the author gets to keep that advance whether or not the publisher sells enough books to cover it.  That’s why big advances are harder and harder to come by these days, especially for newer authors.

Royalties are calculated as a percentage of the cover price of the book.  Using the Obama example, let’s just assume that they have a hell of an agent and they negotiated a 15% royalty for each copy sold.  Let’s also assume that each book sells for around $20 per hardcover copy.  That means Obamas will take home $3 for every book they sell.  Divide that $3 into $60 million, and they’ll need to sell 20 million books just to earn their advance.

But it’s the Obamas, you say.  Surely they’ll be able to manage that, right?  Well, it turns out that Barack Obama already has a publishing history with his books Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope (whether or not he actually wrote them–but that’s another story).  Both of those books sold a combined 4.650,000 copies–far short of our 20,000,000 figure.  So what on earth makes Penguin Random House think they’ll ever be able to make that money back?

Oh, sure–there’s book club sales, e-book sales, foreign sales, what have you.  But those only reduce the price per copy of each book, and with Amazon and the other deep-discounters selling the book way below $20 per copy we used as an example above, that’s only going to make it even harder to earn back that $60 million.  In short, the likelihood of the publisher making a profit on this deal is extremely small.

So why do it?  Maybe the people running the show think the prestige of having the Obamas in their stable of authors will help with the sales of their other books.  Maybe they just want to write off the loss.  Who knows?  But it’s probably going to make it a lot harder for lesser-known authors to make money off their work with all of the cash for acquisitions going to the former president and first lady.  That’s the price of doing business with celebrities, I guess.

The thing is, I firmly believe that the Obamas already know this.  You know how?  Because if they really thought they could sell that many books, they’d bypass a traditional publisher entirely and just distribute the books themselves.  Think about it:  they could cut the price in half to $10 per copy, and if they sold 20,000,000 copies they could still pocket $200 million!  But they know there’s no way that’s ever going to happen.  That’s why they’re going to take the $60 million and run.

On the bright side, we can only imagine how much this is annoying the Clintons.

Disclosure:  Penguin Random House is the publisher of my books Hammerjack and Prodigal.

Protestors Call For Raping The First Lady

Outside Trump Tower this weekend, a protestor held up a sign encouraging people to rape the future First Lady of the United States. Protestors claim they are protesting Donald Trump’s behavior and words, not his election. But if that is the case, chants of “he’s not my President,” “end the Electoral College,” “Dump Trump,” “Less Votes ≠ President,” and this attack on Mrs. Trump have no place.

Had such a sign appeared when Barack Obama was elected, or had it appeared at any tea party rally, the entirety of the conservative movement would have been indicted by the American media complex. The acts of some Trump supporters, in fact, got the entirety of his supporters labeled “deplorables” by Hillary Clinton.

Already, less than a week removed from the election, we see the media has learned nothing. They have blanketly condemned Trump supporters based on the acts of some, but they have refused to cover the violence advocated by anti-Trump protestors after the election.

Leftwing activists are now claiming these people do not speak for them. But in the past they have labeled all tea party activists as racists and bigots. During the 2009 congressional recess, the media covered supposed tea party harassment of members of congress and failed to note the only arrests at the time were union activists disrupting the tea party groups.

Now they will do their best to ignore the left at its worst and, should anyone point it out, lecture them on painting with a broad brush. It is that very broad brush that has gotten us to this point.

It is completely unacceptable that anyone would hold up a protest sign advocating rape of anyone, let alone the First Lady or future First Lady of the United States. That the protestors with that person did nothing to stop the person or denounce that person is a pretty damning indictment on the group as a whole.

These people are not protesting Trump’s behavior or statements. They are whining because they lost an election they did not expect to lose. These are no protests against an injustice, but whining against the constitutional processes of the United States.

I opposed Donald Trump and did not vote for him. But he deserves now our prayers and a chance to succeed. The very Democrats who denounced Rush Limbaugh for wanting Barack Obama to fail, should be the first in line to hope Donald Trump succeeds. Otherwise, they’re playing at “he started it” children’s games and should be treated as such — seen and not heard.

Trump, Obama 90 Minute Meeting Was Supposed to be 15 Minutes

President Obama hosted President-elect Donald Trump at the White House, along with his staff and their administration counterparts Thursday in a historic meeting between the two former adversaries.

While the president met with Trump, First Lady Michelle Obama was busy hosting the future First Lady Melania Trump in the residence portion of the White House.

One very interesting tidbit is that Trump was accompanied by his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who met with current White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. Could Kushner be up for the top staff job in the west wing?

Trump has not announced his White House staff appointments, although Corey Lewandowski is  pushing hard for the chief of staff job. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is also in the running, according to a Washington Post report.

During the 90 minute meeting, President Obama and Trump discussed a variety of issues. From Fox News:

President Obama tells reporters after his meeting with President-elect Donald Trump they had an “excellent” and “wide-ranging” conversation.

“We talked about foreign policy, we talked about domestic policy,” he said.

Obama said it’s important to “come together” to face common challenges.

Trump said they were only planning to meet briefly but met for an hour-and-a-half and it could have gone longer.

“I very much look forward to dealing with the president,” Trump said. He said they had never met before today.

A meeting that went over an hour longer than scheduled could indicate that the two men enjoyed each other’s company–or at least were able to establish a rapport–more than their campaign rhetoric would suggest.

Trump spent 16 months on the campaign trail calling Obama “a disaster” and the president responded by categorically calling Trump unfit for office. But now the two, and their administrations, will need to work together to ensure a smooth transition.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence met with Vice President Biden. Both Pence and Trump will be meeting with Speaker Paul Ryan today. Pence will also meet with Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. It is unclear whether Trump will attend that meeting.

So far, so good.

Both CNN and Fox News commentators remarked that Trump’s body language betrayed his sense of a bit of humbling and awe at the Oval Office surroundings. I’m just glad that the vitriol is over, and we can get into the business of moving toward a new administration.

There will be plenty of time to hurl criticism and invective. But for now, like most Americans, I’m just tired of the campaign and glad it’s done. Hopefully, the will of those college students who took time off from their studies to aimlessly wander the streets and chant for or against things about which they know precisely nothing will fade soon.

Barack Obama vs. Michelle Obama

“There’s nothing particularly patriotic or American about talking down America, especially when we stand as one of the few sources of economic strength in the world.”

— Barack Obama, 2015

“For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.”

— Michelle Obama, 2008

Oh and hey, while we’re at it, let’s not forget the world apology tour.

So we must be honest with ourselves. In recent years we’ve allowed our Alliance to drift. I know that there have been honest disagreements over policy, but we also know that there’s something more that has crept into our relationship. In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.

— Barack Obama, April 3, 2009

My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy. We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect.

— Barack Obama, January 27, 2009

While the United States has done much to promote peace and prosperity in the hemisphere, we have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms. . . . The United States will be willing to acknowledge past errors where those errors have been made.

— Barack Obama, April 17, 2009

Too often, the United States has not pursued and sustained engagement with our neighbors. We have been too easily distracted by other priorities, and have failed to see that our own progress is tied directly to progress throughout the Americas.

— Barack Obama, April 16, 2009

Michelle Obama Poisons America’s Food Supply. Gives Kids Listeria.

Michelle Obama has poisoned the nation’s food supply and potentially given listeria to America’s children, according to press reports.

Food inspectors have discovered listeria in packaged apple slices destined for McDonald’s, Burger King, and various grocery stores.

It was Michelle Obama’s push for healthier eating that led fast food restaurants to begin including apple slices in their kids’ meals.

Now, you and I may think it is outrageous to claim that Michelle Obama had anything to do with food poisoning America’s youth. You and I would be right to think it is outrageous. But if MItt Romney is responsible for Joe Soptic’s wife dying of cancer almost a decade after Mitt Romney left Bain Capital’s day to day management, it is only fair to use the same kind of stupidity logic to point out Michelle Obama is giving kids listeria.

What’s fair is fair, right?