Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us). An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free. Comments $6 at Tidal $999 Turo Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90) Boost Mobile Mobile,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. Read Lenovo Smart Clock review See It Comments DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout. Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) Amazon Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. MoviePass reportedly froze out subscribers and changed their passwords to keep them off the app. MoviePass MoviePass, the $10-a-month movie subscription service that once dominated the industry, has been hit with financial issues that essentially brought an end to the company as we knew it. It dealt with those issues in-part by changing some users’ passwords to keep them from ordering tickets, according to a Business Insider report this week. MoviePass parent company Helios and Matheson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Because MoviePass’ business model essentially involved paying theaters the full price for customers’ tickets, the company was quickly losing money, according to the report. CEO Mitch Lowe reportedly became frustrated with subscribers who took advantage of the low monthly rate by going to the movies every day, and ordered the company to limit subscriber access before the April 2018 release of Avengers: Infinity War. Lowe called for the passwords for a “small percentage of power users be changed,” which would keep them from going into the MoviePass app and ordering tickets, according to Business Insider.By the end of July 2018, the company was losing around $40 million a month, and on July 26 it ran out of money to put on MoviePass cards, Business Insider says. To get things running again, Helios and Matheson reportedly borrowed $5 million in cash. To deal with the loss of money, MoviePass reportedly made Mission: Impossible – Fallout unavailable for subscribers and froze half of them out on opening weekend, former employees told Business Insider.MoviePass has been wrestling with financial obstacles in the last several months by curbing its offerings. Last year, it reduced its plan to three movies for $10 a month. The company brought back its $9.95 unlimited movie plan in March, albeit with restrictions, before suspending its service indefinitely last month. $999 Chris Monroe/CNET Sarah Tew/CNET Rylo Read Google Home Hub review $520 at HP JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express MoviePass manages to get more expensive and less useful Angela Lang/CNET $155 at Google Express Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) Read DJI Osmo Action preview $999 Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30. 21 $299 at Amazon CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Read the AirPods review Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express Now playing: Watch this: DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89) The Cheapskate The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price. What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. 1:38 Sarah Tew/CNET Turo: Save $30 on any car rental Apple iPhone XS Share your voice 7 Tags $60 at Best Buy Sarah Tew/CNET $59 at eBay Sprint $210 at Best Buy Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. See It Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. Share your voice Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) Tags Read the Rylo camera preview Sarah Tew/CNET Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. See at Turo $999 See at Amazon See it See It Best Buy
Christophe de Margerie, the chief executive officer (CEO) of French oil giant Total, died in a plane accident in Moscow on Tuesday, an official said.De Margerie and three crew members were killed when the plane they were on collided with a snow-clearing machine at Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport, Xinhua quoted an airport spokeswoman as saying.”A plane crashed when it collided with a snow-clearing machine. Three crew members and a passenger died. I can confirm that the passenger was Total’s head de Margerie,” said spokeswoman Elena Krylova.The collision occurred during the takeoff of the Dassault Falcon business jet bound for Paris with de Margerie on board on Monday midnight Moscow time, according to the airport.Total has also confirmed the death of its CEO in the plane crash in a statement, but said the accident had left a total of five people dead.As one of the most recognisable figures among the world’s top oil executives, de Margerie, 63, was on a list of attendees at a Russian government meeting on foreign investment in Gorki near Moscow Monday.Total is the fourth largest by market value of the western world’s top oil companies behind Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron, and also one of the top foreign investors in Russia, which accounted for about 9 percent of Total’s oil and gas output in 2013.
A California jury ordered Oracle Corp (ORCL.N) to pay Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Co (HPE.N) $3 billion in damages in a case over HP’s Itanium servers, an Oracle spokeswoman said on Thursday.Oracle said it would appeal the verdict.The Itaniuum processor is made by Intel Inc (INTC.O).Oracle decided to stop developing software for use with HP’s Itanium-based servers in 2011, saying that Intel made it clear that the chip was nearing the end of its life and was shifting its focus to its x86 microprocessor.But HP said it had an agreement with Oracle that support for Itanium would continue, without which the equipment using the chip would become obsolete.In the first phase of trial in 2012, Santa Clara Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg ruled that there had been a contract. The jury on Thursday decided damages.”HP is gratified by the jury’s verdict, which affirms what HP has always known and the evidence overwhelmingly showed,” John Schultz, executive vice president and general counsel of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, said in an e-mailed statement, saying that Oracle’s decision to stop the software development “was a clear breach of contract.”In a statement, Oracle general counsel Dorian Daley said the company had been providing all its latest software for Itanium servers since Kleinberg’s decision.”Now that both trials have concluded, we intend to appeal both today’s ruling and the prior ruling,” Daley said.
OYO RoomsReutersHoteliers across India are planning to take the legal route to force bookings aggregator Oyo to abandon alleged predatory behaviour. Hundreds of budget hotels in major metros such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata have joined hands to take the move forward, the Economic Times reported.The grouse of the hoteliers is that Oyo is suppressing prices, changing contract terms and threatening to delay payments. The Budget Hotel Association of Mumbai is in the forefront of forming a nationwide lobby of hoteliers.Oyo, a unicorn startup flush with money, raised $1 billion in September, taking its valuation to $5 billion.”Rooms that we used to sell for Rs 2,000-2,500 are now being sold for Rs 800-900. Because of funding they are able to sell rooms at much lower rates. The minimum guarantee fee is also not coming, so we are not left with a choice,” Budget Hotel Association of Mumbai president Ashraf Ali told the daily.Oyo, India’s most valued startup built by Ritesh Agarwal, disrupted the hotel booking process entirely, offering customers a wide variety of rooms at dirt cheap rates.Backed by Japan’s Softbank and flush with funds, Oyo is already the biggest hotel chain in India. The company is also expanding aggressively into foreign markets like China and Japan.The Gurgaon-based company now manages as many as 180,000 rooms in China, compared with about 150,000 rooms in India and the rest of south Asia combined.Oyo Hotels & Homes, which is India’s second most valuable startup after Paytm, opened up great vistas of opportunities for travellers around the country but the innovative business practice is eating into the profits of hotel owners and threatening to unravel their commercial existence. OYO Rooms founder Ritesh AgarwalHotels owners in various cities say that they are left with meagre little after Oyo levies around 23-30 percent of the heavily discounted prices. Of late, the online platform has been arm-twisting them into accepting terms that are not viable anymore, the owners say.Oyo denied the charges, adding that it is focused on offering fair pricing to customers while hotel owners get an opportunity to scale their business using the platform.
AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury. File PhotoPresident of Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh (BDB) Badruddoza Chowdhury on Friday laid emphasise on forming a neutral government dissolving parliament for the sake of a fair and neutral general election, reports UNB.Speaking at an iftar party, he also demanded reconstitution of the current election commission with impartial persons to hold the 11th parliamentary elections in a credible manner.Dhaka city north unit BDB arranged the programme at a convention centre in the city’s Uttara area.B Chowdhury, also a former president, said, “A level-playing field must be created first to remove the obstacle towards holding an acceptable national election.”To ensure a level-playing field, he said an election-time neutral government, a proven neutral election commission and dissolution of parliament are crucial so that ministers and MPs cannot avail of government facilities during the polls.The BDB chief also said it is unlikely that there will be a level-playing field when hundreds of opposition leaders and activists will be there in jail during the election.He also talked against extrajudicial killings in the name of anti-narcotics drive. “We don’t know who’re being killed in the name of the anti-drug drive and using other excuses. We also don’t know their identities. Bur, there’s an allegation that they’re political activists.”B Chowdhury said a level-playing field will also not be created if political activists are killed or arrested on various excuses while the field remains under the control of a particular party.Accusing the government of keeping BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia in jail ignoring the apex court order, he called upon it to be respectful to the rule of law and the verdicts of the judiciary.The former president observed that both Awami League and BNP leaders and activists are afraid of post-election violence and their security if their respective party loses the polls due to longstanding conflicts between the two major parties.Even the common voters, he said, are also in doubt which party will be able to ensure their security after the election.Under the circumstances, he said, the political scenario can be changed if only a third political force emerges out of people’s fear about the two parties and for the sake of peace and discipline in the country.
Share Veteran diplomats say it could take years to assess the results of this week’s nuclear summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.Trump doesn’t expect to wait that long.“I think within the first minute, I’ll know,” whether Kim is serious about giving up his nuclear weapons, the president told reporters Saturday. “Just my touch. My feel. That’s what I do.”The same impulsive confidence led Trump to accept Kim’s invitation to the summit without consulting his advisers back in March. The president abruptly called off the meeting in May, only to revive it eight days later.The two leaders are finally set to meet Tuesday morning (Monday night in the U.S.) at a luxury island resort in Singapore, the climax of a diplomatic roller-coaster rivaling any at the nearby Universal Studios theme park.“Be prepared for surprises,” said Victor Cha, a Korea expert who worked in the George W. Bush administration. “These two leaders certainly have a flair for the drama and the dramatic in these sorts of meetings.”Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who’s met twice with Kim in preparation for the summit, said he and other advisers have been briefing Trump on a near-daily basis. But the president, who sees himself as a born deal-maker, downplayed the value of such last-minute cramming.“It’s going to be something that will always be spur of the moment,” Trump told reporters, as he left a G-7 meeting in Canada en route to Singapore. “It’s unknown territory in the truest sense. But I really feel confident. I feel that Kim Jong Un wants to do something great for his people and he has that opportunity.”Analysts say Kim will check off one of his goals simply by sharing the summit stage with Trump. The first such meeting with a sitting U.S. president will help rebrand the North Korean leader from pariah to peacemaker.“Just the fact of a superficially successful summit is a big gain for him,” said Richard Bush, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “He has sat across the table from the president of the United States, the superpower. That elevates his position, prestige, and power tremendously.”Cracks in the sanctions campaignCracks have also begun to appear in the “maximum pressure” campaign of economic sanctions against North Korea, even though Trump insists the U.S. won’t loosen the screws until Pyongyang’s nuclear program is dismantled.“As long as the summitry is going on, and Kim Jong Un is going to be invited to the United Nations and so forth, it will be very hard to get China, Russia, even South Korea back on board,” said Michael Green, who oversaw Asia policy on the National Security Council in the George W. Bush administration. “The leverage will be dissipated.”Brookings scholar Jung Pak agrees.“Whether we like it or not, the other countries see this as the U.S. turning the spigot back on,” Pak said.The U.S. goal for the summit is straightforward: the complete, verifiable, irreversible end of North Korea’s outlawed nuclear weapons program.“A perfect track record of cheating”But while Kim has made some gestures in that direction — suspending nuclear and missile tests and making a show of disabling a nuclear test facility — veteran diplomats are skeptical that North Korea will surrender its nuclear weapons altogether.“I do not know of a single U.S. official — and we talked to a lot of them — or Japanese official below the level of the president who thinks North Korea is going to denuclearize,” Green said.In the 1990s and again the early 2000s, North Korea agreed to halt its nuclear program only to continue with clandestine research. With each round of diplomacy, Pyongyang’s weapons grew more advanced and more dangerous.“We’ve had multiple deals with North Korea,” Green said. “We now know they have a pretty good track record in these negotiations: a perfect track record of cheating every time.”Pompeo said he’s received personal assurances from Kim that North Korea is ready to denuclearize.“President Trump is hopeful, but he’s also going into the summit with his eyes wide open,” Pompeo told reporters. “We’ve seen how many inadequate agreements have been struck in the past. And you can be sure that President Trump will not stand for a bad deal.”Timing and verificationTiming and verification will be crucial to the success of any nuclear deal. But those details aren’t likely to be worked out during this week’s summit and will instead have to wait for follow-up conversations.The administration has backed away from its demand for immediate disarmament, acknowledging that a weapons program a large as North Korea’s would take time to wind down.But officials still wants to see rapid movement.“This has to be big and bold,” Pompeo said. “We can’t step through this over years.”In exchange for North Korea’s cooperation, the administration is offering Kim both security guarantees and economic aid.“He’ll be safe. He’ll be happy. His country will be rich,” Trump said last month.Analysts suggest the president may be underestimating the value that Kim’s family has placed on nuclear weapons for three generations, substituting his own businessman’s priorities for the North Korean leader’s.“If the North Koreans wanted to be rich, they could have been rich a long time ago,” Cha said.“For Kim, the nuclear weapons are part of his national identity,” Pak added. “To assume that one can go in and talk about making him rich is almost antithetical, almost offensive in a way, for somebody who has achieved and completed his grandfather’s goal.”An end to the Korean War?The summit could also produce some sort of declaration — short of a formal treaty — about ending the Korean War, 65 years after the armistice. Eventually, that could lead to pressure from North Korea and China to withdraw many of the 28,000 American troops in South Korea.Trump, who has complained about the cost of those troops, might welcome the opportunity, though a troop withdrawal would also reinforce doubts about America’s commitment to the Asia-Pacific region.The president has also promised Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, that he will press Kim for the return of Japanese citizens who have been kidnapped and held captive in North Korea. And Trump has said he may raise the issue of North Korea’s dismal human rights record with Kim, although he didn’t do so during a White House meeting with one of Kim’s top deputies.Whatever complications may arise after the summit, both sides seem eager to stage a smiling photo of the historic handshake.“No matter what happens, President Trump and Kim Jong Un are going to call it a success,” said former CIA analyst Sue Mi Terry, who’s now a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Both leaders are invested in this and they want to. So the optics are going to look good.”Even those who are skeptical of North Korea’s intentions don’t want a return to last year’s open hostility, when Trump and Kim were calling each other names and boasting about their nuclear buttons.Despite Trump’s confidence in his deal-making instincts, though, the ultimate outcome of the summit probably won’t be known quickly.“President Trump would like to see this as a very different, bigger deal,” Cha said. “Everybody else screwed it up. Now he’s going to fix it.”But the veteran diplomat, who was briefly considered for a post as Trump’s ambassador to South Korea, warns the administration will face the same challenges and trade-offs in North Korea that its predecessors did.“We want to solve this problem. But we may be stuck managing it.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Share Friday, September 14, 2018HISD dissolves special ed panelLaura IsenseeHISD Board President Wanda Adams and Trustee Anne Sung listened to parents share their frustration and questions about special education in the district at a 2017 meeting.The Houston school board has disbanded a panel to advise them on special education, after board members overwhelmingly voted to adopt the group’s recommendations to improve special ed.Those are meant to improve access, services and oversight of special education.But the board dissolved the special ed ad hoc committee it created last year after a statewide crisis in special ed. Some parents pushed back. When a disaster hits, what are an employer’s responsibilities? Hurricane Florence is expected to shut down parts of the East Coast for days. It’s something people in the Houston area are too familiar with after Harvey last year.Aside from the impact on lives and property, natural disasters affect employment.To learn more about how employers are expected to deal with employees who are affected by a hurricane or other disaster, we spoke with Aaron Holt, an employment law attorney at law firm Cozen O’Connor in Houston. Emmett points to future fights over Rainy Day fundAndrew Schneider/Houston Public MediaHarris County Judge Ed Emmett delivering his 11th annual State of the County addressHarris County Judge Ed Emmett used his State of the County message to mark the progress toward recovering from Harvey. But he also hinted at political fights to come. Galveston plans for infrastructure upgradesGalveston City Council Screenshot The Galveston Capital Improvement Plan includes millions of dollars in projects that are expected to unfold over the next five years.Now that they’ve finished most of their Hurricane Ike recovery efforts, Galveston officials say they’ll focus on infrastructure improvements that couldn’t be funded through the federal government.Under a five-year capital improvement plan, Galveston will use $62 million from last year’s bond issue to fix deteriorating streets and drainage systems. Ted Cruz speaks to Houston MattersSenator Ted Cruz is running for re-election on a platform that includes advocating for energy deregulation, increased surveillance on the Southern border and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare.Cruz, a Republican from Texas who is running against Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke, was interviewed Thursday on Houston Matters, as part of its series of interviews with candidates running in major political races. Woman to be deported for voting illegallyA Mexican national whose attorney said she used a cousin’s identity to live in the U.S. for decades and held a job assessing students in Houston schools is facing deportation after pleading guilty to illegally voting in the 2016 election.Laura Janeth Garza’s conviction Thursday comes more than a year after Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office helped prosecute another Mexican national also facing deportation for illegal voting.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you! Hello, Howard! (Applause.) H-U! AUDIENCE: You know! THE PRESIDENT: H-U! AUDIENCE: You know! THE PRESIDENT: (Laughter.) Thank you so much, everybody. Please, please, have a seat. Oh, I feel important now. Got a degree from Howard. Cicely Tyson said something nice about me. (Laughter.) AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you, President! THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. To President Frederick, the Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, fellow recipients of honorary degrees, thank you for the honor of spending this day with you. And congratulations to the Class of 2016! (Applause.) Four years ago, back when you were just freshmen, I understand many of you came by my house the night I was reelected. (Laughter.) So I decided to return the favor and come by yours. To the parents, the grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, all the family and friends who stood by this class, cheered them on, helped them get here today — this is your day, as well. Let’s give them a big round of applause, as well. (Applause.) I’m not trying to stir up any rivalries here; I just want to see who’s in the house. We got Quad? (Applause.) Annex. (Applause.) Drew. Carver. Slow. Towers. And Meridian. (Applause.) Rest in peace, Meridian. (Laughter.) Rest in peace. I know you’re all excited today. You might be a little tired, as well. Some of you were up all night making sure your credits were in order. (Laughter.) Some of you stayed up too late, ended up at HoChi at 2:00 a.m. (Laughter.) Got some mambo sauce on your fingers. (Laughter.) But you got here. And you’ve all worked hard to reach this day. You’ve shuttled between challenging classes and Greek life. You’ve led clubs, played an instrument or a sport. You volunteered, you interned. You held down one, two, maybe three jobs. You’ve made lifelong friends and discovered exactly what you’re made of. The “Howard Hustle” has strengthened your sense of purpose and ambition. Which means you’re part of a long line of Howard graduates. Some are on this stage today. Some are in the audience. That spirit of achievement and special responsibility has defined this campus ever since the Freedman’s Bureau established Howard just four years after the Emancipation Proclamation; just two years after the Civil War came to an end. They created this university with a vision — a vision of uplift; a vision for an America where our fates would be determined not by our race, gender, religion or creed, but where we would be free — in every sense — to pursue our individual and collective dreams. It is that spirit that’s made Howard a centerpiece of African-American intellectual life and a central part of our larger American story. This institution has been the home of many firsts: The first black Nobel Peace Prize winner. The first black Supreme Court justice. But its mission has been to ensure those firsts were not the last. Countless scholars, professionals, artists, and leaders from every field received their training here. The generations of men and women who walked through this yard helped reform our government, cure disease, grow a black middle class, advance civil rights, shape our culture. The seeds of change — for all Americans — were sown here. And that’s what I want to talk about today. As I was preparing these remarks, I realized that when I was first elected President, most of you — the Class of 2016 — were just starting high school. Today, you’re graduating college. I used to joke about being old. Now I realize I’m old. (Laughter.) It’s not a joke anymore. (Laughter.) But seeing all of you here gives me some perspective. It makes me reflect on the changes that I’ve seen over my own lifetime. So let me begin with what may sound like a controversial statement — a hot take. Given the current state of our political rhetoric and debate, let me say something that may be controversial, and that is this: America is a better place today than it was when I graduated from college. (Applause.) Let me repeat: America is by almost every measure better than it was when I graduated from college. It also happens to be better off than when I took office — (laughter) — but that’s a longer story. (Applause.) That’s a different discussion for another speech. But think about it. I graduated in 1983. New York City, America’s largest city, where I lived at the time, had endured a decade marked by crime and deterioration and near bankruptcy. And many cities were in similar shape. Our nation had gone through years of economic stagnation, the stranglehold of foreign oil, a recession where unemployment nearly scraped 11 percent. The auto industry was getting its clock cleaned by foreign competition. And don’t even get me started on the clothes and the hairstyles. I’ve tried to eliminate all photos of me from this period. I thought I looked good. (Laughter.) I was wrong. Since that year — since the year I graduated — the poverty rate is down. Americans with college degrees, that rate is up. Crime rates are down. America’s cities have undergone a renaissance. There are more women in the workforce. They’re earning more money. We’ve cut teen pregnancy in half. We’ve slashed the African American dropout rate by almost 60 percent, and all of you have a computer in your pocket that gives you the world at the touch of a button. In 1983, I was part of fewer than 10 percent of African Americans who graduated with a bachelor’s degree. Today, you’re part of the more than 20 percent who will. And more than half of blacks say we’re better off than our parents were at our age — and that our kids will be better off, too. So America is better. And the world is better, too. A wall came down in Berlin. An Iron Curtain was torn asunder. The obscenity of apartheid came to an end. A young generation in Belfast and London have grown up without ever having to think about IRA bombings. In just the past 16 years, we’ve come from a world without marriage equality to one where it’s a reality in nearly two dozen countries. Around the world, more people live in democracies. We’ve lifted more than 1 billion people from extreme poverty. We’ve cut the child mortality rate worldwide by more than half. America is better. The world is better. And stay with me now — race relations are better since I graduated. That’s the truth. No, my election did not create a post-racial society. I don’t know who was propagating that notion. That was not mine. But the election itself — and the subsequent one — because the first one, folks might have made a mistake. (Laughter.) The second one, they knew what they were getting. The election itself was just one indicator of how attitudes had changed. In my inaugural address, I remarked that just 60 years earlier, my father might not have been served in a D.C. restaurant — at least not certain of them. There were no black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Very few black judges. Shoot, as Larry Wilmore pointed out last week, a lot of folks didn’t even think blacks had the tools to be a quarterback. Today, former Bull Michael Jordan isn’t just the greatest basketball player of all time — he owns the team. (Laughter.) When I was graduating, the main black hero on TV was Mr. T. (Laughter.) Rap and hip hop were counterculture, underground. Now, Shonda Rhimes owns Thursday night, and Beyoncé runs the world. (Laughter.) We’re no longer only entertainers, we’re producers, studio executives. No longer small business owners — we’re CEOs, we’re mayors, representatives, Presidents of the United States. (Applause.) I am not saying gaps do not persist. Obviously, they do. Racism persists. Inequality persists. Don’t worry — I’m going to get to that. But I wanted to start, Class of 2016, by opening your eyes to the moment that you are in. If you had to choose one moment in history in which you could be born, and you didn’t know ahead of time who you were going to be — what nationality, what gender, what race, whether you’d be rich or poor, gay or straight, what faith you’d be born into — you wouldn’t choose 100 years ago. You wouldn’t choose the fifties, or the sixties, or the seventies. You’d choose right now. If you had to choose a time to be, in the words of Lorraine Hansberry, “young, gifted, and black” in America, you would choose right now. (Applause.) I tell you all this because it’s important to note progress. Because to deny how far we’ve come would do a disservice to the cause of justice, to the legions of foot soldiers; to not only the incredibly accomplished individuals who have already been mentioned, but your mothers and your dads, and grandparents and great grandparents, who marched and toiled and suffered and overcame to make this day possible. I tell you this not to lull you into complacency, but to spur you into action — because there’s still so much more work to do, so many more miles to travel. And America needs you to gladly, happily take up that work. You all have some work to do. So enjoy the party, because you’re going to be busy. (Laughter.) Yes, our economy has recovered from crisis stronger than almost any other in the world. But there are folks of all races who are still hurting — who still can’t find work that pays enough to keep the lights on, who still can’t save for retirement. We’ve still got a big racial gap in economic opportunity. The overall unemployment rate is 5 percent, but the Black unemployment rate is almost nine. We’ve still got an achievement gap when black boys and girls graduate high school and college at lower rates than white boys and white girls. Harriet Tubman may be going on the twenty, but we’ve still got a gender gap when a black woman working full-time still earns just 66 percent of what a white man gets paid. (Applause.) We’ve got a justice gap when too many Black boys and girls pass through a pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails. This is one area where things have gotten worse. When I was in college, about half a million people in America were behind bars. Today, there are about 2.2 million. Black men are about six times likelier to be in prison right now than white men. Around the world, we’ve still got challenges to solve that threaten everybody in the 21st century — old scourges like disease and conflict, but also new challenges, from terrorism and climate change. So make no mistake, Class of 2016 — you’ve got plenty of work to do. But as complicated and sometimes intractable as these challenges may seem, the truth is that your generation is better positioned than any before you to meet those challenges, to flip the script. Now, how you do that, how you meet these challenges, how you bring about change will ultimately be up to you. My generation, like all generations, is too confined by our own experience, too invested in our own biases, too stuck in our ways to provide much of the new thinking that will be required. But us old-heads have learned a few things that might be useful in your journey. So with the rest of my time, I’d like to offer some suggestions for how young leaders like you can fulfill your destiny and shape our collective future — bend it in the direction of justice and equality and freedom. First of all — and this should not be a problem for this group — be confident in your heritage. (Applause.) Be confident in your Blackness. One of the great changes that’s occurred in our country since I was your age is the realization there’s no one way to be black. Take it from somebody who’s seen both sides of debate about whether I’m black enough. (Laughter.) In the past couple months, I’ve had lunch with the Queen of England and hosted Kendrick Lamar in the Oval Office. There’s no straitjacket, there’s no constraints, there’s no litmus test for authenticity. Look at Howard. One thing most folks don’t know about Howard is how diverse it is. When you arrived here, some of you were like, oh, they’ve got black people in Iowa? (Laughter.) But it’s true — this class comes from big cities and rural communities, and some of you crossed oceans to study here. You shatter stereotypes. Some of you come from a long line of Bison. Some of you are the first in your family to graduate from college. (Applause.) You all talk different, you all dress different. You’re Lakers fans, Celtics fans, maybe even some hockey fans. (Laughter.) And because of those who’ve come before you, you have models to follow. You can work for a company, or start your own. You can go into politics, or run an organization that holds politicians accountable. You can write a book that wins the National Book Award, or you can write the new run of “Black Panther.” Or, like one of your alumni, Ta-Nehisi Coates, you can go ahead and just do both. You can create your own style, set your own standard of beauty, embrace your own sexuality. Think about an icon we just lost — Prince. He blew up categories. People didn’t know what Prince was doing. (Laughter.) And folks loved him for it. You need to have the same confidence. Or as my daughters tell me all the time, “You be you, Daddy.” (Laughter.) Sometimes Sasha puts a variation on it — “You do you, Daddy.” (Laughter.) And because you’re a black person doing whatever it is that you’re doing, that makes it a black thing. Feel confident. Second, even as we each embrace our own beautiful, unique, and valid versions of our blackness, remember the tie that does bind us as African Americans — and that is our particular awareness of injustice and unfairness and struggle. That means we cannot sleepwalk through life. We cannot be ignorant of history. (Applause.) We can’t meet the world with a sense of entitlement. We can’t walk by a homeless man without asking why a society as wealthy as ours allows that state of affairs to occur. We can’t just lock up a low-level dealer without asking why this boy, barely out of childhood, felt he had no other options. We have cousins and uncles and brothers and sisters who we remember were just as smart and just as talented as we were, but somehow got ground down by structures that are unfair and unjust. And that means we have to not only question the world as it is, and stand up for those African Americans who haven’t been so lucky — because, yes, you’ve worked hard, but you’ve also been lucky. That’s a pet peeve of mine: People who have been successful and don’t realize they’ve been lucky. That God may have blessed them; it wasn’t nothing you did. So don’t have an attitude. But we must expand our moral imaginations to understand and empathize with all people who are struggling, not just black folks who are struggling — the refugee, the immigrant, the rural poor, the transgender person, and yes, the middle-aged white guy who you may think has all the advantages, but over the last several decades has seen his world upended by economic and cultural and technological change, and feels powerless to stop it. You got to get in his head, too. Number three: You have to go through life with more than just passion for change; you need a strategy. I’ll repeat that. I want you to have passion, but you have to have a strategy. Not just awareness, but action. Not just hashtags, but votes. You see, change requires more than righteous anger. It requires a program, and it requires organizing. At the 1964 Democratic Convention, Fannie Lou Hamer — all five-feet-four-inches tall — gave a fiery speech on the national stage. But then she went back home to Mississippi and organized cotton pickers. And she didn’t have the tools and technology where you can whip up a movement in minutes. She had to go door to door. And I’m so proud of the new guard of black civil rights leaders who understand this. It’s thanks in large part to the activism of young people like many of you, from Black Twitter to Black Lives Matter, that America’s eyes have been opened — white, black, Democrat, Republican — to the real problems, for example, in our criminal justice system. But to bring about structural change, lasting change, awareness is not enough. It requires changes in law, changes in custom. If you care about mass incarceration, let me ask you: How are you pressuring members of Congress to pass the criminal justice reform bill now pending before them? (Applause.) If you care about better policing, do you know who your district attorney is? Do you know who your state’s attorney general is? Do you know the difference? Do you know who appoints the police chief and who writes the police training manual? Find out who they are, what their responsibilities are. Mobilize the community, present them with a plan, work with them to bring about change, hold them accountable if they do not deliver. Passion is vital, but you’ve got to have a strategy. And your plan better include voting — not just some of the time, but all the time. (Applause.) It is absolutely true that 50 years after the Voting Rights Act, there are still too many barriers in this country to vote. There are too many people trying to erect new barriers to voting. This is the only advanced democracy on Earth that goes out of its way to make it difficult for people to vote. And there’s a reason for that. There’s a legacy to that. But let me say this: Even if we dismantled every barrier to voting, that alone would not change the fact that America has some of the lowest voting rates in the free world. In 2014, only 36 percent of Americans turned out to vote in the midterms — the secondlowest participation rate on record. Youth turnout — that would be you — was less than 20 percent. Less than 20 percent. Four out of five did not vote. In 2012, nearly two in three African Americans turned out. And then, in 2014, only two in five turned out. You don’t think that made a difference in terms of the Congress I’ve got to deal with? And then people are wondering, well, how come Obama hasn’t gotten this done? How come he didn’t get that done? You don’t think that made a difference? What would have happened if you had turned out at 50, 60, 70 percent, all across this country? People try to make this political thing really complicated. Like, what kind of reforms do we need? And how do we need to do that? You know what, just vote. It’s math. If you have more votes than the other guy, you get to do what you want. (Laughter.) It’s not that complicated. And you don’t have excuses. You don’t have to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap to register to vote. You don’t have to risk your life to cast a ballot. Other people already did that for you. (Applause.) Your grandparents, your great grandparents might be here today if they were working on it. What’s your excuse? When we don’t vote, we give away our power, disenfranchise ourselves — right when we need to use the power that we have; right when we need your power to stop others from taking away the vote and rights of those more vulnerable than you are — the elderly and the poor, the formerly incarcerated trying to earn their second chance.So you got to vote all the time, not just when it’s cool, not just when it’s time to elect a President, not just when you’re inspired. It’s your duty. When it’s time to elect a member of Congress or a city councilman, or a school board member, or a sheriff. That’s how we change our politics — by electing people at every level who are representative of and accountable to us. It is not that complicated. Don’t make it complicated. And finally, change requires more than just speaking out — it requires listening, as well. In particular, it requires listening to those with whom you disagree, and being prepared to compromise. When I was a state senator, I helped pass Illinois’s first racial profiling law, and one of the first laws in the nation requiring the videotaping of confessions in capital cases. And we were successful because, early on, I engaged law enforcement. I didn’t say to them, oh, you guys are so racist, you need to do something. I understood, as many of you do, that the overwhelming majority of police officers are good, and honest, and courageous, and fair, and love the communities they serve. And we knew there were some bad apples, and that even the good cops with the best of intentions — including, by the way, African American police officers — might have unconscious biases, as we all do. So we engaged and we listened, and we kept working until we built consensus. And because we took the time to listen, we crafted legislation that was good for the police — because it improved the trust and cooperation of the community — and it was good for the communities, who were less likely to be treated unfairly. And I can say this unequivocally: Without at least the acceptance of the police organizations in Illinois, I could never have gotten those bills passed. Very simple. They would have blocked them. The point is, you need allies in a democracy. That’s just the way it is. It can be frustrating and it can be slow. But history teaches us that the alternative to democracy is always worse. That’s not just true in this country. It’s not a black or white thing. Go to any country where the give and take of democracy has been repealed by one-party rule, and I will show you a country that does not work. And democracy requires compromise, even when you are 100 percent right. This is hard to explain sometimes. You can be completely right, and you still are going to have to engage folks who disagree with you. If you think that the only way forward is to be as uncompromising as possible, you will feel good about yourself, you will enjoy a certain moral purity, but you’re not going to get what you want. And if you don’t get what you want long enough, you will eventually think the whole system is rigged. And that will lead to more cynicism, and less participation, and a downward spiral of more injustice and more anger and more despair. And that’s never been the source of our progress. That’s how we cheat ourselves of progress. We remember Dr. King’s soaring oratory, the power of his letter from a Birmingham jail, the marches he led. But he also sat down with President Johnson in the Oval Office to try and get a Civil Rights Act and a Voting Rights Act passed. And those two seminal bills were not perfect — just like the Emancipation Proclamation was a war document as much as it was some clarion call for freedom. Those mileposts of our progress were not perfect. They did not make up for centuries of slavery or Jim Crow or eliminate racism or provide for 40 acres and a mule. But they made things better. And you know what, I will take better every time. I always tell my staff — better is good, because you consolidate your gains and then you move on to the next fight from a stronger position. Brittany Packnett, a member of the Black Lives Matter movement and Campaign Zero, one of the Ferguson protest organizers, she joined our Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Some of her fellow activists questioned whether she should participate. She rolled up her sleeves and sat at the same table with big city police chiefs and prosecutors. And because she did, she ended up shaping many of the recommendations of that task force. And those recommendations are now being adopted across the country — changes that many of the protesters called for. If young activists like Brittany had refused to participate out of some sense of ideological purity, then those great ideas would have just remained ideas. But she did participate. And that’s how change happens. America is big and it is boisterous and it is more diverse than ever. The president told me that we’ve got a significant Nepalese contingent here at Howard. I would not have guessed that. Right on. But it just tells you how interconnected we’re becoming. And with so many folks from so many places, converging, we are not always going to agree with each other. Another Howard alum, Zora Neale Hurston, once said — this is a good quote here: “Nothing that God ever made is the same thing to more than one person.” Think about that. That’s why our democracy gives us a process designed for us to settle our disputes with argument and ideas and votes instead of violence and simple majority rule. So don’t try to shut folks out, don’t try to shut them down, no matter how much you might disagree with them. There’s been a trend around the country of trying to get colleges to disinvite speakers with a different point of view, or disrupt a politician’s rally. Don’t do that — no matter how ridiculous or offensive you might find the things that come out of their mouths. Because as my grandmother used to tell me, every time a fool speaks, they are just advertising their own ignorance. Let them talk. Let them talk. If you don’t, you just make them a victim, and then they can avoid accountability. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t challenge them. Have the confidence to challenge them, the confidence in the rightness of your position. There will be times when you shouldn’t compromise your core values, your integrity, and you will have the responsibility to speak up in the face of injustice. But listen. Engage. If the other side has a point, learn from them. If they’re wrong, rebut them. Teach them. Beat them on the battlefield of ideas. And you might as well start practicing now, because one thing I can guarantee you — you will have to deal with ignorance, hatred, racism, foolishness, trifling folks. (Laughter.) I promise you, you will have to deal with all that at every stage of your life. That may not seem fair, but life has never been completely fair. Nobody promised you a crystal stair. And if you want to make life fair, then you’ve got to start with the world as it is. So that’s my advice. That’s how you change things. Change isn’t something that happens every four years or eight years; change is not placing your faith in any particular politician and then just putting your feet up and saying, okay, go. Change is the effort of committed citizens who hitch their wagons to something bigger than themselves and fight for it every single day. That’s what Thurgood Marshall understood — a man who once walked this year, graduated from Howard Law; went home to Baltimore, started his own law practice. He and his mentor, Charles Hamilton Houston, rolled up their sleeves and they set out to overturn segregation. They worked through the NAACP. Filed dozens of lawsuits, fought dozens of cases. And after nearly 20 years of effort — 20 years — Thurgood Marshall ultimately succeeded in bringing his righteous cause before the Supreme Court, and securing the ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that separate could never be equal. (Applause.) Twenty years. Marshall, Houston — they knew it would not be easy. They knew it would not be quick. They knew all sorts of obstacles would stand in their way. They knew that even if they won, that would just be the beginning of a longer march to equality. But they had discipline. They had persistence. They had faith — and a sense of humor. And they made life better for all Americans. And I know you graduates share those qualities. I know it because I’ve learned about some of the young people graduating here today. There’s a young woman named Ciearra Jefferson, who’s graduating with you. And I’m just going to use her as an example. I hope you don’t mind, Ciearra. Ciearra grew up in Detroit and was raised by a poor single mom who worked seven days a week in an auto plant. And for a time, her family found themselves without a place to call home. They bounced around between friends and family who might take them in. By her senior year, Ciearra was up at 5:00 am every day, juggling homework, extracurricular activities, volunteering, all while taking care of her little sister. But she knew that education was her ticket to a better life. So she never gave up. Pushed herself to excel. This daughter of a single mom who works on the assembly line turned down a full scholarship to Harvard to come to Howard. (Applause.) And today, like many of you, Ciearra is the first in her family to graduate from college. And then, she says, she’s going to go back to her hometown, just like Thurgood Marshall did, to make sure all the working folks she grew up with have access to the health care they need and deserve. As she puts it, she’s going to be a “change agent.” She’s going to reach back and help folks like her succeed. And people like Ciearra are why I remain optimistic about America. (Applause.) Young people like you are why I never give in to despair. James Baldwin once wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Graduates, each of us is only here because someone else faced down challenges for us. We are only who we are because someone else struggled and sacrificed for us. That’s not just Thurgood Marshall’s story, or Ciearra’s story, or my story, or your story — that is the story of America. A story whispered by slaves in the cotton fields, the song of marchers in Selma, the dream of a King in the shadow of Lincoln. The prayer of immigrants who set out for a new world. The roar of women demanding the vote. The rallying cry of workers who built America. And the GIs who bled overseas for our freedom. Now it’s your turn. And the good news is, you’re ready. And when your journey seems too hard, and when you run into a chorus of cynics who tell you that you’re being foolish to keep believing or that you can’t do something, or that you should just give up, or you should just settle — you might say to yourself a little phrase that I’ve found handy these last eight years: Yes, we can. Congratulations, Class of 2016! (Applause.) Good luck! God bless you. God bless the United States of America. I’m proud of you. END 12:33 P.M. EDT (May 7, 2016) 11:47 A.M. EDT President Barack Obama delivers Howard University’s commencement speech during the 2016 Howard University graduation ceremony in Washington, Saturday, May 7, 2016. Obama says the country is “a better place today” than when he graduated from college more than 30 years ago, citing his historic election as “one indicator of how attitudes have changed.” ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)(Howard UniversityWashington, D.C.)