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"Your future is not as a person of letters..."

In 1982, the young Barack Obama published two poems in a literary magazine while an undergraduate at Occidental College. Many years later, political and literary commentators looking for insight into the leader's inner workings unearthed the poems: The New Yorker gave readers Harold Bloom's mixed reaction, Ian McMillan assessed the juvenile work in The Guardian, the Times (UK) tried to place the poems within the context of American presidents who published poems, and even Huffington Post took a crack at figuring what the poems tell us about the politician. A little later, the Blue Rose Arts Collective used the text of the poem "Underground" in a short video piece. Obama maintains his interest in poetry: also in 2008 the president was photographed holding a copy of Nobel Prize-winning poet Derek Walcott's Collected Poems. (U.S. Presidents and poetry more generally, previously.)
posted by aught on Feb 18, 2011 - 26 comments

Bill O'Reilly interviews Barack Obama

FOX, Fox News, and The White House all used the ginormous television audience that comes with the Super Bowl to their advantage today when a 15 minute interview with the President by Bill O'Reilly was aired as part of the pre-game show. Full video here.
posted by hippybear on Feb 6, 2011 - 80 comments

I believe we can be better.

I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. Barack Obama speaks in Tucson, Arizona.
posted by gerryblog on Jan 12, 2011 - 262 comments

"You're in good hands and Gibbs will call last question."

Press Briefing with President Obama and President Clinton (SLYT)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar on Dec 10, 2010 - 120 comments

Don't Baby Don't

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Wednesday afternoon that the Obama administration will not allow offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as part of the next five-year drilling plan, reversing two key policy changes President Obama announced in late March. Drilling will continue in other parts of the Gulf of Mexico under new safeguards. Previously.
posted by gerryblog on Dec 1, 2010 - 28 comments

The Case for Obama

During his campaign, skeptics warned that Barack Obama was nothing but a "beautiful loser," a progressive purist whose uncompromising idealism would derail his program for change. But as president, Obama has proved to be just the opposite — an ugly winner. Over and over, he has shown himself willing to strike unpalatable political bargains to secure progress, even at the cost of alienating his core supporters. This bloodless, if effective, approach to governance has created a perilous disconnect: By any rational measure, Obama is the most accomplished and progressive president in decades, yet the only Americans fired up by the changes he has delivered are Republicans and Tea Partiers hellbent on reversing them. Heading into the November elections, Obama's approval ratings are mired in the mid-40s, and polls reflect a stark enthusiasm gap: Half of all Republicans are "very" excited about voting this fall, compared to just a quarter of Democrats. But if the passions of Obama's base have been deflated by the compromises he made to secure historic gains like the Recovery Act, health care reform and Wall Street regulation, that gloom cannot obscure the essential point: This president has delivered more sweeping, progressive change in 20 months than the previous two Democratic administrations did in 12 years. The Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson argues The Case for Obama. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 15, 2010 - 177 comments

"You Will Levitate!"

President Obama makes reporter sit on toy hovercraft.
posted by WPW on May 15, 2010 - 78 comments

Obama’s besetting political fault is his automatic adoption of the tone of command, accompanied by a persistent reluctance to be seen as the source of the policy he commandeers.

To push through even one more victory on the order of healthcare, Obama will have to give up the posture of mediator that comes naturally to him. He will have to admit in his political practice that there are parties; that he is the leader of a party; that there is a worse and a better cause; that it feels like a fight because it really is a fight. This does not mean just the adoption of a new set of tactics. It will require almost the emergence of a new character.
posted by gerryblog on May 14, 2010 - 61 comments

BBC World Service Documentaries

BBC World Service has over 500 audio documentaries you can download. The subject matter is incredibly wide ranging, for example, internet cafés, the influence of Islamic art on William Morris, South African female AIDS activist Thembi Ngubane, Yiddish, the importance of cows, novelist Chinua Achebe, financial risk management, Obama as an intellectual, the physical and emotional effects of a car crash and many, many more. If the quantity and variety are overwhelming, you can subscribe to a podcast, which delivers a new documentary to you every single day.
posted by Kattullus on May 8, 2010 - 22 comments

Biden talked me into it.

President Barack Obama, and Jay Leno at the 2010 White House Correspondents Dinner. (SLYT)
posted by timsteil on May 2, 2010 - 103 comments

give up that dream

It is not our role to take power. It is our role to make the powerful frightened of us. And that's what we've forgotten. Give up that dream! Chris Hedges talks neoliberalism and neofeudalism, the civil rights movement, Camden, Obama, Clinton, Tea Parties, moral nihilism, inverted totalitarianism and corpocracy, NAFTA, welfare reform, health care, labor, poverty, Yugoslavia, post-industrial capitalism, economic crisis, imperial collapse, socialism, and democracy, among other things. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Apr 24, 2010 - 51 comments

Beyond 40 acres and a mule

Many Americans' understanding of the idea of reparations for African slavery in the U.S. stems from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman's field order that slaves made refugees by his march through the South be given parcels of Charleston's former sea island plantations and one of a surplus of Army mules. [more inside]
posted by toodleydoodley on Apr 24, 2010 - 58 comments

Actually, I find your primitive yet clever Earth technology fascinating. Please, do go on.

A History of Obama Feigning Interest in Mundane Things, slide show courtesy of New York magazine. Can be divided into two categories: with safety glasses, and without.
posted by Halloween Jack on Mar 2, 2010 - 74 comments

Question Time

Demand Question Time is a cross-partisan attempt in the US to make sessions like the remarkable give and take between President Obama and House Republicans of January 29th, which DQT calls "riveting and educational... substantive, civil and candid" a regular feature of American political discourse, like its parliamentary counterpart. As the petition's profile grows, signer David Corn explains "Why Question Time Is Right for Obama, House GOPers and Washington," and Peggy Noonan counters that "Question Time Isn't the Answer."
posted by ocherdraco on Feb 5, 2010 - 50 comments

The Unauthorized Biographies

Rapper Shaun Boothe is now midway through his 12 part series of "unauthorized biographies", which showcase short history lessons about some of the major black figures of our time. Thus far, he's covered James Brown, Bob Marley (my favorite), Muhammed Ali, Martin Luther King (and briefly, Barack Obama), Jimi Hendrix, and Sean "Puffy" Combs. He's gotten some play and good press from major underground hip-hop media, due next in the series is a biography of Oprah Winfrey.
posted by rollbiz on Jan 11, 2010 - 13 comments

You're gonna want that Tru-Coat -- and we'll also throw in this anti-Obama billboard

An automobile dealership in Wheat Ridge, Colorado made the decision last Friday to post a billboard which asks if President Obama is a terrorist and if he's really an American citizen by birth. Part of the sign also references the recent tragedy at Fort Hood. The brainchild of Phil Wolf, owner of Wolf Interstate Leasing and Sales, the sign depicts a Bamboozled-esque rendition of the PUSA, with and without a turban. Protestors have gathered to display their dislike of the billboard, which even the shop's proprieter admits "may be a little scattered. It says several things. It brings us several questions and I think they got to be answered (sic)."
posted by porn in the woods on Nov 22, 2009 - 135 comments

Did you even DOOO the reading?

Do you feel disappointed in government? Does Obama seem a little too meek for the Presidency? Do you wish he'd make larger structural reforms? Maybe, suggests Matt Taibbi, there's an answer. [more inside]
posted by jock@law on Oct 23, 2009 - 43 comments

Obamaryjane

MEMORANDUM FOR SELECTED UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS: As a general matter, pursuit of these priorities should not focus federal resources in your States on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana. For example, prosecution of individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or those caregivers in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law who provide such individuals with marijuana, is unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources. (SLUSDOJM)
posted by gerryblog on Oct 19, 2009 - 94 comments

Obama wins Nobel Prize Peace 2009

Barack Obama wins Nobel Prize for Peace 2009. Isn't this kind of... soon?
posted by NekulturnY on Oct 9, 2009 - 705 comments

Noepe: "Land Amid the Streams."

This weekend the Obama family arrives on the Massachusetts' island of Martha's Vineyard for a week-long vacation. While known as a summer colony/destination for New Englanders, tourists and the famous1 the island has a storied history from its early pre-colonial days to today. The Obamas' visit highlights the island's proud connection to its deep African-American heritage as a "well integrated" community (especially Oaks Bluff)2 from the days that freed slaves and retired black whalers settled and established homes and businesses on the island. [more inside]
posted by ericb on Aug 22, 2009 - 25 comments

Do you have the power to make school lunches better?

Eleven year old Damon Weaver interviews President Obama (SLYT)
posted by cdmwebs on Aug 13, 2009 - 32 comments

OF COURSE!!!

All at once, they practically screamed, “We’ve got ten minutes with the President on Monday…do you wanna do the shoot?!!”. Don’t let anyone tell ya photographing the President ain’t all it’s cracked up to be! [more inside]
posted by netbros on Aug 8, 2009 - 43 comments

Hodgman Roasts Obama

John Hodgman tests President Obama's nerd credentials at the Radio and TV Correspondents Dinner. [SLYT]
posted by HumuloneRanger on Jun 20, 2009 - 96 comments

Body of Work

Tonight in Tempe, a forgiving, but not quite forgetful, President Obama gave the commencement address at Arizona State University. [more inside]
posted by inconsequentialist on May 14, 2009 - 132 comments

The Right to Bare Arms

The writers for the Late Show with David Letterman have recently had some trouble coming up with jokes about Obama. Perhaps they should take a lesson from the master of Obama jokes, the President himself. President Obama brought down the house at last night's White House Correspondents' Dinner, poking fun at himself, his administration, and everyone else within shouting distance. Host Wanda Sykes followed Obama's show stealing performance with a few choice jabs of her own. Unfortunately, it seems that Dick Cheney's prediction has come true since no one is safe when the Comedian-in-Chief steps up to the mic.
posted by inconsequentialist on May 10, 2009 - 143 comments

100 Days of Obama: the Flickr Potustream

After one hundred days, the wait is over: Pete Souza's Gargantuan Presidential High-Definition Executive Flickrdump is here. Warning: If you put it on fullscreen you won't get anything else done for a while.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Apr 28, 2009 - 45 comments

Obama vs. Marx

Despite The Republican Talking Points, There's A Difference Between Obama And Marx: One Of Them's Not A Socialist. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Mar 22, 2009 - 155 comments

Speaking in Tongues

Speaking in Tongues is a terrific piece of writing by Zadie Smith. It's a little bit about Barack Obama. Mostly, though, it's about "world"-traveling and polyvocality. (pdf)
The first stage in the evolution is contingent and cannot be contrived. In this first stage, the voice, by no fault of its own, finds itself trapped between two poles, two competing belief systems. And so this first stage necessitates the second: the voice learns to be flexible between these two fixed points, even to the point of equivocation. Then the third stage: this native flexibility leads to a sense of being able to "see a thing from both sides." And then the final stage, which I think of as the mark of a certain kind of genius: the voice relinquishes ownership of itself, develops a creative sense of disassociation in which the claims that are particular to it seem no stronger than anyone else's. There it is, my little theory—I'd rather call it a story. It is a story about a wonderful voice, occasionally used by citizens, rarely by men of power.

posted by anotherpanacea on Feb 26, 2009 - 16 comments

I'm President Barack Obama, and today is the longest day of my life.

Barack Obama: President, CTU Member, Jedi Knight, Samurai. [more inside]
posted by armage on Jan 21, 2009 - 43 comments

Septimius Severus - the Barack Obama of the Roman Empire?

Is history repeating itself? Note quite 2000 years ago, the Roman hegemony got its first black leader - a former senator whose father was African and mother was white. Septimius Severus inherited a failed military campaign in Iraq and an ailing economy. He first resolves the situation in Iraq, undertakes a number of new building projects, stamps out governmental corruption, raises taxes to pay for wage increases (and kicks British arse a few times). Ultimately though, it all might have only hastened the Empire's decline.
posted by zaebiz on Dec 8, 2008 - 95 comments

The Economist: The World in 2009

In 2009, a remarkably gifted politician, confronting a remarkably difficult set of challenges, will have to learn to say "No we can't", Guantánamo will prove a moral minefield, economic recovery will be invisible to the naked eye, governments must prepare for the day they stop financial guarantees, we will judge our commitment to sustainability, scientists should research the causes of religion, we will all be potential online paparazzi, English will have more words than any other language (but it's meaningless), Afghanistan will see a surge of Western (read: American) troops, Iran will continue its nuclear quest while diplomacy lies in shambles, the sea floor is the new frontier, we should rethink aging, (non-)voters will continue to thwart the European project -- but cheap travel will continue to buoy it -- though it has some unfinished business to attend to, and a Nordic defence bond will blossom.

The Economist: The World in 2009. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 27, 2008 - 31 comments

Hillary Clinton to accept Obama's offer of secretary of state job

Hillary Clinton plans to accept the job of secretary of state offered by Barack Obama, who is reaching out to former rivals to build a broad coalition administration, the Guardian has learned.
posted by defenestration on Nov 17, 2008 - 195 comments

A President is Known by His Lawn Mower

Is there no end to the shady associations of Barack Obama? Crack journalist Dave Barry has published photographic proof that the president-elect is a Lawn Ranger. What's a Lawn Ranger? Glad you asked. Dave Barry has written about this nefarious organization not once, but twice and their strange and eldritch rites have been profiled on WILL public television of Central Illinois, where the organization has its headquarters, in the town of Arcola, where they parade every year.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 14, 2008 - 19 comments

There will be a quiz in four years

Now that we can dispense with trivia about the U.S. elections, it's time for everyone to get better acquainted with President-Elect Obama: 50 things you should know about Barack Obama vs. Barack Obama: The 50 facts you might not know. (via Buzzfeed) [more inside]
posted by Doktor Zed on Nov 9, 2008 - 112 comments

Hello Barack, Goodbye Shrub

It's only 73 days before Inauguration Day 2009. Planning has been going on for a while. Beyonce wants to perform and the Boss plans to release an album on the day. Be sure to call your Congressperson to get your tickets. Make your plans right away, everybody wants to go. If you go, don't forget to say a rousing good-bye to you know who.
posted by Xurando on Nov 8, 2008 - 27 comments

"Just don’t call this blog entry a deconstruction."

It was a dark and stormy campaign... A film theorist's thoughts on the narratives of Barack Obama and John McCain. [more inside]
posted by defenestration on Nov 8, 2008 - 15 comments

Obama Didn't Need a Weatherman

“I think my relationship with Obama was probably like that of thousands of others in Chicago and, like millions and millions of others, I wished I knew him better.” William Ayers speaks.
posted by Knappster on Nov 5, 2008 - 78 comments

I said BOWLing at the White House...

Long discussed, searched for and even relocated, the White House Bowling Alley has been closed to league members since 9/11. The most avid (p)residential bowlers? Lady Bird Johnson and Richard Nixon. (his ball, previously) [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Oct 20, 2008 - 37 comments

“Ralph Nader of the cornfields”

Meet Andy Martin, aka Anthony R. Martin-Trigona, perennial losing candidate for public office and one of the truly great vexatious litigators. [more inside]
posted by enn on Oct 10, 2008 - 13 comments

Politcal Sketch

"As he walks past I am struck by the way, from his default gloomy expression, he constantly flashes his rictus grin at people, like a doomed and slightly out of control belisha beacon" - The Guardian's cartoonist Steve Bell on drawing Gordon 'Gordy' Brown (video). He's in the process of producing a number of sketchbooks covering the conference season - Liberal Democrat, Labour 1, Labour 2. And he covered this year's Democrat and Republican conventions and also visited 'Manifest Hope' (video), an art exhibition based around images of Barack Obama. Previously.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Sep 25, 2008 - 9 comments

Let's see if we can't get that up on the Internet.

SLYT: Crazy preacher comes to the defense of Bristol Palin. Starts out slow, but picks up steam.
posted by greenie2600 on Sep 24, 2008 - 98 comments

A Speech So Stirring It Converted Pat Buchanan

On the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, Barack Obama accepted the nomination of the Democratic Party to be their Presidential candidate with a speech so well-crafted that Pat bloody Buchanan couldn't stop raving about it, and had to be cut off by his fellow broadcasters. It was an occasion so historic that McCain chose to release an ad congratulating his opponent.
posted by WCityMike on Aug 28, 2008 - 235 comments

Biden Wins Veepstakes!

VP newsfilter (because someone’s got to do it) The Times just confirmed that the Obama Campaign has chosen Delaware’s 65-year-old Senator Joe Biden as the presumptive nominee’s Vice Presidential running mate. With decades of foreign policy experience (including a recent stint in war-torn Georgia), and as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, can Biden help pull the ticket out of a neck and neck tie with Senator John McCain [more inside]
posted by punkbitch on Aug 22, 2008 - 457 comments

Professor Obama's final

Can you pass a Barack Obama's final? [more inside]
posted by jourman2 on Jul 29, 2008 - 92 comments

Obama as Political Animal

Making It, in which a young, black, upstart politician rises through the Chicago political scene by having his opposition stricken from the ballot, turning against his endorser, and redistricting himself into a fundraising monster. [more inside]
posted by Weebot on Jul 14, 2008 - 32 comments

'The Politics of Fear'

"The New Yorker says it's satire. It certainly will be candy for cable news." The cover illustration (by Barry Blitt) of the magazine's July 21st. issue depicts Barack Obama in tribal African dress, fist-bumping his wife "in full revolutionary garb, an enormous afro making her look like a millennial Angela Davis, holding an automatic weapon and wearing military pants" in the Oval Office. On the wall -- a portrait of Osama bin Laden; in the fireplace a burning American flag. [more inside]
posted by ericb on Jul 13, 2008 - 257 comments

Obama supports Blue Dog

Obama, telecoms and the Beltway system. Georgia Rep. John Barrow ran ads accusing his party of wanting to "cut and run in Iraq," and was one of the Blue Dogs to send a letter to Pelosi asking to be allowed to vote to give the President warrantless eavesdropping powers and to give lawbreaking telecoms amnesty (previously). Barrow faces a July primary challenge from State Senator Regina Thomas, whose policy positions more closely match Obama's views and the views of the Democratic base in that district. Despite this, Obama has taped a radio ad in support of Barrow.
posted by joannemerriam on Jun 20, 2008 - 124 comments

Eat the taco. A funnel cake won't kill you.

E. D. Hill has company. Jamison Foser of Media Matters for America summarizes how Obama is treated by the press. (via Jay Lake) [more inside]
posted by joannemerriam on Jun 14, 2008 - 118 comments

A moment in history; Obama Wins Presidential Nomination.

It's official. Obama has won the Democratic Party nomination for the US Presidency. In response, McCain has launched a "verbal sortie" against him and the media has already begun disecting Hillary's campaign.
posted by Effigy2000 on Jun 3, 2008 - 949 comments

The story of the Democratic primaries so far, boiled down to seven minutes.

The Democratic Primary Season in 7 Minutes.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on May 6, 2008 - 63 comments

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