As internal leaks from the Romney camp suggest a campaign in serious disarray, and poll-of-polls meta-analyses show him with little time to recover his position before November, Mother Jones has acquired video from a private Romney fundraiser at which the candidate said of Obama supporters: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. Ezra Klein puts aside the political ramifications and crunches the numbers about who does and doesn't pay income tax in America. The Romney camp responds to the leak.
The year 2009 began a disturbing new trend: the criminalization of whistleblowing. The Obama administration has pursued a quiet but relentless campaign against the news media and their sources. This Article focuses on the sources who, more often than not, are whistleblowers. A spate of “leak” prosecutions brought under the Espionage Act has shaken the world of whistleblower attorneys, goodgovernment groups, transparency organizations, and civil liberties advocates. The Obama administration has prosecuted ﬁve criminal cases under the Espionage Act, which is more than all other presidential administrations combined. [more inside]
Want to see how much more you'd pay if Mitt Romney becomes President? The Tax Policy Center has published a report (pdf) saying that Romney's proposed tax plan would result in lighter taxes for the rich -- and a heavier tax burden for middle class taxpayers. The Obama campaign has been quick to provide the on-line app which is the first link above, for voters to calculate the difference for themselves. They've also released an ad, vetted as quite accurate, on the issue.
With the U.S. Presidential election about 3 months away, and voter ID laws headed to court this Wednesday in Pennsylvania and in other states like Texas and Minnesota, Propublica tells you Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Voter ID Laws. A solution to a nonproblem. [Previously] [more inside]
Late last year Congress passed, and the President signed, the NDAA FY 2012. Many people and organizations protested claiming that some provisions in the NDAA could be interpreted in such a way as to allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens by the military. On January 13th a complaint was filed contesting the provisions. Now, Judge Katherine B. Forest has blocked enforcement of the controversial provisions. The government has filed a motion for reconsideration. [more inside]
"He is a jackass... but he's talented." - Barack Obama. The Atlantic profiles Kanye West.
one of these guys has a convincing rap voice and the other has a convincing 'no mom i don't wanna take out the garbage' voice
Political Rap Videos, curated by SomethingAwful. (NSFW language)
Mary Brown, a 56-year-old Florida woman who owned a small auto repair shop but had no health insurance, became the lead plaintiff challenging President Obama's healthcare law because she was passionate about the issue. Brown "doesn't have insurance. She doesn't want to pay for it. And she doesn't want the government to tell her she has to have it," said Karen Harned, a lawyer for the National Federation of Independent Business. Brown is a plaintiff in the federation's case, which the Supreme Court plans to hear later this month. But court records reveal that Brown and her husband filed for bankruptcy last fall with $4,500 in unpaid medical bills. Those bills could change Brown from a symbol of proud independence into an example of exactly the problem the healthcare law was intended to address. [more inside]
Bill Simmons of ESPN and Grantland speaks to President Barack Obama about various sports topics on this week's B.S. Report podcast.
Depressed/frightened/disheartened about the GOP primary race? Here's Bad Lip Reading doing Rick Santorum and the rest of the GOP roster: Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry. [more inside]
"The Obama Administration today unveiled a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights as part of a comprehensive blueprint to protect individual privacy rights and give users more control over how their information is handled." Full 62-page PDF - Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy. "In addition, advertising networks announced that leading Internet companies and online advertising networks are committing to act on Do Not Track technology in most major web browsers to make it easier for users to control online tracking. Companies that represent the delivery of nearly 90 percent of online behavioral advertisements, including Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and AOL have agreed to comply when consumers choose to control online tracking. Companies that make this commitment will be subject to FTC enforcement." [more inside]
google.com/elections [via] "Maybe the most interesting aspect of the site is the real-time dashboard, which displays recent search trends, Google News mentions and YouTube video views for all the candidates."
Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies: Ron Paul’s candidacy is a mirror held up in front of the face of America’s Democratic Party and its progressive wing, and the image that is reflected is an ugly one; more to the point, it’s one they do not want to see because it so violently conflicts with their desired self-perception. [more inside]
Scott Walker, Michele Bachmann, Robin Vos, Karl Rove, Joe Moore, Ron Paul, Scott Serota, Newt Gingrich, Rahm Emanuel, Eric Cantor, and, today, Barack Obama
"Change Proposed for State's Electoral Vote Process." Gov. Tom Corbett and state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi are proposing that Pennsylvania divide up its Electoral College votes according to which candidates carried each Congressional district, plus two votes for the statewide winner. Talking Points Memo says that under the proposed plan Obama would have received only 11 of the state's 20 electors in 2008; Dave Weigel and Nick Baumann say gerrymandering could mean that in 2012 Obama could actually wind up with a minority of the state's electors even if he carries the state. GOP-led legislatures in other states, such as Wisconsin and Michigan, could make similar moves. But could this be a bridge too far for some members of the state's GOP caucus? [more inside]
Categories as fundamental as fact and fiction, news and entertainment, gender and sexuality, have eroded away. In literature and architecture, in cuisine, in music, in fashion and furnishings, everywhere, everything—it’s fusion and mix. Barack Obama emerged as a literal embodiment of this age. To educated people, especially younger people with generally progressive views, other candidates suddenly looked parochial by comparison—or simply outdated. In his ethnicity and biography and in his personality and politics, Obama, the conciliator, was above all a combiner. Because he was from virtually everywhere—Kenya, Indonesia, Honolulu, Harvard, Chicago’s South Side—he was also from nowhere. The pastiche of his persona made him “his own man” in a new sense of the term.On the Politics of Pastiche and Depthless Intensities: The Case of Barack Obama
"If it hadn't been for you guys, I might not be here..." On November 14, 1960, six-year-old Ruby Bridges walked by a mob surrounding William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, becoming the first African-American child to integrate a white elementary school in the South. [more inside]
In a 32 page report to Congress [pdf] President Obama concludes:
...the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require further congressional authorization, because U.S. military operations are distinct from the kind of “hostilities” contemplated by the Resolution’s 60 day termination provision.Now, the New York Times reports that this legal opinion was reached by rejecting the views of top lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department. It is instructive to compare President Obama's actions with those of his predecessor, George W. Bush. [more inside]
Mahalo! What A Week: US President Barack Obama at the recent White House Correspondence Dinner (SLYTP - 19 Min)
The Washington Post has invited Donald Trump as its guest for the annual White House Correspondents Dinner. WaPo writers Ezra Klein and Dana Milbank are not amused, with the latter pointing out that his paper had recently taken Trump to task for his rampant birtherism. No word yet on how the POTUS might react.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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]
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]
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.
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."
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.
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)."
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]
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)
Barack Obama wins Nobel Prize for Peace 2009. Isn't this kind of... soon?
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]
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]
John Hodgman tests President Obama's nerd credentials at the Radio and TV Correspondents Dinner. [SLYT]
Tonight in Tempe, a forgiving, but not quite forgetful, President Obama gave the commencement address at Arizona State University. [more inside]
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.