Countries like to give President Barack Obama gifts. The Washington Post catalogued and ranked them for us:
It's really a funny collection of presents, for which, were you asked To what sort of person was this gift given?, you'd likely have a wide variety of responses. Argentina gave Obama a silver dagger in a display box in 2012, perhaps confusing the president with their 13-year-old nephew. Britain gave the family a shawl and some kids clothes in 2009, playing the role of America's eccentric aunt.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the signing of the civil rights act, and to commemorate, the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library hosted in April a Civil Rights Summit
, featuring dozens of civil rights luminaries as well as Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and President Barack Obama. [more inside]
I have lived many of the questions that have become central to our national discourse since 1998. How far should we allow the government into our bedrooms? How do we reconcile the right to privacy with the need to expose sexual indiscretion? How do we guard against an overzealous government demanding our private data and information? And, most important to me personally, how do we cope with the shame game as it’s played in the Internet Age?
- Monica Lewinsky for Vanity Fair
The US is a little closer to a popular vote for president. Governor Cuomo added New York State
to the National Popular Vote
interstate compact. [more inside]
The William Jefferson Clinton Library has been releasing
, in batches
, thousands of pages
of previously classified documents
"The world is made of people: I get this. Our republic only works if we know our leaders are fallible humans. I disagree with the U.S. government about plenty. None of this kept me from experiencing immediate, full-on, feverish anxiety.
Flying on Air Force One the day Kennedy died: "In the small aft cabin, behind the bedroom, Sergeant Ayres is removing two rows of seats to make room for a casket. ... Johnson then asks [Robert] Kennedy where he should take the oath of office and what its exact words are. The questions are met with silence before Kennedy replies that he will find out and call back. He hangs up." Esquire [more inside]
In response to Senator Mitch McConnell
and his assertion that in 2016, Hillary Clinton will be too old to run for POTUS, Jezebel presents 101 Things Older Than Hillary Clinton.
President Barack Obama will tonight give the first State of the Union address of his second term in office.
The address will again
focus strongly on the issues of jobs and the economy.
The Republican response will be delivered by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and will focus on traditional Republican messages of lower taxes and spending
. The bilingual Senator plans to give his remarks in both English and Spanish
in an attempt to reach out to the Latino community which has proven difficult for Republican politicians to connect with.
There will also be a Tea Party response delivered by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Senator Paul will call for
reduced spending and debt and for the Republican party to be more welcoming of immigrants. Jill Stein of the Green Party
will also give a response. [more inside]
In May 16, 1961, Park Chung-hee
ended the Second Republic of South Korea by military coup. On December 18, 2012, his daughter, Park Geun-hye
, became South Korea's president by democratic election under the Saenuri
party against human rights lawyer Moon Jae-in, of the DUP
. [more inside]
There's been a lot of talk in the US media about the "Fiscal Cliff" and the "Grand Bargain
" What are they?
The "fiscal cliff" is a confluence of three legal changes taking effect Jan. 1: the expiration of a payroll-tax cut, the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, and the advent of mandatory spending cuts known as "sequestration." Fiscal Cliff 101: 5 Basic Questions Answered
. What's Happening: Fiscal Cliff Explained [more inside]
The poor in America: In need of help Some 15% of Americans (around 46.2m people) live below the poverty line, as Ms Hamilton does. You have to go back to the early 1960s—before Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programmes—to find a significantly higher rate. Many more, like Ms Dunham, have incomes above the poverty line but nevertheless cannot meet their families’ basic monthly needs, and there are signs that their number is growing.
Once upon a time the fates of these people weighed heavily on American politicians. Ronald Reagan boasted about helping the poor by freeing them from having to pay federal income tax. Jack Kemp, Bob Dole’s running-mate in 1996, sought to spearhead a “new war on poverty.” George W. Bush called “deep, persistent poverty…unworthy of our nation’s promise”.
No longer. Budgets are tight and the safety net is expensive. Mitt Romney famously said he was not “concerned about the very poor” because they have a safety net to take care of them. Mr Obama’s second-term plan mentioned poverty once, and on the trail he spoke gingerly of “those aspiring to the middle class”. “Poor” is a four-letter word.
US Presidential race got you stressed? Escape into the past with Retro Campaigns.
President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney will have the final debate
of the US Presidential race tonight. Yawning at the thought of a formulaic back and forth, while secretly hoping for a rap battle? Then look beneath the fold for examples of explicit lyrical parodies. [more inside]
The American Presidency Project
is a comprehensive archive of more than 100,000 documents related to the study of the United States' Commander-in-Chief, including transcripts of debates
, public papers
, state of the union addresses
, White House Press Briefings
, party platforms
and election returns
, as well as audio and video recordings
. [more inside]
Why Obama Now
- from Simpsons/Family Guy animator Lucas Gray [more inside]
It's D-Day: Governor Mitt Romney debates President Barack Obama in Denver, Colorado. Will we see an epic game-changer
or an airless, pre-orchestrated zinger-swap
? [more inside]
What makes a candidate Presidential?
A series of articles on what qualities make a good American President by Slate's John Dickerson
Romney is perhaps best known for being a clown and a humanitarian, but long before his involvement in presidential politics, Romney was an LSD-fueled comedian. Here's a snippet
(No, not that Romney; the other one.) [more inside]
In 1992, Carole Simpson was the first woman and first minority to moderate a presidential debate.
Twenty years later, as Candy Crowley
is about to become only the 2nd woman to moderate, Carole Simpson writes a compelling look back on why it's taken 20 more years, and why both women have moderated "town hall" style debates, rather than asking the questions outright.
"The Republicans’ dominance in races throughout the country in the 2010 elections eviscerated the Democrats’ farm teams in state after state.
" Former Bill Clinton political director Doug Sosnik
offers an 8-page analysis of the U.S. election that discusses the likelihood of an Obama win, the chances of a complete Republican takeover of Congress, continued Republican dominance of governorships and state legislatures for the rest of the decade, and more. There's also a related slideshow
. [more inside]
We recently discussed which candidates you might vote for
in historical elections, but Josh Fruhlinger (of the Comics Curmudgeon
] and 
]) offers the chance to answer a somewhat different question: which Presidents should hook up? Hail to the Slash
(NSFW text - and maybe logo - but hey, it's Sunday!) [more inside]
Who would you vote for in historical American presidential elections and why?
Jeremy Young writes: I’m making my calculations based on a combination of which candidate I like the most and what I think candidates’ chances are of winning. I’m also not counting strategic voting (voting my conscience for a minor candidate in a state where my vote doesn’t matter). Nor am I considering regional “favorite son” status (i.e., the 1836 election). [more inside]
What are the secrets of former American President Bill Clinton noted oratory? Is it the writing
, the body language
or his unique human touch
? Whatever it is, his gift for speeches was on full display at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. [more inside]
Last year, The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU's Law School released a report
) detailing new, more restrictive state laws that affect voting rights and are likely to impact the outcome of the 2012 elections. The restrictions "fall most heavily on young, minority, and low-income voters, as well as on voters with disabilities." On August 3rd, 2012, they updated their analysis
with a pdf
of passed and pending State government legislation. Their conclusion: after a century in which the United States "expanded the franchise and knocked down myriad barriers to full electoral participation... that momentum [has] abruptly shifted." [more inside]
Just as the 19th Annual International AIDS Conference
is set to convene in Washington DC (the first IAC in the United States since 1987, when a travel ban
was instituted and not lifted until 2009), President Obama has announced that his administration has invested
$80 million in new grants for HIV/AIDS services, essentially eliminating the AIDS Drug Assistance Program waiting lists
, which currently hold the names of 2,030 Americans waiting for access to HIV-related health care.
A perceptive audio interview with biographer David Maraniss
on the life of Barack Obama, including detailed research on his friends and relatives.
Pulitzer-prize winning biographer and associate editor of the Washington Post David Maraniss ...collected so much detailed information about the life of Barack Obama and his forbears that when he submitted his introduction and chapter titles to the White House to request an interview, the President himself was intrigued and surprised.
President Barack Obama's administration will reportedly announce Friday that it will stop deporting and grant work permits to nearly 1 million immigrants who entered or remained in the United States.
The policy change, described to The Associated Press by two senior administration officials, will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants who have lived in fear of deportation. It also bypasses Congress and partially achieves the goals of the so-called DREAM Act, a long-sought but never enacted plan to establish a path toward citizenship for young people who came to the United States illegally but who have attended college or served in the military.
France has a new president.
With 51.9% of the second-round vote, François Hollande
has beaten Nicolas Sarkozy to become the first Socialist president of France since 1995. In his victory speech, Hollande declared that "austerity is not inevitable,"
but international business interests have already started rumbling
about Hollande's plans for higher taxes on the rich and large-scale public sector investment
. The change in power is to be effected in next ten days, with Hollande scheduled to appear at the G8 and NATO summits on May 19 and 20.
Today, President Obama signed an executive order
which places stricter disclosure requirements on recruiters for for-profit schools looking to recruit veterans and soldiers. The move comes amid growing concern among state and federal legislators
that for-profit educational institutions are doing more harm than good and are employing predatory recruiting practices
especially on veterans who are exiting the military and looking to improve their education through the Post-9/11 GI Bill
. [more inside]
President Barack Obama will today give the annual State of the Union address.
There will be at least three rebuttals
in addition to a prebuttal
that occurred this morning. The address will be streamed online at Whitehouse.gov. [more inside]
– as visualized by national broadcasting company, click Sivakoikaa! (Ski!). (About the candidates
). First round of Finland's presidential elections has finished with Sauli Niinistö (conservative) and Pekka Haavisto (green) winning 36.7% and 18.7% of votes. If no-one wins over 50% in the first round, the second round will be held amongst the top two candidates two weeks later. Haavisto has steadily doubled his share in polls, where Niinistö has halved his share from his best polls. Among his other achievements in international peace and being green
, Haavisto could be the first openly gay elected head of the state.
Anatomy of a Stump Speech.
The NY Times has been killing it of late with interactive features. This one is particularly good -- an annotated breakdown of the text and video of Republican stump speeches by four candidates. "Revisionist history alert: Mr. Gingrich is recasting his tempestuous tenure as House speaker..."
is an organization creating a ready-made slot on the 2012 presidential ballot
for an unnamed independent ticket, thus removing the biggest barrier to a 3rd party challenge. (Donald Trump suggests himself.)
The NYT thinks they'll qualify
in all 50 states.
they want a non-partisan, mixed-party ticket. Some
on the left
see a cabal of shadowy millionaires with ties to the FBI, CIA and military behind it. Team Obama is concerned.
On the 6th of December
2011, as has been traditional for the past 9 decades since Finland's Independence, the President, Tarja Halonen and her spouse, Dr Pentti Arajarvi host what is known
as the Linnan juhlat
or Castle Ball, an extremely popular televised reception for the notables of the nation
. Along with the usual dignitaries, the President is also permitted to select invitees based on merit - entertainers, athletes, individuals - whom she feels have been in the news in the past year.
This year Peter and Teija Vesterbacka also were invited due to Peter Vesterbacka's work as the CMO of Rovio. Teija Vesterbacka wore a red dress for the evening that had design concepts from one of the birds in the mobile game Angry Birds.
Highlighted in the Finnish news
by the very select group of photographers permitted entry to this exclusive event, it was when the photograph of this dress went viral among global MSM that the angry birds began to fly
Penn Jillette: An Atheist's Guide to the 2012 Election. [SLYT]
Via BigThink, "A knowledge forum featuring the ideas, lessons, stories and advice of leading experts from around the world."
If we trace liberal disappointment with President Obama to its origins, to try to pinpoint the moment when his crestfallen supporters realized that this was Not Change They Could Believe In, the souring probably began on December 17, 2008, when Obama announced that conservative Evangelical pastor Rick Warren would speak at his inauguration. “Abominable,” fumed John Aravosis on AmericaBlog. “Obama’s ‘inclusiveness’ mantra always seems to head only in one direction—an excuse to scorn progressives and embrace the Right,” seethed Salon’s Glenn Greenwald. On MSNBC, Rachel Maddow rode the story almost nightly: “I think the problem is getting larger for Barack Obama.” Negative 34 days into the start of the Obama presidency, the honeymoon was over.
Jonathan Chait asks in New York
magazine, When Did Liberals Become So Unreasonable? [more inside]
You would be hard pressed to find an article about Obama that didn't mention approval ratings. Ditto during Bush's presidency. This interactive graph
lets you compare approval ratings over time for presidents since Truman (article itself is dated but the chart is current). This graph
offers less interactivity but adds some historical points of context.
He rides with biker gangs! He shoots whales with a crossbow! He does piano recitals for charity! He bends frying pans with his bare hands! It's Vladimir Putin, Action Man
. [more inside]