In seven days, Donald J. Trump is due to be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America. What happens next? [more inside]
A day after the release of the declassified report on Russian hacking during the 2016 election, the New York Times is reporting this morning on the business deals of Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner. In Washington, Congressional Republicans seem to be supporting Trump's campaign promise to build a border wall between the US and Mexico, even though it seems that American taxpayers will be the ones fronting the money to pay for it. Mr. Trump, with 13 days to go before he assumes the presidency, is tweeting about the "stupid" people, or fools, would think that [having a good relationship with Russia] is bad! He will purportedly give a press conference this week, on January 11, following President Obama's Farewell Address, on January 10. A number of confirmation hearings will also take place on the 11th. [more inside]
The Obama's final celebration of American music, Love & Happiness, has been posted to the White House Youtube channel. The 82-minute concert features Jill Scott, Regina Hall, Terrence J., Yolanda Adams, Janelle Monae, Leslie Odom Jr., BBD, Michelle Williams, The Roots, De La Soul, Usher, and Samuel L. Jackson.
As Rogue One plays, the US Electoral College, despite possible rebellions and protests, votes: 304 for Donald Trump, 227 for Hillary Clinton, 3 for Colin Powell, and 1 each for Faith Spotted Eagle, Bernie Sanders, Ron Paul and John Kasich. On the squawk mortar, the former obsessive green ink letter writer tussles with POTUS #42 and gets nuclear (more), while the current POTUS restricts offshore drilling and stays a figure of hope. With the inauguration and ball less than a month away, the stage is being built while performers are still being negotiated. Retrospections and speculations on what the wounded Democratic Party and liberals do next, and who leads, abounds. Meanwhile, liberals are arming, Pence is interpreting, Estonians are worried, North Carolina is undemocratic and funding signs are ominous. [more inside]
In yet another week of "surely this...", Russia is accused of helping him win the US election to a Senator's dismay and possible retaliation, Mitt loses out to Tillerson, Rick Perry is nominated for can't remember oops, other people are nominated, and librarians and science come under attack, with net neutrality possibly next. The Electoral College is but a few days away, with lobbying, labels, opinions and angry celebrities. However, the chances of a shock are low. Elsewhere, the public vote gives Hillary a large lead with comparisons to previous elections, Louisiana voted, the 2018 midterms are underway, Barack is interviewed, contemporary capitalism, Putin's revenge, un-democracy in North Carolina, latest odds, and piñata. [more inside]
While book-reading president-elect Donald continues to tweet and finally speaks with the New York Times, he also generates news: property in Argentina, conflict of interests and the foreign Emoluments Clause, Foundation tax returns, NASA funding, New York protection costs and disruption, flip-flopping, the Climate Accord, a musical, ending the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and not attempting to prosecute Hillary. New appointments include DeVos as education secretary and Haley as U.N. ambassador, with Michael Flynn tapped as national security advisor. Beyond Trump Tower, the results in three states may be challengeable or challenged, and in the ongoing count, Hillary's popular vote lead exceeds two million (live spreadsheet). [more inside]
The 2016 US election is over and most of the results are in. Barring incident, Barack Obama (#44) will hand over to Donald Trump (#45) at noon on January 20th 2017; transition activities are underway. Following a relentless campaign, Hillary Clinton conceded and called for unity. The Republican Party has also secured the Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as electing more governors. Voter suppression during the election continues to be an issue. Reaction to Trump's victory has ranged from protests to shock, and there are many questions about what he will do in office regarding issues such as Obamacare. Some are drawing parallels between the election result and Brexit. The press is also contemplating the future of the Democratic Party and their road ahead. [more inside]
Fifteen months ago, Donald declared and we commented; two months earlier, Hillary did likewise. And now, here we are near the end of an divisive and damaging election. As Donald's campaign struggles under many allegations [BBC] [NBC News] [Guardian] [New York Times] and increased conversation on abuse, Hillary pulls out a 7 point lead in a Fox poll, a gap in the Real Clear Politics poll average and a large victory chance in 538 (though, cautionary words about poll bounces). Michelle Obama spoke about the language of this election (FPP title from her speech) [BBC] [New Yorker] [Washington Post] and in The Guardian: "She lent her extraordinary ability to say what people are feeling to every English-speaking woman in the world". Elsewhere, Trump-stooge Chris Christie is facing a criminal summons and Utah could be a three-way race which leads to a small possibility of President Evan. [more inside]
Barack Obama and Doris Kearns Goodwin: The Ultimate Exit Interview [Vanity Fair] As his two-term presidency draws to a close, Barack Obama is looking back—at the legacies of his predecessors, as well as his own—and forward, to the freedom of life after the White House. In a wide-ranging conversation with one of the nation’s foremost presidential historians, he talks about his ambitions, frustrations, and the decisions that still haunt him.
State of the Union Machine allows you to mix previous State of the Union speeches from Obama's pre-State of the Union tour, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington in differing ratios to make something new, courtesy of the Sunlight Foundation.
How might President Obama's leadership style be rooted in his psychology? Psychoanalysts Nasir Ghaemi, Samuel Barondes, and Justin Frank venture opinions, and writer Robert Merry applies a framework from political psychology. (psychoanalyst Drew Westen, previously)
President Obama is now the first president to be 3D scanned and printed. The...creation will be housed at the National Portrait Gallery.
Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tom Perkins took to the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal to compare progressive angst over income inequality to the sentiment that led to the Nazi Kristallnacht. Citing the recent kerfuffle over Google buses in San Francisco (previously) and accusations of snobbery by San Francisco resident, bestselling author, and Perkins' own ex-wife Danielle Steel (who he describes as "our number-one celebrity"), Perkins asks "Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent 'progressive' radicalism unthinkable now?" [more inside]
"Untold History of the United States challenges the basic narrative of the U.S. history that most Americans have been taught.... [Such history] is consoling; it is comforting. But it only tells a small part of the story." Instead of clips of modern people pondering the past, Oliver Stone's ten-part series relies heavily on archival footage and clips from old Hollywood films, with narration by Stone. Towards the end, he gets into the assassination of JFK, "but that should not detract from a series that sets out to be a counterweight to the patriotic cheerleading and myth-making." [more inside]
Obama, DC Press Corps Locked In Mutual Loathing Pact. Mike Allen, of Politico, in his article Obama, The Puppet Master, said that Obama " has shut down interviews with many of the White House reporters who know the most and ask the toughest questions." John Cook (Gawker) replies: I will now tweet every question Politico's Mike Allen asked President George W. Bush during a May 2008 interview" (Screenshot) [more inside]
"For finding and forging a new majority, for turning weakness into opportunity and for seeking, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union, Barack Obama is TIME’s 2012 Person of the Year." Runners-up included Malala Yousafzai, Tim Cook, Mohamed Morsi, and Fabiola Gianotti.
My Dearest Barack: A collection of letters that student Dylan Hansen-Fliedner wrote back to the Obama campaign, in response to donation requests.
Charlie Pierce is a longtime sportswriter and author who has, among other things, reported for Grantland, Slate, and the Boston Globe, paneled on more than a few games of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, and fished diapers out of trees as a state forest ranger. He's also made a name for himself as one of the sharpest and most incisive political columnists since Molly Ivins. The lead writer for Esquire's Politics Blog ever since a caustic article on former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell cost him his Globe job, Pierce has churned out an uninterrupted stream of clever, colorful, and challenging commentary on the 2012 election season and its implications for the nation's future, dispatches often seething with eviscerative anger but shot through with deep love of (or perhaps grief for) country. Look inside for a selection of Pierce's most vital works for some edifying Election Eve reading. [more inside]
Democracy Distilled: A History of America's Voting Rights. Remember to vote this November. Women in America, let's rise up. [more inside]
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]
"He is a jackass... but he's talented." - Barack Obama. The Atlantic profiles Kanye West.
"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]
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
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]
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]
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.
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.
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.
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]
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]
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.
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.
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]
The Economist: The World in 2009. [more inside]
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.
SLYT: Crazy preacher comes to the defense of Bristol Palin. Starts out slow, but picks up steam.
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.
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]
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.
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