Obama's People [full-screen slideshow]: one photographer; one background; fifty-two members of the incoming US administration. Oh, and one "significant item" per person. The kind of thing -- not just a political piece, but a photographic project -- that reminds you what the institutional clout of the New York Times can make possible.
Timothy Geithner is an experienced financial leader (previously). He is President Obama's pick to run the Treasury Department, which includes the Internal Revenue Service. The problem is that Mr. Geithner did not pay more than $30,000 in taxes, even his employer reminded him to do so. Now his nomination may be in jeopardy. Is Mr. Geithner the new Zoe Baird?
ObamiconMe. Remake your image in a style inspired by Shepard Fairey's election poster. [more inside]
Bringing Justice to the War on Terrorism. 3 views on how the incoming administration should deal with the legal legacy of Bush Administration policies like torture, surveillance, and extraordinary rendition. Charles Fried makes the case against criminal prosecutions, Dahlia Lithwick makes the case for investigations followed by prosecutions, and Jack Balkin argues for truth commissions. [Via]
The Justice Department - brought to you by the letters ORLY? The left gets to hate him because he "is the RIAA's favorite lawyer". (Note however, that the RIAA has still never actually won a judgement against a file sharer.) The right gets to hate him because he was the lawyer for Terry Schiavo's husband. Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce Thomas J. Perrelli, Obama's selection for associate Attorney General. [more inside]
In 1996 a man known only as "Bugs" rocked the cryptozoology world with the claim that during the 1970s he was part of a hunting party in the Texas panhandle that shot, killed & buried two adult Bigfoots. Bugs turned over a copy of his map to radio talk show host Art Bell & was never heard from again, despite pleas to step forward from prominent members of the Bigfoot community. All that changed a few days ago when somebody recognized Bugs's voice while listening to political muckraker Ed Hale's Internet radio show. Ed's current cause is uncovering documentary evidence that President-Elect Barack Obama is not a "natural born citizen" and therefore is ineligible for office. Currently Ed claims to be in possession of Obama's parents' divorce decree. Although Ed has not made an official comment on the matter, a commenter claiming to be Ed has posted a short defense that admits he was the infamous "Bugs". (via)
The historic inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama is two weeks away, and vendors are making a mint selling memorabilia. But be warned: the commemorative coins you see being advertised are not official. A relatively new $1 coin series does feature US presidents in chronological order (previously), but getting Americans to use $1 coins hasn't been easy. Remember Susan B. Anthony, Columbus and Sacagawea? Native American $1 coins will be offered in tandem with the presidential series; if they continue to be issued, Obama's official $1 coin should be available in 2017.
Inauguration 2009 Sermons and Orations Project The Library of Congress invites you to submit digital audio or video recordings of speeches made between January 16 and january 25, 2009 on the occasion of Barack Obama's inauguration. The speeches will be archived in a collection for future scholarship, much like the Day of Infamyand other collections capturing signifcant American moments.
How the president-elect tapped into a powerful—and only recently studied—human emotion called "elevation." Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California-Berkeley, studies the emotions of uplift, and he has tried everything from showing subjects vistas of the Grand Canyon to reading them poetry—with little success. But just this week one of his postdocs came in with a great idea: Hook up the subjects, play Barack Obama's victory speech, and record as their autonomic nervous systems go into a swoon....It was while looking through the letters of Thomas Jefferson that Haidt first found a description of elevation. Jefferson wrote of the physical sensation that comes from witnessing goodness in others: It is to "dilate [the] breast and elevate [the] sentiments … and privately covenant to copy the fair example." (via Geek Press) [more inside]
Gay marriage equals incest and pedophilia. Abortion equals the Holocaust. Or so thinks "America's Pastor Rick "Saddleback" Warren, bestselling author of The Purpose-Driven Life, vocal supporter of Proposition 8, and the spiritual leader chosen by President-elect Obama to give the invocation at his inauguration. But hey -- don't call him a homophobe: He even eats dinner with gays.
NYT: "The White House has turned down a request from the family of President-elect Barack Obama to move into Blair House in early January so that his daughters can start school on Jan. 5." [more inside]
An Open Letter to Barack Obama [PDF]. The hard right are starting to play hardball now in their accusations of Obama of being ineligible to hold office with conservative blog WorldNetDaily leading the charge in recent months. Now the fight has been taken to the Supreme Court and has been rejected already but that's not stopping some people from trying.
The governor of Illinois, the guy who gets to pick who gets Obama's senate seat, gets arrested for corruption. [more inside]
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.
He collects Spider-Man comics. He video chats on his MacBook. He name-drops Jor-El of Krypton. He gave the Vulcan salute to Spock and jokes about "lithium crystals" (surely a misquote). He's got his own high-definition vlog on YouTube. Now, the Geek-in-Chief and his Team of Nerds are using their powers for good. Change.gov has been under a Creative Commons license for a while now, but yesterday, they took transparency a step further by announcing that "all policy documents from official meetings with outside organizations will be publicly available for review and discussion." What's next: revision control?
America has come a long way. There is the official version of history or the peoples' version. There are artifacts and rankings. They had some quirks and were occasionally men of their time. If you prefer audio or visual references those are available as well. Common knowledge has it that one GW was our first President but the title of first is under dispute. 230 years later another GW is making a run for worst. That is also under dispute by the nations best brains. For better and worse, the story of the Presidency is the story of America.
"The thing that kills me about education is that it's so touchy-feely...if the children don't know how to read, I don't care how creative you are. You're not doing your job". Michelle Rhee is polarizing, inexperienced, abrasive, and young - and with urban school systems all over the country watching, she is trying to rebuild DC's famously troubled public school system (link to full series). [more inside]
NYRB-filter: The Truth About The Election by Elizabeth Drew
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]
A 1926 Brazilian sci-fi novel predicts a U.S. election determined by race and gender. O Presidente Negro envisions the 2228 U.S. presidential election. In that race, the white male incumbent, President Kerlog, finds himself running against Evelyn Astor, a white feminist, and James Roy Wilde, the cultivated and brilliant leader of the Black Association, "a man who is more than just a single man ... what we call a leader of the masses."
APIC is dedicated to promoting the collection, preservation and study of materials relating to political campaigns and the U.S. presidency. While this site's appearance may not be, some people's collections and knowledge are impressive. [more inside]
Obama's win is a racial milestone in world history, but beneath the surface a white backlash is festering in the US, spurring hate crimes around the country and an uptick in recruitment among white supremacists, according to the The Southern Poverty Law Center.
Guantanamo Bay, or Gitmo as it has often been called, has a long and sordid history of human rights abuses and those that have spent some time there have more than their fair share of stories to tell. But it looks as thought it's all coming to a close as in a major interview with 60 Minutes, Obama has vowed to shut down Guantanamo Bay and rebuild "America's moral stature in the world." [more inside]
The fashion world scrambles to stay ahead. Michelle Obama emerges as an American fashion icon. She may appear in Vogue. Can she recover from her election night fashion faux pas? This is history in the making.
U.S. Presidents have had an uneven relationship with technology. The Clinton Presidential Library has more than 40 million White House emails on record (but only two are from the man himself). The Bush Administration, on the other hand, junked the Clinton archival process and replaced it with a comically inept alternative that has lost more than five million messages, many concerning official government business. (President Bush, for his part, gave up his longtime address -- G94b@aol.com -- just before his inauguration). Even the Reagan White House had its share of problems with the digital age. Now, as tech-savvy Barack Obama prepares to implement his technology plans, does he have a shot at dragging the Oval Office into the 21st century? Or will he have to surrender his laptop, his email account, and his beloved Blackberry?
[An Important SLYT from President-elect Barack Obama] President-elect Obama releases his first Weekly Radio Address over Youtube. This marks the first time the weekly address has ever been released on web video, and the first of his promised web addresses that will be broadcasted throughout his administration.
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.
Want one of the roughly 7,000 jobs in Obama's administration? Hope you've got a pencil and some time to spare. Obama wants any internet "handles" you've used, too, presumably for vetting past snark. But lengthly questionnaires aren't anything new... [more inside]
Nanobliss "Nanobliss is a gallery of visualizations of small-scale structures of carbon nanotubes and silicon, created by John Hart." I came for the awesome Nanobamas [Flickr set here], but was impressed enough with the rest to share the whole. Enjoy---particularly the informative techniques page. At the very least, have a look at some of the pretty nano pictures.
According to political scientist Wayne Parent, “The South has moved from being the center of the political universe to being an outside player in presidential politics.” Are we finally seeing the end of Nixon's infamous Southern Strategy? For years Republicans have depended on the region to win elections. Some now argue that the G.O.P. has "transformed itself from the Party of Lincoln into the Party of the Old Confederacy." In any case, playing to racism and resentment [PDF] isn't as effective as it used to be. Furthermore, many Republicans have publicly disowned such tactics.
GOP 2.0 There's no doubt that the internet operation of President-Elect Obama was a key part of his success. While it appears that he is attempting to turn that success into an engine for keeping citizens and supporters engaged with the revolutionary Change.gov,(Previously), the other side also is looking to harness the wave of internet electioneering. [more inside]
After the Imperial Presidency. "Will the new president and Congress undo the executive-power plays of the Bush era?"
Global Headlines. Yes, we've made history. Here is what it looked like, via the headlines of the newspapers around the world.
Change.gov, office of the president-elect went live today. Submit your story. Share your vision. Get a non-career job in the administration, or get ready to get involved.
from 52 to 48 with love : Ze Frank collects post-election messages of unity and reconciliation. [more inside]
The day after a senator from Illinois, is elected president, the Pick 3 lottery in Illinois comes up 666. It's happened before, notably in Pennsylvania (12 times, including one time as part of a scam and once earlier this year, in Maryland. Some are jokingly (I hope) calling him the antichrist as a result. Others, namely numbers geeks like me, are spending their lunch hours looking up the history of lotteries drawing triple numbers and sharing it with MetaFilter.
Fred Kaplan gives President Obama suggestions on foreign policy repair.
How Obama Did It: an in-depth look behind the scenes of the campaign, assembled by a special team of reporters who were granted year-long access on the condition that none of their findings appear until after Election Day.
This thing ain't over yet! Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia has failed to reach 50% of the vote, thereby triggering an automatic runoff election on December 2nd, between him and Democratic challenger Jim Martin, who received 47% of the vote. This gives the Democrats a rare opportunity to concentrate all their efforts over the next month on a state in the heart of the South. Can we expect President-elect Obama and Jim Martin to launch a concentrated campaign across the state of Georgia, hoping to do what they did in Indiana, and turn a traditionally Republican state blue again? Yes, I suspect, we can!
People took to the streets to celebrate Obama's victory in New York, Seattle, Austin, San Francisco, Boulder, New Brunswick, Oakland, Philadelphia, Gainesville, Los Angeles, Boston, Portland, Atlanta, Cambridge, Madison, Richmond, Baltimore, Santa Cruz, and Washinton, D.C. [more inside]
It's morning in America again -- but for the thousands of committed gay couples who got married in California [warning: Dan Fogelberg music, sweet visuals], the long nightmare of intolerance and hate is not yet over with the probable victory of Proposition 8. Supported by the anti-equality stances of Sarah Palin and "divinely" inspired others, and paid for by members of the Mormon Church and the mother of Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, many of the ads for Prop. 8 featured the faces of Obama and Joe Biden, who declared their opposition to the initiative but refused to support equal marriage rights for all, preferring to talk about "civil unions." Even excellent Democratic-leaning politics sites like Talking Points Memo were saturated with the deceptive ads, which overwhelmed those comparing the proposition to other forms of discrimination in California's history.