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...Happy with the idea of a Democratic president—indeed, dancing-in-the-streets delirious—but not with the real thing

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]
posted by 2bucksplus on Nov 23, 2011 - 345 comments

Scoops, Swoops, and Perry's "Oops."

Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry is booked on all the major morning shows tomorrow, and with good reason. After two months of gaffes, impolitic stands, and bizarre speeches that quickly waned his once-strong odds of winning the Republican nomination, Perry went into Wednesday's CNBC debate sorely needing a win... only to deliver a tortuous, cringingly forgetful attempt [video] to recall just which three cabinet departments he'd vowed to abolish, a stunning failure political scientist Larry Sabato deemed "the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate" in his memory. While Perry's slow-motion flameout has boosted the fortunes of dark horse candidate Herman Cain, the unlikely challenger is facing troubles of his own in a volley of sexual harassment claims -- an oddly ineffective scandal Cain is doing his best to (somewhat dubiously) disavow. If Cain collapses, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich may reap the benefits, but his moribund campaign has issues of its own. Pawlenty, Bachmann, Perry, Christie, Cain, Gingrich... the base is loathe to rally round him, but after so many failed, flawed, or forfeited challenges, can anyone topple Mitt Romney?
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 10, 2011 - 208 comments

Take That, Hippies

November 2007 -- Barack Obama: "[I]f the science and the doctors suggest that the best palliative care and the way to relieve pain and suffering is medical marijuana then that's something I'm open to ... But I want to do it under strict guidelines. I want it prescribed in the same way that other painkillers or palliative drugs are prescribed." [more inside]
posted by waraw on Oct 7, 2011 - 250 comments

Palestinians ask for a state of their own.

Tomorrow, Friday the 23rd of September 2011, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas will go before the UN and set out his request for formal recognition of the state of Palestine. There are many problems with this, and not just for the Palestinians... [more inside]
posted by dougrayrankin on Sep 22, 2011 - 99 comments

Obama White House called "hostile workplace to women"

A new book says women have been marginalized in Obama's White House, according to an article in the Washington Post. Former communications director Anita Dunn is quoted as saying the White House "fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women." The book also quotes an unnamed official saying that "the boys' club" was not "just Larry [Summers] and Rahm [Emanuel]," but that Obama himself was responsible: "The president has a real woman problem." [more inside]
posted by John Cohen on Sep 18, 2011 - 117 comments

“We have lit one candle today,” he said. “It’s going to be a bonfire pretty soon.”

Bob Turner, "a little-known Republican businessman from Queens" (who is also a former producer for the Jerry Springer show) has become the first Republican elected to New York's Ninth Congressional District since the 1920's. Democrats traditionally have a 3-to-1 advantage over Republicans in the district, which makes this upset even more ... upsetting. Many consider the loss of a Democratic stronghold to be a referendum on the Obama Administration itself. Nate Silver with more analysis. [more inside]
posted by Avenger on Sep 13, 2011 - 78 comments

Greece sinking fast

Yields of 2-year Greek government bonds have been skyrocketing today, and are currently at 76%. Credit default swaps show Greece with a 98% chance of default. Confidence in the Eurozone as a whole has been tanking recently after a series of setbacks that leave a political solution looking increasingly unlikely. There was a timely, gloomy discussion on RT yesterday on European and worldwide political/economic prospects
posted by crayz on Sep 13, 2011 - 173 comments

Unemployment: still terrible

Obama to Congressional Republicans: pass this jobs bill, or take the blame. The Economist has the details of the plan. Paul Krugman describes the plan as significantly bolder and better than expected. Good news and bad news: Obama's plan would work, but GOP won't pass it. Why not? [more inside]
posted by russilwvong on Sep 10, 2011 - 212 comments

President Obama Backs Down On Ozone Standards

President Obama Backs Down On Ozone Standards As two weeks of protests outside the White House against a proposed oil pipeline from Alberta's tar sands through the United States ended Friday with a total of 1,252 arrests, President Obama shocked the environmental community by requesting that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, after repeated delays since publication of new draft ozone standards in 2010 lowering permissible levels from 85 parts per billion (introduced during the Bush administration) to 60-70 parts per billion, postpone their implementation until at least 2013. [more inside]
posted by jhandey on Sep 5, 2011 - 308 comments

Obama nominates Alan Krueger as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers

White House economic policy largely originates with The Council of Economic Advisers, CEA, who directly advise the President of the United States. CEA research and publish the annual Economic Report of the President[ .pdf ], which details the state of the nation's economic health. Today President Barack Obama is expected to nominate Princeton Economist Alan Krueger as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Krueger, who previously held the post of Assistant Treasury Secretary for Economic Policy, has written on a wide range of topics, from the economics of rock music [ .pdf ], the causes of terrorism [ .pdf ] and American's changing work / life balance. But Krueger is best known as a labor economist who has extensively researched long term unemployment. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Aug 29, 2011 - 69 comments

Pomobama

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
posted by Rumple on Aug 25, 2011 - 22 comments

Justice Clarence Thomas v President Barack Obama

"The Justices all sit in high-backed leather swivel chairs, and Thomas has set his so that he can recline so far that he appears almost to be lying down. He stares at the ceiling. He rubs his face. He does not appear to be listening. He closes his eyes and sometimes appears to be asleep. The over-all effect is rude, if not contemptuous." The New Yorker profiles Justice Clarence Thomas, his wife Ginni's Tea Party connections and what they might mean for the inevitable SCOTUS ruling on Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and looks back on his confirmation hearings. Previously, Justice Thomas and Ginni; Obama and healthcare; SCOTUS.
posted by reductiondesign on Aug 24, 2011 - 124 comments

"For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside."

Obama calls on Assad to step down. The US and EU announce sanctions on Assad's regime. The New York Times looks at the resistence in Homs. Al Jazeera has an ongoing Syrian Live blog. Enduring America continues to cover the Arab Spring.
posted by empath on Aug 18, 2011 - 65 comments

Waiver? We don't need no stinkin' WAIVER!! (oh, wait, yes we do...)

Arne Duncan, United States Secretary of Education, former "CEO" (Superintendant) of Chicago Public Schools, announced that there will be a waiver from NCLB for schools that apply and can prove that "adopt standards designed to prepare high school graduates for college and careers, use a 'flexible and targeted' accountability system for educators based on student growth and make 'robust use of data,' among other things." Many school officials are wary of the strings that will inevitably accompany the waiver. This is after Duncan predicted that by the end of this year, 82 percent of schools would not be making AYP, or Adequate Yearly Progress - a measure of standardised test scores in American schools. [more inside]
posted by guster4lovers on Aug 10, 2011 - 49 comments

"Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

How Obama can get re-elected: Act like Reagan from the Globe and Mail. [more inside]
posted by blue_beetle on Aug 10, 2011 - 163 comments

Second tenor, highest riser, blessed clever compromiser

Drew Westen (discussed previously) has written a heartbreaking piece on the narratives the president has or hasn't told. [more inside]
posted by Wyatt on Aug 7, 2011 - 57 comments

Did Obama get what he wanted?

With the conclusion of the debt ceiling debate ending in another defeat for liberals, the emerging narrative is that Obama is weak, a poor negotiator who was out-maneuvered by Republicans and forced into the agreement because of strategic errors. But Glenn Greenwald tells a different story: [more inside]
posted by AlsoMike on Aug 5, 2011 - 241 comments

History Changes

"History Changes". LG Telecom is Korea's perennial also-ran in the mobile telephone market. Their latest attempt at coming from behind includes another revision to their brand identity: "U+", replacing 2009's "Oz" rebranding effort. With operating profit down by half since last year, they are anxious to prove that they are as good as, if not better than, their competitors Korea Telecom (KT) and SK Telecom. Now that they are offering 4G service almost as soon as KT, LG sees itself as making history in the same way Barack Obama did when he demonstrated the equality of everyone in the Korean telecom market United States. Text overlay on images of Jim Crow-era American South: "It was utterly impossible for a black person to become the President of the United States." Voiceover: "History Changes! Beginning with 4G service".
posted by holterbarbour on Aug 1, 2011 - 20 comments

Barack Hoover Obama or Barack Nixon Obama?

Barack Hoover Obama or Barack Nixon Obama?
posted by ennui.bz on Jul 28, 2011 - 155 comments

Endgame

The talks between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner "collapsed" Friday with little more than a week to go before the United States may effectively default on its debt. The two parties have been in ongoing negotiations for months over GOP refusal to raise the legal limit on national debt unless tied to a significant package of spending cuts - with some members and activists opposed to any increase whatsoever [more inside]
posted by crayz on Jul 24, 2011 - 3228 comments

Son of Strelka, Son of God

Son of Strelka, Son of God. [more inside]
posted by togdon on Jul 8, 2011 - 13 comments

Obama goes to China

Obama proposes Social Security cuts. Amid ongoing debt talks wherein the Democrats are seeking to raise the debt ceiling to prevent the default of Federal debt, "entitlement reform" has been a hot topic. This morning, Obama has taken the unusual step of proposing even larger spending cuts than Republicans have asked for, mystifying many. Has the Grand Bargain arrived?
posted by mek on Jul 7, 2011 - 363 comments

Did he get fired for using the word dick, or for calling the president a dick?

Mark Halperin, currently of influential political site The Page, founder of groundbreaking Washingtonian blog, The Note, has been a journalist and political analyst for twenty years. Until yesterday, he was a popular talking head at the MSNBC network. Halperin drew criticism and landed himself out of a job after calling President Obama "a dick" on the air. Reactions are delightfully mixed. Of course, Halperin has already apologized.
posted by msali on Jun 30, 2011 - 87 comments

My mother loved a black man, and no she was not a Kardashian

Republican Leadership Conference hires an Obama impersonator. Hilarity does not ensue. [more inside]
posted by TheWhiteSkull on Jun 20, 2011 - 107 comments

George W. 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]
posted by ennui.bz on Jun 20, 2011 - 240 comments

Obama's Car gets stuck pulling out of Dublin Embassy

While pulling out of the American Embassy in Dublin this morning, Barack Obama's bullet-proof, missile-proof, nuclear launch-code enabled limo got stuck on an overly steep concrete incline.
posted by rudhraigh on May 23, 2011 - 151 comments

Iran and the West

While not being an outright example of a clash of civilizations in the Huntingtonian sense, elements of cultural misunderstanding and fears about the system-challenging tendencies of Iran do affect Western perceptions and influence Western behavior toward Iran. Furthermore, these kinds of reciprocal identity-based fears and projections of the other side’s presumed malevolent intentions tend to be mutually reinforcing. The risk is that they eventually become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Iran and the West - Regional Interests and Global Controversies [PDF]. [more inside]
posted by klue on May 23, 2011 - 4 comments

The Legacy of Malcolm X

The Legacy of Malcolm X: Why his vision lives on in Barack Obama is an affecting essay by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on May 17, 2011 - 58 comments

Obama On OBL: The Full "60 Minutes" Interview

Obama On OBL: The Full "60 Minutes" Interview (transcript)
posted by Blazecock Pileon on May 9, 2011 - 158 comments

the Situation Room

Photography editors and designers comment on the famous Situation Room photograph. [more inside]
posted by AceRock on May 4, 2011 - 111 comments

Tornadoes devastate southeastern U.S.

A wave of powerful storm cells swept the southeastern United States this week, spawning hundreds of tornadoes that wreaked havoc from Texas to Virginia. While damage was widespread throughout the region, the most terrible toll was seen in Alabama, which has accounted for two-thirds of the more than 300 reported deaths -- the deadliest since the Great Depression -- and where many small towns were simply wiped from the map. Especially hard-hit was the university town of Tuscaloosa, the state's fifth-largest, where a monstrous F5 tornado (seen in this terrifying firsthand video) tore a vicious track through entire neighborhoods and business districts -- narrowly missing the region's primary hospital -- and continuing a path that rained debris as far as Birmingham, over sixty miles away. The disaster prompted a visit from President Obama today, who declared "I've never seen devastation like this" after surveying the area with Governor Robert Bentley, Senator Richard Shelby, and Mayor Walter Maddox. More: photos from In Focus and The Big Picture, aerial footage of the aftermath, "before and after" sliders, the path of the Tuscaloosa twister on Google Maps, People Locator, local aid information, MetaTalk check-in thread
posted by Rhaomi on Apr 29, 2011 - 102 comments

Lonely Crusade

What’s Left of the Left - Paul Krugman's Lonely Crusade for Liberalism. After President Obama met with a group of prominent economists in December of 2010, among them Alan Blinder, the latter remarked, somewhat bleakly and apologetically: "In the United States, there is no left left". Paul Krugman is a lonely man. [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Apr 29, 2011 - 100 comments

"Surely you can question my policies without questioning my faith. Or for that matter my citizenship." - President Obama

Handwritten 1961 memo in father's immigration file notes Obama born in Hawaii. "Documents obtained from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service through a Freedom of Information Act request offer evidence that President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. A memo dated Aug. 31, 1961 from William Wood of Immigration and Naturalization Services indicates that Barack Obama, Sr., was attending the University of Hawaii on a student visa and that a son, Barack Obama, II, was born in Honolulu on Aug, 8, 1961." [Image of Memo]
posted by Fizz on Apr 27, 2011 - 719 comments

“I had reached the point of no return. You finally get fed up … I finally wanted to speak the truth.”

Last year, the unofficial Dean of the White House Press Corps, Helen Thomas, spoke about the State of Israel on camera. (Previously) Her replies: "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine," and that the Jews "can go home" to "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else," sparked media outrage, prompted her to issue an apology and retire. After months of being out of the the public spotlight, she has now given her first long-form interview, which will appear in the April issue of Playboy Magazine. In it, she explains what she meant, tells us how she would like to be remembered and expands upon her positions regarding Israel, Jewish political influence, Presidents Bush and Obama, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
posted by zarq on Mar 22, 2011 - 224 comments

Obama agrees with Manning Treatment

Despite Amnesty's recent denouncement of his treatment and a State Department official's comment that it is "stupid" among other things, Obama apparently stands by the current conditions under which Bradley Manning is being held. [more inside]
posted by Glinn on Mar 12, 2011 - 281 comments

And You Thought Orwell Wrote Fiction

Obama creates indefinite detention system for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The announcements, coming more than two years after Obama vowed in another executive order to close the detention center, all but cements Guantanamo Bay's continuing role in U.S. counterterrorism policy.
posted by valkane on Mar 7, 2011 - 310 comments

I mentally seceded from the US in 2004

Cartoonist Tim Kreider (previously, previously) of The Pain talks about the last decade, our "disastrous decline" and his latest book of cartoons and essays, Twilight Of The Assholes. Part 1 - 2 - 3 - 4
posted by The Whelk on Mar 5, 2011 - 6 comments

Wisconsin unions; plus Obama and Wall Street

SEIU past leader speaks on Wisconsin The battle is for the future our our country, the middle class, and public ownership of public goods
posted by KathyBraid on Feb 26, 2011 - 32 comments

"The Package"

Inside the Secret Service. Sidebars: Radio Chatter and The Presidential Motorcade (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 8, 2011 - 48 comments

You cannot wash blood with blood.

George Bush cancels a trip to Switzerland citing “threat of demonstrations” . However two victims of torture in U.S. detention have prepared a criminal complaint against Bush backed by a coalition of international human rights groups, two former United Nations rapporteurs, and two Nobel Peace Prize laureates. His legacy continues with the death in Guantanamo of Abdul Gul held without trial for 9 years. The official cause of Mr Gul's death is "Heart attack during exercise". The Obama administration has decided to continue to imprison without trial nearly 50 detainees at Guantanamo.
posted by adamvasco on Feb 7, 2011 - 85 comments

Empire! An Al Jazeera Series

The show Empire on Al Jazeera collects experts on various subjects and holds a roundtable discussion. This week was Obama 2.0, on the President's first two years, with focus on foreign policy. Guests this week are Ralph Nader, Roger Hodge, Stefan Halper, and As'ad Abu Khalil. Earlier weeks include: [more inside]
posted by Glibpaxman on Feb 6, 2011 - 20 comments

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Mefites:

President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, as prepared for delivery.
posted by furiousxgeorge on Jan 25, 2011 - 470 comments

iHero: Mosaics of Steve Jobs

iHero: Mosaics of Steve Jobs - Charis Tsevis is a Greek artist and visual designer who creates interesting collages from objects related to the subject, often for publications like the Wall Street Journal and Time. Other works include Barack Obama, Charles Darwin, Jonathan Ive and much more.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 22, 2011 - 25 comments

A little apple pie goes a long way

Hu Jintao, premier of China, is in the middle of his first state visit to the US, whose pomp and circumstance reflects China's growing economic stature and role in world affairs. Due to the linguistic and political differences between the US and China, few Americans know very much about Hu. Many of them will have had their first real look at him during an extended and surprisngly candid joint press conference held with President Obama and lasting well over an hour - something which never happens in China. Fears (or possibly hopes) of a trade war between the US and China a year ago have faded, and instead a trade deal involving $45 billion of American exports was announced, to mixed reactions. He was received less kindly by Congress, whose members expressed disquiet about everything from trade deficits to human rights and whose leaders declined to discuss matters over dinner - perhaps because they did not wish to be lost in the high-powered crowd of attendees. [more inside]
posted by anigbrowl on Jan 20, 2011 - 59 comments

Still temporary. Still PATRIOTic.

USA PATRIOT is up for renewal again. Tim Nichols of the Independent Examiner reports that "nobody notices" as Mike Rogers (R-MI) floats the renewal. As we noted last year during another quiet renewal, this is not the first time the Obama administration has been confronted with the idea. While groups as disparate as the Cato Institute and the Randolph Bourne Institute's antiwar.com speak out against the possibility, mainstream media sources seem uninterested.
posted by anarch on Jan 14, 2011 - 31 comments

Chabon blogs

Michael Chabon is currently blogging about President Obama's Arizona speech, Huck Finn, the return of hip-hop to his life, and his hometown.
posted by AceRock on Jan 13, 2011 - 42 comments

Sit down. Stand up.

Senate leaders are seriously considering modifying the traditional, divided seating arrangements for President Obama's upcoming State of the Union address. [more inside]
posted by saturday_morning on Jan 13, 2011 - 65 comments

Pay what they want, or don't play (flash games) at all

Everyone take a moment to enjoy the last night of the open internet
posted by T.D. Strange on Dec 20, 2010 - 139 comments

Just Try Not To Think About Who Should Really Be In This Spot

The Onion presents: The People Who Mattered In 2010 [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 18, 2010 - 84 comments

I am simply here today to take as long as I can

Since 10:24 AM ET, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has held "a filibuster [or] a very long speech" on the tax cut deal brokered between the president and congressional Republicans. Watch it live on C-SPAN 2. Vermont's Peter Welch leads the charge against the deal in the House. The President has called his opponents "sanctimonious" and "unrealistic."
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Dec 10, 2010 - 364 comments

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