"Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence." -- Hal Borland
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]
One of only two American players on the 2010/2011 Boston Bruins team, goaltender Tim Thomas skipped a White House event to honor the team's Stanley Cup championship victory for political reasons. Reactions have been numerous and mixed.
Barack Obama, Post-Partisan, Meets Washington Gridlock. The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza reviews major domestic policy decisions from the first two years of the Obama administration, based on internal White House memos. Some key decisions: [more inside]
With surprising candor, Chris Dodd tells Obama that the Hollywood purse strings are about to get tight. Angry over the Obama administration's siding against SOPA and PIPA, Dodd says openly that the money the Democratic party regularly counts on Hollywood for might not be there this election cycle. One view is that Hollywood considers that it bought something very specific with it's money, and it's angry it's not getting it. Should Obama be worried about this? Perhaps not. The guys from Freakanomics say that our assumption that money is the most important factor in deciding elections is a fallacy.
“You need a thousand rubber gaskets? That’s the factory next door. You need a million screws? That factory is a block away. You need that screw made a little bit different? It will take three hours.” Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher of the NY Times give an in-depth report on Apple's migration of electronics manufacturing to Asia and its impact on middle class Americans.
I, I'm so in love with you. The soulful side of President Obama. (slyt)
"Obama has delivered in a way that the unhinged right and purist left have yet to understand or absorb."
The attacks from both the right and the left on [Obama] and his policies aren’t out of bounds. They’re simply—empirically—wrong. ... Their short-term outbursts have missed Obama’s long game—and why his reelection remains, in my view, as essential for this country’s future as his original election in 2008. Andrew Sullivan writes an intriguingly optimistic piece on why he thinks and hopes that Obama will be re-elected this year.
The Obama White House formally speaks out against SOPA, PIPA. The Obama White House has come out against the Stop Online Piracy Act. The move has -- unsurprisingly -- drawn responses from the MPAA, RIAA, and other interested parties.
Hand On Your Gun is a music video dedicated to suit-wearing arms dealers and champagne-drinking depleted uranium droppers from British-Iraqi rapper Lowkey. A few of his other videos: Obama Nation, Terrorist?, Obama Nation part 2, Soundtrack To The Struggle
Interview Transcripts from Wired.com Michael Hastings has come out with a new book titled "The Operators" in which he expands on his infamous Rolling Stone article that led to the firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal by President Obama. In this Wired interview, Hastings explains why he views our current situation in Afghanistan as hopeless and the real story behind the quotes he obtained from the general and his staff.
Presidential appointments that require Senate confirmation can be made without confirmation by the President when the chamber is in recess: a so-called recess appointment, wherein the appointee is allowed to serve until the end of the next congressional session. During the Bush II administration, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid began holding pro forma sessions every three days—a local Senator gavels the session in and immediately back out—to ensure that the Senate never went into recess and as a result, Bush stopped confirming recess appointments. When the Obama administration took over, the Republicans began holding the same pro forma sessions to prevent Obama from appointing any positions in recess. This week, Obama made four appointments, including Richard Cordray to the newly created role of director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, despite the fact that the Senate is not in technical recess. [more inside]
"As I made clear in Australia, we'll be strengthening our presence in the Asia-Pacific, and budget reductions will not come at the expense of this critical region," President Obama and Sustaining US Global Leadership (pdf) [more inside]
"...Obama isn’t just lying about his identity. He’s lying about his military service record, too. While his political opponents in 2008 attacked him for never serving, in truth, he was concealing his participation in a hidden CIA intergalactic program hosted at a California community college in 1980."
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."
Chris Hedges: Brace yourself. The American Empire is over. And the descent is going to be horrifying. Long, incredibly intelligent, insightful and pessimistic discussion of the current state of American politics and society, among other topics. Hedges is a long-time journalist, author and professor, winner of Pulitzer Prize and Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism for his work at the New York Times. [more inside]
Two days ago, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), "with reservations about key provisions in the law — including a controversial component that would allow the military to indefinitely detain terror suspects, including American citizens arrested in the United States, without charge". [more inside]
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]
Robert Reich writes today: My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information): Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden swap places. Biden becomes Secretary of State -- a position he's apparently coveted for years. And Hillary Clinton, Vice President [more inside]
Tomorrow marks the official end of the Iraq war. The Obama administration describes it as a 'promise kept'. The war resulted in a great many casualties. Although the final troop movement out of the country is not scheduled to begin for a few days, history will record December 15 as the end of the war, as the flag of the American military mission in Bagdhad is lowered and returned to the US. Scholars at Brown University estimate the total cost of the war at 265,000 dead and $3-4 trillion dollars. The main contenders for the Republican party's 2012 nomination both expressed approval and disapproval. Previously, 339 times.
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."
"This is the true ‘bomb’ contained in Obamacare and the one item that will have more impact on the future of how medical care is paid for in this country than anything we’ve seen in quite some time. Indeed, it is this aspect of the law that represents the true ‘death panel’ found in Obamacare—but not one that is going to lead to the death of American consumers. Rather, the medical loss ratio will, ultimately, lead to the death of large parts of the private, for-profit health insurance industry."
In 2008, Barack Obama lit a fire among young activists. Next year, Occupy Wall Street could consume him.
...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]
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?
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]
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]
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]
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]
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
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]
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]
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]
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
"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.
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.
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]
"Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."
Drew Westen (discussed previously) has written a heartbreaking piece on the narratives the president has or hasn't told. [more inside]
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]
"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".
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]
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?
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.