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.
Vote early, vote often. (With apologies for sticking this on the front page.) Using your skill and judgement, predict the winning party in the UK general election, size of the majority, and the number of seats won by the Lib Dems. Closest to the actual result gets a gift subscription to Private Eye, the fortnightly antidote to British politics and media, or the equivalent value in that international currency: Amazon vouchers. (And if you've emailed me already, there's no need to post a prediction.)
"You don't have to burn books now," says Thomas. "You just press the delete key." Two unabashedly partisan reports of the Bush administration's clandestine campaign to "tighten up" anything from online government sources dealing with the development of Alaskan mineral resources. We've done the debate on Alaska, but what about the ability to amend online records? The old administration's sites are meant to be preserved by law, but plenty appears to have been deleted in the name of "polishing": "We changed value-laden words like 'destroy' to 'impact.'" Newspeak in action? Should government-run sites be required to carry a Changelog?
Through rose-tinted spectacles? It's media waffle for a quiet news day, and comes on the back of a wave of nostalgia, but Reagan's "victory" in this latest poll feels like the triumph of selective memory, and of the desire to reassociate the presidency with jelly-bean eating. (FDR trails in fifth, and there's no mention of Woodrow Wilson, though Carter and Nixon get a look-in.) Which makes me wonder: does the US have a clear sense of its history, as far as Presidents are concerned?
"States' Rights" hit the UK? First abolishing tuition fees, now providing long-term care for the elderly: the Scottish Executive is making life, um, "interesting" for its progenitor in Westminster. The downside of an unwritten constitution?
"the new director of the Environment Protection Agency, Christine Todd Whitman, has proposed that the Florida ballots be sealed for 10 years. "
"the new director of the Environment Protection Agency, Christine Todd Whitman, has proposed that the Florida ballots be sealed for 10 years. " Fuck the Christmas ceasefire. While the Anglo-Saxon world stuffs itself comatose, the forces of conservatism are busy mobilising. Yum.
Bush, by a technicality. They've run out the clock. Oh dear. This could be messy.
Choose your own election. Worth reading, just for a bit of 80s nostalgia.
Fuckwits. And we were arguing about unclear ballot papers and the inability to follow written instructions? The Palm Beach canvassing board sends its counters home for Thanksgiving, comes back on Friday to find an extra few thousand votes to go through, and can't get its numbers in on time, so Ms Harris disregards them. Really, the people in charge need horse-whipping.
Not very clever. Florida's Secretary of State (the BBC reports her being described as "a bit of an airhead") manages to make her position look even more ridiculous. Anyone get the disturbing feeling that this may be resolved, not in the courts, but on the streets?
"If Dubya steals the White House, American democracy will be a joke." A vehemently liberal polemic from the UK, which I don't necessarily agree with, but still: "President Dubya will be barren of legitimacy at home and devoid of moral authority abroad. The Saddam Husseins of the planet, every petty, vicious dictator around the world, will scoff in the face of America."
"Missing you already..." A great column from the Guardian on the Clinton legacy: "Today America is choosing between two half-Clintons. They can have a version of his smarts, in Al Gore, or a version of his warmth, in George W Bush. Clinton wants the voters to choose Gore, of course, to protect his legacy. But if America picks Bush, that will be a kind of compliment, too."