President Barack Obama's administration will reportedly announce Friday that it will stop deporting and grant work permits to nearly 1 million immigrants who entered or remained in the United States. The policy change, described to The Associated Press by two senior administration officials, will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants who have lived in fear of deportation. It also bypasses Congress and partially achieves the goals of the so-called DREAM Act, a long-sought but never enacted plan to establish a path toward citizenship for young people who came to the United States illegally but who have attended college or served in the military.
Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward: 40 years after Watergate, Nixon was far worse than we thought. [more inside]
France has a new president. With 51.9% of the second-round vote, François Hollande has beaten Nicolas Sarkozy to become the first Socialist president of France since 1995. In his victory speech, Hollande declared that "austerity is not inevitable," but international business interests have already started rumbling about Hollande's plans for higher taxes on the rich and large-scale public sector investment. The change in power is to be effected in next ten days, with Hollande scheduled to appear at the G8 and NATO summits on May 19 and 20.
Today, President Obama signed an executive order which places stricter disclosure requirements on recruiters for for-profit schools looking to recruit veterans and soldiers. The move comes amid growing concern among state and federal legislators that for-profit educational institutions are doing more harm than good and are employing predatory recruiting practices especially on veterans who are exiting the military and looking to improve their education through the Post-9/11 GI Bill. [more inside]
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]
Finland votes – as visualized by national broadcasting company, click Sivakoikaa! (Ski!). (About the candidates). First round of Finland's presidential elections has finished with Sauli Niinistö (conservative) and Pekka Haavisto (green) winning 36.7% and 18.7% of votes. If no-one wins over 50% in the first round, the second round will be held amongst the top two candidates two weeks later. Haavisto has steadily doubled his share in polls, where Niinistö has halved his share from his best polls. Among his other achievements in international peace and being green, Haavisto could be the first openly gay elected head of the state.
Canada declares its "canadacy" in the race for US President (The Canada Party on Twitter; also spotted on HuffPo)
Anatomy of a Stump Speech. The NY Times has been killing it of late with interactive features. This one is particularly good -- an annotated breakdown of the text and video of Republican stump speeches by four candidates. "Revisionist history alert: Mr. Gingrich is recasting his tempestuous tenure as House speaker..."
Americans Elect is an organization creating a ready-made slot on the 2012 presidential ballot for an unnamed independent ticket, thus removing the biggest barrier to a 3rd party challenge. (Donald Trump suggests himself.) The NYT thinks they'll qualify in all 50 states. They say they want a non-partisan, mixed-party ticket. Some on the left see a cabal of shadowy millionaires with ties to the FBI, CIA and military behind it. Team Obama is concerned.
On the 6th of December 2011, as has been traditional for the past 9 decades since Finland's Independence, the President, Tarja Halonen and her spouse, Dr Pentti Arajarvi host what is known as the Linnan juhlat or Castle Ball, an extremely popular televised reception for the notables of the nation. Along with the usual dignitaries, the President is also permitted to select invitees based on merit - entertainers, athletes, individuals - whom she feels have been in the news in the past year. This year Peter and Teija Vesterbacka also were invited due to Peter Vesterbacka's work as the CMO of Rovio. Teija Vesterbacka wore a red dress for the evening that had design concepts from one of the birds in the mobile game Angry Birds. Highlighted in the Finnish news by the very select group of photographers permitted entry to this exclusive event, it was when the photograph of this dress went viral among global MSM that the angry birds began to fly.
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."
...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]
What is this tyranny of head that stifles / The eyes, the senses, / All play on the strings of the heart.
Did you know the recently elected president of Ireland is actually a noted poet? [The Guardian] Here is another of his works. The Guardian's own Carol Rumens is not a fan.
You would be hard pressed to find an article about Obama that didn't mention approval ratings. Ditto during Bush's presidency. This interactive graph lets you compare approval ratings over time for presidents since Truman (article itself is dated but the chart is current). This graph offers less interactivity but adds some historical points of context.
He rides with biker gangs! He shoots whales with a crossbow! He does piano recitals for charity! He bends frying pans with his bare hands! It's Vladimir Putin, Action Man. [more inside]
Rep. Michelle Bachmann has won the Ames Straw Poll. Rep. Ron Paul came in a close second. This poll, though undemocratic, has a fairly good predictive track record. Since 1979, the winner or runner up has gone on to win the Iowa caucuses each time. [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".
A Simple Plan to Fix the American Political System Using Common Sense and a Little Dinosaur DNA by Tim Siedell.
Want to (dis)prove who killed JFK? Start with the 5 million pages of material in the National Archives' Assassination Records Collection1. Better review the 26 volumes of hearings and exhibits published by the Warren Commission. And each frame of the Zapruder film2. And just to be on the safe side, the operating manual for his then top-of-the-line Bell & Howell 414PD camera. (1: previously, but with outdated link. 2: related) [more inside]
Gospel singer Herman Cain's album "Sunday Morning" is now available online. In the fifteen years since the album was originally released the singer and baptist preacher has also found success in the business world, broadcasting, and politics.
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.
2012 Presidential Candidates - Comparing the 2012 Presidential Candidates on the issues with profile, issue and trivia comparisons. [more inside]
"The handover to a new president and premier has generated plenty of speculation in the press, about who the leaders are and what is will all mean, but sometimes it’s useful to go back and fill in the very basics, since China has a unique and in some ways quite confusing political system." A Primer on China's Leadership Transition. [via]
After being involved with the N.B.A for 40 years, Phoenix Suns President and CEO reveals that he is gay. [more inside]
One of his groovingest tracks was called I Don't Care, but apparently Michel Martelly, aka Sweet Micky, decided he did care enough about Haiti to run for president of the country. And now he's president of the country. Unlike Bill Clinton, however, Sweet Micky definitely inhaled, and, hey... he's on a horse. [more inside]
It's cold outside... So where's the global warming? Should Donald Trump Run For President? [more inside]
Inside the Secret Service. Sidebars: Radio Chatter and The Presidential Motorcade (Via) [more inside]
FOX, Fox News, and The White House all used the ginormous television audience that comes with the Super Bowl to their advantage today when a 15 minute interview with the President by Bill O'Reilly was aired as part of the pre-game show. Full video here.
The ambulance that was used to carry the body of John F. Kennedy from Andrews Air Force Base to Bethesda Naval Hospital was sold at auction last night for $120,000. Or was it? [more inside]
To mark the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's inauguration, the JFK Library has unveiled a new digital archive containing 200,000 pages; 300 reels of audio tape, containing more than 1,245 individual recordings of telephone calls, speeches and meetings; 300 museum artifacts; 72 reels of film; and 1,500 photos.
In an action "unprecedented in the democratic world" Moshe Katsav, the eighth President of Israel, has been convicted of rape. The former President is expected to appeal the conviction, which carries a minimum penalty of four years in prison. There is little sympathy for Moshe Katsav on a day that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as "a sad day for the State of Israel and its residents." The Jerusalem Post is left with one question: Should the plaques come down?
HINDSIGHT IS ALWAYS 20/20 is an information art piece. Artist/composer R. Luke DuBois [previously] manipulated the text of individual State of the Union addresses from each presidency, sorting the words according to frequency of use, to generate a Snellen eye chart for each President. [more inside]
"Look, I'm not going to debate the issue, man." - George W. Bush [Press play for the quite embarrassing interview] "I said some stupid things... Here's one of the worst. So I'm drunk at the dinner table at Mother and Dad's house in Maine. And I said to her, what is sex like after fifty?"" - George W. Bush
"The Man Who Never Was." Vanity Fair editor Todd S. Purdum follows up his 2007 profile of then-Senator John McCain and a scathing 2009 profile of Sarah Palin by asking whether McCain, "...the leader so many Americans admired — and so many journalists covered — ever truly existed." (Previously)
A New Look for the Oval Office Obama makes his mark on the First Office. It is a different look than the office of George W. Bush and the presidents before him. And yes, the rug is gone (previously).
A detailed exposition of the roles of the White House economic team. This isn't a discussion of Obama's team per se, but rather an explanation of the mechanics and relationships of the various economic advisers to the President.
"This is crack cocaine," Bush solemnly announced, holding up a plastic bag filled with a white chunky substance in his Sept. 5 speech on drug policy. It was "seized a few days ago in a park across the street from the White House . . . . It could easily have been heroin or PCP." In 1989 the White House came up with the idea of having George H.W. Bush hold up a bag of crack on national television in order to illustrate how bad the US drug problem had gotten. They decided to have a drug buy set up in Lafayette Park, directly across the street from the White House, to obtain the props for his speech. They contacted a DEA agent who set up a drug buy with a Spingarn High School senior with no prior arrest record, but things didn't go as planned: [more inside]
Wyclef Jean has decided to run for President of Haiti. He has also resigned from his charity, Yele Haiti. Sean Penn isn't too thrilled about any of it. Previously and more previous.
In a "Triumph of Policy Over Politics" President Obama today signed most sweeping Wall Street reform bill since Great Depression. Obamas remarks at the signing. A piece-by-piece guide to th financial overhaul law. Timeline of the laws effects. 10 Ways New Wall Street Reform Law Will Help You.
The President of Poland, Lech Kaczyński, his wife and 130 others, including a huge proportion of the elite of Polish politics, have died in a plane crash. [more inside]
New York Magazine has posted an excerpt about John Edwards' ill-fated campaign from John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's book about the 2008 presidential election Game Change. [more inside]
Herman! It's me, it's Cathy, I've come home, whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh, let me in at your position of Europe's first High Representative for Foreign Affairs.
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]