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]
Be forewarned, the sound quality isn't the best. But for a dose of pure surreality strong enough to turn your socks into melted Dada timepieces, try mixing "Weird Al" Yankovic on accordion with the Presidents of the United States, performing a (non-parody) cover of Boston's "More Than a Feeling" (SLYT). (via Dave Dederer's Reddit interview)
All at once, they practically screamed, “We’ve got ten minutes with the President on Monday…do you wanna do the shoot?!!”. Don’t let anyone tell ya photographing the President ain’t all it’s cracked up to be! [more inside]
Bill Maher's criticism of Obama? Be more like Bush. ...And just like Lindsey [Lohan], we see your name in the paper a lot, but we're kind of wondering when you're actually going to do something. Follow up of his statements with Keith Olbermann. ...But where's the beef? And it's easy to make speeches; what's hard to do is stand up against corporations. Corporations and their incredible strength are what have ruined this country so far, and this president -- we thought -- might be the one to stand up to them. I'm losing hope. I still have audacity, but my hope is fading.
Former South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun committed suicide on May 23. The former president jumped from a cliff in his hometown, where he had retired to. A country mourns (video and articles 1, 2), and clashes (more, WSJ), over the legacy of the former human rights attorney who fought for the rights of student protesters and against the corrupt presidencies of the 80s, had his presidency saved by protests and activism in the electronic age, and at the end of his life found himself being investigated for bribery. [more inside]
Letters to the President- and his responses. The story of the President's mailman. A peek inside the White House mail room.
"In Join Or Die, I paint myself having sex with the Presidents of the United States in chronological order."
Open For Questions. Metafilter's Own™ box and klangklangston "skim the White House's Open For Questions, posting the best and brightest queries the American public can manage." [via mefi projects] [more inside]
"President" replacing the N-Word (SLYT).
In 2007, Dubya wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal. Obama has followed suit with an op-ed article in the Washington Post. Both sites mention that The writer "is the president of the United States." Have we entered a new era of the bully pulpit?
Wired: Obama Sides With Bush in Spy Case. "The Obama administration fell in line with the Bush administration Thursday when it urged a federal judge to set aside a ruling in a closely watched spy case weighing whether a U.S. president may bypass Congress and establish a program of eavesdropping on Americans without warrants."
"The government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian Religion." ~ George Washington / "I do not find in Christianity one redeeming feature." ~ Thomas Jefferson / "The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my religion." ~ Abraham Lincoln / "A just government has no need for the clergy or the church." ~ James Madison / "I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end... where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice." ~ John F. Kennedy / "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers." ~ Barack Obama
Presidential inaugurations often invoke higher powers. President Obama will swear in on the Lincoln Bible, though the appropriate verse is unknown. When Harry Truman took the oath of office he kissed the Bible. Theodore Roosevelt was the only President not sworn in on a Bible. More Presidential Inauguration Trivia.
44 Presidents Coming is either the perfect antidote or the perfect complement to all the Inaugural excitement. Though not complete yet, it will continue to be updated until all 44 presidents are....there. I'm particularly partial to Teddy.
Dear President Bush, Thanks for the memories. You will be missed. Thanks for making people care. And don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Wishing you all the best, A Citizen.
On December 4, 2008, at NYC's Symphony Space, NPR's Intelligence Squared program conducted an Oxford-style debate. As their future debate schedules in Australia, England, and America show, the propositions of such debates are routinely phrased strongly to provoke debate, and this was no exception. The motion that was put forward was: "Resolved, that Bush 43 is the worst President of the last 50 years." [mp3, 23 MB, 50 min.] What lifts this above the reams of media and multimedia already spent on this issue is that, moderated by ABC's John Donvan, this premise was debated — under formal debate guidelines — by Jacob Weisberg, Sir Simon Jenkins, Bill Kristol, and ... Karl Rove. [more inside]
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.
Shoes thrown at President Bush in Iraq. As America prepares to give him the boot, President Bush was forced to do some atypical sole searching during a press conference in Iraq when an Iraqi television reporter flung both shoes at him. HuffP has MSNBC video without ads and adds: "In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt. Iraqis whacked a statue of Saddam Hussein with their shoes after U.S. marines toppled it to the ground after the 2003 invasion." This is a "gross insult in the Arab world." Value added video.
It's been a busy week for presidential libraries. The Nixon Library released 200 hours of tape (excerpts) and 90,000 pages of documents (excerpts) that detail his obsessive attempts to destroy his political enemies. The LBJ library released MP3s of dozens of phone calls, including one where he accuses Nixon of treason for stalling Vietnamese peace talks in advance of the 1968 election. Finally, the Reagan Library released 750,000 pages of documents (NYT, reg. req.) to researchers. [more inside]
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.
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."
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?
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.
Well, the Presidential election is only one day away...after which, the US begins the 11 week transition period to a new administration! [more inside]
Fringe Friday: Obama is a hypnotic and entrancing public speaker. No, really, he's hypnotic and entrancing. [PDF] via
Former US Secretary of State and retired General Colin Powell, a controversial, if reluctant supporter of the war on Iraq, offers his endorsement (Flash video) of Senator Barack Obama for the office of President of the United States. [more inside]