Archive for the ‘Barack Obama’ tag
A delightful little story of what its like being caught in the wake of visit of the President of the United States to a small cafe:
The president extends his hand while simultaneously pivoting on his right foot.
His hands grasp mine. They feel like the rough surface of your favorite baseball.
Eye contact was broken mid-handshake. His hand trailed his turned body *which has already turned on the pivoted foot.* He greeted a couple across the way from me.
This concludes my communication with the president of the United States.
Aside from hiring Kal Penn, President Obama recently reached an agreement with the Russians about arm limitation. I found Slate’s explanation of the logic behind the agreed target sobering.
U.S. military planners dream up a variety of hypothetical conflicts with other nuclear powers and determine how many warheads would be required to destroy all the most important targets in each scenario.
Of Commencement Speechs
It’s that time of year.
- One sentence commencement speeches. (Scroll up to see the speech Frank Warren gave at St. Mary’s.) (via Neatorama)
- Obama’s ASU commencement, the best I’ve encountered this year. (Parts 2 & 3; Text)
- Perhaps stealing a theme from the President, Timothy Noah thinks commencement speakers are generally too accomplished.
Ross Douthat, who to little derision or attention has started having his column published in the New York Times, has a good summary of Obama’s apparent plan for “winning” America’s culture war:
Engage on abortion, punt on gay rights.
And just to say, if the first two weeks are any indication, Douthat’s going to be a great compliment to Brooks. The two most conservative columnists at the paper are very probably the best.
Perhaps it’s just because my opinions on embryos are so close to his, but William Saletan seems to me the most serious liberal writing about these difficult issues. His piece on the way to treat the President’s recent decision to overturn the embryonic stem cell ban is good. This part especially:
The danger of seeing the stem-cell war as a contest between science and ideology is that you bury these dilemmas. You forget the moral problem. You start lying to yourself and others about what you’re doing. You invent euphemisms like pre-embryo, pre-conception, and clonote. Your ethical lines begin to slide.
There is also a follow-up here.
Few would claim that President Obama’s recently released budget is less honest than those of his predessor. But only the ignorant would maintain it’s completely forthright. John Dickerson points out the major lies that it still tells.
“Those adjustments create much larger baseline deficit projections, making it easier to claim that the budget is an improvement over current policy,” says Susan Tanaka, a longtime budget expert working for the Peterson Foundation. As a political matter, if an administration can show that it’s making progress shrinking the deficit, it gains political capital in the fight for resources because it can claim the moral high ground for making tough decisions and being a good steward of public funds.
June Thomas informs us that current literature suggest it’s a Secret Service agent.
Also: Tim Carmody, noting the sidebar links to a woman fascinated by Obama’s Secret Service detail and a short note about the broader idea of “protection porn,” sees the genre as an allegory for all romantic relationships.
David Brooks worries, in a troubling coherent piece, that the incoming President may have already bitten off more than he’ll be able to successfully manage. The conclusion sent chills down my spine:
By this time next year, he’ll either be a great president or a broken one.
Interestingly, Paul Krugman’s piece (also from Friday’s paper) argues that the incoming administration needs to do even more.
Even if soon-to-be-president Obama wants to close the prison at the naval base, he’s got a nearly Hereculean set of problems ahead of him. Just one example:
Where should the remaining detainees be held? The new administration will presumably have to hold the remaining suspected terrorists in facilities in the United States. But where? They will likely end up in a prison on a military base, since it would be unsafe to hold them in normal prison populations. But few states will want to house Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his friends. And members of Congress will give NIMBY-ism a whole new meaning when it comes to keeping them out of their districts.
I, like most of Clay Shirkey’s students, hadn’t seen this video from the election season. His explanation of it’s power is interesting:
Dear Mr. Obama was a trifecta. For the base, a muscular but polite attack on the very issue that brought Obama into the spotlight. For the undecided, the emotional charge is much likelier to sway them than argumentation. And for the Dems — nothing. The video might as well not have existed for all it was seen in Democratic circles. Since the video’s sole speaker can’t be criticized without making the criticizer look churlish at best, almost no Dems forwarded it, linked to it, talked about it.
(via Chris Bodenner)