Tag Archives | Barack Obama
Long before he was unveiling presidential decrees, young Barack Obama displayed the spark of leadership with his pot smoking initiatives. The forthcoming book Barack Obama: The Story from the Washington Post‘s David Maraniss alleges that teenage Barry palled around in a smoke-filled van named the Choomwagon and invented new getting-high techniques such as “interceptions”, “roof hits”, and “total absorption”. Via Buzzfeed:
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A self-selected group of boys at Punahou School who loved basketball and good times called themselves the Choom Gang. Choom is a verb, meaning “to smoke marijuana.” As a member of the Choom Gang, Barry Obama was known for starting a few pot-smoking trends. The first was called “TA,” short for “total absorption.” “Wasting good bud smoke was not tolerated,” explained one member of the Choom Gang, Tom Topolinski.
Barry also had a knack for interceptions. When a joint was making the rounds, he often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted “Intercepted!,” and took an extra hit.
Reports Don Melvin and Rod McGuirk on the Associated Press:
In Europe, where more than 200,000 people thronged a Berlin rally in 2008 to hear Barack Obama speak, there’s disappointment that he hasn’t kept his promise to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, and perceptions that he’s shunting blame for the financial crisis across the Atlantic.
In Mogadishu, a former teacher wishes he had sent more economic assistance and fewer armed drones to fix Somalia’s problems. And many in the Middle East wonder what became of Obama’s vow, in a landmark 2009 speech at the University of Cairo, to forge a closer relationship with the Muslim world.
In a world weary of war and economic crises, and concerned about global climate change, the consensus is that Obama has not lived up to the lofty expectations that surrounded his 2008 election and Nobel Peace Prize a year later. Many in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America were also taken aback by his support for gay marriage, a taboo subject among religious conservatives…
Read More: Associated Press
Newsweek's cover this week declares that Barack Obama is the "First Gay President," playing on the reader's knowledge that Obama isn't himself gay, but his support for same-sex marriage earns him an honorary rainbow halo. The headline obviously calls back to 1998, when Toni Morrison declared Bill Clinton the first black president in The New Yorker, which at the time was edited by current Newsweek editor Tina Brown. "Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald's-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas," Morrison wrote, laying out the formula for how to declare a President has attained the identity of someone else through actions and behaviors. Newsweek's cover has been called "controversial" and "pretty shocking," but it's merely the most recent in presidential firsts that weren't for the country's actual first black president.
Terrence McCoy writes in the Atlantic:
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On a clear day in February 2001, a trim mid-career political analyst named Matthew Dowd landed in Washington, D.C., from Austin, Tex., and hurried into the White House for a meeting with Karl Rove. Inside a manila folder, he carried a sparsely-populated bar graph. The few numbers it had hit Rove like a bomb.
“Really?” Rove asked, snatching the document and glancing back at Dowd. “Man, this is a fundamental change.”
The truly independent voting bloc, Dowd’s data showed, had dissolved from one-fourth of the electorate in 1984 to just 7 percent. That meant the years of work leading up to the 2000 campaign and hundreds of millions of campaign dollars during it had focused on just 7 percent of voters — fewer than 8 million people. Everything next time, Dowd told Rove in his second-floor office, would have to be different.
Here’s an article from Paul Krugman in the New York Times about the state of the economy, and this quote pretty much sums up his verdict: “In fact, if it weren’t for this destructive fiscal austerity, our unemployment rate would almost certainly be lower now than it was at a comparable stage of the ‘Morning in America’ recovery during the Reagan era.”
Krugman, a Nobel Prize winner in economics, is about as “liberal” (whatever the hell that means in 2012) as the korporate media will allow at this point. He has often been highly critical of Barack Obama, especially during the 2008 Democratic Party race, when he was one of the few to note Obama’s economic policies were already in campaign mode decidedly to the right of both Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.
That said, Krugman provides the following evidence:
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One way to dramatize just how severe our de facto austerity has been is to compare government employment and spending during the Obama-era economic expansion, which began in June 2009, with their tracks during the Reagan-era expansion, which began in November 1982.
Chis Hedges explains why. From earlier this year, via TruthDig:
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Attorneys Carl J. Mayer and Bruce I. Afran filed a complaint…on my behalf as a plaintiff against Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to challenge the legality of the Authorization for Use of Military Force as embedded in the latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed by the president Dec. 31.
The act authorizes the military for the first time in more than 200 years, to carry out domestic policing. With this bill, which will take effect March 3, the military can indefinitely detain without trial any U.S. citizen deemed to be a terrorist or an accessory to terrorism. And suspects can be shipped by the military to our offshore penal colony in Guantanamo Bay and kept there until “the end of hostilities.” It is a catastrophic blow to civil liberties.
We have already seen the persecution and closure of Islamic charity organizations in the United States that supported the Palestinians.