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Tag: "barack obama"

The Infomercial

[ 10 ] October 30, 2008 |

I was working so have only seen brief excerpts — was it this good? Certainly, Tom Brady is even better than Katarina Witt. (I’m guessing that very few people still wish that Mark Penn was running the Democratic campaign…)

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Bad Day at the UK

[ 0 ] October 29, 2008 |

Shameful:

University of Kentucky police are investigating who hung an effigy of Democrat Sen. Barack Obama from a tree on the Lexington campus Wednesday morning.

UK President Lee Todd said that UK police have notified federal authorities of the incident. Todd said a professor saw the effigy on the tree near the Rose Street parking garage across from the Mining and Mineral Resources building this morning and called police. The professor then sent Todd an email notifying him of the incident.

UK police took down the effigy and have it as evidence, Todd said. He called the act “deplorable” and says that type of behavior is not tolerated on UK’s campus.

The effigy apparently had a mask of Obama on it and there was reportedly a noose around the effigy’s neck, Todd said.

President Todd and the administration have been very open about the incident, and seem to be handling it as well as could be hoped.

They Make Ads

[ 16 ] October 25, 2008 |

Oddly enough, I actually am better off that I was four years ago. The wife says it’s because I’m not a “working American.” Blogging is work, hon, and didn’t I just power wash the deck last week?

If you talk to God that’s called prayer

[ 19 ] October 22, 2008 |

If God talks to you that’s called schizophrenia.

So observed Thomas Szasz, in his interesting if extreme critique of the concept of mental illness.

Nevertheless, some people actually are certifiably nuts. And we’re going to be hearing a lot from them in the next few years. Just wait until Scaife et al start funneling serious money to Philip J. Berg, Esq. et. al. et. seq.

Ralph Stanley

[ 0 ] October 4, 2008 |

Ralph Stanley is cutting an ad for Obama. Good deal.

Via Alterdestiny.

We Had a Dream

[ 12 ] August 28, 2008 |

It’s s a beautiful morning in Boulder, and later today I’m going to take a bus the 25 miles down the turnpike to Denver and Invesco Field, to hear Barack Obama accept his party’s nomination for president, on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech.

First I’m going to teach a Legislation class that will be focused on the story of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which was enacted in the face of the longest filibuster in American history, and which certainly would never have become law if not for the march on Washington, and King’s speech, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson’s brilliant exploitation of those events, and of course many other things as well.

Any sustained engagement with politics makes almost anyone quite cynical, at least at times, and I’m well aware that Barack Obama is far from a dream candidate for those of a progressive political persuasion, let alone some sort of national savior.

But at this moment I’m feeling neither cynical, nor in the mood to hedge the moment with endless academic caveats about the messy complexity of the world.

It’s a great day for America.

Satan Never Accounted for the Voting Power of the Southern Evangelical Bloc

[ 16 ] August 8, 2008 |

I’m not sure what’s more amusing about this; the notion that Barack Obama is the Antichrist, or the idea that the plots of the Antichrist (and presumably by extension the Apocalypse) can be foiled through the electoral process.

That’s Kind of Impressive…

[ 20 ] July 26, 2008 |

German reporter works out with Obama:

He goes and picks up a pair of 16 kilo weights and starts curling them with his left and right arms, 30 repetitions on each side. Then, amazingly, he picks up the 32 kilo weights! Very slowly he lifts them, first 10 curls with his right, then 10 with his left.

I’m not sure I believe that Barack Obama can curl a 70# dumbbell with each arm. I could do it, ‘cept that I hurt my back moving a TV…

Mmm… Brave

[ 10 ] July 23, 2008 |

Christian at Defense Tech makes a catch:

Obama flew from Iraq to Amman on an MV-22 Osprey from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Transport squadron 162 — the newest Osprey squadron to deploy to Iraq.

I’m kicking over some rocks as we speak to see if this was by happenstance or by design. Was the Corps strategically placing a potential president in the Osprey to wow him into continued support for the pricey assault support plane?

The MV-22, of course, has a safety record that it would be kind to call “spotty”.

Dog Bites Man II

[ 12 ] July 21, 2008 |

The CENTCOM non-denial-denial came only after a call from the U.S. government:

The statement by an aide to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki calling his remarks in Der Spiegel “misinterpreted and mistranslated” followed a call to the prime minister’s office from U.S. government officials in Iraq.

Maliki had expressed support for a withdrawal plan similar to that of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama in an interview with Der Speigel. U.S. troops should leave Iraq “As soon as possible, as far as we’re concerned,” Maliki had said. “U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes.”

As for the feeble content of the response, Ben Smith states the obvious:

It’s almost a convention of politics that when a politician says he was misquoted, but doesn’t detail the misquote or offer an alternative, he’s really saying he wishes he hadn’t said what he did, or that he needs to issue a pro-forma denial to please someone.

The Iraqi Prime Minister’s vague denial seems to fall in that category. The fact that it arrived to the American press via CENTCOM, seems to support that. It came, as Mike Allen notes, 18 hours later, and at 1:30 a.m. Eastern, a little late for Sunday papers; his staff also seems, Der Spiegel reports, not to have contested Iraqi reporting of the quote, even in the “government-affiliated” Iraqi press.

Obviously, unless CENTCOM can actually some specific examples of mistranslation or why they’re irrelevant, the follow-up shouldn’t be considered a “retraction” in any sense at all. And that story that still stands should be considered extremely important.

Maybe Latin America Doesn’t Need Our Leadership

[ 6 ] July 15, 2008 |

Mr. Trend on Obama’s proposed Latin America policy:

Certainly, it’s tough at this stage to say exactly and concretely what kind of plans or policies he has for Latin America, because he’s not offered much beyond general, open-ended comments. Still, the two clearest models, Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy, the two Democratic presidents that might offer the clearest examples of what foreign policy from a Democratic president could be, are pretty poor examples (I think we can exclude Carter because his policy was based almost strictly on human rights violations in military dictatorships, which simply no longer applies in the Americas). However, drawing on vague, Kennedy-esque notions of an “alliance of the Americas” strikes me as the kind of paternalistic rhetoric common to the mid-20th century. Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress, while beneficial for some countries in various ways, was also extremely patronizing, imperial, and too closely bound to Cold War polarizations to be as effective as Kennedy’s supporters would like to have us believe. And Clinton’s insistence that Latin American countries join in his neoliberal Washington Consensus (which, let us not forget, South American leaders like Menem and Cardoso agreed to do) resulted in the Argentine economic collapse and also caused long-term negative consequences that leftist leaders in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Brazil (among others) are only now overcoming. Far from being some benign program of social and economic improvement, the Alliance for Progress and the Clinton administration’s Washington Consensus were just two in a series of presidential (Democratic and Republican) efforts where the U.S. government presumed it knew what was best for Latin America, regardless of whether the individual countries wanted that help or not.

On Causation…

[ 0 ] July 12, 2008 |

Nate Silver, 6/25:

If the media believes that Barack Obama is ahead by 5 points, then if a new poll comes out next week showing him ahead by 3, it will not get any attention. But if the media believes that Obama is ahead by 12 points, that same poll would create the perception of McCain momentum, and perhaps trigger a couple of days’ worth of bad press for Obama as whatever had been going on over the past couple of days of the campaign would be taken as the cause for his polling decline. It might lead to harsher treatment of Obama’s decision (flip-flop?) on campaign finance, for instance, or if Iran had been the subject of the week, as evidence that Obama wasn’t resonating with voters on foreign policy.


Matt Stoller, 7/11:

Some Evidence FISA Hurt Obama

Obama has dropped in the latest Newsweek poll. He’s gone from 51-36 over McCain to 44-41. The most striking piece of data though is that 53% of registered voters think that he has changed his position on key policy issues to try to gain political advantage since becoming the nominee.

That is stunning. Over half of the public, though perhaps has not heard of the FISA fight specifically, believes he shifts positions for political advantage. And why shouldn’t they? He did.

I’m sure Matt would like to believe that Obama’s FISA failure is the proximate cause of the Newsweek polling change. It’s unclear to me how he could actually believe that, though; FISA (as he notes) is a high salience issue for a small number of people, and a low salience issue for a much larger number of people, and moreover the initial Newsweek poll was a substantial outlier. Silver, as far as I’m concerned, is entirely correct; the next Newsweek poll was quite likely to show regression to the mean, and pundits (some of whom, like Matt, should know better) would inevitably blame that on either the most temporally proximate event or on a favored issue.

This is not to say that Obama won’t suffer some harm from the FISA decision. I’m not convinced, but it could happen. But to say that he’s already dropped nine points in the polls is absurd.

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