Category Archives: Obama

March 12, 2014, 3:13 pm

Making Me Think Even More Highly of Steve Jobs

After Glenn Beck made racist comments on his Fox News show, Steve Jobs was not pleased:

When Apple founder Steve Jobs found out what Beck had said, he was furious. On a Saturday, Jobs, who hadn’t known Apple advertised on Fox, fired off an email to a West Coast executive of Omnicom, the giant ad agency that spent hundreds of millions a year on Apple’s behalf. Jobs’s message was simple: I want all Apple ads off all Fox News shows immediately. And no, it couldn’t wait until Monday. After much scrambling, an Omnicom executive and a technician from News Corp. had to drive to a News Corp. facility on Long Island that Sunday and remove the digital file containing the ads.[1]

Roger Ailes must have loved that.

Jonathan Alter’s The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies, p. 66.

November 10, 2013, 4:00 pm

Mi·nu·ti·ae – The Small, Precise, Or Trivial Details Of Something


Things Michael Kinsley remarks on in his review of Double Down: Game Change 2012 by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann: Big words; excrement; umbrage politics; jargon; campaign journalists; trivial reporting; professional consultants; vomit; gaffes; horse-race reporting.

Things that Michael Kinsley leaves out of his review of Double Down: Game Change 2012 by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann: Race (no, a paragraph at the end doesn’t suffice); partisanship; the federal government’s dysfunction and its effect on elections; the federal government’s dysfunction and its effect on policy; the Tea Party; income inequality; the Occupy Movement; the national security state and Obama’s capture by it; the effect of micro targeting on elections; and I’m sure I could keep going if I felt like it.

The most valuable reviewing space in the United States – the front page of the New York Times

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August 13, 2012, 4:05 pm

A stimulus is not a New Deal: on Mike Grunwald and the Obama record

Mike Grunwald has a post at FP summarizing his new book, The New New Deal. The basic argument (of both the post and the book) seems to me clear and unassailable: the President’s “stimulus package,” or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is an under appreciated success for two reasons.

First, as to recovery, the jobs stimulus averted much worse unemployment than we would otherwise have had; this is widely understood.

Second, as to reinvestment, it will bring real and lasting “change” — Grunwald uses this word deliberately, arguing that (unlike FDR) Obama has scrupulously kept his campaign promises. ARRA has transformed the energy sector, giving renewable energy a new lease on life; it modernized medical records, it put money into high-speed rail, and pushed high-speed internet out to poorer areas. This is the more original part of Grunwald’s book and the most valuable; it’s…

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July 25, 2012, 6:20 pm

Theodore Roosevelt: less racist than Mitt Romney’s advisor.

Someone on Mitt Romney’s foreign policy team told a reporter about the US-UK special relationship, “We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage … The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.” Get it? The black guy doesn’t appreciate shared Anglo-Saxon history. Because he’s black. No, I don’t think you understand: he’s b-l-a-c-k. Not like our guy. Get it? Let me try it again …

Theodore Roosevelt had this to say about our alleged shared Anglo-Saxon history:

… I have always insisted that we [Americans] are not Anglo-Saxon at all – even admitting for the sake of argument, which I do not, that there are any Anglo-Saxons – but a new and mixed race – a race drawing its blood from many different sources … My own view is, that if a man is good enough for me to profit by his services before the election, he is good enough for me to do what I can for him after…

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July 13, 2012, 5:05 pm

To disappointment – and beyond! with President Obama.

This blog expected Barack Obama to disappoint us, and he did not disappoint in his capacity for disappointment. The original source of our predicted unhappiness with the President was his indifference to Americans’ civil liberties. He’s gone well beyond that now. Tom Junod here lays out the moral case against the President’s drone war. James Joyner already made the practical case. Junod follows up. Also, the drones are in the water now. And the linked article posits the existence of “drone lovers.” O brave new world.

June 14, 2012, 10:57 pm

Not so post-racial, this nation.

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz has a fascinating bit of research into the effect of racism on the vote for Barack Obama:

… many Americans use Google to find racially charged material. I performed the somewhat unpleasant task of ranking states and media markets in the United States based on the proportion of their Google searches that included the word “nigger(s).” This word was included in roughly the same number of Google searches as terms like “Lakers,” “Daily Show,” “migraine” and “economist.”

A huge proportion of the searches I looked at were for jokes about African-Americans. (I did not include searches that included the word “nigga” because these searches were mostly for rap lyrics.) I used data from 2004 to 2007 because I wanted a measure not directly influenced by feelings toward Mr. Obama. From 2008 onward, “Obama” is a prevalent term in racially…

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June 12, 2012, 1:18 am

On liberalism and history, and Kazin and Alterman & Mattson.

Not to pile on, but there’s also this, in the new Democracy. Unlike the aforementioned TLS essay, the whole thing is online; here’s a short excerpt:

The single moment that made postwar liberalism feel most like a cause worth fighting for came in the darkness of April 4, 1968, when an Indianapolis crowd, assembled to hear Robert F. Kennedy campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, instead met a man obliged to tell them that Martin Luther King Jr. had been murdered. When Kennedy broke the news, a desperate wail burst from the throats of those gathered, a sound unlike any other, bespeaking the tide of anguish and anger about to rush over the republic, sweeping reason before it—but not yet, or not here, not if Kennedy had his way.

Speaking off the cuff, he claimed a shared sorrow—his own brother had been killed in the line of political duty, at a time when he had begun…

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May 2, 2012, 6:58 pm

Serious: it is a thing you cannot be.

Do we need any other political/historical commenter than John McEnroe? Greg Sargent points to this plaintive request to the President from a wealthy donor:

They felt unfairly demonized for being wealthy. They felt scapegoated for the recession … and they blamed the president and his party for the public’s nasty mood. The administration, some suggested, had created a hostile environment for job creators.…

One of the guests raised his hand; he knew how to solve the problem. The president had won plaudits for his speech on race during the last campaign, the guest noted. It was a soaring address that acknowledged white resentment and urged national unity. What if Obama gave a similarly healing speech about class and inequality? What if he urged an end to attacks on the rich? Around the table, some people shook their heads in disbelief.

“Most people in the financial world,”…

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March 29, 2012, 1:30 pm

Man at his best.

In Esquire:

While we’re watching the signal, if not single, liberal achievement — the BFD, if you will — of the Most Disappointing President Ever™ writhe before conservative jurists like a tasty Christian before so many lions deciding whether merely to rip out the mandate or devour it whole (the Scalia lion is, of course, played by Jeremy Irons and drawling, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!”), let’s pause to remember how the Real Democratic Party™ acted when the High Court tossed out a law that was important to their constituents and agenda: They simply passed it again, with a different rationale.

You can read the whole thing if you like. There’s also this oldie, which at a glance I still stand by.

March 11, 2012, 3:49 pm

Why is tuition rising?

It troubled me when President Obama scoldingly said, “We’re putting colleges on notice: you can’t assume that you’ll just jack up tuition every single year”. The UC has raised tuition, but it hasn’t been on its own initiative; it’s been because the state has cut funding to higher education.

Now Robert Frank riffs on Obama’s comment, attributing rising tuition to rising faculty salaries.

To recruit professors, universities must pay salaries roughly in line with those made possible by productivity growth in other sectors. So while rising salaries needn’t lead to higher prices in many industries, they do in academia and many other service industries.

As they say about the International Jewish-Zionist Monetary Conspiracy, if there is one I want my share.1 I don’t think rising faculty salaries are the primary cause of increasing tuition costs.

Frank’s colleague Ronald Ehrenberg …

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December 10, 2011, 1:19 pm

The system works.

Shorter Obama administration: yes, we will preserve acknowledged social ills against which we’ve inveighed when prevailed upon by massive expenditures of money and influence. No, I guess this is not so much reason for hope or evidence of change.

Last year, the Obama administration vowed to stop for-profit colleges from luring students with false promises. In an opening volley that shook the $30 billion industry, officials proposed new restrictions to cut off the huge flow of federal aid to unfit programs.

But after a ferocious response that administration officials called one of the most intense they had seen, the Education Department produced a much-weakened final plan that almost certainly will have far less impact as it goes into effect next year.

The story of how the for-profit colleges survived the threat of a major federal crackdown offers a case study in Washington power…

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December 7, 2011, 5:26 pm

Faster than a speeding disappointment.

So after today’s Plan B announcement, do I get extra credit for saying yesterday that “The president went to Kansas to do his version of the ‘New Nationalism.’ But his New Nationalism is the old Obamaism — elevating bipartisanship above all else”?

December 6, 2011, 12:07 pm

It’s like saying “President Barry Obama.”

Dear White House: if you want to be compared to TR, you should know your TR. And for starters, TR didn’t like being called “Teddy.”

Live from Osawatomie High School in Osawatomie, Kansas President Obama gives remarks on the Economy in the same town President Teddy Roosevelt visited just over one hundred years ago.

This link might work better.

November 3, 2011, 10:06 am

How a bill becomes a useful law.

Congressman Brent Spence of Kentucky on how to negotiate when approached with amendments to the Bretton Woods bill in 1945.

I wouldn’t agree to anything…. You see, if we accept something now it puts us just in the same position as if we hadn’t accepted it…. Every amendment we accept kind of weakens us. [W]e might say, ‘Well, we’ll accept them if that’s all the amendments.’ But if we are going to have to fight it out, we just as well fight it out on all of them.

Could someone explain this to the people in the White House, please?

(Emphasis added.)

October 25, 2011, 8:35 pm


The President is right now at a $5,000+ per plate dinner in San Francisco, telling Americans we have lost our ambition and imagination. The police across the bay in Oakland are right now tear-gassing protesters. One feels an irony here, or a gap perhaps.