Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

USA: See You In C-U-B-A

March 21, 2016

USA: See You In C-U-B-A

President Obama flew into Havana on Sunday on Air Force One. In 1928 the last U.S. president to visit Cuba, Calvin Coolidge, sailed into Havana Harbor aboard a battleship. “Silent Cal” liked a good cigar, but he didn’t drink any rum, watch baseball, or dance the rumba. He addressed the Pan American Conference, promising the hemisphere “peace and goodwill,” but the Platt Amendment was in effect, and Cubans knew American forces could invade their nation at the drop of Mr. Coolidge’s homburg. The president promised Cubans the U.S. would lower the sugar tariff that crippled their economy, but it never happened — and the tariff was later raised.

Today’s Cubans hope this visit turns out better, but they remember the last one, even if we don’t.

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Reducing Gun Violence

January 5, 2016

Reducing Gun Violence

President Obama made public remarks Tuesday on the need to curb America’s epidemic of gun violence.

“Our right to peaceful assembly — that right was robbed from moviegoers in Aurora, high schoolers in Columbine and from first graders in Newtown. First graders. And from every family who’d never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun.

Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad. And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day.”

“We know we can’t stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world. But maybe we could try to stop one act of evil, one act of violence. We maybe can’t save everybody, but we can save some.”

“How did we get here? Each time this comes up, we are fed the excuse that common sense reforms might not have stopped the latest massacre or the one before that, so why bother trying.”

The President commented on his forthcoming executive actions:

“These are not only recommendations that are well within my legal authority and the executive branch, but they’re also ones that the overwhelming majority of the American people, including gun owners, support me doing.”

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Net Neutrality: Obama Observes the Obvious

November 11, 2014

Net Neutrality: Obama Observes the Obvious

The USA, which invented the Internet, is 43rd in world Internet speed, behind Estonia. High-speed broadband access costs three times as much in the US as in the UK and France, more than five times as much as in South Korea. There are only a few broadband providers in the US, and 30% of Americans can only choose one due to monopoly local access rules. So naturally, instead of upgrading their networks to world standards, American Internet Service Providers plan to selectively slow down Web access unless customers cough up even more dough.

The FCC has been considering allowing the “Internet Fast Lanes” and opened proposed regs for public comment. 4 million outraged citizens told them to shove it.

President Obama has reasonably observed that Web access is a basic utility today and should be regulated like a utility. Naturally Comcast, VerizonTime Warner Cable, and AT&T are foaming at the mouth. They argue that regulation would stifle innovation, as if their strong-arm tactics haven’t clearly done that already (see “Estonia,” above). Republicans are raging against the Net Neutrality proposal, partly because big corporations fund campaigns but mostly because Obama is for it. But the FCC is an independent agency, theoretically insulated from presidential and congressional pressure, but a few protesters sat at the foot of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s driveway, blocking his car, so he’d have a better understanding of bandwidth throttling.

More:

“President Obama Urges FCC to Implement Stronger Net Neutrality Rules,” Ezra Mechaber, White House Blog

“Obama’s big net neutrality announcement, explained,” Timothy B. Lee, Vox

“Tim Wu says Obama’s net neutrality plan is ‘bold, courageous, and just obvious,'” Nilay Patel, The Verge

“Ted Cruz’s Net Neutrality Take Isn’t Just Dumb, It’s Dangerous,” Kate Knibbs, Gizmodo

“The legal arguments against a leading net neutrality proposal are weak,” Timothy B. Lee, Vox

Obama to the FCC: Adopt ‘the strongest possible rules’ on net neutrality, including Title II,” Brian Fung , Washington Post

“President Obama urges FCC to ban paid internet ‘fast lanes,’” Anne Flaherty, AP via PBS

“Obama calls for more regulation of Internet providers, industry fires back,” Fox News

“Obama’s Net Neutrality Push,” Ed Kilgore, Washington Monthly

“Obama’s Plan to Save the Internet,” Adam Clark Estes, Gizmodo

“Barack Obama’s support for net neutrality sets precedent for the rest of the world,” Alex Hern, The Guardian

“The FCC Fires Back At the President’s Net Neutrality Plan,” Alex Wilhelm, TechCrunch

“Obama’s Net Neutrality Statement Will Start a War on K Street,” John B. Judis, The New Republic

“Why the Public Utility Model Is the Wrong Approach for Internet Regulation,” Larry Downes, Harvard Business Review

“By Backing Net Neutrality, Obama Delivers Blow to Corporate Giveaways,” Rebecca Leber, The New Republic

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Two Nobels

October 10, 2014

Two Nobels

Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Last year, when she was nominated, Malala spoke with the 2009 Peace Prize winner, Baraka Obama. Her account of the meeting:

“I thanked President Obama for the United States’ work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees. I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.”

Also awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize: Kailash Satyarthi of India, who has campaigned against child labor. The countries of the two Peace Prize winners are long-time antagonists.

More:

“Nobel Prize winner Malala told Obama U.S. drone attacks fuel terrorism,” Anita Kumar, McClatchy Washington Bureau

“Don’t forget Malala Yousafzai’s appeal to Obama: end the drone war,” Zack Beauchamp, Vox

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Big Cheese Day at the White House

January 27, 2014

Big Cheese Day at the White House

In 1835 New York dairy farmer Thomas Meacham sent President Andrew Jackson a 1,400-pound wheel of cheese as a gift. It aged in the Entrance Hall of the White House for two years. On January 29, 1837 the President, as was the custom, invited the public to a reception in the East Room and offered a choice refreshment: Cheese. Hungry citizens finished the entire cheese in two hours, but its fragrance lingered in Entrance Hall for some time.

At 9:00 PM on January 29, 2014, the day after he delivers the State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama has invited the public to a virtual Big Block of Cheese Day. There’s no free cheese, but White House officials will respond to questions in real time via  Twitter Facebook Tumblr Instagram  and Google+ Hangout  (hashtag #AsktheWH). Whether this is a good idea or not remains to be seen, but it sure seems like White House staffers learned about Andy Jackson’s big cheese from the West Wing TV show:

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If Obama Owned DC’s NFL Team

October 6, 2013

If Obama Owned DC's NFK Team In an interview with AP’s Julie Pace on Friday, President Obama said he would “think about changing” the Washington NFL team’s racist name if he owned the pro football franchise. “I don’t know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things,” said the president, who went on to praise the team’s loyal fan base.

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Adam Smith Endorses Obama Tax Plan

November 30, 2012

Adam Smith Endorses Obama Tax Plan
“It is not unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

– Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1776

Related:

“Let the Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy Expire Already,” Senator Bernie Sanders, Truthdig

“How to raise taxes on the rich,” Jeanne Sahadi, CNN Money

“Tax hike for wealthy won’t kill growth, CBO says,” Reuters via NBC News

“The Great Capitalist Heist: How Paris Hilton’s Dogs Ended Up Better Off Than You,” Gerald Friedman, Naked Capitalism [caution: numbers n’ stuff]

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Obama Pardons National Tofurky®

November 22, 2012

Obama Pardons National Tofurky®
President Barack Obama has pardoned the 2012 National Thanksgiving Tofurky® in a ceremony in the Vegetable Garden on the South Lawn of the White House.

The mock-turkey vegetable roast will not be consumed by the First Family but will frolic with leftover arugula and endive from the presidential holiday meal in the Official White House Compost Heap.

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Hoopster-In-Chief

November 6, 2012

Hoopster-In-Chief

President Barack Obama played basketball with some pals in Chicago today, his Election Day custom. Thanks to his running dribbling mate, NBA great Scotty Pippen, his team won by 20 points. The election will be much, much closer.
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Time to Choose: Hoops or Dancing Horse?

November 6, 2012

Time to Choose: Hoops or Dancing Horse?

November 6, 2012. It’s time to decide between Barry, who likes basketball and bodysurfing, and Willard, who likes cheerleading and his dancing horse, Rafalca.

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Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-eTW

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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