The notorious RBG
Olive-a-Pope (notice the wine glass)
Check out My costume! It was surprisingly easy to make. pic.twitter.com/EvU3r1Nxra
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) October 31, 2014
Check out My costume! It was surprisingly easy to make. pic.twitter.com/EvU3r1Nxra
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) October 31, 2014
Beyond mere incompetence is government intrusiveness and corruption, as in the overreach of national security surveillance and IRS targeting of politically disfavored advocacy groups.We'll leave the whole thing about the IRS alone for now because I'm pretty gobsmacked that Krauthammer has the gall to complain about national security surveillance overreach. Not only did Bush, Jr. conduct surveillance on people in America - until 2006 he did it sans warrants. And Krauthammer defended him for doing so. Just another example of how "its only a problem when Obama does it (with warrants)."
Most voters don’t care about the details of Ukraine, the factions in Libya or the precise battle lines of the Islamic State. But they do have a palpable sense of American weakness.So I suppose that "most voters" (read: Krauthammer) had a "palpable sense of American weakness" when terrorists bombed a U.S. military base in Lebanon on President Reagan's watch and that 9/11 demonstrated al Qaeda's contempt for America's lack of power and resolve during George Bush's presidency.
This was brought home most profoundly by the videotaped beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff. It wasn’t just the savagery that affected so many Americans but the contempt shown by these savages for America — its power, its resolve.
...a Racket staffer complained to senior management that Taibbi had been verbally abusive and unprofessionally hostile, and that she felt the conduct may have been motivated, at least in part, by her gender.To have hired this guy and not been clear about the rules related to respectful communication and boundaries protecting women from gender discrimination was a HUGE mistake from the beginning.
And let me say this: Republicans are patriots, they love their country just like we do. But they’ve got some bad ideas. That doesn’t mean that we don’t appreciate them as Americans. I’ve got family members who have got bad ideas -- they’re still part of the family, but you don’t want to put them in charge, right?This President has made a habit of trying to teach us that disagreement doesn't need to lead to demonization - something our politics has assumed for far too long. Its gotten so bad lately that all we ever do is lob insults at each other from our own epistemically enclosed media outlets.
A polarized electorate that is turned off of politics, and easily dismisses both parties because of the nasty, dishonest tone of the debate, works perfectly well for those who seek to chip away at the very idea of government because, in the end, a cynical electorate is a selfish electorate.Igniting a conversation based on empathy and respect for those we disagree with is a core value for President Obama. Those of us who have been paying attention from the beginning have always known that.
Throughout his career, Obama has refused to demonize his opponents. Instead, he has sought them out and listened to them. He has tried to understand how they think and why they see the world as they do. His mother encouraged this sense of empathy, and it’s a lesson Obama learned well...The truth is, very few people "get" this about President Obama. Until they do, they'll never really understand him. His message has always been the same to his opponents, whether they are foreign or domestic.
Although Obama’s reform agenda echoes aspects of those advanced by many Democrats over the last century, he has admitted—and this is the decisive point in understanding his outlook—that his opponents hold principles rooted as deeply in American history as his own. “I am obligated to try to see the world through George Bush’s eyes, no matter how much I may disagree with him,” he wrote in Audacity. “That’s what empathy does—it calls us all to task, the conservative and the liberal … We are all shaken out of our complacency.” Obama rejects dogma, embraces uncertainty, and dismisses the fables that often pass for history among partisans on both sides who need heroes and villains, and who resist more-nuanced understandings of the past and the present.
The act of directing one's interest inward or to things within the self.That's not an act of selfishness (another critique often leveled at introverts), its about finding your own authenticity. And so I'm reminded of Jon Favreau's response to a question about whether or not President Obama is "remote."
I think that the remoteness thing comes from...he doesn't do artifice well. He doesn't do schtick well, right? It goes back to that authenticity thing. He knows who he is, he believes who he is and he's not going to put on some facade just because he's supposed to glad-handle someone. He would rather actually get to know that person...talk to them, have a real conversation - not recite talking points - and enjoy that person's company.Introverts are fascinated by the lives and stories of other people. We simply have a low tolerance for the superficial. Because we value authenticity, we don't tend to excel at the games that are often played by both co-dependents and the powerful elite. Here's what Michael Lewis noticed about President Obama.
His desire to hear out junior people is a warm personality trait as much as a cool tactic, of a piece with his desire to play golf with White House cooks rather than with C.E.O.’s and basketball with people who treat him as just another player on the court; to stay home and read a book rather than go to a Washington cocktail party; and to seek out, in any crowd, not the beautiful people but the old people. The man has his status needs, but they are unusual. And he has a tendency, an unthinking first step, to subvert established status structures.This is a good example of how stories of meaning are developed. If you view President Obama through the lens of assumptions about the superiority of extroversion, the story you tell will be about his deficiencies in leadership. But if - like Susan Cain does in the video above - you can find the value of introverts in today's world, you'll tell a whole different story...one of competence.
@Smartypants60 Here's an excellent piece by @kdrum - I Am Delighted We Have an Introvert in the White House http://t.co/AtOstqfG80 #ObamaJohn Heilemann is quoted as saying this:
— Delna (@delna_24) October 29, 2014
I don't think he doesn't like people. I know he doesn't like people. He's not an extrovert; he's an introvert. I've known the guy since 1988. He's not someone who has a wide circle of friends. He's not a backslapper and he's not an arm-twister. He's a more or less solitary figure who has extraordinary communicative capacities.That's classic of what extroverts say about introverts - that they don't like people. When - as Favreau and Lewis pointed out above - what they don't like is game-playing, superficiality and artifice.
I want you to know that life will try to crack you like an egg, and your silence will eventually break. Someday you will spill some of those painful secrets and taste a modicum of much-needed freedom. You will lose a great deal as a result, but the gains will outweigh every loss. You will love and be loved by a beautiful man in a place where your mutual passion will be a marker not of shame but of pride. You will be awkward and alone and alien for a long time, but you will transform these qualities, which is to say yourself, into a work of art. You will wear your awkwardness, your aloneness and your alienness in your hair like gold thread. You will adorn your wonkiness on your wrist like a charm bracelet studded with stars...Reminds me of this:
Someday you will grow up and become the man you have always wanted to be.
All of these amazing things await you. Keep dreaming, keep drawing, keep listening to Aaliyah. You will be fine.
A few months ago I shared this video of Jon Favreau - a very wise young man - who talked about the most important thing he learned from working with President Obama.
The story we tell ourselves or the conversation we're living in is actually where we live...and we have absolute omnipotence over that. We may not have power over the circumstance we have, but we have absolute power over the story we tell about the circumstances or the conversation we have about our lives...That's not only where you and I can change the game, but can change our lives and the world we perceive we're living in. Its not pollyanna. Its not positive thinking. Its actually the access to power so that we can behave and act in a way that we stay competent, effective, powerful and know who we are.
And here is Marshall Ganz, senior lecturer at Harvard's Kennedy School and designer of Camp Obama, talking about Why Stories Matter.
But I think the most important lesson that I learned from President Obama was about the power of storytelling to instill a sense of hope - and why that's so important right now.
The way we talk about this is not just to go up to someone and say, “Be hopeful.” We don’t just talk about hope and other values in abstractions. We talk about them in the language of stories because stories are what enable us to communicate these values to one another.If you prefer a video of the same content from Ganz, here it is.
If you're frustrated with how the world is, forget about the world. Tell your story. Tell it boldly. And ignore whatever crisis the media is telling you to worry about. Your story, my story, is what rules the world. Not their version of it...Finally, here is Christina Baldwin, author of Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives Through the Power and Practice of Story, talking about the role story plays in our lives following the death of her son.
In my book, Storycatcher, I say, “Words are how we think, story is how we link.” Life story is developed by attaching a new experience to an old one, like putting two children in line together and saying, “Hold hands. Don’t let go. Help each other cross the street.” A previous experience, which we have already transformed through the narrative function of the mind into meaning, serves as a tutor to help us absorb a new experience and begin to integrate it.
But when the new experience is extreme in some way—we can’t link it. This is called shock. The world right now is full of shocks. And what observers call “news”...is individual, familial, and community survivors experiencing breakdowns in their capacity to integrate what just happened into what has happened before: shock on a massive scale.
Narrative is our life-line. The psyche goes into free-fall when our attachment to meaning is broken.I am still in the process of absorbing what all this means - for me personally as well as a way of understanding what is going on in the world. So I'm not going to comment on it right now. Just know that this is what I am busy exploring and what you'll likely see reflected in my writing going forward.
The moral of this story is not directed at Democratic politicians; it is meant for us, the liberal rank and file. We still “yearn to believe,” as Perlstein says. There is something about the Carter / Obama personality that appeals to us in a deep, unspoken way, and that has led Democrats to fall for a whole string of passionless centrists: John Kerry, Al Gore, Michael Dukakis, Gary Hart and Bill Clinton. Each time, Democratic voters are enchanted by a kind of intellectual idealism that (we are told) is unmoored from ideology. We persuade ourselves that the answer to the savagery of the right—the way to trump the naked class aggression of the One Percent—is to say farewell to our own tradition and get past politics and ideology altogether. And so we focus on the person of the well-meaning, hyper-intelligent leader. We are so high-minded, we think. We are so scientific.Whenever you hear one of these idiots talking about "centrists," its helpful to replace it with "pragmatists." That becomes obvious when, at the end of the quote, Frank mocks the idea that Democrats "are so scientific." In other words, he thinks we're losers because we are wedded to pragmatic ideas that are grounded in science rather than a rigid adherence to ideology.
We are such losers.
The short-attention span generation has birthed the shiny-object election.The result is that - with an assist from the media - Republicans have managed to fear-monger every challenge that's come along...resulting in a mindset amongst the public that amounts to "this country is going to hell in a hand basket." Sink also correctly articulates the Obama administration's response to this shiny object syndrome:
The theme of the 2014 midterms — to whatever extent one is discernable — has been an explosion of one crisis after another, each of which demands an enormous amount of media attention before fading for the next one.
“We should be focused on the problems because we have a government and leadership in this country that’s focused on solving them,” press secretary Josh Earnest said.As we've seen recently, by the time this administration had solved the problems with healthcare.gov, the freak-out about unaccompanied minors crossing the borders began. And before anyone noticed how that problem had been solved, we were on to ISIS!!!! But by the time President Obama had convinced Iraq to form a more inclusive government that cut off support for ISIS in that country and rallied our friends as well as foes to fight them, the great freak-out about Ebola had begun.
But Earnest did note that previous crises — like the flood of unaccompanied minors across the southern border that dominated attention earlier this summer — were examples of where the administration had worked hard to solve a problem, only to see attention divert elsewhere.
“The president and his administration at the direction of the president comes in and, through a lot of hard work, puts in place a solution. But by the time that solution is put in place, everybody has sort of moved on to something else,” Earnest said.
Strategists and experts say the result has been bad news for Democrats, who have had a tougher time underscoring their preferred campaign messages on their party’s support for women and the middle class.I certainly understand that the Republicans are going to play whatever hand they have - that is to be expected. The real fault here lies in the media's obsession with ratings and link bait. Crisis fear-mongering apparently sells. Solutions don't.
Instead, each shiny object captivating a media that craves the hottest story has helped Republicans making the elections for the House and Senate all about President Obama...
Vulnerable Democrats are put in the unenviable position of either backing the president or lobbing criticism at their party’s leader.
Obama was indeed naive: He faced scorched-earth Republican opposition from Day One, and it took him years to start dealing with that opposition realistically.Clearly Krugman doesn't understand this President's theory of change - which I have often called conciliatory rhetoric as a ruthless strategy.
One way to deal with that kind of bad-faith opposition is to draw the person in, treat them as if they were operating in good faith, and draw them into a conversation about how they actually would solve the problem. If they have nothing, it shows. And that's not a tactic of bipartisan Washington idealists -- it's a hard-nosed tactic of community organizers, who are acutely aware of power and conflict.Just as with most people who are steeped in dominance as the only source of power, Krugman doesn't get that the audience for these efforts was never Republican politicians (who President Obama knew were wedded to a strategy of obstruction). It was always the American public - who he counted on to recognize the vacuity of the Republican position.
We, the people — recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which asks only, what's in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.
As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It's about what can be done by us, together through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. That's what we believe.
- President Barack Obama, 2012 Democratic Convention
I pulled him over for a seat belt violation. Before I could even get out of my car he jumped out, stared at me, and as I jumped out of my car and identified myself, as I approached him, he jumped headfirst into his car. I started retracting back towards the rear of his vehicle, telling him, 'Look, get out of the car, let me see your hands.' He jumped out of the car. I saw something black in his hands. I ran to the other side of the car, yelling at him, and he kept coming towards me. Apparently it was his wallet.And here's the video of what actually happened.
But what he [Groubert] is, is a citizen of a country where the fear of black men is downright viral. That doesn’t mean he burns crosses on the weekend. It means he’s watched television, seen a movie, used a computer, read a newspaper or magazine. It means he is alive and aware in a nation where one is taught from birth that thug equals black, suspect equals black, danger equals black...It is in this way that the stories we tell ourselves take precedence over the actual circumstances of our lives. Unless and until we recognize that fact of human existence and begin to examine the stories we tell ourselves (especially the ones that are based in fear), we'll never understand the ways we have embraced the "isms" we've been fed all our lives. As we've seen lately, our certainty that these stories we tell ourselves are a true reflection of reality is dangerous.
The Groubert video offers an unusually stark image of that fear in action. Viewing it, it seems clear the trooper is not reacting to anything Jones does. In a very real sense, he doesn’t even see him. No, he is reacting to a primal fear of what Jones is, to outsized expectations of what Jones might do, to terrors buried so deep in his breast, he probably doesn’t even know they’re there.
“He responds in a very rational way, trying to gather facts, rely on the best expert advice, and mobilize the necessary resources,” says David Axelrod, a former White House senior adviser...By all accounts, Obama treats a crisis as an intellectual inquiry and develops his response through an intensely rational process. As former CIA Director Leon Panetta said recently in a TV interview, “He approaches things like a law professor in presenting the logic of his position.”OMG - what a failure!!!! President Obama has a nasty habit of "adhering to intellectual rigor" to actually solve problems "regardless of the public's emotional needs." Nevermind that those "emotional needs" have been manufactured out of whole cloth. At least Green is able to poke a little fun at this when he quotes someone who reminded us that more people have been married to a Kardashian than have died from Ebola.
Six years in, it’s clear that Obama’s presidency is largely about adhering to intellectual rigor—regardless of the public’s emotional needs.
...his record, even on issues where he’s drawn heavy criticism, is often much better than the initial impression would lead one to believe. He may tackle crises in a way that ignores the public mood, yet things generally turn out pretty well in the end. He and his economic team, though deeply unpopular, halted the financial panic and brought about a recovery that’s added jobs for 55 consecutive months. His signature health-care law addressed a slower-moving crisis; while similarly unpopular, it has delivered health insurance to more than 10 million people. Even Deepwater Horizon was nothing like the environmental cataclysm it threatened to become. “It really became a parable of how government can mobilize to solve a big problem,” Axelrod says. And he adds, “Bush didn’t get bin Laden—Obama did.”While the public is led into panic mode, over and over again this President has a record of solving problems. Perhaps it would be nice to have a Daddy-In-Chief who takes responsibility for addressing the public's emotional needs. But I personally am MUCH more interested in competence.
More U.S. high school students are staying in school, according to newly released data from the Census Bureau, as the national dropout rate reached a record low last year. Just 7% of the nation’s 18-to-24 year olds had dropped out of high school, continuing a steady decline in the nation’s dropout rate since 2000, when 12% of youth were dropouts.As I continue to absorb this kind of news I find myself shaking my head and wondering WTF is wrong with us that we're not noticing these positive developments. I get that there's still a lot of work to do, but on almost every data point, we're making significant progress.
The decline in the national dropout rate has been driven, in part, by substantially fewer Hispanic and black youth dropping out of school (the non-Hispanic white dropout rate has not fallen as sharply). Although Hispanics still have the highest dropout rate among all major racial and ethnic groups, it reached a record-low of 14% in 2013, compared with 32% of Hispanic 18- to 24-year-olds who were dropouts in 2000...
The dropout rate for black youth also was at a record low in 2013 (8%) and has fallen by nearly half since 2000 (15%).
A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress's generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.It worked. According to Gallup, Congressional approval - 14% in September - is at an historic low. The media is constantly telling us about the low approval ratings for President Obama. We don't hear as much about this side of the story. Its true that the public isn't enamored with the Democrats, but the "pox on both your houses" has Speaker John Boehner's approval rating at 28% (only 46% amongst Republicans).
...the consumer agency is structural change. So basically, the premise behind it was that there were plenty of federal laws out there, but no agency would step up and enforce them...But then when Frank presses her about the lack of Wall Street prosecutions, she says something that is remarkably ignorant.
And so the idea behind the consumer agency was to say: structural change. We need an agency that has one and only one goal, and that is to look out for American families. To level the playing field, to make sure that people are not getting tricked and trapped on these financial instruments. And so it was a big shift, and it’s a shift worth thinking about.
They [the Obama administration] protected Wall Street. Not families who were losing their homes. Not people who lost their jobs. Not young people who were struggling to get an education. And it happened over and over and over.I honestly believe that Senator Warren is a smart person. So I have no idea why she would say something like that. Did she not notice that President Obama implemented other structural changes to financial institutions via Dodd/Frank that most of Wall Street hates? Even naysayers like Paul Krugman have had to acknowledge that it has been more effective than they originally thought.
A little over a year ago, Ta-Nehisi Coates surprised himself (and everyone else) when he told Ezra Klein that he had become uncharacteristi...