19
Jan
14

Portrait Of A President

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David Remnick: Going The Distance

Obama really is skilled at this kind of thing, the kibbitzing and the expressions of sympathy, the hugging and the eulogizing and the celebrating, the sheer animal activity of human politics—but he suffers an anxiety of comparison. Bill Clinton was, and is, the master, a hyper-extrovert whose freakish memory for names and faces, and whose indomitable will to enfold and charm everyone in his path, remains unmatched. Obama can be a dynamic speaker before large audiences and charming in very small groups, but, like a normal human being and unlike the near-pathological personalities who have so often held the office, he is depleted by the act of schmoozing a group of a hundred as if it were an intimate gathering. At fund-raisers, he would rather eat privately with a couple of aides before going out to perform.

White house photo of the day

According to the Wall Street Journal, when Jeffrey Katzenberg threw a multi-million-dollar fund-raiser in Los Angeles two years ago, he told the President’s staff that he expected Obama to stop at each of the fourteen tables and talk for a while. No one would have had to ask Clinton. Obama’s staffers were alarmed. When you talk about this with people in Obamaland, they let on that Clinton borders on the obsessive—as if the appetite for connection were related to what got him in such deep trouble. “Obama is a genuinely respectful person, but he doesn’t try to seduce everyone,” Axelrod said. “It’s never going to be who he’ll be.”

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Obama’s thoughts have been down in the city. The drama of racial inequality, in his mind, has come to presage a larger, transracial form of economic disparity, a deepening of the class divide. Indeed, if there is a theme for the remaining days of his term, it is inequality. In 2011, he went to Osawatomie, Kansas, the site of Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 New Nationalism speech—a signal moment in the history of Progressivism—and declared inequality the “defining issue of our time.” He repeated the message at length, late last year, in Anacostia, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., this time noting that the gap between the rich and the poor in America now resembled that in Argentina and Jamaica, rather than that in France, Germany, or Canada. American C.E.O.s once made, on average, thirty times as much as workers; now they make about two hundred and seventy times as much. The wealthy hire lobbyists; they try to secure their interests with campaign donations. Even as Obama travels for campaign alms and is as entangled in the funding system at least as much as any other politician, he insists that his commitment is to the middle class and the disadvantaged. Last summer, he received a letter from a single mother struggling to support herself and her daughter on a minimal income. She was drowning: “I need help. I can’t imagine being out in the streets with my daughter and if I don’t get some type of relief soon, I’m afraid that’s what may happen.” “Copy to Senior Advisers,” Obama wrote at the bottom of the letter. “This is the person we are working for.”

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Obama came to power without foreign-policy experience; but he won the election, in part, by advocating a foreign-policy sensibility that was wary of American overreach. If George W. Bush’s foreign policy was largely a reaction to 9/11, Obama’s has been a reaction to the reaction. He withdrew American forces from Iraq. He went to Cairo in 2009, in an attempt to forge “a new beginning” between the United States and the Muslim world. American troops will come home from Afghanistan this year. As he promised in his first Presidential campaign—to the outraged protests of Hillary Clinton and John McCain alike—he has extended a hand to traditional enemies, from Iran to Cuba. And he has not hesitated in his public rhetoric to acknowledge, however subtly, the abuses, as well as the triumphs, of American power. He remembers going with his mother to live in Indonesia, in 1967—shortly after a military coup, engineered with American help, led to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people. This event, and the fact that so few Americans know much about it, made a lasting impression on Obama. He is convinced that an essential component of diplomacy is the public recognition of historical facts—not only the taking of American hostages in Iran, in 1979, but also the American role in the overthrow of Mohammad Mossadegh, the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, in 1953.

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Obama has every right to claim a long list of victories since he took office: ending two wars; an economic rescue, no matter how imperfect; strong Supreme Court nominations; a lack of major scandal; essential support for an epochal advance in the civil rights of gays and lesbians; more progressive executive orders on climate change, gun control, and the end of torture; and, yes, health-care reform. But, no matter what one’s politics, and however one weighs the arguments of his critics, both partisan and principled, one has to wonder about any President’s capacity to make these decisions amid a thousand uncertainties, so many of which are matters of life and death, survival and extinction.

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“I have strengths and I have weaknesses, like every President, like every person,” Obama said. “I do think one of my strengths is temperament. I am comfortable with complexity, and I think I’m pretty good at keeping my moral compass while recognizing that I am a product of original sin. And every morning and every night I’m taking measure of my actions against the options and possibilities available to me, understanding that there are going to be mistakes that I make and my team makes and that America makes; understanding that there are going to be limits to the good we can do and the bad that we can prevent, and that there’s going to be tragedy out there and, by occupying this office, I am part of that tragedy occasionally, but that if I am doing my very best and basing my decisions on the core values and ideals that I was brought up with and that I think are pretty consistent with those of most Americans, that at the end of the day things will be better rather than worse.”

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“I think we are born into this world and inherit all the grudges and rivalries and hatreds and sins of the past,” he said. “But we also inherit the beauty and the joy and goodness of our forebears. And we’re on this planet a pretty short time, so that we cannot remake the world entirely during this little stretch that we have.” The long view again. “But I think our decisions matter,” he went on. “And I think America was very lucky that Abraham Lincoln was President when he was President. If he hadn’t been, the course of history would be very different. But I also think that, despite being the greatest President, in my mind, in our history, it took another hundred and fifty years before African-Americans had anything approaching formal equality, much less real equality. I think that doesn’t diminish Lincoln’s achievements, but it acknowledges that at the end of the day we’re part of a long-running story. We just try to get our paragraph right.”

More here

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143 Responses to “Portrait Of A President”


  1. 1 vcprezofan2
    January 19, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    :cool:

  2. 15 vcprezofan2
    January 19, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    10+ minutes after our initial entrance! Africa, I think NerdyW blocked off this post just for the two of us.
    :grin: Thanks, Utal; all those times you left me behind are forgiven!

  3. January 19, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Congrats on first, VC!

    President Obama’s wisdom and integrity comes from a very deep place. It’s not superficial. And it’s entirely genuine. That’s why it’s pretty ridiculous to compare his style of connecting with people to Bill Clinton’s style, which is much more political and salesman-like.

    • 17 vcprezofan2
      January 19, 2014 at 5:17 pm

      Hel-loooo there, Theo. It’s been a little while. :grin:

    • 18 MightyPamela
      January 19, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      Precisely, Theo!

      • 19 99ts
        January 19, 2014 at 6:36 pm

        Dear Pamela – if you are still around – I congratulate you a trillion times for the success in down sizing. I decided to start with the shredding – having finished with all the paper files in my desk – back to 2000 – I was congratulating myself when Mr 99 found boxes of files going back another 15 years. The shredder overheats – the bins are full – and this is just the paper in our house! I’m thinking it be nice to go back to the times when we were allowed to burn the stuff!

        We have about 18 months – don’t think I will get it done!

        • 20 MightyPamela
          January 20, 2014 at 1:32 pm

          Oh! 99ts! Just seeing your comment now on Monday morning! You WILL get it done, I’m sure you will. Sound like a great start, and with routine perseverance it will slowly but surely disappear! I recommend trying to do a bit every other day, as I find every day is not realistic! One thing I have come to appreciate is electronic records now. Imagining all that paper, dead trees, contains info which now fits into a little device (laptop, etc) and stud there until deletion! Soon, as the empty space begins to open up where those boxes have been, it will feel as if progress is being made, you will never think of that stuff again! When I was downsizing my lady, we had to call in a professional shredding company, there was so much paper, of the sensitive document type. That was not so expensive, and made the task much lighter. You might give that some thought, I’m sure there are companies in Oz who do this for people, and for other companies! I will say Good Luck, however, as it is no small task you both are taking on!

    • 21 Nerdy Wonka
      January 19, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      Yup. Clinton’s style of schmoozing always seems desperate and a “love me, love me, like me, do you love me now?” manner. What I admire about President Obama is that he’s a contained individual who knows himself inside and out and isn’t desperate to be liked. He’s not in politics to schmooze and pander to people. He’s in there because he genuinely wants everyone no matter your name or position in life, to achieve the American Dream.

    • 22 jackiegrumbacher
      January 19, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      Theo, I completely agree with that. Though I voted for Clinton twice , I never felt he was genuine. He said the right things and tried hard to “look” sincere, but he couldn’t ever really cover up the phoniness.

      • 23 Alycee (@jazziz2)
        January 19, 2014 at 6:32 pm

        I, on the other hand, never voted FOR Clinton; I voted AGAINST Bush41 and Dole… Never liked Bill — he’s always reminded me of a snake oil salesman…

    • 24 africa
      January 19, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      Well said. “President Obama’s wisdom and integrity comes from a very deep place. It’s not superficial.”

  4. 25 MightyPamela
    January 19, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Perhaps after 5+ years mastering the presidency as none of his predecessors have ever done ~ just perhaps it might occur to those who refuse to see, precisely because PBO is not a rich white man, other world leaders recognize in him a far deeper and higher quality, an indefatigable intelligence linked between Mind, Heart and Soul, by which characteristics he shows himself more honest and more trustworthy. PBO has always said it’s not about him, he is not out to ‘cut deals’, to swing the political pendulum towards himself. He just keeps showing his true self, his integrity, no wonder so many love him, and no wonder those who hate him feel challenged!

  5. 28 carolyn
    January 19, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks for posting Remnick’s article, I read all of it. It is thoughtful, and shows the president as multi-dimensional and thoughtful, as I knew he is.
    One part stood out for me in the first section. We often talk about narcissists and sociopaths here, and notice how they so often arrive in political office. Over the past five years we have seen that President Obama is NOT these. The part of this article that demonstrates this beautifully is:

    “Obama can be a dynamic speaker before large audiences and charming in very small groups, but like a NORMAL (emphasis mine) human being and unlike the near pathological personalities who have so often held this office, he is depleted by the art of schmoozing a group of a hundred as if it were an intimate gathering.” David Axelrod goes on to say: “Obama is a genuinely respectful person, but he doesn’t try to seduce everyone. It’s never going to be who he’ll be.”

    This part spoke to me, and affirmed what my husband and I have been so relieved about with him. Of course we know who, in contrast, does try to seduce everybody…….and the author mentions that tendency possibly led to some of his trouble.

    President Obama is complex in an age of cardboard, cartoon characterizations of public figures, and this infuriates his enemies because they just do not get him.

    Thank you to those who brought this article to our attention.

    • 29 MightyPamela
      January 19, 2014 at 5:23 pm

      Although, I am more proud of my cardboard PBO cut out than of many of my ‘things’! have finally brought it over from storage, and it now rests safely in the back of the closet, along with my set of signed and numbered prints from both campaigns. My own little personal Obama Legacy Library! :) For my lucky grandchildren, if I ever have any!

      • 30 vcprezofan2
        January 19, 2014 at 5:28 pm

        :razz:

      • 31 jackiegrumbacher
        January 19, 2014 at 5:29 pm

        Good for you, MP. I have had two calendars for each the last five years–one featuring monthly photos of PBO and one featuring photos of Michelle. My office walls are covered with Obama family photos and so is my refrigerator. Anyone who visits my home and doesn’t like my photos is free to leave. Hope you’re liking your new apartment.

  6. 33 jackiegrumbacher
    January 19, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Thanks for the excerpt, NW. There are very few people in the world who take the long view of history and even fewer leaders who can place themselves in historical context. The last line of the excerpt–“I just want to get the paragraph right” is one of the wisest and also the humblest remarks any president has ever made. The president who PBO admires the most–Abraham Lincoln–was beset by critics, naysayers and obstructionist at every turn and I’m sure he had many, many bad days and despairing moments. If opinion polls existed at the time, they would probably have been very low for long periods of time. But, he, like PBO, had a vision for the country and a commitment to the long view of justice. Barack Obama will rank in the very short list of great presidents, right beside his hero. Of that I am as certain as I can be.

    • 34 carolyn
      January 19, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      Looks like several of us picked up on the same kinds of info about the President. It just meant the world to me that after these highly emotional meetings he is “depleted…like a normal human being.” We are after these times…..he has to recharge, and that is one reason I believe those 6:30 dinners together are essential to him. I’m glad he is just exactly what he is, and is not the pathological, hungry schmoozer. He is complex and centered within himself.

    • 35 MightyPamela
      January 19, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      And his profile will look just as natural up there on Mt. Rushmore! I am sure of that as well! Why shouldn’t it, he is rewriting the future of this country and the world!

  7. 36 yardarm756
    January 19, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Re-run!

  8. 44 elo4obama/biden
    January 19, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Hi everybody! At first I thought Oh WOW, theo long time no see that name. Then I thought and MPamela and Allison. So hello to everyone. I saw you were thinking you’d have to talk to yourself VC. I took the time to read through Nerdy Wonka’s fabulous post and to update the latest installment of adobe.

    I’ll admit I felt Clinton’s magnetism many years ago when he made an appearance at a mall in Cali. I have not every been in the same room with our wonderful President Obama, but I sure “feel” and see the tremendous care he feels for the folks he serves while holding the highest office in the land. It’s no much more that political charm, it’s a deep rooted caring and connection which is off the charts and unlike any other president or political figure in my life time.

    The comparison to President Clinton’s needy charm rings false. There just is no one like this president and one day maybe “they” will admit it!!

    • 45 vcprezofan2
      January 19, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      Hi, Elo! Being a very slow reader, I’m still reading the article. :roll: Of course pausing to check who else has arrived in the village doesn’t help. ;)

    • 47 dotster3
      January 19, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      The comparison to Clinton’s needy charm rings true for me, shining the more positive light on authentic Obama. I think the author’s point was even tho Clinton can work a room, it’s more of a learned, pretentious, politicized back slapping, a desperate need to ingratiate himself to one and all. PBO is the exact opposite of that, has never been a fakey schmoozer, which drives some political types nuts.

  9. January 19, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    His so-called “alloofness”, I think has kept him sane and out of trouble. While he likes people, he’s probably better off keeping his distance from the narcissists in his line of work. Doing so has protected his privacy and kept his family together.

    Also, they forget he’s a black man surrounded by white folks who do not really like him as a person. What would schmoozing do in that circumstance? They wouldn’t like him any better or cooperate with him more fully. Why not recharge with people who at least don’t dislike him?

    Some pro-canniabis people on another blog are unhappy that he doesn’t use h is executive powers to reschedule pot. But like the other emoprogs who were upset that he didn’t just use an executive powers to overturn Doma, they don’t see the whole network of rules and laws underpinning what they don’t like. With DOMA, Obama spent months getting the cooperation of the military. It worked: when the law was passed, there was a smooth transition, so smooth that nobody even talks about it any more.

    Obama will let the experiment play out in the states of Colorado and Washington, and any other state that chooses to join them.
    When the right time comes, his “evolution” will allow for a fact-based legalization with proper controls to protect the vulnerable. It will be Congress that takes the lead, and like health care, Congress who will write the new Federal rules. Such an approach means that a saner approach will pass without too much trouble.

  10. 49 Bill R.
    January 19, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    In my view our president is the most spiritually evolved president of my lifetime, and perhaps in our entire history. And that counts for everything in my view. He makes decisions from a point of inner wisdom that is unparalleled in my view.

  11. 53 Nerdy Wonka
    January 19, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    This excerpt stood out for me.

  12. January 19, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Another thing that has impressed me about Obama is his introspective and thoughtful approach to things. The fact that he takes time, is cautious, is always questioning himself, is the sort of thing that ordinary people know leads to good decisionmaking. Since he doesn’t rush into things, he usually has all or if not most of the info needed to make a decision. And when that happens, it’s a good one.

    Part of the upset over his not schmoozing with politicians instead of spending time with his family is that there’s no chance they could take him down with a planted “Monica”. No new phony “friends” mean no possibility of even a fake scandal to tarnish his reputation. Another part means that there won’t be any real problems with the girls or Michelle later in life. Because they know they are a real priority in his life, that he loves them and really cares for them, the girls and his marriage will be the envy of many.

  13. 55 desertflower
    January 19, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    How about Joy Reid for MTP?? She’d be awesome…and she’d still have time to fill in for anyone else…and be light years better than shitforbrains Gregory.

    • 56 theo67
      January 19, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      They’ll turn her into a puppet… I’d rather keep her as a free agent, able to say what needs to be said.

      • 57 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
        January 19, 2014 at 5:58 pm

        Respectfully theo, I don’t think anyone could convert Ms Reid to a puppet.

        • 58 theo67
          January 19, 2014 at 6:12 pm

          I would have said the same thing about Martin Bashir, who was very bold in his criticism, but he’s gone because he wouldn’t comply. Keith Olbermann – also gone. I’d like to think Joann would resist as well, but if she wants to stay on the air, she’d have to comply or be gone. And we’d lose her important voice.

          • 59 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
            January 19, 2014 at 6:30 pm

            Understand your concern, but I see Ms Joy Reid as a very different person than either Mr Bashir & Mr Olbermann. Mr Bashir would still be there had he not gone way over the line re: Sarah Palin (whom I despise, but suggesting that she be treated to the same type of torture that slaves received was intolerable in my book and I think caused Mr Bashir to resign, not because he was being pushed out, but because I think he is a good enough person to realize he needed to step away and re-calibrate). Mr Olbermann, as good as he is on many topics, was and will always be, all about Mr Olbermann.

            What we have seen from Ms Maddow and Mr Kornacki suggests that MSNBC is willing to provide considerable space for legitimate investigative reporting. If they want MTP to be anything other than an obvious outlet for GOP propaganda aimed at an ever dwindling demographic (white, male, 60+), Ms Reid would be an excellent choice.

            • 60 theo67
              January 19, 2014 at 6:40 pm

              You make some very good points – although, I don’t share your positive views on Steve Kornacki. I’m willing to share your optimism.

      • January 19, 2014 at 6:01 pm

        Agree, theo. Leave her with what she does……..no constraints, or very few at least.

    • 62 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
      January 19, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      No harm in asking …. ;)

      Yes We Can

      • 63 desertflower
        January 19, 2014 at 6:12 pm

        Well…I think they desperately need some cred right now. Gregory is a tool, to say the least….just not very bright or intellectually curious….just spews the RW talking points all day and collects a paycheck. Pathetic. Joy Reid is nobody’s puppet…I think that she would step away before she compromised her values and ethics if they were to push her in that direction. I’d like to see a strong woman’s voice/ perspective in that seat.

  14. 64 Nerdy Wonka
    January 19, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Another excerpt that stood out for me.

  15. 65 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
    January 19, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Very fine post, NW (aka UT) :) Thank you!!

    As I post the following live feed from Kyiv (aka Kiev) it’s 1252 am 20 Jan 2014 there …

  16. 66 collegekay
    January 19, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    David Remnick captures President Obama beautifully. I also own his biography on him. It’s called “The Bridge.” I recommend it.

    • 67 donna dem 4 obama
      January 19, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      Thanks CK!! I just downloaded it to my kindle. I’ll start reading it later tonight after the family goes home.

    • January 19, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      What I really like about Remnick is that he focuses his attention to overarching issues and themes of history, character, the American Dream rather than gossip, innuendo and one-upmanship. It’s clear he respects PBO.

      • 70 collegekay
        January 19, 2014 at 6:41 pm

        Totally agree. I’ve read a lot of books on PBO and David’s is my favorite followed by David Maraniss.

  17. 71 arapaho415
    January 19, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    I think David Remnick’s biography of Barack Obama (The Bridge: The Life and Times of Barack Obama) was considered the go-to book at the time. Deeply researched.

    Will savor this article when I have a bit more time.

    Thanks to meta, dotster3, lovely plains and college kay for bringing this article to the attention of the TOD community earlier today.

  18. 72 MightyPamela
    January 19, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Seems as if Seattle has come to a complete halt this afternoon. I suppose there will be lots of shouting and yelling, and who knows what will happen at the end. All for a silly football game. Huh. Think I’ll take a nap!

  19. 74 arapaho415
    January 19, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    O/T (back to weather/climate… )

    I was in agreement with LL, freaking out about the CA drought until I read this article that says Los Angeles and San Francisco have adequate water for the year.

    Unfortunately, only the subhead of this article alludes to the potential conflict between pot-growers and traditional agriculture over water access (links to the same article as tweet above).

    Climate change is here now, not an abstract prediction of the future.

    Most galling to me is that the Koch brothers (who earned their money the old fashioned way, they inherited it – hat tip: @maddow) and ALEC are punishing Americans by denying climate change. Agricultural prices are sure to increase in the Western US because water is being rationed to farmers and ranchers (who cannot afford to maintain their livestock inventory). California’s economy is poised to take off this year, but may be constrained by this unprecedented severe drought.

    Question for BobFR, Mighty Pamela, Bill R., Obama Grandma and others in the northwest: Are your rainfall patterns normal this season? Or is the high-pressure system sitting in the Pacific blocking the rain to you? Is the weather system that usually brings blessed snow and rain to California being diverted to Alaska, which then arrives in the US midsection as the Polar Vortex? (The radio tells me that the Midwest should expect Polar Vortex II this week.)

    • 75 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
      January 19, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      Nothing normal about the weather pattern we’ve been experiencing for the past several weeks. http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/jan/04/inland-northwest-snow-pack-low-as-drought-looms/

      • 76 arapaho415
        January 19, 2014 at 6:55 pm

        Thanks for the reply, Dr. Bob! I know a lot of people are tuned into the football playoffs, so I appreciate it.

        This is such bad news. It sounds like the jet stream has abandoned North America, and instead is circling up through Alaska, bringing the frigid temps to the Midwest (Polar Vortex II).

        It will be really bad news for North America if the jet stream continues this pattern, but there’s nothing that we do about it. Alarming.

        • 77 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
          January 19, 2014 at 7:04 pm

          It is a major concern because if it continues it is the harbinger of the next ice age, Arapaho, as you know.

    • 78 arapaho415
      January 19, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      This drought is different from the others we’ve had (I was here in 1977 and the late 1980s). We are getting ZERO influence from the ocean. We usually get coastal marine influences until about September. Now it feels like we’re in Arizona.

      And the conditions that have persisted throughout January continue to exacerbate the drought:
      1) Dry Santa Ana winds, which typically occur after it rains, but are appearing now without the preceding rain
      2) High nighttime low temperatures; this time last year (give or take a week or two, don’t remember the exact date) I was commiserating with Cookemom about having trouble getting into my car because thick layers of ice had formed on the doorhandles and windshield (because light rain was then frozen on my car)
      3) Extremely low humidity – Thursday’s dewpoint was 17F, which is about 35F degrees cooler than the nighttime low. I think this translates to 11% humidity. Dewpoint is 20F today and not a hint of a breeze, so a wee bit of improvement.

      This guy tweeted this last Tuesday from Santa Monica CA.

    • 79 mtmarilyn
      January 19, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      Nothing normal in MT. Right now it is 41 degrees. Even with our usual January thaw this is warm. We had very cold weather now very warm, not much moisture on the ground now there is snow in the mountains but in the valleys there isn’t any. Haven’t heard what the prediction is. Just know it isn’t all normal.

    • 80 99ts
      January 19, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      We went through a 10 year drought in my part of the world – in an area with a very similar climate to LA. This has been followed by 4 years of flooding! We no longer get rain storms – we get violent storms that bring rain, hail and destruction. We no longer get regular rain – it comes with the violence every few months – it fills the dams but is little help to the farmers who need the benefit or regular rain – without the violence that ruins the crops.

      The drought has made us aware of the need to preserve water – prior to the drought our family used over 1000 litres of water per day – we now use under 400. When we stopped watering the garden each day it became a drought tolerant garden – the plants that need less water survived – the others did not.

      The weather patterns over the past 13 years have been way different to anything I saw in the 20th century – through the 1950s/60s/70s the east coast was like camelot – throughout summer the rain clouds rolled in every other afternoon – cooling things down and avoiding the heat build up that now generates the violent weather.

    • 81 MightyPamela
      January 19, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      Just seeing this now, Arapaho. Not only the rain pattern seems abnormal, it’s seems to me there is no pattern to speak of. We were forecast to prepare for a Pineapple Express, warmer and wetter than usual. But most of the forecasts I see on the weather link are very wrong. It certainly has been warmer, more fog than I can remember, and not nearly enough rain. The mountain peaks are bare, and I understand the ski areas are suffering. Mind you, it is only January, we could still get the precipitation, but already the days are growing longer. The Daphne is beginning to exude it’s delightful scent, and I have seen 3″ daffodil stems pushing through. My own gauge is way off as I am no longer surrounded by trees and birdlife ( :( ) and have only 2 window to observe through. That’s my view.

    • 83 theo67
      January 19, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      Favourite part of the article:

      “STEPHANOPOULUS: The most famous American in Russia right now is Edward Snowden. Is he invited to Sochi?
      PUTIN: The most renowned American in Russia right now is Barack Obama.”

    • 86 arapaho415
      January 19, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Not a surprising statement, IMHO.

      Snowden is a ward of the Russian state. He appears when and where he is told (with lots of FSB and others to keep him in check). Putin and emoPutins will just love the spectacle of parading this traitor out to taunt the United States.

      Does anyone know what happened to his female Wikileaks attorney, Sarah Harrison? Is she in Russian lockup with Snowden, or has she returned to wherever she came from?

    • 87 amk for obama
      January 19, 2014 at 7:44 pm

  20. January 19, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Nerdy/UT? Even though you broke my footballing heart today, I still kinda love ya, mainly because of beautiful posts like this.

    Thank you Mrs Eto’o.

    • 90 Nerdy Wonka
      January 19, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      You know you loooooooooove me. You know you liiiiiiiiiiiike me. You know you looooooooooooove Chelsea.

  21. 91 Allison
    January 19, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    • 92 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
      January 19, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      ““This afternoon I met with the U.S. Attorney’s office for several hours at their request and provided them with my journal and other documents,” Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said in a statement Sunday. “As they pursue this investigation, I will provide any requested information and testify under oath about the facts of what happened when the Lieutenant Governor came to Hoboken and told me that Sandy aid would be contingent on moving forward with a private development project.”

      Zimmer said Saturday in an interview with MSNBC that she would be willing to sign a sworn statement and testify under oath that she had been threatened by the governor’s staff to approve a development project or risk hurricane relief funding for her town of Hoboken, which was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.”

      • 93 Allison
        January 19, 2014 at 7:06 pm

        A lot of these criminals are attorneys or former prosecutors. They will try their best to manipulate the system. They have to be watched closely.

      • 94 99ts
        January 19, 2014 at 7:10 pm

        So will the governor’s office now have to account for the hurricane funding? Did I read somewhere? that the governor would not sign legislation requesting oversight of said funds by a legislative committee?

        I can’t find a link – could be wrong – either way – there seems to have been little if any oversight of the spending/non spending.

        • 95 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
          January 19, 2014 at 7:17 pm

          99, he’s in for a very, very long encounter with the State of NJ, (potentially, State of NY), as well as, US Federal prosecutors.

          • 96 99ts
            January 19, 2014 at 7:22 pm

            Is it wrong that I am thinking the US media will have massive egg on their collective face in relation to Gov Christie. Some are out there now saying the President didn’t get attacked like this about Benghazi!!, IRS, etc etc. They have no collective memory whatsoever about what happened more than a week ago. It seems the media is like the GOP – technology impaired – that they think the google forgets what they said last week.

            • 97 Nena20409
              January 19, 2014 at 8:47 pm

              It is what I call willful selective amnesia on the Mass Media in DC/NY, particularly and on the rightie media echo mega chamber, it is 1001% willful amnesiac 24/7 symptom.

              • 98 99ts
                January 19, 2014 at 8:57 pm

                First comment from MJ – we never heard this much media talk about Benghazi! – my coffee – all over the keyboard. Legends are made of the lies they tell.

      • 99 amk for obama
        January 19, 2014 at 7:26 pm

        Zimmer said Saturday in an interview with MSNBC that she would be willing to sign a sworn statement and testify under oath that she had been threatened by the governor’s staff to approve a development project or risk hurricane relief funding for her town of Hoboken, which was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.”

        Hot daymn. christie is cooked.

    • 100 99ts
      January 19, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      The mayor deserves the support of every sane person in the country – the governor’s supporters will be on the attack from all and any possible direction.

  22. January 19, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    • 106 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
      January 19, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      :D :D :D :D Just knew you’d post that, again :D :D :D

    • 109 99ts
      January 19, 2014 at 7:17 pm

      Much as I am a fan of Man U (please don’t tell UT) – horse poo and wheelie bins are not what I most remember about the inaugural parade – some things are best forgotten.

      • 110 Nerdy Wonka
        January 19, 2014 at 7:19 pm

        Excuse me?! A fan of Man United? How can you support such a losing team? Come on over to the great side: The Chelsea aka ‘Greatest Team Ever’ side. :D

        • 111 99ts
          January 19, 2014 at 7:28 pm

          That was a private message Ms NW – I see there is a leak at TOD – or do you have a friend at the NRA :)

          I have been a man U supporter since I discovered soccer should rightly be called football and that was about 300 dog years ago. I doubt I can change sides this late in time. There are some things in life that are set in stone.

    • 112 Layla
      January 19, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      Nice! Matching color pants, poo and horse!

  23. 113 amk for obama
    January 19, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    For me, the no. 1 reason for rooting for the kenyan muslin is not the touchy feely subjective things but rather the tangible qualities, his personal integrity and non-corruptibility. Since politics has been a twin of venality throughout the history, it’s a BFD to find a pol, especially in the modern money-only-speaks political environment, whose hands are still clean.

    If you want to talk ‘sensitive’ aka touch feely things, I would say his instant connection with babies and kids.

  24. 114 arapaho415
    January 19, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Oooh, now this is getting good…

    Let’s see what happens when Snowden is paraded out at Sochi.

    “WASHINGTON — The heads of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees suggested on Sunday that Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, might have been working for Russian spy services while he was employed at an agency facility in Hawaii last year and before he disclosed hundreds of thousands of classified government documents”

  25. 118 africa
    January 19, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    I love, love this president. Witness this statement:

    “He remembers going with his mother to live in Indonesia, in 1967—shortly after a military coup, engineered with American help, led to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people. This event, and the fact that so few Americans know much about it, made a lasting impression on Obama. He is convinced that an essential component of diplomacy is the public recognition of historical facts—not only the taking of American hostages in Iran, in 1979, but also the American role in the overthrow of Mohammad Mossadegh, the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, in 1953.”

    For me personally, here is what I know:

    What a lot of Americans don’t know is how America’s intervention sometimes has caused great harm to millions of people. Take us for example. Liberia. It is reported that because our president was involved with Romania, (back in the late 1970s and early 80s), our government was overthrown with the help of the American government. This was just before Carter was defeated by Reagan.

    What resulted was the displacement over 20 years, of thousands of Liberians, not to mention the untold numbers that were slaughtered, some dying at the hands of child soldiers.

    For myself, I chose self-imposed exile in the United States. I had already been here when most of the fighting was happening. But most painful was being separated from most of my own family over two decades. My father ended up living as a refugee in Ghana for 12 years. Shortly after I sent for him to come and live here, he pushed me to send him back to Liberia, now free of fighting. Less than a year, he was dead.

    America has been very good to me, but everyday I yearn to go home, but what is home anymore?

    • January 19, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      A very moving account Africa. You are so correct in you assessment of Americans…we don’t know our history. It has been whitewashed, revised and given a polished veneer. Americans would better understand today’s policies and confrontations if the true stories were known.

    • 120 mtmarilyn
      January 19, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      Oh Africa, these are the stories we need to hear!! My father was a history professor and history was my minor and my love. I have read about these atrocities that we have done but hearing the personal stories it so much more important. Real history is not taught in the schools. We don’t really tell our citizens all that is done in our name. As a citizen I apologize to your family for what this country has done to your homeland.

    • 121 99ts
      January 19, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      It is stories like the one you tell – that we never read in history books – that explain the impact of the history. Thank you for sharing.

  26. 122 forus50
    January 19, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Oh I’m smelling something bad. Not sure if it’s greenwald or the horse poo. :)

  27. 123 amk for obama
    January 19, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    • 124 99ts
      January 19, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      The President knows when and how to discuss the issues dear to his heart – he knows how to bring about change – despite his opponents being assured they can stop every last thing his administration might wish to do. This is what the voters see – this is why he is the President.

  28. 125 arapaho415
    January 19, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Dr. BobFR has a crystal ball:

  29. 127 amk for obama
    January 19, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    • January 19, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      It borders somewhere between funny and sad to see headlines now eluding to Christie as a bully…that should have been the assessment long before Bridgegate.

      • 129 amk for obama
        January 19, 2014 at 8:17 pm

        yeah, even this little tide turning, let’s see how long it lasts.

      • 130 99ts
        January 19, 2014 at 8:27 pm

        This is the RW media FayPax – they think Christie can survive being a “bully” – whereas he will not survive promising retribution/rewards for political actions.

        He has moved from the “straight up and down man” to a “bully”. The slow march to political and/or legal ruin.

  30. 131 amk for obama
    January 19, 2014 at 7:53 pm

  31. 132 globalcitizenlinda
    January 19, 2014 at 7:54 pm

  32. January 19, 2014 at 7:54 pm

  33. 134 arapaho415
    January 19, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Now, we just need some water for the mj harvest (see above):

  34. 136 africa
    January 19, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    President Obama is a decent human being.

  35. 137 amk for obama
    January 19, 2014 at 7:56 pm

  36. 138 amk for obama
    January 19, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon invites Iran to take part in preliminary Syrian peace talks this week in Switzerland, and Tehran says it will attend.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-25804848

  37. January 19, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Beyoncé Performs at Michelle Obama’s 50th Birthday Party, Barack Does “The Dougie”—All the Details!

    by Zach Johnson

    …In addition to Beyoncé, John Legend also performed at the White House party. Famous attendees includied Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Samuel L. Jackson, Magic Johnson, Gayle King, Gladys Knight, Michael Kors, Rachael Ray, Smokey Robinson, Al Roker, Sheryl Sandberg and Stevie Wonder.

    …The leaked invitation promised “Snacks & Sips & Dancing & Dessert” and asked guests to refrain from taking photos inside the
    event. Attendees were also encouraged to wear comfortable shoes, as the entire state floor—including the gilded east room, the formal parlors and the state dining room—was transformed into a dance floor. At one point, POTUS, 52, taught guests how to do “The Dougie!”

    For some, however, the president’s remarks about his wife of 21 years were the highlight of the night. “It was really beautiful and really touching,” musician Herbie Hancock said. “He said something—his
    voice almost cracked like he was crying. It was just beautiful, a
    husband speaking about his wife.”

    http://www.eonline.com/news/501401/beyonce-performs-at-michelle-obama-s-50th-birthday-party-barack-does-the-dougie-all-the-details

  38. 141 africa
    January 19, 2014 at 7:59 pm

  39. 142 amk for obama
    January 19, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    #ObamaCare sign-up now has 100K more in the last two days. If this keeps up, a big if fersure, then my 20 million prediction by Nov polls should come true.

  40. 143 globalcitizenlinda
    January 19, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    this New Yorker article is an interesting read;

    I have been reading it as I braid my hair and I have now finished the 18 pages;

    I must admit that there are a number of paragraphs that I have had to stop, go back to the beginning and re-read (sometimes entire pages);

    Some things that stood out to me:-

    PBO is a person very comfortable in his skin and he seems determined not to sell his soul to the highest superficial beltway bidder;

    PBO seems to respect this author’s intelligence & his appreciation of the complexity of the challenges any POTUS (and especially this POTUS) faces;

    PBO is a person of deep moral character & exceptional intelligence and these are part of things that make PBO weigh every action he takes and its long term impact on the people while at the same time comparing them to his values;

    the author seems to trying to understand PBO as a person and what makes him decide to act in the way he does;

    the author and PBO have a deep appreciation of the limitation of presidential power and that fundamental change takes time;

    reinforced to me that so many in the punditry and policy making class really do not understand the core of PBO
    and some are more comfortable with the caricature they have constructed of him


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