Entries Tagged 'Politics' ↓

Ladies and Gentlemen, Introducing the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Winner.

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“For what?”

That was my response Friday when a friend tweeted me with news that President Barack Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Unguarded as my words were, though, similar sentiments would soon reverberate across the land as incredulous newswatchers wondered the same question aloud. Like him or not, what exactly had Obama done during his first eight months in office to deserve what is, arguably, our species’s highest honor for reconciliation?

TIME.com writer David Von Drehle remains one of the incredulous, apparently. As he ponders next year’s Nobel, and the list of presumably more deserving recipients, the journalist has reached an odd, yet captivating, conclusion:

If the Nobel Committee ever wants to honor the force that has done the most over the past 60 years to end industrial-scale war, its members will award a Peace Prize to the bomb.

Von Drehle is not kidding in the least. In his adroitly titled, “Want Peace? Give a Nuke the Nobel,” he argues

60728-004-bcf9187dthat industrial killing was practiced by many nations in the old world without nuclear weapons. Soldiers were gassed and machine-gunned by the hundreds of thousands in the trenches of World War I, [right] when Hitler was just another corporal in the Kaiser’s army. By World War II, countries on both sides of the war used airplanes and artillery to rain death on battlefields as well as cities, until the number killed around the world was so huge that the best estimates of the total number lost diverge by some 16 million souls. The dead numbered 62 million or 78 million — somewhere in there.

So when last we saw a world without nuclear weapons, human beings were killing one another with such feverish efficiency that they couldn’t keep track of the victims to the nearest 15 million. Over three decades of industrialized war, the planet averaged about 3 million dead per year. Why did that stop happening?

It did, Von Drehle says, for one reason: Thanks to nuclear weapons,

Major powers find ways to get along because the cost of armed conflict between them has become unthinkably high.

Is Von Drehle right? It’s an old argument, that the power of the nuke is not explosive, but aversive; that no one really wants to see one go off. And although there’s exactly zero chance the Norwegians will give a Peace Prize to the Peacekeeper, the notion has got to have the inventor of dynamite—Alfred Nobel—cracking up in his grave.

[via TIME.com]

Representin’ the Obama Mama.

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Summer will be over within mere hours, ladies, but that’s still enough time to tell ‘em whose really runnin’ things in the White House. Brandishing an ecstatic portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama, and the caption, “The Hottest Chick in the Game,” this American Apparel Slim Fit tee is constructed from pure cotton and held together by a durable rib neckband. In sizes S, M, and L. Fittingly available in black, only. Bossip “Hottest Chick in the Game” T-shirt, $24.95.

An Even Bigger Target: Kanye West Goes Back In Time And Interrupts President Obama’s Health Care Speech With An Irrelevant Fact.

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[via digg.com]

Hey, @CongJoeWilson: Next Time, Just Don’t Forget To Say “Boy.”

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After disrespectfully yelling out “You lie!” to the President of the United States, in the middle of Obama’s address to Congress last night, Republican South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson, above, quickly received the contempt of the body’s fellow members, on both sides of the aisle. (“Stand with me against liberal attacks: Today I need your help more than ever before,” he urged from his home page on Twitter, shamelessly plugging for money.)

Wilson may actually do all right in that department because, according to TwitterCounter.com, as of today, he also has more than 6,000 new followers on the popular social networking site.

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Jive Talkin’.

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I get invited to a number of movie press screenings, mostly for medium-budget, high-quality, serious “art” films. When I received the notice for political satire In the Loop, right, I looked at the image embedded _12402676236557in the press release, said, “James Gandolfini as a general? Feh!” Ignored it. (That’s not him, above, but actor Peter Capaldi, who, in this transatlantic piece, plays Malcolm Tucker, the British prime minister’s director of communications.)

What a mistake. I still haven’t seen the movie, but I wish the publicist had sent me the trailer, cause I’d have been there in a minute. In the Loop‘s promo is one of the best, funniest, and most expertly edited I’ve ever seen. It perfectly conveys the film’s Wag the Dog, geopolitical-comedy-of errors, Babel-speak theme with deftness and hilarity that makes the short a must-watch-again. Check it out below, or, as I always prefer, in Apple Quicktime.

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Not as “Stupidly” as You Think: Obama and the Mistake People Most Often Make Talking About Race.

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When Barack Obama spoke last week, above, on the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr., the president observed that “the Cambridge Police acted stupidly.”

That quote quickly became the one most widely reproduced, as I knew it would, eclipsing the visibility of almost anything he’d said in his preceding press conference, ostensibly about health care reform.

screen91I remember the exact moment I heard Obama utter those words. It was as though someone had played a horrible chord. While the statement was the closest he apparently went to expressing any sort of a feeling about the Gates incident, I immediately knew those words wouldn’t go down well at the police station. As most certainly realize by now, they didn’t, and Obama had to subsequently retract them. “I could’ve calibrated those words differently,” he said, right.

Two aspects of this, however, are absolutely fascinating to me:

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A Dumb Speech for Dumb People.

Harvard Scholar DisorderlyHow I spent my summer vacation: Dr. Henry Louis Gates’ mugshot

As the final questioner at last night’s press conference in support of Barack Obama’s health care plan, The Chicago Sun-Times‘ Lynn Sweet asked the President for his thoughts on the recent arrest of Harvard University’s Dr. Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, above. As certainly anyone at all knows by now, Dr. Gates, a few days earlier, had suffered the indignity of being arrested for the crime of being in his own home, in a case now widely being seen as one of so-called “racial profiling.”

image5181393gPresident Obama, right, gave a nice, reasonable answer, of the kind at which he is, arguably, flawless. He cracked a joke or two. He appealed to a sense of fairness that the blindingly white press pool, no doubt, possesses as fair and balanced journalists. He said he didn’t know “what role race played” in Gates’ mistreatment, but then cited “a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately,” adding, for certainty. “That’s just a fact.”

He said that “the Cambridge Police acted stupidly,” that quote being the one which, subsequently, was the most widely reproduced, and, to this writer, the one that came the closest to expressing any sort of a feeling or passion about the incident on his part.

barack-naacp1What he did not say, however, or speak to, was the irony of what I had immediately noticed, soon as word of Gates’ arrest hit the wires: The scholar’s detainment had occurred mere hours before Obama gave his address, right, at the NAACP’s 100th anniversary convention. There, in the grand ballroom of the Hilton Hotel in New york City, the nation’s first Black president had hailed the organization’s history and astounding struggle, efforts which, in his own words, had directly led to his being “here tonight as the 44th President of the United States of America.”

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Badder Than Bloomberg: The Mayor of Tirana, Albania Drops Science.

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locationmapalbaniaMayor Mike Bloomberg may be the richest man in New York City, with an estimated worth, pre-the financial downturn, of $20 billion. All his loot, though, wouldn’t help him in a battle against his Tiranese counterpart, Edi Rama, above, chairman of Albania’s Socialist Party, and mayor of Tirana, capital of the country, right, and site where 895,000 of the nation’s 3.6 million rest.

In this YouTube clip, above, the former artist joins Albanian crew West Side Family’s cipher, for their track, “Tirona.” (Rama shows up at the 1:46 mark.) I don’t speak a word of Albanian, and like most Americans, couldn’t find the country on a map. But whether you speak the language or not, it’s clear these kids actually have a gift, and more than a little bit of flow.

Hmm: With its sophisticated intellectuals, literate populace, and Mediterranean climate, this little Adriatic jewel may be the exactly the perfect host for our next international hip-hop conference / award show / road trip.

I’m kidding.

No, I’m not.

Is This Baby a Future CEO?
Yes, If By “Future” You Mean the Beginning of Next Week.

cbdf_black_baby_jpegJust when you thought that the dreamlike logic of white supremacy couldn’t produce any further absurdities, the Caucasians drag another one out of the cornfield: According to the Associated Press, a study, conducted by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, to be published in the September edition of the journal, Psychological Science, has concluded that

Black Fortune 500 CEOs with a “babyface” appearance are more likely to 0508ceo1lead companies with higher revenues and prestige than Black CEOs who look more mature, an upcoming study says.

In contrast with research showing that white executives are hindered by babyface characteristics, a disarming appearance can help Black CEOs by counteracting the stigma that Black men are threatening….

As the AP notes,

A babyface is characterized by combinations stanonealof attributes, including a round face, full cheeks, larger forehead, small nose, large ears and full lips, the study says.

You know: The kind of visage typified by folks like American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault, above; E. Stanley O’Neal, right, former CEO of Merrill Lynch; almost everybody in this 2005 list of Black CEOs; or by this famed board chairman, after the jump:

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Welcome to the Jungle.

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You’re looking at a photo, above, of a Coral Gables, FL Barnes & Noble window display of current books about Barack and Michelle Obama, their family, and President Obama’s historic run for the White House.

Dead center, as you’ve cerainly noticed, is a book titled Monkeys.

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