Not Only Does He Use a Teleprompter...

But he thinks as well. (Yeah, I know, scary stuff.)

[h/t ThinkProgress]

SOTU with the Niles Township Democratic Meetup

I had a great time watching the SOTU with old friends from the Niles Township Democratic Meetup. Leah called us all together and it was great seeing people, some of whom I hadn't seen for way too long. We all left re-inspired and energized by Obama's words.

P.S. Hey Michelle: Greg Sargent...

Great and Proud Nations

Obama on great and proud nations:

Here at home, we will strengthen our defenses, but we will not succumb to a siege mentality that sacrifices the open society and liberties and values that we cherish as Americans, because great and proud nations don't hunker down and hide behind walls of suspicion and mistrust. That is exactly what our adversaries want, and so long as I am President, we will never hand them that victory. We will define the character of our country, not some band of small men intent on killing innocent men, women and children.


That's what it means to be strong in the face of violent extremism. That's how we will prevail in this fight. And that's how we will protect our country and pass it -- safer and stronger -- to the next generation.

Ah Yes, the Good Old (Accountability-Free) Days

Came across this gem co-written in 2004 by Peter Orzag then at the Brookings Institute discussing the effects of the 2001 Bush tax cuts:

It is astonishing that, more than four years after the proposal was first made public, the administration has still not released an analysis of the plan's long-term economic effects, or even a statement of how it intends to pay for the tax cuts. Even supporters of the tax cut would presumably like to know the answers to those questions.

Obama Got the Prize But We Deserve the Credit

Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize but it's the American people who deserve the credit.

After the horrors of the Bush Administration in everything from Rule of Law to Rule of Science, it was the American people who put Obama into office. This was an illustration, as if we needed it, of how strong democracies are in a sense self-correcting.

I think the Prize is as much an expression of relief as an acknowledgment of our yankee democratic process.

UPDATE: From French President Nicolas Sarkozy:

"It confirms, finally, America's return to the hearts of the people of the world... you can count on my resolute support and that of France."

UPDATE II: Michael Moore gets what this is all about:

"So, yeah, at precisely 11:00pm ET on November 4, 2008, Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. And the 66 million people who voted for him won it, too. By the time he took the stage at midnight ET in the Grant Park Historic Hippie Battlefield in downtown Chicago, billions of people around the globe were already breathing a huge sigh of relief. It was as if, in that instant, one man did bring the promise of peace to the world -- and most were ready to go wherever he wanted to go to achieve that end. Never before had the election of one man made every other nation feel like they had won, too. When you've got billions of people ready, willing and able to join a cause like this, well, a prize in Oslo is the least that you deserve."

Petitions for the Public Option

Progressive Change Committee Petition:

Petition text: "We worked so hard for real change. President Obama, please demand a strong public health insurance option in your speech to Congress. Letting the insurance companies win would not be change we can believe in."

Sign the petition here...

MoveOn Petition:

Petition text: "President Obama, we're counting on you to fight for bold change on health care--including a strong public health insurance option. It's the key to breaking the stranglehold that private insurers have over our health care system."

Sign the petition here...

Dueling Editorials: Chicago Tribune v. NY Times

It's not that I disagree with anything in this editorial from the Chicago Tribune. It's just that I get the impression they knew they had to come up with something but couldn't quite find anything particularly original to say:

President Barack Obama came to the heart of the Arab world on Thursday to explain America and its aims to Muslims across the globe. This was The Speech. The long-promised, long-awaited moment that the new president -- drawing on his father's Islamic heritage -- would begin to change unflattering perceptions of America in the Islamic world.

I'm not even sure whether this rates as "commentary". It's more just a summary of platitudes. Meanwhile, here's what the New York Times has to say:

When President Bush spoke in the months and years after Sept. 11, 2001, we often — chillingly — felt as if we didn’t recognize the United States. His vision was of a country racked with fear and bent on vengeance, one that imposed invidious choices on the world and on itself. When we listened to President Obama speak in Cairo on Thursday, we recognized the United States.

When we listen to the New York Times, we recognize a newspaper with something to say.

Now back to the Chicago Tribune. You almost feel sorry for the editors as they flail about looking for a way to end the piece. Here's what they come up with:

Obama's carefully modulated speech pleased many people in precincts of the Middle East. But the difficult decisions he will have to make about the U.S. role in this troubled part of the world almost guarantee that he will have to anger somebody -- maybe everybody -- there.

Um, thud. Can I have fries with that banality?

Meanwhile, once again, the New York Times:

Before Thursday’s speech, and after, Mr. Obama’s critics complained that he has spent too much time apologizing and accused him of weakening the country. That is a gross misreading of what he has been saying — and of what needs to be said. After eight years of arrogance and bullying that has turned even close friends against the United States, it takes a strong president to acknowledge the mistakes of the past. And it takes a strong president to press himself and the world to do better.

Sometimes words do matter. As a city we deserve better from our newspaper(s). Can the New York Times please set up shop here?

Obama on Heath Care Reform: Now or Never

From the AP:

President Barack Obama warned Thursday that if Congress doesn't deliver health care legislation by the end of the year, the opportunity will be lost, a plea to political supporters to pressure lawmakers to act. "If we don't get it done this year, we're not going to get it done," Obama told supporters by phone as he flew home on Air Force One from a West Coast fundraising trip.

Radical Bill Ayers dogs Chicago Sun-Times, even on Memorial Day

Working that 'Bill Ayers' angle seems to be an obsession for whoever's putting headlines together for the Chicago Sun-Times. In this one, what we have is an article from the AP about the routine activities of Obama as POTUS during Memorial Day. Ayers' only appearance is completely minor and indirect as one of 60 signers of a petition that in the article's own words is "ignored" by the White House.

While the AP article appears elsewhere (here for example), it's only the Sun-Times that feels compelled to give Ayers the following top billing:

"Radical Bill Ayers dogs Obama, even on Memorial Day"

Talk about obsessions...

Chicago Tribune (4/30/1969): 'Nixon Standing Taller After His First 100 Days'

'Report from Washington' by Walter Trohan, Chicago Tribune (4/30/1969):

The first hundred days of Richard Milhous Nixon find him standing taller in the eyes of his countrymen and looming larger on the world horizon than most observers, and even many of his admirers, had expected....

...The business-like Nixon approach and the evident attention he gives to his homework before meeting the press, have paid off in a cordiality between the chief executive and the news media that has been surprising.

It can be expected to remain for some time, because the new administration is scrupulous in observing the right to know. Cabinet members and top officials are readily accessible on the record and for background sessions. They may not make much news, but they are available and apparently frank.... (p. B3)

*"Washington Correspondent Emeritus"

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