Archive for December 16th, 2014

16
Dec
14

Tuesday And Laughter Go Well Together

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16
Dec
14

A Tweet Or Two

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16
Dec
14

On Death Cults and the Modern World

Today as the US woke up, it was greeted with horrific news. The Pakistani Taliban attacked a school run by the Pakistani Army and slaughtered over 140 civilians, mostly children. Yes, the school wasn’t a military school, but an ordinary school for kids. At the same time, a car bombing in Yemen carried out by Al Qaeda claimed the lives of 20 children. And over the weekend, a crazed gunman with pretensions of Islamic State membership took a restaurant hostage in Sydney, causing his own death and the death of two hostages when the Australian special forces stormed the building.

I think the fallacy that the Taliban and AQ are “freedom fighters” combating “Western hegemony” has been put to rest. The last I checked, the children in Yemen and Peshawar weren’t on the CIA’s payroll. What the Taliban, AQ, IS, and their affiliates are is death cults. Any legitimate grievance they may have had has long faded into the rear view mirror. They now perpetuate violence, all in the service of a dark utopia. That utopia is being partly realized in the IS-held sections of Iraq like Mosul, and the results aren’t pretty, even for orthodox, conservative Muslims. It is a cult of death and austerity, a yearning for a return to some prelapsarian state which never existed. It is a search for a dark Eden which never was but should have been.

But, of course, a death cult isn’t peculiar to the Muslim world. We have our own versions here.

Continue reading ‘On Death Cults and the Modern World’

16
Dec
14

Chat Away

President Obama boards Air Force One yesterday in New Jersey (Pete Souza)

16
Dec
14

Rise and Shine

Pete Souza: “The President works on his Newtown speech at an auditorium in suburban Washington. Before we headed to Newtown for the Sunday night vigil, he went to watch his daughter Sasha, 11, at her rehearsal for the Nutcracker; he would be unable to attend her performance because of the trip to Newtown. During breaks in the rehearsal, he worked on his speech. His expression in this photograph may be subtle to the viewer, but not to me. There is emotion and resolve etched on his face, and he knew the importance of this speech for the nation.” Dec. 16, 2012

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Today (all times Eastern)

11:05: The President meets with Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

11:30: White House Press Briefing

4:40: The President meets with members of the National Security Council, Situation Room

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On This Day

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers toys donated by White House staff to the Marine Corps Base Quantico Toys for Tots Campaign warehouse in Stafford, Va., Dec. 16, 2009 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

The White House and the National Christmas Tree are illuminated at dusk in Washington, D.C., Dec. 16, 2009. (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Pete Souza: “This is a photograph I’d been trying unsuccessfully to make for some time. This is looking in the back windows of the Oval Office, an unusual vantage point that only I have access to. I wanted to shoot it at dusk, so there was still a little of light remaining in the sky. He was seated at the desk for most of the call, so I waited a long time hoping he would stand up so I could see him more clearly.” Dec. 16, 2009

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First Lady Michelle Obama carries a bag of toys donated by Executive Office staffers into a Toys for Tots event at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling on Dec. 16, 2011

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President Obama holding the granddaughter of Dawn Hochsprung, the Sandy Hook Elementary School principal who died in the shootings. Dec 16, 2012

“My mom would be SO proud to see President Obama holding her granddaughter” (@Chass63)

President Obama with Robbie Parker, father of Emilie, one of the 20 children who died in Newtown

President Obama attends a Sandy Hook interfaith vigil at Newtown High School, Dec. 16, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

People hold hands in a bar near Sandy Hook Elementary School as President Obama speaks in Newtown, 2012

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First Lady Michelle Obama talks with a young patient during a visit to the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, December 16, 2013

Gerardie Johnson gets a hug from the First Lady during her annual holiday visit to Children’s National Health System, December 16, 2013

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Morning everyone.

16
Dec
14

Early Bird Chat

On This Day – Pete Souza: “Two days after the shootings at Newtown, the President traveled to Connecticut to meet with the victims’ families and give remarks at a prayer vigil. The President spent hours greeting family members. Difficult as that was for everyone, the one moment that helped sooth the pain was when he posed for a photo with the siblings and cousins of Emilie Parker, one of the 20 children who died that day in Newtown. I see both sadness and hope in this photograph, and I know after a lot of tears that day, it meant so much to the President that everyone was able to smile for a moment in this family photo. Thanks to the Parker family for allowing us to show this photograph publicly.” Dec. 16, 2012

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Morning everyone.




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