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Mar 27, 2010

Palin Fits McCain to a Tea

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You've got to appreciate SP's sense of timing, exploiting the news vacuum by doing her McCain re-engagement one heart-beat after Congress sewed up the health care drama. As you can see, the NYT bit on it, splashing her (and, oh yeah, John Cue Card) on page one.

And then, give The Times points for the visual irony, playing Sarah Palin in that badass leather motorcycle-ish jacket -- accessorizing for the rebel crowd AND slamming wardrobe-gate --against this "Little Bo Beep"-looking gesture. Finally, I like how the Times went 100% Tea in the caption highlighting the out-and-out hypocrisy of tying Mac to the Teabaggers in a country fair appearance making it blatantly obvious who's got the fan base.

(photo: Joshua Lott/Reuters)

Mar 26, 2010

The New Oil

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by BNN contributor John Lucaites

Oil, we are often told, is the lifeblood of late modern, industrialized civilization (here, here, and here) and certainly there is plenty of evidence that we behave as if we believe it. But as the photograph of Iceland’s Kolgrima River shot from somewhere in the heavens suggests, the real lifeblood of any civilization on earth is water. I say shot from the “heavens” because it is less realistic than William Ander’s iconic Earthrise, a clearly mechanically produced image that implicitly foregrounds the technology that enabled it.  

Here the image has something of an abstract expressionistic quality to it that nevertheless underscores the naturalistic blending of land and waterways, a surface manifestation of an underlying essence accented by the soft contrast of the muted pastels. One can almost imagine the earth as a living entity, the blue veins throbbing in unison as they work to carry the nutrients necessary to bolster and sustain the ground. It is a beautiful and compelling—almost utopian—God’s eye view. 70% of the earth is covered by water, but 97% of that is found in oceans and seas, with another 2.4% in glaciers and polar ice caps. That leaves very little fresh water for all of its various needs, including most importantly consumption, sanitation, and agricultural production.

Continue reading "The New Oil" »

Obama on Offense: Taking Off the Mitts (and the Karls)

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If the McCain campaign set in place various toxic narratives about Obama as a narcissist and a celebrity, perhaps that cultural programming is still getting in the way of seeing just how confident a person Obama is, and to appreciate it as a healthy thing and just one part of his personality.

Continue reading "Obama on Offense: Taking Off the Mitts (and the Karls)" »

Mar 25, 2010

Violence? I'm Shocked!

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What's all this surprise and consternation among Republican lawmakers about threats and actual incidents of violence upon passage of health care reform?

I understand it's part of a phrase, but really, there's some troubling "group think" going on for a U.S. Representative not to even consider the intelligence of brandishing such a sign. Beyond that, these Congressmen not only adopted this inflammatory slogan of the right-wing fringe demonstrators, but egged them on with it from the Capitol as the final debate was coming to a climax.

(photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images. Members of Congress hold up signs from the second floor of the Capitol that read "Kill The Bill" on Capitol Hill on March 21, 2010 in Washington, DC. Later today the House is scheduled to vote on Health Care Legislation that has divided both sides of Congress.)

Why MAD's Best Days Are Behind It

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This would have really captured something ... last summer.

(illustration: unattributed. MAD.com.)

Mar 24, 2010

Keeping Faith with Bart / Aborting the Press

Obama signing executive order barring health care funds to conduct abortionsk

This photo published on the WH Flickr stream:

1.) "Sends the outrageous message that it is acceptable to negotiate healthcare reform on the backs of women.” (NOW)

2.) 'Was issued for political effect ... and "does not correct any of the serious pro-abortion provisions in the bill".' (National Right to Life Committee)

3.) proves that Obama is a man of his word.

4.) is the nice picture Robert Gibbs promised would be distributed to demonstrate "transparency."

5.) proves the cleverness of the White House (social) media strategy in simultaneously publicizing this event and also barring all media coverage.

6.) made it hard to know who these politicians were because the White House did not identify them in the caption and most media reports didn't name them either.

Caption via Chicago Sun Times:

President Obama signed an executive order on Wednesday to reaffirm that the new health law he signed Tuesday will not allow any federal funds for abortion. Although the event at the White House was closed to the press, the White House did release a photo of the invitees: the anti-abortion House Democrats who voted yes on the health bill after Obama pledged to sign the executive order. The group was led by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) fourth from left. That's Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), third from left.

Invited guests: Senator Bob Casey: Representatives Bart Stupak; Kathy Dahlkemper; Marcy Kaptur; Nick Rahall; Jerry Costello; Chris Carney; Steve Driehaus; Charlie Wilson; Jim Oberstar; Alan Mollohan; Brad Ellsworth; Henry Cuellar; Mike Doyle.

(photo: Pete Souza/White House caption: President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order that reaffirms the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion, in the Oval Office, March 24, 2010. Quotes via LAT)

Afghan Update: I'm Sure You're Dying to Have Your Picture Taken

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Maybe there's a reason -- besides the success of the surge -- that we're seeing fewer photos of U.S. casualties in Afghanistan. New censorship rules require photographers to hassle wounded soldiers to get photos like this. ...But then, if the press is loath to seriously dig into the logic, strategy and day-to-day course of the war in Afghanistan, what's the point of publishing photos of American wounded anyway?

Baring the President's Fists

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(Click for full size)

If the term "game change" gets thrown around a lot these days, in Obama's case, passing health care has done just that.

Among the 91 White House Flickr photos in the "Health Reform; A Year in Photos" set, you'll notice three shots that are completely atypical. In each, Obama assumes the pose of a boxer and, in one, looks to throw a punch in the air.

Obama health care fist 3.jpg Obama Health care fist 2.jpg

If health care legislation had not passed, there is not a chance we would be seeing these pictures -- not now. Up to this point, in fact, Obama has been extraordinarily cautious not to appear either angry or aggressive in these Flickr shots -- that powerful are the racial stereotypes in this not-so-"post-racial" society we live in. With the extraordinarily deliberate, assertive and mammoth health care win, however, Obama gains the capital to claim much greater authority and, with it, individuality. Largely putting to rest the fear of an inexperienced and relatively unknown (and possibly testy) black man in the Oval Office, what the pictures validate is the license -- as Pete Souza drives home in triplicate -- to reveal Obama as a real fighter.

(photo: Pete Souza/White House. caption: President Barack Obama pumps his fists during a meeting with senior staff in the Chief of Staff 's office at the White House, March 21, 2010.)

Mar 23, 2010

Your Turn: The Doctor/(Government)/Patient Relationship

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Concerning the right wing, I'm sure a photo like this is like waving a red cape in front of an angry bull the way it dares place Obama and the government between the doctor and the patient. The other way to look at it, though, is that it's not enough to just get on the desktop. The government needs to get all the way in to force the for-profit health insurance companies out the door.

I was interested in your take on this photo (and this variation) given all the compromises that formed the health care deal -- and all the ways it relates to this scene. (Caption below.)

(photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images. caption: Jackson Health System Primary Care Doctor Merja Clegg (R) speaks with her patient Lamar Jeffers as U.S. President Barack Obama, seen on a live streaming video, signs the healthcare insurance reform legislation on March 23, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Jeffers seeing Dr. Clegg , at the Jefferson Reaves Sr. Health Center, for a medical issue said that he felt the passing of the health reform issue was important for people like him that have little money but need medical help. The landmark bill was passed by the House of Representatives Sunday after a 14-month-long political battle that left the legislation without a single Republican vote.)

Their Motto Is "Don't Tread On Me"...

hip Somodevilla's first prize-winning White House News Photographers Assn winning photo.

until they actually need health care -- in this  instance, the exact same as members of Congress get.

Although Chip Somodevilla's pic is four months old, I like it today -- with all the bill signing hoopla -- for the "Tea Party as Humpty Dumpty" vibe.

This photo is part of Chip Somodevilla's first prize-winning set in the Political Portfolio category of this year's White House New Photographers Association "Eyes of History" awards. caption: A man who collapsed during a rally protesting the health care bill at the West Front of the U.S. Captiol is cared for by paramedics from the Office of the Attending Physician November 5, 2009 in Washington, DC.

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