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"Really good at killing people"

In November, Jeff Miller highlighted this quote from a Slate article about a Washington Post article about this book about something Obama reportedly said to some unidentified source .

According to the new book “Double Down,” in which journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann chronicle the 2012 presidential election, President Barack Obama told his aides that he’s “really good at killing people” while discussing drone strikes. Peter Hamby of the Washington Post reported the moment in his review of the book.

Jeff asked:

If this doesn’t do it, what exactly does this man have to do to alienate his supporters?

At the time, I replied, “I’d like to see the rest of the sentence before deciding whether to be alienated. 'I’m really good at killing people. That’s awesome' is different than, “It’s not enough to be really good at killing people. We need to figure out how to solve …’ etc.” I’ve finally had a chance to check out the source in Halperin and Heilmann’s book. The context is Obama meeting with a group of advisers to talk about a wide range of issues:

Everyone knew the litany of his achievements. Foremost on that day, with the fresh news about al-Awlaki, it seemed the president was pondering the drone program that he had expanded so dramatically and with such lethal results, as well as the death of bin Laden, which was still resonating worldwide months later. “Turns out I’m really good at killing people,” Obama said quietly. “Didn’t know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine.”



THE PRESIDENT: At his trial in 1964, Nelson Mandela closed his statement from the dock saying, “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

And Nelson Mandela lived for that ideal, and he made it real. He achieved more than could be expected of any man. Today, he has gone home. And we have lost one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth. He no longer belongs to us — he belongs to the ages.

Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, Madiba transformed South Africa — and moved all of us. His journey from a prisoner to a President embodied the promise that human beings — and countries — can change for the better. His commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to, whether in the lives of nations or our own personal lives. And the fact that he did it all with grace and good humor, and an ability to acknowledge his own imperfections, only makes the man that much more remarkable. As he once said, “I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s life. My very first political action, the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics, was a protest against apartheid. I studied his words and his writings. The day that he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears. And like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, and so long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him.

To Graça Machel and his family, Michelle and I extend our deepest sympathy and gratitude for sharing this extraordinary man with us. His life’s work meant long days away from those who loved him the most. And I only hope that the time spent with him these last few weeks brought peace and comfort to his family.

To the people of South Africa, we draw strength from the example of renewal, and reconciliation, and resilience that you made real. A free South Africa at peace with itself — that’s an example to the world, and that’s Madiba’s legacy to the nation he loved.

We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. So it falls to us as best we can to forward the example that he set: to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love; to never discount the difference that one person can make; to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice.

For now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived — a man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice. May God Bless his memory and keep him in peace.



oh man during the 2008 run we had so many good Joelbama references. all the damn time.

Oh my goodness, I had forgotten about this…but there are pictures.

Digging up some old pictures for August.

The White House, Tumbling Things


We see some great things here at the White House every day, and sharing that stuff with you is one of the best parts of our jobs. That’s why we’re launching a Tumblr. We’ll post things like the best quotes from President Obama, or video of young scientists visiting the White House for the science fair, or photos of adorable moments with Bo. We’ve got some wonky charts, too. Because to us, those are actually kind of exciting.

But this is also about you. President Obama is committed to making this the most open and accessible administration in history, and our Tumblr is no exception.

We want to see what you have to share: Questions you have for the White House, stories of what a policy like immigration reform means to you, or ways we can improve our Tumbling. We’re new here, and we’re all ears.

So give us a follow, send a post our way using the submission tool, and stick around to see some things you won’t want to miss.

And yes, of course there will be GIFs.


You can also find us on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and

I’ve been loving the barackobama tumblr, and am excited to see what they do with this one.  This is a promising start, even if they are blatantly in the wrong side of the GIF pronunciation camp.


President Barack Obama openly weeping as he talks to his campaign volunteers [x]


Oh man, I am watching this whole video, and it’s just wonderful.  This guy is doing the right things for the right reasons.  I don’t want to make a direct comparison, because it’s not the same circumstance, but the fact that this is what Obama looks like talking to his own people, in a private event, is hugely encouraging.

About those elections…

So, I haven’t posted about the election results here on Tumblr yet, but yesterday PGMC hosted their fourth annual post-election Town Hall event up in Vancouver, and the opponents of Ref 74 in Washington have finally conceded.  So, let’s recap:

On Tuesday, three new states established marriage equality.  For the first time, it was established at the ballot box, by voters.  In Maine it wasn’t even approving existing legislation - it was a citizen initiative, and one that was a triumphant reversal of just three years ago, when another referendum (also called “Question 1”) struck down a legislative act.  Washington and Maryland also struck down opponents’ efforts to reverse legislation, and instead approved referendums, enacting marriage equality.

The rights of a minority shouldn’t be at the behest of popular opinion — but the sad fact of the matter is that, effectively, they are right now.  And the fact that for the first time, voters stood up — not just in one, but three states - and said that marriage should be accessible to gays and lesbians — is a triumph, and I believe a very tangible sign of the shift that this country is making.

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Barack Obama, Pro-Life Hero

In providing strong documentation that no-cost contraception is successful in dramatically limiting abortions, Peipert has placed the ACA’s opponents in a potentially difficult position. Fierce resistance to abortion is a central plank in the social conservative platform, and has for decades served as one of the standards around which millions of activists and voters have rallied. That a path to the drastic decline in abortions that these individuals have so desperately sought has suddenly been provided them by a president they so openly despise is, at the very least, a political puzzle.

But by addressing the problem of unintended pregnancy—rather than the politically fraught problem of abortion—“Obamacare” addresses the issue at its root. Though abortion has served as the central locus of the “culture war” for nearly forty years, it has always been a secondary concern—a problematic solution to a deeper and less sensational problem. By insisting on mere illegality, pro-life forces have turned a blind eye to the troublesome side-effects of illegal abortion even as they dedicated themselves to a largely symbolic political victory. And since the political divisions accompanying the debate have become so intractable, hope for a deliberative resolution has long ceased to exist.

In the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, we have a previously unimaginable opportunity for satisfying compromise on abortion. In accordance with liberal demands, the procedure will remain safe and legal, and reproductive choices will be extended to those who have been unable to afford them in the past. In exchange, conservatives will see abortion rates plummet, achieving a result comparable to that of illegality but without the fierce controversy or government imposition in the lives of individuals.

I realize the author of this article is likely aware of what I’m about write and is simply making a rhetorical point.  But for the sake of my point, I’m going to pretend the above was written in earnest.

The problem with this line of argument is, of course, that the primary focus of Evangelicals isn’t simply to reduce abortions.  That’s not really the idea behind the pro-life movement.  Because the pro-life movement is very closely intertwined with the Evangelical prohibition of sexual activity (outside of marriage, that is).  From this point of view, if people just didn’t have sex, they wouldn’t get pregnant, and therefore wouldn’t need abortions.  The problem they see with Obama’s approach, then, is that not only does it not seem very concerned that unmarried couples are having sex, but it even seems to encourage such activity!  And assertions that contraceptives are the path to responsible sexual activity are met with deaf ears, because there is of course no such thing as responsible sexual activity outside of holy matrimony.

Now, of course, there are several problems with this.  For starters, unmarried couples voluntarily having sex doesn’t cover all of the scenarios that lead to abortions.  There are abortions with rape involved, and interestingly, more than 1 in 5 abortions occur within married couples.  But these are largely ignored to argue that if kids weren’t just being irresponsible and could keep it in their pants, we wouldn’t have all these abortions all over the place.

Now to be fair, there is a genuine concern that abortion itself is bad.  There is, in fact, generally a concern that stopping the growth of any clump of cells that could potentially be a human being is bad.  Any conflicts with things like early miscarriages and such is taken care of with that being God’s will and such, and you’ve got yourself a nice little rule: potential human = person = sacred life.

The problem, of course, is that when we try to prevent abortions by stopping them from being necessary in the first place - by making contraception easily available - the previously-mentioned importance of making damn sure that kids aren’t having sex overrules the “embryos are sacred” bit.  While it makes sense from the outside that if we can stop unintended (and therefore abortion-prone) embryos from being formed, we should do what we can to do so, that is a non-starter from inside Evangelicaland.  Because that, in the Evangelical world, is encouraging irresponsibility and fornication, and what kids should really learn is that you shouldn’t have sex if you don’t want to have a kid, contraception be damned.  There is certainly importance in weighing the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy if you’re having sex, regardless of contraception, because no contraception is 100% effective (and of course, the old joke, neither is abstinence).  But there are responsible and irresponsible ways to go about sex without wanting a kid, which the Evangelical world denies (except, of course, if you’re married).

Where this line of argument falls apart is in practice.  Religious affiliation doesn’t have much affect on the chances that a young adult has had sex - in fact, people 20-29 who said religion was “somewhat important” were slightly more likely to have had sex than those who said it wasn’t important.  Christians, including Evangelicals, are still having sex and getting pregnant and yes, getting abortions, regardless of whether they’re supposed to or not.

It would be better (from the point of view of reducing abortions) to impress upon kids the risks of having sex and then give them easy access and encouragement to contraception.  But from a common Evangelical standpoint, it’s more important to focus on the idea that they shouldn’t be having sex, and not encourage that in any way - even if that way is by encouraging preventative measures.  And that’s where a movement that shouts about the evils of abortions does their part to actually increase abortions and - bonus! - imply that babies are punishment for sex.


I am trolling

Like seriously, how do they not get run over crossing the street in the middle of traffic, or drink bleach, or starve to death because they locked their keys and wallet in their house?
People like this are the reason that warning labels aren’t sufficient reason for the CPC to allow Buckyballs exist.


I am trolling


Like seriously, how do they not get run over crossing the street in the middle of traffic, or drink bleach, or starve to death because they locked their keys and wallet in their house?

People like this are the reason that warning labels aren’t sufficient reason for the CPC to allow Buckyballs exist.