President-elect Obama on ’60 Minutes’

What’s extraordinary about President-elect Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s interview on 60 minutes is how comfortable they look with their respective roles.  Aside from an annoying tendency to tip his head to one side like Mr. Rogers, Barack already has the gravitas and authority that his predecessor never had.  He sounds and looks […]

Stewart Brand on TED.com

Stewart Brand is one long-term cool individual.  He was associated with Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters, he founded The Whole Earth Catalog, and he wrote one of the most interesting books on buildings ever written:  How Buildings Learn.  That last one will change the way you think about habitable space.  If you haven’t read it, you […]

TED.com redux — Samantha Power

Samantha Power works at Harvard, and writes about U.S. foreign policy, especially as it concerns war and genocide.  Her talk on TED.com is remarkable for two reasons. (http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/samantha_power_on_a_complicated_hero.html) First, she discusses, with passion and insight, the issue of U.S and global response to genocide.  She gives us all a grade, as befits a part-time academic, […]

President-elect Obama’s first press conference

The President-elect’s first press conference was remarkable for its caution.  It was as if the mantle of leadership had already descended on Obama’s shoulders and was weighing him down.  He spoke with the air of someone who was determined not to make any mistakes.  Indeed, he only made two light-hearted comments.  The first was about […]

A new public discourse

One of the less well-understood practices that contributed to the long-term discrediting of the Bush administration was its habit of over-reaching the traditional limits of presidential power and deciding many issues by executive fiat that it couldn’t persuade the Congress to adopt in public debate.  Everyone is well aware of the CIA abuses and torture […]