Full interview: President Obama with Bill Maher

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Bill Maher went to the White House to interview President Obama for a special episode of Real Time. Here's the full 37-minute interview. It's worth watching because Maher brings up topics that most journalists aren't interested in, like the war on drugs (Obama wants to treat it as a public health issue), and rights of atheists. Read the rest

President Obama slams FBI's Comey on email decision: ‘We Don’t Operate on Incomplete Information’

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President Obama made his first public comment on the recent FBI/Clinton email hijinks, just days before the election.

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President Obama reads mean tweets about himself

@nathan: "Barack Obama is the Nickelback of presidents."

@DJ_lcpl: "Barack Obama...bro, do you even lift!?" (Obama's response: "Well, I lifted the ban on Cuban cigars, that's worth something.")

@realDonaldTrump: "President Obama will go down as perhaps the worst president in the history of the United States!" (Obama's response: "Well, @realDonaldTrump, at least I will go down as a president.")

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President Obama's plan to take us to Mars

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In a CNN op-ed, President Obama outlines his plan for the United States to partner with private companies to get humans to Mars (and back!) by the 2030s.

I still have the same sense of wonder about our space program that I did as a child. It represents an essential part of our character -- curiosity and exploration, innovation and ingenuity, pushing the boundaries of what's possible and doing it before anybody else. The space race we won not only contributed immeasurably important technological and medical advances, but it also inspired a new generation of scientists and engineers with the right stuff to keep America on the cutting edge...

This week, we'll convene some of America's leading scientists, engineers, innovators and students in Pittsburgh to dream up ways to build on our progress and find the next frontiers. Just five years ago, US companies were shut out of the global commercial launch market. Today, thanks to groundwork laid by the men and women of NASA, they own more than a third of it. More than 1,000 companies across nearly all 50 states are working on private space initiatives.

We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America's story in space: sending humans to Mars by the 2030s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time. Getting to Mars will require continued cooperation between government and private innovators, and we're already well on our way.

"Barack Obama: America will take the giant leap to Mars"

(above: NASA image of Mars from the Viking Lander, 1977, via Wikipedia) Read the rest

U.S. accuses Russia of trying to “interfere with the U.S. election” through internet attacks

Illustration: Rob Beschizza

“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” said a statement today from the Obama administration about a series of cyberattacks on U.S. political figures and organizations.

Them's fightin' words.

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Michelle Obama's passport leaked in new hack blamed on Russia

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An image identified as a scanned copy of U.S. first lady Michelle Obama’s passport was published online today by "DC Leaks," along with personal emails associated with a man identified as a “low-level White House staffer who worked with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.”

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How Obama's female staff amplified each other to ensure women got heard

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Obama's inaugural White House staff was drawn from his campaign staff, who were mostly dudes, and the women among the newcomers felt that they were getting ignored or talked over in meetings. Read the rest

Obama says US drones strikes have killed up to 116 civilians, watchdogs say real count is higher

An official instructs two protesters to lower their Reaper drone model as they take part in a protest in Times Square NYC, May 24, 2016. REUTERS
The Obama administration today “partially lifted the secrecy that has cloaked one of the United States’s most contentious tactics for fighting terrorists,” as the New York Times puts it, and revealed that it believes U.S. airstrikes conducted outside established war zones like Afghanistan have killed as many as 116 civilian bystanders. The administration says it also killed an additional 2,500 people in those non-war-zones who were members of terrorist groups.

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White House issues report on President Obama's impact on science and tech

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In 2009, President Obama pledged to "restore science to its rightful place." He said, "We will not just meet, but we will exceed the level achieved at the height of the space race, through policies that invest in basic and applied research, create new incentives for private innovation, promote breakthroughs in energy and medicine, and improve education in math and science."

Today, the White House released an Impact Report listing 100 things that Obama has made happen with the support of many people across research, policy, education, and, yes, maker culture. Here's the full Impact Report. A few examples from the list:

• Prioritized and encouraged broad participation in STEM education. The President’s Educate to Innovate campaign, launched in November 2009, has resulted in more than $1 billion in private investment to improve K-12 STEM education. The Nation is on track to meet the President’s January 2011 State of the Union goal to put 100,000 additional excellent STEM teachers in America’s classrooms by 2021. The President has helped showcase to students—including through events such as the White House Science Fair—that science, math, engineering, and computer programming are deeply compelling subjects that can help solve problems locally and globally.

• Fostered a nation of makers. The President hosted the first-ever White House Maker Faire; highlighted the growing importance of additive manufacturing by being the first President to be 3D scanned for his Presidential bust; and led a call to action resulting in commitments to create more than 1,000 maker spaces around the country.

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Obama reacts to Trump's "radical Islam" terminology gripe

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With sarcastic undertones, President Obama reacted today to Trump's criticism of him for not using the phrase "radical Islam." Read the rest

Obama: 'Top Secret' could mean info that would endanger America, or random stuff you can Google

President Obama speaks after a National Security Council meeting at CIA in Langley, VA, April 13, 2016. REUTERS

“There’s classified, and then there’s classified,” President Barack Obama recently told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace in response to a question about the now-classified material on Hillary Clinton’s private email server from when she was Secretary of State.

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North Korea channels the voice of Abraham Lincoln in “Hey, Obama” letter to U.S.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un looks over the border with South Korea,  March 7, 2013.

“Hey, Obama,” a weird letter from North Korea to the President of the United States opens, according to a translation offered by the Associated Press. “I know you have a lot on your mind these days … I’ve decided to give you a little advice.”

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Obama touts nuclear arms reduction record, but he's failed to reduce US nukes stockpile

Just two BFFs discussing nuclear security at this week’s summit. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Obama is touting his record on reducing nuclear arms, but he's been a dismal failure at reducing the US's stockpile, writes Freedom of the Press Foundation's Trevor Timm at the Guardian today.

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Obama: cryptographers who don't believe in magic ponies are "fetishists," "absolutists"

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Obama's SXSW appearance included the president's stupidest-ever remarks on cryptography: he characterized cryptographers' insistence that there is no way to make working cryptography that stops working when the government needs it to as "phone fetishizing," as opposed to, you know, reality. Read the rest

Lawsuit reveals Obama's DoJ sabotaged Freedom of Information Act transparency

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The Obama administration declared itself to be the "most transparent administration in history," but a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act reveals that Obama's Justice Department worked tirelessly behind the scenes to kill any chance of increased Freedom of Information Act access to governments at all levels, from lobbying Congress to kill FOIA reform to urging other administrative agencies to obstruct FOIA requests. Read the rest

Texas Board of Education candidate claims Obama worked as a prostitute

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Why does United States President Barack Obama have a soft spot for homosexuals? Because he was a gay hooker in the '80s, reports Mary Lou Bruner, a Republican candidate for the Texas State Board of Education.

"That’s how he paid for his drugs. He has admitted he was addicted to drugs when he was young and he is sympathetic with homosexuals; but he hasn’t come out of the closet about his own homosexual/bisexual background."

This is only one tread among many in the bright tapestry of Bruner's moral rug.

Meanwhile, “Climate change has nothing to do with weather or climate, it’s all about system change from capitalism (free enterprise) to Socialism-Communism. The Climate Change HOAX was Karl Marx’s idea. It took time to ‘condition’ the people so they would believe such a HOAX!”

Salon's article offers a smorgasbord of similarly spectacular Republicans from the Lone Star State.

Correction: The headline of this article originally identified Bruner as a mayor. She is a retired teacher. Read the rest

In promoting Cybersecurity National Action Plan, White House conspicuously fails to mention encryption

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The White House released an announcement today on President Obama's Cybersecurity National Action Plan. In thousands of not actually bad at all words about cybersecurity, they managed not to say the word "encryption" once.

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