President Barack Obama released his annual list of favorite books, movies, and songs on his Facebook page yesterday. Remember when we had an intellectually and culturally curious president who did things like reading books? It seems so long ago...
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As 2018 draws to a close, I’m continuing a favorite tradition of mine and sharing my year-end lists. It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books, movies, and music that I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved. It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors, artists, and storytellers – some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before. Here’s my best of 2018 list - I hope you enjoy reading, watching, and listening.
Here’s a reminder of the books that I read this year that appeared on earlier lists:
Becoming by Michelle Obama (obviously my favorite!)
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die by Keith Payne
Educated by Tara Westover
Factfulness by Hans Rosling
Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging by Alex Wagner
A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
A House for Mr Biswas by V.S. Naipaul
How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History by Mitch Landrieu
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
The New Geography of Jobs by Enrico Moretti
The Return by Hisham Matar
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
Why Liberalism Failed by Patrick Deneen
The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes
Here are my other favorite books of 2018:
American Prison by Shane Bauer
Arthur Ashe: A Life by Raymond Arsenault
Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
Feel Free by Zadie Smith
Florida by Lauren Groff
Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama have been enjoying an extended post-presidency vacation around the world, but that's about to end. Barack Obama is slated to break his silence in Chicago on Monday, April 24. If you're hoping he will rip into Donald Trump, we've got sad news for you. Read the rest
Above, “My wife made me a bidenbro desk calendar for Christmas,” says IMGURian Brookoll. Read the rest
In a set of photos posted to his Instagram, White House photographer Pete Souza detailed a snowman-related prank the staff pulled on President Obama. Here's a photo of the snowmen in question:
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Waiting for some snow.
In a later photo Souza writes:
Sometimes you gotta have fun. For the past three weeks, there have been four snowmen on display in the Rose Garden (see photo in earlier post). We’ve been joking that we should move the snowmen a few feet closer to the Oval Office every day to see if anyone noticed. Then we realized the snowmen were too heavy to easily lift. But finally this morning before the President came to the office, some helpful staff—I won't say who—moved all the snowmen so each one was peeking through a different window into the Oval. This photo was taken this afternoon as the President signed end-of-the-year bills.
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Sometimes you gotta have fun. For the past three weeks, there have been four snowmen on display in the Rose Garden (see photo in earlier post). We've been joking that we should move the snowmen a few feet closer to the Oval Office every day to see if anyone noticed. Then we realized the snowmen were too heavy to easily lift. But finally this morning before the President came to the office, some helpful staff--I won't say who--moved all the snowmen so each one was peeking through a different window into the Oval.
U.S. President Barack Obama met with reporters today for the final press conference of 2016, before the new administration is due to take over. Live tweets below. Read the rest
The folks at HealthTrends.com put together this GIF that tracks Obama from childhood to present day. Read the rest
The two famous Chicagoans joined forces to remind everyone that December 15 is the deadline to get covered for healthcare for 2017. Read the rest
The White House released a video of Barack Obama making history as the first U.S. president to visit Laos. Reflecting on his visit, Obama explains: Read the rest
In his weekly address, President Barack Obama this week pledged $4 billion in federal funding for computer science education in schools throughout the nation. Read the rest
President Barack Obama tonight gave the final State of the Union Address of his final presidential term. Here is the full text of those remarks. Read the rest
President Barack Obama today announced he has commuted the sentences of 95 federal prisoners, and granted two prisoners pardons. Most of them are nonviolent drug offenders.
This is the most he has done at one time, and more than doubles the number of clemency orders he has granted since taking office. His signature today sets free 40 prisoners who are serving life sentences.
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The Intercept just published an amazing article by Jim Bamford yesterday talking
about how the NSA exploited a backdoor in Vodafone to spy on Greek
politicians and journalists during the 2004 Olympics.
Bamford is an American author and journalist best known for his writing about United States intelligence agencies, and in particular the National Security Agency.
In a meticulous investigation, Bamford reports at the Intercept that the NSA was behind the notorious, legendary “Athens Affair”. After the 2004 Olympics, the Greek government discovered that an unknown attacker had hacked into Vodafone’s “lawful intercept” system, the phone company’s method of wiretapping voice calls. The attacker spied on phone calls of the president and other Greek politicians and journalists before the hack was found out.
Freedom of the Press Foundation director Trevor Timm wrote for the Guardian about why this is exactly why encryption backdoors are so
What are encryption backdoors? For non-techie readers, basically these are ways the government can unencrypt your "locked" communications if they decide they want to see your private material for any secret reason.
And in related news, rumor has it the White House is nearing a decision on
whether to embrace the right to encryption for American citizens, or join the FBI in calling for backdoors.
Dozens of civil liberties groups, including Freedom of the Press Foundation, launched this site
and petition today that feeds into the White House petition system: savecrypto.org.
If you care about this issue, right now is the time to take action. Read the rest
Most fears about bugs in New York City hotels involve the kind that live in beds. Today, another type of hotel bug is in the news. Read the rest
It wasn't until readers showed outrage that a Pennsylvania newspaper realized its wrongdoing. Read the rest
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Further: JOIN Tom the Dancing Bug's proud and mighty INNER HIVE to support the comic and receive untold BENEFITS and PRIVILEGES! Read the rest
FOLLOW @RubenBolling on Twitter. Further: JOIN Tom the Dancing Bug's proud and mighty INNER HIVE and receive untold BENEFITS and PRIVILEGES! Read the rest