A round-up of news items, articles, columns and blog posts that caught our eye this past week.
“We don’t have time for such silliness,” the President said this morning. And then he flew off to Chicago to be on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
John Podhoretz on the President's lack of birth control:
Since Trump was right there in front of the media's microphones talking about the birth certificate before Obama got to microphones in the White House, we were subjected to the dumbfounding sight of the press room at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. standing empty as the president found himself forced to wait out a reality-TV performer and real-estate brand-name sleazing slanderous nonsense about him and his college grades through the airwaves.
Finally, Obama must've had enough and came out to speak anyway. Then he began by complaining about how, if he had come to talk about foreign policy, the networks wouldn't have given him the time.
True -- but the reason the networks went live with his comments about his own birth certificate was that he had lowered himself to Donald Trump's level.
B-Daddy on the odd bird currently residing in the Oval Office:
But the other thing it shows is that the President is a bit odd and will fold under pressure. As long as the birth certificate could be used to allege that Republicans and Tea Partyers were kooks, playing hide the document seemed to be a good strategy. But when Trump got aggressive Team Obama folded like a lawn chair. Interestingly enough, it was Trump's aggressive moves that put Obama in a no-win situation. With the Donald calling him out, his continued refusal to publish the document looked odd, at the very least exhibiting poor judgment. But its release makes Obama look even odder and weaker. The timing is just off and awful. It looks like he caved on a matter of principle, just because he was bullied into it. To steal Dennis Miller's baseball analogy from today's O'Reilly Factor; Obama's the baseball player with "rabbit ears" and Trump's the bench rider assigned to heckle him to get him off his game.
Bizarre. Count us among those that are baffled as to why the President chose to reveal his birth certificate at this time and especially in this manner. By not revealing it, this whole thing could remain a distraction from what is really ailing this country and the President could look, you know, Presidential by not allowing himself to be dragged down into this huckster Trump's three-ring circus.
Oh well. As we're sure he's figured out by now, he ain't in Chicago anymore.
Awesome. One of the most heavily regualted economies in the world has themselves another tainted food scandal.
Three years after China was rocked by a massive tainted-milk scandal, the country has again been hit by a wave of food scares in recent weeks.
The list includes diseased pigs used for bacon; noodles made of corn, ink and paraffin; rice contaminated with heavy metals, sausages made of rotten meat and fertilizer; and pork described as "Tron blue" because it glowed in the dark from bacteria.
That so many new scandals have emerged even after the central government implemented a sweeping food-safety law in 2009 speaks to the depth of the regulation's ineffectiveness, experts say.
OK. OK. They've got poisonous food and make lead-based painted children's toys but they're so totally over us on hi-speed choo-choos, right?
Today the reality is somewhat different. In February, Liu Zhijun, minister of railways in the People's Republic of China, was arrested after investigations into cost overruns and poor performance of the ministry's showcase bullet trains, with a dash of corruption thrown in.Paging Thomas Friedman. Paging Thomas Friedman.
The modern marvel he oversaw has caused his ministry to run up some $276 billion in debt, roughly five times the amount that bankrupted General Motors. The money was mostly borrowed, ironically from the same Chinese banks that are financing our debt. And the trains aren't running safely or on time.
On April 13, the government announced train speeds would be reduced from a maximum 216 miles per hour to 186 as a result of concerns about safety, energy efficiency and affordability.
Of course, cost overruns and kickbacks could never happen here, and we all know how safe, efficient and profitable Amtrak has been. Build it and they will ride, we are told. Except that it hasn't quite worked out that way in China.
The Beijing-Tianjin line, built at a cost of $46 million per mile, is losing more than $100 million a year. Ticket prices are high for a Chinese citizenry with an estimated per-capita income of $4,300, still below the world average despite China's touted economic boom. People still prefer riding buses over these government-mandated bullet trains.
Standing on principal: Democratic fundraising groups will take undisclosed donations, too.
Dana Milbank on partying with the ruling class:
signing statements, just for starters.
Here's some more of that new civility everyone is talking about:
And finally... The Hammer on leading from behind:
To be precise, leading from behind is a style, not a doctrine. Doctrines involve ideas, but since there are no discernible ones that make sense of Obama foreign policy — Lizza’s painstaking two-year chronicle shows it to be as ad hoc, erratic and confused as it appears — this will have to do.
And it surely is an accurate description, from President Obama’s shocking passivity during Iran’s 2009 Green Revolution to his dithering on Libya, acting at the very last moment, then handing off to a bickering coalition, yielding the current bloody stalemate. It’s been a foreign policy of hesitation, delay and indecision, marked by plaintive appeals to the (fictional) “international community” to do what only America can.
Yep. We're in the best of hands.