Everything had been planned just so for President Obama’s July 6 campaign speech on the front lawn of Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University. Obama’s Oxford blue dress shirt was crisply cuffed. His Pittsburgh Pirates references were timed expertly. The loopy, cursive lettering of the campaign’s “Betting on America” billboard got several seconds of air-time on the local news. But the speech was marred by sweltering, 100-degree heat, something that no amount of planning could prevent.
A week before Christmas, Russia banned the import of harp seal pelts—the skins of those undeniably cute animals with their big, melting eyes and their cuddly bodies. This followed a similar ban in the E.U. and the U.S., both of which have forbidden the import of almost all seal products. Prominent animals rights activists, like Paul McCartney and Pamela Anderson as well as groups like Humane Society International, hate seal hunting—and I understand their objections. I had a toy stuffed seal when I was a kid. (Name: Sealy).
A few weeks ago, a wolf in sheep’s clothing prowled the White House lawn. The Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited Washington, D.C. to sign a boring trade agreement with President Barack Obama. The details of the deal aren’t important—they’re so staid and sensible that I’ll leave it to the reader with a masochistic bent, or severe insomnia, to Google them. A quick glance at their mildly laudable contents will probably reinforce the American predilection to view Canada as a sleepy enclave of bureaucratic good government and tepidly left-wing policies.
When news broke Sunday night that Osama bin Laden was dead—killed by a team of Navy SEALs near Islamabad, Pakistan—Americans burst into the streets to celebrate. Times Square, Ground Zero, and the White House were scenes of particular jubilation. Here, we have compiled some of the most poignant images of the revelry. New York City ROTC students from NYU Ground Zero Alex, who didn’t give his last name, says he served two tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine.
In February, Republicans unveiled a plan to cut funding for Pell grants by 25 percent and slash the maximum award by $845—changes that would knock funding to below 2008 levels and, according to education experts I spoke to, devastate students who rely on the program for support.
According to many media accounts, the protests that swept Tunisia, causing dictatorial President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee to Saudi Arabia, were instigated by the gruesomely symbolic suicide in December of Mohammed Bouazizi, who some are calling “the father of the Tunisian revolution.”* In Tunisia’s choking atmosphere of unemployment, particularly among the young, Bouazizi had resorted to selling produce in the town of Sidi Bouzid.