Tag Archives: barack obama

The Obamas Dance with R2-D2 and some First Order Stormtroopers

May the 4th be with everyone! Hope folks are having fun today.

Though dancing with First Order Stormtroopers might not be the best… no Resistance fighters around?

Supreme Court Nominee Sold His Comic Collection to Pay for Law School

Today President Barack Obama announced his nominee for the vacancy on the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland. In his introduction Obama mentioned that Garland put himself through Harvard Law School in a few ways including selling his comic book collection.

In his announcement he said:

A painful moment for any young man, selling his comic book collection. It’s tough. Been there.

The President’s love for comics has been a topic of conversation for some time. He regularly cites Spider-Man and Conan as two series and characters he enjoyed growing up.

Comic books are nothing new to the highest court. This previous session saw Kimble V Marvel Enterprises where Justice Kagan quoted Spider-Man throughout the opinion. Justice Kagan is a known fan of comics and comic book movies, so Garland will have a fellow geek to chat with if he’s confirmed.

With great power comes greater responsibility, feels like an appropriate lesson to take with you to the Supreme Court.

You can watch President Obama’s comic remarks in the video below.

Review: Superman Wonder Woman #20

sww020There is a particular story type in superhero comics which is particularly difficult to read, and that is stories that focus on the legality of superheroes.  Part of the inherent suspension of disbelief about superheroes is that they are allowed to work outside of the law, and so when stories rise up which focus on the question of that ability to operate, then it tends to be a pretty weak story.  An example of this occurred recently enough in the most recent Fantastic Four series where various members of the team were either sued or imprisoned after a sequence of legal problems.  Of course, if comics wanted to, that is all that they could be about, as it doesn’t take the needs of a story arc to cast a hero into legal trouble, but really heroes if they really existed would be under hundreds of legal actions at all times.  It is a most necessary aspect of superheroics to look past if one wants to be a part of this world as a reader.

The Superman DC You revamp therefore hits another stumbling block here as Superman is in front of the president of the United States and is forced to make his case as to why he is trustworthy, what should really be a foregone conclusion after all that he has done, a fact that is even highlighted here.  Equally though, everyone involved is presented as so daft when it comes to why he might want to have a secret identity, another one of the great suspensions of disbelief.  From a logical standpoint it would be even very easy to figure out the identities of masked heroes like Batman, let alone those without masks such as Superman, and so the concept of the secret identity is as important to look past as are the legal ramifications of superhero’s actions.  While that is one half of this issue, the second half is equally off target, as Wonder Woman frees and then questions the people from Superman’s past, but then interrogates them herself.  That she is interrogating them about Superman is pretty strange from a moral standpoint, as she is both his colleague and his romantic interest.

In effect the DC You version of Superman is quite clearly a failed experiment at this point.  It was perhaps interesting to see a deconstruction of the iconic character, but equally it has taken the character into areas which are dull and boring, not into areas which are compelling.  Other series have been ineffective at showing the meaning of this change, but perhaps the entire concept has hit rock bottom here as it wastes it time with Superman and then throws off a characterization of Wonder Woman as wildly untrue from what it should be.  Dc You is about making the heroes more approachable, but it is not working here, and the company probably needs to get the real Superman back as soon as possible.

Story: Peter J. Tomasi Art: Doug Mahnke
Story: 4.5 Art: 4.5 Overall: 4.5 Recommendation: Pass


President Obama Talks Comics. Asks Your Origin.

In an email sent to supporters, “President Obama” (in quotes because it’s not like he sends these emails), talks about growing up and his enjoyment of comic books, citing Conan the Barbarian and Spider-Man, and that every character has an origin story.

The email goes on to ask individuals to write Organizing for Action about their “origin story.”

It’s very cool to see this in an email “from” the President, but it’s SPIDER-MAN people!!!!!

Read the email below, with identifying data scrubbed.



State of the Union a Mixed Bag for Gamers

President Obama and Spider-ManThe President’s State of the Union address was a dangerously mixed-bag for gamers Tuesday night. The plethora of recent high-profile data breaches and hacks, such as the Sony hack, has given the President the political cover to push a stringent agenda that offers more potential negatives for gamers than positives. Interestingly, even though the President talked about Internet issues extensively in three speeches leading up to the State of the Union, he spent relatively little time on the subject Tuesday night. Indeed, the word “Internet” only appears three times in his hour-long speech and is only used in broad ideas, not connected to specific policies. However, by looking at those earlier speeches and their associated legislative proposals, gamers can understand the President’s Internet priorities.

On the bright side of things, President Obama’s call to increase broadband Internet service through municipal networks could be good news for thousands of underserved gamers. Currently, nineteen states have laws in place that make it illegal for counties or cities to build and offer their own Internet service to residents. The President and the FCC argue the FCC has the authority to change that through rule-making. The FCC chairperson has been warning of this action since the summer and last week, the President gave a preview of the issue. Many Republicans believe that the FCC does not have the regulatory authority and that this issue is a legislative one.

Municipal broadband, when it works, generally offers great rates for very fast Internet connections. Chattanooga, Tennessee, for example, has a system that offers 100 Mbps connections for $58 and 1 Gbps for $70 per month. However, in order for municipal broadband to be effective, you generally need relatively high density and/or centralized population to make the investment make sense. It is a plan that does not generally work in rural communities, meaning that the least served in America will remain so.

Also good news for gamers, one of the three mentions of the Internet in the State of the Union was his pledge “to protect a free and open Internet”. This is a clear signal that the President intends to continue his push for Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality is the idea that all traffic and devices on the Internet should be treated the same by carriers- ISPs cannot discriminate based on where this data originates or is headed. For gamers, Net Neutrality would ensure we do not have to pay more for our connections to Steam, Xbox Live, PSN, or any other gaming service nor would it cost us more to keep our speeds high.

More troubling for gamers is the President’s “tough” stance on cybersecurity issues. His proposals could lead to a murkier legal landscape when it comes to many of the activities in which gamers like to partake. There is a new data and intelligence sharing bill very similar to previous bills that the Internet rose up against with such responses as the Internet blackout of 2012. The new incarnation is CISPA and it has many of the same concerns as the earlier versions, but this time, apparently, it also has the President’s support.

For gamers, the language is especially troubling because it gives companies immunity for data breaches. PSN had a data breach in 2011 that led to the compromise of millions of users’ information. Sony settled a resultant class-action suit for $15 million dollars. That would not be an issue for them under the new law. Additionally, the law asks that information about “cyber-threats” be shared with the US government without adequately defining what that means. Theoretically, the government could know what you are doing on-line without a warrant because private companies are freely telling them in the name of information sharing.

The other very troubling change for gamers is a tightening of language and increase in punishments under the Computer Abuse and Fraud Act. The changes would further criminalize violations of terms of service. Do you let a friend share your gaming service log-in? Currently, that is a violation of the Terms of Service and can get your account suspended. If these proposed changes go into law, that act could be a felony. One would hope that federal prosecutors would have something better to do with their time, but as the Aaron Swartz case suggests this is sadly not always true.

So what can you, as a gamer, do to ensure your rights online stay strong? Contact your representatives and let them know your opinion. Let them know this is a priority issue for you, and let your voice be heard.

President Obama Talks about The Witcher

In 2011, Polish prime minister Donald Tusk gave U.S. president Barack Obama a copy of the video game The Witcher. On his return trip the President mentioned the gift, and let us know where he’s at with the game. Video game diplomacy for the win!

The last time I was here, Donald gave me a gift, the video game developed here in Poland that’s won fans the world over, The Witcher. I confess, I’m not very good at video games, but I’ve been told that it is a great example of Poland’s place in the new global economy. And it’s a tribute to the talents and work ethic of the Polish people as well as the wise stewardship of Polish leaders like prime minister Tusk.

There’s also a comic for The Witcher published by Dark Horse.

Poplitico: President Obama Announces an Iron Man Project

Each week for Poplitico we look at a “political” moment in comics or a “geeky” moment in politics. During a White House manufacturing innovation event, President Obama joked that it was really an announcement that we’re building Iron Man. Again, the President in Geek shows off his nerd cred. It’s a pretty funny moment and worth the watch.

Political Power Prepares Readers for the Next Breed of Politicians

With the election of 2012 in the past, Bluewater Productions had you covered with all of the background information you needed about the candidates, their running mates, and beyond, with their popular biography comic series Political Power.

A special edition has been released and is a retrospective of the 2012 election. Political Power: Election 2012, a collected edition of the popular subjects of the election. Check out the stories of Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and the Tea Party Movement in one new graphic novel. Political Power: Election 2012 also contains never seen before images. Features a cover by David T. Cabrera.


This Was Not the Saying You’re Looking For

President Obama and Spider-ManGeeks heads exploded yesterday as President Obama, our Commander in Geek, merged his Star Wars with Star Trek by saying the he can’t perform a “Jedi mind meld” to get Republicans to agree to a sequester deal.

I’ve posted about the President’s geek cred before. The man collected Spider-Man and Conan comics and seemed to generally get his pop culture references. But this slip adds a little burnish to the luster. As the Washington Post points out, this hurts his nerd cred. This is after the internet winning response to a petition to build a real life Death Star.

Today the President is likely to pick of and chuck a basketball, not some dice. When the President heads to enjoy the outdoors, it’s for golf, not the L.A.R.P. He’s attacked video games numerous times in attempts to score political points. This is a President that embraces nerdom when it’s a good photo-op but seems to fumble when it comes to soundbites.

The White House new media team hopped on the goof and #jedimindmeld became a popular hashtag on Twitter. The White House released this, hyping their side on the sequester fight.


But the fun wasn’t just to be had by the President and his team. The RNC tweeted:

This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For – White House Responds to Death Star Request

Through their petition system “We the People,” 34,435 people requested the White House and President Obama put in an effort to fund and build a Death Star. “We the People” has rules, such as if a petition gets 25,000 signatures, a White House official will respond. In a post entitled “This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking ForPaul Shawcross, the Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, got that honor. Here’s the post in full:

Official White House Response to Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.

This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For

By Paul Shawcross

The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:

  • The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
  • The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
  • Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

However, look carefully (here’s how) and you’ll notice something already floating in the sky — that’s no Moon, it’s a Space Station! Yes, we already have a giant, football field-sized International Space Station in orbit around the Earth that’s helping us learn how humans can live and thrive in space for long durations. The Space Station has six astronauts — American, Russian, and Canadian — living in it right now, conducting research, learning how to live and work in space over long periods of time, routinely welcoming visiting spacecraft and repairing onboard garbage mashers, etc. We’ve also got two robot science labs — one wielding a laser — roving around Mars, looking at whether life ever existed on the Red Planet.

Keep in mind, space is no longer just government-only. Private American companies, through NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office (C3PO), are ferrying cargo — and soon, crew — to space for NASA, and are pursuing human missions to the Moon this decade.

Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we’ve got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we’re building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systems and building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe.

We don’t have a Death Star, but we do have floating robot assistants on the Space Station, a President who knows his way around a light saber and advanced (marshmallow) cannon, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is supporting research on building Luke’s arm, floating droids, and quadruped walkers.

We are living in the future! Enjoy it. Or better yet, help build it by pursuing a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field. The President has held the first-ever White House science fairs and Astronomy Night on the South Lawn because he knows these domains are critical to our country’s future, and to ensuring the United States continues leading the world in doing big things.

If you do pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field, the Force will be with us! Remember, the Death Star’s power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.

Paul Shawcross is Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget

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