On second thought
If he had it to do over again, the former director of Norway's Nobel Institute says in a new book, President Barack Obama would never have been awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace prize.
"[We] thought it would strengthen Obama, and it didn't have this effect," Geil Lundestad told The Associated Press. "Even many of Obama's supporters thought that the prize was a mistake."
The former director said he and the committee had unanimously decided to grant the award to Obama just after his election in 2009 more in hopes of aiding the president to achieve his goals on nuclear disarmament rather than in recognition of what he had accomplished.
Apparently, the award even took the Obama White House by surprise.
U.S. officials, Lundestad said in the book, privately asked if a Nobel Prize-winner had ever skipped the awards ceremony.
Ironically, had Obama humbly refused the award, his political capital today might be higher.
The unemployment rate may have fallen to near where it was in 2007, but wages and median household income have not improved during the administration of President Barack Obama, according to new figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.
"Wages are the unfinished business of this recovery," Chris Lu, deputy secretary of labor, told the Guardian earlier this year.
Although 1.2 million more men and 1.6 million more women were working full time in 2014, the median household income was $53,700, an amount that, according to the Census Bureau, is "not statistically different" from the 2013 median household income of $51,939.
That amount is 6.5 percent lower than median household income was in 2007 and 7.2 percent lower than it was in 1999. Indeed, one would need to go back to 1997, when it was $53,551, to find a comparable number.
For blacks, the median household income in 2014 was $35,400.
Not so "Truth"-ful
Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather stepped down at the network in 2005 after a story the network reported in an effort to sink then-President George W. Bush in his 2004 re-election effort was fraudulent. Now, a movie based on the book "Truth" by Rather's producer, Mary Mapes, has been turned into a movie starring liberal actor Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett.
But the film, "Truth," portrays Rather and Mapes "as crusading journalists whose story is attacked by critics with a political agenda . The clear suggestion in the movie is that Rather and Mapes were fired to appease the Bush White House and to protect the CBS financial bottom line," according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The CBS report, in wake of the scandal, found "10 serious defects in the preparation and reporting of the story that included failure to obtain clear authentication of the documents [on Bush's National Guard service] or to investigate the controversial background of the source of the purported documents."
Part of the problem was that the documents had been generated on a word processor rather than on a mid-1970s-era [when Bush was in the National Guard] typewriter. The report also cited Mapes for calling an official in the campaign of Bush's campaign opponent, Sen. John Kerry, before the piece aired, which "created the appearance of political bias."
Rather, at the Toronto Film Festival, called the film "accurate" but said there were "plenty of things I would do over."
"Journalism," he said, "is not an exact science."
Especially if your biased.
What's in a name?
A Washington state elementary school student was suspended for bringing a Nerf gun to school. Another elementary school student was threatened with expulsion — and ultimately withdrew — for drawing a picture of a Ninja holding a gun. The parents of a 7-year-old student who chewed a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun had to hire a lawyer to keep their child from being suspended. But high school freshman Ahmed Mohamed last week brought a homemade clock police described as a "hoax bomb" to school and received an invitation to the White House.
The clock, according to the New York Daily News, came to a teacher's attention when the alarm on the clock went off during English class at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas. He pulled the clock out of his backpack to turn it off, and the teacher confiscated it, believing with the look of its electronics it could be a bomb. Mohamed was subsequently "called into a meeting with the principal — and five police officers."
Police rightly declined to file charges, but the student was suddenly a hero. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg extended an invitation for him to visit Facebook headquarters, and Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted, "Assumptions and fear don't keep us safe — they hold us back. Ahmed, stay curious and keep building."