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Mardell: Presidential puzzle
4 months ago

Mark Mardell, North America editor

Mark Mardell
North America editor

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US President Barack Obama appeared in Washington DC on 4 December 2013

US President Barack Obama addressed the nation's income inequality in a recent speech

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The demands of striking fast-food workers have the backing of President Barack Obama, who proposed a raise in the minimum wage back in his state of the union address 12 months ago.

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It still hasn't happened.

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He recently said in a big speech that he'd keep pushing for a higher minimum wage which would be "good for our economy [and] good for our families".

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That doesn't mean it is going to happen.

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Elusive American dream
The speech itself was a sweeping panorama on the increasingly elusive American dream - what he called "the dangerous and growing inequality" and lack of upward mobility.

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His theme was so important, he said, it was the very reason he wanted to become president, it was "the defining challenge of our time".

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It doesn't mean anything is going to happen.

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This raises what, to me, is the puzzle at the heart of Mr Obama's presidency. What does he think he is here for?

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Often he looks like the inspirational in pursuit of the unattainable.

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The minimum wage is part of a long list, from gun control to immigration reform, of things that he would like to do but can't because of Republicans in Congress.

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So he makes speeches about them.

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Words do matter
Now words do matter. They are a politician's ammunition.

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In theory at least, if he was persuasive enough, he could help sweep away the opposition to his policies by winning back the House in next year's midterm elections. But few think that is really going to happen.

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In this scathing article, Peggy Noonan, former President Ronald Reagan's speechwriter, argues that Mr Obama has been exposed as a man of words and not action, and that is the result of a style of government.

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It's harsh but worth considering, not least because Mr Obama should have been aware of the pitfalls of the job.

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The feeling of powerlessness of the very powerful is well known.

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A British minister once told me that Mrs Thatcher used to sit in her flat above Number 10 watching some piece of news, complaining that the government really should stop it happening (whatever it was). Her husband would gently point out that she was Prime Minister.

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Mr Obama must feel the same.

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He is the most powerful man in the world, according to one cliche, but he can't get anything he wants done.

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Mr Obama is very good at analysing a problem, expressing it and crusading, exhorting, campaigning on it.

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But it is increasingly obvious that he hasn't found a way of getting stuff done.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-25239440

4 months ago

like Thatcher said, if you want to know something, ask a Man, if you want something doing, ask the Lady/woman



This post was modified from its original form on 15 Dec, 2:40
4 months ago

What an interesting article, Ray!!   I somewhat agree that if we want something to get done we turn to a woman LOL....we are known as multi-taskers.

4 months ago

Ray, this is true if you ask the right woman.  Now if that is a reflection on Hillary Clinton or any of the women serving in Obama's Cabinet, then no, it is not getting done and they are not living up to your comment.  

But yes, there are women out there that are getting things done and very capable, Mia Love, the female governors and even a few of the females in Congress; we just have to never make the same mistake again, elect without full disclosure and fully investigating the person.  This is not a racist comment at all as neither I nor the people that have made this comment to me are racist in the least, but the comment has been made to me by a number of people that it will probably be a long time before a Black male is elected president again.  Sad as there are those that these people and I would find good possibilities, but Obama has so hurt the confidence factor that they feel that many in the US would think twice now; even in the Black community itself.

4 months ago

I do truely think in time there will be a Woman American President, I was looking a Bachmann and Palin, but just did not have that something extra, looking at Connie Rice, she would be the most likely one in my opinion,

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over the years I notice the minds of the woman works much different from the man, the man can only do one task at a time, where as a woman can do many, this is because the woman when working on one task will think about 2, 3 or even 4, tasks ahead of the task she is doing, the man however, cannot do this, if he did the first task he was on would never get done,

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The picture that reveals why men and women's brains really ARE different: The connections that mean girls are made for multi-tasking

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  • Scientists used MRI imaging to scan the brains of young men and women
  • Male brains are designed to make them better at carrying out single tasks
  • While female brains are designed to carry out many tasks simultaneously
  • Women are also better at socialising in busy situations, claims the study
  • Younger brains have fewer gender differences compared to older brains

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Women have known it for generations – and the proof has finally arrived.

Scientists have found that the female brain is ‘hard-wired’ to be better at multitasking.

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Men’s brains, in comparison, are better at concentrating on single complex tasks – whether it be reading a map or cooking a meal.

Scientists found women are better at multi-tasking but men are better at concentrating on a single task after they scanned the brains of 949 people


Scientists found women are better at multi-tasking but men are better at concentrating on a single task after they scanned the brains of 949 people (men's brains, top, and women's brains, bottom). Undated handout photo issued by National Academy of Sciences of brain networks showing significantly increased within hemispheres in males (upper) and between hemispheres in females (lower)
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Scientists scanned the brains of 949 young men and women in the biggest investigation of its kind to date. Using hi-tech diffusion MRI imaging, they mapped the connections between the different parts of the brains.

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The researchers discovered that women have far better connections between the left and right sides of the brain, while men display more intense activity within the brain’s individual parts, especially in the cerebellum, which controls motor skills.

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Men also have better connections between the front and back of the brain, giving them a better ability to quickly perceive information and use it immediately to carry out complex tasks.

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This means they are better at things such as learning to swim or, as the old bone of contention has it, parking a car. Women are better at, for example, remembering a face, which means making connections between different parts of the brain.

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The results are likely to be seen as  supporting the theory behind best-selling pop psychology book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus – that the sexes are as different as alien races.

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Dr Ragini Verma, who carried out the study with colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania, said: ‘Of course individuals will differ, always.

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‘But we said, if you take 1,000 people and analyse the data statistically, what would the male brain look like and what would the female brain look like?’

She explained: ‘The research shows that if women and men are given a task that involves both logical thinking and intuitive thinking, women will do it better – they are better at connecting the left and the right sides of the brain.

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Page 1 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2516990/Sorry-chaps-brains-arent-multi-tasking-But-women-hard-wired-juggle-jobs.html

4 months ago

‘If you have an instant action to be performed and you need to do it now, male brains are more attuned to it because the front-back action is more intensely connected.’

Speaking about men’s aptitude for motor skills, she said: ‘The intense activity in the cerebellum means men would be better at learning to ride a bike, learning to swim, reading maps.’

The study also discovered women's brains are better designed to socialise in busy situations because the connections in their brains make it easier to remember names
The study also discovered women's brains are better designed to socialise in busy situations because the connections in their brains make it easier to remember names, faces and facts about certain people
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The study, involving 428 males and 521 females aged between eight and 22, found that female brains were better at bringing varied pieces of information together.

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Dr Verma said: ‘If you had to do a task like remembering a face, picking somebody out in a party, that would require you to connect several parts of the brain. Where did I see that face last, what do I see in this person, do I remember this person from somewhere?

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‘That requires the connection of various sub-networks in the brain – something women are better able to do.’

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She said that although it has been known for some time that abilities differ by gender, the study showed that these differences are ‘hard-wired’.

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‘These are connections that exist in your brain no matter what,’ she said.

‘Of course, individually, this will have variability. The next step would be to quantify this variability.’

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The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also revealed that the difference between genders became pronounced only after puberty.

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The participants were split into three age groups, aged eight to 13, 13 and four months to 16, and 17 to 22. The youngest group’s brains showed far less difference than those of the older two.

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The report said: ‘The results showed fundamental sex differences in the architecture of the human brain.

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‘Male brains facilitate connectivity between perception and co-ordinated action, whereas female brains facilitate communication between analytical and intuitive processing modes.'

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HOW THE STUDY WAS CARRIED OUT

Scientists scanned the brains of 949 young men and women in the biggest investigation of its kind to date. 

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Using hi-tech diffusion MRI imaging, they mapped the connections between the different parts of the brains.

Of the 949 participants, 428 were male and 521 were female. 

They were all aged between eight and 22 and were split into three groups aged eight to 13, 13 and four months to 16, and 17 to 22.


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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2516990/Sorry-chaps-brains-arent-multi-tasking-But-women-hard-wired-juggle-jobs.html

4 months ago

this would indeed answer the question, why America is in a mess, Obama brain is stuck on destroying American with Lousy Health Care System, 

4 months ago

Ray, this is very interesting and thank you for spending the time researching this; now we have a better understanding.  One other thing to remember is that a persons, male or female, brain is not fully developed until early 20's.  Therefore, we might consider that since this was the time that Obama would have been using drugs maybe, just maybe his didn't get the chance to fully develop.  That might explain why he is so intent on hanging around with Hollywood types, especially younger ones, and professional athletes.  His brain hs never developed beyond that 17-18 year old phase.  (tongue in cheek)

4 months ago

Linda I agree you, 

Welcome to President Barack Peter Pinocchio Obama, 

4 months ago

Best picture of him to date; I will have to save this one as I can actually look a this one.  LOL

There are always exceptions...
4 months ago

In the hospital, the relatives gathered in the waiting room, where a family member lay gravely ill. Finally, the doctor came in looking tired and sombre.

"I'm afraid I'm the bearer of bad news" he said as he surveyed the worried faces.

"The only hope left for your loved one at this time is a brain transplant.

It's an experimental procedure, quite risky, and you'll have to pay for the brain yourselves."

The family members sat silent as they absorbed the news. At length, someone asked, "Well, how much does a brain cost?"

The doctor quickly responded, "A female brain goes for $20,000. A male brain costs $50,000."

The moment turned awkward. Men in the room tried not to smile, avoiding eye contact with the women, but some actually smirked.

A girl, unable to control her curiosity, blurted out the question everyone wanted to ask, "Why does the male brain cost so much more?"

The doctor smiled at her childish innocence and then said to the entire group,

"It's a standard pricing procedure. We mark the female brains down because they're used."

4 months ago

Love it love it!!!!!!

4 months ago

Well, we try, that must mean something, LOL

4 months ago

It sure does Ray as really, it is when we can see some humor in life that we all feel better and you presented us with a very interesting article and then brought us some humor with it, too.  Thank you as it helps a lot at times to be able to laugh, too.

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