Diana Krall Music Video “I Don’t Know Enough About You” — Obama Nobel win shocks Swedish peace group — Time 1938: INTERNATIONAL: Nobel? Shameful? — GERMANY: Man of the Year, 1938 — Comment: absurd decision on Obama makes a mockery of the Nobel peace prize — ‘Daddy, you won the Nobel Peace Prize and it’s Bo’s birthday’: Full text of Obama’s statement on shock win — Winners of the Ig® Nobel Prize


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‘Obama has as president created a new climate in international politics’

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‘We knew the world would be positive, surprised, and some would be stunned’

Nobel director Geir Lundestand

“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

“Obama has as president created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.”

State Department Lauds Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize by Making Jab at Bush

In a clear dig at former President George W. Bush, a State Department spokesman compared President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize to the flying footwear his predecessor faced in Iraq.

“From our standpoint, you know, we think that this gives us a sense of momentum … when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters on Friday.

Crowley was referring to a 2008 incident in which an Iraqi reporter hurled his shoe at Bush during a news conference in Baghdad. The act of protest struck a chord with millions in the Arab and Muslim worlds who had been captivated and angered by daily images of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.


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I know a little bit
About a lot of things
But I don’t know enough about you

Jack-of-all-trades, master of none
And isn’t it a shame…


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Obama Nobel win shocks Swedish peace group

The Local Europe AB (Sweden) –  Paul O’Mahony

The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (Svenska Freds) has classified as “shameful” the decision by the Nobel Committee in Oslo to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 to Barack Obama. “The choice of Barack Obama as the recipient of the world’s foremost peace prize is shocking,” said the group’s chairwoman Anna Ek in a statement. Ek conceded that the US president had sent “positive signals” with regard to his future commitment to global peace.

“But at the same time Obama is the president of the biggest military power in the world and is waging two wars in the world. That should certainly disqualify him from a peace prize,” said Ek. The leader of the Swedish opposition, Social Democrat Mona Sahlin, said the prize award would serve to increase expectations that Obama can deliver concrete results. “It’s a pleasing political turnaround from the years with George W Bush, who disregarded the UN’s rules and regulations,” she said in a statement.

Moderate Party parliamentary group leader Lars Lindblad said that, though he was glad Obama had been elected president of the United States, awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize was a “historic mistake”. “In my view the Peace Prize should go to somebody who has achieved something,” he told Dagens Nyheter.

Social Democrat foreign policy spokesman Urban Ahlin confessed to being caught off guard by the award. “I was quite surprised I have to say. The efforts Barack Obama has made for peace do not currently correspond to a peace prize,” he told news agency TT.

Ahlin noted that while Obama has mapped out an exit strategy for Iraq, fighting still continues. War also continues to rage in Afghanistan; the Guantanamo Bay detention facility remains operative; and the president’s Middle East initiative has not yet borne fruit.

“I’d like to have seen Obama get the peace prize in a few years when he can show the results of his efforts. Now is too early,” he added.


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Martti Ahtisaari, winner of the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize for his work to resolve international conflicts Nigel Treblin/AFP/Getty Images


INTERNATIONAL: Nobel? Shameful?

Time Magazine – Monday, Oct. 10, 1938

Nearly the whole world last week undertook to pass judgment in one form or another on Britain’s Prime Minister. That Neville Chamberlain will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize was taken for granted by the Norwegian press. The influential Aftenposten went on to urge that, without waiting for the next scheduled date for the Nobel award—December 10, anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel—the committee should “immediately” give Mr. Chamberlain the prize (about $40.000). Norwegian joy at the peace was such that all Oslo school children were given a holiday.

Every Norwegian recalled that the 1925 Nobel Peace Prize went to half-brother Sir Austen Chamberlain and Charles G. Dawes for their part in paving the way for the Pact of Locarno. Mr. Austen Chamberlain, as he then was, received from King George V a much rarer honor than elevation to the peerage, knighthood in the Order of the Garter, and in British circles this week Mr. Neville Chamberlain was slated to receive equal honors at the hands of King George VI. Birmingham University was at once presented last week with a $50.000 scholarship fund, donated by Midland Publisher Sir Charles Hyde “to commemorate the services for peace of the Prime Minister.”

Really scathing attacks on Neville Chamberlain were made almost entirely from extremely safe distances of several thousand miles, notably by certain Manhattan radio news broadcasters. Of these. Johannes Steel, a German agent on mysterious missions in Brazil until the Nazis came into power, was the most caustic: “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. So they call it peace! . . . They call it peace because the victim, not being able to save itself from its friends, cannot face the enemy alone. They call it peace because the victor received the spoils before instead of after battle! . . . The England of Mr. Chamberlain is not the true England, the Democratic England—just as the France of M. Daladier is not the France of the Popular Front, the true Democratic France. . . . This is the first time in my career as a commentator on international affairs that I am left largely speechless. . . . The thing that I cannot understand and seems almost inconceivable is that no storm of indignation in England or France has yet swept the Chamberlain and Daladier Governments out of office! . . . What has happened to the leaders of the Popular Front—to the elements that compose the Popular Front—that they do not protest against the most shameful betrayals in modern history? . . . Does Chamberlain really intend to deliver Western Civilization to the new Anti-Christ?”

In Manhattan, famed Rabbi Stephen S. Wise drew loud boos for Neville Chamberlain from 1,000 members of the United Czechoslovak Societies, declaring: “Chamberlain has not brought back peace with honor, but dishonor without peace!” Simultaneously 5,000 Manhattan high-school boys and girls of the Young Communist League marched with placards denouncing Hitler and Chamberlain until sent home by police.

In Moscow the powerful Comintern station went on the air with Popular Front declarations that “Chamberlain has saved the ruling classes at the expense of the toiling masses. . . . France has ceased to be a great power.” In France, the General Confederation of Labor, representing some 3.000,000 trade unionists, announced its “acceptance of the Munich accords for suspending the course to war.” but expressed fear that “these accords, limited to some powers, may create a preface to the Constitution of a Four-Power-Pact condemned by public opinion of all democratic countries” (see p. 19). Paris-Soir, with a circulation of 1,800.000, launched a popular subscription campaign to buy Fisherman Chamberlain a house on a French stream to be known as “Peace House” and be given by the State extraterritorial status.

Prime Ministers of British Dominions cabled to Neville Chamberlain their Cabinets’ warmest congratulations. The British Labor movement, never militantly class-conscious and just plain anxious not to fight, was this week—as usual—the despair of those British forces which would have liked to ashcan Stanley Baldwin, would now like to ashcan Neville Chamberlain. It was no worker but an especially gilded British aristocrat, the husband of Mayfair’s glamorous Lady Diana (“The Virgin in Max Reinhardt’s The Miracle”) Duff Cooper, who was first in London to take up potent cudgels against the Prime Minister (see p. 19) by resigning from the Cabinet.


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Al Gore, winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to promote awareness of climate change – Andreas Meier/Reuters


GERMANY: Man of the Year, 1938

Time Magazine – Monday, Jan. 02, 1939

Greatest single news event of 1938 took place on September 29, when four statesmen met at the Führerhaus, in Munich, to redraw the map of Europe. The three visiting statesmen at that historic conference were Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain of Great Britain, Premier Edouard Daladier of France, and Dictator Benito Mussolini of Italy. But by all odds the dominating figure at Munich was the German host, Adolf Hitler.

Führer of the German people, Commander-in-Chief of the German Army, Navy & Air Force, Chancellor of the Third Reich, Herr Hitler reaped on that day at Munich the harvest of an audacious, defiant, ruthless foreign policy he had pursued for five and a half years. He had torn the Treaty of Versailles to shreds. He had rearmed Germany to the teeth— or as close to the teeth as he was able. He had stolen Austria before the eyes of a horrified and apparently impotent world.

All these events were shocking to nations which had defeated Germany on the battlefield only 20 years before, but nothing so terrified the world as the ruthless, methodical, Nazi-directed events which during late summer and early autumn threatened a world war over Czechoslovakia. When without loss of blood he reduced Czechoslovakia to a German puppet state, forced a drastic revision of Europe’s defensive alliances, and won a free hand for himself in Eastern Europe by getting a “hands-off” promise from powerful Britain (and later France), Adolf Hitler without doubt became 1938’s Man of the Year.

Most other world figures of 1938 faded in importance as the year drew to a close. Prime Minister Chamberlain’s “peace with honor” seemed more than ever to have achieved neither. An increasing number of Britons ridiculed his appease-the-dictators policy, believed that nothing save abject surrender could satisfy the dictators’ ambitions.

Among many Frenchmen there rose a feeling that Premier Daladier, by a few strokes of the pen at Munich, had turned France into a second-rate power. Aping Mussolini in his gestures and copying triumphant Hitler’s shouting complex, the once liberal Daladier at year’s end was reduced to using parliamentary tricks to keep his job.

During 1938 Dictator Mussolini was only a decidedly junior partner in the firm of Hitler & Mussolini, Inc. His noisy agitation to get Corsica and Tunis from France was rated as a weak bluff whose immediate objectives were no more than cheaper tolls for Italian ships in the Suez Canal and control of the Djibouti-Addis Ababa railroad.

Gone from the international scene was Eduard Benes, for 20 years Europe’s “Smartest Little Statesman.” Last President of free Czechoslovakia, he was now a sick exile from the country he helped found. Pious Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kaishek, Man of 1937, was forced to retreat to a “New” West China, where he faced the possibility of becoming only a respectable figurehead in an enveloping Communist movement. If Francisco Franco had won the Spanish Civil War after his great spring drive, he might well have been Man-of-the-Year timber. But victory still eluded the Generalissimo and war weariness and disaffection on the Rightist side made his future precarious…]


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Kofi Annan jointly won the centenary Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for working for human rights and to defuse global conflicts – Brian Snyder/Reuters


Comment: absurd decision on Obama makes a mockery of the Nobel peace prize

Times Online – Michael Binyon

The award of this year’s Nobel peace prize to President Obama will be met with widespread incredulity, consternation in many capitals and probably deep embarrassment by the President himself.

Rarely has an award had such an obvious political and partisan intent. It was clearly seen by the Norwegian Nobel committee as a way of expressing European gratitude for an end to the Bush Administration, approval for the election of America’s first black president and hope that Washington will honour its promise to re-engage with the world.

Instead, the prize risks looking preposterous in its claims, patronising in its intentions and demeaning in its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun his period in office, let alone achieved any tangible outcome for peace.

The pretext for the prize was Mr Obama’s decision to “strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples”. Many people will point out that, while the President has indeed promised to “reset” relations with Russia and offer a fresh start to relations with the Muslim world, there is little so far to show for his fine words.

East-West relations are little better than they were six months ago, and any change is probably due largely to the global economic downturn; and America’s vaunted determination to re-engage with the Muslim world has failed to make any concrete progress towards ending the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

There is a further irony in offering a peace prize to a president whose principal preoccupation at the moment is when and how to expand the war in Afghanistan.

The spectacle of Mr Obama mounting the podium in Oslo to accept a prize that once went to Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi and Mother Theresa would be all the more absurd if it follows a White House decision to send up to 40,000 more US troops to Afghanistan. However just such a war may be deemed in Western eyes, Muslims would not be the only group to complain that peace is hardly compatible with an escalation in hostilities.

The Nobel committee has made controversial awards before. Some have appeared to reward hope rather than achievement: the 1976 prize for the two peace campaigners in Northern Ireland, Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan, was clearly intended to send a signal to the two battling communities in Ulster. But the political influence of the two winners turned out, sadly, to be negligible.

In the Middle East, the award to Menachem Begin of Israel and Anwar Sadat of Egypt in 1978 also looks, in retrospect, as naive as the later award to Yassir Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin — although it could be argued that both the Camp David and Oslo accords, while not bringing peace, were at least attempts to break the deadlock.

Mr Obama’s prize is more likely, however, to be compared with the most contentious prize of all: the 1973 prize to Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho for their negotiations to end the Vietnam war. Dr Kissinger was branded a warmonger for his support for the bombing campaign in Cambodia; and the Vietnamese negotiator was subsequently seen as a liar whose government never intended to honour a peace deal but was waiting for the moment to attack South Vietnam.

Mr Obama becomes the third sitting US President to receive the prize. The committee said today that he had “captured the world’s attention”…]


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Yasser Arafat delivers his speech after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 – Jerry Lampen/Reuters


‘I don’t deserve this’: Obama stunned as he is awarded Nobel Peace Prize after less than nine months in office

  • ‘It’s not April 1, is it?’: White House aide’s response to award
  • Twitter crashes as millions join in debate over announcement
  • Lech Walesa: ‘It’s too early… He has no contribution so far’
  • Decision was unanimous, says Nobel director
  • Obama’s vision of world without nuclear weapons praised

Barack Obama today admitted he does not think he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize after being sensationally awarded the honour.

The U.S. president said he was both ‘surprised and deeply humbled’ to win the award.

The Nobel Committee has shocked the world by choosing Mr Obama as the 2009 Nobel Peace laureate, despite the fact that he has only been in office for less than nine months.

Speaking at the White House today, Mr Obama said he did not ‘view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments,’ but rather as a recognition of goals he has set for the United States and the world.

Mr Obama said: ‘I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many transformative figures that have been honoured by this prize.’

But, he added: ‘I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the challenges of the 21st Century.’

Mr Obama became the U.S. president less than two weeks before the February 1 nomination deadline.

Global surprise at today’s announcement was even shared by the President’s own staff.

‘It’s not April 1, is it?’ an unnamed White House aide asked when a reporter woke him up with a request for comment.

The Nobel committee’s decision to give the prestigious honour to Obama was welcomed by some but also greeted with both disquiet and bemusement.

Former Polish president and 1983 Peace laureate Lech Walesa slammed the decision as ‘too early’.

‘So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far. He is still at an early stage. He is only beginning to act,’ he said today.

But he added: ‘This is probably an encouragement for him to act. Let’s see if he perseveres. Let’s give him time to act.’

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it was awarding the 48-year-old president the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for ‘his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples’.

Former president and fellow laureate Jimmy Carter congratulate Mr Obama, calling the award a ‘bold statement of international support for his vision’.

‘It shows the hope his administration represents not only to our nation but to people around the world,’ he said.

But mere hope was not enough for Republicans.

‘The real question Americans are asking is, ‘What has President Obama actually accomplished?” said Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele…]


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‘Daddy, you won the Nobel Peace Prize and it’s Bo’s birthday’: Full text of Obama’s statement on shock win

Good morning.

Well, this is not how I expected to wake up this morning.

After I received the news, Malia walked in and said, ‘Daddy, you won the Nobel Peace Prize, and it is Bo’s birthday.’

And then Sasha added, ‘Plus, we have a three-day weekend coming up.’

So it’s – it’s good to have kids to keep things in perspective.

I am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel Committee.

Let me be clear, I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honoured by this prize, men and women who’ve inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

But I also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women and all Americans want to build, a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents.

And I know that throughout history the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honour specific achievement; it’s also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes.

And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.

Now, these challenges can’t be met by any one leader or any one nation. And that’s why my administration’s worked to establish a new era of engagement in which all nations must take responsibility for the world we seek.

We cannot tolerate a world in which nuclear weapons spread to more nations and in which the terror of a nuclear holocaust endangers more people.

And that’s why we’ve begun to take concrete steps to pursue a world without nuclear weapons: because all nations have the right to pursue peaceful nuclear power, but all nations have the responsibility to demonstrate their peaceful intentions.

We cannot accept the growing threat posed by climate change, which could forever damage the world that we pass on to our children, sowing conflict and famine, destroying coastlines and emptying cities.

And that’s why all nations must now accept their share of responsibility for transforming the way that we use energy.

We can’t allow the differences between peoples to define the way that we see one another. And that’s why we must pursue a new beginning among people of different faiths and races and religions, one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect.

And we must all do our part to resolve those conflicts that have caused so much pain and hardship over so many years.

And that effort must include an unwavering commitment to finally realize that – the rights of all Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security in nations of their own.

We can’t accept a world in which more people are denied opportunity and dignity that all people yearn for: the ability to get an education and make a decent living, the security that you won’t have to live in fear of disease or violence without hope for the future.

And even as we strive to seek a world in which conflicts are resolved peacefully and prosperity is widely shared, we have to confront the world as we know it today.

I am the commander in chief of a country that’s responsible for ending a war and working in another theatre to confront a ruthless adversary that directly threatens the American people and our allies.

I’m also aware that we are dealing with the impact of a global economic crisis that has left millions of Americans looking for work.

These are concerns that I confront every day on behalf of the American people.

Some of the work confronting us will not be completed during my presidency. Some, like the elimination of nuclear weapons, may not be completed in my lifetime.

But I know these challenges can be met, so long as it’s recognized that they will not be met by one person or one nation alone.

This award is not simply about the efforts of my administration; it’s about the courageous efforts of people around the world.

And that’s why this award must be shared with everyone who strives for justice and dignity; for the young woman who marches silently in the streets on behalf of her right to be heard, even in the face of beatings and bullets; for the leader imprisoned in her own home because she refuses to abandon her commitment to democracy; for the soldier who sacrificed through tour after tour of duty on behalf of someone half a world away; and for all those men and women across the world who sacrifice their safety and their freedom and sometime their lives for the cause of peace.

That has always been the cause of America. That’s why the world has always looked to America. And that’s why I believe America will continue to lead.

Thank you very much.


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Winners of the Ig® Nobel Prize

At the 2009 ceremony, Public Health Prize winner Dr. Elena Bodnar demonstrates her invention — a brassiere that, in an emergency, can be quickly converted into a pair of protective face masks, one for the brassiere wearer and one to be given to some needy bystander. She is assisted by Nobel laureates Wolfgang Ketterle (left), Orhan Pamuk, and Paul Krugman (right). PHOTO: Alexey Eliseev.


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