In Pune, India, a shiny van cruised the red-light district, canvassing local brothels. The van was brand-new; the driver was a stranger. Fearing that the state police had dispatched the official-looking vehicle, the prostitutes, some of whom were HIV positive, waved it away.
Hours before dawn on one of the last days of October 2009, the deadliest month for American troops in Afghanistan since 2001, Eric Holder, attorney general of the United States, strode out of a C-17 cargo plane parked at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. President Barack Obama, having reversed the ban on media coverage of the arrival of war dead at Dover, trailed just behind. During the official military ceremony, the two friends stood in dark suits, silently saluting 18 servicemen, including three Drug Enforcement Agency officials claimed by the Afghan War days prior. The aggrieved expressions on their faces were identical.
Students congregate at the Alice Harte Elementary School in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
President Obama's daughters get healthy school lunches. Why don't I? So asked a pigtailed black girl plastered on buses and billboards around Washington, D.C. The White House blasted the political ad, which promoted healthy food options in public schools, as exploitative -- but the little girl's complaint should resonate with an administration that has prioritized healthy eating and food security, from both the East and West Wing of the White House.
In 2006, a group of New Orleans elementary school children, freshly returned from displacement after Hurricane Katrina, took up a similar refrain about public school cafeterias as part of a citywide leadership-development program known as Rethink. Their version: "We hate sporks!"
In this Jan. 22, 2009 file photo, President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, and retired military members, gestures in the Oval Office. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
In Barack Obama's White House, there's a fine line between tourism and negotiation. On a June afternoon at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, 26 individual stakeholders in the health-care debate mounted the sprawling spiral staircase to the building's Indian Treaty Room. The progressive health-reform advocates, who ranged from professors to activists to physicians, had been invited to discuss an administration report on disparities in health care and health outcomes -- but couldn't help gawking at the ornate ceilings and marbled balcony ringing the room.
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdrogan after addressing the Turkish Parliament General Assembly, Monday, April 6, 2009, in Ankara, Turkey. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
As Barack Obama and his caravan of diplomats, handlers, and hangers-on complete the last leg of his first European tour as president, America's pied piper has one more gift to bestow. After a week spent in the halls of the United States' older Atlantic allies, Air Force One landed in the Turkish capital of Ankara today.