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This “historic president”?!?!

So does the New York Times describe the incumbent in an article dressing up his indecisive response to the uprisings in the Middle East as “pragmatism“:

In the Middle East crisis, as on other issues, there are two Barack Obamas: the transformative historical figure and the pragmatic American president. Three months after a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself aflame and ignited a political firestorm across the Arab world, the president is trumping the trailblazer.

With the spread of antigovernment protests from North Africa to the strategic, oil-rich Persian Gulf,President Obama has adopted a policy of restraint. He has concluded that his administration must shape its response country by country, aides say, recognizing a stark reality that American national security interests weigh as heavily as idealistic impulses. That explains why Mr. Obama has dialed down the vocal support he gave demonstrators in Cairo to a more modulated call for peaceful protest and respect for universal rights elsewhere.

This is cheerleading dressed up as “news analysis.”  Via Weasel Zippers via Instapundit.

Massive Earthquake Rocks Japan

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:59 am - March 11, 2011.
Filed under: Disasters (natural or "man-caused")

What appears to be the fifth largest earthquake since 1900 “with a magnitude of 8.9 rocked Japan Friday afternoon“:

. . . forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes, triggering a 10-meter tsunami that violently swept away cars and other objects in its paths and shutting down phone lines and transportation in most parts of the country. leaving at least five people dead.

The quake was originally reported at a magnitude of 7.9 but was later upgraded to 8.9. That makes it the fifth largest recorded world-wide since 1900, according to the U.S. Geological Service, larger than the 7.9-magnitude Great Kanto Earthquake that devastated Tokyo in 1923 or the 6.8 magnitude quake that hit Kobe in 1995.

The quake caused mass panic around Tokyo, where workers evacuated their buildings and power was cut off at 4.1 million households in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures.

I am watching images of the destruction on TV and it’s just overwhelming.  We’re hearing warnings of a possible tsunami in Hawai’i and even here on the California coast.  Given that I’m writing this just before 1 AM PST, by the time many of you read this, we’ll have a better picture of the damage — and the reality of the tsunami.

More here.