Obama Orders SEPTA Strikers Back to Work

Following a request earlier today by Gov. Tom Corbett, President Obama signed an executive order this evening that forces striking SEPTA Regional Rail engineers and electrical workers back on the job for the next 240 days while an arbitration board attempts to craft a settlement. Rail service is set to resume for tomorrow’s regularly scheduled first runs.

Obama, Biden Take Executive Selfie

Last night, the @WhiteHouse Twitter account posted this smiley selfie of Joe Biden and Barack Obama. It was to kick off Biden’s Instagram account, but was also posted as a tweet.

Obviously, this elicited a number of reactions, such as:

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What if the Civil War Had a Birthday and Nobody Came?

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Shutterstock.com

Three years ago, Don Dodson planned to make a killing selling the Civil War artifacts he and his metal detector have uncovered near his hometown of Ringgold, Georgia. In Jersey City, New Jersey, Jamie Delson designed and packaged up special sets of toy soldiers from famous Civil War battles that he planned to sell. Louis Varnell opened a military memorabilia store near Chickamauga, the site of a bloody 1863 battle. They—and a lot of historians, reenactors, hoteliers, restaurateurs and fellow businessmen—were counting on the sesquicentennial of the Civil War to stir up a flood of action commemorating what was, arguably, the most cataclysmic event in American history.

Today, according to a story last week in the Wall Street Journal, the relics sit unsold. So do the toy soldiers. And Varnell is shipping more World War II collectibles than Civil War stuff. Three-quarters of the way through the four-year commemoration of the war that pitted brother against brother, the general consensus is, nobody gives a damn. “If it’s a celebration,” Delson told the Journal, “it’s a celebration that the public is either not aware of or not interested in.”

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Normcore? More Like “Momcore”

The Thursday Styles section of the New York Times last week contained a big bloomingarticle on the fashion trend known as “normcore,” which the article helpfully defined in the following way:

 A fashion movement, c. 2014, in which scruffy  young urbanites swear off the tired street-style clichés of the last decade — skinny jeans, wallet chains, flannel shirts — in favor of a less-ironic (but still pretty ironic) embrace of bland, suburban anti-fashion attire. (See Jeans, mom. Sneakers, white.)

Accompanying the article were a lot of photos of my clothes. Specifically, there were Nike sneakers, cargo shorts, t-shirts, a hoodie from a random college, Champion sweatpants … Well, hello, old friends!

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President Obama Appears on ‘Between Two Ferns’ Comedy Web Series

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Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis is a comedy interview show on the website Funny or Die. It’s essentially Galifianakis’ humor distilled: A weird, combative talk show that has the feel of bad public access. It’s also frequently hilarious, with Galifianakis chatting up guests like James Franco, Bruce Willis and Justin Bieber.

And, this morning, President Barack Obama.

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Philadelphia Nonprofit Joins Obama’s ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ Initiative

Today President Obama will announce plans for My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative aimed at helping young African-American and Hispanic men. KYW 1060’s Cherri Gregg notes a local nonprofit is involved in the effort.

BMe Community CEO Trabian Shorters will be in Washington today for the launch of President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, which will bring together non-profits and for-profit organizations to test strategies for helping young men of color overcome negative statistics. Men and boys of color are disproportionately more likely to drop out of school, be victims of homicide or to go to prison, but these stats do not tell the full story of this population.

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State of the Union: Is Obama Failing Millennials?

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Twitter was aflutter with thoughts and quippy one-liners in response to the president’s State of the Union Address last night. Most reactions seemed to be from the Millennial set, who are roundly dismissed as aimless and entitled, despite their heavy engagement in political and social issues.

What resonated most on social media was his verbalized focus on action and his readiness to flex on congress to get things done before the end of his term.  It’s the change many have been waiting for. President Obama delivered his address during the most economically stable period of his two terms, while at his lowest approval rating (43 percent) since taking office.

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President Obama’s NSA Policy Is Based on Shadows and Fairy Tales

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Shutterstock.com

Ahead of President Obama‘s NSA speech today, detailing how he’ll try to balance American security with American civil liberties in the wake of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations, the New York Times on Thursday carried a story detailing how the president had gone from civil liberties crusader to a warmed-over version of George W. Bush.

What changed? The president’s perspective. Why? Because he suddenly became viscerally aware of all the threats arrayed against America.

And how did he become aware?

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