Washington Babylon — January 23, 2009, 11:28 am

Obama Off To Rough Start: Gitmo closed but mispelled names mar debut

Talkingpointsmemo points to a Time magazine article, “The Obama Team’s Debut: Not Quite Ready on Day One.”

So while the new Obama Administration did jump out of the gate with major announcements on ethics guidelines, the planned closing of Gitmo, and a tightening of interrogation policies, it also endured its fair share of slip-ups.

Granted, it’s mostly the small stuff that has gone wrong. As of Thursday, some smartly dressed press staffers were working without login access to their computers, without Blackberries and with only Gmail addresses to connect them to the world. Several names were misspelled on the signs that identified staff desks. It took the press office until about 10 a.m. on Wednesday to figure out how to send reporters an official White House press release.

This is newsworthy? As they say, the beast must be fed.

Update: Jay Wasserman of Cambridge writes: “I saw this yesterday and it made me cringe. Really enjoyed the ‘and they had to use computers with 6 year old operating systems’ (i.e. windows XP, which 95% of the PC world is using).”

Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Postcard October 16, 2013, 8:00 am

The Most Cajun Place on Earth

A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada



October 2015

Lives by Omission

Lifting as We Climb

Cattle Calls

Getting Jobbed

view Table Content


“One of the peculiar things about economic inequality is that the people who are most articulate about it are not poor, while the poor themselves have said little, at least in print, about their situation.”
Photograph © Reuters/Brendan McDermid
“It would be nice to get through this review without recourse to the term ‘writer’s writer.’ The thing is, in the case of Joy Williams, I have seen the cliché made flesh.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
“Miniatures originated in Persia and were brought to the Indian subcontinent when the Mughals conquered it in the sixteenth century. They could take on almost any subject: landscapes or portraits; stories of love, war, or play.”
Painting by by Imran Qureshi.
“The business of being a country veterinarian is increasingly precarious. The heartland has been emptying of large-animal vets for at least two decades, as agribusiness changed the employment picture and people left the region.”
Photograph by Lance Rosenfield
“Rosie and her husband had burned through their small savings in the first few months after she lost her job. Now their family of five relied on his minimum-wage paychecks, plus Rosie’s unemployment and food stamps, which, combined, brought them to around $2,000 per month, just above the poverty line.”
Illustrations by Taylor Callery

Percentage of Americans who can correctly name the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court:


Peak happiness was observed at a per capita GDP of $36,000.

Doctors Without Borders withdrew from the Afghan city of Kunduz after a U.S.-led airstrike destroyed one of the organization’s hospitals, killing 22 people.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!


Subways Are for Sleeping


“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”

Subscribe Today