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A president at large

When Hurricane Katrina caused havoc in New Orleans and devastated the surrounding countryside, President Bush sparked off indignation and outrage by his seemingly distant attitude.

A few days later, when he and his advisers realised the public relations disaster this hands-off approach had caused, they went into overdrive to assure Americans that their president was on top of the situation. Similarly, President Obama seemed to practically camp in the worst-hit area following the BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico after the perception gained ground that he was not involved enough in resolving the crisis...

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Sartor Resartus

Thomas Carlyle wrote 'Sartor Resartus' in about 1831. It is a satire that forces the reader to confront the problem of where 'truth' is to be found. It postulates an imaginary "Philosophy of Clothes" and holds that meaning is to be derived from phenomena, continually shifting over history, as cultures reconstruct themselves in changing fashions, power-structures, and faith-systems...

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State of confusion

It is kind of reassuring to know that our government is not the only one capable of putting out diverging views on the same issue and thereby adding to the overall sense of confusion. While US Special Envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke rejected the peace deal being attempted in Swat and told President Zardari so over the telephone, the country's defence secretary, in Warsaw, told reporters on the same day that a Swat-style truce with the Taliban in Afghanistan could be acceptable. The mixed signals have brought a few sniggers in Washington and indeed in Islamabad as well...

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