US president Obama came to Europe this week for a number of "summits". The German part of the NATO 60-year anniversary was held in Baden-Baden in South West Germany.

Incidentally, my father works right across the street from where Obama's helicopter ("Marine One") landed, so he took a few photos of the helicopter arriving. Enjoy.

Update: Here is the gallery with the rest of the pictures, along with some pictures of an "Obama/NATO cake", one of the many products made in Baden-Baden for the occasion.

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We all know that President Obama's internet team is undoubtedly the most advanced a US government ever had (and one could argue, even in the world). Now, we can't exactly say the same for his VP Joe Biden:

Hat tip to Joe for a fun new addition to our treasure chest of internet memes: We'll give it an honorable spot, right next to the series of tubes and the internets!


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World leaders have hailed the election of Senator Barack Obama as the first black president of the United States.

... writes BBC News and expresses what I am sure at the very least most of Europe thinks: That Obama's election for president is not only good for the United States, but good for the world.

German politicians are also thrilled about the outcome of the US elections and both the Chancellor and the Minister of the Exterior are "looking forward" to working with Obama and his government. The German president reassured Obama in a letter that the US "can count on Germany as a dependable partner and long-time friend".

Still, the international expectations are high. Some of them are justified, others not. For example, the Europeans need to realize that Obama was not elected in order to solve the world's problems in a way that conforms with the ideals of the European Union. I expect him to pursue first and foremost the success of his own country, as is his legitimate job, of course. And while he is greatly popular in my country (some people call him the "next Kennedy", as a reference to the major popularity of JFK in Germany: Remember "ich bin ein Berliner"?), he'll not use his power to make the Germans' life easier. The financial crisis, for instance, may have been "brewed" in the USA originally, but Germany will have to carry its share of it like everybody else, and not even a president Obama will change that.

So I sure hope that the German disappointment is not too big once they land back on the hard asphalt called "reality". One of the first times this is bound to happen may be when Ms Merkel's phone rings and Obama asks her to send more German soldiers to Afghanistan. But, as Michael Zürn (a professor for international relations in Germany) says in an interview with, maybe this is even helpful for the German discussions on what role we even want to play internationally, and what we are willing to invest.

This, however, leads to another problem: In September 2009, Germany is due to vote for a new parliament (and, consequently, a Chancellor). With so much focus on and excitement about the U.S. elections, it almost seemed like the Germans forgot their own reality: That we need change in our own country as well. That our government is busy selling out our constitutional rights instead of establishing trust. And that as of now, there's no "German Obama" in sight who is likely to glue the constitution together again.

("Obama campaign poster" picture CC by-nc-sa licensed by Anthony Baker on flickr; "Day one" comic by Mike Luckovich on

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There's a 106-year-old American nun living in Rome who plans on voting this year again for the first time after she voted Eisenhower in 1952:

Sister Cecilia Gaudette, who last voted for President Eisenhower in 1952, has registered to vote and says she will vote for Democrat Barack Obama. Although hard of hearing, she keeps herself informed by reading newspapers and watching TV (...). Asked about her hopes for the US under an Obama presidency, she says: "Peace abroad. (...)"

She could well be the oldest person to vote in that election. I find it impressive how much she still cares about politics, at an age few will ever reach.

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By the way, when he refers to "Ohio", he means the state's unique relationship to voting machines.

(via killefit)

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The Jewish Council for Education and Research made a pretty funny video to encourage young voters who have Jewish grandparents in Florida to fly there and convince them of voting Obama: "The Great Schlep".

(Naturally, don't take it too seriously).

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