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Barack Obama

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Elizabeth Dias

Spanish photographer Ricardo Cases came to Maryland and spent three days documenting the worship at two evangélico churches for TIME: La Roca de la Eternidad, Rock of Eternity Church, and Iglesia Cuadrangular el Calvario, Calvary Foursquare Church (to read the new TIME cover story, available to subscribers, click here). If you visit either, you may feel more like you are at religious revival in Latin America than at a Sunday service just a half hour from Washington, D.C. But these churches are not exceptions. Born-again, Latino Protestants are on the rise in the United States. More than 40% of Hispanic evangelicals in the United States converted from Catholicism, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Evangélico worship styles differ greatly from the traditional Catholic mass. There are rock bands, streamers, tambourines, flags, dancing, and loud praying. Sometimes there is even prophesying or fainting in God’s presence. It was a new experience for Cases. “Although I am not religious, my education is Catholic, and I only know the Catholic Church ceremonies in which everything happens in a more linear way, less expressive and more boring,” Cases says.

His images capture the blend of intensity, isolation, and fiesta that is often part of the evangélico experience. Both La Roca and El Calvario are more than just venues for Sunday worship. They have become homes for people far from their homeland, and worship services are sacred yet familial. “For me, it was a surprise, the great contrast between the moments before the service, and the service itself,” Cases reflects. “Attendees moved from a festive mood to a dramatic one in minutes.”

The shoot itself was a reminder that evangélico worship in the United States is inextricably linked to the immigrant experience. One moment said it all. When Cases was playing with the little kids at one of the El Calvario services, they wanted to know his name. He teased them and replied: “Obama.” They all started yelling, Obama! Obama! Then one little boy, maybe six or seven years old, asked in broken in English: “Hey! Obama! Can you give me a resident?”

Ricardo Cases documented the Republican presidential primary race in Florida for TIME in 2012. His recent book Paloma al Aire documents the tradition of pigeon racing.

Elizabeth Dias is a writer-reporter for TIME. Find her on twitter @elizabethjdias.

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The tech unit's sign, autographed by its members.

The reelection of Barack Obama was won by people, not by software. But in a contest as close as last week's election, software may have given the Obama for America organization's people a tiny edge—making them by some measures more efficient, better connected, and more engaged than the competition.

That edge was provided by the work of a group of people unique in the history of presidential politics: Team Tech, a dedicated internal team of technology professionals who operated like an Internet startup, leveraging a combination of open source software, Web services, and cloud computing power. The result was the sort of numbers any startup would consider a success. As Scott VanDenPlas, the head of the Obama technology team's DevOps group, put it in a tweet:

4Gb/s, 10k requests per second, 2,000 nodes, 3 datacenters, 180TB and 8.5 billion requests. Design, deploy, dismantle in 583 days to elect the President. #madops

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Obama’s in the news a lot, partly because he’s kind of in charge of the world, and partly because he’s outrageously photogenic. Bear in mind it takes a lot more than good-looks to be photogenic — being completely comfortable in your own skin, having great style and being in interesting places helps a lot too, which in Obama’s case is not difficult.

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The new account is unlikely to alter Iran's view of the US, seen here in a mural on the old US embassy in Tehran

David Holt

In 2011, the US government rolled out its "International Strategy for Cyberspace," which reminded us that "interconnected networks link nations more closely, so an attack on one nation’s networks may have impact far beyond its borders." An in-depth report today from the New York Times confirms the truth of that statement as it finally lays bare the history and development of the Stuxnet virus—and how it accidentally escaped from the Iranian nuclear facility that was its target.

The article is adapted from journalist David Sanger's forthcoming book, Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power, and it confirms that both the US and Israeli governments developed and deployed Stuxnet. The goal of the worm was to break Iranian nuclear centrifuge equipment by issuing specific commands to the industrial control hardware responsible for their spin rate. By doing so, both governments hoped to set back the Iranian research program—and the US hoped to keep Israel from launching a pre-emptive military attack.

The code was only supposed to work within Iran's Natanz refining facility, which was air-gapped from outside networks and thus difficult to penetrate. But computers and memory cards could be carried between the public Internet and the private Natanz network, and a preliminary bit of "beacon" code was used to map out all the network connections within the plant and report them back to the NSA.

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Hugh Pickens writes writes "Michael Scherer writes that the Obama fundraising machine has deployed a new cellular campaign weapon designed 'to trigger the campaign finance equivalent of an impulse buy' during key political moments in the campaign. The tool links two familiar technologies, SMS and one-click purchasing, by sending out an SMS message to cell phones and smart phones of tens of thousands of previous campaign donors giving them a one-click option to give more money. 'Campaign officials hope to be able to return to donors in key moments of emotional excitement,' writes Scherer. One person familiar with the ask says that the response rate has been more than 20 times greater than any text message solicitation Obama has sent out before and and the reason is simple: Even with an iPhone, it remains an arduous hassle to enter all the information that is typically required to buy anything online with a credit card. The trick is that anyone who gives even a few dollars to the Obama campaign is asked if they want to keep their credit cards on file to participate in what the campaign calls 'Quick Donate.' Now donors just need to write '25,' or '10,' and that amount of dollars is immediately drawn from their credit cards. One of the Obama campaign's best fundraising days in 2008, for instance, came right after Sarah Palin's convention speech. Now partisans can 'vent their outrage or enthusiasm by simply typing one number into their phone.'"


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This is the first of Stephen Crowley's picture essay in a new series for Lens called "Smoke Filled Rooms." The series will examine the processes and consequences of contemporary American politics.

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