Sunday, June 21, 2009


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Barack Obama is reveling in presidential power and influence unseen in Washington for decades.
Barely 100 days in office, the U.S. president and his Democratic Party have firm control over the White House and Congress and the ability to push through ambitious plans.
Now, with the coming retirement of a Supreme Court justice clearing the way for him to appoint a successor, Obama already is assured a legacy at the top of all three branches of government -- executive, legislative and judicial.
On the corporate front, the federal government's pumping of billions of dollars in bailout money into banks and auto companies has given Obama the power to force an overhaul in those industries, a remarkable intervention in capitalist industries by the state.

Americans are giving him leeway as well. His job approval ratings are well over 60 percent, giving him political capital to undertake big challenges.

His political opponents, the Republicans, are in disarray, reduced in numbers and engaged in an internal struggle over how to recover from devastating election losses in 2006 and last year.

Experts speak of Obama in the same league as such transformational presidents as Democrat Franklin Roosevelt, who led the United States through the Great Depression and World War Two, and Republican Ronald Reagan, who led the country to victory in the Cold War.

But what might we expect of Miuccia Prada? A former member of the Communist Party and graduate in political science, she is branded an "intellectual" designer. A modern art collector and creator of the ubiquitous black-nylon backpack, her media incarnation is anything but footloose and fancy-free. Miuccia Prada famously avoids the party circuit, preferring instead to spend time out with an intimate circle of family and friends. And while other designers bask in the glory of the biannual ovation that meets their collections, stepping out onto the runway surrounded by fawning models and armfuls of flowers, Miuccia Prada barely deigns to appear, peeping out for a second before disappearing again in the blink of an eye. With this in mind, it is unlikely that anyone would ever presume that, upon first meeting the designer, one cold, crisp January morning in her daylight-filled Milan studio, she would be discussing nothing more obviously elevated than her own personal take on the merits of wearing the colour © This document is copyright protected.

After a star reaches a certain point, it's easy to forget what they became famous for and concentrate solely on their persona. Madonna is such a star. Madonna rocketed to stardom so quickly in 1984 that it obscured most of her musical virtues. Appreciating her music became even more difficult as the decade wore on, as discussing her lifestyle became more common than discussing her music. However, one of Madonna's greatest achievements is how she manipulated the media and the public with her music, her videos, her publicity, and her sexuality. Arguably, Madonna was the first female pop star to have complete control of her music and image.

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