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Obamas Give Queen Elizabeth an iPod 649

Posted by samzenpus
from the obama-save-the-queen dept.
Ponca City, We love you writes "What did the Obamas give Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday when they arrived at Buckingham Palace? An Obama aide reported the queen was given an iPod loaded with video and photos of her 2007 trip to the United States, as well as songs and accessories. She also received a rare songbook signed by the composer Richard Rodgers. The gift issue had come up after Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited the White House last month. Mr. Brown gave Mr. Obama a pen holder carved from the timber of an anti-slave ship, receiving in return a DVD box set of American movies, igniting a torrent of criticism in the British press. According to news reports, the queen gave the Obamas a silver-framed signed photograph — a gift she gives to all visiting dignitaries."
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Obamas Give Queen Elizabeth an iPod

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  • by u38cg (607297) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:01AM (#27428389) Homepage
    It's an oiaeuooPod.

    (RP joke, for the humour impaired).

  • its England (Score:3, Funny)

    by mcfatboy93 (1363705) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:01AM (#27428391) Homepage

    And its good to be Queen...

  • by Zarhan (415465) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:03AM (#27428405)

    ...that the Region 1 DVD's didn't play in Brown's Region 2 player. On his next visit Obama will give him a modding kit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tomhudson (43916)

      People still pay extra for players that enforce regions, and give that "Operation Not Permitted" crap when you want to skip through the menus?\

      I was surprised the first time I saw that ... glad I'm boycotting Sony.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rlp (11898)

      ...that the Region 1 DVD's didn't play in Brown's Region 2 player. On his next visit Obama will give him a modding kit.

      and an NTSC-compatible television and power converter.

  • heh heh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:04AM (#27428407) Homepage Journal

    How much does custom firmware that will change its function to a logic bomb in the mysterious future cost? Or is that a standard feature in the iPod firmware, available to the federal government at any time? ;)

  • who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by castironpigeon (1056188) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:05AM (#27428411)
    Are there really not enough issues in the world to get worked up about that people are arguing over a freakin' gift exchange?
    • by geekmux (1040042) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:37AM (#27428629)

      Are there really not enough issues in the world to get worked up about that people are arguing over a freakin' gift exchange?

      This just in...Israel and Palestine are fighting. More at the top of the hour...

      A lot of people are pissed about Government bailouts. News at 11.

      The economy sucks. More to come.

      Don't complain. At least this is "new" by comparison to the rest of the shit that keeps getting dredged up day after day.

    • Re:who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:52AM (#27428777)
      I a huge politics junkie and it horrifies me what stories the public latches onto when their very futures are at stake. I only assign 1/4 the blame to the messenger. The other 3/4 goes to the public whose mouse clicks and channel selections have indicated to news outlets what their audience wants to see.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by virg_mattes (230616)
        The flip side of this idea is that I spent a few minutes of attention on this story, and it was mildly entertaining. I spend quite a bit more time on important issues, but that doesn't mean there's absolutely no room at all in my life for a bit of fluff on occasion. Even if it took an hour for me to debate this with some random loonies on MSNBC, that would still mean I spent less than one percent of my "news attention span" on it for this week.

        Virg
    • Re:who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by db32 (862117) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @08:12AM (#27428987) Journal
      You know.... Reading that article made me sick (even beyond the normal slashdotters aren't supposed to read the articles thing). We can't have positive foreign relations with Britain because the POTUS didn't give a government visitor fancy enough gifts? That is pretty unbelievably shallow and self absorbed media coverage even by American standards.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)

      What I don't get is why these exchanges (which happen constantly) were never reported when Bush was in office. What makes them "news" now when they weren't "news" a year ago?

    • by icebrain (944107) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @08:46AM (#27429351)

      It's not the gifts themselves that are the issue... it's the symbolism, if you will.

      See, diplomacy is a game, of sorts, and it's heavily dependent on symbolism. Things like gift exchanges, summit meetings, state dinners, and all that are mostly useless from a practical standpoint... but it's part of the game. They're the rules; to be taken seriously you have to at least play along with them and pretend that you care. It's like Christmastime at the office; you go to the parties and you buy little gifts for each other, not because you really care about everyone or want to hang out with them, but because it smooths things over and is just part of office politics.

      Obama's not playing by the rules. And while the gifts and all that aren't really a big deal, he's committing a diplomatic faux pas--toward his country's closest ally, no less. What makes this (and similar small diplomatic blunders) ironic, and what the European press is starting to make noise about, is that everyone thought Obama would be better at international relations than Bush. True, he has yet to start any wars; but flubbing even the basic, petty, easy stuff like state dinners and symbolic gift exchanges with your closest allies and your historical and powerful military/economic rivals (China and Russia) certainly isn't getting off on the right foot.

      It's like the new guy showing up at the office Christmas party with PBR and dollar store gag gifts for the exchange when everyone else brought drinkable wine or liquor and a $15 gift... then cutting loose a giant fart and laughing loudly about it. Sure, it doesn't really affect business operations, it's just a stupid little party. But now everyone's looking at him kinda funny and thinking "hey, we thought he was cool, but this guy's a bit of an ass." In other words, it may not be harmful, but he certainly isn't doing us any favors.

  • by KwKSilver (857599) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:06AM (#27428421)
    Had to be an iPod, not a Zune: Her Majesty has far too much gravitas to run around "squirting" people.
  • After all, would ANY government allow one of their top people to accept an electronic gift without it being checked to make sure it's not bugged? That would be a serious security lapse.

    • by CmdrGravy (645153) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:33AM (#27428599) Homepage

      You remember that warehouse at the end of Indiana Jones where they store the Ark Of The Covenant ?

      The Queen has a similar warehouse where all the presents the monarchs have been given over the last 300 years or so are stored, this I-Pod is never going to be used.

  • by langelgjm (860756) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:09AM (#27428437) Journal

    Mr. Brown gave Mr. Obama a pen holder carved from the timber of an anti-slave ship, receiving in return a DVD box set of American movies, igniting a torrent of criticism in the British press.

    Brown, commenting on the matter, said: "I've already downloaded most of these on the Pirate Bay."

  • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:10AM (#27428447)

    There's a good article here

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/abolition/royal_navy_article_01.shtml [bbc.co.uk]

    It's actually an incredibly cool story.

    • by mspohr (589790) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:46AM (#27428709)
      This is actually a more complex story. The Royal Navy first started by supporting and defending the slave trade in 1562. The Royal Navy was very 'entrepreneurial' in those days.

      In 1632 King Charles of England gave out charters to support the slave trade. Up to three million Africans had been transported in British ships since 1650, and at the end of the 18th century Britain was dominating the trade, with an average of more than 150 slave ships leaving Liverpool, Bristol, and London each year. This made Britain very rich.

      There were people who realized that the slave trade was an abomination against human rights and they started a campaign against it. By 1807, Britain was forced to outlaw the practice and the Royal Navy had to enforce the new law but this was difficult because of the huge profits. The slave trade continued through 1880.

      In light of the wealth that Britain received from the slave trade, it probably would have been more appropriate for Gordon Brown to give Obama a gift made from a slave trade ship (this gift would be less hypocritical but probably would not be appropriate). Britain has yet to seriously discuss reparations for the damage done to Africa from the profits they made in the slave trade.

      • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @08:07AM (#27428957)

        Britain has yet to seriously discuss reparations for the damage done to Africa from the profits they made in the slave trade.

        And I seriously hope we never do, not because I agree with slavery, but because I disagree with being held accountable for something that someone did 200 years ago.

      • by jabithew (1340853) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @08:13AM (#27428991)

        I see that you, along with all romantics, have entirely neglected the role that Africans themselves [wikipedia.org] played in the slave trade. Slaves traded across the Atlantic were bought from African dealers. I have yet to see any Afro-Americans demanding apologies from Africans, let alone reparations.

        Britain was one of the first nations to abolish this hideous practice (by democratic choice, not "force"), before any African nation did, and Britain did more than most to bring an end to it. Even after the Atlantic slave trade was brought to a halt by the British [wikipedia.org] and later American navies, innocent Africans were being sold into slavery by Africans to Arabs [wikipedia.org]. Yet still Britain seems to have the majority of the blame for the slave trade forced upon it. This seems deeply unfair to me.

        • by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @08:50AM (#27429401) Journal

          I have yet to see any Afro-Americans demanding apologies from Africans, let alone reparations.

          Because they don't have any money. That's what it's all about at the end of the day. I've yet to understand how giving money to the descendants of slaves repairs the damage that was done by the slave trade, but there you go.

          My bloodline includes Native American, Polish, Jewish and German ancestry (typical American mutt here I suppose). When do I get my rent check for this nice continent my ancestors "gave" you? When do I get my check from Germany for all the damage done to my Polish and Jewish ancestors? When do I get my check from the British and Americans to make up for Dresden?

          • by krunk7 (748055) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @10:04AM (#27430531)

            That's what it's all about at the end of the day. I've yet to understand how giving money to the descendants of slaves repairs the damage that was done by the slave trade, but there you go.

            I can explain this for you. I know they don't really teach this in schools in as much detail as they should.

            Slavery was not fully abolished, technically, until 1865. Now, that sounds like a long time ago. Over 100 years. But what happened after that? Well for 100 years, blacks were not allowed to go to the same schools with whites, they weren't allowed to live by whites, they weren't allowed to meaningfully interact with whites, they're vote was actively negated through Jim Crow laws, and they weren't even allowed to drink the same water.

            Let me repeat that lest the math was not clear, they were actively and openly oppressed, exploited, violently attacked by both private vigilanties and law enforcement, and disenfranchised until 1965 . That means if you're 43 or over, you were alive then. It also means your parents were almost assuredly alive and could either tell tales of fighting for or against the Civil Rights movement unless you're very young.

            What does this mean really? I'm sure the response is "Well, I didnt' do any of that!". This is true, but the entire American society did that. Laws aren't passed by individuals, they are passed by nations. Widespread discrimination of that calibar is not commited by individuals, it's sanctioned by states. And so, it is society that owes a debt.

            It was not African American's Great Great Great Grandparents that were shoved into ghettos, educationally marginalized, disenfranchised, and openly, violently opposed. Those who experienced this first hand are still alive today as are those who perpetrated these grave crimes against humanity.

            The audacity to presume that in less than one full generation 300 years of this stature of oppression would simply *poof* disappear. Do you really think that all the fathers and grandfathers who were so sure that blacks were less than human in their teens, 20's, and 30's all of a sudden did a 180 and changed their attitudes? It takes more than 1/2 a generation to repair that kind of dehumanization.

            And to compare this to Dresden. Are you completely daft? Are you truly that ignorant of the difference (not in a hateful sense, but in the literal sense of igorance)? Dresden was a single event in a war that spanned a few years. The decendents of dresden were not stripped of their heritage, educational opportunities, and identity. Forced into slavery, shoved into ghettos, hanged from trees, and treated verbally and physically like animals for 15 generations .

            Just ponder that for a moment. Just think of the significance, of the impact that has on a culture. I am amazed that the black community is so forgiving. That the sons (literally) of those our nation abused so egregiously are not absolutely raving with desire for revenge. That they're recovering so quickly economically, educationally, and culturally.

            No, it is not one individual that owes a debt, the entire country owes a debt.

            Now, I don't think monetary reperations are the right way to make amends. Mainly, because the harm is nigh incalculable. But if it were possible to guarantee a free ride to every black child to a first class college to give them the opportunity to pull their communities out of the ghettos that our nation put them in then that might be a good start. Of course, we probably can't afford that either.

            The solution is not easy, nor is it simple, nor is it cheap. But your indignation is misplaced, misguided, and misinformed.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Inda (580031)
          Clap. Clap. Clap.

          I knew this. I spout it occasionally. No one likes to listen, especially my black mates after they start their chip-on-the-shoulder rants. People can't seem to understand that a small handful of English would have been easily overrun by masses of Africans. Without the help of the Africans, the slave trade wouldn't have happened.
      • by CmdrGravy (645153) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @08:26AM (#27429123) Homepage

        I agree and since the British government is unwilling to make reparations I as a British citizen am more than happy to do so on their behalf.

        Obviously all the people actually involved are dead now so there is nothing I can do for them so it's their ancestors I feel I must recompense.

        I have a simple formula, all we need to do it work out the average yearly income of American African Americans and the average income of Africans to get a figure of how much worse off the African Americans are. Then multilply that by the average lifespan of an African American and the number of them who can prove their ancestors were slaves.

        I'll accept payment in gold bullion.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by meringuoid (568297)
        Britain has yet to seriously discuss reparations for the damage done to Africa from the profits they made in the slave trade.

        Britain has already paid Africa for the slave trade, at a fair price agreeable to both parties. Who do you think the British bought all those slaves from in the first place?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Lord Ender (156273)

        Obama is not descended from slaves! I know this is true of most black Americans, but it is NOT true of Obama! He has no more relationship with the slavery than any of you cube-dwelling white boys!

  • Silly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:11AM (#27428449) Homepage

    First, who cares who gave who what? Seriously? I mean, if you made a *major* boo-boo and gave Obama some racist memoribilia or something, then you're an idiot, but otherwise who cares? You're talking negotiations over the future of countries, anyone who reads anything into the gifts is clearly desperate for news or clearly focusing on the wrong things.

    Have the governments of the two countries seriously got nothing else better to waste their money on than gifts for other nations? Sure, bring something along but keep it simple. A couple of bouquets for the missus and a bottle of special wine or something to enjoy over dinner one night. Anything else is asking for a cock-up because it'll have been made from the ship that X's father fought against in war Y or something. And, trust me, nobody British really cared what gift was received/given the last time the US president and the UK prime minister met. Nobody. The press obviously had nothing else better to report, or were feeling snubbed themselves. They don't even care that Churchill's bust was moved in the Whitehouse... really... we don't have American presidents lining 10 Downing Street, so why should the American's have anything similar? So long as it was done respectfully (i.e. they didn't kick it down the stairs after drawing a moustache on it), who cares?

    Personally, I think the Queen's gift is the worst out of all those listed (in all the linked articles) anyway - it's too imperialist and overbearing... a signed photo... "Look, I have given you something cheap and readily available to remind you that you were once in my presence". Urk.

    • Re:Silly (Score:5, Informative)

      by JasterBobaMereel (1102861) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:58AM (#27428849)

      The Queen's gift is a diplomatic one ... she gives the same gift of the same cost, to everyone, regardless of how important they are and regardless of what they give her in return, no one is snubbed, overvalued, undervalued, or insulted ....

      The giving of gifts is done for purely diplomatic reasons and the cost of the gift given by the British PM is limited, any gift given to him over that same cost is owned by the government not by the current PM ....

    • Re:Silly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @08:27AM (#27429135)

      I would agree with you except every day for the last 8 years we heard about Bushisms. Just because Obama is your guy (not you personally, just in general) shouldn't mean that you quit pointing out the idiotic things that he does.

      Obama has already had plenty of Obamaisms (basically anytime he isn't in front of a teleprompter), yet I don't see people like Olberman leading off their show with them they way he did with Bush.

      All I want is consistency from people.

  • RIAA? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LatencyKills (1213908) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:12AM (#27428459)
    Hmmm. Is there a copyright issue here (assuming that all the music on the ipod was not open source)? Can I legally hook an ipod to my computer, load it with music from my iTunes, and give the ipod away? How is that any different from making copies of CDs that I own and giving those copies away?
    • Re:RIAA? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by furby076 (1461805) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @09:08AM (#27429635) Homepage
      Do you have proof he did something questionable? I can buy an iPod, and buy music from Applie iTunes (or some other legal source) and then give it to someone as a gift. it's done all the time. So if you don't have proof that he pirated music we need to get you modded down.
  • by simonbas (1319225) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:14AM (#27428469)

    "igniting a torrent of criticism in the British press"

    Where can I find that .torrent?

  • by Shadow_139 (707786) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:19AM (#27428495)
    So will she have to fly to the US and sync with Obamas PC to load new song onto them since apples DRM only allow the device to sync with one system without loosing data?
  • Hilarious. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sj0 (472011) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:20AM (#27428497) Homepage Journal

    I just find it hilarious, it seems like the criticisms of the US personified.

    "Here's a rare and incredibly symbolic gift, a pen case made with wood from anti-slave ships."-British

    "lol heres 2 fast 2 furious" - US

    • Re:Hilarious. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by icebrain (944107) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:31AM (#27428585)

      I think it's indicative of Obama's naivete and complete lack of experience with regard to foreign policy. IIRC, he also blew off an official state dinner with Brown saying he was "too busy", and dismissed the US-UK relationship as "nothing special", and sent back the bust of Churchill that had been at the White House for quite a long time. Oh, and the DVDs came with a couple of Marine One helicopter toys, too.

  • The Queens Gift (Score:5, Insightful)

    by howman (170527) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:24AM (#27428533)
    It's fairly poignant the fact that she gives everyone the same gift, a silver framed picture of her... Pretty much says, 'you ain't shit better than anyone else, but I am da bomb.'
  • Mix Tapes (Score:5, Funny)

    by i_ate_god (899684) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:25AM (#27428539) Homepage

    Remember back in the day when you used to give mix tapes to girls to show them how amazing you were?

  • !iPod (Score:3, Funny)

    by FTWinston (1332785) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:26AM (#27428553) Homepage
    Everyone knows that the queen doesn't have an iPod, she has a wePod!
  • Title is wrong (Score:4, Informative)

    by Late Adopter (1492849) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:27AM (#27428557)
    President Obama was unable to meet with Queen Elizabeth, since she passed away a while ago. Instead he met with HM Queen Elizabeth II. I know it sounds pedantic, but they are different people.
    • You are wrong (Score:3, Informative)

      by Xest (935314)

      Queen is just a hereditary title and can be used like any other title including social titles like Mr, Dr, Sir, Mrs and so on.

      Using the term Queen Elizabeth without specifying which Queen Elizabeth is no less correct than referring to someone called Paul who is a Dr. as Dr. Paul. The only reason you'd want to specify is if there were multiple Dr. Pauls you could be referring to, but seeing as the summary quite clearly points out he met a living Queen there is no room for ambiguity and so there is no need to

    • Re:Title is wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

      by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday April 02, 2009 @08:37AM (#27429245)
      I think from the context, we can figure out which one they mean. When you read a tabloid headline that says "Prince Charles Admits To Yet Another Fuck-up," do you actually have to wonder whether they're referring to Charles Stuart or Charles Windsor? Besides, saying "Elizabeth II" over and over again in headlines would appear even more stupid. "Elizabeth II to visit U.S." would elicit a collective response of "...as opposed to Elizabeth I, who has been dead for 400 years?" It would be a constant, and needless, distraction from the intended communication.
  • by hitnrunrambler (1401521) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:41AM (#27428655)

    I hope out of consideration for the rich history of British music that it included some of the classics...

    like the Sex Pistols http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_Save_the_Queen_(Sex_Pistols_song) [wikipedia.org]

  • by EWAdams (953502) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:50AM (#27428757) Homepage

    ... to bitch about America over, they will pull something out of their own ass. The last time the British press was polite and respectful towards America was D-Day.

    There's a recession on, people. Do you really expect Obama to be handing out diamond necklaces? How's that going to look?

    Also, both sides know perfectly well that whatever they give, the other side won't be allowed to keep it as a matter of anti-corruption policy. Every single gift given to an American president goes straight into a vault. So there's no point in giving anything really expensive.

    • by meringuoid (568297) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @09:02AM (#27429567)
      The last time the British press was polite and respectful towards America was D-Day.

      Actually, it was the day before D-Day. On D-Day itself, the coverage ran something like 'Thank God, they're all in France now.'

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by greysky (136732)

      Every single gift given to an American president goes straight into a vault. So there's no point in giving anything really expensive.

      Yes and no. Take a tour of a presidential library sometime. It's facinating to see what gifts other nations gave our presidents. I recently visited the Clinton library, and the gifts there ranged from unique pieces of art, to one of the bikes Lance Armstong rode in the Tour. Some gifts had little monetary value, others were of immesuarbale worth. But they all personified

  • by OneSmartFellow (716217) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:50AM (#27428765)
    ... iPod One ?
  • by east coast (590680) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:57AM (#27428845)
    Chief Lincoln of the Americas offers you Construction in return for Invention and 126 gold!
  • by drig (5119) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @09:56AM (#27430385) Homepage Journal

    The Obamas gave the Queen a rare signed songbook by Rick Rodgers, or Rodgers and Hammerstein fame. Rodgers is one of the greatest American composers. The iPod was filled with his music. It was a thoughtful, expensive, classy gift.

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