Wednesday, February 25, 2009

News Flash! Media finds Minority it can make fun of

Apparently, in a move responding to years of badgering by The Right on this subject, the news media has finally identified a Minority who is approved for lampooning and mockery.


Thus, throwing off decades of political correctness, the major news media today has broken new ground in advancing "equal treatment for all" and has answered one of Conservative America's longest-held criticisms of the Fourth Estate.

Elites in Mainstream Media Circles of New York, Washington and Hollywood point to this as a sign of how unbiased they truly are and how "colorblind" they are when it comes to "poking a bit of fun" at those in the news.


http://www.breitbart.tv/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/indi.jpg

Jindal faces tough audience

http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=AAB3E1CF-18FE-70B2-A8145F45055D2927

Mr. Jindal's Neighborhood
http://www.bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2009/02/mr_jindals_neig.html

Wonkette
http://wonkette.com/406564/bobby-jindal-enrages-volcano-monitoring-people-by-mocking-volcano-monitoring-people

Daily Kos even brought out the "turban" word. (OK, they were doing satire. Ooooh, so they get extra points in the equal treatment column for that.)
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/2/25/142731/819/982/701767


Reserved for
Late Night, _______________________
The Tonight Show, ______________
and
Saturday Night Live ________________

Obama's Fat (Chance) Tuesday


Our friend Governor Jindal missed a golden opportunity to paint a vivid picture of what’s going on by squandering the most obvious analogy about the events of the past two weeks:
Mardi Gras in his state! (photo credit: guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 25 February 2009)

How fitting is was it that the President’s expertly delivered but completely improbable speech about his Year One agenda came on “Fat Tuesday?”

The day that is synonymous with New Orleans Louisiana. The day when people WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER rationalize to themselves and others their dalliances in the extremes of personal lusts, vices and gluttony. This Fat Tuesday was indeed a crescendo of extravagance and revelry ostensively to “get it out of one’s system” prior to a period of self-restraint, reflection and penance from these same shortcomings.

Could one have described better what’s just happened with the “Stimulus Package?” A week of “tomorrow may never come,” “come on baby, there’s a bomb hanging over our heads,”Of course, I’ll still respect you in the morning” extravagance in pet projects and unprecedented government over-reach.

Last night was the “revelry.” Today comes the call for self-restraint and penance.

Unfortunately this is going to last longer than a mere 40 days and a resurrection at the journey’s end is not a sure thing.

Oh say can you see

From the Washington Times last week:


Obama has new flag frenzy
White House embraces a backdrop of red, white and blue

Jennifer HarperWednesday, February 18, 2009

http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/18/obamas-new-flag-frenzy/


Actually, the Wash Times is way behind the power curve here. This even happened BEFORE the coronation—uh—Inauguration.

Remember the “I denounce the Rev”
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23690567/

and Denver Stadium “Acceptance” speeches?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZCrIeRkMhA

And most especially on Election Night in Chicago.
http://billytokyo.com/electionnight.html

Not to mention every press op as “Office of the President Elect.”
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2008/11/25/despite-bells-whistles-office-president-elect-holds-authority/

But, at least someone has put this in print. Finally.
And I think he was channeling Patton at the "Address to the Joint Session" speech last night.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Now hold on, Mr. President

Oh, where have you gone, Sam Donaldson?

Been talkin and readin about the O-Man's first Presser this week. The infomercial we watched on Monday night was supposed to help The Mother of All Stimulus Packages get by the public, the majority of which is even now trying to score entry into the President's next Town Hall Meeting so that they can win the lottery for a new kitchen or car or the odd play-by-play annoncer gig.

One professional media trainer site that I visited had graded him the next day with "A's" and "B's." And I'm like, "Dudes, which press conference were you guys watching? (They are so eager not to offend while everyone's still basking in the afterglow.....)

A's and B's! The temerity!

Well like Bo Diddly told Dan Aykroyd in "Trading Places":

Louis: "This is a Rouchefoucauld. The thinnest water-resistant watch in the world. Singularly unique, sculptured in design, hand-crafted in Switzerland, and water resistant to three atmospheres. This is *the* sports watch of the '80s. Six thousand, nine hundred and fifty five dollars retail! ... (I)t tells time simultaneously in Monte Carlo, Beverly Hills, London, Paris, Rome, and Gstaad.

Bo: "In Philadelphia, it's worth 50 bucks."

Because the Official Circles & Arrows Rating system is gonna be brave and call it like it was: A "C" at best, but only because it was his first one.

Rationale/Scorecard:
  1. Use of teleprompter for prepared remarks -- He's supposed to be the smartest guy ever in the Office, not a good sign right off the bat. He's more addicted to that teleprompter than he is to cigarettes. (In fact, THAT would have been a better question than some of the ones he got. See #11 below) SCORE: 1 Demerit
  2. Looking presidential. SCORE: bonus points. He fits in that space already.
  3. Use of pre-designated "reporter list" instead of calling on them. SCORE: another demerit. So what if W did the same? O couldn't swing a dead cat in that room without hitting a friendly reporter. If he's got such an incredible "command of the issues" he should be able to figure out a seating chart. Speaking of which,.....
  4. Not knowing where the "chosen" reporters were seated. SCORE: demerit to the press office team AND the Prez.
  5. Not calling on Helen Thomas first. SCORE: Bonus points!!! (Just kidding)
  6. Stacking media pool with talk radio shill Ed Shultz and Huffington Post. SCORE: 1 demerit (and my how low have the legit media fallen!?)
  7. Low number of questions. SCORE: 1 demerit
  8. Excruciatingly long, rambling, plodding answers. SCORE: 2 X double demerits
  9. Sticking to message. SCORE: 1 bonus point. Eventually did come back to "4 million jobs" a lot, but took WAY too long to get there.
  10. Getting the timeframe right about what got us to this point. SCORE: bonus point
  11. Getting the reason partially right about what got us here ("the actions of the past 8 years"). SCORE: 1/2 bonus point
  12. Implying the wrong part of the equation got us here. SCORE: 5 demerits. Continued Drunken Sailor spending (not tax breaks) is what buildt up the deficit.
  13. What was it, 10 minutes on the first Question; 2 questions in the first 1/2 hour? SCORE: 1 demerit
  14. Not answering the questions posed to him. SCORE: 1 demerit.
  15. Answering the Wash Post's softball A-Rod steroid question was embarrassing. SCORE: 1 demerit on general principle, and 2 demerits to TWP for wasting a Q on this while almost a TRILLION dollars is being debated. Note to Wash Post: next time, why not ask him "Boxers or Briefs?" (Idiots.)

He'll no doubt get better. Bubba sure did. But Monday was not what we've come to expect from the "new" Great Communicator.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Stand up and remove your caps, please

Isn't it amazing:
The President can, with great populist fanfare, officially limit the pay of private sector employees because they received federal funds. But he can't go back to members of his own party -- in power -- and request that they cut out the pork from this alleged "Stimulus Package."

And nobody asks him about that.

Why stop a bank management? What capping other workers’ pay? Ah, then suddenly that won't be such a good idea.

Public School Teachers. Let's cap them (at a price that might not be as high as it is now) after all they haven't exactly been turning out "hybrids" lately. Let's REQUIRE THEM to achieve certain performance measures, like the Bank CEOs. How much have years of producing sub-standard products (illiterate adult grads who can't read their diplomas) from the government school system cost this economy and the country. And the results of poor education isn't covered by a one-time bailout--we pay for that year in and year out.

Or auto assembly workers. Let them work at a certain level, then when they become presidents of the auto company, they can have a big bonus too. Or how about their unions? Why haven't they been stocking away money for a day like today; to re-fi member mortgages; cover gaps where health insurance doesn't cover; or offer re-training into other jobs or "green economy" opportunities? Why sit around a trust your precious member's futures to your adversary -- Management?

What about Hollywood actors compared to stage hands, extras; recording artist verses back-up singers or studio musicians. Then suddenly that won't be such a good idea.

Funny, when someone opposes giving federal grants to artists who submerge crucifixes in urine, that’s hysterical religious fanaticism or the knee-jerk reactionism of the boorish unsophisticated common man that approaches infringement on the First Amendment and freedom of speech. But when someone is given a bonus for heading a complex, nationwide, multi-billion (private) financial institution operating in the free market, that’s suddenly too obscene for the public to stomach.

Friday, February 06, 2009

This ain't Chicago, Mr. President, it's DC.

Kevin Costner's Elliot Ness explained to a guy ("The Untouchables") that he didn't understand how things are done because "... you're not from Chicago."

Seems Mr. O found out how things are done in THIS town by the weak, frail, dejected and deflated Republican party. Guess nobody likes to have things rammed down their throats especially when they're only recently had lip service paid to them.

Obama to reach out to Republicans on stimulus plan
http://www.reuters.com/article/bondsNews/idUSWAT01087920090129

Instead of “if we don’t pass this now, it might be a catastrophe,” the rush -- Wooo, I said the word! -- might be translated as, “If we don’t pass this now, I might not be popular enough to have another chance to play Santa Claus to this extent again.”

http://www.dailypress.com/news/local/newsletter/dp-news_cwobama_0206feb06,0,3919799.story

“Obama also has increasingly sought to rebut Republican criticism of the plan.
He also increasingly has reminded the GOP who is in charge now — and on whose
watch the economy collapsed.” -- AP Story


Wasn't it Al Haig who once said, "According to the Constitution, I'm in charge here." Who's in charge NOW? The Democrats have been in control of the House of Representatives and the Senate since January, 2007. I must have missed their numerous attempts at across-the-board emergency budget cuts to reduce the out-of-control deficit.

"I found this deficit when I showed up," Obama said,
earning a standing ovation. "I found this national debt doubled, wrapped in
a big bow waiting for me when I stepped into the Oval Office." -- AP Story

So your solution is to add to it by another $1 Trillion? Do you really think you’ll be hailed as saving the country in the future by little bronze plaques that read: “On this spot in the year 2011, for part of the low, low price of $1 Trillion, President Barak Obama put a solar panel on the roof of this building and turned it into a "green" building. Enter ye, therefore, and be glad knowing that you are still paying for it.”

“We are not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies
that for the last eight years doubled the national debt and threw our
economy into a tailspin." – AP Story


First of all, the economy hasn’t been in a tailspin for "the last 8 years." We've had 73 months of expansion, since the last recession, better than the average length of expansion post WWII (57 months). As a matter of fact, a lot of people did pretty well for a good portion of those 8 years and they all weren’t Rich Republicans, Corporate CEOs and Oil Companies. In fact, people WANT to get back to the economy when the Dow was at 14,000 and our 401Ks were increasing in value.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the recession really
started in December 2007. The NBER based their assessment on monthly statistics,
not quarterly. Jobs peaked in December of 2007 and have been declining ever
since then. Duration of recessions can change. The last expansion lasted 73
months (2002-2007) and prior expansion lasted 120 (1990s) months. The average
expansion since the end of World War II has lasted 57 months. The typical
postwar recession has lasted 10 months. According to financial economic
researchers this recession has the possibility of lasting longer. The good news
is that we have been in a recession longer than we have realized.

“He said tax cuts alone as a way to stimulate the economy
are "a losing formula." – AP Story

If tax cuts are so inept at helping things around, and so evil and so "costly" to provide (back to the people who paid the money in the first place....), then why offer one at all--especially aimed that Obama's/Democrats constituents?

I’ll tell you what’s a losing formula: taking money that NET current and future taxPAYERS contribute and giving it to non-US citizens (illegal and legal immigrants) and/or to people who essentially pay “zero” income taxes, making them the recipients of a so-called, “tax-cut.”

As the WSJ points out:
http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2009/02/05/unclear-how-stimulus-will-dole-out-tax-relief/

The so-called “Making Work Pay” credit is the
largest tax cut for individual taxpayers in the stimulus plan. It would cost
the government roughly $145 billion, out of the total $900 billion, 10-year
cost of the package.
Here’s how it works: individuals are eligible for a refundable credit of the lesser of $500 or 6.2% of earned income. In other words, most workers with more than $8,100 of annual earned income will get the full $500.

Notice they use the word, “workers” not "taxpayers." Not necessarily the same thing, and someone can pay income taxes without being LEGALLY in this country – and therefore eligible for the “MWP tax cut.”
He defended how quickly the bill is moving through Congress and
belittled those who call the measure simply a spending bill: "What do you
think a stimulus is? That's the whole point!" --AP Story.

"How quickly the bill is going through Congress?" Sure. If you by-pass normal committee rules and don't listen to the minorty party on anything, things can move pretty fast.

Spending can be stimulating, sure, but for WHAT purposes? Spending for pork’s sake or to put money in people’s hands to spend on US goods and services or invest in businesses? How is “... tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction ...” going to do that? OR “$... 400 million for the Centers for Disease Control to screen and prevent STD's...– that’s nearly a half-billion dollars right there? How many jobs are going to be created there?

Still think there’s not more to cut? Go here:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/02/gop.stimulus.worries/index.html

  • “Buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees” (some of which are going to have to be “foreign made” because Detroit can’t produce that many cars that quickly based on the models they have now. Not to mention the useful life left in the fleet that we’ve already purchased.)
  • Or worse yet, funding to LEASE, not BUY “alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations.”

And why would you want to spend $75 million for "smoking cessation activities” especially when the Prez just signed the $33 Billion SCHIP legislation covering only 4 million more children (kids up to the age of 30 of course) with healthcare, and using an increase in the FEDERAL CIGARETTE TAX TO PAY FOR IT?

... funded primarily by boosting the federal tax on
cigarettes by 61 cents, to $1 a pack."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-kids-health-care_thufeb05,0,30310.story

Mr. O, dude, we’re going to need all the smokers we can get, not fewer.

And from the NYTimes, comes this:

"Japan’s Big-Works Stimulus Is Lesson"
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/06/world/asia/06japan.html?th&emc=th


During those nearly two decades, Japan accumulated the largest public debt in
the developed world — totaling 180 percent of its $5.5 trillion economy — while
failing to generate a convincing recovery….

Economists tend to divide
into two camps on the question of Japan’s infrastructure spending: those, many
of them Americans like Mr. Geithner, who think it did not go far enough; and
those, many of them Japanese, who think it was a colossal waste.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Snif, Snif -- Uh-oh, someone's pants on fire

Well, lookey here.

Today's topic comes not from some "Right Wing Wacko" blog or “... that detestable windbag R*$# Limb%$#@!” No, today's big news comes from the New York Times and Associated Press, so it MUST be true., right?

Obama’s Pledge to Reform Ethics Faces an Early Test
Here's a great quote from that article:

“This is a big problem for Obama, especially because it was such a major,
major promise,”
said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for
Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
. “He harped on it, time after time,
and he created a sense of expectation around the country. This is exactly
why people are skeptical of politicians,
because change we can
believe in is not the same thing as business as usual.”


However, let's give credit where credit's due--this was on Page One of NYT, and it leads to a Editorial Page rebuff as well(!) I loved the asterisk line in that NYT article.

Even so, The Times STILL can't bring itself to bash The Anointed One as much as they would have, say.... oh GWB, when terms like "cronyism" and "morally corrupt" and "business as usual" were tossed around like they were free.

Start with the headline, which gently broaches how O's pledge "... faces an early test." As the Church Lady used to say, "Well isn't that special!" How about, "So Much for Pesky Campaign Promises" or "Obama: Skip that Whole No-Lobbyist Thang" or dare we say, "Read His Lips: No Ex-Lobbyists."

Here's another softy to set the stage:

But the episode has already shown how, when faced with the perennial clash
between campaign rhetoric and Washington reality, Mr. Obama has proved
willing to compromise.

So here, the Times explains, The O man is "willing to compromise" his position (but not his integrity, of course) -- a very statesmanlike and presidential quality. Contrast that with, say, "abandons pledge when politically expedient" (a more direct assessment but not quite as nuanced).

Last week, the press was ready to carve the monument-worthy policy in granite; today's article sought to inject a little realism with the "awwww, everyone says that when they're new" ploy:

Every four or eight years a new president arrives in town, declares his
determination to cleanse a dirty process and invariably winds up trying to
reconcile the clear ideals of electioneering with the muddy business of
governing.

(We could have used some more of that language during the campaign, old Girl.) But then -- in the very next sentence -- (and to mix my metaphors ;-) the Times suddenly grows a pair!

Mr. Obama on his first day in office imposed perhaps the toughest ethics rules
of any president in modern times, and since then he and his advisers have been
trying to explain why they do not cover this case or that case.

The article later includes some very tough remembrances of O's campaign rhetoric, which bordered on Limbaughesque. The Times being Limbaughesque--that's something you'll need to read for yourself, just remember to keep reading where the good stuff is buried!

The AP also bravely addresses the subject, and with a semblance of a spine with this article,

PROMISES, PROMISES: No lobbyists at WH, except ...

So even if the press begins to snap out of its post-Coronation -- Sorry -- post-Inauguration stupor, they can't find watchdog groups to be quoted besmirching The Anointed One lest they be tarred and feathered like RHLIII recently for daring to say he hopes people see that the Emperor has no clothes.

Here's one from the AP article:

Maybe he shouldn't have promised so much, some open-government advocates say. They're willing to cut him some slack — for now.

And another:

"It was probably a mistake to come down so hard on lobbyists," said Melanie
Sloan, who is not shy about criticizing lobbyists or politicians as executive
director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "I think the
Obama folks' intentions were great here," she said. "But sometimes you realize
you can't actually govern on just what you campaigned on."

(Editor's note: If Sloan knew this wasn't possible, where was she and CREW when "He" campaigned on that statement? Where was the media in critically examining "the audacity" of this hope? Why did the press swallow the spoon-feed without questioning whether such a promise was even possible?)

Here's today's winner of "His heart was in the right place" award:

Fred Wertheimer of Democracy21 is one of Washington's best-known advocates of
more open and honest government. He called Obama's executive order
"unprecedented and almost revolutionary in nature" and "a direct attack on the
culture of Washington and the way business is done here."

"A few waivers will not undermine it," he said, provided they are justified and limited.

Yep, in 2 paragraphs, ol Fred goes from "unprecedented and almost revolutionary" to Oh, well, nice try.

[Editor's Note: This is from a (naturally) lefty group that can't wait to get more government funding of elections and eliminate private funding -- which would theoretically prohibit some future Right-handed candidate from doing what Obama did last November: raise a lot of cash, spent it as he wished, out-spent his hamstrung opponent (you know, the guy who DID accept public financing) by 3- or 4-to-1.]

Not only that, he actually expects The Prez to "fix the system" that he opted out of.

The best way to limit the influence of wealthy special interests, Wertheimer
said, is to increase public funding for presidential elections and restrict
the amount that private business can pump into campaigns and politics. That
could pave the way for tighter restrictions on influence-peddling in
Congress, he said.
Obama declined public financing for his campaign so he could raise and
spend hundreds of millions of dollars on his own. Some people saw that a virtual
death knell for campaign public financing, but Wertheimer said he believes Obama
will deliver on aides' promises to help "repair the system."

Now there's an example of going beyond "benefit of the doubt" to "suspension of disbelief."

But that is the topic for another day.

Relax & enjoy this while we have it!