Thursday, May 28, 2009

I was born a poor black child....

"I was born a poor black child....."
--Navin Johnson (Steve Martin's character in "The
Jerk")


Disingenuousness is not a very good way to start off a presidency or an appointment to the highest court in the land.

POTUS and Judge Sotomayor discussion of "empathy" as a desirable quality in a Supreme Court appointment is a complete straw dog. And they should stop trying to spin it that way.
From a president who on his first day chided his predecessors and dreaded “Washington Insiders” for past shenanigans and promised to “… proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics...,” we get an act of raw, boldface political gamesmanship. “Oppose THIS, all you Republicans.” (All that’s missing is “make my day.”)

This is a quota check mark nomination, pure and simple, so let’s at least acknowledge that much. Some would say, “Hey, that’s the way it is—elections have consequences.” To them I say, see above.

First, she points out that Holmes and Cardozo voted on cases upholding sex and race discrimination and that the Court until the 70s ever found for a woman in a gender discrimination case. Well, none of the nine guys on the Court in the 1970s had uteruses and THEY still found a woman’s right to an abortion somewhere in the Constitution. None were “Hispanic” in the 1960s, and yet somehow Ernesto Miranda was overturned by those same guys (8 white & 1 black). How does she explain that?

Next, as Cal Thomas says in his column today, if pulling oneself up from bootstraps biographies could guarantee smooth sailing through the process, Clarence Thomas should have been granted an express ticket to the bench instead of the trip to hell & back that was his confirmation hearing.

Then, she posits that her unique experiences and upbringing would prove valuable in seeking some yet unachieved wisdom from the Supreme Court, something white guys or men in general, or non-Latina women could not possibly understand nor hope to attain. Who’s to say her Latina perspective would be representative of:
a) all/most US women
b) all/most US Latinos
c) all/most fatherless diabetics?
d) etc.
Were Sandy O’Connor and Ruth Ginsburg in lock-step on all issues; you know, being they were both women? Do you think Clarence Thomas and Thurgood Marshall would see eye-to-eye on all things because they were both black?

The fact that there's a "liberal opening" on the court now is proof that not even WHITE GUYS can agree on everything sufficient enough to keep the rest of all these second-class citizens under their thumb of domination and exploitation. (You'd think if ever there would be motive, that would be enough.)

No, Sonya, you’d only represent left-leaning, feminist, Latinas. And actually just one—yourself. The one thing you COULD represent with 100% certainty is that you are an American (you are, aren't you?) And don’t ask me how you can sit in judgment if you get some Gitmo detainees in front of you because none of them are women, Puerto Rican, or Liberal; OK they might be Liberal, but they probably all hate GWB, so you'll no doubt have that perspective in common.

Finally, I thought the goal has always been to find appointments who could be counted upon to check their experience, prejudices, and preconceptions at the door and seek only to see the case through the lens of the LAW and not through the color of their skin or thickness of their dogma.

If one has to have a “representative” on the Court in order to somehow come nearer to “justice” then what about a second generation descendant of coal-mining, deer-hunting, Eastern European Slavs?

Who represents me?

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Prez Gets Schooled -- Notre Dame

The AP sent a few reporters to South Bend, Ind., last weekend for POTUS' speech. As a media insider, today I'll show you how you can tell a lot about a writer's perspective if you just pay attention to little things.

For example, the AP reporter’s (or editors) word choice describing the motivation of those holding signs: "...to express their anger ...." Anger? What’s so vociferous about “Shame on ND” or “Stop Abortion Now”? Must they be "angry" with all the connotations that come with that emotion ( i.e. wild-eyed, raving redneck, bible-thumping Pro-Life nut jobs)? Isn't it possible they could be reasoned, respectful, principled yet passionate people standing in opposition to his policies and opinions?

Perhaps they were “remorseful” over their country’s 30-year history of death or “saddened” by their president’s position or “heartbroken” over the fate of millions of unborn babies? Would pro same-sex marriage advocates protesting government policy be described off-handed as, “angry.” I think not. No, “opposed” would have sufficed here without the editorializing, especially in an article calling for “tolerance” and Obama’s plea to stop “reducing those with differing views to caricature.”

Next, Norma McCorvey -- “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade fame -- is mentioned as one of the 27 arrested “trespassers.” While pleased this fact made it into the article (and that she now opposes legalized abortion), I can only wonder what the lead and headline of a story would have been if Rosa Parks would have reversed her position on Jim Crow bus seating, or Karl Rove would admit he opposed former Pres. Bush's Iraq policy. “Roe” is THE iconic figure in this entire issue, and she’s given three sentences seven paragraphs into the text, without a quote attributed to her or about her made by anyone else.

Perhaps we should consider a favorite saying adopted by many who subscribe to the "Progressive" perspective for lots of other societal or governmental incursions into the lives of individuals:

"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." (Nelson Mandela)


President Obama said in his inaugural address his Administration was going to "restore science to its rightful place" in public debate; he should do that with this issue. He should mandate that we "wield technology's wonders" by requiring abortion seekers receive a sonogram image of the "non-viable tissue mass" that she carries. After all, he said in Notre Dame that he hoped to reduce the numbers of abortions.

Such a requirement just might do that.

Maybe if we called it a "Swirly" instead?

A good friend passed along Charley Krauthammer's Op-Ed today in the Wash Post. (Thanks)

A very good read.

Three things about Bam's speech on terrorist policy differences betwixt & between Admins.:

1) Up next, he'll make another meaningful change in the name from water boarding to "giving them a Swirly." Administered by some Chicago public school 9th graders in the Men's Room of P.S. #107 on the South Side, it will be just as threatening but then he can get away with this too.

2) Does the long list of flip-flops on Bush's "evil" policy and Bam's "Bush-lite" versions mean he has to give back all the accolades and positive poll numbers these empty promises generated from the weak minded fools + media sheep who supported him? And the Dems thought John F. Kerry flopped a lot. (Good thing the media's not paying attention and keeping score like they did in 2004).

3) On Bam's last "European Apology Tour," he apologized to just about everybody for just about everything GWB supposedly had done to "offend" world sensitivities. POTUS: Are you planning a trip down to Texas to apologize to W for trashing him before walking a mile in his shoes?

Monday, May 18, 2009

So, God Walks into a Bar ....

Rush Limbaugh is known to tell an old joke about God's interaction with the press on the End of the World.

One day, God decides he's had enough with his earthly experiment and decides to destroy the universe and start over. In one final gesture of magnanimity, God calls a press conference to announce his intentions and give believers and non a chance to put their affairs in order. He invites editorial teams from three major news outlets -- The New York Times, USA Today and The Wall St. Journal and gives them exclusives on the biggest story in history. Short & sweet, God tells them he's going to destroy the world in 24-hours and charges them to spread the word about the Apocalypse.

Dutifully, the papers compose their final editions. And on the "End of Days" the papers hit the newsstands, their headlines blaring:

  • USA Today: "GOD: WE'RE GONE!"
  • WSJ: "Mr. God Says World to End Tomorrow" (Subhead: "Markets to Close Early")
  • NYT: "God Says, World to End; Women, Children, Minorities Hardest Hit"

Last Friday, we see this item from the Old Grey Lady, (May 15, 2009) showing that sometimes life imitates art.

Minorities Affected Most as New York Foreclosures Rise

Now, is it just me, but doesn't this go without reason? Were not these the consumers Fannie and Freddie were so adamant to get loans to over the past 5-10-20 years? The article points this out plainly:

And the hardest blows rain down on the backbone of minority neighborhoods:
the black middle class. In
New York City, for example, black households making more than $68,000 a year are almost five times as likely to hold high-interest subprime mortgages as are
whites of similar — or even lower — incomes.

This holds a special poignancy. Just four or five years ago, black
home ownership was rising sharply, after decades in which discriminatory lending
and zoning practices discouraged many blacks from buying. Now, as damage ripples
outward, black families in foreclosure lose savings and credit, neighbors see
the value of their homes decline, and renters are evicted.

So, after years of suffering bad press for NOT giving these (high-risk) consumers loans, and the occasional drive-through blockade or lobby storming/sit-ins by the rent-a-mob "community organizers" of the world, when the banks eventually DO make the loans (risky & all) now they are mean & evil?

This is not coming from a bank flack, either. ( I do not work for a bank; never have. None of my relatives work for banks; matter of fact, I'm not sure that I know anybody who DOES currently work for a bank.) Personally, I do bank at commercial banking institutions and have credit cards, a few of which took hits from the "crises."

All the agreements made were done by me, of my own doing and for which I am responsible. Yes, I received mail from banks and cards; it's also true that I went out into the world and sought information from mortgage lenders. But NOBODY from a bank burst through my front door, sat/shouted/sang/chanted (with media in tow) forcing me to sign anything. The signed commitments or contracts those are the deals I made --it's what I have to live with.

For me now to go back to them and ask them to change the rules, that's asking a big favor don't you think? (Now, the opposite is true--I don't think the banks should be able to change the terms of the deal on me either, but that's different post.)

With all this talk about "responsibility" lately, you'd think somebody would point out that its the consumer who is ultimately responsible for the bed he/she must lay in. If there's any non-personal responsibility to be taken here for the poor, dumb, helpless, high school graduates we've populated this country with it might be with government schools. Those institutions have apparently churned out millions of simpletons who don't know you that you have to eventually pay back the money you charge on a credit card, that can't calculate simple interest or manage to balance a checkbook. BUT they MIGHT know who Elizabeth Cady Stanton is, what the "hockey stick graph" shows or what the Mayan calendar and numbering system is based on.

Which one of those things is going to bring the country and the world into a global economic crisis if not known by everyday "Joe Six-packs"?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

A funny thing happened on the way to "Responsibility"

So, I'm reading the Washington Post today, about their coverage of Bam's great unveiling yesterday of the FY 2010 Budget. Finally, the Devil in the Details.

Bottom line, POTUS plans to spend $3.4 Trillion -- with a "T" -- next year. Oh, and the deficit will be $1.2 Trillion.

You'd think when a guy stands up, looks into a teleprompter and announces he plans to spend several "Trillion" dollars that he'd would get noticed. Well, he did, but not for using the "T" word. The MainStream Media is all flush with talk of $17 Billion -- with a "B" in alleged "cuts."

OK. Since nobody in the Washington Press Corps has the stones to ask the obvious question, I will. (I take that back, at least Jake Tasker at ABC Political Punch Blog mustered the courage; I don't know if asked the Teleprompter verbally.)
$17 Billion in budget "cuts"? That's what you're leading with?
And most coming from the Defense budget? Was anybody else asked to
cut?

$17 billion in the ENTIRE budget? (!!) Wells-Fargo needs to scrape up $15 Billion to just to shore-up after the Administration's stress test. You mean you can only find $2 Billion than a stressed out bank from a budget of more than 3 Trillion?

What's more incredulous is that three (3) Washington Post writers dutifully spent 40 (that’s 4-0, FORTY) paragraphs largely devoted to touting those meager $17 B in cuts to get to the essential point of the whole charade:

"The proposed cuts, if adopted by Congress, would not
actually reduce government spending. Obama's budget would increase overall
spending; any savings from the program terminations and reductions would be
shifted to the president's priorities."

ABC News (You have to look for it a while) but when you do: "Obama to cut budget"
NBC/MSNBC News: "Obama wants to cut $17 billion from budget"
CBS News: After leading with the Marine One fleet being cancelled, by, yes, the president's "budget cuts" they DID run this item on a CBS news blog: "Obama tries to control budget story line." Duh.

Over at AP, while still running with the $17B as the main focus, if you read closely one can see some cracks in the veneer. They dared mention that GWB tried to axe many of the same programs for years, but a Democrat controlled Congress put them back in anyway. And they even mentioned that things got hot for our buddy Robert Gibbs having to explain why the $17 B was much more important that that other "Trillion" number that had been mentioned.
Good for them.
Despite redoubling its efforts to portray itself as tough on waste and spending, the administration and Congress have taken the nation on a steady course of higher federal spending. In rapid succession has come passage of a $787 billion economic recovery bill, a $410 billion omnibus appropriations bill and Congress' $3.4 trillion budget for next year, which calls for increases of almost 10 percent over current funding for non-defense agency budgets.

I'm all for people respecting the office of the President; I didn't care for how extremely GWB was "dissed" by many newsies and 99% of Hollywood. And I'm not saying the current President should be disrespected or treated in any way but professionally.

But how the "professionals" in the Washington Press Corps can allow this guy to stand up there and boldface use terms like “A New Era of Responsibility” when he is actively planning on spending this much is beyond me.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Maybe if there was ring-kissing involved....

I guess the Prez is reserving his quota for being in-the-presence-of-Christians for another "large Catholic" event later this month -- in South Bend, Ind.

Maybe if there was ring-kissing involved he would put in more effort. There will be robes and funny hats, though.

The part I LOVE is seeing what the POTUS' mouthpiece Robert Gibbs said:
"That's the way he'll publicly observe the day--privately."


I kid you not.