Monday, December 7, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
The president had this to say about "the bow" to Japanese Emperor Akihito:
"I’m representing the United States of America. And we’re talking about a friend, and we’re talking about an ally. We’re talking about a nation with whom we have constructive relationships."
That wasn't President Barack Obama saying that about his recent bow to the Japanese Emperor. That was President George H.W. Bush saying that in 1989 in response to a reporter's query about his bow to the new Japanese Emperor.
Presidents bow. President Richard Nixon did so when he visited China and bowed to Mao Tse-Tung. President Obama did so when greeting the Saudi King and the same Japanese Emperor. Presidents even hold hands with other leaders, as President George W. Bush did with Saudi King Abdullah (I didn't hear the Veep complaining about that).
Despite what former Vice President Richard Cheney said, it's really not a big deal. Presidents of both parties bow. It's a sign of respect in many cultures. Just because we don't do it in America doesn't mean it signals weakness when an American president bows to a foreign leader, especially an ally. Now, if they had curtsied, that might be another story...
There is a slogan that is appearing on bumper stickers and t-shirts all across the land:
"Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8"
Very biblical. Sounds pretty innocent right? Not quite:
"Let his days be few; and let another take his office."
It gets worse:
"Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow."
I'm a big believer in free speech and civil liberties. Freedom and liberty let the sun shine on the vermin. Vermin look more sinister and ugly in the daylight as they scurry into the sewer or under a rock.
However, this slogan represents a direct threat to President Obama. It is not funny and the message is clear. It is no different than someone advocating for the assassination of the president on a street corner or in a train station. You simply can't do it and if you do, expect a visit from the U.S. Secret Service.
I pray that the government is up to the task of protecting this and every president that serves our country. Based on the level of crazies on the right that hate this president, the Secret Service have and will continue to have their hands full.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
I had a feeling that he would be a great speaker and that students would benefit from hearing from a person who was at the pinnacle, lost it all, and is trying and put his life back together. Some of the best American stories are those of redemption and Bob Ney's may be one of those. My instincts were right: the students were enthralled by his very American story and were taken with his candidness. Ney talked openly about his fall from grace and took responsibility for his actions. And, his political instincts are as sharp as ever. Ney spoke about current events and challenges facing the president and Congress and did so with a balanced eye. I now understand why Ellen Ratner and Talk Radio News Service took a significant chance on Ney by giving him a job when he left prison. If you want rabid partisanship and red meat, Ney is not your guy. If you want thoughtful analysis and blatant candor absent the filter of oppressive ideology, Ney is your guy.
I am glad my students got the opportunity to hear the former Congressman today and many of my students were as well. In fact, one student raised her hand and asked him to come back. That has never happened with any guest speaker I've had before...
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Are we living in an alternative universe? Newt Gingrich is not a conservative? No wonder real moderate Republicans have fled the ship or should I say been chased out of the increasingly small tent. In the search for ideological purity, the Republican base is shrinking and the tent is near collapse. Just witness the carnage of the special election for New York's 23rd Congressional District where the Republican candidate, Dede Scozzafava, is being gored from the right by the Conservative Party candidate, Doug Hoffman.
Writes Dan Balz of WaPo:
"The Republican nominee, backed by local party leaders, is Dede Scozzafava, a state assemblywoman. Like some other northeastern Republicans, she is generally conservative on many fiscal issues but favors both abortion rights and gay rights. She is, say her supporters, the kind of Republican who can win a race in a district like New York's 23rd.
But Scozzafava hardly represents what the base of the Republican Party believes. She is out of step on core issues and, as a result, has drawn opposition from the right. Doug Hoffman, running on the Conservative Party ballot, is challenging the GOP nominee and his growing strength makes it possible that Democrat Bill Owens could grab the seat away from the Republicans.
The race has badly divided the national Republican hierarchy. The contest has become an early example of the fights likely to play out in the future as Republicans argue among themselves about how best to rebuild their party after two devastating defeats in 2006 and 2008.
Scozzafava enjoys the support of former House speaker Newt Gingrich, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the National Rifle Association. Hoffman has won the backing of two prospective 2012 presidential candidates -- former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and a host of other prominent conservative Republicans."
To me it's self-defeating behavior. Upstate New York is not Mississippi. If moderate Republicans are not allowed to compete for offices by forces in their own party, it will be a long time until the GOP sniffs majority status. A deep southern party does not a majority party make.
Democrats have their own issues with tears in the tent. Just witness the infighting between liberals and Blue Dogs over health care reform. But none of these minor skirmishes approach the Civil War brewing on the Right. Newt Gingrich not conservative enough? It truly is a new era we live in.
Hat Tip: Political Wire
When & Where: Thursday, October 29, 2009 at the Martin Center, 105 Fir Hill, on The University of Akron campus. Buffet luncheon at 11:45 a.m. Program follows. $10 Press Club Members - $15 Non-Members
Contact Michelle Henry at 330-564-4211 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to make a reservation.
Monday, September 28, 2009
From the press release:
Friday, September 18, 2009
I know there have been many times, when in the middle of a lecture or answering a question during class, I say something I probably shouldn't have. My students do it all the time too. When they do, I tell them to keep that comment in the thought bubble (you know, the cartoon bubble which shows what a character is thinking) and not say it out loud. Once it's out there you can't take it back.
I'm sure President Obama wishes he would have kept the comment that Kanye West was a "jackass" in the thought bubble. But he's the president and just about everything he says or does in public will be caught on camera. The good news for the President is that most people agree with him--Kanye West acted like a total jackass at the 2009 VMA awards. The bad news is that he'll probably have to call West and apologize for speaking the truth.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
It is quite ironic that in our supposedly "post-racial" age that the ugly face of racism is rearing it's head openly and often in public. Jimmy Carter is right. Maureen Dowd is right. I've said it here before: many Americans cannot accept the fact that we have a black president. Never have, never will.
How do I know?
We have polls which tell us so.
I have people who have personally told me so.
This all began long before the election (see video above)--the "post racial America" has always been a fantasy.
Is everyone who opposes President Obama a racist? Of course not. The great majority of those who oppose him are not.
However, there is a loud, fringe element, baited by the open hostility and racism of merchants of hate such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh who have gained the courage to openly flout their extremist leanings. Just check out You Tube--it's all over the place. And it's both discouraging and frightening.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
The headline is not my quote, that's Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a fellow partisan of Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC), the man who heckled President Barack Obama during his health care speech to Congress and the nation. It was a deplorable act.
No American president should be subject to that kind of disrespect. For a sitting member of the House of Representatives to shout "You lie!" in the middle of a presidential address is beyond disrespectful. It further poisons the toxic atmosphere surrounding the nation's politics.
But perhaps it won't. Perhaps fellow Republicans will be so embarrassed by this breach of protocol and civility that they will reign in the most radical elements of their party. Thankfully, many Republicans lawmakers denounced Wilson's outburst.
Wilson, himself, in immediate damage-control mode, issued the following statement:
"This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the president's remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill. While I disagree with the president's statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the president for this lack of civility."
Oh, and by the way, Wilson was the liar, or at least wildly incorrect. The President's bill would not extend benefits to illegal aliens.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Akron Press Club Event: Professor Kevin Jacques to Speak on "The Financial Crisis, Past To Present: A Former Regulator’s View"
WHERE: Martin University Center, 105 Fir Hill on The University of Akron campus.
HOW: The cost for the event’s buffet luncheon is $10 for Press Club members and $15 for non-members. Reservations are requested; to make reservations, contact Michelle Henry at the Center for Marketing and Opinion Research at 330-564-4211 or her an e-mail. Click here for more information on the Akron Press Club.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
"The White House on Monday released the text of President Barack Obama's highly controversial speech to the nation's school children Tuesday. As expected and feared by those on the right, the speech, I'm embarrassed to say, is truly shameful and full of dangerous radical views.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Gawker has a fascinating post up detailing the lengths the mainstream media went to book embattled Governor Rod Blagojevich and his wife on their programs at the height of the scandal that resulted in his impeachment and removal as Governor of Illinois. Gawker used the FOIA process to reveal the great lengths the media would go to book the Gov:
"On the morning he was arrested on corruption charges last December, Rod Blagojevich was the nation's biggest greaseball. So obviously, the national press was willing to say anything to land an interview. And we've got their emails to prove it. We reported a little over a month ago that the Today show had booked Blagojevich to appear on the morning he happened to be arrested by the FBI, but bumped the interview so they could flack for Jay Leno's new show. We found that out through a Freedom of Information Act request to the state of Illinois asking for e-mails from representatives of the media to Lucio Guerrero, Blagojevich's press secretary."
The results are very revealing...and probably embarrassing to the authors of the emails. My personal favorite is the one below--short, sweet, and to the point...
Hat Tip: Political Wire
Saturday, September 5, 2009
The faux controversy over the presidents address to school kids is just that--a controversy created by wingnut talk radio and bought into by a hyper-conspiratorial and ill-informed American public. This is just the latest example that many in the American public have lost their mind.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I've already written on this topic and probably will again but the level of paranoia, fear, and ignorance in the United States is stunning. Newsflash America: your president is black and has an unusual name. He was born in Hawaii. He's an American and he's your president. Deal with it.
Hat Tip: Political Wire
Friday, August 21, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Yes, I know this blog is about politics but as the creater/owner/CEO I have license to digress. And, as a lifetime Green Bay Packer fan I have a responsibility to write on the following topic: Brett Favre. For many years, wise friends tried to tell me that Favre was a prima donna--a spotlight-craving diva. I always poo-pooed them. I was sucked in by the awe-shucks, wrangler-wearing, John Deere mower-riding good ol' boy from Kiln, Mississippi who was born to heave the pig.
Those days are over. Favre has committed treason for reasons of revenge and money. He has signed with the Minnesota Vikings. But I fret not. I am glad. Green Bay will visit Minnesota October 5. It will be great sports theater. Minnesota's offensive line had better construct an iron curtain around the 39 year old diva because the Packers will be out for blood. And with every sack I will cheer. He is the hero no more. A huckster has arisen in his place.
Interesting tidbit: President George H.W. Bush could play 18 holes of golf in 90 minutes. If true, that's almost unheard of. I wonder what his average score was.
Watch CBS Videos Online
Hat Tip: Political Wire
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Hat Tip to a faithful reader who chirped to me about this story.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
It is no surprise that the Right wing in this country has a problem with President Barack Obama just as it was no surprise that the Left wing was passionately against President George W. Bush. That is as it should be. However, crazy wing nut talk show host Glenn Beck's comments on the FOX and Friends morning show go beyond any kind of reasonable commentary or dissent. He said: "This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture....I'm not saying that he doesn't like white people. I'm saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist.'' (Of course, not to be outdone, right wing nut job Michelle Malkin then called the President a racial opportunist on the Today show).
I am a big supporter of free speech and defend Beck's right to say what he wishes; however, I also would lose no sleep if people boycotted FOX, advertisers pulled their spots, and Beck lost his job. It's 2009, not 1959. America, for the most part, is way past this kind of mentality. Disagree with the president's policies, fine. Play to the fringe racists and White separatists in the country, not fine. Unfortunately, it looks like nut jobs like Beck, Malkin, Limbaugh, Savage, Hannity etc., are going to try and take down this presidency by playing the race card. These fanatics are what's wrong with our political system--they (as well as those on the extreme Left) make it very difficult for the two parties to have a reasonable dialogue through which policy is made and our country is made stronger (just witness the treatment of South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham from the Right because he dared support President Obama's choice for the Supreme Court).
I recommend Ron Reagan's response to Beck's comments. It is dead solid perfect.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The above and below videos show the level of derangement among the so-called "birther" movement--people who are convinced that President Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen and that his birth in Hawaii is a lie. I have a word of advice to the birthers: seek professional help. You are playing with a few cards short of a full deck.
John Avlon, a former Chief Speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, describes the Birther movement in a must see Daily Beast article:
The birthers may be Right wingers but crazies exist at both ends of the political spectrum. Who can forget the "truthers" from the Lunatic Left and the anti-government Libertarians who are convinced that 9/11 was a Bush/CIA/Israeli-sponsored plot to grab dictatorial powers? Both these fringe group of crazies are in the same league as the Holocaust deniers and those that claim the moonwalk never happened 40 years ago. (However, the moonwalk denier mindset did produce one of my favorite 1970s "B" movies: Capricorn One, a 1978 film starring James Brolin, Elliott Gould, and O.J. Simpson, Sam Waterson, Telly Savalas, and Brenda Vaccaro, about a faked Mars mission).
A number of organizations (including Factcheck.org, PolitiFact.com, Snopes.com) have looked at the evidence and found that this is all nonsense. So I repeat what I said earlier: seek professional help (of course, if you are a birther or truther or denier of any kind you probably won't because you will believe that the mental health professionals are also part of the conspiracy).
Unfortunately, birthers are starting to gain an audience and support from conservative members of Congress and congressional candidates. Of course conservative talk radio loons like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have been beating this drum since the campaign.
It is sad that our politics have descended to this level. Reasonable people should be able to differ on policy without one side calling the other "socialist" or "communist" or questioning the president's citizenship. Of course, whoever said these crazies were reasonable?
Hat Tip: Political Wire.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
The Abraham Lincoln Blog (which I happened across and highly recommend) has a nice write-up of the reopening of museum at Ford's Theater, the place where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. I visited the theater and museum almost four years ago and it was spectacular then. Since being renovated, my expectations are even higher.
From the WaPo: "They dressed Mr. Lincoln again yesterday for his upcoming public appearances. They buttoned his vest, straightened his tie and smoothed his frock coat. Four people helped pull on his pants. Wearing white cotton gloves, they picked lint from his left shoulder, slid on his boots and reattached his left arm with a tiny wrench. The dried blood near the knees of his pants, they could do nothing about. This was, of course, not the real Abraham Lincoln being re-dressed in the new museum at Ford's Theatre. It was only a cloth-and-metal mannequin clad in the clothes the president wore the night of his assassination. But curators, volunteers and technicians fussed as if they were dressing the real man, clucking over the unmatched buttons on his fly and marveling at the oil still oozing from his boots 144 years after he took the carriage to Ford's on April 14, 1865. The dressing of the mannequin, and its installation in its new glass case, were among the last tasks before the museum reopens to the public July 15. The museum has been closed for almost two years while it and the famous theater were renovated as part of a $50 million project. The theater reopened in February."
Friday, July 10, 2009
"In television interviews she was out of her depth in a shallow pool. She was limited in her ability to explain and defend her positions, and sometimes in knowing them. She couldn't say what she read because she didn't read anything. She was utterly unconcerned by all this and seemed in fact rather proud of it: It was evidence of her authenticity. She experienced criticism as both partisan and cruel because she could see no truth in any of it. She wasn't thoughtful enough to know she wasn't thoughtful enough."
"Mrs. Palin's supporters have been ordering her to spend the next two years reflecting and pondering. But she is a ponder-free zone. She can memorize the names of the presidents of Pakistan, but she is not going to be able to know how to think about Pakistan. Why do her supporters not see this?"
"Her lack of any appropriate modesty did her in. Actually, it's arguable that membership in the self-esteem generation harmed her. For 30 years the self-esteem movement told the young they're perfect in every way. It's yielding something new in history: an entire generation with no proper sense of inadequacy."
"The elites made her. It was the elites of the party, the McCain campaign and the conservative media that picked her and pushed her. The base barely knew who she was. It was the elites, from party operatives to public intellectuals, who advanced her and attacked those who said she lacked heft. She is a complete elite confection. She might as well have been a bonbon."
Perhaps the best quote from the article is one I highlighted above: "She was out of her depth in a shallow pool." I find this to be a dead-solid-perfect statement which is why her VP nomination was so frightening, especially in a post-9/11 world. Vice President Joe Biden may have to have some of his comments walked back from time-to-time, but no one, no serious person, questions his "depth" or understanding of the issues. In the future, I hope all presidential candidates, regardless of party, pick the very best person to serve instead of looking to the electoral map or attempting to shore up the base.
Hat Tip: Political Wire.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Okay, so I'm a few weeks late on this but it's still worth posting. The Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner took place June 20 and President Barack Obama was the keynote speaker. Like his performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner in May, his comedic timing was excellent and he was entertaining. Enjoy.
There must be something in the water today. Many arrests in just a few short hours.
"At around 9:40 a.m. police wrestled a man into custody as he attempted to run up the East front steps to the House chamber." Turns out he was armed and had a bag of weed.
Then, "Less than 30 minutes later, Capitol Police responded to a growing ruckus in the Capitol Rotunda, where they would end up arresting more than two dozen protesters as they chained themselves together and objected to a continuing national ban on funding for needle-exchange programs."
Who says nothing interesting happens at the U.S. Capitol...
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Somebody told me the other day that the problem is that public figures think they're bulletproof, that no one can touch them, and that they'll never get caught. This is a foolish notion, particularly in the 21st Century when most every person is equipped with a cell phone with video and picture taking capability. Every person on the street is a potential citizen journalist just one click away from posting a video on You Tube and exposing the lies of any public figure. Big Brother is everywhere and he's every one of us. No one is bulletproof anymore.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
According to Politico: "In Obama’s view, pronouncing someone’s name or hometown correctly is a simple way of showing respect, they say. It’s a sort of baseline diplomacy. That’s particularly so in foreign relations, where aides say the president will privately practice pronouncing a leader’s name a number times before saying it publicly. It’s not just people’s names. Obama also often pronounces places in their local way. Take Pakistan — or PA-kih-ston, as the president says. Obama has pronounced Pakistan the way Pakistanis do for as long as he’s been in public life — a thoughtful consequence of him having Pakistani roommates in college that has its share of critics. The president affords the same effort to other important words in a culture. In the Muslim – or Moo-slim, as Obama says — world, he pronounces Taliban as Tal-e-bon, and Koran as Ku-ron."
Two countries' pronunciations not mentioned in the article that Americans regularly slaughter: Iraq and Iran.
The way most Americans pronounce Iraq and Iran: I-Rack and I-Ran
Proper pronunciation: E-Rock and E-Ron.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Wow. Not many saw this coming. Not only is Alaska Governor Sarah Palin not running for reelection, she is resigning her post near the end of July. A surprising move to say the least. There is and will continue to be rampant speculation as to why Palin decided not to serve out her full first term. Here are some of the possible reasons:
1. She is gearing up her 2012 presidential run early.
2. She is under investigation for some of her actions as governor and some bad news will be forthcoming.
3. She realizes she is a rock star to many on the Right, fills arenas, and can make a boatload of cash as a private citizen by charging exorbitant speaking fees.
4. She is tired of being in the public spotlight and wants to retire to a quiet life of snowmobiling and hunting in Wasilla.
I think it's a combination of #3 and #1. No way #4 has any credence--as Palin likes to say, she's not wired that way. And #2 has possibilities.
My take: Palin will be able to make a ton of money without the constraints and rules of being an elected official. This will also allow her to run for the White House for the next three years without the handicap of having to govern a state. I'm very confident we haven't seen the last of Palin or her surprises.