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.