Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Remembering Dean Barnett

It was one year ago today that Dean Barnett passed away. I wouldn't change what I said at the time:

This world could use so many more Deans, yet now has lost its only one.

Nothing has changed that view in the past year.

When Dean passed away, I felt the less I said the better -- so many other people knew him so much better and were so much closer to him.

But he was to me a friend.

Like so many others, I'm sure, I emailed Dean many times. And like few others in his position, he replied to almost all of them. To be sure, most of them were a "thanks" or a "hah!" or something short and to the point. But the point was that he took the time to acknowledge and appreciate the communication.

When I started this blog, I decided to let him know. He liked the blog, and he linked an early post at the Weekly Standard. He linked to my blog a few times, including one of the last posts he did at WS.

As we began corresponding more frequently, he made the friendly suggestion that if the inspiration hit, I should submit something to be published at the Weekly Standard. Cool. And one Friday night in June, I had a piece and forwarded it to him. We spent the weekend with him as my editor tweaking the article for submission, going back and forth on email probably a couple dozen times. While unfortunately the article didn't get picked up, it was the time with Dean that weekend that I valued most.

There was also one time when he was guest-hosting Hugh Hewitt's radio show. During the show I fired off an email just as an "attaboy". To my surprise, during the break he emailed back and told me to call in and he would get me on at the top of the hour. Well, the timing was bad with kid duty on a school night, but the gesture was very entertaining.

We had talked about him coming down for golf. I had him convinced that he should come. I continue to tell myself that were he still here, I would have had the pleasure of having my hat handed to me on the course by him.

Dean was a friend to me. And in our respective positions in the blogosphere, that meant a lot. It meant the world.

But even more than our positions in the blogosphere, it meant the world because he was just that damn good of a person, as good of a friend as I have made online.

To you, Dean.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Presidential Priorities

A couple things about Obama's schedule kinda puts things into perspective...

SUNDAY:

So, Obama's been catching a little grief that in his (now 24*) golf games and in the congressional basketball game recently, he had never invited a woman.

So, he invited Melody Barnes to join his foursome Sunday. Barnes is Obama's domestic policy advisor.

Now, is it just me or...

...is Barry trading a little grief with the press in exchange for a trip to the doghouse by Michelle?

And while it is unconfirmed, there are reports that Ms. Barnes put Obama in his place on the course:

Obama Golf Scorecard, October 25, 2009

Well.

MONDAY:

These are tweets from CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller posted Sunday night:

Tomorrow a the WH: Obama convenes another Afghanistan policy session with top advisors in the Situation Room - the 6th since Sep 13th.
October 25 from web

But his schedule only allows about 75 minutes rather than the 3 hrs given previous Afghanistan policy review sessions.
October 25 from web

Obama leaves the WH early afternoon for Florida - principally to attend TWO Democratic Congressional fund-raisers in Miami Monday evening.
October 25 from web

Golf on Sunday, campaigning on Monday, with a little bit of Afghanistan review thrown in to put on the time sheet.



--------------
*Per
Mark Knoller, with his round Sunday, just over 9 months into his presidency, Obama has equalled the number of golf rounds played by Bush, which Bush took 2 years and 10 months to accomplish. After that Bush gave up golf because the he felt it wasn't proper for the president to play golf while the nation was at war.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

When You Run Out of Fingers

Leon Wolf at Red State posts about TARP Inspector General Neil Barofsky's report on the sorry state of how TARP funds have been spent and how poorly that spending has been tracked. Go read it.

Wolf concludes his post with this:

Democrats in Congress have a chance to end Geithner’s reckless control over billions of dollars of taxpayer money, but they must act fast. My guess is that they’ll be too busy trying to give the Obama administration control over trillions more taxpayer dollars through his healthcare plan to even try.

As Glenn Reynolds is wont to say, "this country's in the very best of hands". But sometimes even the "very best of hands" runs out of fingers:

We're in the Very Best of Hands

Maybe It's Stimulus Funding

Two Mark Knoller posts in a row?

Yes We Can!

Mark tweeted this yesterday:

http://twitpic.com/mchhj - WH driveway getting new blacktop. Maybe it's stimulus funding. Highway jobs.

Now, I'm not accusing Mark of airbrushing his photo, but you will notice that his (twitpic link above) does not have the sign in it:

Stimulus Funds?

Hmmmm....

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Presidential Joke

CBS News' Mark Knoller is covering Obama at a New York City fund-raiser tonight and tweeted this:

At the WH, joked Obama, he said he ranks 4th behind Michelle, Malia & Sasha -- and that Bo the dog is coming on fast.

Cute joke.

But you know, if Obama had started it with, "Stop me if you've heard this before", we might have*...

In a 2004 interview with the Chicago Tribune, Michelle [Obama] observed: "What I notice about men, all men, is that their order is me, my family, God is in there somewhere, but me is first. ... And, for women, me is fourth, and that's not healthy."

Seriously, is Michelle Obama writing President Obama's jokes?

And perhaps more importantly, does Michelle at this point consider Barack a woman?

That's not healthy.



--------------
*That is, of course, had we been there. Which, obviously, we weren't. We're not too proud to admit that we could never afford a
$30,400 per couple dinner.

Friday, October 16, 2009

From 52 Who Voted for Obama to 43 Who Would Do So Again, With Love

Last November, at the dawn of the Obama Era, From52to48WithLove was born, wherein Obama voters reached out in a well-meaning way with very meaningful photos of themselves expressing their love for and support of defeated McCain voters in the name of bringing hope and change.

Funny thing though, it is many of them who have changed.

While I'm not saying that if given the chance they would go back and change their vote for McCain, they are saying that when given the chance, they aren't intending to repeat their vote.

Via Instapundit:

POLL: Obama Would Get 43% Today. “In what may be the ultimate job rating, 43 percent of voters say that they would vote to re-elect President Obama if the 2012 election were held today, down from 52 percent six months ago, from April 22-23, 2009.”

That is, in less than a year we have witnessed the birth of "from 52 who voted for Obama to 43 who would do so again, with love".

Of course that number will fluctuate, and probably greatly over the coming months and years before another actual vote with Obama actually on the ballot is held. But for now, let us sign off as is appropriate for this day...

With love,
The New 57

[Insert meaningful photo here]

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Your Climate Change Forecast for Northern Virginia Friday

Moe Lane tells us that Al Gore will be appearing Friday in Virginia to campaign for Creigh Deeds in the governor's race in that state.

We'll leave the politics of the appearance of the appearance of politicos to Moe (the post is titled "Booby Prize for Creigh Deeds" afterall).

Us? We're issuing a winter storm warning for the greater Northern Virginia area as a Gore Effect front moves into the region. Let's go to the telestrator!

Al Gore to Campaign for Creigh Deeds in Virginia

Bundle up out there.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Civility NOW!

It was, I believe, Dan Collins at POWIP who first coined the term paraphrasing the famous Seinfeld line.

But it was this post by Mary Katherine Ham that brought me to do this:


Civility Now!

Ham's post concludes:

If the Washington Post wants to lecture us on civility it should stick to instances of incivility that are a) actually incivil and b) actually documented, and stop making excuses for incivility, as long as it comes from Dems.

Or they could just continue yelling, "Civility NOW!" which of course they will.

We could call them Frank, but really they should remember what befell ...Kramer... in that episode.

Because the signs already exist that they're well on their way down that path.

Going Backwards in the Post-Racial Department

Sportswriter Jason Whitlock is having none of this business of Rush Limbaugh becoming part owner of the St. Louis Rams. He takes Rush Limbaugh to task for past comments he deems as racist, even though the quotes are fabricated and unsourced.

In Whitlock's defense, though, he does not rest his opposition to Limbaugh's ownership on those quotes alone. But his article does present a rather large target for critics of his current position.

He writes in his Fox News article on the subject:

And here come the Left Brothers — Al "747" Sharpton and Jesse "DC 10" Jackson — barreling in for a landing on top of Goodell's dome. And this time every black person with an ounce of common sense and self-respect is riding shotgun with Jesse and Al, who have justifiably voiced their displeasure with Limbaugh's ownership bid.

But Whitlock is being called out for "throwing his lot in with the terrorists":

"Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are domestic terrorists lighting fires and picking everyone's pocket on the way out of town."

That was Jason Whitlock, in 2007 (covering the Don Imus “nappy headed ho” controversy, which I touched on at American Thinker at the time, here).

Next, Jason Whitlock puts up a pre-emptive offense against the anticipated defense that Limbaugh is no less controversial than rapper Jay-Z who is part owner of the New Jersey Nets:

I'd say we're less than 24 hours from Limbaugh playing the Jay-Z card. Brother Jay owns a piece of the New Jersey Nets and has a library of rap tunes spewing the same kind of black-degrading lyrics, phrases and stereotypes that have made Limbaugh rich enough to buy a chunk of the St. Louis Rams.[...]

This is the major difference between Rush and Jay-Z. Beyonce's boyfriend raps a bunch of dumb, racist, sexist (spit) but serious people don't take Jay-Z or his music seriously. Jay's expression of self-hatred does not bother NBA players, NBA fans or remotely overshadow what transpires on the court.

But Whitlock is being called out for ignorantly downplaying the significance of the pernicious and destructive effects of the hip hop/gangsta culture on American blacks:

Thank you, Don Imus. You’ve given us (black people) an excuse to avoid our real problem. […]

While we’re fixated on a bad joke cracked by an irrelevant, bad shock jock, I’m sure at least one of the marvelous young women on the Rutgers basketball team is somewhere snapping her fingers to the beat of 50 Cent’s or Snoop Dogg’s or Young Jeezy’s latest ode glorifying nappy-headed pimps and hos.

I ain’t saying Jesse, Al and Vivian are gold-diggas, but they don’t have the heart to mount a legitimate campaign against the real black-folk killas.

It is us. At this time, we are our own worst enemies. We have allowed our youths to buy into a culture (hip hop) that has been perverted, corrupted and overtaken by prison culture. The music, attitude and behavior expressed in this culture is anti-black, anti-education, demeaning, self-destructive, pro-drug dealing and violent.

Again, Whitlock in 2007 (the original Kansas City Star article is now behind an archives pay-wall).

With that strong of a condemnation of the embrace of hip hop culture in 2007, Whitlock strongly called out the sell-outs willing to sit out because of the almighty dollar:

We all know where the real battleground is. We know that the gangsta rappers and their followers in the athletic world have far bigger platforms to negatively define us than some old white man with a bad radio show. There’s no money and lots of danger in that battle, so Jesse and Al are going to sit it out.

But this past righteous anger met a cruel fate this past July when Whitlock raised his personal white flag:

I’ve reluctantly made peace with the fact that black comedians and rappers can make millions of dollars shouting the N-word and lampooning/promoting negative black stereotypes.

If Barack Obama made use of the N-word a death-penalty offense, commercial rap music would disappear and nearly every black comedian would have to rewrite their material. My point is I understand the economic impact of outlawing our (black) self-hate.

Give him his due, though: Whitlock still speaks forthrightly about many issues facing the black community. But he's gone backwards, not forward in this effort.

Why was Whitlock so much more courageously post-racial in 2007 vs 2009?

Even though Limbaugh's bid to become part-owner in an NFL franchise is a political issue invading the sports world, and the election of Barack Obama as the first African-American president is by far the biggest political development over that time, it would be unfair to blame Obama.

But give it a couple of years, based on the trajectory, and Whitlock may reluctantly make peace with the fact that Obama is culpable for his retreat.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Earning a Nobel Peace Prize Nomination

So, Obama has been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.

We've done most of our commentary on this at either JustOneMinute or at twitter.

But this John Kass article is definitely worth a quote and link here:

It's a 12-day miracle! Praise Obama and pass the Hopium

Isn't it great that President Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize?

He'd been in office only 12 days when the Nobel nominations were due. That's a mere 288 hours for Obama to have been credentialed as President Peace.

It's not every day that a Chicago politician with City Hall guys running the White House goes and wins the Nobel Prize. So when the news broke last week, a bold decree was read across the land:

Henceforth, the 12 glorious days shall be known as Barack's Golden Almost-Fortnight; or Barack's Amazing Days of Peace, Harmony, and Universal Love!

We've seen that statement around and about regarding the nominations for the peace prize being due only 12 days into Obama's first term.

Which got us to thinking, what did he do during that almost-fortnight?

So we took a look at the WhiteHouse.gov Statements and Releases page, picking out the most memorable entry for each day. We'll start on Day 2, just noting that the inauguration, obviously, was a big, impactful and yes, an inspiring day for all Americans.

1/21/2009
Statement from the Press Secretary on the President's signing of two Executive Orders and three Memoranda

The President today signed two Executive Orders and three Presidential Memoranda. These five documents represent a bold first step to fulfill his campaign promises to make government more responsible and accountable, to launch sweeping ethics reform, and to begin a new era of transparent and open government

[VIMH: Obama, responsible, accountable, reform, transparent, open. One of those words is not like the other. One of those words just doesn't belong]

1/22/2009
BACKGROUND: President Obama signs Executive Orders on Detention and Interrogation Policy

Executive Order requires closure of the Guantanamo detention center no later than one year from the date of the Order. Closure of the facility is the ultimate goal but not the first step. The Order establishes a review process with the goal of disposing of the detainees before closing the facility.

[VIMH: I'm sure the Executive Order about Guantanamo was very, very impressive at the time and curried great favor with the Nobel Committee. Of course, it was meaningless, as we have been learning recently that Team Obama won't meet their deadline. Not any more meaningless than the Nobel Peace Prize itself. Oh and not any less meaningless, either.]

1/23/2009
Statement of President Barack Obama on Rescinding the Mexico City Policy

It is clear that the provisions of the Mexico City Policy are unnecessarily broad and unwarranted under current law, and for the past eight years, they have undermined efforts to promote safe and effective voluntary family planning in developing countries. For these reasons, it is right for us to rescind this policy and restore critical efforts to protect and empower women and promote global economic development.

[VIMH: In an ironic twist (of the knife), Obama made this move one day after the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.]

1/25/2009
Statement from the Press Secretary on Executive Office Building

Early this afternoon, the D.C. Fire Department was called to the Executive Office Building in response to reports of smoke on the 4th floor. A limited number of staff were temporarily evacuated and have now returned to their offices. There were no injuries and no apparent damage to the building.

[VIMH: From the statement: "There were no injuries and no apparent damage to the building." Just for the record, we on the right are less concerned with damage to the building than the damage Obama is doing to the office.]

1/26/2009
No Statements or Releases

[VIMH: And on the sixth day, Obama rested (kidding, I'm sure Obama did something. It just wasn't something worth mentioning).]

1/27/2009
Dr. Jill Biden Announces Plans to Continue Teaching

Continuing her 28-year career as an educator, Dr. Jill Biden returned to teaching today at a DC-area community college. Dr. Biden will work as an adjunct professor at Northern Virginia Community College this semester, teaching two English courses.

[VIMH: FWIW, Even Dr! Jill Biden gets mentioned on the WH.gov website before VP Joe.]

1/28/2009
Statement of the President on the House Passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

I am grateful to the House of Representatives for moving the American Recovery and Reinvestment plan forward today. There are many numbers in this plan. It will double our capacity to generate renewable energy. It will lower the cost of health care by billions and improve its quality. It will modernize thousands of classrooms and send more kids to college. And it will put billions of dollars in immediate tax relief into the pockets of working families.

[VIMH: Just for the record, ARRA made it out of Congress on Feb 13, the same night Obama and the First Lady hosted a concert honoring Stevie Wonder at the White House and one day before Obama and the First Lady had a wonderful Valentine's Day dinner in Chicago. It was four days before Obama signed the act into law.]

1/29/2009
Statement from President Obama on Rod Blagojevich

Today ends a painful episode for Illinois. For months, the state had been crippled by a crisis of leadership. Now that cloud has lifted. I wish Governor Quinn the best and pledge my full cooperation as he undertakes his new responsibilities.

[VIMH: To paraphrase former Governor Blago, "A Nobel Peace Prize is a f**king valuable thing!"]

1/30/2009
Obama Announces Middle Class Task Force

President Barack Obama today announced the creation of a White House Task Force on Middle Class Working Families to be chaired by Vice President Joe Biden. The Task Force is a major initiative targeted at raising the living standards of middle-class, working families in America.

[VIMH: Finally, Joe Biden gets a mention on an effort that has surely become a household phrase across America. Not a day goes by that someone in every corner of this great land thanks their lucky stars that the Middle Class Task Force is on the job, headed by Joe]

1/31/2009
Obama On Iraqi Provincial Elections

I congratulate the people of Iraq on holding significant provincial elections today. Millions of Iraqi citizens from every ethnic and religious group went peacefully to the polls across the country to choose new provincial councils. It is important that the councils get seated, select new governors, and begin work on behalf of the Iraqi people who elected them.

[VIMH: Now here is something that is genuinely and completely related to the concept of peace. Of course, Obama had absolutely nothing to do with it, and in fact did everything in his power to undermine efforts to stabilize Iraq. In other words, he inherited this situation from the previous administration.]

2/1/2009
No Statements or Releases

[VIMH: Fitting.]

Saturday, October 3, 2009

At Least Obama Didn't Ogle Any Brazilians in Copenhagen

You know who's *REALLY* excited by Rio de Janeiro getting the 2016 Olypmic bid and Obama's humiliation in failing to secure it for Chicago?

A young woman who President Obama made famous this past July. Rio de Janeiro resident Mayara Taveres, that's who:

The leader of the free world and his French counterpart were caught sneaking a peek at a the pink-satin-draped booty of a 17-year-old junior G-8 delegate just moments before the summit's official group photo was snapped in Italy yesterday. [...]

The beauty who prompted the president to channel his inner Bill Clinton was identified as Rio de Janeiro resident Mayara Tavares. The girl from Ipanema had been selected to attend a meeting of young people held in conjunction with the summit.

The Audacity of Ogle


H/T Elliott at JOM

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Global (Warming) Effect on the 2016 Olympics

All things being equal, I like the idea of the Olympics being hosted by a US city as a matter of national pride.

I do however think it is a monumentally politically tone-deaf move for President Obama to jet off to Copenhagen to make the big close on Chicago's bid to win the 2016 nod, not to mention Michelle Obama's contention that going to Eurpoe to make the pitch is a...sacrifice.

It's for the (fat and lazy) children, of course (thanks Michelle, for all you do!).

But let's just note that a large portion of the city of Chicago itself is not so excited.

And now at Commentary's John Steele Gordon (surely that's a well-chosen pseudonym of a superhero, isn't it?) makes a comment about Chicago's main rival for the Games:

Brazil’s government is pushing hard for the 2016 summer games to be held in Rio de Janeiro and they have a very good case.

I'll say.

I mean, the governor of Tokyo has told us:

Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara warned on Wednesday the 2016 Olympics could be the last Games, with global warming an immediate threat to mankind.

Well, if global warming is threatening then the most logical answer is to ... give the Games to the city in the Southern hemisphere, where it is their winter, ameliorating the concern about high temperatures, with average Aug/Sep highs in Rio in the upper 70s (mid 20s celsius), and not Northern hemispherical cities Chicago or Tokyo (the third city in the running) who would be in the dog days of global warming enhanced summers.

Because if global warming is so bad and its effects so immediate, then a Chicago heat wave could be dangerous for athletes and spectators alike and potentially deadly on a massive scale.

And don't get me started on Tokyo:

In the summer of 2004, temperature went record high up to 42.7°C (109°F) in the middle of Tokyo (Adachi ward)...It was hotter in Tokyo than in the subtropical islands of Okinawa.

It was caused not only by the "global warming" going on everywhere around the world, but also by "urban heat island syndrome". Grounds covered with concrete and asphalt keep the sun's heat even during night times, and continuously working air-conditioners and millions of cars produce artificial heat 24 hours a day.

OK, to sum up: because of Global Warming:

Sorry, Chicago.

Sayonara, Tokyo.

Annnnd...

Olá, Rio!

As famous late 20th century philosopher Simon Le Bon has said of Rio:

"You know you're something special and you look like you're the best."



HMMMMM: Since Moe Lane points to Chicagoans for Rio! perhaps this post should be subtitled "Al Gorians for Rio!"

But thinking out loud here, that provides the easy solution for Chicago: promise to have Al Gore hold a Global Warming Summit in the city during the Olympics, guaranteeing unseasonably cooler temperatures during the Games through the mystical power of the "Gore Effect".