Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012

I'm jumping the gun and making my black eyed peas today.

And since I'm not one for false modesty, let me just say that they are my world famous Beer Eyed Black Eyed Peas.

I mean, they've been featured at my favoritest sister in law's blog here, as well as at craftbeer.com here.

World famous, baby.

This year, Shiner Bock was the beer of choice in the recipe -- 12-packs were harmed in the making of this dish:

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What Newt Learned On His Summer Vacation

Via Hot Air headlines:

Political Wire

Gingrich: I took that vacation to Greece because I needed to see the fiscal crisis up close

This is small potatoes in the primary, really. I have no reason to dwell on Gingrich's June vacation.

But I can't not have a little fun with it, to poke at the utter convenience of coming up with that story now.

I mean, where have we heard an ex post facto politically convenient reason for a previous politically uncomfortable decision before? Oh, wait, I remember now: John Edwards saying he went to work at a hedge fund to "to learn about the relationship between making a fistful of dollars and poverty".

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Vacation

We flew into Jackson Hole on Sunday. My wife snapped this pic with her cell phone as we got off the plane:

Jackson Hole Airport

That is Buck Mountain in the background. The Grand Teton is to the right, blocked by the tail of the airplane or just out of the frame. It's hard to make out from this angle, but there is a peak just below and to the left of Buck Mountain. I climbed that peak back when I was 20. That's been a few years.



UPDATE: My parents picked us up at the airport. Having arrived early, they headed toward Grand Teton National Park to kill some time. When returning to the airport my mom spotted our plane coming in for its landing -- and snapped these shots:

In that second photo, you can see Jackson Hole Ski Resort above the plane at about 1 o'clock.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Two Days, 180 Degrees

Or is it 1080 degrees? Looks to me like Obama goes for the triple salchow.

Sunday, December 11, 2011, 60 Minutes:

Kroft: Did you overpromise? Did you underestimate how difficult this was gonna be?

Obama: I didn't overpromise. And I didn't underestimate how tough this was gonna be.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011, interview on KIRO in Seattle
(h/t Hot Air headlines):

President Barack Obama said Tuesday he wishes he knew the full extent of the economic crisis when he took office, if only so he could have let Americans know just how tough the coming years would be.

"I think we understood that it was bad, but we didn’t know how bad it was,” Obama said in an interview with KIRO in Seattle.

Obama sticks the landing. And his foot in his mouth. Let's hope he took the skates off first.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Romney's Media Strategy Is A Lot Like...

Back in November, William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection had a post in which he asked the question, Will we ever get around to vetting Mitt Romney?

Mitt Romney has stayed away from situations where he can be questioned. As reported by The Boston Globe:

Mitt Romney has not appeared on a Sunday news program in 20 months. He has held only a handful of events in recent weeks at which the public was allowed to ask questions….

While Romney has participated in nine presidential debates and nearly 20 town hall meetings, he has stayed away from traditional campaign settings such as Sunday talk shows and avoided extended interviews with much of the national media. Instead, the campaign has sought to control its message and reach targeted audiences by using social media tools such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. The strategy is designed in part to lower the odds that Romney will make the kind of gaffes that have subsumed the campaigns of other candidates.

Had any other presidential candidate pulled Romney’s hiding act, that candidate would be skewered.

Although not explicitly stated, I think it safe to assume Professor Jacobson meant any other Republican presidential candidate. Because . . . well, we'll get to that in a moment.

Today, Greg Pollowitz at NRO's Media Blog has a post entitled, Romney’s Self-Imposed Media Bubble:

Mitt Romney really needs to lighten-up with the press. If he can’t deal with Bret Baier or a behind-the-scenes reporter for the New York Times, he’s not ready for prime time. Via the New York Times:

Backstage can be something of an inner sanctum at a presidential debate: even though they are appearing on live television before millions of Americans, the candidates are used to having their clubhouse hermetically sealed from the public before and after they take the stage.

Mitt Romney’s campaign stood out by going into defensive mode immediately, insisting that the reporter stay far away.

Mr. Romney’s campaign has sought to carefully control his interactions with the news media this year as it has tried to keep a grip on front-runner status.

Sounds eerily familiar. Who in recent presidential campaign memory implemented a hide from the media strategy?

Here are a few snippets of a piece I wrote about the 2008 Obama. The thrust of the piece was how Obama would talk a big game about wanting a national dialogue -- but his real aim was to shut down debate and silence his critics. But a sizable portion of the piece dealt with how the Obama campaign was designed to limit unscripted interaction with the media -- much like Romney's is now.

The Obama Way of Ending Divisiveness

Obama's strategy has been to orient the campaign around his greatest strength and advantage -- who could deliver the best speech -- and away from his greatest weakness -- his poor ability to answer questions about how he would deliver on any of its promises.
...
Obama understands that the primary means of limiting the questions for which he would otherwise be forced to answer is to create a media environment in which those questions are not asked.

Liberals, including the media have repeatedly attacked President Bush for making himself unavailable to the media in press conferences and other Q&A formats. Yet as Howard Kurtz described back in January, the Obama campaign has been "unusually insulated":

One moment of absurdity came Tuesday, when reporters on the press bus were asked to dial into a conference call in which Obama announced a congressman's endorsement -- even though the candidate was nearby and just as easily could have delivered the news in person to the bus captives. Obama answered a few questions, but reporters are generally placed on mute after they speak so there can be no follow-up.

Obama learned the wisdom of this strategy, or rather the folly of its absence, when he made himself available to reporters to answer questions about his relationship with Antonin Rezko, who is currently on trial for corruption. Irritated with the questions and unable to satisfy persistent reporters, Obama cut the news conference short, walking out and proclaiming, "'Guys, I mean come on. I just answered like eight questions." Obama more recently went on a 10 day stretch in which he held no press conferences. Frustrated with the lack of availability, a reporter tried to break Obama's silence by asking a question while he was eating breakfast. Obama again deployed the "chagrin defense", this time somewhat fomously, "Why can't I just eat my waffle?"

Romney copying Obama’s 2008 avoid the media strategy?

Well.

It was a successful strategy for Obama. Perhaps we can credit Romney for learning from the 2008 Obama.

Mitt Romney 2012
Just As Smart As Barack Obama

Because there's no way the media might treat a Republican presidential candidate one way in the Republican primary and then differently once he has all but wrapped up the nomination and his opponent becomes the Democratic nominee. Right John McCain?

Mitt Romney 2012
Just As Smart As John McCain

It's all so reassuring



UPDATE: Yes, of course. Team Romney decided the day after I ran this post would be a good day to announce the candidate would make his first appearance on a Sunday news program since the dawn of this decade. Professor Jacobson has the details.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's November 30

It's November 30, and I have to put something up to have put something up in November.

Well. I don't have to. But I've never gone an entire month without a post, so here goes, courtesy of my dad:

FROM THE WAYBACK MACHINE: You know who likes moose? Both Obama and Palin like moose, that's who.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

You Can't Spell Goldman Sachs Without a "D"

As much fun as we've been having with President Goldman Sachs, let's not let Obama hog all the spotlight.

Goldman Sachs doesn't just love Obama -- they love Democrats on the whole.

From a post in April of last year:

At NRO, Robert Costa runs down the Democrats' relationship with Goldman. "An impressionistic study in cronyism", indeed. Costa concludes his piece:

Close up, it looks disconnected and blurred, but if you step back, the shape of it all falls into focus: Democrats hoard Goldman cash, Goldman hoards Democrats, and the American people lose.

You can't spell Goldman Sachs without a "D".

Goldman Sachs Loves Democrats

If Occupy Wall Street was a genuine grassroots movement genuinely outraged by the idea that banksters own the government, then they would never vote for a Democrat again.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

President Goldman Sachs

A special word of thanks to Instapundit for the six (so far!) times he's linked this post from 2008:

Goldman Sachs Loves Obama

That post in 2008 was based on the reporting of Sharyl Attkisson (now of Fast and Furious reporting fame) detailing how Obama was raking in more money from Wall Street, especially Goldman Sachs, than was John McCain. And it was where this logo was birthed:

Goldman Sachs Loves Obama

The point being now -- if Occupy Wall Street was a genuine grassroots movement genuinely outraged by the idea that banksters own the government, then they would be marching on the Obama White House.

You can see all the President Goldman Sachs posts by Instapundit here.



--------------
UPDATE: Seven!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On This Date At This Point In 2007

To hear some talk about it -- the next speech, debate, poll, controversy, hit piece, campaign ad, press release or gaffe will decide the entire GOP primary.
Let's take a look back to the 2008 election cycle -- specifically this timeframe during that cycle.

We should vote for a candidate based on his electability!

2008 Presidential Head to Head Matchup: McCain vs Obama, Nov-Dec, 2007

From November 2007 through January 2008 -- McCain was the most electable Republican against the eventual Democratic nominee. How'd that work out?

The thing is -- McCain was way back in the pack at this point in 2007.

So-and-so is the frontrunner in [insert early primary state here]! And what's-his-name is toast!

Iowa, RCP Poll Average, November 1, 2007:

2008 GOP Primary: Iowa, Nov 1 ,2007

At this point in the 2008 cycle, Romney's lead in Iowa was double that of eventual winner Mike Huckabee, 28% - 14.5%. McCain, who didn't put a lot of emphasis on Iowa, was at 8%. By the time the caucus votes were tallied, Huckabee more than doubled his Nov 1 poll percentage.

New Hampshire, RCP Poll Average, November 1, 2007:

2008 GOP Primary: New Hampshire, Nov 1 ,2007

At this point in the 2008 cycle, Romney's lead in New Hampshire was nearly double that of eventual winner John McCain, 29% - 16.4%. By the time the primary votes were actually cast, McCain nearly doubled his Nov 1 poll percentage, and Rudy Giuliani, who was second in the Nov 1 poll, had his percentage more than halved.

South Carolina, RCP Poll Average, November 1, 2007:

2008 GOP Primary: South Carolina, Nov 1 ,2007

At this point in the 2008 cycle, Romney's lead in South Carolina was 7 points over eventual winner John McCain, 19.3% - 12.3%. At this point, eventual 2nd place finisher Mike Huckabee was at 6.0%. By the time the primary votes were actually cast, McCain more than doubled his Nov 1 poll percentage, and Huckabee more than quadrupled his.

But this time it's different!

Sure, and the last time was different. Except it wasn't. And the next time will be different too! Except it won't be. But this time......blah, blah, blah.

Trying to be the first one to call the race is exciting punditry, and can probably garner a person attention and hits for being provocative. But as for pundits, polls and the press being reliably predictive at this point? Blah, blah, blah.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The List of Dick Durbin's Donors Dictates Which Big Banks Get Berated

So. About Dick Durbin's rant about BoA charging $5 a month for customers using a debit card...

Holding up a plastic debit card on the Senate floor this afternoon, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., had some advice for Bank of America customers angry about the new $5 monthly fee: leave.

“Bank of America customers, vote with your feet, get the heck out of that bank,” Durbin said on the Senate floor. “Find yourself a bank or credit union that won’t gouge you for $5 a month and still will give you a debit card that you can use every single day. What Bank of America has done is an outrage.”

Via Protein Wisdom, I notice that Citi announced changes to its fees today:

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The fees keep coming. Citi is the latest big bank to slap customers with a round of fee hikes. This time, on its checking accounts.

Starting in December, customers who hold its mid-level Citibank Account will be charged $20 a month if they fail to maintain a minimum balance of $15,000 in their combined accounts. Previously, account holders had to carry a minimum balance of $6,000.

At the same time, customers who have the bank's EZ Checking account will start being charged $15 a month if they don't carry a minimum balance of $6,000.

...

Citibank said it chose not to charge a debit card fee because its customers did not want it. "There's a reason why we structured it this way," said Catherine Pulley, spokeswoman for Citi.

Now, unlike Bank of America, Citi is not raising fees directly for debit card use. But they are raising fees, and the timing is undoubtedly related to the Durbin Amendment going into effect. In some ways you might say they are trying to obscure the connection.

Which is perhaps unsurprising. Citigroup Inc is the third largest contributor to Dick Durbin's campaign committee.

Also not surprising will be Dick Durbin's presumed silence about Citi as compared to his ravings about Bank of America . . . who is number 58 on the list of Dick Durbin donors.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

On This Date in 2007

Four years ago today, a reporter observed Obama without the traditional flag pin worn by just about every politician in America. When asked about it, Obama gave this answer:

"You know, the truth is that right after 9/11, I had a pin," Obama said. "Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq War, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest."

The following summer (as noted in the last post) Obama gave a Major Speech on Patriotism, in large part to defend against the idea that he wasn't sufficiently patriotic. Of course, in the fashion of a true cheap political stunt he gave the speech in Independence, MO - days before the 4th of July!

And speaking of fashion, Obama was wearing a flag pin.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Political Conveniece of Cynical Hypocrisy

From Ed Morrissey’s Obamateurism of the Day at Hot Air, Obama presumes to lecture Republican candiates:

“You want to be commander-in-chief? You can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States, even when it’s not politically convenient,” the president told the crowd in reference to a recent Republican debate.

Ed uses Obama’s time in Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s church as an example of Obama not standing up for what is right when it’s not convenient. He also notes that the booing was no more than a few of people out of a few thousand in attendance, not to mention that it is unlikely the candidates would have even heard the boos anyway.

Well. A little bit closer to the topic at hand – standing up for those who wear the uniform when it’s not politically convenient -- let us revisit the ”General Betray Us” episode:

When Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) cancelled a campaign trip to Rock Hill, S.C., his web site said it was “due to crucial votes in the Senate concerning the ongoing war in Iraq.”

So, why did Obama miss a key vote denouncing MoveOn.org’s recent advertisement about Gen. David Petraeus? The ad stirred outrage nationally for suggesting Petraeus was a lackey for the White House and disloyal to the country. “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?” it asked.

Aides to Obama had no immediate response to queries about why the senator took a pass on the Cornyn vote, but the senator made his objections clear.

"The focus of the United States Senate should be on ending this war, not on criticizing newspaper advertisements,'' Obama said. "This amendment was a stunt designed only to score cheap political points while what we should be doing is focusing on the deadly serious challenge we face in Iraq."

So Obama chose not to stand up for General Petraeus when it was politically inconvenient – Obama was in a hotly contested Democratic primary in which Moveon.org and the left/liberal faction of the party they represent was key to his prospects.

But hey, it’s not like Obama never stood up for Petraeus. Because he did. At a . . . wait for it . . . politically convenient time – during the general election:

Barack Obama yesterday landed a right hook on one of his biggest left-wing supporters yesterday - blasting MoveOn.org for labeling Gen. David Petraeus "General Betray Us."

Obama, in a patriotism speech in Independence, Mo., hit the Web site for taking out an ad in The New York Times last year that targeted Petraeus, then the top US commander in Iraq.

While not naming names, the Democratic presidential candidate - who had been heavily supported by the Web site in his primary race - said, "A general providing his best counsel on how to move forward in Iraq was accused of betrayal.

"We can no longer afford these sorts of divisions."

Many of Obama's Senate colleagues already felt the same way - and had expressed their anger at the ad back in September, when they voted to "strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of" Petraeus.

Obama skipped the vote.

The Betray Us ad was September of 2007, Obama’s speech denouncing moveon.org was July 1, 2008.

It is classic Obama – leading from behind.

And Obama self-righteously lecturing Republicans on standing up for men and women who wear the uniform when it's not politically convenient, even as his own history shows that it is something he himself is not willing to do is another bit of classic Obama – cynical hypocrisy.

It’s who he is, it’s what he does.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Intercontinental Trainspotting

Via Instapundit:

WHOEVER’S PROGRAMMING HIS TELEPROMPTER MUST BE A GOP MOLE: L.A. Times: New gaffe: Obama hails America’s historic building of ‘the Intercontinental Railroad’.

Let's include a partial quote from Andrew Malcolm at the link:

“A railroad between continents? A railroad from, say, New York City all the way across the Atlantic to France? Now, THAT would be a bridge!"

Indeed. But this was no one-time slip up.

A trip down memory lane based solely on searching whitehouse.gov...

February 10, 2009:
We always had the best infrastructure. We were always willing to invest in the future. You know, somebody -- Governor Crist mentioned Abraham Lincoln. In the middle of the Civil War, in the midst of all this danger and peril, what did he do? He helped move the Intercontinental Railroad. He helped to start land grant colleges. He understood that even when you're in the middle of crisis you've got to keep your eye on the future. (Applause.)

January 22, 2010:
When we passed the Recovery Act, these aren't all a bunch of government jobs. These are jobs that private contractors contract with the state or the city or the county to build roads and highways, the same way that we built the Interstate Highway System and the Intercontinental Railroad System.

May 1, 2010:
It was the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, who said the role of government is to do for the people what they cannot do better for themselves. He would go on to begin that first intercontinental railroad and set up the first land-grant colleges.

March 4, 2011:
I mean, think about it. My favorite Republican, Abraham Lincoln -- happens to be from my home state, but he was a pretty good President, last I checked. (Applause.) He was a guy who invested in the interstate -- in the intercontinental railroad, and in land grant colleges, and in the National Academy of Sciences -- in the middle of the Civil War.

September 22, 2011:
We used to have the best infrastructure in the world here in America. We’re the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad, the Interstate Highway System. We built the Hoover Dam. We built the Grand Central Station. So how can we now sit back and let China build the best railroads?

I like the theory of a GOP mole. I want to believe the theory of a GOP mole. However, simple ignorance seems sufficient as an explanation for the oft-repeated and never corrected gaffes.

Friday, September 9, 2011

"Pass This Bill" Is A Bill Of Goods

You may want to sit down for this, because it may come as a shock. President Obama did not take my advice on his Jobs3 speech last night to a joint session of Congress.

I can't begin to tell you how disappointed I am.

Instead, Obama went green. That is, he recycled almost the entire speech from stuff he's said before.

The main thrust of the speech? "Pass this bill!"

First we must ask, what bill? The idea that there is a bill waiting on Congress to pass that Obama and the White House have crafted is as imaginary as the 3.5 million jobs the first stimulus created or saved. As imaginary as the strawmen Obama builds and burns in every speech he gives.

Second, just as the speech itself is recycled, so too is the demand to "pass this bill". Obama did the same thing with the first stimulus bill -- the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Back then we saw headlines like this:

Obama demands 'immediate' action on stimulus

So after such strident demands back then, how did things shake out once ARRA was passed? I'm glad you asked.

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.

That's how important it was to pass that bill now! Concerts and dates took precedence over actually signing the bill into law.

We can be assured that the disconnect between his words and reality are every bit as true now when it comes to passing this (heretofore non-existent) bill as it was in 2009.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Joint Session of Congress Speech Obama Should Give

Obama gives his After Labor Day Special Pivot to Jobs, Jobs, Jobs Speech tonight in front of a joint session of Congress. It took a little wrangling between the White House and Speaker of the House Boehner's office to agree to a date. Obama originally preferred to speak last night, during the Republican presidential debate, but was suaded by the fact that he was powerless to make that happen to move it to tonight.

Of course, tonight is also opening night for the NFL, so Obama made the lead from behind decision to move his speech to 7pm Eastern so as only to interfere with the pre-game festivities and not the game itself.

One might say that Obama kinda stepped in it with the whole scheduling thing.

If I were advising the president, here's the speech I would suggest he give. It's 25 seconds from beginning to end -- only 6 seconds if you exclude the formalities of the intro and ending. It never once uses the words "I" or "me", it never once tries to blame Bush (or Congress or DC or natural disasters or some vague, anonymous "they") for the problems he has created, it uses no meaningless platitudes nor offers grand but vacuous promises. In other words, it's unlike any speech Obama has ever given.

I think if Obama gave this speech, he would go up at least 5 points in the polls.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Old and Busted: End Tax Breaks For Corporate Jet Owners New Hotness: Extend Tax Breaks For Corporate Jet Owners

It seems like it was just yesterday that Obama was decrying "tax breaks for corporate jet owners". It wasn't. It was the end of June.

But it was just yesterday that news leaked about what would be in Obama's prime time Thursday pivot speech to jobs, jobs, jobs (h/t Ace).

You know what's reported to be part of his plan?

Extending the tax break for corporate jet owners:

Obama also is expected to continue for one year a tax break for businesses that allows them to deduct the full value of new equipment. The president and Congress negotiated that provision into law for 2011 last December.

Here's a reminder of Obama's old and busted view on "tax breaks for corporate jet owners":

Now that's Change Pivot You Can Believe In!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Obama Takes Charge

President Obama cut his vacation short by a day because of Hurricane Irene.

The article by AFP gave us this headline:

Obama takes charge at hurricane command center

Here's a photo of his appearance:

Obama Take Charge At Hurricane Command Center

President Obama takes charge at the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) set up at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) headquarters in Washington. To lead the discussion, President Obama asked if Irene was a Category Fore.

Friday, August 26, 2011

On This Date In 2007

Today a powerful and dangerous Hurricane Irene is making its way up the Atlantic coast.

Four years ago today, interestingly enough, then-Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama was in New Orleans castigating President Bush from the pulpit for the way the government had responded to Hurricane Katrina two years prior.

August 26, 2007:

Obama began his visit to New Orleans, his fourth since the storm, at a service at First Emanuel Baptist Church on Carondelet Street. The crowd warmed to him as he alluded the Sermon on the Mount, with its admonition to Christians to build on a rock of faith in order to withstand life's storms.

Obama said the federal government needs to rebuild New Orleans on a new foundation [...]

He said Hurricane Katrina exposed the Bush administration's failure to focus on domestic problems as it pursued an expensive war in Iraq. He said the storm was a call to correct historical social inequity.

"For all our wealth and power, something was not right in America," he said. "Our foundation was not built on a rock."

It is easy to criticize when someone else is in charge - easy to say that you would be better than that person if you were in charge. Obama took that easy route four years ago.

I truly hope Obama has it easier now than President Bush did during Katrina, and that Irene weakens or changes course such that it does much less damage than many are currently predicting. I hope no one is in any position to use Obama's response to Irene in as politically motivated a way against him as he did against Presdident Bush.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Obama's New Clothes

Obama delivers statement on the S&P downgrade:

Obama Delivers Statement on Downgrade

The Emperor realized that the people were right but could not admit to that. He though it better to continue the procession under the illusion that anyone who couldn't see his clothes was either stupid or incompetent. And he stood stiffly behind his podium, while in front of him and behind the cameras a page held steady his teleprompter.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Grouper? I Hardly Even Know Her

Today's delicacy -- fried grouper (from the same fishing trip that produced the amberjack tacos). Plus a fried jalapeno from the garden.

Fried Grouper (and Jalapeno!)

It really doesn't get any better than that.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Obama Has A Plan And It Mostly Involves Others Getting Down In The Ditch

Instapundit:

ROGER SIMON: THE MAN WITHOUT A PLAN:

President Obama’s been taking a lot of flak lately for not having a plan. First it was about Libya, but now — even more importantly because, as we know, all politics is local (until it’s not) — about the budget.

The latest White House porte-parole Jay Carney has consequently been taking all kinds of in-coming himself about “where’s the President’s budget plan,” “why doesn’t he have a plan,” etc.

Not having a plan? The reason Obama is left as a spectator as Boehner and Congress gets down in the mud and ...well... dig this thing out of the ditch?

Because this is his plan:

Obama, Sippin' on a Slurpee

Slurp.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Widespread Panic Gets Spread Wide By Someone

Prof. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection:

John Podhoretz notes that Obama is trying to talk the markets into a panic
as part of Obama’s political strategy (emphasis mine):

An enraged Barack Obama just took to the nation’s airwaves to announce his effort to strike a deal with Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner has fallen apart. Perhaps for the first time in American history, this president is literally using this press conference to create a financial panic over the weekend about the opening of the markets on Monday. He is warning of disaster on Monday. Clearly, he wants to use this as leverage to frighten the GOP into passing the plan proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, which will push the debt ceiling problem into 2013, but it’s still an entirely new and astonishingly reckless gambit.

I agree with the analysis with one big exception, the use of the terms “first time” and “entirely new.”

Jacobson then recounts Obama's efforts during the stimulus discussions in early 2009, and his reaction at the time.

Let me recount 2008 -- and while it is certainly not a president doing so, but rather Senators Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer -- Democrats have before used talking the markets into a panic as part of their political strategy.

Thursday, June 26, 2008:

Schumer, a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee, who used his position of authority to communicate to the OTS and the FDIC that he was "concerned that IndyMac's financial deterioration poses significant risks to both taxpayers and borrowers," and that IndyMac "could face a failure if prescriptive measures are not taken quickly."

Everything might have been fine had Schumer stopped there, but Schumer (being Schumer) took the additional step of releasing the letter to the press.

Friday, July 11, 2008:

IndyMac Regulator, the Office of Thrift Supervision: "The OTS has determined that the current institution, IndyMac Bank, is unlikely to be able to meet continued depositors’ demands in the normal course of business and is therefore in an unsafe and unsound condition. The immediate cause of the closing was a deposit run that began and continued after the public release of a June 26 letter to the OTS and the FDIC from Senator Charles Schumer of New York. The letter expressed concerns about IndyMac’s viability. In the following 11 business days, depositors withdrew more than $1.3 billion from their accounts.”

Wednesday, October 1, 2008:

Senator Reid: "a major insurance company -- one with a name that everyone knows -- that's on the verge of going bankrupt,"

Thursday, October 2, 2008:

But with investors already on high alert after the Federal Reserve's rescue of insurance titan American International Group Inc. on Sept. 16, and with the credit crunch still making funding difficult for even the largest U.S. financial companies, Reid's comments were the equivalent of pouring gasoline on a grease fire. MetLife plunged $7.19, or 15%, to $40.96; Hartford dived $12.20, or 32%, to $25.91; and Prudential slid $7.15, or 11%, to $57.65.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Oh Deer

My last post was amberjack tacos. Tonight's menu? Venison backstrap.

Simple recipe. Simply delicious.

Cut backstrap into 1 inch thick medallions and marinade in beer for four hours.

Ok, sure, add some extra virgin olive oil, a little soy sauce, a few cloves of roughly chopped garlic and a ton of pepper of the black, white and red variety.

Heat the grill until it's pegged.

Slowly place each of the six medallions on the grill. Slowly.

By the time you have ...slowly... placed each medallion on the grill, it is time to turn them -- again, slowly -- one at a time. Once each has been turned, you have enough time to take the bowl in which they were marinading to the kitchen for a quick rinse. But that's it. A quick rinse and get back quickly to take the medallions off the grill. We're going for a sear on the outside and not much more*.

Take the medallions off the grill and put them on the plate. Top each one with a slice of goat cheese and let rest for as long as your itchy fork hand can take it.

Place plate next to laptop on the table out on the deck for continuous blogging.

E a t.

Please don't ask if I ate all six medallions in one sitting.




-------------------------
*Please understand I have a constitution that tolerates food cooked rare/raw to a greater extent than most. I am describing how I cooked my meal, not prescribing how someone else should cook his. I would strongly recommend anyone else letting the medallions cook for several minutes more per side than I describe here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Give a man a fish . . . teach a man to fish

Let's update the old proverb for today.

"Give a man a fish and he'll eat today. Teach a man to fish -- and take him fishing -- and he'll still be eating fish in July."

There are few things in life better than eating fish you caught yourself. I made some amberjack tacos today:

Amberjack Tacos

We caught this fish and many, many others during our spring break trip in April to celebrate my wife's parents' 50th anniversary. Good times, good times.

Still paying dividends.

By the way, forget my pic above, if you're interested in real chef-ery, please visit my sister in law's blog TheChefinMyHead.

And specific ChefinMyHead post from spring break HERE. One of the amberjacks in those photos was in my tacos and is now in my belly. Probably the one with the biggest smile.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Obama's Political Rhetoric Rings the Doorbell, Gets Let In

Via Jim Geraghty, Obama exhorts others to "leave our political rhetoric at the door" one day, says Republicans are holding a gun to the head of the American people the next.

Here it is:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Michelle Obama Channels Her Inner CheChe

Reading Clarice's Pieces this morning over at American Thinker reminded me of a comment MayBee had left at Just One Minute.

First, let's take a look at the story MayBee was commenting on:

First lady Michelle Obama gave a fascinating insight into just how heavily the weight of office rests on her husband's shoulders and how the job of president has taken it's toll.

Speaking at a fund-raiser for the Democratic National Committee in Massachusetts she told of his total dedication to the job and told how she worries about the increasing number of lines on his face.

She said: 'I see the worry creasing his face. I hear the passion and determination in his voice.

''You won’t believe what these folks are going through;' he told me that last night.

''Michelle, it is not right. We’ve got to fix this. We have to do more,'

'Barack always reminds me that we are playing a long game,

'He reminds me, as I said to you, too, that change is slow.

'He reminds me that change doesn’t happen all at once, but that if we keep showing up, if we keep fighting the good fight, doing what we know is right, then eventually we will get there, because the truth is we always have in this country. We always have.'

Heavy stuff. MayBee went on to write in response:

It's also pretty funny to picture them, actually sitting on a sofa in the WH residence, her in a designer dress with her Jimmy Choos kicked off in the corner, him with his WH brewed honey ale, reading the 10 letters for the day and saying, 'Michelle, it just isn't right, what people are going through.' 'Why, what do you mean Barack?' 'We have to fix it. I am tired, but I can't rest until this is fixed!'

Anyone remember Che Che? At the time, John Podhoretz called CheChe's writing "The Greatest Kos Posting Ever!" and concluded: "To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: It would take a heart of stone not to laugh at the grief of Little CheChe."

Well. CheChe turned out to be the work of a parodist. But a parody perfectly executed.

Let's reprise CheChe's work in the form of Michelle speaking, building upon the scene MayBee gave us. Off we go!

I don't think I've ever seen such a look of misery and dejection on the face of Barack as I just did a moment ago.

He sat down with me on the sofa and (as calmly as he could) tried to explain to me why the Republicans want to starve little children and take Social Security away from the elderly in order to give coporoate jet owners wads of cash. He tried to keep his voice steady, but it became increasingly difficult - the rage and feelings of helplessnes were just too much. I could tell something was wrong. I found myself at such a loss for words - nothing made any sense; nothing makes sense anymore. I finally had to admit, "Barry, I just don't know - I don't know what's going on in this country anymore..."

When he finished my lower lip started to tremble and my eyes began to fill with tears, "Michelle" he said, "why are the Republicans doing this to the country?" Well, that was it for me: I finally fell apart. I just fell into his arms and we both began sobbing for several minutes.

He had to comfort me and get me back on my feet. Sometimes I just think it’s too much, but seeing the strength in Barack's voice helped me to get through.

To paraphrase Podhoretz paraphrasing Wilde: It would take a heart of stone not to laugh.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Obama Targets Corporate Jets

At his press conference on June 29, 2011, Obama went after corporate jets and corporate jet owners. Six times. Obama says that they needed to pay more in taxes.

Don't get him wrong though -- Obama thinks having his own plane is . . . awesome.

It's not that he wants to "punish your success."

He just needs more of your money to operate his plane.

Air Force One Photo-Op



MORE: Whaddya know, Obama continues the corporate jet fetish in his weekly address this morning (h/t Don Surber):

See full weekly address here

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Obama's Promise of Change Has Been Painful

Hey that's Obama's characterization of "change" in the Obama era, not mine.

With a hat tip to Jim Geraghty, on a visit to Cree Inc. in Durham, NC -- Obama summed up what Change has meant since he was elected president.

I made this video to put that summation in context.



MORE: Here's an old photoshop I did that fits in rather well here.

Obama: Change That Works You Over

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Grading Palin Vs The Media

So the media went nuts over the release of Sarah Palin's emails from her time as Governor of Alaska.  As an example, here's a headline from the New York Daily News (via JammieWearingFool):
I wonder if anyone has put a grade level on Anthony Weiner's tweets?
Now to be fair, the article -- unlike the headline -- is fairly balanced.  In it we find this:
It turns out Palin's writing skills are still better than most educated Americans. Global Language Monitor gave Palin's emails a score of 8.2, which actually exceeds that of most chief executives.
So as chief executive of the state of Alaska, her emails scored higher than most other chief executives.
Also the name "Global Language Monitor" rang a bell.  Remember the 2008 VP debate?
(CNN) -- An analysis carried out by a language monitoring service said Friday that Gov. Sarah Palin spoke at a more than ninth-grade level and Sen. Joseph Biden spoke at a nearly eighth-grade level in Thursday night's debate between the vice presidential candidates. ...
Grade level: Biden, 7.8; Palin, 9.5
Ah, those were the days.
But wait!  There's more!  I left off the parenthetical that followed that last part.
Because it's the kicker:
(Newspapers are typically written to a sixth-grade reading level.)
Sarah Palin writes her emails two grades higher than journalists write their articles. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

The (Not So) Popular Mechanic In Chief

Instapundit is nothing if not helpful with this: 

SIX DRIVING TIPS to save gas this summer. At these prices, you’ll need to!
Good ideas from Popular Mechanics.  And, hey, check it out:
Monitor Tire PressureKeep your tires properly inflated, because low pressure increases rolling resistance. Few drivers check and adjust their tire pressure often, but it's a good idea to do it once a week. 
They say to keep your tires inflated . . . just like Obama!

Of course, Obama was talking just as much about reducing our overall dependence on foreign oil and getting to a fossil fuel free world as he was about personal savings.

Speaking of reducing fossil fuel use, one tip is this: 
Avoid Ethanol When Possible
Gasoline that has been cut with 10 or 15 percent ethanol, called E10 or E15, is an mpg killer. Why? Gasoline stores more energy than ethanol (119,000 Btu per gallon vs 80,000). So it takes more ethanol than gasoline to go the same distance.
Obama wants to cost us more money at the pump by pushing alternative fuel?  The deuce, you say!

Speaking of costing you more money -- I notice that Popular Mechanics didn't mention trading in your 8 mpg clunker in favor of a hybrid as an idea to save money.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

When Economic Conditions (And Definitions) Won't Cooperate

From Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt, we are directed to this NY Times article on how bad unemployment numbers bring discouraging news for out of work Americans Obama's election chances:

WASHINGTON — No American president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has won a second term in office when the unemployment rate on Election Day topped 7.2 percent.

Seventeen months before the next election, it is increasingly clear that President Obama must defy that trend to keep his job.

Roughly 9 percent of Americans who want to go to work cannot find an employer. Companies are firing fewer people, but hiring remains anemic. And the vast majority of economic forecasters, including the president’s own advisers, predict only modest progress by November 2012.

Bold mine. Because, well, that is a poorly worded sentence.

Via Instapundit, let's turn to this AP article:

The labor force — those who have a job or are looking for one — is getting smaller, even though the economy is growing and steadily adding jobs. That trend defies the rules of a normal economic recovery.
...
By the government's definition, if you quit looking, you're no longer counted as unemployed. And you're no longer part of the labor force.

So the NY Times':

"Roughly 9 percent of Americans who want to go to work cannot find an employer."

should rather be:

"Roughly 9 percent of Americans who are actively looking for work cannot find an employer."

So the question is, how many people have given up looking for work? Back to the article:

Since November, the number of Americans counted as employed has grown by 765,000, to just shy of 139 million. The nation has been creating jobs every month as the economy recovers. The economy added 244,000 jobs in April.

But the number of Americans counted as unemployed has shrunk by much more — almost 1.3 million — during this time. That means the labor force has dropped by 529,000 workers.

In an article making the case that the current 9% unemployment rate is bad news for Obama's re-election prospects, it wouldn't appear that the NY Times is simply wishing away a half million people as a boost for the President. So, perhaps the NY Times simply does not know any better.

Monday, May 23, 2011

PSA: Don't Drink and Drive

This is a reprise of a post I did back in June of 2008 (boy, those were the days!).  I'm not changing the format of the post (I'm lazy like that) -- just updating the supporting images and numbers for the Obama Era.

Off we go!

-------------------------------------
So normally a really, really good sale on beer is something for which we lustily cheer. And while that is certainly the case in this case for the price of the case of beer pictured below, we feel we must issue the following Public Service Announcement:

Don't Drink and Drive


Price of Case of Beer:.....................$10 (2 12-packs/$10)
Number of beers per case:...............24
Fluid ounces per beer:..........__........12
Fluid ounces per case:..............._....288

Price per ounce:.........................$0.03472
Fluid ounces per gallon:.................. 128


Price of Beer per Gallon:...$4.44




Price of Gas per Gallon:..>..$4.79



Don't Drink and Drive.
Just Drink. Don't Drive.
It's Cheaper.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Don't Ever Think It Can't Get Worse

Bryan Preston at the Tatler gives us this:

Great news: Britain’s national health service is still getting worse

Not treating people, or making them wait longer and longer for treatment, in an aging society is just another form of healthcare rationing.

Doctors are blaming financial pressures on the NHS for an increase in the number of patients who are not being treated within the 18 weeks that the government recommends.

New NHS performance data reveal that the number of people in England who are being forced to wait more than 18 weeks has risen by 26% in the last year, while the number who had to wait longer than six months has shot up by 43%.

Brings to mind a friend's post a couple years ago. For those who didn't know PUK, Peter Bocking, he was a dear friend of the Just One Minute community. He passed away in the fall of 2009. If you didn't know him and haven't seen it before -- see a few posts I did as a "Best Of PUK" series at the time -- here and here and here and here.

At one point on Just One Minute, he related his experience with Britain's NHS dealing with the death of his mother. It was a heartbreaking tale -- and one quite out of character for PUK. He delivered it, reluctantly, not to try and garner sympathy, but as a warning to his American friends of what the path toward state run healthcare would lead to. He posted that story in a series of comments. After he passed away, I collected them in a single comment at Just One Minute to record them for posterity.

Clarice Feldman took that collection and printed it at American Thinker.

I'm going to reprint his comments here, again to put a person in front of the statistics we continually read about, so we do not simply become inured to the impact such appalling treatment has on real lives. It's what PUK was trying to do for us:

--------------------------------------------------

I always used to go round to see my mother each day to make sure she had everything she needed. One morning I got the urge to ring her for some inexplicable reason,she sounded hoarse,so it seemed a good idea to pop round and check her out.She was unwell so I called the doctor out,he prescribed some antibiotics and said "keep an eye on her". Since the carers were due at that time it was possible to collect the prescription and get some shopping done. Having done that,I went home,her cleaner was there,she was also a friend.

Later that day,the cleaner phoned to say my mother had "crawled upstairs" and gone to bed. She was like that very independent.

She was in bed and having trouble breathing and could not lie down,it appeared to be heart failure,a familiar condition. I gave her ten minutes to decide on an ambulance or a cup of tea.She opted for the ambulance.

The ambulance was rapid,since they had a description of the problem,the paramedics dealt with the situation efficiently and professionally. Unfortunately I could not go in the ambulance with her,because,it was night,my money and medication were at home,all I was wearing was trousers and a T shirt.

On arrival in the ward the following morning,a doctor ushered me into a side room.

"We treated her for heart failure not knowing she had bad kidneys" "She has about a month,all I can tell you is when it happens it will be quick"

All I could think of saying was "Have you anything else to say to me"

The doctor hesitated "No", he said and left the room with his assistant,(witness)

Visiting was Hell! It was a fight to get flexible visiting times,the jobsworths fought it every inch,despite my being the only family member.

I watched my mother die alone, in a side room,the nurse was on her tea break,the pain killing drugs that had been promised, unadministered. She was eighty four.

Fuck the National Health Service!!!!

********************

Kidney failure is horrendous. Victims literally die before your eyes as the salt builds up in their bodies,the faculties decay, one by one. I watched her go blind an assume the characteristics of dementia.

One sister said,when I asked her to help her move."She can do it herself"!

Whilst General Practitioners know their patients,hospitals can be on the level of battery chicken factories.

********************

Terrible indeed. Medical have to be impersonal to a certain extent to stay sane,but that doesn't help the patient or their families.

A friend of mine,a philosopher,says that the moral component has disappeared from medical ethics. Everything is now distilled down to utilitarian and legal considerations

This,I think, removes the humanity from medicine,and indeed many other areas of life.

********************

It wasn't about me,I just did what ever was best for my mother.If it took grovelling the so be it,if it took a temper tantrum,off we go.Plenty of schmoozing the nurses who looked after her. Whatever creates the best environment.

********************

I've never talked about it before,I sense it is a more common experience.There needs to be a greater concentration on medical ethics,doctors aren't fixing clunkers,but human beings.

********************

The worst was watching the end,despite promises, my mother did not die easy.She was obviously in great pain when the salt reached her heart.As she went her false teeth came out.I put them back and stroked her hair into place,gave her a last kiss on her forehead,spent some time,I know not how long,with while the nurses came and pronounced her dead.

Then I rang my lift who had gone home,not thinking it would be so quick,and walked the four miles back to her house,locked up and went home.

********************

I was alone with her in the room.They always wheeled them into that side room to die.It was the absence of nursing or other staff that was appalling,that and the lack of any palliative medication.

********************

She died the 8th July 2003.
********************

Not hard to keep calm.I'm neurotic about things like losing a pair of glasses,but anything serious and I go ice cold efficient. Just made that way I suppose.

********************

Amazing how the human race adapts to the most cruel afflictions.That is why the "death panels" are so obscene,people can live a life even under the most difficult conditions. Who is some little Nazi like Emanuel to withhold treatment?

********************

This is the story of the human race,it is all our stories,they should be taken into account in any health system.

The quality of their lives and magnitude of their losses should be factored into the equation.We should start a movement for morality and humanity in medicine.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Taxes

So it's April 15th.  You know what that means...

Well, nothing, actually.  But it does offer an excuse to relive some old posts.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air asks: Where’s the 5-minute tax form?

Ah, yes.  Obama and tax simplification.

How about an old be-careful-what-you-wish-for post: You May Want Tax Simplification, But Are You Sure You Want Obama's Tax Simplification?

And if you're having trouble because the tax code is so complex, please avail yourself of The 1040DEM

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Obama's Plan to Reduce the Deficit in Parable Form

Via Instapundit, we have this gem from Obama:

"If you're complaining about the price of gas and you're only getting 8 miles a gallon, you know," Obama said laughingly. "You might want to think about a trade-in."

Let's go . . . to the back of the envelope!

Let's say you drive 200 miles per week.

Let's say that you currently get 8 mpg and are paying $3.70/gal.

200 / 8 = 25 gallons used per week * $3.70 = $92.50/week in gas.

Let's say your current car is worth $4,000 in trade-in and you own it free and clear.

Let's say the car Obama has in mind for you gets 25 mpg.

200 / 25 = 8 gallons used per week * $3.70 = $29.60/week in gas.

That's a savings of almost $62/week in gas!!! Or $250/month!!! You've hit the motherlode. Thanks Obama!

But wait. Now let's say that car costs $20,000 and after your trade-in you finance $16,000 at 6% interest for 4 years.

Your new car payment is $375/month.

Thanks to Obama, you now have monthly expenses $125 more than before he touched your life.

But the feeling you get driving around in a new, Obama-approved car means the thing pays for itself. In Obama-bucks.

Hey, I just had an idea. Let's put this Obama guy in charge of the federal budget! With this kind of brilliant grasp of economics that federal deficit will be gone in no time -- he said laughingly (in order to keep himself from crying).

Do be sure and read that Instapundit post -- the AP decided to scrub the article of this quote, but Glenn's got the screen shot and the video.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Obama Doctrine

The Obama Doctrine



FROM INSTAPUNDIT: Byron York gives us this:

In the last few days, Obama administration officials have frequently faced the question: Is the fighting in Libya a war? From military officers to White House spokesmen up to the president himself, the answer is no. But that leaves the question: What is it?

In a briefing on board Air Force One Wednesday, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes took a crack at an answer. "I think what we are doing is enforcing a resolution that has a very clear set of goals, which is protecting the Libyan people, averting a humanitarian crisis, and setting up a no-fly zone," Rhodes said. "Obviously that involves kinetic military action, particularly on the front end."

It's not a war, it's "kinetic military action". Now we know why he plays so much golf. Obama is training himself to become Kinesiologist-in-Chief.

Committees Have to be Attended By Men With Legal Pads

I first put this up as a comment on Just One Minute.  Then Clarice put it up on the Tatler at Pajamas Media.  Might as well put here too.  Modeled after Col. Nathan R. Jessup from A Few Good Men, of course.  First a little context to set it up.

John Boehner's letter to Obama over on The Corner:

A United Nations Security Council resolution does not substitute for a U.S. political and military strategy.
...
it appears your Administration has consulted extensively on these same matters with foreign entities such as the United Nations and the Arab League.
...
The American people take the use of military action seriously, as does the House of Representatives. It is regrettable that no opportunity was afforded to consult with Congressional leaders, as was the custom of your predecessors, before your decision as Commander-in-Chief to deploy into combat the men and women of our Armed Forces.

And off we go!

COL. NATHAN H. OBAMA:  Son, we live in a world that has committees, and those committees have to be attended by men with legal pads. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Speaker Boehner? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for your precious Constitution, and you curse turning over military authority in the name of multilateralism. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That sidestepping the Constitution, while tragic, probably saved a lot of effort on my part and will hopefully help me avoid blame should it all go wrong. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, means beautifully detailed PowerPoint presentations. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me delegating my staff to be on those committees, you need me assigning underlings to that committee. We use words like “grave concern that order be restored” and “sustainable international consensus”. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent discussing something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very white papers that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide them. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a three ring binder over there on the conference table, pick a seat, and please put your cell phone on mute. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Foreign Policy in a Ditch

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

_____________________________________________________________

For Immediate Release                                                               March 22, 2011

Remarks by the President at a DNC Fundraiser

12:50 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Everybody, please have a seat. Have a seat.

So, Democrats, it is wonderful to be here, wonderful to be among so many good friends. We live in a dangerous world. You all know this. We all are aware of what's going on. You know what I'm talking about. Protests, revolutions, dictators on the precipice. All dangerous stuff. We don’t want any part of that -- I don't want any part of that if it involves doing anything other than giving a speech.

I mean, think about it, we’re the folks who were behind the steering wheel and drove the car into the ditch. Anything to get out of being in front driving this thing. (Applause.)

But look, we had to look like we were doing something. And so we asked France to get in there and put its boots on -- it's galoshes -- and they pushed and they shoved. And NATO was sweating and we were were standing, watching them and sipping on a Slurpee. (Laughter.)

And we were pointing at them saying, "how come you’re not pushing harder, how come you’re not pushing faster?" And then when the Arab League finally got the car up out of the ditch -- and it’s got a few dings and a few dents, it’s got some mud on it, they’re going to have to do some work on it -- they point to everybody and say, "look what these guys did to their car own." After we got them to get it out of the ditch!

Well, I’m telling ya, no way we’re asking for the keys back! I don’t want them to give us the keys back. We don’t know how to drive! (Laughter.)

“We’ll come along for the ride,” we said, “but we’re definitely sitting in the back.” (Applause.)

I mean, I want everyone to think about it here. When you want to go nowhere in your car, what do you do?

AUDIENCE: N!

THE PRESIDENT: That's right, you put it in N. Neutral. You know what starts with N? That’s right. NATO. They’re going to idle in neutral, just like we want. They’ll bicker and whine and dither. This baby’s staying in neutral. (Applause.)

America, we are not going backwards. We’re not going forwards. Do we want to go back? Or do we want to go forward? I say we want to do neither. (Applause.)

Thank you Democrats. I love you! (Applause.)

END

12:54 P.M. EDT

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Obama (2002) vs Obama (2011)

Obama in 2002 made a now famous speech about the Iraq War.  That speech is updated for today in light of his decision to engage Libya, in the same cynical manner in which his 2002 speech was made.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good afternoon. Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-Obama rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to Obama in all circumstances.

Closing Guantanamo Bay is one of the most acrimonious foreign policy debates today. And yet, it is only through the crucible of having President Obama being actually responsible for the war on terror, facing the threats of multitudes who would kill us, that some Americans could begin to understand that keeping it open helps keep us safe.

I don’t oppose all Obama policies.

After Obama escalated the war in Afghanistan in November of 2009, after hearing from friends and warriors in the battle there, I supported the mission to finish the job in that country, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevail in that mission should it be necessary.

I don’t oppose all military engagements. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of Americans who can work in a bi-partisan fashion when the interests of America are put above party or ideology.

But what I am opposed to is a dumb Obama decision. What I am opposed to is a politically motivated Obama decision. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Susan Rice and Samantha Power and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own political agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Hillary Clinton to distract us from the unprecedented federal deficit, the continuing high unemployment – to distract us from government scandals and a Congress that can’t pass a federal budget.

That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb Obama decision. A rash Obama decision. An Obama decision based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

Now let me be clear — I suffer no illusions about Muammar Kaddafi. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied international demands, thwarted international sanctions, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.

He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Libyan people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Kaddafi poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Libyan economy is in shambles, that the Libyan military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

I know that even a successful military effort against Libya will require US involvement of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that bombing Libya without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.

I am not opposed to all military efforts. I’m opposed to dumb military efforts.

So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the president today. You want a fight, President Obama? Let’s finish the fight with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings.

You want a fight, President Obama? Let’s fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells.

You want a fight, President Obama? Let’s fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesn’t simply put faith in windmills and solar panels and rainbows and unicorns, but explores and exploits our own resources without intervention from an abusive federal government that only empowers the Middle East through its policies.

Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join.

The battles against ignorance and intolerance, corruption and greed, poverty and despair.

The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not — we will not — travel down that hellish path blindly. Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

In Him You Will Find Rest

Obama is the hardest working man in government (at rhetorically sounding like he's the hardest working man in government).  Or at least he was.

Last year a number of folks noticed the oft repeated, if not always adhered to, refrain that he "will not rest" or that he was "not going to rest" until something or other had been accomplished.

Obama used one or the other of those phrases 35 times in public comments in 2009 and 2010. That's 15 times in 2009 and 20 times in 2010.

In 2009, Obama went an average of 22.8 days between using one of those phrases.

In 2010, that average shrank to 14.2 days between telling us how much he was not going to rest.

Between his last 2010 utterance of one of those phrases and his first of 2011 -- which occured on January 7th -- 91 days elapsed.

91 days is 14 days longer than the next longest period between uses -- which occured after ObamaCare passed. It is 26 days longer than what was the third longest drought -- which occured after he plugged the damn hole.

But that one is now the fourth longest span between uses because since January 7, Obama has not again spoken either of those phrases. So his current streak stands at 69 days, 8 days shy of overtaking the period after the BP spill was contained for second place.

What does all of this mean? It means that Obama worked really hard at telling us he was not going to rest in 2009, even he did so even more restlessly in 2010.  It seems he's slowing down now.

It's hard work trying to convince people that you are not going to rest.  Everyone expressing dismay regarding (or mocking him for) his NCAA brackets and vacations and golf and basketball and parties is just not willing to acknowledge how hard he's worked at convincing everyone that doing those things does not constitute rest.




All the quotes after the jump.