No Drama Choc-Obama

For Obama the Ben and Jerry’s flavor is “Yes Pecan,” but from the reports about how the Obama White House handled the Somali piracy crisis this weekend, they might consider “No Drama Choc-Obama” instead. The whack jobs will whine that they don’t get a flavor. “Teabaggery Dunce” sounds good, but I’m up for suggestions.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Well, chocolate is the big thing ont he agenda today at the White House, and eggs and children. It will be a frenzied White House lawn, but there’s calm there in the White House, and we saw it over the weekend. I’m thinking we saw evidence that “Yes Pecan” is a good flavor name to represent the Obama candidacy, but that “No Drama Choc-Obama” might be the best Ben and Jerry’s flavor to represent the Obama Presidency given the last couple days. The pirates in Somalia got slammed, as we all know from reading the papers (Inquirer, New York Times) and watching the news, and Captain Richard Phillips is freed unharmed. Certainly this is a triumph for the US, and a triumph for Barack Obama as well, but the way the Obama Administration handled the crisis shows us calm and deliberation and competence. From an analysis piece by the AP:

Since the standoff began, Obama had made no public, in-person remarks on the topic, even declining to answer when questions were shouted at him during a press availability.

He did not call in his cabinet for a high-profile command meeting. He let military and top administration officials do the talking, but even they kept saber-rattling out of the equation.

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said Obama’s silence should not be interpreted to mean he wasn’t deeply involved. Obama’s public posture was calculated to not raise the temperature on the situation or give the hostage-takers anything to exploit.

So what Obama did was receive regular briefings, sometimes half a dozen a day. He weighed in with two critical decisions letting the military act to save Phillips’ life. And he laid the groundwork for a federal criminal law-enforcement response.

Calm, efficient, competent. The Obama Administration did all the right things in this crisis, and while it is a relatively small crisis, it is a big contrast to the “sky is falling” character of the Bush White House, what with their terror alert color coding and their panicky use of torture, invasion of countries not involved in terror, etc. Big contrast, but not one we should be surprised at. This Obama team has shown consistent competence over the last couple years. The only question right now is how the whack job Republicans will spin this Obama triumph. Certainly at there is happiness at the outcome, but the whack jobs that frequent the site are taking their shots at Obama, which you can read here. On Redstate the whining is about Obama taking credit for something he had no part in, despite facts, and the conversation is raving over there. I suppose these dimwits are taking after Newt Gingrich and Britt Hume and Glenn Beck when they slammed Obama before this crisis ended. Still, no consistent Republican whack job narrative is forming since this resolution of the crisis yesterday, but we’ve got the blowhard Rush Limbaugh going on the air in a couple hours, and he will likely complain that the captured pirate isn’t being tortured.

Meanwhile, I suggest the new flavor at Ben and Jerry’s to honor Obama should be “No Drama Choc-Obama,” and that it be added to the list alongside “It’s Pecan.” Sure, neither of those two flavors is as entertaining as the flavor suggestions for President Bush, but they are strong and calm and bespeak leadership.

Does anyone have any ice cream flavors to describe the whack jobs out there who can whine about even this triumph? I’m thinking it needn’t be an appetizing name, but should reflect the notions of whininess while also representing the divorce from reality evinced by the whack jobs on the right. On another issue one would be tempted to come up with the ice cream flavor “Teabaggery Dunce,” or somesuch, but no new flavor names are jumping to mind to describe the rank and file whack jobs of the GOP, their base and ugly “base,” as it were. Help me out, wouldya?

Monday, April 13th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Vatican Running US Foreign Policy?

The Vatican has reportedly rejected three candidates for US Ambassador to the country, inluding Caroline Kennedy. What gives them the right? It appears they take whatever “right” they can, including determining our foreign policy. while it might not be politic to play hardball with the Vatican, it is time to assert our rights.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Oh, the Vatican has not yet weighed in on all of the foreign policy decisions of Barack Obama, but it appears tthe Holy See is doing a whole lot to determine exactly who is appointed Ambassador to the Vatican. Caroline Kennedy, for instance, has been mentioned as a potential nominee. Reports from the Daily Telegraph,, the right wing Washington Times and the extremist conservative Human Events say the Vatican has rejected that possibility, as well as a couple others. Ray Flynn, former Ambassador to the Vatican, says the problem is that Caroline Kennedy is pro-choice. From the Daily Telegraph:

The Italian paper said that the Vatican strongly disapproved of Mr Obama’s support for abortion and stem cell research. The impasse over the ambassadorial appointment threatens to cloud his meeting with the Pope during a G8 summit in Itay in July.

Ms Kennedy, 53, has said that she supports abortion. Raymond Flynn, a former US ambassador to the Vatican, said earlier this week that Ms Kennedy would be a poor choice.

“It’s imperative, it’s essential that the person who represents us to the Holy See be a person who has pro-life values. I hope the President doesn’t make that mistake,” he told the Boston Herald. “She said she was pro-choice. I don’t assume she’s going to change that, which is problematic.”

Let me propose something refreshing. After all, we had a completely fair election in this country, as oposed to the Vatican. We are a country that has no state religion, either. My proposal is that when the Vatican holds a completely open and free election, then they can have a say as to the Ambassadors we send to the Vatican. We’ll get the United Nations to monitor the elections so everyone in the world can see that they’re fair. Until then, the Vatican may comment all it wishes about Us policies it disagrees with, but determining our policies, for whatever reason, is going too far. Rejecting an Ambassador, or three, as is the case here, is much too far.

Would Caroline Kennedy make a good Ambassador? I’ve no idea. But Ray Flynn’s notion that there should be a litmus test is simply absurd. Does he also think there should be a litmus test for the most cherished values other countries hold? No, Ray, let’s not go there. It doesn’t appear you’re logically equipped to do so.

Sunday, April 12th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Republican Flu Season: Whackjobberai Teabaggerhea is Rampant

Stay home April 15th so you don’t catch the Republican Whackjob Flu, and also so you don’t get exposed to the thousands of perverted sex acts infected GOPers will be performing in public. GOP marriages will collapse because of this disease, and after Iowa and Vermont, there are few enough GOP marriages intact. Suck it NOMTWEETS!

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Republicans are under the weather lately. GOP Governors Palin, Jindal and Sandford couldn’t find a way to screw their own constituents by refusing stimulus money, the stock market is up and offering a glimmer of hope, gay marriage is gaining a foothold in Vermont, Washington, DC and Iowa, change the landscape for that issue, and Barack Obama just got back from a successful trip to Europe which included a side trip to Iraq where US troops mobbed the President. Worse still, there’s a dire outbreaak of whackjobberai Teabaggerhea, that disease that inflicts Republicans from time to time, and this may be the worst outbreak on record. Oh, sure, the mere nomination of Sarah Palin in the Fall, followed by her characterizing Obama as palling with terrorists, represented a dangerous outbreak of the whackjob flu.

The whackjob flu can strike any Republican, but when it does it makes them do some pretty whack job things. I’m thinking Rush Limbaugh has a premanent case of the disease, which leads one to believe that at least one man is right to call him a “Brainwashed Nazi.” Heck, and that was a fan of his show who did that!

CALLER: Thanks Rush. Rush listen, I voted Republican and I really didn’t want to see Obama get in office. But you know Rush, you’re one reason to blame for this election, for the Republicans losing. First of all, you kept harping about voting for Hillary. The second big issue was the torture issue. I’m a veteran. We’re not supposed to be torturing these people. This is not Nazi Germany, Red China, North Korea. There’s other ways of interrogating people, and you just kept harping about, it’s okay, or it’s not really torture. And it was just more than waterboarding. Some of these prisoners will killed under torture.

And it was crazy for you to go on and on like Levin and Hannity and Hewitt. It’s like you’re all brainwashed. And my last comment is, no matter what Obama does, you will still criticize him because I believe you are brainwashed. You’re just – and I hate to say it – but I think you’re a brainwashed Nazi. Anyone who can believe in torture has got to be – there has got to be something wrong with them.

Rush Limbaugh, of course, lashed out and called the caller a RINO, because to Rush has the GOP Whackjob Flu as part of his permanent condition. I’m betting that’s why Limbaugh was addicted to drugs a few years back. Self-medication – that’s the ticket!

Perhaps what took the Republicans over the top, what lessened their immune systems enough so all of them are catching the whackjob flu are indications that liberals are winning the culture wars. Hey, mass murders across the nation have Republicans and their friends the NRA on the run a little bit. Liberals are winning on the issue of gay marriage as well – heck, there’s a phenomenon on Twitter where everyone types “suck it, @NOMTWEETS,” to screw around with the ugly organization National Organization for Marriage. Those folks are taking a huge beating.

Manifestations of the disease? Man, the Republican whackjob flu, Whackjobberai Teabaggerhea is striking everywhere, so be careful. Republicans across the country are going to be performing sex acts with each other on April 15th. Yes, you heard it right. Led by such whackjobs as Glenn Beck and the FoxNews team, Republicans across the country are going to “teabag” with each other at the same time. OK, we might excuse this as a warped little fraternity trick, but it seems they think masses of GOP members licking each other in the privates is going to be an effective protest against taxes, or some such nonsense. The Centers for Disease Control needs to get on this fast, as there is a clear risk of sexually transmitted disease with this sort of behavior, and I don’t think they make condoms for testicles. The rest of you, please stay off the streets on the 15th of April – Republicans Gone Wild has never looked like this.

Of course there’s more evidence of this epidemic. One Republican Congressman, Spencer Bachus of Alabama, is counting the socialists in Congress, and cigar smokers are joining the tea bag brigade to protest health care for children. The Republican tea baggers won’t let RNC Chair Michael Steele speak at an event, even though he dearly wants to join in the fun. (As I understand it, he’s allowed to tea bag, just not allowed to stand on stage and exhort Republicans while they commit the sex acts in public.)

Wow! I don’t think there is a cure for the Whackjob Flu. Yes, if you are a reality-based liberal you have a certain immunity. Still, avoiding FoxNews is a good prophylactic. You can also make sure not to turn on any radio shows that feature fat blowhard Republicans. Other than that, stay indoors if you can, and if you absolutely must go out on April 15th, make sure you have a blindfold for the kids.

Saturday, April 11th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Santorum Takes the Palin Train

Palin was so fearful that Barack Obama didn’t share American values that she won the Presidential election for John McCain by convincing all Americans. Well, not so much. Still, Rick Santorum is trying on the same accusations of Obama being UnAmerican, at least when he writes his stupid column. No word on his cast iron underpants.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Remember Sarah Palin during the campaign, and how she was so roundly criticized for this statement about Barack Obama, now our President: “I am just so fearful that this is not a man who sees America the way that you and I see America.” (Time) Well, Rick Santorum has taken up the same argument in the biweekly well of misinformation he writes for the conservative Philadelphia Inquirer. He writes: “The president is contemptuous of American values.” Man, this guy just won’t let it rest.

Santorum is alarmed because of the nomination of Harold Koh as Legal Advisor of the State Department. Harold Koh, of course, has remarkable credentials, and is even praised by conservative students at Yale where he serves as Dean of the Law School. But Rick Santorum knows all and sees all, is wise beyond his station, which has fallen swiftly since he was voted out of office in a landslide a couple years ago. Santorum, whose obsession for Islamofascism is only equaled with his obsessions with abortion and gay marriage, thinks Barack Obama’s appointment of Koh shows that Obama does not have American values. From Santorum’s stupid column in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Old fogies like me believe we ought to pay more attention to the opinions of the Founders who wrote the Constitution and the people who have lived under it. If Americans want to end the death penalty, they can do so through their elected state representatives.

If foreign opinions trump those of Pennsylvanians on capital punishment, why not on other issues? Why not, indeed: Koh thinks “international comity” trumps American sovereignty. He believes that, since certain nations recognize a right to same-sex marriage, our courts should, too. He wrote that “the principles of human dignity and autonomy that are the essence of the modern right-protecting democracy demand that civil marriage be available to all couples and that the equality of all citizens triumph over historical attitudes.”

What’s beneath this legal jargon? Simply this: Even if marriage in Pennsylvania has always been understood as involving one man and one woman – even if Pennsylvanians, through referendum or constitutional amendment, decide it should remain so – none of that should count. What should count are the views of courts in other nations or international bodies.

Koh thinks we should be ruled by the decisions of the world? Well, no, he doesn’t. He says we should take the legal opinions of the world into account. Santorum exaggrerates here to hype his paranoia. And then Santorum shows what his paranoia is truly about, same sex marriage. After a week of losses on that account, it is not surprising that Santorum should whine, but to then state that Koh is Obama’s leading candidate for the Supreme Court is complete bullshit. Does the Philadelphia Inquirer employ ANY factcheckers in its editing of Santorum? Surely they would then see that Harold Koh is on a long list of those speculated to be favored for a Supreme Court nomination by the Obama Administration. But that’s speculation. Santorum says Koh is at the top of the list.

The real problem is that Rick Santorum is addled that courts in Iowa and duly elected officials in Vermont and Washington DC have weighed in on the side of same sex marriage. Rick Santorum disagrees. Ergo, anyone on the liberal side of the aisle must not share American values. That’s Rick Santorum’s logic, and it isn’t all that rigorous, turning opinion, as it does, into “facts.” But Rick Santorum hasn’t been all that logical int he past, so why should we expect more.

Oh, and the rumor is that Rick Santorum is aftraid to travel into Washington DC now because he fears for his own marriage. I made up the rumor, sure, but have you seen him there lately? And if he was visiting DC, was he wearing those patented cast iron underpants to protect himself? You probably couldn’t tell, because he was wearing clothes over the cast iron underpants, but I bet you didn’t see him go through a metal detecter. Did you? There is no word as yet whether Santorum wears the cast iron underpants while teabagging with his friends.

Friday, April 10th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |
Category: Barack Obama

Starting Over

What a difference an administration makes…

Commentary By: Richard Blair

If you need to recall how globally reviled George W. Bush became during the last few years of his presidency, check out this video (it’s short and very good; hit the play button):

And, if you want to know the general consensus of world leaders, in terms of the Obama administration, take a look at this shot from the just-concluded G20 conference:

starting over

I have been, and will continue to be, critical of Obama administration policies with which I do not agree. But it’s quite clear that Obama himself has become a symbol to the world that the lone cowboy attitude of George W. Bush (and Dick Cheney) is a thing of the past.

We really need to remember, forever and ever, how absolutely reviled Bush became on a global basis. The only place he’s going to be welcomed in the world is in the protected confines of gatherings of the GOP faithful. Assuming they’re both still alive in 2012, it will be interesting to see if either Bush or Cheney will be allowed to show their faces at the next Republican National Convention.

Come to think of it, I’d love to see it.

It’s comforting to know that the adults are back in charge.

Major tip of the hat to Al Rogers @ Daily Kos for his great video and photo gallery.

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 by Richard Blair |

How Will GOP Whine About Obamas Eschewing Redecorating Funds?

Barack and Michelle Obama, like most Presidents, will do some redecorating of the White House. They’™ve hired the decorator already. Unlike other Presidents, they will not use public or nonprofit money dedicated to such work. Though most of us would find this to be proper, given the economy, the Republicans will find a way to whine.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Barack and Michelle Obama are given, as is every President, a budget with which to redecorate the White House. $100,000. There’™s also a nonprofit that helps with projects, the White House Historical Association, and Barack and Michelle Obama will not be calling on them for help either. But Barack and Michelle Obama, after hiring a bigtime designer, have eschewed public monies in redecorating a very public home. They are going to pay for it themselves. From New York magazine:

At a time when people are having trouble holding on to their houses, Barack and Michelle Obama have sensibly decided not to use taxpayers’™ money to renovate theirs. New presidents are allotted $100,000 to overhaul the White House residence and the Oval Office, and the Obamas hired Hollywood decorator Michael S. Smith (known, per his site, for mixing ‘œOld World classicism with very contemporary settings’). But the First Couple isn’™t spending that money. They ‘œare not using public funds or accepting donations of goods for redecorating their private quarters,’ says Camille Johnston, director of communications for the First Lady. Nor is the couple, who reported $4.2 million in household income in 2007 tax returns, using money from the White House Historical Association, a privately funded foundation that paid for a $74,000 set of china shortly before Laura Bush left town.

Yeah, this is admirable and it shows that the Obamas truly understand what people in the country are going through financially. And, yeah, this is what we have come to expect from the Obamas. They are not fat cats who rely on the public to do their bidding or to subsidize their lives.

The big question here is how the Republicans are going to whine about this turn of events. I’™m guessing there will be speculation on two fronts. First, the big GOP radio whiners will turn their expert designer eyes to the redecorating projects and trash them. Not a doubt they will use the word ‘œtrash,’ no matter the project. Then they will speculate that since Barack and Michelle paid for the improvements, they will try to take those improvements with them. Of course they’™ll make it up as they go along, paying no attention to facts. Par for the course.

Further, the ugliness on the Republican side will whine about the Obamas, rather than taking nonprofit money from the White House Historical Association, they are snubbing the group. Again, that will be completely made up and fictional, but most Republican whines have basis in fiction.

The most important point to make here is that redecorating the White House is not all that big a story. I’™m predicting that the Republican talking heads will make it so, or try real hard. To them a story that belongs in House Beautiful is fair game for their whining. That’™s their nature, after all, to whine whenever possible.

Monday, March 30th, 2009 by Richard Blair |

Obama to Reach Out to Bloggers? Pick Me!

Barack Obama is going to meet with liberal bloggers? I hope so! My 11 week old son is teaching me to raise my hand, and I’m ready for the press conference. I’ll be like some aging Arnold Horshak or something! Still, seems a good communications/media strategy to me. . .

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Well, you could do worse, couldn’t you?

Here’s the article in Politico where they detail the Obama communications strategy, and there’s this choice little nugget in there.

The highest-profile moments in the new approach have been well-noted, such as the president giving an interview to progressive radio host Ed Schultz and Obama calling on a reporter from the liberal-leaning Huffington Post at his first news conference.

But those moves are only part of a much larger strategy aimed at communicating directly with audiences the White House believes are more sympathetic to the president’s agenda – and one in which much of the work is being done by Obama’s top advisers.

On the day Obama released his ambitious spending plan, the administration put White House budget director Peter Orszag on a conference call with liberal-leaning writers. Senior administration aides have followed up by promoting the budget to local radio talk shows during morning drive time.

Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden’s economic adviser and a favorite of the labor-liberal wing of the Democratic Party, also held a conference call with friendly reporters.

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has done conference calls with black and Hispanic media outlets.

Obama himself plans to meet soon with liberal bloggers, according to an administration official. With little fanfare, he’s already sat for interviews with Black Enterprise magazine, Telemundo and Los Angeles-based Hispanic radio host Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo.

jack I’m here to volunteer. Seriously, whenever our Jack raises his hand stretching or whatever he does at 11 weeks old, we say something like, “be patient Jack, you’ll be called on soon.” Now I’m imagining he’s just waiting to someday attend a Presidential Press conference. Or maybe he’s telling his Dad. . . “hold your hand high, Dad, and Barack Obama will call on you!

OK, you all know I’ve got to do an obligatory post with a picture of Jack once a week or so, right?

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Lennon / McCartney Address the AIG Concern Trolls

In the current AIG bonus outrage, a face has finally been given to an amorphous economic mess. People are angry, and now they have a target (justified or not) for the vitriol being directed toward our current national circumstances. Radical social change, in the form of revolution, has been spawned from much less.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

Earlier today, I posted a link to a New York Times article on the heat that AIG executives are currently feeling. Needless to say, I’m not particularly sympathetic. While I don’t think anyone in the progressive blogosphere is overtly calling for a Marie Antoinette-style social accounting, there’s a certain visceral satisfaction in knowing that the AIG bonus kerfluffle is causing a bit of angst among the upper crust.

The NY Times article implies that AIG execs are scared for their families and children due to anonymous / unsourced “death threats”. That’s completely understandable, if true. However, I find it odd that according to the same article, none of the unidentified execs who’ve expressed this concern have actually contacted their local authorities. Wouldn’t it make sense that if someone were receiving such threats, that they’d be getting on the phone to their local constabulary and demanding that someone in law enforcement investigate the threats? Or that they’d at least be packing for a quick getaway to the house in Aruba for a week or two until the current shitstorm passes?

One other thing that’s caught my interest over the past few days is a variety of comments I’ve read regarding the potential for a populist uprising – AIG bonuses only having been the straw that broke the camel’s back. While some of the comments seem supportive, many of them work a variation on an old Beatles theme: “You say you want a revolution; we’d all like to see the plan.”

The funny thing is, the lyrics to the song, Revolution can be viewed as Lennon and McCartney’s parody answer to the concern trolls of their day. Or not. Pick your interpretation.

In the late 1960′s, at the height of the Vietnam war, The Beatles were trying to tell us something:

You say you want a revolution
Well you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well you know
We all want to change the world…

You say you got a real solution
Well you know
We’d all love to see the plan…

Both John Lennon and Paul McCartney were visionaries. We can argue all day (and probably a college semester worth of academic analysis) over the meaning of the lyrics. But if you view the lyrics in terms of current day discourse in internet forums, the words make a lot of sense as applied to the online “want a plan” concern trolls.

There has been no revolution in the course of history, including America’s own revolution in the 18th century, that really had a plan, per se. Revolution, peaceful or otherwise, has always been the spawn of perceived social injustice.

True social change happens because we, the people finally hit a breaking point. Revolutionary incidents just happen – there aren’t flow charts, power point presentations, war gaming, etc. – just a critical mass of pissed off people of regular means who have finally gotten tired of the status quo.

Revolution tends to be preceded by attempts to change the system internally. When those attempts are co-opted from the inside, or fail due to brutal oppression, people start to try to force the desired social change from the margins of society. Incident by incident, the margins start to push toward the center, and if / when momentum for change builds to a rolling boil, either the lid flies off the pot (violent revolution) or cooler heads from both sides reach for the heat controls and turn down the flame via accommodation of grievances.

But let’s be clear: revolution never starts with a plan. It begins with true anger (and disparate incidents) that eventually coalesce into a larger action. When that larger action grows sufficiently to become self-sustaining, change finally happens – and then the power point slides can be developed to map out a path forward.

Revolution is messy and untidy, by lack of an inherent plan or design. Lennon and McCartney parrot today’s concern trolls:

But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know you can count me out
Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright…

It’s hard to believe that anyone in a civilized society in 2009 would actually view violent civil unrest as a desirable outcome of social injustice, and we can all hope that it will never come to such a conclusion. But many years ago, long before the Beatles pressed their first vinyl, Thomas Jefferson expressed a “natural law” that even Clarence Thomas could get behind:

…That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government…

We’ve reached a point of national self-examination where it’s time to truly reconsider the direction we’re heading, and America’s contribution to global society.

Barack Obama was elected president on a platform of step-change, not incremental improvements. The 2006 congressional tidal wave that carried over to 2008 was born from the same desire. I opined many months ago that to affect real change, Obama had to be willing to be a one term president, and totally dismantle the status quo, no matter how loud the howls from the right wing oligarchs.

That’s the first stage of revolution described above: where attempts need to be made to work from the inside. And that’s OK, as far as it goes. If Obama is not willing to take the chances, and is not willing to be a one term president, then it’s easy to imagine that the margins will start to push on the outside of the envelope. That’s when it gets ugly.

We can all hope and pray that the need for such a radical social overhaul will never become so black and white, because there will always be charismatic (and less desirable) potential leaders ready to fill the void from the margins. The end result could be truly less desirable. Unfortunately, that is exactly the outcome that our government and its corporate benefactors seem to be courting.

Some days, it’s almost like they’re daring us.

Friday, March 20th, 2009 by Richard Blair |

Next Faux Controversy, Give it 24 Hours, folks

The Obama family has a new swing set for the girls installed on the White House lawn. the right wingers are bound to complain about this, even though the Obama’s paid for it with their own money. They will whine about it being on hallowed ground, or that it does not comply to regulations right wingers founght in the 1st place.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

The Obama’s got a new swing set for Sasha and Malia and installed it on the White House lawn outside the Oval Office. From the picture in the MSNBC article, it does not appear to have the regulation soft landing zone that is required for public recreation installations. I’m guessing conservative bloggers and then FauxNews will be whining about this within 24 hours. Anyone want to hold their breath?

Thursday, March 5th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Jindal: What Nickname Should He Get? Same Old, Same Old?

Bobby Jindal carried the GOP response to Barack Obama last night, about the only Republican in the country who is not tainted by the last eight years of Republican incompetence and outright corruption. But he spouted the same old tired Republican line, like a puppet, which means he deserves a nickname. Give us one, willya?

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Barack Obama made a well-received speech to Congress last night. He appealed directly to the American people, whether they are hurt directly by the recession or know people who are. And Obama was positive about the character of the American people and how that character, with leadership by government, will bring us to new heights. I liked especially how Obama framed the problems we are facing in terms of personal responsibility, and how the urgent needs of our country have been ignored in the last several years. Sure, Obama did not name names, but I’™ll name them. It was the Republicans. More on that later. First a taste of the Obama speech. From the transcript of the speech at the Washington Post:

Now, if we’™re honest with ourselves, we’™ll admit that for too long, we have not always met these responsibilities – as a government or as a people. I say this not to lay blame or look backwards, but because it is only by understanding how we arrived at this moment that we’™ll be able to lift ourselves out of this predicament.

The fact is, our economy did not fall into decline overnight. Nor did all of our problems begin when the housing market collapsed or the stock market sank. We have known for decades that our survival depends on finding new sources of energy. Yet we import more oil today than ever before. The cost of health care eats up more and more of our savings each year, yet we keep delaying reform. Our children will compete for jobs in a global economy that too many of our schools do not prepare them for. And though all these challenges went unsolved, we still managed to spend more money and pile up more debt, both as individuals and through our government, than ever before.

In other words, we have lived through an era where too often, short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity; where we failed to look beyond the next payment, the next quarter, or the next election. A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future. Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market. People bought homes they knew they couldn’™t afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day.

Well that day of reckoning has arrived, and the time to take charge of our future is here.

Yeah, it is a day of reckoning, alright, and what we’™re reckoning with is the swath of destruction the Republicans have left in their wake. Policies of inaction and deregulation and senseless war and wasteful spending and rampant incompetence have left us in this mess. We’™ve got a lot of Republicans to blame, too. Bush, Phil Gramm, Cheney, Mitch McConnell, Bill Frist, Limbaugh, Perle, Boehner, Alberto Gonzales, and on and on and on. These are the architects of the wreckage that is our economy, our world reputation, our civil liberties and our sense of ourselves. Yeah, Barack Obama has an enormous task ahead of him, and the expectations are sky high. But we progressives can take heart that one thing is for sure. The Republicans are going to offer nothing more than do nothing and know nothing as their solution to the crisis. They are going to sit on their hands, neither owning the responsibility they have for the crisis nor offering solutions to fixing the problems.

It is telling that the Republicans put forth Bobby Jindal to deliver their response to President Obama’™s speech. Jindal, at least, is not complicit in the failed war in Iraq, he is not responsible for the Bush deficits, for the Republican march towards deregulation, for the Republican incompetencies, at least at the national level. After the last eight years, getting a McCain or a McConnell or a Bush to deliver the Republican response would be a bad move for the Republicans. so they bring in Jindal, not closely connected to the failures of the Bush years, but what he does is deliver the same tired old message, complete with straw men. How about this straw man, from CNN:

And Jindal rebuked the president for a remark made earlier in this month when Obama warned that without immediate action on the economy, ‘œour nation will sink into a crisis that, at some point, we may be unable to reverse.’

‘œA few weeks ago, the president warned that our country is facing a crisis that he said we may not be able to reverse,’ Jindal said. ‘œOur troubles are real, to be sure. But don’™t let anyone tell you that we cannot recover. Don’™t let anyone tell you that America ‘™s best days are behind her.’

This is the same tired Republican strategy. Take Obama’™s words, twist, then reapply. (Jindal does that throughout his speech, and .) No, Barack Obama never disparaged the American spirit. Jindal is dishonest to imply that. But that’™s the Republican plan, to get a leg up and win politically no matter ethics, honsesty or even what is good for the country. Given that they now whine about deficit spending while supporting it throughout the Bush Presidency, it’™s obvious that what they want is power to spend, and nothing more. (OK, power to spy on Americans, power to limit civil rights, power to . . . you get the idea.)

I’™m wondering at what they must think of Jindal. Hey, he’™s one who was only barely tainted by the Republican scandals and incompetencies of the past, but he’™s taking his marching orders, and they are exactly the stupid stances that Republicans have used all along. They’™ve shown that they are not for small government and not for fiscal responsibility, but Jindal persists in claiming those are Republican values.

Which brings me to the question. Jindal is relatively new to the GOP scene. what nickname can we give him? If Sarah Palin, who also echoes stupid Republican values while pitching the same old same old, is Caribou Spice, could we call Jindal Slumdog Barbie? No, no, Slumdog is much too optimistic for a Republican to steal the label. Let’™s call him Mumbai Gumbo, or something like that. There’™s the Republican support of outsourcing in that nickname, plus Jindal’™s own heritage, but there’™s that hint of Louisiana corruption, too. Now while Jindal seems not at all connected to Louisiana corruption, he’™s trying like HELL to be connected to the Republican Party, and that’™s about as corrupt as you can get. But these are not exactly the most polite nicknames, and I think the readers here can do better.

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 by Richard Blair |
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