President Obama delivered a very pretty salad of crowd pleasing palliatives in Cairo about 19 months ago which contained applause drawing words like “freedom and democracy” “justice and tolerance,” and the always popular
The 6000 word address was similar to others he delivered during his 2008 campaign and since, to various audiences composed of disparate groups like labor and business, left and right, wall street and main street. The basic template of this address nearly always brings good reviews.
The intent and effects are the same; to calm the nerves of this or that group, to buy some time or a few points in the polls while hand to hand combat continues behind the scenes in the vaudeville of American politics. These speeches aren’t new, most presidents have hiked the same trail. The words that make up the applause lines are shifted and altered to suit an audience that changes like the antique backdrop of a silent movie. (more…)
In a recent poll, respondents report that if the republican front runners are suddenly raptured off the planet, Rudy Giuliani would be the only one left on the list who looks good in a little black dress and would become the favorite to win the nomination.
Rudy would be the favorite…that is, unless Barack Obama continues his inexorable creep to the right.
The President’s SOTU speech last night sounded as if he and his wordsmiths had just returned from a long sojourn in some fairyland where full employment and economic justice prevail.
What he offered in his address was more of the same hollow panaceas, noble sounding bromides, continued wars, more tax cuts for business and spending cuts for the rest of us.
His stomach for kowtowing to republicans and the economic power elite may have been the model for the new Starbucks size.
Given another two years of moving toward and through the center, I expect that Obama may win the CPAC straw poll and be elected as a Republican in 2012.
Barack Obama State of the Union 2011
Full Text as Delivered
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:
Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the 112th Congress, as well as your new Speaker, John Boehner.
And as we mark this occasion, we are also mindful of the empty chair in this Chamber, and pray for the health of our colleague – and our friend – Gabby Giffords.
It’s no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that’s a good thing. That’s what a robust democracy demands. That’s what helps set us apart as a nation.
But there’s a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passions and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater – something more consequential than party or political preference. (more…)
“Five Keys to the State of the Union Address,” reads one headline, “What Obama Should Say at State of the Union,” reads another. From cable channels, to the opinion pages and across the tubes of the internet, the dominant babble, today, yesterday and tomorrow is the SOTU.
Provided for in the constitution in article 2, the state of the union address is among our most treasured and enduring annual exercises in political theater and pointless blather.
Article II. Section 3.
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
In my reading of this section I fail to find the words “interminable and boring” but over the years those two terms have come to describe the event that has become a deeply entrenched tradition on the 3rd Wednesday in January.
Steeped in protocol, (the actual Latin word for bullshit) the President enters the great dome of our hallowed national chamber of public corruption, along the way receiving hugs, kisses, and handshakes from dozens of people who despise him. Every movement of all parties involved is meticulously scripted and choreographed as if the event were a royal wedding directed by the high priests of some obsessively constipated Druidic cult. (more…)
Barack Obama our “hope and change” guy, elected to return the reins of government to the people, has apparently seen the light. He has discovered that the best way to acquire the billion dollars or whatever he will need to gain a second term is to bring major business contributors into the White House and share office space with them.
Sitting on the opposite side of a giant partners desk just installed in the oval office will be Chief of Staff, former J.P. Morgan Chase executive William Daley and GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt who will be Chairman of the new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
“It may be a bit crowded at first,” said a presidential spokesperson, “but if it becomes uncomfortably cramped the President has agreed to share Joe Biden’s office in the Executive Office Building.” (more…)
With health care ‘repealed,’ GOP turns to climate change is the title of an article By Renee Schoof at McClatchy yesterday, in which She reports:
“Now that the House of Representatives has voted to repeal the health care law, Republicans say they’re likely to move soon to another target — a rewrite of the Clean Air Act so that it can’t be used to fight climate change.”
This falls on the heels of their now stalled attempt to rescind the last congress’ progress on health care, and return to the old Republican, Tea Party and compassionate conservative favored “Bring out your dead” system. (more…)
The two hundred plus guests at the White House for free chow and entertainment the other night included the heads of Boeing, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase or as they’re known around here, “the usual suspects.”
The fat cats lined up for a lavish spread, an open bar and a gala evening provided by the American taxpayer who was neither invited, welcome, nor I believe, much considered in the conversation. It was decent of us though to foot the bill for this formal introduction of the crème de la crime of our fading culture to our new landlord.
The theme for the evening was “quintessentially American,” with a menu that featured farm-fresh vegetables, poached Maine lobster, dry-aged rib-eye with buttermilk crisp onions, topped off by old-fashioned apple pie with ice cream. The entertainment, in the White House East Room, was the most quintessential of American music — a parade of jazz greats, including Herbie Hancock. Business Leaders Make Cut at State Dinner With Hu Huffington Post
That may be quintessentially American on Pennsylvania Avenue but down home we’re eating the quintessential bean soup.
Meanwhile the FBI, the NYPD and other assorted crime fighters were putting the final touches on a round up of more than a hundred Mafia members and criminal associates of New York’s five families and we’re not talking Astors and Vanderbilts we’re talking Gambino, Genovese, Lucchese, Bonanno and Colombo, guys with names like Vinny Carwash, Baby Fat Larry and Tony Bagels. (more…)
Once again a country that experiences more violent gun deaths than any other country on Earth has been shocked by a maliciously motivated madman with a gun. The talk all week from the various electronic chatterboxes has been guns, their control, their abuse, the somehow sacred right to possess them…guns.
In a darkly funny piece written in the bleak light of the Arizona murders Elayne Boosler relates her experience with writing and speaking her views about guns, gun control and the NRA and includes a couple dozen responses to her essays and twitter posts on the subject.
Her columns and tweets were in favor of controlling guns, they were measured, reasonable and since she is a comedian with a flair for writing humor they were funny, and like the best humor, there was an element of tragedy or darkness woven into their fabric. (more…)
Somewhere in the quiet hollers of Tennessee history is being made…up.
I saw this coming last week when a publishing house decided they would get better sales of Huck Finn if they rewrote it to reflect our modern sensitivity to the truth.
Just hit “ctrl f” on the keyboard, enter the word you wish to remove, then enter the word you wish to exchange for the offending word or passage and hit the enter key.
Almost instantly 219 offensive words are replaced with something more appealing to the modern palate, just print it and you’ve changed history, straightened out the present and saved the republic.
This works as well for paragraphs, passages, even chapters. Bad actors disappear and are replaced with more agreeable characters, unfortunate events, years, decades, entire centuries swapped for happy days. (more…)
Tom Delay and his lawyer are making piteous crying noises over Tom’s conviction in Texas for money laundering.
I think the prosecution made their case admirably, hence the conviction and jail sentence.
I for one, and I’ll take odds that there are many others, will thoroughly enjoy the sight of the “Hammer” in an orange jump suit or whatever prison fashion calls for in the Lone Star State.
Justice though, is never perfect, and it’s just possible that his peers acted in error and convicted poor Tom because they saw him cavorting in tight red pants on “Dancing With The Stars.”
The judge saw it too, hence the long sentence.
The President is a master of rhetoric in situations like this; ‘I Want America To Be As Good As She Imagined It,’ is a phrase that will live long in the recorded history of these tragic murders and criminal assaults.
It’s unfortunate that we won’t apply the words to our behavior in areas related directly to this event, as in improving delivery of mental health care, being much more careful about who has access to guns, or taking people to task for incitefully violent public commentary.
It’s even more of a shame that we refuse to listen to this young girl’s voice when we wage war on innocent people all over the globe, when we deprive or abet the deprivation of the availability of basic human needs, of clean water, food, shelter and dignity.
Shameful too, both here and abroad is our ongoing practice of locking people away indefinitely, without charges, submitting them to torture, without legal recourse, without evidence that they have wronged us, under the pretext of keeping America safe.
The differences between what our children imagine is America, and what is actual, what is true, should be required study for children in early grades to prepare them for the traumatic shock of the realities that lie in wait just over their horizons of innocence.
In the pantheon of America’s gods, none is more powerful or worshiped with greater fervor than the god of violence. Its colleagues or brother gods of greed, sex, touchdown, slam dunk and bacon cheeseburgers all genuflect and grovel before the god of violence.
We didn’t invent this worship of violence, we carried it with us, packed neatly in our baggage when we arrived on these shores from every corner of the Earth during the long period of accretion of immigrants from the extensive variety of violent cultures that became the USA.
Nearly every new arrival carried with them a genetic history of human conflict and war and written histories of human violence tucked into the pages of their sacred texts.
We are though, among the few to have enshrined violence and its tools in our founding documents, offering to our citizens what some succinctly term a “second amendment solution.”
The state wages violence in our names every day and has for over two centuries and now publicly pretends that violence is an aberration. I’m sorry but violence is one of the constants in American history and culture.
As they say “politics ain’t beanbag,” in fact it was a violent sport long before Caesar’s senatorial welcome home from Gaul.
Et tu America.