Lunatics running a school in Central California made a young man flying an American flag on his bicycle take it off, so that it wouldn’t offend people. Indeed. I express frustrations, particularly in light of the whole American public schools being funded by American tax payers thing.
Also, reading George W Bush’s new book has caused me to realize that the lives of Bush, Gore, Clinton, Obama and Bush Sr. are just like Mufasa’s ‘Circle of Life’ from the Lion King.
Professor, Director, and beacon of wit Doug Trouten joins me. He digs into the hubbub over the proposed cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero in New York City and notes that the whole issue is being wielded as a political weapon by many on both sides. Doug also analyzes the Obama administration thus far – specifically how far the youthful president has come from the hope of election eve to his current polling doldrums. Can he / will he move to the center? Does he know where the center is? Find out!
Lastly, Trouten dissects the new French law intending to fine shirtless tourists $48.
It’s time to think some deep thoughts. Time Magazine revealed it’s 100 Most Influential People Issue this week. We wonder in what state our world is, whenfolks like Lady Gaga, Conan O’Brien and Bill Clinton are wielding the most influence. Britain’s parliamentary election is this week. What would King Arthur have to say about the voters choices? Joe Mauer’s foot is injured and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was inanely blasting The West at the UN on Monday.
The interwebs lit up this week with news that the former Christian music starlet has been in a same-sex relationship for years. The immediate reaction had little to do with Knapp and was mostly directed against Evangelical-dom. On TV & across the verdant prairies of Facebook and Twitter it went a bit like this: ‘Those narrow-minded hosers in churches across the fruited plain drove another poor girl away! They chased her to exile on the beaches of Australia because of her forbidden love!’ The gale-force reaction proved that what was at issue was more than being gay or straight. The talking heads once more tried to make Knapp’s story a referendum on the belief that there are right things and wrong things. In today’s world, that sort of belief is approximately as popular as polka’s greatest hits. Since Evangelicals are the largest and most influential group out there still cleaving to the quaint notion that right and wrong exist – they’re the favorite target for folks who don’t want to deal with such thoughts, and time’s like these are prime chances to sling ye olde mud.
The buzzword in a lot of Christian circles after the news was ‘love’. People were angry that other believers weren’t reacting to Jennifer in love. This is a fair and important point! Nobody should be bludgeoning the young lady. At the same time, the ‘love’ camp would be wise to reserve some of its commentary for the fact that homosexuality is… well… wrong. There. I said it.
Bill Clinton Really Was Better for the Dems than Barack Obama.
Bill Clinton was back in the news this week, saying that angry Conservatives like Palin, Limbaugh, and Beck were probably going to incite some lunatic to blow people up. That comment was reckless and irresponsible, but Clinton’s reappearance reminded me of how he operated. He mastered the art of wafting all over the political spectrum – placating liberals with traditional leftist support for abortion and gay rights, while also appealing to folks on the right with things like welfare reform and balanced budgets. Clinton watched the latest poll numbers like a vulture circling a bunny in the forest. They were sort of his compass.
Barack Obama does not concern himself with such poll watching. It appears he has a moral and ideological compass! Unfortunately, that compass appears to veer unceasingly to the left. Since becoming Chief Executive of America Inc., he’s pushed with every sinew of his liberal being to bring health care, stimulus bills, leftist judges, and climate legislation into being. When he’s been defeated, he’s simply lowered his crown and pushed even harder.
Both Democrats were or will be (in Obama’s case) treated to massive losses in congressional elections in their first mid-term trial run. But whereas Clinton was able to defeat Bob Dole for a second term in 1996, telling voters he was a moderate who looked out for everyone, Obama will be forced to run as the liberal purist he has been in office. For the Democrats, wish-wash Clinton is proving to have been healthier than pure-as-the-driven snow Obama.
Social Justice Is Everywhere!
Including places you wouldn’t expect them. Last weekend I was in Minneapolis and attended one of the campuses of a well known church that’s widely known as a theologically conservative fiesta. The senior pastor – who may or may not be an internationally recognized author / speaker / tweeter – was gone and a fill in occupied the pulpit. Halfway through a rather whimsical sermon, the guest orator made the comment that he was, “So tired of hearing about dead white men and their great awakenings!” I was a bit befuddled at the seemingly out of place and purpose-less comment until my friend explained that it was a buzz-phrase of a modern group of folks who belief much of Christian history to be completely outdated and un-useful because it was lived exclusively by white folks. Reverse-racism anyone?
People in England Are Really Befuddled on Who to Elect to Parliament. WHY?!
The first British parliamentary election since the Tony Blair years will take place on May 6th. The liberal Labor Party has been calling the shots in Great Britain since 1997. That’s thirteen years!!! The main contenders are Labour and the Conservative Party. The leader of the party with most seats in the House of Commons becomes Prime Minister.
Britain’s piece of the world-wide recessional pie has been even less tasty than most, and much of the blame lies squarly at the door of current Prime Minister, and non-impressive-Scot, Gordon Brown. Before taking over from Tony Blair several years ago, Brown directed England’s finances as the British equivalent of our Secretary of the Treasury. Brown spent and borrowed and spent some more in the good years. Then, when the bad times came, he convinced everyone that the thing to do was spend and borrow even more because the economists said it was neccessary.
Why in the name of Churchill and the Beatles would the Brits even think of sending this man back to power?! Has the grand island become that depend on all the fluffy luxury of cradle to the grave socialism? Unfortunately, Brown has remained within striking distance in British polls – though most show Conservative leader David Cameron slightly on top. A new wildcard has emerged in Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrat party. Apparently Nick did well in the recent (and first ever) TV debate and folks are flocking to his 3rd party as well now, creating quite a complicated mess of politicians. Here’s hoping the British ask themselves when liberalism has ever worked for them in the past. The answer might be instructive.
Kate Gosselin Is Wrenched Away from Her Children… to Do a Reality Dancing Competition? EXCUSE ME?!
This is just…
I’m sorry, but why are you crying, Miss Gosselin? You’ve been torn away from your children to do what? Dance with the stars? Those same children that you raised on television… on another reality show? Did someone force you to dance with the stars?! Your book sales and tv royalties weren’t satisfactory to keep you with the chillun?! This was necessitated by your poverty?!!!
God loves Kate Gosselin, but I sure don’t care for her.
There’s a new kind of flip-flop in Washington. The power flip flop. One day the Republicans are flying high with their man on Pennsylvania Ave and good footing in both houses. The next, Democrats are on top with a majority in the houses and their man in the Oval office. Then an election spins out of control and into the headlines in Massachusetts and suddenly the top dogs are scrambling to keep their footing again. Up and down and in and out, Republicans and Democrats all vying and campaigning to win their seats and stay in power.
Which, for me, begs the question, are the politicians in Washington too busy being representatives of their parties to be representatives of the people?
Consider. In Massachusetts there was a mad scramble of last minute campaigning by the Democratic party to try to save Ted Kennedy’s seat from the hands of an upstart Republican. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both put in appearances to this end, though in vain. Why? To get a Democrat back into the house. The desires of the people of Massachusetts seemed irrelevant (note: this is the second time in this paragraph that I have spelled that state correctly on the first try without the assistance of spell check), for when the desires of the people seemed to challenge the power of the party, the party flexed its muscles against them.
Last I checked the purposes and desires of our founding fathers, the goal of representative government was to represent the people of the nation, not some power hungry political party. The shift has been subtle, but its effects can no longer be ignored. No wonder the people of this country, and particularly young people, are disillusioned, cynical and frustrated about the government. They feel like they have no voice in the goings on of our country, and it is beginning to seem that this perception is not far off.
What a radical day it would be if a Democrat or Republican began to run for office in a particular state or district and then dropped out on the grounds of “I cannot accurately represent the needs and desires of this constituency; my opponent will do a better job of that for these particular people than I” instead of scrambling, biting and clawing to win a seat for their party, regardless of the good of the people.
Obama ran under the banner of “change” and said he would be a new day for the American government, would encourage bipartisanship, would consider all interests, and even a few weeks ago derided the “permanent campaigning” of Washington politics. A funny thing from the mouth of a man who scant days before had himself been campaigning for Coakley. He has not brought change to Wasington. He is a democrat, representing the democratic party, and trying to work with republicans representing the republican party.
All America wants to know is when someone will show up in Washington who wants to represent people instead of a party.
In the past few days, Republicans have been feeling an extra ounce of chutzpa with a surprise election victory in liberalisms’ heartland of Massachusetts. In the wake of this shocker, the prospects of Obama-care’s success have receded like so much tide when pulled by the moon (that’s how that works, yes?). Anyway, President Obama has decided to respond in the most serious and potent way he knows. And so, tonight, he is giving a speech to congress. Come join me as we learn how things really is (yes, that was on purpose)…
8:02 PM – Michelle Obama is cloaked all in purple. I’m reminded of Dwight Schrutes’ beet farm.
8:06 – “Madam Speaker, the President of the United States.”
Here he comes – striding & glad-handing like the days of yore.
8:07 – Harry Reid lurking behind the President. I imagine he’s treasuring every moment he has in the capitol these days… come November he’s expected to receive the boot from Nevadans. Call it ‘receiving the Daschle’ if you will.
8:10 – *Prez begins his ‘thank you’s*
8:12 – ‘Times are tough.’
8:13 – ‘George Bush handed me a harrowing, ugly & bludgeoned economy.
I have mostly fixed it.’
8:14 – ‘I have done so many things!’
8:15 – ‘Children write me letters asking me why they have to move…
They need change.
They are angry.
Wall Street stinks.’
8:16 – ‘Let me tell you about these letters…’
8:17 – *Reprising FDR*
‘Government should be decent. Let me teach you how to be decent people.’
8:18 – ‘ Boy, those banks are sure ripping everyone off.
8:19 – ‘Man, I hated that bank bailout… we needed it, but I sure hated it…
Did you remember that it was George Bush’s idea???!
Let me tell you – I have invented a new fee for those banks!
*first split screen shot showing partying Dems doing standing O while Republicans sit and stare at Pelosi’s blingy necklace*
8:20 – ‘I have cut taxes. For parents. For children. For college students. For cartoon characters. For cougars!…’
Obama – “I thought I’d get some applause on that one.”
8:22 – ‘We have created / saved / pulled from the clutches of greed 2 million jobs.’
‘The stimulus bill was awesome and everyone loved it.
Economists all say so. It would have been a disaster without it.’
*Break for extended story time*
8:24 – ‘I have saved the economy. Now we need to pass a new jobs bill.’
8:25 – *The Republicans just gave their first faux cheer after Obama explained that businesses drive the economy. He looked as though he was hoping people would be impressed he’d come to that conclusion.*
8:26 – ‘Let us take from the rich and give to the poor.’
Wall Street is King John? He IS Robin Hood!
8:27 – ‘WE NEED FASTER TRAINS! I have decided to build really, fast, trains.’
8:28 – ‘We will pay people for being green (pilgrim).
This will help us save. See?’
8:30 – ‘George Bush destroyed an entire decade!’
8:31 – I am not a part of Washington. Washington is out to get you. I am for the people. I am just the President. I am not part of Washington…
We need to be more like China.
We are better than China.’
8:34 – ‘Let me tell you about some other things I’ve done… I invested in some sort of solar power that will probably cure cancer…
I have invested in newfangled batteries…’
8:35 – *He wants to drill for oil offshore!!! Wow. Where is this coming from?!*
‘My cap and trade bill will do great things!’
*Ohhh no… we’re back to that again?!…*
‘I know no one likes it.
People who disagree with ’overwhelming evidence’ for climate change obviously didn’t go to Harvard like I did.’
*GOP lawmakers start giggling*
*Obama snarls in their general direction*
8:37 – ‘I will double our exports in 5 years!’
Are you going to knit hats and sell them at a swap meet in Brussels?!?
8:39 – ‘I have given children the ability to read.’
*camera shows Secretary of Education… I’ve never seen that guy!*
8:41 – ‘Time to take college loans out of the private sector and give the responsibility to those who really know what they’re doing – the government.’
This is not socialism. This is the government giving you everything you need. There’s a difference. Really.
8:42 – He’s cleaving to his health insurance reform bill!
‘I know no one like my health care bill. Let me tell you a story from a letter I got…’
8:46 – ‘The more I spend, the more the deficit goes down… see?
I went to Harvard.’
8:49 – ‘Remember when Bill Clinton filled the land with wealth, prosperity, and pride?.
Remember when George Bush destroyed everything and made kind, tender grandmothers who bake cookies cry?!’
8:51 – *Prez proposes spending government freeze for next 3 years.*
8:55 – Super awkward moment: Obama tells Dems not to worry, spending freeze won’t take effect until next year…
Republicans burst out laughing…
Obama, clearly miffed… raises his finger like a bespectacled schoolmarm and lectures to them:
“That’s how budgeting works”
This makes Republicans laugh even harder.
8:57 – ‘I don’t work with lobyists.’
*Republicans laugh yet again*
8:58 – Obama lectures Supreme Court, sitting write smack in front of him, for striking down John McCain’s campaign finance reform bill as unconstitutional.
Supreme Court looks ticked and somewhat spooked. Sorta felt like Obama was pulling a Vito Corleone for a moment and the Supremes might want to worry about sleeping with the fishes sometime soon…
8:59 – “I’m not naive”
9:00 – “We can’t wage a perpetual campaign”
9:01 – Everyone else is motivated by politics. I am the embodiment of the will of people.
9:03 – “I’m not interested in litigating the past”
You certainly can sir. Choosing a dog is a difficult, difficult decision…
9:20 ‘We don’t quit, I don’t quit.’
AND SO IT ENDS!
Not only did President Obama not turn to the center as many had prophesied he would do… had to do tonight. Instead, he rooted his feet squarely into his idealogical ground and told us all (Massachusetts especially) that we were wrong and he was right. After a year of so, very, many, words and Blame It On Bush… methinks the veneer is beginning to wear mighty thin.
I’ve read precisely 6 pages of the new and explosive book Game Change, and already it has more than paid for itself in sheer political mirth. It is unfortunate that Senator McCain did not have this book during the campaign in ’08. If he had, he could have centered his entire campaign around the assessment of one Barack Obama given on the eve of Iowa’s Caucus and detailed on pages 5 and 6.
The ones offering said assessment? Bill and Hillary Clinton.
But mostly Bill was enraged with the media, which he believed had brutalized his wife while treating Obama with kid gloves. This is bull****, he said. The guy’s a phony. He has no experience, he has no record; he’s not nearly ready to be commander in chief.
“He’s a United States senator,” Hillary snapped. ‘That’s nothing to laugh at.’
He’s only been in the Senate three years and he’s been running the whole time for president, Bill replied. “What has he really done?’
‘We have to be real here – people think of that as experience,’ Hillary said.
It was perhaps the most interesting thing to happen in months, but did you even hear about it? Two men took to a stage Friday night in Toronto. One was elected to office on a pledge to end the morally toxic climate he believed the other had created during his White House tenure. And just a decade earlier, that other man defeated his stage mate’s father in a bruising campaign for the presidency, and then proved one of his most dedicated and vocal critics throughout his presidency. These two titans of American public life had spent the last two decades as the most influential figures in US politics. But on this night, as the first man put it, their titles and policies fell by the wayside – it was just “The Bill and George show”. And what a show it was – for the two legends on the stage in front of 5,000 in Toronto were none other than former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
While you would have needed to lay down at least two hundred (some paid as much 2,500) dollars to have a seat in the Canadian hall to hear these former chief executives discuss global policy, I can’t help but think it would have been worthwhile. The even, hosted by a Toronto financial powerhouse, had a lot of folks wondering whether the two might come to verbal blows. After all, it would be difficult to find a pair more polar opposite ideologically and in their experiences. Instead, they were quite civil – you could almost bandy the term friendly if it struck your fancy. Instead of attacking, they defended each other. On Darfur, Bush went to Clinton’s defense. Discussing fighting global Aids, Clinton praised his successor. Where they disagreed – gay marriage, the Iraq war – they were also loathe to take it to a personal level. The night presented a tremendously compelling new chapter of political history.
Although it seems an eternity ago, if you strain your memory hard enough you can almost hear the sounds of the year 2000. Governor George W. Bush of Texas rode a wave of popularity in his homestate to the Republican nomination for President and held a steady polling lead over his opponent. Bush represented something new – he would marry the conservatism of Reagan and Gingrich to an interest in traditionally Democrat issues of Social Security reform and education. He was fresh faced, born again, and heir to a political brand that suddenly looked like a needed change. It beckoned so strongly because eight years of Bill Clinton’s presidency had left the nation in great economic shape, but feeling more than a bit tired of character lapse and scandal in the White House. In an erie parallel to the Obama campaign of 2008, George W. Bush ran far more against William Jefferson Clinton than against Al Gore Jr. Bush was relentless in his message that the Clinton years had sullied the nation, and he could bring the change Americans needed. Three debates, two conventions, and an October DUI surprise later – Bush beat both Gore and Clinton. It was the narrowest margin in the history of history, but a win it was.
What a difference eight years makes, and how quickly we forget. George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will always represent markedly different things, but it bears note that the job of President is so grueling and difficult that these men see in each other one of the few people on planet earth who could ever really understand what the other has been through.
Karl Rove out with a piece defending the Bush years. I always find it surreal and interesting to read about historical events from someone who helped to shape them. Along with Richard the Bruce Cheney, Rove is probably in the top three people most loathed by lefties. I can’t really imagine any higher praise. My favorite part of the Rove article:
But despite facing challenges and crises few others have, the job did not break George W. Bush. Though older and grayer, his brows more furrowed, he is the same man he was, a person of integrity who did what he believed was right. And he exits knowing he summoned all of his energy and talents to defend America and advance its ideals at home and abroad. He didn’t get everything right — no president does — but he got the most important things right. And that is enough.
The one major disagreement I found I possessed with Rove’s writing was the portion where he cast the President as implementing “spending restraint”. I don’t really pretend to understand everything that happened leading to the spending binge that’s taken place in the past years, but I do know that term can’t hold hands with G W Bush, much less give him a smooch. That said, I still like and admire the man… I do believe history will add a much sunnier disposition to his presidency.
Mentioned several days ago the way that the media seemed to be equating the accidental, yet tragic, deaths of Palestinian civilians with victims of Hamas’ suicide bombings. This eve I stumbed across an article in the Wall Street Journal written by a hoser who interviewed Benjamin Netanyahu… which is not only fun to say but is indeed a human person who might be the next (and former humorously enough) Prime Minister of Israel. Therin, a beautiful quote from this man regarding the civilian casualties in Palestine and the cold reality they underscore:
“We grieve for every child, for every innocent civilian that’s killed either on our side or on the Palestinian side. The terrorists celebrate such suffering, on our side because they openly say they want to kill us, all of us, and on the Palestinian side because it helps them foster this false symmetry, which is contrary to common decency and international law.”
The write-up also mentions that Netanyahu didn’t get along with Bill Clinton when he was Prime Minisutr. That is to say that Clinton was not Prime Minister but indeed the President of the United States. Which was unfortunate. Anyway, another gold star for this guy – that can only betoken good things.
SI.com says the Houston Astros have asked Roger Clemens not to show up at Spring Training this year. Kinda emotional for the guy – what with being a rather significant person at one point. Probably a tactical error with the steroids, sir. Probably.
I discovered just now that I had been able to creatively tuck away the horrifying memories of the one hundred and sixty-third game of the Minnesota Twins season just concluded. Time really does heal! The Star and Sickle saysNick Blackburn is healthy and ready to bust up some peeps this year. Also points to some interesting stats about his run support lackage and amount of garnered double plays that makes me appreciate the bloke more.
Lastly, I once again have a crush on Rebecca Saint James.
How about that public television?! Emmy winning stuff, man.
Mike Huckabee’s new book is coming out on Tuesday. Do the Right Thing is subtitled “Inside the Movement That’s Brininging Common Sense Back to America” and tells the story of how the former Arkansas governor went from being a folksy longshot to the man responsible for giving us John McCain, Republican Presidential Nominee.
Happened to catch the cinematic classic, Hook, this morning on TBS. That scene where the multi hair-hued mermaids are giving Peter mouth to mouth has always disturbed me. Dustin Hoffman’s Captain James Hook is an empire though. You almost have to pull for the guy to win the final just because of the epic nature of his verbage and being.
Newsweek passes along this golden nugget in their recent special edition ode to Obama:
…Bill Clinton perfectly understood why Obama saw a golden, possibly once-in-a-lifetime, opportunity. The former president believed that the mainstream press, whose liberal guilt Clinton understood and had exploited from time to time, would act as Obama’s personal chauffeur on the long journey ahead. “If somebody pulled up a Rolls-Royce to me and said, ‘Get in’,” Clinton liked to say, with admiration, and maybe a little envy, “I’d get in, too.”
The new episode of Desperate Housewives this evening is billed as the biggest of the season. And that is really saying something.
Sarah Palin, on Wolf Blitzgreig’s Late Edition, now has taken to wearing bling. She has donned a huge “Alaska” brooch to her tunic. She also hasn’t made up her mind yet about whether Comrade Pelosi and the gang on the hill should bail out the car producing hosers in Detroit.
There is absolutely no way I could hold my body up with my fingertips grabbing a precipitous ledge. At least I know.
Today’s Coleman’s lead over Franken stands at 206 votes. This is becoming the political equivalent of “The Song that Never Ends” from Lambchop’s Play Along.
Senator Jim Demint is saying Uncle John betrayed Republican principles during the campaign. He cites his support of the original bailout deal as the “last nail in the coffin” but also mentions his immigration refom ideas and tree embracing tendancies in the senate as further proof that he may not have been a wise pick. That was plucky.
Another McCain note – I stumbled upon this letter to the editor of the Minot Daily News today. If I understand the sentence structure correctly, this gentleman not only thinks John McCain is a better orator than Barack Obama, but believes he is the best public speaker in the country. Additionally, he thinks McCain’s loss was the greatest political comeback in history. Gotta admit, that exhibits a good deal more gutsy-ness than Senator Demint.
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