November 2008

President-elect Barack Obama named Peter Orszag to the post of White House budget director, then went on to promise what every new President promises while introducing the new budget Director..”review the budget line by line, blah, blah, blah…” but as The Wall Street Journal mentions, there was a subtle detailed that made this press conference a bit different than the rest…while promising to kill programs “that have outlived their usefulness,” Mr. Obama specifically mentioned farm subsidies for the rich.

That’s a change from his previous position on the bill:

“I applaud the Senate’s passage today of the Farm Bill, which will provide America’s hard-working farmers and ranchers with more support and more predictability.”

What’s more, he slammed President Bush and Senator McCain for their opposition to the bill:

“By opposing the bill, President Bush and John McCain are saying no to America’s farmers and ranchers, no to energy independence, no to the environment, and no to millions of hungry people.”

Political hack that he is, President-elect Obama blasted the people who were doing exactly what he promised to do…curtail pork barrel, and accused President Bush and Senator McCain of playing politics, while he himself was the one actually engaging in partisan political games.

President Bush sought a $200,000 cap on annual subsidy payments, but instead Congress sent him a $300 billion bill in which nearly every crop, from corn to sugar, won subsidy increases. That bill set policy for the next five years.

Senator McCain, vehemently opposed the bill, and was blasted by the Obama camp for taking the same position that now the President-elect wants us to believe he is supporting, AFTER the bill has passed, and become policy for the next five years…one year beyond Mr. Obama’s term in office

“In today’s economy, when hardworking American families buy groceries they feel the sting of misguided federal agriculture polices. Instead of fine tuning our farm programs to improve their efficiency, we’ve allowed them to swell into mammoth government bureaucracies that generally exist to serve special interests at the behest of Congressional benefactors. Sixty-nine years after the Great Depression and the advent of the Farm Bill, well into the 21st Century, commodity prices have reached record highs. I believe American agriculture has progressed to the point where we no longer need government grown farms.” — John McCain

So, when given the opportunity to support cuts in subsidies for the rich, Mr. Obama supported them, instead choosing to attack his opponents for doing exactly what he now has instructed Peter Orszag to do.

Partisan politics as usual.

No change yet folks…stay tuned.


I just stumbled across the most incredible blog, a blog written by a young Cuban woman, from inside Cuba. She is defiant of the current “state of affairs” in the island, to the point of using her official government-issued ID as a banner, posting her likeness, her fingerprint, and even the names of her parents online…so that “they” know who she is should “they” ever decide to come get her.

The brave blogger’s name is Yoani Sanchez, and her blog is titled Generación Y, and here is why she posted her information online:

“In order to avoid the police fatiguing themselves by asking “identify yourself citizen”, I advance them all the data of my life.”

She is defying the dictatorship to come get her, and muses that her action could be contagious, and the “trolls”, who thrive in the refuge of anonymity and are intent on crushing her blog under the weight of their insults, could reveal their real identities just as she did.

This is a brave, and talented young woman…and her voice should be heard.

Here’s a small example of her work…her entry for 11/13/08

Savings Ants

Yoani Sanchez

My mother was walking with the bundle of clothes toward the cement sink, where brush and soap would whiten the shirts and clean the pants. The alarm would wash over my sister and I, as we saw the ingenious ants that transited under the still closed tap. So began the race to save part of the impudent ant colony, still foreign to the extermination about to be provoked by Mom, with water and suds. Crazy girls, the neighbors probably said, as they watched us recover the miniscule insects that they couldn’t even see against the grey cement.

With time and thousands of ants that I couldn’t save from the debacle, I came to understand that the insignificant is always at risk of being swept away. Revolutions and wars sweep away the small, with all that which doesn’t show up in statistics, or in the great tomes of History. The diminutive things that lend body and life to a society die when the tap of violent change and military conflict is opened.

The taste of a fruit lost in memory, an afternoon on the neighborhood sidewalk talking without a mask, a calf trotting on a field without fear of being illegally sacrificed, a cold glass of lemonade that didn’t cost an hour’s time in standing in line, they all form part of the ant colony as well, in spite of those “laundry women” who wish to cleanse and shake the nation, and think them only the whims of minuscule bugs.

I am still that fearful girl who wants to change everything, suspicious of those who propone to take a scrub brush to traditional structures. I place more trust in the smallness of the ants, in their constant walk, and their measured possession of the spaces. They who are still today being swept away by the gushes of water, one day will on their own turn off the tap.

Generación Y

There’s something about this video that makes me think of the upcoming Obama administration.

A Reuters story earlier this week confirmed something that 56 million American voters already knew…there’s nothing funny about an Obama administration.

“Obama’s election is great for our country but bad for comedy,” said Michael Musto, a columnist for New York City’s Village Voice. “He is an earnest, intelligent person trying to rescue a country in crisis and that’s not all that hilarious.”

There is nothing even slightly surprising about The Village Voice, in its 40th year as the paper of record of the liberal left, painting President-elect Obama in such a light…”an earnest, intelligent person” going about the grim duty of setting the course of a stricken nation straight.

The Village Voice mind you, had absolutely no problem comparing President George W. Bush to a chimp, and failing to note that he too was a President trying to bring a country back from a national crisis…the greatest national tragedy of our lifetime.

So…if it was permissible to refer to George W. Bush as a “chimp”, and equally permissible to call him “Uncurious George, is it then permissible to treat the President-elect in the same fashion?

Is my pointing out that Barack Obama and Curious George actually look alike funny, or racist?

Well, that depends I guess:

(But) as comedians try to find ways to poke fun at Obama, his race is unlikely to be the first place they look for material — that is for white comedians at least.

For black comedians, though, the sky’s the limit, said black comedian and “30 Rock” actor Tracy Morgan.

“The president is black, so obviously we’re going to make fun of every situation you could ever imagine about a black president,” he told The New York Times.

“White comedians have got to roll the dice,” he said. “If you go down that road, you better be funny.”

So, as a Hispanic, do I get to make jokes at the expense of Obama’s resemblance to the famed (and much better known) children’s book characater?

More importantly…will Joe Biden be forbidden to EVER wear a yellow hat in public?

(insert rim shot here)

So, after eight years of slinging mud at George W. Bush on a daily basis, predominantly left-leaning white comedians are going to have a difficult time coming up with political humor that sits well with both their ideological leanings, and the requirements of political correctness, while their black counterparts will be having a heyday with the “Brother In Chief”, and his “First Baby Momma.”

There’s something else about this Reuters article that inadvertently paints a very acurate picture of the politics of comedy in the US today…

“Comedy thrives when there are buffoonish targets,” he (Michael Musto from The Village Voice) said. “Traditionally shows like ‘Saturday Night Live’ have done best when dealing with people like President (Gerald) Ford, who couldn’t stand upright all the time, or (Bush) who couldn’t say nuclear, or Sarah Palin who didn’t know Africa’s a continent.”

No mention of the bumbling, inept peanut farmer who couldn’t keep his heart out of the gutter, or the lothario from Little Rock, who couldn’t keep his cigar in his pants…only Republicans are “buffoonish” in the eyes of comedy.

This from the pages of rejected “Twilight Zone” episodes.

Doctors in Arizona thought a Phoenix-area woman had a possible brain tumor, but it turned out there was something else penetrating her brain – a worm.

Rosemary Alvarez started experiencing numbness in her arm and blurred vision. She went to the emergency room twice and had a cat scan(sic), but everything came up clear, reported.

It wasn’t until doctors took a closer look at an MRI that they discovered something very disturbing.

“Once we saw the MRI we realized this is something not good,” neurosurgeon, Dr. Peter Nakaji told the news station. “It’s something down in her brain stem which is as deep in the brain as you can be.”

Video at Link.

I have no words…

There’s someone in my head but it’s not me. — Pink Floyd

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid canceled plans Wednesday for a vote on a bill to carve $25 billion in new auto industry loans out of the $700 billion Wall Street rescue fund. The Bush administration and congressional Republicans have rejected Democrats’ plan to dip into that pot of money.

Warning of economic disaster, a bipartisan group of senators from auto industry states are trying to reach a deal on an alternative package. If an agreement can be reached, Reid said the Senate still could vote on it as part of a measure to extend jobless benefits.

But Reid acknowledged that was “not going to be easy.”

With all sides sensing doom for a Big Three automaker rescue, the fingerpointing began. White House press secretary Dana Perino said that if Congress “leaves for a two-month vacation without having addressed this important issue … then the Congress will bear responsibility for anything that happens.”

The lame duck President and the lame ass Congress are playing “Ees not my yob bro!” games with the auto industry, as the prospect of its complete collapse is played out in the mainstream media. All this while the nation issues a collective GASP! at the news that the CEO’s of the Big Three automakers flew into DC to ask for $25 billion in tax payer money in their private jets.

But Congress sent them home packing…in their private jets, but sent home empty-handed nevertheless.

Nancy Pelosi demanded that they bring back with them a plan showing that the $25 billion would make them economically viable again:

“Until they show us the plan, we cannot show them the money,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif

Here’s the problem:

Even if lawmakers return to vote, they are likely to insist on numerous conditions on any loans. One possibility is to seek a partial ownership of the companies. Another is to limit salaries of top executives. A third is to prohibit use of the funds for any lobbying.

Not one mention of the Unions, and the billions in unfunded liability for their pension plans. THAT’S what’s making US manufacturers uncompetitive in their own home turf.

Here are a few eye-opening figures:

  • Average Labor Cost per U.S. Hourly Worker: GM $73.73, Toyota $48
  • Health Care Costs per Vehicle in 2004: GM $1,525, Toyota $201
  • Profitability per Vehicle (2005): GM losses $2,331 per vehicle, Toyota makes $1,488 per vehicle
  • North American Workforce: GM white collar 36,000-production 106,000-retirees 460,000. Toyota white collar 17,000-production 21,000- retirees 1,600
  • Number of Plants in North America: GM 77 all unionized, Toyota 12, three of them unionized.
  • Net Income in the First 9 Months of 2005: GM $4.15 billion loss from North America operations off-set by profits in Europe and Asia for an overall loss of $3.8 billion. Toyota $7.89 billion in profits.
  • The Democrats want the auto industry to “fix” everything except the real problem, because the real problem in our auto industry is a major Democratic constituency. So I expect that the Big Three will get their money, and the Unions will continue to sink the American auto industry into oblivion.

    The way this whole thing is shaping up, the Detroit Lions may not be the biggest losers in the State of Michigan this year.

    The US auto industry will be it.

    Jim Robinson and Free Republic got some positive press from the AP today:

    Free Republic, founded by Robinson in September 1996, doesn’t attract much attention from the national press and is not well-known among political experts. Many of its postings have a decidedly fringe feel.

    But long before Red State, Daily Kos and Little Green Footballs arrived on the Internet political scene, Free Republic was building an audience — and becoming a formidable political force among conservatives and libertarians that is admired even by some who disagree with its political philosophy.

    It’s a good write up for JimRob and the FReepers, and it only uses the word “fringe” once in the entire article, which is a huge concession by AP.

    Eight years of Clinton and the Internet boom provided the catalyst for FR’s growth, as eight years of GWB fed the growth of the left wing opposition sites like Daily Kos and Huffington Post, and like FR in the Clinton years, the left wing forums rallied and organized behind the Democrats in this election, becoming an effective source of funding and volunteers for candidates and their campaigns.

    The upcoming Obama administration will provide an intense battleground for Internet political activism forums, as the power of the Internet in politics was proved by the President-elect’s Internet agenda’s massive success; the Obama campaign is being credited with rewriting the rules for Internet campaign fund raising, and it’s now going to be up to the right-wing forums to rise to the challenge of helping turn America’s political wheel back to the right.

    We’ll double and redouble our efforts to fight for what is right,” Robinson says. “We’ve got people just spitting nails.

    The Democrats in control is a good thing for FR, and by extension Jim Robinson, who long before anyone ever heard of Barack Obama, had figured out that mixing politics and the Internet created wealth…and good or him! That’s how America is supposed to work; if you create a service wanted by many, then you should profit from it.

    I would give Mr. Robinson one small piece of advice:

    Create a Wikipedia Editing Chapter in FReepdom to fight back against those evil lefty editors.

    James C. Robinson, also known as RimJob, (born 1945), American conservative internet activist, known as “Jim Robinson”; founder, in 1996, of the moderated on-line forum Free Republic; filed for Limited Liability Company status in 1998.

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