Archive for the 'Obama' Category

Not Exactly Enemy Territory.

The President of the United States appeared at my alma mater yesterday. As usual, for the straight dope on what is going on at UW-Madison’s campus outside of the athletic department, I turn to UW Law School Professor, and Obama voter, Ann Althouse.

(And for the record, if I was a student now, I would have made an effort to go see the president. Because he’s, you know, the President of the United States and all.)

Instapundit’s observation of Ann Althouse’s photos of the attendees of the Obama rally at UW-Madison is golden.  Althouse’s commenters same observation is… er… goldener.  (If you don’t want to click-through, it’s observations about how much whiter the crowd is than a Tea Party crowd and someone wondering if UW-Madison would Photoshop in some diversity like they used to in the good ol’ days.)

I also enjoy the video Althouse posted:

What does it take for Obama to get booed at the overwhelmingly left-leaning humanities side of the UW-Madison campus? Why, talking shit about the Packers being beat by the Bears, of course. (Which faux-Chicago sports fan Obama thinks happens on Sunday, not Monday.)

Ever see the horror movie cliche where the protagonist’s best friend/mate/sibling has been turned into a zombie/vampire/some monster and is about to kill the protagonist, but just in time the monster’s last memory of humanity comes through and he hesitates just long enough for the protagonist to escape? That’s what’s happening there.

A bunch of white, liberal college Obama zombies sitting on a hill thinking: “Hope… Change… Hope… Change… Wait a minute… Did he just talk shit about the Packers? In Wisconsin?” The difference from the cliche being that the Obama Zombies momentary humanity didn’t do anyone any good.

And I also agree with Althouse that his line about swinging up from Chicago to party in Madison is bullshit. Mostly because he looks like too much of a lightweight to survive a party that revolves around beer, schnapps, and whiskey rather than blow. But, Althouse’s commenter has a good counterpoint on this:  “Eh, I believe it. It has the air of a guy driving all night to hook up with a girl.”

I encourage you to go look at the rest of Althouse’s coverage, it’s pretty enlightening.

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Can McChrystal. Send down Petraeus.

McChrystal should be sacked simply because if his judgment is so bad that he lets a skeezy reporter writing something for Rolling Stone – Rolling Stone! – get him on record badmouthing his superiors, he obviously doesn’t have the judgment required to win the fight in Afghanistan.
Before any of this happened McChrystal was floundering. Obama has a golden opportunity: Use it as an excuse to replace him with Petraeus. Sure, it’s a demotion, but Obama can wrap it in a “he’s doing his patriotic duty and taking one for the team” speech and everyone wins. The country wins.  The people of Afghanistan win. Petraeus grows his legend and book advance fee.  And Obama looks like a competent commander-in-chief. They’d just have to make sure Petraeus stays hydrated.
The irony is that Obama won’t turn this into a win for himself and the country because what McChrystal and his aids said is true:  He has no idea how to handle this.  Any of this. If it doesn’t involve running for office or orchestrating deals in the senate he’s no good at it.

But I’ll hold out hope that he’ll surprise me on this. I guess he did let the SEALS kill those pirates.

UPDATE: I guess I should go on record that a half-assed firing of McChrystal without some kind of worthy successor lined up – James Mattis? – would be a disaster.  If Obama can’t find anyone, the best thing to do is accept McChrystal’s apology, admonish him, and send him back to Afghanistan to redeem himself.

This is bad news:  “Protocol dictates the next commander of the International Security Assistance Force  should be a general from another country.” If a non-American is put in charge in Afghanistan, everyone might as well all go home and save the time and treasure.

UPDATE 2: I am extremely pleased to be wrong. Obama did exactly the right thing.

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Hypothetical

If Bill Clinton brings down Obama, would it be politically feasible for Hillary to be the ‘12 nomination?

I think probably not, even if she’d want to be in such an unwinnable slot. So that would leave, who? Biden?

Not that I think any of that would ever happen. Rahm Emanuel is being set up to be the next Obama associate to be thrown under the bus and we’ll all be told that we shouldn’t worry ourselves about it.

The only way I could see it going all the way to the top is if someone makes the mistake of trying to throw Bill Clinton under the bus, because he won’t stand for it. But I doubt anyone will be that dumb. Then again, I didn’t think anyone in the cabinet would be the second to fall for an easily avoided “gotcha” moment.

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SWING and a miss.

What’s the deal with Obama’s cabinet? You’d think Napolitano would have been ready for McCain’s question after Holder got burned on it.

What is she doing during her 6 hour work day? Napolitano, like Holder, is a  lawyer. That bill took me all of 10 minutes to read. That really should have been a softball that McCain was lobbing her.  Instead she whiffed in a manner that made her look ridiculous.

If I was Obama, I’d get them all together and say, “The next one of you jackasses that shoots his mouth off on something without taking 10 minutes to read what you’re criticizing is going to have to answer to Oprah.”  Of course, that would require leadership.

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Kagan

Could Kagan be a stealth moderate? Those are some interesting finds at that link, but I’m not holding my breath. First, moderate SCOTUS nominees tend to turn into leftist SCOTUS Justices. Second, Obama knows her fairly well and must know what he’s getting. Right? Then again, Obama has not shown himself to be a spectacular judge of people.

However I will say that Kagan is head and shoulders above Obama’s other finalists in my view.  Sure, she was never a judge, but that might be a feature rather than a bug (see: William Rehnquist). I don’t understand why Kagan wasn’t nominated before Sotomayer.  Well, maybe I do. I’d theorize that it has to do with Obama’s obsession with being historical; first wise latina on the court and all of that. But if Kagan was put on the court in part  to try to win Kennedy, you’d think that would have been the priority.

I’m also getting a kick out of the gay-or-not-gay rumor mongering from the left.  I just assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that she is a lesbian. And because I’m one of those bigoted conservatives it didn’t make any difference to me either way, I’m just against her because she’s a woman (everything after the comma was a joke for those of you that are humor impaired). I was surprised to see this story yesterday.

In any case, it looks like the SCOTUS left wing line change is 2/3 done.  There’s just Ginsburg to replace before 2012.  (I’m hoping that Breyer tries to make it into a second Obama term and then… whoever… can replace him and break the perpetual 4-4-1 tie.)

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Play those race and gender cards.

“White heterosexual men, especially those of you that own property, we must stand together this November so that we may move our vision of government forward.”

Would you be disturbed by a politician making that statement? I’d probably look for the burning cross if I heard it. So why is what President Obama says at about 2:00 in this video any less disturbing?

I can’t see a reason it shouldn’t be.

UPDATE: Republicans should take that snippet about “undoing all we have done” out and use it in their campaign commercials. If only. If clones of Newt Gingrich won every seat available next year they Congress couldn’t undo all Obama and the 111th Congress has done.

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Moon Man

“The secondary motive is to make sure that we’ve canceled everything George Bush wanted to do, whether it’s the right thing to do or not,” says Schmitt, who served as chair in 2005-08 of the NASA Advisory Council, which oversees plans for America’s future in space. “The other thing is the Obama administration, including the president, is made up of people who do not really like what America has been. And our prowess in space is part of what America has been. And I think they would just as soon see us take a second- or third-rate status in that.”

Wow, them’s fightin’ words. How is it that this person has ties – honorary or other – to UW-Madison? I guess I’ll attribute that to some kind of mistake made by the higher ups.

I do find the “cancel every thing Bush did” theory interesting.  Obama ran on the fact that he was not Bush, who he painted as an awful president, even though he was running against a guy who was not Bush.  When Apollo 11 landed on the moon during Nixon’s presidency, there was an awful lot of talk about Kennedy’s dream being fulfilled.  Was one of Obama’s motivations to be sure we wouldn’t hear about Bush’s mission being fulfilled in 2020, seven years after Obama has exited the White House and is about as remembered as George H.W. Bush is now?

Normally, I’d dismiss that out of hand. If it were Bush, Clinton, Bush, or Reagan, I’d never think a president to be that shallow. However, we’re in the era of the kiddie pool presidency…

I’m not saying I buy it, but I do say it gives me pause now, where I don’t think it ever would have before.

In any case, I’m sure Scmitt’s comments will earn him a protest or face-pieing tonight at Engineering Hall in Madison.

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Credit when credit is due.

Award one point to the president.  I believe that brings him up to… three!

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Madness

For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack.

Have we slipped into some kind of dimension where Dr. Strangelove is a good reflection of reality? The whole point of a nuclear weapons arsenal is to make enemies think there is some kind of realistic chance we’d use them  under the right circumstances.

Hear that enemies? We’re leveling the playing field in your favor!

White House officials said the new strategy would include the option of reconsidering the use of nuclear retaliation against a biological attack, if the development of such weapons reached a level that made the United States vulnerable to a devastating strike.

Oh, well, the person chiefly responsible for the safety of Americans from foreign threats might reconsider if there are enough bodies. Take some polls, have some meetings, and see how to go forward.

I’m not a fan of the health care bill, the ever-ballooning deficit spending, cap and trade, and whatever other foolish political-economic game Obama’s running today, but this is what I was really afraid of when he took the oath of office.

In the year since Mr. Obama gave a speech in Prague declaring that he would shift the policy of the United States toward the elimination of nuclear weapons, his staff has been meeting — and arguing — over how to turn that commitment into a workable policy, without undermining the credibility of the country’s nuclear deterrent.

This is supposed to be a workable policy that doesn’t undermine the credibility of the nuclear deterrent? I think that the authors of the policy didn’t know what at least three of the words in that sentence mean.

Before you jump in to defend this, ask yourself: Am I being incredibly and willfully naive? (Hint: If you answered “no,” keep thinking about it.)

UPDATE:

Althouse asks: Did he really change anything? I understand her point – that really, if we would use nukes before we’d probably use them now. I’m not sure I totally agree with that. Having some level of ambiguity in our policy is useful. First, announcing outcomes to attacks ahead of attacks allows the attackers to use the predictability.  Second, I want the president – whether it is Obama or John Bolton (hey, I can dream) to have the freedom to assess and act with all the country’s resources at his or her disposal.  Obama has cut off his own options, or at least put self-imposed pressure on himself not to use certain options, and it’s silly.

Here’s an analogy – and tell me if you think it isn’t accurate. I have a 12 gauge shotgun in my bedroom closet and shells with an appropriate home defense load nearby.  Whould I put up a sign that says: “I have a shotgun. If you invade my home with a knife or baseball bat, I won’t use it, but I reserve my right to change my mind following the invasion. If you invade my house with a gun I will consider using it without reevaluation. “? No I wouldn’t. Why are we doing that as a country?

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Student Loans

I do agree somewhat with President Obama on the student loan issue: Between the government, banks, and students, there are one too many groups involved in the student loan process.

I know it’s not politically correct to say, but it is too easy to get student loans.  Money passing from the government to colleges with an understanding that some student, with no real understanding of the amount of money they are dealing with, will pay it back in the future is part of the reason that tuition inflates at a rate 1.5-2 times higher than inflation.  (And it’s not like they are getting much out of the extra tuition.) The easy money perverts the demand side of the supply-and-demand curve.

The federal government should not be guaranteeing these loans. Not only do they not really have any business doing it under the constitution, but in the long run, it is actually harming the very students it is purporting to help.

It’s not like banks weren’t willing to make unsecured loans to college students in the past.

So you only get a loan for half your tuition; so you have to go to UW-Oshkosh instead of a private college. It’s better than getting saddled with the cost of the scam the colleges are running on the students with the help of the federal government.

The worst part of the situation is that there isn’t really a private alternative. I just went through the process of funding my law school education. I had two choices: Pay cash myself, or run through the fed’s gauntlet. Believe it or not, I’d have rather dealt with Bank of America directly.

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Nice play, greatest author since Julius Caesar.

I wasn’t going to say anything about Obama’s shot at the SCOTUS, because, who cares? SCOTUS had the binding word.

But it has slowly been dawning on me how politically stupid it was: Almost all politically hot decisions are going to be 5-4 votes one way or another for the foreseeable future. So what does Obama do? He scolds the swing vote to his face in the State of the Union for the most recent majority opinion he authored.

Good luck to the next attorney trying to move Kennedy over to the administration’s point of view next term.

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Hadn’t heard anything about that.

I don’t care about this story, but I found this paragraph funny:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada described in private then Sen. Barack Obama as “light skinned” and “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” Obama is the nation’s first African-American president. [Emphasis added.]

I suppose it conforms to some rule of journalism to include the italicized sentence, but I wonder if we can just assume that everyone knows that at this point.

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Oooh! He book writes good!

You’ve probably heard this bootlicking quote from Rocco Landesmann, the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts:

[Obama] is the first president that actually writes his own books since Teddy Roosevelt and arguably the first to write them really well since Lincoln. If you accept the premise, and I do, that the United States is the most powerful country in the world, then Barack Obama is the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar. That has to be good for American artists.

Leaving aside the fact that there is some reasonable speculation backed up by interesting evidence that Obama did not write what is widely considered to be his good book, that Lincoln never wrote a book, that several presidents between TR and Obama have written books, and the logical fallacy involving Caesar, the intimation there is that Theodore Roosevelt did not write books really well.

Here are a couple of my prized possessions from my book shelves:

 

You can see I’m a fan of the books of Theodore Roosevelt, so I was surprised to learn that he did not write them well.

Or should I be listening to a guy who head the organization that thought Piss Christ” was worth $15,000? Well, let’s take a look:

Theodore Roosevelt was a prolific writer. He wrote authoritatively on an amazingly broad array of subjects.

Obama has written two books about… Obama. TR certainly had some autobiographical material in his books, but the difference is that Roosevelt had actually done something to write about when he wrote it.

But of course quantity does not mean quality. So the question is: Did any of Roosevelt’s writing transcend the self-serving, lightweight piffle that Obama wrote?

Let’s take one book in particular: The Naval War of 1812 by Theodore Roosevelt. Good ahead and give it a quick look, I’ll wait.

That book was so well researched and the data so well analyzed that it landed Roosevelt a job as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and was used as a text in naval colleges for decades. Sounds like a pretty well written book to me.

The “good” Obama book impressed Democrats and New York Times book critics. I suppose you could say that it helped get him the job of Senator and therefore President, but it probably had less of an effect on that race than Seven of Nine’s revelation that her husband once tried to nail her in a public place.

After weighing the evidence, I’m going to adjudge Rocco’s statement to be without merit.

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The sad part is that I’m not even surprised.

If they are going to keep making the Nobel Peace Prize more and more of a joke, I’m just going to recycle my same shtick every year:

The following conversation took place in the afterlife this morning:

Teddy Roosevelt: Say, Root. Remember when the dynamite magnate’s organization gave us a prize for promoting peace?

Elihu Root: Oh, yes. they gave you one for forcing a settlement in the war between Russia and Japan, and gave me one for arbitrating some peace treaties. Say, remember what you said to that Russian fellow. Ha!

TR: Oh yes! Quite bully!

Root: But what about the peace prize?

TR: Remember those fellows we met who also got the prizes? Albert Schweitzer, Lech Walesa, and Martin Luther King?

Root: Oh, yes. Quite interesting fellows who did a lot to help their fellow man. Old Woodrow Wilson also received one as I recall?

TR: What did I ask you about not mentioning Woodrow Wilson?

Root: Sorry, Roosevelt.

TR: But even Wilson… All of us did something to bring about peace, agreed?.

Root: Yes. Well, except for that unpleasant man they dragged out of here a few years back. Yassar something or other.

TR: Oh yes. Nasty business, that one. Even though we had something in common. Most of the individual winners of that award had never personally killed anyone.

Root: But what’s all the talk of this award all of a sudden. You usually just talk about the time you shot a rhino and the like.

TR: Well, it’s the fellow they gave the prize to this year – the new president Barack Obama.

Root: Oh yes, the negro Harvard man.

TR: You are supposed to call them African-American now, Root.  Though I just say “black.” Can’t stand that hyphenated business.

Root: A black president. If only the people who hated you for inviting Booker T. Washington to dine with you could see that. But you say he won the Nobel thing? Didn’t he just get elected? Or have I lost track of time again?

TR: No. He was inaugurated this January past. I can’t get used to these January inaugurations.

Root: So it was for something he did before his presidency?

TR: That’s the rub, Root. No one really understands what it was for. He hasn’t seemed to have done much at all which would qualify him for such a prize.

Root: What?

TR: He flies around America, Europe, the middle east and such giving speeches. (Flying! If only I had been President 50 years later.) But he doesn’t have much in the way of solid results which show the world to be a better place because of him.

Root: Surely he’s ended a war?

TR: No.

Root: Negotiated a treaty?

TR: No.

Root: Signed a treaty?

TR: No.

Root: So you weren’t pulling my mustache? He got the prize for winning the election and making speeches?

TR: As far as anyone can tell. Oh, he brings hope too.

Root: Brings hope? What does that mean if it is not backed up by action?

TR: I don’t know.

Root: I thought it was bad when they gave the old peanut farmer the prize, but at least he did something with the best of intentions.

TR: This may be worse than when they gave it to that fear monger two years ago. But at least they had a pretext then.

Root: I didn’t think it could get worse than that.

TR: I don’t know how we’re supposed to think much of this award anymore. We, and many of our fellow winners, brought about an actual improvement to the human condition. We helped end wars, poverty, and racism. Now you just have to say you want to and that is good enough to receive one. If they can not find anyone more deserving who has actually taken action for peace, then the world is in serious trouble.

Root: Quite.

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The Chicago Nolympics

I’ve always said “Never  ask a woman to marry you on the stadium jumbotron unless you are sure she’s going to say yes.” That times a million in this case. I don’t think Obama and Oprah thought they could be stopped when they combined their powers.

I have to admit, I thought Obama had gotten word that Chicago was a sure thing and was going to Copenhagen to claim victory. Now I think Mayor Daley must have pictures of Obama. There is some reason Obama stays loyal to the Chicago machine when loyalty hasn’t really been his strong suit.

It’s for the better anyway. The last thing a city as corrupt as Chicago needs is an Olympic boondoggle complete with slush funds and kickbacks. I’m sure the Daley crime family would have made out very well, but the Illinois Attorney General and US Attorney for Chicago probably just had a lot of work saved for them.

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Straw man

A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by substituting a superficially similar proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.

When he mentions “prominent politician” he’s obviously talking about Sarah Palin’s Facebook post:

The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

She uses, as Professor Althouse says, the colorful polemic “death panel” to get attention, but there is nothing about the “power to kill off senior citizens” (or Down’s syndrome babies) in her statement. And a Harvard Law grad knows that. He never refutes Palin’s actual point, but rather just calls it “laughable,” “cynical,” and “a lie, plain and simple.”

Agree with Palin or not, I wonder why if it is so laughable, the president doesn’t confront her position head on instead of using a straw man. (Added: Or just ignore it.)

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Awaiting enlightenment.

I look forward to hearing President Obama’s explanation of how the constitution authorizes him to create a public option health care system or require everyone to have health insurance in his speech tomorrow.

I figure since he was a Con Law teacher at University of Chicago’s law school we should expect an elegant, reasonable answer. Because as a “constitutional scholar” he has read the Federalist Papers a minimum of 10 or 15 times, right? So he couldn’t miss this quote:

Why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?
- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist, no. 84

So he obviously thinks that the constitution grants the federal government power to implement a massive administrative agency aimed at regulating every citizen. I’m just curious where it is. Surely the interstate commerce clause has never been used to “provide competition” for the private sector. The very idea of using the interstate commerce clause in that manner is perverse.

General welfare? Madison said, “With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” Meaning the exceptions should not be stretched to swallowed the rule, and if mandating that the individual citizen purchase health insurance is not stretching the exception into an abomination, what is?

But, I guess that’s why I’m just the lawyer who is in the Federalist Society for the chicks, and he is the “constitutional scholar,” so I await enlightenment.

UPDATE: After I wrote this, I thought about this in the context of more recent Constitutional jurisprudence. Isn’t forcing the purchase of health insurance going to run into problems under Griswold v. Connecticut and Casey v. Planned Parenthood? Or is choice and privacy of health care decisions only OK until it isn’t?

UPDATE 2: Hmm… After listening to the 9-9-09 speech, it seems the constitution has slipped the president’s mind. Again.

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Flag Yourself

Hey, Steven Crowder is stealing my material:

(Because that idea was so original no one could have possibly come up with it on their own.)

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Bush Administration is over. ACLU can stop pretending to care about the “CL” part of their name.

The ACLU calls the “flag@whitehouse.gov” thing troubling, but then says:

While it is unclear at this point what the government is doing with the information it is collecting, critics of the administration’s health care proposal should not fear that their names will end up in some government database that could be used to chill their right to free speech.

This just in – the ACLU is a bunch of God damned hypocrites. Oh wait, that’s old news…

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This e-mail has been pre-flagged for your convenience.

By the way, if any of you are lucky enough to get a personal e-mail from me, please be advised that I am blind carbon copying all of my e-mail correspondence to flag@whitehouse.gov. That way you don’t have to do it. And that way some poor White House staffer can read all about my son’s urinary tract infection, what I’m having for dinner tonight, reminiscence about that one time at Miller Park… whatever.

I wonder what the reaction would have been if in 2002 the Bush administration had a webpage that said “If anyone tells you something about the Patriot Act that doesn’t sound right, please forward the e-mail to flag@whitehouse.gov.” The hippies would have had to make their paper mache puppets two or three feet taller.

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