Barack Obama’s 1st Joint Address: A Chronology

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From the Secret Service Report, POTUS, February 23, 2009

8:00p– Dresses in White House private residence, putting on pants both legs at one time

8:30p– Passes on car.  Elects instead to walk across the reflecting pool to the Capitol building.

8:50p– Enters Capitol Building.  Two doves briefly alight on his shoulder and a stream of brilliant sunlight through parted clouds shines upon him.  Which is all the more remarkable because it is night.

9:03p– Is announced to the joint session by the House and Senate Sergeant at Arms.  Nancy Pelosi swoons for the first time.

9:04p– Works his way through the crowd of lesser mortals – Congressmen, Senators, Justices, Admirals, Generals and the miscellaneous powerful.  Gives a manly handshake and hand-on-the-shoulder to the men folk and a suave peck to the ladies.  The men feel gypped.

9:06p– Greet Justices of the Supreme Court. Stops to lay hands on Associate Justice Anton Scalia who,  as touched, immediately experiences the terror  felt by all the wildlife he shot on hunting trips with Dick Cheney.  Scalia leaves the Chamber shortly afterwards, shaken, and begins writing a new opinion reversing  District of Columbia v. Heller.

9:08–Ascends the dais.  Nancy Pelosi swoons for the second time.  Shakes hands with VP Joe Biden (who, unfortunately, continues to wear his Gagworks hand buzzer) and Speaker Pelosi (who swoons for the third and fourth times.)

9:09p–Lays out agenda for American economic salvation.  Highlights includes plans to trim the national debt by replacing the Federal student hot lunch program with a Presidential loaves and fishes plan in which he will feed all students in America from one basket.

10:05p– Finishes speech and exits chamber to thunderous ovation. Nancy Pelosi swoons for the fifth time.  

10:15p–Walks back to the White House. Along the way parts the waters of the Tidal Basin to allow currents of bipartisanship to freely flow.

10:45p–Reaches White House.  Stops off in the kitchen and make cheese sandwich. Discovers mixing the Bleu de Gex  and Garstang Blue Lancashire cheese molds produces a cure for cancer.  Plans for morning announcement, right after securing permanent peace settlement in the Middle East.

10:46p– Nancy Pelosi swoons for the sixth time.

Funny thing, that.  At least half of the above probably happened.

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Fractackular

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I’ve been watching  the final season of the Sci Fi channel’s resurrected 1970s Sci Fic hoke-classic, Battlestar Galactica.  The current incarnation of this human-made-machines-out-to-destroy-humankind  saga is far better acted, has far better effects and a much more commanding dramtic plotline than did the original.  (In which Loren Greene, fresh from 200 years on Bonanza, played essentially Ben Cartwright in command of a Battlestar rather than the Ponderosa.  But we sci fi buffs found it cool because a) it was the only real sci fi on TV; b) it’s pre Star Wars effects were awesome for their time; and c) we were twelve  years old.)   And, being on cable, the show’s writers can take certain liberties with plot and language which a network couldn’t back in the 1970s.  A result of which is that, in watching the show these past weeks,  I’ve finally decoded the ultimate message of the Republican party.

And, no, it’s not that Republicans remind me of Cylons, the race of evil human-looking machines  that never eat or sleep, like to nuke puppies and toddlers and  wreak havoc  across the galaxy in their quest to pursue their Cylon-god driven destiny. I mean,  Dick Cheney, liked to eat, after all,   They have that on tape.  And I think he slept (though that “man-sized safe” in the VP’s office Jon Stewart used to joke about might have actually been a coffin).  But Dick Cheney did share a taste for diction with the Colonial soldiers and sailors who battled the Cylons, as does the Republican party in general.   Whenever Starbuck, the sexy and brooding tomboy ace fighter pilot, or Admiral Odama (played memorably by Edward James Olmos) is angered past propriety or the Colonial President is sick of the political squabbling or any other member of the human refugee community is caught in a moment of anger, panic or surprise they all have the same thing to say:

“Frack!”

Yes, the Sci Fi channel let the writers of Battlestar Galatica drop the “F-bomb” but, being basic access cable, it’s a watered-down,  kinder, gentler “F-bomb” than the one heard on premium cable. 

Which is just like the Republicans’ basic message to the American people (you remember the American people–that “bunch of whiners” as McCain economic guru  and former senator “Dr. Phil” Graham labeled them) .   Now Dick “F-Man” Cheney, wasn’t  above dropping the ‘F-Bomb” in full mega-tonnage on the  floor of the Senate itself.  And Rush is just DYING to drop it.  (And if he’s not careful one of these days he’s going to slip during one of his “Screw Them” rants and end up jostling for satellite bandwidth with  potty-mouth Howard Stern.  Oh to dream…)

 Most Republicans though try to water their F-bombing down,  wrapping it in clichés and pontifications just like the Battlestar writers had to replace a vowel and add a consonant.  But it all comes down to the same sentiment:

Republicans to America:  “Frack You.”

Detroit is burning to the financial ground last semester?  Congressional Republicans to the backbone US Industry:  Frack You.  America’s economy is burning to the ground right now. Congressional Republicans response to the stimulus package and the American people its supposed to help: “Frack You.” And a good Frack You to you too, Mr. “Just elected by the American  People by a clear popular majority as a rebuke to the last 8 years of GOP mismanagement & misjudgment  and still enjoys extraordinarily-High Approval-ratings of the level that should make the outgoing GOP president weep in shame and yet still stretched out a bipartisan hand which Congressional Republican’s partisanly spit in” President.

And its not just the current Congressional Republicans who’ve embraced the Battlestar battle cry.  It’s been the basic message of  Reagan Republicans to Americans for the last generation.  You’re a woman dumb enough to get pregnant? Frack You and your right to an abortion, prenatal care,  post-natal care,  paid maternity leave, child care and family health care.  And Frack your right to affordable and available contraception.   And Frack your kids, too.  If they don’t like being born in a country with the highest infant mortality rates of any developed society, they shouldn’t have been born here.   And your Asthma sufferering, peanut-allergic kids? They don’t want to breathe my second hand smoke or risk accidentally swapping sandwiches with my Peter Pan munching rug rat?  Frack them.

You want me to give up my SUV to help avoid environmental meltdown?  Give up my unlicensed gun, my high-powered convertible semi automatic or my thirty-eight handgun?  Frack you. And frack Mother Earth  and homicide victims,  respectively.   

Indeed, the GOP’s answer to just about any request that one modifies any personal behavior or bear any cost to in any way promote any notion or action intended to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, or secure any  blessing of liberty for anyone but themselves is simple,  clear and resounding.

Frack you, America.

So, American people, get onboard with the Republican universal response mantra. November,  2010,  American People’s response to Republican candidates:

Frack you, GOP.

Stimulate This

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Okay,  Obama has been channeling the city he started his presidential choo-choo ride in: Philadelphia, brotherly love and all that.  He’s bent over backwards to play nice-nice with his GOP playmates in the congressional sandbox with playmates who have taken the opportunity to (besides making no end of inane comparisons to the size of the President’s stimulus package measuring how high it would tower if it consisted of stacked $100 bills. Really, GOP Senators?  You want to point ‘em to the sky and measure.  So tell me just how high a stack would that make Bud Bush’s Ten Trillion dollar debt?  How many times would the pallets of C-notes that disappeared into the maw of Iraq stretch around the world?  Why don’t  the GOP “size-matters” brethren just get prescription to one of the Viagara products that keep their real Bud Rush Limbaugh afloat in ad revenues and let the rest of us get back to discussing how to keep our national economy from sinking into the worst aspects of the 8th century? But I digress.) kick as much political sand back into his newly minted presidential visage as possible. (Count the words in that  sentence.  Go ahead, count ‘em.  169, baby.   Take that MS Word Grammar checker.  Try and tell me my sentences are too long…)

So last night the Hope in Chief continues his attempts at parting the partisan waters, refusing to use his national bully pulpit to remind Republicans that, while he might be too nice to turn the economic realities of the moment into a political big stick to beat some fiscal sense into those who would consign America of 2009 to the economic conditions of 1929 (and 1930, 1931, 1932…) the American people won’t be.  And that, come 2010 (or, more importantly, 2012 and the first Congressional elections post-census and redistricting) GOP congressmen who want to act like political dinosaurs will find themselves likewise politically extinct.

No, Barack “Kumbaya” Obama remains above the partisan fray, more power to him. At some point either the “culture of Washington” has got to change or he will, coming down off his President-of-all-the-people cloud to administer a good ‘ol fashion woopin to the legions of the lackadaisical who constitute the Grand Obstructionist Party of today.  And man, when he does – can you imagine a tongue lashing administered by Obama would be like?  Coming from a  President’s who tongue is not actually his foot, as with the previous denizen of the Oval Office but is, rather, the Nadia Comaneci of Presidential linguistics?  That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout!

Then today new Secretary of Forgot-to-pay-my-taxes-to-the-Treasury Timothy Geithner unveils his “All Is Forgiven, No-One Is Grounded and Everyone Gets Parfait” Banking Bailout Bill (known  officially within the Beltway by the acronym W.E.A.R.E.S.O.S.C.R.E.W.E.D) .  The plan promises to take banks who have sat on the last billions pushed to them by the government rather than loaning the money to lowlifes like you, me and General Motors and push billions more to them to sit on.  My favorite part of the plan is where the government will guarantee the purchase of “toxic” debt from distressed banks by private investors (presumably investing with whatever money they have left over after putting money into building a new housing development on the Love Canal).  Can’t we just cut out the middleman and have the government simply buy those toxic assets directly (as that’s what’s ultimately going to happen until and unless real steps are taken to shore up the underlying securities’ assets, namely, home mortgages in America)?  Then we could take these toxic assets and drop them on Iran, North Korea and Pakistan, saving the banks and poisoning the axis of dweebles at the same time.  Meanwhile no sticks will be used to beat any sense—or even propriety—into the heads of the best and the brightest of the banking world.

So here’s my little suggested addenda to the Geithner Gala banking plan:

  1. All Americans losing their homes to foreclosure due to the predatory lending practices the big banks benefited from will be housed, henceforth, in the guest houses and guest wings of the bankers’ Hampton’s summer places.  (And NO, bankers, you will not be allowed to ask the recently made members of mendicantness to do light housekeeping and/or gardening for their board.)
  2.  The menus at 540 Park,  The Four Seasons, Pastis and Jean Georges will, until further notice, only be allowed to consist of whatever is on the hot lunch menu at NYC PS154.  (The meatloaf will be to die for.  Literally.)
  3. All senior executives at all Wall Street banks participating in the bailout will, in perpetuity, wear a “kick me” sign on their Brooks Brother’s clad posteriors. And, periodically, they will be required to run around the Merrill-Lynch Bull singing the Monty Python “I am a Lumberjack” song while groups of young school children laugh and throw things at them.
  4. If the Bankers refuse to start lending again, even with the new monies being squeezed into them by treasury,  one banker every other hour will be taken and flogged in the middle of Central Park.
  5. One banker every other hour will be taken and flogged in the middle of Central Park.
  6. And, finally, by random lottery four senior Bank executives will be selected and hung from lamp posts at the corner of Wall Street and Broad, their corpses left to be fed upon by the pigeons and crows as a warning to their brethren about the consequences of screwing with the American peoples’ money.  There’s nothing like the threat of hanging to focus the mind, after all….

Stimulate that.

The More Things Change

President Obama has been reading a lot of Lincoln. Perhaps he should take a little bit of time (I mean, heck, he must be rolling in the stuff…) and read a little bit of Teddy and Harry:

     For the managers of the elevated railroads I have as little feeling as any man here.  If it were possible, I would be willing to pass a bill of attainder on Jay Gould and all of Jay Gould’s associates…I regard these men as furnishing part of the most dangerous of all dangerous classes, the wealthy criminal class.

Teddy Roosevelt quoted in David McCullough’s Morning on Horseback, (page 269).

       We worship money instead of honor.  A billionaire, in our estimation, is much greater in these days in the eyes of the people than the public servant who works for the public interest.  It makes no difference if the billionaire road to wealth on the sweat of little children and the blood of underpaid labor.  No one ever considered Carnegie libraries steeped in the blood of the Homestead steelworkers, but they are. We do not remember that the Rockefeller Foundation is founded on the dead miners of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company and a dozen other similar performances.  We worship Mammon: and until we go back to ancient fundamentals and return to the Giver of the Tablets of Law and His teachings  these conditions are going to remain with us.                                                                                         It is a pity that Wall Street, with its ability to control all the wealth of the nation and to hire the best law brains in the country has not produced some statesmen, some men who could see the dangers of bigness and concentration of the control of wealth.  Instead of working to meet the situation [the Depression], they are still employing the best law brains to serve greed and self interest.  People can stand only so much and one of these days there will be a settlement…

Harry Truman quoted in David McCullough’s  Truman, (page 233.)

B.F. Skinner once observed that, in five thousand years every thing about man has changed about man but man himself.  Ditto the last hundred and fifty.  Alan Greenspan could spin all he wanted about “new economies” but, underlying (and undermining) the “new” economy have be the same old denizens of the wealth criminal classes who brought us the Jay Gould financial swindles of the 1880s, the Savings and Loan swindles  of the 1980s and that little “situation” Truman spoke of.  And what would Truman observe were he to see some of the mega-temples of the Giver of the Tablets of Law and His teachings which have evolved over the last fifty years to preach not the Gospel of Charity and Blessings of the Poor but instead the Gospel of “Pray and God will get you that SUV” ? 

The outgoing president always compares himself to Harry Truman.  I doubt George W. Bush ever read Truman and that, if he were around today, Harry would much enjoy the comparison.  John McCain claimed to be a Republican of the TR ilk.  Obviously John M. isn’t much of a reader, either.

But Barack Obama is.  And he should read a bit more of both Roosevelt and Truman, both of whom came to political power in ages very similar to our own. 

Sometimes you’ve got to pray in the Temple.  Some times you’ve got to cleanse it.  Now looks like a time for a good cleansing, both of our temples of Mammon and of our national temple of the Public Good.

 

Heeee’s Baaaack

Hello Reader(s)  (the plural being more than a bit optimistic on my part.)

Took some time off from the blog after a very busy fall of classes and a few dozen media interviews and community presentation.  I was politicked out by November 5.  I’m back to refresh my little piece of the blogosphere, though under slightly different terms.  I’m going to try and contract and regularize my postings from here on, looking to publish one piece a week on Thursdays.  I figure a regular schedule will force me to actually write and let you know what and when to expect.  We’ll see how it goes.  Expect the first entry next week.  Until then just a little taste:

Recent headlines concerning our city’s new, erstwhile City Attorney,  Jan “the Uncrusader” Goldsmith:

Council’s allowance for autos affirmedOne member blasts Goldsmith’s opinion .

Goldsmith files suit without council OK: As a candidate, he held opposing view

Layoffs in Goldsmith’s Office

Goldsmith’s Guillotine 

 Gee, it’s nice to see things get back to normal at the CA’s office now, isn’t it.

 And question for the day:  Given Barack Obama’s affinity for all things Lincoln, would he want to join the San Diego Lincoln Club? And an even bigger question: Would they have him?