March 2009

So I have some “free” time today to surf the ‘Net for news, etc.  I came across the news reports about Obama’s (historic) appearance on the Tonight Show.  After reading the article I couldn’t believe that he said some of the things that were reported (I was reading a conservative on-line news source after all, so something must have been at least a little biased here, right?).  So, I consulted the Oracle, the old Gray Lady (is it with an ‘e’ or an ‘a’?) for the transcript.  It reads at the top of the article that the transcript was provided by the White House, so this must be the definitive source.

I’ve decided to focus on Obama’s comments.  Leno’s blathering isn’t really worth mentioning except that too many people probably think that what he says makes sense.

Here is the first quote that caught my attention:

And that, I think, speaks to a broader culture that existed on Wall Street, where I think people just had this general attitude of entitlement, where, we must be the best and the brightest, we deserve $10 million or $50 million or $100 million dollar payouts…But the larger problem is we’ve got to get back to an attitude where people know enough is enough, and people have a sense of responsibility and they understand that their actions are going to have an impact on everybody. And if we can get back to those values that built America, then I think we’re going to be okay. (Obama to Leno regarding the AIG “debacle”, emphasis is mine)

Are you kidding me?  Is he talking about entitlement in America?  If welfare recipients are allowed to have an attitude of entitlement, then why can’t the fat cat have a sense of entitlement too?  If he means to apply that analysis to allof America and encourage “a sense of responsibility” throughout every facet of American culture both rich and poor, black and white, then perhaps I will reconsider my support for Obama.  Somehow, I suspect that Obama is just skillfully using the English language to numb the people into believing that he has everyone’s best interest at heart without really raising the bar on general responsibility.  (Well, he’ll have everyone’s interest who is politically expedient, at least.  Otherwise, you’re getting thrown under the bus with the AIG executives.)

Tell me, Mr. President, if entitlement programs for “underprivileged” folks is acceptable, then when is an attitude of entitlement okay and when is it not?  What is the cut off?  Are you going to decide that for us?  If not you, then will Congress?  How will you enforce it once you’ve established that cut off for appropriate “entitlementality”?  Will you use the tax code the same way you (and the Democrats) are using it with the AIG execs?  (Or maybe, Pelosi’s immigration police can break into our houses in the middle of the night tearing parents from their children and causing general despair.)

This quote follows up his earlier comments about AIG:

The problem is what was happening for years, where people were able to take huge, excessive risks with other people’s money, putting the entire financial system at risk –- and there were no checks, there were no balances, there was nobody overseeing the process. (Obama to Leno)

I know that the President wants us to focus on solving the problems instead of finding blame, but it seems prudent to investigate at least a brief history of the problems (including who is to blame) in order to avoid falling into the same pits down the road.  The “other people’s money” that he mentions is our money (or at least our tax money).  Those excessive risks were taken because the United States government was acting as a safety net for the people, or companies, engaging in them.  The lack of checks and balances is a result of malfeasance on the part of Congressional Democrats and has little to do with regulation.  Had the government not been in the business of making loans (Fannie and Freddie) then no such “checks and balances” would have been necessary.  No self-respecting bank executives would have made even half of the risky investments that were taken if they knew that they would be accountable when the risks proved to be flops.

This is just silly:

And when you get home you could potentially sell the energy in your car back into the grid, back to your utility and get money. (Obama to Leno)

If you come home from work and plug your car back into the grid and give the remaining energy back to the grid, then what energy do you have in the car the next morning when you have to go back to work?

I’m not one for peddling victimization and pandering to the easily offended, but this seems just outrageous for even the big media outlets to ignore (although they probably will).

MR. OBAMA: I bowled a 129. (Laughter and applause.)

MR. LENO: No, that’s very good. Yes. That’s very good, Mr. President.

MR. OBAMA: It’s like — it was like Special Olympics, or something. (Laughter.)

Wow.  I’m not sure who should take offense at the President’s statement, but I don’t think people with disabilities (or their families) are really going to have a good laugh about it.  Will anyone call him on it?  We’ll see.


Do any of my readers know how to establish a Political Action Committee?

Seriously, if I’m going to run for the United States Senate I suppose I need to have a PAC established (at least all the cool kids are doing it).  I know that once I get it set up I’ll be flush with cash and ready to take on my erstwhile and mega-incumbent opponent.

I am also looking for good strategies that will go easy on the wallet.  I’m thinking the use of new (and free) media can help me get a significant leg up into the fickle world of politics.  Should I start a Facebook group?  Should I twitter?  Do I need a myspace?

Freeman consultants have been working round the clock for my campaign, but there will be gaps in the strategy that no mega-consutling firm would be able to fill and predict.  Your ideas are welcome here (especially ideas who lean toward my opponents views as I could gain useful insight into establishing a beach head among your like-minded constituents).

As for those of you waiting for me to establish a platform…why ruin a long standing practice in American politics?  Being vague has worked for countless politicians, it should work for me too, right?  Besides, the more I read or hear about what goes on in today’s political arena, it seems like I might be better served in simply advocating my “newness” to the political field.  You know, the whole fresh perspective idea.  It might take sail in today’s political climate.

…in a not so funny sort of way.

Discretionary Spending Increases under Obama

Discretionary Spending Increases under Obama

Did you ever have one of those days where nothing seemed to go right?

Today was that day for me (you could argue that the last 380+ days have been like that for me, but I’ll put that aside for today’s story).  Today’s story actually started on Friday afternoon.  That was when I discovered that Maura had a fever of 103.  The good news was that the fever responded to the Tylenol and she was in relatively good spirits.   Friday night her fever spiked up to 105 in one ear and 103 in the other ear (yeah, go figure, I decided to take the average of the two).

On Saturday I decided to take Maura to the pediatricians just to rule out strep and see if they could pinpoint a diagnosis.   Well, strep wasn’t likely and the flu was ruled out.  So, she just has your run of the mill virus for which there is no medicine.  Yeah!

Sometime on Sunday, Maura decides that she doesn’t like Tylenol any more.  Grand.  Her fever has been vacillating between normal and 103 throughout the day.  She sleeps several times during the day at one and a half hour stints.  Bed time comes early for my little darling.

Did I say darling?  Oh no, I must be mistaken.  Someone swapped my charming little angel for a Toddlersaurous Rex from – eh, hem – Newark.  She didn’t want a bath.  Understandable given her fever, but she cried through it to beat the band (and my ear drums).  She didn’t want the eye medication prescribed to reduce the gunk that was building up.  In fact, she screamed a scream from the 9th circle of you-know-where that just about peeled the skin off my face.  Then she refused to take the Tylenol thereby dashing any hope that my sweet little girl might return and that I would be getting any sleep.

Well, I got Maura to bed and came downstairs to find Malcolm drawing on himself with a black marker.  “Look, Daddy!”  I stood there briefly with my mouth hanging open spewing nonsense about what I should do with my children, when finally Meredith knocks some sense into me and tells me to take the marker away.  I take it away, he cries.  Victory for the parents.

Fast forward to 10:30pm.  Maura “spills” in her bed.  Spill is Maura’s word for vomit.  At first I panic and wrongly assume that the end of the world would be coming shortly and that I was woefully underdressed.  Then after surveying the situation it appeared that Maura had merely coughed her way into “spilling”.  I did a superficial cleaning and put her back to bed.

Fast forward to 1:30am.  Malcolm comes trundling down the stairs*and whimpers something about not sleeping.  Mommy hears him, tries to console him, and tries to get him to come into our room, but he is stunned by the darkness that he meets at the bottom of the stairs.  I wake up halfway through this exchange thinking something is dreadfully wrong and I spring out of bed (like a well worn set of shocks, I might add), and dash toward the stairs without really knowing what’s taking place.  Well, fortunately for Malcolm, it took me several tries to get my glasses on my face properly and at least twice to get my crocs on without breaking my ankles otherwise I might have bowled him over on the way up the stairs.  By the time I arranged myself in some manner of midnight manliness, I realized what was going on and was able to approach my whimpering 3-year-old with some degree of 1am tenderness.

Muttering something about the dark and not sleeping in his room, I brought Malcolm back up stairs and tried to get him back to sleep.  He wanted nothing to do with staying up in his room for some reason.  I told him that I was going to sleep on the bottom bunk while he figured out what he was going to do.  He promptly climbed into his crib and went back to sleep.  Of course, I didn’t want to leave right away for fear of setting off a cry of alarm, so I stayed put in the bottom bunk.  Tucked in nicely.  An extra blanket on top.  Mmm…

Fast forward to 3:30.  Malcolm is asleep.  And so is daddy…in Malcolm’s room, on the bottom bunk.  I lay my head back down to sleep some more when I realize that I wouldn’t be able to hear Meredith if she needed to use the bathroom.  So I got up quietly and glided down the stairs so as to attract the least amount of attention to me departure.

As soon as I hit the bottom step, I hear Meredith calling out for me to help her to the bathroom.  Fortunately, she just started asking for me and was not stricken with a bladder infection from holding it for the two hours that I had fallen asleep upstairs.

The next day…well, my classes are a joy (sarcasm alert), I can barely contain my enthusiasm for teaching (sarcasm alert), and I spilled chicken noodle soup on one of my nicest shirts (just the facts).  Gah!

The good news…our Federal Income Tax return came in the mail, today (the bad news about that is that I hate the fact that I loaned the government any of my money in the first place); Malcolm and Maura ate a reasonable dinner considering their battles with the fever; everyone is in bed except me and I will be there soon.

I know that you have days like these, too.  My advice to you?  Open the soup lid away from you.


*I have a story to share about Malcolm and his crib, but that will have to wait.  As I mentioned, I need to be in bed soon, or else Tuesday will very likely be a repeat of Monday.

It may be a little dangerous for me (as a potential candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2010) to casually comment here about a sitting senator’s piffle du jour, but the thought popped into my head the other day and I thought I would put it down here.

Is it me, or did Patrick Leahy’s proposition of a Truth Commission sound a little bit like a rectification in the Ministry of Truth (from Orwells, 1984)?  And wasn’t it the job of the Ministry of Truth to continually manipulate the facts to stay in line with the latest party line?

Just a thought.

So, I overheard an eigth-grade student make this comment (paraphrased):

My brother is going to grow up to be a male prostitute living on disability having sex with fat women.

To some of you there may be some obvious questions about the above statement.  As for me, I have my own reaction, but please, let me know your thoughts and comments.

My first response is: something is dreadfully wrong with our culture if a 13- or 14-year-old already knows how to game the welfare system in our country (the good news here is that the student was talking about his brother disapprovingly while he was planning to blaze a much better path for himself).  For any advocates of welfare out there, is this the kind of culture you really want to promote with the current system?  It may not be what you want but this is what you’re getting.

Our national and state welfare systems may have the best of intentions, but intentions are not results.  I suspect almost anyone familiar with welfare recipients will tell you that no matter what the intention of the program, the results are far from pretty.  I realize my eighth-grade student story is anecdotal, but it speaks volumes about the culture of welfare recipients that exists.

One important consequence to consider when creating government sponsored welfare systems is what kind of incentives does the system create for people to improve their lot.  Not having an intimate knowledge of welfare and armed with only anecdotal stories like this one, I have to conclude that there are no such incentives.

Your thoughts?