February 28, 2011

Dead Man Walk-er

Anyone care to wager or speculate on whether Gov. Walker of Wisconsin will win another term. I can't help but feel that he's absolutely a dead letter. Won't have a chance.

February 25, 2011

Trying to get ahead by tearing others down

The intrigue in Wisconsin these days is interesting in the extreme, and the reaction to it is even moreso.

I will be baffled until my dying day how average people who are struggling to make ends meet can willfully adopt an anti-union/anti-public employee attitude and think it really makes sense to force public employee unions to essentially cease to exist.

First of all, in the last election cycle a record amount of money was spent by outside organizations, courtesy of the reprehensible "Citizens United" decision which allows any outside organization to spend unlimited millions on ads or other efforts in favor of, or opposing any political candidate. And they don't have to disclose where the money is coming from either. How convienent.

Of the top 10 such groups according to money spent, 6 were business or otherwise right wing lobby groups funded and supported by a relative few number of extremely wealthy interests. The other 4? They were unions, and three were public employee unions.

So they're outnumbered 60/40. But not only that, the unions ranked I believe 4th and 5th, and then 8th and 9th, if I recall correctly.

These unions are the sole remaining organization which can even compete, though not equally, with interests who are behind the massive push to essentially upend government to make it forever beholding to their money and become a bought and paid for arm of the plutocracy not seen since the gilded age.

Not content with near total domination and control over the government and its agenda, these fine folks first priority is attempting to de facto destroy the only groups who can even mount a somewhat equivelent effort in representing and supporting the interests of the 98 odd percent of American citizens who happen to have less than several million dollars in assets laying around, with record gains in income coming in every year.

They've already corrupted and distorted democracy itself and steadily have been creating a new plutocracy. But it's not enough until they have amassed so much power and control that there's literally nothing or no organization that can stand up against them.

And yet, there's those fine folks on the right, swallowing the rancid fever dreams of Glenn Beck and the usual gang of cons, and wallowing in their resentment and anger that THEIR tax dollars are actually going to provide teachers, cops, firefighters, street crews and the like with a wage and benefits that used to be considered the right of any worker who was willing to work hard and play by the rules.

They don't expect those who have reaped such massive windfalls in the past decades to pay a dime more to help balance strained budgets, which are stained precisely because of their excesses and coruption and who gladly banked the millions and walked away scott free.

No, instead they swallow the ridiculous notion that the reason we're in fiscal trouble is because there are still some workers who are paid a fair wage and get fair benefits.

Apparently tearing these workers down is the only way they can feel like they'll be lifted up. Never mind that simply reverting to the tax code in effect in the Clinton era, when the rich were doing quite well, thank you very much, would eliminate or nearly eliminate the very fiscal crisis that is being falsely used as a rationale to bust unions and hurt both public employees and their families, but all citizens as well as they watch their services get worse and worse as pay and benefit standards are whittled down to nothing.

These people, middle class or lower themselves, actually believe that the way to get our financial house in order is to TEAR DOWN other workers in similar situations, rather than dare expect the benefactors of the financial crisis to give back one dime of the literally billions they've reaped over the past 20 years.

I'm not sure there's a word for that sort of reasoning.

Yet there they are. Chickens for Col. Sanders.

April 21, 2009

Did I miss anything?

Scattered pictures,
Of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another
For the way we were
Can it be that it was all so simple then?
Or has time re-written every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we? could we?
Memories, may be beautiful and yet
What's too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget

Since Mike has been raggng at me and taunting me as usual about the lack of updates here (and I'm STILL getting comments trying to buy me off) I thought I'd oblige with this misty water-colored memory of the way they were.

Despite appearances, I'm still alive and kickin' and hoping to get back to this god-forsaken blog sometime soon.

Other matters of a quite pleasant nature have intruded and it was all too easy to let this become less of a priority. I can't say I missed all the dullards and haters who seemed to be the only one's still motivated to contribute anything, though it was their usual dull and juvenile attacks that they've managed to continue for years now without let up, even when there was nothing posted here for weeks.

Odd that their obsession with my blog and myself doesn't diminish with time or even if there's any new content at all.

Thanks to all who have written and indicated that you missed the blog. Maybe the rest will have lost interest and moved on, with any luck.

There's been not much I wanted to tackle in the past couple months. The economic recovery mess/plan is far too complex and when no one, even those who concocted it to begin with, has any clue if it will work, I didn't feel the urge to wade in. I, like most people I imagine, am simply crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

The Republicans have provided a lot of material.

As I predicted even before the election, they've gone absolutely mad. Once their house of cards collapsed, as I knew it inevitably would, they'd be left with nothing but their need to act barking mad and angry about things that don't exist or that they don't understand in the slightest. (witness the witless staging protests against a tax plan which will benefit every one of them.)

Where's my vociferous Republican ideologues when I need 'em? Where's old Mowen, that stalwart of Bush Republicanism and fundementalism? Is he in therapy, having witnessed every goofy ideological belief he held with religious fervor go crashing down into the dust heap of history, from social issues to economic dogma?

What's become of those true believers who held on to discredited and utterly failed notions and policies far past the point of no return, with the zealotry of religious kooks, willingly ignoring reality itself in their attempts to justify and defend the indefensible?

Should we herd them all into Texas and cut the damn place loose? (After we build a border fence along Oklahoma?)

February 26, 2009

Bobby, we hardly knew ye

Obama gave a barn-burner of a non-state of the union state of the union address last night, as you no doubt are aware.

The speech was roundly hailed as a success and follow up polls in its wake showed nearly 80% approval. I think part of its power was simply the fact that here was a man who could actually speak English without coming across as a B-string weekend sports reporter for a station in Wichita. And without all the obvious B.S. delivered with so little conviction that it would be clear to a small dog that the guy wasn't buying it himself.

The speech was a long overdue call to arms directed at all Americans, those who skimmed and rigged and fixed the game their way and then looted with reckless disregard for the country as well as to the millions of Americans who know that to the previous regime, they never existed, let alone had their needs addressed.

Feel free to add your thoughts on Obama's speech, I won't belabor it here.

Because I want to get to Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal, who was chosen for the elite position of delivering whatever the hell passes for Republican positions these days immediately following Obama's address.

Jindal has been long touted as a rising star in the post-Bush Republican party, and has clearly shown a desire to run for president. This was indeed a plum opportunity for him to present himself to the nation.

Apparently this fact got to poor Bobby.

He emerged and walked to the podium mincing along like he was trying to hold a dime in his butt cheeks. I could have sworn I heard squeaking noises with each step.

His face looked like a death mask with a plastered on half smile, half grimace, and his entire presentation was uncomfortable at best.

To say he was wooden doesn't do it justice. His first few minutes devoted to "Hey, I'm Obama too!" rhetoric was designed to highlight his son of immigrants story and inspiring rise to power fell as flat as his embarrassingly weak attempts at humor.

I didn't know if I was watching a rebuttal speech or a hostage tape.

It was sing-songy and sounded like you were listening to some guy reading a book to a group of 6 year olds.

The substance was equally lame, bizarre, and utterly free of any concrete proposals or even a hint of any ideas on where the Republicans hope to go in the future.

His primary case against Obama's plans was that the (REPUBLICAN) government failed miserably responding to Hurricane Katrina, drawing comparisons to the current economic "storms", and saying that government can't fix it.

OK... so while your party was leading the government, it screwed up criminally in the wake of Katrina, and so..........

Because it let thousands drown and millions suffer unnecessarily, now that millions more may be out of a home and suffering the effects of the Bush economic collapse, we shouldn't even TRY to help them out..... because.... you guys were so inept after Katrina. I see. You sure that's where you wanna go with this Bobby?

Your gang couldn't shoot straight on Katrina so we should not even dream that any government agencies or programs or say, economic bailout could ever be done right?

OK. So we can't possibly hope for anything but the rampant incompetence and corruption of your parties government. I get it. Why even try?

I'm with you. Screw it! Let everything collapse. Individuals can handle stuff like a near depression and natural disasters. Government is never the answer, even after crisis affecting millions.

Good luck with that Bobby.

Look over there! I think I just saw a falling star!

February 15, 2009

A timely topic

The Moline Public Library is featuring a local professor in a presentation about the New Deal era works programs Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

From their press release:
Press release submitted by Moline Public Library


The Moline Public Library is proud to present Jeff Hancks from Western Illinois University as presents The WPA and Civilian Conservation Corps in the Quad Cities on Saturday, February 28th at 2:30 p.m. This free program will meet in the Silver Meeting Room and is open to all ages. To register for this discussion, please stop by the Moline Public Library or call 309-762-6883.

The Works Project Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) were federal work relief programs begun under Franklin Roosevelt"s New Deal. These programs were responsible for the creation numerous construction, parks, and arts projects. Mr. Hancks" discussion will focus on the local impact of the WPA and CCC, which included such projects as the Moline Municipal Airport and Black Hawk State Park.

About the presenter: Rock Island native Jeff Hancks is Professor of Regional Studies and University Archivist at Western Illinois University.

In light of the push for public works funding and programs to at least slow the Bush economic collapse, this lecture will certainly be interesting, especially in view of the current effort of some know-nothing Republicans in congress in trying to spread utterly false or distorted information about the New Deal and it's effect in reviving the economy on the heels of the Great Depression.

Republicans are arguing that the public works programs and the New Deal didn't work.

This is pretty funny, considering that FDR was re-elected TWICE afterwards, which indicates to me that the country didn't exactly feel like it failed.

Some of the nicest and most architecturally beautiful places in our area were built by government projects during the FDR era, as was Starved Rock Lodge and many other beautiful public places.

The lecture should be very interesting and will no doubt inform listeners about what these projects really were like, as opposed of what Republicans are trying to sell.

February 11, 2009

One reason I'm a democrat

With all the Republican theatre of the absurd lately over their "Just say no" campaign in trying to stymie and delay any attempt at crucial efforts to stop the nation's economic slide into the dumper, I've frankly been overwhelmed with thoughts on the matter.

But with utterly idiotic and irresponsible crap emitting from the right on a daily basis, and anger towards them growing exponentially as they practice exactly the sort of phony rigidly partisan crap that they so liked to deride the Democrats for, and engage in their favorite past-time, projecting their own sins onto others, I find myself unable to properly crystallize my feelings on the subject.

Suffice it to say that everyone with a brain knows that the country needs massive and unprecedented infusions of cash money to halt the hemorrhaging induced by the wild money party thrown courtesy of Bush & Co. And everyone with a brain knows that the Republican beefs are nothing but bullshit. Carping about funding for desperately needed and long overlooked programs such as education and funds to cities and states to stem massive lay-offs of public safety personnel, and standing for hours cherry picking desperately a minuscule fraction of the spending and holding it up as if the entire package is nothing but foolishness.

And even when they wave these items around like a bloody flag, they look like assholes, decrying aid to education, aid to students, aid to virtually anything or anybody but their fat-cat cronies and masters in the banking industry.

The newly elected moron heading the RNC argues that all the measure creates is work, not jobs. When pressed on this bit of lunacy, he clarified. Only private business can create jobs, government only creates work.

Thus in one neat move, he classified the cops on the beat, the postal workers, the fireman, the building inspector, the nursing home inspector, and virtually every member of the military as not having jobs.

He further illuminated his cretinous ramblings by explaining that government "work" has an end point, while apparently private sector jobs go on forever.

Perhaps he could explain that to the hundreds of thousands of private sector workers who are seeing their jobs vanish, with ever more to come the longer these boobs obstruct meaningful action.

So anyway, here's but one reason I'm a Democrat.

We're clearly better looking.

February 7, 2009

Phil Hare, media darling

Local Congressman Phil Hare scored quite the media coup Friday evening by appearing for an interview with Rachel Maddow, whose show on MSNBC is one of the highest rated cable talk shows.

MSNBC's Hardball, Maddow, or Countdown have become coveted spots to appear for politicians, especially Democrats. Maddow's show, along with Keith Olberman's "Countdown" were the only two such shows on television to show a profit last quarter, and both enjoy huge ratings, particularly with those under, say, 80.

Maddow had Rep. Hare on to discuss the unrelenting Republican war against labor, and their latest ridiculous attempt to block the nomination of Hilda Solis as Secretary of Labor. The object of their patented phony outrage this time? Solis' heinous offense is being married to a guy who owed taxes on his business, to which Solis has no connnection whatsoever, and who has long since paid them off.

Hare pointed out that this of course is just a means of trying to block or dirty up Solis, who they know will not be reliably anti-union as all Republican Labor Secretaries in the past. It's simply an early salvo in the fight against proposed laws which would allow workers a choice as to whether or not they would like to be represented by a union.

The so-called "card check" measures would allow workers to essentially petition for a union by signing cards indicating their preferences. And despite Republican lies to the contrary, workers wold also be allowed to do so by secret ballot if they chose.

Hare was Hare. He spoke. He was rather wooden, as you might expect a person with not much prior media experience. But he stated his case well and got through the softball interview just fine.

After decades of a congressman that seemed allergic to any sort of media exposure whatsoever, this is kind of nice to at least see a representive from our area getting some real national exposure.

And it's also good to know that Phil Hare is there to do his part to defend unions against the masssive effort to weaken or destroy them. Now more than ever, unions should play an important part of reclaiming the country back from the sliver of economic elites that have so thoroughly dictated the direction of our country and our economy for far too long.

January 29, 2009

Hey, did we just switch governors in midstream?

Yep. Seems we did.

Why? Apparently on the grounds that nobody in the legislature liked him, and in light of the fact that his nemesis, Speaker Mike Madigan and those who curry his favor have been trying desperately to get rid of this burr in their saddle for literally years.

He kept making them look bad. And he did things without kissing their rings first. Can't have that.

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich gave a meandering peroration before the state senate before they all, to a man and woman, tossed him out of office on his behind.

News networks broadcast the roll-call vote on the matter, including MSNBC, who at least showed enough votes to get up to around the L's before cutting away.

It was a very somber moment, presided over by a black robed official and conducted in silence aside from the clerk calling the names of the senators and them rising to say yea or nay. No one took the opportunity of the grave occasion to act undignified, grandstand or call attention to themselves, much like they've accused Blago of doing.

Except one who just couldn't help injecting crass mean-spiritedness into the affair.

Who? You know who!

Our own senator around these parts, Mike Jacobs, smacking his lips at the chance for some media exposure and as always, even if it's only two fleeting seconds, rose and voted along with all the rest.

But apparently in a bid to stand out somehow, Jacobs decided it would be a really classy thing to lean over the mic during his two seconds on camera and make a thumbs down gesture at the same time, as if he were Emperor at the Roman Colosseum condemning some poor slave to death.

But kicking a guy while he's at his lowest moment, while his entire career goes down in flames and his life is essentially destroyed is the essence of class and maturity on what was, at least to all the others, a time to at least behave as if it was a very serious occasion.

Bravo, senator. We like our politicians to be drama queens, just like Blago. We all think you're mega-cool. Let's hope your stunt gets you noticed. For the good of your constituents, of course.

Perhaps we should count our blessings that Sen. Mike just did the thumbs down deal rather than fliping the bird?

But ya gotta admit, that would have been extra mega classy and made us all proud.

Maybe next time.

Sen. Jacobs mistaking the Illinois Senate chambers for the Roman Colosseum.

January 25, 2009

Will Blago come out ahead?

OK, the story so far...

Federal prosecutor Fitzgerald rushes a criminal complaint full of juicy allegations and stuff from wiretaps on Gov. Blagojevich.

They grandstand at the announcement, making it sound as if they'd nailed Capone himself.

The media goes absolutely bonkers over it, since it occurs at a time between the nomination and inaguration when there was absolutely nothing to report other than gossip about what Obama might do next.

They whoop it up and fall over each other to come up with more witty ways to put Blago down and belittle him.

Then after about a week of this piling on, some tiny voices start to be heard pointing out that nearly nothing in this supposedly damning complaint was actually a crime. A lot of big talk, disgusting behavior and general ickiness, but not much in the way of actual crimes committed.

Then Blago drops the Burris bomb, the politicians in Springfield and the Democratic leadership in D.C. all run around like ninnies trying to deal with it, at first full of righteous bluster that they'd never seat anyone Blago named, and then forced to face facts, and sputter along for a few days looking for a way to do a 180 turn and still try to pretend they hadn't.

Score one for Blago.

Now he's upping the ante. His lawyers quit. He doesn't play along with the impeachment game like they want him to. He continues to make statements and hauls out human props in his bid to turn himself into a modern day Robin Hood being persecuted by the evil hacks in Springfield. (which he is. Persecuted by hacks that is, not Robin Hood.)

Now even our august Senate doesn't know what to do.

Yes, Blago is a goof. He's a "character" to put it charitably.

But he's also forcing these gasbags to actually put their money where their mouths are. He's forcing them to put up or shut up, and so far, he's shut them up.

This aspect of it I like.

And I hope he exposes the gang down in Springfield and puts them through as much pain and humiliation as possible. They thought they had it made. Blago's name is dirt, he's a national laughing stock. So they thought it would be a walk in the park to impeach and convict him.


And ultimately, even Fitzgerald might have his work cut out for him.

We'll see.

Blago, a corrupt clown, but a corrupt clown who is making the rest of the currupt clowns look bad.

Very hard to figure out who to root for.

Were ya in D.C.? Send along some pics

I realize the massive inauguration days in D.C. are nearly old news in our short attention span culture, and I've been tardy in doing this, but I've been meaning to invite anyone who was in D.C. for the events to send along some pictures or descriptions of your experiences.

Of course, you can be credited for the pics or not, your call. You don't even have to identify yourself to me, and can send them anonymously if you wish. Add some brief descriptions or captions if you can.

I know at least a few folks from the area were there, and if you were, share some of your impressions or better yet, photos.

Maybe no one will bother, but it's worth a try. I'd love to see some personal pictures of the historic event.

January 22, 2009

So far, so good.

With the din of the crowds still ringing in their ears, the Obama administration hit the ground running.

High level staff were driven in vans to the White House immediately following the swearing in and got down to business.

And so far, it's been great. (and we all know that can't last long.)

While the decision to start the process of shutting down Gitmo is grabbing attention, one measure that is of immeasurable importance, but which gained scant attention is designed to end the paranoid secrecy and abuse of the Freedom of Information Act of the Bush era.

Obama issued a memo to counteract the ridiculous and obsessive secrecy imposed by the Bush gang, which historians and others who know about such things have long recognized as the most secretive administration in history, indeed, far worse than Nixon.

As a matter of fact, then Attorney General Ashcroft issued a memo to the heads of all government agencies stating,
When you carefully consider FOIA requests and decide to withhold records, in whole or in part, you can be assured that the Department of Justice will defend your decisions.

Kinda hard to hold anyone accountable when the actions of our hired and elected servants operate in complete secrecy, and when attempts to gain access to records are met with an army of lawyers that WE pay for, fighting to keep public information secret. Nice, eh?

Well now Obama has issued directives to counteract that anti-democratic stance on openness and accountability by issuing a memo to the government that says that in deciding when to disclose government records, if there is doubt, they should err on the side of openness, not secrecy.

No longer will 99% of government records requested under FOIA filings be denied, redacted, or kept from media and others seeking them by the ruse of claiming everything pertains to national security and therefore can't be released.

The manner that the Bushoids would routinely deny ANY request for information or records by saying they couldn't be released because they pertained to "national security", no matter how ridiculous and untrue that claim might be.

First realize that a FOIA request is incredibly complicated, and you have to be almost impossibly specific about the records you seek. The process takes literally several years in many instances, and often requires going to court to try to sue for their release.

The Bush administration mantra was to reveal NOTHING, no matter how relatively unimportant, with no regard whatsoever to the fact that these were public records and American's right to know what their government is doing in our names and with our money.

Want to know how often federal food inspectors actually inspect our food? Can't tell ya, national security. Think you still have a right to know? Sue us. Spend thousands. Wait years. Or give up.

In one stroke of the pen, that un-American mindset is gone. Now things that justify being secret will remain secret, but legitimate attempts to obtain matters unrelated to national security in any way, matters which might simply be politically inconvenient or revealing, will no longer be falsely withheld or denied and obstructed by the Justice Dept. and others with an attitude that the public has no right to any information whatsoever.

Obama also immediately signed a memo freezing the wages of all top staff with salaries over $100,000 (which I'd imagine included all of them.) Could you even imagine Bush doing anything remotely like that? Can you imagine Bush even understanding the message such an action conveys, let alone giving a damn?

No more leadership as if leading the government was one big, unimportant joke with only one simple goal... providing ever more wealth to your already exceedingly wealthy supporters by letting them essentially write the laws and regulations, and cynically lying to the public in order to justify using our military, our national treasure, and the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocents in an attempt to conquer a nation that had absolutely NOTHING to do with 9-11, all in order to try to give your closest friends in big oil access one of the world's largest oil reserves.

That, my friends, isn't bringing up "petty grievances". It ain't chicken feed. The fact that it was done is criminal and immoral on its face.

And the fact that those responsible (though in no way held accountable) are no longer in charge? That's a cause for joy and emmense relief around the planet.

Innauguration quick takes

Stuff I noticed while watching endless hours of coverage of the Inauguration festivities, mostly on MSNBC.

- Chris Matthews is whacked. What's with his obsession with comparing EVERYTHING to some obscure movie plot? And they should never allow him to be on air longer than a half hour. Otherwise his ignorance and narrow view from the perspective of an elite white pundit who is paid millions and spends his entire life rubbing elbows with other media elite and those he's supposed to cover in D.C. is all too apparent.

Matthews kept saying, over and over and over and over again, over three days, that the huge crowds on the mall, many of, if not most, were black, represented the D.C. neighborhoods finally all emptying out and coming down to the mall. He kept referring to someone saying that D.C. was finally coming to Washington.

This was stunningly racist and plain stupid.

"Washington" evidently is the town of millionaire pundits, lobbyists, and polticians who all live the lives of princes and flit from townhouse to country house and dinner party to dinner party. "D.C." I guess is the blacks that inhabit the city and provide services to them all.

Matthews looked out at the sea of mostly black faces and wondered, "Gee, where did all these blacks come from?".

To Matthews' mind, they couldn't possibly have actually TRAVELLED there. Apparently he thinks blacks can't afford that or something. So to him, they HAD to be all the blacks in the neighborhoods of D.C. coming down to the mall.

Matthews would occasionally leave the toasty confines of the custom built MSNBC trailer and go to the fence around it and talk to the "little people". He'd ask their names and where they were from.

Over the course of three days, Matthews (and others) must have talked with scores of visitors, most of them black. Out of these dozens of people, perhaps one or two said they were from D.C. ALL the rest were from all across the country, north, south, east, and west, and an amazing number were from African and Carribean nations.

They were from Cameroon, from Ethiopia, from Burmuda and the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and the Congo, just to name a few. All here giddy with delight and wanting to witness this history, even if it wasn't their country.

Surely Matthews would finally "get it" and drop this notion of his that the huge number of blacks were composed of far more than just the blacks who live in D.C. and provide household staff at the Georgetown parties he attends.

Nope, not a chance. He kept repeating what he apparently thought was a very interesting obvservation, all the way through, mentioning it again during the parade.

"Boy, it's really something.", Matthews seemed to be saying. Look at all those black people. They must all have come streaming out of the D.C. ghettos.

And I'll give him a pass for repeatedly mentioning how all he could see were all the "white teeth" shown by the sea of mostly black attendees, though he probably doesn't deserve it.

He seemed like he was drunk or on drugs or both much of the time, at one point getting into a contest with Keith Matthews, who himself was extremely annoying much of the time, over who could recall the most details about the movie "Advise and Consent".

During the parade, Olberman seemed fixated on acting annoyed that Obama didn't stick strictly to the schedule they had, at one point suggesting that Obama was displaying a "puckish nature" because.... well, because he got out of his limo when they didn't expect it, suggesting to Olberman that Obama was doing this just to screw up.... Olberman.

To be fair, they'd all been up nearly three days straight, and likely attending some of the toney parties themselves, and it showed. They were like a couple pre-teens who were punch-drunk after getting jacked up on Pepsi and staying up all night.

OK, enough of my "petty grievances".

Here's some other things I found notable.

The motorcade went INCREDIBLY S----L-----O-----W for 9/10ths of the parade route.
They were already at least a half hour behind schedule at that point.

The motorcade actually went twice as fast when Obama and Michelle were outside of the limo walking!!! At points, the Secret Service agents who were walking along side the limo had to walk as if they were a bride walking down the aisle, one small step, pause, another small step.....

I'm dying of curiosity as to why, with darkness approaching, and an incredibly long parade which would take hours to pass, which couldn't begin until the President was in the reviewing stand, and the fact that they'd then have to somehow eat dinner and change into their formal attire and put in appearances at each of the 10 official balls, that they appeared to be stalling for time, with the pace of the motorcade moving literally as slow as possible without coming to a complete stop.

A motivated snail could have left it in the dust.


I was also very annoyed at the fact that, once the Obama's arrived at the reviewing stand and the parade began to pass before them, that within MINUTES, about 95% of their guests, who had been given one of the most honored and exclusive tickets in town, had VANISHED.

They'd spent who knows how much to construct this elaborate stand with seating for a few hundred of Obamas closest friends. It was heated and the best seats in D.C. to watch the parade and show their support to the new President and First Lady.

But within a couple MINUTES, these ungrateful and selfish people started running out the door in order to make their way to their hotel rooms and begin changing for the balls.

THAT, in my opinion, took a lot of balls by itself.

So viewers around the world were left with a visual of the Obama's standing utterly abandoned in front of a sea of empty chairs, complete with the names of who was to sit in them attached to the back.

To her credit, Nancy Pelosi stayed for quite some time, as did Bill Daley. Hell, Biden's wife even flew the coop early.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but if Obama had included me in the small number invited to join him in his reveiwing stand, I don't think I would have run out minutes after he arrived to make sure I got to some damn ball on time. I found it very disrespectful and rather tacky on a day where respect should have been given.


Sasha and Malia are incredibly unspoiled and well-adjusted (not to mention cute)kids, and this reflects very well on their parents. There is nothing about them to suggest that they've been overly coached or taught to be little manequins or props.
It will be interesting to see how the press and the Obamas handle what will inevitably be an incredibly strong media presure worldwide for anything and everything to do with the girls.

And to think that not long ago, when I published a couple shots of the Obamas with their girls here, taken before Obama made his campaign announcement in Springfield, that there was at least one person to vigorously attacked me and applied pressure both to suggest that I was doing a horrible thing to post the pictures, that I was some sort of pedophile, and to demand that I take them down.

I'm sure this total asshole is having a stroke today from the fact that everyone on the planet can see the girls any time they want. Either that or he was a gigantic blowhard trying to throw his weight around at the time. Think I'll go with the latter.


I'm grateful that the facts regarding Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts flubbing the Presidential Oath of Office have seemed to be accepted.

Obviously, it was inevitable that the goons on the right would leap to suggest that it was Obamas fault, and therefore proof that he can't get anything right, and that he's just as stupid as they are would emerge in an instant, and they did.

But to their credit, pundits and reporters were relatively quick to recognize that it was Roberts, not Obama, who had screwed up. (of course, to right wingers, facts are easily ignored and it's certain that they'll continue to believe that Obama messed it all up.)

After Justice Roberts got to, "I, Barack Hussein Obama..", Obama began to repeat the line, yet Justice Roberts continued, "do solemnly swear". This minor flub seemed to get things out of whack, but who did it right? Where were they supposed to pause?

I wondered if Justice Stevens had paused after saying, "I, Joseph Robinette Biden..." while delivering the Oath to the Vice President or not. After watching the clip, I see that he does not pause there, but repeats the entire phrase, "I, Joseph Robinette Biden do solemnly swear." before Biden repeats it back. ("Robinette" ??!! Yikes. Doesn't sound like your typical Joe Sixpack middle name.)

So it Obama flubbed by starting to repeat before Roberts had finished the entire phrase, "I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear.".

The actual 35 word Presidential Oath of Office reads,

"I (name) do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Roberts choked and made two mistakes in repeating the line, "That I will execute the Office of President to the United States faithfully."

Seemingly catching George Bush disease, Roberts inexplicably said, "...execute the Office of President TO the United States...".

He also misplaced the word "faithfully" the first time he repeated it, then, after Obama paused to give him a chance to get it right, actually got it right the second time before quickly messing it up again prior to Obama's repeating it with "faithfully" misplaced.

This fact was born out by repeated viewings which showed clearly that Roberts had screwed up the phrase in question, then, after Obama paused to let him get it right, repeated it correctly, but then amazingly, quickly repeated it incorrectly again. At that point Obama then repeated the line that Roberts had repeated last, which unfortunatly was incorrect.

Coverage of the luncheon in the Capitol after the event showed Obama going over to a seated Roberts and talking with him. At one point, by reading lips, you can clearly see Roberts saying, "It was my fault." It was also reported elsewhere that Roberts had apologized for his blunder to Obama at the event.

The constitution lays out the wording of the Presidential Oath, but it also stipulates that the president-elect becomes president at the hour of noon, as Olberman put it, "whether he's reciting the oath or taking a bath.". In other words, he becomes president at that hour, oath or no oath. But this assertion is still open for arguement.

Of course, right wing Republicans, addicted to whining and railing at any chance, no matter how irrelevant or petty, to attack Obama, raised a cry about it. And apparently, someone in the White House decided that "out of an abundance of caution", it might be worth it to have a do-over, and Roberts did the thing again, after heeding Obama's suggestion that they "take it slow this time", and all is well.

Of interest is that this incident is neither the first time the oath has been bungled, nor the fist time it's been retaken, though it's the first time a President has taken the oath in private after he'd taken it in public.

The Illinois float in the Inaugural Parade not only featured a rather goulish looking figure wearing an enormous paper mache Lincoln head, but also featured a John Deere children's riding tractor, as well as the skyline of Chicago, all set on the outline of the state. The float, as with others, was pulled by a John Deere tractor as well.

So there ya go. Illinois, noteworthy because of.... Chicago, Lincoln, and John Deere. And apparently, nothing else. Where was Capone? Well, there's Blagojevich, but.....

400,000 plus, but who's counting.

Just passed the 401,000th visit to The Inside Dope, and we're on our way to passing the half million mark.

Congratulations and a hearty well done to the staff here who have persevered under incredibly adverse conditions in order to provide you with the consistently adequate work you've come to know and love throughout the years.

And great thanks to all those incredibly disloyal readers who continue to read the blog, but who no longer participate. I don't know how to thank you.

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