Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

~~~

~~~

Friday, January 30, 2009

Michael Steele, Chairman of the RNC




Congratulations to Michael Steele on his election to head of the Republican National Committee.


And kudos to the Democrats and President Barack Obama for their influence in moving the Republicans to become more inclusive and in making baby steps in the direction of becoming a more diverse party. It's a start. There are now, what 5 people of color in their tent?


Here's Wiki's bio of Mr. Steele:


Michael Stephen Steele (born October 19, 1958) is an American politician and lawyer. He was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee on January 30, 2009, and is the first African-American to hold the position. Prior to this, Steele served as chairman of GOPAC and worked as a partner at the law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf. He also served as Lieutenant Governor of Maryland from 2003 to 2007 under Governor Robert Ehrlich.

Steele was the first African American to serve in a Maryland state-wide office and the first Republican lieutenant governor in the state. At the time he was the highest-ranking elected African American Republican in the United States. Steele ran for a Maryland United States Senate seat being vacated by retiring senator Paul Sarbanes, but he lost the 2006 election to Democratic Congressman Ben Cardin.
Steele’s mother was a widowed laundress who, he stated, worked for minimum wage rather than accept public assistance. Steele grew up in a Democratic household. However, as a young man he switched to the Republican Party.
Political positions
On gay marriage: Steele has stated that he personally opposes a federal marriage amendment to ban same-sex marriage and believes that states should decide the issue for themselves but has indicated he would support it if elected RNC Chairman. He rates the issue of banning same-sex marriage low in importance.
On the war in Iraq: "It is imperative we improve conditions on the ground so we can bring our troops home as quickly as possible and have the Iraqi people take control of their own destiny. At the same time, we should not publicly state a timetable for implementation. I do not support a 'cut and run strategy.' Any politician out there talking about timetables and timelines is playing into the hands of our enemies who have an enormous capacity to wait. It would be a disaster for us to cut and run, as it would destroy our credibility in the region for at least a generation. At the same time, it is the Iraqi’s themselves that will ultimately have to make democracy work in their country. We should stay there only long enough to give the Iraqi people the tools they need to secure the very democracy they voted for three times. After that, it’s up to them."
Energy policy: "To provide immediate relief for Marylanders, I have called on President Bush and Congress to enact an immediate moratorium on the federal gas tax - more than 18 cents per gallon - and an immediate moratorium on the 24 cents per gallon diesel tax. Moreover, Congress should approve legislation to suspend the tariff on ethanol imports. But those actions are designed to deal with our immediate crisis. Congress must roll up its sleeves and work to solve the underlying problem - our dependence on foreign sources of energy. To do that, I’ve called on Congress to double President Bush’s budget request for biomass and bio-refinery research, and create market and tax incentives for E85 fuels, hybrid technologies and alternative energy sources. Tax credits for hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles need to be renewed and expanded. Additionally, we must increase fuel efficiency standards for automobiles – not just this year, but over the next several years."

Affirmative action: "Studies show enormous disparities still exist in education, healthcare, employment and economic opportunities along racial lines in the United States. I believe programs are still necessary to help close these divides. I support giving people opportunities. Programs must be fair to all Marylanders – of every color – and they should focus on economic empowerment."

The budget deficit: "Congress must also enact pro-growth policies that encourage the economy to expand: like making tax relief permanent and repealing the death tax. As we saw with the most recent deficit figures, a growing economy will in fact reduce the size of the budget deficit. In order to achieve optimal economic growth, Congress must adhere to sane spending guidelines while promoting smart policies devoted to growing businesses and creating jobs."
Stem cell research: "We have a lot to gain through furthering stem cell research, but medical breakthroughs should be fundamentally about saving, not destroying, human life. Therefore, I support stem cell research that does not destroy the embryo."

Health care: " We need to increase access to health insurance through Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and high deductible policies, so individuals and families can purchase the insurance that's best for them and meets their specific needs. . . . I support allowing small businesses to band together and compete for better insurance options. . . . To help increase our nation’s seniors access to affordable care, I have called to extend the sign up period for the Medicare Prescription Drug plan."
Mr. Steele's position on gun control:
Q: Your views on gun control?
STEELE: My views are pretty much in line with the governor's. I grew up under some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. You can have all the gun control laws in the country, but if you don't enforce them, people are going to find a way to protect themselves. We need to recognize that bad people are doing bad things with these weapons. It's not the law-abiding citizens, it's not the person who uses it as a hobby.
Q: Should people have access to buy assault weapons?
STEELE: Society should draw lines. What do you need an assault weapon for, if you're going hunting? That's overkill. But I don't think that means you go to a total ban for those who want to use gun for skeet shooting or hunting or things like that But what's the point of passing gun laws if we're not going to enforce them? If you want to talk about gun control, that's where you need to start. We've got 300 gun laws on the books right now. At the end of the day, it's about how we enforce the law.
Mr. Steele's Democratic roots inform his moderate positions. Good on him.


Mr. Steele, a moderate, will be a force in the Republican Party's future, and thanks to Barack Obama, will probably be a rising star.
I wonder how long it will be before the Hindenburg of Gasbags tags Mr. Steele as a RINO???


Good luck, Mr. Steele.

YOUR "LIBERAL" MEDIA


In the last two elections, the American people turned Republicans out of office. The 2006 election saw the Republicans lose seats in the House and the Senate. The 2008 election ushered in a Democratic president, and more gains in the House and Senate for the Democrats.

A map of the US on how it voted also showed that traditionally red states turned blue for Obama. More people registered as Democrats in the last election than Republicans.

During the recent election a Gallup poll showed that the Republican Party as an institution had a 61% unfavorable rating, with only 34% favorable. And the numbers have only gone downhill since the election -- in October they were at 40% favorable and 53% unfavorable.

After the election in November, Tim Pawlenty, Republican Governor of Minnesota had this to say:

"We cannot be a majority governing party when we essentially cannot compete in the Northeast, we are losing our ability to compete in Great Lakes States, we cannot compete on the West Coast, we are increasingly in danger of competing in the Mid-Atlantic States, and the Democrats are now winning some of the Western States," he said. "That is not a formula for being a majority governing party in this nation."
"And similarly we cannot compete, and prevail, as a majority governing party if we have a significant deficit, as we do, with women, where we have a large deficit with Hispanics, where we have a large deficit with African-American voters, where we have a large deficit with people of modest incomes and modest financial circumstances," he said. "Those are not factors that make up a formula for success going forward."

All of the above would suggest that the country is trending toward Democrats/liberals and rejecting the once current wisdom that this country prefers Republican/conservative government.

But you wouldn't know that if you watched cable news or the Sunday morning talk shows. The above chart illustrates that even though the country has shifted toward the Democrats/liberals, those cable news and broadcast news stations still overwhelmingly feature Republican/conservative Congressmen for commentary.
What liberal media?


Source

Thursday, January 29, 2009

LIMBAUGH SAYS PRESIDENT OBAMA IS AFRAID OF HIM?

"You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," President Obama told House Republicans during stimulus negotiations on Friday.

Limbaugh has encouraged Republicans to oppose the stimulus plan because it would give Democrats an electoral advantage by creating new jobs. He's also said he wants President Obama to fail

Yes, Gasbag, oppose the plan because it may give the Democrats an electoral advantage. That's the reason for Gasbag's bloviation over this. He doesn't care about the American people. He's afraid that the momentum of the last two elections will keep the Republicans in the minority for a good many years. And guess what, Limbaugh, that's exactly what will happen as long as they listen to you, an undereducated corpulent clown.

Please. Keep doing what you're doing. A majority of Americans--77%--approve of President Obama. You're a pathetic leftover from the Era of Stupidity--the era that brought us the failures of George Bush that led to the collapse of our economy.


On the radio Monday, Limbaugh said Obama wished the same for him.


No, Rush, you're really not that important. You're actually a joke, and we're laughing our asses off. Thanks for the diversion.

"He's obviously more frightened of me than he is Mitch McConnell. He's more frightened of me, then he is of say, John Boehner, which doesn't say much about our party," Limbaugh said.

Right. The Leader of the Free World and Commander in Chief is "frightened" of a once drug-addicted, radio jokester. Ooooh. President Obama's quaking in his shoes over your power. *snort*

Limbaugh today planned to unveil his own bipartisan plan to "resolve the fight over the stimulus package."

I can't wait to see what this college drop-out who failed at every academic endeavor he tried has to say about rescuing the entire American economy.

"I think Obama wants me to fail," Limbaugh said. "President Obama, by telling you and the elected Republicans in Washington to not listen to me because I am not how things get done in Washington, he has said that he wants me to fail.

Rush, listen to me. You already ARE a failure. You failed to get the Republicans elected in 2006 and 2008. Haven't you noticed the change in American politics? The Liberals are in power.

You're a has been. Really. Live with it.

DEEP THOUGHT...

Who elected Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge?


These two guys earn their living by stirring up the Republican base and instilling paranoia, divisiveness, and victimization in their listeners and readers.


And now they put themselves out there as the representatives of the Republican Party, to the point of offering their advice to President Obama on how to tackle the enormously complex financial problems this country faces.



Let's look at Drudge's background [from Wikipedia] to see how he qualifies for this:


Matthew Drudge, raised in Takoma Park, Maryland, near Washington, DC, is an only child.


His parents are Jewish liberal Democrats who both worked for the federal government.


His father, Robert Drudge, a former social worker who owns the reference site www.refdesk.com and his mother, a former staff attorney for U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy from Massachusetts, divorced when he was six. Drudge went to live with his mother.


He had few friends but was an avid news reader and radio talk show fan. In his book Drudge Manifesto, Drudge reports that he "failed his Bar Mitzvah", and graduated 341st out of a class of 355 from Northwood High School in 1984, thus giving himself, in his words, a "more than adequate curriculum vitae for a post at 7-Eleven".

He was arrested on June 18, 1981, for making annoying telephone calls. After the arrest, Drudge went to live with his father on a farm on the eastern shore of Maryland. Before long, however, his father sent him back to Washington to live with his unemployed mother.


Drudge was then placed in psychiatric treatment with Jewish Social Services. It was recommended that the boy be sent to a boarding school, "and if not the last choice will be a foster home" (from court papers).


In 2006, TIME Magazine named Drudge one of the 100 most influential people in the world, describing the Drudge Report as:


"A ludicrous combination of gossip, political intrigue and extreme weather reports ... still put together mostly by the guy who started out as a convenience-store clerk."

Drudge has been called "the Walter Cronkite of his era" by Mark Halperin and John F. Harris, "an idiot with a modem" by Keith Olbermann, "the country's reigning mischief-maker" by Todd Purdum of the The New York Times, and Michael Isikoff of Newsweek said "Drudge is a menace to honest, responsible journalism. And to the extent that he's read and people believe what they read, he's dangerous."




And now Limbaugh's background:


Limbaugh was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, the son of Mildred Carolyn "Millie" (née Armstrong), originally from Searcy, Arkansas, and Rush Hudson Limbaugh, Jr. His father was a lawyer and a World War II fighter pilot who served in the China-Burma-India theater. The name "Rush" was chosen for his grandfather to honor the maiden name of family member Edna Rush.


His family is filled with a number of lawyers including his grandfather, father and his brother David. His uncle, Stephen N. Limbaugh, Sr. is a Ronald Reagan appointed federal judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and his cousin, Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr., is Judge on the Supreme Court of Missouri. Rush Limbaugh, Sr., Limbaugh's grandfather, was a Missouri prosecutor, judge, special commissioner and served on Missouri's state House of Representatives from 1930 to 1932.


Education


Limbaugh graduated from Cape Central High School, in 1969. His father and mother wanted him to attend college, so he enrolled at Southeast Missouri State University.


He dropped out after two semesters and one summer; according to his mother, "he flunked everything", even a modern ballroom dancing class. As she told a reporter in 1992, "He just didn't seem interested in anything except radio."


Two things these men have in common is their poor performances in school and their inability to distinguish themselves in their respective families career traditions. They found , instead, a field where no particular educational requirements are needed--where the skills that are most important are belief in one's bombastic rhetoric and the ability to gather gossip and rumor and turn that into political lucre.


Higher education is not always the tool that will ensure success, and there are many successful people who have done quite well for themselves with just a high school diploma and a lot of smarts in other areas. Limbaugh and Drudge have done quite well financially and have millions of followers of their respective venues. However, being a popular radio personality or the host of a blog does not make one an expert in economics. Or really, anything other than entertaining folks.


Nothing in their backgrounds qualify them to advise a president on the highly complex and far reaching consequences of a multi-dimensional financial stimulus package.


Both Limbaugh and Drudge have an overinflated opinion of themselves based only on their appeal to their audiences.


The rest of the country thinks they're self-important cacafuegos.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

ELEVATING SCIENCE, ELEVATING DEMOCRACY


Dennis Overbye, writing in the New York Times on Tuesday, January 27, rejoiced over the dark cloud that was lifted from the shoulders of the scientific community in this country.


After eight years of the Bush administration's policy of allowing ideology and theology to determine what scientific research will go forward and what will not, we have a president who understands that America has the brain power, the technology, and the determination to be a leader once again in scientific endeavor.


On issues like stem cells, climate change, sex education and contraceptives, the Bush administration sought to tame and, in some cases, suppress the findings of many of the government’s scientific agencies. Besides discouraging scientific pronouncements that contradicted administration policies, officials insisted on tight control over even routine functions of key agencies.

In early 2004, more than 60 influential scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, issued a statement claiming that the Bush administration had systematically distorted scientific fact in the service of policy goals on the environment, health, biomedical research and nuclear weaponry.


The administration, it said, had “misrepresented scientific knowledge and misled the public about the implications of its policies.”


Just last month, the inspector general of the Interior Department determined that agency officials often interfered with scientific work in order to limit protections for species in danger of extinction.

We no longer have President George W. Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and Senator John McCain announcing in August 2006 their support for teaching Intelligent Design in pubic schools. That was a mobilizing moment for the champions of rational thinking such as Jerry Coyne, Richard Dawkins, Daniel C. Dennett, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and P.Z. Myers to mount an unrelenting campaign against superstition, supernaturalism, and ignorance. The dilemma as Coyne notes is that against the backdrop of scientific knowledge available to us today, these three words are applicable not only to the texts that inform literal fundamentalists but also to the rarefied theological mumbo-jumbo of the most refined, liberal theologians.

On inauguration day, President Obama announced the goal of "restoring science to its rightful place" while, in the same speech, acknowledging that nonbelievers are citizens of this nation in the same way as followers of religion.
Source




Monday, January 26, 2009

PRESIDENT OBAMA INCLUDES NONBELIEVERS IN INAUGURAL SPEECH

UPDATE ON THE LIMBAUGH "I HOPE OBAMA FAILS" POST BELOW.

Yes. For the first time in an inaugural speech, President Obama acknowledged that nonbelievers exist!

Fox News then used that innocuous inclusion to stir up a noncontroversy--and Mike Huckabee implied that nonbelievers are narcissists.

How can the recognition that a group of Americans exists be offensive? Why are believers troubled when nonbelievers are given a chance to express their reasons for nonbelief? If one's faith is strong, then there should be no danger to believers when a contrary point of view is presented.

IMHO, when some believers want to shut down an alternative view or even demonize nonbelievers, that indicates to me that they are not so sure of their own faith, and the idea that nontheism could be a viable point of view, frightens them.

Watch it here:



This article from a newspaper in New York's lower Hudson Valley covers the story:

"But no one doubted that there would be a lot of prayers for America's well-being and references to the nation's undeniable religious roots.

Obama delivered right away, citing Scripture - "the time has come to set aside childish things (1 Corinthians)" - and describing our basic civil rights as "God-given." That's a more direct way of saying "inalienable."

Then, out of the blue, he threw in a mention of one of the few groups that officeholders like to pretend does not exist. You knew right then that George W. Bush had become an ex-president.
I think it's fair to say that it has long been acceptable - even encouraged - for public servants in this country to look down their noses at those who do not profess a belief in God. Even in recent decades, as most Americans have embraced the idea of interreligious tolerance, if not cooperation, how many have given a moment's thought to whether nonbelievers should be tolerated, too?

Believe it or not, several states still have provisions in their constitutions that say that nonbelievers cannot hold public office.

Consider Article 37 of the Declaration of Rights of the Maryland Constitution: "That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God."

In the months after 9/11, when everyone was singing "God Bless America" or talking about the nation's Judeo-Christian heritage, I wrote an article about nonbelievers who felt that they were being left out of the national mourning. I heard from a few readers who, let's just say, had little interest in what the heathen were feeling.

That's why Obama's use of one mere word may signal some kind of a break with the past.

"Religionists tend to define atheism as a disbelief in God, but that's not true," said Stone, a psychiatry professor at New York University. "Atheism has nothing to do with beliefs or nonbeliefs. It's about reaching a conclusion by applying reason and evidence. There is insufficient evidence for God. We want to define ourselves."

Berger, whose group welcomes anyone, even believers, who want to explore the potential of humanism, said that he hopes that Obama's introduction will lead to more talk between people of faith and people of ... something else.

"We can still relate to one another through relationships and through nature," he said. "That's one of the tenets of ethical culture, how we relate to each other as people and how we relate to the natural world."

In recent years, provocateurs like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, who like to belittle people of faith, have become the unofficial spokesmen for nonbelievers. Hitchens enjoys saying, "Religion poisons everything."

This past Christmas, the American Humanist Association put ads in Washington buses proclaiming, "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake." Weeks later, the British Humanist Association unveiled bus ads offering this advice: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

Neither Hitchens nor the bus ads are likely to change many minds - although they do stoke a lot of anger toward nonbelievers.

Here's the interesting thing: There are a lot of people out there who may not be hard-core atheists - itching to rebut Scripture line-by-line - but who do not identify with any religious tradition and aren't quite sure what they believe.

The Pew Forum's Religious Landscape Survey found last year that 16.1 percent of Americans are not affiliated with any religion. That's almost as many "None of the Abovers" as there are mainline Protestants (18.1 percent).

Some of them must have smiled when their new president included nonbelievers in the American fabric."

UPDATE: 1/26/09 Bill Bennett disagreed with fellow conservative talking head Rush Limbaugh, who said that he wants President Obama "to fail." On CNN's "State of the Union," Bennett said, "The locution 'I want him to fail' is not what you say the first week the man's been inaugurated ... the rhetoric could be improved."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

WHAT RONALD REAGAN REALLY SAID...


For all those conservatives who believe Ronald Reagan said government is the problem. Think again.


I'd like to hear from my conservative friends what they think of this.




Republicans love to invoke Reagan, but if he’s watching right now, the Gipper is probably “smacking himself on the forehead, rolling his eyes and wondering who in the world these clowns are,” speculates former GOP Congressman (and longtime Reagan backer) Mickey Edwards in the LA Times. Today’s would-be Reaganites believe all government “is the problem,” and that small government is inherently better than big. “This is all errant nonsense,” writes Edwards, “wrong in every conceivable way.”

“In America, government is us,” Edwards reasons. What matters isn’t the size of government, but the limits of its powers. Bush Republicans obviously don’t get this, but Reagan did. In his famous inaugural, he said that “in the present crisis…government is the problem.” But he went on to say, “Now, so there will be no misunderstanding, it’s not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work.” A sentiment echoed by Obama in his address.



Reagan wouldn't recognize this GOP

The Gipper may be the patron saint of Limbaugh and Coulter, but he'd be amazed at what's been done in his name.

"The Republican Party that is in such disrepute today is not the party of Reagan. It is the party of Rush Limbaugh, of Ann Coulter, of Newt Gingrich, of George W. Bush, of Karl Rove. It is not a conservative party." - Mickey Edwards



January 24, 2009

In my mind's eye, I can see Ronald Reagan, wearing wings and a Stetson, perched on a cloud and watching all the goings-on down here in his old earthly home. Laughing, rolling his eyes and whacking his forehead over the absurdities he sees, he's watching his old political party as it twists itself into ever more complex knots, punctuated only by pauses to invoke the Gipper's name. It's been said that God would be amazed by what his followers ascribe to him; believe me, Reagan would be similarly amazed by what his most fervent admirers cite in their desire to be seen as true-blue Reaganites.On the premise that simple is best, many Republicans have reduced their operating philosophy to two essentials: First, government is bad (it's "the problem"); second, big government is the worst and small government is better (although because government itself is bad, it may be assumed that small government is only marginally preferable). This is all errant nonsense. It is wrong in every conceivable way and violative of the Constitution, American exceptionalism, freedom, conservatism, Reaganism and common sense.


In America, government is ... us. What is "exceptional" about America is the depth of its commitment to the principle of self-government; we elect the government, we replace it or its members when they displease us, and by our threats or support, we help steer what government does.A shocker: The Constitution, which we love for the limits it places on government power, not only constrains government, it empowers it. Limited government is not no government. And limited government is not "small" government. Simply building roads, maintaining a military, operating courts, delivering the mail and doing other things specifically mandated by the Constitution for America's 300 million people make it impossible to keep government "small." It is boundaries that protect freedom. Small governments can be oppressive, and large ones can diminish freedoms. It is the boundaries, not the numbers, that matter.What would Reagan think of this? Wasn't it he who warned that government is the problem? Well, permit me. I directed the joint House-Senate policy advisory committees for the Reagan presidential campaign. I was part of his congressional steering committee. I sat with him in his hotel room in Manchester, N.H., the night he won that state's all-important primary. I knew him before he was governor of California and before I was a member of Congress. Let me introduce you to Ronald Reagan.

Reagan, who spent 16 years in government, actually said this:"In the present crisis," referring specifically to the high taxes and high levels of federal spending that had marked the Carter administration, "government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." He then went on to say: "Now, so there will be no misunderstanding, it's not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work." Government, he said, "must provide opportunity." He was not rejecting government, he was calling -- as Barack Obama did Tuesday -- for better management of government, for wiser decisions.

Friday, January 23, 2009

ANOTHER CONSERVATIVE HOPES PRESIDENT OBAMA FAILS, URGES AMERICANS TO PRAY FOR FAILURE

Limbaugh and this character, Joseph Farah, have their bowels in a boil.

Limbaugh gave his reasons for wishing President Obama bad luck, and today I read about another malcontent who actually asks his followers to pray to God for America to fail. Yes. You read that correctly, for surely if our president fails in carrying out the duties of his office, America does too.

And yet these two men, so outraged by a liberal having won the presidency and in turning red states blue, would wish the worst for their country to salve their wounded egos. Because the American people, in voting President Obama into office, have told them that they are wrong, that they are extremists, that they--the American people--reject their rhetoric of fear, hatred, and divisiveness.

This Joseph Farah claims that President Obama is evil, and that God commands that his subjects need not obey evil leaders.

Since Farah [and Limbaugh] can't argue that the American people didn't want President Obama to lead them--the evidence to the contrary was obvious on Nov. 4, 2008, and on January 20, 2009, when almost two million people gathered to celebrate President Obama's inauguration--he uses God to try to turn Americans away from their freely elected leader.

His reasoning is: President Obama is evil; God hates evil; therefore God must hate President Obama. If this is true, anything any malcontented and frightened person can do to defeat this evil is sanctioned by God.

Does anyone besides me see what this seditious reasoning can lead to?

Once Farah uses a deity to justify his and, in turn, his listeners' hatred and disloyalty to the president, he crosses into very dangerous territory. Many weak-minded people who may be convinced by Farah's insane reasoning, may also be convinced to, well fill in the blank yourselves.

It is one thing to use your radio show to rant and rave against the Obama presidency as Limbaugh does, it is quite another thing, a terrible, terrible thing, to invoke God as a reason to hate.

Joseph Farah:

"I want Obama to fail because his agenda is 100 percent at odds with God's. Pretending it is not simply makes a mockery of God's straightforward Commandments.

If government commands you to do evil, as a Christian you must resist. There is no alternative. Citing the "render unto Caesar" line is an apologetic for accountability to God – nothing more, nothing less.

Furthermore, it needs to be pointed out that in America we don't have a Caesar. Never have, never will. You see, our system of government is called a free republic, and it is based on the concept of constitutional self-government. We have no "rulers" in America – except ourselves and our God. We believe in the rule of law, not the rule of men.

This is an important distinction, not a semantic one.

Nowhere in the Bible does it teach us to obey evil rulers. Nowhere.

This is a time for principled biblical resistance, not phony Christian appeasement.



"Principled biblical resistance?" I'm not a Biblical scholar, but I recall that in that book, God treats evil-doers quite harshly, and exhorts his favored ones to do the same. And if I remember correctly, that treatment includes a lot of blood letting.

I'm for free speech.

Don't shut this odious excuse for skin and vital organs down.

I post this here so that we know what is being put out there in some parts of the most radical conservative blogsphere.

The conservatives I've come to know and respect reject this nonsense, as all reasonable Americans do.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

LIMBAUGH HOPES PRESIDENT OBAMA FAILS


In my opinion, Limbaugh is little more than a insecure, under-educated buffoon, and his lastest grab at headlines reinforces my opinion. Repulsive as his latest screed is, I thought it was important to get it out there so people can understand how desperate this man has become to keep himself the center of attention.


He crows that he wants President Obama to fail--Oh, but it's Obama's policies Limbaugh is talking about, so we shouldn't become upset when we hear this. Except if Pres. Obama's policies fail, President Obama fails, and if President Obama fails, we--America--fail again.


His small mind is not expected to grasp that logical progression.


The following is a textual representation of what in my opinion is a squealing monkey flinging his poo so that the keepers who feed him will pay him the attention he so urgently needs.




RUSH: I got a request here from a major American print publication. "Dear Rush: For the Obama [Immaculate] Inauguration we are asking a handful of very prominent politicians, statesmen, scholars, businessmen, commentators, and economists to write 400 words on their hope for the Obama presidency. We would love to include you. If you could send us 400 words on your hope for the Obama presidency, we need it by Monday night, that would be ideal." Now, we're caught in this trap again. The premise is, what is your "hope." My hope, and please understand me when I say this. I disagree fervently with the people on our side of the aisle who have caved and who say, "Well, I hope he succeeds. We've got to give him a chance." Why? They didn't give Bush a chance in 2000. Before he was inaugurated the search-and-destroy mission had begun. I'm not talking about search-and-destroy, but I've been listening to Barack Obama for a year-and-a-half. I know what his politics are. I know what his plans are, as he has stated them.


I don't want them to succeed.


If I wanted Obama to succeed, I'd be happy the Republicans have laid [sic] down. And I would be encouraging Republicans to lay [sic] down and support him. Look, what he's talking about is the absorption of as much of the private sector by the US government as possible, from the banking business, to the mortgage industry, the automobile business, to health care. I do not want the government in charge of all of these things. I don't want this to work.


So I'm thinking of replying to the guy, "Okay, I'll send you a response, but I don't need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails." (interruption) What are you laughing at? See, here's the point. Everybody thinks it's outrageous to say. Look, even my staff, "Oh, you can't do that." Why not?


Why is it any different, what's new, what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails?


Liberalism is our problem.


Liberalism is what's gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. [For six years the Republicans had complete control of the presidency AND Congress, but it was "liberalism" that brought us to the precipice? There's whining blame-laying we can believe in. --SK]


Why do I want more of it? I don't care what the Drive-By story is.


I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long:


"Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails."


Somebody's gotta say it.



Right. Somebody's gotta say it, Limbaugh, and we just knew it would be you.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

PRESIDENT BARACK H. OBAMA

Congratulations, sir.


UPDATE:

President Obama did NOT flub his oath of office. Chief Justice Roberts did. Not a big deal. But as usual, Drudge reported that President Obama flubbed it. Drudge: WRONG AGAIN.

The Inaugural Oath: Chief Justice Slip-Up
January 20, 2009 12:40 PMThomas Nagorski-->

Chief Justice John Roberts is a man who has made very few public missteps in his life -- but he appears to have made one when swearing in Barack Obama. Roberts slightly flubbed the oath, which then tripped up Obama.

The oath is contained in the Constitution: "I 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."

But when Roberts swore in Obama, he flipped some of the words, saying: "I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully."
Here's the transcript:

ROBERTS: Are you prepared to take the oath, Senator?
OBAMA: I am.
ROBERTS: I, Barack Hussein Obama...
OBAMA: I, Barack...
ROBERTS: ... do solemnly swear...
OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear...
ROBERTS: ... that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully...
OBAMA: ... that I will execute...
ROBERTS: ... faithfully the office of president of the United States...
OBAMA: ... the office of president of the United States faithfully...
ROBERTS: ... and will to the best of my ability...
OBAMA: ... and will to the best of my ability...
ROBERTS: ... preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
OBAMA: ... preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
ROBERTS: So help you God?
OBAMA: So help me God.
ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.

AND FROM CNN:

UpdateOn CNN, Wolf Blitzer said, "John Roberts had one job to do today and he sort of screwed up." Jeffrey Toobin replied, "I almost fell out of my chair."

THE OBAMA INAUGURATION, AS SEEN FROM SPACE


Monday, January 19, 2009

HAPPY OBAMA DAY!


I HAVE A DREAM--DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING

Today, President-elect Barack Obama is calling for a national day of service in tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Day.
We remember Dr. King for his service to our country and his courage, dignity, and truth.
It is fitting to reread his "I Have a Dream" speech today and think about how far we have come as a nation and how far we still have to go to fully realize what Dr. King's inspiring words.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true.

So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Sunday, January 18, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC, READIES ITSELF FOR THE BIG DAY



Sunday, January 18 – An official welcome concert will be held on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to kick off the inaugural celebration. The event will be open to the public and broadcast live exclusively on HBO. See details including the lineup of performers.


Monday, January 19 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - To honor Dr. King’s legacy, Obama, Biden and their families will participate in activities dedicated to serving others in communities across the Washington, DC area. Additional events will be held throughout the week. See the schedule of events.Inaugural Eve Concert for America's Children - A free youth concert will be held at the Verizon Center. The concert will be broadcast on Disney Channel 8:00 - 9:30 p.m. EST. Read more.

Tuesday, January 20 - Inauguration Day- Swearing-in ceremony, Inaugural Parade, and official Inaugural Balls. (See details below) The 2009 inaugural events are expected to draw record breaking crowds to Washington, DC. Getting around the region throughout the four-day inaugural weekend will be challenging. Washington Metro is gearing up for the events with increased hours and security. See Inauguration 2009 Transportation Guide for details.
Inauguration Swearing-in Ceremony -

BROADCAST LIVE AT 11:30 a.m. ESTJanuary 20, 2009 - The oath of office will be administered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Following the oath of office, the President will give his inaugural address, setting out his vision for America and goals for the nation.

The public should be aware that no website or other ticket outlet actually has inaugural swearing-in tickets to sell, regardless of what they may claim.Those who come to witness the swearing-in ceremony will be able to watch and listen to the ceremony on large screens that will be set up along the National Mall.

Presidential Inauguration ParadeJanuary 20, 2009, 2:30 p.m. Tickets are not required. The public will not be allowed to lineup along the parade route before 7 a.m.Location: Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DCViewing stands and bleachers will extend from 3rd to 17th Sts.The presidential inaugural parade is coordinated by the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee (AFIC) which includes members from all branches of the armed forces of the United States. Since 1789, the U.S. armed forces have participated in this important American tradition honoring our commander in chief with musical units, marching bands, color guards, salute batteries and honor cordons. Read more about the inaugural parade.

Inauguration BallsMany inaugural balls and galas will take place at venues throughout Washington, DC from January 15 - 24, 2009. The official balls are planned by the Presidential Inaugural Committee and unofficial balls and parties are planned by the State Societies of Washington, DC and a variety of other organizations. Dozens of events will be announced in the coming weeks. See a guide to Inaugural Balls and Galas.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MICHELLE ROBINSON OBAMA!


Today she turns 45. And in a few days, she'll be First Lady.


SO LONG, AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH, PART II


I had intended to cover more of Bush's farewell speech. But to what purpose? I covered most of the areas in the post below where I thought he was most disingenuous about his record. Why torture (Ooops!) America with more?


Bush made a valiant effort trying to spin what has been a failed presidency into a successful one--even to the point where he insists history will prove him right.


Few historians believe that, and even fewer Americans. Mr. Bush leaves office with a nation in shambles and his legacy in worse condition. He has no one to blame but himself and Vice.


But don't take my assessment alone as the final indictment on what he has wrought. Here are some choice words from various journalists from here and abroad:




"Thanks to Bush, we know that conservatives are not fiscally responsible, they are not for small government, they don't stand up for moral values and they won't make Americans one bit safer. Conservatives aren't even true defenders of "free markets" -- having presided over the biggest market bailout in the world."



Robert G. Kaiser writes on washingtonpost.com: "This was a sad moment. Bush looked frail and uncomfortable to me. His inappropriate little grins were, I suspect, more a measure of that discomfort than anything else. The country is in a disastrous state, and Bush seemed to want to pretend that he was just another president ending his term of office. Tragically, we are coming to the end of one of the least successful presidencies in American history. In a month or two I suspect we will have put Bush entirely behind us. . . .

"In my view, Bush was talking down to us tonight by assuming, implicitly, that people might actually accept his rosy view of what has been happening to the country and the world while he has been president. I think this tendency to whistle past the graveyard is a large part of the explanation for his remarkably low approval ratings at the end of his presidency."


Tom Shales writes in The Washington Post: "Only his remaining ardent supporters would probably classify last night's TV appearance by President Bush as reality television. On the other hand, detractors -- a sizable group, judging by popularity polls -- would likely say George W. Bush's farewell to the nation, delivered from the East Room of the White House, had the aura of delusion and denial.

"America is suffering what is commonly being called the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression, for example. Yet in Bush's speech, that crisis was euphemized into 'challenges to our prosperity,' as Bush took credit for bold steps to remedy the situation."


Rupert Cornwell, the Independent: "Almost everything he touched went sour – from the global image of the US to the economy, from the military (stretched almost to breaking point by two wars) to his own Republican party, and the conservative cause once championed by Bush's hero Ronald Reagan. By almost every measure, the country is in a worse state than when he took over on 20 January 2001.

Bush and his enabler Dick Cheney set out to strengthen the presidency, and to an extent they did – but largely by weakening, and on occasion trampling over, the constitution itself."


And finally, one of my favorite writers, Mark Morford, SFGate:


"To my mind, even the softest portrait of W merely raises the larger question, perhaps not to be fully answered for many years: How could such a mediocre and unimaginative human cause so much damage? How could this frat house daddy's-boy dullard so perfectly undermine America's fundamental identity and disfigure every major department of government and bring the nation to its knees? Indeed, unpacking that one may take awhile.

Other questions, though, are not so difficult. Questions like: Has it really been all that bad? Have we been too hard on the poor schlub? Does Bush really deserve such white-hot derision and international contempt? Or is he just lost and misunderstood, like a sad clown with a big shotgun and an unfortunate muscle spasm? I think we can all answer those without the slightest hesitation.

There is, after all, no escaping history. There is no escaping the hard reality of our gutted and mangled nation, how the past eight years are simply some of the most dismal and corrupt in our nation's history, a modern take on the Dark Ages. And there is also no escaping the sense that we barely got out of it alive.

But you know what? Maybe there will eventually be a tiny bit of room for empathy for George W. Bush, for feeling a tiny bit sorry for the guy for being so inept and so deeply loathed and for never really understanding the scope of the damage he was doing, or who was really pulling the strings.

They say forgiveness, after all, is one of the highest virtues of man. Particularly forgiveness of those who have wronged us, harmed us, wreaked violence and idiocy and a homophobic war-loving fundamentalist Jesus upon us. The question then becomes, how do you begin? Where do you look inside yourself for a hint of mercy and absolution for this most banal and regrettable of evil overlords?


Maybe you don't look inside at all. Maybe, at least initially, it's more effective to do the exact opposite, to step back and take the long view, widen your lens until it encompasses the entire insane pageant of life, until you can't help but see Bush and all his concomitant demons for what they really are: a blip, a blink, a shrug of God, a speck of sad lint floating through the giant, never-ending cosmic circus.


Hey, it might not be forgiveness, but it's a start. "

Friday, January 16, 2009

SO LONG, AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH




So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish is the fourth book of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy tetralogy written by Douglas Adams. Its title is the message left by the dolphins when they departed Planet Earth just before it was demolished to make way for a hyperspatial express route. The phrase has since been adopted by some science fiction fans as a humorous way to say "goodbye."


George W. Bush gave his farewell address to the nation last night and continued in the grand Republican tradition of creating his own reality. I'll highlight and challenge a few of his assertions and then, it is hoped, we will close the door to what I believe is a failed presidency and open a new one to hope.


GWB: "Afghanistan has gone from a nation where the Taliban harbored al Qaeda and stoned women in the streets to a young democracy that is fighting terror and encouraging girls to go to school."


REALITY: 11/13/2008 AFGHANISTAN -- Acid thrown in faces of five young women in Kandahar, "guilty" of going to school. Responsibility for the crime is attributed to the Taliban, who have an extensive presence in the area. During their government, they imposed an absolute ban on any form of education for females.



In Afghanistan, rampant government corruption a way of life
Thursday, January 1, 2009

KABUL, Afghanistan – When it comes to governing this violent, fractious land, everything, it seems, has its price.

Want to be a provincial police chief? It will cost $100,000.

Want to drive a convoy loaded with fuel across the country? Be prepared to pay $6,000 per truck, so the police will not tip off the Taliban.
Need to settle a lawsuit over the ownership of your house? About $25,000, depending on the judge.

"It is very shameful, but probably I will pay the bribe," Mohammed Naim, a young English teacher, said as he stood in front of the Secondary Courthouse in Kabul. His brother had been arrested a week before, and the police were demanding $4,000 for his release. "Everything is possible in this country now. Everything."

Kept afloat by billions of dollars in American and other foreign aid, the government of Afghanistan is shot through with corruption and graft. From the lowliest traffic policeman to the family of President Hamid Karzai, the state often seems to exist for little more than the enrichment of those who run it.



GWB: "Iraq has gone from a brutal dictatorship and a sworn enemy of America to an Arab democracy at the heart of the Middle East and a friend of the United States."


REALITY: Dec. 15, 2008 -- BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A man identified as an Iraqi journalist threw shoes at -- but missed -- President Bush during a news conference Sunday evening in Baghdad, where Bush was making a farewell visit.


Bush ducked, and the shoes, flung one at a time, sailed past his head during the news conference with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in his palace in the heavily fortified Green Zone.


While pinned on the ground by security personnel, he screamed: "You killed the Iraqis!"
Al-Zaidi was dragged away. Hurling shoes at someone, or sitting so that the bottom of a shoe faces another person, is considered an insult among Muslims.


As for democracy taking root in Iraq, that is still debatable. As we've seen in other areas of the ME, having elections does not necessarily guarantee democracy--they can sometimes guarantee the election of terrorist groups.


Retired Marine General Anthony Zinni believes that the creation of democracy in Iraq does not call for short-term solutions. As a matter of fact, political philosopher Chantal Mouffe develops Zinni’s ideas by arguing that "democracy is never going to be completely realized, but it is something which will always need to be a project which we are going to fight for…be aware that there is no final goal – democracy is a process which we are continually working towards. So we are clearly facing a difficulty in terms of the way passion can be mobilized." To Adam Garfinkle, another Middle East scholar, experiencing difficulty in establishing democracy in Iraq is an understatement. Adam M. Garfinkle argues that attempting to promote democracy in Iraq and the rest of the Arab World will fail and only exaggerate feelings of anti-Americanism within the Arab world.


GWB: "A new Medicare prescription drug benefit is bringing peace of mind to seniors and the disabled. "


REALITY: Millions of the poorest and most vulnerable beneficiaries now pay more for drugs than they did before. According to the Medicare Rx Education Network – a group heavily financed by the pharmaceutical industry – 23 percent of seniors and people with disabilities are paying more for prescription drugs than they did before enrolling in a Medicare Part D plan [Medicare Rx Education Network Survey of Seniors, KRC Research, 04/03/06]. A majority of those paying more received prescription drug coverage through Medicaid last year, but were this year automatically enrolled in Part D. Copayments were generally lower under Medicaid than they are for Part D and did not rise annually as they will under Part D.



GWB: Funding for our veterans has nearly doubled.


REALITY: In May 2007, the AP revealed that while former Republican National Committee Chairman, Jim Nicholson was pinching pennies on treatment costs and coping with a $1.3 billion budget shortfall, he awarded “$3.8 million in bonuses to top executives in fiscal 2006″ — many as much as $33,000.

Simultaneously, Bush was resisting congressional efforts to beef up the VA’s budget. In May 2007, Bush threatened to veto legislation that sought a 10 percent—$3.2 billion—increase, calling it too expensive. Bush proposed a 2 percent increase, far below what lawmakers and VA officials said was needed to treat a dramatic increase in traumatic brain injury and PTSD cases.

After Congress passed the legislation with the higher VA spending, Bush backed down on his veto threat but that was largely due to the fact that every Republican in the Senate with the exception of Jim DeMint of South Carolina, supported the measure.

Amid the growing scandals about substandard VA treatment and inept management, Nicholson resigned in July 2007.


Paul Sullivan, the executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, a veterans’ advocacy group that sued the VA in federal court, said attempts by the White House to portray Bush as an advocate for veterans is beyond shameful.


“Bush is the worst failure for our veterans since Hoover,” Sullivan said, expressing shock that the President “would shamefully continue his legacy of lies to the American people as he and his political cronies are forced to leave office on Jan. 20.”

Sullivan disputed some of Bush’s claims as misleading, such as the assertion that he doubled funding for the VA. “However, President Bush failed to disclose that the number of veterans seeking VA healthcare doubled, from 2.7 million to 5.5 million, and that rising healthcare inflation actually resulted in a net decrease in spending per veteran by VA during the past eight years,” he said.

“If not for the intervention of Congress to substantially increase VA funding beyond Bush's inadequate budget requests, especially in the past two years, the situation would have deteriorated from a serious crisis to a catastrophe at VA.”


More later...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

CAPTAIN CHESLEY B. SULLENBERGER, HERO



I salute Captain Sullenberger, a real hero. Well done, sir. We are all grateful.



Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger, III is a captain for a major U.S. airline with over 40 years of flying experience. A former U.S. Air Force (USAF) fighter pilot, he has served as an instructor and Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) safety chairman, accident investigator and national technical committee member.


He has participated in several USAF and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) accident investigations. His ALPA safety work led to the development of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Advisory Circular. Working with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientists, he coauthored a paper on error inducing contexts in aviation.



Chesley Sullenberger, known as "Sully," the pilot of the US Airways plane that crashed into the Hudson River is being hailed as a hero for successfully landing the plane without any major injuries or fatalities.

A former Air Force fighter pilot, "Sully" was lauded by New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, who hailed Sullenberger's actions as "masterful," reports The Daily Telegraph:

But he heaped praise on the plane's captain, pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger - a 29-year veteran known as "Sully" to his colleagues - for landing the plane flat on the water and avoiding nearby Manhattan.

Mayor Bloomberg said he had spoken to Mr Sullenberger at length, and said he did a "masterful job".

Sullenberger searched the plane before exiting the plane, reports ABCNews.com:
The hero of Flight 1549, pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger III, walked the aisle of the downed US Airways jet twice looking for passengers before exiting the plane he safely ditched in the Hudson River, saving the lives of more than 150 people onboard.

The successful landing on water was a rarity, reports the NY Daily News:
It appeared to be the first time in 45 years that a major aircraft crash-landed in the water - and every passenger on board made it out alive.

CNN spoke to Sullenberger's wife, Lori, who was stunned by her husband's ordeal:
Sullenberger's wife told CNN she spoke to her husband and is reeling from the incident.

"I was stunned. I hadn't been watching the news. I've heard Sully say to people, 'It's rare for an airline pilot to have an incident in their career,' " Lori Sullenberger said.

"When he called me he said, 'There's been an accident.' At first I thought it was something minor, but then he told me the circumstances and my body started shaking and I rushed to get our daughters out of school."


He was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Crew Resource Management (CRM) course used at his airline and has taught the course to hundreds of his colleagues. Sully is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy (B.S.), Purdue University (M.S.) and the University of Northern Colorado (M.A.). He was a speaker on two panels at the High Reliability Organizations (HRO) 2007 International Conference in Deauville, France May 29-31, 2007. He has just been named a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley.


BUSH'S LEGACY, PART II -- GOING, GOING, ALMOST GONE


Everyone's looking back at GWB's presidency and weighing in on whether or not it was a failure or a terrible failure. I had intended to post a Part II to follow on my Part I, but a fellow blogger, TAO, has done a better, more articulate job than I could, so with his permission, I'm linking to his perceptive, in-depth, fair and balanced assessment of the past eight years.


I will, however, post a few choice quotes from outgoing President Bush, which give us the opportunity to see how his mind works and how he perceives himself and his administration.


"Abu Ghraib, obviously, was a huge disappointment, during the presidency. You know, not having weapons of mass destruction was a significant disappointment," he said. "I don't know if you want to call those mistakes or not, but they were -- things didn't go according to plan, let's put it that way. . . . Look, I have often said that history will look back and determine that which could have been done better or, you know, mistakes I made."


"I've thought long and hard about Katrina; you know, could I have done something differently," Like what? "[L]ike land Air Force One either in New Orleans or Baton Rouge."




"My view is is that most people around the world, they respect America. And some of them doesn't like me..."


"Do you remember what it was like right after 9-11 around here? People were saying, "How come they didn't see it? How come they didn't connect the dots?" Do you remember what the environment was like in Washington -- I do -- when people were hauled in front of Congress and members of Congress were asking questions about, "How come you didn't know this that or the other?" And then we start putting, you know, policy in place -- legal policy in place to connect the dots, and all the sudden, people were saying, "How come you're connecting the dots?"


"It turns out, this isn't one of the presidencies where you ride off into the sunset."


"So I analyzed that and decided I didn't want to be the president during a depression greater than the Great Depression, or the beginning of a depression greater than the Great Depression." --George W. Bush, Washington D.C., Dec. 18, 2008

"People say, well, do you ever hear any other voices other than, like, a few people? Of course I do." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Dec. 18, 2008


"I've abandoned free market principles to save the free market system." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Dec. 16, 2008

"You know, I'm the President during this period of time, but I think when the history of this period is written, people will realize a lot of the decisions that were made on Wall Street took place over a decade or so, before I arrived in President, during I arrived in President." --George W. Bush, ABC News interview, Dec. 1, 2008

"I've been in the Bible every day since I've been the president." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Nov. 12, 2008



"This thaw -- took a while to thaw, it's going to take a while to unthaw." --George W. Bush, on liquidity in the markets, Alexandria, La., Oct. 20, 2008

"I didn't grow up in the ocean -- as a matter of fact -- near the ocean -- I grew up in the desert. Therefore, it was a pleasant contrast to see the ocean. And I particularly like it when I'm fishing." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Sept. 26, 2008

"Anyone engaging in illegal financial transactions will be caught and persecuted." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2008


"Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter." --George W. Bush, in parting words to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy at his final G-8 Summit, punching the air and grinning widely as the two leaders looked on in shock.--Rusutsu, Japan, July 10, 2008


"And I, unfortunately, have been to too many disasters as president." --George W. Bush, discussing flooding in the Midwest, Washington, D.C., June 17, 2008

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA MEETS WITH CONSERVATIVE PUNDITS


And here are two of them [Andrew Sullivan, a conservative writer and blogger and Larry Kudlow, an economic advisor to Ronald Reagan] who reported on the overall tenor of that meeting. They were asked not to report details, and they kept their word. But they were able to give a general feeling for the meeting.




14 Jan 2009 02:57 pm
Sorry, No Details
-->
Lots of emails from readers asking about the chat with the president-elect this morning. It was totally off the record and I'm a stickler for those rules. I can say, however, the following: it's hard to express the relief I feel that this man will be the president soon. I realize that's what I feel above all else: relief.

I may disagree with him at times, and criticize him at times, but his great gift is showing that he does not expect people to change their convictions in order to find common areas of agreement. That's the challenge he's presenting all of us with, wherever we come from ideologically. The challenge is as real for a Krugman as for a Kristol, for Rick Warren as well as Gene Robinson.
As I've said repeatedly for the last two years, we're lucky to have him.




CNBC’s Melissa Francis: I HAVE TO ASK LARRY, I'M DYING TO HEAR ABOUT IT, YOU HAD DINNER LAST NIGHT WITH PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA. WHAT WAS THE TONE LIKE? WAS HE TRYING TO WIN OVER THE CONSERVATIVES? IS THAT WHAT IT WAS? THERE WERE ABOUT TEN OF YOU THERE, RIGHT?


CNBC’s Larry Kudlow: THIS WAS AN OFF-THE-RECORD DINNER AND I'M GOING TO KEEP IT OFF THE RECORD IN TERMS OF DEEP CONTENT, BUT PEGGY NOONAN WAS THERE, PAUL GIGOT OF THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, BILL KRISTOL, MYSELF, CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SOME OTHERS. NINE OR TEN OF US. I DON'T THINK HE'S TRYING TO WIN US OVER, BUT HE'S TRYING TO CONNECT WITH US AND ENGAGE WITH US TO HIT GREAT CREDIT.THIS WAS A VERY CORDIAL DINNER.


Francis: HE IS CHARMING, RIGHT?


Kudlow: HE IS CHARMING, HE IS TERRIBLY SMART, BRIGHT, WELL-INFORMED, HE HAS A GREAT SENSE OF HUMOR. AT THE BEGINNING WHEN HE WALKED INTO THE LIVING ROOM, YOU KNOW, WE'RE ALL WAITING --


Francis: WHERE WERE YOU?


Kudlow: THIS IS AT GEORGE WILL'S HOUSE….HE COMES IN AND HE CAME UP TO ME, I HAD NEVER MET HIM BEFORE. I THINK HE MAY HAVE WATCHED ‘KUDLOW AND COMPANY’ PERIODICALLY. SOMEBODY GAVE HIM A COLUMN I HAD WRITTEN DEFENDING HIS BUSINESS INVESTMENT TAX CUTS. HE LIKED THAT A LOT. I SAID, ‘YOU KNOW, SIR, SINCE BARNEY FRANK AND NANCY PELOSI, JOHN KERRY, ATTACKED HIM I KNEW I MUST BE ON TO SOMETHING GOOD.’ HE LAUGHED A LOT. I SAID ‘YOU TOOK MY BEST PEOPLE FROM THE PROGRAM. YOU TOOK AUSTAN GOOLSBEE.’ HE LAUGHED AND SAID THEY'RE GOOD MEN. I SAID, BUT MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME CAN YOU, WHY DID YOU LEAVE US ROBERT REICH, WHO I ADORE, AND HE LAUGHED AND SAID I WANT SOMEBODY FIGHTING FOR ME, LARRY, INTERESTING THING. THIS IS JUST GENERALLY SPEAKING, HE IS SO WELL-INFORMED, AND HE LOVES TO DEAL WITH BOTH SIDES OF AN ISSUE, AND I'M NOT GOING TO DIVULGE WHAT WAS SAID THERE AND I'M NOT GOING TO GO INTO ANY OF THE SPECIFICS, BUT HE ENJOYS THE BACK AND FORTH, AND HE IS NOT, YOU KNOW, TOUGH, MEAN, INSULTING, SNARLING, NONE OF THAT STUFF, AND WE WEREN'T EITHER. THIS WAS A GOOD CONSERVATIVE GROUP AND WE JUST HAD A GREAT BACK AND FORTH, AND HE WANTS TO KEEP THE DIALOGUE GOING WITH CONSERVATIVES. I WOULD SAY I AM HONORED TO BE AT THAT DINNER. I WAS HONORED TO MEET HIM. HE IS A VERY IMPRESSIVE MAN, AND I WISH HIM ALL THE LUCK IN THE WORLD BECAUSE WE'VE GOT SOME ISSUES TO DEAL WITH.


Francis: WHAT DID YOU EAT?


Kudlow: I CAN'T REMEMBER. I WAS SO FOCUSED ON HIM. I WAS SITTING ACROSS FROM HIM --


Francis: YOU PROBABLY DIDN'T EAT. MAYBE YOU DIDN'T TOUCH ANYTHING.


Kudlow: THE FOOD WAS EXCELLENT. I PROBABLY DIDN'T EAT A WHOLE LOT. IT WAS ALL VERY INTERESTING, AND HE'S A GOOD MAN, AND WE WILL SEE HOW HE DOES. THAT'S ALL I CAN SAY. WE WISH HIM THE BEST.