Dinner, Drinks, and a Smoke With that Deregulation?

The Trifecta of Rogues: Cheney, Palin, and Bush

Dinner With Darth Cheney

President-elect Obama and the lovely Michelle had it pretty easy. I mean, they only had to visit with W. and Laura, and well, Laura is an intelligent, well-read woman who can converse on numerous topics with ease. And W., well, let’s just say that it was probably not a hard conversation for the President-elect to follow as long as President Bush didn’t speak about OB-GYNs, and putting food on families, and human beings and fish co-existing peacefully.

However, I’m really not sure what Vice President-elect Joe Biden and Jill Biden should expect when they tour their new quarters with Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne. I mean, what’s going to be on the menu? Pheasant? Won’t that be awkward

Biden: Well, well. Pheasant. Who, I mean, where did you shoot it?

Jill: It looks lovely, really lovely.

Cheney: (teeth gnashing) mutters something incomprehensible, looks around for a shotgun

Lynne: Thank you. It’s an old family recipe. (checks watch)

Of course, I’m only surmising how the conversation might go. I could be totally wrong here. I am wondering if good old Joe will get taken on a tour of all of the double-secret locked down locations, you know, just in case.

Someone Get This Woman A DIet Dr. Pepper and a Spokesperson. Posthaste

Remember the good old days when Sarah Palin didn’t speak with the media? Remember when the Republican campaign still had control over that half of the ticket? Remember when a wink and a parade wave was enough to make everyone go ga ga, and all that we had to go on were guesses?

Ah, the good old days.

Seems that Governor Palin got back to Alaska and went into bright light withdrawal. Quick. Someone find the ex-candidate a cameraman and a microphone. She has something to say. On the record. Does it make sense? Who cares, gee golly. To date, she has spoken with Today’s Matt Lauer, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Larry King, local Alaska reporters, Santa Claus, the Abominable Snowman . . .

Some of her comments/arguments/complaints: “I know that I know that I know . . .” On the clothes fiasco: “Nobody is coming up to look at anything . . . Who said that anybody is coming up to look through closets?” Or how about the media: “There have been some stinkers, though.” Or on her interview Katie Couric: “What do you mean what do you read in Alaska? I read the same things that you read in New York and Washington State.”

I have a word of advice for the governor: Get yourself a spokesperson. You are a governor. Governors do not go on national television calling people stinkers, gee golly. That is why governors have spokespeople—to make themselves look better, look professional, look polished. When is the last time you remember a governor, or someone who aspired to higher office (hint, hint: the presidency) going on national television and calling people stinkers? The correct answer, by the way, would be NEVER.

Sorry, governator. You may be trying to appear to be an everyday kind of gal, but people really don’t want jane the plumber to lead them. In fact, people don’t even really respect jane the plumber when jane says berky kinds of things. So do yourself a favor, and go out and hire yourself a spokesperson to handle those media types that you can’t stand. That way, you save yourself some aggravation, and the Todders doesn’t have to worry about saying dumb stuff either. Okay? You betcha!

But one thing is for certain: We have not heard the last of the Governor, whether it’s the Senate seat that’s up for grabs or the presidential election of 2012, Sarah P. is just waiting for a door to open . . .

 Should I be mean and say what I really think should happen to her if there is an open door in front of her?

Executive Orders Withstand the Test of Time? I Don’t Think So

So what is W. doing in his final days in office? Just hanging around smelling the roses? Oh if only it were so. Like every president before him, Bush is busy signing bunches and bunches of Executive Orders, hoping to get them enacted within that sixty-day limit that makes them untouchable by President-elect Obama, or at least harder to touch. What W. is doing is “akin to fouling the water well,” according to Constitutional scholar Jonathon Turley of The George Washington University.

Some of the real beauties that Bush hopes to push through include the following:

  • a rule that allows natural gas pipelines to operate at higher pressures
  • a new limit on airborne emissions of lead
  • a rule that would ease limits on pollution from power plants
  • a rule that would allow current emissions at a power plant to match the highest levels produced by that plant, overturning a rule that more strictly limits such emission increases
  • a related regulation that would ease limits on emissions from coal-fired power plants near national parks
  • a rule to lift a requirement that environmental impact statements be prepared for certain fisheries-management decisions

But not so fast, Kemosabe.

Seems the Obama contingent has already familiarized Prez 44 with Congressional Review Act of 1996, which pretty much prevents the effectiveness of presidents from pushing through Executive Orders at the end of their administration. Public Law 104-121, which was signed by President Clinton, effectively takes any problematic rule and subjects it to review by Congress (go to http://www.thecre.com/pdf/congress-review-act-1996.pdf for specifics). in effect, there is a sixty day wait before anything can become effective, and another wait because Congress has adjourned, and then another wait before the new Congress is seated, and another wait for the new Congress to review, by which time, President Obama will have worked out the details for killing said stupid statutes such as the above.

We can only hope . . . coal-fired emissions near a state park? He’s kidding, right? Right? I know. He’s not. Which is why we love him so and can’t wait to see him go. W. W. He’s our man . . .

And on that note . . . more later. Peace.

Amber Waves of Grain

After 9/11, More Justifications and Some Pre-Election Reflections

Someone Needs To Remind W. That Lame-Duck Means No More Global Pissing Contests

Why aren’t more people up in arms about Syria? Granted, I myself am late in posting anything about this latest questionable move by the Bush administration, but the Sunday incursion into sovereign territory, namely Syria, is getting hardly any media coverage. Why? Is it because it was on Bush’s watch, and no one wants to go there? The White House refuses to comment on the raid.

The few details that I can find are from the following AP report:

U.S. military helicopters attacked an area along the country’s border with Iraq, causing casualties, Syria’s state-run television and witnesses said Sunday.

The TV report quoted unnamed Syrian officials and said the area is near the Syrian border town of Abu Kamal. It gave no other details on Sunday’s attack.

Local residents told The Associated Press by telephone that two helicopters carrying U.S. soldiers raided the village of Hwijeh, 10 miles inside Syria’s border, killing seven people and wounding five.

An unnamed U.S. official claims that the target was Abu Ghadiyah, an Iraqi from Mosul, and supposedly a key figure in smuggling fighters into Iraq. Syria has protested to the UN Security Council, and Iraq has denounced the attack, saying that it does not want its land used as a launching pad for attacks on neighboring lands.

According to an article in the New York Times, the raid is in keeping with what many are calling the Bush Doctrine II, which in essence, allows for an “expansive definition of self-defense that provided a rationale for strikes on militant targets in sovereign nations without those countries’ consent.” Bush elaborated on this expansion of his doctrine during his speech to the U.N. General Assembly last month:

“As sovereign states, we have an obligation to govern responsibly, and solve problems before they spill across borders,” Mr. Bush said. “We have an obligation to prevent our territory from being used as a sanctuary for terrorism and proliferation and human trafficking and organized crime.”

As with all things George Bush, the frightening part is that a) He believes it, and b) He means it. Hence, we cross the Iraqi border with Special Forces helicopters and carry out a raid on Syria.

You know those lines on maps? Pshaw, they don’t really mean anything to us. We’re Americans. We can go where we want to. It would almost be funny if it weren’t true.

America the Beautiful

Bear with me here while I ask you to follow me on a little bit of a journey, a journey into Lola logic. I will get to my point, which is about Barack Obama’s thirty minutes of ready-for-prime-time, but I have to start with 9/11. Trust me, it will work.

In those days immediately following the collapse of the Twin Towers, when Americans were feeling the collapse of everything we took for granted—security, safety, normalcy, the sanctity of the very ground beneath our feet—many of us flocked to our places of worship in that first weekend following the destruction that unfolded in real time. Our family did; we went to our church, which was, quite literally, standing room only. This is saying a lot since our church is quite a large, old, stately church, which seats hundreds of people.

Normally, I do not do well in crowds, and I begin to fidget when I am pressed in closely next to people for more than a few minutes, but that Sunday, I really didn’t notice. Most of the hymns that day were patriotic, and one of the first was “America the Beautiful.” Now I have always loved this song, preferred it over the national anthem, not just because it is much more adaptable to any voice, but also because it is more prosaic. And on that Sunday, by the time I got to “amber waves of grain,” I had tears running down my face as did numerous people around me. I suspect it was because many of us were unsure if our America would ever again be that beautiful, unsullied land of which we were singing.

Cut to last night at 8 p.m. and the opening shot of Barack Obama’s thirty-minute, strategical media buy, and what did I see but a field of waving, golden wheat, and for just a moment, I was back in that church, surrounded by those people, singing that song, being buoyed by not just a room but a nation that was sustaining each other in a common cause, in our grief, in our fear, in our despair, but also in our resolve to hope and to be the country that we knew that we could be, no matter what fate had handed us.

All of this went through my body in just a nano second and gave me a chill, and I knew in that second—call me the hopeless romantic that I am—that Barack Obama would be elected president and that we would move out of the quagmire of the past eight years and come together as a country again and become the country that the world knows and respects as a nation. I felt down to my soul that this country can move beyond its differences, can move beyond the ugliness, can move beyond this time of feeling helpless and desperate and lost. This one man and his vision and his sincerity and his true hope for this counry is the right person to do this. And all of that was just from the opening scene.

So kudos to whoever produced that segment. Was it a good media buy? Was it worth the $5 million or so? You betcha, gee golly, bless yer little heart. Right up to and through the last 60 seconds when it cut to live in Florida, it was flawless, and you know the McCain campaign was gritting their collective teeth that they didn’t have the funds to produce their own gnarly rebuttal. Obama has elevated campaigning to a whole new level. He has raised the bar so high that everyone who comes after is going to be hard pressed to live up to this kind of presidential campaign. But then again, everyone who comes after is going to be hard pressed to live up to this kind of candidate.

More later. Peace.

Sarah Palin: The Vice Presidential Debate Performance of a Lifetime

I’ve waited a few days to weigh in on the vice presidential debate to give myself some time to digest the debate performance of Republican candidate Sarah Palin mostly to see if my reaction was sexist, as in, do I discount her abilities because she is a former beauty queen who doesn’t seem to have a brain in her head (not do I discount her abilities because she is a woman). After doing some soul-searching, I think that my reaction to Sarah Palin is feminist: I react to her the way that I do because I resent John McCain choosing her thinking that placing any woman on the ticket would be a way to win women voters, regardless of that woman’s qualifications, as in, women are interchangeable because of their parts.

But let me step back for a moment. Admittedly, the debate was not a train wreck (more like an episode of The Brady Bunch, sans kids and dad on the right side of the stage, but more on that later), and for that, the Republicans can all breathe a collected sigh of relief and get back to the matter of trying to make their presidential candidate look presidential. Good luck with those numbers, and too bad about Michigan, guys.

As to her actual performance in the debate, I will say that she exceeded my expectations. Palin did not fall of the stage. She pronounced multisyllabic words. She was able to string together sentences. Granted, they were her sentences, and not necessarily related to the questions she was asked. Palin declared early on that she was going to use her own game plan: “I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I’m going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record.” Well, okee dokee, governor. And that’s exactly what she did. If she didn’t like the questions, she went back to something she was more comfortable with, as in “I’m still with that tax thing.” I counted at least six mavericks. Please, no more, and at least two contradictions, increase regulation in one answer, while reigning in government to get it out of the way in another. But does the woman even know what an “Achilles Heel” is? It’s not a good thing, but that didn’t stop her from going on for 90 seconds about her positives, including a supposed (incorrect) Reagan reference to the City on the Hill.

I wish that format had been stricter so that Ifill had done more follow-up as Lehrer did and had made the candidates answer the actual questions. Both candidates had a few factual errors, but Palin was prepped well on her key points and stuck with them—over and over and over again. Joe Biden, god bless him, managed to be succinct most of the time, not condescending, and to hammer Palin with facts. He was better after the first forty or so minutes when he finally decided to become more aggressive, and I loved it when he finally called her on the maverick thing.

But what I could not take, could not stand, absolutely could not abide for one more second was the bless his heart, you betcha, doggone it, “say it ain’t so Joe, there you go again” (awkwardly stitched together Reagan reference), supposedly joe(?) six pack-speak that was meant to endear Palin to the common people. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t want a common person in the presidential or vice presidential seat. I want individuals in both seats. I want to know that the person in charge and the person who is next in charge will be able to lead this country in times of peace and in times of crisis with a cool head and an above average intelligence, a savvy articulate negotiator who will be able to go toe-to-toe with any world leader and not come off as some kind of backwoods idiot, a person who will be able to stare down a Putin or a Kim Jong-Il, will be able to garner the respect of someone like the iron maiden British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher—a person like Barack Obama, a person like Joe Biden.

The last thing this country needs is another president like George Bush who cannot find the verbs in his sentence. We have a whole industry devoted to Bushisms. It’s a national pastime.* Bless our collective hearts, but we just don’t need the humiliation again.

Please. Winks? Crinkling of the nose and opening the eyes really big like a high school cheerleader?Shoutouts? This was not a PTA meeting or a Wasilla town council meeting for gosh’s sakes. “Hey, can I call you Joe?” It was phony and condescending from the first moment. More and more, Palin reminds me of Carol Brady of The Brady Bunch, with her big family and her can-do attitude and her absolutely sunny attitude. But even as a child, I knew that there had to be something wrong with Mrs. Brady; I imagined that she was probably a secret alcoholic (I know it was the early cynic in me), but how else could you put up with that group of kids and that irritating husband and one bathroom? You would have to be a bitch behind closed doors when no one was around, but only the other moms would realize it. The other dads would be thinking of ways to get in your pants because you looked so good for having so many kids. And it was the men in the audience in particular who found this endearing. Pat Buchanan post debate declared Palin a clear winner, and in his commentary used the word “attractive” no less than four times in his description of the candidate. That definitely is a clear indicator of a good vice president. How could I miss that?

But perhaps the worst offender was Rich Lowry of the National Review’s “The Corner,” who wrote, “when Palin dropped her first wink, [I] sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, “Hey, I think she just winked at me.” And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can’t be learned; it’s either something you have or you don’t, and man, she’s got it” (10/3). Thanks to Keith Olbermann’s Countdownfor sharing the wonderful bit of pure ickiness, which just goes to show which part of their brains male supporters are using when they are assessing Sarah Palin’s qualifications.

This was a vice presidential debate that was viewed by 70 million people around the world. Have some dignity. At least the Todders wore a dark suit and a tie.

And PLEASE, it’s noo-clee-ar, not noo-cue-lar. DAMN!!

*For a really good read on how to diagram Sarah Palin’s sentences, see this article in Slate http://www.slate.com/id/2201158/