Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Biggest News Stories of 2008

The 10 Biggest Stories of 2008:

1. Barack Obama elected President of the United States of America
2. 1.2 million Americans lost their job in 2008
3. Gas goes up to $4.10+ and down to $1.50+ with no real change in supply or demand.
4. The Wall Street Bailout. Investment Banks get $700,000,000,000.00 with bushco. responsible for oversight. (Half is gone, but noone knows to where.) Lehman Brothers allowed to go bankrupt by treasury secretary and former Goldman Sachs CEO henry paulson. Insurance company AIG gets about $100 billion.
5. Dow Jones drops 36.2% ($7.3 trillion) on the year.
6. The US auto industry receives sneers then $13.4 billion dollar in loans to stay out of bankruptcy.
7. Riots. (In the "third world" over food, in Greece over the shooting of a teen by the POlice, in tibet, in thailand)
8. More than 100 ships attacked by pirates
9. A reporter from an Iraqi owned paper threw two shoes at president george bush on his last surprise visit to Iraq (the crown jewel of his presidency).
10. The Beijing Olympics opening ceremony. (You might not think it was such a big story, but all I could think was Scary foreshadowing)

Honorable mention: The QEII (the big English cruise ship) is sold to Dubai, UAE. Fidel Castro resigns. Eliot Spitzer gets a Jersey Shore prostitute (all Federal charges have been dropped).

By FAR my favorite "viral" video of the year:
bill o'Leilly in "Fuck it! We'll do it live" the dance mix

Biggest news story to start off 2009:
the 43rd president of the United States steps down!/The 44th President of the United States takes office!

Remembering those that died in 2008:
George Carlin
Paul Newman
Isaac Hayes
Richard Wright
Jimmy Carl Black
Mitch Mitchell
Studs Terkel
Sidney Pollack
Bo Diddley
Bettie Page
Arthur C. Clarke
Sir Edmund Hillary
Heath Ledger
Tim Russert
Eartha Kitt
Bernie Mack
Bobby Fisher
Roy Sheider

I'm not that upset but...
William F Buckley
Jess Helms
died too.

Happy New Year Everybody!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Olive Branches and old shoes.

Not to continue the white glove inspection of the always headlined every move of President-Elect Barack Obama, but...

Let's start with a couple of questions... Can anyone name (no googling) the current secretary of energy, secretary of agriculture, or head of the EPA? Who gave the invocation for either of junior's Inaugurations? Were there any progressives on the Clinton team? Clinton did have Maya Angelou speak at his Inauguration. That certainly counts for something. I've been saying all along that Barack Obama would do some things I would not like. Olive branches to Presidential primary opponents Biden, Clinton, Richardson, and Vilsack are understandable and justifiable. They are more than capable, have proper experience, notoriety, and are high profile nominations in what might be the highest profile cabinet ever seen. Former Iowa Governor Vilsack's understanding of agriculture and its connection to business is a plus, but his work with bio-engineering is a Minus. There are two republicans are on the team. There are military men at National Security and the CIA. But though there are Environmentalists at the EPA, Labor, and the New Cabinet level "Coordinator of Energy and Climate Policy", there have been no olive branches extended to the real progressives who worked so hard to get an African American one term Senator named Barack Hussein Obama elected as President.

The evangelical leader of the 22,000 strong saddlebrook church, and maybe the biggest preacher since ted haggard (who went to a gay prostitute for meth), is rick warren. His giving the invocation at Obama's Inauguration is no doubt meant to bring "religious right" social conservatives into the fold or at least into the ceremony. Seen by some as a "Be the bigger man" move to help create an environment where government can actually work, it remains a direct slap at Americans who voted and worked for Barack Obama for President. This intolerant "christian" considers homosexuals equivalent to pedophiles and the incestuous and to add insult to injury Obama hasn't tapped anyone from the other extreme to balance him out. In a related note, the pope recently called homosexuality "a wound" on humanity. I do wish people were paying as much attention to Obama's Inaugural benediction preacher pick, Civil Rights icon Rev. Joseph E. Lowery.

Barack's nod to warren brings up a situation similar to the Left watching him nominate centrists, those just left of center and republicans without any Real progressive representation. The ideas of universal health care, aggressive environmental stewardship, and investment in alternate fuels are there, but the nominees and/or appointments are not. If the Obama administration truly works towards these ends (there is little doubt of him agressively working on climate change), while helping the middle class, these nominations will be considered wise and animosity towards them will be forgotten. I know we're a long way from Secretary of Defense Kucinich or Head of the SEC Nader, but it would be nice to know that when "everyone will have a seat at the table", that means progressives too, especially when We worked so hard for Change.

It's also important to remember that the oil man in chief and his oil man/halliburton vice dick nominated a National Security Advisor that exxon named a tanker after. Almost all of his cabinet picks came out of the CEO washroom, or were friends with dick. There were few, if any, olive branches offered by the failure. And we all know, and will be reminded, how that has worked out.

On the fallen prince, I'm sure by now most have seen (here's video and here are some funny adaptations) or at least heard about the shoe attack of a reporter from a Iraqi owned newspaper on the great liberator of Iraq and failure in chief who has spent 4,819+ American military lives and $580,000,000.00+ of US taxpayers money mishandling an unnecessary war he mislead us into. Striking someone with your shoe is seen by many in the region as a big insult (remember the striking of saddam posters and statues). Not to worry, it sounds like the assailant has been more than adequately punished already by the new iraqi penal system and he faces two years in jail. The Rude Pundit and others (a lot of others) have begun to mail the president shoes in their own "This is a goodbye kiss, you dog".

To be fair it wasn't the only story of interest when it comes to the, the still nimble, lamest duck ever. He also admitted that al qaeda wasn't in Iraq until after the "invasion". Of course, when asked, the pathetic one refused to be held accountable or responsible for any of his signing statement unitary executive actions as president. Junior didn't "play the blame game" and admit that his foreign policy put al qaeda there, he simply responded "So What?"

In ever so often reminders, the 43rd president has been abissmal. The failures, scandals, and illegalities come so fast sometimes it's been hard to keep track. Which got me thinking, we should come up with a list.

Any suggestions?
I'll start....
How about...

"Major combat operations in Iraq have ended" May 1, 2003

Your turn.

Peace on Earth.
Goodwill towards Men.
David Calamoneri
Hoboken, NJ

Friday, December 12, 2008

Change.

Was President-Elect Barack Obama telling Barbara Walters, in his best Trumanian, "The buck stops with me" a Change? Is it a Change from the lack of responsibility and accountability of the last eight years. Is it a Change from it "depends on what 'is' is" before that, or "I do not recall" before that? Would someone taking responsibility for their actions as President be a Change?

When asked at a recent press conference about his cabinet not looking like a Change, President-Elect Obama responded "I suspect the American people would be troubled if I selected a treasury secretary or a chairman of an economic council at one of the most critical economic times in our history who had no experience in government whatsoever," "What we're going to do is combine experience with fresh thinking," "We need people who will be able to hit the ground running,"

There is a difference between the Need for "experienced" personnel to implement and advise on, at least the practicality of, policy, and the vision that was Needed in the Head of State to create a new direction in policy. It's like someone designing a house and then hiring carpenters and masons to build it. I understand that people are uneasy with so many cabinet picks having Clinton on their resume, but appointing someone who has experience, with say a recession like the one left by h.w. bush, might be a good idea. Anyone on the left, left center, or center with experience in the federal government, under the age of 60, will have the Clinton Administration somewhere in their resume, no? Not to mention the fact that eight years of peace and prosperity weren't such a bad thing.

Another problem Obama the Architect seems to be having is that some of the houses built by his recent nominations in the past are not to Our (the left's) liking. An economic team, composed mainly of those that were there for, and were proponents of, the further "deregulating" the banking and other industries during the economically prosperous Clinton years, concerns many of Us "hungry" for a Change. With the worst unemployment numbers since the 70's, retail sales and consumer confidence down and falling, the economic experts being nominated right now might realize that deregulation didn't work, at least not long term and not for most Americans. Who knows maybe they'll see the err of their ways. Imagine a Change in government where it's employees can admit a mistake and adjust, to a new situation, or to a New President.

The cabinet serves at the pleasure of the President. Underlings like dick, wolfie, rummy, and rover may have run the cheerleader puppet in chief for the last eight years, but that has not historically been the case, or at least isn't how the job description reads. With the power that Obama has right now, I would be surprised if he's nominating anyone who would not execute the policy of their President. Disagreements, discussion and debate? Sure. But at the end of the day the decisions on policy will be Obama's. Having an intelligent, competent President in the White House making those decisions is a Change from the eight if you ask me.

Tying energy, the environment, efficiency and health care to the economy, in a way that helps all three? Now that would be Change. At defense he's keeping bush appointee, Robert Gates. Nominating someone from the "other side of the aisle" is a Change in itself. We should have been out of Iraq before we went in, but at least he has been an adult at the helm. Gates has been a marked improvement over sometimes "funny", never accountable, "stuff happens" rummy. He is for Our withdrawal from Iraq and Closing Our prison in Guatanamo Bay. That is a Change. And he knows where the troops currently are, which may make it easier to get them out. The possibility of a Nobel Laureate in Physics as the Secretary of Energy? Now that's a Change. A president that believes in scientists, let alone that there is a climate change happening and we can help ease it without hurting ourselves. I see Change.

Unfortunately, some things don't Change. The incoming President, like his predecessor, will enter the White House greeted by serious warnings of threats against US and Our allies. "It is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013." On the day President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama announced his Foreign Policy team, a bipartisan commission headed by Bob Graham(d) and Jim Talent(r) released it's congressionally mandated report, "World at Risk". One Change, the report refers to the country of Pakistan as an "unwitting source of a terrorist attack on the United States" as opposed to the popular nomenclature for countries that posed a similar risk in 2002. You remember "harborer of terrorists", don't you? All joking aside, the report is very serious and very scary.

The Change I most Hope to see (intel received by a book signing goer recently has taken Robert Kennedy Jr. off of that list) is a government that Works, and works for the bulk of the American People and not just for the royalty of industry. Barack Obama was labeled by the right as the most liberal senator, a radical from the left, but he is not. Being for a rational and conscious energy policy is not a solely liberal idea. The American government not condoning or participating in torture is not just a liberal idea. Nor are Habeus Corpus, the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights, though there is a part of me that wishes I could claim them for the liberal left. Barack Obama has been and will be a consensus builder. He will listen to all sides (the ones I like and the ones I don't) and will come up with a rational thought out solution. He is surrounding himself with smart, capable people not based on an ideology, like the last eight years, but based on the fact they can and will get the job done. Pragmatism, not to mention reality, may be just the Change Our politics and Our government need right. As much as I, personally, would like a lurch left, would it be a real Change from the failure's "you're with us or you're against us" bushit?

Oh and just real quick... still governor rod blagojevich is a complete and utter asshole and should definitely and immediately resign.