Archive for May, 2009

Commentary from the weekend

May 12, 2009

The annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner took place this past weekend. The dinner is a huge gathering of the entire press corps and many other important people in Washington, including President Barack Obama. Usually, a comedian isthe headliner at the event and is invited to roast and crack jokes about the president. It is all in good fun and nobody’s feelings get hurt too badly. Comedian Steven Colbert gained fame for his brilliant roast of George W. Bush and his administration. Colbert used truth to make his jokes but kept it classy, relaxed and refused to make personal attacks against anyone, keeping the jokes only on political matters.

Of course, it had to be expected that when Wanda Sykes was invited to be the headliner at this year’s event, there would be no roasting of the president. Sykes is a black, gay comedian and of course decided to take out her “comedy” on, you guessed, white Republicans and Rush Limbaugh. For some reason, everyone is just terrified to make any jokes about our first African-American president, assuredly because they don’t want to cross the line and be accused of being a racist by over zealous defenders of Obama. It isn’t that Obama hasn’t given people material. His Special Olympics remark on the Tonight Show, his comment about not knowing a term in the Austrian language (Austrian isn’t a language), his inability to make a speech without a teleprompter and his unexplainable incident of allowing administration officials to green light Air Force One buzzing frighteningly low over Manhattan are all things that could be joked about. And then there was his tacky gift of a DVD collection to British PM Gordon Brown, as well as bowing to the King of Saudi Arabia.

Obama took the stage first and actually showed a decent sense of humor, something we haven’t seen too much of so far. Whether or not he wrote the jokes, who knows, but he said them, so I will give it to him. His ribbing of GOP chairman Michael Steele and refusing to give him a bailout because Rush Limbaugh was a toxic asset was funny. One of his comments to open things up in front of the press was, “I know many of you here covered me and all of you voted for me,” was priceless, although too close to the truth.

Sykes, however, managed to take things way over the line. She made some pretty questionable remarks directed towards waterboarding, Sean Hannity, Dick Cheney and others and got quite a few groans from the crowd. Many of her jokes were tinged with race, isolating white conservatives as racists. The most disgusting and shocking joke was aimed at Rush Limbaugh, clearly one of the few people Democrats are afraid of. Sykes accused Limbaugh of being the missing 20th hijacker on the planes that were used to kill 3,000 Americans on September 11th, 2001, and said that he missed the flight because he was too strung out on an Oxycontin haze. While Limbaugh hoped that Obama fails, Sykes announced that she hopes Limbaugh’s kidneys fail.

Wow.

In case you didn’t know, in 2003, Limbaugh told his listeners on The Rush Limbaugh Show that he had developed an addiction to painkillers, stemming from a back injury. Limbaugh took full responsibility for his actions and explained in detail how it happened. He checked himself into rehab immediately after the show to get his addiction fixed and announced to his listeners that he was embarrassed for his personal mistakes and was not trying to come out of rehab as a hero or a role model. He made no excuses for his problem, refused to portray himself as a victim and quickly got his life back together. Limbaugh has gone on to win his battle with addiction and help others with painkiller addictions. Painkiller addictions are a serious problem that many people in America face. It has never been funny and never will be funny. That was the first line Sykes crossed.

The second line was her attempt to bring comedy from 9/11. It is an event that tragically changed the lives of thousands of Americans. Thousands of innocent civilians died. There is absolutely no reason to ever make light of 9/11 in a comedic manner. Sykes should be ashamed and embarrassed in her attempts to ridicule Obama’s biggest critic.

The biggest tell-tale sign that Sykes had not only crossed the line but flown a thousand miles past it was that MSNBC personality Keith Olbermann, a far-left commentator and Limbaugh critic, said the joke was “probably in bad taste”. If you can even offend Keith Olbermann with a Rush Limbaugh joke, you know you have made a completely inappropriate joke. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs attempted to distance the White House from Sykes’s humor, but Sykes came out and said that Obama had told her she did a great job.

It appears as though comedians have strayed away from President Obama for fear of being accused of racism. Instead, it seems as though comedians would rather continue to crack cheap, old jokes about George W. Bush or other white republicans. Yes, it might be a little easier to make fun of Dubya, but shouldn’t comedians want to challenge themselves? Are they so pathetic that they dare not crack a joke about the Barack the Messiah? Wanda Sykes stayed completely away from President Obama during her stand up routine, breaking that long standing tradition of roasting the president. Sykes chose to take cruel, disgusting cheap shots at one of the only people that dares question what Barack Obama has done so far. Maybe others believe that if they decide to challenge a policy of Obama, they too will be compared to the 9/11 hijackers. Considering that, I guess I can understand why Barack is off limits. With a president that has promised to bring unity to a country, I could not feel any more isolated as a young, white conservative.

Here are some videos of material that comedians could have used to poke fun at President Obama. Ask yourself if President Bush would be made fun of ruthlessly for doing the same things:

Articles for Tuesday

May 12, 2009

Sorry for the delay in blog posts, finals week took over my life but I am done with that now and back to complete posting…

Climb   Columnist Mark Steyn writes for the National Review about how the GOP is in the midst of scaling a huge mountain in their climb back to importance in Washington. There have been many obstacles that have fallen in their way but they need to stay strong to their principles and keep chipping away. It is a very good read.

Be the Party of No    Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard supports an idea that I have been a fan of for quite some time. The GOP has been ridiculed by Democrats for being the “Party of No”. Republicans have tried to fight off this label, but Barnes and I agree that the party should become the “Party of No”. They should represent the party that says no more taxes and ear marks. They should be the party of no letting up on terrorists. They need to become the party of no more bailouts. They need to announce they are the party of no more big, interfering government in America. Barnes takes on these issues and illustrates how it could lead to a Republican turnaround.

Article for Thursday and commentary

May 7, 2009

Should the GOP forget Reagan?   It certainly seems like a silly idea to forget about the greatest politician to have been a part of your party and Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal addresses exactly how ridiculous it is. Many pundits have questioned what the Republican Party should do as it crumbles apart, with most saying that it needs to become more moderate and welcome in more people. True conservatives, however, would argue just the opposite. The GOP tried to run the moderate candidate in John McCain and they got blown out. George W. Bush acted like a Democrat when it came to spending and he was heavily criticized. Republicans are now trying to figure out what their next step should be in rebranding the GOP image.

I initially thought that the listening tour, called the National Council for a New America created by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, was a good idea. After listening to the opinions of other conservatives, however, I realized that listening is the last thing Republicans need to be doing. Republicans need to start telling Americans exactly what their plans, ideas and policies are.

Americans want the same things that Americans have always wanted. The most important thing is to have the ability to have a job and to provide for their family. People want a fair chance to earn success when they work hard and that is exactly what the American Dream is all about. Republicans need to get to work and tell Americans how their economic policies will take care of this first want and to convince people that their plans will benefit everyone. They don’t need to become more moderate, they just need to do a better job of articulating policies and convincing people their ways will help them out.

The second thing that Americans want is leadership from their politicians. Whether or not you like his policies, everyone can agree that President Obama is the undisputed leader and voice of the Democratic Party. It can be argued, and has been, that Obama’s style of leadership does not work for a president, but any leadership is better than the zero leadership shown by GOP members. Someone needs to step up and present not only forceful opposition to President Obama’s policies, but articulate conservative policies to the American people and let them know how those policies will assist Americans.

The third thing Americans want from politicians is consistency. Being called out for “flip-flopping” is not a good thing in the political world. People want to know exactly where their representatives stand on issues. Staying on message is another thing President Obama excels at and Republicans have recently struggled with. Conservatives and fiscal responsibility have usually been connected to the Republican Party, but Republicans have not acted fiscally responsible at all as of late. They need to re-establish themselves as the party of fiscal conservatism and get back to the message that won them so many voters.

Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp were fabulous at articulating policies, staying on message and providing leadership. The last thing Republicans should do is stray away from Reagan. While it is very sad to see a great person and politician like Jack Kemp pass away, the names of Kemp and Reagan are now back on the minds of conservatives, which has to be a good thing. Maybe Jack and Ronald will be able to provide some more guidance from up above in a time when Republicans desperately need it.

New CNN Poll: Americans okay with Bush administration’s enhanced interrogation methods

May 6, 2009

CNN has an article up on poll results of Americans on enhanced interrogation methods. In a CNN research poll, 60% of Americans believe that some of the enhanced interrogation methods used by the Bush administration, such as waterboarding, qualify as torture, while 36% disagree. At the same time, half of Americans believe that using these enhanced interrogation methods was okay, while 46% thought it was not okay. 57% of people think that Bush administration officials should not be prosecuted and 42% thought that they should not be.

Closing Gitmo: Easier said than done

May 6, 2009

One of President Barack Obama’s first actions as president was to sign an executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay prison for terrorist detainees in Cuba within a year. There have been many allegations of mistreatment of prisoners and one of Obama’s campaign promises was to immediately close down the facility. As it is with most campaign promises, however, saying the facility will be closed is much easier than actually closing it. There are still many questions about what to do with prisoners and whether some prisoners should still be held. The longer these questions go unanswered, the more the pressure builds on Democrats to take care of their promises.

President Obama had requested from the House $81 million to take care of the closing of the facilities, but House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey, a Democrat from Wisconsin who had a big hand in the stimulus bill, refused to give the White House the money because of a lack of details in Obama’s plans. Now without financial backing, there are lots of questions about what Obama can do and Republicans have jumped all over the confusion amongst Democrats.

Nobody seems to know what to do with these prisoners. Terrorists are not normal criminals and they should not be brought to the United States. They are enemy combatants out to destroy everything America believes in and they have no business being held in prisons across America. It is highly unlikely that Americans would be comfortable with terrorists being transported into areas near them. Once they are moved to America, the ACLU will file lawsuit after lawsuit on behalf of the terrorists and national intelligence secrets will be compromised. At the same time, Obama has promised transparency and he had no problem releasing the enhanced interrogation method memos.

There is a reason that these detainees have been kept at Gitmo. They are flat out dangerous and insane. No other countries want to take any of the prisoners, as Obama found out when he asked leaders at the G-20 meetings last month to hold a few of the prisoners in their own countries. If prisoners are released, it is entirely possible that the released terrorists will meet up again with al-Qaeda operatives and commit more acts of terror and violence. If a released detainee were to come back and harm Americans, Obama would be in a serious p.r. nightmare, something he has yet to experience.

Americans believed in Obama’s promise that he would close Gitmo. He talked a big game about reforming America’s image with Gitmo’s closure. Let’s see if he will be able to back up his talk.

Obama meets with leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan

May 6, 2009

President Barack Obama met with the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan Wednesday afternoon to discuss what steps were necessary to take in order to combat the Taliban. An AP article has the whole story here. Basically, Obama needed to have Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari make a stronger commitment to fighting Taliban and al-Qaeda forces, as both group have stepped up the intensity of violence in the region. Pakistan has an array of nuclear weapons in Islamabad and the Taliban seems to be making a march to the city. Without stepping up defense in the area, the Taliban could capture those weapons in what would be a complete game changer.

President Obama has taken over the war in Afghanistan as his own. The result of the war will be on his shoulders. At the same time, recent civilian deaths in Afghanistan because of U.S. airstrikes have stolen some of the attention from the meeting. Obama was a huge critic of the rumored civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan when he was a senator. Now that he is president, the responsibility for those attacks goes to him. He is walking a fine line right now because it is absolutely mandatory that the Afghan and Pakistani forces completely co-operate with American forces. The war on terror will take a frightening turn if the Taliban is able to storm into Islamabad and take possession of nuclear weapons. Check out more on the civilian deaths story on the Wall Street Journal website.

The far-left bashing of Palin continues

May 6, 2009

On the Rush Limbaugh Show on Tuesday, Rush Limbaugh pointed out that while many have proclaimed the Republican Party to be dead, critics in the media and from far-left group have continued to bash Sarah Palin. They have called out problems in her family that have nothing to do with her, as well as making constant critiques of her in her job as Alaska and her role in the Republican Party. Palin has constantly been derided as being dumb and making stupid comments. She has been repeatedly treated unfairly in what the media portrays to Americans. True, Palin did not fair well in interviews during the 2008 election, but she was unexperienced and this was to be expected. Palin quickly improved her off the cuff communication skills, delivering a solid showing in the vice presidential debate. While journalists across the nation were dispatched to Alaska to dig for dirt on the unknown Palin, rarely was there any effort to look for background info on Barack Obama.

So the question is, why is there such a dislike for and determination to degrade Sarah Palin? Rush Limbaugh believes that it is because the far-left fears her. This seems like a pretty reasonable explanation to me. If she is as dumb and clueless as the media and far-left wants us to believe, why don’t they just leave her alone? Why is there a constant need to bash her? If the Republican Party is dead, the the liberals should just move on and find something else to talk about. While I hear lots about President Barack Obama, I hear far more about the demise of the Republican Party than I do about the Democratic Party, who is actually in power.

You really don’t hear too many liberals bashing Republicans like Mitt Romney, John McCain, Newt Gingrich and Eric Cantor. After Bobby Jindal gave an awful delivery in his televised address to the nation, the media has forgotten about him and the liberals have ignored him. Palin, however, continues to attract negative attention from liberals. I believe, as does Limbaugh, that this is because liberals view her as a threat and they must attack her at any cost. Limbaugh is the same way in that liberals see him as a threat and need to cut him down. Obama’s own administration has attempted to turn Americans against Limbaugh because he presents such a strong and articulate message for conservatives. That strategy backfired and Limbaugh has only gained more listeners. The far-left despises Limbaugh’s ability to connect with Americans and spread his message. The same goes for Palin, as she is just as conservative as Limbaugh.

While the GOP tries to come up with ideas to change their ways in Washington, the real answer is still in Alaska. Palin has the ability to connect with the religious right, national security hawks and fiscal conservatives all at the same time. She also has the rare characteristic of a being a small-town mom and can connect with ‘Main Street’ America. Being from Alaska gives her the chance to come into Washington as a true outsider, something that will play well with Americans that are sick of politics as usual in our capitol. She is an electrifying speaker and is a well-known, young personality. She needs to improve her abilities to adequately handle interviews and she also needs to gain experience in the foreign policy field. Those things can be fixed over the next few years and Palin will improve as a politician with experience. There is a reason that the liberals despise her. The GOP needs to unleash the one weapon of theirs that Democrats are afraid of.

SPECIAL SPORTS POST: The New York Yankees suck and it is really upsetting

May 6, 2009

I’m a New York Yankees fan. The tradition, pinstripes, magic and aura of the organization is amazing to me. I used to be a Yankee hater, but I was just conforming to what other people were doing. When I finally had the ability to think for myself, I realized that the Yankee franchise is what sports is all about. A passionate ownership, a constant striving for championships and nothing less, intense fans and magical moments throughout their history. The Yankees are the American Dream, building up a conglomerate from a simple baseball squad.

The problem is that the magic has faded over the past few years. Instead of the homegrown talent like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams, the Yankees have relied on buying the best free agents on the market and hoped that putting together an all-star roster will help produce a championship. Recently, however, it has been well documented that this approach does not work. You need tough players who play hard every day and have chemistry. The Yankees have really focused on just buying the best players instead of putting together the best roster.

What makes things worse is that their arch-rival, the Boston Red Sox, have done everything perfectly over the past few years, including getting some lucky bounces. The Red Sox attempted to get Alex Rodriguez but the Yankees traded young superstar Alfonso Soriano to get A-Rod. After all of the issues that A-Rod has been through and all of the playoff disasters he has been a part of, its clear the Sox lucked out. Soriano, in the meantime, has blossomed into the best leadoff hitter in the game. The Yankees also outbid the Sox for Cuban pitcher Jose Contreras, who turned into a huge waste of money for the Bronx Bombers. Again, the Sox lucked out. This past winter, the Red Sox tried to sign blue-chip free agent Mark Teixeira. At the last second, the Yankees came in and signed Teixeira, which according to many baseball experts was the move that would lead the Yankees back to glory. As Teixeira struggles to hit over .200 in the first month and the Yankees hover around .500, Yankee fans wonder why all the luck has turned against them.

I would have to say that the new Yankee Stadium is just depressing. Actually, I haven’t been there so I can’t say for sure, but every time there are Yankee highlights on ESPN, all I can see is empty seats behind home plate. It looks like an exhibition game or something other then Yankee baseball. The old Yankee Stadium had so many amazing moments in it and early indications seem to show that it will be a while before we see any more magical moments in the new ballpark. As Robinson Cano stepped to the plate with the bases loaded Monday night against Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon, it seemed as though this would finally be the new moment for Yankee Stadium. Down two, against the hated Red Sox, this would be the baptism of Yankee Stadium. A glorious comeback that could finally turn momentum around for the Yankees.

Cano struck out swinging to end the game.

The Yankees have a pathetic bullpen. They completely overpaid for reliever Damaso Marte, who has been horrible this season. Rivera has already blown a save against the Sox. Chien-Ming Wang, who was thought to be a solid starter for the rotation, was miserable in his first three starts and couldn’t make it past the fifth inning in any outing. Offseason additions to the rotation, C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, have both been inconsistent, with Burnett blowing a six run lead against the Red Sox. There is a lack of clutch hitting in big games and injuries have already hit hard, leaving Jorge Posada, Xavier Nady and Brian Bruney all on the DL.

Right now, there seems to be no avoiding it. The New York Yankees suck. But there is plenty of time to turn things around. A-Rod will come back from his hip injury to provide more power and protection for Teixeira. Wang has looked much better in minor league games. Bruney will help the bullpen once he gets healthy. The MLB season is very long and gives plenty of time for teams to come back from tough starts. For now though, Yankee fans will have to accept that their team just isn’t very good.

Articles for Tuesday and video debate on gay marriage

May 5, 2009

Now He Has The Hammer   David Kahane writes for the National Review, using a satirical look on President Obama’s presidency so far from the view of a leftist. Or is it satire? I feel like it is fairly accurate in terms of what Kahane writes, although probably not politically correct. Then again, most anything said about anyone nowadays is politically incorrect. Very funny read.

The GOP is the Problem, not Conservatism   David Limbaugh writes in Townhall that the Republican Party’s problem is not that it has become too conservative, but that it has become too moderate. He uses poll number to show that many more Americans describe themselves as conservatives rather than liberals. What is scary for the GOP is that there are more people that call themselves conservatives than Republicans. That means the Republicans have lost that connection to their core base. The reason is that Republicans have simply not acted as conservatives, which has cost them dearly in the past few elections. President Obama continues to portray his far left agenda as “centrist” and he is getting away with it in the media. The media relays this image to the American people and Obama’s plans are then assumed to be middle of the road when in fact they are not. So far, Obama has not gotten anything passed or approved of with bipartisan support. George W. Bush passed the No Child Left Behind Act and his tax cuts packages with bipartisan support. Just because you say you will be bipartisan doesn’t mean you are acting like it.

Below is a debate on Larry King Live between gay celebrity blogger Perez Hilton and talk radio host Dennis Prager. I haven’t talked about this topic too much, but I am sure you know where I stand. Let me know what you think of this debate and who had the better points.

Can you please help the kids, Mr. Obama?

May 5, 2009

 

President Barack Obama sends his daughters Sasha and Malia to the Sidwell Friends School instead of a public school in Washington D.C.

President Barack Obama sends his daughters Sasha and Malia to the Sidwell Friends School instead of a public school in Washington D.C.

Ever since Barack Obama came onto the political scene, he has had the rarely found ability in a politician to connect with the youth. His campaign references to Lil Wayne, his love for basketball and his fresh, youthful appearance have all contributed to making a never before seen connection with the youth of America, resulting in huge voter turnout for him in November. Obama has long talked about making college available for all kids and bring prices down. Who doesn’t like the sound of that? What is bothersome, however, is his current hypocrisy to look out for the kids in the Washington, D.C. area.

 

Currently, the Washington, D.C. public schools system is a mess. It is nearly impossible for kids to get a decent education out of the schools currently available there. That is why the Opportunity Schools Program has been such a blessing for minority families living in that area. OSP is a program that allows kids to earn scholarships to attend better, private schools in the area. The voucher they earn is worth $7,500 and over 1,700 kids currently use those vouchers. 99% of those kids are either Hispanic or African-American and the Department of Education has found that these kids in the program have improved in many academic areas. While 1,700 kids use the scholarships now, more than four kids apply for each of the scholarships, which has become known as a lifeline out of the disastrous D.C. public schools system.

So what is the big problem? Congress wants to destroy this scholarship program. In an amendment sponsored by Democratic Senator Dick Durbin in the omnibus spending bill passed in March, OSP will no longer receive funding. It was determined that the program would be eliminated for the 2009-10 school year, but members of Congress will have a chance to debate the issue this month. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has prevented and been opposed to the program from giving out scholarships next year as well. Does Duncan’s daughter attend any of the D.C. public schools? Of course not. Duncan moved out to Arlington, Virginia, so his daughter could attend school there, where the Arlington public schools system is far superior to the system in D.C. Do Obama’s daughters attend a D.C. public school? Of course not. They attend the prestigious Sidwell Friends School, a private institution.

How can Obama be such a strong supporter of the public schools system if they aren’t good enough for his own daughters? Shouldn’t everyone have an equal chance to get a great education? Maybe Obama supports the public schools as a politician because of the Democratic Party’s decades-long alliance with the teachers’ unions. Why has the Republican Party gotten no credit for standing up for equal education for Africa-Americans and Hispanics? The media has long branded the GOP has a party that will cut spending on education as soon as they get a chance to. Where has the media been in its coverage of this education issue?

Obama has also promised to bring down the cost of college tuition for everyone, even going as far as to say he wants it to be free. Obama’s beliefs about economic equality come back into play here. Currently, you can earn much more money at a job if you have a degree. This is because not everyone has one and if you do, it shows you have put in extra work and have that education to complete your job. If everyone has a degree, however, the extra pay that comes with a degree won’t be there anymore. Everyone with a degree will be gunning for white-collar jobs, which brings those wages down. When that happens, there won’t be as many people trying to find blue-collar working jobs because they will have degrees. That means that blue-collar job wages will go up. Economic equality and social justice, in President Obama’s eyes.

For a private Catholic school in California, the price of tuition is somewhere near $9,000. For a child to go through a public school, it will cost taxpayers about $14,000. The pay for teachers does not correlate with the performance of students. The correct method of education should be for families to receive a $10,000 dollar voucher to send their kids wherever they want to go to school. Instead of throwing more money at public schools, teachers should be rewarded for excelling in their jobs and helping students perform better on tests. With the current system set up by teachers’ unions, teachers only get paid more the longer they work. This is not fair to students and it is not fair to the teachers who work harder and are better at their job but get no financial reward.

With the power and popularity President Obama currently has, all he has to do is say the word for the Opportunity Scholarship Program to stay in place. Instead, he has continued rooting for public schools in an area where public schools have failed. If he can’t send his kids to those schools, why should anyone else have to? Hypocrisy among politicians is often a grilling point for media members, especially when there are Republicans acting as hypocrites. It is a shame that nobody in the media will call out President Obama for the hypocrisy he is displaying right now.

Check out William McGurn’s article in the Wall Street Journal for more info on the Opportunity Schools Program.