As most everyone knows, not because they watched it necessarily, President Obama was on the daily gossip fest known as The View. Ostensibly he appeared on that show since it’s the only one of its kind that Mrs Obama watches. ( Wonder if she will be able to watch it while she and one of her daughters are in Spain? Not to worry, surely someone will Tivo it for her.)
Not sure exactly why, but it just doesn’t seem to be the best venue for a presidential appearance. Why then might he make such a choice? Obviously, it has nothing to do with his wife’s viewing preferences. It doesn’t , right? Anyway, I have obviously not watched the program but I am a bit familiar with its approach and the ladies who are its hosts, its panel, it’s whatever. I happened to see a still photo from the set and was struck by how, pardon the expression, so ga-ga some of them looked, almost star struck. The exception seemed to be Barbara Walters who has interviewed world leaders before, when she did work closer to real news. The other two who come to mind are Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg.
Both of these individuals come from the far left side of the spectrum and seem inclined to say whatever comes to mind. Without repeating it verbatim, you might recall the extremely crude joke she told about George Bush at a Democrat function, at which then Senator Obama was in attendance. From watching CBS Sunday Morning I understand that Ms Behar now even has a show of her own. And just recently she had the time in her hectic schedule to bash Rush, even calling his wife ” Eva Braun”s sister. Of course, having called him a terrorist in the past what can one expect. I share these tidbits just to give you an idea of those lovingly crowded around the President.
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs official reason for Obama’s appearance was that it provides an opportunity to talk to people ( read women) where they are since they have busy lives. Or was it all a political show since his support among women voters has plummeted? Sounds much more plausible. Besides the show drew its biggest ever audience in its 13 year existence. Hard to believe it has been on that long. How could I have missed it? Guess that’s another reason for all the channels from which to choose.
From som eof the comments I read the opinion was divided on whether the appearance was beneficial to the President. One comment asked is he sacrificing the dignity of the office and answered their own question with a yes. They went on to say the even so the pluses would outweigh the minuses.
By the way, where was Oprah?
A friend of mine emailed me the following story. It sounds plausible and she is a quite reliable source. Whether the actual event occurred or not is not germane to the truth lurking in the story. So read and laugh a bit but take note of what is being said.
An ingenious example of speech and politics occurred recently in the U N General Assembly which made the world community smile ( probably not all of it though) . An Israeli representative began: ” Before beginning my talk I want to tell you something about Moses. When he struck the rock and it brought forth water ( Old Testament book of Exodus, Chapter 17, verse 6) he thought, ” What a good opportunity to have a bath.” He removed his clothes, put them aside on the rock and entered the water. When he got out and wanted to dress, his clothes had vanished. A Palestinian has stolen them.”
The Palestinian representative to the U N jumped up furiously and shouted, ” What are you talking about? The Palestinians weren’t there then.”
The Israeli diplomat smiled and said,” And now that we have made that clear, I will begin my speech.”
One of my favorite, if not the favorite, tv programs of my childhood was Captain Kangaroo. One of his recurring characters was the Banana Man. He always fascinated me with the endless variety of items he pulled from his bottomless coat pockets , featuring of course the lowly banana.
Both the Captain and Banana Man are long gone but the banana has now become a bigger star than ever before. Thanks to Japanese ingenuity ( who else) it now has its own vending machine. A Japanese subsidiary of David Murdock’s Dole Corporation installed its first banana vending machine almost a month ago in Shibuya station on one of the country’s busiest subway lines. Kept cool by a refrigerator inside, bananas sell for $1.50 each or $4.50 a bunch. Thus far the machine has been a big success.
This is the perfect solution for those locales who are busily banning soft drinks, etc from city owned facilities. I wrote about that exact thing taking place in San Antonio under the direction of city manager Sheryl Sculley. She now has a healthy alternative to the evils of soft drinks. First bananas and then the sky or banana tree is the limit. Then the city can just wait and peel in, uh reel in the profits. Probably should not locate a machine anywhere near the zoo’s primate habitat though. It would be a shame to turn lawful chimps into criminals.
Back during those nearly forgotten pre- Obama days of the 2008 presidential campaign, I did a post entitled Vote Early and Often. At the time I included a qualifier that I was just kidding. Perhaps I was just ahead of schedule and I did not live in Port Chester, NY.
Port Chester is a small village about 30 minutes from New York City. Over the years no Latino had ever been elected as a trustee ( assume that would equivalent to a city council member) even though the village is about half Hispanic. Pay close attention to this next line. Most voters were white and white candidates always won.
Enter the feds, as represented by the U S Dept of Justice ( think Eric Holder) and federal judge Stephen Robinson. Judge Robinson said that the Voting Rights Act was being violated and something had to change. He rejected a proposal to break the village into 6 voting districts, one being heavily Hispanic. This next just amazes me. Vill;age officials suggested a method known as cumulative voting. This system gave each resident 6 votes to apportion as they chose. Even more amazing this system is already used for the Peoria, Il city council, the Amarillo, Tx school board and the Chilton County , Al county commission.
This whole approach just astounds me. It seems very easy to manipulate plus the fact that it seems designed to achieve certain pre-ordained results. Can’t believe it isn’t being used in Cook County. Their system is probably more sophisticated.
An outfit called FairVote was hired as a consultant. The organization is a nonprofit election research and reform group. I looked up this organization and lo, and behold one of their advisory members is non other than Jesse Jackson,Jr. and one of their staunchest supporters is Harvard law professor and civil rights activist Lani Guinier. But, the organization takes great pains to state that it does not support, endorse or oppose any political party or candidate. Not sure if I buy that or not.
Anyway, back to Port Chester. When their wacky election took place, there were three Hispanic candidates in the race. One of those folks managed to come in fourth, so I suppose the effort was a success. What further in=terested me was that with all the efforts to get people to vote and vote the turnout, based on the numbers did not seem so good. Of course, how do measure voter turnout , multiply eligible voters by six? Almost getting into Land of Oz stuff here.
I learned one more tidbit. FairVote has a chapter in North Carolina , so I may get an opportunity to vote multiple times myself.
The Department of Agriculture and its head, Tom Vilsack are not really a high-profile combo. But they are sure in the news these days. Kinda reminds me of an oft-repeated comment about baseball umpires. They are doing a good job when they are not noticed. But alas, for Mr Vilsack that will no longer be possible. Whether he even retains his job is probably open to question. Would that not be ironic if Ms Shirley Sherrod whom he fired and has since tried to rehire retained her job and he didn’t?
A couple of things have intrigued beyond the actual firing/re–hiring. One is the fact that the White House said it was on board with the action and then after the media firestorm began to build, the President disavowed any connection to the firing. Could not resist that disavow. Mission Impossible was always one of favorite shows.
Ok, number two was a media type David Rodham Gergen, comparing Ms Sherrod to Nelson Mandela who by the way spent 27 years in a South African prison, led the country for a time and would have to be considered an internationally known figure. Quite a stretch, even for the liberal media.
Finally, a comment from Ms Sherrod, but not what you might think. Her epiphany she said came when she realized that it was not black vs white but rather rich vs poor. There are many comments that one could make. Rush called it the idea of Obamunism which isn’t bad. I remain convinced that it does not have to be a situation of one side vs another. But when one of Ms Sherrod’s latest media comments ( and she is all over the media now) is that she will not appear on Fox News since they are both biased and racist . Gotta wonder on what basis she formed her opinion, do you not?
About 2 years ago, I had a colonoscopy done at the urging of my physician. It was done at the hospital on an outpatient basis. To ensure that things went as they should, there was an anesthesiologist, a gastroenterologist, a radiologist and a nurse or two. All of those folks did their job well, for which I was very thankful. Funny thing about those medical professionals , they expect to get paid for doing their jobs, as well they should.
But, now as the specifics of Obamacare begin to surface there may be a complicating factor in their getting paid. I will repeat for emphasis and will probably repeat it multiple times, Speaker Pelosi said that the bill had to be passed to know what was in it. Funny, that’s about what Sen Chris Dodd, D, CT just said about the much ballyhooed financial reform bill. He added that we really won’t know if it works until there’s another financial crisis. Comforting words, those. That statement doesn;t square up very well with what I heard the President say at the signing ceremony today. No more, he said, bailing out the big financial firms , no more crises. Really?
Anyway, back to our ” free”medical test. I believe it was Mrs Obama, could have been the President though who was talking about free medical tests. Come 2014, when many of the bill’s provisions kick in, no longer will people have to forego many of the preventative medical tests that they need. Why, because they will be free. That’s what she said. One of the tests mentioned was the above referenced colonoscopy. I started thinking about that the other day. One of the random thoughts that crossed my mind was that it may be free but somebody’s going to pay for it.(As we all know there is no free lunch.) The medical people involved do not work for free remember. So who is going to pay for the test? The government you may say. But how will they do that ? Take a wild guess and say taxes and more taxes.
It sounds quite appealing to promote these tests as being free, but eventually, the piper is paid.
This is an unusual thing for me but I thought the subject worthwhile and that it was read in its entirety by the original author. By clicking on the above link, you will be taken to an opinion piece by Jose Maria Aznar, prime minister of Spain from 1996-2004. The article appears on the website of aish.com the world’s largest Jewish content website. I don’t necessarily endorse all that Mr Aznar has to say, but his article is well worth a read.
…and should you care? Perhaps you have no answer to either of those questions and until today neither did I. I still cannot answer the title question but I have a tentative answer for the second. But, between now and the year 2014 we shall in all likelihood become very familiar with said acronym.
A bit of an explanation.BMI stands for Body Mass Index which one can actually calculate for themselves at the website for the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (nhlbisupport.com/bmi) which is an affiliate of the National Institutes of Health. When one provides the appropriate figures the site calculates one’s body mass index on a numerical scale. The numbers are categorized on four levels which are underweight, normal, overweight and obese.
As another feature of the economic stimulus plan sees the light of day, we are learning that one’s BMI is going to become a very important number indeed. By the way, both of the above mentioned agencies belong to the Department of Health and Human Services. That brings us to an announcement made a few days ago by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The secretary announced new regs this week stipulating that the electronic health records that we are supposed to have by 2014 ( thanks to Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus bill) must record the BMI as well as height and weight,etc. The law also requires that these electronic records be available on a national exchange, with the proper security measures of course. Health care providers must, by 2014, establish meaningful use of these electronic health records or face cuts in their Medicare/Medicaid payments.
Ok, no what might be the reason mandating that BMI be maintained ? How exactly is it used? Well, the CDC uses the figure as its primary method for measuring obesity.
Ok, what is the first lady’s big mission, childhood obesity. Various and sundry legislators continue to float proposals to heavily tax soft drinks and the fast food industry is a prime target of Science in the Public Interest. Perhaps none of this means anything but I believe that it does. Added together it is rather strong effort at dictating what you can eat or perhaps even what you can weigh ( admittedly taken to te extreme) and if you do not comply, perhaps there could be a health insurance surcharge as a penalty. Shucks, maybe one of the unknown provisions in Obamacare, as Speaker Pelosi termed it, already does this.
Don’t you just love the concept of greater government control?
Just so you won’t have a lack of political possibilities to worry about, I am pleased to offer another such possibility. The good thing is that this one should be a few years in the future, I think.
The first lady has been somewhat prominent in the news of late. One day, she’s photographed on the Gulf Coast, giving a thumbs up ands encouraging people to vacation at the Gulf. There is plenty of unspoiled beach available and it would be a great to support the folks in the region. So, where is the Obama family taking its upcoming mini-vacation? Why, glad you asked. The answer is Maine. Perhaps he has not played any of the 150 golf courses in that great state and just has a hankering to do so.
Her other high-profile appearance this week was at the NAACP convention. You know, the event at which the “Tea Party” was deemed to be a racist organization and then the next day, it wasn’t ? Wondering what she had to say?
Well, the first lady was the keynote speaker at the Kansas City, MO event and she seemed just a bit disgruntled. She spoke of crumbling schools, of the high rate of imprisonment of young black Americans and that the founders would agree that the work was not done. Which founders, not the country’s, but the NAACP’s. I shall just list the names and add that it would be quite enlightening to look them up. They were Mary White Ovington, Henry Moskowitz and William English Walling. She went to say that it was not time to rest on our laurels but rather to increase our intensity.
Thinking about these events , especially the second made me wonder if there are some aspirations in Mrs Obama’s future, political aspirations to be precise. Shucks, she could very well be involved in setting policy already, taking a page from Hilary’s playbook. So, in 2 and 1/2 years or 6 and 1/2 years or even 10 and 1/2 years when the President leaves office, I just wonder if another Obama will be entering the political arena. It will be a long-term watch but could prove interesting.
I can remember crossing over the Herbert C Bonner bridge for the first time, sometime in the early 70′s. I was absolutely petrified. I had never crossed a bridge that high and really wasn’t sure that I wanted to. After a number of crossings over the years, those feelings of terror gradually subsided. When I drove across last month on the way to Ocracoke, the crossing was rather routine. But the bridge itself, or its future, is anything but.
But we must needs go back a bit. The bridge was built way back in 1963 and named for a long serving NC Congressman, Democrat Herbert Covington Bonner from Washington, NC who served 12 terms and actually died while still in office. His namesake bridge then became a memorial bridge.
The bridge as it stands is 2.5 miles long and allows vehicles to cross the Oregon Inlet ( named for the first vessel to pass through it, the Oregon) and continue on to Hatteras Island. The bridge was designed to last 3o years and the plans to replace actually began in 1990, which as it turns out was not nearly soon enough. The talks and the environmental studies and environment impact statements have gone on and on and on.
The latest public hearings took place in Manteo last week and were something of a fine tuning. If all goes well and that is quite a large word in this case, construction might just begin in 2 years and be completed by 2015. The cost is projected to be only $300 million and that statement I make in all sincerity. That is because this new 2.7 mile bridge, landing a bit west of the current one was not everyone’s #1 choice. A coalition of environmental agencies and groups favored a 17 mile long structure that would have cost a whopping $1.3 billion. NC DOT spokesman Drew Joyner said it quite well when he sated that the state just could not afford it. That’;s a refreshing comment from a government spokesman, is it not?
Granted there needed to be lots of studies and opportunity for comment, etc. After all, the bridge’s location is about the perfect storm for environmental issues. It’s near an ocean, a sound, a national refuge and a national park. And if things were not done just so, you can bet good money that a raft of environmental lawyers would be lining up, briefcases in hand and palms outstretched.
Hear a few statements. NC DOT calls the bride “structurally deficient” but safe for travel. They are actually working hard right now at fixing weak spots. Kinda gives one just a small unsettled feeling though. And another from Beth Midgett who chairs the Citizens Action Committee to build Bonner Bridge. She says that public safety has to win out over bureaucracy at some point. It does, does it not? And finally, from Ken Sharp, Jr of Manteo who is “merely” a local citizen. Words of wisdom here. ” Just build me a bridge, please.” Well said sir.
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