Tarheeltalker

A Gaggle of Republicans

As of today, there are officially 10 republicans in the running for the party’s presidential nomination. There are at least 4 other  potential candidates. This is definitely a case for that old baseball axiom that you can’t know the players without a scorecard.

At this stage of the process, anything is possible and hope springs eternal  as in baseball’s  spring training. While it is early, of course it is not as early as it might seem. President Obama will obviously run for  a second term and among other advantages that he has are an excellent fund-raising apparatus and a significant advantage in name recognition over most of  his potential  opponents ( other than Palin and maybe Bachmann, who will still only the second most well-known Michele-hint, hint).

It is fascinating to me to see the interaction among those already declared and the coyness of those on the sidelines. And, let us not forget the curse of the front-runner. Mitt Romney is probably still in the ” head lead” as a childhood friend of mine said. But, Michele  Bachmann is closing fast and may actually lead in Iowa polls.

Right now, Iowa native Bachmann has 22% and Romney 23% in a Des Moines Register poll. If one has any math skills that would leave 55% to be divided 8 ways and that doesn’t  sound so good. Can you win Iowa and lose the nomination oh yeah- and the opposite is also true. It is also true that one can be ruined in the Iowa caucus which will take place on February 6, 2012.

This will be an interesting journey to chronicle so just for the record, I will at least name the 10 who are in and the four who are not.

Hovering  on the sidelines are Sarah Palin, Rick Perry ( Rush’s choice and mine) , John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani.

Those in it to win it, I guess, are the aforementioned Romney and Bachmann along with the following, in no particular order: Jon Huntsman, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson, Mitch Daniels and Rick Santorum. ( ” Fringe  candidates not included.)

Perhaps the best candidate would be  a guy who has already recused himself, Jeb Bush. Should be quite lively with Paul, Palin and Bachmann in the fray, should it not?

June 27, 2011 Posted by | Media, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Political Strategery

The Obama Administration announced that it is releasing 30 million gallons of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. ” Experts” are calling this  an excellent change in policy that will certainly help to calm the volatile oil markets. But, other experts are saying why now? So, who can we believe? I am taking my cue from Treasury Secretary Geithner who when speaking at a Dartmouth College panel discussion said the release was not political. It was using the reserve for that which it was  designed, to mitigate disruptions such as those brought about by the conflict in Libya. So, naturally if Mr Geithner says it is not political I must feel otherwise. Why might one feel that way? Let us see. For starters the reserve has 727 million barrels of oil and the President’s instructions released around 4% of that total. Next, Libya typically exports about 1.5 million barrels per day, a figure which is down to about  1/3 of that total. So, the amount of oil released was really not designed to  replace lost production, etc but rather to what? Perhaps it was designed  to occur in the midst of the ongoing decline in oil prices ( which leads to lower gasoline prices) thus causing a bit of an acceleration the decline. Then we have an end result of the Obama Administration claiming credit for the price of gasoline declining. A bit convoluted, perhaps, but just wait and see. But we must not drill for any additional oil, just pay Brazil to do so.

June 26, 2011 Posted by | Politics, Reading, Religion | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Depends on why you are Famous

Conventional wisdom has often said that it doesn’t matter why one is famous, only that one is famous. Sad to say, I believe that Rep Anthony Weiner(D, NY) would hasten to disagree. Until his lewd and salacious actions were made public, the majority of Americans would have been unable to identify him by name or picture. Now, he probably holds the title of our most well-known congressman.

But my interest is not so much with what he did but rather the reactions, both pro and con, that have ensued. Part of my reasoning is that I am not  very surprised with what he did. The internet has greatly facilitated these types  of behavior in and secondly, he is  not the first politician to be caught.in some type of compromising position.

On to  the reactions. Some are almost funny, some surprising (considering the sources) and some  are inconsistent. However, I have tried to avoid comments that are lewd or suggestive in. This mess has even  divided prominent Democrats with Reps Rangel and Clyburn offering support; Rangel even saying that after all he did not go out with little boys. DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has urged him to resign, probably the first commonsense statement she has made since taking the job. And former speaker Pelosi  gravely concurred.

New York’s top elected Democrat Chuck Schumer is appalled and disappointed. Besides Weiner is taking over his spotlight. The Clintons are furious and probably for the best reasons of anyone other Weiner’s wife, the former Huma Abedin. You will remember that Bill officiated at their July 11, 2010 wedding. Besides Huma has worked for Hilary for  quite sometime and that the entire fiasco conjures up memories of Bill’s escapade(s). So far there has been no  public comment by the Clintons but one can only imagine what they are thinking.

And then we have the celebrity comments which for me fall under the class of what were they thinking and don’t they have people to forestall these  public comments. Television journalist Rachel Maddow said that Weiner exhibited “bad manners.” Barbara Walters said that the pictures she had seen were “flattering.” Joy Behar opined that the pictures were not the congressman, implying a frame, even after he confessed that they were. And that paragon of virtue Alec Baldwin said that works in a very highly stressful environment and was just letting off steam.

Finally, some comments that alone. They originate with MSNBC host, Chris( Tingles) Matthews. He has made frequent comments about Weiner that express his disgust, wonder at what he was thinking,etc. And then he proceeds to hold Mrs Weiner partly responsible. And finally ne bemoans the political consequences. If Weiner does not go away the Democrats will “never” again control of the House. And see if you recognize yourself in the last  statement.

” Because the people in the rural areas of this country who are Christian, conservative, culturally-you can say” backward” if you want-they don’t like this stuff.”

Thank goodness I didn’t hear  Bill Maher and Jane Lynch give a dramatic? comedic? reading of Weiner’s text messages. Wonder what Paul Harvey would have thought?

June 12, 2011 Posted by | Culture, Media, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The First Woman President?

Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States...

Image via Wikipedia

I have recently completed  a biography of Woodrow Wilson written by August Heckscher. There are many things that I could say about our 28th president from reading this somewhat lengthy tome, but I choose to confine my musings to just one topic.

Prior to reading this book I would have thought of probably three things when thinking of Wilson. They would be his efforts at establishing the League of Nations, his wartime presidency and his second wife, Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, whom he married on December 8, 1916.

The events surrounding Wilson’s stroke in 1919 and the subsequent effect on his life and his presidency have always been a fascination to me. For the first time I was able to read a detailed account of those events, by, I might add, a sympathetic biographer.

As most observers of presidential history know, Mr Wilson’s stroke occurred on October 1, 1919. This event took place shortly after his return from  a grueling trip to the western US  in a vain attempt to sell the League of Nations. The stroke probably was not a great surprise since warning signs had been clear both in the recent and more distant past.

Mrs Wilson was actually the person to find  Wilson  and  from now  to the end of his term, she and his physician Dr Cary Grayson were those most in the know. Grayson was generally   responsible for issuing the concerned but generally unspecific health bulletins, as well as having the medical responsibility.

Although the cabinet, a few trusted advisers and the vice-president knew of his  condition, no one was willing to certify as unable to perform his presidential duties, although he was. Thus began the most elaborate cover up in presidential history, at least to that point.

So, what of Mrs Wilson’s role?  Throughout she had one overriding goal. Her husband’s life was above the effective functioning of the government. Mrs Wilson said of her activities, “the only decision that was mine, was what was important and what was not.” Now if that were true, she would be in effect acting as a modern chief of staff and serving as the gatekeeper for the president. For that alone she was not qualified, much less some of her other duties. She was intelligent but with very, very little formal education. She was of course affected by her own prejudices, preferences, likes and dislikes.

The author asks and answers this question, Was she running the country? He said no, that the country was not running at all. I realize that I am disagreeing with one far more informed and knowledgable than I about the events, but will proceed to do so.

Here is his reasoning. She only had power in  determining who saw Wilson and what he would hear, as well as exercising control over what information went out. Even in that day, that was  significant indeed. Among other things she pushed aside long serving advisers such as Col  Edward House and  Joseph Tumulty. On the signature issue of that time, the League, evaluate this. When she received a letter from Senator Hitchcock about  a possible compromise, her response was no. Other questions submitted to him came back with a reply in Mrs Wilson’s handwriting. She often prevented letters he attempted to write from reaching the light of  and thus embarrassing Wilson. She was even influential in forcing Sec of State Lansing to resign.And Joshua Alexander who was  a sort of random pick as the new Sec of Commerce was actually interviewed by Mrs Wilson. Her influence was often felt in deciding where Wilson coud appear and for how long.

So on the two major issues that affected the entire course of the government, she had no effective opposition. The first, keeping hidden the true nature of  Wilson’s illness ( already  mentioned) and keeping Wilson  from resigning. And what strikes me as perhaps the most intriguing of all is this. Prior to their marriage, Wilson was sending the widowed Mrs Galt state papers of which he expected her to read and comment. The future even then foreshadowed ? Seems so, does it not?

June 4, 2011 Posted by | History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Insight on Inciting

Before  a couple  of days ago, I had never heard  of Rep Michael Capuano(D, MA). But he has made some comments that I find quite interesting and  frankly, somewhat disturbing. First, a bit of background about Rep Capuano. He is in his 7th term as the representative of the  eighth congressional district, succeeding one Joseph Kennedy III. Prior to his service in Congress  he served as mayor  of  Somerville, ma from 1990-1998.

So, what did Rep Capuano say?  At  a Tuesday rally of Boston union members, he made this comment, which by the way, was greeted with rousing applause by his audience . ” Every once  in a while you need  to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary.” He was  attempting to fire up his union audience  urging  them to get down in the trenches to fend off challenges to workers rights.

After being challenged on the inflammatory nature of these words he has backtracked a bit. He issued an apology for his choice of words  stating that his passion for defending workers rights  caused him to get carried away.

Now, I am certainly glad he apologized  for what he said, but am still disturbed by its tenor and its reception. Imagine, if you will,  the response had this comment  originated from any one of several conservative speakers who would have been just as wrong in saying it.

I am a union member and am supportive of workers rights and collective bargaining but I have no wish to get out in the streets and get a little bloody in promoting those rights. ( Yes I know that there are instances of this in our country’s labor relations) I must admit, when I first became aware of his comments my mind veered towards the turmoil that has gone on for weeks now in the Middle East and North Africa , with no end in sight. Many people have gotten a little bloody(  and much worse) in pushing for change.

As with any statement such as his, I fervently hope that no one takes then literally to heart and chooses to act  accordingly. I trust that the congressman will really the troops  in a different manner when he next has the opportunity.

February 25, 2011 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eli’s Coming( and Howard and Nancy and Harry etc)

Caught a headline in the News&Observer today that was very attention-getting. Said headline announced that the great state of North Carolina and Charlotte in particular will host the 2012  national convention for the Democrat Party. On some levels this is  a really big deal. The economic impact will be considerable and Charlotte will have quite  a prominent place on the national stage. Considering that these conventions are typically held in cities such as Boston, New York, Chicago  Los Angeles, Charlotte’s win had to be  a surprise/shock to many.

A press release from the first lady announced that this 46th edition of the Democrats lovefest ( except for 1968) would be called The People’s Convention, yawn. More interesting though was her praise of a signature North Carolina delicacy, good ole barbecue. Wait a  minute. How could barbecue possibly fit into her healthy eating plan for us all. Because, there is just no such thing as fat free barbecue. Cannot wait to hear the spin on that one.

The convention is set for the week of September 3, ironically beginning on Labor Day. I trust that all affected football teams, college and professional have ben notified so their schedules can be adjusted as necessary.

I almost regret that I no longer live in the Charlotte area. Just think, I would  have been a scant 45 minutes away from Democrat royalty. So welcome  the President and his party, show them some good southern hospitality and give them  a few lovely parting gifts.

Has algore approved the weather or can he do that in advance? Just wondering.

 

February 2, 2011 Posted by | Media, Politics | Leave a comment

Squirming Liberals

You have on some level got to love the Juan Williams fiasco. Any situation that makes FOX look more even-handed than NPR just pleases me  no end. Basic business school ethics should tell you not to fire someone over the phone, especially someone who has  a media  platform where they can discuss it. Saw  a brief clip on CNN this morning and even they not even defend the firing much less the way in which it was handled.

Now, after a few days one might expect a mea culpa or two from NPR chief Vivian Schiller. And, lo and behold there was one. But that communication did not go to Mr Williams. Instead she sent an apology to NPR staffers and sent a letter to NPR stations. Cannot imagine why she apologized to them unless it was  to say sorry for no advance notice or for not firing Williams sooner. By the way, Williams said he had not been contacted by NPR while Ms Schiller said she had tried to do just that. Allow me to help her out  a bit. He is full-time at FOX now with a bit larger paycheck and no one telling him to hide his employer’s name when is on camera.

I suppose one could make the case that he is an individual for whom hope and change($) has worked out just fine.

October 25, 2010 Posted by | Media, Politics | , , , , | 1 Comment

Breaking up is so hard………..

…….  so very hard to do. Compliments of Neil Sedaka  from  a number of years ago, we have an apt description of the departure of Rahm ( never let a crisis go to waste ) Emanuel. It was a little surprising to me to see that ole Rahm become a mite emotional during his farewell appearance. Perhaps that contributed to his historical faux pas in describing his soon to be former boss. His praise of Obama was borderline effusive  as he called  him “the toughest leader any country could ever ask for in the toughest times any president has ever faced.” Being  an ardent observer of political hyperbole I  was attracted to Emanuel’s statement. A brief examination ensues. Starting with part#2 I wonder where that places such historical crises as WWII, the Civil War, the real Great Depression and even such things as the war of 1812. Other presidents who have faced demonstrably tougher times? That would be a lengthy list. Let’s see, Washington, Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, James Madison, and possibly even Kennedy, Truman, etc, etc. But it was an emotional time, lots of  sorrow in the room so maybe we shouldn’t judge ole Rahm so harshly, should we? Oh, yeah, we should, since these are ways in which Obama refers to himself. He’s the most criticized, maligned president ever, blah, blah. I repeat from an earlier post. He needs to read just a little about Lincoln’s treatment in the media and by people within as well as outside his own party.

So, we now move from the era of  Rahm who heads to Chicago to become ethe next Richard Daley and we begin a new day with Rahm’s  successor, or at the latest his interim successor. His name is  Pete Rouse, or Mr Fix-It as Obama referred to him. Rouse has been on the Obama team for about 6 years since his then boss Tom Daschle was defeated for re-election in 2004. Mr Rouse is known as a savvy politician and not nearly so media friendly as Emanuel. Shucks, he seems to resemble  a prototypical Chicago pol, so he should fit in very well.

Just  a thought to consider, Emanuel announced his departure last week and today Gen James Jones, the president’s National Security Adviser said that he will be leaving. Do we have  a simple mid-term shuffling ( although it’s not mid-term) or something of  a rats jumping the ship situation?  Whichever is true it is quite fun to watch, is it not?

October 11, 2010 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The answer to my immigration questions?

Immigration and its legality/illegality and the needed reform of whatever system we have continues to be a popular topic. Opinions are not lacking and many answers have been offered. Some make a bit of sense, others( blanket amnesty or deportation) do not. Suffice to say that it is a many faceted issue.

I think that I have finally seen a definitive answer on the immigration question. See what you think about this solution. The quote I will relay comes from an person that arrived illegally in the year 2000, but not from Mexico. She lived here illegally until May, 2010 when a judge granted her asylum.She lives in public housing and receives $700 per month in disability payments. By the way, this individual arrived from Kenya which seems an interesting place from which to arrive illegally. Here is her quote: ” If I come as an immigrant,you (presumably meaning the United States government) have the obligation to make me a citizen.”

Before I  identify her, allow me to offer a hint. She does have relatives in this country and highly placed ones at that. Her name is Zeituni Onyango and her nephew is President Barack Obama. Noe as you consider that fact, compare the attention it receives to that which California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is receiving over the firing of her illegal immigrant  nanny/housekeeper. This person was employed at a salary of +40 annually and had worked for Whitman for over nine years before being fired just over a year ago. We are viewing a big outcry over what Whitman knew and when did she know it? Can we draw analogies between the two situations  ? Just wondering.

October 3, 2010 Posted by | Legal system, Politics | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Don’t Tell Me What to Eat!!!!

They are at it again, by they I mean the food police. In this they are represented by Michelle Obama who is continuing her crusade to dictate what people should eat or not eat. I have no problem with people being encouraged to eat healthy or make healthy choices when they purchase food. But her ongoing efforts seem to have proceeded far beyond encouraging and are perilously close to being dictates.

The First Lady spoke  to the National Restaurant Association today and  “encouraged” them to make healthy eating easier. How to do this? Well, cut down on the butter and cream when they cook, make vegetables the default side dish on children’ s meals ( no nasty fries for the little ones, although it is one of her guilty pleasures) and just make easier for parents to make the  right choices for their children. And don’t bury those healthy choice items on the menu so no one can find them. Most of her speech seemed  to be aimed at childhood obesity. Guess the theory is to stop obesity early and adult obesity will be well on the way to being conquered.

This next is  a quote. “We have to do more, we have to go farther, and we need your help to lead this effort.” Now a bit of analysis. We know that the they in that statement was her audience of restaurant execs. What has me  puzzled is the identity of the  “we” in her statement. Could it be the Democrats, the food police, those who know what’s best for you even when you do not? I just cannot decide. Go farther how, actually tell you what you can eat, only at  a restaurant of course? They can’t do that, they won’t do that. Don’t bet on it.

Better yet, couldn’t she first focus on getting her husband to stop  smoking? It is far more dangerous is it not? Wonder who she considers more dangerous, McDonald’s or Wendy’s? You know that fast food establishments are one of the most  evil entities in our country. I have read the statement from a couple of sources ( and I fervently hope that both sources were  not serious) that  McDonald’s has killed more people than terrorists.

September 13, 2010 Posted by | Culture, Health, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment