Tarheeltalker

Self-appointed Kitchen Cabinet

It is no secret  what “objective” journalist Chris Matthews thinks of President Obama. I almost hate to mention the “tingles” episode that occurred during the 2008 campaign, although I have seen the word used quite well as  a nickname for Matthews. Not so long after Obama took office, Matthews proudly admitted that it was his job to make sure that Obama succeeded.( Remember for a moment that Rush was roundly criticized for hoping that Obama failed.) I cannot  recall any approbation at what  Matthews said.

But  at least  Matthews is consistent. He remains firmly on the Obama/Democrat bandwagon. In a  recent interview with Democrat senatorial candidate Joe Sestak ( from  Matthews’ native state of  Pennsylvania) who is running against Republican Pat Toomey, Matthews openly longed for Sestak and the Democrats to do well in November by saying this.” I hope your party gets organized and wins this thing.”

But, there is even more. Matthews seems to be moving beyond the cheerleading/publicizing phase into the advising stage. I actually watched the video clip with Matthews providing this advice, so I am not making this up. His first piece of advice was to replace Def Secretary Robert Gates with, guess who? You will never get this one, so I’ll just tell you.  It is  Hilary Clinton. Wait, there is more. He has two options for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; either Treasury Secretary of Chief-of-Staff. No mention of who would succeed Mrs Clinton ( Bill maybe) or what would happen to the current hatchet man,Rahm Emanuel.

This advice brought to mind something used by a number of former presidents, the “kitchen cabinet.”  I believe Truman actually coined the phrase for his group of informal advisers, although it was quite popular with Jefferson and Jackson among others. Guess the only difference is that Matthews is self-appointed. But just think of the benefits. The Democratic National Committee could pay Matthews annual salary  of  $5 million and he could continue his tv show just like it is and work for the White House on the side. Better than Obama accepting Michael Moore’s offer to replace Emanuel, huh?

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September 4, 2010 Posted by | History, Media, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time for Equal Time

Never let it be said that there is a lack of balance here. In the interest of fairness, I present the Senate version of the biggest jerk in Congress. He, like Alan Grayson, is  in his first term. He won election by a margin so narrow that it reminds one of  the “Landslide Lyndon’s ” first election to Congress way back in  1937 as  a Texas congressman. This senator won by an even narrower margin in an election that seemed to take forever until Norm Coleman saw the handwriting on the wall.

Yep, our good friend and former Air America star, Al Franken is   our choice if you want a Grayson alternative. After stating his intentions to keep a low profile, it took Franken very little time to change gears into combative mode.

How about a few examples. It is interesting to note that unlike Grayson, Franken will attack regardless of party affiliation. Just ask David Axelrod who was on the receiving end of a Franken tirade in a closed-door Democrat session about the health care bill.

This just further established big Al as one of the most aggressive senators on the Hill. In November he lashed out at Republican senators Lamar Alexander  and Bob Corker who  co authored an op-ed  defending their opposition to a Franken amendment. He went so far as to confront his colleagues on the floor of the Senate. Shades of Henry Clay and Andrew Jackson  from days gone by. He also  clashed with South Dakota Sen John Thune in what was described as  a scathing debate.

And just a few weeks ago, Franken literally hushed Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman  in the midst of  his comments. Some might think this amusing and I almost do on some level. Here is  a guy who barely won election and truth be told maybe did not win; has no  real credibility or seniorityand  was hardly even a Minnesota resident when his campaign began. This from the state of Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale and Eugene McCarthy. How things have turned.

Guess what Minnesota voters? Both you and the Senate are stuck with him for an entire term. Thanks  a lot.

February 7, 2010 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Do Presidents Come From?

A question that can answered in so many ways. As most of us know, the commonwealth of Virginia holds the distinction of birthing more of our nation’s chief executives than any other state, a total of 8. Hawaii, as with a number of other states has had one. You know who that is, do you not?

My native state of North Carolina is generally credited with 2, Polk and Andrew Johnson. Sometime we get Jackson, but not always. Polk, the 11th president, was elected way back in  1844. As time stature seems to be on the upswing and he  generally ranks close to the top 10 in rankings of our best presidents.

Polk has a singular distinction in that he is the  only president to attend my “adopted alma mater” of the University of North Carolina, having graduated as  a Tar Heel in  1818, less than 25 years after the school’s founding. That fact  made me wonder. How may presidents have graduated from public universities versus Harvard, Yale and other  Ivy League institutions?  No aspersion meant on these schools. I was just wondering how the numbers looked. Harvard had 8 and Yale had 5 to lead the way. The sources I  checked showed only 1 other  president to attend  a state university(Gerald Ford-Michigan).

Does this mean anything, probably not. But still, it has been a long time since Polk with only Ford to fill the gap. State universities, while they have high academic standards  and produce excellent graduates, are by nature a different animal than the private schools, i.e. cost, for one thing.

It would just be nice to have another chief executive from say, UNC, or Kansas or  some such school. Just to break up the private school monotony, if nothing else., ya think?

Still not sure if I answered the title question though.

January 11, 2010 Posted by | Culture, education, History | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Farmer’s Markets

Here in Elizabeth City, we have a nice , little farmers market that runs from  mid April through the end of October. This is the second year for this open air market on our downtown waterfront. The primary focus is baked good  and  fresh veggies in season, at  least as far as I am concerned. Mrs THT has brought  home some of the best baked breads one can imagine. Other vendors  display non food wares as well. You will even see the local animal shelter with a booth trying to find homes for some canines and that other 4 footed  pet. They know who they are. It is  a nice little event when the weather co-operates.

My son and his wife  live in the great city of Atlanta which has  a huge farmers market that sells things that I would probably would not even recognize. That’s alright. A big city must have a  big  approach.

Apparently, the First Lady has heard of one or both of these markets. For, lo and behold, she wants one near the White House. Not on the grounds, mind you, as the President was quick to point out. What, no big crowds on the grounds? I thought Andrew Jackson tried that way back when. Anyway, back to the First Lady’s idea. There is an organization called Freshfarm Markets that is asking that Vermont Avenue be closed from 1-8 pm on Thursday  (weekday, mind you, rush hour etc)

DDOT spokesman  John Leslie says the traffic people are studying the request. It was just last month that the President put his  support behind te idea of a farmers market.His comments made reference to the garden that the First Lady had  set up at the White House.

Well, there you go. The market has its first vendor and the proceeds could go to any one of a myriad of things. Hint, hint, healthcare.

Seems that the sponsor for the market has already invited Ms Obama to its grand opening. Must know the approval  s forthcoming. The Freshfarm folks are apparently  the umbrella organization for farmers markets in the D.C. area. That would be helpful for outdoor markets, I guess. Oh, since the  White House is just a few blocks from the  proposed market, it would be easy to get a selection from the White House garden for display and sale.

I must admit my lack of knowledge on farmers markets in the nation’s capital. But, then again, it probably should not be surprising. Is there not a lot of manure in that part of the country that would be  good  fertilizer? Just asking.

September 8, 2009 Posted by | economy, Food | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments