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

Free Speech and Boxer Shorts

Gotta be one of my favorite titles ever even if  I did write it! To add more excitement mix in liberal( pun intended) doses of the ACLU, that liberal bastion of Boulder, Co and one has quite  an interesting recipe.

Seems that there is an individual that a frequent critic of the Boulder City Council ( fyi: Boulder is a predominantly Democrat city so why anyone would criticize the council is amazing in itself)  and was in action again just a few days ago. Apparently, he was quite vexed by something because as his public comments continued he began to shed his clothing. Before stopping he was wearing only boxer shorts.

The council responded by proposing a measure that would prohibit stripping while addressing the council as well as wearing a mask or otherwise being contemptuous. Somehow a local ACLU chapter got wind of this and howled in protest. They contended that  the decorum rules would have ” a chilling effect” on free speech. They are kidding, right? Probably not , I doubt that the ACLU, the “nation’s guardian of liberty ” according to their website, hardly ever kids.

As a rule, I am not an ACLU fan, but will admit that there are times when they serve a good purpose. But not in this case. I believe the only chilling effect here would consist of the air conditioning  being set too low during our critic’s boxer shorts interlude. Besides , most city councils could use a bit more decorum. Have to wonder, if  a lady had begun to engage in similar behavior, would our guardians have reacted the same. Just a thought.

August 16, 2010 Posted by | Culture | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Quotes of the Week

Once again, I got the urge to share a few quotes from a couple of famous individuals. One of the individuals is an actress, the other a politician.

#1 This quote comes from actress Jennifer Aniston and for  our purposes we shall call it  the profound quote. This was in  response to a Russian journalist who had the audacity or temerity to ask  her a question about  love/marriage/men. Her response: ” Love is love and family is what is around you.” Wow, is that deep.

For our next 2 quotes we hear from Sen Harry Reid, D, NV.

His first quote we call characterize as an intellectual quote. This one was actually about 3 weeks ago and  came at a press conference  announcing that this year’s ambitious climate legislation would shelved. We don’t have the votes he said. ” It’s easy to count to 60. I could do it by the time I was in eighth grade.”  Shucks, Senator , I believe I learned it way before then.

Finally, this one could have a couple of names. Maybe  politically  unwise or maybe I just don’t care what they think.  This was  at a campaign stop in Nevada , speaking to a Hispanic audience. ” I don’t  know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican. Do I need to say more? ” Apparently, he did. Just a day or so later comes this from his campaign. ” Sen Reid’s contention was simply that he doesn’t understand how anyone, Hispanic or otherwise  would vote for Republican candidates.” Because after  all  they oppose all the good things that Democrats are trying to do. Perhaps the senator could ask  some folks in November. Or , do you think he just believes in a one party system? Nah!

August 14, 2010 Posted by | Media, Politics | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sometimes it’s Hard Being First Lady

The First Lady has finally returned from Spain, but the trip remains quite  a topic of conversation. Many, including yours truly, have sounded off on the trip to one degree or another. From what I read, the White House was really caught off guard by the criticism. But that in itself does not speak very well of the Administration’s political instincts.

To wit, consider these items. The First Lady filmed a commercial a couple of months ago that encouraged Americans to vacation  on the Gulf Coast. The area  is a wonderful place to visit and it would a real boon to the  hard hit economy. Secondly, the President, doing  a passable Jimmy Carter imitation has repeatedly spoken of the need for sacrifice. The economy is bad, we all to tighten our belts, etc, etc. Keep in mind  also the fact that appearances matter quite  a bit. Therefore, when Mrs Obama heads to Spain, daughter in tow and parties at a luxurious Mediterranean resort what is the message being sent? Is she entitled to  vacation with her daughter? Sure, but the pictures one saw of their time there had to be very had to juxtapose with a President demanding sacrifice and an American economy that is not recovering. Was all of the cost paid by the taxpayers, no, but much of it was and much more than a stateside vacation would have cost.

What is amusing, no, not amusing, actually hilarious is how hard the Democrats and their people are working to justify/spin the trip. Just listen to some of the explanations and rationales being offered up. From political guru David Axelrod comes  this. She wanted to take her daughter on  a trip to celebrate another little girl’s birthday and there aren’t a lot of places to go and get privacy. She’s a good mom and wanted to do something with her daughter. From DNC chair Tim Kaine  spouted the same stuff about being a good mom( sounded coordinated a little to me) and added it was a good opportunity to give her daughter exposure to a  part of the world with which she was not familiar. Even better was this ABC reporter Cokie Roberts who even found it necessary to criticize Jacqueline Kennedy  on the side for taking frivolous vacations. This next from her just floored me though. The trip was  a boost to the Spanish economy that it really needed. Ms Roberts, are you really that out of touch? You are aware of course of huge parts of this country that could use an economic boost if that is why she went. And finally this last rationale. Former Chicago Sun-Times writer Lynn Sweet said that the trip was that one of Mrs Obama’s friends was gong through a rough time emotionally and she had promised to spend time with her. Good freakin’ grief! What else can one say?

August 10, 2010 Posted by | Media, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrate, Celebrate,We Passed a Budget

And celebrate they did, complete with lobbyists and fundraising and  many  prominent state Democrats in attendance. Headlining the event were Gov Bev Perdue and the head honchos of the State Senate, Marc  Basnight and State House, Joe Hackney.

What it was, was the 2010 Legislative Reception at the headquarters of the N C  Democrats, a mere block from  the Capitol. For only $50 per person one could hobnob with he most powerful pols in the state. But, according to party executive director Andrew Whalen it was all above-board. The event  is nothing more than a thank you from the party to the legislators for  a job well done. Of course there were no Republican legislators present. Anyway, Whalen went on to say that the money raised would go pay basic party expenses which for some  reason included the elevator repairman. Seems interesting to me for that to be included along with  the water bill and the electric bill. perhaps it’s Democrat code for something, who knows.

Anyway, a number of  Democrats seemed to be in the dark about who was actually there. Sen Linda Garrou, as she hurried inside, denied knowing that lobbyists were present. Oh, forgot to mention that, lobbyists were present but were enjoined to remember that no money raised  could go to a candidate or  the committee of a candidate. Another attendee was Rep Deborah Ross who also declined to answer questions before rushing inside. Secretary of State and U S Senate candidate Elaine Marshall admitted to knowing the event was  a fundraiser but did not know who was on the invitation list. By the way, her office regulates lobbyists.

Speaker Hackney seemed offended by questions about the event and emphasized that it was the state party raising money and not him personally and that it was all legal and proper. The question asked of him was whether he thought voters would consider it wrong to raise money from lobbyists while the legislature was still officially in session.

Of course, everything was just as open and honest as the day is long. Besides it must take a lot of money to pay those elevator repairmen.

July 1, 2010 Posted by | State Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hard Choices and Big Cuts

So said Gov. Bev Perdue  in describing the budget for the state of North Carolina. The $19 billion spending plan  is likely to be finalized today after one final vote. The Governor also called the budget  ” a clear win” for the people of the state. Democrats, who control  the state legislature, and have for what seems like forever, defended their work as keeping priorities intact and maintaining services for those who truly need them.

Listen to some partisan comments, while bearing in mind that the Democrats could pass the budget with no Republican support at all if they chose to do so. Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger from my home county of Rockingham wanted to know about next year when there may very well be  a $3 billion potential deficit with which to cope? Asheville Democrat Martin Nesbitt is Berger’s Democrat counterpart, serving as Senate  Majority leader. He had an interesting response to Berger’s concerns. Basically, it sounded like we’ll deal with that next year. The exact quote was, ” Whatever happens next year, we’ll face that too.” Ok, let’s not look to far ahead there folks.

There are doubtless many specific items one could examine that would prove interesting, depending on point of view, etc. I chose just one. It involves the operation of the state Ferry System which will have  a budget next year of  $43.5 million. Granted that is  a pittance in a $19 billion  package. But the figure represents an increase of more than 33%. I’m guessing there are very few programs that received as high or higher increase. Note that the increase came while road maintenance spending will show a small decrease. Don’t know how our roads can handle less maintenance, but  they will still get less.

Here is my decidedly unscientific solution for this. Charge a fee for using the ferry. Not just some of the ferries, but all of them, since right now, 94% of the cost is taxpayer subsidized. Seems there was  a House proposal to encourage the State Department of Transportation to increase fees, but even that modest idea was defeated.

There is hope since Rep Grier Martin of Raleigh  says he supports the idea of charging more. What I don’t understand is why not just mandate that 1/2 the ferry cost must be paid by fees. There would all of a sudden by $15-20 million to devote to some deserving program that is being whacked. Can’t believe ferry travelers would immediately seek alternative passage, since there isn’t any.

And just think if this small example exists in a massive $19 billion budget, there must be more near painless ways to deal with the budget crisis. Right?

June 30, 2010 Posted by | State Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Generals and the President

Now that the White House has traded Gen Stanley McChrystal for Gen David Petraeus ( formerly known by liberal Democrats as Betray us, compliments of Moveon.org ) what does it all mean?  Oh and other assorted and sundry Democrats  named Reid and Clinton chimed in with their unflattering comments  as well.

First of all, Obama had to fire McChrystal. I believed that even before I heard it from Glenn Beck or my informal survey of several retired military friends. It brings to mind, just a little, mind you, of Truman  firing McArthur. But no Obama has not risen to Truman’s level with the firing even though Wolf Blitzer says that now he is the commander-in-chief. No, Wolf, he held that title from day one of his inauguration. now if you mean he finally acted like the commander-in-chief, you would be much more accurate.

There are many interesting things about this action, some of which will not materialize until some  time  has passed. Just a few. Petraeus actually is replacing a guy who reported to him in his role as CentCom Commander. So, does that not leave us  a general short?  Petraeus cannot do justice to the job in Afghanistan and run CentCom  at the same time. ( Imagine moving from Tampa to Kandahar?) So, one would think that someone needs to be promoted, right?

Ok, next up, why in the world did a four star general even agree to an interview with Rolling Stone magazine? You have to figure that nothing good will come from it and possibly something very, very bad. And so it did. That would be like, oh I don’t know, say  a Rush Limbaugh interviewing with them only worse. So, an obviously smart and capable military man does this for what reason? At some point, when things have settled down, I hope that he is forthcoming with his reasons.

Finally, was it just 2-3 years ago when Senators Obama and Biden at different times and in different public settings blasted Gen Petraeus for his lack of competency in Iraq?  Indeed it was, Obama at a Senate hearing in which he gave the general no time to respond and Biden in an interview with Tim Russert.

If you are Obama, would it not be a nightmarish scenario to have McChrystal make the  rounds of the talk shows or maybe even write a book? Can you say, bete noir? After all, McArthur had his triumphant parade in New York City.

June 25, 2010 Posted by | military, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What might have been but was not to be

I have never been much of a golfer but I have often heard that  the golf course is  a great place for making deals. Business deals, movie deals, sports contracts, etc. Imagine for a moment  if  President Obama, an avid golfer, played a round  on the links with  Rush Limbaugh, also an avid golfer  and a  thorn in the Democrat side. Or as author  Zef Chafets calls him in his new book, An Army of One. 

Chafets book is coming out shortly and an excerpt was a New York paper yesterday. Last summer when the book was being written, Chafets asked Rush if he would be willing to play golf with the President. Rush sais, yes, out of respect, I would but it won’t happen. So Chafets calls Obama adviser David Axelrod, whom he knows, but  his calls were not returned. He then contacted an unnamed White House staffer and  made the proposal. Supposedly, the word came back, whether from Obama or not is a bit unclear. Limabugh can play with himself. On yesterday’s show, Rush had just a classic response. They must have me confused with Bill Clinton. I have to admit that I loved the response. 

You had to know the Obama people would never agree to such a proposal since the Democrat base would have gone nuts. But as things turned out, the Dems look  rather silly and Rush is having the last laugh. Hope the  book sells well.

May 13, 2010 Posted by | Media, Politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Want My Obamacare

Years ago, before it became so ubiquitous, MTV  had a commercial campaign that war either annoying  to the nth degree or an inspired bit of genius, depending on  your age group, I guess. In an effort to get their “product” on cable systems, we were treated to repeated commercials screaming from the telly, “I want my MTV.” Apparently, enough of the younger generation took it to heart because MTV became must see and must listen to for lots of people.

Now, some  27 years after the fabled ad campaign, people see to be asking for something entirely different. They are wondering where is their Obamacare? Not 2014, but now! There was such an intense campaign to get the bill passed and the Democrats euphoria  and celebration over the passage ( cue Joe Biden here) that one can hardly blame folks for wondering where all these great benefits are and when will they see  them? Supposedly, on the HHS website, information is forthcoming. You would think  it would have long ago been there. Perhaps  the reality of being the “health czar” has not quite sunk in for Secretary Sebelius  or maybe it has and she is just enjoying the afterglow.

The President doesn’t seem to  helping matters with some of his thinly veiled barbs at those  lawmakers who opposed the plan or the one comparing the criticism to people  expecting seeds  to sprout overnight. I  just keep remembering a comment he made to John McCain. I won, you lost, so get over it.

But with insurers  being flooded with calls about the plan’s  provisions and being surprised with the answers, perhaps Pelosi and company over sold the deal. Wait, it had to pass so we all would know what was in  it. Maybe that even applied to those who rammed the bill through?

April 8, 2010 Posted by | Health, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Give ’em Hell, Barack?

If you’re President Barack Obama, things are looking rather good these days. That is, other than the really low approval ratings ( which would have been great media fodder if it were George Bush, wait a minute, it was media fodder), high unemployment numbers, a growing budget deficit, etc.

Your  health care bill is now the law of the land. Although I would not express it the way blue-collar Joe said, it is  a big f…ing deal in  ways that we as yet do not know.You  have just negotiated an arms reduction deal with  the Russians and you are showing Netanyahu and  Israel who’s the boss.

As a result we seem to be seeing the return of Obama the perpetual campaigner. And, the Democrat base  has got to loving it. He ‘s in the face of the Republicans verbally and otherwise. Try the recess appointments  of 15 individuals featuring Craig Becker  as an example. And today, Obama will sign   the health care fixes bill. One tiny little jewel in that bill will decimate the private student lending business by in essence, federalizing the student lending program.

Oh and the Democrats, via Henry Waxman, are sending a message to those companies warning of higher health care costs. Hearings begin April 21. The elections, in case you have forgotten, are in November.

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments