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The Stimulus, and You. February 15, 2009

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.
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Now that the war is finally over, now that the good guys finally won, I need to do one more, hopefully, last post.

This post is about the Stimulus. What a great word.

To me, it’s all very simple.

If you can’t find a way to make money off this stimulus, you are either stupid, lazy, or determined to just stay in your job and hope for the best.

I am not going to do your work for you, and help you how to find ways to make bucks off this bill. Because any dummy can see that when a huge bill like this gets passed experts will gather round it, and strike. Agricultural experts, broadband experts (maybe, hopefully, even laid off Cisco employees).   The world, in fact, will gather round, and muster all its resources to rally round this new American flag. Highways will be built, doctors will speak over their blackberries (and hopefully get some help on their outtahand loans and stop writing prescriptions to people who should not have them).

My prediction, and this will be codified by google, wordpress, and the rest of cyberspace: This bill will transform the world. It will generate a massive number of businesses eager to take advantage of it.

I have been following Paul Krugman’s columns because, well, he is much smarter than I am, but I am suprised he didn’t catch this simple fact. The little cottage industries that this bill will create will save us.

And we don’t have to do anything about it to make it happen, because we are an entrepreneurial nation.

It will just, simply, happen.

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I’ve Never Had a Hero June 6, 2008

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I won’t say I had a terrible childhood, but it was pretty funky. My parents, like a lot of parents, I guess, were not real good role models. Luckily for me, instead of staying angry about it, I sort of moved on and figured it all out, and I’m doing okay these days, even under this economy.

Farrah!

But still, when I was a teenager, I didn’t have posters of anyone. Not even Farrah Fawcett. No sports stars, nobody. No posters. Period.

There are good reasons for this.

I was raised by racists.

I rejected them early. My own parents. I rejected them, and all their heroes. Ike, General Macarthur. Patton.

It was not easy. It still makes my stomach sick with acid when I think about it, but it’s all true. I mean, I knew my dad suffered madly when he saw “those nips” jump off the cliffs at Iwo Jima. It was hard for me to argue that maybe there was no correlation between his heroism and his prejudice.

I remember when I was about 12, I stood up during dinner and screamed at my mother about her racism. Her wooden spoon, which she had used previously to control me, no longer worked, and she was shocked at my disregard for her feelings.

“But the blackies beat me up when I went to school,” she would say.

To this day, I don’t know why I never bought into that story. I just knew, somehow, that there was another side to her tale.

When I was about 14 or 15, my best friend was a black kid named Walt who was about the size of a house, and my mother, when she first saw him, grabbed the kitchen counter to hold herself steady. It was obvious she was praying I didn’t know him in any way.

Me and Walt went to see the Exorcist:

I am pretty sure that Walt held me closer than I held him, but the bottom line is that it was my first foray into that terrible world of Black America, and it wasn’t the difference in our colors that scared the shit out of us. We became best friends for awhile.

After that, I had quite a few more encounters with African Americans. As time went on, and I got older, and drifted away from what little I knew of the African American experience, my little white mind came to a conclusion about black people that may not be PC. I discovered, along my piddling road shared with blacks, that a black man (and maybe woman but I don’t know that personally) is the best friend you can ever have.

It may not be PC to say this, but a black dude, once he trusts you, loves you unconditionally. When you betray him in some way, the hurt on his face ripples across the universe. You can see, in his eyes, the betrayal skip across the stars as if you have insulted the universe itself.

I learned that early, and black people have taught me much. They’ve taught me not to get scared when stupid things in my stupid white collar job go wrong. They’ve taught me to dance, and sing, and to think, mostly, mostly, to think.

I have never had a hero. I am almost 50 years old.

I finally have a hero.

I’m just a stupid white man, who has fallen in love with a black man. It’s not about guilt. It’s about something that black men can give me that I can’t give to myself.

Reverand Wright: Black People Must Fight Each Other May 1, 2008

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I guess Obama will end up losing this battle for the nomination.

I really think Hillary is gonna pull this out.

For me, and milliions of Americans, it will destroy what was left of what we call hope.

That town in Arkansas, the town that gave birth to Bill Clinton and Mike Huckleberry, is gonna be the only “hope” that ends up mattering in this election. It’s ironic in a sick, twisted way. Hope, Arkansas, is all the hope we will all ever know, after this election.

It’s tempting to blame Hillary for this, but, just as I blamed the American people for choosing Dubya not once, but, twice, I blame the American people for this obsession over Reverend Rite®.

Americans have always had a weird, twisted relationship with African Americans. Most of the immigrants who helped built America on their backs never got to know the people who really built America. On their backs. It’s a weird thing, that the people who are killing Obama in the polling are the same people who would have loved him 60 years ago, who would have loved his people sweating, building their country.

You would think they would love, and understand, the stuff Reverend Wright was talking about. But instead, they’ve turned against him. The working class said, to the real working, slave class: we have no appreciation what you did for our country, and we hate you for your efforts.

So, they are saying, your punishment is just. You have finally found an idol who is not a sports star. And we will make sure you fight each other forever. And we will destroy him.

That’s the karma going right now. I know *I* can’t make it right. Can you?

Mommie dearest: Chelsea speaks, but won’t talk to journalists April 26, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in Election 2008, elections, Hillary, Hillary Clinton, News and politics, Politics, primaries.
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Chelsea Clinton, Dorothy Rodham, and Bill Clinton

Look mom! No reporters!
Photo: AP

In Philadelphia Monday night for a final rally before the must-win Pennsylvania primary, Chelsea Clinton told a packed crowd that she and her father are having an “implicit competition about who is, like, duh, more normal.”

Bill Clinton is the master of retail politicking, widely acknowledged to have few peers as a campaigner. But ever since the red nosed beacon of 21st century racism began making an utter fool of himself, there’s a case to be made that his 28-year-old daughter is the more valuable advocate for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.  After all, she is allowed to speak in front of thousands, but the Clintons won’t let her speak to journalists. Smart move, considering the family’s sordid past. The question really becomes, though, why is the media giving her a free pass? Why are they afraid to ask her questions? Is she still a child?

Meanwhile, the former president has stumbled badly at times, veering wildly off message, picking fights with reporters and making ill-considered comments that have caused his wife’s campaign to relegate him to out-of-the-way locales and made even progressives consider the nickname “Bubba” legitimate fodder. The once-and-maybe-future first daughter, on the other hand, has loosened up and eased into her role as a surrogate, hitting her stride just when her mother needed it most, and done a marvelous job of keeping at arms length from reporters. Sites like Politico unabashedly sing her praises, partly out of fear that the Clintons may somehow still wrest the nomination from Obama and not have access to whatever they think they’ll need access to as journalists, perhaps, or maybe somehow too ashamed to ask why a major political figure like Chelsea will not talk to the press.

And, a major political figure is exactly what Chelsea has become.

Despite the fact that she is now a major figure on the Hillary campaign stump, she will not talk to reporters, and even spurned a child reporter in a now famous diss.

In the last three and a half months alone, Chelsea Clinton has traveled to 37 states, logging more than 75,000 miles on commercial airlines, speaking at more than 115 college campuses and answering more than 1,500 questions in total, said Philippe Reines, a senior aide to the campaign.

“She’s definitely her mom’s secret weapon,” said Erika Alexander, an actress who has appeared on the stump with Chelsea. “[Hillary Clinton] has no better messenger. But if you are a journalist, she’s like a scorpion. Good luck getting near her.”

Chelsea also has helped take some of the burden off her mother by reaching out to undecided superdelegates and placing as many as 80 thank-you calls a day to organizers of fundraisers and other events. The thank-you’s have even included the many vendors that are owed huge sums of money by the Clintons.

Earlier this month, when a small printing press in Pennsylvania sent a bill to the Clintons for a $300,000 printing job, it was Chelsea who called and told them to back off.

And, even earlier this month, when Minnesota superdelegate Nancy Larson decided to endorse Sen. Barack Obama, it was Chelsea Clinton who picked up the phone to find out why.

Larson told The New York Times that the conversation was “heartbreaking” because Chelsea was a “delightful young woman who loves her mother very much. I mean, I could almost hear the suckling still from her pursed little lips, and I now understand why the Clintons are reluctant to expose her to the mass media.” The incident stood in stark contrast to media accounts of Bill Clinton’s private discussion with uncommitted California superdelegates several weeks earlier, in which the superdelegates reported being stunned by his angry response when one of them broached the subject of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s endorsement of Obama.

Asked if Chelsea was proving to be a more effective surrogate than her father, Reines said, “Sen. Clinton is lucky to have two fantastic surrogates who know her best and how great a president she’d be, working tirelessly on her behalf. Well, I mean, I’m not sure Bill would be comfortable being called a surrogate, since he’s used so many surrogates in his marriage, but, well, you know what I mean. ”

So far, then, it is Chelsea who has handled delicate situations with aplomb, and it is Chelsea who has emerged unscratched from public events where her family’s most sensitive issues — such as the Monica Lewinsky scandal — were suddenly and unexpectedly thrust upon her by questioners.

Only once has she drawn unfavorable public notice — and that for an absurdly disciplined approach that led her to refuse an interview request from a 9-year-old student journalist. Since then, the press has gotten smart, and has been afraid to challenge the notion that she should be asked questions on the stump.

Bill Clinton, by contrast, has appeared volatile and contentious at times as he careens from controversy to controversy, seemingly unable to grasp the realities of a new political environment where every statement is captured on audio or video and can be immediately vetted for accuracy.

However, that hasn’t stopped the press from its relentless pursuit of Obama’s relationship with a pastor. The question of this campaign hasn’t been, “How do you control your husband?” It’s been, “how do you control your pastor?”

How Does Obama Stay Obama? March 7, 2008

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Dave Winer’s talk with UC-Berkeley professor George Lakoff really was a home run:

http://www.scripting.com/stories/2008/03/05/lakoffHitsItOutOfThePark.html

Is the reason Obama did badly in Ohio (especially) because he now has too many handlers? That’s not a question Lakoff brings up, but it is one that worries me.

Regarding some specifics of what Lakoff said, I’ll reiterate that The Gore Years has written extensively on how the world might have been different if Iraq had not been invaded.

The Iraq war is the one, single reason the American economy is falling so fast.

It’s not NAFTA, it’s the war.

Side note. I sent a comment to Dave’s site:

Thanks Dave for this podcast. What’s neat about this podcast is that it is so unlike talking head TV where the interviewer is almost as much a part of the interview as the guest. You got out of the way and let the man speak.

Dave’s questions were few and intelligent. Much better than the blather you’ll find on any national broadcast of talking heads. I even appreciated the phone hanging up at the end.

Is Obama The Next FDR? Or the Next Ike? February 18, 2008

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If you are a Republican, a true Republican who understands your roots, you will not be afraid of an Obama presidency, because it is likely that, like his Democrat predecessor, Bill Clinton, he will insist on running the government without deficit spending.

Another popular president (I’m assuming Obama will be popular) helped create the national highway system. Can any one of you imagine a president pushing through such a huge, government-funded program like what Ike created?

That’s the promise of Obama. He talks about things like national service, a peace corps on steroids, and it scares the shit out of Republicans, who are only interested in maintaining the status quo, and who forget their own heritage of interventionist presidents like Ike and Nixon (wage and price controls).

The Republican Party has become a caricature of itself, and it no longer represents anyone other than the very, very rich. That truth will be exposed on November 4. Those that fear Obama  ignore their own legacy, and are merely afraid that this country may go back to the tradition of fair government intervention that Reagan nearly destroyed.

Drunk Chelsea Backs Obama February 17, 2008

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You’re not gonna believe this. My wife and were sitting in a bar in Lanaii and in comes Chelsea Clinton. So to be polite, we ordered her a drink.

Next thing we knew, she was sitting at our table. So we got to chatting, and we found her delightful.

A couple hours and a few Mai Tais later we got around to the topic of her parents.

So I got up the nerve to ask her what she thought about her mom for president.

She leaned in, and said, in what I assume was her best conspiratorial voice, “You know my mom would kill me, I mean, she won’t let me talk to anyone … but I am secretly rooting for Obama.”

My wife and I were speechless.

“I mean,” she continued, “I love my mom, but she’s a little over protective. I mean that whole bit about how they want me to be 13? Please. I’m 28 frickin years old. Who wants an over protective mom for president?

“I mean Obama’s just got his head screwed on straight, you know? He’s not just sitting there thinking ‘Oh, I’m a Democrat, I have to think this way’, or ‘I’m a Republican I have to think that way’. He uses his own goddamn brain, you know? Have you read his book? My mom says he doesn’t know the issues. Ha! that’s a laugh.”

Yeah, I said, we both read it.

And he totally gets it, I said, but I just hope he can fix it.

“Well,” Chelsea said, “at least he knows what’s wrong. I’ll think he’ll do more than write a 1700 page health care plan you know what I mean? ”

“Holy shit.”

“Don’t tell anybody I said that,” said Chelsea, “my mom would kill me.”

Chelsea Clinton’s Age Will Be Updated February 17, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in Hillary, Hillary Clinton, News and politics.
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In a move to further protect Chelsea Clinton from the media, The Clintons today declared that a mistake was made in her birth certificate, and that she is actually 13 years old, not 28, as had been previously alleged.

Harold Ickes, one of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s senior advisors, made the announcement before a rambling strategy session today. “She’s 13. There was a mistake on her birth certificate,” said Ickes. “The Clinton campaign is determined to protect Chelsea from the media hounds, and this correction is part of that strategy.”

Chelsea Clinton, who is campaigning in Democratic front runner Barack Obama’s home state of Hawaii, would not comment on this newest development.

Asked by reporters how to explain Chelsea’s appearances among the Clintons during Bill Clinton’s presidency, where she appears to be a young teenager, Ickes replied that the individual seen in photographs and news footage was a surrogate. “As you know, the Clintons have many friends in the film industry, and the good people at Industrial Light and Magic created a computer-generated image of what the Clinton’s daughter would have looked like as a 12 year old. They then took that information and hired a body double.”

Told by reporters that there were still some general issues with this kind of time line, Ickes became visibly irritated and began to detail the Clinton campaign’s strategy for preventing Obama from winning the Democratic nomination. “Sending Chelsea to Hawaii, Obama’s home turf, will re-invigorate this campaign and deliver a firm message that the Clintons belong back in the White House.”

Although the 13 year old will be campaigning actively for her mother now, she will still not be allowed to talk to the press. “No,” confirmed Ickes, “absolutely not. And I think you can see why. She’s 13 years old, for God’s sake.”

Presidential Candidates Assault the Senses February 5, 2008

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Note to regular readers: As the campaign heats up, The Gore Years will be continuing the news on real events, rather than the fantasy world of The Gore Years. We leave it up to our readers to discern the difference between reality and that other thing, whatever that other thing might be. We appreciate your patience.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Buoyed by cheering crowds and bolstered by more than $1.3 million a day in TV ads, Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton continued their love fest as they raced through the final hours of an unpredictable Super Tuesday campaign across 22 states. The Republican race turned negative on the eve of the busiest day in primary history.

“We’re going to hand the liberals in our party a little surprise,” boasted Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, holding a small, hand-held telescope to help him search the tiny crowd for liberals.

He then criticized John McCain for his positions on tax cuts, gay marriage and immigration and predicted an upset win in delegate-rich California. “McCain will try to undo the damage of the Bush administration, and that can’t be a good thing,” he told an excited crowd of Republican ex-office holders in Tennessee. “If we cannot maintain the policies of this administration, then we can’t keep getting you all to vote against your own interests. We believe in moral majorities!” he screamed to the small crowd, which responded by tossing foreclosure notices into the air.

And then, in an apparent dig at McCain, he screamed, “And we believe in standing up!”

Shortly afterwards, eBay’s CEO Meg Whitman, who heralds from the same venture capital fund company as Romney, Bain Capital, stunned the crowd and approached the podium and announced that all eBay sellers who were willing to vote for Romney would never pay eBay insertion fees for as long as they live.

“We need to give eBay sellers something to live for in this economy,” she explained to TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington.

McCain struck back a few hours later Monday with a television ad that showed Romney sitting at a desk, pining away for Whitman. The ad clearly shows a despondent Romney drumming his fingers on a huge, walnut desk while staring at one of several computer video screens showing Whitman captivating a crowd of eBay sellers with promises of “better things to come.” The crowd threw various artifacts at her, and there is a rumored YouTube video of her getting nailed on the head by a Pez dispenser, but, according to Romney pollsters, it hasn’t stopped the Romney juggernaut, and didn’t change Romney’s infatuation.

Meanwhile, outwardly, McCain projected confidence, not only about wrapping up the nomination but about staying healthy until November’s general election as well. “I can lead this nation in medication, and motivate all Americans to serve a cause greater than their self-interest, as long as they continue to stuff their throats with pharmaceuticals” he said while campaigning at a fire station in New Jersey, during a photo opp with Merck. Asked by The Gore Years if he might accidentally fart during some future press event helping to solidify America’s hundred year commitment to Iraq, he replied, “God, I hope not.” The Gore Years has always appreciated his honesty.

Unwilling to leave anything to chance, both men hastily rearranged their schedules to make one more late stop in California, the largest state, with 170 delegates.

After months on the road, the wear on the candidates was showing, and the schedules strained human endurance.

Clinton’s voice was raspy, and at one stop, she struggled to control her coughing. She denied it had anything to do with the Obama love fest. “Don’t you ever compare me to that nasty intern,” she scolded one reporter who asked how she was holding up.

Romney had breakfast in Tennessee, was in Georgia at lunchtime, was touching down in Oklahoma at the dinner hour, got drunk with former candidate George W. Bush after dinner, arranged for a Britney Spears-like pickup of Baseball Commisioner Bush around 10 pm, and was scheduled to arrive in California for a rally at the Spears residence just before midnight local time, partly, his aides said, because he was in the mood for “more debauchery”.

All before flying through the night so he could attend the West Virginia state convention on Tuesday morning and meet the few people still left in America who might vote Republican in the next election.

The Democrats were spending unprecedented amounts of money on television advertising. Records showed Obama and Clinton each spent $1.3 million last Wednesday and have been increasing their purchases in the days since. In fact, some broadcast industry analysts have been reporting that Clinton, through a proxy, has purchased KRON-TV from Young Broadcasting and will, according to one source, “begin broadcasting All Billary, all the Time.”

Obama spent about $250,000 to run a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl in selected, less expensive regions. Clinton bought one hour of time on the Hallmark Channel for Monday evening to air a live town hall meeting from New York. However, the Hallmark Channel refused to air the meeting. One reason, sources say, is that Hallmark is concerned about rumors that Hillary and Obama got a room (see above link). The other, more significant issue, according to pundits and Hallmark insiders (assuming there is such a thing as a Hallmark insider), is that Hallmark CEO Donald J. Hall, Jr. is not a fan of Bill Clinton. “I have seen poster boys for Hallmark Cards,” Hall is known to have said, “And my friends, Bill Clinton is no poster boy.”

The prize in each race was a huge cache of delegates on the biggest primary-season day ever. The biggest concern about that cache was that somehow the Republicans would find a way to get Diebold to create an electronic cache of Democratic votes and somehow turn them into Republican votes, and throw the election again in 2008.

But for today, it was all smiles as Hillary and Obama continued their love fest, and McCain and Romney each tried to figure out which part of the past to represent.

Associated Press reporters Beth Fouhy, Glen Johnson, Jim Kuhnhenn, Nedra Pickler, Libby Quaid and Liz Sidoti contributed to this report. The Gore Years reporter Chuck White made it all right.

The Ultimate Winner February 1, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.
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I watched the California debates with trepidation.

After S. Carolina, I was pretty much ridden with the usual fear (politicians suck, etc).

But as I watched Obama and Hillary get into what Wolf Blitzer disappointedly called a conversation during the California debate, I saw TWO presidents promising that, at the end of the day, we would not forget our children.

I saw that, whether Obama wins or Hillary wins, the kids will finally have a voice. There’s a part of me that says that if Hillary wins, the kids will have a larger voice, but the other part of me says that if Obama wins the poor will be heard.

What a wonderful choice.

Thank you to both of you, Hillary, and Obama, for making us think a bit.

I am just assuming that things will work out no matter which of you gets elected.

The ultimate winners, I have decided after watching these two debate, is, our children.

Image credit: http://tinyurl.com/2mc2mf