Slap On A Smile: Auto-Tune Review For June/July

July 31, 2009


From the Tongue-In-Cheek (TIC) News Department

OK, it’s Casual Friday and the end of July. We’ve covered a lot of ground over the last 6-8 weeks and a lot of it has been very negative. Congress fighting amongst themselves over Cap & Trade and Obamacare; Sarah Palin suddenly and unexpectedly stepping down as Governor of Alaska, Michael Jackson’s sudden sad departure. The non-racial racial insident in Cambridge that could only be resolved with beer at the White House… Whew!   

We still need to be “on our game” in keeping tabs on current events (and we will), but there also needs to be a little R&R fun for all of us to get us through the day and into the week-end.  That said, let’s take a look at June & July’s events through a slightly different perspective:

You know what? I give it an 85… it’s got a great beat, and best of all, it doesn’t have Barney Frank, Al Gore, Al Franken, Kim Kardashian,  Harry Reid or Sean Penn. Now that’s entertainment!

H/T: Politico

Gerry Ashley


No More Cash for Clunkers?

July 30, 2009

 

As reported by HotAir via Politico, it looks like Obama’s Cash-for-Clunkers program, which was planned  to expire at the end of October, will be clunking its last very soon, possibly as soon as midnight tonight. That’s right, it took less than a week for the program to rip through one billion dollars. How much of that money went to actual rebates and how much was overhead, is still unknown.

This is bad news for consumers, certainly. The program at least was able to generate enthusiasm in new car buyers, and incent them right into the doors of dealerships. This doesn’t take into account the problems many dealers are having navigating the government red tape in order to get the green of the rebates. It also happens to be bad news for other industries.

As someone who has worked for more than two decades in the advertising industry, my first thought when I heard that there was to be no more cash for clunkers was not about the consumers who won’t be able to take advantage of U.S. taxpayers’ generosity, nor about the cars that won’t be sold by the dealers. No.

My first thought was that the car companies and the dealers have sunk millions, possibly hundreds of millions of dollars into advertising; into getting people to walk into a dealership and even just ask about Cash for Clunkers. These campaigns in many cases are likely scheduled to run throughout the rest of the summer and into the fall, when it was expected that the program would end.

Now, not only are they out the money they spent on these dead aborning campaigns, but they also have to scramble with their agencies to get replacement ads in place. Time has already been purchased and scheduled on television and radio; space has been reserved for magazines and newspapers; algorithms have been calculated to get the most bang for the dealers’ bucks  for key words in search engines; online ads, pop-ups, point-of purchase, sports venues, endorsements, and on and on. The mind just reels when you think of all the planning, the creativity, the sweat…

Please don’t think I’m arguing that advertising is deathless prose or high art. I’m not. It’s advertising. But there is a lot that goes into planning, creating and placing those ads you see on TV, in the paper, and online. It involves dealers, agencies, studios, artists, meetings, ideas, and money, money, and more money. Money that dealers don’t have to spare, money that the automakers definitely don’t have to spare, and now, money that ad agencies don’t have, period.

The Law of Unintended Consequences is a powerful force; you ignore it at your peril. The Obama administration’s disregard for that law will hurt the consumers, the dealers, the auto makers, the ad agencies, and ultimately the administration itself.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin reports that advertisers haven’t pulled any ads… yet. Could the program be resurrected? If so, it will still affect dealers, auto makers and ad agencies if there are any changes to the program — same amount of cash offered? Same list of clunkers? Same requirements? Same fine print. Regardless, there’s a lot of money being wasted because of this.

Stoutcat


All the President’s Czars

July 30, 2009

 

Whew! Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA)  created this knock-out on President Obama and his multitude of czars.

 

It just keeps getting worse and worse…

H/T: Michelle Malkin,

Stoutcat


Doobie Diplomacy

July 30, 2009

Right off the bat, I’m going to admit that this is simply going to be an opinion piece. This isn’t the usual Grand Rants “research saturated”, thoughtful piece. Nope. This is off the cuff.

Here’s the deal. If I lock myself out of my house, and a neighbor sees me busting my way in and calls the cops, I have to explain myself. And if I refuse to provide ID to the responding cops and start yelling out on the front steps, I go to jail. I’m a public nuisance, I’m interfering with a police investigation, and I go to jail. And if I start yelling about a police officer’s “momma”, first I go to the hospital, and then I go to jail. (Sure, toss in resisting arrest…) That’s the way it is. And those charges will not be dropped.

Now enter the Prof, the Cop, and the Prez. Oh, lookie! Charges dropped! Better yet, let’s all gather at 1600 for a beer. The Prof wants it to happen because that little tantrum and its sequelae will further entrench him in the “struggles of the black community”. The Prez and the police unions want kumbaya to happen because they really don’t want to go to with war with each other. And the police officer doesn’t want to get caught in the middle of all this – bad for the career, don’t you know.

You watch. Just watch, This so-called Beer Diplomacy will be a great “teaching experience”. Lots of great pics, with the Prof’s and the Cop’s arms on each others’ shoulders. So this is where it’s at in our culture. (I guess it’s all in how you define “is”…)

I say we just have at it. We’ve lost the definition of words, and the meaning of words, let alone law. We are living in the Tower of Babel, What the hell, let’s just legalize pot and do stuff like this correctly: Doobie Diplomacy.

And no, I’m not kidding. Our society is acting like I used to act when I was stoned on my ass 30 years ago. Back then, objective words had multiple meanings, and reality was pretty damned distant and flexible. Kind of like today. Yup, I say we simply head for “Doobie Diplomacy” and let ‘er ride. Talking over beers? How passé. How about talking over beer bongs? If you think a few Buds will calm the nerves and help everyone gain insight, try a few bowls and a ton of “Funny Bones”.

obama stonedNow stick with me on this; Barack admits to smoking ganja, as does Dubya. Bubba says he didn’t inhale (Bwahahaha…. He’s either the biggest liar, or the biggest twerp. Take your pick.) Anyway, MaryJane ain’t new to the denizens of 1600, so if they’re going to act stoned, they might as well be stoned. Ditto for we the people.

Just picture it… Obama can hold one of his all-important press conferences and finally admit that he doesn’t know what the bleep is going on. (“Another Funny Bone please.”) He can talk with the likes of Iran, China, and North Korea and miss the whole damned shebang because he was trying to find his copy of Grateful Dead’s “Box of Rain”.

No seriously, this is where we’re at. Turbo Tax Tim Geithner can waft around the world claiming that the economy is sound whilst caressed by the Moody Blues “In Search of the Lost Chord”. (Jesus, three decades ago I soaked myself in that music… I sat in a treehouse on a hill in Harwichport, rested my eyes and felt the warm summer sun. At that point, I’m pretty sure I could have made an amicable deal with Beelzebub… How tough could Ahmadinejad be?)

I’m not kidding. Our government officials have left planet earth. Our long-term budget is wildly hopeless. (Sorry, I promised that I wouldn’t put research in this rant… Oops.) Our politicians lie without even blinking. (I’ll give you five days to research that assertion and how did you like the first two days?) The “Elected Ones” don’t even bother to read the bills their lobbyists write. Screw it! Let’s all get stoned! I say that we make Jonathon Edwards the first Pot Czar and go for it. We might as well, we’re already there — just without the weed.

Yeah, forget Beer Diplomacy and cut to the chase: Doobie Diplomacy is in… Now, don’t bogart that jay and where the hell is that box of Funny Bones?

UPDATE: Doug Powers, writing at Michelle Malkin’s blog, goes for Beerestroika: Drinking to Distraction

Alan Speakman


Please Don’t Go to D.C.

July 29, 2009


To: Sergeant James Crowley
Cambridge Police Department
People’s Republic of Cambridge, MA

Dear Sgt. Crowley,

You have nothing to gain by your planned trip to Washington D. C. to have a beer with two racists, and everything to lose.

All accounts from witnesses to released recordings of the 911 call to the recording of the incident itself exonerate you from the charges of racism that have been flung your way. Your history and your work record substantiate your behavior that night. Your colleagues are eloquent in their defense of you, and people famous, not quite as famous, and not famous at all, are standing up for you.

President Obama, the man who brought the entire incident into the limelight in the first place, is now trying to placate, well, everyone, I guess, by inviting you and Professor Gates to have a beer with him at the White House. His reasons for doing so are to prove that you’re all one big happy family, and to divert attention from the fact that the President of the United States commented outrageously and entirely inappropriately on something about which he knew nothing. He opened his mouth, spoke — in a nationally televised press conference – without knowing the facts of the case, and accused you and the Cambridge Police Department of acting stupidly.

The awful realities are obvious. The President is once again trying to back away from the fact that he is a racist. Professor (“Your Momma”) Gates is a racist. And, sadly, your police unions would happily throw your personal integrity under the bus to maintain a cozy relationship with 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Please don’t pander to these racists and opportunists. Don’t legitimize their attempts to make this a “teaching moment” or a “learning moment” or whatever the phrase du jour is, by lending your presence (and thereby your tacit approval) to this farce.

Say no. Stay home.

Stoutcat


BREAKING: A Politician Tells the Truth!

July 29, 2009

 

Well, this is refreshing… in a pathetic sort of way.

If you a) don’t have time to read the bill and/or b) don’t have the comprehension skills to understand the bill that you’re reading, perhaps Congress is not the correct place for you, sir.

READ THE DAMN BILLS!

Stoutcat


Lady Sings the News: “That’s Pelosi”

July 28, 2009

 

Blame the Texans!

Stoutcat


Lying Liars and the Lies They Tell

July 28, 2009

 

…Oh, wait. That’s Senator Al Franken. Sorry.

No, I was actually referring to Senators Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad, both of whom received “sweetheart” mortgage deals under the Countrywide Mortgage scheme widely referred to as the “Friends of Angelo” program (referring to Countrywide’s CEO, Angelo Mozilo).

Both Dodd and Conrad have loudly declared their ignorance of such special treatment, assuming that the lower-than-usual interest rates, expedited handling, and other special considerations were par for the course for any borrower. Of course.

But it seems that just ain’t so. Bretibart reports that Robert Feinbert, a Countrywide employee in their “VIP section” has testified that both Dodd and Conrad were well aware of the perks they were receiving:

Both senators have said that at the time the mortgages were being written they didn’t know they were getting unique deals from Countrywide Financial Corp., the company that went on to lose billions of dollars on home loans to credit-strapped borrowers. Dodd still maintains he got no preferential treatment….

Both senators were VIP borrowers in the program known as “friends” of Angelo…

Feinberg said in his deposition with House investigators last month that exceptions for the type of loan Conrad received were not allowed for borrowers outside the VIP system.

Asked by a House investigator if Conrad, the North Dakota senator, “was aware that he was getting preferential treatment?” Feinberg answered: “Yes, he was aware.”

Referring to Dodd, the investigator asked:

“And do you know if during the course of your communications” with the senator or his wife “that you ever had an opportunity to share with them if they were getting special VIP treatment?”

“Yes, yes,” Feinberg replied…

“If there was a regular customer calling, and of course you say, ‘No, we’re a residential lender. We cannot provide you with that service,’” Feinberg said.

Feinberg also told House investigators that Countrywide counted both of Dodd’s’ homes as primary residences.

“He was allowed to do both of those as owner-occupied, which is not allowed. You can only have one owner-occupied property. You can’t live in two properties at the same time,” he said.

Normally, Feinberg said, a second home could require more equity and could have a higher mortgage rate.

But why does this matter? It matters because this has been dragging on for over a year now, and therefore it’s one more item that we the taxpayers are footing the bill for. It matters because Dodd and Conrad hold positions of trust, not just as Senators but as chairman of the Banking Committee and the Budget Committee respectively.

If these two accept the handouts, the lagniappes, the special perks offered them because of their status, how can we expect them to lead their committees honestly and participate in creating legislation that contributes to the betterment of American society? Short answer: we can’t, and we shouldn’t.

Finally, it matters because no-one is watching the watchmen; and these watchmen (and others like them) are getting more corrupt every day.

H/T: HotAir

Stoutcat


For Obama, Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

July 28, 2009

 

As a follow-up to Stoutcat’s rant on “The New Racists”,  we’ve all known someone like President Obama at some point in our lives: A boorish know-it-all who is so in love with the sound of his own voice that he’s constantly jumping into conversations he’s not even a part of. And even when he sticks his foot in is mouth, keeps right on talking as if the more he talks, the more likely the situation will be resolved.

Item: According to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, President Obama will host a meeting between himself, his buddy Harvard Professor “Skippy” Gates, and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley. What Obama is hoping no one notices is that the entire event is as counterfeit as a three dollar bill. And it’s a no-win situation for Sgt. Crowley. The one word Crowley won’t hear from either Obama or Gates, I’m guessing is the word, “Sorry.”  They both have too much invested already in their trumped-up profiling claim.

To be clear: This was never about profiling. This was about a police department being called and a report being filed of a possible burglary at a house that had previously been broken into.

According to the African American policeman who accompanied Sgt Crowley to the home, it was the professor who immediately jumped to the race card in an unprovoked rage against the police officer.

Obama’s first big mistake was in taking the question from the reporter during the press conference. If you look at the video of the press conference, the question comes out of nowhere. It’s the only question not related to the health-care reform topic… the only topic of the rare prime-time press conference.

Is it me, or doesn’t it seem just a bit too calculated? My guess is Obama knew he was going to take a beating on the health care issue (which he did) but wanted to be able to end on some question which enabled him to appear presidential and the wise sage. As we all know now, it didn’t quite turn out that way. Obama plunged his foot right into his mouth, leaping to a racist conclusion even after admitting he didn’t have all the facts.

In summarizing his comments, he stated the Cambridge Police acted stupidly. Only a racist assumption could lead to that position… one that assumes Sgt. Crowley acted in a biased manner. This assumption is from the President of the United States, the man responsible for, among other things, selecting nominees for the Supreme Court of the United States. One would hope a person with such authority and responsibility would be a little less quick to play the race card. (Clearly, one would be wrong.)

But it gets worse.

When the White House was inundated with calls the following morning from police organization around the country demanding an apology for his racist assumption and accusation against Sgt. Crowley, Obame just couldn’t trust his Press Secretary “Leave It To Beaver” Gibbs, to handle it. Thus he decided to step in himself and here’s where he now insults our intelligence:

This was the President’s best opportunity to set the record straight, provide a brief mea culpa and, in doing so, bring his completely inappropriate involvement to an end. He simply couldn’t do it.

He again chose to go the route of the race card. In doing so, this man who claimed to be the first “post-racial President” has, in fact, quite possibly done more to set race relations back 20-30 years than anyone else including both Reverends Sharpton and Jackson.

Note several well-crafted lies and mis-directions in the following which are transcript segments from the above video:

“I actually just had a conversation with Sergeant Jim Crowley, the officer involved. And I have to tell you that as I said yesterday, my impression of him was that he was a outstanding police officer and a good man, and that was confirmed in the phone conversation — and I told him that.”

As he said yesterday?  Not to the press. The comment he made “yesterday” was that Sgt. Crowley had acted stupidly abd that this was just another case of profiling.

“I want to make clear that in my choice of words I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sergeant Crowley specifically — and I could have calibrated those words differently.”

You “gave an impression?” No, you made it clear your position was the Cambridge Police (Sgt. Crowley, specifically) acted stupidly. There was no “impression” at all. And yes, Mr. President, you could have “calibrated those words differently.” But you chose not to. You chose to make the judgement of racism.

“I continue to believe, based on what I have heard, that there was an overreaction in pulling Professor Gates out of his home to the station. I also continue to believe, based on what I heard, that Professor Gates probably overreacted as well. My sense is you’ve got two good people in a circumstance in which neither of them were able to resolve the incident in the way that it should have been resolved and the way they would have liked it to be resolved.”

Ah yes, the politically correct “out.” No sale, Mr. President. As facts in the form of recordings and testimony emerge, it is clear that Sgt. Crowley acted in accordance with police guidlelines in handling cases of this type. There was no overreaction. Your pal Skippy acted like a horse’s ass to an officer who had come to protect his property. But you just can’t bring yourself to state the truth: The only person overreacting was Professor Gates. You see, folks, Obama just has to have Gates as the victim or else his claim of racial profiling is moot. 

And finally:

“The fact that it has garnered so much attention I think is a testimony to the fact that these are issues that are still very sensitive here in America. So to the extent that my choice of words didn’t illuminate, but rather contributed to more media frenzy, I think that was unfortunate.”

Nice try Mr. President. The only thing the attention is tesimony to is the fact that your comments were inappropriate and have fired up Aftican Americans nationwide into viewing this as a racial incident. You have set back racial relations possibly by decades and besmirched the reputation of a Police Sgt. who actually teaches other policemen techniques to avoid profiling.

Obama spends the rest of his “cameo” in the Press Room making further comments about the problem of profiling in America which only further suggests that’s what this incident was about… instead of a arrogant black professor who immediately jumped to the race card when a policeman was actually there to serve and protect.

Nobody is saying that profiling doesn’t exist. We know it does. But as this case clearly shows, when a Harvard professor and the President of the United States both jump to a conclusion that this was a racial incident, it becomes clear that, yes, there is a problem in this country… and a large part of the blame for the problem needs to be placed at the feet of those who would jump to a wrong and damaging conclusion when the truth is quite different:

  1. The person who committed the offensive act is merely trying to cover his own inappropriate behavior or
  2. A person who was not there and admits to now knowing the facts, not only jumps to the wrong conclusion, but then broadcasts that as if it were true.

Again: Racism is a two-way street and it’s about time the President realizes we are not as dumb as he assumes we are. We saw what he did, how he did it, and how he continues to refuse to accept responsibility for his actions. By holding this meeting with the two participants and joining with Professor Gates in in presenting an agenda  as a “teachable  moment”, they are both predicating this meeting is about racial profiling when, in fact, it wasn’t.

Sgt. Crowley is damned if he goes and damned if he doesn’t. The only way this could have an appropriate ending is if the President and Professor Gates join with Sgt. Crowley and establish that this was a crucial lesson for non-whites to get their facts straight before calling an incident profiling (and I’m not holding my breath). Anything less will render this entire meeting nothing more than another Obama moment of mis-direction and gaffe-covering.

And if the people of the United States haven’t caught on to his tired tactics by now, this beer-moment may well be their “last call.”

Gerry Ashley


ObamaCare/Affirmative Action… Be Careful What You Wish For

July 27, 2009


It’s funny, really… As “Obamacare” gradually attains its sad and twisted shape, catastrophic failure of our health care system isn’t so much of an issue to DC as are the political ramifications therein. After all, we all know of the Massachusetts experiment of 2006. Michael Tanner wrote about the lessons we should learn from it in his article “Massachusetts Miracle or Massachusetts Miserable: What the Failure of the ‘Massachusetts Model’ Tells Us about Health Care Reform.”

With the “Massachusetts model” frequently cited as a blueprint for health care reform, it is important to recognize that giving the government greater control over our health care system will have grave consequences for taxpayers, providers, and health care consumers. That is the lesson of the Massachusetts model.

What a mess, but then again, given the myopia of our elected officials, all one can say is, what the heck…

But to make things even more pathetic, Obama is trying to out-Massachusetts Massachusetts. Consider the following; Under the current Congressal plan (all 1,018 pages of it), there are lots of provisions for preferential treatment for “under-represented” peoples… Yeah, we’re basically talking affirmative action on steroids… No great catastrophe, right? Uh huh.

So far I haven’t told you a thing you didn’t already know, right? But here’s where the cheese gets more binding for the fat-cat liberals. They don’t have to worry about guv’ment health care any more than Barack has to worry about public schooling for his children…. But there is a sentence in the American Thinker post linked above that bears terrible scrutiny…

The bill does not state what would qualify as a “demonstrated record”, so we can expect medical schools and the other entities (emphasis mine – Alan Speakman) to do whatever they think they can get away with to train as many “individuals who are from underrepresented minority groups” as they think they might need to have a better “demonstrated record” in this regard then other entities competing for the grants and contracts

You see, in my past life, I was a gen-yoo-wine engineer. Yup, I was (and am) a product of one of those “other entities”. And even back then when I was a student, I watched the creeping influence of affirmative action and its distaff cousins, women’s rights and feminism. Classmates would pass classes who clearly had no right to. I distinctly remember back in the early ’90s one student pulling the “Sex Card” claiming that the prof attempted to flunked her because she was a woman. She passed the course with a C. It happens, right? No great catastrophe right? Well, I knew the woman and tried to study with her, and she was an idiot.

So to bring this full circle. We all want the same chance. We all want to be treated the same – no one is special. No one gains so much as one inch over the other because of race, creed, religion, sex, orientation, etc. This is 2009, and not 1959.

Yeah, working stiffs like me had to work two or even three jobs to make it through college. I still earned three degrees. I had to sweat a lot more than most, but I made it. (And sometimes having the last name of “Speakman” didn’t help either.) But that’s life. It ain’t fair and it never will be. And I think we’ve tried to “level the playing field” plenty. But the Obama/liberal mindset is that it really is no big deal if we use preferential treatment in med schools and “other entities”. So what if those “entities” churn out unqualified doctors, nurses and engineers? Barack and his cronies don’t care. They can buy the very best.

But fate doesn’t play favorites. Every politician (or a family member) is going to have to get on a jet someday. And they’d better hope that the engineers who designed that jet, and those who currently maintain it, and the pilots who fly it really know what they’re doing, and were not just “beneficiaries” of affirmative action programs, graduations,  promotions, or “other entities”.

They’d better hope that the aerospace company didn’t have a “Diversity Manager”. They’d better hope that the engineering professors didn’t grade on a curve or take into consideration the “underrepresented”. So think of that all, my liberal friends… all you “Community Organizers” and “Civil Advocates”… This is an engineer talking… You take a good long look at that jet’s wing. The laws of physics are merciless.

And speaking as an engineer and not a politician or lobbyist, catastrophic failure means real catastrophe and not something that we can blame on the previous administration.

Alan Speakman



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