Stay Classy, Code Pink

October 31, 2009

This is just pathetic. The harpies from Code Pink were out tonight harrassing the children – yes, the children! – waiting in line for the White House Hallowe’en party.

Photo Credit: Reuters

What a bunch of witches.

Stoutcat

Source: Yahoo News


Michelle Obama: Creating More Jobs Than Barack?

October 30, 2009


Michelle Obama may actually be creating more jobs than her husband, the President. Unfortunately, all of the jobs she has created have apparently been to surround herself with aides to assist her with her tedious job of finally being proud of America.  Let’s take a look at this inventive job creator, shall we?

Her-Royal-Higness-sml

Photo credit: Canada Free Press

“In my own life, in my own small way, I have tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. See, that’s why I left a job at a big law firm for a career in public service. “     Michelle Obama

Back in July, Dr. Paul L. Williams wrote in an article for TheLastCrusade.org that Michelle Obama, First Lady of The United States (FLOTUS) had 22 “attendants”  (i.e., paid staff to do everything for her from correspondence to purchasing $600 tennis shoes).

However, in an update, it appears that she has increased that staff to 26. I’m not sure, but that might just beat the number of new jobs created by POTUS Barack Obama.

One thing is certain: Michelle Obama has more “attendants” than any first lady in history. Here’s a breakdown on the majority of them and what they are costing us taxpayers:

  1. $172,2000 – Sher, Susan (Chief Of Staff)
  2. $140,000 – Frye, Jocelyn C. (Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Policy And Projects For The First Lady)
  3. $113,000 – Rogers, Desiree G. (Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary)
  4. $102,000 – Johnston, Camille Y. (Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the First Lady)
  5. $102,000 – Winter, Melissa E. (Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)
  6. $90,000 – Medina, David S. (Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)
  7. $84,000 – Lelyveld, Catherine M. (Director and Press Secretary to the First Lady)
  8. $75,000 – Starkey, Frances M. (Director of Scheduling and Advance for the First Lady)
  9. $70,000 – Sanders, Trooper (Deputy Director of Policy and Projects for the First Lady)
  10. $65,000 – Burnough, Erinn J. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)
  11. $65,000 – Reinstein, Joseph B. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)
  12. $62,000 – Goodman, Jennifer R. (Deputy Director of Scheduling and Events Coordinator For The First Lady)
  13. $60,000 – Fitts, Alan O. (Deputy Director of Advance and Trip Director for the First Lady)
  14. $60,000 – Lewis, Dana M. (Special Assistant and Personal Aide to the First Lady)
  15. $52,500 – Mustaphi, Semonti M. (Associate Director and Deputy Press Secretary To The First Lady)
  16. $50,000 – Jarvis, Kristen E. (Special Assistant for Scheduling and Traveling Aide To The First Lady)
  17. $45,000 – Lechtenberg, Tyler A. (Associate Director of Correspondence For The First Lady)
  18. $45,000 – Tubman, Samantha (Deputy Associate Director, Social Office)
  19. $40,000 – Boswell, Joseph J. (Executive Assistant to the Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)
  20. $36,000 – Armbruster, Sally M. (Staff Assistant to the Social Secretary)
  21. $36,000 – Bookey, Natalie (Staff Assistant)
  22. $36,000 – Jackson, Deilia A. (Deputy Associate Director of Correspondence for the First Lady)

Mmm Mmm Mmm…

Oh, and just a reminder: She doesn’t really have any official duties.

Yep, all hail “the most fiscally responsible administration” as, I believe, the President promised during his campaign.

I wonder how many of Michelle’s assistants have radical backgrounds? We know, based on the choice of her wardrobe, there’s at least one.

Gerry Ashley

H/T: Canada Free Press


An Agnostic’s View of Society and the World

October 30, 2009

A Grand Rants Op/Ed

Hey… How about that for a concise and laser-beam title? Way to narrow down the subject matter, ay?

Truth be told, the title, “An Agnostic’s View of Society and the World” isn’t all that “universe-encompassing”… (At least not for me, and I’d imagine that there are other agnostics who would sign on to what I’m about to type…)

Does it ever occur to anybody (religious) out there that maybe, just maybe, their “Holy Book” is a crock? Maybe it’s just a 2,000 (+/-) year old urban legend gone horribly righteous and viral? Take your pick… Bible, Koran, scrolls, sayings… Whatever… Kind of reduces the humongous to the minuscule, pronto, doesn’t it?

Here’s the deal… When I was an engineering student, I watched two brilliant teaching assistants (both working on their masters degrees in electrical engineering) battle it out over the nature of gawd… One claimed that proof of gawd was someone rising from the dead, and the other claimed that gawd had something to do with a snake… And both men were damned serious about their views, and each had their “Holy Texts” to back up their claims…

Ummm… Did it ever dawn on anybody that so much of existence, cognition, love, physics, mathematics, self awareness, astronomy, blah, blah, blah are wildly complex and way beyond the machinations of the human gray stuff? It is irony lost when simple under-grad fodder like calculus, differential equations, and thermodynamics challenge (if not vanquish) the vast majority of us, yet we en masse continue to claim that because of our “Immaculate Tomes” we can somehow have insight into the mind and maneuverings of gawd. (Or perhaps better yet “know” that there is no gawd.)

A couple of days ago, a bomb blast in the Pakistani city of Peshawar killed more than 100… All because someone(s) firmly believed that he/they had a direct line to gawd and wallowed in the powers attached.

As an agnostic, I’m of two minds… The first is that of profound sadness – the senselessness of it all. But the second thought falls along the lines of a mix of anger and indignation. How dare you impinge your indoctrinated beliefs on me or others. I don’t care about your, “Well, I just believe…” or, “My<insert your sacred transcript here> says…” Fine. If you want to believe in Jesus, Allah, or even the Most Right Reverend Ultra  Salty Potato Chip… Fine…  Just keep it to yourself. And no matter what, don’t attack me physically or intellectually because I don’t buy into your brainwashing, and Pollyanna-ish denial of the harsh reality of it all. Sorry… I don’t buy into arks that can hold all gawd’s creatures and I don’t buy into afterlife rivers of honey and virgins… Call me irascible…

Look, I understand the want for religion… probably more than most. I dare say I’ve had more than my fair share of tough times, and it would be nice to be able to lean on a higher power… As just one example, my father’s death rocked my world… but not my logic. To be an agnostic (or atheist) can be damned lonely. Still it’s the intellectual disingenuousness of, and often violent nature of, faith that keeps me away. Simply put, it doesn’t make any more sense to me than does atheism. As if I could be so smart as to grasp the gears of gawd.

Often, I think back to my two teaching assistants and wonder whatever became of them on 9/11. What did they think of the omnipresence of their gawd (or lack thereof) when they watched 3,000 people being incinerated, broken, and crushed to a paste.

Anyway… As an old engineer and an agnostic, about the best I can do is marvel at the whirring of the universe and the gall of those who claim to understand the “Man Behind the Curtain”, or pronounce authoritatively that there is no “Man” at all…

Alan Speakman


Afghanistan: To Be or Not to Be

October 29, 2009


President Obama has been equivocating on what action to take in Afghanistan for over a month now. His original policy, which he announced to great fanfare over six months ago, seemed bold and straightforward enough. BBC News reported on the new policy announcement back in March of this year:

“We are in Afghanistan to confront a common enemy that threatens the US, our friends and our allies, and the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan who have suffered the most at the hands of violent extremists,” said Mr Obama. “The safety of people around the world is at stake.”

This seemed consistent with what he has been saying for several years. In August of 2007 in a speech at the Wilson Center, then-Senator Obama said the following:

“When I am President, we will wage the war that has to be won… Above all, I will send a clear message: we will not repeat the mistake of the past, when we turned our back on Afghanistan following Soviet withdrawal. As 9/11 showed us, the security of Afghanistan and America is shared.”

And yet, and yet… Just last month the President, during his foray into Sunday morning television, signaled that he’s beginning to waffle:

“We are in the process of working through that strategy.  The first question is . . . are we pursuing the right strategy?”

The problem is that the President, by his indecision, is endangering our troops who are already massively imperiled. He is signaling to our enemies that America is irresolute and weak. The loss of American lives in Afghanistan in October alone tells us that the Taliban is getting stronger, emboldened by our lack of leadership.

President Obama, it’s time to decide. Are we going to be victorious in Afghanistan? If so, give Gen. McChrystal the 40,000 troops and whatever else he requests, and allow our military to get the job done.

If you’re not going to do that, then bring all our troops home now. Don’t nickel and dime our troops to death. Get them out of harm’s way immediately and let Afghanistan go back to being run by gangs of murderous medieval thugs. Allow it to become again a breeding ground and haven for terrorists who may already be planning another wave of 9/11 attacks on us and others.

Abandon our efforts there, and in 2013, if another attack comes, President Palin or President Giuliani or President Jindal (and make no mistake, if you abandon Afghanistan, you will not be re-elected) will once again take this fight to the enemy, and then we will win.

And you’ll be history.

Stoutcat


The Mystery Of Stonehenge Uncovered?

October 28, 2009

stonehenge_416For thousands of years, England’s massive Stonehenge rock formation has stood (and withstood) the test of time. It’s been the topic of endless discussions over the years, as people have argued about what the mystical formation symbolized and, more to the point, how it was possible for people with only rudimentary tools back in 4,000 BBD (Before Black and Decker) to move those huge rocks into position.

A retired construction worker from Flint, MI named Wally Wallington thinks he might know one way it could have been done and. He even goes so far as to demonstrate it by building a min-Stonehenge on his property… by himself.

The simplicity of his technique, with the absence of any modern tools is convincing:

Is this the actual way ancient workers were able to get these boulders to stand? Perhaps. Perhaps not.  But one thing Wally Wallington has proven: It doesn’t have to take a bunch of engineers.

conan-obrien2This still leaves, of course, one towering question: How does Conan Obrien get his hair to stand in a similar manner?

Gerry Ashley

H/T J-Walk Blog


Doug Ross’ $1,000 Challenge

October 27, 2009


Yesterday, Doug Ross at Director Blue issued a challenge to those who have proclaimed that Fox News is not really a news organization. He’s offering a solid gold Kruggerand (today’s value: $1,040) to the person who can document one single lie made by a Fox News reporter. I’d have thought, given the ferocity with which liberal bloggers, newsmedia, and the White House have perpetuated this claim, that Doug’s Kruggerand would have been gone by sundown. But amazingly enough, it’s still there.

So we’re  going to help Doug out by publicizing his challenge, in the hopes that one of the many bloggers who refer to the network as “Faux News”  or the right-wing propaganda machine or whatever, will cover themselves in glory (and gold) by simply proving what they’re accusing Fox of.

Doug has four simple and reasonable rules for anyone wishing to claim the gold.

• Typos don’t qualify (“ooh, the news ticker used a ‘D’ after his name, not an ‘R’!”).

• The lie must have been repeated by at least two national Fox News reporters and left uncorrected.

• The transcripts and/or video clips must be available on the Fox News website for verification.

• The story, refuting the Fox News lie, must have been correctly reported at around the same time by news reporters from CNN and MSNBC (with links and/or transcripts from their sites).

So come on, lefties–you know who you are! Put up or shut up. And yes, Robert Gibbs, Rahm Emanual, and David Axelrod, you all can participate, too. Good luck.

Stoutcat


There Comes A Day In Every Life… This Is It!

October 26, 2009

 

Kenny Loggins said it all so well thirty years ago:

There’ve been times in my life,
I’ve been wonderin’ why.
Still, somehow I believed we’d always survive
Now, I’m not so sure…

(From “This Is It” by Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald)

I’m not particularly comfortable writing about myself here. But an event took place last week that I think makes for an interesting metaphor for those of you who are afraid it’s too late to save the America we grew up in from the drastic changes being implemented by President Obama. With the radical agenda he is rapidly  implementing, there may come a day when we, as a nation, have to take America back from the brink of the disaster Barack Obama sees as his legacy. I’m not talking just about universal health care, but the gutting of democracy as we know it and the supplanting of socialism in its place.

You’re waiting here, for one good reason to try
But, what more can I say? What’s left to provide?

I received some news from my doctor this week that, on the surface, is discouraging: I have been diagnosed with diabetes.  I’ve been overweight for years and this is the danger that you expose yourself to in the process. So, when I first heard the news, I have to admit I wasn’t surprised. Like a lot of people, I’ve allowed myself to live in the fantasy that I’ll address my weight “soon.” Not soon enough, apparently. No sympathy is requested. I got exactly what I deserved. Mea culpa.

My first thoughts were, “Now what? Is it too late? What, if anything, can be done? Will I die from this?

You think that maybe it’s over,
Only if you want it to be.
Are you gonna wait for a sign, your miracle?
Stand up and fight!

Diabetes is a silent killer. Let’s not kid ourselves: This is a serious issue I’m facing and my back is to the wall now. But my doctor informed me that I can address it through diet and exercise… you know, the stuff I’d promised myself I’d do “someday.”

So here’s the deal: I’ve made a pledge to my body that I will heal it. I immediately quit soft drinks cold turkey in favor of water. As far as eating and exercise is concerned, I’m going to do whatever the doctor suggests and I WILL restore my body back to its proper weight and health.  In short, I know what has to be done and I’ve already begun the journey back.

“So what does that have to do with saving the country?” you ask. Very simple: Read the above paragraph again. Notice my attitude? I didn’t say I’m going to try to lose weight.  Uh-uh… I’m going to do it. Not someday. Now.  And I’m changing my eating habits for life so I don’t wind up looking like the Michelin Man again. Failure to do so means untold suffering and, probably, death. The importance of a positive attitude when facing large obstacles is paramount to ensuring success.

This is it!
Make no mistake where you are.
You back’s to the corner.
Don’t be a fool anymore!

Failure is not an option in regards to taking back our country from the ideology of Barack Obama. It’s GOT to happen and it needs to be done in a peaceful manner, period. To fail in this endeavor is to kiss it ALL  goodbye. It would be doubly tragic if we had to face our children and tell them it’s because we failed to believe in ourselves and, thus, failed to act.

The waiting is over, no, don’t you run.
There’s no way to hide.
No time for wonderin’ why.
It’s here, the moment is now, about to decide.

You say that maybe it’s over.
Not if you don’t want it to be.
For once in your life, here’s your miracle.
Stand up and fight!

Throughout history,  Americans have always been at their best when their backs were against the wall.  When faced with “do or die,” they chose to do. Pearl Harbor and its ramifications is a prime example.

There are those who believe we are not the same people who got us through World Wars I and II. I would have to agree that we’ve not acted like that in decades. But I do believe each one of us has that spirit to fight back to defend what we believe in when it comes to preserving or losing democracy and the free enterprise system. Yes, there’s no shortage among us of those who have never made that kind of investment to themselves or their way of life. Many of them may, in fact, sit and do nothing now. Every society has members like that, but I believe there are many more of us who WILL rise to the occasion of seeing to it we do not lose our way of life here in America. I’m betting on it. It’s the great American way:

  • It’s the Red Sox coming back from being down three games to none winning four straight against the Yankees to win the American League Championship in 2005. It’s the same Red Sox who went on to win the World Series in four straight.
  • It’s John Walsh going up against an indifferent, snooty Congress in 1984 and coming away with a commitment to fund the creation of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
  • It’s “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” in 1969.
  • It’s “I have a dream!” in 1963.
  • It’s Ronald Reagan imploring, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!”

We draw our inspiration from heroes like those above. In each case, failure was simply not an option. The total belief that the cause was right and just was the driving force behind each success. It will be once again.

Failure is NOT an option for us today either, America.  We CANNOT let Barack Obama undo over 200 years of our history.  We cannot allow his administration to continue to trivialize and eventually negate the Constitution by using trickery and deception to bypass the Legislative and Judicial branches of government. We cannot allow Obama to continue to circumvent standard vetting procedures when choosing advisers/czars who are brought in to help him steer America’s course. Obama is not the first President to have Czars, but he has abused the privilege more than any other president. Where most other Presidents have had some 7 -10 Czars, Obama is closing in on 40. And most of them have radical backgrounds.

And so, you may ask, “How do we take on such a monumental task?” Ask the ghosts of our ancestors who got us through the Civil War, World War I and II… they’ll probably reply…

No one can tell you what you know.
You make the choice of how it goes.
It’s not up to me this time.
Comes a day in every life…

In an upcoming rant, I will give specific examples of the kinds of things I believe we can do. In the meantime, I would ask that you become active in local civic and social groups and strive to become more observant of this administration’s actions.

Gerry Ashley


Halloween Scary Movie, Starring Nancy Pelosi

October 26, 2009


The horror… the horror!

H/T: The Jawa Report

Stoutcat


Pay Czar: Hypocritic Oath

October 25, 2009

Where’s that pesky pay czar when you need him? You know, Kenneth Feinberg, the poor fellow who was caught in the middle of the Fox News/White House war, as the administration tried to exclude Fox News from doing a press pool interview with him? That poor sap who has decided to cut executive pay at certain banks?

Obama’s “special master” on pay will order deep cuts in the salaries of top executives of companies on government support on Thursday.

“Pay Czar” Kenneth Feinberg will announce cuts to salaries by an average of 90 percent, according to a variety of reports on the matter.

Yes, he’s doing the job of dictating to companies which took government (read: taxpayers’) money exactly how much they are allowed to compensate their top execs. And next he’s going to look at the paychecks of the smaller fellows, too.

Before he does that, however, perhaps he should take a look at the compensation package received by the new CFO of Freddie Mac, Ross Kari. Business Week reports:

The government-controlled mortgage finance company is giving CFO Ross Kari compensation worth as much as $5.5 million. That includes an almost $2 million cash signing bonus and a generous salary that could top $2.3 million.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Freddie Mac, approved the pay package. A spokeswoman pointed to a statement that justified the agency’s approval of the pay, which was done in part because the amount was comparable to what others in the financial services industry make.

Let’s take a look at that again:

“A spokeswoman pointed to a statement that justified the agency’s approval of the pay, which was done in part because the amount was comparable to what others in the financial services industry make.”

But aren’t those others in the financial services industry making too much? Isn’t that why their paychecks were slashed by an average of 90%?

How do we justify cutting the salary of executives at companies who received TARP funds, while allowing a gold-plated compensation package to an executive at yet another company which receives government funding? The money all comes from the same place, whether it’s TARP funds or “conservatorships” as in the case of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. In fact, the argument could probably be made that Freddie and Fannie have taken far more taxpayer dollars than most banks took in TARP funds.

I’m not saying that Ross Kari isn’t worth every penny of the $5 million he will receive. He may be; in fact, I hope he is.

But to play favorites like this is unconscionable.

Stoutcat


White House vs. Fox News: Blundering

October 24, 2009

As the war between the White House and Fox News escalates, it might be insightful to take a look back and see the path which led to Thursday’s attempt by the White House to completely shut off Fox News.

The first skirmish was back in August, when people were complaining about having received unwanted emails from the White House. Major Garrett, Fox’s White House correspondent, asked Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about why and how those people received the emails. Gibbs had no ready answer, was quick to attempt to ridicule Garrett’s question, and ultimately bypassed answering him altogether.

The next bout came earlier this month as White House Communications Director Anita Dunn commented in a New York Times interview:

“We’re going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent. As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”

She subsequently made similar comments on the Sunday talk shows, claiming that Fox News is an arm of the Republican party:

“[Fox is] widely viewed as a part of the Republican Party: take their talking points and put them on the air, take their opposition research and put it on the air. And that’s fine. But let’s not pretend they’re a news organization like CNN is.”

Fair-minded Jake Tapper of ABC News came to Fox’s defense by questioning Robert Gibbs about the legitimacy of the attack:

Tapper: It’s escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations “not a news organization” and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one –

(Crosstalk)

Gibbs: Jake, we render, we render an opinion based on some of their coverage and the fairness that, the fairness of that coverage.

Tapper: But that’s a pretty sweeping declaration that they are “not a news organization.” How are they any different from, say –

Gibbs: ABC -

Tapper: ABC. MSNBC. Univision. I mean how are they any different?

Gibbs: You and I should watch sometime around 9 o’clock tonight. Or 5 o’clock this afternoon.

Tapper: I’m not talking about their opinion programming or issues you have with certain reports. I’m talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a “news organization” — why is that appropriate for the White House to say?

Gibbs: That’s our opinion.

This past Sunday, Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod upped the stakes by declaring outright that Fox News is not a news organization, and then working in veiled threats to the other networks:

The latest salvo was fired Thursday at a press pool event, during which the other major networks showed an amazing level of solidarity with Fox, perhaps because they realized the the shoe will eventually be on the other foot at some point during the next three years.

It seems like a mistake of major proportions to wage a war with an organization that buys digital ink by the barrel, so to speak. Given the political savvy and old school Chicago-style upbringing of the senior White House staff, I wonder what neophyte at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has the naiveté to gin up such a brawl, and the clout to make it happen.

Oh yeah, that would be President Obama.

Stoutcat


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