Obama Vs Bush – A Study In Contrasts

March 7, 2010

Liberals never miss a chance to mock  and belittle former President George W. Bush.  And it didn’t help that he would frequently appear awkward in public, whether it was trying to walk off-stage to a locked door after a Press Conference or get tongue-tied while mixing his metaphors.

Still, there was something genuine about “W” that said to me, “The guy may  be flawed, but he’s real and when he tells you something, you know you can take it to the bank.

And there’s something else about “W” that I couldn’t quite put my finger on… but an e-mail circulating has hit the nail on the head. Comparing “W” with Obama, “W” comes off as real. Approachable. Willing to listen as much as he talks. These are all things Obama is NOT.

And here’s a classic case study in contrast. The “Elitist, effete, Obama” compared to… well look for yourself.

Truth in advertising: I’ve modified the text from the e-mail, but just a bit and it’s for emphasis only.

He seems aloof. Of course, Obama supporters pointed out that this was just me being a racist tea-bagger. But judge for yourself:

School Speech By Obama
  • Presidential Podium. You don’t expect me to just stand here and talk out in the open, do you? I’m the President, Damn it!
  • Presidential rug. Gotta have the rug! It completes the image we’re trying to create here.
  • Teleprompters. What am I… supposed to speak candidly with these kids? Of COURSE I want my teleprompter. NOW!  Speaking of kids…
  • No kids allowed within 20 feet.
  • I’ve got my Secret Service Agents to make sure no little school kid comes up to me. Could have a bomb strapped to him, ya know?
  • No… no American flag behind me.  Thanks.
School Speech By Bush

Notice any differences?

Yeah, me too:

  • No Need For Presidential Podium – No special rug necessasry. The Kids will recognize me.  If not, their folks will tell them when they get older.
  • Teleprompters? No thanks… I’m talking to the kids, not making a campaign speech. ‘
  • C’mon, kids – gather around
  • Presidential rug” Are you kidding? What kind of egotistical Fop would need to have that when talking to kids?
  • Secret Service guy? Where? He’s nearby if I need him.
  • Audio system? Got something here at the school I can use? That’ll be fine, thanks
  • I’d like to have an American flag behind me.  Thanks.

Yeah, I miss him. And I’m not afraid to say it. But I miss Ronald Reagan so much more in these times. Mmm-Mmm-Mmm…

Gerry Ashley

Uh, Mr. President? Let’s Re-Visit That “B-Plus”

January 21, 2010

America Celebrates Obama’s First Anniversary As President
But For A Very Different Reason

"Good, Solid B-Plus"? Not From THIS Writer.

Well, it’s been exactly a year since President Obama took office as I write this. And, as an anniversary present Tuesday night, Senator-Elect Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts – and doesn’t that sound good?) gave the nation a real present: “Change” that brings us real  “Hope” for the future.

But today, it’s time to look at Obama’s first year in office. Recently,  Oprah Winfrey interviewed President Obama (re-defining the term “softball interview”) in which she asked the President how he would grade himself on his first year.  Here (with corrections where appropriate) was his response:

POTUS: Good solid B-plus. I think that we have inherited the biggest set of challenges of any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Uh, Mr. President, the truth of the matter is, you have done little more than created the biggest set of challenges of any other president… since George Washington. Consider the following: Read the rest of this entry »

2010’s “Caput Capitis in Rectum” Winner: Pat Robertson

January 14, 2010

Just my humble opinion… Pat Robertson gets my vote for 2010’s “Caput Capitis in Rectum” Award! 

This is what gives conservatism (and Christianity) a bad name.

Alan Speakman

Letterman’s Personal Top-10 List Is Not So Funny

October 3, 2009

Letterman 02b

For years, David Letterman has made millions by making fun of other celebrities, sometimes as they sat there as guests (Cher and Madonna come to mind) and sometimes in his monologues.  As with many comics, he’s reveled in the escapades of celebrities caught in compromising positions (Eddie Murphy & the transsexual, Hugh Grant and the hooker in his car, etc.).

In a shocking twist, it would appear that this is a case where the Late Show Emperor has no clothes… literally. It turns out that Letterman (who is married with a young child) has had a series of affairs with employees of his production company, ironically called “World-Wide Pants.” This all came to light within the past 72 hours in a bizarre “movie of the week” manner with the arrest of a CBS producer who tried to blackmail Letterman.

Letterman with son Harry

Letterman with son Harry

First things first: I hope the person who attempted to blackmail Letterman goes to prison for his efforts. There’s no place in our society for those who prey on others, whether it be through blackmail or in any other manner. Which brings me to my second point.

Letterman has admitted on his program to having had sexual relations with members of his production company. As such, he needs to take responsibility for the position he put himself in. It would appear his on-air admission to the affairs is an attempt to do that. It doesn’t excuse the stupidity and selfishness of his actions, but it does mean that he acknowledges it. That is the first step. I can only hope this was before his marriage and the birth of his young son. Which brings me to my third point.

As in any blackmail case, the real victims are the members of the immediate family of the person being blackmailed.

I’ve got mixed feelings on this. Consider:

  • I hope Letterman’s wife and son will be able to cope with this. It can never be pleasant to be the spouse of someone who’s dalliances have been thrust into the spotlight. And the father/son relationship could be jeopardized as a result of Letterman’s selfish actions if, in fact, these dalliances took place while he was in his marriage or long-term relationship with his wife.
  • Letterman is just the latest example of employers who use their position of power inappropriately when it comes to dating underlings of both sexes. So far, there has been no word as to whether any of the people Letterman had sex with felt pressured to do so. I hope each event was consensual, but if not, I hope Letterman is prosecuted for sexual harassment or rape if appropriate.  I don’t care how famous or funny you are. Wrong is wrong.
  • It now remains to be seen what this will do to Letterman’s career. If it were 20 years ago, Letterman might have found himself pounding the pavement. But in this era of non-accountability (especially in the celebrity world), it’s highly doubtful that CBS will punish Dave in any manner at all.

It would be wise for people like David Letterman to keep in mind the following: With increased wealth and power comes increased responsibility. It’s easier to get what you want, and easier for that want list to grow to ridiculous excess. We see it every day.  Some choose to use this power to achieve personal goals that involve causing others to compromise their lives and situations–others who don’t have the luxury of your wealth and power.

When someone like Letterman forgets this and simply goes for his own pleasures, it affects others’ lives in ways that may not be immediately apparent to either party. But the price must be paid eventually, and it’s seldom the rich and powerful who pay.  This, by the way, is not limited to the rich. Anyone who forces, cajoles, or simply fast-talks another into compromising their standards is wrong to do so.

Letterman now has to face the truth of what he’s done. He admitted it on the air to the laughs and applause of the audience. That’s not facing the ugly truth, David. That is something you will have to do on your own and with your wife and child.  I could care less what the impact is ultimately on David Letterman. But I do care what that impact might be for his elderly mother, his wife, young son and the families of the employees he slept with.

I originally did my own “Top 10 List” to end this rant.  Like Letterman’s it was crass but humorous.  But in thinking about it, it didn’t feel right.  I might send it to a few friends in the privacy of an e-mail, but to post it on a public blog seemed wrong. This is a public site and there’s a child (Letterman’s son) at risk here.Plus, if there’s one chance in a million that a family member of one of those involved were to read this and be offended it, too, would be wrong. Letterman may like acting on his impulse without regard to how it impacts others. But I don’t.

It’s more than simply a case where “The Emperor of Late Night Has No Pants.” His hypocrisy finally having caught up with him publicly, it’s no longer simply about Letterman. We know CBS doesn’t have the guts to do what’s right, so all that’s left is to consider the victims and “the victims behind the victims” including his wife and young son who is now left to wonder for real: “Who’s Your Daddy?”

Gerry Ashley

The Incredible Power Of The Individual

August 21, 2009
Or, How A Guitar Cost United Airlines $180 Million

You’ve got to love irony… especially when it’s mixed with Stubris (a term coined by our own Alan Speakman which he defines as is an act of stupidity-fueled hubris). 

It’s the mixture that causes the mighty to be humbled; the undefeated to suffer an unexpected humiliating loss.

It’s Barack Obama with his insistence that whether “we the people” want something, if it’s his will, it shall be done.

It’s the hubris of John Edwards, Rod Blagojevich, Mike Tyson, Gary Hart, Mel Gibson all discovering they are not infallable  although they’ve lived their lives as if they were. In each case, their “stubris” has cost them dearly.

The corporate world has also had its share of embarrassing losses, the result of lawsuits (W R Grace) or simply bad management (Digital Equipment Corporation) all stemming from, that’s right, stubris.  But seldom has a huge corporation been humbled in such a wide-spread public manner by a single customer who simply wanted them to do the right thing.  Until now.

Dave Carroll

United Airlines, meet your biggest headache: Dave Carroll and his $3,500 guitar that has (so far) cost you $180 million.

I’m writing about his story, because I think it’s a metaphor for what even a single individual who is in the right can do if he has conviction (and, in Dave’s case, a good sense of humor and fantastic songwriting skills). The results can change an entire industry, an entire nation, or the entire world.

If you’re a regular here at Grand Rants, you’ve undoubtedly seen our coverage of how United Airlines damaged Carroll’s $3,500 Taylor Guitar and then steadfastly refused to accept responsibility for the repairs. For the benefit of our new readers, however, you can find Stoutcat’s articles  here and here. Go ahead and take a look. It’s well worth it, and we’ll wait…

OK. Now that we’re all up to speed, Carroll, part of a Canadian country band called “Sons of Maxwell,” simply wanted United Airlines to pay the $1,200 to repair his $3,500 Taylor guitar which was damaged by grossly negligent baggage handling. United decided to pass on the opportunity to “do the right thing” in an attempt to avoid paying for the guitar’s repair.

Expensive decision.

Dave tried working with United. Honest he did. And when their final answer was, in effect, “Sorry, you’re just out of luck,” he decided to write three songs and post them on Youtube (the second of three has just been posted). If there had been an iota of intelligence in the upper level management at United, they’d have sent Dave a check with some roses with a note that said, “You had me at ‘Youtube’.”

Since posting the original song,  “United Breaks Guitars” it’s been viewed by millions of people… people who fly and will now think twice about choosing United.

But the biggest impact is that as Dave’s video “went viral” on the Internet and United got inundated with calls from angry consumers, a not-so-funny thing happened to their stock: It plunged in value by 10%. The net loss to United’s stockholders totaled $180 million according to an article in The London Times. And it could have been avoided by simply doing the right thing.

The metaphor is this: Given a chance, big government or big corporate management will usually choose to do what’s in their own best interest, regardless of the impact to the consumer/constituent.  

The simple solution for citizens and consumers is, “Don’t let them get away with it.” And you accomplish this by making every effort to work within the established guidelines . When you’ve exhausted all efforts and are still not satisfied with the results — and if you’re still convinced you are in the right — then it’s time to do things in a creative manner. Sometimes this can be done within the law, but sometimes it requires the guts to perform civil disobedience in order to accomplish something for the greater good.

TianasquareThink of what a single young man accomplished in Tiananmen square 20 years ago, facing down a tank in an act the world would largely note and long remember. 

Over one million people had come to mourn the death of  pro-market, pro-democracy, and anti-corruption official, Hu Yaobang and to protest the government’s dismissal of Yaobang. The group protest led mostly by students and intellectuals, eventually resulted in a government crackdown on public demonstrations. This, in turn, resulted in hundreds of deaths.

Suddenly, the unknown man took a stand in front of a line of tanks. When the tanks tried to go around him, he shifted his position to block them again. Eventually, the man left the area never to be seen again. But in that moment, he defined the power of what one man can do.

rosa-parksThink of Rosa Parks, revered as the mother of the modern day civil rights movement. “Tired of giving in” to racist demands that blacks move to the back of the bus, on December 1, 1955, she simply decided enough was enough and she would not give up her seat to a white person as ordered by the bus driver.  For her efforts, she was arrested. She wasn’t the first black person to refuse, but she was secretary of the Montgomery Alabama chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (although she maintained that she took this action as a private citizen). Her arrest sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott which was, in part, organized by a young minister named Martin Luther King Jr. And from this incident, by a lone black woman who had the guts to stand up for “the right thing,” a nation would be forced to examine its own behavior towards a major sector of its citizens. The Civil Rights era was born.

john-walsh_fsThink of John Walsh, a doting father of a precious 6 year-old son who was abducted and brutally murdered by a pedophile. After discovering the hard way that America had no organized approach to the problem, rather than letting his son become just another statistic, he dedicated himself towards addressing the lack of child protection legislation nationally.   Through his efforts, there are hundreds of child-protection laws nationally and federally that, while not perfect, go a long way towards making this a safer country for children to grow up in. Most states now require stringent background requests for workers who have any contact with children.  Walsh secured the federal funding to start the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Washington, DC, and for over 20 years has been the host of Fox network’s “America’s Most Wanted.”   I was honored to work with John for several years and can say from personal experience, he is the epitome of what one man can accomplish when he puts his mind to it.

Erin_BrokovichThink of Erin Brockovich who, despite the lack of a formal law school education, was instrumental in constructing a case against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) of California in 1993. Her story was an inspiration to what the spirit of one determined person can accomplish to protect her community against the poisoning of the public water supply by an indifferent corporation. Her efforts led to a $333 million settlement which is, to date, the largest settlement in US history for a direct-action lawsuit.

And it’s not just limited to certain people or specific causes. It’s all of us who need to be Rosa Parks, John Walsh, Erin Brockovich, the Tiananmen Square “tank man” and, yes, even Dave Carroll in this world today. It’s that spirit that makes America the greatest place to live.

We’ve seen the power of their commitment and what it can bring. It should be no surprise when you think back to what a bunch of colonists did when they were unhappy with England’s taxation without representation.

And that’s why those of us opposed to President Obama’s attempted takeover/makeover of democracy and the free enterprise system do what we do. We stand up for what is right; we speak out for what is right.

And that is why we will win. 

Gerry Ashley

Chavez To Obama: The Thrill Is Gone

May 2, 2009

As President Obama begins his second hundred days, the morning alarm clock radio wakes him prophetically with the sound of Barbara Streisand…

CB Trinidad Americas Summit ObamaMemories, light the corners of my mind. Misty water-colored memories of the way we were… Scattered pictures, of the smiles we left behind. Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were. (From “The Way We Were”)

In what has to be one of the shortest political romances in history, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez condemned a U.S. report Friday that alleges Venezuela fails to cooperate in fighting terrorism. Chavez has also ordered US Junior Achievement President Barack Obama to end the decades-old embargo against Cuba. Chavez stated, “If Obama doesn’t knock down the savage blockade against the Cuban people, it’s all a lie. Everything would be a big farce!”

“Can it be that it was all so simple then?
Or has time re-written every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we? could we? “

And so endeth another lesson in the Schooling of a naive President who thinks “reaching out to your enemy,” shaking hands, bowing and apologizing for America’s strength will bring you world peace and friendship.  More important:  they will LIKE you. They will REALLY LIKE YOU!” (apologies to Sally Field)

So Obama had to learn the hard way: Sucking up to your enemy might lead to a pleasant photo op, but as a political move, it usually returns as a bite on the butt. If he actually had any solid political experience other than being a community organizer, he might have known better.

He can sing Kumbaya all he wants, but until you change the mindset of the lunatics who run North Korea, Iran, and so many other countries, weakening ourselves only emboldens them. Even if you don’t have experience in politics, all you need to do is look at history to know this. Recent history: Look at how Iran played Jimmy Carter in the ’70s.

Nations who envy our success but are unable to replicate it with their socialist or communist approach will respect only one thing from America: our strength.They do NOT respect weakness and so far, Obama hasn’t given them anything to fear as he talks about reducing our strength.

Something to think about: Add up the years of political experience these leaders like Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong Il, and others who wish us ill and compare that to the still wet- behind-the-ears Obama, and there’s reason to understand why Joe Biden warned us that our enemies will test Obama during the first six months of his Presidency. You may recall, Biden mentioned that during one of his rare moments of remission from “Hoof in Mouth” disease.

One would hope the novice President learned an important lesson from this rapid turnaround by Chavez. But I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

handshake1Memories, may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
So its the laughter
We will remember
Whenever we remember…
The way we were…
The way we were…

Gerry Ashley

Obama Admin Shoots Self in Foot… Again

April 28, 2009


More fodder for GOP commercials for 2010 and 2012:

Call it tin-eared; call it tone deaf; call it what you will. It’s shameful.


[Edited to correct Air Force One cost.]

Obama’s True Colors? Not Red White and Blue

January 26, 2009

Living in the greatest republic the world has ever known is a privilege. It’s one that far too many have done far too little or nothing at all to earn; yet merely by being born here, it’s a privilege freely given to us.

Such are the benefits reaped from the sacrifices of so many who came before us. Many died so that we may live freely. Others made military service their careers to ensure that the freedom we enjoy today is preserved for their children and ours.

Being a veteran of the Vietnam War era, I look to the veterans of World War I, World War II, and the Korean War and feel proud to know these were (and are) my countrymen.  As I see it, we should gratefully take any opportunity we have to pay homage to the dedicated men and women of our elite Armed Forces, even if it’s merely attending a parade or an event in their honor.

But apparently President Obama doesn’t see it that way.  Oh, he talks the talk, all right, especially when someone writes a stirring speech for him. However, when it’s time to walk the walk (or, perhaps I should say, “waltz the waltz”), he’s an ideological, philosophical, political, and now physical NO-SHOW.

During last week’s inauguration parties (the last phase of the 5-day twaddle-fest known as Obamapalooza), the President and First Lady made the decision to blow off the “Salute To Heroes Inaugural Ball”, a tradition started 56 years ago by then-President Eisenhower. Obama thus becomes the first President ever to drop the ball. I see that very little has been made of this in the mainstream media.

For those not familiar with the affair, it pays homage to soldiers who are recipients of the Medal of Honor (the highest award available to military personnel). Nearly half of the 99 living recipients were among those attending the ball. I don’t know how many of the 48 attendees had tingling feelings going up their legs like MSNBC’s Chris Matthews at the prospects of meeting the new President. If they did, the tingle went away as it became evident that Obama had snubbed them.

Fear not, Obama fans! The President did manage to rub elbows with the truly important ones at the truly important balls. After all, how often is the President going to get to hobnob with Stevie Wonder, Cheryl Crow, Sting and, perhaps, the second most important man in attendance that night, Leonardo Di Caprio? And, God forbid the Obamas miss the chance to kibitz with Mariah Carey!

Read between the lines, folks. We now see Obama’s priorities. Given the honor of socializing with veterans who have performed extraordinary acts of heroism under fire (thus qualifying them for the Medal of Honor) or self-serving socialists who thumb their noses at our constitution (while suckling on the teats of democracy), Obama has made his choice abundantly clear. Based on this, in what direction do you see Obama taking this country over the next four years?

It will be interesting to see what kind of crap sandwich he tries to sell us as his explanation for this slap in the face. Unfortunately, the American public seems to have an insatiable appetite for crap sandwiches where Obama is concerned.

I suggest you hope and pray that our veterans never lose their sense of history the way the Anointed One has. Our freedom depends on it, no matter how many times Bono pays the Obamas a visit.

Gerry Ashley

Honorable Japanese CEOs

December 17, 2008


Why is it that our CEOs can’t act this way?

Japan’s auto industry suffered another blow Wednesday when Honda, its No. 2 carmaker, said it was slashing its annual profit forecast, curtailing investment and slowing production to ride out a global slowdown…

“Underlining the tough times ahead, Fukui refused to set a vehicles sales target for 2009 — an unusual move for Honda.

“To take responsibility for the faltering results, Honda directors will take a 10 percent pay cut and further bonus reductions are likely, he said. [emphasis added]

“Earlier this month, Honda said it was pulling out of the glamorous but expensive Formula One racing to save costs and focus on its core car business.”

Yet those mendicants, the CEOs of our automakers arrived in their company-owned private jets to beg our legislators (and by extension, us) for handouts.

And the union bosses – who are as much to blame as the CEOs – continue to play golf at the exclusive Black Lake Golf Course, owned and operated by the United Auto Workers Union.

As with global warming, until those involved in the automotive industry start behaving like there’s a crisis, I’m still inclined to believe it’s not really a crisis at all, just another scam to get more money from we the people.


What is Harry Reid Afraid Of?

December 11, 2008


Apparently, Republicans.

According to Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, Harry Reid is so afraid what might happen if Illinois holds a special election to fill Obama’s empty Senate seat that he sent a letter to corrupt Gov. Blagojevich imploring that he step down so that his successor, Lt. Governor Pat Quinn, could appoint the replacement. He even threatened that if Blago did make an appointment, the Senate would consider not seating the appointee (which is quite within their scope of responsibility).

Evidently Reid fears that if a special election were to be held, the poor deluded folk of Illinois might actually choose to elect a (gasp!) Republican! Oh, the humanity!

Here’s the text of the letter:

Dear Governor Blagojevich:

We write to insist that you step down as Governor of Illinois and under no circumstance make an appointment to fill the vacant Illinois Senate seat. In light of your arrest yesterday on alleged federal corruption charges related to that Senate seat, any appointment by you would raise serious questions.

It is within the authority of the Illinois legislature to remove your power to make this appointment by providing for a special election. But a decision by you to resign or to step aside under Article V of the Illinois Constitution would be the most expeditious way for a new Senator to be chosen and seated in a manner that would earn the confidence of the people of Illinois and all Americans. We consider it imperative that a new senator be seated as soon as possible so that Illinois is fully represented in the Senate as the important work of the 111th Congress moves forward.

Please understand that should you decide to ignore the request of the Senate Democratic Caucus and make an appointment we would be forced to exercise our Constitutional authority under Article I, Section 5, to determine whether such a person should be seated.

We do not prejudge the outcome of the criminal charges against you or question your constitutional right to contest those charges. But for the good of the Senate and our nation, we implore you refrain from making an appointment to the Senate.

Harry Reid

By his demand, Reid is bucking the preferences of Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of IL, as well as state Senate President Emil Jones and state House Speaker Mike Madigan, all of who favor a special election. Even President-elect Obama seems to be for it.

It appears that the legislators from Illinois are, amazingly enough, trying to think about what’s best for the state of Illinois, and not what’s best for Harry Reid.

Better late than never, but it seems a shame they haven’t been thinking about that all along.

H/T HotAir