In an unusual move, President Obama called out the Supreme Court for its January 21st decision to reverse the restrictions on the ability of corporations to participate in federal campaigns. The ruling also ends the ban on political contributions by unions and other organizations.

The point of this article isn’t to discuss the merits of the decision reached by the highest court in our land. It’s certainly an important case and there are good arguments on either side.

However, is it proper for the President to call out the members of the Supreme Court in the way that he did? In case you haven’t seen it, please view the following video.

According to veteran Washington reporter Jamie Dupree, it isn’t unprecedented but it is rather unusual.

None of my colleagues could remember any President using a State of the Union Address to call for action by the Supreme Court, or to denounce one of High Court’s ruling.

So, I reviewed every single State of the Union Address and Message that’s been sent to Congress or delivered in person by a President, and the answer is, such a shout out to the Supremes is rare, indeed.

In 1953, President Eisenhower urged Congress to act on powers for the Food and Drug Administration, after the Court found a law on food inspections to be unconstitutional.

In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt referred to the Justices indirectly, as he complained about recent rulings that limited some of his New Deal banking initiatives.

He goes on to say about the tone of the President’s remarks…

President Obama’s words were a bit more negative about a specific court ruling than almost any other President.

The rest of Dupree’s article can be read here.

The Supreme Court is certainly not beyond reproach. They’ve made mistakes from time to time and citizens as well as the President have the right to disagree and voice their opinions against the decision. However, it could be successfully argued that the State of the Union address, given in front of members of Congress and those justices of the Supreme Court attending the speech, is not the proper venue for such a verbal smackdown. First, it could be viewed as an act of intimidation towards a branch of the government whose lack of strength in numbers may make it more subject to unwarranted public pressure in making decisions of a similar nature. The members of the court are supposed to be free from that kind of meddling and Obama’s remarks certainly don’t help matters. Secondly, even though, as I mentioned, it is not unprecedented, it is certainly unusual by Presidential standards.

While Obama’s remarks were certainly not illegal, in my opinion, they were certainly unwarranted. I thought last year’s “You lie!” shout out by Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) was inappropriate and I believe Obama’s comments toward the Supreme Court were similarly so.


Lobbyist Schmobbyist!

When is a lobbyist not really a lobbyist? Apparently, the answer is you are not really a lobbyist if you’re selected for a job in the Obama administration.

In last night’s State of the Union speech, President Obama said the following

That’s why we’ve excluded lobbyists from policy-making positions, jobs, or seats on federal boards and commissions.

There was an audible groan from the Republican members of his immediate audience, as well there should have been. The reason being because Obama has appointed SEVERAL former lobbyists to jobs in his administration. Among them are the following (taken from Hot Air)…

  • Eric Holder, attorney general nominee, was registered to lobby until 2004 on behalf of clients including Global Crossing, a bankrupt telecommunications firm [now confirmed].
  • Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year on behalf of the National Education Association.
  • William Lynn, deputy defense secretary nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for defense contractor Raytheon, where he was a top executive.
  • William Corr, deputy health and human services secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until last year for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a non-profit that pushes to limit tobacco use.
  • David Hayes, deputy interior secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until 2006 for clients, including the regional utility San Diego Gas & Electric.
  • Mark Patterson, chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for financial giant Goldman Sachs.
  • Ron Klain, chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, was registered to lobby until 2005 for clients, including the Coalition for Asbestos Resolution, U.S. Airways, Airborne Express and drug-maker ImClone.
  • Mona Sutphen, deputy White House chief of staff, was registered to lobby for clients, including Angliss International in 2003.
  • Melody Barnes, domestic policy council director, lobbied in 2003 and 2004 for liberal advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the American Constitution Society and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
  • Cecilia Munoz, White House director of intergovernmental affairs, was a lobbyist as recently as last year for the
  • National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group.
  • Patrick Gaspard, White House political affairs director, was a lobbyist for the Service Employees International Union.
  • Michael Strautmanis, chief of staff to the president’s assistant for intergovernmental relations, lobbied for the American Association of Justice from 2001 until 2005.

This was also something Obama pledged going into the beginning of his presidency. If you were a lobbyist, you were not going to get a job in his administration. Yet before his term in office even began, he had already violated that pledge.

Look, I don’t have a problem with a former lobbyist having a job in any administration, Republican or Democrat. However, if you’re going to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk as well.

Hold the Cheese…OR ELSE!!!

The Netherlands enjoys its reputation as one of the most libertarian countries on the planet. You can do “soft” drugs there without fear of reprisal. However, don’t try to put cheese on someone’s McDonald’s cheeseburger if they didn’t order any or you may be swiftly and severely dealt with.

In March of last year, a McDonald’s worker was fired for accidentally giving a cheeseburger to a coworker on break who had ordered a hamburger of the cheeseless variety. McDonald’s promptly fired the worker for violating their rule that states employees shall not give any free gifts to family, friends, or colleagues.

A district court in Leeuwarden, in the northern section of the Netherlands, ruled that “The dismissal was too severe a measure” and that “It is just a slice of cheese.” The court said that a written warning would have been more appropriate and ordered the fast-food chain to pay 4,265.47 in Euros for the remaining five months of her contract.

More importantly than the court’s ruling, I want to know if the infamous Hamburgler was somehow involved and if the employee in question remembered to ask their colleague if they wanted fries with that?

Jobs "Saved"?

Have you noticed lately how the Obama administration is parroting the notion of “jobs saved” to avoid the embarrassment that is the failure of the stimulus bill? White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs claims 1.5 million jobs saved. Political consultant David Axelrod says that it’s more along the lines of 2 million. Meanwhile, Obama aide Valerie Jarrett says that it’s “thousands and thousands”.

But is that even the real point here? As Glenn Beck points out, this has many in the media clamoring about how many really have been saved and not about whether there’ve even been any jobs actually saved at all. The strategy has worked. I’ve heard multiple stories over the past couple of days about what the real number actually is. What I haven’t heard much of is any good investigative reporting to show whether or not the notion of “saved jobs” is actually legitimate to begin with.

I will give great credit, though, to veteran reporter Jamie Dupree, who has reported out of Washington D.C. for over twenty years now. In an article posted this morning, Dupree notes…

Now let’s review. The big winners in the states of Georgia, Florida, Ohio and Oklahoma were clear. But why did they have so much money than the other districts?

Well, that’s an easy answer. Those districts are where the state capitals are located.

So the recovery.gov people are counting all the money that is sent to the state governments as “jobs created” in that specific district, even though the money might be doled out elsewhere.

No wonder a new CNN poll says that 3 of 4 Americans say at least half of the stimulus money has been wasted. It will be very difficult for the White House to erase that kind of gut feeling among voters.

In other words, it looks like the Obama administration is playing games with the numbers and, unfortunately, much of the press and public is watching the right hand while the left hand is busy doing something else behind their proverbial backs.

Click here to read Dupree’s full article.

An Inseparable Bond?

We all know that former President Bush was no skilled orator. He certainly gave a few good speeches in his time but, by and large, public speaking was not his forté. On the contrary, many in the media especially seem to consider President Obama to be a master speaker and I’ll certainly agree with that, with one exception. When he does not have TOTUS (Teleprompter Of The United States) with him, he does tend to stumble and sputter a good bit, perhaps not quite as awkwardly as his predecessor but enough to notice that he seems to rely a bit too much on this piece of technology.

Obama now seems to depend on TOTUS so much that he even had to use it when speaking to the media after a discussion with 6th grade students (see above picture). Can the President of our country not even ditch the prepared statements at a school event? This seems a bit much. To be fair, I wouldn’t be surprised if previous presidents have done the same thing but it just seems sort of strange to me that you wouldn’t want to at least appear to be a little more casual when in that setting.

I guess what bugs me the most about this is that it just seems like the President is going strictly by script and not speaking from his heart. Perhaps that’s not really the case but it’s certainly the impression that’s left when you consider his over-reliance on TOTUS. I’m of the opinion that the President might be taken more seriously and at least APPEAR more authentic without having to read the canned statements all the time. It’s time to break this inseparable bond.

Ding-Dong, The Witch Is Dead

It’s time for all of America to mourn the passing of the good witch Air America. She was interesting while she lasted but, alas, her time has now passed.

Air America was launched in 2004 as the liberal alternative to conservative talk radio giants like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, and Glenn Beck. The hopes in the liberal community were high that they would be able to effectively counter the conservative talk radio voices that they so despised. That obviously didn’t happen. They filed for bankruptcy and were shut down abruptly on Thursday due to their financial woes.

From the very beginning, Air America struggled to gain and retain an audience but the public just didn’t catch on. Despite who some said were interesting talk radio hosts like Al Franken and Rachel Maddow, it became increasingly difficult to capture any listener interest whatsoever.

Heck, even this author attempted to acquire the taste, so to speak. Obviously, being a conservative, I probably wasn’t going to agree with much said on that station but I at least wanted to give it a shot and be entertained to some degree. What I found instead was boring and vitriolic, a combination that is the death knell for any radio show. You can get away with being vitriolic, ala Michael Savage, but you at least need to be entertaining. Air America certainly wasn’t that. I’ve been able to listen to liberal-leaning shows in the past. One of the first talk radio shows I gained an interest in was that of Alan Colmes. Back in the early 90s during the evening at my job, I would listen to conservative Barry Farber and, following his show, Alan Colmes. I certainly didn’t agree much with Colmes but he was able to do a good, informative show that wasn’t over-the-top venemous like some of the utter crap I heard on Air America.

The claim being floated now is that it wasn’t possible to keep the network afloat anymore because of the poor economy. Well, I’m sure that had a small part to play but, let’s face it, no one wanted to listen to their tripe and now they are paying the proverbial piper for it.

Is it possible for a liberal talk radio network to flourish? I think so, but they will certainly need to avoid the formula used by Air America’s creators if they want any chance whatsoever of succeeding.

Olbermann Caught Lying About Beck…Again

This time around, yours truly actually caught Keith “Rip ‘n’ Read” Olbermann telling a big fat lie. I know what you’re thinking…Probably something along the lines of “Boy, like that’s really all that difficult!”

In last night’s “Worst Person in the World” segment, Olbermann named Glenn Beck as his top nominee. No surprise there. Glenn’s often honored by his inclusion on this left wing loon’s daily segment. The segment went as follows (Beck’s quotes in italic)…

But our winner, Lonesome Roads Beck…He began his segment on the extraordinary moment in Mr. Brown’s news conference where he appeared to offer up his twenty-something daughters by saying…”I mean this sincerely…“, so don’t dismiss this all thing as some kind of joke.  Beck is deliberately evoking the Gary Condit story here.

I want a chastity belt on this man” (Brown).  “I want his every move watched in Washington.  I don’t trust this guy. This one could end up with a dead intern. I’m just saying. It could end up with a dead intern.

Later, a lackey asked “I’m saying, though, isn’t that though just dad trying to be cutesy with a little joke about his daughters?”

Beck’s emphatic reply…”Nooooo!

Beck is…hyperbolizing, I guess, that Scott Brown’s election could, quote, “end up with a dead intern”, joking about Chandra Leavy, seriously? And the lunatic fringe is bitching about how I referred to Brown? Compared to Beck, I’m Brown’s best friend.

Lonesome Roads Beck, today’s worst person…in the world!

First off, I listened intently to the streaming audio of Beck’s show and, in the segment Olbermann is referring to, Beck does not start off by saying “I mean this sincerely…” He uses it prior to that same segment to illustrate another point, which is as follows.

Beck says “And I mean this one sincerely” after which he describes a scene from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. The scene described is the one toward the beginning of the movie when Indiana Jones is trying to escape from the collapsing temple and he needs to somehow cross a deep chasm. He stops and sees one of the men who led him there on the other side. This man tells Indy to throw him the idol that has been stolen and he will, in turn, throw Jones the whip he has in his hand so he can use it to swing over to the other side. Jones throws the man the idol but the man just laughs, drops the whip, and runs off with his prize. Well, to make a long story short, Jones manages to cross the chasm and, on his way out of the temple, he passes the other man who had been impaled by one of the traps in the temple. Beck uses that story to compare how some men feel when they’ve screwed up or done something dumb in relation to raising their daughters. Whether the illustration works in making his point or not doesn’t really matter at this point. What does matter is that Olbermann has taken the “I mean this sincerely” quote completely out of context.

Here’s the script as I transcribed it directly from the streaming audio posted on Beck’s own web site. I’ve tried to keep it as closely as possible to the audio, though some parts of the below text actually overlap each other on the audio as the speakers interact with each other…

Beck: Listen, listen, listen…Listen. I want a chastity belt on this man. I want to…I want…I want his every move watched in Washington. I don’t trust this guy. No, I’m just telling you. {background laughter}

Pat Gray: It’s just a creepy moment. It is.

Beck: No this one, no this one could end with a dead intern.

Stu Burguiere: He’s trying to come up with a…

Beck: This one could end with a dead internment (?). {laughter}

Stu Burguiere: Please stop it…

Pat Gray: Dead intern? I’m not sure I’d go that far.

Stu Burguiere: He’s trying to come up with a…{interrupted by chatter & laughing}

Pat Gray: Dead intern?

Stu Burguiere: No, I’m pretty sure that’s not…

Beck: I’m just sayin’…I’m just sayin’ it could end with a dead intern.

Stu Burguiere: I’m saying, though, isn’t that just, like, a dad trying to be cutesy with a little joke about his daughters and he…and he screwed it up a little?

Beck: Nooooo!

So there you have it. You might argue that it’s a little lacking in taste but, judging from the audio I’ve heard and the text of what was said, it can hardly be argued that Beck was serious, especially considering all three of those speaking were laughing throughout the segment.

In summary, not only did Olbermann purposefully take Beck’s “I mean this sincerely” comment completely out of context but he doesn’t even place the other quotes in their proper setting by noting the laughter between the three. Instead, good ol’ Keith presents it as if Beck was completely serious about Scott Brown possibly having some nefarious motives towards a future intern. Perhaps Olbermann is trying to bury his own ridiculous comments about Brown being “an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, tea-bagging supporter of violence against women and against politicians with whom he disagrees”?