The president last night spoke to the nation from the east room to make the case for limited strikes against the Assad regime in Syria. President Obama seems fond of giving addresses to the nation from the room he announced the death of bin Laden in. Yet it was the tortured reaction of conservatives surrounding the speech that had my amused attention. Conservatives often accuse Obama of feeling that all he needs to do to solve a problem is give a lofty speech. Yet the same crowd that accuses the president of giving too many speeches then began to demand that the president give a speech to make the case for strikes in Syria. Many in congress that were ready to find an angle to bash the president with were perceptive of the position Obama put them in when he sought congressional authorization for said strike. Say what you will about whether the White House’s Syria policy has been three dimensional chess or amateur hour, Obama keenly understands that he’s reversed decades of war power centralization in the executive branch. He specifically noted that in his speech last night. However any eventual vote may be painted as a loss for the president, this act of precedent may be one of his lasting achievements in office. Yet congressional Republicans demanded a speech to put the onus back on Obama. Predictably as the day of the speech arrived, Republicans began to declare the speech a failure before it had left the president’s mouth.
A fantastic form of Bingo last night would have been writing down the predictable statements panning the speech that would come streaming out of the Fox News post game review panel. You could predict the statements of it falling flat, sounding hollow, going horribly wrong. The speech itself by the president was workmanlike. The tone was measured and the president addressed some common themes of dissent to his idea. He didn’t attempt to give it his psuedo-MLK tone, nor did he sound like he was giving a eulogy. He focused heavily on the word “children” to nail his point of morality home. I still remain against the idea of a strike on Syria, but I will say the president made a good case. But the president’s opponents cannot even lower themselves to giving an honest evaluation of the president’s speech.
Blind political bitterness overcomes everything with today’s republicans on Fox News. You may have disagreed with the president’s reasoning or argument, but it’s just flat wrong that is was a bad speech. One consultant on my feed said the White House knew that the speech was awful. Really? The ridiculousness of the reaction is almost childish at this point. Conservatives were positive that this Syria situation would be the defining Katrina of Obama’s second term. They’ve flailed back and forth between accusing him of arming al-Qaeda in the resistance, to empowering a murderous tyrant in doing nothing. The president in his speech noted that history had rarely seen chemical weapons used since the trenches of World War I. One of those times was Hitler gassing the Jews. The Conservative reaction was to say Obama directly compared Assad to Hitler. The group that constantly accuses Obama of being Hitler accused him of directly comparing someone else to Hitler. I guess the twisted logic is that he’s responsible for deaths for not attacking, and supporting a new Hitler.
Regardless, the speech was merely another move in a game with Vladimir Putin. Conservatives nakedly flirting with Putin should speak volumes about the right’s blind Obama hate. But chances are this is avoided completely. Conservatives and Republicans though will still accuse him of failure no matter the outcome.
We're back for S2:E1 of The Sunshine Empire Podcast Empire. We find out who shot The Rick and the Trial Of The Century. Jolemite joins us from Portland and plays #FML or #TCOT.
Rush Limbaugh famously played that Barack The Magic Negro song, but if you think about it black Democrats must be magic. Two stark examples of the sorcery of Democratic African American occupants of the Jacksonville City Hall and the White House. How else can you explain how a black Democrat locally here in Jacksonville got a right wing city council to increase taxes and spending? Fiscally conservative Republican members of the Jacksonville City Council voted against the type of draconian spending cuts that they profess to be in favor of generally. And nationally, how else can you explain how a black Democrat made the crowd that espoused the unlimited powers during wartime of the president to wage unilateral war to protect Americans going all squishy Code Pink skeptical antiwar? Conservatives and Republicans are asking the types of tough questions about open ended military blank checks to the executive branch that never got asked in the run-up to the Iraq War. The same people who argued that a wartime president had an almost godlike infallibility when it came to waging war to protect American interests in the Middle East, now rightly question if we have any kind of end game. Politics aside, in both instances Republicans are right for the record. The Sheriff’s office needed to be fully funded and Mayor Brown should have the courage to fight that fight. And Republicans are right to ask for a valid reasoning before Americans start launching cruise missiles into another Arab country. But how else to you explain the sudden change of direction on Republican dogma on both fronts other than the magic of black Democrats?
After the events of last evening on the MTV television network I feel the need to recount an experience with my youth that now I’ve come to clearly understand. Twenty one years ago I met a balding man with a salt and pepper goatee that claimed he was a future me that had traveled back in time to warn me of future world events. Back in 1992, fresh off of Bill Clinton’s winning the White House from George H.W. Bush, it would have been wise of me to inquire about world events and financial trends that could benefit my path in life. But being a foolish seventeen year old boy, I only asked, “Who’s going to be the headline starting act of that year’s Video Music Awards on MTV? Will it be Michael Jackson, or Madonna? Maybe Billy Idol?” The aged man shook his head ominously no. “That turbulent year, the son of the star of hit sitcom Growing Pains will be joined onstage by the daughter of the man that made Achy Breaky Heart a hit all across your land. The two of them will play act like they are doing the dirty deed. The young lady will be using one of those foam We’re Number One fingers to rub on her lady parts. And Alan Thicke’s son will be in a suit that makes him look like an overdressed football referee. Also Will Smith’s robot children will be caught looking horrified. Also, a former Mouseketeer will sing an extended 20 minute set midway through the show.” I looked back at him horrified. “That can’t be true!” I banished him back to whatever alternate Hellscape he came from. I felt the future could not be a curse like that assured in stone to happen. Our destiny is what we make of it. Yet last night watching the Video Music Awards I found that we can never escape our Hellish destiny. But at least we’re past that entertainment milestone now.
My favorite reaction to the experience was shown on Morning Joe this morning. The looks on Jayden and Willow Smith to what was unfolding on the state at Barclay’s was my favorite moment of today. But I have to imagine that Miley Cyrus has to be a bit taken aback by the uproar. “Wait, didn’t Madonna like make out with two women one time?” Yet as my wife put it this morning, when you’re Madonna you can do that. Either way I’m shocked I saw any of the awards show last night. I know I’m old when I watch the intro to any of those types of shows. They will all do a celebrity roll call of those in attendance. But too often now the list of hot names to me sounds too much like, “Person I don’t know, person I don’t know, Lady Gaga, person I don’t know, person I don’t know, Jimmy Fallon, person I don’t know.” But now that I have kids I should keep up with this garbage. It’s better than listening to local sports talk radio. Well, back to politics.
I live in a car city. Living in the largest city in terms of land area in the lower 48, you spend a large part of your day in your car. Consequently you tend to use your conveyance as an expression of your personality more so than someone living in a town who’s mass transit system isn’t a joke. There are many understandable ways of expressing yourself by what you put on the back end of your car. Many announce who their favorite sports team is. Sports is how white people express tribalism in modern society. Others tell you how sports is a polarizing force in their family life with their “House Divided” front plates or frames. A house divided against itself cannot stand, but this Excursion is certainly going to get Jayden to Tae Kwon Do practice. I observed just the other day an advertisement on a van for “Christian Karate” but that’s a discussion for another day. During election years your car is your platform to advocate for your choice for mayor, senator, or president. You can also explain your political displeasure over who won (Don’t blame me I voted for Herman Cain). All of these are understandable ways of expressing yourself on your vehicle. Others however try to tell us the oddest things with their cars.
One thing I find odd living near miles of Atlantic coast beaches are the people that put random aquatic life on their car. Just a sticker with their favorite fish. Like a prawn, or swordfish, or flounder. No writing or explanation other than an accurate representation of the particular thing you like to spend time removing from it’s natural environment and eating and/or shellacking. The Jesus Fish-Darwin Fish-Jesus Fish eating the Darwin Fish thing is too stupid to take the time to go into. I don’t know the place you have to be in to make your car a moving shiny tombstone for a lost loved one (Bobby Joe Bob 1972-2007 Always In Our Hearts – Pissing Calvin). But it gets really odd with the flip flops. All over the River City people put stickers of a pair of flip flops on their car. No explanation. Just flip flops. Sometimes the flip flops have a sports team’s colors, but again their just flip flops. I have no issue with people who wear flip flops. I personally don’t like having something jammed in between my toes but that’s me. Then people progress to putting groups of different sized flip flops in a coded message to let you know how many people are in that particular person’s family. Why do you need to tell me that. Just use your turn signal and don’t involve me in some family newsletter about how big Susie’s become. Just because you may do this family thing super hipster with different sized Apple Computer apples or your favorite Star Wars characters doesn’t make it any less odd. Your favorite footwear, number of dead relatives, and your feelings of distrust over organized religion don’t interest me.
The matter of the insanity of birtherism and the legitimacy of President Barack Obama is fairly trodden ground. The effort was always one to make the president seem like he was not one of us, despite his story actually being quintessentially American. Yet many perfectly sane and intelligent Republicans didn’t indulge in it so much as coyly winked and nodded in birtherism’s direction. Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner famously said it was not his job to tell the American people what to think, with regard to the president being a natural born citizen. Yet conservatives have been much more quiet when it comes to the junior Canadian born senator from Texas. Some on the left though have gone reverse birther on the Tea Party darling in what I can only assume they feel is revenge for the grief conservatives gave Obama. The huge difference movement conservatism and movement progressives to note, is that people on the left have quickly called bullshit. It caught my eye when National Review’s Byron York re-tweeted a story from TPM’s Josh Marshall. American politics has been called a great pendulum swinging back and forth. But too much of the last two decades has been continual revolving political retribution. Democrats don’t need to fully indulge, nor even wink and nod at flights of fancy like birtherism. Confirming that Ted Cruz can run for president means you have to admit you have lunatics in your midst. That you didn’t immediately tell them they were lunatics tells us volumes about you.
The conventional wisdom coming out of the 2012 presidential campaign was that America’s shifting demographics doomed Mitt Romney and future GOP candidates. Unless the Republican party made some kind of outreach to the African American and Latino communities, these voting blocks would continue to vote for the Democratic ticket. The argument from many on the far right is that turnout models for blacks and Hispanics can’t continue at such historic rates without the binding force of Barack Obama on the ballot. Just simply work to match Ronald Reagan’s record take of the white vote, and you don’t have to worry about addressing the concerns of voter suppression and immigration reform. The message seems to be that there’s nothing to worry about in the future because Obama won’t be there to kick them around anymore. But their biggest worry should be, they won’t have Obama to kick around anymore.
Since he took office in 2009, Republicans have stood resolutely against any idea that Barack Obama has proposed. Even policies supposedly politically dear to Republican hearts, like cutting the corporate income tax rate, are routinely blocked with vicious tenacity. Obama could propose renaming the nation’s capitol Reagantown, and Mitch McConnell would filibuster it. But Republicans have made fighting the Affordable Care Act the central battleground in trying to de-legitimize the 44th president. As the president said Friday, “The one unifying principle in the Republican Party at the moment is making sure that 30 million people don’t have health care.” Yet Republicans won their fiefdom in the House by standing hysterically against Obamacare and lack any other counter argument or policy platform for themselves. Trying the same game-plan of Anything But Obama in 2012 the lost across the board. Heading into the 2014 mid-terms they are again running on that platform, hoping historically low turnout gives them a shot at taking back the Senate. But where does that leave them in 2016?
By 2016 Obamacare will be baked into the cake. As a lame duck, Barack Obama will be virtually non-existent on the political stage. The projected budget deficit will be a fifth of what it was when Obama took office in 2009. Running on the coming Obamapocalypse will ring hollow to many voters. The white vote will be an even smaller portion of the overall electorate. What’s the Republicans compelling tax alternative at this point? Will they still be handcuffed by the Tea Party fringe on immigration? The country’s decade at war will be over. The only connection to Obama will be the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. Obama’s Secretary of State for four years will also be a difficult one to peg as the heir to Obama. Despite weak attempts to use Clinton against Obama in the 2012 election the GOP will make her his best buddy come 2016. But after being out of the administration for 4 years, the woman who fought him in the historic primary in 2008 can stand rightly apart from the fray. How is Rand Paul going to spin those, “Shame on you Barack Obama” clips into Clinton being the next step in Obama Socialism? The GOP thinks they have the advantage with no Obama in 2016. But after 8 years of no credible policy or idea other than “Anything But Obama,” how exactly are they to survive without him?
Like any family, there is a portion of mine that does not share my particular brand of progressive politics. I keep my politics to Twitter and use Facebook more for fart jokes and family matters. Yet now, Facebook will display in your feed pages that other friends have liked. So I get a taste of the kind of fringe Tea Party nonsense that some of my distant family indulges in. I can understand that today’s flood of social media information can leave little time to fact check something that seems to fit so nicely into your particular political narrative, but sometime something seems so outlandish that even the hardest of partisan has to stop and ask, “Is that even right?” Something like that caught my attention yesterday, and the creator has to be either wildly stupid, or seriously mendacious.
The post that my grandmother’s late second husband’s first wife (yeah seriously) liked involved the current conservative push to make President Obama’s short summer vacation seem extravagant. The right is constantly attempting to frame the 44th president of The United States as arrogant and out of touch. The only problem is he’s taken drastically less vacation time than the previous Republican president, G-Dubs. The post breathlessly ask if it was right for the Obama’s to fly their dog Bo out to their vacation spot on Martha’s Vineyard in a separate plan while troops abroad were having their rations cut. Why does a dog get a separate plane all to fly to an extravagant liberal enclave while soldiers starve? The entire question is a false premise completely. But what’s even more amusing is that it’s constructed from two situations that occurred years apart. Let’s start with the plane story.
Snopes.com has an excellent explanation of the Bo plane story and how the dog was actually in a plane full of other people heading to Maine as well. Since Air Force One couldn’t land at the small Maine airport, two smaller planes were used and Bo went on the plane behind the Obamas. But this story is not from today and it’s not flying to Martha’s Vineyard. So that all by itself would be a mendacious twisting of the truth. But we add on the starving troops for extra affect. That too is a wild twisting of the truth.
The post insinuates that this extravagant dog plane trip is being done while troops are being given less food to eat in the field of battle. The basis of this part of the smear is due to the United States scaling back the war in Afghanistan, that a majority of Americans want over now. The military’s retrograde of the war requires dismantling the supply lines and equipment for the four hot meals a day that were being served troops. The military is not eliminating two of the four meals. They are instead moving to MREs for these two meals of the day. Nobody is having their rations cut at all, it’s just not going to be hot. Nobody is saying the troops should be happy about this, but they are by no means receiving less food by any definition. The politics of any small normal occurrence is so desperately twisted to make Barack Obama into something he’s not. It says everything you need to understand about the complete lack of principles and policy on the American conservative right that this poorly constructed straw man of manufactured outrage even exists.
As Barack Obama said on Friday, the Republican party is almost exclusively based now on standing against whatever the president stands for. Republicans are pointing toward 2016 and insisting that the Obama coalition won’t be automatically there for Democrats. What Republicans seem to miss is that Barack Obama won’t be there to run against either. These weird Obama outrage boners won’t win you Florida or Ohio in the Electoral College either.
The second half of my comedy top ten you may not have heard of is here. I’m not stupid enough to act like I’ve discovered any comedian. I just know I hear too much Jeff Dunham and Gabriel Iglesias, and not enough of these comedians when I talk comedy with anyone in northeast Florida.
Rory Scovel is someone I discovered from the Todd Glass Show podcast and I was instantly a fan of his stand-up.
Eddie Pepitone has been in the comedy business for decades, but he’s found a resurgence in recent years. He manages to fit his progressive politics into his angry irreverent personality on stage. He’s nothing short of brilliant.
I was lucky enough to see James Adomian at Portland’s Helium with Jolemite and this guy is a master of voices, but his impressions are never a crutch in his comedy. If you follow his Twitter feed you know his progressive politics, but he never pushes that in his act.
I discovered Matt Braunger from my Pandora feed but I love this Portland based comic for his hometown humor as well. His 15 minute a week podcast also works well with my ADD.
Last but not least on this top ten comedians you need in your ear holes, is Henry Phillips. Henry is a musical comedian that I again discovered from the Todd Glass show, but his Henry’s Kitchen segments on YouTube prove his comedy goes far beyond a guitar.