Friday, February 27, 2009

Tea Party Houston

A CNBC Business News reporter recently started a groundswell of grass root support as the loyal opposition organizes to protest the economic takeover of the American way of life. As the president presented his budget to the public yesterday - but took no questions from reporters - we are only just now realizing exactly what the term 'change' means to a perceived liberal mandate.

Rick Santelli reports live from the trading floor in Chicago Board of Trade. He focuses on interest rates, foreign exchange and the Federal Reserve. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois and he has been a member of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade. Recently, Mr. Santelli had a minute or two of air time and put it to use in his form of protesting the increasing levels of the bailout mentality in Washington. And, as he grew more and more dramatic in protest, rant style, he incurred the support of others on the trading floor. They cheered him.

The next day, during the White House press briefing, Press Secretary Gibbs took shots at the intelligence and motives of Mr. Santelli. It was a major punk moment for Gibbs but it is the Chicago way. Instead of refuting facts, Gibbs went personal. Change, Chicago style.

After all, what would a guy who began his career trading on the floor in Chicago back in 1979 know about markets and government intervention? He joined CNBC in 1999.

Which brings us to today. Today is Nationwide Chicago Tea Party. Can't wait to hear the intellectual lobbing of Gibbs about a grassroots operation launched by regular everyday people. You know, the ones who will be stuck paying the price of the Obama administration's enormous power grab of our government. The very folks condemning the Bush administration for perceived Executive Office power grabs over the war on terror now do the same using our economic system. Socialism 101.

Organized online, Nationwide Chicago Tea Party is a reaction to the administration's slap to Mr. Santelli and the American people begging for common sense in Washington. Some large groups on line, such as Top Conservatives on Twitter, Smart Girl Politics, the #DontGo Movement, Americans for Tax Reform, the Heartland Institute, and American Spectator Magazine heeded the call and joined forces. Cities across the country will witness peaceful, well attended protests of the expansion of government into all our lives.

Today, February 27, 2009 at 12:00 PM EST, those unable to attend a protest will be able to connect through Twitter.

Here in Houston the Tea Party will be at Fondren Green at Discovery Green Park. It will be staged right in front of the Amphitheatre. A strong turnout is expected. All are encouraged to bring a lunch, a sign to hold and enjoy the gathering. A modern day version of the Boston Tea Party.

Remember, dissent is patriotic.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele released a statement after the president's recent address to a joint session of Congress: "After last year's State of the Union, then-candidate Barack Obama asked the nation to imagine a time when a President's agenda would draw standing ovations from both sides of the aisle. That sort of bipartisanship is an admirable goal--one that unfortunately continues to elude Washington. The Democratic leadership in Congress must be willing to work with Republican to stop out-of-control spending, promote the creation of jobs, and to keep our troops properly funded."

"I am more confident than ever that the American people will stand up for the principles our nation was founded on and will hold their representatives accountable to overcome the challenges that his nation faces."

Nationwide Chicago Tea Party.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Council Rebukes Mayor Bill White in Houston

Following suit with the Democrat in the White House, Houston Mayor Bill White almost got away with the taxpayers of the city of Houston bailing out some here who would like to purchase a home but have a credit score too low for approval. As unbelievable as it sounds, the scam is true.

Mayor Bill White has bigger political ambitions for when he is term limited out as mayor of the nation's fourth largest city. He is a former deputy energy secretary during the Clinton administration and he is a Democrat hoping to win election to the seat being vacated by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson.

White decided to run for the U.S. Senate rather than Governor of the State of Texas when Senator Hutchinson made her intentions clear that she will run for Governor. White knows he can't win against her so he decided a seat in the Senate would be good. He will face strong Republican opposition for the seat, however. Several strong contenders have made it known they are running - including a popular black Republican, Michael Williams, currently Railroad Commissioner. Despite the name of his title, the Railroad Commissioner does not run the railroads, he is in charge of energy policy.

So, while Mayor White was back slapping and glad handing in Washington, D.C. for the Mayor's conference, he slipped in a topic on the Houston City Council agenda that would have Houston city taxpayers footing the bill for low income folks to buy a house. He called it "The Credit Score Enhancement Program" and it would provide $3,000 grants for people who were just short of an acceptable credit score number for a traditional mortgage. The 'grants' would be used to pay off debt balances so that their credit scores could rise.

The City of Houston wanted to pick the winners and losers, just like the President wants to pick winners and losers with the federal bailouts on the backs of "the rich". Rich is a relative term. Those making $250,000 in Houston are not considered rich. Houston has a lower cost of living than other major cities but even here it takes more to be "rich".

Yesterday on a financial business show, the woman who represents my district on the Houston City Council, Pam Holm, appeared to congratulate the citizens of Houston who rose up and said no to this madness. "I do not understand how we can ever justify spending taxpayer dollars to pay somebody's credit card," She said. "I don't understand how it can be even considered to come up. I am truly embarrassed. I think it shows poor leadership." The "poor leadership" part of the remark truly perked up ears here, as it is very rare for a member of City Council to openly criticize the mayor. Those surprised by Holm's remarks have not been in her company. She is a member of my local Republican Women group and she is a strong advocate for her district. She is a tireless worker and she is not bashful to express an opinion. At a recent District meeting for state Republican women, I heard her announce her intention to run for city Comptroller. Our current Comptroller, Houston's first openly gay female politician, is running for mayor.

The mayor had to back off his plan to use the 'grants', to be taken from monies set aside for homeowner repairs after Hurricane Ike damage, and then feigned surprise that the motion had made it to City Council's agenda. That is completely crazy. The mayor sets the agenda and council members only vote or offer amendments. They have no agenda setting privileges. And, White was conveniently in Washington D.C. while the meeting was conducted. Cowardly at best.

Citizens were outraged and the e-mails began. One council member spoke of a voter that mailed him a bill and told him to pay it. The mayor finally admitted that he may have put too much pressure on his Housing Director to help put home buyers in the areas identified as "Houston Hope" areas. These are neighborhoods set aside to be revitalized by the city. Applicants can't earn more than 80 percent of the area's median income. The mayor blamed the city's Department of Housing and Community Development.

White claimed the monies would come from the $444,000 leftover from the city's $1.5 million appropriation for emergency home and roof repairs. It is quite a stretch of the imagination to believe there is money left over and no one in need.

The city has provided grants for down payments and for closing costs for 872 families since 2005. Incredible as that sounds, it is a fact. The Housing Director claims only one family has had a foreclosure from those receiving this benefit. Of course, he works for the mayor. The recently embarrassed mayor.

This scheme made national news. Fortunately for the people of Houston who pay their taxes and their bills, a light shined on the proposal. It is time for any arm of government - whether city, county, state or federal to stop with the picking of winners and losers.

It is hard to believe this scam from Mayor White was anything more than a pander to the lower income voter in hopes of support as he runs for higher office. Our mayoral races are billed as non-partisan but it is always clear which party is represented. White is a Democrat.

Do not think this disapproval comes solely from Republicans. It was rejected by all political stripes. It is a shame the mayor has this blot on his record. He has been widely popular throughout the city. I voted for his re-election based on his job performance after Hurricane Katrina. He worked with the county president - a Republican - and gave a place of refuge to the people of Louisiana. The city of Houston is known for its generosity to others. This was reinforced at that time here and abroad.

Houston, we almost had another problem. Mission accomplished. And, I am proud to be represented by Pam Holm on the Houston City Council.

Anyone ready for a tea party?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Americans Can Do Anything", Says Jindal

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal began his address to the nation by praising America's first African American president. This at the same time he was being smacked across the face by the left and the right in our country. It was surreal and it was to be expected.

Jindal's speech was a good one. It was not a great one but it didn't have to be. This was a no win situation for whomever was to follow President Obama. While Obama's delivery was flawed and he still doesn't have some rudimentary process under his belt - as when he began to speak before Speaker Pelosi introduced him - it was still delivered to the slobbering press and crowd. The agenda was large and no specific solutions were offered up yet you would think it was the best speech ever to read the glowing remarks afterward.

Jindal speaks quickly, especially for a man of the South. His delivery of the speech was evidently meant to slow him down and bring it to a common man's level. It seemed to reach too far back in maturity, though, and this leaves critics to feed on belittling him. Plus, Jindal is an unabashed patriotic first generation American who truly believes in his conservative message. More importantly, he is successfully governing a state known for corruption and bad behavior as a leader who walks the walk.

The left hates him.

Helen Thomas cracks a Slumdog Millionare joke about Gov. Jindal after calling his speech "pitiful" and it's accepted as comedy because it is an attack on a Republican of color. Imagine if it was a watermelon and fried chicken joke about Barack Obama. And, uttered by a known conservative. Wow. Just as MSNBC's Chris Matthews uttered "Oh, God" as Gov. Jindal came onto television screens, Helen Thomas is proven again to show her true colors. Both brag of their liberalism yet continue to shine an unflattering light on it.

The holier than thou wing of the Republican party is in full voice today criticizing the speech made last night by Gov. Bobby Jindal as a rebuttal to the one delivered by President Obama. I read one remark that many listeners would be surprised to see him and put his accent to is face. I read many remarks on his teacher tone as if to speak to kindergartners. I read that the message was dumbed down and wouldn't ring true with young people or the diversity crowd.

What is incredible to me, though sadly fully expected, is the fact that while we celebrate the nation's first African American president's first speech delivered to a joint meeting of Congress, in the same evening discrediting the rebuttal of the loyal opposition in the form of Gov. Jindal.

Who is Bobby Jindal? Jindal is the first Indian-American state governor. He is a Rhodes Scholar, a graduate of Oxford University. His birth certificate is not called into question. Born to poor Indian immigrants in the state of Louisiana, his "American" name is taken from a sitcom. His mother was four months pregnant with him when his parents arrived in this country, making him a "pre-existing condition" as he calls himself to insurance companies. Jindal began his career in politics at an early age - in his early 20's in the state of Louisiana and the state is richer for it. A classic Jindal line was spoken by him last night, "The strength of America is not found in our government, it is found in her people." "We look for hope in different places", when talking about the differences between Republicans and Democrats in basic political philosophy. And, the left hates him.

The American left hates Bobby Jindal. He is a rising star with plenty of time to get there. His age is 37. He is a first term governor and he will not be rushed into anything else. He says he will run for a second term and I believe him. The state sorely needs him and he knows how to lead. Plus, the people love him. He will be a strong candidate for higher office in 2016.

Jindal points to the fact that yes, Republicans in power lost their way as far as conservative fiscal policy and he speaks to the folly of that corruption. He is against universal health care if the government runs it. He advocates and implements charter schools and school choice, especially in New Orleans where the need is so obvious, especially after Hurricane Katrina. He demands the federal monies promised to Louisiana after devastating storms.

Gov. Jindal is known as a policy wonk. He is articulate. He is a fast talker. He leads by producing a positive message and inspiring the people of Louisiana. His life story is to be celebrated, not belittled for political gain. His life story is impossible in any other country. He is grateful and he is humble. The left hates him.

Jindal was raised with the constant statement from his father, "Americans can do anything". While the current president and his administration are busy stating that if Congress doesn't act immediately and expand government to unprecedented levels (while bashing the previous administration for doing so), then America may never recover. Doom and gloom. Last night Jindal said, "Don't let anyone tell you we cannot recover. That America's best days are behind her."

He plainly laid out the Republican alternatives to the big government solutions of the Democrats. He counsels that the Republican party must be more than the party of no and provide acceptable alternatives.

The left hates him. The right would do well to settle down and let him be just who he is.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Is President Obama Just An Empty Suit?

The speech that wasn't billed as a State of the Union Address was delivered by our first black president and we are all appreciative of that milestone. However, the speech did not live up to my expectations. While everyone delights in criticizing Governor Bobby Jindal's response to the speech, I'll put a few thoughts out there about the main event.

It was a pep rally. Granted our country could use a pep rally but suddenly the president makes the effort to stop with the constant doom and gloom and we are all suppose to be grateful for some optimism? It sounded phony. And, with the jack in the box performance of a constantly smiling Speaker of the House sitting behind him, the phoniness was magnified.

While it is good that the president continued to give lip service to working with all politicians in Washington, it rang hollow. We know how his biggest accomplishment to date was handled and it does not bode well for upcoming legislation. Also, by continuing to take pot shots at the previous administration, by saying not once but twice that he "inherited" the financial crisis, he sounds like he is still on the campaign trail and not the top of the leadership chain in the Oval Office. It is time to stop. With the passage of the massive spending bill, President Obama now owns the financial environment. He inherited nothing. He asked for the job, it wasn't just left to him.

It will be interesting to track how Wall Street reacts in the next few days. Up until today, Wall Street continued with the downward trend. We will see if today's rally continues. By saying his plan is not about helping banks but of helping people, how does he expect us to believe that if the banks don't have confidence to begin more relaxed credit lending? "People" won't be able to make large purchases unless banks (Wall Street) feel they have some support, too.

By putting Joe Biden at the helm for oversight of the spending bill's allotments, he turned the speech into a juvenile throwaway line - "Nobody messes with Joe". Really? Late night comedians, editorial pages, and talking heads on cable television may beg to differ. I think Joe is messed with quite a lot, and rightfully so. He is a walking gaffe machine.

And, what about Joe Biden's son, the hedge fund manager who is now dragged into the Sanford scandal?

President Obama said he doesn't want bigger government yet no cuts in spending were announced except in Defense. He went out of his way to tout closing Gitmo as the end of "torture" though he hasn't decided what to do with the remaining prisoners and didn't offer any solutions. Also, in recent days it has come to light that he will continue the policy of rendition of the previous administration - he just did it quietly with an Executive Order. Gitmo has been determined to be in compliance with the Geneva Conventions. Will he send everyone to Bagram, Afghanistan where that facility has also been approved by the international community?

By continuing on with the crisis mode, he expects to ride his political capitol in these early days of his administration into massive governmental control of universal health care, energy policy and education reform. Perhaps he should re-read President Bush's first major accomplishment - No Child Left Behind and the federal expansion it brought. How many more billions of dollars must be wasted on our public school system? Now that a Democrat is in the White House it seems it is acceptable to utter the words "charter school" and teacher accountability.

Does this president understand it is with oil that solar panels are manufactured? How about all those "alternative batteries" that new car production will require? And, wind technology? Does he know that natural gas is drilled with oil? Someone should tell him. Otherwise he will continue to sound quite foolish.

He introduced his wife at the beginning of the speech at the same time as the Speaker and the Vice President. That was odd. And then he didn't bother to introduce the members representing the hero quota until the end of the speech. Then Michelle Obama hogged the spotlight meant for the little girl sitting next to her - the eight grade student from South Carolina who wrote to the President to fix her school. A young Democrat, I see. Michelle Obama does enjoy the spotlight.

The speech was long on campaign talk. The problem is that by saying "whatever proves necessary" as a solution to the crisis du jour is not a strategy uttered by a leader. We know the man is a pro at campaigning. He is very experienced at that. He so far has failed to lead.

Rolling back tax cuts is a tax increase. This increase also applies to those making over $250,000 that President Obama uses as the marker for "rich" in America. The problem is that small business people usually file as individuals and that puts them above the mark. The president doesn't understand this. This is a prime example of the policy differences between the two parties.

The spending bill touted as President Obama's big success - for which Speaker Pelosi is obviously taking full credit - will not succeed without large cuts in federal spending. There are many redundant programs in Washington. More are not needed. Simply adding some Czars to the equation accomplishes more red tape.

While the president was more optimistic towards the end of his speech, and he rallied as best as he could the audience, it remained a sophomoric attempt.

And, for those interested in the fashion scorecard: Michelle Obama has buff arms but should be told not to wear sleeveless dresses to evening events where professional attire is necessary. All the sheeple will continue to talk of her fashion style and how well she is put together but I continue to think of how Laura Bush was bashed as though she were a hick from the sticks as she moved into Washington with her quiet dignity intact. Jill Biden looked completely out of place in her pastel green suit, but at least it was a suit. And, Nancy Pelosi? That godawful thing she was wearing was not helped at all by her constant jumping - literally - out of her chair whether it was appropriate or not.

President Obama has spent more time out of Washington in the month that he has been there than any other new president. Can you imagine the howls if President Bush had done that? President Obama is failing on the leadership score. And, he doesn't need any more practice on the campaign trail. The campaign is over. He has to get out of mode.

Much more substance is needed to go along with the style. Otherwise, President Obama is doomed to empty suit status for the next four years.

Confessions of a Twitter Addict

Do you Twitter? I confess, I am hooked. Twitter is the first place I go to in the morning and the last place I check before I retire for the night.

To Twitter is to shrink thoughts, information and your life's movements into 140 characters or less. A 'tweet' may be something as mundane as what you are eating for a meal or as compelling as the recent jet crash into the Hudson River.

I tweet, therefore I am.

I most enjoy the constant updating from the news services on Twitter. As a political and current events junkie, this is no surprise. I "follow", or read tweets written by all the major news outlets. I follow everything from CNN and Fox News, Time magazine, reporters from the mainstream tv networks, and international outlets, too. BBC and others abroad bring the world to my lap with updates on my notebook computer.

Recently, Terry Moran, "Nightline" co-anchor, put Twitter to use on board Air Force One as he prepared to interview President Obama. He asked his followers to suggest interview questions and admitted many were good ones. Twitter can be a valuable tool for reporters by using the instant feedback that those connected provide. And, Twitter provides a more personal side of those in the public eye.

Sometimes it's fun to follow the tweets of celebrities, too. I follow comedian Paula Poundstone and tv star cook Paula Deen.

From an article in the Washington Post written by Howard Kurtz: "When that US Airways jet made an emergency landing in the Hudson River in January, Twitter users were providing updates before the New York Times published an online story. Janis Krums, a passenger on a nearby ferry, posted a Twitter photo of the plane in the water that was quickly picked up by major news organizations."

Twitter is used to transmit photos and also to link news stories or blog posts. I use it to let those interested in reading my blog know when a new post has been published. Twitter is a great networking tool.

Tweet on.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Time For A New Message

Something is sorely missing from the message department of the White House. Have you figured out what that missing element is yet? The missing element is the message of hope. The missing message that we are going to get through the coming months of economic and political uncertainty and we will be ok.

Why did President Obama win in November? He won because he offered a message of hope and change. As vacuous as that was, voters fell for it and voted him in. The economic downturn was his magic carpet and he rode it all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Once there, he turned up the volume on the doom and gloom rhetoric in order to put the largest spending bill in U.S. history into action. All the omnimous, stern lectures of how we have to manage catastrophic events in our economy and in relationship to crashing world economies were for political gain for the incoming administration.

So, how's that working out?

True, President Obama received his wish of speedy passage of the unbelievably poorly written spending bill - rushed through before the members of Congress even had time to read the 1100 pages of pork-filled and power grabbing gobbley-gook. There was no input from Republicans in the House and none voted for the final passage, bringing along 11 Democrats with them in disapproval. Only three Republicans in the Senate voted in favor of passage and the President had to send a jet to fetch Sen. Sherrod Brown from his mother's wake in Ohio to garner enough support.

So much for the flowery statements of bipartisan support and transparency in legislation.

The president is talking down the economy long after his method is necessary. The DOW continues to fall. The glory days of the number 14,000 from 2007 are long gone, just a distant memory. No one is showing much faith in the competence of his boy wonder, Secretary Geithner, and the voters are up in arms over the slow drip of information as it pertains to the contents of the spending bill.

The mood is sour throughout the country. No one expects the administration to work miracles, especially with only a month into office, but a change of tone would work wonders. Though it is common with the revisionist writing of history, a lesson could be taken from the previous administration under President Bush.

As Mark McKinnon writes on The Daily Beast, "George W. Bush was president through some of the darkest days of our history and yet his optimism never waned. He is optimistic by nature, but he also understood the importance of always communicating a sense that things will get better. And it's in part why John Kerry lost in 2004. He painted a terrible picture of the future. And as Bush said, "You can't say things are going to be awful, follow me and expect to turn around and see a crowd."

In recent years it became popular to mock President Bush for telling Americans they could participate in the economic recovery of our nation after the attacks of 9/11/01 by simply doing something as basic as going shopping. The message was that we must continue to live our lives. We must remain hopeful of future events. We must continue to purchase items for our homes and families, show patronage of local merchants, support your community as you support your country. It's simple but it must be said. It's back to basics time.

Times are bleak, to be sure. But, we'll survive. It is common for the politicians to mimic the President's expression that times haven't been this tough since the days of the Great Depression. It's not factual, certainly in economic terms, but it sounds scary and keeps an audience's attention. It is fear mongering for fear mongering's sake. And, it is wrong. It is a cheap political trick and it is backfiring. Americans have hunkered down and are too nervous to make purchases, though the majority of Americans remain employed. Americans are too nervous to purchase new homes, though most Americans remain in their homes. Lenders have not released all the monies they've received and contribute to the frustrations. It's all adding up.

The early days of Ronald Reagan's administration were dark days indeed. We all remember the mess Jimmy Carter left. Historically speaking, those days were worse than what is faced now. Unemployment was higher, interest rates were skyrocketing, inflation had taken hold, and public confidence was at all time lows. We are in better shape today than then with the potential for a speedier recovery. President Reagan never stooped to doom and gloom speeches. He is remembered for his sunny disposition throughout the tough times and his unyielding optimism in the future of our country.

Hope is good. The President has a duty to inspire Americans with the feeling of hope and confidence in the days ahead. It is time for President Obama to re-group and bring his best efforts of renewed faith in the American future to her people.

President Obama will give a speech to a joint session of Congress in the coming week. He has the perfect opportunity to begin to send a new message. We're waiting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pope's Message to Pelosi

Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and seven other Democrats rushed through the spending bill of the Obama administration in order to make their plane to Italy. Wednesday, the Pope reinforced the laws of Karma.

Pope Benedict XVI told Pelosi that "Catholic politicians and legislators cannot back abortion rights", according to WELT ONLINE. Pelosi is often on the receiving end of critism from U.S. bishops for her personal interreptation of Catholic doctrine.

"His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural and moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death..."a Vatican statement said."

"It said such teaching "enjoins all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men of goodwill in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development," it said."

Reads like a direct shot to me. Pelosi failed to mention the issue of abortion as she issued her personal statement after her meeting with the pope. She focused on her praise of the Church's leadership "in fighting poverty, hunger and global warming." Global warming. OK.

In August, Pelosi was criticized for her failure to define the beginning of life. She stated it was still an "issue of controversy" within the Church, yet Catholic doctrine defines life as beginning at the moment of conception. Life ends at the moment of natural death.

In a post-election zeal to imprint its own stamp of leadership, the Obama administration disclosed that President Obama reversed a Bush administration ban on funding for groups overseas providing abortion services. Nancy Pelosi was a vocal supporter of this action. The Vatican pointedly criticized this move.

Also, during the campaign season, then candidate Obama stated that as a supporter of abortion rights, he would not want a daughter of his to be "punished" with a baby if she found herself pregnant as a teenager.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Obama Signs Spending Bill

Have you noticed a pattern to the travels of President Obama? By hosting campaign style events in Virginia, Indiana, Florida and now Colorado, the president is tipping his hand. He and his team plan to visit swing states from the 2008 election as often as possible to store up support for the re-election bid that will come for 2012. His administration intends to simply remain in campaign mode throughout his terms as president.

The alleged candidate of change, now the President of the U.S. has fallen far short in his brief amount of time in office. A glaring spotlight has shined on President Obama's lack of leadership. In order to meet a fabricated deadline for his spending bill, masked as economic stimulus, President Obama outsourced the legislation to Speaker Pelosi and her cohorts in the House. She allowed the bill to become a wish list of every liberal spending program on the party's agenda for the past 30 years. We now know that the rush for legislation to sign was another fabrication. The same president who demanded immediate action - to the point of his Democrat leadership ramming it through before anyone even read the more than 1,000 pages of the legislation - felt comfortable to leave Washington for a three day vacation break in Chicago with his family.

Remember when President Bush went to Crawford to spend time at the ranch and all the grief he took for his 'time off' from Washington? Where are those critics now?

Senator Judd Gregg has now recovered from whatever it was that caused his extreme lack of judgement about joining the team at the White House as Secretary of Commerce. First it was coming forward that this White House intends to manipulate the national census for the benefits of the Democrats in Congress and the re-election of this president. For the first time, the census will be under the oversight of Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. The same Chief of Staff who is also a politician from Chicago and known for his extreme partisanship in Washington. He learned the ropes as a member of the staff for the Clinton administration.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says there is "historical precedent" to take the census out of the Commerce Department and into the White House for supervision. That is not true but he receives a pass from the blinded by adoration national press.

You may remember the cries that the Bush administration was grabbing too much control in the Executive branch. Yet, who knew that the change promised by this new president was for his team to just move in and site "historical precedent" if questioned?

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele released the following statement:
"It is disappointing that President Obama would make the census about politics rather than an accurate count of the American people by taking control of the process away from career professionals at the Department of Commerce and putting the most partisan chief of staff since H.R. Haldeman in the Nixon Administration in charge."

Speaker of the House Pelosi and seven other Democrats rushed through the spending bill so that their vacation plans to Italy would not be postponed. President Obama sent a jet for Senator Sherrod Brown for him to fly back from Ohio and his mother's wake to vote in favor of the spending bill. Senator Gregg, who didn't resign his seat before confirmation as Commerce Secretary, voted against the spending bill. A fiscal conservative, he was not able to get on board with the bill.

President Obama went to visit the Caterpillar plant in East Peoria, Illinois last week. He told the workers nervous about the security of their manufacturing jobs there that he was told by their CEO Jim Owens that some of the 22,000 layed off workers would be recalled for work with the signing of the bill. This was the same day, back in Washington, that Press Secretary Gibbs declared the Columbia Free Trade agreement all but dead. And who is the now primary buyer of the big machines manufactured by Caterpillar? That's right - the country of Columbia.

Caterpillar executives have been quite vocal in their support of the trade agreement with Columbia. 63% of Caterpillar's sales are overseas. Pelosi's Democrats in the House, insisted that the "Buy American" provision remain in the spending bill. The European Union has begun to express much displeasure with this provision and the protectionist implications.

Senator Gregg is a free-trader. Perhaps he hoped to change the Obama administration's insistence on rewarding American union bosses who took him into the White House. Perhaps he hoped to be a voice for all the small business owners that employ 75% of the American workforce, yet will receive almost no benefit from the spending bill.

Now, Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens says, "The truth is we're going to have more layoffs before we start hiring again. It's going to take some time before that stimulus bill means rehiring."

Senator Gregg must have come to the realization that he would be a seat warmer in this new administration. He could be pointed to as the "bipartisan" outreach of this administration. He was window dressing. Fortunately for his own self esteem, he realized this before the confirmation process moved forward.

The Republican alternative to the spending bill just signed today in Denver, in the swing state of Colorado with the former Senator from Colorado, now the Interior Secretary present, was one of tax cuts, promotion of free markets and stimulating a favorable environment for business investment. It is a time proven formula. A Republican as Commerce Secretary would know that.

By insisting on taking the census into the White House, the Democrats will push for using the guesstimate method of counting people in this country. It is unconstitutional. The method of counting people is laid out in the Constitution as a visual head count. By guessing how many people are in any given district, the Democrats intend to grow the districts dominated by minorities, typically those voting for Democrats. This is an intentional malfeasance of power.

While President Obama would like for us to think of him as Abe Lincoln, perhaps he would be wise to remember how the "team of rivals" concept worked out for him.

This administration heavy with Chicago pols is making the Clinton administration look like amateur hour for smoke and mirrors.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Socialism Marches On

"Democrats have been in charge of Washington for just a few weeks but their record so far is disappointing to voters who hoped for change." That is a quote issued from Republican National Committee's chairman, Michael Steele. Republicans and many Democrats are greatly disappointed in the display of raw power grabbing that belied the passage of the spending bill that is to stimulate the economy.

Senator Cornyn, (R-TX) said "As a staunch advocate of open government and transparency, I take serious issue with the fact that Members of Congress and the American public had less than 24 hours to look at the conference report before the final vote." "A better approach to the stimulus bill that actually creates more opportunity for middle-class families and small businesses and restores America's economic strength was available. It remains available, and I will continue to build support for an alternative and comprehensive plan."

No member of Congress read the bill before voting on it. Staffers found many objectionable pieces in the legislation that were never discussed or allowed amendments before the final vote. One major stumbling block is the measures added in for a back door approach to socialized medical care in our country. Tom Daschle, before he took himself out of nomination for Health and Human Services Secretary and Health Care Reform Czar, had the whole disturbing game plan written out in a book he published in 2008. The book is called, "Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis" contains his philosophical bon mots including "Doctors have to give up autonomy and "learn to operate less like solo practitioners." That according to an article by Betsy McCaughey posted on

Continuing, "The goal, Daschle's book explained, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept "hopeless diagnoses" and "forgo experimental treatments," and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system." Interesting train of thought for an American living in a free republic and not a socialist European country.

If you are a senior citizen, according to Tom Daschle, you will be expected to just accept the fact that advancing age brings on medical conditions and don't expect treatment for them. Younger members of society are more deserving, as they are assumed to live longer after treatment.

According to Ms. McCaughey, "Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost-effectiveness standard set by the Federal Council". That is written on page 464. "The Federal Council is modeled after a U.K. board discussed in Daschle's book. This board approves or reflects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit. Treatments for younger patients are more often approved than treatments for diseases that affect the elderly, such as osteoporosis."

Also from Ms. McCaughey, "Hiding health legislation in a stimulus bill is intentional. Daschle supported the Clinton administration's health-care overhaul in 1994, and attributed its failure to debate and delay. A year ago, Daschle wrote that the next president should act quickly before critics mount an opposition. "If that means attaching a health-care plan to the federal budget, so be it," he said. "The issue is too important to be stalled by Senate protocol."

McCaughy notes, too, "The health-care industry is the largest employer in the U.S. It produces almost 17 percent of the nation's gross domestic product." If this industry is to be limited, and severely, then will the electronics and auto industries be next? Will Rep. Maxine Waters make good on her announced intentions to nationalize the oil industry? Will all the banks be nationalized with government imposed demands in exchange?

Our republic faces the march of socialism. History shows this to be a very dangerous time for us indeed. The President, by the way, who insisted this monster spending bill be rammed down our throats before anyone actually knew what was in it, is enjoying a vacation weekend with the family back in Chicago. He'll not sign it until more people are tuned into the news on Tuesday and it will be a campaign style photo op from Denver. Seems the President is still in campaign mode.

The President who claimed as a candidate to be post partisan has been anything but that. Eventually he will be called upon to get into the process and lead the country. His presence is needed in Washington.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Reels of Romance

How about some escapism this Valentine's Day? A good, classic romance movie fits the bill. Here are some suggestions:

Classic Favorites

Casablanca (1942) — An intense love triangle between a jaded nightclub owner in French-occupied Morocco during World War II (Humphrey Bogart), his ex-lover (Ingrid Bergman) and her husband, a famous Czech rebel and nationalist (Paul Heinreid), is at the center of this movie, which is perhaps the greatest love story ever committed to film.

Gone With the Wind (1939) — The beautiful and scheming Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) is a Southern belle whose world changes forever with the outbreak of the Civil War. Obsessed by her first love, who is married to another, Scarlett struggles to survive the war and its aftermath, as well as her passionate, tortured relationship with the man who may be her soul mate, Rhett Butler (Clark Gable).

Roman Holiday (1953) — This romantic comedy stars Audrey Hepburn as the bored Princess Anne, who escapes her entourage during a diplomatic visit to Rome and sets out to have fun, aided by a handsome American newspaper reporter (Gregory Peck) who angles for an exclusive interview but ends up--surprise!--falling in love with her.

From Here to Eternity (1953) — Set on an army base in Hawaii in the days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, this film is the story of the love affair between a sergeant (Burt Lancaster) and the wife (Deborah Kerr) of his commanding officer. Watch for the famous beach scene, when Lancaster and Kerr kiss in the sand as the waves crash over them.

An Affair to Remember (1957) — Terry (Deborah Kerr) and Nickie (Cary Grant) meet and fall in love on a ship traveling across the Atlantic Ocean. Both engaged to other people, they say goodbye, but agree to meet atop the Empire State Building in six months if their feelings remain the same.

I wish everyone a very Happy Valentine's Day. I received my valentine this morning - a call via Skype from my husband in Nigeria. A great way to begin the day.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Republicans Find Their Mojo

As our country tries to stop the bleeding economically and pull ourselves out of this recession, we are left with two key figures for leadership. Both rookies in the world of national politics and neither are proving to be ready for prime time.

President Obama and Treasury Secretary Geithner are gifts to the Republican party. Thanks to continued stumbling and stammering in dealing with the recession, Republicans have found their mojo, long ago lost during the Bush years.

Secretary Geithner was tragically inept in delivering economic strategy in his first solo news conference. As the administration's voice for recovery, he looked like a deer caught in the headlights. Blessed or cursed with youthful looks, he appeared to be robotic looking left and right from teleprompter screen to teleprompter screen. When did cabinet members take to reading from teleprompters? It was embarrassing to watch.

We were told, as a skeptic American public, that this tax cheat was the only person in the entire country that could figure out the way forward to economic recovery. Never mind that he was a part of the first bank/Wall Street bailout during the last administration on the NY Federal Reserve. He's a Wall Street guy. He presented no plan at all. After all the hype, there was nothing but hot air.

Holding a press conference to announce that a plan is being worked out, or that a plan is to come, is not exactly what the American public expected.

President Obama is blaming the tax cuts of former President Bush as an integral part of our economic woes. According to, "It's ideological politics at its worst. (It's worth noting that while Obama was trashing supply-siders on Monday night, Scott Rasmussen's latest poll showed 62% of U.S. voters wanting the stimulus plan to include more tax cuts and less government spending.)" "Obama's attack on supply-side economics would rule out the successful Kennedy-Johnson tax cuts that spurred growth in the 1960's and the Reagan tax cuts that ignited growth in the 1980's. Even Bill Clinton cut the capital-gains tax. And George W. Bush's tax cuts helped generate a six-year economic expansion before the oil shock and credit crunch took hold."

The stock market plunged 400 points after the Geithner performance fiasco.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reports that the recession should bottom out and begin recovery at the end of 2009. That is with all things as they are now. Today the numbers released show that unemployment numbers have lessened a bit and that retail sales are up. Constant talk of an impending revisit to the great depression is not helpful. Talking down the economy to increase fear and to push through a dream spending bill for the liberals in Washington, D.C. is borderline criminal. It is dishonest and it is wrong.

In The Telegraph, Toby Harnden writes that President Obama's novice standing is showing. "In the early days of his presidency, Mr. Obama has seemed passive and uncertain. Instead of drawing up his own economic stimulus bill, he sub-contracted the job to Democrats on Capitol Hill. They opted to spend money on projects for contraception and beautifying the National Mall - their doorstep - and gave Republicans plenty of ammunition against the package." "He attempted to charm Republican centrists with his own personality and the trappings of the White House by inviting them over for cocktails and a Super Bowl party. It didn't work. Of 219 Republicans on Capitol Hill, only three voted for the bill. Introducing a $500,000 pay cap for some Wall Street executives was empty - and possibly counter-productive - populism."

"Governing, as Mr. Obama is finding out, is not like an election campaign. Mr. Bush's failures will give him some leeway and his transformative appeal remains potent. But making decisions and operating the levers of power is something completely new to him. And it shows."

The blundering approach to this spending bill have given Republicans an infusion of enthusiasm. Not simply the party of 'no', as the Democrats were during the Bush years, alternatives have been offered to the spending bill in Congress. Republicans have been roundly shut out of all of the behind closed doors hashing out of the bill. Republican amendments have been voted down along party lines. "We won" is the battle cry for the Democrats. Even the President has taken to making that victorious claim. He will soon realize it is not a winning tactic.

The events of the last two weeks point to a glaring conclusion before the American public - the Oval Office is not the place for on the job training.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Senator Cornyn Raising Funds Differently

"It's always struck me as a bit odd that we try to rely so much financially on the same members we're working to get re-elected, whether it's this cycle or the next," Cornyn told Politico.

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) is chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). He is changing up the way the committee raises money. He has declared fundraising as the most important action of the committee and will be trying new avenues.

Previously, the NRSC expected senators to meet fund raising quotas. Cornyn will implement a more personal approach. "Instead of requiring that every senator fork over hundreds of thousands from their personal campaign accounts to the national Senate campaign coffers, Cornyn now wants each senator to attend three fund raisers - yes, they have to show up - and then the NRSC will chase after the attendees for that cash." That from the Politico.

The NRSC will organize the events. Last election cycle the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $70 million more than NRSC.

Change is good.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Texas Senators Push Back on Spending Bill

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) came back from a trip to NYC to vote NO to the spending bill today in the Senate. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson also voted NO. Upon its passage - with only three Republicans voting in favor of it - the President told the crowd at his campaign style meeting with Floridians in Fort Meyers of the Senate action. The crowd cheered. This was immediately preceded by a plea from an audience member for a house from the President. She said cars and parks are good but she needs a house. She obviously thinks home ownership is a government program. Why? Because it has been and that is what brought us to where we are now. And, yes, it is yet another legacy of Jimmy Carter. Still, to hear the current President speak, it is the fault of the past eight years. Republicans. Isn't he the 'post partisan' president?

This woman exemplifies the problem we have with our economy. A basic political philosophy difference between Republicans and Democrats is on fiscal responsibility. Republicans lost some cred over the last few years with President Bush. No one ever demanded he veto higher spending and the programs grew and expanded. He tried to accomplish big things, just as President Obama promises, but what we have is just bigger government. This is what the new President will bring us, too. The one positive result of Republican losses last November is that the party now has a renewed enthusiasm for getting back to basic party principles.

Senator John Cornyn aptly described the spending bill as a political bill not an economic bill. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson said, "Ultimately, this "solution" will result only in the accumulation of greater debt that will fall on the shoulders of our children and grandchildren while not providing what we need today. Moreover, it will leave us vulnerable to future economic challenges. A better proposal would emphasize tax relief so that individuals and businesses can have more capital to inject into the economy, thereby encouraging private-sector job creation. It would also guard against government expansion. In short, we should promote permanent private sector jobs, not a permanent increase in spending and debt."

Last night, the President held a press conference with the White House press corps. Very little of substance was asked, as predicted. One reporter asked about the confession of steroid use by a baseball player. That was about as serious as it got. A blogger from Huffington Post was called on and also Helen Thomas. We now know how these events will roll. Those not called upon for questions: The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, Time and Newsweek.

During the press conference, thirteen questions were asked. The low amount was a result of long winded responses by President Obama. The politician from Chicago knows how to control the conversation. He claims there are no earmarks in the spending bill. One person's earmark is another person's essential service or program, I suppose. He was able to get in two slaps at Republicans, though. He again said some would like to do absolutely nothing at all about the recession. That is not only false, it is dishonest. No one expects a plan of nothing will bring us out of a recession. And, all those 'failed policies' being blamed from the last eight years? We came out of the recession inherited from the Clinton/Gore years of 'peace and prosperity' and then the economic devastation of the events on 9/11/01. It was a Republican president and Republican -led Congress that put into place tax cuts and programs that enabled our country to prosper. Unprecedented unemployment rates. Home ownership, especially for minorities, at record levels. When the housing bubble began to burst, the President and his administration warned Congress, by that time controlled by Democrats, and they refused to act. Why? The same Democrats who put into play the poor policies in the past were back in charge again. Barney Franks in the House, Chris Dodd in the Senate, all bad actors from the past.

The new president must stop the campaign mode and get on with the job of leading the country. Stop with the silly 'house parties' set up by the White House to support the spending bill. They sent out videos and talking points to all those who signed up to have a house party and discuss the spending bill. Tim Kaine, the DNC chair appointed by President Obama, narrated the thirteen minute video and explained the talking points.

There are several hidden agendas in the spending bill. There is no way the members of Congress voting on this monstrosity could have read and digested the bill. Senators on the morning shows today, both Democrat and Republican, admitted as much. No explanations for the hidden push of socialized medicine and the rolling back of the welfare reform of the past two decades. Senator Tom Coburn said today, "If you are a Medicare patient, you should be very worried about his bill." Coburn is also a practicing MD in his state of Oklahoma.

A parade of surprises are coming down the pike.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Spending Bill as Political Document

On Fox News Sunday, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said to host Chris Wallace that the spending bill on the Senate floor - all 778 pages of it - is "not an economic document - it is a political document drawn up by Nancy Pelosi in the House." As time passes and the American public begins to understand how poor a piece of legislation this spending bill is now, public approval has plummeted. The Senate Majority Leader understands this and the pressure to deliver a vote for President Obama.

Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) as Finance Committee Chairman is shepherding the bill through the Senate voting process. Senator John McCain is leading the loyal opposition.

In the course of only a little more than two weeks in office, the promises of a new bipartisan, post partisan era are gone. President Obama has failed to lead and allowed Speaker Pelosi to write the spending bill filled with every socialist spending program imaginable and then some. Newsweek magazine crowed that we are all now socialists. Remember when conservatives and Republicans were shouting warnings of impending socialism if Barack Obama became President? Those smitten with Obama, including the media, belittled such charges.

John Kerry, performing on the Senate floor Friday afternoon by impersonating an impassioned politician, said of the tax cuts requested by Republicans, "If you put a tax cut into the hands of a business or family, there's no guarantee that they're going to invest that or invest it in America. They're free to go invest anywhere that they want if they choose to invest." C'mon American taxpayer, what do you want? Freedom? Tsk-tsk.

President Obama made some rookie mistakes, as expected of a man with so little political experience at the national level, and the worst was going to Virginia to the posh Democrat Congressional retreat and pumping up the crowd with a campaign style stem winder of a speech. He said, yes, the stimulus bill is a spending bill, because that's how the economy recovers. By spending government money furnished by the taxpayer. Other people's money. He called the past economic policies "tired ideology" and thus ended any hopes of outreach to Republicans. Maybe he missed the 52 consecutive months of employment growth that the Bush tax cuts provided, even after the devastation of 9/11/01. Maybe he missed the call for reform the Bush administration gave three years ago and warned about the coming implosion of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Maybe he missed the calls for reform of Social Security and energy policy that President Bush tried to accomplish for eight years.

Senator John Kerry, in performance mode, referred to President Bush as "their President" while pointing a long, bony finger at the Republicans on the floor of the Senate. How patriotic.

The urgency of this spending bill is the need to push it through before all of the spending and programs are exposed. Yes, stimulus is needed. Republicans want to help with the economic recovery of this country. Somehow, with Democrats braying about economic doom and gloom for the past eight years, despite other indicators, and gleefully reporting during the campaign of the recession as it developed, it is a bit difficult to consider them the saviors of our prosperity.

Today the President has taken his plea on the road. He is in Elkhart, Indiana - home of RV sales and production and increased unemployment and then he will go on to Fort Meyers, Florida. This is a failure of leadership. He is President of the United States now, not a candidate on the campaign trail. He should be working on The Hill with both parties and leaders to hammer out a bill. And, by using Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee as a useful idiot earlier last week, showed a failure of leadership. Cooper tried to put out the story line that he was encouraged to oppose the House bill by the White House. This only came out after the vote was taken.

I am pleased that Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) turned down the invitation for a free ride on Air Force One to Indiana today. Let Senator Bayh be President Obama's guy.

Peggy Noonan, in her column for The Wall Street Journal last week, wrote of "bracing ourselves" in today's America. She wrote that Speaker Pelosi is "not big enough for the age." "She's not up to it." Of President Obama she wrote,"His serious and consequential policy mistake is that he put his prestige behind not a new way of breaking through but an old way of staying put. This marked a dreadful misreading of the moment. And now he's digging in. His political mistake, which in retrospect we will see as huge, is that he re moralized the Republicans. He let them back in the game."

Republicans are invigorated. Republicans in Washington have found their voice, long lost during the previous administration. Maybe it is the freedom of being in the minority. There is freedom to speak in opposition to a spending bill that no one truly believes will work. The Obama administration has to do something and this is what has been agreed to. The claims of creating and 'saving' jobs show the unserious efforts masquerading as serious. Creating new government jobs and one time construction jobs is not a successful path to take. All of our friends and neighbors losing jobs are not in the construction business or manual laborers. This spending bill doesn't' include the tax breaks for small business or larger business tax credits necessary to create real job growth.

Republicans are not just the party of 'no'. A reasonable alternative was offered to the spending bill. That is the exact strategy the Republicans must soldier on with in Congress. Say no when necessary and offer an alternative. That is the two party system at its best.

You know what might help some of the national distress out there? Less doom and gloom. More realism. Let the Democrats rail against the spending of the past administration. Fair enough. Let the differences of the two parties shine.

Happy warriors.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

TexasInsider Launches A New Look

An opportunity to interview Jim Cardle, founder of was presented to me and I took it. is a web site devoted to gathering and distributing information for Texas voters and elected officials, too.

In 2003, Cardle noticed a need for such a web site. Based in Austin, Cardle has his ear to the ground on all things political. With past experience working in think tanks in Washington, D.C. as well as in Texas he knows the importance of distributing information in a timely fashion.

In the next few days, the web site will display an updated look. This will be the fifth version of the web page, always keeping pace with the political atmosphere. A heavy concentration is being placed on connecting with readers through social media networking. Twitter, Flkr, Facebook and YouTube are all being added to the site.

Current readership is at 50,000 subscribers and readers. The site shares think tank papers, monitors business journals and distributes stories of state and local legislation. There are articles from around the world, the country and the state of Texas.

As the new look of the site is launched, stop by and check it out.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Questions Spark Anger From Obama

I thought fear mongering was so, like, Bush era. Seems to be an effective tool being used by President Obama, the harbinger of hope and change. Last night as he spoke to the Congressional Democrats at the wonderfully posh Kingsmill Resort and Spa, President Obama unleashed his inner south side Chicago politician.

"I welcome this debate, but we are not going to get relief by turning back to the same policies that for the last eight years doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin," President Obama said.

"When you start hearing arguments, on the cable chatter, just understand a couple of things, No.1, when they say "Well, why are we spending $800 billion when we've got this huge deficit? --first of all, I found this deficit when I showed up. No.1.

"I found this national debt, doubled, wrapped in a big bow waiting for me as I stepped int the Oval Office."

Gosh, he didn't know about this big old deficit. Never mind that this administration was the beneficiary of the smooth and extensive transition provided by the Bush administration. He was quite arrogantly blaming his predecessor and angry that conservatives and some of his own fellow Democrats are questioning this amount of spending for political wish lists in the spending bill. Yes, the spending bill. President Obama, in a moment of complete candor before the Congressional Democrats called it a spending bill, and admitted that a spending bill is his definition of a stimulus bill.

President Obama berated opponents for using "phony arguments" and suggesting "false theories of the past" to spur economic recovery. The latest polls indicate that the majority of the American public support tax cuts over spending, so he has a good bit of selling to do and not just with conservative politicians in Washington, D.C.

President Obama will hit the campaign trail to sell the spending bill. He has plans to go to Indiana Monday and then on to Fort Meyers, Florida. He will go to Camp David Saturday with the family and return Sunday.

Does Barack Obama hate white people? He has yet to go to visit Kentucky or any of the region so terribly hard hit by the ice storm nine days ago. If Kanye West can declare that George Bush hated black people after Hurricane Katrina, then, does a logical train of thought question Barack Obama and his response to the people affected by the ice storms? He has time to hit the resort and Camp David. Can you hear the outcries if he were a Republican? Maybe Barack Obama just hates the red states.

Some Democrat congresspeople are now coming out and saying that they were pressured by House leadership to vote for the spending bill even though they were hesitating to support it. These are the politician who are not worthy of office. Any politician heard uttering these words in their districts should be voted out in the next election. They are there to represent the people who voted for them and pay their salary, not to be a puppet for the House leadership.

Remember when Democrats criticized votes by Republicans as 'rubber stamping' for the administration?

President Obama claims "old habits die hard". That is the White House mantra. Any resistance to this disgraceful legislation is to be mocked. This behavior ignores and discounts the basic ideology that separates Democrats from Republicans.

Fear mongering is being used by the White House. We are told our country will never recover. President Obama called it a 'catastrophe' if Congress doesn't act immediately. Fortunately, the American public is awaking. Some of the media is beginning to shake off the Obama glow. That is encouraging.

The thin skinned politician from the south side of Chicago is being questioned and he doesn't much like it. It was all so much easier when everyone was just sleepwalking. And chanting.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Michael Steele Heads Loyal Opposition

Michael Steele has a full plate. Newly elected to be Chairman of the Republican Party, he is an exciting breath of fresh air.

He is a man accustomed to fighting the fight. You may remember him as the Lt. Governor of Maryland. You may remember him as he ran for the U.S. Senate in Maryland and he was pelted with Oreo cookies at rallies from all those open minded liberals attending them to cause trouble. You may know him as the Chair of GOPAC and a frequent guest pundit on Fox News.

Steele is articulate, engaging, relaxed, confident and focused. He intends to be successful in his own 50 state strategy to bring Republicans back out of the ashes. His past political experience in a staunchly blue state, Maryland, has prepared him for the challenge.

Michael Steele is a pro-life Catholic who joined the Republican party in 1976 after feeling inspiration from Ronald Reagan's first run for President. He once trained for the priesthood. He faced opposition from the far right for being a moderate Republican. Horrors! He joined forces with a group that included Republicans such as Christie Todd Whitman to work within the party and his critics thought this to be an unforgivable offense. Maybe Steele will be able to open up some minds in the Republican party and encourage thinking people to grow the party while remaining true to its principles. Who died and left this small group the boss? Why do they feel it is their job to provide a litmus test for other Republicans? It is not productive.

Michael Steele is a happy warrior. He will turn the RNC into the voice and face of the loyal opposition instead of just a fundraising arm of the party. This is a very welcome change. Most Republicans would be hard pressed to identify the past chairman, he was completely invisible and silent, to boot.

Steele has reached out to some of those who also ran for the chairmanship and that is good. Several other candidates were good, just not quite right for the leadership position. He will benefit from the help of the others. Tomorrow he will hold a meeting with his new team. He is hitting the ground running.

I feel better already.


For Fun - Because We All Need Some

Your rainbow is intensely shaded white, violet, and indigo.

What is says about you: You are a contemplative person. You appreciate beauty and craftsmanship. You are patient and will keep trying to understand something until you've mastered it. Friends count on you for being honest and insightful.

Find the colors of your rainbow at

Thanks to Carol for the copy cat opportunity. Check out her blog at: Southern Sinful Bliss. You'll enjoy your visit.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Meaning of Bad Taste

President Obama said it was "in bad taste" for companies to pay out large bonuses while accepting taxpayer money to bail out of a tough economic atmosphere. While I may agree that the appearance is not good, the President and his wife, for that matter, have much to learn about the perception of "taste".

"Bad taste" is the least of our problems as we move to firmer ground with our economy.

There is truly little the administration can do to demand good taste from a corporation. A corporation is not a human being. A corporation is a group of human beings coming together to make a profit. We hope the corporation is providing a service for the profit. We hope they are doing business in an ethical and honest way. There are legal penalties to deal with a corporation if not. However, taste is a quality possessed by human beings, not entities. A human being either has it or not.

Obama's proposed legislation to limit the amount of money in salary to a CEO of a company participating in a bailout doesn't cover the ones who have already received their golden parachutes and bonuses. That's all be written and put into effect.

President Obama, for example, did not show the world much in the way of good taste by saying he "screwed up" in some of his choices of potential cabinet members. The statement was true enough, but, the choice of words was not good. He is President of the United States. Like it or not, the office commands a respectful tone and as President, he is charged with maintaining the tone. Leadership comes from the top.

Hopefully, the President has someone close by that has the wisdom to gently remind the President that his position demands better. It is understandable that he wants to project an image of being one of the guys. The fact is he hasn't lived a life of being one of the guys - whether it was in his education opportunities or in his political career - and his alleged superior intelligence is being put to the test. He should have said he made some mistakes as he took responsibility for them.

Street lingo is fine in its own place. The Oval Office or wherever he is conducting interviews is not the place for it. Yes, the office of President of the United States is the place for old-fashioned decorum.

Michelle Obama is no model of good taste either. On the campaign trail she was known for her ugly statements about our country. With these statements, she completely ignored the goodness of our country. She said she was only now 'really' proud of her country, for example, because her husband was running for President as a serious contender. She shows a level of selfishness not needed in the role of First Lady.

Michelle Obama ventured out to the Department of Education Monday on what is described as a 'listening tour' through the federal bureaucracy. She thanked the employees for serving and to boost morale for their work ahead. "I'm a product of your work", she told them. Unfortunately, this is a misstatement. Michelle Obama was born in January 1964. The Department of Education was created by Jimmy Carter (another disgrace from his term) in 1980. Her public school education in Chicago had nothing to do with the Department of Education.

While at the Department of Education, she also patted herself on the back by saying, "This kind of turnout and enthusiasm is sort of for me, bu, you know, you're behind --(laughter)--but I know you're behind your new secretary."

Yes, Mrs. Obama. You are important and they would all like to enjoy your visit. You will find that people will be thrilled to meet you throughout these next four years. You are the First Lady of the country you are now 'really' proud of and this is your job. Patting yourself on the back for a good turnout is not good taste.

So, someone needs to be honest with Mrs. Obama, too. Tell her that her statements of our "downright mean" country are not appreciated and that most people were grateful to receive a $600 payment in the first of the stimulus of our economy while she was saying that wasn't even enough to buy "a pair of earrings".

The Obama girls are in an expensive private school. While stopping at an appearance at a Washington, D.C. public school Tuesday, the president was quoted as saying, "We were just tired of being in the White House." That according to the article written by Ben Feller of AP. Then Michelle Obama piped in, "We got out! They let us out!" While the teachers and the second graders laughed and clapped for their guests I doubt that I am alone in the thought I had upon reading the article. I thought, well, if they are so unhappy being in the White House after only two weeks, I'll be happy to work to make sure their stay in it is as brief as possible.

When Michelle Obama visited Sidwell Friends School, the one her children attend, one little girl said she would like to have Mrs. Obama's job one day. In typical fashion, the First Lady responded, "well, it doesn't pay anything." How tasteful.

I miss the graciousness of Laura Bush and the humble respect shown by President Bush throughout their eight years in the White House.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Two Weeks With The Most Ethical Administration Ever

So, the "most ethical" administration in the history of this country claim lasted, what, less than two weeks. Not unexpected by realists, but for the gullible, it must be a bit of a disappointment, if honesty in thought prevails, that the people brought forward for the new administration turn out to be just regular human beings. They are human beings with tax evasion problems, too. Didn't VP Biden say it was "patriotic" to pay taxes? Does he support these unpatriotic Americans as members of the Obama/Biden administration?

It is not so much a political punch to the gut of President Obama as it is an ethical statement. Ethics are tossed out the window if Obama says this is the only person in the entire country that can do the job. "The most ethical" administration ever has produced a Secretary of Treasury who didn't pay his own taxes - after receiving specific instructions on how to handle the matter each year by his employer - and also claimed such deductions as his children's' summer camps and sitters.

"The most ethical" administration ever has produced an Attorney General who copped to using poor judgement and not enough monitoring during the pardoning process with former President Clinton. This has all been well-established. Yet, perhaps it was more important to have the first black Attorney General and former law school buddy Eric Holder in the job than it was to show ethical judgement.

"The most ethical" administration ever has produced Tom Daschle in the dual role of Secretary of Health and Human Services and as Health Care Reform Czar. He is to be in charge of ramming through universal health care and touted as the only one in the entire country that can handle that task.

The Secretary of Treasury paid back taxes owed after it was apparent that he would be nominated to the job. He, however, did not pay all of the interest. The nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services and Health Care Reform Czar paid his back taxes owed on a free car and driver gifted to him by a lobbyist in the health care industry after it became apparent he would be nominated for the jobs.

The woman nominated for the newly created job of government accountability czar has withdrawn her nomination due to an issue with unpaid taxes. She threw herself under the bus much like Governor Bill Richardson did, when nominated to be Secretary of Commerce, as his involvement in corrupt bidding in New Mexico by contractors with state contracts became known publicly. And, now, Daschle withdraws his name for consideration. Note that it was only after five newspapers, including The New York Times, called for him to do so. And, some of the senators called for his withdrawal, too.

A pattern emerges for the "most ethical" administration ever in just two weeks. Two weeks. We are hardly into the first one hundred days.