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The Company Obama Keeps
Under different circumstances, I’d be inclined to feel that Barack Obama has been treated unfairly over the past few weeks. It seems that everything he says or does gives ammunition to his opponents (both Democratic and Republican) for use against him. The guy can’t catch a break.
As if to add insult to injury, Jeremiah Wright – “spiritual” advisor to Obama – has been busy putting himself in front of as many television cameras and microphone banks as possible in order to milk the Obama campaign for every single minute of fame he can get. Not bad for a guy who has allegedly retired from the pulpit. You’d think Hillary Clinton was in charge of booking speakers for the National Press Club.
In this country there is (or at least was) a separation between religion and politics. The wise Founders enshrined that separation in Article VI of the US Constitution by declaring that no religious test would be permitted for people seeking public office. So constitutionally I am saddened by the fact that Obama is being slammed by remarks made by his pastor.
Having said that, I’m not shedding too many tears. The man whose run for the Oval I supported the most had his religion questioned at nearly every turn and opportunity by both left and right leaning pundits as well as more than a few of his opponents. Mitt Romney was peppered by religiously driven diatribes even before he actually started campaigning. More than one pundit demanded that he answer for his family’s unique ancestral family structure, the actions of his relatives on September 11, 1857, and church doctrine as to the salvation status of his long deceased family dog. I’m sure Mitt would have been questioned on his Bishop’s latest sermon had he not ended his campaign when he did.
Obama has attempted (and some would say failed) to distance himself from Mr. Wright. For his part, Mr. Wright has claimed his inflammatory remarks were “taken out of context” because the entire sermon had not been put on the sound-byte loop. Well, dear reader, Blogfather Hugh had as much of the sermons in question as are available. Read or listen to them for yourself. Let me tell you something – context doesn’t help Mr. Wright. If anything, context does little more than lump Jeremiah Wright in the same league as Ward Churchill and Michael Moore. Those boneheads occupy the lowest rungs of Cordeiro’s Sliding Scale of Humanity coming in at Miserable Vomitous Mass (MVM) and Waste Of Skin And Breathable Air (WOSABA) respectfully.
Mother Cordeiro (and a mean mother she was and is) wisely warned me (several times) that people would – rightly or wrongly – judge me by the company I keep. In my circle of friends and acquaintances both personal and professional, I can’t say that I have any unrepentant terrorists, shady political “fundraisers”, or spiritual “advisors” who want to re-work the lyrics to God Bless America. Well, there was that one lady who tried to sell me a time-share once, but what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
But I digress.
These are the people in Obama’s neighborhood – both figuratively and literally. Their association with him, and more importantly his association with them speak volumes about what kind of president he would be – especially since he’s made his finely honed judgment such an important pillar of his campaign.
Here endeth the lesson.
Obama Spins The Loss
In order to understand this post, you need to have played a sport in which an official/referee is involved. In this particular case, its important to know that football is life, and the rest is just petty details.
A few thousand years ago while playing in a football game I witnessed an ongoing exchange between an opposing lineman and a referee. After the whistle had blown at the end of a series of plays, the offensive lineman complained to the official:
Ref! Ref! He’s holding me!Finally, after the second series and yet another number of whiny complaints, the official took the lineman aside and calmly informed him:
Ref! Ref! He head-slapped me!
Ref! Ref! He grabbed my [insert body part here]!!
Son, he’s not holding you…grabbing you…or slapping you. He’s kickin’ your #%#$#@.This past Tuesday, Pennsylvania bore witness to the sausage making that is retail politics. Hillary threw everything – kitchen sink included – at Obama and succeeded in soundly thumping him by about 10 points. The actual number may vary – Michael Barone crunches all the numbers very well – but the fact is Obama out spent Hillary three-fold and still lost.
So now the whining starts. Even before the votes were cast, Obama tried to lower expectations. As he surveyed the post primary wreckage, he cast aside his soaring rhetoric and denounced those who would “say or do anything” to win an election. I find it interesting that a losing candidate always seeks to soothe his/her supporters by claiming their opponent went to extremes they themselves would not. Yes, Senator. That place is called “victory”. After having won eleven straight contests, Obama has now lost four of the last five. In the business, we call that a losing streak.
I’m not sure how much of Hillary’s recent wins can be attributed to Operation Chaos. Personally, I’m not sure any contests have actually been taken from Obama because of OC – most likely Hillary’s margin of victory has been increased as a result. I’d love to say I participated in Operation Chaos during my state’s primary, but I was prohibited from doing so by an Act of God.
More and more it’s looking like this primary will go all the way to the Denver convention with Hillary and Obama throwing boulders at each other all the way. If nothing else it will make for high value entertainment, especially with the growing chorus of voice calling for the drafting of Algore. Memo to Howie “I Have A Scream” Dean: Please draft Algore. Please. Please. Please. End Memo.
I have little doubt Obama thought his eleven state win streak would propel him through the last contests and turn Denver into a coronation rather than a convention. With all his recent stumbles, the incessant rumors* and the drip-drip-drip of his past actions and associations, he’s learning the hard way that contests aren’t over till the fat lady sings.
Right now, Hillary has the fat lady bound and gagged in a sound proof room in an undisclosed location.
Here endeth the lesson.
*Yes, I know IMAO is satire.
Obama's Definition Of Broke
We've all heard the great tales of woe from both the Obamas as to the miserable state of their finances until Mr. Obama wrote the first of his two best selling books. So great was the "strain" of their student loan debt that one might be led to believe the Obama family subsited on Top Ramen for most of the 90s and well into the current decade.
Well, that really depends on perspective. According to public records, the Obamas purchased their Hyde Park condo in 1993 for $277,500. Nothing unusual about that purchase until the detail of a $111,000 down payment is mentioned. Talk about impoverished. Would someone please tell me where two lawyers saddled with student loans come up (legally) with $111,000 just a few years out of law school?
But I digress.
Running the numbers a $166,500 mortgage at the average 1993 interest rate of 7.31% amortized over 30 years would equal a monthly payment of $1,142. Not a bad mortgage, all things considered.
There's also the issue of Barack Obama's tall tales of financial hardship. In 2000 he made his way to the City of Angels for the cornation of Algore. Upon his arrival, he was - by his own description - so broke that his credit card was rejected by a rental car company. No word as to whether or not he took the bus to the Staples Center.
Where Obama is concerned, the Devil has taken up residence in the details. In the case of his impoverished trip to LA, it should be mentioned that his 2000 tax returns show his and Michelle's combined income being reported as just over $240,000. Yes, dear reader, that is Barack Obama's definition of flat broke.
Most people I know would consider that income level to fall just short of dirty, rotten, stinking, filthy rich. Personally, its an income level to which at present I can only aspire. I cannot fathom the concept of pulling down 240 large a year and somehow being so broke I can't afford to rent a car.
Here endeth the lesson.
Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Michael Anthony Monsoor, United States Navy
Today the media spotlight is focused on Capitol Hill where politicians and military men debate the pros and cons of the Iraq war – how long to stay, whether and when to withdraw. You’ll forgive me if I ignore them.
Today I wish to focus on one man. His country called and he answered. He was one of this nation’s elite warriors – one of those whose true gallantry is known to few and understood by fewer. Michael Anthony Monsoor was a SEAL.
You should go read about Petty Officer Monsoor – especially his brave act of supreme sacrifice for which he posthumously received this nation’s highest military honor – the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Godspeed, Petty Officer Monsoor.
Here endeth the lesson.
Obama’s Parchment Thin Foreign Policy Cred
It really is amazing what passes for experience these days. Barack Obama, visiting San Francisco to scale the Golden Gate Bridge, took aim at Hillary's foreign policy experience yesterday. He actually made a good point – one for which I will gladly give him credit. Opined Obama:
When Senator Clinton brags 'I've met leaders from eighty countries' -- I know what those trips are like! I've been on them. You go from the airport to the embassy. There's a group of children who do native dance. You meet with the CIA station chief and the embassy and they give you a briefing. You go take a tour of a plant that [with] the assistance of USAID has started something. And then -- you go. You do that in eighty countries. You don't know those eighty countries.
Had the junior senator from Illinois left it at that, he'd be on solid ground. He didn't. He insisted on inserting his own foreign policy street cred to show how he outshines both Hillary and McCain. Here, dear reader, is the self proclaimed foreign policy experience of the man who would be POTUS:
Foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton or Senator McCain.
So when I speak about having lived in Indonesia for four years, having family that is impoverished in small villages in Africa --knowing the leaders is not important -- what I know is the people...I traveled to Pakistan when I was in college -- I knew what Sunni and Shia was [sic] before I joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
So, let's get this straight: living abroad as a very young child, having family in foreign lands, and spending three weeks in Pakistan (in 1981) qualifies as foreign policy experience?
Thanks to the United States Army I spent the better part of my adolescent years (many more than Barack Obama) living abroad in parts of Europe and Asia. I seem to faintly remember having an great-aunt living in Germany someplace – I don't really remember. I also spent a few years living in Brazil. I submit that I myself have more foreign policy experience than does Barack Obama. I'm pretty sure I speak a few more languages than he does.
Even with all my newly discovered solid foreign policy street cred, you'll forgive me if I don't wait by the phone for an offer to be VP or Secretary of State.
Here endeth the lesson.
$18 Million? What $18 Million?
With Tax Day looming on the horizon most taxpaying Americans are painfully aware of how much their federal, state, and local governments suck from their checkbooks. Even with TurboTax it took me almost a week worth of evenings to gather together all the receipts, statements, and other documentations necessary to fill out my 1040 form.
I know how much money I make, and I know how much money the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro makes. Actually, she probably knows better what I make – that's just the way she is.
So, when I caught the Drudge headline link to a Ben Smith article noting the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Bill Clinton did not account for nearly $18 million in the summary of their tax filings, I had to chuckle. $18 million is a rather large chunk of coin. I'm sure an explanation is buried in the details of the disclosure form, along with the devil and a few accountants. That must have been an interesting conversation.
Hillary: Bill? What did you do with that $18 million I left on the kitchen counter?
Bill: [whispering in the phone] You mean I got me myself a Cayman island all to myself? [louder] What $18 million, honey? I was just making a sandwich and I didn't see any $18 million!
Other interesting details include the Clinton's charitable donations. Of the $109 million raked in by the Clintons over the past eight years (Dubya-nomics seem to have been very generous to them) they gave $10.2 million to charity. While on the surface this might seem quite generous, again the devil has taken up residence in the details. The Clinton's preferred charity is their family foundation.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for charitable giving. I believe in giving to causes I care about and hoping those donations are used in an effective manner. Forgive me if I find giving to one's own charity to be just a little bit self-serving. Oh, but wait. I'm talking about Hillary and Bill Clinton. Self serving is stamped into their DNA.
Hmmm. I wonder if I can set up a charitable foundation through which I can funnel contributions to be used for the purchase of a larger more spacious Cordeiro Manor and a more fitting mode of transportation for myself.
I'll let you know how that works out.
Here endeth the lesson.
Oil Gone BANANAS
On April Fool's Day the Congress was hard at work serving up televised Fillet Of CEO for the cameras. The target of the ever outraged legislators was a popular one – namely the CEOs of "Big Oil" – Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, BP America, and ConocoPhillips.
As you can probably gather by reading the accounts of the hearing, there are many in Congress and surely more than a few presidential candidates who believe Big Oil is directly responsible for the fact that gas prices have once again risen past the $3 mark in most of the country. They point to Big Oil's "obscene" profits as evidence of price gouging even though – when compared to other industries – Big Oil's profit margin is roughly similar.
In blaming Big Oil for the price of gas these politicians prove their dangerously naïve ignorance about the Laws of Supply and Demand. There are no exceptions to these economic laws. Currently the supply of oil is limited by location, amount, and political issues. The ability to control the supply of oil on the world markets is what gives power to dangerous thugs like Iran's Mahmoud Amadenijad and ignorant tin pot thugs like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Without oil, these two guys would be viewed as the non-sequiturs they truly are.
The short term answer to the current gas price crisis (one which I feel the pain of every time I have to fill my two vehicles which have 12 cylinders between them) is two fold. First is to increase the supply of oil on the markets. Believe it or not, America can do this without having to go to OPEC and beg the mullahs to open the spigots. Up until about 20 years ago, the United States led the world in oil production. For the past decade or so we have been more concerned about the mating habits of the Porcupine Caribou than we have about the price of gas. Most of the people who proclaim their environmental objections to oil exploration in ANWR couldn't find Alaska on a map, let alone locate ANWR. Neither would they be able to tell the difference between a Reindeer and a Caribou. I'm sure they'll hear about the latest discovery of a huge oil field in the Dakotas and Montana and rush to proclaim their concern for Buffalo and Antelope. It remains to be seen whether the militant environmentalists can tell the difference between those two species.
The second area affecting the price of gas is refineries. Believe it or not, your car doesn't burn crude oil. The refining process is difficult and government regulation has made it even more onerous. The term NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) used to dictate where things like refineries could be built. Well, the NIMBYs started to look beyond their backyards and morphed into BANANAs (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything). Simply put, there has not been a refinery built in the nearly 40 years I have walked this planet. That, dear reader is why your gas prices spike every time there's an refinery accident someplace or any other disruption to the pipeline between the crude oil that comes out of the ground and the refined gas you put in your tank.
Much pontificating took place yesterday on alternative sources of energy ranging from cow dung to windmills. While I don't want to dash any hopes which may have been raised by these platitudes, the fact of the matter is the American economy runs on oil. No amount of congressional speechifying will change that.
As a matter of fact, all the BANANA crowd has been able to do is take the US energy situation to the point of being FUBAR*.
Here endeth the lesson.
*FUBAR is a technical term defined (in polite company) as "Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition"
Give This Kid A Medal