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Obama: Honored Again for Not Being George W. Bush

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 9:41 pm - October 9, 2009.
Filed under: Bush-hatred,Obamania

I have too many thoughts swirling in my head to be able to write right now the post on the President’s Nobel Prize I would really like to write.  When I first heard it this morning, it struck me as strange. I thought I had misread the chyron on my TV monitor.  When I realized it wasn’t my absence of coffee which caused me to read that the President had won the Nobel Prize, I asked the question I’d been asking at least since the Spring of 2008 when I noticed the devotion of so many of the then-presidential candidate’s admirers to their man:

What has he accomplished to deserve such accolades?

So, I hacked out a quick post, still uncertain what I wanted to say.  And then when I read something a critic had written in our comments section, it seemed I understood why the Nobel Committee decided to bestow this particular honor on a man of so few accomplishments: “Its really just the “Not a warmongering, torturing neocon, thank god!” award.”  The Nobel Committee honored him for not being George W. Bush.  

Indeed, that seems to be the nature of his appeal and the entire basis of much of his rhetoric and many of his policies–that he’s not his immediate predecessor.

Even lefty Glenn Greenwald finds this award “ludicrous.”  In fact, his reaction on hearing the news was similar to my own, that “this was some kind of bizarre Onion gag that got accidentally transposed onto the wrong website“.

Commenting on former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton’s remarks on FoxNews, Ed Morrissey finds that good man got at why “why many of us found it both risible and offensive“:

Risible in the sense that Obama had been President for 12 days when he got nominated and hasn’t accomplished anything on the world stage since — no new treaties, no peace brokering, and certainly no change in the Bush “war priorities” that they explicitly criticized in their 2002 award to Jimmy Carter. Offensive in the sense that it smacks of lecturing America on our foreign policy rather than focusing on real efforts for peace, a number of which the Nobel committee overlooked, although by this point it’s so unsurprising as to be only barely offensive

Indeed, let me ask again, what has the president accomplished (beyond being elected)?  What did accomplish before he was elected president to merit the accolades of his admirers?  What has he accomplished since his inauguration to earn what was once a prestigious prize?

Has he reconciled the Hatfields and McCoys?  Has he ushered in a new era of civility into America’s politics and reduced the polarization that has defined it for these past sixteen to twenty years?  Has he effected greater cooperation among our allies? (more…)

Help Obama win the Heisman Trophy!

Posted by Average Gay Joe at 7:26 pm - October 9, 2009.
Filed under: Random Thoughts

Yes we HE can!

Feel free to post in the comments any and all other “Certificates of Participation and Badges of Effort” that The One needs to be decorated with to keep “hope and change” alive.

(h/t – Ace of Spades)

– John (Average Gay Joe)

Can I get my Ph.D. Now?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:01 pm - October 9, 2009.
Filed under: Academia,Random Thoughts

Since the President won the Nobel Peace Prize based on his good words and anticipation of future accomplishments, can I now get my Ph.D. based on the good idea I have for my dissertation and the anticipation that I’ll write a great thesis, even if I haven’t completed it yet?

Obama Wins Nobel Prize!?!? What!?!?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:12 pm - October 9, 2009.
Filed under: Post 9-11 America

This will do wonders for his ego.  I’m sure he’ll become far more humble.

I’m just trying to figure out what exactly he’s accomplished to merit this honor.

(Right now, I’m kind of speechless, but expect to update this over the course of the next hour, perhaps with quotes from other blogs.)

On Kevin Jennings & Our Critics

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:00 am - October 9, 2009.
Filed under: Blogging,Civil Discourse,Gay America

The thing which has struck me the most about some of the reaction to my various posts on Kevin Jennings is the thing which disappoints me the most about blogging, that people deliver form responses to the posts, as if reacting to the standard conservative line on that issue or, more likely, their interpretation of what that line is.  To be sure, there have been notable exceptions, particularly the commentary from Jody.

Perhaps, he has been more civil and has taken more care to address the actual ideas I expressed because we know each other.  He is aware I’m not some rabid right-winger spouting the party line.  And on this issue, as on many others, I have offered a different view on the situation than have other conservative bloggers who have addressed it.

From the outset, I indicated I’d be wiling to cut Jennings some slack and reconsider my call for his resignation if evidence emerged that the Obama official had publicly said he wished he had handled the situation (he related in his oft-repeated anecdote) differently.  As I wrote in my first post on the topic.

It is troubling, to say the least, that the Administration would tap such a man to serve in the Education Department who detailed the boy’s confession in a book One Teacher in 10, yet did not express regret until long after his appointment.

Recall that he is the one who brought up the subject in various public fora, including a published book.  Recall that he had said the boy was fifteen at the time.  Recall that he never expressed regret that he didn’t discourage the teen from picking up adults in public bathrooms.

Shouldn’t a gay teacher, concerned for the welfare of his gay students, want to tell his charge that there are better ways to meet men? (more…)

Obama’s Less than Audacious Ambassadorial Appointment

I don’t normally agree with Dan Savage and thought, when I first read the title of his recent post, A President’s Brave—And Meaningful—Ambassadorial Appointment, he was going to be sing hosannas to the incumbent Democrat for appointing an openly gay ambassador to New Zealand and ignoring his Republican predecessor’s appointment of an openly gay ambassador to Romania. Teaches me not to make assumptions about left-wing bloggers.  (Well, at least I waited to read the post before commenting on it. :-) )

Instead, Savage praised W for that appointment while singling out the Gipper for the “audacity” of appointing Edward Perkins, a black man, as ambassador to apartheid-era South Africa.

Indeed, calling that New Zealand appointment “a symbolic sop to disgruntled Democratic interest group, Savage wishes “Obama had Reagan’s balls”:

If Obama wants to show the same boldness and guts that Reagan did—if he wants to make a point about American values—he should appoint an openly gay man as ambassador to Russia, where anti-gay violence is tolerated/encouraged by the state. Or Saudia Arabia, where gay men are publicly executed. Or Iraq, where death squads hunt gay men.

I couldn’t agree more.

It does seem that some left-of-center bloggers are anything but lickspittles for the incumbent Democratic Administration.  Kudos to them for standing up for their principles and speaking truth to power.

White House Moves to Increase FoxNews’ Ratings

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:15 am - October 9, 2009.
Filed under: Free Speech,Media Bias,Obamania

Not since the Nixon Administration (and perhaps not even then) has the White House been so actively engaged in efforts to discredit the President’s critics. With all the news networks but one all but singing Mr. Obama’s praise (well, in CNN’s case, actually singing), White House Communications Director Anita Dunn and her staff have the knives out for the one that won’t buckle under:

The White House is stepping up its attacks against the Fox News Channel, labeling it a bastion of stilted and opinionated journalism. A top administration communications official has called the Fox “opinion journalism masquerading as news,” and vowed to wage a war of ideas against the network.

Speaking with Time Magazine, White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said that the administration intends to be “more aggressive rather than just sit back and defend ourselves, because they will say anything. They will take any small thing and distort it.”

The White House blog has begun singling out and taking on the cable news network. Recent blog posts carry pejorative headlines such as “Fox Lies,” and “even more Fox lies.” Time calls Dunn the “general” of this anti-Fox campaign.

Remember how we were told that the president’s predecessor would brook no dissent, that he wanted to lead the nation in a fascist direction.  Well, in fascist nations, they control the press.  And the adversarial press (including and especially the Internets) flourished in the George W. Bush era.

And his White House didn’t step up its attacks against CBS News, MSNBC, the New York Times or the Washington Post.  Currently, “more people in the all important A25-54 demographic watch. . . [FoxNews] at three in the morning (east coast time) than CNN had for the show that leads off their prime time.”  The more the White House attacks, the more likely people will rally round the successful network.  Its ratings will continue to increase and people will see it as an independent voice challenging a spendthrift Administration adrift.

It’s All About Assumptions:
How a $829 Billion Healthcare Bill Reduces the Deficit

James Taranto echoes my thoughts upon reading that the Congressional Budget Office had scored the Baucus health care bill (still lacking legislative language) and found the $829 billion boondoggle would cut the deficit by $81 billion over the next 10 years:

So Congress is going to reduce the deficit by increasing spending $829,000,000,000.00? Doesn’t this sound like–well, a joke?

How do they do that?  Sounds like, well, you know that word whose dictionary definition was, well, not entirely satisfactory to the president.  That dreaded “T” word.  (Oh yeah, and there are going to be cuts in Medicare too!):

CBO’s estimate of the Baucus plan substantially understates its true cost because it is based on key assumptions that will never hold up over time.

First, there is the new tax on so-called high-cost health-insurance plans.  The Democrats are trying to sell this as a tax on insurers.  But no one is buying that, especially not the unions.  It’s the insurance enrollees who will pay it, in the form of higher deductibles and cost-sharing to keep premiums below the thresholds.

Don’t think the American public is going to buy that.  As taxes go up, James C. Capretta (who wrote the above) finds that the Democrats expect fees to go down:  “the Baucus plan assumes deep and continuous cuts in physician fees that no one supports or believes will occur.  Restoring those cuts would add more than $200 billion to the plan’s bottom line.”  Read his analysis of all the assumptions being made to make the plan deficit neutral.

Having also looked at the CBO’s “fairly sketchy description,” Megan McArdle finds that “virtually all of the extra benefit appears to come from estimating that employers will see their health care costs fall“.  There they go again, with their estimations, assuming costs are going to fall! (more…)