Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Polaroid President

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You remember Polaroid? The first "instant" camera? You took a picture, waved it in the wind for a minute or two and saw a developed image of whatever picture you just snapped. These were the days when an LCD screen on the back of your camera (or phone) wasn't even a credible dream. Oh, and phones were still plugged into a landline...with a cord.

So, how does that fit with our President Selfie? Today, I was going over the long list of Obama's "accomplishments", and what most of them had in common. You will forgive me if I don't include such things as "Obamacare" as an accomplishment. Sure, he accomplished lying to 300 million people about keeping their plans and doctor, and accomplished the cancellation of millions of insurance policies, causing the victims, er, recipients of his policies to have to purchase more expensive plans, with larger deductibles, with coverage that many of them neither needed nor wanted.

But, consider his handling of the Keystone XL pipeline extension (covered here): Obama dithered and pandered to special interest groups for six years so far, yet, at one point, hauled himself out to a segment of the pipeline that did not require permission from his State Dept. and...had his picture taken there. Problem solved!

In the aftermath of Sandy Hook, he poses in the Oval Office with his head bowed. For Nelson Mandela's funeral, he took a selfie. He celebrated the birthday of Rosa Parks with a picture of...himself on the bus she rode. When pioneering astronaut Neil Armstrong passed away, Obama commemorated his life with a picture of...himself, looking up at the moon.

The Polaroid camera filled the niche of instant gratification. You took a picture, you immediately saw how it looked. Businesses quickly adopted it, because it often saved them the expense of going back a retaking a picture that didn't quite fit their needs. Insurance companies used them to document car wrecks. (Man! How fitting is that??)

So, aside from documenting our national train wreck on a daily basis, how does the Polaroid legacy fit with "The One"? One, it didn't last. Not only was the technology overtaken with a far superior product (Sorry, Polaroid!), but when was the last time you actually saw a Polaroid picture? I think I have one squirreled away in a file cabinet, which hasn't suffered the ravages of age. (The photo, not the file cabinet. The file cabinet looks like it was kicked by a mule, dragged behind a stagecoach and used as a rampart, over which to observe a rocket's red glare!)

The main drawback to the Polaroid was, there was no negative. You couldn't store the negatives away and reprint them at a later date, because there were no negatives. You want a photo that Ansel Adams took of Yosemite? What kind of stock would you like it printed on? You want a Matthew Brady print of the Civil War?  8 x 10 or wallet size??

The parallels are twofold. One is the figurative 'lack of negatives', because the Legacy Mainstream Media didn't do their job as watchdog and played lapdog. The criticism of this guy who should have been vetted by in 2008 both of his character and his qualification was absent, and replaced with fake Styrofoam columns and rhetoric about driving back the ocean's rise. During his six year reign to date, the criticisms have been both tepid and shallow, if at all. Had the press been the unbiased bastion of a free press that they claim to be, Obama would have never seen the inside of the Oval Office, except perhaps, on a White House tour.

The other is that, other than the debt, which is harmful, and a growing bureaucracy to sustain the Federal Leviathan, Obama has left no positive legacy. No "Obama Doctrine" other than appeasement and retreat. No "Louisiana Purchase" other than spending, perhaps an equivalent amount on his vacations, golf outings and celebrity soirees at the White House.

For all of the attempted lofty, and somewhat stilted rhetoric of his speeches, lots and lots of speeches, there is no "there" there. Obama is the ultimate empty suit. On top of that, he has alienated our allies, encouraged our enemies and the single saving virtue of his economy is the economic growth of oil productions on state and private lands, while his policies resulted in a 6% reduction of production on federal land and he seeks to restrict drilling even more.

History will not be kind to the "first black president". His retreat from Iraq created the vacuum exploited by ISIS. We are in the process of sending troops to try to stop the advance of territory we had previously secured, at a cost of human blood and treasure. His imaginary "lines in the sand", which he had not the spine or will to back up, his blustery threats of Russian "isolation" have not deterred Putin in the slightest.
Obama stomping his tiny foot to demand the return of Snowden from Russia, the return of our drone from Iran have suffered the same lack of results. Only the return of Bowe Berdahl differs in that there is a greater negative effect with the release of five Taliban terrorists.

Master trader (I said trader!) swapped one deserter for five seasoned terrorists, proposed a deal with Cuba without appropriate concessions from a military dictatorship known for torture and human rights abuses, entered into negotiations with Iran by removing sanctions before obtaining so much as a single concession from their nuclear program except a promise to talk...sometime...with a deadline...which we extended...twice.

The Obama administration has entered into bad financial deals with Solyndra, which was known to be skating towards bankruptcy, interfered with the GM bankruptcy, illegally passing over the bond holders in favor of rewarding the unions, a solid Democrat voting base. They spent millions (billions?) on the Obamacare website which was late, unreliable and riddled with security holes for anyone who ventures there.

For Obama personally, the legacy will be rich. Six figure speaking fees, invitations to sit on corporate boards and golf. Lots of golf. For his friends that he has funneled money to over two term will fare well as well.

The rest of us? Well, we had the instant gratification of having elected the first black president, who waved in the breeze, depending on which way the wind was blowing, didn't last for very long and was soon relegated to the dusty shelf of fads that seemed good at the time*, but had no long term value.

*See also "Pet Rock President"

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Coach Whose Name You Can’t Spell

Folks who visit this blog know well my devotion to the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Green Bay Packers.  I’ve said often enough that my devotion to these two teams goes all the way back to the 1960’s.  That’s a damn long time. 

For 35 years, I’ve also been a devout fan of the team America loves to hate—the Duke Blue Devils.

The Great State of North Carolina is home to some of the best men’s college basketball teams in the country—the Tarheels, Wolfpack and Demon Deacons—but Duke, now there’s a team!

A list of some of the Duke players who have gone on to the NBA include Johnny Dawkins (1987), Mike Gminksi (1991), Christian Laettner (1991), Bobby Hurley (1994), Grant Hill (1995), Cherokee Parks (1996) and J. J. Reddick (2007).

Most everyone in North Carolina is a rabid Tarheels fan. I’m a “Dookie” and damn proud of it. That makes me a target of some fierce teasing from friends who simply cannot fathom why I would root for Duke. 

While there is no championship, no conference title or Gold Medal on the line, No. 5 Duke hits the hardwoods against The Red Storm of St. John’s in Madison Square Garden.  It’s the same venue where Coach K became the winningest coach in college basketball history.

On that night his mentor and friend, Bobby Knight, was calling the game for ESPN.  When the buzzer sounded and Duke had defeated Michigan State 74-69, Coach K walked over to the broadcast table and told Knight he loved him.  It was a remarkable moment when the two switched places in the NCAA record book.

The Garden is special to Coach K. “Kids dream, and coaches dream, of playing in this place…Just the way the court is lit, the sound, how the ball bounces, there are different sounds here. The Garden sounds different; the horn sounds different and it’s all good. Those are things that people recall when they think of their playing days, so it’s a great experience for us,” he said.

A win today against 13-5 “Johnnies” would bring his record to an astonishing 1000 wins.  Krzyzewski has led the Blue Devils to 4 NCAA Championships, 11 Final Fours, 12 ACC regular season titles and 13 ACC Tournament Championships.

No matter the outcome of the game today, Coach Mike Krzyzewski is a legend.  I think it’s fair to say his level of achievement is otherworldly. 


Saturday, January 24, 2015

American Sniper and the UnAmerican Sniping of it

This afternoon, I had the opportunity to go online and watch Glo Zell interview President Obama, or see American Sniper. Wow! It was powerful and hard hitting! Man, that President Obama sure knows how to give an interview!

Get real! I saw American Sniper and I must say it exceeded my expectations. To do any sort of a decent movie review, I'd have to include a lot of spoilers, and I don't want to do that. I want you to see this movie and experience it as unbiased as possible the first time.

I knew the basic story before I went to see it, but the movie is gripping enough that even when you know how it will end, it keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Much of the film is a character study of how Chris Kyle became the man he was, how he dealt with hardships, and relationships, and sorrow and loss. Also his struggle with the morality of taking a human life, even when it will save the lives of others. And what this does to a man's soul as he looks upon evil and does battle with it day after day. The film also deals with his wife, struggling to maintain her life and family in spite of a husband who deploys for months on end, and may not ever come home.

Some of it is a gritty, sometimes brutal, but realistic telling of what our soldiers endured in the Middle East and what their families endured at home. It is rated "R". It is definitely not a movie for children. The violence is at times quite graphic. The language is the language of fighting men, more fitting for the locker room than the parlor. I did not find it distracting. Some might.

The acting is top notch. Bradley Cooper could be a ringer for Kyle. The director, Clint Eastwood, knows how to get the maximum performance from his actors and how to capture that on film. When the credits rolled, I sat in my seat for a while, wiping away a few tears. It is a moving story about a real, down to earth guy. Not a super hero or super spy, but a real American hero.

As I sat there, I tried to picture how anyone could not be moved by this movie, even Leftist tubs of lard like Michael Moore. One thing that occurred to me, was that there was a lot of truth in this movie. Being confronted with truth may be so foreign to some that they are uncomfortable in its presence.

It was in no way a "propaganda" film. What did they propagandize? "Join the SEALS, go through brutal training, get shot at or blown up, and if you do make it home you may be messed up psychologically, missing a few limbs and have you wife and kids leave you"? Great! Sign me up!

There is one message that Chris Kyle carried, and that was it was important for him to protect his country. That his country was worth defending and even worth dying for. That may have sent Leftist blowhards like Moore, if he ever even saw the film, into a catatonic state. (No, not California!)

Chris Kyle is the Alvin York of our time. If you are of age, you should see this movie. It is a well crafted piece of cinema, and leaving the theater, I was hard pressed to remember any movie I had ever seen that was better than this one or had greater emotional impact.

Still haven't.

If you faint at the sight of blood, don't see it. If violent movies give you bad dreams, don't see it. Wait 'til it comes on TV and they'll edit out some of the language and gorier parts. The rest of you, go to the theater and see it at least once. Soon. In addition to seeing a fine, well crafted movie based on the true story of an American hero, every dollar that it makes at the box office is a big...raspberry (kept it PG-13, didn't I?) to the leftist tools who are trying to discourage people from seeing it.

Vote with your wallets, America, for movies about true American heroes, and maybe Hollywood will finally take a hint about what the American public is longing to see.

Five stars out of five.

The World Will Be Listening To The Voices Of Auschwitz

For five years from 1940 to 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau became the most infamous Nazi killing center.  So hideous and horrifying was the extermination of the Jews that Supreme Allied Commander in Europe Dwight D. Eisenhower sent a cable to Washington, DC to General George Marshall:
“The things I saw beggar description…The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were…overpowering…I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda.’”
Ben Hibbs, the editor of the popular Saturday Evening Post (June 9, 1942 Journey to a Shattered World) wrote, “You have to walk into one of those places and smell the unspeakable stench, not only of the dead but of the living.”

In the book Auschwitz by Deborah Dwork and Robert Jan van Pelt there is this passage:
“[Auschwitz was] the greatest catastrophe of western civilization both permitted and endured, and obscuring the responsibility of the thousands of individuals who enacted this atrocity step by step.  None of them was born to be a mass murderer, or an accomplice to mass murder.  Each of them inched his way into iniquity.”
Army Signal Corps photographs documented the evidence of the sheer mass murder that Americans had thought was impossible propaganda and the narrator in a news reel declared, “The murder that will blacken the name of Germany for the rest of recorded history.”

On Tuesday, January 27, 2015 delegations from around the world, including some 100 former prisoners, will travel to Auschwitz-Birkenau to mark the 70th anniversary of its liberation and to honor the survivors, soldiers, reporters and others who bore witness to the extermination of 1.5 million people.

The Telegraph has posted powerful portraits of some of the survivors.  Their horror and sorrow are etched deeply in their faces, their eyes are pools of emptiness emblematic of a life irrevocably altered.

Sergeant Norman Turgel of the British Intelligence Corps wrote, “I remember one morning seeing a man sitting by the gate. He was just bones, and I could see from his features that he was a man, though I couldn’t tell his age. He was wearing the yellow striped uniform. He held his hand up, and as I passed he said the Jewish words of a prayer, and then he died.”

For most members of Europe’s Jewish community, whose family and friends endured the horrors of the Second World War, memories are never too distant. Since then, for the most part, Europe has been a safe place to live but events in Paris two weeks ago have significantly raised concerns for some Jewish communities.

Since the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices and the subsequent targeting of a kosher supermarket which left four Jewish shoppers dead, there have been heightened security measures for Jewish communities in Europe.

The Holocaust teaches us the dangers that unchecked hatred can pose for society—dangers that we must continue to guard against if we are to fulfill the survivors’ vision of “Never Again.”
The New York Times powerfully reminds us that 10 years ago, on the 60th anniversary of the camp’s liberation, 1500 survivors attended.  This year 300 are expected, most of whom are 90 years old and some are over 100.  This will likely be the last time a large number of survivors will be able to gather there.
From now on the site will be organized to explain to generations who were not alive during the war what happened rather than to act as a memorial to those who suffered through it.
Andrzej Kacorzyk, deputy director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum said of the 70th anniversary, “We find this to be a moment of passage.  A passing of the baton. It is younger generations publicly accepting the responsibility that they are ready to carry this history on behalf of the survivors, and to secure the physical survival of the place where they suffered.”
The ceremony will host state leaders from Poland, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands, Croatia, and other countries. Other notable guests will include film director Steven Spielberg, founding chair of the USC Shoah Foundation; Israeli-American businessman Haim Saban; and other Auschwitz 70th anniversary committee members, but no President of the United States.
Bernadette Meehan, National Security Council spokeswoman, said in an email that, “President Obama will be in India, on a long-scheduled trip.”

Friday, January 23, 2015

ISIS Is Shaking In Their Filthy Pajamas

This blog is called Political Clown Parade; emphasis on the clown, for a reason.  On Thursday, January 22, 2014 The World’s Most Dangerous Community Organizer met with three YouTube™ “stars” in the East Room of the White House.  The brainiacs in the West Wing envisioned an event that would draw a younger audience—the ones who get their news from Twitter and Facebook—hoping to bring public policy to them on a personal level.

One woman, most famously known for eating Froot Loops® directly from a bathtub and opens each of her YouTube™ uploads with, “Hello! This is GloZell! Is you ok? Is you? Good, cause I wanted to know!” joined a 19-year-old whose claim to fame is crafting videos and admitted she “never really followed politics that much” and a guy who hosts a YouTube™ channel with this brother to push his State of Union message.

According to The Daily Mail, not only was it a PR disaster, but the “50-minute YouTube™ interview was a national joke before it was half over.”  The article noted that at its peak, slightly more than 84,000 people were viewing it according to live counts displayed by YouTube™.  The whole thing smacked of the satire of The Onion.

William Jacobson, proprietor of Legal Insurrection, believes the stunt was brilliant “because it put the more-hostile-than-they-were-six-years-ago MSM in its place while turning the dial up on the White House’s cool factor and creating the illusion of accessibility.”

Richard Grenell, America’s longest serving U.S. spokesman at the United Nations and National Security and Foreign Affairs spokesman for Mitt Romney’s last presidential run tweeted this:
At his website, Grenell opines:
“Republicans who mock President Obama’s interviews with the three popular YouTube internet stars make a serious mistake. While the Obama White House is completely incompetent and weak, they know how to spin everyday Americans. The Washington, DC media crowd, including conservative media, preaches to the choir of news junkies. The idea that you can win a modern presidential election without being modern is what should be mocked.” 
“How can it be that some Republicans still don’t understand that young people aren’t watching Meet the Press? In fact, news junkies are watching less Meet the Press. Young people are getting their news from YouTube, Facebook and Ellen. And Team Obama has largely monopolized the playgrounds where Millennials are hanging out.” 
“Republicans are bound to lose the next presidential election again if they can’t communicate with new voters. Millions of people walk into the voting booth and vote for someone they like. News junkies and DC types casually refer to this as “Who would you want to have a beer with?” The sentiment is accurate but the analogy should be updated to ‘Who do you want to make a YouTube video with?’” 
“I think this President is weak, bored with the office, and an incompetent leader. But he knows how to go around the DC media.”
Because these men are wiser than I am I will acquiesce to their point, but only so far.  While The World’s Most Dangerous Community Organizer spoke to the nation on Tuesday night Iranian-backed Shia rebels seized the Yemeni presidential palace.  Two days later Yemen's President resigned shortly after his prime minister and the entire  Cabinet stepped down.
The threat from ISIS and al-Qaeda continues to grow at an alarming pace.  Russia’s Putin hasn’t stopped threatening Ukraine. In his SOTU speech, TWMDCO boasted “We are demonstrating the power of American strength and diplomacy.  We’re upholding the principle that bigger nations can’t bully the small—by opposing Russian aggression, supporting Ukraine’s democracy, and reassuring our NATO allies.”
“Last year, as we were doing the hard work of imposing sanctions along with our allies, some suggested that Mr. Putin’s aggression was a masterful display of strategy and strength.  Well, today, it is America that stands strong and united with our allies, while Russia is isolated, with its economy in tatters. That’s how America leads—not with bluster, but with persistent, steady resolve.” 

Russia continues to supply troops and advanced weapons to the rebels as battles continue to rage in Donetsk and Luhansk.  You can see the war-ravaged Donetsk airport here.

The president’s remarks did not go unnoticed in the Kremlin.  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking Wednesday at a press conference said, “We hear from our Western partners that Russia has to be isolated. Specifically, Barack Obama has just repeated that. These attempts won’t be effective.  Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia will never resort to self-isolation.” 

I could go on and on about his disastrous foreign policy on a country-by-country, region-by-region basis, but why bother.  Everything is peachy.  How do I know?  Because the smartest, coolest, hippest Preezy of the United Steezy told me so.  Every utterance of his is gobbled up by the mainstream media like it’s a pot brownie.

“I have no more campaigns to run,” he told us Tuesday night.  Still, for two more years the American people and the world will watch and be stupefied by the antics of a sophomoric, thin-skinned little man who cares more about his party and his legacy than the country he took an oath to preserve, protect and defend who possesses an extraordinary and previously undocumented ability to fuck everything up.
ISIS is shaking in their filthy pajamas



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