December 2009

Will Obama Save the World?

When Superman needed to go from Clark Kent to the Man of Steel so he could save the world one more time, all he needed to do was find the nearest telephone booth and in a flash he went from nerdy guy to flying, invincible superhero. Copenhagen kind of needs Obama to do something along those lines- but you can’t do that in the age of cell phones! Obama is on his way to Copenhagen and nothing short of a gigantic S on his chest will change the outcome of the summit that seems lined with kryptonite and full of forces, both diabolical and strategic. Lots of good intentions with lots of politics leading on a green, leafy road to nowhere. The summit is, for lack of a better cliché, lost in the woods.

Nuclear Power is Wrong for America: Separating Fact from Fiction

After the Three Mile Island Disaster that took place in the United States in 1979, followed by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster just seven years later in 1986, most of the nation, and the world, began to speak out about the dangers that nuclear power posed to not only the stability of the environment but to our own lives as well. Many people realized the truth about the nuclear industry: that nuclear power is dirty, costly, and deadly, and they became quite outspoken about these facts. In fact, so dangerous is the concept of nuclear power plants that before his fall from grace, Patrick Moore wrote in the Assault on Future Generations in 1976 that "Nuclear power plants are, next to nuclear warheads themselves, the most dangerous devices that man has ever created.

Strongarming the Senate

Health care!

I was driving back from a Linked In conference today with my boss and we were talking about politics- specifically the senate and how they are having a fractured time of it around the health care reform. Last night I was talking about it with my house mates. My point is, it’s being talked about in every corner of my life- and not even so much the details or the benefits and drawbacks of the bill, but just the simple fact that the guys up there are having such a distinct lack of success in making anything happen- last I read they were talking about sending it back to committee and how the democrats had to pow wow again just to agree on something. They have a filibuster proof number of votes in there if they want it and they can’t even ram something through.

Greenspan's two cents

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more challenging for Obama… Alan Greenspan comes out with a whopper. Obviously this man skipped out on every single day of PR training for governement officials:

"I think the Fed has done an extraordinary job and it's done a huge amount (to bolster employment). There's just so much monetary policy and the central bank can do. And I think they've gone to their limits, at this particular stage," said Greenspan on "Meet the Press."

Who let this guy go on television? He must hate America, or at least Obama. Just as we are heading into Christmas, you go on national television saying that there is nothing more that could be done by the Fed, essentially saying that Bernake and Co. are doing it wrong and that they need to reverse their current policy. Greenspan, you are no longer Fed chairman, remember that.

Democrats and Republicans getting out their mean stuff before the holidays

Can you imagine if there were actually people out there hoping that the economy wouldn’t recover? Or not recover as fast? Is it the kind of thing like when you go to watch a football game and you don’t really like your uncle, so you just root against whatever team he is rooting for (what? … you don’t do that?) I was watching season 1 of Mad Men (yep, I’m in) and saw that they were hired by the Nixon campaign to help with media strategy against JFK- and in that sense, it wasn’t about what any of the ad execs actually thought about the issues or about who they were going to vote for for president, it was about using the power that they had, which was messaging in the context of the media (that and buying power), to push the agenda of one side- the side that paid for their lunch ticket.

My Christmas List

Dear Santa,

Hi, it's me, Barack Obama. The President. Well, not your president. The United States has very little claim on the territories around the North Pole, but our intel satellites indicate that you have been hard at work constructing toys and performing test launches for your latest model of sleigh. Don't worry, the only reason we had our CIA eyes on you is because it turns out that reindeer emissions are chemically indistinguishable from the industrial byproducts of the uranium enrichment process. Our boys have you in the clear and I want to assure you that the killing of the elf known as Twinkle Blinkins has nothing to do with any of our surveillance. We aren't ready to point fingers just yet, but our sources say it was either the result of an over-zealous Russian oil expedition or possibly some drunk hunters from Norway that got their hands on old Soviet munitions. Anyway, I think you'd agree that I've been a very good boy this year (Nobel Peace Prize and everything), so I thought I'd take this opportunity to send you my wish list for Christmas 2009.

Issues about as withdrawal from Iraq draws near

There is plenty going on on the warfront for the Obama administration- Right now Obama is fresh from accepting a Nobel Peace Prize and defending what he calls a “just” war in Afghanistan. At the same time, that just war is receiving 30,000 new troops for an offensive and training push over the next 18 months. Just alone there is plenty there to occupy the military forces and strategic thought.
But there is a growing situation in Iraq that is developing as a potential issue surrounding Washington’s plans for withdrawal, though how they deal with it could offer clues about how they will deal with Afghanistan next year.

Health Care Reform Re-Form-ed

The Senate is making is way very, very slowly toward a health care reform bill- and this week, they made a compromise that is getting praise from President Barack Obama.

Not that we are anywhere close to seeing a completed bill that would get voted on- no, that would be much too much, but it has elicited agreements from the Democratic senators to at least review it before endorsing or complaining. Tow the party line, people- this is your chance to actually do something for a change.

America Right Now.

Everyday I sift through stacks (well, virtual stacks) of stories and opinions in the news channels of the Internet. And one of the big themes right now is, of course, the economy and our present situation- as in, what can we do about this mess?

I wanted to stop, today, to look at the two poles, as I see it, of the issue- one side being the hope and action that the government is trying to create, the other side being the harsh reality that people are dealing with across the country.

Now that we have taken care of the banks and the market (not that they are fixed, but they got what they are going to get), what are we going to do to close the gap between this “fragile” economic recovery and the actual issues that people are dealing with- unemployment is at over 10 percent. 1 in 8 Americans does not get enough food. Stuff like that.

Bernake and the Economy

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke always looks stern, almost pious in the press photos. I feel like the only time I have seen him in a picture is when he is either testifying before some part of the government or when he is speaking to the press about the state of the economy and the financial doldrums we are in.
He just went through a set of confirmation hearings, and looks set to take on another 4 years of pious photos and tight-lipped statements. He also looks ready to continue on the optimistic front that he has been sticking to.

The Treasure of Kabul

I've wandered this grand world in search of it. I've studied the maps brought into the Oval Office for the past year. I dispatched Joe Biden and an army of experts to find it. But now, at the eve of my second year in the presidency, I think I've finally caught the trail. I will launch a thousand-score troops to find the great treasure of ancient Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Arguments

This is becoming a major sticking point in the conversation around Afghanistan and Obama’s strategy there- the fact that he projected a summer 2011 date to begin bringing troops back to the U.S. And I think the reality is that all the controversy surrounding it is far worse than the actual announcement or the idea of putting a date on bringing troops home- I mean, is it really so wrong to set a goal for getting troops out of Afghanistan? Maybe it is…

Going Gridiron: Sarah Palin speaks to the Journalists at their annual winter dinner

I’ve got to give her this: Sarah Palin has not avoided Washington D.C. on her book tour. This has to be one of the most self-serving (ok, they’re all self-serving) book tours of all time, scheduling her in towns that love her already, but she decided to go to the nation’s capital, to sit down and pull out a pile of books in the city she wanted to have the 2nd most powerful job in the world in- and she wore a hat that looked like it was from the Gap. You can see it here.

Palin was invited to and accepted a speaking engagement at the annual winter dinner of the Gridiron Club, which is made up of the leading Washington journalists. When she decides to flirt with disaster, at least she does it with the teeth of the vampire and not the shadow of his cape.

NATO commits 7,000 troops to Afghanistan

"Transition doesn't mean exit. There should be no misunderstanding: we are not going to leave Afghanistan to fall back into the hands of terrorists and the extremists who host them. It will not happen,” said NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Hillary Clinton did call these troop levels a "significant contribution" and said she was pleased by the numbers, so maybe I am just off. It also sounds like the Pentagon was hoping for around 10,000 troops from NATO, which did not happen. They gave about the same ratio of expectations/ requests as Obama did to the U.S. forces.