Tag Archives: President Obama

President Obama and Anderson Cooper with 2 powerful, human responses to Orlando tragedy. And Jimmy Kimmel’s NBA “Generation Gap” cracks me up

There was a fantastic running sketch on the great “Key and Peele” show on Comedy Central about Luther, Barack Obama’s “anger translator.”If you don’t remember it, Luther served as a stand-in for Obama’s rage, poking fun at the fact that Obama is so even-keeled all the time, and that he never lets himself get angry. Luther, therefore, was there to say what Obama couldn’t.

It was a hilarious sketch. But it’s not really needed anymore, sadly, because President Obama has just about reached his tipping point. And he’s really freaking pissed. Maybe what put him over the top was the vulgar, talking yam Tweeting just after the worst mass killing in U.S. history, bragging about how he was right to propose banning all Muslims, and calling for Obama to resign.

(Quick aside: Isn’t it interesting how Republicans always blame Democrats for “politicizing” a tragedy by calling for stricter gun laws after a mass killing, yet after Sunday’s tragedy their Presidential nominee immediately made it a political issue, and no one on the right seems bothered by that? F’ing infuriating.)

Whatever it was, Tuesday afternoon our President gave a stinging rebuke of hatred and intolerance. I encourage you to watch his whole speech embedded above, but if you only have time for a part of it, watch the five-minute clip I’ve embedded above.

It’s powerful, it’s important, and it’s the voice of one man saying “Enough!” Stop!” You are killing people with your insane, racist rhetoric. You think you’re being entertaining and firing up a mob, but you’re actually dangerous, incompetent, and causing more hatred toward America.

Enough. E-fucking-nough.

**Next, someone who actually took the time to memorialize and think about the victims of this tragedy, instead of shamelessly using death to promote an agenda. Anderson Cooper spent seven minutes at the start of his show Monday night, reading the names of the 49 people killed in the Orlando massacre, and giving a few small details where he could about each of their lives.

I found this incredibly compelling; the few details like “he always had a smile on his face,” about one guy, and “she always was such a hard worker” about another give you just a tiny insight, but really go a long way.

Cooper, who is openly gay, chokes up several times reading this. But it’s incredibly important that he did it, and I urge you to watch if you can, emotionally.

These were people, not political pawns.

**Finally today, wanted to end on a lighter note, after all this sadness. The NBA Finals are still going on, which means ESPN/ABC are doing all kinds of cross-promotion, which gave us this hilarious Jimmy Kimmel “Generation Gap” sketch last week, wherein 1970s NBA legend (and insanely bad dresser) Walt “Clyde” Frazier went head-to-head in a trivia game with current NBA star Anthony Davis.

It gets better as it goes along; poor Walt, he just couldn’t keep up. The “Welcome Back, Kotter” question did crack me up…

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A very cool cause to fight lung disease. Seahawks fans paid to stay quiet during a game. And the State of the Union depresses me

I get lots of emails asking me to promote this cause or charity on my little blog, and most of them I ignore or glance over.

But this one stopped me short, and I thought it was cool enough to share and encourage you to check out when you can this week.

A reader named Cameron Von St. James sent me the following note recently:

“Eight years ago, my wife Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma; a rare cancer that kills most people within two years of diagnosis.  She had just given birth to our daughter Lily, and was only given 15 months to live.  After a life saving surgery that included the removal of her left lung, LungLeavin’ Day was born.  This will be the 8th year that we celebrate (on Feb. 2)!

The purpose of LungLeavin’ Day is to encourage others to face their fears!  Each year, we gather around a fire in our backyard with our friends and family, write our biggest fears on a plate and smash them into the fire. (My note: How cool is that? Totally want to see video of that)  We celebrate for those who are no longer with us, for those who continue to fight, for those who are currently going through a tough time in their life, and most importantly, we celebrate life!

Very cool idea, and very cool cause. Please check out LungLeavin;Day’s page when you can.

Check out this great MSN video – Seattle’s 12th Man Room of Silence.

**So it’s Super Bowl week, and it’s still very strange to me that all this is happening in New York and New Jersey, where I live. There are signs in the streets all over here in Manhattan, they’re closing down half of Broadway for the rest of the week so we can have ‘Super Bowl Boulevard” (I have to say, it does look pretty cool and your humble blogger may go check it out on Thursday).

But it’s just weird to be living in a Super Bowl city; I haven’t noticed too many Denver or Seattle fans yet, but I’m sure they’ll be a ‘comin’.

The Seahawks, of course, are known for their loud fans, called the 12th Man, so I thought this Fox Sports video was pretty hilarious: The network offered to pay a bunch of hardcore fans $5,000 if they stayed quiet for the entire game.

The results are awesome (watch above):

US-POLITICS-STATE OF THE UNION-OBAMA

**And finally today, Tuesday night was the State of the Union. I used to get fired up about these things, and I still love hearing Barack Obama give a rousing speech, but with each successive do-nothing Congress, I get less and less hopeful about changes the President suggests and calls for actually being enacted. I wish I could believe Obama when he talks about getting gun control done “with or without Congress,” but I absolutely do not.

I thought Tuesday’s speech was fine; hopeful, with specific details about the minimum wage, the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, and other topics liberals like me love.

A couple highlights from this mostly-paying-attention viewer:

— Obama was channeling his inner Jesse Pinkman (Yes, I’m watching “Breaking Bad” now, and yes, it is freaking fantastic through the 1st 2 seasons I’ve seen) a little bit, basically shouting “Yay, science!” when talking about climate change. I cannot believe he still has to remind people that this phenomenon is real.

— Also can’t believe that equal pay for equal work for women and men is in any way shape or form controversial. It’s 2014, why in the hell shouldn’t women get paid the same as men for doing the same work! How is this still something that’s debated?

— Loved the line about “helping your mother through the health care forms, plus she’ll be glad to hear from you.” Really funny.

— So many good Tweets about the speech, but one of my favorites was from @XMastimeblog, who said: “Going l-r, Biden/Obama/Boehner looks like a spray-tan chart, right?”

— Finally, this reality check from NPR host Scott Simon, which I loved: “If you think America never changes, remember seeing an African-American president kiss Jewish women on the Supreme Court.”

Obama continues his big broken promise on Guantanamo Bay. Jon Stewart on universal preschool. And the great Bob Hurley Sr., keeps on winning.

Guantanamo Bay


This Chicago Blackhawks streak is getting beyond ridiculous. They’ve now gotten a point in 24 straight games to start the NHL season. That’s half the season now. Will they ever lose in a 60-minute game?

As I temporarily sat riveted Wednesday night watching C-SPAN and believing that batshit-crazy Senator Rand Paul was actually right to be questioning America’s use of drones to kill American citizens (and for the record, I’m thrilled someone is actually using the filibuster the way it’s supposed to be used, I think Paul is right to question the use of drones and killing American citizens, but I can’t forget that this is the same Rand Paul who was against the Civil Rights Act)  I got to thinking about Guantanamo Bay.

You know, the little island in Cuba that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld decided was a good place to hold all terrorists suspected of doing anything bad in the War on Terror.

The place where prisoners, many who had nothing to do with Al Qaeda, many who were never even formally charged with anything, were left for years at a time, to perish and be waterboarded and treated in a disgusting manner.

The place that Barack Obama promised throughout 2007 and 2008 to close when he became President, because it’s a blight on our country that it’s open and people are tortured there.

The place that as this scathing article in Britain’s Guardian newspaper points out, is alive and kicking in 2013, four years into Obama’s Presidency.

This is one prisoner wrote in his letters: “Please … torture me in the old way. Here they destroy people mentally and physically without leaving marks.”

Many of the prisoners at Guantanamo are on hunger strikes again, to protest awful conditions and, well, read this passage from the story:

“The deterioration in detainees’ living conditions is believed to be tied to a recent change in the military command of the prison. It has been reported that under the new command regime, mistreatment of prisoners has increased, exacerbating a situation already desperate after over a decade of torture, solitary confinement, and detainee deaths at the camp.”

And oh yeah, more than FIFTY of these prisoners have been cleared for release, yet still haven’t been let go.

It’s a disgrace and a stain on Obama’s legacy, and on this country’s record, that a prison like this is allowed to be continued. Of course we have to keep the real terrorists locked up, but the torture and inhumane conditions for so many individuals who oftentimes don’t even know why they’re there is just horrendous, and unfair.

Maybe one day President Obama will remember what he said he’d do, and do it. But as Rand Paul pointed out hour after hour on Wednesday night, when it comes to terror suspects and torture, there’s sadly not that much daylight between Obama and his predecessor.

UNIVPRESCH

**And now, for something different. Universal pre-school is something that really shouldn’t be a political issue; doesn’t everyone think we need to start educating our children younger, and better? Who could be against education?

Well, the GOP can, of course. And Wednesday night Jon Stewart eviscerated them hilariously in this piece.

**Finally, as I’ve written several times before in this space, there may be no basketball coach alive that I admire more than a crotchety old drill sargent down in Jersey City named Bob Hurley, Sr.

Now having won more than 1,000 games at tiny St. Anthony’s High School, Hurley performs miracles on a daily basis, saving kids from the streets and sending hundreds of them onto college.
He doesn’t cheat, he doesn’t complain about the fact that he still doesn’t have a gym to practice in, he just wins. If you’re interested in Hurley, I once again recommend Adrian Wojnarowski’s outstanding book “The Miracle of St. Anthony.”

Hurley and his team just won another private school title Wednesday night, and the great sportswriter Steve Politi has penned a terrific column about Hurley, and how at 65, he’s still going strong.

A few words about Rahm on the way out. And Cambridge cops really love yoga

Rahm Emanuel is a force of nature, the media always say.

I always thought he was just a really intense guy who got WAY too much attention over the past year and a half.

Emanuel, if you’re not sure who he is, is President Obama’s chief of staff, and he’s leaving the White House Friday to go run for mayor of Chicago, next year.
I say good riddance, actually. As a liberal, I’m pretty damn frustrated with him and his boss.

I had such high hopes for Rahm when he and Obama took over 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January of ’09. Here was a guy who knew how to fight Republicans, and didn’t give a damn about how the sausage was made.He was tough, he could be a bastard sometimes, and he had a reputation for getting things done.
And he had 60 votes in the Senate, and a Democratic House, and a country aching for change.

And yet, what did we get? A watered-down health care bill, that took a year to get passed. A smaller than we wanted stimulus. Absolutely nothing done about Guantanamo Bay. Incredibly little done on gay rights, or human rights in general.

Emanuel came in breathing fire. Turns out he couldn’t even get the front door warm. Emanuel is a symbol to me of waster opportunities in the first 1 1/2 years of the Obama administration. So if he wants to go, let him.

Check out this excellent essay in Slate magazine on Emanuel and what a big disappointment he’s been.

**So this was a strange story. Police officers in Cambridge, Mass. have been giving out more than just parking tickets in the city.
Now, the cops are giving out yoga instructions on the back of the violations. Perhaps they think looking at Downward Facing Dog will reduce the stress of getting caught.

“It’s trying to debunk the idea that all parking tickets are a hostile action,” said Cambridge’s transportation chief.”

Um, sure, whatever you say chief. Because i know when I get a ticket, a little yoga direction always makes me feel better.

A very cool stop-motion walk across America. Sherrod sues Breitbart, rightfully. And another lunatic candidate in Tenn.

Let’s start today with a very cool video. A stop-action film of a man walking across America. Stuff like this always boggles my mind, and makes me think that only 80 years ago, we all just listened to the radio for entertainment.

**I was happy to see that Shirley Sherrod, the African-American woman whose life and career were basically ruined by right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart, has decided to sue him.

And it’s funny how now, President Obama and others in the administration go to great lengths to praise Sherrod and take some blame for the incredible over-reaction they made, by firing her before any of the facts were in.
Two weeks after the incident, though, I’m still horrified and ashamed at how quickly the USDA and the Democratic party turned on Sherrod.

It speaks to once again, how unbelievably frightened Democrats in Washington are. God forbid, we wait and verify before condemning. God forbid, we take a stand and support a woman who from all accounts has been an exemplary public servant.
When, when, when are the leaders of my party going to grow a backbone? Been waiting all my life for it, but it seems fear still rules the party I support.

**Is it me, or does this election cycle seem to have WAY more loons than usual? Seriously, I think every nutjob in America is running for office.
This guy might be my new favorite, though; Basil Marceaux (above), running for Governor of Tennessee. He starts the video by saying his name is “BasilMarceaux.com” and, well, it doesn’t get better from there: Check out his equally-insane website here.

Why the WH Correspondents’ dinner needs to end. And a bomb scare in Times Square

As a political nerd, I used to really look forward to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Bunch of big-shot journalists get together, along with all the major politicians in Washington, and tell some jokes, while making fun of each other’s self-importance.

Harmless fun, right?

Saturday night was the annual yuk-fest this year, and it was the same old story. President Obama got off some really good one-liners (the joke about John McCain and Arizona was pretty hilarious, at the 7:15 mark of the video) and everyone laughed.  Obama had another good line about the emcee of the dinner, Jay Leno: “Though I am glad that the only person whose ratings fell more than mine last year is here tonight. Great to see you Jay. I’m also glad that I’m speaking first. We’ve all seen what happens when somebody takes the time slot after Leno’s.”

Here’s what upsets me, more and more each year, though: This dinner is wildly unprofessional. As a journalist, it’s pretty distasteful that the people who are supposed to hold the politicians’ feet to the fire spend all this time palling around with them. It represents everything many of us hate about the Washington political culture: They’re all in it together, reporters and Congress, journalists and high-ranking officials.

Do sportswriters like myself go to team banquets and parties of the teams we cover? No. Do business writers hang out at the country club with the CEOs they write about? No. So why is it acceptable that the journalists who have the most important beat in the country are all buddy-buddy with those in the highest seats of power?

Especially when things like this are happening; reporters getting subpoenaed by the Obama Justice Department for not revealing sources. I thought this crap was supposed to end after Dubya left office?

Maybe I’m getting old and crusty and cynical already. But not only does a dinner like this send the wrong message, it insults the good name of hard-working reporters who don’t want to be best-friends with the people in power.

**So a car bomb almost went off in Times Square on Saturday. I guess it’s a measure of how much safer I feel, or just how much time has passed since 9/11, that the revelation shocked me. Around 2003 or 2004 or so, I would’ve half-expected such a scare.

A lot of fascinating details in the stories the N.Y. Times has been running, including: How did the police, on a Saturday night in the spring, get Times Square cleared so fast? And I love that it was two sidewalk vendors, who are generally treated as an annoyance by those of us who are natives, are the heroes in this case so far, as they alerted police to the strange-looking Pathfinder on 45th Street.

Another pretty frightening question raised? Why hasn’t New York City been targeted by car bombs before? It’s a lot easier than hijacking a plane or blowing up a subway, and many other major world cities have been bombed this way before.

Thank God it didn’t work. Thank God those street vendors were paying attention.

I just wonder, though, how many times we’re going to get lucky that these attempts at mass destruction “fail.”

The feds leave pot alone, horrendous baseball umpiring, and will Miss California give her boobs back?

MARIJUANAcarrie-prejean

Here’s what I love: When laws that should’ve been upheld all along, are completely ignored by the federal government for eight years, then a new administration takes over, agrees that those laws are valid, and WE ALL CHEER WILDLY!

I’m talking of course, about the Obama administration’s long-overdue decision to no longer prosecute those who are using medical marijuana legally in the

14 states that allow it. Under W. and John Ashcroft, the federal government basically said “screw you” to the state laws, and raided medical marijuana dispensaries and made arrests.

Finally, perfectly legal distributors will be allowed to, you know, do the legal business they should’ve been allowed to in the first place! I realize we’re a long, long way from legalizing marijuana, which millions of Americans (including me) believe should happen.

And President Obama and Eric Holder can’t, politically, say what is obvious to almost everyone else: Medical marijuana works, it does so much more good than harm, and we should leave these stores alone.

But hey, at least the federal government is eliminating the time-waste of busting legal businesses. Now they have time for, oh, I don’t know, continuing to allow Guantanamo to stay open and keeping gay people out of the military.

**So many jokes, so little time. Apparently the Miss California pageant is suing their fine female representative, Miss Carrie Prejean, for $5,200. She borrowed the money to get breast implants before the Miss USA pageant, and now they want their moolah back.

Just the first three thoughts from my head as it spins wildly from this news: If she gets the implants taken out, will California consider it all even? Who gets to sue Prejean over that fake personality she has? And most importantly, does this set a legal precedent? Think about how much money states can recoup from demanding money back from losing contestants.

Hell, I’m willing to bet that the Texas pageant refunds could fully fund health care in this country.

**So I’m not one who usually complains about umpiring and referee calls; I think in most cases that’s a classic loser’s lament (except when it costs a team the game, like it did for the Arkansas football team against Florida last week).

But have you SEEN how horrible the umpiring has been in the baseball playoffs this year? From the blown call on Joe Mauer of the Twins’ double down the line in the ALDS, to the terrible calls Tuesday night in the Yanks-Angels game, I don’t ever remember it being this bad.

I mean, the play where the Yanks had two runners off third base, the Angels catcher tags BOTH of them, and only one of the is called out, was about the worst thing I’ve seen since … well, since this: (sorry, Cardinals fans)

**Finally, she’s haunting me again. The Bob Dance girl. The one who haunted me last summer, the one who’s in EVERY freaking commercial every five minutes on Central Florida TV. Now they’ve got Halloween-themed stuff going on behind little Grace.

Please, Dear God, make her go away!