Friday, August 28, 2009

The Sorry State of Everything

The venerable and beloved "liberal lion" of the Senate, Ted Kennedy, is dead. Not only was he a great friend, ally, and mentor of the President, but he was also the primary mover and shaker across decades in the Senate with regard to universal healthcare reform. At this point, it is impossible to know how, if at all, Kennedy's death is likely to affect the outcome of any proposed legislation that has already received the kiss of death in advance from Republicans. In case you haven't heard, they have made it clear that, for them, healthcare reform is an opportunity to "break" Obama's presidency. So, even though Kennedy's death has been on the cards for some time, the precise timing of it, at least for me, has the ring of hidden synchronicity, whose meaning, however, is yet to be revealed

Meanwhile, the problem of passing healthcare reform has been compounded in recent weeks by the many defecting Obama supporters, who are adding their disenchanted voices to those of his despisers, opponents, and accusers. Last week, my friend Jane and I listened in dismay while Arianna Huffington (co-founder of the HuffingtonPost blog) chastised Obama publicly on "The Charlie Rose Show" for not exercising enough LEADERSHIP. Things aren't coming together, she declared, because he's "conflict-averse." (Was she channeling Sigmund Freud?) Obama, Arianna railed, needs to stop waffling on the public option. He needs to throw all those lying Republicans over the wall. He should fight harder and act nasty--where is the sound of the lion's roar? Her own stridency was stunning.

Of course we all went through similar tough passages like the current one during the campaign: those jaw-clenching periods when every one and his brother had an overheated opinion about what Obama should or should not be doing. Times when it seemed like his ship was sinking, but then, almost miraculously, it didn't. So all of this feels a bit like watching reruns of "Two and a Half Men," only without laughs. My own sense of Obama's "leadership" style is quite different from Arianna's, I must confess. I don't exactly read him as "conflict-averse." I think he just prefers to bide his time, keep his cool (when all around him are losing theirs), and wait for the right moment. Then, at what may seem to everyone else like one second before midnight, he will make a canny move. However, I can imagine a question being legitimately raised with respect to such an off-hand strategy--like, what if the moment for acting has already come and gone? Yikes!

So, if the question now is whether the President has been too deferential to Congress, and not daring enough in seizing the reins, my own opinion is, I don't happen to think so. One of my best blogging mentors (not Virgil, but Andrew Sullivan) seems to feel the same way. In one of his many posts about Obama, Sullivan assesses the President's M.O., describing him as a liberal in policy but a conservative in temperament (i.e. cautious, consensus-seeking, empirical, not impetuous). Obama, he claims, understands the role of his office as the presider, not the decider--the executive being just one of three co-equal branches of the U.S. government.

"As he [Obama] had once written when describing his strategy as a black man in a white world: no sudden moves," Sullivan writes. "And we have seen none. Obama likes the system; he just wants to make it work for more people...Obama is, at his core, a community organizer. Community organizers do not jump into a situation and start bossing people around. They begin by listening, debating, cajoling, inspiring, and delegating...[they] try to empower others, not themselves."

Sullivan concludes: "It's too soon to tell, but I learnt long ago not to underestimate Obama's strategic skills and persistence....He is taking his time and keeping his cool. The question is whether a volatile electorate in a terrible economic time will be patient enough to wait." Admittedly, things are not looking all that good with respect to those racist crowds consumed by hate and Nazi-speak and guns.

"People are starting to lose faith in the president," Bob Herbert, a columnist for the New York Times and a big supporter of Obama's, wrote recently. "Their biggest worry is that Mr. Obama is soft, that he is unwilling or incapable of fighting hard enough to counter the forces responsible for the sorry state the country is in...more and more he is seen as someone who would like to please everybody, who is naive about the prospects for bipartisanship...and who will retreat whenever the Republicans and the corporate crowd come after him."

But Herbert concludes: "Maybe they're wrong....It's possible that we've been without mature leadership for so long that it's difficult to recognize it when we see it. Mr. Obama has proved the naysayers wrong time and again. But if it turns out that this time HE'S wrong, hold on to your hats. Because right now there is no Plan B."

In the current issue of Time, Joe Klein wonders how you can sustain a democracy if one of the two major political parties has been overrun by nihilists more interested in destroying the opposition and gaining power than in the public weal? He describes the crude takeover of the healthcare debate by the right wing of the Republican party as a "DISINFORMATION JIHAD." It's a killer phrase, and I hope like hell it catches on. Klein voices outrage that no moderate Republicans dared to stand up to Rush Limbaugh, when he compared the President to Adolf Hitler--nor when violent crowds have tried to pulverize public forums in order to render creative policy discussion impossible.

Obama, Klein concludes, "will have to come up with something, though--and he will have to do it without the tiniest scintilla of help from the Republican party." Virgil suspects it is the First Dog "Bo" (he of the white paws), who is the secret sharer Obama can tell his troubles to. So I just hope he's right, and that Bo is giving the Prez some good tactical advice for how to deal with political lepers, douchebags, and dickheads. Maybe he'll come up with something like "you reach over, and you just pour it, right in their bowls," and we will all have one of those "teaching moments" again. Or, do you suppose that would be considered just a little too unsporting?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Entering the Labyrinth: Game On

It's becoming more and more apparent that if you are not armed with a ball of gold thread, you will never find your way out of what has now become the labyrinth of healthcare reform. A sense of multiple dead ends and irreconcilable disparities--of dots that will never connect and inscrutables gone feral--has been well captured and embodied in this text that arrived on my email yesterday from Marc Ambinder, a blogger on the Atlantic. Feel free to snigger while you read it, but don't be surprised if you end up with a bitter vertigo by the time you're done. And whatever else you do, do not fail to bring along that ball of gold thread.

Health Care: Choose Your Own Adventure
By Marc Ambinder
Posted: 17 Aug 2009 01:07 PM PDT
With apologies to Edward Packard and Bantam Books...

The White House is always accusing the media of treating health reform like a game. So..

Step 1. The health care system is broken and needs reform.

If you agree with this statement, please go to Step 50.

If you disagree with this statement, please go to Step 50.

Step 2: If you're afraid that ObamaCare will spell the end of private insurance and be a total disaster, Go to Step 54. If you support -- in general -- the consensus insurance reforms in the House and Senate bill, go to Step 3. If you support a single payer system and are worried that the White House has conceded way too much, go to step 33.

Step 3: If you believe that, even with insurance reforms, health care isn't worth the effort unless it includes a "public option," go to step 5.

If you believe that "consumer protections," combined with some cost-cutting measures, higher taxes on the rich, structural reforms and inducements TBD are good enough, Go to step 4.

Step 4: Congratulations. I've identified you, at heart, as a health care policy wonk with center-left tendencies. Or, you work in the White House. Go to step 6.

Step 5: You're outraged that the White House thinks the public plan is negotiable. Go to step 6.

Step 6: House Democrats say that a conference bill without a public option won't pass their chamber. If you believe their threat, Go to step 8. If you think they're bluffing, go to step 7.

Step 7. All your focus is on getting to 60 votes in the Senate. If you think Sen. Ted Kennedy will be able to return to the Senate and cast the 60th vote, go to Step 8. If you don't think Kennedy will return to cast the deciding vote, go to Step 9.

Step 8: You're focusing on a handful of Democrats and a few Republicans. If you think you should play hardball, go to step 10. If you think you should let the finance committee, messy as it is, reach a consensus, go to step 11.

Step 9: If you think 61 votes is undoable, you decide to take a gamble on the reconcilliation process. Go to step 35. Else, proceed to step 8.

Step 10: The White House fills in the details: reform is a must. It's a clarifying issue. When the American people watch the final, final vote, they're going to view the pro-reform side as being "right," and senators need to get on the right side of history. If you think this is sufficient enough, go to step 14. If you think this is an insufficient threat, go to step 13.

Step 11: Your base approval rating drops another 10 points. If you think this is temporary, go to step 12. If you're worried, to back to step 6.

Step 12: Wait a while. Then go to step 16.

Step 13: You have your chief of staff threaten to cut the balls off of any Democrat who KOs his president's signature item. If you think this will work, go to step 16. If not, go to step 15:

Step 14: You bargain that the polarization of the health care debate will diminish over time, and that appeals to logic and reason are sufficient, and that things will sort themselves out in the end. If you're confident, go step 16. If not, go back to step 8.

Step 15: You resort to bribery and trickery, are arrested, and thrown into jail. Game over.

Step 16: The Senate falls in line, and passes a health care bill that includes a government-funded co-op and no public option. The House passes a bill with a public option. A conference begins.

If you think this is plausible, go to step 17. If you think the Senate won't fall in line and won't pass a bill, go to step 20.

Step 17. Stalemate in conference. If you think the conference bill is reported out WITH a public option, go to step 24. If you think the conference bill is reported out without a public option, go to step 25.

Step 20: Health care is scrapped for the year. If you agree with James Carville that the Democrats should punish the Republicans for killing it, go to step 21. If you think the Democrats should punish the Democrats for killing it, go to step 22. If you think the Democrats ought to remain mute, go to step 22.

Step 21: This works. Go to step 40. This doesn't work. Go to step 23.

Step 22: In January of 2010, The Democrats try again. If it works this time, go to Step 16. If it does not, go to step 23

Step 23: Democrats are wiped out in the election of 2010,. having no accomplishment to show for it. If you think this is a likely scenario, go to Charlie Cook's symposiums. If you don't, turn on MSNBC. Game over. Go to Step 61.

Step 24: The House and Senate pass a bill with a public option. Obama has won. Go to Step 61.

Step 25: If you think House liberals will cave, having been sufficiently, ah, induced, by the White House, go to step 26. If you think they will hold, go to step 27. If you think the Senate Democrats won't support the conference report with a public option, go to step 27.

Step 26. Go to step 24.

Step 27: If you think that a permanent stalemate arises, go to step 20. If you think that a third way compromise can be reached, go to step 28.

Step 28: A third way compromise is reached. If you think that the House and Senate manage to pass a bill and that Obama will get credit by the American people and his base for health care reform, go to step 29. If you think that Obama's "win" will be seen as a loss, go to step 30.

Step 29: Obama, brimming with confidence, ends the year with high approval ratings again. Democrats, sensing the popularity of the president and his bill, have something to run on in 2010. Go to step 40.

Step 30. You convene a conference to figure out what Obama should do in 2010 in order to cast his first year and a half as a success. Public opinion gradually softens over time, and Obama's approval rating creeps up. If you think it will creep up, go to step 40. If not, go to step 32.

Step 32: 2010 opens with Republicans and Democrats on an even footing, but President Obama has lost much of his luster, and struggles to regain the magic. His experiment at political reform -- the Obama project -- has failed. Obama decides to govern as an unreconstructed liberal. If you think this is a plausible scenario, e-mail me. If not, you recruit Joe Lockhart and Joel Johnson to take over the White House. Go to Step 61.

Step 33: If you believe that reform ain't worth the paper it's printed on unless it changes the health care system to single papyer, go to step 34. If you agree that the consumer protections are worth having, even if the rest of the bill totally sucks, go to step 4.

Step 34. The bus to Canada has plenty of open seats. Game over. Go to Step 61.

Step 35. If the Senate parliamentarian is skeptical, go to step 8. If the Senate parliamentarian lets you wind up with a pretty good bill, many provisions sunset within five years, and you're consistently fighting an implementation battle with Republicans. Go to Step 61.

Step 40: Democrats lose, at most, a few seats in the House and one or two in the Senate. It's possible that they pick up seats in both chambers.

Step 50: You have private health insurance. You develop pancreatic cancer. Your health insurer won't pay for experimental treatments. Go to Step 51.

You have Medicare. You develop pancreatic cancer. Treatment is available, but you won't get it for several months. Go to Step 51.

Step 51: You decide that the health care system is broken and needs reform. Go to step 2.

Step 54: You are probably a Republican, or a conservative independent, or a libertarian.

Step 61: Turns out that the White House underestimated costs. Congress approves emergency supplemental of $500-billion and raises Debt Ceiling to $14.5-trillion.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Wild Orchid Ice Cream

Readers of this blog may remember my enthusiastic review of Eric Hansen's book, "Stranger in the Forest," a thrilling account of the author's walk across Borneo in the company of two (Stone Age) Penan guides. It is a book I liked so much that I mass-mailed it as a gift to many friends on my Christmas list last year. Currently, I am reading another of Hansen's spectacular books, this one called "Orchid Fever," about the scented fragile flowers which grow in the farthest corners of the earth, and have become the focus of a massive orchid trade, interwoven with issues of plant politics, endangered species, and the colorful but often weird people who are attracted to the world of orchid esoterica. Hansen's writing is uniquely infused with living energy, and I, for one, can't get enough of it.

There is a chapter in "Orchid Fever" that absolutely captivates me, all about a Turkish dessert--an ice cream made from wild orchid tubers, milk, and sugar. The mixture is first frozen, then beaten with metal rods, and eaten with a knife and fork. The taffy-like texture is so elastic it can be stretched and used as a jump rope. This last little detail is just the sort of thing that lights up my surrealist psyche, which grows fat on unlikely juxtapositions that make even a cockroach laugh.

Hansen managed to convince the editors of Natural History magazine in New York to send him to Turkey, so he could investigate orchid ice cream and write a story. (My kind of guy, my kind of project.) What he discovered is, not only can you jump rope with this versatile dessert, but according to experts, it can also heal the spleen, prevent cholera and tuberculosis, facilitate childbirth, stop your hands from shaking, and improve your sex life. It is also thought that wild orchid ice cream is a cure for the love-crazed. It's taste can be enhanced by the addition of baklava, chocolate, crushed roasted hazlenuts, ground pistachios, and fresh strawberries. Yum.

Once Hansen arrives in Turkey, he visits Ali Uster, a well-known ice-cream shop in Istanbul that has been run by Ali Kumbasar and his four brothers for twenty-eight years. There he has his first bite of the orchid ice cream of Turkey--and loves it. The basic ingredient of orchid ice cream is SALEP, a whitish flour milled from the dried tubers of certain wild orchids found along the edges of the Anatolian plateau, which happen to resemble the testicles of a fox. The name SALEP DONDURMA literally means "fox testicle ice cream." It was first made in Anatolia in the sixteenth century in a town called Maras in the Taurus mountains.

Hansen travels to Maras, in order to learn more about the tradition of making SALEP DONDURMA. There, he meets Mevlut Dogan, a well-dressed Turk with a four-foot wide handle-bar mustache, the tips of which are fastened to the shoulders of his suit jacket with brass safety pins. Dogan takes Hansen to the most elegant DONDURMA shop in town, where he is able to observe the whole process of making orchid ice cream from scratch. Three hundred years ago, donkeys brought snow and ice down from the mountains to use in freezing the DONDURMA. Now it is produced by stainless-steel machinery and gelato-makers imported from Italy. Once inside the shop owner's office, Hansen sees a framed photo of a young boy jumping rope with a length of orchid ice cream.

Reading something like this makes me want to hang around on our planet. Bear with me, please, when I tell you that orchid ice cream is the perfect antidote for the nausea I feel when observing my fellow human beings paint Hitlerian mustaches and Nazi swastikas across the lovely face of our president. Seeing that has the effect of making me want to fill my pockets with stones and walk straight into the river, like Virginia Woolf did, never to come back. Our president deserves so much better than defacement by an artless mob. If I had any wild orchid ice cream, I'd definitely offer him my plate.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Four Amigos Vacation with the Stars

My staycation (stay-at-home vacation) morphed into a bonafide travel VAcation last week, when I took to the road with three other friends, Simone Paterson, and Chico and Ellen Harkrader. We headed for a small town in West VA called Berkeley Springs, the country's very first spa, where we were booked for two nights at a B&B called Maria's Garden & Inn, with statues and paintings of the Virgin Mary everywhere.

Things got off to a somewhat patchy start, when Simone arrived at my house on Wednesday to pick me up, and her car freakishly locked itself shut, with the key, and her luggage, both inside. We stormed the barricades for several minutes, to no avail: the lock did not respond to curses, jiggling, or my own car-key clicker. There was no choice other than to head back from Blacksburg to Simone's house in Christiansburg and secure a duplicate key. I fretted all the way on the ride back, worrying that if the fault was somehow electrical, even the replacement key might not work. But then, it did. We arrived in Roanoke only about an hour late to the Harkrader's house where, after a rapid transfer of gear into their car, we finally set sail. (Have you ever tried to sail in a car? Skillful use of language allows you to do that, even if real circumstances do not.)

Just before we arrived in Berkeley Springs, Ellen announced that she had called the Inn to confirm our reservations, only to be told they were closed on Wednesdays--so, nobody would be around to greet us. Our room keys were in an envelope taped to the door. The inn turned out to have a lot of doors, but after some serious scrounging, we finally found the elusive keys. Our room, with two twin beds, had a dingy look (I thought), straight out of a Carson McCullers' novel. But since none of my fellow travelers had ever heard of Carson McCullers, this smarty-pants observation promptly fell flat on the thick Elvis Presley carpet. Our bathroom was in the hall. It had no shower, just an uninviting bathtub designed mostly for midgets. The good news, however, was finding out that there was a TV inside the room. Simone and I were both wildly keen not to miss both nights of the grand finale of our favorite program, "Dancing with the Stars." As it turned out, my own favorite contender, Janine, won the title of America's favorite dancer--a rare happening, since I am not usually in sync with the rest of the general public. Because of the TV show, however, which took up our two evenings, we failed to visit the vintage 1940's movie theater, still going strong with "The Transformers."

After tossing luggage into our respective rooms, we went out to investigate the town. Berkeley Springs is a tiny oasis in a confusing world; walking around, you will soon find the public baths where you can take the mineral waters in tubs large enough for up to three people. You will run into an acupuncture clinic, and a homeopathy lab where someone in a white coat is making homeopathic remedies behind a large pane of glass while you watch. You will visit a myriad of small shops, an antiques mall, and an ice cream parlor with sensational chocolate chocolate chip ice cream cones, have a massage, and finally come to rest in a local bar, whose drop-dead margueritas are among the best anyone ever had. Then, evening having arrived, you will dine out on seared tuna, while sitting outside on the porch of a restored house built in 1913, in a world-class restaurant with the funky name of "Lot 12." The restaurant is up three flights of stairs, high on a hill, and definitely not to be missed. Pricey, but worth every penny.

On Saturday, back in Blacksburg but still in residual party mode, I went to see "Julie and Julia," extending for another day the Tinkerbell effect of what was surely a magic holiday. Now, it's Monday, and back to business. Tomorrow the President will appear in person at a Town Hall rally in New Hampshire to answer questions about health care reform. However, as Nancy Pelosi wrote in USA Today, it is evident that an ugly campaign is underway not merely to misrepresent the health insurance reform legislation, but to disrupt public meetings and prevent members of Congress and constituents from conducting a civil dialogue. These tactics, as have been reported, have included hanging in effigy one Democratic member of Congress in Maryland and protesters holding a sign displaying a tombstone with the name of another congressman in Texas, where protesters also shouted "Just say no!" drowning out those who wanted to hold a substantive discussion.

I have to wonder at what point our country will start taking the terrorist threat posed by conservatives seriously? Recently, NBC News got access to a memo about tomorrow's meeting, sent out by the New Hampshire Republican Volunteer Coalition to their supporters:

"NHRVC members and others,

Barack Hussein Obama will be arriving in Portsmouth on Tuesday to hold a STAGED "Town Hall Meeting", where he will essentially hand pick who the guests will be and what types of questions will be asked of him.

A MASSIVE protest rally is being organized just outside of the facility where Obama will be holding his "Town Hall Meeting" to promote his plan for a government takeover of your healthcare decisions.

There will be news media from all over the world at this event and it will be the ideal opportunity for us to tell the rest of the country exactly how NH voters feel about Obamacare (taxed/rationed healthcare). It will be the most important pro-liberty event of the year in NH and it is critically important that every one of us attend.

If you can, bring a sign that says something like, "OBAMACARE=TAXED/RATIONED HEALTHCARE", etc.

Come anytime between 8am-4pm (peak time will be 11am-4pm"

Now, in the oncoming dog days of summer, the lies are back like a plague of locusts--and I am wondering how will we all survive this escalating nihilism that permits anything and everything? My gut tells me we are going to sizzle in the fires of hell--because, when aggregated, these meetings are looking more and more like the dark edge of Dante's Inferno. Concern about health care reform begins to seem like small potatoes compared with the real threat of evil that is stalking our country, howling and sneering down the aisles, in desperate hope of creating as much chaos and destruction as possible.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Rorschaching the President

The above photo originally appeared on the official White House Blog after the highly publicized "beer summit." I came across it myself on Andrew Sullivan's blog, which cross-referenced a post written by Thomas Lifson, a conservative blogger on, who proceeded to interpret the photo in a very negative light.

Submitting the much maligned photo to the "ink-blot test," I decided to offer my own interpretation of it here, because my interpretation is so very different to that of Lifson's--Lifson, as you'll see in a moment, declares Obama's body language in the photo as evidence of yet "another major Obama blunder." From there, he proceeds to leap off the deep end into a highly subjective, scorching attack on Obama.

When I look at this photo, what I see is Obama striding away from a job well done. He is leaving behind two men who, before he brought them together to share a beer in the White House, were unable to speak to each other in a respectful or civil way. Each felt maligned by their previous, most unfortunate encounter--which, like a fly stuck in fly paper, had managed to drag along with it the whole embattled culture of race relations in the U.S. After their White House encounter, however, we see the younger white policeman ever so gently helping the frail black professor navigate down the White House stairs. At least, that's what the body language in the picture says to ME: given the right isometrics, even the most hot-headed of adversaries can get their knickers untwisted. For which, thank you, Mr. President.

So, what does Thomas Lifson see, looking at the very same picture? Here are some bits from his utterly amazing riff:

"Sergeant Crowley, the sole class act in this trio, helps the handicapped Professor Gates down the stairs, while Barack Obama, heedless of the infirmities of his friend and fellow victim of self-defined racial profiling, strides ahead on his own. So who is compassionate? And who is so self-involved and arrogant that he is oblivious?...

"As some AT commentators point out, this picture becomes a metaphor for ObamaCare. The elderly are left in the back, with only the kindness of the Crowleys of the world, the stand up guys, to depend on. The government has other priorities..."

"That's why I think this image will have genuine resonance. It captures something that older Americans in particular can relate to. The President presses ahead with a program that will tell them to take painkillers instead of getting that artificial hip.

"At every stage of the entire Gates affair, Obama has... revealed that he automatically blames the police and thinks they really are stupid to begin with. It didn't trigger a single alarm bell in his mind as he figured out what to say...
The non-apology apology revealed an arrogant man who cannot do what honest people do: admit it when they make a mistake....

"But then in a small moment that nobody in the White House had the brains to understand, Obama goes and sends a body language message like this... he lets his true character show. This helps widen the level of doubt that Obama is the same guy a majority voted for. Those doubts can only grow...I predict that more and more Americans will become open to the argument that they have been had by a sophisticated and ruthless effort to foist a phony on America."

[Thomas Lifson
Hat tip Rick Richman]

"Wow!" says Virgil, my alligator guru who has finally reappeared, after a long hiatus. "This is an odious stunt at best. I think any writer of dirtbag blubber like this must have tomahawk fever, causing him to leave behind such an oily residue." "Yuck!" he adds, stomping his paw, as if trying to squash a roach. "Only the oxiest of morons--somebody with polecat propensities whose liver contains a deadly poison--could jump to such icky and botched conclusions. This guy makes me want to run like a vegetarian at a pig roast." And then, with that final virtuosic flutter, Virgil departs again, to grill some eggplant.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Pied Pipers of Racism

Lynn Sweet, a columnist at, was the reporter who set off the two-week firestorm about Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates sassing a Cambridge policeman when the cop mistakenly arrested him inside his own home. Insults were exchanged, and President Obama managed to put his foot in deepest doo-doo when Sweet asked his opinion of the incident at a press conference ostensibly about health care reform. Sweet's was the final question of the day, and it was definitely off-topic, but it managed nevertheless to rivet the nation for days, given that Obama unwisely replied that the police behaved "stupidly" for arresting a man in his own home.

Today, I happened to read by chance a little column written by the self-same Lynn Sweet about how Obama's half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, is moving to Washington from Hawaii for several months, to take up her new duties as an appointee to the President's Commision on White House Fellowships. Her husband, Konrad Ng, a professor at the University of Hawaii, will become the scholar-in-residence at the Smithsonian's Asian Pacific American Program. They have a new baby. An innocent enough story, or so you'd think.

Until I also read the commentary that followed. Suddenly I felt a familiar wave of nausea, followed by an unshakeable dread embedded deep in my bones: a sense that some terrible fate lies in wait for our country from the pied pipers of racism, whose guns are already cocked. As I have said before in these pages, we have a serious cultural pathology in our midst, a gathering crescendo of incendiary hatred (worse than any economic disaster) that could bring our country down at any time, if ever these folks decide to leave their private grottoes. Watch how disrespect and vileness spread like a toxic cloud:

7:18AM Aug 1st 2009
Really doesn't shock me at all. Just another member for ACORN and that's another vote

7:24AM Aug 1st 2009

7:39AM Aug 1st 2009
Can you spell "Nepotism" Seems like he's either moving them into the White House where our tax dollars will support his relatives, or he gives them jobs. Do we even need a commission on White House Fellowships, and what does it do? Sounds like one of those commissions that need to be done away with to help lower our deficit. I'm also assuming she'll get a cushy salary and health care benefits that we, the people, will get screwed out of if Obama's plan goes through...
12:04PM Aug 1st 2009

8:44AM Aug 1st 2009
When is the bro going to bring his tribe from Kenya over? Obama going to run the taxpayers house into Motel 6??? When is the women from the slums of Boston moving in, at tax payer expense???
9:38AM Aug 1st 2009
Why hell weve gone this far,. Why not just send planes and ships and bring the town of Lagos Nigeria on over. We can make some room for them over in old Joe Biden's state. The rest can find some standing room in south central LA if the illegals will just scoot over a mite. Me and Mich-hell will take a few here in the white house with us. Give her mama and the kids something to play with I reckon. My people over at ACORN will need to help these new brother an sister clean up their act and know who to thanks for all this. Yes Sir,...gona be al-right

8:42AM Aug 1st 2009

Well shucks you gotta make hay while the sun shines. The nation's fawning fascination with all things Obama has pretty much subsided. Actually, she's a bit late to the party. Probably should have started hitting the daytime talk show circuit a couple of months back. But better late than never.
No doubt she won't be the last half-sibling, sibling-in-law or third cousin twice removed to show up for a short ride on the gravy train.
"Change" sure looks a lot like the same old, same old, doesn't it?