Showing posts with label Barack Obama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Barack Obama. Show all posts

Friday, June 3, 2022

The More Things Change...

Original title: Republicrats v. Depublicans (7/29/15)

Image by chayka1270 from Pixabay 

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.  

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating meltdown.  


Featuring Dana: Hallucination, guest star, and charming literary device 

"Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason." 
                                                                                                       -Mark Twain

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

I'm spending the summer in a cabin on a beautiful lake somewhere in the Swiss Alps, working on my memoirs, and trying to decide if this column will resume post-Labor Day. The market has found me wanting; I'm buying all of my own coffee. So be it, I remain an unrepentant supporter of capitalism. 

My big brother Eddie is my only financial supporter so I'm starting to feel like Van Gogh... without the world-class talent but with both ears. I'm also considering publishing only when the spirit moves me. Cranking out columns week after week, while enjoyable, is hard work — well, intellectually speaking — at least for me. 

{It sure ain't roofing or the like you whiney b...}

In the meantime, I'll be republishing (relatively) gently edited columns with updated statistics and facts in [brackets].  

With apologies to JFK, I ask not why the federal government is so jacked up, I ask why it works as well as it does. I'm not an anarchist, only a sorta/kinda libertarian. I believe we need rules on the playground as well as an intelligently designed safety net. I would like the rules to be as few in number as possible and rationally conceived to maximize fun and minimize stepping on each other's toes. 

In light of our national debt, 57,000 [92,000] bucks each as this is being written and steadily increasing as you read this, cutting spending [prior to modern monetary/free lunch theory anyway] is always on the agenda. Both parties define cuts as spending a little less on planned increases over a ten-year period, to make "cuts" appear larger.

Think about that. Congressperson Stumblebum looks into the camera and with steely resolve states that if re-elected she'll [he'll/they'll] battle to get government spending under control. How? Simple. Increase spending by slightly less than already planned, over the next decade, and call it a spending cut. She won't put it like that though. She'll tell you that under her plan spending at the Department of Bonkercockie will be reduced by a billion dollars a year. With a little luck, Congressperson Stumblebum will be a lobbyist long before that decade is up and she'll no longer have to dirty her hands running for office in order to get her dirty little hands on other people's money.

She, and most likely the media source that provides you with this information, won't bother to mention that we don't have ten-year budgets. We have one-year budgets, at least in theory. Congress hasn't actually passed one since 1997. The one currently proposed is a product of the Republicrats, Depublicans don't support it and if it is passed in its present form, Mr. Obama has made it clear he will veto it.   

President Obama created the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission in 2010 to study and make recommendations for fixing our financial problems. You may have noticed The Fedrl Gummit has maxed out its credit cards, but the issuer (themselves) keeps sending out new ones (to themselves).

The commission was originally a provision of a bipartisan law that would require Congress to vote only up or down on the commission's recommendations since apparently Congress long ago lost its ability to compromise on virtually anything. The law didn't pass because some of the original Republicrat co-sponsors voted against their own bill.

Mr. Obama decided to set up the commission by executive order. The commission came to the conclusion that if we were to plug enough loopholes and eliminate enough special favors and social engineering from the tax code we could lower everyone's taxes. Toss in some real spending cuts and entitlement reform and now we're getting somewhere. Mr. Obama, and Congress, stuck the report in a drawer and returned to job one, staying elected. 

Mismanaging our money is not the only task the federal government excels in. No private entity can hope to match the government when it comes to creating Rules&Regs. The Federal Register (which contains 70,000+ pages as of 2020) lists all the rules and regulations you're supposed to follow if you have the good fortune to live in the USA.

If there was a board game called, "Life In a Free Country," in addition to the instructions on how to play the game there would be a multi-volume set of books [PDF files?] containing all the Rules&Regs you need to follow in order to remain on the straight and narrow as determined by Congress and the 2,711,000 [2,878,000] non-military employees of the federal government. 

How many Rules&Regs are there in the land of the free?  According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute's 10,000 Commandments 2021, "Since the Federal Register first began itemizing them in 1976, 208,155 final rules have been issued."

How on Earth did Congress find the time to write so many Rules&Regs? That's where the 2,711,000 [2,878,000] bureaucrats come in. Realizing that writing all those Rules&Regs themselves would be inefficient and detract from time on job one (see above), Congress passes legislation that authorizes the bureaucrats to create the Rules&Regs needed to put the brilliant ideas of their overlords into effect.

This practice helps to stimulate the economy by providing work for registered lobbyists [12,137]. Never let it be said that our fearless leaders can't hold their own when matched up against the folks that ran the Roman Empire into the dirt.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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Friday, October 8, 2021

Sweet Home Chicago

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

This is: A weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise and haunt them after they've become grups or I'm deleted.  

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups could result in an intersectional meltdown. Intended for H. sapiens who are — in the words of the late, great bon vivant, polymath, and pic-a-nic basket gourmet, Professor Y. Bear — "Smarter than the av-er-age bear." 

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlereader  

"I mean, I do think at a certain point you've made enough money." -Barack Obama

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

Our former Community Organizer in Chief recently turned up in Chicago and got his picture taken while participating in a ceremonial groundbreaking. I wonder if the pharaohs of Egypt participated when the ground was broken (the sand was shoveled?) for new pyramids or shrines? 

Did they have to stand around in the hot sun waiting for artisans to do rough cuts of their image in stone with hammers and chisels? The details, of course, could be added later before being published in periodicals like the Cairo Gazette or Memphis Monthly.    

Mr. Obama, who was born in Hawaii, lived in Chicago for roughly 18 of his 60 years on Earth. Since somehow being elected, twice, president of a nation hip-deep in systemic racism, he now lives in at least four different places as best I can tell.

The groundbreaking in question was for his sorta/kinda presidential library that's called the Obama Presidential Center. It's more museum/shrine/tourist attraction than library. Follow the link for a detailed description or to give a donation.  

And in case you're unaware, local community organizers and their allies have been trying to prevent this $500,000,000 complex from being built at its chosen location since 2017 and still haven't given up.

{Ain't that ironical... Wait, whaddya mean "sorta/kinda" presidential library?} 

Well, Dana... it's um, complicated.

Long story short, the presidential library/museum system is run by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), a federal agency. They're in charge of the other presidential libraries, which are public-private partnerships. 

A given president's supporters raise the dough and build the facility which is then donated to The Fedrl Gummit who maintains and staffs it. Over the years the facilities have kept getting larger and more elaborate, rather like The Fedrl Gummit, and more expensive to run and maintain, rather like The Fedrl Gummit.  

I found a highly informative article on the Politico website that was written back in 2017 when it was announced that the Obama Foundation ("...inspire, empower, and connect people to change their world"), Mr. Obama's private non-profit, will build, own and operate the Obama Presidential Center. 

The author, Anthony Clark, who literally "wrote the book" on the presidential library system thinks this is mostly a good thing (others do not) since "...what were intended to be serious research centers have grown into flashy, partisan temples touting huckster history."  

Yes, indeed. 

Also, the foundation will pay to have all of Mr. Obama's records digitized and then turn them over to NARA for safekeeping. Scholars won't have to visit the center to access these records like they do at the other libraries, they will be stored elsewhere.

{But, um, doesn't that mean that they're a privately run museum, not a library?} 

Well, the center will include a branch of the Chicago Public Library... as well as a 225ft. tall tower that appears to be an enormous pigeon coop, meeting spaces, an auditorium, a recording and broadcast studio, a restaurant, and a food court.

{A food court?}

I got that from an anonymous source, it might not be accurate.

I also wrote sorta/kinda since if ya go a-googlin' you'll discover that most of the media call it a presidential library, even in stories that go to explain that it really isn't. I know it's hard to believe that the purple press occasionally generates ambiguous and/or inaccurate information, but there you have it.

{But why are some community organizers fighting a half-billion-dollar investment in their neighborhood?}    

Why? they have a problem with the where and how. 

Although there's an empty plot of land available nearby, on a bus line, and adjacent to local businesses "pairing the greatest need with the greatest opportunity" according to the University of Chicago, the site chosen is a chunk of historic Jackson Park.  

Designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead (of Central Park fame) in 1871, it's listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The city is renting 20 acres to the Obama Foundation for 99 years for ten bucks and no taxes. The center can charge for entry, parking, and third-party use and the Obama Foundation gets the money. Certain roads will be closed and a lot of very old trees cut down. It gets worse...

{Hey, that links to the same site the phrase "local community organizers" links to.}

Because that's where the all devilish details can be found if a given gentlereader is curious. As to why that site, and not the one that would be more likely to benefit the neighborhood, the Obama Foundation refuses to comment. 

Sweet home Chicago. 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

Addendum: The tower. What I at first thought were thousands of pigeon coops at the top of the tower are actually the words from one of Mr. Obama's speeches that includes the inspirational phrase, "yes we can." 

 From the video: "Our goal is not just to create a monument to my presidency..."

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Friday, December 25, 2020

He's Baaack

 A Random Randomensses Column

                                         Image by janeb13 from Pixabay

This is: A weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — to advise them and haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — A Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering. Viewing with a tablet or a monitor is highly recommended for maximum enjoyment.

Please Note: If ya click on an Amazon ad, thus opening a portal to Amazon, and buy anything, Lord Jeffrey will toss a few pence in my direction and you won't have to feel guilty about enjoying my work  well, hopefully  for free. Win/Win.  



Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"Money is not the only answer, but it makes a difference." -Barack Obama 

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

I'm a Gerard Baker fanboy. 


Gerard Baker? Former Editor-in-Chief of the Wall Street Journal? Now writes a weekly column for the paper called Free Expression

[Oh, right. I guess. Um, why?]

A lengthy quote from a recent column if it pleases the court, or even if it doesn't.

"There’s a larger point here about the rot in America’s institutional leadership that, in part at least, the Trump administration was elected to undo. In its largely celebratory coverage, the press is unwittingly emphasizing what this restoration represents: the triumph of its own class. It is highlighting how completely in lockstep the various elements of the new and old establishments now are: the media and tech platforms, the global corporate bossocracy, the vast, overfed Washington policy crowd, whose different characters pop in and out of government with a change of president without leaving a footprint on the receding sands of American leadership."

My emphasis, and my admiration. 

I'd also like to point out that if one is not familiar with the WSJ the quote above might come as a pleasant(?) surprise. Oh, and "global corporate bossocracy"? Yes, indeed. In an alternate universe, in which I was Mr. Baker's editor, I'd change it to "money-grubbing, faux Wokie, global corporate bossocracy." 

[Hmm. "...if one is not familiar"? I seem to remember you writing somewhere that you don't like using one as a gender-neutral indefinite pronoun...]

Show off. 

[That it sounded too snobby for American English, or words to that effect.]

Well now that the Intersectional Inquisition has ruled that one is supposed to use gender-neutral pronouns if at all possible, and since the words you and your are under house arrest for promoting individualism to the detriment of officially authorized collectives of victims, I'm playing it safe.

You may have noticed I've taken to writing him/her/them or he/she/they for the same reason. 

Psst... You didn't hear it from me, but I've heard that the word one is on double-secret probation till the Intersectional Inquisition decides on an official and acceptable all-purpose pronoun that won't trigger any-one.

Remember secular stagnation?

[No. Seeing as how church attendance appears to keep declining the phrase doesn't even make any sense. We seem to be suffering from religious stagnation, not secular stagnation.]

Your confusion is understandable, my imaginary friend. Secular stagnation is a term used by economists that refers to little or no economic growth. Secular is short for saeculum, which is Latin for long term.

[You One can always count on economists for clarity.]

Anyways, the phrase in question was oft-bandied about during the Obama administration. It referenced the fact that the recovery from the Great Recession was, historically speaking, notoriously tepid and that it remained so for eight years.

Finger-pointing commenced, and continues. 

Interestingly, the Orange One was able to get things fired up simply by lowering taxes and regulations. 

If not for the fact he offended the Gods with his unrestrained hubris — who as usual wildly overreacted and struck down not only the Donald but also many a mere mortal with plague — the Tweeter-in-Chief might still be in charge.

[Oft-bandied? Notoriously tepid? Unrestrained hubris?]

Cool, huh? Well, Uncle Joe is putting the (economic) band back together and the Republic is about to be blessed once again with a group of administrators top-heavy with academic and gummit backgrounds, mostly unsullied by jobs in the real world. 

God bless us. Every-one.  

[Wait a sec', who's back?]

No drama Obama, of course. You should pay more attention. 

He recently released the first book of a two-volume memoir detailing his years in the White House — not to be confused with his memoir about his life prior to politics... or his book The Audacity of Hope, subtitled, The Teachings of St. Barrack

[You made that up!]

Just the last part.  

He and the Missus struck a deal for $65,000,000 that included her memoirs, a book released in 2018. 

Cafeteria ladies everywhere briefly basked in her warm glow.  

They needed the dough. Imagine the cost of the upkeep on two homes (imagine the size of his honey-do jar!). There's the modest mansion in D.C ($8,000,000) and a cute little beach house ($12,000,000) in Maatha's Vineyard.

Fortunately, they both also signed a deal to develop projects for Netflix, although its value is classified. Hopefully, if they budget, it'll be enough to get by on. His pension is only $219,000 a year, but it comes with a lot of bennies. 

[And he'll eventually get Social Security, that'll help.] 

Anyway, for some reason, he's been popping up here, there, and even over there. I was worried that the rumors he had contracted Covid-19 and was hanging on by a thread in a secret Bulgarian sanitarium were true. 

[Why on Earth would you think that he...]

I couldn't think of any other reason why he would deny us his wisdom and not barnstorm for Uncle Joe while he was self-quarantining in his basement for the better part of the recent campaign due to his unfortunate co-morbidity (Oldus Dudeous). 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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