Giuliani Filing May Signal 2012 Presidential Bid

Former New York City Mayor and 2008 Republican presidential hopeful Rudolph W. Giuliani’s announcement that he has filed the necessary papers to officially change his name represents a clear sign to analysts, pundits, and street vendors alike that the man once known as ‘America’s Mayor’ will soon be jumping into the 2012 GOP primary race.

Appearing on the September 11th edition of CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’, Giuliani surprised hardly anyone when he first referred to himself as ‘Rudy 9/11′, but did raise more than a few eyebrows with his revelation that he is officially changing his name from ‘Rudolph W.  Giuliani’ to ‘Rudy Nyneleven’.  Speaking from the Ground Zero site of the newly dedicated 9/11 Memorial, he declined to address host Bob Schieffer’s questions about a possible 2012 bid, saying, “As I stand here on this hallowed ground, on the 10th anniversary of the profound tragedy that marked my finest hour – both personally, professionally, and politically – I feel it would be inappropriate and selfish to discuss my future, personal or political, at this time.  I do expect, however, perhaps as soon as this evening, to be making an announcement via the website of my SuperPAC, ItsNyneleveninAmerica.org which should answer all the questions so many people have been asking me lately about my plans.”

When asked if the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3000 innocents on American soil would be the appropriate time to announce, either way, what his decision regarding the 2012 campaign will be, Nyneleven bristled, “Of course it would be appropriate.  It couldn’t possibly be more appropriate.  September 11th is my day – I am 9/11.  We are synonymous – one and the same.  I am nothing without 9/11 and 9/11 is nothing without me…”

At that point, perhaps due to a technical glitch, the network cut to commercial.

A short time later when asked for comment, long time Nyneleven associate and Executive Director of ItsNyneleveninAmerica.org Bernard Kerik, when reached at his residence in the federal correction facility at Cumberland, Maryland, told reporters, “While I cannot comment on what Rudy’s going to do, I will tell you to stay tuned for a major announcement.” Continue reading Giuliani Filing May Signal 2012 Presidential Bid

Misinterpreting a Man’s Strength is Our Weakness, Not His

The strength of a man
isn’t in the weight he can lift.
It’s in the burdens
he can carry…

During a job interview, a question frequently posed to the job-seeker is, “What are your weaknesses?” That question is not asked in order to reveal weaknesses per se, but rather as a way for the interviewer to assess the strengths of the applicant based on the revelations the answer offers. The right response is never, “I have none,”  since we all do.

For the past few months, I have read and heard that our President is weak and doesn’t stand up, and has a habit of caving. This claim, in fact, has been a topic of political conversation for some time. I have reflexively rejected this  judgement, but I hadn’t fully analyzed why until now.

I do ask myself  how ironic it is that the strongest black man on the world stage today would be described as a weak man by his critics. But rather than denouncing the name-callers simply out of hand, I’m compelled to examine the meaning of this pronouncement and its intent. Are those critics correct in their assessment? What is weakness and what is strength? And who has it, and who doesn’t? What’s the measurement to arrive at such an adjective, one that is either a mean-spirited  put-down or is the unfortunate truth? How do we judge? Continue reading Misinterpreting a Man’s Strength is Our Weakness, Not His

Sunday Talks, 9/11/11

This Sunday’s television talk shows are built around the commemoration ceremonies of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Shanksville, Pa.

CBS’s “Face the Nation” will broadcast live from the . . . → Read More: Sunday Talks, 9/11/11

Friday Talking Points [180] -- Give 'Em Hell, Barry!

President Barack Obama opened his re-election campaign last night with a wowzer of a speech to a joint session of Congress. But we’ll get to that in detail in a minute. First, we must mark an important anniversary this week.

I am speaking, of course, of the fact that 45 years ago last night, the first Star Trek episode aired. Titled “The Man Trap,” it introduced America to the Enterprise, to Captain Kirk, and to all the other loveable characters and storylines which have now become part of our collective psyche (and, as a bonus, continue to this day to give the Grammar Police the heebie-jeebies every time they hear the split infinitive “…to boldly go where no man has gone before…”).

What’s that? There’s another anniversary this week, you say? I hadn’t noticed.

Of course, I am being facetious here. The ten-year mark for the tragedy of 9/11 has been a weeklong media event, and I fully expect this Sunday’s political shows to be so crammed full of schmaltz as to be unwatchable. This isn’t a commentary on the event itself, rather on the way the media has sensationalized the heck out of it — for every advertising dollar they can wrest from this important anniversary. Perhaps this is just early-onset curmudgeonality in me, but I have to say I’m already pretty sick of watching the collective media swoon.

I realize I’m supposed to tell “my 9/11 story” here, along with everyone else. My story isn’t all that exciting, really, it’s more quietly observational. Which is why it’s barely worth telling at all. In September, 2001, I had planned a camping trip in the Southwest. It was eerie to see the brilliant night sky (you simply haven’t seen the stars until you’ve seen them from the high desert with no ground light around for 50 miles in any direction…) with absolutely no airplanes crossing it whatsoever. We could even make out satellites, due to the lack of other moving objects in the sky (yes, at dusk it is possible to see satellites go overhead, if the conditions are right).

But what was even more sobering than the empty skies at night was what we saw in Mojave, California. Mojave is a small town on the edge of the desert of the same name. Today, you barely even notice the town, because they’ve been improving the road across the desert for decades, and they have now built a freeway bypass that avoids the actual town of Mojave altogether. Back then, though, you had to drive down their main street, make a left turn, and head out across the desert. As you left town, the road ran along the edge of a huge airport — far bigger than such a small town should normally have. This airport is used mostly as a training facility for commercial pilots. As with a teenager in an empty parking lot learning the mysteries of a clutch and gears, the safest place to learn how to take off and land a jumbo jet is out in the middle of nowhere, with almost nothing to hit if you mess up.

Normally, this airport is almost empty. There are a few dozen jets, mostly older training planes, and a whole lot of empty space and runways. We drove by Mojave a day or two after 9/11, when every plane in America was grounded. And I have never seen so many airplanes in one place in my entire life. Mojave was obviously being used as a gigantic parking lot for hundreds and hundreds of planes. Think about it — if you ground every plane in the country, you’ve got to have somewhere to put them all. And Mojave airport fit the bill perfectly. Row upon row of every type jet imaginable, stretching off to eternity in the triple-digit heat, bearing silent witness to the magnitude of what our country had just experienced. Continue reading Friday Talking Points [180] — Give ‘Em Hell, Barry!

TSW #22

When Barack Obama says, “This isn’t political grandstanding,” you have a pretty good clue that that is exactly what it is. Lest anyone doubt that, consider this from the third-to-last paragraph. “You should pass it. And I intend . . . → Read More: TSW #22

Southern Illinois University Students Reject Clean Coal Myth

The Daily Egyptian has an excellent article about Southern Illinois University at Carbondale student groups that are ready for their campus to move beyond coal. They’re asking SIUC to shut . . . → Read More: Southern Illinois University students reject clean coal myth

LINK cards now accepted at Illinois Farmers Markets

I saw this sign at a Farmers Market during a recent trip to Chicago.

It’s great to see healthy local food made available to more . . . → Read More: LINK cards now accepted at Illinois Farmers Markets

Mitt Romney and The Incredible Magical Job Machine

Mitt Romney unveiled his highly anticipated plan to construct “a job-creating machine in America,” which will be run by America’s leading job reducer and business machine maker, Mitt Romney, and built by the people who need the government’s  help the most, corporations.

The machine is being touted as having the ability to put a job in every pocket, and will replace the earlier version of the GOP 2010 election job-killing machine that has been efficiently doing exactly what it was built to do. But the new Job Machine will let whomever needs a job get one, as jobs will be systematically spit out like magic in an assembly line fashion that will remind us all of the good ol’ 1920s.

America should be a job machine: jobs being created all the time, PEOPLE  looking for employees to join their enterprises,

and yes, “Corporations are PEOPLE too, my friends! – Mitt Romney

Standing under a large banner reading “Job One, Day One,” Romney said that on the first day of his presidency, he would throw away the democratic process and the American Constitution and instead get right to work by signing five executive orders -

  1. Granting states a waiver from the 2010 health care legislation in order to give them “maximum authority” to design their own programs.
  2. Instructing government agencies to eliminate regulations he says are slowing job creation
  3. Streamlining procedures for oil drilling permits
  4. Sanctioning China for its unfair trade practices and currency-meddling
  5. Reversing union-friendly executive orders signed by Obama.

Romney also announced his economic policy team, which consists of R. Glenn Hubbard,  who was chairman of President Bush’s council of economic advisers from 2001 to 2003; Gregory Mankiw, who was chairman of President Bush’s council of economic advisers from 2003 to 2005; former Republican Senator Jim Talent of Missouri, who lost his 2006  re-election bid to current Missouri Senator  Claire McCaskill; as well as  former Representative Vin Weber of Minnesota, who retired in 1992 after being caught up in a House banking scandal and was a  paid lobbyist for several health insurance giants. Apart from their work on the Job Machine, these enterprising engineers will also be the proud authors of Romney’s Day One executive orders. Continue reading Mitt Romney and The Incredible Magical Job Machine

GOP Debates Losing Relevance as Draft Andwich Movement Grows

While eight 2012 Republican Presidential hopefuls prepare to take the stage Wednesday night at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California and an anxious 24/7 cable and Internet news industry drools in anticipation of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s first televised debate on the national stage, a movement that could render the entire exercise moot is underway – and quickly gaining momentum.

With several national polls showing the generic ‘Any Republican’ outperforming both Gov. Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (currently the two clear front runners for the GOP nomination) in a head-to-head race with incumbent President Barack Obama, the so-called ‘smart money’ – currently sitting on the sidelines reluctant to support any of the declared candidates – is looking for a fresh horse to bet on, and they may have found one.

Conservative philanthropist and retired lunchmeat entrepreneur Hamm S. Andwich has always maintained that he harbors no aspirations of holding public office.  Yet as a self-described “American who has re-dedicated his life to the service of friends, neighbors and countrymen,” he recently has very conspicuously dropped his use of the word ‘never’ when queried about a possible Presidential bid “if substantial support clearly exists.”

And apparently, it does.

A recent Desperate Blogger/Artie’s Shoe and Leather Repair Poll indicated that 54% of registered Republicans and a staggering 82% of registered Independents preferred Hamm S. Andwich to any of the currently declared GOP candidates.  These numbers contrast sharply with a similar study conducted during the 2008 campaign in which, before his selection of then Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain not only polled eight and 11 points higher than Andwich and the late Oscar M. Wiener respectively, but also six points ahead of Democratic nominee Barack Obama. Continue reading GOP Debates Losing Relevance as Draft Andwich Movement Grows

Take Five (On Second Thought edition)

ONE: Breaking: Democrat-turned-Republican Changes Position!

Rick Perry fun fact: Perry entered politics as a Democrat, and retained that party affiliation for about five years while serving as an elected Democrat in the Texas House of Representatives. A year after he chaired the Gore campaign in Texas, he became a Republican. He doesn’t much talk about this anymore, of course, since his own private “fierce urgency of now” entails hoodwinking right-wing voters into believing that he emerged from the womb a full-fledged, fire-breathing Republican, ready to take on that socialist squatter in the White House.

Former Democrat Perry demonstrated his ideological malleability most recently on the subject of marriage. His public stance on the issue was nationally articulated in July of this year at a conclave of Republican governors, prompted by a question about New York’s landmark recognition of marriage equality:

“You know what? That’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me. If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business if you live in some other state or particularly if you’re the federal government.”

That’s a position not wholly dissimilar to that of President Obama, a position that punts – conveniently – the issue of marriage equality back to the states, and while I disagree with it, Candidate Perry’s newest position on the issue is more objectionable by several orders of magnitude. Asked by the AP whether he would support a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, the former Democrat replied:

“I am for the federal marriage amendment. And that’s about as sharp a point as I could put on it.”

Well, apparently not quite as sharp, since Perry subsequently pandered just a smidge more and signed the “Marriage Pledge” put forward by the National Organization for Marriage, whose recent villainy has been commented on before here and here.

Seemingly unaware that his talking out of both sides of his mouth is an ongoing matter of record, the former Democrat recently took dead aim at his critics:

“With all due respect to anybody that’s out there either directly or indirectly criticizing me because I speak plainly, I call it like I see it,” Perry said on the Laura Ingraham radio show.

To my mind, it seems that the way the former Democrat “sees it” is remarkably mercurial, but – unlike, say, former Democrat Rick Perry, for example – I’m still a Democrat, so what the hell do I know? With all due respect to former Democrat Rick Perry, who chaired the Gore campaign in Texas, I think I’m seeing a campaign theme beginning to emerge here, and not one for the Republicans: Vote for former Democrat Rick Perry! You’ll always know where he stands, right up until he decides he wants to go and stand somewhere else.

TWO: Look Out, Pauly Shore

Erstwhile Republican frontrunner Michele Bachmann spent four days in Florida at the end of August, with a portion of the junket devoted to prying her foot out of her mouth. It started with these comments:

“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”

Nothing really out of character for Michele Bachmann, of course; poorly reasoned, disjointedly argued, theologically inept, politically dumb… the usual. But when the comments went viral, the candidate was forced to go on defense:

“Of course I was being humorous when I said that. It would be absurd to think it was anything else,” Bachmann said… on a campaign stop in Miami.

“I am a person who loves humor, I have a great sense of humor,” she said.

Yeah, just great, because after all, what’s funnier than a storm that killed 24 people and caused the worst flooding Vermont has suffered in 80 years, and a quake that damaged the National Cathedral and the Washington Monument? Comedy gold, right?

Why, it’s almost as funny as the recent CNN poll that showed Bachmann has fallen to fourth place, tied with the ever-hilarious Rudy Giuliani.  Or the Washington Post-ABC News poll that places her fifth, two notches below shambolic non-candidate Sarah Palin. Continue reading Take Five (On Second Thought edition)