Thursday, February 26, 2009

Barack Obama: A Little Help Over There...

John Podesta (Center for American Progress), Barack Obama's advisor has been showing up on various television shows recently. He was on Larry King Live the other night with T. Boone Pickens (80's corporate takeover baron).

Picken's gave a spiel worthy of his old stockholder speech days. He spoke on the utter necessity of kicking our national addiction to oil (which he pumped into our veins for decades) and switch to natural gas (an energy source he WANTS to pump into our veins). Pickens was also one of Bush's (43) most ardent supporters.

Podesta, the former pit bull-in-chief for Bill Clinton, agreed with everything Pickens pitched. The whole thing smacks of another odd couple bi-partisan effort to bamboozle the American public in some undetermined manner (so far). Why so cynical you ask? OK, when a left-leaning Washington power monger and a staunch Republican oil monger start dating on national television, somebody should be concerned. The only exception I'm prepared to make are the cute seniors James Carvel and Mary Matalin.

I am surprised that then President-elect Obama signed off on Podesta coordinating the transition. I applaud his cherry picking of Clinton's old team. They accomplished much given the circumstances. But in this case, it was a mistake. When several of his cabinet picks were tanked for various reasons (mainly tax evasion), I wonder if Podesta's vetting team were introduced to his well documented alter ego - Skippy.

While appearing on Charlie Rose yesterday, Skippy seemed to trivialize the tax evasion debacle, bemoaning the loss of Tom Daschle and all he would have meant to health care reform. Rose, as usual, backed away from a valid point and capitulated to his guest. It was one of those exchanges that appeared to lobby on behalf of elected officials receiving immunity for the sake of the nation. It was also a great way to limbo under the fact that Podesta was not functioning at the high level he demands of others *.

Whatever happened to BioWillie? Now that's one act I'd like to see on the road (again).

* Washington Post - Tuesday, November 25, 2008; Page C01

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Barack Obama: Wall Street Grades The President?

Breaking News - Sources have confirmed and it can now be revealed:

Wall Street has given the Obama Administration's stimulus plan an 'F'

This news is excellent. I mean it. I live in Los Angeles and all too often "breaking news' means it has started raining or the Beckham's have arrived at LAX. But I'm going to take it easy on the networks. After all, I think the KCAL 9 weather girl is my second if I can just find Jackie's phone number...

Oh, yes, the issue at hand, that report card. For awhile I had been concerned that 'The Street' might have something good to say about the President's stimulus plan. Consider these grades issued by Wall Street in recent years:

Bernard Madoff AAA+
Countrywide Home Loans AAA-
Enron A+

As you can see, adding Barack Obama's name to this list just wouldn't have made any sense. But I defer to Groucho: "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member." All I have to say is - You bet your life...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's The End Of The World As We Know It...

There seems to be something strange going on. It's not everyday life with it's eyebrow raising observations. It's beyond the senses. * It's late night with Peter Falk and a cup of coffee "I can't see you, but I know you're there".

It's not just the street preachers, or the Mormons busy stacking away boxes of mason jars. It's everyone else. They're running around exclaiming "2012, that's it, it's all over". I've overheard at least ten conversations in the past month extolling the virtues of the Mayan calendar. A dozen more involving Nostradamus.

And while I know that there have been some 'changes' as of late, I don't believe the end is near. At least where the world is concerned. I think the rational explanation for the hysteria is based in denial. The United States is shifting from it's role as world's pacesetter. It's headed into the garage for a major overhaul.

When it rolls out it will indeed be a more perfect union. Wiser for it's age. Tempered by the fact it was made tougher by that which would not be allowed to kill it: greed, dishonesty and inequality. A country that is sustained by it's only true heritage of strength: it's immigrants.

I see a bright future ahead, forged by humbled leaders. Representatives of countries that will refocus attention on a cause overridden by egos and fear...working together for a better world. Would that be strange?

* From the film "Wings of Desire".

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Better Living Through Chemistry?

It came to me tonight, as I was watching the CBS, NBC, & ABC evening newscasts. Call it an epiphany. It is subtle in nature and it grows. It festers and it swirls around the collective psyche of a nation. Others visit here, are exposed and become carriers. They spread this vile and nightmarish contaminant upon return to their homelands. I am referring to the pharmaceutical companies, their commercials and the ultimate pursuit of world domination.

They have taken over the television networks. I mention the nightly newscasts, because they have allocated almost all of the available advertisement time to them. Like you, perhaps, I wouldn't have noticed this because of the way the commercials are constructed. They lull you into a dreamlike state with their filtered lenses and movie like production. When you awaken, the last few utterances of the warning concludes " medical assistance immediately". You've been exposed to a triple dose of the tiny purple people eaters. Your subconscious has endured three full length advertisements.

It used to be called subliminal seduction in advertising. Books have been written about it. The topic was all the rage in the late seventies. Then in the dawn of the Reagan era, it disappeared. Health topics in general faded and were replaced with the only topic allowed, Money. But the new methods are just as effective. It's quite logical. The fact of the matter is, the evening news is so utterly negative and disgusting, that when the commercials come, the viewer responds overwhelmingly to any offer of comfort.

By the end of the newscast, you have been programmed to consult your doctor. Not the one who used to come into the office smiling and carrying a stethoscope. They no longer exist. They've been replaced by prescription pad toting clones. You get seven minutes of their time, but only after you've navigated past the throng of pharmaceutical reps pacing around in black fuck-me pumps with their rolling luggage carts. The sight is enough to bring a tear to the eye of a schoolyard dope peddler.

Like some twisted horror film where the protagonist wises up just before his demise, I noticed. Everything became clear. I would hone and trust my instincts. Balance would return. It was time to get up and make some noise. Then, my tongue swelled, throat closed and I couldn't regain my breath. I started to panic, but then I remembered. These were only side effects. And while possible, rarely does death occur.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Economy: Capitalism Tanks, Wall Street & Pigeon Shit...

The entire industry that created this financial mayhem should be dragged into Central Park and put into a different type of stocks. Those in the limos, the movers, the shakers and the pension breakers. All need to be put on public display. Let it snow, rain or just plain pigeon-shit over them. This is how the healing begins in America. When we feel we have gotten our money's worth, transition the lot of 'em to ' Gitmo' (the VACANCY sign is warming up).

Ok, now that I've vented (and feel better), let's see where we stand:

That Tim Geithner needs to explain his plan to the very mob that pulled off the crime is preposterous. He should have held the press conference the night before, instead of the President. Bring the plan to the nation, not the creeps who still have the hammer in their hands, standing amidst the broken pieces of the national piggy bank. Let the men and women of this country who are funding the plan be the focus of Mr. Geithner's attention. These are the people who, in the end, had better be impressed.

America isn't going to solve the world's problems this time. Not alone, nor should we. Everyone was waiting for Mr. Geithner to come down off the mountain, toss the tablets at Bernard Madoff, and lead us to prosperity. It didn't happen, so stop expecting speeches to work miracles.

The truth is, this economic battle is the real World War III. Imagine that. All the scenarios the Pentagon has planned for, and WW III turns out to be a war they cannot fight. Smart bonds, instead of Smart bombs. It's not about Wall Street, or pleasing tired old men in suits. It's about Main Street, and the world-wide effort to restore balance.

A word about who's to blame. The financial industry is not alone in this. They needed victims and we eagerly volunteered. We were taught that absolute power corrupts, and then subjugated those that taught us to an existence as impoverished caretakers of the blackboard jungles. Our parents and their parents sacrificed to make a better life for their children. It was their last gasp before being trampled by their offspring in a bull-rush to hedonism. *Everything, all the time. It costs. The inheritance was spent, the credit - finally cut off.

A direct plea...

Mr. President, you have assembled a fine team. The world, once again, looks to America for leadership. They want a partnership in common cause that will put substance back into the term 'Allies'. There will be some gnashed teeth, crushed egos and hurried handshakes, but pride will indeed goeth, before the fall. As with many of history's toughest challenges, a great period of advantage can result. A break in the tumultuous tendencies of mankind. An opportunity to restore a frail planet, eliminate hunger and disease. Any one of those alone is worth the effort, and belief can make it so. That is your greatest tool, Sir. An honest to god ability to inspire.

* from 'Life In The Fast Lane' by The Eagles.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

"Pssst, Good Senator"

I've been watching the debates over the stimulus package recently. With all of the posturing and tough talk, I decided to change the television channel and watch something lighter. I came across a program with a man standing inside a fenced lot filled with all variety of dogs. Everything from pit bulls to poodles. They ran around the lot engaging in territorial pissing, rear end sniffing, and a bit of false bravado. Yet, they were generally getting along. No fighting, no blood. The interesting thing was that the man seemed to have total control over all of them. It turns out that he is known as the 'Dog Whisperer', and uses amazing methods to obtain these results. They didn't mention how much he charges, but maybe, just maybe, we could slide a little extra into the stimulus package and send him to Washington.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Barack Obama: BO Knows...

The political posts I make on this blog, are my way of reacting to current events. I am from Chicago and we have a long tradition of talking and walking politics. In other words, we express strong opinions, and then get out there and make things happen. This is how I know that Barack Obama is going to succeed. His adopted hometown taught him that there is no quicker exit from the political stage than to let things grind to a halt. In Chicago, he observed the sinners and saints, and is wiser for it. He knows the former make the things work, the latter, their existence possible. He will balance the two forces in this country and keep it moving.

And I am...griffinfinity (with much respect to Len O' Connor)....