Putting Obama’s First Year in Perspective

★ Some thoughts, from following Frank Schaeffer, on President Obama’s first year in the White House

We faithful Obama supporters still trust our initial impression of him as a great, good and uniquely qualified man to lead us.

Obama’s steady supporters will be proven right. Obama’s critics will be remembered as easily panicked and prematurely discouraged at best and shriveled hate mongers at worst…

The Context of the Obama Presidency

Not since the days of the rise of fascism in Europe, the Second World War and the Depression has any president faced more adversity. Not since the Civil War has any President led a more bitterly divided country. Not since the introduction of racial integration has any President faced a more consistently short-sighted and willfully ignorant opposition – from both the Right and Left.

As the President’s poll numbers have fallen so has his support from some on the Left that were hailing him as a Messiah not long ago; all those lefty websites and commentators that were falling all over themselves on behalf of our first black president during the 2008 election.

The Left’s lack of faith has become a self-fulfilling “prophecy” — snipe at the President and then watch the poll numbers fall and then pretend you didn’t have anything to do with it!

Here is what Obama faced when he took office– none of which was his fault:

  • An ideologically divided country to the point that America was really two countries
  • Two wars; one that was mishandled from the start, the other that was unnecessary and immoral
  • The worst economic crisis since the depression
  • America’s standing in the world at the lowest point in history
  • A country that had been misled into accepting the use of torture of prisoners of war
  • A health care system in free fall
  • An educational system in free fall
  • A global environmental crisis of history-altering proportions (about which the Bush administration and the Republicans had done nothing)
  • An impasse between culture warriors from the Right and Left
  • A huge financial deficit inherited from the terminally irresponsible Bush administration…
    And those were only some of the problems sitting on the President’s desk!

‘Help’ from the Right?

The reactionary white, rube, uneducated, crazy American far Right, combined with the educated but obtuse neoconservative war mongers, religious Right shills for big business, libertarian Fed Reserve-hating gold bug, gun-loving crazies, child-molesting acquiescent “bishops”, frontier loons and evangelical gay-hating flakes found one thing to briefly unite them: their desire to stop an uppity black man from succeeding at all costs!

What did the Republicans and the religious Right, libertarians and half-baked conspiracy theorists — that is what the Republicans were reduced to by the time Obama took office — do to “help” our new president (and our country) succeed? They claimed that he wasn’t a real American, didn’t have an American birth certificate, wasn’t born here, was secretly a Muslim, was a white-hating “racist”, was secretly a communist, was actually the Anti-Christ, (!) and was a reincarnation of Hitler and wanted “death panels” to kill the elderly!

They not-so-subtly called for his assassination through the not-so-subtle use of vile signs held at their rallies and even a bumper sticker quoting Psalm 109:8. They organized “tea parties” to sound off against imagined insults and all government in general and gathered to howl at the moon. They were led by insurance industry lobbyists and deranged (but well-financed) “commentators” from Glenn Beck to Rush Limbaugh.

The utterly discredited Roman Catholic bishops teamed up with the utterly discredited evangelical leaders to denounce a President who was trying to actually do something about the poor, the environment, to diminish the number of abortions through compassionate programs to help women and to care for the sick! And in Congress the Republican leadership only knew one word: “No!”

In other words the reactionary white, rube, uneducated, crazy American far Right,combined with the educated but obtuse neoconservative war mongers, religious Right shills for big business, libertarian Fed Reserve-hating gold bug, gun-loving crazies, child-molesting acquiescent “bishops”, frontier loons and evangelical gay-hating flakes found one thing to briefly unite them: their desire to stop an uppity black man from succeeding at all costs!

‘Help’ from the Left?

Those that had stood in transfixed legions weeping with beatific emotion on Election Night turned into an angry mob saying how ‘disappointed’ they were that they’d not all immediately been translated to heaven the moment Obama stepped into the White House! Where was the ‘change’?

What did the Left do to help their newly elected President? Some of them excoriated Obama because they disagreed with the bad choices he was being forced to make regarding a war in Afghanistan that he’d inherited from the worst president in modern history!

Others stood up and bravely proclaimed that the President’s economic policies had “failed” before the President even instituted them! Others said that since all gay rights battles had not been fully won within virtually minutes of the President taking office, they’d been “betrayed”! (Never mind that Obama’s vocal support to the gay community is stronger than any other President’s has been. Never that mind he signed a new hate crimes law which included language punishing hate crimes against homosexuals for the first time!)

Those that had stood in transfixed legions weeping with beatific emotion on Election Night turned into an angry mob saying how “disappointed” they were that they’d not all immediately been translated to heaven the moment Obama stepped into the White House! Where was the “change”? Contrary to their expectations they were still mere mortals!

And the legion of young new supporters was too busy texting to pay attention for longer than a nanosecond… “Governing”?! What the hell does that world, uh, like mean?”

The President’s critics Left and Right all had one thing in common: impatience laced with little-to-no sense of history (let alone reality) thrown in for good measure. Then, of course, there were the white, snide know-it-all commentators/talking heads who just couldn’t imagine that maybe, just maybe they weren’t as smart as they thought they were and certainly not as smart as their President. He hadn’t consulted them, had he? So he must be wrong!

The Obama critics’ ideological ideas defined their idea of reality rather than reality defining their ideas — say, about what is possible in one year in office after the hand that the President had been dealt by fate, or, to be exact, by the American Idiot Nation that voted Bush into office… twice!

Meanwhile back in the reality-based community — in just 12 short months — President Obama:

  • Continued the draw down the misbegotten war in Iraq (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
  • Thoughtfully and decisively picked the best of several bad choices regarding the war in Afghanistan (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
  • Gave a major precedent-setting speech supporting gay rights (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
  • Restored America’s image around the globe (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
  • Banned torture of American prisoners (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
  • Stopped the free fall of the American economy (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
  • Put the USA squarely back in the bilateral international community (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
  • Put the USA squarely into the middle of the international effort to halt global warming (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
  • Stood up for educational reform (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
  • Won a Nobel peace prize (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
  • Moved the trial of terrorists back into the American judicial system of checks and balances (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
  • Did what had to be done to start the slow, torturous and almost impossible process of health care reform that 7 presidents had failed to even begin (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
  • Responded to hatred from the Right and Left with measured good humor and patience (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
  • Stopped the free fall of job losses (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
  • Showed immense personal courage in the face of an armed and dangerous far Right opposition that included the sort of disgusting people that show up at public meetings carrying loaded weapons and carrying Timothy McVeigh-inspired signs about the “blood of tyrants” needing to “water the tree of liberty”… (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)
  • Showed that he could not only make the tough military choices but explain and defend them brilliantly (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Other than those “disappointing” accomplishments — IN ONE YEAR — President Obama “failed”! Other than that he didn’t “live up to expectations”!

Who actually has failed…

…are the Americans that can’t see the beginning of a miracle of national rebirth right under their jaded noses. Who failed are the smart ass ideologues of the Left and Right who began rooting for this President to fail so that they could be proven right in their dire and morbid predictions. Who failed are the movers and shakers behind our obscenely dumb news cycles that have turned “news” into just more stupid entertainment for an entertainment-besotted infantile country.

Here’s the good news: President Obama is succeeding without the help of his lefty “supporters” or hate-filled Republican detractors!

The Future Looks Good

After Obama has served two full terms, (and he will), after his wisdom in moving deliberately and cautiously with great subtlety on all fronts — with a canny and calculating eye to the Possible succeeds, (it will), after the economy is booming and new industries are burgeoning, (they will be), after the doomsayers are all proven not just wrong but silly: let the record show that not all Americans were panicked into thinking the sky was falling.

Just because we didn’t get everything we wanted in the first short and fraught year Obama was in office not all of us gave up. Some of us stayed the course. And we will be proven right.

Steve Jobs Leave of absence

★ Steve Jobs’ memo to his ‘Team’:

Team,

I am sure all of you saw my letter last week sharing something very personal with the Apple community. Unfortunately, the curiosity over my personal health continues to be a distraction not only for me and my family, but everyone else at Apple as well. In addition, during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.

In order to take myself out of the limelight and focus on my health, and to allow everyone at Apple to focus on delivering extraordinary products, I have decided to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June.

I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for Apple’s day to day operations, and I know he and the rest of the executive management team will do a great job. As CEO, I plan to remain involved in major strategic decisions while I am out. Our board of directors fully supports this plan.

I look forward to seeing all of you this summer.

Steve

It’s unfortunate that his person business has to be so public like this. I hope everything works out for Steve.

Self-Esteem

★ A wise person once said

Low self-esteem is a gift that keeps on giving.

- Kevin Pereira

This is very true, as I experienced this phenomenon first hand during the great Oahu Blackout of ’08.

Patiences

★ I’m clearly not patient enough to work with idiots.

That is all.

The Problem

★ It is deeply disturbing to me that a person like Sarah Palin, who didn’t know that Africa is a continent and not a country, got that close to the highest office of a global superpower. Clearly there is a problem with our government. I know that this is not news by any stretch of the imagination. But Sarah Palin has shown just how dangerous it is. To think that a person who doesn’t know the countries in NAFTA could’ve been our president is very disturbing. This got me thinking about how we got to this place in politics.

I’m gonna use an analogy. Lets say our government is a car. Every 4 years we get a chance to redesign this car however we want it. We can customize this car to best suit us for the road ahead. When the GOP designed their new concept car, lets call it the “Mavrick”, they slept on some critical engineering decisions. They decided to invest all of their resources in a really shiny bling’d out hood ornament. They were so proud of this shiny new hood ornament that represents their brand like a logo, but they forgot the engine. I’m sure they thought that it would be fine. They would just throw some leather and wood trim inside, cut the price, and America will buy it. If they want the car to move the Republican party will just push it.

I’m not picking on the GOP because they are not the only ones guilty of this in the past. But the days of thinking its okay to nominate bling over a high-tech electric engine are over.

White

★ Observation: White, skin tight pants, is NOT a good color for girls to wear to the gym.

Demo

★ As im writing this I’m demo’ing an app I developed in the conference room to department heads. It is so hard to pretend like I care what these people are saying. I guess the problem is pretending that I’m actually listening to what they are saying.

Favorite Word

★ I think ‘Entropy’ is definitely my favorite word.

That is all.

Multitasking

★ I came across this quote over at 43 folders.

Multitasking is the art of distracting yourself from two things you’d rather not be doing by doing them simultaneously.

Requiem for a Dream

★ I have found that everything is more interesting when done to the ‘Requiem for a Dream’ theme song. I’m gonna try something new today. I’m going to imagine ‘requiem for a dream’ playing in my head for everything I do.

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John McCain defines statute of limitations on character

★ According to Wikipedia:

John McCain cheated on his first wife in 1979. His first wife, Carol, had been severely crippled in a car accident while McCain was in Vietnam. Shortly after he returned from Vietnam he began having an affair with a woman half his age. A year later he divorced his crippled wife and married his mistress.

When pressed on the issue by reporters, John McCain said:

“…It is irrelevant what I did 20 to 30 years ago”

If cheating on his wife is ‘Irrelevant’ because it happened 28 years ago, then shouldn’t his service in the Vietnam war be considered irrelevant also?

Kava bowl

★ At the mix, if you’re passing around ‘cups’ that are big enough to eat cereal out of, you should stop calling them ‘cups’.
That is all.

Rule of thumb

★ A good rule of thumb: try to avoid doing stuff that’d be awkward to explain in an ER.
That is all.

Love

Comic #370

assumptions

★ a lot of people assume that I like to spend my time helping people…this could not be further from the truth.
That is all

A Good Day For a Run in The Park

★ Today While I was hanging out at Kapiolani Park I saw the funniest thing. It was a round noon and it was a really nice day, so there were a lot of people out running in the park. I noticed this one particular guy running by us. He was kinda fat, but that’s not why I noticed him. A hot girl all sweaty in her spandex and listening to her iPod was running also. She came up from the rear and passed the guy. Then the guy tried to speed up to catch up with her. But just couldn’t keep up with her. It was effing hilarious! At one point he almost caught up with her, then quickly feel far behind and never made up any ground after that. It was almost like he thought ‘if I can keep up and run next to her, maybe she’ll talk to me’. Thats funny to me.

Secret Admirer

★ Ok, lets just call it what it is. A ‘secret admirer’ is just a stalker with stationary.

Have your cake…

★ The expression ‘Have your cake, and eat it too’ really doesn’t make any sense. Why do people say ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it too’. This is a phrase I’ve never really understood. It’s perfectly reasonable to want to eat a cake that you ‘have’. What the hell else are you going to do with a cake besides maybe pay tiny strippers to jump out of it; in which case you really shouldn’t eat it because that would just be gross. Seriously, you’ve got to assume that they all have at least one std for each stage-name they use. Sorry, I don’t know where I was going with that… Anyway, there really aren’t any other good uses for cake. I guess you could throw it in someone’s face. But thats a cliche generally reserved for pies. It might work if you’re trying to be ironic, but don’t expect anyone to get the joke. The moral of the story is: if you have cake, effing eat it!

No, I Will Not Fix Your Computer

★ I read an article on the BrooWaha Blog yesterday that was all too familiar to a situation I’ve been forced to deal with for a while now. Of course I’m talking about having to play tech-support for E-VER-Ybody I know. I know I shouldn’t feel sorry for myself because this is a problem that every person in my industry is cursed with, but I don’t know a single person who is even remotely technology literate. So I feel like a rant is kinda justified.

The BrooWaha article deals with people taking their personal computers to the company IT guy. I can agree with most of the points made in the article except one. He says that its not personal, well for me sometimes it is personal. But for the most part, personal PCs at work are only a marginal problem for me.

I’ve already accepted that all of my friends and family are going to call me up every time windows pops up an error message, or they can’t connect to the internet, or their PC is running slow, or they want to buy a computer and need a recommendation…and, well you get the idea. Lately I’ve noticed that the volume of this ‘friend tech-support’ has been steadily increasing. This bothers me only because the number of incompetent computer-using friends has not changed. Clearly somethings not adding up. My ‘friend tech-support’ sphere has been bleeding into the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th degree. What’s happening is friends who I’ve helped before are volunteering my help to their friends, and their friend’s friends. This has caused me to become increasingly cynical about fixing peoples PCs. Its getting out of control! At this rate, it wont be long before my ‘friend tech-support’ sphere covers the entire north shore of Oahu. I’ve been trying to counter this growth by screening calls, and taking so long to fix the problem that they start to regret asking for help. But nothing seems to be working. I’m just at a loss right now…I’ll be experimenting with different methods.

Butt-load

★ I wish that ‘Butt-Load’ was a real metric. Right now the term ‘butt-load’ is very relative and could possibly cause some confusion in certain situations. For example, if I were to bring a 5 lbs bag of oysters to a BBQ with 6 people, that’s a butt-load of oysters. But a 5 lbs bag of oysters at a 20 person BBQ is kinda half-ass’d. If someone asks me to buy oysters, I want to be able to ask ‘one, or two butt-loads?’.

I’ve found references to the term ‘butt-load’ as meaning ‘about six seams’ which amounts to roughly 450 gallons; I also found a reference to ‘butt-load’ as a sailing term meaning ‘a little bit larger than a 50 gallon barrel.’

The Urbandictionary.com defines a ‘butt load’ as a term used to define a finite sum of something. Generally accepted as an amount somewhere between a lot and a shit-ton. Often noted when speaking in hyperboly and used for extreme emphasis or exaggeration.

I think this is all much to convoluted for a term as commonly used as ‘butt-load’ is. All it would take is for a consortium or a group with a decent amount of authority to set a final, measurable, value for ‘butt-load’. In todays ‘web 2.0’ world, this may be a problem best suited for wikipedia. Wikipedia could easily crowd source a standard metric that could be generally accepted.