April 27, 2011

finally, we have a birth certificate

Posted in politics, presidents, stuff I think about tagged , at 6:32 pm by weiszguy

We finally have a birth certificate!  Hopefully this whole thing will just go away now.  This was a pretty smart move by Team Obama: since the issue has been laid to rest, it won’t be an issue in the 2012 election, nobody will be able to attack Obama on that front, and there will be one less insufferable talking point to suffer through.

But there could be a much more strategic move at play here.  Could this be an effort by Team Obama to strengthen Team Trump, since Trump would be an easier foe to vanquish than Mitt Rominy or Tim Pawlenty?  Trump is already strutting his stuff.  He’s the guy who forced Obama’s hand!  He’s our hero!  But Obama knows (and I think we all know) that a Trump candidacy would be a joke.  When it comes down to the wire, who among us is going to vote for Trump over Obama?  Trump is like Ross Perot and Ron Paul – has some great ideas, but nobody will vote for him.

On the other hand, why can’t we force all candidates to show us their birth certificates?  Seriously.  The US Constitution makes two demands on any candidate for President: he must be 35 years of age, and he must be a natural-born citizen. See Article II, Section 1.  Why, in the past 222 years, has no one ever thought to check up on these candidates?  It is completely reasonable to have the Federal Election Commission certify each candidate for president.  The FEC can attest to the candidate’s age, and to his having been born in this country.  Then we would never have to go through this again.

Is there any chance this birth certificate could be a fake?


November 17, 2008

no Blackberries in the White House

Posted in presidents, technology, weird tagged , at 8:46 pm by weiszguy

This is really amazing.  The President of the United States of America is not allowed to use email.  George Bush hasn’t emailed in 8 years, and Barack Obama will go at least the next 4 without it.


I’m not sure I could be President.

November 10, 2008

America’s first black president (but it’s not about race)

Posted in politics, presidents tagged , , at 7:42 pm by weiszguy

Prior to the election, everyone went to great lengths to show that race was not an issue.  Obama’s and McCain’s positions were being analyzed on their own merits, but the skin tones of the candidates were rarely mentioned, excepted that, occasionally someone would point out, that, oh yeah, Obama is black.

Since the election results were confirmed, however, it is a completely different story.

  • Cameras showed people all over the world weeping after the result was declared.  Weeping?  Why would they weep?  Maybe the winner’s family and a few close campaign workers – but people all over the world?
  • Bishop Jakes, on MSNBC, declared that growing up in school, he had to look at the row of presidential pictures on the classroom wall, and wonder why none of them looked like him.  Now he didn’t have to wonder anymore.
  • Chris Matthews, the Hardball host, declared that he is going to do everything in his power to help the new administration, because that’s his job.  Would that have been his job if McCain has won?  Or would his job then be to uncover the “truth” about McCain?
  • Garrison Keillor, on his Praire Home Companion show this week, sung songs in praise of Obama, with an audible glee in his voice, as if he was a god.  I have a hard time imagining a similar response if McCain had won.
  • Howard Stern aired a montage of interviews with Obama supporters on the street.  Most of them thought that Sarah Palin was Obama’s running mate, and that Obama supports the war in Iraq, and that Obama is pro-life.  In other words, they had no idea what the issues were, or even who the players were.

Turns out, race is all it was ever about.

August 16, 2007

rethinking Cheney

Posted in communication, politics, presidents at 5:00 am by weiszguy

A very interesting article on vice-president Cheney appeared in the Wall Street Journal yesterday.  The most startling revelation is what George Tenet had to say about the interrogation program that Cheney championed:

The policies he has advocated have been controversial. But they have also been effective. Consider the procedures put in place to extract information from hardcore terrorists. Mr. Cheney did not dream up these interrogation methods, but when intelligence officials insisted that they would work, the vice president championed them in internal White House debates and on Capitol Hill. Former CIA Director George Tenet–a Clinton-era appointee and certainly no Cheney fan–was asked about the value of those interrogation programs in a recent television appearance. His response, ignored by virtually everyone in the media, was extraordinary.

“Here’s what I would say to you, to the Congress, to the American people, to the president of the United States: I know that this program has saved lives. I know we’ve disrupted plots. . . . I know this program alone is worth more than the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency put together, have been able to tell us.”

Wow, that’s pretty high praise.  The article also points out that the reason Cheney’s opinion poll numbers are so low is probably because Cheney doesn’t get enough time in front of the people.  He is viewed as a shadowy figure always lurking just offstage, the man behind the curtain.  The author of this article believes that people would be less afraid of the vice-president if he were more visible.  Could be.  I know my feelings on Cheney have gone up because of reading this.

April 10, 2007

thoughts on the Gettysburg Address

Posted in Civil War, fighting, presidents at 11:40 pm by weiszguy

Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war – testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous address on the battlefield near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863, four months after 50,000 soldiers lost their lives in the heated three-day battle.

I have a few thoughts on this speech, and I was just sitting here thinking how much you probably want to hear those thoughts – bless you.

First, isn’t it an impressive speech? The language is so lofty, so noble, it’s the kind of language you use in that recurring dream about being the world’s greatest orator. (You have that dream, don’t you?) I wonder if people in general used such lofty language back then? Were Lincoln’s listeners scratching their heads, “Now what did he say?” Did people use this kind of language in their internal thoughts?

Second, this is the entire speech! How can it be so short, but yet be permanently lodged in the American psyche? Today our presidents are known either for their long-winded lectures or for their out-of-context sound bites, e.g. “Ask not what your country can do for you…”, “I am not a crook!”, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”, “Read my lips, no new taxes!”, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman!” But no modern president is known for a three-minute speech that reverberated throughout the country.

Third, the content of the speech is moving. I (almost) cry for the dead soldiers every time I read it, and especially when I read it out loud. I’m also moved to action. It makes me want to grab a rifle and get out there and fight a war that’s been over for 141 years, just so these honored dead shall not have died in vain.

I could say more, but I’m sure you’d like to share your thoughts, too…