blueollie

President Obama’s main weakness

It is no secret that I am a fan of the President. But like the rest of us, he has weaknesses. This is one of his: he seems to have a disdain for building the personal relationships with members of Congress that people like President Clinton did.

Now, I happen to PREFER working with someone who is curt and to the point so *I* could probably work with him. But I don’t have a politician’s personality.

August 19, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment

Good advice to students from President Obama

Note: the increase in the cost of education comes mostly from increased administrative costs. Drivers: student services, learning assistance centers and technology!

But students have some responsibility for their own educations as President Obama makes clear from 3:00 to 3:40:

August 17, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, education | , | Leave a comment

Obama and Iraq

It looks as if the media is playing up the difference of opinion between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on Iraq.

Basically, Secretary Clinton wanted more proactivity and President Obama was more conservative; personally I agree with the President. President Obama points out that much of what is going on with Iraq is a political problem that force isn’t going to solve.

August 11, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, hillary clinton, Middle East, world events | , , | Leave a comment

Politics: President Obama and Congress

One thing I’ve noticed: more and more, some of the liberal voices that were initially hard on President Obama have warmed up to the results. So, in terms of policy, (e. g. financial reform, health care reform, not rushing into wars), he has done what he set out to do. What has NOT happened was a decrease in partisanship; in fact that has gotten worse. And so, his approval ratings (low to mid 40’s) remain a little bit better than those of President Bush at the same time in his administration:

Screen shot 2014-08-06 at 4.41.24 PM

His presidency has actually become a bit stronger because Congress won’t do anything. Sure, they won’t bass bills that help the country…but they won’t pass bills that retard executive actions either because this divided Congress can’t do anything!

Interestingly enough, while Congressional approval has been rock bottom low for a long time, in the past, people hated Congress but approved of those that THEY elected. Now, for the first time in…who knows when…the majority of people don’t like who is representing them.

This might not mean that much for the following reason: we are living in a highly partisan time. When it comes to their own representative, those of the opposite party are more likely than ever to dislike person in office. And every member of Congress will have at least some opposition from their own party; hence approval ratings of over 50 percent are unlikely if the particular district is not solidly one party or another.

So, I don’t expect the House to change all that much in 2014, though the Democrats are going to have a rough time in the Senate, given that the Democrats are attempting to hold seats in some red states (Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina). I’d be delighted to see the Senate at 50-50, in which case VP Biden tips it to us. But that is, well, perhaps a 40 percent shot?

August 6, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, political/social, politics, social/political | | 1 Comment

Politics and the Israel, Palestine violence

This is a very balanced explanation of the current fighting in the Gaza Strip. It goes into the “human shields” charge/counter charge and why Hamas is not, by strict war crime standards, using shields even though that is the effect.

US Politics
Interesting post on Vox about small donors in US politics; basically, the more partisan people are more likely to donate (and yes, I did).

Screen shot 2014-08-02 at 9.32.22 PM

Makes perfect sense, no?

President Obama: Paul Krugman likes some of the stuff he did; the ACA and his work on financial reform. That is, we are less likely to reach a situation in which a bailout is required. Remember that Paul Krugman was a frequent critic (from the left).

August 3, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, Middle East, political/social, politics | , , | Leave a comment

Obama’s so called “Muslims built the very fabric of our Nation” remarks contrasted with Bush’s remarks

Yes, the White House released this statement (shown in full) on the 27’th of July:

Statement by the President on the Occasion of Eid-al-Fitr

As Muslims throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Eid-al-Fitr, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to them and their families. This last month has been a time of fasting, reflection, spiritual renewal, and service to the less fortunate. While Eid marks the completion of Ramadan, it also celebrates the common values that unite us in our humanity and reinforces the obligations that people of all faiths have to each other, especially those impacted by poverty, conflict, and disease.

In the United States, Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy. That is why we stand with people of all faiths, here at home and around the world, to protect and advance their rights to prosper, and we welcome their commitment to giving back to their communities.

On behalf of the Administration, we wish Muslims in the United States and around the world a blessed and joyous celebration. Eid Mubarak.

Emphasis mine.

Of course right wing “sources” such as Breitbart (shown in this screen shot) played this statement in this manner:

Screen shot 2014-07-30 at 3.46.04 PM

And of course, we see the spreading of outrage from the morons conservatives all over the internet.

For comparison, this is what President George W. Bush said:

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, sir. It’s good to be with you again. And it is my honor to visit the Islamic Center of Washington once again.

For half a century, this beautiful mosque has served as a place of worship for Muslims and has helped to advance understanding between people of different faiths. Millions of our fellow Americans practice the Muslim faith. They lead lives of honesty and justice and compassion.

President George W. Bush marks Eid al-Fitr, the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with an address at the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., Thursday, Dec. 5. White House photo by Paul Morse I am pleased to join you today in the celebration of Eid, the culmination of the Holy Month of Ramadan. I appreciate so very much Dr. Khouj, and I want to thank the other distinguished imam from the Washington, D.C. area. Thank you all for being here. And I enjoyed our visit. I also appreciate the Muslim schoolchildren who are here, telling me stories and reading poems and showing the art work. Please tell them thanks again for their hospitality.

Islam traces its origins back to God’s call on Abraham. And Ramadan commemorates the revelation of God’s word in the Holy Koran to the prophet Mohammad — a word that is read and recited with special attention and reverence by Muslims during this season.

Over the past month, Muslims have fasted, taking no food or water during daylight hours, in order to refocus their minds on faith and redirect their hearts to charity. Muslims worldwide have stretched out a hand of mercy to those in need. Charity tables at which the poor can break their fast line the streets of cities and towns. And gifts of food and clothing and money are distributed to ensure that all share in God’s abundance. Muslims often invite members of other families to their evening iftar meals, demonstrating a spirit of tolerance.

During Eid al-Fitr, Muslims celebrate the completion of their fast and the blessings of renewed faith that have come with it. Customs vary between countries — from illuminating lanterns in Egypt to lighting firecrackers in Pakistan, to inviting elders to traditional feasts in Niger. Around the world, families and neighbors and friends gather to share traditional foods, and congratulate each other on meeting the test of Ramadan.

The spirit behind this holiday is a reminder that Islam brings hope and comfort to more than a billion people worldwide. Islam affirms God’s justice and insists on man’s moral responsibility. This holiday is also an occasion to remember that Islam gave birth to a rich civilization of learning that has benefitted mankind.

Here in the United States our Muslim citizens are making many contributions in business, science and law, medicine and education, and in other fields. Muslim members of our Armed Forces and of my administration are serving their fellow Americans with distinction, upholding our nation’s ideals of liberty and justice in a world at peace. And in our Nation’s Capital, this center contributes greatly to our spiritual and cultural life.

On behalf of Laura and our family and the American people, I bring our best wishes to all who worship here, and to Muslims throughout the world for a joyous Eid, and for health and happiness and prosperity in the year to come.

Eid Mubarak. God bless.

The Bush statement is longer but, if anything, is a bit more specific with respect to the contributions made by American Muslims.

July 30, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, politics, politics/social, republicans | , , , | Leave a comment

I agree with John Boehner’s office about something….

We hear the talk of impeachment coming from well known Republicans

as well as from some Republicans in Congress.

I don’t know the grounds but hey, it is popular with rank and file Republicans (57 percent)

So, the Democrats have noticed and are raising money off of it:

obamimpeach

Of course, Republicans have noticed. John Boehner’s office weighed in (and yes, Rep. Boehner dismissed the notion):

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel noted in a statement that Boehner already ruled out impeachment and dismissed Pfeiffer’s remarks as a “fundraising exercise for Democrats.”

So who exactly among GOP leaders in the House — where an impeachment move could only start in the Judiciary Committee — is jumping on this bandwagon?

Earnest(White House Press Secretary), asked if anybody in the Republican leadership is seriously talking about impeachment, said, “Well, I think Sarah Palin considers herself to be a leader.”

“. . . . I think that there are some Republicans, including some Republicans who are running for office, hoping they can get into office so that they can impeach the president. That is apparently a view that they hold, because it’s one that they have repeatedly expressed publicly,” Earnest said.

Talking up Obama being impeached is certainly a way to try to whip up the Democratic base as Congress gets ready to leave at the end of next week and won’t be back until after Labor Day.

Seriously, this is one way to wake up the lazy Democrats. I hope that the Republicans keep on talking.

Note: President Obama’s approval rating continues in the low to mid 40’s, and is about 79 percent among all Democrats and 81 among liberal Democrats.
His tend line almost perfectly tracks the historical trend line (I’ve also included the trend for President Bush)

approvaljuly262014

click to see a larger version

July 26, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, Democrats, political/social, politics, republicans | , | Leave a comment

The impression I am getting from reading political opposition on social media…

I have no doubt that liberals and conservatives differ on policy. This difference is probably largely genetic in nature; this is one of the best explanations I’ve seen:

However, when it comes to discussing politicians of the other party, while policy is sometimes discussed, much of the time the venom is more about what they think the other person is (or isn’t) rather than about the policy:

bushhugtroops

See: President Bush loves American and President Obama doesn’t! Never mind:

obramahugstroops2

Now I know that sometimes we can “like but disagree” with a president until they do something that makes us angry; with President Bush it was the State of the Union address when he said he was going to attack Iraq. I actually liked him (but disagreed with him) prior to that. I knew AT THE TIME that some of the claims he was making were false (e. g., the aluminum tubes claim by reading Scientific American) and I thought “this guy just wants to go to war”. Then again, no one denies that Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who needed to go, and there is a school of thought (non partisan) that thinks that the US was in the position to do that.

On the other hand, many condemn President Obama for drone strikes; personally, I see the problem as war, not drones. Drones actually kill fewer non-combatants than conventional air strikes and firefights, but one is one too many…but then again, if you let a terrorist off the hook and they kill again?

Bottom line: ANY President of the United States will have to make decisions that will lead to the deaths of at least some people; yes, even President Carter who had a sterling record for peace.

But I am digressing.

My main point: we tend to direct venom toward presidents that we do not have an affinity for; in my case it is no surprise that I like the “professorial”, “modern” and “thoughtful” President Obama rather than the more “instinctive”, “traditional” President Bush.

Ironically, when it comes to policy, some of what President Obama gets blamed for are successful programs that President Bush started! (TARP, auto bailouts, some of the war on terror). The packaging is different, and how we Americans love our packaging!!!

I can’t put emotions in the heads of others. But at least in my case, though I realize that most of President Bush’s “man of the people” image is manufactured (the man is an aristocrat!), what I really dislike are those who he represents:

Taxpayer Rally

teabaggers1

The respective presidents are really just proxies for our internal culture wars.

Yes, I know, I’ve been to Obama rallies as well as to Romney, Santorum and McCain rallies. The real difference isn’t the obesity (Americans of all stripes are fat, period). The difference is really diversity; the Republican rallies tend to be monochrome and people tended to dress alike. Democrat rallies were all over the map in terms of age, dress, race, culture, etc.

What I find repulsive is the idea of “being a good American means that you fit into this one box” when, in fact, our country is extremely diverse; I’ve lived in Connecticut, rural Texas, Austin, Texas, South Dakota and currently live in a rust belt town in the midwest. The cultures vary from place to place.

July 15, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, politics/social, social/political | , , , , | Leave a comment

Now I like this photo…

obamaut

From some time ago (2008?)

obama-horns

July 10, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama | | Leave a comment

July 6 Politics

Well, I’ve been reading about how Americans view President Obama as being terrible. You probably won’t see news on the recent uptick in approval ratings though this rates as a “meh” when you look at the trendlines that Presidents have had historically:

Screen shot 2014-07-06 at 4.52.55 PM

(from here)

Love him or hate him: the worst ever: he isn’t.

I admit that back in 2012, I really thought that the country would learn something from failing to trust basic facts and statistics:

and here but I guess not. SFBs who trust “their gut” over science and math aren’t going to change. And this will cripple the next Republican Presidential nominee like it did the last one:

July 6, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, political/social, politics, republicans, republicans politics, social/political | | Leave a comment

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