Thursday, May 21, 2009

Joker Joe Joltin' BO's "Mo?"

UPDATE, below (hint - Pandora's Box"):

Apparently Joe Biden's public gaffes and his private antics within the White House have become enough of a problem that the Obama administration has publicly let the cat out of the bag to Newsweek journalist, Richard Wolffe, who has been given significant interview access in the White House, including with the President himself. He has a new book set for release on June 2nd, to be entitled:
Renegade: The Making of a President
Well, here's a little beauty for you . . . that new book according to Fox News reporter, Bill Sammon, includes details about how President Obama has actually had to privately dress down Joe Biden for his lack of discipline, including for having made what the President viewed as out-of-line comments during cabinet meetings.

Sammon's article today is:

Obama 'Distracted' by Biden's 'Indiscipline,' Book Asserts

The president is so "distracted by his vice president's indiscipline" that he has been forced to rebuke privately Vice President Biden, according to a new book by Richard Wolffe

Thursday, May 21, 2009 President Obama is so "distracted by his vice president's indiscipline" that he has been forced to rebuke privately Vice President Joe Biden, according to a new book by Newsweek journalist Richard Wolffe, who interviewed Obama a dozen times.

"He can't keep his mouth shut," Wolffe quotes a "senior Obama aide" as saying of the gaffe-prone Biden in "Renegade: The Making of a President," set for release June 2.
. . .


You have to read the whole thing. Sammon gets into a few of the juicy details, including about the dressing down.

Well, something just seems wrong with that book title, no? Hmmmm . . . let me think . . . okay.

Here it is . . . my recommended alternative title for Wolffe's book:

Judgment: The Selection of a Vice-President

There. Now it makes much more sense!

UPDATE: Joe has blurted again, this time in favor of the position taken by his predecessor, Dick Cheney! As pointed out by the U.S. Editor for the British newspaper, the Telegraph, Joe, who confirmed he was "out of the loop," has now said:
"But, look, what the president said is that this is going to be hard. It's like opening Pandora's Box. We don't know what's inside the box."

He also said that "to the best of my knowledge" the number of prisoners "who are a real danger who are not able to returned or tried" has "not been established" by the Obama administration.

So he basically just confirmed his predecessor Dick Cheney's analysis that the decision was taken "with little deliberation, and no plan". (emphasis added to identify quotes)
Yep. Thanks, and a shout out to Joe from Dick Cheney will no doubt soon be forthcoming! Makes you wonder if there is a woodshed on the grounds of the United States Naval Observatory?

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

One, Two, Three . . . Currahee!

I found this CBS video, via Allapundit at HotAir, who got it via This Ain't Hell. Tigerhawk has it posted as well.

Meet Lt. Brian Brennan of Howell, New Jersey.

Honestly, folks, this CBS News story video will take your breath away.

(Unfortunately, we could not figure out how to set the embedded video so that it did not begin playing automatically when you linked to this site, so the link just above is to the CBS video site for the clip.)

Brian Brennan's website -- Brian Brennan Stands Alone Trust, can be found here.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Photo: Below - Two Versions, One "high-res"
Updates: 05/09/09 and 10, below:

That's it? . . . One unclassified photo?

Update: 05/09/09: Very late yesterday afternoon, Friday, May 8, 2009, the White House released a very limited "internal review" (ht. ABC coverage) attributed to the White House Counsel's Office about White House involvement in the scary flight incident, addressing "the facts and circumstances that led to the flyover of New York city on April 27, 2009." The memo states that the Deputy Director of the WHMO claimed to have notified Caldera on three occasions, twice verbally and one by e-mail, about the details of the flight, and suggesting that Caldera might want to run it past Deputy chief of Staff, Jim Messina, and Press aide, Robert Gibbs.

With respect to Director Caldera's actions, it then states, "Ultimately, the Director did not notify Messrs. Messina or Gibbs about the flyover."

The unsigned memo also goes on to address what were identified therein as perceived ambiguities in the reporting structure of the White House Military Office, and makes the suggestion that "structural and organizational ambiguities exist" therein, that can affect that "organization's ability to operate effectively."

The unsigned internal memo was dated May 5, 2009, three days prior to it's release.

Should we assume it was the White House version of a "per curium opinion" on the topic?

If so, that would not only make it unsigned, and therefore unattributable to any one person, but would also make it the agreed upon position of the White House.

Gee, the White House had previously said that Deputy chief of Staff, Jim Messina would be conducting that internal review, not some unidentified member of the Counsel's Office.

Where are the results of Messina's investigation?

ABC's Jake Tapper and Megam Chuchmach have posted about the resignation of the Director of the White House Military Office, Lou Caldera over the incident for which he had previously apologized.

And, in addition, the White House also released only ONE photo, obviously one taken from the accompanying F-16.

Here it is . . . the one photo.

So . . . where are the photo(s) taken from inside Air Force One during that flight?

Free Republic has held a funny "photoshop" contest of the incident, which is now up to about 600 pages long!

Finally, the Washington Post reports, per Scott Wilson, that the official estimated cost of the incident has now risen to $357,000, based on a letter from Sec. Defense Robert Gates to Senator John McCain in response to a McCain inquiry.

Below is the official "high resolution" version, from the White House site, here. Click on the photo to expand it to full size. It is also obviously an "uncropped" and "un-brightened" version, like the one above was.

That is a portion of Hudson and Essex counties in New Jersey in the background, including Liberty Park and Jersey City. In the upper left-hand corner, you can see the distinctive Newark Bay Bridge (officially the Vincent R. Casciano Memorial Bridge), and the railroad bridge just above it, connecting the cities of Newark and Bayonne via I-78 crossing Newark Bay. Above the cockpit are connectors like the General Pulaski Skyway, Routes 1 & 9, crossing the Passaic and Hackensack Rivers connecting Newark and Jersey City, and leading to the Holland Tunnel. Harrison and Kearney are in the background. Also visible are the NJ Turnpike connectors, eventually leading to the Bergen county area of New Jersey, I-80, and the George Washington Bridge.

The New York areas of Governor's Island, Brooklyn and the lower tip of Manhattan would have been quite clearly visible from the port windows you can see on that right side of Air Force One.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

White House: Flight Photos NOT To Be Released

The Obama White House has officially refused to release the "photos" they said were the reason for the low-level flight of Air Force One around the New York harbor area, including over the area of Jersey City in New Jersey, forcing panic among many residents, and office workers as well.

As was reported in today's New York Post:
"We have no plans to release them," an aide to President Obama told The Post, refusing to comment further.

The sole purpose of the secret photo-op, which sent thousands of New Yorkers running for cover, was to take new publicity shots of the presidential jet over the city.

"The photos . . . are classified -- that's ridiculous," Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., said.

The photos have not technically been "classified," a White House aide said, but they are being kept from public view.
They are not classified, and yet the White House still refuses to release them? And they refuse to answer any more questions about it?

The whole story has been shrouded in secrecy from the beginning, even to the point of local officials being threatened with retaliation, if they let it out!

It is getting more and more suspicious.

Ask yourself this -- Who in their right mind would arrange for a large passenger jet and two F-16 Fighters, to fly up to the New York harbor area, circle around the Statue of Liberty area at a low altitude with one of two F-16's tailing the large jet, just to "update" a few file photos -- and unclassified photos at that?

That story is simply absurd on it's face. Especially in a post-9/11 world!

So, the question becomes, what really occurred because that story simply does not hold water.

I can think of two possible general reasons for failing to release the unclassified photos:

1. There are no photos, making the "cover" story a flat-out lie, or,

2. Many or most of whatever "official" photos were taken, were of what was going on inside the plane, and as a result would show exactly who was on board.

As for that second possibility, consider this . . . perhaps the passengers were a group of Obama supporters and/or contributors, who were being politically rewarded for their help in the campaign.

Lots of seats, no? Like the Clinton era Lincoln's Bedroom sleepovers, but on steroids. How many people can stay over in the Lincoln Bedroom? How many people can board Air Force One? Hmmmm . . . .

Who knows? In that case, I'd guess they probably took some pictures of their own as well!

The latter is a very logical possibility, because it would explain all the facts as we know them so far, including:

a. the extreme demand for secrecy in advance;

b. the lack of any coherent public explanation as to why the flight was taken in the first place;

c. consistent a little bit with the "cover story," because there indeed would have been some "file" photos taken of the occasion, ones that the White House would definitely NOT want to get out;

d. their adamant refusal to release any of the photos, even though they admit they are not classified;

e. the refusal of the White House to entertain any further questions about it, clearly indicating they have something very embarrassing to hide, and,

f. it would also explain why they strangely went out of their way at first to point out that it was not "officially" Air Force One . . . but a "back-up," and that it is only AF-1 when the President is on board, thus "minimizing" the PR problem, should it come out!

The fact is that they have gone silent, leaving the public to guess. Have you got a better possible explanation? We'd love to hear it. Feel free to comment.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

More on the "Top Ten List" -- Why Obama
Was Furious Over the Air Force One Misadventure

Update: below
Los Angeles Times
entertainment writer, Greg Braxton, has noted in detail (ht, HotAir)* what many of us have been observing for quite a while now -- that most main-stream comedians have been very reluctant to poke any fun at President Obama. As many of their counterparts in the press have done in setting aside their critical faculties, many comedians have just dropped the "funny ball" when it comes to The One.

And most assuredly, we all know it is not for lack of good material!

The last post here was a bit of a "rip-off" of David Letterman's schtick, the "Top Ten List," in which we posted the Top Ten reasons President Obama was "furious" over the recent incident in which Air Force One and an F-16 fighter buzzed the New York harbor area, scaring residents, emptying office buildings, and threatening local officials with retaliation if they gave anyone advanced notice of the flight.

Our point was that David Letterman would never, ever do a hard-hitting "Top Ten" making fun of Obama. He's way too busy kissing up to the guy. So, as flawed as our post may have been, our top ten constituted a sarcastic impression of the late night host, much as so many comedians do impressions of others.

A few others, such as Scott Ott at ScrappleFace, have poked fun of the incident itself as well.

But as Braxton correctly points out, Letterman is decidedly unfunny when talking about Obama.
Meanwhile David Letterman, who regularly bashed Bush, has repeatedly praised the new president ("You gotta like this guy . . . by God, this guy is out there, doing stuff. He's always got stuff going on").

In fact, the CBS late-night host has used Obama to set up jabs at Bush. In one monologue, he noted Obama's recent trip to South America, where his lack of knowledge of Spanish prevented him from reading a book presented to him by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez: "It would be like handing George Bush any book."

Writers and producers for "Late Show With David Letterman," "The Tonight Show," "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" declined comment for this story.
No surprise there!

But there is plenty of humor out there about this guy. And there is plenty to downright ridicule, including absurdedly bowing to the Saudi King, and the various antics of the thoroughly risible Joe Biden. In fact, Joe has been such a known object of ridicule for nearly his entire political life, that making his very selection by Mr. Obama is a ripe subject for humor. Barack Obama's Teleprompter Blog is but one recent example of the latest.

In any event, the reason the Administration cited for having taken the New York flight in the first place -- the claim that they were updating of the photo file -- was so laughable that it had to make anyone wonder what the real reason might be.

What self-respecting main-stream comedian would pass up an opportunity to take a shot at that sort of nonsense coming from the White House? Sadly, virtually every one of them.

But who knows . . . maybe Letterman was one of the "special people" that some of us suspect may have been aboard that flight. Why else would he lay off not only that one, but so many other juicy topics? E.g., Janet Napolitano creating a firestorm of bad publicity by singling out veterans as potential terrorists . . . and thereafter someone floating her name as a potential Supreme Court nominee!

Think about the possibilities for an easy laugh doing a simple skit based on the Administration's public version of events!
POTUS and Lou Caldera, head of the White House Office of Military Affairs. In the Oval Office . . .

POTUS: "Uhhh . . . Lou . . . take Air Force One up to New York early tomorrow, and fly all around the harbor area & the Statue of Liberty at a really low altitude, if you would. Kind of like you're buzzing them, you know? Take Fenster along and he's just going to snap some photos for the file. Oh, and see if you can't get an F-16 to go along and chase you around, too. In fact, take two of them with you, but you can have one of 'em peel off when you get there. Okay?"

Lou: "No problem. I'll get right on it, Chief! Oh . . . you want to take any video of say . . . crowd reactions?"

POTUS: "Nah . . . all they'll do is point and waive. They love me up in New York!"

Lou: "Yeah, you're right, Chief. Jeez . . . what was I thinking there for a second?!"

POTUS: "Oh Lou, mum's the word in advance. Don't want anyone to think we're grandstanding, or anything . . . ."

Lou: "Hey, you bet, Chief!" (He salutes as he backs out the door.)
Don't count on anything or anyone skewering The One any time soon. Perhaps some of them are afraid of being accused of being racist -- not that they would be, but that they feel the accusation alone might be enough to threaten their career.

Braxton strongly suggests that this is the primary issue:
But it's Obama's African American heritage more than any other single factor that has perhaps frozen comics' pens and keyboards. Political humorists, most of whom are white, have never dealt with a black president and aren't sure how their material will be received. Is an Obama joke truly aimed at the office and its policies, or is it merely a smokescreen for racial prejudice?
On that point, I'd disagree that poking fun of Obama would be a "smokescreen" for racial prejudice. In fact, I think that argument itself is merely a smokescreen for left-wing politics. As Braxton himself points out later:
Contributing to Obama's kid-glove treatment, too, are the political leanings of many comedy writers. Although it didn't ultimately help Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter, Winston, who wrote for Leno for six years, argues there's little doubt many joke writers are Democrats.

"You have to remember that most comedy writers on these shows are more liberal than conservative," Winston said. "It was much easier to write comedy when the enemy was the target."
Remember also that Barack Obama successfully exploited false racism charges during the campaign to blunt criticisms of himself. Now, there were some subtle and minor elements of racial division during the primary -- for example, Bill Clinton's comments mentioning Jesse Jackson following the South Carolina contest -- that Obama apparently concluded gave him a platform from which to raise the issue. But the only talk about race as an issue during the general election came right out of the Obama camp in June, in the form of utterly unjustified preemptory accusation made by the Democrat candidate himself, without any basis whatsoever for the accusation.

But no mainstream journalist called him on it. Was it their political leanings that tipped the scale?

And to this day, we now see that even long-established comedians are willy-nilly pulling their punch lines.

How far will this fear of accusation go?

I suppose the irony in all of this is . . . don't expect to hear any calls for the implementation of the "fairness doctrine" at Comedy Central . . . or, on late night TV!

Update: Christian Toto of the Washington Times weighs in on the topic today. He too observes the twin factors for the "reluctance" to joke about Obama -- political bias, and fear of "offending" racial sensibilities.

As Braxton did, Toto also notes the fact that many comedians have actually replaced jokes in favor of hero worship.

Christian further cites Glenn Beck for the observation that some main-stream comedians are so biased, that they are deliberately pulled their punches at least partially because they know the power of their humor, and political calculation is one motivating factor.

From the story:
Radio and Fox News Channel talk show host Glenn Beck, who kicks off a six-city stand-up comedy tour on June 1 in Denver, suggested that both fear and political calculation are inhibiting factors. Comedians like Mr. Letterman are "either afraid, or they know the power of comedy as a weapon and they like using it as that," he said.

"We're now into biased comedy. We can't even laugh without a political agenda," said Mr. Beck, who cites "The Simpsons" as a show that skewers both sides without fear or favor."
Toto also questions whether the reluctance on the part of left-leaning comics will open the door to those who more conservative, and willing to joke about Obama.

He quotes one up and coming comedian, who suggests the opening will not likely be made by people like Letterman, or his producers for that matter.
Can the vacuum of uninhibited presidential satire create an opening within the comedy ranks for a new breed of right-leaning comics?

Comedian Nick DiPaolo said that although the new administration provides an opening for conservative humorists, that won't mean they suddenly start appearing on Mr. Letterman's couch.

Mr. DiPaolo, who mixes conservative-friendly material into his act, said the people behind the major entertainment shows "aren't going to let someone right of center jump into the arena."

* Posted on HotAir, as "Gutless comedians won't go after Obama."

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