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US Politics

Elephant Walk in South Korea aimed not only at the North, but all of Asia

In yet another “we’re still here” messages, the US Air Force conducted an elephant walk of F-16 fighters in Korea as part of an exercise.  An elephant walk is what guys called it when planes were lined up along the taxiway heading off on missions back in World War II and the name has stuck ever since.

 

 

Over the past few years, we’ve seen the US play a more active role in Asia, primarily as a counter to China.  On July 4, 2010, the South China Morning Post, in a likely ‘leaked’ story wrote about three US Ohio-class submarines simultaneously appearing at ports throughout Asia.  In the last year the US has also decided to play a role in the South China sea / island disputes, and recently signed a new treaty with Australia on the positioning of US Marines down under.

Is this just a coincidence this photo is out and on the net and getting talked about?  Possibly, but even if it is the case that this is just random, I don’t think the policy makers mind too much the connection of this photo with the other actions going in Asia today.

Here is the full pic from Flickr:

Steve Jobs & Barack Obama photo? Maybe.

So the White House has released one photo from the meeting between Barrack Obama and Silicon Valley tech leaders. It’s a picture of Mark Zuckerberg and President Obama, but the question everyone is asking is “Where is Steve Jobs and how is he feeling?”

Well he might actually be in this photo. Take a look over Obama’s shoulder. You can see about 4 inches of someones slightly balding head. Could this be Steve Jobs’ scalp? I’m sure the Apple rumor boards will soon be analyzing this for clues. Maybe the National Enquirer will hire a scalp reader to issue a claim based on his hair line.

Or maybe it is just some other balding tech guy. What do you think?

UPDATE. New photo released on Flickr. Thanks to slodge for the link.

Did I crash the White House Oslo Peace Treaty Signing? I guess I might have, maybe.

Basically.
September 13, 1993.  The Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO were being signed at the White House and it was quite the event in Washington.  I was working for a Congressman and the invite came through for “The Congressman and his wife” to come to the White House and attend.
Well the Congressman’s wife didn’t feel like going, so my Chief of Staff called me in and said “You’re going.  You are the Congressman’s son in case anyone asks.  It’s been cleared with the White House.”  I said ok and that afternoon walked over to the House steps and met up with the boss.
“I’m to join you at the White House” I said.
“Are they (the White House) aware of that” he said.
“As far as I know”
“Ok, let’s get on the bus.”
When I was getting on the bus I was stopped by some harried staffer.
“Who are you?”
“I’m with him” I said, pointing to the boss.
“Do they (the White House) know about it?”
“Yea, it’s all cool at their end” I said.
That was it, on the bus, and she went back to dealing with more chaos on the steps.
So we got on this bus and had a police escort down the Mall to the White House 17th and E Street Entrance (back in the days before it was all closed down to traffic).  We pulled into West Executive Avenue and got off the bus, going straight onto the South Lawn of the White House, no metal detectors or X-rays or anything.  The Congressman headed toward the front and I said ‘see you later’.  I eventually found a seat quite a bit further back, sitting next to the Presidents of Howard, Georgetown and GWU universities.  I remember actually telling the Howard University President “My dad says I should go to your law school and try to get a minority scholarship” to which he laughed.  “Sure, send in an application.”  We chatted a bit more and he said “the White House loves to drags us (referring to all the other presidents) out for these sorts of things”.
Anyway, ruffles and flourishes and all that.  The famous handshake which my tiny camera got a very small picture of as people were jumping up cheering when it actually took place.  And then it sort of just broke up.  I walked back to the Congressional bus and sat next to a Congressman from Illinois (I don’t recall which, but we chatted some downstate Illinois stuff).  He was actually kind of impressed I was there saying he didn’t know staff were invited.  I just told him “we finagled it” not knowing if we really did or not.
Did they know about it?  Hell if I really knew.  I was going on faith it was all sorted, but my Chief of Staff never showed me an email or proof of that fact (this was in the days before email).  I do know I was never queried after I got on the bus, and walked right onto the grounds without anyone ever challenging me.  I guess they assumed someone at the Capitol sorted it all out and the Secret Service didn’t want to upset a Congressman.
In the end, it just shows that general fact:  if you look like you know what you are doing, most people will generally get out of your way and let you go do it.  I can’t tell you how many security guards / doorman I’ve just breezed past in DC and NY because I had ‘that look’ of someone who was supposed to be there.
So when I read about slight glitches here and there at the White House recently, I’m really not all that surprised.
Rabin and Arafat
I was here, but much further away than this.

Basically.

September 13, 1993.  The Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO were being signed at the White House and it was quite the event in Washington.  I was working for a Congressman and the invite came through for “The Congressman and his wife” to come to the White House and attend.

Well the Congressman’s wife didn’t feel like going, so my Chief of Staff called me in and said “You’re going.  It’s been cleared with the White House.”  I said ok and that afternoon walked over to the House steps and met up with the boss.

“I’m to join you at the White House” I said.

“Are they (the White House) aware of that” he said.

“As far as I know”

“Ok, let’s get on the bus.”

When I was getting on the bus I was stopped by some harried staffer.

“Who are you?”

“I’m with him” I said, pointing to the boss.

“Do they (the White House) know about it?”

“Yea, it’s all cool at their end” I said.

That was it, on the bus, and she went back to dealing with more chaos on the steps.

So we got on this bus and had a police escort down the Mall to the White House 17th and E Street Entrance (back in the days before it was all closed down to traffic).  We pulled into West Executive Avenue and got off the bus, going straight onto the South Lawn of the White House, no metal detectors or X-rays or anything.  The Congressman headed toward the front and I said ‘see you later’.  I eventually found a seat quite a bit further back, sitting next to the Presidents of Howard, Georgetown and GWU universities.  I remember actually telling the Howard University President “My dad says I should go to your law school and try to get a minority scholarship” to which he laughed.  “Sure, send in an application.”  We chatted a bit more and he said “the White House loves to drags us (referring to all the other presidents) out for these sorts of things”.

Anyway, ruffles and flourishes and all that.  The famous handshake which my tiny camera got a very small picture of as people were jumping up cheering when it actually took place.  And then it sort of just broke up.  I walked back to the Congressional bus and sat next to a Congressman from Illinois (I don’t recall which, but we chatted some downstate Illinois stuff).  He was actually kind of impressed I was there saying he didn’t know staff were invited.  I just told him “we finagled it” not knowing if we really did or not.

Did they know about it?  Hell if I really knew.  I was going on faith it was all sorted, but my Chief of Staff never showed me an email or proof of that fact (this was in the days before email).  I do know I was never queried after I got on the bus, and walked right onto the grounds without anyone ever challenging me.  I guess they assumed someone at the Capitol sorted it all out and the Secret Service didn’t want to upset a Congressman.  But was I really on the list?  To this date I don’t know.

In the end, it just shows that general fact:  if you look like you know what you are doing, most people will generally get out of your way and let you go do it.  I can’t tell you how many security guards / doorman I’ve just breezed past in DC and NY because I had ‘that look’ of someone who was supposed to be there.

So when I read about slight glitches here and there at the White House recently, I’m really not all that surprised.

Why Obama resigned ‘early’ from the Senate

Seniority.

Obama’s replacement will be given seniority in the 110th Congress, making that person one notch higher than the people who won election in November and will take their seats in the 111th Congress in January. That is if the Illinois governor can move quickly to fill the vacancy and if the lame-duck session next week accepts the appointment and swears in the new Senator.

While it likely won’t make a difference in the 111th Congress (outside of a slightly better office, perhaps) in the 112th and 113th that person (if they are still around) will be given better committee assignments and be higher up on the chain for a chairmanship than their colleagues who won election a few weeks ago. Not a bad deal for a few days worth of work in the 110th.

(FWIW, I started working with the 100th Congress. Man I’m old)

Did FDR prolong the depression

UCLA economists think so.

“Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump,” said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA’s Department of Economics. “We found that a relapse isn’t likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies.”

In an article in the August issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Ohanian and Cole blame specific anti-competition and pro-labor measures that Roosevelt promoted and signed into law June 16, 1933.

“President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services,” said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. “So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies.”

Maybe if Obama wins tomorrow we’ll get to see if this recession can last a few more years after they implement some rather whacky laws that are in his economic ‘platform’.

Who would you drink with this election?

I think many Americans vote ‘who would you like to have a drink with?’ And a month ago the answer was ‘I’ll have a beer with McCain and talk war stories’ or ‘I’ll have a white wine with Obama and discuss constitutional law theory’. But now with Palin, there is a whole class of folks who would like to have ‘a coffee with Palin and talk about their kids’. (Biden is the guy you get stuck with at a cocktail party and talk about nothing at all).

Kawasaki 704 Eyeglass–The Sarah Palin look is hot

I have no idea if these are the glasses in question or not either.

I have no idea if these are the glasses in question or not either.

Yea I can’t believe it either, but Sarah Palin is fast becoming a fashion symbol with her rimless glasses and funky hairstyle. The LA Times is reporting on a run on Kawasaki 704 eyeglasses, the Sarah Palin frames. The review of her hair, well you got to read it to believe it:

Her hair is a study in contrasts, carefree and “done” at the same time. The untidiness of her updo has a can-do spirit that says, “I have more important things to do than worry about my hair, so I just twirled it into this clip so I could get to the real business of governing and shooting caribou and having babies and taking them to hockey practice.”
The bouffant in the front, which appears to be teased from underneath, is more traditional, to appeal to the GOP base and those big donors from Houston who’ve been known to fly with their hairstylists on their private planes. And yet, you get the feeling that at the end of the day, she could shake out that lustrous mane (longer than any other major female U.S. political figure’s) and get it on with her man.

Democrats are repeating Hillary’s LBJ/MLK gaffe with attacks on Palin.

Republicans dont believe the perfect family photo either, but dont necessarily care.

Republicans don't believe the 'perfect family' photo either, but don't necessarily care.

Earlier in the primary campaign season, Hillary Clinton was bringing in close to half of the African American vote, she made a bit of a gaffe saying the LBJ was responsible for getting the civil rights bills passed, not necessarily just MLK. This led to an incredible backlash amongst the African American community who were livid that Hillary had diminished the role of one of their heros. Obama’s African American support exploded to near unanimous levels, and these votes were instrumental in securing him the general nomination.

The ‘gaffe’ will go down in history as being a watershed moment in the Democratic primary, costing Hillary the election.

And now the Democrats are doing it all over again with Sarah Palin.

It’s an interesting parallel and one that the ‘open mouth, closed minds’ cannot see. The media and the left are up in arms about this that and the other thing as it relates to Sarah Palin. Many of the attacks on Palin are based on the ‘boogeyman’ caricature that the left holds about conservatives, especially religious conservatives. In their view, all conservatives are hyper-judgmental individuals who will scream ‘eek’ at the first sign of hypocrisy (as they see it). The reality is, of course, far different, but with the left doing battle with their own boogeyman they can’t really see beyond their own misperceptions.

The reality that is there but invisible to them is that many on the conservative side see what’s happening to Sarah Palin’s personal life as yet another example of ‘things that happen’ in life. That she failed to live up to the morals she espouses simply makes the need to fight for them all the harder, not (as many on the left believe) a reason to abandon them.

The second, far more important fact is that the attacks, getting rather personal, wildly inaccurate, or even with a hint of sexism are galvanizing the core of the Republican party. People who were going to go to the ballot and hold there nose and vote for McCain (and there were many) are now going to be volunteering at Get out the Vote functions and passing out literature to their friends. They’ll be on the ground, e*n*e*r*g*i*z*e*d in a way that no speech by McCain himself could have done. So visceral is the hatred of the way Sarah Palin is being treated by the media (enemy #2 to the Republican base) and the smug ‘far left’ (enemy #1 to the Republican base) that the continued pounding of Palin is recreating Hillary’s ‘LBJ/MLK’ moment with the Republicans that just may mean the difference come November.

Obama supporters learned nothing from Hillary victory–pushing women toward Palin with stupid misogynistic comments

Take a look at the website comments on any major site, such as Friendfeed, the Washington Post, wherever. Throughout the absolute vitriol being thrown at McCain’s VP candidate Palin is a surprising echo of some of the misogynistic comments we heard about Hillary in the primary. Questions about her looks, snide remarks even. Comments that she’s not fit to be a mother and a VP candidate. People reading into her tone of voice, clothes, etc. Everything they did about Hillary during the primary is being echoed and repeated about Palin.

Are Obama supporters so deaf to the world they can’t see this? Open mouths and closed minds has become the norm in politics today, but if they’re not careful their going to end up driving more and more Hillary voters away simply because of the way they’re attacking Palin.

As always, Google is showing the trend here.

We’ll have to see if they get the memo on this one before they do too much damage.

From a media standpoint, the Obama speech was utterly clobbered by Palin announcement

Ok, I’m not talking politics / policy–I’m talking news cycles.

This is a homerun for the Republicans.

Take a look at CNN.com, BBC, NY Times, Washington Post, wherever. Who is on the top? Obama and yet another big speech to thronging masses of supporters, or McCain’s announcement of Palin to be his VP?

Obama’s speech was late last night–10pm on the East Coast, 9 Central. This is an hour after ‘primetime’s hot spot but was good enough to get into the morning papers. However, McCain’s announcement has turned EVERYONE into talking about Palin, good bad or otherwise. No one is talking about Obama’s speech. Right now–no one cares about his speech. It’s a Friday and no one is going to be talking about Obama over the weekend–they want to talk about the new new thing. The hot story for this weekend cycle is going to be Palin, not Obama.

Like I said, this isn’t politics–this is news cycles, and the Republicans really trounced Obama on this one.

Who is Sarah Palin?

Hotter than Hillary

Yea, I wasn’t that up on things this go round so I haven’t really looked at the short list of McCain VP candidates, but it appears that Alaska governor Sarah Palin is going to be named as McCain’s VP today in Dayton.

Plain is the governor of Alaska (good with NASCAR dads) and a mother of five (good with disgruntled Hillary types). She’s only 42 years old and was a beauty queen before working her way into politics, first as a mayor of a small town and then up to the governor’s mansion. She’s married to an Eskimo and her oldest son is serving in the Army in Iraq.

Definitely more of a buzz about her than Biden.

Putin’s paranoia now becoming visible for all to see

Growing up in the KGB you’d expect someone to be a bit paranoid. Hell growing up in Russia you’d be paranoid. But a good intelligence officer usually has the ability to separate fact from fiction, and take the propaganda with a grain of salt.

That’s not the case with Vladimir Putin.

Putin seems to live in his own little world in his mind. Surrounded by like minded and equally paranoid advisors, Putin has a history of making rather strange comments over the years, despite first-hand knowledge in many cases that they were false. So it should come as no surprise that today he said the entire operation in Georgia was orchestrated by the United States for the benefit of one presidential candidate. Of course he didn’t specify which one, nor is he aware that most people couldn’t find Georgia on a map if they tried, but when you’re a bit off to begin with, things like this don’t really matter.

“Why… seek a difficult compromise solution in the peacekeeping process? It is easier to arm one of the sides and provoke it into killing another side. And the job is done.

“The suspicion arises that someone in the United States especially created this conflict with the aim of making the situation more tense and creating a competitive advantage for one of the candidates fighting for the post of US president.”

US officials responded diplomatically but with a growing sense of ‘get this guy some mental help’:

“To suggest that the United States orchestrated this on behalf of a political candidate – it sounds not rational,” White House Spokewoman said.
“Those claims first and foremost are patently false, but it also sounds like his defence officials who said they believed this to be true are giving him really bad advice.”

One wonders how long his grip on power will last.

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