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president obama speaks in newtown

“Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?

I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no.

We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law — no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.

But that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that — then surely we have an obligation to try.”

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the legacy of president w bush

The man who shot and killed a park ranger in Mount Rainier National Park turns out to be a suicidal Iraq War veteran.  He is dead too, though it was due to freezing to death and not another gun.

Go ahead, W.  Take a good long look at your legacy:
I’m not just talking about the fact that people are allowed to bring guns into national parks, although that in itself is pretty heinous.  I’m talking about the unnecessary Iraq War, the Iraqi lives it ended, and the American veterans who came home damaged beyond repair.

So, to sum it up:
1. Guns are bad.
2. War is worse.

President W. Bush pushed for both of these things, and this is the result.  A legacy?  A tragedy maybe; certainly not what I’d want as a token of my presidency.

On a completely related note: President Obama ended the Iraq War in 2011.  I just thought I’d mention that, as it didn’t get much press at the time.

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great leaders of our time

Without premeditation, I set my Optimus Prime action figure next to the official presidential portrait of Barack Obama.  It must have been my subconscious showing me the way, because I believe these two great leaders belong together.

 

I have not, and will not, see the most recent Transformers movie.  The cartoon is a crucial part of my childhood, and Michael Bay doesn’t get what those fighting robots are about.  When did misogyny and racism become a part of the Transformer lore?  Only after Bay got hired.

 

While you spend your July Fourth weekend studiously trying to avoid the most recent abomination at the cineplex, you should seek out Jeffrey Brown’s glorious sequel to The Incredible Change-Bots.  The ‘Bots are back for more comedy/action in glorious 2D.  Check it out.

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uphill

Unlike a root canal, midterm elections are a treat for all the senses.  You get the party who is currently out of power scrambling to regain a majority, and the party who is in power scrambling to retain their tenuous and largely imaginary dominance.

This time around it’s the Republicans, the Party of No, who want us to forget what the years 2001-2008 looked like. The Democrats, many of whom should have been ousted in 2002 for crimes against humanity, have been trying their best to remember that they are the party for the 99.99% of us who aren’t Ted Turner.  Actually, I take that back.  Ted Turner is not that bad a guy.  The Democrats stand, in their best form, for the endangered species that is the middle class, the diversity of races and cultures that make up this nation, and for the idea that you don’t have to be rich to be happy, but you do have to at least earn a living wage.

President Obama is one of the greatest presidents this country has ever seen.  (Keep in mind that this statement is coming from the guy who brought you Carter/Obama ’08.)  He made a lot of promises when he was running for office, and in the two years since he has been diligently keeping those promises.  Financial reform, money for science and the environment, money for jobs, and, oh, let’s not forget the health care bill. 

My liberal friends complain that it was not a good bill, even before the Republicans hacked away at it, but I must remind them that health care has long been the proverbial “third rail” in politics.  Touch it and you’re dead.  Not only did Obama pass one of the most comprehensive pieces of legislation for the good of the populace of this country, he did what no other president in recent history could do.  This is by no means an end.  We must work to amend the bill and make it even better.  A public option, for starters.  But the hardest part is done.

The problem is, nobody likes to talk about domestic issues.  They aren’t popular, politics-wise.  We don’t like to talk about homeless people, or sick people, or kids who can’t go to school because they have to work three jobs.  But those are the kind of problems we have to deal with now, way too late, because President Bush and his gang of thugs told us there are terrorists everywhere and we need to fight them everywhere (but mostly in Iraq).

Nobody likes to balance their budget, least of all state and federal governments.  Ronald Reagan could attest to that, at least before his mind started “resting.”  Why balance the budget when you can buy all kinds of shiny new planes and ships for the military?  Why balance the budget when you can drive over to Best Buy and get a HDTV? 

Fox News, which I watch for kicks but also to see how the other half lives, wants us to believe that President Obama and the Democrat majority have created the highest deficit ever.  What they gloss over is the simple fact that Bush ran that deficit up, and kept running it up, like it was the credit card his daddy gave him.  He’s probably still running it up right now.  No no no.  I won’t stoop to wild accusations.  But you get my point: the Republicans only get fiscally responsible when a Democrat is President, or when they’re talking about domestic issues, or both.  Right now, we have both.

President Obama came to Portland recently to stump for our Democrat candidate for governor, Kris Kristofferson.  In his speech, he said the Republicans are running a campaign of amnesia.  That is, they want us to forget what happened a mere two years ago and vote for them.  What happened two years ago, you ask?  Massive unemployment, the biggest financial disaster since the Great Depression, our car companies begging for change on the side of the road, Florida selling itself on craigslist for 35 bucks.  In 2008 I was laid off.  Two years later, the country is turning around.  The car companies have promised to pay back their debt to the government, Florida is still standing, and I have a new job.  Nothing’s perfect, but we’re on the right track.

Thanks for listening to one cartoonist’s rant about politics.  I write this blog in part to touch on issues that will never appear in Falling Rock.  Hopefully I’ve only alienated a small number of you, dear readers, and that you will forgive me my Scotch-fueled verbosity.

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el presidente

Guess who’s coming to town to wish me a happy birthday?
officialportrait
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state of the blog 2010

40 years ago this month, President Nixon gave his first State of the Union address. The 1970’s were, while not exactly a fiasco, a decade remembered more for its failures than its positive accomplishments.

10 years ago this month, I stood in the Capitol building as President Clinton gave his final State of the Union address. It marked the end of a successful decade; the 1990’s saw prosperity and the end of a short war in the Middle East.
Today President Barack Obama gave his first State of the Union address. I’d mark my enthusiasm level somewhere between Joe Biden and a fan of the Boston Red Sox in September. President Obama spoke not only to the issues he campaigned for a year ago, but for a logical extension. He has a plan, and he’s taking steps to move to the next step. Like he stressed, these things cannot happen on their own. A health care bill needs to be passed. More help needs to be given to people without jobs, people with crappy jobs that do not pay the rent, and to people who want to go to college. As I typed the preceding sentences, it struck me how obvious that all sounds, but in Washington there needs to be someone to point these things out frequently and without obfuscation. I’m also happy he pointed his Presidential finger at the Supreme Court, 5 of whom decided corporations and special interests are more important than millions of working Americans. (Emphasis on “working.”)
I’ll end this highly biased, flag-waving post with my first State of the Blog. It is shorter than the President’s. Ladies and gentlemen:
Pirates.
Zombies.
Dinosaurs.
Thank you internet readers, and thank you fellow bloggers.
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obama beats the airlines

I only wish “beat” meant pistol-whipping them.

Almost as good: our Benevolent President, in his Infinite Wisdom, has ordered airlines to allow passengers to disembark from planes that have been stuck on the tarmac for more than three hours.

This is taken from the above-linked article, but I think it bears repeating here:


Airlines will be required to provide food and water for passengers within two hours of a plane being delayed on a tarmac, and to maintain operable lavatories. They must also provide passengers with medical attention when necessary. […]

“Airline passengers have rights, and these new rules will require airlines to live up to their obligation to treat their customers fairly,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.

In terms of the airlines, I’m all for more regulation. Regulate them to within an inch of their lives. Why? Because that’s exactly what they do to us, from the moment we step inside an airport until our bedraggled living corpse is carried by our family out the other end. I have luckily never lived in a totalitarian state, but I imagine that is what America would look like if it were run by the airlines.

The heads of the airlines should have been made to accept this new regulation on bent knee. They should have been forced to thank the President for forcing them to treat their paying customers decently.

I recently saw Ray LaHood on The Daily Show, and he mentioned the promise of high-speed rail. If this does indeed come to fruition, and I hope that it does, a byproduct may be that airlines see that comfort in long-distance travel is possible.

America is supposedly a capitalist society. Why, then, does it require our government to step in to correct huge, long-term mistakes made by gigantic corporations? From the banks on Wall Street to the Big 3 auto makers to the airlines, when a corporation gets big enough it stops listening to the market because it believes it cannot possibly fail. I think the Greeks had a word for that. The market supposedly makes the best possible choices, but with big business there is no alternative to the one crappy choice we have.

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obama’s good year

obama+head+shot_01It used to be that kings and queens were considered at least part deity. The Americans did one good thing right away by establishing that the President was fully human, acknowledging the fallibility inherent in each of us.

At times the President would become a part of our national mythology. Washington and the cherry tree, Lincoln holding the country together with nothing but his beard, Teddy Roosevelt punching Spain right in the face. These stories are part of who we are as Americans, but we never make the mistake of saying (as much as we wanted to) that George Washington had descended from Zeus.

Then Nixon came along and made it okay to view the President as someone out to get you, kind of like a Boogeyman. The President was not only fallible but potentially worse than the average citizen. This is a perception that successive Presidential candidates fail to alter every four years.

I’ve championed Barack Obama since before he even announced he was running for President. I saw in him some of that mythology that has been missing from the White House since, I don’t know, FDR. I was sick of the run of Presidents who, at best, could be called place-holders, and at worst gave us two wars, the worst financial disaster in 70 years, and ignored global warming and those pesky “anti-torture” agreements.

I couldn’t say I was proud of any President who served in my lifetime* until now.

President Obama is doing exactly what I elected him to do. Hope? Change? Yes, on both counts. In March he signed wide-ranging conservation legislation called the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, adding new national parks, increasing the size of existing parks, and increasing protection of wilderness areas around the country. In May, he nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. She is the first Hispanic justice and the third woman to serve on that court. Oh, and let’s not forget the nation’s first national health care package, which Obama is currently pushing through Congress.

Besides those accomplishments, Obama spends his time putting out the fires from the bad old days of his predecessor. Acknowledging that global warming is not some liberal fever dream, he’s actually putting money into programs that will help us curb our greenhouse emissions. Funding stem cell research that may one day allow us to cure some of those “incurable” diseases. Appointing people to his cabinet that don’t actively hate this country.

It is the combination of big and small acts that has made Barack Obama’s administration a success. Not yet a year into his Presidency, Obama is proving that he will be there for us like Bruce Springsteen is there for Mary.

Before I go, I want to comment on the unfortunate news that President Obama will be sending more troops to Afghanistan. I’m never for war. There have only been three wars in our country’s history that have been completely necessary.** But if it’s between leaving Afghanistan to the warlords and the triumphant return of the Taliban, or finishing what we started lo those years ago, I say we stay and try to clean up some of the mess we made.

“Cleaning up the mess we made” probably should have been Obama’s campaign motto, because that’s what he’s doing and what he will continue to do for the next seven years. In spite of this handicap, Obama has been quietly bringing about the positive change he promised, moving us forward while rectifying past errors. And if that’s not totally awesome, I don’t know what “totally awesome” means.

 

*Except Jimmy Carter, who was in office for three months after I was born.
**The War of 1812, The Spanish-American War, and the War on Drugs. Duh.

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the dream is over?

carterobama08 As many of you have no doubt heard, Barack Obama chose his running mate over the weekend. Joe Biden, US Senator from Delaware. Joe Biden has voted on a number of bills since 1972, when he was first elected to the Senate. It’s amazing how many things you can vote on in 36 years.

I’m not going to mask my disappointment here. While Biden seems like a great guy, a good running mate, and has a beautiful smile, he is not the person I would have chosen for Obama.jimmycarter5
What about the Man from Plains? Ol’ number 39? Is a Nobel Peace Prize not good enough for you, Mr. Obama? How about bestselling author? Habitat for Humanity? Do none of these qualities strike you as fitting credentials?

I shouldn’t be too hard on the man. Maybe Obama asked Jimmy Carter and he refused. After all, Mr. Carter keeps a pretty busy schedule as it is. Being Vice President would cramp his style.

But a guy can dream. After all, the theme of Obama’s candidacy is “hope.” I “hope” Obama will read this blog one day and realize he’s made a huge mistake. In the meantime, do not let this minor burp sway your position on Barack Obama. He’s still a great candidate and worthy of your vote. I’ll do some research and find out if there are any similarities between Joe Biden and Jimmy Carter.

Does anyone know if you can write-in a vice presidential candidate on election day?

OBAMA/CARTER ’08.

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The Batman

chicago-bridges A dark city cries for help.

Gotham needs Batman.
obama+in+chicago
Long before there was a Batman to protect us, a band of terrorist criminals kept the fair city of Gotham under a near-constant state of panic.These criminals include:
The Joker George W. Bush
One-Facecheney
The Riddlerrumsfeld
…and their hired thugs.

This band of terrorist criminals ravaged Gotham until there was nothing left to burn, blow up, or steal. Many wondered: can Gotham rise like a mighty Phoenix to become great again? Some of us threatened to “move to Metropolis,” where at least the sun comes out sometimes and the newspaper is better.

Alas, most do not have the luxury of pulling up their roots and restarting in a new city. Other citizens claimed that we would live to see Gotham as the urban utopia it once was. But how?chicago-hyde-parkEnter: The Dark Knight.

Batman seemed to rise from the darkness itself, striking back at those who had tarnished our once-beautiful Gotham. He is now doing what Gotham’s corrupt police and crooked politicians never dared try. He fights the good fight. He bleeds for our sins. Though many of us will never see the Batman in person, we must rally around his symbol of hope.

Fly, Batman, fly. Into the light of the dark black night.

This post sponsored by OBAMA/CARTER ’08