Archive for September, 2011

President Obama Speaks To The CBC

September 25, 2011

Remarks by the President at Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Phoenix Awards Dinner Washington Convention Center Washington, D.C. 09/24/11 – 8:30 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, CBC! (Applause.) Thank you so much. Thank you. Please, everybody have a seat. It is wonderful to be with all of you tonight. It’s good to be with the conscience of the Congress. (Applause.) Thank you, Chairman Cleaver and brother Payne, for all that you do each and every day. Thank you, Dr. Elsie Scott, president and CEO of the CBC Foundation, and all of you for your outstanding work with your internship program, which has done so much for so many young people. And I had a chance to meet some of the young people backstage — an incredible, unbelievably impressive group.

You know, being here with all of you — with all the outstanding members of the Congressional Black Caucus — reminds me of a story that one of our friends, a giant of the civil rights movement, Reverend Dr. Joseph Lowery, told one day. Dr. Lowery — I don’t think he minds me telling that he turns 90 in a couple weeks. (Applause.) He’s been causing a ruckus for about 89 of those years. (Laughter.)

A few years back, Dr. Lowery and I were together at Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church in Selma. (Applause.) We’ve got some Selma folks in the house. (Applause.) And Dr. Lowery stood up in the pulpit and told the congregation the story of Shadrach and Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace. You know the story — it’s about three young men bold enough to stand up for God, even if it meant being thrown in a furnace. And they survived because of their faith, and because God showed up in that furnace with them.

Now, Dr. Lowery said that those three young men were a little bit crazy. But there’s a difference, he said, between good crazy and bad crazy. (Applause.) Those boys, he said, were “good crazy.” At the time, I was running for president — it was early in the campaign. Nobody gave me much of a chance. He turned to me from the pulpit, and indicated that someone like me running for president — well, that was crazy. (Laughter.) But he supposed it was good crazy.

He was talking about faith, the belief in things not seen, the belief that if you persevere a better day lies ahead. And I suppose the reason I enjoy coming to the CBC — what this weekend is all about is, you and me, we’re all a little bit crazy, but hopefully a good kind of crazy. (Applause.) We’re a good kind of crazy because no matter how hard things get, we keep the faith; we keep fighting; we keep moving forward.

And we’ve needed faith over these last couple years. Times have been hard. It’s been three years since we faced down a crisis that began on Wall Street and then spread to Main Street, and hammered working families, and hammered an already hard-hit black community. The unemployment rate for black folks went up to nearly 17 percent — the highest it’s been in almost three decades; 40 percent, almost, of African American children living in poverty; fewer than half convinced that they can achieve Dr. King’s dream. You’ve got to be a little crazy to have faith during such hard times.

It’s heartbreaking, and it’s frustrating. And I ran for President, and the members of the CBC ran for Congress, to help more Americans reach that dream. (Applause.) We ran to give every child a chance, whether he’s born in Chicago, or she comes from a rural town in the Delta. This crisis has made that job of giving everybody opportunity a little bit harder.

We knew at the outset of my presidency that the economic calamity we faced wasn’t caused overnight and wasn’t going to be solved overnight. We knew that long before the recession hit, the middle class in this country had been falling behind -– wages and incomes had been stagnant; a sense of financial security had been slipping away. And since these problems were not caused overnight, we knew we were going to have to climb a steep hill.

But we got to work. With your help, we started fighting our way back from the brink. And at every step of the way, we’ve faced fierce opposition based on an old idea — the idea that the only way to restore prosperity can’t just be to let every corporation write its own rules, or give out tax breaks to the wealthiest and the most fortunate, and to tell everybody that they’re on their own. There has to be a different concept of what America’s all about. It has to be based on the idea that I am my brother’s keeper and I am my sister’s keeper, and we’re in this together. We are in this thing together. (Applause.)

We had a different vision and so we did what was right, and we fought to extend unemployment insurance, and we fought to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, and we fought to expand the Child Tax Credit — which benefited nearly half of all African American children in this country. (Applause.) And millions of Americans are better off because of that fight. (Applause.)

Ask the family struggling to make ends meet if that extra few hundred dollars in their mother’s paycheck from the payroll tax cut we passed made a difference. They’ll tell you. Ask them how much that Earned Income Tax Credit or that Child Tax Credit makes a difference in paying the bills at the end of the month.

When an army of lobbyists and special interests spent millions to crush Wall Street reform, we stood up for what was right. We said the time has come to protect homeowners from predatory mortgage lenders. The time has come to protect consumers from credit card companies that jacked up rates without warning. (Applause.) We signed the strongest consumer financial protection in history. That’s what we did together. (Applause.)

Remember how many years we tried to stop big banks from collecting taxpayer subsidies for student loans while the cost of college kept slipping out of reach? Together, we put a stop to that once and for all. We used those savings to make college more affordable. We invested in early childhood education and community college and HBCUs. Ask the engineering student at an HBCU who thought he might have to leave school if that extra Pell Grant assistance mattered. (Applause.)

 We’re attacking the cycle of poverty that steals the future from too many children — not just by pouring money into a broken system, but by building on what works -– with Promise Neighborhoods modeled after the good work up in Harlem; Choice Neighborhoods rebuilding crumbling public housing into communities of hope and opportunity; Strong Cities, Strong Communities, our partnership with local leaders in hard-hit cities like Cleveland and Detroit. And we overcame years of inaction to win justice for black farmers because of the leadership of the CBC and because we had an administration that was committed to doing the right thing. (Applause.)

And against all sorts of setbacks, when the opposition fought us with everything they had, we finally made clear that in the United States of America nobody should go broke because they get sick. We are better than that. (Applause.) And today, insurance companies can no longer drop or deny your coverage for no good reason. In just a year and a half, about one million more young adults have health insurance because of this law. (Applause.) One million young people. That is an incredible achievement, and we did it with your help, with the CBC’s help. (Applause.)

So in these hard years, we’ve won a lot of fights that needed fighting and we’ve done a lot of good. But we’ve got more work to do. So many people are still hurting. So many people are still barely hanging on. And too many people in this city are still fighting us every step of the way.

So I need your help. We have to do more to put people to work right now. We’ve got to make that everyone in this country gets a fair shake, and a fair shot, and a chance to get ahead. (Applause.) And I know we won’t get where we need to go if we don’t travel down this road together. I need you with me. (Applause.)

That starts with getting this Congress to pass the American Jobs Act. (Applause.) You heard me talk about this plan when I visited Congress a few weeks ago and sent the bill to Congress a few days later. Now I want that bill back — passed. I’ve got the pens all ready. I am ready to sign it. And I need your help to make it happen. (Applause.)

Right now we’ve got millions of construction workers out of a job. So this bill says, let’s put those men and women back to work in their own communities rebuilding our roads and our bridges. Let’s give these folks a job rebuilding our schools. Let’s put these folks to work rehabilitating foreclosed homes in the hardest-hit neighborhoods of Detroit and Atlanta and Washington. This is a no-brainer. (Applause.)

Why should we let China build the newest airports, the fastest railroads? Tell me why our children should be allowed to study in a school that’s falling apart? I don’t want that for my kids or your kids. I don’t want that for any kid. You tell me how it makes sense when we know that education is the most important thing for success in the 21st century. (Applause.) Let’s put our people back to work doing the work America needs done. Let’s pass this jobs bill. (Applause.)

We’ve got millions of unemployed Americans and young people looking for work but running out of options. So this jobs bill says, let’s give them a pathway, a new pathway back to work. Let’s extend unemployment insurance so that more than six million Americans don’t lose that lifeline. But let’s also encourage reforms that help the long-term unemployed keep their skills sharp and get a foot in the door. Let’s give summer jobs for low-income youth that don’t just give them their first paycheck but arm them with the skills they need for life. (Applause.)

Tell me why we don’t want the unemployed back in the workforce as soon as possible. Let’s pass this jobs bill, put these folks back to work. (Applause.) Why are we shortchanging our children when we could be putting teachers back in the classroom right now, where they belong? (Applause.) Laying off teachers, laying off police officer, laying off firefighters all across the country because state and local budgets are tough. Why aren’t we helping? We did in the first two years. And then this other crowd came into Congress and now suddenly they want to stop. Tell me why we shouldn’t give companies tax credits for hiring the men and women who’ve risked their lives for this country — our veterans. There is no good answer for that. They shouldn’t be fighting to find a job when they come home. (Applause.)

These Republicans in Congress like to talk about job creators. How about doing something real for job creators? Pass this jobs bill, and every small business owner in America, including 100,000 black-owned businesses, will get a tax cut. (Applause.) You say you’re the party of tax cuts. Pass this jobs bill, and every worker in America, including nearly 20 million African American workers, will get a tax cut. (Applause.) Pass this jobs bill, and prove you’ll fight just as hard for a tax cut for ordinary folks as you do for all your contributors. (Applause.)

These are questions that opponents of this jobs plan will have to answer. Because the kinds of ideas in this plan in the past have been supported by both parties. Suddenly Obama is proposing it — what happened? (Laughter.) What happened? You all used to like to build roads. (Laughter.) Right? What happened? Reverend, you know what happened? I don’t know. They used to love to build some roads. (Laughter.)

Now, I know some of our friends across the aisle won’t support any new spending that’s not paid for. I agree that’s important. So last week, I laid out a plan to pay for the American Jobs Act, and to bring out — down our debt over time. You say the deficit is important? Here we go. I’m ready to go. It’s a plan that says if we want to create jobs and close this deficit, then we’ve got to ask the folks who have benefited most — the wealthiest Americans, the biggest, most profitable corporations — to pay their fair share. (Applause.)

We are not asking them to do anything extraordinary. The reform we’re proposing is based on a simple principle: Middle-class folks should not pay higher tax rates than millionaires and billionaires. (Applause.) That’s not crazy — or it’s good crazy. (Laughter.) Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett. A teacher or a nurse or a construction worker making $50,000 a year shouldn’t pay higher tax rates than somebody making $50 million. That’s just common sense.

We’re not doing this to punish success. This is the land of opportunity. I want you to go out, start a business, get rich, build something. Out country is based on the belief that anybody can make it if they put in enough sweat and enough effort. That is wonderful. God bless you. But part of the American idea is also that once we’ve done well we should pay our fair share — (applause) — to make sure that those schools that we were learning in can teach the next generation; that those roads that we benefited from — that they’re not crumbling for the next bunch of folks who are coming behind us; to keep up the nation that made our success possible.

And most wealthy Americans would agree with that. But you know the Republicans are already dusting off their old talking points. That’s class warfare, they say. In fact, in the next breath, they’ll complain that people living in poverty — people who suffered the most over the past decade — don’t pay enough in taxes. That’s bad crazy. (Laughter and applause.) When you start saying, at a time when the top one-tenth of 1 percent has seen their incomes go up four or five times over the last 20 years, and folks at the bottom have seen their incomes decline — and your response is that you want poor folks to pay more? Give me a break. If asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a janitor makes me a warrior for the working class, I wear that with a badge of honor. I have no problem with that. (Applause.) It’s about time.

They say it kills jobs — oh, that’s going to kill jobs. We’re not proposing anything other than returning to the tax rates for the wealthiest Americans that existed under Bill Clinton. I played golf with Bill Clinton today. I was asking him, how did that go? (Laughter.) Well, it turns out we had a lot of jobs. The well-to-do, they did even better. So did the middle class. We lifted millions out of poverty. And then we cut taxes for folks like me, and we went through a decade of zero job growth.

So this isn’t speculation. We’ve tested this out. We tried their theory; didn’t work. Tried our theory; it worked. We shouldn’t be confused about this. (Applause.)

This debate is about priorities. If we want to create new jobs and close the deficit and invest in our future, the money has got to come from somewhere. And so, should we keep tax loopholes for big oil companies? Or should we put construction workers and teachers back on the job? (Applause.) Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires? Or should we invest in our children’s education and college aid? Should we ask seniors to be paying thousands of dollars more for Medicare, as the House Republicans propose, or take young folks’ health care away? Or should we ask that everybody pay their fair share? This is about fairness. And this is about who we are as a country. This is about our commitment to future generations.

When Michelle and I think about where we came from — a little girl on the South Side of Chicago, son of a single mom in Hawaii — mother had to go to school on scholarships, sometimes got food stamps. Michelle’s parents never owned their own home until she had already graduated — living upstairs above the aunt who actually owned the house. We are here today only because our parents and our grandparents, they broke their backs to support us. (Applause.) But they also understood that they would get a little bit of help from their country. Because they met their responsibilities, this country would also be responsible, would also provide good public schools, would also provide recreation — parks that were safe, making sure that they could take the bus without getting beat over the head, making sure that their kids would be able to go to college even if they weren’t rich.

We’re only here because past generations struggled and sacrificed for this incredible, exceptional idea that it does not matter where you come from, it does not matter where you’re born, doesn’t matter what you look like — if you’re willing to put in an effort, you should get a shot. You should get a shot at the American Dream. (Applause.)

And each night, when we tuck in our girls at the White House, I think about keeping that dream alive for them and for all of our children. And that’s now up to us. And that’s hard. This is harder than it’s been in a long, long time. We’re going through something we haven’t seen in our lifetimes.

And I know at times that gets folks discouraged. I know. I listen to some of you all. (Laughter.) I understand that. And nobody feels that burden more than I do. Because I know how much we have invested in making sure that we’re able to move this country forward. But you know, more than a lot of other folks in this country, we know about hard. The people in this room know about hard. (Applause.) And we don’t give in to discouragement.

 Throughout our history, change has often come slowly. Progress often takes time. We take a step forward, sometimes we take two steps back. Sometimes we get two steps forward and one step back. But it’s never a straight line. It’s never easy. And I never promised easy. Easy has never been promised to us. But we’ve had faith. We have had faith. We’ve had that good kind of crazy that says, you can’t stop marching. (Applause.)

Even when folks are hitting you over the head, you can’t stop marching. Even when they’re turning the hoses on you, you can’t stop. (Applause.) Even when somebody fires you for speaking out, you can’t stop. (Applause.) Even when it looks like there’s no way, you find a way — you can’t stop. (Applause.) Through the mud and the muck and the driving rain, we don’t stop. Because we know the rightness of our cause — widening the circle of opportunity, standing up for everybody’s opportunities, increasing each other’s prosperity. We know our cause is just. It’s a righteous cause.

So in the face of troopers and teargas, folks stood unafraid. Led somebody like John Lewis to wake up after getting beaten within an inch of his life on Sunday — he wakes up on Monday: We’re going to go march. (Applause.)

Dr. King once said: “Before we reach the majestic shores of the Promised Land, there is a frustrating and bewildering wilderness ahead. We must still face prodigious hilltops of opposition and gigantic mountains of resistance. But with patient and firm determination we will press on.” (Applause.)

So I don’t know about you, CBC, but the future rewards those who press on. (Applause.) With patient and firm determination, I am going to press on for jobs. (Applause.) I’m going to press on for equality. (Applause.) I’m going to press on for the sake of our children. (Applause.) I’m going to press on for the sake of all those families who are struggling right now. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I am going to press on. (Applause.)

I expect all of you to march with me and press on. (Applause.) Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. (Applause.) Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying. We are going to press on. We’ve got work to do, CBC. (Applause.)

God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

September 18, 2011

THEY SAID IT

“I didn’t make any statements that would indicate that I’m a doctor, I’m a scientist or that I’m making any conclusions about the drug one way or another.” Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann told reporters in California on Thursday in response questions about to her suggestion earlier in the week that the HPV vaccine causes mental retardation. She left out “human being”, but I digress.

“I’m happy that I got the job [Speaker of the House]. People ask me if I’m having fun. Hell no, I’m not having any fun! Somebody show me where the fun is! But, I am glad I’m there.” – John Boehner responding to a reporter’s question after his speech on jobs to the Economic Club of Washington D.C. You’re about the only one who is.

“I’m a hold-your-nose Obama voter. I think we’re going to be a big part of his constituency in 2012.” – Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings in Time after being asked how he is planning on voting for president next year. I can’t help but wonder if that’s a legitimate response on polling questionnaires.

“His book is full of disgusting lies, innuendo and smears.” – Todd Palin, Sarah Palin’s husband, on the biography written by Joe McGinniss about her. As opposed to just “regular” lies.

“I would have fired my (self). Well, maybe not like they did.” – Former Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen when asked by Tonight Show host Jay Leno if he’s still “angry” at CBS and the producers of the show. Charlie would have fired himself via Stripper-Gram.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

I’m convinced that prolonged exposure to Michele “Kelly” Bachmann leads to mental retardation. In a totally unrelated matter, whatever happened to her husband? It’s like Marcus Bachmann disappeared from the face of the earth after her campaign launch.

Dick Cheney’s is the world’s evilest “person” ever and second place isn’t even close.

Whatever happened to Paul “Mr Potter” Ryan?

Rudy “MC Rudy G” Giuliani is no more running for president than my brother’s dog is.

The fact that Donald “How’s My Hair?” Trump is waiting for Sarah “Beyonce” Palin to make her decision before deciding which Republican presidential candidate to endorse tells me everything I need to know about him.

Speaking of Palin, she’s nothing more than that fine girl in high school who kept stringing you along the entire senior year threatening to maybe, just maybe give you “some” but never did.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I really, really, really wish that Bill Clinton would just go the “F” away. We’ve got one president, thank you and he doesn’t need your constant “advice” or that of Mary Matalin’s “cuck”, James Carville.

I’ll probably inch a bit closer to the head of the “Going Straight To Hell In A Hand Basket” line for writing this, but I was more than just a bit disappointed that Michaele Salahi was in fact safe and not kidnapped.

Brad Pitt just needs to stop talking publicly about Jennifer Anniston. Forever.

All of a sudden, Charlie Sheen seems to realize that those $1.2 million per first-run episode checks from Two and a Half Men won’t be rolling in this season.

Maybe she knows something that no one else does, but after Rosie O’Donnell’s spectacular flame-out on The View, it’s hard to believe that Oprah has put so much on the line with a new show from her.

Dating George Clooney is like being hired to manage/coach a professional sports team: you’re hired to be fired. Consider yourself warned Stacy Keibler.

It’s time for a judge to “Robert Downey Jr” Lindsay Lohan and throw her a** in jail and throw away the key for a year – 18 months. That’s the only thing that’s going to get her attention and possibly save her from herself.

The Emmy Awards on FOX vs the NFL on NBC with Michael Vick returning to the ATL as the starting QB of the Eagles. Hmmm, I wonder who wins that ratings battle Sunday night.

I’d put my money, if gambling were legal, on Modern Family and The Good Wife being big winners at the Emmys on Sunday night.

I don’t see how NBC’s new sitcoms Up All Night and Free Agents last an entire season, let alone get picked up for season two. Both are “one-note” premises and there’s absolutely no chemistry between the main characters in either show. As for the first show, will somebody please write a show for Maya Rudolph and quit wasting her considerable talents playing behind Christina Applegate and the increasingly grating Will Arnett (I just don’t know why he keeps getting hired). PLEASE!

To the person who last week accused me of “watching too much television”, I say, I LOVE television and will watch as much (or as little) as I want to. You be you and let me be me. Capiche?

Am I the only one who’s noticed that big-time college football games are moving more and more from Saturday afternoons to Saturday nights? Michigan just played its first home night game last Saturday (drawing a record 114,000 to the “Big House”) and this year’s USC/Notre Dame game in South Bend will be under the lights too.

Former UCLA football head coach Karl Dorrell and offensive coordinator Norm Chow, fired to hire and fired by current head coach Rick Neuheisel respectively, must be somewhere laughing their a**es off after UCLA’s latest dismantling on Saturday.

I couldn’t stop laughing at this week’s news that the NBA reached a new five year agreement with its…referees! I can’t wait to see which owner or player they eject from a bargaining session first.

Speaking of stupid, weird NBA-related decisions, in honor of Meta World Peace nee Ron Artest, I’m changing the pronunciation of my name to Char-les. And you must say it with a French accent. Merci.

New Floyd Mayweather, Jr slogan: Call me what you want as long as you call me 42-0!

DAVID AXELROD MEMO – 09/16/11

September 16, 2011

In his first pre-Sunday show memo of the campaign, David Axelrod pushes back on the notion that the wheels are coming off the president’s reelection bid, arguing that despite his low approval ratings, Barack Obama remains the 2012 candidate most aligned with the priorities of the American people:

Public polling released this week makes clear that Americans strongly agree with the President’s plan to create jobs and provide economic security for the middle class and believe that leaders in both parties should move quickly to pass the American Jobs Act.

Members of the media have focused on the President’s approval ratings as if they existed in a black box. Following the intransigence of the Republicans during the debt debate, the approval rating of the GOP brand dropped to a historic low. The approval rating of Congress dropped to a near historic low. Americans are still dealing with the impact of the financial crisis and recession and the long-term economic trends that have seen wages stagnate for many, and that is manifested in their anger towards Washington. There’s no doubt that Americans are calling on leaders in Washington to take immediate action to address their economic challenges — exactly what the President is advocating for.

According to a CNN poll released on Wednesday, a plurality of Americans approve of the President’s jobs plan. Two thirds believe we should cut taxes for the middle class and rebuild America’s roads and bridges. Three quarters believe we need to put our teachers and first responders back to work. More Americans trust the President to handle the economy than Congressional Republicans by a margin of 9 points.

Despite what you hear in elite commentary, the President’s support among base voters and in key demographic groups has stayed strong. According to the latest NBC-WSJ poll, Democrats approve of his performance by an 81%-14% margin. That’s stronger than President Clinton’s support among Democrats at this point in his term and, according to Gallup, stronger than any Democratic President dating back to Harry Truman through this point in their presidency. 92 percent of African Americans approve. And a PPP poll out this week showed the President winning 67 percent of Hispanics against Romney and 70 percent against Perry, a higher percentage than he captured against Senator McCain in 2008.

The base is mobilized behind the President. 12,000 individuals applied to join the campaign as volunteer summer fellows, more than in 2008. 1,100 students across the country are organizing their campuses in support of the campaign as fellows this fall. We had 552,462 individuals give to the campaign in the second quarter — more than we had in all of 2007. Of our 552,462 total donors to the 2012 campaign so far, more than 260,000 of them are completely new to the Obama organization and have never given before.

The Republicans have yet to choose a nominee, and therefore, most Americans have yet to learn much about their records or visions for the country. Their candidates are busy courting the Tea Party, signing off on any economic pledge it might demand – no revenue increases under any circumstances, ending Medicare as we know it, draconian cuts that will hamper job creation. And Americans are increasingly rejecting the Tea Party’s agenda and its ideological rigidity – following the debt negotiations, an AP poll found the Tea Party’s approval rating sinking to 28-46. When Americans learn the details of the Republican candidates’ plans, the choice about America’s future will come into clear view.

Despite the Republican candidates just beginning to undergo the media scrutiny that occurs during a presidential campaign, from North Carolina to Nevada, the President remains ahead or in a dead heat with the Republican candidates in the battleground states that will decide the election in 2012. And ultimately it is in those battleground states where voters will choose, 14 months from now, between two candidates, their records, and their visions for the country.

Monday, September 12, 2011

September 12, 2011

HE SAID IT

“A decade after 9/11, it’s clear for all the world to see—the terrorists who attacked us that September morning are no match for the character of our people, the resilience of our nation, or the endurance of our values.” – President Barack Obama

President Obama at the Ground Zero Memorial on Sunday, September 11, 2011

RANDOM THOUGHTS

To paraphrase the late, great Tim Russert: “After last week’s debate at the Reagan Library, we now know who the 2012 Republican nominee for president won’t be. It won’t be Michele Bachman, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum (or Sarah Palin).”

Here’s the thing one must keep in mind in looking at the GOP this presidential election cycle – after the utter debacle that Palin turned out to be in 2008, there’s absolutely no way on God’s still relatively green Earth that the party’s “powers-that-be” are going to allow some cowboy idiot like Perry or a flat-out loon like either Bachmann or Paul to get their hands on a chance to defeat Barack Obama 14 months from now. It just ain’t going to happen.

Two things you can’t do and hope to win a statewide or national election: 1) You can’t open a campaign ad by looking into the camera and stating, “I am not a witch” and 2) You can’t call Social Security a “Ponzi scheme.” You just can’t. And that’s why Sarah “Beyonce” Palin’s support over the weekend of “Pretty Ricky” Perry’s controversial stance on Social Security – “It’s a Ponzi scheme” – is the strongest sign yet that she has no plans to run in 2012.

Herman Cain is looking more and more like somebody who wandered into the wrong room and doesn’t know how to make a graceful exit.

I would pay BIG money to know what Bush and Obama said to each other in private yesterday.

Looking at official White House photographs of President Obama at work reveal, at least to me, that far too often, he’s the only person of color in the room. That’s something that needs to be rectified in his second term if not before.

I know it will never happen, but I wish the White House would stop having its people, including the president, appear on the Faux Noise Channel. Call on their correspondent at press briefings and conferences but other than that, just ignore those smug, condescending bastards and bastardettes (yes I made that up) posing as “journalists.”

You know you’ve written a classic when a company like State Farm insurance uses your song, in this case, Jay-Z’s “ Empire State of Mind”, in a television ad on 9/11.

After the stunning box office success of The Help, look for Hollywood to add the word The to several new movies titles in the future: Tyler Perry’s The Madea Makes Another Terrible Movie just to name one.

There’s not a hotter actor anywhere in the world right now than Ryan Gosling – Crazy Stupid Love this summer with Drive and Ides of March coming soon – who should have his own personal fire department standing by at all times.

Speaking of “hot actors” – whatever happened to Tobey Maguire?

If Eddie Murphy puts his mind to it, which I believe he will, he’s going to be a great host of the Academy Awards next year. Lord knows he has all the skills – comedy, acting, singing, dancing – a great host should have for this gig.

Was I the only one stunned by the news that Buddy Holly, a charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame no less, just received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame last week? I’d bet damn near any amount of money that he’d had one for YEARS!

I don’t know if it can be arranged, but I’d LOVE to see Dr Drew and Dr Oz in a steel cage match.

Am I the only one who’s getting tired of Serena Williams’ melt-downs when she’s not playing well?

As I watched the opening ceremonies of yesterday’s NFL games, I found myself wondering how many of those field-covering American flags were actually made in America. Frankly, I’d be stunned if it were even 50%.

I sure hope they kept knives and other sharp objects away from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones during last night’s flight home from New York.

I still don’t know how he pulls off the toughest “double-double” in sports, but it’s always good to see Omar Epps taking time away from his co-starring duties on “House” to coach the Steelers during the NFL season.

Read my fingers: Peyton Manning will never play another significant down in the NFL.

Generally speaking, you don’t get to the point in life where you can own an NFL franchise by being stupid and doing stupid things (Bengals owner Mike Brown who inherited the Bengals after the death of his father, Hall of Famer Paul Brown, being a glaring exception). That’s why there was never even a moment’s doubt in my mind that the NFL wouldn’t be playing games on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. None whatsoever. Especially once NBC started running promos for Sunday Night Football In America three weeks BEFORE an agreement was announced!

No matter what happens this season, Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia must lose 50 pounds this offseason.

Major League Baseball has a potentially devastating season-ending attendance problem on its hands and there’s not really much that they can do about it. With only the AL West really up for grabs (the Red Sox and Yankees are both going to make the playoffs from the AL East no matter which team wins the division) between the Angels and Rangers and both college football and NFL games heating up this weekend, they’re looking at huge swatches of empty seats in many stadiums this month.

JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT!

Who picks Michele “Kelly” Bachmann’s ugly-ass shoes?

FINALLY

Yesterday was one of the oddest days in America’s long history. It was a day of remembering those whose lives were snatched from them 10 years ago, juxtaposed against a day of professional baseball and football games and where just a few miles from Ground Zero, the US Open tennis championship tournament crowned its women’s champion.

There was a big part of me that didn’t want to watch any of the news coverage. I was torn between wanting to just forget what happened and wake up today and go on with my daily routine. But, blissful ignorance is the province of the very young and the very old. In the end, there was no way that I, as a citizen of this country and this world, could just sit back and not take part, in my small way, in the ceremonies commemorating September 11, 2001.

May God bless the souls that departed on that day 10 years ago, their families, friends, neighbors and co-workers who miss their presence in their lives.

I’m in a “New York State of Mind.”

 

CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

September 2, 2011