Sandy: The political parade of mutual congratulation

The Cinch Review

In 2005, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, President George W. Bush was caught on a microphone saying “Heckuva job, Brownie,” to the then-Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Michael D. Brown. This quick bit of positive reinforcement for his FEMA head was subsequently (and is to this day) hung around Dubya’s neck and juxtaposed with every iota of human hardship associated with Katrina and New Orleans. How could Bush compliment Brown when so many people were still suffering?

That was then. Consider what we’ve been witnessing since last Tuesday, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, in terms of political leaders and bureaucrats praising one another in a non-stop cavalcade of love and affection. You can’t tune into any of these press conferences, by Bloomberg, Cuomo or Christie, without hearing a great litany of how happy the various leaders and governments and agencies are with one another. “Unprecedented cooperation.” “FEMA is doing everything we ask.” “Couldn’t be happier.” “So grateful.” It has all been crowned, of-course, by the outpouring of gratitude and appreciation on Wednesday between Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and President Barack Obama. Continue reading “Sandy: The political parade of mutual congratulation”

Dave Mustaine and Ry Cooder

The Cinch Review

A few weeks ago while on stage in Singapore, Dave Mustaine, the lead singer of Megadeth, is reported to have said:

“Back in my country, my president … he’s trying to pass a gun ban, so he’s staging all of these murders, like the ‘Fast And Furious’ thing down at the border … Aurora, Colorado, all the people that were killed there … and now the beautiful people at the Sikh temple.”

He continued, “I don’t know where I’m gonna live if America keeps going the way it’s going because it looks like it’s turning into Nazi America.”

Ry Cooder, who is promoting a new album called Election Special, gave an interview to the UK Guardian round about the same time as Mr. Mustaine was lecturing on political science in Singapore. Excerpts from that:

Look, what did Gore Vidal say recently? The interviewer asked him what he thought of the Republican party and he said it’s not a party any more, it’s a Hitler Youth mindset and they’re out to destroy the country, and he was 110% right.

[…]

Romney is as bad as anyone can be. He’s a dangerous man. He’s a cruel man. He’s a perfect creation for what the Republican party is all about. And that is to say, a rapacious capitalist. Anyone who ran Bain Capital is not your friend. All they’re going to do is rape and pillage the land. Continue reading “Dave Mustaine and Ry Cooder”

Why do reporters even show up for Rose Garden statements?

The Cinch Review

Today, Neil Munro of the Daily Caller caused some kind of massive kerfuffle by merely asking the President of the United States a pointed question as he delivered his statement in the White House Rose Garden regarding illegal immigrants.

Presidents have steadily become more and more controlling of their public statements and media face-time, but certainly President Obama has set new precedents for being inaccessible. He frequently uses the “bully pulpit” of the White House to deliver televised statements like today’s while refusing to answer questions from the assembled press (on the off-chance any are asked). Neil Munro threw a wrench in the president’s style today, prompting him to lose his temper and so mess up the presentation. Now, a reporter who asked a question is being labeled by much of the rest of the media as a “heckler.” Continue reading “Why do reporters even show up for Rose Garden statements?”

Sure was glad to get out of there alive: Bob Dylan receives Medal of Freedom at White House [video added]

The Cinch Review

There was more than a little bit of “Day of the Locusts” about the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House this afternoon, which I watched via C-Span. Bob Dylan was the last to be introduced, and also the last to receive the medal, which is odd, since otherwise they seemed to be following alphabetical order. Hmmm. Zimmerman? Or were they trying to create some drama regarding Bob? (Why would they do that?) He was the only recipient wearing shades, which he kept on throughout. He stayed pretty low-key, not even applauding other recipients as far as I could see. When standing beside President Obama and hearing the citation read out, he shifted restlessly from side to side. Quick handshake with the President afterwards but no real words exchanged, in contrast to how it went down with several other recipients. I did not observe Dylan smiling even once.

I somehow don’t think he was planning to hang around for dinner. Nevertheless, congratulations to Bob. His country has now honored him about as highly as it can, and that’s always better than a kick in the pants, regardless of how one might feel about the occupant of the Oval Office at the given time.

In about thirty days he kicks off a new tour in England. I suspect he’ll be considerably more comfortable on that stage, as always.

UPDATE: Video clip below.

The wearing of the sunglasses throughout an indoor ceremony seemed like a serious statement of aloofness, as was the absence of a simple smile (contrasted dramatically, I might add, with President Obama’s grinning). I guess I’d see it as Bob trying to keep himself from appearing overly friendly to the political aromas floating around. Others will make of it what they will.