Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Long Road Ahead For Obama

David Remnick of the New Yorker checks in with the President, who makes a number of very interesting "I don't have to run for election anymore, so here's my opinion" statements that he could have never made, say, 18 months ago during a campaign.

On the NFL's serious problem with concussions and brain injuries:

I would not let my son play pro football,” he conceded. “But, I mean, you wrote a lot about boxing, right? We’re sort of in the same realm.”
The Miami defense was taking on a Keystone Kops quality, and Obama, who had lost hope on a Bears contest, was starting to lose interest in the Dolphins. “At this point, there’s a little bit of caveat emptor,” he went on. “These guys, they know what they’re doing. They know what they’re buying into. It is no longer a secret. It’s sort of the feeling I have about smokers, you know?”

On his second term:

“The conventional wisdom is that a President’s second term is a matter of minimizing the damage and playing defense rather than playing offense,” Obama said in one of our conversations on the trip and at the White House. “But, as I’ve reminded my team, the day after I was inaugurated for a second term, we’re in charge of the largest organization on earth, and our capacity to do some good, both domestically and around the world, is unsurpassed, even if nobody is paying attention.”

On pot legalization in Colorado and Washington state, he says that pot is less dangerous than alcohol but adds:

Less dangerous, he said, “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer. It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.” What clearly does trouble him is the radically disproportionate arrests and incarcerations for marijuana among minorities. “Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,” he said. “And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.” But, he said, “we should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing.” Accordingly, he said of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington that “it’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.” 

And finally, on race and politics:

There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President,” Obama said. “Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black President.” The latter group has been less in evidence of late. 
“There is a historic connection between some of the arguments that we have politically and the history of race in our country, and sometimes it’s hard to disentangle those issues,” he went on. “You can be somebody who, for very legitimate reasons, worries about the power of the federal government—that it’s distant, that it’s bureaucratic, that it’s not accountable—and as a consequence you think that more power should reside in the hands of state governments. But what’s also true, obviously, is that philosophy is wrapped up in the history of states’ rights in the context of the civil-rights movement and the Civil War and Calhoun. There’s a pretty long history there. And so I think it’s important for progressives not to dismiss out of hand arguments against my Presidency or the Democratic Party or Bill Clinton or anybody just because there’s some overlap between those criticisms and the criticisms that traditionally were directed against those who were trying to bring about greater equality for African-Americans. The flip side is I think it’s important for conservatives to recognize and answer some of the problems that are posed by that history, so that they understand if I am concerned about leaving it up to states to expand Medicaid that it may not simply be because I am this power-hungry guy in Washington who wants to crush states’ rights but, rather, because we are one country and I think it is going to be important for the entire country to make sure that poor folks in Mississippi and not just Massachusetts are healthy.”

The entire article is worthwhile, and gives serious, reasonable insight to the President and what he's trying to accomplish these days.   Do take a look.

We've Reached Maximum Rubin Con

Jennifer Rubin has long been the most embarrassing columnist at the Washington Post, but her take on this weekend's Chris Christie developments from MSNBC just utterly shatters the Irony Meter.

The test for the mainstream media and for medic “critics” (often merely on the prowl for Fox News bias) is whether they find the actual scandal: The MSNBC hit-squad that does not investigate, does not make any pretense of balance or fairness and is nevertheless given legitimacy by other media elites. 
This is also a lesson for conservatives in dealing with liberal media bias. You don’t whine. You present the facts, fully and fast. You present compelling evidence of bias. If the conservatives want politicians who show some backbone when under attack by phony news operations, they’d be wise to follow the Christie model. 
In the meantime, Christie, in an odd way, may be lucky here. MSNBC has turned a legitimate news story (the bridge) into a vivid display of media bias. That in turn will give conservatives who might otherwise see fit to pile on pause. Do they want to be the couriers of MSNBC smears?

This is a person whose credibility would require several years of hagiographical rehabilitation to reach the lofty height of zero.  For her to accuse anyone of partisan media bias should have cause the spacetime continuum to collapse in a screeching 52-vehicle pileup of hubris.  The last paragraph should have ended with "And my computer has suddenly burst into black flames as I finish writing this.  I blame Obama."

Joe Gandleman makes a very good point since we're worrying about MSNBC's journalistic integrity and all.

I’m sure some may say “well that’s MSNBC,” but in fact it’s irrelevant if this came from MSNBC, or Fox or CNN. This is the mayor of a major city coming forward, and not acting as a blind source but making the allegation with her name attached to it.

Which already puts Kornacki's story light-years ahead of anything Rubin craps out of her awful little soul.

How is she still employed?
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