Thursday, February 26, 2009

GOP Govs' Get-Together

GOP Govs Cartoon, originally uploaded by rbtenorio.

Shortly before President Obama addressed the nation on the economy Tuesday, Republican (and Democratic) governors rendezvoused for a national conference. Some of the Republicans were discussing rejecting part of the bailout money that may be sent their way. Guest speaker Satan has some words of wisdom for the GOP governors in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Coulter: I Think I'm Comin' to Boston...

...and New York and Chicago, too.
Conservative pundit Ann Coulter will debate liberal commentator Bill Maher at the Wang Center in Boston on March 10. The Athens of America is one of three stops for Coulter and Maher, who will also duel -- oratorically, that is -- in the Big Apple and the Second City.
On the surface, it's encouraging that a prominent liberal and conservative are debating like this. But it will only be a true exchange if it's done in a debate-style format instead of a format of one person addressing the audience and their counterpart issuing a rebuttal, as was the case when Coulter debated Air America's Al Franken in Los Angeles in 2006.
Let's hope, also, that neither Coulter nor Maher uses the occasion not as a promising exchange of ideas, but as a way to slur an individual or group. Coulter's latest offense is slandering single mothers in her new book "Guilty." She also derided Mexicans during her stop in LA. Maher, meanwhile, called the 9/11 hijackers "not cowardly" ... on Sept. 17, 2001. And fate joined both pundits almost two years ago: Maher, in the wake of Coulter's use of the F-word while discussing John Edwards, then made ill-considered comments himself, about then-Vice President Dick Cheney.
Still, perhaps, with the presence of a live audience before them and a willing partner in debate, Coulter and Maher can show the country that liberals and conservatives can share a stage cordially. For far too long, the Left and Right have seemed too comfortable excoriating each other. It's good they'll get to listen to each other now.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Obama's Close Encounters

Aliens Cartoon, originally uploaded by rbtenorio.

Two scary developments lately. First, a pair of satellites collided high above Planet Earth. Next, observers spotted a mysterious object in the Texas skies. Does this all portend an alien invasion? And, if so, what can President Obama do about it? Satan and Frank Faust discuss in the latest episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Winston Obama

Liked President Obama's evocation of Winston Churchill in discussing the economic crisis.
"I don't want to pretend that today marks the end of our economic problems, nor does it constitute all of what we have to do to turn the economy around," he said in signing the $787 billion stimulus package in Denver on Wednesday. "But today does mark the beginning of the end."
As the Brits themselves noted, "The language is remarkably similar to the famous speech Churchill gave after the battle of El Alamein in 1942, a turning point in the Second World War when he said: 'This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.'"
Churchill spoke presciently. After Marshal Montgomery defeated Gen. Rommel at Alamein, the momentum shifted in favor of the Allied Powers. However, the war lasted three more years before the Allies achieved victory.
How long, by contrast, will Obama's economic end-times last? “If you look at the unemployment numbers ... the fragility of the financial system and the fact that it’s an international system,” he told Tom Brokaw in December 2008, the recession “is a big problem, and it’s going to get worse.”
Obama will need more than Churchillian rhetoric to get him -- and the United States -- through this crisis.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentines for Obama

Valentine's Day Cartoon, originally uploaded by rbtenorio.

President Obama has become a national heartthrob. He's had heartwarming moments at the Grammy Awards, where the academy president saluted him in a speech, and at media events, where he has thoughtfully shown emotion to members of the the public. Can he preserve his popularity? In the first "Running Gags" of 2009, liberal Susannah, conservative Bob, and a neutral cat weigh in on a Valentine's Day themed episode!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Israel Elections: Nobody Wins, We All Lose

Israeli voters leaned toward one of two candidates in national elections this week: Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, who screwed up the peace process over a decade ago, and Tzipi Livni, who screwed up the Gaza Strip situation a few weeks ago. Which will they choose?
Here is an assessment of the directions Israel could go in:
  • Older and wiser, or just older? Netanyahu eventually became prime minister after the assassination of Nobel Peace Prize winner Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. Bibi's hawkishness -- along with, of course, the flaws of his Palestinian counterpart, Yasser Arafat -- helped clip the wings of the dove of peace that seemed so promising with the 1993 signing of the Oslo Accords. Has Bibi learned from his mistakes as PM from 1996-99? Or will he turn even more macho in the wake of threats from Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran?
  • Present imperfect. Livni led a war against Hamas in Gaza that resulted in international outcry against Israel -- although we must admit that Israel cannot move a tank from its base without drawing protests -- and, more seriously, failed to silence the rockets from Gaza or curtail their increasing distance.
  • Blinded by the right(-wing). Meet Avigdor Lieberman, would-be kingmaker (or prime minister-maker), whose Yisrael Beytenu party thinks it's a good idea to add fuel to an already-tense situation by displacing Israeli Arabs. "The responsibility for primarily Arab areas such as Umm Al-Fahm and the 'triangle' will be transferred to the Palestinian Authority," the party website proclaims in its platform. "In parallel, Israel will officially annex Jewish areas in Judea and Samaria. Israel is our home; Palestine is theirs." Yisrael Beytenu is one more right-wing threat to a country that has enough of them.
Some have decried the lack of a "Gandhi" or a "Mandela" on the Palestinian side regarding the stalled peace process. In truth, there has long been a lack of one on the Israeli side as well. Whoever wins the elections will inherit some assets on the peace front -- an Egypt more willing to act as a broker, a Palestinian Authority more willing to act as a counterpart to Hamas. The imminent tragedy of the elections, though, is that whoever wins will not take advantage of these conditions. To paraphrase the country-western song, nobody wins, we all lose.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Punxsutawney Phil meets Chicago Barack

Groundhog Day Cartoon, originally uploaded by rbtenorio.
Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow on Feb. 2. What happens when President Obama does the same? Find out in a Groundhog Day-themed episode of "The Devil Made Me Blog It"! (I wasn't the only one to connect this year's holiday with the economy.)