Hey Sarah Palin…

Hey Sarah Palin, how is that winkey, stupidy thing working out for you?

(My current Facebook status)

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President Barack Obama To Deliver Spring Commencement Address At University Of Michigan

From Michigan Today:

President Barack Obama will deliver the spring 2010 commencement address at the University of Michigan, President Mary Sue Coleman announced today. The ceremony will be held on May 1 in Michigan Stadium. Obama will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree, and he will be the fourth sitting president to visit U-M in Ann Arbor, following George H.W. Bush, Gerald R. Ford and Lyndon B. Johnson; former president Bill Clinton spoke at the 2007 commencement.

Go Blue!

Captain America vs. The Teabaggers

Someone has to protect our country from the insanity of the teabaggers and this sounds like a job for Captain America.  A scenario of this type is seen in Captain America issue 602. (Click on above image for a larger version). Unfortunately Marvel felt obligated to apologize to the teabaggers for including them in this story:

Since 1941, Captain America has been one of the most popular comic book characters around. The fictional super-patriot fought Nazis during World War II, took on those who burned the American flag during the Vietnam era, and raked in hundreds of millions of dollars for Marvel Comics along the way.  Now, the appearance that he is taking on the Tea Party Movement in a storyline about investigating white supremacists has forced Marvel to apologize for the comic hero.

Issue 602 of the comic features Captain America investigating a right-wing anti-government militia group called “the Watchdogs”. Hoping to infiltrate the group, Captain America and his African-American sidekick The Falcon observe an anti-tax protest from a rooftop.  The protestors depicted are all white and carry signs adorned with slogans almost identical to those seen today in Tea Party rallies like “tea bag libs before they tea bag you” and “stop the socialists.”

The Falcon mentions that the gathering appears to be “some kind of anti-tax protest” and notes that “this whole ‘hate the government’ vibe isn’t limited to the Watchdogs.” He then tells Captain America that he doesn’t think their plan will work because “I don’t exactly see a black man from Harlem fitting in with a bunch of angry white folks.” Captain America then explains that his plan entails sending The Falcon in among the group posing as an IRS agent under the thinking that a black government official will most certainly spark their anger.

The clear implicit attack on the Tea Party Movement was first noticed by Publius’ Forum’s Warner Todd Huston.  When a minor uproar ensued, Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada spoke to Comic Book Resources and defended the issue while apologizing for the panel that seemed to tie real-life Tea Party protesters to the fictional group depicted in the book.

Saying that he could “absolutely see how some people are upset about this,” Quesada said that there was “zero discussion to include a group that looked like a Tea Party demonstration,” adding, “There was no thought that it represented a particular group.”

Tea Party Nation founder founder Judson Phillips was not satisfied with the apology and Marvel says that references to the Tea Party will be removed from future issues. That is a shame. I was hoping that we could count on Captain American to uphold American values and continue to fight these mindless zombies of the authoritarian right.

White House Acts Rapidly In Response To Distorted Reports Of Obama Interview

The White House has been aggressive in responding to the distortions of Obama’s statements in an interview on executive pay. Obama discussed how CEO pay has exceeded what is deserved based upon their performance while also expressing his support for the free market system and pointing out that he does not “begrudge people success or wealth.” Such statements are necessary in light of the absurd but widespread attacks from the right that Obama is a socialist. As a result, not only are his comments being distorted by the right as we would anticipate, but many on the left are also distorting what was said.

To a certain degree the fault is in the original article from Bloomberg which did not provide an entirely accurate view of the exchange. Subsequently the White House released the transcript which I included in the previous post.

Sam Stein has reported on the White House’s response and concluded:

Bloomberg, to its credit, did highlight much of Obama’s plan to rein in excessive compensation packages. But it did so midway down the article, at a distance from the more inflammatory portions of the president’s quote.

But what has White House aides even more bothered, however, is that fact that the president was simply using a tried and tested talking point only to have it treated like a major revelation. On that front, they’re right.

In February 2009, Obama gave a speech on executive compensation in which he declared that, in American, “we don’t disparage wealth. We don’t begrudge anybody for achieving success. And we believe that success should be rewarded.” In March 2009, Obama told the Business Roundtable that the job of a lawmaker is “not to disparage wealth, but to expand its reach.” And in a brief statement on executive compensation in October 2009, Obama repeated the lines: “We don’t disparage wealth; we don’t begrudge anybody for doing well. We believe in success. But it does offend our values when executives of big financial firms — firms that are struggling — pay themselves huge bonuses, even as they continue to rely on taxpayer assistance to stay afloat.

Update: The response at the White House Blog also notes:

The President has said countless times as he did in the interview that he doesn’t ‘begrudge’ the success of Americans, but he also expressed ‘shock’ at the size of bonuses and made clear that there are a number of steps that need to be taken to change the culture of Wall Street. A sentiment he has consistently expressed since long before he took office.

Update II: Dereck Thompson wrote:

Obama is absolutely right that Americans don’t normally begrudge success or wealth. That’s one reason I’ve been told that middle Americans usually don’t want to jack up the top marginal tax rate — “It could be me one day,” and so forth. Obama’s also right that the kind of success and wealth achieved on Wall Street hasn’t match up with performance in the last few years. Some tweaks to bonus pay protocol would be nice to see.

Liberal blogs are suffering conniption fits over the idea that Obama didn’t spend the whole interview sweating in an apoplectic rage about bonus figures. I can’t muster their indignation. Responding to a question about Goldman’s bonuses just days after its CEO converted his pay to stock and slashed it by 80 percent, Obama spoke calmly about how Wall Street’s bonus culture has misaligned incentives. Good for him. And bad on Bloomberg News for splicing his quotes suggestively.