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White House explains why Obama didn’t say “under God” in Gettysburg Address

Today I was having lunch with my dad, who recently changed jobs and is now able to come home at the noon hour, and we were discussing business and current events. My father asked me if I had heard about the newest “stink” in the White House over the President omitting “Under God” from his recitation of the Gettysburg Address, and I said no. We talked about what might possibly be going on, so I told him I’d look it up. My dad is a rather reasonable man, and he recognized that while he isn’t the biggest fan of the Presidents that even taking a breath makes some people mad at the President.

So with a little help from Google and a quick read this wasn’t a quick mystery to solve. It appears that the President was handed an originally copy of the speech by renowned documentarian Ken Burns, as White House Press Secretary Jay Carney clarified. The phrase “Under God” seems to have been added later by President Lincoln in the middle of giving the speech. So if there is any blame to really delve out here, it seems that it might need to be aimed towards mister Burns, and I’m sure that he would be willing to have that conversation (he is a very professional and thorough arbiter or history).

The one tidbit that I would like to add to this conversation however is that it seems that the President’s harshest critics might be missing one piece of the puzzle in regards to their constant war with President Obama. Barack Obama was elected President of the United States 2 times – and he was the first man to be re-elected with more than fifty percent of the vote since Dwight D. Eisenhower (and yes, that was in the 1950’s…). The majority of the American people identify in some way with this man, and being on such a hair-trigger to condemn anything that he does isn’t seeming to help their credibility with the average voter, or non-voter (seeing as how non-voters tend to lean for the Democratic Party). If they want to truly revamp their party they need to consider a new path when it comes to dealing with this President. He hasn’t been as warm and friendly as some presidents of the past (i.e.: Bill Clinton), but that is also the case for his behavior with his own party. His personality is not really a partisan issue, just ask the Democrats in Congress.

*This is not an analysis of his governing abilities.

I’ve included the article from CBS News addressing the omission of “Under God” from the speech, and the White House reaction. I think for those of you reading this who are highly skeptical of President Obama you might want to consider what your best strategy moving forward might be in regards to rebuking him, as the game plan for the GOP thus far has not been successful.

White House explains why Obama didn’t say “under God” in Gettysburg Address

AP PHOTO/CHARLES DHARAPAK

President Obama irked some conservatives with his recitation of the Gettysburg Address, which he read aloud as part of a project celebrating the 150th anniversary of famous Lincoln speech. For the project, spearheaded by documentarian Ken Burns, a number of politicians and other high-profile people recorded themselves reading the Gettysburg Address. Some conservatives took offense to the president’s reading. “Lincoln added ‘Under God’ as he was looking out over battlefield. why would Obama remove?” Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Twitter.

Conservative Christian leader Bryan Fischer added “Obama’s omission of ‘under God’ is more evidence of his anti-Christian bigotry. He honors Islam but disrespects Christianity.” White House spokesman Jay Carney on Tuesday gave a simple explanation for the reading. “He read the version of the address that Ken Burns provided,” he said, noting that Burns is a “noted Civil War scholar.” Specifically, Carney said that Burns gave Mr. Obama the “Nicolay copy” of the Gettysburg Address — the first draft of the speech, named after John Nicolay, the White House staffer who preserved it.

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The White House Correspondents Dinner (2013) – Conan O’Brien and “House of Cards”

Oh man… So this is a fun post for me. The event that I would most like to attend each year is the White House Correspondence Dinner (followed by the Oscars), where the worlds of politics and comedy collide. Also, this year I happened to be watching the dinner whilst sitting about 2 miles away trying to think of ways to participate… I am sorry to report that I didn’t get to be a part of it in any way, but I did get to tweet a little bit with a wonderful comedian Ophira Eisenberg – whose book I’m reading right now “Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy” (and yes it’s a bit risqué , but it’s honest and for that I treasure it). Also Ophira’s trivia show on NPR “Ask Me Another” is a real treat for a nerd who loves podcasts. Oh yeah, back to the correspondence dinner. This dinner is intended to honor the press, while also roasting them a little bit too. They used to be rather mild roasts, but they have gotten more and more shall I say “bold” each year. And ever since Stephen Colbert so controversially roasted President George W. Bush to his face the whole game has changed.

While I think that President George W. Bush was actually pretty good at events like this, President Obama is just better, in my opinion. He knows not to laugh when the crowd is, and then he is the first to laugh when they don’t laugh, or show some type of hesitancy. I’m sure he was trained to do this, but controlling when he laughs like that isn’t easy I’m sure, but it displays a cool confidence and that in comedy can be powerful stuff… I’d love to talk about which jokes were my favorite, but this is one of those things that I’d rather just let you dive into on your own, it’s that fun.

I hope you enjoy it.

P.S. if you don’t watch “House of Cards” this first video probably won’t be quite so funny to you, but I recommend the show (and it’s a Netflix original, so you won’t find it on your cable channels).

House of Cards Intro

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Obama Monologue

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Conan Monologue

From All Sides, Fiscal Plans Fall Far Short of What’s Needed – Steve Rattner

From All Sides, Fiscal Plans Fall Far Short of What’s Needed.

Well, long story short, I agree with Mr. Rattner again. I think that he’s right that neither side has had a sufficient plan, but that doesn’t make their proposals equal (that would be just too convenient for the Ralph Nader’s of the world, who I actually do like). I think that in the middle of these debates it would have been wonderful to watch real reforms take place. Let’s look at it from a health stand point, as if our nation was a human body – we are having a very hard time trying to stop the bleeding from our wounds after having fallen on our face in a drunken stupor, but we don’t seem willing to stop the drinking that is causing our wounds inside and outside of our body… Does that make senses? We have a broken system, and it can’t get better until we have a discerning decision making body that wants to live and thrive. I have plugged this group multiple times before, but maybe it takes some outside ideas to get things working again, and I think No Labels might be our 12 step program… If for no other reason I encourage you to check out their plans for reform that would help us move forward, especially their plan to Make Congress Work.

– Grady

steven-rattner-photo-small

From All Sides, Fiscal Plans Fall Far Short of What’s Needed

Ohio Is A Test Case For The U.S. Economy – Steve Rattner

Ohio is a test case for US economy.

If you read my blog with any regularity you by know are aware that I love Steve Rattner… He is a very smart, and also thoughtful person. I think that he nailed with pinpoint accuracy what citizens of this country should have an understand of, so that we can learn how to face common obstacles together.

At the end of this post I am post a video that is a few years old that I think pertains to what he is talking about… The apparent leakage of our nations power is attributed to so much, and identifying the importance of education is but one way that we can maintain growth and influence in the world (which is obviously of great importance to anyone who considers our nation to be founded on outstanding ideals).

Ohio is a test case for US economy

Are You Better Off? – Bloomberg News

Are You Better Off? Take a Look at the Stock Market – Bloomberg.

This Bloomberg study about whether or not we are better off than we were 4 years ago was pretty interesting, so we’ll start of with the picture book version, as I do love charts/numbers, and then you can read the article. I think it’s worthwhile. I would imagine that a lot of people would be glad to dissect the article on their terms and explain why we are or aren’t better off, but I would like to present the article. If anyone would like to add their analysis I’d love to read it, and I’ll definitely consider posting it if it’s really compelling. I think that the article speaks to a level of our speculation as voters/consumers.

Are You Better Off?

Do you remember the news four years ago? Banks collapsed, markets cratered, companies struggled to make payroll and millions of people lost their jobs. Your retirement savings were decimated, the value of your house plunged, credit was unobtainable. Politicians dithered and economists argued. Only confusion prospered.

Against this background, it’s surprising to hear Republicans returning to Ronald Reagan’s classic debate question: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” To anyone whose memory extends a full electoral cycle, the answer is clearly yes.

When assessing our politicians, what matters isn’t just the here and now. It’s at least as important to consider how well we are set up for tomorrow, next year and the decades that follow.

This distinction is particularly important in assessing the aftermath of the last recession. The anxiety that gripped us in late 2008 wasn’t born out of a typical cyclical decline that hurts for a year or two before the economy returns to growth. Rather, it was a fear that something more fundamental had changed, altering our whole economic trajectory.

Only a forward-looking indicator can pick up both this fear and its ultimate resolution. Unfortunately, most economic statistics tell us only what happened last month, last quarter or last year.

Stock Market

The stock market, by contrast, is obsessively focused on the future. When investors decide whether to buy a company’s stock, they aren’t just thinking about its current earnings (if they were, a company like Twitter Inc. would be worthless). They are trying to figure out what its future earnings will be, and what that stream of income should be worth today. Their collective judgment, while far from perfect, tells a compelling story about how America’s prospects have changed over the past four years.

On the day of President Barack Obama’s inauguration, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX)closed at 805, just over half its pre-recession level. In other words, investors thought the recession had done so much damage that the future earnings of corporate America were worth only about half what they were before. And because corporate earnings are a roughly constant share of the broader economy, the stock prices suggested a decline of historic magnitude in investors’ assessment of the long-run prospects for the entire U.S. economy.

As of Sept. 10, the S&P 500 index stood at 1429, about 78 percent higher than it was on inauguration day. Probable translation: Investors believe the long-run outlook for the American economy has improved enormously.

True, the stock market can rise for various reasons. Investors might expect corporate profits to grow faster than the economy, or corporate taxes to fall. They might have become more patient, causing them to place a higher value on earnings way out in the future. Given the current political climate, and the way the crisis shattered peoples’ complacency, none of these stories seems particularly plausible.

The stock market is also an imperfect proxy for the outcomes we truly care about. If there were futures markets more directly tied to economic output, unemployment or perhaps even well-being, they would provide an even better picture.

Surveys asking people to evaluate their well-being can also provide a useful insight given that people’s responses are influenced by their outlook. One index run by research company Gallup Inc., for example, shows people’s perceived well-being at a four-year high. (Disclosure: Justin Wolfers is a senior scientist at Gallup.)

Of course, the stock ticker can’t answer the most important political questions. It can’t say we are better off because of Obama’s policies, or for other reasons. It can’t say whether we are better off than we would have been under President Mitt Romney. It does, however, capture well the narrative of disaster, survival and recovery that has marked the past four years. It helps us to remember how bad we felt back then, and to appreciate where we are today.

(Betsey Stevenson is an associate professor of public policy at the University of Michigan. Justin Wolfers is an associate professor of business and public policy at the University of Pennsylvania, and a non-resident senior fellow of the Brookings Institution. Both are Bloomberg View columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.)

Read more opinion online from Bloomberg View. Subscribe to receive a daily e-mail highlighting new View editorials, columns and op-ed articles.

Today’s highlights: the editors on what to do about Libor’s overseer and on King Abdullah and Jordan’s subsidy addictionJeffrey Goldberg on power failures and Mormon food hoarding; William Pesek on China’s education policies in Hong KongRamesh Ponnuru on how muchRomney could actually accomplish as president; Barry Nalebuff on why New York should ban calories in beverages.

To contact the writers of this article: Justin Wolfers at jwolfers@wharton.upenn.edu Betsey Stevenson at betseys@wharton.upenn.edu

To contact the editor responsible for this article: Mark Whitehouse atmwhitehouse1@bloomberg.net

Jobs Report – Cooked or Correct? – NYTimes.com

Jobs Report – Cooked or Correct? – NYTimes.com.

I posted the other day about the backlash of the Republican punditry about the September Jobs report from the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), and simply put I was frustrated in hearing what I thought to be a hypocritical if not paranoid attack on the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I said that I don’t like the Republican pundits and talking heads willingness to use the numbers when they are convenient  and to through the Bureau under the bus when it’s not conveniently telling them what they want to hear. Now, I recognize that people have potential to be corrupt, and I don’t even mind asking questions about the BLS, but this is the first attack of it’s kind on a very old and well respected bureau of our government (and I know that it sounds funny to some of you that I would use respect and government in the same sentence). Well anyway, I enjoyed this article, and I thought that I should pass it along to anyone who is interested in this muddying of the waters over the Jobs Numbers. Enjoy

-Grady

Jobs Report - Cooked or Correct? - NYTimes.com

OP-ED COLUMNIST

Jobs Report: Cooked or Correct?

By JOE NOCERA

“Unbelievable job numbers,” tweeted Jack Welch, the iconic former boss of General Electric on Friday morning, moments after the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its September jobs figures. “These Chicago guys will do anything,” he continued. “Can’t debate so change numbers.”

The jobs numbers, unquestionably,gave a boost to the Obama campaign, still reeling from the president’s poor debate performance. While the bureau’s survey of businesses showed a ho-hum rise of 114,000 in nonfarm employment, the unemployment rate had somehow dropped from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent, far exceeding expectations. Thus, a month before the election, and for the first time in Obama’s presidency, unemployment was under 8 percent.

Welch smelled conspiracy. And he wasn’t alone. “Total data manipulation,” tweeted a writer at Zerohedge, a financial news blog. “Such a farce.” Fox News spent much of Friday morning piling on.

It’s worth pointing out that the last time anyone accused the Bureau of Labor Statistics of being politically motivated was when Richard Nixon did so in 1971. Upset that the bureau was releasing figures showing higher unemployment during his re-election campaign, he asked his hatchet man, Charles Colson, to investigate the bureau’s top officials, including its chief, Geoffrey Moore.

So Point No. 1: the idea that a handful of career bureaucrats, their jobs secure no matter who is in the White House, would manipulate the unemployment data to help President Obama, is ludicrous. Jack Welch knows it, too; when I called him Friday afternoon, he quickly backpedaled. “I’m not accusing anybody of anything,” he protested. But he went on to add that everything he’s seen suggests that the economy remains in the doldrums, and it just didn’t seem possible that the unemployment rate could have dropped so drastically, and so quickly.

Hence, Point No. 2: there is, indeed, something a little strange about the way the country derives its employment statistics. It turns out that the statistics the bureau releases each month are generated by two different reports. One, called the establishment report, is a survey of businesses. That’s where the 114,000 additional jobs comes from.

The second is a survey of 55,000 households, where people are asked about their employment status. Extrapolating from the survey, the bureau concluded that an additional 873,000 people had found work in September. It is that number that brought the unemployment rate from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent.

When I asked a bureau spokeswoman why there was such divergence between the two numbers, she said she had no idea. “The reports are totally separate,” she said.

When I put the same question to economists, they shrugged. Maybe it was because an additional 582,000 Americans were working part time, which doesn’t show up in payroll statistics. Maybe it was because of increased government employment. For some unexplained reason, there is always an uptick in September. (“Maybe it has something to do with going back to school,” said Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics, who quickly added, “I’m just guessing here.”) In any case, it wasn’t anything economists hadn’t seen before. Sometimes the two surveys delink, though over the long term they tend to reinforce each other. In the short term, however, the household survey is considered the more volatile — and less reliable — of the two numbers.

Which leads to Point No. 3: there is something truly absurd about having the presidential race hinge on the unemployment rate. Even putting aside the reliability of the short-term numbers, the harsh reality is that no president has much control over the economy. That is especially true of President Obama, whose every effort to boost the economy these past two years has been stymied by Republicans. Again and again, they have shown that they would rather see the country suffer than do anything that might help Obama’s re-election.

There is rough justice in the way things are playing out. Having spent the last year wrongly blaming the president for high unemployment, Republicans can only stand by helplessly as the unemployment rate goes down at the worst possible moment for them. Fox News scoured the data Friday, looking for signs that the economy wasn’t improving. They found some: high unemployment for African-Americans, for instance, and fewer manufacturing jobs.

But the data were largely overwhelmed by positive signals. In its revised figures for July and August, for instance, the bureau said that more jobs had been created than it originally estimated. People with only high school degrees were finding jobs. The number of people who had been out of work for six months or more was at its lowest point in three years.

Whether the Republicans like it or not, the economy is slowly getting better.

Awful, isn’t it?

 

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: October 8, 2012

An earlier version of this column misidentified the commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1971. It was Geoffrey Moore, not Julius Shiskin.

O’Reilly vs. Stewart Showdown (The Uncut Interview About Common)

‘Boo-Yah’: O’Reilly vs. Stewart Showdown Over Rapper Involves Accusations of ‘Pettifogging’ | The Blaze.

If you get a chance you should first watch the first 2 videos and then the third Uncut interview you should.

So this interview happened a little while ago now (it’s not brand new) but I’ve been busy and have just gotten around to listening to it a few times so that I could really soak it in and take a few of notes. The first thing that I might note is that the second part of the interview is probably better than the first, in my opinion. I think that it is a bit more telling of how they actually feel since the conversation has been going for a little while at that point.

Having said that I really think that this interview is a good example of the problem with having “Opinion Guys” on news networks. The only network that makes a large distinction between the journalists and the “Opinion Guys” is Fox News, and it’s opinion people (O’Reilly, Hannity, and Beck). These people do not claim to be journalists, and actually try to make sure that people don’t

And here is a link to Jon Stewart explaining the lies that Fox News seems to be in the business of manufacturing and selling to it’s customers:
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-october-29-2009/for-fox-sake-
(sorry I was having trouble adding this link so just copy and paste if you want to see it, it’s worth your time.)

First Video:
1. Probably the most important part of this interview as far as Common is concerned is making the distinction between “someone who celebrates Cop-Killers” and someone who has heard stories of people who he has understood to have been wrongfully accused of murdering a Police Officer.
2. Live rounds in her purse – what happened to the conservative view of the second amendment?
3. At 4:00 of the first video Stewart begins to go into something that is very important in the structure of this argument. He begins to make a point that Fox is very selective of the people who they choose to put under their “journalistic” microscope.

Second Video:
1. I really liked that Jon Stewart asked him to be consistent with his outrage.
2. O’Reilly kept trying to say that Common sympathizes with cop killers (which is a misrepresentation because apparently Common is under the impression that these people are innocent, and that is part of the reason that he considers them so inspirational).
3. Jon Stewart asked O’Reilly to help him in promoting a reinstitution of The Ban on Assault Weapons, which O’Reilly apparently agrees with, and it would be a wonderful thing for him to stand up for considering the audience that will here him.

Now if you got the chance to watch both of the interviews and you are still interested you should go back and watch the unedited/uncut version that was put online. It is funny do me to look at some of the things that they chose to leave out. I think that this is the most telling video of all once you watch the other 2 and take notice of some of the seemingly obvious omissions.

Part 1

Part 2

Sorry I originally posted the wrong uncut interview. But Here it is now:
Unedited/Uncut Interview

Please let me know what you think about the interview, I love feedback about my comments, but I honestly am just curious to know what you think about the interview.

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