Thanks, Dad

Bloggers, radio hosts and TV pundits are still talking about that weird co-press conference Obama and Clinton gave Friday. They should. It was one of the most bizarre political events ever.

Obama looked “whipped” as some put it. His suit was ill fitting. He looked sour. Once he ceded the podium to Clinton, the 42nd president grabbed it like a lifeline thrown to a drowning cruise ship passenger.  Then Obama made his little joke about not wanting to keep Michelle waiting at the Christmas party and exited abruptly.

He looked like a wimp. He looked like a kid calling on dad to extricate him from something unpleasant. He looked henpecked. It’s not the look you feel good about coming from the leader of the free world.

Was the teleprompter broken? Did Obama forget the anger the Clintons felt over their primary loss? Has he never seen “The Godfather?” Being weak in front of your enemy rarely ends well. Is he tired of being president? Clinton was only too happy to fill that vaccuum. You get the feeling Clinton is always within a zip code of the White House, ready to Alexander Haig it when the current occupant isn’t there.

Andrew Morton at the Los Angeles Times has a good photo essay of the event with snarky cutlines provided. You can see it at http:latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2010/12/bill-clinton-barack-obama-tax-cut.html.  You can imagine how the press would have viewed Bush asking his dad’s help at a press conference. That would have led the nightly news for days.

Democrat apologists have chosen to turn this lemon into lemonade by praising Obama’s openness to help. You wonder how they do it without choking. However, they are so used to spreading their lies that they do it with aplomb. But I don’t really think the American public buys it.

Partly we don’t because Obama has pulled this before. In the Chicago Senate his votes were mostly “present.” He didn’t like being tied down to a decision. When pastor Rick Warren asked him about his view on abortion he said that was something “above my pay grade.” During the campaign Obama didn’t like pesky questions from reporters. Remember “Can’t I just eat my waffle?”

It’s hard, no impossible, to see him amid the rubble of the World Trade Center telling the firefighters that the whole world would soon see what we would do.  You can’t imagine him comforting the families of terrorist victims. He is incapable of an optimism uplifting to the whole nation.

The press conference showed that when the going gets tough, Obama will get going too. Unfortunately, the American public can’t.

Fed Up

Today’s top headline in the Commercial Appeal reads “S. Memphis section hungers for food store.”

The story could have been written by Michelle Obama with a few local references thrown in. The Food Desert Oasis Act, co-sponsored by our own Steve Cohen, is one of her goals to get Americans to eat healthy. Or so she would say.

In reality, it’s a farce and a creative way to funnel federal funds to Democrat backers. The bill bemoans the fact that some poor neighborhoods have no access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Illogically, the argument made  is that if there were such grocery stores in their neighborhoods, residents would reject  twinkies, pork rinds or pizza for apples, chicken breasts or veggie burgers. For this, the taxpayer is asked to fork over billions of dollars. Like LBJ’s War on Poverty, the money will flow but the good results will not.

And we’re only talking about a 1.93 square mile patch.  “Just going to a real grocery store becomes a heroic effort,” says Ken Reardon, a U of M planning director. Since obesity is such a threat and is a reality for so many Memphians, maybe they need a little more “heroic” effort. Isn’t that part of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” fitness campaign? 

Wouldn’t it be cheaper if we just had community organizers go in and distribute fresh produce? That would even eliminate the possibility that some families don’t want to eat spinach and pears. They’d have to accept the tyranny the Democrats love.

Where is the role of churches in this endeavor? Where is the effort by fellow Memphians to be good Samaritans? It could be argued that when government steps in, others step out. It’s easier to chuck your compunctions when some vague entity is supposedly taking care of this for you.

The  subhead on page 2,  “The Zip Code that food forgot,” isludicrous. You’d think there was no transportation out of this two mile long prison.

Maybe there would be more grocery stores if the community hadn’t let crime take over. Another recent article centered on Hadron’s appliance store in the Jackson neighborhood. Owner Steve Stotts liked the residents, but could no longer justify staying in a crime ridden area where his life was in danger.

Until some of these deeper issues are resolved, none of these half measures will affect change.  It’s got to come from self examination by our own communities, fed by a resolve for better lives.

Midtown Republican in Governor’s Cabinet

Congratulations to our Midtown Republican member Bill Gibbons. He was tapped by Governor elect Bill Haslam to head Tennessee’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security.  The Shelby County District Attorney General will task “a group of all state executive branch public safety departments and agencies to develop a coherent, focused approach to combating crime,” according to the Commercial Appeal.

When Gibbons spoke to our group Tuesday, he indicated the need for the General Assembly to tackle different issues, such as making  pseudophedrine a prescription drug and others, that would give police and the courts tools to deal with criminals more effectively. He also stressed the need to coordinate city, state and federal efforts to stem crime.

The newspaper reports that Gibbons will also remain chairman of Operation Safe Community in Shelby County. He will continue to live in Midtown and commute to Nashville.

Congratulations General Gibbons!

Getting Noticed

George Will takes a look at Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) in today’s Washington Post. It’s worth a look.

“Why Mike Pence Catches Conservatives’ Eyes” shares a lot about Pence that will hearten Republicans. Pence, 51, and in his sixth term in Congress, may be considering a run for the White House. That would be welcome news.

Will notes that the former talk radio host now congressman speaks easily and fluently on many topics. If you have ever heard him, you can see why he garnered top place at the Values Voters Summit over the summer. He’s not afraid of social issues and considers them an important part of being a conservative. In particular, as Will outlines, Pence sees the collapse of the traditional family and is not afraid to fight for it.

As for economic issues, he voted against TARP and Will’s telling of his stance on the addition of prescription drugs to Medicare is illustrative.

Add Pence to the growing list of presidential candidates. The Republican Party has a deep bench of worthy people.

Gibbons Lays Out His Plan

Attorney General Bill Gibbons
Attorney General Bill Gibbons speaks to the Midtown Republicans.

“I don’t think any community has to accept high crime rates,” was one of the messages delivered by Bill Gibbons at last night’s Midtown Republican Club meeting.

The District Attorney General certainly hasn’t. In his few years in office, Gibbons has had a hand in dramatically reducing crime in Memphis. “Many don’t realize how much progress we have made,” he said. “Since 2006, we’ve seen a 30% drop in major crime. We are ahead of the national curve in the amount of reduction in crime and we’re now out of the top ten list of cities for crime.”

His conclusions come from a long career in justice. Gibbons learned a lot from the experience of New York City in the 80s and looking at what other attorneys general offices have done.

His good work got noticed in 2005 when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Gibbons, plus officers from four other cities, Charlotte, NC; St. Louis County; Atlanta; and San Francisco, were recruited  to form a task force to help New Orleans deal with the aftermath of the disaster in regards to the criminal justice system.

“There were problems there before – disarray – but after the hurricane evidence was lost, files were destroyed and buildings were under water. Eddie Johnson, the man in charge in New Orleans, resigned the day before. The interim DA had been in office just a few hours when we got there.

“However, all five of us new what worked and we agreed quickly on what to do,” Gibbons said.

What he learned he compiled in a new book, “No Surrender! A Battle Plan for Creating Safer Communities.” The proceeds are going to the National District Attorney Association, specifically for their research division.

From his experiences Gibbons sketched a basic plan for attacking crime. “I looked at New York, Virginia and Florida which had passed tough laws and sentences. I found they had a dramatic impact. First, you get crime off the streets. Then, when criminals know they’ll be dealt with seriously, fewer people commit crimes out of fear. New York saw violent crime rates cut in half in five years. ”

“I’m a big believer, too, in drug treatment for non violence drug offenders with repercussions if they don’t follow the program. If they do, chances are 70% that they will not be a repeat offender. Without drug treatment, the reverse happens and 80% do repeat the crime,” Gibbons found.

In Memphis he has effectively used the nuisance law in prosecutions. “It was passed during prohibition. We took it off the shelf, dusted it off and used it at establishments that were primarily being used for drug houses. We’ve closed 280 places under that law so far.”

In addition, mandatory sentences for those using guns in crimes is having an impact.  “In 2007 we indicted 7300 people. Tennessee also is in the forefront in meth labs. We are asking the General Assembly to make pseudephradine a prescription drug. Two states, Oregon and Mississippi, have done it and there has been a dramatic reduction in meth,” Gibbons said.

Gibbons is hoping to get the word out that crime can be reduced and that Memphis is becoming a better place. With him at the helm, it looks like it will continue to improve.

Biggest Ripoff Ever Tomorrow

Tomorrow President Obama is set to sign into law Pigford 2, called by many the greatest taxpayer ripoff of all time.

While everyone has been busy talking about the tax extension, legislators have opened the Treasury to blacks with tens of thousands of dollars going out to people without much requirement at all on their part.

To backtrack; Ever wonder what happened to the issue of reparations? Our own Steve Cohen professed he was behind it. Yet once the Democrats took control of Congress, nary a word was said about it. Why? Because they have found a backdoor way to do it. It’s called the Pigford settlements, first one and tomorrow, another installment. It was passed as a way to repay black farmers for discrimination done to them by the USDA.

Andrew Breitbart stumbled upon the whole issue last summer when he had a tape of Sherrie Sherrod. She was the black woman from the Agriculture Department caught on tape spewing racist remarks against white farmers. Sherrod was fired, then Breitbart got caught in a hate-storm when it appeared the full tape had not been shown.

Of course, he was accused of being racist. When he began digging into Sherrod’s background he found out some interesting things. For instance, Sherrod and her husband, Charles, with a decades long defunct communal farm were in line to get $13 million thanks to the Pigford settlement. Breitbart began researching more when he heard April Ryan of Urban Radio Network mention the Pigford settlement and call it “a litmus test of the Obama administration’s relationship with black Americans.”

It seems Senator Obama, with Senator Joe Biden, introduced the legislation in 2007 with an eye on garnering the black vote in the rural South, the area where most of it is due. He found out that in Pigford 1, billions of dollars were given out to black “farmers” who did not have to prove they had ever farmed; without proof they had ever had a loan at the USDA and without ever having filed paperwork to attain a loan. All it required to get the money was a statement they had attempted to farm, with a family member vouching for it. For this, it appears 94,000 blacks got checks for $50,000 each; “oddly” statistics only recognized there being 18,000 black farmers.

Writing at Biggovernment.com, black farmer Jimmy Dismuke, who has 200 acres in Arkansas to raise hogs, called Pigford “the biggest ripoff this country has ever known.” He details knowing people with a potted plant in their apartments qualifying; eight people in one home getting checks; drug addicts and pushers getting them, too.

Breitbart has released his investigation, “The Pigford Shakedown: How the Black Farmers’ Cause was Highjacked by Politicians, Trial Lawyers and Community Organizers – Leaving Us With a Billion Dollar Tab.” He has been about the only journalist calling attention to this issue and has devoted most of Biggovernment.com to it this week. Go and read the whole of what he has found out.

Rush Limbaugh is quoted as saying “it is corruption right out in front of everybody’s eyes.” Tomorrow, phase two gets signed in Washington.

Where has the media been on this story?