Letterman: Sorry, Can’t Do It

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September 21, 2009 | Comments

Letterman just started. I guess after droning on and on over the last few days on television, the President still hasn’t lost his voice, so he is able to make his appearance on Letterman after all. I guess I should watch it.

Okay, I’m getting through the monologue. So far it has all gone just as predicted: a bunch of flat one-liners, sprinkled with “jokes” about Sarah Palin and George Bush (only the John McCain jab took me by surprise. How timely. How hilarious).

David tells us that President Bush never came on the show because he was too busy not working. More hilarity. Gotta wonder who writes this stuff. Apparently someone who doesn’t realize that most presidents would consider such an appearance unbecoming of the office of leader of the free world. I used to be a fan, so I know that way back in the day Dave was actually funny. I keep waiting for a nugget of humor in this monologue. Never happens.

Now David is talking about a heart-shaped potato from Missouri. He segues quickly to the moment we have all been waiting for: the grand entrance of the President. Here comes the predicted, and oh-so-euphoric, standing ovation. And look, there he is: the leader of the United States of America! He struts over to Dave. He waves to the huddled masses. He is so regal. So imperial. Oh-so-hip (and oh-so-unpresidential). He asks to see the heart-shaped potato….

And I’m out.

I tried. Can’t do it. Sorry. I’m off to Fox News. Or the Flintstones. Or Friends, I Love Lucy, Fraiser….anything….ah, Spongebob….perfect. Free at last. And with that, I bid you a good night, free of slobbering, interview-induced nightmares.

Betsy Siino | Comments

Life in the Birdcage

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September 15, 2009 | Comments

Back in the day I was a staff writer for several well-known national pet care magazines in Southern California. A dog and horse person myself, I always found it amusing that a bird owner could place a towel or blanket over a pet bird’s cage, and Tweetie would automatically assume it must be nighttime, time for bed, good night.

Well, sorry to say it looks like there are some rather influential folks out there right now who are mistaking we the American people for pet birds living happily and blindly in a cage, assuming that they can simply throw a blanket over our cage, and we will doze off, no questions asked.

I’m talking here about what I once called the mainstream media – NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, Washington Post, etal – until the great Bernie Goldberg, media critic extraordinaire and author of “A Slobbering Love Affair,” reminded us all that it’s time to stop calling these outlets “mainstream,” because they are anything but. Here, here, Mr. Goldberg. I couldn’t agree more. But whatever we might call them, they are throwing a blanket over the cage, assuming that if they ignore certain incendiary stories, then we the people, their alleged audience, we will just obey their obvious superiority and assume as they mandate that these stories are not just inconsequential, but downright non-existent.

Cases in point: the Van Jones “czar” dismissal (following a steady stream of videos documenting the man’s racism and his avowed communism); the two heroic kids taking down Acorn even as we speak by proving the organization will support prostitution, tax evasion and the human trafficking of underage girls; and, of course, coverage of the massive turnout on September 12th of people of all parties, colors and ages who marched on Washington to protest the hijacking of the United States government, the American Dream and the American bank account.

Look to the formerly mainstream media for news on these events and, if you don’t hear the outright chirping of crickets, you’ll find a downplay of the events and shameless derision of the American people. You just have to wonder if the nation’s formerly illustrious journalism schools (Columbia? Northwestern? Where are you?)  – are actually teaching this birdcage technique in class: Ignore the story and the masses will fall in line behind our agenda. Huh? Agenda? Ignoring major news stories? Whatever happened to who, what, when, where and why?

Because I don’t happen to live in a birdcage and thus don’t believe that a blanket means bedtime, I easily located actual footage and images of the march on Washington elsewhere. As did plenty of other Americans, as the formerly mainstream media ratings can attest. And given those images, despite what one so-called journalist was reporting on one of those formerly mainstream sites, I didn’t for a moment believe his statement that only about 1,000 people had shown up on Pennsylvania Avenue (to her credit, neither did the anchor to whom he reported this ridiculous estimate). I also saw the people who attended – those same regular people who showed up for August’s town halls. I heard them speak, saw their signs, witnessed their genuine love of country. Sorry formerly mainstreamers, your agenda reporting….just not worthy of our attention or our time, let alone our belief. I just wish you would present material more worthy of your own vocation, your own training, your own classic traditions that used to mean something.

If we are currently enmeshed in a world where our government sadly misunderstands and dismisses the American people, the same can and should be said of the media to whom these same Americans once looked for news and information. I don’t know when and why it happened, but they have consciously turned their responsibilities over to the likes of 20-something film-school activists who are doing the necessary investigations, and for all the right reasons. Meanwhile the formerly mainstreamers spend their time promoting and covering for a left-wing government intent on destroying the very Americans they hope to see pick up a daily paper or turn on channel 2 or 4 every night at 6:00. What are they thinking?

I suppose the only answer is that there are some backroom meetings going on where government representatives are meeting with these so-called journalists, promising them that if they help further the agenda of an administration they never vetted, they will reap that administration’s ultimate rewards: solid gold health care for life; managerial positions in the Bureau of Propaganda, private-jet travel on demand, a fleet of SUVs in the garage, and an endless supply of Kobe beef and high-fructose corn syrup. Like I said: the only possible answer.

What the formerly mainstreamers don’t understand is that we in the perceived birdcage, we have access both to large-screen TVs and computers in the birdcage – copies of the Constitution are in there, too, by the way — and no towel, no blanket in the world can block those out. We resident birds have made that abundantly clear. Sorry to burst your bubble, formerly mainstreamers. With or without the blanket, as the great Ronald Reagan said back in better days, “It’s morning in America.” And we don’t intend to sleep in.

Betsy Siino | Comments

Eight Years Ago…

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September 11, 2009 | Comments

It was eight years ago today. And it changed everything. With great humility, I pray, as I do every year on this day of remembrance, for those we lost, and I offer all my gratitude to those who have kept us safe for all these years since.

God, please continue always to bless and protect our America. We will never forget, and we know You won’t forget us.

Betsy Siino | Comments

Not Again!

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September 9, 2009 | | Comments

Oh please, make it stop! The President is speaking yet again, this time to Congress – the same health-care-reform speech we have heard over and over and over again in his neverending campaign.

Sheesh, this President is desperate. How else do you explain the flag on his lapel? Why else would he launch the speech with those ever-popular scenes of bread-line America, courtesy of, you guessed it, George W. Bush? Why else is his wife channeling the pink-clad visage of Jackie Kennedy?

And take a gander, will ya, at the utter desperation of his party, jumping to their feet like overdressed toys in response to every syllable the man utters. How embarrassing for them. They’re obviously thinking that the more visually fervent their adulation, the more their obedience to that flashing “Applause” sign above the teleprompter, the more likely we the masses will likewise leap aboard their bandwagon. Watch them clap like gleeful toddlers, the glint in their eyes revealing their collective relief that they can shove this monstrosity down our throats while they remain set for life with the Cadillac of all health plans.

What they also reveal tonight is their collective belief that all one – make that the one – needs to do is say something, anything, and everyone will believe. State that 50 million Americans are without health insurance, and the people will believe. State unequivocally that this plan will cost us nothing, that it will not fund abortions or cover illegal aliens, that it will not ration care or withhold care from the elderly, that the vast majority of Americans support it, that Federal bureaucrats won’t be making health-care decisions – oh, and while you’re at it, throw in that you are a devout capitalist who supports competition and the free market – and the people will believe. You have a gift. You need not speak the truth. The people will believe.

The trouble is, Mr. President, sir, you and your Congress have made it abundantly clear over the last few months how woefully inept you are at reading the American public. Drowning as you are in the flood of common sense the people are casting your way, you remain consummate, shall we say, storytellers – expert both at conveniently omitting pertinent facts and at uttering ridiculous, shall we say, untruths. But the sleeping giant has embraced the truth, and your golden words and standing Os can’t erase that. Even with a blue pill.

So, we learn tonight that the President has rescued the economy.  Yee-haw! His minions are on their feet again. He said so. Must be true then. He accuses us ingrates of using scare tactics to oppose his grand plan. Yet he tells us people will die if we don’t climb on board. Reminds me of a commercial spoof on the classic SCTV show, when a sweaty, twitchy, jittery John Candy dressed in a white lab coat tells his TV audience that if they didn’t use the product he’s plugging, “You’ll…you’ll die. Yeah, you’ll die. You will.”

Oh and here we go, right on schedule, throwing blame at President Bush. Again. But what’s that I just heard? No. Couldn’t be. Did he really just utter the words “malpractice reforms?” No details, no commitments, of course, but a juicy bone to the Republicans. And there’s more. In a style that would make Ward Cleaver proud, he’s inviting the Republicans to come on in and talk to him any old time they want. Sure, they’ve been shut out since April, but never mind that. His door is always open. Hear that? Sure, he follows this with a not-so-veiled threat should they deign to misbehave, but they should be honored all the same.

Okay, we knew this was coming: Calling the spirit of Ted Kennedy. Do it for Teddy. Bring his last wish for the little people home. He speaks of Teddy’s legacy — the liberal lion and the American character (brilliant connection). Do it for Teddy. The tears flow. This has to be a deal closer.

I don’t really know what he’s talking about now.  Doesn’t matter. Just hear those golden tones, rising now in calibrated intensity with the cadence of a Baptist minister. The jumping beans rise again. Apparently in the homestretch, he pays tribute to our history and those courageous Americans who came before. (Settle down there now, czars. Just dramatic effect, remember?)

And at last it comes to an end. He asks God to bless America. A bone to us believers. This believer is just thanking the Lord that this latest campaign speech is over.  Nothing new to report – other than the glorious death stare Madam Pelosi shot a Congressman who dared heckle the great leader when he told the ignorant masses that his plan will not include illegal aliens. Pure fury on the Speaker’s face. Funny, though. I don’t remember such venom back when her compadres showered President Bush with booing during a State of the Union Address.

The GOP just gave the response. Short, brilliant, rich with alternatives. And I think precisely what the American people – people who, despite what this administration and this Congress would like to believe – want to hear. Good night, and roger that….

Betsy Siino | Comments

Aftermath of the Great Speech

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September 8, 2009 | Comments

I felt kind of nauseous most of the day. All because of the President’s speech today to the schools.

I read the text of the speech yesterday (remember, they had to release the text to appease us wingnuts).  It was fine and dandy, just as I expected. Carefully crafted. Expertly designed to answer all the criticisms that arose over the last week when it was announced the President would be addressing the nation’s schoolkids. What kind of barbarian can object to a President, especially this President, urging kids to work hard, be responsible, stay in school, all that exalted stuff? Well, a barbarian like me, I guess.

The speech was fine, but I just couldn’t shake that pesky “original intent” thing – the accompanying lesson plan that, before backlash revision, asked kids to “help the President.” After my call to the school district last Friday got me nowhere, as a parent, I had to make my own decision and do what I thought was right. And my decision was no, I’m not buying.

The kids and I looked at the speech yesterday. Nothing new for them. They’ve heard it all before. At home. Many times. As it should be. Today one school aired it, one didn’t. I politely told the one that did that my youngest would not be participating. Apparently, according to an NBC pundit this morning who shall remain nameless, I am thus too stupid to raise my own kids. This was the same guy, who, on the morning of the 2008 election, proclaimed LBJ to be one of the greatest Presidents in history, so I’m not putting much stock in his assessment.

My reason for resistance was not that I feared indoctrination, and, as my offspring would tell you, I’m not one who believes in wholesale sheltering or isolation. No, it was the principle. I have taught my kids that what matters isn’t what they say, but what they do. The same applies to those around them, as well. This national event, following on the heels of debate about all the President’s czars (one of whom — an avowed communist and so-called “9/11 truther”– stepped down this weekend), set the perfect example.

A pretty speech does not erase the fact that I find this administration’s actions dangerous and diametrically opposed to what I want for my country and my family – and what is outlined in our Constitution. I was nevertheless left feeling tonight like a lone voice in the wilderness, so much so that I have second guessed today’s decisions over and over. Had I to do it again, perhaps I would have chosen a different path. Perhaps not. I don’t know. I guess this is what made me nauseous.

But I found my elixir tonight when I spotted a random quote from Sir Winston Churchill. I was reminded of an image once described to me of those dark days in the 1930s when the British Parliament was scrambling to appease the escalating aggressions of Adolph Hitler, assuming that would keep their island nation safe. But there among them could be heard one lone voice: “This is a terrible mistake.” Indeed I have always found strength in Sir Winston’s courage, not simply in standing strong against the Axis powers during World War II, but standing strong himself in the lead-up to the war, when his belief in what was right and what was dangerous made him one of the most vilified men in Britain.

So I will use Sir Winston’s strength to quiet my own lonely inner conflict. And the words of the brilliant Tammy Bruce, too, who said last week that “you are your child’s moral tutor, not that shady lawyer from Chicago.” As for my second guessing, well, as I told my husband tonight, “I have to get over this. I’ve never been a parent during an attempted socialist-fascist-whatever-this-is takeover of the government before.” Sir Winston knows what I mean.

Betsy Siino | Comments

My Fair School District

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September 5, 2009| Comments

My Dear School District:

Well, you certainly played me when I called your office yesterday, didn’t you? It actually didn’t hit me until after we hung up. After 30 minutes on the phone with you, I was no better informed than I had been a half hour earlier when I dialed the phone.

Allow me to remind you how it went. I called to see how you, dear school district, would be handling the President’s address to the nation’s schoolchildren, set for Tuesday, September 8th. You acted as though you weren’t quite sure what I was talking about. I patiently told you about the speech, when it was scheduled, that it was to be a “welcome-back-and-stay-in-school” message to the kids from their leader, and that there was some controversy surrounding it. Yes, I played along, but you knew all that already, didn’t you? You knew full well that this event was being met with such words as “indoctrination,” and “inappropriate” from parents suspicious of the motives behind it.

Nonetheless, as you will recall, I told you that it was not so much the President’s speech that concerned me, but the original “lesson plan” that was distributed to the nation’s schools by the U.S. Department of Education to accompany the speech. Included within this original material, I explained, was an instruction to kids – grades pre-K through 6 – to write letters to themselves about what they might do to help the president. First you had heard of this, apparently (again, just playing along).

Then, suddenly, you had the paperwork in front of you. Remember that? The very Department of Education material we had just been discussing. You scanned it, and, wouldn’t you know, you saw no mention of schoolkids being directed to help the president. I reminded you that it was the original lesson plan to which I was referring, and thus the original intent of this speech. In the wake of parental controversy the content had been revised. You continued to feign innocence. You asked if this original material I quoted appeared on official Department of Education letterhead. Nice touch.

In the midst of this, you implied I was the only person who had called your office, the only individual in our entire community who had inquired about this. Oh, but wait. Yes, there were other calls. Now you remembered. Your office had actually heard from quite a few parents earlier in the day. You then insinuated that perhaps I, and those others, perhaps we are simply confused and not properly informed. You were even rather specific in less than the most complimentary terms, about where we probably got our information.

You seemed surprised to hear that my information actually came from original source material – original source material that still, even after the White House revision that deleted the “help the president” directive, includes suggestions that students study the lives of the Presidents (preferably the current President, the only one referred to by name), that they reflect on what the President wants them to do, and that they ponder why it is important for them to listen to politicians. Well, Barbara Bush once spoke to schoolkids, you added (and, yes, I know, so did her husband and Ronald Reagan), but the difference, I responded, was that her talk did not include a lesson plan designed to help her husband, the president. You conceded I was right. Remember?

The bottom line is that I was simply seeking information, knowing that school officials nationwide have been setting district-wide policies in response, again, not to the speech, necessarily, but to the accompanying, unprecedented lesson plan. Given my fact-finding experience, my district apparently chose to remain vague and confusing: “most of the kids will probably be at lunch anyway….school just started so there is a lot going on….everyone has so much to do.”

When finally I accepted that there was no official policy, no concrete information to be had, I bade you farewell and said I’ll just have to see what happens. You, gratefully I think, followed my lead. But you sounded tired. Sad, even. I don’t know what that meant. It just wasn’t really what I expected.

You may be interested to know that after our conversation, I decided to tune in to left-wing radio and see how the situation was playing there. I was greeted immediately by a raspy rant that now to appease the “trailer trash,” the White House was being forced to release the content of the speech on Monday. As “trailer trash” representative, let me say I’m glad to hear it. Oh and just so you know….that comment was exactly what I expected.

Thanks for your time.

Betsy Siino | Comments