Sunday, May 16, 2021
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President Obama, Terry McAulliffe, “Bracketology” and Reality

Just as Terry McAulliffe and even the President dutifully and publicly filled out their NCAA March Madness brackets, there was NPR telling listeners yesterday that it is all for naught. After all, any individual's chances of getting the brackets right is 9 quintillion to one for the 64 teams, which is way, way worse odds than the chance of getting struck by lightening. Getting it right is just too random to waste your time on "bracketology." It is a useless enterprise. But (almost) everyone does it. The widespread perception that one can actually get the entire March Madness brackets right is based on a misunderstanding of statistics, probabilities, and (yes) reason. But then we all misperceive probabilities, even those who know better. Regardless, all manner of sportscasters, celebrities and just plain folks occupy their time dutifully filling out their brackets.  

So, I have to ask, is this useless enterprise more important than, say, defending seniors, kids and  more against Paul Ryan (don't look now but an even worse version of his budget just passed the House today)? And do not citizens everywhere make better use of their time writing to the President and telling him to not throw us all (seniors, kids, workers, the sick, the poor, and more) under the bus or on "the table"? Wouldn't it be a better use of time to call Nancy Pelosi and tell her to stop caving before the negotiations even take place?  The odds would be vastly better than 9 quintillion to one if every single citizen who cares got on the phone and on the email system of Congress. You can even do it while you watch!!!!!! Why, if every Democrat told their representatives her or she will  withhold support if they don't stop the caving to the 1%, imagine how things might change!

Professor Boyer and World Regions class at Virginia Tech request President...


 How can the President say no to this? :)



President Obama’s Courage

Robert Parry has written a thoughtful article about progressives taking President Obama's courage for  granted, or even disputing it.  It is worth reading and considering. I say this in full recognition that I am one of those progressives Parry speaks of.  Yet I want to share with you some thoughts.  As we have criticized the President's caving to Republicans on more than one occasion and as we have finally applauded his drawing a line in the sand beyond which he will not go to appease them, Parry's words haunt. We talk about how terrible it is that only this president has had to contend with the vast proliferation of gun-packing hot-heads at rallies.  We are angry at this turn in the pubic distemper and defend him against the racist attacks by a Southern-Strategy-driven, racist  party. We talk about how terrible it is that only this president has had to contend with the vast proliferation of gun-packing hot-heads at rallies.  How is this allowed?  

But the truth is that no black man in the United States who makes a serious run for the White House can be described as a coward or lacking guts.

On the last night of the campaign in 2008, my youngest son Jeff and I went to Manassas, Virginia, to see Obama's final rally. About 100,000 people crammed into an expansive field normally used for county fairs, an impressive turnout especially for an event only recently added to the schedule.

But an unsettling image was kept out of the TV camera angles: Secret Service sharpshooters with their baseball caps on backwards were positioned around the fairgrounds surveying the crowd through the telescopic scopes of high-powered rifles. The threats against Obama's life were unprecedented.

How often we forget what our President has sacrificed for our nation! He has taken on this very public role with the full knowledge of the risks, as deplorable as they are. He has done it for us. Is this not both generous and courageous?  

You Can’t Please ‘Em, No Matter What You Do


It seems that just about everyone has some gripe about President Barack Obama. Many of us on the left say that he hasn't been progressive enough. Those on the right - the ones who actually are conservatives - moan that he has enlarged the size of the federal government far too much. The wingnut fringe standing on the right edge of their flat earth - including the Tea Pots - spout vitriolic steam about how he must be some sort of fascist or communist, all the while screaming that, no, they are not racist.

So, what have President Obama and the Democrats in Congress managed to accomplish in the face of negative votes by the Party of No and in spite of archaic Senate filibuster rules being abused by the GOP and even with a campaign finance system that puts a price tag on members of Congress? Let's make a list.

1. Fair Pay Act. Done. 2. Recovery Act. Done 3. Credit Card Reform. Done 4. Health Care Reform. Done. 5. Student Loan Reform. Done 6. Financial Regulation Reform. Done.

I personally think the gentleman has earned this weekend at Acadia National Park. I don't even blame him for BP's negligence that has given us the greatest natural disaster in my lifetime. I lay that in the lap of previous administrations that made a mockery of regulatory oversight.