Sunday, November 23, 2008

Soapbox Sunday: The Worst Week Ever for the Old White Man

This week we have a special Soapbox Sunday. We have the distinct privilege of yielding the floor, or rather the soapbox, to our good friend and guest commentator Barely Partisan. A true Beltway insider, Barely Partisan, provides a lil bit of perspective from on top the Hill. We hope to hear from him again soon.

This is the Worst Week Ever for the Old White Man! I know, it seems unbelievable, right? What does “the Man” have to worry about? After all, politics is the historic playground for “the Man,” especially since the U.S. Congress largely runs on the seniority system. However, just consider below.

Ever since the election of our friend, President-Elect Barack Obama (D), the stock of the old white man has dropped (literally & figuratively). Let’s take a look at all the political hits we have seen.

Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) was ousted as the chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. This sent shock waves through the Senate, the chummiest club of old white men ever. The soon to be chairman-emeritus is 91. He is known as “big-daddy” (a name he coined himself) for bringing home the “bacon” to his beloved West Virginia. The colleagues of the President Pro-Tempore of the Senate, and longest serving senator in U.S. history, have been circling his still warm carcass for most of 2008. They were concerned that he was not fit to lead the committee which dished out all of the funding. Despite their efforts, he was able to push back until earlier this month. He released a statement, seemingly of his own volition, which said that even he felt like change should effect him. You would think that this stalwart of the Democratic party would have cemented himself in his position, but a stronger Democratic majority only meant that he would no longer sit in the big seat in full committee hearings. He retains the gavel in the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, but that’s merely a consolation prize. This is even sadder, despite his age, because all observers of the Senate know all you need to do is keep on breathing as long as you have good staff; and Sen. Byrd has good staff. It just wasn’t enough to keep the reigns of his powerful committee. No more respect for seniority. Not even 91 year olds. Replaced by who? An 84 year old senior member from Hawaii.

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AL) proved that this period of time and effects on the OWM are bipartisan. Though this former head of the Senate Appropriations Committee and President Pro Tempore of the Senate was convicted of seven felonies just a short while ago, he was still favored by many to win re-election to the Senate for the seventh time. This is the man that championed statehood for Alaska. This man, through his advocacy, has brought Alaska whatever progress it has received during its entire existence in the Union. However, his greed and poo r book keeping have proven his downfall. When Sen. Stevens finally conceded, the next morning saw him yielding the Senate floor for the final time. His words were moving, and he said he could see himself removing the cloud that currently surrounds him, and his respect for the institution of the Senate was firmly intact. That is ironic since if he won re-election, some in his own party would have moved to have him removed—not wanting to be associated with a convicted felon, all despite the fact that he is appealing the decision on several reasonable grounds. The longest serving Republican senator in history has, too, fallen at age 85.

If Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) said in public, “I had a hand in making the President-Elect,” I would give him some credit. Don’t forget that 2004 Democratic Convention belonged to Sen. Kerry. He was the nominee at that point. He allowed the African American state senator from Illinois the opportunity to speak, just as 2000 Democratic Nominee Al Gore provided then-Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. four years before. The difference is that we’re still reading about Barack Obama, and our children will continue to read about him in history books. Without “that speech,” the President-Elect would have still been a senator from Illinois, with no problem. No real Republican stood in his way. However, the President-Elect might have had a harder time getting elected without that electrifying opportunity. He would have been just as popular or as well-known as his history making counterparts. How much do you know about Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) or New York Governor David Patterson (D)? That’s how much you would know about the President-Elect without that magical July 27 night of 2004. Don’t forget the Massachusetts junior senator came out early to endorse the President-Elect. So, it was no secret in DC that Sen. Kerry desired to be Secretary of State. He felt it was the job he was made for if he couldn't have the one he interviewed for four years ago. He has spent years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under the tutelage of the Vice-President-Elect. You know how many purple hearts he has. He has been on both national and international stages. Instead, the disciplined Transition staff (I believe) purposefully leaked that Sen. Clinton is the next State Department chief. It was their way to tell all the other pretenders to the throne to “keep your resumes. We found our gal.” Sen. Kerry, kingmaker. Downed at age 65.

The Vice-President-Elect turned 66 this week. If the Transition Team didn’t release a photograph of the President-Elect giving him a dozen cupcakes, then we would not have seen him at all. I know the goal is to stay out of the media, and his lack of recent20exposure is not the reason why he has found himself on this list. Rather it is the appointment of pending appointment of Sen. Clinton as Secretary of State. That appointment marginalizes Mr. Biden. Wasn’t he picked because of all of that foreign policy experience? Wasn’t that going to allow the incoming President the ability to pick some one symbolic of change for the State Department because the Veep would always be there to make sure the international message was clear and crisp (unlike the soon-to-be Veep's message on the campaign trail). Now, what’s the use of having the Senate Foreign Relations Chairman the #2 executive in the country? The Clinton family will loom huge in the Cabinet room and around the world. If I were the Veep-Elect, I would tell my scheduler to block off lots of time to listen to Senate debate. It seems like he will do more than open it, close it, and break ties. That scheduler might need to buy a few Snickers, because he is going to be hanging around the favored OWM club a lot. The Vice-President-Elect is starting work for new branch of government at age 66, but this week his level of influence in the Obama Administration, too, bit the dust.

Rep. John Dingell, whom will become the longest serving Member of the House of Representatives EVER early next year, was ousted by his number two on the powerful Energy & Commerce Committee this week. Though interested Hill observers and staffers saw this coming for the last two weeks, no one could do anything to stop it, not even Chairman Dingell. E&C is important not just because 60% of all House of Representatives legislation goes through that Committee, but with the problems concerning the automotive industry, the senior Dingell’s top billing is even more important. When Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), likely with the tacit approval of his House Speaker and fellow Californian, went after Dingell’s gavel it split the House Democratic caucus in half. Dingell set up a “whip team” to try to save his job. He also quickly sent correspondence to the President-Elect looking forward to working with him on healthcare reform, a major Obama initiative. This whole situation was made even worse because Dingell just recently had a replaced hip replaced again. Reportedly while Rep. Dingell was recovering, Rep. Waxman started his campaign to move from the big chair in the Government Reform Committee to E&C. (Besides, what Democrat wants to be the one to call in those that work for the next Administration and make sure they are doing their jobs? Shortens the honeymoon.) So, after two series of votes, Rep. Dingell’s grip on the powerful E&C gavel eased at the ripe old age of 82 to be replaced by a 69 year old Jewish man.

There are others, honorable mentions, like Sen. Saxby Chambliss running for his life in Georgia (at age 65), Attorney General Michael Mukasey (whom collapsed literally last night of apparent exhaustion at age 67), Senator Harry Reid (whom was totally marginalized by the President-Elect when he was forced to not even tap Senator Joe Lieberman on the hand this week for his insubordination), and every head of an American automotive company, but the men mentioned above could not have “believed” that a new era of “change” would effect them like this. You know it is a rough week in American politics when it is a rough week for “the Man.”>

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rib Roast

Leave it to C-Span to dig in the archives and rebroadcast a politico-celeb roast of Rahm Emanuel which was sponsored by Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, a charity run by Susan Axelrod, the wife of Obama strategist David Axelrod.

Then Senator Obama goes in on "Rhambo" in true Summer Jam form by making jokes about the Congressman's knack of executing balletic movements.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Blackberries, Cyberspace, & Laptops! Oh My! The White House May Go Wireless

A sign of the times. The change in guard could be accompanied with a bunch of new gadgets for the office of The President. The new American image embodied by the first family is like a mash-up of the Cleavers, the Cosbys, and the Jetsons. Well that's the picture I'm painting after surveying the recent coverage of our First Family-elect. One TV Viewer quipped at a preview of last nights' 60 minutes ad, "I hope we don't have to hear about these kids for the next four years!" and I replied, "That's what kids are for." Michelle Obama said in last night's 60 minutes interview that she was excited to move into the White House because her family would get to be together and Barack would be working at home in his immense home office.

What will our future President bring to his new home office? According to Jeff Zeleney in his NYT article, "Lose The Blackberry? Yes He Can, Maybe", the 44th President will be the first to have a laptop on his desk in the Oval Office.
“They could come up with some bulletproof way of protecting his e-mail and digital correspondence, but anything can be hacked,” said Ms. Owen, who has studied how presidents communicate in the Internet era. “The nature of the president’s job is that others can use e-mail for him.”
Technical glitches, hackers, storage space, and obnoxious archived items aside- if the Government really has access to the best technology, there's a lot of items Barack could use to match the efficiency of his Blackberry. Imagine it: a closed circuit Blackberry One Network for the President and his advisers (for official communication only, of course) - just think about how tricked out that phone would be (iPhone? G1? Bold? What are those?). Maybe I'm just dreaming about what I would do if I was president...

44 on 60

Usually we have a time limit on videos but today is a special "O"-K-ssion (that's corny but I couldn't resist...its kinda late at night). ALBC presents...drumroll and more corniness... The President-Elect and the next First Lady of the good ol U.S. of A. on 60 Minutes.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tube-side Chats

As part of the transition process, PeOTUS BO is doing weekly video blogs to address the progress of the transition, speak to the issues of the nation, and further gain the trust and confidence of the American people. This week's address focuses on the economy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sarah Palin unscripted

Well I'll be dog gone, she actually can talk and chew gum. Ok, she doesn't chew gum but she also doesn't wink or say "mahvrick" so she gets cool points.

"I'm comfortable with Barack Obama as our commander in chief, assuming that he has those around him who recognize .... that terrorists have not changed their minds ... Those who recognize what the threat is and how to deal with the threat."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We are moving in... the White House. There is no need to tell us to take our shoes off; we have purchased new shoes for this very day. We have known this day was coming for a while. Our parents told us our children would see it, but we felt it was important to accelerate the process. We knew the effect our generation could have on generations to come. Now the world knows as well. We welcome the Change Generation to the White House.
We staked claim to the lot and house
66% of all voters age 18-29 voted Obama

This was not our first election, most of us witnessed democracy in past elections, even if we weren’t old enough to participate. We watched people move into our house the last time. This time we wanted to pick out the drapes.

Clearing and excavation
69& of all first time voters voted for Obama

We have been waiting to move in. For many of us, this will be our first home. The apathy we were once known for is no more. We are proud of our home. We are excited to dispel the myths of attrition and lackadaisical post election involvement. We have formed bonds across socio-economic lines that we intend to keep. We are proud of our country.

We are committed to the continued maintenance
"I'm building me a home"—an adaptation

We have been building this home. When you saw us crying, we were building this home. When you saw us praying, we were building this home. It is more than this White House, which will someday decay. It’s about having a place for our souls to stay.

Change generation, welcome home…to The White House!

Notable Quotable

"Don't let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is and even if it's cracked up a little bit, maybe I'll just plow right on through that and maybe prematurely plow through it, but don't let me miss an open door. And if there is an open door in '12 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door," Governor Palin said in an interview with Fox News Monday.

Dear Governor Palin,

What in the heck are you talking about?

And here is the rest of it.

White House Field Trip

Monday, November 10, 2008

Election Day in Chicago with ALBC

We were there. We were there for you, for us. We are the Change generation. We are the 66%. Watch as ALBC walks you through 11.4.08.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Soapbox Sunday-The Post Political Landscape

Let me start by saying that my mind and my spirit haven’t had the chance to process what the world experienced Tuesday night, nor have I had a chance to process what ALBC witnessed in the Windy City on November 4th. Nonetheless, I feel compelled to search my mental hard drive and hope that the emotional high of the moment will spark questions and deductions that we’ll explore and discover the answers to over time. Here goes nothing.

Lets start by stating the obvious. First, the ruling issued by the People, as evidenced by the Electoral College and popular vote, tells that ideologically, America has shifted from the far right to just left of center. Next, while the Senate majority was increased, it likely won’t reach the filibuster proof 60, which is actually a good thing. Hence, the minority check on the majority is preserved, as is the majority’s mandate to draft and ratify the Change legislation. Further, with over 250 seats, House Democrats have the greatest majority held by a party in 15 years; but House Speaker Pelosi has declared that the administration should govern from the middle...

Now we won’t pretend like partisanship won’t rear its ugly head. It’s inevitable. However, the people have declared that our commonalities are more important than our differences; the issues most critical to the future of the country can only be addressed by resolving the mutual detriments they pose. The success of the first 100 days of the Obama administration will be determined, not by partisan preferences, but rather by how effectively the 535 members of Congress can translate the desires of the people into well funded, practical and executable policy.

All this leads to the question, “What happens next in the Post-Political world?” By Post-Political we mean the civic environment once we’ve transitioned from electing to administering. As the Obama Administration begins the transition process, the Citizens must transition into advocates for common man issues capable of neutralizing special interest and corporate lobbyist. We’d like to place emphasis on the fact that, “We the People” should be as enthusiastically, if not more fervidly, involved in how our government is administered as we were in electing those who will represent us. In doing so, we fulfill the President-elect’s proclamation that this is our “chance to make that change”; we mustn’t do the unoriginal and do nothing. We must be informed. We must be active. We must do our part to bring about a lil bit of change.

Meet the Brain Trust

...or at least 4 members of the group.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Saturday, November 8, 2008

New Head of State gets Top Billing

President Elect, Barack H. Obama grabs headlines and cover stories around the world. See the front page of every major newspaper on this PLANET! Use this link

Notable Quotable

Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so Obama could run. Obama's running so we all can fly.
-Jay Z

And here is the rest of it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Getting rid of the Senate letterhead

President-elect Obama's first press conference.

***the fact that Paul Volcker looks taller than Dick Parsons says alot. They're like real giants of the industry***

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


The rest is up to us.

Election Day in Chicago

We are in Chicago. People keep hitting us up like, "ALBC?!? You guys went to Chicago." We say, "Duh." This is the most exciting moment we have known in our lives. We are watching CNN, we are surveying the park, we are ready. We decided to cut some of the tension and time with a video so you could be here too. "Duh." The Revolution is after the jump.

Doing our Duty

ALBC transporting senior citizens to the polls in Chicago.

The Ritual

It's well know that Senator Obama has an election day ritual of ballin'; today was no different. And just to make sure everyone knows which team they play for, the squads were outfitted in "This One" and "That One" jerseys...nice.
Shout out to The aGeNT Smith Files for finding this video.

And here is the rest of it.

The time is NOW

Friends, here we are. We are actually here. Live from Chicago. Stay tuned all day today for what is assured to be the the most colorful commentary on todays events as they unfold. The excitement has been too much for us to contain. We barely slept in preperation to bring you a front row seat to Change. It may be 8:00 where you are, but we are watching Sen. Obama cast his vote. The day is young and we know where to find true red bull. Stay tuned.

A Lil Bit of Ticker Tape