Jody Powell, Aide to Pres. Carter, Dies at 65

Pres. Carter, left, and Powell on Air Force One
Pres. Carter, left, and Powell on Air Force One
New York Times:

Jody Powell, the longest-serving and probably closest aide to former President Jimmy Carter, died on Monday at his home near Cambridge on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, said Jack Nelson, the journalist and his friend. He was 65.

Mr. Powell collapsed outside his home, and efforts to revive him at a hospital were unsuccessful, Mr. Nelson said. He added that Mr. Powell’s wife, Nan, said that her husband had suffered a heart attack…

In recent years, he had been chairman of Powell Tate, a Washington-based public relations firm.

NPR:

Powell was a familiar face during the four stormy years of the Carter presidency — during the Israeli-Egyptian summit, the Iranian hostage crisis and Carter’s 1980 campaign, first against Edward Kennedy and then Ronald Reagan.

A Georgia native known for his deep Southern drawl, he also worked on Carter’s presidential campaign in 1976 and served as the Carter administration’s spokesman between 1977 and 1981.

Powell, along with the late Hamilton Jordan, joined up with Carter several years before he was elected governor of Georgia in 1970. Powell served as Gov. Carter’s press secretary, then, as well.

At one point, President Carter said that “Jody Powell knows me better than anyone else except my wife.”

Grading the RPOF’s Obama Report Card

As its lead-up to President Obama’s prime-time press conference Wednesday, the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) issued a report card on Obama’s performance to date. It’s reproduced below just as it was sent out in another of the RPOF’s press releases, or as we like to think of them, failed attempts at snark.

Read the report card, then see how we graded the graders below.

obama_report_card

Here’s how we graded the RPOF’s performance:

SUBJECT: Statistics. COMMENTS: RPOF assessed Mr. Obama’s math skills by using unattributed statistics to make its point, and for extra credit, threw in the technique of using truncated statistics by starting the clock on job loss (and economic troubles in general) on Jan. 20, 2009. In its health assessment the RPOF attributes its statistics to bolster its illogical argument. In assessing his finance performance, the RPOF eschews statistics completely — a masterful use of the dismal science. There are lies, damned lies and statistics, and nobody lies as well as the Republican Party. GRADE: A+.

SUBJECT: Rhetoric. COMMENTS: While assessing Mr. Obama’s history performance, the RPOF deftly moved the focus from his domestic cabinet-level “czar” appointments to connect them to the spread of communism across Europe in the 20th century. In dwelling on the easily ridiculed word, “czar” and ignoring the fact that Obama is not the first president to appoint them, they employ a cheap shot. Such skillful use of what appears on the surface to be logic deserves the highest marks. GRADE: A+

SUBJECT: Civics. COMMENTS: By portraying Mr. Obama as never missing a basket when playing basketball while being totally uninformed about North Korea, the RPOF uses two tried and true racist assumptions about African Americans — they are intellectually inferior, yet physically superior, to whites. For the added underlying message that Obama’s race and inexperience pose a threat to national security by invoking the specter of North Korea, they get extra credit. GRADE: A++.

SUBJECT: English. COMMENTS: The RPOF, FOX News and most talk radio hosts fail to understand usage, and don’t know when to employ “Democrat” versus “Democratic.” We suspect they’re misusing “Democrat” on purpose, a practice that began recently under President Bush, but as Jon noted, goes back at least to Sen. Joseph McCarthy. For pushing the envelope of the English language by delving deeply into reverse semiotics and the power of thematic repetition, as well as for their robust explorations into the tenuous relationship between truth and meaning, the RPOF deserved an A, but turned in a term paper late. GRADE: B.

Pensito Review’s New Year’s Resolutions

Here at the ass-end of a particularly crappy year, it’s a time for quiet reflection and looking — however fearfully — ahead. So, casting off our usual mantle of obstreperous nonconformity, we mindlessly jump on the bandwagon of year-end cliches and offer for your edification and delight our resolutions for 2009.

    We resolve to stop referring to Rush Limbaugh as a “gas bag” and instead refer to him as a “great hulking goober of a gas bag.”
  • Vow to stay out of the Mickey Rourke/Sean Penn dust-up leading up to the Oscars.
  • Stop feeling sorry for Caroline Kennedy when she says “you know” more than 50 times in an interview.
  • Change our profligate ways and instead learn to pinch a penny until Lincoln screams.
  • Make a firm commitment to you, our readers, not to use the word “recessionista” — the newly coined term for fashion mavens in a down economy — ever.
  • Stop mentioning to people who’ve never watched her show how darned cute Rachel Maddow is.
  • Eradicate from our vocabulary the overworked word “maverick” and replace it instead with “angry old white guy who will do anything to win.”
  • Spend even more time searching the Internets for leads for Pensito Review, and even less time earning money.
  • Stop referring to Rush Limbaugh as a “gas bag” and instead refer to him as a “great hulking goober of a gas bag.”
  • Stop doing business with Bernie Madoff. Really.
  • Become a bank and get us some of that bailout loot. GMAC did it — why can’t First Pensito National Citi Bank of America?
  • Stop lying on our MySpace page.
  • Start lying on our Facebook page.
  • Keep our dog on the leash more, and when we let her off, stop yelling at her in front of people as if they will think more of us for at least recognizing our dog should be on a leash to begin with.
  • Try our best to ignore Sarah Palin.
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Especially ideas for posts.
  • Take all the Tracy Chapman songs off our iPod.
  • Vow that as we write our memoirs, we leave out all references to love affairs through fences, drug and alcohol arrests, being saved by wolves, and Oprah Winfrey.

Those are our resolutions. What are yours?

The Future’s So Bright We Can Already See It

crystal_ball.jpg

We’ve reluctantly — because we don’t want to abuse our supernatural powers — dusted off the Pensito Review crystal ball to make a few predictions for 2009.

  • On her first trip to Eastern Europe as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton is met in Bosnia with sniper fire.
  • Adam Sorkin creates a new West Wing-like television program based loosely on The Jeffersons sitcom where a black family moves into the White House and has to deal with a bunch of weird white people in Congress in a lot of forced, uncomfortable situations.
  • In his last few hours as president, Bush pardons Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, Alberto Gonzales, Michael Vicks, Mark Cuban, Ken Lay (posthumously), Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, Mark Foley, Todd Palin (DUI), Ted Stevens, Duke Cunningham, Larry Craig, Bill O’Reilly (sexual harassment), Rush Limbaugh (prescription drug fraud), Phil Spector and O.J. Simpson.
  • Eliot Spitzer and Jon Edwards buy a Winnebago and a digital camera and hit the road for Panama City, Fla. during spring break for a new reality program called “Guys Gone Wild.”
  • It’s June 2009 and they’re still counting votes in Minnesota.
  • Jamie Lynn Spears, Angelina Jolie, Katie Holmes, Bristol Palin, Clay Aiken and those 17 high school girls in Gloucester, Mass., volunteer to be sterilized by aliens as a gesture of interplanetary goodwill.
  • The newspaper industry completely collapses, bankrupting Rupert Murdoch and Sam Zeller, and leaving the West Framforth Argus-Beacon the only print newspaper still publishing in the United States.
  • With its bailout money, the U.S. auto industry retools and comes out with the coolest hybrid ever made, called the Iaccoca. Unfortunately, although the vehicle initially is greeted with excitement and was hailed as having the potential to single-handedly cure our dependence on foreign oil, due to its name it is consigned to the dustbin of history alongside the Edsel.
  • In a desperate attempt to maintain its momentum from the presidential elections, Saturday Night Live starts doing skits involving Georgia’s president Mikhail Saakashvili, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel — and nobody notices.
  • After poisoning our dogs’ food, our children’s toys and our toothpaste with melamine, China refines its efforts to kill members of both political parties by flooding the post-election market with lead-glazed Barack Obama commemorative plates and MSG-infused “Palin in 2012” T-shirts.
  • Larry King finally stops doing whatever it is he does.
  • On his first day in office, President Barack Obama signs Executive Order 1256 decreeing that no one, and he means no one, is supposed to pay one iota of attention to any celebrity who goes by just one name. That means you, Cher, Madonna, Beyonce, Oprah, et. al.
  • Newt Gingrich gets fatter, uglier and meaner.
  • So does Jeb Bush.
  • Al Gore just gets fatter and more saintlike.
  • General Motors apologizes to the American people for the Hummer, calling it “the single most obnoxious thing we ever did” and adding, “Our heads were up our butts, but we get it now. Buy a Chevy! LYLAS!”
  • It’s October 2009 and they’re still counting votes in Minnesota.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints apologizes for its role in the defeat of California’s Proposition 8, which bars gays from entering into a civil marriage contract. The Mormon Church issues a statement that to atone for its actions, it will immediately stop posthumously baptizing Nazis and Jews. Pinkie promise!
  • In what has been hailed as a further effort to seal his hetero creds, a honeymoon sex tape was released on the Internets of closeted Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and his blushing bride Carole Rome engaged in sexual acts that are illegal in every county of the state. The grainy, poor-quality tape confirms that Crist’s famous tan is an all-over one.
  • Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin agrees to appear on the cover of Playboy Magazine. “How many hockey moms do you know who can have four or five kids and still have a bodacious bod like this?” asked the former Miss Wasilla.

Photo, Past Statement Prove Palin Lied about Opposing Bridge to Nowhere

The McCain campaign is brazenly promoting the lie that Sarah Palin consistently opposed the infamous Bridge to Nowhere pork project in 2006 that they even included this false claim in a new ad.
We’re not going to “allow the spinmeisters to turn this project or any other into something that’s so negative.”
— Palin

It ought to be problematic for them that the record shows that Palin wholeheartedly supported the Bridge to Nowhere when it was first proposed. Evidence of this includes the photo above showing Palin holding a T-shirt promoting the giant pork project, as well as this statement to a local paper:

“I’m hearing from a lot of Southeast residents who believe that maybe they haven’t been given their due respect,” she said. “Part of my agenda is making sure that Southeast is heard. That your projects are important. That we go to bat for Southeast when we’re up against federal influences that aren’t in the best interest of Southeast.”

She cited the widespread negative attention focused on the Gravina Island crossing project.

“We need to come to the defense of Southeast Alaska when proposals are on the table like the bridge and not allow the spinmeisters to turn this project or any other into something that’s so negative,” Palin said…

“There needs to be a link between Ketchikan and its future and its future opportunities and progress, opening up land in this area,” she said.

It ought to be problematic for them to promote Palin as Maverick when the record shows she has egregiously flipflopped on one fo the most controversial issues of the day — but it probably won’t hurt them at all.

This is another instance of Republicans setting ground rules for Democrats and then flagrantly breaking their own rules when it suits them.

For example, it is permissible for Republicans to impeach a Democratic president over something as minor as lying about an extramarital affair in a civil deposition, but it is outrageous to suggest that a Republican president might be impeached for falsifying his reasons for taking the country to war, or for treasonously exposing a CIA program tracking WMB in order to enact political revenge.

In 2004, Republicans used John Kerry’s two opposing positions on the war — he was for it before he was against it — to disqualify him from the presidency. But now that they have a vice presidential candidate who has taken two diametrically opposed, but both politically expedient, positions on the most controversial pork project of all time, they’re simply ignoring her strong support in the beginning while they promote her as a maverick for opposing it after the political winds changed.

Ask Dr. Democrat: Did We Always Have Superdelegates?

Dear Dr. Democrat:

Did we always have super delegates? I don’t remember ever hearing the term before this year.

Unsure About Supers

Dear Unsure:

The super delegates were added after the McGovern nomination in order to prevent the party from ever again nominating high-minded, wine-sipping, arugula-munching intellectual elites who don’t stand a chance in the general election. Obviously, it has been an abysmal failure.
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But seriously, the purpose of the super delegate system is to stop a too-liberal, unelectable candidate in a close election from getting the nomination at the convention. The idea was that if it should ever come to pass again that the hoi poloi gave the popular vote to an unelectable effete, the super delegates, who are mostly current or former elected officials, would step in and save the day by choosing a more palatable (i.e., conservative) candidate.

It’s popular to cast Clinton as being evil because she might play this card, but the card was put there to be played. That being said, I don’t think she’ll do it — and if she tries, I don’t think the supers will go for it. Feinstein and even Schumer have signaled they won’t vote for her.

But, as the saying goes, the rules are the rules.

Dr. D