Thursday, July 30, 2009

Airing of Grievances

So Big Guy, Skip, Joey B and I got together with Jim Crowley this evening for Festivus's airing of grievances (since Big Guy celebrates Kwanza, he adheres to the Festivus in August tradition). The difference this time was that we aired national grievances about race, name-calling, and Big Guy's refusal to man up and chug a full-bodied beer.

You'll see me in the picture over Crowley's right shoulder. I was there in case talk turned to the Boston Red Sox, and Big Guy needed to pull something out of thin air. The discussion went pretty much as planned, until the conversation turned to the Michael Vick situation. Crowley thinks Vick shouldn't be let back in the NFL, and Biden thinks Vick should be forgiven. Crowley was insistent and Biden told Crowley, "Hey, don't make a federal case out of it."

And Crowley said, "Well maybe I should."

Then Skip, who'd fallen asleep about a half hour earlier, woke up and said, "Wait, I'm the one making a federal case."
Joe had lost interest and went to play on the swing set, Crowley left in a huff, and Big O and Skip went to Hell Burger for dinner to show they could eat blue collar food at white collar prices. Toes was pretty annoyed by all of this, since nothing was done today on health care, Russia, Iran, Syria or stimulus. So all in all, a good day for America.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Vineyard Vining

I'm planning my vacation up to Martha's Vineyard in a few weeks with Big Guy. All of us pooled our money and put down $35K for a nice little place on the beach for a week or so. The place is called Blue Heron Farm, and it has at least three different residences on the property, a white Victorian house, where Big Guy and Lady M will stay, a hay barn for the press corps we've invited along since they worked so hard for us the past few months, and a shed for Toes and Gibbsy. Given that I put up 30% for the place, I'm assuming I'm living in the Big House.

Big Guy is most excited about the place having a golf practice tee and a small basketball court. Lady M is excited because she's within easy walking distance of an ice cream stand that is open 19 hours a day. I'm just relieved that I didn't pull the short straw that deputy White House press secretary Bill Burton pulled, and that I won't be on Bo duty, since cleaning up after him in the sand is going to be a hassle.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pulling a Gates

So last night, while we were in Chicago at a Democrat fundraising event, Big Guy decided to drive by the old homestead, pick up the mail that has been making a big pile in the middle of the foyer for the past six months, and make sure he really had turned off the iron before he locked up last December. Our neighbor, Bill Ayers, is supposed to be keeping an eye on the place, but given his life-style back in the 1960s, and '70s, '80s, '90s, and '00s, let's just say he isn't the most reliable individual to be house-sitting unless you have a lot of junk food in your kitchen to keep him busy.

Problem was, Big O left the house keys in the candy dish back in the Oval. Given my slight build, Rahm suggested that I crawl through the basement window and open the place up. But after the whole Skip Gates fiasco, I wasn't breaking and entering anything. Big Guy suggested that Toes do it, because if he got shot we could plausibly say it was a hate crime since everyone hates Toes.

In the end, Big Guy had the Secret Service jimmy the lock, then had them wait outside just in case Ayres had started one of his "hydroponic projects" in the living room. Beyond the mail, the only other thing Big Guy needed to check on was a shoebox up in his bedroom where he keeps his personal papers, like the original copy of birth certificate, the license from his first marriage in California, and his William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library card. Given the relieved expression he had when we left, I can only assume that either everything's okay, or he really believed that crap he sputtered on national TV the other night without my guidance and was just glad he didn't run into some of Chicago's finest on the way out.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sweet Home Chicago

Honestly, with a White House chief of staff who used to be a ballerina, a President who tries to boogie down with every talk-show host he appears with, and a press corps willing to dance with their one true love no matter how badly he screws them, how could we not choreograph last night's press conference any better? I thought Chuck Todd looked particularly fetching, and his question was so amazingly discombobulated, that it allowed O to talk for almost seven minutes without even trying to answer the question. Those are the ones he likes the best.

After last night's "So, O Knows He Can Dance" episode, Big Guy and I hit the road to keep pushing what we're now calling "health insurance reform." Big Guy is a little peeved at David Axelrod, who apparently misread the focus group numbers six months ago and thought that "health care reform" was the branding we wanted. Oops. So now, we're at a townhall session pitching the insurance reform we are now certain all of America really wants.

Tonight, we'll be in Chicago, where Big Guy will take credit for the perfect game that was pitched by a Chicago White Sox pitcher. Big Guy noted that the game was completed just as we were touching down in our our hometown. A fitting way to arrive, if you ask me, and totally Big Guy's doing, no doubt.

As Big O noted, he almost pitched a perfect game last week at the All-Star Game, well if you overlook the fact that he didn't face any live batters, didn't have to play defense, or deal with the pressure of aggressive spectators. Come to think of it, that pretty much describes every day at the White House for us.

Monday, July 20, 2009

It's All Adding Up

Big Guy and I joined a group of middle school kids this morning in the Oval. We initially hadn't had the meeting on O's official schedule in the hopes that it wouldn't get a lot of attention.

But nothing Big Guy does goes without notice, so the meeting was a little awkward in as much as Big Guy had to may the kids pinkie promise not to talk too much about our request. You see, these kids won a national math competition, and we were meeting with the individual winner, the two teams that won.

And while I can't go into too much detail about the meeting, I feel fairly confident in saying that we'll have the new budget deficit figures ready for public consumption by Thursday, since the new, er, analysts need to be in Philly in time for the Jonas Brothers concert.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Soft Pitch

I'm back at the White House, because Big Guy and I have to practice the first pitch for the All-Star Game tonight.

We're headed to Detroit, or what Rahm and Gibbsy jokingly call the "Unemployment Capital of the World," for the big speech today. Then we head to St. Louis, where, if Big O can work things out, he will throw out the first pitch.

Big Guy is kind of nervous about the throw, but after watching Michelle rifle a few fast balls off my screen, he seemed to get the hang of it, which is a good thing. He originally wanted to warm up using the White House press corps, but since they throw nothing by softballs at him every day, there's no way he'd be prepared to throw off the rubber at Busch Stadium.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I'm Okay

Remember how I was hoping to take the next couple of days off? Well, that hasn't worked out so well.

My White House designated operator, Felix, clearly has to go. Today, Big Guy and I were scrolling and speaking to an interest group that supported us, and during the middle of the speech, one of my screens collapsed. Turns out Felix didn't tighten one of my screen's bracket rods, and one of my screens collapsed. It was kind of embarrassing, and the accident looked alot worse than the may have seemed on video.

All that said, I think I tweaked something. It may be my ACL, or maybe my MCL, or my "T" joint. Regardless, the Secret Service sent me first to George Washington University Hospital, where there is a special ICU and care facility for senior administration officials. But a good friend of mine, I'll call him Browny for legal reasons, ended up in a coma there after having "minor sinus surgery" if you get my drift, and there was no way in hell, I was going to put up with that.

So off I went to Bethesda Naval, where I figured I'd get looked at and released. But then there were the X-rays, the MRIs, the prodding and poking, the seemingly endless attempts to draw blood where the nurse couldn't find a vein despite my best efforts to explain that I was merely a humble hard-drive. Yet the poking and prodding continued.

Then they discovered that I basically had a limited warranty, and out the door I went. Someone really ought to try to look into this health care thing.

Mad for the Motor City ... Not

Toes came into my bedroom in the residence today; I was catching up on my sleep, what with the jetlag and the long hours coming back from Africa. I guess I should've guessed that Ghana was a party country, what with Big Guy's dad never coming home after going there for what was supposed to be a two week visit. But I digress.

So, Rahm tells me that my vacation has been cancelled. With Big Guy scheduled to to do a townhall tomorrow outside of Detroit, I had requested a couple of days off so I could relax a little bit before Big O and I hit the road to campaign for whatever it is Congress is going to tell him to sign for healthcare and climate change. But I guess there was a change of plans.

Now, I'm going to Detroit, instead of Camp David, and will have to put up with scrolling a half-baked speech we're pulling together as I write. The good thing is that Rep. John Conyers will be there. He's from Detroit, and the briefing materials say he is a beloved figure there, so he should be able to ease the controversy a bit. Or maybe it said he was bedeviled.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I Remember ...

This is Exhibit No. 374 of what happens when Big Guy doesn't stick to the script.

Big Guy may not remember when he met Michelle, but I remember the first date. He and Lady M sat in the front seat of Big Guy's old Ford Fiesta while I sat in the back seat, my screen on the hump, and scrolling text for Big Guy backwards, so he could read me via the rear-view mirror.

I don't know why he can't remember that. That night is seered into my brain. 20 years of therapy hasn't gotten it out.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Roamin' Through Roma

We landed here in a Rome a few hours ago, and beyond having a driver that nearly killed us, what with his lane changing, swerving, those ridiculous traffic circles and the like, the city seems like a nice place. I hear Silvio Berlusconi has quite the Telepromptress, so I'm looking forward to this G-8 meeting.

Our arrival was marred by the greeting at the airport, when the Italian official kept ducking away from Lady M. Seems that flower she had on her dress looked like one of those gags that squirt water, and the Italian didn't want to get wet.
Apparently someone briefed them up pretty well, since Biden falls for that gag every time.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What Did Brian Wilson Say About Russian Women?

Big Guy's speechwriter, Jon Favreau, whom you may know from his acting gigs playing an affable, fat schlub in a host of different movies, or as the director of "Iron Man," is dating a magazine model back in the U.S. who also works at the White House. So I figured, who better to have as a screen man to sample everything that Moscow had to offer in the way of nightlife. Boy was I right.

First, my spindly old self was quite the attraction to all the Russian models who have moved back here to Moscow because Russia's tax system is now considered more taxpayer friendly than America's. These women apparently like their men lean, which put old Favvy in a pretty awkward position and made me the man to spin around the room.

Everyone here seems to really like their President Medvedev and Vladimir Putin. Big Guy says he's not sure what the big deal is. He looked into Medvedev's eyes and felt nothing.

I can't say the same thing about Ivanka, Medvedev's TelePrompter, however.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I'm Here in Moscow

Well, we're in Moscow for a couple of days. Lady M isn't happy about it, either. She's hot and heavy to get down to Italy, where she says it'll be "shoes, shoes, shoes" all day long. Hmmm. So much for fiscal responsibility.

But the big shopping for Big Guy is here in Moscow. He thinks he can come home with about $1 billion in new business deals for the U.S. economy. That's makes up about less than 1% of the spending he's proposed, but we think it's a good start.

But the shopping won't end there. He's also buying a fur hat.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

On Freedom

How great is the Fourth of July? Even Big Guy is willing to utter the word "Freedom" more than once in a speech if I tell him to! Thank you to all who keep us free. And let's not forget why we celebrate:

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The O Experience

Want to know what it feels like to be Leader of the Free World? Then come join Big Guy's Teleprompter for a fascinating afternoon of insight into life behind the screens for POTUS.

Experience the thrill of turning your head slowly from right to left and left to right, and left, again and again and again, reading words others have written for you, with the most moving and literate phrases often lifted from speeches given by other world leaders from time gone by.

Feel the frisson of stumbling over difficult words, like "tax cuts," "free market", and "humility."

Be exhilarated by pauses, as you wait for the prompter operator to scroll the text at the proper speed.

But wait ... there's more: the opportunity to dine with Teleprompter and stare at the screens, since, as he is an inanimate object, he can not engage you in conversation like Washington Post publishers or unpaid lobbyists working at the White House might.

All of this, plus a Teleprompter bobblehead and a souvenir White House cigarette lighter, could be had for three easy payments of $19.95. That's $100,000 in stimulus dollars! Call now!


The White House in its effort to be transparent posted all of the salaries earned by folks working here.

Toes and Gibbsy are making the max at $172K? Someone needs to call security, because we've got some major theft going on here.

Perhaps the worst is Jon Favreau, you may know him as the guy who always plays the fat schlub to Vince Vaughn's sleek, smart character in the movies, and now plays the fat, schlubby director of speechwriting to my sleek, smart technology. He's earning $172K, too!

Me? I'm talking to payroll. I want to get my salary routed through the Defense Department, because I deserve combat pay for putting up with these people.