Category Archives: Barack Obama

Sarah Palin and Paul Revere

Sarah Palin took a "ride" with Paul Revere.

Barack Obama campaigned in states that didn't exist.

“He who warned the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms by ringing those bells makin’ sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed.” – Sarah Palin talking about Paul Revere in Boston on June 2, 2011

Bill Maher heard that comment and quipped: “She shouldn’t be on vacation, she should be in summer school!”

But that was what she said, and The Newburyport Current joined those piling on in their June 10th edition via cartoon and article (“Don’t tread on us” – Dan Mac Alpine).

I did a Google search on “Dan Mac Alpine,” and came across an interview he did for a blog called, “Becoming Lois Lane,” given on November 3, 2009.  In the interview he says, “For the average citizen it is too vital and too much work to find out what the real story is when it comes to news.  That’s where a journalist comes in.  A journalist provides that information to the public so that they don’t have to go out and find it on their own.”

Is Mr. Mac Alpine saying that there are experts in our midst ready to supply us with the important information we need because we’re too lazy and incapable of getting it accurately on our own?  How arrogant is that!

These days the internet and its numerous search engines make information gathering easy.  We can hear people making the actual statements we judge them on.  A journalist just interprets what they gather and so can we.

In my opinion, many folks mocking Sarah Palin, made the mistake of relying on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride,” for their history of what happened.  Longfellow was not an eyewitness to the 1775 event, in fact, he wasn’t born until 1807.  He also didn’t write the poem until 1860.  His point of writing it was to rally Americans to take action against slavery as they had against the British.

Longfellow was a widely recognized poet in the United States and his works were read by people such as Abraham Lincoln and Queen Victoria.  In our area, the hardly-known Paul Revere became well-known because of “Paul Revere’s Ride,” and the town of North Chelsea changed its name to “Revere,” in 1871.

“Paul Revere’s Ride,” is not accurate.  Two of the better know lines in the poem aren’t true.
“One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be.”
The water option was the Charles River, not a sea, but river wouldn’t rhyme.  Also, Revere was in Boston not on the opposite shore when the signal was given.

In another part of his article, Mr. Mac Alpine rejected Sarah’s reference to Revere trying to warn folks so that the British wouldn’t take away their weapons.  The facts are that Revere and several others went to Lexington to tell John Hancock and Samuel Adams to take off.  Going on to Concord was to get stored military supplies moved elsewhere.  The locals had gunpowder stored in common places.  The British realized if they controlled the gunpowder then they could limit the amount of resistance they would face.  In this way, the British troops would be taking away the guns of those they would confront.

Another point of contention was the many instances where people in the Boston area warned each other of British soldiers being nearby.  They did ring bells and sometimes they fired warning shots.

It is interesting that in Paul Revere’s obituary in 1818, there is no mention of any ride he took.  Credit Longfellow for elevating Revere to legend status as he had done to others in poems he wrote.

One “fact” I did agree with was when Mr. Mac Alpine wrote, “Nor was Revere a currier.”  Paul Revere was definitely not someone who prepared tanned hides for use.  He was, however, according to sources beyond Longfellow, a “courier.”

One of the great songs of the past was called “Wonderful World.”  It came out in 1959 and was sung by Sam Cooke.  The first line went:
“Don’t know much about history.”
Then it went on to:
“Don’t know much biology.”

Let’s change “biology,” to “geography,” and revisit a quote by candidate Barack Obama on May 9, 2008 in Beaverton, Oregon.

“It is wonderful to be back in Oregon.  Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States.  I’ve now been in 57 states.  I think one left to go.  Alaska and Hawaii, I was not allowed to go to even though I really wanted to visit, but my staff would not justify it.”

My granddaughter learned the states and their capitals in fourth grade! Is this where I can use Mr. Mac Alpine’s, “at least get a children’s-coloring-book grasp of,” in this case, geography, in reference to the President?  He made a similar mocking reference to Sarah Palin and US history.

Based on candidate Obama’s comment about states he had visited, I doubt that we’d want to hear him talk, away from a teleprompter,  about Paul Revere unless we were looking for a cartoon idea or wanted to ridicule him.

( This article appeared in a June issue of The Newburyport Current. )

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Filed under Barack Obama, Paul Revere, Sarah Palin

Pumping Blame

Where should the blame go for Newburyport's high gasoline prices?

“President Obama rose in approval ratings following the raid which killed bin Laden at his hideout in Pakistan after years of intelligence gathering.  The terrorist was brought to justice thanks to waterboarding, wiretapping, and targeted assassination.  It’s funny how the one time President Obama should have blamed something on George W. Bush, he didn’t.”  Argus Hamilton

We are a generation of blamers.  In fact, we do it so routinely that we are experts on what causes our problems.

I would love to take that “blame game” to any Newburyport gas station and ask customers to place blame for the high gas prices.

We’re all getting impacted by the price hikes on gasoline.  I took my truck in to buy gas recently.  The tank was half empty when I went in and my wallet was half empty when I went out!

I’m trying to imagine the financial toll on local schools districts as they add in transportation costs for those gas-guzzling school buses at the high gas prices we now have.  How about Triton with students in distant Salisbury?  Are they headed for four-day school weeks at longer hours to save on travel costs?

On April 6th in Langhorne (PA), the President was asked by someone in the crowd if there was anything he could do about the high gas prices.  His answer was that increasing oil production was neither a short-term nor a long-term solution.  He added that the answer to the problem was more efficient cars, especially electric cars.  He advised the questioner that if his car got low gas mileage he should trade it in.

Let’s get this straight.  High gas prices are the problem and I’m asking for help.  The President’s advice ignores my plight and suggests I spend money, I’m short of, on another vehicle.  The vehicle he’d like me to drive costs way beyond my current means.  Someone here is detached from reality!

Gasoline prices in the US have risen noticeably and in my opinion the President has a lot to do with it.

(1) He has gotten us into trouble in the Middle East where much of the oil we get is produced.  His “leadership from behind,” as one of his advisors called it, has been embarrassing.  He has encouraged regime change in areas where those who will take over idolize the departed bin Laden.  He has made getting present and future oil from this region difficult and costly.

(2) He has spent us into immeasurable debt causing the value of the dollar and our savings to decline.  It now costs a lot more of our dollars to buy what we need, including gas.

(3) He has restricted the production of oil off our coasts.  His apologists cite environmental reasons but why was he interested in investing with Brazil in drilling off their shores?

After last year’s BP disaster caution made sense for future drilling.  However, that was a year ago and the studies and recommendations that were to be released are long overdue.

According to a recent CNN poll, 69% of Americans now favor increased offshore drilling.  Folks want something done and the President is again leading from behind.

A bill was passed on May 6th by the House of Representatives called HR 1230 (Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act).  As the title suggests, the bill forces the administration to move ahead toward offshore drilling.

The bill passed, 266-149.  Most Republicans supported it as well as thirty-three Democrats.

Unfortunately, our representative (John Tierney) chose to vote against it.  Our elected official appears oblivious to the reasons I gave for the high oil prices and instead wants investigations to see if individuals could be manipulating the price of oil upward.  Meanwhile the gas prices are high and threatening to go higher.

Next time you’re at the pumps, remember the connection the current President and our US Rep have to the high price you end up paying.  Blame them.  They deserve it.

(This article appeared in the May 20th edition of the Newburyport Current.)

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Barack Obama and Carl Crawford

Barack Obama

We were all caught up in various degrees of expectation when Barack Obama was elected in 2008.

Twenty-seven months later our expectations are affected by realities.  And many of those realities have statistics relating to them

Unemployment Rate – January 2009 (7.8%), March 2011 (8.8%)

Gas per gallon – January 2009 ($1.84), April 2011 ($4)

US national debt – January 2009 ($10.7 trillion), April 2011 ($14.2 trillion)

Median price of US resale homes – December 2009 ($175,400), February 2011 ($156,100)

US casualties in Afghanistan – 2001-2008 (634), 2009-2010 (858)

Rounds of golf – George W Bush (24), Barack Obama (60+)

Approval rating – January 2009 (63% approve/20% disapprove), April 2011 (47% approve/48% disapprove)

Granted, statistics can be misleading but when combined with expectations they enable folks to react with something beyond uneducated bias.

John Burciaga’s usual columns in the Newburyport Current  refuse to face the realities we’ve experienced during the Obama administration.  Instead of disputing the statistics, John plays his favorite (only?) card – the race card.

To John, (“Memories of the uncivil war”) those who question the President probably have skin-texture motives.

Carl Crawford

That brings me to Carl Crawford.  When the Red Sox signed the outfielder to a pricey contract in the off-season, the expectations from fans around here were high.  After all, Carl had a .295 career batting average and had stolen 107 bases over the last two years.

Unfortunately, Carl hasn’t started out so well this season.  In fact, Manager Terry Francona has tried to change him around in the batting order hoping to make him productive.

The home fans haven’t been thrilled, either, after enduring Carl’s .127 batting average and ten strikeouts through the first thirteen games.  Some of the fans have started combining their expectations of Carl with his performance and have begun delivering vocal, negative reviews.  Some places call that, “booing.”

When will John Burciaga come to Carl’s defense in a column?  When will he tell us the horror stories of Louise Day Hicks, Bill Russell, and Jackie Robinson?  When will we be told that if Carl’s skin was lighter he’d wouldn’t be booed?

Baloney, John.  Like the man you make excuses for, Carl hasn’t delivered.  The unfair part is that Carl has only been at it for thirteen games in a 162-game schedule.  It’s early for him but Barack Obama has been at it for over two years.  From where I’m sitting, he appears to be unconscious to the negative realities he has created here and elsewhere that impact us.

Training film?

Speaking of unconscious, I was amused to see that Vice President Joe Biden reached that state during the President’s speech on the budget deficit.  Some have hinted that his dozed off condition was not a sign of rudeness but actually the shooting of a training film for air traffic controllers.

Seriously, the President has not met expectations and thus earns the negative reviews.  When John Burciaga brings skin color into the discussion, rather than performance, it reads like either racism or the effort of someone who has run out of defenses.  Which is it, John?

(This article appeared in the April 22, 2011 issue of The Newburyport Current.)

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Filed under Barack Obama, Carl Crawford, Newburyport Current, President Barack Obama

Guilt By Association Covers Both Sides of the Aisle

Congressman John Tierney - Are we to believe that he had no knowledge of his wife's part in an illegal gambling operation run by her brothers?

I hope John Burciaga can swim.  Why?  He keeps going off the deep end.

Arizona in the crosshairs,” in the January 14th issue of The Newburyport Current is yet another of his misguided, conclusion-jumping endeavors.

Wait until John reads the New York Times article entitled, “Looking Behind the Mug-Shot Grin,” in their January 15th issue.   The NY Times reporters reveal that, brace yourself John, Tucson shooter Jared Loughner was a Bush-hater. 

The theme of John’s article is to tie Arizona Governor Brewer, Arizona Senator Kyle, and Sarah Palin to what happened in Tucson.  But if the shooter was indeed a Bush hater then, using John Burciaga’s normal logic, we’d have to transfer the blame instead to those who have never stopped blaming Bush for everything. 

John regularly uses guilt-by-association in his articles.  Someone does something, and even without solid proof he’ll connect them to something else.  Sarah Palin puts crosshairs on a map and so because of it someone like Jared Loughner rushes off and shoots people.  Far fetched, don’t you think?

I also take issue with John describing Arizona Governor Jan Brewer as being, “homely.”  That’s an unfair call as well as a dubious way to make a point.  If I tell a reader that every time I see Barack Obama give a speech his ears seem to fill the room, am I being persuasive? 

I’m hoping that in a future article John will do a guilt-by-association story surrounding the recently sentenced Patrice Tierney.  Our US Congressman’s wife, according to published reports, has a father, son, and two brothers involved in illegal gambling. 

Their illegal gambling operation shifted to Antigua in 2003 after one of Patrice’s brothers was convicted in the US of tax evasion and money laundering. 

Patrice managed the US bank account used by her out-of-the-country brothers from 2003-09 before getting charged by the feds.  The feds said that she had lied to the IRS about the source of the nearly $7 million that flowed into that bank account.  Her excuse for her behavior was that she was just trying to help her brother’s family in the US and was, “willfully blind,” as to how the money sent her way was earned.

Meanwhile, anyone trying to connect Congressman John Tierney to his wife’s illegal activities has been confronted with the Sergeant Shultz trifecta – “I see nothing! I hear nothing! I know nothing!”  Remarkably, it would seem, the crooked background of Patrice’s family and the fact that she managed an account for them while they’re on the lam in Antigua, failed to get the Congressman’s attention, over a seven year period, about any possible improprieties.

Does it look like a stretch to you to use that guilt-by-association approach on John Tierney?  However, can anyone out there recall a Democrat ever being subjected to such scrutiny from Mr. Burciaga?

(This article appeared in the January 21st issue of The Newburyport Current.)

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Filed under Barack Obama, John Tierney, Newburyport, Newburyport Current, Sarah Palin

Mosque Building and Koran Burning

If building a mosque at Ground Zero is okay because it is a form of religious expression, why isn’t Koran burning?

If the President was a Moslem at any time in his (early?) life and switched to Christianity the Koran calls for his execution.

If the President said that he was in opposition to burning the Koran because he sympathized with Islam, it would be understandable.  However, his reason appears to be fear of Moslems.  Is free speech (expression) in America eliminated because someone does not like what is being said (done) and takes action to prevent that free expression? It is not because that would just be rewarding violence or the threat of violence.

What he might have said about mosque building, koran burning, and overseas protests.

Maybe the President could have said something like, “In America, freedom of religious expression allows a mosque to be built at Ground Zero as well as a minister to burn the Koran.  I am not comfortable with either action because I represent all Americans and there are many upset by either/both actions.  However, in America, law-abiding opposition can have its full say with full protection from harm. 

I am glad that people in other countries are interested in what goes on in the United States.  They certainly are entitled to their opinions regarding what we do and do not do.  We welcome that here.  However, threats against us because of a legal activity in America, will not cause us to end what we believe are legal activities.  Threats aren’t going to end the freedoms we cherish here.” 

(Under his breath he might have added, “When you allow a Christian church to be built in the center of your capital without consequences, I’ll begin to pay attention to your religious concerns. Your opposition sounds like hate to me and I won’t be swayed by that approach.”)

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Taxes Are Good??

Paying taxes is good, according to John Burciaga, because it keeps us from becoming evil rich people.

You talk about a hard sell.  I hope that the Newburyport Current editors did not force John Burciaga to write an article advising us that taxation is a good thing.

Whatever the incentive, he made a run at it last week with “The Taxation Myth.” 

I recall back in the day when people would come to our door trying to sell encyclopedia sets and vacuum cleaners.  That was not easy to do but the items being sold made sense to some of us and we became buyers.  But selling taxation as a good thing?  How do you talk anyone into buying that?

John tries it using the “logic” that without taxation there would be rich people….and this is bad.  And even worse, the rich people might not want to associate with those who are not as rich as they are.  He cites those snobs, who built mansions in Newport (RI), and would not associate with those of lesser wealth.  A heavy dose of taxation would have righted that social injustice if John had his way.

What John cannot come to grips with is that most of us can manage our money better than the government can.  When we hear, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you,” we expect the worst.  John, on the other hand, is delighted.

I think that most Americans are willing to help others.  They will do it without being forced to especially in situations they are informed about.  But if you take money from folks and they learn of it being used unwisely, the taker has a quick two strikes against him. 

I wonder what the taxpayers in Boston think about the idea (described in the Boston Herald) of pouring millions of dollars into the worst schools in the city at the expense of the rest of the schools.  Shouldn’t those who perform well be getting the rewards?  I wonder if John is fearful of successful students getting even further ahead academically.

John’s friend from Hawaii (or wherever?) in the White House has clearly demonstrated a lack of financial sense.  Why would anyone want him using our money?  John might have used Barack’s money management for some sort of reservation about giving the government too much money but the lefty in him would not allow it. 

Maybe in a future article John could explain why the rich people these days (John Kerry?) seem to be on the public payroll and why he wants to give them more money to waste!

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Filed under Barack Obama, Newburyport Current, President Barack Obama, Senator John Kerry

Luminaries on the Left Lit Into

John Burciaga gave capitalism a good whacking in the Newburyport Current (May 7th) – “Goldman Sachs: Poster boys for capitalism”.    He states in the article, “I’ve had my glimpse of the business world and excused myself, lest I were found guilty by association.”

Too close to Goldman Sachs?

That “guilt by association” thing, he writes of, can be a good guide.  Staying away from bad folks like Goldman Sachs is terrific advice. 

With this in mind, I wondered why John’s article never referenced President Obama’s still-in-place connections to Goldman Sachs.  The President received $994,795 in campaign contributions from them.  He also has several people in his administration, including Timothy Geithner, with ties to Goldman Sachs.  How does the President escape from a guilt by association perception?

A week ago, John wrote an article for The Current entitled, “It was never easy being green.” In it, John gave unqualified praise to Rachel Carson and the Sierra Club.  Do they deserve it?

Rachel Carson's malaria connections?

Rachel Carson was a marine biologist who wrote as if her training also made her an expert on pesticides.  She asserted in Silent Spring that DDT had questionable value and some readers took her assertion and went on to get DDT banned.  Prior to this, DDT had been part of successfully eliminating malaria in Europe and North America.  Under Rachel’s initiative and the zealotry of followers, Africa was denied the protection DDT provided.  The result was an estimated thirty million deaths in tropical Africa from malaria and yellow fever. 

Rachel originally had a co-author (Edwin Diamond) when the manuscript that became Silent Spring was started. Edwin had been a professor at MIT as well as Science Editor for Newsweek.  Reason for quitting the writing with Rachel?  “It (Silent Spring) was an emotional, alarmist book seeking to cause Americans to mistakenly believe their world was being poisoned.”  Shades of Al Gore? 
 

Louisiana black bear - protected at what cost?

Another of John’s favorites is the Sierra Club. Back in the 1990s, the Army Corps of Engineers studied and determined that the levees on the southern end of the Mississippi Rivers needed to be raised and fortified.  A spokesman for the Army Corps at the time said, “The 303 miles of upgraded levees (along the Mississippi River) were needed because a failure could wreak catastrophic consequences on Louisiana and Mississippi.” 

The Sierra Club ignored the warning being more concerned about the disruption the levee improvements would cause the Louisiana black bear.  Therefore, when the Army Corps tried to start the levee-improving project the Sierra Club filed suit and prevented the work from getting started.  In late August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into Louisiana.  The levees, as they were, proved no match for Katrina – $81 billion worth of damage and 1,836 deaths. 

John frequently makes sport of Fox News’ claims of being “fair” and “balanced.”  Overlooking Obama’s connections to Goldman Sachs, Rachel Carson’s connection to lives lost from malaria, and the Sierra Club’s connection to the Hurricane Katrina disaster assure me that John will never be accused of either.

 ( Appeared as a letter-to-the-editor in the Newburyport Current on May 14, 2010. )

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Filed under Barack Obama, Katrina, Newburyport Current, President George Bush, Uncategorized