Patterico's Pontifications

3/4/2014

Michelle Obama Plans Multi-Million Dollar Trip to China

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:52 am

Daily Mail:

Michelle Obama, her daughters and her mother plan a week-long solo visit to China this month that includes meetings with China’s first lady and high school and university students – and that will likely cost U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars.

. . . .

According to Judicial Watch, it cost more than $11 million for the president and his wife to travel to Africa to attend Nelson Mandela’s funeral in December of last year. According to the New York Daily News, the Obamas were only in Africa for ‘less than 13 hours.’

But that trip was nothing compared to a 2013 visit the Obamas made to the Dark Continent, which reportedly cost tax payer more than $100 million.

On the 2013 trip, some of the reported expenditures include the stationing of a Navy aircraft carrier off the coast of Africa equipped with a fully staffed medical trauma center, military cargo planes to fly a fleet of 56 support vehicles to transport the Obamas – complete with 14 limousines and three trucks carrying bulletproof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the Obamas were to stay – and fighter jets that flew in shifts to provide coverage over the president’s airspace for the entire trip.

In June, the first lady went to Ireland for a two-day trip. The cost to taxpayers: $5 million.

Michelle Obama reportedly stayed at a $3,300-per-night hotel in Dublin, and needed to book 30 rooms at the posh Shelbourne Hotel for her staff and security detail.

Thank God the era of austerity is over! You don’t want it to look like a schlock affair. Oh: here is candidate Obama from 2008:

We’ve lived through an era of easy money, in which we were allowed and even encouraged to spend without limits; to borrow instead of save….

Once we get past the present emergency, which requires immediate new investments, we have to break that cycle of debt.

A walk down memory lane regarding Obama’s spendthrift nature here.

Thanks to Dana, who provides at least half the ideas for posts lately.

Accepted Wisdom™ on Accepting Intelligence Information

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:46 am

(Accepted Wisdom™ is a semi-regular feature of this site, highlighting contradictory viewpoints held by the elite.)

It is Accepted Wisdom™ that:

U.S. intelligence told Bush that Saddam tried to buy yellowcake in Niger. Bush claiming to believe that, and repeating it to the American people, was a lie.

And at the same time:

U.S. intelligence told Obama that Russia would not invade Ukraine. You can’t blame Obama for believing U.S. intelligence.

Thanks to a tipster.

Vienna Philharmonic at Segerstrom Hall

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:42 am

Last night I had the privilege of seeing the Vienna Philharmonic perform at Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa.

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Above: Segerstrom Concert Hall

No offense to the original conductor, Daniele Gatti, who was forced to bow out due to an inflammation of a tendon in his shoulders (occupational hazard, I guess) . . . but I was pleased when I heard that the replacement conductor was going to be the great Lorin Maazel. Maazel is a world-renowned conductor who has led the Cleveland Orchestra, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and many other fine orchestras.

The program included Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony and Mahler’s Fourth Symphony.

Maazel took the first movement of the Schubert at a very, very slow pace — slower than any recording I can remember hearing by any orchestra. At this pace, Schubert sounded a little like Bruckner. I don’t know that the pace would have worked for a recording, but in a live performance, the unusual tempo worked. When the music hit a crescendo, hearing every note played (rather than a rush of violins) intensified the excitement. The slow pace did make the very occasional ragged entrance of a trumpet a bit more evident, and seemed to throw off one of the cello players at one point. But these were minor quibbles. The second movement was lovely and left the listener wondering why Schubert did not write more.

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Above: Lorin Maazel

The Mahler was very well done. I’ve never been a huge Mahler fan, but I have always found the Fourth accessible. The piece is very thematically unified in ways both large and small, and there is even a hint in the first movement of the opening of the Fifth Symphony — evidently Mahler had all these ideas running through his head at the same time. The piece has three solo parts for the strings, and our excellent seats gave us a chance to watch the concertmaster play two violins, not at the same time! (one was tuned up a note) and the associate concertmaster who at times intertwined his solos beautifully with the concertmaster’s. The final movement is essentially a song, which was sung by soprano Juliane Banse. As she sang of “The Heavenly Life,” a blogger ruminated on his own good fortune in having a rare opportunity to see a world-class orchestra and conductor in his little neck of the woods.


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