Patterico's Pontifications

3/6/2018

Obama Speaks at MIT — But You’re Not Supposed to Know That

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:35 pm



[guest post by JVW]

I’ve been meaning to write this up for the past week. Former President Barack Obama was a guest speaker at the annual Sports Analytics Conference hosted by the MIT Sloan School of Management (disclosure: I received an undergraduate degree at MIT) at the end of last month. Now in its twelfth year, the conference is a chance for math and statistics geeks to apply their knowledge to the world of sports. Speakers generally cover the entire gamut of statistically-based sports management, from personnel and contract decisions, to revenue and branding concerns, to player development and on-field strategies, to sports betting and fantasy sports (shudder).

In that regard, it’s not so unusual that former President Obama would be among this year’s speakers. All conferences, especially academic ones, thrive on having celebrity speakers, though past Sloan Sports conferences have had to make do with B-list names like Mark Cuban, Nate Silver, Malcom Gladwell, and Bill Simmons. Booking Obama gives the conference real star power and it allows Obama, a man who has always seemed to be straining to convince us he possesses a high-caliber intellect, a chance to satisfy his intellectual pretensions through the soft and safe subject of sports. What is unusual, however, is that the organizers of the conference seemed intent upon not allowing the general public to know what the 44th President had to say at the event, prohibiting not only recordings of Mr. Obama’s talk but also demanding that reporters not so much as quote him. From a press release sent out to reporters in advance:

During President Obama’s panel, the following will not be permitted without exception: photography, video recording, streaming, and social media posting — including the use of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other platforms. Following the panel, the sharing of its content on public platforms, including social media, will not be permitted. Those who fail to adhere to this policy will be subject to removal from this conference and denied tickets to future SSAC conferences.

This policy was not a hit among media members, even among those who generally seek to lavish praise on Barack Obama’s every utterance. The local Boston Herald, a paper admittedly hostile to Obama’s brand of progressivism, declined a media credential due to the restrictions and the conference organizers’ $400 fee. Newsweek, which served as Tiger Beat to Obama’s Leif Garrett [it’s an 70s reference, folks] from 2008-17, ran a piece that pretty much rehashed the Herald article and added a snarky reminder that Obama once upon a time promised the most transparent administration in history.

But it was Reason magazine who apparently obtained an unauthorized recording of what the high-profile guest speaker imparted upon his sports geek audience. The magazine’s article by Robby Soave lays out five different things of note contained in the former President’s conversation, and rates it as “pretty standard Obama fare,” pointing out that “he never once said the word Trump, though Obama did seem to imply that his White House was remarkably drama-free in contrast.” The major five points as outlined by Soave are as follows:

1) Obama thinks Google, Facebook, etc., are “a public good as well as a commercial enterprise,” and should consider whether they are corroding our democracy.

That’s kind of a curious thing to say about Silicon Valley after vacuuming up their money in his two Presidential campaigns and leaning on them to fund his Presidential Library, er, Center, along with creating what was characterized by the Washington Post as a “revolving door” between big tech companies and the Obama White House staff. But one thing we learned about Barack Obama is that he, like the Clinton Crime Family, refuses to stay bought.

2) It’s okay to argue about how we should address climate change. It’s not okay to deny the underlying science.

We all know the left’s conceit that they are devoted to impartial, clear-cut science, except for when it suggests that fracking is safe, there are only two sexes, first-trimester fetuses can feel pain during the abortion process, genetically-modified crops are safe, etc.

3) Obama really likes basketball—and he’d like it more if the NBA had a junior league.

It’s nice that Obama now (according to Soave) acknowledges that he was “a mediocre high school basketball player,” considering that in his autobiography Obama claimed that his lack of playing time was because his white coach though that Obama’s play was “too black.” It couldn’t have been fun for the coach to have his most famous ex-player smear him as a racist all these years. I actually agree for the most part with Obama about changes needed in college and professional basketball, so no further comments on that.

4) Diversity isn’t about “charity or political correctness, it’s just common sense.” And it’s why his White House was scandal-free, according to the President.

Obama read the Quran in Indonesia, so he might be familiar with sura 3, verse 185: And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.

5) Obama thinks the stereotype about lazy government employees is wrong.

He’s not exactly off-base here, but it is typical Obama mush. According to Soave, here is what he had to say: “At least at the top levels of the federal government, people work harder than in the private sector. When I came out of the White House, everything looked like it was in slow motion. I felt like I was Neo in The Matrix. Our folks were putting in 80-hour work weeks and barely getting vacations and under unimaginable pressure.”

Now the guy whose time spent as a junior associate at his Chicago law firm was allegedly centered around writing his autobiography may think that everyone in the private sector works bankers’ hours with late arrivals, long lunches, and early cocktail hours, but perhaps he doesn’t understand the pressure that a young lawyer who is not a trophy hire is under to bill lots of hours on behalf of the firm. Nor does he know what it is like working as a junior associate at a financial institution, working 80-90 hour weeks, all seven days to prepare research for the trading partners. And he has no idea what it is like being a sales representative in a competitive field, spending all of the day’s business hours making sales calls and then spending evenings and weekends writing email, doing follow-up research, and lining up new prospects for the next day. And for that matter, there are plenty of government workers whom we do not want working eighty hour weeks. I’m fine with people who deal with public safety working those long hours (though in fairness to them, they shouldn’t be expected to), but I don’t want people who work in the legislative or regulatory bureaus to work for anything longer than, well, bankers’ hours. Maybe if Obama Administration worker bees would have gone home at 5:00 pm every night the boss’s legacy would be for something more admirable than a rising stock market in a flat economy.

It looks like we are destined to have many more years of Barack Obama’s pabulum, dished out liberally to sympathetic audiences for big bucks. That is his prerogative as an ex-President. We recently heard that Mrs. Obama’s memoir will be published in November and Mr. Obama’s memoir is expected in spring 2019. Penguin Random House shelled out a $65 million advance for the privilege of publishing both books in a dying market for print materials. The Obamas are entitled to peddle their hokum and bunkum for big bucks if that floats their boat, but universities who are allegedly committed to seeking the truth should never be put in the position of embargoing their speeches, no matter what the reason.

Cross-posted at the Jury Talks Back.

– JVW

91 Responses to “Obama Speaks at MIT — But You’re Not Supposed to Know That”

  1. Sorry, the post is a bit long-winded. You should see how much of it I cut (I’m sure many of you will regret not reading my history of the MIT Sloan School Sports Analytics Conference). Sincere thanks to all who slogged through it, and an approving nod to those who patiently skimmed it.

    And everyone should read Soave’s write-up of Obama’s talk. It provides much more context for Obama’s remarks.

    JVW (42615e)

  2. I want the history dammit! Nice article, thanks JVW. I’ll check the link.

    Stashiu3 (466cdf)

  3. Two things… really kind of the same thing. President Obama has clearly never been to a VA as far a lazy employees go. There are some gems down low, but in the executive and even the ranks, well, there is a reason for the stereotype. Second, this applies to all of the federal agencies I’ve come into contact with (DOD, ATF, SSA, and a couple of others in both official and personal capacities. No Ben burn, documentation will not be supplied.)

    Stashiu3 (466cdf)

  4. l take it that it has been a long time since Obama has had to renew his driver’s license at the local DMV, least of all without the benefit of a previously-scheduled appointment. I’m sure that ever since he became a State Senator he has received preferential treatment in that regard. Had he renewed it like the rest of us, he no doubt would have sat there waiting and marveled that someone working a desk job could move so slowly and deliberately, without any real need to keep the lines moving. Yeah, there are lots of government employees who work hard and do a great job, but the problem is that the system is entirely designed to protect the weakest and laziest of the group, and that’s why they get a bad rap.

    JVW (42615e)

  5. Did Obama get a cut of the door and free booze?

    Pinandpuller (ab4c3b)

  6. 0bama will always be a Legend In His Own Mind. He’s a Grade “A” fvck-up

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  7. I’m pretty sure this was Trump’s fault.

    Richard Aubrey (10ef71)

  8. Obama once upon a time promised the most transparent administration in history.

    But as we found out by the time he left, by “trans parent” he meant people like Kylie Jenner’s dad.

    nk (dbc370)

  9. The speeches and book contracts are the new way ex-Presidents have of laundering the bribes for favors they did while in office, and MIT may have only been the bagman. Some alumnus or other donor “gifts” the money to MIT; MIT cuts a check to Obama for his “speaking fee”.

    nk (dbc370)

  10. When you have a press that sees its job as covering pillows when the igs are attacked as senile in the late gerald walpins case when reporters like Rosen are put under surveillance. When Atkinson is dismissed and her start up outfit purged from social media

    narciso (d1f714)

  11. Say, Horny Goat Weed boner pills are on sale for $14.75 (60 count) at Amazon.
    [free shipping on orders over $25]
    That’s a savings of $14.25 per bottle!

    {link to the PP affiliated Amazon search “here”}

    Huh?

    We’re all Republicans (except for the host). Getting up in our years. 😉

    papertiger (c8116c)

  12. Mark Cuban a B-lister?

    Lenny (5ea732)

  13. Getting up in our years.

    You’d think the last thing old people would want is one more petrified part.

    nk (dbc370)

  14. All action is reaction
    Expansion
    Contraction
    Man the manipulator
    Underwater
    Does it matter?
    Antimatter
    Nuclear reactor
    Boom boom boom boom
    Who’s your mother? Who’s your father?
    I guess everything’s irrelative
    Who’s your mother? Who’s your father?
    I guess everything’s irrelative
    I’m a janitor
    Oh my genitals
    I’m a janitor
    Oh my genitals
    Oh my genitals
    I’m a janitor
    All action is reaction
    Expansion
    Contraction
    Man the manipulator
    Underwater
    Does it matter?
    Antimatter
    Nuclear reactor
    Boom boom boom boom
    Who’s your mother? Who’s your father?
    I guess everything’s irrelative
    Who’s your mother? Who’s your father?
    I guess everything’s irrelative
    I’m a janitor
    Oh my genitals
    I’m a janitor
    Oh my genitals
    Oh my genitals
    I’m a janitor

    Colonel Haiku (796ffc)

  15. You’d think the last thing old people would want is one more petrified part.

    nk (dbc370) — 3/7/2018 @ 6:22 am

    Yeah. But great for ironic placement in the medicine cabinet, for the nosy neighbor to find while rummaging.

    papertiger (c8116c)

  16. Public good suggests it has to be regulated, because russians.

    narciso (d1f714)

  17. I think you;re on to something with the money laundering theory.

    https://thehornnews.com/exposed-clinton-tied-money-laundering-scheme/

    What better way than exorbitant fees paid for a press conference with a non disclosure agreement.

    papertiger (c8116c)

  18. I saw that episode of the Obummer debacle where he showed up in his mom-jeans to shoot some hoops with some kids; the guy couldn’t hit the backboard. I know that such skills deteriorate over time, but not that much, especially when you want to blame the coach for your bench time.

    I know why I didn’t get off the bench: I was not good. However, even with that history, I am still a force for the grandsons to reckon with in a round of “horse”.

    Gramps (cecc77)

  19. The real press will get caught up tail chasing a copy of Obama inanities, that nobody gave a flying rat [crikey] about listening to even when O held office, and let the criminal purpose escape notice.

    papertiger (c8116c)

  20. I wonder if the money was placed in escrow with a trusted intermediary back when the favor was granted, or if there is some kind of code with dire consequences for welching.

    nk (dbc370)

  21. there’s very little we know about *anything* food stamp has ever done at a college actually

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  22. I think he got a diploma from one.

    nk (dbc370)

  23. 5) Obama thinks the stereotype about lazy government employees is wrong.

    The problem with government employees is not that they are lazy, it’s that they are people.

    Every single person in government will swear that he is doing his level best at his job. And that might even be true. But government is not staffed by angels, it’s staffed by people. And people are forgetful, fallible, petty, and even vindictive.

    This is why I don’t trust government. This is why I don’t say it will work if we just get the right people in it. Even if we do miraculously get the right people in for a few years, the right people will eventually move on to other jobs, retire, or die. I’m not going to let a stranger decide what’s best for me. I’m not going to let a stranger — no matter how well-intended — tell me how to live my life.

    This, to me, is the essence of modern conservatism: recognizing the limits of government, and refusing to expand them.

    Chuck Bartowski (bc1c71)


  24. 19.I think you;re on to something with the money laundering theory.

    papertiger (c8116c) — 3/7/2018 @ 7:16 am


    It would also explain the absolutely ridiculous sum of $65 million for two books. Hell, real authors don’t get that and people actually buy and read their books. It’s money laundering all right.

    Rev.Hoagie (66ef0d)

  25. Mark Cuban a B-lister?

    By his own reckoning, Mark “losing is our best option” Cuban is a B-lister.

    random viking (6a54c2)

  26. 20… well, Gramps, like every other other work discipline, 0bama thought he could do it better than the persons who work in that field. In this case, he was a better judge of talent than his coach.

    In reality, his coach probably grew tired of seeing his red eyes and ass-dragging from the choom sessions.

    Colonel Haiku (796ffc)

  27. A few years back a literal plane load of political celebrities appeared in a Dallas arena to deliver “motivational” speeches. Colin Powell, Steve Forbes, Laura Bush…

    All were pretty polished speakers. Yet it was obvious they were making the same points, the same jokes, the same references to their connections-to-power, that had been made in the previous city and would be made again in the next city.

    And it was obvious the real point of the speeches was for another, non-celebrity, “motivational” speaker to come out and advocate not just thrift and savings, but buying a product and service to pick and time the stock market and “double your money” or some related get-rich-quick idea.

    It’s all reminiscent Mick Jagger doing the “Dead Parrot” sketch.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oau-J4rfhco

    A wrinkly, old, and irrelevant celebrity standing up for a live crowd and offering up the chestnuts that were impressive a decade or so ago … that everybody has already heard and which performances are already archived to YouTube. Still a venue will sell out in minutes to an audience avid for the chance to see the celebrity live and hear the bits directly.

    Nothing new. But NOT a thing to be archived on YouTube so that the Detroit speech can be compared to the Boston speech to the Denver speech so we can all see the self-parody of the performance.

    pouncer (915d55)

  28. @ JVW: Thank you for this post, which was worthwhile and well written, and with which I entirely agree. I’m reminded of a particular detail that emerged during 2008, but that got almost no public attention:

    During his twelve-year tenure at the firm of Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Gallard from 1993-2004, according to that firm, Obama logged 3,723 billable hours, and most of that during the first four years.

    In addition to “billable hours,” for which the firm bills and is paid by its clients, a lawyer’s total of recorded hours typically also includes nonbillable hours devoted to administrative, pro bono, and continuing legal education tasks. But the general rule of thumb throughout my entire career (which began well before Obama’s) is that most lawyers attempt to bill something on the general order of 2000 hours — in other words, fifty weeks of forty-billable-hour-weeks — each year. By any objective standard, then, Obama was a magnificent, unabashed slacker.

    ———-

    Entirely off-topic, with apologies to JVW for interjecting it into these comments:

    Yesterday the MSM was having another of its period bouts of insanity in which we were told that the State of Texas is on the verge of being overwhelmed with a tidal wave of enthusiastic Democratic voters. Instead of Wendy Davis aka Abortion Barbie running for Texas governor, this year the prominent sacrificial lamb New Blue Messiah is the improbably named Beto O’Rourke, a pasty white guy from El Paso who’s been a devoted lick-spittle of Nancy Pelosi since he was elected to Congress from a majority-minority district engineered to send a minority to Congress to satisfy the federal courts’ supposed mandate under blatantly unconstitutional and outdated provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1965. (Somehow white male Dems seem to nevertheless win several of those seats every year.)

    I heard this on literally every news channel I flipped to yesterday. You would have thought from the news coverage that there were actually Democrats facing off against Republicans yesterday, and that the wave was about to deluge Texas. But of course, this was a primary election, in which Dems only against other Dems and vice versa.

    Nevertheless, even the news media which seemed to be capable of distinguishing between primary and general elections insisted — based mostly on heavy early voting returns in a few Dem-heavy metropolitan areas, plus the ton of out-of-state money that’s been flowing to the coffers of Beto and a few would-be Dem congress-critters — that Texas is on the very brink of turning blue, or at least purple, or at least competitive for top-flight Dem candidates.

    This morning, in the cold clear air of the day after, with 99%+ precincts reporting, we learn that in the Democratic primary, out of 15.25M registered voters statewide, 1,037,290 Democrats voted in the race for U.S. Senate, of whose votes Beto (running against two virtual unknowns with no meaningful funding or campaigning), won 641,207, or 61.81%.

    On the GOP side, by contrast, 1,543,574 Republicans voted in that race, of whose votes incumbent Ted Cruz (running against three virtual unknowns with no meaningful funding or campaigning) won 1,317,450, or 85.3%.

    That’s right: Ted Cruz’s vote total yesterday lapped Beto O’Rourke’s, and Cruz won far more votes by himself than voted in the entire Democratic primary election.

    If, then, we were to select a product from Amazon.com to represent yesterday’s election results, the obvious choice would be this economy-sized set of a dozen broad-tipped Marks-a-Lot markers in cherry red. While I won’t claim that Texas, like these markers, is “permanently red,” it’s in no current danger.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  29. “During President Obama’s panel, the following will not be permitted without exception: photography, video recording, streaming, and social media posting — including the use of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other platforms. Following the panel, the sharing of its content on public platforms, including social media, will not be permitted. Those who fail to adhere to this policy will be subject to removal from this conference and denied tickets to future SSAC conferences.”

    I see video recording, I don’t see “voice recording.”

    You know, depends on what the meaning of is, is.

    Steve_in_SoCal (58e1f9)

  30. Whoops, I miscounted. Ted actually had four no-name opponents, not just three.

    Greg Abbott pulled 90%+ yesterday, by the way, even though one of his opponents had had a legal name change in order to be able to run as “SECEDE [sic, indeed all caps] Kilgore,” fka Larry, who managed to pull only about 20k votes, or 1.32%.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  31. Mark Cuban a B-lister?

    I think so. He has a house out here in Manhattan Beach, and he actually sometimes shows up at neighborhood bars alone and goes mostly unbothered. To me, that means he can’t quite possibly be A-list.

    JVW (42615e)

  32. Is Beto O’Rourke really a non-Latino? If so, you have to admire the chutzpah of his using a Spanish nickname in order to confuse voters in his district. Or maybe his parents had the amazing foresight to tag him with it all those years ago.

    JVW (42615e)

  33. You know who is really awesome? That Ted Cruz guy. Why isn’t he the president. I saw him on a Morning Joe clip post Parkland defending the 2nd amendment against a surly Joe Scarborough.

    That guy has got it going on.

    papertiger (c8116c)

  34. @ JVW: He’s “Robert” from El Paso. “Roberto” is the Spanish version of “Robert,” and “Beto” is a nickname for “Roberto.” He claims, and I don’t doubt, that he’s been called “Beto” as a nickname since childhood. He’s certainly exploited it for political purposes, and his Spanish may be better than Rafael Edward (“Ted”) Cruz’ Spanish. I think his success in a majority-minority congressional district engineered is more due to the lack of competition within the current Texas Democratic Party than to voter confusion over his name.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  35. The enthusiasm for Beto O’Rourke is at its maximum-ever right now, and I predict it will drop substantially as voters get to know his thin, but extremely progressive, record.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  36. El Paso (population 366k) is best understood as a suburb of Juarez (population 1.32M). Geographically it is closer to Los Angeles than to Houston, and it’s in the Mountain time zone (with the rest of Texas in Central). It has long been a very strange place, marching to its own mariachi-influenced drumbeat. In some ways it’s like Hong Kong, and not terribly representative of the rest of Texas.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  37. that sounds like a hip snowmobile, man

    No, no, it wasn’t a snowmobile
    It was a sled, you know
    One of those big sleds, you know
    And he used to have it
    Pulled by some reindeers
    You know, like, reindeers

    Some what, man?

    Some reindeers, you know
    He used to hook them onto the sled
    And then he used to
    Stand up inside the sled
    And hold on to the reins
    And then call out their names
    Like, on, Donner, on, Blitzen
    On, Chewy, on, Tavo… come on, Beto!
    And the reindeers used to
    Take off into the sky and
    Fly across the sky, man

    Colonel Haiku (796ffc)

  38. Beto is this generation’s Lloyd (“El Patrón”) Doggett — another pasty white hard-left Dem who keeps winning Congressional seats engineered by the courts to be lead-pipe-cinch Hispanic.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  39. “El Paso (population 366k) is best understood as a suburb of Juarez (population 1.32M). Geographically it is closer to Los Angeles than to Houston, and it’s in the Mountain time zone (with the rest of Texas in Central). It has long been a very strange place, marching to its own mariachi-influenced drumbeat. In some ways it’s like Hong Kong, and not terribly representative of the rest of Texas.”

    – Beldar

    I have a lot of family and friends from El Paso, and disagree that El Paso is best understood as a suburb of Juarez. It’s certainly not terribly representative of the rest of Texas, though. It kind of hovers at the intersection of three worlds and belongs to none of them.

    It’s actually a lot like Albuquerque. I honestly wish that New Mexico and Texas could exchange El Paso for everything else east of Las Cruces. It would be a better cultural fit, all around.

    Leviticus (cc80c3)

  40. What I want to know about Obama’s billable hour total of 3,723 over 12 years is: How many of those were for evicting tenants and other representation of slumlord (now federal felon) Tony Rezko, who structured the ridiculously non-market transaction by which the Obamas acquired their first house? I’d bet good money that most of the paying legal work Obama did in his lifetime was evicting people of the very “community” he was supposed to be organizing against, ya know, their landlords.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  41. Also, the population of El Paso is about 650k.

    Leviticus (cc80c3)

  42. Following his election, Obama was on TV ad nauseam pushing his signature brand of vapid self-aggrandizing prattle so often that I found myself willing to watch Mesothelioma commercials rather than suffer another minute of the arrogant basta*d’s intrusions.

    Over 9 years later I not only haven’t changed my customary response to the worst president in US history, I’ve extended the ban to include a goodly number of his co-conspirators, idolators, and enablers.

    It’s made life more pleasant and likely added a few years too.

    ropelight (513959)

  43. I always thought Gene Green of Houston was the better example of the white jefe than Doggett, so much so that he wasnt never caught up in ever-shifting gerrymandering cases as Doggett was. But moving lines in Houston, you still end up with Houston (to paraphrase the shrug that the Iowa Redistricting Commission gets when it is held as an exemplar of redistricting). Alas, Green is retiring after this Congress.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  44. Seldom talked about is are the friends and associates one lost because he didn’t worship Obama. Everybody wears losing friends because they support Trump as some sort of leftist badge of courage. I lose a couple that way also, but I lost two older friends when they made the mistake of asking me what I thought about Hussein and I told them. They were a nice couple too. I even started a fund to raise money for their family when their grandson was born with a hole in his heart but it seems Christian love lost to leftist love.

    Rev.Hoagie (66ef0d)

  45. Why isn’t he the president. I saw him on a Morning Joe clip post Parkland defending the 2nd amendment against a surly Joe Scarborough.

    If you saw it, then you’d know exactly why he isn’t– and never will be ‘the president.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  46. @ Leviticus: I’ve never lived in El Paso, but my first great sweetheart was the daughter of a local poobah (bank president & rancher), and I spent several holidays there, including as her official, tuxedoed escort when she was a Sun Princess for the 1977 Sun Bowl Pageant. I had wild parties there on a couple of other Sun Bowl games with the Longhorn Band, but that’s a tourist experience, not comparable to living there at all. And I’ve had occasional business there every two or three years since then, which I’ve generally enjoyed.

    From the air, absolutely Juarez dwarfs El Paso, and the tiny ribbon of the Rio Grande in between them looks entirely inconsequential — but it’s not. With one quarter the population, El Paso’s always been the wealthy suburb of Juarez, the privileged enclave. And to this good day, every morning the housekeepers and landscapers queue up to cross the Rio Grande to work in households like the O’Rourke’s, and every evening they go home, hence my comment about Hong Kong. That’s very different than Albuquerque in that respect, if my impressions of the latter are correct.

    But I absolutely agree with you that El Paso would be a far more natural cultural fit with New Mexico, and that in many other respects El Paso more resembles Albuquerque than any other Texas city. And I like Albuquerque quite a bit, having visited it many times because my best friend from college has lived there since the early 1990s.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  47. I find it remarkable that post a which begins by lambasting the extreme privacy restrictions and embargo on the content of Obama’s speech concludes with:

    It looks like we are destined to have many more years of Barack Obama’s pabulum, dished out liberally to sympathetic audiences for big bucks.

    So which is it? Is he trying too hard to avoid exposure, or trying too hard too cash in on it?

    I guess I don’t get your point (other than: Obama = bad, which I agree with, but not because he gave a speech at MIT).

    We are destined to have many more years of Justin Bieber’s pabulum, dished out liberally to sympathetic audiences for big bucks too. So what?

    I can’t imagine you believe Obama forfeited his civil rights upon leaving office. Is he required to permit media coverage of every event he attends? Is he forbidden to accept invitations from people willing to pay to hear him speak? And it’s MIT, for crissakes, not the Tri-lateral Commission…

    There are plenty of things Obama deserves criticism for, but IMO this isn’t one of them.

    Dave (71494b)

  48. @ Urban: Yup, Gene Green’s been another jefe, and for a time he was my congress-critter, and all I can say about that is that I preferred him to Sheila Jackson Lee. My oldest son was a Congressional intern for Rep. Green last summer, in fact.

    Now I’m in TX7, which the Dems believe is ripe for plucking from incumbent Rep. John Culberson (R) because Hillary carried it in 2016 by a percentage point or two. There’s been a big kerfuffle because Tom Perez and the DCCC weighed in during the primary against challenger Laura Moser on grounds that she’s too progressive to win. Despite that, Moser — who’s the favorite of the Bernie wing of the Dem Party — finished second (22.27%) to Lizzie Pannill Fletcher (31.25%), managing to force a run-off. The national press has paid a lot of attention to this race of a supposedly purple district. But that ignores the fact that Culberson, against a similarly no-name but serious Dem opponent in 2016, took 56% of those same voters who denied their mandate to Trump.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  49. @ Dave: I don’t think anyone wants to deny Obama’s personal First Amendment rights. He can, if he wishes, be another Harry Truman, haunting the wings of the Democratic Party for decades after he’s out of office. But when he uses that opportunity to continue to tell huge whoppers — e.g., about his “scandal-free administration” — he’s still going to get well-deserved pushback. And if I were his personal lawyer, I’d be counseling him to keep an even lower profile: He’ll surely become a target when and if the second special counsel, as called for yesterday by Gowdy and Goodlatte, starts probing DoJ & FBI misconduct.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  50. Dave, the next thing you criticise Obama for will be the first thing you criticise Obama for.

    papertiger (c8116c)

  51. AP in conjunction with CBS Dallas – Mavs owner Mark Cuban denies 2011 sex assault allegation

    DALLAS — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is denying a 2011 allegation of sexual assault after a weekly alternative newspaper in Oregon published details of a case that prosecutors didn’t pursue, saying they didn’t believe there was evidence to support the claim.

    In a report explaining why they weren’t pursuing the case, prosecutors wrote that “there is no evidence to corroborate the complainant’s statement and there is evidence contradicting the claim.” The report also said the woman didn’t want to proceed with the allegation.

    The SI report included claims of inappropriate sexual conduct by former CEO Terdema Ussery and raised questions about what Cuban knew and when.

    What are they trying to do to this guy?
    Never liked MarK Cuban. Don’t like the NBA. They fix the games.
    Just like California elections, it’s predetermined winners all the way up to the big game.
    Having said that, I wouldn’t libel myself for a cheap dig at the guy.

    Where does the AP get off diving in a dumpster for News & Review back issues from a hundred years ago to point fingers over a salary negotiation tactic, disguised as an allegation, without a victim, without evidence, because it never happened, to prosecute him in a trial by newspaper?

    Did they get Cuban mixed up with Trump somehow, in the crazy straw filter that passes for an editorial process over there?

    papertiger (c8116c)

  52. So which is it? Is he trying too hard to avoid exposure, or trying too hard too cash in on it?

    My complaints are as follows:

    1. If Obama wants to speak off the record for big bucks he should do so to private gatherings, not those where tickets are being sold to the general public.

    2. No university should ever say that a campus event that is, again, open to the public can’t be reported on by the media. That is not a part of the mission of a university.

    If Obama wants to follow the lead of his former Secretary of State and rake in the big bucks delivering speeches to private gathering of fatcat bankers, then he should get on with this bad self. But don’t let your ego corrupt institutions that should stand for free inquiry.

    JVW (42615e)

  53. @ Leviticus: You’re right, I dunno where I got that population figure for El Paso, but I should have dug deeper than my 10 seconds of googling.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  54. I wonder how much of this is related to the $65 million book advance. Did Obama sign a rider that dictates that until his book is published he is not supposed to be out there in the wild discussing his experiences as President and post-Presidential plans? And is that why he’s supposed to keep the media from reporting on his Deep Thoughts in retirement?

    JVW (42615e)

  55. No, I believe pouncer’s explanation. He doesn’t want to be shown giving the same canned speech over and over and over and over and over ….

    nk (dbc370)

  56. 54, MLB scuttled a whole season, 1994, when it became apparent a third World Series in a row would be won by a Canadian team, and the francophone team to boot.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  57. Maybe they can add a “You Lie!” guy for each market who would get handled rough by security to the delight of the crowd.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  58. Possible reasons maybe for the secrecy:

    A) This is routine, because soem celebrities want it, so the conference organizers do it for all of them.

    B) Obama is afraid he might say something controversial, or that would fail fact checking.

    C) Obama wants to re-use the material.

    D) It makes people want to pay money to hear the inside dope.

    E) To tell different things to different audiences?

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  59. 35. JVW (42615e) — 3/7/2018 @ 9:01 am

    Is Beto O’Rourke really a non-Latino?

    Yes. His legal name is Robert Francis O’Rourke.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beto_O%27Rourke

    O’Rourke is a fourth-generation Irish American,[3] born in El Paso, the son of Melissa Martha (Williams) and El Paso County Judge Pat Francis O’Rourke.[4][5] He adopted the nickname “Beto”, which is a common Spanish nickname for “Roberto”.[6] His father was a political associate of former Texas Governor Mark White. Judge O’Rourke was killed in July 2001, at the age of fifty-eight, when he was struck from behind by a car while riding his bicycle over the New Mexico state line.[7]

    If so, you have to admire the chutzpah of his using a Spanish nickname in order to confuse voters in his district. Or maybe his parents had the amazing foresight to tag him with it all those years ago.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  60. End of the quote is misplaced. No, his parents did not have that foresight.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  61. Re-use his material?1!? Didn’t bother Obola the 506 times he said we could keep our doctor?

    Naw. The crooked [sacre bleu] is money laundering.

    Quit rationalizing his criminal behavior and get to the task of putting him in jail.

    First ex-president in Federal prison. That’s the ground breaking achievement I want to see.

    papertiger (c8116c)

  62. Hoagie, I don’t know why some infants are born with holes in their hearts, but one of my friends, a unionized seaman, had his son’s heart hole repaired. The boy is now robustly healthy and shows no lingering effects of his previous misfortune. May the child of your one-time friends be as fortunate.

    ropelight (513959)

  63. 1. If Obama wants to speak off the record for big bucks he should do so to private gatherings, not those where tickets are being sold to the general public.

    From what you posted, it sounds like there was nothing particularly news-worthy in what he said. Isn’t it possible that in trying to keep his face off TV and the front pages, Obama was merely attempting to follow the tradition ex-presidential media absence?

    2. No university should ever say that a campus event that is, again, open to the public can’t be reported on by the media. That is not a part of the mission of a university.

    I might agree for a public university. Private universities, like private individuals, are free to do whatever they want. If what you posted is the full story, it doesn’t reflect well on MIT, IMO, but that’s their problem.

    If Obama wants to follow the lead of his former Secretary of State and rake in the big bucks delivering speeches to private gathering of fatcat bankers, then he should get on with this bad self. But don’t let your ego corrupt institutions that should stand for free inquiry.

    So because he *didn’t* speak to fatcat bankers, but to some math geeks and sports fans, he’s corrupt?

    Dave (71494b)

  64. Private universities, like private individuals, are free to do whatever they want. If what you posted is the full story, it doesn’t reflect well on MIT, IMO, but that’s their problem.

    That’s exactly why I said “should” instead of “must.”

    JVW (42615e)

  65. He doesn’t want to be shown giving the same canned speech over and over and over and over and over ….

    Yeah, no other politician does that.

    Dave (71494b)

  66. About that GOP Texas primary turnout yesterday:

    I absolutely agree with the national media that Texas Democrats are fired up, indeed frenzied, in their individual enthusiasm levels. But as my friend Hugh Hewitt wrote a book to explain, if it’s not close, they can’t cheat — or not effectively, at any rate.

    The Texas Democratic Party made a concerted, indeed heroic effort to field at least marginally credible candidates for every statewide race, and for every Congressional district in Texas, which they hadn’t done during the last few election cycles.

    And there was not a single close statewide race on the GOP side: Gov. Greg Abbott pulled 90%. Former talk-radio host and Trumplike populist Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was indeed opposed, and spent a ton of money on ubiquitous TV advertising, but still pulled 75%. Down-ballot, some of the incumbents’ margins were considerably closer, with George P. Bush at 57% for Land Commissioner, Sid Miller at 56% for Agriculture Commissioner, and very controversial Court of Criminal Appeals Chief Justice incumbent Sharon Keller pulling only 54%. But there only thing driving turnout for Texas Republicans yesterday, frankly, were purely local races and a general sense of public-spirited commitment to the GOP.

    And despite all that, as reflected by top-of-the-ballot totals for the U.S. Senate race, total Dem turnout (~1M) was still only two-thirds that of the GOP turn-out (~1.5M). I suppose it’s possible, if you’re careless, to drown in a wave that only wets you up to your nipples; but if you can keep your feet, that’s no tsunami.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  67. *the only thing driving GOP turnout …,” I meant to write, sorry.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  68. And it’s why his White House was scandal-free, according to the President.

    Continuing to play devil’s advocate….

    If the distinction between “his White House” and “his administration” is intended, it becomes a more defensible claim.

    Dave (71494b)

  69. you know who always keeps his feet even when his nipples get wet?

    our president, President Donald Trump!

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  70. O’Rourke has posted a childhood photo of himself in a “Beto” shirt. The Cruz campaign points out that he’s used “Robert” quite consistently at least as his formal name for most of his life, but it’s pretty light-hearted teasing.

    As someone who writes as “Beldar,” I’m not taking any shots at Beto for his nickname.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  71. @ Dave: If his “White House” included himself, Obama’s WH was not scandal-free. One need look no farther than the top-secret classified-from-birth emails he sent his SecState at her clintononline.com email address to confirm that. And whether working from the WH or a few blocks away, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch were both covered continuously in scandal.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  72. Yeah, no other politician does that.

    Apples and arugula. This is not a political campaign with a “The Speech” for getting votes. Now if you had said “no other stand-up comic does that”, you’d have a better point. But it still would not defeat mine. He wants to keep his material something the next audience hasn’t heard before.

    nk (dbc370)

  73. Isn’t it possible that in trying to keep his face off TV and the front pages, Obama was merely attempting to follow the tradition ex-presidential media absence?

    That’s an overly generous interpretation of his actions. He was hardly absent from the media in 2017 whenever it came time to criticize his successor.

    Chuck Bartowski (bc1c71)

  74. (O’Rourke claims to have learned, since that photo, how to tie his own shoes, by the way.)

    Beldar (fa637a)

  75. Obama’s WH was not scandal-free. One need look no farther than the top-secret classified-from-birth emails he sent his SecState at her clintononline.com email address to confirm that.

    I didn’t say the claim was truthful, I said it was more defensible. Claiming his *administration* was scandal-free would be a lie of Trump-ian proportions.

    And whether working from the WH or a few blocks away, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch were both covered continuously in scandal.

    Basically my point – the Obama Justice Dept., State Dept. and IRS were cesspools by comparison.

    Dave (71494b)

  76. @ Dave: We agree, perhaps, that Obama was conscientious as a general rule in employing cutouts for his dirty work. 😀

    Beldar (fa637a)

  77. @ JVW (#4): Re Obama having to pull out his drivers licence, this is of my favorite photos of POTUS-44: Obama presenting his Illinois drivers license in order to cast his own vote in 2012, pursuant to an Illinois statute proposed and passed by the Democratic majority while Obama was a Democratic state senator.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  78. That’s an overly generous interpretation of his actions. He was hardly absent from the media in 2017 whenever it came time to criticize his successor.

    It may be overly generous. On the other hand, given that there was nothing particularly newsworthy to keep secret it’s difficult understand the rationale.

    I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him criticize Trump by name.

    At a “North American Climate Summit” in December 2017, he called the US withdrawal from the Paris agreement “a difficult position to defend”. Criticism, but not exactly “hit back twice as hard” material, considering that Trump is attacking Obama, in harsh and frequently dishonest personal terms, essentially non-stop.

    The strongest statement I’ve seen from him, concerning DACA, also didn’t mention Trump by name.

    Dave (71494b)

  79. In his second bid at Texas statewide office as a Democratic Party nominee (having previously run for Texas Comptroller), Houston CPA Mike Collier — an honorable man of good temperament, and an acquaintance of mine as a fellow Longhorn Alumni Band trumpet player — won a 54% outright majority yesterday in the Democratic primary race for lieutenant governor. I like Mike, who announced early, campaigned hard (but without much money), and managed to deter all but one other opponent from entering this primary (meaning he won’t have to sweat a run-off). And I don’t much like incumbent Dan Patrick. So I’ll think pretty hard about casting a principled cross-over vote for Mike in the general in November; if I’m still convinced that Mike has no chance to win (as I indeed fully expect to be), I probably will, in fact.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  80. 73. Beldar (fa637a) — 3/7/2018 @ 10:40 am

    73.O’Rourke has posted a childhood photo of himself in a “Beto” shirt.

    He went to some place or places called Carlos Rivera and Mesita Elementary Schools in El Paso, Texas.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  81. @80 Well, I learned something from visiting your blog.

    I had always figured “Beldar” was a variant of “Bill Dyer”. Little did I suspect that the name is actually a tribute to an (interstellar, fictional) illegal immigrant!

    Dave (71494b)

  82. It is a drunken, slurred variant of “Bill Dyer,” but the particular bout of drinking that inspired it was during a college party in which friends & I were trying to come up with a skit inspired by SNL’s running series of Conehead skits, so it’s both a variant and a tribute (the illegal immigrant being from Remulak, in France).

    Beldar (fa637a)

  83. To my dismay, and perhaps either Dan Aykroyd’s or NBC’s, the beldar.com URL has been owned and operated for many years by an internet service provider in Blacksburg, VA. I once tried to get them to sell me the domain name, with neither success nor an explanation of their attachment to it.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  84. Beto for a Hispanic constituency. Like O’Bama on some of Obama’s campaign literature in his first election in Chicago.

    nk (dbc370)

  85. I guess all those Texas voter ID laws suppressed the democrats turnout…..

    Yes, it’s sarcasm

    EPWJ (4dc563)

  86. You laugh, but they aren’t enough saying that:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/alekboyd/status/971365516244897794?p=v

    narciso (d1f714)

  87. “Ma-ma-ma-ma-cita, donde esta Santa Cleese… the vato wit da bony knees… he comin’ down da street wit no choos on his feet…”

    Colonel Haiku (796ffc)


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