Sunday, May 30, 2010

TV: The Visitor

Friends with V were none too pleased with our recent review and were especially offended by our conclusion, "This version of V is sort of like the 'intelligent design' version of science fiction." They lodged complaints, they demanded that we make time to take another look, mainly they pouted. We'd intended to ignore them -- the way you would any willful child -- but then last Thursday we caught a special broadcast.


"Good afternoon, everybody," declared the man sounding a lot like Dr. Nick on The Simpsons and looking a great deal like Barack Obama, Catty Bitch and President of the United States.

Listening to his lurching delivery, it was as though he was attempting 35 mph while still in first gear. To save you all motion sickness, we'll leave out all the stammers and uh-uh-uh and start-stop nature of his speaking.

"The American people should know," he said in that school marmish way he has about him, "that from the moment this disaster began, the federal government has been in charge of the response effort."


It was typical of the press to let that one slide.

What was Barack Obama doing when the Gulf Disaster started?

Does anyone remember?

No, not "Date Night."

He was doing "Date Weekend."

And, no, His Royal Candy Ass did not stop the date weekend to address the problem. He walked around some woods trying to look normal and held hands with She-Hulk trying to look lovey-dovey and did everything a gay man in a lavender marriage might do but a president? No, he didn't have that act down at all.

Thursday, Barack continued, "As far as I’m concerned, BP is responsible for this horrific disaster, and we will hold them fully accountable on behalf of the United States as well as the people and communities victimized by this tragedy. We will demand that they pay every dime they owe for the damage they've done and the painful losses that they've caused. And we will continue to take full advantage of the unique technology and expertise they have to help stop this leak."

It was one howler after another as he spoke. Both for his Mr. Roboto delivery and for the actual words. The US government is going "to take full advantage of the . . . expertise" BP has?


They're the ones who caused the disaster.

That's like letting the drive-by shooter oversea the operation to remove the bullet.

"But make no mistake," Barack said alluding to a Barbra Streisand and Kim Carnes duet, "BP is operating at our direction. Every key decision and action they take must be approved by us in advance." Wait. What? Didn't he just say British Petroleum was the expert?

It only got more confusing.

"As we devise strategies to try and stop this leak, we're also relying on the brightest minds and most advanced technology in the world. We're relying on a team of scientists and engineers from our own national laboratories and from many other nations -– a team led by our Energy Secretary and Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Stephen Chu. And we're relying on experts who've actually dealt with oil spills from across the globe, though none this challenging."

Then why doesn't he put those people in charge?

In response to a question by the Associated Press' Jennifer Loven, Barack replied, "The day that the rig collapsed and fell to the bottom of the ocean, I had my team in the Oval Office that first day. Those who think that we were either slow on our response or lacked urgency don't know the facts. This has been our highest priority since this crisis occurred."

And she let him get away with that.

The Gulf Disaster began April 20th. And he was where on April 23rd and 24th? Asheville, North Carolina.

Use the links. He golfed, he hiked, he played basketball, got free beer, bbq, you name it. Was bitchy to a seven-year-old girl. Again, use the links.

This is how he responds to a national disaster?

The American people who voted for him? Were they electing him president or were they attempting to save his marriage? If a marriage and the presidency is too much for him, he better consider either divorce or tendering his resignation.

Like Ronald Reagan, he slammed the federal government with little digs, "What is true is that when it comes to stopping the leak down below, the federal government does not possess superior technology to BP." Excuse us, but NASA should have been put in charge. There are many, many scientists working for the federal government and, yes, they know a great deal more than BP's paltry 'science' crew.

McClatchy Newspapers' Steve Thomma appeared to be one of the few reporters who wore a thinking cap to the press conference:

On April 21st, Admiral [Thad] Allen tells us the government started dispatching equipment rapidly to the Gulf, and you just said on day one you recognized the enormity of this situation. Yet here we are 39, 40 days later, you’re still having to rush more equipment, more boom. There are still areas of the coast unprotected. Why is it taking so long? And did you really act from day one for a worst-case scenario?

Another was CBS News' Chip Reid.

Chip Reid: First of all, Elizabeth Birnbaum resigned today. Did she resign? Was she fired? Was she forced out? And if so, why? And should other heads roll as we go on here?

[. . .]

Barack OBama: Now, with respect to Ms. Birnbaum, I found out about her resignation today. Ken Salazar has been in testimony throughout the day, so I don't know the circumstances in which this occurred.

While attempting to present himself as in-charge and hands-on, he doesn't even know the fate of Birnbaum?

One New York Times reporter saw the huge problem with that.

Jackie Calmes: And I'm also curious as to how it is that you didn’t know about Ms. Birnbaum's resignation/firing before --

Barack Obama: Well, you're assuming it was a firing. If it was a resignation, then she would have submitted a letter to Mr. Salazar this morning, at a time when I had a whole bunch of other stuff going on.

Jackie Calmes: So you rule out that she was fired?

Barack Obama: Come on, Jackie, I don't know. I'm telling you the -- I found out about it this morning, so I don't yet know the circumstances, and Ken Salazar has been in testimony on the Hill.

The whine in his petulant voice really had to be heard to be believed but listen to the nonsense he offers. Whatever happened, the alleged leader insists, took place "at a time when I had a whole bunch of other stuff going on." And apparently, since then, no one could pass on "She was fired" or "She quit" except Salazar. If he's not lying, this is a sign of how dysfunctional the executive branch has become.

It was not a reassuring moment as Sharyl Attkisson (CBS News) observed, "Elizabeth Birnbaum's departure was first reported as a 'firing.' Later, a 'resignation.' When asked for clarity, President Obama told the press corps today he had no idea." And if you're not getting how bad it was, grasp that Judith Miller (yes, that Judith Miller) at Fox News could safely mock him:

If this oil spill has had such burning priority for him and his administration, why didn’t he know whether Elizabeth Birnbaum, his hapless head of the Minerals Management Service, a virtual arm of BP and the oil sector, had resigned or been fired? There was a "whole bunch of other stuff going on," Mr. Obama said, unconvincingly. Indeed. There was the fund-raiser he attended across the country for Barbara Boxer. There were those "must do" photo ops with sports teams, not to mention an interview on the White House basketball court with TNT's Marv Albert.

The performance left much lacking, it failed to demonstrate leadership and, aside from establishing that, yes, the federal government was responsible for overseeing the operation (suck on it, Jeff McMahon), it offered little information and little reassurance.

At one point Barack attempted to hide behind his daughter. Now we're not sure whether Malia is the older one or the one who looks like a Mini-Me version of Wanda Sykes. We try not to think about them because allegedly they need their privacy. Allegedly? Their parents are the ones who keep bringing them up. Barack declared Thursday, "When I woke this morning and I'm shaving and Malia knocks on my bathroom door and she peeks in her head and she says, 'Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?'"

The only real response to that is, "What your parents do in bed is none of your business, young lady!"

Oh, sorry, were we supposed to take that fairy tale seriously?

As anyone with any behavioral psychology background could tell you examining that statement, it's a falsehood and that's why the verb tense changes repeatedly in that single sentence ("woke," "shaving," "knocks"). In other words, he didn't just try to hide behind his daughter, he lied about her. The Visitor still hasn't grasped how we expect business to be conducted on planet earth.
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