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CEOs to Obama: Get Out Of The Way?

2:47 pm in Economy by TobyWollin

"Make Way" by shoothead on flickr. Quack, Quack, Quack.

"Make Way" by shoothead on flickr. Quack, Quack, Quack.

In anticipation of the President’s speech about jobs, and with a dismal NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, USAToday asked some CEOs (now where they found this bunch is beyond me, but…) about what they thought Obama should do.
CEOS give ideas on what Obama should do about jobs

Some of the responses were actually sort of interesting, but my absolute favorite came from John Schiller, chairman and CEO of Energy XXI, who said, “if the government would get out of the way, from a regulation standpoint, and let us [XXI] do what we do good you’ll see us continue to hire and grow this economy.”

Now, from the Aunt Toby, Grammarian standpoint, we will not discuss the phrase ‘do what we do good,’ ok? Doing good is not the same as ‘doing well’ but perhaps Mr. Schiller is trying to get in a twofer here. What I decided to do was to actually test this.

The phrase ‘you’ll see us continue to hire’ needs examination. “You will see us continue to hire” – this means to me that Energy XXI is already hiring (hoorah for Energy XXI!) and Mr. Schiller is saying that they will keep right on hiring and will ‘grow this economy’ (all by themselves? Amazing).

So, being the annoying person that I am, I went to their website. Surely, they must have a career section and be showing all of these juicy, well-paying jobs for which they are recruiting (i.e., ‘continue to hire’), right?
Energy XXI Career Search

So, I go there and I do a search using ‘all departments’. Nyet. Read the rest of this entry →

Aunt Toby Talks to the President

3:21 pm in Uncategorized by TobyWollin

Yesterday, the president gave an exclusive interview to Diane Sawyer, in which he said, "I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president."

President Obama Tells It All To Diane

The logic of this statement boggles the mind.

A president who is really good (that is, he gets what he wants in and out of Congress and into law) is NOT a one-term president. A president who is really good gets to run again. Presidents who are mediocre in their first term (and mediocre, like success, is a completely subjective thing)don’t get the nomination or they get the Hail Mary, run and lose.

This is Kosher Bacon.

Later in the interview, it got even more interesting. "But the president insisted "I didn’t make a bunch of deals… I am happy to own up to the fact that I have not changed Congress and how it operates the way I would have liked."

Oh dear.

Barry, Aunt Toby would like to sit you down and explain a few things:
1) There are three great lies in life: "This won’t hurt a bit" "No, officer, I never did this before" and "The check is in the mail."
2) There really is no such thing as Santa Claus
3) Congress is its own beast and operates in whatever way it so chooses – it may be totally ineffective, totally inefficient, an exercise in frustration and a return to the hallway outside of 8th grade study hall.

But NO ONE..NO HOW…is going to change Congress or how it operates. And if you somehow thought that your bright and shining face, and your silver tongue and the fact that an awful lot of people voted for you because they believed in the marketing – that you deluded yourself into believing that you, Barack Obama were going to somehow change that institution — Barry, then you deserve to pack up Michelle and the girls and go back to Chicago and go back to teaching.

A leader is someone who is worth following. Turn around, Barry – how many people are there?

Forget Michelle Obama’s Dress — Just Look At That Hat

3:41 pm in Uncategorized by TobyWollin

Aretha Franklin's hat
In all the hubbub and pageantry of the Inauguration, along with all the discussion of Michelle Obama’s dress (what’s it made of? What the heck IS that color anyway? Is she wearing a bulletproof vest under it? How is she staying warm?), there was actually another fashion discussion that has had far more legs than the First Lady’s dress: Aretha Franklin’s hat.

Now, I read a lot of craft, sewing and fashion blogs (actually, I read a lot of blogs, period) and no matter what the origination point of the blog: United States, the UK, Spain, name it…everyone wanted to discuss That Hat.

The most interesting blogs were those that are either originated by or frequented by American Black women – their response was on the order of “What’s the big deal? That’s just ‘a church lady hat’. In the black community, women of a certain age make a major effort to dress for church and that includes, no matter what the time of year or the weather, a real honest to gosh hat. A hat with an edifice complex if you will. Read the rest of this entry →

Mommy — Barack’s Not Playing Nice! Bush Staffers Gripe About Inaugural Speech

11:56 am in Uncategorized by TobyWollin


Lots of people liked President Barak Obama’s Inaugural Address – George Bush’s team members, however, were not any of them:

Bush Staffers Criticize Obama Speech

"Karen Hughes, a longtime Bush confidante, said in an interview. "He really missed an opportunity to be as big as the occasion was and, frankly, as gracious as President Bush was as he left office."

Dan Bartlett, another top adviser, used similar language. "It was a missed opportunity to bring some of the president’s loyal supporters into the fold," he said. Marc A. Thiessen, the chief White House speechwriter until this week, added: "It was an ungracious inaugural. It was pretty clear he was taking shots."

What I’d like to know is this: Where is it written that the newly sworn in President, on his Inauguration Day, has to call for a big ‘high five’ for the outgoing guy? Where is it written that this person has to praise his predecessor? How CAN this particular new leader call for praise for his predecessor…when he was elected because the vast majority of the people in the country feel that this man was our political version of a drunken rock band in a crappy motel?

Some analysts said it was Read the rest of this entry →

Ding, Dong…the Language Manglers Have Left the Building — About Damn Time

5:08 pm in Uncategorized by TobyWollin


There have already been some critics out there who have done their work on Barak Obama’s first inaugural address. And being the person who has probably written the most often here about language and how the last bunch of yahoos twisted, eviscerated, and mangled it, I claim my right to my share of real estate here to discuss why I think that a) Barak Obama is a great writer and b) Barak Obama is a great and inspirational speaker.

First, let’s look at what this speech was NOT, as in what was Bush’s last inauguration speech.

That speech, analyzed more closely than perhaps anything other than The DaVinci Code, contained so many secret and open messages and code words that it was pretty obvious that it was an open marketing device from Bush to his hyper-conservative, Christian and militarist base. The only thing missing was a call for every man, woman and child to take up arms and board ships for the Middle East. As it was, even Peggy Noonan found it ‘scary and creepy’. It was not a speech with an inclusive message – it was Bush’s love note to his base.

Second, let’s look at what this speech WAS Read the rest of this entry →

Mighty Mouth Grover Norquist Tells the GOP: Here I Come…To Save The Day

9:56 am in Uncategorized by TobyWollin

Grover Norquist, our favorite bathtub drowner-in-chief, held one of his famous Wednesday morning meetings with the faithful, many of whom are still disinfecting their wounds and trying to figure out ‘how come we lost?” Norquist seems to think that the 52% of the American People who voted to show the door to Bush/Cheney and Norquist’s philosophies are a bunch of ignorant booby-heads.

He also sees Bill Clinton as being smarter than Barak Obama – and that the country is not ‘ready’ for an Obama-led Administration. Norquist also seems to have forgotten that Bush, Cheney, their buddy Henry Paulsen et al. recently handed the American People a huge tax bill that Obama has no control over, so excoriating him already for anticipated raises in taxes is rather stupid.

It’s going to be extremely difficult to wring blood out of a stone for new programs when the current administration not only has sucked it dry NOW, it’s sucked a whole lot of the future out of it, too. Sorry, Grover – every time one of you guys raises the flag on “Obama tax increases”, out answer is “to pay for the mess that YOU guys left behind.”

“…About 150 individuals were in attendance, Read the rest of this entry →

Excuse Us While We Trash The Company You Started

11:48 am in Uncategorized by TobyWollin

Once upon a time, there was a guy named Dan Cooper who started a firearms company called, interestingly enough, Cooper Firearms in Montana. It’s a public company now and some ‘enthusiasts’ have brought out their ‘big guns’ in terms of telling the company that if they didn’t get rid of the guy who founded the company..but who has endorsed Obama…that they’d boycott the products. MMM, are these the folks who believe in privacy, private ownership, etc? How many of these folks were stockholders?

“Conservative gun enthusiasts have succeeded in forcing a Montana-based rifle manufacturer to oust its CEO after he revealed his support for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Dan Cooper, founder of Cooper Firearms, resigned his position with the company after a wave of condemnation from gun owners who don’t believe Obama’s assurances that he plans to protect gun rights….“I don’t believe that what’s being said about Obama and his policies about guns are accurate,” Cooper said in part of the paper’s interview not originally published. “I have had a conversation with the senator … he is a stanch supporter of the right to hunt and the right to bear arms.”
….On its Web site, Cooper Firearms issued a statement noting that Read the rest of this entry →

How to get Obama Elected

11:36 am in Uncategorized by TobyWollin

The DH and I were talking about what was the most important thing we could do to help Obama get elected. We decided that it is not enough to give money. Not enough to canvas, or make phone calls or go door to door. Not enough to even go and pick up people to take them to the polls. What we need to do is make sure that a) people are registered, b) get to the correct polling place and c) that when they vote, their vote gets counted … just the way they cast it. How do we help with that – that is a huge problem. We’re going to support THIS: A guide to help people know what to do about the to get their votes counted.
"Bobby Kennedy Jr., Rev. Jesse Jackson and I invite you to join us to co-sponsor our voter guide, “Steal Back Your Vote.”

Your organization, group, website, radio program – we need you to add your name, your heart, your effort to prevent a repeat of 2000 and 2004.

Steal Back Your Vote lays out the Six Ways They’re Stealing the Election – and the Seven Ways you can Steal It Back. It’s a 24-page Read the rest of this entry →