Entrance under President Bush was via tight WH security. After the coat check, you would follow the corridor to a stairway for ascension to the main foyer. The greeting there was by the music of the U.S. marine band playing music of either Christmas or Hanukkah. At each Hanukkah party I would remind the leader of the band that Jews love Christmas music also.
After exploring the many rooms of the first floor, we would be invited to the photo op line with President Bush and the First Lady. Military personnel confirmed the correct pronunciation of our name and then escorted us and introduced us to the First Couple. A brief, but very warm greeting would precede the photo and then good bye and back to the festivities. While the process is efficient and swift due to the sheer numbers, we never felt rushed and always felt much appreciated. The Bushes spent hours individually greeting their guests like this during every one of their 20 holiday parties each year.
Flash forward to the new Administration. Entering the main floor there is no greeting by the U.S. Marine band and very little element of music at all. All of the guests are herded up into the central area of the main floor only to wait more than 30 minutes for the President and the First Lady to descend the stairs and where the President reads a “heart-warming” message from a teleprompter. They then descend into the crowd and work the rope line for a short period before departing for the evening.
What a difference a year makes. It certainly could be construed as a prime example of the gracelessness of this President and indicative of his focus on himself versus others.
It is nice to know that we have all this extra money for third-world countries to combat the effects of global warming. The question is how much of this $100 billion annual commitment will be borne by the American people.
On the subject of handing out money, the nearly trillion and one-half dollar deficit did not stop Congress from including over 5,000 earmarks for “vital” projects in the budget bills this year. Maybe we should be happy, as there were 3,000 less earmarks than in the prior year. Gosh, it appears progress is being made.
The estate tax has been suspended since January 1st. I was assured by colleagues it would be reinstated before the end of 2009 despite the fact that I asserted there was no time on the congressional calendar. Part of the reason Congress did not rush the issue is their arrogant belief that they can impose this tax retroactively.
It should be fascinating to watch some elected officials trying to impose taxes on dead people. This action will be a hallmark in the fight over the Estate tax and another dagger in the heart of the Democratic-led Congress.
President Obama has defended Senator Harry Reid for his comments about then-Senator Obama running for president by stating that Reid has apologized to him and that Reid has a long history of good work.
Al Campanis, General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, had a long history of working with blacks and had a very close relationship with the first black major leaguer, Jackie Robinson. Despite that he was excoriated for his “in artful” comments about blacks and was fired.
Mr. Reid should suffer the same fate as Mr. Campanis. He is no less guilty and no less racist.
With the disclosure that an estimated 276,000 federal employees and retirees owe $3 billion in back taxes, it will be interesting to see if the IRS garnishes their wages and retirement benefits. Access to this revenue source is pretty simple. The feds have no problem taking back social security benefits from ordinary citizens who have somehow been overpaid, so they certainly should have no difficulty retrieving funds from their own errant and arrogant employees.
While watching the classic Bond movie Goldfinger (which came out in 1964), I stumbled upon a fascinating interchange. While trying to figure out Goldfinger’s scheme, Bond mentioned that Goldfinger was transporting gold from the United States where it was priced at $35 an ounce to other countries where it might be worth up to $100 an ounce. How things have changed – it’s just 45 years later and gold prices now exceed $1,000 an ounce.
The final results are in from the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change. It increased the gross domestic product of Denmark by 3%. Glad they did something constructive.