Wedding Season Political Junkie Style

13 07 2011

There are a few things that are clear this fine summer evening – we are in the midst of “wedding season” and that our politicians will fight rather than compromise on any issue, however large or small, for as long as they can stretch it out. Seriously, House of Representatives?! Light bulbs?! Pictures are fun (especially while I sort out a more substantial post), so I’ve combined these two topics for your amusement. Here are a collection of wedding pictures of people who would be political players some day.

John and Jacqueline Kennedy. Is there any picture of them that doesn’t look like a scene from a movie?

I couldn’t find a picture of Lyndon and “Lady Bird” Johnson’s wedding, but this them as newlyweds.

I’m not posting a picture of the Nixons’ wedding because I didn’t find one. This is a photo of them dancing at their daughter Tricia’s White House wedding.

I did find a photo of Gerald and Betty Ford on their wedding day. How ’bout those socks, huh?

This is Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter and they look about fourteen. It’s kind of creepy.

Ronald and Nancy Reagan cutting the cake. Nancy Reagan’s hat reminds me of Princess Leia’s hair. Just thought I’d share that observation.

George and Barbara Bush. It seems odd seeing them as young people.

You can’t mention the name “Clinton” and the word “marriage” without pissing someone off, so I’ll say as little as possible on the topic. The bride’s hairstyle is a bit much, but it was the seventies so I can’t hold the fro against her.

Bush wedding 2: The Dubya edition.

Barack and Michelle Obama have supplied the cutest photo of this post.

There’s not much in the way of non-Presidential political wedding photos (as it should be, frankly), but I looked anyway because I saw this one in a political ad and wanted to have a reason to add it. Herman Cain, Republican presidential candidate wins the award for most awkward looking groom, but we are a country that has elected some odd-looking gentlemen.

This is Mitt Romney before he looked like what designers at Mattel would create to fill a box with the word ‘President” on it.

As a sort of flashback, this is John and Cindy McCain.

When Nancy Pelosi was poised to begin her four-year stint as Speaker of the House of Representatives, a lot of biographical pieces were done on her and this photo is from one of them.

I will end this rose petal-sprinkled wander through recent political history with this photo of Texas governor Rick Perry. So far he just the Republican governor of Texas, but the are presidential campaign rumblings once again coming from the Lonestar State. I think we’ll soon be seeing much more of him.

Enjoy the wedding season/political spitball war that is this summer!





The Power of Perception – Israel, Oil, and Other Stuff

7 06 2010

This is a continuation of my previous post about the oil spill. Someone was kind enough to comment and I have so much to say, I needed a whole post to respond and elaborate on the topic.

For many, this photo sums up everything they feel about the Bush administration’s handling of Hurricane Katrina. It’s not fair, but it’s the nature of the game. Hurricane Katrina – from the evacuation through to the rebuilding (still in progress, BTW) – was bungled every which way until it was nothing short of a boondoggle, but one man, George W. Bush could not have single-handedly wrecked it no matter how hard he tried. I’m not say he didn’t mess up, I simply stating the fact that he wasn’t the only one. There were plenty of mistakes made by a whole bunch of people who did a shoddy job thinking that somewhere along the line someone would pick up the slack and no one did – administratively speaking, that is. There are big-hearted individuals and groups that have done incredible work. There are some that still are working down there.
As for that picture of President Bush the Younger peering down at a devastated New Orleans from Air Force One, it isn’t all that it seems. Yes, he flew over and didn’t land to see the true plight of the citizens, but there was a very good, practical reason. When Air Force One shows up, it’s not just an ordinary day in the neighborhood. The Secret Service has to work alongside local law enforcement and, given the totality of the destruction of the infrastructure and such, those agencies would have run the risk of not being there to protect the local population if they were devoting what resources they had to providing the level of protection a presidential visit requires. They decided the risk wasn’t worth taking. See, it’s quite a valid reason, but when people are suffering and dying, reasons for not doing things that are seen as helpful all sound a bit like cop outs.

This is currently the image of Obama and the oil spill. While not entirely reassuring, he is there on the beach and that’s something. If an image comes along that carries more emotion – one of an oil-soaked wetland littered with dean animals, or something like that – then he will hear more cries that he hasn’t done enough. He still can’t go and fix the well himself or make all the oil disappear, but he is doing what little he can.

In other news, last week Israeli commandos were involved in a violent incident while boarding a Turkish aid vessel attempting to break the blockade Israel has imposed upon the Gaza Strip. I’m not going to try to piece together what happened that night on that dark, crowded ship. All we know is that something went very wrong, people died, and many were injured at the hands of military personnel. The image of elite troops killing and wounding civilians is almost universally unpalatable. The result – serious discussions all over the world about the efficacy and ethical implications of the Israeli policy regarding Gaza. Usually, such dialogues result in fierce accusations of the people, groups, or countries involved being “anti-Israel” or “pro-terrorist”, but this time, under these conditions is seems as though we might be able to cut through the bullfunky and get to the point. Some in Israel itself are calling for a review of the way Israel handles Gaza. If you’re wondering where the US stands, the Secretary of State issued the following statement.

Just a note, this is not a picture from that press briefing, it's a picture from her October 2009 visit to Israel. Why didn't I use a picture from the briefing? Because the briefing was supposed to be about her bilateral meeting with the Foreign Minister of Romania and I wanted an US/Israel image. It was all for aesthetics.

MR. CROWLEY: On his last day of covering the State Department, Nick Kralev of The Washington Times.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, Nick.

QUESTION: Hello.

SECRETARY CLINTON: We should sing Auld Lang Syne or something. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Well, thank you very much even without doing it.

Madam Secretary, I’d like to ask you a couple things about the Israeli situation which, as you know, is getting more and more serious by the day. I know there are many unknowns at this point, but do you accept Israel’s argument of self-defense? And do you think that the investigation should be done by Israel or by a third independent party, as other Security Council members have said?

And more broadly, we all know there are so many moving pieces to this. There’s Turkey, there’s Israel and in the Palestinians, there’s Iran, there’s Syria. What are the implications in your mind of this situation to the peace process and in the larger issues in the Middle East? Thanks.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Nick, on your last day, you’ve asked a very complicated set of interrelated questions. And let me put it into context as I respond. First, let me say how deeply we regret the tragic loss of life and injuries suffered among those involved in the incident aboard the Gaza-bound ships, and we offer our condolences to the families of the deceased and the wounded.

Turkey and Israel are both good friends of the United States, and we are working with both to deal with the aftermath of this tragic incident.

The United States supports the Security Council’s condemnation of the acts leading to this tragedy. And we urge Israel to permit full consular access to the individuals involved and to allow the countries concerned to retrieve their deceased and wounded immediately. We urge all concerned countries to work together to resolve the status of those who were part of this incident as soon as possible.

We support in the strongest terms the Security Council’s call for a prompt, impartial, credible, and transparent investigation. We support an Israeli investigation that meets those criteria. We are open to different ways of assuring a credible investigation, including international participation, and we will continue to discuss these ideas with the Israelis and our international partners in the days ahead.

The situation in Gaza is unsustainable and unacceptable. Israel’s legitimate security needs must be met, just as the Palestinians’ legitimate needs for sustained humanitarian assistance and regular access for reconstruction materials must also be assured.

We will continue to work closely with the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority along with international NGOs and the United Nations to ensure adequate access for humanitarian goods, including reconstruction and building supplies. And we welcome efforts to promote the reunification of Gaza and the West Bank under the legitimate and internationally recognized Palestinian Authority.

Ultimately, the solution to this conflict must be found through an agreement based on a two-state solution negotiated between the parties. This incident underscores the urgency of reaching this goal and we remain committed to working with both sides to move forward these negotiations.

I think the situation from our perspective is very difficult and requires careful, thoughtful responses from all concerned. But we fully support the Security Council’s action last night in issuing a presidential statement and we will work to implement the intention that this presidential statement represents.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you very much for taking this question.

On an almost-related note, today Helen Thomas, veteran opinion columnist for Hearst Newspapers’ and Dean of the White House Press Corps, retired today over inflammatory remarks about Israel – namely that they should “get the hell out of Palestine,” and “go home.” Obviously, these statements are incendiary to say the very least and especially given the fact that, against all odds, peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are still set to begin soon. Kudos to George Mitchell. As for Ms. Thomas, she should have, and did, issue a statement of apology. She should not have been made to retire, but it’s fine with me if she chose to do so. She is approaching ninety after all. It is always unfortunate when an illustrious career is ended with a mind-bogglingly stupid comment or action. She broke a lot of ground for women in journalism, but will be remembered, in the short-term anyway, as the old woman who didn’t like Israel. Freedom of speech is protected, but it isn’t always popular and there are some things you just can’t say in public – especially if you’re “somebody”. Sorry, but that’s the way it goes.





Because the World Cup is About to Start – Great Soccer Pics – Politicians

20 05 2010

It almost World Cup time and I cannot wait. I love it. I have created my first of at least two soccer picture montages. Here is what passes for soccer in the political sphere. Some do better than others.

Nelson Mandela

Pictured here in Switzerland in 2004 after the announcement of South Africa winning the bid to host the 2010 World Cup.

Gordon Brown

For someone who always looks like he’s about to fall asleep, he does alright.

Barack Obama

OK, so he’s no Pele. At least he gives it a try.

Michelle Obama

Looks to have more soccer skills than her husband.

Dmitri Medvedev

Not too bad.

David Cameron

He seems to be settling in nicely.

Nicolas Sarkozy

He always looks a little awkward.

Evo Morales

The President of Bolivia actually plays on a local team.

Angela Merkel

Apparently quite the fan, Angela Merkel was quoted in the lead up to the 2006 World Cup as saying that she “had arranged her schedule so that she could watch any match Germany plays, including the final.” Hmmmm… yeah… about that… VIVA AZZURRI!

Tony Blair

Looks good by politician standards… until he tries to kick a ball.

The G5

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Brazilian President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, South African President Jacob Zuma, and Chinese State Counsellor Dai Bingguo pose with autographed Brazilian national team jerseys.

Joe Biden

He looks lost – like someone handed him that ball and said “Here, hold this and smile.” Still, he gets credit from this soccer fan for even being there. I don’t see Rahm Emanuel, Janet Napolitano, Hillary Clinton, or anyone else in the administration out there, do you? Incidentally, I will be very disappointed if someone doesn’t pick up a soccer ball – or better yet, kick it – for a photo-op between now and the end of the World Cup.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Because idiots play, too.

Silvio Berlusconi

He can give soccer part of the credit for being in office today. He’s President of AC Milan – a well-known team even here in the US – and used the name recognition it gave him to launch a political career which has now made him President of Italy.

Bill Clinton

Pictured here in 1997 getting a lesson from Brazilian soccer legend Pelé. He looks very silly, but he gets credit for trying and also for trying to bring the 2018 or 2022 World Cup to the US. Here is a post I wrote about that very thing.

Dubya

Dubya knows next to nothing about soccer and, for a refreshing change from the actions of politicians in general, he’s totally honest. He was quoted as saying “[A] lot of us grew up not knowing anything about soccer, like me. I never saw soccer as a young boy. We didn’t play it where I was from. It just didn’t exist.” Thanks for being upfront about it, Dubya!


Uhhhh… that’s the wrong sport! Hey, has Dick Cheney been giving you golf lessons again?





“Great” Moments In Modern Politics – the Good, the Bad, and the WTF of Political Photos – Part 2 The Bad – Bad Behavior Edition

13 05 2010

I’ve given the politicians a break these last few weeks, but I’m now back once again for a chuckle at their expense. These time we’re looking at those moments when they forgot cameras exist.

Hand Gestures
Because sometimes we all just feel like flipping somebody off.

Dubya

Karl Rove

Rahm Emanuel

Pickin’ Fights
You try to behave but then somebody starts trouble…


“Say what?”

and it gets to you. You start to get angry.


“Grrrrr!”

They keep talking. They’re ruining your image with the ladies…


*whisper, whisper…*

and you’re getting even angrier.


“GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!”

They get in your way…

and you’re ready to fight.


“Put ’em up!”

All hell breaks loose.

And then…

you’re butt gets kicked.

Who thought giving her a bat was a good idea anyway?!

Lovin’ the Ladies
These guys have no shame!

And while we’re on this subject, what is the deal with Hillary Clinton and all these men recently? Am I the only one who remembers when the very mention of her name supposedly sent men the world over running for the hills protectively clutching their “gentleman berries”? How times do change.


This is actually a bigger deal than it looks since the Secretaries of State and Defense traditionally can’t stand being in the same room with each other.


To be fair, she does tend to make a face that resembles one that would usually accompany a pinch to the derriere, but this one with Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell just seems a little to suspect to me.


Where’s the Secret Service or is there some sort of diplomatic immunity for patting the US Secretary of State on the behind? Haven’t wars been started over less? I have to be honest, I think this picture is quite funny as illustrated here and here.


😯 Wh, wh, what?! 😯

I don’t get it. Ever since I was small, this woman has been called everything but attractive. She hits her sixties, runs for president, loses, and now this?! I don’t know whether to feel nauseous or optimistic.


This is more like the coverage of her that I’ve become used to.

Well, that does it for shots that are merely bad.

Next, stop the magical land of WTFs. (By the way, that’s Dubya and Vladimir Putin in the little car.)





“Great” Moments on Modern Politics – the Good, the Bad, and the WTF of Political Photos – Part 2 The Bad – Beach Bum Edition

16 04 2010

It about that time again – bathing suit buying time and as many of us contemplate that torturous dressing room experience, here’s a little slice of schadenfreude courtesy of those people we’ve elected to public office.

Richard Nixon

Because it’s so easy to laugh at Nixon.

Winner of the award for Best Forced Smile.

Barack Obama

He borrowed the secret service guy’s shades.

Tony Blair

Hiding in the foliage?

Vladimir Putin

It’s funnier when you consider how sexy he thinks he is.

Nicolas Sarkozy

The only photo in which he’s taller than his wife… sort of.

Ronald Reagan

To be fair, he had to be at least 70 when this was taken. What’s Putin’s excuse?

Bill and Hillary Clinton

This was a stroke of Presidential genius. Why? Well, I don’t believe that nobody knew someone was taking pictures. I don’t want somebody to be able to get that close without permission without being tackled by a half-dozen secret service guys. If both Clinton’s weren’t aware, at least the President must have known and I can see why he would think twice about telling his wife. What she doesn’t know won’t hurt him, right? Still, he knows he’s a little fluffy around the middle so he turns to a flattering angle and uses his wife as, essentially, a human shield for his less-than-fit physique. Honestly, what would the pundits prefer to discuss – his tummy or his wife’s butt. Well done, Mr. Clinton!

Dubya

And that’s the closest I ever want to come to finding a photo of Dubya in a swimsuit!





“Great” Moments in Modern Politics – the Good, the Bad, and the WTF of Political Photos – Part 2 The Bad – Silly Faces Edition

10 04 2010

Enough with the nice stuff. It’s time for a montage of our world leaders not looking their best. There’s a wealth of material out there, but I’ve tried to be fair. I’ve tried to avoid, very successfully I feel, to avoid those dreaded “-isms” (sexism, ageism, there are so many -isms). If you find some “-ism” or other that I’ve missed, let me know. I posted good pictures of these people earlier. Now it’s time for some good-natured mockery. I’ve tried to be an equal-opportunity insulter, but people like the Clintons and Dubya had so many more pictures that it’s hard to not look like you’re bashing on them.

***I’m Smiling Because My Handlers Told Me To***
Every politician, no matter how nice they may seem, has a fake smile that they employ when they have to deal with throngs of people whom they do not know and will most likely never see again. So who has the best one?

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Somewhere along the way, someone told Hillary Clinton that she should smile like a cartoon character.

Apparently, they also told her to smile like a chipmunk. This is bad, but in an almost cute way.

Joe Biden

And remember, he’s just a heartbeat away from running the country. Does anyone else feel slightly less safe?

David Miliband

No comment. It’s just that bad.

Dubya

The Odd-Man-Out and no doubt on many levels.

Yulia Tymoshenko

Is anyone else reminded of The Sound of Music?

Rahm Emanuel

“A clue, Sherlock!”

Nicolas Sarkozy

“Je me sens joli. Ah, plus joli.” (Translation – “I feel pretty. Oh, so pretty.”)

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton: The Sometimes-Embarrassing Mom of US Politics.

And, my favorite,….
Dmitri Medvedev

сыр! (Translation – “Cheese!”)

***Pouting Is Such Sweet Sorrow***
Anyone who’s pouting looks funny. Political figures pouting is just that much more amusing.

Dubya

Door 1 : Dubya 0

Hillary Rodham Clinton

You know when someone says or does something dumb and you look at them and think “Idiot!” That’s the look.

Barack Obama

“What did the Vice President say now?”

Sarah Palin

That’s advanced level pouting. Nicely done!

Barack Obama

Pouty POTUS.

Angela Merkel

“Er hat gesagt was?!” (Translation – “He said what?!”)

And the King of the Political Pout…
Bill Clinton

Awwww, poor baby!

***Politics FAIL***
This is what happens when the mask of political poise slips just as you’re thinking “Oh, damn!”

John McCain and Ted Kennedy

John McCain and the late Ted Kennedy listening to Joe Biden.

Dubya

One “Bush-ism” too many in that speech.

Bill Clinton

The international gesture of “Not my fault”.

David Miliband

LOL. Just LOL.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

“Ok, I’m gonna grab Bill’s butt now.”

Barack Obama and Joe Biden

Facepalm in 3… 2… 1…

Gordon Brown and Tony Blair

I don’t know who said what, but it looks like it was bad.

Angela Merkel

This was almost my pick, but my choice for this category is…

Hillary Rodham Clinton

because it’s so bad it’s almost endearing and nearly almost cute which is an accomplishment considering the subject. “Cute” and “endearing” aren’t words usually used to describe her.

Un-curb Your Enthusiasm
Running countries and so on is important work, but it can also be tiring.

Bill Clinton

Somebody tell him that looking like that isn’t helping her.

Gordon Brown

I’m not sure if Prime Minister Brown is bored or if that’s his usual expression.

Bill Clinton

Is she holding his hand to keep him from escaping?

Vladimir Putin

Mentally counting up all the places he’d rather be.

Bill Clinton

He simply can’t sit still and be quiet for long periods of time, can he?

Dubya

Nap time.

Bill Clinton

This man has made looking bored an art form, but my favorite bored politician picture is…

Diane Feinstein

Stop talking and let the poor thing go home!

You Can See The Wheels In There Turning
It’s entertaining to watch those with power trying to not look confused when they are… and failing.

David Miliband

Secretary Clinton seems to have no trouble enjoying her maple taffy at a G8 meeting in Quebec Canada, but Foreign Minister Miliband appears to be have been completely flummoxed by the snack food.

Dubya

“Uhhhhhhhhh….”

Hillary Rodham Clinton

“I didn’t just forget my speech. Nope. Not me.”

Joe Biden

Forget something, Joe?

Hillary Rodham Clinton

The (momentarily lost) Secretary of State.

David Miliband

“Huh? Did someone say ‘banana’?”

Dubya

Dubya’s attempt at diplomacy.

David Miliband

“Hmmmmmm……”

Bill Clinton

“Hillary, Sugar, what was I supposed to say again?”

Joe Biden

Mental Vacation.

And now to crown the King of Confusion
Dubya

Honestly, who else could it be?

What?!
Because sometimes even they’re caught by surprise.

John McCain

This type of shot makes me nervous. We’re sure he’s ok, right?

Hillary Rodham Clinton

“What?!”

Nancy Pelosi

I didn’t think her face could show that much expression.

Nicolas Sarkozy

“Ce n’etait pas moi!” (It wasn’t me!”)

Dubya

“Naw!”

Barack Obama

That face is great!

Dubya and John McCain

CPAC unveils the Rush Limbaugh swimsuit calendar.

I can’t decide which of these photo I prefer, but the subject of both is the same.

Joe Biden

In all honesty, is there a more amusing person in DC?

Laughing With You
See? No hard feelings.

Dubya

David Miliband

George H. W. Bush

Bill Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Gordon Brown

Angela Merkel and Silvio Berlusconi

Joe Biden

Isn’t it nice to see everyone getting along?

Posted for Still4Hill.





“Great” Moments in Modern Politics – The Delicate Dance of Politics Part 2: The Presidential Edition

13 03 2010

Whatever the president does, it will be scrutinized, analyzed, and hypothesized about to death. Such is life in a post-Watergate world – the presidency will never be looked at like it was before that ever again. That’s a fact. So, with all eyes on him, you’d think the president would be a fairly anxious to avoid unnecessarily embarrassing himself. Well, no, they embarrass themselves in countless ways from the benign to the scandalous. Since I’m still not very confident about talking serious issues even though nobody reads this thing anyway, I’ll stick to fluff for now – like dancing. There are many of us, myself among them, who do their utmost to avoid dancing in public, so some credit must be given for trying. Some obviously did better than others.

It’s a little early to judge our current president, but I found this picture of Barack and Michelle Obama at their inauguration and thought it would get the whole thing started.

So here we are – spanning nearly thirty years – the presidential dance-off.

Fourth Place – George H. W. Bush President from 1989-1993.

The first Bush couple to inhabit the White House were rather understated when it came to hitting the dance floor.


1989

Aside from this picture from one of the inaugural balls, I couldn’t find any more pictures – let alone video – of President Bush the elder dancing with anyone. I suppose it is best to know the limits of your talents when the press is around and sit back like the rest of us and enjoy the antics of those who have yet to figure that out.

Third Place – Bill Clinton President from 1993-2001.

President Clinton took office and the age of 46 making him the second youngest president ever elected and with that distinction came a certain amount of expectation that he and his wife would look good. Well, we all know they never rivaled the Kennedys, but their dancing wasn’t too bad even though it often looked contrived. Then again, if I were being investigated for everything under the sun, I doubt I’d be feeling very relaxed and spontaneous, either.


As the new president-elect in 1992.


At an inaugural ball in 1993

1993

Not dated

This photo was taken on St. Thomas in 1996 and its release sparked controversy, just like everything else having to do with the then-First Couple. Was the photo staged as an attempt to depict the Clintons as happily married or was this the work of journalists who had sunk to the level of skulking paparazzi? Who knows, but, no matter whether they knew about it or not, I’m sure that the current Secretary of State wishes it had never been taken.

At an inaugural ball in 1997

1997

We all know what happened next – scandal, impeachment, perpetual divorce rumors, a first lady became a senator, the senator ran for president and became Secretary of State – and, for reasons known really only to themselves, they’re still dancing with each other in the same old, un-spontaneous way nearly two decades after the world began watching.


Posted for stacyx

Second PlaceRonald Reagan, President from 1981-1989.

I found plenty of pictures of President Reagan dancing with his wife, Nancy. Reagan, having had a previous career as an actor, tended to do well with this element of presidential theater. It all seemed so unrehearsed – even Harry Benson’s famous photograph from 1985 which was, I believe, shot in a studio had a very natural, unscripted, and genuine feel to it.


1981
<a
1984

At one of the inaugural balls. 1985

1985

This was taken by Harry Benson in 1985.

1987

President Reagan also did the diplomatic dance in 1984 with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

And now it is my pleasure to present out presidential dancing king, the one and only …

DUBYA! George W. Bush – President from 2001-2009

Now I know how shocking it is that Dubya has come in at the top of any political list of mine, but let me explain. While he certain isn’t the best dancer, he is very comfortable being the bad dancer that he is and never passed up an opportunity to show off what one kind reporter described as “his unique moves.” Also, thanks to sites like YouTube, all of his dancing antics are preserved on the internet for our children and our children’s children to reference for history projects. For supplying the world with laugh-inducing clips for the ages, George W. Bush wins the award for “Best” Presidential Dancer.


At an inaugural ball in 2001.


At an inaugural event in 2001.


At an inaugural ball in 2005.


2006


2006


2007. Does this make anyone else think of Thriller?


2008


2008

I would love to say my next post will be more meaningful and thought-provoking … but I’m sure it won’t be.