January 2009


10 Gadgets That Help You Survive in Old, Beater Cars

Eh, it runs

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Obama’s Inauguration Committee sold exclusive rights to HBO to air the Inaugural kickoff concert, held at the Lincoln Memorial. The Disney Channel got exclusive rights to a children’s event hosted by Michelle Obama and Joe Biden.

I guess people who don’t have digital cable don’t count in the new administration. Apparently the Lincoln Memorial isn’t a public place anymore. And presidential inaugural events aren’t public, either.

Inaugural Panel Sells Exclusive TV Rights

Gotta pay to play, baby.

If he’s selling out this early, will he have anything left to sell at the end of 4 years?

obama20leavng20presser-thumb_small2Actually this has no relation to the 10 plebes picked to ascend in the Inauguration Rapture. Different kind of selection.

Apparently, Obama not only picks ahead of time the journalists he will call upon at a press conference, but informs them beforehand. And doesn’t call on anyone else.

The press corps, most of us, don’t even bother raising our hands any more to ask questions because Obama always has before him a list of correspondents who’ve been advised they will be called upon that day.

– Carol Marin, Chicago Sun-Times

Not surprising? But again, a dreary resemblance to the last administration. And a distinct lack of ch-ch-change.

I don’t know why I’m continuing to chronicle exactly how Obama is meeting my low expectations. It just bothered me that, during the campaign, Obama made SUCH a big deal about presenting himself as above “politics as usual”, and got so much mileage out of it, from people who believed the hype.

Just sort of depressing.

rapturesmall1So … Obama’s campaign has this Godzilla-sized surplus. And yet, pleas for money keep rolling into my inbox.

Today, it’s an e-mail from Michelle, announcing the first of 10 “grassroots supporters” has been picked to be flown into DC for the inauguration, all expenses paid.  The first person picked is a woman named Cynthia.

Cynthia is a “builder.” (Not sure what that means, but okay.)

Apparently Michelle needs to select 9 more supporters “like Cynthia” by midnight on Thursday, and Michelle would love for me to one of them. And if I just donate $5 or more before Thursday, maybe I can be! Actually, I don’t even need to donate to enter.

Aw. I’m kind of touched. Except … really, the 10 aren’t picked and vetted already? For real? They’re just pickin’ ’em and rollin’ them out as they go? Not much time for a background check, there. Somehow, it doesn’t seem … likely?

The whole thing just seems weird. The more the Obama team tries to insist that the average unconnected citizen matters, the more distance they actually create. Look! Ten lucky souls, plucked out of the roiling masses to stand with The Man Himself! Obama cares about People Like Cynthia! He cares about us Deltas! Aren’t you blessed, Cynthia the Builder!

I’m not saying they *don’t* care. I don’t know. Maybe somehow Obama is able to keep the millions of average proles from blending into one giant undiffrentiated abstraction – clinging to his guns and religion, but oh, trying so hard to make a better life for his kids. Sure, maybe. But this PR stunt somehow makes it seem the opposite. And I’m skeptical that the 10 haven’t already been picked, and that the campaign-administration (campistration?) is soliciting funds in a misleading way.

ETA: Today, I got a mass e-mail from Barack Obama at noon, and another from campaign e-mail David Plouffe at 5 pm. They thoughtfully reminded me of the midnight deadline to donate for my chance at one of the 10 guest spots. They didn’t mention Cynthia the Builder.

It’s just really hard to believe the 10 are not already picked, given logistics and security. But … they’re politicians. If they *are* being deceitful, why does it bother me? This particular deceit just seems extra tawdry somehow, even for a politician. Dangling the illusion of opportunity to the surging masses.

Tokenism. And if the 10 *are* already picked, FAKE tokenism. Cheap.