Tag Archives: politics

George W. Bush Is Painting?

A self-portrait of sorts, George W. Bush depicts himself taking a bath.
A self-portrait of sorts, George W. Bush depicts himself taking a bath.

A hacker has gained access to some of the Bush family’s personal business and some of their friends too.

It’s odd to me that someone would do this, but many on the Left have hated them for years. (Just listen to Mike Malloy.) Apparently George H. W. Bush, Bush 41, was close to death, or least some of the inner circle certainly thought so. But he’s still kickin’.

Besides “things NOT TO TELL YOUR MOTHER,” I was pleasantly surprised to learn that George W. Bush has been busy painting.

The hacker also intercepted photos that George W. Bush e-mailed two months ago to his sister showing paintings that he was working on, including self-portraits of him showering and in a bathtub. Another image shows the former president painting at the family’s Maine retreat (his subject is St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, a historic seaside chapel down the road from the sprawling Kennebunkport compound).

Some of details make me suspicious of the authenticity. But with Dubya’s sense of humor, one never knows.



The President has put in place an organization with the kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life. . . . That database will have information about everything on every individual on ways that it’s never been done before and whoever runs for President on the Democratic ticket has to deal with that. . . . It’s very powerful what he’s leaving in place.” — Congresswoman Maxine Waters


Kindergarten at the Capitol

If the lip reader enlisted by Inside Edition is correct, then we have a serious problem, not just Republicans, every American.

It was the eye-roll seen ’round the world, and now we may know why First Lady Michelle Obama was less than impressed with Republican House Speaker John Boehner during Monday’s inauguration luncheon. Michelle sat forward in her chair, allowing her husband, sitting to her right, and Boehner, to her left, to exchange a few words. She seemed annoyed with the banter, then rolled her eyes. Lip reader Larry Wenig tells “Inside Edition” that Boehner asked President Obama — a longtime smoker who claims to have kicked the habit — if he’d had a chance to have a cigarette before the luncheon. The speaker, a chain smoker, then quipped, “Somebody [Michelle] won’t let you do it.”

Is lip reader Larry on to something here? Or is he embellishing?

If true, Boehner is more juvenile than I could have possibly imagined. He needs to be replaced.

So much for attempting to breach the divide. Befriending those around the president, including the First Lady, is probably a better strategy.

Our leaders need to start building some good will. Start by being friendly.


Ashley Judd?

Cute, yes. Senate material, no. Let's hope the Senate race in Kentucky isn't a "popularity" contest.
Cute, yes. Senate material, no. Let’s hope the Senate race in Kentucky isn’t a “popularity” contest.

God no. The last thing America needs right now is another emoting, whiny liberal in the US Senate.

I watched her episode on Who Do You Think You Are? and nearly gagged at times. A few choice words come to mind: self-important, ignorant, arrogant, so Hollywood. The only actress perhaps more sanctimonious than Judd is Natalie Portman.

I ain’t a big fan of Mitch McConnell, but Ashley Judd is considered a serious alternative? Are you kidding?

I feel for the people of Kentucky. The good news is that carpetbagging and liberalism aren’t particularly popular there. George Clooney’s father Nick, a nice man, decided to have a go at it in Kentucky, and lost handily.

Can you imagine her standing alongside Rand Paul?

My personal appeal to Ms. Judd is, please, please continue playing flat, one-dimensional characters in mediocre, irrelevant movies and spare both Kentuckians and the American people from any of your hare-brained ideas.


The Modines

Matthew Modine portrayed Deputy Commissioner Peter Foley in The Dark Knight Rises.
Matthew Modine portrayed Deputy Commissioner Peter Foley in The Dark Knight Rises.

Actor Matthew Modine is the latest lib from sunny Southern California to preach about guns, even invoking the name of Ronald Reagan while doing it.

The Modine family is probably like most others. Like my own, there is a mix of liberals and conservatives. My older brother and uncle lean left while the rest of us in my immediate family are conservative to varying degrees.

My paternal grandmother was raised a Democrat and has been one all of her life. They were Democrats and Methodists. Nothing would ever change that.

One of my great aunts was a delegate to the 1972 Democratic Convention. And the tradition continues: another great aunt and uncle are big supporters of Tom Daschle.

So, knowing a little about Matthew Modine, his politics and movie choices, I was surprised when his brother Mike introduced himself years ago.

We were both on the campaign trail. He was running for some local office, perhaps the mass transit board, and I, being ambitious and naive, had jumped into the race for mayor.1

At first I was skeptical about his claim. I’ve run into all sorts of people who say the darnedest things when I’ve been out campaigning.

Then I looked him over carefully. Sure enough, Mike had that Modine look in his face. He shared certain facial features with his more famous brother.

Not only was he a Modine, he was a Republican, he said. A Republican? Hmmmm.

I don’t know how conservative Mike was or is. I had a feeling he might be one of those Republican-in-name-only fellas, like Colin Powell or John McCain.

Mike told me a little about the family. There were several brothers, he said. The exact number I can’t remember. It may have been four or five.2

I’d like to hear his thoughts on all of this. What does he think of Obama? Gun control? The budget?

I much prefer Rob Lowe’s style to Mike’s brother Matthew.

LOWE: Look . . . I like guns, and I don’t own an assault rifle. I wouldn’t know what to do with one. I wouldn’t know why I would want one. I also see that if you’re a law-abiding person and you bought it under the law, having it taken from you, I can see why people would have a problem with that. . . .

I do think that the last thing viewers want is another Hollywood actor telling them anything about guns, pro or con.

I don’t own any guns at the moment, but I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to buy a rifle or carry a hand gun.

If folks don’t intend to commit crimes with ’em, then I could really care less what they have in their arsenals. My philosophy is generally libertarian: live and let live.

I sure wish Obama, Big Sis and their cronies had the same attitude.


1. Originally I had written about Matthew Modine’s brother Geoff, who, despite searching using Google and DexKnows.com, I could not locate. Looking up the election records helped. Actually his name is Mike, and in 1994 he was running to be a state representative. Why I thought it was Geoff, I don’t know. I wrote that his “parents picked an odd spelling for his name.” Still, I don’t have any current information on him, where he’s living and what he’s up to. It looks like he has relocated to Harrisburg.

2. There are seven siblings, according to an interview given by Matthew and TVGuide.com. If I remember correctly, Mike may have told me the kids were all boys. (But I thought his name was Geoff, remember.)

Jack Lew’s Scribbling

I first glanced at Jack Lew‘s signature a few days ago. It is strange, almost whimsical, for a person’s signature, especially a number-crunching bureaucrat.

At the time, I didn’t realize the significance. You see, if Lew is confirmed by the Senate as Secretary of the Treasury, some form of it, likely a more legible version, will be on every bill printed during his tenure.

What Lew’s signature says about the man is anyone’s guess. Have any handwriting experts weighed in on the issue? What must his doodling be like?

Some folks really want to see it printed on actual currency.


Senator Hatfield

The last time I saw Hatfield, in 2005, sitting in a comfortable chair on the patio of the governor's ceremonial office at the state capitol.
The last time I saw Hatfield, in 2005, was him sitting in a comfortable chair on the patio of the governor's ceremonial office at the state capitol.

I probably first met Senator Mark Hatfield during an elementary school field trip to the Peace Plaza at city hall. The plaza is a big open area of concrete with benches and a few trees with a large, ugly modernist sculpture serving as a fountain, though I haven’t seen the thing spouting any water this summer.

He was there as a dignitary. I was there because some teachers thought it would be good to attend some peacenik event. I think the Peace Plaza was being rededicated.1 He and others had signed a sheet a paper, which was copied and given to all attendees. I vaguely remember his signature adorning it. For years I had it among my mementos from school.

His most heated moment was probably in 1995 when he single-handedly shot down the Balanced Budget Amendment. The U.S. Senate was one vote shy of referring it to the state legislatures. And Majority Leader Bob Dole didn’t seem to do a damn thing about it, put some pressure on him or anything.2 The collegiately of the Senate can be a true hindrance to good policy.

I called his office, perhaps in Portland, and railed against him and his vote. I didn’t let the man on the other end get much in. I was not in a good mood and let the man know it. He tried to explain Hatfield’s vote, but I’d said everything I had wanted and hung up on him, putting an exclamation point on my attitude, to further register just how upsetting his vote was. Of course, constituents didn’t have much leverage because he wasn’t standing for re-election.

I am still mad at him for voting against it. There ain’t nothing wrong with amending the Constitution. It’s been changed quite a bit through the years, mostly for the good. I’d hate to see the United States without the Bill of Rights. It’s not a perfect document, although it is often treated as such, venerated and holy.

As a younger man he may have been better, more populist. Hanging just outside the ceremonial entrance to the House of Representatives in the Oregon State Capitol is a magnificently large photograph of him as governor signing a civil rights bill surrounded by a group of leading black citizens. It’s a terrific photo documenting a great day in Oregon history.

Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan, Mark Hatfield, Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan, Mark Hatfield, Jimmy Carter

Another one of my favorite pictures of Hatfield is during Ronald Reagan’s first inauguration. Hatfield was the inauguration chairman. They were both governors, of states with a common border. Serving together during the same time, I am assuming this is when they became friends.

I last saw Hatfield in 2005 during the ceremony honoring him at the state capitol. I was snapping photos of him and the festivities as a member of the press.

This is where I ran into an old school photographer from the Statesman, the same man who nearly got me on film skipping the entire day of school on Good Friday of 1993. I was downtown and popped into First United Methodist Church for a noon service. Little did I know a reporter was there doing a story for the front page of the local section, with a photographer in tow.

Former Governor Barbara Roberts was there to honor Hatfield and I was surprised to see them hug as if old, lifelong friends. She mentioned something about him being one of the last decent Republicans, a breed that was pretty much extinct. She wondered why there couldn’t be more bipartisanship.

I worked as an intern in her office and wasn’t impressed by her staff or the stupid, mudane tasks they assigned me. Mostly I typed up her old speeches on a slow, outdated computer tucked away in an obscure corner of the governor’s office.

The fact is that Mark Hatfield was merely a man, a decent and good one, but only a man. And like any man, he was wrong about a few things. His voting record shows this quite clearly.

I’ve never heard of anyone lying in state in the capitol rotunda, but I do think this is a prime opportunity for doing so. Hatfield was a giant in Oregon politics. A remarkable, honorable man. Wrong at times, but not a typical politician.

I am sure he had no idea who the heck I was.


1. The Peace Plaza was organized by a bunch of longtime Salem residents of leftist and liberal political persuasions. I met a few of them when I ran for mayor in 1994, although I didn’t know many of their backgrounds. A United Nations flag flies from a pole on the eastern side. Because of soverignty issues, it’s quite controversial in some circles. The issue has been brought before the city council, but the latest attempt was rejected. Personally, I’d like to see it removed.

2. This is contrary to some press reports, including from The Oregonian. I still doubt that Dole put much, if any, pressure on him, but I am only human and could be wrong. I’d have to see some real evidence to convince me though.


‘All Politics Is Local’

Today I was working on a couple of posts, both of which aren’t ready for public consumption. This got me to thinking about what I could post, something that wouldn’t be too complicated or time consuming.

In digging through my email inbox I noticed a story idea I had when I wrote for Salem Monthly. It was about a man who had been considering a run for mayor, but ultimately decided against it. I waned to do a story on him and the process.

Why had he consider a campaign in the first place? Why did he ultimately reconsider? What were the pros and cons?

These questions bring me to my first question to any readers out there. Have you ever thought about running for office? The title really doesn’t really matter to me. It could be anything, from the local PTA to the soil or water district. Your thoughts and comments are what’s important.