Category Archive 'Michelle Obama'
18 Feb 2018

Obamas’ Choices

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Tim Mostert puts the Obama presidential portraits in the right perspective.

The recently unveiled Obama portraits are of a type that I have seen many times in my career as an artist and art historian. The poses are wooden, the compositions hackneyed, and both subjects have obviously been copied from photographs. To make up for the technical weakness of the painting’s execution, the artist relies on gimmicks to drag their image over the finish line, hoping that that will mask his limited technical abilities, or at least divert attention from them.

The official portrait is part of an old tradition perfected by Renaissance painters more than 500 years ago. The artists were generally painting powerful old men, who tended to be a bit ugly. To make up for what lacked in the sitter’s physical beauty, the artist would emphasize the internal. A great painting of a king or pope tells you something about the subject’s inner thoughts, his psyche. The image is more about what’s going on inside his head rather than the outer trappings of his position or status. Great paintings by Titian and Velázquez show us the most powerful men in their world, but we feel we know them intimately. This is what a great artist can do with simple paint and canvas – no copying photographs, no assembly line of assistants doing most of the work, and no gimmicks to hide their lack of ability.

The Obama portraits are kind of shocking – not only because the paintings are so clichéd and amateurish, but because Barack and Michelle would choose artists primarily by virtue of their skin color and radical views instead of whether they could actually pull off an official portrait. With no budget limitations, you choose these two? These substandard paintings will hang in the National Gallery for all time. I assume that the Obamas wanted to prove a point. With the Obamas, everything comes down to race and retribution, and here was one last chance to rub someone’s nose in something.

The Obama portraits are a sad reflection on how bad a choice someone can make when given the opportunity to do something great.

Think of the position of absolute privilege you would be in, if you could choose any artist in the world to paint your portrait. No ceiling on the budget. You can choose any artist, and he will immortalize, knowing he will be paid handsomely, and his work will be prominently displayed in the prestigious National Portrait Gallery. Bizarrely, you base your choice on political affiliation and race rather than artistic ability. If we chose pilots and surgeons in the same way, most of us would be dead.

RTWT

27 Jul 2016

Are You Quite Sure About That?

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DNCWall

14 May 2015

Michelle Obama’s Microaggressions

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MichelleObama5

Rich Lowry adds another large one to the First Lady’s list of personal affronts.

Michelle Obama gave a commencement address at Tuskegee University that was a ringing call for the graduates not to be discouraged by her whining.

Much of the first lady’s speech was what is right and proper for a Tuskegee commencement, drawing on the story of the determination and skill of the Tuskegee Airmen. But she devoted a long passage to her own struggles that was off key and characteristically self-pitying.

Few women in modern America have been the focus of as much adulation as Michelle Obama, a Princeton University and Harvard Law School graduate who was making almost $270,000 by the time her husband was elected senator. She is routinely lionized for her beauty and her public spiritedness.

Yet, the first lady often strikes an aggrieved note when talking about her experience in America (her notorious comment in 2008 was that “for the first time in my adult lifetime I’m really proud of my country.”). Her gloss on the famous Wallis Simpson line is apparently that you can never be too rich, too thin or too easily offended.

At Tuskegee, she related a series of inconsequential gibes or perceived insults mostly from 2008 that, for her, loom large enough to share with graduating seniors years later.

The first lady cited a controversial New Yorker cover during that campaign of her sporting an Angela Davis-style Afro and a gun. The image was meant to satirize “misconceptions and prejudices” about the Obamas, in the words of the publication’s editor, David Remnick.

The first lady said “it knocked me back a bit.” Give her this: Few of us know the pain of being featured on a cover of one of the nation’s most respected magazines in a spoof meant to illustrate how our critics are mean-spirited loons.

(Remnick went on to further demonstrate his hostility to the Obamas by writing an admiring 672-page biography of the president.) …

In her Tuskegee address, at least Michelle Obama urged the graduates not to be daunted by slights (and more meaningful obstacles, like rotten schools). She commended to them the example of herself, “the fully-formed first lady who stands before you today.”

Even though Michelle Obama didn’t mention the word, what she was discussing was “microaggressions.” It is the trendy term on college campuses for often inadvertent offensiveness, such as Barack Obama, once upon a time, being mistaken for a waiter when he wore a tuxedo at an event.

The idiocy of the concept of the microaggression is its underlying premise that only people who belong to certain select groups ever suffer indignities or humiliations, when they are, of course, endemic to the human condition. George Orwell once said that every life seen from the inside is a series of defeats.

Read the whole thing.

28 May 2014

CNN Anchor Thinks Michelle Obama Signs Bills Into Law

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Carol Costello has a B.A. in Journalism from Kent State.

09 Aug 2012

Usain Bolt Stops Interview to Stand in Silence For the US National Anthem

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While American Sanya Richards-Ross was accepting the gold medal for winning the 400-meter dash, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt was giving an interview.

The world’s fastest man, a Jamaican who won the 100-meter dash, stopped what he was doing to listen to the Star-Spangled Banner.

Instead of continuing to talk to the interviewer, he turned around, pointed at the flag, and indicated to the reporter that he would like to watch in silence.

Video of Bolt’s interview has gone viral.

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Of course, not everybody feels the same way about the American National Anthem.

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Washington Times story

24 Jun 2012

Best Line of the Weekend

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Ann Althouse:

Michelle Obama wants to take away your cheeseburgers, but with Ann Romney, everybody gets a pony!

01 Jun 2012

Nou Nou D’Enfer

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Hat tip to Adrian.

14 Nov 2009

Obama Bows Again

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The President of the United States bows before the Emperor of Japan

The LA Times reports that the Chosen One bent low again, this time to Akihito, 125th Emperor of Japan.

Obama’s bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia last April produced widespread criticism as a violation of American Republican principle and protocol. Many Americans believe it is profoundly inappropriate for the President of the United States to render honors acknowledging the superiority of any monarch since the American Republic by its Declaration of Independence rejected monarchy and the claim of unelected rulers to reign on the basis of divine authority.

Oddly enough, Obama reserves, it seems, his gestures of supreme respect for Worthy Oriental Gentlemens. He merely nodded to Queen Elizabeth. In the case of Queen Elizabeth, Michelle Obama made gestures in quite the opposite direction, hugging the Queen and later even patting her affectionately on the back.


Last April’s obeisance to the “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques”

22 Jul 2009

“Barack Will Never Allow You to Go Back to Your Lives as Usual”

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Glenn Reynolds reports that, for some strange reason, sales of books like Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom are soaring.

The amused cynic contends:

(W)hat is happening is that through the “economic emergency,” Obama is trying to implement Rand’s fictitious “Directive 10-289,” which is what the the combination of “stimulus package,” unsupervised TARP bailouts, “Cap and Trade,” and “Health Care Reform” equal when they are rammed down your throats without discussion (or even the reading of the details) by your supposed “representatives” in the national government.

He quotes none other than Michelle Obama herself, telling an audience at UCLA last year:

Barack, as Oprah said, is one of the most brilliant men you will meet in our lifetime.

Barack is more than ready. He’ll be ready today, he’ll be ready on day one, he’ll be ready in a year from now, five years from now – he is ready.

That is not the question. The question is: What are we ready for?

Wait, wait, wait – because we say we’re ready for change, we say we’re ready for change, butcha see, change is HARD.

Change will always be hard, and it doesn’t happen from the top down.

We do not get universal health care, we don’t get better schools because somebody else is in the White House. We get change because folks from the grass roots up decide they are sick and tired of other people telling them how their lives will be – when they decide to roll up their sleeves and work.

And Barack Obama will require you to work.

He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism, that you put down your division, that you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones, that you push yourselves to be better, and that you engage.

Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual – uninvolved, uninformed…

Who knows? Like the Khmer Rouge, he may decide to march urban populations out of energy consuming cities for resettlement at collective farm settlements in the countryside, too.

20 Apr 2009

Michelle Obama Earned $63K Last Year From No-Show Job

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Debra Moore reminds us:

After Barack Obama became an Illinois state legislator, his wife moved up as well, scoring a job as ‘vice president of community relations’ at the University Of Chicago Hospital for a very generous salary of $121,910. When Obama became a senator in 2005, her ‘salary’ leapfrogged to $$316,962 for the same job…and one of Senator Obama’s first acts in office was to see to it that the hospital received over a million dollars of your tax dollars as an earmark.

And Steve Gilbert notes Michelle Obama recently resigned her job to take on the role of First Lady, having been on a leave of absence since May of 2007 to participate in the presidential campaign.

Despite being on leave of absence, Michelle Obama received $62,709 in compensation from University of Chicago Hospitals last year. Less than her full salary, but not bad for a no-show job.

Now that Michelle has moved on to bigger things, the University of Chicago Hospitals has found that it doesn’t really need a vice president of community relations after all, and has simply eliminated the position.

Isn’t it wonderful that we have such noble and disinterested people rising to the top in American public life?

Hat tip to Gateway Pundit.

14 Jul 2008

New Yorker Cover Draws Fire

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The July 21, 2008 issue of the New Yorker features a cover cartoon of B. Hussein Obama and his wife Michelle in the Oval Office looking more or less the way some of us are prone to imagine they might some day.

The New Yorker’s intention was to satirize right wing images of the Obamas, but some people in politics have no sense of humor, and both campaigns were quick to get all pious and sanctimonious about it.

Chicago Tribune Swamp:

The Obama campaign, as well as the campaign of Republican rival John McCain, slammed the cover as offensive:

“The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Sen. Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement, reported by Politico. “But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.”

“We completely agree with the Obama campaign, it’s tasteless and offensive,” McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said in a statement.

Transgressing the boundaries of convention is precisely what makes a lot of the best kind of humor funny. Besides, cartoonist Barry Blitt isn’t really endorsing the viewpoint of the Obamas depicted in the cartoon. He’s mocking it, and poking fun at people like me who think that image isn’t so very far off the mark.

Conservatives do have a sense of humor, though, so I am able to find it funny, even if I am one of the targets of the satire. Kudos, Barry Blitt.

Those looking for more laughs this morning need only to scan the Comments section of this posting over at HuffPo. A lot of the lefties are, as the saying goes, having a cow.

17 Jun 2008

Smile, When You Call Me “Whitey”

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The Chicago Tribune is attempting to innoculate readers against the possibility that the rumor published by Larry Johnson of a tape of Michelle Obama ranting about “Whitey” may turn out to be true.

It’s hard to come up with an ethnic slur that has less of a sting than “whitey.”

A prevalent yet unsubstantiated Internet rumor has it that Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle, used this term at some point in a speech, and the Obama campaign is concerned enough to have posted an online rebuttal.

I’ve got to ask, though. Are there really white people out there so ignorant of history, so unaware of the nuances of language and so threatened by minority grievances that they take genuine umbrage at the term “whitey”?

More a taunt than a threat, the word has no ugly history and hints at no particular stereotypes. It may have been hurled in a menacing fashion in ugly personal confrontations from time to time, but it’s never been used to keep a people down, to put them in their place, to rank them as subhuman.

To be truly offensive, a derogatory term needs to have an ominous context that “whitey” lacks.

Those who take offense are confusing prejudice—which is making negative assumptions about people based solely on external characteristics, of which all races and ethnicities are guilty—with racism, which is prejudice in action.

It requires them to imagine that “whitey” marginalizes, diminishes and therefore harms white people.

And if they’re really that dumb, then I guess they deserve to be insulted.

So there!

They really lit Jeff Goldstein‘s fuse with this one. Jeff retorts:

So yeah. It looks like an Obama presidency will give us a frank discussion on the issue of race. If by “frank” we mean, “shut up and quit you’re bitching, whitey. We’ll tell you what racism is.”

Read his whole Don’t call me nigger, Whitey.

08 Jun 2008

Larry Johnson Issues a Warning

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Larry Johnson puts his hand on a stack of bibles, swears he is telling the truth about the “Whitey tape,” and then issues a warning to democrats.

I now appreciate somewhat how Cofer Black, the head of the CIA’s Counter Terrorism Center, must have felt as he tried to warn Condaleeza Rice and the Bush White House about a brewing terrorist attack in the days leading up to September 11th.

John Cole responds with a link to a mocking YouTube spoof video, which is unfortunately lame. Lots of left-side blogs are linking it and pretending that it is terribly amusing.

06 Jun 2008

Obama Answers By Avoiding Answering

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Ben Smith
(who’s obviously in the tank for Obama) credits the candidate with successfully dismissing the question, and links a Reason piece by David Weigel, wittily titled Everything’s Gonna Be All White, which pooh pooh’s it.

Sen. Barack Obama on Thursday batted down rumors circulating on the Internet and mentioned on some cable news shows of the existence of a video of his wife using a derogatory term for white people, and criticized a reporter for asking him about the rumor, which has not a shred of evidence to support it.

    “We have seen this before. There is dirt and lies that are circulated in e-mails and they pump them out long enough until finally you, a mainstream reporter, asks me about it,” Obama said to the McClatchy reporter during a press conference aboard his campaign plane. “That gives legs to the story. If somebody has evidence that myself or Michelle or anybody has said something inappropriate, let them do it.”

Asked whether he knew it not to be true, Obama said he had answered the question.

But the rumor’s chief source, leftwing retired-Spook and Plamegame team member Larry Johnson retorts:

When a politician tap dances on nuance–Baby it is true. My sources have not backed off. They maintain they have a tape and will drop it on the Dems in the fall. Now if Barack said, “No, and hell no” I would be wondering about my sources. But he punted. He went for the weasel word. The non-denial denial.

Time will tell.

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