Friday, November 27, 2020

A Letter to Dashiell on His 2nd Birthday

Dear Dash — 

Today you turn two and I'm absolutely astonished at much you’ve grown since your first (rather frightful) days on this planet. You probably already know the basics: Delivered in Hospital Nuevo Belén in Madrid, I held you for only a few quick moments before doctors said one of your lungs wasn’t quite ready for a post-womb world and you were whisked away into the NICU, where you remained for one nerve-wracking week. Despite undergoing what looked like an an extremely uncomfortable introduction to the outside world (so many tubes!), you remained perfectly placid throughout the ordeal; I on the hand cried like a baby.

Knowing you were the last of the Elliott brood, I made sure to appreciate each and every “baby moment” we spent together once you finally came home. When you’d awake in the middle of the night, I would often take you downstairs, then outside, where I’d direct your eyes up to the stars in the sky. You’d smile in apparent awe, overcoming me with wonder — a feeling I’d resolve to keep with me forever. 

Despite being the “baby” of the family you’ve always carried yourself like the oldest. Sizing up your older brothers, your evident intent on leapfrogging them has resulted in some rather mature interests. Here, for example, are a few of your early passions: 

 * Mopping. You love cleaning generally, but especially mopping. This is something you take very seriously, and thus won’t settle for substandard mops. Some of the only times I’ve seen you cry are when you’re given a baby mop instead of a proper, professional mop. You’ll settle for nothing less than the best. (This is basically you.) 

Pursuing your passion
* Dental Hygiene. Unlike pretty much every other baby I’ve come across, you love all manner of dental hygiene. Brushing, flossing, the whole bit. If I need to get you to chillax in the bathtub, I can give you a toothbrush and some toothpaste and you’ll settle in for hours. 

* Telling your old brothers what to do. While you may be the “baby," you know you’re actually the boss, often directing Niall and Alden to perform small favors for you (e.g., giving you their scooter; refilling your cup; making them entertain you with funny faces). 

 * Beverages. Perhaps your most intense passion is for beverages, and on this topic, you are completely open minded (as opposed to your fiercely particular opinions on mops). Water (sin & con gas), milk — it hardly matters; anything in liquid form brings you joy. The only problem is that sometimes you’re so focused on beverages you forget about actual food. 

* Meat. Thankfully there’s no food group like you better than meat. The other day I made lamb chops and while your older brothers wanted their meat removed from the bone and cut into pieces, you preferred ripping the flesh off the bone like a cavebaby. Another time I roasted a chicken and had cut up some “toddler bites” for you. You looked at your plate, then mine, then reached over to grab my giant chicken leg, which you happily masticated over the course of the next hour. 

For better or worse, this aversion of “kid” food results in the usual methods of bribery not working. Whereas Alden and Niall would do virtually anything for a hit of sugar, you don’t seem to care for sweets at all, preferring instead savory snacks like pistachios, queso & jamon. 

Your obliviousness to your “baby” status is also seen at the skate park, where you’re known to commandeer teenagers’ unattended scooters/skateboards to try holding your own on the halfpipe. The older kids would probably be annoyed at you hogging the whole park but you’re frankly just too cute to bother anyone. Last week we were there and you had taken Niall’s scooter and were pulling it to the top of a ramp, running down alongside the scooter. After a few of these test runs, you resolved to try riding the scooter itself down the ramp. I was nervous watching this unfold but too impressed at your moxie to intervene. To my amazement you actually succeeded riding it all the way down the ramp, but did take a tumble after hitting maximum velocity. No big deal, though. I had some magic elixir — “agua” — and you were right back at it a few minutes later. 

As I write your vocabulary consists of at least 30 words, some of which are Spanish, such as the aforementioned “agua,” “jamon,” as well as “más” (which you’re often using to direct people to give you more jamon and/or agua). You can count to 10 in both Spanish and English and you say “Dada” with an enthusiasm that makes my heart swell in euphoria. 

This unusual bravery is also seen at the swimming pool, where you’ve never let your lack of swimming abilities stop you from jumping into the pool (where I’ll catch you and toss you high into the air). You love this so much, you get legit angry at Alden and Niall for occasionally trying to engage in the same routine. This summer at the beach, you were initially suspicious of all the sand, but soon treated it like a second skin, rolling around and getting absolutely covered. It was a mess but who am I to judge? 

Like your brothers, you have a weak spot for the dregs of YouTube, particularly fancying a cartoon called “Jay Jay,” which features insufferable music vignettes from the perspective of a boy approximately your age. As you’re exhibiting unusual maturation elsewhere, I’ve decided to grant you this particular indulgence. 

If I’m going to be completely candid, this last year hasn’t exactly been my absolute favorite — with a seemingly interminable global pandemic being only the most recent unforeseen disaster — but throughout it all, you’ve remained a happy warrior who, at least for me, stands athwart raging storms like a lighthouse, offering hope, direction, and purpose. I am also inclined to take this opportunity to apologize that things didn’t work out as I’d wanted between me and your mom; just know that whatever happens, I’ll always be the best father for you that I possibly can. Te amo un montón. 

Feliz cumpleaños! 

Monday, November 6, 2017

A Letter to Niall on His Second Birthday

Dear Niall - You've just turned two, and based on you continual surprise at how much it hurts closing drawers on your fingers, memory is not yet your strong suit. As such, I thought it might be helpful to jot down some reflections on your first two years, before I likewise start closing drawers on my fingers.
You were born in Korea to American parents (your mom and I, actually) in a town called Gangnam, which was briefly noteworthy after a stylish fatman captivated the world by dancing like a cowboy angrily churning butter (YouTube it). Koreans are a superstitious lot, and one of their theories is the danger modern medicine poses to childbirth. As such, your mom had a rather rough go ushering you into the world, and frankly I was rather nervous during the whole laborious saga. But you seemed unfazed, somehow managing a smile almost immediately upon seeing your new world outside the womb. Smiling, sleeping, & suckling kept you constantly content, with nary a tear in those first days.
But even as Korea treated us well, we soon hit the road, heading back to the United States for a few months of paperwork while prepping for a new life in Spain. During those few months in America, you proved yourself an avid swimmer (even if you weren’t yet actually accomplished). Fortunately for our laundry needs, the local dry cleaner was (somewhat stereotypically) being run by Koreans. When your mom made sure to let them know about your honorable place of birth, they thereafter provided rush service free of charge. They assured us you were a golden child. (They treated your Canadian-born older brother like Kim Jong-Un.)
OK, so now we’re living in Spain and you’ve got a few key obsessions: — You’re not a big crier, but one thing that automatically sets you off is not having immediate access to Pellegrino on ice with a splash of lemon. It’s been a sippy-cup staple since shortly after our arrival. “Bubble” might actually have been your first word, which you use to both describe your aforementioned favorite beverage as well as any liquid at all really. Pelligrino, plus your affinity for olives and cheese, suggests you're settling into the Mediterranean lifestyle rather well.
— Piggy and Donkey. They’re the two stuffed animals you’ve taken to; you scan the crib every night to ensure their presence. But even as you carry these things everywhere and seem attached, I’ve also seen you throw them out of windows/off balconies/etc., while cackling maniacally.
— Sleeping & eating. I am probably supposed to say that I love you the same as Alden, but the reality is you are my favorite when it comes to sleeping and eating. You like to eat pretty much everything, and you’re always in the mood. And putting you to bed is as easy as taking you into your room and watching you try to climb into your crib. Then you’re usually good until the morning. (Don’t tell your brother I said this, but he’s currently 4 and is still the worst sleeper ever. Actually as I write this, it’s 3 AM, and I’m laying next to him, trying to coax him back to sleep. So thank you very much for not following in his footsteps.) — You also love watching Peppa Pig, perhaps because she reminds you of your aforementioned stuffed swine, or perhaps because she reminds you of bacon. Or maybe you just dig the accents. Either way it’s another current obsession.
— Shoes. We have a closet near the front door filled with shoes, and trying them all on keeps you endlessly entertained. You’ve got very strong opinions on shoes, actually. When it’s time to go somewhere, selecting footwear you find agreeable can take hours, if not days. You need to get a grip, to be honest. If this is still a thing next year we might need to talk to someone.

— You’ve recently taken to painting and other forms of “art.” One of your hobbies is coming up to my office, raiding my jar of writing implements, and creating Jackson Pollock-esque masterworks. It's impossible to complain about the distraction when you're proudly showing them off. Anti-Obsessions: — Getting dressed. Whenever possible, nudity is your preference, but unfortunately that’s not always socially acceptable. Getting you dressed is often a two-man operation (or rather, one man/one woman operation). You’re only two, but you’ve got the strength of 7 bucking broncos (I’ve done the math). Secretly I’m sometimes hoping you don’t decide to just beat my ass.
— Car seats, stroller straps, and all other manner or restricted movement. When we put you in the car seat, you’re like Houdini with your escape skills. I should be mad but usually I’m actually just impressed. I wish I could say you and Alden are BFFs but that would be a blatant lie. I’d describe your relationship more like a rivalry, with an occasional recognition that one another is a worthy adversary. Once you even hugged.
This rivalry also brings out your mischievous side. Last April we were vacationing in a city called Jalon; Alden was on the patio, hard at work assembling a tower with some blocks; you, walking by, nonchalantly removed one of the bottom blocks, then carried on, only to smile at the sound of the tower crashing in your wake and Alden’s disappointed cries. Cheeky.
We’ve now lived in Spain for a year and you speak un poquito espanol. "Aqui" is one of your go-to words -- rather, commands -- but you’ve also recently shown you can count to 10 (with a little help). It's only a matter of time before we're asking you to help translate.
But what really makes you, you, is that you're utterly uninterested in following anyone else. You have your own habits, tastes, and interests, and you could care less what anyone else thinks. You're only two years old, but you've already taught me so much about how to live. I love and wish you a very happy birthday.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Letter to Alden on His 1st Birthday

The burrito mom hath birthed
Dear Alden -

Today is your first birthday. It occurred to me that once you get a bit older, you might not recall everything that’s happened these last 12 months. So I thought I’d write this letter and give you a brief reminder of what you’ve been up to in your first year of life. 

You were born, as you have no doubt heard by now, in Ottawa, Canada. There was some debate about whether we should fly back to the States to ensure you weren’t precluded from an eventual presidential run, but after consulting with our lawyer (Ted Cruz) we went ahead with the Canadian birthing option (it was free). Now you apparently have dual citizenship. The main benefit of that is if America’s economy ever tanks completely, we can use you as our anchor baby. The night you were born the nurses wrapped you up like a baby burrito. For some reason I was very paranoid about the deep sleep you quickly fell into. So throughout the night, instead of sleeping myself, I checked on you about every 15 minutes. Turns out, babies just like to sleep. 

You seemed to enjoy living in Canada, despite it being Canada. This winter, for example, the temperature regularly dipped as low as negative 20. Yet you still seemed to always enjoy cruising around the neighborhood in your stroller. In fact, the only time I can recall you complaining about the weather was once when your mom and I (as well as our friend Eric) were determined to trek some mountain trail — despite the fact that it was pretty much blizzarding. That time we had you strapped into the Baby Bjorn. After about 20 minutes of getting blasted in the face with snow, you started crying. To this day I’ll never forgive you for that. Kidding! You were probably just hungry anyway. 

You’ve probably also heard by now that we eventually escaped Canada for Korea, where you blended right in. Except instead of having black hair with dark, squinty eyes and a taste for kimchi, you have flowing golden locks with bright blue eyes and a strong aversion to kimchi. You’re definitely the only one in this city of 12 million who fits that profile. Which is probably why the locals treat you like a god. Wherever we go, people say "aleumdaun!” Which we’re told means “beautiful,” but could just as well mean “devil child.” It’s a tough language to understand. 

Crushing Canadians
Speaking of Koreans, the other day we were in Lotte World (the Bloomingdales of Korea) and one of the gentlemen working the appliance section decided he’d like to hold you. But not only did he hold you; he rubbed his nose against yours, cooed ceaselessly, and gave you no fewer than 100 kisses. I attempted several interventions, but he wasn’t having it. 

Just two days ago, your mom and I were taking you out to celebrate your birthday (a couple of days early). As we happened upon an intersection, a group of 5 or 6 young girls immediately began freaking out with excitement upon seeing you. Perched on my shoulder, you began clapping at them. They all clapped in response. You then let out your classic Alden yell; they yelled just the same. Then you did a peek-a-boo, and they did peek-a-boos back. This call-and-response game actually went on for a few minutes. You reminded me of a rock star who can command his fans to do just about anything. 
Doin' the bull dance

Which is actually great because you really love attention. Once in awhile, we’re walking and you’re smiling at everyone who looks your way. If you fixate on someone but they ignore you, you begin hollering at them. Increasingly louder. Until inevitably they look at you, at which point you smile at them and their once cold hearts melt instantly. It’s a great move. 
Besides attention and adoration, here are some of your favorite things:

  • The bath. You could spend hours in the tub. Even as you sometimes lose your balance, go under and momentarily appear traumatized, you’re usually happy again within a few seconds. You also like throwing anything within arm’s range into the tub with you. And to your credit, you’ve only pooped in the tub twice. 
  • Animals. You like them all. Sadly, they mostly hate you. Probably because you scream at them very rudely. And you eat their food. Simone is nicer to you than any other kid she’s encountered, but even she can only take so much fur-tugging. Dolley has hated you from the get-go, likely because she knows we like you better than her. Hugo is a cat none of us like so it doesn’t really matter what he thinks. Feel free to continue tormenting him.
  • Your Parents. You always smile your gigantic smile whenever you see us. It’s pretty much the best.
  • With your friend Simone
    on Halloween
  • The Bottle. You’re probably getting to be that age where we should segue away from the bottle into a more sophisticated chalice, but you really can’t be without it. The other night I happened to go into your room while you were sleeping. You literally had the bottle in your mouth as you slept; as I was looked on, you sucked the (empty) bottle several times somewhat frantically, then returned to your deep slumber. It was funny. (You probably had to be there.)  
Things you dislike: 
  • The Car. This is an issue you’ve wavered on. At times you tolerate long trips in the car seat; other times, you’ll go through a phase where even two seconds in the car seat is akin to ripping your toenails out, one by one. You’re currently in the latter phase. We're hopeful this doesn’t last too much longer.
  • I literally can’t think of anything else you outwardly dislike. Besides kimchi. 
On your birthday I also want to say thanks. Previously I thought babies were smelly little beasts that permanently end any hope of youthful frivolity. Now I know that’s only partially true. And while I know everyone thinks their kid is the best, I actually do think you’re literally the best baby ever. You’re cute, generally well behaved, and have a budding sense of mirth your mom and I both find hilarious. But don’t let any of this go to your head; you still have plenty of time to let us down. 

Happy birthday, Alden Forbes Elliott 

En route to Korea

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tom's Top 12 Albums of 2012

While there were a lot of great albums that came out this year, here are the 12 I currently consider my favorite:

"Port of Morrow" - The Shins
"Bleed Bleed Bleed" - Thieves Like Us
"Zero" - Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes
"Blunderbuss" - Jack White
"Little Broken Hearts" - Norah Jones
"Look Around the Corner" - Quantic & Alice Russell
"Interludes After Midnight" - Blockhead
"Cabaret" - Moon Taxi
"Songs" - Rusko
"Kill for Love" - Chromatics
"The Man with the Iron Fists" - Rza
"Strange Clouds" - B.O.B.
"Ugabulum" - Squarepusher

OK, technically that's 13. But how could I have named this post "Top 13 Albums of 2012"? Ridiculous.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tom's Top 100 Albums

The following is a list of albums I currently consider my 100 favorite. These are not the top 100 albums I grew up with or the albums I consider the most musically accomplished; rather, they're just my favorite 100 albums as of this moment. 

What's on your list? 

  1. “Paul’s Boutique” - The Beastie Boys [1989]
  2. “Ethiopian Knights” - Donald Byrd [1971]
  3. “Endtroducing” - DJ Shadow [1996]
  4. “Ill Communication” - The Beastie Boys [1994]
  5. “Cannonball in Japan” - Cannonball Adderley [1966]
  6. “Moon Safari” - Air [1998]
  7. “Check Your Head” - The Beastie Boys [1992]
  8. “Ready to Die” - Notorious BIG [1994]
  9. “Rift” - Phish [1993]
  10. “Blazing Arrow” - Blackalicious [2002]
  11. “Temples of Boom” - Cypress Hill [1995]
  12. “Deltron 3030” - Deltron [2000]
  13. “Mary, Don’t Take Me on no Bad Trip” - Fugi [1969]
  14. “The Platform” - Dilated Peoples [2000]
  15. “The Score” - The Fugees [1996]
  16. “Ironman” - Ghostface Killah [1996]
  17. “So … How’s Your Girl?” - Handsome Boy Modeling School [1999]
  18. “Power in Numbers” - Jurassic 5 [2002]
  19. “Disposable Arts” - Masta Ace [2001]
  20. “Life After Death” - Notorious BIG [1997]
  21. “Deadringer” - RJD2 [2002]
  22. “Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul” - Otis Redding [1966]
  23. “Endangered Species” - Big Pun [2001]
  24. “Naked & Warm” - Bill Withers [1976]
  25. “Initials SG” - Serge Gainsbourg [1968]
  26. “How I Got Over” - The Roots [2010]
  27. “Doggystyle” - Snoop Dogg [1994]
  28. “Gulag Orkestar” - Beirut [2006]
  29. “The Chronic” - Dr. Dre [1992]
  30. “The Genius Hits the Road” - Ray Charles [1960]
  31. “The Low End Theory” - A Tribe Called Quest [1991]
  32. “Enter the 36 Chambers” - Wu-Tang Clan [1994]
  33. “Stone Cold Rhymin’” - Young MC [1989]
  34. “Citizen Cope” - Citizen Cope [2002]
  35. “The Beatles (White Album)” - The Beatles [1968]
  36. “All the Woo in the World” - Bernie Worrell [1978]
  37. “Back to Black” - Amy Winehouse [2006]
  38. “Headhunters” - Herbie Hancock [1973]
  39. “Intensity” - Charles Earland [1972]
  40. “Shakedown Street” - Grateful Dead [1978]
  41. “Walking Backwards” - Clutchy Hopkins [2008]
  42. “Into Bass and Time” - Ancient Astronauts [2011]
  43. “A New Perspective” - Donald Byrd [1963]
  44. “Naturally” - Sharon Jones [2006]
  45. “Sounding Out the City” - El Michels Affair [2005]
  46. “Astral Sign” - Gene Harris [1974]
  47. “His Majesty King Funk” - Grant Green [1965]
  48. “Us” - Maceo Parker [1974]
  49. “Shackman” - Medeski Martin & Wood [1996]
  50. “Culture of Fear” - Thievery Corporation [2011]
  51. “JapanPopShow” - Curumin [2008]
  52. “Inspiration Information” - Shuggie Otis [1974]
  53. “Clutch of the Tiger” - Clutchy Hopkins [2008]
  54. “The Many Faces of Roger” - Roger [1981]
  55. “Salongo” - Ramsey Lewis [1976]
  56. “Mother Nature’s Son” - Ramsey Lewis [1968]
  57. “Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley” - Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley  [1961]
  58. “Get Up With It” - Miles Davis [1974]
  59. “Abbey Road” - The Beatles [1968]
  60. “Midnite Vultures” - Beck [1999]
  61. “The Chisa Years” - Hugh Masekela [2006]
  62. “Marcos Valle” - Marcos Valle [1970]
  63. “Four” - Blues Traveler [1994]
  64. “Version” - Mark Ronson [2007]
  65. “Shango” - Peter King [1972]
  66. “Innervisions” - Stevie Wonder [1973]
  67. “13” - Blur [1999]
  68. “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” - The Smashing Pumpkins [1995]
  69. “The Division Bell” - Pink Floyd [1994]
  70. “The Clarence Greenwood Recordings" - Citizen Cope [2004]
  71. “Shame, Shame” - Dr. Dog [2010]
  72. “Africa Brasil” - Jorge Ben [1976]
  73. “Houses of the Holy” - Led Zepplin [1973]
  74. “One Hot Minute” - Red Hot Chili Peppers [1995]
  75. “Live at the Fillmore” - Santana [1997]
  76. “Chronchitis” - Slightly Stoopid [2007]
  77. “Animal Magic” - Bonobo [2001]
  78. “Some People Have Real Problems” - Sia [2008]
  79. “Ubiquity Studio Sessions Vol. 3” - Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra (2006)
  80. “FutureSex/LoveSounds” - Justin Timberlake [2007]
  81. “Sesso Matto” - Armando Trovaioli [1973]
  82. “Buena Vista Social Club” - Buena Vista Social Club [1997]
  83. “The Underground Spiritual Game” - Fela Kuti/DJ Chief Xcel [2004]
  84. “Nightingale” - Gilberto Gil [1979]
  85. “Eat a Peach” - Allman Brothers [1972]
  86. “Samba Esuema Novo” - Jorge Ben [1963]
  87. “Since I Left You” - The Avalanches [2000]
  88. “The Music Scene” - Blockhead [2009]
  89. “Magical Mystery Tour” - The Beatles [1967]
  90. “Chasing the Dragon” - Diplo [2010]
  91. “Everything is Possible” - Os Mutantes [1999]
  92. “Milight” - DJ Krush [1996]
  93. “Kutiman” - Kutiman [2007]
  94. “The Twilight Zone EP” - The Nothing [2011]
  95. “Wu-Tang Forever” - Wu Tang Clan [1997]
  96. “Modal Soul” - Nujabes [2005]
  97. “The Trinity Session” - Cowboy Junkies [1998]
  98. “Is on Top” - Chuck Berry [1959]
  99. “Aretha Live at the Fillmore West” - Aretha Franklin [1971]
  100. “The Baby Huey Story” - Baby Huey [1971]

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Ultimate A-Z Guide to Obama's First Term

9/11 now somehow even more painful
  • 9/11 is now associated with two anti-American terrorist attacks. Despite warnings an attack was coming, he failed to act.
  • Earlier, tried turning 9/11 into some kind of national holiday for liberalism. 
Automobile industry nationalized and weakened
  • In "saving" the auto industry, he handed ownership of the companies to his campaign contributors (the auto unions). 
  • In doing so, rightful owners were forced out -- many of which were public pensioners (teachers, firemen, etc.), who unsuccessfully sued.
  • When Ford capitalized on the bailout's unpopularity in a TV ad, he forced the company to stop airing it.  
  • The consulate was under threat long before 9/11, yet he failed to bolster security. 
  • Ambassador Christopher Stevens himself warned of gathering threats.
  • His vice president's words of consolation to the father of former Navy SEAL slain in the attack: "Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?"
  • During the attack, repeated requests for backup were denied
  • When asked about requests for backup being denied, he refused to answer. 
  • The White House likely used an aerial drone to watch the attack as it happened.
  • When meeting the father of one of the men who died fighting off the attack, he was cold, impersonal, and ungrateful
  • When his secretary of State met a father of one of the slain SEALs, she vowed to prosecute an American filmmaker who played no role in the attack. 
  • The CIA found terrorist links the following day, yet he continued blaming an unrelated YouTube video.
  • After claiming in the second presidential debate to have labeled the attack "terrorism" the following day, he admitted after the debate he avoided describing the attack that way.
Courts and other offices packed with radicals
  • David Hamilton, most infamous for his rulings against laws requiring sex offenders to register with the state, was nominated to the 7th Court of Appeals
  • Louis Butler, whom Wisconsin voters twice voted off the bench after dismantling rules against frivolous lawsuits (amongst other things), was nominated to a federal district court.
  • Robert Chatigny, who infamously partially excused a rapist-murder of his crimes because of the perp's penchant for "sexual sadism," was nominated to the 2nd Court of Appeals
  • His EPA administrator subscribes to redistributive economics called "environmental justice."
  • His secretary of Transportation openly advocates using government to force people to stop driving cars.  
  • Hired the John Paulson -- the billionaire most famous for selling subprime mortgage-backed securities -- to help write "consumer protection" legislation. 
Debt is now threatening America's very existence
  • Despite running on promises to cut federal spending and slash the deficit in half by the end of his first term, federal spending 
  • Immediately sent debt skyrocketing
  • For months he deferred calls to act on the deficit and debt by creating a commission to handle the issue; after the commission issued its report, he ignored it entirely. 
  • Since taking office, Americans' share of the debt is going up $50/day
  • Has plans to increase spending another 49 percent over the next 10 years. 
  • Increased food stamp usage 50 percent.
  • His "balanced" deficit reduction plan is 88 percent tax hikes. 
Embarrassing gaffes are an every-day thing
Favors for friends, not for the people
  • Disposed of Department of Labor rules that mandated unions are transparent with their spending because the rules were overly effective highlighting fraud.
  • Issued new global warming rules in January 2011, offering General Electric an exemption in February.
  • Less than a year into ObamaCare, 733 waivers were issued, almost all to political allies and unions. 
  • Whilst "saving" GM, union workers' pensions remained intact, while non-union workers were given the shaft
  • Covered up a program that pays union workers taxpayer money to lobby the government for more unions. 
  • While he regularly ridiculed the Tea Party, he instructed the GSA to "stand down" on Occupy Wall Street.
  • Created program to give free cell phones to (primarily) people already receiving government assistance, giving the lucrative contract to a wireless company owned by one of his campaign contributors. 
  • Bought ads on MSNBC using taxpayer money to promote stimulus programs.
  • Used ObamaCare funds to give business to his senior adviser's former firm.
  • Included $10 billion in his health-care law for the United Auto Workers and other union retirees. 
  • Sought exemptions for unions in the ObamaCare bill itself. 
Gas is up, as is the price of everything else
  • Price of gas upon taking office: $1.78/gallon. Average price in 2012: $3.16.
  • He actually sought higher gas prices from the get go: “Obama suggested that the main problem with high gasoline prices is their rapid rise, not their total of about $4 a gallon. ‘I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment,’ Obama said.” 
  • Despite boasting of increased domestic oil production, he actually fought court orders mandating his administration to act on deep-water drilling permits, eventually leading to being found in contempt of court. 
  • Hired an energy secretary who sought to double -- or triple -- gasoline prices.
  • The number of dollars in circulation has tripled
Health care made unaffordable, less effective, and in shorter supply
  • His secretary of Health and Human Services threatened to put out of business insurance companies that communicated with their customers about the potential impact of ObamaCare. 
  • Broke almost every health-care promise he made on the campaign trail.
  • The Mayo Clinic, which he touted as an example of what ObamaCare can accomplishes, trashed the bill. 
  • ObamaCare forbids insurers from using drug use to impact premiums. 
  • Sought to utilize "interventions" in private homes to raise awareness among seniors of their end-of-life options. 
  • States are forced to pick up ObamaCare's tab. 
  • ObamaCare taxes the uninsured, breaking a campaign promise. 
  • Sought to exempt Congress from ObamaCare. 
  • Justified ObamaCare by citing the plight of 48 million uninsured Americans -- a figure that proved wildly inaccurate
  • ObamaCare does not view races equally under the law. 
  • ObamaCare increases taxes on families earning more than $250,000. 
  • ObamaCare amendments that would have outlawed health-care rationing were blocked
  • ObamaCare destroys five freedoms we once enjoyed. 
  • Americans liked ObamaCare even less than HillaryCare. 
  • ObamaCare forces insurance companies to "justify" raising premiums. 
  • ObamaCare creates a new tax on investments. 
  • ObamaCare puts new limitations on those with HSA and FSAs.
  • ObamaCare taxes Americans who buy medical devices
  • ObamaCare increases payroll taxes.
  • ObamaCare taxes insurance plans.
  • ObamaCare taxes employers.
  • ObamaCare taxes uninsured Americans.
  • ObamaCare taxes drug companies.
  • ObamaCare increases corporate taxes.
  • ObamaCare taxes self-insured health plans.
  • ObamaCare taxes tanning salons
  • ObamaCare increases taxes on energy companies.
  • ObamaCare penalizes marriage
  • ObamaCare puts Medicare decisions in the hands of an unelected board
  • ObamaCare taxes health insurers
  • ObamaCare won't let you keep the plan you like
  • ObamaCare created a new entitlement program called CLASS
  • ObamaCare makes more than half of America dependent on the government for health care.
  • ObamaCare cleared its own budget path by defunding Medicare's most successful program. 
  • ObamaCare utilized an executive order to reinsert provisions that were so controversial they were stripped out before the bill passed. 
  • ObamaCare is destroying the health insurance market for kids.
  • Cooked the books to show ObamaCare reduces the size of government. 
  • ObamaCare's ostensible savings were ridiculed by the head of Medicare.
  • ObamaCare creates new tax forms for small business. 
  • ObamaCare arranged for the hiring of spies to investigate private doctors. 
  • ObamaCare violated existing federal law. 
  • ObamaCare effectively bans physician-owned specialty hospitals.
  • ObamaCare, contrary to the administration's claims, expands the deficit. 
  • ObamaCare let a few select states avoid its worst provisions. 
  • ObamaCare forced even Democratic governors to seek an escape hatch. 
  • ObamaCare's onerous impact on small business ridiculed by Starbucks CEO. 
  • Nearly 20 percent of ObamaCare waivers went to gourmet restaurants, nightclubs, and fancy hotels in Nancy Pelosi's district
  • ObamaCare expands coverage meant as a safety net for the poor into the middle class.
  • ObamaCare immunizes the Independent Payment Advisory Board from lawsuits resulting from the way its decisions impact patients. 
  • ObamaCare tasks the IRS with collecting the newly created tanning-bed tax. 
  • Eighty-seven percent of ObamaCare waivers went to his supporters
  • ObamaCare forces Catholic organizations to violate their faith. 
  • ObamaCare violates the First Amendment's protection of religious liberty. 
  • Changed his legal argument justifying ObamaCare mid-stream. 
  • ObamaCare funds bike lanes and pet neutering
  • ObamaCare's passage relied on secret deal between the White House and the pharmaceutical industry.  
Indecisiveness plagues an administration obsessed with being popular
  • When Afghanistan was falling apart and debate simmered over what course to take, Obama took several months to weigh in.
  • Wouldn't comment on whether he agreed with his appointee that the pope is a discredited leader.
Justice perverted by his attorney general and Department of Justice
  • DoJ overturned a legitimate North Carolina vote that ended the use of party ID in local elections because it was thought to potentially hurt Democrats. 
  • DoJ threatened Oklahoma not to pass a planned English-only education reform.
  • DoJ let political ally Bill Richardson off the hook
  • DoJ sued Arizona for attempting to enforce existing immigration law. 
  • DoJ sued Alabama for attempting to enforce existing immigration law.
  • DoJ dismissed a voter fraud case it had already won against two Black Panthers. 
  • DoJ sought to dramatically expand its workforce, despite lawyers having so little to do, they're often found playing Solitare, watching videos, and venting about their lack of work.
  • His Attorney General Eric Holder was earlier most notorious for arranging a pardon of Puerto Rican terrorists
  • Holder also arranged a pardon for tax cheat/fugitive Marc Rich
Killed hundreds of Mexicans with a program meant to elicit greater gun control domestically
  • DoJ/ATF arranged for thousands of heavy assault rifles to make their way into the hands of Mexican narco warlords, setting the stage for a mass slaughter of Mexicans (more than 300 to date).
  • His ATF exploited the violence this program created to promote gun control in America.
  • U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was also killed as a result of the operation. 
  • More than 1,400 weapons remain lost
  • Despite his AG declaiming awareness of the program, reports indicate the program was his "deliberate strategy."
  • After the program was exposed by a whistleblower, the ATF attempted a coverup
  • As did the DoJ.
Lying considered acceptable
  • Promised to close down Gitmo. Didn't
  • Promised never to raise taxes on any family making less than $250,000/year. Did. Many times.
  • Despite raising taxes on these families, he still regularly claims he's only cut these families' taxes. 
  • Claimed 80 percent of Americans support higher taxes. 
  • Promised he would not run negative ads. Does
  • Promised he wouldn't accept lobbyists' cash. Does
  • Promised the stimulus would immediately fund "shovel ready projects," an assurance he later admitted was untrue
  • Promised Americans, in a bid to help sell ObamaCare, that we could keep our health insurance if we liked it. His plan does the opposite
  • Promised stimulus would create 5 million jobs. It actually created 1/10th of that -- at most.
  • Claimed in a State of the Union address that the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision enabled foreigners to influence U.S. elections. As Justice Alito mouthed in response, that's "not true." 
  • Claimed he was outspent in 2008. Reality: He outspent McCain 3-1.
  • Claimed of Arizona's immigration law: “Now suddenly if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you can be harassed, that’s something that could potentially happen.” Which is untrue
  • While inveighing against foreign money influencing elections, his 2008 and 2012 campaigns actively enabled (illegal) donations from foreigners.
  • Opposed horse slaughter as a candidate, legalized it as a president. 
  • Was against tax breaks for private jet owners before he carved out an exception for his friend William Buffett. 
  • Lied during the campaign, and many times after, about his dying mother's non-existent battle against her insurance company to finance her cancer treatments. 
  • Was against executive orders and signing statements before he was for them: 
  • Invented the girlfriend in his autobiography.
  • Was against gay marriage (as a candidate) before he came out in favor. 
  • While still opposed to gay marriage, he criticized North Carolina for adopting a measure furthering his then-supposed beliefs. 
  • Promised restricting lobbyists from the White House but instead invited them in spades.
  • Promised his administration would be the "most transparent ever." Instead, his administration denies 33 percent of Freedom of Information Act requests. 
  • Promised the stimulus spending would be fully transparent. In reality its website is totally opaque
  • Promised health-care negotiations would be televised on C-SPAN. Instead, C-SPAN was denied access. 
  • Despite constant promises on the campaign trail to shut down Gitmo, he later confessed he never had a plan to do so.
  • Swore to uphold the Constitution. Often ignores its limitations, as seen -- to take but one example -- with his decision to name commissioners to positions that require Senate approval ... without Senate approval. 
Midas Touch is the opposite of what Obama has
Narcissism is an illness
  • When reading to school children, opted to read his own book.
  • Claimed to know about the talented basketball player Jeremy Lin before anyone else.
  • Said he was way ahead of the curve on podcasts
  • After 9/11, was concerned that his political prospects might be dampened on account of his name, which he described in The Audacity of Hope. 
  • After throwing like a girl on national TV, proceeded to go onto a Bill Simmons podcast to brag about how nasty he is at basketball. 
  • Said the bin Laden raid was longest 40 minutes of his life. 
  • Inserted himself into the WhiteHouse website's biographies of earlier presidents.
  • Arranged a private meeting with The Grateful Dead in the White House. 
  • Said he would like to be the president of China so that criticism could be outlawed. 
  • Provided top secret information about the bin Laden raid to filmmakers creating a movie about his role in the operation.
  • Autographed a medical student's lab coat and signed "Go ObamaCare!"
  • Only spoke to students if they pledged to support him. 
  • Paying Hollywood to promote ObamaCare in TV shows.  
  • Edits official State Department documents to tout himself. 
OK with being a hypocrite
  • His "jobs council" is packed with companies that outsource.
  • Crafted a tax plan that would result in lower taxes for the millionaires who work in his White House.
  • Attacked Romney for being in charge of Bain Capital during a particular set of layoffs; in fact his top bundler Jonathan Lavine was in charge of Bain at the time. 
  • After repeatedly bemoaning the injustice of Warren Buffett's secretary paying a higher net tax rate than Warren Buffett, it was revealed he also pays a lower tax rate than his White House secretary.
Pot is just as illegal as it was before
  • His administration is ramping up raids on dispensaries in states that have elected to decriminalize marijuana. 
Quit cigarettes
  • There's nothing cool about that. 
  • He more than doubled cigarette taxes. 
  • Also trying to ban smoking on college campuses. 
Regulating America out of business
  • His Labor Department tried banning unpaid internships. 
  • Estimated regulatory costs are equivalent to 48 percent of total federal spending. 
  • He created regulations for immigrant goat herders' living quarters
  • Walnuts now treated by the FDA as a drug. 
  • Created regulations for how to put canoes in water in Canton, Conn. 
  • Regulatory agencies now enact more than 3,500 new regulations in an average year (Congress musters a mere 200 new laws on avg). 
  • Tried mandating that every public pool in America have a crane to lift wheel-chair people in and out. 
  • Tried banning kids from working on their family farms 
  • Expands Civil Rights Act so that companies must extend these protections to transgendered Americans 
  • Creates new rules making it harder for companies to relocate abroad.
  • Created a "pay czar" to set private companies' executive salaries; the czar's tenure was deemed a failure
  • Sued Kaplan because it used credit checks in making hiring decisions. 
  • Sought to repeal ERISA (a law that enables large companies to manage their employees under one set of rules, as opposed to 50). 
  • His car emissions rules encourage Americans to drive older, dirtier cars.
  • Infuriated business leaders who came to the White House to discuss how the administration was getting along with the private sector.
  • His National Labor Relations Board created rules making it easier for workers to unionize nonunion businesses. 
  • Targeting food companies that sell food to kids. 
  • Sued Boeing for opening a new factory in South Carolina because the shop wouldn't be unionized.
  • His regulations cost an estimated $1.8 trillion in lost business, more than 20 times as much as the administration's own estimate. 
  • His new disability regulations require mini golf courses to limit the slope of their holes.
  • His new disability regulations require businesses to admit mini horses as guide animals. 
  • His Wall Street "reform" bill is leading to the end of free checking accounts
  • His new coal regulations led Alpha Natural Resources to cut 1,200 jobs and close 8 mines.
  • His new coal regulations led PBS Coals to lay off 225 workers. 
  • His nuclear regulations prompted Dominion Resources to close a power plant that employed hundreds.
  • The number of regulators has grown 25 percent
  • His Consumer Product Safety Commission sued te maker of a perfectly safe toy, leading the company to stop manufacturing it. 
  • His regulations meant to protect turtles are putting American shrimpers out of business
  • His financial regulations are spurring foreign banks to refuse business with Americans.
Scandals are standard
  • Sacked Amtrak's Inspector General after the IG uncovered waste, fraud, and abuse within Amtrak. 
  • Sacked Americorps' Inspector General after he uncovered corruption in Kevin Johnson's office, the Sacramento Democratic mayor and Obama friend.
  • Lied about his role in the Blagojevich scandal. 
  • Denied FOIA requests that could damage him politically. 
  • Contacted private security firms to create fake people on social networks to promote administration propaganda
  • Offered to pay companies to violate the law (so that their mandated layoff announcements did not embarrass him).
  • Loaned taxpayer money to Solyndra, which was run by one of his donors
  • Loaned taxpayer money to Tesla Motors, which was run by one of his donors
  • Fired the whistleblower who exposed Fast & Furious.
  • Tried to illegally bribe a Democratic senatorial candidate out of running. 
  • Colludes with infamous short-seller Steve Eisman when dishing out new regulations for for-profit colleges (which Eisman happened to be short-selling). 
  • His Treasury Department cited its officials for soliciting prostitutes and accepting industry gifts.
  • Despite it being illegal per recently passed congressional actions, channeled money to ACORN. 
  • 2 DoJ prosecutors were caught accepting bribes; his AG did nothing. 
  • His VP, the "sheriff" of the stimulus, was used by companies to procure stimulus cash. 
  • His vice president's brother has received plum government contracts.
  • His White House staff is reportedly mixed up in the Colombian prostitution scandal.
  • More than 1,000 investigations are ongoing into stimulus wrongdoing.
  • Two of his three biggest bills were only accomplished through political bribery.
  • More than half of his big money contributors received plum payouts or positions. 
  • Doled out favors to politically connected Pacific Gas.
  • He's overseen multiple violations of the Hatch Act among his staff -- none was punished. 
  • Tricked the famous Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng into captivity, only to immediately hand him back over to his Chinese captors. 
  • He encouraged government contractors to lie to cover up estimated job losses stemming from new coal regulations.
  • His Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman was forced to quit following allegations of serial sexual harassment. 
  • His financial bundler’s husband received a $1.2 billion loan for his energy company.
Takes on political enemies like they're enemies of America
  • His Department of Homeland Security authored a report suggesting conservatives are potential anti-American terrorists. 
  • Launched investigations into Bush Administration officials over interrogation techniques that helped lead to the killing of Osama bin Laden. 
Used taxpayers' money in the dumbest ways imaginable
  • Flew Air Force One to Florida to deliver pizza.
  • Flew to Chicago to vote for himself for re-election
  • Spent money studying sexual history and erectile dysfunction.
  • Increased spending for agency whose Inspector General says wastes money recklessly.
  • Somehow missed a deadline on cutting $100 million in spending. 
  • Spent money buying 8,000 diversity manuals for janitors in Omaha, Neb., teaching them to hate white people. 
  • Spent money to measuring gay men's penises
  • Spending billions on an unpopular train in California that connects two cities nobody's ever heard of. 
  • His secretary of Commerce said Americans "need to pay" for Chinese emissions. 
  • Spent money pushing gay rights abroad
  • Spent money in attempt to outfit 400 Detroit job seekers with clothes but only helped two.
  • Spent money to pay teens to wrestle alligators
  • $9 billion in stimulus spent on solar and wind projects that created 910 jobs ($9.8 million per job).
  • $1.4 billion in stimulus spending went to tax cheats
Vouchers being denied to deserving student
  • Used budget as tool to shutdown D.C.'s popular (especially with minorities) voucher program (twice). 
Weakness is his foreign policy
  • Negotiated new START treaty with Russia, which forced America to reduce its existing stockpile while unilaterally pledging not to modernize America's nuclear force (Russia is free to do so).
  • The weapons Russia pledged to eliminate were scheduled for retirement anyway.
  • START forced America to reduce its launchers to a number approximate to Russia's current supply (the treaty forced Russia to scrap zero launchers). 
  • START left Russia with a 10-1 advantage in tactical nuclear weapons.
  • Despite Russia's record of violating arms-control treaties, START made no effort to enforce or verify the agreement in Russia.
  • To get Russia to sign onto his START treaty, he agreed to abandon an existing missile defense pact with allies Poland and the Czech Republic.
  • Russia has since violated the START treaty. 
  • Did nothing when an American was convicted in a sham Iranian trial
  • Despite boasting of tough sanctions on Iran, his administration granted waivers to all 20 of Iran's major trading partners. 
  • Endured hours of anti-American speeches from crackpot Latin America leaders and said nothing
  • Signaled to Iran he may drop America's longstanding position that Iran drop its nuclear program before talks resume. 
  • Took smiling pictures with Libyan Dictator Gadaffi.
  • Despite taking credit for disposing of Gadaffi, he was in fact the last Western leader to advocate regime change.
  • Began his administration promising to build respect in the Middle East, which he did by regularly condemning American foreign policy up until his administration. Today, "America's image is again in decline, especially in the Middle East."
  • Declined to meet with foreign leaders during a recent United Nations meeting, instead choosing to focus on his campaign. 
  • Turned off an electric billboard outside the American diplomatic mission in Havana that displayed pro-democracy messages. 
  • Revoked visas of Honduras' de facto government (which displaced its tyrant-in-waiting/Chavez & Castro ally). 
  • While hosting China's communist government at a state dinner, the Chinese pianist played an anti-American ditty.
  • Providing China with sensitive space technology. 
  • After a popular Chinese dissident defected to the U.S. embassy, the dissident was handed back to China where he now faces likely execution.
  • Tried apologizing to Japan; they refused.
  • Despite warnings from top military officials, left just 160 troops in Iraq. 
  • U.S. soldiers have been told not to shoot Taliban at night so locals can sleep.
  • His DoJ removed references to Islam from anti-terrorism manuals. 
  • Described France as America's closest ally. 
  • Threatened Israel to not protect itself against Iran’s nuke threat. 
  • Released a major terrorist from Gitmo. 
  • He has generally ignored Central and South America, despite a series of important developments.
  • Tried bribing Israel to avoid attacking Iran during his political campaign. 
  • His antipathy toward Benjamin Netanyahu has Israelis believing the alliance is in jeopardy.
  • Foreign leaders accuse him of having failed to develop real relationships with any other head of state.
X-rays and other TSA privacy invasions are increasing 
  • Full-body scanners are spreading.
  • Meanwhile, TSA agents are stealing passengers' valuables. 
Yields to no law in quest to expand power
  • HHS doesn't actually have authority to grant ObamaCare waivers. 
  • Broke the law during bilateral talks with China. 
  • After his Democrat-led Senate rejected his cap-and-trade plan, he went ahead and imposed regulations on C02 emissions through the EPA.
  • After Congress rejected the DREAM Act, which would have loosened immigration rules, his Department of Homeland Security instructed to Customs officials to enforce the defeated law anyway.
  • Waived welfare work requirements, even as the law prohibits him from doing so.
  • After Congress rejected the Employee Free Choice Act (aka "card check"), which would have eased unions' ability to unionize non-union companies, his NRLB imposed new rules that sought to achieve the same outcome.
  • After Congress rejected his attempt to allow the government to regulate the Internet, the FCC announced on Christmas Eve that it would do so anyway (despite a court order explicitly stating it lacked the authority). 
  • Sidestepping Congress altogether, his Department of Education tied waivers to No Child Left Behind to new national education standards. 
  • Unconstitutionally appointed a commissioner to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (thus sidestepping the Senate's "advise and consent" role).
  • Unconstitutionally named three officials to the National Labor Relations Board (again, sidestepping the Senate).
  • Decided to stop enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act, even as it was the duly enacted law of the land. 
  • Regularly ignores law that mandates transparency on pending regulation. 
  • Set up “truth squads” to snitch on Americans critical of the administration (several times). 
  • Issued executive order giving himself power to regulate anything to do with water (even non-waters).
  • A number of Dodd-Frank's boards and commissions are unconstitutional.
  • Bypassed Congress on mortgage legislation, student loans, drugs, and contracts
  • Plus, so much more
Zzzzzzz was pretty much his response to the Gulf Disaster
  • While the Gulf oil spill catastrophe unfolded, he 
    • Hosted an Earth Day celebration in the Rose Garden.
    • Took Michelle took a vacation to North Carolina, where they enjoyed BBQ.
    • Hosted the New York Yankees at the White House. 
    • Visited Andrews Air Force Base to ... play a round of golf. 
    • Visited a small family farm in Illinois to talk up biofuels. 
    • Delivered a speech on the importance of cybersecurity. 
    • Attended the White House Correspondents Association Dinner, where he jokes about using CIA drones to kill the Jonas Brothers.
    • Visited Arkansas' Fort Belvoir to ... play a round of golf. 
    • Visited Virginia's Hampton University to deliver a commencement address.
    • Hosted UCONN's women's basketball team at the White House. 
    • Met with Jewish members of the Democratic Caucuses. 
    • Hosted Duke's basketball team at the White House.
    • Visited the Military Academy at West Point to delivery a commencement address.
    • Hosted the U.S. World Cup soccer team.
    • Spent taxpayer money on polling what Americans thought of his response to the disaster.