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“Brothers at War” and “Brothers in Arms”

Friday, March 20, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Brothers at War is a new film by Jake Rademacher that has opened in limited release but to very strong reviews. It is a film about two brothers who signed up to serve in the war, done by their third brother. Its executive producer is Gary Sinese, and here’s a list of where and when it will be showing in the next few weeks.

Singer John Ondrasik, Five for Fighting, saw the film and was inspired by it, a song that was then incorporated into the movie. I played that song, “Brothers in Arms” twice on tonight’s show, and it triggered very powerful reactions from the audience. You can listen to it here.

See the movie when you can. Ask a local theater to bring it to your city or town.

Update: For another “Brothers at War” story, click here.

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An Email From A Dad

Friday, March 20, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

One of the many e-mails I received concerning the president’s Special Olynpics “joke”:


Thank you so much for your blog post about Obama’s Special Olympics comment.

I’d like add to what you’ve said by pointing out that the President’s
insult runs much broader than against the set of citizens you’ve
identified, the people with Down’s Syndrome.

I’m the father of a beautiful, young, 12-year-old girl (quickly
growing into a young lady) named Emily. She’s smart — an avid reader and books-on-tape listener — and she’s excelling in school. But Emily also has cerebral palsy, which affects practically all of her physical abilities. Her speech is affected as are her limbs. She relies completely on a motorized wheelchair to get around.

I might sound overly sensitive when I say this, but the President’s
Special Olympics comment is deeply insulting to anyone, I believe, who has any kind of significant disability. It reveals a coarse insensitivity to the plight of people with disabilities. His comment is every bit as demeaning as some of the most racist and sexist things that have been said in public in recent years by politicians and celebrities. While I’ve sensed in some commentators a rush to excuse his comments as unintended and inconsequential, and therefore hardly worthy of rebuke, I believe such an attitude reveals a double-standard in the way our society views and treats people who are disabled. Those in the public eye who have made racist and sexist comments of equivalent offense have been rightfully pilloried.

I have found myself to be angry — not in my sometimes knee jerk,
emotional way — but in a deeply disappointed way. I can still hardly
believe that an orator of his ability, one who ardently claims to
defend the disenfranchised, could make such a blunder. I fear it
reveals an attitude of arrogance and elitism that portends trouble for the way he will govern.

My only consolation is that perhaps the backlash to his comments will have a positive effect in raising the awareness of the subtle but
troubling way some in our society treat people with disabilities. I
also hope that the President will make a sincere and full apology for his insensitive remarks.

To those who do not live close to the life of a person with
disabilities, my remarks may seem overly dramatic. But living every day with the effects of a severe disability is a tough road. And it’s very disappointing to have the President so flippantly poke fun at a group of people who deserve — more than most — a greater degree of compassion and respect.

Thanks, again.

The Latest From Banker Guy

Friday, March 20, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

An e-mail from my favorite anonymous bank CEO, “Banker Guy”:

Bernanke to the Rescue

It’s late in the game and our team is down badly, quarterback Geithner is standing on the field without a team to support him. He doesn’t even have a game plan. He looks to the sidelines for the coach. Coach Obama is working on a new stadium, new uniforms, new curriculum, and a new medical program for the team. As his quarterback is asking for the next play, coach Obama is giving an interview to Jay Leno. Then all of the sudden, a walk-on player runs onto the field, grabs the ball, and starts running through the opposition toward the goal line … its Ben Bernanke![# More #]

It all started on March 10th. Bernanke gave a speech that was clear and to the point. Key items were:

“… (W)e have reiterated the U.S. government’s determination to ensure that systemically important financial institutions continue to meet their commitments.” (We won’t nationalize the banks or let them fail.)

“… regulatory and supervisory policies should not themselves put unjustified pressure on financial institutions or inappropriately inhibit lending during economic downturns … capital standards, (and) accounting rules … have made the financial sector excessively procyclical …” (FASB and the regulators need to relook at capital standards, loan loss reserves, mark-to-market rules, and FDIC insurance assessments so that then don’t make the recession worse.)

Then on Sunday Bernanke took center stage on 60 Minutes and provided sound leadership, saying the decline would moderate and then level off this year. Wednesday, he took the ball and moved big time on monetary policy by announcing that the Fed will inject over $1 trillion into the market to provide additional liquidity. Those actions, coupled with the TALF program slowing starting today, have spurred some real optimism into the markets.

In addition, the FASB outlined some interpretations of mark-to-market accounting rules that could have a positive impact on bank earnings, tangible and regulatory capital. Also, the FDIC seems to be backing off its large assessment. Not surprisingly, some investors started buying badly beaten bank stocks and short-sellers covered. There appears to be a heartbeat of life in financials. Optimism does work!

On the negative side, the diversionary circus by Congress and the Administration over AIG will hurt confidence. It is going to be very difficult for financial institutions to be part of a “public/private partnership” when one partner can unilaterally break contracts and change the rules of the game at any time. No banker I know is willing to have any contact with the U.S. government that would cause their bank to be whipsawed by the populist horde and their media criers. If anyone wants to know why “nationalization” of the banks will not work, all they need do is look at the AIG wrestlemania smackdown.

I can be contacted at BankerGuy2009@gmail.com

On President Obama’s Watch

Friday, March 20, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Byron York points out that the AIG blow-up is wholly President Obama’s. The president demanded the “stimulus” bill which authorized the bonuses, and insisted on the rapid, no-time-to-read-it approach that left everyone guessing what was in the bill. From the article:

“What’s beginning to happen is his actions are starting to have consequences,” a Republican pollster told me. “And this is one of those. He hurried everybody through that process, and it’s now his actions that are causing things that people are unhappy about.”

Dissatisfaction with the president’s policies is the least of his early troubles. Peggy Noonan today delivered a gut punch this morning, telling us that two words more than all the others sum up early Obama: “coolness, slightness.”

These aren’t words associated with leadership. The rest of Peggy’s body slam has to do with the fear behind the fear. If the president has screwed up so badly on the rollout of his economic policies, even his friends are asking, how good can he be doing on the security side of the ledger?

Fridays are unpleasant for the Obamians, because it is the day on which Charles Krauthammer unfurls his assessments of the Administration’s pratfalls. Today’s column from Mr. K. is particularly sharp because it notes that the AIG bonuses and the Mexican truck issue are both trivialities that captured the entire energy of the Administration. The former has led to wild posturing by many and outright deception by at least the hapless Christopher Dodd, and the latter to the brink of a trade war with Mexico, and both were launched by the stimulus bill that nobody read. The virtue of patience has never been better illustrated than by the effects of its absence from President Obama’s first legislative “victory.”

The first 100 days has become a slog through unforced error after unforced error, and has produced a coming-together of moderate Democrats in the Senate pledged to stop further absurd flights of lefty fantasy. If that center doesn’t hold, the cap-and-trade and health-care work-over will get the same bum’s rush treatment as did the stimulus, but with even more devastating impacts on the economy.

The president is a basketball fan, and he should recognize his situation for what it is. He’s the number one seed that somehow –not quite sure how it happened, but it did– is down by 16 five minutes into the first quarter. Everyone on his team is a little dazed, but there’s also an enormous amount of time left. They just have to stop all the wild shots and play a disciplined game.

Even Secretary Geithner can stage a comeback, though it will be very difficult. Politicians caught in the riptide of ridicule can only escape if they don’t fight it but just do their job exceedingly well. If the Treasury secretary emerges from his office with a bank work-out plan that works, all will be forgiven. If not, he’ll be the Bert Lance of this second coming of the Carter years.

In a few weeks, I’ll be joining some of my colleagues from the radio in a series of townhall events on the first 100 days of Obama. When it was planned, I expected that we would be talking about Obama’s early triumphs and whether they were truly transformative of the American political landscape. Now I think there’s at least a good probability that we will be talking about how the relatively few moderate Democrats can work with the Republicans to stop even more ruinous missteps by an Administration that is, collectively, not up to the challenges of the day.

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