Michael P. Ackley has worked more than three decades as a journalist, the majority of that time at the Sacramento Union. His experience includes reporting, editing and writing commentary. He retired from teaching journalism for California State University at Hayward.More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.
Questioning finally got tough at last week’s presidential news conference.
Recognized by President Obama, the reporter for the Associated Press rose and asked, “Mr. President, is your refrigerator running?”
“Why … yes, it is,” Obama responded hesitantly.
“Well,” said the reporter, “You’d better catch it!”
The room erupted with reportorial laughter, and the president chuckled, “You got me with that one.”
Then he turned to the reporter for CBS News, who asked, “Do you have Prince Albert in a can?”
“If I did, I’d let him out!” exclaimed the president, who wagged his finger at the reporter and added, “You won’t catch me twice in one press conference.”
He pointed toward the right side of the room and said, “You, from CNN.”
The CNN reporter, unsmiling, said, “Do you think it will rain tomorrow?”
Grimly, the president responded, and 10 minutes later all agreed that Obama thought it might rain if Congress removed the tax break on the sale of private jet aircraft.
“Next, you,” said Obama, smiling benignly and designating Amy Handleman, White House correspondent for a little-known news service in Arkansas.
“Mr. President,” said Handleman, “why haven’t you submitted your own budget in more than two years?”
Other than some gasps of shock, the room fell utterly still. Then, it erupted with reportorial hisses and boos, interspersed with calls of “How dare you!?” and “Unfair!” and “Disrespectful!”
In the hubbub, the president quietly stepped off the dais and out of the back door.
And so, we ask you: Was there ever a sorrier collection of wimps and suck-ups than the Washington, D.C., press corps?
If it saves just one life: We have no doubt: Many – if not most – Californians now are lawbreakers because they failed to shell out from $18 to $100 to install carbon-monoxide detectors in their homes. Friday was the deadline for such installation under a state law adopted in 2010.
The law, written by state Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, requires residents whose homes have attached garages, gas appliances or wood-burning fireplaces and stoves to install the pricey devices or face a fine of up to $200. The idea is to save lives, of course.
But one must wonder how many dollars detector manufacturers dumped into legislators’ campaign coffers to push the thing through. A purchase mandate in a state with about 37 million people will not be small change.
The Clinton strategy: Our president continues to assert that his little adventure in Libya doesn’t violate the War Powers Act because the bombing – and support for the bombing – of a sovereign nation doesn’t constitute “hostilities.” And never mind that Obama’s own attorneys told him it did.
This falls in the same category of President Bill Clinton’s assertion that oral sex wasn’t sex. One must assume that under this reasoning wild-eyed Saudis shouting “Allahu Akbar” as they commandeer an aircraft merely are engaged in a religious observance. Thus, we must make an addition to the Blind Partisan’s Dictionary:
Hostilities: n. – In international law, an armed assault on a sovereign nation, unless it is limited to the use of aircraft, guided missiles and artillery, in which case it is merely a kinetic military action (q.v.).