Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter from Colorado

PPPS (Morrison, CO)—Happy East from the Sunrise Service at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. (click to enlarge any of the photographs). God bless.
6AM - Some are a bit sleepy but venue is almost full by start of service.

The stage as the service begins.

Ready for the sun (son) rise, 10,000 + worshipers.

After the service - Red Rocks Amphitheatre (stage is at photo center)

Red rocks and the moon.
The setting - red rocks of the Fountain formation and foothills backdrop.

Related Articles:
Denver Post Photo Essay - March 31, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Political-Beat Pete Asks Tough Question of Jay Carney at WH Press Briefing

PPPS (The White House)--At today's White House Press Briefing, our own Political-Beat Pete, after waiting patiently in back with hand raised, finally walked up near the front of the room when it was time for the last question, and asked Press Secretary Jay Carney whether he would take a question from Colorado. He agreed to accept one more question.

White House Press Briefing - March 18, 2013 (PPPS photo)


Pete's question was a follow-up to one asked earlier by April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks about a lack of appointments to the President's Cabinet of minorities. It was the following (paraphrased for now):

As a followup to the question asked by the woman earlier, with very high unemployment in the black community, and when there are government workers who may be furloughed, and there are millions of other Americans unemployed, and families whose budgets have been cut, how does the President justify lavish vacations and a golf trip to Florida at taxpayer expense? Does he plan to cut back on his travel?
After asking the initial question, and as Carney tried to spin out of answering it, Pete interrupted him in good journalist fashion a couple of times. Mr. Carney was doing press secretary gymnastics and was describing how GOP efforts to reduce spending would reduce funds to the sick and elderly when Pete brought the question back to the high rate of unemployment for young people who are black (again, this is a paraphrase for now). Of course, Pete's efforts were in vain, and Secretary Carney never really answered the question of whether or not the President would cut down on his travel going forward.

Pete got into the White House Press Briefing room after calling for a press pass. He had been told the wrong time for the press briefing and, therefore, only arrived near the end. Then, a seasoned journalist advised Pete to move up and stand along the wall closer to the front. After the man standing next to Pete was granted the last question, Pete was pretty disappointed.
Pete just inside the White House gate w/ his new press pass.
But then just as the Secretary answered the "last question", Pete interjected boldly, "Would you take a question from Colorado?"....and the rest is history.

We will post a copy of our YouTube video of Pete's question and response, as well as a link to the CSPAN recording, which should be available this evening. Pete's question comes near the end of the White House Press Briefing.

Update: Here is the Pundit Pete Press Service Video:

Transcription from the White House Briefing Room (note that Press Secretary Carney fails to even remotely answer Pete's questions):

Q    One question from Colorado.

MR. CARNEY:  From Colorado, sure.

Q    All right.  I wanted to follow up on this young woman’s question about the high unemployment out in places like Colorado, all around the country, especially in the minority communities -- exceptionally high unemployment.  And when there is government workers who may be furloughed, millions of Americans unemployed, and family budgets that have been cut, how does the President justify lavish vacations and a golf trip to Florida at taxpayer expense?  And does he plan to cut back on his travel?

MR. CARNEY:  I can tell you that this President is focused every day on policies that create economic growth and help advance job creation.  We have presided over the past three years over an economy that’s produced over 6.3 million private sector jobs, and we have more work to do.  And this President’s number-one priority is growth and job creation.  When you come to --

Q    But it’s not working in the minority communities.

MR. CARNEY:  Well, the fact is unemployment has come down.  It has not come down nearly enough.  And what we need to do is embrace policies that advance job creation, make secure the middle class, and create ladders of opportunity for those who aspire to the middle class.  We certainly do not need to embrace economic policies that shift the entire burden of deficit reduction onto senior citizens, middle-class families, Medicaid recipients.  The proposal coming out of the House would slash Medicaid by a third.

Q    But it doesn’t affect inner-city jobs.

MR. CARNEY:  It doesn’t?  You don’t think it does?

Q    No.

MR. CARNEY:  People who depend on Medicaid to help take care of their kids who are disabled.  People who depend on Medicaid to take care of their parents who are in nursing homes.  People who are not in the middle class but aspire to it, who depend directly on Medicaid.  I think you need to examine what the Medicaid program actually does.

 Why Was Pete At the White House Anyway?

As Chief White House Correspondent for the Pundit Pete Press Service, Pete of course is no stranger to the White House Press Briefing Room. But, having lost his press credentials a while back because of a change in attitude and a book project he was working on, Pete could only return on a one-day pass. And what is that book project you might ask? Well it's Pete's first, soon-to-be-released book: Is Journalism Finally Dead? - An Insider's Revealing Look at the White House Press Corpse.

Check it out.

On another note:

As Political-Beat Pete was leaving the Northwest Gate to the White House, he encountered another gentleman who was leaving, one who was perhaps a bit more familiar with the White House than Pete. It was Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO labor union.

When Pete asked Mr. Trumka, if like Pete, it was his first visit to the White House, Mr. Trumka lied and said yes.

Or perhaps he misunderstood Pete to ask if it was his first visit to the White House this week. It was Monday, after all.

Related News Articles:

No Plans for Obama to Cut Back on Lavish Vacations and Travel - Katie Pavlich - Townhall 
Dodge of the Day: Reporter asks Jay Carney if Obama plans to cut back on lavish vacations and golf trips - Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin

Will Obama Cut Back on ‘Lavish Vacations’ Due to Sequester Cuts, Furloughs? Hear Jay Carney’s Evasive Answer - The Blaze

Pete can be seen asking his question on the left side of this video interview with Dr. Ben Carson shown on Hannity on FoxNews. Pete's question and comments start at  minute 04:55 on the video: Interview with Ben Carson

Here is the press briefing on CSPAN - Pete's question start at minute 39:12 (Pete is off to the left).

Fellow Colorado Blogger Michelle Morin  carried the story. 

Shameless Advertising Section
I used my Samsung Infuse cell phone (1.5 yrs old) to make the video in this story. Pretty good sound and video quality, huh? I'm pretty sure the newer Samsung Galaxy S III  phones are as good or better.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Filibuster Fever in the DC Swamp

Drone Wars (ABC News)
PPPS (Washington)—For nearly 13 hours yesterday, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) held the Senate floor, and the nation's rapt attention, as he filibustered the nomination of John Brennen for Director of the CIA.

C-Span had it's longest, and most-watched program in years, and the Twitterverse was dominated last night, and still is this morning, by #StandWithRand.

The issue, of course, was not John Brennen, but Attorney General Eric Holder's response to a letter sent to him in January by Senator Paul regarding the question of whether the Administration could use drones to kill American citizens on American soil.

Rather than the obvious responses of "No!" or "Hell No, that would be unconstitutional!", the Attorney General instead finally responded on Monday in a letter with a vague and evasive answer. Here is the a part of that letter.
The question you have posed is therefore entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no President will ever have to confront. It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.
Rand Paul responded by going to the floor of the Senate and speaking up, beginning at 11:47 AM yesterday.

People across the nation were soon watching on C-Span2, gaining an education about Senate filibuster procedures and the constitution, reminiscent of the famous movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  The real version was easily as entertaining as the movie, with thousands, perhaps millions, unable to leave their TV sets or the live-stream on their computers and mobile devices. It was history in the making, live and unfiltered by the liberal press.

Next door, in a Senate hearing room, Senator Ted Cruz grilled Attorney General Holder about his letter and the drone issue, finally eliciting a reluctant and tepid no on the issue.

Senators Cruz, Lee and Rubio took turns relieving Senator Rand for brief periods on the Senate floor, entertaining viewers with their own statesmanlike and educational lectures on the constitutional issues at hand. They were joined by Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon. Other Republican Senators showed up as well, spurred by #StandWithRand fever, and perhaps some gentle prodding from constituents.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made a brief appearance in hopes that he could derail the filibuster before more American viewers could join in the fun. Democratic Senator Dick Durban, to his credit, stayed on and posed a few questions. And, although Durbin's questions were intended to deflect the issue away from the President, he actually made a few cogent points, which Senator Paul acknowledged, then quickly demolished in his responses.

Senator Ron Johnson, delayed by dinner with the President, showed up near the end at midnight to provide a scathing but educational history of the  intransigence on budget issues displayed in Senator Reid's leadership over the past four years.

The most fun though, could be found on Twitter, where millions worldwide were cheering Senator Paul to keep going. Here are tweet samples from yesterday, last night and this morning found under hashtag #StandWithRand.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

RT if you in demanding answers from the White House on unconstitutional drone strikes in US.
You will learn more about Constitution form filibuster than any knowledge dispensed by our law professor President
Without a teleprompter, for 9 1/2 hours and has yet to drone on like the President does in every speech.

Don't care if they've adjourned. Still standing and clapping for a great Patriot!
On Nov 6 and each day since the flame of liberty has grown dimmer. Last night, someone brought a torch to the party.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Dies - U.S. Selects Special Envoy to Attend Funeral

PPPS (Washington and Caracas)—With the shocking and unexpected death of Hugo Chavez, President (for life) of Venezuela, the world of Latin American diplomacy has been been thrust to the forefront of the many issues facing President Obama this week.

The diplomatic relationship between our two great countries has been turbulent, and it is important to carefully select an envoy to represent the U.S. at the Venezuelan state funeral in Caracas.

Our sources in the White House and U.S. State Department tell us that a lively debate ensued overnight in the White House situation room, overseen by the President himself.

Normally, with the death of a foreign leader, the vice president is sent. But for the following two safety reasons, that option was not available:  
  1. The Venezuelan Government's accusation that the U.S. injected Chavez with terminal cancer creates a concern for Vice President Biden's safety.
  2. If Vice President Biden were allowed to speak or give advice in the murder capitol of the Western Hemisphere (Caracas), it might further endanger the Venezuelan People.
With the vice president unable to attend, the diplomatic duties normally fall to the secretary of state. However, in the aftermath of Secretary of State Kerry's recent remarks in Germany, and the sensitive issue of freedom of speech in a country reeling from the fall of a dictator, the decision was made by President Obama to forego this option as well.

At times like these, President Obama often turns to his friends in Hollywood to help convey important messages by sending them to meet with foreign dignitaries.

Sean Penn & Hugo Chavez
Our sources indicate that the President personally telephoned Actor Sean Penn late last night to offer his condolences on the passing of Penn's buddy and to offer him the job of Special Envoy to represent the American People at the funeral of President Hugo Chavez. Although he said that he was honored, reportedly, and was already planning to attend, Mr. Penn said that he was too overcome with grief to handle any official duties.

Dennis Rodman on ABC's This Week
Next, President Obama considered appointing U.S. Representative Jose Serrano. However, Special Adviser to the President Valerie Jarrett is rumored to have stepped in and offered up the name of a recent envoy to another troubled country, Dennis Rodman. After a lively discussion in the Situation Room overnight, all parties eventually took Jarrett's suggestion, and President Obama put his seal of approval on the pick, then phoned Rodman.

Early this morning, the White House and State Department simultaneously released this official announcement:
In recognition of the special relationship between our two countries and in acknowledgement of the enormous grief of the People of Venezuela, President Barack Obama appoints Mr. Dennis Rodman as Special Envoy of the United States of America to attend the state funeral of Great Leader President Hugo Chavez.
Dennis demonstrating hug technique.
PPPS correspondent Protester Pete caught up with Dennis Rodman early this mornig as he was rushing to attend an interview at a major network studio. Special Envoy Rodman offered these hasty remarks on his new appointment.

"I never met the dude, but I've always considered Hugo as a personal friend. We're both big baseball fans.  So, yeah, I'll go represent our country. Plus, I give great hugs."

Related Story:
Representative Barbara Lee of California reportedly turned down an offer to attend the Hugo Chavez funeral as part of the U.S. delegation because she will be attending  as a personal representative of Cuban President Fidel Castro, who may be too ill to travel.

Note: Pedro Pete, PPPS Latin American Correspondent also contributed to this article.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Remembering Andrew Breitbart Today

PPPS (Littleton)—Today we honor Andrew Breitbart, journalist and publisher, who spoke truth to power in a most confounding way (as perceived by the left), and who died on this day, one year ago.

Pundit Pete photo 2012

Pundit Pete got to meet Andrew at the BlogBash party in Washington, DC during the 2012 CPAC conference. It was just two weeks before Andrew died.

I confronted Andrew at the party (just after I took this photo) saying, "I want you to know that I resent the way you are always making liberals uncomfortable!"