THE DAILY BLADE: A Barrel Of Fun
From the first sip to the last dregs, the “suds summit” failed to produce a “teachable moment,” because the teachers were not invited. From the circumspect Lucia Whalen - who stuck only to the observable facts in her 9-1-1 call - President Barack Hussein Obama could have learned not to substitute subjective assumptions for objective analysis. From Sgt. Leon Lashley - who was derided as an “Uncle Tom” and accused of “betrayal” for supporting the actions taken by Sgt. James Crowley at the scene - Henry Louis Gates could have learned about the prevalence and destructiveness of black-on-black racism.
Though the white cop and the black professor remained at lagerheads over their respective actions at Gates’ home a couple of weeks back, the brew-haha was a goldmine for what ales punsters who hitherto could not find anything funny about Obama (fifth item). For instance, when ABC News reported, “the president will drink Bud Light … Gates has said he likes Red Stripe … Sgt. James Crowley mentioned to the president that he prefers Blue Moon” the hoppy hour was immediately dubbed the “the Red, Lite and Blue summit.”
Hate to ruin a good pun, but there were two skunks at this
Rose Beer Garden party: Despite his stated preference for the Jamaican lager, Gates ended up drinking Sam Adams Light (though, coincidentally, the brewery is located in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood) – and Vice President Joe Biden ambled over to join the Group of Three. (NPR speculates that Biden, with his white working-class roots, was brought in to avoid the appearance of two black elites double-teaming a blue-collar cop.)
Given his own history of racial profiling (“you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy” and “[y]ou cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent”) The Stiletto expected Biden to hoist a forty to show he was all jiggy with the ebony-and-ivory-perfect-harmony thang, but someone wisely poured him an alcohol-free Buckler instead.
Clearly, the White House hoped Obama’s beery bonhomie would induce all of us to put on beer goggles and continue to view him as post-racial. For Crowley and Gates, however, it was an invitation they could not refuse. While Obama and Biden – in shirt sleeves, dressed down to come off as regular guys – offered their guests a beer, they apparently did not invite the two men to take off the jackets and loosen the ties they wore out of deference to the office of the presidency. Just another phony photo op.
After the wingding, Crowley, the “racist cop,” helped Gates, the “police profiling victim,” negotiate the White House steps while Obama walked ahead obliviously. When Crowley reached out a protective hand and Gates accepted it, the two men negotiated the racial landmines that have been exploding around them without Obama’s help. They never needed it.
“Clunkers” Is Another Edsel
"If they can't administer a program like this, I'd be a little concerned about my health insurance," car salesman Rob Bojaryn tells reporter Lou Young of WCBS-TV (Channel 2-NYC).
Leaving aside the fact that the Car Allowance Rebate System (AKA “cash for clunkers”) program will cost 200 percent more than the Obama administration thought it would (another “miscalculation” with our tax dollars), here’s what Bojaryn means: The National Highway Safety Administration “requires dealers to get several pieces of information from buyers, including proof of insurance and registration. It also requires them to disable clunkers by destroying their engines with a caustic gunk before applying for reimbursement,” reports the Detroit Free Press.
Joe Serra, owner of the 21-dealer Serra Automotive Group in Grand Blanc complains:
“Their capacity to accept the applications is not adequate. Dealers are spending all day trying to submit the applications. ... I have not spoken to one dealer that has received approval, and or has been funded, for even a single transaction."
Serra is not the only one, reports The Washington Times:
[C]ar dealerships said that the surge of interest has exposed a flawed payment structure and a computer system unable to process the amount of claims. The program requires dealers to extend money up front to consumers and then hope the government pays the dealers back.
Many dealers have yet to submit most of the claims for reimbursement but have already handed out thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"The problems we've been dealing with the last day has very little to do with them running out of money. The problem is they don't have any idea how many deals are in the pipeline because my dealers can't even get into the system to submit the deals," said Peter Kitzmiller, president of the Maryland Auto Dealers Association.
One major car dealer in TX - who requested anonymity from The Washington Times because he feared retaliation from the administration - stopped processing transactions several days ago when a survey of 2,000 dealers by the National Automobile Dealers Association found that 25,000 deals had yet to be approved by the government. "I would want to see something in writing that says we are guaranteed to get paid." [Emphasis, The Stiletto.]
To get reimbursed for the money (s)he is shelling out upfront under the clunkers program, a dealer has to enter the 17-character VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of each clunker to be scrapped, and scan images of proof of insurance and other paperwork, reports The New York Times:
The computer system was overloaded, according to the dealers. They said they would finish one page in the application, hit enter and nothing would happen. Eventually a message would appear notifying the dealer that the page had “timed out.”
Tom Frew, the business manager at Galpin Motors in Los Angeles, said that he needed 35 tries to register just one of the company’s 11 dealerships on the day that the program opened because of problems with the government Web site. On Friday, he spent an hour processing just one rebate application, he said.
“It’s probably anywhere from 30- to 60-second delays between mouse clicks,” he said. Each application can have up to 11 attachments.
The Washington Post wonders: “Will the next $2 billion be the last? Or will car dealers and their customers demand even more when it runs out? Maybe the government should just buy everyone a new car. That would certainly ‘stimulate demand.’” For now, anyway. And next year, when folks are still tooling around in their new cars and driving past the car dealerships? What then?