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"Obama Makes Some Tough Business Decisions":
From last night's Saturday Night Live:
Ariel:
Too close to reality to actually laugh :(
4.5.2009 11:39am
Dave N (mail):
The best satire has an element of truth.

While I do not believe that President Obama is "socialist" even in the European Social Democratic model ("socialist" is an overused term), I do believe that we are seeing a level of governmental interference in business unprecedented since the Great Depression and I am glad to see SNL mocking it.
4.5.2009 11:49am
Tim11:
"We're sorry, currently our video library can only be streamed within the United States."
4.5.2009 12:11pm
MartyH (mail):
Missed the obvious... political parties.

Democrats-Yes. We won.

Republicans-No. You lost.

Greens-Yes. When you grow up you can become Democrats.

Libertartians-Yes. As long as you stay irrelevant.
4.5.2009 12:17pm
vassil_petrov (mail):
"We're sorry, currently our video library can only be streamed within the United States."
4.5.2009 12:28pm
Wayne Jarvis:
I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.
4.5.2009 1:08pm
talboito (mail) (www):
A mildy entertaining premise strung out for 5:00 minutes. Kinda describes the state of SNL in general.
4.5.2009 1:13pm
Pro Natura (mail):
Not as funny as the skit where Obama gives oversight of the US auto industry to a committee whose members' closest contacts with that industry are telling their limo drivers to put up the screen.
4.5.2009 1:15pm
JasonF:

I do believe that we are seeing a level of governmental interference in business unprecedented since the Great Depression and I am glad to see SNL mocking it.


You obviosuly don't remember the 1970s.
4.5.2009 1:24pm
John Moore (www):
Yep. Next he'll make the trains run on time.
4.5.2009 2:08pm
Bruce:
Wayne Jarvis, nice Simpsons reference.
4.5.2009 3:06pm
Hadur:

Obama's interference in the private market has more akin to fascism than socialism.


Yes. Obama and Bush 2008 can be most accurately described as "corporatist", like Franco.
4.5.2009 3:10pm
Visitor Again:
Obama's interference in the private market has more akin to fascism than socialism.

What interference? All these companies are free to reject the bailouts and go out of business or into bankruptcy pronto. Put the blame where it belongs, on your greedy/incompetent/criminal buddies who have almost destroyed the free enterprise system. In fact, tell them that to prevent socialism/fascism, they must decline any government help.

The soundest of lending institutions insist on certain conditions before they fork out cash if they see an impediment to repayment or if they see the money will only go down the drain. Why should the federal government, forced by free enterprise's failures to become a lender/giver, act any differently?

Most taxpayers don't see why they should these companies while leaving the same pathetic bastards in charge whose incompetence and/or greed and/or criminality ran them into the ground in the first place.
4.5.2009 3:38pm
Visitor Again:
Correction to last sentence: why they should help these companies
4.5.2009 3:41pm
Mike McDougal:
ASU deserved to beat Arizona.
4.5.2009 3:43pm
the_pathogen (mail) (www):
Good luck pinning down the name, or style of intervention into our economy. I'm sure that's very important for historical context.

I'm more concerned about my $42,105, what ever we're doing, socialism, capitalism, fascism, or whatever you want to call it: I don't think I'm going to get paid back - unless you consider the opportunity to break my back working for less than what I was making before.

Oh well, it's just your kid's problem. Smile when you look at them, because they have no idea the debt you're leaving. Do you really think you'll get your social security when the generation younger than mine gets wise to the fact that you all put us in this hole?
4.5.2009 3:45pm
Ben P:

A mildy entertaining premise strung out for 5:00 minutes. Kinda describes the state of SNL in general.



I'm inclined to agree, I didn't think that was all that funny. The impression just isn't very good. Darrell Hammond was funnier as Clinton and Dana Carvey was far funnier as HW Bush. I was never really a fan of Chris Parnell's George W Bush, but It might even be better than this.
4.5.2009 3:48pm
trad and anon (mail):
That was terrible. It had the hint of truth that underlies a good satire but this one was just the same joke repeated over and over and over and over and over. And I didn't think the joke was funny the first time.
4.5.2009 3:56pm
John Moore (www):
Visitor Again writes:

What interference? All these companies are free to reject the bailouts and go out of business or into bankruptcy pronto.


Wrong! Banks attempts to return bailout funds (often strongly pushed on them in the first place) are being refused. Can you provide an explanation for this other than a desire for state control?
4.5.2009 3:58pm
Alexia:

"We're sorry, currently our video library can only be streamed within the United States."

http://tinyurl.com/cqkhy5 How To Access Hulu From Outside The US
4.5.2009 4:16pm
Steve2:
I wholeheartedly agree with you, Ben P - Armison doesn't look like Obama (his head's shaped way too differently), his voice is a good octave off from Obama's, and he's really hit-or-miss on Obama's cadence and accent.

I wonder how much of the sketch's failure to be funny is due to the writers trying to mock the presidents' policy rather than his character. It seems to me that the funniest, most memorable skits about politicians were never really about making fun of the politicians for their policies, but about making fun of them as people.
4.5.2009 4:26pm
A. ZVisitorarkov (mail):
Visitor Again:

"What interference? All these companies are free to reject the bailouts and go out of business or into bankruptcy pronto."


I don't think that's correct. Wells Fargo initially refused TARP money and it was forced on them.
4.5.2009 4:58pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
Agreed, Armison doesn't work as Obama. I do like Jason Sudeikis as Joe Biden.
4.5.2009 5:05pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Visitor Again:

"What interference? All these companies are free to reject the bailouts and go out of business or into bankruptcy pronto."

Sorry I garbled the prior post. Let's try again. According to Bloomberg news,
When the U.S. Treasury persuaded the nation's nine biggest banks to accept capital investments in October, it signaled the whole industry was weak, Kovacevich, 65, said in a March 13 speech at Stanford University in California. Even though Wells Fargo didn't want the money, it must comply with the same rules that the government placed on banks that did need it, he said.
If this report is right then Wells Fargo and most likely many other banks were not free to refuse bailout money and were subjected to government rules. This sure sounds like Corporatism or even Peronism to me.
4.5.2009 5:12pm
Steve:
Only in some kind of left-wing nightmare world would the government be allowed to set rules that banks have to follow.
4.5.2009 6:24pm
DiversityHire:
Obama and Bush 2008 can be most accurately described as "corporatist", like Franco.

Franco-American Fascism: Uh-Oh Spaghetti Ohs!
4.5.2009 6:57pm
DiversityHire:
he's really hit-or-miss on Obama's cadence and accent

I wish he could get the cadence down, especially the President's end of sentence emphasis-beat-emphasis thing.

Darrell Hammond was funnier as Clinton

My favorite is Phil Hartman as Clinton at McDonalds and as Reagan the hyperactive mastermind.
4.5.2009 7:07pm
Dave N (mail):
abib345,

Bloomberg News (another rightwing anti-Obama source in your feverish imaginations?) reported:
The government may be reluctant to let any banks pay back the TARP money now, because it could pressure other companies that still need the cash to return it, according to Peter Sorrentino, who helps manage $13.3 billion at Huntington Asset Advisors in Cincinnati.

"The regulators do want to keep all these guys on the same page," Sorrentino said in an interview. "It's like a chain gang, you've got them all in handcuffs. If you let some of them out, then you've got a couple off the reservation."
In the last two Presidential elections, Sorrentino has given money to 3 Democrats, John Kerry, Al Sharpton, and Bill Richardson--and nothing to Republicans.

Sorrentino could, of course, be wrong. But it hardly makes John Moore's comments "B.S."
4.5.2009 7:32pm
Dave N (mail):
To clarify my last post, I was responding to a poster (Anon345) who criticized John Moore's earlier comment in a manner unfitting for the VC. While I was crafting my response, it appears that OK deleted the post I was criticizing.

(The "Abib" was just a typo).
4.5.2009 7:37pm
John Moore (www):
Tks, Dave N
4.5.2009 8:21pm
Thoughtful (mail):
Pay ATTENTION, Jon Stewart!! It IS possible to lampoon President Obama.
4.5.2009 11:40pm
Constantin:
It only took SNL ten weeks (a few episodes in there were repeats) to criticize Obama. But the poster above is right, none of this sticks until people start making the mockery personal, the way they did it with Ford and Reagan and Bush and Clinton and Bush.

Wake me up when they do something with the teleprompter.
4.6.2009 12:43am
Brian G (mail) (www):
I watched it twice and I'll tell you I can't help but think if Obama was white they would never make those subtle mockerys of him.
4.6.2009 2:51am
Amos W (mail):
The soundest of lending institutions insist on certain conditions before they fork out cash if they see an impediment to repayment or if they see the money will only go down the drain. Why should the federal government, forced by free enterprise's failures to become a lender/giver, act any differently?

TRUE! Generally, they insist on not giving dangerous loans to people who cannot afford to pay them back. On occasion, however, the State steps in and forces them to do things that distort prices and cause them to hide real costs.

Your assertion that it's "free enterprise's failures" that are to blame are off. Free enterprise would have charged an appropriate rate (they couldn't by government dictate), or not done the deals they didn't want to do (by government dictate).

Instead, because they needed to be competitive the banks started to do squirrely things to hide the bad data that was forced on them. It was the State that distorted the pricing signals free enterprise uses to do its job.

That aside, given that we're not giving $1 trillion to the IMF and World Bank, does that mean Obama can fire the heads of foreign governments?
4.6.2009 4:29am
Justin (mail):
John Moore's position (via Varney) was that Obama was refusing to allow repayment of TARP money because they liked controlling banks. No evidence was supported in favor of such proposition. David N's "support" of John Moore/Varney's position is that a private commentator has said that the government generally might be against accepting TARP repayment in the future because of a completely different reason.

How anyone can think that David N's evidence is even relevant to John Moore's argument, much less support of that, is completely beyond me.
4.6.2009 9:22am
Houston Lawyer:
I really hate Illinois nazis.
4.6.2009 9:24am
Stacy (mail) (www):
Just a suggestion - we use a lot of words like 'corporatist' or 'Peronist' to avoid Godwin-ing threads with the word 'fascist', but fascism itself isn't strictly an economic system. It seems to me that the right word is 'statist'.

And Obama's actions in office sofar are certainly statist, in marked contrast to his words, which are in all cases soothingly populist and even conservative with respect to economic issues. Much like, say, Arafat was unfailingly conciliatory when giving speeches - in English.
4.6.2009 9:38am
Dave N (mail):
Brian G,

You are joking, right? SNL has mocked, subtly and otherwise, EVERY President since the show debuted.
4.6.2009 10:12am
guest123:
I think the people that voted for all this change should be the ones to pay for it.
4.6.2009 11:19am
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Just a suggestion - we use a lot of words like 'corporatist' or 'Peronist' to avoid Godwin-ing threads with the word 'fascist', but fascism itself isn't strictly an economic system."

I think "Peronist" comes close. Although there are important differences. Person stressed nationalism, while Obama is almost anti-nationalist-- witness his running around apologizing for the US. But even here we have similarities. Person used the "Yankee" as a scapegoat. Replace "Yankee" with "white people" for Obama. Note how the Brazilian president blamed white people with blue eyes for the worldwide recession, and Obama said "I love that man."
4.6.2009 1:42pm
Thales (mail) (www):
Best SNL presidential portrayal in my lifetime was the three way debate between Dana Carvey as GHW Bush, Phil Hartman as Clinton, and Carvey as Ross Perot. Fred Armisen does a decent job, it's just hard to find characteristics to exaggerate about Obama in a way that works well for sketch comedy.
4.6.2009 2:26pm
Thucydides:
At the start, several banks, notably Bank of American and Wells Fargo did not want to accept TARP funds. Then Secretary of Treasury Paulson and New York Fed President Geithner pressured all of the large banks to accept TARP funds. Thei logic was if several banks refused TARP funds it would signal to the market that those banks that took TARP funds were in dire straits. For this policy to work there could be no stigma for a bank to accept TARP monies. Obviously, that would not happen if two of the largest retail banks refused funds. Both Ken Lewis and Stumpf (CEO of Wells Fargo) have publically stated since then they wished that had held their ground.
Since the banks have taken TARP they have been demonized by Congress and the current administration. What is worse is Congress with the President's approval has put retroactive conditions on how those banks can operate since they accepted TARP funds. It's not just the restriction on compensation, but also the micromanaging of marketing activities (such as corporate golf sponsorships) and rewarding top employees (Wells had to cancel their annual Los Vegas convention which was used as a reward for exceptional performance of BRANCH staff).
The refusal to let banks, such as Goldman Sachs who had no need for TARP in the first place, repay TARP is certainly encouraging speculation that this administration wants to use TARP to control how companies will operate. Already we have seen stories from Fannie Mae that regulators wanted the company not to disclose how government interference was impacting revenue. Such actions do not inspire confidence in bank shareholders and only increase the difficulty that banks will have in raising capital? Why would you purchase equity in a company that will face stronger regulation and possible intervention in the day to day operating activities?
The solution was to let the market weed out the weak, but neither this administration nor the last believes in the creative destruction of capitalism
4.6.2009 8:33pm
Stephen Lakios (mail):
Just browsing by, I noticed a lot of Jewish names here.
Due to an incident which occured when I was nine I hated Jews with a passion for almost half a century.
Finally mellowing out in my advanced age, I now talk with my Jewish relatives.
Kids know more then you think, watch what you say around them.
My Father was Greek, my Mother Jewish. At a party I overheard two of my uncles who happened to be Rabbi's say "why did millie marry that dam Greek". That comment started a hate towards all Jews which flared as a bonfire.
My Mother went to her grave never understanding my hate for her people.
I've come across hundreds of blog's such as this, I guess it's a way for people to vent their frustrations including me, none of these blogs or comments change anything. What has happened, happened. What will, will. You and I are along for the ride.
4.10.2009 1:48pm

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