President Barack Obama’s year-old administration is back on track this week, after the advent of new federal rules that bar texting while presidenting.
The January 25 rulemaking modifies a 2002 regulation issued by the Bureau of Inertia that required commanders-in-chief spend at least 10 hours a day on the then-new social media websites such as Friendster and Cyworld. President George W. Bush put the rule to good use immediately in 2002, logging on at AsianAvenue.com (now AsianAve) to apologize to China for laws of physics that allowed a U.S. surveillance plane to become airborne, collide with a People’s Liberation Army interceptor jet, and crash land on Hainan Island.
“This change brings federal regulations into line with what we now know — that while it can be a convenient and fun way to communicate, texting is a significant distraction. It takes a president’s eyes off the road ahead and affects reaction time,” said Michele Obama of the powerful White House Office of Michele Policy. She gave reporters several examples of the effect of distracted presidenting, including President Obama’s decision to let Congress take the lead on health care reform, forgetting to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell during 2009, and the entire eight years of the Bush administration.
The benefits of the texting restriction were readily seen last week, as the president was persuasive and on-message for his first State of the Union address Wednesday. Then on Friday at the House Republicans Retreat he was focused, and did not shy from pointing out inconsistencies and factual errors in critics’ arguments. “OMG- BHO totes pwned us. C me n Billo face on Factor 2nite,” Minority Whip Eric Cantor acknowledged to his Twitter followers.
Old habits can be hard to break, however. President Obama picked up his Blackberry on Saturday while taking in the Georgetown-Duke basketball game. As a result of the distraction, he failed to take preemptive action to prevent television coverage of Rush Limbaugh dancing at Sunday’s Miss America pageant.
In other news, conservative Tea Party activists outraged over Senator-elect Scott Brown’s support for Roe v. Wade were frustrated today in their efforts to lynch Brown in effigy using teabag strings.
A sampling of this week’s output from the iNews 9000 Turbo wi-fi headline translator
Headline: 11 Networks Plan Benefit Telethon
Translation: Limbaugh outraged- “What am I supposed to watch that night?”
Headline: Brown Wins, Robs Dems Of Filibuster-Proof Majority
Translation: Lieberman Irrelevant
Headline: Sarah Palin to campaign for John McCain in Arizona
Translation: Barack Obama elected Senator from Arizona
Headline: Brown: What happened here ‘can happen all over America’
Translation: GOP plans to ‘Go all over America’
Headline: Whites-only basketball league targets Augusta, GA
Translation: White men can’t jump wearing Klan robes
Headline: Justices Overturn Key Campaign Limits
Translation: “This candidate is made possible by a grant from Mobil Corporation”
Translation (Turbo mode): Nov 2010- 1st corporate person elected Senator from Delaware
Translation (Defcon One mode): Nov 2012- FOX pundit elected 1st fembot President of the United States
Headline: Obama declares war on Too Big To Fail
Translation: Unfortunately, Obama was not too big to fail
Headline: Sen. Landrieu – It’s time to move on from healthcare debate
Translation: Has appointment to roll around in a bed full of lobbyist donations
Headline: US newborns are weighing less, study finds
Translation: “The Pre-Natal Diet” hits #1 on New York Times Best Seller List
Republican Scott Brown became the newest member of the U.S. Senate last night, defeating Democrat Martha Coakley 52-47% in the close Massachusetts race for the seat of the late Edward M. Kennedy.
Brown thanked an overflow of supporters at Boston’s Park Plaza Hotel. “You have helped this son of the Bay State get one step closer to my dream of becoming the first nude centerfold in the Congressional Record,” said Brown, who also was Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Mr. June 1982.
Brown attributed his late surge to Levi Johnston, former future son-in-law of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, and Jeff Gannon, former White House correspondent for Talon News. “I am so grateful they were able to join me on the campaign trail in the critical final days, as examples to show the people of Massachusetts what the GOP has to offer.”
“The three of us were a former male nude model dream team,” he said.
The senator-elect said he looked forward to Senate orientation, and to meeting and working with his new GOP colleagues — “except for John Ensign, who is to never be left alone with my wife and daughters,” Brown said.
Coakley did not appear at her election night headquarters, instead undergoing treatment for a broken finger. The injury occurred at about the time Coakley pointed the finger at the White House, while complaining to chief of staff Rahm Emanuel that the Obama administration waited too late to start campaigning for her.