Author archives: Michael Leaser

Change Watch Backgrounder: Robert Gibbs

by Michael Leaser

January 16, 2009

POSITION: PRESS SECRETARY

NOMINEE:  Robert Gibbs

Born:  March 29, 1971 in Auburn, Alabama

Occupation: Political consultant, most recently the communications director for Senator Barack Obama and Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign

Family: Married, one child

Education: B.A., North Carolina State University (majored in political science), graduated cum laude

Career: Robert Gibbs has spent his career working as a communications specialist in the campaigns of various politicians. Prior to becoming involved in Obama’s presidential campaign, he served as the communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. He served as the campaign spokesman for Fritz Hollings in 1998 and was the press secretary for Representative Bob Etheridge. He was John Kerry’s press secretary during his 2004 presidential campaign. He has worked with Obama since 2004.

On Homosexual “Marriage”

One of the sponsors of the bill (Illinois Non-Discrimination Bill Senate Bill 2597, formally SB 101, which would give special rights in housing, employment and public accommodations on the basis of one’s sexual orientation.) is Keyes’ opponent Obama.

Robert Gibbs, spokesman for Obama, said Obama is against discrimination.

While Obama supports laws that guarantee basic rights to same sex couples, including recognition of domestic partnerships, Obama opposes gay marriage.

Our position on gay marriage is the same position held by John McCain and Dick Cheney, who are opposed to gay marriage, but are also opposed to a constitutional amendment that is unnecessary,’ Gibbs said.”  [source (from Senator Obama’s Senate campaign in 2006)]

On Homosexuals in the Military

In a response to a question on the Web site Change.gov asking whether Obama would get rid of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said: ‘You don’t hear politicians give a one-word answer much. But it’s yes.’

Gibbs on Wednesday expanded on his answer, saying, ‘There are many challenges facing our nation now and the president-elect is focused first and foremost on jump-starting this economy.  So not everything will get done in the beginning but he’s committed to following through” with ending the policy against being openly gay in the military.’” [source]

Quotes about Gibbs:

He’s the last person Barack talks to when he’s thinking about how to handle reporters’ questions,” says Linda Douglass, a campaign spokeswoman. “We call him the Barack Whisperer. He completely understands his thinking and knows how Barack wants to come across.’” [source]

Robert is the guy I want in the foxhole with me during incoming fire…If I’m wrong, he challenges me. He’s not intimidated by me.” - Barack Obama  [source]

His aggressive communication skills; while close to Mr. Obama, Mr. Gibbs does not always share his boss’s steady temperament, and this has caused dust-ups during the presidential campaign. Mr. Gibbs’s friends say he is working at being calm under pressure, a vital skill for a press secretary who stands at the White House podium as the face of the administration.” - [source]

Quotes by Gibbs:

I’ve always wanted to be in a position where as a staffer I could always speak freely and in an unvarnished way with whoever I was working for…I don’t think you serve somebody well if you don’t feel like you can.”

- On his reputation as one of the few people who can challenge Obama [source]

It was requisitioned for a higher purpose. I have never gotten that back and I never had the illusion that I would.”- On the light blue tie hijacked by Obama for his 2004 convention speech.  [source]

Church + Two Parents = Fewer Child Behavior Problems

by Michael Leaser

December 16, 2008

A new study from the Mapping America project, co-released by more than 30 state family policy councils today, finds that children have fewer problems at school and home when they live with both biological parents and frequently attend religious services. Dr. Nicholas Zill, the founding president of Child Trends, and Dr. Philip Fletcher, a research psychologist at Westat, co-authored the new study, which analyzes data from the National Survey of Children’s Health.

Among their remarkable findings: children in this group are five times less likely to repeat a grade, less likely to have behavior problems at home and school, and are more likely to be cooperative and understanding of others’ feelings. Parents of these children report less stress, healthier parent-child relationships, and fewer concerns about their children’s achievement. These differences hold up even after controlling for family income and poverty, low parent education levels, and race and ethnicity.

In the Midst of Godlessness

by Michael Leaser

December 2, 2008

Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media are releasing on DVD today their adaptation of the second installment in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian. A lesser-known story than that of its predecessor, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian brings the four Pevensie children back to a Narnia 1,300 years older, where the ruling humans have constructed a bellicose society that regards the Christ-like Aslan, if it regards him as all, as no more than a mere myth. In many respects a cautionary tale for our own society about the effects of Godlessness, Caspian also delivers an inspirational message about the effects of Godliness when our heroes and a significant portion of Narnians renew their faith in God (Aslan).

Another notable event in the film is the introduction of Reepicheep the mouse, a character whose name could be listed in any dictionary as a synonym for “valour” and “chivalry.”

Due to the book’s involved backstory, Caspian is the most difficult of the Chronicles to adapt to the screen. The need to rearrange and modify events in the book to accomplish that feat has arguably resulted in a film superior to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, for which the screenwriters adhered to the book’s structure perhaps a bit too religiously. This is forgivable, though, since Lion‘s narrative is more conducive to cinematic interpretation and less forgiving to structural alterations.

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