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Sure, the economy needs a good jumpstart (anyone got cables?). But you really have to wonder what some legislators are thinkin’ as they spend money hand-over-fist trying to stimulate new jobs.
Quick to pounce on the debate are GOP Senators McCain and Coburn, who recently wrote a report outlining some “questionable” spending from the Obama Administration’s $862 billion economic stimulus act.
Like what? Like $550,000 worth of new windows for a Mount St. Helens visitors center that closed in 2007, $762,000 to create a computerized choreography program (at U. of North Carolina at Charlotte), and $72,000 for Wake Forest researchers to study the effects of cocaine on monkeys. Woo-hoo, party at the zoo!
Obviously, not all of the 70,000-plus Recovery Act projects underway are this ridiculous. And hopefully the good projects will put a major dent in our unemployment rates. But again, you gotta scratch your head at some thinking. I’m just hoping our legislators have the foresight to create a project that puts new t-shirts on the backs of every person in America.
While you’re waiting for the stimulus check in the mail, check-out some economy-themed T-shirts that are sure to strike up a conversation with folks on the street.
President Obama gave his first State of the Union address on Wednesday, mercifully sparing “LOST” fans from a delay of the much-anticipated Season 6 Premiere. (We had a feeling he was a fan… perhaps he’ll be designing some LOST T-shirts soon to fund the healthcare bill.)
Obama’s speech has been described as “somber but dynamic” by at least one analyst who seems to have given various news sources a nice summation soundbyte. The speech was an hour and 10 minutes long, which compared to Bush’s keep-it-under-an-hour tradition is somewhat long. In fact, the speech was among the longest State of the Unions in the last 45 years – though no President holds a candle to Bill Clinton, who delivered the top 4 longest addresses.
From our end, the State of the Union wasn’t the most inspiring from a T-shirt perspective; that honor goes to George W. Bush and his human-animal hybrid remarks of 2006. Indeed, it would seem the soundbytes that cover pressing, legitimate social problems (which already have a lot of T-shirt commentary) – the unemployment rate, job creation, the stimulus package, national security, healthcare, energy – just aren’t as immediately fun to designers as a monkey with a human head. Ah, the fickle nature of creatives…
Whether Joe Wilson feels trumped is anyone’s guess, but then again his outburst did earn him a lot more T-shirts than Alito’s non-vocal dissent.
Although Obama has more products made about him than any single person in the history of CafePress (3.8 million and counting), his speeches simply don’t seem to provide the fodder that George Bush bestowed upon our design community. Then again, Obama is the only President to have teleprompter T-shirts made about him, so perhaps that counts.
We now have 3.8 million Obama products – a staggering number, and more than we’ve ever had about a political figure. (Or any one person, actually – even Edward Cullenfails to sparkle pales in comparison.)
What the next 3 years hold for the country (and the T-shirts) is up for debate; in the meantime, we figured it’s a good time to see what y’all think of the POTUS on this anniversary of his taking office.
In a move that’s been widely approved across party lines, President Obama took a vacay break to announce that Ben Bernanke would be reinstated for a second term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Bernanke has been cited as being instrumental in the economic recovery efforts, by both the President and financial analysts, and his reinstatement is viewed as a safe and wise move for both political and economic stability reasons. For the T-shirt designers ’round these parts, though, Bernanke is synonymous with “bailout” – a trend that started with the $700 billion Paulson/Bush/Bernanke Wall Street bailout of 2008, continued through the auto bailouts, and is still relevant given the Obama stimulus package – which of course included bailouts for Main Street residents in danger of, you know, having to leave Main Street due to impending foreclosures.
Indeed, a look back at the catalogue reminds us that Bernanke was the subject of the “S” word long before Obama showed up to earn like-minded design work.
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford can’t sing the same song to his South Carolina citizenry, as the Governor recently went missing for about 7 days.
Sanford most recently made headlines for refusing to accept stimulus package money, due to butting heads with President Obama on its intended use.
Sanford’s office originally stated that the governor was hiking the Appalachian trail (thus introducing a new and colorful euphemism to the public discourse), then revised to list his travel itinerary as Argentina.
Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter shocked the nation this week when he announced that he’d be switching political parties after 29 years and 5 terms in office as a Republican. Specter is the 12th most senior member of the Senate, and the 5th oldest Senator. This is the second time Specter has switched parties; he was a Democrat until the mid-60′s.
Specter cited the reason for his departure as being “increasingly at odds with the Republican philosophy and more in line with the philosophy of the Democratic Party,” then noted that “I have traveled the state and surveyed the sentiments of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania and public opinion polls, observed other public opinion polls and have found that the prospects for winning a Republican primary are bleak.”
What will happen in Minnesota and its practical effect on Congress has yet to be determined. In the meantime, we bestow a Fantasy T-Wearer Award to Senator Arlen Specter this week, with the “Switch Hitter” T-shirt pictured above.
The Obama administration’s 100th day in office has hit, and while 14 weeks + 2 days might seem like an arbitrary time to review the President, hey: this is America. We like round numbers. And we like ratings and reviews and grades and polls, too.
On our end, we like using products as our own cultural barometer. Since all the merchandise in our system is user-created, and since we have a couple hundred million things for sale, it means that we get a pretty good idea of the zeitgeist using the mighty T-shirt as our guide.
The Left, for its part, has stayed consistent with the pro-Obama messaging that was adopted throughout the election. With not much to rail against, the biggest shift in post-Bush liberal merchandise is the lack of anti-anything sentiments.
Whatever your take on the new administration, one thing’s for certain: the Obama administration has given voice to a new generation of American patriots. Some of them are celebrating with cheers; the others are throwing tea parties.
Rick Perry, of course, is the same governor who inspired a generation of T-shirt makers (and YouTube members) when he bid a reporter a less-than-fond farewell with an “Adios, MoFo” back in 2005. That colorful adieu stemmed from both Perry’s annoyance with the reporter’s comments, as well as an apparent lack of awareness that his mic was still on and the tape was still rolling. Which is to say that both Rick Perry and Jesse Jackson should perhaps consider using their internal monologues more when they’re anywhere near a microphone or a camera, just to be safe.
His remarks were delivered to a crowd chanting “Secede,” and despite his very public denouncements of the stimulus package (of which he’s accepting $16.5 billion) and his ringing endorsement of a recent states’ rights resolution, Perry is now claiming that he was misunderstood and that he wasn’t trying to suggest that Texas might secede. He then noted that he called America “a great Union.”
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal recently criticized Obama’s stimulus package contribution to the National Endowment of the Arts, saying “Fundamentally, I don’t think … $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts is going to get the economy moving again as quickly as allowing the private sector to create jobs.”
His remarks caused an outcry among arts supporters, who note that in addition to preventing the United States from becoming a cultural wasteland, arts funding does, in point of fact, help keep those in creative services gainfully employed.
Given Jindal’s open criticism of arts funding, perhaps it’s no surprise that he more recently presented a budget that slashed Louisiana’s arts funding by 83%. The move caused outrage among many Louisianans, many of whom point out that Louisiana’s rich cultural history and industry will suffer tremendously. In addition to the economics behind cultural industry job loss, the news is simply a huge blow to Louisiana residents who pride themselves on their state’s arts, music, food and culture.
Ben Bourgeois / The Daily Reveille
To that end, supporters of the Louisiana arts industry recently came together in Baton Rouge to protest the cuts, holding what they called a “Jazz Funeral for Louisiana Arts and Culture.”
Louisiana budget talks are ongoing, with legislators discussing college restructuring and Jindal talking about government restructure. These kinds of talks and studies have been undertaken by at least two of Jindal’s predecessors, without the implementation of any actionable solutions. Whether Jindal will be able to break that spin cycle has yet to be determined.
That the budget cuts are coming from a governor who passed a law allowing Intelligent Design to be taught in Louisiana schools as an alternative to traditional scientific evolutionary theory isn’t lost on his detractors, who may well be wondering if Governor Jindal will next take aim at English and decide that Huked on Fonix is a cheepur and wurkable solushun for the skoolchildrn of Luweeseeanna.
In a recent and somewhat distressing study, 3 out of 4 Americans expressed frustration with the daily challenge of telling the world who they are and how they roll.
Because let’s face it: with 24-hour-news stations blathering on around the clock, it can be so time-consuming to try to keep up with what’s actually newsworthy. Encyclopedias are no help – they’re boring and almost immediately out of date, and they don’t cover important topics like Sarah Palin’s VPILF status.
And then there’s all those junk mail catalogues. How many of them are truly useful? How many of them help you accessorize your entire world? How many of them transform you into a relevant watercooler conversationalist with classic wardrobe choices that make ironical statements about political and social events and phenomena?
And so, for those 213 million Americans who feel overwhelmed with the constant battle of staying dressed and staying relevant at the same time, we present:
CAFEPRESS-O-PEDIA : your (FREE*) subscription to yourself!