Animatronic Obama coming to Disney World's Hall of Presidents

Posted Monday, May 25, 2009 11:51 PM | Contributed by ridemcoaster

Barack Obama was standing on a riser inside a warehouse, delivering an inspirational speech about the blessings of freedom, when his left index finger began to twitch uncontrollably, unnerving his aides. It was an audio-animatronic representation of the president, as imagined by the Walt Disney Company, and assembled with the direct involvement of the White House staff — and of Mr. Obama himself. The president supplied not just his measurements, but he also recorded that speech (which was initially drafted by a Disney writer) — and yet another recitation of the oath of office, this one in Disney high-definition sound.

Read more and see photos from The New York Times.

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Monday, June 1, 2009 1:45 PM
Vater's avatar

I agree with Jeff that every president makes decisions based on what he believes is right for the country. I just think Obama believes that a more socialist society is necessary for this country, and that scares the piss out of me because he has a liberal majority in Congress which has made it easier to approve his already astronomical spending habits.

Of course he should be included in the HoP at Disney...I just wonder if 4 or 8 years from now he will be heralded as the Christ-figure that he is now. I remember visiting the HoP early in Reagan's presidency and hearing a low rumble of laughter when anamatronic Carter began speaking.

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Monday, June 1, 2009 1:52 PM

Americans really need to learn more about socialism, where & when it started, and what it means for society. Every time someone attributes socialism to Obama, they've obviated their political ignorance.


Brandon | Facebook

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Monday, June 1, 2009 2:02 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

djDaemon said:
Where have you been? He's "sucked" since just after lunchtime on January 20th.

Nah. He sucked way before that. :)


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Monday, June 1, 2009 2:24 PM

Don't blame me. I voted for McCain/Palin.


Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

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Monday, June 1, 2009 4:10 PM
Jeff's avatar

djDaemon said:
Americans really need to learn more about socialism, where & when it started, and what it means for society. Every time someone attributes socialism to Obama, they've obviated their political ignorance.

I was just going to say the same thing. I've never seen so much fear generated on something people don't understand. It's about as solid of an argument as telling everyone that Obama believes in Cooties.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Monday, June 1, 2009 4:23 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Oh, he totally does! I read somewhere where he has funded an entire lab full of cooties that he intends to use for biological warfare. Yeah. Apparently he got some intel that indicated that a group of foreign nationals was going to attack by pulling on Americans' pig tails and kicking dirt in our faces.

Boy, I tell ya....If that happens believe me.... we'll be ready!


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Monday, June 1, 2009 4:31 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

From Merriam-Webster:

Socialism

1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

2 a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

I dunno. I don't think it's too much of a stretch. I definitely feel like there's a touch of socialism in the way he's approached certain things to this point.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Monday, June 1, 2009 4:33 PM
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Monday, June 1, 2009 4:55 PM

Clearly, 2a does not apply. Neither does 3---the "distinguished by" phrase is "distinguished from communism", which does not tie distribution of goods to amount of work, but rather decouples them completely.

The best case for 1 and 2b would be "new GM", and they don't fully apply even there if you take the administration's comments at face value---they want to let the folks who run the business run the business, and don't plan to meddle. We'll see how well that works out. I suspect there will be minimal meddling, because meddling would likely make "new GM" less competitive, and that also reduces the government's "investment" in "new GM" sticking taxpayers with the bill---that would pretty much ensure that the Democrats won't even control your local bake sale, let alone both houses of congress and the executive branch.

I don't view "new GM" as being anything more than the only way to keep the company from being liquidated---which I believe would eventually wind up costing society (e.g. "the government") even more than the $50B they're going to be on the hook for. Basically, GM is worth so little that the only people who really want to own it other than the feds are the bondholders who didn't take the proposed settlement---and they want to liquidate to cut their losses now. If there were any other way out of it, I suspect the administration would take it---as they did with Chrysler, which on exit from bankruptcy will be largely owned by the UAW and Fiat, not the government.

The other place you might try to apply it would be the executive/bonus compensation brouhaha in the TARP banks, especially AIG. That was started by congress, and the flames were fanned by the popular press---eventually, political pressure made it pretty much impossible for anyone to say anything other than "Those bastards deserve nothing." Obama's administration knew about the bonuses well in advance of them becoming public, and did nothing about them until it became a political liability not to.

As I recall, the "socialist tag" got applied during the campaign, in reference to his plan to increase marginal tax rates above $250K married-filing-jointly. To me, that's a stretch---and I'm someone who could well be in that bracket this year, depending on how much I end up billing my current consulting client.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Monday, June 1, 2009 4:59 PM
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Monday, June 1, 2009 4:59 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Brian Noble said:
The best case for 1 and 2b would be "new GM"...

The other place you might try to apply it would be the executive/bonus compensation brouhaha in the TARP banks, especially AIG.

And those are exactly the first two that immediately come to mind.

Not saying it is socialism (just a touch, like I said), but I'm not as quick to dismiss the use of the term. Again, it's colorful language for describing the policy being implemented vs what one would like to see. In comparison if feels like a degree of socialism.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Monday, June 1, 2009 5:04 PM
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Monday, June 1, 2009 5:13 PM

But if you actually work it out, what we've got is pretty far from socialism in any meaningful sense. The AIG deal was nothing more than a political liability---both sides of the aisle, from far left to far right, lambasted those guys for taking the cash. There's just no way you could do anything else without spending way more political capital than it was worth. That the administration's initial reaction was to let the bonuses alone and honor the contractual obligation suggests that they are anything but socialist.

As for "new GM": the fact that "new GM" will still have stock that is traded openly is the important bit---it's still a participant in the captial market, it's not being "taken public" in the same way that, say, Amtrak or the National Parks are. That the government holds the paper is only because they're the only ones who are willing to take on the ridiculous degree of risk associated with funding the new company---and they're almost certainly going to take a loss, unless GM becomes more commercially successful than they've ever been. A big task, considering it will be smaller than it's ever been. Literally no one else with money wants to try to run the business as it stands.

The alternative is to just let it fail, and let "regular" bankruptcy sell off the bits and pieces that might be viable in a liquidation. That could work. It would take a lot longer. It would infect a broader and deeper swath of US manufacturing. But, it would be "more capitalist," more free-market. The social costs would be high---and you could debate whether the ulitmate taxpayer cost would be higher this way, or lower. Most of the analyses I've read suggest that a liquidiation would ultimately be much more expensive. As a simple example, all those UAW retirees would be shifted to medicaid from the VEBA. Lots and lots of those sorts of things pile up over time.

More broadly, the use of "the socialist tag" is one of those talking point/buzzwords I was talking about earlier. It's a shorthand for a lot of FUD---Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Throwing it around is a lot easier than having a rational discussion, and exempts one from having to really consider the merits of the case, from either side.


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Monday, June 1, 2009 5:15 PM
Vater's avatar

You've obviated your political ignorance, Gonch. Just a touch, though.

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Monday, June 1, 2009 5:18 PM

And, just to be my own' Devil's Advocate...if the government had told Lee Iacocca and Chrysler "tough noogies" back in 1979 rather than guaranteeing a bunch of loans, perhaps that company's failure would have made the current situation simpler. In effect, without Chrysler around it would have been easier to accomodate the changes in the competitive landscape that have reduced the US auto market share over the last 30 years, cutting their capacity earlier rather than later.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Monday, June 1, 2009 5:19 PM
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Monday, June 1, 2009 5:25 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Vater said:
You've obviated your political ignorance, Gonch. Just a touch, though.

I hate when that happens.


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Monday, June 1, 2009 6:07 PM
Jeff's avatar

It was during the campaign that the term socialist was thrown around, and interestingly enough most quoted by people who benefit from raising taxes on the rich. That's ironic.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Monday, June 1, 2009 6:12 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I suppose I'd probably be one of those who benefit.

But it doesn't mean I think it's fair, makes sense or like the idea of doing such a thing. Just because it benefits me doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.

I've said it before and I think it was explained to me why I was wrong, but I just can't get behind the idea of "spread the wealth" in that way.


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Monday, June 1, 2009 6:27 PM
Jeff's avatar

It's only "spreading the wealth" if tax increases to the rich are offset by decreases to the poor. With an enormous deficit, and the taxes trimmed off the bottom end don't even remotely make that offset.

Interestingly enough, I forget which super-rich-smartguy who said it, but his position on bonus and other compensation was, "Let me get whatever the board thinks I should have, and just tax me higher." That sure makes more sense than trying to artificially regulate their earning potential.

And again, let's not forget that the more money you have, the more you can do to shelter it.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Monday, June 1, 2009 6:35 PM
Vater's avatar

Bingo. I'd benifit from it, too, but it's not something I condone. I don't believe punishing success is good for the economy, and certainly is not good for the individual. I'd rather the government stay out of my life as much as possible whether I'm wealthy or destitute.

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Monday, June 1, 2009 6:37 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

To me, taking more from someone because they have more (and that's the impression I get) and doing anything with it is an attempt to spread the wealth.

EDIT - Vater slipped a post in on me, but yeah, what he said.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Monday, June 1, 2009 6:38 PM
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Monday, June 1, 2009 8:08 PM
Jeff's avatar

But where is it being spread to? If the money is funding military endeavors or servicing debt, its impact is not wide spread.

My take on it is very different, in that I think the national debt is out of control, and what little I grasp about macroeconomics is that it draws down the value of the dollar. If a relatively small percentage of Americans play a greater role on reducing that debt, then their money is worth a hell of a lot more. If I were banking seven figures, I'd be perfectly fine being a part of that arrangement.

Where the disconnect comes is the things that the government spends money on, not the least of which is a "defense" budget that has sponsored ineffective and pointless wars for the last seven years, and much of it was money we didn't have. (That's not even considering the huge human cost we've suffered, and the financial impact of that.) I don't know how we reverse that trend. It will take decades to recover from that, and it assumes some future president can even get us to a balanced budget where the surplus is put toward the debt.

And there's another issue that all politicians are guilty of pandering to, where they want to reduce spending and reduce taxes, which doesn't help with the debt issue. To reduce the debt, you can't do both. So they stand up and say, "I wanna cut spending and your taxes," and it totally ignores the debt issue. That frustrates me.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Monday, June 1, 2009 10:31 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeff said:
But where is it being spread to? If the money is funding military endeavors or servicing debt, its impact is not wide spread.

Then I suppose it's being spread in the sense that the rest of the taxpayers don't pay as much for those things as they would have had the tax been put on everyone to raise those funds.

If we go to lunch and you pick up the tab, you didn't give me money, but you certainly spread your wealth in a way that left more in my pocket.

It doesn't necessarily matter how it's broken down on paper if the end result is the same (also see HW with 'free' drinks).


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