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Sep 30th
Home Columns A Cup O' Kapeng Barako For President Obama’s First 100 Days: A Grade of C+
For President Obama’s First 100 Days: A Grade of C+ PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - A Cup O' Kapeng Barako
Friday, 01 May 2009 20:05

My wife was an English-Literature professor at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) when I first met her. It was in April 1981. I’ve just left the United States Navy after 20 years of service. Having nowhere to go, I went back “home” to the Philippines.


While there, I goofed around a little and fooled around a lot, but pretty soon that got boring. Looking for something more interesting to do, I signed up for a summer course at UST, my alma mater when I joined the Navy in 1960.


I like literature courses, so I signed up for a course called, “Filipino Literature in English.”  And viola, it must have been fate. On the first day of class, the young teacher who walked in and stood before the class, and who the students call, “Miss Navarro,” well, became “Mrs. Jose.” It was love at first sight. I am a leg man, you see, and she had great-looking legs. After that first day, I was blindly in love that the rest of the summer became a blur . . .


Sorry to disappoint you, folks, but this is NOT a love story between my wife and myself.  I just wanna tell you the final grade I’ve gotten from this Lit teacher of mine: C+. I asked her, “Why C+ only when I was the brightest student in that class?”


Ikaw na nga ang pinakamataas dyan, nagko-complain ka pa?” she answered.  At saka napasagot mo ako ng ‘oo.’  Ano pa ang gusto?”


After classes, we reversed roles. I would become the teacher and she would become the student.  Now, if you’re going to ask me, what grade did I give her for the lessons I taught her after her Lit classes. Well, she was a very bright student and a fast learner, so I gave her A+++.


T alking about grades . . . for Mr. Obama’s first 100 days in office Wednesday this week as President, what grade did I give him?  Like that grade my wife gave me: C+. 


And that’s high considering that after campaigning as the agent of CHANGE . . . that campaign promise did not happen, as we all know. For what he delivered instead, were RECYCLED politics and same-same Beltway faces to head his cabinet. A couple of them were even known tax evaders.


For the last three months, spending was way up, with taxes soon to follow.  To bail out failing financial institutions, $235-billion of taxpayers’ money was spent by Mr. Obama. Plus $3.5-trillion in new spending; $1.3-trillion for defense and $13-billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, etcetera, etcetera . . .


That the deficit this year is projected to reach the $1.7-trillion mark.


I know I keep harping on these numbers. But we need to be aware of these numbers.  We need to appreciate these numbers. We need to be scared of these numbers for our children’s sake!  We need to be on guard.


What about the numbers of jobs lost, nation-wide? Two-and-a-half-million and counting . . .


W hen Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in as President on March 4, 1933, America was a country “deeply troubled by a historic economic collapse.” During his first 100 days, President Roosevelt accomplished legislative victories that helped set in motion the recovery from the Great Depression. 


Not only legislations he got passed, Mr. Roosevelt changed the mood of the country.  America felt more positive then.  The Roosevelt accomplishments also set the tone for what would become “the first measuring mark” for Presidents.


Mr. Obama did okay.  Like I said, a grade of C+.


According to Gallup polls, Mr. Obama’s average approval rating puts him on par with other past Presidents from 1953 to the present, at 63%. Jimmy Carter was given a rating of 69%. Dwight Eisenhower had 74%. John F. Kennedy had the highest approval rating, at 79%.


I LIKE MR. OBAMA: Now, please don’t get me wrong on what I say about Mr. Obama. As I said before, I don’t dislike him. I like him in many ways. I like the way he wears his suit. He’s a sharp dresser. I like the way he talks. He speaks eloquently. And I like the way he smiles. He has that toothy smile that disarms.


I also like his stance in giving more funding to stem-cell research. 


And I liked it when he shook hands with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during his first Latin-American summit and offered to forge a new relationship with some of America’s harshest critics and calling for an end to “old ideologies” that have dominated the debate in that hemisphere.


Mr. Obama also earned my respect when one on the things he did upon assuming the presidency was to shut down that horrible prison for Iraqi detainees at Gitmo Bay and those other CIA-run prisons, world-wide . . . that tortured detainees.


And, I like it a lot when he banned extreme techniques (torture, in layman’s term) the Bush administration used to question terrorism suspects and his decision to declassify documents containing those torture tactics.


I only wish that he and his Attorney General, Eric Holder, would prosecute those people who carried out the torture program or the people who designed the program or the people who authorized the program or the people who said it was legal, even though they knew it wasn’t legal.


Torture is illegal.  And torturers should be punished, period.  They broke the law and nobody should be above the law.  If prosecuting them would appear like a form of witch-hunting, so be it.  Let America hunt those horrible witches and burn them at the stakes!


A COWARDLY SHIP CAPTAIN: And … I liked it, too, when Mr. Obama gave the order to shoot those pirates who boarded to hijack the American cargo ship, the Maersk Alabama and kidnapped its captain.  Those pirates are criminals and they should be treated as such.


Those pirates should not have been allowed to board that ship in the first place.  The crew of 19 on that ship should have fought off those four teenage pirates and thrown them overboard.  Richard Phillips, the captain of that ship is no hero.  He’s a COWARD!


What kind of a captain would allow his ship to be boarded by pirates without a fight and tell his crew to “hide and lock themselves in their cabins”?  A coward, that’s for sure.  O kaya, bakla . . . JJ 


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Last Updated on Friday, 01 May 2009 20:14
Comments (1)
1 Saturday, 02 May 2009 20:05
Pareng Jesse,

Your Kapeng Barako column for this issue is one of the best that you have written. If you don't believe me go ask Dr. Tom Bonzon, he is also one of your fans. You are really a great writer. I'm trying real hard to ape your style but I think I still have a long way to go. And to even think that you, as a C+ student, were able to capture the heart of your former English professor who has great legs, I'd say you really made me a true fan and a believer. Of course, your son, Chris Jose, an award-winning TV news anchor/reporter from Wyoming has, most likely, gotten his talents from his parents.

Pareng Don

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