The Daily Show: Award (Un)worthy

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

When President Obama announced last week he would seek a second term, he also released his first campaign video. And man, was it lame.

It features people saying things like, "I don't agree with Obama on everything, but I respect him," and, "There are so many things that are still on the table that need to be addressed."

Those are the best supporters you could come up with for your opening campaign video?! They're all exhausted! How did we go from "Yes we can" to "You know, whatever"?

Perhaps this is the natural result of what happens when campaign promises are exposed to oxygen.

Case in point: "I want to create a White House that is more transparent and accountable than any government agency we've seen before," Obama said while campaigning in 2008.

Of course he wants this. And I want to poop glazed donuts. But, as we've both learned over the past two years, it's harder than it looks.

See, when you were running for the White House, you wanted to see what the White House was hiding. Now you live in the White House, and you want everyone to stop being so damn nosy.

When you don't live in the White House, sunlight is the best disinfectant, but when you live there, disinfectant stings.

In fact, since taking office, this administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers in two years than had been prosecuted in the previous 40 years. Its staff even meets with lobbyists across the street from the White House so they don't have to publicly disclose the meetings.

The administration also - and this is true - censored nearly 200 pages of internal emails about their efforts to make government more transparent.

How weird has this administration's record on transparency gotten? Obama received an award for transparency recently, and the meeting about winning the transparency award was closed to the media and kept off the president's public schedule.

The president's not alone in receiving peculiar accolades. The company that's responsible for the worst oil spill in U.S. history, Transocean, is handing out huge bonuses of more than $1 million to its top executives. Yeah, let that sink in for a moment.

Well, at least it finally explains Transocean's slogan, "Pobody's nerfect."

The American people are getting used to this. Every time these monster corporations fail, they always find a way to justify their giant bonuses.

Guess what Transocean executives are patting themselves on the back for. Supposedly 2010 was "the best year in safety performance in the company's history."

The company bases this on what it describes as an exemplary statistical safety record as measured by their recordable incident rate. OK - you know that's just crazy, right?

They gave themselves a safety bonus because statistically the Deepwater Horizon explosion killing 11 people and pumping 200 million gallons of oil into the ocean counts the same as if Carl cut his hand on a bolt. It's just one incident.

That's like the Hindenburg's company sending out cards congratulating everyone for 364 days of incident-free flying.

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