Letter of Recommendation for Barack Obama

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To Whom It May Concern:

Although it seems like Mr. Barack Obama has worked as my president for much longer than seven years, I am thrilled to hear that he is pursuing a new position. You will be very lucky if you can get him to work for you.

As a voter, citizen and taxpayer, I have been in a position to directly oversee Barack’s professional development and in short, I can’t recommend him highly enough. I’m confident you’ll be as shocked by his skill set as I am. As for his leadership qualities, where does one begin? It is difficult to put into words exactly why you should put your trust in Mr. Obama but suffice it to say you will be startled at the quality of his work. By the time he concludes his employment with us I believe there won’t be a man, woman or child in America who isn’t greatly indebted.

Before joining our team, Mr. Obama was a senator from Illinois, a state so bankrupt that it can’t even afford to pay its lottery winners. In his role as President of the United States, Mr. Obama reported directly to me, the American citizen. His signature accomplishment during his tenure was signing into law the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare” for short. (I’ve attached a pdf. Nowadays, of course, one has time read it in its entirety while in your doctor’s waiting room).

Before Mr. Obama, the formerly part-time position of President had been held predominantly by individuals who strove first and foremost to demonstrate basic competency at the job. Some were more successful than others, of course, but all understood – or thought they understood – the job’s limitations. Executing the nation’s laws is, as you know, not particularly glamorous. Previous hires had mostly adopted a modest approach to the job, which seemed fitting given that it requires, among other things, pretending to take Lindsey Graham seriously.

Mr. Obama’s is very certain of his goals and very dedicated to achieving them. If anything, Mr. Obama was at times too eager to complete tasks successfully and quickly, which ultimately serves as proof of his dedicated ambition to succeed and excel. He made it very clear from day one his intention to fundamentally change things around here. At this, he succeeded. In fact, many of us hardly recognize the place anymore!

In his capacity as president, Mr. Obama was a valuable asset to Democrats as he personally contributed greatly to the expansion and promotion of its greatest asset, the government. And thanks to historically low interest rates, a reluctance to increase taxes and cheap loans from China, government is now cheaper than ever. Need I say more?

If you have any questions or require further information about Mr. Obama, please do not hesitate to contact me.



David Deeble, Concerned Citizen

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Event Production and the Most Important Person in the Room

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“Boarding the plane this morning I very politely asked the gentleman in the seat behind me if he would mind swapping seats with me so that *** wife and I could sit together.”

Crickets. Silence. Due to a technical snag the audience missed only one, three-letter word. But that’s all it takes. A comedian knows where the laughs go but an audience, hearing the story for the first time, has to figure out for themselves. To do that, they need to be able to hear every single word.

The technical aspects of event production aren’t as mundane as they may seem: don’t spend a lot of money on a remarkable speaker or entertainer without ensuring that the sound is equally remarkable.

“Boarding the plane this morning I very politely asked the gentleman in the seat behind me if he would mind swapping seats with me so that his wife and I could sit together.”

Laughter. Magic. Connection.

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Mediocrity: The Ultimate Safe Space

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Mediocrity kills careers but seems to increase job security. The latter part of this formulation is mediocrity’s chief appeal and why it’s so widespread, whether you’re dealing with an airline representative or an internet service provider.

Examples are so commonplace they no longer warrant notice. The service rep who refers to you as “the next customer.” The words sound taught and they of course they are. What was wrong with “May I help you?” Rapport, fellow-feeling, conversation – anything that can’t be taught is subsumed in a frantic desire to make customers go away.

Much of what informs mediocrity is fear and a desire to conform: fear of failure and a desire to conform to convention. But if you want to get people talking about your product or service – if you want people remarking to others about it – then it must be worthy of remarking upon.

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The Climate Circus Comes To Paris

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(Note: this was originally published at Ricochet.com).

Paris – I miss the days when the circus rolled into town on a sleepy train in the middle of the night rather on luxury private planes and chartered jets in the middle of the day. But then again, this is no ordinary circus, kids. It’s the Climate Circus! Where the folly of group action plays out before our eyes in such exotic locals as Marrakech, Lima and Doha. And this week, Paris. Only a few weeks after Islamist terror attacks killed 130 people in the heart of the city. As John Kerry might say, what more evidence do you need to believe that climate change has already begun?

The United Nations Climate Conference is where where expectations come to be lowered and grand schemes come to die. The fairy tale always begins on a note of optimism – ideally some kind of “grand bargain” on climate – only to settle for a vague statement calling to offset the conference’s carbon footprint “around 2050.”

There is good news on the climate front: ISIS recently announced its plan to cut its greenhouse emissions to pre-750 A.D. levels, and I believe them. Concerned entrepreneurs like Elon Husk have called for Toyota drivers worldwide to pay reparations for their recent historic environmental sinning, unwitting though they were. And North Korea continues to drastically cut it’s greenhouse gasses for some reason we can’t talk about. But mainly things don’t look good on the climate front: winters remain very cold and summers very hot because capitalism.

President Obama called ISIS’s proposal a “climate posturing” and a “jayvee solution to a varsity problem,” adding that global warming poses too great a threat to allow America to lead from behind. He also reiterated his complaint that Republican critics of his foreign policy are merely “popping” off, which is funny because popping off is the essence of his ISIS strategy.

The pointless enviro-drama that is the UNCC reminds me of Circus Soleil: too big a budget, over-produced and utterly pretentious. California Democrats are, as usual, on the leading edge in the fight against climate change – or any kind of change, for that matter. Governor Jerry Brown has called for more research and development on lunar energy for crying out loud: you can take “Moonbeam” out of a man’s name but you can’t remove him from the gravitational pull of environmentalism.

Return to daviDDeeble.com or watch a talk I gave recently about my transformation from conventional to comedy juggler.

The Power of Perception: “I thought I was running late”

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It’s happened to me many times: my mind racing to ensure I meet a deadline, I sloppily read my watch and think I have an hour less than I really have. The stress hits you as quickly as a migraine. My body tightens, mistakes are compounded and I’m focused inward instead of at the task at hand.

Again checking my watch to see if I was on schedule, I realized my mistake. With the “extra” hour, the symptoms melted away. My body worked efficiently while my mind turned to long-term projects and family.

I think you see where I’m going with this: the same facts on the ground but two differing perceptions resulting in quite different results. I once took it for granted that I would get around to learning to juggle 7 balls. I never did and that’s okay.

I left home yesterday morning at 2:30 a.m. LAX, surely the most charmless of all our big city airports, is at that hour and the several that follow it actually a dream. 6 a.m. is the most beautiful time to fly: services have no lines; security goes as quickly as it does in Bismarck, North Dakota. You can literally stroll onto the plane. Even the bathroom floors are clean. It enhances the experience, stuff like that.

After a transfer in Newark I descended into Burlington after dark on a wet New England evening. I picked up my bags, threw them in the rental and drove for an hour-and-a half over hill and dale through the inky blackness that is rural Vermont on November nights. My monkey brain is telling me I’m running late. It’s trying to ratchet up my stress level to get me to respond. My manly brain confirms that I have plenty of time to arrive and set-up and that, worst-case scenario, I can drive directly to the show and check-into the hotel afterwards, which is what I did. No stress, I simply did the math and knew that barring an accident or a flat, if I simply took my time and drove carefully all would be gold.

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If I went onstage looking for sympathy from the audience for my long day of planes, trains and automobiles in order to get there, well, I had come to the wrong place. And why should they care? Unless you’ve got a funny story to tell about it, get on with the show.

This is the sort of thing one learns with experience: when everything is falling into place as it should, sometimes it’s best to keep a light touch. The audience doesn’t care what I went through to get there: they care about what they went through to get there.


Secondhand Exposure: The Bombardment of Sounds and Images

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The prevalence of tobacco smoke in our noses and lungs has been replaced by the bombardment of sounds and images into our ears and brains – and our minds. These “secondhand” sounds and images – think of CNN playing loudly, thoughtlessly in the pre-dawn hours as you wait for your plane – constitute a physiological assault on those – a majority, I’m convinced – who don’t wish to be exposed to it. Sound familiar?

Last week I awoke at 4 a.m. in order to be able to call my wife in a different time zone. I went up to the open decks of the cruise ship to get a coffee. The sky over Tahitian waters was beginning to quickly change from jet-black to blue. The only sound was the ship cutting through the open sea, ocean breezes passing over the open deck and Nancy Sinatra’s rendition of “These Boots Were Made For Walkin'” playing over the loudspeaker.

Who is this imaginary customer whose view of the sun slowly setting behind the lush mountains of Moorea would be spoiled without Whitney Houston’s “I will always love you” blaring through the PA?

We’ve become inured to the bombardment of sounds and images. What could be more delightful than heading to the hotel gym with only sounds are the rhythm of weights and pulleys – or whatever podcast you’ve been listening to on your iPhone – instead of the thump-thump of European house music?

Maybe I’m getting old.

Return to www.daviDDeeble.com or watch me attempt to impress my daughter by kicking a coin into my eye socket.

American Kook: Lyndon LaRouche

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(This post original appeared as a column at Ricochet.com).

The most prolific non-comedian presidential candidate in U.S. history, Lyndon LaRouche first came to my attention during the 1992 election when his campaign took out a tv ad describing him as “the only man (then-President) George Bush feared enough to put in prison”. Manuel Noriega, like so many facts of life anathema to LaRouche’s fevered mind, was also sitting in a federal prison at the time.

More than 30 years and three election cycles later, my German wife and I were visiting San Francisco when we strolled past a couple of political activists standing next to a sandwich board depicting President Obama with a Hitler mustache – a depiction which my wife pointed out would be illegal in her native Germany. Lest her innocence of American politics cause her to confuse these LaRouche followers with fellow Tea Party nutters, I told her what I knew about the American kook named Lyndon LaRouche.

As a politician, Larouche was one-tool player who nonetheless appeared to to be in the big leagues from time to time. His skill set consisted almost entirely of identifying an emotionally charged issue, conducting in-depth research then proposing an oversimplified solution, usually involving a restructuring of the economy or national security apparatus. His pathological certitude found expression in the breadth of policy positions expected of a presidential candidate, from healthcare to fiscal and foreign policy.

A member of the Socialist Workers party from 1949 – 1964 and the U.S. Labor Party from 1973 – 1979, LaRouche finally settling on the Democratic Party in 1979, where he sought the nomination in seven of his eight presidential campaigns. His conspiracy theories, the follower-on-follower violence, his unshakeable faith in the stupidity or evil intentions of those who opposed him – all these and more made LaRouche seem like a politician after L. Ron Hubbard’s heart.

Like the same song but in a different key, LaRouche’s also had the ability to place any world event into a larger context, giving it greater apparent meaning in the facile manner favored by conspiracy theorists and Marxists. A real go-getter, by the early 1970’s he was publishing now-forgotten magazines such as New Solidarity and teaching at never-remembered entities like New York City’s Free School. LaRouche’s up-and-at-‘em initiative was not mitigated in the least by his Marxist beliefs.

By the 1970’s, of course, 1960’s ideology were in full swing. Name a 70’s-era brand of then-vibrant American Marxism and LaRouche either joined it, founded it or oversaw violence against it: the Socialist Workers Party, the Revolutionary Tendency, Students for a Democratic Society and, most importantly for his own career, the National Caucus of Labor Committees, or NCLC.

None of this would be interesting were it not for LaRouche’s uncanny ability to gain access to officials at the highest levels of government. How did he do it? In 1971, LaRouche founded an intelligence network which published information in magazines articles and papers sent to him from his followers in hotbeds of Marxism like Stockholm and West (not a typo) Berlin. This enabled him to gain access to government officials under press cover. These publications had modernist names aimed at setting hard-leftists’ hearts aflutter, such as New Solidarity, Fusion Magazine and 21st Century Science and Technology (note that the titles invoke the more-committed-to-science-than-you of today’s widely-popular I F***ing Love Science‘s Facebook page.

Bobby Ray Inman, the CIA’s deputy director in 1981 and 1982, said LaRouche visited him offering information about the West German Green Party; a CIA spokesman said LaRouche met Deputy Director John McMahon in 1983 to discuss one of Larouche’s trips overseas. An aide to William Clark said when Larouche’s associates discussed technology or economics, they made good sense and seemed to be qualified (thus removing any doubts about the aides qualifications as a government official).

The 2016 presidential candidate who seems most to share LaRouche’s love of ideas over people – though not, of course, his reflexive paranoia and violent tactics – is Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig, who ended his hapless campaign on November 2. Unlike LaRouche, who published policy papers on everything under the sun, Lessig’s campaign raised more than one million dollars promising to protect Americans from engaging in what he deems excessive political speech or, in his words, “fighting systemic corruption in Washington”. (Lessig dislikes the term “campaign finance reform.”)

Lessig would have required much more than one million dollars to conspire with Congress and in an end-around the First Amendment to the Constitution, in which its authors invoked a rare (for them) absolute in writing “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom speech…” Italics mine, not Lessig’s.

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Today in False Choices: People Versus Profits

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Consulting with corporations about the importance of putting “people before profits” is mutually beneficial to both speaker and corporation: the latter is afforded cheap virtue and the former an expensive lifestyle. In the world of speaking and corporate consulting, espousing the people-before-profits narrative is, as with authenticity and diversity, simply good business practice.

This value-for-value model is lost on the very same speakers who take it for granted that profits are suspect in and of themselves. These self-styled experts fail to see that, unlike President Obama’s facile description of the tension between liberty and security, people v. profits really is a false choice. Yet companies throughout the U.S. are happy to self-flagellate before speaker after speaker, pretending to temporarily forget that which reality will forever remind them: that profits are a pretty darn good measure of the extent to which you have served others.

At the heart of the people-before-profits movement is a ambivalence about the dignity and morality of business. In popular culture this idea is most evident in movies and on television, where businessmen are almost invariably portrayed as either moral bankrupts (Wall Street) or courageous heroes who unveil the moral bankruptcy the business (Michael Clayton).

The Birkenstock set in particular has built an entire cottage industry around apologizing for being in business, from technology entrepreneur Kate Emery to speaker Dan Pallotta to the TED talks, where the “ideas worth spreading” overwhelmingly assume the people v. profits model.

Into this world of received wisdom enters Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments For Making Money. Lapin’s thesis is that far from being something to be ashamed of, profits should be seen for what they are: a blessing and a measure of our success serving our fellows.

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Dear Diary: August 24, 2015



Monday, August 24, 2015, Salt Lake City – Another all-day travel day without brushing my teeth until I get home and to bed. Why can’t I bring big-boy sized toothpaste on the plane? It reminds me of how when you lock your keys in the car and you ask yourself “Why must we lock our cars in the first place?” Because, incredible as it sounds, there are people out there who would steal them otherwise. Similarly, there are those out there who don’t want the plane to land safely. It’s really an unbelievable world, when you think about it.

I’m not sure what the connection is between plane safety and toothpaste-tube size but I assume the feds know what they’re doing.

I bought a bottle of water from a very exotic-looking young woman here at SLC airport. She looked Persian or something. I said “What’s your ethnicity?” “I don’t like Utah”, she said.

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I’m Over-Training – and Loving Every Minute of It

IMG_5785The conditions were ideal: my wife and two children were visiting our family in Germany for six weeks, leaving me little to do except run about 40 miles a week and lift weights twice – really throughout – the day. I ended up actually gaining several pounds. Anyway, it’s amazing what you can do when there’s no kids around.

When they returned home it seemed like the perfect time to cut back, shift my focus to consistency by running easily but daily, maybe enter a few weekend races,. The thing is, just as I began backing off I began to notice the telltale signs of overtraining. It’s tempting to back off, of course, but then I remember what my friend and 2:09 marathoner Jerry Lawler once told me back in Boulder, Colorado: a little overtraining is a better than a little under training because you can always back off before a race but you can’t make up for under-training.

So I’m having fun with it, while using common sense. I’m doing absolutely no fast running but instead just focusing on my stride rate and posture and exchanging fast running for more of a strength-based, longer-than-is-prudent slow running.

These runs are characterized by beautiful scenery up here in Alaska, for example, where I ran today. When I felt my stride rate was slowing I concentrated on keeping it high, even if I was only running at little more than a shuffle. Satisfied that I was back on form, I’d resume into taking in the scenery.

Sometimes I’d find myself loosening up and pushing the pace slightly but even during these times I largely kept it under control, not pushing my body further than it seemed to want to go. It was a kind of “enjoy the ride” runs that are one of the many joys of this simple sport.

After returning home to my family after a week pushing myself up here in the beautiful Alaska surround, I’ll expect to cut back my running quite a bit and let my body recover and play with the kids, etc.  But in the meantime it’s still my Thanksgiving season and I’m going to enjoy overindulging for a while longer.

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