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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Comforting the afflicted

An article just came out in the NY Post about how President Obama played basketball this afternoon with a group of NBA stars:

"WASHINGTON -- President Obama pulled together an informal dream team of current and former basketball superstars Sunday. But only a few people got to see it.

Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony and other NBA all-stars joined Obama in Washington to entertain wounded troops.

The present-day stars were joined by some retired legends, including Bill Russell and Magic Johnson. College player Maya Moore of the Connecticut Huskies women's team also played.

The game was played for a group of "wounded warriors" -- troops injured in action -- and participants in the White House's mentoring program. It took place inside at a gym inside Washington's Fort McNair, a short drive from the White House. The President was inside the gym for about two hours.

The reporters assigned to keep tabs on the President were shut out of the gym, forced to wait in vans outside. Asked why media coverage was blocked, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama "just wanted to play."

After the game some of the players joined Obama and a group of his friends for a barbecue at the White House, capping the President's 49th birthday week."

Question #1: Was watching the President play basketball with a bunch of his athletic heroes really what these wounded veterans wanted? (If you're missing, say, your legs, is watching a bunch of healthy specimens run up and down the court really going to cheer you up? And does watching your Commander-in-Chief's worshipful adoration of these basketball stars make your own sacrifice seem more worthwhile?)

Question #2: Or was playing in front of the wounded vets just an excuse for Obama to indulge in some fantasy basketball?

Question #3: Was the media banned because the answer to the above question was so obvious?

Question #4: Was bringing all those superstars to DC done at taxpayer expense?

Question #5: Were any of the wounded veterans invited back to that White House barbecue, or was it just the NBA players?

Question #6: Who deserves to be invited to the White House more -- young men who've risked their lives and sacrificed their health for their country, or young men who happened to grow tall and are good at stuffing a basketball?

Perhaps the NBA stars did pay their way. Perhaps some of the veterans were invited to the cookout. And perhaps Obama considered it a sacrifice to have to hang with Lebron and Carmelo.

But these are questions worth asking.

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