Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
from Cigar Mike at Babalu Blog
John Hinderaker at Powerline
Paul Mirengoff at Powerline
Mark Steyn at NRO's The Corner
William Katz at Urgent Agenda - "A Sickening Choice"
About 77% of Jewish voters supported Obama. How are they reacting to this choice? Do they not care about Israel? About human rights?
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wow. The need to soothe the agony of the anti-war left in Obama's camp must be critical. I guess the lefties think all those computer simulations and models popped out "08312010" in response to the question, "When can we stop fighting?" Such an announcement really has no meaning, but it does bring the Islamofascists closer to reality. I can see them inside their caves in the Hindu Kush typing the information and other notes onto their calendar page under the heading, "Things to Do." They may have reason for concern as our combat forces in Afghanistan may be 140,000 soldiers stronger than it is today. Six from one, half dozen to another. On the other hand, those forces could be returning to American soil. But don't worry, American combat soldiers won't be fighting in Iraq.
One thing I learned from my political science professors was that war, by definition, is seldom a unilateral experience; historically, it has required an opposing force. I would like to think that military history and experience, rather than strong ideology, will drive our decision making. However, we already know President Obama has little training in history, military or otherwise, and limited executive experience in the real world. Thus, he announces the end of our combat operations to the world "08312010." That is eighteen months from now and a signal to our opponents to work overtime to embarrass the United States and weaken our foreign policy. His advisers should know better.
I wonder what the weather will be on "11022010?" I predict that it will be Tuesday.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
One absolutely unrealized expectation yesterday was the Republican response delivered by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Frankly, I've never thought much of opposition responses. They remind me of the white-suited man, shovel in hand, following the elephant in the circus parade. The guy may have an important job, but everybody remembers the elephant. If Jindal wants to stay clean and build his resume, he simply must improve that shoveling technique or find another job in the circus. Republicans should take all of this as a serious warning that their message for 2010 must be selected carefully, wrapped beautifully, and delivered appropriately. If not, they will be following an ass - the donkey variety - for a very long time.
[Apologies to my Democrat friends - just couldn't help myself.]
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I am haunted by the thought that student protests in the '60s sounded just as lame.
Monday, February 23, 2009
To be perfectly frank, I won't be upset as Starbucks attempts reinvention. I think they built an industry selling over-roasted coffee as a quality experience. Don't get me wrong, friends. I can enjoy almost any coffee with wi-fi and overstuffed chairs. Given the choice, though, I can brew with the best of them right here at home and for mere pennies a cup. All this makes me think that Kieron Dwyer's parody, left, does provide the last word. Indeed.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
William Katz has more on this topic at his always interesting blog, Urgent Agenda. Read today's "No Miracles."
Gateway Pundit has even more here and here.
The Corner at National Review Online has this from Nile Gardiner.
So far, not a good record on using polite behavior in the pursuit of political advantage.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
If you're a student of urban historical geography, all of this would make perfect sense, in part, because it would be interpreted perhaps in a less emotional environment. For homeowners, it is interpreted more in terms of property value, personal safety, quality schools, employment opportunity, and culture.
I discovered some "must read" articles on this subject, thanks to Tim Mak's "The Decline of Suburbia," appearing today on the blog, The New Majority. I think two of his sources demand special attention. They are:
Richard Florida's "How the Crash Will Reshape America," from The Atlantic Online; and
Alan Ehrenhalt's "Trading Places," appearing in The New Republic
A commenter provided a link to David Brooks's New York Times opinion column on a recent Pew Research Center study of American preferences for location and lifestyle. In general, I found comments, if available, to be of great interest.
Yes, I'm asking my readers to take on a long assignment here, but is a significant topic with serious social, economic, and political impacts for most Americans. If you get the feeling this subject was one aspect of my training and career, you'd be correct.
Photo by David Shankbone
Monday, February 16, 2009
. . . in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope, that my Country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.
Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man, who views it in the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations; I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Today marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. As you can see from the photo in my bio on the left, Lincoln and I go way back. That picture was taken during the spring of 1952 during my first visit to Washington. It was the beginning of a long association that peaked during the last fifteen years of my career.
If you want to settle into an evening with Lincoln, your choice of titles will number in the thousands and in a variety of media. I am inclined to recommend Carl Sandburg's Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and The War Years. It is available as a one-volume abridgement or you may choose to tackle the original six-volume version. Not always accurate, not always "organized" as a traditional biography, Sandburg's work is really the story of Lincoln as American experience. It's romantic, rich, warm, organic, meandering, sometimes stormy, sometimes calm. I think the approach works well because the Lincoln story is, in so many respects, the American story. Also keep in mind that, although well-known as a poet, Sandburg soon was revered in the U.S. as a poet/writer for the people, once the first volumes appeared . With that in mind, I believe Old Abe would have been proud to select a writer of popular history and culture as his official biographer.
Do take some time today to reflect on the life, time, and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. So much of what he was, as a nation, we are.
I'm Old Fashioned (1942), with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Johnny Mercer, has long been in the Great American Songbook. Blossom only adds to the class. I chose this song because she had joined Mercer's circle of close friends by the early '60s, and supplied the music for his last lyric, My New Celebrity is You, probably in early 1975. Celebrity really captures the best qualities of both artists. Sorry I couldn't post it for you to enjoy.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
My sailboat was by no means large, but it was enough to provide two people with unforgivable challenge on the water. She had many functions over the years. At various times, she was a sanctuary, a bar, a bistro of sorts, a bed, and even a confessional. Most of all, she was a remarkable teacher, enticing me to stretch limits while never hesitating to admonish me before demonstrating the results of recklessness. Through it all, there was the timelessness of being on the water, driven by the winds and currents, responding to the needs of both the boat and the compass. When I moved off the water a few years later, I sold the boat reluctantly, but with great confidence knowing she would reward her new owner with his personal set of lasting memories.
I wish everyone could have an opportunity to learn to sail and sail frequently. It is a rewarding recreation, a sure therapy for mind and body. And with sailing goes the necessity of learning to swim, for if one sails, one will surely swim. Believe me.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
We know very few of the details contained within this proposal, yet many are willing to cheer at the pep rallies and votes that will lead to its signing on the President's desk. As a man who seeks to "hold the center," celebration seems premature to me. Such a gargantuan bill deserves careful study. After all, this bill will soon be law and not easily undone if we find objectionable content within. True, some events, for example, the 9/11 attack, demand immediate response. On the other hand, the huge, complex web called the economy is unlike to disappear overnight. Why such haste to pass this legislation? And furthermore, we should understand that every dime of funding in this bill will be borrowed. Who will be paying for this, and for how long? I don't think any of my readers would disagree with Ben Franklin's advice: Take time for all things: Great haste makes great waste. In other words: You can screw up almost indefinitely with $1,000,000,000,000 of borrowed money.
I am inclined to recall a command from my radical youth: Just don't do something. Stand there!
Sunday, February 8, 2009
My gut feeling tells me the Democrats in Congress are in for a huge backlash, and President Obama will pay dearly for using Chicago-style politics - fear, clenched fist, loyalty as patriotism, bossism - as leverage in an attempt to pass such deceptive legislation.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Just too good to pass up.
Friday, February 6, 2009
With Iran working hard to develop some nuclear capability with assistance from the Russians, our defense systems should take on new meaning. It is one thing to deal with an old adversary who shares many of your Western values. It is quite another to coexist with a society bent on martyrdom as a pathway to salvation. I hope we are looking beyond Russian missiles when planning our tactical response to threats from the sky. The Iranian space program may have more in store for us than opportunities to watch their latest achievements in space drift over my house.
Granted, it has been a very rough two weeks for the new administration, undoubtedly the worst in my 50 years observing such transitions. We can afford neither the instability nor the soft leftist thinking that appears to be seeping into our defense policy. The world is watching every move, every minute. Let's not give them opportunities to see weakness. As my life unfolds, I want to be assured that the bright fast-moving "star" coming over my horizon is the ISS or another object I can enjoy watching.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
This disturbing story is showing up in several places today, but I think it so important that I want to make sure readers see it.
I must agree with him that I find it hard to understand how even one out of ten American voters - yes, these people voted - could hold this view. On the other hand I had eleven aunts and uncles, and only one of them, Uncle Bill, was an "outlier," to say the least. Maybe "one in ten/eleven" is a reasonable ratio for chronic fringe behavior among the general population as well.
More seriously, the use of the word "just" could be acceptable given what I perceive is a much higher infection of derangement syndrome still flourishing on the left. Granted, Obama's election is a balm that will sooth many in the syndrome crowd, but their nucleus cannot be penetrated so easily. Nothing short of the end of the U.S. as we know it will satisfy this group. In fact, they continue to hammer Bush-Cheney-Palin as if they were "in power." Soon, projection will set in and their anger will focus on the new power structure as the unrealized expectations accumulate day by day. This is not good for an administration likely to face an array of serious international challenges in the short term.
I see Obama responding in one of two ways. He can be a Harry Truman with some "give 'em hell" reality. Or he can be a Jimmy Carter and his "can't we all just get along?" strategy. Campaign rhetoric would support the former. I cannot see the middle way as a meaningful alternative these days. Either way, the Uncle Bills will be there making life a bit more challenging for them, more entertaining for us. Too bad they can't apologize for such misery making.
[Understand that I can see a Carter strategy working in the appropriate environment, but certainly not today. I'm sorry to be tough on him; he's a fine writer. We have enjoyed several of his books.]
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
I expect my sons will return to the United States as changed individuals, both in terms of maturity as citizens of the world and their appreciation for the bountiful goodness their country affords them.
Today, I am content to explore the world through the experiences of my children, if they choose to tolerate my intrusions. And, while the boys are on the road physically, their sister explores ancient language here at home. For me, it is the best of both worlds, but I look forward to the time when my daughter can explore other lands through the lens of her specialized studies.
There was a time, years ago, when I came so very close to taking an adventure into China, but had my plans changed by another significant event. The thirty years that have passed since then still lead me to the east, but the destination has changed. Should the trip happen, it will be into Nepal, Tibet, and the shadow of Everest.
The Republican National Committee has selected Michael Steele, former Lieutenant Governor and recent Senate candidate from Maryland, as its new chairman. This is good news if you consider yourself a defender of the mission as set forth by the Founding Fathers and the Constitution. I've followed his political career since the late '90s. Expect to hear his name often in the future.