Monday, September 15

Philippians 4:8.

Quaecumque Sunt Vera
Whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report...
if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
~ St. Paul, admonishing the Christians in the Greek city of Philippi.

Sunday, September 14

How much does Islamic State threaten U.S.?

by Greg Miller and Juliet Eilperin

Intelligence agencies remain uncertain about the scope of the danger that the militant group poses to the United States.
[President Obama is the] commander in chief who presided over the creation of a counter­terrorism doctrine in which U.S. strikes are supposed to be contemplated only in cases­ of imminent threat of violent attack. Faced with a terrorist group that is expanding faster than U.S. spy agencies can chart it, the “imminent” threshold appears to have been set aside.
So we're bypassing Congress and the American people and going to war because polls show people at home here are fearful, now that they've watched (or more likely, heard of) the beheading videos?

Who exactly is going along with this, and for how long?

Bernie Sanders!

for President!

"For Life and Liberty and Freedom,
America... Votes Yes!

Never underestimate an Independent.

Friday, September 12

"We'll Put a Boot in yer Ass..."

"It's the American Way!"

Friday night soundtrack:
Deja vu from 11 years ago last March.  I don't think the president convinced everyone out here that we're not warring with the Islamic religion, but you know... upcoming elections.  Pound the chest and pass the machismo...

Here we go again then, cocky winners -- let's show what America is really all about:  Might Makes Right.  The Big Dogs got their way, and ...

Something tells me, this was a political move on the part of the president, bypassing the Congress and the American people to do what he is told.

Sing it loud, sing it proud!  (and no tears this time around when the enemy strikes back.  We've got to know what we're getting into over there if we're going to continuously follow this path, especially with our unsecured borders here at home.  Eventually, it will come back home to us.  But enjoy it while we can, I guess...)
Hey Uncle Barry put your name at the top of his list...
And the Statue of Liberty started shakin' her fist...
And the Eagle will fly...
And it's gonna be hell...
When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell
And it'll feel like the whole wide world is raining down on you...
Brought to you Courtesy of the Red White and Blue. 
And justice will be served
And the battle will rage
This Big Dog will fight
when you rattle his cage...
You'll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A. ....
We'll put a boot in yer ass,
It's the American Way!

Hopefully after November, we'll be over this war for show stuff...

ADDED: One nice thing... I suspect NFL football will get even more popular this year. It's a nice distraction from war, and here we can cheer our own guys pounding other guys, with no huge pricetag or moral obligations to disregard. The players are well paid, the hits are real, and if people crave grinding out a win, what better place to do it than in a defined season, with set schedules, and an an end in sight.

That's the way I like my games, personally.

Tuesday, September 9

Self Determination.




* For what it's worth, I think the next generation -- the Millennial generation -- will cut its teeth in responding to the next Middle East war. They've grown and matured since our last war go-around, and their attitudes are changing the world.

Pretty much,
like their parents, they've got the numbers to generate lasting change, lacking in previous American young idealists who were riding in the wake of the Baby Boom and the Greatest Generation.

Let's see what they think of another ongoing war, how long they're willing to put up with futility, and how quickly they demand a more humanistic (and realistic) foreign policy approach to defending America in the 21st Century.

Beyond Barack Obama, it's the same cast of familiar faces in the Democratic party, pushing women's issues (abortion and birth control) and minority rights (gays, African-Americans, immigrants... not so much).  As the country diversifies, the Democrats divide up and count numbers.

Best not even to speak of the Republicans at the current time...

I don't think, never have thought, that Change will come from the pioneers of the Millennial generation -- the ones already hitting big.  They are their parents, very often.  Set up for success early, they succeed, but this is not the cast of characters who understand the need, in reality, for Change.  They go-along to get-along, and are comfortably rewarded for following in footsteps, innovating perhaps, but essentially propping up the basic structure.

You'll see nothing new built where there's no radical need for something new.  I think the Obama Democrats are counting on getting the same reception George W. Bush received when he announced plans to take America into war:  guns and roses, chests beating with pride.

Now, we've seen a look at the numbers.  The deaths, the costs, the disillusionment.  Those wary of promises of winning such wars before -- trading independence for security -- will soon have reinforcements.  The comfortable, the elite, the elderly might be willing to make such trade offs, but the young?

We're going to be hearing from them -- the bulk of them, not just the early outliers -- in the coming years... Who's ready to listen and learn what the numbers will teach us?

What Is President Obama's Favorite Beer?

Ice Cold Easy Busch Light.

Monday, September 1

Worth Saying this Labor Day.

No matter how much the strife and division of late amongst Americans of different wealth labels... I, for one, still really like classy people.  Classy women, especially.

So if you're up early, working, and you're a classy person (naturally, or you have to work on it even...), all the best!

See Me... Feel Me...

Touch Me... Heal Steal Me... *

Right behind you, I see the Millions...
On you, I see the Glories...
Right behind you, I climb the Mountains...
From you, I get my Stories...
Happy Labor day morning, folks!
Hope you are up early,
enjoying your day too.

No special Labor day post here -- make it your own, but I do have soundtrack suggestions...
The Circus
"Once There Was a Future...
for the working man...
Once there was a lifetime...
for the skillful hand...
~Erasure, Two-Ring Circus.

* Apologies to Pete Townshend.
  And the poor people living near Bethlehem, Palestine who lay claim to owning these woody lots. What will 45 days bring?
JERUSALEM — Israel laid claim on Sunday to nearly 1,000 acres of West Bank land in a Jewish settlement bloc near Bethlehem — a step that could herald significant Israeli construction in the area — defying Palestinian demands for a halt in settlement expansion.
The mayor of the nearby Palestinian town of Surif, Ahmad Lafi, said the land belonged to Palestinian families.

He told the official Palestinian news agency Wafa that Israeli Army forces and personnel posted orders early Sunday announcing the seizure of land that was planted with olive and forest trees in Surif and the nearby villages of Al-Jaba’a and Wadi Fukin.  Interested parties have 45 days in which to register objections.
Israeli officials said the political directive to expedite a survey of the status of the land came after three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and killed in June while hitchhiking in that area. ... The timing of the land appropriation suggested that it was meant as a kind of compensation for the settlers and punishment for the Palestinians.

Palestinians aspire to form a state in the lands that Israel conquered in 1967. 

Friday, August 29

Deal, or No Deal.

Glenwood City in St. Croix County thought they had a deal for a frac sand plant, to be build a half mile from a local school. They signed the contract, but turns out, the CEO of Vista Sand was facing other issues...

“I pray that we make the right decision here tonight.”

Those were the fateful words of landowner Scott Teigen as he made a personal appeal to the Glenwood City Council to approve an annexation petition, the last obstacle standing in the way of opening a frac sand mining operation a half mile from the school. It worked. In front of a room packed with embattled city residents, by a vote of 4-2 the council approved the petition making valid the pre-annexation agreement they had previously signed with Vista Sand of Texas to begin mining operations.

That was three months ago. Although County Road G has been resurfaced in preparation for the heavy truck traffic expected to accompany the commencement of mining, the contract remains unsigned by Vista.

Monday, Aug. 18, it was revealed that Vista Sands CEO and operating partner, R.J. Sikes, had been incarcerated June 30 in Ellis County, Texas, to begin serving concurrent four-year sentences on charges of child sexual assault and indecency with a child-sexual contact. KWWL TV in Waterloo, Iowa, reported that the charges stem from an incident with a 14-year-old girl back in 2010. A third charge was dismissed. According to Christine Cooper, a spokesperson for the Wayne McCollum Detention Center in Waxahachie, Texas, Sikes is scheduled to be transferred from McCollum to the State Prison Gurney Unit in Palestine, Texas, to serve the rest of his sentence.

“When I learned yesterday about the charges that were brought against Roger Sikes and the way he deceived this community the last two years, standing up front there, I have three daughters, to say I’m mad as hell is an understatement. Obviously the victim of whatever crime he committed, you feel for them,” said Ken Peterson, Glenwood City Council member.

Council member Crystal Booth has consistently opposed the mine proposal since its inception.

“I cannot speak for the council. From the beginning of this process, my concern was that 1) the mine was very near a school population and what, if any, negative environmental and health concerns it would carry to that entity; and 2) I had reservations about Mr. Sikes personally. I made my concerns about his character public at at least one council meeting with Mr. Teigen present. I personally have extreme trust issues with this particular company, to make sure they follow through on promises and guarantees that ensure Glenwood City citizens and the surrounding community will live in a healthy and environmentally safe area,” said Booth.
Glenwood City Mayor John Larson said he’d known about the Sikes situation for about a week prior to meeting with council members on Monday, Aug. 18.

“Unfortunate, but it is what it is. City Council was informed Monday evening at a committee of the whole meeting about the library. We certainly didn’t need any more controversy surrounding this whole mining issue. It’s been fed by a lot of misinformation and now this. There are a lot of people jumping to conclusions. Yes he’s (Sikes) in jail, but you don’t know and I don’t know what happened. Our dealing and our agreement is with Vista Sand the company, not with R.J. Sikes personally,” said Larson.

Asked whether the nearly two months it took Vista to inform him about Sikes’ incarceration impacted their credibility in his eyes, Larson’s trust was unwavering.

“I have no issues with the credibility of Vista Sand. We are not under the gun here to get things rocking and rolling. It’s kind of up to them. Things happen. It’s happened to one of their people.

“According to the company he is no longer involved in any management or officer capacity at the company. He has no input into any of the decision making. He’s gone. Our attorney’s position is that we have a contract out there with Vista Sand,” added Larson.

“It does appear they are dragging their feet on getting us a signed contract. Why that’s happening, I don’t know. It doesn’t concern me, because to a certain degree, time heals everything. I think we want to get something done before the end of the year obviously. We are going to move forward,” said Larson.
We get it -- he really, really wants this deal to happen...
Can you say "tone deaf", Mayor Larson?
I knew you could!

Columnist Emeritus.

Like a professor nearing his final days of direct contact with students, David Brooks writes about concepts, theories and his reading now, and rarely mentions the American people in his work, except to reference shadowy vague concepts of sociology he is exploring.

In their 2007 book, “Intellectual Virtues,” Robert C. Roberts of Baylor University and W. Jay Wood of Wheaton College list some of the cerebral virtues. We can all grade ourselves on how good we are at each of them.

First, there is love of learning. Some people are just more ardently curious than others, either by cultivation or by nature.
Second, there is courage...
Third, there is firmness...
Fourth, there is humility...
Fifth, there is autonomy...
Finally, there is generosity...

Montaigne once wrote that “We can be knowledgeable with other men’s knowledge, but we can’t be wise with other men’s wisdom.” That’s because wisdom isn’t a body of information. It’s the moral quality of knowing how to handle your own limitations. Warren Buffett made a similar point in his own sphere, “Investing is not a game where the guy with the 160 I.Q. beats the guy with the 130 I.Q. Once you have ordinary intelligence, what you need is the temperament to control the urges that get other people into trouble.”

Character tests are pervasive even in modern everyday life. It’s possible to be heroic if you’re just sitting alone in your office. It just doesn’t make for a good movie.
His writing is just so isolated, so disembodied from the current events and the issues affecting people's lives today. It's all conceptual to him, not real. No faces or names, or real people stories to apply his academic research to... It's like he is writing from a closed room somewhere. An academic with no students directly before him.

I'd salute David Brooks' work, and put him on a long-term assignment, assessing the character and values of Americans since out latest killing wars, say. Do we devalue life more now? Give real world examples, like all the folks of late "forgetting" their young charges left in a hot car. Give him some project to turn his hand to, in the book-writing style that seems to so attract him now.

you could free up a slot on columnist row for a fresh writer, with an easy turn of the phrase, who has been more active and participatory in the issues facing Americans. Real live humans. Brooks has blissfully retreated now, and between him, Krugman, Kristol, Douthat, and Cohen, there sure is an awful heavy representation of white men on that masthead...

When will it be time for something fresh?
Some hard-news women writers? Some younger voices?
Some ethnics, or people who are familiar with economic and social issue that confront the working-class black and white communities?

The Times is pouring millions into video, charts and graphs, and its efforts to make the leap to digital news, but they don't write much about regular people anymore. Did they ever? Or were there just more affluent white people once upon a time to draw from as readers?

Personally, I'd start thinking beyond the David Brooks era already: what comes next?

Who is situated to best deliver the news of the American people? Not reporting from the top down off press releases, but ask honest questions and know where to dig to get them answered? We're awash in numbers and statistics, as it that were the fairy-magic place the news is taking us: numbers!, but we're forgetting the people, and the divisions in our society are showing.

People who know people... real people
non-wealthy, non-white, non-known people...
why they're the luckiest people in the biz today.

(Personally, I don't think Brooks' political reporting has gone anywhere since his contact and friend Rahm Emmanuel moved back to Chicago to assume the mayor's mantle. The dangers of relying solely on your contacts from up high...)

Umm... why is this front-page national news?

The New York Times has this story slotted in their online top position on the front page. Are you kidding me?

Exorcising a Phobia, One Stroke at a Time
By N. R. KLEINFIELD 24 minutes ago
Traumatized by a dunking in childhood, Attis Clopton was deathly afraid of water, so he confronted his fear by enrolling in a program of swimming lessons.
If this is the way news editors hope to expand their coverage into black American communities, by covering issues important in the lives of the people, I think they might need to rethink it a bit.

Cute feature, but NOT front-page news today...
"Black Man Swims, Overcomes Fears"
News at 10.

Asking Serious Questions to Get Serious Answeres.

God bless Eugene Robinson. 
In this day when more young Americans get their news from Jon Stewart than from any reputable news source*, Robinson is old-school.  Ask the questions, listen to the answers, follow up.

No matter your beat, you better know the background.  Do your homework, and know the history of what happened at least 10 years back.  Otherwise, you're just chasing facts and transcribing press releases, it seems.

(By the way, when the Obama administration tells us there was a failed rescue attempt earlier this year, in Syria, of James Foley and the other hostages, has anyone checked this out and confirmed?  Any plans to?  It's probably hard to check details of a Special Ops mission, but surely there would be some way of verifying the story, or at least confirming supporting details. Boy that would be something if  the story turns out to be not-so-solid, a lot of bluster and "at least we tried" spin, after the fact that James was dead, gruesomely beheaded as shown in the video.)

Anyways, here's Eugene:

>Have we gone to war again? No one seems to know

WASHINGTON -- I'd like to know whether the United States is at war with the Islamic State. I'd like to know why -- or why not. I'd like to know whether the goal of U.S. policy is to contain the jihadist militia or destroy it.

President Obama? Members of Congress? Please pay attention. I'm talking to you.
The barbarians who decapitated journalist James Foley -- and who commit atrocities on a daily basis -- control territory in both Iraq and Syria. 
I'd like to know why it makes sense to conduct airstrikes against Islamic State fighters on one side of a border that no longer exists but makes no sense to do so on the other side.
The answer may be that the U.S. military lacks intelligence about the enemy's positions and movements -- the Islamic State is the enemy, right? -- inside Syria. 
This week, Obama authorized surveillance flights over Syrian territory to gather the needed information. Should we therefore assume that airstrikes there will soon begin?
I'd like to hear an honest discussion by our leaders about what we're signing up for. Obama called the Islamic State a "cancer" and said the fight against it "won't be easy and it won't be quick." To my ears, this suggests that the United States is making a long-term commitment and that time is on our side, not the Islamic State's. I'd like to examine both assumptions.

Public support for extended U.S. military involvement in another Middle East war lies somewhere between negligible and nonexistent. An open-ended commitment would run counter to the thrust of Obama's foreign policy from Day One -- and indeed, he has limited the airstrikes and declared that he will "not allow the United States to be dragged back into another ground war in Iraq."

If there are to be no boots on the ground, one wonders what kind of footwear the hundreds of U.S. military advisers newly sent to Iraq are sporting. One also wonders what the plan might be.
I like to think of myself as a white, female Eugene Robinson-style writer and reporter.  It will be interesting to see who replaces him, or if the hard-news columnists are a thing of the past for news consumers, as more personal and diverse writers emerge.
The less we cover the facts and the more we cover ourselves, the greater the country declines.  Do you think there might be a casual link?

Personally, I really could give two hoots about the suit the president wore when he was prepping the nation for upcoming action -- or non-action -- in Syria. But ain't that America these days? Focus on the trivial, and let the important stuff pass.
* Today, Scoop Stewart broke the news that Miss Kitty, of Hello Kitty! fame, is not even a feline. What's next: My Little Pony is really a Great Dane with mane extensions? '

Funny, silly stuff, cute! -- like an advanced children's television show, for grown children -- but not really important in the long run...

Like President Obama, it seems Stewart is graying and growing long in the tooth. One wonders how much longer he can carry off this schtick, particularly if the social divisions in the country continue to grow, and beheaded journalists and dead black bodies left in the streets continue to dominate the headlines.

Miss Kitty will be left as a plaything for the lucky little girls -- stuff white people and Asians like?, while the big boys cover the harder news of what is really happening in our world today...

Thursday, August 28

I think he's just playing dumb here.

Either that, or he really has excised all the constructive critics from his inner circle.  It's tempting to live in an echo chamber, but like the Naked King, it's helpful for someone to point out how you're coming across to others...

We don’t have a strategy yet,” Obama said, in response to questions about when he is prepared to begin military action in Syria, and, if not, why not?

Rarely has a president spoken so plainly.  “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” he said.

The suggestion that “we’re about to go full scale on an elaborate strategy for defeating ISIL . . . that we’ll start moving forward imminently and somehow Congress, still out of town, is going to be left in the dark, that’s not what’s going to happen.” ISIL is one of several acronyms referring to the Islamic State.
So far, the president, the politicians in power, and the press cannot even agree on what to call our latest enemy in need of bombing correction.  Is it the Islamic State, ISIS or ISIL?  The president uses ISIL, but nobody is following his lead.    This inconsistency has really gone on long enough now...

Either the president should use the name the press and others do, or he should put some of those persuasive speaking skills to work that helped get him elected, and see if he can at least unite people behind what to call our new enemy, no matter if we ever get past that to deciding on effective action.

The president said in a White House news conference, he has asked the Pentagon to prepare options while he puts together a broad, long-term plan including military, political, economic and diplomatic aspects and continues recruiting partner countries in the region and beyond to help carry it out.

“We’re not going to do that alone,” he said of the still-in-the-works strategy. “We’re going to have to do that with other partners.”

Many of those potential partners said they remain in the dark about what Obama has in mind, and some have expressed impatience about the length of time the administration is taking to figure it out.
The man loooves golf. Get over it, already "potential partners".
(It's because he's black, and not caddying the course, isn't it?)
“There is definitely more of an attitude [within the administration] to get involved” in the wake of recent militant advances in Syria and Iraq and last week’s execution of an American journalist, said one senior official from the region. But “no one has had a conversation with us as to what that means.”
“When a superpower, the superpower, is reluctant in developing policy, it’s not only about leadership, it’s about having a coherent approach to crises,” said another regional official.

“The ball is in the U.S. court,” said a third.

Senior officials from four Middle Eastern states spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid public indications of disquiet with Obama.
Don't do anything to bring the disquiet!
Once you bring it, you bought it, and we can't afford it.
Repeat: do not bring the disquiet!
Obama insisted Thursday that he would not be rushed into the broader strategy.
We will sell no wine, before it's time!
The president spoke before a meeting with his top national security team Thursday that he said would be limited to the discussion of continuing operations in Iraq.

Next week, he said, he will consult NATO allies on larger plans for Syria, Iraq and the Islamic State at an alliance summit in Wales, Obama said. Immediately afterward, he is sending Secretary of State John F. Kerry to the region to meet with Middle Eastern leaders.
Because everyone knows how effective John is!
Obama, Kerry and military leaders have spoken repeatedly in recent weeks of the need for a coalition, in the context of a partnership strategy the president outlined more than a year ago to combat terrorist threats beyond al-Qaeda, and potentially far more dangerous.

Once the strategy is determined, Obama said, “it’s going to be important for Congress to know what that is, in part because it may cost some money.”
Nooo... you think?
More than a pocketful of change?
He rejected criticism from some lawmakers for not seeking congressional approval for the limited Iraq operation. “As commander in chief, I have the authorities to engage in the acts that we are conducting currently,” Obama said.

Beyond that, he said, “there is no point in my asking for action on part of Congress before I know exactly what it is that is going to be required for us to get the job done.”

“It is my intention that Congress has to have some buy in as representatives of the American people,” Obama said. “And by the way, the American people need to hear what that strategy is.
By the way?  It sounds like the American people are an afterthought. But hey, if you ever turn up a viable policy, do share it with us. We'd all love to see the plan...
A majority of American public opinion has been resolutely opposed to U.S. military intervention in Syria.
I'm bolding this one because heck, how many people supported our bombing campaign in Libya either, and how did that one turn out, ladies? Look and learn, look and learn...
Unlike the partisan lines along which they have split on other issues, Congress has been divided on Syria, with many Democrats opposed to any return to war in the Middle East. Some Republicans have shared that concern, while others have pressed for more military action.

But both Republicans and Democrats agree that they want to be asked.
People want a voice in what affects them.
People want a say in how their money is being spent.
People want to win, not to drop bombs and run, and watch as these countries are continually overrun, once America does the dirty work of destabilizing them.

If you can't win, by all means Mr. President, keep on playing dumb and buying time. We don't need another war, can't afford one really, with all these mini-wars popping up here at home, and the division building...

Now is not the time to take the country, again, into war. We're not united, we're not supportive, and heck if you don't know the players from the scorecard, why should we be bombing them again? To help, to save lives?

Chances are, if we drop bombs in Syria without good intelligence on the ground, we'll be playing a game much like Israel, with the accompanying civilian casualties. Let's not kill any more people to help convert them to democracy. Let's keep our military hardware out of it. We're not being invited into Syria, and it sounds like the president really has no idea what is going on, or how to effectively combat ISIL or ISIS or the IS or whatever it is we're calling them.

To take action now would be a fool's errand.
I think Barack Obama is playing the fool, so he's not responsible for more deaths on his watch. Will his strategy work? I don't know, but I'm thinking at this point, it's pretty much all he's got, so fingers crossed, let's hold the line...

Wednesday, August 27

Selah !

Though the mountains may fall
and the hills turn to dust
yet the love of the Lord will stand...
As a shelter for all
who would call on His name
Sing the praise and the glory of God.

~Isaiah 54
~Psalm 46

Sunday, August 24

Who Is Exploiting Whom?

In a story today explaining the immediate emotional reaction of residents living at the apartments in Ferguson, MO where Michael Brown was shot down two weeks ago, the New York Times uses a photo of his bloody and uncovered body laying in the street.

They report what exactly happened after the shooting, which occurred right after noon CST:

Around 12:10, a paramedic who happened to be nearby on another call approached Mr. Brown’s body, checked for a pulse, and observed the blood and “injuries incompatible with life,” said his supervisor, Chris Cebollero, the chief of emergency medical services at Christian Hospital. He estimated that it had been around 12:15 when a sheet was retrieved from an ambulance and used to cover Mr. Brown.
Clearly, a gunshot wound through the top of the head would be indicative of  “injuries incompatible with life.”  Time to start processing the scene, not to rush the body off in an ambulance to try and revive the victim.

The local police obvious erred also, in not partitioning off the scene until the body could be photographed and removed.  It was just dumb luck that the shooting occured in front of so many apartment windows, where those on the upper levels would presumably be able to see over any patrol cars or screened barricades to shield the body from photographs.

But I don't understand the editorial decision to accompany today's story with one of the photos taken during the 10 or 15 minutes that Michael Brown's dead body lay uncovered.

Is that undignified, or not?
If it is, why would you reprint it?  The words and facts contained in the story alone -- the growing sense of emotionalism at the scene -- help explain how a story could quickly grow that the young man was fleeing the officer, and was shot in the back with his hands extended in surrender.

That story was needed.
The photo was not.

Who was playing golf all day?

I think Maureen Dowd's column today would make an interesting test passage in the Common Core reading comprehension section of some state test.  Scoring wrong interpretations makes me laugh.

HKGuy, New York City

As a conceit, this could have been a cute introduction to the president's tin ear about crises, but it just got more and more labored. If you're obviously phoning in a column, probably best not to make it about how you were playing golf all day.
And teeing off on the fields of Gettysburg, nonetheless!
ADDED:  Journalist Noah Rothman also contrasts the level of importance the Obama administration is according recent foreign events, with the seriousness the president's actions seem to give them.
“When you see somebody killed in such a horrific way, that represents a terrorist attack,” said [Benjamin Rhodes, the White House’s deputy national security advisor]. “That represents a terrorist attack against our country and against an American citizen.”

“We see that as an attack on our country when one of our own is killed like that,” Rhodes added.

So, now the president was not just callously golfing in the wake of the horrific murder of an American citizen, he was golfing in the immediate aftermath of a “terrorist attack” on the United States of America. Oops.
...In that same press conference, Rhodes was asked to explain Obama’s claim in January that ISIS was merely al-Qaeda’s “JV” team after the Islamic State captured the Iraqi city of Fallujah.

“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama said then.

Rhodes insisted that Obama was being deliberative about the terrorist threat matrix in the Middle East and North Africa at the time, and ISIS has clearly become more powerful in the ensuing months.

What to Do?

The safest and smartest thing the president of the United States could do now is trust the American people.

He should go before them, and listen to them, as he did in declining to officially support the Syrian insurgents who were trying to oust al-Bassad.  The American people overwhelmingly reached out to their Washington representative, sending a message loud and clear that the public was reluctant to support another war.

I understand there are American lives endangered, specifically, the next journalist on the chopping block, and the other Americans suspected to be in the hands of the Islamic State.  But the lives of these few individual captives should not determine the course of America's military policy...

If the president cannot go before the American people -- himself, not sending in his place lower-level advisors -- and make the case that it is in America's national security interests, here at home, to fight the Islamic State, then we should decline to make further war.

Britain's citizens are not interested in a Syrian War.  Still, their prime minister understood the importance of the situation to cancel his personal vacation, or postpone it to a more appropriate time.

I honestly doubt the president intends to take the current aerial bombardment of Iraq into Syrian territory.  I don't think he will even try to make the case for such a need to the American people.  If he was going to do that, he would obviously be laying the groundwork, showing through his actions that this is a national priority.

It's not.
Americans know this, no matter how much the think-tank experts, foreign policy analysts, and national security advisors work to tell us otherwise.

The problems are over there, and we don't want another 9-11 here.
To avoid this, we don't bomb willy-nilly, not really understanding which political leaders we ought to still be supporting, and which insurgents are on the "good guy" list this month.

The Foley video was sad, and sickening.  But I think few Americans would buy the logic that the journalist's death was a "terror attack" that indicates further attacks here at home.  Jim Foley was there, not deserving of slaughter, surely, but he he knew the risks, having spent more than a month in captivity in Libya previously.  His death is a crime, but not a war crime.

The real crime would be if the democratic Obama administration, enabled by a go-along to get-along weak American press, attempts to cheer-lead the country into buying another Middle East, allegedly defensive war. 

FDR warned about the dangers of "fear itself".  One wonders if this current crop of political experts, armed with their creative writing degrees and a false confidence in their own prediction and decision-making abilities, overrides the common sense of the American people -- who still remember the pricetag the country paid for our Vietnam losses.  In some segments of the population, of course, the price paid was higher than in others.

Ironically, those who were proud of being in school during that era, being "too smart" to serve, are the same ones currently advising us that going to war in Iraq (and crossing the border into Syria) is the only option to protecting our own country.  Do you believe that?  Do the majority of Americans -- including the young voters, and the newcomers?  I don't think so.

The best thing President Obama could do at this time, is to play to his political strengths.  Lead from behind, then.  Let the American people -- who remember Vietnam, who understand the costs of war to all segments a working economy, and who also know the irreplaceable human toll, which is quickly forgotten when the cameras switch off and move on to the latest big story... -- guide you.

There is no credible case for again taking the nation to war, to defeat an enemy that is not ours, when we are not sure of our own support in the region.  We need to pull back, put more responsibility on the people of the region to fight for change, to accept their own leaders, and to adapt to the situation the previous American invasion has placed them in. 

It's not pretty, but to continue futher killings and causing more refugee displacement and infrastructure destruction only delays the day of reckoning that must come.  Listen to the American people -- not the sliver of unrealistic advisers who have been proven wrong so often previously -- and let us decide if the risks and pricetags of making war in another Middle East country are worth it.

Survey says... No Thank You.


make an ass of u and me.

Given what’s happened to Jim Foley, given the public profile that this ISIS bunch has taken, I think it’s easier for the president, and for that matter for members of Congress, to make the case to the public that the United States really ought to be operating in the skies over Syria against this particular group,” said Frederic Hof, a former Syria adviser in Mr. Obama’s State Department.
As does overstating the dangers posed by this formerly "JV" team to the United States, here at home.  We should takes steps -- or non-steps -- to assure the Islamic State fight for territory remains... over there.

Time to Move On to Plan B...

Fallout From Attack Reflects Iraq’s Sectarian Divide

After dozens were killed at a mosque, Sunni leaders said they were pulling out of negotiations to create a new Iraqi government, which is considered vital to stopping ISIS.
WHY should Americans care, if the Sunnis are "out" of any talks of rebuilding a unified Iraqi government following the borders of the 2003 pre-American invasion of Iraq?

BECAUSE our whole American strategy of defeating the Islamic State from afar without sending in our troops to Syria or Iraq again, hinges on there being a unified Iraqi government to hold off the Islamic State fighters.
Iraqis Must Rise above their Differences to Rout Terrorists
By U.S. Vice President Joe Biden

In recent months, the terrorist group known within the U.S. government as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has seized significant territory inside Iraq, exploiting sectarian divisions and political mistrust that sapped the strength of Iraqi forces. ISIL seeks to rip Iraq apart in its quest to establish a caliphate. But Iraq’s communities have started to unite in pushing back.

Since more than 13 million Iraqis cast their ballots in April despite threats from ISIL to kill anyone who voted, Iraqis have convened a new parliament, selected a speaker and president and designated a new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, to form a new government.

These steps are meaningful because they show that Iraqis have begun to understand that they must rise above their differences. And that, when they do, they can succeed — not only in uniting the country but in defeating ISIL.
But even if there were no ISIL, Iraq’s survival would still depend on the ability of Iraqis to set aside their differences and unite in a common effort.
Air support alone will not defeat the IS forces, as we've looked on and learned from the Gaza and Afghanistan fights. Smart fighters simply go underground and wait it out. War of attrition.

We should also get realistic quickly and understand that no amount of hoping is going to bring the change necessary for the Iraqi people (loosely defined) to protect their nation's borders (loosely defined) from a unified and disciplined and deadly fighting force that the Islamic State has already assembled.  They're mighty killers, not nation builders.

An American financed and propped-up government, protected by an army that runs -- probably wisely to save their lives -- from the fight, is nothing to bank on in beating back ISIS.

After the ongoing round of air attacks in which America has prematurely declared war on the Islamic State troops in Iraq, it appears we would have to invade Syria as well -- if only Syrian air space, which we might already be doing? -- to continue the aerial bombardment. Hence, all the talk lately of sovereign borders being essentially meaningless, that the United States offensive attack is “not going to be restricted by borders”, advanced by the creative writer turned senior foreign policy expert currently speaking on behalf of the Obama administration as the president rests up good on Martha's Vineyard.

Bet our president wishes he could go underground right about now, and wait this conflict out... I'm sure we've got a very nice bunker prepared, if any other country decided to come in here and tried to take out our president. (Not that I forsee that happening any time soon, but one must consider all possibilities in planning before taking premature actions that oblige one to commit further...)
I would make this required reading for all the purple-fingered believers who thought gifting democracy to a nation at gunpoint would be such an easy slog.  Have they learned yet?  Doubtful, but we can still call them out...
Who lost Iraq? The Iraqis did, with an assist from George W. Bush
Opinion writer June 12 

It is becoming increasingly likely that Iraq has reached a turning point. The forces hostile to the government have grown stronger, better equipped and more organized. And having now secured arms, ammunition and hundreds of millions of dollars in cash from their takeover of Mosul — Iraq’s second-largest city — they will build on these strengths. Inevitably, in Washington, the question has surfaced: Who lost Iraq?
Having invaded Iraq with a small force — what the expert Tom Ricks called “the worst war plan in American history” — the administration needed to find local allies. It quickly decided to destroy Iraq’s Sunni ruling establishment and empower the hard-line Shiite religious parties that had opposed Saddam Hussein. This meant that a structure of Sunni power that had been in the area for centuries collapsed. These moves — to disband the army, dismantle the bureaucracy and purge Sunnis in general — might have been more consequential than the invasion itself.
The turmoil in the Middle East is often called a sectarian war. But really it is better described as “the Sunni revolt.”
Across the region, from Iraq to Syria, one sees armed Sunni gangs that have decided to take on the non-Sunni forces that, in their view, oppress them. The Bush administration often justified its actions by pointing out that the Shiites are the majority in Iraq and so they had to rule. But the truth is that the borders of these lands are porous, and while the Shiites are numerous in Iraq — Maliki’s party actually won a plurality, not a majority — they are a tiny minority in the Middle East as a whole. It is outside support — from places as varied as Saudi Arabia and Turkey — that sustains the Sunni revolt.
Washington is debating whether airstrikes or training forces would be more effective, but its real problem is much larger and is a decade in the making. In Iraq, it is defending the indefensible

Saturday, August 23

Saturday in Seattle.

Northwest Pacific has shifted east, and settled over the Great Lakes states.
Still, there is a cool breeze coming through the window.
I think I'll get out of this window, and follow it...

Saturday in Seattle.

Northwest Pacific has shifted east, and settled over the Great Lakes states.
Still, there is a cool breeze coming through the window.
I think I'll get out of this window, and follow it...

Friday, August 22

On Dasher, On Dancer, On Prancer, On Vixen...

In Iraq, In Afghanistan, In Libya, In Syria...

Santa brings goodies to all the good children of the world.
The American government brings death and destabilization to all the "baddies" out there. Surely one day this will work to our advantage...

Maybe we'll be back at war by Christmastime, eh?

Just one question: is Syria's Bashar al-Assad a good guy, or a bad guy, in our latest analysis? Sure looks like a good thing, more and more, that we didn't routinely take him out, as we did the leaders in Libya and Iraq.

In retrospect, maybe we had little business determining another country's leaders for them? We sure don't like it here at home when our politicians are paid not to mind the interests of the people here at home, in order to save the world. (or pretend we are, anyway.)

Here's the background of Benjamin Rhodes, who spoke for the president today, telling us it will probably be necessary to ignore the Syrian border, and take the fight against the Islamic State to them there.

Rhodes grew up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and attended the exclusive Collegiate School, graduating in 1996. Rhodes then attended Rice University, graduating in 2000 with majors in English and political science. He then moved back to New York, attending New York University and graduating in 2002 with an MFA in creative writing.
At least the young man has a master of fine arts in creative writing. Good background for a presidential speechwriter and foreign policy analyst these days.

We're making it up, as we go along, it seems...

WAIT, there's more...
Rhodes then spent five years ... helping to draft the Iraq Study Group Report and the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.
Rhodes was the adviser who counseled Obama to withdraw support from Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, becoming a key adviser during the 2011 Arab Spring.
So he's experienced at taking down leaders, and supporting destruction, but pretty much, he's a kid born in 1977 with a MFA degree who has been delegated to sell a Syrian war to the American people.

Good luck, kid.
I hope you're feeling really lucky. Stepping up and taking the reins like that, leading the country like this in trying times , and under the age of 40, you must have confidence oozing out your ears!

Hope this coming war is everything you wish it to be, and you can continue putting that creative writing to use. It's not like lives are on the line or anything; you can just crumple it up, and start over, right?

Obama Adviser Says Military Action Possible Against ISIS.

A top national security adviser to President Obama said the United States was “not going to be restricted by borders” to protect its interests, including possibly pursuing direct military action in Syria.

What a dumb headline.
We've been taking military action against ISIS from the minute we began the aerial assault and we began actively killing their fighters. That's war, whether Congress declares it or not.

My guess is, we've already crossed the Syrian border from above, and our planes have dropped bombs upon the ISIS supply route outside of Iraq, as well.

I wish instead of hearing this through a spokesman, our president would just be honest with us already. And I wish we had more of a thinking, skeptical national press who understands just what is at stake here.

We're going to war again, without selling the American people on the need. No tax raises to pay for the mission; no calls for civilian sacrifice during wartime. No plan really, and no definition as of yet, defining the short-term objectives for which we would commit U.S. military power. Imagine.

EDGARTOWN, Mass. — A top national security adviser to President Obama vowed Friday that the United States would “do what is necessary” in Syria to protect American interests and said that direct military action was possible against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, known as ISIS.

Benjamin J. Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, said ISIS had become an increased threat to the United States, a threat the American government was taking seriously.

“If you come against Americans, we are going to come after you,” Mr. Rhodes said.

He declined to say whether the president was considering expanding airstrikes to include ISIS targets in Syria as well as in Iraq, where raids began this month. “We’re actively considering what’s going to be necessary in dealing with that threat,” Mr. Rhodes said. “We’re not going to be restricted by borders.”
I'd like to see the Israeli military take the lead in this fight, while American troops provide backup support. Is that an option currently on the table, Mr. Rhodes?

Be the Change You Want to See...

One little girl, with help from mom, who was disappointed that the female Gamora was left out of the movie merchandising memorabilia, photoshopped a fix:
Fans can't understand why the girl was left off the team in the first place.

Yes, apparently this shirt “is a boy's shirt, which is why it does not include the female character Gamora.”

In other words, this shirt was designed with the assumption that boys won’t wear anything with a girl on it, even when balanced out by three male characters. Either that, or The Children’s Place thinks that there isn’t a market for Gamora shirts at all.

Since Guardians of the Galaxy was a hugely popular family movie
with plenty of female viewers, there’s definitely an audience for at least some Gamora-related merchandise. Plus, Gamora is a badass green alien lady with a bunch of cool weapons. It’s unlikely that the addition of her picture would suddenly make a Guardians of the Galaxy team T-shirt unpalatable to the average boy.

Amy Jo Cousins @_AJCousins
My 10yo boy thinks this is dumb.
"If it doesn't have everybody, it's not a GotG t-shirt."

Kids, Don't Try This at Home.

It's more sad than funny really.

Kellin was wearing a "Justice for Michael Brown -- Hands up!" button pinned to her shirt one recent evening as she stood outside the store's smashed windows, smoking a cigarette in the August heat.

"It's my people," she explained, holding up a picture on her phone of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, standing in the McDonald’s.

She told how recently a man had come up to the counter to order and yelled, "Hands up!'"

She was stunned at first. Then the man said, "You're supposed to say, 'Don't shoot!' "

Kellin said her manager stood there and looked at him.

"So I said, 'Don't shoot!’"

United We Stand. Divided We Fall.

The liberal media, once again, is defending President Obama, a pre-emptive attack explaining why his aides are protecting the president from processing the "A Message to America" video that depicted an American journalist's slaying by the Islamic State.

I understand him not viewing it;  I didn't myself.
I hope, however, that the president did think it important enough to read the complete transcripts of the message, by James Foley and his executioner, even if his response is to continue the air assault in Iraq (and possibly crossing over the border into Syria).

If we're at war, sell it.  The American people deserve a fair and open debate about whether we are willing to pay the costs here at home, of our innocent civilians, in order to sow destruction in Iraq (and Syria?) with the promise of stopping or slowing the Islamic State army advance.

Define the mission.  John Kerry and Chuck Hagel have hinted... but is America ready to fully fight and declare war openly on the Islamic State?  Isn't a "half'war" a little like being "part pregnant"?  All of the risks, with none of the will?

War is a matter of matching ends, ways, and means – including political and popular support. It would therefore be irresponsible to support a policy that would require a level of commitment that our political institutions do not possess. Our discourse is too broken. Short of a major terrorist attack, our leaders do not have the ability to produce consensus. And without real national consensus to sustain a strategy, there is no viable mechanism to defeat ISIL.

Advocating the defeat of ISIL over the short-term without acknowledging what will be necessary to achieve that end is a recipe for mission creep. Mission creep is a recipe for policy failure because the American people will not allow sustained investment in a policy they did not commit to originally.

This is the most important strategic lesson from Iraq: Don’t bullshit the American people into a war with shifting objectives (even if those goals are important) because they will not put up with that commitment long enough for those goals to be achieved. This is not a call for pacifism; it is a call for fighting to win, which requires sustained commitment, which requires forthrightness in our discourse about whether to choose war.
We should only fight if we are fighting to win, and we will only win when we commit as a country—not 51 percent, or the viewers of one cable news station or another, or because one party or faction has managed to back a president into a political corner. The country must be ready to accept the sacrifices necessary to achieve grand political ends. Until then, any call to “defeat ISIL” that is not forthright about what that will require is actually an argument for expensive failure.
Like what boiled through the crusted surface this summer in Ferguson, I suspect President Obama is wishing these events away.  I don't think the carefree attitude on the golf course is an act of compartmentalization so much, as an act of voting "not present."  It fits a pattern.

The NYT writers will be the last ones in the nation to recognize the growing national sentiment of "no confidence" in our president, not just Republicans, but in the black and white communities, and the working-class weary, who are waiting on the economic upturn, the return of decent jobs, and the rededication to rebuilding institutions and infrastructure here at home.  The non-citizen workers (can't you see them from there?) are disappointed too...

We might be convinced of the need for another war, but with no defined plan, no leadership, and no promise of success, a realistic people will not rally behind revenge and ill-defined principles.  Not worth the risk.  Not when our own borders remain unsecured, and the promise of chaos in our own streets --  in Boston, MA; in Ferguson, MO -- is fresh in our minds.
As far as aides knew, Mr. Obama did not watch the ISIS video, and advisers did not think he should.“That’s got to be exquisitely disturbing,” said Peter D. Feaver, a former national security aide to Mr. Bush and President Bill Clinton, who now teaches at Duke University. “And it’s different than for average Americans who are watching this on television but know there’s nothing they can do. With President Obama, there are things he can do, but he’s concluded that he can’t do them
Frances Fragos Townsend, a former counterterrorism adviser to Mr. Bush, said it is important to avoid letting the president become too emotionally involved in such situations, adding that she would not have shown the ISIS video to Mr. Obama. “You fight very hard to not have it be personal,” she said. “You just don’t let them do that. They can use your name, and they can make it personal. But it’s not.”
I suspect too, if there were another attack in New York City, the writers of today's opinion piece would be the first bleating that the country needs to act.  Americans need to unite.  All In.  Come together and fly the flag.  But why wait?

We need to examine our role in the world today, and our wavering collective commitment to these endless pre-emptive mini-wars.  What is our responsibility to protect foreign people -- Latin Americans or religious tribes and how do our policies prioritize those people?  Do we just show up at the last minute with guns and planes, or is there a beneficial reason to make a longer term, non-militaristic commitment?  Do we devote more resources to those people closer to our own borders, while urging other allies to take the lead in protecting the neighborhoods nearer them?

Why not talk now?  While cooler heads and intelligence can prevail, and we can think more clearly than being dragged into a national discussion by the deaths of our citizens, likely those in an urban area, and on the coast.  Isn't that what happened in 9-11?  The politicians, the journalists, the majority of the people lined up emotionally in support, not thinking rationally about what would come after the "shock and awe", after the destruction, after the occupying troops made their mark.  We never questioned, and likely, plenty of people would like to see that happen this next time around...

Soldiers obey orders.
People think and discuss and vote their values.
We are going to see that happen in November, and again in 2016.
We're not going to have mindless emotional reaction shouting out rational thinking, and reasonable evidence.  We can't afford it, the country as a whole.

Why not call the golf game done for the summer, Mr. President, and get back to the hard work of communicating with the American people?  Listen to us, not the NYT staff who would still today run cover.  We're really not as dumb as you might think, and diverse viewpoints and understanding your fellow citizens' honest differences of opinion, and values, might add to the strength of our eventual response.  Work together, listen, and plan ahead.

Networking on the links eliminates the voices of all the non-power players who don't have access there.  Yet, when the hard times come, we're all in this together?  It's really not a matter of optics -- letting the president take his planned vacation days, before his family falls back into the schoolyear routine...

It's a matter of leadership, confidence, priorities and putting the job of the American people first.


ADDED:  Here is text of the last message the Foley family received from the Islamic State fighters who were holding their son.  To be critical, if the family had wanted to purchase his freedom as other hostages' families and employers had done, they should have counteroffered:  put some money on the table, if that was their intention.  They seem to have ended communication when the first ransom demand was deemed to be outrageous.  I could also see refusing to consider paying any amount, but that does not seem to be the objection, but the poor communication between the parties.
On Tuesday, Aug. 12, Foley’s parents received an email from their son’s captors stating that Foley would be “executed.” The Foley family, GlobalPost, government authorities and private security consultants had been investigating Foley’s whereabouts and attempting to secure his release since he was kidnapped on Thanksgiving Day nearly two years ago.
The terrorist group declared Foley's death would be in retaliation for recent US airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq.  The Islamic State, which is now holding three American hostages in Syria, has since threatened to kill one of them, freelance reporter Steven Sotloff, if the US continues its bombing campaign in Iraq.
The Foley family has agreed to release the email from Foley’s captors.
GlobalPost has chosen to publish it in full in the interest of transparency and to fully tell Jim's story. We believe the text offers insight into the motivations and tactics of the Islamic State.
The trouble with leading from behind, cleverly letting others define you and then protesting vigorously against those ill-formed definitions (see the black community in Ferguson beginning to wake up to the fact that national media reporters are not representing them well) -- is the message gets scrambled.

Here is Charles Krauthammer today, delighting that the president is finally coming to his senses and taking the nation to war again:
We have now seen what air cover for Kurdish/Iraqi boots on the ground can achieve. But for a serious rollback campaign, Obama will need public support. He has to explain the stakes and the larger strategy. His weak and passive rhetorical reaction to the beheading of American journalist James Foley was a discouragingly missed opportunity.

“People like this ultimately fail,” Obama said of Foley’s murderers. Perhaps. But “ultimately” can be a long way — and thousands of dead — away. The role of a great power, as Churchill and Roosevelt understood, is to bring that day closer.
The Day of the Dead? Bring those thousands of dead closer?
Somehow, I think President Obama would have better 'xplained that one to us -- if Krauthammer is correct about the course the president is pursuing now (which I'm not so sure he is, but that's the danger of staying on break while the hawkish pundits define and perhaps box you in...)
Baghdad called President Obama’s bluff and he came through. He had refused to provide air support to Iraqi government forces until the Iraqis got rid of their divisive sectarian prime minister.

They did. He responded.

With the support of U.S. airstrikes, Iraqi and Kurdish forces have retaken the Mosul dam. Previous strikes had relieved the siege of Mount Sinjar and helped the Kurds retake two strategic towns that had opened the road to a possible Islamic State assault on Irbil, the capital of Kurdistan.

In following through, Obama demonstrated three things: the effectiveness of even limited U.S. power, the vulnerability of the Islamic State and, crucially, his own seriousness, however tentative.

The last of these is the most important. Obama had said that there is no American military solution to the conflict. This may be true, but there is a local military solution. (There must be: There is no negotiating with Islamic State barbarism.) And that solution requires U.S. air support.

It can work. The Islamic State is overstretched. It’s a thin force of perhaps 15,000 trying to control a territory four times the size of Israel. Its supply lines, operating in open country, are not just extended but exposed and highly vulnerable to air power.
Obama has for now wisely taken advantage of the Abadi opening.

The problem is that the new policy has outgrown the rationale. Our reason for returning to Iraq, explained Obama, is twofold: preventing genocide and protecting U.S. personnel.

According to Obama’s own assertions, however, the recent Kurdish/Iraqi advances have averted the threat of genocide. As for the threat to U.S. personnel at the consulate in Irbil, it, too, is reduced.

It was a flimsy rationale to begin with. To protect Americans in an outpost, you don’t need an air war. A simple evacuation would do.

Besides, what does the recapture of the Mosul dam, the most significant gain thus far, have to do with either rationale? There are no Christians or Yazidis sheltering there. Nor any American diplomats. So Obama tried this: If the dam is breached, the wall of water could swamp our embassy in Baghdad.

Quite a reach. An air war to prevent flooding at an embassy 200 miles downstream? Well, yes, but why not say the real reason? Everyone knows it: The dam is a priceless strategic asset, possession of which alters the balance of power in this war.

And why not state the real objective of the U.S. air campaign? Stopping, containing, degrading the Islamic State.
Then, like the rhetorical excesses we've seen in Ferguson these past weeks, Krauthammer lays it on thick:
These are the worst people on earth. They openly, proudly crucify enemies, enslave women and murder men en masse. These are not the usual bad guys out for land, plunder or power. These are primitive cultists who celebrate slaughter, glory in bloodlust and slit the throats of innocents as a kind of sacrament.
I wonder if Mr. Krauthammer might convince the Israeli Defense Forces, fresh from their rout of the Palestinian people, to stop the Islamic State fighters. Maybe there is a reason they are not leading in this fight? Hmm...

Thursday, August 21

Thought for the Day.

I don't think I would really like to live in Seattle, much...


Glenn Reynolds Asks...

MAY/DECEMBER? ISN’T THIS MORE LIKE AUGUST/DECEMBER? Richard Gere And Padma Lakshmi’s May-December Romance Still Going Strong! “The 64-year-old Richard and 43-year-old Padma were spotted on a romantical dinner date in New Jersey and according to a source, the pair looked quite cozy.”

Or maybe September/December? I mean if she were 23 it would be a May/December.

Glenn, Glenn, Glenn...
I'm not sure what age you eventually plan to be*, but 64 is NO December!  November, late October, perhaps...
(and given that it's Richard Gere, it's an October, surely.)

They're only two decades apart, and once you've advanced enough in age to be in the upper boughs of the tree of life, 64-43-hike!, I think that would merit only a two-month compressed comparable...

Call it August/October, then.  And wish them well!
(once he's divorced from his wife, I mean!)

*  (Reminds me back in the late 90s, when my folks were starting to snowbird to Florida, my Dad, the eldest of his siblings, so pretty much the oldest in our family, had taken to calling himself a "Geezer" in retirement.  He soon learned, in a land where the elders easily live to their mid-80s and beyond, to recalculate his numbers.  He, and my mom especially, were relative youngsters in the land of the never-ending sunshine.  They're back toughing it out in the winters now though (grandchildren!), but I think that little bit of aging perspective gave him a new appreciation of lifespans.  Myself?  I'll never forget when helping a colleague/friend in Florida move, on a particularly hot and stressful day, she snapped at me:  "Be careful.  That houseplant is older than you!"  OooK, then!  Must be a Florida age thing.  I did try to be more gentle thereafter in the move...)

Just One of Those Days...



Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock submerges himself in a bucket of ice water, all for charity!

He reminds me a bit of a less manic Richard Simmons here. 
(I think it's the tank top!)

Decentralize the Decisionmaking.

"In the American Civil War, it was a matter of principle that a good officer rode his horse as little as possible. There were sound reasons for this. If you are riding and your soldiers are marching, how can you judge how tired they are, how thirsty, how heavy their packs weigh on their shoulders?"

~ Lt. Col. Harold G. Moore

Moore applied this philosophy conscientiously. He flew in to Ia Drang on the first helicopter. He led his men from the front.

When he saw men from another company beginning to haul one of his dead soldiers out of a foxhole with a harness, he snapped, "No you won't do that. He's one of my troopers and you will show some respect. Get two more men and carry him to the landing zone."

When it was over and it was time for Moore to turn over command, he requested a full battalion formation. One soldier recalls, "We stood in formation, with some units hardly having enough men to form up. Colonel Moore spoke to us and he cried. At that moment, he could have led us back into the Ia Drang."