April 19, 2010

Emptying My Thimble

Hatched by Dafydd

Over on my favorite blog, Power Line, Scott "Big Johnson" Trunk has a series of posts called something like "emptying my spindle." The phrase, for those of you younger than Scott (i.e., born after 1907), a spindle is a vicious spike sticking up out of a flat base; the idea -- horrific even to imagine in today's Nerfworld -- is to take important memos (printed on paper!) in one's hand and jam them onto the spike with a lusty whack, where they will stick... along with your hand, if your aim be unsteady. Having been "dealt with," said memos are promptly forgotten until until Doomsday.

To empty or clear one's spindle is thus to go through one's old business and respond belatedly to urgent matters that should have been taken care of months ago. Scott uses the phrase to mean going back through his voluminous file of posts he meant to make but didn't, and write some quick and pithy abstract of his thoughts on the subject, jamming two or three hundred essays into a single post, like a fossil-rich sediment layer.

Well, I don't have a spindle-full of such ancient pith, but I think I can scrape together at least a thimble-full of comtemporary stories about which I have a milliliter or so of fresh pith. So here goes nothing!

A man, a plan, a genocide -- Ahmadinejad!

Secretary of Defense and Bush leftover Robert Gates says President Barack H. Obama has no plan for what to do when Iran gets its nukes. Doesn't that make your chest swell with ideological pride?

A memo from Defense Secretary Robert Gates to the White House warned that the United States lacks a nimble long-term plan for dealing with Iran's nuclear program, according to a published report.

Gates wrote the three-page memo in January and it set off efforts in the Pentagon, White House and intelligence agencies to come up with new options, including the use of the military, The New York Times said in its Sunday editions, quoting unnamed government officials.

But of course, now that Obama's own SecDef has called attention to the gaping hole in our nuclear policy -- whoops, forgot all about that Iran thing -- surely the White House is rushing to rework our strategic posture to take into account this fairly likely scenario, yes? Well, not exactly:

White House officials Saturday night strongly disagreed with the comments that the memo caused a reconsideration of the administration's approach to Iran.

"It is absolutely false that any memo touched off a reassessment of our options," National Security Council spokesman Benjamin Rhodes told The Associated Press. "This administration has been planning for all contingencies regarding Iran for many months."

Ah, contingencies. So what contingencies are in place to deal with a nuclear Iran?

One senior official described the memo as "a wake-up call," the paper reported. But the recipient of the document, Gen. James Jones, President Barack Obama's national security adviser, told the newspaper in an interview that the administration has a plan that "anticipates the full range of contingencies."

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell, who did not confirm the memo Saturday night, said the White House has reviewed many Iran options.

"The secretary believes the president and his national security team have spent an extraordinary amount of time and effort considering and preparing for the full range of contingencies with respect to Iran," Morrell said.

Well, that certainly clears the air!

This is one area where President Obama actually has an opinion beyond voting "present." The man is so pure and adamant in his hatred of nuclear weapons that he refuses -- on principle, one must surmise -- to think about them... even to the extent of how to respond if the world's most beligerent and most anti-democratic, and most Jew-hating regime on the planet perfects them. To plan a response is to accept the existence of atoms, which is anathema to the Obamacle.

Rather, the administration's policy appears to be cajole, beg, threaten... wash, rinse, and repeat, ad infinitum. And if Iran doesn't listen?

Gates and other senior members of the administration have issued increasingly stern warnings to Iran that its nuclear program is costing it friends and options worldwide, while sticking to the long-held view that a U.S. or Israeli military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities would be counterproductive.

See? "Stern warnings": They do have a plan after all.

Renewing his bows

Speaking of the One Himself, Barack Obama has been bowing recently to all and sundry. From the Heisei emperor of Japan, Akihito, to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, to President Hu Jintao of China, Obama has groveled to them all.

This chaps my hide. What's next... will our president crawl on his hands and knees, scourging and debasing himself (or more likely George W. Bush) in penance for America's sins?

But I tell you this: The day Obama bows to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, I will forever refer to the Windy City community oorganizer as "President Hussein."

You may think it petty; I see it as symbolic... let the world know that he will have chosen up sides.

The mad tea-bash

Bill Clinton, in a fit of retro triangulation cleverly timed to remind us why we really don't miss that administration, has just equated tea-party rallies to the Oklahoma City bombing:

"What we learned from Oklahoma City is not that we should gag each other or that we should reduce our passion for the positions we hold - but that the words we use really do matter, because there's this vast echo chamber, and they go across space and they fall on the serious [read: Democrats] and the delirious [Republicans] alike. They fall on the connected [liberals] and the unhinged [neo-conservative running-dog imperialists] alike," he said.

He warns the country against that lunatic fringe of "tea partiers" who hurl incendiary rhetoric like "Taxed Enough Already" and "repeal the bill." But here's the point missed by throwback leftists such as Mr. C.:

"I'm glad they're fighting over health care and everything else. Let them have at it. But I think that all you have to do is read the paper every day to see how many people there are who are deeply, deeply troubled," he said.

He also alluded to the anti-government tea party movement, which held protests in several states Thursday. At the Washington rally, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota railed against "gangster government."

Clinton argued that the Boston Tea Party was in response to taxation without representation. The current protesters, he said, are challenging taxation by elected officials, and the demonstrators have the power to vote them out of office.

No, actually, they don't; at least in most states, voters cannot recall their U.S. senators and representatives willy nilly as they please (nor do I wish they could). To set the record straight, we have the power to vote some of them out of office six months from now... but not right now.

Alas, in the upcoming demi-year, the Progressivist supermajority can do incalculable and irreversible damage to the United States of America. And we haven't even mentioned the horror that will attend the lame-duck session following the election, when scores of Democrats will know that their careers are ruined anyway... so why not be hanged for an entire abattoir of swine as be hanged for a single sheep?

Clinton says he isn't asking for us to censor ourselves, just tone down the demands; but freedom of speech includes not only the right to present the case for fiscal sanity, but also the right to do so colorfully and dramatically.

When the Left regularly drops F-bombs and N-words, plays the race card like a permanent joker, flashes its get out of jail free card to be exempt from all consequences of its actions and its own violent rhetoric, and encourages its members to confabulate wild, unsubstantiated urban legends for no reason other than to paint Republicans as ogres and cannibals... then why should the anti-Left be restricted to mild, hesitant argumentation, accompanied by much apology and forelock tugging?

I say, unconstrain your rhetoric, so long as you target the real culprits. Let the Left start responding with rational and logical debate, instead of special pleading and threats. Let a thousand points of light bloom. That may not be the Chicago way, but it's the American way.

Frame by frame

I had a fascinating revelation yesterday, what I shall call an "utterly obvious profundity."

Sachi and I were driving through an old section of town, one that was more or less intact from the twenties and thirties. As I looked at the buildings, I abruptly realized something: That world really was just as colorful and three-dimensional as today's. It's just that our only visual window into that world -- movies -- has a narrow aperature and happens to be in black and white.

While Cagney and Bogie and all the rest pursue their violent courses within a noir world of shadow, the real inhabitants of that spacetime locus wandered through the same colors, more or less, as we do today. (By the same token, when Enrico Casuso sang, his voice was not scratchy and drowned out by vinyl or wax hiss; that is simply an artifact of the recording medium.)

Perhaps this just proves my own banality; but I believe more people than myself subconsciously envison yesteryear as we've always seen it on late-night TV: grainy, black and white, occasionally silent, always narrowly constrained to the TV's dimensions... and constantly interrupted by adverts for Cal Worthington and his dog Spot.

My thimble is empty. Tally ho.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 19, 2010, at the time of 5:10 PM

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The following hissed in response by: levi from queens

The other reason that old times seem duller to us is that colors fade with time. The Victorians wore colors as brilliantly electric dayglow as 60's fashion; but if you see a dress in a museum, the color will have faded to sedate.

The above hissed in response by: levi from queens [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 23, 2010 9:56 AM

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