after a wonderful family week, culminating in the first wedding among the amazing cousins-- in a society where children are the most endangered species, having achieved a bizarre status suspended somewhere between "life-threatening burden" and "self-actualizing status symbol," my generation (just one sister and me) have between us produced seven knock-out fabulous kids, whose tight circle has just stretched to include an eighth, and will be welcoming a ninth in a couple of months.
The song that kept going through my head all week (as a sort of preparation for what I figured would happen on the day) was the dance "hostesses" lament from the musical "Sweet Charity"--
I always weep at weddings / I'm a soggy creep at weddings...But there really wasn't much of that, since I am finding in my old age that historic events which express themselves in appropriate readings from Scripture (and boy did we have a bunch of those!) take on a majesty which suppresses and transcends mere sentimentality. Like, it's all just so cosmic, man-- and I mean that.
I walk into a chapel / and get happily hysterical.
Have spent hours the last two days just catching up on events in the world. (My sister has no internet at home-- AAAAAAAAAAAGHH!!!!) Here's a little sampling of what apparently took place while I wasn't looking:
It's GRIM MILESTONE Day, round two
A round of complimentary kleenex for our friends on the left to help them catch their drool as the tote board chalks up the 2000th military death in Iraq. Official channels have been fuzzy as to when or whether this number was reached, but it seemed likely that today would be the day.
Never ones to let the recently placed cemetery sod grow under their feet, Democrats in the Senate were primed for this moment, and trotted out the re-worked versions of their Grim Milestone I (1000 deaths) speeches. Vermont's scintillating Senator Patrick Leahy informed one and all that we will never beat the insurgents (news, I'm sure, to the fighting men who have been pounding them into the desert dust with considerable success lately) and must now concentrate solely on that noble goal of just "extricating ourselves"-- by God! That's the stuff that made
West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd, looking every inch the senior statesman with every Klan-white hair in place, was feeling distinctly Halloweeny as he intoned, "Too much blood!" several times (who does he think he is? a special effects guy on a Cronenberg film?). How much is too much, Bob? How much is too little? How much is just right to be spent on freeing 25 million brown-skinned slaves? Aye, there's the rub...
Powerline forwards a report from their contact "Major E" in Baghdad, who joins the massive chorus of military voices expressing their total astonishment at what passes for news back home, and how the mainstream American press (among others) has created some kind of parallel universe in their reporting of life and events in the combat zone (not to mention the fact that they never report anything at all from the 14 out of 18 Iraqi provinces which are NOT combat zones).
...seemingly every person knows of Fallujah and remains aware of the high casualties taken by the Marines who secured the city late last year. Yet no one seems to know that just last week, an estimated 70,000 Fallujans voted in the referendum. That is a dramatic increase over voter turnout last January, when essentially zero votes were cast because the lack of security made it too dangerous to establish polling stations.
Money quote: "Many Americans seem to know the bad news from last year, but not the good news from last week."
That special set of Greatest Generation Heroes, the surviving Tuskegee Airmen, are on their way to Iraq to bring both encouragement and admiration to the heirs of their proud company designation, the 332nd Air Expeditionary Group. To no one's great surprise, they seem to recognize what really counts in the evolution of race relations in America (a refreshing change from the insidious race-baiting that continues to issue forth from high-profile maggots upon the body politic like Sharpton, Farrakhan, Belafonte, Rangel, Jackson, and the good doctor of white extermination Kamau Kambon)
Money quote from Ted Johnson, 80, who graduated from the Advanced Flight School in 1945:
It was the Tuskegee Airmen who madeJames Taranto responds at Best of the Web (OpinionJournal)
come to its senses, that individuals should be judged on their accomplishments, rather than their ethnicity and color. America
That last comment is one of the wisest things we've heard anyone say in a while about race in America. What's so inspiring about the Tuskegee Airmen is that they served their country, and had faith in it, at a time when the country had not yet earned it.
HERO NO MORE
New York Times reporter Judith Miller has been de-canonized by her employers, who had elevated her to sainthood when she went to jail rather than reveal the source who had waived confidentiality a full year before she put on the orange jumpsuit.
Apparently she is now demoted to Bush-administration-WMD-shill and drama -queen-in-residence (the latter is probably accurate). Washington Post regular Robert Kagan has the gall to remind the public that the Old Gray Mare Times was one of the biggest WMD shills in history during the Clinton administration, fervently endorsing Slick Willie's mini-bombing of Iraq, and raising equally fervent alarums over the appointment of Hans Blix to oversee weapons inspections, due to his "decade-long failure to detect Iraq's secret nuclear weapons program before the Gulf War." Etc., etc., etc., year in and year out from 1998 onwards.
Kagan doesn't let his own employer off the hook, reminding readers that the Washington Post weighed in on Jan. 29, 2001, taking the outgoing president to task for leaving his successor what the Post amusingly termed a "booby trap" in the
...none is more dangerous -- or more urgent -- than the situation
. Over the last year, Mr. Clinton and his team quietly avoided dealing with, or calling attention to, the almost complete unraveling of a decade's efforts to isolate the regime of Saddam Hussein and prevent it from rebuilding its weapons of mass destruction. That leaves President Bush to confront a dismaying panorama in the Iraq Persian Gulf, [including] intelligence photos that show the reconstruction of factories long suspected of producing chemical and biological weapons.
Somebody said "facts are stubborn things." Unfortunately their stubbornness often goes unnoticed when it is kept locked in a closet, bound and gagged, by the wilfully amnesiac mainstream press.
WHERE IS ATTICUS FINCH WHEN WE NEED HIM?
This week should see the climax of the two-year Plame Name Blame Game, and what a farce it has become. (Well, it's always been a farce, but the crazed left has ratcheted up the whole farce quotient in recent weeks.)
Where we need to bring in Atticus Finch is in the matter of his most basic question in the To Kill A Mockingbird courtroom where black sharecropper Tom Robinson was about to be railroaded by an all-white jury on a charge of rape (of a white woman-- verdict never in doubt). At any point in the process, wondered Atticus, was it ascertained by a doctor that this crime had ever been committed? The answer in this fictional case was "NO". But Tom got convicted anyway, because that jury knew in its all-white bones that "these people just do this kind of thing-- that's how they are."
This is precisely the same thing we have going on in the alleged "outing" of an allegedly "covert" CIA agent's identity. At no point in the process has it been established with certainty that any crime was committed at all. The whole investigation is likely about a case as fictitious as the Mockingbird novel (though the costs, financial and political, are all too real.) But that hasn't stopped MSNBC's Chris Matthews from expanding the list of possible indictees to include Mary Matalin and a few other names which have played NO PART whatsoever in the speculations of the last two years. (One blog comment entry describes Matthews of late as being "off his meds"!)
It hasn't stopped anyone in the left-wing lynch-mob from gutting the White House staff down to the President and a janitor because everyone else will be in jail. And at no point does the mob (which knows nothing about anything that has transpired before the Grand Jury) clarify that an indictment is not a conviction. They just shout gleefully, "Hang 'em all! Because we know that these people just do this kind of thing-- that's how they are. Screw the evidence-- hang 'em all."
We're still watching the righting of wrongs done 50 years ago when juries convicted or acquitted on no other grounds than race. It's sad to see that the presumption of innocence is still at the mercy of tabloid yellow journalism and the frothing madness of the lynch-mob.
The truth is, many of the people most closely surrounding President Bush make my skin crawl-- and that's a totally shallow judgement based on vague impressions, mostly looks. If they are half as sleazy as left-wing speculation suggests, I'd be happy to see them sent packing. But at this moment there are only a handful of people with any real knowledge of whether that is so, and they aren't talking yet. (Unless someone on Fitzgerald's staff has been leaking things, in which case they should be the first in line to be "frog-marched away in handcuffs", to borrow the unspeakably sleazy Mr. Plame's own words.)
Ambassador Joseph Wilson the freakin' Fourth has been proved to be a publicity hound, a public liar, and the one person most responsible for any of us knowing anything about his wife. I wonder if he's also the guy responsible for his wife's suddenly being referred to as "Ms. Wilson" when her maiden name and professional profile shoved his off the front pages. As somebody famous once said (was it Oscar Wilde?), "The suspense is killing me. I do hope it will last."
SPEAKING OF WMD SHILLS, East London MP George Galloway, the famously bloviating, self-loathing, homicidal tyrant-loving gas-bag who blew off the Senate Sub-Committee investigating the gargantuan UN Oil-For-Food scandal, and then copiously dis-gusted at Christopher Hitchens in their ballyhooed Grapple in the Big Apple "debate", seems to have been caught with his well-manicured hand in the petroleum cookie jar. Smoking gun evidence is on the table that:
Gallowaypersonally solicited and was granted eight oil allocations totaling 23 million barrels from the Hussein government from 1999 through 2003;
Galloway’s wife, Dr. Amineh Abu-Zayyad, received approximately $150,000 in connection with one allocation of oil;
Galloway’s political campaign, the Mariam Appeal, received at least $446,000 in connection with several allocations granted under the Oil-for-Food Program;
* Illegal “surcharge” payments in excess of $1.6 million were paid to the Hussein regime in connection with the oil allocations granted to Galloway and the Mariam Appeal; and
Gallowayknowingly made false or misleading statements under oath before the Subcommittee at its hearing on May 17, 2005.
[Hat tip: Powerline]
As David Warren is fond of tapping out in his more malicious private musings: BWA-HA-HA-HA!!!! Can't wait for the next chapter on this one.
Speaking of totally partisan schadenfreude, is there any prospect more delicious than that of Al Gore and John Kerry refusing to accept their respective terminal diagnoses and insisting on making another run for President in '08? This is the best news for Republicans in years, especially since there is no credible prospective GOP candidate ANYWHERE on the horizon at this moment. (I will never vote for George Allen's hair, which seems to be a foreign occupying army on his head.)
RIGHT vs. LEFT vs. BUSH
Throughout his administration Bush has been subject to stinging conservative criticism in spades, on all sorts of issues, like steel tariffs, immigration chaos, federal education policy, prescription drug benefits, politicization of the war on terrorism, refusal to fire anybody ever (the hapless Michael Brown being the inexplicable exception), and baffling wimpiness in the face of the left-wing truth-bending machine-- that source of Orwellian distortions of the Kay and Deulfer reports, sagas of defeat in Iraq, the 9/11 Commission whitewash, bizarre conspiracy fantasies about the Katrina aftermath, and shameless race-baiting, not to mention the worst Democratic candidate in living memory coming within a few points of beating Bush in 2004.
The Harriet Miers nomination is simply the last straw for many of Bush’s conservative critics and the rhetorical temperature has shot up noticeably. So it’s worth examining the right-wing criticism, and contrasting it to its opposite number.
From the Right—Reasonable partisans (as well as the sometimes less reasonable constituencies) who are generally supportive of the President and his administration, analyse decisions and policies and support them— or not— on their merits. The political right is the real “big tent” and does not march in lock-step on any important issue. Criticism focuses on policy rather than personality. The Miers nomination controversy is all the demonstration one needs that the conservative “movement” and Republicans as a group are not in any respect held hostage by the “religious right” – they are, in fact, voicing strong objections to the use and influence of religious considerations in this process.
From the Left—Partisans who were once reasonable have gone mad, and have either embraced or bowed to the power of their most irrational constituencies. They are entirely held hostage by the Moveon.org, Democratic Underground, Code Pink, ANSWER, Chomsky-ite Acolytes of Juan Cole, abortions-for-everybody crowd. Dissent is unwelcome because the radical factions will make life miserable for (and take all George Soros’s money away from) those who don’t toe the line. Criticism of the President and his administration is personal, crude, trite, spitefilled and infantile, offering neither substance nor alternative ideas. Democrats have become a party united by hate, differing only in degree. This is political suicide.
The Right has proven that there are plenty of substantive complaints to be made about five years of Bush “strategery”. Don't get me started!!!! (Actually, I'd be happy to start with Rumsfeld.)
The Left chooses to be impotently wedded to the rabid carping of: Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Teddy Kennedy, Carl Levin, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Joe Biden, the shameless race-baiters (see above) and the Hollywood America-haters (Al Franken, Alec Baldwin, Barbra Streisand, the Sarandon-Robbinses, weeping Canadian Donald Sutherland, and all that jazz)-- all hopelessly enmired in vacuous, ad hominem attacks in embarrassingly extremist rhetoric, thus ensuring that the majority of voters will not be taking their party seriously at any point in the foreseeable future. Whereas criticism from the right is about policy, the left seldom rises above "stupid, fascist, greedy, war-mongering, AWOL, religious fanatic, ugly-like-a-chimp, and his daughters are tarts." Pathetic.
From the Right—It is held universally by all straight-thinkers that a sitting President has a right to nominate whomever he wishes to sit on the Supreme Court—it is a privilege that goes with having been elected by the American people. Call it “stacking the Court” if it makes you feel better, but it’s the President’s right, which is why you see lefty ideological judges like Ruth Ginsberg getting confirmed with 98 votes.
From the Left—When a Republican picks a righty ideological SCOTUS nominee, it is undemocratic stacking of the Court, (in the present case by a President who stole two elections so his executive privilege doesn't really exist anyway). When Democrats stack the Court, enlightened progressive public policy becomes a way of life.
Fact, not opinion:
When Republicans stack the court our elected representatives get their workload increased, since they, and not the judges, are charged with setting public policy. Democracy thrives.
When Democrats stack the Court, our elected representatives have less work to do, because policy is set by unelected judges. Democracy sleeps.
P.S.-- On the "Chimp" thing: Yet another study recently confirmed that human beings share 96% of their DNA with chimpanzees. Morphing the face of George W. Bush into that of a chimp takes NO TALENT WHATSOEVER. Any caricaturist worth his salt should be able to do that convincingly with any living human being. Steve Bell of Britain's left-wing Guardian newspaper has written an essay and illustrated the evolution of his caricature of Bush as Chimp, as if this was somehow an inspiration born of a lengthy artistic sweat. Puhhleeze. Cartooning 101, folks. Nothing to see here.