Hear that munching sound? The world's termites and maggots are busily nibbling away at the edges of mankind's well-being -- pretty much as we left things when we headed off for more pleasant horizons:
Yeah, I know everybody on the web is using it, but it's kind of irresistable:
Bring the good old bugle, boys,
we'll sing another song
Sing it with a spirit that
will start the world along
Sing it as we used to sing it, 50,000 strong
While we were marching through Georgia.
Hurrah! Hurrah! we bring the jubilee!
Hurrah! Hurrah! the flag that makes you free!
So we sang the chorus from [Ossetia] to the sea
While we were marching through Georgia.
I do recall feeling my gag reflex way back when George Bush looked into Vlad the Impaler Putin's eyes and saw a good soul, or whatever the heck it was. What misgivings I had about John McCain have receded proportionally upon hearing about his other [besides the Surge] moment of prescience:
While it's all looking very bleak, at least we can see a glimmer of hope in the powerful words of Georgian President Saakashvili. Perennial genial lightweight Glenn Beck seems to have developed a rapport with the Saak-man, and let him rip for an hour on a recent show. (a Youtube 3-parter)
MEGA-CHURCHER WARREN HOSTS A
Normally I have nothing but suspicion toward mega-church enterprises, but California's Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren seems benign enough, and I'm told that his mega-selling book A Purpose-Driven Life is not without substance.
So Warren invited the two presumptive presidential nominees to separate but equal public interviews on matters of faith and principle. Each was to have the opportunity to answer the same questions without knowledge of how the other responded.
I didn't watch it. Frankly, I'm not all that interested in the faith-related musings of either candidate -- McCain seems a nice enough guy with a nominal attachment to some Protestant community, but I would characterize his mode of expression as pretty much the stuff of the American secular religion: God not particularly distinguished from Country. Obama's religious associations, no matter how much he tries to distance himself from them, are throughly repugnant, and I could never consider anything he has to say on matters theological or spiritual to be anything but tainted and twisted at the root.
I needn't have worried, since at his most reflective he declared one of the defining public policy issues of the modern age to be both theologically and scientifically "above his pay grade." Unfortunately the cool dude from Illinois didn't seem to grasp that big public policy issues have a way of insisting that we craft some kind of legal "specificity" to best keep peace and order in society, and THAT, Mr. Obama, is within the presidential and legislative pay grades -- the buck stops in the District of Columbia.
Obama's attempt at sudden (and thoroughly implausible) humility in the face of a great moral question has only succeeded in keeping alive a hot-button political issue which the feminist left thought it had successfully aborted (as 'twere), thereby resuscitating the appalling Obama record on the fate of infants accidentally born alive after an attempted abortion. For the sake of their mothers' theoretical womb-autonomy, Mr. Obama has supported the legalized manslaughter of the stubbornly alive newborn. And he has stood virtually alone, even among liberal Democrats, on this issue -- a rather distasteful variation on his status as "The One."
So if Nat Hentoff's characterization of Obama as "the Infanticide Candidate" a few months back hasn't quite stuck in the public mind, the pot has now been duly stirred by the Obamessiah's own pitifully clumsy evasiveness at the Saddleback forum. Obama's voting record on Born Alive Infant Protection and Partial Birth Abortion is the scummy bathwater he was hoping would get thrown out with the baby, but he seems to have accomplished yet another pratfall while treading in his own oil-slick.
God love him -- the gift that keeps on giving! Thanks to Mr. Obama's verbal contortionism, Rich Lowry at National Review is writing this, Paul Kengor at Political Mavens is writing this, and Kyle-Ann Shiver at American Thinker is writing this. Hey, Barry, thanks for the memory.
Obama's Saddleback performance was so poor that his campaign is now circulating far-fetched stories of McCain having access to both the questions and his rival's answers ahead of time -- because, as NBC's Andrea Mitchell observed, "he seemed so well prepared."
He was, Andrea.
FOUR YEARS AT THE NAVAL ACADEMY,
TWENTY-TWO YEARS IN THE MILITARY,
FIVE+ YEARS IN THE HANOI HILTON,
AND TWENTY-FIVE YEARS IN THE U.S. SENATE
WILL DO THAT FOR YOU.
Not to mention having a moderately well-developed set of principles -- translation: you've figured out what the important stuff is, and have pretty much decided what you think about it.
Helps a lot in answering questions, Andrea. Helps you sound prepared.
NBC: still Koo-Koo for Cocoa Puff. (There, I said it.)
WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST!
That explains the close competition between American and Chinese female gymnasts, at what has turned out to be a pretty good Olympics hosted by Merry Maoists. Heck, the smog has cleared so much you can see across the street!
Still a bit foggy in record-keeping for the "Birthday Girls" however. The gymnastic coaches tell us that there are definite advantages to pulling off the required stunts when you've got a team of "pixies" as one called them. Last November's Xinhua Newspaper listed [now gold-medal winner] He Kexin as a promising "little girl" of 13 years old. By this summer her birthdate had jumped into the Way-
Back Machine and landed at January 1st (phew!) 1992.
Since the women[?]'s individual uneven bars gold medal was a numerical tie that had to be broken [by restoring dropped lowest scores and averaging to the thousandth of a point], it was of course pretty galling for grown woman almost-19-year-old American Nastia Liuken,to lose to overnight 16-year-old He Kexin. Hey, folks, that's why we call 'em Chi-Coms!
I'm with Jon Stewart on this one (colourful language alert!).
[Maybe if we keep kneeling down nobody will notice how teeny we are.]
Trying to look older than we really are: isn't that doing a reverse triple Pelosi in the tuck position?
AT LONG LAST
Olympic-sized kudos to Canada's Ian Millar, 61-year-old king of the mounted.
He's won so many compe- titions and been in so many Olympics (eight) I had not realized that he had no Olympic medal to show for it. The Canadian team won their silver, the first national medal in 40 years.
Sad that Millar could not share this long-awaited prize with his wife and pardner, Lynn, who died last year, after working by his side at the equestrian arts for more than three decades. The long and lanky horseman, with his seemingly perpetually sunny face, dedicated his medal to the angel he knew was riding with him.
Millar's long-time mount, the aptly-named Big Ben, didn't live to share the moment either. Strange that the magnificently huge horse never brought Millar Olympic glory -- though now that he's dead and isn't here to defend himself, we are given to understand that he could be a bit distracted by all the adulation and tended toward overconfidence!... Well, we can forgive him a little vanity.
Ben's friend In Style has carried Millar to glory at last -- extra measure of oats, please.