Wednesday, September 23, 2009



Is that a fact?

Apparently some innocents are more equal than others.

Meanwhile back at Turtle Bay ["Filmore East", says Dennis Miller]:


Do not mess with these people.

Over at Jewish World Review,


Bile alert: wear you Mackintosh and wellies, and bring your brolley. Will has clearly run out of patience with The One and the bulk-head of his bile boiler has burst its rivets --tsunami!!!


Surprise necessities for survival. Number 1 is, like, so-o-o obvious. [From Popular Mechanics, the magazine for essential debunking in a bunk-filled world -- Katrina, 9/11 "Truthers", etc.] Hat-tip/Instapundit.

Friday, September 18, 2009


You're gonna love this:

I Googled and got an Inauguration Day post that recounts a December 2008 interview with Worst President Ever Jimmy Carter. Money quote:
...not too long ago somebody asked me if the new President could change the reputation of our country in the first hundred days he was in the office and I said he could change the reputation of our country in the first ten minutes...
How's that reputation enhancement working out for you so far, America?

Well, according to our former friends and allies, the citizens of Poland, it's working out like this:

Translated in English, that would be:


[from their website.:]

[hat-tip: the increasingly essential, Acorn-busting Gateway Pundit]

Hugh Hewitt
makes a neat point:
"The kid's not ready." That's what a friend's father has been saying about Obama since the day he was elected. If Matt Latimer's tacky-by-definition tell-all book is to be believed, it's something Bush said as well. "Not Ready To Lead" is sounding more true all the time ("Always Ready To Campaign" could work nicely, though). As so often with President Obama, we are left to believe that he is either 1) haplessly naive, 2) brilliant beyond measure and playing a game of long ball none of us can comprehend, or 3) not interested in what have traditionally been American interests.
Or he's a triple-threat player.

Hewitt links to this gem at the Corner:
Birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, ACORN's gotta engage in fraud, and Obama's gotta talk. It's really that simple; and it is amazing, given how little this guy actually knows about economics, about foreign affairs, about, well, just about anything...

Obama was reported, after the speech [at the 2004 Democratic Convention] and the thunderous reception that it received, to have said to someone, "You know, I can play in this league."

And so there we have it: Obama really believes at his core that empty rhetoric is the same as substance and judgement.
Read it all.

That curious quotation -- "I can play in this league" -- conjures up a later, similar little squeak of hubris, uttered to Harry Reid: "I have a gift" --
reflected on by Daniel Henninger, with considerable prescience, last April. By September, the increasing consensus is that "the gift has stopped giving, because people have started listening."

And just in case anyone wanted to know precisely when it all started to go horribly, horribly wrong for Mr. Obama, that December interview might provide a clue:
Kira: With the new president elect Barack Obama, what do you think about him being the new president elect and do you have any advice for him?

Jimmy Carter: Well, I have already talked to his major appointments - I have talked to the next Secretary of State and the next Security Advisor who will be in the White House with him and I have also yesterday talked with the person who is going to represent him and United States at the United Nations. So, I have already prepared him for some of the things that the Carter Center is doing that he might find helpful.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.

On a final note, during a conversation with popculture rabbi, Michael Medved, something happened to insure that "John McCain's approval rating among conservatives just skyrocketed." [hat-tip/ Gateway Pundit]

McCain broke down and admitted that "President Carter has earned his place as, if not the worst president in history, then certainly the worst in the 20th century."



Monday, September 14, 2009


Formerly sane pioneer blogger Andrew Sullivan came to the U.S. from Britain but shows that he doesn't really get why we are no longer a colony. Ya, see, Sully, it was all about dissolving the cast-iron divisions between classes, or perhaps going back to medieval times, between the "Estates". Sully has no use for the First Estate, the governing element of The Church. But apparently he is all in favour of retaining the barrier between the Second and Third Estates: The Nobility and The Peasants.

It all unfolded when Sully got caught sucking on his weed-stash by some of the local constabulary, while at Cape Cod National Seashore, a Massachusetts park.

Now, the good folks of the bean-state have reduced penalties for possession to the misdemeanor category, for which reason they are less hesitant to prosecute than if it were a more serious crime. Most ordinary people caught in Sully's circumstances could expect to get convicted and punished, but the U.S. Attorney in question politely declined to prosecute because a criminal conviction might prove an obstacle to poor old Andrew in his quest for "a certain immigration status" (?) in the United States.

Beg pardon? Well, I await correction, but I'm guessin' that this "certain status" is "spousal", applying to Andrew Sullivan because he married his male partner when Massachusetts legalized such arrangements. If that's the case, I can't imagine why it has to be cloaked in mystery. There's no mystery about Andrew. Maybe the "certain status" has nothing to do with his "marriage" -- in which case it's even more puzzling that the relevant documents hesitate to give this immigration status a name.

Whatever kind of status it may be, the more important thing is that the U.S. Attorney showed blatant favouritism in his treatment of the Sullivan case, and Judge Robert Collings, who heard it, while finding it outside his role to demand otherwise, made a clear finding that Sullivan asked for, and was granted, unequal treatment before the law.

Powerline lays out the case. [hat-tip: Hugh Hewitt]

Friday, September 11, 2009

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 + 8

Once again Project 2996 honors the victims of the September 11 terrorist attack on America.

Project 2996 was conceived by Dale Challener Roe, who has tried to repeat the tribute annually over the years. I haven't been part of it since 2006, but I decided to play my part again this year, by repeating my tribute to Jack Aron, and taking on couple of others. The Project assigned me another WTC victim, John Thomas McErlean, and I requested the opportunity to pay tribute to Rick Rescorla.

In 2006 I volunteered to write a tribute to one victim, and was privileged to be introduced to
Jack Charles Aron, who died in the offices of Marsh & McLennan in Tower 1 of the World Trade Center. A man I had never met or even heard of before was brought to fleeting life again through the words of his friends, colleagues, and family -- my contribution was to collect and sift through them to bring his portrait into focus. He left behind him a wife, Evelyn, a son Timmy, who is now a young man of 19, and a host of heartbroken friends and relatives. He was one of 295 employees of Marsh & McLennan whose lives were taken that day.

Beth McErlean was looking forward to celebrating her 14th anniversary on September 12th. In 1987 she had married John Thomas McErlean, a high-school sweetheart, now father of her four children and a vice-president and partner at the brokerage firm Cantor Fitzgerald. But when her anniversary day dawned, her husband was missing and presumed dead, his office having fallen from its lofty perch on the top floors of World Trade Center 1 into a disintegrated chaos of twisted metal, ash, and fire.

John McErlean had survived the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. On that day he had carried a woman down 80 flights of stairs. No one knows what he was doing when he met his end in 2001, but his brother Tom figures he was probably engaged in the same sort of service to others.

John Thomas McErlean Jr., a handsome, dark-haired and square-jawed Irishman, grew up in Larchmount, New York. He formed an attachment to that community which drew him there to bring up his own family. He attended Iona, the Catholic boys prep school run by the Irish Christian Brothers in New Rochelle, and then St. Michael's College in Vermont, where he earned his business degree.

In the turbulent years since 9-11, the public has been forced to endure the foul spewings of wretches who need not be named, to the effect that those who died in the towers were symbols rather than human beings, that they represented all the grotesquerie and rapaciousness of American society, even to the extent that they were "little Eichmanns".

Imagine how such a slander would sit upon the relatives of a John McErlean, whose life outside of Manhattan's financial centre made room for being an athlete, a sailor, a coach of children's sports teams, and active member of St. Augustine's Parish. He spent his last summer vacation on Nantucket, flying kites, riding bikes, and building beachside bonfires. John bought a t-shirt that was corny, but whose motto spoke what was for him a profound truth: "Life is Good". "It seems so simple," he said, "but it's true. I've been blessed with a wonderful family and everything I wanted from life." He was 39 years old.

John's son Ryan is now 19, son Timothy 17, daughters Mary and Allie 16 and 12. In their sorrow they have known the generosity of the Larchmont/Mamaroneck Friends in Need organization, which has supported them and, in their mother's words, helped to "remind us all that there is much more good in our world than evil."

Of the nearly 3,000 people who were murdered on September 11 in all three locations, 658 of them were employees of Cantor Fitzgerald -- every single employee who happened to be at his or her desk that morning; the handful who were late, or on vacation, or going about their business out of the office that morning were the only ones left from the entire New York head office. It has been a long road back.

Nearly 3,000 people died on September 11. If not for the heroism of one man, that figure might well have been DOUBLED.

I refer, of course, to the indispensable
Rick Rescorla, British/American soldier, hero of Ia Drang at Landing Zone X-Ray in Vietnam, and roly-poly oracle managing security for Dean Witter/Morgan Stanley, who had predicted BOTH World Trade Center bombings (predictions to the Port Authority obviously falling on deaf ears).

You've seen his picture --the iconic pose [taken by the once-reputable and Pulitzered CNN veteran Peter Arnett] on the cover of the best-selling military history, We Were Soldiers Once...and Young, by General Hal Moore, (made into a thrilling film starring Mel Gibson as Moore -- Rescorla is not mentioned in the film despite his key role in the book -- not quite enough room for two heroes!) The book gives an account of a pivotal battle in 1965, which marked the escalation of U.S. involvement in Vietnam to real all-out war.

It is almost pointless to try and memorialize Rick Rescorla, to pile word upon word after all the words which have been written, by people far closer to Rescorla's reality than myself. I've learned most of what I know about him from military blogs like Mudville Gazette [excellent video there] and Blackfive. There are numerous websites devoted to him and his story -- his many stories, since the several phases of his career are each worth their own book. The skeleton of the history goes thus:

Born: 1939 Hayle, Cornwall, the old Celtic kingdom at the far southwest reach of England.

British Service: 1956-1963 Paratrooper, Cyprus and Northern Rhodesia

American Service: 1963-1990 Colonel, U.S. Army, 1st Cavalry Division
I saw Rick Rescorla come swaggering into our lines with a smile on his face . . . saying, ‘Good, good, good. I hope they hit us with everything they’ve got tonight. We’ll wipe them up,’ " recalled Lt. Larry Gwinn in the 1993 book, We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young. Rick took a bullet in the arm and fought for six hours before the battle he called "a long, bloody traffic accident in the jungle" ended.

More than 300 men died at Ia Drang. Rick earned a Silver Star, a Purple Heart and Bronze Stars for Valor and Meritorious Service..."We were flown away," Rick said to the authors [of We Were Soldiers] "but the stench of the dead would stay with me for years after the battle." [more here]
Security work:
1985 -- joined Morgan Stanley to manage and advise on corporate security

1990 -- concluded from a security review of the WTC that it was vulnerable to terrorist attack, most likely a truck bomb in its underground parking garage

1993 --predictions fulfilled -- Rescorla "jumped on a desk in the middle of the firm and threatened to drop his pants if his people didn't chill out and listen. In the stunned silence that followed, he launched an orderly evacuation, refusing to leave until the entire tower was empty." Following this attack he became convinced that there would be another, more deadly, probably involving airplanes. He advised his employers to move their offices to New Jersey, but they were not persuaded.

September 11, 2001 -- After the north WTC tower was hit by an airplane, Rick Rescorla initiated a timely evacuation (punctuated by his bouts of folksongs and patriotic anthems through a bullhorn) of thousands of Morgan Stanley employees from the south WTC tower, ignoring assurances from the Port Authority that his people were safe and need not move. He went back and back again, to clear as much of the building as he could, for long enough that there are at least a dozen stories of "sightings" and phone calls made while he did his duty protecting his charges. In the end he went in for a last round-up, and was not seen again.

Rick Rescorla was one of only SIX Morgan Stanley employees who did not survive on 9/11. He saved the lives of nearly 2,700 people in the south tower. [Another 1,000 from Building 5 also evacuated safely at his order.]

Rick Rescorla gave his life doing what he had always done, with the dedication and skill he had acquired during his military career. Many of his fellow soldiers have signed on to the effort to award him the Congressional Medal of Honor, for which he is technically ineligible because he had retired from the reserves and did not die in military service.

Surely he is a proper candidate for America's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In any case, the living recipients of the Congressional Medal
awarded him their own honor, the Above And Beyond Citizen's Medal, in March of 2009.

Other military personnel have honoured Rescorla in their own way. FOB Rescorla (forward operating base) was established near Farah, Afghanistan. Blending the sublime and the ridiculous, in a way that the honoree would no doubt appreciate, a fitting mural decorates one of the FOB latrines.

Likewise, a beautiful bronze statue, based on Arnett's photograph, has been unveiled at the National Infantry Museum at Ft. Benning Georgia.

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and vocations. The heroism of a man like Rick Rescorla deserves monuments and wide public recognition. But every good father is a hero to his children, and does heroic service to society by being just that. We throw that word "hero" around a little promiscuously, even as applied to the victims of 9/11. I count myself lucky to be given the opportunity to salute and remember on this day three men who seem to me to deserve that title, for services large and small.

Jack, John, Rick -- in your name, and for all the others

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning
We will remember them.
[For the Fallen, Laurence Binyon, September 1914]

Thursday, September 10, 2009

SPEECH # 18,642

Gateway Pundit covers the "liar" charge aimed directly (minus only her name) at Sarah Palin.

Never mind that the speech itself piled falsehood upon falsehood, contradicting not only what common sense tells us about the legislation on the table, but also what candidate, and then President, Obama has said in one speech or interview after another.

And someone yelled, "You lie!"


Joe Wilson -- no, not that Joe Wilson, but a Republican Congressman from South Carolina -- exploded at just one in a series of mendacities flowing from the slick lips of El Bambo. He did use the word "lie", which would have gotten him banished from the British Parliament -- but then again, if the American congress allowed for any of the free-wheeling back-and-forth, not to mention the chief executive facing the assembly during a Question Period, maybe the poor congressman wouldn't have lost control of his tongue -- a simple "shame, shame" or "balderdash" would have sufficed.

Instapundit covers the whole question from a variety of sources, including reader James Somers, who opined that: might also be noted that a lot of Democrats and MSM journalists (same thing, I know) who suddenly have the vapors over Joe Wilson’s breach of decorum thought it was just dandy when an Iraqi journalist threw shoes at President Bush...The point is that lefties loved Sticking It To The Man when Chimpy McHitler was president, but now they’re prissily toting around copies of Robert’s Rules of Order.
Velvet-tongued Veep Joe Biden deplored this outburst, as did asp-tongued California flake, Rep. Maxine Waters. And then, of course, the ever-accomodating Senator John McCain urged an immediate apology from Wilson (which did occur) -- forcing us to wonder whether he ever did the same when President Bush was hooted and booed at during an address in the same august assembly.

John Hinderaker
at PowerLine [hat-tip: Instapundit] does a thorough analysis of the speech, which he read rather than watched. He guesses that the delivery was Obama standard: "smooth, generally flat, occasionally a bit whiny." Having watched only a few excerpts during the Fox de-briefing, I would say that Hinderaker missed those other qualities that often creep into the Obama delivery, that is, the snippy, scolding sense of irritation that his critics won't roll over and button up in the face of his fundamental superiority. Still, Hinderaker catches that element in the tone of the words, and nails this phenomenon straight-on:
I'm not sure whether Obama and his handlers understand how this sort of talk grates on those of us who are not liberal Democrats (a large majority of the country). Debating public policy issues is not "bickering." Disagreeing with a proposal to radically change one of the largest sectors of our economy is not a "game." This kind of gratuitous insult--something we never heard from President Bush, for example--is one of the reasons why many consider Obama to be mean-spirited.
Hinderaker closes his piece with the ultimate "bottom line":
This was not, to put it kindly, a speech that was directed at thinking people.
Nor, as the writer points out, did it seem to be directed at a people who have ever heard of YouTube, where there is evidence aplenty that Mr. Obama will take any position, at any given moment, if it suits that moment, regardless of how diametrically opposed it is to the position he took the moment before.

Over at American Thinker, Geoffrey Hunt predicts for Obama a "spectacularly failed presidency." A whole bunch of things are going wrong, but Hunt hits on the one that is becoming increasingly obvious:
Obama doesn't have a narrative. No, not a narrative about himself. He has a self-narrative, much of it fabricated, cleverly disguised or written by someone else. But this self-narrative is isolated and doesn't connect with us. He doesn't have an American narrative that draws upon the rest of us...

It's not so much that he's a phony, knows nothing about economics, is historically illiterate, and woefully small minded for the size of the task-- all contributory of course. It's that he's not one of us. And whatever he is, his profile is fuzzy and devoid of content, like a cardboard cutout made from delaminated corrugated paper. Moreover, he doesn't command our respect and is unable to appeal to our own common sense. His notions of right and wrong are repugnant and how things work just don't add up. They are not existential. His descriptions of the world we live in don't make sense and don't correspond with our experience...

In the meantime, while we've been struggling to take a measurement of this man, he's dissed just about every one of us--financiers, energy producers, banks, insurance executives, police officers, doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, post office workers, and anybody else who has a non-green job.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, P.J. O'Rourke was talking "failed presidency" last November.

Today's comic relief:

The president is the descendant of slave-owners. [It must be true -- I read it in the New York Times.]
Can we expect him to fork over some reparation bucks any time soon? Boy, it makes me glad my ancestors came over in steerage from Ireland in the 1840's, Germany in the 1880's, and Greece in 1905 -- it means I never benefited from slavery no-now, and don't owe nobody nuttin'.

Apparently Obama's also related to Confederate President Jefferson Davis -- Adams, Harrison, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Gore, Bush, Dodd, Chafee....dynasties anyone?

Comic relief, part deux:

Buffalo's WBEN
local talk guy, Sandy Beach, just opened his show with the suggestion that the next time President O'Whopper gives a speech, he should just arrange to have it in a church so the kneelers will be in place.