Thursday, December 31, 2009


I speak, of course, of the American President, who has been incisively identified by the
Anchoress here as "The Man Who Would Be King."
...this president, for a young, athletic man, is exhibiting a worrisome lack of stamina for his job. But I suspect that Obama’s listless speechifying is betraying a restless impatience. I suspect Obama is bored with being president, and it’s not because he is too smart for the office, but because the office is too much like real work.

I suspect that what Obama wanted was to be the King, not the President. The King’s role is largely ceremonial. In time of national tragedy the King goes before the camera and says, “this is very sad.” If he can assign blame on a perceived enemy he does so, and then he steps aside and retires to his amusements while those actually in charge clean up the mess and determine how to prevent future messes.

Everyone loves the King, defers to the King, rushes to do for the King, but the King -who tends to get bored and distracted by the dry business of actually governing- is responsible for very little, and most are just as glad of it.
There's more, with lots of links. Go for it.

Further Anchoress observations and links
here about the "Knickerbomber" (as usual, we have Mark Steyn to thank for the cleverest epithet).

The Anchoress also scores in her primary field of endeavour, the spiritual, with her meditation on the dawning of faith.

Which brings us back to the original point: whether he sees himsel
f as president, or king, or dictator-for-life remaking the country from a lazy-boy recliner, Mr. Obama was the choice of the people and will remain in place for another three perilous years (unless he becomes the first president to resign from office out of ennui...).

So raise your glass, or fold your hands, and, for all our sakes, say with genuine feeling, "God save him."


I was going to be all mean and nasty, and do a re-write of the President's Ramadan message adapted for Christmas and Christians, to be posted as "The Christmas Message You'll Never Hear" -- and Lord knows, I was right.

But I did take a look at the Obamas' Christmas video message, and in fact it was pretty good. It wasn't the Christian equivalent of his paean to the purported virtues of Islamic custom and belief. He played it safe, with both he and the Mrs. devoting their remarks primarily to regard for the U.S. military and the sacrifices of troops and their families, felt most keenly at Christmas. Michelle even made some very thoughtful and practical suggestions as to how one might make life better for families missing a loved one during the season or any time. Good on 'em for that.

[It was almost enough to make one forget that as President-elect, this fellow had the temerity to issue a Christmas message in December of '08 -- not able to wait to get at those parts of the job that he was really into, with visions of Executive Sugar Plums dancing in his head. One year later it seems like plums have been replaced by a big sugar headache. But I digress...]

We'll give the First Couple a pass for the moment, in the knowledge that the best way to really support and pay tribute to the troops is to give them enough companions in the field, and workable rules of engagement, to complete the job being asked of them. And to insist that legislative bills dealing with funding their efforts be kept clear of parasitical earmarks and bits of ideological blackmail dragging on their tailwind. That would be the best Christmas present of them all.

But then, Virginia, we all know the truth about that chimney-sliding elf.

Sunday, December 27, 2009



[Or was that 'Allah Kaboom'?]

We had a fantastic Christmas here at the old homestead, with two out of My Three Sons home for the holidays, one with new wife and ultrasound baby in tow. Other son and Totally Brilliant Grandbaby weighed in long-distance via Skype. There are times when I do love the modern age.

I had declared for myself that Christmas would be pretty much a No FOX Zone, and stopped watching news for several days, though I did sneak a peak at the Daily Horror (that's Drudge) and a few of my go-to websites (Instapundit, Gateway Pundit, and PowerLine).

So I did find out about the Nigerian bonehead who popped his Christmas Cracker

in his pants, on Flight 253 from Amsterdam.

We have a new civilian hero, Jasper Schuringa, who leapt onto the burning bonehead without regard to his own safety, and prevented further disaster. [his video account here]

Interesting: American filmmakers = liberal wimps / Dutch filmmakers = scourge of terrorists. Glad it ended better for Jasper than for
Theo Van Gogh.

And we have a new poster boy for terrorism, one Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, privileged son of a filthy rich Nigerian banker, who left his $5 million flat in London, where he had been cruising through an underachieving academic career at University College, with his underwear full of explosives, planning some Christmas Day homicidal pyrotechnics for the city of Detroit.

He had also spent the last couple of years on a U.S. National Counterterrorism Center list, and had recently been reported to the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria by his own father as a person with increasingly troubling radical Islamist tendencies.

Damn that George Bush, once again failing to 'connect the dots.'

Meanwhile, back at the $4,000-a-day ranch ['Let them eat Christmas cake...'], our Hawaiian-based Commander-in-Chief was briefed on the 32nd terrorist attack/attempt on U.S. soil since 9/11 (12th on his personal watch), and then proceeded to commit the ultimate Bush sin of taking in a round of golf, leaving the commentary to his D.C. minions and himself remaining silent.

The staff's apparently handling the press outreach better than they did with the Fort Hood disaster, but apparently the President himself, like Mary Jo Kopechne, was unavailable for comment. And the administration's Cone of Silence seems complete regarding the explosive situation currently going on in Tehran. Gateway Pundit, of course, has it covered, in stunning detail.

Please, sir, I want some more

Now, class, let's review the root causes of terrorism, so this latest 'near miss' can also function as an object lesson. We'll take our cue from the Teflon General:
Former U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, also pledged U.S. commitment to fight poverty in the continued focus on terror: "We can't just stop with a single terrorist or a single terrorist organization; we have to go and root out the whole system. We have to go after poverty." Powell elaborated further at the U.S. State Department in 2002: "I fully believe that the root cause of terrorism does come from situations where there is poverty, where there is ignorance, where people see no hope in their lives."

And, a U.S. House of Representatives 2004 Resolution declared that: "By improving literacy rates and increasing job opportunities, education addresses several of the root causes of terrorism. The distribution of food in schools increases attendance of children who might otherwise be susceptible to recruitment by groups that offer them food in return for their attendance at extremist schools or participation in terrorist training camps."
Send your care packages here, c/o #2 Mansfield Street, London, W1G 9NF --

Boy Abdulmutallab's former college 'digs'.

Won't be bothered by Sebastian Flyte puking through his window any time soon in this place, by gar.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
So said the inconveniently-named poet Robert Frost. Recently-minted poet lariat of Global Warmitude, former Ameriveep Al Gore, has been having Settled Science Hot Flashes of late.

First there was the earth's core -- he announced on television that we could use the geothermal energy of the earth to heat our homes because a few kilometers down below the surface, it's "millions of degrees". [hat-tip:]


Then today at the Hopenhagen Global Hot Air Festival, the mano-pausal perfesser claimed that "fresh science" claimed that the polar ice cap would be completely gone in about five years -- and he backed up this "settled science" with the research of one Dr. Wieslav Maslowski, who, as it turns out, is an unsettled scientist who says it ain't quite so.


Poor old Al. It's all coming apart on him: East Anglian perfidy, snowflakes in Pensacola, inconvenient facts slapping him in the chops.

We've seen him breathing fire:

We've seen him glaring ice:

We may yet see him have that nervous breakdown he's been working on since 2000.

We'll give the Poet Laureate the last word:

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Br-r-r-r-r. Hot flash would feel good right about now, huh, Al?

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Advent -- the season of joyful waiting, of self-examining preparation, of cleansing breaths and calming of the mind.

We're three weeks into it and I've barely begun. For me, in order to tap into the spirit of Advent, and of the other liturgical seasons, I must now rely heavily upon memories of more spiritually charged days gone by.

What the choir would have sung today, were there still a Sunday choir in my life:


Just do it.

Friday, December 11, 2009


American Thinker chooses today to link to the graphs that say it all about "homogenized" data on the Global Warmitude Hoax. I feel so special.

See two versions of what you feel when you stick your finger into the wind, depending on whether you are motivated to "Hide the Decline".

EPA (Environmental Poppycock Agency)

Americans (and sheep everywhere), get ready for your new National Anthem [as composed and performed -- irony alert -- by the Police]:


Andrew Breitbart at Big Hollywood covers this wall-to-wall. (Especially pertinent: "Stage Right's" observation about A Nation of Starf%*#kers).

Is our children learning?

We report, you decide.

Dear Leader Zinn's Department of Education:

American Thinker has more on the subject of worship of vacuuous Hollywood glam-bams (yes, that's the Viggo up there, flipping the peace sign like a 50-year-old undergraduate, with scholastic luminaries like Matt Damon and Josh Brolin) and other high-profile clouds of liberal vapor, in George Joyce's comment on a new essay by philosopher Roger Scruton.

Scruton's name came up on a 2007 American Thinker essay, as one who has distilled the phenomenon of modern self-loathing -- the seminal ingredient in the Howard Zinn pedagogy. Scruton coined a Greek neologism, "oikophobia", and defined it for all our use in this speech to the Vlaams Belang, a large Belgian political party contemplating Flemish secession.

I once watched a tv biography of Howard Zinn, and my predominant reaction was how close in circumstances was his father's arrival in America compared to my grandfather's -- and I just kept scratching my head as to how by the next generation the achievements of immigrant parents managed, in the Zinn family, to translate into such profound loathing and slander of the land that gave them a home. True enough, most of my grandfather's sons and descendants grew up to take a liberal view of politics and society (my dad was the exception), but in this Zinn boy we see a genuine pathological obsession. It's just so odd.

I don't know if Howard Zinn has ever enthusiastically praised anything, but his approach to American history was neatly distilled by W.S. Gilbert, in the voice of his Lord High Executioner, about "the idiot who praises with enthusiastic tone/ all centuries but this, and every country but his own."



I don't really even want to write anything specific about this guy, because the words and the facts and the damage make cringe and feel queasy. I'll leave it to the Czar-Toppling Whistleblower-in-Chief, Jim Hoft over at the indispensible Gateway Pundit. Read it and weep.

Gateway also give us our laugh of the day: in an interview with Foreign Policy Magazine, former Czech President Vaclav Havel sees Barack Obama's "wee-wee'd up" and raises him poop-in-the-pants, on the subject of standing one's ground on the international political stage. Read it and wet.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Every so often there's a book that makes you do something stupid, like read it straight through until 4:30 in the morning. I've just finished doing that with Cormac McCarthy's The Road, the winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Literature. I decided to read it because I had decided to see the movie (opening last week, starring Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee). And, having read Rick Groen's review in the Globe and Mail, I decided that I'd prefer to take the "Biblical cadences" with me into the theatre if they weren't going to be there from the screen.

I'll admit it -- I'm a fan of the Viggo, and have watched not a few weak movies based on his strong appearance in them. He came to my attention, of course, as Lord Aragorn in Lord of the Rings, though I realized at the time how unexpectedly he had previously commanded my attention in Witness, in which he had no lines! -- as well as other films in which he had floated memorably at the margins: Carlito's Way, Crimson Tide.

I skipped seein
g what turned out to be his first Oscar-nominated role (who knew? I wasn't paying any attention) in Eastern Promises, because it was another work by the icky-creepy David Cronenberg, who did everything in his ghoul's bag'o'tricks to undermine both the good acting and the strands of significance in his earlier History of Violence. [I waxed eloquent, voluminous, and theological on what that film could have been about in more adept hands, here.] I'll probably break down and rent Eastern Promises, now that I know it was Oscar meat.

I've read one review of The Road which makes the correct point that the most dominant image in the book is that of the ubiquitous presence of ash. And the film is criticized, at its most basic, for failing to work with that image -- for an inexplicable paucity of ash.

If that's the case, I'm disappointed already, becau
se while reading the book I couldn't shake that image -- an image burned into the consciousness of anyone who was watching the news on a September morning about eight years ago.

In McCarthy's book, the particular apocalyptic event which is catalyst to the narrative is not described, so the reader can't be sure whether it was a natural or (as the current Secretary of Homeland Security likes to call them) a man-made disaster. The few trickles of backstory McCarthy allows lean towards an indication that some sort of nuclear-weapon event is the likely cause, but the ambiguity permits one to concentrate on the more weighty themes of familial love, hope, endurance, and grace, rather than on geo-political questions and their partisan implications. This is entirely to the good.

It is to be hoped that the Viggo, famous for his noodle-h
eaded pronouncements about the political implications of Lord of the Rings, will keep to himself any cause-and-effect relationships he might see between the story of The Road and the Evil Bush/Cheney Conspiracy, which is still getting under his skin even as his retires his 'Kucinich for President' bumper sticker.

For if there is any parallel which suggests itself, it has to be that vision of the world of ash which was created in 2001, across a limited number of city blocks, where fires raged for just 100 days, but which opened a wound that has yet to heal.

If we have reason to fear that the global firestorm and the world of ash will some day cover a wider horizon than one corner of Manhattan, it will not be because there was a show of 'cowboy' strength under a war-mongering Bush administration, but because there has been a dumbfounding roll-out of deliberate postures of weakness, hopping from one nation to another, on the part of the Obama government.

I find it impossible, for even a moment, to contemplate a world of ash without thinking of Manhattan on September 11, and Beirut before, and London, Madrid, Mumbai, and Bali since, wondering where the ashes will fall next. Still, that is a political scenario grounded in pragmatism rather than grace, and it should take a backseat when considering the virtues of The Road, on film and on the page.

Having gotten all this off my chest, I will look forward to watching the film in the penitential spirit of Advent, which is now upon us.

Not a 'feel-
good holiday movie hit', to be sure, but then the holidays are not yet upon us -- so I'm making it an Advent project, remembering that the definition of the Holy Spirit is the Love between the Father and the Son, and therein hangs the tale.


The President has laid out his new, new Afghan strategy in an evening speech, using the cadets of West Point as his wallpaper.

Let's review the chronology:

--March 27, 2009 -- Obama announces his "new comprehensive strategy" for Afghanistan and Pakistan [based, we now know, on the Bush administrations complete review of the situation undertaken in 2008 and kept classified, at the request of the incoming Obama administration]

--May 2009 -- Obama appoints Gen. Stanley McChrystal to replace Gen. David McKiernan as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, less than a year into the latter's term of command.

--August 2009 -- Gen. McChrystal submits a 66-page report to Sec-Def Gates requesting 40,000 more troops, but the request is held back from being officially submitted to the President in order to allow him more time to tread water before dog-paddling in a discernibly forward direction.

--September 2009 -- Gen. McChrystal is finally permitted to make his request for 40,000 additional troops, with the scuttlebutt saying that he will resign if denied the necessary resources.

--December 1 2009 -- Obama lectures the West Point cadets, and the nation, about his plans to send 75% of the troops their general requested, to do all the do-gooder stuff they can accomplish, and to haul them out in 18 months.

Despite his passionless pedantry, Obama is cheered and given an enthusiastic reception by the cadets in the front [who proffered lots of hands for shaking and took lots of pictures -- made me wonder whether the advance men had once again handed out cameras and asked all the Obama supporters to move to the front, as they did in Iraq -- I'm actually okay with that because the 25-30% of the military who vote Democrat would sincerely like to be up there, and nobody's asking the other 70% who voted for McCain to be insincere].

Meanwhile back at the ranch, MSNBC's resident loon Chris Matthews suggests that by going to West Point [in what was a naked exploitation of the cadets for photo-op purposes], Mr. Obama may have been entering "the enemy camp". Retch. Wretch.

I listened to tonight's speech, something I have avoided as often as not over the past year. I detected an attempt on the President's part to seem serious and determined and possibly even leader-like as he stood before uniformed men and women whose outlook on the world he does not understand in even the most miniscule respect. He said words about enemies, and attacks, and national security. But they had a hollow ring. It was an unconvincing performance, principally because it was a performance -- there is nothing about military campaigns, or the "passion of command" , or the scent of victory [rather than "successful conclusions" or "responsible ends"], or the delicate balance of power in a dangerous world that he truly understands in a way that goes down deep in the recesses of the soul, where it needs to reside if you're going to even dare to take your stab at something like a "St. Crispin's Day" speech.

No such speech was given this night. Nor shall be, I suspect, in months to come. It is for the citizenry, then, to make up this lack, and cheer on those who choose to set their feet upon the field of battle for our sake. I think we're up to the job. Here are some helpful hints:

And just to remind the Viggo about that film, the point of which he was so determined to miss:

Now I retire, as a two-day Newfoundland gale continues to hammer the walls and windows, and drive the sump-pump like a galley-slave. The lights keep flickering and threatening to go out. The phone's been in and out of service all day. Just another blustery day on the Rock.

And another late night into early morning. Another day tomorrow for staving off a world of ash.


Stephen Green at Vodkapundit drunkblogs the President's speech. Everybody take a shot. Money quotes:

5:08PM “Troop levels remain a fraction” what they were in Iraq. True enough. 7/10ths is a fraction.

5:12PM “As commander-in-chief…” he’s decided to send an additional 30,000 troops for 30 months. That’s not a strategic decision. That’s a new-car warranty.

5:14PM “I’ve seen first hand the terrible wages of war.” It was at a late night photo op here in the US, where nine of ten military families said “no thanks” to the photo op. But still… Bambi is young. And being President is HARD.

5:15PM “We must increase the pressure on al Qaeda.” I’m still not convinced that we can’t do that by firing craploads of Hellfire missiles into Pakistan’s NWFT. But that’s just me.

5:18PM “July of 2011.” Congrats, AQ. Keep your head down until then, and you’ll do fine. Again, these are not strategic decisions the President has made after ten months of review. This is kicking the can further down the road, but with a slightly bigger boot.

5:42PM Bad writing. Lame delivery. Tepid response — from cadets ORDERED to be nice. And a strategic vision equal parts High School Essay Content and low-rent public relations.

I hope you had as much to drink as I did.

No, Stephen, but I get the point. Boo-yah. Ooh-rah.