Thursday, September 30, 2010



Apparently a little kid [Vernon Pawlik] in a t-shirt (sporting his grandpa's picture) isn't dressed well enough to accept an invitation to tour the White House after his grandfather's funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.


Apparently it all had to do with some sort of White House "dress code" (nobody seems to be able to find a copy), which would prohibit the too-casual under-dressed from entering the hallowed halls. Unless, of course, one is.....

... some White House/Congressional staffer's kid who likes the Yankees:

...or some [usually minority] kid giving Michelle O a photo-op:

...or an "Indo-American" female DJ during Indian culture week or something:

...or a crepe-necked ingrate Paul McCartney setting up a musical intro to his trite and gratuitous stab at the purported illiteracy of George W. Bush:

...or Desiree Rogers, former White House Social Secretary -- ya know, that office which is supposed to vet the invitations and determine what, if anything, constitutes the White House dress code:

Don't worry, Vernon -- even if Important People on the President's Staff think you look too sloppy to be seen in YOUR White House, we know you are definitely one of the cool kids.


When you've lost JON STEWART, you've lost America. Watch as the fake newsman eviscerates the fake constitutional law professor. Then click on Video #2 (as it were) over on the right, and watch a yawning kid do likewise.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Hit the "expand" icon in the in corner, because (appropriately enough) the resolution remains perfectly clear and in focus. It's better than a quart of my sister's coffee.

And it's only tea....

I've been waiting for someone to dredge up the "five more days till we fundamentally transform the United States of America" quote -- it's one of a handful of burned-on-the-brain memorable phrases from the Hopey-Changey campaign.


[How often does that happen?]

"Islam will sooner or later conquer majority of Europe" -- Allah Ach-du-lieber !

[major hat-tips today: Gateway Pundit]

Wednesday, September 22, 2010



The New York Times (the New York Times!) reports what it means to suffer for your art, really suffer. Remember this the next time some Hollywood lickspittle groan about the hardships of location shooting.

A Director's Many Battles to Make Her Movie. [Hint: the director had to take over the leading actress role. I'm guessing you'll never read a reason quite like this one.] The film will be called The Black Tulip.

[hat-tip: Big Hollywood]

Saturday, September 18, 2010

September 18, 2010

On this partly sunny day on two sides of the planet we witness some grand Catholic narratives, not unrelated -- beginnings and endings, bookends in a sense. My television screen shows me thousands of people lining the streets of London, England, cheering on the present Pope as he makes his pilgrim way around various sites and encounters, all leading to tomorrow's Mass of Beatification for John Henry Cardinal Newman, England's great man of letters and holy priest, famously ex-Anglican turned Catholic.

Now concluded, over there in the Greenwich time zone, are the Mass at Westminster Cathedral and an evening prayer vigil under the open skies of Hyde Park, the former a polyglot affair of English and Latin, with quite glorious music provided by hoards of men and boys, everyone sporting blood-red under the magnificent Giotto-esque painted crucifix.

The doubters of just a few years ago could not imagine this beady-eyed scholar (Papa Ratzinger), with his long term as whip-hand of Church discipline, ever inspiring the gathering of such crowds, especially of the young, as compared to his warm and personable predecessor, the "rock-star" Pope John Paul
II. But his whip-hand has fitted itself comfortably around the shepherd's crook, and he has moved forward with a charity as uncompromising as his faith -- and the crowds have massed, even in this land where much quieter expressions of Catholic faith once brought a sentence of death.

To his great credit, Pope Benedict has not hesitated to refer to these martyrs, many of whom met their grisly deaths just up the road at Tyburn Tree.
Ostensibly, one of the aims of this visit is to strengthen ties between the Catholic Church and its Anglican love child, in the name of Christian solidarity facing off with creeping secularism. It is impossible to speculate how real might be this prospect of ending five centuries of enmity. But it is fairly certain that this pilgrimage will play its part in the flood of new beginnings to be seen everywhere in the Church, leaving the doubters to fume and sputter.

Over here, on this side of the planet, in the unglamorous west end of Toronto, a few score people gathered today to bid farewell to one of the Chu
rch's great warriors. In a truly splendid Tridentine black-vestment Requiem, author and activist for faith and life Anne Roche Muggeridge was sung and prayed into her everlasting rest. I never met her, for by the time I met her husband and some of the children, she was already in the iron grip of early onset Alzheimer's, in which darkening prison she served a sentence of many years, always the recipient of the love and care of a family she no longer knew.

In her warrior days she was the author of two books [
Desolate City, and Gates of Hell] chronicling what she saw as a coordinated attack on the life and breath of the Church she loved. For many years I purposely avoided reading the books, because I knew they would be a concise compendium of horrors I had lived through and felt powerless to counter. But in recent times, various friends had urged me to give them a try, because in showing how terrible things once were, they would unwittingly tell the story of how far we have come in turning a new page.

Difficult as they can be to find, I laid hands upon the two books from internet book sellers within half an hour of reading of Anne Muggeridge's death. And I will soon set myself the task of seeing how grim the world once looked, and how prescient Ms. Muggeridge was in seeing the cracks of light on the dark horizon.

Requiescat in pace
, courageous lady, and a merry meeting with your dear John, whom I knew a bit and much enjoyed, and proudly sang to sleep just a few years ago.

September 20

As I understand it, today has been informally declared "Pray for Christopher Hitchens Day."

Have a go. Couldn't hurt.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


The American conservative punditry class professes itself shocked -- SHOCKED!-- to have heard Karl Rove trashing the newly-elected Katie-Couric-perky Republican nominee for the coming Delaware Senate race, Christine O'Donnell. He let rip with his bash-fest on Sean Hannity's FOX News program, talking of the "nutty" things she has done, and casting a piercing eye on her college loan history -- basically dismissing her as a person and pronouncing her next election already lost (apparently his failed prediction of a Castle victory not giving him any pause).

The reaction was swift and sweeping: King of all Media Rush Limbaugh himself, a huge Rove admirer, was non-plussed at Rove's barrage of poisonous little darts ("little" being the operative word: the remarks were nasty and cutting, and the targets were spectacularly off-centre).

Suddenly the wide conservative
/Republican world was questioning the perception, loyalty, and ultimately the usefulness of the man dubbed "The Architect" for his engineering of George W. Bush's political victories.


Some of us have been questioning everything about Rove's reputation as a political genius, for a very long time. I think I pretty well nailed it here -- five years ago, you'll notice.

Get with the program, world. Time for Mr. Rove to be shufflin' on down the road.

All this is not to say that Ms. O'Donnell is necessarily some kind of prize as a candidate -- she may yet prove to be an underperformer extraordinaire.

But the idea that opting for the proven RINO would have been preferable, and the implication that the voters are too stupid to know what's good for them or to exercise their judgment and roll the dice on a new direction, are of
fensive beyond words -- a sign from all quarters of the political class that they are tone-deaf to the times, and will soon find themselves paddling around in the wake of a political tide that has passed them right by.

Mr. Rove has proved himself tiresome, in addition to being no genius. I suspect we will see less and less of him as the season goes on.

Moving on.


His Holiness Pope Benedict makes the first official state visit of a Pope to Great Britain in 500 years. Mass in Scotland opens with a welcome paying tribute to St. Thomas More and various martyrs of the Reformation. Ooh-rah.

[He needed a haircut. I loved the look.]

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


In this era of fiscal insecurity and empty cookie jars, the "No-one-nation-can-or-should-try-to-dominate-another-nation" Obama Regime has been busy sticking its fingers in the constitutional pie of a foreign country, to the tune of $23 million in funding (that's U.S. taxpayer funding) of various forces in the campaign to adopt a new constitution in KENYA.

To no one's great surprise (unless you count the surprise of learning that this is happening at all), the money is being used to assist those organizations in Kenya who want the new constitution to unravel the traditional anti-abortion ethos of most of the country's population, and open the doors to abortion on demand via the sort of "health" exception with which western countries that have been down that road are so familiar.

New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith, a well-known pro-life legislator, has been leading the hue and cry on this abhorrent and patently illegal expenditure by the U.S. government, via its embassy and the contraceptive imperialists at USAID. The story has been covered by FOX News, but most other reporting comes through religious media like LifesiteNews or EWTN (which is where I heard about it just this week).

Just when you think this regime has run out of bad ideas, they keep pumping them out. Most of the time there is such benighted confidence in the bad ideas that they're right out there for all to see (bailouts, healthcare, etc.), but sometimes they're just downright sneaky.

And how very odd that this news comes to light even as Mr. Obama has begun to send out
fundraising letters to his known supporters, letters in which he actually spells out his notion of what it is to be President, in the non-separated Church-State language of the Book of Genesis: "...a commitment to the idea that we are our brothers' keepers."

Is that right? Would that be the brothers in Kenya? It certainly doesn't seem to be the brothers in Arizona -- at least not the ones who are American citizens.

This fundraising letter is quite revealing -- a rare "moment" of transparency from Mr. O. [BTW, I got one too, thanks to a little experiment I conducted in 2008, along the same lines as certain other wily conservative spies.]

The letter outlines an ambiguous scheme for matching funds (you get to write to some unnamed matching donor a little billet-doux about "
why you decided to own a piece of this movement". [???? -- Oh the scatalogical associations.......] And, as usual, the only amounts suggested are $5 or $10, which is how they got away with gaming the system [read: cheating] in 2008.

Among my favourite lines in the text is: "it is with this commitment in mind that I have gone to work every day." Every day? Are you kidding me?

But why should my intrepid readers (most of whom, I suspect, did not receive one of these fine letters from be content with mere snippets? Here's the whole thing, for your edification. The subject line reads "This Moment".
Friend --

When Michelle and I decided that I would run for President, it was because of a shared belief in the power of community and connection, a commitment to the idea that we are our brothers' keepers.

With your help, that is how I have tried to govern.

Now -- with just 50 days until the November elections -- the progress we have achieved together is under attack.

But I have seen what you can do when the stakes are high, and I have never been more confident in your ability to deliver.

Today, I am asking you to take the next step in your support for Organizing for America.

Because this moment is so critical, another supporter has pledged to match any donation you make right now. A $5 donation will become $10.

Will you make a donation today and answer your fellow supporter's pledge to match whatever you can give?

Here's how it works:

-- You choose the amount you are able to give -- and it will be doubled by someone willing to match that amount.

-- You will be able to write a note to the person who matched your donation and let them know why you decided to own a piece of this movement.

There are a lot of people out there who do not believe we can continue this work.

But we've defied the naysayers before. It was supporters like you who stood up and said, I can call my neighbor and ask her to vote. I can write a letter to my member of Congress. I can volunteer a few hours to go door to door -- even after a hard day at work.

It was this commitment that ensured millions of Americans will no longer suffer the indignity of inadequate care, simply because an illness came too soon, or a procedure too late.

It was this commitment that allowed us to pass the toughest financial reform regulations since the Great Depression.

And it is with this commitment in mind that I have gone to work every day. Over the coming months, I will continue to fight for what is right and for what is necessary -- but I cannot do this alone.

Republicans have made it clear what they will do if elected this fall -- attempt to repeal our historic achievements and obstruct progress on the work that lies ahead.

But if we remember what we can build together, we can continue moving America forward.

Today, it starts with you. Your matched donation this month will enable us to execute the largest, most ambitious plan our party has ever run in an election of this kind. It will fund our Vote 2010 efforts in all 50 states. And it will help us stand up to the special interests trying to take over Congress.

It can shake up this fall's elections.

We built this movement with support from people like you, with small donations from millions of donors. And that was a conscious choice -- a choice that required us to demand more of our friends, our neighbors, and ourselves.

A fellow grassroots supporter is asking you to join them today -- and has pledged to match your individual donation.

Please donate $5 or more to help grow this movement in the critical weeks ahead:

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

The money goes to "Organizing for America", a group still in such worshipful thrall that they think it's to their advantage to call their donation site "donate.barackobama" -- even as his fellow-Democrats are running from him like little rabbits after a backfire.

Wake up and smell the oil sludge, people.

Friday, September 10, 2010


And that, of course, is a big part of the problem. Nine years on after the savage anti-civilian terrorist attack on downtown New York City, there is still a giant emptiness where the World Trade Center used to stand. A combination of turf battles, political grandstanding, and architectural one-upsmanship in a competition for new frontiers in bad taste have left the healing of this devastating destruction not only unfinished, but essentially unbegun.

There are many voices (and I add mine) saying that, had those charged with the World Trade Center renaissance actually done their job in a reasonable amount of time, and were the gaping hole in the Manhattan skyline even partially filled with a building project of respectable and meaningful design, today's controversy over the building of a nearby mosque, and the scheduled 'Operation Savonarola' Pseudo-Baptist Tent Revival and Koran Roast might not be headed for white-hot tomorrow, as they spill over into what should be a day of sombre remembrance and contemplation.

My own thought on this controversy has evolved. When I first heard about the plan for the mosque I felt resigned to its coming, in the name of the basic American principles of freedom of religion and private property rights (subject to all the standard and universally applied local regulations, blah blah).

I didn't like the idea -- I hated it with a passion, in fact, as I pondered the establishment of an ongoing presence of thousands of voices chanting 'Allahu Akbar', in chilling echo, week in and week out, of the words repeated by those who had their hands on the throttles of the fatal airplanes in three locations on September 11. But I could not see any rational way, within law or logic, to argue against, much less prevent, the building of this ill-conceived worship-cube.

What turned me around, and provided what I think is the best argument for putting a stop to the project, is the mounting evidence that the man behind the mosque is one whose associations and pronouncements should preclude him setting up any sort of institution, on grounds of being a potential national security risk. It seems fairly clear-cut that this is one bad dude.

The 'jihadist triumphalism' aspect of his having laid hold of this particular piece of real estate also seems pretty clear-cut, though that in itself, repugnant as it is, is probably not enough to justify stopping him. But it is enough to so thoroughly peeve the vast majority of the American populace, that what could have been justified was a swift and tidy designation of the 150-year-old building as a historical landmark and thus off-limits for transformation into the Big Glass Mosque. But the committee found itself in line with Mayor Bloomberg, and declined the designation. So here we sit.

It's enough to make some people want to go right out and burn a Koran. How many people? Fifty or so -- maybe a hundred if the Fred Phelps crazies join up with the Terry Jones crazies (which apparently has been known to happen).

And what these five score whack-jobs have set their minds to has caused countless folks in places high and low to denounce their plans and implore them not to go forward -- folks right up to and including the Commander of US Forces Afghanistan and everybody else in uniform over there, General David Petraeus.

My view of this situation has evolved a bit too -- or perhaps revolved. At first I was cheering on the denunciations from people like Petraeus. Then all sorts of voices chimed in with the notion that it is absurd for such prominent people to make a huge public response to the dumb-arse antics of a couple of obscure crackpots. Osama bin Laden, of unhappy memory, once described the United States as 'the weak horse', and it can be argued, persuasively, that the horse couldn't possibly look weaker than in a moment where the top military commander is begging restraint of some hick preacher, in order to protect his own troops.

Well, there's some truth in that. Perhaps the General would be less concerned about violent reaction to Pastor Jones if he had enough troops and a firm commitment from his Commander-in-Chief, sufficient that he could confidently turn around and vaporize anybody who decides to go medieval on his guys.

Of course, part of the concern that has the President and others appealing to Pastor T.J. to call off the torch brigade is the belief that repercussions may be felt, and innocents cut down, all over the globe, not just in the United States or its theatres of war. And, yeah, nobody wants to see that. But the more I thought about that, the more I had to admit that if other countries, like Britain or Denmark or Spain or wheresoever, have left themselves so vulnerable to civil unrest as to fear the consequences of the Reverend Loopy-Tunes' bonfire of the inanities, is it really our problem?

What has happened here is that we have a vague contingent of Islamo-fascist thugs, of unknown number, across the globe, who are holding intimidated societies for ransom -- and we are carrying on discussions as to whether it is morally necessary, or completely degrading, to try and head off the coming church-parking-lot-tailgate conflagration in order to avoid their wrath. It's come to this. And the arguments on both sides make some sense.

Imam Rauf, guiding force behind the mosque, gives lip service to 'sensitivity' and the 'healing' purpose of what he wants to build, but nobody's buying it, nor should they. When Donald Trump's offer to buy him out of the property is turned down flat, and he goes on television to warn the public of the consequences if he is thwarted, we know exactly what is riding on this project for the Imam and his cohort.

This thing should not happen -- because the mosque is religiously unnecessary (there's another one 10 blocks away, and several more in the city), and the man behind it is unfit for the privilege of constructing the scenic illusion within which he will clothe himself as a prophet of good will, understanding, and compromise. Bollocks and bah humbug. There should be no Ground Zero Mosque.

There are those who say we would not care so much if we had built more on the WTC site than a couple of beams of light.
I disagree. Imam Rauf would not be welcome to promulgate his skewed ideas even if he were to build his glass victory monument in the shadow of a hundred stories where the emptiness is now -- not welcome on the ground where pieces of the fatal airplanes smashed through the 150-year-old building and made it ripe for plucking down by this opportunistic deceiver.

September 11, 2010. Let us pray on this day for all those who lost a loved one on that day, pray especially that nothing will be built of glass and steel and stone which could only press the pain upon their hearts with ever greater weight and permanence.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Now be good little Jews and lie down while the Palestinians walk on your face as they take over Israel.

Had an interesting conversation with my Jewish eye doctor yesterday, who very sheepishly and confidentially let me know that, um, Israel, is uh, pretty unhappy with President Obama. No, really? I put him at his ease to speak the truth by replying that, prior to the 2008 election, I had often wondered aloud how any Jew could vote for this man, yet they did in droves -- they weren't listening to him then, and they regret it now. The sage of the spectacles nodded affirmation, and we discussed the traditional, yet waning, reflexive identification of Jews with liberalism, socialism, and, in America, the Democrat Party.

I had a late appointment and by 4:00 the doctor's office was rushing to a close to get its Jewish component home in time to begin the observance of Rosh Hoshana.

It seems that the O-man was rushing his observance too. Today we can read his official greetings for the High Holidays. [hat-tip PowerLine]Now, normally a President would concentrate on well-wishing for his own countrymen, but Mr. Obama, as a Citizen of the World, likes to go for the bigger picture and speak to one and all everywhere. And he like to preach -- have you noticed that? Well, he likes to preach to some people, anyway, especially the benighted ones who could most benefit from his infinite wisdom. Like those Jews.

So, L'Shana Tova, oh Chosen People. Shana Tova and shove it over. The Word of the The One has descended from the mountaintop just for you. He uses the royal "we", but of course he means "you people." You might want to take notes.
At a time when too many of our friends and neighbors are struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads, it is up to us to do what we can to help those less fortunate.

At a time when prejudice and oppression still exist in the shadows of our society, it is up to us to stand as a beacon of freedom and tolerance and embrace the diversity that has always made us stronger as a people.

And at a time when Israelis and Palestinians have returned to direct dialogue, it is up to us to encourage and support those who are willing to move beyond their differences and work towards security and peace in the Holy Land. Progress will not come easy, it will not come quick. But today we had an opportunity to move forward, toward the goal we share--two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

Now this is only fair. Because we all remember back when it was time for the President's Ramadan address how he lectured the Muslim world to end its long history of attacking its neighbours, and here in the 21st century to stop blowing people up, especially their own.

Oh wait -- that never happened. On Ramadan, Mr. O shamelessly sucked up to the Muslim world by telling them how wonderful were their contributions to the world, their embrace of diversity, their support of the advance of prosperity and opportunity, and their extraordinary contributions to America.

Mr. Obama seems to know that there are roughly 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. He declines to mention that in the same world there are only just over 13 million Jews (we're a few short after WWII). Aside from the lopsided disproportion in the ledger of educational, professional, scientific, and artistic accomplishment between these two populations ----- Mr. O assumes that none of the Jews are among the less fortunate (guess he's been reading Time magazine). And he is blind to the irony of talking about "struggling to keep... a roof over their heads" to the 6 million of those people who have to worry about dodging Kassam rockets by the thousands.

While I've been writing this, FOX News reports that Iranian dissidents have revealed the existence of a secret nuclear facility. Happy New Year indeed.

Update: The Ground Zero Mosque Imam went on Larry King (with Soledad, not Larry) and uttered a bunch of hilariously twisted blather about separation of Church and State, creating a "culture of worship for Muslims, Christians, and Jews", and made the argument that if they give in and change the location of this mosque, the Muslim radicals of the world might get offended and start blowing things up -- and he's "worried". That might not qualify as a threat, but it's certainly a form of blackmail. Like I said -- happy new year.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010





Up until now I'd have been prepared to say that Fred Phelps and his inbred hell-hound Westboro Baptist Church [sic] clusterschtup were about the worst the United States had to offer -- worse than any brain-dead politician, maybe even more evil and twisted than a Weather Underground bomber.

But I gotta hand it to Pastor [sic] Terry Jones -- a man so self-righteous and hateful that he is prepared to risk inciting world-wide violence which would most likely see innocent civilians, Christian missionaries, and United States military personnel murdered in acts of revenge, just to make a point about the misguidedness of Islam.

Newsflash, Jones, you lobotomized freak -- you do not need to burn the Q'uran to get across your belief that its followers seem more inclined to attack their neighbours for having read the thing. We get it. We've gotten it for 1300 years.

You are a bad man, Jones. Once upon a time the sort of mob-style 'frontier justice' you advocate would have been enough to stir the community to turn on your kind of poisonous creep, and maybe they'd just have to burn YOU for the greater good.

It seems to me a good move at this point would be for some upright, pitchfork-totin' (or motorcycle-ridin') neighbours of yours to quietly kidnap you until this storm passes, and help you, um, see the error of your ways. Or maybe the local constabulary should just take you into protective custody on the appointed day, since a lot of us would happily trade your sorry ass for the welfare of our military children deployed overseas.

In the interim, here's an idea: STFU. For all of us.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


Somebody 'splain to me why anyone lives in a city.

Anyone like me. When I could live here:

Going home tomorrow. Gr-r-r-r-r-r.


This time it's at the
Department of Justice website.

Check out the
change in banners. Oldie one here, new and 'improved' here. Notice the nifty new motto at the top -- at least it's a truthful window into the workings of the Holder head, but doesn't it kinda send a chill up your spine? (Which is quite different from a thrill up your leg...)

American Spectator, via the proprietor of Vox Cantoris]

Saturday, September 04, 2010


[even when the country isn't]

Having foregone, at the time of his inauguration/coronation/immaculation, any major re-do of his new office digs
[other than a couple of painting-swaps, and the chucking out of surplus metalwork like that gritty old bust of Churchill that went back to the British faster than Jerry Seinfeld could regift a label-maker],
Il Duce, El Presidentissimi, POTUS POTENTATUS, The One, Mr. Barack Hoover Obama chose this particular moment in the economic indicator trough to redecorate the Oval Office. Another brilliant kamikaze move in the dogfight of American politics.

Successful? I guess that depends on what you want in a presidential office.

The rug went from a bright and perky Laura Bush design (which remains a universal favourite) to a bland and rather timid crème with no brulée, encircled by famous fine words seemingly rendered into Great American Sound Bytes from (or maybe not?) four presidents and Dr. MLK.

The central furniture cluster went from upbeat but formal reception seating, to a woman's idea of a man's den furniture for watching his 80-inch plasma screen TV with the guys.

Whatever. I don't really care that much myself. I can't say the new look is any worse than Bush 41's blue boudoir look, and it's certainly less crass the Clinton's eye-splitting navy blue rug with red and gold striped couches, which bore an uncomfortable resemblance to Richard Nixon's imperial style.

It's not necessary to redecorate for every new president -- it has not been done consistently enough to call it a tradition. But let him have his Swinging Bachelor Pad. I'm kind of grateful to see what he (well, his wife) chose, and how it reflects something about him/them.

But what's really fun about this episode, really
RICH, is the basket of responses on the New York Times (!) Home and Garden page, in an article that takes its title from Arianna Huffington's (!) assessment of the new look:

The Audacity of Taupe.

Heh. I admit it -- I'm enjoying this.

...But I really hate that coffee table.

And the lamps.

And none of the stuff goes with that hotel-chain lobby wallpaper, which is only there to be a sop to the inescapable neo-classicism of the room and the formality of the grandfather clock. Gross. Let's hope somebody else goes back to the storerooms (which are jampacked) and recycles some of the better furniture in January 2013.

Most fun tidbit of all: reading about this whole Oval Office decor thing permitted me to discover that LBJ had covered the floor with wood-pattern linoleum. Didn't you just know he, of all people, would do that?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010



Change of command occurred today in Iraq, as General Ray Odierno's hulking frame made its final appearance at the helm of U.S. Forces-Iraq, Odierno being the "bigger half"' of the imaginative team genius behind the Surge. After four years, of which only about six months were spent at home, Big Ray is heading home to take up what General Petraeus (when called upon to save Obama's tail in Afghanistan) recently called "living like Air Force." Heh heh.

Odierno speaks at about minute 40. Check it out.

Jumpin' Joe Biden was there, and made a speech too [starts at minute 12] -- longer than either the outgoing or incoming Generals' speeches but, for better or for worse, Biden conducted himself with the requisite dignity that the office demands, made a pretty good speech, and proved himself a much bigger man than the President he serves. He recounted the phases of the Iraq war, and praised the efforts of those who participated in it -- after all, this wasn't the place for him to make honest confession of how he and his fellow Democrats had done everything in their power to frustrate and foul up those efforts, to trash military accomplishments, and to slander both the troops and their Commander-in-Chief.

He gave all kinds of credit to the right people for things he had said were wrong at the time -- to as many people in as many offices as he could think of except the obvious one. President Bush was mentioned only twice, both times in relation to commitments he had made to hand over power and withdraw troops.

However, Mr. Bush got lots of back-door kudos in the catalog
ue of military and civilians now serving in Iraq and Afghanistan who were first selected for service under the Bush administration. So "W" must have known what he was doing sometimes! Huh? Huh?

Footnote: Mr. Biden was on display for 17 minutes showing that he has perfected his boss's rather oily tennis-match head-bobbing as he speaks from right teleprompter to left teleprompter (though he did flub and fluff a few times).

Contrast that with the General Shrek, who spoke for
16 working from paper notes on the podium in front of him, and didn't lose a beat in terms of maintaining contact with his audience. I'm just sayin'.

The Friendly Giant says:
"Look up --
wa-a-a-a-a-y up."

[Little Canadian in-joke there. >>>>]

My email inbox is chock full of bulletins on the political fortunes of many new faces on the scene, but none more interesting than the growing movement of Iraq veterans seeking entry into the political system that transported their armored arses into the desert.

The latest victory has been scored by Lt. Col. Allen West in Florida. You have to put 'Ret.' after his name because this much admired leader of men felt forced to retire early in the course of the Iraq war.

I remember this incident well [thinking even then that it was the height of absurdity and a very bad sign that anyone objected to Allen's actions] when the Lt. Col. was reprimanded for having threatened an insurgent weasel with death if he didn't cough up his information about a planned ambush. The clock was ticking, and the guy was holding out, so West took him outside and, after a brief countdown, fired off his side-arm next to the guy's head to make him believe that they might actually execute him the way Che Guevera used to do it -- something he never really would have done in a million years.

The insurgent gentleman then spilled his guts, bombers were arrested, and lives were saved.

Lt. Col. West reported to his commanders immediately after the interrogation (before it had even born fruit) and gave a full account of what he had done. Unfortunately, their response was to bow before the enemy -- the domestic enemy, that is, the nannies and sissies in the media and Congress -- and hold hearings to investigate the propriety of West's conduct, concluding that he was in violation of this 'n' that, and that he should be fined and have a reprimand on his record.

Upon return to his base at Ft. Hood, Texas (you remember Ft. Hood -- where safety and security of military personnel has been the highest priority.....), Lt. Col. West felt it was time to speak out in the only way an honorable soldier can, so he retired from the Army.

Fast forward seven years, to West throwing his hat into the ring for Congressman from Florida's 22nd district. Yesterday he won the primary, with 77% of the vote. Maybe this video shows why he has a tendency to stand out in a crowd (especially if that crowd is a bunch of standard-issue mealy-mouthed politicians):

Did I mention that Lt.Col. Allen West is a black Republican? I'm likin' the odds here.

Visit, learn, contribute, at GO WEST! Read his history, meet his outstanding family (well-educated professional wife and two lovely daughters), and contemplate certain obvious contrasts that suggest themselves......

I know I'm jumping the gun here (West has a way of making you do that!), but I can envision that, while he may not be our first black President (you blew that one, America), he might just end up our first black COMMANDER-in-chief and Chief EXECUTIVE of the United States, if ya know what I mean.