(With a surprise guest, Bullwinkle the Moose)
Eyes in the sky, and "redstateabsentee" is listening.
" Foul Don Fowler Amused by New Orleans Hurricane Former DNC Chairman Don Fowler laughs at New Orleans while talking to Congressman John Spratt (D) of SC. You can't hear Spratt but he chuckles along with."It's not a surprise that Fowler and Spratt would join with the execrable Michael Moore in "thinking, this Gustav is proof that there is a God in Heaven.'' This is the way these people think -- everything is reduced in a twinkling to whatever political advantage they can possibly squeeze out of it. It is not remarkable at all.
What is remarkable about this brief clip is that the Web now has ears and eyes everywhere. This casual conversation between allies reveling in their mutual cynicism is, within hours of being made with a sense of (false) security, laid bare to the world for approval or censure. It's a Brave New World with more than a soupcon of "1984" stirred in. It's a sword that cuts not just both ways, but in all directions at once. To extend the metaphor one more step: It is the sword of Damocles and it now hovers above us all by the most slender thread. Privacy? That's so 20th century, isn't it?
The Not-Really-That-Epic Poem of Obamacles
(with Apologies to Homer)
Book the First: A question for the Muse
Speak to me, O Muse, of this resourceful man
who strides so boldly upon the golden shrine at Invescos,
Between Ionic plywood columns, to the kleig light altar.
Fair Obamacles, favored of the gods, ascends to Olympus
Amidst lusty tributes and the strumming lyres of Media;
Their mounted skyboxes echo with the singing of his name
While Olbermos and Mattheus in their greasy togas wrassle
For first honor of basking in their hero's reflected glory.
-- An excerpt of this soaring epic, this paragon of poesy by the immortaliowahawk:
"The smart liberals are worried. The dumb ones think they've won."Continued...
Dead these 40 years.
"I shall not seek, and I will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your President." March 31, 1968
When I was a young man, Lyndon Johnson enraged and terrified me. He enraged me because of Vietnam. He terrified me because he commanded the machine which was planning to send me there. Many of the members of my cohort will cop to the former yet still deny the latter. Be that as it may, the fading whiff of cowardice clings to those who avoided service and won't be easily dispelled by denial even as we enter our dotage.
As years do, the years of Lyndon rolled by and the age of Nixon arrived. Since he was no longer President I thought of Johnson then, if I thought of him at all, as a garrulous, blustering "accidental President." At the time he epitomized the violent by his pursuit of victory in Vietnam and the vulgar by pulling up his shirt to display his surgical scars. Hoisting his dogs by the ears just confirmed me in my distaste.
After his death in 1973, I forgot about him. As, it would seem, did the current crop of what passes for loyal Democrats. If you asked for a word that would sum up their thinking about him, that word might be "pariah." Yesterday, Johnson's 100th birthday, received scant notice if any among the Party faithful outside of the Texas delegation who dutifully recorded it. These days, Senator Kennedy represents the ruins of the once great Liberal tradition of the Democrats. But even he stands on the shoulders of Lyndon Johnson. As do many other Democrats if they but had the courage to look down from the rickety scaffolding on which they currently teeter and sway.
Unlike many of them, I no longer seek to re-drape lost youth in the thin raiments of today's elite ideological fashions, but to see if, by looking once again - more deeply than before - I can see what looks different from this rise in the road. Among those many things, moments and men I have to now count Lyndon Johnson.
If he'd been a Rose Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson would have been rolled into the Democrat Convention last night in a wheelchair to witness the apotheosis of his greatest achievements, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, in the nomination of Barrack Obama for President of the United States.
Perhaps tonight, in an oration "for the ages (or November, whichever comes first)," the beneficiary of Johnson's bold -- many would say foolhardy -- social engineering of the 60s will say something in passing about this protean politician, but somehow I doubt it. We will, of course, hear a lot about Martin Luther King. Obama may even give us his studied imitation of King's voice -- something he does in a practiced manner to great effect. But while it will be noted that King had a dream it is likely that the fact Johnson had the power to make that dream a reality -- and used it ruthlessly -- will be glossed over, if mentioned at all.
Indeed, in all the self-congratulatory hoopla this week, Lyndon Johnson has been conveniently forgotten. He's been forgotten by the Democrats for decades and they show no signs of remembering. It is much better for the party, after all, to inflate the current midgets among them to the size, shape and substance of Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade balloons. To bring Lyndon into the hall at this point would diminish the current crop that leads this once proud party even more than they have diminished themselves. Imagine a Pelosi, a Reid, a Biden, an Obama placed next to Johnson. Their arms too short to box with Lyndon.
Last night the Democrats' Nixon, Bill Clinton, was slathered in ovations as he lauded the "achievement" of Barrack Obama before leaving the podium to the rocking strains of "Addicted to Love." It could have been worse if Clinton had chosen the bumper music and selected Jimi Hendrix and "Are You Experienced?" Of course, the lauded achievements of Obama pretty much boil down to beating Clinton's wife in grasping the nomination. That's what passes for "being experienced" these days.
To her credit, Senator Clinton briefly spoke the truth about LBJ during the campaign last January
“Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act,” Mrs. Clinton said when asked about Mr. Obama’s rejoinder by Fox’s Major Garrett after her speech in Dover. “It took a president to get it done.”This minor heresy whispered in the church of King-Tubman-Obama got her quickly slapped down by the Times and other media Pecksniffs. We heard no more about Johnson. Everything was as it had been before: Equality was a magical gift given by St. King via a dream. Obama was his messenger. Realpolitik had nothing to do with it.
Except it had everything to do with it, and Johnson had the power and the skills to get it done.
It wasn't just the office he held that made Johnson effective. It was the office combined with his titanic political skills. The most famous of these was called, by witnesses and victims alike, "The Treatment:" According to Rowland Evans and Robert Novak in their book, Lyndon B. Johnson: The Exercise of Power,
The Treatment could last ten minutes or four hours. It came, enveloping its target, at the LBJ Ranch swimming pool, in one of LBJ's offices, in the Senate cloakroom, on the floor of the Senate itself — wherever Johnson might find a fellow Senator within his reach.
Its tone could be supplication, accusation, cajolery, exuberance, scorn, tears, complaint and the hint of threat. It was all of these together. It ran the gamut of human emotions. Its velocity was breathtaking, and it was all in one direction. Interjections from the target were rare. Johnson anticipated them before they could be spoken. He moved in close, his face a scant millimeter from his target, his eyes widening and narrowing, his eyebrows rising and falling. From his pockets poured clippings, memos, statistics. Mimicry, humor, and the genius of analogy made The Treatment an almost hypnotic experience and rendered the target stunned and helpless.Johnson not only knew how to use The Force, he was The Force.
The roster of what Johnson was able to accomplish in the domestic arena is towering. Much of it will be categorized by many as wrong-headed or disastrous but the sheer size of it cannot be denied. Under the rubric "The Great Society" Johnson set out to remake the American landscape in the manner of Roosevelt. Medicare. The Economic Opportunity Act. The endowments for the National Humanities and the Arts. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. The full-funding of NASA and the mission to the moon. The appointment of Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court. These are just a few broad strokes in an agenda of reform whose scale we have not seen since.
There are no neutrals when it comes to evaluating LBJ. Love him or hate him, Johnson was post-war America's epitome of Theodore Roosevelt's "The Man in the Arena."
Then there are the two achievements of Johnson without which Barrack Obama would be impossible: the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Civil Rights Act, introduced by Kennedy, had been stuck in committee until Johnson, following Kennedy's assassination, used his office and his political power to push it into the House and on to the Senate where it was blocked by filibuster for more than 50 days. The Voting Rights Act was Johnson's and it moved into law with lightning speed, being submitted on March 17, 1965 and signed into law by Johnson on August 6th.
All these and more by this American leviathan, a man who habitually spoke of African-Americans as "negroes," and who spoke of them as worse in recorded phone calls from the White House; a man from real hardscabble roots who wheeled and dealt his way to become the most effective Senate Majority Leader in American history. And a man who, when tragedy brought him to the Presidency, used -- in the end -- the power that came with that office to leave the country closer to its ideals than it had any reason to expect he would.
At the New Yorker George Packerrelays this anecdote that sheds some light on the why of the Johnson transformation:
James Farmer, the great leader of the Congress of Racial Equality, told the story of a conversation he once had with Johnson in the White House:I asked him how he got to be the way he was. He said, “What do you mean?” I said, “Well, here you are, calling senators, twisting their arms, threatening them, cajoling them, trying to line up votes for the Civil Rights Bill when your own record on civil rights was not a good one before you became Vice President. So what accounted for the change?” Johnson thought for a moment and wrinkled his brow and then said, “Well, I’ll answer that by quoting a good friend of yours and you will recognize the quote instantly. ‘Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last.’”
Johnson it turned out was not free of history. No man who seeks to take the stage in history is. What undid Johnson was, of course, Vietnam. How that happened is far, far too complex to set out here, but I will note that Johnson's intent to defeat North Vietnam was not -- in the end -- wrong, only his lack of achieving it; something that also eluded all other Presidents chained to the doctrine of patty-cake American wars. I have to think, however, that with Johnson it was not a lack of will -- something he never showed any shortage of -- but the inability to believe that he could not persuade, given enough time and intensity, anyone on Earth that he had the correct view of how things should be. As much as he detested Communism, there was always a homespun quality to Johnson's foreign policy. It was not, after all, his strong suit. America was. As a result I don't think he ever quite understood how ruthless and unpersuadable real Communists actually were. It took many more years and many more millions of deaths before most of the world learned that same lesson; a lesson still lost on the weak heirs of Johnson's party today.
But placing Vietnam in the rear-view mirror, it is possible to see Johnson today as I never could have seen him during those years when I asked him, along with the rest of my shameful cohort, "How many kids did you kill today?" Today, especially today, it is possible to see this coarse and crude Texan as yet another in a small series of exceptional Presidents who, gifted by the nation with extraordinary power, used the bulk of that power to leave this country a greater place on the Earth than he found it.
Put aside your partisan thoughts for a few moments and listen to Johnson at his finest moment.
I remember seeing that speech when Johnson gave it. And I remember what was there was still abroad in the country at that time. No matter what Barrack Obama may say tonight, no matter how high it may be touted, it will remain only a fading echo of Martin Luther King and his most unlikely ally, Lyndon Johnson. Without both men Obama could never have gotten here from there.
Nany Bobo, a delegate from Des Moines, Iowa, smiled beneath her corn hat during the Democratic National Convention Monday. - Check out the other great shots @ Photo Journal
As the first Totalitarian Olympics since 1936 oozes away in our rear-view mirror, it’s time to reflect on the high-minded lessons they taught to a troubled world. I know, for example, that contemporary tyrants such as Robert Mugabe (rhymes with “Zimbabwe”) looks on the works of the Chinese Communist Party and thinks, “Hey, with a few more billion people under my thumb, and more UN funding, I could do that.”
I know that the current government of Britain, even though they beclowned themselves last night with a Monty Pythonesque promotion for the 2012 games, thought to themselves, “Hey, with only 30 billion pounds in new taxes from our disarmed citizens, we can do that.”
"The bus was surrounded by a scruffy bunch of chavs.... which made it look as though they were about to loot the bus, shake down anyone who was on board, and strip the vehicle to its axles before setting it alight."
And I know that many of my fellow countrymen will join me when, after America’s Aquaman Michael Phelps sucked up gold medals like a baleen whale hoovers krill, said along with me, “Hey, I could do that.”
... you've got nothing.
Here's 15 minutes of the brilliant Clay Shirky putting the present day in perspective for you. He centers on what to do with all your extra time to make it both valuable and transformative. What free time? How quickly we forget what life was like less than 200 years ago -- or 50 years ago for that matter.
Obamocrats should be pleased with this war news: Pentagon Plans to Send More Than 12,000 Additional Troops to Afghanistan - US News and World Report "And there may be even more to come."
But if you think this is a "surge" you couldn't be more wrong, according to Gen. David McKiernan, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan,
He disputes the notion that the three brigades on the way represent a troop "surge" for Afghanistan, predicting the need for an extended involvement of a larger force. "I've certainly said that we need more security capabilities," he says. "But I would not use the term 'surge,' because I think we need a sustained presence."Well, you can't say that [some] general officers aren't
So the non-surges surges towards Afghanistan as Pakistan shambles towards a sharia, terrorist controlled state, and the Obamacrats continually insist that Afghanistan is "the real war." Or at least they will until the US is fully surged in and engaged.
At that point the now free-floating quagmire (last seen a couple of year ago in Iraq) will come plummeting down on Afghanistan and it will become, overnight, the "wrong war."
At that point, the new, improved battlecry will be to "Retreat to Bananistan!"
Depend upon it.
Just so we all know the new and improved rules. Memorize them. There will be a test.
UPDATE -- From May 19, Four months later to the day:Continued...
I pulled into Nazareth, I was feelin' about half past dead;
I just need some place where I can lay my head.
"Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?"
He just grinned and shook my hand, and "No!", was all he said.
-- The Band
From a conversation three minutes ago about the
Soviet Russian diplomatic blather rewriting its invasion of Georgia; the "Georgia made us do it" line.
"Kipling writes, 'Iron - cold iron - is master of men all.' "
"Well, of course. Why do people have to be reminded of that? After all, everybody knows that rock breaks scissors."
"Yeah, but everybody knows paper covers rock."
"Fine, but then you've not only got a paper-wrapped rock, you've got a rock you don't see coming."
A selection of images from the invaluable Shorpy :: History in HD | Hi-Res Historical Photos
A woman floating in the water at Weeki Wachee Spring, Florida, 1947 Lady in the Water: 1947 by Toni Frissell
Here's yet one more way airlines are diddling with your comfort and your life in order to pinch the very last farthing from your fare:Pilots Say Airlines Are Cutting Fuel Levels Dangerously LowContinued...
Beverly Hillbilly American Royalty in the Making
"I did not make baby with that woman."
Flashback to 1936:Continued...
Every time you think, well, this has got to be the bottom circle of the Obama Nut Roasting Inferno, the ground just falls away below your feet and you know there are miles to fall before you sleep. Today's chapter is the New Obama Salute Movement from some ad agency that wants to get in on the vast branding opportunities implicit in an Obama administration:Continued...
In the past week or so there's been a resurgence in the discussion of how one conducts one's political life when one holds conservative beliefs while living deep within rabid liberal enclaves, enclaves that can punish one's livelihood, social life and even children, when a free American citizen freely expresses their political beliefs.Continued...
20 Minutes well spent on the next 5000 days:
Kevin Kelly on the next 5,000 days of the web | Video on TED.com At the 2007 EG conference, Kevin Kelly shares a fun stat: The World Wide Web, as we know it, is only 5,000 days old. Now, Kelly asks, how can we predict what's coming in the next 5,000 days?One hundred billion clicks per day. "What we're getting out of all these inventions is one machine." "It uses 5% of all the electricity on the planet." A brilliant talk by a brilliant man. Check it out.
"When all of the rest of the civilized world, as well as the Marxist world, was tossing God into the dustbin of history, Solzhenitsyn realized that only God really matters. He chided the West for embracing materialism and forgetting God, a lesson that is just as true today as thirty years ago." - Bruce Walker, "Death of a Giant"
Seen at the Fremont Flea Market in Seattle this afternoon. I suppose that deciding which side goes in front depends on how you feel about the candidate.
And yes these seem to be for women only. If they'd been made for men the image of them in use it be too terrible to contemplate.