Drooling on the Pillow

Saturday, January 17, 2004

For the Record 

I've been reading the monograph by Jeffrey Record which criticizes the Administration's conceptualization and prosecution of the Global War on Terror (GWOT).

Hamas, Hezbollah and the PLO perform two roles, which are distinct even though they intersect at almost every point: one, as the advocates, protectors and champions of the people of Palestine, and two, as the clients of the major regional enemies of Israel. The second role is the more critical in that it is in this role that they conflict with and confront the United States. Israel's enemies have taken several whacks and been humiliated each time. Now, with the continued support of the U.S. and as a regional nuclear-armed superpower, Israel is more or less invulnerable to a conventional assault from Syria, Iran, Egypt or any of their other enemies. They are, in the manner beautifully described by Mr. Record, virtually helpless to confront the unconventional attacks of HH&P. They cannot be destroyed by HH&P, but their political will can be degraded to the point that their demographic vulnerability will catch up with them much more quickly. Israel's great fear is the acquisition of nuclear capability by a regional rival with ties to HH&P. That could well be the end of them. That paradigm writ large is the rational behind the administration threat assessment in the GWOT and why proliferation is an essential component of their plan.

Friday, January 16, 2004

And a Little Too Much Gamma 

Peggy Noonan says Kerry looks like a sad tree. I always thought he looked like he had been Photoshopped with a little squeeze on the horizontal.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Women are Dogs, Men are Morons. Al Gore . . . 

I have always been fascinated by women who are . . . I'll just say they aren't good looking . . . who exude sexual confidence. While confidence is proverbially sexy, and in truth it does go a long way, there are limits. There are those whose looks so far belie their transparent self-image as to make that dissonance pre-cognitive. I'm talking fat, bad skin, corrupt teeth, paint pealing odor and yet they catch your eye with a smug leer that says "Don't you wish?" Men, speaking as a confidence-challenged specimen, are less vulnerable in this arena than women and for this I'm grateful. But again, there are limits. For men, the comparable blind spot is morons that don't know they're morons.

Then there's Al Gore.

When the 2000 race began I was a George Bush guy, but my feeling was that Gore wouldn't be a disaster. I wasn't going to announce I was moving to Argentina if he won. A hawkish democrat, lifelong moderate on social issues, experienced, intelligent and hard working. So what if he sucks all the oxygen out of a room? We would survive.

By the end of the second debate I was ready to vote for Roseann Barr before I'd pull the lever for the guy. Refitting himself as William Jennings Bryan was bad enough. It was the crack that appeared down the front of his face and the unleashing of the Inner Al that put me off. It was as if he woke up one morning and thought "Who says I don't have charisma?" The Kiss. The clothes. Looming over Bush at the debates. Look out, voters, it's Alpha Al.

Here was the most affectless politician since Calvin Coolidge strutting around like Hans and Franz, playing his idea of a dynamic male. It was embarrassing to watch and a little disturbing to contemplate a man with so little awareness of himself in the Oval Office. The whole campaign was one long Nixon "Sock it to me!" moment.

I don't know what to think of him now. Maybe he figures he made such a jackass of himself he's stuck with Gore.2 for the rest of his life. Maybe its a late mid-life thing. Maybe he really believes he's a new man. I wish it didn't matter, but one way or another, he's going to be a player in 2008.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

And You Have 35 Words for Potato Chianti 

Lane was helping out at Grace's first grade class for a couple of hours yesterday when one kid remonstrated another for being slow in completing her clay snail. The upbraided kid, now sorely aggrieved, stood up and announced, "I am Italian and Irish and in my culture when you say I'm slow you hurt my feelings."


As you can imagine, it was difficult to formulate a response to that for my wife, much less the (now) offending child.

First let me say that this is an excellent charter school and Grace has a wonderful teacher. She's doing great

However, we've run into this a few times with Grace and observed it a number of times in her dealings with her classmates. The children learn a vocabulary of victimhood that they quickly learn to use to rationalize any behavior that is challenged. Last week I was giving Grace a talking to about some (rare) misbehavior. She later reported to Lane that the problem was that I should have calmed down and that I didn't try hard enough to understand her. I think I got her message, though. I was a stupid old poopy-head or words to that effect.

Of course, all these things they're teaching the kids are important and appropriate. Culture is important and interesting and people should calmly try to understand each other when conflict arises. But when the kids use these truisms to evade responsibility its more important to challenge them every time. Otherwise, we're raising a generation of Rosie Sharptons

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Re: Paul O'Neill 

The name David Stockman ring a bell?
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