Who Doesn't Love Katharine McPhee?



I cannot believe that I just had this argument with a man at the market down the road from where I live--an argument that did not end in shoving and yelling, but, rather, ended with him in tears, fleeing the parking lot in his silver Jaguar.
He said the best thing that ever happened to this country was the importation of the Jaguar. Wrong!

The BEST thing that ever happened to this country?
Katharine McPhee!

I wonder if she is this bubbly in person. Artistic types are usually sullen and like to kick things.

I once knew a girl who could sing like one of the Andrews Sisters--they were my Father's favorite singing group. I can't remember which one of the Andrews Sisters she sounded like--every time you heard them singing, it was all three of them together and it was very confusing.

I would be willing to bet that if a terrorist was hugged by Katharine McPhee, that terrorist would cease to be angry, would cease to be in the Jihad sort of way, and would likely go out and get some coffee and relax with a good book.







The Best Film of the Year is The Fantastic Mr. Fox

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

I don’t do film reviews.

I do go out and see films. I love to watch films when I have the chance. I cannot claim to have seen enough films this year to make more than a passing, half-hearted attempt at gauging what will win an Academy Award. I don’t even know if this film even qualifies, but I don’t care. I saw this entirely by accident in a crappy theater with terrible seats, a tin-horn sound system, and on a screen best described as two king sized beds side by side. Thin, narrow, and poorly illuminated as well. And, despite that, I was enthralled. Quality beat the presentation by a country mile.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox is the best film of the year, and it is the best film I’ve seen since I can remember. It is so unique and well done, I can’t compare it to anything else I’ve ever seen. It compares well to two other films by the same folks—Chicken Run and the Wallace and Gromit film from a few years ago. I hate computer animated films, or films with too many special effects, but I like the animation techniques in all of these films, and it really takes on a new life with The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Deliberately retro, almost intentionally cheesy in some ways, but brilliant to look at.

The voice acting though, is the best. The interplay between Mr. George Clooney and everyone else is so subtle and dead-on that it is not to be believed. There is so much real chemistry between the actors, even when handed nothing but a script and a microphone. There is not enough attention given to voice acting, I believe. It can either work or fall completely flat and sound forced. What Clooney does is to refuse to rush or push anything. He just lives within the sound of his own voice here. He is so capably complemented by Meryl Streep and Jason Schwartzman that it really does create something unique.

And Hollywood doesn’t give us unique very often. Nor does it give us quality when cheap and loud can be handed out in buckets. The Fantastic Mr. Fox has originality and quality embedded into it. The sprawling sets, the finite detail, and the delight of watching the miserable villains we see in this film are so rewarding. Political correctness goes out the window in this film. Someone had a snit over much of what we see in it—a Hollywood snit backed by focus-group research. Thank God Anderson won as many fights here as he did. I don’t know if he won them all, but he had to have won quite a few.

I think the film that I can compare it to, favorably, is Miller’s Crossing, with a loopy, invented language all its own and characters that are fleshed out and real. There are more ideas explored in the first five minutes of this film than you will see considered in more than half the films that are out right now, combined.

It truly is the best film of the year and I don’t say that lightly. It is an absolute triumph of filmmaking. It makes up for a year in which crap has been king. Do we need to see Robin Williams in anything anymore? Nope. Do we need any more Seth Rogen films? Not on your life. Do we need to hear anything else from Jennifer Aniston and her pals who make films no one remembers? No, and she’s really getting old fast, isn’t she, the poor girl. And I’ll tell you what absolutely hit me—the preview for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland played before The Fantastic Mr. Fox. It shouldn’t have.

Tim Burton should run screaming from this film and get those previews pulled. You cannot compare the randomly arranged muck of Tim Burton’s shit sandwich school of filmmaking with anything related to what Wes Anderson did with The Fantastic Mr. Fox. I realize it was a trailer, but it was a bad trailer. It was cut with a dull butter knife. Alice in Wonderland looked like Johnny Depp’s worst attempt at being mannered and weird since about twenty minutes ago. Really, can’t anyone see through his schtick by now? He’s still playing Benny and Joon for you suckers, complete with hangdog looks and someone else’s ideas. All of the characters in the forthcoming Alice film looked like they were done ten years ago by a terrible designer on the wrong computers. Depp looked like he had a flattened carrot on his head and as if he had insisted upon wearing porn star makeup, complete with a dashing smear in the wrong place. The Cheshire Cat looked like someone’s stuffed kitty. It was horrific and dull looking—much like everything else Tim Burton has been doing since Batman. The presence of Depp alone will bring in the money, but for what? For something pedestrian and half-baked? That’s just sad.

I marveled at the fact, leaving the theater, that Anderson absolutely owns Burton now. Forget the money and the numbers—Anderson owns everyone now. He’s done something that will force everyone to tear up whatever they’re doing and try much harder.

Posted via web from An American Lion is on Posterous

Untitled

The driveway of one of the homes in Florida owned by Tiger Woods

How is it that someone involved in a car crash that damaged property and sent someone to the Emergency Room can tell the cops to shove it three days in a row? I would have to say that this is just too bad for you, Johnny Law. You’ve finally met the one American who doesn’t have to answer your nosy questions and put up with your nonsense. Take a walk, Johnny Law, and don’t bother coming back to the property to ask your ridiculous questions.

The only reason why the police want to talk to Tiger Woods is because they want to know what happened:

Tiger Woods says the car crash that sent him to the hospital is his fault and has become embarrassing to him and his family, and for the third straight day canceled a meeting with state troopers.

Sgt. Kim Montes of the Florida Highway Patrol said Woods’ lawyer did not reschedule the meeting.

In a statement posted Sunday on his Web site about an hour before he was meet with troopers, Woods says his wife, Elin, acted “courageously” when she saw that he was hurt. He says any other assertion is “absolutely false.”

Woods says he understands there is curiosity about the accident. He says the “malicious” rumors circulating about him and his family are irresponsible.

The world’s No. 1 golfer says he has cuts and bruising and is “pretty sore.”

Woods and his wife were expected to talk to police for the first time Sunday, breaking a two-day silence that has only fueled speculation about his early morning accident, why he left the house at that hour, where he was going and whether an argument preceded the crash.

Montes said FHP investigations into minor collisions don’t normally drag on for days, but this isn’t the first time that one has stretched on.

“It’s unusual, but I will say it’s happened before,” Montes said Sunday. “This is not the first time that we’ve gone back to get a statement from a driver. … We try and give the driver every opportunity to tell us their side of the story before we complete our investigation.”

She has said Woods is not required to give a statement, only his driver’s license, insurance and registration of the SUV, which was towed to a private yard with damage to the front and both back-seat windows broken.

Give me a break. The favoritism being granted here is blatantly obvious to anyone with a sense of fairness. If Tiger Woods just happened to be anyone else, and yes, there’s a racial subtext here that makes the debate ugly on purpose, so I won’t go there, the cops would have carried him out of his home in handcuffs, bloody lump on his head, optional. People in this country are arrested and taken to jail every day for a whole lot less than destroying property in the middle of the night after failing to negotiate something as difficult as a driveway (the one pictured above probably isn’t the one, but still). Contrast this with how Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. was treated and then get back to me on how the cops in that particular part of Florida aren’t walking around on their knees, ready to do the bidding of the wealthy. Whoops, I went there. Well, let me say this—if this was Jack Nicklaus or John Daly, I would feel exactly the same way. Race shouldn’t matter, but, because of all that has happened in this country, it does matter. Too bad we can’t subtract it from this story entirely.

Tiger Woods is in trouble, but the law won’t catch up to him, thanks to his money. Remember that the next time someone lectures you about how we’re all equal in the eyes of the law.

Posted via web from An American Lion is on Posterous

The Fantastic Mr. Fox is the Best Film of the Year

The Fantastic Mr. Fox


I don’t do film reviews.


I do go out and see films. I love to watch films when I have the chance. I cannot claim to have seen enough films this year to make more than a passing, half-hearted attempt at gauging what will win an Academy Award. I don’t even know if this film even qualifies, but I don’t care. I saw this entirely by accident in a crappy theater with terrible seats, a tin-horn sound system, and on a screen best described as two king sized beds side by side. Thin, narrow, and poorly illuminated as well. And, despite that, I was enthralled. Quality beat the presentation by a country mile.


The Fantastic Mr. Fox is the best film of the year, and it is the best film I’ve seen since I can remember. It is so unique and well done, I can’t compare it to anything else I’ve ever seen. It compares well to two other films by the same folks—Chicken Run and the Wallace and Gromit film from a few years ago. I hate computer animated films, or films with too many special effects, but I like the animation techniques in all of these films, and it really takes on a new life with The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Deliberately retro, almost intentionally cheesy in some ways, but brilliant to look at.


The voice acting though, is the best. The interplay between Mr. George Clooney and everyone else is so subtle and dead-on that it is not to be believed. There is so much real chemistry between the actors, even when handed nothing but a script and a microphone. There is not enough attention given to voice acting, I believe. It can either work or fall completely flat and sound forced. What Clooney does is to refuse to rush or push anything. He just lives within the sound of his own voice here. He is so capably complemented by Meryl Streep and Jason Schwartzman that it really does create something unique.


And Hollywood doesn’t give us unique very often. Nor does it give us quality when cheap and loud can be handed out in buckets. The Fantastic Mr. Fox has originality and quality embedded into it. The sprawling sets, the finite detail, and the delight of watching the miserable villains we see in this film are so rewarding. Political correctness goes out the window in this film. Someone had a snit over much of what we see in it—a Hollywood snit backed by focus-group research. Thank God Anderson won as many fights here as he did. I don’t know if he won them all, but he had to have won quite a few.


I think the film that I can compare it to, favorably, is Miller’s Crossing, with a loopy, invented language all its own and characters that are fleshed out and real. There are more ideas explored in the first five minutes of this film than you will see considered in more than half the films that are out right now, combined.


It truly is the best film of the year and I don’t say that lightly. It is an absolute triumph of filmmaking. It makes up for a year in which crap has been king. Do we need to see Robin Williams in anything anymore? Nope. Do we need any more Seth Rogen films? Not on your life. Do we need to hear anything else from Jennifer Aniston and her pals who make films no one remembers? No, and she’s really getting old fast, isn’t she, the poor girl. And I’ll tell you what absolutely hit me—the preview for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland played before The Fantastic Mr. Fox. It shouldn’t have.


Tim Burton should run screaming from this film and get those previews pulled. You cannot compare the randomly arranged muck of Tim Burton’s shit sandwich school of filmmaking with anything related to what Wes Anderson did with The Fantastic Mr. Fox. I realize it was a trailer, but it was a bad trailer. It was cut with a dull butter knife. Alice in Wonderland looked like Johnny Depp’s worst attempt at being mannered and weird since about twenty minutes ago. Really, can’t anyone see through his schtick by now? He’s still playing Benny and Joon for you suckers, complete with hangdog looks and someone else’s ideas. All of the characters in the forthcoming Alice film looked like they were done ten years ago by a terrible designer on the wrong computers. Depp looked like he had a flattened carrot on his head and as if he had insisted upon wearing porn star makeup, complete with a dashing smear in the wrong place. The Cheshire Cat looked like someone’s stuffed kitty. It was horrific and dull looking—much like everything else Tim Burton has been doing since Batman. The presence of Depp alone will bring in the money, but for what? For something pedestrian and half-baked? That’s just sad.


I marveled at the fact, leaving the theater, that Anderson absolutely owns Burton now. Forget the money and the numbers—Anderson owns everyone now. He’s done something that will force everyone to tear up whatever they’re doing and try much harder.

Too Soon To Tell For Michigan State Men's Basketball

When I saw Michigan State play earlier this season, I said to myself, there's no way this is a number two team right now:

Erving Walker hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:56 left and Florida hung on to upset No. 2 Michigan State 77-74 on Friday night in the Legends Classic. Walker finished with 12 points to help the Gators (5-0) remain undefeated. Durrell Summers missed two last-gasp 3-point attempts in the final minute. The Spartans (4-1) missed their chance to give coach Tom Izzo a record 341 victories at the school. Izzo will get another chance Saturday. Chandler Parsons scored 14 points to lead the Gators. Walker hit his 3 from beyond NBA range in front of Florida's bench for a 72-71 lead. Kalin Lucas scored 20 points for the Spartans. The Gators will play Rutgers in the championship game. Michigan State was knocked off because of some incredibly sloppy play. They hacked the Gators with bad fouls down the stretch and committed a whopping 23 turnovers. The Spartans also missed eight of 10 3-point attempts.
That's not to say that Florida is automatically that great, either. I hate early season rankings. It's nice to get some attention and give the players something to defend, but it seems unrealistic to say that Michigan State is now going to have something of a letdown of a season if they don't climb back up in the rankings. Wait until they have a half dozen Big Ten games under their belt. What I'd really like to see are games with teams from all the big conferences in the next few weeks before I sit down and start thinking about who's good and who isn't.

Posted via web from TalkingSmackAboutSports

Something Crass This Way Comes

I don't know what else to add. The Salahis may very well be supporters of President Obama. Too bad their quest for fame and for status have inadvertently cheapened the office of the presidency. Too bad their actions have exposed a glaring fault in the way that the Secret Service is protecting the President. I don't think anyone--anyone--could have gotten this close to President Bush by lying their way or bluffing their way past a Secret Service check point. And then to stand there, and shake his hand, while he stands next to another head of state?

Where is your shame, ma'am? Where is your sense of personal shame and responsibility? Do you have no idea what you did? Are you that irresponsible and childish and caught up in yourself that you can't think past your own cloying attempt at getting on a television show or elevating your status in the rarified air of D-list Washington D.C. celebrity?

What makes this different is that it happened at the White House. At a political function elsewhere in the country? Still not good, but that places the story in a slightly different context. This was a state dinner where an important ally, India, was feted. And how do you think they feel, given the past year of heightened anxiety in India after the Mumbai attacks, to see that these cheap, unsavory people were able to get this close to the President and their Prime Minister?

This was a stunt gone awry, and it happened because of a sickening quest for fame and attention and status. If I were the President, I would wonder what the hell is going on with the Secret Service. I would expect people to be fired or disciplined here. I don't think a reasonable American would conclude that this was a harmless gatecrashing prank or something funny. I think this was a very serious breach of security, happening at a very tense time in American history.

Posted via web from An American Lion is on Posterous

Modern American Attention Whores

One of these people wasn’t invited to the Ball, and no, I’m not talking about Joe Biden

Really, what’s going on in Washington D.C. these days? I refuse to go there. It’s just not my thing anymore.

Attention whores always annoy me (the blonde, not Joe Biden, by the way).

A couple in the running for a spot on the reality television show “Housewives of Washington” may have crashed the state dinner last night at the White House, the Washington Post reports.

Tareq and Michaele Salehi were not on the invite list, according to a White House official, but posted pictures of themselves at last night’s event to their shared Facebook page.

One of the pictures shows them with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, described as “Ron Emanuel” in the caption.

I have the photo—why doesn’t CBS News? Are they that lazy?

U.S. Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan told CBS News that initial findings suggest a Secret Service checkpoint at the party “did not follow proper procedures” and may have permitted them admission to the dinner.

The spokesman says the Secret Service Office of Professional Responsibility has been directed to conduct “a comprehensive review” of the incident.

But Donovan is emphatic in stating that the Salahis, “went through magnetometers and other levels of security, as did all guests attending the dinner.”

Wow. And there’s a pretty good chance they weren’t the only ones. But, to be fair, the Salahis have been photographed with President Clinton, Prince Charles, and a host of other Washington D.C. luminaries—even John McCain, if you can believe it. They’re not exactly nobodies and they’re not exactly “reality show” fodder. They’re more like B-list or C-list Washington D.C. flunkies. They’re not Omarosa, in other words, begging for clothes and hustling for attention. 

Do we even have a Secret Service anymore? Is the President being guarded by a bunch of thick-necked Pinkertons?

Posted via web from An American Lion is on Posterous

Learn the Difference Between a Prostitute and a Whore

What do you do for money, honey?

There is a non-scandal brewing over the choice of words used to describe Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu. Apparently, some talk radio hosts used a shocking term for her, and the liberal media jumped all over it like catnip. Cue the phony outrage:

Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh make deeply offensive comments on a near-daily basis on their respective radio programs. Mostly, I don't feel the need to draw attention to them. But yesterday both men crossed into completely unacceptable territory. Followers of the health-care debate will know that Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu is high on the list of moderate Democrats who may ultimately vote against the bill. On Saturday, she was the second-to-last senator to lend her vote to a motion to open debate on the bill. Part of her motivation to consent came form a concession she successfully extracted from leadership $300 million to pluga gaping hole in Louisiana's budget, a state still suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the botched emergency response to that crisis. The formula that determines federal Medicaid funding counted one-time post-Katrina aid to Louisiana as an increase in household income, thus causing the budget shortfall. The funds will help cover medical costs for the poor and uninsured, which, in part thanks to Katrina, Louisiana has in spades. Landrieu says that Louisiana's Republican Governor Bobby Jindal had explicitly asked her to pursue these funds. Sources on Capitol Hill confirm that Jindal had been pressuring Landrieu on the issue for months.

Such a deal shouldn't be a surprise. Like it or not, it's routine practice on Capitol Hill to trade your vote for something that helps your state. That's just the cost of doing business in D.C. And yet Landrieu's actions prompted Beck and Limbaugh to call her a prostitute. Beck likened her to a high-class hooker, saying, "She may be easy, but she ain't cheap." Limbaugh dubbed her "the most expensive prostitute in the history of prostitutes." (Keep in mind though, that Landrieu still hasn't committed to voting for final passage of the health-care bill. She's openly declared that she still has reservations about the bill. Saturday's vote was simply about opening debate.)

What that makes here is a whore, not a prostitute. A whore has no scruples, and will do anything to get something from someone--hence, Landrieu is a whore for attention, and wants whatever she can get, and, like Lucy with the football, she'll take everything they give her and promise the moon and then give everyone the high hat. A prostitute has sex with people for money. Radio talk show hosts a whores for ratings. Everything they do is designed to create phony issues. Anyone who takes them seriously is not a serious person, in and of themselves.

The problem is, whore sounds worse than prostitute, and men can certainly be whores. Man-whores abound in places like Washington D.C. and you can scarcely go a few blocks without running over someone who is willing to whore themselves out to a lobbying firm, a head of state, a media company, or a tourist. We have a huge problem with men and women whoring themselves out for cash in Washington D.C. Don't hold your breath--no one cares and no one is doing anything about it.

It's never a nice thing to call someone names, however. It would be better if the good Senator simply acted like a responsible steward of her responsibilities and voted according to her own convictions. Did she have an internal struggle with the idea of voting to get money that might, in the long run, be better spent or not spent at all? Did she put self-interest ahead of the good of the country? She is there to represent her constituents; that she traded her vote to help them is what it is, and that is, a transaction for money. We sometimes put politicians in jail for that sort of thing, or perhaps I have that backwards. Can you trade your vote for money? Can you sell your vote as a U.S. Senator for $300 million dollars, even if none of it goes to you? Because, I can guarantee you, if $300 million dollars goes back to the state of Louisiana, a very small chunk of that is going to go right back to Landrieu is some way, either as a donation to her re-election campaign, as funds spent on something that benefits her business interests, or to hire people who will then owe her some sort of patronage favor.

All of her previous statements about honor and integrity are now the most laughable form of hypocrisy. She can be bought with legislation, and I guess that makes us a Republic.

Posted via web from An American Lion is on Posterous

Phillip Carter Walks Away From the Obama Administration

Phillip Carter

This is far more devastating than I think people realize. Phillip Carter's resignation from the Obama Administration is a crucial loss on the road to applying the rule of law to the situation at Guantanamo and to the detainees in American custody. This is ten times more devastating than the resignation of Matthew Hoh and it is a troubling sign for the future of this Administration:

The Pentagon's top detainee affairs policy appointee has quit the Defense Department just seven months into the job, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday.

Phillip Carter, a former Army captain and Iraq War veteran, had been an outspoken critic of Bush-era war on terror detention policy as an attorney and blogging commentator.

He got the job of U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs in April, months after President Barack Obama pledged to empty the detention center at Guantánamo. He quit without explanation just days after Obama confirmed in aninterview with Fox News in Beijing that his administration would miss its Jan. 22 Guantánamo closure deadline.

The development apparently took the Department of Defense by surprise. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman declined to say precisely when Carter submitted the resignation, or where he last traveled in a job that took him frequently to Afghanistan, Iraq and the U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba.

As of yet, I don't see where Carter has spoken out publicly. He could be entirely on board with the Obama Administration, and may have, indeed, resigned because of another issue.

Carter is a known blogger and writer on the issues at hand, leaving his Intel Dump blog at the Washington Post in 2008 after rising to prominence as one of the early voices opposing the Iraq War, where he served. He was not a contractor or a temporary employee, like Hoh. He was a fairly prominent political appointee with a sterling resume:

Phillip Carter was appointed as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Policy on April 27, 2009. In this capacity, he is responsible for developing policy recommendations and coordinating global policy guidance relating to detainees. Mr. Carter practiced government contracts and national security law with McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP.  His practice included work with major defense and aerospace firms, focused on government contracts compliance, export controls, security issues, and contractor support to overseas contingency operations. 

Mr. Carter wrote amicus curiae briefs in the landmark national security cases FAIR vs. Rumsfeld and Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld, and has participated in various working groups studying the issue of private military contractors on the battlefield.

Mr. Carter served nine years in the Army, in the active, reserve and National Guard components.  During his military career, he served in a number of military police, civil affairs and infantry units, including duty in the Republic of Korea, Iraq, and in the United States. From 2005-2006, he served as operations officer for an adviser team embedded with the police in Iraq’s Diyala province, where he worked closely with the Iraqi police, provincial courts, jails, and government, as well as the State Department-led Provincial Reconstruction Team, to establish and promote the rule of law.  Mr. Carter’s military awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation (2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Achievement Medal (1 Oak Leaf Cluster), Iraq Campaign Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, and Combat Action Badge.

The Obama Administration has either lost a talented and dedicated member or it has gained a very eloquent and credible critic of a highly unpopular policy, and we will know soon enough what Mr. Carter thinks of what has been going on. So far, he has resisted appearing everywhere and anywhere with his breathless assessment.

Posted via web from An American Lion is on Posterous

The Most Damaging Attacks Come From the Left

Hope is Fading Fast

This is why there is no credible or real opposition from the Republican Party or from the conservative movement as a whole:

It’s been easily a decade since Freshjive did something to truly get collective panties in a bunch. But this new “Hope Is Fading Fast” shirt is sure to have some folks up in arms. The real question is, would you wear it?

Basically, the “Freshjive” people have these grievances against the Obama Administration: 

  • consolidates a multi-tiered “state always wins” system of “justice”
  • continues to assert a radical version of the “state secrets” privelidge
  • nominates a pesticide pushing lobbyist to a top agriculture post, breaking once again his campaign promise not to hire lobbyists
  • nominates Bush’s final spokesliar, Dana Perino, to the Broadcasting Board of Governors
  • breaks his promise to close Guantanamo prison within a year, even as people long known to be innocent still languish there- not to mention an expasion of that other “Guantanamo” at Bagram Air Base
  • protects torturers from accountability
  • and contemplates a massive escalation in Afghanistan
  • Now, contrast that with something from Larry Johnson’s “No Quarter:”

    1.Select government reports to the contrary, the massive failings within the financial regulatory structure with specific emphasis on FINRA and the SEC.

    2. Goldman Sachs CEO Llloyd Blankfein’s confession just this week that Goldman had engaged in activities that were clearly wrong and led to the economic crisis.

    3.I have no doubt that many within our nation believe the Obama administration fundamentally believes in the principle of redistributing wealth via a number of programs. This emphasis on redistribution in one direction while simultaneously bailing out financial institutions leaves a very large percentage of those in the middle and on both sides of the aisle feeling totally disenfranchised. Not only do these people feel disenfranchised, but they feel that the government is not being honest with them regarding its motivations.

    Now, ask yourself this.

    Who nailed it?

    The attack from the left absolutely nails the Obama Administration. The attack from the “center,” which is where I’ll put the above, whiffs and misses.

    Oh, from the right? From the right, you ask?

    Barack Obama and his liberal allies do not even pretend to care that these are anything other than show trials that will end in the deaths of the defendants. It needs to be said—very clearly and plainly—that the reason the Administration decided to avoid the proper forum of a military tribunal for these terrorists is a warped, bitter desire carry out yet another partisan attack against the successful work of their predecessors. And in a sad way, it makes sense.

    If the radical leftists in the White House cannot use this circus to publicly invalidate the eight years of successful tactics and strategies developed during the post-9/11 Bush years, then they cannot easily return to the 9/10, head-in-the-sand, terrorism-is-a-law-enforcement-problem mentality that is their comfort zone.

    No. No, that does not nail it like the attack from Freshjive does. If anything, that makes people want to run out and vote for President Obama, and it isn’t even election day yet. It is much more effective to go with the rule of law than against it, and it is much more effective to go with the idea that a broad international footprint with an overstretched military that is costing us billions works against us rather than for us. And, of course, we already know that the more effective way to fight terrorism is with law enforcement techniques, not with putting several hundred thousand U.S. troops halfway around the globe.

    So far, there are more credible attacks coming from the left than from the center or the right. Sometimes, you just have to play to your base. Like it or not, it did work pretty well for President Bush to play to his base, and to keep them as happy as he could for as long as he did. Despite empirical evidence to the contrary, they still carry water for him.

    Posted via web from An American Lion is on Posterous

    Sarah Palin's Not The Only One Burned by the C.B. Radio

    CB Radio Setup

    I have to admit that, while coming of age and being a man in the 1970s, I engaged in some rather unsavory behavior. I wrecked a lot of women. I slept with a lot of sports cars. I ate a lot of meat. I talked on the C.B. radio.

    Father became enamored the the C.B. radio when he discovered that, relatively cheaply, he could put a C.B. radio inside of the cab of each of the riot control vehicles we were selling and turn, through the miracle of communications, six vehicles into a coordinated, powerful, crowd-flattening juggernaut.

    That meant that all of us boys, and my sister Diedre, had to learn how to properly enter a C.B. radio network, use the appropriate 10-whatever codes, and properly leave the network by signing off. For example, for me to call up Father and tell him that the transmission was out on one of our R-362 Crowd Sweeper vehicles, I would have to ask for permission to enter the net. I would have to say something like,

    10-41 [radio test], this is Sugar Foot, over (Sugar Foot was my “handle”).

    Father would reply,

    10-4, Sugar Foot, this is Tater Tot (Father’s “handle”). 10-67(prepare to copy message), 10-8 (stand by).

    An hour or so would go by. I’d do a 10-41 again, and then Father would wake up and holler at me in the clear.

    These lengthy harangues in the clear, abandoning all pretense of using 10 signals, would inevitably end up being recorded by HAM radio operators all over the Northeastern United States. For years, during the 1980s, Father’s lengthy diatribes were handed around at trade shows and exchanged via mailing lists. He is widely credited with inventing the words “Fuck Stick” and “Pigeon Fucking Toad.”

    I can certainly see how this exact same thing could have happened to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin:

    […] a few years later the young Sarah became enamored of Todd Palin, a quiet boy who’d moved to town to play basketball at the high school. He drove Sarah to practice. He owned both a car and a truck. He was polite. Her family approved. All was great.

    But with four teenagers in the Heath household, calls to members of the opposite sex on their single phone line were banned. Sarah and Todd found a way around this when they discovered that if they stood on their respective back porches they could talk to each other on the VHF radios he used on his fishing boat in the summer.

    They talked that way for months – until they discovered that the commercial trucks barreling through towns could hear them.

    Instead of love, I experienced nothing but abuse on the C.B. radio. And, just like poor Miss Palin, the haters were listening and recording my conversations. Somewhere, those love notes over the open frequencies were recorded by horny truckers, and put on cassette tapes, and filed away. For her sake, I hope they don’t pop up at the next Republican National Convention.

    I have a blog, and God, I love my blog. I love it MORE than my children, sir. As God as my witness, yes, yes I do...

    Posted via web from An American Lion is on Posterous

    Frat Boy Pot Luck Rampage

    I'm surprised there aren't more stories like this:

    According to a report by the Michigan State student newspaper, 15-20 males entered a campus dormitory and assaulted an injured male and female students. Among the assailants, the State News reported, were unnamed football players according to witnesses.
    Brent Mitchell, a communication junior who said he was sent to Lansing's Sparrow Hospital after being punched in the face, said some of the men wore ski masks, but others were recognized as football team members. "I walked up and said, 'It isn't worth it.' A guy with dreadlocks hit me and in the scuffle slapped, hit females to get them out of the way," Mitchell said. ... Mitchell said members of his fraternity, Iota Phi Theta, had just finished a potluck event and were folding chairs in the lounge when the men entered. The men said they were looking for a man who had been involved in a spat with one of them the night before during an Iota Phi Theta event at The Small Planet, 16800 Chandler Road, Mitchell said. Mitchell said he was struck after the men realized the person they sought wasn't there. He said the altercation lasted for about a minute before the men left.
    Neither university officials nor campus police would comment on the specifics of the incident.
    Of course not--no one's going to comment on a Frat Boy rampage. The problem here is not athletics, although the involvement of football players will probably lead the simple-minded BACK to that conclusion. The problem here is not even alcohol or fraternity life. The problem here rests with the dubious idea of having a potluck. A potluck? No one--and I mean, no one--in this H1N1, cootie-sharing, hepatitis B-saturated nation should be going to a potluck. No one.

    Posted via web from TalkingSmackAboutSports

    Frat Boy Pot Luck Rampage


    I'm surprised there aren't more stories like this:
    According to a report by the Michigan State student newspaper, 15-20 males entered a campus dormitory and assaulted an injured male and female students.

    Among the assailants, the State News reported, were unnamed football players according to witnesses.
    Brent Mitchell, a communication junior who said he was sent to Lansing's Sparrow Hospital after being punched in the face, said some of the men wore ski masks, but others were recognized as football team members.

    "I walked up and said, 'It isn't worth it.' A guy with dreadlocks hit me and in the scuffle slapped, hit females to get them out of the way," Mitchell said.

    ...

    Mitchell said members of his fraternity, Iota Phi Theta, had just finished a potluck event and were folding chairs in the lounge when the men entered. The men said they were looking for a man who had been involved in a spat with one of them the night before during an Iota Phi Theta event at The Small Planet, 16800 Chandler Road, Mitchell said.

    Mitchell said he was struck after the men realized the person they sought wasn't there. He said the altercation lasted for about a minute before the men left.

    Neither university officials nor campus police would comment on the specifics of the incident.

    Of course not--no one's going to comment on a Frat Boy rampage. The problem here is not athletics, although the involvement of football players will probably lead the simple-minded BACK to that conclusion. The problem here is not even alcohol or fraternity life. The problem here rests with the dubious idea of having a potluck.

    A potluck?

    No one--and I mean, no one--in this H1N1, cootie-sharing, hepatitis B-saturated nation should be going to a potluck. No one.

    Stormy Daniels Should Run For the United States Senate

    Stormy Daniels

    Stormy Daniels

    Every time I go look and see if Stormy Daniels is still running for the U.S. Senate, I see nothing that gives me a warm and fuzzy.

     Stormy Daniels

    Well, Stormy Daniels should run for the Senate. She'd class the place up.

    Stormy Daniels Stormy Daniels

    Stormy Daniels

    Stormy Daniels

    Stormy Daniels has a gallery here...

    Posted via web from Safe For Work Hotties

    Always Fire the People Who Notice You Have Friends Who Are Corrupt

    You know, when people say that we really have gotten “change” since President Obama took over, I always laugh and call them names. Well, not really. But I do laugh. I do note that President Obama is maintaining a perfect “C” average. He is never really doing the right thing, never doing anything entirely wrong, and is still getting by on looks, rhetoric and speeches when he should be burying the Republican Party with answers, solutions, programs, and achievements.

    I have noticed that, if you happen to point out that one of his friends is a corrupt individual, they will cut you to pieces and destroy you—shades of Karl Rove—and they will get away with it because we have little or no functioning or working media anymore:

    A GOP congressional report accuses the White House of doing favors for Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA star and prominent ally of President Barack Obama.

    The report was spearheaded by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

    The investigation also found evidence that D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee handled “damage control” after allegations surfaced of sexual misconduct against Johnson, her now-fiancé.

    The probe was launched after an AmeriCorps inspector general, Gerald Walpin, was abruptly fired in June by White House lawyer Norm Eisen. Walpin, who was appointed to his position during the Bush administration, was pursuing allegations that Johnson misused some of the $800,000 in federal AmeriCorps money provided to St. Hope Academy, a nonprofit school he headed for several years.

    Among the accusations: AmeriCorps-paid volunteers ran personal errands for Johnson, washed his car and engaged in political activities.

    Walpin’s firing caused an uproar, with his defenders arguing that his removal was politically motivated and that Walpin was an effective watchdog who blew the whistle on the president’s friends and pet causes.

    You have to be fair and cite the fact that Republicans in Congress acquiesced to far too much of what Rove did in their name, and you have to accept the criticism that they are without credibility on this issue. As I pointed out when Walpin was fired, they destroyed the man, personally and professionally:

    When you hear Mr. Walpin’s side, you come away with a different view:

    “Anybody who’s heard me speaking more than I’m used to speaking on radio and TV in recent days, obviously under great pressure from what happened would clearly know that I know what I’m saying and what I’m doing and I’m not incoherent,” Walpin told POLITICO. “There’s nothing confusing about malfeasance and there’s nothing confusing about what appears to be the fact that they terminated me because I was doing my job because the White House wanted to protect people who proclaim they are friends of the White House.”

    Walpin said he did recall a board meeting where he became frustrated over “constant interruption…consistently breaking up my organization.”

    Asked about the May 20 session, Walpin said, “It’s certainly possible at that meeting I had a bug and was tired. I can’t remember right now…All I can say is this is a weak reed to now be relying on.”

    Walpin said he worked full-time in the Washington office for his first two years as inspector general and only began “teleworking” from New York after members of his staff convinced him to withdraw a resignation he tendered in January. He said he ran his plan to telecommute by the corporation’s acting CEO and general counsel, who had no objections.

    “This is an afterthought,” Walpin said. “The problem isn’t that I’m not there. The problem is that I’m too much there.”

    Walpin has alleged in recent interviews that his removal appeared to be in retaliation two reports he recently produced. One faulted a political supporter of Obama who is now mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson, for misuse of federal Americorps personnel. Another criticized Americorps grants for participants in a City College of New York teacher training program.

    Another man destroyed to protect a friend of the President. I wish it were not so, but this is commonplace in American politics. It is not new.

    What is new is that many people seem to think President Obama is an annointed saint, sent to save us all. No, he’s just a President. They do things like this. They send their minions out to destroy lowly Poindexters and bureaucrats because of political expediency.

    When Republicans do it, it is wrong. When Democrats do it, it is wrong. The only thing that changes is which side of the aisle that the mindless defenders will come from. We are inherently polarized, and reality and facts don’t seem to count for anything anymore. Change the “D” to an “R” and you see all kinds of righteous indignation replacing carefully parsed justifications. It’s merely intellectual dishonesty at work, all of it driven by a bloodlust for holding onto power.

    So, what is Mr. Johnson, the former basketball star, accused of doing:

    During the course of Walpin’s investigation into Johnson’s activities, according to the Grassley-Issa report, Walpin’s team received complaints that Johnson made inappropriate advances toward three young woman involved in the St. Hope program and that Johnson offered at least one of those young women hush money.

    In one particularly incendiary passage in the report, one of the girls who had accused Johnson of inappropriately touching her said she told federal agents that he offered to pay her $1,000 a month to keep quiet.

    Johnson’s spokesman vehemently denied the reports charges.

    “There is absolutely no merit to these politically-motivated allegations,” said Steven Maviglio. “They are categorically false. It is sad and unfortunate that the right-wing minority in Congress is playing politics with rehashed allegations that have been dismissed by professional prosecutors, the Republican U.S. Attorney, and federal officials at AmeriCorps from both political parties.”

    And Ms. Rhee is accused of:

    When the complaints of sexual misconduct were first made, Rhee was a member of the board of St. Hope. A former St. Hope employee told Walpin’s investigators that Rhee “learned of the allegations and played the role of fixer, doing ‘damage control,’” the report states.

    A spokeswoman for the chancellor’s office dismissed the allegations in the report as old news that never amounted to criminal charges against Johnson. 



    “Chancellor Rhee is mentioned in one paragraph of the 62-page Joint Staff Report,” said Jennifer Calloway. “It rehashes old allegations that have long since been dismissed and deemed meritless by local and federal law enforcement officials, including the Sacramento Police Department and the U.S. Attorney.”

    Senator Grassley’s report goes on to say:

    The report accuses the White House Counsel’s Office of withholding information from Congress and misleading investigators after Grassley and Issa questioned Obama’s methods and motives for removing Walpin.

    It also provides new details about the role several other Obama allies played in Walpin’s firing. The then-chairman of the CNCS, a division of AmeriCorps that Walpin was investigating, is Alan Solomant, a prominent Democratic fundraiser and Obama supporter who spoke with Eisen in the White House parking lot hours after hearing Walpin’s objections to a settlement of the St. Hope matter. Solomant shared his concern that Walpin was no longer fit for the job based on his alleged inability to answer questions during the day’s board meeting, the report found.


    Eisen has claimed that the president’s decision to remove Walpin was the result of a thorough review of his performance and fitness to continue serving as an inspector general. He also has said that Walpin’s firing was unanimously supported by the CNCS board.

    I have to say, firing ANY inspector general is going to bring in charges of favoritism, pandering, corruption or whatever else you can throw in there—sodomy and grandstanding also come to mind. You simply cannot just go and fire an IG without expecting some sort of recrimination. The problem here is, Walpin got dangerously close to an Obama confidante, and Chicago-style politics kicked in. Sorry, kids. That won’t play everywhere you try it.

    Posted via web from An American Lion is on Posterous

    Cutting Business Costs With Niche Devices

    Peek Pronto

    I like the idea of having an E-mail only device. I know that runs counter to the common perception that we will all have one "tablet" device that will be our phone, our Internet portal, our business portal, our reader, our everything. That's fine for you, but if I'm running a business, I don't necessarily want to have to foot that bill. There's a device out called the Peek Pronto that does one thing--it gives you E-mail.

    I'm sure there's a flaw in my thinking here, but I can't really figure out where it is:

    Smart phones are getting cheaper and cheaper, with some BlackBerry models available for as little as $30. The monthly bill is another story -- it can be $60 or more for many devices with voice, email and Internet options.

    That's a lot to swallow for a recession-strapped consumer. Enter Peek, a start-up that caters to the user who needs email to stay in touch but doesn't want to spend an arm and a leg on devices or data plans.

    Peek offers its customers unlimited email and text messaging from its devices for as low as $15 a month, or $20 with no contract.

    I decided to test the company's main offering, the Pronto, a handheld mobile email device that costs just $50 when ordered online from Amazon. The company also just launched the Twitter Peek, at $20, which is the first wireless device on the market geared specifically toward Twitter.

    Aesthetically, the Pronto is, quite frankly, adorable. It's about the size of a BlackBerry and comes in red, turquoise or gray. When you turn it on, a graphic featuring the letter "P," with an envelope attached to it, greets you. The Pronto guides you through the process of entering your email address and password so that you're set up to begin writing and receiving messages and importing contacts from your address book.

    With this device you could cut business costs.

    Say you have a business where you have dozens of people who you don't necessarily need to give BlackBerry services or traditional company cell phones but you have no real choice because they need some form of communication with your main office or with a supervisor. What do you do? You give them this device. You give your lower level managers and supervisors the traditional data package, but the drones get these devices.

    Several hundred BlackBerrys or twenty BlackBerrys and 180 of these devices. Yes, I think I'll take those numbers any day.

    Posted via web from An American Lion is on Posterous

    The Cruel Life of a Lizard Smuggler


    Sometimes you get away with it—and reap untold rewards. And then, sometimes, Johnny Law gets up in your business and thwarts your best efforts:
    In an apparently cold-blooded attempt at smuggling, a Lomita man was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport this week with more than a dozen wriggling lizards strapped to his chest.

    Michael Plank, 40, was detained by U.S. Customs agents after they discovered 15 live lizards stuffed into his money belt, officials with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said Friday.

    Plank was returning from Australia on Tuesday when agents found two geckos, 11 skinks and two monitor lizards in his possession. Australian reptiles are strictly regulated, and Plank didn’t have a required export permit, officials said.

    The lizards are valued at $8,500.

    Smuggling wildlife into the U.S. is a felony punishable by a $250,000 fine and up to 20 years in prison. Plank has been released on a $10,000 bond and will be arraigned Dec. 21 in a Los Angeles federal court, authorities said.


    I say, next time, we just let him go. Smuggling lizards is its own harsh reality.

    Disciplinarian or Just a Nasty Human Being


    I have to admit that, until this morning, I knew nothing about Kansas Football Coach Mark Mangino. Now that I do, I wish I was still in my happy, ignorant bubble:

    Former Kansas football players are speaking out about an investigation into allegations coach Mark Mangino has verbally abused or had inappropriate physical contact with players.

    Former Jayhawks linebacker Mike Rivera, who plays for the Tennessee Titans, said Wednesday night he could not speak about the allegations. He plans to have a formal interview on the matter with representatives from Kansas in the next few days.

    But five of Rivera's former teammates said they were not surprised by the investigation launched by athletic director Lew Perkins. And some relayed personal experiences with Mangino.

    Former Kansas wide receiver Raymond Brown, who was a senior last season, said Mangino would often "say personal, hurtful, embarrassing things in front of people."

    Brown cited two examples. He said that once, his younger brother had been shot in the arm in St. Louis. Then came a game.

    "I dropped a pass and [Mangino] was mad," Brown said. "And I said, 'Yes, sir. Yes, sir.' The yelling didn't bother me. But then he said, 'Shut up!' He said, 'If you don't shut up, I'm going to send you back to St. Louis so you can get shot with your homies.' I was irate. I wanted to hurt him to be honest with you."


    Now, is that intended to motivate players? Yes. Is it appropriate? No. It should have been done differently. I think Coach Mangino would do well to change his approach. His approach has taken on a kind of Bobby Knight feeding frenzy situation, and that tends to go downhill fast.

    Being hard on players is necessary. That added extra dose of personal nastiness is what is unacceptable. Constantly telling a player that he will go back to being on the block with his homeys is a tad bit racist, when you think about it. Mangino needs to motivate his players in a more positive way, such as, making them wear pink dresses or walk around with baby bottles stuck in the face guard of their helmets. Humiliate without using personal issues, in other words. Losing has begun to shine a light on Mangino and his methods, and few coaches can stand up to scrutiny when they're losing. Hell, Mangino looks like he's about to explode and go down with a massive coronary anyway.

    Posted via web from TalkingSmackAboutSports

    That Ricky Williams Sure is a Good Football Player

    Given his strange odyssey, games like this one are worth noting:

    Ricky Williams showed he's still got it.

    The 32-year-old Williams rushed for 119 yards and scored three touchdowns, and the Dolphins beat the Carolina Panthers 24-17 on Thursday night for their fourth win in six games to get into the AFC playoff picture.

    A day after learning Brown is lost for the season to a foot injury, the Dolphins (5-5) continued their surge after an 0-3 start behind Williams. The 2002 NFL rushing champion had a receiving and rushing touchdown in the same game for the first time in his career that included a couple of lost seasons.

    "Coach always talks about finishing," Williams said. "Sometimes in this league, in a physical game, it's difficult to finish. I think in the past we've prided ourselves on finishing games and we did a good job tonight."


    There aren't many 32 year-old running backs who could do half of what Williams did against Carolina (yes, the photo above shows Ricky running against Jacksonville; Jacksonville and Carolina occupy the same space in my head).

    Posted via web from TalkingSmackAboutSports

    The Slow Walk to Justice in Baltimore

    Baltimore County Police Helicopter Foxtrot (by cooder70 on Flickr)

    One of the earliest commenters on my site was someone professing to know the woman whose fiance proposed marriage to her by staging a dangerous, ill-advised, and costly stunt to propose to her. The young man, a relative of mildly powerful Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, and a politician in his own right, took twenty days to finally reimburse the city of Baltimore for the cost of using the officers and their helicopter, pictured above, to stage a fake drug raid in Baltimore Harbor.

    Now, finally, over three and a half months since the August 7 incident, a Baltimore police sergeant is being charged:

    Baltimore City police say a sergeant who authorized the use of the department's marine unit as part of a Maryland lawmaker's marriage proposal has been charged with misconduct.

    On Aug. 7, police boarded a boat Delegate Jon Cardin and his fiancee were on with friends in the Inner Harbor and pretended to search for contraband until Cardin popped the question. A police helicopter flew overhead.

    Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Friday that an internal investigation into the event found that the sergeant, who was not identified, "improperly exercised his discretion" in the incident. He said the matter must go to a police trial board.

    Cardin reimbursed police $300 for the incident, gave $1,000 to the department's mounted unit and has repeatedly apologized.

    Ah, the privileges of youth and love. Power and money can get you out of anything in a filthy state like Maryland. Nothing will happen, except for the same slap on the wrist that young Cardin received. Thirteen hundred dollars is what to a wealthy political family? How about community service, probation, a night in the pokey, and a ten thousand dollar fine for wasting the efforts of so many law enforcement personnel? You can get into more trouble by calling 911 to ask for a cheeseburger than you can for scaring the living crap out of your fiance with angry drug cops.

    I have repeatedly told the children that, since Father is no longer living in Northern Virginia at Seizure World, we're leaving. I don't care what it takes--we're leaving Maryland and we're not coming back. It's like living in a toilet, only with more screaming idiots, corruption, bad stores, stumbling drunks and less blue water.

    Posted via web from An American Lion is on Posterous

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    A Man Who Never Should Have Made Major

    This memo about the job performance of Major Nidal Hasan is a kick in the pants:

    The memo obtained by National Public Radio said that Hasan, then a captain, was "counseled for inappropriately discussing religious topics" with patients and went through a remediation program for inappropriate documentation of his handling of a homicidal patient during an emergency room encounter.

    The document said Hasan's remediation on that problem was successful but added that he was placed on administrative probation at the end of the year for not taking and passing the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination. He later corrected that problem as well, the memo said.

    The memo also noted a poor attendance record and lower-than-expected scores on the Psychiatry Resident-In-Training Examination, a yearly exam that Hasan failed to take during one of his residency years.

    In his final year of residency, the memo said, Hasan saw 30 patients in 38 weeks and was required to use elective class time to make up the lost clinic time. And, it said, he missed a night of emergency room on-call duty and did not respond to Moran's pages the next day.

    "These issues demonstrate a lack of professionalism and work ethics," the memo said. "He is able to self-correct with supervision. However, at this point he should not need so much supervision."

    The memo concluded, however, that Hasan's record was not enough to indicate "he is not competent to graduate" or that further academic probation would be helpful.

    I believe it was me who said that whoever signed off on this man's promotion should have ALL of their evaluations looked at again for similar examples of gross incompetence. Major Hasan should never have been promoted; he should never have been allowed to remain in the United States Army. He should have been chaptered for having an inability to adapt to Army life. And he should have been arrested when he didn't report to work or respond to the inquiry of his supervisors. I believe they call that Absent Without Leave, and the Medical Corps had better straighten itself out and rejoin the United States Army no sooner than five minutes ago.

    What a bald-faced outrage.

    Posted via web from An American Lion is on Posterous

    Tiffany Brookes Models Some Marxist Pants

    Tiffany Brookes

    Tiffany Brookes inadvertently models some "Marxist Pants" for us.

    Tiffany Brookes

    Marxist Pants are really just blue jeans that have been intentionally given that "distressed" look in order to make us accept socialism. I kid you not.

    Tiffany Brookes

    Tiffany Brookes just looks fabulous. She's so eager to remove those Marxist Pants, I don't think it really matters at this point.

    Tiffany Brookes

    Tiffany Brookes has a gallery here...

    Posted via web from An American Lion is on Posterous

    Obama Has Owned the Afghan War Since the Campaign

    There was a stark moment of realization that took place over a year ago when Candidate Obama was wiping the floor with Candidate McCain. Deftly using the war in Afghanistan as a way of bolstering his own lack of foreign policy experience, he spelled out what he was going to do. That's what makes this recent dithering so difficult to accept.

    When you see things like this:

    For nearly a week, I have been thinking about a comment my friend and fellow civil-military relations specialist Eliot Cohen made in a Washington Post story about President Obama struggling to come to terms with his role as "commander-in-chief." I am quoted in the story, too, but the part that really gripped me was this quote from Cohen:

    With this decision, he's really going to own this war, and he's going to be sending young men and women to their deaths. And when that realization sets in, it's a very grim thing. He may have known it intellectually before, but what I think is happening is he's learning it viscerally."

    Cohen's larger point, and the general thrust of the article, is spot-on. Throughout the painfully long and awkward Afghan Strategy Review 2.0 -- with all of the back-stabbing leaks and blame-throwing -- it is increasingly clear that the president is visibly wrestling with his commander-in-chief duties, and doing so at a gut level (vice an abstract intellectual level) for the first time.

    I also think that Cohen captures accurately the president's own thinking about the gravity of the choice before him: with his decision, Obama will acknowledge that he "owns this war." I have probably said something similar myself in commentary about the strategy review process. But the more I think about it, the more I think that this insight is misleading in a fundamental way. Obama may well think that he does not yet own the Afghan war and will only own it once he finally decides this issue. But in truth he has "owned" the war for many months now, and it is a dangerous conceit for the president or his team to think otherwise.

    That's where some try to walk it back and say that President Obama hasn't owned the Afghanistan war for as long as he has, in fact, owned it. This stark exchange last month with Senator John McCain highlights the dithering:

    President Obama met with House and Senate leaders of both parties at the White House yesterday to discuss the future of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, and there was at least one pointed exchange.

    Inside the State Dining Room, where the meeting was held, Mr. Obama's Republican opponent in last year's presidential race, Sen. John McCain, told the president that he should not move at a "leisurely pace" on a decision over whether to increase U.S. troops in the region, according to people in the room.

    That comment later drew a sharp response from the president. Mr. Obama said no one felt more urgency than he did about the war, and there would not be nothing leisurely about it.

    McCain has been a very public advocate to increase troop levels in Afghanistan, an approach advocated by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top military commander in the country.

    For the most part, House and Senate leaders emerged from the nearly 90-minute conversation with Mr. Obama offering praise for his candor and interest in listening. But politically speaking, all sides appeared to exit where they entered, with Republicans pushing him to follow his military commanders and Democrats saying he should not be rushed.

    That meeting took place on October 6 and today is November 18. Nothing has been decided, much has been leaked, and the dithering continues. This is a President who fails to understand what it is he owns and doesn't own. He doesn't own Iraq, but he does own Afghanistan. He really took ownership on the day that General David McKiernan was fired. He had de facto ownership on Inauguration Day, of course. But, terms of the way forward and in terms of in the American political arena, he owned Afghanistan after this exchange in the first debate between himself and the hapless Senator John McCain:

    [Jim] LEHRER: ...And it goes to you, Senator Obama, and it’s a — it picks up on a point that’s already been made. Do you think more troops — more U.S. troops should be sent to Afghanistan, how many, and when?

    OBAMA: Yes, I think we need more troops. I’ve been saying that for over a year now.

    And I think that we have to do it as quickly as possible, because it’s been acknowledged by the commanders on the ground the situation is getting worse, not better.

    We had the highest fatalities among U.S. troops this past year than at any time since 2002. And we are seeing a major offensive taking place — Al Qaida and Taliban crossing the border and attacking our troops in a brazen fashion. They are feeling emboldened.

    And we cannot separate Afghanistan from Iraq, because what our commanders have said is we don’t have the troops right now to deal with Afghanistan.

    So I would send two to three additional brigades to Afghanistan. Now, keep in mind that we have four times the number of troops in Iraq, where nobody had anything to do with 9/11 before we went in, where, in fact, there was no Al Qaida before we went in, but we have four times more troops there than we do in Afghanistan.

    And that is a strategic mistake, because every intelligence agency will acknowledge that Al Qaida is the greatest threat against the United States and that Secretary of Defense Gates acknowledged the central front — that the place where we have to deal with these folks is going to be in Afghanistan and in Pakistan.

    So here’s what we have to do comprehensively, though. It’s not just more troops. We have to press the Afghan government to make certain that they are actually working for their people. And I’ve said this to President Karzai.

    Number two, we’ve got to deal with a growing poppy trade that has exploded over the last several years.

    Number three, we’ve got to deal with Pakistan, because Al Qaida and the Taliban have safe havens in Pakistan, across the border in the northwest regions, and although, you know, under George Bush, with the support of Senator McCain, we’ve been giving them $10 billion over the last seven years, they have not done what needs to be done to get rid of those safe havens.

    And until we do, Americans here at home are not going to be safe.

    LEHRER:Afghanistan, Senator McCain?

    MCCAIN: First of all, I won’t repeat the mistake that I regret enormously, and that is, after we were able to help the Afghan freedom fighters and drive the Russians out of Afghanistan, we basically washed our hands of the region.

    And the result over time was the Taliban, Al Qaida, and a lot of the difficulties we are facing today. So we can’t ignore those lessons of history.

    Now, on this issue of aiding Pakistan, if you’re going to aim a gun at somebody, George Shultz, our great secretary of state, told me once, you’d better be prepared to pull the trigger.

    I’m not prepared at this time to cut off aid to Pakistan. So I’m not prepared to threaten it, as Senator Obama apparently wants to do, as he has said that he would announce military strikes into Pakistan.

    We’ve got to get the support of the people of — of Pakistan. He said that he would launch military strikes into Pakistan.

    Now, you don’t do that. You don’t say that out loud. If you have to do things, you have to do things, and you work with the Pakistani government.

    Now, the new president of Pakistan, Kardari (sic), has got his hands full. And this area on the border has not been governed since the days of Alexander the Great.

    I’ve been to Waziristan. I can see how tough that terrain is. It’s ruled by a handful of tribes.

    And, yes, Senator Obama calls for more troops, but what he doesn’t understand, it’s got to be a new strategy, the same strategy that he condemned in Iraq. It’s going to have to be employed in Afghanistan.

    And we’re going to have to help the Pakistanis go into these areas and obtain the allegiance of the people. And it’s going to be tough. They’ve intermarried with Al Qaida and the Taliban. And it’s going to be tough. But we have to get the cooperation of the people in those areas.

    And the Pakistanis are going to have to understand that that bombing in the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad was a signal from the terrorists that they don’t want that government to cooperate with us in combating the Taliban and jihadist elements.

    So we’ve got a lot of work to do in Afghanistan. But I’m confident, now that General Petraeus is in the new position of command, that we will employ a strategy which not only means additional troops — and, by the way, there have been 20,000 additional troops, from 32,000 to 53,000, and there needs to be more.

    So it’s not just the addition of troops that matters. It’s a strategy that will succeed. And Pakistan is a very important element in this. And I know how to work with him. And I guarantee you I would not publicly state that I’m going to attack them.

    Now, how many people are willing to admit that President Obama has, essentially, become John McCain? He certainly won't stand for anyone who isn't an ass kisser.  If we had known then that a President and not a Candidate Obama would adopt the "surge" strategy endorsed by General Petraeus and Senator McCain, and let the generals pour more troops into the region, who would have supported such a thing without a clear exit strategy and a willingness to let a political settlement happen?

    I don't think anyone was paying enough attention to the fact that President Obama knew over a year ago that Afghan corruption and the Pakistani safe havens were insurmountable challenges. Were people expecting him to keep Secretary Gates and General Petraeus in place? Instead of admitting then what we've known for a long time, he deftly boxed out Senator McCain and delivered a stunning knockout (even though, at the time, it wasn't one). You can tell that all McCain wanted to say was, "you're lying, and you're going to end up doing it my way anyway."

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