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Scene above: Constitution Island, where Revolutionary War forts still exist, as photographed from Trophy Point, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
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SEPTEMBER 25, 2011
SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 10:59 P.M. ET:
REALISM IN NEW YORK – New York's superb police commissioner, Ray Kelly, says that the New York Police Department now has the capacity to bring down a plane, under extreme circumstances. Kelly was commenting on the fact that cities, in fast-developing situations, cannot depend on the federal government alone. There are three major airports in the New York metropolitan area, and the nightmare scenario is for an airliner to take off from one, with a suicide pilot at the controls, and circle around quickly to hit a building. Obviously, from what Kelly is saying, New York wanted its own capability to stop a rapid attack. One assumes he is talking about shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles.
MORE, MORE! – The head of the International Monetary Fund says the fund may need a bailout from member nations to stem the European debt crisis. Freely translated: Americans, among others, will be expected to come up with the cash to save Europe's welfare states. We will then be reviled for doing so by those same countries. At the same time, fingernails are being bitten in Europe over the possibility that Greece may default within days or weeks, and can bring down the German government, which is heavily involved in trying to solve the Greek crisis.
A CHRISTIE MOMENT? – Reince Priebus, the new head of the Republican National Committee, says that there is still time for someone new to jump into the race for the GOP presidential nomination. One wonders if he had Chris Christie in mind. As we reported earlier, Christie may announce this week if he's in or out. If in, it will throw open the whole race...at least for the time Christie is flavor of the month. Who will the October flavor be?
September 25, 2011 Permalink
WHY DID IT TAKE A BRITISH WRITER? – AT 12:01 P.M. ET: We've said here before, and I see that many others are now making the same point, that often the most incisive commentary about America is written by friendly British writers. One of the best is Toby Harnden of London's Telegraph.
We all watched the circus surrounding the execution of Troy Davis in Georgia last week. Whether you favor or reject the death penalty, I would hope reasonable people would be repelled by the twisting of facts, the outright lies, and the blatant anti-Americanism surrounding "protests" in the case. The usual suspects were involved, of course, including Jimmy Carter and Demond Tutu, and of course the European leftists were out in force with their "I am Troy Davis" sweatshirts. They claimed that Davis was actually just a sweet innocent, a victim of American racism. Harnden exposes the fraud:
COMMENTARY: Solid commentary from Toby Harnden. Unfortunately, I didn't see anything quite as good on this side of the Atlantic.
The leftists were trying to create another Mumia case. You remember him, I'm sure. He was the guy in Pennsylvania convicted of murdering a police officer, and who actually never denied his guilt. He is still on death row after decades of appeals, and a major international campaign proclaiming him a victim of American racism.
The leftist line never changes. The leftists just pick new "victims" to exploit. The only victims in the Mumia and Troy Jackson cases were the police officers who were murdered.
September 25, 2011 Permalink
WELL, I GUESS IT'S SOMETHING – AT 11:02 A.M. ET: The Saudi lobby in America, which has graced the bank accounts of a number of former U.S. officials, has done a fine job of presenting Saudi Arabia as a moderate friend of the United States...never quite explaining why 15 of the 19 9-11 hijackers came from the Saudi kingdom. In fact, Saudi Arabia is the world's leading exporter of radical Islam.
So, whenever something good happens in the oil-rich country, we note it, as much in amusement as anything else. You can be sure the press releases will be flying this morning, announcing that Saudi Arabia has gone democratic. From London's Telegraph:
Yeah. Apparently not much change in that no-driving ban or going out without a male escort. But who are we to judge, right? It's another cultural expression.
We're happy to see a bit of progress. But the condition of women, and minorities, in Saudi Arabia is still disgraceful. There are, for example, no churches or synagogues in the royal Saudi kingdom because none are permitted.
When you have oil, and can spread money around American universities, who needs freedom?
Of course, we thank the gracious king for his kindness, and are confident that he'll stop the next scheduled stoning of a woman.
September 25, 2011 Permalink
CHRISTIE AND REAGAN? – AT 10:36 A.M. ET: Increasing buzz about Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, who, until last week, said he was adamant about not running for president, but now is reported to be reconsidering.
On Tuesday Christie speaks at the Reagan Library, an ideal time and place to announce his candidacy. I have no idea whether, after all these months of denial, he will reverse himself.
Words of caution: Parties tend to look for the man on the white horse, who will gallop in and slay the opposition. In 2008 the Republicans waited for Fred Thompson, billed as the new Reagan. Thompson heard the call, entered, and flopped immediately. A month or so ago, Republicans looked to Rick Perry, whose white horse was already being washed and watered. Perry got in, has achieved frontrunner status, and has run into trouble. Poor debate performance, lack of ability to project beyond Texas.
Now Chris Christie may be mounting up. Why? Because he's an effective cost cutter, and has a fast mouth, talking back to anyone who asks him a challenging question. But Christie has zero foreign-policy experience, is a first-term governor, believes in the Church of the Global Warming, often comes off as a bully rather than a leader, has an odd and disturbing relationship with some Islamic extremists, calls anyone concerned about Sharia law "crazy," and, frankly, is so horribly overweight that his health will become an instant issue. But he is a good cost cutter.
Christie has handled some things admirably. But we are talking here of the American presidency, a gift we simply don't bestow on someone who is neat at budgets. It takes much more than that. And here is, I think, an intriguing question: If some overly enthusiastic Republicans are willing to go with a first-term governor with so little experience beyond local politics, why would they not seek to draft Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a first-term senator with a remarkable persona and a true wisdom that comes through in every speech he makes? There is a potential president, and he could defeat Obama. Christie? I don't know.
September 25, 2011 Permalink
SEPTEMBER 24, 2011
SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 8:43 P.M. ET:
CAIN WINS FLORIDA STRAW POLL – Herman Cain was the surprise winner today in the Florida straw poll. Cain got 37% of the vote, easily defeating Rick Perry, with 15% and Mitt Romney, with 14%. This is a clear slap in the face to those two "frontrunners," Perry and Romney. "Experts" had predicted that Perry would win easily, but his shaky debate performance Thursday night clearly had an impact. We shouldn't attack too much importance to these straw polls, which don't really reflect the electorate, but the lack of power by the frontrunners has to tell us something.
INTO THE ALLEGED VACUUM – Supposedly informed sources say that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will decide in about a week whether to run for president. It is widely felt that Rick Perry has created a vacuum at the top with his less-than-thrilling campaign thus far, giving a chance to someone else. Christie is a darling of big-money donors and conservatives. I have little enthusiasm for a Christie candidacy, which so many are anticipating with such great excitement. Remember that Rick Perry was eliciting the same reaction only a month ago. There's a reason why the term "flavor of the month" is so widely used in politics.
IT WENT TO HIS HEAD – Palestinian "President" Mahmoud Abbas was wildly applauded at the UN by the usual suspects Friday, a mixture of Islamic states, third world shadows of states, and other fellow travelers, and immediately went home to reject a proposal by the so-called "quartet" (U.S., EU, Russia, and UN) to get peace negotiations started again. The quartet, which is trying to move the peace process forward, did not meet all of Abbas's demands. Israel has informally accepted the quartet proposal. The international left and trendy journalists will side with Abbas, however, no matter how rigid or ridiculous he becomes.
September 24, 2011 Permalink
SNIPPET OF THE DAY – AT 11:25 A.M. ET:
I have an idea: How about you readers sending us your suggestions for a card for Barack Obama, to be used when he loses his job next year. I'll print the best ones. This could be fun. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
LOST IN SPACE – AT 10:58 A.M. ET: I realize that reader opinions vary on this, but I, for one, am appalled at what Obama is doing with the space program. Aside from the scientific and defense benefits that we've derived from the program, it is a symbol – a spectacular one – of American greatness and leadership.
That symbol is fading, and some of the greatest names associated with the program are outraged:
COMMENT: Pretty pathetic, yes? Did you ever think we would come to this? But the people running the country right now, and their worshippers in the press, have no problem with American decline. They think we're a dangerous country that should be restrained. As for space, let someone else do it, as we keep promoting "green" jobs that don't exist.
Do you ever wonder what happens to those skilled NASA engineers and technicians who are laid off? Those talents are being lost, possibly forever.
Who will pay? Our children.
September 24, 2011 Permalink
UNFAIR – AT 10:26 A.M. ET: We've been a bit down on Rick Perry, as readers know, assessing his debate performances as marginal and his policy positions as vague. However, I've come to think that some of the criticism of his Thursday night comments, coming from some Republicans, is a bit unfair.
I'm referring to Perry's immigration stance, now the subject of a minor firestorm within the party. On immigration, Perry, normally quite conservative, is moderate. He, with the overwhelming support of both parties in the legislature, initiated a program giving children of illegal immigrants to Texas the privilege of in-state tuition to the state's public colleges and universities. Some are outraged by this.
Perry tried to explain, not well, that these are the children of illegals. They have broken no law, even though their parents did. It is a fundamental of the Judeo-Christian ethic that we do not visit the sins of the parents upon the children. Perry explained that these children, some of whom may well have been born in the United States, are not being deported, and want to be educated, and that it is in society's best interest to educate them.
Perry is fundamentally correct, although he may have gone about the issue in a heavy-handed way. It may well strike many as unfair that the child of an illegal immigrant gets a tuition break, whereas a legal Hispanic-American kid from next-door Oklahoma, wanting to go to a Texas school, pays full price. That's another discussion, however.
Governor Perry represents a large Hispanic constituency, and he shows respect for that constituency. Although we have a right to be deeply disturbed by the legal violation inherent in illegal immigration, we aren't going to deport the 12 million illegals who are here. Let's be blunt: Part of our southwestern economy would collapse without them. Yes, they broke the law, and some penalty must be assessed, but everyone really knows there will not be a mass deportation. Preventing new illegality, yes. Sending boatloads back – it's just not going to happen.
And so Perry has tried to make the best of it by insuring that the children of illegals are prepared for citizenship. He was wrong to say Thursday night that anyone who opposes his tuition plan has no heart. That's bomb throwing. But I know what he was trying to say, that law enforcement must have a common-sense, compassionate component. And conservatives, who believe in conserving the idealistic and religious values of this society, should approach this subject in a serious, reflective way.
Illegal immigration is a serious issue, and should be dealt with by serious policy proposals. Perry is at least trying, and deserves credit for the balance he's trying to strike.
September 24, 2011 Permalink
WHERE OBAMA STANDS – AT 10:13 A.M. ET: The Republicans have now had three televised debates, giving at least part of the electorate a glimpse at who might be the GOP candidate in 2012. Given this, where does Obama now stand in public approval. Scott Rasmussen, as of this morning:
And Gallup: Gallup has 40% approving of the president's performance, and 52% disapproving. Given the margin of error, these polls are pretty close. We favor Rasmussen, as we've noted before, because he polls likely voters, whereas Gallup is polling adults, or people claiming to be so. Likely voters are the most accurate measure of what an election, if held today, would look like.
We caution, though, that approval is not the end-all. The president still does quite well against Republicans who are named, although Mitt Romney has come out slightly ahead of him in recent surveys. I'm guessing Romney's numbers will improve somewhat, based on his debate performance the last time out.
September 24, 2011 Permalink
"What you see is news. What you know is background. What you feel is opinion."
"Councils of war breed timidity and defeatism."
"Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred. "
THE ANGEL'S CORNER
Part I of The Angel's Corner was sent late Wednesday night.
Part II will be sent today.
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© 2011 William Katz