Sunday, November 28, 2010
Including work administrivia, I have more chores today than the day is long. Unfortunately, I also have a lot of tabs! The choice is not as difficult as it appears...
Palin obsession watch: The New York Times has an article this morning about Sarah Palin that reports that she attended a book-signing and, er, signed books: Palin Sidesteps Politics at Iowa Book Signing. Utter and complete non-news and hardly fit to print. Perhaps it was published because of its byline: A.G. Sulzberger. If A.G. is the next generation of the Grey Lady's controlling family, I hope he has a second career planned, because this one is unlikely to last for his lifetime. Oh, look, a segue....
How do you define the "American dream"? Early to bed, early to rise, study hard, work hard, save your money, and you and your children can be better off than you were as a child? This is how the New York Times defines it (in a story about a worthless heir who squandered the proceeds from the sale of the family business):
But as so often happens to those lucky enough to realize the American dream of sudden riches, the money slipped through the Martins’ fingers faster than they ever imagined.
The "American dream of sudden riches"? Perhaps an all-too common attitude in the era of state-promoted lotteries, but sure that was not the American dream of old. That's not how Ben Franklin or Andrew Carnegie or Cornelius Vanderbilt did it. Or your grandparents, for that matter.
Princeton professor Cornel West says Barack Obama is racist, but -- you'll be relieved to know -- only in the same sense that George W. Bush was.
It's all about the incredibly hot accent: The American fascination with Russian women.
With the possible exceptions of my alma mater, Governor Awesome and Jenkinson's, the best thing about New Jersey.
You think the federal budget problem is large? It is not nearly as large as it will be if interest rates revert to the mean.
Are Republicans playing politics with the new START treaty? I hope not. This is serious business that ought not become a device for political advantage. Ratify the treaty now, and modernize our nukes when you've gotten the White House back. Besides, "Tea Party" Republicans and the government of Russia do not disagree on everything. If they can reach common ground on one incredibly complex and fraught subject of profound geopolitical consequences for the entire world, they might be able to agree on another.
An interesting story about the legal challenges to Obamacare, including the prospects for "severability." Let me once again remind you that we -- by which I mean any conservative with a brain -- do not want the individual mandate to go down and the requirement for "community rating" to remain in place. That sad combination would destroy the private health insurance system in a trice and make the government the sole payer for all Americans.
Barack Obama says he prays "every night." It is rude to doubt another's faith, but that just does not feel true to me. I believe the part about saying grace over food -- that sort of thing tends to be a family habit as much as a measure of actual faith -- but genuine personal prayer? It does not seem to line up with the rest of his personality.
The answer is YES. But be very, very careful.
TigerHawk boosterism watch: The Adirondacks has a new ski area with the return of Big Tupper. Here's the important point: It has its own beer.
Just a couple of comments on New Start.
First, I categorically reject the premise that this is one incredibly complex and fraught subject, outside the purely political--there it is, to be sure, being artificially and over-complexified. This is no mean barrier, but it has nothing to do with national defense per se.
Second, it has not been established that it's useful to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in our arsenal, either strategic or tactical; there have only been a series of bald, unsubstantiated assertions to that effect.
Third, we don't need a treaty to modernize our arsenal, nor do we need the permission of those who are actively working to harm us (vis. Russians actively helping terrorist states gain nuclear weapons) to do so. We need only the political will, and an economy healthy enough to bear the expense.
Fourth, the treaty gives these same enemies the ability to prevent us from defending ourselves: the treaty, as drafted, gives the Russians the right to withdraw from the treaty if we pursue missile defense modernization and expansion. And rest assured that this administration, like its predecessors, will accede to Russian pressure here and respond to the threat by not defending. It's like no one has learned from the Roman assurances to Carthage that the latter should disarm, as the Romans will have no need to bother a disarmed Carthage.
The current blather of a NATO-wide missile defense, with Russian participation, and US defense _after_ that, is just so much Obamatalk--and even more dangerous if he's actually serious about it. Our government, for too many administrations, has been utterly timid in the face of Russian intransigence and of Iranian determination to get nuclear weapons of their own--which they will most assuredly use, either directly, or to give to terrorists who will use them; it's why the Iranians want them. We need to walk away from this treaty, politics, or no, and we need to modernize our arsenal--two separate actions that are connected only artificially.