Friday, June 06, 2008

In Defense of Small-Town Life

Jim Manzi's quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. He's clear, sensible, and (mostly) right. This (blog post) essay at NRO really hit home with me. Not because I grew up in that sort of town. I didn't - I was an Air Force brat who moved from suburb to suburb. Rather, it hit home because it so clearly articulates what's missing in our contemporary political options: if there is one thing that at least the national Democrats and Republicans can agree on, it's that things local must go, whether by virtue of chain-store reconstruction or bureaucratic centralization (or, preferably, I suspect, both). Local communities don't fit into "rationally" planned ideals - they are too thorny, too full of idiosyncratic traditions that don't always make "sense." The essay is well worth your time and reflection.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Hillary for VP?

As I write this, cable news is flashing that Hillary and the Man Who Would Be King are meeting face-to-face.

My observation is that Barack Obama has always taken the path of least resistance. Hillary would be the easy choice here, just as joining a high-powered and somewhat wack black church in Chicago was, as was accepting the support of William Ayers and his considerable Chicago network, Ayers being the ex-terrorist who helped bomb the Pentagon and now masquerades as a respected academic.

The no-brainer choice [and I don't mean that in a bad way] would be to select Gov. Phil Bresden of Tennessee or Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio. Both would give Obama considerable clout in the Caucasian Belt, which leans Republican, and where Obama struggles even against Hillary.

The smart choice would be the best man for the job---Evan Bayh, son of the legendary Democrat Birch Bayh, a staunch Hillary ally, and himself both a two-term governor and now senator from Indiana, a Republican state and one with a lot of white people.

Two birds, one stone.

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Quick Take on Election 2008

I'd love for the United States of America to elect a black president. Especially one with the middle name of Hussein.

I'm totally sincere. It would clear the decks of white male imperialism/racism that's really Europe's fault, although many white Americans take the shame for it, stupidly.

[Our Founding Fathers thought Europe sucked, which is why they and their own fathers fled it. I think Europe sucks too, past and present. I hate white people myself, and I am one.]


If Barack Obama uses the word "liberty" in a meaningful way between now and November---"liberty" as the Founders understood it, the freedom for every individual to pursue his own excellence, what made the USA the greatest nation in man's history---then I'll vote for Barack Obama my owndamnself.

But I'll bet against him ever speaking of liberty meaningfully. The word is so far missing from his life's vocabulary. He believes in community organizing, of fighting for "us" against "them," whoever "them" is. [I think it's me.]

Obama does not speak of liberating each individual soul to seek the best it can be. We call that "freedom." When he speaks to his giant crowds, he sees only the crowd. Crowds by definition are not free.

America was not built on crowds, nor did it become great by crowds demanding full service from their government. Ask not what your country can do for you, one admired American president once said.

I don't think President Obama gets us.

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Lucas Strikes Again!

So a few buddies and I went to see the new Indiana Jones movie, full of expectations that it wouldn't really be all that good. Sure glad it wasn't like I expected - it was much, much worse. How bad? Well, let me count the ways... (no doubt there are spoilers here, so read as you will).

1. Harrison Ford's been taken over by some sort of zombie spirit. That's the only explanation I can give for his most lackluster performance ever. His heart just didn't seem to be in it. He's got a couple of clever lines, but he really should switch back to the caffeinated stuff. Can't hurt...

2. Plot. Who in the world thought this was a good plot. The first movie works so well because it manages to tiptoe along that line between being merely fantastic and being simply ludicrous. This one just goes ludicrous (and is bizarrely complex to boot). Aliens? Who are inter-temporal and all sorts of powerful, but lose a skull to some half-baked conquistador?

3. Any movie that can turn Cate Blanchett into that bad of an actress has, I'll have to admit, really accomplished something. It's like Lucas and Spielberg were watching a Boris and Natasha marathon right before production. When Blanchett gets one of those lifetime achievement awards many years hence, I suspect that this little part may be neatly excised from her history. I'd be happy to have it excised from mine.

4. What was up with the McCarthyism stuff? The first 20 minutes are full of it and then it disappears - the only explanation I can come up with is that it's a way of "balancing" the anti-communist stuff in the rest of the movie. It's odd, but you come away with the sense that the movie doesn't really *like* commies, but there's no equivalent to the famous "Nazis! I hate Nazis!" catch-phrase, especially odd given that there are so many other parts of the movie that are clearly meant to be tributes to the earlier ones. I guess commies are bad, but not that bad.

There are probably many other ways the movie sucks rotten eggs, but that's enough...