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November 29, 2008

Two Irreconcilable World Views

Well, Thanksgiving is finally over.

The turkey has been stripped clean as a whistle. Like a beached shipwreck the bones sit in a large stockpot in my brand new refrigerator downstairs waiting to be made into vegetable soup. Containers of leftover food are stacked neatly on the shelves suggesting seasonal delights to imperil the waistline and make the mouth water: turkey enchiladas, potato pancakes, morning coffee with real whipped cream on top.

On the other hand, the surest antidote to holiday overeating is a quick trip through the daily fishwrap. More and more these days I find myself sickened by what I read in the newspapers and hear on the lips of people all around me.

Often, it is not so much the actual words themselves as the thoughts behind them. I cannot imagine myself ever saying such things, no matter how much I disagreed - or disagree - with a policy or policy maker. For nearly the first time in my life I cannot put myself inside the minds of people who act and speak this way, though I have tried time and time again. They seem so unreasonable; so intemperate.

And yet to hear them tell it, it is not they but I who am unreasonable.

Stupid, in fact. Criminal. Immoral. It is not a question, for them, of well meaning but fallible human beings wrestling with difficult issues and coming to opposing conclusions; for their world view admits of no correct conclusion but the one they themselves hold. They are the smart ones, the moral ones, the ones with a monopoly on righteousness.

The other side? "Those people" are crazy, moronic, deluded.

They do not shrink from using any of those words, even in public and even in company where they know they will be overheard by those they deride. I made a promise to myself not to talk about politics on Thanksgiving. It seemed to me a time for celebration of what we share as Americans, not for reminders of what divides us.

And if we are going to insist on talking about it, I suppose I could wish for more thoughtful discourse. I don't understand the triumphalism; the namecalling, the refusal to admit there are often two sides to compelling moral debates (why else do they continue to be debated?); the inability to understand that reasonable people of good will can and do disagree but all of us, in the end, must follow the dictates of conscience. Our own conscience; not someone else's.

We all - all of us - like to think we have reasoned our way to the right moral and philosophical conclusions. Most Americans would like to believe, and do, that our world view is the right one and that those who disagree on important moral questions are mistaken, do not understand, lack the facts to evaluate matters properly or perhaps have simply failed to think things through.

It is undoubtedly true, though it is also undoubtedly unacceptable to say so these days, that many if not most Americans don't think deeply about major policy issues. Study after study has shown the average American adult to be dangerously ill informed about the critical issues facing this nation. We don't even understand how our own government works, nor do we have even the most rudimentary appreciation for how our legal system and Constitution interact to balance the competing interests of individual liberty and societal well being. Not that this ignorance prevents us from forming opinions, mind you.

Or voting. But one might think that in a world where both information and knowledge are easier to come by than at any time in human history, the awareness - either through factual ignorance and/or the inability to place things in context - of our inability to assimilate the flood of data constantly being fed at us through a firehose might spark, not arbitrary denunciations of everything we disagree with or don't fully understand, but perhaps some tiny scrap of humility?

Some recognition that - as we've gone about our daily lives in relative peace and prosperity for the past eight years leaving other people to worry about the hard decisions - that not only do we not have all the answers, but that perhaps we shouldn't assume no one wrestled with the questions while we were at the mall?

* Thanks to DL Sly for alerting me to the rather incomprehensible sentence in the middle of this post. I knew it was awkward at the time, but was in a terrible hurry this morning and barely had time to finish the post before leaving for the day.

Posted by Cassandra at November 29, 2008 10:44 AM

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Comments

"both our factual ignorance and our inability to place things in context - might spark, not arbitrary denunciations of everything we disagree with or don't fully understand, but perhaps some tiny scrap of humility?" The older I get the more this scares the hell out of me. It might be nice to live in ignorant bliss, but sometimes I swear you ought not be voting if you do.

Posted by: Zombywolf at November 29, 2008 12:08 PM

During the uphill slog through the wilds toward civilization, having a good memory and a facility for critical reasoning were survival traits. In other words, if a critter (or a human) looked and acted like one previously encountered that had proved hostile, it was a pretty good bet that the one just presenting itself before you was also hostile.

These days, those who have lost those survival traits call it "profiling"...

Posted by: BillT at November 29, 2008 01:18 PM

"These days, those who have lost those survival traits call it "profiling"...

.....and "profiling" is racists!

There. Finished that sentence for ya.
(still doing the *least I can do*)
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at November 29, 2008 01:29 PM

Actually, I'd have gone for an object/predicate agreement, buuuuuut that's just me. However, you *are* demonstrating an unsettling ability to finish my sentences for me.

Go wash your mind out, now. Use soap.

Posted by: BillT at November 29, 2008 01:49 PM

*sigh*

That's what I get for trying to think and type cognizantly before the first caffeine infusion of the day and with SWHNOB babbling at me about......um, something.

"Go wash your mind out, now. Use soap."

Sorry, all out of Lava.
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at November 29, 2008 02:23 PM

Sly should use coffee instead of soap. It would work better, so des neh?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 29, 2008 04:04 PM

For consumption, oh yes, definitely.

Lava leaves all that grit between your teeth...

Posted by: BillT at November 29, 2008 04:25 PM

And coffee stings when you try to wash your brain out with it.


Are we going to eliminate the entire departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services?


Sounds like a plan to me.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at November 29, 2008 05:29 PM

Uh-oh. Sugar jag from the vanilla icing?

Posted by: BillT at November 29, 2008 05:32 PM

Some recognition that - as we've gone about our daily lives in relative peace and prosperity for the past eight years leaving other people to worry about the hard decisions - that not only do we not have all the answers, but that perhaps we shouldn't assume no one wrestled with the questions while we were at the mall?

Bingo. I wrote an as-yet unpublished blog post about the same thing, but telling the story itself rather than the idea that encapsulates it and which you have so beautifully spelled out here.

This last Thanksgiving I sat with my nose in a magazine as India was under attack by terrorists (and America was safe), listening to my relatives congratulate themselves on coming to the conclusion that George Bush was a worse president than Jimmy Carter, probably the worst ever.

I didn't say anything because I didn't trust myself to. The bitterest disgust rose up in me, and if asked to describe them at that moment I would have been absolutely blind to their finer qualities (of which there are many). I called them names in my mind--arrogant, blind, self-congratulatory, idiotic, small, stupid (unthinking), deluded, and unworthy.

The emotionalism of my reaction surprised me, but like you, I guess I am too tired of it all. I have no tenderness or patience left on this topic with those I love--merely the self-control not to make my feelings public.

Posted by: FbL at November 29, 2008 05:34 PM

FbL -- exactly -- I don't remember feeling so coldly hostile to my loved ones before, the ones who are on the other side of the political divide. I didn't find it this difficult when in election after election the ideas I supported lost ground in Congress. I guess it's different to lose the White House. My family and friends say the most shocking things to me, and my conversations with them end up being exercises in rigid self-control. No fun at all.
.
But I didn't want to talk about this. I'd rather talk about festive Thanksgiving dishes and the delight of leftovers. Turkey tetrazzini! And I discovered the delights of chicken liver pate this weekend. Fantastic. I'd never made it before. The Joy of Cooking has a lovely, easy recipe, but I had to leave out the truffles. I've put small jar of truffles on my Christmas list.

Posted by: Texan99 at November 29, 2008 06:25 PM

Happy belated thanksgiving Cass darlin'. I am quite thankful this year, in fact I don't think I have been this thankful since the US and France liberated Lebanon of Hebollah.

My advice on how to handle the lefty extended famiy is turn those turkey bones into stock for some gumbo. It is cleansing after the more bland fare of thanksgiving.

Posted by: Pile On at November 29, 2008 06:56 PM

And another thing. After the acrimony of the Clinton impeachment and uniter not a divider Bush years I am prepared to support my new President wherever I can without violating any bedrock principles. I hope others do as well, if conservatives set a good example perhaps we can get back to the old adage of politics ending at the waters edge.

I am not holding my breath. I suspect the left my turn on Obama.

Posted by: Pile On at November 29, 2008 07:00 PM

Amen, Pile.

Gumbo... I didn't think of that. I have been thinking of doing a post about soup :p

Posted by: Cassandra at November 29, 2008 09:34 PM

I have been thinking of doing a post about soup

Just don't follow Neo and do one on Candy Cane.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 29, 2008 11:33 PM

The emotionalism of my reaction surprised me, but like you, I guess I am too tired of it all. I have no tenderness or patience left on this topic with those I love--merely the self-control not to make my feelings public.

It helps if you think of them as dupes, tools that are being used for other people's purposes rather than their own.

Remember the Christian saying to love the sinner but hate the sin? My version hates the user of tools but for the tools themselves, why feel anything at all? A gun is a tool and can only do evil or good because of the purpose to which the user puts the tool to.

That is all a tool is. Sentient and self-aware beings, able to use free will, are the users of tools. And we certainly don't get angry at tools if we make a mistake with them or someone else uses them against us or for bad goals.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 29, 2008 11:37 PM

Well Bill, targeting terrorists exclusively is extraordinarily prejudiced. Do you really want to partake of such extreme prejudice, Bill?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 29, 2008 11:40 PM

"Well Bill, targeting terrorists exclusively is extraordinarily prejudiced. Do you really want to partake of such extreme prejudice, Bill?

I don't know about Bill, but it works for me.

Posted by: DL Sly at November 30, 2008 12:28 AM

Do you really want to partake of such extreme prejudice, Bill?

*feral grin*

Been on both sides of that fence -- sometimes as the object of said extreme prejudice and sometimes as the "executor."

I'm still here.

*They* aren't...

Posted by: BillT at November 30, 2008 01:20 AM

We had family in from all over the place (there ended up being 34 people out at Grandma's - one cousin and his family didn't show for whatever reason - that would have been 38). The husband of one of my cousins supported Obama. We're MySpace friends, and we had a few back-and-forths back during the primary season, and came to the conclusion that we weren't going to change one another's minds. He's a journalist (one who actually reports the facts and leaves his own opinions out of it) and we talked a bit about what it's like for him (they live in the NW US). He seems to have similar views as me on certain issues, so it confounds me that he was supporting Obama. But, politics was not a topic of discussion, and he's really a good guy. A good day was had by all, I think, especially after all us younger folks watched UT beat the snot out of A&M, and two of my 20-something cousins decided to try a little pseudo-Ultimate Fighting of their own in another cousin's living room (someone got pictures...it was pretty funny, since no one got hurt).

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at November 30, 2008 01:59 AM

"factual ignorance and/or the inability to place things in context"..if you have a small farm, or work in a factory, or sail a merchant ship, then inability to face facts and use basic reasoning will cause you to starve, or lose a hand, or get a ladle of molten steel poured on you, or drown. But today, many people work in jobs that are all about *words*, and if you can be glib enough with the words, the lack of logic and fact-facing doesn't do you any harm.

Posted by: david foster at November 30, 2008 08:46 AM

What David Foster said.

Posted by: Texan99 at November 30, 2008 10:14 AM

Miss Ladybug, that is the way I've always tried to conduct discussions like that. I have a lot of friends who are Democrats and we've all remained friends over the years. We've all been able to discuss politics despite my very strong support for Bush and their equally strong opposition to him.

I think the key is respect for your opponent's right to disagree with you and recognition that you are not going to change their mind.

Once that is settled, you can exchange ideas and it becomes less of an argument/contest and more of an exchange of views or an exploration of why each of you thinks the way you do. For me, it has always been interesting to see why my friends come down where they do on various issues. They are all smart - and good - people. I will never agree with them, but they're not evil or stupid.

I get aggravated at times, as they do (I'm sure) with me. But it's a good exercise.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 30, 2008 11:16 AM

I have no tenderness or patience left on this topic with those I love--merely the self-control not to make my feelings public.

I understand. I can talk with just about anyone about just about anything. But during the Clinton years, even though I was horrified by and very much opposed to his conduct, I never vilified Clinton in public and I was not happy with those who did. He was the President.

In 2006, I hoped that the Dems' victory in Congress would bring some dimunition of the hostility and rancor (as both Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid promised an end to the nastiness they blamed on the Rethug majority) but they only stepped it up another notch. I naively hoped the tone might change after Nov. 4th, but so far it doesn't seem to have done so.

The ball's in their court. Should be interesting to see what they do with it :p

Posted by: Cassandra at November 30, 2008 11:31 AM

I think the key is respect for your opponent's right to disagree with you and recognition that you are not going to change their mind.

I used to be able to do that. Or maybe I still can, it's just that for my "opponents" in the case i described it's not about logic or their own personal political philosophy. Instead it's "Bush is an idiot" (delivered with a great deal of self-satisfaction and superiority).

And when you aren't even dealing with the same set of baseline facts (thanks to a partisan/incompetent media), how can you even begin to discuss and respect each others' opinions? Just to engage them and say, "I disagree" often results in looks of amazement that you could possibly have a different conclusion, considering the "facts." Differing opinions are healthy in a democracy. Differing facts are deadly.

And then there are things like the discussion my relatives had about McCain vs. Obama. They decided both would've been great presidents, and talked about how much they all liked McCain... followed quickly by, "But Palin was a out of her league, dumb, ignorant, etc."

Now tell me this: McCain would've been a great president, but he chose a blithering idiot to be his running mate? That's presidential quality/judgment?? But none of them had stopped to look at that dichotomoy; they had merely taken the media at face value and now congratulated themselves on being so astute and informed.

How in the world do you respond to that lack of thoughtfulness and logic in any productive manner?

Posted by: FbL at November 30, 2008 11:44 AM

How in the world do you respond to that lack of thoughtfulness and logic in any productive manner?

"Soooo, how does Obama's choice of Joe Biden, the Senate's biggest *admitted* gratuitous liar, exemplify his 'presidential judgment'?"

Then sit back and smile sweetly, as you are so *very* capable of doing...

Posted by: BillT at November 30, 2008 01:50 PM

(someone got pictures...it was pretty funny, since no one got hurt).

Without actual training in how to damage human targets, and without an asocial environment (just friendly competition), it is highly unlikey that they could hurt each other, not even by accident.

Once that is settled, you can exchange ideas and it becomes less of an argument/contest and more of an exchange of views or an exploration of why each of you thinks the way you do. For me, it has always been interesting to see why my friends come down where they do on various issues. They are all smart - and good - people. I will never agree with them, but they're not evil or stupid.

I feel the same way, but for different reasons. It comes from me viewing it as an exercise in intelligence gathering. To knowing thy enemy better in order to predict their actions, motivations, and plans with more accuracy. To know them requires that you know how they think, what they feel, and the reasons behind. Even if they are not the same kinds of people as are in power in the Democrat party, you still get an insight into the limitations upon which Democrat politics must function given such people's support or lack of it.

I naively hoped the tone might change after Nov. 4th, but so far it doesn't seem to have done so.

You are such an idealist, Cass ; )

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 30, 2008 03:29 PM

I don't know about Bill, but it works for me.

You two are hopeless warmongers. Why can't you accept the light and see the benefits of peace, like I have?

How in the world do you respond to that lack of thoughtfulness and logic in any productive manner?

Figure out where it comes from. Figure out how to use it. Study it, analyze it, tweak it, and see how it responds to external stimuli. Don't try to challenge their views, just explore them. And don't make your own views known to them, for if you wish to truly observe, you really don't want any kind of "observation bias" going on. Nor do you want their mental defense shields to brought up, for then they won't tell you much of anything, they'll just spew talking points because they will feel defensive.

The best insights I have gotten out of such people were due in no small part to never allowing them to know my real political views. You can learn a lot if people think you are on their side.

Every person is unique and even though everyone may have things inside that they will deny and suppress, how each individual chooses to do so is different from person to person. It is one reason I became interested in psychology: to be understand why people behave as they do.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 30, 2008 03:36 PM

to better understand. correction.

followed quickly by, "But Palin was a out of her league, dumb, ignorant, etc."

Now tell me this: McCain would've been a great president, but he chose a blithering idiot to be his running mate? That's presidential quality/judgment?? But none of them had stopped to look at that dichotomoy; they had merely taken the media at face value and now congratulated themselves on being so astute and informed.

It is very clear to me that they were successfully manipulated by those, in the MSM, with better capabilities and insight than those watching the MSM.

FBl, check this video out. Link

It shows exactly the kind of people you were talking about.

It seems very simple to me the mechanism at work here. Somebody has to be the "Other" and thus become the threat to the village. When McCain went against Obama, many reversed their former positive view of McCain and no longer believed in him because they had to make room in their faith based worldviews to believe in Obama instead. And they could not believe in McCain and Obama at the same time, for that may have required too much cognitive dissonance.

Others, however, can get around this by putting Sarah, rather than McCain, as the "Other". She becomes their reason why they no longer supported McCain. All of these mechanisms are simply ways to avoid defending their choice for Obama or looking, via introspection, into their real motivations, feelings, and thoughts on Obama.

It is taken on Faith, Fbl, and we all know the uses to which faith can used for, both the good and the evil.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 30, 2008 03:43 PM

Why can't you accept the light and see the benefits of peace, like I have?

Light works, but NVGs don't give your position away.

And, golly, I *do* see the benefits of peace.

I'm all for making the dirtbags as peaceable as possible -- and as permanently as necessary...

Posted by: BillT at November 30, 2008 03:49 PM

I'm all for peace.


Through superior firepower.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at November 30, 2008 06:07 PM

Ymar~

I was more worried about one of them banging their head on one of the chairs or the wall than them actually hurting each other... That being said, I've no idea, really, what kind of training either one of those boys (they might both be in college, but I'm significantly older than they are) might have in a martial art, and they grew up in Alaska, while I did my growing up in Texas & Germany, since my dad was in the Army. After the UT game was over, the cousin whose house we were at turned on some Ultimate Fighting the he had on the DVR, and that eventually lead to the horseplay of the other two ;-) Should I even bother mentioning they'd both had some beers...?

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at November 30, 2008 06:21 PM

There's usually two kinds of training around, although more are available depending on what it is for.

Usually people train to either compete, hand to hand, in competitions like they do when training for sports or people train for the streets.

There's another kind of training, the traditional martial arts, where superior individual ability was designed to be used in military group action (sort of like Medieval wars or wars between samurai lords) but that isn't currently in use. For modern military use, it is, at best, of tertiary importance to other matters.

Should I even bother mentioning they'd both had some beers...?

Common natural aggression over fighting for social status and territory. Beers just helped lift that social inhibition against getting into each other's personal space or making physical contact with others in a hostile manner.

Normally, these bursts of aggression are constructively channeled into positive areas by sports, hobbies, or careerism.

Back to the subject, however, it is just that none of these things, the Ultimate Fighting or conventional martial arts, have at its purpose to teach students how to hurt people, whether on the streets or elsewhere.

Since it is a friendly social activity, rather than a hostile anti-social (rather than asocial) activity like people at a hockey game getting in an argument with an official and then killing the official by caving in the guy's skull accidentally, the participants don't really want to hurt each other. They just want to test out, in a game, their speed, reflexes, strength, and skill.

Just as wolves have developed specific social standards and ritualized responses between pack members in order to reduce the amount of crippling injuries or fatalities, human societies have also placed limitations on aggressive behavior, ingrained from day one. The more civilized and higher technology a culture is, the more de-emphasis on the use of violence. This is why I said they couldn't hurt each other, and even the chances of accidents are low (if they were just using their bare hands).

I'm all for making the dirtbags as peaceable as possible -- and as permanently as necessary...

And that, FBL, is why people don't like our Sarah Palin ; ) They can't handle the Billicide, how then could they handle a woman? People like Sarah and Bill must be "out of her league, dumb, ignorant, etc."

From Alaska, no less, Miss Lady.

On a more practical note, if they (the two cousins) wish to learn techniques, as opposed to the principles which power all fighting techniques, martial arts will definitely be their thing. Can spend years simply learning techniques, such as different throws, different joint locks, different type of joint locks, different combinations of hybrid joint locks, and so forth.

If they want to learn how to kill people with their barehands, that is, of course, a different curriculum and training method entirely.

I prefer to train with the latter over the former and there are many benefits I appreciate from training in such a fashion.

For example, there is this nice article on the dignity and respect for human life and freedom that is acquired when a person becomes armed and trained in the usage of lethal firearms. Courtesy of Mike Devx at Bookworm Room.

Link

If a person has not studied war and its consequences, then that person will, given the right factors, get into war because he will have less inhibitions or fears of the consequences.

The same is true for making America lose a war (or as they say it, end a war). A person that does not understand the consequences of such an action will happily cause America to lose Iraq or Vietnam, so long as they have something they believe they can gain personally from.

An armed society is a more polite society because the knowledge that it can so easily escalate into violence and death is there, and it is more beneficial to be polite than it is to be rude and maybe spark a fight.

For a normal person that abides by laws and social contracts, learning how to kill, regardless of the tools used, makes one more careful, more hesitant before engaging in avoidable fights, more confident when being goaded, and far more leery of engaging in actions that may lead to unintended consequences. For you now fully understand what those consequences can, indeed, be.

It is the same fundamental reason why people whose actions can produce death or permanent maiming as a consequence must be more responsible than those who simply have words as the consequence of their speaking.

When Leftists talk about ending war, it is not plausible for such people as them to accomplish it. They have no idea what war is, and are the people most susceptible to getting into a war through ignorance and picking fights where they shouldn't. The pacifists or weaklings like Chamberlain, who want peace in our time, are the ones most susceptible to allowing great wars to occur.

In Ultimate Fighting, people don't get permanently maimed or killed and that is part of why people engage to fight in it. The consequences of their actions or the actions of the people they are competing against is "acceptable" socially and personally. But this does not mean that a person can say whatever he wants and reality won't catch up to them. You can have a negative extrapolation in the form of a bar fight where someone accidentally dies cause he got hit or something. Why did those people get in the bar fight? Same reason why men fight in social settings: to gain social status or some other reward, at no real cost to life or limb. But reality doesn't always conform to our wishes or expectations. That is why people can still die, even if you believed your actions were harmless, mostly.

If you set the right actions in motion, the consequences may be out of your hands. Those that have the knowledge to kill with their bare hands or are armed with lethal implements, understand this, which is why there is a need for greater consideration before getting into confrontations. And that consideration also won't be the fear felt by people who don't know what to do, either.

There is greater consideration for invasions or actions which may lead to war. There is greater consideration for breaking down social barriers and engaging in physical conflicts, what some call anti-social, but are essentially just social fights among pack members for social status and rewards.

On the other hand, the surest antidote to holiday overeating is a quick trip through the daily fishwrap. More and more these days I find myself sickened by what I read in the newspapers and hear on the lips of people all around me.

When people believe that there are no harmful consequences to their actions, or if they believe the rewards outweigh the risks, then they will start setting into motion a chain of events, which, inevitably, may snowball and get out of their hands.

To take Cass's example, people say these things because they either don't take them seriously or they believe there are no serious consequences (like death or maiming of women, children, or men). Cass is very big on personal responsibility, so she does take them seriously enough not to just say them whenever she can.

These two worlds are not really two worlds. They are the same world, which is kind of the problem.

These people with their erroneous beliefs and miscalculated actions are going to set into motion events that they will not be able to control because they had never planned on it getting that far in the first place. Well, there are plenty of people charged with manslaughter that didn't mean it to "get that far", but inevitably still ended up killing people that they were fighting with.

The Left often have said that Bush is exactly that way. That Bush got us into a war he hadn't properly planned for. But we should know the truth by now. The people who see no problem with campaign corruption if Democrats do it, who see no problems with separate negotiations done by Democrats, like Nancy PillowC with Syria, and who see no problem with their dictator allies continuing to make anti-American comments that benefit the bashing of Bush, are the real warmongers. They care nothing for the actual consequences of their actions, so long as they see a short term personal or political benefit from it. People in Iraq may die or be slaughtered, people in America may die from terrorists attacks without Bush's policies, and they just don't give a damn. It either won't happen, because they cannot possibly imagine it happening, or it won't happen because "they have a grip on the situation".

They are the ones that start fights. They are the ones that violate other people's rights by preventing them from doing what they wish and entering a Marine recruiting station. They are the ones who try to target and maim loggers by spiking trees. They are the ones who appease dictators and terrorists so long as the people being taken hostage and killed aren't anyone they know.

People with the "right intentions". Well, reality doesn't care whether George Armstrong Custer or Chamberlain had the right intentions in the end.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 30, 2008 08:58 PM

FBL, I have one better: I know someone who thinks Jimmeh C. was one smart man. uhhhh...sure.

My relatives are okay with the military doing the fighting as long as their immediate kin don't serve. However, that isn't the case now.

However, even the Sierra Club and Greenpeace member sibling is doing a double take on the President-elect.

I see no reason to wring my hands. I will still fight for what is right, and this attack in India, to me, says something, especially about the timing: It was planned long before the election, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it would have been scrapped had McCain gotten in.

I don't know that we will ever know that, but it is something that I have been wondering about, especially since we have not had any terror attacks here since 9-11.

Just something rattling in the back of my head.

We have leftovers for tamales, casseroles, enchiladas, and tostadas. YUM.

My best friend and I are getting together to have a tamalada party out of the leftovers.

Heh.

Posted by: Cricket at November 30, 2008 09:24 PM

"I'm all for peace.

Through superior firepower."

I've always believed "Speak softly and carry a big stick" to be a worthy credo to live by -- among others.
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at November 30, 2008 11:16 PM

I don't know that we will ever know that, but it is something that I have been wondering about, especially since we have not had any terror attacks here since 9-11.

Terrorists tend to be low hanging fruit grabbers. America got a little bit hard so they went out to look for easier targets.

Since AQ seems to be consolidating in Pakistan, it isn't too far of a stretch to believe that they picked India as a close and easy target to get at.

Now that Iraq is becoming hardened, they only have India and Afghanistan to pick on now.

Pakistan almost has half of the US population, so that was always going to be an interesting nut to crack. They also have nukes. I think the terrorists are realizing that they need a nuke shield to avoid being invaded, if they want to have permanent bases for logistical supplies. Iran already figured this out some years ago.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at December 1, 2008 12:13 AM

England also has nukes and they are also vulnerable. So is France and Germany. But the two locations don't seem to be all that closely coordinated.

I've always believed "Speak softly and carry a big stick" to be a worthy credo to live by -- among others.
0>;~}

A nuclear stick. I'm sure Teddy would have updated the saying had he known about nukes.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at December 1, 2008 12:15 AM

Instead it's "Bush is an idiot" (delivered with a great deal of self-satisfaction and superiority).

Comments like that don't say much about the speaker. No one - no one - gets elected President by being an idiot. Some are more successful in the job than others. But to suggest that anyone who has held the job is an "idiot" is really... well, the term "idiotic" comes to mind.

And it was just that type of comment that prompted this post.

I thought a lot about what I would have said, had I not decided in advance to ignore any such remarks. In the end, I've just about decided the only response such remarks really merit is, "Really? And what, in your opinion, does that make anyone who either agrees with 'the idiot' or continues to support him? Such as me?"

And then I think I would just look at the speaker for a while and allow what they just said to sink in for a while.

The really sad thing is that one shouldn't have to point something so obvious out. But some people aren't very quick on the uptake, and if they insist on being rude in public, perhaps a not-so-gentle reminder isn't out of place.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 1, 2008 01:42 AM

Carter was extremely intelligent, actually. His problem is that he continually gets lost in the weeds. He focuses on details to the exclusion of the big picture; like many people who are detail-oriented, he tends to gather information obsessively and that inhibits decision making when he is faced with a crisis. He also tends to fret over relatively minor flaws - they assume outsized importance because he's unable to make a decision and move on.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 1, 2008 01:48 AM

His problem is that he continually gets lost in the weeds.

His other problem is that he sees the weeds as a rose garden -- and insists the rest of us are wrong when we point out that they're *weeds*.

Posted by: BillT at December 1, 2008 02:34 AM

While I will agree that the devil is in the details, there were some areas that Carter had no business letting his sense of right and wrong dictate. Iran, for starters.

I could go on from there, but you get the idea.

Posted by: Cricket at December 1, 2008 09:24 AM

He also had no business billing himself as a nuclear engineer.

Posted by: BillT at December 1, 2008 10:33 AM

Heh. I have a very good friend who *is* a rocket scientist and as a hobby, built formula cars. He was the one who taught me the more advanced aspects of mechanics...and really thought I had a shot at being an engineer. Double heh.

Posted by: Cricket at December 1, 2008 11:03 AM

THe Navy named a submarine after Carter.

A very wise move, given the fact that submarines are expected to be neither heard nor seen, while staying underwater for long periods of time.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at December 1, 2008 12:48 PM

I didn't know Carter was such a conversation ender. Neat trick for cocktail parties, I guess.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at December 2, 2008 04:18 PM

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