Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday's throwdowns

So President Obama's honeymoon with the American public continues:
"For the first time in years, more Americans than not say the country is headed in the right direction, a sign that Barack Obama has used the first 100 days of his presidency to lift the public's mood and inspire hopes for a brighter future. Intensely worried about their personal finances and medical expenses, Americans nonetheless appear realistic about the time Obama might need to turn things around, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. It shows most Americans consider their new president to be a strong, ethical and empathetic leader who is working to change Washington."
But keep in mind: all newly-elected presidents have high early poll ratings. But they don't last.
Ask Jimmy Carter about that. Indeed, ask any U.S. president from the 20th century.
What is interesting though, albeit a bit disheartening, is how many capital observers such as the writer of the piece above, and others, seem to believe that we really must depend on one man, on a government, to steer the country and our lives. Is it really a good thing for us to focus so much on Washington, on government? What about our own lives, homes, churches, schools? I read somebody a few months ago write that visiting Washington was so important because what went on there was "the focus of our lives." Really? That should be the focus of our lives--not our children, not our homes? Sad...

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers rallied last night for a sloppy win vs the Angels, 12-10. It's good to see Curtis Granderson coming on--he hit his 3rd home run in two nights. Others got big hits, too, including Ordonez and Cabrera. But Justin Verlander had another rough start, giving up 7 runs. Worrying...
The Rangers meanwhile lost 8-7 in 11 innings to Toronto. The Rangers made a great rally, scoring 3 in the 9th to tie the game. But, again, they got a poor start from Matt Harrison, and by the 11th the bullpen was out of gas. Pitching, pitching...
And the Cubs lost 3-0 to Cincinnati, mainly due to a great pitching performance from Johnny Cueto. Not much one can do about that--Ted Lilly gave the Cubs a quality start; they'd like to see Milton Bradley start hitting, though (he's 1 for 23 so far this year).

Hmmm--re: Perez Hilton vs Miss California, well-said:
"So wait … how is it Perez Hilton, the gossip blogger who built a career by drawing male genitalia and cartoon cocaine on celebrity photos, is now the media’s official spokesperson on one of the most important civil rights issues in America?...Prejean delivered her no-not-really response in the fumbling manner commonly heard at beauty pageants when a contestant is asked to deliver a succinct answer to a politically loaded question. At any rate, Miss North Carolina took home the crown. Unfortunately for the rest of the country, we continue to be bludgeoned by updates on the “blogging queen versus the beauty queen.” Are we actually expecting a pair of inarticulate exhibitionists to fight this thing to a nationwide accepted finish? Whatever, 24-hour news cycle — do what you gotta do. But you know, you wouldn’t invite LOL Cats to speak on animal cruelty. So please, stop presenting Perez Hilton (real name Mario Lavandeira) as an accredited, universally accepted spokesperson of a generation, rather than the Internet meme that refuses to die."

NBC's Andrea Mitchell today writes a long piece praising the Obama administration's early foreign policy, claiming it's about "listening" more, talking less, and being willing to be humble, critical of past U.S. actions, etc.
I suspect this is very important to many of our progressive friends on an emotional level--probably because they have been so critical of U.S. policies in the past.
But what they fail to realize is that listening, and being humble, does not a foreign policy make.
(Nor, in the end, does it impress our enemies.)

More on torture--today, from NRO's Cliff May:
"Left unexamined was the likelihood that these health professionals — who had been tasked with ensuring that interrogations did not cross reasonable legal, medical, and ethical boundaries— judged that the interrogations did not reach the point that they would “shock the conscience” which, as former CIA director Michael Hayden told Fox News’s Chris Wallace, is the “American standard” for torture. Hayden added: “You have to know the totality of circumstances in which something takes place before you can judge whether or not it shocks the conscience.” Among the released memos is one from then-assistant attorney general Jay Bybee emphasizing that waterboarding “will be stopped if deemed medically necessary to prevent severe mental or physical harm.” Another memo makes clear that supervising physicians were empowered to stop interrogations “if in their professional judgment the detainee may suffer severe physical or mental pain or suffering.” What’s severe? Again, circumstances matter and judgments may differ. Attempting to criminalize such differences is appallingly unethical — not least when done by people who call themselves “ethicists.”...Terrorists are not criminal defendants with a “right to remain silent.” They are not prisoners of war obligated only to recite only name, rank, and serial number. They are “not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention.” Those are the words of Eric Holder, Obama’s attorney general (on CNN, January 2002) who added that had Mohamed Atta “survived the attack on the World Trade Center, would we now be calling him a prisoner of war? I think not. Should Zacarias Moussaoui be called a prisoner of war? Again, I think not.”