"Not Me" Foreign Policy

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Shamelessly pinched from here.

I know I'm late to the party in denouncing the President's admitting publicly that he hasn't a clue what to do about IS. (I can't call it ISIS, that just makes me think of Saturday morning television.) Dude, here's how you pronounce that: "All options are currently on the table." Same thing, threatens the enemy rather than giving him a good laugh.  You're not just talking to the people in the room, you know.  Which brings me to Noemie Emery's piece:  
When one thing goes wrong, it may be an accident, but when five do at once—Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, and our border—the man at the helm may have something to do with it, and a foreign policy based largely on John Lennon lyrics may be the proximate cause.

And then there's this (curtsy American Digest), in which a Facebook friend of Glenn Reynolds says America's becoming Potterville. Quoted in full.

Let’s accept, arguendo, that the outgoing DIA chief is right, and that we are now in an era of danger similar to the mid-1930s. How did we get here? It’s worth looking back into the mists of time — an entire year, to Labor Day weekend 2013. What had not happened then? It’s quite a list, actually: the Chinese ADIZ, the Russian annexation of Crimea, the rise of ISIS, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the fall of Mosul, the end of Hungarian liberal democracy, the Central American refugee crisis, the Egyptian-UAE attacks on Libya, the extermination of Iraqi Christians, the Yazidi genocide, the scramble to revise NATO’s eastern-frontier defenses, the Kristallnacht-style pogroms in European cities, the reemergence of mainstream anti-Semitism, the third (or fourth, perhaps) American war in Iraq, racial riots in middle America, et cetera and ad nauseam.
All that was in the future just one year ago.
What is happening now is basically America’s version of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The President of the United States — supported to an exceptional extent by an electorate both uncomprehending and untrusting of the outside world — is Clarence the Angel, and he’s showing us what the world would be like if we’d never been born, Unsurprisingly, Bedford Falls is now Pottersville, and it’s a terrible place. Unfortunately we do not get to revert to the tolerable if modest status quo at the end of the lesson: George Bailey will eventually have to shell the town and retake it street by street from Old Man Potter’s Spetsnaz.
But the larger point here is not what’s happening, because what’s happening is obvious. Things are falling apart. The point is how fast it’s come. It takes the blood and labor of generations to build a general peace, and that peace is sustained by two pillars: a common moral vision, and force majeure. We spent a quarter-century chipping away at the latter, and finally discarded the former, and now that peace is gone. All this was the work of decades. 
Look back, again, to Labor Day weekend 2013, and understand one thing: its undoing was the work of mere months.

Apparently Finger Wagging Isn't A Foreign Policy

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Just calling attention to this article on US foreign policy after Obama. Curtsy: powerlineblog

A Far Cry from Baghdad Bob

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Just because I find this touching.

No Service for Jews

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Belgian Doctor Refuses Treatment to Jewish Patient reads the headline. A woman's son called a health hotline for her, and was told to let her go to Gaza, where she'd find pain relief. The story includes other alarming news:
Joods Actueel editor-in-chief Michael Freilich said the incident is particularly alarming because it comes amid a string of recent incidents which involved boycotts against Jews in Belgium since the start of Israel’s attack on Hamas in Gaza on July 8.
Since then, an Orthodox Jewish woman was refused service at a clothes store in Antwerp, and police removed a sign in French and Turkish from a café near Liege which said dogs were allowed but Zionists and Jews were not.
What the story doesn't tell me is if (as I assume) these are Arab immigrants doing these things or generalized anti-Semitism. 

Who Is Pushing Impeachment Talk?

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Democrats, obviously. Not denying that Sarah Palin and a few other outliers like the idea, but nobody serious on the GOP side wants that -- it's to take eyes of the Senate prize. But to prove the point, Nate Silver counts the actual numbers
The scoreboard so far in July: Fox News has 95 mentions of impeachment, and MSNBC 448. That works out to about 2.7 mentions per hour of original programming on MSNBC, or once every 22 minutes. 
As he points out, impeachment talk from Dems has Br'er Rabbit quality to it.  

If Only All Our Political Debates Could Be Musical

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The arguments may be tiresome, but you have to admit they go down a little more easily in musical form.

First entry (not embeddable): Kristin Bell channels Mary Poppins in a plea for an increase to the federal minimum wage. (Go ahead, watch; it's cleverly done.)

Then Reason's Remy with the rebuttal. I always liked Burt best anyway.


To My Daughter, I Just Have To Say

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I Just Have to Say

That I didn't miss
the plums
that were in
the fridge

but now you
have eaten
an entire two pints
of raspberries,
my favorites,
I hoped to share at breakfast

Were they delicious?
Sweet,
tart
and cold?
I didn't get
a one.

*With apologies to William Carlos Williams

Remembered With A Smile

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Shamelessly pinched from here
(doodle doot) DOON-DOON-doo-de-doo-doon.... doo-doo-de-doo, doo-doo-de-doo... DOON...doo-de-doo-de-doo.... 

Raise your hand if you've had the theme to the Rockford Files playing in your head all day on the news of James Garner's passing?

I associate Garner, and especially the Rockford Files, with happy family life because for years we'd barely see my dad from Tuesday-Thursday as he "put the paper to bed," but on Friday night he'd be home and we'd have dinner in front of the T.V. to watch Rockford together. If Rockford was on, then Dad was home and all was right with the world. Mom was enjoying her eye candy and Dad was getting a kick out of Rockford's rumpled fight for justice and the juicy-delightful cowardice and betrayal of his erstwhile sidekick, Angel.

I had a crush on Rockford, of course, but I also recall loving the father-son relationship between Rockford and his dad, Rocky -- their crusty, undemonstrative tenderness for each other.
Jim: What's wrong?
Rocky: I am THROUGH talking to you! Look at you, an inch or two to the right and you'd be missing that eye!
Jim: Yeah, but look at it this way, an inch or two to the left and he'd have missed me completely.
Did any actor ever play annoyance, chagrin, reluctance or wheedling a favor to such comic effect? Until very late in life the man had the most pliable face in show business.

I don't actually know much about him beyond his being a self-proclaimed "bleeding heart liberal" and having a long-lasting marriage, which is always impressive in Hollywood.  I thought about reading his memoir when it was released, but was afraid it would cool my affection for him.

This appreciation from law professor Randy Barnett gives me courage to attempt it though. If you're a Maverick or Rockford fan, click over and read it. It's lovely and it captures what was great about Garner's work. (It's also nice because Garner's daughter read the piece to him while he was still alive and it pleased him: the internet is good for something! Read about that there too.)

Here's the Variety review of his career.

Update: List of Rockford's answering machine gags