A pastor in Kansas City has come up with a challenge for the ages: No grumbling or complaining for three weeks. This came after he was, well, complaining, that his congregation was, well, complaining…too much. So, he threw down the whining gauntlet and told all of them to keep their complaints to themselves for almost a month.
Did you see Hillary Clinton campaigning in Iowa the other day? More importantly, did you hear her campaigning in Iowa? Was it my imagination or was she trying to speak Iowan? Talking in contractions, affecting a “flat accent” Hillary appeared to be attempting to bond with people in the Hawkeye state by mimicking the way they speak.
So this may be a few days late, but I was lucky enough to attend the National Review Institute’s event over this past weekend. There’s been quite a bit of buzz about what happened, but in case you missed it or are unable to read between the lines over at The Corner, let me sum it up for you in no uncertain terms:
The notion of the commander-in-chief as monarch, promoted by former Bush administration official and law professor John Yoo, has received some useful debunking in recent days. First Garry Wills in the New York Times noted that the phrase itself is overblown and, for the most part, inappropriate, at least when used to refer to American citizens. It applies to the military. Unless you’re a member of the U.S. military, Bush isn’t your commander.
Yesterday was Ashoura, the holiest day of the Shiite calendar, which commemorates thedeath of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammad in a 7th-century battle near Karbala. In rituals to mark Ashoura “worshippers beat themselves with chains, slice their heads with knives and pound their chests in expressions of grief over the death of Imam Hussein,”reportsThe Associated Press.
Nearly 260 vodka brands were introduced in the U.S. from 2001 to 2006, according to market research firm Adams Beverage Group. “Swathed in purple glass, illuminated in pink, or infused with flavors like cherry vanilla, vodkas now account for about a quarter of all new hard-liquor brands, more than any other spirit,” reportsThe Wall Street Journal. The Stiletto is an aficionado of vodka martinis, so she has strong opinions about her spirit of choice:
We who live in sunny, star-studded Los Angeles are often envied by people who live in less glamorous, climactically inhospitable places, such as Embarrass, Minnesota. But I say to residents of Embarrass, Minnesota and other towns and hamlets across this vast nation: Don’t envy us till you’ve walked a mile in our Birkenstocks. We have plenty of problems of our own.
The first dictionary meaning of insanity is: “Unsoundness of mind that renders a person unfit.” The second: “A degree of mental malfunctioning sufficient to relieve the accused of legal responsibility of a crime.” The third: “Extreme foolishness; folly.”
Running for President seems to be going the way of sex and reality television – everyone’s doing it. Here we are, two years from inauguration day 2008 and there seems to be 3,276, yes that many, people running for the Nation’s highest office.
During my childhood, there was the North Pole, and there was the South Pole. There was the pole that heroic firemen slid down to race to their big, red trucks. There was pole-vaulting too, a spirited sport that dared immortal feeling young men and women to defy gravity and launch themselves high in the air.
Judging from the recent news, America’s sense of justice is all askew. Actor Isaiah Washington, condemned in the court of public opinion for using the word faggot to describe his gay colleague, has been sentenced by ABC to undergo sensitivity training for an unspecified period of time. Like Michael Richards, Isaiah has already apologized but this is not deemed sufficient for our morally outraged culture.
As a Midwesterner, a Kansan, I often hear that others value us for our work ethic. I’m not sure I believe that those of us in Flyover Country are working any harder than anyone else, but I know we value what work ethic we have. Although I’m a college professor (does that make me part of an intellectual elite?) and a writer (does that make me flaky?), I’m happy for how I started my work life, in Topeka, Kansas.
Democratic leaders were quick to criticize President Bush’s plan to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq, demanding instead that the troops be withdrawn (or, to use the current euphemism, “redeployed”). The withdrawal of American troops is synonymous, in the minds of the President’s critics, with “ending the war in Iraq”.
In short, President George W. Bush’s plan for “redirecting” the Iraq campaign is logical, in line with the war on terror and targets the correct enemies of Iraq, of democracies and of the United States. But the plan needs to fit within a global vision of winning the global conflict with the Jihadists, on a long term policy, win the support of the new Congress, and be well explained to the American people by the various levels of the Administration. This is where the beef is. On the other hand, the response by the Democratic led Congress as stated by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is also logical, touches sensitive issues if the Iraq battlefield, and lays out the normal outcome of a strategic success: that is the return of the troops. So are the White House and Congress in harmony? We will see. Both have advanced what is essentially logical. The President challenge is to make sure his bureaucracy follows him thoroughly, and the Congress’ challenge is to make sure the American public sees the big picture the legislators are not revealing yet for the future. Let’s wait and see how Washington’s new dual approach will fare in the very near future.
If you were watching Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on C-Span as she testified the other day before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, you would ask yourself as I did: what is this handsome, articulate, charming statesman going to do for an encore, after her term of office is over in a year or so? Become a fundraising president of some university? Oh, no. President of some big corporation? Please. A Goldman Sachs banker? Please again.
Ah Graydon, we thought we knew ye. But you have been sucked into the swirling eddy of a drowning man. Christopher Hitchens’ neo-con politics aren’t sexy any more, on account of the whole Iraq War thingy, and Hitchens being a grumpy atheist boozing Brit. So now Hitchens is reaching for attention, as evidenced in his latest (and we hope, his last) article for your December issue: “Why Women Aren’t Funny.”
Over the past few days, three Supreme Court justices defended their 2000 decision to overturn a ruling of the Florida Supreme Court to halt the recount of Florida’s disputed election results, thus allowing George W. Bush to claim the state’s 25 electoral votes and victory in the presidential race, The Associated Press reports.
The more we learn about Jimmy Carter’s one-sided and biased views toward Israel and her supporters in this country, the more reason we have to be deeply troubled by what he represents and the dangerous mischief he continues to foment.
President Bush’s call for a 20 percent reduction in gas consumption over the next ten years could be accomplished much sooner — and without having to resort to either elaborate (and expensive) new technologies or a pack of federal mandates.
I can’t believe it’s been 27 years since the release of the album — and Roger Waters is still circling the globe like some international housing inspector, targeting various walls for demolition with his spray paint bottle. One might think this principled and highly idealistic man had long ago demolished every wall in his own house, leaving nothing to protect him and his expensive property from the elements, burglars, and curious onlookers. Because otherwise he comes off as a ridiculous hypocrite – and all his writings on other people’s walls have no more meaning than the stains left by a dog marking its territory.
Red, white and blue balloons reminiscent of a political convention decorated the ceiling of the Fountain room at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York City on Monday evening. The energy in the room was high and filled with buzz of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for the nomination. The occasion was the launch of the publication of Clinton best pal and golf companion, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe’s book, “What a Party! My Life among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators and Other Wild Animals.”
The evening of Friday, January 19th found The Stiletto at the Directors Guild Theater in Manhattan for a screening of Mine Your Own Business, a 2006 documentary that reveals “the dark side of environmentalism.” The film takes on Western environmental activists who parachute into developing nations to orchestrate well-funded campaigns against mining companies that want to renovate obsolete mines, provide desperately needed jobs and improve the roads, housing and water supply for the local populace. The environmentalists get quoted in the MSM, and this documentary is meant to give the impoverished people who would have benefited from the mining projects equal time. You can watch the trailer here.
Islam is at war with the world. This statement is most certainly a fact and yet it is amazing how many of us are either not aware of it, or don’t believe it. One doesn’t have to look at the attacks on just the West over the course of the past two decades as proof, consider what has happened in Indonesia and what continues to go on in Ethiopia. Islamic Jihadists have vowed to turn Africa totally Islamic, and they’re off to a good start with the slaughter that is going on now. President Bush had all good intentions in his War on Terror, but in the end could not overcome political correctness, Democrat hammering, and the hateful partisan media. So what now?
2007 is here and so is the presidential cattle show. Already, the weakest of knee and bladder have departed from the field — Frist, Feingold, Bayh. And yet there is still enough beef on the hoof, boundless ambition, and tabloid tales to make 2008 a standout cycle in the making.