Thursday, May 24, 2007

What a Difference an e Makes

I wonder how many voters in 2004 thought they were casting ballots for a Democrat named Kerrey who lost a leg in Vietnam and won the Congressional Medal of Honor before being elected to the U.S. Senate instead of the actual Democratic candidate named Kerry who earned three Purple Hearts for superficial wounds during a three month rotation in Vietnam and then threw those medals away (actually someone else’s) in a dramatic protest against the war before being elected to the U.S. Senate?



Well, the difference became even more stark this week when genuine war hero Kerrey wrote the kind of non-partisan, intelligent and perceptive rationale for the Long War that (single e) Kerry would never write and our current Commander in Chief should have written months ago.

Hero Kerrey asks why his fellow Democrats (such as Kerry no e) are advocating a policy that would be anathema to them if it were not for the existence of George Bush:

“Supposed we had not invaded Iraq and Hussein had been overthrown by Shiite and Kurdish insurgents. Suppose al Qaeda then undermined their new democracy and inflamed sectarian tensions to the same level of violence we are seeing today. Wouldn’t you expect the same people who are urging a unilateral and immediate withdrawal to be urging military intervention to end the carnage?”

This is an excellent point and not entirely hypothetical since President Clinton made regime change in Iraq the official policy of the United States in 1998.

According to the frothing cable TV gladiator news corps, the claim that regime change originated in the Clinton Administration is yet another “BUSH LIE®.”

But the text of the Iraq Liberation Act is explicit:

“It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.”

And when President Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act on October 31, 1998 he offered this reasoning:

“The United States favors and Iraq that offers its people freedom at home. I categorically reject arguments that this is unattainable due to Iraq’s history or its ethnic or sectarian makeup. Iraqis deserve and desire freedom like everyone else. The United States looks forward to a democratically supported regime that would permit us to enter into dialogue leading to the reintegration of Iraq into normal international life.”

And this policy was supported fervantly by many politicians who now claim that it was a Bush creation based on fraudulent information.

So if regime change in Iraq is not some neo-con plot hatched by the Bush Administration in the aftermath of 9/11, what is it?

Well, the simplest answer is usually the right one: a fascist dictatorship fueled by petrodollars in the heart of an unstable and strategically important part of the world posed a recognizable threat to regional and therefore global security. The 9/11 attacks made that threat less tolerable for the United States and transition to a democratically supported regime in Iraq more attractive.

Changing the regime was relatively simple. Securing a democratic government has been more difficult but no less important.

But the hard part has already been accomplished. Millions of Iraqis voted for a new government without acrimony or charges of fraud.

Today the violence in Iraq is over who will control that government, not over the U.S. involvement in bringing it about.

President Clinton’s intentions are still valid:

“The United States wants Iraq to rejoin the family of nations as a freedom-loving and law-abiding member.”

Had the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 succeeded in overthrowing Saddam, it’s very likely the same dynamic would have taken place then as now with Islamofascists attempting to undermine the nascent democracy by provoking sectarian violence.

The goal of self determination for Iraqis is an admirable one. You can debate whether it is worth American lives or not. But it’s incorrect to say it is a policy conjured by the Bush Administration. And it’s tragic that the struggle is being exploited for parochial partisan gain here in the United States.

Hero Kerrey reminds us that this struggle will not go away by itself. Zero Kerry reminds us why he wasn’t entrusted with presidential power in 2004.

Given enough time, reason will always prevail. So at least there’s hope.
Green vs Modernism

What is green? Or more specifically, what makes a “green” building green? The definition is still pretty squishy.

Take for example the new Bank of America building going up on Bryant Park near the New York Public Library. According to BusinessWeek, the new BoA building, designed by Cook+Fox, will be, quote, “the most energy efficient, water-saving, healthful office tower ever built.”

This is flatly absurd. In fact, it’s observably absurd.

The BoA will be an enormous skyscraper taller than every other building in Manhattan except for the Empire State. Below is an architectural rendering of the building. Note that it is a pointy translucent slab encased in a glass curtain wall. It is, in the sacred language of the day, “crystalline.”

If effect, BoA will be a perpendicular greenhouse. The offices on the southern side of the building will not only enjoy direct sunlight all year long but will also require enough refrigeration to make them habitable by anyone other than sun scorched Saudi bedouins.

How could a building that will need to be air conditioned 10 months out of the year ever be considered energy efficient? Well, it will have a gas-fired generator in the basement to create its own electricity for cooling during the day and at night when rates are lower the building will use the public grid make ice that will assist the air conditioning system the next day. But again, how is this efficient? How is this “green?”

Just by looking at the BoA building you know it will not be energy efficient. Here is what an energy efficient skyscraper looks like:

Note the thick masonry walls, the open windows to allow air to circulate, the awnings to block out the direct rays of the sun. When Chicago’s Home Insurance Building was constructed in 1885 it was considered revolutionary. Not because it was “green”, but because it was “modern.” It was the first to use a steel frame and that allowed engineers to build tall for the first time.

Back then, architects didn’t have a word to describe a “green” building for the same reason fish have no word to describe “wet.” In 1885, engineers did not have the technology to building anything but energy efficient green buildings. And they didn’t care about energy efficiency. What they cared about was using new materials and new machines to construct totally artificial environments . . . “modern” environments that were no longer subject to the whim of nature, that triumphed over nature, that signaled an entirely new era in human development.

That’s what modernism is. 100% artificial and proud of it!

The animating spirit of modernism can only be appreciated if you live in a world where there is no alternative to the natural forces that had dominated humanity since the beginning of time.

Today, the opposite is true. Few of us even remember a time when we couldn’t totally shut out the natural environment. How many of us go without furnaces to counter the cold of winter, air conditioners to counter the heat of summer, automobiles to overcome distance, incandescent lights to illuminate the darkness, televisions, radios, and other electronic devices to stimulate our minds?

The idea that we wouldn’t use the energy-consuming modern conveniences we’re so accustomed to is so radical that we’ve had to come up with term to describe the concept. Yet the concept is as old as humanity.

Look at the Home Insurance building again.

The windows are open. The people inside the offices are wearing suits made of lightweight cotton. They have paperweights to keep the wind from blowing everything off their desks. They have a boiler in the basement making steam to heat the place in winter and at the top floors it’s still so cold they wear gloves. They might even light their work space with open flames from gas lights. There are no cars, just animals to pull heavy loads.

That’s energy efficient!

And that’s nit so bad. I grew up in New York City without air conditioning. In summer I would fall asleep to the sound of a pianist practicing in some distant garret. My father worked at the headquarters of a huge multinational corporation that had no air conditioning. He wore a suit and tie every day while he worked. In fact, I once worked in a building on Wall Street that had no air conditioning and it wasn’t bad at all. It was an old building with thick walls, big windows and cool marble floors. You could smell the sea and hear fog horns through the open windows. Today, if you work downtown in a sealed glass box you’re no longer even aware that you’re about 100 yards from the ocean.

But I digress.

My point is this: two architectural movements, modernism and green building, are wholly incompatible. You cannot have a glass curtain wall and energy efficiency at the same time.

Moreover, while one movement (modernism) emphasizes technology’s mastery over the natural world and the other is all about using technology to accommodate the natural world which is absurd because nature needs no intermediaries.

My hope is that both movements collide cataclysmically and that what emerges from the rubble is a more tradition style that takes nature and humanity into account. A good place to look for inspiration would be right across Bryant Park. The New York Public Library is a masterpiece of humane and “green” architecture.

The Carrère and Hastings building is always cool in the summer despite the heat because its walls are thick, its windows open wide, and its mass is punctured by courtyards that allow air to circulate as well as provide the sort of enclosed outdoor spaces that humans are drawn to instinctively. My guess is that Rem Koolhas will not look to this historic precedent when thinking about his next library commission. And that’s a shame.

“Green” building as we know it today is doomed not because its intent is wrong, it’s doomed because it is a desperate attempt to make 20th Century modernism relevant again. Once ideological modernism is discarded, then we’ll see truly green buildings . . . again.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Throwing Stones at The Glass House

Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan is open for small public tours and I went to see the “estate’ for myself last week.

The Glass House is a secular shrine for devout Modernists, several of whom joined me on this pilgrimage. We’ve all seen the pictures – a transparent temple sitting on a ledge. We all know the catty criticisms – no privacy, where do you change your clothes? And we all know that questioning its beauty and significance is considered by the cognoscenti to be an early symptom of philistinism.

I’m agnostic on the Glass House. I think it’s beautiful in some sense. But it’s not really a house at all. It’s a garden folly.

That doesn’t become obvious until you enter the building. My first impression was that the ceiling is very high and that the interior is a surprisingly larger space than I had expected.

My second impression is that the house is inconsequential. Everyone instinctively walked from the front door directly over to the glass walls to look out at the view. I asked the tour guide if this was a typical reaction and she said yes approvingly, visitors always go for the view.

In fact, the view is spectacular. Johnson culled the forest and left behind all the mature trees with stones walls outlining the dips and rises of the land. The landscape is entrancing. Your eye moves from individual scenes to the panorama and back again. You could look at it for hours.

My third impression was that there is nothing whatsoever worth looking at inside the house itself. It’s little more than a translucent Motel 6 suite. The woodwork on the cabinets is bleached and dried by the sun. The kitchen is of similar look and vintage as the one I had in my college dorm room. And the bathroom is . . .um . . . unpleasant.

The docent’s narrative confirmed my suspicion that this was a virtually uninhabitable space. All the doors need to be opened to cool the place on sunny days – it’s a greenhouse after all – and since there are no screens to keep the bugs out, I imagine it’s not the best place to be in the summer.

Nor in the winter, apparently. Johnson liked having a fire in the fireplace even though it was so poorly designed that more smoke filled the house than the chimney. From the looks of the darkened ceiling, I’d be surprised if the house even had a chimney.

But I can only imagine what the place is like at night when the landscape is lit by the floodlights Johnson placed on the roof toward the canopy of trees and beyond. That must be sublime. But see, it’s the land, not the house that is truly beautiful.

In pictures of the Glass House there is 17th century French baroque painting by Nicolas Poussin standing in the middle of the room as a partition mounted in a sleek metal frame. That juxtaposition of old and modern had always intrigued me. It seemed a clever way to display traditional artwork in a modern building with no traditional walls. But, as usual, the promise of modernism is thwarted by the actuality of the natural environment.

The beating sunlight, withering humidity, intense heat, and numbing cold have pummeled the Poussin into flaky submission. The painting is ruined. It might as well have been kept outside.

A few minutes of exploration exhausts the highlights of the Glass House interior and after more gawking at the view we walked over to the Guest House. Nothing inviting here. Just a plain door on a stark brick wall. Some wag once described this building as looking like the box that the Glass House came in. Actually, it looks far more sinister than that. A prison or an incinerator is more like it. At its most attractive angle it could pass for an electrical substation on a college campus.

But open the door and there is a pleasant surprise. The windowless interior is flooded with natural light pouring down from skylights overhead. The small tour crowded into the bedroom. This room had no natural light, just fabric covered walls and an austere bed under an undulating canopy. When our guide told us that this was Andy Warhol’s favorite room and would spend all day in there, I noticed those standing closest to the walls step away slightly so that they weren’t touching anything. I made a mental note to wash my hands thoroughly when I got home.

There’s a nice little library in the Guest House that may be the most comfortable place on the property if it weren’t for the sounds of Andy Warhol coming from the next room. The books? Best-sellers from 1980.

Outside again we walked toward the art galleries. The paths across the estate have been paved to accommodate disabled Americans in accord with the Americans with Disabilities Act which seems to be in direct conflict with the Americans Concerned About Paving the Natural Environment Act. Johnson liked narrow pathways and springy footbridges because they offered safe sensations of danger. But “Safe Danger” is not a concept recognized by the ADA and these charming features are being torn out before someone gets hurt because getting hurt is about the worstest thing that can happen in life.

Pausing before the entrance to the subterranean Painting Gallery the docent told us Johnson was inspired by some famous mausoleum in Mycenae. He didn’t need to go so far for inspiration. Basically any cemetery crypt, underground parking garage, or high-security command post such as the one in “Colossus: The Forbin Project” would have inspired this structure.

The innovative angle here is that Johnson’s collection of modern art is stored and displayed on three large rolodexes set on their sides. Changing the artwork displayed is just a matter of turning a huge page in the catalog. The flaw in this inspiration: the radius of the “pages” very nearly intersect at the middle of the room so you would have to constantly move the furniture across the floor if you wanted to see more than three selections of art in one sitting.

The entrance to the gallery is a generously sized vestibule wallpapered in carpeting. Another modernist conundrum: it looks good but doesn’t take nature into account. Remember it’s underground, cold, and damp. Consequently, the carpeting hosts what smells like an advanced civilization of fungus. It was as if a dozen wet Labrador Retrievers had just been shooed out of the building after having lived there for the winter.

Perhaps this olfactory element is what links the gallery to the decomposed aristocracy of Mycenae? I’ll certainly think back to Johnson’s gallery the next time I’m called upon to design a kennel.

Modernism is a difficult thing to define but I think one of its intrinsic characteristics (in architecture, art, music) is that it rejects permanence. It is of the moment and, therefore, does not age well. In fact, it’s not supposed to age because the act of creation is what matters, not the thing that was created by the act.

This is immediately clear from looking at what’s left of Johnson’s art collection. They had the Frank Stellas displayed in the dank dog house when I was there and on close inspection it’s clear that they’re not fairing any better than the Poussin even though they are roughly 300 years more modern. The canvas is peeling off the oddly shaped stretchers and the felt has already disintegrated on one multimedia piece. Looking behind the Stellas, the others don’t look any better.

Leaving the art bunker you are once again confronted with real beauty. The sunshine, fields, stone walls and trees are magnificent.

Next it was off to the sculpture gallery. I was particularly interested in this building since it looked so striking in photographs. With whitewashed walls, ochre steps and a constantly changing pattern of light and shadow, it suggests a Greek village. On the day I visited it was sweltering inside because the mechanism for opening the glass ceiling was rusted shut.

Our guide said that Johnson once considered living here rather than the main house and I could see the attraction. It looks like a multilevel loft space with the possibility of real privacy. Of course, we were not allowed to descend the levels because, according to the ADA, if a disabled American can’t do it, then no one can.

The George Segal sculpture in one of the alcoves looked rusted and dirty. It was probably flawlessly rusted and impeccably dirty when it was installed in the late 1970s. Now it looks like crap. It’s supposed to capture an inconsequential moment shared by an intimate couple. Today, it just looks inconsequential if not a bit ominous like an unmade bed in a squalid tenement which I don’t think is what the artist had in mind originally.

Again, out in the fresh air and sunshine, you see the real beauty of the place and imagine what it might look like if you replaced all these scruffy structures and built a real faux Connecticut farmhouse with peaked roofs and stone chimneys and a big red barn.

Frankly, even the Johnson joint would be just another Fairfield County teardown if the National Trust for Historic Preservation didn’t own it now. And that’s thick irony since the Trust was created to protect traditional architecture from modernism’s onslaught. Now they’re protecting modernism from the backlash. Perhaps even more baffling is that an icon of an architectural movement that rejected historical references has now officially become a historical reference point.

My bottom line impression? My subconscious mind kept replaying the theme to Green Acres until I realized the lyrics: “Land spreading out so far and wide. Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.”

Come to think of it, Philip Johnson really is sort of an inside out hybrid of Mr. & Mrs. Douglas from Green Acres (a program with much wisdom to impart, at least according to my subconscious). Johnson, like Oliver Douglas, is a persistent dreamer fighting a losing battle against nature. And like Lisa Douglas, he tried to replicate his beloved Manhattan in an inhospitable place.

And actually, he succeeded in some elementary way. What was it they used to say about New York? “Great place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.”

The Glass House is exactly that.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Vive la France

The past two weeks have restored much of my dormant faith and admiration in the French. It’s a combination of Segolene’s physical appearance, Sarko’s pugnacity, and the elegance and charisma of France itself.

The Brits have a reputation for pomp and circumstance. But the French, for my money, put on a better show. They combine the romantic sensibility of southern Europe with the precision of the north. And there's none of that royal inbreeding on display. These are all regular citizens. and look, Chirac is even stopping at red lights on the drive home.

The coverage of the change of power at the Elysee Palace this week captured a taste of it.

Plus, now we get to see Cecelia Sarkozy at last. (or is it Cecilia?) This is the woman, remember, that Sarko fell in love with at first sight. Unfortunately, that first sight came as he was officiating her marriage to another man. This story makes slightly more sense to me now that I can see her.

My only complaint: is Citroen so diminished now that they can’t make a decent limousine? What kind of car is Chirac getting into? It looks like he upgraded at Hertz. Where is the jet black DS that de Gaulle used to ride in?

Now that's a French car.

Inexplicable Thursday Video

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Culture, Corporate

Since most of us spend the better part of our waking hours at work with a bunch of other people we probably wouldn't communicate with unless we were forced to by an employer, corporate culture is vitally important to our feelings of personal growth, achievement and self-worth.

As Eliot Noyes said, corporations, like people, give off clues to their characters in the ways they present themselves. Here are two video clues presenting two very different corporate cultures.

The first is from Ernst & Young and the clues coming off of this video couldn’t be more clear. Working here is awkward and stultifying. Join us and be a drone. Give us thirty of the best years of your life and we’ll give you a lovely keepsake timepiece at the end of it.

Jeez, it’s like a commercial for WhiteWorld.

Now compare that to this time waster from Connected Ventures. Just as white and probably even more insufferable but a whole lot more fun. They're saying, we get paid for being competitively outrageous. We have no shame about trendy eyeglasses and we can almost grow beards. BTW, this video will only look cool for approximately two more weeks.

Lip Dub - Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger from amandalynferri on Vimeo

These two videos have been making their way through the corporate blogosphere and I found them on KnowHR and Johnnie Moore.

Perhaps it’s not fair to compare an accounting firm with a bunch of beer swilling twenty year olds who spend their time designing funny tee shirts, but surely in between the two is the perfect work environment . . . and most of us know instinctively on which end of the spectrum our environment lies.

Keep in mind, Ernst & Young spent good money on that trash and the other one was made in one take with a handheld camera. The biggest cost was in lost productivity as the whole office goofs off for a half hour.

You’d think a bunch of global business consultants would know better. But there’s an honesty in their effort. They can’t sing, they have no rythym, they’re geeks who belong firmly behind a desk. That truly is the E&Y culture.

And all that’s all fine because I’d never buy a funny tee-shirt from E&Y and I wouldn’t let those kids near my P&L statements.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


For a moment I didn’t think this was a joke. I mean, the Baby Boomers really are getting pretty old.

And in so many ways they’ve become the insufferable old squares they originally were rebelling against. Their distinctively bizarre music and inscrutable fashion sense are now as permanent and unyielding as that of the folks in Lawrence Welkworld.

This is what mainstream looks like. And there’s nothing more harmlessly mainstream today than Sixties nostalgia.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Farewell Tony Blair

As well as being enormously more eloquent than our own beloved leader, Tony Blair is a good sport with what seems to be a well grounded ego if this clip is to be believed:

Speaking of eloquence, Blair shared some important thoughts on leadership and the burden of making decisions, not simply taking expedient poses.

On the Long War: "The terrorists who threaten . . . us will never give up, if we give up. It is a test of will and of belief, and we cannot fail it."

UPDATE: Apologies to Slugger O'Toole but I have no insight, no knowledge and no opinion about Tony Blair's influence on Northern Ireland. I certainly welcome what appears to be a peaceful reconciliation between the Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland which, if successful, would be yet another vital Irish contribution to civilization. But I suspect that it was the Irish themselves that brought this about regardless of actions and intentions of the British PM.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Palestinians Manage to Fall Short of Our Lowest Expectations

Over the weekend, a U.N.-sponsored elementary school in Gaza held a gymnastics show that included a parade with boys and girls. This was clearly against God’s will so a crowd of Islamists did what any concerned group of parents would do . . . they attacked the school with grenades.

In response, Palestinian “security personnel” opened fire on the crowd and managed to kill one of their own guys and wound two schoolchildren and a teacher.

The chief of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza, John Ging, was attending the show despite death threats trumpeted over loudspeakers the “parents” had set up outside the school. Asked why he ignored the warnings, Ging diplomatically replied, “We have warnings about anything and everything, and people here demonstrate against anything and everything,”

All jolly good fun, wot?

What he means to say is, “these people are fanatic death cultists who will lob grenades about anything and everything.”

Here is a typical Palestinian “policeman:”

Why are they fighting? The rote response is because they are oppressed by Zionist occupiers and their American sponsors. But wait a second, Israel no longer occupies Gaza. They withdrew in 2005.

And what have the Palestinians managed to create in the past two years? A stable and efficient government would be far too much to ask. Even a government that can protect an elementary school from attack seems a bit too ambitious. How about a government that can train security personnel not to shoot each other and whatever children happen to be standing nearby?

The problem with the Palestinians is not Israel. It’s other Palestinians. But most of the world – as typified by the U.N. rep quoted above – would rather pretend that barbaric violence is just some local custom, part of the colorful mosaic of traditions in the Arab world, and not symptomatic of some larger pathology.

It’s the “soft bigotry of low expectations” writ globally. And as usual, this bigotry threatens the very people the bigots are supposed to be concerned about.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Une Charge a Garder

Looks like Bush has not only outlasted his “Old Europe” adversaries but he’s managed to improve ties with our allies without compromising his principles.

Not that you’d ever hear that in the mainstream media.

E-nough has video of Sarko's victory speech in which he addresses "our American friends." This line has been reported widely but I didn't know until seeing the video that the crowd erupts in cheers when he says it.

Thank goodness, it's safe to love France again!

Meanwhile, the vanguard of the people, once again betrayed by the people themselves, expressed their dissatisfaction in the usual fashion . . . they trashed their own neighborhoods.

Violence and the threat of it has always been the fascist’s way of achieving political goals. Now it’s the “progressives” who break the windows.

Video via the incroyable No Pasaran!

Is he as tough as his critics say? Well, remember that in 1993, he volunteered to negotiate with a guy called "The Human Bomb" who was holding an elementary school hostage. Not only did Sarko get the children out safely, but the Human Bomb got iced in the process. Win-Win!

And what would a French election be without an address by the British Prime Minister? I'm looking for W's French language message.

UPDATE: Allow me to be the first of many to compare Sarkozy to Squidward:

Saturday, May 05, 2007

How Do You Make Steel Anyway?

I’m fascinated by 9/11 “Truthers” the same way I’m fascinated by grisly highway accidents. How the heck did those people find themselves in the fix they’re in?

Accident victims deserve our compassion, but the Truthers are another story. They may very well need treatment of some sort. And for people like Rosie O’Donnell, that treatment could begin with completing her high school education.

Steel cannot be melted by fire? How does she think steel got to be steel in the first place? Do the words crucible, Bessemer, or blast furnace sound at all familiar? Nope.

How about some visuals? Here’s what a steel mill looks like. (Care of "Deer Hunter," a heartwarming film about friendship and homecoming). You can barely see anything but fire.

And of course, within a week or two of Rosie's revelation on national television, (she's since been forced off the air by government censors), there was that big fire on Interstate 80 in Oakland that caused the steel supports to buckle and on overpass to collapse.

A closer look reveals perhaps the second time in Rosie history that fire has melted steel. Although it's more likely that this was a controlled detonation designed to intimidate Rosie and people like her (and I don't mean portly outspoken highschool dropouts, although God knows, I wish the governmnet would lock them up.)

Why doesn’t this obvious empirical evidence make any sense to the Truthers? I don’t know, but I suspect that it’s because the actual truth may be even more difficult for them to deal with than the fantasy truth they’ve conjured for themselves.

In any case, no harm done. Unless you’re Rosie’s agent.
Surrender Now and Then What?

I didn't really pay much attention to the official talking points that went along with the Democrats’ Iraqi surrender legislation so this little clip of Pelosi and Reid was a bit confusing to me.

In a span of less than 40 seconds, Nancy Pelosi conflates three demi-truths into one amalgamated twist of logic that seems preposterous on its face. It makes me wonder, what are these guys (and ladies) thinking?

First she says the legislation “respects the wishes of the American people to end the Iraq war.” She must be talking about opinion polls showing that the majority of Americans who take surveys are dissatisfied with the course of the conflict in Iraq. I would count myself as part of that majority. But I want to succeed in Iraq, not surrender unilaterally as this legislation intends.

I wasn’t asked for my opinion by the pollsters Pelosi must have in mind. If fact the last time I registered a political preference was on Election Day 2006. On that day, as I recall, the most prominent antiwar Democrat in the nation, Ned Lamont, lost his bid for the Senate to perhaps the most pro-victory Democrat in the nation, Joe Lieberman. Iraq was one of many issues in 2006, the most prominent one being ethics. And on ethics the Democrats have yet to respect the wishes of the American people since that guy with $100,000 in cash cooling in his refridgerator is still a Member is good standing as far as I know.

Second, Pelosi claims the dead-and-decayed-on-arrival legislation she is signing was passed with bi-partisan support. Actually, the House version squeaked by with support from 216 Democrats and 2 Republicans. Hardly bipartisan. Indeed the opponents of the bill displayed more bipartisanaity (198 Republicans and 14 Democrats). The rest was basically a party line vote which is why it narrowly passed and why a veto of it cannot be overrided, or overridden, or overridieded

And lastly, Pelosi says that by signing the bill and withdrawing our troops from Iraq, we will be able to “refocus on fighting terrorists.” But surely even the Democrats are aware that Al Qaeda is active in Iraq.

How would surrendering in Iraq possibly help us fight terrorists in Iraq? Are we guaranteeing that we will never under any circumstances fight in Iraq ever? That might be taken by the Islamofascist organizations we've been chasing in the Middle East, South Asia, and the Horn of Africa as an invitation to set up shop, kick back and relax.

For months I’ve been hearing that Iraq has become a magnet for terrorists. Even the New York Times is reporting that Al Qaeda leaders are being killed in Iraq and I don’t think they were there for Spring Break vacation.

At the very least, Nancy Pelosi needs to remind these Al Qaeda knuckleheads that Iraq has nothing to do with the global war on terror.

Interestingly, today’s Times has a long story on how Sunni extremists in Jordan are literally dying to fight the infidels in Iraq. Where will they go when we withdraw from Iraq? Will they go back home and put aside their homicidal fervor and refocus on making the best damn chicken shawarma the world has ever tasted? Or will they follow our troops home and pursue martyrdom until we help them achieve it?

I wonder, what exactly is the Democrats’ policy on this issue? I suspect the foundation of it is whatever embarrasses and weakens Bush is good. Even though Bush is the President and Commander in Chief . . . offices that, for better or worse represent the United States at home and abroad to people who don't know the difference between a Democrat and a Republican. And even though George Bush will no longer be president in a little more than two years. What then?

If the Bush haters really wanted to refocus on fighting terrorists, how would they do it? They could begin by fighting the terrorists where they are right now . . . in Iraq.

And it wouldn't hurt if the Democrats took some of that hatred they reserve for their partisan rivals and refocus it on our actual enemies.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Au Revoir Sego

Sego and Sarko slugged it out last night in a debate that was apparently watched by every voter in France.

From a great distance it seems that the most notable event in the 2 ½ hour discourse was Segolene going postale on Sarkozy over the issue of disabled children.

Sego, who is supposed to be the more serene and composed of the two candidates, let loose a torrent of syllables at the tail end of which Sarkozy, who is supposed to be the hot head, doused the flames with a provocative suggestion that Sego calm down.

It had the desired effect.

At minute 4:30 on the video above she begins to self-immolate.

“No, je ne calmerai pas” – “No I will not calm down” she says at least three times before Sarko puts the fork in her, “You must be calm to be president of the republic.”

Oh yeah, she’s done.

But, damn, she looks great even when she's yelling at you. That's my kind of woman. Oh wait, I'm already married to that kind of woman.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Media Bias or Outright Opposition?

The hot-blooded heroines at E-nough report that anti-Sarko insurgents editorialized in a closed captioned translaton of a Sarkozy speech broadcast in the U.S. by France 2 TV.

More about this latest attat contra L'Homme, and blow by blow French election coverage at E-nough!