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Cordoba House — a name that represents a peak of multi-faith tolerance, what a beautifully ironic chuckle — will be built. Once suggested, deep regard for AMERICAN PRINCIPLES! requires it. It will include a memorial room where the Faithful may come and honor the memories of the nineteen Warriors For God who struck such a blow for the ummah (will there be pictures?) and a glass-walled observation room or balcony where they can look over the site in air-conditioned comfort, and meditate, and be lectured, on the great triumph achieved there, and the necessity and inevitability of further such blows. Allahu akhbar!

It will be a pilgrimage site like the Blue Mosque on the Temple Mount, where Muslims from around the world can come and celebrate their triumph and go home, heartened by their ability to use the infidels’ own cultural and spiritual defects against them, to plan further triumphs against the Great Satan. Direct support? Probably not, at least at first, but the example will be powerfully motivating, and a careful word in the right ear and a short taxi-ride will lead to a quiet restaurant or private residence, where money and plans can be exchanged away from the prying eyes of the myrmidons who seek to frustrate the Will of God.

The victims? There will be a small area near the entrance, carefully isolated from the sanctified areas where only the devout may go, with a modest set of carefully-designed exhibits that mourn — not honor — them, provided that you ignore the subliminal message of difficulty set against spectacular result of the achievement. This room will be regularly visited by the Press, the apologists, and the appeasers, the descriptions and accounts they bring out being painstakingly assembled in such a way as to transmit the desired message: F* you. You deserved it. Lie down and take it, assholes, and expect more. The ones who, splashed with burning jet fuel, blazed across the sky like black-smoking comets in their desperation to escape, and achieved only escape velocity for the short period before ending in a charred and bloody splatter? — disappeared, forgotten, scrubbed from all memory, except where needed as object lessons for those who would seek to oppose the unstoppable Crusade.

(Oh, yes. Jihad: a struggle by the devout to defeat the infidels and compel the worship of the One True God everywhere, using any means found efficacious — the specific primary meaning of the English word “crusade”. Refusal to translate it so is the most valuable form of taqqiyah the submissive infidels pay.)

And the appeasers and apologists, victorious, will again climb their towering crags of sanctimony and self-righteousness, from which, armed with the self-satisfaction of being Arbiters of the American Way, they will issue thunderbolts of denunciation against the primitive peasants of flyover country and the ignorant bigoted Christers, who committed the mortal and utterly unforgivable sin of wishing to mourn their dead without being overlooked, and sneered at, by the triumphant murderers. I wish them joy of it.

Again, the carpers sneer.

Now let me say this about that: I am wholeheartedly and unreservedly in favor of politicians taking vacations whenever and wherever they like, with their families, staffers, hangers-on, and pets in attendance. There is no place on the planet where they can spend, in a week, one-tenth of what they toss in the toilet with single votes or pen-strokes while “on duty” (so to speak). If we could keep the entire Congress in Pago-Pago on a first-class expense account, we could balance the budget in six months. The “optics” bother me not at all. Every minute spent on Martha’s Vineyard is a minute not spent in the Oval Office; stay longer, Barry.

But I remember —

Jimmy Carter didn’t take vacations, though he did go “on retreat” to Camp David on weekends, or take an occasional day to visit the folks in Plains.

By this time in Carter’s Presidency, the Press was full of horripilations about the stress of the office. The man was haggard. His hair was greying. He wasn’t making as many speeches, and his voice quavered occasionally; in candid shots, the trademark toothy grin was conspicuous by its absence. Clearly he was, in the then-new vernacular, stressed out. Semi-serious proposals were advanced to split the responsibilities, ranging from a Constitutional role for the Vice President — perhaps the VP should handle domestic affairs, while the President concentrated on International — to appointing a Premier in addition to the President to take over some of the duties. Much head-wagging and tsk-tsking was done over the toll it was all taking on poor Jimmy’s health. He was advised to get better staffers who could handle the load better (a fair cop, IMO).

You’d have to search the comment archives at Protein Wisdom to confirm it, but I predicted right after Barack Obama took office that such stories would pop up about him starting about two years in. Here they are, a little ahead of schedule. The punditocracy notes, with appropriate gravity, that the World Situation is stressful, that he’s not getting all he wants domestically despite excessive effort, and the outlook for the midterm elections is a bit grim. Staffers are falling like flies, complaining about the workload. The poor fellow needs some time to chill out, swim, maybe play a few holes or shoot some hoops — it’s all just too much for anyone to bear.

Between now and Christmas, start looking for the talking heads to begin noting, with solemn despair, how much the guy has aged and the toll it’s taking on his health. After that, especially if the November polls go the way they look like they will at the moment, you should expect a renewal of the argument that the Presidency is just too much for one man to do, the United States is too big and complicated for a single person to manage, we have to do something to ease the strain. Criticism of the staffers will run right along in parallel — those incompetents aren’t shouldering the load the way they should; he ought to replace them.

The Press could save themselves a good deal of effort by hunting through the morgues and kinescopes for what Walter and his fellows were saying in, say, 1978. Change a few nouns and proper names — “Iran” doesn’t need changing, of course — and they can achieve the Holy Grail of the Greens: Recycling!

The single biggest achievement of Ronald Reagan was simply his demonstration that the job could be done.

I can’t sleep.

So I went outside and sat on the hood and windshield of the wrecked Buick, looking east at the sky. It’s time for the Perseid meteor “shower” — actually, last night was the peak, but I slagged off and the seeing was lousy anyway. Tonight is nicely clear.

I stayed out for half an hour, and saw a few meteors. There were a couple of bright fireballs, one that left a trail of sparkles like a skyrocket, and quite a few of the nearly-invisible flashes and specks that are easily mistaken for phosphenes, the bright speckles that aren’t really there, caused by noise in the retina and optic nerve.

The descriptions of meteor showers given by astronomy articles and blogs always imply, if they don’t actually say, that the sky will be ablaze. That’s never been my experience, and tonight was no exception. It’s a flash here, a fireball trail there, and long pauses in between. The Pleiades are pretty, though I find that I can only see five of the seven sisters, and Jupiter loomed bright near the zenith. My house is too close to other houses, and my neighbor’s brightly-lit toybox, to have a really dark sky, but it’s much better than the city, where you might see Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn through the skyglow, but the stars are hardly visible at all.

Technology has spoiled me, I suppose. After forty-plus years of various combinations of blinkenlights, a few flashes of dust particles entering the atmosphere just don’t move me the way they probably should. Only mildly attracted by the show, and repelled by the mosquitoes and the early morning hint that autumn is on the way, I came back inside to the computer. After all, someone on the Internet is bound to be wrong.

If you have equal opportunity, you will get unequal outcomes.

If you have equal outcomes, you don’t have equality of opportunity.

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When I Posted

August 2010