Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hubris Unbound

Earlier this week, President Obama met with about 20 conservative Jewish community leaders.  According to Haaretz, "Obama also stressed he probably knows about Judaism more than any other president, because he read about it..."

While this claim is clearly not true (we have had presidents who studied Hebrew), let's assume it were.  If you were the foremost expert on a subject, would you brag about it in such a manner?  The lack of humility is cringe-inducing.

But, Obama's religious scholarship is not limited to the Old Testament, it includes Catholic just-war theorists.  As the New York Times reported over the weekend, when it comes to the use of predator drones and how targets are determined, "nominations go to the White House, where by his own insistence and guided by Mr. Brennan, Mr. Obama must approve any name," because as a "student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, he believes that he should take moral responsibility for such actions. And he knows that bad strikes can tarnish America’s image and derail diplomacy."

LBJ picked bombing targets in Vietnam to protect America's image (how did that work?), while FDR let Ike choose where the Normandy invasion would be.  Some tactical decisions should be left to military experts, but I'm guessing there is no one on the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the scholarship of Mr. Obama's to be trusted with such a task.  By the way, what was Augustine's views regarding killing rather than capturing and questioning terrorists?  What does Aquinas say about the criteria for choosing military targets?  

The Time quotes former C.I.A. director, Michael Hayden, as saying: “This program rests on the personal legitimacy of the president, and that’s not sustainable...” 

I'm not sure if the program is unsustainable, but it is bizarre.  For Obama, the New York Times and the rest of the American left, detaining terrorists in Guantanamo is a moral abomination, but Obama acting as judge, jury and executioner is fine because of his party affiliation (and he read Aquinas).  In short, because Obama believes one should take moral responsibility for such actions, the left finds Obama's actions moral.  We'll see if they hold this opinion when Romney is ordering drone strikes.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Survivor: One World, Final

There are times in Survivor where you have to mislead.  It's impossible to win the game otherwise.  Sometimes, you might have to flat-out lie.  Some winners have lied a lot. 
Some players have betrayed alliances - they almost never win. Ocassionally, a player makes an alliance with everyone, and the amount of betrayal bites him in the end.
Where's the line?  You can't win without misleading a little, but, how much lying is too much?
The brilliance of the format is that it's left for the jury to decide.  As Jeff says, you will be held accountable in the end. 
I mention all this becuase Kim might be the most deceitful player ever to win the game.  She's up there with Russell.  Russell never won, but Kim dominated her jury.  Why?  Is it the package?  Is it that she was, nevertheless, likeable?
Comparing her to Russell might be unfair.  The best analogy might be Boston Rob in All-Stars.  Rob made an alliance with everyone, stayed true to only a few, dominated physically and strategically, but lost in the end to a highly disgruntled jury.  Why didn't Kim share a similar fate?  She had an ALLIANCE with Kat, Mike, Jay and Troy.  I'd have a difficult time voting for someone who broke an alliance with me.  Sabrina and Chelsea were in that alliance, but both of them were less guilty than Kim (Mike nailed this point at the final tribal council).
In one of the last tribals, Chelsea made a plea to Kim's loyalty, but it included a threat.  She warned that a betrayal of that magnitude would doom her with the jury. Chelsea implied that that was where the line was (which is convenient for Chelsea).
Kim played a great game, but she might have crossed my line earlier than that.  The episode beforehand she admitted to the camera that she has lied so much, she can't remember the truth.  That's when she lost me. 
I know Kim's extremely likeable.  I know it's just a game.  But, I'm not sure I would have voted for her.
At the final tribal, Christina was asked about the abuse she received at the hands of Colton and Alicia.  She shrugged it off - 'it's just a game, I love all these guys.'  I don't know if I would be that casual about it.  Alicia breaks down over comparing Christina to her students because of what it meant about the students (not Christina).  Colton is on trial for saying to Bill 'get a real job', but NOT for telling Christina to 'jump in the fire.'  Kim's lying, the abuse of Christina - that's all fine.  But, if you mention thw Wizard of Oz when discussing Leif, you're in hot water.  I find it weird what people choose to get indignant about.  We live in strange times.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Turning Lemonade Into Lemons

It seems to me that the President is turning his biggest campaign asset (the killing of Osama Bin Laden) into a liability.  A subtle reminder to the voters once in a while is fine, but they will tolerate only a certain amount of self-congratulations.  The public knows most presidents would have given the order.  Twisting Romney's words and claiming he wouldn't have is a hard sell.

The word is that the military doesn't like what the President is doing, and some retired Seals might start publicly complaining if Obama doesn't stop it. Who is going to win that argument with the voters? I'd put my money on the Seals. But, don't worry Democrats, when the Seals start complaining, you can be there to tell them to shut up, the GOP did the same thing after 9/11. That should work.