And just think what the people in the Ivory Coast must be wondering when they see us involved in Libya, but not in their country. After several days of air strikes,cruise missile launchings, actual reports of French jets hitting their targets, do we have a clue about the final outcome and even why we are involved? Why are we involved actually is what I have wondered all along + why the President did not consult with the Congress before beginning whatever this is.
Of course this “adventure” of ours stems from what to all intents and purposes is a Libyan civil war, between forces loyal to Hugo Chavez’ best friend, Col Gaddafi, and those intent on recreating the Egyptian experience of just a few weeks ago. Unlike the events in Egypt, there is a much stronger force intent on maintaining the status quo. So, of all sources to ask us, among others, to intervene, the Arab League called for the imposition of a no fly zone to prevent the Libyan air force from massacring those opposing the Colonel.
So, American, French and British set out to do just that, ground the Libyan air force. What would be almost amusing, were it so deadly serious, is how quickly the Arab League got more than it expected. Libyan planes were shot down, antiaircraft guns were silenced and some people were killed. I have no intention of poking fun at all, but how exactly did the Arab League expect a no fly zone to be established? Just ask the Libyan pilots nicely to stay on the ground?
Anyway, the no fly zone was established and then what ensued? Gaddafi’s forces have continued to fight, NATO nad its allies are bickering and whatever we and our NATO allies are doing goes on, with no specific end or goal.
And, if you missed it while watching events in Libya, not all that far away in Syria, there are anti government protests, accompanied by a government crackdown. Just ask yourself, at what point do we intervene there? Who will have to ask and how much turmoil will have to ensue and how will the decision be made? Will Congress have a voice next time;when there is a next time? Mr President, the people of the Ivory Coast are on line one.
- America’s Role in Libya (adailyglimpse.com)
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez: US, allies want Libyan oil [Zahir shamsery] (ecademy.com)
I have heard it said many times by announcers and commentators that in a football game, particularly professional football, that a holding penalty could be called on virtually every play. But of course it isn’t or a game would never be completed or nothing of consequence would happen.
I wonder if it’s a bit like that in politics. For our purposes, the officials would be the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, chaired by California Democrat Zoe Lofgren. Said committee is also known as the House Ethics Committee. No doubt there are members of Congress, past and present ( Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay,etc) who call it by other names. The committee is composed of 10 members, equally divided by party. Bet it’s not the committee of choice for many members.
The committee is very visible these days due to the “charges” brought against New York Democrat Charles Rangel and California Democrat Maxine Waters. From what I hear and read, the charges against Rep. Rangel are the more severe. In fact, the President has even implied that it would be a good thing if Mr Rangel just quietly stepped aside. Thus far, that has not happened although he did relinquish his position as Chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. Perhaps the negotiations are still ongoing between Mr Rangel’s representatives and those of the Committee. Meanwhile, he continues to be on the ballot for the fall elections. In fact, there is a big event scheduled for August 11, ostensibly to celebrate his 80th birthday, which actually was June 11. But the event’s real purpose is that of fund-raiser.
Generally, his name on the ballot was tantamount to re-election since he won in 2008 with about 80% of the vote. He actually has some challengers this time, one of whom has an interesting pedigree, one Adam Clayton Powell, IV.
Anyway, one last interesting piece of information. There are already people saying that the charges against both Rangel and Waters are racist and that the Republicans better not try to use this in the fall elections, an accusation of racism before the fact, I guess. One of the leading proponents of this is that paragon of journalistic objectivity, Keith Olbermann. So, Mr Olbermann, a question or two. Remember that the President has indicated resignation for Mr Rangel would probably be the best choice and also that one of the Ethics Committee members is Congressional Black Caucus member and my congressman, G K Butterfield.
I don’t necessarily believe the charges are racist in nature, but are based more in actions that perhaps were not the ideal. But we shall soon see, if the charges proceed further.
I can remember crossing over the Herbert C Bonner bridge for the first time, sometime in the early 70′s. I was absolutely petrified. I had never crossed a bridge that high and really wasn’t sure that I wanted to. After a number of crossings over the years, those feelings of terror gradually subsided. When I drove across last month on the way to Ocracoke, the crossing was rather routine. But the bridge itself, or its future, is anything but.
But we must needs go back a bit. The bridge was built way back in 1963 and named for a long serving NC Congressman, Democrat Herbert Covington Bonner from Washington, NC who served 12 terms and actually died while still in office. His namesake bridge then became a memorial bridge.
The bridge as it stands is 2.5 miles long and allows vehicles to cross the Oregon Inlet ( named for the first vessel to pass through it, the Oregon) and continue on to Hatteras Island. The bridge was designed to last 3o years and the plans to replace actually began in 1990, which as it turns out was not nearly soon enough. The talks and the environmental studies and environment impact statements have gone on and on and on.
The latest public hearings took place in Manteo last week and were something of a fine tuning. If all goes well and that is quite a large word in this case, construction might just begin in 2 years and be completed by 2015. The cost is projected to be only $300 million and that statement I make in all sincerity. That is because this new 2.7 mile bridge, landing a bit west of the current one was not everyone’s #1 choice. A coalition of environmental agencies and groups favored a 17 mile long structure that would have cost a whopping $1.3 billion. NC DOT spokesman Drew Joyner said it quite well when he sated that the state just could not afford it. That’;s a refreshing comment from a government spokesman, is it not?
Granted there needed to be lots of studies and opportunity for comment, etc. After all, the bridge’s location is about the perfect storm for environmental issues. It’s near an ocean, a sound, a national refuge and a national park. And if things were not done just so, you can bet good money that a raft of environmental lawyers would be lining up, briefcases in hand and palms outstretched.
Hear a few statements. NC DOT calls the bride “structurally deficient” but safe for travel. They are actually working hard right now at fixing weak spots. Kinda gives one just a small unsettled feeling though. And another from Beth Midgett who chairs the Citizens Action Committee to build Bonner Bridge. She says that public safety has to win out over bureaucracy at some point. It does, does it not? And finally, from Ken Sharp, Jr of Manteo who is “merely” a local citizen. Words of wisdom here. ” Just build me a bridge, please.” Well said sir.
I will admit to being somewhat confused. Just a day or so ago, President Obama dispatched 1,200 of America’s finest to the U S – Mexican border. Just a guesss, but they are probably not there for vacation. Several members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat have been urging the President to send troops. Do you think it has something to do with illegal immigration and the increasing violence on the border ? If I am a Border Patrol officer, I am thrilled about this. But we must temper our enthusiasm by wondering what the rules of engagement are. But still, I am glad to see this action.
But just a few days ago, Obama was side by side with his bff, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and agreeing with his denunciation of the Arizona immigration law. By the way, Calderon’ s remarks were wildly cheered by Democrats. Now this is the President Calderon who presides over what could charitably be called a rather corrupt government, who has trouble taking care of its own internal security. But Calderon seems to have no difficulty taking potshots at one of our states. Just a reminder, do not forget that Mexico has extraordinarily tough laws against illegal immigration. Just sayinglse you forget.
For a bit of historical perspective, President Polk sent troops to the U S Mexican border way back in 1846 under the command of General Zachary Taylor. Of course, the Mexican War ensued shortly thereafter. Not that we are expecting nor do we have any wish for such a thing today. But make no mistake, there is some heavy duty stuff going on the border and sending the troops , albeit belatedly, was a good move.
Meanwhile, demonstrations occur outside a baseball stadium in Chicago trying to get spring training in Arizona cancelled. Thank goodness, Commissioner Bud Selig has refused to consider moving the 2011 All Star game from Arizona. Don’t you wish that the protestors would take a little closer look at the overall picture.
Can’t resist an NCIS allusion. Last night was the season finale and in a turn of events that I expected, Abby’s Mexican government friend did turn out to have connections to the drug cartel. Just did not expect them to be family connections. Once again, art and life intersect.
Several years ago, Billy Crystal starred in the movie, City Slickers. It was a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed for its comedy, Norman the calf, crusty old Jack Palance, as well the comic genius of Crystal himself. But it was much more than a comedy. Its premise of three friends in various stages of midlife crisis was really well done and thought-provoking as well. I am uncertain if I have had my mid- life crisis although I have definitely passed the mid-life part. Unlike Crystal and friends I have zero desire to go on a cattle drive .
There was a phrase spoken by one of the main characters which has begun to resonate with me of late, or rather its meaning has. For me, it goes something like this. What if you have already done the best you’re going to do, achieved your potential whatever it was, in life and career and relationships. And therefore, everything from here on out is a gradual downhill slide into mediocrity or even worse irrelevance? Maybe this says it better, you’ve done the best you’re going to ver do and it wasn’t all that good?
Sounds sorta morose does it not, which is exactly how Crystal and friends felt in the movie. But as often happens in the the c inematic world, there is not closure but rather a chance for redemption, another chance one might say.
Alas, life does not always imitate art and I am abit apprenhensive that it will not in my particular case. This would be a good time to be a politician, if there ever is. At the time when the careers of most are winding down, the career of the politician is just getting underway. Think otherwise, then look at the ages of our senators and representatives. And vying to join them from the Tar Heel State is 64-year-old Elaine Marshall. She is now our Secretary of State but running for the U S Senate. Seems that Ponce de Leon was off on the location of the Fountain of Youth by a few hundred miles. It is not in Florida, but 749 miles to the north in Washington, DC.
For the vast majority of us, we never find that fountain at all.
And he would be Andrew or Andy as he was often called. He is a president that intrigues me quite a bit, for 2 reasons. One is his North Carolina birth ( one of 2 NC presidents along with Polk) and the generally one-sided view that we have of him. His name comes to mind as Lincoln’s tragic successor and as being the first president to be impeached ( we would wait over 100 years for the second guess who?) and only by a very narrow margin fail to be removed. But the bio I read of Johnson has provided much more than those salient facts.
Author Hans Trefousse did a very good job with the life and career of our 17th Chief Executive. He devotes only a chapter or two about the impeachment which is appropriate since Johnson’s career was much more than that. I remember reading in Profiles in Courage, I think, about the critically ill senator who was brought into the chamber and cast the deciding vote, for the vote to convict only failed by that one vote.
One gets a much broader picture in this than that near tragic event. Even though the author calls Johnson’s presidency a disaster, he gives it fair treatment and points to Johnson’s overall political skills, great but at times reckless oratory and steadfast devotion to preserving the Constitution as he saw fit. His lifelong heroes Jefferson and Jackson were always close in spirit.
The stories of his early years as an orphaned tailor’s apprentice are illustrative in explaining his defense of the poor, although he later became quite successful as a tailor and landowner, albeit with never a day of formal education. He still championed education for his children and others.
A couple of rather unrelated things stand out for me. As with a number of presidents his family life left much to be desired. His wife Eliza was often sickly and they were usually apart. His sons, in spite of his best efforts did not fare well and two preceded him in death.
After reading of the twists and turns, I still am a bit confused as to the reason for his selection as Lincoln’ s running mate in 1864. He was a slaveholder and had defended it consistently. That does not square up with a President who signed the Emancipation Proclamation. It appears that Johnson’s impassioned defense of the “Union” and his service as military governor in Tennessee overrode the slavery issue. Plus, in what later proved to be rather disingenuous he spoke of the rights of the freedmen. Later events proved that to be mere window dressing for his prejudices.
It can be safely said that the failure of the impeachment, led by Ben Butler and Thaddeus Stevens was good for the country for their case was weak and overly political. But he in a sense forced the hand of Congress by his stubborn fight against the 14th amendment and determination to restore the Southern states with as little inconvenience as possible. Had he pushed them harder when it was opportune, right after the war ended, many of the issues of Reconstruction and racial division could well have been avoided or greatly mitigated.
Can one have too much money? I have no clue, since I don’t think I have ever been in that position. I can remember being told by a prospective employer that they could not afford me , since I made too much. That was somewhat ironic since I was working a lot of unpaid overtime at the time and we were struggling a bit to make ends meet. But thanks anyway, Tom’s Foods for the ego boost.
But, now I learn that it may actually be possible to be making too much money. My source for this knowledge is none other than President Obama himself. I will confess in the interest of full disclosure that I have thought on numerous occasions that this or that celebrity or media personality ( Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer for starters) or pro athlete or actor made wayyyy too much money.
But I shall explore the President’s opinion first before sharing any more of my choices. Just this week the President was speaking in Quincy,Il promoting the idea of financial reform over which Congress is itself battling. He made this statement.” Now, what we’re doing, I want to be clear, we’re ( read Democrats here) not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”
Of course, there have been posts galore , replete with crowing conservatives saying we’ ve got him. Not so fast, folks. I believe that there are lots of people who believe that very thing and I suspect that they overwhelmingly vote Democrat. It was actually a rather safe thing for him to say, playing to the base, as it were.
But, just for kicks, wonder what Obama supporters like Eric Schmidt and the Google guys thought of his comment as well as all his Hollywood friends ? Believe I have that one covered as well. All he need to do in response to such a query would be to place those folks and others like them into the “fairly earned ” category, lumping Rush, Glenn Beck etc in another category indeed. The quote actually reminds me of a phrase I have read several times in regard to baseball teams swapping players’; a trade that benefits both teams.
Years ago, before it became so ubiquitous, MTV had a commercial campaign that war either annoying to the nth degree or an inspired bit of genius, depending on your age group, I guess. In an effort to get their “product” on cable systems, we were treated to repeated commercials screaming from the telly, “I want my MTV.” Apparently, enough of the younger generation took it to heart because MTV became must see and must listen to for lots of people.
Now, some 27 years after the fabled ad campaign, people see to be asking for something entirely different. They are wondering where is their Obamacare? Not 2014, but now! There was such an intense campaign to get the bill passed and the Democrats euphoria and celebration over the passage ( cue Joe Biden here) that one can hardly blame folks for wondering where all these great benefits are and when will they see them? Supposedly, on the HHS website, information is forthcoming. You would think it would have long ago been there. Perhaps the reality of being the “health czar” has not quite sunk in for Secretary Sebelius or maybe it has and she is just enjoying the afterglow.
The President doesn’t seem to helping matters with some of his thinly veiled barbs at those lawmakers who opposed the plan or the one comparing the criticism to people expecting seeds to sprout overnight. I just keep remembering a comment he made to John McCain. I won, you lost, so get over it.
But with insurers being flooded with calls about the plan’s provisions and being surprised with the answers, perhaps Pelosi and company over sold the deal. Wait, it had to pass so we all would know what was in it. Maybe that even applied to those who rammed the bill through?
…only as one looks back with hindsight’s 20/20 vision. What was the year? 1776! We date the very birth of our country from that year, focusing our attention primarily on the “doings” in June and early July that culminated in Mr Jefferson’s finest work, although it was not his alone, the Declaration of Independence.
Quite a phrase that is, even 233 years and 9 months hence. But as David McCullough writes in his excellent book of the same name, 1776 was known maybe more for its failures than successes at least as far as the Revolutionary War itself. He writes of the Battle of Brooklyn that was an American disaster, the retreat from Boston, a crushing defeat at Ft Washington and on it goes. Were it not for the near miraculous crossing of the Delaware and the victories at Trenton and Princeton, all could have been lost.
What fascinated me even more were the insights into George Washington, both good and bad. He was indeed highly thought of by his men and officers, but there were flaws. He was somewhat lacking in strategy and tactics, particularly in the early days. He showed several marked examples of poor judgment as well. But, perhaps the key as McCullough writes, he never forgot what was at stake and he never gave up. In both his words and deeds, the concept keeps recurring, perseverance. As Nathaniel Greene so aptly foresaw,” he will be the deliverer of his own country.”
But perhaps for me this next showed Washington at his best and foreshadowed his attitude towards the presidency and the near hero worship status he was accorded. In late 1776, Congress gave him, for a period of six months, near dictatorial powers. A lesser man could have done irreparable damage to the country while edifying himself above civil authority. In our time , in many countries, we have seen that very thing. But this was his response.
” Instead of thinking myself freed from all civil obligations by this mark of their confidence, I shall constantly bear in mind that as the sword was the last resort for the preservation of our liberties, so it ought to be the first thing laid aside when those liberties are firmly established.”
The Father of his county indeed and a good example to follow.
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