The White House has always been a magnet for all kinds of lunatics, so it's not surprising that a pair of wannabe reality show stars attempted to crash a party last week. What surprised everyone, of course, is that they got in. This shocked the media and politicians alike, because together they compromise the "inside the Beltway" set -- who become more than a little bit afraid when the "common folk" intrude on their shindigs. Hence the widespread and breathless coverage of this story for nigh on a week now. But, I repeat, the White House has always been a giant magnet for lunatics and other invaders throughout America's history.
Archive of Articles for November, 2009
Because yesterday's column was a wee bit un-holiday-spirit-ish, I offer up my thanks today. I am thankful for the web. I am thankful that I can sit in front of a machine and have at my fingertips perhaps not the sum of human knowledge, but a pretty close approximation (the closest the race has ever seen since, perhaps, the library at Alexandria).
Because some in Washington have apparently latched onto these terms either as a favorite insult to hurl, or as a faux-controversy (while giving Oscar-worthy performances of having the Victorian vapors over hearing the words). Following close behind are charges of "sexism" and "insensitivity" and probably a few other "-isms" to boot.
The idea itself is a basic one -- pay for the costs of war now, instead of endlessly borrowing money in order to do so. A few weeks ago, the White House leaked an interesting factoid -- it costs one million dollars to put one U.S. soldier in Afghanistan for one year. This is a nice round number, and gets people to think about the war in a new light -- how much it costs.
For those of you not conversant in the language of gambling, allow me to explain. When you have a good poker hand you start raising the betting until, at some point, you are said to be "pot committed." This means you've invested such a major portion of your available chips in that hand's kitty (or "pot") that folding is no longer an option for you -- because it would leave you too weak to effectively continue playing. But if another player is equally as confident about their hand, a bidding war will ensue. And, at some point, you just decide the heck with it and push all your chips into the pot. You know that if you lose this hand, you'll effectively be sidelined in the game anyway, so you might as well win as much as you can in the current pot... if the cards turn up in your favor. That's a big "if," though -- because if you lose, you're out of the game. It's a bold and risky move, but one that can pay off in a big way.
Our illustrious (cough, cough) White House press corps showed it could get to the bottom of a story with impressively journalistic and probative skills this week. The story that so obviously required multiple questions to President Obama on his trip to Asia? Whether he's eating enough, and whether he's losing weight. Oh, and his gray hair.
Palin's family owned a Rambler? Shoot, now I have to be nice to her, I guess [Full disclosure: I am a big Rambler fan]. Well, she'll never beat Mitt Romney for Rambler credentials by anyone's measure, seeing as how Mitt's dad George was the head of American Motors Corporation at the time the Rambler was introduced, and was duly called the "Father of the Rambler." But still, the thought of a young Palin rambling around certainly does give her a connection to American families everywhere (of a certain age).
This column is really a second installment to yesterday's ("How To Not Give Khalid Sheikh Mohammed What He Wants"), where I took a look at two of the criticism's against Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to try the accused mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in federal civilian court rather than in a military tribunal.
Attorney General Eric Holder has caused an uproar in some circles over his announcement that the self-confessed "mastermind" of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, will be tried in federal court in New York City, mere blocks from where the World Trade Center's twin towers once stood. To be honest, I was surprised this was even controversial, for a number of reasons most people (on either side of the issue) have largely ignored. Today I will examine two of these, and tomorrow I will take on the biggest elephant everyone seems to be missing in this particular room.
The struggle for healthcare reform is not going to end this year. By saying that, I am not breaking any news about Harry Reid or the Senate, or even about the chances for passage of any particular bill or healthcare reform scheme before New Year's Eve -- rather, I am urging people to take a step back and view healthcare reform from a much bigger-picture point of view. Because whatever passes is not going to be the final word on the subject. As with almost any sweeping social legislation, it's going to take a few revisions before we get it right. Perfect bills almost never pass. The more normal course of events in Washington is that compromises pass, and then are strengthened later on. Healthcare reform should be viewed in the same way.