Writing on the Double Yellow Line
Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.
- Name: rwilymz
- Location: Illinois, United States
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Thursday, September 13, 2012
©2012 Ross Williams
For a superpower, the United States is acting as timid as a church mouse.
Scratch that; let’s make that a mosque mouse.
It’s well-established that no one in the Obama Administration has the first clue about foreign policy and international politics. Of the entire cabal of incompetents, Hillary Clinton is the most knowledgeable and accomplished. In a distant second is the Democrats’ Dan Quayle, Tweedle-Dummer to Hillary’s Tweedle-Dum: Joe Biden.
It is shameful for US foreign affairs to be nearly as neophytic as a freshman Poli-Sci class, where the pair bending the bell curve to the right, sporting gold stars on their homework, makes Neville Chamberlain look like a hard-assed prick. At least the clown prince of post-Versaillean pseudo-diplomacy can make the excuse that he was up against a charismatic megalomaniac when he gave Czechoslovakia away; the US isn’t up against anybody worth noting, mainly mobs of vandals, and yet we’re ceding our interests in the entire Middle East to all claimants and takers.
...unless their name is Israel. Of course.
The Religion of Peace® has gone on another bender recently because some Jewish-American flack in California, who may instead be a disgruntled Coptic christian, but who calls himself an Israeli, made a short [and reportedly bad] film portraying Mohammed as a “fraud, womanizer and madman” in the words of the Associated Press. Close on the heels of the womanizer claim is child sex-abuser.
In all fairness, having multiple wives is common in many cultures even today and certainly was among Arabs of Mohammed’s day, and marrying women who were barely menstruating was standard practice in virtually all cultures 1,400 years ago, up to and including Dark Age Europe. It is only by today’s Western standards that “womanizer” and “child sex-abuser” has any resonance at all ... and then it is only among the cultural and historical illiterates whose opinions on the subject have less than no relevance.
The assertion that Mohammed was a fraud is – or should be – nearly as easily dismissible. A fraud is someone who isn’t what he claims to be. And that criticism applies to every single person ever, including the “Jewish”-American “filmmaker” who made the now-notorious “film” exposing Islam. He’s not a filmmaker any more than Hillary Clinton is a diplomat or Barry Hussein is a statesman. They’re all frauds. Mohammed is too? Color me shocked.
The label “madman”, however, is not so readily discharged.
Mohammed was a guy with a chip on his shoulder roughly the size of the Arabian Peninsula who got into a pissing contest with the city elders of his hometown of Mecca over idol worshippers making pilgrimage – essentially, Mohammed, like every xenophobe ever, didn’t want tourists or their money sullying his city if those tourists were different from him. Because he was not in the city elders’ clan, his criticisms of their administration were ignored ... until he started a rebellion, of course. Rebellions tend to attract attention. Mohammed and his clan lost their rebellion against Mecca’s rulers.
Many of Mohammed’s relatives were rewarded by being kicked out of town, exiled to “Ethiopia” – which is the ancient term for any place in Africa that wasn’t Egypt. Mohammed himself was placed under house arrest, and there he stayed until he escaped and [to make a long, megalomaniacal story short] enlisted the help of two tribal groups squabbling for control over Mecca’s rival trade-hub city, Medina, to come help him conquer Mecca. This time Mohammed was successful. And until his death he continued to conquer city after city in the Arabian Peninsula until he controlled all the major trade hubs – and the money they brought in.
Once in control, he could impose any travel restrictions on idol-worshippers he wished – and he did. ...by killing idol-worshippers who refused to accept forcible conversion to his own strident religious philosophy, thus making everyone like him.
The lengths to which Mohammed went in order to make his xenophobic and intolerant point upon Mecca’s city council were not the actions of a reasoned and articulate academic; they were dogmatic, autocratic ... in the vernacular, the actions of a madman.
The fraud of a filmmaker has a legitimate point here, but not one that hasn’t been made countless times before and, frankly, better.
The apologists for the Religion of Peace® continue to not have a point in their mopish excuse-making of islamic hooliganism, though. The US Embassy in Cairo was attacked by islamists denouncing Israel over the existence of this “film”; the US Consulate in Benghazi Libya was attacked by same, and the US Ambassador and three of his staff were killed. It was and is, in IntLaw-speak, an act of war.
It has been 33 years since a US Ambassador has been killed in anything other than a traffic accident. One was killed during the Johnson Administration, one during Nixon, one during Ford and two during Carter – all by what are considered “terrorists”, before “The War Against Terrorism” was conceived, and when actual terrorism against the US was significantly more likely to occur. While it is not necessarily best, or even wise, to respond to the act-of-war assassinations of US diplomats with F-18s, battleships and cruise missiles, the appropriate response is not to say – as the US Embassy in Egypt did – that the US condemns “misguided individuals” trying to “hurt the feelings of Muslims.”
In our culture, hurting others’ feelings is called Free Speech, and is what our nation was founded upon. The misguided individual is himself called a Free Citizen. Feelings be damned. The US government has no business taking sides among US interests full of free citizens jawing at each other until one of them throws a punch, and when non-Americans take issue with what free American citizens say to them or about them, the business of the US government is to side with the Americans in the dispute, regardless of how rude they may have been in their free speechifying.
The Obama Administration, through its diplomatic mealy-mouthpiece in Egypt, has essentially gone on record as saying that US political rights are wrong when they annoy foreigners to the point they can no longer control themselves. Their murderous rampage becomes understandable, veritably forgivable; our rudeness becomes damnable.
Not to pick at scabs, here, but isn’t this President the same guy who won the Nobel Peace Prize, just for being black? [Or was it just because he wasn’t Dubya? I forget] Isn’t he the same guy who bows and scrapes to leaders of muslim nations as a subordinate would, while giving the diplomatic finger to Israel? who refers to muslim leaders – religious, political, and in between – by the titles required for use by subordinates, and not by the terms diplomatic protocol sets aside for use among heads of state? ...while not doing the same to, say, the Queen of England?
Yes, it’s the same guy. Curious.
I have steadfastly refused to play into the “Barry Hussein is a muslim” game of easy denunciation, being content to let his gross ineptitude speak for itself in shouts of malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance; I’ve even pointed it out from time to time when others were disinclined to ...which, noting most of the US medias’ own bowing and scraping to him, is just about always.
A President who refuses to meaningfully challenge those who malign the US, its values, its character, its people, and its diplomats, is a President refusing to do his job. He is effectively assisting those who take potshots at us with the stated intention of taking us down.
There’s a good argument to be made that foreign policy as enacted by Dubya was ham-fisted and awkward, making the US look ungainly and slightly unhinged, but in baseball terms that can be seen as being “effectively wild”. A batter facing such a pitcher is more likely to bail out on a grooved fastball as he is to stand in the box and swing.
Barry Hussein isn’t wild, he’s mild; he sure isn’t effectively wild, and to be effectively mild requires carrying a big stick – which he certainly has at his disposal, but he wants nothing much to do with it ...even in an election year.
Needless to say, in foreign affairs, he isn’t effective. All his groveling and prostration does is make the US look insipid and weak, an easy mark for hooligans. He’s either doing this because he is inept, because he is overmatched, because he is incompetent, all as Carter was ... or it’s because he has certain personal philosophies which interfere with him accomplishing his secular duties as President of the United States to first and foremost protect the interests of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
The only relevant distinction lies in whether he should be voted out by We The People in an election, or by the US Senate in an impeachment.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
©2012 Ross Williams
In 2006, right around the time it happened, I essayed on an incident in a baseball game involving the team I follow – the Chicago Cubs – in which the Cubs’ catcher was clobbered at home plate by a baserunner who failed to make use of the available basepath to avoid collision. The argument I made at the time went roughly as follows:
1] the Cubs’ catcher was in a position to take a throw from the outfield and make a play on the baserunner
2] the rules of baseball prohibit baserunners from interfering with fielders in position to make plays – and taking throws is among the plays fielders can make
3] the baserunner is given a basepath of 3’ on either side of a direct line between his position and the base he is attempting to reach in order to avoid contact with a fielder attempting to make a play
4] a baserunner not using the available basepath when he can do so shall be called out for interference, just as he would be at first base, or second base, or third base if he’d have run over the fielder taking a throw
Others with whom I had discussed this rather notorious incident prior to my essaying upon it pointed out their feeble criticisms with my argument:
A] the rules of baseball prohibit catchers from blocking home plate.
...the rules of baseball prohibit any fielder from blocking any other base as well. So what? “Blocking” a base is defined to be impeding a baserunner’s ability to get to a base to which he is entitled without having possession of the baseball or being in a position to take a throw. The Cubs’ catcher in this incident was awaiting the throw from the outfield, ergo he was not “blocking” home plate.
B] yabbut, the rules of baseball specifically single out catchers when prohibiting blocking the base.
...yet the rules of baseball still define “blocking” a base as not having possession of the baseball, nor being in a position to catch a thrown baseball, so it still doesn’t apply. In any event, the Cubs’ catcher was in possession of the baseball at the moment of [unnecessary] impact, because the baseball was dislodged during the collision. The Cubs’ catcher was not blocking home plate period get it through your heads.
C] the rules of baseball allow catchers to be run over by baserunners trying to score.
...no, they don’t. The rules of baseball do not allow any fielder making, or attempting to make, a play to be run over by a baserunner when there is a way to avoid a collision. It has merely become a practice of baseball – a practice unsupported by the rules – which tolerates baserunners clobbering catchers [and only catchers], devising a whole series of unwritten “clean hit” rules to gauge it by, none of which are supported by the rulebook and all of them clearly disingenuous rationalization. If the rules don’t support it happening at second base on a stolen base attempt, I concluded in my earlier essay, then the rules should not support it happening at home plate when a runner tries to score from third on a sacrifice fly. The only reason it’s tolerated is because a stocky catcher wears armored equipment that is not worn by the thin, third world shortstop making a tag on a stolen base attempt.
The asshole A J Pierzynski clobbering Michael Barrett in the incident above is widely [though not universally] seen as being one of these arbitrary “clean plays”, however Pete Rose clobbering Ray Fosse is widely [though not universally] viewed as not. Yet, of the two, the one where the catcher was not in physical possession of the ball at the time he was steamrolled was Ray Fosse, so any further attempts to excuse what makes one a “clean hit” and the other not based upon “blocking the plate” is ... and I may have used this phrase before ... disingenuous rationalization. A more popular term for it might be bullshit.
The reason this comes up six years later is that the baseball team local to where I live, the St Louis Cardinals, recently had their catcher clobbered by a baserunner trying to score. In this instance, the catcher was the demi-god Yadier Molina, and not the hotheaded Barrett who liked to swing his fists to punctuate his points. Unlike Barrett, Molina held onto the ball but [reportedly, and fleetingly, and also unlike Barrett] not his consciousness. And while many baseball people, including the drunken Cardinals’ radio man, Mike Shannon, did their valiant best to portray this as another of these ill-defined “clean hits”, you could tell from the endless radio and television replays of the incident that no one’s heart was truly in it. Molina was to miss much of the rest of the season for having ouchies, whereas Barrett was suspended ten games for denting the asshole Pierzynski’s jaw with his fist.
After all, this wasn’t just any catcher taking a shoulder to the chin, this was one of the vaunted Molina boys; and it didn’t happen to the catcher of a toss-away team everyone loves to sneer at like the Cubs, it happened to the Yankees of the National League, the Cardinals. You simply can’t get away with enforcing unwritten rules against the Cardinals. It’s just not done! The only saving grace in all this is that their prior manager, Tony Larussa, had retired the year before, otherwise the Cardinals would have gone on a season-long revenge against every opponent on their schedule ... while denying they were doing so. And they still may.
Right on cue, the sports media, from local StL newspapers to grandpappy ESPN – which in 2006 lambasted Michael Barrett for starting a brawl by cold-cocking the asshole Pierzynski for sliding elbows first into Barrett’s face– has come out, nearly in unison, calling for an end to the unwritten rule that allows catchers to be clobbered, deliberately run into and run over, by baserunners trying to score. Because, sure, the catcher is wearing all that equipment, but it’s not a guarantee of protection – just ask any football player, Ray Fosse or Yadier Molina. Besides, it’s not allowed at second base on an attempted steal; why should home plate be any different?
…words that couldn’t have sounded better if they’d come off my own keyboard. Which they did. In 2006.
I don’t stop being wrong because an ESPN columnist finally reads the rulebook and echoes my sentiments, so I guess I was right all along … as I usually am. You’d think at some point others would simply stop their pointless quibbling.