This here, is what you call a Freudian slip.
"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it," she said, dismissing calls to drop out.

Yup, just keep talking. It's most instructive.

Soldier Harr. Upd.

An Update from Confederate Yankee on Soldier Harrassment:

Bob Owens, known as "Confederate Yankee" in the blogosphere, has run down the source of the memo advising soldiers not to wear their uniforms while commuting. He says there is only one confirmed incident of harrassment of soldiers on the Metro.

Bob concludes, rather harshly:

The memo sent to Department of Defense security managers was authored at a high level, and exaggerated the number of verbal assaults from one confirmed event into an apparent outbreak, while attempting to shift authorship to another federal agency.

Soldiers are not being systematically targeted by aggressive anti-war protesters in the Washington D.C. area, but someone within the Department of Defense is willing to stoke those fears, without merit.
Let me share with you a photo from Iraq.

That's a bridge, the only bridge over a deep ditch filled with mucky water. It's between the DFAC and a headquarters building, so soldiers will walk over this bridge every day, several times a day.

Notice that the Army has not only put up walls to funnel traffic onto the bridge -- in case anyone didn't notice the ten-foot ditch filled with muck -- but has also marked it with day-glo arrows.

Also notice that they have sandbagged the nearby Amnesty box, any contents of which are supposed to be destroyed.

Lest you think this is just the Army, witness the Air Force Safety Brief.
So a couple of years back, an Air Force chief of staff declared that it was his intention to "reduce accidents by 50%." Every since, we've been the nanny service....where the Air Force's first and last line of defense against accidents is a cumbersome, poorly crafted "safety briefing."

Want to drive to the field? Get a safety brief. Climb a ladder? Safety brief. Take a weekend? Safety brief.
So, take the memo in that spirit. I objected to the memo because I thought it suggested a passive approach where a very active one ought to be implied. It's clearly in keeping, however, with the military's "safety brief" approach to civilization.

Jimmy Stewart

One Hundred Years of Jimmy Stewart:

Last week we watched Angel and the Badman (and how did you like it?), and probably all of you know that last year was John Wayne's 100th birthday. Certainly I mentioned it here!

But this year is Jimmy Stewart's 100th birthday, and he was another of the greats. If not quite as thunderous a presence as John Wayne, yet Jimmy Stewart also points to something that is good and great about America. He was at his best when he was acting uncertain in the moment, yet certain of deeper things -- as in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, or Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.

Hollywood didn't want that from him all the time, so it tasked him with other roles. He could do a fearsome persona on occasion. He had moments of that towards the end of Bend in the River; he tried to show it in Winchester 73; and in other films. But though he was a great actor, and capable of a great many things, I never saw him keep that sense of menace up through a whole performance. A tense scene he could do as well as anyone; but over the course of the film, you always felt that his characters were decent, kind, gentle men. Even the killers.

Mark Steyn wrote about him recently.

James Stewart was a nervous flyer. Commercial airlines made him jittery, he wouldn’t touch chartered flights, and, inveigled into a Cessna during bad weather on a publicity tour for It’s A Wonderful Life, he made the pilot turn around and take him back to the airport at Beaumont, Texas. Just a few months earlier, he had been in the Air Force; he had flown twenty bombing missions and won a Distinguished Flying Cross; he was a genuine war hero. Yet he remained a nervous flyer.

For Wonderful Life, Stewart had a clause written into his contract forbidding any publicity exploitation of his service record. Half a century on, I think we can be permitted to make a discreet connection between his acting and his flying - in and out of uniform. He played heroes, but they tended to be nervous heroes, men of exceptional courage who nevertheless, in defiance of the cliché, did know the meaning of the word “fear”.

And this:
At the start of the Second World War, Stewart had just achieved his career breakthrough, the defining role of Mr Smith. Yet he was one of the first Hollywood leading men to enlist, putting his career on hold for half a decade - which, in movie-star terms, means you may never have anything to come back to. After his death, one or two commentators sniffed about “his caustically right-wing views” and “his support for the Vietnam War”, but, unlike Alec Baldwin or Barbra Streisand, he never thought his status, either as an “artist” or as a bona fide war hero, entitled him to be heard on such matters.
He was a very good man.

Steyn recommends Destry Rides Again in his review, and it's one I've never seen. It's described online as "a hilarious satire" of the Western genre, which is remarkable considering the year it was made: 1939.

The Stewart version was also a remake of an earlier version, made in 1932.

Just goes to show you how much the Western is the oldest genre of the movies. At a time when what we think of as film was just starting to kick off and swim, the Westerns were already remaking their satires -- and satires require that the rules of the genre be well established, so that everybody gets the joke. In 1939, the year of The Wizard of Oz, Tom Mix had been five years retired from his career, which spanned three hundred thirty-six movies.

It certainly looks amusing.

Thank You, Joe

Thank You, Senator:

A little bit of wisdom.

This was the Democratic Party that I grew up in – a party that was unhesitatingly and proudly pro-American, a party that was unafraid to make moral judgments about the world beyond our borders. It was a party that understood that either the American people stood united with free nations and freedom fighters against the forces of totalitarianism, or that we would fall divided.

This was the Democratic Party of Harry Truman, who pledged that "it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."

And this was the Democratic Party of John F. Kennedy, who promised in his inaugural address that the United States would "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of freedom."
That was the Democratic Party I grew up in, too -- in spite of the 1960s and 1970s, it was basically the same party down here in Georgia. In fact, remnants of that party still exist -- Senator Zell Miller, for example, now sadly retired but still doing good work teaching at Young Harris.

Compare with this:

If Sen. Obama does manage to defeat Sen. Clinton, and becomes the nominee of the Democratic Party, expect to hear the following term often and justly:



HaloScan Hiccups:

Looks like the comments system, which is powered by HaloScan, is having a little trouble today. If your comments vanish, or if comments aren't available, it's not me! They usually fix these things pretty quickly.

Soldiers Defend Yourselves

Doctor, Heal Thyself:

If you are a servicemember commuting to Washington, D.C., don't forget to do your best to hide it:

Dept of Transportation Federal Transit Administration sends:
Recently, there have been local incidents in which military personnel have been verbally assaulted while commuting on the Metro. Uniformed members have been approached by individuals expressing themselves as anti-government, shouting anti-war sentiments, and using racial slurs against minorities.

In one instance, a member was followed onto the platform by an individual who continued to berate her as she exited the
metro station. Thus far, these incidents have occurred in the vicinity of the Reagan National Airport and Eisenhower Ave metro stations on the yellow line, however, military members should be vigilant and aware of their surroundings at all times while in mass transit.

...Here are a few friendly reminders of personal protective measures that can help you to stay safe:

- If possible, do not commute in uniform (military members)

-Do not display DoD building passes, "hot cards", or personal identification in open view outside of the workplace

-Do not discuss specifics about your occupation to outside solicitors

-Always try to remain in well lit, well populated train cars if traveling via metro

-Be vigilant at all times!
Here's an alternative idea. All citizens of the United States of America retain the power to arrest lawbreakers, including those guilty of assault -- which includes things like spitting on people. The Department of Transportation shouldn't be the active authority here. The Department of Defense should instruct its members to be sure to wear their uniforms in public, and perform citizens' arrests on anyone assaulting them.

I suspect they'd find plenty of help among the citizens of Northern Virginia.

It is important that we stand up to these barbarians-from-within. Servicemembers in uniform represent us all. Rather than letting them be driven out of sight by the barbarians, they -- and we -- are the ones who should be asserting control of the public space. They are America. We are America.

Last Debate

"The Last Debate"

We're going to have a slight change of our usual format here, and recommend a column by Maureen Dowd. Almost every line is funny.

UPDATE: In fact, it's so funny, we may have to have a contest where you vote for your favorite line. Here's mine:

"Look, the Senate is a wonderful place. I enjoyed my two months there."

DL Sly


You're an American classic -- fast, strong, and bold. You're not snobby or pretentious, but you have what it takes to give anyone a run for their money.

"Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Hat tip to Cassandra, who credits Sly for the link.

To Be Cute

President Cute:

I guess we've all heard someone or other talk about Obama as being "cute." Cuteness is apparently highly valued, perhaps because it is nonthreatening. The nation has been so stressful, these last few years.

"Cute" means being childlike in some respects -- Obama's relative youth is often contrasted with McCain's age. It also means being harmless. A Yorkshire terrier barking and growling is "cute," for precisely the reason that a slavering Rottie engaged in the same behavior is not.

ABC News explores the question in its coverage of the Obamas' appearance on Good Morning America. The headline is adult and assertive: "Obama warns GOP, 'Lay off my wife.'"

But the subhead, which an editor chose to ensure you did not miss something located at the end of the story, is, "Obama loses argument with wife over getting a dog."

Michelle Obama actually overruled her husband while on "GMA" when they were asked whether their two daughters had yet to get the dog they were promised.

She said they had agreed to get the dog a year from now, while her husband said they will have "a year to test whether they are sufficiently responsible..."

But Michelle Obama cut him off, sayingy, "They are responsible."

He tried again by saying "Whether they are going to be responsible in the middle of winter to go walk that dog."

"We're getting a dog," his wife said flatly.

"When it's cold outside," Obama persisted.

His wife looked into the camera and said to their kids, "You guys are getting a dog."

When the presidential candidate again asked who would be walking the dog, the potential first lady replied, "You will. You will all be walking the dog."

"OK. All right," Obama conceded.
We'll leave aside the question of whether the TN GOP's ad was unfair, given that Michelle Obama made the comments at a political rally, and given that Obama himself "joked" that she would make a good Vice President. Certainly a man should stand up for his wife; he's under no obligation to be "fair" where she is concerned. A good man should be completely unfair in this regard: he should brook no slander on her honor, nor even the shadow or suggestion of one.

That much I approve of; but this aggressiveness is balanced by his wife's public humiliations, which ensure that he remains "cute." No viewer will be frightened away by his aggressiveness in today's interview. Obama doesn't come off as angry because of it; it is clear he remains harmless. This is apparently a chief reason for his success -- remember the other day when he was described by a supporter as "a skinny, athletic, gentle-seeming, virtually metrosexual man, [who] nearly splits the difference on gender as well."

Apparently that's just what a lot of people want. Exactly how it's meant to impress enemies at this difficult moment in history -- whether at war or the negotiating table -- is lost on me; but it may be just that many Americans want someone comforting. Perhaps Iran, too, will be won over to giving up their nuclear program just because he is so nonthreatening; why would they ever need a weapon?

Medieval Philosophy and Categories

Medieval Philosophy and Categories:

Dad29 has a fine post tying together three apparently disparate topics: gay marriage, the use of the pipe organ in church, and the Scottish philosopher Alisadaire McIntyre. Dad notes:

"What is missing in [so much of modern philosophy] any sense that BEAUTY has any objective quality whatsoever."
The other day, while discussing music, we had a musician point to what such an "objective quality" might look like.
Not long after Wagner, those who wrote 12-tone and other serial music, unfortunately wrenching Western music away from its tonal roots, were trying to make "new" art, defining themselves and their work as "not what has gone before." Now this is a frequent tactic employed by anyone searching for new things, but in this case they were abandoning the fundamental mathematical relationships that produce tonality itself, and the new structure created was insufficiently based in reality to resonate more than academically with human beings.

It is entirely possible, given the horror of WWI, that they were actively fleeing from the emotional leverages exerted by tonal music, perhaps looking to escape the ravages of passion althgether.
Emphasis added.

Dad goes on to talk about whether Truth has any objective reality. Aristotle and Aquinas certainly believed it did:
Aristotle taught that the ability to make correct judgments was about more than simply amassing the necessary data. It involves the training and formation of the person in virtue, so that he has the kind of mind and soul that can apprehend the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.
Such 'proper formation' is necessarily based on objective reality, or that which is True. Aristotle and Aquinas taught that knowledge of the Truth is simply conforming one's mind to reality.
The music gives us a concrete example of what is meant. Certain mathematical relationships produce tonality; and it is possible to learn these, and thereby to compose great, soaring music of the sort Wagner used.

It is also possible to abandon them; and you can still compose music. It will not be as beautiful, however, because it is further from the reality of what beauty is.

This is true even though one person or another may actually like it better. You, personally, may find rap music to be more stirring than Wagner. Some of this may be because of how you have been trained, and other parts of it may arise from ways in which you, personally, are different from what is usual. There's nothing inherently wrong with liking rap music better than Wagner. Personal preferences are fine, and a free society will make room for them.

The mathematics continue to exist, however, in spite of your preferences. Reality is still there, regardless of what your mind perceives.

I bring this up because of Mr. Sheldon's assertion:
I guess I'm not going to understand the need for a one-size-fits-all name if there is a dangerous possibility that it won't fit somebody.
Personal preferences can't swallow our ability to discuss things in common. I'm glad to make room -- gracious plenty of room -- for the individual Pursuit of Happiness. By all means, do what you think is right.

The fact that there are individual differences and personal preferences, however, shouldn't forbid us from looking for greater truths. Some things are bigger than we are. That was part of my point, below: because we know reality chiefly through what our brain reports to us, sometimes we need to listen to someone whose brain works differently than ours does. They may have had a wholly different experience of reality than we have had.

We should be able to try to sort out what is right between us, rather than say, "We can assert no lessons, because there is a dangerous possibility that someone else may not fit." Well, fine: let them bring their own lessons to the table, and we can add them to our debate about what the truth really is.

They should not preclude the debate. We should not refuse to try to understand, because we might leave out someone whose experience is different. I welcome them to the discussion, but we must have the discussion. It is their duty, as it is ours, to stand up and fight for what we believe.

A Word Missing from the Language

A Word Missing from the Language:

So there's this video.

I want to talk about it in a moment, but first, there is something more important.

I looked up the definition for "sexism" today, and I find that it is defined as "the sense that one sex is inferior to, or more valuable than, the other." We have a number of ways of expressing the same concept: "male chauvanism" or "female chauvanism," "misogyny," and so forth.

What we don't appear to have is a way of expressing a concept that recognizes the real differences between the sexes in a way that honors them. As far as I know, there is no word in the language for a "a sense that though the sexes are genuinely different, both are necessary and valuable." That is to say, we have a lot of ways of describing a problem, but we have no way of talking about the solution.

I've tried to use the term "chivalry" in this context -- that men should regard women, though different, as wonderful and valuable, and should take care to listen to their concerns and help make a world in which they feel welcome.

Two things happened when I did that, which point up the severity of the problem. The first is that it was pointed out to me, by a well-meaning and kind-hearted woman, that I was offering good advice to men, but nothing for women. If "chivalry" is right for men, what is the female version of recognizing the differences between themselves and men, honoring men, and trying to make a world in which we also feel welcome and valued? I have no answer to that question: there is no word I know of that applies.

The other thing that happened was that certain feminists received my use of "chivalry" as a sort of code-word for male chauvanism. I'm afraid the word has been tarnished by a combination of genuine bad acting by some men, by feminist unisexuals who want to pretend there are no differences, and by miscommunication between men and women who mean well, but talk past each other.

Cassandra and I have had far too many examples of this: I don't think you could easily find a more honest, or more kindly-intentioned, discussion of sex differences in America than the debates we have had over the years. They have often been hot, but never motivated by what the terms "sexism" or "misogyny" or "chauvanism" intend to imply -- nor their female equivalents.

It is not merely personal high regard that keeps the bad sentiments out, though she and I are good friends, and I think the world of her. Cassandra loves men in general, just as we are, though she finds us -- and indeed, me -- incredibly frustrating at times. I love women, and want them involved in my life and to be happy, but sometimes I just can't seem to convey what I mean to them -- though men reading the discussion immediately relate to what I'm saying. Cassandra and I, and some of you who have joined us, have tried as hard as anyone has to clarify the problems, and not wholly without success. It's difficult work, though I think it is also noble work.

Still, the very difficulty of the discussions underlines for me the importance of defining a concept of the sort I described above. It is clear that men and women have vastly different brains, and experience the world in such remarkably different ways that only through lengthy discussion can we even recognize that a difference exists. Over and over, we come down to, "I can't understand why you keep saying that," which is the literal truth. It is a starting point, for tying to understand, but it is also clear evidence of a real and deep division.

We need a word for people who recognize that the differences are real, but assert them only as a starting point for understanding and honoring the other sex. We need to divide this behavior, which is good and noble behavior, from "sexism" or "chauvanism."

I intend to revive the term "chivalry" for this purpose, at least as it applies to men. I don't know what the right term for women would be, and others may prefer a different word from "chivalry" even for men.

Such a term is necessary, though, in order to have an honest and respectful discussion about the role sex plays in our conceptions.

Now -- a less important matter -- the video.

One of the interesting features of the video is that then First Lady Clinton's speech to the Beijing Women's Conference is the underlay. If you listen to what she is saying, you can get a clear sense of why at least some people oppose her candidacy.

When she points to how "the market doesn't value" the choices of millions of women worldwide, she is pointing to something that is true: the market doesn't. For Senator Clinton, today, that is a problem to be solved through government intervention. The market should be tampered with to ensure it places value on the things we wish it would value.

For others, the market's values are without moral content. The market values what it does because those things produce wealth. For women who choose to do things that the market doesn't value in order to pursue things that they personally value, that is part of their choice.

Government meddling in the marketplace, because it restricts the market's natural choices, reduces the creation of wealth for the whole society. Any society is tied together -- a point Clinton is glad to raise when it suits her, but which remains true even when it does not. The rich do not prey on the poor; they are their customers.

If that is so, reducing the generation of wealth across society hurts us all, in order to favor the few that the policy is meant to aid -- so that certain women, in this case, who make unmarketable choices should also be able to be rich.

I've made some unmarketable choices in my own life. I spent a year cowboying. It was great, but there's no money in it.

I imagine that a great many men would love to have society restructured so that we can do things we find personally fulfilling -- like training horses -- without suffering financially. Probably all men would like that. I imagine all women would love to be able to do something they enjoy and find fulfilling, and also get rich.

The problem is that the world doesn't work that way. An attempt to make the world work that way for a certain class of women will hurt everyone else, to benefit the special class.

Again and again, the Left's solutions point that way: to benefit a class of people, at a cost to the whole society.

In defending the interests of those classes, though, she dishonestly adopts universal language: "Womens' rights are human rights," as if she were merely advocating that all people be treated equally, instead of some people receiving special consideration. She uses this basic dishonesty about her position to appear to be operating from a morally perfect place, and to tarnish those who disagree with her suggested policies. They don't deserve that, as it is certainly not less moral to believe that the wealth of the whole society is more important than the comfort of a special class.

That's really the core problem I have with Hillary Clinton. I think I was able to express it without unfairness, either to her or to her fellow women.

The images that play over the speech contrast very poorly.

What we're seeing from the Obama campaign is in fact sexism -- the use of negative female stereotypes, either in place of or to augment actual arguments. Had Sen. Clinton succeeded to the Democratic nomination, I don't doubt we would have seen it increasingly from Republicans as well.

A gentleman should not speak ill of ladies, even if he must sometimes criticize a lady. We may be different, even very deeply and subtly different, but that need not make us enemies.

Chivalry is not dead. Indeed, I belive it is time for it to reconquer.

Man's Best Friend.

LT G & company find a dog.