I’ve tried to enjoy schlepping water, thinking that it serves to keep us to some human roots.
Annoyances and upsets with the iPhone 4S have been more than offset by its screen, the silkiness of its surfaces, the camera, and the third-party market for both software and hardware.
After they finished watching the Bond movies, I figured the next series John Gruber and Dan Benjamin would discuss on The Talk Show would be Stanley Kubrick’s oeuvre. But Gruber refused — too personal for podcasting, he said. Disappointed, I rewatched 2001.
Instead of acknowledging the wisdom of leading from behind, the Right jumped on the Obama administration’s handling of Libya as yet another example of at best incompetence. They lost me there.
Steve Jobs we lost at the age of 56; when Frank Lloyd Wright reached that age it was still only 1923, the time of merely his second comeback with Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel.
It’s amazing, given the adulation he enjoyed elsewhere, that the Israeli public knew from the start not to trust this US President.
Nobody from usesthis.com has asked me what my setup us, nor is likely to anytime soon. So I’m just going to mouth off here about it. But first, some background.
On the Leon Wieseltier/Andrew Sullivan spat, Walter Russell Mead seems to want to have his strudel and eat it too.
There’s nothing else around here except empty desolate pretty hills. The Israel Trail passes by a bit to the west. It’s a hot July Wednesday morning. Things are reasonably busy. The shops are mostly franchises, almost all homegrown — Super-Pharm, Aroma, Tzomet Sfarim, Cup O’ Joe’s, LaMetayel, Mega, Fox, Castro, H&O.
or the first time I feel some excitement about the presidency of Barack Obama. Nine months after the exultation of electoral victory, he has come crashing down to humiliation and defeat on almost all fronts. In January, the only way was down. Now, the only way is up.
In the wake of his very public defeat over the Chicago Olympics bid (and really, it makes perfect sense that Brazil got it), he need no longer fulfil the role of humanity’s saviour. Instead, he can get back to and on with what is after all his job: leading the USA. So I think it was okay to go to Copenhagen and lobby the IOC and lose. Fine. In fact — and maybe this is very British of me — his having lost makes me like him better.
So today I’m open to the notion that it was wise to make a first move vis-a-vis Russia with the very public gesture of shifting the missile system away from Eastern Europe and seeing how Russia reciprocates regarding Iran. I would wager Russia won’t give anything of value in return, but the missile system move can always be reversed at some point if it bears no fruit.
Recently we’ve already seen the Administration tone down its rhetoric against Israeli settlements and begin backpedalling on closing down Guantanamo Bay. Obama did demonstrate willingness to throw friends under the bus to get elected; hopefully he’ll be willing to do so to his left-wing base now that he has been elected, and continue moving to the center.
All this is presuming of course that he does want to be President of the United States more than he wants to be saviour of humanity. I believe the jury is still out on this, but today in the wake of clear defeat it seems reasonable to hope that the man will hunker down, retrench, and let the majesty and the significance of the office he does hold reach in and touch him and infuse this obviously capable soul with the desire and the will to fulfil the office well.
Which leads us to the one thing hovering over all: Afghanistan. This is the hot war, and as such it rides roughshod over any and all other policy like a set of tank treads. If Obama is feckless here, he will have zero credibility on any other front. And throwing the left under the bus is not enough; he must be steely, adamant in his own personal will to victory. Otherwise it won’t happen.
War may not be what this Commander-in-Chief would like to be doing. Fair enough. Bush would no doubt have preferred to focus on things other than Iraq — remember, the first foreign leader he met with was Vicente Fox of Mexico. But once there is war, everything else, even national disasters at home, is secondary. And furthermore, though not that this really matters too much, Obama didn’t only inherit Afghanistan, he made it his own during the campaign by saying it’s the war that should be fought, rather than Iraq.
So prevailing in Afghanistan is the key to everything else now, even if it requires so much attention that it saps away the energy to do anything else. The problem is that Obama seems not yet to have the will to decisively win the war; the story about his lack of meetings with General Stanley McChrystal, the commander on the ground there, is chilling. But that’s what I mean by the majesty and the significance of the office itself reaching in and touching him. After the minor but public Olympics debacle, the President may ask himself, or hear a portrait of Lincoln or FDR ask him: Where must you prevail first and foremost, Brother 44? And we will get a properly prioritized presidency, a strong America, and the day will be saved once again.
At Modi’in Mall