Day By Day

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Jim Geraghty writes:

Those who voted for Obama won’t call him stupid, and certainly don’t accept that he’s evil. But they have seen grandiose promises on the stimulus fail to materialize, Obamacare touted as the answer to all their health care needs and turn out to be nothing of the sort, pledges of amazing imminent advances in alternative energy, and so on. He seemed to think that reaching out to the Iranians would lead to a change in the regime’s behavior and attitudes. He was surprised to learn that shovel-ready projects were not, in fact, shovel-ready. He was surprised to learn that large-scale investment in infrastructure and clean-energy projects wouldn’t great enormous numbers of new jobs. He’s surprised that his past housing policies haven’t helped struggling homeowners like he promised. He’s surprised that his signature health-care policy has become as controversial as it has. The “recession turned out to be a lot deeper than any of us realized.” When a woman says her semiconductor engineer husband can’t find a job, Obama says he’s surprised to hear it, because “he often hears business leaders in that field talk of a scarcity of skilled workers.”

The poor guy. He’s always getting blindsided.

Geraghty recommends this narrative as a winning formula for Republicans in the general election. Most Obama voters are unwilling to believe that they completely misjudged the character of their candidate and will stubbornly vote for him again, but they are willing to vote against incompetence and naivete.

Read the whole thing here.

Why Did She Wear a Red Cape?

Little Red Riding Hood as you've never seen it before.

RED from RED on Vimeo.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Adventures in India, Part 29 -- Sunrise On the Ganges, Part 2 Boating

We spent the next couple of hours riding up and down the Ganges observing the teeming and vibrant life along the shore. As promised, I took a lot of pictures. Here are a few of them.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Adventures in India, Part 28 -- Sunrise On the Ganges, Part 1

Early the next morning we set off through the streets of Varasani heading back to the waterfront.

Vendors were setting up their wares.

Workers were congregating.

An early morning shave.

Crowds are gathering.

And the holy men are out seeking alms.

And on the opposite bank of the river..., sunrise!

We boarded a boat and set off down the river, retracing the course we had traveled the night before.

More pictures to come..., many more.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Adventures in India, Part 27 -- The Festival of Light

When we arrived at the Ganges waterfront we boarded a small boat and headed down the river

Within a few minutes we approached Dashashwamedh ghat where the "Offering of Lights" ceremony (Aarti) was being celebrated. This was not the famous Diwali Festival of Lights, which had been observed a few weeks earlier, but a smaller ceremony observed each day. Still it attracts thousands of Hindu worshipers.

Then we continued further down the river past a number of cremations.

Then we returned to our original mooring and debarked.

And as we returned to our bus we passed this guy practicing a ritual all by himself.

We did not linger to watch him because the insect infestation at this place was remarkable.

So we left him to his prayers and went to our hotel, planning to return to the Ganges in the morning.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Good President (continued) -- "Extraordinarily Intelligent"

That's how Peter Marquez, Director of Space Policy in the Bush administration, characterizes his former boss, Dubya. Here's an extensive quote:
[H]e is extraordinarily intelligent. Forget what you've read in the press. The man is smart and has an incredible memory. He'll remember things that you said months ago or he'd remember some minute detail of some obscure policy issue. He studied the issues and took it as a challenge to know as much about a topic as his experts knew.

For example, President Bush asked all of the directors in the NSC to put together a transition book for the incoming Obama team. Each director was responsible for creating a book that covered all the details of their specific responsibility. I was responsible for space. I put together a 3-inch binder of all the things that we had done and encountered during President Bush's administration. I gave the book to the president and two days later the book shows back up on my desk. In the margins the president had hand-written comments and questions and even remembered a few details on things that I, the "expert", had failed to include. Anybody who says the man is dumb has never met him.
Marquez also found Bush to be exceptionally compassionate, witty, incisive, and serious -- in one-on-one encounters, not on a podium where he, like his father, often became sort of tongue-tied. The picture of the private Bush, confirmed by many of those who knew him, is strongly at odds with his popular image, which was largely a press and political construct fashioned by his enemies.

Read the whole thing here.

I don't expect most academic historians to accept this characterization. They have far too much invested in the portrayal of Bush as dumb, insensitive, and clueless. But I would note that Professor John Lewis Gaddis, who teaches at Yale and is considered "the Dean of Cold War Historians" and who had several one-on-one sessions with Bush during his presidency, has frequently spoken of Dubya as an exceptionally intelligent and well-informed person. 


To this I would add this article in the American Spectator by Walt Harrington, longtime WaPo staff writer and unabashed liberal who has known Dubya for a quarter of a century and considers him not only intelligent and well-informed, but a principled man who has been influenced by a deep and perceptive reading of history. Dubya is, he writes, "smart, thoughtful in a brawny kind of way and, most of all, a good and decent man".

Goodness and decency -- qualities that are in short supply these days, especially inside the beltway.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Adventures in India, Part 26 -- Travel to the Ganges

That evening we had dinner at the hotel accompanied by fireworks, then off to bed to rest up for the journey to Varasani [Bernares].

The airport waiting area. While waiting there I met an interesting young woman -- an urban sociologist who was studying the Islamic community in Mumbai. Much of what she was finding there paralleled things I found when I was doing similar work on nineteenth century Philadelphia. It made for a fascinating conversation [at least for urbanologists].

A reminder of the problems plaguing the the subcontinent -- heavily armed guards on the runway.

In Varasani, watching the traffic pass by.

Street scene -- note the dead kite entangled in the wires.

The traffic of Varasani -- the city's drivers are acknowledged to be the worst in all of India. They seem to glory in the reputation.

Street scenes at night.