Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
I don’t see how the president’s position and popularity can survive the oil spill. This is his third political disaster in his first 18 months in office. And they were all, as they say, unforced errors, meaning they were shaped by the president’s political judgment and instincts.
There was the tearing and unnecessary war over his health-care proposal and its cost. There was his day-to-day indifference to the views and hopes of the majority of voters regarding illegal immigration. And now the past almost 40 days of dodging and dithering in the face of an environmental calamity. I don’t see how you politically survive this.
The president, in my view, continues to govern in a way that suggests he is chronically detached from the central and immediate concerns of his countrymen. This is a terrible thing to see in a political figure, and a startling thing in one who won so handily and shrewdly in 2008. But he has not, almost from the day he was inaugurated, been in sync with the center. The heart of the country is thinking each day about A, B and C, and he is thinking about X, Y and Z. They’re in one reality, he’s in another.
She is brilliant at what she does. But I’ve always had some reservations with what she does.
Eagle-eyed readers of The Blog That Nobody Reads, might notice on very rare occasions I’ll make some vague, perhaps irritatingly vague, statements about my own vocation which has something to do with technology and engineering. And project management too I suppose. These are things that have to do with two and two being four, and remaining four now and forever, without regard to how many people want it to be three or five, or nineteen, and how desperately they want that.
Nothing personal against Peggy, but this is something of the opposite of her own profession. As a speechwriter, and as a column writer, she makes it her business to be more concerned with having her finger on the pulse of…something. America, I suppose. She lives in a world where, if a whole lot of people are ticked off that two and two are four, then maybe we should sit down and talk about that awhile, maybe find out if we can come up with something different.
And that is a valuable insight to have. Presidents need it, and really anything political needs it…which is to say we all do.
But the woman has a long, long history of thinking about X-Y-Z when I’m thinking about A-B-C. This sometimes leads to her telling me what I’m thinking — I’m part of “everyone,” at least logically I am — and two-and-two-make-four people don’t respond too favorably to that.
In fact, now and then we receive an unpleasant reminder that two-and-two-make-four people are concerned with the workings of the universe, and peoples’ pulses are made up from that. This creates problems with the pulse-people, like Noonan, and it creates problems for them as well.
Like for example what she wrote twenty months ago:
A great moment: When the press was hitting hard on the pregnancy of Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old daughter, [Obama] did not respond with a politically shrewd “I have no comment,” or “We shouldn’t judge.” Instead he said, “My mother had me when she was 18,” which shamed the press and others into silence. He showed grace when he didn’t have to.
There is something else. On Feb. 5, Super Tuesday, Mr. Obama won the Alabama primary with 56% to Hillary Clinton’s 42%. That evening, a friend watched the victory speech on TV in his suburban den. His 10-year-old daughter walked in, saw on the screen “Obama Wins” and “Alabama.” She said, “Daddy, we saw a documentary on Martin Luther King Day in school.” She said, “That’s where they used the hoses.” Suddenly my friend saw it new. Birmingham, 1963, and the water hoses used against the civil rights demonstrators. And now look, the black man thanking Alabama for his victory.
This means nothing? This means a great deal.
Perhaps it is unfair to recall this and scrutinize it with the benefit of a year and a half watching the Holy Emperor screw up. In fact, let us file that under “probably” rather than “perhaps.” But this is important stuff. Every month, every week, we see someone making big, huge, irreversible decisions, in politics and out of politics, confident that this is the right way to go because their finger is on a “pulse.” We watch someone pull a Noonan.
It is laughable nowadays to consider that Barack Obama said “My mother had me when she was 18” rather than “I have no comment” or “we shouldn’t judge” just to show some grace. Nowadays, another sentiment has taken hold that Obama may be a man completely lacking in grace; this has taken hold because of our experiences with watching Him, and at 400+ speeches per year it is not trivial experience by any means. We know from the Cop-and-Professor-beer-summit debacle from last summer that Obama is not inclined to say “I have no comment” or “we shouldn’t judge,” and may be altogether lacking in the personal attributes required to string such words together.
No, He saw another opportunity to talk about Himself. Peggy Noonan interpreted this to be a display of grace. Beginning to see where I’m going here? Whether it’s your lifetime vocation or not, being too concerned with what others think can get you in a whole lot of trouble. It frequently leads otherwise competent, capable people possessing otherwise sound, reliable judgment to think with the heart and not the head.
Oh look at that baby bear, isn’t it cute? Let’s take it home. That would be another decision along the lines of what I’m talking about; on par with what Noonan did when she inferred that Obama had grace.
These are not good decisions. Their appeal is based on emotion, and emotional appeal can only be based on the immediate moment because there is no way to chart or predict where emotions are going to be further down the road. Also, they must be inherently narcissistic. It’s all about me. The stubby ears, the big brown eyes, the li’l pug-nose, everything that tiny bear cub has must be there to appeal to me, me, me. Just like when President Obama gets in there, He is going to do what I, I, I want Him to do.
We live in a universe that plain and simply does not work that way. A universe filled up with things that do not exist for our benefit. Like a mother bear’s protective instinct, and Obama’s incredible, perhaps unprecedented, feeling of self-importance.
Whoever told us Obama would see America as something placed in His care? Whoever told us Obama had a personality inclined toward stewardship — looking after something — seeing to it that some jurisdiction of His would fare better as He left it, compared to how He’d found it? Were there any anecdotes about anything, anything at all, involving more real responsibility than an assistant-professorship? We had people pointing this out, and it was dismissed as a bunch of conservative ankle-biting. I guess it’s hard to make it look like something other than that.
But with our experience we have now that we didn’t have then, we see there was something to it. Stewardship is, among other things, a personality. It is a long term looking-after of something, with a sense of conviction that you’re beginning each day with the rewards, or the wreckage, of your performance the day before.
Obama doesn’t have it. We haven’t seen Him actually maintain anything, besides relationships; and human emotions being what they are, with relationships you don’t work with the rewards or the wreckage of your work the day before. Obama, from the best information we’ve managed to seize about Him, seems to have spent a lifetime being blissfully insulated from the conditions of things.
Fer chrissakes, we don’t even have a story about a bicycle lovingly maintained, or a household pet. He doesn’t have the “guardian” personality. He is not, by personal inclination, a steward of something. There is no evidence whatsoever to indicate a refinement of the requisite skills, or a personal interest in refining them.
There is much evidence to indicate otherwise.
Sorry you’re shocked, Peggy. Had you taken the time to ask yourself some questions others were asking, it would not now be so surprising.
Hear endeth the lesson: Putting your finger on a pulse is an educational thing to do, only so long as it remains educational. So long as it involves taking additional information in. Once you start ignoring some valid observations because your finger’s on the pulse, it ceases to be an exercise in education and it becomes one of ignorance. Every now and then, there are consequences to this…because, when all’s said and done, we do live in a universe in which two and two make four.
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