Sunday, October 25, 2009

Biding Biden

Joe Biden has been taking a lot of flack lately. From Arianna Huffington came the amazing and off the wall statement that Biden should resign if President Obama decides to escalate the war in Afghanistan by sending in more troops as prescribed by General Stanley McChrystal. Why? Because she feels that no one spoke up during the decision making process to bomb Iraq during the Bush years and that officials filled the "Best Seller" stacks by writing "mea culpa" explanations long after the time they could have made a difference by speaking up.

And I agree that our president can not make intelligent decisions when he is coddled by those who would not rock the boat with an opposing point of view.

That's not Biden however. He IS speaking up and he has the president's ear. Any president needs to surround himself with men like Biden -- men who are not afraid to voice their opinions even though they differ from the president's and many of those top ranking White House aides who support him. Biden is that man and Obama chose him to be that man who perhaps at times, can the be that perfect source of irritation required to produce to right decision.

I like Biden. He should not resign no matter what the decision is, because the president needs and wants him. He is a crucial element to a thoughtful and intelligent decision making process and the President of the United States is too intelligent not to realize it.

FOX Trot

I really have to disagree with the White House on this one. I'm mostly a supporter of the new administration and not generally a fan of FOX News; however, in this instance I think the WH needs to take a more grown up position instead of the "I'm taking my marbles and going home" attitude we've been witnessing by not going on FOX News.


There are clowns on FOX News that we all know are not journalists, but that's true of the other cable stations. I don't approve of any of them, no matter what their views. However, we need a free media including the many over-blown egos at FOX News, to spew their points of view, stir up their listeners and make people get involved. It doesn't mean we have to like what they say, but we can't just ignore them -- we own the air waves, right?

If you don't like it, complain about it. But don't pretend they don't exist and for God's sake, be brave enough to to get up there and have a rough and tumble disagreement -- I'd expect the viewers would welcome it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Places in Between by Rory Stewart

This is the story of a real-life adventure by a young Scotsman who walked through Afghanistan, “…surviving by his wits, his knowledge of Persian dialects and Muslim customs and the kindness of strangers. By day he passed through mountains covered in nine feet of snow, hamlets burned and emptied by the Taliban and communities thriving amid the remains of medieval civilizations. By night he slept on villagers’ floors, shared their meals and listened to their stories of the recent and ancient past. Along the way Stewart met heroes and rogues, tribal elders and teenage soldiers, Taliban commanders and foreign-aid workers. . .” (Back cover of Harvest Original Harcourt, Inc. publication.)

This was a fascinating book in every way and gives all of us insight into the tribal mentality of the average Afghan, his loyalties, his rivalries with other tribes, his distrust of his own government and finally, his ancient respect and generosity for the lonely traveler.