March 18th, 2008


Well, now

Sen. Obama has said his piece, taken his stand. Here's the transcript:

I must say, he's threaded the needle. And he's done it the only way you can actually do such a thing: he's been honest. I respect him for that.

I don't agree with his policies. I think he would be a very bad (meaning, ultra-liberal) President.

But he has managed to speak the truth about race relations in this country. He has criticized his pastor forthrightly, but in love. The Proverbs say one should rebuke an older man the way you would a father -- essentially, an impossible task. But he has managed to do it.

So, even though I don't agree with him and won't vote for him, he has my respect. He's not a phony, like Hillary. He may be as calculating a politician, and as crazy a liberal, as she is; but I think he's for real.


What I mean by "threaded the needle" is that he has avoided both avenues that had been projected for him by pundits and pols of various sorts. His options, as framed by the chattering class, were:

a) to continue to evade knowledge of the anti-Americanism, bigotry, and lunacy espoused in Rev. Wright's sermons, which would make him either a liar or a fool;

b) to attempt to shrug off -- or worse, defend -- Rev. Wright's statements under the rubric that "this is a black thing and you white folks just don't understand," which would make him just a classier Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton.

Now, I don't like his "transcending race" by simply declaring people of all races equally victims of the shadowy forces of "lobbyists," "partisanship," "corporate interests," etc. That's just leftist agitprop. There's a conservative case to be made for empowering people of all races, too. But lefty or righty, at least Obama has left behind the old grudge factory that we've been stuck with far too long.


I was surprised when I watched the news that the eloquence and sincerity of Obama's speech didn't seem to come through. The talking heads were still throwing out one-liners. They didn't seem to grasp the speech as a whole.

This may have something to do with the fact that you can't reduce such a speech to sound bites. But even the snippets they showed didn't make Obama look good. There was no large, enthusiastic crowd. He looked defensive, and his delivery was only half alive. All in all, the speech read better than it sounded -- which is quite different for an Obama speech!

Maybe he'd have been better off publishing the thing as an Op-Ed in some friendly newspaper or journal?
his friend Jesus

I hope I'm not describing myself, here

I ran into a colleague in Wal-Mart this afternoon. We talked a lot, but didn't communicate much. He has all the listening skills of a turnip. And he seemed to want to give me all kinds of advice, without noticing that the things he thought I should consider, I already had -- and come to different decisions on. What a bore.

This is a common failing among the clergy, I've noticed. We think it is our job to tell people things, without the need to actually listen to them. Some of the best preachers are just that: preachers. They are all message and no relationship. No wonder we struggle.
speed limit

Wow -- that's the end of an era

Arthur C. Clarke has died.
May he rest in peace.

I remember reading his Tales from the White Hart, a collection of short stories told in a tavern, similar to Tales from Gavagan's Bar, by Pratt and De Camp. One of my favorites was "The Pacifist," about a military computer designed by a geek named "Dr. Milquetoast," which he programmed to refuse to solve any battle problems and instead insulted the General who had ridden roughshod over the good doctor every time.