Thought You'd Never Ask

Just mouthing off -- because I can.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Obama's ignorant (and Marxist?) world view is not worthy of a U.S. President

Michelle Malkin's column today ("Educating the Ignorant Kumbaya Candidate") expresses my own thoughts so succinctly (and much better than I ever could). She points out the truly scary implications of a man (representing millions of fellow Americans, sadly and evidently) holding his basically Marxist (and hence, deeply ignorant and flawed) worldview that, for example, terrorism "grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.” And the accompanying corollary that more government spending, central planning, diplomacy with despots, and social engineering by our elites will somehow miraculously change human nature and bring a kumbaya socialist happy brotherhood to our currently miserable, unenlightened existence.

Is this man for real? Osama bin Laden’s murderous legions are plenty able to “imagine” the “suffering of others.” Go watch an al Qaeda beheading snuff video. Just Google it or surf YouTube. Imagining the suffering of infidels is covered amply in Basic Jihadi Training 101.

You’ll note, too, that Obama’s fresh instinct in the week after the 9/11 attack was to diagnose it as a “tragedy” stemming from lack of “empathy” and “understanding”–instead of yet another deliberate, carefully planned evil act of the long-waged Islamic war on the West that it was.

As for Obama’s continued delusion about the “climate of poverty and ignorance” that supposedly breeds Muslim terrorists, can American politicians ever rid themselves of this unreality-based trope? This belief is part and parcel of the same idiocy that lead the State Department to embrace “spa days” for Muslims to “build bridges” with the Arab world and President Bush to open up our aviation schools to more Saudi students to “improve understanding.” John McCain also alluded to education-as-cure for Islamic terrorism at the L.A. World Affairs Council in March, when he declared that “In this struggle, scholarships will be far more important than smart bombs.” Just what we need: more student visas for the jihadi-infested nation that sent us the bulk of the 9/11 hijackers.

Author and National Review Online blogger Mark Steyn’s sharp rejoinder to McCain then applies to Obama now: “There’s plenty of evidence out there that the most extreme ‘extremists’ are those who’ve been most exposed to the west - and western education: from Osama bin Laden (summer school at Oxford, punting on the Thames) and Mohammed Atta (Hamburg University urban planning student) to the London School of Economics graduate responsible for the beheading of Daniel Pearl. The idea that handing out college scholarships to young Saudi males and getting them hooked on Starbucks and car-chase movies will make this stuff go away is ridiculous - and unworthy of a serious presidential candidate.”

Plus, such views are an offense to decent, non-terroristic poor people everywhere. The kind of people (and their descendants) who immigrated to America for self-interest, economic opportunities, and a better life for themselves and their children--not to wreak terror because they were "poor and ignorant." How condescending!

It seems baldy obvious to me at this point that the upcoming Presidential election boils down to a referendum on which worldview is now most prevalent in America: the basically "prep school Marxist" worldview as represented by the very intelligent and articulate Senator Obama and his lovely wife--or the more traditionally American worldview of free minds, free markets, and the recognition of private property rights that has up to now been the engine of our country's driving success and all it has done for individuals the world over.

Powerline: Other Democrats support Obama in the "reality is optional" approach to the world. It has become all but part of the Democrat party platform these days--along with, ahem, HOPE.

Discussion: Obama believes in the Marxist worldview? Check and decide:

Obama, Black Liberation Theory, and Karl Marx Barack Obama's Mother (a Marxist and his "touchstone" in his "world of politics"?)

Obama's Marxist Axis of Friends

Is Barack Obama a Marxist Mole?

Marxist, schmarxist, call it what you like. You can debate the details, but it is a failed and a fatal ideology, and Senator Obama seems to be in its thrall. The American Spectator sums it up in "Obama's Left-Wing Extremism":
So the true picture of who Obama is should now be clear. His consistently extreme left policy positions are well grounded deep into his past, dating back even to the prep school Marxism of his youth. How could America allow this man to become President of the United States? Do we not take that position seriously anymore?

UPDATE: Powerline: "He is not unready: he is unsuited for, and inadequate to, the office."

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Barack Obama, spinner of fairy tales

Senator Obama has a new ad claiming he is the product of Kansas values. Huh? I am confused. I thought he'd dissed Kansas values (what's his definition?) when he made his snobbish snipes to that San Francisco private audience about small-town rural people "clinging" to their guns, their God, and their xenophobia.

I'm confused. I thought Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1961, lived there until he moved to Indonesia where he lived from 1967 until the age of 10, and then he moved back to Honolulu, where he attended the private Punahou School from the fifth grade until his high school graduation in 1979.

What's Kansas got to do with it?

I'm confused. Does he mean he got his "values" from that "typical white person" who raised him in Honolulu whom he cited as making racist comments but whom he could no more "disown" than he could the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whom he has now sorta, almost, kinda disowned? The same Kansas values Barack's mother learned from the same people?

Don't make me laugh.

Powerline sez:

It was Bill Clinton who first used the term "fairy tale" in conjunction with the Obama campaign. The former president has never been closer to the mark. And since the MSM appears to have decided that references to Obama's relationship with Rev. Wright are off-limits, it's possible that Obama may once-upon-a-time himself into the White House.

Senator Obama, you just don't have Kansas values. I am not sure what values you do have, but based on your Chicago friends and your Chicago church and pastor of 20 years, and based on your Harvard law school education and your Chicago politics and tactics, and based on what we've learned from your autobiography and from what you've said and how you've said it since the Presidential race began, I am pretty sure you have only the vaguest idea of what so-called Kansas values might even be.

Keep audaciously hoping. The farther you stray from reality, the happier I'll be.

Additionally: This blogger points out another angle for why Obama and Kansas values do not mix. He's right about that, and this reminds me that the last time we drove through Kansas, it was remarkable as the state with the anti-abortion protestors (mostly older Americans) holding signs along the highways.

UPDATE: Neil Boortz sez: "Aren't you people just going to love it when Pelosi, Reid and Obama are running the whole show?"

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

8 days in Hawaii will change you

Waikiki sunset

Just got back today, and I can now add another state to my life-list. (I need to visit only Rhode Island, North Dakota, and Maine to complete the slate of 50.) And what a state it is! Although it shares many similarities with California, there is really nothing else in the U.S. like Hawaii. It is literally "far out" and an extreme outlyer in innumerable ways. And yet it is as much an integral and complete part of the U.S. as is my own home town. Think about that!

There was more to do and see and discover there than we had time for. We visited only two of the islands, Oahu and "the Big Island" (Hawaii). Here are some of the highlights:

On the Island of Oahu:

View from our lanai (balcony)

We flew direct to Honolulu, 9-1/2 hours in the air. While at my Dreamboat's conference, we had a balcony view from our room on the 16th floor at the Sheraton Waikiki, overlooking this postcard-perfect view of the mountains and the city, the famous Beach, Diamond Head, and the historic landmark "Pink Palace," the Royal Hawaiian Hotel (closed for renovations). This (the view from the balcony) was the first of several things in Hawaii that prompted me to say, at first sight, "OMG!"

Waikiki was filled with Japanese tourists, honeymooners and families on was a place of stretch limos and lavish Japanese wedding parties (in High Western dress), Japanese signage, merchandise, TV channels, and Oriental food (bento boxes, Korean BBQ and spam dishes, and Tokyo ramen) -- all of which was exciting and fun for me, as it's the closest I'll probably ever get to Japan. I brought home Japanese candies and souvenirs for my daughter, who is a big anime/manga fan.

Plus Waikiki was...the little tame zebra doves and the antic myna birds...Banyan trees, palms and flowers and Aloha shirts and gowns, tikis, torches lit at night, ubiquitous Hawaiian music (even in the food court of the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center), statues draped with leis, surfers with boards going through the hotel lobbies, and green sea turtles (honu) in the water just off the beach... and yes, we saw men and women doing the hula (but no grass skirts).

Waikiki was the home of Leonard's Bakery and Satura Cakes and the International Market Place, of Don Ho Street and the Beach Walk. It was many times too hot and humid, except in the shade, when the breezes blow, or after sundown. We saw way too many bra straps and tattoos, but in spite of all that, Waikiki is a fun place, even for middle-aged couples who retire at 8:30 p.m. and wake up at 3:00 or 4:00 to scarf the in-room coffee and watch the sunrise. I had fun peoplewatching and windowshopping at the expensive stores and buying trinkets at the kitschy places.

Beach Walk, near Don Ho Street

We rented a car and for two days forayed all over Oahu. We saw the end of the road near Dillingham air field, the Dole pineapple acreage, the northern beaches, Haleiwa, Waimea Bay, and the other legendary surfing spots (fearful of having our rental car burglerized, we did not swim there). We hung out at the Starbucks in Kaneohe, now a typical beach-suburb (almost Californian in feel), once the location of an airstrip which was the first spot bombed by the Japanese in 1941 before they turned to attack Pearl Harbor on the other side of the mountains. We also drove around Hawaii Kai and Diamond Head and up into the mountains and the beautiful forest preserves above Honolulu. We visited the Punchbowl Crater (National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific) where Ernie Pyle and some 34,000 veterans are buried.

Honolulu as seen from the hills above

On the Island of Hawaii:

We made an island-hopping flight on go! airlines from Honolulu to the town of Hilo on the eastern side of the The Big Island. It only took about 50 minutes in a small plane, and was lots of fun. At the sleepy Hilo airport we rented a car and 10 minutes later checked into our cathedral-ceilinged room at the marvelous Dolphin Bay Inn -- just the low-key, but comfortable hideaway in Old Town Hilo we had dreamed of. John the owner gave us a fabulous overview of things to do, complete with maps, and we were in business. Went downtown to the Puka Puka Kitchen for lunch (yummy), bought a few things at the Sack N Save, and then headed out for adventure in the limited time we had.

We took the Scenic Drive along the Hamakua Coast, followed by a walk along the trails of the Hawaii Tropical Botanic Garden down to the ocean. This is where I again found myself saying "OMG!" in hushed and awed tones. I have never seen the like of Hawaii's spectacular botanical diversity and abundance. Our view of Akaka Falls a little farther up the road was an impressive follow-on.

"Hanging Lobster Claw" plant at the
Hawaii Tropic Botanic Garden;

these towered high above my head

After that we drove south to the area that used to be the town of Kalapana but is now a major lava field closing off Highway 130. We parked where the Hawaii County Civil Defense people have set up a base, and hiked over the lava field to gather in a restricted viewing area to see the current Pu'u O'o vent of the Kilauea volcano pouring its lava into the ocean. As it got dark and the crowd grew, the glow of the hot lava turned the steam plumes from white to bright orange in the darkness. We could see magma and rocks flying high into the sky at times, from our seat a mile away. It was an awesome experience witnessing forces so powerful and destructive, even from what was supposedly a safe distance.

Viewing area to see where the lava enters the sea

After it had gotten completely dark and we'd seen our fill, we followed the streams of spectators back over the rough lava field trail with the help of our flashlights. Other than hiking up Sabino Canyon (in Tucson, Arizona) by moonlight, I have never done anything quite so remarkable.

Here is a retrospective of the lava's sad devastation of these former communities as appeared in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin (and more scientific explanation here); here are the New York Times and the People Magazine coverage from 1990. And here is the latest report from the USGS. It almost makes me wish I were a volcano scientist.

The next day was the 4th of July and after a great early breakfast at Ken's House of Pancakes, we spent the day at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We were disappointed not to be able to see any actual hot flowing lava while there, but we did see the impressive ash-laden plume rising from a new crater at the summit of Kilauea. We also did the hike around the top and across the bowl of Kilauea Iki, a smaller crater/lava field that as recently as the 1950's was a bowl of molten lava.

The trail straight across Kilauea Iki
also circles the tops of the cliffs lining the crater

Driving around the park, checking out the lodge (Volcano House) and visitors center, hiking to the Thurston lava tube, visiting the Jagger Museum, and having espressos in the town of Volcano filled the rest of our day. We returned to Hilo and had a wonderful Italian dinner at Cafe Pesto as people started to gather by the waterfront for the Fourth of July evening festivities. We had wanted to drive up to the top of Mauna Kea that night, to see the observatories and experience the best star-gazing conditions on earth, but we were just too tired to manage it! We went back to our room and crashed (and even watched an episode of "Magnum P.I." on the TV!). Happy 4th! The peeping Coqui frogs outside our open windows screamed us to sleep for a second night, but I was too tired to let them bother me.

The next morning we squeezed in a few more sights (banana pancakes at Ken's House of Pancakes; Hilo's Farmers' Market, Rainbow Falls; Boiling Pots; Banyan Drive) before we had to very reluctantly check out of the Dolphin Inn, return the rental car and start our long trek back to the Mainland. There was still so much on the Big Island left for us to do another time, including driving around the entire island and visiting Hilo's Tsunami Museum (Hilo, a very interesting and oddly charming place, has had a tough history). Here is the YouTube clip of scenes from the tsunami that hit Hilo in 1946.

I feel as if I've just scratched the surface of all I can learn and love about Hawaii.

But no matter. I'm glad to be home. Where the foliage is ordinary, the street names have a few more consonants to work with, and my children are glad to see me (and vice versa).

"Live Aloha" - Spreading the Aloha spirit around the Islands and around the world. Why not?

What I'm reading now: Hawaii: A Novel by James A. Michener


I had two oven-hot, fresh-baked Portuguese malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery, filled with the flavor of the month, lilikoi (passion fruit) custard. We took them to the shopping center across the street and ate them at a table outside the Safeway grocery store. They were so good, months later, they still haunt me and I still crave more! As the Leonard’s t-shirts say: “Got malasadas?”

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