A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Monday, September 29, 2003 :::
Modern Technology, A Good Thing if You Are Sick...Dreamers...Lazy Scholars...Seabiscuit...Who Ranks With Mel Gibson?...The CIA-Agent-Naming Scandal May Be What Iraq Needs...Spineless or Cynical, Take Your Pick, But the Republican Leadership Reaps What It Sowed...

Let's hear it for Cold-eeze. A Mind That Suits responds very well to those zinc lozenges introduced a few years ago, and swears by them. He had felt that he needed to use them right when symptoms first appeared, but this time he used up his supply long before he could get to the drug store, so the cold returned with fury, yet was beaten back after four doses.

Four doses. There's the key. A lot of friends have tried them and say that they didn't work. A Mind That Suits points out that the packaging even says it will take two or three doses, and people go, "oh." What they want is something like pseudephedrine (Sudafed), which acts almost immediately. By constricting all the vessels in your body. And causing real problems for males over forty, especially as one is also supposed to be drinking a lot of fluids.

Zinc also leaves you aware that you have a cold. It always feels like the cold could come back in a second, even if you can breathe regularly. But that is preferable to the high blood pressure caused by pseudephedrine, or the drowsiness caused by antihistimines, however you spell that.

The reaction of most people indicates that they want a magic bullet, and then complain about the side-effects. Zinc has no side-effects, but it requires patience. And we wonder why we are an overmedicated country.

You Buy The Bentley, I'll Get the Italian Job. MSNruns a monthly list of the cars most often researched on its "MSN Autos" website. The list indicates most people are dreaming, as a BMW tops the list, followed by such cars as a Ferrari, a Lamgborghini, and, get this, a Bentley. ( A Bentley is just a slightly different Rolls.) True enough, when A Mind That Suits has $300,000 that he absolutely does not care about, he will buy the Lamborghini, but he assumes that most people who visit the websit are just fantisizing. As he was.

A fellow who lives across the street many years ago bought his dream toy, that personal Rolls, which is called--if memory serves--the Silver Shadow. He also owns his house in Mt. Pleasant. A few years ago, the houses there were reasonably priced, thus enabling him to store the Rolls elsewhere. He did not have a lot of money; he used to drive over to the garage in what looked like an old Rambler or something similar that barely started. But his toy was one of the only cars that is guaranteed to appreciate in value, and, the last two years, land values in Mt. Pleasant have nearly doubled and show no signs of stopping.

The moral: buy the right toys.

A Forgotten Genius, A Lazy Scholar. George Orwell said that Tobias Smollet was the great forgotten genius of British literature, and A Mind That Suits would think twice before contradicting Orwell's literary judgments. (His views on religion are another matter, and in politics, there is room for much argument.) Certainly, Orwell's essay on him is more than worth reading and rereading, even if you never get around to reading Smollet's most famous novel, Roderick Random.

So it's good to read that someone has, and was inspired to write a book about Smollet, reviewed in last week's Financial Times Weekend section. (Apparently they delay posting it, to give subsribers an edge.) The only disturbing thing is that the author apparently got around to reading only Roderick Random and some other famous books, not Mr. Smollet's entire body of work. A Mind That Suits finds that shocking.

Breaking News. Seabiscuit: great movie. A Mind That Suits does not get out as much as he should. That's the news part.

A Competition. A Mind That Suits commented yesterday, over at The Fullness of Him, that Mel Gibson may have the greatest range of any major star in movie history. Let's rephrase that: the greatest range among actors working today.
Casting the mind backwards and strictly looking at men, one comes up with Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, James Cagney, Mickey Rooney, Don Ameche, Burt Lancaster. But the list is short.

Some draw the helpful distinction between actors and "stars," who play the same part over and over and just get better at it or add something to it. That obviously includes Clint Eastwood, but also, to be honest, such superb actors as Robert deNiro, who plays the same kind of person either for drama or laughs. He just gets better and better at it . Gibson plays different characters, something very few actors do these days.

About the only other major actor who really sticks his neck out his Danny DeVito. Oh, yes, and Gary Oldham. Any other names for the list?

Gibson is also quite well read, which has never been a salient feature of Hollywood stars.

Breaking the Log Jam, the Hard Way. The scandal that has erupted over the weekend may be just the ticket to force the Bush Administration to wake up. The scandal I am referring to is the ongoing criminal investigation over who leaked the name of a CIA agent to columnist Bob Novak and apparently half the White House Press corps. It is a serious violation of the law to blow a CIA agent's cover, and it was conservatives who pushed that provision some 20 years ago or more. They need to stand by it right now.

This White House is famous for being tough on leakers, so there probably will be no "what did he know and when did he know it?" kind of moments. Somebody went way, way afield, and will probably lose their job over it.

The embarrassing part is that this is the fall-out from the previously dead issue of the famous "16 words" in the President's State of the Union address about Saddam Hussein's alleged quest for "yellow cake" uranium in West Africa. The President had an unasailable reply to critics who said that the CIA had its doubts about that: he had said exactly that the British thought it was true and continued to do so. And there the matter was thought to rest.

But now it appears that somebody in the White House got really, really mad when a career foreign service officer went snooping around West Africa and reported back that there was no evidence to support the claim. So they deliberately made phone calls to reporters blowing the cover of the officer's wife. That's fair, guys. Interestingly, only conservative, anti-war curmudgeon Bob Novak went with the name, but other reporters say they were called.

There is a recurring pattern here, and it needs to be aired until there is some serious retrospection in public: certain people had very fixed ideas that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and that the war could be fought with a light army. No one was allowed to criticize those ideas; in fact they lost their jobs if they pointed out the Emperor had not clothes. Planning continued as if they were scientifically proven. There was no serious planning for finding the WMD, according to the Pentagon itself, which means that the ones that were there (and they were) have not been found. "Liberation Light," as this blog has maintained since April 10, has proven a disaster. Time for heads to roll.

Put it this way: if someone who was wrong fired somebody was right, they should go.

Don't Mind Saying I Told You So. The other main issue that has exercised A Mind That Suits has reared its ugly head again. The Republican leadership in the Senate refused to fight for Miquel Estrada and the other judicial nominees that were being filibustered. They did nothing to call the Democrats' bluff by making them stay in and actually filibuster. Now, Senator Kennedy, shameless as ever, is threatening to use the same tactic over a measley $70 million to provide vouchers for DC school children. If there were any school children who need liberation, it is the children right here in the nation's capital. (Look at the last four words of that sentence again.)

When Miguel Estrada gave up in frustration, defenders of the leadership took two lines, both specious. One was that, with responsibility for the "whole agenda," Republicans could not stop work in the Senate on one issue. That would make sense if the Republicans had had a domestic agenda. Actually, come to think of it, with a void where "domestic policy" should go, Members of Congress are more or less forced to claw for everything they can get for their constituents, bringing Congress to a standstill. But the point remains: somehow Lyndon Johnson kept the Senate running during Strom Thurmond's famous filibuster of the Civil Rights Act, and Bill Frist could have done the same thing.

The other line was that current Senate rules make a traditional filibuster impossible. That is nonsense: the only serious change is always described as "a gentlemen's agreement," not a rules change. (The 1975 rules change had no effect on this issue.)

Some people raise the spector of "endless quorum calls," rather than a Thurmond-like 24-hour marathon yackfest. Try and stay awake here, but in fact, "endless quorum calls" were probably an option in 1954. It all depends on--really, stay awake here-whether quorom calls are in order during a debate over a motion to go out of executive session.

One suspects they always have been, it's just that the regrettable Strom Thurmond had enough honor to actually fight his own sordid fights. Teddy Kennedy would indeed probably force all 100 Senators to stay awake for quorum calls rather than talk himself, which means that Teddy Kennedy has less honor than drooling, raving racist scum.

Hard to argue there.

Thurmond, it should be pointed out, was a brilliant man who improved dramatically as a human being in his old age, and to a certain extent redeemed his career. One hesitates to expect the same of Kennedy, who is also a brilliant legislator, and who also, as did the younger Thurmond, uses his skills for all the wrong ends.

But Kennedy is a given. This is the important part: the option is there for the Republicans to force the Democrats' hand, and embarrass them into holding a vote. They didn't do it for Estrada, and now look...

Have a good one.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 2:04 PM



Post a Comment


A Related Website on Christian Spirituality
The Fullness of Him
The Easiest Way to Keep Up With the News:
Best of the Web
Links to Web Friends
One Good Turn
A Dog's Life
Power Line
Rambles and By-ways

What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Powered by Blogger