Gooood morning Pyongyang!
…and everyone else too, of course.
1. ” Winning.” How many in “the resistance” and the news media are rooting, secretly or openly, for the North Korean talks to fail? Based on the tone of some premature gloating on social media and news reports after North Korea threatened to pull out of talks, I think “many” is the fair answer. Other recent headlines and news stories also point in this direction, like “Improving Economy A Problem For Democrats.” (No, an improving economy is not a problem for any Americans, unless they care about their own power more than their country.)
This is especially revolting ( and hypocritical) from the same people who 1) falsely attributed Rush Limbaugh’s indefensible statement in 2008 that he wanted Obama to fail to the entire Republican Party (I condemned Limbaugh’s statement at the time) and 2) used it to feed the narrative that conservatives who opposed that Presidents left-ward policies were doing so out of personal and racial antipathy.
A President’s success–as in “being proved correct” or “getting lucky,” it doesn’t matter which— makes it more likely that policies you don’t like will be continued? Suck it up and cheer like the good citizen you are. His accomplishments make it less likely that your favorite politician will get elected? Cry me a river: your duty is to care about your nation and fellow citizens first. That you are on record that—okay, still think that—this Presdent has crap for brains and you wouldn’t shake his hand without gloves makes you look less wise and prescient than you would have if he fell flat on his face? Cue the world’s smallest violin, have some integrity, and grow the hell up.
2. Ken Burns ethics, and FDR. In this post earlier this year, I scored documentary whiz Ken Burns for the hagiography of Franklin Roosevelt that marred his otherwise superb “The Roosevelts.” “The smoking gun for me,” I wrote, “is that despite ten and half hours, Burns somehow never found time to highlight FDR’s internment of American citizens solely because they were of Japanese ancestry. The civil rights outrage is only alluded to in passing, as part of a list from a biographer preceding the nostrum, ‘All great leaders make mistakes.’” That critique stands, but it is slightly unfair, I subsequently discovered. Burns covered the internment of Japanese Americans extensively in an earlier, also excellent, PBS series, 2007′ s “The War.” Even that section, however, avoided laying proper accountability for the debacle at President Roosevelt’s feet. I watched the documentary over the past two days, and the deceit is really extraordinary. The narration keeps referring to Executive Order 9066, without specifically saying whose order it was, like the thing appeared on its own. Here, Ken, let me fix this for you:
‘President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the imprisonment of tens of thousands of American citizens of Japanese ancestry and resident aliens from Japan in concentration camps (“internment” is a euphemism and a cover word, like “pro-choice”) with towers and guards with loaded rifles. Though some German-Americans and Italian-Americans were imprisoned as well, far fewer were taken. The risk they posed was not considered as great, because they were white.’
Executive Order 9066 wasn’t rescinded, incredibly, until February 19, 1976, by President Ford. The Supreme Court decision upholding the order, Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944),has never been overturned. In that case’s 6–3 decision approving the abrogation of American citizen rights with fear as the justification, six of FDR’s eight appointees—you know, the liberals— sided with Roosevelt, and against the Bill of Rights.
It is incomprehensible to me that whatever else he accomplished, and Roosevelt can fairly be credited with saving the nation and the world itself, this epic and unequaled civil rights outrage is brushed off by historians who designate him one of our three greatest Presidents, and Democrats, who almost unanimously rate him as the party’s best.
3. And speaking of conduct that should disqualify someone for high professional honors…Robinson Cano, the Seattle Mariners second baseman and superstar, was suspended yesterday for 80 games after tests revealed that he has used a banned substance, in his case, a diuretic typically employed by steroid cheats to flush out Performance Enhancing Drugs and avoid detection. Cano would have been elected to the Hall of Fame if he dropped dead last week. Unfortunately this week he is a cheat, and per se ineligible due to the Hall’s character clause. Baseball only honors sports heroes, at least in their baseball-related activities.
Cano issued a carefully (lawyer) crafted statement that is further proof of his character deficits. [I’ll add my comments in brackets and bold.] It read,
Recently I learned that I tested positive for a substance called Furosemide, which is not a performance-enhancing substance. [No, but it is a banned substance. Every player is issued a list of banned substances, and to ignore them is proof of dementia. Cano is not stupid. His agent, if nobody else, must have made sure he was aware of the list. Cano is misleading his fans.] Furosemide is used to treat various medical conditions in the United States and Dominican Republic. [ Irrelevant. So is testosterone, and Human Growth Hormone. The issue isn’t whether a banned substance has legitimate uses. Most of them do.] This substance was given to me by a licensed doctor in the Dominican Republic to treat a medical ailment. [ Sure, Robby.] While I did not realize at the time that I was given a medication that was banned, I obviously now wish that I had been more careful. [Translation: “If I were more careful, I wouldn’t have been caught.”]
For more than 15 years, playing professional baseball has been the greatest honor of my life. I would never do anything to cheat the rules of the game that I love, and after undergoing dozens of drug tests over more than a decade, I have never tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance for the simple reason that I have never taken one. [He’s lying, and virtue signaling to duck accountability, because…]
Today I decided to accept MLB’s suspension. [ Why? If he’s innocent, why would he do that? MLB would not suspend him for the use of this drug unless its investigation concluded that Cano used it for illicit purposes, not legitimate medical ones. If Cano is telling the truth, and has a medical condition that Furosemide actually addresses and his doctor confirms that he administered the treatment, Cano would have a strong case for appeal. Instead, he decided to accept the suspension, probably wreck his team’s chances to contend this year, ruin his reputation, torpedo his chances of being elected to the Hall of Fame, and forfeit more than ten million dollars.] This was the most difficult decision I have ever made in my life, but ultimately the right decision given that I do not dispute that I was given this substance. [‘and also because I’m guilty of cheating, and can’t prove otherwise.’] I apologize to my family, friends, fans, teammates and the Mariners organization. [Is misleading them now included in that apology?] I am extremely grateful for the support I have received during this process, and I look forward to rejoining my teammates later this season.
4. Restaurant ethics. Yesterday we ordered dinner to be delivered from a new Middle East restaurant. (I am exercising restraint by not mentioning the name.) My wife ordered moussaka, the classic Greek dish that is made with ground beef, eggplant (or potato, but that’s cheating), some optional ingredients, and a special white sauce. It is sometimes called “Greek lasagna,” and looks like this, if you have never had it:
It is hard to make, much harder than lasagna, and is relatively rare to find on menus. However, there is no disagreement that it is a casserole. When our order arrived, no moussaka, or anything remotely similar, was included. Assuming that the item had been left out, we called the establishment. My wife described what we had ordered and what had arrived, including some mysterious, chili-like stuff in a styrofoam cup, It was somewhere between a dip and a stew. There might have been eggplant in it. “That’s the moussaka!” she was told. “What?” my wife said. “That’s our recipe, ma’am.”
I encountered this response once before, at an airport Japanese carryout, at which my “shrimp tempura” had no tempura whatsoever. “That’s our shrimp tempura, sir!”
Oh, really? So if “your” apple pie is made with Ritz crackers, it’s still OK to call it “apple pie”? If “your” fried chicken is really fried skunk, that’s fine?
5. To summarize…that restaurant’s moussaka is to real moussaka as..
- Citizens taking glee in the President’s policy failures are to patriotic Americans.
- FDR is to a legitimate progressive icon
- Robby Cano is to an admirable baseball player.