You’ll recall when I left the last evening my wife was still having problems with a loss of her mother’s canary. She had been saying for years that when those birds went she didn’t want any more.  But, LO and behold when I came home this evening, (and truth to tell, not unexpectedly) there was a brand new cage hanging and Harry’s spot, Along with two young society finches in it.  They’re certainly not singers, but they are cute, and I suppose that there are raucous will keep the love bird that we inherited from Mom happy or at least active. 

Peep, peep, peep. The birds sounds for all the world like my disc changer in the van.  Or, at least that’s the way it sounded the last time it got stuck. 

Actually, I had encouraged her to look into what a canary would cost.  She apparently did just that, and fell in love with the finches instead.  Just as well. 


We had another series of accidents on the freeway on the way home this evening.  Traffic on interstate 390, as usual, was backed up for several miles.  What I see the traffic backing up, I have a choice; I can dodge and go around and fight the traffic on the surface streets, similarly trying to avoid the traffic jam on the freeway, or I can just be angry, and stay where I am.  Either way I’m not going to get home anytime soon.  Remind me at some point to tell you about Rochester drivers in the first couple of weeks of winter weather, and the accident rate. 


I note with some amusement, this exchange at the Robert Gates hearing, today:

“Mr. Gates, do you believe that we are currently winning in Iraq?” Mr. Levin asked.

“No, sir,” Mr. Gates replied, going on to agree with the senator that a political settlement is needed to end the blood-letting, and that the United States needed to convey “a sense of urgency” to the Iraqis about reaching an accord.

Mr. Levin said Mr. Gates’s remarks amounted to a “necessary, refreshing breath of reality.”

Senator McCain pursued the point about victory being elusive. “We are not winning the war in Iraq, is that correct?” the senator asked.

“That is my view, yes, senator,” Mr. Gates replied.

“And therefore the status quo is not acceptable?” Mr. McCain pressed.

“That is correct, sir,” Mr. Gates said.


But for all the wailing and gnashing of teeth there’s one thing that everybody seems to be forgetting.  Al-Qaida really doesn’t have to win a war.  And they have no chance of doing so, and never did.  They knew that going in. 

You see, a terror war, by definition, is a war of attrition.  If you’re fighting a terror war, all you have to do is keep up what you’re doing raising a little hell once in awhile killing a few of the enemy and not getting caught, and doing it long enough that the other side finally gets annoyed enough to pull up stakes and go home.  When that happens, the terrorists win.

So it is that our victory or defeat is decided by those who wish to do exactly that; pull up stakes and go home, and not by any actions of our enemy. 

And so also, is it that there are many who are reading far too much into the comments of Mr. Gates.  One also has to consider, along those same lines, the idea that when one is bucking for a promotion , regardless of what that promotion is, one generally tells the boss what they want to hear.  That’s a lesson that Bill Clinton learned rather well, for example. of course, in the case of Clinton, he changed his mind about the promises he made prior to the election before Monica’s knee pads were warm. 


And no, Billy, I have to disagree; Hanson is correct, in this:

History gives evidence of no civilization that survived long as purely secular and without a god, that put its trust in reason alone, and believed human nature was subject to radical improvement given enough capital and learning invested in the endeavor.

What Robert doesn’t understand is that there is a balance between the two extremes he describes, and that admitting the historical accuracy of what Hanson states in the above paragraph does not lead to a complete denial of reason, any more than my jumping on I-90 west will only take me to Seattle.  There are, after all, a number of points in between here and there. If that were true, if we were really that limited to an either/ or situation… if belief in God erased all reason, this nation’s founders would never have been able to come up with the ideas they did, much less the courage to pursue them to the point of creating a country around them.


Got the sink in, finally, though I think I want to run a couple lag bolts into the wall to hold it in place better than it is. Which, of course means I’ve gotta take the damn thing back out to sink the holes. But at least all the parts are in, and they fit and work OK.

Next: The Kitchen sink, or so I’m told.


Getting cold tonight, and colder tommrow night. Supposedly, into the teens.  I try to ignore it.

Interesting quote from Venlet….

Societies rise or fall depending on how civil its citizens are. The more they associate voluntarily, the safer and more prosperous they are.

The more they rely on force—legal or not—the more pliant they are in the hands of demagogues and tyrants. So resisting the statist impulse is no trivial issue. It is nothing less than the adult thing to do.

I’ll get into this in further detail perhaps this weekend.  But it strikes me that the writer has hit upon the truth I’ve written about previously.  When he speaks about volunteer associations was he talking about?  He’s talking about cultures.  Both in the large sense, and in the smaller sense (mini-culture, micro-culture, whatever you’re going to call it)

The civility of our citizenry in the early years of our country, is precisely why it prospered.  That the citizenry in the early years of our country shared a common culture is precisely why they were civil.

As I say, I’ll expand on this somewhat this weekend. There’s a number of implications here, and I’m too tired to explore them more fully just now.

Tags: , , , , , ,