Daniel Ford's blog
"... and Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people's money." (Margaret Thatcher, 1976)
Monday, April 08, 2013
Monday, March 11, 2013
The Chief of Staff is a bookworm
This morning we arrived at Iwo Jima just as the sun rose. Behind us was the steaming volcano Minami Io Jima which is a perfect cone, and disturbingly, has other perfect, recently-erupted cones right around it below the surface, one rising to just a meter below the surface. We motored up to see the beach and inspect the hill ... we came along the south end of Iwo Jima, where all the landings took place. The hill is appalling ... to think of an army attacking it is unbelievable.
I spotted what I thought was steam coming out of the beach, and H thought it was a wave hitting a spot between rocks and erupting up. We were both wrong -- our first sighting of life in Japanese waters was five humpback whales, including a calf. We spent quite a bit of time drifting off the beach, while two of the humpbacks breached repeatedly. The girls had never seen breaching so close up.
As we went up the west side of the island, we could see huge rusted hulks of ships lying in the sand.
Saturday, March 09, 2013
Pinkham's Grant gets right with the world
On March 1, the town of Pinkham's Grant was "bailed out" of the requirement that any change in its voting procedures had to be pre-cleared with the Federal government. Nine other New Hampshire communities were likewise suspected of suppressing minority voters, and likewise have now been forgiven.
It seems that New Hampshire had a literacy test in 1965, and the radical notion that a voter ought to be able to read the ballot put in front of him or her was just too much to accept. That, plus the fact that fewer than half of its adults were registered to vote or turned out to vote, triggered the Federal oversight.
Pinkham's Grant today has a population of nine. If it were the same in 1965, then I suppose that only four people had bothered to vote the previous year.
The community was founded by Daniel Pinkham of Lee, not far from where I live. Mr. Pinkham went north with his family in the winter with all their worldly goods in a sled, which was pulled by a pig in harness. I have always had a fondness for Pinkham's Grant, and I am glad that after more than half a century it has finally gotten right with the world.
The Young 'Un peers south
I suppose it speaks very badly of me, but whenever I see a picture of North Korea's dictator trying to look ferocious, he makes me giggle. Can't he even get a decent haircut, for crying out loud? The Young 'Un reminds me of the overweight, asthmatic geek in the seventh grade who was so out of touch with reality that he walked into a lamp-post on the way home from school.
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Los muertos son mas muertos, todavia
Don't shed a tear for Hugo Chavez, the petro-dictator who ended his fifteen-year rule the way most dictators do, by turning up his toes. In a century that saw Hitler and Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, Peron and Trujillo, one would think that people would have grown weary of snake-oil salesmen like Chavez. Alas, no. It is always easier when times are hard to cast one's lot with the demagogue, and to think that this time it really will be different.
Monday, March 04, 2013
Non habemus papem
Of course it's true that in every previous election going back hundreds of years, the there was no sitting pope when the cardinals met to elect his successor. Still, I am bemused that Benedict left the job vacant, if only for a few days. Is the workload actually that light?
“The election is not understood in the same framework as the political elections in the United States,” said Wuerl, who noted that here, the Holy Spirit is believed to play a primary role.Well, thank heaven (as it were) that it's not understood the same way as in the U.S.! But surely there's a bit of the Holy Spirit in our presidential annointments? Think of Nixon, arms spread and fingers making a Churchillian V-for-Victory. Think of Obama in front of his faux Greek columns!
For that matter, think of Jackie with her pillbox cap, and Michelle with her bangs....