Nothing Obama Does Matters

Obama CopeFor the second time in one week, Jonathan Chait has annoyed me. Last time, it was his pseudo-apology for being in favor of the Iraq War. This time it is his (unfortunately rather common) reaction to Obama’s recent trip to Israel. Basically, he says: Obama did a great job, why didn’t he do that four years ago? His first sentence, for example, is, “President Obama today gave a speech in Israel that he probably ought to have given a few years ago.”

I have no problem with this sentiment. I don’t exactly agree, of course. Obama’s first term had slightly more important issues to deal with. Remember the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression? Remember 50 million people without health insurance? Remember the worst accidental oil spill in human history? (America was also directly involved and very largely culpable in the worst oil spill ever.) So I think that Obama wasn’t exactly a slacker; he had other things to do.

My problem with Chait’s article is that he seems to think that anything Obama does would change how conservatives view him. He claims that Obama has been viewed with suspicion in Israel. I’m not sure that’s true. Certainly his welcome in Israel was much better than lukewarm. Instead, Chait focuses on the way that the conservative pro-Israel (neocon) voices in the United States have acted toward Obama. But they would have been just as antagonistic toward Obama as I’m sure they will continue to be.

Look. This is very simple. The president is a Democrat. Therefore these people will always complain about the president unless he gives them the one thing they want more than anything else: war with Iran. Otherwise, just like all other conservatives, Obama is “the devil.” Nothing he does or says will change that.

At least: until he’s been out of office for four years. Then they’ll say, “That Obama was actually all right. But this Clinton chick is a fucking communist!”

誕生日おめでとう 黒澤 明!

Akira KurosawaI’ve been sick the last two days. Because I write some stuff ahead of time, I can fake it to some extent. But it is only now that I’m getting back to work. Interestingly, I find the process of writing itself has made me feel better. It helps to have a purpose, even if that purpose is a little blog and a small following. Well, here goes nothing: another birthday post!

This is not a terribly impressive day for birthdays. I checked the birthday frequency chart and it isn’t an especially low birth day. Then again, it is low even by March standards, and March is a low birth month. And it isn’t devoid of some interesting people.

The great Spanish cubist Juan Gris was born on this day back in 1887. Not one of my favorite actresses Joan Crawford was born in 1904. And the fine magic writer Milbourne Christopher was born in 1914. (He was also supposedly a great performer, but I don’t know anything about that.)

The main singer and songwriter of the band The Cars Ric Ocasek is 64 today. The good thing about being ugly is that aging isn’t so painful. I take great solace in that. Also Catherine Keener is 54.

Some days, I really have to think about who to name the winner in this little birthday contest. Today, there was no contest, because back in 1910 Akira Kurosawa was born. I am very fond of him. I think I own more movies by him than any other director except for Orson Welles. I don’t write much about him, because I’m not sure I have much to add. But Rushomon, RAN, Sanjuro, Seven Samurai, and Yojimbo are all on my list of very favorite movies. And this is in addition to a list at least twice as long of his film that I think are at least excellent.

I wish I knew how to say “Happy Birthday!” in Japanese, but I know that Kurosawa spoke English, so this will have to do: Happy birthday!


Google Translate give the following for “Happy Birthday.”


But I get this if I translate “Happy Birthday!”


After Afterword

Here’s a little The Cars: