Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

November 28, 2008

We’re all Chabadniks now

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:53 pm

Ron Coleman: “We’re all Chabadniks now.”

Even in India, which has had small Jewish communities for centuries and little history of antisemitism, it is possible to be killed for no other “crime” than being Jewish.

Not by Hindus of course — by Muslims.

September 24, 2008

McCain suspends campaign to return the Senate; Reid says he’s not welcome

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:49 pm

McCain just announced he’s suspending his campaign and returning to
Washington to deal with the financial crisis.

… It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration’ proposal. ….

Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me.

He’s even stopping his advertising and requesting that Friday’s debate be postponed.

In his usual manner of bipartisanship, Harry Reid told McCain NOT to come back.

Biden on the Financial Crisis

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:50 am

The AP Reports on Sept. 23

WASHINGTON – Vice presidential candidate Joe Biden says today’s leaders should take a lesson from the history books and follow fellow Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt’s response to a financial crisis.

“When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened,’” Barack Obama’s running mate recently told the “CBS Evening News.”

Except, Republican Herbert Hoover was in office when the stock market crashed in October 1929.

It’s actually even worse than that.

The first presidential TV appearance wasn’t until 1939, and the first televised presidential “address to the nation” was by President Truman in 1951 — a full 22 years after the stock market crash!

But hey, at least Biden has EXPERIENCE, so he won’t make stupid ignorant mistakes like Palin will!

September 1, 2008

Smearing Sarah Palin

It didn’t take long for the Democrats to come up with a preposterous smear of Sarah Palin — just going to show that they will say anything to discredit their opponents, no matter how nonsensical it is.

This posting at DailyKos, the leading website of the liberal “netroots,” and its followup here, claim she faked her pregnancy for political gain.

Yup, you read that right. They claim that a 43-year-old governor, constantly in the public eye, faked a pregnancy, and produced a child of which she is not the real mother, to burnish her pro-life credentials. As if, with four children already, these needed any burnishing. After all, they seem to think, you aren’t really pro-life unless your baby has Downs’ syndrome, which this child apparently has.

And where, do they claim, she obtained this baby? They are claiming it is really her then-16-year-old daughter’s baby. And they are claiming that this makes Sarah Palin a hypocrite as far as her pro-life credentials go.

Now, putting aside the fact that there is no credible evidence to support this claim, let’s look at the logic here. Suppose, for the sake of the argument, that Palin’s daughter got pregnant out of wedlock, and Palin decided to cover for her and claim it’s her baby. How does this make her a pro-life hypocrite? The claim seems to be that by providing her daughter with an option other than abortion, she would be hypocritical.

That is, in fact, completely backwards. Hypocrisy means claiming it’s OK to do yourself what you say others shouldn’t do. If she’d told her daughter to get an abortion, which seems to be what the DailyKos folks want — that would have been hypocritical for a pro-life person. Providing an alternative — especially one that gives the daughter a second chance to live the values she’s been taught — is exactly what a pro-life person would be expected to do. Obviously, most pro-life parents don’t want their daughters getting, or sons causing, pregnancies out of wedlock. But everybody knows that (a) kids don’t always do what their parents want, and (b) people sometimes succumb to temptation and do things that contradict their own values.

So the liberals have “accused” Gov. Palin of doing something that is entirely consistent with her expressed values. In fact, most people would consider doing what she’s accused of to be incredibly noble and compassionate. But since a Republican did it, it must be awful, right?

Keep in mind that this is assuming that the DailyKos claims are correct — and there is, at present, exactly no evidence for those claims. There is absolutely no reason to believe that this baby is anyone’s but Gov. Palin’s. The “evidence” they present consists basically of three things:

  1. Gov. Palin was age 43 at the time of the pregnancy. According to DailyKos, “everyone knows” 43-year-olds don’t get pregnant. Baloney. My own mother did, and without fertility drugs. I saw my sister 30 minutes after she was born.
  2. Gov. Palin flew around in a plane to give a speech shortly before the birth, then returned to Alaska to deliver the baby. This is viewed as “impossible” since pregnant women generally don’t travel late in pregnancy, therefore this “proves” that she was in fact returning to Alaska to be there when her daughter gave birth, to “pose” as the real mother. Now it’s true that most pregnant women generally don’t travel late in pregnancy — but maybe pregnant Governors do. I don’t think we’ve had a pregnant governor before, so there isn’t any prior data to support this claim.
  3. They have some pictures in which it’s not totally obvious that Gov. Palin is pregnant under her big coat, and one picture in which her daughter has a little fat showing above her waist. Folks, some pregnancies don’t show much. And sometimes fat looks a bit more round than normal, especially with the kind of dress the daughter is wearing. Sheesh.

But of course, none of that matters, since everything is justified in pursuit of the higher goal of smearing Republicans (especially non-white-males who have the uppity to be Republicans, and of course electing the Messiah Obama president.

This isn’t just the nutcases at DailyKos by the way. Some mainstream liberals, like Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic are starting to pick this up.

Fortunately, at least one reasonable liberal is calling them out on this. Ann Althouse writes:

“Stop prying into other people’s vaginas, even if you happen to oppose them politically. What is wrong with you people?”

The insane obsession with Sarah Palin’s pregnancy rages on.

This will all go down in the annals of feminism, people. So think before you write. …


The top one is a new Kos diary, from ArcXIX:


Well, Sarah, I’m calling you a liar. And not even a good one. Trig Paxson Van Palin is not your son. He is your grandson. The sooner you come forward with this revelation to the public, the better.

Whew! That is ugly. Pictures are posted, with captions like: “Sarah’s waistline never changed. Her wardrobe still remained tight and professional.” Note the gratuitous insult to pregnant working women. They can’t possibly dress in a professional manner. There are also enlarged photos of the 16-year-old daughter with comments about the shape of her abdomen. The whole world is invited to talk about that teenager’s body.

How nice. How feminist. How “liberal.”

And they say the other side objectifies women and doesn’t respect their bodies?

And by the way — back when Clinton was president, didn’t these people say that personal life isn’t relevant politically, and that lying about sex was OK?

Who again are the hypocrites?

August 29, 2008

McCain-Palin will win

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:52 pm

OK, my first thought upon hearing that Gov. Sarah Palin was McCain’s choice was, “Great, now we can count on Alaska’ 3 electoral votes, which are always Republican anyway.”

Within 15 minutes, I was convinced that McCain is a genius and Palin is a brilliant choice. My first thought was wrong.

This is someone who resigned from her first appointed position in protest of corruption, then ran against, and unseated in a Republican primary, the governor who’d appointed her. Then, she defeated the Democratic former governor, and went on to clean (state)house.

Simultaneously, this make the ticket attractive to the conservatives who have always been lukewarm about McCain, while at the same time appealing to the people like “Debra“; the Hillary voters who are so annoyed they are defecting to McCain. Her record as governor — returning federal “porkbarrel” funds and fighting corruption — will appeal to fiscal conservatives and moderates.

Every “demographic” appeal Obama has — young, clean, change, outsider, etc. — she has better (except for not being Black). Every criticism one could make of Palin (e.g., lack of experience), Obama has even worse. In fact, the Obama camp is already starting to criticize her lack of “experience.” These criticisms will boomerang, since she has more experience than he does.

In fact, here’s the Obama campaign’s official response:

“Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency,” Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said in a prepared statement.

Yeah, well: Obama has not only zero foreign policy experience (unless you count his attending a madrassa in Indonesia at ages 9), but zero executive experience, NOT EVEN being mayor of a town of 9,000 — and he conveniently “forgets” — and by implication, expects everyone to forget — that she’s also the current governor of a state of 670,000. How dumb do they think we are? Describing her as a “former mayor of a town of 9,000″ is like describing Obama as a “former law student.”

And Obama’s foreign policy ideas basically consist of negotiating with Iran over the order in which they will nuke Israeli cities.

I’ve been thinking for the last couple of months that it was looking like a McCain win. Last week, I started to think a McCain win was almost a sure thing. Now, I think it’s a lock and he’s just running up the score.

August 19, 2008

Is Obama Planning to put Bush on Trial?

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:01 pm

From Byron York at “The Corner”:

The Left and Plans for “Nuremberg-Style” Tribunals for Bush Administration Officials

One thing that hasn’t received much attention in conservative and Republicans circles is the ongoing conversation on the left about the possibility of Nuremberg-style war-crimes trials for members of the Bush administration should a Democratic president take office. I’m not exaggerating or introducing the Nazi analogy myself; they actually use the phrase “Nuremberg-style” when they discuss “war-crimes tribunals.” And they are quite serious (although the more moderate of them prefer a “truth commission.”)

At the Netroots Nation gathering in Austin, Texas last month — that is the successor to YearlyKos — Dahlia Lithwick, of the Washington-Post-owned website Slate, did an interview with the Talking Points Memo site in which she described a panel discussion she had just taken part in on what is known as the “first 100 days of accountability.” Among Lithwick’s observations:

We’re already falling into this trap of either positing Nuremberg-style war crimes tribunals, or nothing, immunizing everyone from John Yoo up and down…but everybody says there’s a lot of gray area in between that, and that accountability doesn’t necessarily mean Nuremberg, it doesn’t necessarily mean nothing, it means possibly a truth commission, possibly appointing a special prosecutor to look at it…

They said that if Bush were (re-)elected, he’d put shred the Constitution and put his political opponents on trial like a tinpot dictator. Perhaps they were engaging in a little Freudian Projection?

August 5, 2008

Obama and Change

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:42 pm

You know, I think I’ve finally figured Obama out. First, he was against offshore drilling. Now, he’s for it. First, he wanted to bring all the troops home. Now, he wants to send more to Afghanistan. First, he was going to limit campaign spending and use public funds. Now, he’s forgoing the public funding so he doesn’t need to limit his spending.

I couldn’t figure it out — he was changing his positions all the time!

But now I get it — of COURSE he’s doing that!

He’s the candidate of CHANGE!

So, every time he changes sides on an issues, he’s just keeping his most basic campaign promise — to CHANGE.

;-)

July 23, 2008

Free Obama Button?

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:39 pm

I just got an e-mail from moveon.org asking if I want a “Free Obama Button.”

I didn’t know Obama was a prisoner! Gee, what else happened while I was on vacation? ;-)

June 19, 2008

Why is the price of gas so high?

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:20 am

Part of the reason for the increase in the price of gas is increased demand from China and India, and supply problems in Nigeria, Venezuela, and Mexico. But the demand increases have developed over many years, and the supply problems over several months — so why the rapid increases on a week-to-week basis?

One reason is the falling value of the U.S. dollar relative to other currencies. Bryan Caplan wrote this up very succinctly, with some good back-of-the-envelope calculations:

Oil is sold on world markets, and the dollar is now very weak. What would the dollar price of gas be today, if the dollar were as strong as it was back in 2002? Here’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation (gas price data are here; exchange rate data are here):

Today a dollar buys you .6451 Euros, and it takes $4.134 to buy a gallon of gas. Suppose the dollar were still at parity with the Euro, as it was on 11/23/2002 (actually 1.0030, but who’s counting?). In that case, a dollar would buy you (1/.6451)=1.55 times as much. So a gallon of gas would be only $2.667.

The actual price of gas back in the third week of November, 2002 was $1.451. So to a first approximation, if the dollar had been stable, gas prices would have risen by about 80%, instead of 280%.

Admittedly, the U.S. is a big player in world oil markets; if the dollar had been stronger, it would have partly raised the world price of oil, and thereby the domestic price of gas. So maybe a stable dollar would have left gas prices 100% higher rather than 80%. If you adjust for the fact that some costs of gasoline (refining, taxes) are purely domestic, maybe gas would have been 150% more expensive even given a stable dollar.

Note that this has nothing to do with “price-gouging” or even with the oil companies at all. Granted, oil companies that own their own oilfields are making a lot of money now — but those that buy oil on the open market and then refine it into gasoline are not necessarily making money at all.

May 16, 2008

High Oil Prices? Blame Enron!

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:06 pm

Two Democrats in the Senate have now found our why gas prices are so high: It’s Enron’s fault!

The article is here. The claim is that:

what lawmakers have called the “Enron loophole,” which was created in 2000 largely at the request of Enron Corp[,] … exempted electronic markets for large traders from government oversight.

The energy trading provision gives the Commodity Futures Trading Commission enhanced authority to detect and prevent manipulation in the electronic energy markets, create audit trails, require more
transparency in transactions and increase financial penalties for cases of market manipulation.

This of course, has nothing to do with why oil prices are high. And it will not cause oil prices to fall. It will just create a bunch of extra paperwork that will allow the CFTC to get a better view as it watches oil prices rise.

The senators [Carl Levin, D-MI, and Dianne Feinstein, D-CA] said the recent increase in unregulated energy trading
by speculators was partly to blame for higher oil and natural gas prices.”

This makes about as much sense as saying that parachute manufacturers are partly to blame for gravity.

The appetite of Democrats for kooky conspiracy theories should never be underestimated….

May 14, 2008

The “Missing Child” Poster Experiment

Filed under: — Different River @ 9:00 am

Do those “missing child” posters actually work? I’ve heard some stories about kids with pictures on milk cartons and the like being found (or not), but the question in my mind has always been, what is the chance that someone who sees the child will actually see the poster — within enough time to make the connection between the two?

It turns out, most people don’t notice the child — even if the child is sitting right next to the poster.

Local 6 printed missing posters of Britney — a paid 8-year-old actress — and posted them at the entrance of the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando.

Britney sat alone on a mall seat near a missing poster as her father watched from a distance inside a nearby Panera restaurant.

The experiment was to determine how many people would notice or help the girl posing as a missing child.

Local 6 videotaped person after person entering the mall without even noticing the missing child signs.

Others who did see the posters on the doors were videotaped walking by the missing child.

So, people aren’t really that observant, right? OK, so they are busy and thinking about their own things, not looking around, right?

Well, no — it’s worse than that. They stopped a bunch of people who claimed to have noticed the child, but decided to do nothing.

“I saw her but didn’t know what to think,” shopper Megan Reed said.

“I didn’t even see her,” shopper Priseilla Landerer said. “I didn’t notice her.”

The majority of people at the mall who did see a missing person sign also saw the young girl but just kept walking, Local 6′s Donald Forbes reported.

“I took a good look at the poster,” shopper Tony Roush said. “I’m a photographer, so I’m good with faces and I walked in and I was like, ‘That’s the girl. What do I do?’”

Some people said they were fearful of getting involved.

And, some people were afraid of being mistaken for the kidnapper:

“That’s what I was thinking,” a shopper said. “I was scared the mom would pop out of nowhere and be like, ‘Why are you talking to my child?’”

“We don’t want to get really close because some people don’t like it when you bother their child,” shopper Linda Turner said.

Then again, two people did stop and talk to the child and tried to figure out what was going on. In real life, maybe that’s all it takes.

Still, it’s disturbing that people were willing to admit that they noticed and did nothing. I find this more disturbing than if they’d claimed not to have noticed. Why? Because the fact that they admit it means that they think — or think most people would think — that it’s OK to notice and do nothing. And THAT is what’s most disturbing of all.

February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley Jr. (1925-2008)

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:55 am

Kathryn Jean Lopez writes:

I’m devastated to report that our dear friend, mentor, leader, and founder William F. Buckley Jr., died this morning in his study in Stamford, Connecticut.

He died while at work; if he had been given a choice on how to depart this world, I suspect that would have been exactly it. At home, still devoted to the war of ideas.

As you might expect, we’ll have much more to say here and in NR in the coming days and weeks and months. For now: Thank you, Bill. God bless you, now with your dear Pat. Our deepest condolences to Christopher and the rest of the Buckley family. And our fervent prayer that we continue to do WFB’s life’s work justice.

Buckley was one of the intellecutal giants of 20th-century America. He once said is proudest achievement was to run everything that was “antisemitic or kooky” out of the conservative movement.

As he always closed the obituaries he wrote: RIP.

Of course, the New York Times, which has no doubt been awaiting this moment for forty years or more, had its obituary online within moments of Mr. Buckley’s death.

Seems like they jumped the gun a bit — as of this writing, their obituary refers to two of Buckley’s books “scheduled to be published in 2007.”

February 20, 2008

New from Cuba

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:36 am

Less than 24 hours after Fidel Castro’s resignation was announced, Hillary Clinton won the Havana primary with 98.65% of the vote.

February 15, 2008

How could that shooting possibly have happened?

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:13 pm

You’ve probably heard the news of the shooting at Northern Illinois University, in which a former student got up on the stage of a lecture hall with a shotgun and two or three handguns, and shot 22 people, five fatally, then killed himself.

The question is, how could that possibly have happened? In Illinois, it’s illegal to carry a gun on campus — or pretty much anywhere for that matter. Didn’t that guy know he could have gotten into a lot of trouble if he’d been caught carrying those guns?

Normally in these situations people call for stricter gun laws. But in Illinois, the gun laws are already pretty much as strict as they can be. Obviously, the message is not getting through to the right people. Clearly, they need a large-scale ad campaign informing the public that’s illegal to carry guns. Better education would have prevented this tragedy … right?

January 7, 2008

Edwards and Clinton: “Pot, meet Keetle”

Filed under: — Different River @ 9:30 am

Ben Smith at Politico.com relates:

Edwards responded sharply to a Clinton aide’s criticism today, intensifying a back-and-forth that began at last night’s debate, after Clinton said Nataline Sarkisyan could be alive if the patients bill of rights, which he’d boasted of championing, had passed.

“The Clinton campaign has no conscience,” Edwards said, after Clinton spokesman Jay Carson said Edwards does no more than “read articles about people who need help and talk about them.”

Well, if that isn’t the clearest case ever of the pot calling the kettle African-American, I don’t know what is. Recall this incident from the 2004 campaign, when Edwards said that the recently-deceased Christopher Reeve could be brought back to life if Bush had supported federal funding for stem cell research!

As CNN reported on October 12, 2004:

Edwards said Reeve, who died Sunday, “was a powerful voice for the need to do stem cell research and change the lives of people like him.

“If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve will get up out of that wheelchair and walk again,” Edwards said.

Now I understand there is a lot of controversy about what, if any, benefits might result from stem cell research, and how long it might take for those benefits to be realized. But nobody — nobody except John Edwards — ever claimed it would result in resurrections.

But when former heart surgeon and then-Senator Bill Frist called him on it,

Edwards campaign spokesman Mark Kornblau hit back, “Yes, breakthrough research often takes time, but that’s never been a reason to not even try — until George Bush.”

So to summarize: John Edwards blames someone’s death on a policy of his political opponent’s. Hillary Clinton blames someone’s death on a policy of John Edwards. John Edwards claims, based on this fact, that Hillary Clinton “has no conscience.”

Therefore, by John Edwards’ own standard, John Edwards has no conscience.

Either that, or John Edwards is a hypocrite. Which is the more charitable conclusion?

December 20, 2007

Just don’t do it to a teddy bear!

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:32 pm

The second most common name for new baby boys in Britain is “Mohammed.”

Just don’t try that with a teddy bear!

December 4, 2007

Jew Against Channukah

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:08 pm

Some Jews — in Israel, no less — are now against Channukah. On the grounds of … Global Warming!

In a campaign that has spread like wildfire across the Internet, a group of Israeli environmentalists is encouraging Jews around the world to light at least one less candle this Hanukka to help the environment.

The founders of the Green Hanukkia campaign found that every candle that burns completely produces 15 grams of carbon dioxide. If an estimated one million Israeli households light for eight days, they said, it would do significant damage to the atmosphere.

“The campaign calls for Jews around the world to save the last candle and save the planet, so we won’t need another miracle,” said Liad Ortar, the campaign’s cofounder, who runs the Arkada environmental consulting firm and the Ynet Web site’s environmental forum. “Global warming is a milestone in human evolution that requires us to rethink how we live our lives, and one of the main paradigms of that is religion and how it fits into the current situation.”

United Torah Judaism MK Avraham Ravitz called the environmentalists “crazy people who are playing with the minds of innocent Jewish people.” He said the campaign would only convince people who do not light candles anyway.

“They should encourage people to light one less cigarette instead,” Ravitz said.

But if they do that, they’ll only make people live longer, and produce more carbon emmissions!

May 9, 2007

Wisconsin Orders Mandatory Gas Price Gouging

Filed under: — Different River @ 7:11 am

No, that’s not a typo. AP reports:

MERRILL, Wis. – A service station that offered discounted gas to senior citizens and people supporting youth sports has been ordered by the state to raise its prices.

Center City BP owner Raj Bhandari has been offering senior citizens a 2 cent per gallon price break and discount cards that let sports boosters pay 3 cents less per gallon.

But the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says those deals violate Wisconsin’s Unfair Sales Act, which requires stations to sell gas for about 9.2 percent more than the wholesale price.

Bhandari said he received a letter from the state auditor last month saying the state would sue him if he did not raise his prices. The state could penalize him for each discounted gallon he sold, with the fine determined by a judge.

Bhandari, who bought the station a year ago, said he worries customers will think he stopped the discounts because he wants to make more money. About 10 percent of his customers had used the discount cards.

Dale Van Camp said he bought a $50 card to support the local youth hockey program. It would have saved him about $100 per year on gas, he said.

So, there you go. Set higher prices, get sued for price gouging. Set lower prices, get sued for “unfair sales.”

December 12, 2006

Stem Cells from Live Babies in Ukraine

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:12 pm

As predicted, now researchers are reportedly using stem cells not (just) from embryos, but from born-alive infants killed for their stem cells. This according to the BBC, which (understatement alert!) is not exactly a right-wing news source. (Boldface in the original.)

Ukraine babies in stem cell probe

By Matthew Hill
BBC Health Correspondent
Tuesday, 12 December 2006, 09:34 GMT

Healthy new-born babies may have been killed in Ukraine to feed a flourishing international trade in stem cells, evidence obtained by the BBC suggests.

Disturbing video footage of post-mortem examinations on dismembered tiny bodies raises serious questions about what happened to them.

Ukraine has become the self-styled stem cell capital of the world.

There is a trade in stem cells from aborted foetuses, amid unproven claims they can help fight many diseases.

But now there are claims that stem cells are also being harvested from live babies.

Wall of silence

The BBC has spoken to mothers from the city of Kharkiv who say they gave birth to healthy babies, only to have them taken by maternity staff.

In 2003 the authorities agreed to exhume around 30 bodies of foetuses and full-term babies from a cemetery used by maternity hospital number six.

One campaigner was allowed into the autopsy to gather video evidence. She has given that footage to the BBC and Council of Europe.

In its report, the Council describes a general culture of trafficking of children snatched at birth, and a wall of silence from hospital staff upwards over their fate.

The pictures show organs, including brains, have been stripped – and some bodies dismembered.

A senior British forensic pathologist says he is very concerned to see bodies in pieces – as that is not standard post-mortem practice.

It could possibly be a result of harvesting stem cells from bone marrow.

Hospital number six denies the allegations.

December 11, 2006

Rumsfeld’s Farewell

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:48 am

Citizen SMASH attended Secretary Rumsfeld’s last “Town Hall” meeting in the Pentagon — basically, Rumsfeld’s farewell to the Pentagon employees. Read it and weep. Selections:

Donald Rumsfeld is not universally loved in the Pentagon. I’m told that he can be a tough, stubborn, and demanding boss. Rumsfeld is infamous for firing off short memos — known colloquially as “snowflakes” — asking next-to-impossible-to-answer questions or demanding revolutionary changes. He came to the building in 2001, promising to transform the Department of Defense from a Cold War force to a more flexible, agile military, better prepared to face the challenges of the Twenty-first Century. Almost six years later, that transformation is well underway, but not yet complete. Along the way, Rumsfeld has stepped on many toes, and slaughtered many sacred cows. Inevitably, he made some enemies, especially among the senior officers and long-serving bureaucrats who were heavily invested in the “old way” of doing things.

But the troops, and a solid majority of the officers, love him. This is abundantly clear from the warm reception Rumsfeld receives as he walks up to the podium.

Another woman asks what was his worst day, and his best day. I expect him to say “September 11, 2001.” But he surprises me.

“Abu Ghraib.” He says, and a pall crosses over his face. Most men, having been faced with such a profound shame, wouldn’t bring it up voluntarily. But Rumsfeld isn’t most men. He seems genuinely, personally ashamed of what happened in that awful place. It has been reported that he submitted his resignation over the affair, but that the President prevailed upon him to remain.

“My best day?” He pauses. “How about a week from Monday?” A week from Monday, Robert Gates will be sworn in as the new SECDEF, and Rumsfeld will leave the building. He will be missed.

After the questions are done, there is a standing ovation. People in the auditorium crowd up to the aisle, in order to shake Rumsfeld’s hand as he passes.

I’m watching all this from the outside, on the monitor. And then the doors open, and he’s in the hallway. A bit smaller than I expected — I’m guessing about 5’8″ — and he looks really short next to General Pace, who is a giant of a man. But at 74, he’s a remarkably solid man, and he walks with strength and confidence. He proceeds slowly down the line of chairs, stopping to shake hands with several people.

He’s standing right in front of me. I offer my hand, and he shakes it. He looks me straight in the eye. “My goodness,” he exclaims. “Did all of you people stand out here for all this time?”

Read the whole thing.

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