Short Reflections on Recent Items of Note

The best defense against cynicism remains a wild-eyed sense of wonder that things really can get more screwed up than they need to be.

  1. Oh, you silly Michigan Republicans. Yes, I voted in the primary. Yes, I voted for Mitt Romney. Yes, I want to see Romney prevail in the delegate count. No, I don’t want Saul Anuzis to put his thumb on the scale. Give Santorum his stupid delegate and be done with it. Intentions aside, retroactively “interpreting” the rules to favor a favored candidate smacks of dishonesty even if such interpretation is valid and squeaky clean. The appearance of impropriety is what matters, not the actuality of impropriety.
  2. Speaking of the primary — time for Gingrich to exit stage right and Paul to exit stage kooky. This has turned into a two-man race. Actually, a one-man race, but Santorum hasn’t figured this out yet and he deserves time to internalize it. I’ll admit that Santorum surprised me a bit; I didn’t think his dogged insistence on fighting the culture wars of the ’90s would resonate with primary voters as much as it has, especially when serious matters — like national security and the economy — deserve pride of place this cycle. I think the Romney likability factor plays into it a bit. What are the odds Huntsman and Pawlenty regret pulling the ejection handle so quickly?
  3. The ongoing drama over Israel’s potential response to an Iranian nuclear weapon highlights the Obama team’s lack of seriousness about Iranian threats. Nuclear Iran presents an existential threat to Israel and will almost surely ignite a nuclear arms race in one of the most volatile regions on the planet. We need more than bluster to win the long-term peace. Although I certainly don’t want a war with Iran, I also don’t want a nuclear Iran. If the latter goal cannot be achieved peaceably — and the Persian running down of the clock suggests it won’t be — then other action must be contemplated.
  4. After the Holocaust, the West said, “Never again.” After half-assing it in Bosnia, we said we really meant it — next time. Then we looked the other way in Darfur and Chechnya and Tibet. And now we look the other way in Syria — because we pretend that enfeebled Russia’s protection of its sole remaining Mediterranean client remains geopolitically significant. Genocide continues, and we whine that the politics of weakness at the U.N. means that we have no more effective alternative than to lodge diplomatic protests while thousands die at the hands of a cruel despot. The technical term for this pseudolegal equivocation is “moral depravity.” On our part, as well as Assad’s.
  5. I’m not all that worried about $5 gas. I am worried that $5 gas means that politicians across the ideological spectrum will put on their silly hats and promote short-term policies that make no long-term sense simply to pander to voters who don’t grasp the complexities of energy policy.
  6. Have we reached a tipping point? The ongoing privacy black eyes from Google and Facebook may well prove decisive in finally getting politicians to draft consumer-friendly data protection laws. About damn time.

Life’s been good on the personal front, too:

  1. A few weeks ago, columnist Florence King of National Review penned her last “Bent Pin” column. I had been a fan of hers since I was a teenager; she used to write “The Misanthrope’s Corner,” then semi-retired, then came back. Now she’s permanently retired from regular columns and will now occasionally submit reviews. Having been duly saddened by her new retirement, I wrote her a letter. To my great delight, she replied with a lovely handwritten card. I think I’ll frame it.
  2. ‘Tis been lovely on the social front. Yesterday, Tony and I went to Battle Creek, to the Firekeepers casino. The original plan was to go to the smoke shop in Battle Creek, but we were delayed too much in Lansing so we detoured to the casino instead and partook of some light gambling and heaving dining. Last weekend, Tony and Jen came to town to celebrate Jen’s 30th birthday. Also attending: her brother Joe, and her friends Heidi and Pete. Tony/Joe/Jen/Jason started with dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, then we met Pete and Heidi and trudged off to Mixology at Six One Six for cocktails; we eventually ended up at Cygnus 27 for even more cocktails before the evening met its natural conclusion. And last Thursday I enjoyed cigars and Scotch with Rick and Sondra at Grand River Cigar. All these events provided a strong measure of fun and connectedness.
  3. Celebrated another writer’s event on Friday. These gatherings are more social than productive but it’s still nice to connect with fellow scribes. And I got to learn about Charlie the Unicorn.
  4. My truck was victimized by a local ne’er-do-well. Someone broke into the back window and rifled through the contents of the truck cab. As far as I can tell, the only things taken were less than $2 in coin plus my spare copies of my license, proof of insurance and registration. I filed a police report anyway. And that evening, I saw my neighbor — a G.R. police officer — but he already had been informed by the detective who reviewed my report.
  5. I’ve been kept full-to-brimming with contract work over the last six weeks. One of my clients invited me into a special project that has consumed a large amount of time. Happily, they’re paying above-market rates for the work I’m doing. Plus, I received a fabulous referral for some Web marketing work for a law firm in southern Michigan; contract negotiations begin next week. It’s a rare treat to make money faster than you can spend it. However, much of this work may well fund a late-summer trip to Italy. Stay tuned.

All for now.