Thursday, July 26, 2012

Diplomacy 101

Rule #1: Only bloggers are allowed to publicly chide our allies on their embarrassing but less than lethal cock-ups.
Rule #2: Do not elect as president someone who does.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Olympian Fiasco

When Nick Buckles, CEO of G4S PLC, the rent-a-cop contractor for the London Olympics, conceded on Tuesday that the handing of that herculean $425m security detail had been, up to this point, a “humiliating shambles”, I rushed to Google to find out which of my vast holdings might be under G4S guardianship.
Turns out that G4S PLC is the parent of G4S Secure Solutions which bills itself as “the leading security company in the United States” and which is, in turn, the parent of The Wackenhut Corporation, a handle familiar to every American who has ever seen its logo emblazoned on armored cars and the shoulder patches of burly men wearing uniforms and carrying side arms.

My state of mind eased by the assumption that with a name like Wackenhut, it has to be good, I turned my attention back across the Atlantic where Lambada-loving Tory MP, Jeremy Hunt, Britain’s beleaguered Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media & Sport, was defensively mouthing “I don’t think this is the moment for getting into the blame game,” a bromide worthy of any politician on either side of the pond.
Tellingly, UPI had reported back in November that the FBI, unsettled by what they were hearing about a possible security shortfall, planned to send 500 FBI agents to London to protect American athletes, thereby eliciting outraged howls from U.K. officialdom about those interfering Yanks who want to be in charge of everything.

But, and let’s get to the nub of the kerfuffle: where was Rupert Murdoch in all this? Now I know that a good reporter is supposed to follow the facts to reach a conclusion rather than the other way around, but, like a child looking into a Christmas stockingful of manure and just knowing that there’s a pony in there somewhere; my prize pony is Keith Rupert Murdoch, KSG.

But the best I could come up with is that during the News Corporation wire-tapping scandale-du-jour back in May, it came out that the aforementioned Jeremy Hunt had gotten a bit too cozy with Murdoch’s NewsCorp regarding its plans to take over satellite broadcaster BSkyB. Hardly a smoking gun to train on the Olympic security fiasco, however.

So, okay, there’s not always a pony in there somewhere!

Meanwhile, back in London, G4S PLC has agreed to make up the $55-75m it will now cost the British government to bring in the military to cover the security manpower shortfall, and CEO Nick Buckles has agreed to forgo his bonus.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Down With “Obamacare”!

The locution, Obamacare, “stands for everything people don’t like about the [Affordable Care Act] law”. So writes Chris Cillizza in the WaPo blog, The Fix. And he’s dead right.

Nevertheless, like clutching an asp to its breast, the Administration, along with countless sappy liberals and legions of lazy reporters eager to adopt a usefully catchy, one-size-fits-all expression, has embraced it willy nilly; apparently insensible to the fact that it has become--like the term liberal itself-–a toxic label, applied with glee by slogan-adept conservatives to skewer progressives as feckless do-gooders.

The Administration seems to think that it can turn the expression to its advantage by exploiting the seemingly felicitous conflation of Obama and Care, but they’re wrong. It’s too late. That ship has sailed. Hillarycare comes inevitably to mind, and we all know how that turned out.

Let’s face it, effective sloganeering is not liberals’ long suit. We don’t like it. Slogan-slinging is the antithesis of meaningful political dialog; a tactic to which we reluctantly revert when we can’t think of anything substantive to say in the few words that constitute a sound-bite.

For the moment at least, the GOP’s word-merchants own the genre. Let’s not make their job easier by clumsily trying to re-purpose one of the deadliest arrows in their rhetorical quiver.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

How Cold Was It?

It occurs to your reporter that Cape Cod’s churches might have a ready solution at hand for alleviating their financial problems other than having to constantly dun our summer visitors to make up their annual budgetary shortfall.

Turn down the air-conditioning!

Now, you take yesterday at 11:00 mass in Hyannis. I mean we’re talking frigid here, people. How cold was it, you ask? I’ll tell you how cold it was. It was so cold, I had to break the ice on the holy water font before I could bless myself! It was so cold, they had to thaw out the wicks before they could light the ceremonial candles! It was so cold, 4C’s was storing its Rocky Road in the vestibule, an Aleut tourist was freezing walrus meat in the sacristy, and Hell froze over!

The flip side, of course, is that the welcome is always warm, the coffee hot, and the sermons heated; so I guess we’ll just have to accept the tradeoff until the Higgs boson confirms the existence of God once and for all, and we all get to live in a state of perpetual bliss with nothing to gripe about.