Patterico's Pontifications


Brian Williams: I Am Going on a “Self-Imposed” Hiatus

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:18 pm

I believe the “self-imposed” part about as much as I believe that he rescued one or maybe two puppies from a burning building, while he suffered from dysentery while watching bodies float by on a non-existent river of death, even as he stared down the tube of an RPG that was firing at a helicopter 30-60 minutes ahead of him.

I Was Going To Complain About My Hangnail, But…

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:58 am

[guest post by Dana]

James Robertson, who lives in Detroit, has been making a 23 mile journey to work for a decade. Most of it walking:

Robertson takes buses to work, but has to walk more than 20 miles round trip because buses do not cover the whole route. He starts his commute at 8 a.m. for his 2-10 p.m. shift, and does not get home until 4 a.m.

This no matter what the Detroit weather might be.

Robertson started hoofing it to work when his 1988 Honda Accord broke down. The soft-spoken man, who has a perfect attendance record, never complains.

“I set our attendance standard by this man,” said his boss, Todd Wilson, plant manager at Schain Mold & Engineering. “I say, if this man can get here, walking all those miles through snow and rain, well I’ll tell you, I have people in Pontiac 10 minutes away and they say they can’t get here — bull!”

Robertson cites faith and determination in helping him make the journey.

The trip home is made more difficult as he walks through less-than-savory neighborhoods in the dark:

[H]e walks 7 miles from the factory to a bus stop at a mall in Troy.

“I keep a rhythm in my head,” he said of his trek to the mall.

At the mall, he catches the last bus of the day, just before 1 a.m., and rides it to Detroit, as far as it goes. He then walks the rest of the way — about 5 miles — to the home he shares with his girlfriend.

Robertson says he cannot imagine not working – in spite of the miles he has to walk.

As word of Robertson’s plight got out, a Wayne State University student began a fundraiser page to help with purchasing a car and with what is referred to as Detroit’s “notoriously” high auto insurance rates. The student worked to negotiate a reasonable rate for auto insurance after being given an initial quote of $15,000-a-year premium. Supporters of the campaign have raised more than $310,000.

On Friday, a local suburban car dealership donated a car to Robertson. He is now the proud owner of a 2015 red Ford Taurus. His response to the gift?

I don’t like it, I love it. If only my parents could see me now.

Note to self: More thankfulness. And let’s keep the whining to a bare minimum.


The President Asking For “Strategic Patience”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:45 am

[guest post by Dana]

Although required to update the National Security Strategy every year, President Obama just sent his first update to Congress since 2010. The document seems permeated with a “let’s wait and see” restraint. What we are waiting for is unclear.

In his introduction, the president discusses the need for “strategic patience”:

America leads from a position of strength. But, this does not mean we can or should attempt to dictate the trajectory of all unfolding events around the world. As powerful as we are and will remain, our resources and influence are not infinite,” Obama writes in the introduction to the 35-page policy document. “The challenges we face require strategic patience and persistence.”

Some of the administration’s focal points for the next two years:

Russia: The strategy calls for continued diplomatic and economic pressure on Russia for its incursion into Ukraine, working “in lockstep with our European allies.” At the same time, the Obama administration will “keep the door open to greater collaboration with Russia in areas of common interests, should it choose a different path.”

Islamic State: The United States will “prioritize collective action” to address the threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and from related groups. The strategy document reiterates the position that Iraq and its Middle Eastern neighbors have to take a lead role in combating ISIL on the ground, although the United States will continue to deploy its “unique military capabilities.”

North Korea: The United States is “modernizing our alliances” with Japan, South Korea, Australia and the Philippines to counter North Korean provocation.

Western Africa: The Ebola epidemic shows the need to focus on health issues as part of a national security strategy, the report said.

China: “The United States welcomes the rise of a stable, peaceful, and prosperous China,” the policy document says. “While there will be competition, we reject the inevitability of confrontation.”

And regarding global security, the president asserts climate change and terrorism as twin threats of equal urgency:

In addition to acting decisively to defeat direct threats, we will focus on building the capacity of others to prevent the causes and consequences of conflict to include countering extreme and dangerous ideologies. Keeping nuclear materials from terrorists and preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons remains a high priority, as does mobilizing the international community to meet the urgent challenges posed by climate change and infectious disease.

And a word to the wise, TNR cautions that whoever becomes the GOP nominee should really heed the president’s words in the National Security Strategy update that climate change is “an urgent and growing threat to our national security”, because if the nominee doesn’t, Hillary! will wipe the floor with him:

Republicans remain unconvinced that climate change is caused by humans or a serious threat to the plan, so they’re not likely to accept that climate change is a national security issue, too. But in 2016, when the GOP nominee elaborates his or her (OK, his) plans for military preparedness, he’s going to find this issue hard to avoid. He’ll need to at least acknowledge the challenges that rising seas and temperatures pose to U.S. interests abroad, including military infrastructure and operations.

Otherwise he’ll be struck dumb when Hillary Clinton makes it a campaign issue: Last fall, the former secretary of state said climate change is “the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face as a nation and a world.”

I’m not convinced that climate change will really matter too much as we witness our “strategic patience” allowing an increased presence and advancement of ISIS throughout the region and worse, beyond.


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