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As is my wont when the weather around here conspires to be as pleasant as it is now, I found an excuse to go over to the Navy Memorial at lunchtime and walk across the granite map of the world that is the centerpiece of the plaza.  I get a great deal of simple pleasure doing this, sometimes just admiring the handsome craftsmanship, sometimes imagining myself to be a sort of geeky Colossus striding around the planet.

At any rate, being prompted to check the Memorial’s website about something, I came across this description of the map, which seems to contain a startling secret fact:

Two shades of granite denote land and sea areas, as a reminder of the expanse of the world’s oceans.  The map aligns exactly with the earth.  The scale of the map is comparable to the view from the space ship 800 miles above the earth.

“The” space ship 800 miles above the earth? What spaceship?  Is this something we need to be concerned about?  Or did Certain Persons just leave it parked there until they’re ready to go home?

The USMC was founded this day in 1775 at Tun Tavern, Philadelphia by Samuel Nicholas.

Ol’ Robbo has always had an unswerving admiration for the Corps, considering it to be the single most awesome military force in the history of Mankind.

God bless ’em.


You know, I couldn’t help noticing the other week, when the FBI picked up that Islamofascist whannabe scoping out the Dee Cee metro with the idea of bombing it, how quick The Authorities were to assure us strap-hangers that “at no time was the public in any danger.”

And again yesterday.  A missile suddenly leaps out of the sea near Los Angeles and nobody seems to be able to explain why.  But we are assured again by The Authorities that “at no time was the United States in any danger” while at the same time being told by them that they really don’t know what’s going on.

Um, excuse me.  I would suggest that any terrorist plot in one of our cities or unexplained apparent missile launch off our coast is inherently dangerous.  True, one could argue plausibly in each of these cases that the danger might, in fact, be quite small.  Apparently the good guys were all over that would-be bomber before he could get anywhere near anything that went boom.  And for that matter, I’ve a sneaking suspicion that this rogue missile will actually turn out to be one of ours, but that the biznay is being kept hush-hush for some reason or other.

But the rush to reassure and the seeming tone of these reassurances from The Authorities, the soothing, sugar-coated, “See? Daddy looked under the bed and there are no monsters” air about them puts my nose out of joint.  Is this really a time in which Uncle ought to be lulling the public into a false sense of security?

Look, I’m not suggesting we should go into panic mode or that The Authorities should be creeping us out unnecessarily. (Indeed, I think the whole DHS color-coded terror threat alert scheme is really about as childish as pretending that All is Well.)   But these are bad times and bad things are happening.  I think The Authorities should be a little more realistic in their pronouncements to us about them, that’s all.  This is partly because I believe we, the public, deserve to be treated like adults.  But it’s also because I’m pretty certain that, sooner or later, something very bad really is going to happen.  And if The Authorities have been babying us up until that point, how much trust do they expect we’ll put in them afterwards?


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November 2010