1. It’s Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
2. I was just in a dentist’s chair, undergoing a procedure requiring 20 shots of Novocain.
I’d still rather endure that than sit on a bus stuck outside the Lincoln Tunnel for over an hour, as apparently happened this morning when a truck overturned on the helix entering the tunnel.
3. Every time I’ve been to Disney World, I’ve heard hotel workers, golf course workers, lifeguards, pool attendants and boat operators warn about the possibility of alligators. In particular, they advise not wading into ponds, lagoons or lakes. There are even signs posted warning not to go into the water.
But not everyone gets the word. Last night, a 2-year-old from Nebraska got dragged into a lagoon near the Grand Floridian, one of the most lavish of the hotels around the Magic Kingdom.
It seems unlikely that this story will end happily. I feel for the family.
4. I didn’t know that anyone harbored the idea that soldiers – American or Iraqi – got rich taking U.S. money earmarked for the effort to topple Saddam Hussein.
It doesn’t matter if Trump meant that American soldiers took the money, as it first sounded to those reporting it. Or that he meant Iraqi soldiers – our presumed allies – as he later had his mouthpiece try to explain.
He’s basically maligned people who put their lives on the line in support of the United States. If he really meant Americans, I wonder how that plays with those who believe he’s an advocate for veterans. And with so many real issues in this country, why would anyone sane raise this now?
It used to be that casting aspersions on our people in uniform, even accidentally, was a death blow to someone running for office. Welcome to the bizarre world of 2016.
5. Many years from now, I hope American history classes watch President Obama’s comments on terrorism yesterday to see how a real leader acted in the early 21st century.
The President took his critics to task in so thorough a way that, in the 24 hours since, their only whine can be that he seems more angry at them than the guy who murdered 49 people in an Orlando bar Sunday morning.
In particular, the President went off on the ridiculous notion that he doesn’t understand the terrorism problem because he refuses to use the term “radical Islam.” As if, as he pointed out, just saying those words will make the problem go away, or the forces combatting terrorism stronger.
“There has not been a moment in my seven and a half years as President where we have not able to pursue a strategy because we didn’t use the label “radical Islam,” Obama said, according to a transcript from The Washington Post. “Not once has an adviser of mine said, “Man, if we really use that phrase, we’re going to turn this whole thing around.” Not once.”
He said the implication that not saying “radical Islam” is hampering the fight against ISIL, as the President calls it, or al-Qaeda, would surprise those who’ve been involving during his administration – including the guys who nailed Osama bin Laden five years ago.
6. And why won’t the President use the phrase? Maybe because the phrase itself implies that the nation’s 3.3 million Muslims and the world’s 1.6 billion are complicit with the action of people who hide behind the mantle of the religion to commit murder, rape and other despicable acts.
“That’s their propaganda, that’s how they recruit,” Obama said of terrorists. “And if we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims with a broad brush, and imply that we are at war with an entire religion, then we are doing the terrorists’ work for them.”
7. There was so much more to his comments – his blasting of Trump for proposing a ban on Muslims entering the country, the idea that some Republicans have proposed putting Muslims under special surveillance. And his pointing out that such ideas are completely counter to both our values as a nation and the fight against real terrorists.
His anger showed in his expression and voice. It was a masterful putdown of people who have been trying – and failing – since 2009 to delegitimize this president.
Obama’s bet is that his critics will be consigned to the ignominy that others similarly short-sighted and foolish endure in our history. The silliness of his critics will be their shame to bear throughout time.
Hopefully starting on Nov. 8, when the Republican presidential nominee gets his ass kicked.