Subject: Carrot Cake
Date: Thu May 18
Brian writes in The Fray:
The political metaphor that irritates me is the carrot and the stick. The carrot is tied to the end of the stick, it's a part of the enticement. You're not using the stick to hit the horse as some sort of a punishment, or motivation. If you want to motivate a horse across the hindquarters, you would use a buggy whip. If you want to draw a horse forward with a carrot, you tie it to the end of a stick. Why is that such a difficult concept to grasp?
My favorite is "having your cake and eating it too." Jeez, that's easy to do: first you have it, then you eat it. The trick is "eating your cake and having it too!" Only a bulimic would try.
Subject: Memo to Earthling—Qaddafi Is Crazy
From: David Brandon
Date: Wed May 17
The Earthling writes:
Muammar Qaddafi, for example, may seem erratic, but look what happened when Ronald Reagan gave him a sanity test. American jets bombed Qaddafi's house as punishment for sponsoring terrorism. The question was: Would Qaddafi a) retaliate, b) not retaliate but maintain a conspicuous association with terrorism, or c) start keeping a lower profile? He chose c) and thus passed the [sanity] test.
Qaddafi did not pass The Earthling's sanity test. He did not choose c), keeping a lower profile. He chose a), retaliation. The American bombing took place in 1986. Qaddafi retaliated in 1988 when his agents blew up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. So, the real question is as follows: Would Qaddafi have chosen nuclear retaliation if he had the capacity at the time, instead of just hitting the Pan Am plane? When we bombed his house, he might have taken that as a sign that he was on a hit list. If that was the case, he might feel that he, personally, did not have much to lose by ordering a nuclear retaliation. You know, the old "I'm dead, anyway" reasoning. Which is as good a reason as any for prohibiting the killing of foreign leaders. We don't want them thinking that they having nothing to lose, do we?
Subject: Political Grandstanding Month
Date: Tue May 2
Eddie Dean writes (in Tuesday's entry):
In this morning's Washington Post, the latest chapter of the Great Southern Minstrel Show: Virginia Gov. Jimbo Gilmore rubs on his burnt cork and tells 300 tourism-industry execs that while he most surely likes dem ol' Rebels, he adores dem black folks too—or, at least the ones with plenty of greenbacks. This from the man who recently declared April Confederate History Month. ... Gilmore and his ilk are the real traitors to Robert E. Lee, who was one of the staunchest supporters of reconciliation after the war.
I know it's all the rage now to demonstrate your liberal bona fides by trashing the Confederate flag in South Carolina or Confederate History Month in Virginia, but Eddie's little diatribe against Governor Gilmore and Richmond, Va., takes the cake. I see that he has joined some of those he criticizes in hijacking history, ascribing his beliefs to be in the great tradition of Robert E. Lee.
One outgrowth of dishonoring Confederate History Month is to discourage tourists who want to visit Civil War sites or Confederate museums and cemeteries, as these people are now perceived as misguided at best or racist yahoos at worst. I'm sure that Virginians of all ethnicities who work in tourism-related businesses appreciate all the controversy and would rather not have Civil War tourists staying in hotels, eating at restaurants, or buying souvenirs. And, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Virginia elect the one and only black governor ever to serve in the 50 states? If you could find 50 people in Virginia who knew about the Confederate History Month proclamation before this contretemps, I would be shocked.
Subject: Anonymice in the Cabinet
From: Brad DeLong
Date: Tue May 16
Back when I worked at Lloyd Bentsen's Treasury Department, I was told by an, ahem, long-time Bentsen aide and senior media affairs official that two reasons for maintaining anonymity were 1) to focus attention on Bentsen (rather than us) and 2) to provide some cover just in case one of us underlings said something that raised hackles over at the White House.
Subject: Press Box's Vietvet Illusions
From: Richard Aubrey
Date: Tue May 02
It's good to see a reporter do a fact check on those spitting-on-Vietnam-vet stories. But you missed some facts. Any soldier, particularly officers, who vengefully gave a spitter a "mouthful of bloody Chiclets" was in trouble himself. I got several lectures on that in the service. Thus, the lack of dead and crippled spitters does not disprove the spitting incidents. In addition, the spitting happened in airports not because the spitting is an "urban myth," but because that's about the only place, outside of military towns, that a serviceman in those days would wear his uniform.
Subject: My "Urban Myth" Experience
From: Lt. Col. Conrad Crane
Date: Wed May 03
I have never been one to support urban myths, but I would like to illuminate the quote from me used in the article. I was indeed spat upon in my uniform. It happened near the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City during my plebe year. Plebes were required to wear their Dress Gray uniform on trips, and a scruffy-looking individual decided to use me to make a point. We had been warned this might happen by upper-class cadets who claimed to have had similar experiences, and while I cannot verify theirs, I can vouch for mine.