Friday, February 20, 2004

I Like Ike (and Mick and Syd and Mike)
Fifty years ago today, then-president Dwight Eisenhower slipped away from a golfing vacation in Palm Springs. His spokesman said Eisenhower had gone to the dentist to get a chipped tooth fixed. But Professor Michael Salla claims the president actually went to Edwards Air Force Base in California to meet with two aliens. And not Mexicans, either--two extraterrestrials who arrived in a flying saucer. As to the origin of his theory, Professor Salla says, "There a lot of stuff on the Internet, and I just went around and pieced it together." (Does the Columbia Journalism Review know about this?) Eisenhower is also said to have gone to Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947, before becoming president, to see the remains of the crashed UFO supposedly discovered there. But what's really weird about the events of February 20, 1954, is that on that night, the Associated Press sent a bulletin saying Ike had died, although it was retracted two minutes later. If Ike had died, of course, it would have made Richard Nixon president 15 years sooner.

Now that's creepy.

Rather than spending a lot of time thinking about what Eisenhower is rumored to have done, we'd do better to think about some of the things he actually said and did, as Mick Youther notes at Intervention Magazine. Here's a taste of Ike's wisdom: "The problem in defense is how far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without." On the subject of destroying from within, Sydney Schanberg is in the Village Voice with an article called "George Bush--Make-Believe President." It's a fairly standard indictment of our naked emperor, although well-written (and Schanberg invokes Eisenhower, too). But click it for the cartoon by Mike Luckovich of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, if nothing else.

Recommended reading: Somebody mentioned George Lakoff on this blog recently--whether it was me or somebody posting a comment, I don't remember. Lakoff is a professor of linguistics who's written a book called Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, in which he discusses the competing models of family life--the "strict father" model, beloved by conservatives, and the "nurturing familiy" model, equally beloved by liberals. TomPaine.com has an article by Lakoff in which he examines same-sex marriage through that prism--and discusses useful ways for liberals to turn the discussion to our benefit.

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