Like a lot of people in my line of work, I guess, I consider reading the Sunday New York Times something of an obligation, although , in my case at least, it’s an obligation that can wait until I’ve given the local sports pages the intense scrutiny they deserve. I approach the Times, I must confess, with very mixed emotions because although I know I’m always going to find something that informs and often inspires me, I also know that I am going to stumble across stuff that either depresses or infuriates me. In the latter category, yesterday’s paper carried an analysis
of Hillary Clinton’s support for a saber-rattling bill that actually asked the Bush administration to declare Iran’s 125,000-member Revolutionary Guard Corps “a foreign terrorist organization.” This move by the Senate strikes me as something akin to giving a blank check to someone whose credentials for recklessly writing checks with other people’s money and lives are well-established. Presidential hopefuls-with-no-hope Joe Biden and Chris Dodd voted against the measure, and Barack Obama swore he would have if he had been able to work it into his busy schedule. Ol Hil’ doesn’t give a hoot what these losers think, however. She’s already put them in her rearview mirror:
Part of the reason for Mrs. Clinton’s vote, some of her backers say privately, is that she has already shifted from primary mode, when she needs to guard against critics from the left, to general election mode, when she must guard against critics from the right. That means she is trying to shore up her national security credentials versus Republican candidates like Rudolph Giuliani and Mitt Romney, and is trying to reassure voters that she would be a tough-minded commander in chief.
By supporting the bill — sponsored by Senators Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Jon Kyl of Arizona — Mrs. Clinton is also solidifying crucial support from the pro-Israel lobby.
Oh, well, then, now I understand. Hillary is just doing what it takes to get herself elected. No matter that the Bush idiots are just itching to tee it up against Iran. After her vote, Ms Clinton issued a statement warning the president that any military action in this case would still require congressional approval. I’m sure that will give some serious pause to an outfit that has shown itself not only willing but almost eager to wee-wee on the Constitution and the separation of powers doctrine any chance it gets. Senator Biden’s warning in the wake of the Senate vote that “this administration has an unduly broad view of the scope of executive power, particularly in time of war” surely belongs in the Understatement Hall of Fame.
Having gotten myself all worked up at this point, I reached for the Times Magazine in search of something a bit less “consequential,” shall we say, only to encounter this cry for help from someone impaled on the horns a very serious ethical dilemma:
My fiancée took three pairs of shoes to the valet service in our building to be sent out to be resoled. The service lost the shoes, took responsibility and reimbursed us for the original cost, $2,020. My fiancée immediately bought three new pairs of shoes to wear to job interviews. Later, the shoes were miraculously found, and the valet service asked us to refund their $2,020. Must we? — A. Mehta, New York
To his credit, the NYT’s resident ethicist did actually question the values of an unemployed person who wore $700 plus shoes. I suppose the apparently serious query itself was in keeping with this issue of the Magazine’s focus on the rich--both famous and not so—of New York, but it made me want nothing so much as to pull that big ol’ ax handle from under my truck seat and go whack the hell out of a Bentley. Thankfully, I was saved from myself by the realization that I really didn’t know for sure what a Bentley looked like. In the end, I just settled for filing this incident away until I need to explain to some New York reporter why people in the South think Rudy Giuliani is too provincial to be president.
I had all but given up on finding anything really educational or inspirational in yesterday’s Times when I ran across a story about a woman whose habit of drinking several gallons of water a day had led physicians to suspect that she suffered from some form of diabetes. In the course of reading about how her diagnosis was determined, I learned that
The word diabetes comes from the Greek word for “siphon” — because diabetics pass so much urine they are like siphons draining water. Diabetes mellitus is so named for the honeylike taste of a diabetic’s urine, sweetened by sugar the body cannot absorb — knowledge garnered through an antique diagnostic technique.
Presuming that the reference to an “antique diagnostic technique” is meant to indicate that,for all our recent breakthroughs in medical science, there is still only one way to determine how something tastes, my hat’s definitely off to the truly dedicated researcher responsible for this discovery and for making me realize that the bad taste in my mouth from reading the rest of the paper could actually be a whole lot worse.