It’s All Just Too Much These Days…..

….for me to write a coherent post worth reading.   But I’ll try….  On the home front in Washington everything, or most everything is political theater aimed at the 2016 presidential election, and I feel no rush to dwell on that, unlike the cable channels which feast upon it.

On the foreign front, the Middle East seems to be spiraling towards ever greater chaos, most notably of late Yemen’s government collapsing yesterday, along with its Obama-portrayed image as a success story in our counter-terrorist efforts.     Lucky for President Obama that the collapse happened after his state of the union speech Monday and his short but too sweet picture of our making progress in that region.  The speech would have required some major rewrites.

As the Yemen government was collapsing, with no one apparently “in charge” at this point, it seemed to me too coincidental that reports came out yesterday about 5,000 ISIS fighters killed along with “half their leadership” along with plans to retake Mosul, the second largest Iraqi city in the spring.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel seemed surprised by the body count revelation – painfully aware having fought there, of how body counts during the Vietnam war were so misleading.  It seems to me that the administration was trying to put some information out there to counter balance the awful news from Yemen.

And, in case you haven’t noticed since Ukraine has been crowded out of the “news”, the civil war is going strong in eastern Ukraine with the Russian backed rebels more than holding their own, and that’s not even the central government’s main problem, which is an economy that desperately  needs more propping up from the West.

…. and the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, Igor Shuvalov, sounding quite bellicose in warning the West that our attempts to weaken their leader, Mr. Putin,  through sanctions would only make the Russians more determined to sacrifice for him.

So, while I continue to like and admire our President, our foreign policy is not up to dealing with the rapidly changing events in the Middle East and Ukraine.   In saying that I’m not suggesting the Republicans would do any better.  Burgeoning chaos is tough to manage for anyone.  And, who took the lid off this Pandora’s box to begin with?  A hint.  He is sometimes referred to as G. W…..

Well, I did manage to come up with a post and hopefully someone out there finds it somewhat interesting.   At least you know I’m still around thinking about these things, even when I can barely make sense of any of it.

AMERICANA: The Unbroken Laura Hillenbrand

Probably you have seen or at least heard about the new movie Unbroken, about a man who survived his bomber crashing into the Pacific and then a tortuous lengthy stay in a Japanese prison camp and emerged unbroken.   The movie was based on a book by that name written by Laura Hillenbrand, who also wrote Seabiscuit, which also was turned into a major motion picture back in 2003.

While day dreaming yesterday I happened to think of Hillenbrand and those two books and how different in subject matter they seem to be.   In fact, I have always been impressed by her ability to dive into two unrelated areas of knowledge and come up with a prize job both times, so impressed that I never clearly saw until yesterday how the books were actually closely related.  Both books are about champions, indomitable spirits.   That was the link between horse and human.

And a link to Laura, too.  I recalled hearing that Laura accomplished all this despite some chronic disease that keeps her largely confined to her home, so I googled her and came up with the excellent article linked here.  It came out in 2010 after the publication of Unbroken.   As a tease to entice you to click, let me point out that while Laura interviewed her heroic subject Louis Zamperini 75 times, she wrote the book without ever meeting him in person.  It would have been too taxing.

In reading the article I think you will see that Laura’s life story merits a book and a film as well.   Of course, she was driven to write about Zamperini and Seabiscuit.  They are kindred spirits.