Health tip

Don’t eat a sardine sandwich and chocolate chip cookies in the evening. Last night, I did that, and dreamed someone snuck up to the bed and put a tinfoil hat on my head while I was asleep. Then I dreamed that I had the following dream:

January 5, 2007

My fellow Americans:

As I speak to you today, US aircraft are striking multiple targets in Iran with nuclear weapons . For almost a year, I’ve been hoping this would not be necessary, but the election results, and the poll numbers I ignore, indicate that my country needs its decider to silence discontent and correct widespread wrong thinking. At this time I want to explain the five reasons why I’m taking this historic step, but first, rest assured that our targeting plan carefully spares the key oil fields so important to our way of life. Now, why Iran, why nuclear, and why now?

(1) Uniquely in the history of our country, a presidential administration is approaching the three-quarter point of its term without a single success, except the first month or so of the previous war. Now the Iraq enterprise has failed; our dealings with North Korea are a wreck; New Orleans is still a sinkhole of dodgy levees, incompetence and corruption; I got nowhere with Social Security; governments around the world diss us; my friend Tony Blair is sinking like a rock; and my people are being indicted and losing elections. The Coast Guard can’t even buy a boat that floats . Can you imagine what Christmas was like, with my father and my brother? I have decided to have a success, and this is the only thing that’s worked for me.

(2) My victory in Iraq has been delayed interminably by defeatism and a treacherous failure of so-called “realities” to conform to my expectations. I spent the last eight weeks trying to find someone who will tell me how to reverse time and facts and fix it, surely the least a grateful nation owes its leader. Dick was shooting grouse when I called. I owe it to you, my fellow Americans, not to leave office without a splendid victory, and a victory by nuclear incineration is one that can’t be undone by years of occupation trivia and ungrateful liberated people.

You elected me to be a decider and to know things, not to be a manager and to be learning things: I know Iran is evil and I’ve decided to smash it, and I can assure you that you will not see malcontents and troublemakers poking around in the radioactive ruins this time and “showing” that they didn’t have nuclear weapons. I know they have them, I know they are evil and likely to use them, and this time the question will stay settled.

(3) The Air Force is our Christian military arm, and its underemployment in Iraq, Afghanistan, New Orleans, Congress, and all the other places we have been frustrated explains why our progress against evil on these fronts has been slow. This glorious branch has the militant faith that assures God’s assistance against heathens, and the technology to settle scores at one irreversible stroke that doesn’t put body bags and American widows on the evening news. You know the expression “God is my copilot”? Air force officers understand the command hierarchy in a cockpit, and God will do His duty. And good Christian Air Force officers have the discipline to obey my orders without the quibbling and long complicated memos that have forced me to cashier so many star ranks in the other services. They load up the planes, form a circle under the wing to pray, take off, and…mission accomplished. The Navy offered to sneak up and fire missiles from submarines, but heck, angels don’t swim, they fly, right?

(4) We expect the surviving Iranians to respond, in alliance with the Iraqi Shi’a, by cutting the supply lines from Basra and Kuwait, trapping about 140,000 soldiers and marines in Iraq without fuel or supplies. This is too bad, but they should have carried out their war the way Rummy told them to and not whined about body armor and troop strength and hearts and minds.The ground forces in Iraq have given enemy propagandists a constant stream of disheartening deaths and casualties while losing expensive stuff that just keeps getting blown up and shot full of holes. Fortunately the loss of these forces will be of little consequence now that our core foreign policy is overwhelming nuclear attack. The Iraq expedition henceforth will be a footnote in a larger war: who remembers Gallipoli, or Gordon at Khartoum?

(5) As you know, I’ll the next-to-the-last person on earth, just before Jimmy Inhofe , to believe burning fossil fuel is warming the planet. Still, in case there’s anything to it, I’m assured that the debris blown into the stratosphere by our nuclear weapons will cool things off enough that we will be happy to burn all the oil and coal we can for years to come. We can protect my historical legacy, our environment, Exxon, and our American way of life all at the same time.

Dick has some decisions for me to make, and there’s a prayer meeting to give thanks at, so I will not take any questions at this time.

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

10 thoughts on “Health tip”

  1. "… without a single success, except the first month or so of the previous war…"
    That's some crazy dream. I mean, the first months of *both* wars were pretty successful.

  2. Grumpy: you're right. In my sleep, I discount shrub achievements 50%, which is not fair.

  3. Please don't take me for a Bush supporter, but it's just not correct that his administration hasn't had a "single success." Here are a few:
    1. The economy's doing well.
    2. There hasn't been another terrorist attack after 9/11. (I don't necessarily credit Bush's policies for this, but it is a fact.)
    3. Al-Qaeda has been seriously disrupted worldwide. (Again, I think policies other than Bush's would have produced better results with less problems, but the facts still remain.)
    My point is not to try to stop the dogpile on Bush — which he richly deserves — but rather to note that there are enough legitimate criticisms to go around without exaggerating for effect.

  4. Tillman Fan,
    The economy's not doing especially well. The massive trade deficit is all kinds of trouble, combined with the housing market slow-down, and the unemployment rate only looks good because it counts those out of work looking for work.
    While we're at it, if you factor in the ongoing cost of Iraq and Afghanistan into the Budget, we're in somewhat deeper debt than during the Reagan Years.
    There hasn't been another major domestic attack, but the big show 9/11 stuff takes between five and eight years to plan and enact. So, not exactly out of the woods just yet. More to the point, the Administration's lust for paranoia, where it has hyped every plot and would-be terrorist, half-baked or not, will make law enforcement's job harder, come the day the real plot is discovered–if at all–and undermining the DHS as a legitimate federal agency. And though we have not had a major terrorist attack since 9/11, DHS has failed to perform its basic capacities in resolving issues regarding the hurricanes in the Gulf; besides sounding vaguely fascist, Chertoff can't find his ass with both hands, though admittedly he's not allowed the administration to spin the wheel of terror color on TV quite so much.
    And as an addendum to the terror attack issue, do you really think Gitmo, Padilla, and gutting Habeas Corpus is really worth it? Given that Al-Qaeda does not and will not pose an existential threat to the Republic like the CSA, and the lack of their ability to press further attacks, stripping civil liberties seems, well, silly. And in the context of French and British experiences with terror, it seems neurotic, and fundamentally against the nature of the Republic.
    Finally, I'd argue that while Bush has disrupted pre-9/11 Al-Qaeda to a degree, he's atomized to a point that makes it impossible to defeat, and goes further to make it a McJihad brand. And invading Iraq in this context is like invading Brunei in response to Pearl Harbor.
    Bush has and his administration have a charming anti-Midas touch.

  5. Luke —
    You asked if I thought that "Gitmo, Padilla" etc. were worth the attempts by the Bush Admin. to try to stop a terror attack. Absolutely not. I agree with you that the Administration has over-reacted, with serious consequences for our country.
    I'm no expert on the economy, and while I agree with you that the deficit is a big problem waiting to have an effect, I still think that in general the economy is doing well.
    By the way, I don't think that the economy or the absence of another terrorist attack can be credited to Bush. But my opinion aside, the facts are the facts, so I just thought that I needed to interject some reality into what I thought was an exaggeration of Bush's record.

  6. Henry,
    CSA is Confederate States of America; Lincoln's struggle with the Tanney Court over the right of habeas corpus during the Civil War is the only other time the Republic (briefly) overturned common law rights. I picked that as the existential threat of the CSA to the Republic was far graver than Al-Qaeda will ever be.
    And while the economy appears to be doing generically well, it's not doing as well as the administration has regularly pretended over the past six years. While the economy isn't doing, say, stagflation, the dollar is weak against the euro and the Bush Administration, by treating the budget as a credit card, has generated serious strucutral problems for themselves and the next administration. The narcissism that encourages Bush to dream of permanent tax cuts for the Yachting class while grinding the middle class under and occupying two countries is, well, amazing, like a derailed train.
    While I agree that Michael's description of the Bush administration exagerates, there is less than nothing for the administration to claim as an achievement. They're the worst administration that the US has had since it became a Great Power in 1901, and is a close tie with Buchanan allowing the Republic to unravel.

  7. "You asked if I thought that 'Gitmo, Padilla' etc. were worth the attempts by the Bush Admin. to try to stop a terror attack. Absolutely not."
    I think that you both give to much credit to the Bush Admin. if you assume, in the face of all the contrary evidence, that they are interested in stopping terror attacks. The contrary evidence includes their failure to protect ports and nuclear plants, as well as the war in Iraq itself, which increases hatred against the U.S. and weakens the U.S. Gitmo and Padilla are ends in themselves. The Bush Admin. plays on the fear of Americans in order to do what it wants to do anyway. They are an evil bunch and are not engaged in politics as usual, but are attempting to turn us into a pre-Magna Carta theocracy.

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