Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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RW Rogers

I basically agree with you. His stubborn reluctance to admit the facts is a legitimate issue that remains largely unexplored. There have been other instances of such mental inflexibility, such as his answers to Charlie Gibson about capital gains earlier this year. While Obama's apparent contemplative nature should be reassuring, what good does it do if in the end all he does is dig in deeper? As to the idea of building up our armed forces, that is definitely off the table in an Obama Administration and he has said so. He intends to divert funds to other purposes. He has zero interest in the ideas you mention and a great deal of faith that diplomacy and allies, but most of all, his personal reputation, will always carry the day. Once elected, he will definitely be tested, perhaps when Russia offers a nuclear umbrella to Venezuela or some such nonsense. We shall see just how well does under intense pressure. He didn't handle that too well a few weeks ago. Fortunately, the press relieved it with their relentless character assassination of Palin.

Donna B.

You are so right that there is much more to "to a strong defense than just his standard themes of diplomacy, alliance, and reputation."

And I think that Obama does not get that. He places far far too much emphasis on world opinion. Well before 9/11 America was despised. It was the outpouring of support just after 9/11 that was the aberration, not the "disrespect" America got after its response.

Also, in talking about the failures in Afghanistan, are we to forget that is a NATO led operation?


That's where I join the ranks of people seeing more than a bit of George W. Bush in Barack H. Obama. A common criticism (partially justifiable, but not as much as often made) is a refusal to admit when he's wrong. Remember the 2004 campaign, where Kerry and the Dems just wanted him to admit to just one mistake, any mistake?

This is, I think, Obama's inexperience, and ultimately a lack of self-confidence, showing. He thinks admitting he was wrong on the surge would be too big a sign of weakness, so he refuses to do so despite the strong evidence that the surge did what it was supposed to do.


Our military handling of North Korea has little to do with what nuclear weapons are or are not there. Assume, for a moment, that no nukes are used in a US/N.Korea conflict. Because of North Korea's deeply entrenched artillery, with shooting distance of Seoul, there would be a multiple of the number of Iraqi war causalities, and that would happen at a much quicker rate.

Would we still win such a war? Yes, assuming China doesn't get directly involved. If China did get involved all bets are off, and the loss grows steeply again, and we might not win such a conflict. Probably, but with far, far greater amounts of death than has been seen in Iraq, which did not have the possibility of superpower direct support. All without a single nuke being used. That's the main difference in the conflicts.

Tom Strong

Yeah, more than anything else in the debate, that bit annoyed the hell out of me. In his rather brief career, Obama has generally been good about talking about the evolution of his beliefs. Since going after the presidency, though, he seems to have avoided this completely. For this reason, I can't blame anyone for thinking that his moderation is a facade.

It makes me rather disgusted with the political process. I have no doubt that Obama doesn't like to talk about the surge in large part because his advisers tell him not to. But our current president's ratings have been in the pits for years in large part because of his refusal to acknowledge changes in reality. Which suggests to me that such advisers should not be listened to.

Michael Reynolds

Yes, Obama made a mistake trying to deny reality in Iraq. He should have accepted it, pivoted, and said in effect, "Great, now we can leave."

He and his campaign were brilliant in the early stages against Hillary. But in later HIllary and now in the general, he's been slow, flat-footed, and, it seems to me, too convinced of electoral advantages that may not materialize.

I've been surprised that he hasn't done a better job of advancing specifics. And he doesn't seem to have a lot of fight in him.

I've gone from thinking we'd be fine if either man won to thinking maybe I should extend my Italian visa regardless. We have an angry, reckless old man with a nitwit for a Veep, and the precious, limp-wristed candidate from Facebook.

I still have to go with the smart guy with his eye on the future over the old guy with his past-tense obsessions.

I'm just glad we're not in any sort of crisis or anything.


America was certainly not despised before 9/11 - or after; especially in those countries where people don't have the luxury to travel abroad much, like in Russia before mid-90s and now in Iran. For young Iranians, listening to American music is a form of protest against their own government, just like in the Soviet Union it was listening to BBC and Voice of America. Pity our current administration is doing everything to kill that sentiment. American propaganda used to be quite good when it was done by people who knew the countries well. Long gone...

Michael Reynolds

I'd add to Liza's point: anti-Americanism has always been wildly exaggerated. It exists, but it's a weak, minor phenomenon among our allies.


The only sure way to turn Iranians into their own government's supporters would be to bomb them, invade them or to apply any kind of military pressure. Reagan understood that and spent money on intelligence-run operations, including propaganda operations - and won. It's not like the current government doesn't understand it: the famous surge is working only because it is backed by pretty much unlimited spending (through the military, not USAID) on bribes and humanitarian aide (and it was really telling that neither candidate wanted to touch the subject yesterday). The problem is that these things are relatively inexpensive when they are done in advance, as a long-term policy. As a clean-up method, they become unaffordable in the long run. You actually can buy love but when you stop spending money, it quickly turns sour (look at Russia today; maybe the government shouldn't be so quick to stop funding Radio Free Europe?).


Tom: I was thinking last night that there's something strangely passive about Obama. I think it's a playing-it-safe instinct, probably honed in Chicago politics: that if he doesn't do anything drastically wrong, he'll slide through, and that to do anything bold or new is to risk doing something wrong. I expect you're right about the advisers, too. But his position on Iraq comes out seeming unintelligent. He's repeating a Kos litmus test from 2006! As if, if he "evolves" at all, he'll lose the base. McCain has "evolved" all over hell and gone, roped in the base and now tacked shamelessly back to "maverickdom" without touching the things that make the base happy. My one-word description of him has long been "wily." Now I know why.


I also wanted to add, in fairness to Obama, that (I think -- I don't want to watch the whole thing again to see) he called McCain "Sen. McCain" when talking about him and "John" when talking to him. McCain, on the other hand, never spoke directly to Obama, or even looked at him. (This occurred to me after someone pointed out that in the "instant ad," Obama refers to "Senator McCain" more than not.) Since they have undoubtedly addressed each other by their first names in the Senate cloakroom, this would be natural and not necessarily an attempt to belittle McCain. (On the Senate floor it would be "the distinguished gentleman from Arizona" or such, which wouldn't work in a debate either.)


Very sharp, Liza. Thanks.


Amba, who really knows what all's been going on behind those closed doors in Washington during the meetings for a bailout deal?

Considering how so many jumped all over Mc for his immediate and(i say)instinctive reaction to get back to DC and help out(as a Senator is paid to do for us)- he may be reacting to something that's gone on and we know nothing of. Hence, the lack of warmth toward someone whom he should know pretty well by now.

Also, the pointed jabs of ~this Administration ravaging/shredding the regulations resulting in this freefall disaster~ (the ~unfettered capitalism~ of Republicans talking point that Libs(like Spud)love so much)may have put Mc on the defensive and he was trying to come off as not being tempermental(another accusation). Esp considering the well documented interference of Dems in the downfall themselves.

IDK- i know at one pt i said to my husband that B. Obama has got to stop verbally agreeing w/Mc. That's not a good strategy for winning a debate.


Sorry - of course, it's "aid"... where is my copy editor when I need him/her/it?..


Karen, it may be a mistake to impute sincerity to anything the candidates do at this point except their mistakes. Everything else is twisted and slanted by their aim of getting elected. If you think McCain going back to Washington was pure selfless heroism with no political-theater motive, you are willfully naïve.


The fact remains that if the intelligence on Iraq had been better and more honestly presented, the country would never have supported going to war there.

amba -- That's not a fact, that's your opinion. Some supporters of the Iraq War, such as Christopher Hitchens, agree that the emphasis on WMD was a mistake.

Those who oppose the Iraq War have won the propaganda war by simply asserting over and over their opinion that the Iraq War was wrong, stupid etc. I notice that they rarely support that claim, they just say it as though it were a self-evident fact and then, like Obama, wait for the applause.

At this point we have largely won in Iraq. Was it worth the blood and treasure and national focus? I think so, but that’s a long complex discussion and the facts are not all in. History will have to sort out the Iraq War.

RW Rogers

Annie, you might be interested in this letter from McCain to Obama in 2006. The references to McCain as "John" are a debate tactic and have nothing to do with whatever he may have called McCain in the cloak room the few times the both of them were there at the same time. Obama himself has been physically present in the United States Senate fewer than 150 days over the past 4 years.


Thanks, Randy. Given that that was before the presidential campaign, it just about seals my vote for McCain.


Huxley: the Iraq war has weakened us economically and militarily. While I agree that "losing" would have been an unacceptable disaster, and I'm very grateful that General Petraeus pulled it out of the fire, I think the initial decision to go to war without the commitment of sufficient resources for the occupation is going to be a hard one to recover from.


Huxley, I am puzzled: what exactly constitutes our victory in Iraq, in your opinion?


There is no doubt surge has helped quell the violence in Iraq but it is not the only reason. Sunni groups have reined in Al-Qaeda, along with the US military’s decision to pay former Sunni insurgents deserve a lot of the credit for the decline in violence. The main purpose of the surge was to create conditions for political reconciliation and that has not happened. To say we have won is a little premature.

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