Happy Mother’s Day

Love, Danzig

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Hail to the Xi

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“How come nobody wants to sit next to me?”

Chinese President Xi Jinping is the Commander-in-Chief of the People’s Republic Army – and don’t you forget it.

A few days ago, state-run media announced his newest title – Commander-in-Chief of the Chinese Military Commission’s Joint Battle Command Center. He already enjoyed three other prominent titles in the PRC politico-military hierarchy: (1) the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, (2) chairman (notice it’s lower-case) of the Chinese Military Commission, and of course (3) president.

Xi is attempting to reform China’s armed forces (the Navy, Air Force, and nuclear forces all fall under the “PLA” umbrella). Analysts believe the new title reflects his desire for a more hands-on operational role. This Wall Street Journal article outlines his reform agenda – and the resistance it faces from the very generals and admirals he’s asking to implement it.

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Ying Hillary, Yang GOP


A year ago, I agreed with friends who said they could live with a Hillary presidency so long as the GOP retained control over Congress. This NY Times feature, which outlines her hawkish worldview, explains why. Yes, the same Secretary of State who flubbed the US approach to the Arab Spring and supported the US troop surge in Afghanistan for political reasons (per Robert Gates in his post-SecDef memoir). Given the alternatives, we could most definitely do worse.

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Nice Shorts, Prince

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Prince was only 5’2″ when he played on his junior high school boys’ basketball team. I wonder what Charlie Murphy has to say about his passing.

 

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Obama Doctrine

This article in The Atlantic provides insight on how President Obama’s worldview shapes his approach to foreign policy and national security. Whether you agree or disagree with POTUS, it’s worth about an hour of your time.

Here’s the nut graf, buried a few paragraphs from the bottom of this long read:

Obama has come to a number of dovetailing conclusions about the world, and about America’s role in it. The first is that the Middle East is no longer terribly important to American interests. The second is that even if the Middle East were surpassingly important, there would still be little an American president could do to make it a better place. The third is that the innate American desire to fix the sorts of problems that manifest themselves most drastically in the Middle East inevitably leads to warfare, to the deaths of U.S. soldiers, and to the eventual hemorrhaging of U.S. credibility and power. The fourth is that the world cannot afford to see the diminishment of U.S. power. Just as the leaders of several American allies have found Obama’s leadership inadequate to the tasks before him, he himself has found world leadership wanting: global partners who often lack the vision and the will to spend political capital in pursuit of broad, progressive goals, and adversaries who are not, in his mind, as rational as he is. Obama believes that history has sides, and that America’s adversaries—and some of its putative allies—have situated themselves on the wrong one, a place where tribalism, fundamentalism, sectarianism, and militarism still flourish. What they don’t understand is that history is bending in his direction.

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Chair-baby Shower FAQs

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Not really my baby.

 

Q: Will you have beer there?
A: Of course, fool. And maybe some psychotropic drugs, if you open enough medicine cabinets. It’s my brother-in-law’s house, so no big deal.
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Q: What are some of the planned games or activities?
A: Systemic operational design, seminar discussions about the capture of El Chapo, the racist Academy Awards, and the composition of a Trump Administration national security team. And of course, melting candy bars into diapers and tasting them.
Q: Are you guys “listed” somewhere?
A: We bought a new bunker, so I’m in the market for safe rooms, punji-stick traps, water purifiers, and 5.56mm. She would like a nice stroller.
Q: Do you have preferences for books?
A: The Soldier’s Load and Mobility of a Nation, Mao’s Little Red Book, and Good Night Moon.
Q: If I can’t attend in person, will you stream it live?
A: Of course. You can find the link here (start it at 4:22):
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Restaurant Review: Founding Farmers

I delayed a visit to Founding Farmers for nearly eight years until I learned about its crown-jewel dinner entree: a slab of chicken fried steak served with a donut. A friggin’ donut for dinner. Goin’ once, twice … sold!

Founding Farmers is another in a long line of “farm-to-table” restaurants in the D.C. area that feature locally grown and sustainable American cuisine. Call me callous, but I honestly don’t care whether a restaurant grows its veggies in the neighborhood hippie commune or Mars as long as it’s (relatively) fresh and good. On a recent chilly evening, the wife and I dined joined The Goat, his doe, and their friend 3D at the Farmers’ location in Tysons Corner – one of three restaurants it operates around the National Capital Region. (The others are the original site in D.C. and Montgomery County, MD. Careful of the Maryland drivers).

People packed the large bar area when we visited on a busy Friday night. (Make reservations!) I sipped an Old Fashioned with a large ice cube while waiting for our table to clear. Dozens of happy-hour refugees, girls celebrating a night out, and casually dressed schlubs streamed into the waiting area.

We waited 15 minutes past our 8 p.m. reservation time before being seated, but quickly went to work. For an appetizer, we ordered cornbread made from scratch in a skillet (top right photo) and a share plate of Virginia ham, turkey, and biscuits (bottom right). The corn bread was delicious – warm and slightly sweet. I sandwiched a slice of ham between biscuit halves and dabbed it with tart jelly; the sweet blended with the savory perfectly.

For my entree, I had just one choice: the chicken fried steak slathered with gravy, served with sides of macaroni-and-cheese and green beans (the big photo above). And of course, a donut – or something Founding Farmers calls the “Jefferson Donut.” The mac-and-cheese and green beans were forgettable, but the chicken fried steak is the best I’ve had since moving to the East Coast. A thin line of glaze topped my donut, but what I found particularly impressive was the donut itself – the cake was moist and slightly sweet, and the glaze added a slight sweetness that blended well together in my mouth.

I don’t remember what anyone else ordered because I was in my own little world that night. Maybe Daesh will quit fighting if Founding Farmers sends some chicken fried steak and donuts to Syria. Maybe not.

I found the prices at Founding Farmers reasonable for a meal at a nice restaurant. My entree cost $16, while the appetizers were $6 each. A hunk of red meat costs upwards of $17, which is a better value than many other lesser-quality restaurants in D.C.

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