OPINION: Obama speaks contradictions in Afghanistan address

This week I serve up some thoughts on various and sundry topics:
As far as I can tell, what President Obama did by telling the world the exact month when he would begin pulling out the 30,000 additional troops he is about to send into Afghanistan was unprecedented for a United States’ commander in chief. The conventional wisdom is that you don’t want to tip your hand to your enemy, in this case the Taliban and al-Qaeda, who represent radical elements of what Obama calls “one of the world’s great religions,” Islam.
The ironic contradiction is that the president made such a compelling case that our national security is at stake with the war in Afghanistan in the first part of his speech at West Point, and yet a few minutes later – in the same speech – he says if we don’t have the enemy beat down in 18 months then it will no longer be worth the troop commitment. How can you believe both at the same time? If the mission of taking out the Taliban and al-Qaeda is essential to protect American lives – how do you put an arbitrary time line on that mission?

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Well the Bulldogs beat the Rebels in the annual Egg Bowl 41 – 27. This just one year after Ole Miss embarrassed MSU in Oxford 45-0. How does this happen in one year? The old adage that when two rivals plays you can “throw out the records” certainly holds true in this series recently. There is something that happens emotionally to players that neutralizes whatever talent differential there is between the two teams, at least to some extent. I think this is unique to football. Emotions don’t play as big a role in basketball or baseball as they do in football. Ole Miss was the favorite, yet State won. Same thing almost happened in the Alabama vs. Auburn game. Alabama was favored and undefeated and yet had to have a late forth quarter drive to pull out a victory. Georgia upset a favored Georgia Tech on Tech’s home field. Again, it was an in-state rivalry game that smart people don’t wager money on.

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My lovely and talented wife Alison and I went into one of the local bookstores earlier this week and noticed a couple of large displays with some of the old television shows DVD. I know every generation thinks their art was or is the best – but some of those shows from the ‘60s and ‘70s will never be bested, in my opinion.
I can’t imagine a funnier television program than the Carol Burnett show. The comedy sketch comedy of Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence and Burnett makes me laugh just mentioning their names. If you want to do yourself a favor today, go online to You Tube and type in “dentist sketch Carol Burnett” and watch perhaps the funniest three minutes in the history of television, with Conway playing the incompetent dentist and Korman playing the patient who, as gifted an actor as he was, could not keep from breaking up at Conway’s antics.
And who can forget Carol’s closing song each week, “I’m so glad we had this time together, to have a laugh or share a song. Seems we just get started and before you know it …comes the time we have to say so long.”
Cue: pull the left ear lobe.

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In case you have not been paying attention, our state government in Mississippi is broke. It’s not broke as in it does not work, broke as in out of money. The problem is the state is not taking in the amount of tax revenue that was projected. In fact, Mississippi faces a $371 million deficit this fiscal year, a figure that could grow to $715 million next year and $1.2 billion by 2012.
And we are not alone. This is happening in states all over the country, with California in the worst shape.
It just sounds like to me, things may get worse with our economy before things get better. I hope I am wrong.

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You may have noticed the recent Rasmussen poll that showed 72 percent of the American people prefer the greeting “Merry Christmas” over “Happy Holidays.” Nothing wrong with saying “Happy Holidays,” but folks don’t want to see the specialness of Christmas in America diminished because of some off-base idea that to acknowledge Christmas is to offend non-Christians. There is nothing wrong with celebrating Christmas publicly. Even our federal government does and declared it a national holiday in 1870. Yes, at one time our country mixed church and state so much we decided to close down the government in honor of Jesus Christ. In fact, Christmas is the only Congressionally-recognized religious holiday.

Tim Wildmon, a resident of Baldwyn, writes as a community columnist. Contact him at twildmon@afa.net.

Tim Wildmon