Au Revoir, Osama

UJ and I don’t agree on a lot politically, but we agree that the news that U.S. special forces killed Osama bin Laden is very good news, inceed.  Osama bin Laden was a bloodthirsty zealot whose creation of al Qaeda and terrorist machinations caused thousands of innocent people to lose their lives on September 11, 2001.  He deserved to die to pay for his heinous act, and the fact that he was finally caught and killed means that justice has been served.

I give credit to President Obama and the U.S. military and intelligence forces who never wavered in their hunt for bin Laden.  The American political system often seems broken, but it says something positive that we kept our focus on bin Laden through two different administrations — one Republican, one Democrat — over a ten-year period.  It is nice to know that Americans can still stick to important goals and see them through to completion.

And I don’t want to hear right now about what this means for the 2012 presidential campaign, or why bin Laden was able to hide in the capital of Pakistan, or whether the administration should have announced the news differently, or any other second-guessing or political spinning arising from the death of bin Laden.  For now, let’s just quietly appreciate the fact that a horrible mass murderer has finally gone to his just reward.

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Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters

The melee today in front of the Mona Lisa

Today Richard and I went to the Louvre.  We saw rooms of Greek and Egyptian sculpture, works by the Dutch masters, more religious paintings than you could count, and the full panoply of Renaissance art.  One highlight — or, more accurately, lowlight — was the visit to the Mona Lisa.

It is easy to tell when you reach the room with Mona Lisa, for two reasons.  First, it is exponentially more jammed with people than the rest of the Louvre.  Second, the otherwise rational, respectful visitors and art lovers you find elsewhere in the museum have been magically transformed into the most appalling jerks imaginable.

Today's rabble in front of the Mona Lisa

The Louvre has the Mona Lisa displayed on a central column in the middle of the room, with ropes to keep people back.  There is an immense crush of people in front of the painting.  Seemingly everyone has a camera and is snapping a picture of — a picture? — and is pressing forward and trying to wedge themselves in front of the person standing next to them.  As Richard and I stood at the rear of the crowd and tried to appreciate the world’s most famous painting, I was hit on the back of the head by the camera of the person behind me and Richard was swept away in the mad press forward.  I’m amazed that fights didn’t break out as people jockeyed for position to take the best picture of the painting.

No one can possibly appreciate the quality of the Mona Lisa under these circumstances.  You can’t get close to it, and if you even get to the front of the crowd you don’t exactly have the opportunity for quiet contemplation as the cameras click and you’re trying to stand your ground against the onslaught.  We gave up and decided to move on.

The Mona Lisa undoubtedly is a great painting, but this was ridiculous.

Finally !!

I’m not sure if I am like most Americans, but I thought this day would never come hearing of Osama bin Laden’s death. I think it goes without saying that all of us on the Webnerhouse blog commend the navy seals who carried out this courageous mission and that hopefully this has given some closure to the families of 9/11 victims and military families who have lost loved ones wagering our war against Al Qaida. I think the President put it best in his remarks when he said “justice has been done”. God Bless America.