Fast food presidents: Obama is a Five Guys guy

President Obama’s visit today to Five Guys in D.C. (a favorite of my own, when I’m in an artery-clogging kind of mood) likely made some burger-flippers happy and some Secret Service officers nervous:

But I couldn’t help remembering this all-too-realistic portrayal of another fast-food president:

White House food must be really bad…

What’s next, Putin on Facebook?

Looks like President Obama should give some serious consideration to missile defense, because the cold war isn’t over — the Russians have now discovered the internet:

One of the Kremlin’s pet new media projects has been a site called liberty.ru. It’s been set up under the auspices of the Fund for Effective Politics, a think-tank headed by Gleb Pavlovsky, who has been instrumental in shaping the Russian ideology of the last decade. The official objective of liberty.ru — as articulated by Pavlovsky — has been to tap into the immense creativity of the Russian internet users and involve them in producing ideas that could make Kremlin’s increasingly unappealing ideological package relevant to the younger generations. Liberty.ru was meant to become something like Russia’s DailyKos or Talking Points Memo.

Move over Huffington Post, a new bastion of the political left is about to take charge…

Leon Kass’s grand tour of humanity

Last night’s 2009 National Endowment for the Humanities Lecture with Leon Kass was, unsurprisingly, superb. Kass, who among other things assembled the first President’s Council on Bioethics, is the epitome of a renaissance man due to his diverse background of study, gave a lecture entitled, “Searching for an Honest Man: Reflections of an Unlicensed Humanist.”

The lecture followed the motif of the Greek philosopher Diogenes, who walked the streets endlessly with a lantern “looking for an honest man.” Kass notes that what Diogenes is really looking for is better translated as a “true human being.” The search for the true human being — and just what it means to be a human being — made up the bulk of the lecture.

Like Harvey Mansfield’s Jefferson lecture two years before, Kass noted that modern science has — to its fault — abdicated the humanities. No longer does medicine look at health, but to emerging technologies. Modern science looks intricately at the parts, but often fails to observe the whole. It can describe what chemical processes take place in the eye for vision to occur, but it cannot explain “seeing.” The humanities are needed for such endeavors — and they are likewise needed when dealing with decisions that involve whole human beings.

Kass has found progress in his own search for the true human in sources such as the Aristotelian view of the soul, the Hebrew Bible, and through books and companions along the way. Kass, more so than many other public intellectuals, is on the right track in viewing humanity as the sum of its parts, a unified psyche and soma.

The only thing that I might add (if I dare!) to Kass’s grand tour of true humanity is to note the Christian view of true humanity’s culmination — namely the True Human Being: Jesus of Nazareth. Fully God, Jesus was the true human being — the only human who was and is fully human.