Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dear Santa

How are you, my dear fellow? In good heft, I trust? Splendid!

I know you’re rather busy this time of year, so I wanted to get my letter in early. I’ve been an extremely good boy this twelvemonth - No, no! No need to check with Mrs. Paco; just take my word for it, no point in troubling yourself with a background check – let’s see, now, where was I? Oh, yes. In view of my sterling behavior this year, I thought it might not go amiss if I were to put in a somewhat tall order. But it’s for a present that I think you’ll agree is entirely consistent with the idea of peace on earth toward men of good will; or, perhaps, to be completely frank, my request is at least indirectly consistent with that idea, in that it pertains to the obverse side of the coin, to wit, maintaining peace among men who might tend to operate outside the bounds of any reasonable definition of good will. In short, I’m talking about one of these. And if you could throw in a box of Colt long .45’s and some .410 shells, you would be certain of securing my best behavior for the coming year, as well.

As usual, you’ll find a bottle of 20-year-old, single-malt…er… “chocolate milk” in the cupboard. But remember: leave it alone until you get home (I’m reliably informed that the Fairfax cops will be out in force on Christmas Eve).

Ho, ho, ho, old top! Drive carefully, and my best to Mrs. Claus and your diminutive workforce.

Yours faithfully,

Paco

There May Not Always Be an England

The long line of distinguished English jurists includes such great names as...

Sir Edward Coke


Matthew Hale


Sir William Blackstone


But somehow the English have now wound up with Stephen Hockman


Among Hockman's brilliant ideas is the acceptance of Sharia Law in Britain, and the creation of a world court to administer climate change regulations.

Thank you Stephen Hockman for inspiring today's motivational poster!

Sunday Funny

Friday, November 28, 2008

Gum Paws

There's more than one Paco working in the investigative business.

BTW, there's a new Detective Paco story brewing; hope to have it served up soon. My Australian readers will be interested to know that Kevin Rudd makes a somewhat disreputable appearance.

That's Strange; He Hasn't Moved An Inch the Whole Time We've Been Out Here

New Jersey police respond to alarm at PNC bank branch; not their finest moment.

For People on the Go

March of the Penguins is a fascinating movie, but a little long. For those of you who might not have time to see the whole thing, here's the 30-Second Bunny version.

Consumerism Run Amok

A Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death as he opened the doors for the "Black Friday" sale.

Update: Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has the best take:

"Hundreds of people trampled others to death so that they could get to cheap retail goods the fastest — presumably to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. At some point, that horrible irony should cause people to pause and think about what motivates them in this holiday season. Everyone likes a good deal, but few of us would choose to die for one — and therefore we shouldn’t want to kill for one, either."

Yellow Journalism

Morton Kondracke, not altogether surprisingly, has joined Katherine Parker and others in claiming that there's nothing wrong with the GOP that the shedding of a few conservative principles won't fix.

I ran into Morton in a bar the other day and pointed out the flaws in his theory...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Feet Friday

Glen Gray and his Casa Loma Orchestra get hep in this 1942 Warner Brothers short (note: the video is a little blurry, but the sound quality is excellent; this one really smokes).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!



Update: Commenter KC suggested that I liveblog the Detroit Lions game. Great idea!

12:35 pm - Kick-off; Lions receive

12:38 pm - Lions fumble on first possession (that's m'boys!)

12:45 pm - Thanksgiving Day lunch

1:51 pm - Smoke cigarette on front porch

2:00 pm - Smoke a couple more

2:15 pm - Back to the couch

2:16 pm - Z-z-z-z-z-z

4:00 pm - Z-z-z *ZNONK*...Huh? Wha...Whazzamatter? It's over? 47-10, Titans? Mmph.

From the Shelves of the Paco Library



This week, Paco Enterprises proudly presents another mystery recommendation: A Conspiracy of Paper, by David Liss. Set in 18th century London, the novel intertwines murder and financial speculation in a robust investigation of the notorious South Sea bubble. The book is an intriguing page-turner in its own right, but it is made even more fascinating because of its primary theme, the threat of financial meltdown – a topic not exactly without interest in today’s chaotic investment environment.

A Conspiracy is rich in character, incident and period detail, and introduces us to a detective unique in mystery fiction. Ex-highwayman, burglar and professional pugilist, Benjamin Weaver, has settled down to a career as a “thief-taker” (essentially a bounty-hunter) and a finder of missing persons and stolen property. He is also a Jew (of Portuguese extraction by way of Amsterdam, whose family name is Lienzo), which adds an extra measure of interest to an already enthralling story, as the protagonist wrestles with his somewhat ambiguous feelings about his people, and strives to re-establish relations with his family after a long absence. Spurred by the opinion of a client that not only the client’s father, but Weaver’s own, were murdered, instead of dying, respectively, as a result of suicide and a street accident involving a drunken coachman, Weaver is quickly pulled into his father’s world of stock-jobbing, where he receives cryptic warnings from powerful men to abandon his quest for the truth. Against the backdrop of the ferocious rivalry that exists between the South Sea Company and the Bank of England, Weaver winds his way through a confusing – and deadly – labyrinth of stock speculation where enormous fortunes are made and lost overnight, and desperate men will stop at nothing to protect their interests.

One sinister and real-life historical figure who looms large in the book is Jonathan Wild, the prince of thief-takers in early 18th-century London. Wild prospered not only by “’peaching” on criminals and collecting the bounties, but through his amazing knack for recovering stolen property (for a fee). Ultimately, it transpired that Wild’s success was due to the fact that the property he recovered had been stolen by his agents in the first place, and he was eventually tried and hanged (Note: For those with a taste for 18th century prose, you might be interested in Henry Fielding's novel, Jonathan Wild; it enjoys the distinction of being perhaps the longest novel of sustained irony in the English language).

Weaver is assisted in his investigation by his friend Elias Gordon, an amiable Scottish surgeon whose fondness for gambling and the ladies keeps him in a state of perpetual penury; however, his head for logic proves invaluable to Weaver, and he is a useful, if somewhat occasionally expensive, sidekick.

I do most of my reading on the Metro, going to and coming from work every day, and this book was so good that I couldn’t wait for the day to begin so that I could pick up where I left off the night before. David Liss has written a sequel, A Spectacle of Corruption, which I haven’t read yet, but I am looking forward to doing so. He has authored a number of other books (here’s his web site), all of which appear to be worthwhile reads (Whisky Rebels looks particularly intriguing).

Carnage in Mumbai

Scores dead, hundreds injured in terrorist attacks in India.

Looks like the usual suspects.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oy Canada!

This is insane (H/T: Wimpy Canadian, in the comments)

Update: This stupid idea has led to widespread outrage (H/T, once again, to Wimpy).

Why Wasn't I Informed?

I must be the only person in blogdom who wasn't aware of V the K's caption blog, but I finally stumbled across it today. There are many good things there, but this photo and the first caption had me laughing all afternoon, just thinking about it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Assortment

1) The odious Sidney Blumenthal appears to be the latest Clinton zombie called forth to serve in Obama’s government of the undead. Let’s hope he gets his own driver .

2) Rodger Thomas has a great idea: Obama should quit while he’s ahead.

3) Comfort level with Britain’s ability to set intelligent priorities: very low.

4) Jules Crittenden, along with Tim Blair and Mark Steyn, acquire distinction as “notable a-holes”; Paco Enterprises still a humble, unacknowledged colon polyp.

5) Leslie Carbone discusses conservatives and their need to get hep to the new media.

6) Northern Virginia: it may be “occupied”, but it ain’t subdued.

7) Was Machiavelli really…er…. Machiavellian?

8) Today's motivational poster:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pardon Me!

Slate has an interesting article online that speculates on the chances of various people gaining a pardon from President Bush.

I am foursquare behind the pardon of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, the two border guards who shot a Mexican drug runner ("in the back", according to the article; in the buttocks, as I recall, which is not only more accurate, but more amusing). They received jail sentences after a jury convicted them of covering up the shooting. I have only the barest recollection that there was something fishy about the charges, but I do know that even the U.S. Attorney who prosecuted them is on record as stating that the jail terms were unduly harsh (Ramos got 11 years, Compean, 12). Let 'em go, Mr. President.

And may I also suggest, sir, that this blog, Paco Enterprises, and its proprietor be given a pardon in advance? I will undoubtedly fall afoul of the incoming administration's fanciful interpretations of the First Amendment, and my possession of firearms will get me in trouble with them if they are successful in overturning the Second.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Myth of Competence

Update and bumped: Byron York is also intrigued by the return of the Clinton gang. And Big Lizards has more on Eric Holder and the Marc Rich pardon.
* * *

Obama appears to be surrounding himself with Clintonites (and possibly, at least one actual Clinton) in his quest to fill senior administration slots: Rahm Emmanuel, Eric Holder, and, as seems increasingly likely, Hillary Clinton herself. Why?

I believe that he’s doing this because he wants to create the appearance (and in his own mind, at any rate, the reality) of competence; so, Obama is going with Washington insiders who have a fair amount of mileage on them, since time inside the beltway counts as the most useful kind of experience to an unimaginative politician and pedestrian thinker like our President-elect. After all, it’s not as if he could bring his cronies from Chicago with him to Washington: one’s in jail (Tony Rezko), one ought to be in jail (Bill Ayers), and others are too closely tied to the Chicago scene, with narrow, parochial interests, to be of any use at the White House.

But I have two questions: (a) are they, in fact, competent people, and (b) if so, is that necessarily a good thing?

Take Hillary Clinton, for example, the probable pick for Secretary of State. She has little, if any, foreign policy experience, and her one genuine effort to accomplish something in the executive line – health care reform – was disastrous (for her, I mean to say; if her plan had been passed into law, the consequences would have been disastrous for the rest of us).

Or Eric Holder, the proposed Attorney General, who is probably best remembered as the Clinton lawyer who helped push through a pardon for international swindler and tax cheat, Marc Rich, in return for the latter’s large donation of money to the Clinton library (this was accomplished over the strenuous objections of career Department of Justice lawyers, I might add).

Competent? I’m not so sure. But what if they all turn out to be thoroughly so? We are talking about people who will be working for a President whose public utterances and career M.O. include a fundamental hostility toward inconvenient constitutional rights (notably the second amendment, and quite possibly the first), transparency in government, free enterprise, and restraint of federal power. Competence, in this sense, may simply mean the creation of a quasi-socialist state with the minimum of fuss.

The only thing we’ve got going for us so far is that Obama is, as I say, a cautious man, and I’m hoping that much of what he spouted – or permitted to be construed in politically useful ways - during the campaign was mere applesauce, ladled out to the straitjacket wing of his nut-root supporters. For now, we watch and wait.

V I Day



Per the excellent Zombie's suggestion, let us celebrate Victory in Iraq Day.

God bless all of those who have made this possible - above all, those finest of our citizens, the men and women in uniform.

That's a Relief!

Note the manliness of this blog (the 9% non-manliness is probably due to sissy stuff like my book reviews).

H/T: Don Surber

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's Hammer Time!

Somebody finally got the bright idea of putting up a Che Guevara statue in Central Park.

What we need now is a palate cleanser:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Global Warming - Like a Nigerian E:Mail Scam With Legally-Mandated Contributions

Obama delivers a pre-recorded message at the governors' conference on climate change, and unmasks himself as a true believer in the Gorean flapdoodle. I figured I'd better nip this in the bud, so I scheduled a meeting with Gore and the President-elect to set them straight...

The Travails of a Sub-Prime Borrower

That venerable video clip of Hitler in the bunker gets some topical dubbing.

Wow! I Wonder Why Rembrandt Never Thought of That

Dogfight at Bankstown links to a photo of what passes for art these days (personally, I think it's a waste of good barbecue).

Update: Sorry, linked to the wrong site; it's fixed now.

Happy Feet Friday

Louis Jordan asks the age-old question, “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby?” (from 1944).



Special Louis Jordan bonus, as the fellahs clown around with “Tillie”.

Big 3 CEOs = Six Tin Ears

The high panjandrums of the automobile industry were in such a hurry to get to Washington to bleat for prime spots at the government udder that they flew there in private jets (each one in his own private jet, I wish to emphasize).

Totally unrelated update: Handsome Henry Waxman will be the new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee (that ought to stop the slide in oil prices). BTW, this can't possibly be what they mean when they talk about "socialism with a human face"...

The First Dog


"I'll tell you who that is, boys; it's the Obamas and they're lookin' for a dog. Quick! Everybody hide!"

From the Shelves of the Paco Library



Tom Wolfe is not just a reporter; he is practically the curator of the American cultural museum, an invaluable guide to the gaudy artifacts and strange customs of our nation, and the reigning expert on those two decades of national schizophrenia, the 1960’s and the 1970’s. Even if you haven’t read Wolfe, you’ve probably had occasion to borrow from his lexicon: “radical chic”, the “Me Decade”, the “right stuff.” And if you’ve been fortunate enough to have drunk deeply of his heady wine, then you know that he is one of only a handful of literary stylists who have not only documented, but helped to shape, the American scene.

The Purple Decades collects some of his finest writing between the covers of one generous book, and serves as an excellent introduction to Wolfe’s style and to a period of American history that was turbulent, tragic, farcical, enthralling and, ultimately, exhausting. Through it all, however, the author maintains his love for this dynamic and sometimes crazy country of ours, and never fails to cut through the fog of buncombe and fraud generated by our unintelligentsia.

From The Right Stuff, here is a sampler of his admiring piece on Chuck Yeager:

“Yeager had started out as the equivalent, in the Second World War, of the legendary Frank Luke of the 27th Aero Squadron in the First. Which is to say, he was a boondocker, the boy from the back country, with only a high-school education, no credentials, no cachet or polish of any sort, who took off the feed-store overalls and put on a uniform and climbed into an airplane and lit up the skies over Europe…In his first eight missions, at the age of twenty, Yeager shot down two German fighters. On his ninth he was shot down over German-occupied French territory, suffering flak wounds; he bailed out, was picked up by the French underground, which smuggled him across the Pyrenees into Spain disguised as a peasant. In Spain he was jailed briefly, then released, whereupon he made it back to England and returned to combat during the Allied invasion of France. On October 12, 1944, Yeager took on and shot down five German fighter planes in succession. On November 6, flying a propeller-driven P-51 Mustang, he shot down one of the new jet fighters the Germans had developed, the Messerschmitt-262, and damaged two more, and on November 20he shot down four FW-190s. It was a true Frank Luke-style display of warrior fury and personal prowess. By the end of the war he had thirteen and a half kills. He was twenty-two years old.”


In These Radical Chic Evenings - the essay that hilariously shredded the revolutionary pretentiousness of the New York elite – composer Leonard Bernstein hosts one of the most surreal parties of all time:

“But she is not alone in her thrill as the Black Panthers come trucking on in, into Lenny’s house, Robert Bay, Don Cox the Panthers’ Field Marshal from Oakland, Henry Miller the Harlem Panther defense captain, the Panther women – Christ, if the Panthers don’t know how to get it all together, as they say, the tight pants, the tight black turtlenecks, the leather coats, Cuban shades, Afros. But real Afros, not the ones that have been shaped and trimmed like a topiary hedge and sprayed until they have a sheen like acrylic wall-to-wall – but like funky, natural, scraggly…wild…These are no civil-rights Negroes wearing gray suits three sizes too big - no more interminable Urban League banquets in hotel ballrooms where they try to alternate blacks and whites around the tables as if they were stringing Arapaho beads - these are real men!”

The book abounds with Wolfe’s own illustrations, frequently captioned – like the picture of the two ageing joggers accompanied by “The Joggers’ Prayer”:

“Almighty God, as we sail with pure aerobic grace and striped orthotic feet past the blind portals of our fellow citizens, past their chuck-roast lives and their necrotic cardiovascular systems and rusting hips and slipped discs and desiccated lungs, past their implacable inertia and inability to persevere and rise above the fully pensioned world they live in and to push themselves to the limits of their capacity and achieve the White Moment of slipping through the Wall, borne aloft on one’s Third Wind, past their Cruisomatic cars and upholstered lawn mowers and their gummy-sweet children already at work like little fat factories producing arterial plaque, the more quickly to join their parents in their joyless bucket-seat landau ride toward the grave – help us, dear Lord, we beseech thee, as we sail past this cold-lard desolation, to be big about it.”

With Tom Wolfe you get it all: laughter, information, understanding.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An Excellent Idea

Zombie Time has declared November 22nd to be Victory in Iraq Day. Paco Enterprises is on board.

Dear Treasury Secretary Paulson...

...Time to lay some of that bailout cabbage on this deserving financial institution.

Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been...

Big Lizards takes a look at the questionnaire that’s been put together by Obama’s team in order to vet applicants for jobs in the new administration, along with Hillary Clinton’s likely answers (assuming she takes the job as Secretary of State). My favorite question and answer involves #62:

62. Do you know anyone or any organization, either in the private sector or government service, that might take steps, overtly or covertly, fairly or unfairly, to criticize your nomination, including any news organization? If so, please identify and explain the potential basis for criticism.
Yes, the United States.

Update: What, another Clintonista in the Obama administration? Is this some incredibly devious scheme by the Clintons to recover their power? Here's a tip for you Barry: better make "food taster" a cabinet-level position.

The "Duh" Factor

I vowed to myself before the election that I wasn’t going to make cracks about the ignorance of the American voter, but this kind of thing makes it hard for me to stick to my original intention.

Amazing. Unless you’re a doctor, you wouldn’t cheerfully volunteer to remove somebody’s appendix. If you know nothing about cars, you wouldn’t attempt to rebuild your engine. Who among us would presume to tell Kobe Bryant how to improve his game? And yet, these boobs – and millions of others just like them – have absolutely no problem in deciding who should preside over the government of their country in a time of economic uncertainty and festering, anti-American resentment abroad. Why, it’s a snap! Just catch a couple of episodes of SNL, spend an hour or so with Jon Stewart, and watch CNN while you’re shelling peas.

While this level of ignorance seems ominous – and it is – there’s a silver lining. As Robert Stacy McCain says, don’t overthink the election results. The clueless folk who were bound and determined to treat this election as if it were a special episode of “American Idol”, might just as easily – even if by accident, but certainly with the right prodding – come to see that the idol has feet of clay, particularly when things start to go wrong. A more informed electorate is surely the goal, but I think some of the professional tea-leaf readers err greatly when they opine that our informationally-challenged citizens have, in fact, consciously shifted toward the left, and that there is greater openness among them to the possibilities of soft socialism. In the first place, it is unlikely that these voters “consciously” arrived at any decision at all, and secondly, the openness was to nothing more intellectually complex than the power of suggestion, and the suggestion – marketed by the candidate and the media like a new cleaning product being hawked by Billy Mays – was alluringly simple: hope (hey, we all can use some of that, can’t we?) and change (never underestimate the transformative power of simple boredom with the status quo).

So, the Republicans should have a Plan A and a Plan B. Plan A: educate the ignorant. Failing that, fall back on Plan B: herd them.

Monday, November 17, 2008

"Hey, Maybe We Can Make It Up On Volume!"

Paco Enterprises throws its weight - slight and gossamer thing though it may be - into the scales against the bailout of the automobile industry. Powerline has a great summary of the problems facing car manufacturers, and the difficulty pretty much boils down to the fact that, due to astronomical labor costs, Detroit is losing money on every vehicle sold. A bailout has all the earmarks of another AmTrak - a ravenous maw of inefficiency that will chew up billions of dollars a year, in perpetuity.

If the Democrats push this through - and the scores of other spending plans they have in mind - I'm not sure Republicans have to do anything but make like the scorpion in the bedroom slipper, and wait 'til the next election when the Democratic Party, having winded its tipsy way home after the umpteenth spending spree, decides to get out of its tight patent-leather shoes.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Assortment

1) Good friend El Cid (or rather, as he's styling himeself these days, El Campeador) has an interesting post on Obama as a role model.

2) I’ve long known that Minnesota was a “blue” state, but for some reason I always figured that its liberals were of the goofy, nicey-nice variety – you know, the kind of folks who, out of basic good-heartedness, will, unbidden and completely unknown to you, pick up your mail while you’re out of town, then forget to bring it over until three months after you return. Apparently, I was wrong; nice people, no matter how dopey they are, wouldn’t have brought a jerk like Al Franken this close to a senate seat.


Photo of Franken via Moonbattery

3) Seraphic Secret reminds us that the world’s a dangerous place.

4) Jay Nordlinger offers up some prime post-election red meat.

5) Nighty-night, Obama fans! (H/T: Babalu)

6) Some fascinating color photos from WWI (H/T: Captain Heinrichs)

A Look at Obama's Civilian Defense Force - Take Two

Test Your Skill

Success is all in the wrist with Redneck PlayStation.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Look At Obama's Civilian Defence Force - Take One

The Unbearable Lightness of Al Gore's Usefulness


Photoshop of Al Gore gratefully swiped from Wuzzadem

You May Already Be a Winner!

Dear Mr. Ayers:

In view of your contributions to political discourse and education, Paco Real Estate Holdings, Inc. would like to present you with a token of our esteem - an exclusive, undeveloped lot in a veritable tropical paradise. There's just one little thing you need to do to qualify...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Joe Biden: Number 1 When it Comes to Being Number 2

Joe Biden claims he wants to be a "hands-on number two."


"I've got two words for you, fellahs; 'hair plugs'".

Update: The incomparable Wuzzadem riffs on the "Dear 48" meme.

It's Bailout Mania!

You just knew, didn't you, that big cities wouldn't be far behind?

Who's up for cutting blogs in on some of that rescue cabbage?

Update: The Scribbler's Pen brings us up to date on the new financial terminology.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

There's No Business Like Show Trial Business

I understand that gun purchases are way up. I wonder if members of the Bush administration are boosting sales. (H/T: Don Surber)

Not content with taking the White House and Congress, apparently some Democrats want to criminalize policy disputes in a big way and - oh, sorry about that - destroy the Republican Party.

Roses are red, violets are blue,
If this is your aim,
Up yours, 52.

Are we right wing death beasts, or are we mice? Let's roll!

Happy Feet Friday

Benny Goodman and a very young Peggy Lee combine on "Why Don't You Do Right?" (from 1943).

Something's Fresh in Denmark

I googled Paco Enterprises today, looking around to see if anybody has linked me recently, and while I was hacking through the thick undergrowth of Paco Rabanne Perfumes, Paco Pumps and - somewhat ominously - Paco Pads, I came across The Turban Bomb, whose Danish proprietor had some nice things to say about yours truly. He's even set his hand to authoring a piece in the style of the Paquista literary movement, which, as is well known, involves writing a satirical skit based on the imaginary conversations of contemporary notables. Drop by and tell him Paco sent you.

Assortment

1) Ronald Radosh has some choice comments about Bill Ayers (my first-place nominee for Person Who Ought to be in Prison, But Isn’t).

2) The Other McCain - Robert Stacy McCain, to be exact – offers some good advice: don’t overthink the election. Various conservatives (whether genuine or knock-offs) are in a rush to dump many of our traditional views (in some cases, both social and economic), claiming that the recent unpleasantness represents a fundamental shift in public opinion that necessitates a host of changes in the Republican Party’s strategy. I am inclined to agree with the author that this is not true. John McCain was not considered to be the ideal Republican candidate, let alone the ideal conservative, by millions of conservatives and moderates who, nonetheless, voted for him anyway (nor was he obviously considered to be the ideal candidate by millions who just stayed home). And it was always unlikely that McCain could win against the combination of (a) an attractive black Democrat whose campaign was better organized and better funded; (b) a relentlessly hostile news media; (c) an economic meltdown; (d) the public’s disgust with the Republican Party, many of whose members were as profligate and irresponsible as the Democrats; and (e) George Bush, whose signal failure was his inability or unwillingness to articulate the reasons for his policy decisions on several fronts, thereby abandoning the field of explication to his enemies. The fact that Obama won is not nearly as surprising as the fact that he didn’t win by at least a dozen percentage points (in the popular vote). Mix into the stew the ignorance and variability of a substantial portion of the electorate – the sort of people who are prey to simplistic, emotional appeals – and, Bingo, you wind up with President-elect Obama. None of this seems to argue for radical changes in the Republican “brand” – although it does strongly suggest that there’s a lot of hard work ahead to make the brand trustworthy again, and also underscores the need for far better organization and for candidates who stand for something besides their own vaulting self-esteem. Individual liberty, free enterprise, smaller government and a strong, coherent foreign policy are likely to look a lot more appealing to people after four years of a Democrat monopoly; find somebody who can forcefully and cheerfully articulate these views and relate them to the daily lives of the voters, and we’ll probably even manage to rope in a majority of the dopey undecideds.

3) Now this is more like the Royal Navy that I like to remember.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oh, No You Don't!

Gateway Pundit links to an AP story in which the claim is made that "People want the tax cuts promised during the presidential campaign, but may be willing to wait while President-elect Obama takes on the larger issue of fixing the economy."

Uh-uh, dude. I want that tax cut. Now. Think of it as a mini-bailout, if that makes it any easier for you; pretend, for just one minute, that John Q. Public is as important as AIG and Fannie Mae. It's the least you can do inasmuch as the stock market has lost another thousand points since your victory.

You know, it's probably a good thing I didn't throw my hat into the ring for the presidential race, because, assuming the biggest election upset in American history had occurred, my first official act would have been to set up reeducation camps for every dumb ass who thinks that the economy is like a big honkin' television set that the President has to take into the shop. They'd all be wearing orange jumpers and listening to audio tapes of Milton Friedman 24/7. And if they didn't grasp the essential concepts of a free economy after three months, they'd spend 30 days in the Quality Control unit of the laxative production facility at Paco Pharmaceuticals.

From the Shelves of the Paco Library



The polemical essay has a long and honored tradition in America, and although there have always been practitioners of the art whose vituperative impulses have far exceeded their intelligence and skill, our country has produced a not insignificant number of first-rate social coroners, detectives and judges, possessed of superior logical faculties, wide-ranging education and that enviable skill with the seltzer bottle that has left so many frauds, imbeciles and imposters soaked and spluttering in impotent rage.

A masterly artisan of the craft is Mr. R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., founder of the American Spectator. Stylistically, he is in the line of descent of H.L. Mencken, weaving irony, sarcasm, gaudy metaphors and a jeweler’s eye for the absurd detail into devastating character sketches that enlighten as well as entertain. In Public Nuisances (Basic Books, 1979), Tyrrell applies the lance to a host of boils on the body politic, leaving us not only wiser, but healthier by virtue of the cardio-pulmonary benefits of prolonged laughter. True, several of the notables at which Tyrrell takes aim in this book are largely forgotten today: Charles Reich, Joseph Califano. But the book is worth the price of admission if only for the two chapters on Jimmy Carter (“Jimmy the Wonderboy” and “Jimmy: Midway in the Revels”), and the riches are piled high with exquisite pieces on Lillian Hellman, Gore Vidal, Ralph Nader and Ted Kennedy.

Here are several samples featuring the hapless Carter:

“In 1974 Jimmy kissed his mother on the cheek and struck out for the 1976 Democratic nomination. His luck remained golden, for in 1976 – as in 1972 – all the major Democratic contenders had again forgotten to study the abstruse nominating procedures of their party [Sound familiar? – Paco]. Jimmy had studied them for months, and halfway through the primaries he was being touted as a political genius. Truth to tell, he harvests very few pearls from his noodle, and he made a pathetic spectacle of himself on numerous occasions; but his competitors were unhorsed by their own party’s reform mania, and Jimmy – unblack, unyoung, and unfeminine – was sole beneficiary.”
* * *

“If ever one needed evidence that mere power is the moderns’ only serious value, their endorsement of the Wonderboy provides evidence in profusion. Power to gratify a ravenous and ridiculous ego is the moderns’ most holy sacrament, indeed their only one. So they held their noses and spouted for Jimmy. A mere two years after Nixon the Democrats actually nominated a Nixon of their own. Jimmy is a ruthless, relentless pursuer of power; and that is the whole of him. Agreed, it is revolting to listen to that limp, desiccated rhetoric and to witness his bald position-taking, but it was amusing to observe such moderns as Norman Mailer as they fabricated from mere nothingness an ‘interesting’, ‘decent’, ‘pleasant’ man, a Protestant JFK. And it was even more amusing to see the moderns desert him in hysteria when it became apparent that he was the most ill-equipped man to inhabit the White House in this century.”
* * *

“The saga began on January 20, 1977, the date on which Jimmy was inaugurated 39th President. His inaugural address, intoned in his famous andante con ping pong cadence, was an arrestingly straightforward and simple-witted oration that should have answered immediately and forever his campaign’s famed rhetorical question” ‘Why Not the Best?’. Why not indeed!”
* * *

“From Poland the boys went to Tehran, where Jimmy attended the Shah’s New Year’s party, took aboard two glasses of wine, and turned weepy. In India he astonished government officials by growing dyspeptic when they temporarily resisted taking him and his photographers to an impoverished village. During a state dinner, he, and only he, was harassed by a common housefly, thus necessitating the professional services of Prime Minister Desai’s official Hindu fly swattist. And during the meal he whispered contemptuous remarks about Desai while facing a mysterious electronic device that, upon further inspection, turned out to be a microphone. Alas, the infernal contraption was full of juice, and the Wonderboy’s discourtesies were broadcast all over the dining room.”

Unfortunately, I believe the book is now out of print; but a little poking around in used bookstores might reward your search – well worth the effort.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

White Guilt? Case Closed!

Tod Atkins in the Philadelphia Inquirer says adios to white guilt syndrome.

(H/T: Five Feet of Fury)

Reason #1 Why I Don't Jog

I bet this kind of thing happens all the time.

Reason #2: Justice Souter was mugged while jogging (probably by members of the militant wing of the Federalist Society).

The First Dog

Obama's decision to find a suitable dog appears to be quite a big issue. Let's see, now, what kind of dog would be appropriate for a president who lacks executive experience, and is pretty clueless on economic and foreign policy?

Simple. There's really only one answer...


Monday, November 10, 2008

Time to Blow Up - Er, Out - the Candles


(Picture via The Jawa report)

Happy Birthday, U.S.M.C., and many happy returns.

Note: I'll probably be more or less off-line for a couple of days; some local travel, and much to do. Should be back in time for the weekly book review. Keep an eye on things for me.

A Few Things Salvaged from the Ashes

I certainly haven't read about it in the MSM, but Republicans scored a few victories around the country. These items were in an e:mail I received from GOPAC:

1) Republicans gained control of the State Senate in Montana (27-23 majority).

2) In Tennessee, the GOP gained control of both the Senate and the House for the first time since 1869.

3) Republicans picked up three seats in the Missouri State Senate, and increased their majority.

4) In Pennsylvania, Attorney General Tom Corbett was reelected, and the GOP increased their lead in the State Senate to 30-20.

5) For the first time in history, the GOP took control of the Oklahoma state Senate, and they increased their majority in the House.

6) Pearl Burris Floyd became the first African-American female to be elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives.

7) In Arizona, Republicans increased their majority in both legislative chambers.

8) Tim Scott will take his historic seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives. After defeating two other candidates to win the nomination, Scott becomes the first African American Republican to be elected to the house since reconstruction.

9) Republicans maintained their control of several other state legislative bodies.

The national party needs to develop some of the grass-roots support and superior organization that have characterized the efforts of many of the state and local GOP organizations.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Assortment

1) Happy Obama Day! (Don't miss the comments). Update: Incidentally, how long before they start clamoring for Obama's mug on Mt. Rushmore? Or maybe they'd prefer to carve a full-size statue out of Mt. McKinley. And frankly, I can't wait to see his image on the 200,000,000 dollar bill I'll be forking over in a few years to buy a loaf of bread.

2) If this happens, I'll be cashing mine in, in spite of the penalty.

3) Arts & Ammo takes a look at Prop 8 (BTW, be sure to check out the fabulous picture of Beethoven holding a revolver!)

4) Al Gore continues scribbling notes on the paper they give him for therapeutic finger-painting, and tossing his mad missives through the bars of his padded cell to the street below - this one was picked up by the NYT. (H/T: Jules Crittenden)

5) The next economic time bomb (H/T: The ever vigilant Captain Heinrichs).

6) Cold Fury throws down the gauntlet.

A Bucket of Cold Water

Peter Hitchens knows a false prophet when he sees one. (H/T: Cold Fury)

Sunday Funny

Don't let this happen to you.

Reminds me of a story my pa, Old Paco, told me one time. When he retired from the government, Old Paco started a garbage company, and in the early days, he occasionally drove a truck himself, to help out on busy days. He had stopped by the fire station to pick up the last dumpster-load for the day, and after he emptied the dumpster into the truck, he hit the compactor. He had forgotten, however, that after the previous stop he had opened the hatch in the back for some reason, and he had neglected to close it; so, the hydraulic compactor pushed about two tons of garbage out of the hatch right into the driveway of the fire station. Took him a couple of hours to get it all back in the truck.

Totally unrelated update: Dog Fight at Bankstown has absolutely the last word on the absurd Sean Penn.

Yet another unrelated update: Since we're all about civility these days, this refresher course may prove helpful (H/T: Captain Heinrichs).

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Interesting Dog

I was at the pet shop today - buying a new lamp for my Australian bearded dragon - and they had an Australian cattle dog puppy (also called a blue heeler). And you know what? The pup's fur really is kind of blue. Here's a web photo:

Can We Get Back to the Civil War, Now?

Jim Treacher links to a great comment at Tim Blair's, and in the process proposes marriage (quite understandably).

I, too, find this "Dear 48" stuff to be cringe-worthy. Low-cost graciousness from the crowd that, for all I know, were among the people apologizing to the world for George Bush's two victories. This is just some treacly icing spread over a six-layer turd cake; no thanks.

Update: Besides, just exactly what is it the "52's" are saying? "No hard feelings about those cheap rabbit punches, are there 48's? I'm sure a little thing like a cerebral hemorrhage isn't going to stop you all from joining us in tearing down this rat-trap of a country and transforming it into a big honkin' Cuba, right? Why, we'll even let you keep your guns! (No, not the Bushmasters and the Glocks; but you can hang on to that old single-shot black-powder rifle - just remember to turn it in at the local police station armory at the end of the day)."

Update II: Ok, put your coffee down - Gently! T-h-a-t-'s right - click on this link, and behold one of the funniest headlines of the year. (H/T: Babalu)

Update III: Winning over the media? Mission accomplished!

Friday, November 7, 2008

We Are Not Amused

Even more than the election of Barack Obama, the possibility of a win by the execrable Al Franken underscores the fundamental lack of seriousness on the part of an ominously large number of voters.

Genuine Optimism

Bill Whittle - one of the most intelligent, thoughtful and inspiring conservatives writing today - has a great article up at NRO (but did he have to use, as an analogy, Phil Sheridan's victory over Jubal Early at Cedar Creek?)

H/T: Don Surber

Thanks, But I Know Which Fork to Use

I am absolutely with Jeff Goldstein on this. It is one thing to congratulate Obama on his victory, in order to be gracious; it is quite another to join with his supporters in endowing him with virtues that are not manifestly in evidence. Is he a “good and decent man?” Why should we think so? Because he’s kind to his wife and children? Where is the virtue in that? Whether out of cold-blooded political calculation, or because he shares their beliefs, Obama has associated for more than twenty years primarily with people who (pretty much literally) wrote the book on radical anti-Americanism. He came to power nurtured in the cocoon of the notorious Chicago political machine. He supports the barbarity of partial-birth abortion, and even the practice of withholding care from babies born as the result of botched abortions. His campaign for president used intimidation and it abused the law in trying to blunt legitimate political opposition. We know less about Obama than we do about probably any other presidential candidate in history (thank you, mainstream media!), and while it’s certainly ok to suspend judgment about the wisdom of his policies until he becomes president and starts to formulate some, there is no reason to suspend our intellectual faculties and pretend that his M.O. will not carry over from campaigning to governing – and much of what’s known, for certain, about that M.O. is not consistent with good character.

In any event, gauging his “goodness” is a futile task. What matters is how he governs. There are some grounds for believing that the bulk of his program (to the extent one can be identified) is so much oratorical applesauce. Unfortunately, there are also grounds for believing that he meant every word. Whether or not he resists the demands of the klepotcrats in his own party, or whether he leads their charge, the fact remains that an Obama presidency means a net gain in the power of the state at the expense of individual liberty. “Good man” or not, this is an outcome that should move us to be unstinting in our opposition to each and every decision and policy prescription that we believe to be inimical to the welfare of our nation. If he makes the occasional good decision or choice, fine, he’ll deserve kudos; but when he fails to do so, let’s not make excuses for him based on his purported decency, and chalk it up automatically to his being merely “mistaken” or to his “lack of experience”; bad policy could be part of the game plan (although it obviously wouldn’t be seen as bad by its formulator).

And if I hear one more conservative disparaging the fellow who puts a bumper-sticker on his car reading, “He’s not my president”, I swear I’ll buy one, myself. Of course it’s a silly slogan, but it is, after all, nothing more than venting. Does anyone really believe that the person (by the way, purely mythical insofar as I’ve been able to tell) who deploys such a slogan is actually going to begin negotiating his own treaties with foreign powers? Levying his own taxes? Building his own aircraft carrier in the backyard? People sometimes need a mental safety valve, and if plastering a bumper-sticker on their cars helps them deal with their disappointment, let ‘em have at it, I say. Besides, something like this is so far short of the vileness and diabolical hatred directed at George Bush over the last eight years by the nut-roots as to be harmless. In short, you conservative bloggers who are bending over backwards to be gracious go too far when you start warning the rest of us not to get carried away to extremes of bitterness – in the first place, there doesn’t seem to be much bitterness in evidence (except for, interestingly, the bitterness currently being demonstrated by certain unnamed McCain advisors who are trashing Sarah Palin), and secondly, we heard that sort of thing from Obama, so we really don’t appreciate hearing it from you.

Which brings me, at long last, to one of the key points in Jeff’s post, pertaining to the use of language as a weapon (an idea I’ve been wanting to write about for some time, and will, at length, someday). Just a taste: “In a political environment wherein the left has managed to turn the introduction of inconvenient facts into ‘smears’ or ‘racism,’ this willingness, on the part of some conservatives, to believe themselves capable of seizing the moral high ground by essentially giving cover to the demonstrably bad by allowing that it is merely ‘misguided,’ is yet another step toward the very kind of partisan pragmatism that has cost Republicans so dearly, and that, even more troubling, has served to devalue language and further institutionalize a dangerous idea of how interpretation works.”

Read it all.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Things DO Go Wrong, Don't They?

It's been a rough week, but I hope you all at least managed to avoid these kinds of problems (H/T: Are We Lumberjacks?)

Happy Feet Friday

Here’s a swingin’ all-girl orchestra – the International Sweethearts of Rhythm - with a medley of jumpin’ tunes.

President or Tool?

Babalu has a great post up and link to the WSJ on the threat to an Obama presidency from within his own party. Will the parasites drag the new president further to the left than he wants to go, thereby creating openings for a Republican attack in the congressional elections of 2010? Or will Obama successfully resist the demands of the more egregiously profligate and irresponsible elements within the Democratic Party, thus stirring their anger and propelling them toward sabotage? Or will he cheerfully lead the lemmings off the cliff? Stay tuned

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

From the Shelves of the Paco Library



I don’t consider myself a mystery buff, but there are certain authors in the genre whose works I find practically addictive. Here are a few of my favorites (pretty much off the top of my head; there are others I’ll profile in future Shelves features).

1) In the Marcus Didius Falco series, Lindsey Davis has combined an in-depth knowledge of Roman history with an astounding skill in characterization and a fine sense of humor to create a detective (styled “private informer” in the novels) in the reign of the Emperor Vespasian who possesses a modern sensibility and a wise-guy attitude highly suggestive of noir fiction. Falco is an ex-army man who served in Britain, and has settled down to a career as a professional snoop in Rome. He lives by his (considerable) wits, and when he’s not ducking gladiators working as part-time debt collectors, he’s carrying out missions for the Emperor which bring him into contact with a vast array of spies, murderers, crooks and high-handed politicians. Much of the charm of the novels derives from our expanding acquaintance with Falco’s large and troublesome family, including a disapproving mother, a gaggle of sisters, and various obnoxious brothers in law. Falco also enjoys a tumultuous relationship with Helena Justina, the daughter of a senator, who is not only his soul mate and the eventual mother of his children, but a frequent partner in his private investigations.

The novels carry Falco and Helena Justina throughout the Roman Empire, and along the way, we are not only entertained by their often hair-raising adventures, but are exposed to an on-going history lesson, with rich period details worked into the stories in a way that is never tedious or pedantic. The first book in the series is The Silver Pigs; there are, I believe, 18 books in the series, thus far, so if you haven’t met Falco, you’re in for a treat.

2) Peter Lovesey has created a number of fascinating gumshoes, including Sergeant Crib and Peter Diamond. The one I want to highlight here is HRH, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales – known familiarly as Bertie. Like that other, more famous Bertie of literature, the Prince of Wales is an open, friendly and curious fellow who does not precisely shine in the intellectual department; both are also plagued by disapproving elderly females (Bertie Wooster by his aunts, Prince Albert by his mother, Queen Victoria). Unlike Wodehouse’s Bertie, however, HRH is a rather randy buck whose love of the ladies sometimes complicates his life rather embarrassingly.

There are three books in the series: Bertie and the Tinman, Bertie and the Seven Bodies and Bertie and the Crime of Passion. Written in the first person, in the form of sleuthing memoirs, the stories are masterpieces of the comic mystery tale.

3) The office on the Quai des Orfévres…the pipe-tobacco smoke in the air…inspectors Lucas and Janvier bustling in with reports, evidence or, occasionally, bottles of beer… the endless parade of witnesses and suspects, by turns frightened, mistrustful, angry…and at the center of it all, Chief Inspector Maigret of the Police Judiciare, watching, thinking, putting himself mentally into the shoes of the criminal, bringing to bear superior powers of reasoning and intuition to catch his man (or woman, as the case may be).

Georges Simenon was a prolific author whose best known creation is Jules Maigret, the venerable detective who featured in some seventy-five novels and a score or so of short stories published from the 1930’s up until the early ‘70’s. In most of these stories, the crime – be it murder or theft – has already occurred, and we pick up Maigret as he is commencing his investigation. The stories are gems characterized by the psychological dueling that goes on between the Chief Inspector and his quarry, and they are richly enhanced by the setting – ranging to all parts of Paris, from Maigret’s stuffy office, to cafes, hotels, factories and private apartments, and even into the French countryside. Ably assisted by his worshipful assistants, Lucas and Janvier, Maigret is perhaps the mystery genre’s first (and perhaps, only) impressionist detective – and since the action takes place in France, this creative approach strikes at least this reader as being perfectly appropriate.

One of the great things about this series is that you can start anywhere, since each book stands alone as an artistic achievement. I recently completed a book of Maigret short stories - Maigret’s Christmas - which serves up nine stories that take place in the winter holiday season, and it’s as good a place as any to start. Also, if you haven’t seen them, treat yourself to Michael Gambon’s portrayal of Maigret in the ITV television series (available on DVD); wonderful stuff!

Assortment

1) Patriotism is apparently alive and well in Canada (H/T: Captain Heinrichs).

2) The drive-by hits on Palin have commenced. Funny how these McCain "staffers" don't seem to have the...intestinal fortitude to provide their names. Well, we'll find out who they are eventually, and I, for one, won't support anybody they work for.

3) I guess "Unity" is just another name for "The One". Looks like the Democrats plan on reaching across the aisle with marlin spikes. Further on the subject of a spurious unity is this excellent piece by Currency Lad, and this thoughtful article at American Thinker; money quote: "People shouldn't need to be reminded that our nation's highest value is liberty."

4) Via Cold Fury, Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos lays out the strategy. There you have it, folks, from the horse's mouth (er, depending on your perspective).

5) Yes, that's what I'm afraid of.

Hunted!



Well, that didn't take long! I've been pulling these things down off of telephone polls, fences and the walls of post offices all morning. The thing that really bothers me is the paltriness of the reward; talk about adding insult to injury!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Gods of the Copybook Headings, 1; American People 0

I have always liked Kipling’s poem because of its sobering, yet wryly humorous, message concerning the consequences of ignoring the natural law. A majority of my fellow citizens have done precisely that, by heaving a flashy, but dangerous, poseur into the White House, apparently in the belief that what the ship of state really needs, as it navigates the perilous seas of a dangerous world, is a captain who is the rankest landlubber. So, in the midst of economic chaos that has nearly battered the global banking system to its knees, and foreign intrigues being hatched by lunatics who either have, or are developing, a nuclear weapons capability, we have elected Mr. Barack Obama, exclusively on the strength of his affidavit that he does not share the anti-capitalist and anti-American prejudices of practically everyone with whom he has been professionally associated for the last 20 years. I can only pray that Kipling’s home truths sink in quickly, and that the people begin educating themselves in time to return Mr. Obama to private life after one term.

Will he be another Jimmy Carter, or will he be the George McGovern that we were blissfully spared in 1972? I tend to feel that neither one of these comparisons really hits the mark; Obama doesn’t strike me as being as utterly vacuous as Carter, nor as naïve as McGovern. I think he is more of a Lyndon Johnson: potentially thuggish in his exercise of power, an enemy of genuine transparency in government, a machine politician to the core, but with more polish than LBJ, and with a strong, underlying commitment to leftist ideology that the Texan probably would have abhorred. There is at least the possibility that Americans have elected, for the first time in my life, at any rate, not a leader, but a ruler. As one of William Faulkner’s characters said, “God have mercy on us, poor sons of bitches.”

The tectonics of the American political scene reveal a dangerous shift in ideology and in the perceptions and understanding of historical reality. The liberal fascism so admirably described by Jonah Goldberg is setting down roots everywhere: no longer just in Hollywood and in the mainstream media and in the fever swamps of academe, but among the clueless millions who have come to take their freedoms for granted and are willing to give them up, one by one, in exchange for the comforting, but false, assurances that their government knows what’s best for them and not only can, but should, protect them from pain and suffering and angst – the state as psychological and political womb.

Well, we shall see, we shall see. I confess that, for purely selfish reasons, I see an upside to this electoral result: with Obama in the White House, we conservative bloggers have hit the mother lode of source material. In fact, there is so much gold to go around, I am considering the possibility of setting up another blog that will serve as a clearing house for information on the crimes, frauds, misdemeanors and low comedy of this administration and its parent organization, the Democratic Party.

I believe it is necessary for everyone who can, to sound the alarm about what is happening to our country at the hands of unscrupulous power mongers, and to grab the lumpish part of the electorate by the lapels and make them think. Lionel Trilling wrote that we have a moral responsibility to be intelligent, i.e., the consequences of intellectual indolence, of a distaste for the sometimes hard effort involved in thinking clearly, and acting accordingly, can lead to the ultimate destruction not only of an individual, but of a society, a country, a civilization; thus, since we are all at risk, we are all responsible, in some measure, for what we do, and for what we fail to do.

So, time to get cracking. A few lessons to apply going forward.

1) The Republican Party needs to get back to first principles. We are (or should be) the party in favor of individual liberty, personal responsibility, smaller government and a strong, consistent foreign policy. We should completely reject the notion that listing to port is ever going to enable us to become the majority party; when it comes to government handouts dressed up as “compassion”, populist demagoguery, rants against Wall Street, and a pusillanimous foreign policy, we can never be anything but a “me too” party. But far more importantly, power for the sake of power is not the goal, anyway. This is not about putting people in office solely for the reason that they have an ‘R’ by their names; this is about ideals and noble traditions and historical memory and maintaining our status as a free people.

2) It’s fine to complain about the bias of the mainstream media; it’s a moral obligation, in fact. But Republicans have to realize that the media will always be against them. We have to find ways to go directly to the American people, to do an end-run around our self-appointed “gatekeepers”. In this, the media are unwittingly beginning to provide assistance; both television and dead-tree organizations have so utterly undermined their credibility that their influence is waning. The rise of the blogosphere is important in this connection, and is likely to become more so, as people look for alternative sources of information. The challenge for bloggers is to develop stronger networks among themselves, and to engage in closer cooperation with grassroots organizations on the Right. The Republican National Committee needs to wake up and see the blogosphere for the gold mine of information and original investigative reporting that it is. And finally, right-wing bloggers need, collectively, to take a more activist role in engaging with the MSM, politicians (at the state, as well as the national level), and government agencies. If we wait around for someone to send a link to one of our posts to, say, the Washington Post, we may wait a very long time if we’re expecting a response. We need to take a leaf from the Obama playbook, and “get in their faces”, let them know that we’re watching and reading and that we’re going to call them out when they show bias or ignorance (yes, this is a 24/7 mission).

3) Things got nasty this election, particularly with the guerilla tactics used by the lefty blogs and by the proliferation of radical organizations (e.g., Code Pink) that are now playing a bigger role in mobilizing opinion. These tactics were aped by the MSM, vide the hunt for dirt on Joe the Plumber and Cindy McCain. In fact, this has been the most savage election environment I’ve seen in my lifetime. Well, guess what: it’s going to get worse. The Left is making up its own rules: dishonest reporting is acceptable for the good of the cause, the use of the law as a tool to intimidate both conservative politicians and citizens is de rigueur, “astroturfing” – the list goes on and on. I’m not advocating the use of smears and lies and threats. I am, however, going on record as stating that those who want to change America into something that most citizens would find repulsive, and who are not shy about using foul means to do so, are fair game for the kind of “vetting” they’re doing to everybody else.

4) Think ACORN and voter fraud are going to be on the front-burner of the new administration? I don’t either. It’s up to activist citizens to keep bringing these attempts to undermine democracy to the attention of the appropriate national, state and local officials. And to the MSM, as well; there are still some honest reporters and newspapers out there, and we’ve always got Fox News (at least until the “Fairness Doctrine” is legislated).

5) We need new blood in the party at both the local and national levels. Sarah Palin is a great start. Bobby Jindal has a bright future. But as I mentioned under item #1, it is essential that the Republican Party develop a set of ideals around which a core of passionately committed would-be representatives, senators and presidential candidates can coalesce. The American people need to be offered a vision; if not, they’ll settle, as they have this time around, for a hallucination.

Oh, and by the way; to Peggy Noonan, Christopher Buckley, David Brooks, et al…


Bien fait, mes collègues!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Do Your Duty

Update: Mrs. Paco and I voted, and it felt great. Interestingly, we were the only voters at the polling place (although, perhaps we weren't there during peak hours; I took off from work a little early). Choice of paper ballots or electronic (we opted for paper). Straight Republican ticket.

Here's one last bit of optimism prior to the final decision, courtesy of famed internet explorer, Captain Heinrichs (I particularly like the photo).

I’m not a pundit, never pretended to be. I’m not going to “call” the election one way or the other. You people – all of us – do that when we vote. So, today, Mrs. Paco and I will go to the polling place, cast our votes for McCain/Palin, and pray for our country’s deliverance from the danger that has cast a shadow over the land. If McCain wins, great; if we lose, we buckle down and begin the long fight to rescue our nation from its momentary lapse in judgment (first opportunity to stem the tide: the congressional elections of 2010). In any event, unlike those sensitive and refined types who keep threatening to leave the country if their favorite liberal candidate doesn’t win, if our guy loses, me and the missus and our kind ain’t a-goin’ nowheres; we’re gonna make this place too hot to hold them sum’bitches. Ain’t that right, boys? (Rowdy chorus of “Damn straights!”, “Hell yeahs!” and rebel yells, accompanied by pounding of beer bottles and shot glasses on the bar, and punctuated by the ragged report of dragoon pistols and the odd squirrel rifle).

A Detective Paco Rerun - Detective Paco and Islamic Rage Boy

Sheila was flying to Chicago to attend a friend’s wedding, and I was taking her to the airport. I had half-fantasized about a tender, Casablanca-type farewell, a la Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, and at least a part of that fantasy had come true: Major Strasse had gotten the drop on me.

That would be Mrs. O’Doherty, of course, Sheila’s mother and self-appointed body guard. She had insisted on coming along, and all the way to the airport she kept poking me through the front seat with her cane.

“Ma’am, fifty-five is the speed limit . . . no, ma’am, this is not the exit . . . yes, ma’am, I have had my eyes checked recently . . .” We finally wheeled into the parking garage, walked to the main terminal and made our way through the gauntlet of baggage checking, ticket taking and security, emerging at the end of the process at Sheila’s departure gate.

We chatted for awhile, Mrs. O’ taking advantage of the wedding to lament Sheila’s unmarried state, and rhapsodizing about young Dr. Davis (their dentist), and the fact that he, too, was single and presumably in search of a mate. Sheila was at some pains to point out that Dr. Davis did not appeal to her, not least because of his ostensible but seemingly calculated clumsiness, which caused him to “accidentally” drop dental instruments in her lap with annoying frequency, as well as a lopsided and very mobile toupee which once fell off and hit her squarely in the face, creating the sensation of being smothered with a dead cat. At long last, the first boarding call was made.

Sheila leaned in slightly and presented her classic profile. I gave her a peck on the cheek, and was immediately rewarded with a stertorous snort; it sounded like an aging plow-horse with hay fever that had stumbled into a field of dandelions. Sheila rolled her eyes. “Mom!”

“I didn’t say a word.”

I turned slowly to look at Mrs. O’Doherty. I started to say, “to look down at” Mrs. O’Doherty, but even though she was only 5’2”, she always managed to make me feel like I was in third grade again, looking up at the implacable face of the gargantuan and evil-tempered Mrs. Adams, trying futilely to explain my missing homework. No, nobody “looked down” at – and certainly not “on” – Mrs. O’Doherty.

“I think, ma’am, Sheila is referring to that sonic boom that you always emit when I show your daughter a little brotherly affection.”

“Don’t hand me that line of jive, flatfoot!” She punctuated each syllable with a thump of her cane on my chest. “Private detectives don’t have sisters; that’s why they think all women are fair game.”

I had stopped listening to Sheila’s mother. Not because I didn’t find her theories fascinating; I was distracted by the sight of someone who looked vaguely familiar. I couldn’t immediately place the face, and wasn’t sure I had ever known his name, but there was something about him, something that my tenuous recollection was telling me was strictly bad news. He was walking slowly, in some apparent confusion, heading from one of the international flights in the general direction of the main lobby. A short, wiry fellow, he was wearing a cheap suit, two sizes too big, a floppy little hat of the kind that fishermen and elderly Ft. Lauderdale condominium dwellers seem to favor, and he had a long, curly beard that would have looked right at home on the mug of one of Nebuchadnezzar’s astrologers. Sticking out of his coat pocket was a large, rolled up booklet: The Koran Koloring Book. But the most striking thing about his appearance was his eyes: ferocious little beads of shiny black agate. That’s when I twigged him. Islamic Rage Boy!

I bid Sheila a hasty good-bye, as the announcement came over the speaker that her plane was ready for final boarding. “Sorry, baby, but I’ve got to see a man on business. Come on, Mrs. O' Doherty.” I squeezed Sheila’s hand, and somehow she figured out that the game was on, so she said, “Be careful, Paco. And don’t drop Mom off in another county; she’ll find her way home, just like last time.”

I turned and began following Rage Boy at an inconspicuous distance, Mrs. O' Doherty shuffling along and clucking like an indignant hen. “Why are you tailing that Amish farmer? Is this one of your cases? I’ll have you know I have some yeast rolls rising at home and . . .”

I came to an abrupt halt; if I didn’t shut her up, she was liable to attract attention. “Listen, Mrs. O’Doherty. That guy isn’t an Amish farmer. He’s the notorious Shakeel Bhat, a/k/a/ ‘Islamic Rage Boy’. He’s known the world over for being the face of angry, radical Islam, and if he’s in this country, it’s probably because he’s decided that mere scowling isn’t going to put him on the fast track to Paradise. Now, here’s thirty-five cents, and the card for Agent Smedley at the FBI. Do me a favor: go find a pay phone, call Smedley, and have him drop round with a paddywagon, pronto.”

She looked at me contemptuously. “Lace your boots up, buddy; get hep to the jive! This is the twenty-first century; I’ve got a cell phone.” I noticed that she pocketed the thirty-five cents, though.

While Sheila’s mother made the telephone call, I followed Bhat outside of the main terminal. He was making his way over to the new “Pray and Go” lane, which the airport had built to accommodate Muslims. As he stood on the median, a black limousine swept down the lane and screeched to a stop beside him. The back door opened, and a familiar figure jumped out.

It was Saleh. I had last encountered her in a little game of terrorist hide-and-seek in Miami last year, when she tried to provide cover for her cousins, Farouk and Ali, as they made their (ultimately futile) dash for freedom from Haroun’s House of Hummus. Despite the danger of the situation, I couldn’t help but ogle her for a moment. Her raven hair fell in cascades down to her waist, and her eyes gleamed like black onyx. Her body was wrapped in a black silk evening gown; she looked like a statue of Aphrodite waiting to be unveiled, but already revealing the sensuous curvature that left little (but what a sublime, maddening little!) to the imagination .

I ducked behind a dolly piled high with luggage, and watched an odd scene unfold. Rage Boy was startled out of his wits. When Saleh leaped out of the car, he bounded a full three feet backwards, and the look on his face was not one of rage, or even recognition, but absolute horror. I couldn’t hear what she was saying, but she was smiling and trying to explain something to him, and was reaching out to grab him by his coat sleeve. Rage Boy, open-mouthed, was backpedaling and moving his hands and forearms like the blades on a combine, attempting to fend her off. Saleh was rapidly running out of patience, and signaled to the chauffeur, a hulking fellow with a handlebar mustache, who got out of the car and closed on Rage Boy from the rear. The scenario wasn’t playing out as I had figured, at all.

It was time to make my move. I jogged over to the limo and announced myself. “Well, if it isn’t long, tall Saleh! You and your boyfriend headed for the prom?”

All three of them stared at me. Saleh gave me a murderous smile. “Long time, no see, Paco. You keep turning up at the most inopportune moments. We’ll have to do something about that.” She barked something in Arabic to the chauffeur, who came around, faced me squarely, and pulled a .45 from his shoulder holster.

“Thanks, Hercules”, I said, removing my fedora and hanging it on his pistol-filled fist. In the split second of the chauffeur’s confusion, I launched a powerful jab at his chin. He went down like a pole-axed steer.

I turned and immediately found myself covered by Saleh, who had retrieved a smaller caliber, but still deadly, pistol from her elegant little purse. Suddenly, there was a blur of something flying through the air. It caught Saleh on the wrist, knocking the gun out of her hand. I moved in quickly, grabbed her by an elbow, whipped her around, and got her in a half-nelson. Looking down on the ground, I saw Mrs. O’Doherty’s cane. “Taking a big chance, weren’t you?” I growled through clenched teeth.

Mrs. O’ toddled up, collected her cane, and sniffed. “I didn’t see any downside. Besides, I wasn’t likely to miss. I was a champion javelin thrower on the girls’ track team in high school.” At that moment, the air was filled with the sound of sirens, as the FBI closed in. Plus the local police, the state police a fire truck and an ambulance. Mrs. O’ gave me a smug look. “I figured you could use all the help you could get.”

An hour later, after Smedley had packed Saleh and the chauffeur into the paddywagon, I saw him shake hands with Bhat and see him off in another limousine that had arrived in the interim. Then Smedley came over to have a chat. I was a little peeved.

“Smedley, I know a prisoner manages to escape every once in awhile, but that’s the first time I’ve ever seen you set one at liberty, like you were releasing a pet raccoon into the wild.”

Smedley smiled and lit a cigarette. “Well, it took us awhile to sort it all out. Don’t get me wrong: that was ‘Islamic Rage Boy’, all right. But it turns out he’s in the country legally. Seems like he wasn’t originally a Muslim at all; he converted because he heard it was a good way to get girls. When he found out that he had to be a martyr to get his 72 virgins, and that, according to some theological interpretations, they aren’t women at all, but white raisins, he soured on the whole idea. By then, though, his face was plastered all over the internet, and he had become such a figure of comedy, that Jay Leno decided to invite him onto the Tonight Show. Leno told him that he couldn’t vouch for there being any genuine virgins in Hollywood, but that he could have his pick of as many slightly used virgins as he wanted. That sealed the deal, as far as Bhat was concerned. He’s got a two-day layover before going to Hollywood; hopes to get work as a stand-up comic out there.”

“How did Saleh get mixed up in this?”

“Bhat’s pals weren’t thrilled about his apostasy. They got word to Saleh’s group of terrorists stateside; they were going to try and turn him back to the path of righteousness, maybe get him up to some mischief over here, and if that didn’t work, they were going to kill him. She was attempting to pass herself off as one of Leno’s assistants when she drove up tonight. No female besides his mother had ever talked to him before, so when Saleh jumped out at him, he froze. You may have saved his life. And you definitely did us all a favor by putting the grab on Saleh, again. Meanwhile, Bhat just got picked up by the real NBC limo, and he’s off to California in a couple of days.”

In the car, driving Mrs. O’Doherty home, I did the gracious thing and thanked her for the timely cane-hurling. “It was nothing. Incidentally, Paco, how much money do you collect on a case like that?”

“That wasn’t a case, exactly. I was just doing my patriotic duty.”

“You know, pro bono work doesn’t put groceries on the table or a roof over your head. Now, take Dr. Davis . . .”

I turned the radio on. And put it up loud.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Election Eve Assortment!



1) Heh. If only...

2) Are Republicans planning on "stealing" another election? Apparently, 5,000 Florida ambulance chasers think so.

3) Does McCain=Seabiscuit?

4) The Republicans finally trot this jackass out in Pennsylvania.

5) Democratic dirty tricks in Idaho (look for this kind of thing to become standard operating procedure as the Democratic Party moves ever closer to sheer gangsterism).

6) In addition to seeing Obama and Murtha crash and burn, I'm also looking forward to the defeat of dangerously unstable and notoriously unfunny funny man Al Franken.

7) Inspirational stuff from Ace.

8) Some deep (as well as wryly amusing) thoughts from Roger Kimball.

9) Too late, Barrie! My expectations are in the stratosphere.

10) Say it with music!

11) Getting out the vote - ACORN-style!

12) Here's another heapin' helpin' of Bay area tolerance.

13) Hey, undecideds; is this what you want?