Saturday, January 31, 2009

Stimulus (You Know, Like a Boot Across Your Backside)

Say, how about if we use some of that stimulus money to destroy brand new cars? (Oops! There I go again; being "divisive", just like Rush Limbaugh)

(H/T: Dogfight at Bankstown and Gateway Pundit)

What’s Good for Rush is Bad for the Republican Party David Frum

David Frum says that we should eschew the divisiveness of Rush Limbaugh, that the Republican Party must moderate its tone, that cooler, wiser heads must prevail, and that we must take counsel of calmer, more intelligent voices – David Frum's, for example.

Citing surveys showing Republicans losing ground everywhere, Frum concludes that it is largely the polarizing aggressiveness of Limbaugh, Coulter et al that is dragging the party down. One survey floating about the web today purports to prove that Rush has an approval rating lower than that of George Bush. As the indefatigable Dan Riehl points out, that particular survey was conducted by something called Democracy Corps, founded by James Carville and Stanley Greenberg, two men not normally associated with the notion of political impartiality. But no matter; there is no doubt that the Republicans have fallen on hard times. I think it is disingenuous, however, to blame Rush and other conservatives of feisty temperament for the travails of the GOP, and I wonder whether it is really just a crazy coincidence that Frum and Obama seem to agree on this issue, or whether this is another instance of a RINO flying under false colors.

Frum would have us believe that Rush is giving Republicans a bad name, yet, somehow, Democrats, supported by partisans of both the shrieking (Olbermann) and drooling (Matthews) varieties, and by a far-flung computer network manned by radical, and very frequently vicious, leftists operating under the auspices of MoveOn and the Daily Kos, avoid the stigma of divisiveness. Because of some admittedly serious setbacks over the last few years, Republicans are being exhorted to scrap their focus on social values, learn how to talk to younger voters and women, and emphasize smaller, limited government. On that last point, I am in complete agreement, and I certainly can’t argue with the importance of more effective communication (although my definition of “more effective communication” is that we need to make our ideas better understood, not water them down); however, the constant derogation of social values by Frum and others presupposes that smaller, limited government is possible in the absence of the moral discipline which most of those values boil down to: an appreciation for the crucial importance of personal responsibility and self-control, a genuine respect for civilized dissent, the superiority of charity and sacrifice to the narcissistic pursuit of instant gratification and self-indulgence, and the humility to see that no one person, or group of persons - let alone one’s spiritually, intellectually and physically limited self – possesses the blueprint for creating heaven on earth.

There were several reasons that John McCain lost the election; the hammer-blow of the sudden economic crisis, the star-quality of his opponent (however contrived that may have been), the scandalous one-sidedness of the media, and because…well, because he’s John McCain. I think it’s important to note that McCain didn’t put social issues in the foreground of his campaign, that he was civil (to a fault), and that he entered the race with an indisputable reputation for bipartisanship – and he still lost.

Back in the early Clinton era – September of 1993, to be exact - the National Review put out an edition with a cover that showed an illustration of Rush Limbaugh, dressed as a 19th-century parliamentarian; the cover story, by James Bowman, was entitled “The Leader of the Opposition” ( link to article here), and was a tribute to Rush’s importance as a popularizer of conservative ideas and as a flag-bearer for the base, a person around whom conservatives could rally in an era when the Reagan Revolution had stalled under the clumsy and indifferent management of Bush 41, and the Clintons had taken over Washington with big ideas of socializing health care. Rush was a frequent critic of “Hillary Care”, and was instrumental in spreading the word about its more obnoxious aspects (the Clinton health care proposals ultimately suffered a humiliating defeat). Rush also was a big booster of the Contract with America, which paved the way for Republican majorities in the national legislature (subsequently lost as many Republicans, having got a whiff of pork, began earmarking and spending like Democrats).

Is it Rush’s statement that he hopes Obama will fail that has Frum in a huff? The comment has been taken out of context by many to signify mere vindictiveness, but it isn’t that at all. Rush was simply saying that, to the extent Obama tries to expand the power of Big Government, he hopes he fails; as do I, as do all people who value personal freedom and limited government - presumably even David Frum (although perhaps not; it was Frum who not so long ago was applauding Barney Frank for pushing for the original banking bailout – “a big solution to a big problem” – having forgotten, apparently, that Frank, himself, was a big part of the “big problem”).

Frum says in his article that “America is not turning Democratic because Americans have suddenly become liberals. America is no more liberal than it is conservative. Most Americans are not ideological at all – and they gravitate to the less ideological party, to the party that seems businesslike, sensible, and responsible. (Or anyway: less profligate, less heedless, and less irresponsible.)” And the Democratic Party matches that description? Please. Party identification is a constantly changing, even ephemeral thing, and among the sizeable plurality of uninformed, unengaged voters, who may well have made the difference in the election, Obama was seen as an A-list celebrity and even a superhero, and the Democratic Party was swept along in his wake to victory. You don’t fight that kind of ignorance with bigger mirrors and more smoke, or by reducing your political platform to one or two planks that offer the unexciting promise of Not-Quite-So-Big-Government, or by unprotestingly accepting the inevitability of a leftist victory in the culture wars. You declare your principles and stick to them, and this is what Rush and others are trying to do. And I’m a long way from being convinced that traditional conservative principles have, overnight, become permanently toxic.

Rush Limbaugh is not an elected officeholder, but a private citizen with a large following who is not afraid to fight the Left with ideas, satire, and sarcasm. If there are potential Republican leaders who can do as good a job at articulating conservative ideas, and can do so with a minimum of obscurantist diplomatic applesauce, then let them step forward.

Friday, January 30, 2009

In the News

1) Middle class doomed.

2) Hey, but at least they did something, right?

South of the Border

Two deadly currents of hatred are coming together in South America, and could present unforeseen challenges to the new administration: (1) an upswing in anti Semitism and (2) closer ties betweenMuslim terrorist states and radical socialists. Might be a good time for Obama and his party to rethink their strategy of alienating one of our strongest allies in the region.


Later, Ahmi, not here in public!

(Photo gratefully swiped from Gateway Pundit)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sour Grapes

Saddam Hussein's hometown folks can't bring back their hero, but they can do the next best thing: erect a sculpture of a giant shoe to commemorate Ba'athist stooge and "journalist" Muntadar al-Zeidi.

Nice goin', citizens - and glad to see you're all getting the hang of this freedom of speech thing (which is better than being hanged for it).

Happy Feet Friday

Glen Miller and those incredibly elastic Nicholas Brothers in “I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo” (from the 1942 film Orchestra Wives).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ahmadinejad Demands Apology

Ok, ok. I'm sorry you're such an antisemitic, monkey-faced, b.o. bomb.

From the Shelves of the Paco Library



Bruce Catton was one of our finest Civil War Historians, and his greatest work was the three-volume history of the Army of the Potomac, consisting of Mr. Lincoln’s War, Glory Road, and A Stillness at Appomattox. These books take us from the early days of the conflict, when the Army of the Potomac, under the popular, but vain and ultimately ineffective, George B. McClellan, found itself consistently baffled by its Confederate foes, to the end of the war, by which time the same army had become transformed into a grim killing machine under the command of the relentless and single-minded U.S. Grant. Superbly researched, and drawing not only upon dry military dispatches and formal reports, but upon the letters and diaries of the men who slogged their way through the great bloodletting of the American Civil War, the trilogy affords a comprehensive view of the battles, large and small, that went on not only in the field, but in the minds and hearts of the participants.

Here, from the first volume, we have a description of the shock experienced by the troops in the aftermath of the Battle of Antietam (the first major battle to take place in Union territory, and the bloodiest single-day battle in American history):

“Even men who had been in the thickest of the fighting were astounded when they went about the field and saw how terrible the killing had been. One officer counted more than two hundred dead southerners in a five-hundred-foot stretch of the Bloody Lane. An Ohio soldier wrote that the lane was ‘literally filled with the dead.’ Stupefied Pennsylvania rookies gossiped fatuously that the Confederate bodies they were burying had turned black because the Rebels ate gunpowder for breakfast. One Northern soldier, moved by a somewhat ghoulish curiosity, carefully examined a body which hung doubled over a fence in rear of the Bloody Lane and found that it had been hit by fifty-seven bullets. Under the ashes of burned haystacks, in front of Burnside’s corps, soldiers found the charred bodies of wounded men who had feebly crawled under the hay for shelter and had been too weak to crawl out when the stacks took fire.”

There are numerous excellent “snapshots” of the famous soldiers, such as this description of one of the North’s most celebrated cavalrymen:

“Cavalry found that a new day had dawned. The Pleasontons and Kilpatricks were gone, and at the top there was another Westerner – a tough little man named Phil Sheridan, bandy-legged and wiry, with a black bullet head and a hard eye, wearing by custom a mud-spotted uniform, flourishing in one fist a flat black hat, which, when he put it on, seemed to be at least two sizes too small for him. Like Grant, he rode a great black horse when he made his rounds and he rode it at a pounding gallop, and it was remarked that he ‘rolled and bounced upon the back of his steed much as an old salt does when walking up the aisle of a church after a four year’s cruise at sea.’”

The trilogy closes with the surrender at Appomattox Court House, and Catton’s description of that last day is so moving that a short quote can’t do it justice – so get hold of this remarkable historical work and read it - experience it – for yourself.

Republicans Stand Firm Against Crap Sandwich



The "stimulus" bill passed, but was unanimously opposed by House Republicans. Welcome back to the fight, ladies and gentlemen!

Testify, Brother!

Al Gore arrived on Capitol Hill today, presumably via dog sled, to peddle the increasingly laughable global warming propaganda that should make us all grateful that voters returned him to private life a little over eight years ago. In the linked article, Gore is said to have “served essentially as a cheerleader and lobbyist for Mr. Obama”, in support of the latter’s desire to leave no stone unturned in finding innovative ways to reduce U.S. GDP to the level of Belgium’s. A key phrase that should receive close attention is this one: “The plan’s unprecedented and critical investments [i.e., Obama’s environmental spending goals] in four key areas – energy efficiency, renewables, a unified national energy smart grid and the move to clean cars – represent an important down payment…”

Stop right there, Porky. We’ve had some rather unpleasant surprises, recently, with respect to “down payments”. The $700 billion TARP budget, apparently, turns out to have been a “down payment” on the more expansive trillion-dollar-plus stimulus bill. “Down payment” in this context is Libspeak for “the sky’s the limit”, and there are clearly-discernible gagging noises starting to be heard among taxpayers and even – Hurrah! – Republican congressmen. Unsurprisingly, there’s no mention of increasing drilling opportunities for oil companies and no mention of nuclear facilities.

“Our home – Earth – is in grave danger,” Al somberly intoned. Well, no, Al, it isn’t; but my quality of life may well be if Obama continues to cling to your Buck Rogers fantasies.

By the way; if “the road to Copenhagen is not easy”, it may just be because it’s covered with snow and frost-bitten polar bears.

Shrinkage in Office

The president’s secretary knocked on the door to the Oval Office and entered.

Secretary: Mr. President, Speaker Pelosi is here for your two o’clock meeting…Mr. President?

A muffled voice is heard from underneath the desk: No! Tell her to go away!

Secretary (advancing to the desk and peering under it): Sir, is anything wrong?

Obama: Send Michelle to me!

Secretary: Right away, sir.

(A few minutes later, the First Lady storms into the Oval Office)

Michelle: All right, just what in the hell do you think you’re doin’ under there?

Obama: I’m having an anxiety attack.

Michelle: Oh, shit, another one? Just like the night you won the nomination!

Obama: I can’t help it. All of a sudden, I realized that I don’t know what to do.

Michelle: About what?

Obama: About anything! I’m president of the United States and I don’t have a clue what I’m supposed to do. In the Middle East, in Russia…And everybody’s getting mad at me; Rush Limbaugh, the Pope…

Michelle: Are you shittin’ me? A radio talk show host and a preacher in a pointy hat. And that makes you curl up like a possum under your desk. Well, you just get a grip, little man, and come out from under there, ‘cause you’ve got a meeting with the speaker of the House.

Obama: No! She’ll be mean to me! I took away her hundred million dollars worth of contraceptives spending.

Michelle: So what? I mean, she must be the world’s biggest slut if she needs a hundred million dollars worth of contraceptives.

Obama: No, no, no! It’s not for her. It’s part of her stimulus package.

Michelle: Stimulus package? Well, she can just make do with unribbed condoms.

Obama: No, that’s not…Oh, skip it. Tell her I’m indisposed.

Michelle: Barack, that woman dragged her narrow ass all the way over here from the Capitol to meet with you; now, you comin’ out, or do I have to drag you out?

The door to the Oval Office suddenly opens, and Speaker Pelosi stomps in

Pelosi: I’m sorry, Mr. President, but my time is valuable, too…What the…Where is he, Michelle?

Michelle (thinking quickly): Oh, hello Ms. Pelosi. The president is under his desk. He’s, er, practicing “duck and cover”. We’ve got a nuclear attack drill in progress. Here, I’ll escort you to the basement.

Pelosi: But…

Michelle: Let’s go, ma’am. We take these things seriously around here. In fact, this drill may last for hours, so you might want to come back tomorrow.

Several hours later, two cleaning women enter the Oval Office. One begins to dust the bric-a-brac, the other powers up a vacuum cleaner. Lucy – the one with the vacuum cleaner – works her way over to the desk, attempts to push the business end of the machine underneath, encounters resistance, and then jams it in hard. A cry of “Ouch!” issues from the cavernous space. Lucy turns off the vacuum cleaner and rolls up her sleeves.

Lucy: Hey, Wendy, bring me something heavy. I found a trespasser.

Wendy (looking around quickly, grabs a wooden sculpture of a hand holding an egg and runs to the desk): Come out of there, you! And come out slow, or I’ll bean you good!

Obama: Say, you can’t talk to me that way! I’m the President of the United States. And put the Egg of Power back where you got it!

Lucy: Humph! I’ve been here for eight years, and I don’t remember ever seeing Mr. Bush under the desk. How about you, Wendy?

Wendy: No, that nice Mr. Bush never took naps under the desk; and he never yelled at me, either.

Obama: I’ll prove it. Listen to this…*cough*…”Hope-and-change-yes-we-can-eat-my-waffle!”

Wendy: I dunno. Whaddaya think, Lucy?

Lucy: Well…it does sound a little like him. Have you got a flashlight? It’s kinda dark under there and I can’t see him real good…

Obama: I AM BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!! Now, why don’t you ladies come back later and finish up? I’m in my comfort zone right now and I don’t want to be disturbed.

Lucy (sticking out her chin, and tossing her head haughtily): Come on, Wendy, let’s go. Boy, they sure don’t make presidents like they used to.

Wendy: No. They. Don’t.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Assortment

1) Arts & Ammo asks do we really need a Secretary of the Arts?

2) Poached from Are We Lumberjacks: the Egg of Power.

3) Wow! If true, then he’s honor-bound to bugger off this mortal coil.

4) John Updike has died. I can’t say that I was a fan, having read only one of his books; however, the one I read - The Coup (about a fictional African dictator) – I enjoyed quite a lot.

5) You knew the Democrat spending bill was gonna be bad. How bad? This bad.

6) Hey, if things get rough, I can always be a contractor (H/T: Dog Fight at Bankstown).

7) Reason #37 that I don’t eat seafood: “”Blowfish testicles prepared by an unauthorized chef sickened seven diners in northern Japan.” Hey, authorized or not, I ain’t eatin’ that stuff.

I Can’t Wait!

Tim Blair puts the world on notice that Al Gore will appear before Congress tomorrow to talk about global warming. Looking out of my office window, watching the snow come down here in Washington, D.C., I presume that he’ll be honored with a banner saying “Mission Accomplished!”

Based on recent photos, Al looks like he’s in splendid heft (no doubt he’s suppressing his carbon emissions). I imagine that his appearance will have to be broadcast on the television news using the letterbox format.

Did it ever occur to you, incidentally, that if you painted a swastika on his ass, he’d look just like the Hindenburg?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Blog Shopping

Friend and commenter Richard McEnroe is one of the most irritatingly parsimonious people I know. He has vast reserves of wit (if wit were oil, he'd be Saudi Arabia - except with booze and chicks!), but I only see him dole his genius out in little teaspoons full: a comment here, a comment there.

Well, I finally got hold of his blog site, Three Beers Later. Good stuff and more to come (and Obama as a "metrosexual Mugabe" - pure inspiration!) And if you haven't visited his Loltroops site, then lace your boots up, buddy, and get hep to the jive. Try not to laugh. Go ahead; I dare you.

Update: Heez N Mah Blogroll, Steal'N Mah Kustomurz

Shades of Henry Wallace

H.L. Mencken, covering the Progressive Party convention of 1948, and its gullible and credulous nominee, Henry Wallace, wrote of the ridiculous pol that "To a very large extent he has acquired the semi-celestial character which attached to the late FDR. If, when nominated today, he suddenly sprouts wings and begins flapping about the hall, no one will be surprised."

I was reminded of this imagery (which I rediscovered in Mencken's Last Campaign: H.L.Mencken on the 1948 Election, edited by Joseph C. Goulden) by the profusion of similar heavenly metaphors scattered like rose petals in the path of the One's fairy-tale procession to the White House. Rarely has the disparity between myth and reality been so great; the fall, when it comes, will be hard. Oh, it will take some time, particularly with the media desperately boosting his prestige like a gang of stock swindlers trying to unload a bundle of dubious securities in time to catch the next train out of town. But I believe his political demise is inevitable. Eventually - and it may be as soon as 2012 - people won't be asking for a New Deal; they'll be demanding a new deck.

But of course, I could be wrong (H/T: Cap'n Heinrichs)

Er, Over There, Janet

With Mexico losing ground daily to the power of the drug cartels, with the Mexican army having been implicated in providing security to drug dealers and making incursions into the U.S., and with illegal immigrants continuing to pour across our southern border, new Homeland Security chief, Janet Napolitano, naturally views Canada as a priority.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be concerned with strengthening border security to the north, but what worries me is the increasing likelihood that security policy will be influenced as much by a desire to refrain from offending immigrant advocacy groups (such as the National Latino Congreso, quoted in the linked article) as it will be by the need to find ways to deal with what should be the overriding issue of protecting our citizens from terrorist attacks and otherwise defending our sovereignty.

Thick As Thieves

One of John Kenneth Galbraith’s pet economic themes was that Government, Labor and Big Business were in constant competition with one another, and that it was necessary to keep any two from ganging up on one. To which Bill Buckley responded with the exquisite insight that it is just as likely, if not more so, that all three might gang up on the taxpayer.

My friends, we are seeing Buckley’s prediction come true right now, as all three entities have combined to engage in wholesale theft. We have Pelosi declaring that hundreds of millions of dollars spent on contraceptives are a necessary part of the stimulus bill (and where, may I ask, are tomorrow’s tax payers going to come from?) We have troubled Citigroup, a primary beneficiary of the banking bailout, spending $50MM on a new corporate jet (and a French one, to boot). The auto workers are resisting any attempt to substantially reduce their non-wage compensation, and in an act of complete lunacy, Obama is going to give California the freedom to set its own, more restrictive, auto emissions standards - all against the background of the Big Three baying for more handouts.

I think maybe it’s time for a real taxpayers’ union – not just a lobbying group, but a bona fide union with an actual voice in setting fiscal priorities. I’m looking forward to our first strike, and to breakin’ a few heads. Taxpayers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your “change”!

Book Review

When I first heard about something called the Pocket Obama, I thought it was a joke. Apparently it’s not a joke. Or rather, it is a joke, but an unwitting one.

Now, if this thing had been designed to include genuinely memorable quotations from the president’s speeches and writings, it would vie with Teeny Ted from Turnip Town as the world’s smallest book – and would have the further distinction of not even requiring nanotechnology. Frankly, I cannot recall anything he’s said, so far, that is particularly worth preserving for the sake of posterity. In fact, only a handful of phrases stand out in my memory, at all, and they don’t do him great credit:

“That’s not the Jeremiah Wright I knew.”

“Yes we can!”

“Uh…um…uh…wait a minute, let’s start over…”

“Can I just eat my waffle?”

“Not tonight, Michelle; my DNA is too valuable to just give away.”

Ok, I made up that last one. But really, this is all getting to be too much. Do we want the man to govern wisely (a tall enough order for practically anybody, under almost any circumstances)? Or do we expect him to pick up where Jesus, presumably, left off? The whole Obama phenomenon is looking like little more than an instance of mass hysteria with manufactured religious overtones, under cover of which the leftists in government, academia and the media are trying to hard-wire the ideology of the nanny state – or, if you prefer a classical metaphor, they’ve slipped a Trojan horse filled with socialists through the gates.

Friend and commenter Jeff notes this (typically) solid editorial by Victor Davis Hanson.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Do Youse Swear to Tell Da Trute...




David Plouffe: What’s dat ya got dere, Mr. Axelrod?

David Axelrod: Why, moicy, me, Mr. Plouffe, da feds have went and gave me a subpoena 'cuz dey want I should testify about Blagojevich.

Plouffe: I am sure youse will do your doody, Mr. Axelrod.

Axelrod: Natch. As a guy once said, “Honesty is one a’ da better policies.”

Plouffe: So youse will tell da trute, da whole trute, and nuttin’ but da trute, right Mr. Axelrod?

Axelrod: Yeh, absolootely, Mr. Plouffe. And de trute is I don’t know from nuttin’ about Blagojevich. I mighta talked to him maybe one time, tops, on da telephone – ya know, about da Cubs or sump’n – but I was as shocked as everybody else to find out dat da mug was tryin’ tuh shake down all his frien’s for dough, tryin’ to sell a senate seat. Can youse imagine such a ting?

Plouffe: Dat sure is a revoltin’ development, Mr. Axelrod, but I’m sure every ting will be totally jake. Ya jus’ tell da trute – like yez always do.

Axelrod: I will do dat, Mr. Plouffe; I will tell ‘em all dat I know. Which is nuttin’, see?

His Royal Coolness

Much has been made of our new president’s ulta-hipness, his “cool”; I beg to differ.

Obama’s coolness is nothing more than the cheaply-bought self-esteem and easy complacency that he acquired upon experiencing the singular good fortune of riding in the deluxe coach of a sealed gravy train from the community organizing racket to the White House. He’s already showing an unusual amount of snappishness as he is forced to uncurl himself from his mental fetal position and face the stress of dealing, not only with a dangerous world, but with a not entirely doting press.

And remember: one component of coolness is savvy, a basic (but above-average) level of intelligence that, among other things, helps you - and your posse- to avoid situations that splash your rep with unwanted hilarity.

Very Sad News

A frequent commenter at Tim Blair's old blog site who wound up being the blog administrator at Tizona - and an occasional correspondent with Paco Enterprises - was killed in an automobile accident.

God rest your soul, Ash, and may He comfort your family and your many friends.

Assortment

1) The Republitarian sees interesting similarities between Obama’s big-spending plans and the Japanese experience of the early 90’s. Prognosis? We can soon look forward to the U.S. becoming a third-rate power.

2) Renaissance Ruminations does some ruminating on Terry McAuliffe’s interest in running for governor of Virginia.

3) Boy on a Bike describes his experience learning how to build an eco-friendly hut; which, given the gloomy long-term outlook for the U.S. economy, is what I imagine my retirement home is going to resemble, so I’d better take notes.

4) Andrew Klavan over at Big Hollywood says don’t give up the ship.

5) Will reading a book become obsolete in the digital age?

6) As a lover of desert climes, I’ve always wanted to visit Death Valley; the mystery of the “sailing stones” makes the urge almost irresistible.

7) Chris “Tingle-Leg” Matthews suggests that Sarah Palin cannot read or write. “The question is who actually will write the Palin book,” he said. “The only politician I know who can write is Barack Obama.” Chris, the things you know that ain’t so would fill a book all by themselves.

8) Via El Campeador: Obama's preferred suit-maker goes bankrupt.

Sunday Funny

Friend and commenter Mojo forwards an amusing article on English place names. Frankly, I think it would be kinda cool to live on Butt Hole Road.

Also, don’t miss this revealing photo of Obama retaking the oath of office. I think we’ve got him, now!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Just in Time for Presidents' Day!

Don't miss out on this classy gift!

(H/T: Gateway Pundit)

That Old Black Magic

In Nigeria, vigilantes claim that a car thief transformed himself into a goat.

That's nothing. In the U.S., thieves transform themselves into congressmen. And they're a lot randier than goats. Isn't that right, Mr. Frank?

Friday, January 23, 2009

The New Political Paradigm

On the one hand we have Barack Obama, liberal Democrat FDR wannabe, and on the other we have his defeated foe, John McCain, who, as Jim Geraghty points out, has resumed his old role of throwing conservatives under the bus in order that his vaunted bipartisanship might shine. The former thinks Big Government is the answer, the second says that’s fine with him if it will enable us to “get to work” (and he’d probably embrace cannibalism, too, if the Democrats bid him to do so). Unless the Republican Party throws off the yoke of despair, and discovers within itself a raison d’être that transcends the goal of a government paycheck for the dwindling band of its membership that manages to win elective office, we are likely to wind up with political leadership that looks something like this…



And who wants Two-Headed-Thingocracy?

Diary of the Inválido Máximo – Second Installment

At Babalu.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Happy Feet Friday

Joan Leslie can dance? Who knew? Here’s the very petite and very lovely Miss Leslie tripping the light fantastic with Fred Astaire.

Paco Enterprises Hits the Big Time (Briefly, At Least)

Val Prieto, founder of the superb Babalu blog, did me the honor of asking me to compose a few diary entries for Fidel Castro, along the lines of what I had done with Che's Bolivian diaries. Here are the Castro entries.

And if you haven't been to Babalu before, spend some time there. If you're not reading Babalu - and the other blogs listed on the sidebar - you really don't know what's going on in Cuba (and you're missing a lot of what's going on everywhere else).

Jake Tapper Responds

I linked to this post at Ace of Spades yesterday, in which ABC newsman Jake Tapper was reported to have said “Obama is the first President since Washington to step down into the presidency.” Ace subsequently corrected this statement, having heard from Tapper directly that he had not, in fact, said or written any such thing (the person who put up the post at Ace’s place admits that he may have confused Tapper with someone else).

I have heard from Jake Tapper, too (no, seriously, I have), via e:mail, and I will note here his exact message: “i don't just ‘deny’ saying it. i never said it. i don't know what it means either. please correct your report with stronger language than ‘Tapper denies he said it,’ unless you have some evidence that i did (which you don't and never will.)”

I’m willing to take Jake at his word, and extend my apologies for contributing to any confusion.

From the Shelves of the Paco Library



The Hesperus Press is a unique publisher that specializes in reintroducing short stories and novellas that, for the most part, have been unavailable for many years. The authors in the series are well-known (too many to list here, but they include Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Jules Verne, Mark Twain, and Charles Dickens, to name but a few); however, for whatever reason, the little gems published by Hesperus have fallen by the wayside. The company has published something like a hundred books, so far; I have acquired a handful, and they are a pleasure to read and to hold (they are high-quality soft-cover books, generally not running to more than a hundred pages, and feature eye-catching cover designs). The books include not only fiction, but the occasional historical piece (e.g., Lorenzino de’Medici’s Apology for a Murder, the author’s defense of his assassination of his cousin, Alessandro De’Medici, Duke of Florence, in 1537). All of the books feature highly instructive, well-written introductions.

The following two books are among my favorites.

In 1924, Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov published The Fatal Eggs. It is a tale of an experiment gone horribly wrong, the fatal eggs of the title giving rise to a swarm of giant serpents. The story is a singular mix of horror and understated humor, and is also a sly satire of communist social engineering. One of the most striking episodes in the book is the scene in which one Alexander Semyonovitch Faight (who has midwifed the disaster through incompetent meddling) is on his way down to the pond for a swim, carrying a towel and his flute. On his way, he notices something stirring in the brambles. The “something” ultimately turns out to be a monstrous snake, that rises out of the weeds to the height “of a Moscow power pole”, its eyes gleaming with fathomless malevolence. Faight, paralyzed with fear, vaguely remembers something about the Indian fakirs and their snake-charming skills, takes out his flute, and begins frantically playing the waltz from Eugene Onegin. It is not, however, his music that saves him, but the sudden appearance of his wife, who had been following Faight down the path. The snake immediately sweeps in her direction and devours her (in a scene that is particularly grisly). Interestingly, the world is finally saved by a cold snap, which kills off the mutant reptiles (take that, Al Gore!).

Jonathan Swift’s Directions to Servants is a satirical “handbook” that ostensibly seeks to teach domestic workers the road to success; although “success”, in this context, tends to mean something considerably different from the ideal that the master might have contemplated. As Colm Tóibín points out in his excellent forward, “…Directions to Servants reads as a central document in the long, comic and sly history of Irish disrespect which includes Sterne and Sheridan and Wilde, Joyce and Beckett and Flann O’Brien.”

Here is a sample, from the first chapter, “Directions to Servants in General”:

“It often happens that servants sent on messages, are apt to stay out somewhat longer than the message requires, perhaps two, four, six, or eight hours, or some such trifle; for the temptation to be sure was great, and flesh and blood cannot always resist. When you return, the master storms, the lady scolds, stripping, cudgeling and turning off is the word. But here you ought to be provided with a set of excuses, enough to serve on all occasions: for instance, your uncle came fourscore miles to town this morning, on purpose to see you, and goes back by break of day tomorrow…you were taking leave of a dear cousin who is to be hanged next Saturday…some nastiness was thrown on you out of a garret window, and you were ashamed to come home before you were cleaned and the smell went off…”

The other chapters cover specific advice to holders of all the various offices that characterized the domestic infrastructure of the well-off 18th century householder: butler, groom, chamber maid, coachman, and so on. Particularly interesting is this parting counsel to the footman:

“To grow old in the office of a footman is the highest of all indignities, therefore, when you find years coming on, without hopes of a place at Court, a command in the army, a succession to the stewardship, an employment in the Revenue (which two last you cannot obtain without reading and writing), or running away with your master’s niece or daughter, I directly advise you to go upon the road [i.e., turn highwayman], which is the only post of honour left you. There you will meet many of your old comrades, and live a short life and a merry one, and make a figure at your exit…”

Hesperus has done a signal service in rescuing these works from obscurity, and they represent a delightful opportunity to explore some of literature’s out-of-the-way, but highly enjoyable, stories and essays.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

WWBD?

If Bob Mitchum were alive, I think he'd have been a great preacher to give the invocation at the inauguration...

Hope Dashed, Change Halted

A superb video of the aftermath of the inaugural ceremonies; what exquisite symbolism of the disparity between the hype and the reality (it's entitled, "Post-Barackalyptic Wasteland").



(Via Ace of Spades)

Today's Biblical Update Mat 24:24 - "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

Also From Ace: Jake Tapper of ABC News says "Obama is the first President since Washington to step down into the presidency." What the hell does that mean? That he looks on the presidency as a place to goof off until he earns a pension? The MSM is, hilariously and unwittingly, setting Obama up for a tremendous fall. The new president doesn't even have to do all that badly to fall disappointingly short of the unprecedented hype.

Correction: Tapper denies he said it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Guess What I Found...

...a reason to switch to Coca-Cola.

Totally unrelated: Here's an odd site that combines lovely photography with good jokes (H/T: Captain Heinrichs).

What, didn't catch the Speech? That's ok; Jules Crittenden did.

Interesting Lead Up to the Inauguration

TCM broadcast The Fountainhead this morning; I'm sure the irony of showing that particular movie on the first official day of the Socialist era (in the Duodi of Vendémiaire in the Year 1 of the Obamalution, to borrow, somewhat, from the French Revolutionary Calendar) was lost on the programmers - unless it was an intentional dig at the dwindling band of individualists out there.

Your Biblical Update - 2 Tim 4:3 "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."

Update II (Definitely Non-Biblical): Ace of Spades has got your high-quality snark. Keep scrolling and watch closely, or you might miss the link to Obama's shoe-shine boy, Chris Matthews, comparing Bush to the Romanovs.

So Long, Mr. President, and Thank You

I like George Bush, and I believe he did the right thing in Afghanistan and Iraq; the alternatives (Gore, Kerry) are so scary that I don't like to think about them. I have seen no president in my lifetime who has been on the receiving end of so much vitriolic abuse - not even Nixon - and it represents a need for the kind of genuine change in people's attitudes, outlook and knowledge that is not likely to happen in the environment of hero worship that surrounds the new president, where millions of budding cultists are even now demonstrating an astonishing level of ignorance (and, in too many cases, a loathsome lack of good manners). I wish Obama well, to the extent that his success may genuinely coincide with what is objectively good for our country and our society; but whether he fares well or poorly, I would not wish on him the frothing hatred that has motivated so many of George Bush's detractors.

The Anchoress has a nice tribute to President Bush.

Update: Obama says we must "Pick Ourselves Up." Hey, the administration has its new theme song!

Sanctuary!

Indefatigable internet explorer, Captain Heinrichs, has located a place of refuge for fleeing conservatives.

Thanks, Captain; but isn't there someplace available with non-Gorean temperatures and palm trees?

BTW, Tim Blair is live-blogging the inauguration; don't miss it (and Richard McEnroe, who has scored the first comment, has probably already written the funniest one that will appear there).

Hey, I'm sure it's worth every penny.

Andrew Breitbart rips leftist celebrities a collective new one.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Assortment

1a) Obama look-alike trying to raise issue of profiling in France

1b) Mission accomplished: Obama look-alike arrested (a fake arrest, of course; if the French police won't arrest "youths" burning cars, why would they arrest a mere jogger?)

2) A small victory, but a sweet one; Bill Ayers denied entry to Canada.


Thanks, eh!

3) 'Ja getcher shots, boys?

4) Out of ipecac syrup? Try this (H/T: Ed Driscoll).

Rich Mexican Business Man Willing to Light Cigars with 100-Dollar Bills

Or something very like it. Carlos Slim may increase his investment in the New York Times.

I wonder how his first meeting with Maureen Dowd will go. Something like this, I hope:



Update: I also wonder if Carlos Slim will remember this NYT editorial.

Bush Commutes Sentences of Border Patrol Agents

Not a pardon, but better than languishing in prison for more years to come (H/T: Friends and Commenters Jeff, KC and Retread).

Obamamania – Your Inaugural Roundup

1) Do you like pecan ice cream? How about now?

2) And all this time, you didn’t even notice that George Bush looked like William Howard Taft.

3) This is surely a sign of the end times.

4) We must be worthy of Obama’s attempts to rejuvenate this nation by rejuvenating ourselves (H/T: Ace).

5) With economic collapse virtually guaranteed because of the New Deal fantasies guiding Obama and the Democrats, I’ve finally found a use for my stock certificates!

6) Hey, Joe Biden isn't the only one in the family with loose lips.

Update: So, Shepard Fairey is the guy responsible for the famous "Hope" poster. Further comment would be superfluous (but don't let that stop you!)

The BBC...

...still can't figure out who the bad guys are.

The Dog Ate My W-2

Byron York relates the rather astonishing information that Timothy Geithner, Obama's nominee for U.S. Treasury secretary, has no explanation at all for not paying his taxes.

I call this "astonishing" because, with all of the lead time this guy has had, he should have been able to come up with something. I mean, it might not be particularly plausible, but no explanation at all? Tax form dyslexia...sudden onset of rare condition known as April amnesia..."I was waiting so I could pay the higher, patriotic tax rates that Obama and Biden have promised"...something, dude.

The Purge

Nancy Pelosi seems to be contemplating charges against members of the Bush administration, in what has become a long-running Democrat tendency to criminalize political differences. This effort, in conjunction with the attempt to co-opt the middle class by getting virtually everyone hooked on government entitlements through a huge expansion of government spending, is part of an overall strategy to undermine the two-party system and entrench the Democrats in power for years to come - maybe permanently. Unfortunately, the Democrats have benefited from both the unscrupulousness of Republican "me-too" spenders, and the pusillanimity of the Republican Party in taking the fight on a number of important fronts to the Democrats (anybody remember John McCain?)

It would be a shame if the most truly Lincolnesque outcome of the Lincoln-obsessed new administration is another civil war (or an acceleration of what Ed Driscoll and others refer to as "the cold civil war.")

A Detective Paco Rerun - Detective Paco and the Climate Babe

I went down to the University to nose around and find out about this mysterious consensus of scientific bodies that had decided we were all soon destined to be permanent occupants of a planetary steam bath. It was late, but I figured there had to be one or two geniuses around who preferred playing with test tubes to stacking empty shot glasses down at Machado’s.

The main door to the Physics building was open and it looked like a good place to start so I tossed my cigarette into a hydrangea bush and sauntered in. The corridors were dimly lit, and the place smelled like Mr. Clean’s bathroom. Down the hall I saw a bright slit of light at the bottom of a door marked “Climatology Department – L. Petri, Dean”. A hole in one. I opened the door and stepped in and that’s when I saw her.

I don’t know what I was expecting; some geezer with coke bottle glasses and hair like an Easter basket full of excelsior, I suppose. I recalled my days in biology lab in high school, and I’d never seen a Petri dish to match this one. She had long chestnut-colored hair tied in a loose queue that fell half-way down her back and a figure that looked like a stylized ‘S’. When she looked up at me I saw that her eyes were like two deep pools of melted glacier water and I could see myself grabbing a big rock and jumping in and sinking straight to the bottom.

“Can I help you?”

“I hope so, ma’am. Name’s Paco, private detective. I’m looking into claims made by. . .” - I consulted my notes – “a David Suzuki that all scientific bodies agree we’ll soon be able to go trolling for marlin off the coast of Nebraska.”

She turned to face me and her unfastened white lab coat parted: just enough to let me know that this was one scientific body worth some close attention.

She pondered for a moment. “David Suzuki? Wasn’t he the old guy in The Karate Kid?”

“No, Professor Petri. He’s a scientist. A geneticist, I believe, who’s banging the global warming drum.”

She laughed. It sounded like a soft breeze stirring silver wind chimes.

“In that case, I’ve never heard of him. And if he’s marching to the sound of that particular drummer, he’s way off base. There is no consensus, and my own view is that the global warming scare is largely fraudulent, a bogey-man used by ideologues to gain more political power. And call me Linda”

So who was I going to believe: a bespectacled old Japanese duffer who was carrying water for Al Gore, or this Venus in a lab coat who’d just asked me to call her “Linda”.

I smiled and put my notebook away. Case solved. “Linda, you look a little thirsty. Have you ever been to Machado’s?”

She smiled and took off her lab coat. “Mr. Paco, I’ll show you how to build a rhombic dodecahedron from bar coasters. Let’s go”.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How About President-For-Life Papa Doc Obama?

Two-term limit? Not for this superhero! We can all grow old and gray together with The One (except, of course, that He won't grow old and gray).




Oh, man! What are they all gonna do when they find out there ain't no Santa Claus?


(Image courtesy of Gateway Pundit)

Lab Quality Imbecility

Tim Blair links to an article by Michael Backman at The Age online that packs more ignorance, non sequiturs, and sheer nonsense into one short article on Israel and the Palestinians than you're likely to see this side of Antony Loewenstein.

Courtesy of friend and commenter, Blogstrop, we have this update and fine fisking from Caroline Overington.

Now Can We Start Taking Border Security Seriously?

The drug wars in Mexico are seriously undermining the country's judicial, police and security infrastructure. I work for a federal agency that is involved with international trade, and we have already seen instances in which small and medium-size businesses in Mexico are developing cash flow problems because of systematic kidnapping campaigns that take a huge toll in ransom money. Right now, I'd feel safer traveling in Iraq than in parts of Mexico (and I wouldn't go to Ciudad Juarez on a bet).

The government's failure to improve border security because of a lack of concern over the inflow of illegal aliens is now likely to put us in the position of being strictly reactive as the violence ultimately spills across the border. Perhaps when an armored unit of the Mexican army escorting a convoy of narcotraficantes "accidentally" winds up in downtown Tucson, somebody will stand up and take notice.

Hold 'em off, Yojimbo. Help is on the way (maybe).

Sunday Funny

Or, in this case, more like Sunday weird: old science documentary films (H/T: Captain Heinrichs).

President-elect Obama: Is there anything he can't do?

How about a Lego mock-up of the inauguration? (H/T: Don Surber)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

An Old Fashioned Inauguration

With Obama harking back to Lincoln, and the President and Vice President elect riding into Washington on a train, we can count on a real family-values inauguration, including:

- Gay orgies

- Fraternizing with the enemy

- Cult excess

I don't know about you, but I'll probably be watching old episodes of Cheyenne on the Western Channel while the inaugural hoopla is going on. How's about you?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Inaugural Pollution

Awesome! Obama's inauguration extravaganza, all by itself, may push us beyond Al Gore's dreaded "tipping point."

I hope so, anyway. It's 18 degrees in Fairfax, VA.

Update: Even more fabulous Obamatude.

Time to Pluck this Tick Off

American Thinker has an interesting quiz: can you tell the difference between comments made by Bill Moyers and David Duke? I couldn’t. It’s difficult to tell from reading through these sample quotes which man is more truly Anti-Semitic.The difference, of course, is that David Duke hasn’t, to the best of my knowledge, grown rich off of taxpayer-supported public television.

One of the most amazing transformations I’ve ever seen is the one in which Bill Moyers went from being a boot-licking toady in Lyndon Johnson’s administration to America’s self-appointed moral philosopher in residence. A knee-jerk leftist who spews his vitriol in a slight western twang, and buttresses his creed with intellectual props such as Noam Chomsky, he has developed a bizarre style of discourse which draws deeply on religious imagery to attack, among other things, religion (not all religion, of course; he is sometimes perplexed by Islam, but has always reserved his genuine ire for fundamentalist Christians and, increasingly, Jews).

How long would Moyers last in an environment that was not government-subsidized? I, for one, think it’s long past time to find out.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Two Important Updates...

...to my earlier post on guns.

1) Theo has the video on the Pfeifer-Zeliska .600 nitro Magnum revolver (H/T: Captain Heinrichs).

2) Friend and commenter Mojo sends the following (but, dude, can you get a concealed carry permit?)

Happy Feet Friday

Duke Ellington and his orchestra illustrate the truth of the old saying that “It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Swing”; watch for some fine solos, including Ray Nance (violin), Joe Nanton (mute trombone) and Ben Webster (tenor saxophone) (from 1943).

Nothing is Certain but Death and Taxes (Well, Maybe Taxes, Not So Much)

President-elect Obama’s nominee for Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, failed to pay $34,000 in taxes. Obama characterized this as “an innocent mistake.”



"Hey, you know, that’s exactly what I said! ‘An innocent mistake,’ I said. ‘Jus’ one a dem crazy little things.’ Cigarettes, Timmy; don’t forget the cigarettes. In the big house, they’re like gold.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

From the Shelves of the Paco Library



Shortly after the turn of the last century, the American publisher, Charles Scribner’s Sons, brought out a series of classic adventure stories and novels of historical fiction, adorned with pictures by some of our greatest illustrators, including N.C. Wyeth and Peter Hurd. Although originally aimed at younger readers, the books appeal to people of any age who enjoy imaginative, well-written stories. I confess that I did not get around to reading many of these books until I was into well-advanced adulthood - Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Robinson Crusoe, The Black Arrow - but I nonetheless enjoyed them immensely, and the experience was richly enhanced by the beautiful color plates (I have a dozen books in the series; a few are early editions, but most are high-quality reissues from the 1980’s and ‘90’s).

I have just completed one book in the Scribner’s series which had been sitting on the shelf, forgotten and unread, for years. Jules Verne is remembered as being one of the pioneers of science fiction, but he was also a writer of historical fiction. Michael Strogoff is the romantic tale of a captain in the courier service of Czar Alexander II, who is charged with the responsibility of carrying a letter to the Czar’s brother, the Grand Duke. The Grand Duke is governor of a distant Siberian province, and his life is threatened by a Russian traitor by the name of Ivan Ogareff. Strogoff sets out in a race against time, as a Tartar insurrection, which has been actively incited by Ogareff, sweeps across the steppes, leaving death and devastation in its wake. Strogoff is thrown together with a young woman who has set out for Siberia to take up residence with her father, an exile from the Baltic region, and they help each other along the way, combating the elements, enduring a brief captivity by the Tartars, and ultimately outwitting the treacherous Ogareff.

I have previously highlighted another fine book in the series (Sir Walter Scott’s Quentin Durward), and would also recommend Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Black Arrow, a story set in the Wars of the Roses. The Black Arrow of the title is Ellis Duckworth, the leader of a band of men forced into outlawry by an adherent to the house of Lancaster, Sir Daniel Brackley; however, the real hero is Dick Shelton, the young ward of Sir Daniel, who winds up turning against his guardian when he discovers that he murdered his father. Sir Daniel kidnaps a beautiful young heiress, Joanna Sedley, whom he intends to marry off to Shelton. Joanna is, naturally, appalled by the prospect of a forced marriage, but, ironically, falls in love with Shelton (and vice versa). Once they break with Sir Daniel, they experience numerous adventures against the backdrop of the civil war, and Shelton eventually enters the service of Richard Crookback (later King Richard III). Justice against Sir Daniel is delayed, but finally executed by the Black Arrow, after the defeat of the Lancastrian faction in battle. Few authors of his generation exceeded Stevenson’s ability to recreate a sense of time and place and historical authenticity, and perhaps no one surpassed him in the ability to spin a lively and entertaining yarn.

The Scribner’s books are great additions to the permanent library: pleasing to the eye, stimulating to the imagination, and, in spite of the relatively high quality of their manufacture, easy on the pocketbook

Andrew Sullivan’s Weblog Victory Bodes Well for Psychiatric Profession, Manufacturers of Thorazine

Andrew Sullivan’s “Daily Dish” won Best Blog in the 2008 Weblog Awards, with an Allende-like plurality of 34.2%. Now, let’s see. There were 72,207 total votes cast, of which Andy collared 24,685. Using this figure as a proxy (a floor, mind you, not a ceiling) for the unavailable datum, “number of demented people who have access to the internet”, and you’re talking a fair amount of money for therapy, medication and restraining devices (and I’m only including restraining devices that have a medical purpose, not the stuff that much of Andy’s constituency employs when they’re canoodling). Even allowing for multiple votes, this is, what, maybe two or three divisions in the Crazy Corps? Still, mucho dinero for the boys in the white coats. Looks like another sterling opportunity for the health care subsidiary of Paco Enterprises!

Besieged

Ed Driscoll has a couple of links to some sobering thoughts on the culture wars, including an interesting essay by the late Paul Weyrich.

I think there is much to be said for the idea of detaching oneself from the surrounding culture when it degenerates into a morass of self-obsessed carnality, state-mandated entitlements, “one-world” homogeneity and the celebration of the kind of (highly-selective) “diversity” that dissolves the glue that binds us together as an identifiable and unified society. And it would be foolish to pretend that conservatives have reversed the process of cultural disintegration; it is becoming increasingly difficult for many people, for example, to unashamedly espouse traditional, conservative political beliefs, without reciting, as if by rote, certain politically correct qualifications. The institutions which historically have served as repositories and guardians of our cultural – specifically, our western - heritage have become engines for the atomization of society, as our intellectual “nomenklatura” continue to work assiduously to undermine the concepts of personal responsibility, natural law, love of country, free enterprise and freedom of speech; and since these same people control the education of our children, it is not surprising that so many people find themselves, as adults, ill-equipped to defend a system of beliefs that is rooted primarily in a sentimental attachment to the preferences and practices of their parents – a kind of inertial acceptance – and that has never been reinforced through formal instruction by teachers who subscribe to its validity.

So, as I say, the concept of moral, spiritual and intellectual withdrawal is appealing, and is not at all inconsistent with, for example, the Christian idea that the world is a vale of tears through which we pass, as pilgrims, in order to reach our final destination. And yet, and yet…there is still the gnawing fear that this kind of withdrawal may finally lead to the creation of a conservative ghetto, alienated from the larger society, having no influence on it, and perhaps ultimately unable to defend itself from increasingly strident and violent attempts to coerce and suppress it. I do not think – but in any event, am not prepared to accept – that we are bound by some form of historical determinism to proceed inevitably from being active participants to being the occupants of a ghetto (and – who knows? – maybe, in the end, the inmates of a gulag). We should never underestimate the power of individuals – however few in number – acting with courage, intelligence and persistence, to alter the course of affairs.

We now resume our regular programming of dance music, light comedy and snappy patter.

Proof that Obama's Election is a Disaster

President Bush declares D.C. a federal emergency area.


So is Illinois, but at least they have a sense of humor about it:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Honest Barack, Rail Sitter Splitter

The President-Elect, his wife and David Axelrod are meeting in the Obamas' hotel room at the Hays Adams Hotel to discuss the Inauguration Day luncheon

Obama: Listen, David, I agree with the general idea that I am Lincoln reincarnated, but aren’t we carrying the symbolism a little too far?

Axelrod: Symbols are important, sir. Now, does the stovepipe hat fit?

Obama: Yes, yes, it fits just fine. But I draw the line at the false beard. It makes me look like Islamic Rage Boy.

Axelrod: Not if you maintain a sad, but wise, smile.

Michelle Obama (storming in from the bedroom): What the hell is this?

Axelrod: That’s a hoop skirt, ma’am; an exact reproduction of the dress that Mary Todd Lincoln wore on her husband’s inauguration day.

Michelle: And this doily thing?

Axelrod: That’s a cap.

Michelle: Dude, you are outta your freakin’ mind if you think I’m wearin’ this s**t !

Axelrod: Perfect, Michelle! A show of hysterical temper would be ideal. Mary Todd Lincoln was mentally ill, you know. Er, do you think you could possibly fork some mashed potatoes onto your head during the luncheon?

Michelle: What?!?

Axelrod: Ok, ok. How about if you just throw a hot buttered roll at Joe Biden?

Michelle: Well, I had planned on doing that, anyway. But these plantation house threads are definitely out! And Barack, take that silly hat off; you look like Mr. Peanut.

Obama (admiring himself in the mirror): Oh, I don’t know…this hat seems to give me…stature.

Michelle: You know what that hat looks like? It looks like one of those old kitchen garbage pails, the kind where you step on a little pedal and the lid pops up.

Axelrod: I assure you, Michelle, the hat is historically accurate in every detail.

Michelle: Forget about the damn hat for a minute! Have you ever stopped to think that Lincoln was a Republican? Why can’t my husband go as FDR?

Axelrod: We considered it, Michelle, but a wheelchair would take up too much room at the table. We’d have to move Hillary Clinton.

Michelle: And your point would be?

Obama: Please, baby, David’s just trying to create the proper mood for the beginning of my presidency.

Axelrod: Besides, Hillary’s agreed to wear a simple brown dress and a do-rag on her head, and at a cue from me, during the main course, she’s going to say, “Lawsy, Miss Michelle, I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout birthin’ no Middle East peace process!” And then Abe…er…the President, that is, can lay out his vision for creating a lasting peace in that part of the world.

Michelle: What’s he gonna do? Have Grant shell Tehran? Fiddle-dee-dee, I don’t even want to think about the inaugural luncheon today; I’ll think about it tomorrow (Michelle withdraws to the bedroom, slamming the door).

Axelrod: By George, I believe she’s got it!

Obama: Umm, David, just what is my vision for establishing peace in the Middle East?

Axelrod: I don’t know, yet, sir; we’ll figure something out during the appetizer. Now, here’s a list of Lincoln quotes you might want to work into your conversation during the luncheon.

Obama (reading through the list): Hmm…Let’s see… “All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio.” Ok, I don’t get it. Why would anybody want to drink from the Ohio River? Didn’t it actually catch on fire one time?

Axelrod: That was the Cuyahoga.

Obama: And what about this one? “This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.” I don’t know that I want to put that idea into people’s heads, especially until we get this inflation thing under control.

Axelrod: You mean “recession”, sir.

Obama: Whatever. Come in! (Obama responds to a knock on the door).

(General Merrill McPeak, Obama’s chief military advisor, enters the room; he is wearing what appears, at first glance, to be a dead otter on his face; but a second glance shows it to be only a false beard. He is attired in an immaculate gray uniform with yellow piping, and his head is crowned with a wide-brimmed hat topped off with a peacock feather. In short, McPeak's inaugural luncheon costume has been tailored to precisely resemble the cavalry uniform of J.E.B. Stuart, Major General, Confederate States Army. He is received with icy stares by Axelrod.and Obama)

McPeak(somewhat anxiously): What?

Assortment

1) I’m developing a “strange new respect” for Mickey Rourke .

2) Honest Barack Obama’s fans plan to double-down on the Lincoln theme, with an inaugural luncheon “that’s modeled after foods Lincoln enjoyed.” The luncheon will be followed by the suspension of habeas corpus and a Civil War.

3) Now, that’s funny.

4) Steve Gill ponders the upcoming inauguration circus, and identifies some very scary clowns.

5) No Pasaran has the latest update on octopus-shaped UFOs.

UPDATE: And thank you, Vermont, for sending preening, sanctimonious ass, Bernie Sanders, to the U.S. Senate.

UPDATE II: Oops, almost forgot this story; you have to read all the way to the end, though.

Close One

Australian fights off attack by sea kitten.

See You Later!

That is, if I land this great job in Australia. I believe I'm highly qualified: I can "stroll a beach", and I've even snorkeled. Perhaps one of my Aussie friends can tell me how to get a work visa.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I'd Like One of Each, Please

Lists of the "biggest", "baddest", "smartest", "sexiest", etc. generally always lead to some controversy. Should this one be on the list at all? Why isn't that number one instead of number five? Still, they're kinda fun - and sometimes highly instructive. United Conservatives links to a list of "The Ten Manliest Firearms". Discuss among yourselves (I confess that I am intrigued by UC's own suggestion: the Pfeifer Zeliska Revolver, Cal. 600 Nitro Magnum - "How do you say 'Put that television down'?").

Sayonara, Doofus

Senator George Voinovich has stated that he will not run for reelection.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air isn’t shedding any tears (unlike Voinovich, himself), but Extreme Mortman really tells you all you need to know about ol’ George (Motto: A penny saved is a penny urined).

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ozone Hole in Obama's Administration Growing Larger

Update and bumped: Browner's mug shot has been scrubbed from the web site, but do drop in at the Socialist International and let me know if you see a great many differences between its statement of principles and the Democratic Party platform. I noticed that the commissioners made a field trip to Antarctica:



Leave it to a bunch of socialists to miss a golden marketing opportunity. Hey, comrades! Time to take the Che t-shirts to the next level; Che Gore-Tex!

Carol Browner, Obama's pick for climate czar, appears to have socialist ties.

Also, Dr. Gregory Young has a fascinating article up at American Thinker, in which he points out the fatuity of those climate alarmists who want to pin the global warming rap on carbon dioxide.

Likely Story

Oh, sure; tree kangaroos. Next thing, you'll be telling me there's such a thing as drop bears.

How Quickly We Forget

One of my uncles brought back a souvenir to my mother from Europe, where he had served in WWII. It was a sheet of paper on which had been affixed a dozen or so postage stamps, and which included a brief narrative exhorting us to never forget. Some of the stamps underscored that message: on one, there was a hammer destroying a swastika, and on another there was a picture of a swastika being swept into a dust-pan. The stamps were mostly from Austria and Germany, and several were emblazoned with what might well have been the motto of WWII: ”Niemals Vergessen!” - Never Forget.

In the years after WWII, it seemed unlikely to many in the west that the kind of virulent anti-semitism associated with Nazism could ever be rekindled again. We were done with that particular evil, we told ourselves; mankind had put away its senseless genocidal urges.

But when one looks around the world today and sees the hatefulness of slogans being shouted in London and Paris and Ft. Lauderdale(!), not only by Muslims, but by their fellow-travelers, for whom the victims du jour may be Palestinians or Iraqis or jihadi prisoners in Guantanamo, but for whom the oppressors are invariably Jews, one is struck by the truth that people do, indeed, “forget” (except for that very large group of people who never had need to force themselves to remember the evils attendant upon anti-semitism, because they cherished them, and handed down their hatreds from generation to generation).

Mark Steyn, as usual, offers some of the best commentary on the subject (H/T: Blue Crab Boulevard). My own opinion is that Hamas and other anti-Jewish outfits would do well to look at things in the long-term, historical perspective:


(Image gratefully swiped from Seraphic Secret)

La Trahison des Clercs

Mark Falcoff reviews The Shameful Peace, by Frederic Spotts, a book which investigates the extent to which artists and intellectuals in France collaborated with the Germans during the occupation. I have not read it yet, myself, but it looks interesting. Many of our own self-appointed intellectuals revel in their theatrical denunciations of "fascism" in America, and instances of celebrity BDS have been numerous. It would be fascinating to see whether the same people, faced with a genuinely authoritarian system in which one's adherence to principle might well have life and death consequences, would follow the French model.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sunday Funny



Hey, great news! I've joined an exclusive club of only a few million blogs in winning the above international award! It must be true because Iowahawk says so.

Totally unrelated update: You know those occasional noises that seem to come from your attic? You'd better check 'em out.

Why You Should Bookmark Paco Enterprises

Because, if you have to Google it every time you want to visit, you will destroy the world (H/T: Babalu).

More Fun with Petards

PETA has initiated a weird strategy to turn yet another food group into something too cute to eat - "Hey, let's call fish sea kittens!" - but, in that quirky PETA way, has also unwittingly provided the means for sabotaging same. We are invited to create our own sea kittens. Ok:

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Culture Break

You know, folks write in all the time and say things like, “Sure, Paco, the Che diaries and the detective stories are ok, as mildly entertaining fluff goes, but where are the thoughtful essays about belles-lettres and fine art and classical architecture? Who’s this ‘Proust’ guy people talk about, what’s your take on that Picasso fellow, and where do you stand on Damien Hirst? (And don’t say ‘on whichever part makes him holler the loudest’, ‘cause we know that would be a gag, see, although we agree with you 100%).”

So, just to show you that Paco Enterprises spells class with a capital ‘K’, here’s a quality cultural link to Theodore Dalrymple , an egghead who really knows his onions.

Breakfast with Harry

Harry Reid sat in the kitchen of his Washington townhouse, as the early morning sun streamed through the window. He was dressed in Winnie the Pooh pajamas and a blue-and-white checked bathrobe; his long narrow feet, resembling giant banana clams, were wedged into worn leather slippers. Just as he was about to shovel his first spoonful of cream of wheat into his mouth, the doorbell rang. “Oh bother!” he muttered, before shuffling to the front door.

Reid (opening door): Yes?

Delivery man: White Flag Service! Here with your weekly supply.

Reid: Oh, yes…just a minute. I’ve got a duffle-bag full of dirty ones I need you to take back.

Delivery Man: Incidentally, sir, it’s the first of the month. Your bill is due [hands Reid an invoice].

Reid [studying the bill]: Say, when did prices go up?

Delivery Man: They didn’t, sir. Or rather, your monthly bill did go up, but it’s because of the increase in your bulk usage; it’s a different rate because you exceeded the white flag ceiling in effect under your particular plan. You seem to be surrendering more than usual, lately.

Reid: How do you figure that?

Delivery Man: Well, let’s check the log book, Senator [pulls a three-inch thick three-ring binder out of his satchel, marked “Reid, Harry”]. Now, you see here? You signed up for four years’ worth of white flags, to be delivered monthly, for the purpose of attempting to surrender in Iraq.

Reid: Right.

Delivery Man: But you also vowed to seat Al Franken in the Senate on the first day, and you backed down. Then you swore you wouldn’t seat anybody Governor Blagojevich chose, and now you’ve caved on that. Oh, you’ve surrendered lots of times, sir, and not just in Iraq.

Reid: Hey, wait a minute! Those last two were more like truces.

Delivery Man: It’s still a white flag, Senator.

Reid: All right, all right. Here’s your money. But don’t be surprised if I wind up switching to disposable white flags, young man!

Harry Reid closed the door and returned to his breakfast – which, unfortunately, had grown cold and congealed into a gummy mess. He sighed, and called out to his cat. “C’mere, Quisling! Here, boy! How’s about some nice cream of wheat?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy Feet Friday

From The Big Broadcast of 1937, Benny Goodman and his orchestra burn up the stage with a great arrangement of “Bugle Call Rag” (dig Gene Krupa on those drums!)

Assortment

1) Jimmy Carter – shill for Palestinian “statehood” and carnival barker for America’s enemies everywhere – thinks that avoiding the war in Gaza would have been as easy as falling off a sack of peanuts - if only it hadn’t been for them damn juice.

2) Friend and commenter Mikael of Turban Bomb reveals yet another example of the success of Muslim assimilation in Europe.

3) Exurban League explains, via simple cartoon, the basis of climate-change hysteria.

4) Tim Blair links to what may well be the most dishonest and/or idiotic (no reason it can’t be both) article on Cuba that I’ve seen in a long time. Blair commenter DavidNcl suggests that Richard Gott may have had some dalliances with the KGB, and – well, whaddaya know! - that does appear to be the case. Not on their payroll, of course; just traveling to meet with them on their dime, without informing his employer. Mm-hm. Sounds pretty above-board to me.

5) John McCain’s defeat is starting to look more and more like a narrow escape.

6)


What’s da name a’ dat punk what ain’t lettin’ Roland Burris take his senate seat? Reid, ya say? Harry Reid? What? Nah, no special reason. Just curious. Say, youse ain’t got his address, do yez?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

From the Shelves of the Paco Library



The Confederate Navy operated at a huge disadvantage from the start: fairly early in the war, the Union had captured several important ports, and threw an effective blockade around the long Southern coastline that severely hampered the import of foreign goods, including much-needed military supplies. Small as it was, however, the CSN included a number of highly capable men, among whom one of the most efficient and daring was John Taylor Wood. Wood’s life is admirably presented by Royce Gordon Shingleton in his biography, John Taylor Wood: Sea Ghost of the Confederacy (University of Georgia Press, originally published in 1979).

Wood was a grandson of President Zachary Taylor, and a nephew of Confederate president Jefferson Davis. Though born in Minnesota, and commissioned in the U.S. Navy, Wood was a southern sympathizer who ultimately threw in his lot with the Confederacy. He resigned from the U.S. Navy shortly after the outbreak of open warfare, initially hoping to maintain his neutrality as a farmer in Maryland, but the harsh military occupation of the state by the Federals under General Benjamin F. Butler decided him, and in October of 1861 he received a commission in the Confederate Navy as a First Lieutenant.

Shingleton sets the stage in the first chapter:

“A remarkable fighter, Wood’s Civil War adventures could easily have come from the imagination of a writer of fiction. He participated in naval engagements involving the latest advances in ship construction, motive power and naval ordnance (including the first battle between ironclads), but another specialty, an old method of sea warfare, was the cutting-out expedition. In a truly dramatic wartime career he seized over forty prizes, ranking second only to Raphael Semmes in the number of vessels captured. Most of Wood’s victims fell prey to the dreaded ocean-going commerce destroyer he commanded late in the war, and the remainder he captured by leading boarding parties in a series of midnight raids against Union ships. Moving his boarding cutters overland on wagons by day, the amphibious “Horse Marine” suddenly emerged from an unexpected place at night to board and capture enemy vessels…Alarmed Union authorities distributed printed pamphlets warning their commanders against Wood’s surprise attacks, but there is no record that he was ever repulsed once he moved alongside an enemy ship.”

Wood was part of Jefferson Davis’ entourage during the Confederate president’s flight at the end of the war, and was briefly captured along with Davis, but managed to bribe a Union soldier who let him get away. Then began a harrowing trip through Georgia and Florida, and, finally, escape to Cuba. After a short time there, he made his way to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he went into business with Captain John Wilkinson, a famous blockade runner, establishing a merchant commission house, and branching out into shipping and marine insurance. He died in Halifax in 1904.

Shingleton’s recounting of the adventures of John Taylor Wood, both as an officer in the Confederate Navy and as a fugitive making his desperate way through the Florida swamps, is exciting history that frequently reads like a novel. The book is a fine contribution to the library of American Civil War history, and provides a fascinating look at one of the lesser-known aspects of that war – the struggle at sea – and at one of its most colorful figures.