Friday, July 31, 2009

Rule 5 Saturday

The gorgeous Virginia O’Brien gives her trademark deadpan delivery of “Did I Get Stinkin’ at the Club Savoy.”

Ominous

Tim Blair brings us the news that President Obama's new best friend is Australia's Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. Based on the president's established criteria for picking friends, does this mean that Australia is now afflicted with a budding dictatorship?

Cash for Clunkers


Ok, so how much do we get for this one?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Here's Looking at You!


Caption time!

Happy Feet Friday

The joint is jumpin’, thanks to that inimitable pianist and entertainer, Fats Waller.

Calling All Blairites!

Tim Blair’s scouts report from around the world…

1) Mr. Bingley uncovers the potential medical benefits of blue M&Ms.

2) El Campeador celebrates the return of Muffy to her rightful environs.

3) News reporting: not always the creampuff job you thought it was, says Margo’s Maid at the Shadowlands.

4) Richard McEnroe thinks there’s less to the housing rebound than meets the eye

5) Have you ever thought about how great it would be to go back to the 1970s? Neither has kae.

6) A modest letter from Tim T.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

From the Shelves of the Paco Library



Sir Osbert Sitwell was an English poet, novelist and art critic; however, he made something of a career writing about his fascinating family. His five-volume autobiography (the first volume of which is entitled Left Hand, Right Hand!) is probably his best-known work, and is one of the most highly-regarded autobiographies of the 20th century. While the books cast a wide net among Sir Osbert’s family and friends, the central figure is his father, Sir George Sitwell: conservative politician, antiquary, and eccentric par excellence.

The autobiography was followed up by Tales My Father Taught Me, a collection of additional incidents involving Sir George that forms a kind of postscript to the earlier works. Running throughout the Tales is the loving, if frequently bemused, recollections of Sir Osbert’s near-farcical relationship with his father; two minds, rooted in different centuries, that never quite operated on the same wavelength.

Take, for example, Sir George’s ruminations on Robin Hood:
’I don’t object to his robbing monks, who were no doubt bigoted and self-indulgent and thoroughly deserved it,’ he explained, ‘but he should have kept the money for the rich. Of course, it is true that there was no income tax in those days, still it was such a mistake to give the money to the poor, whereas the rich were the only people who knew how to spend it. They could always have found a use for it. Most selfish of Robin Hood not to have grasped that! You couldn’t trust him. No, they were a very unpleasant set, I’m afraid…I hope, dear boy, that you’ll be careful to avoid the company of people like that.’

‘Where should I find it?’ I asked.

He ignored my question.

‘Every young man,’ he went on, ‘should beware of joining up with such a party of crack-brained socialists…’

On another occasion, Sir George felt the need for a holiday. Son Osbert decided to help his father find just the right place.
Now as it happened I had only that very morning read in one of the daily papers an advertisement of what was obviously a privately run home for the demented, and was described as ‘set in peaceful surroundings with a park and a lake.’ Accordingly I told my father about the establishment but did not disclose to him its true nature.

‘It sounds just what I need,’ he said.

‘Well, all I can tell you is that most people, once they’ve got there, never leave…They like it so much that they’ve even invented a pet-name for it – “the Bin”.’

This appeared to satisfy him, though he added: ‘I should like my fellow guests to have hobbies which they could discuss with me, and to be people, too, of some importance.’

‘I believe that one of them claims to be a steam-roller, which I suppose in a way could be important,’ I replied in imaginative frenzy before I could stop myself, ‘and another resident claims that he is the Emperor of China.’

Fortunately, my father never listened very carefully to what was said to him and caught nothing before the last part of the sentence. Indeed, he seemed gratified, and remarked that revolutions usually did a great deal of harm. My brother and sister also spoke to him of the place with enthusiasm. Indeed, we succeeded in painting for him so attractive a picture of this peaceful retreat that he told his secretary to write immediately for pension terms…Unfortunately, in their reply, the asylum authorities added to the letter a postscript: ‘Ought a strait-waistcoat to be sent for Sir George to wear during the journey, which will be made by van? Three strong and practiced male nurses will, of course, be in attendance, and prepared to quell any disturbance on the way.’

This, though it abruptly terminated our design, was by no means the last we were to hear of it. I was packed off to our house at Scarborough, which my father was at the time using as a kind of private Siberia…Nevertheless, I reflected as I walked to the station, the project had been worth while for its own sake, and my father had nearly enjoyed a long and for once really unusual holiday

Tales (and the related memoirs) is a great romp through the history of an extremely talented, but oddball, family, and at times is almost Wodehousian in character and incident. A delightful read.

Women Are Getting More Beautiful…

…while men continue running afoul of the ugly stick, or so sayeth the experts in this article.

The silver lining for men is that, apparently, women place less value on physical appearance than men do, looking, instead, for someone who is able to provide protection and security (good thing for me!)

Oh, and I’m sure you all will be glad to learn that this great scientific mystery has been solved.

Leszek Kolakowski, RIP

The Weekly Standard has a marvelous tribute to this expert in Marxist pathology . Some particularly wise words from Professor Kolakowski: “Communism was not the crazy fantasy of a few fanatics, nor the result of human stupidity and baseness; it was a real, very real part of the history of the twentieth century, and we cannot understand this history of ours without understanding communism. We cannot get rid of this specter by saying it was just ‘human stupidity,’ or ‘human corruptibility.’ The specter is stronger than the spells we cast on it. It might come back to life.”

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Prescient Poet

In his poem, “Darkness”, Lord Byron imagined almost two hundred years ago how cap-and-trade would ultimately turn out.

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went--and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires--and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings--the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consum'd,
And men were gather'd round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other's face;
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:
A fearful hope was all the world contain'd;
Forests were set on fire--but hour by hour
They fell and faded--and the crackling trunks
Extinguish'd with a crash--and all was black.
The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them; some lay down
And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smil'd;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and look'd up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
The pall of a past world; and then again
With curses cast them down upon the dust,
And gnash'd their teeth and howl'd: the wild birds shriek'd
And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,
And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl'd
And twin'd themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless--they were slain for food.
And War, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again: a meal was bought
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart
Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left;
All earth was but one thought--and that was death
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all entrails--men
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;
The meagre by the meagre were devour'd,
Even dogs assail'd their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a corse, and kept
The birds and beasts and famish'd men at bay,
Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead
Lur'd their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,
But with a piteous and perpetual moan,
And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answer'd not with a caress--he died.
The crowd was famish'd by degrees; but two
Of an enormous city did survive,
And they were enemies: they met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place
Where had been heap'd a mass of holy things
For an unholy usage; they rak'd up,
And shivering scrap'd with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
Blew for a little life, and made a flame
Which was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld
Each other's aspects--saw, and shriek'd, and died--
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written Fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless--
A lump of death--a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes and ocean all stood still,
And nothing stirr'd within their silent depths;
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal: as they dropp'd
They slept on the abyss without a surge--
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The moon, their mistress, had expir'd before;
The winds were wither'd in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perish'd; Darkness had no need
Of aid from them--She was the Universe.

Reducing the Pro-Democracy Carbon Footprint

Obama turns the lights out in Cuba (H/T: Hot Air).

When it comes to foreign policy, the current administration can always be counted on to use the wrong fork, if not actually drink out of the finger bowl. Just one dictator-coddling gesture after another.

Health Careless

Of course Obama’s health care plan, as originally conceived, won’t work. Everyone knows it now, and it looks as if momentum is shifting toward a less radical plan (whether the alternative will be a sensible plan is still in doubt).

My own belief is that Obama is not so much interested in the details of health care reform – he pretty much proved that in his disastrous press conference last week – as he is in having legislation of any kind that will serve as a memorial to his presidency (I used a photo of a pyramid yesterday in illustrating how he views the significance of a health care bill: it is intended to be a lasting tribute to his personal awesomeness). If congress were to pass an amendment to a health care bill that required virgins to be thrown off the Washington Monument in order to placate the Dreaded Pox God, or a Shirley-Jackson-type lottery for citizens over the age of 65, Obama would probably sign on the dotted line without giving the matter a second thought (if he even noticed the provisions at all).

Therein resides the opportunity – and the danger – facing Republicans and so-called moderate Democrats. Since UK-style, single-payer health care is off the table (for now), there is a chance for elected officials who actually have some reasonable ideas on the subject to create a sound piece of legislation that the President may be willing to support (although perhaps it would be more accurate to say, that the president will be forced to support, if he wants to avoid looking like a Carteresque loser). The temptation, I’m afraid, is that Republicans and their temporary Democratic allies will be so relieved to have avoided the worst possible outcome that they’ll settle for something that’s still fairly awful. No bill is still better than a bad one.

Bill Moyers Fears Cerebral Riots

Smitty at The Other McCain links to a piece at Newsbusters which records the further maunderings of liberal gasbag Bill Moyers. Moyers claims that Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing radio talk show hosts "earn millions inciting riots in the public mind. If they were required to be fair, they would soon be penniless, out on the street, cup in hand.”

This is pretty rich, coming from Moyers, who has milked the Public Broadcasting System for millions of dollars, and who, without a public subsidy, would, himself, be standing outside a Metro station, empty Slurpee cup in hand, trying to bum spare change.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hey, Why Should He Read the Health Care Bill? He'd Be Exempt from It, Anyway

Democratic congressman John Conyers says reading is hard (but not so, voting).

One for You, Two for Me, One for You, Three for Me

ACORN - the same rigorously non-partisan, upright and honest organization that we've all come to depend on for accurate voter registration - is now a bona fide partner in the new census.

Hard to see what could possibly go wrong with this set-up.

Obama Care



Yeah, I thought so (H/T: Jeff S.)

Here's a health care roundup...

Hey, let's try some class warfare.

The worst plan money can buy.

The Democrats may not have logic on their side, but they have mastered the art of saying STFU!

The real problem with Obama's fanatical attempt to create a monster health program is this: the rest of us see health care as a quality of life issue; Obama sees it this way...


Crap-And-Raid

Somebody is reading the cap-and-trade bill so that you (and those who voted for it) don't have to.

Here's a choice sample of what your ever-vigilant government wants to enforce, because you, Mr. and Mrs. America, are too stupid to know what's good for you: "Mandates that light fixtures, intended to display art, have no more than three sockets and base the light-bulb wattage on the number of sockets. (H.R. 2454, Sec. 211, p. 421.)"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Program! Program! Can’t Know Your Crooks Without a Program!

Michelle Malkin is lining up the mug-shots.

Meanwhile, Stacy McCain and Smitty are highlighting the work of the good guys , and Bob Belvedere has set up a whole web site for the purpose of tracking the feuds between the IGs and the Obama administration.

Update: Whew, that's a relief! For a while, there, I thought Dodd and Konrad were stupid; now it turns out that they are just sleazy.

Is Lindsey Graham Our Chuck Schumer?

I’m not talking about each man’s fidelity to his stated political creed; in this matter, Democrat Schumer is far more predictable, in that he is about as consistently liberal as you can get, while Graham oscillates between occasional conservative ambience and full-on RINO collaborationism.

I’m talking about each man’s addiction to mugging for the television cameras and playing for maximum personal publicity. During the Sotomayor hearings, Graham demonstrated an annoying tendency to strike poses – asking tough questions one day, and then promptly undermining them with a quirky tribute to Sotomayor’s “edginess” the next (naturally, he wound up voting for her).

And who can forget Graham thrusting himself to the forefront of the immigration debate, playing Zorro for the open-borders crowd, and aligning himself with the likes of Ted Kennedy in attempting to pass George Bush's immigration non-reform? "We're going to tell the bigots," he said, in that voice eerily reminiscent of Flo the waitress from Alice, "to shut up" (failing at the last minute, no doubt, in his original resolve to add the invitation to "kiss my grits.") The bigots, of course, were people like me, who believe that uncontrolled immigration will eventually make American citizens strangers in their own country, with little or no say-so over this nation's destiny.

And now, apparently swinging back to RINO mode (another jock-strap collector trying to garner favor with the cool guys), he has this to say about conservatives: “If we chase this attitude … that you have to say ‘no’ to every Democratic proposal, you can’t help the president ever, you can’t ever reach across the aisle, then I don’t want to be part of the movement because it’s a dead-end movement.”

No, Senator Droopy, it is the RINO “movement” that is a dead-end; it stops right at the front door of the Democratic Party. You’ll have to pardon principled conservatives if they decline to pile up in that particular cul de sac.

If Men Really Ruled the World...

It might look something like this (hey, no complaints from me).

H/T: The Classic Liberal

Blooms Abound

It's getting hot and humid here at the Paco Command Center. We are currently fighting an invasion by slugs, but a combination of different tactics - slug poison; honey, water and yeast traps; and plain ol' picking 'em off the plants and stomping 'em - seems to be turning the tide of the battle.

One or two black-eyed Susans can provide a big splash of color when nothing else happens to be going on.



Gladiolas are the aristocrats of the garden.



This giant hibiscus gives every indication of taking over.

Sunday Funny

From the in-box...

Ponderisms

I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.

Gardening Rule: When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.

The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.

There are two kinds of pedestrians: the quick and the dead.

Life is sexually transmitted.

Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

Have you noticed since everyone has a cell phone that takes pictures these days no one talks about seeing UFOs like they used to?

All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

In the 60s, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.

How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?

Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, "I think I'll squeeze these dangly things here, and drink whatever comes out?"

Who was the first person to say, "See that chicken there? I'm gonna eat the next thing that comes outta its butt.

If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a song about him?

Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet Soup?

Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him on a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?

Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

Update: A musical tribute to Obama's mom jeans.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

David Brooks: "Gee, Mr. President, You're So Big and Strong!"

Remember when you were in high school, and there was always a sort of aristocracy – the "cool kids" – which consisted mainly of athletes and cheerleaders? And remember how there was always at least one total bozo who flitted about the edges of the group, desperate for its approval? He’d typically be some guy who couldn’t make the football team (or any other team, for that matter), but was more than happy to serve as “equipment manager” (i.e., the fellow who collected the dirty towels and jock-straps after practice). The cool kids tolerated him as a kind of court jester, and so great was his hunger for acceptance that he’d unhesitatingly bury his self-respect in order to get a little attention from them – even if the attention consisted mainly of dipping him headfirst in the toilet and bumming money off him (never repaid) for pizza.

David Brooks bears a remarkable resemblance to this type of attention-starved hanger-on. P.J. Gladnick at News Busters reveals this interesting quote from Brooks: "At the moment, I feel politically closer to Barack Obama than to House Minority Leader John Boehner (and that’s even while being greatly exercised about the current health care bills)."

Now, this may be true, which would certainly explain the schizophrenic nature of Brooks' "conservatism." But I don't think Brooks is being entirely honest with us - perhaps not even with himself. I suspect that the main thing about Obama that appeals to Brooks is not so much his politics (although that certainly may be a factor), but "the old school tie", the elitist culture which they both hold in common; and by "elitist culture", I don't mean the possession of superior education, intellect and accomplishments (neither Obama nor Brooks strikes me as being a genuine standout in these categories). I mean that Brooks and Obama have spent a lifetime breathing deeply of the miasma emanating from the liberal orthodoxy that constitutes the mainstream of their social milieu. It's membership in whatever passes for a "good old boys" network in the myopic world of the Beltway and its intellectual satellites. It's the mutual belief that graduates of the Kennedy School are better guarantors of democratic government than We the People.

Obama, at least, has the excuse that he's a liberal Democrat. Brooks, on the other hand - as long as he continues to maintain the fiction that he is some kind of a conservative, while humiliatingly truckling to celebrity liberals - is still just picking up the cool guys' jock-straps.

Rule 5 Saturday

Rita Hayworth gives a stunning one-glove striptease in a performance of "Put the Blame on Mame", from the 1946 film, Gilda.

Brief Encounter

I was walking out of the Vienna Metro station yesterday, after a long day doing whatever it is government workers do. I was hot and tired, and eager to get to the parking garage so that I could climb into my vintage 1988 Suburban and make my way to the sanctuary of the Paco Command Center as quickly as possible.

On passing through the exit, though, I encountered a young woman holding a clipboard, obviously engaged in collecting signatures. She was a fresh-faced girl, probably a college student, who, in modest attire, long hair tied back with a ribbon, and steel-rimmed glasses, looked like a schoolmarm in the larval stage. She asked me sweetly, “Would you like to express your support for President Obama’s health care plan?” I didn’t, of course, but I figured it might be interesting to hear her explain it to me. Unfortunately, she was unable to cast any more light on the subject than the president himself in his press conference the other night; however, she held her clipboard out in such an abjectly pleading way - all doe-eyed innocence and rosy cheeks - that I agreed to sign her petition.

Now, there have been several times in my life when I’ve found myself in the position of having to provide someone with a fake name on extremely short notice. I don’t know why it is, but I never seem to be prepared for the contingency, and this occasion was no different. My mind went blank for a few seconds, so I fumbled with the pen to stall for time, and then bunged down the first name that popped into my head (absurdly, I’m afraid, “Algonquin J. Calhoun”).

Condemn me if you will, but, as I say, I was hot and tired and the girl was an extraordinarily cute little airhead; in weighing this act of perfidy, bear in mind that I have sent a score of emails to my (and quite possibly your) elected representatives under my real name, damning Obama’s health care plan and any elected official who would actually vote for it. On the other hand, if Obama Care, or something like it, ever becomes the law of the land, and the linchpin of the legislation’s successful passage turns out to have been the signature of one Algonquin J. Calhoun, then I pledge to fall on my sword.

Friday, July 24, 2009

We Must Deform Health Care!

I join with Carol at No Sheeples Here! in hoping that the failure of Obama Care is the president's Waterloo.

Meanwhile, Stacy McCain reminds us that We the People have a lot more power than we sometimes think.

And according to the Washington Times, what began with an almost hysterical sense of urgency ended with a shrug.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Happy Feet Friday

Nurse Martha Tilton administers 100 cc's of jive to three invalids, with amazing results.

Whew!

Obama Care, if not dead, is certainly comatose for a while. Too soon to break out the champagne, so I'll pop a top on my favorite beverage to celebrate what is, at least, a temporary reprieve from this latest Obamanation.

The major stock market indexes were all up sharply today, supposedly because of a jump in home sales. Yeah, right.

By the way, you might find this visual representation of the House Democratic health care plan interesting.

Rickety Assumptions

Obama keeps saying that the cost of health care reform will be borne, at least partially, by increased taxes on the rich. Why is this notion considered unobjectionable, even fair, by so many people? Why should the wealthy be taxed at a higher rate, simply because they earn more money? Presumably, under the health care programs being considered by Congress, the rich would be subject to the same awful quality of care as everybody else; therefore, there is no justification at all for compelling the rich to pay a “premium”, except in the context of class warfare. This is the Willie Sutton philosophy of fiscal policy (“Why do you rob banks, Willie?” “Because that’s where they keep the money.”)

Quite aside from the smash and grab outlook taken by Democrats is the moronic, static methodology of their calculations. It is inevitable that the wealthy, faced with this latest assault on their resources, will do everything in their power to reduce their reportable income, from taking advantage of unproductive ( but tax-advantaged) loopholes, to immigrating to tax havens, to foregoing new investments, to going “John Galt.” Small business owners, who are probably the most vulnerable among the so-called “rich”, will curtail expansion, lay people off or go out of business altogether.

It is the sheer obviousness of the economy-wrecking provisions of the Democratic health care packages under consideration - which, of course, go far beyond mere tax policy – that really gives the game away for Obama and like-minded people in his Party. Obama Care – like cap-and-trade, like the “stimulus” bill, like the endless bailouts – represents the pursuit of a statist paradigm, no matter what the cost, and no matter what the ultimate results. How many times in each generation are we going to have to fend off these attempts to aggrandize the power of the federal government at the expense of our individual freedom? As many times as necessary, I suppose; but concerned citizens, and responsible elected officials, regardless of party affiliation, need to focus not just on the details of this policy or that program, but on the worldview that gives rise to these constant and insidious attempts to convert us from self-sufficient individuals into powerless wards of the State.

From the Shelves of the Paco Library

Even coffee table books should have some value beyond slick illustrations and their use as interior design accoutrements. Here are a few that I found interesting.

1900, by Rebecca West, is a book of reflections on some of the trends in history, technology and art that were underway in this pivotal year which opened the last two decades of old, monarchical Europe, and saw the beginning of the ascendancy of America to superpower status. The book has numerous, very striking, black and white photographs (including some fairly grisly ones from the end of the Boxer Rebellion), and is a fascinating retrospective on the deceptive calm that existed before the militarist and totalitarian storms that were to follow.

Frederick Remington and Charles Russell are renowned for capturing the spirit of the Old West in their paintings and sculptures, and Remington & Russell: Artists of the West, by William C. Ketcham, Jr., includes not only a generous selection of their work, but also provides comprehensive biographical information on each man. I was particularly taken with the later, impressionist paintings of Remington displayed in this book – e.g., A Taint on the Wind, a night scene showing a stagecoach on a moonlit road, hauled by a team of horses that have sensed some unseen, but menacing, presence. Most of Charles Russell’s dramatic paintings of Indian scenes are here, too, and there is a whole section dedicated to the bronzes created by both artists.

The Blue and the Gray, by Thomas B. Allen (published by the National Geographic Society) is a fine one-volume history of the American Civil War, and is filled with rare black and white photographs, illustrations, and original modern photographs by Sam Abell of various battlefields and memorials. The text is arranged to cover events chronologically, and the book is accompanied (or at least mine was) with a soft-cover book describing the major civil war sites that are preserved as national parks.

Just for fun, I am listing The Consummate Cigar Book, a three-dimensional pop-up book that relates the history of cigars, facts about the growing of tobacco, instructive information on blends, coloration, cigar bands – and even advice on how to light and smoke a handmade stogie (there are right ways and wrong ways, as I can tell you from long experience).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

They don't make crooks like they used to

If you're going to go into the home invasion business, maybe it's not such a good idea to, you know, have a map of Florida tattooed on your face.

I Never Cease to be Amazed

There is a classic scene toward the end of the movie version of The African Queen where the captain of the German warship, having captured Charlie and Rosie and condemned them to death as spies, is prevailed upon by the couple to marry them. The captain reluctantly agrees, and proceeds quickly and matter-of-factly to read through the marriage service. He concludes by saying, "By the authority vested in me by Kaiser Wilhelm the Second, I now pronounce you man and wife. Proceed with the execution."

A charming bit of dark irony, made lighter by the fact that Charlie and Rosie experience an unexpected happy ending.

But what if Rosie had been forced to marry, against her will, the German captain, in order to comply with an Imperial order that virgins couldn't be executed? And the consummation having been completed as the legal prerequisite, she was executed after her "honeymoon" night? Can we agree that that would be considered barbaric by civilized people?

And that, ergo, the Islamic extremists in Iran are barbarians?

Tea Party "Troublemakers"



What, are youse tea party guys nuts?

Let me set youse boids straight. Us Democrats are all about silver rights an' poisonal liberty an' all dat jazz. We know what's in de Constitution, Jack, an' we don't take a backseat to nobody when it comes to respectin' your rights to free assemblage an' undressin' your grievances, see? Jus 'cuz ya get asked to move along by de bulls, an' dey follow yez aroun' an' take down your tag numbers an' pay yez a little visit at home, dat don't mean anybody's leanin' on yez. We was jus' tryin' to protect ya, see? Geez, ya try 'n help some people!

Hey, maybe it's jus' me, but I'm gettin' de feelin' dat youse guys don't believe what I'm sayin'. Maybe we oughta take a little ride and talk it over some more.

Get in.

First, Michael Jackson...

...now this.

Hey, Obama! Yer doin' it wrong

Obama Care



Cap-and-Trade




Foreign Policy



Bipartisanship

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Assortment

1) We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Well, as Pundit and Pundette point out, sometimes that’s enough.

2) Rock, water, sink. The Eye of Polyphemus spots Obama’s popularity disappearing as it heads down to where the catfish dwell (incidentally, this is a beautifully-designed blog).

3) Stacy McCain has the latest on IG-quiddick.

4) I keep hearing from the Obama administration that Americans are selling guns to Mexican drug lords, and you know something - they're right.

5) So many good things at Camp of the Saints that you need to just click and keep scrolling.

6) From one of the best bloggers in the business, Jennifer Rubin, comes the news that David Brooks, having sensed late in the day that the damned ship is sinking, seems to have jumped overboard and has now heaved his cold and water-soaked body into a lifeboat (I dunno, Dave, I’m not sure we’ve got room; how’s about the passengers take a vote?)

7)


"I am gratified and excited that my plan has been endorsed by Homer the Health Care Bear"

Photo gratefully swiped from Are We Lumberjacks?

8) Ex-would-be-president-for-life Mel Zelaya appears to have a small overdraft problem.

9) Kiwi's crowding Australia.

Federalism

Sounds like a good idea to me.

Up and Comers

Richard McEnroe has the right idea: we bloggers of rightish persuasion should all be highlighting promising conservative political candidates (Richard has posted about a few at Not One Red Cent).

If readers have anybody they'd like to vouch for, email me, or just post the info in the comments section (contact information would be ideal).

Looks Familiar


Democrats and the redistribution of wealth.

No, not really (well, yes, really, but this picture actually goes with this article; H/T: Blue Crab Boulevard).

So, What's the Problem?

Swedish man sexually molested by tattooed girl gang. (H/T: Captain Heinrichs)

Oh, and there's this headline from the same web site: Serial masturbator seized by Willy's in Central Sweden.

The Wheels Are Coming Off


Obama is now scaring not only Republicans and independents, but people in his own party. The stimulus is seen as a bust (in spite of the shifting rationales given for its approval – whether it was to create jobs or decelerate the deterioration of the economy, it’s still a bust), cap-and-trade is on hold, ObamaCare’s looking dodgy, and foreign policy decisions are reinforcing the notion that the President is essentially indifferent to liberty and democracy in other countries (and perhaps in this one, as well). Corruption, cronyism and lack of transparency are not only rife, but are underscoring the mendacity of Obama’s campaign promises with respect to professionalism and openness in government.

And he’s clearly not used to this kind of opposition. His speeches have become desperately bombastic, his arguments increasingly unbelievable, and his tactics more worrisomely gangsterish. In the arrogance of his first hundred days, he showed no willingness to develop genuine bipartisan solutions; now he’s stuck with a party, half of whose members think he’s too radical, and half who don’t think he’s radical enough.

We are a strong and enduring nation - but just how many Carters can we stand in one human lifetime?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Detective Paco in "Das Bloat"

[Author's note: In response to overwhelming demand - well, at least one person seemed to imply that she wanted to see a new installment - I present the latest in the long-running Detective Paco saga. If his appearances have been fewer than anticipated lately, it is because I am working on another, non-blog project that I hope will see the light of day at some not awfully-distant future date]


We stood at the end of a jetty that ran about thirty yards into Center Hill Lake. A cool morning breeze was blowing in off the water, dispersing some of the heat that had already offered the promise of a muggy day. I stared through a pair of binoculars and adjusted the focus.

“There it is,” I said. “It’s big, all right.”

Bo Tomlin, the owner of Bo’s Jet Ski Rentals, and the jetty we were standing on, spat noisily. “See, I told ya. The damned thing’s a hazard to navigation.”

Wronwright, impatient to get in on the action, said, “Here, let me take a gander through those glasses. Hmmmm. Yeah, that is a pretty big boat. You ever see one that big before, Paco?”

Gaack!

“What do you mean, ‘Gaack’ ?”

Gook!

“What the hell, Paco; you’re not having a stroke, are you? Oh, sorry. Here.”

I yanked the binoculars out of his hand, and unwound the strap from around my neck. “Maybe next time you’ll let me take the things off before you grab them, ok?” I handed the glasses to Tomlin (first taking the precaution of removing my Panama and lifting the strap over my head). “Take a look, Bo. What’s that big object on the bow that looks like a deck house or a port-a-potty?”

Bo squinted through the lenses. “Naw, that ain’t no deck house. That’s Al Gore. He’s taken to wearin’ a white uniform; got his crew wearin’ ‘em, too. And he changed the name of his boat from the Bio-Solar One to the Koenigen Luisa. Puttin’ on a lotta airs, is what he’s doin’.”

“Say!” Wronwright snapped his fingers. “The Koenigen Luisa. Wasn’t that the name of the warship in that movie…what’s the name?”

The African Queen,” I said. “The Koenigen Luisa was the German ship that patrolled the lake.”

Bo brightened considerably. “Hey, I saw that one! Got sunk by a homemade torpedo, I recollect. That’s a possibility, ain’t it, Detective Paco?”

I pulled a coffin nail from the pack in my shirt pocket and lit it. “Listen, Bo. In the first place, if we torpedo the boat, somebody’s likely to get hurt, maybe even killed. In the second place, where would we get a torpedo, anyway? No, we’ve got to figure something else out.”

Bo spat again. “Well, I gotta do sump’n. He’s ruinin’ my business. Almost everyday, when I start rentin’ out the jet skis, he heads over here and cruises back and forth, and he’s got these loud speakers that play recordings of his speeches. Drives the customers away in droves. The man’s crazy, I tell you! You remember me tellin’ ya about what happened a while back? He had some local boys workin’ as a part-time crew, and they stopped him from rammin’ my jetty. He charged ‘em with mutiny. [Author's Note: See “The McCain Mutiny”]. After that, the town council got him temporarily committed for psychiatric observation, but he was out in no time, and now he’s back up to his old tricks. That’s why I hired you boys; figured you could find a way to shut him down, legal or otherwise - and to tell ya the truth, right now I’d kinda prefer ‘otherwise.’”

* * *

Wronwright and I removed to R.J.’s Diner to consider prospective strategies over an enormous country breakfast. I had a little trouble keeping his attention focused on the job due to the somewhat outsized allurements of Sally, our waitress. She was a full-figured, corn-fed blonde, of about 30 years, whose bosom strained the tensile strength of her white blouse to a degree that probably would have invalidated the textile manufacturer’s warranty in case of the kind of accident that every man in the place was hoping would happen. Adding to the embarrassment of her pulchritudinous riches was a heart-shaped derriere that yawed beneath her short, tight-fitting pink skirt in a going-away walk that compelled male customers filled to the eyeballs with coffee to ask for yet another refill. Ol’ R.J. knew a money-maker when he saw one, and I had spent most of my time talking to the side of Wronwright’s face as he watched the waitress moving to and fro.

Sally swung by our table, and bestowed on us the big, friendly smile that seems to be a genetic feature of southern girls, and asked in her delightful Tennessee accent, “You fellers doin’ aw-rite? Can I get you anything else?”

Wronwright, who had taken a big bite of buttermilk biscuit, made a noise like somebody trying to ask for help with a piece of duct tape over his mouth. “Momook, beez.”

Sally furrowed her brow, slightly. “I’m sorry, honey, I didn’t catch that. Why don’t ya warsh that biscuit down with some milk, first. I ain’t had a customer choke to death, yit, and I sure wouldn’t want to start with you, baby.”

Wronwright picked up his empty glass and waggled it, indicating that the course of action outlined by Sally was not presently possible.

“Oh!” she said. “I’m sorry, honey, I didn’t notice you was runnin’ dry. I’ll be rite back.” As she walked hurriedly to the kitchen to fetch Wronwright another glass of milk, there was an audible swishing noise as every male neck in the room swiveled in its collar in order to afford a better view of the event. She returned with a glass brimming with cold milk and placed it down in front of Wronwright. “Land sakes!” she muttered. “I’m afraid I’m a little scatter-brained these days. Ya see, I ain’t been gettin’ much sleep lately, ‘cause of my husband, Johnny.” For an idle moment, I imagined being Johnny, and could well understand why she wasn’t getting sufficient rest; turned out, though, that there was another reason altogether.

“Ya see, he’s a crane operator an’ he ain’t had much work lately ‘cause a’ the bad economy, so I’ve been workin’ two shifts, three days a week.”

It wasn’t even a thought, really, just a vague spark in the back of my mind. “That’s too bad. I guess you and your husband don’t get much free time, do you?”

“Naw, not much. We used to like to spend time down at the lake – me and Johnny are crazy about jet skiin’ – but that ol’ Al Gore’s got his big boat down there an’ he’s always loomin’ over near Bo Tomlin’s jet ski rentals and playin’ his boring speeches over his loudspeakers. It ain’t fun no more.”

“Are you a good swimmer?” I ventured.

“I ain’t a great swimmer, but I kin dogpaddle with the best of ‘em, I reckon.” She giggled. “And as you can pro’lly tell, I ain’t never had no trouble floatin’!”

Wronwright started choking on his biscuit. Sally, whose ample bosom enclosed a kind heart, slapped him on the back vigorously.

“You ok, honey? You ought not to gobble your food so fast.”

Wronwright took a long pull on his milk, coughed a couple of times, and then pronounced himself out of danger.

That spark, aforementioned, now grew into a blaze. “I tell you what, Sally. What if I could throw a little business your husband’s way and clear Center Hill Lake of Gore’s boat at the same time? Interested?”

“Oh, yes sir! We could sure use a little extra money, and everybody in town hates that stupid boat.” She asked, in a confidential, but excited, voice, “Would it be illegal?”

“Well, my plan may not be entirely sporting, but I believe we may just be able to stay within the law.”

“Oh,” she said woodenly, apparently somewhat disappointed.

* * *

Before we could execute my scheme, we had first to go aboard Al’s boat and get him hooked. I had done a few jobs for Al, so he knew me, but he had only seen Wronwright one time, briefly; however, I wasn’t taking any chances, so I told my partner that he’d have to employ a disguise. The idea was to present Wronwright in the role of an engineer for a bio-diesel engine manufacturer. Having read through a few manuals and internet articles, he could probably pull off that part of the impersonation easily enough, but changing his appearance was the usual headache.

We were sitting in his hotel room, as he paraded a variety of disguises. The bald wig looked too fake, and the mutton chops were hopelessly out of date; and I absolutely barred the imperial beard, waxed mustache and monocle.

“Wron, you’re supposed to be a native born engine designer, not the head of Napoleon III’s household guard. What else have you got?”

He folded his arms and tapped a foot petulantly. “Paco, if you want me to wear something completely unimaginative, then you pick it out.”

Finally settling on a pencil-thin military mustache and an eye-patch, we headed down to Center Hill Lake and rented a small boat with an outboard motor. We approached the Koenigen Luisa, and as we drew close, I yelled a greeting. “Ahoy, the Luisa! Permission to come aboard!” A few moments later, one of the crew ran for Al, and he presently came to the rail. “Paco! Is that you? Come on up!”

Wronwright and I hove to, and clambered up a ladder that had been lowered over the side. A crewman actually piped us aboard, the raucous, high-pitched notes of his whistle sounding like a goldfinch that had been ambushed by a cat. Al stood on the deck, beaming.

Life had treated him well, I thought to myself – perhaps a little too well. In his white uniform, he looked like Moby Dick, harpooned and gaffed at last. I bet there wasn’t an all-you-can-eat buffet in America that hadn’t blacklisted him.

We shook hands. “This is a pleasant surprise!” he said effusively. “What brings you to the neighborhood?”

“Oh, I was just passing through Tennessee, and I ran into an old friend of mine. Al, permit me to introduce to you Dr. Sputz. He’s a designer of marine engines. Dr. Sputz has long admired your boat, and he prevailed upon me to see if you wouldn’t give him the grand tour.”

Al swelled with pride (no, I wouldn’t have thought any further expansion was possible, either); a button popped off his coat, hitting Wronwright in his uncovered eye. Wronwright yelped, and before anybody noticed, quickly switched the patch to the bruised eyeball. Al threw a meaty arm around Wronwright’s shoulders and began to escort him about the boat. As instructed, Wron cooed his approval at everything, commending Al for the quality of the teak flooring in the captain’s quarters, and going into raptures over the highly-polished brass fittings on the wheel. He asked, in a humble voice, if he might see the engine. Al was only too happy to oblige, and he hauled open the doors to the engine compartment with the zeal of Howard Carter unveiling the treasures of Tutankhamen’s tomb to his sovereign.

Wronwright, up to this time a veritable fountain of gushing compliments, responded with a mere, “Oh. I see.” Al deflated somewhat and asked anxiously, “What is it, Dr. Putz?”

“That’s ‘Sputz’, Mr. Gore. Well, it’s just that this is ok for a first-generation bio-diesel-certified engine, but it is…well…somewhat outdated. But don’t worry. It’s perfectly fine for…you know…most people.”

“But I’m not most people!” Al spluttered, grabbing Wronwright by his lapels. “I’m Al Gore! I’m a Nobel Prize winner and the environmental commodore of this lake, and I’ve got to stay ahead of the curve! Everybody expects that. What do I have to do? Do I need a new engine?”

Wronwright slipped out of Al’s grasp through the simple expedient of climbing out of his windbreaker. “No, no. Nothing as drastic as that. My company can retrofit your engine with the, er, Perforated Aluminum Carbon Obliterator, and it will then be state-of-the-art. Of course, we’d have to take the engine to the factory, and you may not want to be bothered…”

“You must do this for me, Doctor Sputz! I can anchor the Luisa for as long as it takes.”

“Very well, then, Mr. Gore. We can make the arrangements to pull the engine out, load it on a truck and haul it to the factory; no problem.”

* * *

The next day, we were ready to implement the plan. Sally’s husband – a shy, handsome, fellow with shoulders two axe-handles wide, and much given to absent-mindedly bending a crowbar into a “U” shape, and back again – had brought down to as close to the water’s edge as he could maneuver it a crane with a towering boom. The Luisa stood out about fifty feet from the land, the water being too shallow closer to shore to float the craft. Al expressed a little curiosity about this. “Couldn’t we just have the guy over at the boat-service place on the other side of the lake hoist the engine out with his winch?”

“No, Al, I checked. His winch is busted and won’t be repaired for several days. Of course, we could wait, or maybe see if Johnny could locate another crane. But he’s going to need something pretty tall to clear those trees.”

“No, no, no. That’s fine. Let’s get started.”

Johnny came aboard and hooked the cable to the engine, and then worked with Al’s crew to unbolt the engine from the housing. Once that was accomplished, Johnny went back to the crane, climbed into the cab, and began lifting the Luisa’s engine into the air.

Up, up it went, almost disappearing from human view in the vast height to which Johnny lifted it. Suddenly, a woman’s terrified voice sounded in the distance.

“Help! Help! I’m drowning!”

“Listen!” I shouted. “Did you hear that? It sounded like it came from the port-side!”

We all ran to the port rail, and saw, perhaps twenty or thirty yards out, a woman splashing helplessly in the water.

“Uh-oh. It looks like she’s going down for the third time, Al.”

Al, looking on in horror, said, “Maybe one of the crew can swim out and save her.”

As he spoke she dipped below the surface.

“Too late”, I groaned. “We need to get help to her in a matter of seconds, something she can latch on to. Now,” I said, looking ostentatiously up the length of the crane’s boom, “what could we possibly use…?”

Al, following my gaze, shouted, “I’ve got it! How about if Johnny lowers that boom down to the water?”

“I don’t know, Al. He’d have to lower the engine, first.”

The woman’s voice, choking, could be heard weakly. “Help!”

Al ran to the starboard side and hollered at Johnny, “Drop the engine!”

Johnny, to all appearances unable to hear Al over the sound of his engine, cupped a hand behind his ear. Al ran to his loudspeakers. “Lower the boom over the water! There’s a woman drowning out there! Let go the engine!”

Johnny shrugged, released the cable, and the engine came hurtling down out of the sky like a meteor, crashing through the deck and dropping straight through the hull of the Luisa. The boat began to sink, to the sound of the craft’s emergency sirens.

*Whoop*…*Whoop*…*WHOOP!*…

*Whoop*…*Whoop*…*WHOOP!*


Meanwhile, Johnny lowered the boom over the water as far as it could safely be done. The woman caught hold of the cable, shinnied up to the boom, and in a matter of seconds even the members of the crew had left off abandoning ship long enough to gaze at the dripping, bikini-clad form of Sally the waitress, flying through the air like a full-sized, slightly NSFW Tinkerbell.

* * *

R.J. had kindly let us congregate at his diner after hours for something of a celebration. For once, Sally actually sat at a table instead of waiting on one, affectionately holding hands with Johnny. Bo Tomlin’s tanned, leathery face was wreathed in a big smile, and Wronwright and I nursed glasses of sweetened iced tea (the strongest thing on tap at R.J.’s).

Bo made out a check to me for my services, and another to Johnny for the use of his crane. “This affair was a little pricey,” he admitted, “but it’s worth every penny to me. So, you’re sure you got Al squared away, Paco?”

I took a pull on the tea and munched some of the little ice cubes. “Yeah, he finally calmed down. He was talking about holding Johnny liable, but I pointed out to him that it was he who had given the express order to drop the engine. Besides, Al, by acting so selflessly, saved that young lady’s life” – a trill of laughter came from Sally – “and that’s good for some publicity, which he craves more than gold. And Bo, there, got the town council to quickly declare the wreck of the Luisa the ‘Al Gore Memorial Reef’, which further flattered his vanity and, not insignificantly, gave the town council some much-needed amusement. Everything went just as planned.”

Wronwright, who was still wearing his eye-patch, begged to differ. “Oh, everything went as planned, did it? What about this bruise in the corner of my eye?”

Sally slipped out of her chair and walked over to Wronwright. Glancing a question at her husband, Johnny smiled his permission, and Sally gently lifted the eye-patch and gave Wronwright a little kiss on the brow overhanging the injured eye. “There! All better now?” Wronwright’s breath suddenly began to come in short gasps. “I….I feel like I might need some CPR, too…” Noticing, however, that Johnny had idly resumed bending and unbending his crowbar, Wronwright thought better of insisting, and settled for another glass of invigorating iced tea.

The Last Word on Cronkite

Brent Baker at News Busters has the last word on Cronkite’s liberalism, assembling a representative sample of his more fatuous maunderings.

One of my favorites: “I know liberalism isn't dead in this country. It simply has, temporarily we hope, lost its voice…Gawd Almighty, we've got to shout these truths in which we believe from the housetops. Like that scene in the movie 'Network,' we've got to throw open our windows and shout these truths to the streets and the heavens. And I bet we'll find more windows are thrown open to join the chorus than we'd ever dreamed possible.”

More likely, the majority of those windows would have framed incensed citizens hollering at the squawking liberals to “Shaddup, already!”

(H/T: Ed Driscoll)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Another ObamaCare Deficiency

I don't believe any of the Democratic health care bills floating around right now provide for coverage of Duke Nukem Disease.

India Says "No Thanks" to Limiting Carbon Emissions


"No, I am very sorry. I am not believing you are the Hindu goddess Kali unless you show me the other four arms."

Story (and picture) at Gateway Pundit.

Hey, Is That Standard or an Optional Feature?

Dang! Next time, I'm buying a car in Missouri.

A Sad Anniversary

I don't know about you, but I'm a little sick of hearing Ted Kennedy referred to as the "Lion of the Senate."

In the first place, lions aren't particularly good swimmers.

Sunday Funny II

Thanks to commenter Ernie G. at Tim Blair's blog, we are now privileged to possess the best Che picture of all time. I remember seeing this thing somewhere a long time ago, and I have searched everywhere for it since, in vain, but Ernie found it over at the People's Cube.

Sunday Funny

A Detective Paco Rerun (Detective Paco and Senator "Gigolo")

I ambled about the huge office. Marble floors were partially covered by antique oriental rugs. A Chippendale desk (looked like the real McCoy) stood upon its four elegant legs between two windows. A few pieces of African and Pre-Columbian bric-a-brac cluttered a side table. But the main decorative feature was the photographs. You could hardly see the wall for all the pictures of John Kerry. There was even a silver-framed “glamour shot” on the desk – tuxedo clad, hair looking like a well-prepared badger pelt, the smile of a cunning rabbit, the eyes communicating a secret, but desperate, desire to avoid being “found out”. On the wall near the mahogany door was a “Kerry for President” poster, over a small alcove containing what looked, strangely, like a votive candle; and unless my eyes deceived me, that was a prie-dieu facing the poster. The office was a shrine, and its occupant clearly loved John Kerry above – and perhaps to the exclusion of – all other mortals.

“Hello, Paco.” The door closed behind Senator Kerry. “Sorry I’m late. Er, Teresa had me oversee a delivery of tomatoes at her ketchup factory. We, uh, do little things like that for each other.”

Sure, I thought. You count some vegetable inventory, your wife pays for your Senate seat. An equal partnership.

Kerry lumbered over to his desk – after an embarrassed, half-genuflection in the direction of the poster – and sat down, rubbing his hands expectantly.

“Well, Paco, what have you got? Did you get all the dirt on the Swift Vets?”

I started to fish a gasper out of my pocket, but noticed all the sprinkler nozzles in the ceiling. It would keep; this was going to be a short meeting.

“Sure thing, Senator. Here you go.” I pulled a thin folder out of my briefcase and tossed it on the desk. It was so light, it floated down in a series of pendulum-like arcs, like a feather.

Kerry scowled at the folder. “That’s it? That’s all the dirt you could find?”

“Hey, you get what you pay for. That ten G’s only went so far.”

Kerry opened the folder and began reading out loud.

“ ‘John O’Neil. Received a parking ticket in December of 1998. He was double-parked outside of a homeless shelter, where he was delivering food and blankets.’ Hmm. That’s not that bad. Let’s see what else . . . ‘Rear Admiral Roy Hoffmann. Detained for questioning by police, 1999.’ Ah, now we’re getting somewhere! ‘Hoffmann had disarmed and beaten three thugs who had tried to rob an old lady who was confined to a wheel chair.’” Kerry sighed. “This is nothing.”

“True. But I’ll tell you what, John. Another ten grand, and I’ll get you twice as much.”

Kerry struggled futilely to do the math, failed, and dragged out his check book. “Ok, here’s another ten thousand. But don’t cash it until tomorrow; I might need to get Teresa to transfer some money from her account. We . . .”

“Do little things like that for each other. Yeah, I remember.”

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Zelaya Playing Coy

Nice Deb over at Ace's place has the latest on ex-would-be-president-for-life Zelaya. Zelaya says, “I am going back to Honduras, but I am not going to give you the date, hour or place, or say if I’m going to enter through land, air or sea.”

That's fine, buddy, but don't be surprised if the next time you leave, it's in a box.

Update: Oh ho! Looks like the "prescient" Mr. Zelaya already knew what the final vote count would have been, had he been able to hold his illegal referendum.

Rule 5 Saturday

Something a little different this week (and an extra bonus for those who follow the music videos I post every Friday). We've got Eleanor Powell in a hula skirt showing off one of the best pair of pins I've ever seen.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Walter Cronkite Dies at 92

Some personal recollections…

1) He was one of the gravediggers of Vietnam, a key member of that band of journalists and opinion-mongers who turned the Tet offensive from what it actually was – a crushing defeat for the Communist guerillas, that permanently destroyed the Viet Cong as an effective fighting force – into a defeat for U.S. and South Vietnamese military forces. Cronkite helped the Communists snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by contributing to a massive shift in public opinion in the U.S. that eventually led our government to abandon Southeast Asia to the inevitable bloodbath.

2) In 1984, Cronkite hosted a one-hour program supposedly inspired by George Orwell’s novel of that fateful year, and managed to get through the entire 60 minutes without once mentioning Communism or the Soviet Union.

3) I remember seeing Cronkite and the opera singer, Beverley Sills, on television hosting an event – I believe it might have been one of the bicentennial celebrations – and Cronkite pointedly tried to lure Sills into confessing whether she ever felt uncomfortable doing command performances at the White House for presidents whose politics she didn’t like; this was obviously a crude attempt to get her to say something snotty about former president Nixon. I don’t remember whether she rose to the bait or not, but I do recall the hilarious sequel. Somehow the two got on the subject of dogs, and Sills said that hers were so frisky and mischievous that sometimes she “just wanted to take them down to Martha’s Vineyard and drown them.” Cronkite, sensing that this clumsy exercise in hyperbole was likely to remind viewers of another famous drowning death in Massachusetts, laughed nervously, and practically spluttered, “No, no, don’t do that” before immediately changing the subject.

4) When he retired, Cronkite openly proclaimed himself to be a liberal - always had been, he said - and occasionally served as a noisy, unofficial spokesman for the farcically-named liberal organization, People for the American Way.

The most trusted man in America. As Mencken said, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” And Archie Bunker was right, too: “Ol’ pinko Cronkite,” indeed.

Obsession

Al Gore is the Aimee Semple McPherson of the climate change movement. He bangs one meaty paw on the pulpit, scaring the congregation with apocalyptic visions of a man-made hell, while with the other he coolly extracts their folding money in support of certain miraculous, planet-saving technologies in which he just happens to have a small private interest. All that’s needed to make the picture complete is for him to be discovered in a love-nest down in Mexico, shacked up in a hotel with the nubile daughter of a coal magnate.

Gore continues to write his own gospel, recently claiming in an interview on ABC Australia that a court ruling in the UK went in his favor, when it is well-known (even in the distant Antipodes) that the judge held that Gore’s Cli-Fi movie, An Inconvenient Truth, contained nine significant errors of scientific fact.

For some reason, monomania comes to mind. Here’s a definition that fits Gore as snugly as a size 60 sport coat from the Big and Tall Men’s Store :
Monomania is an emotional or mental disorder that impacts the ability of the individual to interact with his or her environment in a balanced and productive manner. Essentially, monomania is a condition in which the sufferer is so focused on one idea or emotion that it is impossible to function normally. An individual who suffers with this disorder is often referred to as a monomaniac.

The term monomania is created from the Greek word monos, which refers to one, and mania, which refers to an excited state. People who exhibit monomaniacal attributes become so focused with a single emotion or concept that the majority of their waking hours are devoted to this single subject. In most cases, paranoia is increasingly present as the condition deepens, with the monomaniac often believing others are seeking to negatively impact the obsession in some manner.

Mark my word: the intensity of his obsession will one day lead to a synaptic meltdown, and he may well wind up embracing the symbols of that which he now opposes – if not the lascivious young coal-heiress aforementioned, then perhaps NASCAR or large-tank toilets.

And frankly, I think the crisis will come soon. Al's hallucinations are getting worse…

Assortment

1) Via the Competitive Enterprise Institute, William Yeatman details the climate change schizophrenia of the G-8.

2) Also via CEI, this article by Kimberley Strassel in the WSJ, which reveals the suppression of science in the name of ideology at the EPA.

3) Which Obama are we supposed to believe?

4) Those damned Iranian protestors keep distracting our overworked President.

5) Hey, don’t believe your lyin’ eyes! There will be affordable health care options under the Democratic plan…


Take two Mmaba roots and call me in the morning.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Contact Lenses For Animals

Yeah, that's fine, I guess, but what animals really want are these...

Hey, Obama's got some 'splainin' to do, too

Why, why, why? Why the incredible urgency to pass a health care bill that is manifestly a catastrophe? The bill has something to piss off everybody: the rich, who have just been told that they will have to pony up with higher taxes; the middle class, who are discovering that they are the ultimate tax-pigeons; the elderly, who will see the quality of their health care decline just as they need it most. Have the Democrats finally and irretrievably lost their minds?

And what is Obama's game? Does he really think that this "signature" legislation is going to make him more popular and improve his chances for reelection? Is he going to succeed in out-Clintoning Bill Clinton by salvaging his own position while his party goes down in flames? During his presidential campaign, did he so thoroughly absorb the hogwash showered on him by the bucket brigade of slop that represents the mainstream media that he now truly believes in his political invincibility? Someday, Charles Mackay's book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds will need to be updated to include a chapter on the tragic folly of this administration - and of those who put it in power.

Happy Feet Friday

Something a little different, this week: Tex Williams laments the addictive quality of nicotine in “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette.”

So Long, Susan! Don't Let the Mike Boom Hit You On the Noggin on the Way Out

Ed Driscoll brings us the news that CNN has just divested itself of a major liability.

Update: Stacy McCain also bids Susan a fond farewell.

Two from McEnroe

Conservative activist Deborah Leigh could use a helping hand.

If Sarah Palin's just a joke, why is the Left trying so hard to drive her from public life?

Dick Durbin: Expert in Forensic Bigotry

The happily named Dick Durbin, senator from Illinois, had this to say during the Sotomayor hearing yesterday:
"When we asked questions of the white male nominees of a Republican president, we were basically trying to ... make sure that they would go far enough in understanding the plight of minorities, because clearly that was not in their DNA," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said.

How do I scorn thee? Let me count the ways.

If you are saying that a white male is congenitally incapable of understanding the plight of minorities – that, in effect, people are hotwired to hold certain opinions based on their pigmentation or ethnicity or gender – then doesn’t it follow that, say, a Latina woman, even a wise one, would be governed by the same tribal instincts? Is the Supreme Court, then, nothing but a committee composed of people each one of whom simply represents the identity politics of his or her clan? Isn’t this inconsistent with traditional concepts of law and jurisprudence – as even Judge Sotomayor now claims (however disingenuously)? By the way, how did you manage to escape the iron grip of your own rather obvious Caucasian-male DNA? Are you, in fact, an African-American, a Mexican-American, or some other hyphenated type of American, who is shamefully and dishonestly trying to “pass”?

And what bearing does the “plight of minorities” have on the application of the law, aside from civil rights violations in which racial or ethnic prejudice can be clearly shown to have been the cause of a crime?

Do you, Dick – may I call you Dick? – have any idea, yourself, what you’re talking about? Or are you just trying to polish the turd of liberal orthodoxy?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

From the Shelves of the Paco Library


A while back I did a “shelves” post in which I reviewed the
Max Carrados detective stories
written by Ernest Bramah. Friend and commenter Mild Colonial Boy pointed out that Bramah had also written a series involving an ancient Chinese story-teller named Kai Lung. I found a nice first American edition of Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat (first published in 1928) at one of my favorite used bookstores, and I commend and thank MCB for bringing this excellent book to my attention.

The framework of the novel is a series of stories within the main story. Kai Lung’s house is burned down and his wife is taken prisoner by an old foe, Ming-Shu, who has raised the flag of rebellion against his emperor. Kai Lung sets out on a long and dangerous journey to rescue his beloved Hwa-mei, and his own story is punctuated with the yarns that he tells to various people he meets along the way in order to earn his daily rice.

Throughout the book Bramah employs a highly formal and polite prose style to suggest the exquisite verbal courtesy of the mandarins, although the richly-ornamented language is used by everyone from the Emperor down to common cut-throats. The mannered style of the language, against the background of the very menacing scrapes and tight spots that Kai Lung and his characters get themselves into, leads to an abundance of irony and much dry humor.

Take, for example, Wan and his wife Lan-yen. Due to the sudden death of Wan’s improvident father, and the onset of famine, the young couple gradually find themselves reduced to the utmost privation, and are on the verge of starving. Lan-yen finally convinces Wan to cut some leaves from two mysterious shrubs growing near their house so that they might try their nutritional value. Wan is reluctant, because the shrubs – heretofore considered of no practical use – are said to have grown on a holy site. His protests unavailing, he finally yields to Lan-yen’s pleas, though with great misgivings concerning the potential effects, and picks some of the leaves from the bushes which his wife prepares in a bowl.

Now, husband and wife undoubtedly have great affection for each other, yet it is amusing to see that each still cherishes a special regard for “Number One”:
When all was ready, she set the alien fare before Wan and took her place beside the chair to serve his hand.

“Eat,” she exhorted, “and may the Compassionate Ones protect you.”

“I lean against their sympathetic understanding,” responded Wan devoutly as he looked beneath the cover. “Nevertheless,” he added graciously, “on so momentous an occasion priority shall be yours.”

“By no means,” replied Lan-yen hastily, at the same time pressing him back into the seat he would vacate. “Not until you have slaked your noble appetite shall my second-rate lips partake.”

“It is proverbial that from a hungry tiger and an affectionate woman there is no escape,” murmured Wan, and taking up a portion of the food he swallowed it.”

The book abounds in imaginative and witty tales having to do with, among other things, the discovery of tea and the evolution of a simple protection racket into the insurance industry (“The Story of Tong So, the Averter of Calamities”). The novel possesses the advantage of being the kind of work that you can read straight through, or dip into as the mood strikes you. Bramah published a half dozen books in this series, and I am looking forward to searching them all out eventually.

Democrat Health Care for Dummies


(Clickabiggen)

No, it’s not the original plumbing schematic for the Chrysler Building, or a chart showing Governor Sanford’s movements over the last six months; it’s a diagram of the health care plan designed by our lunatic Congress.

Note all the government choke points. The idea that life and death decisions will be made by faceless (and probably indifferent) bureaucrats gives me a chill. Maybe I’d better get that checked out (Oh, wait. I can’t. The Commissioner of the Health Choices Administration won’t let me).

Update: Track-A-Crat has a visually terrifying (yet somehow strangely hilarious) example of European-style health care gone wrong. As always, the devil is in the details.

The Natural

In view of the President’s controversial pitch at the All-Star game last night, I thought it might be interesting to return to the Field of Dreams and see what some of the old-timers had to say.

Ted Williams: “Well, if we’d had more pitchers like that when I was around, I’d never have hit .400; on the other hand, I probably would have tripled my total for walks.”

Lefty Gomez: “He knows this is a baseball game, right? Not an egg toss?”

Bobo Newsome: “Hell, Monty Stratton pitched better than that after he had his leg amputated.”

Casey Stengel: “So, I still see that nobody here knows how to play this game.”

Green Scams

This exclusive in the Washington Times is just a tiny example of the self-dealing and corruption inherent in that murky place where politics, junk science and business overlap.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado [Democrat, in case you were wondering – Paco] inserted a provision into the recently passed House climate change bill that would drum up business for "green" banks, such as the one he has invested in and his family and a political donor helped found in San Francisco.

For a bigger (and fatter) example, there is, of course, Al Gore, and one can also add T. Boone Pickens* to the list. Everywhere, there are special pleaders looking to cash in on the climate change racket, and they have happily encountered a large number of AGW pimps in the form of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Obama administration, and possibly the Senate, most of whose members are working around the clock to cook up massive amounts of gravy for powerful constituents and donors.

Unfortunately for the rest of us, that gravy is derived from taxpayer drippings, carefully drained out of the cap-and-trade skillet. What many people fail to see is not only the extraordinarily high expenses that will be imposed on us as a result of this (and other) environmental legislation, but the diversion of our hard-earned tax dollars to special-interest boondogglists dedicated to addressing a bogus issue (but, nonetheless, lining their pockets with very non-bogus cash).

Can we ruin the economy? Yes we can!

*H/T: The Other McCain

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Control This!

President Obama is trying to implement gun control through the back door. Check out the video here (H/T: friend and commenter Jeff).

Well, It's Better Than Crying Outloud


Bumper-sticker image courtesy of KC at Pixie Place.

The Big Sleep

I’m with Fred Thompson when it comes to Senate confirmation hearings (whether for the Supreme Court or anything else): “…what a nominee says during his or her hearing, while certainly not irrelevant, is one of the least important considerations upon which they should base their vote. [A] [n]ominee’s judicial and professional record, along with their public statements and reputation for integrity, are much more reliable indicators as to the kind of judge they will be.”

Hear, hear! The process now involves an enormous waste of time during which the senators make long opening statements that epitomize the pompous grandstanding that H.L. Mencken once attributed to delegates at political conventions, where the participants “compare themselves favorably to the rising of the sun and the aurora borealis.” The mere fact that the Senate Judiciary Committee is chaired by a scoundrel like Pat Leahy has an ipecac-like effect on me, and the equally nauseating Chucky Schumer always gives the impression of being a penny ante hustler who started out selling stolen watches before graduating to the “big time.” And then there’s Lindsay Graham, whose physiognomy never fails to put me in mind of the cartoon character, Droopy the hound-dog.

With respect to politicians of every stripe, in the context of a healthy society, less is definitely more.

Update: Follow-up on Graham; he may look and sound like Droopy, sometimes, but AllahPundit gives him high marks for his cross-examination of Sotomayor.

Jewish Sex Gum

Abe Greenwald at Contentions reveals a new Israeli secret weapon.

From the linked article: “Hamas suspects that Israeli intelligence services are supplying its Gaza Strip stronghold with chewing gum that boosts the sex drive in order to ‘corrupt the young,’ an official said on Tuesday.”

I dunno; seems kind of counter-intuitive to me. If this chewing gum acts like a libido supercharger, wouldn’t that ultimately translate into more future recruits for Hamas?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ok, This I Get

Here's one thing about cricket (or rather, cricket equipment) that I understand.

Mark Steyn Takes a Look at the Increasingly Byzantine (and Hilarious) World of Identity Politics

Of men and t-shirts (H/T: Tim Blair)

Chris Matthews Resolves Himself Into His Constituent Elements...

...consisting mostly of glutinous sentiment, treacly hero-worship and partisan melodrama.

Listen if you dare!

Here Come La Judge

It was reported yesterday that President Obama gave Judge Sotomayor a pep talk in anticipation of the upcoming hearings on her confirmation as a Supreme Court justice.

Actually, the pep talk turned into a full-fledged pep rally, led by Rahm Emanuel and the Rahmettes (and, as you would expect, we’ve got the video).

<a href="http://www.grapheine.com">agence communication Paris Lyon Graphéine</a>