Monday, November 30, 2009

Detective Paco in "Sarah Palin Flips Her Lid"

It had been a tough week, so, in a way, I was enjoying the rare pleasure of being able to lie in front of the television set, channel-surfing as the mood struck me, a remote in one hand and a steaming cup of java in the other. Of course, when you’re confined to a hospital bed, there’s not much else to do anyway.

I was in the middle of that scene from White Heat - the one where Jimmy Cagney has killed his rival, Big Ed, and is about to roll the body downstairs, after first thoughtfully shouting, “Catch!” – when I heard a shy knocking on the door of my room; so soft, in fact, that it sounded like a woodpecker with a cork on its beak tapping on a tree a half-mile away. I growled ungraciously. “Come in, Wronwright.”

The door opened slowly, and a nose emerged, followed by a pair of steel-rimmed spectacles and finally by a pair of blue eyes with a haunted expression. Wronwright stepped into the room and whipped out a mixed bouquet of carnations and mums (accidentally closing the door on them, then yanking them through angrily), and walked over to my bed – on tip-toe, as if approaching the open casket of a departed loved one. He started to speak, but overcome by some deep emotion, wound up staring at the floor and shaking his head.

“Wronwright”, I said, “how many times do I have to tell you? It was just an accident. Don’t worry about it. It could have happened to…well, to nobody else but you, probably, but, anyway, no real harm done.”

“I swear, Paco, I didn’t know it was loaded!”

It was partially my own fault. The previous morning I had breezed into the office, having picked up a new assignment: guarding Sarah Palin on her upcoming book-signing tours in Northern Virginia. I saw Wronwright sitting on the corner of Sheila’s desk, working the slide on an old Colt .45 pistol I had absent-mindedly left in her in-box (I had been planning on cleaning the thing). Sheila was sitting well back from her desk, holding a telephone book defensively in front of her lovely map, while Wronwright was gassing on about the pistol’s history.

“Yes, this was possibly John Browning’s greatest design. It was a popular sidearm in the U.S. military through several wars, you know. Here, let me explain the basic science involved.”

Sheila still cowered behind her telephone book, and blurted out desperately, “Wronwright, I’ve actually got some things to type up. Maybe later, ok? Oh, Paco! There you are! You were planning on cleaning this gun, weren’t you? No time like the present, I’d say.”

I crossed my arms, smiled and leaned against the wall. “No, that’s all right. I’d kinda like to hear about the ‘basic science’ myself.”

Wronwright scowled. “I’ll have you know that I’ve been handling these babies since I was a kid. And the ingeniousness of the engineering is really fascinating. Now, Sheila, observe how I remove the magazine, thereby disarming the weapon.”

“Wronwright, that’s not…”

He made a tut-tutting noise and waved a dismissive hand at me. “I know, I know. The safety. See, I depress the switch, here…”

“No, you see, the safety…”

Those were the last words I uttered before I heard a Boom! and felt the edge of a hot iron run along the part in my hair. I guess I had been stunned, because the next thing I knew, I was waking up in the emergency room of the hospital. My head had just been grazed, but the doctor had bundled me off to a private room for overnight observation.

I bid a sad farewell to Cagney and turned the TV set off. “Wronwright, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a hundred times: with a semi-automatic pistol, you’ve got to remember the round in the chamber. Besides, as I was about to say before I was shot down in cold blood, the safety doesn’t work properly. Anyhow, like I said, forget about it.”

There was another knock on the door. Sheila walked in carrying a box of chocolates. Her long, golden hair framed a face that was a mask of worry; but seeing me alive and apparently still in possession of the same limited mental faculties I had always possessed, her smile lit up like a sunburst, and she heaved such a deep sigh of relief that her swelling bosom almost caused the belt on her trench-coat to come uncinched. Only then did she deign to acknowledge Wronwright’s presence; she arched her lovely, symmetrical brows. “Oh. Hello… assassin.”

Wronright drooped like one of the broken carnations in his bouquet. I figured it was time to put things in the proper perspective. “Sheila, it was an accident and we’re all going to let it drop. We’ve got more important things to think about. Now, what I was going to tell you both when…er…I was interrupted by this unfortunate incident, is that I’ve landed a contract to do some security work for Sarah Palin while she’s making the rounds of book stores in the area. It’s easy money, and, frankly, I think it’ll be a real treat to meet her.”

Sheila brightened considerably, pushing Wronwright out of the way as if he were one of those big horseshoe wreaths sent by a gangster to the funeral of a rival he’s just had rubbed out, and settling her shapely derriere on the edge of the bed. “I’ll say! I’ve always admired her, and I’d love to get a signed copy of her book.”

The prospect of meeting Sarah and restoring his reputation as someone who could be counted on not to shoot up his friends in the manner of a fellow idly plinking at tin cans in a field even revived Wronwright’s spirits. “That’s great, Paco! When do we start?”

“Tomorrow, at the Borders bookstore in Alexandria. Then there will be three or four more signings at stores in Fairfax and Loudon counties. But first I’ve got to get out of here. Wronwright, hand me my pants, will you? Sheila, buzz the nurse and tell her I’m ready to check out.” They both followed instructions, but then I felt the gentle touch of feminine fingers undoing one of the knotted laces on the back of my hospital gown. I turned my head and saw Sheila grinning mischievously. “Please, doll-face,” I said, nodding my head in Wronwright’s direction. “Not in front of the children.”

* * * *

We were into our fourth and final book-signing watch at a Barnes & Noble in Loudon County. Everything had gone pretty smoothly, except for a few minor incidents. We had hustled a couple of hecklers out of the bookstore in Alexandria, and at the Barnes & Noble in Fairfax, Wronwright had executed a beautiful block on an egg-thrower (unfortunately, when my partner leaped into action, he had his mouth wide open - yelling “I’ve got it!” – so he was still plagued by the taste of raw egg). Sheila, who was on guard by the front door, had extended one of her gorgeous pins and tripped the fellow as he attempted his get-away, holding a stiletto heel to his throat until the police arrived.

Around 2:00 pm, we sidled over to Sarah; it was the time of day when she usually took a quick break. “Excuse me, Ms. Palin. Do you want me to watch the table for a while?” She looked up with that dazzling smile of hers. “Hi, boys! Yeah, in just a few minutes. Let me autograph a few more books, and then I think I’ll stretch my legs. There’s a little green belt behind the store where I can take a stroll.” Wronwright and I walked the perimeter.

Wron halted abruptly and pointed to a store employee, who was standing over in the “New Titles” section, moving books around on a shelf - almost randomly, it seemed -casting nervous glances in all directions. He was a large, burly man, with curly black hair and a bushy beard, and he was wearing an apron-like garment with the Barnes & Noble logo.

“Paco, didn’t we see that same guy in the two Borders stores, plus the Barnes & Noble we were at yesterday?”

I studied the guy a moment and concluded that my partner was right. “Sure looks like him,” I said. “I don’t suppose he’s just a bookstore job-hopper? That would be kind of an unlikely coincidence. Let’s go talk to him.”

We walked up to him, but when he saw us approaching, he took off for the back of the store at a brisk pace.

I turned to Wronwright. “Let’s go tell Sarah to stay put for the time being. I think that bozo’s headed for the rear exit.”

We ran by the book-signing table and told Sarah we had seen a suspicious character heading out the back door. Running in that direction ourselves, we burst through the back door into an alley that bordered a wooded area. And there he was: yanking off his apron and tossing it in a dumpster; more importantly, he had also whipped a pistol out of his hip pocket, which he pointed directly at us. An ugly smile crossed his face (not that I could actually see it under all that facial hair; I just noticed a shift in his beard, like a mouse poking around under a pile of dirty socks).

In spite of the danger of the situation, I couldn’t help but notice that our foe had drawn a .25 caliber semi-auto, which seemed strangely incongruous, considering his hulking size. I grinned in spite of myself.

“What you got there, bub? A cigarette lighter?”

He scowled. “I am an excellent shot, dog of an unbeliever! Have you not heard of Yusuf the Assassin, the scourge of Allah and the leader of the most feared Al-Qaeda cell active in the black heart of your misbegotten country?”

“Well, no, not actually. Have you got any press clippings I could look at?”

“You make jokes when you should be saying your prayers! I will take care of you two, and then execute the wanton Zionist, Sarah Palin!”

So, that was what this was all about; another blow for the caliphate on U.S. soil. I stalled for time.

“Listen, Joe, you’re wasting your time. Ms. Palin has already left for the day.”

He barked a short laugh. “Liar! I’ve been scouting all her appearances, observing her habits. She will be taking a break, soon, and it will be a very long one!”

While this goon was delivering his speech, I took the opportunity of pulling my own gun from my shoulder holster. It was the Colt .45, which I had picked up in a hurry at the office that morning.

“This, Joe, is what you call your Mexican standoff. My .45 caliber against your popgun. Feeling lucky?”

Wronwright tugged at my sleeve.

“Stop that!” I muttered.

He whispered out of the side of his mouth. “It’s not loaded!”

“What!”

“Your pistol. It’s not loaded.”

“What do you mean it’s not loaded?”

“After I…er…after the gun went off the other day, I took the bullets out of the magazine. I’m sorry, Paco, but I wanted to be extra-careful.”

“What about the one in the chamber?”

“Don’t worry! I remembered that one, too.” He paused a few seconds. “Oh, wait...Yeah, on second thought you’d better worry.”

Yusuf was getting restless. “What are you two talking about? Bah! It doesn’t matter. I am more than happy to lay down my life for Allah!”

He extended his arms and squinted slightly; it was obvious that he was going to shoot.

Wronwright shouted “Watch out, Paco!” and turned to push me to the ground, protecting me with his own body. There was a loud Pop!, and Wronwright yowled. I shoved him out of the way, and hurled the Colt directly at Yusuf’s head. He was completely surprised by the action, but he ducked the flying gun neatly and pointed his pistol directly at my face.

Suddenly, the back door to the store opened behind the gunman - quietly, but quickly. Sarah Palin took in the situation with a glance, grabbed the lid off of a garbage can, and sent it whirling through the air like a Frisbee, catching the terrorist in the neck. He went down like a jumbo-sized sack of falafel.

I ran over and cuffed his hands behind his back. “Thanks, Ms. Palin. Nice toss!”

“That’s nothing. My rifle jammed on me one time when I was out hunting and I brought down a caribou with one of my snowshoes. But why didn’t you shoot?”

“Er...same problem. Weapon jammed.”

“Golly!” Sarah blurted. “He got Wronwright!” She ran to my partner’s side, sat down and cradled him in her arms. By the time I walked back, Wronwright was giving a soulful farewell speech. “I regret…that I only have one life…to give…for the future president of my country.”

“Ah, that’s sweet, Wronwright!” Sarah crooned. “But you’re not going to die.”

Wronwright appeared surprised – and, if I hadn’t known him as well as I did, I would almost have said disappointed. “I’m not?”

“No, dear, I’m pretty sure.”

* * * *

I knocked lightly on the hospital door. A familiar voice said gruffly, “Come in, Paco.”

I entered the room and saw that Wronwright already had company: Sarah Palin and Sheila.

“Well, Wronwright”, I smiled, “looks like you’re in the same position I was in earlier this week.”

My partner grimaced. “Yeah, but at least you were able to lie on your back.”

“Does it hurt much?”

Sheila piped up. “And how! You should have heard him howling when they changed the bandage. He hasn’t got much padding back there, you know.”

Wronwright spoke over his shoulder. “Sheila, if I’d been born with your endowments in the caboose department, I probably wouldn’t even have known that I’d been shot until I went for my annual physical and the doctor asked me, ‘Where’d that scar come from?’”

Sheila raised the box of chocolates over her shoulder with the obvious aim of smacking Wronwright on his gluteus maximus, but I shook my head and she relented (reluctantly).

Sarah gave Wronwright a friendly rub on his back. “We’ve got quite a hero here, Paco! He really took one for the team.”

“Yes,” I said, “but you’re the one who brought down that thug, Ms. Palin.”

“Well, I gotta say, that did create a spike in the sales of my book, and it helped me with my approval ratings in the polls, too. And even Andrew Sullivan has now admitted that I probably am the mother of my own son.”

“Oh, sure”, I agreed. “I figure he saw of vision of himself laid out in an alley with his head under a garbage-can lid. Works wonders on the thought process.”

I opened my coat and pulled out a Styrofoam food container. “Here, buddy. I think you’ll find that this is better than the standard hospital fare.”

I popped the top on the container to reveal a steaming pile of Cincinnati chili. Wronwright’s eyes lit up. “Yum! Gimme!”

Sarah looked at her watch. “Uh-oh. I gotta be goin’, guys. But thanks for everything. Get well quick, Wronwright!” She gave him a little buss on his forehead; his ears began glowing like heating elements on a stove. “And here’s a specially autographed copy of my book for the Paco firm. See ya!”

Sarah handed me the book on her way out. I read the inscription out loud: “To Paco, Wronwright and Sheila – my personal Justice League! Love, Sarah”.

Sheila said, "Hey, let me see that!" She took the book and wandered over to the window. Thumbing through the pages, she was soon absorbed in Going Rogue.

Wronwright’s eyes widened behind his spectacles. “Justice League…Say, Paco, that gives me an idea…”

I held up a hand to stop him in his tracks. “Wron, we are not dressing up in superhero outfits.”

“Think about it," he said. "Sheila…in a Wonder Woman costume!”

I looked at her, standing by the window, her tall, slender form balanced with a perfect, complementary convexity, fore and aft, her hand lightly playing with a few strands of her golden hair.

“Ok, ok.” I said in a low voice. “But I get to be Batman!”

“7 stories Obama doesn’t want told”

So naturally I think it is my patriotic duty to help get them out there.

Nothing surprising, though it’s interesting to see even Yahoo! News picking up the story line about the big and growing gap between the form and the substance of Obama’s persona (and his policies).

One thing that particularly continues to nettle, however, is this whole “Chicago Way” theme and the idea of “brass knuckle” politics. To the extent that this notion translates into a willingness to use corruption, bribery and job-threatening intimidation, fine; I think the evidence for that tactical approach in the Obama White House is overwhelming. It is the broader, metaphorical meaning, the machismo of the genuine tough guy, that I find absurd. There are people in this administration - Rahm Emanuel is a prime example – who seem to truly think that they’re the spiritual descendants of Al Capone, and they revel in the delusion. They love to be thought of as gangsters. But the truth is that a real gangster - and, for that matter, his foe, the honest cop – put their lives on the line every day. Although the gangster is driven by greed, and the cop by a commitment to law and order, in their own respective ways, they are both “tough guys”. But Obama? Please. He and his handlers were raised in a bubble of Democratic party privilege, of vote buying, vote stealing, windy promises made and broken, the goal a cushy and prestigious job in Washington, all lovingly sanitized by a compliant media. Sure, it’s a dirty business and one’s conscience has to be a little rough around the edges to participate, but for them to wallow in the self-perception - the self-delusion - that they’re all a bunch of swaggering, macho gunslingers is laughable. You see what happens when these stone bad asses try to go up against the really dangerous hombres of the world – bowing, scraping, cow-eyed naïveté, endless dithering and useless concessions.

Maybe they see themselves as a kind of bloodless Murder, Inc.; to me, they’re more like a bad imitation of the Apple Dumpling Gang (with their hands on the levers of government, which makes the situation alarming rather than simply amusing).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Officers Down

Our prayers go out for the souls of those police officers gunned down in Lakewood, Washington, and for their families, friends and fellow officers.

The suspect is a man by the name of Maurice Clemmons, who, interestingly, had previously been jailed in Arkansas and had his sentence commuted nine years ago by then-governor Mike Huckabee.

How Old Do You Have to Be in Dog Years to Buy Cigarettes?

A BP convenience store in Clearwater, Florida, has an unusual clerk.

Gong Obama

Remember the old Gong Show? It was a low-budget television program that featured acts of (mostly) dubious talent. The judges would signify their rejection of an act by banging a gong.

Lately, every time Obama or some chuckle-head in his administration makes a dumb decision, I keep thinking back to that show. The trouble is, with the Unsmart now running amok in all directions, like pod-people with a severe nematode infestation in the cranial region , there's a veritable symphony of gongs playing 24/7 (Ed Morrissey, for one, is hard-pressed to keep up with the weekly load of “Obamateurisms”).

Here’s a recent pronouncement of particularly astonishing idiocy, deserving of two whacks on a giant gong.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sunday Funny

New from Paco Enterprises: the Obama-Care Pencil Sharpener! Just to remind you that, if you stay faithful to Obama's vision, you'll get yours, in the end.



Sunday Funny Bonus! Steve Burri at Grandpa John's has a link to a great story about a guy who discovered that throwing an egg at a Sarah Palin book-signing wasn't "free" speech after all.

Super Double Bonus!! Stacy McCain, in the most hilarious line of the week, refers to Al Gore as the Piltdown Man of American politics.

More Red Flags Than the Kremlin on May Day

Let's see; there's Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn and Van Jones. And now Dr. Quentin Young, Obama's Marxist medical pal.

When you start adding up the numbers of Obama's radical friends and associates, it looks like the guy's got enough comrades to set up his own Comintern.


Old Gory

Update: Even the White House party crashers have radical connections. Hmmm...Maybe the Salahis really had been "cleared" to attend, as earlier news reports said; it just wouldn't have looked good to have them on the official guest list.

Blogger Creates Own Hockey Stick

Boy on a Bike crunches some numbers and comes up with a fascinating graph (H/T: Robert of Ottawa).

Tiger Woods Forgets to Keep His Head Down

Or so it would appear.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Assortment

1) Steven Hayward at No Left Turns views Obama as the reincarnation of a certain peanut farmer. Note the anecdote about one of Jimmy’s gaffetastic White House dinner invitations.

2) Much more on those inconvenient emails from the Blog Prof.

3) Were FDR’s health problems far worse than we had suspected? Barron H. Lerner discusses an interesting hypothesis that is being presented in a soon-to-be-published book, FDR’s Deadly Secret, by Steven Lomazow and Eric Fettman.

4) Ed Morrissey reviews Amy Alkon’s book, I See Rude People, and also links to her blog, where we find a fascinating email exchange between Amy and one of her detractors (talk about a soft word turning away wrath!) Here’s a recent article by Amy that deals with the kind of thing that gave rise to the book.

5) I haven’t seen the movie, 2012, but I certainly enjoyed this review by Alexander Zaitchik. I was hooked from the first sentence: “It is among the most wondrous mysteries of the ancient world: how did the Maya, a civilization that preceded Rex Reed by millennia, know about plot spoilers?”

6) Here's an idea; how about "Kick an Anti-Semite Day"? (H/T: right Bias)

Rule 5 Saturday

Xavier Cugat and his orchestra showcase the singing of the lovely Lina Romay, in “Bombshell from Brooklyn” ( here are the rules, as per instruction).

Of Mann and Hockey Sticks

Marlo Lewis at OpenMarket.org shows how some of the biggest boosters of climate change hysteria were intimately involved in the email scandal involving that temple of AGW, the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit.

Where is Mr. Bingley’s Nobel Prize?

He is obviously one of mankind’s great benefactors (H/T: Tim Blair).

Cracks in the Road to Serfdom



Two articles from The American Spectator highlight the huge miscalculations made by President Obama and the Democratic leadership in congress concerning the meaning of the 2008 election.

First, William Tucker writes about the almost total disconnect between the present government and the majority of voters:
[Obama] comes from a liberal tradition that doesn't even understand conservatism but thinks of it as a bunch of country yahoos, anti-abortion fanatics and fat capitalists trying to hang on to their bank accounts. His advisors believe the same, not to mention the panoply of cheerleading bloggers and newspaper columnists. All this is going to make it difficult for liberals to accept the idea that they have squandered their "once-in-a-generation" chance to impose a socialist agenda.
Tucker goes on to predict a Republican blowout in the mid-terms.

Andrew Cline is “thankful for Obama”, seeing “a monumental collapse in public support for the president and his party”; he joins Tucker in noting the amazing – and ultimately self-defeating – arrogance of the Obamacrats:
A stridently liberal president, House speaker, and Senate majority leader governing a substantially conservative nation must tread lightly. Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are stomping -- with their fingers plugging their ears to keep out the screams of the opposition that comprises a majority of the country but a minority of Congress.

Mistaking the country's well-earned dissatisfaction with George W. Bush and momentary infatuation with Obama for an ideological realignment of historical proportions, Democrats in Washington dashed giddily forward with an unprecedented spree of deficit spending, economic meddling, entitlement expansion, and controlling regulation. The people they expected to greet them with cheers have recoiled in horror, or at least stopped in cold amazement.

Come 2010, Americans will know (as long as Republicans don't botch it) that they are choosing between the party that wants to remake America in the image of a European welfare state and the one that wants to expand freedom.
That parenthetical proviso, I regret to say, is key: “As long as Republicans don’t botch it.” Our message to the leadership should be clear: no “me-too” candidates, no Obama knock-offs.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Feet Friday

Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra perform “Dusk in Upper Sandusky”, featuring a nice drum solo by Ray McKinley.

Nepotism

More Better Smartness

Here's Obama's brilliant plan for peace in the Middle East:

1) Israel releases 1,000 Palestinian terrorists.

2) ?

3) Lasting peace!

Will Australia Save Us From Al Gore?

Could be, as Liberal Party leader Malcolm Turnbull drives his career off the trestle into a canyon in a last, futile effort to wed Australia's center-right party to the fantasy of AGW.

(H/T: Tim Blair)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!



Best wishes to all my readers and commenters for a wonderful day. And God bless our troops, who, day in and day out, prove that America is still the land of the free and the home of the brave. Above all, may our leaders learn that our warriors deserve victory, not "off-ramps".

Update: An Ed Driscoll Thanksgiving (don't forget your Camel cigarettes).

Money for Nothing

A French marketing firm came up with the bright idea of throwing cash out of the windows of a bus. What could possibly go wrong?

From the Shelves of the Paco Library


Andrew Ferguson is one of my favorite political essayists, and a peek inside his 1996 book, Fools Names, Fool’s Places will show you why (P.J. O’Rourke’s introduction is an added bonus).

As I have indicated on a couple of occasions before, Ferguson has my undying admiration for coining a particularly snarky description of beltway mercenary, David Gergen. I’ll let him tell the story:
As a journalistic hit man, I am definitely second or even third tier, ranking far below such masters of our craft as Sally Quinn, Stephanie Mansfield, R. Emmett Tyrell, or Christopher Hitchens. But I will say this in my defense: I once called David Gergen a “goggle-eyed melon head.”

This was in 1986 or 1987, in Washington City Paper. The phrase came offhandedly as I was in the midst of composing a thoroughly unprovoked hit on the real estate mogul and publisher Mort Zuckerman, Gergen’s boss at U.S. News & World Report…As the bile flowed, I started sputtering in all directions, and when, in a discussion of Zuckerman’s truculent management style, it came time to mention Gergen, the insult appeared unbidden…

The piece was published a few weeks later and made some noise, especially in the offices of U.S. News. I didn’t give the Gergen insult a second thought…until a friend at U.S. News told me that some prankster had snuck into Gergen’s office one evening and placed a melon on his desk. I tried to laugh but in truth felt uneasy. Had I gone too far? About six months later, I was inadvertently introduced to Gergen at a party. He didn’t recognize my name, but soon a little light bulb went on. His eyes – I’m sorry, there’s no other way to put it – popped out like a pair of goggles. He said, “Oh, God,” and turned away…I felt terrible. Should I write him a note? Send flowers or a box of candy? (A fruit bowl was out of the question; they might throw in a melon.) I never did any of that, needless to say. I just went through the next several years feeling like a heel.

…my little anecdote has a happy ending. One fine spring day in 1993 all my self-recriminations vanished. I turned on the television and saw Gergen standing in the rose Garden at the White House with his new boss, Bill Clinton. The one-time salesman of Reaganism enlisting in the cause of undoing Reaganism! It was a move of such staggering cynicism that the next day, when I overheard a colleague disparaging Gergen, I proudly butted in: “I once called him a ‘goggle-eyed melon head’!”
Although the book was written more than a dozen years ago, it’s amazing how so many of Ferguson’s targets are still active public figures: Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Barbra Streisand, Bill Moyers. But the book isn’t just about people; there are fine pieces on places and institutions. Take this comic gem, for example, a description of the Supreme Court building:
The unwashed pass through metal detectors and massive bronze doors to the chamber itself, a marble room built to the dimensions of a college gym but with worse acoustics and no cheerleaders. Impossibly tall curtains of red plush fall between twin columns of white marble. A frieze depicting lawgivers through the ages adorns the upper walls. There is much brass and gold brocade. It looks like a set from Samson and Delilah.
Ferguson’s breezy, ironic style, and his elegantly straightforward prose make his essays a genuine pleasure to read. And there is the tone, as well. He is refreshingly free of the catty maliciousness of a Maureen Dowd (who, during the Bush years, also had the disadvantage of being pretty much a one-act circus); you will look in vain, here, for the hysterical earnestness and – let’s face it – inanity of that other, lesser Andrew. There is sharp wit, to be sure, and fearless criticism, but the whole is shot through with a kind of affable, humane bemusement over the foibles of mankind (including the author's own); not a mailed fist, but a joy-buzzer, is to be found under this velvet glove.

Nobel Prize: Return to Sender

Dear Meester Gore:

By gawly, ve really got egg on our faces dis time!

Yew remember dat Nobel Peace Prize dat ve gave yew a few yahrs ago? Ve avarded dat tew yew on account of yer publicizin’ de t’ret of global varming. Now, by yimminy, de whole t’ing is beginnin’ tew look yust like vun a’ dem dere Nigerian email scams.

Ve t’ink, under de circumstances, dat it vould be a gewd idea if yew vere to return de Nobel Prize tew us at yer earliest convenience (dat vould be bote de medal an’ de cash), an’ denn ve yus’ don’t say no more about it.

But ve don’t vant yew tew go avay mad or nuttin’, so ve are sendin’ yew, by separate post, twelve yars of cloudberry yam, an’ a large bag of Olaf’s Premium reindeer yerkey.

Yer friend,

Thorbjøm Jagland
Chairman, Nobel Peace Prize Committee

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Would You Buy a Used Car from a Climate Change Scientist?

Well, before you do, check out the Blog Prof's review of the ethical environment.

Sparkman Committed Suicide

From Stacy McCain comes the news that the KSP and FBI have ruled Bill Sparkman's death a suicide. God have mercy on his soul.

Stacy writes:
An Associated Press report said the FBI was "investigating whether anti-government sentiment" played a role in Sparkman's death. Law enforcement officials criticized that story, but the liberal blogosphere seized on it as proving that conservatives had fomented a killing rage among the yokels.

"Send the body to Glenn Beck," Internet pundit Rick Ungar proclaimed Thursday, also indicting Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann (a Republican who had warned that census data could be abused) among right-wingers presumed complicit in Sparkman's murder.
Saturday, the Atlantic Monthly's Andrew Sullivan fretted over "the most worrying possibility," namely that Sparkman's death was "Southern populist terrorism whipped up by the GOP and its Fox and talk radio cohorts."
Once again, the mainstream media – plus ideological fringe players like Andrew Sullivan – were quick to leap to the conclusion that the man had been murdered by hill apes exhorted to commit mayhem by right-wing talk-show hosts. And once again, the idiots wind up accidentally self-administering suppositories made with their own bottle-rockets. How about a little remorse, fellas?


"Apology accepted”

Update: More from the Washington Times on the "speechlessness" of lefty bloggers. How long before Andrew Sullivan begins questioning the suicide ruling and theorizing that Sparkman was killed because he was Trig Palin's real father?

Harry Reid’s Ambitious Health Care Goals

Senator Reid (Demented, Nevada) believes that the senate health care bill will not only eliminate inadequate coverage but also…er…death: “Today we vote whether to even discuss one of the greatest issues of our generation – indeed, one of the greatest issues this body has ever faced: whether this nation will finally guarantee its people the right to live free from the fear of illness and death, which can be prevented by decent health care for all.”

No doubt with Reid Care, we will see endless repetitions of this scene:

Oh, Well, I Guess The Writing’s Not That Bad After All

Critics of Sarah Palin beautifully pwnd by a commenter at Slate (H/T: Tim Blair).

David Brooks Fails to Make Impression on Future Presidential Candidate

Bwahahaha! In an interview with Bill O'Reilly, Sarah Palin can barely recall his name.

"Whoever that dude is...Brooks?"

Don't let it get to you, Dave. Most of you RINOs are gonna find yourselves in the "what's-his-name" category before too long.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pretty Low Bar, It Seems to Me

Smitty at the Other McCain aspires to greatness.

Also, Stacy arrives at some interesting conclusions after pondering the likely profile of successful conservative politicians in 2010.

The Weirdest President Ever

At this stage, I would not be surprised to learn that Obama collects string, holds imaginary conversations with W.E.B. Dubois, fervently believes that George Bush is the Anti-Christ, and secretly puffs on coffin nails jammed into an extra-long cigarette holder a la FDR while he delivers the latter’s “Four Freedoms” speech in front of a mirror every Saturday night.

He is a strange fellow, this president of ours, with an outlook that is oddly alien to the American traditions and culture that most of us seem to take in with our mother’s milk, and whose forward-looking vision is, in reality, an unending gaze into the rearview mirror (shopworn leftist panaceas may be closer than they appear). And perhaps even more strikingly, he has the temperament of a loony-bin Napoleon, strutting about with a supreme (and supremely unjustified) self-confidence in his ability – an act that is wearing thin even among his fellow inmates, and that is growing positively alarming to his keepers. I mean, even something as otherwise unsurprising as hypocrisy in a politician takes on overtones of weirdness with Obama. In fact, in his abrazos with leftist caudillos, his bowing (can scraping be far behind?) to desert despots and ageing emperors, his shameful apology tours, his dog-like return to the vomit of Iranian “good faith”, the president has managed a feat unique in my experience: he has turned hypocrisy inside-out by redefining it as the tribute that virtue pays to vice.

Strange, surpassing strange. To borrow from the sentiment expressed in this excellent cartoon, I keep waiting for Rod Serling to do a walk-on and tell me what’s it’s all about.

Serling, of course, only showed up to set the stage and provide a little context and clarification for the viewers of his macabre dramas. As participants in this giant reality-Twilight Zone series that is the Obama administration, we are likely to wind up much as the characters in the TV episodes frequently did – facing our doom in a state of baffled horror, never really comprehending the how and why.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

More Skeet Shooting

Via that legendary internet explorer, Captain Heinrichs.

The Democratic Health Care Plan

Harry Reid says it'll pay for itself; besides, if you oppose it, you'd probably have opposed emancipation, too.


Health care + government control; visualize the synergy!

Update: Hey, that would make a great demotivational poster!

Your Handy Guide to Racism

As always, click to enlarge.



(Stolen from Grouchy Old Cripple, who stole it from Missourah)

Assortment

1) One of my favorite bloggers, Jennifer Rubin, puts the vote to commence debate on the Senate health care bill in context.

2) Donald Douglas has a photo of a t-shirt with a first-rate message (now THAT’s a slogan!)

3) Bob Belvedere has a great Rule 5 photo-spread of Angie Dickinson (plus a tragic look at the deadly combination of Botox and sneezing).

4) Monique Stewart wonders if Rahm Emanuel might actually be right about something.

5) Richard McEnroe introduces what, I hope, will become a new Olympic event.

6) Frank Furedi has written an interesting article on the fetishization of change in education (this ominous phenomenon also has broad applications outside of education – for example, politics, as I need hardly point out).

7) “Indecent” or “inappropriate”? The difference may be more important than you think.

8) And here's Mark Steyn, via Blue Crab Boulevard. In this article, Steyn deals with...well, does it really matter? Steyn is excellent on everything.

Evidence Mounts That Climate Change is a Hoax

The mainstream media's response? Hey, look over there! It's Sarah Palin!

H/T: Confederate Yankee

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sunday Funny

A big shout-out to Dad 29 for bringing the Red Green comedy sketches to my attention. I'll let you go over to his place to hit the link to the first one I've ever seen, but here's another episode, just to give you a taste.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pull!

I was tipped off to this by friend and commenter Nashville Beat* (it's also at Ace of Spades). Outstanding.



*Not Nashville "Cat", as I had originally written.

Can Al Gore Be Bought?

Let me rephrase that. Hey, Al! How'd you like to make a few extra bucks getting your ass kicked by debating Lord Monckton?

C'mon, big guy! Take the Competitive Enterprise Institute challenge.

Rule 5 Saturday

The Andrews Sisters in their 1940 screen debut (Argentine Nights) singing “Rhumboogie”.

Malevolent, Dishonest, Power-Mad Harpy Calls Karzai "Unworthy"

Nancy Pelosi - Nancy. Freakin'. Pelosi. - has the immortal rind to call President Karzai of Afghanistan an "unworthy partner".

She's perfectly capable of trying to derail a troop-buildup in Afghanistan single-handedly, but I wonder if she's not getting a wink and a nudge from Obama.

Happy Feet Friday

Here’s a comical “How-to-Dance” video from the 1940s – comical, but the music is hot (no surprise – the instrumental’s provided by Jimmy Dorsey and his band) and the dancing is superb.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Obama Has a Biden Moment

Joe Biden has the well-deserved reputation of possessing a V-8 mouth and a two-cycle brain, but perhaps the most fascinating thing about him is that, in the steady stream of his logorrhea-driven ramblings, he occasionally says something true.

Joe’s influence over the president must be starting to kick in, because Obama uttered his own Bidenism recently. At Osan Air Base in South Korea, the president told 1,500 hundred troops, “You guys make a pretty good photo op."

Now this is a “truth” in the sense of being a very self-revelatory statement, a comment that unmasks the president’s attitude about practically everything: “It’s all about me.” Not the troops – certainly not the troops in Afghanistan – and not the war dragnet on terrorism. Sure, he made a few conciliatory remarks, thanking the troops for their service, and apparently drawing cheers when he promised to increase military pay. But the photo op quip pretty much sums up his perception of the value of the U.S. military: the troops are simply a nice prop in support of his title of Commander-in-Chief.

Andrew Ferguson Continues to Excel at Fool-Spotting

One of my favorite books of political essays is Fools Names, Fools Faces, by Andrew Ferguson (which I hope to highlight in an upcoming Thursday book-review post). Mr. Ferguson’s breezy, ironic style is on full display in this Weekly Standard article from June of this year, as he tackles Newsweek magazine and its editor, Jon Meacham, as well as the self-congratulatory liberal press, in general. A couple of pearls from the article:
Everybody is crazy about Jon or at least is hoping not to get fired by him. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that everybody has his favorite "Meachamism," a word I just made up to describe a statement so comically banal or transparently untrue that only a man whom everybody is crazy about or hopes not to get fired by would try to put it into print. My own favorite Meachamism is rather obscure. It pops up in a book that nobody has read, even though it's about a president, George H.W. Bush, that everybody pretended to kind of admire once we got a good look at his son. The book is called My Father, My President, by Doro Bush. On page 218, Doro prints this quotation from Jon: "An important thing to remember about the press is there is no ideological bias."

* * * *

Monday wasn't even over yet before everybody found out that Maureen Dowd, who as everyone knows writes a column for the New York Times, had lifted a paragraph from a popular blog and put it into her column and passed it off as her own work…Her explanation was implausible in every particular, compounding her original offense. Normally everybody loves it when this happens, because everybody gets to say to one another, "In Washington the cover up is often worse than the crime!" But this was Maureen. The unthinkable began to emerge as the implausibility sunk in. Everybody's favorite was not only lazy and unimaginative but dishonest too--a bit of a fraud. Just in time the "media critic" for the Washington Post stepped in to deliver summary judgment. Maureen, he announced, had made an "inadvertent mistake." Relieved, everybody went back to loving Maureen and wanting to be loved by her.
One of my favorite Meachamisms – I am employing the term somewhat loosely, but still, I think, appropriately, because, although Meacham might not have coined the descriptive phrase, he permitted it to appear on the cover of his magazine – is the title of a cover story in a recent edition of Newsweek that referred to Al Gore as “The thinking man’s thinking man”. Complementing the verbal Meachamism, the cover featured a visual aid in the form of a photo of Al. The photo is cunningly cropped to display Al’s face from the nose up; no flash of teeth to distract us from admiring that awesome forehead, behind which, we are doubtless intended to believe, even newer and more brilliant thoughts are crackling, like Jiffy-Pop popcorn within its expanding tin-foil globe. And there’s an apple over his head, the juxtaposition of man and fruit proclaiming, with a particularly ham-fisted – or perhaps ham-brained – lack of subtlety, the official Newsweek position that Al is our very own Isaac Newton.

(A floor-sweeping doff of my cavalier’s hat to Ed Driscoll).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Non-Judgmental

Excellent satire on the response by liberal pea-brains to the terrorist attack by Nidal Hassan from Caroline Glick (H/T: Moonbattery).

Louis Armstrong: Not Just a Great Musician

Something of a social philosopher, as well. Terry Teachout has posted a fine article on Satchmo at Commentary online: "Satchmo and the Jews".

From the Shelves of the Paco Library


Scottish-born author Bruce Marshall was trained as an accountant and also served with distinction in both world wars. He wrote books ranging from comic fiction to espionage novels, and a fascinating biography of Wing Commander F.F.E. Yeo-Thomas and his exploits working with the Resistance in WWII (The White Rabbit, highlighted in a previous “Shelves” post). On a couple of occasions he turned his experience in accountancy to literary use, most notably in The Accounting, an enthralling novel about a British accounting firm auditing a French bank and stumbling across a fraud scheme.

Today, however, I wanted to focus on two of my favorites, the first of which is Father Malachy’s Miracle. It is the tale of a devout and innocent Catholic priest who is perturbed by the goings on at the Garden of Eden, a local dance hall. During an argument with a Protestant minister on the subject of miracles, Father Malachy claims that God can even move the dance hall – and that He will, indeed, do so. The miracle does occur, and the Garden of Eden winds up being transported to an island off the coast. This incident leads to confusion and a considerable amount of chagrin, not least for the Catholic Church, which is unwilling to accept that this act is, in fact, a miracle. Pilgrims begin descending on the original site of the dance hall, creating a carnival atmosphere, and pestering the reclusive Father Malachy relentlessly. Abashed by all of the attention, the priest prays to God to return the dance hall from whence it came, God, once again, granting Father Malachy’s request. It is an amusing object lesson in being careful what you wish – or pray – for.

The other novel is the cold-war classic, Vespers in Vienna. Published in 1947, the book deals with British Colonel Michael “Hooky” Nicobar, who has received the unpleasant assignment of assisting in the repatriation of displaced Soviet citizens to the Motherland. He becomes deeply involved in the case of a ballerina who is desperately trying to avoid being returned to Russia. The crusty, by-the-book colonel, as he discovers the horrible truth about the likely fate of most of the returnees, is conflicted between duty and his own moral sense; however, he is helped in this internal struggle (initially against his will) by the Mother Superior of a local convent. The book, incidentally, was ultimately made into one of the better cold-war movies: The Red Danube (1949), starring Walter Pidgeon, Ethel Barrymore, and the young (and very fetching) Janet Leigh in the role of the ballerina.

More Awesome Smartness Than We’ve Ever Seen Before

And, if we’re lucky, than we’ll ever see again. According to Andy McCarthy at NRO, President Wile E. Obama – Super Genius - has already bollixed up the criminal trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed & Co.

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors"

A great insight from Plato cited by Allen West, Republican congressional candidate in Florida’s 22nd district, and highlighted by Stacy McCain. Stacy also points out that this was yet another good candidate that the Republican brass tried to shoot down.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Divine Intervention

I think believers and unbelievers alike can get behind this Psalm.

Update: The great thing about Rodger Thomas at Are We Lumberjacks? is that, when he gets an idea, he really runs with it.

Not Having What It Takes



Jennifer Rubin and John Steele Gordon ponder the the reasons why Obama...well, sucks at being president.

What's Missing From This Picture?

Unlike Eric Holder and practically all inside-the-beltway Democrats, Daffyd ab Hugh can see what's right in front of his nose.

Cheney in 2012

Frank J. and Jon at Exurban League provide separate lists of great slogans that Dick Cheney could use if he ran for president.

Update - Hey, let's think up some of our own! Richard McEnroe in the comments starts us off: "A New Battery for a New Direction!"

Here's mine: "We're the ones he's been lying in wait for".

Umpteen Hundred New Jobs Created in the 700th Congressional District of the Sovereign State of South Pacovia

The Obama administration creates a Web site that tracks stimulus-related new jobs; hilarity ensues.

Update: But at least we got a great price on the Recovery.com Web site.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Is There Anybody in Congress Dumber Than Jim Moran?

Sure, it’s a target-rich environment of vacuous, staring, gabbling imbecility, but Moran’s got to be one of the standouts. He’s now questioning the patriotism of people who criticize the decision to bring the five 9/11 suspects to trial in New York City. From the article at TPM:
Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) has strong words for the Republicans opposing Attorney General Eric Holder's plan to bring five 9/11 suspects to New York City to face trial.

"They see this as an opportunity to demagogue," he said. "They will seize on any opportunity to do that, and that means they'll even take a stand that's un-American."
So sayeth Congressman Moran: level-headed, rational, even-tempered genius.

If Moran has any opposition the next time he’s up for reelection – Republican, Independent or even Communist – the person has my vote (er, or would if I lived in Moran’s district). When a politician can count up to his IQ using his fingers and toes (in this case, with digits left over), it’s time for him to go.


(H/T: Hot Air).

Update: Linked by the suave and efficient Smitty at The Other McCain.

Scout's Honor


Listen, wise guys, we ain’t gonna put up wit’ some rival mob cuttin’ into our territory, see? De Purple Gang has dibs on maintainin’ parks and such like, an' if sump’n needs to be done, we’ll do it – at union wage rates, an' double-time on weekends, when we can get aroun’ to it, wedder permittin’ an' barrin’ holidays an' sick-outs. So unless ya wanna have to eat dat merit badge, sonny, back off!

Update: Steve Burri has a photo of the scout's merit badge.

How to Turn Mental Illness Into Blog Profits!

We all eagerly await Addled Andrew’s seminar on this subject. But while we wait, we can enjoy Stacy McCain’s latest example of why this would be a shrewd marketing move for Sullivan. Dollar-denominated delusions, baby!

What I find especially amusing is Sullivan’s notion that he is in a position to demand an accounting from Sarah Palin on anything, particularly given his bizarre, embarrassing and highly vocal fascination with Trig Palin’s parentage. I believe he still styles himself a Catholic and a kind of “generalissimo” of “true” conservatism, but the last thing we need – and certainly, a thing we need never pay any serious attention to – is Francisco Franco in a pink uniform.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Balding RINO, Whose Columns and TV Appearances Suggest Thesis Work Toward a Graduate Degree in Pratfalls from Clown College, in the News Again

That would be David Brooks, of course, who considers Sarah Palin a “joke” but actually thinks Barack Obama – who has lately been making like a drinking bird - is an intellectual titan.

New Presidential Wheels

I think Obama should have a special limousine commensurate with the dignity he has brought to the presidency. Something like this seems appropriate.


Just a thought.

Grassroots Letting the Air Out of Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham's popularity is collapsing in South Carolina (H/T: Hot Air).

As you would expect, Paco World News Daily (PWN'd) has the video:

Moonshine

Legal white lightnin'. What'll they think of next? An interesting look back at Junior Johnson, who, as long-time readers of this blog will remember me mentioning, was arrested by my father, Old Paco, back when the latter was a revenooer (found over at Stacy McCain's place, courtesy of the estimable Smitty's Rule 5 compilation).

Don't Miss Out on These Informative Magazines Published by Paco Enterprises

Click to enlarge.






Sunday Funny



From Probably Bad News.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Yeah, That's Reassuring

Stacy McCain draws our attention to Senator Chris Dodd's proposal to create something called the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

Considering Dodd's contributions to our financial-sector meltdown and his shameless pocket-lining courtesy of the institutions he was supposed to be regulating, I'm assuming that the new agency will be posting a bunch of these in suitable locations:

Hasan's Famous Slide Show

Tim Blair links to a Washington Post piece that has Nidal Hasan's Power Point presentation on Muslims in the U.S. military.

Take a Bow


Emperor Akihito: "All your apologies are belong to us!"

Can't take this guy anywhere.

Update: I think the only reason he didn't actually kneel is because the Empress forgot to whip out that cushion strapped to her back.

Update II: Haw!

The Blair Network Presents

Tim Blair is away on some kind of secret mission (probably smuggling incandescent light-bulbs or homemade Vegemite), so let’s see what’s going on among the Blairites…

1) The Bloodnut blog features a moving tribute to Remembrance Day in Australia.

2) 1.618 at Tizona has a unique photo of Al Gore.

3) Swampie has a link to a terrific story about a WWII vet.

4) Mr. Bingley tells a tale of Chicago, Den of Thieves.

5) El Campeador proves that Al Franken is as bad as we thought he’d be.

6) That wild man of the intertubes, Tim T, shows off his musical knowledge.

7) Three Beers Later has the scoop on Obama’s upcoming economic summit.

8) Boy on a Bike never fails to make me laugh.

9) Pixie Place has some wonderful snark from Bob Tyrell.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Rule 5 Saturday

Dorothy Dandridge croons “Whatcha say?” with an able assist from Louis Armstrong.

Explaining Obamanomics

It's...well, it's kind of like this.

Another Great Move, Geniuses!

Obama’s Justice Department has decided that it would be a good idea to bring 9/11 mega-criminal Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four of his assistant jihadists to trial in New York City.

As others have asked, why not a military tribunal? These creeps are foreign combatants who planned a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, not Enron executives, for cryin’ out loud.

A criminal trial holds all kinds of pitfalls: evidence may be tossed out, intelligence sources can be jeopardized, the defendants can portray themselves as martyrs (great recruitment propaganda), there might be a juror who can’t bring himself to vote for conviction because of his personal opposition to the death penalty (which Attorney Eric Holder is supposedly going to seek); and what are they going to do about Muslims in the jury pool? Can or should they be kept off the jury?

And the most intriguing question of all: what if the “defendants” are found not guilty? Do we turn them loose? Will they then be able to sue for damages?

And who’s going to be the lead defense lawyer?


Ok, now we’re screwed.

There are also concerns about maintaining security in New York while the trial is in progress. I don’t think that should be much of a problem, though, because I understand that the Department of Justice has got a top-notch team of special cops in charge…


Hmm. Ok, now we’re really screwed.

Updte: This piece by Andy McCarthy at NR is getting a lot of play today. Here's the key paragraph:
So: We are now going to have a trial that never had to happen for defendants who have no defense. And when defendants have no defense for their own actions, there is only one thing for their lawyers to do: put the government on trial in hopes of getting the jury (and the media) spun up over government errors, abuses and incompetence. That is what is going to happen in the trial of KSM et al. It will be a soapbox for al-Qaeda's case against America. Since that will be their "defense," the defendants will demand every bit of information they can get about interrogations, renditions, secret prisons, undercover operations targeting Muslims and mosques, etc., and — depending on what judge catches the case — they are likely to be given a lot of it. The administration will be able to claim that the judge, not the administration, is responsible for the exposure of our defense secrets. And the circus will be played out for all to see — in the middle of the war. It will provide endless fodder for the transnational Left to press its case that actions taken in America's defense are violations of international law that must be addressed by foreign courts. And the intelligence bounty will make our enemies more efficient at killing us.
If this really is about putting the Bush administration on trial, no matter what the cost to America's security and American lives, then Obama is indisputably the most contemptible man to ever serve as president.

Update II: In re: this topic, Don Surber has a great opening line.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy Feet Friday

This is an audio gem from the old Jubillee radio series that highlighted African-American jazz artists whose performances were geared toward African-American soldiers serving overseas during WWII. Incidentally, I have a boxed set of cds consisting of a large selection of these performances, and they are fantastic; not only are the tunes exciting, but the recording quality is excellent (highly recommended).

So, without further ado, I present Dorothy Donegan beating out a certified foot-stomper called, appropriately enough, “Dorothy Donegan’s Boogie Woogie”.

Whip Unemployment Now!

Those of us who lived through the dreary 1970s will remember what was probably Gerald Ford’s most bone-headed idea: the infamous WIN buttons (“Whip Inflation Now”). It was as if he thought inflation was the cross-town “team” and all we had to do to beat it was to get out there and hold that line! or something.

We’re apparently in for something of a reprise from Obama. The President has discovered - much to his own surprise, no doubt – that the government can’t spend unemployment down, so he’s decided to talk it down, announcing a “job summit” to be held in December.
Obama said the White House forum will gather CEOs, small business owners, economists, financial experts and representatives from labor unions and nonprofit groups "to talk about how we can work together to create jobs and get this economy moving again."

"We all know that there are limits to what government can and should do, even during such difficult times. But we have an obligation to consider every additional, responsible step that we can take to encourage and accelerate job creation in this country," he said.
No extra helpings of government, no employment talk-a-thon among federal bureaucrats, unions and CEOs is going to revive the job market. The problem is that Obama doesn’t really believe “that there are limits to what government can and should do”; on the contrary, the President, dyed-in-the-wool Keynesian that he is, believes that there is no qualitative difference between a dollar spent by the government and a dollar spent by a private business. In fact, because the government, through its enormous borrowing and taxing power, can raise and spend money much faster than the private sector, the state must inevitably be better at job creation.

Funny, though, how that approach doesn’t seem to be working very well. It could be that the government’s spending spree isn’t directed toward any genuinely productive activity that adds value and satisfies real demand for goods and services. It might also be that this administration has created a lot of uncertainty about future costs (health care reform, cap-and-trade, a proposed increase in capital-gains taxes) that is acting as a drag on investment - which necessarily means fewer job opportunities.

Obama is drifting so far from reality that pretty soon he’s going to need a high-powered telescope to see it. And even then he’ll probably forget to remove the lens cap.

Money Can’t Buy Happiness

And apparently it can’t buy brains, either, as Mayor Bloomberg proves by hosting a roundtable discussion on the Ft. Hood massacre in New York City attended by Siraj Wahhaj, who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Wahhaj said Bloomberg invited him to the roundtable and shook his hand when he entered the meeting room, which was closed to reporters.

"I think that if the mayor had any discomfort he would not have invited me," said Wahhaj, an imam at Masjid Al-Taqwa in Brooklyn.

Bloomberg, however, initially claimed not to know Wahhaj was there.

As he was leaving, a Channel 2 reporter asked the mayor if he was uncomfortable about Wahhaj's presence.

"I don't know. He's not here," the mayor responded. When told that Wahhaj was in fact in the meeting, Bloomberg reversed course.

"That one. Yes. We have to talk to everybody," he said. "That's what dialogue is all about. That's how you prevent tragedies."

Bloomberg's spokesman Stu Loeser later said it was aides, not the mayor himself, who invited Wahhaj and the others.
Ah, yes. The reflexive response by politicians caught in the act of doing something particularly stupid: poor staff-work.

Grassroots Rebellion Picking Up Steam Within the Republican Party

Stacy McCain points out that Florida Republicans seem to have had it with state-party chairman and Charlie Crist crony Jim Greer, and Republicans in Charleston County, South Carolina have formally censured Sen. Lindsey Graham.

The first item bodes well for dynamic young conservative Marco Rubio in his run for the Republican senatorial nomination. I could easily see Rubio being president some day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Things That Are Slow (In Ascending Order of Slowness)


Tree sloth



Box turtle



Glacier



Obama making up his mind on Afghanistan

From the Shelves of the Paco Library


The American Civil War represented the twilight of the cavalry service in the United States, and though frequently romanticized, this branch of the army did indeed have some glorious achievements. Covering the Southern side of the war, William R. Brooksher and David K. Snider collaborated in writing Glory at a Gallop: Tales of the Confederate Cavalry, a colorful review of some of the more notable exploits of the mounted men in gray.

The book begins with an account of J.E.B. Stuart’s amazing ride around General George B. McClellan’s 100,000-strong Army of the Potomac in the late spring of 1862. McClellan – much beloved by his men, but fatally cautious – had been closing in on Richmond and was preparing to deliver a decisive blow against the capital of the Confederacy. The new commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee, had a few ideas of his own, however, and planned an attack against McClellan. His strategy involved marching up the Shenandoah Valley and combining his forces with Stonewall Jackson’s army, then launching a surprise attack on McClellan’s right and rolling it up. To accomplish this daring maneuver, he needed reliable intelligence about the strength of McClellan’s right wing. Enter J.E.B. Stuart, who not only reconnoitered McClellan’s right, but swept around his entire army, capturing Union soldiers and supplies, burning wagon trains, and generally creating confusion and panic in the Army of the Potomac. Lee, assured that McClellan’s right was “in the air”, carried out his attack and won a smashing victory at Cold Harbor.

Inspired by Stuart’s ride, another Confederate officer champed at the bit to accomplish a similar feat in Kentucky
The significance of Jeb Stuart’s ride around the army of the Potomac was not lost on other Confederate cavalry leaders eager to add to their laurels. None was more eager than the transplanted Alabamian who commanded a portion of Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith’s cavalry guarding the Cumberland Gap, Col. John Hunt Morgan. In many ways, Morgan was cut from the same cloth as his Virginia counterpart. Like Stuart, this six-footer was a flashy dresser and always superbly mounted, studiously presenting the air and manner of a gentleman…Morgan was such a staunch advocate of developing a plan for invading Kentucky that he stubbornly and aggressively pushed for it at every opportunity…Pointing out that Stuart had just impudently ridden around Maj. Gen. Gerorge B. McClellan’s entire army, he sarcastically noted that “…it was a slur on the Blue grass, the finest horse country in the world, to leave great riding to Virginia!”
Finally given permission to conduct an extensive raid, Morgan assembled his force, consisting of his own Second Kentucky Cavalry, and a grab-bag of volunteers from Texas and Georgia units, totaling 867 men. Over the next 24 days, Morgan’s men raided in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. By the end of their campaign, they had “ridden over one thousand miles, captured seventeen towns, and destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of Union supplies and arms. Over fifteen hundred Home Guards had been scattered, twelve hundred Regulars captured and paroled, and three hundred recruits added to Rebel roles.” And along the way, Morgan periodically tapped into telegraph lines to send flippant messages to General Jeremiah Boyle, the hapless commander of Union forces in Kentucky, among which is this farewell: “Good morning, Jerry! This telegraph is a great institution. You should destroy it, as it keeps me too well posted. My friend Elsworth has all your dispatches since July 10 on file. Do you wish copies?”

Also included here are accounts of Mosby’s capture of a Union general, Bedford Forrest’s brilliant victory at Brice’s Crossroads, and Wade Hampton’s cattle-rustling mission (which was the basis for a movie, Alvarez Kelly, starring William Holden and Richard Widmark). Glory at a Gallop is a fine historical page-turner, enjoyable as well as instructive.

Al Gore, Philosopher

Ed Driscoll draws our attention to a new puff piece on Al Gore in (what else?) Newsweek magazine; in fact, it's the cover story.


I suppose Newsweek might be called the thinking man's ipecac syrup.

Congratulations!

To Doug at the Daley Gator on the arrival of his new niece, future conservative political activist Savannah Grace Meyer.

Assortment

1) A fine piece on the Berlin Wall by Roger Kimball.

2) What story did Wisconsin Public Television highlight on the anniversary of the destruction of the Berlin Wall? Why, the rise and fall of Joe McCarthy, of course.

3) Camp of the Saints offers a pictorial tribute to two great conservative women.

4) What the hell is Attorney General Eric Holder up to?

5) Grouchy Old Cripple displays a subtle reminder to Democrats.

6) Chris Matthews proves, once again, that he has a mind like a steel sieve.

God Bless Our Veterans

Heartfelt thanks to all of those men and women who have served our country in uniform.

And a belated Happy Birthday to Uncle Sam's Misguided Children.


...to the shores of Tripoli.

It's Remembrance Day in Canada (H/T: Yojimbo).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Liberals Really, Really Want To Take Our Guns Away

So badly, in fact, that Mayor Daley of Chicago even sinks to linking the rampage by Nidal Hasan - Muslim terrorist - to America's love of guns.


"Don't go pullin' none a' dat Second Amendment crap in my town, bud! Violent crime in Chicago is already pretty high; just t'ink how bad t'ings would be if all de lawr-abidin' citizens wuz packin' heat, in addition to de criminals."

Update: Priceless line from Richard McEnroe in the comments - "I blame 9/11 on our love of commercial aviation."

Why Can’t You Be A Muslim Extremist And Nuts?

One might make the argument that anybody, prompted by religious beliefs, who’s willing to strap on a suicide belt or cut heads off or shoot people down on the street is mentally ill; however, mental illness is not, per se, a defense against a charge of murder (let alone terrorism), at least not in the U.S. I believe you would have to display some form of severe psychosis that genuinely undermined your ability to distinguish between right and wrong in order to get off on an insanity plea (even then, of course, you’re not looking at being set loose on society; you go off to an asylum for the criminally insane). Subscribing to a religious belief system that not only authorizes, but exhorts, you to kill unbelievers could generally be the result of parental abuse or a bed-wetting problem or premature baldness. But I think we err badly if we do not take into account the existence of evil in trying to understand why people, whatever the ostensible initial cause, turn to violence, particularly when they make a conscious choice that involves the dehumanization of others who do not share their values. And I think it is clear that militant Islam is an evil medium that brings out the worst in its adherents. Whether they are all mentally ill or not, their victims are still dead, and in no position to appreciate what, in my view, is an irrelevant distinction that should not deter the U.S. government from fulfilling its primary duty of protecting us from the depredations of our enemies - sane or otherwise.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Wall

With gratitude to Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, and countless others who fought against communism, let us celebrate the anniversary of the destruction of the Berlin Wall. And may we never forget...never, ever forget...



Update: And by the way, communism is still alive - if increasingly desperate - in Cuba.

Update II: Well, whaddaya know! Barry dropped into Berlin via satellite hookup and talked about his favorite subject.

Completely missing the significance of the destruction of the Berlin Wall – and failing to mention Reagan and Thatcher – the Preshizzle put the whole thing in the context of his own election.

The ideology, the Chicago-style politics, the divisive style – all are worrisome. But I sometimes wonder if the narcissism isn’t the most dangerous thing of all. A president who gives every appearance of believing that America has labored through peace and war for more than 230 years to finally produce its greatest achievement – the Barack Obama administration – pretty obviously suffers from some severely warped judgment. This cannot end well.