Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rep. Hank Johnson thinks islands are just big canoes

That would be Rep. Hank Johnson, DEMOCRAT - GEORGIA, who suggested at a hearing that relocating 8,000 Navy personnel to Guam might make the island tip over.

No, seriously, click on the link. THERE'S VIDEO!!!

How do you like being governed by the imbecilariat? Me, not so much.

From the Shelves of the Paco Library

Rafael Sabatini, the author of a long string of adventure novels, several of which were made into movies, was also a writer of short stories. The Sword of Islam and Other Tales of Adventure includes 14 of his best, with yarns set in the 16th century Mediterranean, as Christian and Turkish navies strove for mastery; Renaissance Italy; the French Revolution; the civil war between cavaliers and parliamentarians; the ’45; and the dawning of WWI.

Sabatini weaves stories of intrigue, murder, narrow escapes, and tangled love affairs, with many ironic twists that sometimes leave the malefactors hoist on their own petards. And the whole is presented in elegant prose, neatly tailored to the settings and characters. Here, Sabatini sets the stage in the title story:
Ordinarily Dragut Reis – who was dubbed by the Faithful “The Drawn Sword of Islam” – loved Christians as the fox loves geese. But in that summer of 1550 his feelings acquired a far deeper malignancy; they developed into a direct and personal hatred that for intensity was second only to the hatred which Christians bore Dragut.

The allied Christian forces, under the direction of their emperor, had smoked him out of his stronghold of Mehedia; they had seized that splendid city, and were in the act of razing it to the ground as the neighboring Carthage had been razed of old….

He had lost three thousand men, and amongst them the very flower of his fiery corsairs. He had lost some twelve thousand Christian slaves…He had lost his lieutenant and nephew, Hisar, who was even now a captive in the hands of his inveterate enemy, Andrea Doria. It is little wonder that he lost his temper, too. But he recovered it quickly, that he might set about recovering the rest. He was not the man to waste his days in brooding over what was done. Yesterday and to-day are but as pledges in the hands of destiny.
And thus we are off on the trail of Dragut, into whose hands kismet delivers the granddaughter of the very Andrea Doria who is hunting the Barbary pirate across the sea.

The author of swashbucklers such as Captain Blood and Scaramouche moved easily between novel and short story, and those who enjoy historical adventure fiction will find much here to relish.

To John Cornyn, a Gentle Reminder

Cutting the crust off doesn't make a s**t sandwich any more palatable.

More from Stacy McCain.

A College of Secular Cardinals

Ed Driscoll has an interesting roundup of commentary on the religious nature of leftism.

It all sounds very plausible to me, although I’m still trying to figure out the various roles. I suppose Obama’s the Pope (or perhaps a rank or two higher!), and I can see Keith Olbermann as Jimmy Swaggart, and there are scores of Judases; but who’s their Torquemada? Who’s their Oral Roberts? Who’s their Father Abraham - Karl Marx or Woodrow Wilson?

All I know is, right about now I’m feeling like the fatted calf.

On doing business (or not) in Russia

Andrei Loshak at Open Democracy discusses the baffling irrationality, yet amazing resiliency, of corruption.
In this context events at the Russian branch of IKEA are revealing. From the start the company announced that even in Russia it would be adhering to its clearly-formulated Swedish rules, based on the Protestant work ethic and unanswerable logic. As a result, Khimki officials turned off the electricity just before the first Moscow shop opened. There was no practical reason for this. They just wanted to give them a hard time for their excessively strict principles. By the time they opened in Petersburg, the Swedes already knew that they had to have their own generator in each of their Russian stores – just in case.

A further blow was in store for Ingvar Kamprad (5th in Forbes Magazine Rich List) a couple of months later. It emerged that the company had overpaid 200 million USD for the use of their generators – IKEA's prize-winning idea – which virtually wiped out the profit from all their Eastern European stores for the last few years. The Swedes had seen themselves as Sir Lancelots cutting the head off the dragon of corruption. What they forgot was that through the looking glass the rules dictate that another head immediately grows in its place. Forensic investigation revealed that the Russian employee responsible for the hire of the generators was receiving kickbacks from the leasing company, so had been considerably inflating the service costs. The company tore up the contract with that firm and was fined 5 million euros by a Russian court for breach of contract. “We had come up against something way outside what we usually encounter,” said a puzzled Krister Tordson.

What’s going on in the Blair Blog Galaxy?

Tim has been speeding through Mexico (really, the only way I’d travel down there is in something fast, too).

Three Beers Later highlights the latest judicial outrage.

Swampie says: Warning! ObamaCare can be hazardous to your health.

Carol’s Closet gives Lt. Col. Allen West three cheers.

If you’re driving a car and you see Boy on a Bike, you might want to give him a wide berth.

Mr. Bingley finds yet another booby-trap in ObamaCare.

Environmentalists discover, to their dismay, that the internet isn’t powered by solar turbines. Frollicking mole…er… frolics.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Joe Biden: Hey, it's only (your) money

Joe Biden's a clown, but even greasepaint doesn't make socialism funny.

(Poster pinched from Moonbattery)

Hey, about that whole immigration reform thing...

...that's going to include better border security, right?

New Listing

I'm now listed at Lucid Truth, a pretty neat page with links to a lot of conservative blogs.

(Incidentally, if you click on that little red and blue bar over there in the top right-hand corner, it'll take you to a page where you can vote for Paco Enterprises. The more votes I get, the further up the home page I move. So, c'mon, hep cats and kittens! Give Daddy-O a lift uptown!)

What are the original 30 pieces of silver worth, adjusted for inflation?

Ohhh, about $3.4 billion.

Charles Johnson in an Act of Extreme Beclownment

I think there's probably a word to describe somebody who sees neo-Nazis behind every lamp-post.

H/T: Ace

Monday, March 29, 2010

Truth or Consequences

The Oval Office. President Obama has summoned Henry Waxman and Bart Stupak to discuss some troubling fallout from passage of the health care bill

The intercom buzzed. “Yes?”

“Mr. President, Congressmen Waxman and Stupak are here for the two o’clock meeting.”

“Send them in.” Obama winced. He didn’t mind speaking to Waxman over the telephone, but face-to-face encounters always made him queasy. Waxman’s physiognomy reminded him of the vampire in that silent film Michelle had dragged him off to see shortly after they were married – What was the name of that movie? Something faintly Jewish…Nosh for Us, Too? Whatever - Anyway, it looked like he was in for another night of scary dreams.

The two representatives entered. Waxman stopped abruptly and held his hands in front of his face.

“The sunlight, Mr. President! Could you draw the shades, please?”

Obama, startled by the request, rose and closed the curtains. He made a mental note to equip himself with some small crucifixes – just in case.

“Please, gentlemen, be seated. Oh, before we get started, I wanted to tell you, Bart, that I’m not sure that executive order on abortion funding is going to hold up.”

Stupak held the back of his right hand to his forehead and intoned, melodramatically, “Put not your faith in princes…”


Stupak chuckled. “Just joking, Mr. President. I’ve got to keep in practice for the yokels back home.”

“Ok. Well, the main reason I called you both here today is to talk about some news reports I’ve been reading over the last few days: large corporations claiming that they’ll have to take huge hits to cover health care expenses; long lines anticipated as a result of millions of new people getting insurance, combined with a coming shortage of family practitioners. I don’t remember seeing any of that stuff in the bill.”

Waxman spoke up. “Those things are not actually in the bill, Mr. President. They seem to be consequences of the bill. That’s why I’ve called for the CEOs of some of these big companies to respond in writing, and to appear at hearings. These guys have obviously read the legislation, and I want to find out what’s in it, myself.”

“What?” the President gasped. “Henry, do you mean you haven’t read the bill?”

“No, sir. I’d venture to say Bart, here, hasn’t, either.”

“That’s right, Mr. President. Er…have you read it?”

Obama frowned and scratched his head. “Hunh. Come to think of it, no. But if people were going to be worried about costs and long lines, why didn’t you guys put provisions in the bill saying ‘costs won’t go up’ and ‘no waiting’?”

Waxman made a snuffling noise (emanating from those celebrated nostrils, the sound put the president in mind of a pig that has detected a truffle). “We can’t dictate results. If we could, why not simply put in a paragraph guaranteeing universal health care at no cost whatsoever?”

“You mean you didn’t? That’s a missed opportunity, Henry. Think about slipping it in next time. Meanwhile, we’ve obviously got some fires to put out. I’ll get Axelrod working on a plan to discredit the bill’s critics. Let’s see…the racism theme seems to be wearing kind of thin… ‘Teabaggers’ has lost its sting…How about calling them ‘rootless cosmopolitans’? Or maybe ‘kulaks’?”

Stupak’s face took on a pensive look. “Those pejoratives were used by Stalin, Mr. President; and, considering their provenance, their use by Democrats might prove to be a tad…embarrassing, right now. How about ‘bloodsuckers’?”

“I object to that!” Waxman blurted. “Um, what I mean is, heh, it sounds too shrill; plus it’s out of date. Why not stick with the old reliable: ‘Republicans’?”

The president scoffed. “For one thing, they’re ahead of us in generic polling. We can’t very well go around saying, ‘Vote for Democrats. In your heart, you know they’re worse.’” Anyhow, I’ll put it to Axelrod; that’s his job. Thanks for coming by, Henry, Bart. Say, hold up a minute. I’ve got Netanyahu cooling his heels in the Blue Room; do you want to join me for lunch, so we can keep him waiting a little longer? We’ve got chicken in garlic sauce.”

“Garlic?!?” With a shriek, Waxman ran from the room.

“You know, Bart,” the president said, “I’m beginning to think that guy sleeps in a coffin filled with his native soil.”

“Well, that would certainly explain why dirt falls out of his cuffs every time he crosses his legs.”

(Thanks to Rebecca for the Nosferatu inspiration)

You go, girl!

Maria Conchita Alonso, former Miss Venezuela and Sean Penn's co-star in the 1988 movie, Colors, has written an open letter to Penn, criticizing his sheer idiocy on the subject of Hugo Chavez.
"Dear Sean, WHY?" she begins. "Even though I have great respect for your artistic talent, I was appalled by a recent television interview where you vigorously showed support for the regime of Hugo Chavez. Therefore, I've decided to set the record straight for you regarding the Chavez regime, supporting my case based not only on my political ideologies, but on proven facts you choose to ignore. Otherwise, I believe your position would be different."
She will undoubtedly find Admiral Penn's ignorance and prejudice impermeable, but I'm glad she called him out.

Update: Friend and commenter Jeff S. has found the full text of Alonso's letter.

Update II: Hey, kudos to Andy Garcia, too.

Hey, I thought my health insurance premiums were supposed to drop by $2,500?

President Obama’s promises do, indeed, have a sort of evanescent quality, don’t they?

ObamaCare: You’re going to love it – or else.

Does Obama understand the health care bill?

Well, no, according to the Prowler at the American Spectator:
"Most of these people [in the Administration] have never had a real job in their lives. They don't understand a thing about business, and that includes the President," says a senior lobbyist for one of the companies that announced the charge. "My CEO sat with the President over lunch with two other CEOs, and each of them tried to explain to the President what this bill would do to our companies and the economy in general. First the President didn't understand what they were talking about. Then he basically told my boss he was lying. Frankly my boss was embarrassed for him; he clearly had not been briefed and didn't know what was in the bill."
Of course, the real issue is not that Obama doesn’t understand the nuts and bolts of this juggernaut that he and his Democratic allies have sent plowing into the U.S. economy; he understands very well the overall import of this bill, which is to expand federal control over our lives, create massive new dependencies and redistribute income. Whether or not he is truly ignorant of the economic ramifications for companies and their employees is ultimately beside the point, because President Genius decided a long time ago that, whatever the private sector can do, the government can do better – somehow, someway, even in spite of the mountain of historical evidence proving the contrary.

This is why socialism (“European” or otherwise) is nothing more than a secular religion, requiring a level of faith that exceeds even the benchmark for theistic religions, since the existence of God is not ultimately provable within the bounds of what we call empirical knowledge, whereas socialism has been found – empirically, time and time again – to fail, and frequently in spectacular fashion. On the other hand, it is not likely that the express train bearing down on loose and rusted rails toward the Omnipotent State will avoid completely a kind of “divine” retribution…
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

If Obama needs some reasons to back off his bullying of Israel... are 327 of them.

Jews: Resisting being trod upon since time immemorial.

Not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas

For which let us give thanks. Stacy McCain is covering the big Tea Party get-together (with pics!)

Barbara Boxer Reaching Out Down to Hollywood Allies

The granny in tennis shoes enlists the support of Danny DeVito in her reelection bid.

Today's Demotivational Posters

(H/T to Ace for the tag line on that last one).

Update: An anonymous commenter pointed out that it wasn't John Lewis, but "the other guy" (he turned out to be Emanuel Cleaver) who claimed to have been spat on. I changed the poster to reflect the correct "spittee".

Henry Waxman insists that 2+2=5

The ramifications of the new health care legislation are being felt immediately, as many large companies are already making provisions of hundreds of millions of dollars to cover the new costs.

Rep. Henry Waxman, however, just can't believe that this wonderful new bill would require companies to do such a thing, so he has sent letters to executives of some of these companies demanding that they explain their accounting decisions. After all, Waxman writes, "The new law is designed to expand coverage and bring down costs, so your assertions are a matter of concern."

Wonderful. ObamaCare is driving up costs, but the Democrats can't afford the embarrassment of this fact being publicized because it runs counter to the narrative, so they're going to try to bully companies into foregoing the accounting entries that they need to make in order to properly provision for the increased expenses (or at least keep quiet about it). But none dare call this socialism (let alone fascism, which this kind of action more nearly resembles).

Update: Dan Riehl warns that we'll be seeing much more of the same.

Update II: Dennis the Peasant provides some interesting insights.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sunday Funnies

Hey, wannabe bank robbers, you’re doin’ it wrong.

* * * * *

Rule 5 Saturday

The Dinning Sisters perform their version of “Pig-foot Pete”.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Gold Mine!

The thing that really stands out in the kerfuffle between David Frum and the American Enterprise Institute is this: Frum was making $100,000 a year for doing essentially nothing. Well, until AEI got tired of shelling out that kind of jack for his non-productivity.

So, I’m thinking this think tank business must be pretty lucrative. I mean, it’s not so much like hard work as it is simply reaching out and raking the stuff in. And the overhead must be pretty low; all you need are a few brains and some tanks to put them in, right?

Therefore, I’m going to start my own think tank. I want something that will really cover the political spectrum, so I figure it’ll have me...

Lance Burri...

And Andrew Sullivan...

It'll be just like printing money (only, you know, legal).

Paco Enterprises Introduces a New Line of Energy Efficient Products

Fifteen of them, to be exact.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"First Class Temperament", Indeed

AllahPundit has the story of Obama's outrageous treatment of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House.

What a petulant, self-important, pipsqueak of a president this guy has turned out to be! It's always unpleasant to have to endure a bad president, but when he's a small man to boot, the situation is well-nigh intolerable.

I cited this quote before in the comments section a couple of weeks ago, but it deserves its own place in a post. In The Sting, there is a scene where Paul Newman says of the the gangster, played by Robert Shaw, "He made his first mistake the day he decided he was going to be somebody." That will make the perfect epitaph to the Obama presidency.

And on that glorious day in January of 2013 when they drag him kicking and screaming out of the White House, I hope I'll be there to thumb my nose at his sorry ass.

Update: More from Jonathan Tobin.

Observation of the Week

Charles Krauthammer (on Biden): "I think he is the man who, perhaps without intending, has given historical context to this presidency. After all, Obama sees himself as a successor to FDR and Truman, so now we have the historical procession: the New Deal, the Square Deal, and the 'Big F**n Deal.'"

Happy Feet Friday

Anita O’Day teams up with Gene Krupa and Roy Eldridge on “Thanks for the Boogie Ride”.

ObamaCare Picks Up Important Endorsement

From Fidel Castro (whose new asshole, if memory serves, was installed by Spanish doctors).

Operation Reichstag Fire

Democrats are playing up threats of violence by fringe-folk, and alleged public displays of incivility toward their party’s elected officials (all or most completely bogus), in order to isolate and discredit critics of the recently-passed health care legislation. Republican representative Eric Cantor advises the donks to lay off the scare tactics.

Which, of course, they have no intention of doing. Having laid the cornerstone of utopia, the Democrats are not about to stop demonizing opponents, and they’re certainly not above tarring millions of honest citizens with the actions of a few cranks (nor are they above creating phony incidents with which to brand as insurrectionists and criminals those individuals and groups who are determined to repeal Obama Care). And of course, there’s always the old standby: attributing opposition to racism. This charge has been hurled with such wanton abandon that it’s likely to lose its original meaning altogether (joining such pejoratives as “doofus” and “asshole” as a mere vulgar insult having no purpose other than to offend). You will be seeing and hearing much more of this in the months to come. My advice is, don’t be distracted by it and don’t dawdle on the road to repeal in order to argue about it. In short: don’t let the Democrats frame the issue or dictate the terms of the debate.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Andrea's on a Roll

Go over to Andrea Harris' blog and just start reading. She's in fine form (there's even a little Rule 5 for the guys).

From the Shelves of the Paco Library

Victorian-era novels are not everyone’s cup of tea, but as someone who prefers traditional novels to short stories, I have always enjoyed them. Authors like Dickens, Reade and Trollope were masters of characterization, and wonderful story-tellers to boot, and if the tales frequently tend toward the improbable or overly complex, I have rarely had trouble suspending my disbelief in return for the reward of getting to know such richly drawn characters, or encountering such startlingly imaginative plots.

Wilkie Collins, a novelist and sometime-collaborator with Dickens, wrote several classics of the period, including The Moonstone and The Woman in White, and his books are filled with the same plot twists and beautifully limned characters common to most of the Victorian novelists. With Poor Miss Finch, however, he departed from the usual sensational themes of lost jewels, stolen inheritances, and family madness to delve into the subject of blindness. Collins appears to have researched several of the (very few) cases of people who had been blind, either from birth or at an early age, and who had subsequently recovered their sight. He was keenly interested in discovering how the blind “saw” their world through the other senses, and the effect on their understanding of that world when the sense of sight was acquired.

In the novel, the blind protagonist, Lucilla Finch, is a woman of twenty years who has been blind from the age of 12 months. She has thoroughly accommodated herself to her plight, and her heightened tactile and hearing senses do the duty of her sightless eyes. She eventually falls in love with a young man of independent means, Oscar Dubourg, who has taken up residence in their remote hamlet, but, as the result of a serious wound to his head during an encounter with two men caught burglarizing his house, he develops epileptic fits. Ultimately he opts for a medical treatment with nitrate of silver which vanquishes his epilepsy, but discolors his complexion, turning his skin to a bluish hue. This creates a dilemma for, Oscar, because Lucilla has always had an inexplicable, but morbid fear of anything dark (or that she associates with the idea of darkness).

Enter Oscar’s twin brother, Nugent, whose friendship with a brilliant German optical surgeon enables him to hold out hope to Lucilla that her sight can be restored. Through a series of plot twists, Lucilla winds up with the gift of vision, and Nugent, who falls in love with her, embarks upon a nefarious plan to impersonate his brother and claim Lucilla for his own.

But the plot is eventually foiled, largely due to the efforts of Lucilla’s paid companion (and narrator of the tale), Madame Pratalungo – and a more interesting female character I have rarely seen in Victorian fiction. She is a Frenchwoman, and the widow of a doctor who spent most of his adult life fighting against dictators in South America. Madame Pratalungo fully shares her late husband’s political beliefs, and her strong republican and socialist convictions are played to great comic effect (with occasional incongruous outbreaks in the narrative of “long live the Republic!”) However utopian her political views, she is a loyal, courageous and determined friend, much wronged by her charge, as Nugent succeeds in sowing the seeds of discord between them, but faithful to the end (even during her occasional absences, when she has to return to France to assist her elderly, but libidinous, father to get out of a series of romantic entanglements). The novel includes several other fascinating characters, including Lucilla’s father, the Reverend Finch, a pompous windbag with an exalted sense of his own importance and a steady stream of sonorous platitudes (he ends by being promoted to the office of colonial bishop and sent among the savages, who find him “wonderful”). And the brilliant, brusque, yet kindly, German optical surgeon is a sort of pipe-smoking force of nature, whose commitment to the health of his patients is undeviating and uncompromising.

This is a marvelous yarn, combining (as many Victorian novels do) an overarching theme of general interest (in this case blindness) with vividly-imagined characters, an unhurried, but not sluggish, pace, deft comic touches and a plot containing wheels within wheels.


Tunku Varadarajan at The Daily Beast has become one of my “must-reads”. In this brief article on David Frum, he coins the expression “polite-company conservative” (PCC) to describe those self-styled conservatives who are obviously more at home among the inside-the-beltway crowd than among what David Brooks once had the immortal rind to call the “unwashed” (i.e., you and me). Among many fine observations, this is one of my favorites:
I come to my biggest personal beef with David’s piece, his sermonizing about rhetoric. David acknowledges that he has been on a soapbox for a while, arguing that “hysterical” talk radio, etc., has “overheated” the debate and done harm to the conservative health-care cause. Nonsense, I say. Passionate "extremism" is part of any political debate, and the more of it the better.
Amen to that! (H/T: Hot Air)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Go ahead, boy, yew jes' touch them fries

Snitty English chef disturbs the gastronomic equanimity of West Virginians. Hilarity ensues.

Whoa! I guess I misread it

Smitty's got Michael Ramirez' take on the new constitution, plus a fine video clip of Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan.

Big F******G Schlemiel

Joe One-heartbeat-away McPlugs demonstrates his suave and urbane manner.

You Can Rely on Democrats...

... to let you down every time.

Look for the great comeuppance, because this is so not over.


Good thing this guy's dead, because he would definitely not be with the program today.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Perfect Analogy

HillBuzz has it (H/T: Kathy Shaidle).

All Points Bulletin

It's been awhile since I've heard anything from Yojimbo, one of my most frequent commenters, so, YoJ, if you're reading this, drop me a line (your friends are wondering about you).

The Shape of Things to Come

Cognoscenti of slang are familiar with the expression "technicolor yawn". Here is a graphic representation:

At least, these ominous data on Medicare (just Medicare) expenditures make me want to produce a TY. Has any senator or congressman ever used the words "fiscal responsibility" in a sentence without crossing his or her fingers?

(Source: Veronique de Rugy, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center, George Mason University; visit the link for further details)


In the Venezuelan version of Animal Farm, Napoleon the capybara is going to start his own blog (H/T: Hot Air).

Do you suppose he’ll allow comments? If he does, they’re sure to be moderated by the police.

This sounds like contest time to me. Name that blog!

Mourning in America

Greetings, comrades! Did you all do your government-mandated push-ups this morning and eat your taxpayer-subsidized oatmeal? No? You refuse to let a paternalistic government make life-and-death decisions for you, and tax you for the privilege?

Excellent. Then you have decided to fight back. You are not alone, fellow citizens of this once and future Great Republic. Get your blood up with these calls to action:

Doctor Zero – one of the most formidable proponents of liberty, and finest essayists, around - outlines freedom’s demands.

Confederate Yankee continues to serve up juicy slices of of prime red meat.

Jonathan Tobin says, attack the narrative.

Scott at Powerline thunders, “Dedicating ourselves to the repeal of Obamacare means dedicating ourselves to the defeat of Democrats at every level of government, but especially at the state and federal level.”

Paul Rahe provides the historical context.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Celebrating ObamaCare

The Oval Office. President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have gathered for an intimate celebration of their hard-fought victory.

Obama [Rubbing his hands together vigorously]: Finally! The health care bill has been passed and my legacy is secure. And I want to thank both of you for your invaluable assistance. Nancy, I’ll be reaching out to you for help in the House on several other important initiatives, soon.

Nancy: I’ll be ready, Mr. President.

Obama: And Harry…er…enjoy your retirement.

Reid [Looking at the president with that expression of a befuddled goat for which is he is so well known]: Why, what do you mean, Mr. President? You assured me that, if I supported the health care legislation, you’d see to it that I was taken care of if I lose my reelection bid.

Obama: Oh, of course, of course. Heh. Just kidding! I’m going to make a note right now to check on it [Obama jots down a note on a piece of paper: “Hillary: Any vacancies in our embassy in Chad?”] Now, I think this occasion calls for something special. Ah, and here it is! Set it down on my desk, Gus.

The president’s gentleman’s personal gentleman - Gustave Napoleon Toussaint d’Orleans, late of the domestic staff of Baby Doc Duvalier (former President-for-life of Haiti and now occasional Parisian taxi-cab driver) - enters bearing a silver tray, on which is situated a bottle of champagne, a small, non-descript bottle containing a dark, purplish liquid, and three glasses.

Obama: Thank you, Gus. Here, let me pour us some champagne, Nancy… And Harry, I didn’t forget you. Here’s your prune juice…Now, a toast! Gus, flip the teleprompter on, will you? All right…On this momentous occasion, when all Americans can now look forward to affordable health care coverage…….

Fifteen minutes later

….and only the first step…[a distant rumble in the street is heard]…toward a single-payer system…[the rumble gets louder]…TOWARD A SINGLE-PAYER SYSTEM….[the rumbling is now extremely loud]…Dammit, Gus, look out the window and see what that noise is!

Gus looks out of the window and slowly crosses himself

Obama: Well, what’s causing all that noise? Speak up, man!

Gus: Tumbrils, monsieur le President.

Obama: "Let them eat crap sandwiches"

However long the odds, we need to work for repeal. Otherwise, as Ace points out, there are only two options: "Raise taxes ruinously, or allow the country to repudiate its debt and go bankrupt."

And for those of you who voted for Obama and the Democrats in order to chastise the Republicans, I hope you're happy. There are surely better ways to bring the party back into line than by handing the country over to a pack of socialists. As somebody on one of the blogs said today (unfortunately, I can't remember where I saw it), if you're a conservative/libertarian, you may not always be able to trust every Republican, but you can never trust any Democrat.

How did we get to this pass? Ideological subversion over a period of decades (facilitated, of course, by irresponsible voter unawareness). Below, an old KGB hand explains how it works (H/T to friend and commenter John).

In the meantime, Silver Linings. And let's not waste time wringing our hands over the "impossibility" of repealing this monstrosity. Repeal is impossible only if one is willing to view this legislation as an act of God. Now, Obama and Pelosi may consider themselves to be, respectively, Zeus and Hera - or, more likely, they both see themselves as Zeus - but we don't have to. The one thing that is certain is that repeal of the health care bill will be impossible if we don't try to repeal it.

Invective Update

Out: Quisling

In: Stupak

Sunday Funny

Stupak, You're Close to Being a National Disgrace

I'm Catholic and I oppose abortion, but I wouldn't support a horrible bill like this one just because, one way or the other, abortion funding is prohibited (which, if Stupak is relying on the validity of an executive order, it won't be). You don't get a free pass by being a pro-life socialist, nitwit. And the fact that you must know that there's no way this government is going to let pro-life provisions stand, means your opposition to abortion is probably nothing but window dressing.

Anyway, I'll let the excellent Jennifer Rubin take it from here.

Update: And just in case Stupak thinks he's going to get cover from the Catholic Church, think again, congressman.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

From the Shelves of the Paco Library

A little late this week, but here it is.

I’ve got another book just for fun, the highly amusing Herrings Go About the Sea in Shawls, a reissue of the 1931 publication, Boners, first in a series of collections of malapropisms, strategic misspellings, and hilarious literary and historical disconnects taken from American classrooms. The selections range from wild and desperate attempts to divine meaning from the unfamiliar, to classic errors that reveal truths quite by accident. The book is conveniently arranged in broad categories – Definitions, Literature and the Arts, Geography, etc. – and is illustrated with line drawings by Dr. Seuss. Herewith, a sample.
A compliment is when you say something to another which he and we know is not true.

A deacon is a mass of inflammable material placed in a prominent position to warn the people.

The Romans made their roads straight so that the Britons should not hide around the corners.

The Bible is against bigamy when it says that no man can serve two masters.

The Papal Bull was a mad bull kept by the Pope in the Inquisition to trample on Protestants.
There is also a brief section on translations:
Ave Domine.
Lord, I am a bird.

Pax in bello.
Freedom from indigestion.

Le peuple ému répondit.
The purple emu laid another egg.
I was fortunate to find a first edition of the 1932 entry in the series, Prize Boners, from which I’ll just jot down three of my favorite items:
Since pro means the opposite of con, can you give me an illustration?
Progress and Congress

A gelding is a stallion who had his tonsils taken out so he would have more time to himself.

Some men went to Jesus with a penny and he asked them “Whose subscription is this?”
For those who love language, including its occasional abuse, this book will definitely make you smile.

David Brooks (Again)

Matt Welch pistol-whips David Brooks (H/T: Instapundit). Don’t miss it!

America's Comeback

The Other McCain has a great video from the Republican Governor's Association (for some reason, can't get it to load properly here).

Update: Donald Douglas has an interesting post on Mitt Romney.

Update II: Some rich, red meat from Confederate Yankee.

Rule 5 Saturday

Lina Romay sings “Don’t Get Around Much anymore”.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Obama: “Le Twat, C’est Moi”

No, he won’t admit it, so the quotation marks are, of course, spurious. But there can be no mistaking the truth of the assertion. Our president is a fool, an egomaniac who is willing to put the country’s economic future – and our citizens’ lives – at risk in order to save face in pursuit of the most ill-timed and destructive piece of legislation that we have seen in our lifetimes. That the leaders in his party are willing to support him in pulling the pin on this suicide policy-bomb reveals, for the thousandth time in recent history, the absolute moral bankruptcy of the Democrats – a moniker, incidentally, that is now saturated in tragicomic irony.

It is madness. Many Democrats seem to truly believe that a wildly unpopular bill that will subject the management of health care to the arbitrariness of faceless and indifferent bureaucrats, and citizens to the crushing expense of paying for the inefficient, rights-destroying, and life-threatening scheme, can somehow be made acceptable between now and the November elections; that the voters’ collective nose will become so accustomed to the stench of corruption and the fumes of noxious ideology emanating from the legislative tannery in Washington that all will be forgotten come autumn.

At least, this is the laughing gas that Obama, Pelosi and Reid are trying to pump into their colleagues. I strongly suspect that Obama and Pelosi must know that an electoral bloodbath is coming (Reid probably knows it, too, but since even he has to have figured out that his days in office are numbered, this vindictive husk of a man is perfectly happy to give the people a thumb in the eye on his way out of the door, a partisan hack to the end). What the President and his allies in congress and the senate genuinely hope is that, once established, this massive new entitlement will become a permanent part of our society’s landscape, irreversible and ineradicable (here they may have miscalculated; the structural parts of the entitlement would not occur before 2013, a year which, at this point, I doubt that anybody but Obama and Axelrod consider to be a sure bet for the inaugural year of an Obama second term).

Quite apart from ObamaCare, this administration is failing on practically all fronts (the lone exception, for now, being the president’s military policy in Afghanistan and Iraq, where he has followed George Bush’s playbook in toto). A string of foreign policy pratfalls – most recently the utterly pointless squabble with Israel – would have embarrassed even the hapless Jimmy Carter. In fact, were Obama and Carter to form a slapstick team, I suspect that Carter would now be playing the role of straight-man in the partnership. Then there was the push for cap-and-trade at almost the very moment that the global warming syndicate was unraveling as the result of the revelations of bad science and worse ethics. Consider, also, the employment bills that have created either 0 or 2 million jobs (pick your news outlet), but haven’t made a dent in the high unemployment rate. And the endless exhibitions of pettiness: the war against Fox News, the attack on the Supreme Court from the safety of the podium during a state of the union address; the demonization of political opponents (actual and presumed); the extraordinary overexposure on television, as the president appears with the frequency of cable commercials advertising erectile dysfunction products or Activia yogurt; sending Joe Biden anywhere, or putting him in charge of anything.

In the medieval church, the liturgical prayers included an appeal to God to “deliver us from the Turk.” With the exception of two small alterations in the spelling of the last word, I humbly offer up the same petition.

"Gee, wouldn't you know it; destiny calls and I can barely hear it over the shouting of all these tea-party morons."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy Feet Friday

Solid! Woody Herman and his Second Herd, featuring Stan Getz (and the other three "brothers" of the saxophone section, Zoot Sims, Herbie Steward and Serge Chaloff), plus Shorty Rogers on trumpet.

Signs and Portents

Things are looking up for ex-president Jimmy Carter.

[Note: Paco's Library postponed until Saturday]

Obama Care: It's not just about the price, it's about the quality

46% of family practitioners may retire if Obama care passes

It was mid-summer in the year 2015. Inside the government-owned Michael Moore Obesity Clinic, a large woman with short black hair and thick spectacles sat behind a counter under a slowly-circulating ceiling fan, alternating between two-fingered tapping at her computer and slapping at flies with a rolled-up magazine (last December’s edition of Virginia Foreclosure Bargains). She suddenly bawled out, in a voice suggestive of someone sounding “Recall” on a dented flugelhorn with a clogged spit-valve, “Number 76! Number 76! Now serving number 76!”

In a spindly chair, a fat man slumped in fretful slumber, having been kept waiting for over two hours beyond his scheduled appointment, which it took him three months to get in the first place.


“Number 76!”

“Z-z-*znunck*…*cough!*…Wha…what? 76? That’s me!”

He gingerly lifted himself from the rickety chair and made his way back to the examination area. He was met by a voluptuous young woman wearing a nurse’s uniform, her cap teetering tenuously on top of a mass of platinum hair (she had inadvertently donned the name-tag from her weekend job, which read “Welcome to IHOP - Velma”).

Between small explosions of bubble gum, she said, “You Mr. Jackson?”

The fat man nodded.

“Well, come this way, Porky.”

Mr. Jackson lumbered along behind Velma – not an entirely unpleasant experience for the patient, whose eyesight had been in no way impaired by his excessive weight or by his 55 years – and was escorted into a small examination room.

“Somebody’ll be with you in a minute.”

“Er, wait a moment. Should I remove my outer clothes?”

The nurse eyed him head to toe, and gave him an ironic smile. “Not on my account.” She then toddled off.

Mr. Jackson eased himself onto the examination table, noting, with some surprise, that it was covered with a cotton sheet bearing the curious word “HoJo’s” replicated numerous times on its surface . He picked idly at what appeared to be an old cigarette burn. The air conditioning in the building wasn’t working, and the warm air made Mr. Jackson drowsy. The next thing he knew, he was being shaken by someone standing next to him.

“Hey, wake up, buddy! I have other patients I gotta see!”

Mr. Jackson sat up with a start, and glanced at his watch; another hour had gone by. He glanced uncertainly at the “physician”.

The man was probably around 40 years old, above the middle height, and had eyes like black olives that peered at Mr. Jackson over a bushy black mustache. He was wearing steel-toed tan work-boots, dusty, dark-blue slacks and a short-sleeved light-blue shirt, over the pocket of which was a rectangular white patch with the name “Ed” stitched on it in bright red thread. The whole was topped with a baseball-style cap, the “Red Man Chewing Tobacco” logo emblazoned on the front.

“Ok, pal, what’s your problem?”

Mr. Jackson cleared his throat. “As you can see, I’m a little overweight.”

“A little?” Ed laughed. “Mister, you must tip the scales at, what, 275, 300?”

Mr. Jackson frowned. “Yes, 285 when I checked this morning. I’ve been dieting and exercising for the last six months, but I’ve only lost five pounds.”

“Well, if you’re only worried about the missing five pounds, turn around and I’ll show you where they went.”

“Listen, I came here for help, not to be insulted!”

“Ok, ok. Easy, big fella! That’s just what you call 'bedside manner'; you know, maintainin’ a nice, friendly atmosphere, with humor an’ all. Now, have you tried cuttin’ down on your intake?”

“I certainly have. I’ve almost eliminated red meat from my diet.”

Ed smiled knowingly. “Yeah, but if you’re eatin’ mostly vegetables, you must be puttin’ away a truck-load of produce a day to be carryin’ that kinda belly around. You ever think about padlockin’ the fridge? Or, even better, installin’ a time lock?”

Fully incensed at this point, Mr. Jackson began speaking heatedly. “I’m not eating as much as my wife does, and she only weighs 120 pounds! I think this is some sort of problem with my metabolism or with my glands. Can’t you figure it out? After all, you are a doctor.”

“I am?”

Mr. Jackson gawped. “You’re not?”

“Hell, no! I’m an HVAC repairman. The A/C in this place has been out for a couple of weeks and I’ve got a crew here trying to fix it. But since so many doctors have retired, I get a special deal under the health care law so I can earn a few extra bucks in return for practicin’ medicine. I mean, somebody’s gotta do it. And when you get right down to the thing, there ain’t much difference between ductwork and intestines. But I think maybe you need a specialist in internal medicine. I can highly recommend the clinic right there across the street.”

Mr. Jackson looked out the window through the dirty blinds. “But…but…that place is a truck stop!”

Ed winked and slipped a business card into Mr. Jackson’s hand. “Ask for Joe Bob. No waiting.”

Another day, another Joe Biden gaffe

Two gaffes-in-one, as a matter of fact.
Vice President Joe Biden asked for God's blessing for the late mother of Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen during a White House celebration of St. Patrick's Day — except the elderly lady is very much alive.

"God rest her soul," Biden said Wednesday night as he introduced Cowen and President Barack Obama. He quickly caught himself and noted that it's Cowen's father who is no longer living. Of the prime minister's mother, Biden said, "God bless her soul."

Biden then cited the Irish proverb that "a silent mouth is sweet to hear" and yielded the podium to the president.
H/T: Dan Riehl.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Jump! Jump!

David Brooks: "Either this whole city has gone insane or I have or both. But I’m out here on the ledge and I’m not coming in the window. In my view this is no longer about health care. It’s just Democrats wanting to pass a bill, any bill, and shredding anything they have to in order to get it done. It’s about taking every sin the Republicans committed when they were busy being corrupted by power and matching it with interest."

No, just kidding, Dave. Do come back in the window. It's good to see that, every now and then, you do stir from your Obama-induced coma. Although, even on those rare occasions, you are still a bit befogged.
Barack Obama campaigned offering a new era of sane government. And I believe he would do it if he had the chance. But he has been so sucked into the system that now he stands by while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talks about passing health care via “deem and pass” — a tricky legislative device in which things get passed without members having the honor or the guts to stand up and vote for it.
Dave, Dave, Dave. The guy's not an innocent bystander who accidentally walked in front of the Giant Washington Suck Machine. He is a big part of the problem, the key in the ignition of the socialist bullet train. Accept that fact, and you will have taken the first step on the road - the long road, in your case - to recovery.

That's not a grill...

That's a grill.

Totally unrelated update: Hey, how cool is this? Paco Enterprises linked at (er, all the way at the bottom).

Idaho: "Sue the bastards!"

Idaho threatens to sue the federal government if ObamaCare passes.

Money quote from Governor "Butch" Otter: “The ivory tower folks will tell you, ‘No, they’re not going anywhere,’ ” he told reporters. “But I’ll tell you what, you get 36 states, that’s a critical mass. That’s a constitutional mass.

"Slaughter rule? I'll show you mugs the slaughter rule!"

John Hood of the John Locke Foundation also throws down the gauntlet (H/T: Cold Fury).

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sure an' Dickie McEnroe has the good stuff. Er...begorra.

Deep Calling to Deep

When President Obama needs someone to explain his economic policies to the black community, who does he turn to? Why, to well-known con man and race-hustler, Al Sharpton, of course.

As Professor Reynolds says, “Kinda like if Bush had brought in David Duke to solidify things in the South . . . .”

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Tea-Partiers?

Congressman Gerry Connolly, that’s who! His staff called police when some constituents showed up at his office (the pitchforks and torches must have been left in the hall, since they are curiously absent from the video). H/T to Ed Driscoll.

Connolly happens to be my very own congress-critter, and I just found out that he lives in my neighborhood. How…interesting

Global Warming? Please!

A new Gallup poll indicates that Al Gore - the Aimee Semple McPherson of the global warming movement - may need to find a new gig:
Former Vice President Al Gore's insistence on Monday that global warming was behind a spate of bad weather could fall on some very deaf ears. American's concerns over environmental worries are at the lowest level in two decades, according to a new Gallup poll.

"Many environmental issues are at a 20-year-low concern," the poll found.

It also found that public worries over eight green-related issues — from air pollution to the state of rain forests — have dropped by as much as nine percentage points in the last year alone.
Look for Gore to take up a new cause in the near future - maybe the scourge of toenail fungus or the threat from rogue asteroids.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Stacy McCain vs the Canvasback Kid

"Hey, Stacy, why are your knuckles all red and raw?"

"Oh, no reason."

“Don’t worry, boys. Nothing’s lost save honor”

The statement is attributed to 19th-century financier “Diamond” Jim Fisk, shortly before he and his cronies decamped from New York for New Jersey, one step ahead of the process-servers. Yet it is an expression that could just as well serve as the motto of the Democratic Party, particularly the modern-day robber barons who constitute its leadership. Obama, Pelosi, Reid et al propose to steal the personal and corporate financial capital of this, and future, generations, through obscenely high deficits and taxes, as well as to diminish our quality of life and to eliminate some of our most basic rights, through, among other schemes, the government takeover of health care. And they mean to accomplish this using means fair or foul (fair obviously isn’t going to work, so they’ve cheerfully embraced the foul, with their strategies of reconciliation and the legislative magic wand of the Slaughter rule, under which a bill is “deemed” to have passed without ever having been voted on). The various iterations of a health care bill are all singularly unpopular with the voters, the Democrats stand to suffer enormous losses in the elections this fall, and still the junta marches on, confident that, the autumn bloodbath notwithstanding, this gigantic entitlement will serve as the indestructible cornerstone of the statist future for which they yearn, with a passion that defies all logic, and that is perhaps only really explicable in terms of a congeries of psychological disorders, or in the older and wiser language which told of the snake in the garden.

Herein lies one of the most baffling and maddening ironies of democracy, to wit, that although it is a system, not only theoretically, but historically, conducive to the optimal development of personal freedom, it almost inevitably leads to the development of government dependency, up to and including variations on the theme of socialism. There are many factors that converge to effect this end; however, one of the most difficult to alter is the fact that the kind of people drawn to government and public policy are frequently leftists who view the state as an end in itself. To them, state and society are virtually indistinguishable, and, given their anti-historical consciousness, nothing more than an enormous set of tinker-toys, the structure subject only to the limits of the (government-approved) architects’ imaginations, which tend strongly toward the impossible perspectives of an M.C. Escher.

Others – the majority – who are either conservative or, if apolitical, at least practical and wise, know in their bones that government is not an end, but a necessary evil, which, if not reigned in by constant vigilance, becomes a willful and bloody-minded servant, only too eager to rule in the master’s stead. So we avert our eyes from the whole distasteful process of government, permitting the leftists to take the wheel by default, and we leave them carrying us all toward the ditch at breakneck speed.

But there is now a groundswell of fear and resentment and, perhaps most important of all, truly righteous anger over the usurpation of our liberty by the engineers of the provider state; and the Tea Party movement and the protests and the threats of electoral retribution – these things, too, are democracy, and a sign that the people have not yet become accustomed to the heavy hand of government. A good sign it is, and maybe even in time.

Update: Smitty has pictures of the patriotic uprising.

Willie Sutton, Vault Custodian

Or something very similar, at least: "Sen. Dodd introduces bill for financial reform".

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tough Love

Matt Patterson has a few choice words for Barack Obama - and for the generations of voters and politicians, of both parties, who made his election possible, and the socialist nightmare increasingly likely.

But all is not lost; not even if this terrible health care bill becomes law. Remember another time when Americans were faced with an arrogant and oppressive government, and the uphill struggle against long odds.

Update: Looks like Smitty was thinking along somewhat similar lines.

Update II: Hey, congressman, what has Obama promised you in exchange for your "yes" vote?

H/T: Last of the Few

Update III: Marc Thiessen on the stench of the backroom deals.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Another Black Conservative welcomes a distinguished new member to the Tea Party movement.

The Obama administration continues to demonstrate its worthlessness as an ally.

Commenter Srekwah at Tim Blair's site links to an astonishing series of photographs of modern-day Detroit. The city looks like something out of Blade Runner, after an earthquake, a tornado and a Martian invasion (once you get into the slide show, the advance button is in the lower right corner).

“Gee, we raised the taxes on the rich and now we don’t have so many rich people anymore. Whahoppen?” Sundries Shack explains the economic facts of life to the Maryland legislature.

Suzy Rice does not believe in mincing words (although it appears that she wouldn’t mind running a few Democrats over a giant cheese-grater; I’m with you, Suzy!)

For the first time in more than 20 years, Social Security is paying out more in benefits than it collected in payroll taxes. Gawrsh, Mickey, never saw that one comin’!

Obama to Revamp Education

So, for starters, the U.S. Department of Education has ordered 27 Remington short-barreled shotguns.

Man! When I was once drafted in the third grade to be hall monitor, I wasn't given any crowd-control equipment at all.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Slaughter on East Capitol Street

The Blog Prof is all over the nefarious "Slaughter" strategy, by which Democrats hope to score an end-run around the Constitution.

The Boxer Blimp

Carly Fiorina's "demon sheep" ad is widely considered to have backfired, but Bluegrass Pundit has a new video from the Fiorina camp attacking Barbara Boxer. It is wild, bizarre and over the top. And I love it!! Anybody recognize the narrator's voice? Sounds very familiar, but I can't place it.

I hasten to point out that this is not an endorsement of Carly Fiorina. I haven't been following the California race closely, though I believe she's considered to be a RINO. California voters (or anybody else who's following the race in the Republican primary), feel free to fill me in on who the best GOP candidate is, in your opinion.

Update: Smitty at The Other McCain has a theory about the inspiration for this ad.

Update II: I am told by a well-informed reader that the narrator is actor Robert Davi.

Sunday Funnies

An oldie but a goodie from Dave Barry. (H/T: Deborah).

Take a look at the world’s laziest predators from Are We Lumberjacks?

You know what really creeps me out about funeral homes? The unpleasant encounter with our mortality, the somber music, the chili cook-offs

Update Richard McEnroe has discovered some even lazier predators.

Sean Penn: "Stupid leftist clown"

As Don Surber says, we are all Chicago White Sox fans now.

Penn, incidentally, is really working hard to establish his thuggish, anti-democratic, pro-totalitarian bona fides.

Of Rights and Wishes

Some great stuff from Walter Williams, via Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rule 5 Saturday

Lucky Millinder and songstress Annisteen Allen (not Ernestine, as indicated in the You Tube title) smolder on “Let it Roll”.

Bonus! It's been a while since I've thought about Melissa Theuriau, the beautiful French news anchor. No time like the present to renew our acquaintance! I have no idea what she's saying, but, really, who cares?

The Redistribution of Health

Shika Dalmia has written an excellent essay for Forbes that homes in on the Democrats’ mad rush to nationalize health care.
… egged on by the progressive punditocracy, Democrats are behaving as if, once they jam ObamaCare through, nothing else matters. It's like they'll never have to worry about being the minority party in need of constitutional checks and balances.

A sensible president would of course step in and provide some adult supervision to a wayward party hell-bent on jumping off this cliff. But the problem is that President Obama believes in his own messianism too deeply for that. His goal is not to remake his party as it could be but "remake this world as it should be." In his book Dreams From My Father Obama gives the distinct impression that his gifts are too great for the smallness of our political stage. He regrets not having been born during the civil rights era when the grandness of the cause would have measured up to the grandness of his ambition. He is in search of something big that will allow him to make his mark on the world as Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King did. Hence, the defeat of ObamaCare would not just be par for the course in the rough-and-tumble world of politics for him. It would be sign of his ordinariness, his mortality, and that, to him, is unendurable.
There you have it. A president who is willing to write off more than two and a quarter centuries of American experience, and to scrap the hard-won patrimony of personal liberty, because he is terrified that he would otherwise fail to rise above the lowing herd. This Christ figure without the inconvenience of a cross is going to redeem us through the all-encompassing power of his self-love. I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the progressive paradise except through me. Be my sheep.

* * * *

Unfortunately, our president does not lack for apostles. David Brooks’ Obamaphilia is on display again this week with a column that is filled with even more clueless nincompoopery than usual. Claiming that both conservatives and liberals have gotten Obama wrong, Brooks provides a description of the president which, if it had been used by a police artist to sketch a criminal suspect, would have left the malefactor perfectly at liberty, to walk the streets without let or hindrance from the constabulary, indefinitely:
The fact is, Obama is as he always has been, a center-left pragmatic reformer. Every time he tries to articulate a grand philosophy — from his book “The Audacity of Hope” to his joint-session health care speech last September — he always describes a moderately activist government restrained by a sense of trade-offs. He always uses the same on-the-one-hand-on-the-other sentence structure. Government should address problems without interfering with the dynamism of the market.
Demonizing health insurance providers and insurers, freezing out the Republicans in discussions of reform, angling for the ultimate goal of nationalizing health care, proposing taxes and deficits that will cripple the private sector and diminish the quality of life not only of the present, but of future, generations , truckling to the climate-change fanatics, taking over a large part of the automotive industry, filling his administration with ideologues and parasitical lobbyists– this is “moderately activist government”?
He has tried to find this balance in a town without an organized center — in a town in which liberals chair the main committees and small-government conservatives lead the opposition. He has tried to do it in a context maximally inhospitable to his aims.

But he has done it with tremendous tenacity. Readers of this column know that I’ve been critical on health care and other matters. Obama is four clicks to my left on most issues. He is inadequate on the greatest moral challenge of our day: the $9.7 trillion in new debt being created this decade. He has misread the country, imagining a hunger for federal activism that doesn’t exist. But he is still the most realistic and reasonable major player in Washington [emphasis mine].
Why, yes, as a matter of fact I can spell “non sequitur”. Or is Brooks speaking in a purely relative sense, as if to say that in the realm of palsied cutpurses, the man with dexterous hands is king? Surely, the country deserves a better choice than that.

He closes with the inevitable lamentation over the tunnel vision exhibited by us outside-the-beltway rubes:
In a sensible country, people would see Obama as a president trying to define a modern brand of moderate progressivism. In a sensible country, Obama would be able to clearly define this project without fear of offending the people he needs to get legislation passed. But we don’t live in that country. We live in a country in which many people live in information cocoons in which they only talk to members of their own party and read blogs of their own sect. They come away with perceptions fundamentally at odds with reality, fundamentally misunderstanding the man in the Oval Office.
In a sensible country, David Brooks would be stocking shelves with dribble glasses in a novelty shop. As it is, one wonders how long Brooks plans to continue pupating in his own information cocoon. If he ever emerges, no doubt the hapless fellow will flutter directly into the jaws of a praying mantis.

Update Congressman Mike Pence: "A minority in Congress plus the American people equals a majority."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Obama's cousin: Hey, you know, ObamaCare is a really bad idea

Dr. Milton Wolf - President Obama's second cousin, once removed - has written an article for the Washington Times in which he blasts his famous relative's attempt to nationalize health care:
America has the finest health care delivery system in the world. Let's not forget that and put it at risk in the name of reform. Desperate souls across the globe flock to our shores and cross our borders every day to seek our care. Why? Our system provides cures while the government-run systems from which they flee do not. Compare Europe's common cancer mortality rates to America's: breast cancer - 52 percent higher in Germany and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom; prostate cancer - a staggering 604 percent higher in the United Kingdom and 457 percent higher in Norway; colon cancer - 40 percent higher in the United Kingdom.
So it seems the final irony of ObamaCare is that it will kill off the taxpayers who are supposed to foot the bill. Nice work, genius.

ObamaCare: "Are we there, yet?"

Update: Also see Charles Kesler's essay.

Happy Feet Friday

It’s Joe Turner and he’s feelin’ happy!

Enterprising Kiwi Auctions Bottled “Spirits”

I guess there’s a market for everything:
A New Zealand woman sold two vials that she said contained the ghosts of an old man and a young girl for almost NZ$2,000 ($1,410) after a fiercely contested online auction, local media reported.

Avie Woodbury from Christchurch told TVNZ that she captured the spirits after an exorcism session of her house and for which she paid roughly $100.
(H/T: Mrs. Paco)

Now, Paco Enterprises is not about to be outdone by Avie Woodbury, so I’m pleased to announce that our auction-house subsidiary, Perfectly Authentic Collectibles Online, is offering this cigar box, which contains the ghost of General (and President) Ulysses S. Grant.

It has been evaluated and authenticated by the independent Psychic Appraisal Certification Organization, so you can be sure that what you are getting is the genuine ghost of this prominent Civil War general (and not the spirit of some inferior military personage, like Daniel Sickles or Braxton Bragg). Let the bidding begin!

From the Shelves of the Paco Library

I believe it was friend, commenter and fellow blogger, Richard McEnroe, who made a reference in the comments section a couple of weeks ago to the Don Camillo stories of Italian journalist and cartoonist Giovanni Guareschi. This sent me rummaging through my library looking for the two books in the series that I possess, and renewing my acquaintance with these little comic gems, which I purchased at a library sale and read straight through, nearly ten years ago.

Guareschi provides a charming introduction to “The Little World” of Don Camiilo in Don Camillo and His Flock:
When I was a young man I worked as a reporter and went around all day on a bicycle looking for news stories for the paper. One day I met a girl and after that I spent so many hours thinking about how this girl would feel if I became Emperor of Mexico, or maybe died instead, that I had very little time left for anything else. So at night I filled my allotted space with invented stories which people liked very much because they were much more true to life than true ones. Of course, there is nothing surprising about this, because stories, like people, grow in a certain atmosphere. That’s why geography is important.

The stories in this book take place somewhere in the valley of the Po river…People born near the Po river have heads as hard as pig iron, a highly developed sense of humor, and where politics is concerned they can get as excited as a man who has swallowed a mouse.

They are very attached to their slice of land and in spite of floods and fog, the fierce summer heat, and damp winter cold, they admit that, after all, God knew his business when He made the Little World.
The hero of the novels is Don Camillo, the priest of a small village in Northern Italy. A former partisan in WWII, he is a man powerful in both physical build and spirit, and the books center on his long-running feud with the communist mayor, Giuseppe Botazzi (“Peppone”) who was likewise a partisan, but, obviously, with a different faction.

One of the recurring features of the stories is the series of conversations that Don Camillo has with Christ (who speaks to the priest from the crucifix in the village church). They are generally humorous chats, in which Our Lord gently reproaches Don Camillo for his frequently hot-headed and occasionally misguided espousal of the faith. In one story (from Don Camillo and His Flock), lightning strikes the church spire and severely damages it. Peppone sees this as a judgment on the Church, itself, and says so publicly; furthermore, he refuses to allocate funds to repair the spire. Don Camillo is mystified as to why lightning should strike the church, as opposed to Peppone’s “People’s Palace”, and is not entirely satisfied by Christ’s attempt to calm him. Taking matters into his own hands, Don Camillo balances the books during the next storm by creating some “lightning” of his own, tossing a grenade onto the roof of the People’s Palace, which creates a vast explosion as it touches off a cache of dynamite that the local communists had hidden in the attic. As the mayor and the townsfolk gather around the ruin of the People’s Palace, Don Camillo walks over to Peppone.
”It was quite a stroke of lightning,” he observed, “much more powerful than mine. It made a magnificent noise and did quite a bit of damage. Someone really ought to study it from a scientific point of view. I think I’ll speak to the police sergeant about it.”

“Keep your nose in your own dirty business,” said Peppone.

“My business is to get you to repair the church tower.”

Peppone shot him a somber look.

“All right,” he said between clenched teeth. “But some day I’ll settle accounts with you.”
Don Camillo then goes to his church, knowing full well that Christ would want a word with him.
”Don Camillo,” said Christ severely, when the priest stood before him in the church. “Aren’t you going to thank Me because the People’s Palace was struck by lightning?”

“No,” said Don Camillo, with his head hanging. “A stroke of lightning is part of the natural order created by God. Surely God wouldn’t inconvenience wind, clouds, lightning and thunder simply in order to please a poor devil of a country priest…”

“Exactly,” said Christ., “and how could God take advantage of a storm to throw a bomb on the roof of the People’s Palace? Only a poor devil of a country priest could think up a thing like that…Aren’t you repentant already?”

No, Lord,” whispered Don Camillo. “It’s still too early. I must ask for an extension.”

Christ sighed, and Don Camillo went off to bed.
In Comrade Don Camillo, the communist mayor wins ten million lira in a soccer sweepstakes, but has done so under an assumed name (if he had taken possession of the money in his own name, he would have had to pay taxes and pay the balance over to the Party – or even worse, to his wife). Don Camillo helps him out by quietly depositing the money for him; however, when Peppone is later invited to make a visit to the Soviet Union, Don Camillo uses his knowledge of Peppone’s winnings as leverage to secure a spot for himself in the mayor’s entourage. Traveling in disguise as one of the “comrades”, Don Camillo visits the Workers’ Paradise (his prayer book bound between the covers of a volume labeled Maxims of Lenin), where the priest and his adversary get a first-hand look at the “achievements” of genuine communism.

The books are a humorous look at the ongoing, permanent battle between the sacred and the secular, the timeless and the timely, Christ’s ambassadors and Lenin’s, at a period in Italy’s history when both Christians and communists enjoyed enthusiastic mass support. Several of the individual books are still in publication, and there are one or more omnibus collections available, as well.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Only One in a Long Line

The perceptive Smitty of The Other McCain reminds us that Obama is simply the most visible (and, indeed, overexposed) face of contemporary American leftism. The ideology of Big Government is a hydra-headed monster, and it has been with us a long time, accumulating, through thousands of incremental steps, a vast amount of power, much of it woven so craftily into the fabric of society that people cannot even see the pattern.

All of which underscores the importance of the elections later this year, and in 2012. It was understandable that voters - disenchanted with Bush, disgusted by Republicans who ditched their principles in return for taxpayer spoils, panicked by the economic meltdown - put the Democrats in charge of both the executive and legislative branches of government in 2008. Understandable, but hardly justifiable. Heaving "moderate" democrats into elective office in order to punish Republicans, voters overlooked the possibility - the near certainty - that their centrist campaign rhetoric, their ostensible seriousness about fiscal responsibility, transparency in government, and ethics - would run into the ideological intransigence and not inconsiderable power of Pelosi and Reid, before which the principles of the blue dogs have begun to wobble like jello in a gale. And how many citizens who cast their vote for Obama can honestly say now that they still believe in the hope 'n change hokum? The confluence of Democratic majorities in both chambers of the legislature and the election of this particular president, has created an unprecedented threat to our liberties (unprecedented in scope and pace, that is to say; the basic thrust of the threat is not new). Elections have consequences, so, next time, I would exhort the politically unaware to take this advice:

And that goes double for the Republican Party brass. You people helped create this mess by rewarding establishment stooges with campaign funding and endorsements. Either stand up for the principles of limited government and individual liberty or go lie down among the moldering bones and yellowing tusks in the elephant graveyard.