Sunday, October 31, 2010


Paco Enterprises expects that, on November 2, the people, in their wisdom, will call their self-styled overlords to a great reckoning, and that scores of frauds, mountebanks, petty tyrants, defilers of the constitution and despoilers of the national patrimony will be turned out to fend for themselves as they may, but no longer at the public trough.

In preparation for this historic day, I invite readers to renew their acquaintance with some of the originators and expositors of the American ideal:

Thomas Paine:
Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.

Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamities is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer! Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least. Wherefore, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows that whatever form thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expense and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others.
James Madison:
To What expedient, then, shall we finally resort, for maintaining in practice the necessary partition of power among the several departments, as laid down in the Constitution? The only answer that can be given is, that as all these exterior provisions are found to be inadequate, the defect must be supplied, by so contriving the interior structure of the government as that its several constituent parts may, by their mutual relations, be the means of keeping each other in their proper places.
George Washington:
No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency; and in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their united government the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities from which the event has resulted can not be compared with the means by which most governments have been established without some return of pious gratitude, along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me, I trust, in thinking that there are none under the influence of which the proceedings of a new and free government can more auspiciously commence.
Alexis de Tocqueville:
In America the principle of the sovereignty of the people is neither barren nor concealed, as it is with some other nations; it is recognized by the customs and proclaimed by the laws; it spreads freely, and arrives without impediment at its most remote consequences. If there is a country in the world where the doctrine of the sovereignty of the people can be fairly appreciated, where it can be studied in its application to the affairs of society, and where its dangers and its advantages may be judged, that country is assuredly America.
May God bless our Republic, and restore to our people the vision of liberty and self-reliance that made of us a great nation.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Quit wasting time trying to carve up that pumpkin with a knife! Here's the way to do it!

For those who insist on carving in the traditional way, here's something patriotic - just in time for November 2!

Update: What Democratic politicians are scared of this year...

(Found at Don Surber's)

Sunday Funnies

Moonbattery has what is possibly the greatest anti-Obama bumper sticker ever.

Plus, Steve Burri has some fun at the expense of yours truly.

Low comedy

John Stewart will be holding his ironically-named "Restore Sanity" rally today in Washington. Is there really any point to it, besides hammering Fox? Tunku Varadarajan weighs in:
For all their iconoclasm, Stewart and his sidekick-in-sanity, Stephen Colbert, calculate to honor mainstream liberal pieties. Daily, Stewart shores up caustically the conventional wisdom of a moderate-left orthodoxy, scolding what are perceived to be the extremes, almost invariably of the right, in a fiesta of self-congratulation.
There's no tool like a "cool" tool. And there's nothing sane about playing court jester to the Leviathan state.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Rule 5 Saturday

The gorgeous Rita Hayworth takes a turn with Fred Astaire in You Were Never Lovelier.

Advice for the President

President Obama is up to, ohhh, about his 32nd use of the ditch and Slurpee metaphor. You know how it goes: "The GOP drove the economy into the ditch, and me and the Democrats are trying to push it out while Republicans just stand there sipping Slurpees."

Well, this is one Republican who is willing to join with the president in a bipartisan effort to get the economy out of that ditch. Here's my advice.

Get your back into it, Barry!

Throw the bums out!

Three Beers Later has got your prime Ray Stevens election-year video right here.

Happy Feet Friday

To mark Halloween: Louis Armstrong and the "Skeleton in the Closet".

Thursday, October 28, 2010

John Kerry shouts, "Jesus is Lord!"

Oh, wait. I'm sorry. It was "Allahu Akbar!"


Stacy McCain bats Chris Matthews around like a tetherball, while Smitty takes on the frequently misguided Rick Moran.

Also, Smitty recently inducted Bob Belvedere into the Axis of Fedora. I was offered an opportunity, as well, but was brazenly informed that I would first have to produce a photo of myself wearing a fedora. Me. The creator of Detective Paco. A wearer of fedoras, snap brims, Panamas - and even, on occasion, an elegant Homburg - for over 30 years. This would be like Woolworth’s sending a letter to Coco Chanel – postage due! – in which the department store chain condescends to carry a few bottles of fragrance on consignment (“What eez theez ‘Wulewart’s?”, I fancy Coco asking). Bob and I have now created a kind of Menshevik splinter group called the League of Snap Brim.

Mr. Bingley brings us word of Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagen’s historic first vote ( and it’s a beauty). I am reminded of an old joke. A prospective juror is being questioned, and is asked if he supports capital punishment. The fellow mulls it over for a moment, and finally says, “Well, yeah, I reckon. As long as it ain’t too severe.”

Per the Sundries Shack, a would-be terrorist’s motivation is still shrouded in mystery

Hey, the GOP is the party of big business, right? Wrong, says Dan Collins.

Remember that meeting between the President and the lefty bloggers? Iowahawk has the inside skinny.

Tim Blair: What we can learn from Al Gore.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Straight talk from Walter Williams

I'm a big fan of Professor Walter Williams, of George Mason University. In this column, the professor cuts right to the chase:
Here's my question to you: If one takes an oath to uphold and defend, and bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution, at the minimum, shouldn't he know what he's supposed to uphold, defend and be faithful to?"
Tired of constitution abuse? Then throw the bums out on November 2.

And on the subject of another Williams who's been in the news lately...

Katie Couric's expedition

Talking head Katie Couric is going native, venturing out among the "great unwashed." Sounds dangerous, to me.

"C'mon, honey, let me hear you squeal like a liberal!"

President Obama's Spleen Trust

Jake Tapper reports that the President met with "five popular progressive [sic] bloggers" today, I suppose so that they could help broadcast his message (whatever the hell it is this week).

Mr. Tapper took this photo:

There they are, America! Your guides to Obama's schlimazeltopia .

Friends across the water

On the eve of our critically important mid-term elections, Old Sailor Man from Australia sends his best wishes:
Some years ago, I stood with shipmates, reflecting as we drifted slowly across the glassy surface of Ironbottom Sound, close to the brooding Savo Island, the padre spreading the ashes of three old warriors who had survived the sinking of HMAS Canberra that dreadful night 60 some years before.. We thought also of USS Astoria, Quincy and Vincennes, and the lads lost as they went down.. I thought of my father, in the engine room of HMAS Australia at Coral Sea. I was born in February 1942, early in the grimmest 6 months of the war when defeat was a constant companion, victory a dream for the bold or mad.

I believe Western civilisation, mankind's greatest achievement, is in as parlous a state now as it was then. More so,as the USA was not troubled then by the enemy within.

Tuesday will be a decisive day in history. I say this because I think the fate of the Great Republic hangs in the balance,and with it the fate of freedom and democracy,and hence civilisation, in the US and elsewhere.

I hope this is a day of triumph for decent conservative folk. You and all other people of goodwill have my deepest and strongest wishes for the success so necessary for the survival of reason, decency and right.
Hear, hear!


If you want to see what an America run along the lines of unadulterated liberalism would look like, just take a gander at Detroit and San Francisco.

I’m fine with individual liberals screwing up their own lives, if that’s what they want to do. The problem is, they manage to screw up everybody else’s, too. That’s why defeating people like Barbara Boxer and Barney Frank and a host of other political parasites is so important. Whether it’s a senator representing an entire state, or a congressman representing a district, these people make decisions and cast votes practically every day that are undermining the economic and physical security of the whole country. I didn’t vote for them, you probably didn’t vote for them. Their home-state residences may be thousands of miles from where you and I live. And yet we all feel the impact of their exercise of power.

Another reason to restore the 10th Amendment to its rightful place as a buffer between the national government and the states.

Queen bee

Time to end “Air Pelosi”.

I think this particular issue will go away after November 2 – unless John Boehner maintains the practice (which he’d better not, if he knows what’s good for him).

Return of the Know Nothings

The Democratic Farm Labor Party in Minnesota is using Catholic imagery to attack a Protestant Republican candidate.

When their backs are to the wall, as they are in this election, Democrats really do act like snarling rats.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Guess what, Congress...

Chuck Norris doesn't like your spending habits.

Nov. 2: The roundhouse kick to end all roundhouse kicks.

P.S. Bulls have a holiday called the running of the Chuck Norris.

Harry Reid: Pulling out all the stops

I don't know about you, but you coulda knocked me down with a feather when I heard that the voting machines in Nevada malfunctioning.

I'm sure the fact that the voting machines are being operated by SEIU Local 1107 is pure coincidence.

Jimmy Carter lost to Reagan because of a third-party candidate, and because he absolutely sucked as President

But mostly – make that exclusively - the latter.

Carter is a born fool, but he’s taking no chances: he works hard at maintaining his foolishness every day.

Something to think about when you’re looking for a mutual fund

Vanguard has come down on the side of Obama and the Democrats.

H/T: Monty at Ace of Spades

You mean like in the movie, Machete?

Obama to Latinos: Punish your enemies.

Hey, what a great time to be pushing that kind of rhetoric, Barry.

Alexander Anderson, Jr. - RIP

The creator of Rocky and Bullwinkle has died at age 90.

Where did he get his inspiration?
Anderson's wife of 36 years, Patricia, told the Herald her husband created Bullwinkle after a dream about a moose sitting in on his poker games with friends.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Randy Quaid seeks asylum

In Canada? I don't know if that's going to work. Maybe in Happy Dale.

Update: More from Dan Collins.

The 10th Amendment "Cult"

Like Carolyn, I'm a proud member.

Or, as I said in a meeting one day (probably to my detriment), in response to someone who asked if I supported the Tea Party, "I prefer tea to Kool Aid".


Scene: The Oval Office. President Obama has gathered with his chief advisers to discuss a serious foreign policy problem: the President’s reluctance to visit the chief temple of the Sikhs on his trip to India.

Obama: Ok, you all know why you’re here. Now, we’ve already communicated to the Sikhs that I won’t be dropping by their mosque…

David Plouffe: Excuse me, sir, but it’s not a mosque. The Sikhs aren’t Muslims.

Obama: Well, whatever. Mosque, church, cathedral, mission house. The thing is, I’d have to cover my head, and if I wear anything that even remotely smacks of a turban or keffiyeh – even a Washington Nationals towel - the Republicans and the teabaggers are going to start going off about my being a Muslim. I was willing to compromise, but, apparently, the Sikhs objected to my choice of headgear.

David Axelrod: Mr. President, a baseball cap with an image of Joe Camel smoking a “Camel wide” was perceived by the Sikhs as being, er, insufficiently respectful.

Obama: I don’t know why. You know how much those things are going for on eBay?

Axelrod: I believe it’s more the imagery, sir, than the monetary value of the cap.

Obama: Bismillah! Well, how about this: the first section of the Washington Post made up into a cocked hat?

Plouffe: Mr. President, I’m afraid that may have certain…um…Napoleonic connotations, with respect to both the ambitiousness of the historical original, as well as the stereotypical representation of the loony-bin inmate. Anyway, we think we may be able to get away with something simple, like a black Homburg.

Obama: Hmm. That might work. Didn’t FDR wear a Homburg?

Plouffe: Occasionally, sir, yes.

Obama: Say, that’s fine, then!

Axelrod: The only other thing, of course, is that you won’t be able to wear shoes in the temple.

Obama: You’re kidding me, right?

Axelrod: No, Mr. President, the protocol on that is pretty rigid. You have to wash your feet outside the temple, and walk around barefoot inside.

Obama: Like Tom Sawyer coming back from the fishin’ hole? No way. Besides…well…I don’t like to mention it, but I’ve got toenail fungus. The whole thing would be a PR disaster. Unless you think I could fool ‘em with those new things. What are they called? Foot gloves, I think.

Axelrod: Excellent idea, sir! I’ll look into it. Oh, by the way, while I’m here, did you want to talk about the latest intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program?

Obama: No, no. We’ve covered the important stuff. Just find me a pair of medium-brown foot gloves.


”America’s Worst Politician”.

The next time some party establishmentarian talks about how voters should support electable RINOs, because they’re still “solid Republicans”, remind them of Charlie Crist (now running as a third-party candidate), Lisa Murkowski (now running as a third party candidate), and Mike Castle (who refused to endorse the winner of the Republican primary in Delaware, Christine O’Donnell, and briefly mulled over a third party run, himself).

Democrat Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi brags that he voted for John McCain.

California backwash, as seen by Three Beers Later.

“Honk If I’m Paying Your Mortgage”, and other anti-Obama bumper stickers from the Daily Caller.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Time required to identify incompetent teachers in the UK?

Looks like 13 years.

H/T: Right Bias

You get what you pay for

And sometimes even less. You've seen stories on television or online (you know those news fillers: "Ten Best Cities to Live In", "Ten Best Retirement Towns", etc.) Gregory Sullivan follows up on on a CNN report - "$1,000 Homes" - with hilarious results, and some good advice.

H/T: Boy on a Bike

He may look black...

...but Bob Young's politics don't, so the Detroit Free Press endorses a white liberal for the Michigan Supreme court. The Blog Prof has the details.

There is probably nothing that so quickly gives the lie to the modern liberal's ostensible concern for civil rights and diversity than the speed with which he will attack a representative of a racial or ethnic minority for thinking outside the left-wing box.

Shazzam! What're you gonna do with your eight dollars?

Stacy McCain takes issue with Frank Rich's assertion that we should be grateful to Obama.

This is probably the most succinct statement of the Democratic party's raison d’ĂȘtre I have ever seen: "What matters to Frank Rich and Obama is not whether the policies they advocate lead to economic growth, but rather whether their rhetoric helps convince people to vote Democrat."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sure, Rob Reiner is a knee-jerk Hollywood liberal...

... everybody knows that.

But that doesn't mean he always has to be a mule-shoer on Dumbass Farm. If he really works hard, and puts in the requisite years of effort, he might eventually be able to free himself from the drudgery of ideological servitude to the party of paranoia. As they say, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step; so, Rob, this should be item #1 on your self-help list...




Work on that one for a while.

Sunday funnies

Combine Clint Eastwood as Josey Wales, ObamaCare and Steve Burri, and whadaya get? One hell of a funny video, that's what!

Plus: Another episode of "Separated at Birth?"

From the shelves of the Paco library

I’ve only gotten half-way through this book, but I’m already prepared to recommend it without qualification. Ship of Rome, by John Stack, is the first in what appears to be a promising new series in the genre of nautical fiction, centering on the struggle between Rome and Carthage. Stack has created a compelling duo of heroes – Atticus, captain of a warship in the nascent Roman navy, and his friend Septimus, a centurion of marine infantry – and set them in the forefront of the war in Sicily, where Carthage’s impressive naval superiority vies with Republican Rome’s highly disciplined army for control of the island.

Stack has given substance, as well, to certain real-life characters: Hannibal Gisco, the ferocious Carthaginian admiral; Hamilcar Barca, representative of the governing council of Carthage; and Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio, the ambitious senior consul of Rome. The world in which they live is harsh, the times violent and the ultimate stakes in this clash of powers enormous, as it becomes evident that one or the other must and will be destroyed.

The author has a comprehensive understanding of the history of the period and a fine grasp of the nautical technology and military strategy and tactics peculiar to the Punic Wars. He has also woven a number of subplots into the story, including Atticus’ burgeoning love for Septimus’ sister (which affair strains the friendship of the two men to the breaking point, as Atticus is of Greek extraction, and Septimus and his family are natives of the city of Rome). One minor, but amusing, aspect of the story is the age-old rivalry between soldiers and marines.

While the battle action and the desperate preparations for war are among the strongest features of the book, I couldn’t help but smile and shake my head as I read this passage on the author’s description of Senate deliberations:
’And so, my esteemed colleagues of the senate, I now call for a vote on my revised proposal, I call for a division of the house to settle the matter.’

Scipio sat down and surveyed the crowded chamber with inner disgust. The senators were having mumbled conversations with those around them at this new call to vote. Scipio had estimated that it would take a week for the senate to decide on a course of action to defeat the Carthaginian blockade. He had been wrong. The debate was now in its tenth day and the seemingly endless rounds of debate and voting, over ridiculously minor points, had frayed his patience to a thread. On the fifth day the senate had finally decided that a fleet was needed. The following two days had been taken up with a decision on the size of the fleet and two days after that on how the fleet would be financed. Only now were the senators debating the command of the campaign.
The more things change…

In my bookish way, I am quite excited by the appearance of this new series, and am certainly enjoying the first volume. You may, too.

The hallmark of evil is blind hatred

And, as P.J. O'Rourke points out, the Democrats have got it in spades:
They don’t just hate our Republican, conservative, libertarian, strict constructionist, family values guts. They hate everybody’s guts. And they hate everybody who has any. Democrats hate men, women, blacks, whites, Hispanics, gays, straights, the rich, the poor, and the middle class.

Democrats hate Democrats most of all. Witness the policies that Democrats have inflicted on their core constituencies, resulting in vile schools, lawless slums, economic stagnation, and social immobility. Democrats will do anything to make sure that Democratic voters stay helpless and hopeless enough to vote for Democrats..
Money quote:
This is not an election on November 2. This is a restraining order.

Rule 5 Saturday

Peggy Lee only has eyes for you.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Great news!

A whole lotta new taxes headed our way! And so it goes in Shreveport explains.

Who woulda thunk it?

Troglopundit: fashion maven.

Fighting real bigotry

John Mitchell, Jr. was a firebrand newspaperman who published The Richmond Planet, an important voice for civil rights in the post-civil-war period. I like his style:
A lynching had taken place at a crossroads in Charlotte County in rural Southside Virginia in May 1886, an event brushed aside in the white press, but taken up in a blistering editorial by Mitchell in the Planet. In response, the journalist received a threatening—and anonymous—letter from Southside with a skull and crossbones on the envelope and the following message: “If you poke that infernal head of yours in this county long enough for us to do it we will hang you higher than he was hung.”

Mitchell printed the letter in his newspaper and added his own response, which he based on a quote from Shakespeare: “There are no terrors, Cassius, in your threats, for I am armed so strong in honesty that they pass me by like the idle winds, which I respect not.” He traveled to the scene of the barbaric crime—walking five miles in plain sight to get there—then strolled around the neighborhood and visited the jail from which the black man had been kidnapped. All the while wearing a pair of Smith & Wesson revolvers. “The cowardly letter writer was nowhere in evidence,” Mitchell later reported.
Among other things, Mitchell understood the genuine worth of the right to bear arms:
What Mitchell was demanding was basic human decency and justice for African Americans. He espoused middle-class principles of sober hard work and dignified behavior. “Respect white men, but do not grovel,” he wrote. “Hold your heads up. Be men!” But, in the pages of his newspaper, beneath its powerful logo of a flexed, muscular black arm with lightning bolts radiating out of its clenched fist, Mitchell issued some galvanizing opinions of his own. “We regret the necessity,” he wrote, “but if the government will not stop the killing of black men, we must stop it ourselves.” He believed that self-defense was called for when one was under attack: “The best remedy for a lyncher or a cursed mid-night rider is a 16-shot Winchester rifle in the hands of a dead-shot Negro who has nerve enough to pull the trigger.”
Compare with race-hustling frauds like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

If she’s defeated, I hope everybody addresses her as “Ex-Senator”

If you haven’t seen it, go watch this hilarious video riff on Barbara Boxer’s “ma’am” episode.

If you have already seen it – well, go watch it again!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happy Feet Friday

One of my favorite blues musicians: Brownie McGhee (love that voice!)

Today only, a bonus video! Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee perform my all-time favorite blues tune, "Key to the Highway". Feel free to ignore the pasty-faced commie banjo plucker (Pete Seeger).

Update: Invincible Armor has some smooth Willie Dixon doin' "Back Door Man".

National Liberal Radio and the firing of Juan Williams

Ed Driscoll has a comprehensive roundup of links on NPR's termination of Juan Williams' contract.

Update: Well, at least the guy wasn't out of a job too long. Fox News has just offered Williams a $2 million deal.

Chuck E. Cheese Schumer...

...laps up the Wall St. gravy.
In 2010, there is one Democrat that is turning heads with the amount of money he is raising. That is Chuck Schumer of New York. While chatter is running rampant in D.C. that he is seeking to be the next leader of the Senate Democrats should Reid lose his race in Nevada, Schumer is acting as a pass through for millions of dollars from Wall Street and distributing it around the nation to other Democrat campaigns.

According to, Chuck Schumer has received nearly $2.5 million alone from the securities and investment industries. Furthermore, Schumer’s number one contributor over this cycle has been Paulson & Co., a controversial hedge fund run by John Paulson who was at the center of the Goldman Sachs indictment that concluded with Goldman paying a $550 million fine to the SEC.
Private sector financial bureaucrats are interested in money and influence, and it is becoming increasingly clear that far too many of them will sell out their country's best interests in order to get it. The notion that Big Business is conservative is demonstrably false and has been for decades. What many of the mega banks and giant corporations want is a reduction in the level of uncertainty, and an environment that genuinely encourages free enterprise - and the risks and competition and decentralization of financial power that go with it - is anathema to these people.

Big Business in the pocket of the Republican Party? Don't make me laugh.

Lookin' out for #1.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dan Riehl is movin' on up

Combative, "damn-the-torpedoes" blogger Dan Riel has joined the Breitbart team. This is like upgrading your firepower from an already hefty .44 Magnum to a .500 S&W.

Congratulations, Dan!

Astronomers find the oldest thing in the universe

And it's...








No, no. Heh. Wait a minute. Here we go; this is the oldest thing in the universe.

Hey, thanks, Preshizzle!

Ben Shapiro finds five reasons to be grateful to Obama.

Meanwhile, here's a recent cartoon by the great Michael Ramirez. Enjoyable on a couple of levels, including the visual allusion to Obama's relative, historical importance.

Rush Limbaugh has a warning for Republicans

Why a victory on November 2 may not be a pardon, but only a temporary stay of execution for the Republican Party (H/T: Kathy Shaidle).

Update: Some additional perspective from Smitty.

Update II: Sisu has a good post on the concept of disintermediating the brass hats and their umbrella organizations.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Grayson Meltdown Watch

Democratic basket case Alan Grayson is sinking faster than a submarine with screen doors.

Vote Daniel Webster!


Nancy Pelosi recently opined on the subject of "fairness." She's not just after your income, folks. She has some plans for "ownership and equity", too.

A little light on details, but the worldview is frightening.

Update: Ah! I believe this may be what she has in mind. Try to cross that bridge, Democrats, and you'll see it blow up before you're half-way across.

Russ Feingold (D-Soros)

Just in time for the election, Jeffery Lord at The American Spectator helpfully points out Senator Feingold's role as a Soros puppet.

Update: Whoa! I just took another look at that photo of Feingold at The American Spectator. Is Joe Biden a hair-plug donor?

What Iowahawk does with words...

...Are We Lumberjacks? does with Photoshop.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A whole flock of scapegoats

Noemie Emery at the Weekly Standard contemplates the large violin section of Obama's media orchestra. A sample:
It’s the fault of the mad: In the eyes of some of your number, the country’s gone bonkers, for no apparent reason at all. It’s a “weird mass nervous breakdown,” says Maureen Dowd, who ought to know weird when she sees it. Packer agrees. “The main fact of our lives is the overwhelming force of unreason,” he intones in the New Yorker. “Evidence, knowledge, argument, proportionality, nuance, complexity, and the other indispensable tools of the liberal mind don’t stand a chance.” This of course goes to explain why The One has lost traction: He’s “a rational man running a most irrational nation” in Dowd’s estimation, or, as Packer has put it, “he’s the voice of reason incarnate, and maybe he’s too sane to be heard.” Well, if you say so. But this is a form of dementia that comes and goes oddly: In the ’08 campaign the nation was wonderfully rational. It was even more so at Obama’s inaugural, when his approval ratings were soaring, but then, as winter became spring and spring became summer, the grip on reality started to fade. It slipped with the stimulus package; slipped even more with Government Motors; and by August, with both the national debt and the town halls on fire, the last trace of reason had disappeared.
Ah, fascinating. So, according to the likes of Maureen Dowd, opposing Obama is the equivalent of curling up in the fetal position with your hands over your ears, or spooning mashed potatoes into your hair. How scary it must be for Obama and Dowd et al to be surrounded by millions and millions of crazy people.

"Olbermann, Matthews,, too, Brooks; I see you hiding in there...go forth and spread The Narrative".

From the inbox

Brace yourself before looking at the attached image. A pilot at low level has no control over his aircraft. It narrowly misses a crowd gathered for the airshow and slams into four buildings. One can only imagine the horror of the occupants inside those buildings.







Obama to voters: Just give me time and everything will be fine, dumbasses

Somewhere within the coils and folds of the frontal lobe of his cerebral cortex, one assumes that there is a synaptic connection, however weak, that is trying to communicate to President Obama that he is, in fact, a mortal human being, and thus capable of normal human failings. It is only an assumption, however, and certainly not one based on empirical observation. To listen to Obama speak out there on the campaign trail – and when has he ever not been on the campaign trail? – one could be forgiven for concluding that here is a fellow who seems to be under the impression, not only that he was conceived without sin, but perhaps that he was never conceived at all - at least not in the mundane biological sense - that he simply popped out of the godhead as the personification of one of the almighty’s particularly good ideas. Given the atmosphere of triumphalism that surrounded Obama’s victory in the 2008 presidential election, there was a genuine need for some equivalent of the slave who stood behind the Roman conqueror whispering in his ears, “All glory is fleeting.” In this case, the old retainer seems to have fallen off the chariot, and our emperor has been permitted to pursue his gaudy course, absorbing the fulsome praise of his minions, and of his cheerleaders in the press, as if it were no more than his due.

I imagine most politicians suffer from an enlarged ego; Bill Clinton, in my view, was one of the most severely afflicted. But he is a shrinking violet, a self-despising flagellant, compared to Barack Obama, whose self-love - unlike his qualifications and job performance to date – is truly “awesome”.

How else to explain Obama’s hectoring of all voters in general (and Democratic voters in particular), his complaint that the woes of his party on the eve of the mid-term elections are due to the inchoate fears of the people, instead of to a rational examination of observable circumstances by an increasingly knowledgeable and well-informed public? In Obama’s world, there can be no ill-effect traceable to the agency of himself as cause. When things go wrong, it’s the fault of George Bush, or Karl Rove, or Rush Limbaugh or (unsubstantiated) foreign money, or perhaps even sunspots or a fatty diet.

Obama’s ego is titanic and, like the unhappy ship of that name, is in for some rough sailing.

"I summon the demons of projection, misinformation and fraud to salvage my legacy!"

Sunday, October 17, 2010

If you're Lisa Murkowsi and you're in political trouble, who you gonna call?

Why, Rent-an-Eskimo, of course.

Before the government shells out any more money to banks... might want to make sure they're not engaged in fraudulent foreclosures. The Daily Caller details a nationwide horror story - although one not entirely without comic relief:
Wells Fargo wanted to foreclose on a condo unit which had multiple mortgages attached to it. Wells Fargo also owned one of those second mortgages. So Wells Fargo spent money to hire a law firm and file suit against the irresponsible lenders at Wells Fargo. Then, Wells Fargo spent money to hire a different law firm in an understandable effort to defend Wells Fargo from the vicious legal attack coming from Wells Fargo. The second law firm even prepared a legal statement for Wells Fargo which called into question the dubious claims being made by Wells Fargo. Sadly, Wells Fargo won the case, crushing the hopes of Wells Fargo.
(H/T: ricketyclick - who closes his post with "Second amendment, folks." I'll say!)

The Big Screen

Jason Apuzzo at Libertas has a roundup of news on upcoming sci-fi films.

Barney Frank's boyfriend defends his man

James Ready, Barney Frank's paramour, heckles Frank's opponent, Sien Bielat.

Stay classy, boys!

Home invasion

That's what the feds are committing with all the new "green energy" regulations that will affect everything from shower-heads to water heaters. Ben Lieberman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has the details in this Fox News video. This is the kind of thing that underscores the insane growth of government power (particularly the executive power exercised by the bureaucracy).

CEI, incidentally, is fighting the good fight for common sense in the highly-charged world of environmental and climate change politics. Here's an interesting interview with founder, Fred Smith.

Sunday funnies

Iowahawk. Need I say more? (H/T: Rebecca).

Also, it's time for some real change!

(Via Are we Lumberjacks?)

Hey, Dave, here's one shovel-ready project!

David Brooks claims that his pal, President Obama, told him over a year ago that there were no shovel-ready projects, which pretty much, as they say, gives the lie to the administration's justification for Porkulus. Thanks for keeping that under your hat, Mr. Legacy News Media Guy!

Anyway, I can think of one thing, at least, that's ready to go...

"No need to make a very big hole, Higgins. It's for David Brooks' reputation"

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Proudly goin' to Home Depot

So, I'm sitting at the computer at thirty minutes past midnight, in my regulation blogger pajamas, just doing some last minute checks before going to bed, and the front doorbell rings. Strange. So strange, in fact, that I reach into a drawer and pull out my Sterling .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol (note to self: move one of your big-caliber pieces downstairs). I peek through one of the blinds. It's dark and very windy, can't see a thing. I go upstairs and look out of a window. No activity, no car in the driveway, nothing. I trade Black Pete for Shiny Sal (my Ruger Police Service Six .38 Special), and figure I'll go out and have a look-see. Mrs. Paco says no, I don't want you fooling around outside at 12:30 am (Mrs. Paco's motto: Guns don't kill people; sleepy middle-aged men stumbling around in the dark do - usually themselves, by accident). I set the house alarm, lay the revolver on the night-table where I can get it in a hurry, and turn in. Was it the wind? A sudden change in temperature? A short in the wiring? Don't know.

This morning, I go outside, push the doorbell - and the thing gets stuck. Inside the house, there's no ringing, but a steady buzz in the internal unit. Mrs. Paco finds the right breaker, cuts the juice off to the sound-box, and says we probably need to go to Home Depot and buy a new unit.

Which is a long, circuitous way of saying that when I go to Home Depot today, I'll take special pleasure in doing so, because co-founder Ken Langone, in this WSJ editorial, has come out swinging against Obama and his anti-business rhetoric.

Rule 5 Saturday

The highly-talented Sarah Vaughan sings “After Hours”.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Are there two Barack Obamas?

Because the one Biden's describing here doesn't sound like the one occupying the White House.

And what does he mean when he says that Obama "has a brain bigger than his skull"? If true, we'd better nip that in the bud right away...

Political roundup

That old black magic! Christine O'Donnell shaves ten points off Coons' lead.

Will vote for food (H/T: The Middle Coast).

Return Raul Grijalva to private life. Vote Ruth McClung for Congress.

Who’s afraid of big, bad entitlements? Not Paul Ryan.

Voters have tired of big government, no matter which party is in charge.

Confederate Yankee has an interesting video of liberal gasbag Rep. David Price of North Carolina pretty much laying out the rationale for retiring him from office.

The math here is backwards

What we need are more burgers and fewer lawyers.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Robert Gibbs' impressive resume

Are We Lumberjacks? has it.

California NOW: Meg Whitman a Whore

Paco Enterprises: California NOW a Whorehouse.

Update: More from Richard McEnroe.

Happy Feet Friday

Stan Kenton and his band in a 1940s Soundie.

Gracias a Dios

The trapped Chilean miners have all been rescued, and Mrs. Paco and I sat spellbound in front of the television watching live coverage of these men being brought to the surface, one by one, in the special capsule designed to pull them out of the deep earth (Here are some video highlights).

Election officials in Atascosa County Texas were also watching, it seems, and got a little carried away (H/T: Captain Heinrichs).

Update: Gracias, as well, to Center Rock, Inc., the small company based in Pennsylvania that developed the drill that made the rescue possible.


I love this video over at Ace of Spades.

From the shelves of the Paco library

The superb Library of America publishing project has collected the most important writings of James Madison in one volume, which includes not only all of Madison’s contributions to The Federalist, but many of his key speeches, as well as letters to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other notables of the revolutionary and early national periods of our country.

Following is a sample of Madison’s views on the limits of federal power as reflected in his authorship of the Virginia Resolution Against the Alien and Sedition Acts, passed by the Virginia General assembly in 1798:
That this assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting that compact; as no farther valid than they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact, and that in case of a deliberate, palpable and dangerous exercise of other powers not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.

That the General Assembly doth also express its deep regret that a spirit has in sundry instances, been manifested by the federal government, to enlarge its powers by forced constructions of the constitutional charter which defines them; and that indications have appeared of a design to expound certain general phrases…so as to destroy the meaning and effect of the particular enumeration…[Commerce clause, anyone? – Paco]”
There are really very few things that are genuinely new under the sun, and an ever-growing, ever-grasping federal government is an evil that has been known and opposed by wise American citizens since the prospect of a constitution was first debated. Madison, as one of the principal architects of our independent nation, was present at the creation, and is a worthy guide to the principles that gave birth to the United States, and to the dangers that threaten – that will always threaten, and therefore must always be guarded against - our republican form of government.

Hey, Gouverneur Morris, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, et al...

...Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern says you were doin' it wrong.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dick Blumenthal: the Andrey Vyshinsky of Connecticut

Ann Coulter details the anti-business show trial conducted by Connecticut Attorney General (and current Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate) Richard Blumenthal of Gina Kolb. It is a frightening story of arrogant, prosecutorial excess designed to further Blumenthal's political career.

Combine the vaulting ambition with the abuse of authority and...oh, yes... lying about serving in Vietnam, and you're talking about a public career that needs to be ended. Now.

(H/T: Five Feet of Fury)

If ObamaCare's one of your big issues...

...then you may be interested in this list of the opponents currently running against the 219 House Democrats who voted to pass what is quite possibly the most destructive piece of legislation in our lifetime (from Docs4 PatientCare).

VFW's PAC to rescind endorsements?

Guy Benson at Hot Air has an interesting post on the battle between the VFW and its seriously misguided political action committee.

Want to live to a ripe old age?

Well, then, Gavin Atkins says you need to eat like an Australian (H/T: Captain Heinrichs).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Full speed ahead, Mr. Engineer!

Barney Frank accuses the Tea Party Express of thinking that it has him "tied to the tracks".


Steve Burri makes the right one.

Plus: Bob Belvedere - in addition to linking me (Thanks!) - provides a recent snapshot of David Axelrod.

The tragedy of being an honest cop in Mexico

When the criminal element can get away with something like this, you are looking at a failed state.

Barack Obama: The grain of sand in the conservative oyster

Obama blew into town on the diaphanous wings of a high-sounding but virtually meaningless slogan - hope and change - and proceeded instantly to heed the bugle that sounded a call to move sharply to the left. As it turns out, the bugle was sounding only in his own head - or, to be fair, only, in addition to his own, in the heads of those politicians and activists who parted company with reality years ago, determined to avoid any contact with it in the future save for the occasional savage recontre required by the tedious necessity of the democratic political process.

As practically any sane person could have pointed out, Obama's lurch to the left has prompted an equal and opposite reaction by voters moving to the right - and given the extent of the president's overreach, the rightward migration has been huge. Obama may yet prove to be the greatest catalyst for a revival of conservatism since Reagan - and how I will laugh if this does, in fact, happen.

A case in point is Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin businessman who had not seriously thought about running for office until the advent of Obamunism compelled this modern-day Cincinnatus to enter the fray. He is now ahead of 18-year veteran Democratic senator Russ Feingold in the polls and stands an excellent chance of ousting him. Politico opines:
Feingold needs Obama, even if he has appeared reluctant to share the stage with the president. Specifically, he needs Obama to recapture the imagination of young voters who put John Kerry in 2004 and Obama in 2008 over the top in the state with big turnouts in Dane County, and among other activists on Democratic turf.
If you're depending on that, Russ, then prepare to kiss your political career goodbye.

(H/T: NetRight Daily)

Well done, Marietta Clinkscales!

Geoffrey O’Brien reviews Harvey G. Cohen’s definitive biography of Duke Ellington.

Dear Barney...

Republican candidate Sean Bielat continues his correspondence with Rep. Frank.

(H/T: Dan Riehl)

Update: More on the adventures of Barney and his co-kleptocrats from Stacy McCain.

From the in-box

Friend and commenter Rod Coles sends along these examples of paraprosdokian sentences (defined as “a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part.”). There is much folk wisdom embedded herein.

I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

If I agreed with you we'd both be wrong.

We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Evening news is where they begin with 'Good evening', and then proceed to tell you why it isn't.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.

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

Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.

I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted pay checks.

A bank is a place that will lend you money, if you can prove that you don't need it.

Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says "If an emergency, notify:" I put "DOCTOR".

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?

Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!

Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won't expect it back.

A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.

Hospitality: making your guests feel like they're at home, even if you wish they were.

Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.

I discovered I scream the same way whether I'm about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot.

Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.

There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't get away.

I always take life with a grain of salt, plus a slice of lemon, and a shot of tequila.

When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.

You're never too old to learn something stupid.

To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

Some people hear voices. Some see invisible people. Others have no imagination whatsoever.

A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as when you are in it.

If you are supposed to learn from your mistakes, why do some people have more than one child?

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dump Joe!

(Check out Fox News for a photo gallery of other VP possibilities).

Insider trading, congressional edition

The Obama administration has been very active in creating memes on the subject of greedy bankers and predatory investors; however, according to the WSJ, it looks like congressional staffers are among those climbing aboard the gravy train:
Chris Miller nearly doubled his $3,500 stock investment in a renewable-energy firm in 2008. It was a perfectly legal bet, but he's no ordinary investor.

Mr. Miller is the top energy-policy adviser to Nevada Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who helped pass legislation that wound up benefiting the firm.

Jim Manley, a spokesman for Mr. Reid's office, initially defended Mr. Miller's purchase of shares in the company, Energy Conversion Devices Inc. He said the aide had no influence over tax incentives for renewable-energy firms, and that other factors boosted the stock.

But on Sunday, Mr. Manley added: "Mr. Miller showed poor judgment and Senator Reid has made it very clear to Chris and all his staff that their actions must not only follow the law, but must meet the higher standards the public has a right to expect from elected officials and their staffs."

Mr. Miller isn't the only Congressional staffer making such stock bets. At least 72 aides on both sides of the aisle traded shares of companies that their bosses help oversee, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of more than 3,000 disclosure forms covering trading activity by Capitol Hill staffers for 2008 and 2009.
The rot runs deep, my friends. It’s really no secret that socialists and their ilk are still subject to human nature, are still driven by the profit motive; it’s just that they’re very selective – nay, very hypocritical - about who should benefit. If, God forbid, these parlor Marxists ever succeed in remaking this country in the image of, say, Venezuela, I’m afraid our grasping masters will find that, when you kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, you’ve got nothing left but goose offal.

Hey, that’s different, because…well, just because!

Mexico is ok with security fences as long as they’re on the country’s southern border.

Meanwhile, Mexican narcotraficantes continue to pile up riches. Check out this house recently seized by the government. The photo gallery is quite impressive. For example, there's nothing like a little gun bling:

It's certainly a minor infraction compared to the horrible crimes routinely committed by the cartels, but I believe we can safely add "bad taste" to the list of charges.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Political roundup

Haw! Even Bob Schieffer of CBS isn't buying the White House attack on the Chamber of Commerce. David Axelrod, however, doubles down on the stupid.
SCHIEFFER: Now, I want to ask you about that because the New York Times looked into the Chamber specifically and said the Chamber really isn’t putting foreign money into the campaign. that it does charge its foreign affiliates dues that bring in less than $100,000 a year. A lot of organizations, including labor unions, do that. But the Chamber has an annual budget of $200 million. Along with that it keeps these foreign dues separate. They do spend heavily in politics — $25 million so far. They expect to spend $50 million. But this part about foreign money, that appears to be peanuts, Mr. Axelrod. do you have any evidence that it’s anything other than peanuts?

AXELROD: Well, do you have any evidence that it’s not, Bob?
Hey, Dave, is there any evidence that you're not a cross-dressing, dope-smoking cannibal?

* * * * * * * *

George Will on the upcoming election: Obama's lose-lose proposition.

* * * * * * * *

Dan Collins reports on Obama's new National Security Adviser, Tom Donilon. I suppose recycling dirty politicians is what Obama means when he talks about generating green jobs.

* * * * * * * *

Hey, guess what? Job losses in 2009 were even larger than we thought (I imagine there ought to be an "unexpectedly" in there, somewhere).

* * * * * * * *

Oh, I say, really! Isn't one enough?

* * * * * * * *

Somebody threw a book at Obama at a rally in Philadelphia. As of this writing, the book had not been identified. I'm thinking that it was probably something like this.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever

The Paco Command Center is enjoying one last burst of color before the cold weather sets in.

With respect to purely man-made beauty, my Ruger Blackhawk .41 Magnum came in last week, and the missus and I went down to Virginia Arms in Manassas to pick it up (their web site is still under construction, but it's got the important information up: location, hours of operation, etc.) Incidentally, I highly recommend Virginia Arms; the staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and the prices on the items I've bought, to date, have been considerably lower than the MSRP reflected on the Smith & Wesson and Ruger web sites.

Here's the newest addition to the Paco armory:

Why a Ruger single-action? Because...

1) they're fun to shoot;

2) this one's in my favorite caliber;

3) the balance is perfect;

4) I can now work on my spinning and fast draw.

Although I doubt I'll ever come close to this guy:

The shop has a large inventory, not only of new guns, but also including a nice selection of pre-owned weapons being sold on consignment. They had a particularly fine Walther P-38 that I confess to drooling over. It looked pretty much like this...

Maybe next time.

Che Guevara is still dead

Forty-three years ago, on October 8, Che Guevara met his ignominious end in Bolivia. Humberto Fontova summarizes some of the low-lights of this swine's career.

Here, incidentally, is the best photo ever taken of Che.

Go ahead, Barney, ask Sean Bielat some more questions

Barney Frank recently sent an open letter to Republican candidate Sean Bielat. Mr. Bielat used the opportunity to issue a public response and politely smack Barney all over the room.
However, with all the economic problems our country is facing, what struck me first about the letter were all the questions that were not in it. I noticed you did not ask me how I would have voted on corporate bailouts or increasing the national debt. There were no questions about job killing tax increases or out-of-control spending – all of which are on the minds of the people you represent in the Fourth District.

I can certainly understand your reluctance to highlight these differences between us. You voted for bailouts and tax hikes, and I oppose them. You voted to increase the national debt – 41 times.

Above all, you didn't ask me how I would have voted in 2005 on reigning in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the companies at the center of the sub-prime mortgage crisis that collapsed our economy. That's probably because I would have voted with an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority of Congress to pass reform, while you chose to join just 90 members to oppose it.
I know Bielat is a long-shot, but if the people in Frank's district really prefer the aging, shameless corruptocrat to somebody like Bielat, there's truly no hope for them.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cleaning up Big Government's mess

It sure isn't going to be easy, that's a dead cert. The Washington Examiner lists just three (out of many) examples of government ineptitude.

Sunday Funnies

Hey, let's look at some of Barry's vacation photos!

And, no, paying prostitutes for their services is not tax deductible (H/T: Overlawyered).

Fashion tip for men

If you want to look like me - and you know you do - don't forget the pocket square (H/T, once again, to that indefatigable internet explorer, Captain Heinrichs).

Voters set to release Alan Grayson back into the wild

Byron York points out how badly Florida Democrat Alan Grayson’s “Taliban Dan” ad has backfired.

I look forward to Grayson’s upcoming defeat – more so, in fact, than I do to that of practically any other Democratic candidate; however, I suspect that he’s so dangerously unstable that his reaction is likely to be violent. So, my advice to his staff on election night is, “Don’t get any on ya!”

What's playing

Jason Apuzzo reviews Secretariat. Looks to be pretty good.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rule 5 Saturday

Those corn-fed Ross Sisters sing Solid Potato Salad.

Important Rule 5 update!: Vote for Gina Elise! (H/T: Captain Heinrichs)

I wonder what Tony Curtis did with his?

72,000 stimulus payments went to dead people.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Happy Feet Friday

A “Soundie” from 1941 featuring Henry Levine and his Dixieland band.

Paco Enterprises endorses R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. for mayor of Chicago

The suave, witty and impishly handsome editor-in-chief of the American Spectator has decided to challenge Rahm Emanuel in Chicago's mayoral race. This blog offers its unqualified support to Mr. Tyrrell’s candidacy.

What a grand victory this would be! Chicago has not had a Republican mayor since the heady days of prohibition, when William “Big Bill” Thompson – friend of used-furniture salesman Al Capone – held sway. Imagine the shock the people would feel waking up the day after the election and finding themselves saddled with honest government. One wonders if they’d know what to make of it. Is it possible, you may ask, for an electorate so thoroughly accustomed to corruption to consider an alternative?

It is, indeed, possible, say I. Even hogs, used to wallowing in the mire, must enjoy a good hosing down now and again, and Mr. Tyrrell is just the jet of pure, cleansing water that the people of Chicago might find refreshing. Yes, after generations of dirty Democratic misrule, the time – not to mention the body politic – is ripe for change, and the times have produced the man.

R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr: The next mayor of Chicago

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

From the shelves of the Paco library

William Breakenridge was, like many of the men of the old West, a jack of all trades: freighter, surveyor, lawman, railroad detective. In 1931, he tied a lifetime of experience in all of these jobs together and published a fascinating and historically valuable memoir entitled Helldorado. In straightforward, unadorned prose, in which the narrative is carried primarily by the inherent excitement and interest of the incidents described, Breakenridge provides a realistic picture of life in the southwest during the last quarter of the 19th century, and a first-hand look at many of the legendary figures of the time.

Born in Wisconsin in 1846, Breakenridge traveled to Colorado to work with his brother in the freight business while he was in his late teens. He eventually wound up in Arizona, where he served as a deputy under Cochise County sheriff John Behan, during the troubles between the Earp and Clanton factions (which arose largely out of a clash between the Republican, industrializing forces represented by the mine owners, big-spread cattlemen and bankers on the one hand, and, on the other, the old-time, free-range ranchers that were primarily associated with the Democratic Party and included an astonishing number of rustlers and smugglers). Although Behan and Breakenridge were both Democrats, and Behan had a number of tense encounters with the Earps, the author writes without rancor, and his accounts of the violent events of the times appear to follow the known facts.

Perhaps his greatest talent as a lawman was what the editor of this edition, Richard Maxwell Brown, refers to as “his mastery of cowboy and outlaw psychology.” Amiable, honest and fair, Breakenridge was successful at serving warrants and making arrests in towns where other lawmen feared to set foot. He rarely had to use a gun, and only shot and killed one outlaw in his career as a deputy sheriff (in a raid that was botched by an overeager, politically ambitious volunteer). He was personally acquainted with such notorious rustlers and gunmen as “Curly Bill” Brocius and John Ringo, and even secured the former’s assistance in helping him to collect taxes in the more lawless parts of the county:
The idea of my asking the chief of all the cattle rustlers in that part of the country to help me collect taxes from them struck him as a good joke. He thought it over for a few moments and then, laughing, said, “Yes, and we will make everyone of those blank blank cow thieves pay his taxes.”

Next day we started and he led me into a lot of blind canyons and hiding places where the rustlers had a lot of stolen Mexican cattle, and introduced me something like this: “Boys, this is the county assessor, and I am his deputy. We are all good, law-abiding citizens and we cannot run the county unless we pay our taxes.”

He knew about how many cattle they each had, and if they demurred, or claimed they had no money, he made them give me an order on their banker Turner. Curly had many a hearty laugh about it. He told them that if any of them should get arrested, it would be a good thing for them to show that they were taxpayers in the county.
Add to the mix Indian fighting, tracking murderers in Old Mexico, and chasing gangs of train robbers, and you’re looking at the extremely active life of an adventurous, brave and intelligent man. This is a fine addition to any library of the American West.


A debate I would pay to see.

Happy birthday, Stacy!

The Amtrack Strangler threatens Republicans.

Does the UN really exist? TimT has his doubts

Angie Harmon: Outlaw!

As Jeff Goldstein suggests, it isn’t enough to change congress; the courts need to be decontaminated, too.

What happens when the divine ruler’s feet (and, for that matter, head) are discovered to be made of clay.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tony Curtis, RIP

Old news, by the standards of obituaries, but Robert Avrech's tribute at Seraphic Secret is a must-read for movie fans (among other things, I learned that Curtis served in the Submarine Service in WWII).

Incidentally, I recently saw Curtis in the title role of Lepke, a film biography of Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, one-time head of Murder, Incorporated. A very good performance.

Obama loses appeal (and seal)

Signs and portents...

(H/T: Ed Driscoll)

Bureaucracy Deluxe

Neal B. Freeman at the American Spectator celebrates a recent article in USA Today that blows the lid off of pay and benefit disparity between the public and private sectors.

I work for the federal government, and I can’t honestly say that I disagree with a single word of Freeman’s article. The notion that government workers are, among other things, better educated than workers in the private sector is – even if true – a distinction of rapidly diminishing significance, given the state of higher education in America these days. My agency is engaged in finance, and although most people here seem to be competent workers, I am reasonably certain that their education is no better than that of the people with whom I used to work in the private banking sector. Nor are any of them (including myself) self-evident geniuses; far from it. Most of us would be hard-pressed to find jobs in the private sector that offered anything close to the compensation (let alone the job security) provided by the government, and I have not detected any legitimate reason for this disparity. I have had people working for me in government – in the capacity of financial analysts - who would manifestly have been more appropriately employed in stocking produce at a grocery store (and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with stocking produce; my point is that government workers don’t deserve to be paid an extraordinarily high salary for doing something that they don’t do any better – and sometimes not as well as – their private sector counterparts).

I have had people working for me who, although highly intelligent, are mental and emotional basket-cases for whom this agency is something like a half-way house, and who would not survive six months in practically any kind of remotely comparable private-sector job. Also, getting rid of a lazy or incompetent worker is damned near impossible, unless the person is a new employee who hasn’t yet cleared the probationary period.

And while it’s true that the compensation for the chief executives of federal agencies is frequently lower than what you see in the private sector, many of them are already independently wealthy and take government jobs because, having made their pile, they now want to do something noble – like inflicting themselves on the public as the clueless bureaucrats they tend to wind up being, using their terms at federal agencies to boost their chances of landing something really prestigious, like a major cabinet position, or perhaps a shot at running for office. Or they’re academics who are trying to pad their resumes in the hope of getting fat (or fatter) job offers from top-tier schools. It’s almost always an ego trip of some kind. In any event, the chief execs are invariably big donors who have lavished gravy on the campaigns of victorious elected officials (usually the president). The job is a reward for political support, not for demonstrated talent in running the machinery of government. My point being that someone who accepts a job as head of an agency isn’t doing it primarily for the money, anyway, so comparisons with the private sector are not valid, in this instance.

And just what precipitated this rant, you might ask? I mean, besides the article linked? I had to sit in for my vacationing boss yesterday on a one-and-a-half hour meeting in which two of our senior political appointees gassed on interminably, with all of their usual earnest self-importance, about an off-site strategic-planning-and-circle-jerk confab that I won’t even be attending (I took one note for my boss: “I’ll be out that day.”)