Friday, March 20, 2009

Just the Thing!

This should come in handy when the current policies send us into a collective tailspin. Personally, a few of my neighbors and I are ready to launch our own victory garden in the substantial open space that abuts my house. It pays to be prepared. And we're ready to defend it, too. No, no, we're not completely crazy, just cautious.

A Slice of Life And a Wisp of Smoke

Needless to say, despite supporting the health insurance of two middle class children with the proceeds from my addiction, I am still smoking. I have recovered sufficiently to forgo thundering "I hate the Democrat congress" every time I purchase a pack, probably due to the nice but also put upon convenience store clerk, who despite making minimum wage is also supporting the health insurance of aforesaid middle class children. Anyhow, she suggested the expedient of buying really cheap cigarettes, the kind that come in a little brown box, the kind I picture Camus' Meursault smoking in Algeria before they took them away when they put him in prison, the ones he missed so much.

I hear that quite a few of my fellow nicotine addicts have availed themselves of similar options. So there I am today on line at the convenience store when the woman in front of me inquires how much a pack of Doral is, only to be told 642 dollars. Her quip: "Oh, they've gone down." Ah ha, a like-minded individual, I think. Then as I leave, she is unlocking her car. I call out to her. She raises her head inquisitively. I holler, "Don't forget to vote," raising my stubby pack of cigarettes.

"Oh, I'll be there," she replies. I'd hazard that so will a goodly percentage of those who secretly and not so secretly resent the cavalier way this Democrat congress spends other people's money. It's never a good idea to annoy a quarter of the voting population from the get go. So if you happen to be on line at the convenience store when some unfortunate grumbles, be sure he or she knows who to thank.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Read: Angel's Tip

I confess that when I first stumbled upon an Alafair Burke novel, I took it as proof of the tenet anyone whose ever written a novel and attempted to get an agent, let alone get it published, quickly learns. You really need to know someone. Alas book publishing, like everything in our society other than the cyberworld, is ossified. Take Hollywood. How many are the children, nephews of famous faces? See, with the name Alafair, it was a fair bet she was related to one of my favorite all time authors, James Lee Burke. Eventually, I relented and picked up a copy of one of her novels. It was okay.

So you can imagine the pleasant surprise when, because of library budget cuts, I was reduced to picking up the second installment in the Ellie Hatcher series Angel's Tip- in large print, no less- and loved it. With the character of Ellie, Burke really hits her stride. Her sensitivity and feel for the night life in lower Manhattan and the nicely wrought plot make this one a joy to read on a Friday after work. As the blurb on the cover from Faye Kellerman describes it, "riveting." Enjoyed it.

Finally: Some Common Sense

Coming from Sheila Bair, the FDIC chair who states that "too big to fail" won't cut it. I'm not that sure about the mechanism she is suggesting, but it was your erstwhile correspondent who pointed out a while ago that "too big to fail" was too big to exist. Personally, I think I'd like some variation of an anti-trust act but with the commedia del politico we've got going on in congress, she may be right. Read about it here.

The Progressive Way

I fail to see the surprise at AG Eric Holder's admission that some interned at Guantanamo will wind up walking our streets. That was a foregone conclusion from the moment they announced closing Guantanamo and availing themselves of the American court system.

If you want a hint as to what happens when our system goes to work on terrorists, try reading
Two Seconds Under the World:Terror Comes to America-The Conspiracy Behind the World Trade Center Bombing . I found it at the library after the World Trade Center Bombing and the before the attack on 9/11. A well-written, enlightening book, its central premise is that the first terrorist attack on US soil was really the assassination of Meir Kahane in Manhattan. As the single reviewer on Amazon maintains, in order to understand 9/11, you need to understand the bombing.

Particularly instructive in light of today's admission is what happened to the assassin when he was tried. Ably defended by William Kunstler, he beat most of the rap for Kahane and a bystander he shot to death as he made his escape. The machinations of his co-conspirators to get him released led to the World Trade Center bombing. No lie. It's really worth a read. Then decide if you want these guys tried here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Some Morning Irony for Your Coffee

In support of my dear, departed mother's adage that no monkey sees his own tail, get this:

Rep. Barney Frank charged Monday that a decision by financially-strapped insurance giant AIG to pay millions in executive bonuses amounts to "rewarding incompetence."

Given the starting line-up of chairmen in the House, the backstopping of financial enterprises whose greed overcame prudence, and the rewarding of individuals with poor business and or life judgement that is part of the Democrat juggernaut, it would be très amusing, if it were not so sad.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Late Sunday Perspective

Poe-tay-toe. Townhall brings us Doug Giles' amusing report on the rise of gun sales. Others have ascribed it to fear of gun regulation, Giles sees it as the result of Obamian stimulus. Over at NRO, Peter Geraghty would seem to agree listing gun sales as one of the 5 ways Obama's economic stimulus is already working. Perhaps it is an evolutionary thing, witness Santino the Chimp over in Stockholm who armed himself with a pile of stones in anticipation of gawkers. Here.

Poe-tah-toe. In keeping with the previous post, here is a column by Robert Samuelson in the Washington Post in which he takes Obama to task for the verbal sleight of hand which is not only dishonest but obscures the more weighty considerations that we, as a nation, face. Worth a read.

Toe-may-toe. As noted earlier, the administration is abandoning the term enemy combatant. As the article here makes clear, there is great care being taken to explain that the change in terminology does not reflect a gentler, kinder approach. Question is: can anyone tell me what the new descriptor will be? Whatchamacallit isn't going to work. It is a legal definition after all.

Toe-mah-toe. Let's go highbrow. Here's a thought provoking review of Elaine Showalter's A Jury of Her Peers; American Women Writers by Katha Pollitt over at Slate, particularly notable for what it conveys about the lot of women writers and their absence in the boys club that divines the canon, as much as its evaluation of the Showalter book. Some of the best feminist literary criticism still belongs to the first chapters of Gilbert and Gubar's The Madwoman in The Attic.

Let's just call the whole thing off.