News note: “London's Daily Telegraph says the United Nations could appoint a 'space ambassador to greet alien visitors,' should they ever come.” Now, don't everyone raise their hands all at once – the short list of candidates has already been drawn up (by me, natch). And it includes... well, to be fair, wouldn't we want our global ambassador, the one making first diplomatic contact with an alien (and presumably superior, since they got here before we got there) race, to be, well, as much like them as possible? Or at least as much like generic aliens as possible? Soaring to the very top of the list, then, would be James Carville, who looks like a taller and less-green version of the typical UFO pilot. But lest I be accused of physical typecasting, we also have to include people who either think or act like aliens – and the harvest is plentiful. My first cut includes the following: Jerry Brown, Jimmy Carter, Madeleine Albright, Glenn Beck, Louis Farrakhan, Dennis Rodman, John Waters, Sinead O'Connor, and Kim Jong-Il. But wait! -- you'll say. What about the countless (if nameless) numbers of punks, goths, tinfoil-hat types, African dictators, rock stars, World Bank/IMF protesters, Episcopal priestesses, neo-Druids, and so on? Don't they deserve consideration? Well, they might – except they have not proven their worth in the public forum, the way my A-list people have. I say, put the intergalactic ambassadorship out there as an incentive and give people a chance to compete for it... aspire to it... take the appropriate college courses to prepare for it. After all, this is what is done with the American presidency. Do you think everyone who wants to be president becomes president? No, sadly – many are called but few are chosen. And so it should be with this position. We owe the galaxy only the best of our best.
By the way, did you know that today is “38” in binary code? That's right – 100110 in a base-two number system equals 38 in the one we use on a daily basis. There will be a few more dates coming up that we can play this game with... not to mention the ones already gone by, in January. I don't know what the significance of those numbers will be – I suspect none. But if it turns out that some guy in a trailer park uses them to win the lottery, I'm gonna be majorly T.O.'d.
The muffled sound of another liberal head exploding was heard recently, when one of the dozen or so sons of Robert F. Kennedy -- I assume one of the few not in rehab -- gave “a passionate speech” opposing “emeritus status for retired radical left education professor Bill Ayers”. Seems that Prof. Ayers co-authored a book “that was dedicated in part to Sirhan Sirhan”. OK, so let's see... the Weathermen were the militant arm of the 60s left, which, by and large, idolized RFK. But then Ayers, a co-founder of the Weather Underground, decides to dedicate a book “in part” (I wonder which part?) to Sirhan Sirhan, RFK's assassin. And Ayers is also a good buddy of Barack Obama, whom today's left idolizes (or used to, before that fateful day upon which he was inaugurated). And Obama and Ted Kennedy could hardly have been closer together on the liberal/utopian/delusional scale. Maybe the fault is mine, for expecting anything any of these people do to make any sense. Ever.
Headline: “Poor, who lack clout, rarely mobilize as threat to politicians.” I've commented on this recently (see “Nattering Nabobs”, reference a comment by Pat Buchanan). But wait a minute – I can remember when the poor had all sorts of clout, and mobilized at the drop of a hat. Wasn't it... oh yes, I remember now. It was the 1960s, and the era of urban riots, “long, hot summers”, and “burn, baby, burn!” And this all followed, mind you, the passage of the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the National Voting Rights Act (1965). Some of that was attributed to “rising expectations” -- you know, the same sort of thing that had people lining up for “their money” after Obama was elected. But black militancy in this country has long since been defused by the time-honored processes of attrition and sheer neglect. Ever notice that, in politics, those who can hold out the longest tend to win? Where are the “black power” militants of yesterday? The ones who aren't dead or in jail are ghosts of their former selves – hobbling around, having been bought off, compromised, co-opted, or just plain blackmailed by the power structure. And the “black leadership” of today is every bit as shuffling and obsequious as the grinning Uncle Toms of old. It sure isn't because “conditions” have changed; all you have to do is take a look at any “inner city” area in the country to realize that. And blacks are every bit as segregated socially and culturally now as they were back in the pre-Great Society era – all the politics, laws, and regulations in the world can't change what people do when they have freedom of choice. But as far as political clout is concerned – when they put away the Molotov cocktails that was about the end of it. Now the establishment has them shooting each other for the sake of illegal drugs. “Excellent”, as Mr. Burns would say...
But there are certain things even the rich can't avoid – especially if they happen to live in India. It seems that the “rooftop tanks, lotus ponds and flowerbeds” that characterize upper-crust neighborhoods in New Delhi are breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes – diseases like dengue, for instance. Another problem is “pools of water at construction sites” having to do with preparations for the Commonwealth Games – said preparations costing $4.6 billion. That's right -- $4.6 billion, and people are getting dengue from lotus ponds. Ah, the eternal Orient! What a great place to... basically, stay away from.
“Banking reform aims to curb risk.” Um... yeah, and what else would a “banking reform” be about? Curbing cheap leatherette for checkbook covers? I mean... well, let's face it, folks. This financial “reform” is just as much of a hoax as the “recession” itself... and that extends to the international level. The world has taken up the cry that “it all started with American sub-prime mortgages” -- and that that one snowball turned into an avalanche that threatened to bury the economies of all of Western Europe, North America, and so on. But the sub-prime mortgage “crisis” was so eminently predictable that it might as well have been engineered, on purpose and with malice aforethought, in Congress. Which leads one to believe that it, in fact, was – because, let's face it, someone made big bucks out of that whole deal. They made big bucks when the mortgage business was riding high on what turned out to be gross speculation, and they make more big bucks when the whole thing collapsed. When you're in a line of work where you succeed if you win, and succeed if everyone else fails, or even if you fail, you're going to make every effort to see that everyone else fails. Just as a backup, of course; call it Plan B. And in order to cover your bets – to “hedge” -- you're going to get as many legislators, regulators, and public officials on your side as possible, and through the usual means. And then when the inevitable happens you're going to be right there at the controls, directing the process to your maximum advantage. (It reminds me of that great euphemism the airline industry uses -- “controlled navigation into terrain”.) And then when the Titanic sinks, a helicopter is going to appear out of nowhere and whisk you to safety while all those other poor chumps drown. That's how business is done in this day and age, and if you don't like it, well... we don't really care. And if you think any of these "reforms" are going to change the rules of the game, well... see you in the voting booth in November for yet another hoax.
Oh yeah, this is cute. Now President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan is bellyaching because the Afghans (which means he and his relatives and cronies) aren't getting a big enough piece of the contracting pie connected to our occupation of their flea-bitten country. He says that “war-weary Afghans have not reaped the full benefits because so much of the money goes to high-priced contractors, subcontractors, and power brokers.” And, “Afghans complain that too many contracts are awarded to the same contractors.” Hey – Hami baby, welcome to the wonderful world of American defense contracting! We've been putting up with this sort of thing at least since the Civil War. We accept it as a fact of life; why can't you?
Well, Iran, in its great compassion, has released one of three hikers arrested for espionage when, really, all they wanted to do was make a harmless “trek” along the Iraq/Iran border. And I'll say it again – who on earth let these idiots into Iraq? And how clueless do you have to be to take an outdoor holiday in a war zone? And don't you think they could at the very least have left a bit more breathing space between themselves and the border? (And how about topo maps? Or a GPS?) (Plus, aren't foreign countries different colors? They are in the atlas I use.) Here's what I think. I think they were playing games – you know, a kind of “extreme sport” for trekkers – so see just how close they could get to the border without actually crossing it. Or, for all I know, actually crossing it and getting away with it. I mean, I can just see people of that age and degree of recklessness dreaming up something like that. Of course, they'll never admit it – especially not to the Iranian authorities. Being accused of spying is one thing, but looking like a total jackass... well!
Even the Mafia is now “going green”. It seems that a Sicilian “businessman” has been arrested and accused of laundering money by way of, among other things, “companies operating in solar and wind energy”. Seems like the least Al Gore could do would be to fly over there and file an amicus brief in support of Vito Nicastri – AKA “Green-o from Palermo”.