Our Clear-Eyed Diarist in top form.
Here I am in Atlanta. As usual, I am staying at the Ritz Carlton in Buckhead, one of my favorite hotels. When I checked in last night, though, the lobby was a little different from the usual. The Black Entertainment Television Awards is having a ceremony here in Atlanta. Many of the participants are staying at the Ritz Carlton. They are gaily decked out in bling and T-shirts and lop-sided baseball caps. Their lady friends are lovely and wearing actually normal outfits, quite different from the men. They scared me a bit, but then they started shouting out “Clear Eyes” to me, and all was well.
I ate at an Italian restaurant near the hotel. It was so horrible I really cannot say. The food and my reaction to it kept me up all night. This goes back to something I have often said, namely that fast food is better than expensive slow restaurant food in about 90 percent of cases.
Anyway, that was yesterday. Today, I spoke at Georgia State University. It is a huge campus, but mostly vertical. It does not have a big leafy lawn, at least not that I saw. On the other hand, it has many friendly students. They turned out in droves, major standing room only, to hear my little speech, then asked questions for about an hour.
Then we re-assembled in the lobby and I signed autographs and posed for photos with many hundreds of them. The kids were uniformly intelligent, cheerful, and polite. I did that autograph and photo thing for more than two hours, and I was really tired by the end of the session. But I figure if someone waits in line for two hours to get her photo with me, I owe it to her to sit there and wait.
Truth to tell, I love doing it. I think I should have been a politician, but now it’s too late. I have done too many bad things to ever even consider being a politician. Besides, I would only like the campaigning part, not the actually working in the civil service part.
Especially, I would not like the getting up early part.
Well, anyway, I did that, and by the time I got home, I was so tired I didn’t go out to my usual, New York Prime, for a fine meal. I just had eggs in my room and went to bed.
Up in the morning and off to ATL to fly to Austin, Texas. As usual, I was in the last row of first class. As usual, the mothers with crying babies were in the first row of coach behind me. I’ve gotten so I feel a bit on edge if I do not hear those crying babies behind me. But why do the airlines do it that way? What’s the point of torturing us first class flyers with that endless crying? Maybe the kids have more legroom that way so they can kick our seats.
Anyway, I got to Austin and went to my hotel room at the Four Seasons. Really nice hotel overlooking Lake Ladybird, named for LBJ’s late wife, a true saint and a believer in beautification. No one but me remembers this, but also a willing and eager participant in one of the most crooked empire-building deals of all time. That was when LBJ, as a powerful member of the Senate, got the Federal Communications Commission to shower TV and radio licenses on Ladybird and him. On a salary of about $25,000 a year, he assembled an empire worth hundreds of millions or maybe billions. Good old-fashioned graft. Now lobbyists cannot even take a Senator out to lunch. What a difference! But do we get better laws now? I wonder. I hope so.
Still, LBJ deserves credit for helping, mandating changes in civil rights legislation, change that has made possible our first partly black President, whom I expect to be elected a few weeks after I write this. I do not expect Senator Obama to be able to accomplish anything at all. But I do think that black people should feel that one of their own is Chief Magistrate. They have been feeling bad for so long, it’s time they felt good. Well, I guess the ones at the BET show feel good, but the others don’t. Or some of them don’t. Anyway, you get my point. The problems this country faces are basically not solvable by government, so at least for ceremonial reasons, why not have a President who cheers up a long dispossessed part of the electorate?
Actually, I shouldn’t say that. Government can do a lot about the current financial crisis. In fact, after my nap, I went out to a country club to speak to a large group of financial people about how government started this crisis. They started it by mandating home loans to people without credit worthiness, then made it worse by not regulating or banning credit default swaps arranged by people without any insurable interest in the bonds they “insured.” Now, government can cure the crisis by guaranteeing solvency of inter-bank loans and by sharply curtailing liability under credit-default swaps. They are also going to need a real stimulus package of major size.
Of course, instead, under that imbecile, Henry M. Paulson, we get state socialism of banks and investment banks. The bailout has morphed from being a help to borrowers in Muncie to being an immense life raft for Paulson’s buddies on Wall Street. This is a last, desperate act of rapine against the American people by Mr. Paulson and I do not like it at all. Yes, give them loans they have to repay. Yes, underwrite their loans. But don’t buy them and continue to let their executives loot the system. Why on earth should a farmer in eastern Washington state have to prop up Goldman Sachs with his hard-earned money?
I really do not understand why there is not revolution. The bailout was sold as a way to stabilize the mortgage situation, i.e., money for banks to allow them to keep lending to homeowners. Now it’s a rescue package for billionaires in Greenwich. How come no one is even saying, “boo!” about this?
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?