The wages of sin on a Labor Day weekend.
Now, this is almost funny but not really. It’s Labor Day weekend. I am up in Sandpoint with my wife and my pal, Phil DeMuth. I am feeling extremely unwell and have been since I got back from the American Legion Convention in Milwaukee on Wednesday. I was a speaker there and privileged to introduce Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to the convention for a speech on Iraq, Afghanistan, and defense policy (a superb speech) and also privileged to speak of my own gratitude to these fine men and women.
But just before I left, Phil facetiously told me I should be careful not to get Legionnaire’s Disease. The joke, although it’s not really funny, is that now I have a vicious pulmonary disorder that’s tearing me to pieces and as I read on line about Legionnaire’s Disease, the symptoms are painfully similar.
I do not in the slightest blame the Legion for this, but the hotel was a bit suspect.
Anyway, yesterday I should have stayed in bed all day but I didn’t. Instead, I idiotically took some people on a long ride down a very choppy Pendoreille River to get a dreadful meal, enlightened only by an adorable young singer named Joanie who appeared at our table and sang her little heart out. By the time I got back I felt 99% dead.
Well, now it’s Sunday and I am having lunch with five local people who bid for lunch with me at a charity auction and won.
These are five simply great people and what they are telling me is making my head spin.
One of the guests is a woman who does psychiatric social work with kids in bad situations in Bonner County. These are the children of meth addicts, alcoholics, and so forth. Her stories of tiny tots left to fend for themselves while their parents go on long benders are heart breaking — but then she got to the part that made my jaw drop.
“What’s really making it worse,” she said, “is this 99 week thing. Now that people who are unemployed can get paid for doing nothing for almost two years, some of them just stay high as long as they can and don’t do anything else.”
“An unintended consequence,” said I, “of compassion.”
“Yes,” she said, “but a consequence for sure.”
The man sitting next to me, who used to run a large sawmill near Coeur d’Alene, had another story to tell.
“We had a heck of a time getting workers even at the peak of the boom,” he said. “No one wanted to work. No local people wanted to work unless they were already there. The Mexicans would come and work all day but the whites just would not work. Now, they can’t get work even if they want it and a lot of them don’t even want it. They just want to be paid to do nothing.”
It was all very discouraging. On the other hand, these were some of the most interesting, pleasant men and women I have ever met in my life. I don’t think I have ever had this interesting a conversation in Los Angeles.
But by the time it was over, I was burning up. I went back to our condo for a nap, felt worse. My wife said she felt terrible, too. So, we dragged Phil along and went to the Bonner General Hospital emergency room a few blocks away. They treated us great. Flawlessly. They gave us medicines, wished us well, and off we went to go home and die.
Wifey and I spent all of Labor Day resting. Sleeping. E mailing, more sleeping. Listening to Warren Buffett’s trains roar by. Then a modest dinner at the Trinity Café and then back to sleep.
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?