Christmas was celebrated around the country with the usual demonstrations of secular piety against crèches, Menorahs, and even Santa Claus. The portly, barbigerous old gentlemen was hounded by local authorities for everything from drunk driving to even more terrifying infractions of the law. The baby Jesus was stolen from mangers around the country, and in Occupy Wall Street news four men wearing dark clothing and "hoodies" robbed a Salvation Army bell-ringer of his red kettle in North Canton, Ohio.
President Barack Obama set many hearts abeat as he flew off to Hawaii for what Mr. Matt Drudge speculated would be a $4 million vacation, not including smoke breaks. Unfortunately, he plans to return. Before leaving Washington the President informed Mr. Steve Croft of CBS News that "I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president—with the possible exception of Johnson [Lyndon not Andrew], FDR, and Lincoln—just in terms of what we've gotten done in modern history." Mr. Obama was probably comparing the killing of the Rev. Osama bin Laden with FDR's successful handling of World War II and with Lincoln's War for the Union, but why did he drag Johnson in—very weird? At any rate, while in Hawaii our President golfed lasciviously with his friend the felicitously named Mr. Robert "Bobby" Titcomb, convicted last spring of soliciting sex from a prostitute and God knows what else. Then after seven hours on the links Mr. Obama had an apolaustic dinner with friends, one of whom was apparently his wife. Yet Americans were watching, and by the end of the month the Gallup Poll had his approval rating down to 41 percent (and disapproval rating of 50 percent), while the Rasmussen Poll had former Governor Mitt Romney leading Mr. Obama by 45 percent to 39 percent. It was Romney's largest lead over our President ever. Analysts at the Global Carbon Warming Project released data showing global carbon dioxide emissions in 2010 had their biggest jump ever, and on December 16 Miss Whoopi Goldberg broke wind on her ABC morning television show, The View, and had a hearty laugh about it.
The Tea Party movement has spread to Moscow, where as many as 120,000 citizens demonstrated on Christmas Eve in their second anti-government rally of the month. Russian strongman Mr. Vladimir V. Putin continued to disdain the demonstrators, dismissing their symbol—a white ribbon—as nothing more that a "limp condom." Yet, Mr. Putin's gaffe is not going down well with Russia's Planned Parenthood, Inc., and advocates of safe sex everywhere are dismayed. Mr. Putin did get a boost toward the end of the month. Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev threw in with the protesters and called on Mr. Putin to resign. The famous Russian pol continues to display a scarlet map of Florida on his bald forehead, offering no explanation. Mr. Gorbachev remains a man of mystery, or maybe he is advertising real estate. Not since 1977 has this column recorded the endangered Whooping Cranes' return to their Texas breeding grounds, but they have returned once again and their numbers are on the rise. There are now well over 400 of the North American continent's tallest bird nesting comfortably, and it is only a matter of time before hunters are free to broil, bake, and otherwise consume these delicious creatures. There is no word yet on that unnamed scoundrel who has been creeping into unlocked apartments in Charlottesville, Virginia, and "groping" young men as they sleep, but the university has sent out an e-mail full of racy details and the local coeds are said to be furious. More on this as details become available.
In Iraq, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal (not to be confused with Camel) al-Maliki's coalition government began to collapse within hours of President Obama's December 18 withdrawal of U.S. combat troops. Mr. Maliki, a Shiite, immediately issued an arrest warrant for vice president Mr. Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni, charging him with maintaining a small close-knit death squad. The American withdrawal coincides with the holy month of Muharram, a quiet time in which Shiites mourn the assassination of one of their holiest figures, the Rev. Imam Hussein, by Sunni worshipers nearly 1,400 years ago. A long time to bear a grudge, some might think, but to Shiites it seems like only yesterday in a religion that envisages paranoia as perfectly sensible, much like car bombing and an afterlife abundant with virgins who always clean the dishes. However, when Muharram is over the fun begins. In Zimbabwe, police have arrested three women suspected of sexual attacks on male hitchhikers. The lucky males have been asked by police chief Mr. Augustine Chihuri to come forward immediately and identify themselves so that the love-maddened assailants can be "professionally dealt with accordingly without fear of favor." But chief Chihuri is seen as a bit of a gasbag. Earlier he cracked local wags up when he issued a bull saying, "Let me warn all social miscreants who are soiling the country's social fabric, cultural norms and values by perpetrating abominable and weird activities of women sexually molesting men, sometimes at gunpoint, to stop the practices forthwith." He is Zimbabwe's equivalent of Vice President Joe Biden and deserves a wider audience. Maybe he will become the United Nations' next secretary-general.
Tensions rose between Japan and the Obama government when the government in Tokyo announced a record 82 percent of Japanese harbor warm feelings toward Americans. Only 16 percent of the Japanese report having less than friendly feelings toward our country, and many of them are undocumented aliens. Interest in California's June primary elections is already heating up as it was announced in December that the ballot would include a proposition that requires pornographic actors to wear condoms. Mr. Steven Hirsch, a respected executive in the pornography industry and the founder of Vivid Entertainment, is against the measure, saying, "People will just film elsewhere and take the jobs with them." Yet the proposition is gaining support, and next could come a proposition that pornographic actors wear pants and even turbans, or, who knows, maybe even wigs. After all, we are talking about California. The family and friends of former President Bill Clinton were relieved to hear that he was not asked to lecture at the International Sex School in Vienna, Austria. Though there is always next semester, when "sexual positions, caressing techniques, and anatomical features" are in the curriculum.
A joyful mob of bird watchers was attracted to St. George, Utah, where thousands of migratory birds have been slamming into a Wal-Mart parking lot apparently mistaking the serene, untroubled asphalt pavement for a water landing. State wildlife experts have called it the worst mass bird crash in generations, but birders love it. Mr. Patrick Lott, a middle school assistant principal in Bernardsville, New Jersey, and part-time anthropologist has been arrested in a misunderstanding involving his filming young boys from a secreted spot above the boys' locker room at nearby Immaculata High School. Doubtless the entire mess will be cleared up once Mr. Lott verifies the countless advances in science his videotapes of some 22 boys have made. But for now he is almost in as much trouble as New Jersey's former senator, governor, and matchless fundraiser for President Obama, Mr. Jon Corzine. The former CEO of the now bankrupted MF Global lost $1.2 billion of his clients' funds. In the middle of the month he told senators on the Senate agricultural committee that he had looked everywhere for the funds, even in an old shoebox, even under the bed. His search was hopeless. The Crisis could get worse, but it is bound to be a lot of fun.
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