May wobbled into the history books as political observers began to speculate on when retiring President Barack H. Obama will begin collecting funds for the Barack H. Obama Presidential Library & Soapbox to be located in Blue Island, Illinois, just across the street from the waste disposal plant. For that matter, what will the Obama Presidential Library & Soapbox look like? What will it be constructed of? By month's end wags were snickering that a suitable construction material might be golf balls, yes, golf balls. After all, the 44th president is probably the most assiduous golfer since the late president Warren Gamaliel Harding. Even in times of national calamity he goes golfing. In May he hit the links even as a suicidal offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico continued to threaten southern beaches, the fishing industry, and his dwindling approval ratings with its unwholesome discharges.
Ironically, the suppurating oil rig belongs to the most boastfully green energy producer in the world, British Petroleum (BP), a goody-two-shoes corporation that actually contributes millions of dollars to the dangerous fuddy-duddies over at the Nature Conservancy -- and you can bet that the Conservancy is not going to return one nickel. Yet not all the employees of BP are smug environmentalists, boasting of their moral superiority over good old American bituminous coal and nuclear fizz. Some even have a gift for satirizing our fairway-hopping leader. During the third week of the oil spill BP engineers attempted to occlude the oil leak by cramming its main pipe with -- yes indeed -- thousands of golf balls! Alas to no effect -- and so the Obama administration's prospects wilt. President William Henry Harrison's presidency was the shortest, lasting but a month before he was felled by pneumonia. Mr. Obama's term ended at 16 months when he was felled by golf -- and a stupendous inability to learn from his mistakes.
His pallbearers are the pollsters. By the end of May the Rasmussen poll gauged his approval rating at a new low. Only 42 percent approve of Mr. Obama's performance, and doubtless many of them thought they were being asked to appraise his golf game or perhaps his form on the basketball court. Both were prerequisites for a community organizer in the early 21st century. Yet as chief executive Mr. Obama bids fair to be the President Millard Fillmore of our time. Moreover the embarrassments keep coming in. By the end of the month there were reports that White House chief of staff Mr. Rahm Emanuel had asked another Democratic golfer, former president Bill Clinton, to persuade Congressman Joe Sestak not to challenge Senator Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary by dangling a federal job before Mr. Sestak. The effort failed, and Mr. Sestak won the nomination. And there is more. The American Spectator's crack investigative team is checking into reports circulating out of Chicago that in the 1990s White House aide David Axelrod performed in a punk rock group named "The Loose Stools." As we go to print Mr. Axelrod has yet to respond to our inquiries -- more anon.
Yet it was not all bad news for the Obama administration. Peru released the former Tupac Amaru radical Miss Lori Berenson from prison, where she had served 15 years of a 20-year sentence for a string of violence on behalf of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, and she now is free to become White House energy czar or perhaps to build Molotov cocktails in the White House basement. The Washington Post has put Newsweek up for sale and might try to sell it at the forthcoming Sotheby's antique auction. The European Union, working with the International Monetary Fund, fashioned a $25.4 billion bailout payment for Greece, all for naught. During the last week of May the Greek prime minister's electricity was cut off anyway. Britain's Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, was filmed in a sting operation by London's News of the World as she endeavored to sell access to her ex-husband, the Duke of York, to a reporter disguised as a Middle East potentate complete with pinkie ring and armpit stench. Yet apparently it was not as bad as it looked to the multitudes who watched the former member of the royal family on the News of the World's film. Appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the duchess explained that she was simply inebriated when she made her shady offer and "in the gutter." From Papua New Guinea comes heartening news for opponents of police brutality. No longer will the local police department recruit police officers who have undergone penis enlargement. According to chief of police Bekto Suprapto, a widely respected progressive in those parts, a future candidate applying for a position on the force "will be asked whether or not his vital organ has been enlarged." As in Hollywood, California, so too in pristine Papua: the male member is the only recognized vital organ -- though in Hollywood the liver runs a close second.
Pennsylvania state police are on a collision course with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). In famed Punxsutawney, trooper Jamie Levier arrested 55-year-old Mr. Donald Wolfe for giving mouth-to-mouth "resuscitation" to an opossum felled by a vehicle on historic Route 36. The officer charged the animal rights activist with public intoxication after Mr. Wolfe attracted a mob, one of whose rustics claimed that the idealistic Mr. Wolfe was "kneeling before the animal and gesturing as though he were conducting a seance." Another of the bumpkins charged that the opossum had been "long dead." Well, does that mean a member of PETA cannot at least try to revive the poor animal, you churl! Mr. Wolfe might also have tried the Heimlich maneuver. What the hell is wrong with that? Chinese authorities continue their senseless crack-down on sex parties, forgetting apparently that the late Chairman Mao Zedong was an ithyphallic superstar who lived all his life on the far most reaches of the sexual frontier. He was a veritable Nero, a Mr. Hugh Heffner, sans bathrobe and silly pipe. At any rate, a court in the district of Qin-huai (pronounced gung hoê´ ) has sentenced Mr. Ma Yaohai (pronounced ya hoo), a university professor and part-time gardener, to three and a half years in the hoosegow for organizing so-called "swingers" for group sex parties. The court also convicted 21 other members of Mr. Ma's sex club, though that twenty-first member might only have been a masturbator. An indignant Mr. Ma explained to the press that he had only become involved in group sex after the failure of two marriages and in the hope of treating a severe case of claustrophobia. He will appeal.
Finally, congratulations are in order for our High Spirits correspondent, Mr. Jonathan Aitken, who has taken time from his reflections on matters of a spiritual and churchly nature to research the life of Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, the only Communist leader I have ever met, though I am hoping to meet former president Barack Obama before he leaves Washington, D.C., to begin work on his Presidential Library & Soapbox back in Blue Island. Actually, when I met Mr. Nazarbayev he was an ex-Communist leader and now president of the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan. He greeted me heartily in his presidential palace during a visit with American journalists. He looked me right in the eye, and with traces of his former authority seemed to want to crush my hand.
Mr. Aitken has written the first English-language biography of Mr. Nazarbayev, Nazarbayev and the Making of Kazakhstan: From Communism to Capitalism. The book captures the capitalistic hopes of this oil-rich area with Aitken's usual elegance and optimism, but as to its political future I remain in doubt. On May 21 the Kazakh parliament voted unanimously to allow Mr. Nazarbayev to run for reelection for the rest of his life, perhaps even thereafter. This Crisis continues as usual.
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