Enemy of the Week

Kisses and Concussions

How indispensable our nation's leaders remain. (UPDATED)

By 5.30.14

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Secretary Shinseki worried too much. Nothing bad will happen now that he's resigned. President Obama will continue to love him. Look at the above photo. Have you ever seen truer affection? It was taken on May 3, at the White House Correspondents’ dinner, some twenty-four days after Secretary Sibelius (she’s the one in the silvery dress and hair) resigned in what one thought was national disgrace. There’s no such thing anymore, at least in certain circles. In fact, we bet Mr. Shinseki will be Mr. Obama’s date at next year’s Correspondents’ dinner. Our photographers are on stand-by.

As the countdown continued and ever more candles were lit at vigils for the besieged former general, Mr. Shinseki mounted a defiant last stand, adopting the tone of an earnest Captain Renault simply shocked at what an Inspector General has discovered at the VA Café. “The findings… are reprehensible to me … and we are not waiting to set things straight,” he wrote in USA Today. “We are doing all we can to accelerate access to care throughout our system and in communities where veterans reside.… [W]e are doing everything possible to schedule veterans for their appointments. We… are redoubling our efforts, with commitment and compassion, to restore integrity to our processes to earn veterans’ trust.” We’re beginning to understand the reason for firing squads in military circles.

Fortunately, our nation’s commander in chief never speaks fulsomely while on official duty. On Wednesday he wowed them at the U.S. Military Academy’s commencement. He’s gotten very good at listening to himself speak and trying out new lines. A few highlights: “[B]y most measures, America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world. Think about it.  Our military has no peer.… Meanwhile, our economy remains the most dynamic on Earth; our businesses the most innovative.… So the United States is and remains the one indispensable nation.”

And for a right-wing jingoist he was forward-looking too, promising the graduating men and women of West Point that he will proudly send them into combat against the evil forces of… climate change. He termed the latter “a creeping national security crisis that will help shape your time in uniform,” suggesting that our future military adventurousness will look like a combination of Star Wars and Beach Blanket Bingo. To be sure, CINC Obama may still have been reeling from that kiss of May 3. Serves him right for not wearing a helmet.

That was the lesson of the latest White House summit on things that really matter. It took place yesterday, at the confusedly named Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit. “We have to change a culture that says you suck it up,” Coach President instructed. The goal is to have every sports-playing or -watching American, legal or illegal, young or old, rich or poor, black and white, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Vegan, Vegas, Wiccan, Wisconsin, you name it, self-aware enough to “self-diagnose” in the event of a concussive sports injury to areas of the body where one’s brain may be located. We are going to “move the ball forward on this issue,” coach said, and we are also going “to test strategies like creating health and safety forums for parents.”

A funny thing happened on the way to this forum, though. The president made much of the ever expanding role of women in sports, beginning with his daughters who wouldn’t be participating in them if not for federally mandated Title IX opportunities. And now presumably Obamacare, which takes care of all the resulting concussions that afflict the most innocent of young athletes.

We wonder if such untreated childhood trauma explains Sen. Maria Cantwell, who earlier in the week joined Sen. Harry Reid in dispatching a threatening letter with 50 senatorial signatures to the NFL’s commissioner demanding permanent eradication of the Washington Redskins’ “racial slur” of a name and comparing “Redskins” to evil thoughts circulating in Donald Sterling’s unhelmeted mind.

At Enemy Central we’re always on the lookout for fresh talent. We just met a girl named Maria. She Cantwell leave enough alone. She’s our rookie of the year, our sweetheart of the rodeo, our queen of the hop, our Enemy of the Week.

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