September proved to be a month of frightful economic turbulence, rudely distracting the electorate from the delightful amusement provided by Senator Joseph Biden and the Prophet Obama. Early in the month Senator John McCain appeared to be pulling ahead of the Obama-Biden slapstick. The clever Republican presidential candidate plucked from the Alaskan countryside a lady governor who is both easy on the eyes and an NRA-certified huntress. Then the country’s year-long credit tightening suffered a veritable seizure! The Bush administration rushed forward with a $700 billion tax payer rescue, but many Americanos objected. In Ukraine, taxpayers were nonplussed in the city of Golaya Pristan, after city leaders marked the town’s 299th anniversary by unveiling a huge cement frog of indistinct national origin. It certainly did not look like a Ukrainian. “What on earth has a frog got to do with our town?” exclaimed Mrs. Natalia Slivka, a local sage who went on: “And why have they put up a massive statue using taxpayers’ money to mark the town’s 299th anniversary?” Well, the city leaders could have unveiled a cement ukulele or a pollywog.
As the presidential campaign wore on, Senator McCain’s running mate, Governor Sarah Palin, was pummeled with questions from the media about her foreign policy experience, which could not compare with that of the delightful Senator Biden, who on September 22 B.S.-ed a Baltimore audience with, “If you want to know where al Qaeda lives, you want to know where bin Laden is, come back to Afghanistan with me. Come back to the area where my helicopter was forced down with a three-star general and three senators at 10,500 feet in the middle of those mountains. I can tell you where they are.” Two days later he added that al Qaeda’s headquarters had been moved to “the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan, where my helicopter was recently forced down.” Both statements were rehashes of his September 9 pish-posh that “the superhighway of terror between Pakistan and Afghanistan [is] where my helicopter was forced down.” Left unsaid by the senator—who rarely leaves anything unsaid—was that the helicopter was “brought down” not by enemy fire but by inclement weather.
Actually, as September ended, knowledgeable students of politics began to wonder why the vice-presidential candidacy of Governor Palin raised any eyebrows at all, save for the fact that, unlike her opponent—and so many other campaigning pols— she is not a locker room B.S.-er or an airhead. On September 17, at an appearance in Ohio, Senator Biden tapped the chest of a reporter (presumably male) and said, “You need to work on your pecs.” Six days later he disclosed to his fellow airhead, CBS’s Miss Katie Couric, that, in response to the 1929 stock market crash, “Franklin Roosevelt got on television and didn’t just talk about, you know, the princes of greed….” Literate Americans had a good laugh at that one, but what has yet to be noted is that Miss Couric gave no hint that she was aware that back in 1929 no television audience existed and that Mr. Roosevelt did not become president until 1933. Irony, oh irony, at the end of the month it was this dunce’s rude interview with Governor Palin that the media recalled and not her moronic moment with Senator Biden.
By the end of September, the old B.S.-er himself had revived memories of his mendacious past, his phony academic record, his plagiarism in law school, and his plagiarism in pursuit of the 1988 presidential nomination. In that race, he lifted from British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock’s biographical treacle, adapting it for an American audience thus: “My ancestors, who worked in the coal mines of Northeast Pennsylvania and would come up after 12 hours and play football for four hours.” In Mr. Kinnock’s version his Welsh ancestors “could work eight hours underground and then come up and play football.” In 1987, Senator Biden’s B.S.-ing forced him out of the race, but now he has returned to his coal mining fibs. On September 21, addressing an audience filled with coal miners in Virginia, he fibbed: “…I am a hard-coal miner—anthracite coal, Scranton, Pennsylvania. That’s where I was born and raised.” He was not a coal miner, though his father was a car salesman, which explains a lot. Nonetheless, after an entire month of whoppers, Senator Biden remained plausible to the media and Governor Palin dubious. In Charleston, West Virginia, 34-year-old Mr. Jose Cruz was charged with assaulting a police officer after he leaned toward Patrolman T.E. Parsons and broke wind. Mr. Cruz then allegedly waved his gaseous discharge in the direction of Patrolman Parsons, who was preparing a breathalyzer test for the assailant. According to the police complaint, “The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature….” More on this later.
In the month’s obituaries, Hollywood suffered the loss of Mr. Paul Newman at the age of 83 and Miss Anita Page, 98, who was one of Holly wood’s last silent-screen stars. Would that we had more of them today. Miss Susan Sarandon comes to mind, and Mr. Leo DiCaprio. Death also claimed Mr. Ronald Kornblum. Mr. Kornblum had the enviable duty of performing autopsies on “the stars,” notably, Mr. John Belushi, Mr. Truman Capote, and Miss Karen Carpenter. Mr. Kornblum was also an expert on chokeholds and was called to testify in the trial of the “preppy killer” in 1986. Tension continued in Georgia, where a Georgian police officer was shot by Russian troops and the Georgians claimed to have shot down a Russian drone, though it may simply have run out of vodka. Earlier in the month, the leaders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia signed “friendship” treaties with Russia, apparently of their own free will and notwithstanding the danger such treaties have posed to signatories in the past.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, ending 40 years of frosty relations between Washington and Tripoli. Mr. Qaddafi, dressed completely in white bedsheets, his chest crisscrossed by sashes, possibly on loan from the Shriners, remained alert throughout much of the meeting, though his translators seemed perplexed by his efforts at speech. Mr. Qaddafi has been unwell since President Ronald Reagan, irked by Mr. Qaddafi’s repeated acts of terror in the 1980s, bombed his headquarters, a tent. Mr. Qaddafi’s acts of terror slowed markedly after the bombing, and as doctors attempted to repair disorders that spread throughout the dictator’s upper gastrointestinal system. Then, after President George W. Bush so rudely inconvenienced President Saddam Hussein in 2003, Mr. Qaddafi became a lot more reasonable—a cause-and-effect process that Mr. Bush’s critics rarely note. Finally, Mr. Marco Evaristti, the Chilean concept artist, is apparently repentant. In 2000, he made art history by asking museum goers to turn on electric blenders filled with water and goldfish. Now the great man has signed an agreement with a Texas death row inmate, Mr. Gene Hathorn. Mr. Evaristti will, upon Mr. Hathorn’s unhappy dispatch, take possession of his remains and transform them into fish food. Museum goers at a future “art installation” will then be asked to feed Mr. Hathorn to an aquarium of goldfish. Doubtless the museums of the world will be competing furiously for this “installation.” It will be a protest of capital punishment in America. On with the Crisis.