The Continuing Crisis - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Continuing Crisis

July has been put in a jar and placed on a shelf, the same fate that might befall the Obama administration presently. The Prophet, who began his presidency in January with an approval rating of 70 percent, has seen it plummet to 54 percent at the end of the month, while his disapproval rating, which began at 11 percent, has soared to 40 percent, not counting members of the Cambridge, Massachusetts, police department. Nonetheless the Prophet continues to sermonize about education, energy, and, most parlously, his health care monstrosity. In fact, he is the most garrulous president in history, appearing on television more frequently than the weatherman, albeit with less good news. In Paris, France, no sooner was a waxwork statue of him unveiled than it began to melt, causing panicky employees of the Musée Grevin to open umbrellas to protect the waxen Obama’s dripping face, supposedly from the sun, more likely from changing public opinion even in France. As for the Cambridge police department, it found itself embroiled in a controversy, pitting one of its officers, Sgt. James Crowley, against an obscure academic from Harvard State University, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and President Obama, who ended the unhappy affair by getting sloshed in the White House Rose Garden on the evening of July 30 as the press gaped from behind a cordon 45 feet away.

The farce began on July 16 when Sgt. Crowley encountered Professor Gates-known to his friends as “Skip,” as in “skip the pleasantries”-apparently hollering rap lyrics at his home, which he had just broken into. The officer heard him intone the line “You don’t know who [not whom] you’re messin’ with” and something about “Yo mama,” and promptly clamped handcuffs on the lunatic. The idiotic interlude reminded syndicated columnist Mr. Mark Steyn of another of the prof’s public embarrassments, to wit: the time he gave “expert testimony” in a Florida courtroom on behalf of the rap group 2 Live Crew. In prepared testimony Mr. Gates, an Eng. Lit. prof, claimed the group’s gibberish to be “like Shakespeare’s ‘My love is like a red, red rose.'” Only the line is not Shakespeare’s but that of the poet Robert Burns and the rap group could no more write that line than read it. Professor Gates’s arrest inspired our president to comment unfavorably on the Cambridge police (who, he said, “acted stupidly”) during a press conference, which inflated the row into a national racial controversy with him at the center. Hoping to defuse the controversy, Mr. Obama then asked the policeman and the prof to the White House for a round of beers in what would be “a teachable moment.” Unfortunately no sooner were the beers served than the president was photographed slouched back in his chair, his collar open, and his gestures lethargic.

On a happier note, the White House remains committed to putting out press releases featuring misspellings and typographical errors characteristic of our public school system. On July 8, an official document sent to reporters from the General Services Administration (GSA) misspelled the president’s first name. The next day the GSA blundered in announcing its award of an $18 million contract for a website, spelling “” as “” Then, in a joint statement from Prime Minister Gordon Brown and President Obama, the White House misspelled “welcomed” as “wlecomed,” while avoiding the tricky problem of the president’s first name by just not mentioning it. The young administration is also becoming more proficient at getting its message out. Rebutting ugly rumors that the First Lady, during her trip to Russia, was flaunting a $5,950 clutch purse by the luxury designer VBH, the press office identified the purse as being a VBH lesser model and costing a mere $875.

Congressman Henry Waxman was rushed to Los Angeles’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after he fainted in his district office, possibly when a visitor inadvertently whistled the Star Spangled Banner, a song that often alarms him. In a related story, a Chinese girl who at birth was named “Chicken Dung” has changed her name upon coming of age to Yingzi, which roughly translates into English as “Britney.” Her father, Mr. Zhu Xiansheng, gave her the feculent name after a rural doctor treated her for a mysterious illness that she suffered as a baby by covering her in chicken dung, or “Ji Shi,” as she was called. “She had a serious illness when she was one,” the father reported to the press, “and she was sick for two or three months,” before the chicken dung kicked in. Possibly a place can be found for this miracle cure in the cost-cutting section of the Obama health care package, particularly if chicken dung remains relatively inexpensive and is not produced by one of the country’s diabolical pharmaceutical corporations. North Korea’s dashing numero uno, Mr. Kim Jong Il, is reportedly suffering pancreatic cancer, which might explain his irritable nuclear program and the recent launch of North Korean missiles. Miss Katie Couric was thrown into a panic when Indonesians re-elected President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Ms. Couric has dreaded pronouncing the name for months, even after CBS News brought in a speech therapist.

Mr. Walter Cronkite died. He was 92 and it seemed he had been 92 all his life. Death also claimed Mr. Robert McNamara, 93, who as secretary of defense became identified with what at the time of his death the media were wont to call the “Vietnam debacle.” Also in the obituaries was Mr. Henry Allingham, a British veteran of World War I and at 113 years of age the world’s oldest man, who attributed his longevity to “cigarettes, whiskey, and wild, wild women.” The title now has passed to a resident of Great Falls, Montana: Mr. Walter Breuning, who rather disappointingly attributes his longevity to “practicing moderation.” Mr. Breuning is 112 years old, and if he lives long enough he may be passing the title on to none other than Mr. Bernard Madoff, 71. Mr. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison for financial irregularities, meaning that at the time of his release he will be 221 years old, an age never before attained by any human being, male or female. Yet given Mr. Madoff’s facility with numbers he just might make it.

At The Hague former Liberian President Charles Taylor denied ever eating human flesh or ordering his soldiers to do so, though he did stress a nutritious diet for his troops high in fiber and leafy greens. Back in the States, birdwatchers continue to be harassed by the authorities even in enlightened Connecticut, where 19 birders were arrested and more than 100 canaries were seized. Canaries? Can you believe it? Lovely little yellow songbirds, and the cops in Shelton, Connecticut, accused the birders of running a bird-fighting operation. It is as though President George W. Bush were still in the White House. Yet the Crisis contains some good news too. In the UK, police officers who practice witchcraft have applied to the Home Office to organize a Pagan Police Association. They are already free to take off for Pagan holidays, including Halloween and April Fools’ Day. The number of Pagans in the UK who are police officers is estimated to be more than 500. Practicing witchcraft and druidism, they worship nature and Pagan gods and are almost identical in their beliefs to members of the American National Wildlife Federation, though perhaps not so vehement in expressing them.

R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
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R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor in chief ofThe American Spectator. He is the author of The Death of Liberalism, published by Thomas Nelson Inc. His previous books include the New York Times bestseller Boy Clinton: The Political Biography; The Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton; The Liberal Crack-Up; The Conservative Crack-Up; Public Nuisances; The Future that Doesn’t Work: Social Democracy’s Failure in Britain; Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House; The Clinton Crack-Up; and After the Hangover: The Conservatives’ Road to Recovery. He makes frequent appearances on national television and is a nationally syndicated columnist, whose articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Washington Times, National Review, Harper’s, Commentary, The (London) Spectator, Le Figaro (Paris), and elsewhere. He is also a contributing editor to the New York Sun.
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