February was a very cold month. By the end of it Venezuela’s president Mr. Hugo Chávez had won an anti-term limits referendum, which he claimed as a victory “for socialism and revolution.” President Barack Obama had his victories also: a $787 billion stimulus bill pass, a $75 billion homeowner bailout bill, and a $3.9 trillion 2010 budget that he presented to Congress, concluding puckishly on February 24 that “I am not” for big government. By month’s end the Dow Jones Industrial Average had dropped 25 percent in the new year, the steepest fall for any incoming president in American history. Notwithstanding the Prophet Obama’s disavowal of big government, his budget will metastasize from the historic average of around 20 percent of GDP to 27.7 percent of GDP, an unprecedented peacetime tumor.
Otherwise his first full month in the White House was very professional. Only four of his cabinet nominees or sub-cabinet nominees had tax problems and of them only two had to withdraw their tainted names, Mr. Tom Daschle and Miss Nancy Killefer. Even better, only one of the Prophet’s nominees was under grand jury investigation. That would be Gov. Bill Richardson, who as ambassador to the United Nations during the Clinton High Jinks acted as a headhunter for the curvaceous Miss Monica Lewinsky. So it was a very smooth transition for Mr. Obama from being Illinois’ junior senator to being America’s rookie president. There was one bump. On February 9 the president was photographed bumping his head against the side of the presidential helicopter. The helicopter was not badly damaged, and next day the Dow dropped only 4.7 percent, which was a comparatively good day for the Obama market.
Actually, supporters of the Obama administration have been pleasantly surprised that so many of his nominees are free of tax problems, credit difficulties, and drug convictions. You will recall the dreadful difficulties the Clinton administration’s appointees experienced with such categories and their attendant difficulties in getting security clearances. For that matter, it might have been difficult to get Boy Clinton a security clearance if he had not actually been elected president. Typical of an Obama nominee whose record is surprisingly clean is the president’s “Climate Czar,” Ms. Carol Browner. Until recently she was a member of the Commission for a Sustainable World Society, which is part of the Socialist International. Her socialist background notwithstanding, Ms. Browner’s taxes are all paid up, her record is devoid of felonies or even flag burnings. And there is more good news from our nation’s capital. Over at the National Zoo, Bonnie, a middle-aged orangutan, has learned to whistle. What is more, she actually taught her art to Indah, another orangutan. Perhaps there will be a place for Bonnie in the Department of Education.
That bust of Sir Winston Churchill that Prime Minister Tony Blair loaned to President George W. Bush after 9/11 has been removed from the White House without explanation, causing the Daily Telegraph to speculate that our president remains irritated that during the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya Mr. Churchill was premier when the British dealt harshly with Mr. Hussein Onyango Obama, the 44th president’s grandfather on his paternal side. A Russian satellite suffered a head-on collision with an American satellite over Siberia. The world economy continued to wilt, causing social unrest to break out in several former Iron Curtain countries. In Calcutta, India, a thousand or more snake charmers took to the streets, demanding that they be allowed to perform with genuine poisonous snakes. Animal rights groups believe the practice is hurtful to the snakes and oppose even the use of artificial snakes. From Montenegro comes more evidence that guns are not dangerous. Fifty-two-yearold Mr. Milo Bogisic (pronounced blago-e-vich) bought a coffin, climbed into it, and attempted suicide by shooting himself in the head in front of apprehensive funeral directors. Mr. Bogisic survived nicely, though his request for a refund on that coffin has been denied. More evidence of how whales are contributing to our congested oceans came from Naracoopa Beach, in southern Australia. There local bathers were terrified when 200 of these oceanic oafs panicked and slammed into the shore. Fifty-three were returned to the sea, but the rest just lay there on the beach, smelling and attracting flies.
Islamic influence continues to spread throughout Europe. In the UK no-kissing signs have been posted at the taxi stand of the Warrington Bank Quay Station in Cheshire, where gloomy Islamic taxi drivers have been visibly embarrassed by thoughtless British families kissing their loved ones goodbye. Then there was the decision of a Dutch court that ruled a student, banned 10 years ago from Erasmus University lecture halls because of his foul-smelling feet, must be returned to class despite the discomfort he caused. He is even to be allowed in the library, where he was known to break wind! In other Islamic news, the Indonesian Council of Ulemas has issued a fatwa against an eight-day international yoga festival planned for Bali. At first the festival’s organizers thought the mullahs were actually only banning yogurt, so there was no alarm. But when it became apparent that the Rev. Mullahs were banning all forms of yoga, including yogurt, things became tense. And while on the matter of religion and diet, the Cow Protection Department of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, India, that country’s oldest Hindu nationalist group, is about to release a refreshing new soft drink made of wholesome cow urine. Longtime readers of this column will remember the Indian prime minister, Mr. Morarji Desai, who drank a glass of his own urine daily and lived to be 99 years of age—though not even his children wanted to kiss him. As for the new Hindu drink, it will be marketed under the snappy title Gau Jal (cow piss) and, according to a spokesman, “won’t smell like urine and will be tasty too.” It will compete with Coca-Cola and Pepsi, and again according to the spokesman, Mr. Om Prakish, the Gau Jal will “give them good competition as our drink is good for mankind”—a little idealism there, eh?
Beleaguered financier Mr. Bernard Madoff’s prospects for a return to the financial industry suffered another setback when the Securities and Exchange Commission reached an agreement with him in which he agreed to a partial judgment against him in civil matters. The decision might also bar Mr. Madoff from future government service, where his ability to create money might be sorely needed in the later years of the Obama administration. Conservatives grieved upon hearing of the death of Mr. Jack Cover, inventor of the taser. He was 88. Also among the deceased is Socks, the Clintons’ White House cat, who died at the residence of Miss Betty Currie, once the Boy President’s secretary. Neither of the Clintons attended the services. Finally, brief months after Sen. Larry Craig, the founder of lavatorian conservatism, retired from office there are signs that his movement is alive and spreading from its humble beginnings at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to old Europe. In Vienna, Austria, café owner Mr. Stefan Holz has placed lavatories tastefully against the walls surrounding his lounge so that “our customers feel at home.” He goes on: “The lavatory is one of the last places in the world where men can sit and relax without women.” Of course, Mr. Holz wishes to break none of the laws of the European Union, so women are allowed; and in point of fact, the toilets are purely ornamental. They are not to be used. Lest Sen.Craig feel unwelcome, there is a men’s room in the back.