More items from the realms of the bizarre -- beyond any humorist's abilities to make them up....
The clomp-along U.S. Mule -- aka the U.S. Postal Service, that government-overseen model of efficiency at work -- estimates that during the next decade it will suffer losses totaling $238 billion unless it attrites thousands of workers, ends Saturday deliveries, and raises the price of first-class stamps yet again. Stuff like that. From this angle, it looks as though the USPS is mimicking deficit-ridden states such as California, Illinois, and New York -- as well as limp-along countries in the European Union such as Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy, and Spain.
State and local governments -- as well as the federal government -- have enacted (as in Colorado and Chicago) or are weighing taxes on soft drinks. The purported reason: another front in the war on obesity. If that's what this truly is -- not still another effort to raise revenues for empty government coffers, but one to discourage (principally) the young from getting themselves fat -- then why not exempt non-sugar low- or zero-calorie diet sodas?
President Obama spent much of his first year in office touring the world mouthing apologies for American exceptionalism. America, he insisted, is no better than any other country. So consider, please, the Vancouver Winter Olympics. U.S. athletes romped home with their biggest winter medal haul ever. What a generous, consistent gesture it would have been if the president had apologized for the exceptional U.S. performance in Vancouver.
With Obama having hauled home his Nobel Peace Prize -- a height he would have exceeded only in turning it down -- the question persists: How did he get the thing? Now we know. Thorbjorn Jagland wanted him to have it. Jagland, former prime minister of Norway and currently head of the Council of Europe, heads the five-member Peace Prize committee. He advocated and signified for Obama until he wore the other committee-members down. Why? Because, says Jagland, he and Obama share (1) a respect for human rights, (2) a belief in fair distribution of incomes, and (3) a belief in a human entitlement to (free, of course) health care. Rock on.*****
Question: Why did the Obama administration (a) initially demand reinstatement to the Honduran presidency of a Chavez disciple removed under the laws of the Honduras constitution, (b) continue to resist free-trade status the foremost pro-American country south of the border (Colombia), and (c) make nice to the Castro brothers in Cuba -- an island concentration camp that for instance (d) has just sentenced Juan Carlos Gonzalez Marcos to two years in the gulag for (obviously having imbibed too much Cuban rum) bursting into an interview for a documentary on Cuban music, screaming, "What we need here is a little bit of chow"?
Remember when dissent was The Way -- and patriotic? Now we have a new class of celebrities and pols who won't abide it. President Obama makes war against, for instance, dissenting businessmen (the Chamber of Commerce), against doctors and health insurers opposed to his plans to socialize medicine, and against Fox News. The new power in the hands of the new class, it seems, brooks no dissent.
Finally, on climate change....
-- That's Al Gore's view, too -- demanding in 2008, for instance, that the press cease even noting views opposed to his: Part of the challenge the news media has had in covering this (global warming) story is the old habit of taking the on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand approach. The facts are the unanimous facts, Gore insisted then, as he insists now -- albeit wrongly: The trumpet has blown. The scientists are screaming from the rooftops. The ice is melting. The land is parched. The seas are rising. The storms are getting stronger.
-- By 1988, Newsweek was declaring consensus -- near unanimity -- among climatologists that the real culprit was not global cooling but global warming. A 2008 Newsweek article headlined "Global Warming Is a Cause of this Year's Extreme Weather" went over the edge. It oozed with sarcasm about the childish, dissenting notion of global cooling.
-- Despite bogus claims -- by Gore and other messianic warmists -- that polar bears are diminishing to the point of endangerment, their numbers continue to increase and they continue to adapt. Never mind. Your federal government has worked to designate 200,541 square miles off Alaska's coast as crucial habitat for polar bears alone. So the area's energy potential cannot be tapped.