Flunking Liberty

A story in a recent edition of Newsweek detailed an effort to determine the civic pride of our fellow Americans. The left-leaning journal offered 1,000 readers—they borrowed a few hundred from US Weekly—the opportunity to take the same citizenship test required of all prospective ingredients in our ever-expanding melting pot.

Keep in mind, with President Barack Obama’s dereliction of duty in dealing with illegal immigration, I’m not certain if that many people have actually taken the citizenship test recently.

I have no interest in burdening you with another maudlin monologue about Americans’ lack of civic pride (not to mention civic understanding). Lectures about the need for the people of the fruited plain to make time in between episodes of “Jersey Shore” to learn about the Bill of Rights are boring, depressing and trite.

Besides, anyone who really cares about the travails of “Pauly D.” and “J-Woww” is unlikely to give a damn how many voting members are part of the U.S. House of Representatives. The answer, by the way, is 435. If you answered correctly, then congratulations are in order. You just wrecked the national grade curve. I’d make some teacher’s pet crack, but something tells me most of the teachers’ union layabouts drew the same blank as the rest of the class.

Never let it be said that Ben Crystal isn’t as helpful as he is suave, debonair and quick-witted. Instead of standing on the dais and acting as if I have suede patches welded to my elbows, I’m going to invite each of you to partake of a little academic challenge. Call it: The Personal Liberty Digest’s™ Super-Citizen Survey. There’s no time limit, and you’re welcome to cheat. Think of it as an exercise in “outcome-based education.” If you don’t know the answer, just do as Obama does: Lie.

And remember, kids: There are no stupid answers, only stupid people. I wouldn’t worry too much about the stupid people. They’re over at Dailykos.com telling each other how tolerant they are for hating everyone who isn’t just like them.

To wit:

Question 1:
Sarah Palin is:

  1. A spiritual godmother of the Tea Party movement.
  2. A potential 2012 Republican nominee for President.
  3. Capable of making a kill shot from a moving helicopter. (AWESOME!)
  4. Pretty hot.

Question 2:
Michelle Bachman is:

  1. A spiritual godmother of the Tea Party movement.
  2. A potential 2012 Republican nominee for President.
  3. Terrifying to Democrats who are unused to women who still look like women.
  4. Pretty hot.

Question 3:
Hillary Clinton is:

  1. The Secretary of State (for now).
  2. Not running for President in 2012 (honest!).
  3. Dean Rusk, compared to her boss.
  4. Less hot.

Question 4:
Libya is:

  1. A nation in North Africa.
  2. A nation in the throes of civil war.
  3. A nation with which the United States is NOT currently at war.
  4. A rash which can be cleared up with a non-prescription ointment.

Question 5:
Moammar Ghadhafi:

  1. Is the dictator of Libya and a sponsor of the Pan Am Lockerbie bombing.
  2. Keeps a bedroom decorated just in case his special friend Louis Farrakhan drops in for a romantic evening.
  3. Dresses like Elizabeth Taylor (the late 80’s-onward version, not the Cleopatra version).
  4. Has to be the front runner for the Keith Richards look-alike contest.

Question 6:
Scott Walker is:

  1. The duly-elected Governor of Wisconsin.
  2. Standing up to Democrat-sponsored union thugs on behalf of children.
  3. A union-busting hero.
  4. Obviously related to Hitler somehow.

Question 7:
The Service Employees International Union:

  1. Is a group of dangerously violent thugs officially endorsed by the Democrat Party.
  2. Puts the “hug” in “thug.”
  3. Wears purple because it’s so slimming.
  4. Is probably watching me from across the street.

Question 8:
Sendai is:

  1. That new sushi joint down the street.
  2. A Japanese city devastated by a recent tsunami.
  3. Nowhere near Rio, Mr. President.
  4. Still nicer than Detroit.

Question 9:
Despite a series of bailouts and so-called “stimulus” packages, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is currently:

  1. Lower than it was during the Carter Administration.
  2. Lower than it is in Kenya.
  3. Lower than it is in Detroit.
  4. Higher than it is in George Soros’s front office.

Question 10:
Common Cause, Moveon.org and ACORN are:

  1. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
  2. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
  3. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
  4. About as collectively intelligent as the kids in the Chuck-E-Cheese ball pit.

Question 11:
Kinetic Military Action is:

  1. A euphemism for a limited-scope military engagement.
  2. A nice way of describing the sort of marching done by the New Black Panther Party. (Listen, fellas. I love the berets. But you’re wearing them like mimes, not soldiers.)
  3. Obama’s desperate attempt to look like a wartime leader.
  4. Probably a waste of time, under the current circumstances.

Question 12:
The Huffington Post has banned Andrew Breitbart from its front page because:

  1. Breitbart is a bigot.
  2. Breitbart is a liar.
  3. Breitbart is mean.
  4. Ex-Obama Administration laughingstock Van Jones said he would hold his breath until the Huffpo shunted Breitbart to the even-less-read back sections.

Question 13:
Joe Biden is:

  1. The Vice President of the United States.
  2. Neil Kinnock’s number one fan.
  3. Sy Sperling’s favorite client.
  4. That weird-looking old dude who f-bombed the President last year.

Question 14:
Nancy Pelosi is:

  1. The former Speaker of the House; and now the House minority leader.
  2. Even more surprised-looking in real life.
  3. Still planning to “drain the swamp.”
  4. No longer two heartbeats from the Oval Office.

Question 15:
Harry Reid is:

  1. The Senate Majority Leader.
  2. Deputy Droop-a-Long’s long-lost brother.
  3. Oddly obsessed by hookers in Nevada.
  4. Eminently qualified to hold Pelosi’s purse.

Question 16:
Obamacare is:

  1. A plan to deliver top-quality healthcare to every American, regardless of ability to pay.
  2. A bureaucratic monstrosity which is more about government intervention in your life than it is about healthcare.
  3. Really just the reanimated corpse of the mid-90s “Hillarycare.”
  4. Probably going to force you to watch reruns of “House” to determine whether or not you have cancer.

Question 17:
President Obama’s energy policy entails:

  1. Exploiting domestic resources, including fossil fuels, in order to lessen the economic burden on his constituents without sending billions to corrupt and/or hostile foreign powers.
  2. Signing an executive order requiring all Americans to drive mopeds to work.
  3. Paving Kansas, Nebraska and parts of the Dakotas in photovoltaic cells.
  4. Aiming Ed Schultz at a bunch of windmills.

Question 18:
The national debt of the United States is now:

  1. Worth about 97 percent of the U.S. annual GDP.
  2. Increasing at a geometric rate.
  3. Rapidly approaching one of those numbers that end up being used as a name for a search engine.
  4. Still smaller than Michael Moore’s waistline.

Question 19:
President Obama hails from:

  1. Hawaii.
  2. Kenya.
  3. Chicago.
  4. A secret laboratory in Warren Buffett’s basement.

Question 20:
The current Head of the Executive Branch of the government of the United States is:

  1. John Boehner.
  2. Harry Reid.
  3. Barack Obama.
  4. Oprah.

If you struggled with this exam, fret not. Many of your compatriots are still trying to figure out if Dean Rusk is that guy who’s married to Tori Spelling. In administering the actual citizenship test, Newsweek was likely demonstrating Americans’ lack of civic understanding. But they forgot that civic understanding may not mean the same thing to everyone.

An old colleague of mine used to say that “civic duty” encompasses everything from jury duty to picking up after Rover when he does his business on the sidewalk. That colleague of mine is entirely correct; albeit enormously optimistic.

In the age of Obama, I have learned to set my sights a bit on the low side. Don’t take stuff which isn’t yours. Don’t hit girls. Don’t make your mother cry. And once in a while, learn something useful. You can’t always count on British MP’s to do your homework for you, Mr. Vice President.

I’d tell everyone to go back to school, but there’s no point. The teachers are all cutting class to go scream at the Governor of Wisconsin.

–Ben Crystal

Just Breathe

Should you ever find yourself out for a drive along the Michigan-Indiana border, take a moment to venture by the Kalamazoo district offices of Representative Fred Upton (R-Mich.). By itself, Upton’s office is entirely unremarkable; but not far away is a billboard which may arrest your attention like it was the police and you were a kleptomaniacal Hollywood starlet with a coke habit.

The billboard features a preteen girl with her face encased in what appears to be either an oxygen mask or an exceptionally Byzantine—albeit undoubtedly effective—delivery system for the kind of inhalants parents delude themselves into believing are foreign to their preteen girls.


The billboard campaign is effective, at least on the surface. After all, no one wants to be the bastard whose legislative intransigence imprisoned poor Polly in her respirator.

The American Lung Association (ALA), theoretically a respected retinue of responsible folk, paid for these grim roadside reminders of respiratory distress, carbon dioxide and voting for Republicans. The ALA’s concern centers on the possibility that Upton, who serves as the current chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, may move to “…weaken the Clean Air Act.”

The billboards fail to mention a few fairly salient points. First, Upton has no plans to start pumping raw sulfur dioxide down your children’s throats. Second, Upton has no plans to weaken the Clean Air Act. His committee’s passage of the Energy Tax Prevention Act is designed to rein in runaway bureaucracy and unscientifically-motivated legislation which is in turn detrimental to economic and social progress. And third (and this one’s the kicker), this whole fear mongering campaign by the ALA is paid for by… you.

You read that last part correctly. The American Lung Association, a privately-run, tax-exempt, non-profit group, has received nearly $30 million over the last decade or so from the Environmental Protection Agency, a sub-cabinet-level division of the Federal government with enormous regulatory authority. And the ALA wants to stop Fred Upton from using the Energy Tax Prevention Act to put the kibosh on the EPA’s ability to crush economic development.

What Upton is planning with his Energy Tax Prevention Act—which rocketed through his committee and precipitated the ALA’s latest foray into fear mongering—is to return the Clean Air Act, and consequentially the EPA, to their legitimate purposes: Working toward cleaner air.

The Clean Air Act was most decidedly NOT implemented to institute what amounts to the odious Cap and Trade via a regulatory back door. Last November, the American electorate went to the polls slammed the door on bureaucratic regulatory subterfuge in resounding fashion; sending the Democrat Party busybodies who had spent the previous four years employing legislative authority to treat the American taxpayer like an ATM.

While the Democrat Party’s tendency toward the dictatorial isn’t new, the American Lung Association willingly serving as an accomplice to this sort of authoritarianism is less familiar. It’s terribly sad to see a once-proud organization dedicated to alleviating tuberculosis and other legitimately dangerous ailments sell its soul to a regulatory bridge troll like the EPA. It’s even sadder to see that once-proud organization do so by assigning real health problems to a theory which is the anecdotally-supported equivalent of geocentric astronomy.

And saddest of all: The ALA is either participating in this taxpayer-funded scam for the money—which means they have been motivated by pure avarice; or they’re in it because they really believe a sub-scientific theory is going to clog your children’s lungs, which makes them dupes.

Something is indeed rotten in Kalamazoo; but it isn’t Rep. Fred Upton.

The Desert Rat


“…What I am opposed to is a dumb war… Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States… the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history… I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences..”—State Senator Barack H. Obama (D-IL), 2 October, 2002.

"The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."—U.S. Senator Barack H. Obama, 20 December, 2007.

Barack Obama campaigned for the Presidency on a platform which included proud opposition to what he called a “dumb war.” He was FOR the War in Afghanistan; and AGAINST the War in Iraq.

But now, he’s FOR a war against a “petty dictator” whose military “is a fraction of its former strength…” There’s no doubt that “in concert with the international community” Moammar Gadhafi can certainly “be contained until… he falls away into the dustbin of history.”

To be fair, the President, despite his statement suggesting Gadhafi is “unfit to lead,” has hardly called for the Third Infantry Division to bull-rush Tripoli. Not when the Navy can lob Tomahawk cruise missiles from offshore while our pilots keep the vaunted Libyan Air Force from taking to the skies in their retro-chic French Mirage jets and those vintage Soviet Sukhois which are best known for flaming out at air shows.

But THAT’s the problem. What exactly are we doing in Libya? Are we taking out Gadhafi? He “…poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States…” Are we helping the Libyans take out Gadhafi? What do we know about the Libyans who want to take out Gadhafi? Are they going to replace him with a peaceful republic; or the Umayyad Caliphate II? (The original Umayyad Caliphate was bad news; and they didn’t even have crappy Soviet ground-attack fighters). Or are we simply fencing off the neighborhood crazies so their domestic squabble doesn’t spill over into otherwise-Edenic Chad?

If I’m looking for answers, the last place I want to go is the White House. According to competing statements from earlier this week:

“(Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan)… underscored their shared commitment to the goal of helping provide the Libyan people an opportunity to transform their country, by installing a democratic system that respects the people’s will.”—White House, Monday afternoon.

…the effort of our military operation is not regime change…”—White House, Tuesday morning.

By the way, I’ll presume the length, cost and consequences of this operation are as yet “undetermined.”

War has always been the dark side of human interaction. We have a pronounced tendency to settle disputes over everything with bloodletting; from the best Matchbox car on the playground to the best God in the Heavens. A well-equipped, well-trained military, fighting on behalf of a righteous nation against an enemy which deserves no quarter is cause for tears only in that it must be unleashed; not that it exists. And my issues with the wars in which American lives have been lost of late have been the conduct, not the reasoning.

We gave 38,000 sons to Korea; but we gift-wrapped them in a box marked “to be opened only by the United Nations.” Even with the “Tower of Babel with artillery” effect; we managed a tie with the ChiComs.

We put together a coalition to kick Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait; and then had to go back 10 years later because he’d broken out of his cage.

Now, we’re risking lives and spending money to “contain” a guy who couldn’t make it past Colonel in his own army.

I have no wish to elevate Gadhafi, nor Hussein, nor even those pesky North Korean Kim boys above their level; but when we fought a two-front war with the Nazis and Imperial Japan, we didn’t tiptoe through their territory, minding the breakables. We (along with our Allies) leveled them. We won the hearts and minds of the Germans and Japanese by shooting them in the heart if they didn’t mind us.

Mr. President, if you want to lay the proverbial smackdown on Moammar Gadhafi, by all means, be my guest.

Just don’t do anything… dumb.

Missing The Message

Now that the Nobel Prizewinning President Barack Obama—who campaigned for the White House on fervent opposition to two wars—is leading the United States into a third conflict involving the “Religion of Peace,” perhaps this isn’t the best time to bring this up.  However, timing has never been my strong suit.

While the U.S. started lobbing cruise missiles into Libya over the weekend, another story, one which didn’t involve the Obama Administration campaigning for the Nobel Prize for Duplicity, broke across the newswires:

For the first time in human history an object sent from the third rock from the sun has entered orbit around the first rock from the sun.  The MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) probe, which departed these climes in 2004, signaled its successful orbital insertion around the planet Mercury. 

mercurysunThis is Mercury as viewed from the Earth.  Actually, this is the Sun, with Mercury in transit across its face (it’s the TINY round dot in the lower middle-right of the image.)

If nothing else, that image ought to give you a sense of humility; a glimpse of the idea that on a cosmic scale, we are smaller than the higher-order thinking section of Lawrence O’Donnell’s brain.

MESSENGER cost $280 million.  Should it have been proposed for these tight economic times I suspect it would have disappeared from the budget as quickly as a box of Ho Hos® disappears from Rosie O’Donnell’s kitchen.  But consider this: I’m glad we went. 

While it is fair to suggest that a mission to Mercury may not solve the crises of the world, I would posit that MESSENGER, like much of the space program, serves a metaphysical purpose.

The space program reminds us of limitlessness.  Seven centuries ago civilization was barely aware of the world outside its own door.  In some cases, even guessing at the unseen could result in ridicule, arrest, or even earthly perdition.  But some were undeterred, and the Age of Exploration bore out their dreams to the great benefit of the same world which questioned their goals.  As recently as 1969, when Neil Armstrong took those fateful first steps, Man was still reaching beyond his grasp. 

From Polo to Galileo to Aldrin, the real explorers delivered human “firsts” on an eternal scale.  And while MESSENGER was expensive, it’s another first which is worth celebrating. 

In the age of the media-invented superstars, in which Paris Hilton and Barack Obama can climb to Olympian heights on the backs of—not to mention in the rightful place of—the more talented, the more qualified and/or the more deserving; moments like MESSENGER hearken back to those heady days of the Age of Exploration, when accomplishment meant more than sound bites and photo-ops.  Missions like MESSENGER remind us all of the big dreams which carried humanity through far darker times.  There are no “K-Feds” in the heavens.  “Jersey Shore” isn’t on; and “The Situation” and the gang couldn’t fix their hair in zero-gee.

Out THERE, Hollywood blowhards can’t lecture us on our lack of compassion while they teeter around on the red carpet dressed in clothing which could feed a family for a year.  Oliver Stone and Sean Penn can’t vomit their venomous vitriol out there—there’s no air.  Al Gore’s junk science sideshow wouldn’t last amidst the real warmth of the solar wind.

And while the effort “to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield” is enormously expensive, so is the Department of Education; and I don’t remember anyone saying “When I grow up, I want to be a layabout union thug.”  Of course, I don’t remember anyone saying “I want to be a mouth-breathing parasite who’s famous for being famous,” but “Snooki” got a book published, meaning she has admirers.

During his State of the Union speech in January, Obama said “we do big things.”  Actually, Mr. President, we do an astronomical number of small things, and occasional medium-sized things. And we don’t do most of them particularly well. But we can.

I believe we can return the triumph of the human spirit to the American vocabulary. I believe that while exploration can sometimes be irrational, discovery is ALWAYS magical.  At the very least, let’s return to our children the sense of wonder that comes from dreaming big and doing bigger. 

Call it “the audacity of hope.”  Actually, don’t call it that.  That sounds like some hackneyed Democrat campaign slogan. 

At the very least, let’s remind them there are greater aspirations than being a community organizer.

–Ben Crystal

Duty Calls

As Japan faces a long, costly road to recovery, battles continue to rage across the Middle East, the American economy continues to flounder and Democrats are beginning to threaten active violence against their opponents—including death threats against Wisconsin’s governor and legislators and Tea Party leaders who have committed the unpardonable sin of standing up to the Democrat Party’s union thug accomplices. 

That menu of misery ought to provide enough to keep any chief executive busy for two or even three whole days.  Certainly, one might expect an engaged President of the United States to be putting in a solid couple of hours of work per week.  There are those across the fruited plain who would certainly clear their calendar of social, mundane or just plain silly scheduling conflicts to give their full attention to matters which require intense scrutiny. 

Then, there’s President Barack Obama.

During the eight years of George W Bush’s Presidency, Democrats and their flacks in the corporate media mercilessly flogged the nation’s 43rd President every time he scanned the sports section.  In fact, in August of 2005, The Washington Post devoted 16 paragraphs to the President’s vacation schedule.  According to a Democrat National Committee spokespuppet:

“The White House stonewalling operation is moving to Crawford for the dog days of summer, but they can’t hide from the legitimate questions dogging the president…”

Evidently, brush-clearing in Crawford is nowhere near as worthwhile an endeavor as working out your NCAA hoops brackets for ESPN, hitting the links (for the 61st time) and getting your crunk on with your homeboys at the Gridiron Club.

It used to bother me when Bush would take extended vacations.  I knew that despite Democrat-authored complaints about his lack of connection to his duties and his constituency, he remained very much in command.  But his remoteness seemed a bit on the cavalier side.  It’s all about the appearances, kids.  And given the fact that above-cited Washington Post story was hardly unique in its scope, Bush’s summer sojourns clearly bothered the hell out of the Democrats. 

Oddly, I have yet to hear a peep from the corporate media carnival about Obama’s oddly high number of non-natural disaster, economic collapse or Democrat sympathizer-issued death threat-related activities.  But they covered his congratulations to the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.  (As a Rangers fan, I say “boo.”)

Before those of you who list too far to port start emailing my address to the SEIU’s Department of Leg-Breaking, hear me out.  I love the idea of a thoroughly detached Obama. 

Play 36 instead of 18, Mr. President.  Don’t just wear the Blackhawks’ jersey with “Da Prez” emblazoned on the back—head out with the boys for their next road trip.  After you finish making out your brackets for ESPN, stick around and anchor SportsCenter for a while—you’re already familiar with the teleprompter.  Spend the rest of the week partying with your sycophant liberal “journalists” at the Gridiron Club. 

The disaster in Japan, the roaring fires in the Middle East and the economic morass at home are serious business; to be dealt with by serious people.  While some of my conservative friends might suggest Obama’s soft-shoe of a schedule distracts him from serious Presidential obligations, I’d like to point out that distracting Barack Obama from serious Presidential obligations is like distracting your toddler from the power tools in the garage.

Obama has hemmed and hawed on Libya.  He’s been a ghost in recent Capitol Hill discussions regarding the economy.  And he was so dismayed by the almost cosmic-scale disaster in Japan that he… hit the links, partied with his yes-men and chose between Gonzaga and St. John’s.

And that is all fine by me.  I’d rather have an absent President than a present imbecile.  Suggesting that Barack Obama is out of his depth is like noting that Rahm Emanuel is a little bit on the creepy-looking side.  Party on, Mr. President; and don’t forget about that enormously important White House conference on bullying.  Oh, right—that was last week.

This week is his big trip to Brazil.  Play to your strengths, Mr. President.

One Tough Mother…

To listen to the kids at Greenpeace, Earth First! and the International Philosophers for Peace and Prevention of Nuclear Omnicide, we (but not they) are the single greatest threat to life (and magnificently monikered hippie groups) on our big blue marble in space.

After all, we’re addicted to fossil fuels, which pollute the air, smell bad (although not as bad as a gathering of International Philosophers for Peace and Prevention of Nuclear Omnicide), and sometimes makes cute little sea creatures yucky. We have nuclear energy, which leads to radiation leaks, nuclear waste and racially insensitive movies starring rampaging, supernatural dinosaurs.

Then, there are our weapons. The most powerful weapon ever devised by our fiendish minds was the Soviet-era nuclear device nicknamed “Tsar Bomba.”  At close to 50 megatons, Tsar Bomba packed a wallop more than 1000 times the destructive force of all the bombs with which we slammed the door on World War II COMBINED.

Seen from inside the eco-freaks’ environmentally-sensitive yurts, we are just plain bad news, man. However, seen from outside the asylum, it’s easy to spot someone whose catastrophic competence makes every ICBM look like a potato gun by comparison:

It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.

As of this writing, Japan is facing the long recovery from last week’s Sendai earthquake, a seismic event which registered 9.0 on the Richter scale. That’s the energy equivalent of almost ten times the force of Tsar Bomba. The quake which produced the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was almost 3 times as powerful as the Sendai Quake. And the impact event which sent T-Rex to that Jurassic Park in the sky was good for about 100 teratons. That’s a right cross 20,000 times as heavy as Tsar Bomba. If that doesn’t give you a sense of humility, then try this on for size: In 2004, astronomers observed a starquake on a neutron star which expelled 4.2×1029 tons of energy. That’s “Michael Moore, Rosie O’Donnell and Ed Schultz fall down an elevator shaft together” power.

In the wake of the Sendai disaster, much like Hurricane Katrina, the Indonesian quake, and every other natural disaster which befalls us fragile tenants of this planet, liberals have attempted to appropriate the carnage for their own delusional purposes.

According to Staffan Nilsson, president of the European Economic and Social Committee:

“Has not the time come to demonstrate on solidarity—not least solidarity in combating and adapting to climate change and global warming?  Mother Nature has again given us a sign that that is what we need to do…”

So, liberals are so desperate to maintain their façade of cosmic strength that they’re pinning the Sendai event on an anecdotal (not to mention unrelated) theory invented by the same guy who just hired Keith Olbermann? Get over yourselves; you’re really not that impressive.

Some have even endeavored to blame the ongoing nuclear crisis at Japan’s Fukushima plant on the dangers of nuclear power, as opposed to—say—the dangers of monster earthquakes. According to one poster at the leftist website Huffington Post:

“This proves nukes are too dangerous.”

But not as dangerous as selling out to AOL, right?

What is happening in Sendai was a damnable, tragic shame. But what happened in Japan, like what happened in Chernobyl, wasn’t a result of man’s careless tinkering with the power of the atom—well, Chernobyl actually was a result of SOVIET man tinkering with the power of the atom. But Japanese nuclear power isn’t run by Igor, who’s spending work hours trafficking in illicit Levi’s or Nikita, who’s been sloshed since before Brezhnev’s eyebrows took over his face.

What is happening at Sendai is too BIG for Man… but not for his Mother.

I’m not taking a cavalier stance about the environment. There’s no reason to pour Pennzoil in the Gulf of Mexico. It doesn’t make the Gulf run more smoothly after 70,000 miles and it makes the kids tough to catch when it’s time to go back to the hotel. Nor is there any good reason to throw your THIRSTBUSTER 64OZ on the side of the road. (Fill those things with sand and they make for great ashtrays. Look at me recycle. I’m living green, baby!)

But there’s also no good reason to elevate ourselves above our station in the universe. Our dear Mother Earth reminds us of our infantile prowess from time to time and she did again in Sendai. She’ll probably do it again. Actually, if we hang on for about 5 billion years, the Sun is still going to evict us with more energy than has ever existed on earth.

Take Dad’s advice: Don’t mess with your mother.

Give The People What They Want

In the March 7 edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, liberal columnist Eugene Kane fired another salvo at the Democrat Party’s target-du-jour, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. In the piece “Scott Walker, Charlie Sheen: In the same boat?” Kane compares Walker to the erstwhile star of the sitcom “Two and Half Men.”

While Kane’s method is a bit hackneyed, his vertex from the poster boy for “Just Say No” to the Cheesehead State’s Horatio at the Bridge—fending off the Democrat/SEIU Etruscan Horde—is somewhat understandable. Being a liberal, Kane is writing for liberals. Being a Wisconsin liberal, Kane is writing for the same teachers’ union layabouts, professional protesters and run-of-the-mill thugs serving in the Democrats’ ongoing war against the children of Wisconsin.

The fact that Kane reached for this particular metaphor should serve as a cautionary note about the growing acceptance of otherwise marginal personalities as cultural icons. While political bloviations from ill-informed (George Clooney), deliberately duplicitous (Dan Rather) or just plain crazy (Rosie O’Donnell) celebrities isn’t new, the establishment of an intellectual equivalency between them and those whose prestige is based on some semblance of accomplishment beyond starring in some ham-fisted sequel (Clooney), destroying an entire news organizations’ credibility (Rather), or being just plain crazy (O’Donnell) appears to be gathering steam.

I’ll call it the celebutization of America. While it might not necessarily portend the decline and fall of our civilization, it does serve to lower the nature of the national discourse. When Oprah’s endorsement of President Barack Obama is considered momentous, real examination of his presidential acumen falls by the wayside.

For the sake of balance, when Mike Huckabee takes to the airwaves to decry unwed Natalie Portman’s pregnancy, Huckabee is diminishing the real issue of broken homes and fatherless children. When Lady Gaga is asked her (his? its?) opinion on… well… anything, we lose collective IQ points. Actually, I suspect the mere existence of Lady Gaga may be costing us a few in that column.

Be honest. When was the last time you heard some Hollywood talking mannequin offer a pronouncement on anything bigger than makeup and hair care that wasn’t mind-numbingly stupid?

“I am like so like glad you know that um… like Obama is totally like the President, you know? Cause like I am soo bummed that there’s like… war for oil and stuff. Oh, and go see Babez’n’Wheelz 4!”

We can do better than the absurdity of celebrity support of Obama for President, environmental protections for the Endangered Northern Idaho tree ferret and/or free abortions for Gabonese 8-year-olds.

In the 1960s, noisy liberal entertainers were… noisy. By the 1990s, they were making policy. Remember the infamous Alar hearings in 1989? Hey, Meryl Streep—stop it. While you’re at it, stop with the ABBA movies, as well. Ted Danson and Laura Dern are afraid the human race will die in a global warming inferno? Laura, you already look sickly. Ted, feed her an organic… something.

In 1997 a truly decent woman passed away after years of service to those in need. Although she was famous, she never sought the limelight and indeed seemed somewhat uncomfortable in its glare. She bore without complaint the deprivations of life with those whom she sought to comfort. She even won a Nobel Prize back in the days when it was worth more than an after-dinner mint at Spago. When she passed away, stories of her death were overshadowed by a bigger headline from five days prior.

If only Mother Theresa had looked better in a Versace pantsuit she might have been more celebrated than Princess Diana.

The world is afire with battles between oppressors and the oppressed. Our economy teeters on a precipice. Our President is the most colossally inept executive since Carter, if not Harding. These stories and more, coming up!

But first: Lindsay Lohan is drunk, Paris Hilton is silly and some rapper is dead.