The Prez, the iPad, and the Preppie Pimp
Expectations were running high this week. One of the most riveting public speakers in memory, a man who has weathered personal setbacks over the past year but is nonetheless widely respected for his vision and idealism, was scheduled to take the stage before a highly selective audience — with the rest of the world looking on — and deliver a hotly anticipated speech. Skepticism was rife, but seasoned observers warned that one should never underestimate this man, who has proven himself to be resilient as well as charismatic. Steve Jobs, as usual, did not disappoint. The latest Apple wonder-weapon promises to fill an aching consumer need that no one until this moment has particularly felt, solving myriad problems nobody has experienced, and opening up exciting new possibilities of an ill-defined yet glittering nature. Personally, I can't wait to own one. With the optional Bluetooth keyboard, in case I decide to get any writing done. I firmly believe it will make good on the promise of hope and change.
In other news, the President delivered his first annual State of the Union address. We'll be back with analysis and commentary after a break.
Now our feature story:
Four young conservative activists were arrested on Monday for breaking into the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D.-La.). The motives of the foursome, who had disguised themselves as telephone repairmen, remain unclear, despite widespread reports that they planned to wiretap the senator's phones in hope of obtaining politically damaging information. "What they were up to, I have no idea," said the father of James O'Keefe, 25, one of the accused.
You may remember O'Keefe. He previously garnered his fifteen minutes of fame (three solid weeks on Fox News and talk radio) by impersonating a pimp in a sting operation aimed at the antipoverty group ACORN. A veteran of the gonzo world of campus conservative journalism, O'Keefe succeeded in bamboozling a couple of minimum-wage Acorn employees into making stupid statements which he recorded on a hidden video camera — a feat which qualifies as hard-nosed investigative journalism in today's political climate.
ACORN, of course, is at the center of the alternate reality that is accepted as a matter of unquestioned faith by the same crowd that believes Barack Obama is a foreign-born Muslim, global climate change is a hoax, Sarah Palin is a victim of something called the liberal media, and Rev. James Wright is secretly performing voodoo rituals in the West Wing. In this reality, ACORN's network of low-paid neighborhood-based workers are the vanguard of a conspiracy to destroy the American way of life by, among other things, giving voter-registration guidance to certain citizens.
Emerging from police custody after his arrest, O'Keefe offered only the gnomic public statement, "The truth will set me free." What truth O'Keefe had in mind is yet to be revealed. But a couple of possibilities spring to mind:
• Sen. Landrieu, being a Democrat, must be guilty of something nefarious and un-American. Therefore it is incumbent on the part of a red-blooded patriot to break into her office — or her bedroom, if necessary — and find out what it is.
• O'Keefe and his buddies, being privileged white Republicans, are above the law. (See "Richard Bruce Cheney" for legal precedent in this regard.) Early hints that this will be a main line of defense were provided by attorney J. Garrison Jordan, representing one of O'Keefe's co-defendants, who told reporters "You're dealing with kids" and went on to characterize the break-in as a "stunt."
In less entitled circles, twenty-four- and twenty-five-year-old men are often considered adults, and the charge of entering federal property under false pretenses for the purpose of committing a felony carries a sentence of up to ten years in prison.
So far, the justice system has dealt sternly with poor Master O'Keefe. He's been ordered to live with his parents.
Now back to the State of the Union address. Remember that? My friend Phil, an early Obama supporter, thought it was great. He was smiling all day on Wednesday. He especially liked the part when the President told terrified fellow Democrats, with their huge majorities in both houses of Congress, that it's not yet time to run for the hills.
But running for the hills is what Democrats do, apparently. Just like what progressives do is abandon the Democratic Party at the first hint of intramural stress. My artist neighbor Maria, with whom I am once again, at least for the moment, on speaking terms, has gained minor stardom in left-leaning circles for her riveting YouTube video, "Goodbye Democrats I'm Not Your Bitch." Of course, at fifty, she's just a kid, much too young to remember Ralph Nader and how well all that worked out. But I suppose this counts as trenchant analysis in today's political climate.
I look forward to watching this thing play out in brilliant color on my new iPad.