Monday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesWe had a productive long weekend, in that we made some smart big purchases courtesy of 4th of July sales. I can’t decide whether doing so was patriotic. On the whole, I’m inclined to think that anything I do right now to support the U.S. economy is patriotic. Yay, me!

And even more self-congratulatory huzzahs have to go to the incredible round-up I’ve got here:

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America doesn’t have a gun problem; it has a Chicago problem. (Obligatory announcement: Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, not to mention decades of Democrat Party governance.)

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“No, women, you can’t have it all,” says . . . the female PepsiCo CEO. The fault lies not with our society, but with our biology, and that pesky little thing about having children who instinctively bond to Mommy.

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Selwyn Duke carefully walks us through the media’s endless obfuscation about the identity of a woman who stabbed a teacher to death in front of a class full of terrified five- and six-year-olds.

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“Ebola” sounds like it should be some sort of lawn bowling game. Sadly, it’s not. Instead, it’s a deadly disease for which there is no cure or vaccination, and which is highly contagious if you’re unlucky enough to catch some of the victim’s bodily fluids (especially blood, which appears in prodigious amounts outside of the body when people die of a hemorrhagic fever). Even worse, it looks as if Ebola is primed to catch a plane to Europe or America sometime soon. If that doesn’t put the fear of God into you, I don’t know what will. My prediction, though, is that it makes its first appearance along the Obama-porous border to our south.

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The VA always has the time and money for green projects and employee bonuses. It’s had less of either for the veterans in its care (and the law denies these vets access to Medicare and civilian physicians). John Hawkins relates the appalling story of an Iraq veteran, only 31-years-old, whose digestive system has broken down but who cannot get any care whatsoever from the VA, leaving him at risk of starving to death. John ends his post with suggestions about things the public can do to help Joe Geoghagan.

I have to say that Joe has my sympathy. I almost starved to death many years ago when doctors kept diagnosing me with stress ulcers, when I was actually unable to tolerate the Pill. (Which is why I know how toxic the Pill is and why I’m so opposed to laws that allow school nurses to give it to 12 year olds.) I then threw up non-stop during both my pregnancies. The man is suffering and needs help.

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One of my Leftist Facebook friends has vowed to boycott Walgreen’s after having read a Bill Moyers article (to which I will not link) stating that Walgreens should be denied any voice in American politics because it moved its headquarters out of the U.S. It didn’t seem to occur to my friend that, rather than boycotting Walgreens, we should lower taxes so as to entice existing corporations to stay in America and new corporations to come to America. Otherwise, we risk becoming France.

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Jonathan Turley is a Leftist who’s been mugged by reality. Surprisingly, considering his DemProg credentials, Turley (a law professor) has great reverence for the Constitution. He especially appreciates the balance of powers, something that forces the federal government into deliberation and compromise. He’s therefore shocked and (dare I say it?) seemingly disgusted by Obama’s insistence that he doesn’t need no stinkin’ Congress, a dictatorial pronouncement allied with the snotty taunt that Congress should “sue me.”

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The Economist is famously unfriendly to Israel. Nevertheless, it finally seems to be catching on to the fact that the Arab world’s problems might be home-grown. It tags Islam as being at the core of the Arab world’s problems, but then foolishly pretends that its illiberal economic and social policies are somehow separate from Islam. Still, I won’t cavil too much, because it’s a start.

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I told you earlier that my Facebook friends having concluded that the Hobby Lobby ruling will lead to an all-out war against gays. While these morons (pardon my language, but it’s true) are being useful idiots to the hard Left, there really is a war — a bloody war — being waged against gays. It won’t surprise you, of course, to learn that this war is Islamic in nature, and it’s taking place with increasing frequency on American soil.

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David French perfectly encapsulates my approach, not just to law, but to all issues. It’s just that, in my mind, this approach was always inchoate and amorphous, so much so that I never could have expressed it as well as he did:

As a Christian lawyer — even when I was engaged in the “commercial” practice of law rather than the nonprofit, constitutional work I do now — I always drew moral lines around my representations decisions. I was not going to use whatever meager talents God gave me to advance or celebrate causes or principles I knew to be wrong. In other words, I discriminated. But not on the basis of race, gender, disability, or sexual orientation, but rather on the basis of the action or legal principle the case would advance. I’d happily represent anyone, gay or straight, in a commercial contract dispute. I would not represent anyone, gay or straight, who wanted to sue to make divorce easier or broaden the definition of marriage beyond the union of one man and one woman. I’d represent an adulterous cad if the state violated his rights to free speech, but I wouldn’t lift a finger to help him divorce his wife.

This distinction, between status and acts, or between and among different acts themselves, used to be a matter of common sense

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Arabs in Israel like to eat their cake and have it too. This is not a good thing for Israel.

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Here’s a matched set: Liberals hate America and the College Board tries to un-teach high schoolers about America, so as to perpetuate this hatred.

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It’s funny to watch Jason Riley try to talk common sense to a HuffPo host on the subject of the damage Progressive laws have done to American blacks. The HuffPo host couldn’t be more civil, but he keeps falling into cant and illogical “factual” digressions, with a perplexed Riley gamely trying to translate him into some sort of logical framework to which Riley can actually respond. Also, and no disrespect to Riley, but Riley sounds just like a truly super smart Urkel.

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I’m not a Peggy Noonan fan but, as I’ve noted before, when she’s good, she’s extraordinarily good — and so it is with this column about the peculiar (and peculiarly dangerous) Obama presidency. Since I don’t know if this is behind a pay wall (I’m always signed in to the WSJ), let me just give you a taste so you know what I’m talking about:

But I’m not sure people are noticing the sheer strangeness of how the president is responding to the lack of success around him. He once seemed a serious man. He wrote books, lectured on the Constitution. Now he seems unserious, frivolous, shallow. He hangs with celebrities, plays golf. His references to Congress are merely sarcastic: “So sue me.” “They don’t do anything except block me. And call me names. It can’t be that much fun.”

[snip]

This is a president with 2½ years to go who shows every sign of running out the clock. Normally in a game you run out the clock when you’re winning. He’s running it out when he’s losing.

All this is weird, unprecedented. The president shows no sign—none—of being overwhelmingly concerned and anxious at his predicaments or challenges. Every president before him would have been.

[snip]

Instead he seems disinterested, disengaged almost to the point of disembodied. He is fatalistic, passive, minimalist.

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Sen. Jeff Sessions has issued a stirring call to arms demanding that we restore our border integrity and security for the benefit of America and Americans.

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When you’re out of power, you develop solidarity with the guy next to you. Your long-term goals may be different, but in the short-term you both want power back. Things change dramatically when you suddenly achieve the power you want. All those former allies have the potential to become enemies, which is what’s happening between Michelle Obama and those charged with feeding America’s public school students.

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What does it mean that the New York Times has discovered that Tom Steyer’s money is filthy dirty with coal dust? I suspect that, because his heart’s in the “right place” (i.e., supporting DemProg politicians), his money will never be too dirty for the Times.

I also wonder if the Times will report on the cooling trend seen in America’s climate data? Duh! Dumb rhetorical question. Of course the Times won’t.

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I think James Cameron had one good move: The Terminator. Others think he made good movies up to and including The Titanic. Some will even praise him for Avatar. But when it comes to demanding that the whole world go vegan to fight global warming (except that the globe’s not warming; see above), can anyone take him seriously anymore? Never mind. Another dumb rhetorical question. He is now and will remain a DemProg darling for saying what they want to hear.

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Indeed, Cameron’s climate views are now the only views the BBC will allow on air. I can no longer remember where I read it, but someone remarked that this is the same BBC that refused to give Churchill air time during the 1930s to talk about the rising danger from Germany and the terrible risks from British appeasement and pacifism.

It used to be that the only thing that the BBC had going for it was posh British accents. Now, with its egalitarian dive into the furthest realms of working class speech, it doesn’t even have that cachet.

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This is your body on socialized medicine:

A report published by the Royal College of Surgeons and Age UK shows that [British National Health Service] rationing is being extended to cover life-saving operations on elderly patients. A study found that in large parts of the country, hardly anyone above the age of 75 was receiving surgery for conditions such as breast cancer and gall bladder removal.

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I’ve complained here about the bag bans taking over Marin. First they came for the plastic bags, and now they’re zeroing in on the paper bags. They want to turn us all into crazy bag ladies, packing our groceries into petri dishes full of salmonella and e. coli. And of course you won’t be at all surprised to learn that the “scientific” justification for these often dangerous inconveniences is total bunk.

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Please don’t forget Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who rots in a Mexican prison while our president does nothing. No, wait, I’m wrong. Tahmooressi rots in a Mexican prison while our president welcomes hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens, many Mexican, into our country, and then disburses them — drugs, diseases, crime, and all — throughout America so that they cannot easily be sent back home. My Congress people are useless pieces of Leftist detritus, so I have no way of making a change, but if you’re not stuck with the Feinsteins, Boxers, and Huffmans of this world, maybe you can do something.

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The DiploMad has a his truly epic rant against Obama’s “misadministration” on our Southern border. You really have to read it.

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Some moronic Leftist went into Hobby Lobby, played with wooden alphabet blocks, took a photo, and is now touted as a hero by Planned Parenthood. Can I just say, morons, that Hobby Lobby never denied that women should be able to get birth control, something that’s been a recognized right in America since 1965, when the Supreme Court handed down the Griswold decision?

Women need birth control

I guess I can say it, but it won’t make a difference.  You can’t gain any traction with people who argue this way:

The Alinsky approach to mandatory birth control

Michelle Obama confuses herself with dead Chicago teen

(I wrote this for Mr. Conservative, but it’s another one that could just as easily have been written here.  Indeed, for the writing I do at Mr. Conservative, it’s unusually snarky . Michelle really rubs me the wrong way.)

When the Clintons were in the White House, they loved to insult their political opponents by quoting to them Einstein’s classic definition of “insanity” — “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Under that standard, Michelle Obama is quite obviously insane. Despite the fact that Chicago pairs the strictest gun urban control laws in the nation with the highest urban gun homicide rate in the nation, Michelle took time out from her heavy-duty social schedule to appear in Chicago and tearfully beg for more gun control.

Making this display of Einstein-defined insanity even more appalling, Michelle added to it the typical Obama habit of inserting herself into the story, front and center (because, of course, the Obamas are the most important people in the world, at least in their own minds). While Bill Clinton felt your pain, Michelle feels only her own. When she spoke of Hadiya Pendleton, a teenager who performed at Obama’s Second Inauguration and was soon after killed by gun-fire on Chicago’s strictly gun-controlled streets, Michelle just couldn’t keep herself out of the narrative:

Hadiya Pendleton was me and I was her. But I got to grow up and go to Princeton and Harvard Law School and have a career and a family and the most blessed life I could ever imagine. And Hadiya, well we know that story. Just a week after she performed at my husband’s inauguration, she went to a park with some friends and got shot in the back.

What does that even mean? It sounds as if Michelle had a Beatles’ flashback and was trying to sing I am the Walrus (“I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.”) More likely, though, that mess of words is just a terrible and typical example of Michelle’s “me-me-me” approach to governance. Even in the Valley of the Shadow of a child’s death, it’s all about Michelle’s life, or her alternative life, or her hallucinatory life.

Worse than that, Michelle wrapped up this narcissistic wallow by offering what she claims is the only cure for the horror of Chicago’s homicide rate: Even stricter gun control laws in Chicago. There’s that Einstein-esque insanity. Stricter gun control ensures that Chicago’s violence continues as the bad guys know with certainty that their potential victims, or the community’s potential heroes, have all been disarmed.

But here’s the really irony of it all. Hadiya may be Michelle and Michelle may be Hadiya, but Michelle never travels an inch out of her home without an armed guard surrounding her. Her children get guards too, wherever they go. If Michelle really is Hadiya, and vice versa, the very least Michelle could do is to ensure that Hadiya, and all the other enthusiastic, innocent Hadiyas in Chicago, get the same Second Amendment rights that Michelle freely claims for herself.

If you’re interested in reading about other grotesque examples of liberal hypocrisy, be sure to check out this list of the 25 ridiculous things gun hating liberals have said. And if you want to learn more about the appalling ignorance that powers the Progressive press for the Second Amendment’s total destruction, you need to know that Obama thought that the Sandy Hook shooter was using an automatic, rather than a semi-automatic; that a legislator in Colorado had no idea gun magazines could be reloaded; and that Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns created an ad using an actor who’d obviously never handled a gun.

Moral hazard and martial arts — and was I making any sense at all?

It all started when my sister and I got to talking about the up-coming Olympics.  I used to enjoy them when ABC presented each day’s events as a tightly packaged three-hour narrative, complete with villains (usually the Russian, French, or East German judges) and myriad heroes, whether they were the known champions who saw years of hard work paying off, or the dark horses who surprised everyone by appearing out of nowhere. While I may not like my news packaged, I don’t mind it at all when it comes to my Olympics.

Now that the Olympics seem to be 24 hours a day, with a fairly random presentation, I’m overwhelmed and, barring something spectacular (such as Michael Phelps’ amazing run of gold medals), I don’t have the patience for it.

Having determined to our mutual satisfaction that we both feel the same way about the Olympics, my sister offered me an interesting factual tidbit:  “I’ve heard,” she said, “that they’re thinking of adding Mixed Martial Arts to the Olympics, but the people opposing it say that it’s little better than dog fighting.”

My hackles went up instantly — not at her, but at the people who would say that.

“First off,” I said, “professional MMA is a voluntary activity.

“Second, these guys perceive themselves as warriors victims, not victims warriors.  [That was a heck of a dyslexic mistake, wasn't it?]

“And third, while they get a lot of injuries, I bet the injuries are less serious than football.  It’s the whole ‘moral hazard’ thing — the more you insulate people from known risks, the more dangerous their behavior is.

“Think of the difference between football and rugby.  The rugby guys get seriously trashed with superficial injuries to most parts of their bodies, but the lack of helmets mean that they don’t lead with their heads.  You therefore don’t hear about head and spine injuries with rugby players.

“With football players, though, the helmets and padding mean that the league has relied on increasingly large players, who use increasingly aggressive pressure on the opposition.  The injuries can be deep and profound.

“MMA’s the same thing — the guys tear up their knees and shoulders, which is a bad thing, but not life threatening.  It’s a risk they ought be allowed to take.  And they’re grown men, which means that they’re probably getting a lot less trashed than all those little gymnastics, who have been taking enormous risks with aerial activities, not to mention the bone stress and eating disorders.”

Clearly, I was on a roll.  Fortunately, I was preaching to the choir, since my sister just said, “Well, you know that the safest communities are those with the least police presence.”

“That sounds right to me,” I responded.  “After all, no one is going to care as much about protecting you and your loved ones as you are.  Provided, of course, that the authorities haven’t taken your weapons away.  You know that old saying:  when seconds count, the police are minutes away.”

“Yeah,” she answered.  “Look at Chicago.  They have this insane crime rate and they already have one of highest ratios of police officers per citizen in America.  So the City is going to hire more than a thousand police officers, as if that’s going to work.”

“It’s just like teachers, isn’t it?” I offered.  “We keep being told that our failing schools will get better if we hire more teachers, even though there’s no evidence that this approach works.  More than that, it ignores the fact that, back in the day when you and I were in school, our classrooms routinely had 35-40 students per teacher, and our test scores and overall education was just as high as now, if not higher.”

“That’s right,” said my sister.  “They never look at whether the teachers are teaching a smart way, or whether politics is interfering with education.”

She and I ended our conversation then, quite satisfied with each other.

But here’s the problem:  Were we right about anything we said?  Is rugby safer than football when it comes to serious (brain and spine) injuries versus superficial (teeth, nose, elbows, knees, etc.) injuries?  Are the safest communities in America those with the least police presence?  Does Chicago really have one of the highest rates of police per citizen?  And do today’s students really know less than students in the 60s and 70s, or have our expectations gone up since then?

These are good questions and we probably should have known the answers before we started talking.  As it is, I’m simply too lazy today to check whether my facts are right.  And in keeping with my previous post, “When ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”  Since every issue resolved itself so neatly, why in the world would I want to mess up my nice little conversation with actual, possibly different, facts?

Chicago redux *UPDATED*

I can’t remember if I wrote it here, but I know that, in lunches with Don Quixote, I’ve discussed the parallels between the OWS protests and the Chicago convention in 1968.  Rather than gather my slightly fragmented thoughts, I’ll just pass the baton to Bruce Kesler, who ably discusses the issue.

UPDATECharles Martel’s reminiscences about Chicago in 1968 were too good to hide in the comments section:

I was in Chicago during the 1968 convention. I was part of a Los Angeles-based group called Monitor Training School. We went around LA in 1967 and 68 training protest marchers how to avoid or resist violent confrontations with the cops and provocateurs like the Students for a Democratic Society.

(One of my betes noires was a USC student named Mike Klonsky, a rabid violence freak whose m.o. was to try to pry his way into a group of peace marchers and instigate an angry response from the police. Our tactic was to surround him and the four or five lapdogs that were always trailing him and seal them off from the rest of the marchers. If his name rings a bell, Klonsky is still rabid and is one of Bill Ayers’s closest friends.)

Anyway, I drove with two friends to Chicago to teach people what we’d been teaching in Los Angeles. We held daily sessions in Lincoln Park, on the city’s north shore, where we vied with some guy who was teaching people how to form a giant conga-like line where they supposedly would swish their way around the cops, all the while proclaiming “Wa-shoi! Wa-shoi!”

I digress: The comparison between the two events has one or two significant differences. While the scene in Lincoln Park had its share of derelicts and grungy hangers-on, drawn by the prospect of dope and the free nooky that Abbie Hoffman kept pimping, the majority of demonstrators were well-fed, well-educated college kids out to experiment with rebellion. If the rebellion failed—the election of Dick Nixon says that it did—there was always graduate school or Daddy’s bribe of a nepotistic office job once Junior or Missy came to their senses. The economy was not on the skids like it is now, and the higher education bubble was still a pipe dream.

Fast forward 43 years: The job prospects for the OWS people are pretty dismal, both because of the economy in general and the demonstrators’ own remarkable lack of higher-order thinking skills in particular. Yes, many of the Chicago ’68 kids were ditzes, but they still operated with far more cognitive functionality than their descendants.

In any case, almost everybody at the park had a place to sleep or stay while they were in Chicago. Some hopped the train to head up to Evanston or some other suburb, while others drifted back to nearby college dorms or crashed with friends and relatives. The Yippies tried to confront the cops over sleeping overnight in the park, but the Chicago cops were not like the weenies in present-day Oakland or Los Angeles. They were perfectly happy to apply billy clubs and drop tear gas canisters with abandon. The Yippies wisely quit contending the issue after one teary, bloody night.

If the Democrats decide to set loose the hounds of OWS on the GOP convention in Tampa, it will backfire even more royally than Chicago 1968. Some of the more cynical and manipulative leaders at Chicago (I remember sitting in an office somewhere in downtown Chicago with some of the best minds of the New Left, fascinated by intelligence that had been seduced by the pursuit and prospect of total power) knew that a reaction to the demonstrations very likely would result in Nixon winning the presidency. To their Marxist minds, however, that simply meant that the “contradictions would be heightened,” leading to oppression, leading to a revolt by the awakened masses.

Our current Marxists, who are far more febrile and syphilitic than their 1960s forebears, probably think that history is now finally on their side. No more need to heighten contradictions when you can go in for the kill. OWS-type clamors in Tampa will cause such a police overreaction and such an awakening that they will sweep Obama back into power. But what will really happen is the same thing that happened after Chicago: Voters, disgusted by what they see, will vote for a Republican.

Throw in one other consideration: In Chicago, I ran across two demonstrators who were armed. One was a crazy girl from Berkeley, named Gail, who packed a small pistol (we later persuaded her to leave it where she was sleeping and never carry it on the streets) and a black guy who was a street tough hanging around for dope and sex. These days, as the petulance escalates, there will more armed thugs among the demonstrators. Gangbangers, union members and anarchists all have access to good weapons and the motive to want to see pig blood flow. If/when that happens, they will create a firestorm that they cannot control.

Thursday quick picks *UPDATED*

I’m working on a post, but thought you all would find this interesting in the meantime:

From AJ Strata, something that’s not just interesting, but is also terrifying:  the terrorists are out there and, having gotten the measure of our new president and his administration, they are massing for war.

If you needed a reminder that today’s progressives are warmed over versions of yesterday’s fascists, Rhymes with Right traces the history of the despicable anti-free speech law Obama is now praising in his support for fascists.

Here’s another one of those matched sets I like so much:  An article about the violent and sordid history of yet another Chicago Democratic pol (h/t Danny Lemieux) and Michael Barone’s optimistic prediction for Republicans based upon the Illinois primaries. (Should I remind you here that Obama selected and emerged from this Chicago political cesspool?)

And lastly, an enjoyable 3 minute video about education and young minds.

Telling a lie with a straight face is an art.  Telling nine lies about George Bush in three paragraphs is a Democratic art.  Watch Randall Hoven destroy those lies.  The only sad thing is that most of the people who read the lies won’t be reading Hoven later.

UPDATED:  I love a good mystery, but what happened to Jim Treacher is too unpleasant to be counted as good.  He was cross a street on a “walk” light, got hit by a speeding SUV driver that then left him lying in the street, broke his knee, got a ticket from the D.C. cops for jaywalking, and got told by witnesses that the SUV looked like a Secret Service vehicle.  Just what is going on here?  To mangle Shakespeare, “Something is rotten in the District of Columbia.”  (Here’s Jim’s own account of what happened.)

The Chicago Olympics *UPDATED*

There’s a certain inevitability to the fact that a President who continuously surrounds himself by Grecian columns, and who takes in stride the fact that his followers attibute to him God-like powers, would want to be closely associated with the Olympics.  You and I think sports.  He thinks of his true home, Mt. Olympus.

But still, the thought of a Chicago Olympics is a bit, well, hard to swallow.  As you may recall, the Salt Lake City Olympics were profoundly damaged by corruption problems.  That would be small potatoes, though, compared to what will inevitably emerge from any such event held in Chicago.

I wonder how many people still remember that Al Capone’s home in Cicero, Illinois, was (a) a suburb of Chicago and (b) home to most of the big-time Chicago mobsters.  The old mob may be gone, but the corruption lingers on.  Bring into Chicago a multi-billion dollar operation like the Olympics and the mind boggles at the opportunities for organized crime.  Given how much Obama owes his friends back home, though, it’s entirely possible that this is precisely what he wants.

UPDATE:  Charles Martel’s contribution is too good to leave hiding in the comments:

Chicago, August 12, 2016. Star Jamaican sprinter Alonzo Swift is stretching before the finals of the 100 meter dash, which he holds the world record for at 9.54 seconds. He is approached by a track official, Vinny Shakisha Lumumba Costello.

Alonzo: “What’s up, mon?”

Vinny: “I wuz wondering if I could aks you a small favor.”

Alonzo: “Sure, mon. What is it?”

Vinny: “Well, you know dat Mayor Daley’s son, Bobby, is running against you. How do you think he’ll do?”

Alonzo: “Not too well, mon. Bobby’s clocked an 11.68, so I’d say he’s going to have a bit of trouble.”

Vinny: “Well, Mayor Daley was hoping you might be able to help out.”

Alonzo: “How?”

Vinny: “Well, da mayor called me a few minutes ago and said that several members of your family—your mom, three sisters, two brothers, a coupla uncles, a niece, a nephew and your grandmothers are all missing.”

Alonzo: “What are you talkin’, mon?? They’re all at home in Ocho Rios watchin’ me on the big screen. Missing, heh.”

Vinny: “No, I’m telling you that somebody has kidnaped all of dem. Of course, us being 2,000 miles away, dere’s nuttin’ the Chicago P.D. can do.”

Alonzo (looking shook): “Well, mon, what could you do anyway?”

Vinny: “Well, it turns out that the perp is aksing that you let little Bobby win the race and he’ll release your 42 relatives.”

Alonzo (disgustedly): “I can’t throw no race, mon.”

Vinny (lets out long sigh): “I understand, you have scruples, man. I admire that. But, say, how much are mass funerals going for in Jamaica these days?”

Headline in next day’s Chicago Tribune:

Bobby Is Da Man, Flies by Swift to Take the 100 Meters!
Though slowest time in 100 years, 12.4 is enough to garner the win

Photo caption: U.S. President for Life Barack “Daddy” Obama places a laurel wreath on Bobby Daley’s head after his stirring surprise victory in the 100 meters.