July 19, 2009

Although Obama has appointed more czars in six months than Russia’s Romanov Dynasty had occasion to anoint over three centuries, he is still missing a Vegetable Czar. If he acts quickly, Barack might be able to recruit a cheap VC with experience from The European Onion (formerly the EU).

The EO has been regulating fresh produce for quite some time. Duly, the Brussels Sprouts that run the Continent had barred “€œcurly cucumbers, crooked carrots and mottled mushrooms”€“any odd-looking fruit and vegetables”€””€from Europe’s markets and supermarkets

But things are about to change. As the BBC News reported in a burst of good cheer, “€œJuly 1 marks the return to our shelves of the curved cucumber and the knobbly carrot.”€ Indeed, Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel has finally disavowed the rules that were introduced to ensure common standards among EU vegetables, “€œbut are regarded by critics as examples of Euro-madness.”€

Said the patron saint of “€œwonky”€ vegetables: “€œWe don”€™t need to regulate this sort of thing at EU level. It is far better to leave it to market operators. The changes also mean that consumers will be able to choose from the widest range of products possible. It makes no sense to throw perfectly good products away, just because they are the ‘wrong’ size and shape,” bloviated Boel.

We wish our European fellow Fabians all the best as they enter the wild, unregulated agora of gnarly greens.

Speaking of equal opportunity oppression, this is bound to tickle you pink. Almost everyone is familiar with “A-Rod,” AKA Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez, the New York Yankees Star, who enjoys (allegedly) using steroids and starlets, as well as a 10-year, $275 million salary paid by the Yankees.

Fewer people know who A-Jad is.

A-Jad is short for Ahmadinejad. (First name: Mahmoud. Residence: Iran. Occupation: dictator.) I believe this very funny moniker for Mahmoud was first used by “€œThe American Thinker,”€ an Internet publication. (You didn”€™t think the New York Times provided entertaining copy!)

Only in America, and I mean it in a good way.

Neoconservatives liken A-Jad to Hitler. Granted, A-Jad is not a very good sport. However, all I see is a colossal clown for whom “€œA-Jad”€ is the perfect nickname. Take a look:

I”€™m not sure whether A-Jad amuses the serious-minded Chinese, but Timothy Geithner sure gives them the giggles.

It happened in June. The U.S. Treasury Secretary was at Peking University giving a pep talk about the lamentable state of the American economy. “€œThe world’s most important bond salesman,”€ as the Wall Street Journal dubbed him, had embarked on a mission to allay the fears of the biggest foreign buyer of U.S. Treasury bonds. This via Reuters: “€œU.S. data shows that [China] held $768 billion in Treasuries as of March, but some analysts believe China’s total U.S. dollar-denominated investments could be twice as high.”€

Chinese youngsters are clearly skeptical about American solvency and about the wisdom of their government stockpiling the foreign reserves of an unsteady economy.

Geithner to the rescue: “€œChinese assets are very safe,”€ he gobbled in response to a question from the audience at Peking U.

Whereupon the students burst out laughing.

The laughter must have grown louder when Geithner followed up the act with a disclosure about his administration’s cunning plot to lower the cost of American health care by “€œadding another few trillion dollars in new health entitlements”€ (WSJ). As I write, Geithner’s boss is cautioning those who would oppose his “€œcost-cutting measures,”€ euphemized by the malpracticing media as “€œhealth care reform.”€

Last month, the president held court on ABC News, which had staged a Health-Care Obamarama in his honor. Obama””€who, to paraphrase poetry critic William Logan, never runs out of things to say, only things worth saying “”€ promised that his medical system would be a well-oiled machine much like the Mayo Clinic is. There, “€œexperts have figured out the most effective treatments and eliminated waste and unnecessary procedures,”€ preached the president.

Unlike Mephisto’s Medicare, the key to Mayo””€and many such private not-for-profits””€is not the all-knowing, demigod experts. Mayo clinic operates as smoothly as it does because it is a private clinic, where market forces and a mission combine to motivate dedicated entrepreneurs and professionals to minimize losses and maximize profits, so as to plow these back into an organization in which all are invested.

What’s the government’s mission? To keep Americans in the missionary position?


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