Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Missing Rush Limbaugh

I did a piece today for National Review Online, a political fantasy set in the future from the point of view of Bill Clinton. Figured we could all use a laugh. Here's a taste.

William Jefferson Clinton watched the two cheerleaders give him a manicure, and realized he missed Rush Limbaugh. The man was always good for a laugh, particularly when he played Hillary’s cackle over and over, or Farrakhan going off about the mothership. The reenactment of the Fairness Doctrine had closed down Rush, and the rest of the talkers who wouldn’t dance to the new tune. You could spin the dial for an hour and never hear anything that got your blood pumping.

He stared at cheerleaders, the white one sawing away at the nails on his left hand, the black one working on the left. Their tight sweaters said Ruth Bader Ginsberg High School, class of 2012. The Tennessee Education Commission had renamed the school two years ago, changed it from Ronald Reagan High and the locals still hadn’t gotten over it. Part of the reason he had been sent down here to Mecklenburg for the grin and grab. Tomorrow he hit two Baptist church pancake breakfasts, a Rotary luncheon, and a Boy Scout banquet that evening. There was an election in November and the party needed every vote to be counted.

The black cheerleader looked up as he started laughing. “You okay?”

“Just fine.”

(if you like the sample, read the rest)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

U.S. Navy Seal Michael Monsoor

Today, Petty Officer Second Class Michael Monsoor was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Ramadi, Iraq on September 29, 2006. The citation describing the events that led to his death include:

In the early afternoon (of September 29, 2006), enemy fighters attacked his position with automatic weapons fire from a moving vehicle. The SEALs fired back and stood their ground. Shortly thereafter, an enemy fighter shot a rocket-propelled grenade at his building. Though well-acquainted with enemy tactics in Ar Ramadi, and keenly aware that the enemy would continue to attack, the SEALs remained on the battlefield in order to carry out the mission of guarding the western flank of the main effort.

Due to expected enemy action, the officer in charge repositioned (PO2 Monsoor) with his automatic heavy machine gun in the direction of the enemy’s most likely avenue of approach. He placed him in a small, confined sniper hide-sight between two SEAL snipers on an outcropping of the roof, which allowed the three SEALs maximum coverage of the area. He was located closest to the egress route out of the sniper hide-sight watching for enemy activity through a tactical periscope over the parapet wall. While vigilantly watching for enemy activity, an enemy fighter hurled a hand grenade onto the roof from an unseen location. The grenade hit him in the chest and bounced onto the deck. He immediately leapt to his feet and yelled “grenade” to alert his teammates of impending danger, but they could not evacuate the sniper hide-sight in time to escape harm. Without hesitation and showing no regard for his own life, he threw himself onto the grenade, smothering it to protect his teammates who were lying in close proximity. The grenade detonated as he came down on top of it, mortally wounding him.

MA2 Monsoor is survived by his mother Sally, his father George, his sister Sara, and his two brothers James and Joseph.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Absolut Assassin

The ad for Absolut Vodka, supposedly directed at a Mexican audience, has caused a major hangover for the manufacturer. While the ad probably get the Absolut marketing department more tingly than Chris Mathews pasty thighs at an Obama speech, it turns out that gringos didn't really get the edgy frisson. And, since no one can tell the difference between one vodka and another after the first two shots... well Valu-Rite (hat tip to Ace) is a lot cheaper than Absolut and it only insults your liver.
I, of course, was stuck by the similarity in the pre-Zorro map Absolute used, and the map in SINS OF THE ASSASSIN, which shows North America 2040. The story arc of book 3 of the Assassin trilogy involves the growing expansionist demands of the Aztlan Empire, or, as Dr. Juan Hernandez, Hispanic outreach advisor to John McCaine would phrase it, "We are betting on the Mexican population within the United States will ... think of Mexico first. Third generation or seventh generation, I want every Mexican to think of Mexico first." Fun ensues. I need a drink.