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Battle Hymn of the Republic

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has always been a great admirer of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Your Maximum Leader suggests you read over those lyrics and think about them. Strong stong words.

Carry on.

David Frum on NRO

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader agrees with David Frum’s assessment of letting Bill Clinton speak at Reagan’s funeral. If Clinton wants to speak, your Maximum Leader thinks he should be allowed to. Alas, his speech would likely be the most moving, as he is the best speaker among our living ex-Presidents (and frankly, our President). If you want to read Frum’s assessment: David Frum’s Diary on National Review Online

Carry on.

Love Match for the Minister of Propaganda?

Idly clicking on our villainous profiles, I discovered that you can click on interests to see if anyone else has them in their profiles. Kind of neat.

First off, why am I the only one in the blogosphere who has “Mad Dog and Glory” in profile. You are all a bunch of philistines.

Secondly, I came across an interesting fact; all but one of the bloggers who like “Big Trouble in Little China” are men. Go figure. But one cool chick does list the Rob and I’s movie: Jess of The Lunchbox Assassin. And then I notice that she lives in Hollywood. The yentl in me is working overtime.

I just did a quick scan of her blog. She’s got some talent, has a theatre background, and, as an added bonus, throws in a visual reference to Lumbergh.

Heh. Go read, minions.

Update from your Maximum Leader: The Minister of Propaganda and the Foreign Minister really ought to complete their profiles… Hint. Hint.

Moe Reagan.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was blubbering like a woman yesterday evening. He sat in the Villainschloss watching his TV and was fine. Until Cheney’s speech. Why the hell did your Maximum Leader lose it during Cheney’s speech? How the hell can your Maximum Leader be moved to tears by Dick Cheney? Then when Mrs. Reagan patted the coffin, your Maximum Leader cried some more.

All your Maximum Leader can say is that President Bush’s speech is going to have to be damn good to beat Cheney’s.

Around 10:30 last night, Mrs. Villain asked your Maximum Leader how much longer he was going to watch C-Span’s coverage of people passing by Reagan’s coffin? His reply, when they stop broadcasting it.

Your Maximum Leader got more teary eyed when Margaret Thatcher came in to pay her respects to Reagan.

Does all this crying mean that your Maximum Leader has suddenly gotten in touch with his nurturing side? Churchill cried alot too, and he was no wussy…

Your Maximum Leader is going to leave a very pregnant Mrs. Villain and take his wounded leg (bad calf tear) and go to the Capitol this afternoon.

He only hopes he doesn’t cry.

Carry on.

Rachel Hunter, Aussie Tory?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, while never having had a “thing” for redheads; he does have a weakness for like-minded women. So when he read this he was intrigued. A redhead Aussie supermodel who seems to share some of your Maximum Leader’s political views! Grrr baby! Very grrr! (Too bad she can’t vote.)

Carry on.

Bidding you welcome…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader would like to visit the many new visitors who appear to be coming this site over the past few days. Your Maximum Leader is not sure if this is a factor of both your Maximum Leader and his Minister of Agriculture have been featured in posts recently by our favourite, Keith Burgess-Jackson. Did your Maximum Leader mention how much in awe of Dr. Burgess-Jackson he is? This man posts regularly to three blogs! Three! Stop the insanity.

Of course, you could be visiting because a number of sites have linked to your Maximum Leader’s recounting of his one minute with Ronald Reagan. (Thanks for reading it, but excuse the bad grammar in the title. Your Maximum Leader was going to fix it, but discovered that it was already linked on other sites, and changing the title would mess up the link.)

Anyway… Like Dracula, your Maximum Leader bids you welcome to his internet home. All he needs now is the sounds of the children of the night…

Carry on.

This Is When Being Organic Bites

This is what I am dealing with in my tomato and pepper plantings.

Seeds can lay dormant for sixty years. Roots twenty feet down.

Ugh.

Hand control.

Every day - the stuff grows at least six inches a day.

Mulching.

Mulching like a fiend.

Hey…

I know something the foreign minister can do when he gets back to the states.

Why lord? Why?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader hurt himself this morning. He did. Hurt himself really badly. You see, your Maximum Leader was sipping very hot tea when it happened. (Pride of the Port to be precise.) He was sipping this hot tea and was reading this. Then the tea spewed from his throat, through his nose (scalding his delicate nasal membranes) and onto his bare chest. The hot tea and mucus combined to make a sickly paste that got stuck in his chest hair. This required a shower. A long hot shower. A looooonnnggg HOT shower.

Thanks Anna. You’re the best.

Carry on.

Movie Studio President…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was entertaining the Villainettes this evening by explaining to them one of his favourite throw-away lines from a comedy film. The film was a Bill Murray/Dan Aykroyd masterpiece Ghostbusters. The line was: “Stop! Listen! Do you smell something?” Your Maximum Leader remembers laughing in the cinema at that one. The humour was lost on Villainette #2, but Villainette #1 (upon reflection) got it and thought it was “Silly funny maybe.”

Well… That little dinner-table activity got our Maximum Leader to think what he would do to “Ghostbusters” if he could. CGI. Great special effects. Your Maximum Leader would out-do Lucas. (Lucas… George Lucas… He added all that CGI to the first three movies and re-released them… Remember?)

Yes… When the MWO comes your Maximum Leader will call the Minister of Propaganda to the Villainschloss and order “Ghostbusters” be re-worked to include lots more and much better special effects. Other film projects of the MWO…

Remake Cleopatra. Only instead of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton. It would star Jennifer Love Hewitt and your Maximum Leader. And your Maximum Leader figures a budget of about $1,000,000,000 should be enough to shoot the movie as it was meant to be shot.

An epic based on the life of Sir Francis Dashwood. What!?!?! You’ve never heard of Sir Francis Dashwood. My… You have been very loosely educated. Your Maximum Leader will help you out. Click through here to read a quick biography. Sir Francis Dashwood figured promenently in your Maximum Leader’s senior thesis at college. And Sir Francis has ever since held a special place in your Maximum Leader’s small cold heart since then. How can you not like a man described as having the “staying power of a stallion and the impetuosity of a bull?” Really now… Those words could just have well been spoken about your Maximum Leader… But! Yes, a Francis Dashwood movie would definately be in the offing. Can’t think of the casting right now. But shall we say the various young women shall be quite delicious.

Your Maximum Leader would like to remake Gigli. Only instead of it taking place in the year 2000 it takes place in 1985. And instead of the Jennifer Lopez being a lesbian, she should be hetero. And instead of Ben Affleck being a sorta slow lowly thug named Larry, he should be a high ranking member of an Italian crime family named Charley. And he should be involved with the Don’s daughter, and then start to fall for Jennifer Lopez’s character, who should be Polish and not Puerto Rican. And they shouldn’t be thrown together on a kidnapping, but they should be thrown together because they are both hit-men. And frankly… The casting should be changed. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure that Lopez and Affleck are right for the roles. You need real actors. Hummm… The more your Maximum Leader thinks about it the more he sees no reason to remake Gigli.

Remake Flash Gordon. Really. the 1980 version sucked. Bad acting. Bad special effects. Bad script. Bad plot. Okay score (and song! “Flash! Aaaaah!”) And they had so much character/story material to work with! For the MWO version you have to make some changes. First off, you need a good plot idea. Humm… How about Flash tries to save the universe from the evil Ming the Merciless and get the girl, the lovely Dale Arden. But in the end, Ming kills Flash and weds the lovely Dale Arden. The dialogue and script/story doctoring could be a collaboration between Quentin Tarantino and David Mamet. As far as casting goes… Flash could be Tom Cruise. Dale Arden could be Jennifer Love Hewitt. And your Maximum Leader could be Ming the Merciless.

Those are just a few of the movie projects of the MWO…

Carry on.

Why is this not surprising…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was in the mood to take a silly test. And here are his results…

Take the Dead German Composer Test!

Not at all surprising. (And thanks to the Celebate for pointing out this test.)

Carry on.

Homeward bound…

I typed the subject line with the intention of letting my buds know that in a few days, my family begins the trek back to the good ol’ USA. Summer break is a wonderful thing!

But I wanted to say a few words about Ronald Reagan and I guess that the subject line fits with that too. I am not eloquent enough to express any memorable post that folks would link to but, the man meant a lot to me. I guess if one is to have a “first” president (the first President that you are politically aware of growing up) RR is about as good as you can get. My generation remembers what they were doing when Reagan was shot (at). I was on my way to Biology class in middle school. I remember the LANDSLIDE victories at election time. I remember how good he made it feel to be an American. It was like having your own Grandfather be President.

I wish I had my picture taken with him too.

Vegetarianism….
I thought I had read on Burgess-J’s site that he was an ovo-lactic or that he ate chicken… can anyone confirm that?

Back to the trenches…. with Rest and Relaxation on the way

There He Goes Again…

No, this is not a paean to the late great Ronald Reagan. I’m referring to Analphilosopher, who claims to be a rigorous thinker, but appears to become addled when he posts on his twin hot button topics, conservatism and vegetarianism. He may reject organized religion and theism, but he certainly displays all the aspects of a born-again fanatic, eager to advance “orthodoxy” and demonize all opponents. As I have pointed out in previous posts, the good Burgess-Jackson’s analyses of political topic are so partisan as to be laughable (for instance, did you know that all liberals are power mad? That’s why I became a farmer - because that is a sure path to wealth and influence). He has posted some thoughtful stuff on animal rights in the past (check back to some of my earlier posts in which I acknowledge some of his strong points), but it appears that his tendency to grossly oversimplify and to paint the world as black and white has bled over into his thinking about vegetarianism, as shown by his latest post, Confusions and Fallacies About Animals Part 9.

Burgess-Jackson’s argument for vegetarianism rests on the concept that animals have rights and claims on our actions. When arguing in this realm, he makes a good point. His real problem is convincing people who do not believe that animals have the same rights as humans. In his latest in a series, he tries to appeal to those who are speciest and believe our only obligations are to other humans. To do so, he compromises his intellectual integrity and attempts to sway his readers with falsehoods.

To wit:

1. Meat-based agriculture is wasteful. “If we are to analyze the real efficiency of animals as food machines, . . . we must add in all grain and other food energy spent in rearing and maintaining breeding animals and all losses resulting from infertility and deaths. When these are figured in, only about 17 percent of the usable grain or food energy fed to a dairy herd is recovered in milk, and only about 6 percent of that fed to a beef herd is recovered in edible meat” (Jim Mason and Peter Singer, Animal Factories, rev. and updated ed. [New York: Harmony Books, 1990], 110 [endnote omitted]).

2. There are human beings throughout the world, including in the United States, who are starving to death or otherwise malnourished. I hope I don’t need to support this factual claim. If you doubt it, do some research.

Both statements are intentionally misleading.

Statement number one should read: INDUSTRIAL meat-based agriculture is wasteful. This is an important distinction. Other forms of meat-based agriculture convert non-edible grasses into products fit for human consumption and prevent erosion by replacing clean-cultivated grain monoculture with soil holding sod. The good professor is aware that not all agriculture is wasteful. He has published my description of eco-friendly farming in his own blog. But he purposefully leaves that important “industrial” qualifier out because he is not really concerned about hunger or the environment vv he wants to make people vegetarians. As a point of fact, spreading vegetarianism to third world countries, which rely much more heavily on grazing marginal lands unsuitable for crop production, would lead to both more hunger and increase erosion as people desperately tried to grow more food through slash and burn agriculture and breaking hillside sod.

As a side note: When checking out the propaganda of animal rights organizations, watch how often they conflate industrial farming with all farming. Sensible people are alarmed by the conditions in veal barns and feedyards. The animal-rights folks don’t mention more humane farming methods because they want the public to believe that there is only a black and white choice: cruelty or vegetarianism. To his credit, Analphilosopher published my letter describing humane farming. He later attacked my position, but to do so he had to fall back on the animals = humans argument, which simply doesn’t work for those of us who believe that people and animals are fundamentally different. Which brings us back to his attempt to persuade speciests that eating meat is bad for humans. Having dismantled his first point, let us move on to point two: hunger.

People are starving around the world. Analphilosopher would have his readers believe that if people just stopped feeding grain to cattle in feedlots (a practice I heartily condemn), all that grain would a) still be produced by farmers who no longer have a market incentive to produce the grain, b) would somehow magically be transported to the third world, and c) would magically be distributed to the hungry, skipping over all the political, social, and military hurdles that currently derail food aid programs.

A quick google search turns up a huge number of vegetarian sites that promote the myth of meat = hunger and meat = destruction of the environment. It’s vegetarian orthodoxy. If a college student gave me a pamphlet and tried to proselytize me on the subject, I’d be likely to smile indulgently. I’d probably be more polite to the “Veggianity” nuts than the Chomsky-addled lunatics one often finds on campus.

But Burgess-Jackson disappoints me. He’s a smart guy. I enjoy his blog. I just wish he would apply his philosophical analysis to his own religious dogma.

For further bashing of the meat = hunger meme, please see my “Fisking the Tofu Mystics” post.

More Reagan Obits.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader would like say a few more words about President Reaan and his legacy, and then do a link dump of sorts.

First off, your Maximum Leader thinks the generally favourable news coverage is a positive sign. Although you certainly can tell the bias in Fox and CNN. Fox coverage, if you Maximum Leader may steal a line from someone on National Review Online, is more like an Irish wake. Coverage on CNN is more like a news story that must be handled carefully. The CNN people must feel it is encumbent on them to say one bad thing about Reagan for every good thing anyone says. Be that as it may…

Your Maximum Leader read over the AirMarshal’s post. Your Maximum Leader will agree that there has been a tendency among some Republicans to want to name too much stuff after Reagan. But, your Maximum Leader understands why this tendency exists. We Americans don’t have much of a historical memory. And naming a school, or a building, after someone may result in some person down the line asking themselves “Who was this person, Ronald Reagan? And why is my school named after him?” And if they try to find out more about the person, they may be inspired. Reagan’s life and work can be a powerful inspiration to so many people in the future. In your Maximum Leader’s opinion, the most fitting monument to Reagan is the USS Ronald Reagan.

Also in the AirMarshal’s post is some important references to Iran-Contra. While your Maximum Leader agrees that this scandal was of tremendous importance, Reagan was not directly involved. Your Maximum Leader believes it was the grouping of McFarlane and Pointdexter (aided by Oliver North) who really thought up the plan and saw it was carried out. The AirMarshal says this shows that Reagan had lost control of his White House. To some extent this may be true, there were key personnel changes in the White House around the time the whole scheme was started. That cannot be overlooked as a contributing factor. Reagan relied on a core group of people to execute his ideas. That mode of management failed him in this instance. Had Reagan been a more detail-oriented President (like Jimmy Carter perhaps), Iran-Contra would likely never had occured. But then again, neither would he have won the Cold War.

Reagan was not a particularly detail-oriented president. Which is a characteristic shared by many great presidents. As Isaiah Berlin wrote, men come in two types foxes and hedgehogs. Foxes are smart and cleaver and know much about a great many things. Hedgehogs on the other hand, know one big thing. Reagan was a hedgehog. But the one big thing he knew (that the US was good and must use its power to spread good throughout the world) was not simplistically arrived upon. Reagan was a smart man. Read the recent books by Kiron Skinner and Martin & Annalise Anderson and you can descern for yourself that Reagan was a well-read and very thoughtful man who understood the complexities of many issues. But he didn’t get bogged down in those complexities.

Like winning the Cold War for example. Many have said that he didn’t have a plan for winning the Cold War. Your Maximum Leader believes this is patently wrong. The plan was simple. Increase defence spending. Be aggressive in confronting the Soviets diplomatically and through surrogates. Don’t let up on the Soviets, keep them under contant pressure, and their system will collapse. That was the plan. The fact that it was simple and widely regarded as stupidly naive doesn’t change the fact that the plan worked. Yes winning the Cold War increased the deficits. But, deficits can be managed. (As they were briefly in the late 1990s. And can be again if either political party stifens up the sinews and goes to it.) And the deficit was a small price to pay for the defeat ofthe communist system.

As for your Maximum Leader’s own thoughts on Reagan’s legacy. He was one of our greatest leaders. He restored our basic belief in ourselves. He changed the political dialogue in Washington forever. (You don’t hear anyone - except the Minister of Agriculture and we can ignore him - talking about bringing back 60% marginal tax rates for example.) He mastered the power of speaking to the American people and thereby motivating them to get behind him in whatever he set off to accomplish. He won the Cold War. And throughout it all he kept true to his core beliefs.

So far the best obituary your Maximum Leader has read is Lou Cannon’s at the Washington Post. (Also check out Cannon’s excellent books on Reagan.)

Of course, National Review has a series of good articles. The best are here, here, and here. As more of the regular contributors to National Review add their own writings, your Maximum Leader will commend them to you as he sees fit.

Richard Perle’s comments in the Daily Telegraph are quite good in explaining how Reagan dealth with the Soviets.

The Times of India sheds some light on US/India Relations during the Reagan Administration.

From the Blogosphere…

Charles at Little Green Footballs writes something with which your Maximum Leader completely agrees.

Pejman Yousefzadeh writes an excellent memorial. Two in fact.

Skippy’s comments on Reagan’s passing are, as are so many of his political comments, quite insightful.

Bill Whittle is short and heartfelt.

A Small Victory is very good.

Tacitus is particularly good as well.

The Commissar also has a good roundup of blogs on Reagan.

Your Maximum Leader just listened to the funeral arrangements. He will try to get to the US Capitol to pay his respects.

Carry on.

Disjointed Reagan thoughts

First of all, I was a Reagan youth during his first term, along with Max here. I was 11 when Reagan was inaugurated. I remember the fuel lines of the late 70s, the hostage crisis in Iran, and the sense that I lived in a once great nation that had lost its way. I was comming to really gain an appreciation of American history, and understand true evil in historical terms such as the Holocaust and the like.

Why I personally became enamored with Reagan as a president is that he restored the sense of good and evil to my universe. America was good. We stood for principles that rang true. People would die to escape from Soviet opression and people would die for a chance to live in America. That said everything.

Where I differ from MaxLead is my take on Reagan’s second term. I remember being glued to the television during the Iran Contra hearings. That scandal shed light on how the Executive branch truly functions, although we never really learned everything. I still believe that of the three major scandals in the past 35 years, Iran Contra is the least understood and the most significant. Watergate and BlowJobGate ultimatly were reflections on personal corruption. Iran Contra represented Policy corruption at the highest level. It bothers me more than either of the other two scandals.

We were dealing with terrorists, ransoming hostages with weapons, sponsoring opium trade, dealing with “evil” governments and all in order to finance the war against Communism. I firmly believe that it is the ultimate hypocrisy to sacrifice ones principles in a war of ideology. If you are willing to kill (and in theory, to die) for what you believe, then in sacrificing those principles to ahieve victory, what have you really achieved. You have become something where those principles are meaningless. It was a hallmark of military intervention in the Cold War era unfortunately.

At the very least, Reagan had lost control of his White House. The potential that he was involved is also very real. We have never found out. I am extremely skeptical that a Marine O-5 had as much authority or power as Ollie North seemed to have. I firmly belive he was a willing scapegoat. The fact that he became a hero to so many is one of the more disturbing aspects of 90s polititics to me.

Reagan also reflects the loss in direction of the mid to late 90s GOP to me. In lieu of leadership during the Clinton Administration, the GOP seemed to want to name every other building in DC “the Ronald Reagan Memorial ….” Just look at National Airport.

Reagan was the first President to truly master the Soundbyte. From “There you go again” to “Honey I forgot to duck”, one could always come away from a Reagan speech or press conference with memorable quotes, and they stick, even out of context. He was a master of the televised speach (something that Dubya should return to) and RR was a true master of the press conference.

Reagan was also the last president we had with a true vision for America. Senior Bush never really knew what he wanted to do, and I agree with MaxLead in his assessment of Clinton as a smart man with no principles/vision. Dubya’s administration has a vision, but they aren’t honest about it. Reagan knew where he wanted America to go, and he told us, and he took us there.

Reagan also really did win the Cold War. I’m not convinced that he meant for it to end the way it did. Revisionist history is painting him as a genious who sought to break the back of the Soviet Union, and maybe he was. I’m not sold. But the military buildup of the 80s was good for us, and bad for them, and that’s how we won in the end. So he deserves major kudos for that.

Ultimately I have two memories of Reagan that define him for me.

First was the “there you go again” debate with Carter. Reagan was the consumate smartass who could through a quip out there. The substance of what Reagan and Carter were saying was irrelevant. Reagan disarmed Carter with one line. Not sure if that’s good or bad. I remember watching this at a boy scout meeting oddly enough. Two older scouts got into an argument about that. One was delighted at the tremendous burn on Carter. The other was frustrated because “He (Reaga) didn’t _SAY_ anything.”

Second, I remember the pressconference that ended with Reagan retreating down a hallway and Helen Thomas yelling out to him “did they decieve you Mr. President?” as Reagan looked lost and defeated and scared. It was a sad moment for me. That was the moment for me when it became obvious that the Reagan vision had been lost in the muddle of corrupt policies.

Reagan ultimately was a great and influential president. He impacted and directed great events throughout the globe. I think his legacy is inflated by his political achievements and his mastery of the media of his day. And we’re about to be flooded by sentimental nostalgia. Be prepared for even more buildings named after him.

Ultimately, I think the book is still open on Reagan’s legacy. in terms of his impact on the world, we know what he did. He helped break the Soviet Empire. Unfortunatly his successors absolutely botched the resulting chaos, but that’s not a mark against Reagan. His political legacy is more murky. I’m still not sure what the result of that is. The cannonization of him by the GOP in the last decade of his life was troubling to me.

Me and Ronald Reagan

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wanted to take a moment to remember Ronald Wilson Reagan.

I identify with Reagan personally. He is one of four US Presidents that I have met personally. (Nixon, Ford, and Bush the Elder are the other three.) My personal political philosophy was shaped by Ronald Reagan. I came of age, at least politically, during Reagan’s presidency. I remember getting off school for his first inaugural. I remember planning to go into DC to see the second inaugural; but in the end having to stay home because it was too cold and the ceremony was moved indoors and the parades cancelled.

I remember my excitement at becoming an intern for the Republican National Committee dring the last two summers of Reagan’s administration. During that time, I had the chance to see Reagan a few times on the south lawn of the White House. Whenever the President was going to be helicoptering away, or receiving official visitors, we would get a call to send down the people at the RNC for a nice crowd.

But my favourite memory of Ronald Reagan was when I got to meet him for a photo. It was in October 1988. Reagan was returning from a trip to Europe where he visited Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev. Upon arriving at Andrews he flew back to the White House, and then was motorcaded to the JW Marriott hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue for a fundraising dinner.

I was working (in my intern capacity) at that fundraiser. (For the Republican Governors Association.) My boss, the lovely Michele Davis, came up to me before the dinner began to give me my assignments for the night. After telling me what I had to do, she told me that I would get to meet the President and have my photo taken.

I was ecstatic. I could hardly believe my luck. I remember what happened almost exactly.

I went into the receiving room with the other people (all VIPs). I positioned myself in line so I would get a photo early, but not too early (since the VIPs all paid for their photos).

I was wearing my black suit, and a pink tie. (Pink was the power tie colour that year.) I was standing in line when “Hail to the Chief” was played and Reagan entered the room from behind the blue curtain. He was introduced by Governor Mike Castle of Delaware (now Congressman Mike Castle of Delaware). The President made a few quick remarks about his trip to Europe and his talks with Gorbachev.

Then the photo ops began. I patiently waited. Moving ahead slowly and thinking of what I was going to say when it was my turn.

When I was next in line, I stepped up to the velvet rope. A White House advance man looked at me as I was looking up and trying to judge my distance from the President. (Which I judged to be about 15 feet.) The advance man spoke to me in a muted, but emphatic, voice, “What do you think you’re about to do young man?”

“Wuh?”

“You’re about to meet the President of the United States. And look at you! Stand up straight.”

“Uh, yeah…” I said suddenly worried about everything about my appearance.

He then added, “Fix your tie for God’s sake. Button your jacket. What is wrong with your hair?”

“My hair?” I thought I had put mousse or spray or something in it to keep it in place. I busily buttoned my jacket, adjusted my tie, and tried to feel if my hair was in place. While I worried horribly about myself the advance man, unbeknownst to me, had unfastened the velvet rope and was moving from a position right in front of me to a position on my left.

He said to me, “Okay, it’s your turn. Walk up to the President. Stand on the tape. Shake hands. Look where he looks. You’ve got 1 minute.” Then the advance man took a small step behind me; and he patted me on the ass to move me forward.

I remembered the tape. I lowered my eyes and walked forward. I searched the floor for tape. I saw an “X” made of masking tape on the floor. On the tape was written the letters V-I-P. I stood on the tape. I looked up. And there was Ronald Reagan.

I extended my hand. He took my hand. I remember it feeling warm, dry, and sort of fleshy. He didn’t grasp too hard. It was a polite just-right-firmness handshake. I spoke, “Hello Mr. President. I’m Mike W… I am an intern with the Governor’s Association. I’m a real great admirer.”

Reagan said, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mike.”

I added, “I’m also a college student at Longwood College in Virginia. You have a lot of supporters at the school, and all over central Virginia.”

Reagan smiled and said, “That’s good to know. So what do you want to do after college Mike?”

“Well,” I said. “I think I might go to law school. And then get more involved in politics. I might run for office some day.”

“Well, Mike,” said the President. “This nation needs more fine young men like you.”Never were more simple and inspiring and kind words ever said to me.

Then Reagan turned his head slightly. I did the same. I saw the photographer standing there getting everything read. Reagan might have said, “Smile now.”

I did smile then. The most silly stupid what-the-hell-is-happening-to-me-as-I-am-meeting-my-hero-Ronald-Reagan smile. The camera went up and the flash exploded. I felt Reagan’s hand on mine begin to loosen its grip. My moment was ending.

“It was good to meet you, Mike.” Said Reagan as his hand dropped to his side.

“It was my pleasure to meet you Mr. President.”

“Good luck in the future.”

“The same to you Mr. President.”

Then I walked slowly past him. And my one minute with Ronald Reagan was over.

I still think of Reagan as one of my personal heroes. He was a great man who did great things for our nation. He is on my personal list of the greatest presidents in our history. I firmly believe that Ronald Reagan permanently changed American politics. And the change was for the better. He may also be the last real ideologue to be elected to our highest office. None of the men who have followed him have been ideological in the same way Reagan was. And given the nature of our news cycle and ever growing campaign seasons, we likely will never see another quite like him.

Years later I visited the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. At first I wondered why it was located where it was. It seemed a long way away from LA. And it was sort of difficult to get to. When I got out of my car and walked around the grounds and saw the view I realized why it was placed there. I saw the site that will soon be Reagan’s grave. It has a great view of the mountains and the Pacific. It is a good place to be buried.

Thanks for everything Mr. President. A grateful nation hopes you reside now with your creator in heaven. From there you can keep watch over all of us still here in the shining city on the hill.

Your Maximum Leader and the President

Godspeed.

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