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WSC

Greetings, loyal minions.

REMEMBER WINSTON CHURCHILL

Born this day in 1874.

Carry on.

The Perfect Man

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees on the news wire today that (so to be former) Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) is going to pass on running for President in 2008. He says he’ll return to his medical practice.

Your Maximum Leader can’t say as though he is crying bitter tears of disappointment at this little bit of news. Indeed, he hardly cares. You see, your Maximum Leader was pretty damned confident that if Frist has decided to stay in the race he would have been so badly shellaced by the time the primaries ended in New Hampshire that Senator Frist would be running home to Tennessee (and his millions) like a spanked schoolgirl.

As you can tell, your Maximum Leader was not a big Bill Frist fan…

Indeed, your Maximum Leader had gone on the record (no not accessible because your Maximum Leader hasn’t figured out how to unlock his archives) as saying that the most difficult choices in a 2008 Presidential contest (for him at least) would have been an Allen (R-VA) vs. Warner (D-VA) one. Well… That isn’t going to happen. George Allen has (regrettably) been sent back to Albemarle (from whence he hailed in VA) by voters who didn’t care for his cowboy boots, chew, and support of President Bush. (And, as Chris Matthews and others remind us, there was that whole “word” thingie.) Mark Warner woke up one day and realized that he didn’t want to subject himself, his family, his friends, his pets, and his bank account to try and climb the greasiest pole of American politics. So, an all Virginia contest isn’t going to happen.

All in all, your Maximum Leader isn’t (yet at least) excited by anyone who is looking to run for President in 2008. Frankly, he would commend himself to some sort of professional help if he was all that excited about someone. It is, afterall, only November of 2006. We have a full year for people to start running. Then another year of primaries and conventions culminating in the grand slugfest that is the presidential election. Why should your Maximum Leader be excited now. He worked up a little anticipation over his hypothetical “all Virginia” contest; and look where it got him. Nowhere!

So… If you Maximum Leader were drawing up a “perfect” presidential candidate what would that candidate by like… Let’s imagine…

1) On Iraq. The perfect candidate would say to people “Look, we can bicker all we want about how we got where we are. None of that helps advance our national interests or brings one American back to his family. So everyone can just shut their friggin pie-holes with all the ‘who decieved who’ and ‘was it worh it’ crap.” Then after the various pundits and talking heads finished lifting their chins off the floor the perfect candidate would say, “We’re going to finish this thing the only way possible. We are going to force the issue with the Iraqis themselves. If they can’t live together in a unified Iraq; then they are going to have to divide up the country. Shia get a part. Kurds get a part. Sunnis get a part. We’ll help you make a time table and start to draw the lines of debarcation. If the Sunnis get no oil. Boo hoo. Too bad. Serves you right for supporting Saddam all those decades. Get your co-religionist friends to help you out. Once you’re all divided up and fully armed. Well… We’re outta there.”

Of course, the perfect candidate doesn’t actually have to have the plan articulated above. But the candidate must speak plainly and clearly. Let people know what is going on in his mind and what will be the course of action.

1b) The Global War on Terror. The perfect candidate would say, “Listen up out there. I’ve got no problem with beefing up our special forces and the CIA and all the other secret groups that go out and find terrorists where ever they are. I’ve also got no problem with when our people find a terrorist we kill them. Figure one shot. One head shot. Front or back - it don’t make no difference to the bullet. We’ll hunt you down. We’ll bribe your governments. We’ll bug your houses, internets, and places of worship. We’ll come after you every way possible. And when we find you we’ll bring you to justice. It just so happens that the only justice we seem to have handy now comes on the receiving end of a .45 slug. Sorry ’bout that.”

2) Taxes. The perfect candidate will say that a flat-tax on income will be a focus of their administration. The pretty good candidate might actually say we need to simplify the tax code and make sure that everyone pays something; even if it is only $100. Everyone pays taxes. A simplified tax code would be somewhat progresive. This is to say that for people earning under $25,000/annum the rate might be 1%. For the $25,001 to $50,000 range the rate is 10%. For $50,001 to $100,000 the rate is 15%. And over $100,000 the rate caps at 20%. That is it. End of story. Now your Maximum Leader didn’t actually research these figures - he just made them up. But he likes the idea in general. In fact he would prefer a true flat tax for everyone. The last revenue neutral number he seems to remember reading about was something like 17%. But he doesn’t care if the tax plan is revenue neutral. In fact he’d prefer it wasn’t. He’d prefer if it was revenue negative. Which leads to…

3) Fiscal Discipline. The perfect candidate will be a “fiscal conservative.” Much to your Maximum Leader’s chagrin (and Ronald Reagan’s) the time from the 1980s through the present day show that revenue reductions to the Federal Government are in no way connected to the amount of money the Congress chooses to spend. We’ve all heard of earmarks and every other pork project under the sun. The perfect candidate will work towards a line-item veto for the President or will work to stymie every single bill coming out of the Congress until our legislature can reform itself. If the perfect candidate isn’t willing to stymie every single bill coming out of the Congress, perhaps he could just start appointing Special Prosecutors to investigate every single financial “irregularity” of every single Congressman’s and Senator’s election committee. This latter course could serve many ends. It could cause many elected legislators to straighten up and fly right. It might cause many legislators to resign. It might convict and send to jail many legislators. And finally, it would employ lots and lots of lawyers - which would make the Lawyers Lobby happy.

Seriously, your Maximum Leader’s youthful dreams of seeing the Department of Education eliminated and replaced with block-grants to the states is never going to happen. But, if you look around you can cut spending. Every organization cn do it. It takes willpower. Willpower that must come from the top and pushed down everyone’s throat.

4) Social Security/Medicare. The perfect candidate would say “Lookit. We’ve got a huge crisis looming. But baby-boomers are too selfish to admit that they are going to bankrupt us all, and our children, and our children’s children because they want to retire at 65 and have it all paid for by the .7 workers for each retiree. We’ve got to seriously examine means-testing benefits. We’ve got to look at encouraging savings. We’ve got to seriously examine raising the retirement age. Oh yeah… By the way… “Seriously examine” is code for “change the way we do it now right away so we don’t wind up with some Chinese Communist owing our arse.”

Of course, that bit might be wishful thinking.

5) Guns. The perfect candidate will say every household should have at least one.

6) Abortion. The perfect candidate will say that the case law seems pretty settled on this. If the Supreme Court changes the case law, then it becomes a matter for state goverment and he’d suggest you deal with it there.

7) Flag burning. The perfect candidate will laugh at the commentator who asks what his position is on a flag burning amendment. His only comment will be “Whoa! Stop it. You’re killin’ me over here with all that crazy talk. Whew! I was afraid we’d talk about real issues here tonight! I should have worked on my stand up routine ’cause you are really warming up the crowd for me…”

The perfect candidate should just shad’dap about other things. Focus on the big-ticket items and avoid the other ones. We get distracted by bickering on minutae. Focus on the big items - or just a big item frankly - and put the others aside until you’ve reached the first goal.

You’re Maximum Leader would like to see a fiscally conservative, fairly-hawkish on National Security, slightly right-of-center on the social issues candidate run. He’s not sure that there is such a beastie out there. But if there was he’d get your Maximum Leader’s vote.

Carry on.

RCBA - Vigee-LeBrun

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader got to thinking about art the other day while writing his Bond Girl post. Only, his mind wandered from the purient to the pure. Well, perhaps not to the pure, but certainly to “real” art.

Recently a friend of your Maximum Leader’s asked him the following question: “If you could have any work out of the National Gallery in Washington DC for your personal collection, which would you choose?”

Your Maximum Leader is very familiar with the public collection of the National Gallery in DC. He’s been visiting it since he was a young villain-in-training. And since he was young a particular portrait has stuck in his consciousness as his favorite. Surprisingly, it is not Ginevra Di Benci by Leonardo (which, if he remembers correctly, is the only Leonardo painting on permenent display in North America) or one of a number of excellent Rembrants, or even one of the Titians in the collection. (Doge Andrea Gritti is the best.) And as partial as your Maximum Leader is to El Greco (and he is partial to El Greco), it is not a Greco…

It would be “The Marquise de Pezé and the Marquise de Rouget with her sons” by Elizabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun.

Your Maxium Leader would wager you that you’ve never heard of the painting, or the artist. (Well… He takes that back. The readers of this site, to the extent that he’s gotten to know some of you, are a pretty smart set. So perhaps some of you have knowledge of Madame Vigée-LeBrun or the portrait specifically.) Because most of you probably are unfamiliar with it here is the painting.

Marquise de Peze and Marquise de Rouget
(You can clicky on the image to embiggen it…)

Your Maximum Leader couldn’t tell you why exactly. But this painting has been his favorite for many years. If his memory serves him, he first took note of it sometime in high school. Probably early high school. He was struck by the light playing off the Marquise de Pezé’s dress. He was also captivated by the Marquise de Rouget’s younger son looking out at you. Since then he has studied the painting many times. He’s shown it to friends and judged their reactions to it. (A sure sign that things weren’t going to work out with a girlfriend was when they didn’t really stop to study the painting at all - but instead looked longingly at your Maximum Leader…) When he took Villainette #1 through the National Gallery earlier this year, he pointed out the painting. Villainette #1 commented that it was ‘very big,’ ‘pretty,’ and ‘probably took a lot of time.’ (All accurate comments coming from a somewhat bored 8 year old girl. She was anxiously awaiting lunch at Clyde’s.)

It is really a pitty that the image your Maximum Leader has reproduced here is so low quality. The painting is not as dark as it would seem to be here. If you get a chance to go to the National Gallery you should visit it.*

There is only one other painting in the National Gallery of Art by Vigée-LeBrun. To be honest, the “Portrait of a Lady” doesn’t really thrill your Maximum Leader. And speaking very honestly, other than these two paintings, your Maximum Leader - normally a curious person about things that interest him - never thought to learn more about Elizabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun. He also doesn’t believe that he has ever seen another one of her paintings. (NB: There is a portrait of Marie Antoinette in the National Gallery of Art that is attributed to Vigée-LeBrun. But since it is only an attribution, your Maximum Leader figures there is some issue of provenance to contend with. Thus he isn’t really including it. But the painting is quite good. You can see it here.)

Well… Until today. When he was struck to write this piece, he decided to look up Madame Vigée-LeBrun on ye olde interweb. While reading over various mentions of her, he found a few self-portraits. Of those that he’s found this is his favorite.

Self Portrait of Elizabeth Vigee-LeBrun
(Like the other one, you can clicky to embiggen… And your Maximum Leader will opine for you all that Madame Vigée-LeBrun was quite a dish.)

It was on a link to a site (improbably named batguano.com) that your Maximum Leader first learned anything about Vigée-LeBrun. Well, anything beyond the years of her birth and death - which were displayed on the painting in the National Gallery. She lived a fascinating life. According to short biography of Vigée LeBrun by one Rich Carson, she didn’t apprentice under any other painter, she became friends with Marie Antoinette, was admitted to the Salon, fled the Revolution, eventually returned to France, and completed her memoirs shortly before her 1842 death.

If you would like to see moe of Vigée-LeBrun’s work you can peruse the extensive collection of images on the batguano site. (Be careful of that link - lots of images to load…) Or you could go to the Web Gallery of Art and see their collection. (Which generally has better quality images.) You could also visit the National Gallery of Art site to see their pages on her work.

Carry on.
(more…)

Denarii/Denarius

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader learnt himself something today thanks to the glories of Albert Gore’s agical interwebs…

For many years your Maximum Leader has known that the ancient unit of currency known as a “denar” was of Macedonian origin. The “denar” (which your Maximum Leader has sometimes seen rendered as “dinar”) was a silver coin and was the basis of Macedonian currency.

The “denar” was often used with other “denar” and the plural “denarii” is the more common word in English. Not that the word is all that common; rarely do Americans (or other Anglophones) go talking to one another about being short a few “denarii” this week. Unless, of course, you are the sainted mother of your Maximum Leader. In which case she liberally sprinkles the word into conversation about money and the cost of things. (ie: “That antique tea service in the drawing room but me back a few denarii.” or - your Maximum Leader’s favourite - “How nice of you to telephone. You must be short a few denarii and are grovelling for a loan.” NB: Your Maximum Leader hasn’t called his sainted mother for a loan for quite a while… A long while at that…)

Anyhoo…

All that stuff is knowledge that your Maximum Leader already knew. What he learned today was that in Roman times the latinized “denarius” had become the norm for referring to multiple “denar.” What he also learned today is that the exchange rate used to set the value of “denarius” was the price of purchasing ten donkey’s. Some etymologists actually suggest that the latin word “denarius” is less related to the older greek “denarii” but more related to the value of a Roman coin that could be used to purchase ten donkey’s or “asses.”

Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure he buys all that, but it is interesting enough to make a blog post out of.*

Carry on.
(more…)

Puella Bondus for the RCBA

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has decided that he isn’t finished talking about James Bond.

More specifically, he is almost finished talking (writing?) about James Bond, but has not yet begun to discuss that equisite sub-species of humanity known as the “Bond Girl” (latin: Puella Bondus - NB: your Maximum Leader’s Latin is very sketchy at this point so he will welcome any helpful hints on the whole genus/species naming conventions.)

As for the discussion of Commander Bond himself, your Maximum Leader was going to point out one little problem with Casino Royale that did have to do with James Bond’s pedigree. That issue has been taken up by our good friend Wing Commander Seal. So, go visit Mr. Seal and read up on the biography of Commander Bond.

Then, there was Mr. Elk, who linked a site which asked “Who is your favourite Bond Girl?” It was that post that was the inspiration for this little missive by your Maximum Leader.

You see, your Maximum Leader is partial to a great many Bond Girls. Something he’s learned about himself by thinking of this post is that he likes a great many Bond Girls who hail (by birth at least) from France. The again confirms your Maximum Leader’s belief that he loves a great many things French, but is not at all partial to France’s Government.*

Anyhoo…

Allow us to move along here and go over your Maximum Leader’s favourite “Bond Girls.”

1) Carole Bouquet (For Your Eyes Only)

Carole Bouquet
Your Maximum Leader will give his number one vote to Carole Bouquet. Ms. Bouquet is now Mrs. Gerard Depardieu (if what your Maximum Leader reads is correct.) That saddens your Maximum Leader greatly. For your Maximum Leader, while no Sean Connery - or frankly even Sean Astin, is a better looking man than Gerard Depardieu. Of course, your Maximum Leader is not as good an actor as M. Depardieu. Indeed, your Maximum Leader’s only film/stage role worth noting was as Prince Geoffrey in “The Lion in Winter.” But if Ms. Bouquet was looking for someone she could have, at least, rung up your Maximum Leader to see if he was available.

Now, your Maximum Leader will completely agree with Mrs P that if Ms. Bouquet had spent more time working on acting and less time working on how to stare, she might be a more memorable Bond Girl. Your Maximum Leader chalks up Ms. Bouquet’s lack of acting ability to the fact that she is really just a model. In fact, at the time she was selected for the role she was, if your Maximum Leader remembers, the “face” of Clinique Cosmetics. Now, you are probably wondering why, if she wasn’t all that good an actress why on earth would your Maximum Leader choose her as his all time favourite Bond Girl? Why for looks of course.

Allow your Maximum Leader to write plainly here. These ranking are, solely, a beauty contest. He’s not making any judgements about which Bond Girl is a better actress, or delivered her lines better, or any other such thing. This is purely a list of how good-looking a particular actress was at the time they starred in a Bond flick. Your Maximum Leader’s personal taste being the only judging criteria.

2) Halle Berry (Die Another Day)

Halle Berry
Frankly, Halle Berry is one of the most stunningly beautiful women on the face of the Earth. As it turns out, she can - more or less - act as well. Witness her winning an Oscar for that film she did will Billy Bob Thornton. Of course, some might go so far as to say that she won the Oscar because she filmed a sex scene with the aforementioned Mr. Thornton and acted as though she enjoyed it. No small feat that was. So, Halle Berry makes the list. For the sake of full disclosure, your Maximum Leader must once again admit that he has not even watched “Die Another Day.” So he cannot comment on he character portrayal in the movie at all.

3) Daniela Bianchi (From Russia With Love)

Daniela Bianchi
As your Maximum Leader has already noted, “From Russia With Love” is his favourite Bond movie. For a while your Maximum Leader’s adolecent days were filled visions of Daniela Bianchi which he lustfully memorized from a Betamax copy of the film he watched repeatedly. While your Maximum Leader has not really favoured blondes, he will make a noteworthy exception for Ms. Bianchi.

4) Sophie Marceau (The World is Not Enough)

Sophie Marceau
Another French woman, the second of this list, Sophie Marceau comes in at number four on your Maximum Leader’s list of Bond Girls. Of course, your Maximum Leader also liked her in “Braveheart” and “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.” (NB: That film was particularly poorly done in your Maximum Leader’s opinion, but Ms. Marceau was good as Hyppolita. Mrs. Villain liked her in a version of “Anna Karenina” we watched on PBS once. Your Maximum Leader didn’t like the production much, but now can visualize Sophie Marceau as Anna…)

5) Claudine Auger (Thunderball)

Claudine Auger
Yet another French woman on the list. Claudine Auger played Domino in Thunderball. Her portrayal of the character was far better than that of Kim Basinger in “Never Say Never Again.” You will recall that “Never Say Never Again” was the not-Bond-film. Due to that dispute over who owned the rights to “Thunderball” some schmoe was allowed partial ownership of the story and promptly took advantage of the ruling to get Sean Connery out of retirement for one more stab at the role of 007. All in all it is a fine film, but in the end, your Maximum Leader prefers the original. And prefers Claudine to the “other” Domino.

6) Ursula Andress (Dr No)

Ursula Andress
Your Maximum Leader was, like so many countless men out there, titilated the moment Ursula Andress came out of the ocean in that white bikini in “Dr No.” The fact that she also was wearing a knife made he seem just a little dangerous on top of being sexy. (NB to female readers: Sexy + Dangerous = Irresistable) Ms Andress is Swiss, from Bern, which makes her a Francophone - in as much as most Swiss are tri-lingual - and she lived for a time in Paris. Your Maximum Leader wonders if this makes her at least partially French?

7) Famke Janssen (Goldeneye)

Famke Janssen
Famke Janssen is the second of two Bond Girl villains on the list (the first being Sophie Marceau). Xenia Onatopp is a parody of the sexy villain - really now screwing your targets to death? - in Bond films. But she pulled it off well. Ms Janssen is quite sexy in fact. Her turns in the X-Men movies have, no doubt, endeared her to millions of young men. (Humm… She and Halle Berry both in X-Men movies? Bond Girl as stepping stone to comic book adaptation blockbuster?) Your Maximum Leader will admit that his favourite Janssen role happens to be her portrayal of Kamala in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode entitled “The Perfect Mate.”
8) Eva Green (Casino Royale)

Eva Green
Another French woman. Your Maximum Leader will admit that he thought Eva Green was English or American affecting a British accent. As it turns out her last name is “Green” pronounced “Gren.” Miss. Green’s turn as Vesper Lynd is quite good. She has an actual dramatic range that is evident in the film. Your Maximum Leader didn’t recognize her from the only other role he’s seen her play, that of the Princess in “Kingdom of Heaven” - which was a very disappointing film all in all. He’s read that Miss Green’s role in Bertolucci’s “The Dreamers” drew oohs and aahs from hormonally normal men for her full frontal nude scenes. Perhaps that will be a rental someday…

9) Michelle Yeoh (Tomorrow Never Dies)

michelle yeoh
Your Maximum Leader has always thought of Michelle Yeoh as a particularly sexy woman. He can’t recall the first time he saw her in a film, but he thinks it was some martial arts movie recommended to him by his best friend Kevin, the Big Hominid. Most people recall her from “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” - which itself is a fine film and worthy of a recommendation.

10) Corrine Clery (Moonraker)

Corinne Clery
The fifth and final French woman on the list. Corinne Clery was one of those minor Bond women who end badly. If you recall her role at all (and frankly there is no reason you should), she played a helicopter pilot who was torn apart by dogs in “Moonraker.” As your Maximum Leader has already gone on the record stating that “Moonraker” is the absolute nadir of the whole Bond franchise, it is rather ironic that even one thing about the film should be included in a “best of Bond” list. Corinne Clery is good looking enough to make the list.

So there you have it. Your Maximum Leader’s list of his top ten favourite Bond Girls… Oh… The title of this post mentions the RCBA… As we all know your Maximum Leader (a nominal Catholic at best - although he’s found himself going to Mass recently) is fond of the study of beauty. Film-making is an “art.” You do the math…

Oh yes… There if your Maximum Leader could make one request of the producers of the next Bond film… It would be to consider the dreamy Jennifer Love Hewitt as a Bond Girl. It would do your Maximum Leader’s heart good…

Carry on.
(more…)

The AK-47

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader hopes that you all had a very good Thanksgiving. Your Maximum Leader certainly did. He spent it with family at his brother-in-law’s beach house in Ocean City, MD. Wednesday and Thursday were not good from a weather perspective - as there was a horrible howling storm most of the time, but company made up for the clouds and rain. Your Maximum Leader and his family returned to the Villainschloss yesterday. The drive back was not too fun as the traffic, which was light for a considerable period, became very dense and difficult. A portion of the drive that would ordinarially take about 45 minutes took about 2 hours to complete.

Today, your Maximum Leader is laid up with a terriffic headache. He is not sure the cause, but it seems as though repeated doses of Excedrin (taken since this morning) are beginning to do the trick. Your Maximum Leader is now feeling barely human.

Many of you know that your Maximum Leader is something of a gun nut. Not a Kim Du Toit type of gun nut - his tastes in firearms are much more catholic than your Maximum Leader’s. Your Maximum Leader’s taste in firearms leans towards the historical. He has a fine collection of British Enfield rifles spanning the period from WWI through the end of WWII. He has a Webley Service revolver as well. He also is fond of an East German Makarov pistol he has. All these weapons have some sort of historical significance to your Maximum Leader.

One weapon of global historical significance that your Maximum Leader does not own, but would like to, is a Russian-made AK-47. Your Maximum Leader has always thought that the AK-47 was the most significant firearm every devised. Owning one would seem like a reasonable addition to his collection.

In case you missed it, the Washington Post as a very well written peice about the AK-47 published today. The full article is here.

The most interesting factoid, heretofore unknown to your Maximum Leader, from the piece is that Hugo Chavez is now building an AK-47 factory in Venezuela. Yet another reason to dislike him…

Carry on.

Busy, Quiberon Bay & Holidays

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is up to is eyeballs in stuff that is keeping him away from the blog. At some point here he needs to re-evaluate his self-imposed posting schedule. He continues to feel as though he should post (something) daily. But that is becoming harder and harder to do. He’ll use some time during the holidays to think about his bloging nature.

Hey! Did your Maximum Leader beat out Robbo by reminding readers that today is the anniversary of the Battle of Quiberon Bay? Did you Maximum Leader make a Royal Navy Geekery (tm - Llamabutchers) observation before Robbo? Woo hoo!

For more information about the Battle of Quiberon Bay (1759) you can clicky here to read up about it on Wiki.

Your Maximum Leader also owns the URL Quiberonbay.com. But he’s never done anything with it. Perhaps he should start a group blog dedicated to Royal Navy Geekery!

On the off chance that your Maximum Leader decides not to attempt to post again this week, he will wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and remind you that the first Thanksgiving was not in Plymouth, MA but at Berkeley’s Hundred in Virginia in 1619.

Your Maximum Leader will be travelling to see family over the holiday. He will leave on Wednesday and return on Sunday. While seeing family is nice and all, it will keep him away from his computer and the chance to play Medieval II: Total War, which he purchased last week. (Which he and the Smallholder played to the disappointment of our families.)

The indignities your Maximum Leader suffers… Socializing with family when he could be selfishly playing computer games…

Carry on.

Milton Friedman - RIP

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is sure that by now you have heard the news. Milton Friedman, a powerful advocate of liberty, has died. He was 94.

The Washington Post has a good obituary.

May he rest in peace. May his wife Rose also find solace in his memory and the knowledge that he changed the world for the better.

Carry on.

Bipartisan Commissions

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, like many of you he’s sure, has been thinking about the impending report of the “Baker Commission.”

Surely you’ve heard of it? The bipartisan commission (appointed by Congress) that is supposed to “solve” the whole question of “what do we do now in Iraq?” If you’ve not heard of it you are willfully ignoring the news or just plain ole stupid.

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader’s thoughts on the Baker Commission are mixed. On the one hand, he feels that the Bush Administration has completely lost its way on Iraq and just doesn’t have a clue what to do now. Frankly, no one has put forward anything remotely resembling a clue about what to do in Iraq now. (Except for John McCain and John Murtha. The former wants more troops sent to Iraq; the latter to withdraw all troops from Iraq.) Looking at the problem this way, your Maximum Leader welcomes the Baker Commission as a group that might actually have a clue - or at least a plan to do something.

On the other hand, the very idea of the commission angers your Maximum Leader. It shows the intellectual bankruptcy and general cowardice of our elected political classes to put a plan forward for debate. In this feeling it seems as though your Maximum Leader and Michael Kinsley seem to share some sentiments on the Baker Commission.

(Excursus: BTW, your Maximum Leader is glad to see ole Chuck Robb out there as an “elder statesman” type of guy. He is, as you may know, a former Marine, former Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, former United States Senator from Virginia, and son-in-law to a former United States President. Although being married to Linda Bird is not all it is cracked up to be - witness Mr. Robb’s “massage” at the hands of a woman who was not Linda Bird. This was an indiscression that helped torpedo Chuck’s Presidential ambitions. Chuck Robb remains one of the few Democrats or whom your Maximum Leader has voted… In case you care…)

Your Maximum Leader dislikes these “bipartisan commissions” set up by either the President or Congress because they are the coward’s way to solve a problem. Granted the problems requiring a bipartisan commission are generally regarded as pretty intractable problems; but the problems remain ones that require political solutions. Last time your Maximum Leader checked, we held elections and cast votes for politicans who’s job it (purportedly) is to make political decisions.

Then again… What does your Maximum Leader know? In the Mike World Order there will be a huge elected Parliament that debates everything all the time. But everyone will know that it is their Maximum Leader and his Ministers who really get things done.

Alas, we live in a democratic republic and have a President, and Senators, and Congressmen who’s job it is to get things done. To make policy. And to figure out a plan of action in Iraq.

But tough problems require that politican run and hide. Because the solution to a tough problem is likely going to piss someone off pretty royally. And if you piss off someone, they aren’t likely to re-elect you. Sometimes a politician finds that a problem (like Iraq) really just can’t be allowed to continue, but solutions are likely going to risk the politican’s ability to be re-elected… The solution? Find a group of “elder statesmen” types to recommend a solution for you! Take their recommendations, implement them quickly, and pray for the best.

If the recommendations (when implemented) are successful, why then all the cowardly politicans can claim that they wanted to make those recommendations all along but the poisonous political atmosphere in Washington prevented them from speaking out - except through the bipartisan commission.

If the recommendations (when implemented) suck and make things worse, why then it was all that silly commission’s fault. What the hell did they know? They aren’t close enough to the problem to be able to solve them? The poisonous atmosphere in Washington… well… poisoned the commission’s work and made it impossible to come up with a workable solution…

It makes your Maximum Leader sick…

Of course, on another level, your Maximum Leader dislikes bipartisan commissions because they break gridlock. Your Maximum Leader, as long time readers know, is a great fan of gridlock in politics. Certainly it is nice to get things done once and a while, but gridlock keeps the passions on all sides in check.

Anyho…

Your Maximum Leader supposes he’ll continue to anxiously await what the Baker Commission has to report.

Carry on.

In Memory

Greetings, loyal minions.

Read Skippy’s post on Iris Chang.

Carry on.

A “New-Agey” thought for you.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is, as is his want, listening to a podcast of “Speaking of Faith” from American Public Radio. The subject of this particular podcast is “The Heart’s Reason: Hinduism and Science.”

While listening to the podcast a particularly “new-agey” type of thought washed through your Maximum Leader’s brain. Here tis: As we learn more and more about the human genome and the possible genetic predisposition towards certain types of physical conditions or even behaviours; could it be theorized that our genes are actually a “karmic blueprint” for our life? If one accepts some conception of the transmigration of souls or some type of rebirth, could it be that one’s genes are the physical manifestation of some part of one’s karma? This is to say that if, in one life, you were a genetically predisposed to be a cancer afflicted obsessive-compulsive person; that in your next life “karma” might predispose you to be a robust-yet-scatterbrained person?

The strange things that pop into your Maximum Leader’s head sometimes… Of course what is stranger… Having the idea or actually taking time to write a blog post about it?

If you care to discuss, feel free to e-mail your Maximum Leader. Of course if you are a particularly attractive young woman who would like her karmic/genetic predispositions revealed by your Maximum Leader include a photo with your e-mail…

Carry on.

Reader Quiz

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader disagrees with the the outcome of this quiz he saw over on the Llama Butchers site.

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Book Snob

You like to think you’re one of the literati, but actually you’re just a snob who can read. You read mostly for the social credit you can get out of it.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Literate Good Citizen
Dedicated Reader
Fad Reader
Non-Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Upon reflection he can see the small kernel of truth in his results… But he still generally disagrees with them…

Carry on.

Elvis Auction!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees on the new wire that there will (very shortly) be a very large auction of Elvis memorabilia and artifacts in December. A highlight of the auction will be Elvis’ diamond and platinum wedding band. The ring (and other items) are currently on display in the Aladdin Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. (Where else?)

Your Maximum Leader is, as regular readers know, a big Elvis fan. Perhaps he will bid on some items… Or not…

Carry on.

Amateur!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was surfing some Yahoo content and found this short film. The film entitled “Sushi Challenge” is embedded below for your viewing pleasure.

So, this guy was able to attain “Sushi Glory” at the “Yummy Palace” in New York City by eating 52 pieces of sushi in 20 minutes.

Your Maximum Leader laughs at his supposed prowess. One has not experienced true white-boy sushi eating puissance until one has gone a-sushi eating with your Maximum Leader. Indeed, your Maximum Leader has a little story on this subject…

So… Many moons ago when your Maximum Leader and his friend the Smallholder were recently graduated from college and living in Northern Virginia, we would meet on Thursday or Friday afternoons to share a meal and a few drinks. Eventually, we settled on this little Japanese place in Springfield, Virginia where they had a sushi special every Thursday and Friday afternoon/evening. The special was “all-you-can-eat” sushi for $25 per person from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

Your Maximum Leader and the Smallholder would show up at the Japanese Restaurant around 4:28 pm on either Thurday or Friday. (We couldn’t afford to do both nights. Although, if we had the money we would have been there twice a week.) At 4:30 we would place the first sushi order. At 4:31 we would place the first sake order. We would fill out the little cards and hand them to the grandmatronly Japanese waitress to take to the sushi chef. She would scoff at us and tell us that you couldn’t order more than 10 pieces at a time. We would adjust (downward) our little cards and wait for the sushi.

While our first order was being prepared, we would get our next order ready. When our first order was brought to the table, we would politely hand her our cards for the next ten pieces… After about 20-30 pieces each we would have to freshen up the sake. (Which, unfortunately, was not all-you-can-drink.)

And so it would go. For three straight hours we would order our sushi. 10 pieces at a time. One right after the other. All the while the elderly Japanese woman would give us the evil eye and curse at us under her breath. She probably was replused by our white-boy western gluttony.

This went on for nearly the whole summer. Every Thursday or Friday it was the same. Smallholder and your Maximum Leader chowing down on the sushi…

Then one day your Maximum Leader and the Smallholder arrived at the appointed hour and were shown to a table. The grandmatronly waitress beamed as she came up to our table. But she wasn’t happy to see us. She looked us up and down then proceeded to light into us. “No more sushi! No more all you want sushi! You! You ruin it for everybody! Can’t do so much sushi! You eat like pigs! Too much! No more! Pay for everything now!”

Your Maximum Leader and the Smallholder were crestfallen. A quick calculation showed that if we continued at our regular pace that we would each average a sushi bill well over $150 each (not including the sake). Knowing we were beaten, we ordered our 10 pieces. We ordered our sake. We ate sparingly. Paid our bill and left.

Your Maximum Leader and the Smallholder can still put away the sushi. Although we don’t get many opportunities to test our powers. Perhaps your Maximum Leader will find his way to the Yummy Palace in New York City. And he will take the 52 piece in 20 minutes challenge. But he will not need 20 minutes to finish off the 52 pieces…

Carry on.

Maddox

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was doing a little Christmas shopping over the weekend. While looking over Amazon for suitable gifts he was directed towards a book called “The Alphabet of Manliness”. The book is written by a “blogger” named Maddox.

Have any of you ever read Maddox’s site? It is modestly named “The Best Page in the Universe”.

It amused your Maximum Leader. Perhaps it will amuse you too.

Carry on.

    About Naked Villainy

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