WWJD?

As we look closely at the upcoming 2012 election, we cannot help but think about how far our nation has drifted from the vision our founding fathers had of a free people protected by a limited government.  They would surely shake their heads in disbelief if they could see what has happened to their great experiment in self-government and liberty.

It is likely that if Thomas Jefferson came back for a day, after reading just one issue of the Washington Post and watching an hour of MSNBC, he would find a bar, drink himself stupid, and then call the Queen of England  to apologize for the revolution.  I can only imagine the horror he would feel as he looked over our 2012 federal budget, read through Obama’s healthcare bill, watched the unwashed idiots playing their bongo drums on Wall Street, and listened to Michael Moore waggle his triple chin about the rich.  I cannot speak personally for Mr. Jefferson, but I am sure that after seeing these things, he would sprint at full speed back to the safety and sanity of his coffin.

To be sure, Mr. Jefferson’s return as a concerned “founding zombie” is not likely, but it really does make one wonder whose side he would really be on if he did.  Many have acclaimed Mr. Jefferson as one our nation’s more “progressive” thinkers, so if any of our founders had the potential to belly up to Obama’s world view it could arguably be him.

So for the sake of argument, let’s say that some mad scientist was able to reanimate Mr. Jefferson’s corpse just in time for him to vote in next year’s election?  Who would he pull the lever for?  Put simply…WWJD? (Note to Readers: Zombies are not required to show a picture ID at polls in most blue states.)

Head Muscle submits that with only a bit of research, Mr. Jefferson tells us in his own words:

Jefferson On Liberty:

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”

“The last hope of human liberty in this world rests on us. We ought, for so dear a state to sacrifice every attachment and every enmity.”

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”

Jefferson On Government:

“A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”

“The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.”

“Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government. Public servants at such a distance, and from under the eye of their constituents, must, from the circumstances of distance, be unable to administer an overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizens; and the same circumstances, by rendering detection impossible to their constituents, will invite public agents to corruption, p,under and waste.”

“I believe the States can best govern our home concerns, and the General Government our foreign ones.”

“The true theory of our Constitution is surely the wisest and best, that the States are independent as to everything within themselves, and united as to everything respecting foreign nations.”

“Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.”

” Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.”

Jefferson On Wealth Redistribution:

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

“To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

“To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father’s has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association–‘the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.'”

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

Jefferson On Taxation:

“If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, and give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses. And the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they do now, on oatmeal and potatoes, have no time to think, no means of calling the mis-managers to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains around the necks of our fellow sufferers.”

Jefferson On Gun Rights:

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

“The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.”

Finally…Jefferson On Obama Care:

“Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now.”

So WWJD? Let’s take a quick tally. Were Mr. Jefferson suddenly walking among us again he would:

1. (Most importantly) Need a shower and some fresh privies

2. Be for a limited federal government

3. Put states in charge of their own domestic affairs

4. Be pro second amendment

5.  Support personal property rights

6. Be firmly against wealth redistribution

7. Rebuff European-style taxation

and yes.., finally…

8. Support the repeal of Obama Care

We may be guilty of being a bit presumptuous here at Head Muscle from time to time…okay…all the time, but it seems pretty clear that we already know the answer to the question.

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Head Muscle Officially Endorses Herman Cain

Head Muscle Press Release (27 Sept 2011) – Head Muscle officially endorses Mr. Herman Cain as the next President of the United States.

Now given the size of our readership, I do not expect that this announcement will make Fox News – or even come to the attention of Mr. Cain for that matter, but we are pleased to make it nonetheless. Rest assured that Head Muscle does not take this endorsement lightly and has deliberated long and hard over it for several months…okay maybe we just decided to do it yesterday, but we are still firm in our conviction.  When it came down to it, the decision was pretty straight forward.

Just look at the facts:

1. Our official unemployment rate is hovering at 9.1 percent, but in reality it is much higher.  Some states and municipalities have unemployment numbers well above 10 percent. This does not even count the underemployed and those that have given up all together. Some have even speculated that we have lost an entire generation of workers due to the current shortage of jobs.

2. Business was already buckling under oppressive regulation and the current administration helped them out by passing Dodd-Frank.  No wonder our businesses are headed overseas by the truckload…

3. Obama Care is looming on the horizon.  It will cause businesses to dump their healthcare plans, force doctors to retire, close hospitals, and degrade healthcare services for over 80% of all Americans.  It will also cripple Medicare and kill research.  As Herman Cain pointed out, if he had been required to use Obama Care when he had cancer – he would be dead today.  Actually, given what Obama has done to our nation over the past three years, I would say that “Obama Care” is clearly an oxymoron.

4. Obama has presided over a five-fold increase in government spending.  Our national deficit is now running at about 1.4 trillion dollars and his answer is to give the crack head another dime bag….brilliant!  We actually elected a man who thinks that the solution for too much government spending is to spend more money.  Okay…we had a moment of collective stupidity in 2008; let’s not let it happen again.

5. Instead of harnessing the powerful free-market forces that made our nation great, Obama has decided to wage class warfare. Rather than lowering taxes (long term) and stepping out of the way to let business prosper, he is advocating about 1.5 trillion dollars in new permanent taxes!  I cannot even believe that he truly thinks that this will help. Just two years ago Obama himself noted that raising taxes during a recession would be a bad idea.  What gives?  This is simply a move to expand his voter base by fiscally enslaving our nation’s producers to its zero-liability takers.  The fact is, if he took every dollar from every wealthy person in the nation it would still not come close to covering the national deficit.  Why does everyone understand this but our President?

6. Our GDP is flat-lining. So after the first stimulus and a promise of thousands of “shovel ready” jobs, why are we not growing? The reason is simple…government does not grow the economy….BUSINESS DOES!  I would go into this in greater detail, but as my Harley buddies like to say, “if I have to explain it, you won’t get it.”

The bottom line here is that we need a leader. Someone who understands our free-market and can harness its awesome potential to pull our nation out of its fiscal tailspin. The reason that Head Muscle is supporting Herman Cain is that, out of all his opponents, he has stuck to his message, stayed out of petty politics, and shown us a better way.  We are proud of our decision to endorse Herman Cain for President, and hope all 12 of our readers understand our decision.

If you are interested in learning more about this man and his vision, please visit Herman Cain online.  Be sure to read about his 9-9-9 Vision for Economic Prosperity.  It is pretty simple. First toss out the current tax code that enslaves half of the American population. Once that is done, institute a 9% flat income tax, a 9% flat corporate tax, and a 9% national sales tax.  That is it!  As Mr. Cain loves to say:

If 10 percent is good enough for God, 9 percent should be good enough for the government…

Stand by for more on Herman Cain in the coming months.  Head Muscle will also be kicking of a unofficial Herman Cain blog alliance for all aspiring and active bloggers.  If you are interested please comment to this post with your site URL, and we will be in touch.

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Man Finds Nancy Pelosi’s Face on Bacon Strip

<<BREAKING NEWS>> Head Muscle Press 27 Jan 2011 – When Mr. Ellis Pollard of Mallard Wisconsin received his Sunrise Special at the Waffle Shop this past Saturday morning, he was startled to find that one of his bacon strips bore the uncanny likeness of Nancy Pelosi (see image below).

“I was absolutely shocked,” Pollard confessed to local reporters.  “There she was, just staring me and grinning.  It was truly miraculous.”  Mr. Ellis went on to explain that he carefully wrapped the slice of salt pork into a napkin and, after inspecting the rest of his meal for Democrats, finished his breakfast and hurried home. “It was really hard to concentrate on the road,” Pollard noted.  “I have always heard stories of people seeing the face of Jesus in rocks and reflections, but this was really something special.”

According to reports, Pollard spent the next few hours studying the image under a magnifying glass to ensure that what he was actually seeing was not a trick of the light. When convinced that the image of Pelosi was real, he took the strip of bacon to a local television station and reported his miraculous finding.  “At first the reporters were skeptical when I told them what I had found, but when I unwrapped the bacon and showed them they were awestruck,” Pollard recounted.

According to Mr. Pollard, over the next couple of days people gazing at the piece of Pelosi pork started to experience miracles.  One unemployed lady allegedly saw the image and, upon returning home,  discovered that her unemployment benefits had been extended a fourth time.  In another account, a committed Tea Partier looked at the image and immediately fell to the ground shouting anti-Palin slogans. The most noteworthy instance occurred when an older gentleman saw the image and started channeling Ted Kennedy. For over 30 minutes he extolled the virtues of the healthcare bill, drank Scotch Whiskey, and blamed the Republicans for setting him up at Chappaquiddick.

Though the DNC has withheld official comment, it is a well known fact around the DC area that this is not the first time images of Democrats have spontaneously appeared on pieces of fatty pork.  In 2006 Martin Emmitt of Shellsburg Idaho produced the now famous “Harry Ham” slice (below), which was purported to make anyone who looked at it pro-labor.

And then more recently during the 2008 presidential campaign, hundreds of mysterious Obama Chops appeared in diners across key swing states that eventually went blue.

“It is kind of like the whole UFO thing,” Cameron Dalton author of the self-published book Conspiracy of Pork’ confided to Head Muscle. “No one wants to admit that this is happening, but you just cannot deny the evidence when it is right there on your sausage patty.” Mr. Dalton is the founder of Conservative Republicans Against Pork Propaganda (CRAPP) and is trying to lift the veil on what he describes as a massive liberal plot to control voters through use of pork stimulation.  “The problem is pervasive,” Dalton warns. “No one really knows how much pork the Democrats actually control. Why there could be thousands of unsuspecting people swallowing this garbage as we speak!” Though CRAPP is small right now, it is gaining a foothold among independents and conservative vegetarians. According to Dalton, liberals plan to flood the American people with more and more pork over the next two years until everyone is hopelessly hooked. In an ominous warning, Dalton pointed out to Head Muscle that the Pelosi image will soon be followed by the most massive DNC pork project to date…Operation Barney Frank.

According to Dalton they have already appeared at the Fannie Mae cafeteria and will likely be passed out to homeowners through thousands of new sub-prime hot dog vendors.  Head Muscle will continue to follow this breaking story as it develops. In the meantime we strongly suggest that Americans everywhere stick to the beef.

<<DEVELOPING>>

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The Example (Part VII)

After wrapping things up with the police, Carl and his family loaded  into Lanum’s truck and headed back to his FBI office. The events of the evening were still spinning in their heads, and the ride was very quiet.  Carl was furious at what had happened. His wife and children could have been taken or even killed.  Just the thought of it made his skin crawl.

After a few moments Carl reached over and grabbed Katie’s hand squeezing it tightly.  Katie returned the squeeze and laid her head on his shoulder. In the dim light of the cab, Carl could see the tear lines still etched on her face.  No matter what happened over the next couple of days, one thing was clear. He had to protect his family.

Before they had departed the ranch, Lanum had made arrangements for Katie, the kids, and her parents to stay at the FBI facility. It was not very big and there weren’t many creature comforts, but there were a couple of cots, some sofas, and showers. Lanum had also arranged for all night security.  Carl agreed to the plan simply because he did not have a better one.  Whoever had attacked his family could still be out there, and he wanted to make sure that they were safe.

“Now you guys will be fine at my office,” Lanum announced breaking the silence. “You will have a place to sleep, and bathrooms with showers. It’s nothing like home, but it will only be for a couple of days until I can get something else arranged. The outside doors are dead bolted and no one, I mean no one, will be able to get in or out unless we want them to.”

Carl nodded his head. “I can’t thank you enough Lanum.  You saved my family from God knows what, and I am in your debt.”  Carl paused awkwardly.  He did not want to offend Agent Tate’s generosity, but could not help but wonder whether it was Lanum the FBI Agent or Lanum the Texan that was helping them out. “You know Lanum, something else is bothering me a bit.”

“Yeah me too,” Tate responded not waiting to hear what Carl had to say. “I think that what happened tonight was an inside job.”

Agent Tate’s comment completely derailed Carl’s train of thought. “An inside job?” he responded trying to get his head around the thought. “You mean someone at the camp is doing this?”

Lanum shook his head, “I am not sure but I have a strong hunch.”

Carl’s interest was piqued. “Well who do you think it is?” he asked.

“I have no idea, but I think that I can figure it out with your help,” Lanum continued.  “I want to show you something when we get to the office.”

After spending about a half hour getting the kids tucked into their beds, Katie and Carl walked into their makeshift bedroom in Lanum’s office.  Katie plopped down onto the small couch that Lanum had thoughtfully made into a bed for her, and began to cry once again.  “Carl, baby, what would those men have done with us? I mean, if Lanum had not shown up would they have killed us? Would they have killed our boys?”  Carl sat down beside her and gave her a long reassuring hug. “Honey I don’t know what might have happened, but I do know that thanks to Agent Tate, you guys are all safe and sound now. That is all I care about.”  Tears streamed down Katie’s face. “But what about you?” she continued.  “What is going to happen to you?”

Carl truly had no idea what to say.  He knew that his place was back at the station with the two thousand Texans that had come to join him.  He also knew that he had to finish what he started.  He squeezed her tightly a second time and kissed the top of her head.  “I’ll be okay sweetie,” he assured her.  “I have about two thousand friends at the station watching my back.”

Katie was clearly unimpressed by his feeble attempt to console her. She pulled away from him, wiped the tears from her face and looked at  him sternly. “Carl…before you go back to that station and play Davey Crockett or whatever you are going to do, just remember that you have two boys who need a father…not a martyr.” Carl smiled and looked deeply into her watery eyes. “No Davy Crockett,” he assured her, “I promise.”  Carl held Katie in his arms until she fell asleep, and then laid her down on the sofa and pulled the covers up over her shoulders.

Carl walked back out to the main office and found Lanum busy at one of the computers.  Lanum saw him walk out and motioned him over.

“Hey Carl, come over here and take a look at this,” Lanum said nodding toward the computer.  Carl sat down next to him and looked at the screen.  It was a picture of the buses that had carried off the protesters earlier that day.

“Is this that website you were telling me about?” Carl queried. “Agents of Justice or something?”

Lanum nodded.  “Agents for Social Justice,” he corrected. “This is the site that posted pictures of the protest literally minutes after the buses disappeared.”

Carl remembered their earlier conversation. “So these pictures had to be taken by someone in the camp, right?”

Lanum was transfixed on the screen.  “Yeah, but there is something else about these pictures that’s bothering me, and I cannot put my finger on it.”

Carl and Lanum sat in silence looking at the photo for several minutes.  It clearly showed the buses pulling away, surrounded by flags and cheering Texans.  As Carl looked at the scene, he could once again feel the exuberance of the moment.  It had been a great show of unity, and a feeling that he would remember for the rest of his life. Oddly enough however, the more he looked at the picture, the more he was troubled by it as well. Lanum was right…something was most definitely wrong.

All of a sudden, Lanum sat straight up in his chair breaking the silence. “It’s over their heads! That’s the problem! This damn picture is being taken from over everyone’s head!” Carl looked at the picture again and instantly felt somewhat stupid for not seeing it earlier.  The picture had clearly been taken from four or five feet above the crowd. Then it hit him. It had to have been taken from the stage. The angle was perfect.

“It’s the stage,” Carl announced to Lanum. “This picture had to have been taken from the stage!”

Lanum rocked forward in his chair and looked a Carl.  “How many folks were on the stage when all this was happening?  I expect it was loaded with flag wavers right?”

Carl paused and thought back to the moment.  Everything had happened so fast, most of the encounter had been a blur to him.  Then he remembered.  He had looked at the stage at one point in the ordeal, and had only seen Shorty and a few of his crew on the platform.  In fact, he remembered seeing Shorty singing into the microphone while two of his cowboys waved flags next to him.  “You know,” Carl mused, “I can only remember seeing Shorty on stage…yeah Shorty and a couple of his crew.”

“Who’s Shorty?” Lanum pressed.

“Oh, that’s just his nickname; I think he told me that his name was Billy T. Winslow or something like that,” Carl explained. “He and his crew were the first group to show up after I went to the press.”

Lanum continued to dig.  “How well do you know this Shorty fellah?”

Carl paused for a moment collecting his thoughts.  “Well I supposed I don’t really know anything about him other than the fact that he and his boys drove down from El Paso as soon as they saw the news report.   He has been a real leader though…pretty much organized the entire campsite. He assigns duties, organizes watches, and had has collected a lot of information from the campers.”

Lanum listened intently. “What type of information?”

Once again, Carl felt as if he was being left behind in the conversation.  “Well I don’t know…where they were from, how many in their group, what kind of firearms they had brought with them, how much ammunition, that kind of stuff.”

“What has he been doing with all that information?” Lanum asked. “Do you know?”

Carl felt himself becoming defensive.  “Well…I suppose he’s been collecting it so that we know what kind of…you know… capability we had in case things went badly with the Feds.”  Carl felt awkward saying this to Lanum, but continued anyway. “Shorty felt like we needed a full list of all our ammo and firepower so that we would know how to best…I don’t know….use it if we had to.”

Lanum was unshaken.  “So Shorty knows where everyone in the camp is from, how many guns they have, how much ammo they have, and where in the camp it all is?”

Carl was clearly flustered, but trying hard not to show it. “I suppose that you’re right but…”

“And you really don’t know him from Adam when it gets right down to it.” Lanum interrupted.

Carl paused feeling embarrassed and nodded in agreement.  “No he showed up on day one with a truckload of gear and cowboys and…well…just took charge. I figured he was just trying to be a good neighbor.”

Lanum looked back at the screen scratching his chin. “And he was on stage when all this was happening?”

Carl felt defensive once again.  “Yeah, but how could he have taken a picture without someone else seeing him?”

Lanum chuckled, trying to be polite.  “Carl my friend,  how many folks do you think were out there snapping digital photos and sending them to their wives and girlfriends?Hell, he could have taken a dozen pictures and no one would have noticed. If what you are saying is true however, and they were the only ones on stage, then one of them must have taken this picture.” The weight of what Lanum was saying started to hit Carl.  He had been so thankful for Shorty’s leadership that he had never once questioned anything he was doing.

Lanum stood up and stretched.  “Well  first thing tomorrow I am going to find out a little more about your Mr.  Shorty.”

Carl pulled up to the Fill n’ Fuel about 3 in the morning.  The camp was quiet, and despite the glow from about 200 camp fires, things were dark and peaceful. Carl walked into his office and shut the door. It had been the longest day of his life and he was exhausted.  He plopped down into his desk chair, and rocked his head back for a moment. He could not get Katie’s tear soaked face out of his mind.  How could someone want to hurt her or his children? Could Shorty really be a spy?  Carl’s head began to spin.  In just 36 hours his 30 day notice would be up, and he had no idea what was going to happen.  Would it be war, or just some type of Waco stand off?  Would his campers turn tail if shooting started?  Where was Clifford? Why was the Governor’s office treating him like a leper? Carl felt like his head was about to explode with questions. How he longed for the simple days, when his only concern was the price of diesel. God how he wished it all was nothing but a bad dream. After a few minutes, his exhaustion got the best of him and he slipped into a deep dreamless sleep.

The next thing Carl heard was someone banging on his office door.  The sun was bright and the room had already heated up to well over 80 degrees.  He jumped up from his chair, wiped the sweat from his forehead, and walked to the door.  A young boy that he recognized from the camp was standing there wide-eyed.

“Mr. Lamonte,” he panted as if he had been running, “they’re here!”  Carl did not understand what the boy meant.  “Who is here son?” he asked.  The boy pointed down the access road.  “The black cars…  they’re here!” He paused and swallowed trying to catch his breath.  “There are a lot of them too!”

Carl grabbed his binoculars and ran across the street, hopping up onto the stage for a better view.  Most of the camp had been alerted and several hundred Texans had moved to the front of the camp for a look as well.  Carl raised his binoculars and looked down the access road toward the highway.  There, off in the distance, was a neat row of black SUV’s. They were a few miles away, but Carl was able to count about 25 of them.  Behind the SUVs he could see a couple of large black vans, and what could only be described as an armored personnel carrier.  Carl could also make out a group a three or four men standing in front of one of SUVs looking at what appeared to be a large map spread out on the hood.  Carl swallowed hard as he surveyed the scene.

“Well old buddy looks like the Federales have found the Alamo!” a familiar voice rang out.

Shorty walked up next to Carl and slapped him on the back.  “I reckon that’s just the first batch of them,” he continued giving Carl a big toothy grin. “My guess is that there will be a couple of hundred by tomorrow afternoon.”

Carl lowered his binoculars.  “Well I guess we know that they weren’t bluffing.” he replied trying not to sound too nervous.  Shorty looked at Carl for a moment as if sizing him up and changed the subject.  “Hey buddy, I heard about what happened out at your place last night. It’s all over the camp this morning. I’m real sorry ‘bout that.”

Carl tried his best to keep his voice from wavering. “Yeah … thanks,” he responded.

Shorty paused for a moment to look through his binoculars.  “You know, if you like I can send a couple of my boys out to your place tonight to keep an eye on things.  Hell I’ll do it myself if that’ll make you feel better.”  Carl looked at Shorty and smiled. “That’s real nice of you Shorty, but I have made other arrangements.”

Shorty looked at Carl curiously.  “Oh I got ya, you’re keeping the family hold up somewhere.  Did you take them to a friend’s house or somethin’?” Shorty’s curiosity would not have bothered Carl in the least just a day before, but after his conversation with Lanum he felt extremely wary.  “No,” he replied, “but they are safe.”

“So where you got ‘em stashed?” Shorty pressed.

Carl paused. He could not tell if Shorty really wanted to know, or if he was just trying to get a reaction. “They’re safe Shorty, let’s just leave it at that,” he responded.

Shorty looked off into the distance and nodded his head. “Probably the right thing to do,” he noted. “You can’t be too careful when it comes to protecting your family. You’re smart to not tell me where they are…even if you do trust me.”  Shorty looked at Carl, “You do trust me right?” Carl’s face flushed.  Shorty’s question had caught him off guard, and he was having trouble finding the right response.  “Sure, I mean, why wouldn’t I?” he replied awkwardly.

Shorty changed the subject and motioned to the line of Feds off in the distance.  “Those fellahs out there mean business and they are going to be paying us a visit sometime tomorrow.” Carl regrouped a bit, and tried to make conversation. “Well I think we have them out numbered about 15 to one. I’m not sure that they are going to try anything right away.” Shorty sighed. “The truth is, they got themselves more fire power in those SUVs than all these cowboys combined.  Most of these good ‘ole boys came out here with hunting rifles, pea shooters, and antiques.  Even the few folks with decent guns, may not be willing to raise them against another human being.  Shootin’ a person is a lot different than baggin’ a buck.”

Shorty reached into his boot, pulled out a cigar, and lit it.  “Nope, my guess is that half of these fellah’s will turn tail if shooting starts. The fact is, when those boys are ready to come, they’ll ride right through the middle of camp.” Carl felt a gnawing in the pit of his stomach.  Regardless of whether or not Shorty was a spy, he was telling the truth and Carl knew it.

At that moment a Hank Williams ringtone broke the silence.  Carl watched as Shorty reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone.  As he flipped the top open to answer, a flash of reflected sunlight caught Carl’s eye.  It was a reflection off of the lens of the cell phone’s camera. Seeing this was all that Carl needed.  Shorty had to have been the one.  His cowboys had been busy waving flags; they could not have taken the pictures. No…it had to have been Shorty. As Carl stared at the phone, he could hear his heart beating in his ears.  He needed to get to Lanum’s office fast.  It was at that moment however, that he realized Shorty had quit talking and was looking directly at him.  “What’s wrong ‘ole buddy, you look like you’ve seen a ghost?” Shorty asked in a low serious voice. “Is there something you want to tell me?”

Carl tried to regain his composure. “Um, no, I just remembered that I need to run a few errands. I will stop by and we can talk later.” Before Shorty could reply, Carl jumped from the stage and headed for his truck.  He knew it was Shorty and, after that episode on the stage, he was pretty sure Shorty knew he did.

Carl found himself back at Lanum’s office a half hour later.  It was Sunday and the only person there besides his family and Lanum was a security guard.  Carl told Lanum about his conversation with Shorty and the line of black cars. Lanum listened intently saying nothing the entire time. When Carl finished, Lanum motioned him over to his computer.

“I have been doing some checking on your buddy Shorty,” Lanum said tapping the computer screen.  I didn’t find anyone named Billy or William Winslow, but I did find this in our criminal database.” Lanum backed away from the screen so that Carl could see.  What he saw sent a cold shiver down his spine.  It was a picture of Shorty.  Beside the picture was the name Michael “Shorty” Williams.

Carl was stunned. “How did you find this?” he asked.  “You’ve never even seen him!”

“But I have,” Katie’s voice chimed from across the room.

Lanum spun around in his chair and gave Carl a big grin.  “Yep, Katie and I have been doing a lot of snooping around today.  It seems as though she has a great eye for detail.”

Katie stepped up beside Carl and smiled when she saw his look of surprise. “What did you expect? These jerks tried to kill my father and kidnap our children. Did you think I was going to pass the time knitting a sweater?”

Lanum did not give Carl a chance to respond.  “It seems as if our friend Shorty has several warrants out for his arrest. They are mostly for environmental terrorism, burning SUVs, killing cattle, things like that. It all looks petty until this last warrant.  It seems that he is wanted by the Dallas police for kidnapping and attempted murder.  It also appears that he is ex-special forces. Perhaps he started his career with the CIA and has since gone free agent.”

Carl gave Lanum an embarrassed look. “I am pretty sure that he knows we are onto him too.”

“What makes you so sure?” Lanum queried.

“I am not a good liar,” Carl confessed. “He tried to get me to tell him where I had taken Katie and the kids this morning, and when I didn’t he clearly got suspicious.”

At that moment there was a buzz at the door. Lanum handed a twenty dollar bill to the security guard, and motioned for him to go open the door.  “I ordered some pizza a little while ago.” Lanum informed the room.  “I hope pepperoni is good with everyone…”

At that moment a shot rang out through the headquarters and the security guard flew backwards over a desk with blood gushing from his back.  Lanum reached for his gun, but before he could draw it, a figure appeared from around the corner holding a large caliber revolver.  It was Shorty.

“Now everyone stay calm,” Shorty ordered, “and we will be done real quick like.” Shorty shifted his gaze to Lanum. “First off, I would like you to finish skinnin’ that pistol, lay it on the ground, and push it over to me with your foot.”

Lanum laid his weapon on the floor and kicked it toward Shorty. “Just what do you hope to accomplish by holding a Federal Agent at gunpoint?” Lanum growled as Shorty picked up the pistol.  “I hope to get paid,” Shorty chuckled as he swung the gun toward Lanum and fired.  Katie screamed as Lanum dropped to the ground clutching his leg in pain.

“You see,” Shorty continued, “I could care less about your little war, but the folks that hired me care about it…a lot. And they have paid me handsomely to ensure it goes their way.”

Carl pushed Katie behind him. “Who the hell is paying you?” he demanded.

Shorty swung his pistol toward Carl.  “You got no idea what you’ve started do ya ‘ole buddy?  You really have no idea!” Shorty could not contain his amusement and let out a deep belly laugh.

Carl felt a rarefied form of anger surging through his veins.  “Well why don’t you enlighten us!” he shot back.

Shorty’s disposition changed instantly.  “You, ‘ole buddy, are not in a position to be making any demands,” he growled.  “Now here’s what’s going to happen.  I am going to take your wife and kids on a little ride. You, ‘ole buddy, are going to head back to the station, crawl up on that stage, and tell everyone there that you have cut a deal with the Feds and that the standoff is over.  You will tell them that if they do not clear out within’ 24 hours, the black vans are going to come in and start arresting everyone in sight.”

“And if I don’t?” Carl hissed.

Shorty smiled and looked at Katie. “If you don’t, then I start mailing your wife and kids back to you a piece at a time until you change your mind.”

Katie began to sob. “You will take my family over my dead body,” Carl spat back in rage.

Shorty smiled. “Well I have a plan for that too if that’s the way you want to roll,” he chuckled cocking his pistol.  Katie screamed as Carl braced for the shot.  At that moment a figure emerged from around the corner behind Shorty.  It was Carl’s father-in-law and he was holding a baseball bat. With a swing that would have made Jose Canseco jealous, he sent Shorty flying across the room.  The force of the impact caused Shorty to drop his revolver and Carl lunged forward grabbing the gun.

Shorty came to rest with his back against the office wall. He was dazed and had blood oozing from the left side of his head.  Carl stepped over him and pointed the gun at his face.  “Now you move one muscle…’ole buddy…and so help me God I will finish the job,”  he yelled.  Shorty responded with a groan as he tried to focus his eyes on the gun barrel. “I guess that I am in a position to make demands after all!” Carl continued. “Now I want to know who sent you and what they are planning!”

As Carl spoke, Lanum struggled to his feet.  He was bleeding badly from his right inner thigh, but was conscious.  He limped over toward Carl and sat down.  “Give me the gun Carl,” he ordered.  “If you shoot this bastard, it’s murder.  If I shoot him, it’s community service.”

Carl handed the gun to Lanum. “You need an ambulance,” he observed looking at Lanum’s bloody leg.

“I’m okay for now.” Lanum responded keeping his focus on Shorty.  “Now suppose you tell us exactly who sent you.”

Shorty reached up and dabbed the blood on his head with his finger.  “You know, all of this is useless don’t you? Do you think it’s just me? There are over 100 plants in your little camp just waiting on the word,” he laughed.  “You have no idea who you are dealing with.”  As Shorty spoke he moved his left hand behind his back where Lanum’s gun had fallen.  “This thing is already over and you boys are too stupid to know it!” he continued.  “I pity you both.”

Shorty grabbed the gun and swung it forward toward the two men.  In a second Lanum fired three shots squarely into Shorty’s chest killing him instantly. Lanum wasted no time. Kneeling over Shorty’s body he started fishing through his pockets.  Finding his wallet, he put it in his pocket.  “I am going to call for support in about 5 minutes.” Lanum explained. ” That will be enough time for you to get your family out of here and back to the station.”

Carl was in shock. “What about your leg.  I can’t leave you here!”

Lanum gave Carl a stern look. His face was pale from blood loss and pain, but Carl could tell that he was in charge of the situation. “Carl you cannot be here when the cops come.  I want you and your family out of town.”

“What about you,” Carl asked again.  “What are you going to do?”

“Don’t worry about me,” Lanum replied.  “I am going to get this leg patched up and will call you as soon as I can.”

Once again, Carl had no idea what to say. “Lanum buddy I’m sorry about all this.”

Lanum waved him off.  “Get your family and get outta here. I am going to dig through this guy’s stuff and see what I can find out about these other plants. You got a fight coming tomorrow and we need to find out who they are…now get your family back to the station and stay put.”

Carl realized that Lanum was right.  He needed to get back to the campsite as soon as possible. Shorty’s crew would notice him missing soon, and he needed to get back in case things got ugly.  He looked at Lanum and smiled.  “Thanks again buddy,” he said.

Lanum looked at Carl and grinned.  “Go on, get out of here.  You’re just making me bleed more.” As Carl started to turn Lanum grabbed him by the arm.  “And by the way Carl, just in case you were wondering…I have chosen sides.”

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The Example (Part IV)

By the end of the day Carl had visited every television and radio station in the city.  He made no attempt to hold any detail back.  He told them about the notice, the Governor’s lack of responsiveness, the vandalism to his station, and the FBI photo shoot.  He had also done as his buddy Clifford had instructed and noted that he would be sponsoring an open house barbeque the day his notice expired.  By the time he was on the way back to his station, the local AM stations were already leading their news breaks with the story.

“A local truck stop owner appears to be the first casualty of the Texas tax revolt.  Tune in at the top of the hour for more!” one radio station advertized.

“Barbeque or bust for one local businessman!” another touted.

By going public, Carl knew that he had just made himself the focal point of the entire nation.  He knew that, within a matter of days, dozens of television vans would be parked in the prairie across from his truck stop.  Instead of being apprehensive however, he felt more at ease than he had since this whole mess had begun.   By going to the press, Carl knew that he had changed the game. He was not sure if it would work out in his favor or not, but he knew that, now, the Governor’s office would be forced to take action one way or the other.  There would be no “wait and see” for them now.  The political forces at play would have to reconcile themselves with popular opinion, and Carl was betting that this would be his ace in the hole.

Carl pulled into the station with about 15 minutes of time to spare before the local evening news.  Several news trucks had already set up across the access road.  Their microwave antennas were fully extended, and the field reporters were busy choosing the correct backdrop for their report.  As Carl drove by, he could see their interest shift to him.  As he pulled his truck up to the market, he was instantaneously swarmed with eager correspondents asking for live interviews.

Carl stepped out of his truck, waved his hands to get the crowd to quiet down, and then agreed to do interviews for each station.  Marcus had been able to clean the front of the station off pretty well, but there were still dry red splatters all over the place.  The hoses however had yet to be replaced, so he decided to stand next to one of the vandalized pumps for his interviews.  For the next hour, he interviewed with about 6 area stations.  He pointed out the cut hoses, the red paint, and the deafening silence from the Governor’s office.  He also made sure to invite all Texans to Fill & Fuel’s First Annual Secession Barbeque.  “Now this is a BYOB event,” Carl noted sternly as he looked into the news cameras.  “Bring your own beef that is.”  Carl would then smile and assure everyone that entertainment would most certainly be provided by the Federal Government.  By the end of the last interview, over three quarters of Texas had heard his story.

As the news trucks packed their cables and departed, Carl walked into the store where he found Marcus.

“Mr. Lamonte, you were on every channel,” Marcus noted as the phone rang.   “You see,” he said pointing to the phone, ”that is about the 20th call we have gotten in the last 10 minutes.”

Carl reached over and picked up the phone out of curiosity.

“Fill & Fuel truck stop, this is Carl…”

“Yeah,” a strange voice responded, “we just saw you on the TV and wanted you to know that your fellow Texans are behind you all the way. We will see you at the barbeque.”

Carl paused not knowing exactly what to say.  “Well thank you kindly, we are looking forward to it.”

The caller hung up, apparently content with his short vote of confidence.  No sooner had Carl hung up the phone than it rang again.  Carl looked at Marcus and picked it up again.

“Fill & Fuel, may I help you?”

“Hey man, just wanted to say we’ll be there.  Don’t give up the ranch brother!”

Carl put the phone back on the hook and exhaled.

“Mr. Lamonte, with all these calls, I think things are going to get crazy around here,” Marcus continued.  “I am going to sleep in the office tonight, just in case someone tries something.”

Carl shook his head.  “Marcus, this is my fight not yours.  I want you to go home to your family and get some rest.  I am going to do the same.”

Carl could see that Marcus was about to protest, so he raised his hand to cut him off.

“Marcus, if things get too crazy I will stay here, but until it does, we are both better off with our families.  I am headed home right now. “

The phone rang again.

“And just let all those go to the answering service,” Carl ordered gesturing toward the phone.

Marcus shook his head.  “You’re the boss sir.”

The truck had pulled over to the shoulder of the highway just a few moments after the last news broadcast.  The driver had positioned the car so that he could see Fill & Fuel clearly through his binoculars.  Ever since the last news truck had departed, the driver had been able to see the entire station clearly.  He had seen Carl walk inside the store, but things had been quiet for a while now.  Just as he was about to put the binoculars down the door to the market swung open.

The driver watched through his binoculars intently as Carl got into his truck and peeled down the driveway.  He could see another figure standing in the mini mart, but could not make out exactly who it was.  He assumed that it was hired help.  The driver swung his binoculars back to Carl’s truck as it disappeared down the access road in a cloud of dust.  He put the binoculars down into his lap, took a sip of coffee, and glanced briefly at the shotgun lying next to him. It would be dark soon, and he would be ready.

Carl walked into his house just in time to hear the phone ring.  Apparently, his home phone had been just as busy as the station’s.

“I’m not answering it anymore Carl!” Katie called out from the kitchen.  “It has been ringing non-stop ever since the news.”

Carl had completely forgotten about the fact that he and Katie were in the phone book.

“Sorry sweetie,” he called back, “I’ll get it.”

Carl walked over and picked up the receiver fully expecting to hear the anonymous voice of some well wisher.

“This is Carl, can I help you?”

The voice on the other end of the line was not like the others had been.

“We know where you live, traitor. You had better grow eyes in the back of your head,” a deep voice growled ominously.

Carl was shocked. “What? Who the hell is this?”

The caller continued.  “You get ready, ‘cause we are going to pay you a visit real soon.”

The caller hung up before Carl could say anything else.  He stood there for a moment, visibly shaken.  He felt like an idiot.  In his zeal to get the word out, he had not even considered the fact that he might be putting his family in danger.

“You okay honey?” Katie asked as she walked into the room drying a glass.

Carl bent down and unplugged the phone from the wall.

“Just another supporter,” Carl lied trying to smile.

“Well I wish you would have warned me before you went public,” Katie admonished.  “I would have unplugged it hours ago.”

Carl kissed her on the cheek and changed the subject.

“Anything to eat?” he asked, “I could use something other than beef jerky.”

Carl and Katie ate in silence, both mentally exhausted from the events of the past couple of days. Carl did his best to act confident for his family, but the truth of the matter was he was wound tighter than a fiddle string.   He knew that he had unleashed a monster by going to the media and, especially after the last call,  he was getting more and more uneasy about his decision.  After dinner, he lumbered back to the bedroom, took a hot shower, and crawled into bed.  Out of habit he reached for the remote but paused before hitting the power button.  “Nope,” he grunted to himself, “I ain’t gonna do it.”  With that, he tossed the remote back on the mattress and rolled over on his side for a bit of shut eye.  He was tired and sleep came quickly.

At about 2 a.m., Carl’s peaceful slumber was shattered by a frantic voice.

“Honey…Carl….You need to get up right now!”

Katie was on the bed shaking him.  Carl rolled over on his back and tried to focus on her face.  Katie continued to shake him.

“Carl, wake up there is a problem with the station, you need to get down there,” she pleaded.

Her words cut through his grogginess and jolted him awake.

“What is going on at the station?” he mumbled trying to collect his thoughts.  “Did Marcus call or something?”

Katie was pale.  “No baby…you unplugged the telephone…remember?”

Carl was confused. “So if no one called, how do you know there is a problem?”

Katie swallowed hard and paused.  “I turned on the television.”

Carl sat up in bed and looked at the TV.  It took him a moment to understand what he was looking at.  It looked like an aerial camera shot of the Fill & Fuel, and it was burning.

Carl’s heart jumped into his throat. “Holy Christ!” he whispered in shock as he watched the screen.  At that moment a horrible sense of dread hit him right in his gut. Marcus had most likely ignored his direction and slept at the station…but why had he not called?  Carl reached for his cell phone and dialed Marcus’ number.  There was no answer.  Panicked, Carl jumped to his feet, threw on his clothes, and ran for the door.

“Get your father up and tell him to watch the property,” he yelled back to Katie. “You tell him to shoot anything other than me that comes up that driveway.”  Hearing no response, Carl paused and looked  back at Katie. She was looking at him with her eyes full of tears.  Carl took a deep breath and walked up to her.

“Honey, it’s going to be okay, I promise. No one is going to hurt you or the kids.”  Carl brushed her hair from her face.  “Just keep the doors locked and I am going to get the police to come by and stay with you guys. In the meantime, tell your dad to keep the gun with him.”

Katie nodded her head. “Be careful honey,’ she whispered back.

By the time Carl got to the station it was a beehive of activity.   He pulled up to the police line and pushed his way through.  Apparently vandals had set one of his fuel islands on fire in an attempt to blow the whole station sky high.  The fire department had showed up in time however, and apparently had put out the flames before they could spread and create more damage.  The island and all the pumps were a total loss though.

As Carl scanned the crowd for Marcus an ambulance caught his eye.  Its rear doors were open and there was a group of EMTs and firemen in the back loading a stretcher onboard.  Carl’s blood ran cold with fear as he pushed past the firefighters toward the ambulance.  As he got nearer, he could see that it was Marcus on the stretcher.   He was on oxygen and badly burned.

“What happened,” he demanded from one of the paramedics.  “Is he going to be okay?”

The EMT looked at him somberly and shook his head.

“He is in pretty serious condition. Whoever did this, gave him a real good beating before setting the place on fire. He’s burned pretty badly and in shock.”

Carl felt his heart racing.

“Can I talk to him?” Carl pleaded. “I mean is he conscious?”

The EMT shook his head as he pushed past Carl to the driver’s compartment of the ambulance.

“Buddy, if we don’t get this fellah to the hospital real quick, he may not talk to anyone ever again.”

With that he jumped into the ambulance and headed for the road.  Carl watched in disbelief as the vehicle disappeared into the sea of flashing lights around the station.  His mind was spinning. Had they contacted his family? Did they know? Who would do something like this?

At that moment a hand gripped Carl’s shoulder jolting him out of his thoughts. Carl spun around on his heels surprised to see Agent Tate standing there.  Instantly he felt his gut fill with rage.

“Who the hell would do something like this?” Carl demanded.  “Who would do this to my station and to Marcus?”

Agent Tate was visibly shaken. “Mr. Lamonte, I’m very sorry,” he whispered.

“Was it you?” Carl jabbed.  “Is this what they used your pictures for?”

Tate grabbed Carl by his arms, squeezing so tightly that Carl lost his train of thought.

“Mr. Lamonte, you shouldn’t have gone public like you did,” he scolded.  As soon as I saw the news reports this evening, I came out and started watching your place from back at the highway.  I knew something like this was going to happen!  Damn it, I knew this would happen.”

Carl was undeterred. “You were watching my station? Did you see who did this?”

Tate grabbed Carl’s arm even harder. “Yeah I saw them alright. I saw the whole thing.  A big van pulled up to one of the islands and some guys got out with crowbars and started bashing your pumps.  Your fellow…Marcus…came running out of the station and confronted them.  They exchanged words for about a second and the men started beating him.  I dropped my binoculars and laid rubber over here as fast as I could, but by the time I got here the island was burning and they were gone.”

Carl could not believe what he was hearing.  “Did you catch them?” he demanded.  “Why didn’t you go after them?”

Tate was clearly frustrated. “I couldn’t.  By the time I pulled up to the station the pumps and that fellah Marcus were both on fire.  I had to pull him out of the flames and hit the fire suppression before the entire place went up.”

Carl could see that Lanum’s eye’s were full of tears.  They were not tears of sorrow however…he was in pain.  Carl looked down at the two hands still gripping his arms and saw that they were covered with second and third degree burns. Carl was at a loss for words.

“You saved him….you saved Marcus,” he muttered in disbelief.

“I tried, but I am afraid that I may have been too late.”

“You did what you could Lanum, and thank you….l mean… I am sorry I snapped at you…” Carl had no idea what to say.

“Look Carl,” Lanum continued, “I had nothing to do with this, but I can tell you one thing, I will find out who did.”

Carl felt his anger returning.  “You better believe that we’re going to find out.”

“Not we Carl,” Tate butted in.  “I need you to keep your head down.  The people that did this, were not playing around. They came prepared; they had incendiary devices, and almost killed your employee when he got in the way.”

“He still may die,” Carl butted in.

Tate locked onto Carl’s eyes like he had done the evening they spoke in front of the FBI office. “Carl, I have been thinking a lot about what is going on here, and you are getting a bum rap.  The way I see it, sooner or later, every one of us is going to have to decide what side of this issue they’re on.   I want you to know that I am on your side.  There are a lot of other cops around here that are as well.  You may not know it Carl, but you have a lot of friends in this town, and the more the hammer comes down on you the more you will get.”

Carl nodded letting Tate’s words soak in.

Lanum continued.

“You better believe that I am going to get these guys.  I am already calling in a few favors to find out who they are and keep it under the wire, you know what I mean?”

Carl thought he knew, and nodded again.

“I am going to arrange protection for your family, but you are going to have to do me just one more favor.”

“You name it,” Carl heard himself say.

“I need you not to get yourself killed.”

Tate’s words hung in Carl’s ears.

“Don’t worry Agent Tate, I won’t bite off any more than I can chew.”

Lanum let out a huge belly laugh as he walked away.

“You did that a long time ago my friend! “

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Four Doctors Support Health Care Bill

BREAKING NEWS  – Head Muscle Press (March 4, 2002) In a tightly choreographed media event yesterday, President Barack Obama announced to an eager crowd of supporters that his administration had located four doctors that agreed with his new health care bill.  Speaking with renewed determination, President Obama impugned the hastily assembled crowd to get the bill passed now.  “This is really an exciting moment for us,” one supporter confided.  “We have really been hoping that the medical community would step up to support this bill, and it looks like it has finally happened…I mean…well…at least four of them have.  We have also heard rumors that there is a pharmacist in Rapid City who likes the bill too, but no one has confirmed it yet.” In an attempt to dig a bit deeper,  HM Press caught up with one of Obama’s staffers after the media event. On condition of anonymity,  she agreed to speak with us.  Transcript follows:

HM: This seems to be a big event for the President.

Staffer: Absolutely! He is thrilled.

HM: So, these four doctors actually agree with Obama’s new plan?

Staffer: Yes, they think that this bill is the only way to save our health care system.

HM: But there are only four of them…

Staffer: Only four?  I would say that this is a pretty impressive showing.

HM: but..

Staffer: (breaking in) Let me finish.  We may only have four now, but we think that there are a lot more out there.  Maybe double that number!

HM: So you are saying that there may actually be eight doctors out there that agree with the new bill?

Staffer: Well we cannot say for sure, but some of our analysts think it is possible.  Look, the fact is, there is a silent super minority of doctors out there who are clearly leaning our way –  and we want to find them.

HM: What exactly is a silent super minority?

Staffer: Well we are not sure about that either, but we think it is an important demographic.

HM: How so?

Staffer: Think about it. We are changing one sixth of the US economy to support about seven percent of the population.  Given those numbers, finding four doctors that support this bill is huge!

HM: But polls still show that the vast majority of doctors are against the bill.

Staffer: Not anymore.  In our latest poll, one hundred percent of the doctors surveyed supported it.

HM: Wow, that is impressive who conducted the poll?

Staffer: We did of course!

HM: Oh really, what sample size did you use?

Staffer: That’s beside the point.

HM: No, I think it is important; how big was your sample?

Staffer: Well, quite a few…um…maybe about four I think.

HM: (shocked) So what you are saying is that you only polled the four doctors on stage.

Staffer: Well yes, but it was unanimous….pretty much.

HM: Pretty much?

Staffer: OK, initially one of the doctors was undecided, but Obama was able to change his mind.

HM: How? Did he offer the doctor some type of political position or favor in return for his support?

Staffer: Oh no, Obama will never make that mistake again.

HM: How did he do it then?

Staffer: Cash…I think.

HM: (changing subject)You must forgive my skepticism, but it just seems to me that having four doctors on board is nothing to get excited about.

Staffer: Well, I will admit the stage looked a bit sparse with just four doctors behind the President, but this is only the beginning. Let’s say that our analysis is correct and we can find another four out there somewhere. The ramifications would be huge!

HM: I am sorry, I don’t understand.

Staffer: (rolling eyes) Well a television screen is only so wide.

HM: (confused) Excuse me?

Staffer: (irritated)  OK, work with me here… just imagine if we had eight doctors on stage all bunched up real tight with Obama.   We could almost make the average American believe that our nation’s medical professionals were behind this bill, not just our liberal friends at the DFA and AMA.

HM: So, what you are really saying is that you want to dupe gullible Americans into thinking this bill is a good idea?

Staffer: Well, I would not use the term “dupe” …

HM: What term would you use?

Staffer: I dunno, “creatively manipulate” maybe?  I mean it really is for their own good.  Most Americans are incapable of understanding this bill anyway, and just need to let us pass it.  After all, we know what is good for them; we’re the government!

HM: I see.

Staffer: Well I am very sorry to cut this short, but I need to get back to work.  I only have an hour to get the white coats back to the costume shop…see ya!

At that point, our interview ended as our staffer dashed from the press room.  We are not sure where this all will lead, but one thing is clear.  We have witnessed political theater at its finest and, if successful, we will likely see many such stunts in the future.  Rumors are already circulating that Obama staffers have rented a half dozen polar bear suits for an upcoming climate change conference. <<DEVELOPING>>

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Obama Nationalizes College Bowl Games

Head Muscle Press (30 January 2010): Insider sources close to President Obama have informed Head Muscle News that he is getting ready to announce plans to take control of all NCAA Division I bowl games.  According to our sources, Obama is doing this in an effort to regain his popular appeal on the heels of a dismal State of the Union Speech.   “President Obama has really had a rough couple of weeks,” our anonymous White House source noted.  “Banks are still making profits, insurance companies are still covering their customers, big energy is still drilling for oil, and the health care industry is still functioning well for 95% of all Americans. He is really feeling down right now.  It has been a while since the President has nationalized anything and he could really use a pick-me-up.” Rumor on the hill is that Obama has never liked the bowl system and believes that it creates an unfair monopoly in certain conferences. Nationalizing all college bowl games is seen by some proponents as the only way to make the system more accessible to underperforming teams that “are not covered” under the current system.  “There are about 342 Division I teams, and only 34 bowl games,” our source explained.  “This means that, every year, almost 274 teams go without bowl coverage.  It is just not fair, and President Obama is vowing to fight for these teams and their fans.”  In an effort to get a more detail on the President’s plan, HM met with our informant for an in-depth interview.  Transcript follows:

HM: Thanks for stopping by today.

Source: My pleasure, I really believe that this proposed legislation is going to be a win for the American People.

HM: So let me get this straight, President Obama plans to nationalize all Division I NCAA bowl games?

Source: Well, I wouldn’t exactly use the term “nationalize.”  We really see it as providing college football teams with a “public bowl option.”

HM: What exactly is a “public bowl?”

Source: Well, it is common knowledge that the greedy insurance companies and big Wall Street banks have had control of the bowl system for years, and …

HM: Sorry for the interruption, but that is really a sensational accusation! What proof do you have?

Source: Well, just look at the 2009 bowl schedule – The Citibank Championship Bowl, The Capital One Bowl, The Allstate Sugar Bowl, The Eagle Bank Bowl…I mean it is really kind of obvious isn’t it?

HM: So how exactly how will the “public bowl option” work?

Source: The plan is to take some of the remaining 500 billion bailout dollars, and set up an additional 137 bowl games that will cover the teams unfairly left out of the current system.  We will offer colleges the opportunity to host these games, and will cover 200% of their overhead costs.

HM: 200%?

Source: Yep. Fannie Mae is running the funding. Our goal is also to get colleges to opt out of big expensive BCS bowls for more politically correct public bowls. We certainly won’t force them to do this though, after all, this isn’t a Bolshevik plot or anything.  They can keep their current “greed bowls” if they want, but there may be steep fines involved.

HM: Wow…that sounds eerily familiar…

Source: It really is some of Obama’s finest work.  It will be the first real competition in the NCAA since the BCS started their monopoly. You know what BCS stands for don’t you?

HM: No, what?

Source: (laughing) Banks Control Sports!  BCS…get it?  The plan is to use our unfair government advantage to compete fairly with these greedy profiteers and run their butts out of the bowl business.  We figure in 5 years, the government will run all the bowl games in the country and then, finally, every team will be covered.  It really is an ingenious plan.

HM: You must forgive my skepticism here, but this sounds like a very expensive proposition.

Source: Oh it really is. It might even prove to be more expensive than health care…if we do it right that is.

HM: Well how will the government get their money back?

Source: Simple, we will just add it to Obama’s proposed bank tax.  I mean, we are already charging the banks for the AIG, GM, and Chrysler bailouts, why not add a few bowl games on the bill as well?  They won’t even notice. It really makes sense when you consider the fact that they are the ones who caused this mess.

HM: So what is the benefit to the taxpayers?

Source: What was the benefit of the health care bill?

HM: Sorry I asked…

Source: There will be some real benefits with the President’s plan though.

HM: For instance?

Source: Well first, instead of using bowl names as gratuitous advertizing opportunities, we will use them to remind Americans of Obama’s vision.  There will be a Death to CEOs Bowl, a Banks Really Suck Bowl, a Unionize America Now Bowl, and a Fifteen Percent of Americans Have No Health Care Bowl.  I know that the last name is kind of long, but the message is really strong don’t you think?

HM: What will you do to the traditional bowl names when they eventually cross over to the public option?

Source: Great question. We are already planning ahead for that, and have mapped a series of new names to these bowls as well.  We will change the GMAC Bowl to the UAW Bowl, the Chick-Fil-A Bowl to the Zero Transfat Bowl, and the Gator Bowl to the Gays in the Navy Bowl.  We have also proposed changing the name of the Fiesta Bowl to the Immigration Reform Bowl.  It really is a great marketing vehicle for Obama’s policies don’t you think?

HM: Are you going to rename the Texas Bowl in Houston?

Source: Oh, that’s a good one. It will be the “Bush’s Fault Bowl.”  Isn’t that fantastic? Obama thought of that one himself.

HM: So is that the only benefit of this plan; new catchy names?

Source: Absolutely not.  We already have much bigger plans in the works.  I could get fired if I told you this, but do you know that high speed train between Orlando and Tampa that Obama approved?

HM: Sure, he mentioned it in his speech last Wednesday.

Source: (leaning in and whispering) Well, do you think it is just a coincidence that it connects the Outback Bowl with the Capital One Bowl?

HM: (perplexed) Well no, I…

Source: Yep. They have already cut a deal to shift over to the public option in 2011.  It is all a part of Obama’s greater plan.  Just think about it. In a couple of years fans will be able to watch the Vegan Bowl in Tampa, and then rocket over to Orlando at 200 miles per hour to see the Capitol Run Bowl the very next day. Soon Obama will have a network of high speed trains connecting all the public bowl games together.  Obama feels strongly that both really fast trains and bowl reform are critical to our nation’s recovery, and this is an ingenious way to get both in one shot. That, my friend, is why he is President and we are not.

HM: Well, I must admit, this will bring sweeping change to the college bowl system.  When will this bill hit the floor for debate?

Source: Oh don’t worry; Obama has given his pledge to televise it all on C-SPAN.

HM: So his ultimate goal is to have every Division I team receive a bowl game bid at the end of the season?

Source: That is really it in a nutshell.  Obama is really tired of all the fat cat CEOs getting all the bowls and the poorer teams getting nothing.  Tell me, when was the last time you saw Wofford College in the Rose Bowl?

HM: (baffled) They were 3 and 8 this past season. Furman beat them for crying out loud!  Who the heck would want to see them in the Rose Bowl?

Source: (look of disgust) Racist.

HM: (shocked) Excuse me?

Source: (indignantly) You may be interested to know that displays of hate will be punishable by 5 years in prison, and a 25-yard penalty in public bowl games…

At the conclusion of the interview, our White House source provided us with an unofficial list of prospective names for some of the new public bowl games:  Under Obama’s plan, the 137 new bowls will include the Close Gitmo Bowl, the Cap-N-Trade Bowl, the Union Freebie Bowl, the Che Guevara Wasn’t So Bad Bowl, and the Jeremiah Got It Wright Bowl.  As revolutionary as this plan would be however, it is not without problems. Orlando Florida, for example, hosts both the Capital One Bowl and the Champs Sports Bowl at same complex. This will make building the high speed train link between the two bowls somewhat problematic.  Democrat proponents of the train insist, however, that a track circling the stadium will allow the train to reach speeds close to 80 miles an hour without derailing.    More on the “Bowl Bill” as it develops.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Head Muscle Press means absolutely no disrespect to Wofford College, its students, or staff.  Wofford is a fine institution of higher learning and is a credit to the American college and university system.  You cannot help it if you stink at football.  See you at the Rose Bowl in 2011.

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