I mentioned on Friday that America is now the world's runner-up:
It's Official: America Is Now No. 2
Chinese economy overtakes the US's to become the largest
Steyn in 2011:
I mentioned in this space a few weeks ago the IMF's calculation that China will become the planet's leading economic power by the year 2016. And I added that, if that proves correct, it means the fellow elected next November will be the last president of the United States to preside over the world's dominant economy. I thought that line might catch on. After all, we're always told that every election is the most critical consequential watershed election of all time, but this one actually would be: For the first time since Grover Cleveland's first term, America would be electing a global also-ran.
But the good news is we're still Number One when it comes to presidential entourages!
President Obama stayed only one night in Australia for the G-20 summit, but the entire presidential delegation required over 4,000 rooms costing in excess of $1.7 million for the entire stay.
To be precise, it was 4,096 rooms. But what's an extra 96 rooms when you're bulk-booking? Does that mean Obama took a 4,096-man delegation? Or is that bargain $1.7 million rate based on double occupancy and he took with him 8,192 indispensable government officials? Yeah, baby! That's what I call boots on the ground!
Normally, when a foreign power send 8,000 of its chaps into another country, it's called an invasion. But with America it's just the world's all-time biggest room-service tab.
Alternatively, since the Cartagena hooker scandal, the presidential entourage is forbidden to have foreign nationals in its hotel rooms. So maybe it was 4,096 indispensable government officials and 4,096 hookers flown in from Des Moines.
How many flunkeys did the Chinese President bring for the night?The Weekly Standard doesn't say, but we can compare the G-20 leaders' personal accommodations (all prices Australian dollars):
President Obama's hotel suite: $2,500 per night;
Chinese President Xi Jingping's hotel suite: $1,695 per night.
So this Xi guy may be the head honcho of the world's Number One economy but he's got a worse hotel room. One night in Brisbane makes a hard man humble. What of the other fellows?
British Prime Minister David Cameron's suite: $1,259;
Russian President Vladimir Putin's suite: $615;
Saudi King Abdullah's suite: $495;
Aussie PM Tony Abbott's suite: $309.
So, for the cost of Obama's hotel room, you could put up five Saudi kings. The average cost of those 4,096 US hotel rooms was $423 per night. Which means that every single Deputy Assistant Deputy Assistant Under-Secretary of the US Department of Motorcades had a better room than the Aussie PM.
Is there no 2016 presidential candidate willing to commit himself to restoring the seemliness of republican self-government?
~Speaking of chaps who like their entourages, further to our Song of the Week, Scaramouche rewrites "Rudolph" in honor of John Kerry, who seems determined to be the chap who guides Iran's sleigh - or slay.
~Rolling Stone back in the days when it wrote about rock:
Imagine an era when people were so uptight, they got their panties in a bunch over the discovery that Milli Vanilli didn't sing on their records.
Now Rolling Stone writes about rape. Imagine an era when people are so uptight they get their panties in a bunch over the discovery that "Jackie" didn't actually get gang-raped in her own harrowing gang-rape account:
Ultimately, though, from where I sit in Charlottesville, to let fact checking define the narrative would be a huge mistake.
Ah, well. Just because yet another media fairytale has fallen apart is no reason for America's gilded youth not to be paralyzed with terror. At Columbia Law School, interim dean Robert Scott writes to students in the wake of the Michael Brown/Eric Garner grand-jury decisions:
- In recognition of the traumatic effects these events have had on some of the members of our community, Dean Greenberg-Kobrin and Yadira Ramos-Herbert, Director, Academic Counseling, have arranged to have Dr. Shirley Matthews, a trauma specialist, hold sessions next Monday and Wednesday...
Yeah, yeah, so you laid on a trauma counselor. Big deal. What else you got?
- The law school has a policy and set of procedures for students who experience trauma during exam period. In accordance with these procedures and policy, students who feel that their performance on examinations will be sufficiently impaired due to the effects of these recent events may petition Dean Alice Rigas to have an examination rescheduled.
Shouldn't Columbia Law School just automatically pass all these traumatized students? Grand juries are the gang rapists of the justice system, right?
~Speaking of gang rape, Brian Gardiner demands to know:
Why has Mark Steyn never recorded "Baby, It's Cold Outside"?
I gave a kind of an answer a week ago, but evidently Mr Gardiner is not satisfied. At any rate, with my new CD Goldfinger in hand, he's decided to take my singing career in a new direction:
Can it be a coincidence that this CD shows up in my mailbox the same day they announce the latest Bond movie, Smersh? His rendition of Goldfinger leads to an obvious choice to do the theme song for Smersh, and it's not to let Madonna ruin another Bond intro. No, never mind the Mark Steyn for Senate petition that was floating around a year or so back, it's time for a Mark Steyn for the Bond theme song movement.
Actually, the new Bond film is called Spectre. I think I'd have preferred Smersh, but maybe next time. As for me doing the theme song, I take the line of my friend Don Black, who's written the lyrics for more Bond songs than anyone else ("Thunderball", "Diamonds Are Forever", "The Man With The Golden Gun", "Tomorrow Never Dies", "The World Is Not Enough") , that "Shirley should sing them all" - as in La Bassey. Adele wasn't bad last time round, but I'd love to talk Shirl into making a record of "Skyfall". And I'd love it if she did the Spectre song.
If you'd like to hear my version of "Goldfinger", it's available on CD or digital download via the Steyn store, or as part of a Christmas special double-bill with my new book. It's also on sale at Amazon and CD Baby.