Rest in peace, Fred Thompson. He was a great American who lived a richer life than most of either his fellow senators or fellow actors. It was always fun when you'd stumble across him grilling someone on TV in that distinctive Tennessee drawl and it took you a moment to figure out whether it was a movie or a Congressional hearing. It happened to me a couple of months back when I came across the hugely enjoyable No Way Out with Kevin Costner, Sean Young, Gene Hackman ...and there's Senator Thompson doing his shtick as director of the CIA. He would have made a very good CIA director. He succeeded at everything he did - law, acting, politics - until he decided to run for president. He would have been a very fine president, too, but he was not, in 2007, the best campaigner, which is a loss to America and to the world.
He was a shrewd and insightful man, but also very stylish and cool. I didn't know him well, except for a few tipples after hours on various sailings of the National Review cruise. But, after the 2010 midterms, he and Howard Dean and I took part in a big event in Calgary discussing the US election results for a Canadian audience. A very crumpled Dean and I arrived first and were chit-chatting on the sidewalk about this and that when a car pulled up and Fred Thompson got out wearing the best cut suit I've ever seen on a political panelist - an immaculately tailored chalk-white pinstripe; he looked sharp, like he was about to whack Sean Connery in The Untouchables. It was all the more amazing given that his speakers' agency had flown him some hellish multi-stop route from Nashville to Calgary- via Presque-Isle and Yellowknife, or some such. What followed was a fun discussion. You can view the first part of the evening here, and then click through to the rest.
Please keep his family in your prayers. Two daughters are still at grade school and that is a terrible age to have to cope with the loss of a loving father.
German Village of 102 Braces for 750 Asylum Seekers
It takes a "refugee" "child" to raze a village.
~Speaking of Hillary, in these turbulent times it's good to know that America's principal foreign policy official knows how to prioritize. It turns out that, even though Christopher "Chris" Stevens did not have Hillary's direct email address, Ben Affleck did! So that's good news, isn't it? Maybe she was planning on sending Ben in to rescue the Ambassador and his staff - just like he did in Argo.
Then again, maybe not. From the latest batch of Clinton-legacy memorabilia, in December 2011, an email chain with the header "Gunmen try to assassinate head of Libyan army" mysteriously evolves into Hillary offering advice to Huma on home decor:
Did you get info from Chelsea about the wall lamps?
They are beautiful but way out of my price range!
Oh, that Libyan Army guy? Don't worry, he survived - unlike his predecessor Abdul Fatah Younis, who was assassinated five months earlier, yada yada. Can we get back to talking about Huma's beautiful lamps now?
~In his weekend column Down Under - "Refugee Influx Turns Europe To The Right" - Paul Sheehan quotes a fair bit of me from my recent Scandinavian foray, although he gets a bit heavy on the ellipses toward the end. If you fancy it without ellipses, see my original piece "Wild Seadogs of the Ã˜resund", about my trip from Copenhagen to MalmÃ¶. One of Mr Sheehan's readers, Rossleigh in Brisbane of the "Australian Independent Media Network", is not impressed:
Refugees taking it for granted that they should travel first class is outrageous enough, but that first class travellers should have to put with men with beards "swarming" in. Although how Steyn managed to determine that they were refugees and not hipsters, I'm not sure.
Erm, it was because they were speaking Arabic. In my limited experience of "hipsters", very few speak Arabic, although I don't presume to speak for Rossleigh's quartier of Brisbane.
Perhaps it was the "covered women', because, after all, this was Scandinavian first class travel and it's my understanding that everyone's naked there most of the time, but that could be because I reduce everything to stereotypes.
Hey, that's pretty funny. Has Rossleigh has ever thought of making a living as a stand-up comedian? Although, upon reflection, I wonder if the basis of the joke is quite sound enough to get a laugh even on Open Mike Night at the Australian Independent Media Conference. A non-naked woman is what we call "clothed". "Covered" refers to something else, as Swedes and Danes are well aware.
But you could always try reading my piece, the quotes from the railway staff, etc. As to the reason I was in Copenhagen, well, I was there to speak at the Danish Parliament for the tenth anniversary of the Mohammed cartoons. And, as Douglas Murray observed mordantly, the only reason we were top of the bill is because all the cartoonists and humorists who used to be ahead of us are dead or in hiding. For example, of the six of us who appeared on stage to mark the fifth anniversary of the cartoons, four have been shot at, firebombed, and forced to abandon their public identity.
So keep working on that amusing comedy routine about how you thought "covered women" were those few Swedish birds who aren't nudists. Sure, it might just come off as flaccid parochial solipsistic dweebery insufficient even for the standards of leaden Internet snark, but, if you keep at it and actually make a joke about something real, why someone might shoot or firebomb you! How hipsterish would that be!
~Tomorrow I'll be joining Sean Hannity on Fox News. Hope you'll check us out: Tuesday 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific.
~My Halloween horror video did not meet with universal acclaim. Angie Sharp of Texas writes:
Holy Mother of Gawd.
Dude. WTH? I'm speechless.
A night of horror. Indeed.
Well, okay. But you'll love my cat album.