Back in the 1950s there was a TV commercial designed to induce headaches in viewers in order to increase demand for the product the commercial was hawking — a pill to cure headaches, of course. The same strategy is often practiced in politics. A story in this morning's New York Times about California Congressman Darrell Issa ("Obama's Annoyer-in-Chief") mentioned that the Republican gadfly  "was charged with two long-ago auto thefts before eventually making a fortune selling car alarms...."

There’s a maxim everyone’s heard, personally mouthed, and undoubtedly believes: “What goes around comes around.” Or, “the boomerang effect. Remarkably, however, although we’ve all heard, mouthed, and believed it, many arrogantly claim a personal exception from this law of God and Nature — even when it comes to some serious stuff like life and death, freedom and slavery, prosperity and poverty, happiness and misery, even heaven and hell.

I used to think you had to have a sense of humor to survive in politics. I am now becoming convinced that a great many politicians have a tin ear for humor-or at least for irony. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for example, has called Russia on the carpet for that country's invasion and "continued occupation" of Georgia. Maybe I have a warped sense of humor, but I think that's funny. Maybe not laugh-out-loud (or lol in techy talk) funny, but rich in irony nonetheless. And I'm pretty sure Mme. Hillarious doesn't get it.

Pick your peeve: illegal immigrants, toxic television with its pornographic programs, second-hand smoke, ballooning budgets. Even the smallest of small-government advocates sometimes assume that fixing such entrenched or annoying problems requires laws, compulsion, fines, prison – in short, the State’s “help.” But does it?

Bob ConferThe June jobs report issued by the Labor Department noted that total employment was down by 125,000 jobs for the month and that the 83,000-worker growth in the private sector was much smaller than expected. Despite the drop in employment, the unemployment rate dropped as well, to 9.5 percent.


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