Thursday, April 2, 2009

General Bullmoose and the Queen

Michele Obama shocked the world yesterday when she gave the queen a pat on the back. What a scandal! Well, it might interest you to know that the queen is not such a delicate flower. When I met her in the '70s she grabbed my butt 3 or 4 times before I could get away. (Or maybe that was her sister.)

Of course, Cheryl and I couldn't go on this trip (I'm afraid Barack is about to write us off). I'm getting ready to start the window project. And today Cheryl is bringing home a guide dog (we're just house sitting this one--we get a puppy soon). I'm also busy reading the 160-page guide dog manual. Sorry, we're much too busy for the queen this year.

Luckily I've washed my hands of this economic mess or I'd be in the middle of the G20 summit, which is not at all pretty. One possible outcome is an international regulatory board, a group that would apply financial rules equally in all countries. Fat chance on that. None of our legislators will go for it in any case. Barack really has his hands full (and not with the queen, if that's what you're thinking).

Which brings me to General Bullmoose. When I played music back in Arkansas I became acquainted with Al Capp's son, Colin Capp, who liked to hang out in the Little Rock night clubs. Al Capp, you may know, wrote the Li'l Abner comic strip, and General Bullmoose was one of the characters--a loud-mouthed, scheming, despicable tycoon who hated the common man and was fond of saying What's good for General Bullmoose is good for the USA.

Coincidentally, one summer break from college I played music at a theme park called Dogpatch, USA, a sort of redneck Disneyland that is centered around the characters of Li'l Abner. Apparently Colin Capp later married an actress at the park (she played Moonbeam McSwine). Small world.

Well, as you certainly know, the Bullmoose reference above is a play on words, based on something Eisenhower famously said in the '50s: What's good for General Motors is good for the USA. And now with the GM bailout, it appears that the saying is even more true and even more perplexing today, not that I understand any of this.

Which is why I'm glad to get started on the window. First, I'll pull off the existing trim and see what surprises await me inside the wall. More to come.

It wasn't Eisenhower who made the quote--it was Charles Wilson, who was the president of General Motors and Eisenhower's pick to be Secretary of Defense.

From Wikipedia:
Wilson's nomination sparked a major controversy during his confirmation hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee, specifically over his large stockholdings in General Motors. Reluctant to sell the stock, valued at more than $2.5 million, Wilson agreed to do so under committee pressure. During the hearings, when asked if as secretary of defense he could make a decision adverse to the interests of General Motors, Wilson answered affirmatively but added that he could not conceive of such a situation "because for years I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa." Later, this statement was often pared down to its essence, "What's good for General Motors is good for the country." Although finally approved by a Senate vote of 77 to 6, Wilson began his duties in the Pentagon with his standing somewhat diminished by the confirmation debate.

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