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Twilight for reaming

BY BEAU ELLIOT | FEBRUARY 08, 2011 7:10 AM

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So who came worst in the Super Bowl — Ben Roethlisberger, Groupon, or Christina Aguilera?

Yeah, I thought so, too.

Yes, the Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback had something of a rough game; throwing two interceptions that resulted in Green Bay Packer touchdowns was — how to put it politely? — not so helpful. And some of Groupon’s commercials spawned a maelstrom of criticism for being perceived as, well, not so tasteful.

But professional singers — yes, Aguilera is a professional; she gets paid to sing (of course, I once got paid to sing, so the bar is not necessarily all that high) — should know better than to try to perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” in public. Especially when the public numbers 100 million or so.

I guess in Aguilera’s case, we’d have to call it “The Star-Mangled Banner.” “What so proudly we watched at the twilight’s last reaming”? I don’t even want to guess what those last three words mean.

One of these days, the United States will get a national anthem that people can actually sing without enduring years of operatic training.

Of course, one of these days, U.S. workers will get some jobs. Don’t hold your breath on which comes first.

The Super Bowl wasn’t the only thing that occurred this past weekend, though for many people, it seemed so. The nation — well, some of it — observed the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth.

And conservatives waxed eloquently about the good old days, when men were men, women were women, and the conservative tide ruled the land.

Not to criticize the Great Communicator, but Reagan’s legacy also includes: raising taxes 11 times after his famous tax cuts, which, at the time, sent the U.S. into the deepest recession since the Great Depression. (After the midterm elections of 1982, as many observers have pointed out, his approval ratings were far less than President Obama’s after the 2010 midterm elections.) He also created budget deficits to then-astronomical levels and left behind a larger federal government than what he inherited from Jimmy Carter, which doesn’t exactly jibe with what conservatives want, believe, or remember.

In terms of the number of federal-government employees, the only president to shrink the size of the federal government (a staple of conservatives and now the Tea Party) has been Bill Clinton, who was reviled as a liberal by the conservatives and reviled as a namby-pamby centrist by those of us who are liberals. History will probably show he was probably exactly neither.

Some conservatives — not to pick on them — still dream of Drill, baby, drill. That would be for oil, in case you haven’t been keeping score at home.

Curious.

Because the United States, for the first time since the 1960s, in 2010 was an oil exporter, not an oil importer.

Yes. You heard that right.

Despite what some — nay, many — politicians say (not to mention what most people believe), we are not as dependant on foreign oil as we believe. I mean, we export more oil than we import.

Quick — from where do we import most of our oil?

If you said Saudi Arabia — or, for that matter, any Persian Gulf nation — you’d be about as correct as if you said the Steelers won the Super Bowl.

The answer is Canada. Yes, Canada. We import most of our foreign oil from those friendly people to the north who speak the same language as us, more or less (with a much cleaner accent, it must be admitted, though with a tendency, at times, to employ British punctuation rules, which are pretty much like no rules at all).

We also, here in Hawkeye land, import some of our wonderful women’s gymnasts from Canada, so we can probably say, Who cares about the punctuation?

Of course, as the last week points out to us, we also import most of our Arctic cold fronts from Canada. Hmm.

I think we should stop worrying about our so-called addiction to foreign oil and start being concerned about our addiction to Canadian cold fronts.


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