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George W. Bush never had to answer for his “youthful indiscretions.” Michael Phelps, not so lucky. Having been caught red-handed with a smoking bong firmly pasted to his maw, the long knives are out for the Olympic hero.
Let’s see if I’ve got this right. Phelps isn’t a future Hall of Famer juicing himself with the “cream” and the “clear,” or getting his gluteus maximus pin-cushioned with designer ’roids. He isn’t a doped racehorse, or a testosterone-shooting bike nerd trying to turn his Lycra-Spandexed bum into a blur pedaling across France.
He isn’t even the current president of the United States, who freely admits to having toked his share of tropical trumpets back in his Hawaiian hoodlum days, not to mention tooting some of the Big Island’s finest imported disco dust.
He’s a 23-year-old rock star who got caught smoking pot. How is Phelps going to do the breast stroke covered in tar and feathers?
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”