Graduating midshipmen of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis are being told in writing to leave at home or in their vehicles all "ceremonial swords" and anything else "that might be considered a weapon or a threat by screeners" for Friday's outdoor commencement ceremonies featuring an address by President Barack Obama.
Inside the Beltway has obtained the academy's list of prohibited items for this year's graduation exercises, which, besides ceremonial swords, includes umbrellas.
Yes, cell phones and texting are still allowed.
Wow - what adjectives, adverbs and nouns did 2008 presidential candidate and Congressman Ron Paul of Texas not resort to when recalling a horrific vision he experienced this week?
"Could it all be a bad dream, or a nightmare?" Mr. Paul wondered. "Is it my imagination, or have we lost our minds? It's surreal; it's just not believable. A grand absurdity; a great deception; a delusion of momentous proportions, based on preposterous notions and on ideas whose time should never have come; simplicity grossly distorted and complicated; insanity passed off as logic; grandiose schemes built on falsehoods with the morality of Ponzi and Madoff; evil described as virtue; ignorance pawned off as wisdom; destruction and impoverishment in the name of humanitarianism; violence, the tool of change; preventive wars used as the road to peace; tolerance delivered by government guns; reactionary views in the guise of progress; an empire replacing the republic; slavery sold as liberty; excellence and virtue traded for mediocrity; socialism to save capitalism; a government out of control, unrestrained by the Constitution, the rule of law, or morality; bickering over petty politics as we collapse into chaos; the philosophy that destroys us is not even defined."
Is this where you woke up, sir?
"We have broken from reality," he continued. "A psychotic nation. Ignorance with a pretense of knowledge replacing wisdom. Money does not grow on trees, nor does prosperity come from a government printing press or escalating deficits. We're now in the midst of unlimited spending of the people's money, exorbitant taxation, deficits of trillions of dollars spent on a failed welfare/warfare state; an epidemic of cronyism; unlimited supplies of paper money equated with wealth ...
"Of course, it could all be a bad dream, a nightmare, and that I'm seriously mistaken, overreacting, and that my worries are unfounded. I hope so. But just in case, we ought to prepare ourselves for revolutionary changes in the not-too-distant future."
Every day another congressman has a sad personal story to pass along regarding President Obama's automobile task force eliminating more than 3,000 Chrysler and GM dealerships nationwide, putting more than 150,000 Americans out of work.
"In my district," says Rep. Erik Paulsen, Minnesota Republican, "a long-time local dealer, Bill Mason's Chrysler Jeep in Excelsior, was given 30 days by the president's auto task force to shut its doors. Thirty days. It didn't matter that he built the business, owns the land and provides good-paying jobs."
A more typical horror story aired on Capitol Hill this week as lawmakers rushing to enact credit card reform dealt with a Marvin Weatherspoon of Chicago, who purchased a home more than eight years ago.
To consolidate home-repair bills totaling over $12,000, Mr. Weatherspoon applied for a credit card with a low introductory interest rate of 4.5 percent. Before he knew it, the rate jumped to 28 percent.
Over the last eight years, Mr. Weatherspoon has paid the bank $15,000, yet reduced his principal balance by only $800.
• John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes .com.