Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.

“He wouldn’t take questions!” complained Howard Bashford. “Sure, he ‘apologized,’ but he wouldn’t take questions. I think he owes it to the American people to tell us how many women he ‘slept’ with, and how many times, and where, and why, and whether he’s going to give more to Sex Addicts Anonymous, and whether he thinks his ‘apology’ is enough and why he shouldn’t don sack cloth and ashes or a hair shirt …”

At this point he paused for breath and I interjected, “Are you talking about Tiger Woods, the golfer, and his public statement last week?”

“Yes, yes,” said Bashford. “We deserve the right to question him about his sex life, his marriage, his diet, what he has been doing for the past three months, his …”

“Wait a minute,” I interrupted. “Bill Clinton didn’t get this much scrutiny in the months following the Monica Lewinsky revelations. And Woods has admitted his affair, while the president of the United States argued that he was too busy drafting executive orders to notice that Lewinsky was having relations with his private parts.”

“Well, Clinton was merely president for eight years,” said Bashford. “Woods may be the best golfer ever. And Clinton eventually answered queries from a special prosecutor. Woods isn’t taking any questions!”

“Hold on,” I said. “Just who do you represent?”

“The American people,” said Bashford, “and Associated Press.”

“You’re an AP reporter?” we said.

“Not that Associated Press,” he replied. “I work for the dry cleaners down the street.”

“My mistake,” I said. “I thought you meant a national news-gathering organization.”

Said Bashford, “These days, what’s the difference?”

Word games

Socialismn., any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods and services.

Here’s a fine word that is anathema to the American left. If you say taking control of General Motors and the banking system is socialist, the far left responds, “It is not!” If you call a government takeover of health-care socialist, the far left again answers, “It is not!”

That is the totality of the left’s argument, because if it came to a definition of terms and the dictionary were selected as impartial arbiter, the debate would end with, “It is so!”

Regardless, the left – including the Democratic Party and the president of the United States – clings to the concepts of socialism as it flees from the term.

There is a very good reason for this. Americans may not know the dictionary definition of socialism, but they don’t like the word. It smacks of effete European institutions, of Frenchmen whiling away their idle hours at sidewalk cafes, of Danish university students with nothing to do after their exams, of injured Brits waiting in line for medical treatment.

It smacks of failure, and Americans don’t cotton to failure. This is why it’s not good for the left when more honest “progressives” declare, “Medicare and Social Security are socialism,” and ask, “Why aren’t you against those programs?” This simply reminds the rest of the country that those programs are failing and those programs are socialist.

Oh, Canada!

Some Canadians are a bit upset over the winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, and even more upset that their government is investigating them for complaining. The Los Angeles Times reports cops have been visiting critics, and the families and associates of those critics. Ostensibly, the police are looking for potentially violent inclinations.

“Now, if this had been China, that would be one thing,” the Times quoted one dissident, “but this is Canada.”

We would ask: Why the surprise?

After all, Canada is a nation with thought-crime laws, where just a few months ago police investigated a 67-year-old grandmother for objecting to a gay pride parade, where various thought-policing councils levy fines against those expressing heterodox ideas, and where a preacher’s sermon on the gospels could lead to criminal prosecution.

The policing of political speech seems a natural progression north of the border – and it should be a cautionary lesson for Americans.

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