Voting Without the Slightest I.D.

Those Republican primaries in Michigan and Arizona got all the attention, but Tuesday was also an election day here in Wichita, Kansas. The only item on the ballot was a referendum on the city’s plan to give several million dollars of bed tax money to some developers who are proposing to build a downtown hotel, but that was sufficient to get us out of the house and down to the neighborhood polling place.

This was the first election since a new state law went into effect requiring a photo identification card to vote, so we were slightly surprised when the nice lady at the folding table asked to see a driver’s license. The law is intended to assure that only eligible citizens are allowed to vote, and doesn’t seem an onerous imposition, so we resisted the brief temptation to say “Lo siento, no hablo a Inglés,” and simply provided the requested license. Moments later we were standing at a computer screen, slightly disappointed that the ballot didn’t offer a “hell no” option but generally satisfied that our rights had been respected.

As we grabbed an “I Voted” sticker from a plastic bowl on our way out we overheard some of the voters in line grousing about the new rules, with one imitating a Nazi soldier demanding “Show me your papers,” presumably referring to the nice lady at the folding table, and another wishing harm on Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State who authored the law and a man much hated by what there is of a Kansas left. Judging by the comments, as well as their calculatedly hip attire, we took them for the sorts of liberals who believe the government should be able to dictate your choice of health insurance plans, light bulbs, and any number of other things, but draw the line at government asking voters to show a driver’s license, lest the dark night of fascism descend on Kansas.

While rewarding ourselves for our performance of civic duty with a beer at a local tavern we saw the bartender ask a youthful-looking customer for a driver’s license, and when the fellow wasn’t able to provide one he was shooed away. In an ensuing conversation with the bartender we discovered that he was a “yes” voter, but were pleased to hear that he didn’t think the new driver’s license requirement was a big deal.

We were also pleased to hear later in the evening that the “no” votes had prevailed, and by a landslide. The “yes” side was better funded, out-advertised the “no” faction by a least two-to-one on the local airwaves, and filled local mailboxes with promises of jobs galore if the plan were approved, but it’s becoming harder to convince taxpayers to sanction governmental “investments” in matters that have traditionally been better attended to by the private sector. Much of the credit for the outcome goes to our good friends at the invaluable Voice for Liberty in Wichita web site, as well as the local branch of the Americans for Prosperity group.

It would be nice to think that the left unwittingly helped out with its relentless anti-business rhetoric, but the voters we overheard grumbling about the driver’s licenses were probably “yes” voters. Such liberals may hate rich businessmen, but they’re ever eager to lavish taxpayer money on any corporation that strikes a deal for tubular solar panels, algae biofuels, $40,000 economy cars, yet another downtown hotel, or any other government-sponsored scheme. Without such corporate-government alliances, apparently, the dark night of fascism will descend on Kansas.

— Bud Norman

The Good War Goes Bad

History will judge the success of America’s military strategy in Afghanistan, but it is already possible to see that the political strategy is not going as planned.

The traditional media with the resources to cover Afghanistan have been content to mostly ignore it in recent years, and so have their war-weary readers and viewers, but the rioting, killings, and mass chaos that have occurred there since the burning of some Korans last week have unavoidably brought the troublesome country back to the public’s attention. The news media haven’t launched the same kind of defeatist blitzkrieg that attended similar setbacks in Iraq and Afghanistan during a previous administration, but the coverage has been sufficient to create a political problem for President Barack Obama.

Most Americans will regard the incineration of the Korans as one of those unfortunate but forgivable episodes that occur in the course of every war, as the Korans in question had already been desecrated by prisoners using them to convey illicit communications and apparently were inadvertently destroyed, but the administration’s response to the incident will be more controversial. Rather than keeping quiet about an honest error that was almost certain to provoke rioting, killing, and mass chaos if it became public knowledge, which in retrospect seems a good idea, the administration apologetically announced it to the Afghan public. Critics have mostly objected to the numerous apologies offered by Obama and his emissaries, saying it conveys weakness to a culture that instinctively preys on the weak, and while the administration’s defenders can say the gesture showed cultural sensitivity they can’t convincingly argue that it worked.

Worse yet, for an administration already beset by a series of crises in an unraveling Middle East, the whole Afghanistan enterprise is being looked at anew by an increasingly skeptical electorate. A strategy that seemed carefully devised to offer something for everyone know seems to have something for everyone to dislike.

After becoming a nationally known political figure by his outspoken opposition to the war in Iraq, which endeared him to the bleeding heart peacenik crowd, candidate Obama sought to reassure more hawkish voters that he wasn’t one of those bleeding heart peacenik types by explaining that the Iraq war was bad because it distracted American efforts from the more righteous fight in Afghanistan. Even after winning the election Obama couldn’t resist using the argument when he announced a surge in Afghanistan similar to the one he’d criticized in Iraq, saying it was necessary “to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires.” Simultaneous with the announcement of a surge, Obama announced a timetable for withdrawal, which was widely criticized as a military tactic but had a strange plausibility as a political tactic to appease both hawks and doves.

For a while it even worked. Congressional Republicans and the right in general were mostly on board with the surge, if only for fear of being called partisan and inconsistent if they objected. Congressional Democrats and the left in general were mostly willing to keep mum and await the promised pre-election withdrawal, with no apparent fear of being considered partisan and inconsistent. The mushy middle was happy to forget about Afghanistan, and the media were willing to let them do so. To the extent that Afghanistan had any effect on Obama’s approval numbers, it was probably to his slight benefit.

After a week of horrifying headlines, though, the plan is unraveling. Even the most enthusiastic right wing warmongers don’t see a point in fighting if it’s not to win, and an early withdrawal would leave them wondering why he had sent so many troops in the first place. The anti-war left will be angry if the withdrawal isn’t hastened, no matter how many apologies are issued. The mushy middle will have to hear about it, too, because the media can’t ignore it.

— Bud Norman

What’s It All About, Algae?

President Barack Obama has been widely mocked for his recent remarks touting algae as a solution to America’s energy problems, but thus far the ridicule has not been nearly sufficient.

Speaking last Thursday at the University of Miami, in a state where motorists are already paying an average of $3.70 for a gallon of gas, with further drastic price hikes expected to come in the peak driving season, Obama promised that the government’s help is on the way. Employing the elegant rhetoric that has earned him a reputation as the world’s greatest orator, Obama told yet another audience of empty-headed college students that “We’re making new investments in the development of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel that’s actually made from a plant-like substance, algae — you’ve got a bunch of algae out here. If we can figure out how to make energy out of that, we’ll be doing all right.”

Implied but not explicitly stated is the wee problem that we haven’t yet figured out how to make energy of algae, at least not at a price that is even close to being competitive with old-fashioned crude oil-derived gasoline, and it’s likely going to be a long time before we do.

Obama assured his listeners that “Believe it or not, we could replace up to 17 percent of the oil we import for transportation with this fuel that we can grow right here in America,” but that figure apparently comes from a study by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory which also warns that it would require massive amounts of land and a quarter of all of the water currently used for agricultural irrigation. If an algae biofuel industry were to reach peak capacity it could meet 48 percent of the current demand for oil, the study says, but that would require 5.5 percent of the land in America’s lower 48 states and three times the water now used by agriculture.

An unforeseen technological breakthrough might make production of algae biofuel more cost-efficient, not to mention land- and water-efficient, but then again, it might not. The folks at Shell Oil, who seem to know a good deal about energy, made a decision last year not to bet any more money on it. The folks at the Department of Energy, whose record of delivering effective and affordable energy to the market is less impressive, are all in with $85 billion. Obama wants to add another $14 million to the pot, and at a time when the Department of Defense is facing severe budget cuts it is also helping out by buying 450,000 of algae biofuel at four times the price of oil.

The easiest way to make algae biofuel competitive with oil is to quadruple the price of oil, of course, and this would also have the added benefit of making any number of other convoluted “green energy” schemes economically viable. The effect on other segments of the economy might not be as salutary, but Obama doesn’t seem to be as heavily invested in those.

— Bud Norman

Hooey for Hollywood

Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Netflix company we’ve been lately been catching up with the modern cinema. Not so much that we’ve seen any of the pictures nominated for prizes at Sunday’s big award show, but enough to remind us why we had lost interest in the movies.

We’ll not mention the name of Sunday’s big award show because its legal staff is notorious for sending out threatening letters to anyone who does so without affixing the little registered trademark sign, they’re equally touchy about the familiar nickname for the gold statuettes they hand out, and there is no sense in provoking the wrath of a Hollywood lawyer. If they want to claim a proprietary right to the word “award” we will resist, regardless of how many letters they write, but otherwise it just doesn’t seem worth the bother.

The last time we took an avid rooting interest in these awards was all the way back in 1969, when the betting favorites in the best actor category were John Wayne for his performance as the heroic rugged individualist Rooster Cogburn in “True Grit” and Dustin Hoffman for his performance as pitiable would-be pimp Ratso Rizzo in “Midnight Cowboy.” Wayne was by then a legendary figure of the golden years of American moviemaking, Hoffman was at the time a counter-cultural icon, and their competition rather neatly symbolized not just the vast generation gap between Old Hollywood and New Hollywood, but also the battles being waged on the streets at the time between the old America and the new America. Even then, we knew which side we were on.

The Duke won the statuette, a victory that still elicits a smile, but Ratso Rizzo easily won the future of movies. Since that time Hollywood’s output has, on the whole, championed the ‘60s counter-culture’s view of capitalism, religion, sexual propriety, America’s role in the world, and just about everything else, even cowboys. The old values of the black-and-white era still sneak into release from time to time, and always seem to turn a tidy profit, but the vast majority, and ones that always seem to win the most awards, but the vast majority of movies make it clear that Hollywood is still on the anti-establishment side.

They are the establishment now, and they have the lawyers to prove it, but despite their famously ironic sensibility they don’t seem to grasp the irony. Come Sunday night they’ll strut majestically down a red carpet, resplendent in rare jewels and haute couture, cameras from around the world capturing their gorgeous faces and elegant gestures, all hoping that they’ll win a golden statuette and a chance to declare their solidarity with the “99 percent” in an acceptance speech, blissfully confident they’ll be spared when the guillotines are rolled out for the hated 1 percent.

Not that we want to see anyone beheaded, of course, but it would be a rip-roarin’ twist ending to a movie.

— Bud Norman

That Gassy Feeling

No one, not even the greenest environmental wacko in the world, likes paying higher prices for gasoline.

We can state this with journalistic certainty, because back in our newspaper days the editors would send us out in search of utterly predictable man-at-the-pump quotes to localize wire stories every time the prices spiked. On one such occasion we happened to spot a fellow we know to be the greenest environmental wacko in the world as he was filling up his tiny automobile. We immediately pounced on him, notebook and pen in hand, hoping to snare the first-ever quote in praise of higher gas prices, but alas, even he offered nothing but the usual grousing.

With gas prices once again on the rise, already reaching record levels for the month of February and expected to head far past the outrage-inducing $4 barrier by peak summer driving season, all that really matters is who gets the blame. Much of the anger will likely be directed towards President Barack Obama, and this seems fair enough.

Presidents always get the blame for high gas prices, after all. The last oil shock came during the waning days of the George W. Bush administration, and he was blamed by everyone, including then-candidate Obama. If only for the sake of bi-partisanship and intellectual consistency, this venerable tradition of blaming the president should continue for at least one more term.

Bush was easily blamed because he’d once been an oil man and was thus perceived to be friendly toward the oil industry, always a mother lode of material for conspiracy theorizing, but Obama’s once-vaunted hostility toward energy producers should make him an even more plausible scapegoat. This is the man whose only regret about the last round of $4-a-gallon gas was that it hadn’t happened gradually enough, after all, and the same one who appointed a Secretary of Energy who openly yearned for European-level gas prices. He’s also the same fellow who openly boasted that his cap-and-trade plan was intended to cause to electricity rates to “skyrocket.”

As president, Obama has not pursued a cheap energy policy. He acted in contempt of a court to impose a moratorium on drilling in the gulf of Mexico, blocked the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and has continued to keep the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge and other oil-rich properties off the market, and subsidized a number of “green” industries whose business models rely on higher energy prices. He’s now touting increases in domestic oil and gas production, even as he continues to play the role of environmentalist hero, but most of the increase has come on private land or because of permits issued by his oil-loving predecessor.

You can also make a strong case that the oil hasn’t become more valuable, but the dollars we’re buying it with have become less so. If so, Obama’s profligacy and his choice for Federal Reserve chairman are at fault.

One can also blame the mad mullahs running Iran, whose belligerence has spooked the futures markets into bidding up the price of crude oil, but this still does not leave Obama blameless. It is impossible to say if a more confrontational policy would have deterred Iran from its recent aggressions, but it is quite possible to say that the “open hand” approach has thus far not worked out.

The White House will no doubt give it a try, but it’s going to be a hard sell to blame the higher gas prices of Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum or any other Republican challenger. They won’t dare blame it on Satan.

— Bud Norman

The Devil and Rick Santorum

Many of Rick Santorum’s seemingly endless controversial remarks are quite defensible, but it’s becoming a rather Sisyphean chore to defend them.

The former Pennsylvania Senator and current Republican presidential candidate struggled mightily to stay on his economic message in an interview with CNN Tuesday, telling the network that “I’m going to stay on message, I’m going to talk about the things Americans want to talk about,” but it was to no avail. The report was about a speech Santorum gave four years ago at Florida’s Ave Maria University, in which he said that Satan was “attacking the great institutions of America” and that mainline Protestantism “is in shambles,” and on Tuesday, at least, that seemed to be the main thing politically-minded Americans wanted to talk about.

The mighty Drudge Report shouted the story from the top of its well-read page, offering the most incendiary snippets of the speech. The pugnacious New York Daily News weighed in with a shocked account of “Santorum’s extreme right-wing social positions.” The Christian Science Monitor, founded by a church with its own controversies, wondered “Does Rick Santorum have a Satan problem?” The left side of blogosphere went predictably crazy with the story, calling Santorum everything from a “nutjob” to a “semi-popular Sinclair Lewis character,” while the right side was conspicuously more reticent about the matter. Rush Limbaugh devoted much of his influential radio show to the issue, mostly to decry the double standard that other media apply to the religious views of conservatives, but even he conceded that “Santorum will have to answer on Satan.”

Santorum vows he will have answers, and they deserve a hearing before voters render any judgments. The idea that there is a supernatural force tempting mankind to evil is a tenet of many religions, including several that are non-western and therefore exempt from criticism by the same sorts of leftist commentators heaping ridicule on Santorum, was once embraced by many successful presidents of the past, and remains a widely-held belief even in modern America. The opinion that America’s mainline Protestant churches have gone theologically and politically squishy is widely shared by many Protestants of the sterner denominations.

Limbaugh is quite right in noting the double standards that prevail in much of the media, of course. When President Obama used the occasion of the National Day of Prayer to revive the old Social Gospel spiel to argue for higher tax rates on the wealthy, saying that “For Me, as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’ teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,’” no one worried that a theocratic dictatorship was about to descend on the land. Nor did Obama’s 20-year relationship with the race-baiting, America-hating crazypants Rev. Jeremiah Wright ever receive anything like the proctological degree of media scrutiny devoted to Santorum’s four-year-old speeches. Nor do the media ever question the post-modern moral relativism that denies the very existence of evil, an idea every bit as wacky as anything that might come out of Rick Santorum’s mouth.

Limbaugh is also right to admit that the speech requires some answers, however, and therein lies an inescapable problem for Santorum and the Republican party he hopes to represent. Time spent reassuring the public that he won’t impose a Catholic version of sharia on the country is time that Santorum can’t devote to talking about the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression, the trillions of dollars of debt that have been racked up in a futile attempt to revive the economy, the stunning incompetence of Fast and Furious and Solyndra and Lightsquared and numerous other scandals, rising gas and food prices, a deteriorating international situation, and dozens of other issues more pressing than four-year-old sermons. It looks unlikely that Santorum will ever get back on message, but the sooner the party does, the better.

— Bud Norman

Permanent Vacation

It’s only the sexual hypocrisy that society finds galling. Whenever a big-haired televangelist or family values-spouting politician gets caught with a hooker, or is discovered in some similarly salacious behavior, the ridicule rains down and the offender is roundly condemned in the press.

The hypocrisies more common to the left are somehow more tolerable. An environmentalist who rides a private jet to a conference to rail about carbon footprints, a poverty activist who pockets a six-figure income, or a politician who campaigns on a soak-the-wealthy platform while living the lifestyle of the rich and famous can expect that the gap between his rhetoric and his behaviors will go largely unremarked.

Which is probably why Michelle Obama doesn’t mind being photographed by the paparazzi as she slaloms down the fashionable and high-priced slopes of Aspen, Colorado.

There is a sensible rule against commenting on First Ladies, and one shouldn’t begrudge a First Lady some time off the job, as hectoring everyone to eat their vegetables and being a celebrity is no doubt tiring work, but the spectacle of Michelle Obama indulging in her family’s 16th lavish, extended, and largely taxpayer-funded vacation demands that an exception be made. This is the same First Lady, after all, who advised that American women “Don’t go into corporate America” and boasted that she and her husband had made the choice “to move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry.” The same First Lady who decried America as “just downright mean.” The same First Lady whose husband has declared that “At some point you’ve made enough money” and is running for re-election with an explicit appeal to class resentments.

The young leftists railing against the wretched excesses of the hated “one percent” don’t seem to mind, and the late night comics and the high-brow pundits aren’t making much of it, but perhaps it won’t go unnoticed by the many Americans who will be forgoing vacations entirely because of hard times and high gas prices.

— Bud Norman

Happy Birthday, George and Abe

As we understand it, Presidents’ Day is intended to honor Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, not presidents in general. Some disagree, and will spend today celebrating the accomplishments of William Henry Harrison’s month-long administration, the combined four years of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore, the non-consecutive but otherwise unremarkable terms of Grover Cleveland, and all the other presidents whose names schoolchildren struggle to remember just long enough to pass a test, but we prefer to limit our celebration to just Washington and Lincoln.

Readers of a certain age will fondly recall that Washington’s birthday was once honored with its own federal holiday, which gave federal employees a day off from work and the rest of country a day off from federal employees, and that Lincoln’s birthday was widely but unofficially celebrated as a separate holiday. That changed with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1971, which was enacted to give the aforementioned federal employees a three-day weekend with every observance. The act moved Washington’s birthday from the day of his birth halfway to the birthday of Lincoln, intended as a gesture of respect to the Great Emancipator even though the holiday is still on the books as Washington’s Birthday.

(The use of “Presidents’ Day” or, to those less punctilious about punctuation, “Presidents Day,” was promoted by the marketing departments of large chain stores and car dealerships in order promote  their sales by appealing to their customers’ affection for chief executives. The sage visages of Washington and Lincoln usually adorn the advertisements, we’ve noticed, but the businesses will likely be just as glad to sell to fans of Van Buren, Pierce, or any other presidents.)

At any rate, it is good that both Washington and Lincoln are afforded some respect on the calendar. Modern historians have largely abandoned the old warts-and-all standard of historiography in favor of just the warts, and revel in assailing the reputations of great men, yet Washington and Lincoln have thus far withstood the sneering judgments of the petty revisionists in academia. Recent graduates of American education know little of Washington except that he owned slaves, and they’re even ambivalent about the war-mongering and unapologetically capitalist Lincoln, but so long as the two are marked on the calendar one can hold out hope that future generations will someday learn more.

Our annual toast to Washington and Lincoln is not meant to be disrespectful to the other 41 men who have held the office, of course, at least not all of them. We’d be delighted to see a Ronald Reagan Day, not only for the apoplexy it would induce in our liberal friends, but also because we could realize for one more day of each year his dream of having no non-essential federal employees on the job. Warren G. Harding Day, Calvin Coolidge Day, and James K. Polk Day would be nice compensation for three underrated presidents, but one has to mete out these honors stingily, lest one run out of days and wind up like those sports teams forced to un-retire numbers.

There are other presidents we don’t care to be reminded of even once a year. To this day we’d like to tip a canoe and Tyler, too, and we’re still slapping our heads trying to understand Buchananomics. The department stores are also unlikely to move much merchandise at a Jimmy Carter white sale, and after the current president they’ll be lucky to be in business at all.

— Bud Norman

The Devil She Says

Demonizing one’s political opponents is a longstanding tradition in America, but few politicians have done it quite so literally as Rep. Maxine Waters.

The California congresswoman recently took the stage at her state’s Democratic convention, serenaded by a recording of “She’s a Bad Mama Jama,” and gave a stemwinding speech in which she described House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as “demons.” Demons who are “destroying this country rather than bringing us together,” at that.

Hearing a Democrat invoke such religious language is surprising enough, but especially so when the accusation is hurtled at the likes of Boehner and Cantor. Boehner is best known for being lachrymose, hardly a habit one associates with demons, while Cantor is little known at all, largely a result of a low-key personality uncommon among demons. Both men are far too accomodating for the tastes of the average of Republican, who would much prefer they went about their obstructionism with a bit more demonic zeal.

The accusation is all the more galling coming from Waters, who was an apologists for her constituents’ hate crimes during the Los Angeles riots of 1992, steadfastly defended the government’s insistence on subprime lending right up to the moment it caused a financial meltdown, and advocates the nationalization of the energy industry, among other policies that are least as destructive as anything a demon might conjure.

Readers with a long memory for political fads will recall that a year or so ago, around the time Sarah Palin shot all those people in Arizona, Democrats were briefly enthused about “civility.” Apparently the fad has passed.

— Bud Norman

Forever Young

Nothing escapes the attention of those eagle-eyed observers at the venerable Atlantic Monthly’s website, and they have lately noticed that young people are delaying adulthood.

Senior editor Derek Thompson discovered this phenomenon by examining data that show the “millennial generation” is staying in school longer, living at parents’ homes more often, marrying later, and putting off having children. He might have saved himself some rather dull research by simply looking around at all the fully grown people wearing backwards ball caps, oversized t-shirts, and baggy shorts as they ride their scooters to another marathon session of video game playing, or just eavesdropped on the inarticulate jabber that passes for youthful conversation, but a high-brow publication such as The Atlantic probably demands some data to go along with its observations.

Thompson attributes this extended adolescence to the recession, which has inflicted a 16 percent unemployment rate on 16- to 24-year-olds and cut their median earnings than more than any other age cohort, but we suspect it has more to do with the culture than the economy. America’s aversion to adulthood predates the economic downturn by many years, going back at least as far as the ‘60s era of “don’t trust anyone over 30,” and is common among all of the baby-boom-and-under generations. The average video game player is 37, people are dressing like 13-year-olds into their 40s, and we notice a good many gray pony-tails poking out of those backwards ball caps.

Popular music once celebrated the domesticated lifestyle with songs such as “Nice Work if You Can Get It” and “The Folks Who Live on the Hill,” but that has long since been supplanted by a rock ‘n’ roll sensibility that rebels against such mundane satisfactions. Bob Dylan warbled an admonition to his fellow baby-boomers to remain “Forever Young,” John Cougar Mellencamp urged a later generation to “hold on to 16 as long as you can,” the current batch of rockers seem to be ironically following their elders’ advice, and hip-hop seems to argue for parenthood without adulthood.

When the movies aren’t based on comic books, that staple of juvenile literature, they’re often comedies about handsome men refusing to grow up. Actors such as Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black seem to have made careers out of the role. Television is similarly full of Peter Pan characters, such as the aging hipster woman on that crime show and the t-shirted twenty-somethings on that sit-com about the young folks who hang out together, and the advertisements are largely populated by youthfully disheveled slackers. The popular novels, we’re told, are mostly about vampires.

The political class has long accommodated this trend. The Obamacare bill’s purportedly popular provision extending parents’ health insurance to 26-year-old children is one notable example, but there are also the government incentives to endlessly extend education through easily obtained student loans, subsidies for illegitimacy, and a host of other policies. All of modern liberalism indulges the youthful notions of entitlement, no responsibility, hostility to traditional institutions, and putting it all on the credit card, which is probably why it can always count on the youth vote even when the young unemployment rate is 16 percent.

Perhaps the recession has exacerbated this longtime trend, but we can’t help thinking back to the old-timers who once lamented that the Great Depression had forced them to grow up young, and we can’t help recalling that they did. A prolonged adolescence was formerly something that young people felt they could afford during the long and presumably eternal economic boom, and now they find that adulthood is something they can’t afford during the hard times. Either way, it seems they’ll stay forever young, like it or not.

— Bud Norman