Queen Elizabeth ll boards a First Capital Connect train at King’s Cross Station bound for King’s Lynn, Norfolk, en route to Sandringham for Christmas, 2009.

European royals make do with a less lavish lifestyle than the supposed citizen-executive of a so-called republic.

Thus speaketh the Steyn.

The man hits the funny bone of truth and it hurts.

He turns the knife in even deeper.

Symbols are important. In other circumstances, the Obamas’ vacation on Martha’s Vineyard might not be terribly relevant. But this is a president who blames his dead-parrot economy on “bad luck” — specifically, the Arab Spring and the Japanese tsunami: As Harry S. Truman would have said, the buck stops at that big hole in the ground that’s just opened up over in Japan. Let us take these whiny excuses at face value and accept for the sake of argument that Obama’s Recovery Summer would now be going gangbusters had not the Libyan rebels seized Benghazi and sent the economy into a tailspin. Did no one in the smartest administration in history think this might be the time for the president to share in some of the “bad luck” and forgo an ostentatious vacation in the exclusive playground of the rich? When you’re the presiding genius of the Brokest Nation in History, enjoying the lifestyle of the super-rich while allegedly in “public service” sends a strikingly Latin American message. Underlining the point, the president then decided to pass among his suffering people by touring small town Minnesota in an armored Canadian bus accompanied by a 40-car motorcade. In some of these one-stoplight burgs, the president’s escort had more vehicles than the municipality he was graciously blessing with his presence.

When I was a little girl my parents would take me to see my paternal great grandmother Emma Fletcher. She was an immaculate housekeeper so when we visited her we were allowed to snoop all over her house. My brothers and sister and I went into her dining room on our way to her fascinating kitchen and in passing would see Grandma’s hooked rugs. She never stopped working on her beautiful creations and had everything in her dining room set up as a display even though it was a work in progress.

We were intrigued with Grandma’s kitchen. Besides her pies tucked away safely in her old punched tin pie safe there always seemed to be something cooking in the oven. But it was the old ice box that fascinated us. My brother used to dare me to open the door to peak inside. There were always strange things that we never found inside the ice box at home. Things like pigs feet, ham hocks, and chitlins.

Our strolls through our great grandmother’s home were pretty good entertainment for us but one of my most striking memories is of the framed certificate that she had hanging in her bedroom above the framed photo of a young image of her husband, our great grandfather, who had died when I was five years old.

The certificate was from President Truman, an acknowledgment and thanks to my great grandfather for being the engineer who drove the train on one of the legs of President Truman’s whistle-stop campaign tour through the United States.

I was always in awe of my late great grandfather. I knew that he had been an engineer of the Frisco train and that he had told my father that he had put a million miles on the engine. Reading that certificate just put a little more burnish on the memory of the man who, in my last memory of him, had been cutting roses from his prized rose bushes and let me pick out my favorite rose.


President Truman (not an Ivy Leaguer but most certainly a buck stopper) engaged in a re-election campaign in 1948 that was “made in America”.

Truman’s 30,000 mile whistle stop train tour through the heartland of the United States was taken on the Ferdinand Magellan, the only car custom built for the President of the United States in the 20th century. Originally built in 1928 by the Pullman Company and officially the “U.S. No. 1 Presidential Railcar”, the Ferdinand Magellan is currently on display at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Miami, Florida.

But to undertake this feat, in each railroad region it took an engineer and an engine to power the railcar and it’s hard to imagine the U.S. Secret Service allowing that to happen in this day and time. It would take more than one massive train to carry the load of Obama advisers, aides, press handlers, political hacks, advance crew, mother-in-law, staff, cooks, hairdressers, dog-walkers, babysitters, golf-walkers, page-turners, and the like heading to Martha’s Vineyard.


And what a bummer for Obama! Now it appears that Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi has flown the coop for parts unknown. (perhaps Algeria) Chaos and euphoria are reigning in the streets of Tripoli and Obama must be terribly worried about his golf game plans for tomorrow. Should he make a statement right away or should he wait a few days to take credit?

How dare Gaddafi interrupt his ten day vacation only two days in?