Reality as we Know It Voided by the Law Firm of Limbaugh, Obama and Muggeridge

Years ago, Rush Limbaugh had a parody public service announcement from “The Restless Leg Institute.” If you subscribe to Rush’s Website you can hear it here, otherwise, the script will give you the gist of the message, which I think may date back to the mid-to-late 1990s:


In the past, people who suffered from Restless Leg Syndrome were thought to be unable to lead a healthy, productive life. But here at the Restless Leg Institute, we’ve helped literally thousands of victims of Restless Leg Syndrome become independent, and go on to lead happy, successful, productive lives.

Like Rachel here. Her tap lessons have really changed things, opening doors to many opportunities she would have missed. Or take Matthew here. By riding the stationary bicycle equipped with a 200,000 kilowatt generator, Matthew provides a safe, clean alternative energy source to the Institute, and 32 surrounding homes. Are you tired yet, son? “No sir!”

Graduates from the Institute include Pele, Elvis Presley, and the entire cast of Riverdance. So if you or someone you know suffers from Restless Leg Syndrome, tell them about the Restless Leg Institute, before it’s too late.

Has Obama been listening to Rush? This post yesterday at the Weekly Standard — which I don’t think is a satirical one — sound like something the Restless Leg Institute might have cooked up: “Obama Plans to Power Africa—With Soccer Balls,” Daniel Halper reports:

Yesterday in Cape Town, South Africa, President Obama talked about bringing energy and power to the continent of Africa. Today, President Obama is expected to reveal that part of his Africa energy plan involves a soccer ball that carries an electric generator inside.

From the White House transcript of Obama’s speech from yesterday:

I am proud to announce a new initiative.  We’ve been dealing with agriculture, we’ve been dealing with health.  Now we’re going to talk about power — Power Africa — a new initiative that will double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa.  Double it.  (Applause.)  We’re going to start by investing $7 billion in U.S. government resources.  We’re going to partner with the private sector, who themselves have committed more than $9 billion in investment.  And in partnership with African nations, we’re going to develop new sources of energy.  We’ll reach more households not just in cities, but in villages and on farms.  We’ll expand access for those who live currently off the power grid.  And we’ll support clean energy to protect our planet and combat climate change.  (Applause.)  So, a light where currently there is darkness; the energy needed to lift people out of poverty — that’s what opportunity looks like.

And then today, White House aide Mike Froman explained the soccer ball idea to the press aboard Air Force One, as the pool report details:

Mr. Froman also talked about POTUS’s efforts to help bring reliable power to Africa, which will be the subject of an event in Tanzania on Tuesday morning. He noted as one example an invention designed to bring electricity to many of the small villages that are not connected to the grid.

POTUS will cite on Tuesday two women from Harvard who invented what’s called the “socket ball” — it’s a soccer ball that has a small electric generator inside a soccer ball. As kids kick it around all day, it generates electricity and stores it in a battery.

Mr. Froman said that he and Mr. Rhodes tested out the “socket ball” and that it will be demonstrated Tuesday (though it’s not clear that POTUS will kick the ball around or not.)

The pool reporter quotes Froman as saying, “Kids play soccer all day long. They take the thing, the ball home, and you can plug a lamp into it and they can read at night. Or they can plug a cell phone charger into it.”


The Minneapolis Star-Tribune had an article yesterday from the AP — which again, rarely produces intentional satire — which adds:

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania — A spirited game of soccer can energize a crowd. Turns out it can also energize a light socket.

The SOCCKET ball, invented by two female Harvard graduates, is among the featured devices President Barack Obama will see on exhibit during a presentation at a Tanzanian power plant Tuesday.

U.S Trade Representative Michael Froman and deputy national security adviser Benjamin Rhodes said they played around with the ball for Obama to get ready for the event.

“We tried it, we test drove it,” Froman said.

The ball has been mentioned by former President Bill Clinton as a device that could bring a bit of light to rural areas of undeveloped countries.

According to Uncharted Play, the gadget’s manufacturer, the soccer ball has a pendulum-like mechanism that creates kinetic energy during play and stores it. The firm says 30 minutes of play can power a simple LED lamp for three hours. The plan is to distribute the innovative balls to kids.

“Kids play soccer all day long. They take the ball home and you can plug a lamp into it, and they can read at night, or they can plug a cellphone charger into it,” Froman said.

No word yet whether Obama, who played some soccer as a child in Indonesia, will create his own energy.


Of course, as Doug Powers adds at Michelle

The people in Froman’s hypothetical example are living in a remote, off-the-grid village with no electricity but apparently there’s a cell phone tower just up the road.

Passing thought: They should make a “socket golf ball” and I’ll bet President Obama could generate enough electricity to power the White House for a year.

Heh. Over twenty years ago, Tom Wolfe wrote:

While Malcolm Muggeridge was the editor of Punch, it was announced that Khrushchev and Bulganin were coming to England. Muggeridge hit upon the idea of a mock itinerary, a lineup of the most ludicrous places the two paunchy pear-shaped little Soviet leaders could possibly be paraded through during the solemn process of a state visit. Shortly before press time, half the feature had to be scrapped. It coincided exactly with the official itinerary, just released, prompting Muggeridge to observe: We live in an age in which it is no longer possible to be funny. There is nothing you can imagine, no matter how ludicrous, that will not promptly be enacted before your very eyes, probably by someone well known.

Malcolm Muggeridge coined the phrase “Muggeridge’s Law” as a reminder that no satirist can compete with real life for its pure absurdity. It took a decade or so for reality — or in this case Mr. Obama — to catch up with Rush’s Restless Leg Institute, but it finally happened.


And presumably, Mrs. Obama thinks it’s all pretty darn baller.

(Via Tim Blair.)


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