Your Saturday Steyn reader

First up, an excerpt from Mark’s Saturday column, Gordon Brown’s Cry of Impotence:

In the old days, I used to wake up to the morning paper, neatly folded on a silver salver and presented by my valet along with the kedgeree and the brace of grilled quail. Now I wake up to an inbox of Internet stories forwarded by readers that cumulatively feel like the front page from some bizarro kingdom cooked up for an unpersuasive dystopian satire. For example, a headline from the Washington Examiner:

“Transsexual Cabaret Performer Vomits on Susan Sarandon.”

An accident? Or the pilot for a hot new reality format? In other news, the London Evening Standard reports:

“Number 10 Denies Naked Gordon Brown Called Aide C-word.”

Read the rest if you can. Moving on, Mark on why Obama and Congress persist in their legislative death march:

Why is he doing this? Why let “health” “care” “reform” stagger on like the rotting husk in a low-grade creature feature who refuses to stay dead no matter how many stakes you pound through his chest?

Because it’s worth it. Big time. I’ve been saying in this space for two years that the governmentalization of health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture.

It redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in fundamental ways that make limited government all but impossible. [. . .]

Look at it from the Dems’ point of view. You pass ObamaCare. You lose the 2010 election, which gives the GOP co-ownership of an awkward couple of years.

And you come back in 2012 to find your health care apparatus is still in place, a fetid behemoth of toxic pustules oozing all over the basement, and, simply through the natural processes of government, already bigger and more expensive and more bureaucratic than it was when you passed it two years earlier.

Mark on a Muslim woman’s objection to full body scans on religious grounds:

MKH: Well, and finally, we’ve got a story from across the pond. A Muslim woman refuses body scan at airport from the Times. A Muslim woman was barred from boarding a flight after she refused to undergo a full body scan for religious reasons. She was warned she would be stopped from boarding the plane, but decided to forfeit her ticket to Pakistan than to submit to the scan. And I believe she’s believed to be the first person to refuse on religious grounds. Frankly, what do think about that one?

MS: Well, I’m actually opposed to the full body scan, because I don’t actually think it’s what we need at airports. So our best shot at getting rid of it is eventually, a Supreme Court judgment comes down that it’s religiously discriminatory for TSA operatives to get their jollies from looking at Islamobabes under the burka.

Lastly, Mark on “the impact of Big Government on free peoples”:

Or take Scotland. Most anywhere you go around the planet, from Hong Kong to Hudson’s Bay, almost everything that works was created and developed by Scotsmen. Now the whole joint’s a statist swamp where government spending accounts for 75 percent of the economy and the menfolk idle away their days on a diet of drugs and fried Mars Bars with a life expectancy in the less salubrious parts of Glasgow getting down to West African standards. They’ll never make any contribution to the world again.

Listen to Steyn in conversation with Rob Long, Peter Robinson, and others, at Ricochet.