Thursday, February 26, 2009

Oh, Oh, Obama

by Burt Prelutsky

As I sit here, the Obama administration is a bit more than a month old and, quite honestly, it’s really no worse than I imagined it would be. But please keep in mind that I wagered it would be even worse than the one Jimmy Carter presided over, and so far I have no reason to switch my bet.

What does surprise me is the fact that so many people continue to be delusional about the president. Even if we overlook the fact that he promised that all of his appointees would be squeaky clean and honorable, and wound up, instead, being a pack of tax cheats, lobbyists and Clinton re-treads, I would have expected his disciples to have rubbed the sleep out of their eyes and seen him for the con artist he obviously is. Frankly, I think he makes Bernard Madoff look like an amateur.

Take the stimulus package, or, in the words of Joe Biden, “the so-called stimulus package.” Obama goes on TV and tells us that it’s the only thing that will keep us from winding up in Hoovervilles, selling apples on the street and becoming a nation of hobos. Furthermore, this messenger of hope tells us, with a straight face, no less, that there isn’t a single earmark to be found in it. That’s like pointing at an enormous hog and saying there isn’t a single link sausage or slice of bacon in it. There’s no need for earmarks when the whole damn thing is nothing but pork! Obama didn’t even have to stay up late to put the package together. That was done by Pelosi and Reid, Washington’s answer to Hormel and Oscar Meyer. Obama was simply the snake oil salesman who was sent out on the road to sell it to the rubes.

Speaking, as I was, of Joe Biden, I couldn’t help wondering how he felt when, at Obama’s first press conference, in response to a reporter’s asking him what the Vice-President meant when he said that the stimulus package had a 30% chance of failing, Obama suggested that, as usual, he had no idea what the man he personally chose to be a heartbeat from the Oval Office was talking about. How odd that for once I understood Joe Biden just fine. He meant that the trillion dollar package upon which the president was betting his administration and America’s future had, at best, only a 70% chance of success.

But, still, my heart went out to old Joe. It can’t be much fun being dismissed as this administration’s Monica Lewinsky, the resident bimbo.

On the subject of bimbos, I’ll believe the GOP has finally quit trying to give bi-partisanship a bad name when Michael Steele does everything he can to keep Arlen Specter, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, from receiving even a nickel in campaign funds the next time they run. I say, let them go ask Howard Dean for money. He’s the one who owes them a favor.

A friend of mine, Dick Heatherton, suggested that, in spite of the stimulus package being shoved down our throats, conservatives have a couple of things to be happy about these days. One of them was airline pilot Sully Sullenberger, the man who orchestrated the miracle of the Hudson River. While I don’t know Sully’s politics, I agree with Heatherton that he is the personification of what we on the right like to think of as an American hero. He is a seemingly ordinary fellow, a modest, soft-spoken husband and father who, when circumstances demand it, is capable of performing extraordinary deeds. There are more Sullenbergers around than you might think, and they’re pretty easy to spot. You’ll usually find them standing right behind a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart or a Congressional Medal of Honor.

The other cause for glee is a motion picture called “Taken.” It’s a movie about an ex-CIA agent, Bryan Mills, who, for once, isn’t looking to start World War III, kill the president or pull off a multi-million dollar drug deal. All he’s trying to do is rescue his daughter from a group of white slavers who have kidnapped her. What makes it such a treat, aside from its action-packed 94 minutes, is that the bad guys aren’t the usual well-spoken Euro-trash or conservative politicians that Hollywood generally employs as arch villains. Instead, these guys are Albanian Muslims delivering young women to old sheikhs.

Along those same lines, I’ll share a letter to the editor I recently sent to the L.A. Times. “If Leon Panetta,” I wrote, “honestly believes that ‘Our greatest weapon is our moral authority,’ he should step aside and allow a rabbi, a priest or a minister, to head up the CIA. If, on the other hand, he believes, as I do, that the Agency’s primary mission is to keep America safe from Islamic terrorists, he should stop talking like a very naïve and fatuous social worker.”

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ruminating In My Room

by Burt Prelutsky

Occasionally, I am asked how I decide what to write about. The way it generally works is that I jot myself a note about something I’ve read or heard or that simply occurred to me in the shower or while stuck in a traffic jam on the Hollywood Freeway. After a while, as happens in the fermentation process, something starts bubbling up until I am compelled to write an article.

Other times, though, I find that I’ve written myself so many memos that no single item has percolated its way through my subconscious. Then, in order to clear the decks, as it were, I have no option except to deal with all of them.

So, number one, there’s the movie, “Milk.” Some people are convinced it’s the odds-on favorite to cop the Oscar for Best Picture because the members of the Motion Picture Academy, either being homosexuals themselves or simply very sympathetic to the gay agenda, will feel they have to make amends for same-sex marriages being voted down in California. It’s certainly possible, although I suspect “Slumdog Millionaire” will win. Ironically, “Milk” doesn’t make much of a case for homosexual marriages. Rather, it promotes the idea that homosexuals, in the words of the gay, conservative talk show host, Al Rantel, are all hound dogs. Rantel, who’s in his 50s and has worked on radio in Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles, has said on the air that he has never come across a single gay couple who were faithful to each other.

Whenever I have asked supporters of gay marriage on what basis one could then deny the same right to a father-daughter, a mother-son or one man and a dozen women, the best they can come up with is, “Oh, it would never come to that.” To which, I say, it wasn’t that long ago that a rational person would have said that about an America with 20 million illegal aliens, abortions on demand for teenagers without parental consent, gay pride parades, sanctuary cities, internet porn and two trillion dollars in corporate and individual welfare, and yet here we are, are we not?

I have no way of knowing if Al Rantel is right, but I do find it peculiar that so many homosexuals seem to place their sexuality at the forefront of their personal identities, so that they are gay first, and Americans, Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Democrats, Republicans and anything else secondarily. When we encounter heterosexuals who place that much emphasis on sex, we assume they are either16 years old or terminally immature. I’m sorry if I’m being insensitive, politically incorrect or overly judgmental, but I can’t help thinking that anal intercourse simply shouldn’t play that important a role in anyone’s life.

Two, in the wake of all the bail-outs and stimulus programs, it seems to me that the feds must be running the printing presses at the Treasury 24 hours-a-day. That being the case, I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be able to start using the money in my old Monopoly game to start paying my bills the same way Uncle Sam is paying his.

Three, some people are upset that CEOs get paid so much money to run companies. Especially when they run them into the ground. It’s not my way to complain about what other people get paid. It might sound too much like sour grapes. But even I have to wonder how it is that schmoes like Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank, who played such major roles in creating the financial mess in the first place, are still drawing salaries or how it is that a worm like Bernard Madoff, who destroyed so many lives, is still drawing a breath.

As for those CEOs, one of the problems I have with them is that I can’t quite figure out what it is they do. I mean, aside from selling off various divisions of the company, outsourcing jobs and factories to places they’d never go in a million years, gutting the workers’pension fund and going to resorts on corporate jets, what else is there on the job description? My own theory is that once you somehow get to be a CEO, you then become one of a handful of people who ever gets considered for the job opening when some other CEO dies or goes to jail.

It works much the same way in major league baseball. A manager may get fired from one team, but he’ll soon be hired by another. Take Gene Mauch, for instance. Between 1960 and 1987, he managed the Phillies, the Expos, the Twins and the Angels. As a result, there were only five managers in history who managed more games. However, not only did he never win a World Series, but not once in those 28 seasons did his team even win a pennant! The only way he ever got to see a World Series was to buy a ticket.

Four, when I saw George W. Bush and Barack Obama having their picture taken in the Oval Office with George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, I’m sure I’m not the only person who was reminded how far we’ve fallen from the days when a similar group photo would have included Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison and Monroe. By the way, did anyone else notice how much Carter has come to resemble Mr. Magoo?

Five, I recently read about an extremely wealthy man who had never gotten married because he was never certain whether a woman loved him for his money or himself. I never met the guy, but I wanted to call him up and set his mind at ease: “Stop wondering! It’s your money!”

Apparently, very rich people are often worried about this very thing. I thought about taking out an ad in Forbes or Fortune offering my services. Wealthy people could phone me at any hour of the day or night, and I’d say, “You are your money. Do you think Brad Pitt lies awake wondering if women chase him because of his looks or his sense of humor? You use what you’ve got. Besides, if it’s really tearing you up, I have a solution. Give away all your dough. But don’t come whining to me when your trophy wife dumps you and you can’t scrounge up a date for Saturday night.”

And, finally, I was delighted to read that Marian Robinson, Barack Obama’s mother-in-law, is coming to live in the White House. The story is that it’s only going to be for a short time, until everybody is settled in. But if I were Barack, I wouldn’t count on it. Once Mrs. Robinson gets a taste of room service and those fancy state dinners with dignitaries and movie stars, I don’t see her rushing back to Chicago. Speaking as a conservative who was not looking forward to an Obama administration, but who had loved “Amos ‘n’ Andy,” the possibility that this could lead to some of the hilarious hijinks that used to revolve around the Kingfish, Sapphire and Sapphire’s mama, makes me think that the next four years may not be as gloomy as I’d feared.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mea Culpa, Phil (Classic)

by Burt Prelutsky

As a rule, I could be described as a totally guiltless person. It isn’t simply that I make every attempt to lead a blameless life, but, on those terribly rare occasions when I do slip the tiniest bit, I tend to find truly excellent reasons why others are actually at fault. Or, as I once told my son when he attempted to use me -- I being his alleged role model in this instance, although in no others -- as his reason for having done something he shouldn’t have: “Your grandmother was a gold medal winner when it came to instilling guilt, but even she met her match when it came to me. So, don’t you even think about it.”

However, no matter how much I try to twist and turn, I fear that my days as the Teflon man have come crashing to a halt. You see, I hold myself partially to blame for Phil Spector’s current problems.

As a classmate of Phil’s, I was in attendance the first time he performed in public. The occasion was a school assembly at L.A.’s Fairfax High, back in the mid 50s. Although nearly half a century has passed, I remember it as if it had happened last week. But that’s how it is with major disasters. I’m sure that the people who witnessed the crash of the Hindenburg will never forget it, either. And, as disasters go, the Hindenburg couldn’t hold a candle to Phil’s voice.

Five hundred of us sat stunned as he strummed his guitar and sang. At least we assumed it was singing. The idea that anyone with that nasally, Bronxish wheeze would dare to vocalize outside the confines of his shower redefined chutzpah for us. The end of his performance was greeted with absolute silence. After a few moments, moved solely by compassion for a fellow human being, my best friend and I started to applaud. Soon, the other students joined in. To our collective horror, this so buoyed Phil’s spirits that he did an encore!

A short time after graduating from Fairfax, Phil, who had seemed destined to be our class’s “Least Likely to Succeed,” began making his mark on the music world, albeit not as a vocalist. When we congregated at the Ambassador Hotel for our 10th reunion, Phil was the one who showed up in a limo that he actually owned, along with three bodyguards whose sole function was to ensure that none of us got within ten yards of the man.

Is it any wonder that I’m so guilt-ridden? If only I hadn’t encouraged Phil that fateful day, I can’t help wondering if he might not have become a happy, well-adjusted, accountant, and been spared the drugs, the booze and now the murder.Font size

At the very least, we’d have been spared that really awful encore!

My Day In Court

by Burt Prelutsky

Perhaps it’s because I was summoned for jury duty a few weeks ago that I have been hyper-aware of criminal matters lately. My attention was particularly grabbed by a couple of news items. The setting for the first was the small Colorado city of Fort Lupton. It’s there that Municipal Judge Paul Sacco has been making a name for himself by employing a Solomon-like sense of justice in dealing with young scofflaws.

Previously, when teenagers stood accused of blasting their car stereos or otherwise disturbing the peace and assaulting the ears of those residents whose taxes pay his salary, Judge Sacco was in the habit of levying fines. But one fine day, it occurred to him that the tickets weren’t changing anything. The parents would pay the $95, and the kids would continue their noisy ways. It was then that he came up with the brilliant idea of giving the offenders a dose of their own medicine. Ever since then, he has sentenced them to spend an entire hour on a Friday night in the courtroom listening to everything from Barry Manilow to Boy George, from Beethoven’s Ninth to Barney’s theme song.

As a result, noise offenses in Fort Lupton have dropped from 56 in 2007 to 20 in 2008. Even more telling, the recidivism rate is less than 5%.

I realize it’s probably too much to ask, but the next time there’s an opening on the Supreme Court, I hope that Judge Sacco makes the short list.

The other matter concerns the LAPD’s announcement the other day that they had finally arrested the mastermind behind the gang that had been dubbed the “Hillside Burglars.” Over the past few years, this guy and his crew had apparently committed more than 150 break-ins, absconding with over $10 million in cash and loot from the homes of Hollywood executives, celebrities and sports stars.

As I read the news, I couldn’t help thinking that if I were a lawyer hired to defend this guy in the current political climate, I’d try to convince the jury that he wasn’t really a thief, but that he was merely doing his part to help the government redistribute wealth.

Speaking of juries, there I was at the Burbank courthouse, identified as Juror 3343, waiting to undergo questioning during voir dire. I had arrived at the courthouse at 8 a.m. It was now seven hours later, during which time we potential jurors had been handed a sheet of paper with 15 questions to ponder. A few of the initial group of 40 or so had already been questioned and admitted they were related to police officers or lawyers, and, so far as I recall, they had been excused with thanks.

By the time it was my turn to be questioned, I was feeling self-conscious because I had a problem with three of the questions that nobody else had even mentioned. The judge cast what I regarded as a jaundiced eye in my direction, and asked me to explain myself.

The first of the three questions had to do with the presumption of innocence. I told Judge Lubell that, try as I might, I couldn’t quite accept the idea that it was just an accident that 40 of us in the room were potential jurors and one of us was the defendant. So while I was prepared to assume that the rest of us were innocent, I would have a much harder time believing it about the fellow sitting at the table next to a defense attorney. I did promise, though, to make a sincere effort if I wound up on the jury.

Next, I was asked if I was prepared to give equal weight to any witness giving testimony in the witness box. I confessed that I couldn’t in good faith make such a promise. “What if one of the witnesses is a priest,” I asked, “and another is a convicted drug dealer? Who in his right mind would give their sworn testimony equal weight?”

There was a third question, which slips my mind, but it was along similar lines, and like the other two, required that I leave my logic and commonsense sitting outside on the courtroom steps.

Finally, the defense attorney decided he’d take his turn at trying to crack this nut: “Well,” he said, “what if the prosecutor states in his opening remarks that he’s going to prove four points, but by the end of the trial he had, to your mind, only proven three of them? Would you then be able to vote for acquittal?”

“It’s impossible for me to play that theoretical game with you because I don’t know what those four points are or if they’d be of equal importance. Right now, the best I can do is suggest we wait for the end of the trial and see how it all plays out.”

Five seconds later, I was excused. I didn’t hear the judge say, “Thanks.”

Some of you probably think I gave those answers because I was trying to get out of doing my civic duty. Not so. I answered as I did because I was telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God. Which, I’m willing to wager, is more than the 12 people who wound up on the jury can say with a straight face.

Click here to read a CourtTV transcript of a chat with Burt from the time of Spector’s first trial.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Finding A Home For Sex Offenders

by Burt Prelutsky

This morning, my hometown newspaper, the L.A. Times, carried the headline “Fixes in Jessica’s Law Are Urged.” The sub-head read: “Tight residency curbs on sex offenders can leave them homeless and propel them to re-offend, a panel says.”

For those of you fortunate enough to live someplace where the Times isn’t your local daily, let me assure you that a similar news story runs nearly as regularly as Doonesbury and Dennis the Menace.

It dismayed me the first time I came across a story bemoaning the difficulty of finding homes for these perverts. By this late date, it leaves me seething with rage.

The state’s Sex Offender Management Board is urging Gov. Schwarzenegger and the state legislators to change Jessica’s Law, insisting that its restrictions on where sex offenders can live are counter-productive and calling the $25 million-a-year spent to house them, mainly in motels and halfway houses, a poor use of tax dollars.

The law, which was passed in 2006 with the approval of 70% of California’s voters, bars sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks and other areas where children gather. The Board is concerned that it drives the offenders “into homelessness, an unstable situation that can propel them back to crime.”

Scott Kernan, undersecretary for adult operations at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, announced that his agency is discussing plans to scale back its housing of sex offenders, some of whom have their rent paid for several years while they’re on parole.

Okay, first off let me say that some “sex offenders” shouldn’t be branded as such. If a 15-year-old girl decides to have sex with her 18-year-old boyfriend, I’d have to be even sillier than I am to suggest the guy should go to jail or have to spend the rest of his life under a black cloud. Heck, if anyone’s going to jail, it should probably be the young Jezebel. Everyone knows that 15-year-old girls are smarter and wilier than 18-year-old boys. In fact, as a rule, males don’t even begin to narrow the gap until they’re well into their 40s and 50s, and often not even then.

When I think of a sex offender, I have rapists and pedophiles in mind, as I suspect most people do. What’s more, I’m willing to wager that the reason that 70% of us voted for Jessica’s Law was out of frustration because the state doles out such light sentences to these creeps. The very idea of a pedophile being paroled is totally absurd. What’s he being rewarded for? Not raping any five-year-olds while he was behind bars?

What could be any more ridiculous, or demented, than declaring that a child molester can live 2,001 feet from a neighborhood playground, but not 1,999 feet? What’s to prevent him from going out his front door and talking a walk? What about the kid who doesn’t go to the playground, but tragically lives next door or around the corner from the monster? For such potential victims, the bogyman isn’t a figment of his or her imagination, it’s that degenerate up the block.

As for the contention that being homeless or restricted as to where he can live would propel a man to molest a child, one can only shake one’s head and hope the double-strength Excedrin kicks in. A normal human being might feel driven by homelessness to rob a bank or knock over a 7-11, but molest a child? Who, aside from a bottom-feeding defense attorney, would even suggest such a rationale?

The Sex Offender Management Board has 17 members whose salaries are paid by the taxpayers. Frankly, I could do the job by myself and I wouldn’t even ask for a paycheck. I would simply go before the state legislature and tell them I had the perfect solution to the problem of housing rapists and pedophiles. You either execute them, I’d say, or keep them locked up in dungeons until they die and go straight to Hell.

Then, my mission completed, I would next pull off an honest-to-goodness miracle. I would resign, thus making the Sex Offender Management Board the first government bureaucracy in human history to actually disappear.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Petty And Major Annoyances

by Burt Prelutsky

Members of the Mafia have to take a vow of silence, and if they break it, they face the very real possibility of winding up dead. Liberals have their own version of the vow. However, instead of having to keep quiet about murder, drug deals and extortion, they must promise not to ridicule their own kind.

The price of breaking the code isn’t death, it’s something far more serious; namely, exile from their social circle. Dare to make fun of Joe Biden’s statement that in 1929, President Roosevelt went on TV to reassure his fellow Americans about the Depression, and don’t expect to be invited to write for the Huffington Post. Dare to laugh at Nancy Pelosi’s contention that 500 million Americans are losing their jobs every month, and you can forget about being invited to brunch at Streisand’s or to pitch a movie idea to Tom Hanks or Steven Spielberg. Believe me, for some people, that’s a far worse fate than swimming with the fishes.

When you remember what a big deal the press and the late night jokesters made out of Dan Quayle’s merely misspelling “potato,” you get some idea of what partisan hypocrites these people are.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I’ll let you in on a few other things that annoy the heck out of me.

To begin with, there’s Alex Rodriguez. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit I’m a fan of the New York Yankees. Let me add that I had hoped ARod would break Barry Bonds’ home run record. Now I can no longer root for him. What I would like to see is for all the cheats -- Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro, Giambi -- to have their records stricken from the book. So far as I’m concerned, Roger Maris still holds the single season home run mark and Hank Aaron, the career record. For good measure, I would make Commissioner Bud Selig walk the plank. They pay this bum, who can’t run, hit or throw, eight million bucks a year to oversee the national pastime, and he’s overseen it right into the toilet.

Getting back to politics, I’d like to see them get rid of all those people who are always standing on the back of the stage every time someone gives a speech. I know the reasons they’re there, but that doesn’t make it any better. One, when the speaker is a creep like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, it’s supposed to con us into thinking that the speaker represents someone and something besides himself and his own self-interests. Two, when it’s the president or a senator who’s speaking, it’s supposed to give those bystanders some reflected glory. Well, let me break the news to them that it doesn’t work quite that way. If the guy giving the speech is the least bit important, standing behind him and staring at the back of his head makes you look like dress extras or, worse yet, like a painted backdrop.

Unlike liberals, I found the first few weeks of the new administration endlessly amusing. For one thing, even I wouldn’t have guessed how quickly Barack Obama would doff his halo as he worked to push through the Pelosi and Reid pork package and get a bunch of tax cheats and lobbyists on his team. That being said, I almost felt sorry for Tom Daschle. I, for one, believed him when he said he hadn’t realized he had to pay taxes on his car and driver as a private citizen. After all, he’d had a tax-free car and driver when he was a senator. What I would really like to know is why my tax money is going to pay for cars and chauffeurs for our public servants. After all, the more isolated these weasels are from normal life, the more they see themselves as royalty. Here in L.A., we used to have a mayor who lived on a hilltop in the San Fernando Valley. He commuted downtown to City Hall by helicopter. Do you think he spent a lot of time worrying about potholes on the street and traffic on the freeway?

The argument, of course, is that these people get a lot of work done going to and from the job. But why would anyone buy that malarkey when we know how little work they actually do when they reach the office? Most of the actual work is done by their staff, while they, themselves, concentrate on raising campaign funds so they can continue living like King Louis XIV.

Finally, I’m starting to wonder if President Obama is now telling the kids that they’ll get their dog, but only if he’s re-elected in 2012.

One thing for certain is that the First Dog is being vetted a lot better than was his Secretary of the Treasury.
rack Obama, Rom Daschle

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Taxing Our Patience

by Burt Prelutsky

For years, Hollywood churned out movie after movie set in the future. The two things they all had in common was that they were as bleak as moonscapes and inhabited by a few decent people surrounded by roving gangs of brutes, cannibals or the undead. Who would have ever guessed that Hollywood could be so prescient or that we’d catch up with the future so quickly?

Everywhere you look, there is evidence that the apocalypse is upon us. Here in California, unwed, unemployed 33-year-old Nadya Suleman, already the mother of six, decided one fine day that she was lonely and, so, she visited her friendly neighborhood fertility clinic and soon had eight more tots she couldn’t feed or house. If the proud papa isn’t passing out cigars, it’s because he’s a petri dish. It seems to me that the folks at the clinic should be up on criminal charges. At the very least, Kaiser Permanente should be able to sue those irresponsible bums for the multi-million dollar bill Ms. Suleman will run up before she and her litter are off the premises.

Thanks to modern medical technology, Ms. Suleman gave birth to eight babies, but it’s the taxpayers who wound up having non-consensual sexual relations. In a word, we’re being screwed, as usual.

Speaking of taxes, the California legislature is trying to get around having to speak about them by calling them fees. In the meantime, Obama is playing his own word game, trying to avoid calling welfare by its rightful name. Instead, he prefers to speak about tax rebates. But even he can’t quite explain how sending checks to people who didn’t pay income taxes in the first place is anything but welfare. Everywhere except in our nation’s capitol, people understand that you first have to buy the car, the computer or the cell phone, before you’re entitled to mail in the coupon and receive a rebate check.

But, of course, when you’re simply trying to buy votes, it hardly matters what you label them. They’re obviously nothing but bribes. And as a wise man once observed, when you rob Peter to pay Paul, don’t expect Paul to raise a stink.

The truth is, whether he’s talking about banishing tax cheats and lobbyists or merely trying to convince us that building Frisbee courts or sending prophylactics to Africa is a good way to get Americans back to work, Obama has proven himself to be nothing better than a beige Bill Clinton. If, like Pinocchio, his nose grew every time he told a whopper, Obama’s shnoz would soon be as big as his ears.

In Holland, Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician/sometime filmmaker, is going on trial for making a short, honest movie about Islam. The government has accused him of hate speech. It takes me back to 1948, when Harry Truman was running for president. In one speech, he observed that people accused him of giving hell to the Republicans, but Harry insisted, “I just tell the truth and they think it’s hell.”

I’d suggest that the same holds true for Mr. Wilders in Holland, Mark Steyn in Canada and a number of us here in America. All we do is tell the truth about the Islamics and liberals call it hate speech. But it’s really a question of whose ox is being gored. For instance, when Dan Quayle misspelled “potato,” those same people reacted as if he’d blown up the Pentagon. When George Bush mispronounced “nuclear,” you’d have thought he’d leveled New York’s Twin Towers. However, even after Islamics blew up the Pentagon and the Twin Towers and the U.S.S. Cole and a U.S. Marine base and cut off Daniel Pearl’s head, all in the name of Allah, God forbid that anyone be so impolite as to suggest Islam is anything but a peaceful religion.

Naturally, we’re all supposed to acknowledge on an hourly basis that not all Muslims are jihadists. So what? The question isn’t whether all Muslims are jihadists, but whether all jihadists are Muslims. After all, every Russian wasn’t a Communist and every German wasn’t a Nazi, but a fat lot of good that did the Poles, the Czechs, the Hungarians, the French, the Dutch and the Norwegians.

Although I, personally, am happy that Saddam Hussein and his sons are moldering in their graves, and I would like to see the Taliban disappear from the face of the earth, I am getting sick and tired of seeing America constantly rushing off to protect Muslims, especially when they are generally under attack from other Muslims. We did it in Kuwait, Somolia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo. It’s cost us a lot of money and a lot of American lives and, in the end, Muslims continue calling us the Great Satan. Talk about hate speech!

So, the next time Islamics decide to start butchering one another, I suggest we do the courteous thing…and offer to hold their coats.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Regarding Blacklists

by Burt Prelutsky

Once upon a time there was a blacklist in Hollywood. Liberals still refer to it as McCarthyism, but they can’t even get that right. Joseph McCarthy was a U.S. senator and had nothing to do with Hollywood. It was the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) that conducted the star-studded hearings in Los Angeles. But I guess HUACism doesn’t have quite the same panache.

The congressmen on the Committee weren’t trolling for Russian spies, but only for publicity. They worked hand-in-hand with a sleazy publication called Red Channels, which purported to identify actors, writers and entertainers, who were Communists, subversives and fellow travelers. Red Channels was the brainchild of an opportunistic grocery chain owner named John G. Keenan, who found there was more fun and profit in extortion than in selling cans of corn. On more than one occasion, Red Channels got the names wrong. But even when they got the names right, sometimes the folks named had done nothing worse than voiced opposition to Nazi Germany prior to America’s entering World War II.

But every victim of the blacklist wasn’t just a premature anti-fascist. Most of them in Hollywood took their marching orders from a screenwriter named John Howard Lawson. Jack Lawson, a man born to run a gulag, was head of the Communist Party in this town. The Party members prided themselves on being pro-democracy. They showed it by contributing sizeable portions of their Paramount, Universal, Warners, MGM, Columbia and 20th Century-Fox salaries to Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Politburo.

When screenwriter Albert Maltz, like Lawson, one of the Hollywood Ten, dared to write an article for the New Masses, stating that a writer’s main responsibility was to his art and not to the Party, Lawson led an intervention of Maltz’s friends and colleagues. For several hours, they verbally bludgeoned him in his own living room. The result was that he caved in and wrote a second article for the magazine in which he essentially pleaded temporary insanity.

These days, there is another blacklist taking place, but they’re calling it a graylist because the victims are scriptwriters who made the stupid career decision of allowing themselves to become gray-haired or, in some distinguished cases, even bald.

Back in 1999, a class action suit was initiated by about 150 of us. Today, there are over 600 aging writers who are plaintiffs suing the various studios, networks and major talent agencies, for conspiring to blacklist WGA members on no other basis than age.

Some people might find it ironic that Hollywood’s liberals, who are still inflamed over a blacklist that took place 60 years ago, not only condone it in America, but practice it every day of their lives.

For those of us involved in the lawsuit, it’s been an interesting decade. Those of us who don’t play golf find it helps fill the time. The lawyers for the other side have done everything in their power to delay a court judgment. The masochists among us particularly enjoyed the interrogatories. Not only did they want us to recall the date of every meeting we ever had with any of the defendants, but what was said, by whom, if we got the assignments and, if so, when was the script shot, when did it air and how much were we paid. Some of us have a hard time recalling what we had for lunch.

It’s quite obvious that the defendants figure time is on their side, that all they have to do is wait us out and we’ll start dropping like flies, like very old flies. Fat chance! What they haven’t considered is that the lawsuit is providing some of us with the will to live that we might otherwise not have.

Not to sound too cynical, but when I saw Abe Polonsky leading a picket line composed of unrepentant Commies outside the Academy Awards in 1999, and saw Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, Nick Nolte, and a few other Tinseltown pinheads, sitting on their hands and sneering when 90 year old Elia Kazan came on stage to collect his honorary Oscar, it merely reminded me once again how hypocritical, rude and self-righteous the liberals in this town can be.

In spite of “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” “Boomerang!” “Gentleman’s Agreement,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “East of Eden” and “On the Waterfront,” Hollywood’s political elitists couldn’t get over the fact that 50 years earlier Kazan had, as they say, named names. What’s more, he made no secret of the fact that he was proud to have named the names of those he regarded as the enemies of his adopted country.

As we all know, the patron saint of Hollywood, a town devoted to back-stabbing and betrayal, is Lucrezia Borgia. And the truth is, if Elia Kazan had named fascists, Nazis or even conservatives, instead of Communists, they’d have erected a statue of him at the corner of Hollywood and Vine.