Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Responding To My Critics

by Burt Prelutsky

Recently, I posted a piece at Townhall in which I suggested that Mrs. Obama is not, to put it mildly, my ideal. I stated that so long as the president and the first lady are Democrats, the media can’t stop rhapsodizing about them. So it was that John Kennedy, who had huge jowls, Bill Clinton, who looked like a taller version of W.C. Fields, and Barack Obama, who has Dumbo’s ears, have all been described in terms that would have made Cary Grant blush.

Hillary Clinton, so far as the media was concerned, was nothing less than the most brilliant woman in America. Now we have Mrs. Obama, a rather plain woman, being passed off as a movie queen.

I did go on to admit that the First Lady was not my ideal representative of American womanhood. And, yes, I used the b---h word. Intemperate? Perhaps. But with all the kissing-up she gets from the MSM, I felt someone should use honest language when pointing out that the empress is naked.

In my defense, I did it in context. I reminded you that this woman sat in Rev. Wright’s church for 20 years, soaking up his racist rants, and then had him marry her and Barack, as well as baptize their children. Furthermore, she had gotten into an Ivy League school, thanks to Affirmative Action, and then showed her gratitude by writing a racist screed for her college thesis. For good measure, she used that degree to get a $125,000-a-year job in Chicago, which coincidentally jumped to over $300,000 once her husband went to the Illinois state senate. And, finally, after all that, she announced to the world that America is a mean country and that the first time she was proud of this nation was when her husband deigned to run for president.

Suddenly, I was receiving scores of angry and obscene e-mails, mainly from blacks, taking me to task for, one, saying that Michelle Obama is ugly because she’s black, and that I was a bigot because I thought blacks should all be back on the plantation.

Now God knows I have received more than my share of negative e-mails. When I suggest that it’s time to end the War on Drugs or give credit to George Bush for preventing another 9/11 or that Israel deserves the support of all decent people in its nonstop battle with Islamic barbarians, I fully expect to hear from readers who disagree with me. It’s a point of pride with me that I answer all my e-mails, whether they’re complimentary or otherwise. But these e-mails were nearly without exception vicious, crude and, what’s more, not on point. It’s bad enough being attacked for what you’ve actually written without getting clobbered for what you haven’t.

Finally, I received an e-mail with a link to the Huffington Post. I clicked on it and all was revealed. It seems that a fellow named Chris Kelly had devoted a column to me.

To be fair, which is more than Mr. Kelly was, all the words he quoted had appeared in my piece. The only thing missing was the context, but that’s likely to happen when you excerpt a hundred or so words out of a piece that ran about 750. Of course he peppered the piece with nasty comments, but that at least was his prerogative.

For good measure, he put Townhall in its place. At least he tried to, although writing that Townhall is the “Internet home of culture warriors Dennis Prager, Bill Bennett and Michael Medved” sounds more like an advertising slogan to me than a putdown.

Later in the piece, Kelly quoted the following from an article I wrote a while back: “If we were a racist society, Oprah Winfrey wouldn’t be a billionaire; she’d be fetching someone’s mint julep. And Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice wouldn’t grow up to be secretaries of state; they’d be sweeping out the stables. And Will Smith and Denzel Washington wouldn’t be movie stars; they’d be in the fields picking cotton.”

Even taken out of context, it seems pretty clear that I was simply drawing a comparison between America in 2009 and Mississippi in 1859, a comparison that even those, like Attorney General Holder, who insist this is still a racist nation, could easily grasp.

Along the way, Mr. Kelly took a couple of gratuitous pot shots at Christians because Townhall is owned by a Christian radio network, a fact I was aware of, and that Hugh Hewitt is its executive editor, which is something I hadn’t known.

The worst thing about being labeled a racist is that denying it gets you nowhere. Still, a long time ago, I wrote, and still believe, that anyone who hates another person because of his race, his religion or his sexual proclivity, is just being lazy, because, with just the slightest effort, you can usually find a far better reason to despise him.

That brings us to Mr. Chris Kelly and the introduction to his piece, in which he wrote: “Burt Prelutsky was a TV writer a long time ago. Then he aged out of it and became a crank. This wasn’t one of those major losses like Steinbeck. Now he writes a column for Townhall.com, the popular website owned by a Christian radio network.”

For openers, I can’t tell you what the crack about John Steinbeck means. I’m afraid you’ll have to figure that one out for yourselves. But, for the record, I have always been cranky and I hate to see it attributed to age. I do know, however, that someone who writes for a website owned by Arianna Huffington is in no position to be throwing stones at anyone else’s website.

All kidding aside, when this schnook dismisses ageism in Hollywood, an insidious practice that has led to suicide, bankruptcy and broken homes, in such a cavalier fashion, I take it personally and he should be ashamed of himself.

I must confess that I had never heard of Kelly and had to research him on the Internet. His writing career began in 1990, so I am assuming he’s in his mid to late 40s. In which case, ageism being as rampant as it is in this town, Mr. Kelly, all I can say is, tick, tock, tick, tock.

My research also disclosed that he has written for the following TV series: “Sports Monster,” “TV Nation” featuring Michael Moore, “She TV,” “House of Buggin,” “The Whizzard of Ow,” “Twins,” “Grounded for Life” and “Cavemen”. Have you ever seen any of these shows? Have you ever even heard of them?

Along the way, he put in a year with David Letterman. Of late, he has tied his career to Bill Maher, and his nose to Bill Maher’s heinie, following him from “Politically Incorrect” to “Real Time.”

Now, far be it from me to criticize a fellow writer, but being one of eight or ten guys sitting in a room with Bill Maher coming up with lame jokes about Rush Limbaugh isn’t the sort of thing that John Steinbeck or I considered real writing.

I mean, it’s bad enough having a bunch of boorish illiterates calling me a lot of dirty names. But when your credits include “MASH,” “Mary Tyler Moore,” “McMillan & Wife,” “Bob Newhart,” “Rhoda,” “Diagnosis Murder,” “Family Ties” and a bunch of award-winning TV movies, you really have to wonder what the world is coming to when you wind up being insulted by some schmuck who wrote for “House of Buggin” and “The Whizzard of Om."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I Attended A Tea Party

by Burt Prelutsky

In all of history, so far as I’m aware, there had only been two famous tea parties. At the first one, Samuel Adams and a few of his freedom-loving friends pitched several crates of tea into Boston Harbor. The second was the one Lewis Carroll wrote about, a madcap affair with the March Hare, the mad Hatter and the narcoleptic Dormouse, ganging up to give Alice a hard time.

All of that changed on the 15th of April, when a series of tea parties took place all across America. Even I, who try to avoid crowds, attended a gathering here in the San Fernando Valley.

If you believe the creeps in the MSM -- and why would you? -- we were all dues-paying members of political fringe groups, and none of us would think about leaving the house without first donning our little aluminum hats. If you believe Janet Napolitano -- and how could you? -- we were not merely man-created disasters like Somali pirates and Islamic butchers, but full-fledged terrorists. Some among us even confessed to being military veterans.

Well, either she is very wrong or I am. To me, the 3,000 people who showed up at the Van Nuys Civic Center looked like pretty decent, average Americans. But, not being the head of Homeland Security, I can’t claim to be an expert when it comes to spotting terrorists. Heck, all I know is that when I look at the likes of Charles Schumer, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Barbara Boxer, Harry Reid, Patrick Leahy, Henry Waxman, Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee, my blood runs cold, and when I hear Barack Obama pushing his socialist agenda and reaching out to the likes of Castro, Chavez and Ahmadinejad, the little hairs stand up on the back of my neck. It’s like watching one of those really creepy movies, but instead of all the scary stuff taking place on Elm Street, it occurs on Pennsylvania Avenue.

At the get-together I attended, we were rallied, aroused and amused, by such speakers as comedian Evan Sayet, actress Morgan Brittany and talk show host Kevin James. In fact, my only problem with the event, aside from my decision to wear tennis shorts on a night the temperature dipped into the low 50s, was that the entire focus was on Obama’s insane fiscal policy. I in no way wish to suggest that the bail-outs, the budget and the so-called stimulus package, don’t remind me of something Dr. Frankenstein would have cobbled together in the castle’s basement if his master plan, like Obama’s, had been to destroy capitalism.

However, there are so many other things about the man and his mission that I find terrifying, I hate to have us so busy concentrating on his left hand while, with his right, he muzzles the conservative media; destroys our missile defense capability; funnels funds to ACORN, AmeriCorps and Hamas; nationalizes the banks and takes control of the automotive industry; and, for good measure, discusses nuclear disarmament with Russia while trusting the U.N. to deal with Iran and North Korea.

So, while I regard Obama’s plan to use the tax code to impoverish productive Americans while using tax rebates to bribe those who don’t even pay income taxes as a vile left-wing plot, I’d hate to have my fellow conservatives so completely focused on this one area that they fail to see all the other tricks this con artist has up his sleeve.

Something that has bothered me over the years is the way the lamebrains in the left-stream media invariably turn into unlicensed shrinks whenever a Republican is in the White House, but toss a dust cover over the couch as soon as he’s replaced by a Democrat.

For instance, how many times did we hear liberals babbling about the psychological demons George W. Bush had to contend with because of his allegedly troubled relationship with Dad. But the fact that Bill Clinton’s father was a drunken bully apparently left no emotional scars on Bill’s impenetrable psyche. Furthermore, I have yet to hear such eminent Freudians as Bill Maher, Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Frank Rich or Keith Olbermann, even suggest that being deserted by both his father and his step-father, spending his formative years in the alien culture of Indonesia, only to be dumped, at the age of 10, on his white relatives in Hawaii, may have turned Obama into a smooth-talking, narcissistic psychopath incapable of telling the truth even if it’s about something as relatively inconsequential as sending his kids to a public school and getting them a mutt from a shelter.

Now, of course, I’m not saying he is any of those things. But don’t you think if he had wound up after experiencing all that early trauma as somebody who believed in a free market economy; in supporting Israel against the barbarians; in opposing late-term abortions; in calling terrorism by its rightful name; in attending a church that had more in common with Rick Warren’s than with Jeremiah Wright’s; and in sharing the Constitutional interpretations of Justices Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalia, the media would have long ago concluded that even if he wasn’t exactly the Manchurian Candidate, he was definitely a booby who needed to be hatched?

Friday, April 24, 2009

If I Were Boss

by Burt Prelutsky

I have always contended that anybody who seeks the presidency is an egomaniac, every bit as certifiably crackers as those poor souls wandering around the grounds of the asylum insisting they’re Napoleon.

Still, I’m generally willing to cut people a reasonable amount of slack. But it’s quite another thing to pretend that a community organizer with just four years in the Senate, two of which he spent on the hustings, is qualified to be the leader of the free world. Even if I approved of his left-wing agenda, I’d find it impossible to make a case for him. Frankly, if it were up to me, I’d send this Napoleon wannabe to Elba.

I, on the other hand, a mature and seasoned individual who has never set foot in a law school, would make an ideal leader. However, I’m put off by politics. Rather than presidential material, I see myself in the role of a benevolent dictator.

For openers, I’d censor movies. It used to be great sport for smart people to ridicule the Hays Office and the Breen Office for keeping a jaundiced eye on Hollywood. But the plain fact is, movies were a lot better in the 1930s and 40s than they’ve been ever since. They have been particularly lousy these past couple of decades and, as a movie fan, I’d like to see what today’s writers and directors could turn out if they had to rely on their imaginations and on ours.

Next, I’d clean up baseball. First, I’d remove all the tainted statistics from the record book of every player guilty of having used performance-enhancing drugs. Next, I’d kick all 105 major leaguers who were found to be using them out of the game. Then, I’d boot Bud Selig out as Commissioner. By not policing baseball as he should have, he encouraged players to cheat. And for that, he was getting paid about $17 million a year. That’s a lot of moolah for some schmoe who can’t hit, run, throw or catch.

For many years, Kenesaw Mountain Landis was pictured as a bad guy because, as the first Commissioner of Major League Baseball, he had banished Shoeless Joe Jackson and seven of his Chicago White Sox teammates from the game. He took a great deal of abuse because Jackson played his heart out in the 1919 World Series and because the players had been found not guilty of taking bribes by an early version of the O.J. jury. But Landis said they had all sealed their fates when they went to gambler Arnold Rothstein’s hotel room to discuss terms for throwing the Series.

The Black Sox scandal, as it came to be known, could have destroyed the game if not for Landis’s integrity. As a sidebar, it should be noted that in spite of looking like a very austere undertaker, Landis was known as a very soft touch. Every down and out ex-major leaguer knew that Landis was always ready to reach for his wallet.

After straightening out baseball and Hollywood, I would turn my attention to Washington, D.C. With me in charge, people like Barbara Boxer, Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, Pat Leahy, Charley Rangel and Chris Dodd, would all be free to go home and play with the grandkids. Robert Byrd would be free to go home and play with the great-great-great-grandkids, and Barney Frank would just be free to go home and play.

With no further need of a Supreme Court, we’d no longer have to sit through such spectacles as seeing the likes of Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and Arlen Specter, sitting in judgment of their betters, people such as Clarence Thomas and Charles Pickering.

People like Bob Beckel and James Carville, who have spent their lives sucking at the teat of the DNC, would have to find honest work, and I’d see to it that Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews and Al Franken, found employment as a barbershop quartet. After all, they’re already in perfect harmony, so let these bozos sing for their supper.

As for George Soros, a man who simultaneously manages to give Hungarians, Jews and money-changers, a bad name, he would go on trial for being a Nazi collaborator. To be fair, he was still a teenager at the time. But, like Bill Ayers, he is proudly unrepentant. As he explained to Steve Croft on “60 Minutes,” if he hadn’t helped the Nazis confiscate the belongings of his fellow Jews, someone else would have. And, no, he went on, he’s never been troubled by bad dreams or a guilty conscience when he watched his friends and neighbors being herded into boxcars.

Finally, if I were boss, we’d hear no more claptrap about the Fairness Doctrine. In case anyone is wondering why, after all these years, the Democrats have declared war on Rush Limbaugh, it’s not entirely their clumsy attempt to distract us from the crumbling economy and Obama’s heavy-handed attempt to turn us into the Soviet Union of America, it’s to help gain popular support for the more aptly named Censorship Bill.

After all, the other side only has the Oval Office, the House, the Senate, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, PBS, the New York Times, the L.A. Times, Newsweek, Time and the Washington Post, whereas the all-powerful conservatives have talk radio. As the liberals are so fond of saying, it’s just not fair.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Squaring Off With Obama

by Burt Prelutsky

I have to hope for the sake of our country’s future that when people voted for Obama they really had no idea what a disaster he would be, even though I kept warning them that he was a left-wing lug nut. It seemed to me that his legion of fans had been hypnotized or sprinkled with fairy dust. They blindly accepted that words like “hope” and “change” were complete sentences that actually added up to a national policy.

We, who assumed that a grown-up whose friends and mentors were people like Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, Saul Alinsky, the folks at ACORN and the most corrupt of Chicago politicians, believed he was more likely to belong in a square cell than in the Oval Office.

For my part, I felt a lot like Kevin McCarthy in the movie, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” trying to warn my fellow earthlings that the pod people were among us and definitely up to no good.

It’s not just the big things the man does, things such as the kazillion dollar bail-outs, the trichinosis-infested budget and the threat of the Fairness Doctrine being enacted, that make my blood run cold. It’s not even the allegedly eloquent orator requiring a TelePrompter in order to say, “Hello.” What I’m referring to is the Commander in Chief’s earmarking $900 million for Hamas and, worse yet, making veterans financially responsible for their own service-related medical treatments. (That comes under the heading of adding insult to injury.) And let us not forget Obama’s sending the bust of Winston Churchill back to the English embassy and then, compounding that infantile act of boorishness, by treating the Prime Minister of our staunchest ally like a guttersnipe.

Funny, I seem to recall Obama’s partisans insisting that he would personally make the United States popular the world over. Well, so far, he has certainly reached out to Cuba, Venezuela and Iran, and I suppose if he actually closes Gitmo, Islamics will dance in the street of Tehran just before dropping the bomb on Israel.

Regarding the recent brouhaha, I’m afraid I’m one of the few people who wasn’t up in arms over the AIG bonuses. To me, they were just an obvious distraction by the administration, just like the unwarranted attacks on Rush Limbaugh or Clinton’s bombing of the pharmaceutical factory. I’m not saying I was happy about the bonuses, but a contract is a contract, and I prefer to see a bunch of scumbags collect their undeserved millions than to see the day that contracts in America are no longer worth the paper they’re written on.

I keep hearing people on the radio and TV going ballistic over the fact that employees at a failed company were collecting as much as four million taxpayer dollars for being rotten at their jobs, and I’m sick and tired of it. How is it that nobody is demanding that 435 self-righteous congressmen and 100 arrogant senators give back their salaries? They’re the folks who not only oversaw a failing economy, but, thanks to pushing sub-prime home loans on people who didn’t have a pot to piss in, did the most to cause the financial calamity in the first place.

On top of all that, I’ve heard that Obama and his legislative cronies plan to give AIG at least another 30 billion before they’re done. So how about, instead of having to watch politicians grandstanding over the measly $165 million in bonuses and Charley Schumer’s threatening to get the money back by having the IRS bludgeon these folks to death, the schmucks in Washington just write the company a check for $29,835,000,000 the next time around?

I understand that, according to some recent polls, Obama and the Democrats, in spite of a pandering media, are losing some of their allure after a relatively brief honeymoon. Which can’t help but remind me of a line attributed to Oscar Wilde, that Niagara Falls is only the second biggest disappointment in the life of an American bride.

Someone recently suggested that in less than three months, Obama went from being a messiah to being a mess. However, here in Hollywood, he is still sheer magic. They utter his name with the same reverence as when Christians refer to Jesus or Bill Maher refers to himself.

But, then, Hollywood is a peculiar place where celebrities who treat their own assistants and household help like underpaid coolies, are constantly demanding that Washington should do more for the poor and the oppressed. Hollywood is where actors think God was created in their image, while actresses are so full of plastic and collagen that even their own dogs can’t pick them out of a crowd.

I’m sure that Sean Penn thinks he should be ambassador to Cuba, and if only he owed back taxes, I’m certain this administration would give him the gig.

Even as I dream of the day when conservatives take back the reins of government, I worry that in the meantime the liberals will find a way to place a luxury tax on our dreams.
Finally, in case any of you were wondering, it will be 117,936,218 seconds until Obama’s term ends. But, who’s counting?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Let Us Not Praise Famous Men

by Burt Prelutsky

The way that liberal politicians and Hollywood celebrities carry on over the plight of poor people, you might easily get the idea that they actually know some. They don’t. Why would they when they only hang around with each other?

Those two groups are made up entirely of narcissists. Who else would want or need to exist entirely in the spotlight? They’re like moths. The irony is that, physically, the two groups couldn’t be more different and, yet, on a per capita basis, they probably spend the same amount on Botox, collagen and plastic surgery. When it comes to nips, tucks and hair transplants, alone, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden, have spent enough money to keep several poor families in vittles for years to come.

Speaking of appearances, I can see the attraction of politics. In no other field, except perhaps for rock and roll, are so many homely people described as highly photogenic sex symbols. I first became aware of this phenomenon when John Kennedy, a man who in his early 40s already had an impressive set of jowls, was sold to us as a combination of Tyrone Power and Cary Grant. Then along came Bill Clinton, a pudgy fellow with a big red nose and little piggy eyes, and yet even he apparently made liberal women swoon. Now we have Barack Obama, a man boasting ears that would put Dumbo to shame, a man who looks like he could leave Air Force One in the hangar and just let a strong breeze carry him wherever he has to go.

It’s not just the politicians, but also their mates, so long as they’re Democrats, who get the star treatment. Take Michelle Obama…please. Every time I turn around, there she is on a magazine cover. Now, normally, like the Mafia, I lay off the spouses, but inasmuch as this particular spouse attended the same racist church as her hubby for 20 years, I’ll make an exception in her case. After all, in spite of the fact that affirmative action got her an Ivy League degree and a $7,000-a-week salary and, moreover, has sent billions of dollars for no particularly good reason to Africa, she insists this is a mean country. The burning question in my circle is: if the First Family gets a female dog, will she be the First Bitch or will she have to settle for second place?

Naturally, the left-wing media is now trying to convince us that this James Brown-look-alike has all the allure, glamour and fashion sense of Jackie Kennedy. I have even heard her upper arms described in the sort of language Wordsworth devoted to flowers in the morning dew and that Keats lavished on nightingales. Frankly, if I were Mrs. Obama and the geeks started rhapsodizing about my triceps, I might consider wearing sleeves.

But there’s no getting around the fact that Barack is the bigger menace. His latest money-burning crusade is universal health care. It was bad enough when the Clintons pushed for it 15 years ago. It hasn’t improved with age.

If it were up to me, basic health insurance would only cover catastrophic injuries and diseases. If hypochondriacs feel they have to see a doctor every time they sneeze, that kind of coverage can be handled the same way as car, life and fire insurance. They’d pay through the nose for it. As P.J. O’Rourke observed: “If you think health care is expensive now, just wait until it’s free.”

A friend of mine thinks that one way to lower the price of medical care is through tort reform. He thinks that so long as lawyers can put physicians through the meat grinder, doctors will be forced to keep raising their fees in order to cover their insurance bills. It was my friend’s suggestion that if somebody sues a doctor for malpractice and loses the case, he should be liable for all the court costs. I pointed out that no poor person, no matter how badly maimed, could then afford to sue and run the risk of losing and that no lawyer could afford to take the case on a contingency basis.

My solution was that no lawyer would be allowed to sue a doctor if he had sued a medical practitioner, say, twice before and lost. That would at least prevent the worst sort of shyster from making a career out of chasing ambulances.

One of the things that concerns me about Obama’s presidency is that every time he opens his yap, he sounds so darn naive.

Just recently, he spoke about reaching out to moderates in the ranks of the Taliban. A moderate in that society is a cretin who wants to murder Christians, Jews and any woman who refuses to wrap herself in a bed sheet before leaving the house, but who draws the line at beheading his victims for Al-Jazeera’s TV cameras.

I find it hard to believe that the majority of saps who voted for Obama last November would do it all over again even though he has been spending money in a way that would give drunken sailors a bad name, while Wall Street and Main Street both begin to resemble Tobacco Road. It seems that when people described Obama as charismatic, they didn’t mean he was particularly bright, only that he was able to convince a lot of dummies that liver-and-onion flavored ice cream tastes better than chocolate or vanilla.

The way things are headed, it seems that Khrushchev almost got it right. The Soviet Union didn’t bury us, as he predicted, we simply dug our own grave. We went Socialist without a bomb being dropped or a shot being fired. The coup took place in election booths all over America, and anyone who doesn’t regard it as a tragic event didn’t deserve to be born here.

Recently, the following message has been all over the Internet: It’s a Recession when your neighbor loses his job. It’s a Depression when you lose your job. It’s a Recovery when Obama loses his job.

Amen.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Kowtower In Chief

by Burt Prelutsky

During the presidential campaign, we were told that Barack Obama was another Lincoln. At the time, I recall thinking that he might very well be another Lincoln, but certainly not Abe. Then we were told he was another FDR, which was certainly closer to the truth, and not just because they both smoked cigarettes and made Narcissus look like a shrinking violet. But, now that he’s been in office for a while, he mostly reminds me of Wile E. Coyote. He thinks he’s very clever, but he keeps falling off the cliff while holding the anvil he intended to drop on the Roadrunner.

I felt that those people who insisted last year that, down deep, Obama was a Muslim were being unfair. While I had to question what sort of Christian would have sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church, soaking up all that racist swill for 20 years, at least the Trinity United Church of Christ wasn’t a mosque. But I have to confess Obama seems to be doing everything he can to make me question my earlier judgment.

At a time when Iran, not to mention North Korea, is shaking a nuclear-armed fist at the world, Obama is telling Russia he’d like to dismantle our nuclear weapons. I’m afraid that, as a means of providing America with a viable national defense, his approach verges on the suicidal. On the other hand, if it’s his intention to join the likes of Kofi Annan, Yasser Arafat, Al Gore, Le Duc Tho and Jimmy Carter, as Nobel Peace Prize winners, it’s an absolutely brilliant strategy.

As if his kowtowing to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah wasn’t contemptible enough, Obama then flew to Turkey, where he announced: “We convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over so many centuries to shape the world for the better, including my own country.” Even those of us who never entirely bought the notion that Obama had been born in Kenya began giving it careful consideration after that asinine remark. For years now, atheists have balked at the idea that the United States was created by a group of extraordinary Christians who shared Judeo-Christian values. But even they only went so far as to insist that some of our forefathers weren’t religiously devout, but were merely deists. But until now, nobody had ever seriously suggested that Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison and Monroe, drew their inspiration from the Koran.

One of my readers wrote to say that after watching the Obamas behave like hicks when they visited Queen Elizabeth, he felt as if a pair of hillbillies was representing America. That made me think there might be a TV series lurking there, an updated version of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” with the lucky family moving east, instead of west, after their gusher comes in.

As if all these gaffes weren’t bad enough, we have the current administration bowdlerizing the language. There are thousands of American G.I.s being deployed to Afghanistan, but nobody is permitted to call it a “surge” because it might remind people that Sen. Obama voted against the surge in Iraq.

God forbid we mention “Islamic fascism,” lest King Abdullah forget how cute our president looked bowing and scraping to him. Furthermore, we are no longer supposed to call “the war on terrorism” the war on terrorism because, I suppose, it might give certain people the idea that we actually hold a grudge against the barbarians who are sworn to kill us.

So far as I’m concerned, the only term they’ve come up with that I approve of is “man-made disaster,” which was invented by Janet Napolitano. Understand, I don’t sanction her using it as a euphemism for 9/11. The only reason I like it is because I think it so perfectly defines the Obama presidency.

My Twenty All-Time Favorite Television Shows

by Burt Prelutsky

Television is often treated like the unloved step-child of the arts. It’s been called a vast wasteland and worse. And vast it certainly is. It’s on all the time and on hundreds of channels, so it’s no surprise that most of it is just awful. The surprise is how much of it is worthwhile, and I’m not just referring to the artsy-fartsy stuff that shows up on Masterpiece Theatre.

Of course everyone’s list is going to seem eccentric to other people. My own is no exception. For one thing, there have been very popular shows that I never even tuned in. I’m thinking of “Beverly Hillbillies,” “Bonanza,” “Green Acres,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “Dallas,” “Dynasty,” “Knott’s Landing,” “Peyton Place,” “L.A. Law,” “Six Feet Under,” “ER,” “Chicago Hope,” “CSI,” “Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” “Ally McBeal” and “Sex and the City.” There were a few I watched once or twice to see what all the fuss was about, but I didn’t care for “Star Trek,” “Picket Fences,” “The X Files,” “Boston Legal,” “Touched By An Angel” or “N.Y.P.D. Blue.”

There were also some shows that I watched on a more or less regular basis until the day came when I found them to be heavy-handed and preachy. “The Defenders,” “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons,” “Maude,” “Lou Grant” and “MASH,” all spent way too much time on a soap box.

There have been a few shows that I liked a lot, but they came and went so quickly that I don’t think it’s fair to include them because they had the advantage of not sticking around long enough to get stale. A few that come to mind are “The Andros Targets” (James Sutorius, January-May, 1977), “Shannon’s Deal” (Jamey Sheridan, April, 1990-May, 1991), “The David Steinberg Show,” July, 1972-August, 1972) and the original “Bob Newhart Show.” And, no, I don’t mean the one on which he was a psychologist married to Suzanne Pleshette. I’m referring to the very funny variety show he starred in from October, ’61-June, ’62.

In the early days of TV, there were several wonderful anthology series, including Studio One, the Philco Playhouse, Playhouse 90, the Kraft Television Theatre and the Dick Powell Theatre. But, I’m limiting my choices to those shows with running characters.

Before getting started, I should explain that my toughest call was “Taxi.” That’s because of all the shows I considered, it was the one I feel was the least consistent. Episodes that revolved around Alex (Judd Hirsch), Louie (Danny DeVito), Latka (Andy Kaufman) and Reverend Jim (Christopher Lloyd) were usually very funny, but those that featured Bobby (Jeff Conaway), Elaine (Marilu Henner) and Tony (Tony Danza) made my teeth ache.

Even I’m surprised that “Seinfeld” didn’t make my list. I guess I saw too much sweat in the plotting, and, for me, it never seemed to be worth all that effort. When they’d finally tie up all those various strings, my response tended to be a sigh of relief rather than a laugh. Also, just between us, I never thought the Soup Nazi was funny.

These, then, are my 20 favorite TV shows (in alphabetical order), beginning with the comedies:

“Amos ‘n’ Andy”
“Black Adder” (the original series set in Elizabethan England, not the one in the trenches of WWI),
“Barney Miller"
“Dream On”
“Everyone Loves Raymond”
“Fawlty Towers”
“Frasier”
“The Carol Burnett Show”
“The Honeymooners”
“The Phil Silvers Show” (aka “Sgt. Bilko,” aka “You’ll Never Get Rich”) and
“Your Show of Shows” (aka “The Sid Caesar Show”).

The dramas:

“Columbo"
“Law & Order”
“Monk”
“Naked City”
“The Adventures of Hercule Poirot”
“The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”
“The Rockford Files”
“Route 66” and
“The Untouchables.”

If a gun were held to my head, I would have to admit that “Naked City,” the hour-long version with Paul Burke, not the 30-minute show with James Franciscus, was my favorite drama, and “Frasier” was my favorite comedy, even if half the time I couldn’t catch the punch line when it was delivered by Jane Leeves, utilizing the thickest English accent this side of Neville Chamberlain.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Obama, Khrushchev & Limbaugh

by Burt Prelutsky

When the Democrats took James Carville’s advice to attack Rush Limbaugh, it made perfect sense. Some people thought it was intended to distract us from the fact that Obama was spending money faster than the Monopoly Company could print it. I, on the other hand, believed it was setting us up for the passage of the so-called Fairness Doctrine. But in either case, it was a good strategy because, however you feel about Mr. Limbaugh, he rather closely resembles the way editorial cartoonists used to depict evil, over-fed, cigar-smoking capitalists.

The thing is, Limbaugh would never deny being a capitalist. However, those on the left who support Obama’s desire to redistribute wealth by bleeding the wealthy and nationalizing every damn thing he can lay his hands on, have a major hissy fit anytime you call them socialists or communists.

To make matters worse, every time a guest on Bill O’Reilly’s show refers to President Obama as a socialist, O’Reilly slaps them down. He never bothers to tell them why they’re wrong, never points out the distinction between, say, Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez. He simply denies it, sounding for all the world like a slightly less cranky John McLaughlin.

All I can figure out is that O’Reilly wants to be sure the IRS doesn’t audit him for each of the next four years.

Recently, I wondered if Obama would ever make good on his campaign promise to the kids to get them a dog if he won the election or whether, like his promises to bring transparency to the White House, to post impending legislation on the Internet for five days before taking a vote, to keep cheats and scoundrels out of his administration and to banish lobbyists and earmarks from Washington, it was just another big, fat fib. One of my readers, Linda Turner, wrote in to say that the Obamas are expecting the arrival of the First Dog in April. She said the reason for the delay was that their initial choice wasn’t able to make the final cut. It seems he had some unresolved tax problems.

It did occur to me recently that half a century ago, Khrushchev announced that socialism would bury capitalism. It seems he was right. We were worried about the Soviet Union, but, like the French with their Maginot Line, which they assumed would keep Germany at bay, only to find that the Nazis went around it by first invading Belgium, capitalist America lost the war, although nary a bomb was dropped or a shot fired. We simply trooped out like lemmings and elected a left-wing community organizer who speaks in the dulcet tones of a radio announcer and thinks like a Nikolai Lenin hand puppet.

Today, I heard the latest pronouncement from our glorious leader, the great and powerful Oz. He said he didn’t want Americans whipsawed by bursts of either bad or good news, and that he was highly optimistic about our economic future. Oddly enough, yesterday he announced that this was the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

So the way I figure it, in order to avoid being whipsawed, the secret is to only listen to Obama on either odd or even days of the week.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A “Dragnet” Episode Written By Burt

by Burt Prelutsky

Courtesy of Hulu.com, here’s Public Affairs, an episode of Dragnet, the first script Burt wrote. - editor

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Taxes, Traitors And Popularity Polls

by Burt Prelutsky

Several states are considering raising additional tax revenues by charging us a fee based on the number of miles we drive. In order to monitor our comings and goings, they would install GPS chips, which we’d no doubt have to pay for, in our various vehicles. The Big Brother aspect aside, we are already being taxed on mileage at the gas pump. If you drive a lot, you fill up more often. Even politicians as stupid as the ones we have here in California should be able to figure that out.

But when it comes to taxes, our elected officials are as insatiable as hogs at a trough. To their way of thinking, double-taxing us is only a poor substitute for triple or quadruple-taxing us. In the immortal words of Henny Youngman, take the death tax…please. While you’re alive, you’re taxed on every single dollar you earn, so you would think that dying would finally provide relief from the tax collector, but you’d be wrong. Even liberals should recognize there is something shameful about taxing a dead person’s estate for money that has already been taxed while he or she was still breathing.

But shame, it seems, is something that has completely disappeared from the national landscape. I can’t recall the last time I heard anyone confess to being ashamed about anything. People go on TV and brag about their crimes and addictions, and they’re applauded by the studio audience and given benediction by Saint Oprah.

Single women are no longer even embarrassed to be pregnant, but neither are male celebrities ashamed to have impregnated any number of groupies. Professional athletes are caught using steroids and blame it on their youth or, worse yet, claim they don’t recall having performance-enhancing drugs shot into their fannies. Millionaire politicians, whose finances are arranged to minimize their own tax liability, aren’t the least bit ashamed to call for increasing taxes on the rest of us. What’s more, the same buffoons who keep raising the minimum wage never bother paying withholding taxes for their own menials until they find themselves being considered for Cabinet positions.

It’s easy to find fault with politicians and celebrities, but they’re not the only ones who lack a sense of decency. After all, until his last arrest, O.J Simpson had probably signed more autographs over the past 14 years than Tiger Woods and Derek Jeter put together.

Even Jane Fonda, who should have been sent to Leavenworth for lending aid and comfort to the North Vietnamese, hasn’t been shunned or shamed. Instead, she’s spent the past three decades winning Oscars, hawking exercise tapes and being honored by feminist groups.

And, lest we forget, the same jerks who openly despised Elia Kazan for half a century because he had the temerity to name Communists have lionized John Dean even though his sole claim to fame was ratting out his Republican friends and colleagues 35 years ago.

Considering how tolerant and accepting society has become, I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised that Barack Obama is held in such ridiculously high esteem by so many people. Blame it on my cynicism, but to me, he comes across like a late night TV pitchman. If he hadn’t made such a success out of politics, I would have expected him to wind up doing infomercials for Ginsu knives or that hair paint product that comes in aerosol cans.

Recently, I saw a poll that asked Americans to name the people they most admire. It was an interesting list. Six of the people were dead, four of them by assassination. Only one woman, Mother Teresa, made the top 10 and she came in 10th, just behind airline pilot Chesley Sullenburger. In ascending order, the remaining eight were John Kennedy, John McCain, Abe Lincoln, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King, Jesus Christ and, topping the list, Barack Obama.

I admit I was slightly put out that six politicians made it, even if four were Republicans, and I didn’t. But when I discovered that even God only came in 11th, I didn’t feel nearly so bad.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Groves Of Hackademe

by Burt Prelutsky

Down through the years, there have been a great many movies in which school teachers have been portrayed as decent and hard-working, even heroic. Just a handful that come to mind are “Goodbye, Mr. Chips,” “Holland’s Opus,” “This Land is Mine,” “Up the Down Staircase,” “Good Morning, Miss Dove,” “Cheers for Miss Bishop,” “The School of Rock,” “Dangerous Minds,” “Blackboard Jungle,” “To Sir, With Love,” “Stand and Deliver” and “Dead Poet’s Society.”

But when it comes to college and university professors, they tend to be portrayed either as comical buffoons (“The Nutty Professor,” “Monkey Business,” “Son of Flubber,” “The Absent Minded Professor,” “It Happens Every Spring,” “Horse Feathers”) or as petty, demented and, often as not, alcoholics (“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” “People Will Talk,” “The Squid and the Whale”). In fact, the last time I recall a movie about a professor that any normal person would wish to spend time with was the 1948 release, “Apartment for Peggy,” and even in that one, Edmund Gwenn spent most of his time planning to commit suicide.

Feeling, as I do, that most professors, aside from those teaching science or math, are over-paid, under-worked, left-wing narcissists infatuated with the sound of their own voices, it makes perfect sense that it would be nearly impossible to make a movie about them that wasn’t a slapstick comedy.

One of the things that makes them particularly offensive is their hypocrisy. Although everyone of them would insist that tenure is essential -- not because it guarantees them a secure livelihood just so long as they don’t burn down a dormitory or give a star athlete a failing grade -- but because it ensures them the right to voice unpopular, even unpatriotic, opinions. The truth, however, is that, more often than not, they’re the bullies censoring free speech and punishing with low marks those students with the gumption to speak their own minds.

Just the other day, I read about a student here in L.A. whose professor called him a “fascist bastard” and refused to allow him to conclude his remarks in opposition to same-sex marriages. Although I am aware that this betrayal of the First Amendment occurs regularly in classrooms and lecture halls all across America, the reason I’m aware of this particular case is because the student, Jonathan Lopez, is suing. When Lopez, a devout Christian, asked his professor what grade he was getting for his speech, he was told to go ask God!

So, on college campuses, it’s okay to ridicule a student’s religious convictions, but not to voice an objection to homosexual marriages.

I find it fascinating that academics see no need to be honest, tolerant or even logical. My friend, Larry Purdy, a Minnesota-based lawyer who worked on the University of Michigan cases regarding racial preferences, has written a book, “Getting Under the Skin of ‘Diversity’: Searching for the Color-Blind Ideal,” that makes mincemeat of the Supreme Court’s fatuous decisions, while reminding many of us why we celebrated Sandra Day O’Connor’s departure from the bench.

In 1998, Derek Bok, former president of Harvard, and William Bowen, former president of Princeton, collaborated on a book, “The Shape of the River,” which greatly influenced O’Connor and a majority of her associates.

The entire purpose of the book was to prove that racial preferences (aka affirmative action) were beneficial for the elite schools and for society at large. For openers, Purdy proves that Bok and Bowen were deceptive, to say the least, because they never released the data that allegedly made their case. Instead, we’re all simply expected to take their word for it even though, as clearly spelled out in Brown vs. Board of Education, the government is prohibited from treating citizens differently because of their race. According to Bok and Bowen, the benefits of racial diversity on elite college campuses, no matter how it’s achieved, simply outweighs all other considerations.

The fact is, they admit that they don’t have any idea how many of the minority students they claim to have studied made it to the university on their own merits and not simply because a bunch of elitist pinheads decided that leapfrogging them over more deserving white and Asian students was the American way.

Something else that Bok and Bowen didn’t bother mentioning was the large numbers of minority students who graduated from historically black colleges and universities and went on to achieve a reasonable amount of fame and fortune in spite of not attending Ivy League schools.

As much as I’d like to, I can’t deny that Ivy League graduates tend to go on to greater success than most people. But that has far less to do with the quality of education than with the fact that the students so often come from families that are already wealthy and powerful because their ancestors owned railroads, banks and oil companies, and they therefore have dibs on Senate seats and the Oval Office.