Saturday, May 30, 2009

Obama, Mothers and Muslims

by Burt Prelutsky

There are times, I must confess, when I consider our current culture and conclude that the Muslims are right about us. We are, as they insist, hedonistic, and far too many of us do have the morals of goats. We do rely on sex and violence for our entertainment. Our popular music is swinish. We are, by a wide margin, the world’s largest market for drugs, both of the legal and illegal variety. Our politicians are selfish, ignorant and, more often than not, at odds with the American ideals of the Founding Fathers. Leaders of both major parties are wont to turn a blind eye to foreigners who ignore our sovereignty for no other reason than that they hope to garner Latino votes in future elections. Worst of all, they regularly engage in race and class warfare out of strictly partisan motives.

We elect a new president who, for all we know, doesn’t even meet the few Constitutional qualifications of the office. We stand idly by while he bankrupts us and future generations, nationalizes major industries, and nominates a person for the Supreme Court who has gone on the record stating that the judicial branch of government creates policy and that her race and gender automatically makes her a better judge than most other Americans. “Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!” would apparently be Judge Sotomayor’s response to Martin Luther King’s fervent wish that Americans be judged by our character, not our color.

All of that being said, we are still better than Islamics. Our women have the same rights and privileges as men, even if they tend to use them as unwisely as men. We do not stone adulterers. We do not kill Christians and Jews, but when, occasionally, one of us does, he doesn’t get to justify it by saying he was just doing God’s work.

We do not blow ourselves up in our insane desire to kill other people who don’t happen to do their praying in mosques. We do not call suicide bombers martyrs and send $25,000 checks to their mothers; instead, we call them lunatics and villains, and we send their mothers our condolences.

When I ask people why they are still enraptured with Obama, even though he has continued many of the Bush policies they once claimed they despised, when he has printed and spent money like a counterfeiter gone amok, and when his promise of governmental transparency has turned out to be a big, fat lie, they simply repeat the mantra that he’s better than Bush. They remind me of two kinds of mothers. The first kind is the mother of a young hoodlum with a rap sheet longer than “War and Peace,” who tends to say that her angelic offspring merely got involved with a bad crowd; overlooking the fact that all the other mothers are making the exact same claim while glowering at her son. The second kind of mother is the one with a normal kid, who never stops boasting about how smart, how honest and how handsome, her son is, even though the rest of us, who didn’t happen to carry him for nine months, find nothing the slightest bit special about him. In fact, behind her back, we are likely to observe that if you looked up “average” or even “mediocre” in the dictionary, you’d very likely find his picture.

This isn’t to suggest that the mothers of either young man are lying. It’s a matter of perception. They just happen to have an emotional investment that blinds them to the objective truth. I’m afraid that’s the way it is with those liberals who’ll go to their graves defending Obama as if he were their first born.

Speaking of Obama, lately I’ve been thinking about the different ways he has reacted to the nuclear threat posed by North Korea and Iran. The notion that Kim Jung Il has a nuclear bomb makes him quake in his shoes, but he is apparently quite sanguine about the same weapon in the hands of Ahmadinejad and the mullahs.

I find that very peculiar because even if Obama isn’t as concerned about Israel as he is about Japan and South Korea, if Iran nukes Israel, it’s not just five million Jews who’d be incinerated. It would also wipe out two million Arabs residing there, with the nuclear fallout killing God only knows how many people in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Jordan. Is there anyone, aside from possibly Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who really thinks that would make the Iranians hesitate for even a nano-second from carrying out the annihilation of the Jewish nation?

Allah should be alerted, though, because even if no more than, say, four million male Muslims were to bite the nuclear dust, he would be expected to immediately provide those Paradise-bound martyrs with at least 280 million virgins. Good luck filling that order!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Matter Of Opinion

by Burt Prelutsky

According to my wife, I have a tendency to state my opinion as fact. She suggests that I begin my sentences by saying “It’s only my opinion, but…” and go on from there. It’s my opinion, however, that people already understand that it’s my opinion and that they share it if they’re smart, or don’t, if they’re not. Furthermore, I don’t see my main function as a communicator to convince liberals, who are notoriously as blind as bats, to see the light, but to provide my fellow conservatives with ammunition to use against left-wingers and, whenever possible, to amuse.

In any case, in the spirit of compromise, let us pretend that each of the following paragraphs begins “It’s only my opinion, but…”

When Gloria Steinem, who had been lionized by the ladies of NOW for her rather dumb remark about women needing men like fish needed bicycles, finally got married at the age of 66, I thought people should have sent her greeting cards complimenting her on having belatedly grown gills.

In recent weeks, Canadians caught Somali pirates who had attacked a Norwegian tanker, but released them because they were unable to prosecute them under Canadian law. In another case, Dutch commandos captured and then released Somali pirates who had attacked a Portuguese ship. It seems to me that until the day comes that these Somali punks command battleships or destroyers, the most logical way to deal with them is to blow them and their little speedboats to Kingdom Come.

About a month ago, I looked up George Soros at Wikipedia and read about his helping the Nazis confiscate the property of his fellow Hungarian Jews when he was a teenager. At the same time and place, I read that in response to a Steve Croft question on “60 Minutes,” Soros claimed that he had never regretted doing it or felt any shame or remorse afterwards because, as he explained, if he hadn’t done it, someone else would have. The other day, I re-visited the site and the entire episode had vanished. There still remained the mention of his having been convicted by a French court of insider trading. I am now wondering if billionaire Soros will make certain that it, too, disappears.

As much as I disapprove of Obama’s policies, what I truly find distasteful is the way he travels around the world apologizing for America, even to the likes of Hugo Chavez and the Castros. He bows to King Abdullah, cozies up to Ahmadinejad and tells the French -- the French! -- that America is arrogant.

When, by the way, do we stop apologizing for slavery? For one thing, most of our ancestors didn’t even arrive in this country until 40 or 50 years after 600,000 Americans died in a war that put an end to it. For another, most of the African slaves didn’t come to the United States; many more were delivered to the Caribbean and South America, courtesy of France, Germany, Spain, England, Sweden, Holland and Portugal. And lest we forget, it was the Arabs and their fellow blacks who rounded them up for the slave traders in the first place. Which makes it sadly ironic that so many American blacks, including Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, assumed Arabic names. Finally, one of the only places, aside from Communist nations, the Middle East and Thailand, where slavery still endures is in Africa!

Finally, it occurs to me that perhaps I’ve been wrong in opposing same-sex marriages. I regard it as a dumb idea, sort of like one of those silly sketches they perform on Saturday Night Live. Still, although no one who has chewed me out for my position has ever bothered to explain why if homosexuals are allowed to get married, on what possible moral or legal basis anyone could then object to incestuous or polygamous marriages, I am considering changing my mind. After all, why should we straights discriminate against those in the gay community? Why should we deny them the boundless delight that so many of us have experienced over the years dealing with divorce lawyers, engaging in custody battles and paying alimony to able-bodied adults?

But, heck, that’s only my opinion.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Hero’s More Than A Sandwich

by Burt Prelutsky

[This is a revised version of an earlier article. -ed]

One of the good things that came out of the tragic events of 9/11 is that heroism has reacquired some of its original luster. I'm not certain when it lost it, not at all certain when bravery above and beyond the call of duty gave way to meaning nothing more or less than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Looking back, I have an idea it happened during the Jimmy Carter administration when hostages were taken in Tehran. People who had been abducted by the minions of Ayatolah Khomeni, and held captive by Iranian thugs, were being widely hailed as heroes by the American media.

I'm not suggesting that a hostage can't also be a hero. Sen. John McCain behaved like one when he was a POW, volunteering to be beaten by the Vietnamese in order to spare the men in his charge. But I'm afraid that your run-of-the-mill hostage is no more a hero than were any of the unfortunate passengers in the planes that were crashed into the World Trade Center.

It is appropriate to grieve for innocent victims, but we should stop short of lionizing them. Otherwise, how do we distinguish between those who simply die and those who perish trying to save others? For instance, the U.S. Air Force pilot who was shot down behind enemy lines, surviving on bugs and swamp water in Kosovo, was not a hero; the pilots who risked their own necks flying in to save his, were.

In our society, we even call football players and Olympic skaters heroes, further confusing the issue. The most you can say for some guy who's looking to win the Super Bowl or a gold medal is that he's a darn good athlete, and leave it at that.

In the main, the 3,000 people who were massacred in Manhattan on September 11, 2001, were no more heroic than you or I. On the other hand, the cops and the firemen, those who ran into the blazing infernos in order to rescue perfect strangers, were the ones who exhibited the requisite bravery and self-sacrifice to deserve the honor.

The point to all this is that you do not turn anyone into a hero simply by calling him one. All you really accomplish is to so totally cheapen the word as to make it meaningless when the real thing comes along.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It’s Time Janeane Garofalo Returned To Munchkinland

by Burt Prelutsky

I’m not of the opinion that a person has to be perfect in order to point out the failings of others, but liberals take it to such an extreme that you have to wonder if they have any self-awareness at all.

I mean, when someone like George Soros, who collaborated with the Nazis, compared George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler, am I the only one who wondered if he meant it as a compliment?

Or take Janeane Garofalo, who says stupid things with such regularity you might take her for a sulky teenager even though she’s 44 years old. Because she is an ignoramus and has the self-righteous attitude of an adolescent brat, she was a perfect fit for Air America, where she and Al Franken competed to see which of them could attract fewer listeners.

For those of you who have managed to go through life without ever having heard the nasty sound bites for which she’s best known, your good luck is about to run out.

On one occasion, she said, “Our country is founded on a sham. Our forefathers were slave-owning rich white guys who wanted it their way. So when I see the American flag, I go, ‘Oh, my god, you’re insulting me.’ That you can have a gay pride parade on Christopher Street in New York, with naked men and women on a float, cheering, ‘We’re here and we’re queer!’ -- that’s what makes my heart swell. Not the flag, but a gay naked man or woman burning the flag. I get choked up with pride.”

Another time, she announced, “The world would be better off with multiple superpowers. When the Soviet Union was a superpower, the world was better off.”

I’m sure when she shared that thought with her fellow pinheads on New York’s upper Westside, there was a lot solemn head nodding and people turning to one another, martini in hand, and saying, “That little girl has a damn good head on her shoulders.”

On the other hand, if she’d made such a moronic statement in Poland, Latvia, Czechoslovakia, East Germany or Hungary, I’d like to think she’d have gotten her block knocked off.

It’s usually difficult to figure out why anyone who grows up with all the advantages that go with being born in America and enjoying a moderately successful career, would hate the country as much as she does. But, at the risk of being tossed out of the layman’s psychiatric association, it’s hard not to view her as someone who has devoted her life to rebelling against mommy and daddy. After all, her mother worked as a secretary in the petrochemical industry and her father was an executive with Enron!

Not too surprisingly, Ms. Garofalo is a confirmed atheist, toured on behalf of Code Pink and campaigned for Howard Dean. Take that, Mom and Dad! For good measure, in the early 90s, she got married in a Vegas chapel. Whether she and the groom, a fellow named Robert Cohen, were or weren’t drunk at the time, they soon separated, although, for reasons of their own, never bothered getting divorced.

Although she came to be fairly well known because of her role in “The Truth About Cats and Dogs,” she claims she despised the movie because she regards it as anti-feminist. One wonders why, that being the case, she didn’t turn down the role after reading the script. But, for someone who is so vehement in her opinions about those she regards as hypocrites, the lady manages to cut herself a great deal of slack.

Ms. Garofalo is barely five feet tall, which meant that in “Cats and Dogs,” because the star was Uma Thurman, she often had to stand on a soap box in scenes with the six-foot tall actress. She must have enjoyed the experience, because in the 13 years since, she has rarely climbed down from her soap box.

Besides having had parents who worked in industries Ms. Garofalo hates, she isn’t too happy about the hand or, rather, the size and shape God dealt her. As she says about prepping to be a stand-up comedienne, “I was a 36C or D and at 5’1”, I knew that being a small person with big boobs standing in front of an audience was not going to be easy. It would be really hard to get people to pay attention to me without mocking me. Getting a breast reduction to prepare for my career was no different from people who work to get good grades to get into a good college to get into a good graduate school to get a good job. I went down to a B-cup, and it was the best thing in the world.”

Now, why would she assume people would mock her just because she was busty? Obviously, it’s because if she were the one sitting in the audience, she’d be the one snickering and heckling. On the other hand, it’s really just about impossible not to mock someone who compares studying hard in college and graduate school to going to a plastic surgeon one afternoon for a breast reduction procedure. Funny, but when I think of something to compare it to, the first thing that comes to mind is a nose job.

She has directed much of her anger over the years at society for putting pressure on women to conform to body image ideals. And yet in pursuit of a feature role in “Jerry Maguire,” she lost a good deal of weight, only to discover that Renee Zellweger had snagged the part.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Survey This!

by Burt Prelutsky

Recently, I was called cranky in an article posted at the Huffington Post. The good news is that it’s one of the few times that anything approaching the truth has been posted there. The part I resented, though, was having my crankiness attributed to age. The fact is I was a precocious curmudgeon. But the question that springs to mind is why more people aren’t cranky these days when there is so much to be cranky about.

For instance, it used to irk me that Carl Bernstein, a rather minor footnote in America’s history, who only came to prominence because an anonymous snitch chose to pass along secrets to him and Bob Woodward, was depicted in two major motion pictures, “All the President’s Men” (Dustin Hoffman) and “Heartburn” (Jack Nicholson), when so many more deserving people haven’t been featured in any. But that pales when compared to the number of movies that have glorified Che Guevara, a blood-thirsty villain. In addition to numerous TV productions, he has shown up in “Che!” (Omar Sharif), “Evita” (Antonio Banderas), “Motorcycle Diaries” (Eduardo Noreiga) and “Che: Parts One and Two” (Benecio Del Toro).

Because I listen to a lot of talk radio, I keep coming across Christopher Hitchens. I should first confess to being envious. The fact that he has managed to become a best-selling author by promoting himself as the fellow who thinks religion is a terrible thing truly boggles my mind. Why, I keep asking myself, are people buying his book? I’m not suggesting he’s not entitled to his opinion, but why on earth does anybody care what Hitchens thinks about religion? I mean, are there some religious people who are going to become atheists because of anything he says? Frankly, I have this feeling that he protests a little too much, and that on his death bed, he’ll hedge his bet by calling for a minister, a priest, a rabbi and a witch doctor.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve come across a few surveys that got my attention. In one, it was found that 41% of women in their 20s would marry for money, 74% of women in their 30s and over 60% of women who were 40 or older. The man’s looks were of little or no concern, but he had to have at least $2.5 million. It wasn’t that love didn’t matter to the ladies, but it was love of money.

That reminded me that several years ago, there was a survey conducted by a woman’s magazine -- perhaps the Ladies Home Journal -- that asked mothers of all ages if, having it all to do over again, they would still opt to have children. By a whopping margin, they said not a chance.

The ladies, it seems, aren’t the great romantic nest-builders their publicists would have us think they are. I choose, however, to believe that most of these money-grubbing, embittered females are liberals. After all, in spite of all the whining about sexual harassment in the work place, you never heard liberal women complaining about serial womanizers such as Sen. Robert Packwood, Sen. Ted Kennedy or President Bill Clinton. In fact, they delighted in nailing the hides of such female whistle-blowers as Linda Tripp, Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick and Gennifer Flowers to the barn door. And when it came to Sarah Palin, they happily provided the lynch rope.

Another thing about liberals that points out their hypocritical double-standard is how they rejoice in canonizing whistle-blowers, but only when the whistle is blown on someone whose politics they oppose. When they thought they could use Valerie Plame to bring down Karl Rove or Dick Cheney, the New York Times covered the story as if it was the crime of the century. When it came out that the minor culprit was Richard Armitage, the story vanished along with the morning dew.

It is ever thus with liberals. Years ago, actor Cliff Robertson blew the whistle on studio executive David Begelman, who had forged Robertson’s name on a check. It later turned out that Begelman had victimized several other people along the way. So, naturally, Hollywood, a town with a pimp’s sense of decency, rallied to Begelman’s defense and turned on Robertson with a vengeance, blacklisting him as a warning to others.

Even if you gave liberals the answers on an ethics exam, they’d fail. Take the United Nations for example. Fifty-seven percent of those on the left regard the U.N. as an ally of America, while only 15% of conservatives share that delusion.

Overall, a mere 53% of Americans think capitalism is a better system than socialism. One out of five actually favors socialism, while 27% can’t make up what passes for their minds. I think it’s a pretty safe guess that the overwhelming majority of the 53% are conservatives who were wise enough to recognize Barack Obama for what he has proven to be.

One of the scariest numbers I came across the other day was that 9% of Americans believe that Congress has the constitutional right to raise taxes retroactively. I realize that means 91% disagree, but 9% translates to nearly 30 million people and, I’m willing to wager, includes just about everyone in academia and the mainstream media!

When you see numbers like that, it’s no wonder that there wasn’t greater outrage when President Obama, after declaring how arrogant America is, said nice things to Mahmud Ahmadinejad, reached out to “moderates” in the Taliban, and curtsied to King Abdullah. mmmm

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Obama... Your Slips Are Showing

by Burt Prelutsky

Judging by my e-mail, a great many conservatives are counting down the days until they next get to vote in 2010. They hope and pray that Americans will come to their collective senses and undo some of the horrors unleashed by last November’s election.

Naturally, I hope they’re right. But I’m not sure that it will be enough to sound the alarm that the sky is falling because, by then, I suspect it will have already fallen. Besides, I’m not convinced that most of my fellow citizens have a problem with the direction that Obama, Pelosi and Reid, have taken us during these past few months.

At the rate that Obama and the liberals are going, when it comes to piling up the national debt; nationalizing banks and major companies; scuttling our missile defense system; reaching out to Islamic and Communist tyrants; funding ACORN, AmeriCorps and Hamas; discussing nuclear disarmament with Russia at the same time that Iran, Pakistan and North Korea are gearing up; talking tough to Israel while currying favor with the Arabs and the Islamics; I have no idea what will be left to salvage a year-and-a-half down the road.

Still, if you know where to look, there are certain ironies one might find amusing. For instance, ever since Obama came on the scene, his supporters have insisted that, unlike George W. Bush, Obama would have influence with the other world leaders, particularly with those who speak German, French, Spanish and Italian. How surprised his disciples must have been when Obama begged for European cooperation in fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan and all he heard was a chorus of nein, non, nunca and nospeaka the English.

But, then, anyone who seriously expects the Europeans to take up arms is the same person who believes that rabbits lay Easter eggs. No European nation would want to risk its well-deserved reputation for unenlightened self-interest by ever doing the decent thing.

You might think there would be some small feeling of obligation to the country that saved Europe from the Nazis in the 1940s and from Soviet domination over the following four decades, but that would be asking the impossible of governments that regard gratitude as an unseemly emotion and confuse arrogance with sophistication.

Frankly, if it didn’t constitute such a direct threat to the United States, I would rather enjoy the ongoing spectacle of the Muslims finally, after a thousand years, conquering Europe.

Speaking of Muslims, about whom Obama, as was the case with Bush, can never say enough nice things, I’d like to know why America has decided to sign on as defenders of the faith. We went into Kosovo, Kuwait, Iraq and Somalia, to protect people who despise us and want us dead. For good measure, when a tidal wave hit Indonesia, we sent over a billion dollars in aid. That was back before Obama, when a billion dollars was still a lot of money, and was far more than any of the oil-rich nations sent to bail out their fellow Muslims.

To top things off, we elected a fellow named Barack Hussein Obama, who rushes off to Turkey on the taxpayers’ dime to tell them how large a role Islamics have played in American history. Funny, but even after racking my brain, the only thing that came to mind was 9/11.

One thing I must say for Obama is that he has become very adept at bowing. First there was that memorable kowtow to King Abdullah, and he quickly followed that up by taking numerous bows for the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips. We are all delighted that, thanks to the U.S. military, the captain was saved, but the only people who deserve congratulations are Commander Frank Castellano, the Navy Seals and the fantastic marksmen who hit their three targets. The only thing the Commander in Chief did was to prolong the nightmare for Capt. Phillips and his family by saying that no action should be taken unless the hostage’s life appeared to be in imminent danger.

If this is the administration’s approach to hostage negotiations, we can better understand why Obama and Biden are insisting that Israel take no preemptive action against Iran. Apparently, no imminent danger can be assumed until Tel Aviv is nuked off the face of the earth.

It pains me to admit it, but there are certain times when I find I am ashamed of my beloved country. One of my saddest moments was watching that last helicopter lifting off from the roof of the American embassy in Saigon, leaving behind our South Vietnamese and Cambodian allies to the tender mercies of Pol Pot and Jane Fonda’s other murderous chums.

Another occasion was when our president went to Europe recently and, doing his rather uncanny impression of Michael Moore, apologized for American arrogance. Naturally, his own arrogant words were greeted with great applause from a pack of jackals who would have been under the boot of Hitler or Stalin, except for America’s hatred of tyranny, its unrivaled display of courage and fortitude, and its sacrifice of treasure and blood.

It is at such times that one can easily understand why the question about Obama’s citizenship continues to plague so many people. Which leads me to admit that I have always been befuddled by the notion of dual-citizenship. As a concept, it’s illogical. As a matter of national policy, it’s insane. What truly confounds me is how it’s possible that dual citizenship is legal, but bigamy isn’t.

Along similar lines, I have long wondered how it is that something as asinine and clearly un-American as the Congressional Black Caucus can exist. I mean, as embarrassing as the rest of Congress is, these jackasses take the prize. The idea that members of the House should be separated on the basis of color, even on a voluntary basis, is undeniably racist. Still, I can see where if I were a congressman, I would welcome any excuse to be as far away as possible from the left-wing lunkheads who make up the Caucus.

Six of its members, Barbara Lee, Bobby Rush, Melvin Watt, Laura Richardson, Marcia Fudge and Emanuel Cleaver II, flew down to Cuba on a junket and came home raving about their visit to Castroland.

In their collective ability to turn a blind eye to the victims of this 50 year old Communist tyranny, the dirty half dozen remind me of the dupes who came back from the Soviet Union in the 1930s, rhapsodizing about the glories of the workers’ paradise, while managing to overlook the intentional starvation of millions of peasants, the torture and executions of anti-Communist intellectuals, the Siberian gulags, rampant anti-Semitism and political assassinations.

Behind their backs, Stalin referred to them as useful idiots. However, I think when it comes to Barbara Lee and her fellow loonies, even Stalin would have been hard-pressed to call them anything but useless.Capt

Thursday, May 7, 2009

It’s The Thought That Counts

by Burt Prelutsky

I never imagined I’d say it, but I’m beginning to identify with Barack Obama. I’m certainly not referring to his politics or his narcissism, but it seems that both of us really suck when it comes to gift giving.

First, he gave Prime Minister Gordon Brown some DVDs that were incompatible with English electronics and then he gave Queen Elizabeth an iPod that contained his speeches. Well, I hate to admit it, but I can empathize. Shopping for a prime minister has got to be hard enough, but trying to shop for a woman who has her own country would give me the mother of all migraines. Frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t just fall back on that old reliable. When in doubt, I say, you can’t go wrong giving cash. Which, by the way, seems to be one of the things, as opposed to bowling and speaking without a TelePrompter, at which the president seems to be quite adept. And, best of all, the cash, unlike the iPod, would be a personal gift because the Queen’s picture would be on it.

But I have to admit I’m beginning to really worry about the Community Organizer in Chief. I mean, he ran for president as the man who was going to make the world love us like nobody’s loved us, come rain or come shine. Instead, he’s turned into the master of the gag gift. I can’t help wondering what this practical joker is going to do next. Send Prime Minister Netanyahu a honey-baked ham? Send Mahmud Ahmadinejad a pair of elevator shoes? Send Pope Benedict XVI a whoopee cushion?

Frankly, though, I must confess I don’t know why we’re so concerned with how other countries feel about us. Do you think anyone likes Russia or China, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia? Do you think Mexico, France or Cuba lie awake nights wondering if Holland will be inviting them to the annual tulip festival? Do you actually believe that Japan calls up Korea on a Friday afternoon and suggests they go bowling? Or perhaps you imagine that any country in the world has ever in its entire life said, “You know who I’ve really been missing lately? Let’s throw a come-as-you-are party and invite good old Germany!”

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Coming To Terms With Term Limits

by Burt Prelutsky


Some people would have you believe I’m as stubborn as a Missouri mule. I prefer to think I’m principled, that I say what I mean and mean what I say. By the time I take a position, I have considered the pros and cons, balanced off the positive and the negative, considered it from every angle, and only then voiced an opinion. After all that, it would take dynamite or a very sizable bribe to make me change my mind. However, I have done that very thing and I don’t even have a freezer full of cash to show for it.

The issue is term limits. When people first began making a case for them, I was completely opposed. I felt that if the voters were happy with their elected officials, it was only right they be free to keep re-electing them. I have completely reversed my position. For one thing, I have come to believe that incumbents have far too great an advantage over their challengers. These days, I don’t want any of them -- even those few I actually approve of -- staying in office for more than a few years. I also don’t want them to be allowed to run for some other office. Here in California, where we have term limits, the politicians simply play their version of musical chairs, whereby once they’ve used up their time in, say, the assembly, they then make a run to be a state senator, mayor or U.S. congressman.

The sad fact of the matter is that those people who spend their entire careers in so-called public service do not regard themselves as our servants, but as our masters.

A recent study found that mental abilities peak, on average, at the age of 22 and begin declining five years later. If true, it would help explain the state of things in our nation’s capitol, where the average age of the hundred senators is 65, with New Jersey’s Lautenberg and Hawaii’s Inouye and Akaka, all in their mid-80s, while Robert Byrd, who will soon be entering his third childhood, was born shortly after Woodrow Wilson was re-elected.

I wouldn’t want to make too big a deal of age, except to suggest that there is something unseemly about men in their 70s, 80s and 90s, who haven’t done an honest day’s work in the past five or six decades, and have instead devoted their time to building up fiefdoms the size of which would have turned old English dukes and earls green with envy.

I also wouldn’t want to place too much emphasis on intelligence when it comes to our elected officers. Scientists and mathematicians often have abnormally high IQs. Politicians, on the other hand, have enormously huge egos and insatiable appetites for power and celebrity.

These days, even commentators who disagree with his politics find it necessary to call President Obama “brilliant” with such regularity, you might get the idea that it’s his first name.

It reminds me of the way the MSM kept telling us that Hillary Clinton was the brightest woman in America. The way they trumpeted her intelligence, you’d have thought she’d come up with a cure for Parkinson’s when, in fact, the smartest thing she’d ever done was to marry a serial adulterer.

Before Hillary came along, the same folks kept insisting that Jimmy Carter was smarter than Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein put together. Liberals are constantly sticking some fool’s brain on a pedestal simply because they approve of his or her left-wing agenda. They are so in awe of their political idols that I keep expecting Chris Matthews, Bill Maher or Keith Olbermann, to break the news that, on top of everything else, Barack Obama plays basketball better than Kobe Bryant or Lebron James.

Speaking of the president, it occurred to me that he has single-handedly buried the old maxim about talk being cheap. Every time he opens his yap, it costs the American taxpayer another trillion dollars.

Finally, although I hate to sound too cynical, it strikes me that Obama intends to fix the economy exactly the way the vet fixed my dog, Duke.

Friday, May 1, 2009

All The News That’s Fit To Ridicule

by Burt Prelutsky

So many absurd things are taking place around the world on a weekly, daily and even hourly basis that there’s simply no way to stay on top of it all. If one man can barely keep up with the lunacy occurring in America, you can imagine what a Herculean task it is to also keep abreast of foreign follies. But I am not one to shirk my responsibility.

For instance, in Afghanistan, the farmers recently called for a meeting with U.S. Marines in order to alert them to the fact that they will be in their fields at night harvesting opium poppies. They wanted to make sure that the Marines didn’t take them for members of the Taliban and shoot them by mistake. Like the farmers, I also don’t want our Marines to shoot them by mistake.

In Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, the Soviet-loving president of the country, who came to power as the leader of the left-wing Sandinistas, insists it’s America’s obligation to bail his country out of the current financial crisis. I might have voted to award him the Chutzpah Prize for 2009 if Brazil’s President Luiz Incio Lula de Silva hadn’t already copped the Prize by announcing that the world’s financial collapse was entirely the fault of “white people with blue eyes.” Even though that left people such as myself, white people with brown eyes, off the hook, I took it as a personal swipe at my blue-eyed wife.

That brings us to the United States, a country that under Obama is rapidly becoming a place that would be unrecognizable to the freedom-loving architects who framed our Constitution and pledged their very lives and fortunes to creating a nation of, by and for the people. It was a nation dedicated to the rights of the individual and based on Judeo-Christian principles, and not one that views Castro’s Cuba through red-colored glasses.

A recent poll found that 80% of so-called independents favor Democrats over Republicans when it comes to national security. That, in a nutshell, tells us all we need to know about most people who identify themselves as independents or moderates. For if there is any one issue on which sane people would give Republicans the edge, it would be national security.

As I have always contended, anyone who doesn’t regard himself as a conservative or at least a Republican is nearly always a liberal in sheep’s clothing who simply doesn’t wish to be pigeonholed. I have an acquaintance who kept insisting for years that he was an independent. When I finally pinned him to the wall and demanded he name the last Republican he had voted for, he admitted it was Richard Nixon in 1972! Which makes him just about as independent as Howard Dean or James Carville.

It is my belief that by a huge margin independents and moderates go along with Obama’s plan to eliminate charitable deductions from the tax code. It isn’t that these people are necessarily opposed to charities, they are merely opposed to individuals, particularly those of a religious bent, deciding for themselves which ones to support. They prefer that the decisions be made by left-wing politicians. So, while they would be happy to see hundreds of millions of dollars going to ACORN, abortion clinics, the National Endowment of the Arts, National Public Radio and AmeriCorps, they hate to see a dime go to churches, the Boy Scouts or the Salvation Army.

Speaking of abortions, I saw that a Kansas jury found Dr. George Tiller not guilty of any crime for performing a large number of late-term abortions for $5,000-a-pop. That reminded me that years ago, I bought a female hamster for my 10-year-old stepdaughter, not knowing that she -- the hamster, not my stepdaughter -- was pregnant. By the time I woke up one morning, my wife reported that the animal had given birth to four or five babies, and promptly had them for breakfast. And that, in turn, reminds me that I recently read that a rare clouded leopardess had given birth in a Virginia zoo to a pair of cubs. The zookeeper had to immediately rescue the newborns because these animals apparently have all the maternal instincts of an axe-murderer or a mother hamster and will often kill their offspring. Which certainly helps to explain why clouded leopards are as rare as they are.

The reason I am sharing these particular, seemingly unrelated, stories is because it occurred to me that, if only she had been able to garner some publicity, my hamster could easily have been as great a heroine to the Pro-Choice movement as Jane Roe (aka Norma McCorvey) and how shocked I was that the ladies of NOW didn’t hold a candlelight vigil on behalf of the feline whose inalienable right to commit infanticide was denied by a paternalistic society.

This brings us, inevitably to Washington, D.C., one of the few insane asylums on earth where the walls are made of marble and so are the noggins of the inmates. First of all, in the spirit of fair play, I need to make a public apology to Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner. Like most misinformed people, I leapt to the conclusion that he was a tax cheat. But after watching him spend several weeks bumbling around the Capitol, babbling about spending trillions of Monopoly dollars in order to restore America’s financial stability, I have come to realize he isn’t a cheat, after all; he simply has no more grasp of financial matters than Curly, Moe or Larry.

Finally, I have to confess that I actually laughed out loud when Nancy Pelosi recently referred to Barney Frank, head of the House Financial Services Committee, as Chairwoman Frank. I can’t help wondering if that amusing gaffe will be enough to get her labeled a homophobe back home in San Francisco.