Monday, June 29, 2009

Putting Liberals On The Couch

by Burt Prelutsky

Being a conservative, I naturally spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to psychoanalyze left-wingers, trying to figure out what makes them tick. God knows I’m not bragging. It is, after all, time I could otherwise devote to alphabetizing my canned goods or trying to make contact with Harry Houdini, but I know from the large number of emails I receive that I’m not alone. The lunacy on the left is enough to turn a lot of us into little Sigmund Freuds.

For instance, why is it that lefties are so puzzled or pretend to be so puzzled that conservatives who are in favor of capital punishment are opposed to abortions -- particularly the 60,000 late-term abortions performed by the late unrepentant serial killer, George Tiller? Even a left-winger should be able to tell the difference between executing a cold-blooded murderer and sucking the brain out of an innocent little human being.

Next, I’m wondering when the Mafia will officially ask for a government subsidy. Yes, I know it’s a criminal organization, but so is ACORN, which faces indictments for voter fraud in several states, and yet Obama and his Democratic cronies are funneling them millions of dollars.

Perhaps if liberals were merely wrong on all the issues, it would be easier to forgive them. But it’s their arrogance and self-righteous attitude that puts them beyond the pale. How often have we heard them claim that they’re being deprived of their right to free speech when what they’re actually complaining about isn’t censorship, but merely that a clear-thinking conservative has refuted some of their inane hogwash? Only liberals actually believe that if you disagree with them, you’re trampling on the 1st amendment. For good measure, many of them -- including a number of pettifoggers in Congress -- are on an unholy mission to bring back the totalitarian device known as the Fairness Doctrine.

Speaking of fairness, as in fair and balanced, I have come to see that Fox News is something like our own version of Radio Free Europe, getting the truth to those of us behind the Obama Curtain. What is ironic about the way that liberals carry on about TV Free America is that Fox has a large number of liberals on the payroll, including Greta Von Sustern, Bob Beckel, Geraldo Rivera, Alan Colmes, Chris Wallace, Juan Williams, Kirsten Powers and a few others, whereas CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, the NY Times and the Washington Post, collectively, have only one non-liberal on salary and that’s John Stossel, who doesn’t even identify himself as a conservative, but as a libertarian.

A question nobody has ever answered to my satisfaction is how it’s possible that media people such as David Corn, Eleanor Clift and Ellis Henican, who do nothing but parrot the same insipid DNC talking points as Charles Rangel, Barbara Boxer and Patrick Leahy, are able to make a decent living without at least having to run for office and win an election.

Occasionally, I hear from people who think that my objections to institutions of so-called higher education are all based on David Horowitz’s reports from the ivy league battle zones. Not true. Just the other week, the son of a friend of mine who is attending UCLA told me about two of his classes. Inasmuch as the young lad is an out-of-stater and not an illegal alien, his folks are paying the full freight, which is in access of $20,000-a-year. One of his classes is geography. I’m not saying that learning geography is a waste of time. I recall studying it in the third grade and even making maps out of flour and water. But I can’t help thinking that my friend could have saved a lot of money if he’d simply bought his son an atlas.

A second class consists of watching old and new TV shows. I’m not sure what fancy title they’ve given the course, but it’s probably something along the lines of “The Evolution of Popular Visual Culture.” I guess the best thing to be said for such a class is that the students don’t object to being loaded down with homework.

I’m not an expert on body language, but my attention has been called to the fact that when he was on the phone with Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Obama was photographed with his feet on the desk in the Oval Office, and when he took his photo op tour of Auschwitz with Elie Wiesel, he had his hands in his pocket. And, yet, in the august presence of King Abdullah, he bowed respectfully.

Finally, we were told that the world’s leaders were going to cooperate with Barack Hussein Obama in a way they never had with his predecessor. Well, so far, they’ve all refused his invitation to send troops to Afghanistan and, just in case he didn’t get the message, they’ve all refused to take 241 Muslim terrorists off his hands.

Now, we have Newsweek’s managing editor, Evan Thomas, grandson of the former grand Poom Bah of the Socialist Party, Norman Thomas, telling us with a straight face that Obama is greater than God. It appears, however, that the world’s leaders don’t even think he’s greater than George W. Bush.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Liberals: The Enemy Within

by Burt Prelutsky

Feeling as I do about Barack Obama, it’s only natural that I would look for people to blame for putting him in the Oval Office. I mean, aside from the 63 million oafs who actually voted for the guy. The first villains who come to mind are members of the media who are still, in the words of Bernard Goldberg, slobbering over him. But I have come up with another group of troublemakers. They’re the folks who came up with the cockamamie primary system.

When you realize how much emphasis is placed on early results, both in terms of momentum and fund-raising, you can readily see how goofy it is that a tiny New England state and a handful of Midwesterners wield so much influence. I have nothing against the voters of New Hampshire or the folks who vote in the Iowa caucus, but it’s absurd that they should have so much power. The solution is quite simple. On the very same day, the Republicans and the Democrats would hold their primaries in all 50 states. The two winners would then square off in November. Not only would my plan streamline the entire process, but there would be far fewer interruptions of regularly scheduled TV programs. So, what’s not to like?

Frankly, I don’t think my system would result in better candidates. On the other hand, after 2008, it’s hard to imagine either party doing much worse.

Issues aside, one of the things I like better about Republicans than Democrats is that we aren’t so partisan that we automatically give our guys a free pass. When McCain joined with Ted Kennedy to pass their amnesty bill, he got worked over pretty good by conservatives. When Bush ran up the national debt, he got clobbered by Republicans and Democrats, alike. But when, in just three short months, Obama tripled the deficit, nary a discouraging word did we hear from a single liberal. Massive inflation looms over all of us, but Democrats just keep smiling and giving each other high-fives while Obama cranks out funny money like a counterfeiter on speed.

Of all the terrible things Democrats are responsible for, perhaps the worst is the way they foster and promote class and race wars in America for their own political advantage. They tell black people that nothing is ever their fault -- not early pregnancies, not an embarrassing school dropout rate, not an overemphasis on athletics, not selling or using drugs -- that everything, instead, is the fault of white Republicans. To poor people, they say they’d be rich if only white Republicans didn’t steal all their money, just as they say to the 41% of Americans who pay no income taxes, “Here’s a rebate.”

And who is feeding them all this tripe? Why none other than Charles Schumer, Keith Olbermann, John Kerry, David Letterman, Dianne Feinstein, Bill Maher, Norman Lear, the Clintons, Michael Moore, Harry Reid, Jon Stewart, Patrick Leahy, Arianna Huffington, Barbara Boxer and George Soros, all of whom are white millionaires. Clearly, P.T. Barnum was right about the birthrate of suckers and the Baltimore sage, H.L. Mencken, wasn’t being overly cynical when he observed that nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

When I heard the other day that a California senate committee had passed a resolution making May 22nd “Harvey Milk Day,” my head began spinning. Naturally, a homosexual advocacy group announced that “the bill would explain how important Harvey is to all Californians.” I’m afraid if the silly movie, “Milk,” didn’t do the trick, a mere senate bill isn’t likely to pull it off. On the other hand, this is California, after all, a place where Abe Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and even Jonas Salk, don’t have their own days, but a union leader named Cesar Chavez does!

The frustration of trying to be logical in an illogical world is nothing new. In the 19th century, a clergyman named Charles Colton observed: “The soundest argument will produce no more conviction in an empty head than the most superficial declamation; as a feather and a guinea fall with equal velocity in a vacuum.”

We have our liberals to contend with and, obviously, Rev. Colton had his. Which reminds me, when my son first began crawling, for some reason the only gear he could manage was reverse. I don’t know how commonplace a phenomenon that is, but I found it very amusing. He would get up a good head of steam but, no matter how hard he’d try to reach his destination, backwards he would scramble. It was many years ago and I rarely dwell on it, but the other day, when I was thinking about Obama, Geithner and all the other folks in Washington who are in over their pointy heads, it occurred to me that left-wingers remind me a lot of little Max. They’re always full of big plans, they’re always going off in the wrong direction and, more often than not, their diapers need changing.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Man Who Would Be God

by Burt Prelutsky

A while back, I heard Obama bragging about his first few months in the White House. When he claimed he had done as much in that period as any president in history, my initial thought was that for the first time in his life he was being modest. Frankly, I think he’s done more, much more, and I only wish that some of it had been good for America.

He’s taken over car companies, banks and lending institutions. He’s printed so much currency that he’s the envy of counterfeiters and con men everywhere. He’s buried the nation in so much debt that children born 40 years down the road will be greeted with a slap on the butt and a lien on future earnings. For good measure, the Community Organizer in Chief has created more czars than the Romanovs.

Still, we’re told, a majority of Americans like Obama. That would absolutely confound me if I wasn’t already aware that a lot of people think David Letterman, Jon Stewart and Bill Maher, are funny.

But liberals are always, in the words of the Siamese king, a puzzlement. For instance, when I was five years old, my family still lived in Chicago. One day, I recall, a cousin came running up the stairs and pounded on the door to breathlessly announce that President Roosevelt was dead. The way my parents and older brothers reacted, you’d have thought the Nazis had just stormed ashore at Lake Michigan. My parents were grief-stricken. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why. I remember thinking how odd it was that my family was so sad over the death of someone who’d never even visited our apartment.

Well, of course that’s the way a child would think. But the truth is, I’m now 69 years old and I still can’t figure it out. To this day, FDR holds a warm spot in the hearts of most Jews for reasons I can’t begin to imagine. There is nothing in FDR’s record that shows he had positive feelings about Jews. Some people have even suggested that, with his patrician background, he probably had a negative attitude. But the fact remains that he refused to let the Jews aboard the St. Louis disembark, and instead forced the ship and its passengers to return to Europe, back into the hands of the Nazis. For good measure, FDR, although urged by many, also refused to bomb the railroad tracks leading to the concentration camps.

Although FDR’s apologists like to point out that there were a great many isolationists in and out of Congress who opposed our entry into World War II, the fact remains that in the end Hitler declared war on us and not the other way around.

I know many Jews who think that because Rahm Emanuel, a Jew, has Obama’s ear, it means Israel can rely on Obama’s better instincts. What they are ignoring is that Mr. Emanuel is a longtime veteran of Chicago politics, which means that power and influence are an end in themselves. And as every tyrant and left-winger will tell you, the ends justify the means. With friends like Obama and Emanuel, Israel doesn’t need any enemies, although God knows they have plenty.

One of the things that annoys me the most about Obama is how easily he lies. One of the things that annoys me about the media is the way they enable him to get away with it.

For instance, when he jammed through the trillion-dollar pork pie, he claimed it was so urgently needed, he couldn’t spare the legislators even 48 hours to plow through the 1,100 pages. However, once they passed the bill, Obama waited four days before flying off to Denver to sign it.

Lately, there’s been a video making the rounds on the Internet showing one of Obama’s female bureaucrats being grilled by a congressional committee that was trying to find out where a couple of trillion dollars might have gone missing. I almost felt sorry for the lady as she shuffled her papers around, as if the money might be hiding between the pages. After six or seven minutes of this hilarious, but chilling, charade, I fully expected her to say her dog ate it.

A second lie that recently went unquestioned by the media was Obama’s claim that he had only given President Sarkozy short shrift when he was in France because it was essential that he get back to the Oval Office and make those tough decisions that only he can make. And, sure enough, it turned out that within an hour of his return to Washington, he was on the golf course, making one of those gut-wrenching executive decisions -- deciding whether to use a putter or a sand wedge from the edge of a bunker.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It Takes A Village Of Idiots

by Burt Prelutsky

I have always found it odd that whenever the producers of TV, movies and records, are accused of setting a bad example for the kids, they always insist that their product is simply entertainment and that entertainment in no way influences youthful behavior. If they really believed it, they’d have to be even stupider than they are.

It’s not just that they’re every bit as aware as the rest of us that advertisers spend billions of dollars a year advertising their merchandise in the media, but additional fortunes are spent on product placement in motion pictures targeted to young people. They also know that advertisers get into bidding wars for the services of a LeBron James.

But the real proof that these people are lying through their teeth when they tell you that the tube lacks the power to influence kids is to be found on their shelves and their walls. All you have to do is check out the various plaques and scrolls with which they adorn their offices. Let a TV show’s young star be seen buckling up when he gets in his car, and the producer is sure to be honored for promoting safe driving. When years ago, the Fonz was shown to have a library card, librarians all over the country saw the number of young readers spike overnight. The producers received a ton of commendations for promoting literacy.

On the reverse side, when such terrible role models as Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears misbehave, the ripples are felt all across teenage America.

Some years ago, Charles Barkley, then a star in the NBA, said he didn’t sign on to serve as anybody’s good example. Instead, he announced that kids should use their parents as role models. If only it were that simple. Unfortunately, a large number of children don’t have fathers in their lives. But the sad truth is that even when there is a father in the house, kids rarely hold their hard-working dads in the same high regard they do basketball players and rock stars.

All in all, I’m glad I’m not young anymore. I’m even grateful I’m not raising a youngster. That’s because liberals are doing their best to destroy childhood.

I’m not saying it’s their intention, but it’s certainly how things are working out. It’s as if they can’t wait to hurry the sprouts through what should be their innocent years. Trying to turn something as joyful as Christmas into something as barren as the winter solstice is only one sad part of the campaign.

First, we can’t wait to get the tots out of the home and into pre-school. Then we get them into grammar school and pile on homework, lest they get the idea that childhood is supposed to be fun. Judging by the test scores, the homework is nothing but punishment for the sin of being young. It obviously isn’t for the purpose of education or so many teenagers wouldn’t be graduating from high school without math or language skills.

The one area in which young people are well ahead of their ancestors is in sexual matters. At a tender age or at least what should be a tender age, the girls are learning to put prophylactics on bananas and the boys are learning to swagger like pint-sized pimps.

I would like to lay most of the blame on Bill Clinton, who had parents all over the country being asked by their youngsters to define a blow job. But those perverted beauty pageants for five-year-olds such as JonBenet Ramsey had tainted the American landscape even before Clinton got around to tainting the Oval Office.

When I first began to realize how little concern we have for our children, aside from providing them with expensive sneakers and pricey electronic toys, was when I saw the light sentences doled out to pedophiles. Whenever one of these creatures abducts a youngster, it gets its share of media attention, but not nearly as much as when some college party girl goes missing in Mexico or Bermuda. Furthermore, nobody has yet explained why a pedophile, once caught and convicted, is ever released from prison or an asylum. But, then, liberal compassion tends to go to the victimizer and not the victim simply because, being such an abnormality, it allows them to feel extra special about themselves.

What really irks liberals, though, is smoking. That’s why Camels recently got into legal trouble in Pennsylvania for using a cartoon character in its cigarette advertising. The company had already suffered dire consequences because of their earlier use of Joe Camel. Frankly, I never understood why kids would rush out and begin smoking because of an ugly, hump-nosed, cartoon, especially when they already get to see all the cool liberal actors and rock stars smoking in real life.

However, be that as it may, the real war on kids is taking place in the classroom and the movie theater. That’s where the real terror is lurking these days, just waiting to ruin the dreams of children. It takes the form of nonstop propaganda about global warming.

When I was a child, the bogyman was an imaginary creature hiding under my bed. Now, thanks to Al Gore and his ilk, bogymen are lurching across the countryside like the zombies in horror movies, terrifying the kids. That’s all the kids, including the little sons and daughters of liberals. According to recent studies, a huge percentage of 10-year-olds believe the earth will be entirely under water before they’re grown-up. I call it child abuse, and if those parents weren’t a bunch of politically correct, brain-dead, pantywaists, they’d put a stop to it. Instead, they take their kids to see left-wing pap like “Earth,” and they cheer on people like Gore and Pelosi, who are making millions upon millions of dollars off their investments in this massive hoax. These self-righteous cretins love green, okay; greenbacks, that is.

Unlike Chicken Little, who insisted the sky was falling, and scared all the critters in the barnyard, these greedy little creeps are screaming that the ice is melting, and scaring all the kids in the schoolyard.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Where Are Liberals Hatched?

by Burt Prelutsky

I used to be what I thought was a liberal. If, at the time, anyone had asked me to explain myself, I would have said that I opposed Jim Crow laws, that I believed workers were entitled to make a decent wage and work in a safe environment, and that American citizens shouldn’t be discriminated against because of their race, religion or national origin.

I quit being a liberal because I didn’t believe that members of particular minority groups deserved advantages denied to others; that illegal aliens weren’t entitled to anything but a swift kick to the backside; that being a devout Christian didn’t make you a bad person; and that capitalism was a system that worked, while socialism not only didn’t work, but, wherever it was tried, turned into a tyranny.

I honestly don’t know why there are so many liberals today and I certainly can’t imagine why they have such a lousy agenda. I have come up with a theory, however. Here in California, roughly 30 years ago, because of budget cuts, a great many people were released from insane asylums. They wound up living in the streets, which explains the large number of homeless people, even though Democrats would have you believe that those are normal people who simply lost their jobs along the way.

Even after the state became more solvent, it became almost impossible to get these poor souls back into institutions where they could be fed, clothed and given their meds, because the ACLU lawyers fought for their inalienable right to starve, freeze and use the sidewalks of your city as their combination bedroom, living room and bathroom.

Inevitably, they also got to vote. As a result, the likes of Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Antonio Villaraigosa, Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown, wound up winning all the major elections. I mean, the truth is, you’d have to be crazy to vote for those people.

I have to suspect that a similar scenario took place all over the country. How else to explain that two-thirds of Americans actually believe that Barack Obama’s policies will save our economy? I’m not even a Christian, but I find it bizarre that people who pooh-pooh the idea that Christ raised the dead or walked on water are totally convinced that a guy who’s tossing trillions of dollars into the air is a financial miracle worker. Talk about blind faith!

It makes me wonder if these same people, were they facing personal bankruptcy, would think that the answer to their own financial difficulties would be to give their wife an American Express card and drop her off at Tiffany’s.

If liberals aren’t simply insane, they surely must be hypocrites. Why else would they insist that spending eight years bashing President Bush and comparing him, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, to the Nazi High Command was patriotic, but merely questioning President Obama’s qualifications, judgment and policies, makes one a racist?

Also, how is it that when, between 2000 and 2006, when the GOP had control of the Oval Office, the House and the Senate, on those rare occasions they didn’t do the bidding of Ted Kennedy, John Murtha or Charles Schumer, they were condemned as divisive? However, when Obama and his left-wing cronies rushed through a trillion dollar stimulus package and a pork-filled budget over Republican objections, nobody in their crowd cried “Foul!” or insisted on reaching across the aisle for a group hug and a few choruses of “Kumbaya”?

Before anyone bothers sending an e-mail reminding me that three Republican senators voted with the Democrats on the stimulus bill, I haven’t forgotten. But, let’s face it -- the two ladies from Maine are merely the east coast version of Boxer and Feinstein. As for Arlen Specter, I suspect that along the way, he’ll switch to the Extraterrestial Party if, as he inches closer to being a hundred years old, he decides that’s his best chance of winning an election.

I know that people such as Sen. Specter and Sen. Jeffords would have us believe that they switched parties because of their principles, but I would prefer it if they only said such silly things in the hope of making me laugh. That’s because I love to laugh, but I hate being taken for a fool. I mean, really, Jim Jeffords wakes up one day when he’s 67 years old and Specter opens his eyes at the age of 79 and suddenly decide that the GOP isn’t as conservative as they’d like, so the solution is to link left arms with the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank?

Something else that makes me wonder if, in a nicer, kinder world, liberals wouldn’t be housed in a warm place where they’d be kept safely away from sharp objects and voting booths, is their notion of what constitutes torture. In my world, cutting off Daniel Pearl’s head, throwing Anne Frank in an oven or having to listen to Chris Matthews, is torture. But by no means is it playing loud music, keeping people awake or even dousing them with water, in order to get them to cough up information that might prevent another 9/11 or keep American soldiers from being ambushed.

Only a liberal could confuse actual torture with college hazing. I suspect there are members of fraternities who could share more harrowing tales than the Islamics with their Korans, their three squares and their personal prayer mats at Gitmo.

Another difference that seems to escape liberals is that it’s torture when the only purpose is to cause pain, not when it’s done in order to pry important information from terrorists.

And, finally, when did liberals decide that homosexuals get the final word when it comes to matters of morals, values or anything else, for that matter?

It’s bad enough that any number of self-righteous academics kept military recruiters off college campuses, pretending that their objection stemmed from the army’s don’t ask/don’t tell policy, and not simply because left-wingers hate anything and everything that smacks of patriotism.

In much the same way, those on the Left have led a crusade against the Boy Scouts of America because, so they say, they oppose the policy of not allowing homosexuals to be Scout leaders and take young boys into the woods on camping trips. Sensible people regard that as a sensible policy. It’s not to suggest that every gay man is a pedophile, but simply recognizing that most pedophiles are gay men. Just as every Muslim is not a terrorist, just about every terrorist these days is a Muslim. So, why should parents take any unnecessary chances with their most precious possessions just so homosexuals won’t have their feelings hurt?

Liberals don’t really care about homosexuals, unless they themselves happen to be gay. The truth is liberals rarely serve in the military now that service is voluntary and they don’t usually let their kids join the Boy Scouts, not because they’re offended by the aforementioned policy, but because the group fosters faith-based and patriotic ideals.

If you want a perfect example of liberal hypocrisy, consider the recent beauty pageant when a repulsive little freak who calls himself, in homage to Paris Hilton, Perez Hilton (born Mario Lavenderia), who had no business even being on stage at a competition involving beautiful women got to ask Miss California, Carrie Prejean, how she felt about same-sex marriages. Her honest answer probably cost her the victory, while earning her the respect of most fair and decent Americans.

What I find so telling about the incident was that in California, the reason that the same-sex marriage measure was defeated on the November ballot was because 70% of blacks voted that way. But the gays only demonstrated outside Catholic and Mormon churches and businesses. Furthermore, I guarantee that if Miss Prejean had been black, instead of a blue-eyed blonde, Mr. Hilton wouldn’t have dared open his ugly little yap.

It’s also worth noting that President Obama gave the exact same answer to the exact same question during the campaign, and yet the gays voted overwhelmingly for him. Which certainly suggests that, thanks to the insane asylums being relatively empty these days, honesty can cost you a tiara, but not the presidency

Sunday, June 7, 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.

Uncivil Unions

by Burt Prelutsky

I am one of those people who have loved baseball nearly my entire life. Even though I was born in Chicago and moved to L.A. when I was just a kid, I was never a fan of the Cubs, the White Sox or the Dodgers. Instead, I rooted for the Boston Red Sox, probably because of Ted Williams, who was not only the greatest hitter during my lifetime, but the man who gave up the better part of five seasons to serve his country as a Marine pilot during World War II and again in Korea.

As I grew older, I became even a greater fan because I appreciated the fact that a number of their greatest players, including Williams, Bobby Doerr, Jim Rice, Dom DiMaggio and Carl Yastrzemski, spent their entire careers with the team. However, by the end of 1995, I had grown totally disenchanted with the Sox, and not because they could never get past the Yankees. I was plenty used to that. What I couldn’t accept was their dumping future Hall of Famer Wade Boggs and sending 18-year veteran Dwight Evans off to finish his career with the Baltimore Orioles, while hiring one punk after another. By signing the likes of Jack Clark, Kevin Mitchell and Jose Canseco, they began to resemble baseball’s equivalent of the Oakland Raiders. It was as if they had sent their general manager down to the local post office to check out the Wanted posters on the wall.

When I finally gave up on them, I decided to root for the New York Yankees simply because I prefer the American League and I had always liked Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill and their newly-signed manager, Joe Torre. Who knew that their young shortstop, a kid named Derek Jeter, would make such a huge difference?

All that being said, if my love of the game hadn’t been of such duration and depth, I would have given up on baseball a long time ago. That’s how much I hated the fact that Commissioner Bud Selig and the team owners didn’t merely turn a blind eye to the widespread use of steroids and human growth hormones, but winked at the cheaters.

Until the likes of Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire, came along, home run hitters like Mantle, Mays, Snider and Schmidt, would hit 40, on rare occasion 50, homers in a season. Even Hank Aaron never hit more than 45. But suddenly 60 became commonplace.

As a result, all sorts of long-standing records were being broken. No longer were 500 home runs in a career such a big deal, and reaching that once magical number no longer guaranteed entry into the Hall of Fame.

Once Congress began holding hearings, Major League Baseball could no longer ignore the obvious facts. Even now, some of us consider the punishments for being found out to be the equivalent of wrist slaps. While I know some fans will regard Manny Ramirez’s 50-day suspension as a big deal, it will cost him less than eight million dollars in lost wages. Considering the fact that being a cheater has helped him earn at least 10 times that much over the past few years in Boston and L.A., it’s not a major loss to the Ramirez family. But, worse yet, thanks to the power of the Player’s Union, the 105 major leaguers who tested positive over the past couple of years might as well be in the Federal Witness Program, except they didn’t have to change their names and go into hiding after testifying against the Mob.

As a result of the Union’s stonewalling, all 750 players in the big leagues remain under a cloud of suspicion even though, theoretically, 86% of them are innocent.

Still, as bad as that is, I recently discovered that the L.A. Unified School District pays 160 teachers to stay home. These are teachers who are being “housed,” as they call it, while their fitness to teach is under review. These people have been accused of theft, drug possession and the sexual harassment of teenage students.

In some cases, the reviews, for some reason, take years to complete. In the meantime, even now when budget cuts are forcing layoffs of other teachers, the cost of keeping this deadwood on salary runs L.A.’s taxpayers $10 million-a-year. That doesn’t include the legal costs run up by the city’s having to fight the Union to get these 160 oafs out of education and into a different line; preferably, the one at the unemployment office.

But I’m afraid that whether we’re talking about baseball, public schools or the UAW, until the arrogant unions show that their concerns aren’t entirely selfish and short-sighted, most people will continue to regard them, at best, as necessary evils or, at worst, as unnecessary evils.