Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Regarding Jimmy Carter And Other Goobers

by Burt Prelutsky

It used to be said of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers that he gave her class and she gave him sex appeal. These days, you have actors and liberal politicians teaming up. But, unlike Astaire and Rogers, which was a perfect example of symbiosis, the actors give politicians money and publicity, and the politicians allegedly provide the actors with gravitas. But when it comes to class, I’m afraid both groups are plumb out of luck.

In terms of their professions, however, they are strangely similar. Both call for basically intuitive skills and the ability to lie convincingly. That’s not to say that, through training and experience, members of each group can’t hone their talents, but, just between us, neither profession is all that difficult to master. If acting was hard, such children as Jackie Coogan, Freddie Bartholomew, Mickey Rooney, Jackie Cooper, Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, Bobby Driscoll, Hayley Mills and Fred Savage, couldn’t have been as good as they were, and such chowderheads as Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, George Clooney, Whoopi Goldberg and Barbra Streisand, wouldn’t have all those Oscars on their mantels.

As for achieving success in politics, what more need be said than that Barney Frank, Patrick Leahy, John Murtha, Maxine Waters, Robert Byrd, Ted Kennedy and Henry Waxman, are still drawing government paychecks?

Speaking of people who are still around and proving that, unlike old soldiers, politicians don’t fade away, but, instead, continue to make damn fools of themselves, we have Jimmy Carter. In his latest attempt to prove that his disastrous administration was no mere four-year fluke, he recently announced, “The male religious leaders have had -- and still have -- an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world.”

He added, “It also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.”

Rolling up his rhetorical sleeves, he concluded, “At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime.”

If you’re curious as to what ultimately opened Carter’s eyes to the atrocities committed in the name of Allah by his erstwhile friends in the Islamic world, wondering whether it was the slavery, the denial of education and basic human rights or that old Muslim standby, genital mutilation, wonder no more. You see Carter wasn’t condemning the barbaric way that Islamics treat their women, he was merely explaining why, at the age of 84, he was leaving the Southern Baptist Church!

Well, I, for one, am heartened that someone finally blew the whistle on the way those doggone Baptists are always forcing the womenfolk to stay in their kitchens for hours on end cooking up Thanksgiving dinners and 4th of July potlucks. It’s simply intolerable that such things are still taking place in this day and age in what is allegedly a civilized nation. Even the Muslims can’t imagine why Baptist women continue to put up with it.

I anticipate that the next news flash will be the announcement that the 39th president, aka Mr. Peanut, has converted and that, henceforth, he will be known as Osama bin Carter.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Politically Incorrect Observations

by Burt Prelutsky

I was taken aback when President Obama said he was proud of the Afghani people who voted in their recent election in spite of being intimidated by the Taliban. I mean, how was it he never said he was proud of American Republicans who voted in spite of being intimidated by the thugs from ACORN, the SEIU and the UAW?

Although I don’t watch so-called reality shows, I’ve come up with what I think would be a real humdinger. It would pit certain studio audiences against one another in a series of competitions. One week it might be the Saturday Night Live audience against Oprah’s, the following week it might be the View battling it out with Bill Maher’s team. Judging by their enthusiastic response to badly written sketches, softball interviews and inane comments, the competitions obviously couldn’t be too demanding. The contestants, for instance, might be asked to locate Florida on a map or peel three bananas within 60 seconds or add five and six without removing their shoes. Janeane Garofalo and Joy Behar could be hired as cheerleaders.

When during the presidential campaign, Sen. Obama said he saw his mission as fundamentally transforming America, what exactly did the 62 million people who voted for him think he actually meant? Put us on the metric system? Introduce the euro? What was it about America that so many people felt needed to be straightened out by a party hack from the most politically corrupt state in the Union?

Just because a star-struck judge decided that Michael Vick should only spend 18 months in jail doesn’t mean that Mr. Vick got what he deserved, and that everyone should forgive and forget his disgusting deeds. Heck, if judges got to have the final word in such matters, we would all have to accept that justice was served in 1969 when Ted Kennedy, instead of being forced to face a manslaughter rap, got a two month suspended sentence for leaving the scene of an accident. Heck, I actually saw Philadelphia Eagle fans give Mr. Vick a standing ovation when he trotted out on Lincoln Financial Field. If it were up to me, I’d have given all those goons 18 months for sending such a terrible message to their kids. Besides, Plaxico Burress got a two-year sentence and all he’d done was shoot himself in the leg.

I would think that even liberals would have been up in arms when the Obama administration wanted a person’s friends and neighbors to rat him out if he opposed Obama’s health care plan. These are the same people who insisted, and quite correctly, that Richard Nixon’s Enemies List was an abomination. But at least it was a list of the man’s actual enemies. Those people really did hate Nixon. But Obama wanted to know the names of those Americans -- Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians -- who simply had the unmitigated gall to think his radical program stunk to high heaven.

Some people are wondering why Attorney General Eric Holder is going ahead with his investigation of the CIA, especially when it wasn’t that long ago that Obama said he was putting the past to rest. I think I know the reason Obama has changed his mind. It’s pretty much the same reason that Bill Clinton green-lighted the farcical missile attack on the pharmaceutical factory in the Sudan. In Clinton’s case, it was meant to knock the Monica Lewinsky affair off the front page. In Obama’s case, it’s to knock the health care debacle off the front page.

I recently read a poll that reported that the majority of Israelis believe that Obama favors the Palestinians. Well, duh. I mean if it’s not bad enough that the Community Organizer in Chief curtsied to a Saudi prince, gets angrier about homes being built in Israel than nukes being built in Iran, can’t say enough nice things about the religion of our sworn enemies and denies that we’re at war with Islamic fundamentalists, there’s the matter of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem. It seems that it is dedicated solely to Palestinian interests. It has $530 million with which to fund summer camps, free movies, business classes and “promoting and preserving Palestinian cultural heritage,” whatever in hell that might be. Notable suicide bombers down through the annals of history? The programs are translated into Arabic, but not Hebrew. The education finance grants are available to candidates who must be a Palestinian resident of the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Gaza Strip. Is my memory going or aren’t they the same folks we saw dancing in the streets on 9/11?

The ex-Mrs. William Saroyan once made a very perceptive remark about the writer, famous for writing lovingly about the Armenian community in Fresno, California. She said, “Bill loved mankind, but he hated people.”

When I look at Obama, I see a lot of Saroyan there. Although he’s made millions of dollars off his books and CDs, it’s common knowledge that he has one relative, apparently an illegal immigrant, living in public housing and another in an African village, surviving on pennies a day. But Obama keeps telling us that he’s heart-sick about the unemployed and the uninsured. Well, as H.L. Mencken once observed: “The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it.”

Finally, I am getting sick and tired of American companies being intimidated by groups of black thugs. For years, we saw major companies paying extortion to Jesse Jackson because he threatened to have their products boycotted in black neighborhoods. Now we see ColorOfChange threatening to boycott companies if they dare to advertise on Glenn Beck’s TV show.

While I think boycotts are perfectly legitimate when they are done to right a moral wrong, as they were in the South in order to allow black people equal access to seats on buses and at lunch counters, I hate extortionists, whether they’re working for Al Capone or some black radical. Being poor or black or an illegal immigrant doesn’t make anyone morally superior to someone who is rich or white or a citizen. For too many years, we’ve allowed these so-called victims to assume a role they’re not entitled to, one of moral superiority.

If I owned a company and the riff-raff from ColorOfChange or ACORN or the Rainbow Coalition threatened to boycott my product, I would take out ads proclaiming that as an American, I was not about to kowtow to a bunch of thugs simply because they happened to be black.

I have a hunch that most Americans -- and by most, I’m referring to those, black and white, who don’t get their opinions from the NY Times and the Huffington Post, their talking points from Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann, and their marching orders from David Axelrod and Rahm Emmanuel -- would respond favorably to my message, which is exactly the way decent people have always responded when bullies and tyrants have threatened their freedoms.

Friday, September 25, 2009

From Red, White And Blue, To Just Plain Red

by Burt Prelutsky

Before last year’s election, I heard a lot of people claim they didn’t feel they knew who Obama really was. For my part, I felt I knew him all too well. Which was why I didn’t like him and wouldn’t have voted for him even if he’d run unopposed, which, now that I think about McCain’s campaign, was pretty much the way it was.

Boneheads would have you believe my opposition to Obama is based on racism. I, on the other hand, would insist that when a presidential candidate announces that once his energy plan is in place, our energy costs will soar; that he will bury you if you have the temerity to own a coal company; and that he believes, as he told Joe the Plumber, that it is government’s job to re-distribute wealth, what does race have to do with it? I hated all that stuff back when it was being promoted by such white con artists as Karl Marx, Josef Stalin and Saul Alinsky.

Furthermore, the way that blacks and other liberals label everyone they’re against as racists, I think conservatives should start suing these punks for slander. Make them either prove it in court or pay through the nose.

Obama would have you believe that anyone who doesn’t buy into his squandering trillions of dollars on pork, his cap & trade insanity or his attempt to turn America’s health care over to such left-wing loonies as Nancy Pelosi, John Conyers and Henry Waxman, is a racist. It’s the-one-size-fits-all insult.

When people insisted that Obama was an enigma, I assumed they just hadn’t been paying attention. In his own words, he described his coming of age politically in college when he’d begun seeking out Marxist professors for instruction, and radicals, Communists and Third World activists for companionship.

It’s funny how years ago, everybody laughed when Bill Clinton said he’d smoked marijuana, but he hadn’t inhaled. But when Obama told a much bigger whopper, one that came with cheese and fries, about sitting in a church for 20 years without ever hearing Rev. Wright utter a single unseemly remark about America or white people, I seemed to be one of the few people who found it amusing.

Even the fact that Obama chose to marry a woman who, in her college thesis, wrote that Princeton served as a perfect microcosm of racist America, tells you something about the man.

When Obama, a veteran of Chicago’s gutter politics, dismissed any connection to the likes of Tony Rezko, Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, I could hardly stop laughing. Those on the Left predictably started flapping their gums about McCarthyism, insisting that whenever conservatives bring up guilt by association, it’s a sure sign the accused is as pure as the driven snow. Which is a lot of hooey. If it’s a sure sign of anything, it’s that the accused is an unrepentant Red who longs for the days of gulags and the KGB. Guilt by association happens to be one of the surest signs of guilt there is. There is, after all, a reason that felons on parole aren’t allowed to hang out with other felons. There is a reason that your granny was likely to point out that if you lie down with dogs, you were very likely to rise up with fleas.

There are conservatives who see FDR when they look at Obama, but I’m not one of them. There’s no doubt that Obama shares FDR’s dream of centralizing all power and wealth in the hands of the federal government, and whereas FDR liked and admired Joseph Stalin, Obama has fond feelings for Castro and Chavez. (Chavez, by the way, suggested to Castro, after Obama took control of GM, that there was a very real possibility that the two of them would eventually wind up to the right of the President. He may have meant it as a joke, but I don’t think so.) The major difference I see between Roosevelt and Obama is that I believe FDR, for all his faults, loved this country and regarded it as a special place based on a very special set of principles, whereas Obama believes it’s an arrogant country run solely by and for rich white people.

But, of course, by this time, even lunkheads who managed to sleep all the way through 2008 should be able to figure out that, as president, Obama hasn’t changed his colors, but only his address. His circle of acquaintances has certainly widened, but it hasn’t improved. All you have to do is look at the thugs in ACORN and the SEIU, at people like self-proclaimed Communist Van Jones, who serves as one of Obama’s czars, and Jeff Jones, another close advisor, who joined with Bill Ayers in creating the terrorist group known as the Weathermen.

And, lest we forget, Attorney General Holder, who has now decided to prosecute members of the CIA whose gravest sin was doing what needed to be done to protect America from a recurrence of 9/11, but decided to drop all charges against the Black Panther pluguglies who disenfranchised white voters by scaring them away from the polls. For anyone who knows the history of the anti-slavery movement in America, it’s certainly ironic that these days blacks are in the business of intimidating Republicans on behalf of their Democratic masters. Ironic and more than a little bit disgusting.

By now, I’m sure you’re aware that there’s a concerted effort to get Glenn Beck knocked off FOX by scaring off his sponsors. Even though I’m a fan of his and even though I believe in free speech, I have no problem with Americans trying to generate boycotts of goods and services. For instance, I happen to be all in favor of boycotting Scotland for sending Abdel Basset al-Megrahi back to a hero’s welcome in Libya, so there will be no shillelaghs, tams or bagpipes on my Christmas shopping list this year.

Still, before we get too big for our moral britches, we should keep in mind that
whereas one football player got two years for merely shooting himself in the leg, another served a scant 18 months for hanging, beating, drowning and electrocuting, a large number of dogs. Therefore, I have no moral objection to ColorOfChange, a black activist group co-founded by that very same Van Jones, from threatening to boycott companies that dared to sponsor Beck’s TV show.

But, I think it should be noted that the guy who currently runs ColorOfChange is James Rucker. Mr. Rucker formerly worked for, a left-wing propaganda organ financed largely by George Soros, yet another ex-con in Obama’s inner circle. Soros is also the fellow who offered to help his own mother commit suicide. While it’s true that she was a member of the Hemlock Society, it certainly helps explain why Soros thinks so highly of Obama’s approach to revolutionizing health care for seniors in America.

If anyone questions my use of “left-wing propaganda organ” to describe, let me just say that when I paid a recent visit to their website, the first thing I saw was a picture of an old man holding a sign that read: “83% of Americans Favor Obamacare.” God knows I rarely quibble with my elders -- and hope that, impressed with my shining example, those people younger than 69 won’t quibble with me -- but unless there was very tiny print on the sign and what it actually said was, “83% of Americans who belong to Favor Obamacare” or “83% of Americans Who Are in George Soros’s Will Favor Obamacare,” that’s a bald-faced lie. Actually, if you reversed the eight and the three, you’d be far closer to the truth.

As I was saying, ColorOfChange has every right to try to persuade companies to withhold their advertising dollars from Glenn Beck. In the same way, there’s nothing to prevent all of you from withholding your own dollars from the likes of Proctor & Gamble, Sargento Cheese, S.C. Johnson, Men’s Wearhouse,, GEICO and State Farm Insurance, and letting them know what you think of companies that allow themselves to be intimidated by a small group of nasty, self-righteous radicals. (I have been told by a reliable source that there are four or five other companies that have knuckled under, but I’ve been unable to identify them. It’s telling, though, that ColorOfChange keeps insisting that they got over 30 companies to turn tail, even though most of those they’ve named never sponsored Beck’s show or anything else on FOX.)

Finally, I could hardly believe my ears when Barney Frank told a woman at his town hall meeting that arguing with her would be like arguing with his dining room table. His usual arrogance and bad manners aside, I would actually pay good money to see Barney Frank debate his dining room table. What’s more, I’d give odds and take the table.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Re-Arranging The Deck Chairs On The Titanic

by Burt Prelutsky

Sometimes, I must confess, I find myself feeling like one of those cursed individuals like Job and Sisyphus. In my case, the curse takes the form of trying to be rational in a mad world. My particular albatross is trying to make sense of the liberal mind. No sooner do I try to delve into it than I pop out on the other side. It’s as shallow as a midget’s footbath.

For instance, I understand why liberals opposed invading Iraq. It was because George W. Bush instigated it. They voiced no objections when Bill Clinton took us into Somalia and Kosovo, and now that Obama has expanded the war in Afghanistan, you don’t hear them whining that it’s a quagmire, that the Afghanis had nothing to do with 9/11 or demanding that Obama spell out his exit strategy and specify the date of withdrawal. But, given all that, I would have thought that at least the tree-huggers would have campaigned for regime change in Iraq, based not on Saddam Hussein’s gassing of the Kurds and his history of torture and rape, God forbid, but for having set fire to the oil fields of Kuwait in 1991, probably the worst man-made ecological disaster in history.

It is beginning to look as if the various fascists, racists and astroturfers who have been showing up at town halls may have stopped Obama from taking his next step in destroying America. But Obama and his cronies are like those creatures in scary movies; just when you think they’re dead and buried, they reach a hand up from the grave and grab someone’s ankle.

Somebody summed up Obamacare very neatly. In an e-mail that was forwarded to me, it said: “Let me get this straight. We’re going to pass a health care plan written by a committee whose head said he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that didn’t read it but exempts them from abiding by it, signed by a President who smokes and is also exempted, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, overseen by a surgeon general who is obese and financed by a country that’s nearly broke. What could possibly go wrong?”

Of course we keep hearing the left-wing lunkheads tell us how glorious single payer health care is, pointing to Canada and England as sterling examples of medical Nirvana. Yet the BBC reported that there is a five month wait to have surgery for a slipped disc or to have a hernia repaired, eight months for cataract surgery, 11 months for a hip replacement and an entire year if you need to have your knee worked on. So I guess the best thing an Englishman can do is claim he needs to have surgery for a hernia and when, after five months, they wheel him into the operating room, break the news that it’s really his damn knee that’s been acting up.

One thing that’s been made clear is that whether it’s last year’s amnesty bill or this Frankensteinian health care monstrosity, the people still retain some clout when they stand up and start acting like Americans and not like a herd of sheep waiting to be shorn by the likes of Henry Waxman, Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi. As someone once observed, in order to make politicians see the light, they first need to feel the heat. Or as Ronald Reagan put it so eloquently: “Government isn’t the solution. Government is the problem.”

If there’s one thing you have to say about liberal politicians, it’s that they regard consistency pretty much the way they regard their constituents; namely with arrogant contempt. It’s liberals, after all, who are constantly telling us that women have absolute autonomy over their own bodies, so long as the topic under discussion happens to be abortions. But when it comes to everything else, they are quite content to leave all medical decisions in the hands of the federal government, up to and including the rationing of health care to babies and the elderly. Gee, and we all thought the Nazis were bad!

Because I live in California, I occasionally am lucky enough to receive an e-mail from Barbara Boxer. The other day, she let me know that she’s hard at work on a Bill of Rights for Passengers. The rest of us are concerned about Iran and North Korea building a nuclear bomb and about Obama sovietizing the United States, but Boxer is worried about disgruntled airline passengers.

I sent her ladyship the following message: “President Obama is trying to morph America into a socialist tyranny, complete with commissars and armed thugs, and you’re worrying about airliners sitting on the tarmac? Most Americans do not support the pork-stuffed stimulus bill, cap & trade, the pandering to the UAW and the CEIU, the financing of ACORN or the abomination known as Obamacare, and you’re busy pushing legislation so that airline passengers won’t occasionally suffer some minor discomfort? Just for the record, we’d all gladly just settle for a little more legroom. Are you trying to give new meaning to “inconsequential,” ma’am?”

Finally, lest someone gets the idea that I only pick on liberals, I have a bone to pick with Sean Hannity. I recently heard him give absolution to Michael Vick. He was ready to forgive Vick his trespasses because, after all, Vick had served 18 months in jail and he had apologized. The problem is, one, Vick should have been sentenced to at least 10 years; two, inasmuch as Hannity wasn’t one of Vick’s victims, he’s not entitled to accept his apology; and, three, the time for remorse and possibly redemption, it seems to me, is before you’re arrested. After that, it’s only defense strategy -- whether what’s at stake is a more severe sentence or trying to salvage a multi-million dollar NFL career.

This is a guy, after all, who beat, drowned, hanged and electrocuted dogs for no other reason than that they lost fights to other dogs, and because, sadist that he is, he could. Imagine if quarterbacks who lost games were treated like that.

All I can say is, defensive linemen of the NFL -- have at him!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Clunkers Everywhere I Look

by Burt Prelutsky

Unlike most conservatives, when I first heard about cash for clunkers, I got very excited. But then I found out that it involved people turning in their used cars. I had jumped to the conclusion that we were all going to get money if we delivered politicians to some collection center. Just imagine getting $4,500 for dropping off, say, Henry Waxman at a junkyard where, together with fellow California jalopies like Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, they could be crushed and shipped off to China. You would have to agree that would be a pretty good deal even if no money changed hands.

One of my liberal readers sent me an e-mail stating that the health care system in America is in terrible shape and needs a huge overhaul, which is why he was supporting Obama’s plan. I wrote back to say that I agreed that the system needed fine-tuning, but, like Charles Krauthammer, I felt that the work consisted mainly of separating health insurance from employment and bringing about radical tort reform so that doctors didn’t have to spend more time worrying about being sued than they did about the health of their patients. I went on to add that if I was wrong, things could always be changed, but if he and Obama were wrong, a huge federal bureaucracy would be created and you can’t kill one of those even with a silver bullet or a wooden stake through its heart.

Speaking of money, I read recently that a child born in 2008 will cost his or her parents just under $300,000 to raise to the age of 18. As if that’s not bad enough, it will then take another $100,000 or so to get him or her through college; at which point, after four years of indoctrination by tenured pinheads, they’ll come to regard their meal tickets as bourgeois ignoramuses. My advice to prospective parents is to get a dog. You’ll get unconditional love, they’ll never insist on borrowing your car and, best of all, they will never bite the hand that feeds them.

Usually when people suggest that a picture is worth a thousand words, I, who specialize in doling out wisdom a thousand or so words at a time, take it personally. However, even I thought the now famous photo taken at the beer summit was worth several thousand words. While Cambridge police officer Crowley assisted the physically handicapped Henry Gates down the White House steps, Barack Obama blithely ignored him, far more concerned with having his picture taken than with helping his old friend.

Speaking of Obama, every time I see him, the theme song from “The Jeffersons” starts playing in my head: “We’re movin’ on up to the east side. To a deluxe apartment in the sky…We finally got a piece of the pie.” There’s no insult intended. Not to George Jefferson, at any rate. He worked very hard, opening and operating a chain of dry cleaning stores. He wasn’t a community organizer, which, in case you weren’t aware of it, is code for a left-wing activist. Obama was up to his ears in dirty Chicago politics; Jefferson, on the other hand, was dedicated to cleaning dirty laundry.

Because I had recently acknowledged that I had grown disenchanted with Bill O’Reilly, a reader asked me who my media favorites are. There are several I enjoy, including Charles Krauthammer, Walter Williams, Ann Coulter, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Laura Ingraham and Lee Rodgers. A couple of others that I admire are Glenn Beck and Michael Savage. Both convey a great deal of passion, and I find Beck very funny.

Frankly, I don’t know why the fact that Savage has been denied entry to England hasn’t received the attention it deserves. Like the member of the Dutch parliament, Geert Wilders, the reason for his exclusion is the direct result of Islamic pressure groups. Savage’s daily radio show, one of the highest-rated in America, isn’t even broadcast in England. But that didn’t prevent Home Secretary Jacqui Smith from putting him on the same list of undesirables as known terrorists and murderers. Smith declared in her announcement: “We want to ensure that the names disclosed reflect the broad range of cases and are not all Islamic extremists.” So, in a clumsy attempt to be even-handed, the loony Brits suggested that a Jewish talk show host was as dangerous as Muslim terrorists, neo-Nazis and a Russian serial killer.

But I probably shouldn’t be throwing stones at the English, considering that Obama and his commissars are labeling Americans who just happen to oppose Cap & Trade, billions for clunkers and to the havoc the leftists are trying to wreak on our health care system, as brainless sheep. Large groups of citizens rise up to voice their grievances and he calls them mobs, claims that grass roots are really made of Astroturf and tells his minions to ape the Soviets and rat out their friends and neighbors. Some people I know refer to what Obama is doing as social engineering. I think it’s something even worse: socialist engineering.

I wonder if anyone else has noticed that whenever a black conservative voices an opinion, the liberal claque insists that he’s not an authentic black, and when a white conservative voices an opinion, Obama’s sycophants insist he’s not an authentic American.

When Obama was running for the presidency, a few of us Paul Revere wannabes were warning you: “The reds are coming! The reds are coming!”

Naturally, Obama, a born and bred race hustler who learned his lessons well from Jeremiah Wright, wanted you to believe that the only reason people could possibly have for opposing him was his race. But it was never about the color of his skin. It was always about the color of his politics.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Larry Gelbart: An Appreciation

by Burt Prelutsky

It was a little over 30 years ago that I first laid eyes on the remarkable Larry Gelbart. The occasion was our high school’s 50th anniversary. I had been selected to host the celebration in the auditorium. It was also my duty to talk about what Fairfax High had been like when I was there during the 1950s. It was Larry’s job to report on the 1940s. As I recall, producer Mike Frankovich handled the 30s and singer Martha Tilton recalled the 1920s. Although I got to introduce Gelbart to the audience, we didn’t actually meet.

Several months later, in a weekly column I was then writing for the L.A. Times, I took exception to the constant trashing of TV. For all its obvious faults, I pointed out that over the years TV, not Broadway, books or the movies, was the place to find the best comedy in America. I went on to mention ten or twelve of the anonymous men most responsible for writing the funniest lines. Naturally, Larry Gelbart was one of the names on my list.

The next day, I got a phone call. It was Larry and he started out by apologizing. He said that he and his wife, Pat, had dreaded going to the Fairfax High bash, but that I had been very funny and they had had a terrific time. It seems he had meant to call me the very next day, but it had slipped his mind. Now he was calling to thank me for mentioning him in my article.

Oddly enough, I was anxious to get off the phone. Although I appreciate compliments as much as the next guy, I’m the guy who prefers them in writing. Even when I receive them over the phone, I feel like I’m blushing and have lost the power of speech. After being praised, just saying “Thank you” seems terribly lame, while trying to return the compliment seems awfully phony. But just before I was able to mumble my thanks and hang up, I heard him say, “I understand you sometimes write for TV. If you ever come up with an idea for a ‘MASH’ script, just shoot it over to me. I’m here at 20th.”

It had long been my wish to write comedy for TV, but I had not been able to break through, only managing to accumulate credits on “Dragnet” and “McMillan & Wife.” So, while I was greatly motivated, my problem was that I wasn’t a fan of “MASH.” I hadn’t liked the movie and the one time I had watched an episode, it just seemed like all those other lousy service comedies, like “Don’t Go Near the Water” and “Operation Petticoat,” that I had already come to loathe.

But, at the time nobody else was inviting me to write a comedy or anything else, so I sat down with my steno pad and prayed for a miracle. The miracle came in the form of an idea about an injured soldier showing up at the 4077th, claiming to be Jesus Christ.

“Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler?” led to seven additional MASH scripts, a shot at several other sit coms and ultimately swung open the doors to writing TV movies.

Because I owed Gelbart a debt that I could never hope to re-pay, I was grateful when he called one day and asked for a favor. It seems the WGA was hosting a tribute to Larry that very evening and Mel Shavelson, who was scheduled to emcee the event, had taken ill. Larry wondered if I would agree to fill in.

Inasmuch as my responsibilities would be pretty much limited to pointing to people in the audience during the Q&A session, and in some cases repeating their questions into a microphone, I felt I was up to it, if just barely.

Larry was his usual droll and hilarious self. The most memorable moment, though, came during the intermission when Larry and I left the stage to sit with Pat in the front row. A young fellow came down the aisle and kneeled next to Larry. As expected, he began by saying what a great fan he was, and how, being a writer himself, he regarded Gelbart as a role model. Larry, far more adept at handling compliments than I because no doubt he had had so much more experience, was smiling and nodding graciously. The big surprise came when the young fan concluded his remarks by saying, “And that’s why I’m so excited to be re-writing ‘Rough Cut’.”

“Rough Cut,” you see, was a script Gelbart had been writing for Burt Reynolds and David Niven. Until that moment, he didn’t know that he’d been replaced by the producer.

So, forget all the stuff he wrote for the movies (“Tootsie,” “Oh, God!” “The Wrong Box”); the stage (“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Mastergate,” “City of Angels”); and TV (“MASH,” “Your Show of Shows,” “Caesar’s Hour,” “Weapons of Mass Distraction,” “Barbarians at the Gate,”). Forget that at the age of 16, while still attending Fairfax High, he would go, still wearing his ROTC uniform, to write for “Duffy’s Tavern” and, later, Bob Hope on the radio. After all, anyone with the appropriate amount of God-given talent, wit and staying power, could do the very same thing for 65 years.

But the fact that he could listen to this pisher break the news to him that he had replaced him on a writing project and keep on smiling, shake his hand and wish him luck, tells you all you need to know about what sort of mensch Larry Gelbart was. [photo by Sasha Gelbart.]

Friday, September 11, 2009

Liberalism Is A Cult

by Burt Prelutsky

For the longest time, I’ve insisted that liberalism is the religion of choice for atheists, agnostics and run-of-the-mill secularists. After all, be they Christians, Jews, Moslems or Buddhists, the truly devout accept the tenets of their religion on faith. They can try to have logical debates with the likes of a Christopher Hitchens, but in the end it all comes down to a couple of people getting red in the face, hollering “Is so” and “Is not” at each other.

But, of late, I’ve decided that referring to liberalism as a religion for non-believers is showing it too much respect. It far more resembles a cult. Even the expression about leftists drinking the Kool-Aid refers to an actual cult, the one created by the certifiable loony, Jim Jones. Having led his flock of deranged sheep from San Francisco to Guyana, one day in 1978, he ordered more than 900 of his followers to drink Kool-Aid laced with cyanide.

It would be easy enough to dismiss Jones as just another cuckoo, except that he was a man well-connected in left-wing circles. Mayor George Moscone had appointed him Chairman of the San Francisco Housing Authority. He was on a first name basis with Walter Mondale and Rosalynn Carter. Governor Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally and Assemblyman Willie Brown, all attended a testimonial dinner honoring Jim Jones in 1976. What makes that date all the more remarkable isn’t just that it was a scant two years before Jones conducted the mass suicide, but three years after a series of critical newspaper articles had appeared and after eight members of the cult had defected and warned the world that he was a full-fledged menace.

It was in 1973, after the articles began appearing, that Jones started looking for an escape route. The options he considered included Canada, Trinidad and the socialist nation of Guyana. He favored the last-named because he approved of its left-wing government, having preached that “those who remain drugged with the opiate of religion have to be brought to enlightenment -- socialism.” But a contributing factor in making him settle on Guyana was that it lacked an extradition treaty with the United States.

He referred to his creed as apostolic socialism and called his settlement the People’s Temple Agricultural Project. It’s always a good idea to give anything that puts “People’s” in its title a wide berth, be it a cult in South America or a country, such as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria or the People’s Republic of China.

Just like the disciples of Jim Jones, liberals, too, will swallow any swill. They will believe, for example, that Al Gore is a science maven. They will parrot his absurd prognostications even when he goes from yakking incessantly about “global warming” to “climate change” without missing a beat, even though changing from one to the other is tantamount to warning people of a locust invasion one second and sounding the alert about an incoming comet the next.

But no self-respecting liberal would ever think to ask the man if by climate change, he meant that we were now facing the danger of global-cooling, and that we had better watch out for expanding icebergs and those marauding gangs of polar bears. Liberals don’t think twice about comparing George W. Bush to Hitler and Sarah Palin to a cheap slut, but they would never think of embarrassing one of their own with an honest question. One can easily picture Al Gore, whose cash register hasn’t stopped ka-chinging for even five seconds since he lost the 2000 election, saying in that self-reverential tone of his: “Are you going to believe me or that icicle hanging from your nose?”

Another thing about which all liberals agree is that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. Recently, I even heard Bill O’Reilly insist that Obama’s birth certificate is a non-issue and that nobody really cares about it. By this time, I have come to regard the Number One Name in Cable News as a big blowhard, so his observation, needless to say, did nothing to change my opinion. But the truth is, a lot of people care about the birth certificate and Obama’s passport and what nationality he claimed to be on his college application. I know they do because they keep writing to me about these things. For my part, I hope Obama is an American citizen. I wouldn’t want to witness the inevitable riots in the streets of this nation if there were a move to depose him. I would much prefer to see Blue Dog Democrats join with Republicans to stop Cap & Trade and Obamacare in their tracks, and then have conservatives elected in record numbers in 2010. Nothing I’d enjoy more than seeing Obama turned into a lame duck for the last two years of his term, and see people like Harry Reid, Arlen Specter, Chris Dodd and Henry Waxman, turned into private citizens. And the more private, the better.

The hypocrisy of liberals is apparent in the fact that not a single one has expressed any concern over Obama’s refusal to offer up any of those documents or expressed the slightest alarm over the Constitution’s being treated like so much toilet paper. On the other hand, imagine how the NY Times and all its hand maidens in the MSM would be carrying on if, instead of being a left-wing ideologue, The Man Without a Country were a Republican!

Another thing about which all liberals agree is that America is a racist nation. Up to a point, I happen to agree with them. But, unlike Henry Gates and the Obamas, I think it’s black America that’s racist.

That’s the dirty little secret that nobody is supposed to mention. White Americans are so terrified of being labeled bigots that even most conservatives are loath to speak honestly about something that the majority of us believe.

Blacks have been riding the gravy train of racist politics for years now. For the sin of slavery, which ended over 140 years ago, long before the invention of the electric light, the automobile or even the basketball, they’ve received trillions of dollars in the form of welfare checks, small business loans, affirmative action, Operation Headstart and food stamps. In return, the community, as they like to call it, has given back to America a record number of illegitimate children, violent crime totally disproportionate to their numbers, an academic dropout rate that guarantees the cycle of ignorance and violence will continue unabated, and a constant clamor for more and more in the way of city, state and federal hand-outs.

If blacks aren’t demanding reparations for the evil done to their great-great-great-great-grandparents, they’re demanding that our presidents constantly apologize for past mistakes. The fact that we now have a black president and that two of the last three secretaries of state were black doesn’t count for anything. They’re like those bratty little children we’ve all encountered in supermarkets who demand every piece of candy in the place and won’t stop screaming until they get it.

The blacks scream about racism, but they’re the ones who have a Black Congressional Caucus that excludes even those white congressmen who represent predominantly black districts.

It’s not just white people and white cops they despise, but any black person who doesn’t have one hand out demanding a payoff and the other hand holding a club, comes in for their collective outrage. They will celebrate when O.J. Simpson gets off for butchering two white people and go into collective mourning when a freak like Michael Jackson dies of a drug overdose, but people like Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, Condoleezza Rice, Walter Williams, Shelby Steele, Bill Cosby and Ward Connerly, are dismissed as oreos and denigrated as not being authentic blacks.

It seems that if you’re not a race hustler like Al Sharpton, Kweisi Mfume, Charles Rangel, Denny Davis, John Conyers, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Henry Coates, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Jesse Jackson, Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan or Henry Gates, out there getting rich by promoting black victimhood, you’re an Uncle Tom.

For what these so-called leaders are doing to the black psyche, to ensuring that future generations of American blacks continue to grow up with a chip on their shoulder and nothing but a sense of perpetual grievance in their heart, these people should rot in hell.

I can hear a chorus of people saying, “But surely you’re not talking about all blacks.” Well, of course not. Unlike blacks, I would never generalize about an entire group of people that way. However, when 90% of black Americans trooped out and voted for Sen. Obama when he was running against a person with the liberal credentials of Sen. Clinton for no other reason than Obama’s race, it’s safe to assume I’m talking about 90% of them.

When you get right down to it, the worst thing about cults is that, unlike the Jonestowners, they so rarely drink the right blend of Kool-Aid.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Obama's Health Scare Program

by Burt Prelutsky

If I had to explain Americans to a Martian, I would be hard-pressed. It would be especially difficult when it came to liberals. But, there are even conservatives who confound me. For instance, why would any Republican belong to AARP? They might just as well skip the middleman and send their money directly to Howard Dean and the DNC.

Judging by the organization’s enthusiastic support of ObamaCare, which should really be called ObamaDoesn’tcare, it’s obvious that the only old people AARP gives a hoot about are Robert Byrd, Arlen Specter, Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid.

Speaking of senators, I have on occasion tried to send e-mails on important issues to senators aside from California’s Boxer and Feinstein, and discovered that it can’t be done. These weasels have set it up so that they only hear from their own constituents. That being the case, I don’t want any of these human slugs introducing or voting on legislation that affects the entire nation. If they don’t want to hear from me, I sure don’t want to hear from them.

Getting back to AARP, the first time I was aware of their disinterest in the elderly came some years ago when I pitched their monthly magazine, Modern Maturity, a piece about the legendary composer of movie scores, Elmer Bernstein. Because the man was still going strong in his 80s, I assumed they would jump at the opportunity. The editor’s candid response was they weren’t interested because he was too old and that they were seeking a younger audience!

Quite honestly, I don’t even understand why Democrats are supporting Obama’s health plan. Assuming they’re aware that even during the presidential campaign, Obama suggested that a reasonable option for old folks in dire need of operations was to rely on pain pills, I can’t help wondering if liberals are so busy worrying about the health and comfort of terrorists down in Gitmo that they simply don’t have the time or inclination to fret over the plight of their own parents and grandparents. Or perhaps they’re simply eager to collect their inheritances.

The idea that any sane person would be in favor of the government’s running the health industry simply doesn’t compute. Leaving such important matters in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats is beyond mind-boggling; it’s lunacy. Have they all so quickly forgotten what life is like at the post office and at the DMV? For my part, I’m still having flashbacks from a decade ago when I had to deal with a representative of the IRS, and that was after we were told that this was a kinder and gentler IRS. Frankly, for that to have been anyone’s idea of kinder and gentler, in its prior existence it must have been run by the Marquis de Sade. In my experience, the only difference between dealing with the Internal Revenue Service and the Mafia is that the thugs who collect for the Mob dress a lot nattier.

What’s more, please keep in mind that when the IRS screws you over, it’s only about money; it isn’t your life or the life of your loved ones.

A friend reminded me that back in 1940, Americans were able to choose between not only FDR and Wendell Willkie, but a third candidate, Gracie Allen. Her party was the Surprise Party and her slogan was “Down with common sense. Vote for Gracie.”

She proposed that Congress would get a 10% bonus, but only when the country prospered. She also favored extending Civil Service to all branches of government because “a little politeness goes a long way.”

Gracie had no vice-president on her ticket because, she vowed, she would tolerate no vice in her administration.

About the national debt, she suggested, “It’s something to be proud of; it’s the biggest in the world, isn’t it?”

On foreign relations: “They’re all right with me, but when they come, they’ve got to bring their own bedding.”

When asked with which party she was affiliated, she replied, “I may take a drink now and then, but I never get affiliated.” And when asked if she would recognize Russia, she said, “I don’t know. I meet so many people.”

She actually had a campaign song, with one of its lines being “If the country’s going Gracie, so can you.”

Gracie even received the endorsement of Harvard University, but of course that was back when Harvard still had standards and weren’t employing racist numbskulls like Professor Henry Gates.

By the time the ballots were counted, Gracie only got a few hundred votes, but she’d gotten a lot of laughs.

In 2008, Obama just kept repeating “Hope and Change” and got 64 million votes, and now, with unemployment over 10%, inflation going through the roof while the dollar sinks like a stone, and a health care plan straight out of “Brave New World,” nobody’s laughing.

My question is: Where is Gracie Allen when you really need her?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Straight Poop On Islam

by Burt Prelutsky

I suspect that because George Bush and Condoleezza Rice were so respectful of Muslims, constantly telling us that theirs is a religion of peace, some otherwise sensible Americans actually began to believe it. Now we have a president who not only kowtows to a Saudi prince, but carries on as if Israeli homes are more threatening than Iranian nukes.

What is wrong with our leaders? Are they worried that they won’t be invited to those cool Ramadan parties? The Islamics have been actively at war with us for 30 years and generally at war with western civilization for well over a thousand years, and still we pay lip service to these people in a way we never did with Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan or the Soviet Union. Is it because the Muslims commit sadism and murder in the name of religion and not country? If anything, I would think that would make their evil acts all the more contemptible.

Still, I would contend that Hezbollah and Al Qaeda are not as dangerous as America’s liberals. The Islamic terrorists can only kill so many people, but those on the Left are doing everything in their power to eviscerate America. Cap and Trade can destroy our industrial might; Obama’s trillion dollar stimulus programs combined with his delusional health care plan will not only bankrupt our nation, but lead inevitably to a rate of inflation that will impress even Jimmy Carter; and the budget cuts directed at our military and our missile defense system will make us increasingly vulnerable to our various enemies.

The problem is that liberals are not only nuts, but inconsistent. They very much want to send our military to Africa to stop the savagery in the Sudan, but didn’t want to see it employed against the equally barbaric Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot or Ho Chi Minh. Funny how you never hear them insist that we have no business in Darfur because Sudan didn’t attack us on 9/11 or point out that we have no compelling interest in sub-Sahara Africa. But that’s to be expected when people get their information from Bill Maher and Jon Stewart and their talking points from the likes of Bono and the Dixie Chicks.

Clearly, the Left wants America to be a toothless tiger, rather like the U.N. What they fail to grasp is that as America goes, so goes freedom everywhere. Or perhaps they think the French will do a better job of policing the world. The French, alas, can’t even police Paris.

Speaking of liberals, the irony is that so many of them who never believed God even existed are now convinced that He is alive and well and going out on date nights with Michelle.

Getting back to Muslims, there are people who would insist that we should distinguish between those who cut off the heads of their innocent victims and those who, rumor has it, just want to live and let live. Well, I keep trying, heaven knows, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.

For instance, recently I read about a stomach-turning incident that took place in Phoenix, Arizona. It seems that four boys between the ages of nine and 14 lured an eight-year-old girl into a shed and took turns raping her. While that was pretty damn loathsome, what was even more disgusting is what took place afterward. In the little girl’s presence, her father, a Muslim refugee from Liberia, told the police, “Take her. I don’t want her.”

It seems that in what passes for their culture, the child had brought shame on the family.

Now I understand that any country that keeps electing people like Bill Clinton, Barney Frank, Barbara Boxer and Barack Obama, the killer B’s as it were, doesn’t have terribly high standards, but assuming we have any at all, will someone please explain why we’re allowing these degenerates into the country?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Even Wide-Awake, I'm Having Nightmares

by Burt Prelutsky

When people used to conjure up an example of a man frazzled to within an inch of his life, they would refer to a one-armed paperhanger. On film, we had Mickey Mouse, cast as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in “Fantasia,” bedeviled by a battalion of marching brooms. But so far as I’m concerned, when it comes to impossible tasks, nothing quite compares to being a conservative columnist trying to keep tabs on all the dreadful mischief being perpetrated by the loonies on the Left.

We could begin with whether or not Dick Cheney actually kept Congress out of the loop when the CIA was formulating a plan to assassinate Islamic terrorists. But, as usual, the liberals have it ass-backwards. The scandal would have been if Cheney had ever uttered a single word about it to an elected official. Next to having lunch with a generous lobbyist, there’s nothing a congressman or senator enjoys more than currying favor by passing along state secrets to the New York Times, so that our own version of Pravda can splash a traitorous headline across its front page. Liberals will occasionally make a movie about the courageous Germans who attempted to assassinate Hitler, but they get their panties in a knot when our government tries to kill Islamic terrorists. Hell, they even break out in hives if the human scum locked up in Gitmo don’t get their prayer mats dry-cleaned on a regular basis.

When it comes to our national security, keeping the likes of Barbara Boxer, Barney Frank and John Kerry in the loop would be the height of insanity. The only loop appropriate for most of the ninnies in Congress is one hanging from the branch of a very tall tree.

So far as I can tell, the only real difference between members of Congress and cockroaches is that one of the two species has a few more legs than the other.

Friends of mine keep trying to make me feel better by insisting that Obama’s poll numbers are falling. The trouble is that all he has to do is get a dog or nominate a female Hispanic to a job above her pay scale and the numbers start to rise. The guy is doing his best to destroy our industries with Cap and Trade; bankrupt our economy with trillion dollar stimulus bills; bring Cuban-style socialized medicine to America; turn a blind eye to nuclear-armed enemies; fund a criminal organization like ACORN with taxpayer dollars; allow the DNC to take control of the census; threaten to silence the opposition through the so-called Fairness Doctrine; and do everything but fly the hammer-and-sickle from the roof of the White House, and yet let him be photographed holding hands with Michelle and the kids, and millions of us seem ready to give him a “Well done!” and a friendly pat on the back.

Which is why I’m even more frightened of the electorate than I am of the elected. Politicians, even those as dangerously demented as Pelosi, Reid, Waxman and Obama, come and eventually go, but really dumb voters, it seems clear, are here to stay.

What Obama and his corrupt cronies are trying to do to health care should not only anger every American, it should have them reading up on guerrilla warfare. Ever since the presidential campaign, when Obama told the guy with the ailing elderly mother that instead of an operation, he should consider pain pills as the more sensible option, I knew this cold-blooded good-for-nothing was a man born, not to govern a nation, but to run a gulag.

But what makes it even worse is that the people in Washington who’d like to put old folks on ice floes and stick the rest of us in under-staffed medical clinics have no intention of sharing our sorry fates. Do you think Charley Rangel is going to take a number and twiddle his thumbs if he needs to have his 79-year-old gall bladder removed? Do you think that Marian Robinson, Obama’s 72-year-old mother-in-law, is going to be given a pain pill if she ever needs a liver transplant? As George Orwell put it in “Animal Farm,” which could well have served as a training manual for Obama’s administration, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

Still, say what you will about the Obamas, no one can deny that they aren’t doing all they can to combat unemployment. For instance, Barack is appointing so many czars, you’d think his last name was Romanov. In the meantime, Michelle has gathered a larger staff of courtiers and ladies-in-waiting than Madame Pompadour and Madonna put together. There were, at last count, 22 people answering directing to the First Lady, costing the taxpayer roughly $1.6 million a year. In Mrs. Obama’s case, these servants are called, among other things, Director of Communications for the First Lady, Deputy Social Director, Director of Scheduling and Associate Director of Correspondence. I swear there’s even an underling who goes by the title of Deputy Associate Director of Correspondence. In the Obama White House, it seems that even the gofers have gofers.

Finally, as a baseball fan, I was annoyed to see Obama all over this year’s All Star Game. Even before we were all treated to the embarrassing sight of this adult male tossing out the first pitch like a little girl, we had to watch him making small talk with the players in the locker-room. As if that wasn’t more than enough Obama at a sporting event, he next popped up in the broadcast booth with Tim McCarver and Joe Buck, trying his best to sound like a regular guy. I was reminded of John Kerry during the 2004 campaign when he tried his darndest to pass himself off in his spanking new Abercrombie & Fitch outfit as an outdoors man. Right -- there was nothing good old John ever enjoyed more after a day spent tramping through the woods stalking bears than taking off his boots and speaking French with his hunting buddies over some aged brie and a whimsical little Cabernet.

And, finally, although I wasn’t at the All Star Game in St. Louis, I know someone who was, and she insists that there were more catcalls than cheers for the Commander-in-Chief when he was driven out in the royal golf cart, but that the boos were apparently toned down mechanically by those in charge of the telecast. However, his handlers didn’t want to take any chances of a slip-up, especially not after the president’s generally reliable TelePrompter had recently broken down and left the great orator speechless, and that was the actual reason Obama was sporting a Chicago White Sox jacket. It wasn’t because he’s such a diehard fan or, as he said to McCarver and Buck, “My wife says I look cute in it,” but because it would then appear to the TV audience that he was being booed by the home crowd because he wasn’t wearing a Cardinal jacket.

Call me a cynic, but I have to assume that after Obama’s carefully choreographed appearance at the baseball game, his poll numbers went up.