Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Sorry State Of The Union

by Burt Prelutsky

I watched the State of the Union address and all I could think of was how lucky I was that I had never been elected to Congress. I lost count of how many times during the interminable hour and a half, I would have been shouting out, “You lie,” “Go back where you came from” and the rhetorical “Just how stupid do you think we are?”

I couldn’t even stomach that little staged routine where Michelle Obama stood up in the balcony after Barack credited her with something or other -- perhaps causing the sun to rise in the east -- and after standing up for the obligatory ovation, she did a little finger wave, suggesting that she really didn’t deserve such total adoration, and Barack, as if he were ad-libbing, said, “She’s so shy.” Just for the record, Michelle Obama is about as shy as a herd of rampaging elephants.

It occurred to me as I watched the various political oafs rising and sitting, rising and sitting, like members of a really boring aerobics class, that these annual events are the only time during the entire year when some of these nattering nabobs exercise anything but their jaws.

I fully realize that even some of my fellow conservatives keep insisting that Barack Obama is a great orator. It strikes me that, along with Hillary Clinton’s alleged brilliance, this is a case of something being repeated so often that large numbers of people finally come to believe it.

I suspect that some people will assume that I refuse to acknowledge Obama’s oratorical skills simply because I hate his radical agenda. That doesn’t happen to be the case. I know this because I am able to acknowledge that George Clooney, Ed Harris and Alec Baldwin, are good actors even though I am convinced they’ve got nothing between their ears but hot air and cotton candy.

I will acknowledge that Obama has an excellent speaking voice -- mellow and with good timbre -- but if that’s all it takes to be a great orator, he could be replaced by any number of radio announcers. And, for my part, it can’t happen soon enough.

There is, for me, an emotional disconnect between Obama and his words, and perhaps that’s because there is an emotional disconnect between the man and our nation.

To me, he comes across with all the conviction of a disembodied voice, sort of like Disneyland’s Abe Lincoln. I mean, we all know that the president isn’t merely the head of the executive branch of our government, but is also a living symbol of the country. Many of us still recall with a certain amount of revulsion that even during the primary campaign, while sharing a stage with Sen. Clinton and others, he was the only person standing with his hands clasped in front of him during the playing of the National Anthem.

Over the past year, things haven’t improved. First there was his world tour, during which he gave speeches trashing America to the great delight of Arabs and Muslims. Then there was that series of bows, which were probably as embarrassing to those he bowed to as they were to the rest of us. Finally, as if his left-wing agenda and his vow to radically transform America weren’t bad enough, he was the first president in over a century not to attend the annual Army-Navy Football Game. He was the only president in memory not to attend a religious observance at Christmas, although to be fair, the Obamas did have a Christmas tree in the White House, complete with the traditional Mao Tse-Tung tree ornament. Finally, he was the first president to remain on vacation after a terrorist attack. In fact, he didn’t think that the attempt to blow up an airliner over Detroit was even worth commenting on for three entire days. Then, for good measure, he told Attorney General Eric Holder to treat the Islamic terrorist as a common criminal with every right to lawyer up, as if it had been his intention to knock over a 7/11.

While fighting to stay awake during his State of the Union speech, it occurred to me that for over a year now, Obama has been speaking and behaving like the leader of an occupying force. Which, the more I thought about it, is exactly who I think he is.

© 2010 Burt Prelutsky

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Minority Report About Minorities

by Burt Prelutsky

Because white Americans are so terrified of being called racists, they rarely marshal a defense. Instead, they tend to stammer and stutter, muttering “Am not” under their breath, mimicking an angry child who has been called a baby by an older sibling.

For instance, the astronomical drop-out rates among Latino students is generally blamed on whites. Because nothing negative must ever be laid at the feet of minority groups, a sensitive, politically correct white majority must always hold itself accountable for their failings. Well, not all white people, of course. As a rule, white liberals are always prepared to link arms with Hispanic race hustlers to blame conservatives.

Here in Los Angeles, a 10-year study found that 30% of students who were placed in English language classes in early primary grades were still in the program when they entered high school, which greatly increased their chances of bailing out before they graduated.

As if that’s not depressing enough, over half of those students were born in the United States!

America, as people are fond of saying, is a land of immigrants. We, or at least our ancestors, came from all over the world. But I dare you to come up with a group of immigrants from Asia, Europe or Africa, whose children aren’t speaking English within a year of arriving on our shores. But here are all these native-born Americans who, even after several years in school, can only speak Spanish. And that’s the fault of gringos? I don’t think so.

This brings us to America’s black population. Slavery was evil, we all agree. In spite of the fact that it was commonplace in most places on earth in the old days, and is still practiced in Africa these days, doesn’t give America a pass. America, after all, isn’t just another country, even if Barack Obama doesn’t seem to think it’s anything special.

In the aftermath of slavery, we still had segregation and Jim Crow laws in several states. However, in 1960, in spite of that, the illegitimacy rate among blacks was just 19%. What’s more, between 1890 and 1940, blacks had a higher marriage rate than whites. If you go back to1925, 85% of black children were raised in two-parent families.

Today, the illegitimacy rate is 70% overall, and over 90% in America’s inner cities. Two-parent homes are the rare exception. In overwhelming numbers, black men have abdicated their responsibilities to black women and children, and yet they continue to demand respect and take umbrage when it’s not forthcoming.

In 2007, blacks represented roughly 13% of the population, but constituted 43% of all murder victims. And in 93% of those cases, they were killed by their fellow blacks.

President Lyndon Johnson took a lot of bows in 1964 for getting the Civil Rights Act through Congress, even though just a few years earlier, Senator Lyndon Johnson had not only voted against the bill that repealed the poll tax, but even voted against the anti-lynching bill.

When you see what’s happened to the black community over the past 46 years, it might be argued that LBJ did far less actual damage to decent black families as a bigoted senator than he did as a liberal president.

Yet another tragic irony is that LBJ is a large part of the reason that, year in and year out, 90% of blacks will leave the plantation just long enough to vote for the party of Strom Thurmond, James Eastland, Herman Talmadge, Orville Faubus, George Wallace, Bull Connor and Robert Byrd.

© 2010 Burt Prelutsky

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Monday, January 25, 2010

New Commandments For Republicans

by Burt Prelutsky

When I was a youngster, I was appalled that in a nation that had been forged by the likes of Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Franklin, political corruption not only existed, but that politicians would attach such a low sales price to their reputation. In one famous instance, during Eisenhower’s administration, Sherman Adams traded his personal honor for the price of a vicuna coat. In retrospect, I guess Mr. Adams knew the actual value of his reputation better than anyone.

The best that can be said for those like Senators Nelson and Landrieu is that they held out until Obama and Reid met their price. By now, I can’t even recall what it took to make Joe Lieberman say “Uncle!” But it just goes to prove that when politicians like these three refer to themselves as moderate Democrats, we should recognize that it’s similar to the distinction made in a related field when call girls insist they’re not streetwalkers. It’s the same profession; only the prices differ.

All the while, smarmy Harry Reid, who should wear a fancy wide-brimmed hat and toot around town in a pimp mobile tells us not to be alarmed, that “it’s merely business as usual.” With that attitude, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised that when the voters in Nevada dump him next November, he’ll be able to land a job with ACORN.

The Copenhagen Conference is long over, but the odor lingers on. Even in the wake of the East Anglia emails exposing global warming to be the most audacious “scientific” hoax since the Piltdown man, hundreds of freeloaders flew into Denmark on fossil-burning jets and then rode around in a convoy of limousines that had to be brought in from neighboring countries to meet the demand. In the course of the expensive farce, these loons gave ovations to Hugo Chavez and Mahmud Ahmadinejad, and insisted that those people, such as you and I, who weren’t still living in mud huts, burning cow chips for heat and eating their neighbors, should fork over billions of dollars to an assortment of thugs, mullahs and tribal chiefs, who happen to be running pig sties posing as nations.

They proved, as if any further proof were needed, that they had the collective I.Q. of a herd of cattle by holding their global-warming get-together in one of the coldest cities in one of the coldest countries on the face of the earth in the middle of December. There’s nothing that says hot-hot-hot so much as a snowstorm and freezing temperatures.

As joyous as I’ll be when Obama and his gang of sewer rats pack up and go back where they came from, I don’t envy his successor. The next person who moves into the Oval Office will have to devote all of his or her time and energy to simply trying to undo the destruction this crew has wrought. Frankly, I don’t know if it will even be possible, but it will be necessary. What I do know is that if the next commander in chief is up to the task, he or she will be the greatest president since George Washington.

Finally, I would advise the Republicans to forge a new contract with America. They can call it whatever they want, but after watching them in action from 2000 to 2006, I see no reason to take them on blind faith. Those bozos controlled both houses of Congress, not to mention the White House, and what did we see? We saw Republicans spending our money like drunken Democrats. And speaking of Ted Kennedy, John McCain and his Republican colleagues treated him with such reverence, you’d have thought he was Ronald Reagan or, at the very least, sober.

You had six years of Republicans pushing amnesty for illegals, lacking even the guts to call it what it was, and parroting liberals when it came to oil drilling in Anwar and building nuclear plants.

So, as anxious as I am to see the Socialists ridden out of Washington on a rail, I want certain promises in writing before I vote for people for no better reason than that they happen to have attached an ® after their name.

For openers, I don’t believe when it comes to politics, anyone is indispensable. So, I want strict term limits for everyone holding elected office. Serving one’s city, state or country, should be a privilege, not a career. If you disagree, all you have to do is consider the fact that 92-year-old Robert Byrd, President pro tempore of the Senate, is in line to be president if Obama, Joe Biden, Reid and Pelosi, all dine on the same tainted lobster. Or, for that matter, consider the fact that it’s President Pelosi if Obama and Biden decide to tie on the feedbag without her.

Next, I want full disclosure of everyone the president talks to in person or on the telephone, be it a foreign leader, a union boss, a corporate CEO or a bookmaker. I don’t want to have to wait until he or she is safely out of office and has a book to peddle before I find out who had his ear for the previous four or eight years.

Furthermore, I do not want any bill passed or law enacted that exempts those who foisted it on the rest of us. If those pompous, arrogant jerks think the health bill is so great, they better be ready to live and die with it.

Oh, and about those big fat pensions and those big cushy lobbyist jobs when they retire or get voted out, forget about it! And if they are ever caught voting for a bill they haven’t read in its entirety, they’re going to jail for fraud.

Finally, for good measure, no longer will such a racist, un-American, group as the Black Congressional Caucus be permitted to exist. This is the United States House of Representatives, ladies and gentlemen, not the Trinity United Church or the Mystic Knights of the Sea, even though Charley Rangel does remind me an awful lot of the Kingfish.

© 2010 Burt Prelutsky

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Friday, January 22, 2010

To Hell And Back; Ageism In Hollywood (Classic)

Today, 17 major networks and 7 talent agencies announced a $70 million settlement of a decades-old age discrimination suit which asserted they had essentially black-balled writers for growing old. Burt was one of the initial plaintiffs, and he appeared on “60 Minutes” explaining how a successful career writing sitcoms and dramas came to a screeching halt when he passed his 50th birthday. Read more in Nikki Finke’s Deadline:Hollywood report. We thought you’d like to read his account of this nightmare. --ed.

By Burt Prelutsky

Ageism in Hollywood has had so much media attention focused on it that you would think everything that could be said about it has been said. That was how this award-winning TV writer felt until he hit 50, and it got personal. Until then, ageism was just a word bandied about by statisticians and tongue-clucking sociologists. Suddenly, Burt Prelutsky woke up to find himself one of Hollywood’s new breed of zombies — another writer at that awkward age, too old to be hired, too young to be buried.

By this time, I suspect you’ve all heard and read far more than you care to about ageism in Hollywood. As one of the first TV writers to have come forward on the subject, I know that I’ve spoken and written more about it than I care to admit. For a while, I took to identifying myself as the Poster Boy for the Chronically Unemployed. I felt that was classier than whining and less embarrassing than crying.

This, then, is about the pain of ageism and how the evil practice nearly led me to take my own life.

Until I hit age 50, I had enjoyed a fairly successful TV writing career. I had earned decent money and I had won my share of awards. It began in the late ’60s, when Jack Webb, who introduced himself as a fan of my L.A. Times humor column, and Leonard Stern, who introduced himself as a fan of my Los Angeles Magazine movie reviews, invited me to try my hand writing a Dragnet and a Governor & J.J., respectively.

Although there were occasional dips and detours in my career over the next 20 years, I managed to earn a comfortable living writing episodes of McMillan & Wife, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, M*A*S*H, Bob Newhart and Family Ties, along with a number of TV movies that starred the likes of Jean Stapleton, Martin Balsam, Ed Asner, Jean Simmons, David Soul, Barnard Hughes, Sharon Gless, Richard Thomas, Jack Warden, Keith Carradine, Dennis Weaver and Mare Winningham.

I’d had at least a couple of opportunities to work on staff, especially during the ’70s, but I had a young son at home and decided I’d rather spend time with him than with John Astin or Alan Alda.

It wasn’t that I lacked the greed gene, but between the MOWs, the episodes and the occasional pilot, I figured I was doing fine. Furthermore, inasmuch as I wrote comedy as well as drama, and wrote both quickly, I assumed I’d always be in demand. To top things off, I not only met all my deadlines, but I didn’t turn in 200-page scripts and insist they were carved in stone, I didn’t bare my teeth at network meetings and I also worked well and often with women.

It never occurred to me that the day would come that the only writers my age who were working were those who had taken the staff jobs and wound up being what came to be known as showrunners. How was I to know that running rotten shows would come to count for more than writing good ones?

Suddenly it was 1990, and it was as if the tom-toms announced that I was turning 50. Not only couldn’t I get a job, I couldn’t get an agent. Although I had earned good money for two decades, a divorce you wouldn’t wish on Donald Trump and a four-year custody battle in which the same judge who’d poleaxed me in the divorce settlement decided I should pay both sets of attorneys, had left me stone broke in my early 40s. I had saved some, but clearly not enough, as I was soon to discover.

By the time I was 54, my wife Yvonne and I had cashed out my life insurance policy, my IRA and sold our Santa Monica condo. It was then I realized that once you’re entrenched in the middle class, becoming poor turns into a full-time job.

Fortunately, MasterCard and Visa never gave up hope. They had faith in me, even if agents didn’t. All they required was a minimum monthly payment. I was happy to oblige, as we slid deeper and deeper into debt.

In the meantime, I tried to find work I was qualified to do. It turned out there wasn’t much. I tried to get back my old gig as a humor columnist for the L.A. Times, but they didn’t want me. I suppose they decided that their editorials were funny enough on their own.

It turned out they weren’t alone, though. I wrote to every paper and magazine I could think of and got nixed by one and all.

I wrote some spec screenplays, but they were either too good or too bad, and didn’t sell.

Then I decided to do a book of interviews devoted to America’s billionaires. The one thing that all of them — from Ted Turner to Bill Gates to Sam Walton’s brood — had in common was that none of them wanted to talk to me. Perhaps they sensed that I was going to hit them up for a loan, or maybe they just worried that my poverty was contagious.

In any case, I decided to change the focus from sheer wealth to fame and achievement. I had far better luck approaching the likes of Billy Wilder, Gerald Ford, Norman Lear, Judith Krantz, Jerry Herman, Jack Lemmon, George Carlin, Paul Williams, Bea Arthur, Randy Newman, Steve Allen, Father John Catoir and Jo Stafford. However, even though I eventually had about 70 subjects, including final interviews with Gene Kelly, Sammy Cahn, Ginger Rogers, G. David Schine and Dinah Shore, I couldn’t find a publisher. Finally, a friend steered me to Dove Publishing, which accepted my proposal. A month before publication, Dove’s board of directors ousted publisher Michael Viner. For good measure, they killed all of his projects in the pipeline.

My next venture into publishing came about when my old friend Leonard Stern suggested I was just the fellow to write a funny little book about angels. By this time, Price Stern Sloan had been bought out by Putnam, but they retained their autonomy. That is, they retained it right up to the day I was scheduled to turn in my final draft. It seems that with the exquisite timing I tend to bring out in people, Putnam had just pulled the plug on Price Stern Sloan, having decided they didn’t want to be in the funny book business after all.

By this time, I could no longer make even the minimum monthly payments requested by the credit card companies. As a sign of good faith, I would send checks for four or five dollars. I wanted to assure them that I hadn’t forgotten my obligation and that I hadn’t disappeared into the Federal Witness Protection Program. But they didn’t want to deal with my piddling little checks. Instead, they preferred calling me several times a day to find out if my luck had changed in the past few hours. I confess that I seriously began to contemplate suicide. I didn’t oppose the practice on moral or religious grounds. I can’t even say that the thought of being dead frightened me. As I don’t believe in any sort of afterlife, I can only point to two reasons why I didn’t do myself in: 1) it didn’t seem fair to leave my wife to deal with poverty and my death; and 2) now that MasterCard and Visa had decided to shun my little checks, I felt entitled to invest a few dollars a week in the state lottery. When well-meaning friends would point out how slim my chances were, I’d reply that, realistically, I had a far better chance of winning the lottery than I had of ever again working in TV.

Some people may be aghast that I considered killing myself just because of money woes, and frankly, I don’t blame them. But unless you’ve gone to sleep for years worrying about money and reached a point where nine out of ten phone calls is a call dunning you for money, you don’t have any idea how grim and gray and pointless life can become.

What I haven’t mentioned yet is the kinder, gentler IRS. You see, when you cash in an IRA prematurely, you’re hit with enormous penalties. If at tax time you can’t come up with Uncle Sam’s ante, they set up a payment program the Mafia would envy.

We finally caved in. In 1997 we filed for bankruptcy. But we continued to owe the tax collector, who put a lien on all our belongings. Even so, it was a relief to have the phone stop ringing every 15 minutes

Because I was one of the only members of the Writers Guild who was willing to admit he was a has-been in his 50s, I received a great deal of media attention (Primetime Live, 60 Minutes, the L. A. Times, the trades). One day the phone rang. It was an old friend, a reporter. She told me that a Washington, D.C., attorney named Daniel Wolf was investigating the possibility of bringing a class-action suit against the networks and the studios. Would I be interested in speaking with him? Sure. God knows I had nothing to lose.

After chatting with him, though, I didn’t see where I had a case. It wasn’t as if I’d been fired from a job. All they had to do in their own defense was to lie and claim there were thousands of better writers in the WGA, and all of them younger than I.

Besides, nobody at a studio or a network had ever told me I was too old to work. It was always one agency head or another who gave me the good news. The code used was, “I’m a big fan of yours, but I ran your name past the staff, and they all want to be career-makers.”

It was always agents who had insisted I shave my beard, buy a toupee and lop credits like M*A*S*H off my resume.

I told Wolf I’d be the first to sign on if they decided to go after the agents. After all, without representation, you can’t get a pitch meeting or even submit a spec script in this town.

Wolf said he’d have to research California law. Months later, he got back to me. Very excited. They were going to include agents, because if people collude in an illegal practice (i.e., ageism), they are guilty of breaking the law.

I signed on.

The one bright spot during this decade of calamity was Emmy magazine. When Dove deep-sixed my book, I decided I would try to get the individual interviews published in a magazine on a regular basis, hoping that after awhile I’d be approached by a book publisher. Hank Rieger, then editor-publisher, accepted three of my subjects: Sid Caesar, Ed Asner and Jackie Cooper. But along the way, he and editor Gail Polevoi also assigned me interviews with the likes of Michele Lee, David Kelley, Beth Sullivan, Chris Carter and, finally and most fortuitously, David (The Sopranos) Chase.

One of the people I needed to talk to was obviously Stephen J. Cannell, who’d been Chase’s boss and mentor at Rockford Files. I had left a message at Cannell’s office, and the next day he called back from his limo. After supplying me with several quotable anecdotes about the young Chase, he asked me what I was doing these days. I said, “I’m doing this — the occasional piece for Emmy.”

There was a long pause. Then he said, “You’re too good a writer not to be working steady.”

Now to put all this in proper context, you have to understand that he and I were not old chums. I never even wrote for Cannell back in the days when he was ruling the TV roost, before metamorphosing into a best-selling novelist. True, I was once supposed to write a Rockford Files, but an overeager, overgreedy agent cost me the opportunity.

In the intervening years, we had met briefly on one occasion and, back in 1988, had agreed during a phone conversation to disagree about WGA politics. That was the whole of our relationship.

Suddenly I hear him say, “I’m taking my family to Hawaii tomorrow, but I’ll call you when I get back to set up a lunch.” True to his word, the following week we had lunch. I filled him in on my nine bleak years. He said that he knew a lot of people who were running shows and that the following day, back at his office, he’d go through his Rolodex.

The next day he called. He began by saying he didn’t know anyone at a sitcom and that, unfortunately, most of those he did know seemed to be working on cable sci-fi shows. However, he thought he might be able to help me at Pensacola, JAG, Touched by an Angel and Diagnosis: Murder.

A few days later, Cannell gave me a name at Pensacola. I called and wound up writing two episodes.

A while after that, Cannell phoned again. I still remember how moved I was by his words: “I didn’t want you to think you’d fallen between the cracks. I have a call in to Ms. Chris Abbott at Diagnosis: Murder, but she’s out of town until next week. I just wanted you to know I hadn’t forgotten about you.”

The next time he phoned it was to tell me Abbott had returned and I should call. I did. It seems one of her colleagues on the show, Steve Brown, and I had co-written an unproduced pilot 10 years earlier, and he had salvaged our story as a possible Christmas episode for Diagnosis. Steve got on the phone and said, CBS likes it, but it’s only July, and Dick Van Dyke could walk in one of these days with a Christmas story he’d rather do. But assuming he doesn’t, you’ll hear from us in a few months."

In October I got the call. Together, Steve and I wrote Santa Claude. Chris was so pleased with the result, she offered me a job as executive story consultant. And thus it was that two months shy of my 60th birthday, I came to be the oldest TV writer to get his very first staff position.

Originally I was to work on the final 11 episodes, but CBS ordered two additional hours. Then I was rehired for the first 13 episodes of the 2000-01 season, but CBS went on to order 22 one hours and two two-hour episodes. So it was that the original 11 hours of programming expanded into 39 hours, of which I got to write all or part of nine scripts.

Money aside, I enjoyed the experience. I met and worked with some of the nicest people I’ve ever known. It felt like a family, and not just because — aside from his co-starring son, Barry — Dick Van Dyke had eight relatives on the show at one time or another.

On top of everything else, it was a learning experience. Having freelanced all my life, my most astonishing discovery was that lines don’t get changed and scenes cut simply because the writing staff is determined to sabotage one’s wonderful work. In fact, many were the occasions when I was the first to ask that one of my favorite moments be eliminated because the director had screwed up or the tone-deaf actor had botched the job.

If there was a downside, it was that thanks to my 18 months of steady employment, I could no longer be involved in the class-action suit. Breaking the news to my wife, I said, “When I’d been hired, I had assumed it was because I was cute and talented. Only now do I realize that it was the industry’s sneaky way of neutralizing me right out of court.”

As for Stephen J. Cannell, writer/producer/guardian angel, I wrote him a thank-you letter when I was hired, when I was signed for a second season, and again when the show was canceled. Along the way, I sent him Christmas cards, birthday wishes and even lunch invitations. To this day, I have never heard back from him.

But then, the Lone Ranger never hung around to be thanked either.

Reprinted from Emmy Magazine by permission.

Related: Stephen J. Cannell Tribute

© 2010 Burt Prelutsky

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Debunking Liberalism And Islam

by Burt Prelutsky

Recently, a conservative I know suggested that it would be great if all the liberals packed up and moved to, say, France. Although I happen to have a few liberal friends and I would surely miss them, I certainly endorse and second his motion.

Over night, the rest of us could start believing what we read in the newspapers and we could start electing people who didn’t think their first order of business was to go around the world apologizing to a bunch of ne’er-do-wells for America’s alleged sins.

We could once again have public school teachers who thought it more important to teach our young kids how to read and write than how to slip a prophylactic on a banana, and professors who would encourage our older kids to think for themselves and not simply parrot left-wing propaganda.

In no time at all, as if the country had entered a time machine, we would find ourselves in a land that honored members of the U.S. military more than those various self-aggrandizing sots and sex addicts who populate the U.S. Senate and, what’s more, we’d pay them more.

If all our left-wingers wound up on the Left Bank, not only would we avoid the risk of electing ex-community organizers who have an unnatural reluctance to call Islamic terrorists by their rightful name, but we’d all have a much easier morning commute and a far easier time finding parking spaces.

Speaking of jihadists, a reader asked me the other day if I believed we could win the war against the Islamists. I said I thought we could, but it wouldn’t be quick and it wouldn’t be easy. Which are two reasons that liberals wouldn’t be interested.

First, we would need to finally have a commander-in-chief willing to bite the bullet, toss political correctness to the wind, and acknowledge that a state of war exists. Next, we’d need a Congress that would join with the president in making a formal declaration.

After that, we would need to stop worrying about what the Koran says or doesn’t say. We wouldn’t be going to war against that book any more than we went to war against “Mein Kampf.” So whether the Koran calls us a bunch of pigs and monkeys or whether it says that Muslims have a duty to lie to infidels if it’s to their advantage is neither here nor there. Our war would be waged against those who have been trying to kill us for the past few decades, not against some words on paper.

To those who insist that most Muslims are not looking to murder anyone, I say, fine -- then they can lend us a hand. Let them join the underground and help us root out the bad guys and kill them. Let them join the resistance, as many people did during World War II in France, Holland, Norway and even in Germany.

Next we have to stop worrying so much about collateral damage and about the alleged sanctity of mosques. We also have to stop worrying about immediately rebuilding every damn thing we just knocked down.

We can win this war when we stop fretting about whether we’re being discourteous when we stop members of Al Qaeda from flying to Detroit, when we stop concerning ourselves with whether everyone likes us and concentrate on making certain that our enemies fear us.

We can win this war when the countries that act as sponsors and sanctuaries for the terrorists start seeing their capitals bombed and when self-proclaimed war lords in Pakistan and Afghanistan are reminded that they’re nothing more than two-bit thugs with fancy titles.

We can win this war when our national leaders stop reminding us that most Muslims are not terrorists and, instead, remind themselves that most Russians, Chinese and Cambodians, weren’t Communists, most Germans weren’t Nazis and most Italians weren’t fascists. The fact remains that most of them not only did nothing to prevent Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler and Mussolini, from drenching the earth in oceans of blood, but performed most of the dirty work for them.

Some people say that Barack Obama isn’t even constitutionally entitled to be president. Other people, with absolutely no documentation to back them up, insist that he was born in Hawaii. For my part, I keep waiting for the courts to settle this matter. But in the meantime, it’s enough for me that he went to Egypt and Turkey and rhapsodized about the magnificent contributions that Muslims made in establishing the United States. Which, in case you happened to miss school that day, is a matter of historical record, unlike Obama’s birth certificate, medical records and passport. Most of us, I’m sure, are well aware that America was created in accord with Judeo-Christian-uh-Muslim principles. Proof of this is that, no matter where you go in the Muslim world, you will find freedom of speech, assembly and, most of all, religion.

Obama never lets an opportunity go by when he doesn’t say respectful, even loving words about Islam. They are not, oddly enough, sentiments I have heard him direct to devout Christians. Instead, I seem to recall his ridiculing them as those folks who cling to their religion and their guns.

Not too long ago, we were told time and again that the man was the messiah. Now, after a catastrophic year that has included cash for clunkers; a soaring national deficit; cap and trade; bribes for senators in order to push through CastroCare; more and bigger lies about global warming; closing Gitmo as a PR stunt; trying enemy combatants in civilian courts; and filling his administration with tax cheats, Socialists and Communists; he’s shown himself to be far less a messiah and far more a mess.

© 2010 Burt Prelutsky

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Crowd Braves Rain To See Burt

January 21 - Sixty hearty souls slogged through torrential rain to see Burt at the Sherman Oaks Women's Club on Wednesday night. The San Fernando Valley Chapter of ACT! for America invited him to speak about, "Islam Is A Religion Of Peace (If you don't believe it, they'll cut off your head)."

This enthusiastic group meets every third Wednesday at 7 PM at 4808 Kester Avenue in Sherman Oaks, California. For more information please write or follow them on Facebook. (photo by Paul Fields)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Some Carbon Footprints Don’t Count

by Burt Prelutsky

When I was a child, people used to boast that in America anybody could grow up to be president. At the time, I thought they were kidding. Now I know better.

It is equally apparent these days that absolutely anyone can grow up to be the majority leader of the Senate, the speaker of the House and the attorney general of the United States. And now that we all see how easy it is and how very little in the way of intelligence, integrity or even personal hygiene, for all I know, is required, it’s no wonder that parents are no longer boasting.

A friend sent me an email, passing along an observation he had come across: “The problem with America is stupidity. I’m not saying there should be capital punishment for stupidity, but why don’t we just take the warning labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?”

If only the solution were that simple. But it’s not stupidity, alone, that’s destroying America. God knows it doesn’t help, but there’s also the matter of left-wing lies that are trumpeted in the media and the classrooms, not to mention the blatant hypocrisy and fraud perpetrated by our elected representatives.

Harry Reid buys off a Louisiana senator with a $300 million bribe and her Nebraska colleague with a deal that will force the other 49 states to subsidize Nebraska’s Medicaid program until Hell freezes over. Then Reid, who looks like Scrooge but acts like Santa when there are votes to be bought, announces that it’s only business as usual in the U.S. Senate.

I wonder if the other 57 Democrats are kicking themselves for not cutting better deals. After all, it’s obvious that they’re all whores. The only difference is that Landrieu and Nelson got a bigger payoff for selling their wares. When you get right down to it, the U.S. Senate is nothing more than a meat market.

Somebody recently asked me if I thought we would ever put a stop to illegal aliens sneaking into our country. At this late date, I replied, does it even matter? Once the politicians of both parties decided it was more important to secure their seats than our borders, and compounded their sins by promoting the idiotic notion of dual-citizenship, the entire idea of American sovereignty became a bad joke. Heck, we couldn’t even get those morons in Washington to declare English our official language. Voting them out of office isn’t nearly punishment enough. They’re a pack of traitors and they should be horsewhipped for what they’ve done to our nation.

The fact that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab could actually get on a plane and fly to Detroit makes it perfectly clear that American citizens are the only people on earth for whom flying is now a major pain in the butt. My wife has to take off her shoes, her jacket and her barrettes before they’ll allow her to get within a mile of an airliner. In my case, they’re worried sick that I, who never even took high school chemistry, will somehow be able to turn my toothpaste and mouthwash into a lethal compound. But a 23-year-old Nigerian who had known ties to Islamic terrorists has carte blanche to carry aboard an incendiary device in his pants pocket.

These days, thanks to political correctness gone amok, Osama bin Laden, could probably get on a plane even if he, like Wile E. Coyote, were carting around one of those boxes overflowing with sticks of dynamite from the Acme Company.

Hell, if it were up to me, I wouldn’t even let a guy carrying around a name like Umar Farouk Addulmutallab get on an airplane.

Speaking of flying, I couldn’t believe it when I heard that while young Umar was being tackled in Detroit, the Obamas were vacationing in Hawaii. It seemed like he’d just been in Sweden the day before, whining about carbon footprints and, in spite of his teeth chattering like castanets, global warming.

So, just for the heck of it, I started adding up his recent mileage. In order to collect his Nobel Peace Prize, he flew 3,881 miles from Washington to Oslo. From Oslo to Stockholm, where he was verbally bitch-slapped by his erstwhile amigo, Hugo Chavez, was a short hop of 259 miles. Then Stockholm to Washington was 4,132 miles. Washington to Honolulu is 4,835 miles, making it a round trip of 9,670 miles. That adds up to 17,942 miles in just a matter of weeks.

Merely for purposes of comparison, the distance from Washington, D.C., to Crawford, Texas, is just 1,240 miles, and George W. Bush never claimed to be a disciple of Al Gore. And for what it’s worth, Camp David, which I’ve heard is a really nice vacation spot, is a short 70-mile helicopter ride from the White House lawn.

At the rate Obama’s going, he’ll soon have piled up enough frequent flyer miles to go to the moon.

And I, for one, say the sooner, the better.

© 2010 Burt Prelutsky

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Confessions Of A Conservative

by Burt Prelutsky

I have a confession to make. For the past year or so, I have belonged to a secret organization. It was a group of Hollywood-based conservatives. I have no doubt that you’re aware of the higher-profile members, mainly actors. And while I can empathize with those lesser-known members, the behind-the-camera people who worry that their livelihoods could be jeopardized if their employers and potential employers got wind of the fact that they aren’t left-wing dingbats, I finally decided to quit.

While I can appreciate the hunger some of these folks had to be able to speak freely among like-minded people, it aggravated me no end when they felt they couldn’t rock the boat even to the extent of letting the world know that not everyone in the entertainment industry was springing to the defense of child-rapist Roman Polanski.

While I’m in a confessional mood, I’ll share the fact that about 40 years ago, when I worked as a copywriter at an advertising agency, I once wrote a TV commercial that was so offensive that it was yanked off the tube after just a few airings. The product was a brand of packaged bread. The difference between our bread and the competition, I was informed, is that ours contained no lard. It was my bright idea to drive this point home by showing the biggest, ugliest pig we could find staring into the camera, while an announcer’s voice swore that nothing that had ever been part of that animal found itself into our product. The commercial only played in the Pacific Northwest, but it hit the air around dinner time, and apparently the switchboard at the station lit up like a Christmas tree. Hundreds of viewers complained that they’d just lost their appetites, thanks to me and Porky.

And, yet, now when I see Harry Reid showing up on camera to boast about all the pork he’s pushed through the Senate, I get a very queasy feeling in my own stomach.

I recall that the director of the spot stood on the set when he arrived, took one long look at the enormous porker, then turned to me and asked, “Does the pig have any lines?”

At the time, two thoughts simultaneously ran through my head. The first was that it would make a great title if I ever wrote my memoirs about working in advertising. The second was that the man had taken leave of his senses. But it was later explained that he thought that there might be a voice-over, and that he would therefore need to get the pig to move its mouth so that it appeared to be speaking. Thank God I hadn’t written any dialogue for the animal. If that creature had started moving his mouth, I suspect the viewers wouldn’t have just called the station, they would have come after me with torches and pitchforks.

So, when I saw Harry Reid moving his mouth, boasting about the passage of ObamaCare, while flanked by those towering pillars of goo, Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson, I, too, felt like barfing. Lieberman and Nelson looked exactly like those political wives who feel compelled to stand beside their husbands shortly after the louts have been exposed as having had carnal relations with young staff aides, prostitutes and/or livestock.

In fact, when I saw those three miserable excuses for human beings standing there, I was reminded of the opening scene of “1776,” when John Adams comes on stage to state, “I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; that two are called a law firm; and that three or more, a Congress!”

Looking at that disgusting trio standing there trying to look proud yet humble, you couldn’t help asking yourself how it was that three of the seven dwarfs, Dopey, Grumpy and Sleazy -- I mean, Sneezy -- had ever managed to wind up in the United States Senate.

© 2010 Burt Prelutsky

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

From Galileo To Gore

by Burt Prelutsky

It was almost 400 years ago that Galileo Galilei was denounced as a heretic for proclaiming that the earth revolved around the sun and not the other way around. These days, Al Gore tells giant fibs about the weather in order to line his pockets and inflate his ego and it’s those who call him on it who are accused of heresy. In spite of which, there are people who insist on referring to this as an enlightened age.

But, really, how enlightened can we be when millions of Americans get their news from a media that unlike the media in totalitarian nations happily placed the shackles on themselves and then threw away the key?

On more than one occasion, I’ve confessed that when it comes to books, I prefer reading fiction. Liberals, on the other hand, seem to prefer fiction that passes itself off as fact. On top of that, they seem to get their talking points from the Huffington Post, the Daily Kos and Joy Behar. Is it any wonder that they always sound so crabby, cranky and dumb?

The folks in Washington who are creating the most mischief appear to display all the tell-tale signs of being a member of a dysfunctional family. Mom and Dad are Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Harry looks like he sucks lemons for a living and Nancy looks like she started hitting the sauce once she paid one too many visits to her plastic surgeon, Dr. Victor Frankenstein.

Their adopted son, Barack, was already a troubled youth -- abandoned by his own mother, his father and his step-father -- long before he went off to college, where, as he boasts, he smoked a lot of marijuana and sought out companions who were Communists and professors who were left-wing pinheads. After all that, it’s no wonder that he decided to remake America from stem to stern in his own narcissistic, pathological image. Like Ted Bundy and scores of other sociopaths, he can be charming and can even pass for normal. But only for so long.

There was a time in my life, I hate to admit, when I used to read the Guinness Book of World Records. I didn’t read it in order to be impressed by its odd list of human accomplishments, but to be reminded time and again of the foolishness that made up the dreams and aspirations of so many others. Others, I would remind myself, whose votes counted for as much as mine at election time. For instance, a fellow named Richard Walker gained a tawdry bit of fame for having chewed 135 pieces of bubble gum for eight straight hours. Susan Montgomery Williams once managed to blow a 23-inch bubble gum bubble. But that was with her mouth. Joyce Samuels, whom I hope I never have occasion to meet, once blew a 16-inch bubble with her nose.

I’ll leave it to other people to determine which of these is the most impressive feat. But if you’re ready to take up the bubble gum gauntlet, my research suggests that you should add a bit of peanut butter to the mix and to chew the wad for at least three minutes to make certain the sugar dissolves. Sugar, it seems, leads to premature deflation.

But none of the activities of these bubble gum fiends strikes me as being half as inane as what our politicians do on a daily basis. And if the folks at Guinness tried to record it all, their annual edition would be almost as long as Obama’s Health Care bill, and nobody would read that, either.

Watching Senator Mary Landrieu sell her vote for $300 million and Sen. Ben Nelson sell his for a bigger piece of the MediCare pie reminds me of an old story. It seems a man once asked a strange woman if she’d have sex with him for a million dollars, and she agreed. He then asked her if she’d do it for $20, and with all the outrage she could muster, she said, “What sort of woman do you think I am?!” He replied, “We’ve already established that. Now we’re merely negotiating the price.”

Finally, I’m wondering if Barack Obama fails to see an obvious pattern. He goes to Copenhagen to lock up the Olympics and, instead of bringing home the gold, he only got to bring home Michelle and Oprah. Then he went to Copenhagen a second time in order to stamp out global warming, and wound up getting dissed by Hugo Chavez, who received an ovation from his fellow freeloaders.

So, unless Obama finds himself with a sudden craving for herring, I think he’d be wise to give the town a wide berth in the future. Napoleon had his Waterloo and Obama has his Copenhagen.
It seems like just yesterday that the entire world, and not just the crew at MSNBC, was fawning over Obama. Now, more and more people can’t even stand the sound of his voice. It doesn’t remind me, as it does so many others, of Tiger Woods and his fall from grace. Instead, it reminds me of the fate that befalls most child actors. One day, you’re Macauley Culkin and everyone wants to pinch your cheeks and chuck you under the chin, and the next day people think you’re as cute as gallstones and they’d really appreciate it if you tinkled a little bell and chanted “Unclean…unclean” whenever you left the house.

© 2010 Burt Prelutsky

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Only Problem With Democracy Is People

by Burt Prelutsky

Winston Churchill, who made a better case for alcohol consumption than all the beer commercials ever produced, is well known for having observed that democracy is the worst form of government…except for all the others. But, in a less avuncular state of mind, he also pointed out that “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

Even Alexis de Tocqueville would have a tough time arguing with that bit of cynical truth. It is especially true of liberals, a group numbering in the millions, who are of the opinion that their compassionate intentions out-weigh logic, honesty and principles.

That is why politicians on the Left don’t have to worry about telling lies, acknowledging their mistakes or even making sense. So long as they claim that their malicious mischief is motivated by genuine concern for the poor, the ignorant and the allegedly oppressed, their liberal flocks will pay homage to their efforts and applaud their fabrications.

The easiest way to comprehend liberalism is to think of it, not even as a religion, but as a cult. Many people, after all, have converted from one religion to another or simply dropped religion altogether, but it’s not quite so simple to abandon a cult. As thousands of grief-stricken parents have discovered over the years, they’ve had to have their offspring kidnapped and de-programmed because the brainwashing techniques have been so powerful. And that’s when a cult only has a single leader, someone like David Koresh or Jim Jones.

Imagine how much stronger a cult’s hold on the individual is when it has a multitude of heads -- demagogues like Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Kerry, Durbin, Murtha, Boxer, Waxman, Leahy and Schumer -- whose every utterance is parroted by the NY Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Time, CNN and the alphabet networks.

How do you explain why anyone in a theoretically free society would willingly surrender his brain to Soviet-like thought control? The best answer I can come up with is that there’s a herd instinct among human beings that’s akin to the one that governs the behavior of cattle, sheep and lemmings.

To think like a liberal, a conservative merely needs to get down on all fours and then bang his head on a wall until he’s managed to knock 50 points off his IQ.

© 2010 Burt Prelutsky

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Pathology Of Liberalism

by Burt Prelutsky

Over the last few years, I have lost friends and become estranged from relatives because of politics. At one time, I would have thought such a thing was unimaginable. But in the past decade, as the rift between those on either side of the culture-values-political divide has expanded, it strikes me it was inevitable.

The world, after all, saw friends and families divided in America during the 1860s and in Germany in the 1930s and now we see it here. On the one side, we have Americans who believe that, in spite of its flaws, America is the greatest, most generous, nation on the face of the earth. On the other side, you have Americans who believe that this nation is a house of horrors that has to be radically transformed by the radical transformer in the Oval Office, which these days should be renamed the Offal Office.

If you’re convinced, as I am, that Barack Obama is the greatest menace America has ever faced -- a far graver danger than Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union or Islamic fascism, simply because they all lacked the ability or determination to destroy our Constitution -- losing a few friends and relatives is no big deal.

If we only had to worry about Obama, it would be bad enough. But he has all those moral rejects to do his bidding. People like Pelosi, Reid, Axelrod, Waxman, Emanuel and Barney Frank, are ready and anxious to serve their lord and master. He says, “Jump!” and they ask “How high?” Some of us thought his earlier friends and associates -- people like Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright and Tony Rezko -- were bad, but we didn’t realize he’d ferret out even bigger weasels in Washington.

Psychiatrists are forever seeking the cause and cure of various diseases. They have focused on everything from paranoia to schizophrenia and clinical depression, but I think it’s high time they turned their attention to liberalism. It’s far more prevalent than those other mental disorders, and it appears to be particularly rampant among journalists, lawyers, union leaders and academics. Blacks, Jews and the young, are especially susceptible. And for reasons not entirely clear, it seems to strike hardest at people who reside near the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. So perhaps salt water plays a part in it.

The symptoms are all too obvious. Liberals will believe the silliest things said to them so long as they’re said by left-wing politicians, who form something of a priesthood for atheists. Liberals accept lies about man-made global warming and the extinction of polar bears and glaciers, while simultaneously rejecting objective evidence that the earth has been cooling off for the past decade, that the polar bear population has been exploding at a rate that suggests Viagra has been introduced into their diet and that, in spite of all the hot air Al Gore has been spewing, we have as much ice as ever.

Furthermore, liberals are convinced that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant and that “separation of church and state” actually exists in the U.S. Constitution.

As gullible as liberals are, there are certain things that they oppose with every fiber of their being. Among them are nuclear energy, a strong U.S. military, Judeo-Christian values and traditions, America’s exceptionalism and, of course, the 2nd amendment. They pay lip service to the 1st amendment, but in their hearts they believe it only pertains to them.

As bad as the run of the mill liberals are, their leaders are worse. Against all logic, Barack Obama believes that the way for the nation to get out of debt is by spending trillions more. He reminds me of the shopaholic who figures that if an $80 toaster is marked down to $75, all he has to do is buy 100 of them and he’ll make $500.

Speaking of making money, lately it seems like every radio show I listen to and every TV show I watch is jam-packed with commercials for gold. I have no idea if gold is a great investment, but I keep wondering why, if it’s as good as they claim, these folks are so anxious to sell it.

I mean, if I were in the clothing business, I see where I’d want to sell as many shirts, socks and suits as I could. I mean, what the heck am I going to do with them? But if gold is going to keep going up, why sell it to a bunch of strangers? Why not just hang on to it?

The other question is: If gold is going to continue rising in value because the dollar is going to plummet like a stone, what are they going to do with all those worthless greenbacks once they unload all their gold?

I mean, are they running a business or a charity?

© 2010 Burt Prelutsky

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Monday, January 4, 2010

WMDs In Your BVDs

by Burt Prelutsky

Liberals like to lay the blame for Islamic terrorism on one of two causes; namely, the poverty in most Muslim nations or American foreign policy. Sometimes, just for variety, they’ll mention both items. And, as usual, they’re dead wrong on both counts.

If the cause was actually poverty, you wouldn’t find world-wide terrorism funded by Saudi Arabia, and waged by such wealthy individuals as Osama bin Laden and young Umer Farouk Abdulmutallab. Nor should we forget the various Islamic doctors in London and Fort Hood’s Major Hasan, none of whom were charity cases.

Inasmuch as Islamic butchery has been directed at Russia, Iraq, Spain, France, Bali, England, Thailand, Israel, India, Pakistan and Holland, to name just a few of the non-American targets, our foreign policy can hardly be held accountable. However, you may be my guest if you wish to place some of the blame on George W. Bush’s reluctance to acknowledge that Islam had declared war on us and that Barack Obama refuses to even acknowledge that Major Hasan’s religion had anything to do with his murderous rampage.

I know that even some of those folks who aren’t as unwilling as our presidents to call a spade a garden utensil like to point out that the majority of Muslims aren’t killers. Well, duh. The fact is, most Russians were not members of the Communist party and most Germans weren’t Nazis. So what? Between them, Stalin and Hitler, with the able assistance of their countrymen, murdered tens of millions of people.

After 9/11, when American Muslims were whining about being profiled, I suggested that if they’d pass the hat in their mosques and offer a reward for Osama bin Laden, dead or alive, it would go a long way towards proving that they felt a greater loyalty to America than to those acting in the name of their religion. It never happened.

There is a reason that liberals like to believe that poverty is the cause of Islamic hatred of America. Because these self-righteous baby boomers place so much importance on money, they assume that it is the motivation behind everyone else’s actions. Because they, themselves, lack principles, patriotism and traditional values, they attribute their shallowness to others. During the Vietnam War, they got to pretend that their refusal to fight was based on their pacifism. That was a convenient lie promoted by the media. Having been in college at the time, I can assure you that, in most cases, it had precious little to do with Gandhi’s philosophy and a great deal to do with their fear of being shot at or winding up as guests at the Hanoi Hilton. These middleclass wienies who’d never even had to make their own beds, also didn’t like the idea of having to do what they were told by top sergeants from Georgia and Texas. Even if those top sergeants happened to be black.

But they got away with their pretensions because no less an authority than Walter Cronkite assured them they were the conscience of America, when in fact they were the bright yellow streak of America.

Today, in Barack Obama, they have their ideal president. He’s the man who, without knowing a single fact, announced that the Cambridge Police Department had acted stupidly in the way they dealt with his old chum, Prof. Gates. But when it came to Major Hasan, Obama urged us not to jump to any hasty conclusions about his butchery having anything to do with his loony religious beliefs.

These baby boomers are the same people who spent seven long years condemning Bush for not leaping out of his chair and scaring the milk and graham crackers out of a bunch of little kids on 9/11, and instead took a few extra minutes to calmly finish reading them a story. But they’re perfectly fine with Obama’s taking three days to even comment on the attempt by young Umer to celebrate Christmas by blowing 300 people out of the sky above Detroit.

But why would liberals fret about that little incident when the head of Homeland Security, Janet (“What me worry?”) Napolitano was quick to assure us that the system worked? What she neglected to mention was that the system “worked” only because Umer’s incendiary device didn’t.

But the airline industry took some of the heat off her with their own mind-boggling stupidity. Henceforth, they announced, passengers would be deprived of pillows, blankets and bathroom privileges for one hour prior to landing. That ought to show the terrorists we mean business. You guys can blow up our planes, but you better not wait too long to do it!

Inasmuch as Umer concealed the device in his drawers, I’m surprised that the airlines didn’t take the logical next step of making planes undies-free zones.

All I know is that at my age, I can do without blankets, pillows and even honey-roasted peanuts. But I think the airlines better rethink those bathroom restrictions. The last thing they’re going to want is a planeload of seniors sounding like cranky four-year-olds, screaming for the last 500 miles of the flight, “Are we there yet?”

© 2010 Burt Prelutsky

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Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year Resolutions

by Burt Prelutsky

This is the time of year when most people are busy resolving to do better in the future. Some people vow to go on diets or exercise more, some promise to give up smoking or booze. But, year in and year out, I vow to cut liberals more slack and give them the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, just as with other people’s good intentions, my own rarely last until nightfall. The difference is that the reason mine die on the vine, as it were, has nothing to do with my own lack of character, but everything to do with the failings of liberals.

For one thing, liberals are hypocritical. They have agendas when they’d be better off having principles. They praise whistleblowers and investigative reporters, but only when Republicans, conservatives and/or the U.S. military suffer the consequences. So it was that they lionized Daniel Ellsberg for turning the Pentagon Papers over to the NY Times and heralded Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward for their Watergate expose, but demanded that James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles be prosecuted for their ACORN videos and wanted the computer hackers who uncovered the East Anglia emails, the ones proving global warming to be a major hoax, to be tarred and feathered.

I even remember when Time magazine put a group of highly publicized corporate whistleblowers on their cover, hailing their courage and patriotism. I am willing to wager that O’Keefe and Giles won’t be Time’s 2009’s People of the Year.

When George W. Bush convinced a mere 42 countries to join us in the invasion of Iraq, liberals insisted he had gone off half-cocked. However, when Obama couldn’t convince any country to take the Guantanamo prisoners off our hands and could only get 40 nations to commit to joining us in Afghanistan, those on the left insisted he was a master of diplomacy.

The liberals keep telling us that, thanks to Obama’s policy of speaking endlessly and carrying a very small stick, America has gained renewed respect around the world. But, as usual, they don’t specify which countries respect us more these days now that they have good reason to fear us less. We know pretty darn well they’re not referring to Russia, Iran, Somalia, North Korea, Syria or China. They’re not even able to point to such erstwhile allies as Poland, Israel and the Czech Republic, all of whom are staggering around these days with American-made switchblades in their back.

Liberals, as well as a great many conservatives, were upset with George W. Bush for his massive spending. But these days, when Obama is quadrupling the deficit, the Left is cheering him on. Can you imagine what liberals would be saying if a Republican president announced something as nutty as Obama’s promise to spend his way to solvency.

For that matter, what would a typical liberal say if, after he broke the news that they were on the brink of bankruptcy, his wife’s response was “That’s terrible”? But a minute later, as she headed out the front door, he asked her where she was going and she said, “I’ll be back in a minute, honey, I’m just running out to pick up a few things at Tiffany’s.” Is there a jury in America that would find him guilty if he busted a chair over her head? But when it’s Obama going out the door to drop a few trillion on cap and trade and Obamacare, the liberals just shake their heads like besotted newlyweds and say, “Isn’t he just cute as a button?”

The worst thing about liberalism isn’t even the lying and the double standards, but the fact that it’s contagious. For example, not too long ago, I heard Bill O’Reilly state that it was good for America that Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize. He said with a reasonably straight face that he liked the fact that the world saw us as a peaceful nation. I thought I could avoid such idiocy by avoiding MSNBC. I was wrong. Instead, I thought my head would explode.

Barack Obama got the Prize for the very same reason that Jimmy Carter got it. They got it because they weren’t George W. Bush. The wooly-headed leftists in Norway keep making stupid decisions, handing out these medallions to the likes of Le Duc Tho, Kofi Anan, Desmond Tutu and Yasser Arafat, and clucks like Carter and Obama keep jetting over to Oslo to be clucked over.

If I were President Prelutsky and they tried to demean my reputation that way, I would not only reject the award, I would point out that the U.S. military has done more for the cause of world peace than all the diplomats and pacifists put together. Then I’d have someone teach me a little Norwegian so that I could tell them in their own language where they could put their damn Peace Prize.

© 2010 Burt Prelutsky

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