Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jesse James Obama

by Burt Prelutsky

A great many people like to make heroes of those who are, by no stretch of the imagination, even slightly heroic.

Back in the 1800s, we had Jesse James. In the 1900s, we had Bonnie and Clyde, as well as John Dillinger. These days, we have Barack Obama. One thing they all have in common is that their fans regard them as modern day Robin Hoods. The fact is they are much closer to being robbing hoods.

Jesse James and his older brother, Frank, began their criminal lives as Confederate guerrillas during the Civil War, specializing in committing atrocities, which included scalping Union soldiers.

After the War, the brothers took to knocking over banks and trains. Because the media was nearly as vile as it is now, the brothers were often described as folk heroes who took from the rich and gave to the poor, although no amount of research ever disclosed a single instance when the guys gave anyone anything except a bullet in the belly.

Because the brothers had fought for the Confederacy, many 19th century southerners, a people much given to fanciful and romantic notions -- and perhaps because Jesse and Frank occasionally donned Ku Klux Klan robes in order to instill additional fear in their innocent victims -- had a special reverence for the robbers. Those idiotic fans chose to ignore the fact that these two good-for-nothings were as likely to rob southern banks as those north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

It is a conceit of Hollywood that it took people like Wyatt Earp, Bill Hickok, Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson, to stand up to the villains. But as anyone who has ever read the well-researched novels of Louis L’Amour knows, a lot of Americans in those days owned guns and knew how to use them. Back then, the 2nd amendment was clearly seen as the one that guaranteed that the rest of the Constitution would amount to more than mere words on parchment.

So it was that on September 7, 1876, Jesse and Frank, along with Cole Younger and his gang of outlaws, rode into Northfield, Minnesota, determined to rob the First National Bank. The citizens of Northfield had other ideas once they realized what was going on. That was their money and they’d worked hard to earn it. They weren’t about to just sit back and let a bunch of shiftless no-accounts ride off with it in their saddlebags.

There wasn’t a quick-draw artist in the entire town. These were shopkeepers and ranchers, not professional gunslingers with notches on their revolvers, but when the smoke cleared, there were a couple of dead outlaws lying in the street. Jesse and Frank escaped, but without a single dollar that didn’t belong to them.

Why am I telling you about an incident that took place 134 years ago? It’s because I see Obama as the latest in this line of glorified thieves. He, too, believes that it’s just fine to take from those who have worked to earn their money and hand it over to those he favors. He doesn’t have to use six-shooters; he has Congress and the IRS to do his dirty work. And just like his predecessors, he can rely on the corrupt media to promote him as a folk hero.

But what he failed to take into account is what Jesse and Frank also overlooked; namely, that no matter how glorious the press tries to make it sound, stealing is stealing -- and at a certain point, folks aren’t going to just sit back and take it. Not when it’s their own money that’s being confiscated by thieves and scoundrels.

When I look at the members of the Tea Party movement, I see the good citizens of Northfield, Minnesota, and I anticipate that on November 2nd, Obama, Pelosi, Reid and their gang of cheap grifters will be mowed down.

©2010 Burt Prelutsky>

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Death, Taxes and Trash

by Burt Prelutsky

In the old days, an expression one often heard was that the good die young. I don’t know how it began or why, unless it was an acknowledgment of the fact that in wars, it was generally the young who were most often called upon to sacrifice their lives. That still holds true, and if further proof were needed that the expression is close to gospel, we need only realize that, at 80, corrupt Charley Rangel is still going strong, and that, at 84, 86 and 86, so are Fidel Castro, Frank Lautenberg and Jimmy Carter.

The Democrats, faithfully doing Obama’s bidding, are apparently going to allow George Bush’s tax cuts to lapse on January 1st. It’s their contention that the current tax rates governing not only income, but capital gains and death levies, unfairly favor the wealthy. The liberals, who are never happier than when they’re fomenting class and race warfare, will never admit that left-wingers like George Soros, Bill Gates and Ted Turner, along with the likes of the Clintons, Oprah Winfrey, the John Kerrys, Barbara Boxer, Michael Bloomberg, Dianne Feinstein, Jay Rockefeller and the various Kennedys, are all among the super rich -- and the one thing they all have in common is that they don’t pay a single dollar more in taxes than they absolutely have to.

What’s more, they do everything in their power, ranging from employing top- notch tax attorneys to creating family trusts and offshore accounts, to reduce their tax obligations to the absolute minimum.

There is, after all, no maximum limit to the amount one pays. The U.S. Treasury is only too happy to accept all contributions, and if, as Joe Biden insists, it’s our patriotic duty to pay taxes, it’s high time these left-wingers put up or shut up.

There is a saying that goes “garbage in, garbage out”. It refers to the fact that if bad data is programmed into a computer system, you have to expect it will feed you misinformation. But there is another area in which the saying holds true. I refer to those occasions when progressives get together. Whether it was Obama’s inauguration or the recent One Nation gathering in Washington, D.C., the one thing you can count on is that these slobs, who never shut up about how badly the rest of us treat Mother Earth, will leave the area looking like a dumpsite.

Prior to the One Nation get-together, I kept seeing representatives of La Raza and the NAACP being asked why they would agree to include the American Communist Party in their ranks. Frankly, I couldn’t understand why they didn’t, instead, ask the head of the American Communist Party why he was willing to associate with the creeps from the NAACP and La Raza.

The most amazing thing about the gathering of dunces is how few people showed up in spite of the fact that in addition to those three groups, some of the others included the SEIU, the National Education Association, Code Pink, Planned Parenthood, the American Muslim Association of North America and the ever-popular Massachusetts Transgender Coalition.

If you were to estimate the size of the One Nation Rally by the amount of garbage they left in their wake, you would have guessed that the crowd was five times as large as Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor event when, in fact, the actual turnout was closer to one-fifth its size.

One final observation is that the trash these slobs left behind at the Lincoln Memorial was only slightly less disgusting than the trash that left it there.

©2010 Burt Prelutsky

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Ugly Truth About Politicians

by Burt Prelutsky

A while back, in writing about Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, I accepted the rumors about her financial difficulties. Since then, I’ve heard that she has explained them all away. I wouldn’t know. My point in writing about her alleged problems in the first place was that I didn’t care. I wanted her to win the Senate race in Delaware because if elected, she would vote the way I wanted.

Some people were disappointed in me. I hate to disappoint people, but if I’m not going to write what I believe, why bother?

I’m afraid that a lot of people, especially among the ranks of my fellow conservatives, confuse electing politicians with selecting a pastor or a priest. Politics is not a higher calling. It’s not a calling at all, even though politicians would have you believe that theirs is a life of self-sacrifice that compares favorably with Mother Teresa’s. The world of politics primarily provides an escape hatch for failed lawyers, rich people who want to add “celebrity” to their resumes, physicians who have grown weary of dealing with bureaucratic paperwork, and other various mediocrities seeking to put some buzz into their humdrum lives.

If people asked me to list the qualities to which I aspire, they would be honesty, reliability, courage, kindness, loyalty and optimism. They are the qualities I look for in my friends. They are not the qualities I expect to find in politicians. What’s more, when I hear people go on about how wonderful their favorite office holders are, I think they sound like very naïve children.

The fact is, most of us don’t know the people we’re called upon to elect. We may hear their speeches or see them interviewed on TV. We might even hear them debate their opponents, but we don’t know what sort of parent they are, what sort of neighbor or sibling, what sort of boss.

Let’s face it -- every single time a politician is caught having an adulterous affair or taking a bribe or trying to pick up someone in a men’s room or selling out his country for the sake of his party, millions of people react exactly the way young children do when they find out the truth about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. But not I.

I think that, by and large, politicians are a bunch of weasels. I wouldn’t trust them to tell me the time of day. I only ask that they vote exactly the way I would, if I had nothing better to do with my life than constantly raise money so that I could retain my cushy job; a job, by the way, that really only requires casting votes.

When you get right down to it, voting is something we all do. The difference is that these stiffs get paid to do it, and then have bridges and airports named in their honor, as if they’d covered the construction costs with a personal check.

Speaking of votes, I can’t help noticing how many Democrats seem to be running against Obama. In order to carry off the illusion that these schmoes are independent-minded individuals, they’re running ads proudly proclaiming their opposition to, say, ObamaCare or the stimulus bill. These lumps aren’t blue dog Democrats, though, they’re yellow dogs. These were the folks who were given dispensation to vote with the Republicans because Pelosi and Reid had counted noses and concluded they had more than enough votes to pass whatever piece of left-wing lunacy they were shoving down our throats that particular day.

In its own way, those dispensations were every bit as sleazy and cynical as bribing Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu to get them aboard the ObamaCare express.

If, like me, you have ever wondered how these people can bear to look in the mirror, I think the secret is that when you spend day after day looking at the likes of Harry Reid, Alan Grayson, Nancy Pelosi and Anthony Weiner, after a while the loathsome creature in the mirror doesn’t look so awful.

©2010 Burt Prelutsky

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Monday, October 18, 2010

The Fifth Season

by Burt Prelutsky

We are all aware of the four seasons, but every election year provides us with a fifth. Thanks to politicians and those who rely on politicians for their daily bread, we find ourselves in the silly season.

It seems that you can’t turn around without finding yourself bombarded with so many political platitudes and inanities that, were they only bricks, you could use them to build a 30-foot wall at our southern border.

Just recently, Barack Obama gave a vote of confidence to his economic advisors. And why wouldn’t he, with the economy zipping along on all cylinders, at least according to Joe Biden? Still, if I were Tim Geithner, I think I’d get to work on my resume. As anyone who follows professional sports knows, any time a team owner gives a coach or manager a vote of confidence, it’s code for “Don’t let the door hit you in the fanny on your way out.”

While there’s no sure way to predict who would replace Geithner, we can get a start on narrowing down the candidates. After all, if history tells us anything, it’s that whomever Obama appoints will be a tax cheat.

A number of people I like and respect believe it is disgraceful that Christine O’Donnell won the GOP primary in Delaware. I am not one of them. What I find disgraceful is that her opponent, Mike Castle, called himself a Republican and yet voted with the Democrats nearly as often as Henry Waxman.

Do I believe that Ms. O’Donnell is an ideal candidate? I do not. But, unfortunately, Ronald Reagan wasn’t available. I have heard that Ms. O’Donnell has a checkered past when it comes to money matters. Inasmuch as she’s never stiffed me, I really don’t care. When it comes to financial shenanigans, she’s a mere piker compared to Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and Barack Obama. She only loused up her own credit rating; those goobers loused up America’s. Her record does suggest that if she loses in the general election, she might land the gig as treasury secretary.

Those of you who might be surprised that I’d support someone with questionable character should get over it. When it comes to my friends and associates, I’m quite concerned with such matters; when it comes to politics, my concern is with how the candidate will vote once elected.

I found it rather astonishing that after her primary victory, Karl Rove dumped all over Ms. O’Donnell. It seems to me that if Mr. Rove regarded the Delaware election as so important, he should have gone there and campaigned for Mr. Castle. To wait until after the votes were counted to attack the duly elected Republican candidate strikes me as inexplicable, not to mention reprehensible. My theory is that when it comes to recognizing the power of the Tea Party movement, the only folks who are more disturbed than the Democrats are those former Republican king makers who cower at the thought they might be losing power and influence to the amateurs.

After Bill Maher ran a segment from one of his 1999 “Politically Incorrect” shows, on which young Ms. O’Donnell admitted she had once dated a kid who was into witchcraft, she was asked about her involvement with the occult. I thought her response was spot-on and funny, to boot. She pointed out she had been in high school at the time, and suggested that most people did stupid stuff in their teens. Then she added that if she were really into witchcraft, Karl Rove would probably be supporting her.

It strikes me that Rove, who enjoys being referred to as The Architect because he helped George Bush win two elections, can hardly claim to possess impeccable conservative credentials. For not only did Bush set Obama a bad example when it came to squandering tax dollars, but he and The Architect helped pave the way for Democratic victories in 2006 and 2008.

That reminds me that Obama and his cronies keep referring to “the last decade” in their sorry attempt to blame the Republicans for the present state of the nation. The truth, however, is that the GOP only ran things for the first six of those 10 years. Once the liberals took control of Congress in 2006, it was Dodd, Frank and Obama, along with their good friends at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who brought about the housing meltdown and the ensuing financial collapse. Since 2008, it’s been the Obama administration that has sent the national deficit soaring through the stratosphere.

Speaking of the silly season, it would be difficult to imagine anything goofier than giving Jew-hater Helen Thomas a journalism award, but that is exactly what the folks at the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have decided to do. It’s not often that an award tells you as much about those bestowing it as those receiving it. In fact, the only comparable occasions that spring to mind were when the Motion Picture Academy gave Oscars to Al Gore and Michael Moore; when the Norwegians gave the Nobel Peace Prize to Yasser Arafat, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama; and when an L.A. jury presented O.J. Simpson with a Not Guilty verdict.

Finally, though, for sheer zaniness, nothing quite compares to Jimmy Carter telling Leslie Stahl on “60 Minutes” that he had a successful administration, and only hopes that Barack Obama has an equally successful one.

Well, frankly, the way it’s been going so far these past two years, I guess I hope so, too.

©2010 Burt Prelutsky

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

The State of the Unions

by Burt Prelutsky

There was a time in my life, as well as the life of the nation, when unions were a positive force. There was a time when only through the power of collective bargaining that workers had the opportunity to be treated humanely, to be anything but the cheapest, most easily replaced, cogs in the wake of the industrial revolution. In those bad old days, machinery mattered, people didn’t.

Those days are long gone. By this time, the pendulum has swung so far over, so far to the left, that unions are now among the most vile and corrupt entities to be found on the American landscape.

One can almost long for a time when the worst thing one could say about union leaders like Dave Beck and Jimmy Hoffa is that they were in bed with the mob. Today, they’re in bed with Obama, Pelosi and Reid.

There are two very good reasons why when the unions say “Jump!” the Democrats never ask why, but only “How high?” One, thanks to the dues pouring in from their members month after month, the unions have hundreds of millions of dollars with which to finance political campaigns. Two, they are able to mobilize huge numbers of “volunteers” who are only too happy to do everything their pet candidates require, and that includes everything from stuffing envelopes to intimidating conservative voters.

Unions and the Democrats have what is called a symbiotic relationship. Like pilot fish, the little guys that aren’t eaten by sharks because they serve as dental floss -- clearing out food particles from between the shark’s teeth -- unions owe their prosperity, not to mention their very survival, to the land-based sharks, otherwise known as left-wing politicians.

There is a reason, after all, why the lawyers unions, the teachers unions, the UAW and, particularly, the SEIU, never have to go hat in hand to Obama. There is a reason why the former head of the SEIU, Andy Stern, who remains a close advisor of the president’s, has spent more time in the White House than Michelle Obama. And there is a reason why civil servants are now paid roughly 50% more in salary and pensions than those folks who battle it out in the competitive private sector, but who, nevertheless, are responsible for feathering the nests of those who lacked the courage or the drive or the talent to spurn the government teat. You don’t require a Ph.D, after all, to understand that there’s something rotten with a system that makes the rest of us the servants of so-called public servants.

But there are disgusting things about unions that even I was unaware of until I read Deroy Murdock’s article, “Hypocrisy is Big Labor’s Big Problem,” written for National Review Online.

For instance, Mr. Murdock reported that Jim Callaghan worked for 13 years writing speeches and newsletters for New York’s Federation of Teachers. But when one of his colleagues was fired without cause, Callaghan tried to organize his 12 fellow non-union writers. For that, he was sacked and given 30 minutes to vacate the premises.

Compare that to the years it takes to fire a unionized school teacher, including those guilty of sexually molesting their students.

The SEIU was picketed by its own members when 75 of the union’s non-union employees were fired because they had tried to organize as the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

If you’re a fan of irony and a student of hypocrisy, it gets even better.

When the Teamsters constructed their 16,246 square-foot union hall in Houston, they used non-union construction workers in order to keep down the costs. Obviously, they decided it was more important to send the money to the DNC than to waste it on their own members.

In similar fashion, when the AFL-CIO refurbished its Washington, D.C., headquarters, they hired non-union electricians and construction workers.

Some unions even go so far as to hire non-union people to picket employers for not hiring union members. The Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters paid non-union protestors to picket Washington’s McPherson Building for renovating with non-union carpenters. It goes without saying that these freelance picketers lack medical coverage, prevailing wages and, of course, union representation -- the very things the unions self-righteously demand of other employers.

So far as unions are concerned, we are all supposed to do as they say, not as they do.

Now you know why the Democrats will condemn Big Oil, Big Pharmaceuticals and Big Agriculture, three groups that provide us with the essentials of modern life, but will never utter a discouraging word about Big Unions or, for that matter, Big Government.

In the sleazy world of liberal politics, where hypocrisy is a way of life, unions can do no wrong. It is a world in which morality dies for lack of oxygen, where only money matters. In fact, the whole notion of do’s and don’t is turned on its head. In the end, for Democrats, it all comes down to dues and more dues.

©2010 Burt Prelutsky

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Monday, October 11, 2010

The Two Year Itch

by Burt Prelutsky

People used to talk about the seven year itch as the time in a marriage when one or both spouses was likely to start fantasizing about hooking up with another man or, as is more often the case, another woman. Well, I’ve reached that point. Not with my wife, you understand, but with Barack Obama.

The truth is, I wasn’t that into him even during the courtship. But after nearly two years, I have to say it’s just not working out, and it’s not just one thing. It’s everything.

Frankly, I’m surprised that his campaign, along with his books, didn’t red flag his red beliefs for more people. But I suspect that a lot of folks wanted to garner racial brownie points by voting for a black man and allowed their hearts to rule their heads.

Oscar Wilde once cynically observed that Niagara Falls was the second biggest disappointment in the life of a young American bride. I suspect that even more than his stimulus bill or ObamaCare, it was Obama’s insufferable arrogance that quickly ended the honeymoon he was having with the voters.

The man is so smug, over-bearing and self-aggrandizing, that he is, as he promised to be, the antithesis of George Bush, but not in a good way. Furthermore, I can’t believe that anybody ever thought he was eloquent. Without a Teleprompter, he turns into Porky Pig. I keep expecting him to end a press conference with “Th-Th-Th-That’s all, folks!”

Speaking of the Teleprompter, I believe I have finally figured out why he keeps breaking every sentence into two or three parts. I suspect that when he’s reading his speech and comes to the end of a line, he thinks he’s supposed to pause even if there’s not a comma or a period anywhere in the neighborhood. Try it yourself and you’ll see what I mean.

I realize that a president doesn’t ever want to paint a gloomy picture, lest he create a panic, but Obama’s lies are so blatant that he seems totally divorced from reality. For instance, every time the economic news is bad, which is just about every day, he tries to spin it to his advantage. For instance, when he pushed the stimulus, he claimed it would create or save three million jobs. At the time, I thought I was making a joke when I said that when he added “or save” to that sentence, it meant that if down the line there were still three million Americans who had jobs, he’d be taking credit. And sure enough, in spite of watching unemployment soar from 7.5% pre-stimulus to 9.6%, this buffoon is actually taking bows for having saved jobs!

The fellow I feel sorry for is Joe Biden. He’s the guy Obama sent out on the road to hype the economy. I’m reminded that kings employed food tasters, Mafia dons had their flunkies start the car in the morning and Obama used Biden to talk up recovery summer. I’m sure that if Obama ever has occasion to visit a coalmine, he’ll use Biden as his own personal canary.

Having suffered through recovery summer, most of us are waiting impatiently for recovery fall, which, this year, comes on November 2nd.

One of the more obnoxious exhibitions of hubris came when Obama threw out his rotator cuff patting himself on the back for pulling our troops out of Iraq. I realize that he couldn’t possibly bring himself to acknowledge that he and Biden had actively opposed the surge, but would it have killed him to acknowledge that George Bush displayed a lot of moxie when he went against what passes for political wisdom in Washington and turned ignominious defeat into a military victory?

Is Obama so disconnected from the American public, so emotionally tone-deaf, that he fails to understand that Americans despise glory hounds and appreciate good sportsmanship, whether it’s on the sports field or in the Oval Office?

Something else that annoys the heck out of me is having Mrs. Obama, who apparently regards herself as America’s own Nanny McPhee, constantly lecturing us about what our kids should be eating. How about if she gets off our backs and starts nagging her own husband? Every time I see him -- at least every time I see him off the golf links -- he’s scarfing down waffles, ice cream and cheeseburgers.

On the other hand, one of the few joys I have with the Obamas in the White House is imagining dinner time, with Michele pestering the kids to eat their greens, and little Malia pointing at the bozo-in-chief and saying, “Why do we have to eat broccoli when he’s having a hot fudge sundae?!”

©2010 Burt Prelutsky

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Mysterious Appeal of Polygamy and Obama

by Burt Prelutsky

I have never watched a TV series called Big Love, which deals with a polygamous family, so I have no opinion of the show. However, I was at a dinner party recently where a few people were discussing it. Nothing, I hasten to add, that was said made me want to tune in. Besides, between an occasional old movie, Bret Baier, The Factor and keeping up with the New York Yankees, I’m already watching more than enough. But it did get me thinking about the practice of polygamy.

Morality aside, I don’t see why it ever appealed to Mormons or Muslims. If you think about it for two minutes, you can see that it makes no sense. If anyone is going to have multiple spouses, it should be the woman, not the man. A man, after all, is a simple creature. By nature, he is not a multi-tasker. Working at the top of his game, he can barely manage to maintain a civilized relationship with one wife. The very idea that he is capable of keeping up with three or four or more wives makes me laugh.

For one thing, a normal wife doesn’t even want another woman setting foot in her kitchen and certainly not in her bathroom. For another thing, any time a polygamous husband hears laughter in his house, he knows who the ladies are laughing about. Worse yet, he has a pretty good idea what they’re laughing about.

On the other hand, a woman could easily juggle six or seven husbands. To start with, if she married wisely as well as often, she could have one husband who enjoys going to museums, another who likes going shopping, a third who like to travel, a fourth who lives to go dancing, a fifth who shares her belief that Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet is the greatest book ever written, a sixth who never gets tired of seeing Jennifer Aniston movies, and so forth. What’s more, at those times when the woman just wants to be alone, there are enough guys around for a poker game.

On a totally unrelated matter, I have to confess that when I heard how badly Time and Newsweek are doing these days, I had something of a religious experience. You see, I suddenly recalled that back in the 1970s, when the news magazines took a break from warning us about the coming Ice Age, they took great delight in announcing the demise of God. Well, as in the case of Mark Twain, apparently those reports were somewhat premature. With Time and Newsweek sounding their own death rattles, it appears that once again God is having the last laugh.

Speaking of God, have I mentioned lately how much I despise Barack Obama? Understand, it’s not just his politics I hate; it’s the man, himself.

This is the guy who silenced John McCain at what was supposed to be a bi-partisan meeting of the minds by giving him a look that might have turned a man who hadn’t survived several years at the Hanoi Hilton into stone, adding, “The election is over, John,” just in case the senator had somehow missed the contemptuous sneer.

Obama is the guy who is totally out of sync with the American public on everything from the stimulus to card checks to cap & trade to health reform and the Ground Zero mosque, and arrogantly assumes that he, alone, knows best.

This lunkhead, who is taking bows for bringing home soldiers from Iraq, lacks even the grace to acknowledge that while he and Sen. Joe Biden were voting against the surge, George Bush made it happen. I’m sure it doesn’t matter to Obama that it was thanks to the surge that, for a change, our warriors are coming home proud and victorious, not vanquished and depressed. But it makes a great deal of difference to the troops, to the families of those who never made it home and to those of us who actually believe that most of the nations of the world owe America either gratitude or an apology, and not the other way around.

Finally, I don’t care what religion Obama claims he follows. To my mind, being a Muslim would be an improvement over being the sort of person who’d attend Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s racist church for 20 years and have the gall to call himself a Christian. However, I am getting sick and tired of hearing that the reason he’s on the links and not in a church on Sunday is because he doesn’t want to be a distraction. If he’s so darn concerned about disrupting the lives of garden variety Americans, maybe he could stop flying into one city after another to raise money for the DNC. Perhaps from now on, he could simply send the fat cat Democrats a video, the way he did with the Boy Scouts.

It seems odd that the man who is so concerned about a few necks being stretched to catch a glimpse of His Fatuousness as he plants his royal rump in a church pew never seems to give a second thought to tens of thousands of commuters who are stuck in traffic jams so that he and his Teleprompter can get to yet another fund-raiser for Barbara Boxer or Patty Murray.

Still, I can’t help finding it a bit ironic that the man who obviously believes he can walk on water and multiply the loaves -- although his own approach is to take loaves from those who have them and hand out them out to those who don’t have them and aren’t inclined to work for them -- feels that his mere presence would create mass hysteria inside a church, of all places.

©2010 Burt Prelutsky

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Sex, Lies and the Movies

by Burt Prelutsky

One of the reasons that movies today are so devoid of compelling characters and engrossing plots is that the folks who make them are, more often than not, too young and too isolated from humanity. That’s not to say that writers and directors in their 20s and 30s can’t be talented, but, as a rule, what they have are a passel of petty grievances (the studios, their agents, the deals, other people’s success, etc.); what they lack is wisdom. They simply haven’t lived long enough or suffered enough major losses -- friends, parents, spouses, children -- to have developed a grown-up’s philosophy.

Perhaps that also helps to explain why nearly all of them are liberals. When all that one hears all day long is left-wing claptrap -- and especially when future employment demands acquiescence to the prevailing tenets -- it’s easy to understand the half-baked inanities these wienies so arrogantly espouse. They speak of tolerance as if it’s something they copyrighted, but they despise everyone who isn’t in lockstep with them. Although they make their living with words, when it comes to debating the opposition, they rely on a mantra of “racist,” “fascist,” “bigot” and “homophobe.”

This isolation from large segments of the population, relying strictly on other members of the industry for one’s social and intellectual life, might also explain why even major stars subscribe to the blathering of someone like Barack Obama, who carries on very much like a movie star.
It occurred to me that even without make-up, stars don’t seem to age at the same rate as the rest of us. It’s not all thanks to Botox and plastic surgery, hairpieces and stomach stapling. When you’re a movie star, as rich as Midas, as pampered as Madame Pompadour, you are spared all the day-to-day travails that wear down the rest of us. Stars have drivers, managers, secretaries, gofers and nannies, to take care of all their needs -- everything from picking up his dry cleaning to raising the kids.

A tragedy in a star’s life is getting a smaller trailer than the female lead. A hardship in that world is having to get up early in the morning so that some guy who had to wake up even earlier can chauffeur him to the studio, where someone else will dress him and apply his makeup, so that a third person can then guide him safely around the scenery and tell him how to say his lines.

Except that he may have less time for golf and vacations, it’s a lot like being the president. One main difference is that the star has to pay for his own bodyguards, while the rest of us have to pay for the president’s.

Living that sort of privileged life, even Methuselah, on his deathbed, wouldn’t have looked a day over 450.

Warren Beatty once said that at some point in his life, every man should experience being a motion picture star. His message was that such fortunate individuals never have to pursue women because women pursue them. He’s right, of course. The odd thing is that movie stars don’t have to look like young Mr. Beatty or Brad Pitt to be chick magnets. I have known a lot of actors, a great many of whom looked more like me than they did like George Clooney, but even they had to beat off women with a stick; although, truth be told, they generally left the stick in the closet or out in the tool shed.

It took me a long time to figure out the attraction. I finally decided that women spend a good deal of their time fantasizing and, so, when they are with a professional actor, it seems only natural to fantasize they are co-starring in a movie, even if it’s X-rated.

I suspect that an additional bonus is that any guilt they might otherwise have experienced over having sex with a perfect, or perhaps I should say, an imperfect stranger, is easily dispelled by the notion that it was only a movie after all, and that, like every ditsy actress who’s ever done a tacky nude scene, she, too, was merely doing it for her art!

©2010 Burt Prelutsky

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Stephen J. Cannell, R.I.P.

Burt and Yvonne send their condolences to the Cannell family. Stephen J. Cannell passed away last night from complications of melanoma. He was 69.

Burt writes: “I just got home and saw the nice tribute to Steve. I read my piece and it brought tears to my eyes. As I recall, I compared him to the Lone Ranger at the end. He was one hell of a mensch. The world is a lesser place today.”

Steve Cannell chose Burt to write this tribute when the Writers Guild of America, West honored Cannell with the Paddy Chayefsky Award:

Stephen J. Cannell Tribute