Monday, April 22, 2013


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by Burt Prelutsky

There are only two daily shows I watch on Fox. The first is Bret Baier’s “Special Report.” The other is Bill O’Reilly’s “The Factor.”

Because I record everything I watch, I am able to fast forward through the commercials on Baier’s show. When it comes to O’Reilly, I will often fast forward not only through his commercials, but through segments in which Bob Beckel, Leslie Marshall, Alan Colmes, Geraldo Rivera, Juan Williams, Lis Wiehl, Kimberly Guilfoyle and/or Marc Lamont Hill, appear. Some nights, I can fly through the entire hour in about eight or nine minutes.

In fact, if it weren’t for Bernie Goldberg, Charles Krauthammer, Megyn Kelly, Lou Dobbs and, to a lesser degree, Dennis Miller, I wouldn’t tune in at all.

A while back, I got caught up in watching O’Reilly get fired up over same-sex marriages. One night, he claimed that too many people who opposed them did so for no other reason than their religious beliefs, and he didn’t think that “Bible-thumpers” were in a position to persuade those who disagreed with them. I had to concede his point. After all, if people weren’t religious, it stood to reason that they wouldn’t be swayed by arguments based on gospel.

However, I was shocked by his reference to Bible-thumpers. And so was Laura Ingraham, who appeared as a guest on his show the following evening. Viewers must have thought O’Reilly’s head was going to explode. He kept shouting her down each time she merely tried to explain that Bible-thumper was a demeaning term. Frankly, I half-expected her to walk off. But I guess she enjoys the perk of occasionally sitting in for O’Reilly too much to offend the blowhard. So she sat there and allowed him to treat her like an obnoxious brat.

Making things even worse was his denying that he had used the term, but had merely said, “Bible-thumping.” I waited in vain for Ms. Ingraham to ask him who it is exactly who engages in Bible-thumping if not Bible-thumpers.

That evening, I sent him an email. I didn’t really expect him to post it; after all, he had never posted any of my other messages, even though I do try to make them pithy. For the longest time, in fact, I’ve written them for no other reason than to share them with friends.

I wrote: “However you may have intended it, ‘Bible thumper’ is a derogatory term for a Christian, especially a fundamentalist or evangelical. You might as well have referred to religious nutburgers. Also, why would you urge letter writers to The Factor, as you did tonight, to not be ‘prescient.’ The word, after all, refers to someone possessing foresight.”

As I assumed, my note wasn’t posted, so now I’m once again sharing it with friends.

Like many people, I assumed that the problem with American politics was that most politicians are ex-lawyers. I figured that such was not the case in earlier times. Was I ever wrong! Although Washington and Jefferson were not members of the legal profession, 25 of the 43 presidents were, including John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Madison, Monroe and Van Buren.

The only conclusions I could draw from the list was that we’ve done reasonably well with former members of the military, if we limit it to the likes of Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Truman and Kennedy; and actors, if we limit it to professionals, such as Ronald Reagan, and not to such rank amateurs as LBJ, Nixon, Carter, Clinton and Obama.

Something I don’t understand is how it is that welfare reform was passed back in the mid- 90s, but today we have 47 million people getting food stamps and another 14 million collecting disability checks. And how is it that just a few years ago, unless I was hallucinating, Congress banned earmarks, but the relief bill for the victims of Hurricane Sandy was held up because so many legislators had added earmarks totaling untold millions of dollars in pet projects?

Also, how is it, I find myself wondering, that when their guy is in the White House, Democrats will spend trillions of tax dollars successfully pursuing the votes of women, blacks and illegal aliens, whereas Republicans will squander only slightly less money, but wind up buying no votes at all? Which reminds me of a question someone recently sent me: What’s the difference between genius and stupidity? Answer: There’s a limit to genius.

To bolster his argument that the Sequester would wreak financial havoc with the economy, Obama announced he is taking a five percent cut in his salary. That means that instead of receiving $33,333 on the first of every month, he will only receive $31,666. I, for one, hope that doesn’t mean that Michelle will have to start wearing last week’s dresses.

As symbolic acts go, you have to admit it’s pretty lame. I mean, does Obama even pay for his own golf balls? He certainly didn’t pay the freight to fly out here to California to co- host a recent DNC fund-raising event with Nancy Pelosi. I’m betting we even have to pay for those ice cream cones he’s always noshing on when he’s vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard.

The biggest laugh Obama has handed me recently wasn’t, as you may have guessed, his sinking just two of the 22 shots he took, trying to show off for the kids on Easter Sunday. Rather, it was his announcement that he wants to teach America’s youth how to budget responsibly.

Is the man so completely oblivious that he doesn’t realize that with his cavalier approach to a $17 trillion national debt and an annual trillion dollar deficit, it would make far more sense if he announced he was going to teach our young people how to shoot baskets?

©2013 Burt Prelutsky. Comments?

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