Wednesday, July 10, 2013

ODDS & ENDS

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by Burt Prelutsky

I confess that there is a part of me that envies my fellow commentators their ability to focus on a single topic. I honestly don’t know how they do it. I write three, sometimes four, pieces a week and I still wind up feeling like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, going nuts trying to keep up.

For instance, I was watching a Yankees/Angels baseball game recently when it was announced that through the American Forces Network, the game was being watched by members of the U.S. military in 175 countries and on ships at sea. I was floored! Our military is stationed in 175 countries?! That’s nearly as many countries as are represented at the U.N. Aside from propping up a large number of local economies with our tax dollars, what the heck are they doing over there? I say if we’re going to have that many people in uniform, I suggest we move most of them from their foreign posts and reposition them at our southern border, where they could actually do some good.

Speaking of tax dollars, the estimated cost of the trip the Obama family is taking to Africa is $100 million. Well, it’s no wonder those tours of the White House had to be cancelled for lack of funds.

The stated purpose of the trip is “re-affirming partnerships with sub-Saharan powers and emphasizing the importance of global health programs, including HIV/AIDS prevention.” What I’m dying to know is what exactly is the nature of those partnerships, and how does the U.S. profit from partnering with Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania? Also, just when exactly will these folks finally learn how to avoid contracting AIDS? It’s really not that difficult a lesson to absorb.

We’ve all heard of limiting certain information to those members of Congress with a need-to-know. I think it’s time we placed limitations on Obama and his crew of freeloaders based on need-to-go. Our tax dollars are not intended to be squandered on sightseeing tours for Michelle and the kids or to jet Barack around to fund-raising events.

I have nothing against Malia and Sasha. In fact, they seem a lot nicer than most of the children who have moved into the White House over the past 40 years or so. But I can’t help wondering if Obama hasn’t been a bad influence when it comes to everybody else’s kids. I can picture parents coming home to discover a broken lamp or a mess in the kitchen, and asking little Bobby what he can tell them about it. Well, if he’s been paying any attention at all to this administration, he’ll know to answer, “I really can’t comment while an ongoing investigation is currently underway.”

In other somewhat related matters, I heard Hillary Clinton insist that she is a breaker of glass ceilings. There is nothing left-wing women prize more than busting through those male-imposed limitations. I still recall Nancy Pelosi boasting of cracking the glass when she became the Speaker of the House, although that only meant that she had garnered 100,000 votes in a San Francisco congressional district that is predominantly homosexual and then garnering another 120 votes or so from her fellow House Democrats. It was hardly akin to finding a cure for cancer. And as we saw during her tenure as Speaker, when she demanded a large military jet for her private use, the glass ceiling never really stood a chance against her massively expanding ego.

In Hillary Clinton’s case, she can’t even claim to be the first woman to have done anything. She wasn’t the first crooked female lawyer, the first wife of an Arkansas governor, the first arrogant First Lady, the first do-nothing U.S. Senator, the first female to seek her party’s presidential nomination, the first female Secretary of State or even, for heaven’s sake, the first woman to have ever married a serial adulterer.

Admittedly, she was the first female Secretary of State to have overseen the massacre of four Americans and then gone on to testify that it really didn’t matter who committed the murders, but I doubt if she had that in mind.

Recently, I heard a different female lawyer, one who has devoted several years to offering legal services to Guantanamo detainees, complain that the federal government has been monitoring her communications. To which I say, good for the feds! I mean, can you even imagine spending four years in college, three years in law school and then passing the bar exam, just so that you could then devote your life to defending jihadists? I think that if I worked for the NSA and I was wondering whose calls warranted monitoring, I would start with hers.

Even though the year is barely half over, I think I can announce the winner of the 2013 prize for unmitigated gall. That would be Michael Blair, who was sentenced to death in Texas for the murder of a seven-year-old child in 1994. He was still alive several years later when DNA testing showed him to be innocent of the crime.

However, while behind bars, Blair confessed to raping two other children, crimes for which he’s currently serving multiple life sentences. Now, however, Blair, who has given new meaning to chutzpah, is suing the state of Texas for a million dollars over the original murder conviction.

Finally, in the competition for the Biggest Sap of the Year, we have multiple winners, as is often the case. Sharing the title will be everyone who insists that Edward Snowden, the treasonous blockhead who leaked secrets about the National Security Agency, is a hero. However you may feel about the NSA, the notion that someone whose main concern is allegedly the infringement of human rights and civil liberties would seek sanctuary in China, hardly the cradle of democracy, strongly suggests a major disconnect not only with political realities, but with reality in general.

One can only assume that the freedom-loving Snowden picked China because Delta doesn’t have a direct flight to North Korea.



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