Wednesday, February 12, 2014

VEXATIONS

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by Burt Prelutsky

Income inequality is very much in the wind because Obama keeps whining about it, convinced that resentment over the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Ted Turner and their billions will lead people to vote for Democrats in November.

This is sloppy thinking for several reasons. One, even if those guys didn’t exist, I’d be no richer than I am today. Two, this administration has done nothing to diminish the inequality; in fact, during the past few years, wealthy people have seen their fortunes increase enormously, while the poor and the middle class have fallen even further back than they were when the Obamas moved into the White House. And, finally, Gates, Buffet and Turner, along with billionaires Oprah Winfrey, David Geffen, Russell Simmons and the Weinstein brothers, are all card-carrying Democrats.

For that matter, the Obamas are worth roughly $11 million and I’m betting that between 2017 and 2024, they will out-distance the Clintons, who piled up $100 million between 2001 and 2007.

The former governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, and his wife are up to their heinies in sewage because they received $124,000 in cash and gifts from Jonnie Williams, the owner of a diet supplementary company called Star Scientific. Let it be said that used car salesmen look down on those involved in the diet supplementary business. Especially if he’s the sort of slippery operator who spells his name Jonnie.

The ex-governor claims he did nothing unseemly to garner such lavish symbols of affection as Rolex watches and a top of the line wardrobe for Mrs. O’Donnell. For her part, when their troubles began coming to light, the missus told her staff that she and the governor were broke, and therefore needed all the gifts they could get their mitts on. What nobody has been able to explain is how, once the couple felt the hot breath of the investigators on their necks, the weasels were suddenly able to re-pay the $124,000. If you’re anything like me, you can’t help wondering who bailed them out.

What is it with the Olympic Committee? It’s one thing for the U.N. to throw its doors open to the most corrupt nations on earth, but why allow Vladimir Putin to host a major event on the world stage? I think we’d all agree that 78 years is a long time. Surely, it’s more than enough time for the Olympians to have learned that handing the torch over to Adolf Hitler in 1936 was a lousy idea.

The latest stat that’s been floating around insists that the 85 richest people in the world have as much money as the poorest 3.5 billion people. I don’t know if it’s even true, but so what? It’s not as if wealthy people bury their money in the backyard. If those 85 people are starting companies, hiring people, building hospitals, financing medical research and supporting the arts, how is that not better than dividing their money so that each of those 3.5 billion people can have an extra fifty bucks to blow on Twinkies, cigarettes and lottery tickets?

Because I’m a fan of the New York Yankees, a few people have asked me what I thought of the teams’ offseason acquisitions. Assuming that the entire team doesn’t wind up in the hospital, as happened last season, I’d say that the addition of Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Masahiro Tanaka, has to help. In fact, I said, on paper, the team looks as good as any of Joe Torre’s Yankee teams of the late 90s. Then I went on to suggest that the Yankees might be wise to consider ripping up the grass in Yankee Stadium and playing the entire season on paper.

My advice to politicians is that if they’re going to accept bribes, be sure it’s in the untraceable form of cash. I understand that used 20s and 50s work best. The fact is that once you start flaunting $15,000 wristwatches and Versace gowns, even stupid people are going to begin noticing.

As long as I’m advising Republican politicians, I wouldn’t want to short change Democrats. So, here goes: Wendy Davis, I understand that everyone likes to pad their resume a little bit. So what if you didn’t spend years in a trailer park? So what if it was one of your ex-husbands who financed your time at Harvard, and that you didn’t pay your own way selling matchbooks while huddled in the snow? Heck, if I’m going to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t First Team All American at Notre Dame, I was not the second person to walk on the moon and I did not earn the Medal of Honor.

Some people are going to hear what they want to hear. I get that. But when you defend your lies by first falsely claiming that your opponent, Greg Abbott, blew the whistle on you, and then suggest that a man who has been a paraplegic since 1984, when an oak tree fell on him, should walk a mile in your shoes, don’t be too surprised if Texas voters decide that you are basically an ungrateful brat who should roll a mile on his wheels before opening your silly yap.


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