Friday, February 20, 2015

Canapes for Republicans

I fully grasp why some people object to the way I tend to hop from topic to topic. They would prefer if, like all the other pundits, I stuck to one subject. The truth is that I, too, would prefer it that way. However, at the rate at which the world displays its insanity, even with three or four articles a week and half a dozen or so items in each one of them, I keep falling behind. So try to bear with me.

The other day I was watching an Islamic peace conference taking place in Norway. The main speaker seemed to be an agreeable sort. He wasn’t calling for jihad or threatening to behead anyone. In fact, his whole purpose was to let the world know that he, along with the several hundred Muslims in attendance, were not radicals. They were just typical run-of-the-mosque followers of Islam.

He asked for a show of hands as he asked a series of questions. A few I jotted down were whether women should be stoned to death for committing adultery, whether homosexuals should all be killed and whether men and women should always sit separately at public gatherings. To all three, everyone in the auditorium raised his hand in agreement.

And yet President Obama sees no difference between these people and all those self-righteous Christians riding around on their high horses.

Eric Holder, on his way out the door, is taking bows for cleaning up George Bush’s politicized Justice Department. This coming from the guy who refused to indict the Black Panthers for intimidating white voters; who traveled to Ferguson, MO, to express his support of a black thug and the black vandals who torched the town; who has backed every unconstitutional power grab by the President; and who, for good measure, has Al Sharpton on speed dial.

It only took the Pentagon five years to finally decide that Major Nidal Hasan was an Islamic terrorist and not your typical workplace whack-job, so that the survivors and the families of those who didn’t survive the massacre could be awarded Purple Hearts and the benefits that go with them. To better appreciate what the Pentagon has become over the past couple of decades, keep in mind that it took us less time to wage and win World War II.

The fact that it was Germany and France that met with Russia to determine the fate of Ukraine reminds me that it was England and France that met with Germany to determine the fate of Czechoslovakia 77 years ago. Once again, it’s like three wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner.

One is hearing a lot about Common Core these days, both pro and con. Just for the record, I am all for schools having academic standards. But these days, when the graduates of teachers colleges are all left-wingers and their unions are so deep into the pocket of the DNC, they have actually learned to breathe lint, I wouldn’t trust them to teach the alphabet. The defenders of Common Core insist it’s not a federal project because it was concocted by the governors. What they ignore is that funding for Common Core would come from the federal government, and most governors would trade their birthright for a bowl of federal porridge.

Besides, I have read enough of the Common Core mission statement to know that it is a lot of high-sounding rhetoric that reads like every other piece of bureaucratic claptrap.

Unlike many on the Right, I approve of state lotteries. I know that do-gooders hate them, arguing that those who can least afford to take part are those most likely to venture a dollar or two a week on them. In response, I say that the buck isn’t going to make any real difference in their lives, but for a tiny investment, they are buying themselves a pot load of hope, a commodity I have found to be priceless in my own life.

The only thing about lotteries that I don’t like is that something like 40% of the gross apparently goes to fund public schools. We all know that’s just a P.R. tactic to put a good face on state-supported gambling. Feeling as I do about public schools, I personally would prefer to have that money added to the payouts.

I was sent a copy of Charles Krauthammer’s book, “Things That Matter,” for my birthday. Because it is a collection of his old columns and not a book with a plot, I haven’t been able to build up a head of steam. It’s not that I don’t like it – the writing is quite elegant – just that it’s a book easier to lay down than to pick up.

The piece that I have enjoyed the most is the one in which Krauthammer voiced an opinion about whether a statue of FDR should show him seated on a regular chair or in his wheelchair. At the time the decision was made, I favored the wheelchair, regarding that as the more honest depiction. However, Krauthammer changed my mind by arguing that FDR spent most of his adult life behaving as if the wheelchair and the circumstances that landed him in one were inconsequential.

The reason Krauthammer could change my mind is because of my own experience with him. Some years ago, I went with a friend to hear him speak. Because his plane was late arriving in L.A., the audience had grown restless. Finally, he showed up…in a wheelchair! I was shocked and assumed he had suffered a recent injury. Only later did I discover that he had been paralyzed ever since diving into a swimming pool and hitting bottom while still in college.

Until that evening, I had always assumed when I saw him on TV that he simply had extraordinarily good posture.

If Krauthammer, who has spent 45 of his extraordinary 65 years in a wheelchair, thinks FDR should be seated in a regular chair, his vote trumps mine.

It seems that Oregon’s strippers are appealing to the state legislators to impose better health and safety requirements in the clubs where they perform. The legislators have promised to consider it. When asked how they could stoop to deal with such a scuzzy crowd, the strippers said they had no alternative.

In other news, a lady in Florida – Maxxzandra (and wouldn’t that name be worth a zillion points in Scrabble if it weren’t a proper noun?!) – Ford gave birth to baby Avery, who weighed in at 14.1 pounds. Mrs. Ford wasn’t even aware that she was pregnant until her 35th week. I suppose she thought it was just taking a very long time to digest the bowling ball she’d had at Thanksgiving.

Word has it that Avery was born not only with a full head of hair, but with a mustache, a beard and a contract to play left guard for the Chicago Bears.

Finally, from the Department of Beware What You Pray For: In 1976, when Bruce Jenner was 26, he won the Olympic gold medal in the decathlon and was pronounced the world’s greatest athlete. As a result, boys all over the world prayed they’d grow up to be just like him.

As a result, there are now millions of 50-year-old men who are hoping that God didn’t take them seriously.

©2015 Burt Prelutsky. Comments?