Vegetables, Vampires & Ron Paul

Political prognosticators are a lot like Iowa and New Hampshire in that it’s only every four years that people pay them any attention. Something you can always count on is that at some point they’ll stop gazing into crystal balls and reading tea leaves long enough to remind us that the taller presidential candidate tends to win elections and that the candidate with the longer name has an even better track record. Occasionally, such notable exceptions as Richard Nixon and George W. Bush break the rules, but it’s pretty rare.

While studying up on the subject, I discovered that Barack Obama isn’t 6’4”, as I had assumed, but only 6’1”. That led me to wonder if one of the prerequisites to being invited to join his administration was to be short so that he can always appear to tower over advisors and cabinet members. I mean, 6-1 is certainly above average, but nobody that height would invariably be the tallest person in a group, unless the Small People of America was holding its annual convention.

Ron Paul

Just for the record, Mitt Romney is 6’2, while Newt Gingrich is 6 feet even, although his weight makes him appear shorter. Both have longer last names than Obama; make of that what you will.

Speaking of the GOP contenders reminds me that if Timothy McVeigh hadn’t existed, Ron Paul would have had to invent him. I mean, has there ever been an occasion when sane people have been discussing the existential danger of Islamic extremists when Rep. Paul hasn’t felt it necessary to climb aboard his portable soap box and remind us all that native-born terrorist McVeigh was not a Muslim? Apparently at some time in the distant past, someone told the congressman that he had come up with an excellent reason not to take the fight to Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the Iranian mullahs, but someone should tell Mr. Paul that it’s not quite the argument clincher he seems to think it is.

Thanks to the GOP debates, people once again are talking about illegal aliens. One of the sillier things they’re saying is that we should inaugurate a guest workers program. With millions of unemployed Americans, do we really need to import workers? Of course, like everybody else, I have always heard about those jobs that Americans won’t do. I just don’t know what jobs they are. Would those be in hospitals, hotels, restaurants and the construction industry? Funny, but I seem to recall Americans doing that sort of thing.

Or perhaps they’re referring to jobs involved with agriculture. If so, I’m confused. It seems to me that with 12 to 15 million illegal aliens already here, we’d have sufficient numbers to pick the damn crops. Heck, if farmers paid a decent wage — and with all that expensive machinery and expensive acreage, you’d think they could somehow manage to swing it — I suspect they’d have to beat off able-bodied workers with a stick.

If it truly is impossible to grow lettuce, pay people a reasonable salary to harvest it, and still turn a profit, maybe we could simply start up the slave trade again. At least those folks wouldn’t expect welfare, in-state tuition and the right to vote. Or, if all else fails, we could simply get the “L” out of BLTs.

Finally, to show the depths to which America has fallen, radio talk show host Michael Medved recently disclosed that the two most popular names for newborns these days are Jacob and Isabella. I happen to think that both names are rather nice. The only problem is that the reason for their popularity is that they happen to be the names of the two main characters in the “Twilight” movie series devoted to vampires.

I suppose we should all be grateful that an earlier generation had more sense than that or today a lot of us running around would be named Vampira or Dracula.

©2011 Burt Prelutsky.Comments? Write!

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Author Bio:

Burt Prelutsky, a very nice person once you get to know him, has been a humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine. As a freelancer, he has written for the New York Times, Washington Times, TV Guide, Modern Maturity, Emmy, Holiday, American Film, and Sports Illustrated. For television, he has written for Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Bob Newhart, Family Ties, Dr. Quinn and Diagnosis Murder. In addition, he has written a batch of terrific TV movies. View Burt’s IMDB profile. Talk about being well-rounded, he plays tennis and poker... and rarely cheats at either. He lives in the San Fernando Valley, where he takes his marching orders from a wife named Yvonne and a dog named Angel.
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  • Mike Jackson

    Both Vampira and Dracula seem appropriate names for political prognosticators, particularly of the left. I’d suggest calling them bottom feeding pond scum but that might unfairly insult any fish living in the vicinity.

  • Burt Prelutsky

    cma: We are in complete agreement. What seems absurd to me is that Rep. Paul would never suggest that a state, a province, a city, town or village, could make do without police, he doesn’t seem to think that a world overrun with ambitious secular tyrants and Islamic jihadists requires America to carry out that role.

    Best, Burt

  • Burt Prelutsky

    cma: I certainly did not intend to slight Canada. Yours is a fine country. Every nation should have such a fine neighbor. I was merely pointing out that the U.S. has roughly ten times your population and nobody can legitimately expect Canada to take the lead in policing a world that more and more, thanks mainly to Russia, China and Islam, requires policing. I join Michael in extending kudos to your son.

    Regards, Burt

    • cmacrider

      Burt: I did not take your original comments as a slight. I was merely attempting to point out to people like R. Paul who criticize American foreign policy that to suggest being benign is a solution has no foundation in reality.

  • cmacrider

    Burt & Mr. Lamb
    Mr. Lamb said “Canada does not have our foreign problems and we could learn from that.” which I take to mean that Canada has no terrorist threats.

    Burt said “Canada doesn’t have our problems because Canada, a very nice country, has a smaller population than California. It is not a world power. Nobody expects it to police a very nasty world.”

    Let me as a Canadian suggest that you are both partially correct which obviously means that you are also partially incorrect.

    Mr. Lamb’s suggestion that Canada doesn’t have a terrorist problem because we are more pacific on the international stage is not founded in facts. Canada had domestic terrorism back in the 70’s (date could be wrong) when a bunch of Quebec Separatists kidnapped and killed a British foreign consulate. “Nice Canada” reacted by declaring a national state of emergency in which the military rolled into Ottawa and occupied the streets. They then proceeded (under emergency powers) to forcibly enter houses without warrants and proceeded to round up all these terrorists an put them in jail. Since 9/11 our Joint Task Force (equivalent to the Seals) has been active in covert operations around the world because we have uncovered several terrorist threat including a concerted plan to bomb the Parliament buildings. In actions sanctioned by the U.N. including the first Iraq war, Canadians had boots on the ground. As you are aware, we were in Afghanistan for almost 10 years in a combat role with soldiers like my son serving multiple tours.
    Point: Ron Paul’s assumption of a more passive foreign policy does not deter these terrorists.

    Burt: You are correct that Canada is simply too small to be the world’s policeman. However, that doesn’t preclude us from taking some very clear stances … e.g. we are explicitly pro Israel even if that causes some festering in some Arab circles … We cut off illegal Mexican immigration by demanding they have passports (although the same does not apply to Americans) even if that caused consternation with the Mexican government …. we rounded up and prosecute demonstrators when the Boston Bruins beat Vancouver in the Stanley Cup finals. (This last situation was an error as we should have rounded up and incarcerated the Boston Bruins … but everybody makes mistakes)

    Point: The “nice Canadians” don’t seem to do things much differently than the “terrible” Americans … it’s just that we aren’t a superpower entrusted with the leadership of the defence of the free world.

    • Michael


      You are certainly correct about Canadian forces in Afghanistan, and I know for a fact that certain Canadian combat units were giving the Taliban the “what for” in a way that would make any army proud. I salute your son and his Canadian Forces comrades. Canadians also took good care of us (my unit) a few times in Haiti, a place where a lot more went on than the idiots in the media are aware of. Canadian forces contribute to peacekeeping missions in some downright deplorable places and conditions. Again, I salute them.

      As for all that stuff about measures taken in Canada, such as rolling in the military and forcibly entering houses without warrants and all that . . . all I can say is just don’t let them shut down Tim Hortons. Then the terrorists will really have won. :)

      • cmacrider

        Michael: thanks for the reply: BTW … the reason the Bruins won the Stanley Cup is because they were the better team. (The Bruins are an old favourite of mine)

  • Burt Prelutsky

    Mr. Lamb: I don’t recall the Founding Fathers objecting to aligning with France against England. I don’t recall Jefferson letting the Barbary pirates get away with their mischief on the high seas even if it meant inventing the Marines and sending them thousands of miles away to deal with the Muslim troublemakers. We do out of necessity sometimes forge temporary alliances, whether it’s with Saudi radicals, Saddam Hussein or the Stalin’s Soviet Union.

    We do agree about the drug cartels and our borders, but it is not one thing or the other that should concern us. Ron Paul is okay with a nuclear Iran; I am not.

    Canada doesn’t have our problems because Canada, a very nice country, has a smaller population than California. It is not a world power. Nobody expects it to police a very nasty world.

    Regards, Burt

  • John Lamb

    Ron Paul’s bringing up Mc Veigh may not be the best of arguments, however it does not eliminate the U.S. role in supporting Saudi radicals from 1979 until 1989 who eventually morphed into Al Quaida, or U.S. supporting Sadam Hussein throughout the 1980’s with weapons and money in his war with Iran only to have those same weapons used on our troops, or the U.S. overthrow of a duly elected official in Iran in 1954 in Operation Ajax to guarantee oil profits for Britain, or any number of U.S. foreign interventions that have come back to haunt us. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both warned about getting involved in foreign entanglements. Canada does not have our foreign problems and we could learn from that. U.S. businesses have practically invaded every area on the globe from Cuba to Iran and we the average American pay for it in high taxes and the blood of our young people. None of this justifies terrorism or 9/11, but to ignore our own faults and not learn from our past mistakes only guarantees future problems. On the other hand, our borders are a joke. A nation cannot sustain itself without proper borders. If we would spend the time and energy securing our borders as we do interfering in other nation’s issues we would find ourselves much safer. The average American has more to fear from the Mexican cartels that are shooting up cities like L.A. and flooding our streets with drugs than they do from the rest of the world.