Items of Interest

Recently, in writing an article in which I was bemoaning all the tax dollars Obama blew on Solyndra, I typed $500 “billion” before I realized I had meant to type $500 “million.” Fortunately, I corrected it before the article was posted. The reason I’m mentioning it is to acknowledge that we are all prone to error, and in this case I wasn’t even under any pressure. So I can certainly empathize with people running for president when they suffer a brain freeze, the way Cain did when asked how he felt about the way Obama had handled Libya, and Gov. Perry did when asked which three departments of government he would cut.

I can even empathize with Cain’s asking how to say “delicious” in Cuban. In fact, it reminded me of Obama’s referring to the Austrian language, known to the rest of us as German. That, in turn, reminded me of his referring to 57 states, which in turn reminded me that he recently placed Hawaii in Asia, which inevitably reminded me that he had mentioned an intercontinental railroad as one of the things he hoped to build if only Congress would pass a second stimulus bill.

In short, we all make mistakes, but it’s only when a Republican makes a gaffe that the MSM feels it’s worth mentioning and that the pathetic likes of David Letterman, Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow, insist on beating into the ground.

With all the recent evidence of insider trading going on in Washington, I found myself wondering if I could resist the temptation if I were Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner or John Kerry. I decided that I probably couldn’t. I’d like to think that I’d be as strong and moral as a Christian martyr, but I don’t see canonization anywhere in my future. I’m afraid there won’t be any little Saint Burts bobbing around on anyone’s dashboard.

Bill O'Reilly

Bill O’Reilly

What is needed is a law that makes it just as illegal for members of Congress to engage in insider stock trading as it was for Martha Stewart. Unfortunately, as with term limits, the folks in a position to do something about it are the very same creeps who have a rooting interest in maintaining the status quo.

I heard recently that in 1790, there were only 20 different federal crimes on the books. Today, there are 4,500. I don’t think it’s asking too much that there be 4,501.

In case any Republican intends to stay home on November 6 if his pet candidate doesn’t get the GOP nomination, I’d like to remind them that in just three years Obama placed Sotomayor and Kagan on the Supreme Court. If, God forbid, Scalia or Thomas had died or retired during that time, there’s no question that ObamaCare would be ruled constitutional next year. So when you’re sitting home pouting because Herman Cain or Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman or Ron Paul, doesn’t win the nomination, ask yourself who you want to see selecting the next justices, Barack Obama or somebody with an (R) after his name.

I’m sure there were some boneheads who were offended when Mrs. Obama was booed at the last NASCAR event of the year. There are always going to be those who are easily offended by almost anything. The fact is she deserved to be booed. Those who showed their displeasure were letting her know that they knew this was just a clumsy P.R. stunt to garner a few votes for her husband. I have no way of knowing whether it was NASCAR or the White House that decided it would be a great idea to give the First Lady the honor of saying “Start your engines,” but there’s more than enough blame to go around.

This is the woman, as NASCAR’s patriotic fans surely remembered, who said that she had never had reason to be proud of America until her husband deigned to run for president. For his part, her husband was the schmuck who went to San Francisco and curried favor with a bunch of rich liberals by referring to the very people who comprise the majority of the NASCAR faithful as “those folks who cling to their guns and their religion.”

Bill O’Reilly, ever the high school instructor, likes to teach his audience a new word just about every day. The only problem is that he insists on introducing arcane words that everyone forgets five seconds after he goes off the air. I mean, how often are you going to sneak “bulkateer,” meaning a person who overlooks meritorious behavior, into your conversation? Try it even once and you’re going to get weird looks and just maybe a punch in the nose.

Instead, judging by the email I often receive, he should focus on teaching people the difference between “your” and “you’re,” “its” and “it’s,” and “there,” “their” and “they’re.”

It really makes you wonder what they’re teaching in public schools these days besides how to keep a banana from getting another banana pregnant.

©2011 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write!

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Late Night Lip Service

Anytime Bill O’Reilly is a guest on David Letterman’s show, viewers are guaranteed to witness an entertaining exchange. Thursday night was no exception. As usual, Letterman’s tone was irritable and adversarial as he quickly shot through a cue carded list of political topics with O’Reilly. They revisited previous disputes with Letterman once again assigning blame for the poor state of our country back to the Bush administration. In fact, so much time was spent on it that I don’t believe Obama’s name came up once during the entire interview which lasted two segments.

For me, the most notable exchange of the night centered around the issue of health care and providing for the poor. Letterman repeatedly pressed the standard liberal talking point that not raising taxes to support the needy was selfish and immoral. He chided the attitude of the rich, preaching, “We don’t want to help people who need help because we don’t want it coming from our paycheck.”

O’Reilly challenged Letterman on the difference between those who genuinely “need” assistance and those who choose to live a lifestyle that isn’t worthy of government assistance. O’Reilly cited a recent Department of Health and Human Services statistic that 9% of Americans have a substance abuse problem, and asked Letterman if he thought taxpayer money should be used to support those people. When Letterman doubted the statistic, O’Reilly asked Letterman to place a wager on its accuracy with the loser donating one week’s paycheck to charity.

The audience applauded the idea.

This was Letterman’s moment of truth. A minute earlier, he had self-righteously berated those who did not want money from their paycheck redistributed to the less fortunate. One might think that the comedian would have jumped at the chance to put his money where his mouth is on national television. You know, lead by example. Regardless of who was right, a generous donation would have gone to the needy. Instead, he turned uncharacteristically squeamish and was unsure of how to respond.

Now I’m no body language expert, but it was clear to me that Letterman couldn’t have cared less who was right regarding the statistic. It appeared to me that it was the premise of directing a week’s paycheck to charity that knocked him off his game. After composing himself, Letterman made a quick joke and changed the subject.

How interesting.

Now I’m sure that David Letterman probably donates a good amount of money to specific charities each year. Yet, when put on the spot to direct additional money to “the needy”, he soundly rejected the notion. A week’s paycheck for David Letterman would have been far less money than the 5% annual tax hike that he supports and speaks of as if it’s chump change. But the answer was no.

This often seems to be the case with many wealthy people on the left… They loudly beat President Obama’s drum of higher taxes and income redistribution, but when given the opportunity to practice what they preach, they crawl under a rock.

We’ve seen it with Warren Buffett who received a lot of attention a few months ago when he called for higher taxes on the wealthy as part of their patriotic duty to the country. Yet, as many news outlets have since reported, his Berkshire Hathaway firm still owes the federal government $1 billion in back taxes dating back nearly a decade.

We’ve seen it with current and considered Obama administration cabinet members like Tim Geithner, Jeffrey Immelt, Kathleen Sebelius, and Tom Daschle who have a history of escaping the payment of federal taxes.

We see it from prominent politicians like Senator John Kerry who avoided paying over $500 thousand in Massachusetts taxes by stationing his $7 million luxury yacht in the neighboring state of Rhode Island, and Congressman Charlie Rangel who failed to report taxes on his rental property in the Dominican Republic.

All of these people call for more of the rich’s income to be taken and redistributed, yet they reject the plan when it comes to themselves.

Many critics of the “tax the rich” movement have pointed out that people like Letterman and Buffett can choose to pay more in taxes if they like. What amazes me is that, to my knowledge, none of these people have actually answered that challenge. You’d think that if they felt so strongly about the issue, they’d rise to the opportunity to lead by example. They could even call a press conference to draw attention to the moment and inspire others to follow their lead, much like Warren Buffett did when he pledged a significant amount of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

But no one has done it.

Is it because they’re stingy? Some are, but Warren Buffett certainly isn’t. More likely, people like Buffett and Letterman don’t want to give up control of how their hard-earned money is spent. Letterman wasn’t prepared to spontaneously pledge his money to charity. Buffett hasn’t handed over additional money to the government to spend it as they wish. Yet, both of them demand that others be forced to do what they won’t do voluntarily.

To me, THAT seems selfish.

Whose Money Is It, Anyway?

If you’re a regular reader of my posts, you’ll know that I have no respect for any of the Kardashian litter, Kim, Khloe or Kourtney.  I’ve always said that the exploits of these three useless twits, the offspring of OJ’s now deceased attorney/friend, Robert Kardashian, is payback for his actions when he met with OJ after Nicole’s murder which resulted in the quick activation of his dormant legal status.

Like it or not, you have to recognize that they and their mother, Kris Jenner, have a huge impact on popular culture with television shows, clothing lines, perfumes, and over 14 million followers on Twitter.

Unless you’ve been living on another planet, you probably know that Kim became famous because of a sex tape ending up on the internet.  Other than her initial “exposure” (excuse the pun), courtesy of her ex-boyfriend, she became famous for absolutely no reason but has brilliantly elevated her “celebrity” to new heights and now heads a media empire and is worth approximately $35 million.

And if you’ve been on a grocery line this past week, you’ll also know that Kim just got engaged to Nets basketball player, Kris Humphries.  I don’t know anything about sports so I had no idea who he is, but I do know that the engagement ring that was given to Kim was a 20.5 carat diamond ring worth $2 million.

I’m a jewelry snob who loves beautiful diamonds and the ring is exquisite.

That being said, it’s amazing how many people have negatively commented about the cost of the ring.  Last week, Bill O’Reilly, on his Pinheads and Patriots segment, labeled Kim a “pinhead” for getting a $2 million engagement ring.  In his opinion, “Now, we believe in true love, but that seems to be a bit much. A $1 million ring would have been nice, and then you could have used the other million to help people who need assistance. Ms. Kardashian and Mr. Humphries are pinheads.”

Numerous comments echoed Mr. O’Reilly’s feelings.  “There are millions of people who are out of jobs who can’t make ends meet, and we have to hear about these people who never worked hard a day in their lives spending extravagantly like this?”

One person wrote, “[t]hat is the stupidest amount of money to waste on a ring.  If you can afford to pay $2,000,000.00 on a damn ring, you have TOO MUCH money and are TOO STUPID to do anything useful with it….THEREFORE, should not have it.  End of story.”

Well, I’m sure these comments are sincere but, hey, whose money was used to buy the ring?  Not tax dollars and not a government grant!  Who am I to question how someone else chooses to spend their money?  Whatever way they earned it, whether well-deserved or otherwise, it’s their money!

I wonder if the folks complaining about Kim’s engagement ring (other than O’Reilly who regularly opposes government waste) feel the same way about our government funding programs like Planned Parenthood, NPR, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or wasting our tax dollars on ridiculous studies like $1.44 million to study male prostitutes in Vietnam; $823,200 to study genitalia washing in South Africa or $315,000 for a study suggesting playing Farmville on Facebook helps adults develop and maintain relationships.

The difference between the two is that Kim/Kris purchased the engagement ring with THEIR money.  Where’s the outrage when our government squanders hundreds of thousands of dollars to digitize Grateful Dead memorabilia or to analyze and understand the ways in which players of “World of Warcraft” engage in creative collaboration.   That’s OUR money being wasted!

When I hear that Kim or Kris are receiving welfare, tax credits which exceed their tax liability, Section 8 housing, or food stamps, which I pay for with my taxes, then I’ll have something to say.

In the meantime, they have the right to spend their money any way they want.  If they make any charitable contributions, fine; if not, it’s their choice.

I don’t get the public outcry about how celebrities spend their money nor do I get public apathy about how our government continues to extravagantly spend our tax dollars, but if you do, God bless you.

Juan Big Hullabaloo

If I had ever imagined for even a second that Juan Williams would be at the center of a controversy, I would have guessed that he had appeared on TV wearing a turtleneck instead of his customary tie and jacket.

Mr. Williams, after all, has done very well for himself being the well-mannered, soft-spoken, black house liberal on the various Fox opinion shows. He is less moronic than Alan Colmes, less egotistical than Geraldo Rivera and better-looking than Leslie Marshall.

So imagine my surprise when I woke up one morning to discover that NPR had fired him because of some innocuous comments he had made about Muslims on The Factor. He had merely confessed that he gets nervous when he sees Muslims in full regalia at the airport. Well, with apologies to Steve Martin, excuuussse me. But if Muslims aren’t supposed to make us nervous at airports, why do I have to stand in line for an hour going through security, remove my shoes, belt, keys and wallet, and flash my ID 27 times before boarding an airplane?

Is it, perhaps, because those darn Swedes are acting up again? Is it possible that those rascally Aussies are planning an invasion? Or have the Amish finally decided it’s high time we all got rid of our cars and phones, and started getting around in horse-drawn surreys, the way God intended? One can almost hear their blood-curdling battle cry: “Today, Pennsylvania; tomorrow, the world!”

Everyone who has the good fortune not to be Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar or any of those other politically correct creeps on the left, knows that most of the worst mischief being caused all around the globe has Allah at its source. Does that mean that every Muslim is a terrorist? Of course not. Some of them merely fund the terrorism.

We should never lose sight of the fact that not every Russian was a Communist and not every German was a Nazi. But enough of them were, so that tens of millions of innocent people died before the reigns of terror ended. And just because a Muslim isn’t cold-blooded enough to be a killer of women and children doesn’t mean they disapprove of those who are. Otherwise, why have so many of them cheered on Arafat, bin Laden and Ahmadinejad, and why have so few, even here in America, spoken out against the butchers who act in the name of their religion?

Be all that as it may, it was my friend, Ron Radosh, who contended in an early morning email that NPR had wanted to unload Williams ever since he spoke out against the NAACP and the racist policy it adopted after its glory days in the 60s. These days, the NAACP is as anti-white and as leftwing as any group in America. But how would it look, Radosh mused, if NPR axed a black man for speaking out against a black group? But once Williams voiced his rather benign comments about Muslims, it provided NPR with the perfect cover to do what they’d been aching to do for the past year.

Speaking of the NAACP, isn’t it rather insensitive for them to continue calling themselves the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People? Even David Duke doesn’t call them colored people. I guess the reason they don’t change “Colored People” to “African Americans” is that the NAAAA sounds too much like an auto club.

One thing I hope a Republican House will do is to finally quit funding NPR with our tax dollars. They don’t have to say it’s because National Public Radio does nothing but parrot whatever crapola it’s fed by the DNC. To disguise their true motives, they can follow NPR’s sneaky example and merely blame it on the economy.

When, later in the day, Radosh praised Juan Williams for speaking out against NPR for firing him, I suggested he was over-reacting. Mr. Williams is neither a martyr nor a hero. For one thing, before the day was over, Fox had extended his contract and given him a raise. I am betting he will also get his own show, although between his regular appearances with Bret Baier, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Greta Von Susteren, I’m betting he already has more camera time than any of them.

Furthermore, nothing had changed during those 24 hours except that NPR had fired him. He had been quite happy to cash their checks for several years in spite of NPR’s being nothing but a propaganda machine for the loony left. There was nothing noble or heroic about Williams biting the hand that had fed him so well. It was merely a case of sour grapes. It’s much like the career criminal who finally sees the error of his ways…once the handcuffs have been slapped on his wrists.

I do have a question, though. For years, the definition of a conservative was a liberal who’d been mugged. I wonder if now that he’s been mugged, Juan Williams will finally see the light.

But for those of you who don’t believe Radosh when he suggests that NPR had been biding its time, waiting for a politically correct excuse to dump Williams without alienating its fan base of unrepentant 65-year-old hippies, I’ll whisper just two little words: Helen Thomas.

Don’t you suspect that the Hearst organization was overjoyed when she made her vile comments about Jews and Israel? I’m betting there were champagne corks popping all over the home office.
Or do you really think they wanted their White House correspondent to be a nasty, senile 90-year-old crone whose face had been stopping clocks and frightening children all over Washington, D.C, for the previous 20 years?

©2010 Burt Prelutsky>

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