Friday, January 30, 2009

Da Nile ain't just a river...



What were ye thinkin'?

Politicians are idiots. The whole lot of 'em. Every last one....

Here's what happens. Politicians run for office and promise a lot of things they can't and never will deliver.

They get involved with K Street and others who ask them for favors. The favors are justified because the lobbyist gave the politician a boatload of Simoleans (don't you love that scene in "It's a Wonderful Life" when Jimmy Stewart holds up his last two bucks and hopes they will go forth and multiply...? Donna Reed's original name: Donnabelle Mullenger...bring on Jeopardy...Daily Double at that...!)

The politicians become accustomed to operating in an environment in which they have control and access to millions of dollars of taxpayer money.

Their friends in the lobbying industry lavish them with gifts and false praise and then the knucklehead politicians begin to believe their own press and the words of their "supporters/acolytes."

They forget their values and their kids and their wives and their friends and begin to act like little kings or queens (both senses of the word, thank you) ruling over a realm of their own making.

Then they do some ridiculously STUPID having sex with an intern or a prostitute or a page or someone else's wife or husband. OR THEY SAY INCRIMINATING THINGS WHILE THEY KNOW THEY'RE BEING WIRETAPPED...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Or they take or solicit a bribe.


(sorry, got a little carried away there...)

Or they have some clown pave their driveway or paint their house or pay their greens fees or buy their dinner(s)

OR THEY... (couldn't help myself)

And THEN...

...they get caught!

And THEN...

...they are outraged and they protest their innocence and "look forward" to their day in court where they are sure they will be "vindicated." Oh, sorry..."completely vindicated."

And THEN...

...that doesn't happen and they are proven to be incredible scumbags and are shown to have done the thing(s) they were accused of.


George Carlin, may he rest in eternal peace, said it best. "Cop didn't see it...I didn't do it"

The problem is that, more often than not, at high levels of government, the cops do see it and you did do it and you're goin' down big boy.

Either don't be dishonest or, if you are going to be, just admit you screwed up and let the chips fall.

Richard Nixon was elected with one of the largest pluralities in US electoral history. He was The Man. If he had come clean about Watergate at the outset, the people would have been pissed off but would have forgiven him.

But he stonewalled and prevaricated (and postvaricated too...remember David Frost?) and bloviated (what a great word!) and got caught in lie after lie after lie.

Pete Seeger and Joe Hickerson gave us the following:

"When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?"

Oh Roddy... we surely knew ye...!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Revolution #09

The Beatles, again...

"You say you want a revolution..."

I mean, really. The news ain't it ain't my friends (didn't you want to gag everytime you heard John McCain say, "my friends...")

Everytime you turn around there's another piece on government incompetence or corporate greed or the complete lack of personal and/or professional responsibility.

John Thain is unbelievable! And all of the other clowns lining up at the public trough with their begloved and manicured hands outstretched asking John and Jane Q to give over the goods.

Why in the "wide world" (thank you Sid Ceasar) should middle or lower class kids get health care or clean water or an education or opportunity? Why should middle or lower class adults have job security or privacy or leisure time?

Why is it always only the rich and their friends the super rich (read: politicians...) that get the advantages? Why must we always have to listen to the bejeweled Mrs. Botox and her friends whine about the lack of available Evian at the spa?

Over time, there have been countless wars and beheadings because the wealthy "ruling" class sought to enrich themselves at the expense of the worker bees.

Haven't any of these idiots ever heard of Marie Antoinette and her last best friend, Monsieur Guillotine?

It seems logical to assume that if the current state of affairs continues along the path that it is on, we will be embroiled in a full scale, take all prisoners, beat 'em up and string 'em up style bloody, loud and deathly revolution.

The poor will say "basta!"

The middle class will say "basta!"

The blacks and the Hispanics and the poor whites and the struggling seniors and the disenfranchised youth and the angry unionists and the unemployed auto workers and the laid off manufacturing workers will all say...


At what point do the rich say..."Oops, maybe we've gone too far this time. Maybe we should lay off the private jets and the Rolls and the vacation homes for a while. Maybe we should pay our gardener what he's worth. Maybe we should pay our housekeeper what she's worth (never mind the cries of sexism...most gardeners are men and most housekeepers are with it...)

Maybe we should realize that societies operate in cycles. Up and down. Dictatorships and revolutions.

We've had the current system here for over 25o years. A lot of rich people telling poor people what to do and giving them scraps for doing it!

One of these days the tables will turn, as they always do, and the John Thains of the world will be either hung in the town square (remember Nicolai Ceaucescu...of Romania...of "hung upside down" fame...?) or made to work at McDonalds and forced to use the public bathroom...OH MY GOD!...

"You say you want a revolution...?"

Well just be careful what you wish just might get it...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Can't Buy Me Love

The Beatles had it exactly right.

"Money, can't buy me love"

What is the big outrage with the Wallstreeters? What's the big deal? It's just human nature.

Who among us wouldn't take a freebie when it's offered?

So what if Mr. Thain redecorated his office and bought an expensive waste basket?

He's entitled!


But isn't that the American way? Work hard and reap the bennies. That's what we're taught.
So he decided to have a spiffy office. So what? He earned it...

And forget about accountability. The government is in place to reward those who created it. You can't be in it if you can't pay and if you pay you get the little gift basket with the shampoo and the MP3 player and the chocolates and the hundred dollar bills. Blagojevich's sin wasn't trying to sell Obama's senate seat. It was having that God-awful hair cut. Welcome to the 21st century Roddie m'boy. The early sixties preppy look is so...well...early sixties...

Who's kidding who? (...whom? I am never sure of that one...Mr Safire please...)

Thain and Paulsen and Geithner and Madoff. They're all cut from the same cloth.

High rolling mega-players with influence and the ears (and the wallets) of those who make the decisions.

No bonuses for Average Joe (don't get me started about Joe the MFGD plumber...) No corporate jets. No fancy cars or Swiss bank accounts.

All Joey gets is foreclosure and unemployment.

I don't feel sorry for these SOBs one little bit. The fact that they have taken and taken and taken from the public and the private trough for ever and now they're out of work...poor Lehman after over a hundred years. Poor B of A. Poor AIG... Poorhouse (or houses dependent upon your level of wealth, Mr. and Mrs. McCain...Mr. and Mrs. Keating savings and loan debacle)

You can all go to.....

Well, on a lighter note:

Losing a fortune on Wall Street is a good life lesson. It's one of those moments that makes you sit up and take stock. It is a period of your life where you are compelled to examine your inner motivations and make new resolutions as to how you want to live.

And take comfort in knowing that at least you will not starve.

You'll have your wine cellar to quench your thirst and your pantry of foie gras and Beluga to sate your hunger.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Daddy's Little Girl

It's really amazing and frightening how time just seems to fly by...almost without us noticing its' passage.

It seems like yesterday that my daughter was born. A cold winter day. Snow and ice everywhere.

A planned C-Section (I recently taped one for ABC's "World News"...not a pretty sight at all)

I remember it as if it just happened. The way I felt. The way she looked, just like my father's mother.

I love her just as much today as I did then...maybe more profoundly and with greater depth and understanding. Much more appreciation.

She represents me and my past and the future and my whole family back generations.

All fathers are proud (almost all...and a pox on them what ain't...fools.) All fathers (previous parenthetical comment) extoll the virtues of their children and are willing to talk about their children's accomplishments with anyone at anytime (and yet again...) You know the ones. They've got the license plate frame that says, " Let me tell you about my daughter."

Please don't.

I swore when my daughter was born that I would refrain from "waving her flag", from boring people to death with her greatness. I thought it was tedious and when I have had to endure it I have wanted to hang myself. I swore I would never do that to anyone (unless of course I wanted them to leave or hang up and then I would unleash my daughter's copius achievements on them to get the result I was after...with marginal success, I might add)

But I will suspend my self-imposed ban here and now for one brief moment.

She is pretty and smart and bright and talented and strong and compassionate and sensitive and creative and funny and wise beyond her years. We all say that she is a very old soul, inhabiting a very young body.

My daughter is the best at everything.

My daughter knows everything about everything even though she's only been around for a little more than a decade. (Classified ad in the paper: "Brand new encyclopedia for sale. Recently married. Wife knows everything.")

My daughter can do anything.

My daughter rocks!

There...I did it. I did in a few sentences exactly what I've been trying so hard not to do for so long now.

I'm sorry (disingenuously)

Really, I am (with sincerity this time)

I love and respect other children too. I know some truly wonderful little people. I really do think they are terrific too.

They all know who they are and, to their parents, I sincerely apologize if I've offended you in any way by singing my daughter's praises.

I'll never do it again.


Oh, by the way...did I tell you what my daughter did today...?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Addition to "Thank You Mr. President!"

I'm sorry but I forgot to thank Former President Bush (what a delightful sound..."former...")
for Abu Ghraib...

Thank you for Lynndie England and Dog Training I know how to get my Westie to heal...just dress up in a sexy outfit.

Life is beautiful.

Say Amen!

I'm sorry but I was non-plussed by President Obama's speech yesterday (and Michelle's outfit, but that's another post...)

Now, while I am thrilled that we are finally rid of George Walker Bush and Dick Cheney, although I wasn't sure, right up until 12:00 noon that they would actually really, in fact, go, I have to say that I was completely uninspired by the Inaugural Address.

I realize that Obama had some very big shoes to fill. There are alot of people who still remember Roosevelt's Inaugural, "There is nothing to fear...", and still more who remember JFK and "Ask not...", and even more who can still hear Obama, himself, say,"I don't see a white America..."

Where was the oratory with which Obama has become so identified? Where were the stirring words evoking Lincoln, King, Reagan and even Clinton (Bill, that is...)?

Yes, we have a lot of huge problems and yes, Obama had to be careful not to promise too much and yes, he had to be careful not to offend anyone or seem too arrogant.

But many highly regarded intellects said that his job was to inspire confidence.

I didn't hear that if he said it. He talked about righting the wrongs of the past eight years.

He talked of the inherent greatness of the U.S.

He spoke of a return to ideals and values and positive energy and even of love.

But I wasn't inspired.

I wasn't inspired to eat tofu instead of beef.

I wasn't inspired to wear pleather rather than leather.

I wasn't inspired to ride a horse rather than an SUV.

I wasn't inspired to love my fellow man.

I wasn't inspired to believe that this administration and its' appointees are going to do any better a job than Bush 43 or Clinton or Bush 41 or Reagan or Carter or Ford or Nixon or...well, ok, maybe Bush 43, but that won't take much more than getting out of bed.

I just wasn't inspired.

What did, however, inspire me was seeing all of the children. They are the future. That's a tired way of describing them but it's true. Adults almost always screw things up because we are so caught up in our own agendas and have our eyes only on the prize, seldom on the big picture.

Children, in their innocence, think of the possibilities. They have yet to encounter failure and disappointment and despair. They still have Mommy and Daddy and Santa and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. They haven't met the IRS or the phone company or the police.

They still think everything can be achieved.

Ok...I'm wrong.

Maybe I was inspired...maybe a little the fact that in my lifetime, one that saw Selma and Birmingham and "I have a dream"...that in my lifetime...this country nominated and elected a black (or white, dependent on whether you're talking about his mother or his father) man to be the President.

Unbelievable. Now all of the children everywhere, white, black, yellow, red, brown, rich, poor, gay, straight, left, right, Catholic, Jew, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, atheist,
healthy and/or disabled can really say and really believe that... the United States...anyone can grow up to be the President...!


Now that is inspiring!

Say Amen...!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thank you Mr. President!

Thank you Mr. President!

Thank you for 9-11...

It has been conjectured that 9-11 was a conspiracy...brought about by you and yours. If that is true then we will never be able to thank you enough for the destruction of life and property that resulted from that act. Without 9-11 your presidency would have remained illegitimate, as some have said.

Thank you.

Thank you for Afghanistan...

You went to war, supposedly, against the Taliban and those who, you said, allegedly harbored Osama bin Laden. Some have said it was to open a "pipeline" for oil and heroin (or poppy seeds really...what are bagels without them...?) to flow more freely. If that is true than thank you for our low gas prices...after our high gas prices.

Thank you for Iraq...

You said that Saddam Hussein was, in part, responsible for 9-11. You said he had weapons of mass destruction and he would use them on us and Israel and the rest of the world as he had done on "his own people." Joe Wilson said there were no WMD (some say that Valerie Plame was having an affair with Karl Rove and Harriet Myers but that sounds too kinky for your administration.) Some say Colin Powell lied at the U.N. Others think you went into Iraq because Saddam dissed your dad. Still others think you went in because of oil. If any of that is true then thanks for the 4,229 US servicemen and women killed and the countless others wounded and the Iraqis killed and wounded, possibly, according to The Lancet estimate, as many as 750,000 or more. And special thanks for letting us mourn them in public by, at least, occasionally seeing their flag draped coffins arrive in Delaware. Nothing like seeing the red, white and blue to stir the spirits...terrific!

Thank you for Katrina...

Thank you for promoting mountain biking and exercise as the Surgeon General has suggested. And your quick response to one of the greatest disasters to befall the country. "Heck of a job, W!"

Thank you for Scooter Libby...

Oh, pardon me...

Thank you for Alberto Gonzales...

At long last we had an Hispanic Attorney General...some say he orchestrated the firing of federal prosecutors because of political reasons. That sounds unbelievable but, if true, many thanks for interpreting the constitution that way. Gracias...oh and thanks for the interpretation of the Geneva Conventions...brilliant!

Thank you for wiretapping...

We all need someone monitoring our phone calls so we don't make foolish mistakes. Richard Nixon taught us the value of recorded conversations. Without them how would we know what happened in history? If it's true, as some say, that the wiretaps were illegal, who really cares anyway? Anything to preserve the Union. After all, even Abraham Lincoln suspended Habeus Corpus during the Civil War. And what's the "War on Terror" in comparison to that? A picnic, some would say (don't forget the bagels.) Thank you.

Thank you for Wall Street...

Regulation just chokes progress...and how many Maybachs are too many? If your fiscal policies led to the fall of Lehman Brothers and others, many would say "good riddance!" Deregulation allows for the rich to become very rich and isn't that the American way? To go from rags to riches? If it's true that the policies of your administration led to the collapse of the housing market and the fall of many big businesses then thanks for that. Too much competition. Too many choices. You really helped make our lives simpler. Nice job! And you look so authoritative in that bulletproof hybrid from Detroit...oh, would look good in it if you had one.

And finally...

Thank you for torture...

Torture is an effective way to get people to do what you want. That's common knowledge. Mothers "torture" their kids until they clean their rooms. Advertisers "torture" us until we buy their products. Weather "tortures" us until we move. "Torture" rocks, in and out of quotation marks! Now, I know, the US doesn't torture, even though you said we maybe, actually, did. You were probably just misunderestimating the level of interrogative pressure that had been placed on the non-combatant detainees at Guantanamo...and everyone knows that Cuba is a beautiful place to visit, especially if you're into the 50' what are the detainees complaining about? A paid holiday in a Caribbean paradise? Better than the stone age splendor in the mountains of Afghanistan. Well done!

So...just plain old thank you Mr. President. Thank you for everything. Most of all, thank you for not declaring martial law and suspending the election as your "October Surprise."

And now, to quote Gary De Carlo, Paul Leka and Dale Frashuer who wrote the following:

"Na, na, na, na

Na, na, na, na

Hey, hey...

GOOD BYE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Monday, January 19, 2009

"Asp not what your country can do for you..."

Many years ago crowd is assembled in a large open area somewhere in the Far East. They all surround a man blowing gently on a flute. The ads had said that the man could make a snake rise up just by the power of his music.

And sure enough, there in front of the man, sits a large snake, uncoiling and rising slowly in time with the music.

The crowd oohs and ahhs and is entranced by the flutist and the magic of the music's effect on the snake.

At the back of the crowd stands a photographer, amazed at what he is seeing. He puts his camera on it's tripod, frames, focuses and pulls off a dozen photographs.

Closeups. Wide shots. The flutist. The snake. The crowd. The event.

Later that night he hurries back to his dark room sure that he's captured a miracle. He sees fame and fortune in his future.

On goes the red light. Out comes the film. In go the chemicals. Here come the images.

But wait. What is this? Where's the snake? What's the story...?

The man is playing.

The crowd is enthralled.

But the snake is sitting, unmoved, coiled tightly on the ground in front of the man and his flute.

Where's the miracle? What the hell...?

The crowd saw it and believed it. The photographer saw it and believed it. But the pictures told a different story. They revealed a different reality.

But after all, this happened in the analog days of yore.

It would probably be different now in the digital age.

One can only watch and hope.

Know what I mean...?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What's My Motivation?

The Scene:

It's dusk. I'm walking through a parking lot and spy a car with its' headlights on. Visions of tow trucks and aggravation fly through my head. Then I contemplate what to do.

If I reach in to turn them off just at the moment the owner comes along he might think that I'm trying to steal his car. Cops, lawyers, public humiliation and scandal for my entire family.

If I leave them on, the owner will come out to a dead battery.

If I turn them off and walk away undetected the owner will never know I helped him.

But why do it at all?

Is it empathy? Remember the all of the times my car wouldn't start because of a dead battery? Remember the frustration and missed appointments?

Or is it ego? The owner will thank me and maybe even offer me $10 as a reward which I will decline and then hope he offers it a second time so that I can take it while feigning humility. (That works especially well with city folks with flat tires. Stop, pull in your stomach, change the tire and then wait for the tip...anywhere from $10 to $20, depending on the make of car...Domestic = $10...Import = $20...)

Why do we do the things we do?

What is the proportion of selflessness to selfishness?

If I turn off the lights I am doing a good deed for a total stranger. If he never knows, then I am doing it for pure reasons, right?

Maybe. But I will feel a sense of personal satisfaction and pride at having done such a socially wonderful thing (never mind the $10.) I did it because it was good with no expectation of personal benefit...other than the sense of personal benefit that I receive from having done it in the first place.


I can't win.

If I walk by I'm an insensitive uncaring Bernie Madoff, Marcus Schrenker kind of guy. I'm doomed to eternity on the Kharma Wheel and I will forever have trouble starting my car and making an omelet.

I will be forever burdened with knowing that I didn't help what assuredly would turn out to be a little old lady with the possibility of a dead battery and she was, therefore, late getting home and her dog, who had gotten out through the dog door but was too stupid to get back in, ran away rendering moot the old lady's $47.00 purchase of the expensive dog food rather than the $35.oo store brand, and in so doing, lost the $12.00 difference which she could have used to pay the cable bill which would then be shut off making it impossible to watch Days of Our Lives to see whether Heather married Ivan and legitimized the birth of her Autistic twins, Naomi and Martin...

If I turn them off I have to live with myself knowing that I only was thinking of myself and how I would feel for having done such a wonderful thing. My motivations were not Mother Theresa pure. I am no real hero.

The moral dilemma is too great...

Better call a tow truck lady...I'm mulling it all over and I'll have to get back to you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Hillary Step

Sir Edmund Hillary. One of the greatest explorers of all time. A giant among men. A winner and a hero.

The Hillary Step is an area about halfway between the South Summit and the Main Summit of Mt. Everest. It is a make or break point. It is, by some measure, a "point-of-no-return" if you want to get to the top.

Sir Edmund and Tenzing Norgay made it to the top. The "first" to do so, although some unrecognized Sherpa probably did it 1000 years prior.

A truly awesome accomplishment. A world record.

Now let's turn our gaze to another Hillary Step. Or should we say "two step." A pause on the way to the "top?"

Why do we have to withstand four to eight more years of this woman? I grant that she is smarter than smart and accomplished in her own right. She came from modest, middle class roots and elevated herself to within a whisker (plucked I am sure) of The White House as its' landlady, not just its' tenant.

But please...can't we get a break from these people? All we hear about is Bill this and Bill that and Hillary said this and Hillary wants that and dynasty and Chelsea is so pretty now and in 20 years will be the next Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg and on and on and on...!

What is it with Obama and his penchant for nominating questionable cabinet secretaries?

Holder, Richardson, Geithner, Clinton...? Who's next?

Hillary Clinton probably would (or still might) make a good president. Qualified, informed, articulate, charming. But the idea that Bill's adventures in globetrotting and "interesting" fund raising on behalf of his foundations won't have an impact on Hillary's ability to succeed at State is naive by half.

Bill made disclosures and "was happy to do so."

Yeah, right.

Bill was a great president. He's a great ambassador. He's a great, soon-to-be, elder statesman. W. can only dream of approaching a fraction of Bill's achievements in or out of office. Or of any of the other former presidents, including Herbert Hoover, for that matter.

But Hillary will travel around the world with him on her shoulder (not literally as they seem to live very separate lives.) She has always lived in his shadow. He was the Governor... she was the First Lady. He was the President... she was the First Lady. She was elected to the Senate, in part, because he is her husband. She was taken seriously as a presidential candidate, in part, because of her relationship to him and his administration.

And now she's been nominated, in part, because "you keep your enemies closer..."

I wish she were different. I wish I actually believed the things she said. I really wish I felt that the two of them had the best interests of the country at heart and not just their own self interests as it seems to be.

But I guess we'll just have to pause a minute at this Hillary Step, gather our wits, and forge ahead to the summit regardless.

I guess we'll have to wait and see who the next heroes will be. So far it doesn't look so good.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


"A stitch in time saves nine."

"Smooth seas make poor sailors."

"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink."


What would we do without them?

The horse one is a special favorite. My father would use it sometimes to describe me. Opportunity after opportunity...squandered in "pursuit of happiness." Oh well...

What was wrong with me? And all of the other maxims that litter our lives. We hear them all of the time, especially when we don't want to be reminded of their inherent value in the moment.

Except for "All work and no play makes Jack (Jill...don't want to be accused of being sexist) a dull boy (girl)."

That one was always good as a prelude to a break in the action. Raking, washing, studying...whatever...don't want to be a dull person...thanks...

But all of the others..."Light a cigarette and the bus comes"...what do they mean to us?

If I light a cigarette will the bus really come? What if I don't smoke? What if I wouldn't take a bus to the corner even if I were on fire? Do I really have that much control? Could I have used it to make my 9th grade study hall proctor disappear? Could I...

I digress...

I know. It means that the minute you make a decision in the opposite direction of your initial impulse or plan, the original scenario presents itself and you are saved.

From what? From making the original decision? What if the original decision was flawed? What if the absence of the bus gave you an opportunity to rethink your original decision and, by waiting, you end up making a better decision?

Maybe by not lighting the cigarette you save yourself untold aggravation and despair not to mention lung cancer, which I understand is no walk in the park. And what about second hand smoke? It opens a whole political and environmental can of worms.

"It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."

Why? Sometimes cursing, even the darkness, is a way of letting off steam and releasing stress. I mean real, George Carlin, Denis Leary, Richard Pryor cursing. Not politically correct, PG, Dan Quayle cursing..."Goll darn it to heck...! You're a friggin' doo-doo head!"

That full throated U.S. Navy kind of cursing could be good in a situation where, by waiting those few extra minutes to yell at someone, you might avoid a black eye or a divorce or the unemployment line. The other kind of cursing releases nothing but gas into the already polluted atmosphere and it doesn't make you feel any actually makes you feel worse because you have to hear those words...phooey on that!

And never mind the added pollution by lighting the candle and putting that little smelly puff of smoke in the atmosphere. Or the unnecessary use of natural resources by using the match, regardless of whether it is made of cardboard or wood, which is ultimately the same resource.

Curse away!

So, to hell with maxims...they are no good (clever maybe...) and don't work and are a waste of time and just make us think about what we're doing and feel guilty about our decisions.

But long live Maxim's...a great restaurant with great ambience, food and service. The one in Paris though, not New York.

New York has the Rainbow least for another few minutes so hurry down (or up to be literal.)

Tempus fugit so...

Carpe Diem...!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Thank you, Pete Townshend

If I were pretentious I'd be outraged. It would be a scandal. I would quote Churchill or Lincoln or Shakespeare.

But since I don't think of myself as pretentious I'm just plain old ordinary, garden variety aggravated....not angry, yet...but irritated beyond measure.

Obama hasn't even taken the oath of office yet (although everybody, including W., is acting like it) and already he's giving Bush/Cheney a pass.

Even Henry Waxman seems to be cahoots. Only Frank Rich of the Times appears to be saying that the administration should be held accountable for what he calls "malfeasance."

I call it "highway robbery." And a lot of other "high crimes and misdemeanors."

Let's review: Iraq (war and reconstruction...hello Amb. Bremer, how's your Medal of Freedom?), Katrina, Wall Street, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Wiretaps, Prosecutorgate...did I say Iraq...?

There are so many instances in which it seems like the administration acted as a rogue government, completely disregarding the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Now maybe they didn't. Maybe everything really does have to do with 9-11.

Maybe the President did act with the national interest in mind.

Maybe the Vice President did subordinate his own desires to those of his Commander in Chief.

Maybe the meltdown on Wall Street is a result of market forces and policies set in place long ago.
Maybe the Geneva Conventions really don't apply.

Maybe there's a Santa Claus (unemployed but there just the same)

I'm willing to extend anybody the benefit of the doubt...even this bunch.

But where is the outcry (that's the other word I was looking for at the beginning...not "scandal"...scratch "scandal"...insert "There would be an outcry")?

Where is the public indignation (another good word..."where have you gone William Safire...?") at the fact that the incoming administration isn't even going to look at the possibility that there were crimes committed let alone prosecute...?

Was there a quid pro quo? Was there an agreement with somebody in a trench coat in a parking garage late at night? Maybe the Republicans threw the election and one of the provisos was a lack of investigations after the fact. How else can you explain the silence on the issue? How else can you explain Obama's remarks? How else can you explain Sarah Palin?

Maybe Bush/Cheney, et al, did nothing immoral or illegal during the past 8 years.

But wouldn't it be nice to know that? Wouldn't their collective legacy benefit? Wouldn't the country and its' reputation be served by a comprehensive investigation by an impartial group?

And to hell with the idea that an investigation would be seen as too partisan. Maybe that's the point. Maybe an investigation would reveal that the Republicans did get it all wrong. Maybe an investigation would demonstrate that there is a better, more moral way to conduct our national affairs than the way they've been doing it in Washington over the past 8 years. Maybe the Democrats are on to something.

Looks like we'll never know. Business as usual. "Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss."

Come to think of it, maybe I am outraged...!

Friday, January 9, 2009

What are they thinking...?


"You can't live with 'em. You can't live without 'em."

And that's the problem. Why can't we just live "without 'em" for a while?

You would think, that after the past 8 years and the defeats of 'o6 and '08, the Grand Old Party would begin to get the message. But NOOO!!

What is it that they don't seem to understand. We are in two endless wars (3 if you count the "War on Terror") The economy is on life-support. Our healthcare system is neither healthy nor caring. Our kids can't read (English, let alone Chinese) Our air is gray, our water is brown and our roads have more holes than Albert Hall.

And so much of the current mess is attributable to Republican decisions. The gated mentality of "I've got mine and screw you" has provided us with legislation, or a lack thereof, that has frustrated the better intentions of the bright minds that have an insight into the solutions we so desperately need.

Now, let's stipulate that the Democrats are no angels either. They've enjoyed their moments in the sun. We can thank them for Viet Nam even though Johnson and Nixon get the blame (Eisenhower, Schmeisenhower)

We can thank them for the nightmare "13 days in October" that almost made the whole conversation about the future moot. Not to mention Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

We can thank them for Chicago '68.


The transgresions of the the modern GOP, run by Rove and fronted by Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Delay and many other lesser players (Thank you Ann Rush Sean Dennis [How can HE be a Republican...Saturday Night Live?] Miller) are far worse because they seem to nurture the worst in us.

Greed. Cruelty. Dispassion. Ignorance.

What has happened to the "Party of Lincoln", by the way, a man who revered education and fairness...let's review, the EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION ANYONE?!!

No, we get Bridges to Nowhere and gazillion dollar wars and bailouts and torture and poverty and whatever else you can imagine in describing the inner fires of Hell.

Please just stop. Heven't you done enough? Don't you have enough pearls and diamonds and caviar and Mercedes and speedboats?

Can't you just admit that we live in a diverse and complicated society no longer easily categorized by Kings and Queens (ok, a few queens...) and peasants.

We all count. We all deserve to live in peace and harmony and an environment of well being.

To paraphrase Lee Iacocca, but leaving off the "leading" part because enough already,

"....., follow or get out of the way"

Just get out of the way so the best and the brightest can fix what you've done for so long now.

To quote another great American,

"It ain't over 'til it's over"

But it's damn close....damn close!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

To Be Perfectly Clear

"Let me make myself perfectly clear..."

So said Richard Nixon. So say I.

I am very happy that Barack Obama has been elected president. I admire John McCain and think he is a man of good judgement (never mind the Palin thing), honor (never mind the Keating thing...) and integrity. He would have been adequate.

But after the past 8 long years we need something else. Mickey Mouse might have been better (never mind the Disney thing) but we need much more than a rodent in the White House.

I never cared that Obama was "inexperienced." I never cared that he's half black (or half white...) I never cared that he didn't wear a flag pin in his lapel.

I only cared that he was smart (very smart) and willing to listen (seemingly)

The problems that we face as a nation are so vast and complicated that we need someone in the Oval Office who is willing to talk about the issues from a national perspective...what's good for the country, as a whole...not just what's good for the party or oneself.

It remains to be seen how much Obama will transcend politics as usual and restore intelligence and humility to the executive branch. I hope he delivers on the promises of change. I hope he listens to his inner voice that says, "Make it better. Make it work right again."

Too many people all over the country and the world are waiting to see what he'll do. People are encouraged by his mere presence and are feeling better about the possibilities for the future even before he has been sworn in.

My great fear is that he is not what he says he is. That he is a snake oil salesman and that he has capitalized on a moment of national vulnerability to ride the palpable discontent with W. into the White House. My fear is that he'll succumb to the same temptations that have sunk so many other presidents. That he'll think he's bigger than the office. We just came off of 8 years of unbridled arrogance. We really can't afford another 4.

And I'm afraid that Obama will get whacked (not literally, Godforbid) by the realities of Washington. The back room, old boy, lobby driven environment that makes governing and legislating so difficult.

We are a country of tiny little constituencies and voter blocs, each bent on securing from the Feds their own little piece of the pie (the former Sen. Ted Stevens comes to mind...)

Obama will disappoint people who don't agree with his choices. He'll anger people who feel that they have been disenfranchised by the desicisons he makes against their narrow interests. He will be fighting with Congress on a daily basis trying to get his bills passed.

It will be uphill all the way.

Is he up to it? Does he have what it takes? Is he the real thing?

We'll see.

But let me be perfectly clear. I want him to succeed. I think he can. "The question is, and this is the only question..." (Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Departed"),

...will we let him...?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Ok, so the Jews have been persecuted for centuries. And we will never forget The Holocaust.


But what is going on in Gaza? Civilians? Schoolchildren? What...?

Here's what. The Israelis are trying to rid themselves of the terrorist threats and actions that effect their country. The Palestinians are trying to assert themselves in a situation in which they feel powerless. After years of suicide bombs, threats, war and occupations, first Hezbollah and now Hamas is being treated to the retaliation of the Israeli military.

But at what cost to Israel? The Arab world and other more Jewish-friendly people are crying out for the war to stop in Gaza. The condemnations of Israel are loud and furious.

But Israel will continue until they have made their point. Which is...

Well, maybe that they are powerful. Or that they won't be intimidated. Or that they will be acknowledged as a legitimate member of the community of nations.

It's been over 60 years since the creation of Israel. Wars have been fought and many people on both sides of the conflict have suffered and died. Maybe it was the wrong thing to do at the time.
Maybe it was wonderful. Whatever. But that was then and this is right now.

And maybe it's time for the Palestinians to realize that Israel will never go away and for the Israelis to understand that the Palestinians deserve to live in peace and dignity.

The moderate and peace-loving people of the Arab world must rise up and say enough. They will never forget what has happened to their people over the years but they must advocate for peace.

And the Israelis must demand of their leaders that a durable peace is negotiated just as they memorialize the sacrifices and efforts of their ancestors. They must settle only for peace as well.

But how many people will have to die before the leaders decide to co-exist in harmony.

How many more children will have to grow up as orphans, if they grow up at all, before the killing stops. On both sides. Perpetrated by both sides. Stoppable onlyby both sides.

Enough is very much enough. Just stop. Cut your losses. Leave each other alone and get on with the healing. It will take generations but you have to start.

"A journey of many miles begins with a single step..."


Monday, January 5, 2009

Lighten Up...!


Picture a tired looking guy in a tweed coat with elbow patches and a somewhat messy...obviously an intellectual. Picture him in a grocery store and the sign above his head says, "Aisle 7...Milk, Eggs, Dairy"

Then imagine a caption to the scene...

"Dr. Arthurman spent many years in Eggs Aisle"


What are you doing if you drive past a car in Prague full of criminals?

You are passing bad Czechs...


Too bad about Bill Richardson...and too bad for Obama...not an auspicious start.

First Blagojevich, now this. What does this say about his judgment? What does this portend for the future of his nascent administration?

Well, I would posit, that he'll be fine. Well, at least until the glow subsides and the novelty wears off and he settles in to the hardscrabble game of Washington politics.

It'll be business as usual...lobbyists, Georgetown parties, cronyism. But it will be with all new faces.

Does Obama have a mandate? Maybe...simply to not be George Bush (careful... Poppy's talkin' Jeb up for ' beating around the bush there...)

But when he gets into negotiations with Congress he'll piss a few voters off by not offering what they want or by cutting some prized program or by staying in Iraq or by going into Iran or by bad-mouthing Israel about Gaza.

Whatever, he'll get into trouble and we'll be back in the soup. But we'll only have to wait until '10 and the start of the '12 campaign and then the GOP will have something to talk about. Palin and Jeb and Coleman and Jindal. (Go Al...255 is a victory nonetheless...!)

And Obama will start to run the Oval Office as a campaign office and will have his bright eyes on the '12 election, incumbent or not.

I wish him well...God knows we need him to succeed what with Wall Street and Detroit and the Middle East and Global Warming. But can he succeed in the current climate in which no one is willing to accept responsibility for anything? It's always someone else's fault, someone else is to blame.

Never me , no not me...never!

So here we go...a few weeks until the most anticipated Inauguration ever. Bush rambling on about his legacy, Cheney rambling on about his and Obama hoping, against hope, to actually turn this lunacy around before we go over the Wile E. Coyote...spinning his wheels and hovering until he looks down and then.....a small cloud of smoke at the bottom of the canyon...and the end.

But...hey...lighten up...


Knock, knock...!