Archive for July, 2010

Shirley Sherrod is not the issue

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

For those wanting up to date information on Lindsay Lohan or Jersey Shore, look in the mirror and apologize for being an imbecile contributing to America’s intellectual decline. That concludes today’s pop culture report.

The story of the day is a low level bureaucrat who worked at the agriculture department named Shirley Sherrod.

Ms. Sherrod told a story about how as a black woman she had the power to shabbily treat a white farmer who was desperate to save his farm. The sinister interpretation of her remarks is that she used her power to engage in racism. A more charitable explanation she has offered is that this was a soul searching moment that forced her to confront her racist attitudes, leading her to become a better person.

Ms. Sherrod has stated that she did end up helping the white farmer, and that she tells the story to condemn racism, not advance it.

Personally, I am willing to give her explanation some serious consideration. I do not know what is in her heart, nor do I wish to be guilty of attacking a woman without having all of the facts.

Yet the real issue is that Ms. Sherrod is the least important aspect of this story.

(I do not mean to say she is unimportant. She is a human being. She is just much smaller than the larger picture.)

Conservatives may find her comments to be reverse racism while liberals will make excuses for her, but both sides should switch to the other team on this one. Republicans should hope that her comments were harmless, while Democrats and liberals should hope that her comments were malicious.

Before breaking that down, let’s get to who the real player in this story is. It is not Fox News or Andrew Breitbart. They broke the story, but their roles end there.

The left loves to blame the right for everything and anything, but nobody at Fox News or working for Mr. Breitbart has any power to fire any government employee. Roger Ailes runs Fox News. Andrew Breitbart runs Big Hollywood.

(Full disclosure: I used to write for Big Hollywood.)

Neither of them have any control over government staff.

This story is about President Barack Obama. The left is doing back flips to obfuscate this fact, but he is what matters here.

He is the president. Ms. Sherrod is his employee. He can fire her for any reason without explanation. If she wears a red shirt on blue shirt Wednesday, he can sack her immediately. She is an at will employee. He has every right to fire his employees…again…for any reason.

This is exactly the same as George W. Bush being criticized for firing eight U.S. attorneys. His only mistake was not going on television and saying “I’m the president. I fired them because I can. Deal with it. If you don’t like it, win an election and sit in my chair.”

I don’t have to like Barack Obama’s policies to respect his authority as the boss over his bureaucracy. He hired her. He can fire her.

Some liberals will do what they always do, which is to jump belly first on the live grenade to protect their beloved Obama. They will say he was out of the loop, and that the (Tom) Vilsack did the sack.

For once in his charmed presidential life, Mr. Obama needs to take personal responsibility.

There are only two possibilities. Either the comments were wrong, or they were not wrong.

If the comments were abominable, Mr. Obama should simply say that he fired his employee because he can. Republicans would be going ballistic if he did not fire her, so everyone should back off because he did.

The president cannot be blamed for firing a bad person, and being a racist makes one bad.

To make things even more surreal, the president should then praise Fox News for helping him be aware of an employee that is bad for America, and Fox News could praise him for standing on principle.

If the comments were not wrong, then President Obama shoved another innocent victim under the bus. This makes him a spineless jellyfish.

The left will blame the right to deflect from their own leader’s gutlessness.

When the left tried to have Condoleeza Rice fired, President Bush showed loyalty and leadership when he banged the podium during his defiance.

“Condoleeza Rice is a fabulous person and America is lucky to have her service. Period!”

Mr. Obama is not known for emotion, but being “cool” can be seen as coldness.

Nobody disputes that Barack Obama fired one of his own employees. The issue is if he did so honorably or dishonorably. If Tom Vilsack acted wrongly, Mr. Obama can reverse the decision.

Ms. Sherrod has insisted that she was wronged. If she backs down under pressure, she loses credibility. I would not be willing to shatter my own reputation to protect my political party. Susan McDougal did this with the Clintons, and it makes as little sense now as it did then.

If Ms. Sherrod was smeared, she should not give an inch.

Neither should the right. The right broke the story, but Mr. Obama either acted on principle or on political expediency.

Legally he can fire her either way. Morally we need to know if our president is a soulless block of ice who will hurt anybody else to save his own skin.

The character of Mr. Obama is on the line.

The left can unleash their typical ball of rage at the right, but no amount of breathing fire will change the fact that this story is 100% owned by the left.

Let’s get to the truth.


An Evil Big Business

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

I have made no secret of the fact that as a Wall Street Journal Conservative, I worship at the altar of big business. I am a rah-rah cheerleader for corporate America.

When the famous quotes “The business of America is business,” and “What’s good for big business is good for America” are offered, I usually respond with a hearty “Amen!”

Yet there is a major difference between big business and corrupt business. I support big business. I do not support corrupt business in any form.

What this means is that if I hate a big business, then everybody hates them.

I hope big businesses are listening to me right now. If you lose my support, you do not have a place on this Earth to hide. If I am not defending you, consider yourselves abandoned.

I have defended oil companies, gun manufacturers, food and beverage firms, and of course Wall Street with zero regrets.

Yet apparently one large industry is too corrupt even for me.

I hope the stewardesses (now known as flight attendants so that less attractive women and hairy men can be hired in place of the hot women who used to dominate the position) are not looking over my shoulders as I type this on the plane, which by the way took off 2 1/2 hours late and overcharges for the wifi.

The airline industry needs to burn to the ground.

(I am NOT advocating plane crashes, especially since again, as this is typed, I am on one.)

The airline industry is the most corrupt industry on Earth, and every link in the supply chain needs to be blown up (again, metaphorically) and replaced with something that actually works.

Does anybody believe that the pricing structure is honest? More importantly, can anybody that works for an airline actually explain their own pricing structure?

I want to know three things with any product…1) What is it? 2) Where can I buy it? 3) How much does it cost (and is it on sale)?

If you cannot give me a simple answer, then your product (or service) does not merit being transacted.

Airlines say that if you fly often enough, you get “free” flights. This is a lie. There is still the airport tax. Also, programs involving miles claim that 25,000 miles gets a free coach flight. Try finding that deal. It is usually closer to 40,000 miles. It depends what the meaning of 25 is.

Airlines are failures, and they get rewarded for their failure. Stockholders like myself lose their investment (I knew the risks going in) while getting federal bailouts or bankruptcy protection that does not punish those who drove the airlines into the toilet to begin with.

One airline decided to add on debt to buy more company stock, rather than do the sane thing and sell stock to pay down debt. They took out the debt and bought the company stock at $60 per share. The stock dropped to $1 per share, destroying their equity and debt value.

Airlines blame everything from 9/11 to higher fuel prices, but did they think that oil would stay cheap forever? Couldn’t they have had an ounce of foresight? Why bother with planning when the consumers can pay the costs.

As for the pricing structure, “price leadership” is not the same as collusion.

How about the hub and spoke system? The three largest airlines are Delta, American, and United. They all have hubs, which prevents other airlines from servicing those hubs. Try getting a straight flight on Delta from Los Angeles to Chicago, which as far as I know are still major cities. You can’t.

In a couple areas of Idaho, Delta is the only airline servicing the area. That makes for a real fair deal if one counts exorbitant prices as fair.

Every aspect of this industry involves gouging.

It is illegal to bring liquids past security. It would be very easy to have technology that can tell the difference between a Molotov Cocktail and Coke Zero. If they can analyze food and luggage, they can analyze drinks.

By making us toss out our drinks, we then have to buy a drink on the other side of security. Naturally, that $1 bottle of Coke Zero costs about $4 at the airport.

I am all in favor of big business making profits, but gouging is illegal. It is not legal for a store to jack up the price of batteries and lanterns after a hurricane.

Monopolies and oligopolies in many cases are illegal, but if the stores inside the airport artificially keep the prices of sodas high, why should that not be investigated?

Cold medicine is exempt from the rule. What is to stop somebody from bringing cold medicine past security and then purchasing the mixer ingredients?

Several athletes including one very prominent football player got arrested for purple drank, which is made from codeine syrup, soda, and candy. Airport security would not stop this at all, yet my bottle of Coke Zero is a threat.

This does not even get to the disaster that is airport security.

Rules are fine, but at least enforce them consistently at every airport. For those who wonder why a conservative is not making a states’ rights’ case, if there is one thing that should be nationalized by definition alone, it is national security! That is why it is not called local security.

I wear a hat. As a Jewish person, I prefer to keep my head covered out of respect for God. Every single airport I see a different situation.

Some airports say absolutely nothing. Other airports request that I remove the hat and put it through the conveyor belt.

I could do this, but I politely refuse and explain that it is a religious hat. Besides, are Arabs required to take off their turbans? Of course not. That would hurt their precious feelings I care so little about.

Also, my hat is not cheap. It belonged to my grandfather, and cost a bit. So I do not want it getting mashed up under the conveyor belt. Some airport screeners are very reasonable. They have me walk through, and then ask me to remove my hat when I get to the other side. I oblige, and the problem is solved.

Other airport screeners insist on giving me a full search. One guy was so rude that I looked at him and said, “Do I look Arab to you? I’m Jewish. We don’t blow stuff up. Keep Arabs off airplanes and you won’t have this problem.”

Yeah, I am well aware that I am saying things that may offend some people. So what? I am offended that a religion that is responsible for 0% of the world’s terror attacks has to face an indignity when those belonging to a religion causing nearly 100% of them get a free pass.

No, most Arab Muslims are not terrorists.

Yes, most terrorists are Arab Muslims.

So what do namby-pamby do-gooders like to do? Bother Jewish guys wearing hats and 80 year old ladies in wheelchairs with knitting instruments. Real helpful.

Some people could choose not to fly. I do not have that luxury. I am on the road approximately 300 days per year. I have to fly for my career.

It is my hope that enough people not in my situation will refuse to fly. Bring the airlines to their knees.

Otherwise people will be standing in long lines for hours, only to find out that upon reaching the counter that they were told to get in the wrong line.

They will be sitting on the tarmac for hours (legislation to prevent this has no teeth) without any explanation. The people will be told that their plane is 20th for takeoff. Why should this even happen?

Their bags will be lost because the airlines do not face any punishments for lost bags.

Lounges will be open to people forced to sleep at the airport overnight so they are not sleeping on the floor.

I support big business because big business usually has an incentive to behave. At the very least, they answer to shareholders. Even customers have more power than they realize. Coca Cola is a giant, but it was not immune from wrath when the 1985 debacle of New Coke came out. The company quickly reversed gears. The free marketplace worked.

I am not advocating that prices on plane tickets be capped. I still believe in the free market. However, I do believe that collusion should be rooted out, monopolies in cities should be eliminated, and specials advocating free tickets for a certain number of miles actually means what it says.

Not every airline is awful. Southwest is one exception. CEO Herb Kelleher is one of the best CEOs in America in any industry. That is why his airline makes money while the rest are bleeding. His staff is pleasant.

Yet the other airlines continue to make flying a potentially miserable experience (while flying first class does have benefits, those passengers are as powerless as anybody else when stuck on the tarmac without explanation. Also, first class passengers still have to pay for internet access. At least their seats have plugs. I am in coach at the moment draining my battery.

Don’t lie to me and tell me that a flight is oversold when it is not. I offer to volunteer to take a later flight. I am told not to board the plane, despite having status that allows me to board early. Only after everyone else is boarded and all the overhead cabin space is used up am I told that the flight is not oversold and I am not needed to volunteer. I get stuck boarding last based on a screwup not of my making.

Also, is charging for pillows really necessary? If you charge for headsets, can you at least have them be static free? Can you ask the customers what they want in an in flight movie rather than choosing yourselves? Also, can airlines finally admit that the idea that cellphones can mess up the navigation system is a complete lie?

The solution is to let the airlines go bankrupt and not have the government help them. The airlines should be forced to liquidate. What would then happen is that other people such as Herb Kelleher would come along, buy the businesses on the cheap, and run them better. This is called creative destruction, and it should be at the heart of capitalism.

I don’t expect anybody to sue the airports over $4 sodas, but something has to be done to stop the gouging.

The airlines are the worst of the worst. They cheat the customers and still lose money. If you are going to rob people blind, at least be intelligent thieves. Sometimes I think that when organ grinders fire their trained dancing monkeys (I have not seen an organ grinder in awhile. The recession really did take its toll on them.), the least qualified to find new organ grinders instead end up working ticket or baggage counters at airports.

The answer is not more regulation or government intervention. Some people want to blame deregulation, but the issue is with lower standards existing because consumers allow this.

The answer is for private citizens to fight back (legally). The record companies bullied Napster, and filesharing successfully led to consumers fighting back and obliterating what once was Tower Records.

Apple and Microsoft know that their customers will butcher them if their products are flawed. Consumers do fight back.

We will not be turning into pterodactyls any time soon. Yet if we just accept the abuse of the airlines, they will continue bullying us.

The solution is to name names. Ever single time an airline or airport employee messes with your livelihood, get their name and report them. Do not be afraid to complain. When an airline lost my expensive tuxedo jacket, I burned up the phone lines until I got my check in the mail. They really do listen, but so few people stand up.

Conversely, on the rare occasions that an airline employee does something positive (most likely Southwest), call their boss and compliment the employee. People are humans. They feel unappreciated, only hearing the complaints. A personal phone call of gratitude can save a good employee’s job and even get them a raise or promotion.

I would say more, but this 6 hour flight from New York to Los Angeles coupled with the 2 1/2 hour delay and 2 days of trying to leave early that went ignored have me spent.

So yes, even the world of big business has its evils. I hope the airlines realize that their last line of defense has had enough. Let the anti-business people wreck them. I will defend other big businesses that have made my life better, not worse.


France Bans the Burqa

Monday, July 19th, 2010

In an Earth shattering decision that may have global ramifications, the nation of France has decided to ban the burqa. Women in France are no longer allowed to wear that piece of Muslim garb.

While I am a proud Neocon who wants to eradicate Radical Islam, I am surprised myself at the fact that I am not so sure I am in favor of this decision. What I am sure of is why this law passed, and what it means for the future.

I am totally in favor of banning the burqa and any other face coverings in drivers license and other identity photos. The right of law enforcement to see the face of the person is paramount. It is called identification to begin with. In America, United States law supersedes religious law.

Yet a total banning of the burqa does seem to be an encroachment on religious freedom.

Some will argue that the burqa reduces women to second class citizens. However, if religious law does not interfere with government law, then the government does not have a role.  Honor killings are illegal because murder itself is illegal.

Yet many religious communities have separate existences. Some very religious sects of Judaism have their own Rabbinic courts for issues such as divorces, and federal and state law often defers to these Rabbinic courts.

If Sharia law does not infringe on American law, there is no legal issue. The problem with Sharia law is that it does impose Sharia on non-Muslims and others who have their own traditions. It is one thing for Muslims to have foot baths at airports. This does not hurt anybody. Yet cab drivers refusing to allow alcohol, pork, dogs, or other items banned under Sharia into their cars crosses the line.

People should be free to practice their religious faith without encroaching on the freedom of others.

While strict Islam is a male dominated culture, the issue becomes whether women are forced into this life or if they do so voluntarily. While social pressures exist in communities, women in places such as Europe and America have legal protections to prevent subjugation.

Why should a woman in France who wants to voluntarily wear her traditional garb be banned from doing so? Isn’t this an issue between her and her husband?

Yet while I want to be sympathetic toward the women who choose their garb, I am more sympathetic to those instilling the ban. It is important to understand why the ban was enacted.

In short, parts of the non-Muslim world has had it.

I have had it with third world genocidal lunatics running around like Ali Baba in the Bugs Bunny cartoon yelling “Hassan Chop!” I am tired of the words “infidel,” “blasphemer,” “Jihad,” and “Allah Akbar!”

I have just had it.

Peaceful Muslims are collateral damage, and they have only themselves to blame. They will not stand up and condemn Radical Islam.

I understand the need for silence in the Middle East, where the penalty for speaking out is death.

Where are the Arab Muslims in Minneapolis, Detroit, and Dearborn?

When England turned into Londonistan, it was another sign that Europe had surrendered. This makes it even more ironic that the French of all people are not surrendering. Nicolas Sarkozy is not your typical French appeaser. He does not want France to be part of the Caliphate.

Is he taking an elephant club to mice? Sure. Is this the best way to handle things? No. Is it better than doing nothing? Yes it is.

With France the issue is secularism. In America it is Christianity. Christian Americans would sooner bring back the Crusades than surrender to Radical Islam.

The word “crusades” is a term that is deeply offensive to Muslims. They can get over it. I am offended by beheadings and towers being blown up.

Should I stand up for the right of Muslim women to wear their burqa? Sure. I am willing to do it? No. I have my battles to fight, and I have better things to do than stand up for people who won’t fight for themselves.

This ban is a backlash that is years in the making. Yet backlashes often rage out if control, resulting in innocent people getting hurt.

The backlash will not always be justified, but the anger behind the backlash is certainly proper. If Radical Islamists do not stop their craziness, it is their fellow decent Muslims who will feel the pain.

The Radical Islamists don’t care. If Moderate Muslims do care, they should speak up now before the burqa bans are only the tip of the reactive iceberg.


Lebron, Cleveland, and Miami

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

As the basketball world waited, Lebron James decided to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and join the Miami Heat.

On an intellectual level I completely agreed with his decision, but on an emotional level it troubles me.

The other teams in the mix would have been awful choices. Going to the Chicago Bulls would have been insane. Winning 5 championships would still place him one behind the 6 Michael Jordan legacy. Anybody going to Chicago is forever chasing MJ.

The New York Knicks are so pathetic that reports had them sending Isaiah Thomas making the final sales pitch. Yes, those are the Knicks.

The New Jersey Nets still fail to realize that New Jersey is not a state. It is a province of New York, with a part of it belonging to Philadelphia. The Devils were winners for years, and still had to deal with Flyers and Rangers fans. If the Nets move to Brooklyn, that changes the equation drastically, although the Knicks will still have top billing despite being cellar dwellars.

This left Cleveland and Miami.

Everything on paper suggested Miami.

Lebron James is a young, single man will million of dollars. What better place to be for fun than Miami? South Beach is made for guys like him (and me for that matter).

As somebody myself  who is dating a hot woman with Miami ties, I know of what I speak.

Cleveland has some of the worst weather in the country while Miami has 75 degrees at midnight, with the clubs open until 5am.

The biggest selling point for the city of Cleveland is their unofficial slogan of “hey, at least we’re not Detroit.”

Then throw in the financial angle. Doing business in Cleveland is miserable. Ohio has been decimated by the recession, although regulations have strangled businesses out of existence. People are leaving in droves. Miami is business friendly. It has no state income tax. This is something to seriously consider when millions of future dollars are at stake.

Every sound business decision suggests Miami. Before going further, a brief tangent should be indulged.

The article in Sports Illustrated describing how the deal came together was outstanding. It was journalism at its most brilliant.

One issue dealt with the fact that Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh had been planning something like this since 2006. They all entered the NBA together in 2003, and in 2006 all agreed to take contract extensions with their respective teams that would leave them as free agents in 2010, allowing them to maximize their leverage in negotiations before the 2011 collective bargaining agreement.

If owners and management had done this, it would be called collusion, which is illegal. Yet players colluding is perfectly legal. NBA Commissioner David Stern has said he will not in any way move to look further at this issue. The players will remain completely free to do this.

Yet the real maestro in all of this is the man who is a cross between Don Corleone and a vampire, that being Pat Riley.

Riley has 7 rings, and 3 copies of each. One set is gold, one silver, and one platinum. This allows him to match them with his outfits. He tossed the bag of rings on the table and suggested that Lebron try one on.

Some will complain that too many stars on one team is bad for the league. This is nonsense. The games still have to be played. The 2004 Lakers had Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton, and Karl Malone. They got shellacked in the finals by the Detroit Pistons, who supposedly had no superstars. Great players do not always make a great team. The 2007 Celtics won because Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce all put their egos aside and put the team first. Doc Rivers provided stability.

An overload of talent does not bring stability. The Chicago Bulls of the 1990s had Michael Jordan running roughshod to keep more temperamental players like Dennis Rodman in line. Pat Riley should be able to do that in Miami.

So every indicator intellectually still favors Lebron going to Miami. Those who claim that his victories will be tainted are insane. Jordan never won anything without Scottie Pippen. Shaq went to Miami and won a ring with Wade. His ring is just as valid as his first three championships.

The goal is to win. Fighting over who gets the credit is what destroys dynasties. Just ask the Chicago Bulls and the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s about what happens when some people want more credit than others.

So despite everything rational, why should he have stayed in Cleveland?

Emotionally, he could have been a God in that city the way Jordan is in Chicago. The city is desperate to win. They are tired of being the joke of America. They are tired of hearing about John Elway and the drive and the fumble. Even their athletes who come up shot but bleed for the city are revered. Just ask Bernie Kosar and Brian Sipe. They were Cleveland to the core.

Lebron was the hometown kid from Akron. He could have owned the town. Now he is going to Miami where Wade has already led the team to a championship and playing for an owner who has won seven times.

I left New York for Los Angeles 20 years ago for a better quality of life. Yet even now I refer to myself as a New Yorker living in Los Angeles, not an Angeleno. I would never move back to New York. The weather is miserable. Yet it is still in my blood. The bond of where people are raised is often unbreakable.

Emotionally Lebron could have stayed, but at times one has to move on, especially when the current life is bleak (as bleak as a multimillionaire celebrity can be anyway) and the pastures elsewhere truly are greener.

I am not in Lebron’s shoes. Heck, I probably cannot afford to buy a pair in stores. Yet in my head I understand why he did what he did. He did the right thing.

Cleveland will never be Miami, but if it wants to keep talent like Lebron, it has to do more than merely not be Detroit.

Good luck Lebron. You have been given a potential championship on a platinum platter. Now you, Mr. Wade, and Mr. Bosh have to deliver. Anything less would be a debacle.


Farewell George Steinbrenner

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

I never thought I would be writing about George Steinbrenner.

For one thing, I hate baseball. I find it colossally boring. I really can’t stand the Yankees, and hope that anybody except them wins. To me they are the evil empire of baseball. One of the main reasons I dislike them so much is because of George Steinbrenner.

Yet over the years my dislike of him turned to a grudging admiration. The game of baseball is worse off for his passing.

Like many people, he was complex. He did many good and bad things.

His bad deeds got him suspended from baseball twice. Yet he served his time and returned under the rules that baseball allowed.

He had a gracious side. Despite former Commissioner Bart Giammatti pursuing a suspension against him (Giammatti had a fatal heart attack and his successor Fay Vincent imposed the suspension), Steinbrenner had very kind words about Giammatti following his death.

Steinbrenner had a bloodlust for winning, sometimes to the point of lunacy. He would fire managers practically every year, with Billy Martin coming and going five times.

As Steinbrenner aged, he mellowed, albeit barely. Joe Torre managed the team for over a decade until being forced out.

One quality Steinbrenner had that must be praised is self-deprecation. His stint hosting Saturday Night Live was hilarious. One skit had him managing a grocery store. He was told that one of his subordinates was stealing and needed to be fired. Steinbrenner was too soft to do it, insisting on leniency. “What kind of bonehead would I be if I just kept hiring and firing people?”

An even better skit that episode showed that Saddam Hussein, Joseph Stalin, Idi Amin, and George Steinbrenner all lost weight with Ultra Slim Fast. Steinbrenner asked “Why am I being compared to these ruthless dictators? Idi Amin used to eat people. I just run a baseball team.” It was explained that “George, you are the antithesis of all these people. You represent the common man.” Then the four men shared a group hug photo.

Yet the main association between Steinbrenner and the Yankees was winning championships. The Yankees won seven titles during his reign that began in 1973.

Steinbrenner would spend into the stratosphere to sign the best players. A player in a smaller city with talent would have a player leave because Steinbrenner would raise his salary from one million to twenty million. I used to think that Steinbrenner was destroying baseball due to the disparity in team salaries. A few years ago the Yankees had a payroll of 200 million dollars while the now defunct Expos (currently the Nationals) had a 9 million dollar payroll.

Yet this was not Steinbrenner’s fault. This goes to deep problems with the structure of baseball itself. Steinbrenner played within the rules of capitalism, and used his advantage accordingly.

(Another reason I support socialism in professional sports)

Yes, Steinbrenner is controversial, but what great leader isn’t?

When Joe Tore was forced out of the Yankees and joined the Dodgers, I rooted for the Dodgers to win so Torre could watch Steinbrenner choke on it. Yet it was Steinbrenner who had the last laugh, as replacement Joe Girardi brought the Yankees another championship.

Steinbrenner was born on July 4th, and died days after turning 80 years old. While his physical health was declining, his mental state was sharp. Up until his dying day, he wanted his team to win.

He used to be a shipping magnate, but as he told me, even the wealthiest shipping magnate is less prestigious than owning the Yankees.

He bought them for 8 million dollars, and saw his investment grow several hundred fold into the wealthiest name in sports.

He angered many people along the way, but every day of his life as an owner was dedicated to helping the Yankees win. The Yankees being in the world series brought out the Yankee lovers and haters, and that was good for baseball.

Whether it be Al Davis, Jerry Jones, or George Steinbrenner, leagues need renegades. Renegades when successful increase the storylines and the interest in the sport.

I may never find baseball interesting, but George Steinbrenner was never boring.

I will miss rooting against him.

Now he is in heaven with the Angels. I hope he does not end up owning them because he may try to fire them all.

Farewell Mr. Steinbrenner. You will be missed.


NAACP = Zzzzz

Friday, July 16th, 2010

The other day the NAACP declared…oh, who the heck cares.

I must really be desperate to fill up a column if I am going to spend time dealing with such an irrelevant entity. They remind me of the 100 year old relative talking about doing the Charleston and bread being a nickel. Then they get into how the Moon landing was fake. The NAACP needs a cup of warm (make it chocolate so they do not call me racist) milk and a nap. It is past their bedtime.

The NAACP recently declared that tea party attendees were racists. I will get to that, and gloss over it quickly since the charge is baseless.

The organization lost credibility and purpose long before former leader Benjamin Chavis mixed anti-Semitism with financial mismanagement and corruption.

The NAACP declares itself the “oldest civil rights organization” in America. Why does that mean anything?

The Model T Ford is the oldest car, but it long ago ceased being part of our culture.

Mordechai “3 Finger” Brown may have been a great baseball player, but I do not see him pitching any time soon.

The NAACP stopped being relevant ages ago for two reasons.

The first reason is positive. They succeeded in achieving goals that they had every right to pursue and succeed in. The idea that a black man had to drink from a different water fountain than a white man is vile, and a stain on this nation I love. Yet “separate but equal” was struck down in 1954.

Financially, America has a black middle class. We even have black billionaires. There are fewer of them than white billionaires, but there are many more white people in America overall. There is a middle ground between saying everything is now hunky dory and denying that tremendous progress has been made.

Yet the second reason the NAACP is useless is because the group long ago stopped caring about black people in the same way the NOW stopped caring about women. The NAACP is now a politically liberal interest group, and nothing more. Rush Limbaugh refers to them as the NAALCP, with the L standing for liberal. He is right.

95% of black people vote for the Democrats. This is not just bad for Republicans. It is bad for Democrats, and yes, it is also bad for black people.

Black America (and all groups) benefit when politicians fight over them. Nowadays one party ignores blacks and the other party takes them for granted. Even worse, a lack of a vigorous political debate in black America hurts black America.

Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois had vigorous debates on how to succeed in America. Dubois wanted to radically storm the gates, while Washington wanted to put his head down, focus on work, and buy a house. Wherever one is on the spectrum, having the debate is a victory in itself.

There is no debate anymore. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are considered “leaders.” What have they ever accomplished?

Young people today hear nothing but victimhood and blame. They do not hear enough from opposing views.The other side of the debate is nonexistent. If I were black, I would take pride that some of the greatest thinkers in this country are black, and in plenty of cases are far brighter than their white counterparts.

On economics, two of the very best are Dr. Thomas Sowell and Dr. Walter Williams.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas should be a beacon for every black youth in America.

Michael Steele leads an entire major political party.

Dr. Condoleeza Rice is a very respected foreign policy mind.

The left will say that these people are not “authentically” black. Yet if a black man has to be liberal, isn’t that intellectual slavery? How can people who were once banned from reading and writing and getting an education truly be free when they are forced to think a certain way and only that way or face ostracism?

This is not to say that black people should all become conservatives. They should simply have that as an option, without being abused.

The blogosphere has even shown that black Republicans and conservatives are not monolithic. The National Black Republican Association tends to be very conservative, including on social issues. Hip Hop Republican, despite the potentially misleading name, deals with urban issues from a very moderate centrist Republican perspective.

Too many on the black left are a collection of grievance mongers, especially in the media. Bob Herbert of the Jayson Blair Times is as hateful as it gets. E J Dionne of the Washington Post is often pretty awful as well.

A rare bright spot is Clarence Page at the Chicago Tribune. He is black, liberal…and fair. He is also pleasant. He does not demonize conservatives. Juan Williams is also very thoughtful, arguing the liberal perspective without throwing racial bombs. His reward for being fair is to be tarred as a self-hating black.

(Ironically, Williams is dismissed because he is on Fox News. Fox News is supposedly right-wing, yet Williams is a frequent contributor. So the station is biased even though he is on, but he should not count because he appears on a station that is biased. The delightful circle of leftist stupidity endures.)

This is what one does when they individually or as a movement are out of gas, intellectually exhausted.

The greatest thinkers do not demonize people. Does anybody see Dr. Walter Williams hurl bombs? No. The best and brightest stick to policy and ideas. They stand for things.

The NAACP is the product of a bygone era. They should change their name, for one thing. The C stands for colored, and that term has not been acceptable for decades. If a white person used that term today, it would be seen as racist. Yet this black organization still has it in their title. The NAACP is simply an anachronism at this point.

This is why I am not angry at the NAACP playing the race card against the tea party attendees. This is not a black vs white issue. It is a liberal vs conservative issue. The NAACP is no different than any other liberal organization. They are irrelevant, angry, bitter, and hateful toward conservatives. In a nutshell, they are liberal. This is how liberal organizations behave.

The charge of racism is serious, but it gets thrown around so casually that at this point it is practically boring.

When I play chess, I prefer that the black pieces move first just so the rest of the world can shut up and just play a board game without a coma inducing conversation about social progress. I also don’t care that the queen can be killed but the king cannot. It is a game.

If everything and everybody is racist, then nothing and nobody is racist.

This is flawed because real racism does exist. There are white bigots. David Duke is one. Yet decent Americans, and 99.99% of tea party attendees, condemn him.

This is not about race. It is about ideology. The tea party movement is conservative, and a threat to a liberal president. It has to be racist.

The flaw in this thought process is that Barack Obama is supposedly seen as different from any other ultra-liberal. I will explain it to the left again, even though they will deliberately ignore this. Barack Obama is not being treated any differently as president than John Kerry (shudder) would have been. There is zero difference.

Barack Obama is a budget busting big spending liberal. The tea party attendees want the spending binges and the budgetary madness to stop. That is policy.

America should have these debates. It makes for a stronger and more intellectually healthy nation. Remember when dissent was patriotic? I know, that was so 2008 when Republicans had the White House.

W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington had some of the most intelligent debates in the history of this country. Unless the NAACP stops shilling for liberal causes, allows debate, and stops demonizing conservatives (especially black ones), then the group will remain useful only for those with insomnia.

The NAACP is spreading racism, but like David Duke, at this point they are so marginalized that I only bring myself to care when a filler column is needed.


The Real White House Threat

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Liberals in general, and the Obama White House in particular, need straw man villain conservatives to survive. They need enemies to cover up their own miserable existence. Yet most of the time the White House knows that the fake threats are just that.

Yet one real threat has the White House terrified.

(I wish it was Islamofascism, but that would require the left to enter adulthood. I am referring to a political threat.)

Rush Limbaugh is not the threat. He was a bigger threat during the Clinton era. He is as good as ever, but his jovial entertaining manner leads some to think that he is only playing around. I know Rush is deadly serious about his conservative beliefs, but he does not have the White House as terrified as somebody else.

Bill O’Reilly absolutely does not threaten the White House. O’reilly keeps insisting (truthfully) that he is not a conservative despite the fact that the left portrays him and all Fox News employees as right-wing killers who hunt baby seals with full automatic weapons and beat up school children for their lunch.

(One could argue the left is killing children with those school lunches. My stomach hurts just remembering that stuff.)

Bill O’Reilly is so obsessed with being “fair,” that he bends over backwards to be more than fair. The White House knows it can manipulate O’Reilly because he has feelings, and being seen as “mean” truly bothers him.

Unlike O’Reilly, Sean Hannity is much closer to Limbaugh. He is the political opposition to the Obama White House. Yet Hannity seems more interested in debate and racking up points at times. He jousts with Bob Beckel, and they laugh about it.

Limbaugh, O’Reilly and Hannity are all good at what they do, but only one man truly has the White House terrified.

(One could argue Sarah Palin is the other person. They would be right, but unless she runs against Barack Obama, her ability to do damage to him is limited.)

The real White House public enemy number one is Glenn Beck.

They hate him. They despise him. They fear him down to their core (assuming generously that they even have a core).

I have watched his program many times. He does sometimes get excited and flush red in the face. Yet like Hamlet, he is only playing crazy. He is not crazy.

When he breaks down everything so carefully on his whiteboard, he is at his very best. The man is a teacher.

The left will demonize him because he is on the right and that is what the left does. Yet he is no partisan hack. He certainly has no love for the Republican Party. He does not even make formal endorsements.

The left will say he is crazy, but what they will not say is the one thing that would end Beck as a threat altogether.

They will not say he is wrong.

Some will argue the completely ludicrous argument that they do not want to “waste their time” on him. This is the most pathetic argument on Earth, which says a lot considering the left.

Liberals love to demonize conservatives by taking the most microscopic issues and blowing them out of proportion and context. I make spelling mistakes because I type fast, and that supposedly invalidates every legitimate thought I could possibly have.

When somebody on the right makes a mistake, the White House has thousands of people ready to correct the record. The White House is the most powerful rapid response team on the planet.

Glenn Beck has a red phone on his desk on the show. He challenges somebody, anybody, to call him if he gets something wrong. The phone stays silent.

The left will attack Glenn Beck on style, but he delights in mocking elitists. When he pulls out his pipe and tweed jacket and does his invitation of people who went to Harvard, he gives them a well needed popping of their pompousness pin cushion. He even tells us that he may not know anything, since after all he is nothing but a recovering drunk.

With Matt Drudge and Andrew Breitbart helping him with research (they are often attacked, yet they keep being proven right, or at the very least unable to be proven wrong), Beck exposes the intricate, incestuous, and downright corrupt relationships that are helping the left spread their poison.

ACORN was a criminal enterprise. Beck hammered them until they collapsed. Now he is going after the various organizations that ACORN became. He points out the White House “Czars” that have close to absolute power with zero accountability.

He takes aspects that Michelle Malkin dealt with in “Culture of Corruption” and applies them to the small screen.

Glenn Beck is who keeps Robert Gibbs from getting a good night’s sleep.

The left will continue to make him out to be crazy. If so, he is fox crazy.

What he is not…is wrong.

This is why Mr. Obama’s credibility keeps nosediving while Beck’s integrity and reputation keeps rising.

Keep applying pressure Mr. Beck. You are right, and the right thanks you for it.


How social liberalism elected George W. Bush

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

10 years ago, 537 votes in Florida sent George W. Bush into the White House and Al Gore in a downward spiral of madness from which he and his supporters never recovered.

I declared shortly after the 2008 election that January 20th, 2009, would be the death of the left. I was right.

The left needs a conservative to despise like the right needs oxygen to breathe. When the left failed at demonizing Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, they went after Sarah Palin. All that did was energize the right, and annoy the middle. None of the targets held any political office. The left was in trouble. They had to actually do something. They had to govern.

Naturally, they failed. Water is wet. The Sun rises in the East. Liberals can’t govern. They fight amongst themselves because they are a collection of beggars with no coherent uniting philosophy other than hating Republicans. They turn on each other when more “free” money is given to tri-racial Latino pygmys than transsexual black obese women.

Yet the right has made its share of mistakes, especially the social conservatives.

The social conservatives are flawed in that they insist on having principles and sticking to them.

The left never lets principles get in the way of winning. Cheating, lying, and stealing are allowed because the ends justify the means.

I am not as principled as many social conservatives.

(I blame them because it is easier to criticize others for getting things more right than me taking responsibility for my often totally inappropriate actions and even more heinous thoughts. That reminds me of a story about a college coed, some vaseline, and a mountain goat, but I will save that for another time.)

I say that for conservatives to dominate and build a lasting majority, they need to give the liberals exactly what they want.

Let’s start with abortion. Most of the people in this country having the abortions are liberals. Who is more likely to have an abortion, a bible attending social conservative obeying their faith or a man-hating NOW member more interested in asserting her feminist rage?

(Let’s say for the sake of argument that the NOW member actually had sex. It is a stretch, but some guys do get drunk and stoned, and some guys are deaf, rendering the anger directed at them less problematic.)

If 538 liberal women in 1973 had decided not to exercise their right to choose an abortion in Florida, Al Gore would be president.

Liberal ladies, keep choosing!

(Forgive me social conservatives. You are principled, and I will be burning in Hades for this.)

Now let’s talk gay rights.

I have always said in the past that I support the rights of all gay men and ugly gay women. Hot lesbians are evil. Jesus hates them. They are not thinking about my needs. Gay men reduce my competition for women, and ugly women…even they know nobody cares.

While there are plenty of gay Republicans in America (I count several members of the Log Cabin Republicans as my friends, and am honored and proud to do so. Being gay somehow did not prevent them from wanting to cut taxes and kill terrorists.), the majority of homosexuals in America are politically liberal.

Leave them alone. They can’t breed. They cannot bring new voters into the world to vote liberal.

Meanwhile, good religious families are having children. Religious Christians often have several children. Has anybody seen the Orthodox Jews? They rival bunny rabbits in terms of fertility, and their children are almost always sensible citizens. Apparently this belief in God stuff leads to a more moral life on many occasions.

(For those wanting to make remarks about priests and pedophilia, preaching about God and actually believing are not the same thing. Actual believers do usually lead moral lives, and are more charitable.)

Euthanasia is less of an issue because outside of Tony Randall and Anthony Quinn, most people over 70 are not breeding. However, maybe the left can reduce the euthanasia age to 20 from 80.

(Ok, fine. I even went too far for myself with that remark. It sounded better before I typed it.)

I am well aware that it is impossible to unite everybody on my side, but it is possible to lose everybody. The left will never support me, and the right has problems with my cold calculating desire to win elections at any and all cost to the greater social fabric.

I am an island. That does not make me wrong.

So I say the conservatives should keep living how they live, and the liberals should do the same provided that for once in their miserable rotten leftist lives they stop trying to force their world view on the rest of us.

On January 20, 2011, as I celebrate the decade since the election of the great President George W. Bush, I hope that the liberals keep doing what they can to reduce their own existence.

Democracy is wonderful.

Now if only I can persuade the billionaires on the left to redistribute wealth so that conservatives can live in safer neighborhoods with expensive security systems and guards. That way when illegal aliens come across the border, the few who commit crimes will only be attacking liberals.

So for those who say we cannot allow the liberals to destroy liberalism and lead to a more conservative future, I channel my inner vacuous liberal sloganeering and say…

Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can!


Muhammad is…me?

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

In a revelation that was shocking even to me, I have brought to my attention and am now bringing to the world the unmistakable truth that will affect everything and everyone from now until Armageddon.

I am the prophet Mohammed.

Some of you will ask if I am also Muhammad. The answer is yes. Hanukkah can be spelled Chanukah. As the prophet, I decide the spelling. My first fatwa is that the “u” shall be replaced with the “o” everywhere until further notice. Usama is Osama.

Some will say I am insulting one billion people. Nonsense. I am declaring myself their spiritual leader. Why would I do this if I disliked them? Islam has many beautiful traditions and a billion followers. I would love a billion followers, provided they do not keep contacting me on Twitter (On Facebook they can go to my fan page).

You see, it has been brought to my attention that drawing a picture of Mohammed is forbidden. Therefore, nobody has ever seen a real picture of Mohammed. This means that since nobody knows who Mohammed actually is, nobody has proof to refute my claims of being the man himself. To do so would be blasphemous.

As the new spiritual leader of Islam, I am hereby declaring that Jews and Christians are good people. They are to be treated with respect at all times. The Jews are the people of the book.

Does this mean I have converted to Islam? Not at all. I am still Jewish. How can I be Jewish and lead Islam? Because I am a prophet. I can because I said so.

(Wow, who knew Mohammed was a 21st century American liberal?)

To Radical Islamists who choose Jihad as a hobby over macrame or golf, you will burn in hell. I will make the 72 ladies you receive as hideous as the offspring of Helen Thomas and Danny Thomas, and they won’t be virgins.

(Ok, scratch that remark. Danny Thomas was a nice guy, and unrelated to Helen Thomas even though both were Lebanese. Even supreme leaders can be uninformed when they have not read the paper with their morning beverage.)

The ban on showing my face will be lifted. I want everyone to honor me with visuals. I could use the publicity.

I am now declaring myself the only Mohammed, so if anybody else tries to claim to be me, they will be rejected out of hand along with the millions of people falsely insisting that they really were Spartacus.

Also, to blend in with American society, I will not be using my name of Mohammed. I have decided to choose an American name. To the public, I shall be known as “Eric.”

(Although in many cases I will spell it with a lowercase “e.” Supreme leaders are not bound by grammatical constraints.)

I now embrace capitalism, so buy my books. I use the pen name Tygrrrr Express.

Normal every day Muslims shall continue living their lives as exactly before my revelation. No changes need to be made with their faith. It works perfectly fine on its own. I am not going to be one of those consultants who comes in and blows everything up (bad choice of words). I will just tinker around the margins.

The margins are the Radical Islamists who have hijacked the Muslim faith. They shall be banned from Mecca and Medina and relocated to Cleveland. The people of Cleveland are dealing with false prophet issues of their own, and could use some replacements.

Look, being a Supreme Leader is not easy for me. I do not want to be a hypocritical leader, so I am going to have to start obeying the 10 Commandments at some point soon. I will start with the “Thou shalt not murder” commandment, since that one is so easy that anybody other than a genocidal religious lunatic can understand.

I will not covet my neighbor’s wife’s @ss (no matter how juicy and delicious it looks), but if you defy me I will kick yours.

Once I have punished all the Islamic fundamentalist infidels, I will then step down. After all, a Jewish leader of Islam is so retro.

The Christians already have their leader, and leading the Jews…let’s be honest, it is a thankless job which is why nobody claims it…is not for me.

So I implore the people of the world to help me eradicate the evil Islamists who have kidnapped the real true Islam, so that I may relinquish my role as Supreme Leader. I would prefer this be done before September when the 2010 NFL Football season starts. I hate it when ruling people with their complaints and needs interrupts my ballgame.

There is much work to be done. I expect you all to work hard.

Until the day of reckoning, may peace be upon me, and you’re welcome.


More PBWGs and Walruses

Monday, July 12th, 2010

While paradigms shift, tastes change, and truisms either stand for all eternity or fall by the wayside, one political consistency seems to be made of granite.

When a political crisis gets out of hand, find a PBWG.

Yes, today is dedicated to Powerful Bald White Guys.

For the uninitiated, PBWGs can often be found on the various “Law and Order” franchises. The seriousness of the crime is determined by the number of PBWGs barking orders.

PBWG Level 1 has the police chief yelling “One Police Plaza is all over my @ss!”

PBWG Level 2 has the top police guy showing up with all of his medals pinned to his chest yelling “The Mayor is all over my @ss,” and other authoritative phrases like “If you screw the pooch on this one, just remember that the [email protected] rolls down hill!”

PBWG 3 means all heck is breaking loose, and it gets kicked up to either Fred Thompson (DA Arthur Branch) or Tom Everett Scott (Governor Donald Shalvoy, an Eliot Spitzer clone).

People trust PBWGs because they look like people who handle things. They have a reassuring nature. The original PBWG as reassurer-in-chief would probably be President Dwight Eisenhower. Even my socialist poli-sci professor in college conceded that Eisenhower was a father figure. The man’s campaign slogan was “I like Ike.” That is not exactly off the charts, but it was simple and effective.

Eisenhower was the last president to be elected before the modern television era. Once Kennedy defeated Nixon, PBWGs were not going to win the White House. 2008 validated this.

Yet despite not being the boss, the PBWGs remain vital. In the last couple years times have been really tough, and presidents of both parties have consulted those light on melanin content and follicles to guide us.

President George W. Bush had low approval ratings in his final year in office. He needed to convince America why a 787 billion stimulus package was necessary. He did not have the political capital to push the plan.

Enter Hank Paulson.

Paulson was everywhere. Despite rumors that he and Ben Bernanke were the same person, Paulson did not have the sinister looking beard (another topic for another time). Paulson looked like he was in command. The plan got passed.

President Obama has seen his presidency spiral out of control. The oil spill that began with an explosion aboard a BP ship has proved unmanageable. So many things need to get done. Somebody was needed to handle all of the claims.

When you need somebody to handle claims, you find somebody who looks like an insurance claims adjuster.

Enter Ken Feinberg.

(Since this is a visual issue and not an auditory one, I will gloss over his dreadful New England accent. That is also for another time.)

Ken Feinberg looks like he was born wearing a red and blue diagonal necktie. He looks like his entire life is dedicated to balancing debits and credits.

His honesty is seen as beyond reproach. He looks like a guy who can be trusted, similar to the PBWG boss in all of those Gekko Geico commercials.

(and the PBWG on Law and Order who is now selling gold. The thunder and lightning in the backgorund do not remove his steady calm.)

Ken Feinberg has another quality making him perfect for the job. Not only does he look like the cover page of the fictional “Non-Descript Average White Guy Monthly” magazine, but he has another reassuring quality. He is boring. Boring guys are rarely controversial (somehow President Obama is boring and controversial, not an easy achievement). When Feinberg was asked if strippers were entitled to compensation, his response was pure Sominex. He ignored the sex aspect of the story and dryly responded that while the claim did not seem legitimate, it would be looked at. This guy could win bureaucrat of the year.

Yet it is one thing to administer financial claims. It is another thing to have to fix the oil leak itself. President Obama is not an oil guy. Perhaps he was given an oil painting as a gift, and may use Oil of Olay or Palmolive Oil on his hands, but that is most likely the extent of it.

Some situations are so serious that a standard PBWG will not be good enough. In these rare sobering moments, only a very special PBWG can be considered. Like breaking the glass in terms of an emergency, at these times there is only one thing to do.

Bring in the Walrus.

Find a guy who resembles a walrus, and put him in charge.

Awhile back I dealt with famous walruses in sports. Yet political walruses are even more vital.

Walruses have been liked and trusted ever since Captain Kangaroo. Everybody liked Captain Kangaroo. I never met a person who disliked him.

Oil is gushing into the Gulf.

Enter Admiral Thad Allen.

I don’t have any idea what Thad Allen actually does. I am not sure if he does anything. It doesn’t matter. He looks like he is doing something.

George Costanza of Seinfeld once said that if you want to look busy, look annoyed. Costanza was a BWG, but never a powerful one. Admiral Allen looks pleasant. Whether he is as useless as Joe Biden or getting things done is something we will know in time…or not.

What I know is he looks like the guy who can smile before the cameras, and then privately do his Law and Order imitation by barking “The president is all over my @ss!”

The man has a serious looking mustache. He looks like he has complete control of the oil spill.

At the end of the year I will publish my list of the Top 10 PBWGs. I have a feeling there will be at least one walrus on the list.

Times are tough. We don’t have time to find those with know how. We need to find guys who look like they know how. If they actually know how, that is a bonus.

If global warming causes baldness, people might actually listen to Al Gore.

He would still be boring and wrong, but he would look like he knew something.

Joe Biden has hair plugs that cover up his idiocy. Homer Simpson became respected when he grew hair, but he was still clueless. Biden needs to go cue ball. It probably won’t help, but at least he would look competent.

My work here is done. I am now off to listen to the title track from the musical “Hair.”

You are on your own. For all your sakes, I hope there are PBWGs around to help.