Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Michele, Ma Belle

The first major Republican debate in New Hampshire did two things. One, it knocked any chance Tim Pawlenty had at becoming President out of the park. He looked, after a question about his calling Romney’s health care plan “Obamney Care”, like he had just wet his pants. If Pawlenty can’t stand up to Mitt Romney, he can’t stand up to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The second thing it did was propel Michele Bachmann into the top tier of candidates, which, for now, includes only Mitt Romney and apparently, Rick Perry.

Bachmann answered every question thrown at her in a seasoned, reasonable way including a stupid question about which one you like better: Elvis or Johnny Cash.

Then, speaking of stupid questions, last Sunday, Chris Wallace asked her if she was a flake because, she has said some, er, off the wall things, here and there. I’m not sure what Wallace thought she would say. (“Sure, I’m a Flake, what of it?”) Her reply started a little defensively, but she ended up answering it like she answers all questions put to her: she is a Congresswoman, a tax attorney, yadda, yadda. She also mentioned she raised five kids and helped raise 23 foster children, which would help her in dealing with Congress.

A lot of us on this side of the river were pretty put out with Wallace. Nobody in the Mainstream Media ever asked President Wonderful anything close to a hard question in 2008. Their questions to him: “Why are you such a dream boat?” “Tell me, when, not if, you get to be President, what will be the first grand and glorious thing you are going to do?”

No, Republicans have to get the proctologic exam along with presenting their curriculum vitae. This rule does not apply if you are named Jon Huntsman.

That’s the way it is, as Uncle Walter would say. It is also the reason she won’t win the Presidency.

Notice I did not say the nomination. She is the leader in the huge “Tea Party” movement which has its good and bad points. One of its bad points is that sometimes they support candidates which, to say the least, are flaky. One of their Senate candidates had to run a commercial proclaiming that she “was not a witch”.

My only problem with the “Tea Party” is that sometimes they don’t understand politics is about compromise and sometimes you have to take less than what you want to get anything you want.

Bachmann will be easy to parody. Already the “Funny or Die” website lists Bachmann’s “Five Biggest Factual Gaffes”. By the way, they haven’t mentioned our dear Vice President’s factual gaffe of claiming that FDR got on television in 1929 when the depression began despite the “fact” that FDR was not the President and there were no commercial TVs to get on.

Right now, Bachmann’s poll numbers versus the President are abysmal. The RealClear Politics average show Obama leading Bachmann 51% to 33%. To win, Bachmann has to win over the moderate voters and she has no history of having even appealed to anything other than Republicans.

Of course, in 1979, I was worried that President Carter would be re-elected despite his record and I worried over the Republican nominee. Everyone was going crazy over a 70 year old former actor who did not to know the name of the Prime Minister of France. That was Reagan and Bachmann could be another Reagan. I just don’t see it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The History of An Entitlement

This is the history of the federal government’s “Pizza on Friday Program” (POFP)

• Woodrow Wilson writes in a 1898 letter to a colleague that “I took the family out for a Pizza Pie as all families should”.

• That colleague, wrote President McKinley urging mandatory Pizza Fridays.

• In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt said “A man that doesn’t like pizza is a rapscallion and should be punched in the snoot, tarred, feathered and run out on the rails”.

• 1911, President William Howard Taft ate three pizzas at one sitting.

• In 1925 a reporter said to President Coolidge: "I bet a fellow ten whole dollars that I could not get you to say two words about pizza!" The President responded: "You lose".

• The campaign song for Alfred Smith in 1928 was “A Slice Would Be Nice”

• In a 1933 as an effort to help struggling diary farmers in Wisconsin, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the Wednesday Pizza Administration or The WPA. The Federal Government commissioned free pizza to be given out in special government stores called “Huts” every Wednesday.

• The radio stations all over America played the song “Hey You Let’s Chew”.

• After Pearl Harbor, the country was urged to cut down on its pizza consumption and show Hitler we mean business.

• In the 1948 Presidential race, President Harry Truman said, “The Republican Party wants to take away your pizza and I won’t let them.”

• In 1952 Presidential candidate Dwight Eisenhower promises to hold the anchovies.

• In the 1960 Presidential debates,John F.Kennedy said that there was pepperoni gap.

• In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed an executive order changing The Wednesday Pizza Administration into The Pizza On Friday Program since the modern American family was very busy on this day.

• In an interview at a Washington D.C. area Pizza Hut, President Richard Nixon denied ever having pizza.

• In 1979, President Carter signed an executive order allowing for federal funding of deep dish pizzas.

• In a 1986 compromise with the Democrats, President Ronald Reagan allowed citizens to substitute spaghetti for pizza if they wanted.

• After a rousing convention speech in 1988, President George Herbert Walker Bush caves in to Congressional pressure and signs legislation to allow specialty pizzas on the POFP.

• Bill Clinton wins the White House in 1992 promising bread sticks.

• In 2000, George Bush promises “buffalo wings with your pizza” while Al Gore promises “buffalo wings and the beverage of your choice”.

• Illinois Senator Barack Obama wins The White House promising never to get your order wrong.

• In 2011, after years of an exploding Federal Budget, Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin proposes deep cuts to the Pizza on Friday Program. The poor and needy would still qualify; however, the upper classes will be issued a coupon for use at their local Preferred Pizza Provider (PPP).

• The chairwoman of The Democratic Party, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, called Ryan and the Republican Party: “Pro starvation”.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bogus Bells

After years of benign neglect by the county, my dear high school Alma Mater, Wheeler High School is getting a much needed renovation. As part of the renovation, the original portion of the school built in 1965, will be torn down and rebuilt.

The Wheeler High School Alumni Association sponsored a “goodbye” to the old building and I had to go. It was neat walking the halls again. It was like nothing had changed except everybody had gotten older and fatter.

Here's a picture of me, my wife, and John Quarles. Please note we are the smallest people in the picture.

It brought back memories. Back when I was in school (the mid 70's) the motto of Wheeler could have been, to paraphrase Dave Barry: “Wheeler High School: Where the Leaders of Tomorrow are Leaving Wads of Gum Under The Desks of Today”. It is not true, young people; whose only knowledge of the 70’s is “That 70’s Show”, that everyone was stoned. Okay, maybe one out of three.

Of course, it brought back a memory of when I got into big trouble at school.

My first two years at Wheeler, we had double sessions. The upper classmen went in the morning and the underclassmen went in the afternoon. This meant there were no lunches served at school. In my junior year, the classes were united and lunch was now served. In keeping with modern times, we had two lunch rooms. One lunch room served the usual lunch room swill. The other served HAMBURGERS, FRIES, and MILKSHAKES.

I don’t have to tell you which lunch room I hit everyday and what I had. I still graduated weighing about a buck-thirty, which tells you something of my metabolism back then. To say I enjoyed lunch was an understatement. I was one of those students that majored in lunch.

In the winter quarter, I had this class that was in the “senior” hall and it had a complicated bell system. This first bell meant the seniors had five minutes until the second bell and then the second bell meant the seniors could go to lunch and then the third bell meant that the juniors had five minutes until the their lunch but if you were a senior you could leave class and have lunch. The fourth bell was the lunch bell.

This was a History class, which was the only subject besides lunch I was any good at. I sat in front of my friend Moody who was a Math genius. Moody liked getting on our teacher’s nerves, a gentleman we called “Willie Wetumpka”. One day, Willie was talking about Manifest Destiny or something and the first bell rang. Moody turned to me and said, “Let’s go to lunch”. We got up and went to lunch three bells ahead of schedule.

I remember we had a real pleasant lunch and then I went to my other classes. My last class of the day was an American Literature class which Moody was in also. I walked into class and a girl asked me how the office was. I said “What office?”

Like an idiot, I had no idea that she was referring to my early lunch. Just about that time, a student from the Vice Principal’s office came into class with note asking to speak with me and Moody.

This particular Vice Principal was a very nice, big ole’ bear of a man. He also had a Southern accent like you wouldn’t believe. When he would give an announcement over the Intercom about the Key Club selling kazoos at the library you would hear: “Tha Kay Club is sellin Kahzoos at the lieberry”.

This is the first time since sixth grade (I blew into an open microphone causing feedback) that I had been in a principal’s office. Moody, however, was known by the administration because of his math wizardry. He was on this math team that won a state award a week before this incident.

The Vice Principal was very disappointed in Moody. “Yew represented this sckuel when yew when you was in that Math thang” ( You represented the school in the mathematics tournament) “Then yew go do sumpthin lake this. I’m vary,vary disappoint in yew” (Then you do something like this. I am very, very disappointed in you). Then he turned to me and said these immortal words: “You too, boy”.

I was just the afterthought in this little bit of discipline. Moody represented the best of what we had, at least math wise. I was just a little toady along for the ride. Hey, it got me an early lunch.

The Vice Principal went on for a few more minutes about “sckuel” and you just “cain’t do watchu want”. Then he asked Moody why we did this terrible deed. Moody said, “We got confused by the bells”. Which I thought was great. I wanted to jump up and say: “Yeah, man, it was you and your bogus bells that got us all confused, like we didn’t know what we were doin’. Power to the people!” For once, I kept my mouth shut.

Then in a moment of total educational hipness, the Vice Principal asked: “How should ah punish yawl?” Before I could say, “Give us a lecture and we’ll never do it again”, Moody said, “I think detention would be appropriate”.

I know I gave Moody a look that said “What the fudge-ripple are you talking about?” I couldn’t imagine telling my mother I got detention for having lunch. Fortunately, the Vice Principal probably realized that we probably wouldn’t do it again and that the bell schedule was stupid, so he let us go with a warning.

I look back on that and wonder what would happen today if I was a high school kid and did something like that. I would either: get caught in a “No Tolerance” dragnet and sent to an “Alternative” School for a couple of weeks or given a counselor to help me with my time management issues. Either way, I think I prefer what happened to me back then.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pay To Play

Nothing in College Football surprises me. Okay, maybe if it was revealed that Bear Bryant was really a woman. Other than that, College Football follows the same pattern year after year.

A coach cheats. A player cheats. A player is arrested. A player, who was supposed to pass, fails. A booster gives money to a player. The player takes the money and buys a car, if the booster hasn’t already given him one. Coach tells the team that it is THE TEAM that matters. Coach receives offer from a more prestigious and better paying school. Coach leaves team. College hires another coach who tells that team that THE TEAM is all that matters.

However, one story that has surprised me was Steve Spurrier’s idea to pay college football players cold hard cash for playing football. I was surprised because: 1) Spurrier lives on Planet Visor where only offensive pass plays are thought about and 2) The news reports about Spurrier’s plan didn’t include the phrase “so the players can buy a pizza”.

Spurrier is the Head (ball) Coach of the University of South Carolina Fighting Illegal Game Birds and has been a major factor in a majority of the cuss words spoken in the state of Georgia for the past twenty years. He is a big deal in college football and his support of paying players is kind of like Nixon going to China.

Spurrier had several other coaches sign off on his proposal, with Nick Saban being the biggest name. Mark Richt, as usual, decided to ‘punt’ on it. (Ha, Ha, a little summer time football humor for you.)

The proposal comes after Jim Tressel hung up his vest at THE ONLY OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY because some players traded their jerseys for tattoos.

At one time, tattoos were worn by only Sailors and Marines. It was usually an anchor or a heart with the words “Born to Lose” inscribed on it. The story of how the guy got the tattoo started like this: “Well, I was drunk”.

Now day’s kids put entire graphic novels on their bodies. Every significant thing that might have happened to them is in tattoo form. “This is when I won the spelling bee”. Dude, I don’t have time to read your shoulder.

When confronted with evidence that some players, really big name players, had traded memorabilia for tattoos Tressel did what every person that is entrusted with great responsibility does: He lied about it. Mr. Big Ten Football turned into Sgt Schultz: “I know nothing, nothing.”

Spurrier proposes paying players $300.00 a game. For some players, like THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY Buckeye players, this might come as a cut in salary. But for your average college football player, it would be nice to have some pocket change handy, you know, just in case you want a pizza or a new tattoo.

Getting a college education paid for simply isn’t a big deal anymore. You have to have some walking around money so you can buy some bling, if just happens to become available. The kids have a point. They are a running, throwing, blocking, catching, tackling advertisement of the college and the college makes a boat load of money off of them. So why not throw some cash their way?