I warned you about the return of Jimmy Carter.
Now see what you have to look forward to.
I warned you about the return of Jimmy Carter.
Now see what you have to look forward to.
Thank you, veterans, for your determination.
Thank you for your patience.
Thank you for your spirit.
Thank you for your preparedness.
Thank you for your professionalism.
Thank you for your teamwork.
Thank you for your gift of your youth.
Thank you for your committment.
Thank you for your comraderie.
Thank you for your perseverance.
Thank you for your selfless courage.
Thank you for your compassion.
Thank you for your lonely hours.
Thank your for your humanity.
Thank you, veterans, for everything.
You are truly the best of who we are.
To stir the soup is to stir the soul.
You were always miles and miles ahead of me, Jerry. But you also believed that there was nothing in this world that any of us could not comprehend, given a little elbow grease on our own part.
You won that argument with me a long, long time ago, teacher, but I always appreciated that you let me tag along anyway.
Now rest, my friend. And Godspeed.
Dear Mr. President,
In the spirit of the profound priciples of liberty, justice, fairness, and comity expressed inour Constitution, an agreement by and among those to be governed as to how they shall be governed, and to which this day you have so dutifully sworn to uphold, I pray that God and your conscience may guide you and this nation forward.
We will differ on matters of policy, Mr. President, of that I am sure. But I will respect you, sir, in a manner befitting the Chief Executive and Commander in Chief of my nation, and I expect that you will return such respect as befits me, and all citizens, as your employer.
For all of our differences during the campaign, and for all those differences that we may/will have in the future, allow me to take just a minute of this day to thank you bringing to mind the sacrifices made in defense of this nation by our brothers, and our near brothers.
You said: “For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn. ” Many Americans did so, Mr. President, and their deaths should never be forgotten. But many more Americans fought and lived in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn, (And, if you will excuse me, Mr. President, also in places with names such as Falujah. I assume that you’ve heard of it, yes?) My point being that we should revere and cherish and commit to those heroes still living amongst us, even as we honor those who are departed.
It is without question that for those who sacrificed limbs and eyes and faculties in furtherance of our defense there is a national debt that can never be fully repaid, but only gratefully acknowledged, and then committed. I would have liked to hear that acknowledgement from you today, Mr. President. I will be thrilled to hear it from you soon.
I’m no bomb thrower, Mr. President. All that I am asking is that you not forget that all those providing that “last full measure of devotion” to our nation did not expire on the field of battle, but might linger years, or even decades, until their debt is paid in full. We have to understand that we owe an obligation to our citizen soldiers that is everlasting and signed in blood. For those who have perished that obligation becomesthe honored abstract, and a such is worthy content for uplifting speeches. For those who have survived the harms we asked them to confront, however, our national obligation it is immediate and corporeal. Before we begin dithering with the UAW, GM, CITIGroup, BofA, or the Whoeverthehellisthe Next Bailout, Inc., over which less than worthy operation should get taxpayer relief, we need to make sure that there is not a single serviceman or woman awaiting the same.
You should know this already, Mr. President. Please say it aloud.
Consider these, your own, words:
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
Earning it, Mr. President, is what I’m all about here. This government has somehow found a trillion dollars to hand out to banks in trouble. Pardon my skepticism, Mr. President, but I’m not seeing legions of investment bankers as this nation’s alternative to a single Marine on sentry duty in Kabul, nor so I see a single investmant banker volunteering to be that Marine. As investments go, this one is a stinker.
How about instead you focus less than one thousanth of the stimulus amount towards aiding service men and women and their families? These are persons who not only “earned it”, in every sense of the word, but also those that laid down their lives for each and every one of us, and did so at zero percent interest. Ask your staff to keep drilling down until they find that old saw about how every ounce of loyaly is rewarded ten fold, and then ask WellsFargo about how that asset shows up on their balance sheet.
But if all else fails, Mr. President, give me a call. I know exactly where Earn It lives. And Greatness ? Damned if she doesn’t live right next door.
But you knew that already.
God bless you, Mr. President, and may God bless these United States of America.
Two Thousand Eight will long be remembered as the year in which the last remnants of the public’s trust in other human beings was finally flushed down the toilet. This year’s class of nominees for Dirtbag of the Year is longer than any in recent memory and is chock-full of liars, cheats, flim-flam artists, stooges, scuzz buckets, thugs and creeps. Yes, folks, it was a banner year for the bad guys.
But before I follow 2008 down the pipes with this, my final harangue of the year, I want to recognize a few of this year’s brighter spots.
The Giants beat the Patriots in a Super Bowl for the ages and restored my belief that Eli Manning was not adopted. Dara Torres proved the world why women get better with age, and Michael Phelps cleaned out the gold locker in a remarkable displays of guts and good sportsmanship. Federer and Nadal played the greatest game of tennis that I ever actually watched. BoSox Pitcher John Lester licked cancer and then came flying back to chuck a no-hitter on his way to 16 wins. Golfer J.P. Hayes turned himself in for using an unapproved ball and got himself disqualified from tournament play, but he joins the very short list of guys you can trust on a golf course. Tiger Woods proved himself a man of true grit by duking it out through 91 holes to win the U.S. Open, on a busted leg. Senator John McCain showed himself to be classic American class act by delivering a most gracious concession speech after losing a long hard fought campaign to a man almost half his age and a tenth of his experience. And last, but by no means least, a crisp salute to General David Petraeus for his professional display of consistancy, courage, and tact while some others around him were ready to throw in the towel.
Those are this year’s good guys. Thank you lady, and gentlemen, well done.
And now for this year’s Dirtbags.
Where to begin…. Eliott Spitzer, Ted Stevens, Robert Mugabe, Marc Drier, Jeremiah Wright, Larry Craig, John Daly, Keith Olbermann, Bernie Madoff, O.J Simpson, Charlie Rangel, “Hot Rod” Blagojevitch, The A-Rod-Madonna Disgrace, and William Jefferson all immediately come to mind, as do many, many more.
Depite 2008’s bumper crop of nominees, however, it only took me about 11 seconds of deliberation to decide that only one person was truly deserving enough to be the named the 2008 Dirtbag of the Year. Ladies and gents, I give you that bobble-headed prevaricating philandering jackass depicted at left, former New York Yankee hurler, and, at one-time, a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame, Roger Clemens.
The Rocket began 2008 by going on with Old Shoe Polish Head Mike Wallace at 60 Minutes to speak directly to the public about outrageous allegations being made regarding his alleged steriod use while a member of the New York Yankees that just happened to surface as part of a Congressional investigation. In typical Rocket form, Clemen’s came out swinging. He flatly, angrily, and repeatedly, denied that he had ever used performance enhancing drugs, and he called his former trainer, the less than immaculate Brian McNamee (who gave a sworn statement to the feds about shooting up Roger) a flat-out liar. Roger then immediately followed-up on that little nationally televised diatribe with a flashily splashed defamation lawsuit against the hapless and apparently defenseless McNamee. Whew! One might be tempted to think that anybody charging that hard at the mound must be innocent!
After that, however, the rest of the year went pretty much downhill for the Rocket, but he really didn’t have too far to go. McNamee, it turns out, didn’t trust Clemens any further than sixty feet six inches, and announced to the world that he had secreted syringes and pads which DNA tests would confirm the pitcher as being the recipient.
At this point a wiser man (or his counsel), might have chosen to propose a polite fade-away, ala Yankee teamates Andy Petitte, Chuck Knoblock and Jason Giambi , and live to play another day. But that’s not the style of a dirtbag.
In February Clemens took his one angry man show on the road to Capitol Hill where, under oath, he flatly, angrily, and repeatedly, denied that he had ever used performance enhancing drugs. Clemeons threw his old pitching buddy and teamate Andy Petitte under the bus with testimony that Andy “misremembered” The Raj telling him about using the juice. Oddly, Andy’s wife had the same faulty memory aas her husband. But evidently poor addled Andy remembered just enough to cause some comical distress to creep across the Rocket’s stern mug. Clemens glared at McNamee and barked loudly in defense of “his good name. ” But what he failed to do was to convince anyone that he was telling the truth, about anything.
Clemens’ televison performance and Congressional testimony was, quite frankly, the most ill-considered, ill-advised, ill-scripted, ill- mannered, and professionally embarassing testimonial shipwreck since Captian Queeg let loose with the ball bearings in “The Caine Mutiny.”
February slimed by in the Clemens camp with the revelation that McNamee had juiced up Roger’s wife, Debbie, in preparation for a swimsuit shot for Sports Illustrated – at her husband’s direction, no less. Nice. At least Ms. Clemens copped to the truth, however, while Roger stuck to his guns that everyone in the world was lying, except, or course, him.
April was not kind to Roger. First rumors began to fly that the happy hubby had been a very naughty boy with a very young Mindy McCready. Of course, Clemens had his attorney deny everything. Only problem was, Ms. McCready readily admitted to the long term affair. Obviously, in Roger’s mind, this was just another case of yet another liar out to ruin his “good name!” But people were starting to wonder what good name there was left to ruin.
Fortunately, that question was not long in the answering, as almost immediately it was reported that Mr. Clemens’ slice had landed in the rough of John Daly’s ex-wife (who must have taken a Mulligan on her first her husband).
Not another week passed before Mr. Clemens was accused of passing stuffed olives between his own married self and a comely young real estate agent and bartender, Angela Moyer. Clemens decried these reports as lies, but then immediately apologizes for any unspecified mistakes that he might have made in his life, like perhaps being a colossal serial dirtbag to his wife and children.
September found Roger watching a battery powered TV while getting the cold shoulder from the his former pals in pinstripes. By this time Roger was looking like too big a dirtbag even for the dirtbaggiest team in baseball (see, A-Rod-Madonna, above). In November, McNamee asked the judge to dismiss Clemen’s defamation suit against the trainer, with some support from federal prosecutors, too. And just before Christmas, McNamee filed his own $10 million defamation suit agianst the Roger. In between, Ms. McCready, the young girl that Roger wouldn’t marry, decided that she’d had enough, although God, quite thankfully, did not.
Roger locked-up the 2008 Dirtbag award when a Houston hospital decided that scratching his name off of the door to the sports medicine clinic (that was probably built with his money) was still better than being associated with Mr. Clemens.
And so, let us resolve to look for Roger’s name in the weeks and months ahead, most likely to be paired with the words “perjury,” disgrace,” and “divorce.” And let us not forget that Roger Clemens beat out some stiff competition for 2008 Dirtbag of the Year, but that in the end, Roger Clemens earned this baby.
Why, Roger? Why? After all of those games for which I screamed myself mute for you?
(*head smack**head smack**head smack*)
Oh, forget it, Clemens. We’re done here with 2008, and we’re certainly done with the likes of you.
Buzz off, you…you… dirtbag.
As to the rest of y’all, I wish you and yours a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year.
And don’t worry, I’ll be much more pleasant now that I’ve had my annual enema!
In the universe of global disaster scenarios the only restraint on one’s imagination is usually self-imposed. We relish thinking about the calamities that might befall us as a civilization, as a species, or even as a planet – and are constantly conjuring new cataclysms to heighten our human urge for senseless anxiety. Holy crap! It’s nook-u-ler war!!!! Hide under your desk! Here comes the Texas-sized giant meteor headed straight for Central Park! Everybody duck! AND -oh muh gawd! HERE COME THE BIRDS!!!!!!
Oy. It’s exhausting to keep up with all the ways that we humans can figure out how we should get wiped off of the planet. It’s almost as if we feel guilty about being here. How else to explain a world where we would accept that apes or robots might displace us at the top of the food chain?
But, however exhilarating the potential extinction of the human race might be for movie-goers, if all human beings vanished from earth tomorrow, who’d even notice, much less give a sh*t?
As compared to the ho-hum nature of the extinguishment of the human race, the potential demise of a “country” offers a wide pallet from which to draw personal indignity. And so I must.
Throughout history, countries have died or been reshaped with alarming regularity, and the accompanying trauma of the collapse of the common bond, purpose and identity to those dedicated to a particular social order is devastating. Yes, it is true that other social ideals and political arrangements will rush to fill the void. But however benevolent the subsequent civil structure, the dialog of such social change historically has been debated in blood.
Not surprisingly, then, I am drawn to drawing blood when I read this pronouncement by the “Russian Academic” Igor Panarin* that the United States is destined to fall apart by 2010.
Prof. Panarin, 50 years old, is not a fringe figure. A former KGB analyst, he is dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s academy for future diplomats. He is invited to Kremlin receptions, lectures students, publishes books, and appears in the media as an expert on U.S.-Russia relations.
But it’s his bleak forecast for the U.S. that is music to the ears of the Kremlin, which in recent years has blamed Washington for everything from instability in the Middle East to the global financial crisis. Mr. Panarin’s views also fit neatly with the Kremlin’s narrative that Russia is returning to its rightful place on the world stage after the weakness of the 1990s, when many feared that the country would go economically and politically bankrupt and break into separate territories.
A polite and cheerful man with a buzz cut, Mr. Panarin insists he does not dislike Americans. But he warns that the outlook for them is dire.
“There’s a 55-45% chance right now that disintegration will occur,” he says. “One could rejoice in that process,” he adds, poker-faced. “But if we’re talking reasonably, it’s not the best scenario — for Russia.” Though Russia would become more powerful on the global stage, he says, its economy would suffer because it currently depends heavily on the dollar and on trade with the U.S.
Mr. Panarin posits, in brief, that mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war next fall and the collapse of the dollar. Around the end of June 2010, or early July, he says, the U.S. will break into six pieces — with Alaska reverting to Russian control.
Well, hell. Based upon this carefully reasoned KGB-sponsored geo-political assessment, please cancel my $100 donation to the “Sarah Palin for Vice-President 2012 Committee.” There’s a 55-45% chance that she’s a goddamned commie mommy who’s going to sell out the cuddly polar bears!
//sticks tongue in electrical socket to clear head//
Before we all go applying for visas to Canada, let’s just step back for a moment to consider the foundation for Prof. Panarin’s pronouncement of the imminent collapse of the United States.
He based the forecast on classified data supplied to him by FAPSI [the Russian equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency] analysts, he says.
Oh. Well if it’s classified KGB data, then it must be true.
He predicts that economic, financial and demographic trends will provoke a political and social crisis in the U.S. When the going gets tough, he says, wealthier states will withhold funds from the federal government and effectively secede from the union.
Hmmm… Let’s see now: Virginia decides one day not to pay it’s income taxes to the federal government and effectively secedes (again). Wait a minute. Virginia doesn’t pay taxes to the feds, Virginians do. The Commonwealth of Virginia gets money from the feds, some of which was donated (at the point of a gun) by Virginians. Are you getting the feeling that the good Professor doesn’t know his ass from his elbow when it comes to how the United States operates?
Social unrest up to and including a civil war will follow. The U.S. will then split along ethnic lines, and foreign powers will move in.
Crickey. Has this guy ever spent a single day in New York City? Does he have any idea how difficult it would be to “split” this magnificently diverse country “along ethnic lines?” Sorry Professor, We the People of the United States just ain’t that organized, and couldn’t get that organized in a million years, much less 24 months. Plus, the whole “civil war” concept is so over here in the states. In order to have a civil war you’ve got to have two distinct factions willing to duke it out. We did that once, over this nation’s original sin; slavery. It was a hard lesson, learned hard, and it’s not likely that such an occasion will ever be repeated.
California will form the nucleus of what he calls “The Californian Republic,” and will be part of China or under Chinese influence. Texas will be the heart of “The Texas Republic,” a cluster of states that will go to Mexico or fall under Mexican influence. Washington, D.C., and New York will be part of an “Atlantic America” that may join the European Union. Canada will grab a group of Northern states Prof. Panarin calls “The Central North American Republic.” Hawaii, he suggests, will be a protectorate of Japan or China, and Alaska will be subsumed into Russia.
Okie-dokie, Smokey. And Tibet just bid $12 for Topeka on eBay.
I appreciate that the Russians are still hurting over the collapse of their communist empire. But their Marxist experiment really didn’t last that long, and it certainly didn’t result in anything lasting, culturally, spiritually, or socially – unless you count Chernobyl, a plethora of heroic statues, and several million unmarked graves.
Despite all of his “classified” data on American culture, Professor Paranin fails to grasp what is obvious to anyone who simply pulls into a rest area on the New Jersey Turnpike: We are a varied people, but every one of us is confident in his or her knowledge of two simple facts: (1) I am better off living in America than not living in America; and (2) in-door plumbing is a very good thing, particularly for women.
Prof. Pararin’s entire opium dream appears to be based upon the historical premise that the same kind of divisive ethnic, religious, tribal, and socio-economic ills that have doomed countless other regimes throughout history will, sooner or later, be the demise of the United States. And that may still be so… someday.
But not yet, Comrade.
And believe me when I tell you that we are all, very much, still standing.
*(I admit that I can’t help but think of crusty bread bowls filled with potato(e) chowder and an asiago cheese bagel whenever I read his name).
May the day find you warm and close to those you love,
And may Santa bring you the joy of simple things.
Merry Christmas, my friends.