The Right Opinion

Quote, Unquote

By Burt Prelutsky · Jan. 28, 2013

As a rule, I prefer relying on my own words, but there are times when I’d regard myself as the worst sort of miser if I didn’t share other people’s thoughts with my readers.

For instance, Carl Sagan, the eminent astronomer, once stated the case for religious belief as succinctly as this: “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”

Someone I can’t identify once, in comparing actors and politicians, pointed out “If they can learn to fake sincerity, they have it made.”

Eric Hoffer, the late longshoreman/philosopher who wrote my favorite work of non-fiction, “The True Believer,” observed: “If a society is to preserve stability and a degree of continuity, it must know how to keep its adolescents from imposing their tastes, attitudes, values and fantasies on everyday life.”

To truly digest the wisdom of that statement, you merely have to consider the recent election in which this nation’s youth, by giving Obama a seven million vote plurality over Romney, sentenced America to an additional four years of rule by presidential fiat.

But it isn’t just youngsters who have taken leave of their senses. Here in California, Mohammad Safi, a graduate of a medical school in Afghanistan, first began working as a staff psychiatrist at a mental hospital in 2006, earning $90,000 a year. Last year, he made $822,302.

At first blush, you’d say there’s no way Dr. Safi could be making nearly $70,000-a-month legally, but you’d be wrong. It seems that he benefited from a bidding war after a federal court forced the state to improve inmate care. That resulted in prisons raising their pay scale to lure psychiatrists. That, in turn, compelled the mental health department to follow suit in order to hang on to their employees. So you had two clearly over-funded state agencies bidding against each other, and in the end a guy with a degree from some school in Afghanistan ends up being a millionaire, all at the taxpayers' expense. Clearly, there are more loons serving in our state government than there are under Dr. Safi’s supervision.

Lest you think this is an isolated case, last year 15 other psychiatrists on the state payroll made over $400,000, while only one shrink made that much in the other 11 most populous states. Is it any wonder that whereas some American cities have what are called sister cities scattered around the world, California has a sister country? It’s called Greece.

Even when Barack Obama does something right, it can have tragic consequences for innocent people. A while back, he signed a law prohibiting access for any Russian official linked to the murder of imprisoned whistle blower Sergei Magnitsky to visas or U.S. bank accounts. Magnitsky, in case you missed the news, was the man who announced that members of the Russian government had been robbing the country blind. A day or so before he was to be released from custody, he was killed, no doubt on orders from President Vladimir Putin, the former butcher in charge of the KGB.

In retaliation for Obama’s action, Putin saw to it that a law was passed denying Americans the right to adopt Russian children. As I understand it, there were 46 such adoptions already in the pipeline when Putin decided to punish Russia’s orphans in retaliation for a law that punishes corrupt Russian officials. And this was the schmuck to whom Obama promised greater flexibility once he won re-election.

That brings me to a pet peeve: the notion that there is something morally repellant about assassinations. I can understand why heads of state would take exception to it. I can even understand why those of us who live in a country where we have access to free elections would be opposed. But when you consider that Pol Pot made it all the way to his 73rd birthday; Stalin made it to 75; Mao tse-tung, to 82; and that Fidel Castro and Robert Mugabe are still causing trouble at the ripe old ages of 86 and 88, respectively, it’s hard to argue that the world wouldn’t have been better-served if they’d been eliminated by any means possible decades ago. And is there anyone out there who’s not named Bashar al-Assad, 47, who would have any objection if an assassin saw to it Syria’s serial killer didn’t make it to 48?

I will give the last word to Mrs. Duane Plummer, who wrote to let me know that she used to live on Lake Road, Webster, NY, where William Spengler recently murdered two firemen who had been lured to a fire he started because, as he confessed in a note he left behind, he really enjoyed killing people.

In response to the anti-gun hysteria generated by headline-chasing politicians and their enablers in the media, Ms. D. Plummer of Port Charlotte, FL, wrote to me: “Another unbalanced person who served only sixteen years for killing his grandmother. Huh? Because of this latest travesty, my husband and I will no longer use matches and are starting a ban-the-match campaign. It may not get any further than our stop-making-roads campaign because cars drive on roads and kill people. But we need to do something to stop this madness!!”


Howard Last in Wyoming said:

I understand Spengler killed his grandmother with a hammer. Where are the calls to fine Craftsman and Stanley for selling such deadly weapons. We need a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives and Hammers. The deadly sledge and mauls must be banned immediately. And don't forget those deadly picks and axes.

Monday, January 28, 2013 at 12:48 AM

Burt Prelutsky in North Hills, CA replied:

Howard: At least now when Sen. Feinstein comes out with her list of assault hammers she and Obama insist be banned, we'll know which Wyoming resident to blame.


Monday, January 28, 2013 at 1:13 AM

ArmyofOne in MN said:

Burt..How high up in the government is it considered an assassination, or merely a killing for the sake of the good of the country? ass-ass- i-nation (love that word).

Monday, January 28, 2013 at 4:12 AM

Burt Prelutsky in North Hills, CA replied:

Army: I suspect that the killing of any member of the government is considered an assassination if politics is the motive for the murder. But as a rule, I would limit it to the head of state.


Monday, January 28, 2013 at 6:55 PM

DaneChile in Unknown replied:

Definition of ASSASSINATE


: to injure or destroy unexpectedly and treacherously


: to murder (a usually prominent person) by sudden or secret attack often for political reasons (ed. - such as MLK)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 1:05 AM

wolfpat in Siler City, NC said:

If you REALLY want to protect children, ban bathtubs. They kill far more kids than guns.

Monday, January 28, 2013 at 5:04 AM

Howard Last in Wyoming replied:

Patrick, 5 gallon buckets also.

Monday, January 28, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Ragweed in West Virginia replied:

What about refrigerators and freezers? I remember a drive to get rid of the old, discarded ones several years ago.

Monday, January 28, 2013 at 11:59 AM

HardThought in Kansas said:

I lived in Leavonworth, KS, home of five prisons, for twelve years.
There were five homicides.
One was with a hammer by a druggie demanding money from an Uncle.
One was with a screwdriver by a druggie demanding money from his Mom.
One was with a baseball bat in an altercation in an alley
One was by a propane tank wired to explode under a guy's ex-girlfriend's deck.
One was when a guy living with a girl and her two year old son kicked the boy down a flight of stairs.
The other death came when a drugged out, publicly intoxicated man attacked a police officer with barbecue tools, was told to stop, wouldn't and was shot by the other officer.

How is banning assault weapons (assault is a behavior, not a weapon) going to fix these incidents?

Monday, January 28, 2013 at 6:18 AM

Burt Prelutsky in North Hills, CA replied:

Hard: Don't expect liberals to be logical. It's above their pay grade. No doubt the same in Italy as it is in America.


Monday, January 28, 2013 at 6:57 PM

HardThought in Kansas said:

Work for a little while, volunteer if you want to, at the local municipal court.

The truth of this article becomes self evident.

When the judge asks "When can you pay your fine?" and the answer is
"As soon as my baby's daddy gets his monthly check." You know we have problems.
Race is not mentioned because it is immaterial and the problem transcends race.

Monday, January 28, 2013 at 6:40 AM

Paul Couch in N.C. said:

Psychiatry is pseudo science. Never has a psychiatrist healed any one. Yet it claimed, by psychiatrist of course, that as much as 40% of the population needs their service. What purveyor of any product would not like to have a guaranteed 140 million customer base? Proof that it does not work is the asinine salary.....Oh, wait.

Monday, January 28, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Jim in Alabama replied:

Shrinks do more than merely fail to heal. They manifestly increase the disease. They pretend that they can fill the God shaped hole in every human soul.

Monday, January 28, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Burt Prelutsky in North Hills, CA replied:

Jim: Far be it from me to stick up for shrinks, but I pretend the very same thing.


Monday, January 28, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Ragweed in West Virginia replied:

Mr. Couch: I resent your characterization of psychiatry as a pseudo-science. It may not totally be an exact science, but that doesn't mean that it isn't of benefit to myself and millions of other people. Nor does it mean that it isn't science. I have benefitted greatly from this so called "pseudo science," as you characterize it. Psychiatrists and other doctors have never "healed" anyone. That is up to the Good Lord, who assigns his work to those on this earth who want to study and assume the responsibilities of their profession.

So please think a bit before you make any more bone-headed statements based, obviously, on your ignorance or predisposed feelings on the subject.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 8:35 AM

Cowboy in San Antonio said:

@Jim in Alabama & Burt. The "God shaped hole" is what is found in a vast majority now in this nation. Folks can fill it with drugs, stuff, naked girls, TV, stupid "music", inane Hollywood productions, booze, donuts, etc., and there will never be any satisfaction with anything in their lives. While I would like to own an old shark-body Corvette, I know ahead of time that I will not be gleeful for more than a few minutes. But TV and the lamestream news and other propagandists have convinced millions that more stuff will bring them happiness. This is the mindset that elected the president twice. We are advised to be content with what we have, to not covet, to be grateful for all the intangibles, and to be generous and philanthropic. This was what the founding fathers expected of us. And our failure to meet their expectations is going to lose us the Republic.

Monday, January 28, 2013 at 7:39 PM

Honest Abe in North Carolina said:

Mental disease is a problem that has plagued mankind since Adam and Eve caught it from Satan. Historically, it afflicts the politician class more than any other class of humans, but these mental health scientists devote less energy to keep the mentally ill elitists out of Washington as they do to keep a gun out of the hands of other afflicted persons. Why is a puzzle worth a highly-paid psychiatrist's investigation.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 8:42 PM