Burt Prelutsky / Jul. 7, 2011

The Answer Man

Although I try to maintain a self-imposed schedule of writing three articles a week, sometimes even that's not often enough to keep up with newsworthy events.

For instance, Anthony Weiner is long gone from Congress, but now I'm worrying about where he'll turn up next. I mean, one day Eliot Spitzer was the disgraced governor of New York, but did he go into hiding? He did not. The next day, he was co-hosting a TV show. One day, Van Jones, a self-identified Communist, was a disgraced White House czar, and the next day he had an appointment as a "distinguished visiting fellow" at Princeton. Charley Rangel was a disgraced congressman one day, and, well, a disgraced congressman the next.

Although I try to maintain a self-imposed schedule of writing three articles a week, sometimes even that’s not often enough to keep up with newsworthy events.

For instance, Anthony Weiner is long gone from Congress, but now I’m worrying about where he’ll turn up next. I mean, one day Eliot Spitzer was the disgraced governor of New York, but did he go into hiding? He did not. The next day, he was co-hosting a TV show. One day, Van Jones, a self-identified Communist, was a disgraced White House czar, and the next day he had an appointment as a “distinguished visiting fellow” at Princeton. Charley Rangel was a disgraced congressman one day, and, well, a disgraced congressman the next.

In the case of Weiner, I suppose he could cash in on his notoriety by becoming a male stripper. But it might make even more sense if he joins the missus working for Hillary Clinton. The Secretary of State, after all, has a great deal of experience as an enabler of the sexually deviant, and I’m sure could easily make room on her staff for the New York Flasher.

The news has been full of Greece’s financial meltdown. As usual, the Greeks are going hat in hand to the more solvent members of the European Union to bail them out. I’m not saying that the Germans, for instance, shouldn’t lend a helping hand, but I suggest they demand half a dozen of the prettier islands as collateral. Greeks, as a rule, are very nice people, but why should anyone trust a socialist nation to get its financial house in order?

And, believe me, I’m not letting America off the hook. If we’re going to keep borrowing money from China, I say we should put up places like San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland, as collateral, and then encourage the Chinese to foreclose.

In the same way, I think the world is plain loco to keep throwing money at Africa. I can see the attraction for people who enjoy going on safaris or seeing how human beings lived a few thousand years ago – sort of the continental equivalent of Williamsburg, Virginia, where tourists get to view the daily life of our forefathers – but, basically, where Africa is concerned, western nations just keep throwing dollars and euros they can’t really afford into a very large sinkhole. But, perhaps, I have come up with a solution. I suggest that rich people adopt places like Ghana, Chad and the Ivory Coast. People adopt unwanted babies, not to mention stretches of California freeways, all the time, so I see no reason why the liberal likes of Bill Gates, George Soros and Warren Buffet, don’t take over the care and feeding of countries unable to handle the job on their own.

I saw where John Kerry and John McCain agreed that America should be taking sides in Libya’s civil war. To me, that makes about as much sense as taking sides when Al Capone and Bugs Moran were fighting over turf in Chicago. It really is a shame that McCain wasn’t a Democrat for all these years. Perhaps then he’d have devoted more time to reaching across the aisle and voting with the Republicans.

I also saw that Barney Frank and Ron Paul have set aside their differences in order to promote the legalization of marijuana. Not only am I not the least bit surprised, but it explains so much about their respective political beliefs.

Speaking, as we were, about Anthony Weiner, some people were terribly upset when they learned that in spite of the sordid circumstances leading to his resignation, he stands to collect over a million dollars from his congressional pension. At first, I, too, was outraged. But then it gave me an idea how we might finally put an end to congressmen and senators growing old on the job.

Years ago, I recall that a concert of composer John Cage’s pain-in-the-ear music was held in New York City. What made it noteworthy was that tickets sold for five dollars, but for every hour a person could endure the pain, he would get a dollar back. If the poor saps remained for the entire concert, it would cost them nothing but their sanity.

So, how about if members of Congress receive 100% of their pension if they quit after one term, but only 50% if they stick it out for a second, and nothing after that?

What, I ask you, could possibly improve Congress more than installing a revolving door?

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