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Burt Prelutsky / Sep. 26, 2020

Finally, She's Gone

There were definitely some of us — most of us? — who began to think that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was immortal. Time and again, she appeared to be a goner. They'd whisk her off to the hospital, but back she would come, looking more wizened but being no wiser than ever.

There were definitely some of us — most of us? — who began to think that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was immortal. Time and again, she appeared to be a goner. They’d whisk her off to the hospital, but back she would come, looking more wizened but being no wiser than ever.

Sometimes, even when she was hearing cases, she would appear to have departed this vale of tears, but it would turn out she was merely napping. And the rest of us would start crying again.

The truth is, she really didn’t need to stay awake during the arguments. No matter what the case was, it was as easy to predict her votes as it is to predict who’s going to win a professional wrestling match.

She had been the chief counsel for the ACLU when Bill Clinton gave her lifetime tenure, and in a way she remained chief counsel for the ACLU for the next 27 years.

You have to hand it to her. She hung on hoping that Trump would be gone and she could finally retire, knowing that a Democrat would replace her with a like-minded liberal.

People say it’s risky for Trump and McConnell to try to push a replacement through the system before the election or even after it since the final result may not be known for quite a while, thanks to all those mail-in ballots the Democrats are counting on to cheat their way to victory.

But so long as Trump is in the White House and the Republicans have control of the Senate, this could be the last shot we have in a while to put the Supreme Court on the right path.

Plus, if as everyone seems to suspect, Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett, the Democrats won’t be able to use their favorite weapon, sexual harassment or even rape, to shoot her down.

Another plus is that Mrs. Barrett is only 48 years old, so she could easily serve even longer than Mrs. Ginsburg did.


I suppose it’s not too strange that I received over a dozen emails letting me know that there was finally an open seat on the Court. People were as excited as I was to share the glad tidings. I know there is a social protocol that says you’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but I think that should only apply if you lacked the courage to tell the truth while they were still alive. But I have been taking potshots at Justice Ginsburg for a very long time, and I see no reason to stop now.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates famously said that Joe Biden, who he thought was a nice guy, had been wrong on every foreign policy issue for the past 47 years. I would say that Mrs. Ginsburg, who managed to maintain a friendship with her fellow opera-lover Antonin Scalia, has been wrong on every legal issue for the past half century, going all the way back to her time at the ACLU.

That is why when I got the news of her passing, I wanted it confirmed by the Coroner of Munchkinland that she was morally, ethically, spiritually, physically, positively, absolutely, undeniably and reliably dead. And not merely dead, but really most sincerely dead.


I received nearly as many emails correcting me as to the date of the Pearl Harbor attack. I really did know it was 12/7/41 and not, as I had it, 11/7/41. It was a case of my failing eyesight not catching the mistake made by my aging fingers.

If 11/7 was a day of infamy, it was only because on that day in 1872, the passengers and crew of the Mary (not Marie) Celeste sailed out of New York and were never seen again.


Mike Niederberger let me know that some guy had put out a meme bearing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s likeness and a caption reading: “Wanted for Murder.” Mr. Niederberger suggested putting up billboards throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan, bearing that message with the photos of the appropriate governor.

I wondered if billboard companies would take the risk of being sued for defamation by governors Cuomo, Murphy, Wolf and Witmer. On the chance, he could find one, I suggested he started a GoFundMe program to raise the money to put up the boards in additional states. I figured that once he got a little attention and made the rounds of all the Fox shows, the money would pour in and he could put up even more billboards.

I might change the charge from murder to manslaughter, though, because their mishandling of the Wuhan virus isn’t exactly a smoking gun. But it certainly speaks of criminal negligence and, as federal judge William Stickman IV declared in the case of Gov. Tom Wolf, his restrictions in Pennsylvania were “overreaching and arbitrary” and “violated the constitutional rights of the citizens.”

In the case of people like Wolf, Cuomo, Wolf, Witmer, Inslee, Brown, Newsom and Pritzker, insults aren’t defaming, they’re defining. In listing those governors, I was reminded that Pritzker, who is running Illinois into the ground even faster than his predecessors did, goes by his initials, J.B., and not his names, which are Jay Robert.

My question is why would someone with a perfectly fine first and middle name prefer to use initials. You would understand it is his parents had cursed him with Julie Barbara because they really had their hearts set on a daughter. It would even make sense if the initials stood for Jedediah Barcelona because nobody wants to spend his life signing his name.

Perhaps he thought that being known as J.B. would make him sound impressive, like a business tycoon, the sort of guy that Edward Arnold used to portray.

But even though he is an heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune, anybody who’s seen the guy would know that in the old days he would have been played by someone like Eric Blore or Franklin Pangborn.


We have all heard about white privilege, which apparently even accrues to people living in shacks in the hills and gullies of Appalachia, but little is ever said about black privilege. But Robert Riley has passed along a meme that corrects that deficiency.

It reads: Black Privilege is the ability to break every law in the nation and still remain the victim.


I understand that Mitt Romney would identify himself as a Republican because he lives in Utah, whereas if he lived in a blue state like Nevada, Oregon or California, he could more honestly run as a Democrat.

But what I don’t fully grasp is why people like Colin Powell, Robert Mueller and David Brooks, columnist for the NY Times, identify themselves as Republicans.

I suppose for Brooks, it provides him cover so that when he viciously attacks Trump, he can be perceived as a man who rises above partisan politics and is guided only by principles.

As for Powell and Mueller, neither of whom is running for office and therefore lacks Romney’s motive, they remain mysteries. Perhaps, like Brooks, they think that their party affiliation gives greater weight to their hatred of President Trump.

If that is what they’re thinking, they’re mistaken. But God knows it wouldn’t be the first time.

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