November 27, 2014

THE NO THANKSGIVING

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 15th FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, NOV. 25, 2014
THE NO THANKSGIVING
BY BOB FRANKEN
---
As even-handed as I try to be, it is time to be fair and balanced about Thanksgiving, meaning we should give equal time to the unthankful side, with the traditional discussion of my pet peeves. This is not a comprehensive list, because I have so many pet peeves you could fill up a peeve petting zoo with them.
For starters, there’s that annoying presidential turkey pardon. Each year, since the Bush I administration, POTUS holds a White House ceremony to spare a couple of the birds, so they end up in some nearby park instead of on a platter, unlike the millions of others that are engorged each year.
Perhaps it’s to store energy for Black Friday. Put that on my hit list. Why do people voluntarily risk their lives in dangerous, stampeding crowds to holiday shop on that one day, when most of the bargains are overhyped at best. Speaking of which, note that I used the word “holiday.” That’s an intentional effort to rile up those who get obnoxious when someone decides to be sensitive to others’ beliefs or nonbeliefs by not specifying Christmas during the Yuletide season. That doesn’t mean, as some of them rage, that there is any “War on Christmas.” To be honest, I believe what they’re doing when they raise a ruckus is conducting a war on religious freedom.
Did you notice my phrase “To be honest”? That’s another one: As if I’m going to let you know I’m lying. It’s just one of those expressions that are completely empty or transparently insincere.


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November 26, 2014

MSNBC GOBBLING IN THE DARK

It may be Thanksgiving but that doesn't mean you can't join me on MSNBC for my usual Thursday pre-dawn rant at 5:15 Eastern. Discover new meaning for the term "Turkey Day"

November 24, 2014

THE COMPROMISE SUBTERFUGE

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 15th FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, NOV. 18, 2014
THE COMPROMISE SUBTERFUGE
BY BOB FRANKEN
Mitch McConnell and John Boehner’s Republicans may control Congress now, but it’s an open question as to whether McConnell and Boehner control their own party caucuses. That’s an important consideration, because as they try to work out their deals with the White House, at some point they’ll have to convince President Barack Obama and the Democrats that they can deliver enough of their members. They can negotiate whatever compromises they want, but if their people revolt because they didn’t get enough and reject the bargains, then they’re just wasting time even trying.
There are all sorts of indications that they will not be able to guarantee the votes needed after the give-and-take is done. You have Ted Cruz in the Senate as well as his disciples in the House saying upfront that they’re not bending, and when it comes to giving up some of what they demand, they’re not interested.
Meanwhile, for the Democrats, Barack Obama is at the tag end of his presidency and suddenly has decided on a “No more Mr. Nice Guy” approach. Even after his party got “shellacked” in the midterms, he’s taking it to the Republicans like he never has before. And they’re foaming at the mouth. The leaked plans to take executive action that would, among other things, stop the deportation of millions of people in this country illegally is causing their heads to explode.
McConnell and Boehner are spending all their energy to prevent their troops from doing something precipitous and stupid. There is a lot of noise from their people that they should retaliate by forcing a government shutdown, or something equally confrontational. Of course, they’d be playing right into the Democrats’ hands, at least the ones who are thinking ahead to 2016’s race to elect the next POTUS, but principle is principle, and they’re not about to let some lame duck quack the whip.


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November 20, 2014

HUMANS ON THE COMET

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 15th FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, NOV. 14, 2014
HUMANS ON THE COMET
BY BOB FRANKEN
---
How totally cool is it that human beings were able to land a probe on a comet? I refer, of course, to the European Space Agency managing to set its Rosetta craft’s lander down, wobbling on the icy surface of the comet named 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it zipped along on its infinite journey through the heavens.
The Rosetta has clocked about 4 billion miles since its launch 10 years back to gather data on comets. I suppose we can call it the Rosetta stone lander now that it’s studying as close as one can get -- on the ground. Not that it was easy, and the washing-machine-size craft didn’t exactly find the right spot on a very jagged two-and-a-half-mile surface. After all, we’re talking about a body zipping through the solar system at 44,000 miles per hour.
Besides, it’s a shame the lander didn’t have some passengers. There are any number of people we probably can agree would make us all better off were they to switch their address to 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Certainly there are the politicians. Let’s not name names (mainly because there isn’t enough room), but we’d all benefit if we couldn’t really hear what they were saying. I remember that Newt Gingrich used to talk about lunar colonies. This could go him one better, although there is no reason we shouldn’t send him for a close-up look.
There are so many pundits, columnists, radio and TV hosts as well as other strident commentators who should be on the manifest because they are manifestly obnoxious, and yes, there are a few people who think I should be included, but I didn’t want to be selfish. There are space cadets who should go first.


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