America Wants to Know threw out its money on psychics and Gypsy fortune tellers to foresee the 2008 election, when we could have just listened to the comedian in the next office.
Argus Hamilton predicted, on the first day Rudy Giuliani mentioned that he was thinking of running for president, that the former New York City mayor would never in a million years have a chance of becoming the Republican nominee.
We looked at the polls, which showed Giuliani leading all potential opponents by a wide margin, and just laughed.
Argus is very funny.
He was also very right.
Argus said there is a factor at work in American politics that all the pundits and experts miss, and it is this: there are a great many Americans of British descent and no one ever looks at them as an "ethnic" group that will vote, as a group, for one of their own.
But they do.
They vote for Anglo-Saxon Methodists and Episcopalians.
They wouldn't vote for an Italian Catholic even if he was the last man standing after an anthrax attack.
We just laughed at this and thought it was a hopelessly outdated and ridiculous analysis.
And then the votes came in.
In Iowa, in New Hampshire, in Nevada, in Michigan, in South Carolina and in Florida, Rudy Giuliani finished far back in the pack.
Pundits and experts blamed his strategy, his marriages, his police commissioner, his lack of aggressiveness, and the bad luck that terrorists had failed to attack the country in time to save his candidacy.
Yes, well, maybe.
Or maybe the comedian was right.
It was never going to happen in a million years no matter what Mr. Giuliani did or how he did it, because British-Americans were never going to vote for an Italian Catholic.
Hillary Clinton was interviewed on ABC's Nightline Thursday night, and Cynthia McFadden asked her some softball questions, like what keeps her up at night.
Senator Clinton said the president's State of the Union address kept her up at night, because she was thinking about what she would do to help people when she was president. She said she believes that to whom much is given, much is required.
America Wants to Know has just returned from a trip to Las Vegas and was freshly reminded that most Americans are really bad at math.
But they're fascinated by brightly colored pictures.
As we write these words, GOP candidate Ron Paul is on stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library getting short shrift from CNN's vacant anchor Anderson Cooper. The congressman has been cut off, interrupted, and generally prohibited from making important and complex arguments about the relationship between the federal budget, monetary policy, and the declining standard of living in the United States.
Here's some free advice for the Ron Paul campaign: Make some charts and graphics that illustrate the points Dr. Paul is trying to make. Use bar charts and pie charts and graphs to show people where their money is going and how a change in policy would make a difference.
Make one good point per chart.
Make it simple.
Make a video of Dr. Paul explaining his policy proposals. Intercut the footage of Dr. Paul with the charts that illustrate his points.
Put the video on your web site. Put it on YouTube. If you have the money, put it on television.
A couple of weeks ago, we were discussing the election with the girls at the hair salon. "I liked Ross Perot," one of the hairdressers said. "I liked his charts. They were interesting."
There are a lot of people who would find Ron Paul's ideas interesting. They just need a little help understanding them.
Nobody in politics has more experience with funerals than the Kennedy family, and the one they threw today was a pip.
Senator Ted Kennedy endorsed Senator Barack Obama at a rally at American University in Washington, D.C. He was joined by his son Patrick, the congressman from Rhode Island, and his niece Caroline, the princess from Camelot.
News reports say Senator Kennedy was both lobbied and warned by the Clintons and their supporters not to endorse Barack Obama, and we can imagine those conversations: Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton standing chest to chest and growling in unison, "Do you know who I am?"
Yet it may be Caroline Kennedy's endorsement that finally kills the Clintons.
"I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them," she said.
Since she wasn't born during the George W. Bush administration, she just told Bill Clinton that he's no Jack Kennedy.
Very elegantly, too.
This is not the first time a woman has said something that threatened the Clintons' political future, but the old playbook won't help them now.
Imagine the Clintons trying to attack the credibility of Caroline Kennedy. Imagine Hillary Clinton picking up the phone and asking her private detectives, "Where's the stuff on Caroline?"
Imagine James Carville going on CNN and telling Wolf Blitzer that Caroline Kennedy is a stalker. That her mother spoke French. That you never know what you'll pick up when you drag a thousand-dollar bill through the Kennedy Center.
Good luck with that.
The Clinton machine may have been buried forever at that rally in Washington today.
Then again, Hillary Clinton might have a photograph of herself as a teenager shaking hands with Bela Lugosi.
The New York Post carried a news item today that comedian John Cleese is separating from his wife of 19 years. The paper said Cleese is feeling melancholy after the funerals of several of his close friends.
We love John Cleese.
He's the very best.
We once scrambled to get tickets to see him perform live at Pepperdine in Malibu and were pretty melancholy to discover that his shows were sold out, especially when ticket brokers informed us that no one had offered to part with their tickets at any price.
One of the great things about the Internet is that search engines will e-mail people who are moping at their computers that somebody out there has written something about them.
So, Mr. Cleese, if you're reading this, Groucho Marx wrote this about you in his 1959 autobiography, Groucho and Me:
My guess is that there aren't a hundred top-flight professional comedians, male and female, in the whole world. They are a much rarer and far more valuable commodity than all the gold and precious stones in the world. But because we are laughed at, I don't think people really understand how essential we are to their sanity. If it weren't for the brief respite we give the world with our foolishness, the world would see mass suicide in numbers that compare favorably with the death rate of the lemmings.
I'm sure most of you have heard the story of the man who, desperately ill, goes to an analyst and tells the doctor that he has lost his desire to live and that he is seriously considering suicide. The doctor listens to this tale of melancholia and then tells the patient that what he needs is a good belly laugh. He advises the unhappy man to go to the circus that night and spend the evening laughing at Grock, the world's funniest clown. The doctor sums it up, "After you have seen Grock, I am sure you will be much happier." The patient rises to his feet, looks sadly at the doctor, turns and ambles toward the door. As he start to leave the doctor says, "By the way, what is your name?" The man turns and regards the analyst with sorrowful eyes. "I am Grock."
America Wants to Know keeps an assortment of fortune-tellers, psychics and detectives on the payroll for the purpose of predicting the future, and on Monday, the Gypsy woman who goes by the name of Madame Lyubitshka came into the office complaining of a headache.
We offered her some aspirin but she declined and headed straight for the little table with the fringed tablecloth where she keeps her crystal ball. She sat down on a bentwood chair and put her hands over her eyes.
"Voices," she moaned. "There is a message."
Immediately we sat down next to her at the table. When Madame Lyubitshka says there's a message, it's not from anybody you can easily call back.
Madame Lyubitshka moved her hands slowly away from her eyes and held them above the crystal ball. "The lights," she said.
We quickly went around the room and turned off all the lamps.
In the dark, a faint blue glow was visible in the crystal ball.
"Ohhhhh...." the Gypsy said. "Ohhhhh Baaaaahhhhhma"
"What is that?" we asked, staring into the crystal ball. "YouTube?"
"Yooooo Tooooooob," the Gypsy said.
Sure enough, it was a clip of Senator Barack Obama on YouTube. He was speaking in a church.
"Ebeneeeeeeeeezer!" the Gypsy wailed.
We squinted to read the text next to the YouTube clip. It said Senator Obama was speaking at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the church where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached.
"Well, no wonder you hear voices," we said. "There are a few ghosts at that pulpit!"
"The voice," Madame Lyubitshka whispered. "It is a woman."
It was certainly not a woman, it was Barack Obama's voice that filled the air above the little table. He was telling the congregation that there was no such thing as false hope. He was bringing the crowd to its feet.
"It is a woman!" the Gypsy cried out. Then the piercing voice of a woman cut through the air. "Hillary!" the voice called out.
It was a cultured voice, but unpleasant in tone and pitch.
"Hillary!" the voice called out again, more insistently. "Where are you?"
There was no answer. The only sounds were Barack Obama's voice and the applause of the congregation around him.
"Hillary!" the voice said sharply.
The blue glow of the crystal ball faded into a warm shade of apricot, and Hillary Clinton's face appeared in the glass. "Hello, Mrs. Roosevelt," she said brightly.
"What is this?" we whispered urgently to Madame Lyubitshka.
"We are eavesdropping on their conversation," the Gypsy woman murmured.
"We can't eavesdrop on a private conversation!" we whispered back.
Madame Lyubitshka unfolded a national security letter from the bosom of her dress and held her right index finger against her lips.
"Hillary, my dear," Eleanor Roosevelt said, "It is not your time."
"I hope not!" Hillary laughed. "I thought I was in pretty good health."
"I'm not talking about your health, my dear," Mrs. Roosevelt said. "That young man is the best thing to happen to the Democratic party in a very, very long time. If you tear him down in this campaign the party may not recover for half a century."
"What?!" Hillary gasped. "What are you saying?"
"Go home, Hillary," Mrs. Roosevelt said, and her tone was not sympathetic. "Go back to the Senate."
"How can you say that?" Hillary cried out. "I'm a woman, what about your fight for women's rights?"
"As you well know, Hillary," Mrs. Roosevelt said, "I was opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment. There are some things that must be placed ahead of equality for women."
Hillary Clinton made a sound like a stabbed doe.
"One of those things," Mrs. Roosevelt continued, "is the fight for civil rights. Another is the fight to save the young men in our cities from a devastated future of drug use and incarceration. And another is the Democratic party."
"But I want to save the Democratic party!" Hillary wailed.
"Do you?" Mrs. Roosevelt asked. Her voice softened a little. "Go home, Hillary," she said again, "It is not your time."
"It IS my time!"
Suddenly a bolt of lightning flashed sharply through the crystal ball and a boom of thunder shook the walls. Madame Lyubitshka jumped, jarring the table and sending the crystal ball crashing to the floor, where it shattered into a thousand silent pieces.
Gingerly, we reached for a lamp and turned on the light.
"Well," we said. "How's your headache?"
"Much better," Madame Lyubitshka said. "You'll pay for the ball, of course."
"Yes," we said with a sigh. "We'll pay for the ball."
Registration deadline for California Ron Paul voters
If you'd like to vote for Ron Paul in California's February 5 primary, but you're not registered to vote in the Republican party, here's what you have to do:
Go to your nearest post office, public library, fire station or DMV office and pick up a voter registration form. Fill it out. Section 9 lists the political parties. Fill in the oval for "Republican." (You can always pick up a second form and change back after the primary.) In Section 10, fill in the information from your previous voter registration, if you were already registered to vote in another party.
Sign the form and moisten the edges and fold it up and get it in the mail IMMEDIATELY. It has to be in the hands of your Registrar Recorder County Clerk on January 22, which is Tuesday.
Remember, the more votes, the more seriously everybody in politics will take the ideas. Sometimes it takes more than one election to win the real victory.
If it matters to you, America Wants To Know supports the Writers Guild of America and all unions in their effort to negotiate wages and benefits that make it possible for people to be treated a little better by their employers than they otherwise would be.
We believe collective bargaining agreements that are negotiated in each industry are preferable to the kind of nationwide government programs and mandates that are passed by Congress when too many voters find themselves without health insurance and pensions.
That said, the Writers Guild is out of its collective mind.
On Tuesday, WGA West president Patric Verrone told Variety that the guild will deny a waiver to the February 24 Oscar ceremony, but grant one to the February 14 NAACP Image Awards.
"Because of the historic role the NAACP has played in struggles like ours, we think this decision is appropriate to jointly achieve our goals," Mr. Verrone said.
'Struggles like ours?'
Yes, everyone remembers that historic day in Selma when the Alabama State Police turned a seltzer bottle on Buck Henry.
The Writers Guild has a perfect right to go on strike for a better contract and it is not their problem if people outside the Writers Guild are hurt financially by the strike. If not for the work of the writers, those people wouldn't have had those jobs and contracts at all.
But if you're going to use a nuclear weapon like a strike, which wipes out the income and savings of the strikers as well as the people whose jobs depend on them, you really ought to use it rationally. If the writers are on strike to get a reasonable, achievable deal, that's one thing. If they're on strike because they view themselves as the latest victims in a struggle for civil rights and equality, they should see somebody and get some help.
Mr. Verrone told Variety that "the conglomerates" refuse to bargain.
Meanwhile, the Directors Guild of America meets today with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for the sixth straight day of quiet bargaining. Everybody expects them to make a deal, Variety reports, and the WGA has now "begun to split into rival camps" that are divided over whether to accept or reject the directors' deal as a template for their own contract.
In other words, the writers who want to make a deal and go back to work are being stymied by those who want to continue their sad, senseless, self-destructive struggle against "the conglomerates" -- publicly traded companies that are probably owned by their own pension fund.
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told a crowd in Warren, Michigan, Tuesday that "what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards."
That's nice. Everybody needs a hobby.
But if Mike Huckabee's hobby is starting to infringe on your own life and liberty, you might want to consider this:
The evangelical-backed Human Life Amendment, which would amend the Constitution to ban all abortions, isn't the only option in the constitutional amendment department.
Instead of amending the Constitution to abolish the right to privacy, we can amend the Constitution to secure it.
Instead of worrying about Supreme Court nominations, we can follow the instructions in Article V and amend the Constitution to say clearly that a woman has a right to privacy in the first trimester of pregnancy.
I'll bet you never thought of doing that, and I'll bet you already think it can't be done.
Maybe you're right.
But just for a minute, let's talk about privacy. Just between us. Just you, me, and the estimated seventy-five percent of the country that doesn't want to see Roe v. Wade overturned.
Why should we rely on the courts? Why not take the issue out of the courts, out of the Senate confirmation hearings for federal judges, and out of our presidential elections? Why not amend the Constitution so that it actually says what the Supreme Court says it means?
A constitutional amendment requires the ratification of three-quarters of the states to become law. That means it needs a majority vote in the legislatures of thirty-eight states.
The amendment process can be started with a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate or, alternatively, with a constitutional convention requested by two-thirds of the state legislatures.
You heard right. If the amendment is blocked in the House and Senate, the state legislatures can go around them.
And even better: The president has no role; the vice president has no role; the Supreme Court has no role. A majority in thirty-eight state legislatures can tell them all to get lost.
Coincidentally, that's what you can tell Mike Huckabee the next time he gets in your face and declares that God has called him to take your rights out of the Constitution.
America Wants to Know was watching the Republican candidates debate in South Carolina on Fox News Thursday night when the door flew open and Lieutenant Columbo stormed in.
"I've got him," the lieutenant said.
"Who?" we asked.
"Oh, you're watching the debate," Columbo said.
"Yes," we answered.
"Ron Paul was invited this time, I see."
"My wife just loves Ron Paul," Columbo said. "She was so disappointed last week when Fox News didn't let him into the debate in New Hampshire. She'll enjoy this one tonight a lot more, I can tell you."
On the screen, Fox News reporter Carl Cameron was asking Ron Paul a question. "Many of your supporters call themselves '9/11 truthers,'" he began. "They believe that the U.S. government was in some way complicit with the 9/11 attacks or covered it up. Are you prepared tonight to either embrace that rhetoric or ask those supporters to abandon it, or divorce themselves from your candidacy?"
"That's an odd question," Columbo said. "Now listen, I think I know who smeared Ron Paul in The New Republic last week."
"What's that on your coat?" we asked, pointing to the black smudges on the lieutenant's favorite trenchcoat.
"Soot," Columbo said. "I was digging around in the Old Executive Office Building, where that fire damaged the vice president's ceremonial office. Actually, it turns out that the smoke and water damaged the ceremonial office. The fire was in the office of the vice president's political director."
"Find anything yet?"
"Not yet. The Secret Service took over the investigation and they're not making it easy to ask a lot of questions."
"The Secret Service? Do they have any experience in arson investigations?"
"No," the lieutenant said.
"But never mind that right now," Columbo said, "Did you see that hit piece on Ron Paul that The New Republic published on the day of the New Hampshire primary?"
We had seen it. It was a classic smear job, dragging out old quotes from racists and carefully crafting the impression that the quotes were from Ron Paul, who was the publisher of the newsletter in which the quotes appeared but didn't write the articles or, he says, even see them. Dr. Paul had retired from Congress at the time the newsletters were published and was practicing medicine again.
"Ron Paul is no racist," Columbo said. "Somebody wants to discredit him. Somebody wants to destroy his credibility."
Columbo looked at the TV screen and pointed. "See that split screen?" he asked.
Fox News was showing a split screen with Ron Paul on the right and John McCain on the left. McCain was listening to Paul and making a face that was half disdain, half amusement.
"Look at that," Columbo said. "With that split-screen shot, the director is trying to tell viewers that no one takes Ron Paul seriously. He's trying to give the impression that what Ron Paul is saying is laughable."
Ron Paul was saying that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden had once been given arms and support by the United States and had become problems for us later, and now we are re-arming Saddam's old henchmen, the Sunnis. "Believe me," Congressman Paul said, "that war is not over. And right now, they're demanding more troops in Afghanistan. And some people like the senator, he thinks we should be there for a hundred years if necessary. How can he commit the young people of this world, five more generations, to be in Iraq if it's necessary? I say it's time to come home."
The studio audience at the debate erupted in thunderous cheers.
Columbo chewed on his cigar. "You hear that crowd?" he asked. "That's his problem."
"Whose problem?" we asked. "McCain's?"
"No," Columbo said dismissively. "Nobody on that stage smeared Ron Paul. They're not paying any attention to him. He's so low in the national polls, it doesn't pay to smear him. If they were caught at it, they'd have no chance of picking up his supporters. Or his fund-raising list. No, the Republican candidates didn't peddle that stuff to The New Republic."
"Then who did?" we asked.
"Let me show you something," he said, taking a newspaper from a pocket inside his coat. He dropped it on the desk. It was the Wall Street Journal op-ed page from Thursday, January 10. Circled in black marker was a column headlined "Why Hillary Won," by Karl Rove.
"Another analysis of the polls?" we asked.
"You would think so," Columbo said. "But if you look closely, you can see that it's a smear job on Barack Obama."
He picked up the paper. "Former President Bill Clinton hit a nerve by drawing attention to Mr. Obama's conflicting statements on Iraq," he read, "There's more -- and more powerful -- material available." Columbo looked up from the page. "What do you suppose Karl Rove means by that?" he asked. "Is he trying to tell the Clintons he's got a file for them?"
He resumed reading. "Mr. Obama has failed to rise to leadership on a single major issue in the Senate. In the Illinois legislature, he had a habit of ducking major issues, voting 'present' on bills important to many Democratic interest groups, like abortion-rights and gun-control advocates. He is often lazy, given to misstatements and exaggerations and, when he doesn't know the answer, too ready to try to bluff his way through."
Columbo tossed the paper on the desk. "Lazy?" he said incredulously. The guy's forty-six years old and he's been a lawyer, an Illinois state legislator, got elected to the U.S. Senate, running for president, won in Iowa and damned near won in New Hampshire. How lazy could he be?"
"At least he didn't say 'shiftless,'" we observed.
"He did in the first draft," Columbo said. "My guy at the Journal says the editors caught it. But the question is, why is Karl Rove smearing Barack Obama?"
"The Republicans would rather run against Hillary Clinton?" we guessed.
"Yes, but not for the reason you think," Columbo said. He took a small spiral notebook from the outer pocket of his trenchcoat and flipped through the pages.
"You remember Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the leak of CIA employee Valerie Plame Wilson's identity, right?" he asked. "You remember that it was Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby, who was convicted of perjury for saying he didn't remember leaking her name to the press. Do you remember that there was another White House aide who was very nearly indicted for the same thing?"
"Karl Rove," we said.
"Karl Rove," Columbo confirmed. "When Vice President Dick Cheney wanted the identity of Valerie Plame Wilson spread around, two of the people he sent out to leak that information were Scooter Libby and Karl Rove."
"So you think Dick Cheney sent Karl Rove out to smear Barack Obama?"
"Without a doubt," Columbo said. "And he's also behind the smear of Ron Paul."
"But why?" we asked.
Columbo pulled up a chair and sat down. Resting one arm on the desk, he leaned in and spoke softly. "To preserve the Iraq policy after he's gone," he said.
It's times like this that America Wants to Know is grateful that Inspector Clouseau turned us down and made us hire our second-choice detective.
Columbo leaned back. "You see," he explained, "the vice president believes that U.S. troops should be based in Iraq permanently. He's always thought that. If anybody in Congress had the guts to subpoena the Energy Task Force records, you'd see the whole analysis -- the detailed estimates of Iraq's oil reserves, the risks from regional instability, the possible economic consequences of a supply disruption. It's all there. That's why the Energy Task Force records are locked up. If anybody saw them now it would look like the Bush administration had a plan from the start to invade Iraq and topple Saddam's government."
"Did they?" we asked.
"Vice President Cheney doesn't want anybody to ask that question," Columbo answered. "There are three candidates in the presidential race who opposed the Iraq invasion before it happened. They have to be discredited, because if any of them were to get elected, they'd be able to see all the intelligence, all the records, everything. It would all come out. And they'd never agree to keep fourteen permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq."
"Three candidates?" we asked.
"Ron Paul, Barack Obama, and Dennis Kucinich," Columbo said. "But Kucinich has already been discredited by Shirley MacLaine."
"Now, wait a minute," we said. "Are you saying none of the other candidates want to get the U.S. out of Iraq?"
"Oh, sure, they want to," Columbo conceded. "But they're not going to. What they're going to do is tell themselves they're supporting the troops and protecting America while they take huge campaign donations and library contributions from the military-industrial complex."
"C'mon, Lieutenant," we argued, "The military-industrial complex is fictional."
"No," Columbo said firmly. "The military-industrial complex is real. I'm fictional."
He had us there.
"But how can you be sure that the vice president is behind the smears of Ron Paul and Barack Obama?" we asked.
Columbo pointed to the TV screen. "Fox News had no reason to exclude Ron Paul from that New Hampshire debate," he said. "Ron Paul brings viewers. He brings controversy. He's good television. Somebody leaned on Fox to keep him out of that debate. Somebody was very worried that Ron Paul could win in New Hampshire. That's why the hit piece went up on The New Republic's web site the morning of the New Hampshire primary."
On the screen, pollster Frank Luntz was interviewing a roomful of South Carolina voters and talking to Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes about GOP candidate Fred Thompson. Then suddenly he changed the subject. "I'm gonna make your bosses nervous," Luntz said to Hannity and Colmes. He turned to the South Carolina voters. "Was it right to include Ron Paul in this debate, yes or no? Raise your hands if you say yes. How many of you say yes?" Almost all the hands in the room went up.
Columbo jumped to his feet. "Did you hear that?" he almost shouted. "He said, 'I'm gonna make your bosses nervous.' Their bosses are the top brass at Fox News. Why would they be nervous? Not 'angry,' not 'irritated,' but 'nervous.' As if the top executives at Fox News might get in trouble for showing respect to Ron Paul. Somebody's putting pressure on the network to discredit Ron Paul, somebody high up, high enough to make the bosses at Fox News 'nervous.'" He stared at the screen thoughtfully for a moment, then chomped on his cigar and sat down again.
"There's no doubt in my mind," Columbo said. "It's Dick Cheney who's pressuring Fox News. It's Dick Cheney who fed that tripe to The New Republic. It's Dick Cheney who's behind Karl Rove's smear of Barack Obama. The vice president is out to destroy the credibility of anyone who might convince Americans that we didn't have to invade Iraq and we don't have to stay there."
"Great work," we had to admit. "Once this writers' strike is over, you should really get your series back."
We were watching the news coverage of President Bush's trip to the Mideast with Condoleezza Rice and wondering where Laura Bush was, and then a trip to the supermarket answered the question. She's on the cover of the Globe.
"Laura's Claw Marks!" the cover screams, as the block letters separate a murderous looking first lady from a president with two nasty red scratches on his left cheek.
Looks like the season of good cheer is over in the tabloid business.
The Globe says the president was photographed with the scratches on January 1, 2008, after "furious First Lady Laura raked his face with her nails during a bitter blow-up over the president's drinking."
You can see the scratches in this Reuters photo from the same day:
According to the tabloid, Laura caught the president drinking whiskey at the ranch in Crawford just before the New Year.
"Laura just lost it," the Globe reports, quoting "one top White House source." "She can't stand it when he drinks."
The tabloid says Mrs. Bush demanded that the president put the glass down, whereupon he "hurled a string of obscenities at her," and she "lunged at him screaming and slapped him -- hard."
Mrs. Bush's nails apparently tore into her husband's face during the brief scuffle, leaving the president bloodied and the marriage "in tatters."
"It was ugly!" the source says.
The Globe says it has another source to confirm the incident. The president is drinking again, the source said, and when Mrs. Bush confronted him about it, "he turned on her, and let loose with a verbal barrage that included curse words."
So she decked him.
Now he's in the Middle East, where people get along a lot better.
It must be very restful for him.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Bush can take pride in the fact that Fight Night at the Western White House knocked the "Paul McCartney Dying" story (it was angioplasty, he's fine) into a tiny corner of the Globe's front page.
America Wants to Knowwrote in November that Republicans would come out of their graves and crawl over broken glass to vote against Hillary Clinton, but it looks like Democrats have beaten them to it.
Hillary Clinton's advisers told reporters after the Iowa caucuses that their candidate had been hurt by an unexpectedly large turnout, and that a similarly large turnout in New Hampshire could be disastrous.
Today, a day ahead of the vote in New Hampshire, state officials and pollsters predicted an enormous turnout and a landslide victory for Barack Obama.
Of course, it's possible that all these Democrats are motivated to turn out for Barack Obama and would turn out to vote for him no matter who else was on the ballot.
No, we don't think so either.
There are Democrats, a lot of them, who are crawling over broken glass to vote against Hillary Clinton.
Maybe they don't think she could win in November.
Or maybe they're tired of the strong-arm, smash-mouth, arrogant, machine politics that demand support for the family member of a former president, as if the United States was a third-world tin-pot dictatorship.
If Bill and Hillary Clinton have anything on Barack Obama, we're going to see it now.
Fortunately for the new Democratic front-runner, he was too young to be on their radar when they were in the White House reading the FBI files of their political opponents.
Otherwise we would already have been treated to his childhood school suspensions and neighbors' gossip.
Over the weekend, the Clinton campaign told reporters that they would not air negative ads against Obama because there wasn't enough time for them to work.
But this morning, the Rasmussen poll reports that Hillary Clinton's national lead has "collapsed," and somebody's telling the Drudge Report that Hillary is under pressure to get out of the race.
They won't go quietly.
It would be a good idea for Michelle Obama to keep the kids away from from the TV set for a few days. If history is any guide, something unpleasant, frightening, discrediting, and wildly untrue is coming. And soon.
I think it was Steve Martin who said "Comedy isn't pretty," and he didn't even know at the time what was going to be done to Jay Leno.
It isn't pretty at all.
For the crime of being a Writers Guild of America member, the Tonight Show host was forced off the air by a WGA strike, shamed into paying the salaries of the show's non-writing staff, pressured to return to the air without his writers, expected to deliver a quality show to compete in the ratings with a show that was given an interim WGA contract, and now faces WGA discipline for writing his own monologue in accordance with NBC's interpretation of the WGA basic agreement.
The union could throw him out.
He ought to go, and gratefully.
The Writers Guild is on strike for nothing. Members are losing tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to secure nickels and dimes from Internet revenue, which is currently zero and likely to remain so.
If the Writers Guild leaders would just get their heads out of The Grapes of Wrath, they would realize that they're not going to bring down corporate America. All they're going to do is wreck Jay Leno's hard-earned reputation and cause a lot of people to lose their houses.
The sensible thing for the WGA to do is to ask for lump-sum payments to its pension and welfare fund to compensate writers for Internet use of their work. Then the all-important health insurance benefits would be secure even as costs endlessly rise, and networks and studios wouldn't be saddled with a million dollars in bookkeeping costs for every five-cent check they have to send out to the heirs of writers, who will join newspaper and music executives in the line of people who will die waiting for their Internet operations to turn a profit.
Enjoy a sneak peek at the Iowa caucus jokes from comedian Argus Hamilton's upcoming Sunday column.
The Iowa caucuses aired worldwide via satellite Thursday. It's like musical chairs without music or chairs. People overseas have always wondered why the United States president is always an idiot, now they were able to see for themselves how it happens.
Mike Huckabee emerged from nowhere to win the Iowa caucuses Thursday. It set off a national panic. Mike Huckabee reminds everyone so much of Richard Nixon that the Watergate Hotel just hired Pinkertons to start patrolling the hallways after midnight.
Mitt Romney spent seven million dollars on ads in Iowa and still lost to Mike Huckabee. He did get the last laugh. Mike Huckabee got a congratulatory call from Jesus Christ after the vote was counted and the call came collect from Salt Lake City.
Barack Obama outpolled Hillary Clinton and John Edwards to win the Iowa caucuses Thursday. His win had a profound effect. Barack Obama got so many votes that the next day all the Republican candidates dropped Jesus and admitted to past cocaine use.
Hillary Clinton got twenty-nine percent of the vote in Iowa Thursday. She must be proud. It's the best a woman's done in one of these things since Gennifer Flowers got three hundred thousand dollars from the Enquirer during the New Hampshire primary.
Elizabeth Edwards saluted her husband onstage after he finished second in Iowa Thursday. They have prepared for Iowa since they got married. On their honeymoon night thirty years ago, Elizabeth Edwards came to bed dressed as a corn subsidy.
Democrats turned out two hundred thousand voters in Iowa Thursday while the GOP only turned out one hundred thousand. There's a massacre coming. The Republican party's only consolation is that Ronald Reagan played General Custer in Santa Fe Trail.