Exit, stage right


Bye Bye Bachmann. Madame Crazy is leaving the building, a sad day for columnists and comedians across the country. Some of the better pieces I’ve read are by E.J. Dionne; Dana Milbank; Charles M. Blow and, of course, Gail Collins, who typically sums it up better than anyone because, let’s face it, she’s merely the finest columnist in America.

I also got a kick out of this comment by Andrew Rosenthal:

Ms. Bachmann is leaving because her former presidential campaign is under investigation for financial irregularities and because she’s afraid that she might lose the next election to the Democrat, Jim Graves, who almost beat her last year. We know these are her reasons because she specifically said they were not her reasons.

There also have been numerous compilations of Our Michele’s 10 or 12 most bizarre moments.

But some of the best work comes from the comedians. Here’s Andy Borowitz:

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And this:

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I’m trying to look at things on the bright side. There’s always Louie Gohmert.

Forever young


Forever young

From Carl Cannon’s Morning Note in Real Clear Politics today:

Today would have been John F. Kennedy’s 96th birthday. It’s hard to think of JFK as an old man. In our minds he is forever youthful because he died young. He was only in his first term as president – and the father of young children – when he was cut down by an assassin’s bullet on that grim November morning in Dallas.

But on this day, in 1917, Rose Kennedy gave birth to the second of her nine children at home on Beals Street in Brookline, Mass. His older brother, Joe, had been named after the patriarch of this Irish-American clan; and the matriarch of the family named her second son after her own father, John Francis Fitzgerald – “Honey Fitz,” a former U.S. congressman, beloved Boston mayor, and devoted Red Sox fan.

They would call the boy Jack.

Does this tea kettle look like Hitler?


Does this tea kettle look like Hitler?

That’s the question that was making the rounds on the social networks yesterday. Even got some coverage on the Today Show (http://www.today.com/news/does-j-c-penney-tea-kettle-look-hitler-6C10100642).

Simple answer . . . NO. It doesn’t. The notion is ridiculous, and it reflects on some of the foolishness that passes for news these days. It’s a tea kettle. Nein furor.

She’s a Mormon. So what?


A 42-year-old Arizona mother of seven has been imprisoned in Mexico, charged with smuggling several pounds of marijuana into the country.

Ummm . . . I mean a 42-year-old Arizona mother of seven WHO IS A DEVOUT MORMON has been . . .

Sorry, but I initially forgot to mention the Mormon thing, which evidently was a mistake because her religious affiliation is being reported in numerous places:



Fox News:


New York Post:


Business Insider:


San Francisco Chronicle:


OK . . . I get it . . . She’s a Mormon. I also get that she may have been wrongly accused, and that the pot found under her seat on a bus from the U.S. to Mexico probably wasn’t hers.

But I don’t get what her religion has to do with any of this.

Everyone seems to be reporting that she’s a “devout Mormon” without giving even a hint  of why it’s important and why I should give a damn. Would they note that she’s a “devout Muslim” or a “devout Jew” or a “devout Presbyterian” or a “devout Catholic” or a dyed-in-the-wool atheist?

Am I supposed to presume that because she’s a Mormon, she would never ever do such a thing and therefore cannot possibly be guilty?

And who declared her to be “devout”? Says who? Where’s the proof?

Note to editors: If religion and race aren’t relevant to the story, then they don’t belong. Including them in a story does nothing but reveal your prejudices.

Three Finger Brown


This whole journalism thing was always No. 3.

No. 1 was centerfield. But when you can’t hit, can’t throw and can’t run, it’s time to move on to No. 2.

No. 2 was to sling my guitar over my back, head to Wyoming and play the blues for 60 years or so. A reverse Dylan. That was at least remotely possible.

No. 3 was journalism. And that’s where Mordecai (Three Finger) Brown comes into the picture. If not for him, I might be strumming a beat-up old Gibson on a subway platform.

It’s April 1972, my senior year in college. I’m sitting in my room playing the blues, avoiding my books, and the phone rings. It’s my high school pal’s mom, and she’s asking me if I’d be interested in working in the sports department at the New York Post. They’re looking for a kid who can type and spell and type and edit and type and write and type and type and type.

I decided I was qualified, because we were talking about THE NEW YORK POST, home of Milton Gross and Pete Hamill and Larry Merchant and Jimmy Wechsler and Maury Allen and Vic Ziegel and Jimmy Cannon and Leonard Lyons and . . . yeah, you bet I’m qualified.

The sports editor at the New York Post was Ike Gellis, and my friend’s mom was married to his doctor. Gellis was a lifelong chain smoker who had pretty much every ailment associated with tobacco, so he saw my friend’s dad just about every other day. Gellis and the good doctor also shared a love for the ponies, so they spoke on the phone at least nine times a day — before every race at Aqueduct, Belmont or Saratoga.

I was to meet with Gellis the next morning.

But first there was the issue of my hair, which ran well below the shoulder and definitely was not going to make the right impression among the socially conservative sports journalism crowd. Jocks and the people who write about them do not have long hair.

I hightailed it to the Town & Country Plaza and walked into the barber shop for the first time in more than two years. He gleefully chopped off pretty much everything and then charged me an extra two bucks — a long hair surcharge. I think he charged by the inch.

I caught a flight home to New York and showed up at the Post — on South Street in Manhattan — the next morning for my first serious job interview ever. For the first time, we were not talking summer job.

I met with Gellis and the assistant sports editor, Sid Friedlander, and some others in the office, and they gave me the test. Turned out I could spell. Turned out I could type. Turned out I could even edit. They gave me a piece to work on and I rewrote the lede, and I found out later that it was written by William H. Rudy, probably the best thoroughbred racing writer in New York. Turned out I had chutzpah.

I felt everything was going well, and then Friedlander came over with the final portion of the exam.

OK kid, he said . . . You know how to spell. You know how to write. You know how to type. You know how to edit . . .

But what do you know about sports?

It was a good question. I was editor of the Hobart & William Smith Herald, so my writing was pretty much dedicated to the usual college newspaper material — ending war and stuff, forcing Nixon to resign and bringing the U.S. government to its knees.

But, I told Friedlander, I love sports. I read sports. I watch sports. I’ve always been a huge fan. (I. Want. This. Job.)

Well, says Friedlander, winding up for his Jeopardy pitch, I’ll give you an example.

What does the name Three Finger Brown mean to you?

I looked him straight in the eye and said, “Turn-of-the-century pitcher. Chicago. First name was Mordecai.”

Sid’s next question was, “When can you start?”