Random thoughts on the passing scene

Posted: Feb 01, 2001 12:00 AM

Random thoughts on the passing scene:

Merit is its own reward, but it's also nice to get a pay raise.

The first big Washington scandal of the 20th century was the Teapot Dome scandal of 1921, which led three members of the Harding administration to commit suicide. Today, they would just consult their lawyers and spinmeisters, and then start making the rounds of the talk shows in order to confuse the issues.

If Yogi Berra actually said all the things that have been attributed to him, when did he ever have any time left to play baseball?

Because of the neglect of history in our educational system, most people have no idea how many of the great American fortunes were created by people who were born and raised in worse poverty than the average welfare-recipient today.

There are too many mush heads around these days for the law to continue to require unanimous jury verdicts.

The problem with trying to restore every group to its own historic "homeland" is that so many parts of the earth have been homelands to different groups at different periods of history. New Orleans, for example, has belonged to four different nations that we know about, not counting how often it may have changed hands before Europeans arrived in the hemisphere and began keeping written records.

As I get older, I can remember just as much as ever -- though perhaps not as accurately as ever.

Chris Matthews of "Hardball" is a throwback to the liberals of a bygone era, when more of them were decent and honorable people.

Where were all those people who have been talking about "forgiveness" and "getting this all behind us" when Linda Tripp was fired on the last day of the Clinton administration?

Professional athletes get such huge salaries that fining them for misconduct is less than a wrist slap. For serious offenses, they should be ejected from the game and perhaps suspended from future games.

It is fascinating to watch glib "consumer advocates" on television trying to spin the California electricity crisis as a conspiracy to "profiteer" by the public utilities -- which have gone billions of dollars into debt. You don't need a conspiracy to go broke but you also don't need to know what you are talking about to be a "consumer advocate."

When Jennifer Capriati won the Australian Open, it was something that struck a responsive chord in many people because we have all needed a second chance in life at some point or other. But why do sports reporters keep dredging up her past? We have courts to deal with crime and gossip sheets like The National Enquirer to deal with scandals. People who tune in to the Australian Open want to know about tennis. Anyone who writes about controversial issues should expect to get criticism. But I receive remarkably little criticism for the things said in this column -- unless you equate name-calling with criticism.

After eight years of the Clintons, how can so many people be so surprised at his pardoning of a rich fugitive in response to a big-money contributor, at Hillary's sleazy acceptance of big-money gifts just before being sworn in as senator (when such gifts would become illegal) or at the damage done to White House equipment by departing Clinton aides? The Clintons and those around them have been like this all the way back to their days in Arkansas.

Women's tennis matches are decided by the winner of the best two out of three sets but men's grand slam matches are decided by the best three out of five. The problem with five-set matches is that fatigue often reduces the level of play far below the usual level of the players before the match is over. Why watch top players who are playing like local duffers?

A terminally ill elderly woman went to live with her son's family. The little boy in the family at first objected to having to give up his room for her. But when it was explained to him that the only alternative was to put her in a nursing home, he asked: "What is a nursing home?" Told that a nursing home was like an orphanage for old people, he immediately said, "No way!" and gave up his room. He had spent his earliest years in an orphanage before being adopted.

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