Monday, August 17, 2009

Undertow Of Today's News

I feel connected with Michael Corleone in Godfather III when he was on the brink of ridding himself from Mafia past, they pull him right back. Take today's news. Please.

Item: One of candidate Barack Obama's agent of change messages was to improve the professionalism of our diplomatic corps. So far, 38 of his first 65 ambassadorial appointments have been political. Among them, Charles H. Rivkin, a Hollywood mogul who contributed $500,000 to Obama's presidential campaign. Rivkin's credentials as Ambassador to France is he once pitted convicted felon Snoop Dog with Jim Henson's Muppets children's show.

Item: Vito Corleone, Michael's father, would roll over in his grave on reading today's news story that 90% of U.S. currency contains traces of cocaine. Study leader Yuegang Zuo of the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth said scientists have known for years that paper money can become contaminated with cocaine during drug deals and directly through drug use, such as snorting cocaine through rolled bills. Contamination can also spread to banknotes not involved in the illicit drug culture, because bills are processed in banks' currency-counting machines. Zuo said the incident rate has increased 20% in the past two years. Not to worry, Zuo reports, there's not enough traces of cocaine remaining in the bills to sniff for a buzz.

Item: Tom DeLay, the former House Majority Whip known as "The Hammer," will join the cast of "Dancing With The Stars." DeLay's case for conspiring to violate campaign finance laws in Texas has yet gone to trial. His mug shot when jailed was a classic reversal of most: Hair combed, clean shaven and a smile that would wow the ladies. “This is going to be so much fun. I will need your support,” he announced on his Twitter account. Delay would be the highest profile politician booked by "Stars." No way to tell, but I doubt he could trip the light fantastic as well as the late California Sen. George Murphy who was a terrific dancer in his earlier career in the movies.

Item: This one is truly sad. It is an error repeated far too frequently in what in my childhood was the newspaper I grew up with. In its on-line edition today, The Los Angeles Times offered this teaser: "An occasional serious of editorials and Op-Eds on the crisis confronting California." Oh, for want of a copy editor in today's cutbacks of our declining, once proud newspapers.

Must be one of those days. Change you want doesn't happen. Change you don't expect, does.


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