Monday, January 10, 2005

Newt, Sean, Smoking, and Ohio

Newt Gingrich wants to run for president? According to the Washington Post,

...the Georgia Republican has encouraged speculation that he might run for president in 2008. His official position is that he is not ruling it out.

Say it ain't so, Newt!

I've said before that the Democrats will guarantee another loss in 2008 if they lose their minds and nominate Hillary. But if the Republicans nominate Newt, all bets are off. In a Hillary-Newt contest, I'd vote for Ralph, even if he creeps through the campaign with a walker and sometimes mutters about Corvair safety with a faraway glint in his eye.

* * *

Sean Penn, in an interview in the Boston Globe that touched on his political activities, said this about criticism of his trips to Iraq:

But the bigger issue is that it's an absolutely stupid notion that you should take the title of someone's profession and attach it to what they should not do. It has nothing to do with citizenry, I think they should shove it with their hypocritical Ronald Reagan standard right up their ass.

Later in the interview he says,

I've always operated under the notion that audiences don't always know when they're being lied to but that they always know when they're being told the truth.

I think Penn is a good actor, in a James Dean kind of way, and I like his movies. I certainly agree with him that a person's profession shouldn't limit what he's allowed to do or say. How much he actually knows...well, that's something else. The problem I have with showbiz folks like Penn, Barbra Streisand, and Charlton Heston (to name just a few) is the tendency in some quarters (especially Hollywood) to equate fame with intelligence. Elvis Presley is a better example--dumb as a moss-covered rock, but smart enough to concentrate on what he did well.

* * *

According to the New York Times, Italy is banning smoking in all public places, including bars and restaurants. (I first read about this at Roman Wanderer.) The report says,

The outdoors, private homes, and restaurants and bars with ventilated smoking rooms are the only places spared from the anti-smoking law. ... Smokers will face fines from $36 to $363 if caught lighting up where they should not -- including offices. Owners of premises who turn an eye to smoking face fines as high as $2,904.

Well, at least owners of private establishments will be allowed to have ventilated smoking rooms. That implies that the law may actually be intended to protect the public health, rather than to enforce the PC preferences of zealous non-smokers, as in the U.S. It's gotten so bad in some places in America that the smoking prohibition is "ruthlessly enforced for example in every New York saloon, bar and restaurant, [and] now even extends to Californian beaches such as Malibu and Santa Monica."

I guess pretty soon we'll have new shows on TV about the courageous Anti-Smoking Squads that patrol our bars and restaurants. Something like "ASS: New York" and "ASS: LA" seems likely. I, for one, am glad to see our politicians, cops, and prosecutors finally get their priorities straight. I wonder, though, if you're attacked by crackhead gang bangers outside your favorite bar or restaurant, will the ASS guys interfere? I would hope not. They belong inside, where the real criminals are, instead of outside, where poor misunderstood "youts" are just expressing their justifiable rage against centuries of oppression. Oy veh!

* * *

Finally, William Raspberry's column in the Washington Post today is worth a few minutes. Writing about the elections in Ohio and Democrat John Conyers' silly hearings and obfuscations, he quotes Conyers:

Please understand, this is not an attempt to change the outcome. Many of the complaints were from people who couldn't be sure what they saw, or who were able to vote anyway, despite the difficulty. And there's no way we could count the number of people who left those cold, rainy lines after the second or third hour of waiting.

So, no, we're not trying to overturn this election. But if, as it appears, a significant number of people believe they were disenfranchised -- and this is the second straight presidential election there has been that feeling -- then it's incumbent on Congress to try to do something so that it won't happen yet again.

Well, gee. I have this "feeling" that smoking bans are an unwarranted intrusion into the property rights of the owners of private establishments. Perhaps I should write Mr. Conyers a letter.

But seriously. Raspberry makes a point when he says,

Well, I don't want to overturn the election, either. But I would like to know if public officials and private citizens engaged in a significant and concerted effort to steal the election in the event the wrong person seemed to be winning it. And if so, I'd like to know who the miscreants were, what they did and what heads are going to roll.

Because if all we get are a few hearings and empty promises, it's a safe bet it'll happen again.


Blogger Anselm said...

Having just posted a comment re: "Liberal or Conservative" that mentioned Newt in a positive way, let me rush to agree with you that he would be a disaster as a presidential candidate. I don't think he would win any primaries, but you never know when the more extreme elements of each party can dominate the primaries.

8:45 AM, January 10, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

I agree that Newt would be a disaster. The problem is, both parties seem to be foisting candidates on us who are less than sterling. I think Newt will always be justifiably identified with the excesses of the 90s, such as the impeachment of Clinton and the endless, incredibly expensive special prosecutor drama.

9:35 AM, January 10, 2005  
Blogger Ms. Lori said...

Another great post, Tom! In the words of Paris Hilton, "You're hot. So hot."

Anyway, regarding this statement: "In a Hillary-Newt contest, I'd vote for Ralph, even if he creeps through the campaign with a walker and sometimes mutters about Corvair safety with a faraway glint in his eye." please forgive me, but I must now use this: "LOL!"

I feel no shame.

But I still would support Hillary should she be in the running.

1:52 PM, January 10, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Do you really know Paris? Did she really say that about me? Hmmm. You don't happen to have her phone number, do you? (Shame? What shame?)

2:09 PM, January 10, 2005  
Blogger Gindy said...

Newt is an amazingly astute (it rymes) man. But, he has been so vilified that he would never win. Also, he has some blemishes which can be exploited to great effect. But, his contract for America was brillant.

6:09 PM, January 11, 2005  

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