Wednesday, January 28, 2009


He should have known better: Il. Gov. Rod Blagojevich subjected himself to the ladies of THE VIEW on ABC, only to become Joy Behar's latest victim. After refusing to do his much-talked-about Richard Nixon impression, Behar dared to muss his infamous 70s hairdo. Talk about great TV -- watch this!

Sunday, January 25, 2009



As you know from time to time Greenberg Rants likes to take a short peak at what’s going on with stories that made headlines and then faded into the background of the public consciousness. After all, how much of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich can you take? And once you know Ted Haggard is gay and paid prostitutes for sex while reigning over one of the largest mega churches in the country, don’t you really know the whole story? Likewise, once you’ve been told the CEO of Merrill Lynch redecorated his office to the tune of $1.2 million, and then got fired, that pretty much caps that story off, doesn’t it?

Not even close. So often it’s the under-reported follow up story that is really fleshy. How is it, you might wonder, that grown, educated men can get themselves in such deep, hot water? Well, they say we’re all flawed in one way or another. It just so happens that some of us take those flaws to unlikely extremes, and then cannot seem to resist the allure of microphones and cameras. Consider:

Remember Ted Haggard? He is the guy who was once pastor of the 12,000-member New Life Mega-Church in Colorado. You may recall that the right Rev Haggard (left) was busted in 2007 when a male prostitute came forward to say he had bumped booties with the Rev, supplied him with methamphetamine and accepted money from him for sex. Haggard subsequently left the church, denied the rumors, later owned up to the rumors and went to work selling insurance. Now, that would be the end of this story, were it not for Haggard’s seemingly insatiable need for attention. This month, HBO debuts its new documentary, “The Trials of Ted Haggard,” in which Haggard and his family are chronicled and dissected trying to resurrect their lives. My guess is that they were paid handsomely for the film, and that is part of the reason they agreed to it. However, since Haggard was used to huge, adoring audiences as a pastor, it is likely he needed the face time with the public to feed his ego. As you read through the rest of this piece, keep “ego” in mind. It is the theme of this big boys gone bad story.

So, the documentary would be the end of the story, were it not for this week’s revelation that a former church worker at New Life has now come forward to reveal his own sexual play for pay past with Ted. The former church volunteer says he is coming forward now because he resents Haggard’s public attempts to paint himself as a victim.

The volunteer’s hard feelings are understandable on one level. However, on another level, even though Haggard rates a solid 10 on the sleaze scale, he is something of a product of his time. Born in 1956, Haggard is a victim of middle America’s mid-20th century rule that men were not allowed to be gay. As it turns out, there is a whole generation of gay men who were raised in the post-World War II mindset that everyone should conform to the “norm.” Unfortunately, there were those who were born to be different. Still, like Haggard, they grew up and followed all the societal rules – until they didn’t. And like Haggard, they lived duplicitous lives that often led to personal disaster. Haggard’s life story is a cautionary tale for a culture that is only now beginning to understand that the human race is necessarily comprised mostly of people who do not fit a culturally-defined profile.

Still, we’re left to wonder – why does Ted Haggard want an HBO television documentary broadcast about his personal fall that has already been made horrendously public? Why not step back and reconstruct a life? Is the spotlight more seductive and irresistible than family privacy and anonymity?

This is also a big week for Rod Blagojevich (left), the embattled governor of Illinois. Charged with trying to sell Barack Obama’s former Senate seat to the highest bidder, Blago is persona non grata coast to coast. This is a story that just keeps on giving: Last week, Blago’s missus, Patti (below, right), was fired from her $100,000-a-year job as development director of The Chicago Christian Industrial League, a post she had held for only four months.The CCIL is a non-profit serving homeless men. Patti’s job had to do with fundraising – sort of like how Blago defined his own job. Let’s review: fundraiser for a non-profit organization and the salary is a hundred grand? Is it me, or is something wrong with this picture?

Meanwhile, on Monday, the very day his impeachment trial begins, tune into “The View” on ABC. Blago will be on the hot seat with the ladies. All I’m waiting for is to see the Governor face off with Joy Behar. That same night you can see Blago across the desk from Larry King, and reportedly, the Governor has already taped an upcoming episode with our holy St. Oprah of Chicago. Image repair? Damage control? Sympathy plea? You be the judge. I would once again raise the issue of ego. Think about it.

Also this week, two Chicago radio stations reportedly offered Blago and Mrs. B their own talk show. It is unclear how the Rod and Patti show would play out, but based on previously revealed tapes of their private conversations, I would suggest anyone who offers this golden couple access to public airwaves may want to consider the old seven-second delay option, so as not to incur the wrath of a profanity-conscious Federal Communications Commission.

This is a story we will continue to follow here, if only for the sheer entertainment of it. It’s an “Only in America” tale, is it not? Consider: The Chief Exec of Illinois is arrested by the FBI after being caught on tape trying to sell the Senate seat of the next President of the U.S. His wife laces every other sentence she utters with the F word, and not only is the guy still in office, but after his arrest, he anoints the only black U.S. Senator. Really…who could make this stuff up?

Until January 21, John Thain (right), was not exactly a household name, like, say, Bernie Madoff. But last week, Thain became widely known, if only for the fact that he has a $1400 parchment wastebasket. For those of you who did not quite tune into this story, some quick background: John Thain was the CEO of Merrill Lynch, the company that was absorbed at the eleventh hour not long ago by Bank of America. Had it not been acquired, Merrill Lynch would probably have gone the route of Lehman Bros.—kaput. Now we know that right before the company was scooped up by BOA, its CEO awarded last minute executive bonuses to the tune of $3 to 4 billion dollars. That would be bad enough news for a company in such dire straits, but now we know that in the fourth quarter of 2008, Merrill Lynch lost a whopping $1.79 billion.

Which brings us all the way back to the $1400 wastebasket. Among the most startling revelations this week was the one about John Thain’s office: As it turns out, Thain authorized a redecoration of his own work digs to the tune of $1.22 million, at the same time his company was tanking. According to about a million published reports, among the expenses was $800,000 for the same decorator hired by Michelle Obama to redecorate the White House private living quarters for just $100,000. Again…is it just me, or…? Here is part of Thain's shopping list:

1)$2,700 for six wall sconces.
2) $5,000 for a mirror in his private dining room.
3) $11,000 for fabric for a "Roman Shade.”
4) $13,000 for a chandelier in the private dining room.
5) $15,000 for a sofa.
6) $16,000 for a "custom coffee table.”
7) $18,000 for a “George IV Desk.”
8) $25,000 for a "mahogany pedestal table.”
9) $28,000 for four pairs of curtains.
10) $35,000 for something called a "commode on legs.”
11) $37,000 for six chairs in his private dining room.
12) $68,000 for a "19th Century Credenza" in his office.
13) $87,000 for a pair of guest chairs.
14) $87,000 for an area rug in Thain's conference room and another area rug for $44,000.
15) $800,000 to hire celebrity designer Michael Smith, who is currently redesigning the White House for the Obama family for just $100,000.

John Thain was fired on Thursday. Not since Eliot Spitzer has there been such a very public employment separation. (Speaking of Spitzer, recently it was made public that he was one of the investors duped by masterduper Madoff—there’s so much incest among societal bottom feeders). Coming soon in GreenbergRants is a behind-the-headline story about outrageous CEO compensation and perks. We’ll dig deeper into the Thain story then, (including a mention of Thain’s driver, who last year earned $233,000) but for now, if you’re feeling a bit angry about the dollar figures we’re showing here, stay angry. It’s your outrage and your voice that will bring about balance in the corporate system. Have we not had enough anecdotal stories about greed, thievery and inhumanity in the upper echelons of corporate America? As is the case with so many other headline stories, this one is about you. It is your money with which they are buying corporate jets, lavish estates and...well, $1400 wastebaskets.

Speak up. Get mad. It's time.

Monday, January 19, 2009



It will be a truly distinctive moment in American history - the inauguration of the first black President of the United States, celebrated one day after the commemoration of the 80th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King. Barack Obama clearly feels a real connection with Abraham Lincoln, but I believe the timing of his inauguration and the obvious parallels in their influence on America will always somehow associate Obama with King. Each of these men has demonstrated the rare gift of being able to cause togetherness and meaningful commitment among the American people. It is akin to what we felt in the months after 9/11, but then there was no strong leader to inspire a sense of long-lasting intimacy among us. Now there is.

The coming together of the American people after so many years of deep fragmentation is a wonder in America right now. Sometimes, the most significant moments in our history cause art to emerge, as well. Witness the Works Progress Administration (WPA) artistry during the Great Depression (example at right). On numerous occasions historians have highlighted the relationship between social change or upheaval with the emergence of distinctive art forms. With that in mind, if you have not heard the name Shepard Fairey yet, you surely will. Fairey is the artist who created the now iconic HOPE posters so pervasive during the Obama campaign (left). Fairey also created the header art you see at the top of this piece.

I am not an art critic. But I am a great audience. And what I see, from out here is a real commonality between much of the WPA art and works by street artists like Fairey. They are both what you could call populist art. In both we see the real daily dreams and struggles of American men and women. On some level, no matter what your politics are, you have to step back and appreciate America's heart and soul starting to show itself again. We were neutralized for eight years. A little spirit couldn't hurt us about now.

It is that spirit that moved music producer David Foster to team with musician to write America's Song just days before the inauguration. It was reportedly easy to engage the participation of Faith Hill, Mary J. Blige, Bono and Seal to perform the song, first on the January 19 episode of our holy St. Oprah of Chicago's show. Like much of the WPA art and Fairey's works, America's Song is clean, straightforward and elegant.

Now, pump up the volume, go full screen and enjoy this shiny, new artistic collaboration:

Friday, January 16, 2009


Music Slideshow by Stuart Hoffman
Musical Arrangement, Vocals by Stuart Hoffman, Tara Liz Driscoll
Lyrics (verses)- Stuart Hoffman


Although President George Bush’s demeanor over the past eight years has been less than gracious, and even though his communication has always lacked finesse, his final comments to the press and the public have been alternately conciliatory and defensive. In his farewell press conference he became indignant at suggestions that the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina was too slow. It was the first time he has uttered the word “Katrina” in quite some time, and only to defend the indefensible. In his final address to the nation, two days after the press conference, there was no mention of the mighty triumvirate that will define his legacy: Iraq, 9/11 and Katrina.

Those of us who live on the Gulf Coast, a quadrant of the United States that has been severely disfigured and then dismissed by our government, are unwilling and unable to let Bush off the hook for his administration’s inexcusable inaction since the 2005 hurricanes. Further, it is now up to us to keep hope alive in the Gulf South, since we have become yesterday’s bad news in the nation’s Capital. We who live here see Katrina in present tense, while the rest of the nation has moved on. We always believed that we would be relegated to second-tier status if and when another natural disaster occurred on U.S. soil. What we had no way of predicting was that the next disaster would be economic, rather than natural.

The combination of the worldwide economic crash plus an administration that chose not to do its job has resulted in a slow crawl back to normalcy in our cities. In New Orleans, crime incidents are increasing in both frequency and violence. Joblessness is the rule, rather than the exception. Infrastructure, which was already crumbling pre-Katrina, is now in true crisis. Local government is so fragmented and fatigued that there is talk that the District Attorney’s office may have to declare bankruptcy. No one quite knows what to do with New Orleans now. There are neighborhoods in the lower Ninth Ward that look as though the storm hit yesterday. Cracked, broken roads, abandoned houses and eye level overgrown yards are common. So baffling is our predicament that during last year’s dynamic presidential campaigns, people with names like Clinton, McCain, Palin, Obama and Biden scarcely mentioned New Orleans or Katrina. What should have been a serious campaign issue instead became a subject of deliberate avoidance.

As usual, the numbers tell the true story: There were 9,000 Louisiana families still living in trailers as recently at September 2008, and more than 30,000 residents of Gulf states receiving disaster housing assistance. Five of 23 acute-care hospitals in the New Orleans area remain closed. The city's bus system carries less than a third of its pre-storm passengers. Of 125 pre-Katrina public schools in New Orleans, only 85 remain, and trying to find qualified, dedicated teachers has been an uphill climb. This is my New Orleans. I do not know much about George Bush’s romanticized image of New Orleans. And since many of you respond most acutely to dollars and cents, consider this: The Louisiana Recovery Authority estimates that of the $121 billion in Federal Aid that was approved in the years following Katrina, only $15 billion has been spent on the entire rebuilding effort in Louisiana. The rest was either spent on immediate rescue and recovery, or has not yet “trickled down,” as they say.

Finally, just days before he was to leave the presidency behind, George Bush had this to say in response to a reporter’s question about the federal response to Katrina:
You know, people said, 'Well, the federal response was slow.' Don't tell me the federal response was slow when there was 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed."
Response to Bush’s outrageous claim was swift and hot. Watch:

I left New Orleans two days after Katrina. By then, there was really only one way to get out of town, and it included driving down Convention Center Boulevard, which fronts the Morial Convention Center. I had a friend in the car, and we both were shocked to see thousands of people, mostly black, standing and sitting on the massive sidewalks in front of the Convention Center. Since we had no radio, TV or Internet after the storm, we had no idea why these people were gathered at the Convention Center. Now, of course, we all know the story of those citizens, and of the others who were hopelessly trapped at the Louisiana Superdome.

It is demoralizing to hear the President defend the government’s actions in those few days. What he does not tell you is that too many of those who were not rescued from their rooftops were hopefully ensconced in their attics, the highest point they could reach in their homes. Many of their decayed bodies were found months later in house-to-house searches of the most affected areas. What he also does not mention is the number of elderly people who were transported to the steamy-hot Superdome, and who had no food or water or medical supplies, and who sat in the dark, wondering if the cracks they saw in the roof of the dome would mean certain death if the waters rose higher. No mention was made by Bush of the fact that life-saving supplies did not reach one of the nation’s most historic and populated urban areas until fully four days after the storm had passed.

Why, I wonder, did President Bush fail to acknowledge that once the senior citizens were moved from the Superdome, many of them had to spend the night sleeping on luggage carousels in the Armstrong International Airport? Why did the President not leave his Texas ranch until two days after the storm hit? Why did FEMA, under Bush’s watch, not direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to send evacuation buses to New Orleans until 48 hours after the storm hit? Why were essential supplies not pre-positioned for the city of New Orleans when everyone knew of the impending storm for days before it hit?

And what about the stream of broken promises from the Bush administration? On September 15, 2005, George Bush, in powder blue dress shirt, collar open, sleeves rolled up, with St. Louis Cathedral as a backdrop, bathed in lights the same shade of blue as the President’s shirt, delivered his dramatic Katrina speech.

The promises: (1) A Congressional oversight commission, evidently to be something akin to the 9/11 commission. No such body was ever formed. (2) To get citizens out of shelters by October. In the end, thousands lived in shelters through the balance of 2005, and some well into the following year. (3) Bush committed the Department of Homeland Security to examining emergency evacuation plans in every major city in America. If such a nationwide survey was undertaken, the results have never been made public. And there were other promises, including specific citizen relief programs that never saw the light of day.

As long as we’re looking back at the powder blue speech, does anybody remember Bush’s promise of “Worker Recovery Accounts?” This was the deal in which the federal government would provide accounts of up to $5,000, which these evacuees could draw upon for job training and education to help them get a good job, and for child care expenses during their job search. Remember that? No, I didn’t think you would. It was never mentioned again. Ever.

George Bush should be held accountable by the American people for many things, including an unnecessary war, a lack of economic foresight, the exceedingly slow pace of necessary social change during his term, and possible war crimes typified by the treatment and alleged torture of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. But here in the Gulf South, he will always be remembered as the President of the United States who simply failed to protect hundreds of thousands of tax-paying, law-abiding citizens, and then defended his inexcusable job performance up until the end of his presidency.

While Mr. & Mrs. Bush enjoy the comfort of their palatial new home in Preston Hollow, former New Orleanians are still scattered coast to coast in what were to be their temporary relocations. Many, if not most, will never find their way back to their beloved home town. That is the legacy. That is the truth. No press conferences or nostalgic farewells will erase historical fact.

George Bush failed to honor the oath of his office. He did not preserve, protect and defend the United States Constitution. Amid the fanfare of his departure from the nation’s Capital, let us remember the 4,227 Americans who have died in Iraq, and the 1,464 Americans dead after Katrina. Then let us consider the countless citizens of America and the world who have suffered needlessly because of this president’s incompetence, insensitivity and dedication to a set of wayward principles that have left the United States in disrepair and increasingly powerless.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Most of you who read this blog regularly come here to hear about politics, pop culture, New Orleans and the media industries. Today, I’ll ask you to indulge me while I tell you a little something about Bill Greenberg. Most of you never met Bill (pictured at right, at age 22), but since he was my father, and since he died two days after Christmas, it makes good sense to me to introduce you to him, albeit a bit late. Bill was the true definition of a “standup guy.” You’ve heard the expression. Now, meet the man:

Bill’s last year on earth was typical of his whole 92-year journey through life. His last year was fraught with struggle, determination, grit and virtue. Listen, if they can say that about you after you die, you’re a success story. Bill was truly the story of the 20th century in America. Like so many other kids born in the early 1900s, his father had emigrated from far away – Romania. His mother died when he was nine years old. He was on his own by 15. Liked baseball. Pitched with his left hand. They say he had a very cool wardrobe as a young man – hip suits, bright colors. Others say he was laugh out loud funny when he was a kid. I never saw that side of him. I wish I had.

By the time I came along, Bill, having weathered the Great Depression and World War II, was a considerably quieter man. He never had the opportunity to finish high school, and when the War came, he enlisted. They sent him overseas, and at one point I’m told he trudged through Belgium. He even won a bronze star in the Battle of the Bulge (below, right). He never mentioned it. I only found out about it at his funeral. He ended up in France, where his higher-ups ordered him and just two other soldiers to guard about 100 prisoners in a field without barriers. Naturally, some of them escaped. He was court-martialed. It must have been a terrifying, demeaning experience. I can’t say. He never spoke a word about it in the entire time I knew him. I do know that ultimately he was exonerated and honorably discharged. And in those times, the honorable discharge was the thing, you know. It was everything.

There was something in Bill that just always leaned toward doing the right thing. He was steady, forceful when necessary, much more of a giver than a taker and the kind of guy you would probably like to have in the room during a crisis. When I was 16, Bill had a brain tumor. He had an extended stay in the hospital and a protracted recovery. I never saw a moment of fear on his face, and I do not think the phrase, “Why me?” ever crossed his mind. Once he was back on his feet, he went back to work, never mentioned it again and resumed his habit of walking through the house whistling a happy tune. If you ever wanted to see a guy who could just roll with whatever came his way, you needed to know Bill Greenberg in those days.

When we were kids, Bill used to give us presents on his birthday. How cool was that, right? Knowing my own affinity for words, when I was about 14, he gave me a dictionary on his birthday. Never one to gush or overstate his case, here’s what he wrote on the inside cover: “14,000 ways to better express yourself. Love, Dad.” That pretty much sums up Bill right there. I never forgot it. I still have the book. When I was even younger, taking piano lessons, I always wanted to play popular music. But one day, while I was practicing Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” Bill came into the room to listen to me play for the first time. When I was finished, he said, “You’re making real progress.” High praise from my typically stoic, World-War II dad. I never forgot it. In 2006, at a family gathering on Thanksgiving, Bill and I ended up in a room by ourselves for a while. By then he spoke very little. But he did look at me, eye to eye, and said, “Paul, we appreciate you.” You can only imagine.

Always the picture of health, no one could ever have predicted the hellish experience my father would have at the end of his life. In a two-year period: Two broken hips from two separate falls; double pneumonia; a stroke that left his speech nearly unintelligible and made walking a few feet an almost dangerous experience; pneumonia again; lost the ability to swallow; ended up on life support and in need of a feeding tube. And finally, mercifully, full morphine sedation until ultimately everything stopped. All apparatuses, breathing tubes and feeding units were removed. A few days later, with only my sister present in the room, he quietly left. My plane landed just moments before he died.

Several family members met with the Rabbi one day before the funeral, in order to help her prepare the eulogy. She asked us to tell her who he really was. I said, “If I had to tell you who Bill Greenberg was, these are the words I would use: Decent, kind, respectable, honest and a finisher. By that I mean he finished everything he started, and he believed in quality.” I think I never knew of one lie that he told, and I believe I may have heard him cuss maybe three times in his life. He was highly opinionated but his positions came from a place of strength, because he kept up with what was going on around him in the world. He may have lacked the formal education, but he educated himself on an ongoing basis. One time, he instituted a new policy in the house that a different person had to bring a new vocabulary word to the table at dinner every night and tell the rest of the family what it meant. Just now, as I am writing this, I’m realizing what a very cool thing that was for him to do.

Bill Greenberg – smart, humble, generous, tough guy.

Rest easy, Dad.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


With thanks to the late, great Robert Palmer

Thursday, January 8, 2009



I know every time you see those words – Dear Mr. President – you probably think of that really cool Pink song, but trust me, I’m so not that cool. No, actually I’m sending this before your first day in the White House, in hopes that I can get your full, undivided attention for a few minutes. With all due respect, please…turn off your cell, lose the headphones, put the DVR on pause and just give me 10 solid minutes. Call me crazy, but I figured maybe you’d be interested in my top five requests of you for the next eight years - yes, eight…I’m an optimist, like you.

1. Since for all intents and purposes the U.S. government is nationalizing the auto industry, I’d appreciate it if you would deflate the CEO salaries. The Chrysler guy, Robert Nardelli doesn’t reveal his salary, because Chrysler is privately owned. But here’s what we do know: his last employer, Home Depot dumped him, but the fall was cushy. The severance package was reportedly worth more than $200 million. GM’s CEO, Rick Wagoner grossed $2.2 million in 2008. Ford’s CEO, Alan Mulally is at $2 million plus bonuses. Have you seen America's parking lot (right)? Many people (including me) are driving 10-year-old cars and earning…well, let’s just say not $2 million annually. Perhaps you could do something real innovative like tying CEO salaries to productivity, sales and overall job performance. Any thoughts on this?

2. Listen, is there anything you can do about Anne Coulter? Short of revising the First Amendment, I mean. There just has to be a way to make her stop talking. Really, I'm not asking you to do anything about her 1970s Gloria Steinem hairdo or that crazy wardrobe of hers. But what if you just made her an ambassador? Oh, I know, I know. She’s no diplomat. But just send her somewhere. I’m thinking Bangladesh. Or how about Chad? There she could be one of those women who carry baskets of water on their heads. Barack – may I call you Barack? This is a matter of national urgency. Puh-leaze have a Come To Jesus chat with Anne and explain that the Freedom of Speech we enjoy in America comes with strings called “responsibility.” Poor, leggy Anne – somebody forgot to tell her that part.

3.So sorry to bring up sore subjects, but could we talk about George Bush? I’m worried. I mean George is moving into his new $2.2 million dollar home in the tony Preston Hollows enclave in North Dallas, where they didn’t even let black people in until the year 2000, and he’s going to be doodling in the den trying to figure out how to make his new library pretty and all that. But my concern has to do with war crimes. Was it really okay that this administration allowed water boarding, the interrogation technique that simulates drowning? Is it just me or is there something just a little whacked out about water boarding in the 21st century in a civilized society? Representative John Conyers, who as you know, is the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, wants to assemble a bipartisan committee to investigate this and illegal wiretapping by the Bush administration. Okay then. Let’s do it. Why? Because if we don’t hold Bush accountable for arguably torturing detainees, then what is to stop future Chief Execs from doing the same or worse? And as I said…we’re civilized, right? And since we only have about a scintilla or privacy left in our culture, shouldn’t we do everything possible to safeguard it? Wiretapping? I don’t like it. Do you? Here’s how I see it: We invaded Iraq for no reason; we tortured detainees who may have had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks and then we wiretapped anybody who we deemed suspicious, even though our suspicions were largely unfounded. And we’re the United States of America. Could you weigh in on this, B? May I call you B?

4. How was your lunch with Carter, Clinton, George, Sr. and President Bush? Is it true you had Mexican food? That’s the scuttlebutt on the street. Wouldn’t that have been a great moment for the first use of Laura Bush’s $587,000 worth of new White House china? I’m not nitpicking here, but B, don’t you think half a million dollars and change worth of plates is a bit extravagant at a moment when record numbers of Americans are losing their homes and jobs? The other day somebody said unemployment may hit eight percent this year. You yourself said the economy is going to get worse, much worse in 2009. Laura spent half a mill on plates. And then she posed for pictures with her new plates, in the exact moment the American dream seems to be dying. And then she tried to justify the expense by saying it was ordered three years ago. Listen, I live in New Orleans. Need I remind you or Laura what happened here just over three years ago? Not to be nasty here, but we really don’t want to hear about china. We would like to hear more about federal dollars that were promised to us for rebuilding our city that have yet to float through the bureaucracy. You might be surprised how many homes could be rebuilt here with $587,000. Could you just do us all a favor and do a walk-through of your new house and see if she also snuck in a bunch of new linens and flatware and maybe wine glasses? We found out she bought a new rug, but nobody’s giving us a dollar figure on that. We’re a little pissed down here. Can you blame us B?

5. Look, I’d love to talk to you about some other stuff – AIDS funding, Darfur, that pesky Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, China and Russia buying up all the prime NYC real estate, gay marriage, breast cancer research, Cuba, Bernie Madoff, and that idiot who’s destroying the Plaza Hotel square foot by square foot, Rush Limbaugh’s salary…oh God, I could just go on and on, couldn’t you? Why not bring Michelle and the kids down to New Orleans and we’ll have dinner at Arnaud’s and then go on the devastation tour? Won’t that be fun? Maybe you could meet Mayor Ray Nagin while you’re here and gently persuade him to resign a little early, and if you want, we can drive past former Congressman William Jefferson’s house and point. Just text me and give me some dates and let’s work it out.



Come on. Did you really think Miss Sarah was going to go gently into that cold, snowy Alaska night? Did you truly believe her 15 minutes wouldn't be strategically extended? Recently, Mrs. Palin sat down with documentary filmmaker John Ziegler, to discuss everything from Tina Fey to Bristol and Levi to Katie Couric. And as it turns out, Mrs. P. is mad. Real mad.

My favorite part of this entire piece is this quote from Miss Sarah:
"What is it that drives people to believe the worst and perpetuate the worst, in terms of gossip and lies?"
In the classic cartoon sense, a lightbulb went off in my head. I remembered how Mrs. Palin used one of her campaign stump speeches to badmouth Barack Obama, and to exaggerate his relationship with individuals she referred to as "domestic terrorists." In case you missed it, here's a reminder:

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. The issues that confront us in America are what Americans care about. We are not interested in how mad you are at everybody. We care about credit card finance charges of up to 30 percent. We care about mortgage companies that refuse to exhaust any other alternatives before foreclosures. We really care about not having health insurance simply because many of us have to choose between food on the table and a possible medical emergency. It is important to us that more than 4,000 Americans are dead because of an administration that could not wait to get all the facts before invading a country that did not merit our aggression. We are scared of a national unemployment rate that appears to be approaching eight percent, the highest level since 1945. Perhaps the next time you feel like pontificating, it could be about something....anything other than how mean and nasty the media are, and how unfairly you were portrayed to the public. Perhaps this could be your last meaningless exchange with an interviewer: