When life gets tough for just about every­body

The Washington Times Daily - - COMMENTARY - BY WES­LEY PRUDEN Wes­ley Pruden is edi­tor in chief emer­i­tus of The Times.

Life is tough, as the man said, and three out of three peo­ple die. It’s ap­par­ently a lot worse than we thought. The world is com­ing apart at the seams, just like the naysay­ers said it would. Times have got so tough that you can’t even trust fake news. The crazy fat kid in Py­ongyang is run­ning out of both ad­jec­tives and hy­per­bole, hav­ing failed to de­stroy the United States with the toys he has, and now threat­ens a “thou­sands­fold” re­venge against Don­ald Trump and the United Na­tions, too. Such a re­venge would make a bon­fire big enough to be seen from Planet Pluto, and hot enough to turn the crazy fat kid into a siz­able tub of lard.

Rep. Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, went home to Wis­con­sin to bask in the glow of the an­nounce­ment by a Tai­wanese cell-phone man­u­fac­turer that it would soon build a new fac­tory in his dis­trict to em­ploy 13,000 work­ers. But all any­one wanted to talk to him about was what a bunch of in­com­pe­tent bums the Repub­li­cans in Congress have turned out to be.

Global-warm­ing fa­nat­ics are in a “state of shock” that Al Gore’s new dooms­day doc­u­men­tary is bomb­ing (speak­ing of nukes) at the box of­fice. His new flick, “An In­con­ve­nient Se­quel,” opened over the week­end and not only was it not the box of­fice smash he ex­pected it to be, but placed 15th among 15 films open­ing in the­aters across the coun­try. This was a block­buster that would have dif­fi­culty lay­ing waste to a two-bed­room bun­ga­low on a 50-foot lot.

Don­ald Trump says his “base” has never been stronger as his poll num­bers sink deeper into the base­ment, but Democrats are the glum ones be­cause the only prospect in sight is an op­por­tu­nity to test the an­cient po­lit­i­cal be­lief that “you can’t beat any­body with no­body.” So far no­body is the only sav­ior in sight. Some Democrats are even tak­ing hope at the news that Hil­lary Clin­ton is re-hir­ing some of her cam­paign aides, for what ex­act pur­pose she does not say.

Cal­i­for­ni­ans are get­ting se­ri­ous with talk of se­ced­ing from the union, con­fi­dent that there’s no Lin­coln in the wings to say they can’t, but nei­ther is there a Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jack­son wait­ing to show them how to fight. Al Franken, the co­me­dian from “Sat­ur­day Night Live” who proved you don’t have to be funny to make peo­ple laugh, is just out with what may be a cam­paign book sug­gest­ing that Min­nesota and the U.S. Se­nate are no longer big enough to hold his po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tions. He has set off spec­u­la­tion about a Franken-Max­ine Wa­ters ticket in 2020 (or maybe a Wa­ters-Franken ticket). She’s not a co­me­dian, ei­ther, but she makes more peo­ple laugh than Al ever did on “Sat­ur­day Night Live.”

There’s bad news for athe­ists, who live in mor­tal dread that a hope­ful thought might in­trude where gloom re­sides. A new study (who can ar­gue with “a new study?”) re­veals that athe­ists are more read­ily sus­pected when vile deeds make it to the pub­lic prints. Even fel­low athe­ists are more likely to sus­pect an athe­ist than a Chris­tian, Mus­lim, Hin­dus or Bud­dhist is the au­thor of a dirty deed.

The study, con­ducted by “an in­ter­na­tional team” for the jour­nal Na­ture Hu­man Be­hav­ior, found in a study of 3,000 per­sons in 13 na­tions on five con­ti­nents that “across the world re­li­gious be­lief is in­tu­itively viewed as a nec­es­sary safe­guard against the temp­ta­tions of grossly im­moral con­duct,” and that “athe­ists are broadly per­ceived as po­ten­tially morally de­praved and dan­ger­ous.” Or­di­nary peo­ple are twice as likely to as­sume that a se­rial killer is an athe­ist.”

Life is tough for every­body, and lately it’s tougher for Al Gore than al­most any­one else. Al’s got a whop­per of a light bill every month. An anal­y­sis of elec­tric­ity at his house near the Ten­nessee cap­i­tal by the Nashville Elec­tric Ser­vice, which sup­plies elec­tric­ity to much of Mid­dle Ten­nessee, shows that Al’s house uses enough elec­tric­ity in a typ­i­cal month to sup­ply power to 34 av­er­age Amer­i­can homes. Over the past year, he has used enough elec­tric­ity to heat his swim­ming pool big enough for all out­doors to power six av­er­age Nashville homes. That in­cludes the night light to guide Al, who’s push­ing 70, when he gets up in the mid­dle of the night.

Al, whose monthly light bill runs $30,000 a month (but that’s for all 20 rooms), was count­ing on his new film to help pay the bills. He urged all his fol­low­ers to hurry down to the Bi­jou to watch his movie. Not many did, but it was the dis­trib­u­tor’s fault. One re­viewer wrote that “this was not sup­posed to hap­pen,” and thinks Al should de­mand a re­count. Haven’t we all seen this movie?

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