Daily Archives: August 27, 2012

Way to Go, Chris!

This is a true story that happened in about 1980/81.  It was early in my career.  Really early.  I worked as a lobbyist back then.  What I really was, though, was a flunky.  Mostly my job involved going to government buildings and Xeroxing.  Yes, being a lobbyist can be exciting.

But one day when an important vote was coming up that impacted my firm’s clients, I was asked to make some phone calls to find out what was going to happen.

I didn’t know the issue.  I didn’t know “the players” – the Congressmen and women who were involved in the issue.  I didn’t know their staffs.  I didn’t know shit.

So naturally, in trying to find out the information I needed, I started at the top.

I called the office of the Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neil.  And somehow I got through to Tip’s Chief of Staff, Chris Matthews.

Now, normally, flunkies like me don’t get to speak with high level staff unless they know the guy.  I didn’t know Chris, and he didn’t know me.

I started the conversation the way I always did with my sure-fire trick to get help.  You see, not only was I very young, well, I sounded even younger.  I sounded about 12, according to friends.  So, well, I took advantage of it …

“This is probably a stupid question,” I began (as I often did).

“There are no stupid questions.  Ask me anything you want, and I’ll do my best to help you,” said Chris Mathews, Chief of Staff to one of the most powerful politicians in Washington.  To me!

Chris not only answered my question, but he explained how things happened, how they were likely to play out on this issue, what other issues might be helpful for me to look into.  He told me what was happening on the issue in the Senate.  He spent about 30 minutes helping a young, inexperienced person he didn’t really need to help.  He was terrific, and I’ve never forgotten him or his voice.

When I went back to my bosses to tell them the news, well, to be honest, I wasn’t really sure who Chris Matthews was.  But when they asked for the source of my information, well, they were impressed.  Because I had gotten to talk with Chris and they had been unable to get through to him.

I did less Xeroxing after that day.  A lot less.  And I’ve used the information and the knowledge that Chris helped me get ever since.

So this morning when I learned that as an MSNBC “Talking Head,” Chris Matthews called out the head of the GOP because they continually play the race card, and divide America.  Today, I am proud of being able to say that Chris Matthews was one of my teachers.  Way to go, Chris.  Way to go.

And thanks, Chris.  For everything.


Filed under Criminal Activity, Elections, Health and Medicine, History, Humor, Hypocrisy, Law, Politics, Stupidity

Property Rights

As you can probably tell, I don’t normally struggle with making my opinion known.  But the last few days I’ve been so overwhelmed by the crap that the GOP is spewing that, well, I went into “outrage overload.”  It’s an epidemic amongst thinking Americans everywhere.

But after reading Eleanor Tomczyk of How The Hell Did I End Up Here, I was reminded of someone I knew slightly when I worked at a law school in my younger days.

Mark was member of the “Lawyers for Christ” group while at law school, and was known as a deeply devout, incredibly pleasant guy.  We weren’t close friends, but he was a nice guy.

Well, Mark is now a Federal Judge!  It’s pretty cool, isn’t it?  I mean when folks you know make good?

One night when Mark was in DC, I was invited to a dinner of some of his law school classmates who were also friends of mine.  I came away in shock.  Because this good man who had been the bible studies leader at law school, the number one Christian sharing his beliefs and values, well, Mark had changed.

“I went back home and studied my soul, studied my bible,” Mark said.  “And I came away knowing that Christianity, in fact, all the beliefs Jesus preached on, well, they’re based on property rightsIn fact, Jesus preached property rights.”


Yes, Mark, the man who had believed that Jesus preached love, preached helping the poor, preached paying Caesar what is Caesar’s now had, well, a different line of thinking.  One that was way more compatible with his expanding wallet, waistband and increasing prominence as a fat-cat GOP member.

Holy Shit. 

Available for $3.95 from Zazzle.com. It’s their picture.

Or should I say “Holy Bullshit”?

Stephen Colbert on Jesus and Our Christian Nation

“If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus is just as selfish as we are or we’ve got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition. And then admit that we just don’t want to do it.”  – Stephen Colbert

Mark, Federal Judge Mark, that is, went with Stephen’s first option – choosing to believe that Jesus was just as selfish.

Me, I believe that Jesus would be a liberal Democrat.  Because the difference in the parties can be summed up one way:

Democrats believe in helping the poor;

Republicans believe in helping themselves.

*     *     *     *     *

Thanks to Eleanor Tomczyk of How The Hell Did I End Up Here for reminding me of this conversation and for her incredibly eloquent post on this subject:  A Warning to Mittens and the Gang.  Eleanor included Colbert’s comment, which I must say, I think of often.


Filed under Conspicuous consumption, Criminal Activity, History, Humor, Hypocrisy, Law, Politics, Real Estate, Stupidity, Taxes