Jim Austin's Vermonter at Large
Jim Austin
Jim Austin
is a freelance writer from Putney, Vermont.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 06.21.04


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Did you catch the little portrait dedication at the White House the other day? Dubya got all warm and fuzzy with Bill Clinton and his wife Hilary while hanging Bill's brand new picture in the gallery.

It was touching.

After a while Bill himself got a chance to talk. He walked up to the mike and said:

"Mr President, I had mixed feelings coming here today, and they were only confirmed by all those kind and generous things you said. It made me feel like I was a pickle stepping into history."

Was he drunk? What the hell was he talking about? A pickle? It must depend on your definition of "pickle," I guess.

A few days ago Dubbo expressed great reservations about turning Saddam Hussein over to the Iraqis. He was worried, apparently, that they might lose him or let him go or maybe he feared they would let him go and he would enter the race for President and win.

Wouldn't that jar his preserves? The very last credible reason for having prosecuted the war straight down the tubes.

The WMD's were hooey, the al-Queda connection was horse hockey, and the nuclear program was bilge. Now he's not sure if the Iraqis really hate Saddam enough to keep him in jail.

Bad Dubya, No Pretzel.

* * *

Did you hear that Cardinal Bernard Law is back in town to testify against another pedophile priest that he helped escape culpability for his crimes? No charges will be brought by the state apparently. They just want to know a few details about the child molesting ring that Law was running.

It seems like Law was well and truly forgiven by his Holiness in Rome. A short time ago he was honored by the pope with the title of Archpriest of St. Mary Major Basilica. It's a ceremonial position given to retired prelates.

Even, apparently, prelates who retired at the request of the Catholic laity whose power of forgiveness for child rapist enablers was lacking.

* * *

The Darth Vader of the Bush Administration certainly has his goodies poised over the blender these days. Yes, our old pal Dick Cheney is being hotly investigated over his handing over sweetheart deals to his cronies at Haliburton.

Investigating is Henry Waxman, a savage Democrat from California who would dearly love to stick a big ugly fly in Cheney's ointment. Good luck, Henry, and don't open any bulky mail.

* * *

Well, the 911 commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks said that no evidence exists that shows Saddam Hussein in cahoots with al-Queda. Bush responded by saying that "they did to have a relationship, I never said it had anything to do with 9/11 though."

I wonder if his pants actually caught fire when he said that.

* * *

Time for Sports. I told Shorty that the NBA series would be over with in five games and it was.

Only I thought the Lakers would win.

How refreshing to see a bunch of blue collar, no-name guys from Motown whup up and humiliate the superstars from the left coast. Chauncy Billips was the MVP for the playoffs. Is that one of the greatest names ever? It ranks right up there with Nomar and Duffy Waldorf.

Guess whose back at the U.S. Open after a seven-month hiatus from golf. Yessir, it's that electrifying athlete David Duval.

Duval, known for giving less interesting interviews than autopsy subjects, is back in the swing. If I were on the comeback trail I might choose a less demanding track than the U.S. Open at Shinnecock NY.

He shot a first round 83, incidentally. Maybe the Bug Tussle Arkansas Invitational would have been a better choice. Look for Jay Haas to win. Tiger will lose and sink out of the top ranking. Don't worry, Tiger, nanny will make it better.