by David Sisler

I think I’ve said it before, but just for the record, Forrest Gump and I are honest men. We know that we don’t know. Sometimes we even know what we don’t know. Reading the daily newspapers this weekend I am convinced that we are not alone.

I offer the following puzzlers (with apologies to Click and Clack, Tom and Ray Magliozzi, the hosts of “Car Talk”).

Long after the votes are counted in November, and the chads are all hung, either George W. Bush or John Kerry will place one hand on a Bible, raise the other hand and solemnly swear to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.” So help him, God. Alas, in some circles, that does not mean telling the truth or obeying the law.

We all remember the lies of Bill Clinton, the attempted cover-ups of his smutty life: “I never had sex with that woman,” and “It depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is.” Now to the front in a display of honesty and candor unseen and unknown in the previous Democratic administrations rushes the Botox Candidate. John Kerry says he will break the law if he is nominated by the Democratic Party.

In order to keep spending beyond federal limits, Kerry says he may delay accepting his party’s nomination. Once a candidate accepts his party’s nomination, he is limited to spending only $75 million in federal funds to campaign for the general election. The Democrats, seeking to get a jump on their opponents, scheduled their convention for a month before the Republicans, but if Kerry says, “Okeydokey,” he is bound – at that point – to spend only the federally mandated amount. So the Dems will nominate him and he won’t say “Yes” until after President Bush gets the nod from the Republicans one month later.

It is a blatantly dishonest scheme. But that, evidently, won’t stop Kerry. “We’re not going to campaign with one hand tied behind our back,” said a Kerry campaign spokeswoman, Stephanie Cutter. Meanwhile Mr. Kerry’s aides acknowledged that the legality of their scheme is not clearly established. So since when does that matter? Especially since Democratic Party experts insisted that there is legal room to maneuver. Right or wrong be damned!

I’m not a smart man, but I do not understand how can a man covet the highest office in the nation, and sully that office before he even is sworn in by saying he will campaign for the office while breaking the law he will later swear to uphold.

Puzzler Number 2:

The price of light crude oil hit a record of $41.85 per barrel last week and then dropped to $39.93 on Friday when Saudi Arabia announced it will begin pumping an additional 500,000 barrels of crude per day beginning in June.

No puzzle there, but what does have me scratching my head is the following statement by Martin Crutsinger, AP writer: “That decision will have little immediate effect on pump prices in the United States, analysts said. The additional supplies will not reach this country until mid-July.”

Then why is it that every time the price of oil goes up, the price of gasoline immediately increases at the pump, even though the new, more expensive oil won’t hit the refineries for weeks? Crude oil is going to cost less, but the price at the pump won’t drop for six weeks. Crude oil is going to cost more, but the price at the pump will go up before you cay say, “Price gouging.” You explain it to me. I’m not a smart man.

Puzzler Number 3.

Shenanigans seem to be the order of the day in Georgia’s schools, specifically those in Columbia County and Richmond County.

Recently a 20 year-old sex offender was told that he had to complete his high school education, so he was mainstreamed back into the public school and parents were not told about it. What’s the point in having a public sex offender registry, if the information is not made public? But remember, I’m not a smart man, so maybe that only seems obvious.

Another thing that seems obvious is why would a 20 year-old who had sex with a 15 year-old in a public school classroom be sentenced to return to school where he could troll for other victims? What judicial genius thought that up? And if the genius was following state law, then why is that a law? We caught the fox in the hen house, so to punish him, let’s put him back in the hen house!

While we’re in school (and that shout you heard last Friday was not the students celebrating the last day, but the teachers) why do local officials (see Charles Larke, Richmond County, Georgia) receive unused vacation pay totaling $94,000 (calculated with the skill that would have caused an Enron accountant to blush), a perk denied every other Richmond County school official, teacher, lunch room attendant, janitor, et al, and at the same time, classroom teachers do not have enough paper or allowable copies at the Xerox machine (even if it is working) to produce final exams for every student? Why do teachers regularly use their own money to buy paper and produce copies in order that their students won’t be short-sheeted? (I know, that metaphor refers to bed sheets, not sheets of paper, but, phonetically, it fits).

Are Forrest and I the only two who don’t know?

Well, there are many more puzzling things out there, so stay tuned. And if you know more than Forrest and I, please share the answers.


Copyright 2004 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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