Category Archives: Think Piece

Inspirational/Motivational/Sensational Think Piece

DC Public School’s Own – Warren Buffett!

While his dad served in Congress (4 terms) Warren attended Deal Junior High (now, Deal Middle School) and graduated from Wilson High in DC – Class of ’47. Yearbook: “Likes Math, Future stock broker.” Who knew?

Buffett was back at Deal Junior High today with a CNBC crew reliving old memories and sheepishly asking if they still had his conduct records which by his account would show him to be a baaad boy! Imagine! A late bloomer! There’s hope for us all!

More later. See our olde Fabulous Baker Boyz song dedicated to Warren and Jimmy (Wasted Away in W’s Hooverville).

Funny Stuff Healing with Humor Parody Think Piece

Congress Extends Unemployment Insurance Benes!!! Whoo-hoo!!! I’m Goin Home Early! G’Night Suckers!

So Congress JUST passed a payroll TAX CUT to increase workers’ take-home PAY — AND — extended Unemployment Insurance Benes too!!!  Whoo-Hoo!

Who needs this gig?  I’m goin’ home.  G’night!

Don’t know about you but there goes MY incentive to work — just like some in Congress said! 

Outta the offices!

Outta the factories (if any left)

Time to start the “OCCUPY THE MAN CAVE”  movement.

College Tour Funny Stuff Healing with Humor Parody Think Piece

EXCLUSIVE: OBAMA’S SAX SCANDAL

Planet Washington’s Ken Rynne was published Feb 11 in the leading South African humour magazine (even the spelling is funny!) SAX APPEAL. ‘SA’ as in South Africa.  X as in ‘X.'(Think The Onion but with Mandela on the side).

I enjoyed meeting students from the University of Cape Town last summer one of whom invited me to contribute to her epic publication.

The story, a SAX APPEAL EXCLUSIVE, explains that Republicans in the US typically get into money scandals and Democrats get into sex scandals. A well managed scandal can change the subject (from, say, unemployment, traditionally a downer) and actually give their ratings – among other things – a boost.  If it doesn’t kill their careers totally (McGreevy, Craig) or get them their own cable tv show (Spitzer) or a run for higher office (Gingrich).  

President Obama’s clean image just isn’t helping him much.  What he needs is a good olde fashioned scandal!  But as one who ran on a theme of ‘change’ and has governed as a centrist, will he pick the right scandal?  Goldman Sachs only knows!

The answer – and the story – will be recounted on the Planet Washington web site in the coming days.  Watch this space – or order a copy of your own: www.saxappeal.uct.ac.za  Hakuna matata!

Healing with Humor Think Piece

Talkin’ bout My Generation

Recently I had the opportunity to meet and speak with university students from South Africa concerned with their country’s progress. I quoted from memory my fellow Quincy man John Adams on the subject of intergenerational responsibility, ” I study war and politics so that my sons may study art and music.”

Mr. Adams’ quote follows:

“I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.

My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture in order to give

their children a right to study paintings, poetry, music, artchitecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”

With respect Mr. A, my edits were effective with a 21st Century audience — and they make you tweet-able!

Funny Stuff Parody Think Piece

Lipstick-Wearin’-Hockey-Mom-Wasilla’s-Sarah Palin

Lipstick-Wearin-Hockey-Mom-Wasilla’s-Sarah Palin

Back in ‘08 Republicans smirked that Barack Obama was “too inexperienced” to be president.

Then as we were leaving the Democratic National Convention, we watched in disbelief TV monitors at the Denver airport as John McCain announced his first presidential decision: his pick for VP.

You say “Maverick.” Some say “train wreck.” Well – he made our day!

Our favorite bumper sticker:
Sarah Palin for President 2012 – 2013.

Sarah Palin: “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Answer: Lipstick.”

At Planet Washington, when news breaks, we fix it.

(Tune: From Mary Poppins. Superfragilisticexpialidocious)

Chorus:
LIPSTICK WEARIN /HOCKEY MOM / WASILLA’S / SARAH PALIN
She Came Just In Time When JOHN MCCAIN’S Campaign Was Ailin’

A Small Town /Western Woman
WITH BIG TALK @ IMPALIN…

LIPSTICK WEARIN /HOCKEY MOM / WASILLA’S / SARAH PALIN
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay…

1. MAVRICK NEEDED TO MAKE SURE / HIS BASE WAS STAYIN WITH HIM

HE COULDN’T PICK JOE LIEBERMAN / THE RIGHT WOULD NOT PERMIT HIM

WHEN HILLARY DID NOT GET PICKED / MCCAIN LOOKED AT SOME WOMEN

A PRO-LIFE. PRO-GUN. PRO-GRAMMABLE / WOMAN SHORTER THAN HIM
(HE PICKED) Chorus.

2. REPUBLICANS WERE LOOKIN / FOR A LEADER TO BELIEVE IN

OBAMA WAS TOO POPULAR / REPUBLICANS WERE GRIEVIN

THE ONE BY ONE MALE CANDIDATES / EXPLODED & WERE LEAVIN’

WHICH LEFT / ONE CHOICE / FOR 20-12 /ONE PERSON TO / BELIEVE IN

(YOU BETCHA) Chorus.

©2008 Ken Rynne
www.PlanetWashington.com
when news breaks, we fix it

Funny Stuff Parody Think Piece

Apart from Workplace Safety, the 8-Hour Work Day, Minimum Wage, Vacation & Health Benefits, What Has The Union Ever Done For Us?

MONTY PYTHON PARODY: WHAT HAS THE UNION EVER DONE FOR US? CREATED A MIDDLE CLASS!

The Wisconsin Governor Walker’s now unmasked conspiracy with Billionaire David Koch et al to reject public employees’ concessions and destroy their union itself makes my shanty Irish blood boil.

My father was a member of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association and when he made Sergeant, Boston Police Superior Officers’ Association. His unions helped my family share in the American Dream and sent me to college – and law school – with a scholarship.

What Have The Unions Ever Done For Us? It reminds me of a classic Monty Python skit What Have The Romans Ever Done For Us? My little parody is dedicated to the public employees who teach our kids, staff our hospitals, maintain our streets, and keep us safe. Thank you!

WHAT HAVE THE UNIONS EVER DONE FOR US?
Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) as Pilate
Billionaire David Koch as Bigus Dickus

Bigus Dickus Koch: They’ve bled us white, the bastards. They’ve taken everything we had, our freedom, not just from us, from our fathers and from our fathers’ fathers.
Gov. Scotty: And from our fathers’ fathers’ fathers.
Bigus Koch: :Yes.
Gov. Scotty:: And from our fathers’ fathers’ fathers’ fathers.
Bigus Koch: All right, Scotty. Don’t ‘labor’ the point. And what have they ever given us in return?
Aide: Child Labor Laws.
Bigus Koch: Oh yeah, yeah they gave us that. Yeah. That’s true.
Activist: And the 8-hour work day!
Scotty:: Oh yes… The 8-hour work day, Bigus, you remember what the city used to be like.
Bigus Koch:: All right, I’ll grant you that Child Labor Laws and the 8-Hour Work Day are two things that the Unions have done…
Aide: And Workplace Safety…

Bigus: (sharply) Well yes obviously the Workplace Safety… Workplace Safety goes without saying. But apart from Child Labor Laws, the 8-Hour Work Day, and Workplace Safety…
Another Activist: Paid Vacation…
Other Voices: The Minimum Wage…Health Benefits…Educational loans…Maternity/Family Medical Leave…Social Security…Medicare..the GI Bill….
Bigus: Yes… all right, fair enough…
Activist Near Front: And Civil Rights…
Omnes: Oh yes! True!
Scotty: Yeah. That’s something we’d really miss if the Unions left, Bigus..
Activist at Back: Disability pay!
Aide:: And it’s safe to walk in the streets at night now.
Gov Scotty: Yes, our public employees certainly know how to keep order… (general nodding)… let’s face it, they’re the only ones who could in a place like this.

(more general murmurs of agreement)
Bigus Koch: All right… all right… but apart from Child Labor Laws, the 8-Hour Work Day, Workplace Safety, Paid Vacations, The Minimum Wage, Health Benefits, Educational loans, Maternity/Family Medical Leave, the GI Bill, Social Security, Medicare, Civil Rights, Disability Pay, and public order… what have the Unions done for us?

Ed Schultz: Created a Middle Class.

Small Voice: …when the rest of the world suffered revolution, communism, or socialism…

Bigus: (very angry, he’s not having a good meeting at all)
What!? Oh…(scornfully) a Middle Class, yes… shut up!

scene

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
– George Santayana, Boston Latin School Class of 1878
Those who cannot remember the past…make up a solid majority.
-Ken Rynne, Class of ’74

Ken Rynne
www.PlanetWashington.com
when news breaks, we fix it

wicked musical political satire
almost famous since 2006


Funny Stuff Parody Think Piece

There’s Snow Business Like Slow Business!

A 2″ snowfall paralyzes the nation’s capital city : For some, it’s another reason to just say “slow.”

Let it Snow

Oh the Democrats’ time is dwindling,
And their bills we’ll use as kindling,
Legislation we’ll take real slow,
Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow!

Bush Tax Breaks They’ve Failed at Stopping,
And their START vote will be flopping.
Filibuster Don’t Ask, I know,
Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow.

When we finally do adjourn,
For a two-week Christmas at home,
Harry Reid says he might call us back,
But he’ll find out I’ve turned off my phone!

The Democratic fire’s slowly dying,
And it’s time for their good-bying,
But as long as we just say “no!”
Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow!

[If Senate Democrats learn to say “no”
Oh no, Oh no, Oh no!]

Think Piece

“Shot Heard Round The World” – A Minuteman’s Amazing Eyewitness Account

The Concord Monument dedicated July 4, 1837

Immortalizing American Minutemen’s resistance to British forces a mere 63 years earlier

on April 19, 1775

Ralph Waldo Emerson, philosopher  and poet, wrote “Concord Hymn,”  excerpted here for the occasion:

By the rude bridge that arched the flood/ Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled/

Here once the embattled farmers stood/
And fired the shot heard round the world.

* * *

On this green bank, by this soft stream/ 
We set to-day a votive stone/

That memory may their deed redeem / When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

“Battle at Lexington Green, 1775,” EyeWitness to History

www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2001)

Sylvanus Wood, 23,  one of the Lexington militia who was awaked in the pre-dawn hours of April 19, 1775 by church bells.  He answered the call.   Years after the event and over twenty years after the Concord Monument dedication,  he committed his recollection to paper in an affidavit sworn before a Justice of the Peace which was first published in 1858.

“I, Sylvanus Wood, of Woburn, in the county of Middlesex, and commonwealth of Massachusetts, aged seventy-four years, do testify and say that on the morning of the 19th of April, 1775, I was an inhabitant of Woburn, living with Deacon Obadiah Kendall; that about an hour before the break of day on said morning, I heard the Lexington bell ring, and fearing there was difficulty there, I immediately arose, took my gun and, with Robert Douglass, went in haste to Lexington, which was about three miles distant.

When I arrived there, I inquired of Captain Parker, the commander of the Lexington company, what was the news. Parker told me he did not know what to believe, for a man had come up about half an hour before and informed him that the British troops were not on the road. But while we were talking, a messenger came up and told the captain that the British troops were within half a mile. Parker immediately turned to his drummer, William Diman, and ordered him to beat to arms, which was done. Captain Parker then asked me if I would parade with his company. I told him I would. Parker then asked me if the young man with me would parade. I spoke to Douglass, and he said he would follow the captain and me.

By this time many of the company had gathered around the captain at the hearing of the drum, where we stood, which was about half way between the meetinghouse and Buckman’s tavern. Parker says to his men, ‘Every man of you, who is equipped, follow me; and those of you who are not equipped, go into the meeting-house and furnish yourselves from the magazine, and immediately join the company.’ Parker led those of us who were equipped to the north end of Lexington Common, near the Bedford Road, and formed us in single file. I was stationed about in the centre of the company. While we were standing, I left my place and went from one end of the company to the other and counted every man who was paraded, and the whole number was thirty-eight, and no more.

Just as I had finished and got back to my place, I perceived the British troops had arrived on the spot between the meeting-house and Bucknian’s, near where Captain Parker stood when he first led off his men. The British troops immediately wheeled so as to cut off those who had gone into the meeting-house. The British troops approached us rapidly in platoons, with a general officer on horseback at their head. The officer came up to within about two rods of the centre of the company, where I stood, the first platoon being about three rods distant. They there halted. The officer then swung his sword, and said, “Lay down your arms, you damned rebels, or you are all dead men. Fire!” Some guns were fired by the British at us from the first platoon, but no person was killed or hurt, being probably charged only with powder.

Just at this time, Captain Parker ordered every man to take care of himself. The company immediately dispersed; and while the company was dispersing and leaping over the wall, the second platoon of the British fired and killed some of our men. There was not a gun fired by anv of Captain Parker’s company, within my knowledge. I was so situated that I must have known it, had any thing of the kind taken place before a total dispersion of our company. I have been intimately acquainted with the inhabitants of Lexington, and particularly with those of Captain Parker’s company, and, with one exception, I have never heard any of them say or pretend that there was any firing at the British from Parker’s company, or any individual in it until within a year or two. One member of the company told me, many years since, that, after Parker’s company had dispersed, and he was at some distance, he gave them ‘the guts of his gun.'”

References: Commanger, Henry Steele, Morris Richard B. The Spirit of ‘Seventy-Six vol I (1958);Fischer, David, Paul Revere’s Ride (1994).

The shot heard ’round the world.

Happy Birthday America!


Think Piece

Memorial Day: Honor the Dead, America’s “Unfinished Work”

 

Memorial Day is a Federal holiday in America.  Federal employees do not work.  [Here, professional and amateur satirists might add , “as usual” or “that’s an improvement.”]  Banks, large businesses, schools, and other institutions follow suit by law, by custom, or by negotiated contract.  On this day we do not work.  We remember.  And we also enjoy the early summer weather, we eat outdoors, play softball, listen to patriotic band music, and take advantage of Memorial Day sales.  We multitask. 

Before it was a Federal holiday, Memorial Day was Decoration Day when the survivors of the Civil War, South and North, the women folk mainly, adorned with flowers the graves of the many dead from nearly every family in what is still amazingly America’s bloodiest war.  No bands or barbeques.  Alas, no sales. Just a simple flower and maybe a prayer or “I love you,” at each man’s grave.

Memorial Day grew in purpose after World War I and World War II to remember the dead from those conflicts.  After the states recognized the holiday It became an official Federal holiday on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend, known to gasoline refiners as the start of the summer driving season.

Remember 9/17.  Near Washington, DC is the Antietam Battlefield in Sharpsburg, MD.  The bloodiest one-day battle in American history was waged in the cornfields of the Maryland countryside in 1862.  Today, DC residents speed through this same countryside on their way to ocean relief from the summer heat.  148 years ago 23,000 men lost their lives here.  Can you grasp it?  23,000?  Over seven times the loss of life on 9/11/2001 which we remember still.   Seven times that lost on 9/17/62.  Brother killing brother.

They lost their lives.  Gave heir lives.  Died that day.  

For the Union. For the cause.  For freedom.  For duty.  For their comrades.  

We should remember 9/11 and  9/17.   How can we today honor that kind of  sacrifice?   

A better man than I asked that same question – and answered it years ago.   I considered editing it down to 140 characters for my fellow tweeters but the original is very brief and powerful.  Extremely brief and mercifully to the point for the little I have read from the 19th century writing.  

Four months after the decisive battle of the Civil War took place on the same ground in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania,  President Abraham Lincoln dedicated a cemetery where  7,500 were buried.  They were among the 172,000 men  fought from July 1-July 3, 1863.  The next day, American Independence Day, the battle and our bloody Civil War was all but over.   Lincoln remembered their sacrifice – and he urged his listeners then – and I submit, now – to do more than that.

We have all heard his words since grade school.  But just for today,  in the privacy of your own home, or at the beach, or at the mall, try something different.  Take 3 minutes and read it.  In the time it takes the microwave to heat my morning coffee – read it s-l-o-w-l-y.  Feel what the author did 14 months after 9/17. Only 4 months after the awesome Battle of Gettysburg.  To those few who glibly  use the word “secession” today for political gain,  for shock value, or for air time,  hold your tongues today.  

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.  Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.

We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

President Abraham Lincoln 

Soldiers’ National Cemetery Dedication

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

November 19, 1863

Our form of government is still “new”  in the long view of history.  An experiment.  From the start it did not eliminate “factions” but set them loose on each other.   Free opposition and free participation.  Here you can oppose the people across the street and the people in power.  But they can oppose you. Democracy takes tolerance.  Participation means more than voting – although half of us do not do even that.  Get involved in what Lincoln called “the unfinished work.”   That may mean sacrifice on our part.  Click off  “Dancing with the Stars” once a month and go to a town hall meeting.    If that sacrifice seems too much, there is a field in Maryland you might remember on 9/17.