Hit him with a mace?

By Michael Ackley

Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.

The Hollywood intelligentsia: A Californian reader, drowsing through Chris Matthews’ TV program, snapped awake when actor Ben Affleck, whose movie stardom qualifies him has a political commentator, solemnly advised the John Kerry campaign: “You have to enervate the base.” They would, but they’re just too tired … What advice might be offered by others from the world of entertainment? Let us imagine:

  • Linda Ronstadt, admiring candidate Kerry’s visage: “You have to venerate the face.”

  • Singer John Mellencamp visiting an unkempt regional campaign headquarters: “You have to renovate the place!”

  • Ron Reagan, following stem-cell cloning to its logical conclusion: “You have to duplicate the race.”

  • Alex Baldwin, on covering one’s political tracks: “You have to annihilate the trace.”

  • Glenn Close, on Bill Clinton’s seamy reputation: “You have to palliate disgrace.”

Shall we go on? We thought not. But perhaps you can produce some additional “Hollywood quotes,” real or imagined. Consider yourselves challenged.

If you didn’t think California Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggers’ concept of a part-time Legislature had legs, better think again. The concept not only has legs, it is galloping, and the evidence is in the reaction of Democratic Party politicians.

The Legislature needs reform, they agree, but nothing so drastic as a return to part-time status, an idea they are characterizing as “silly.”

As we recollect, that is how Gov. Gray Davis’ supporters characterized the gubernatorial recall drive, just a year ago.

Their refusal to recognize that the movement was serious kept them from mobilizing a defense right up to the day the recall qualified for the ballot. By then, it was too late, and Davis was reduced to signing special-interest bills – like the illegal alien driver’s license measure – in hopes of collecting enough splinter-group votes to survive.

Remember, Ted Costa is interested in the concept, and that should have legislators – whose operating budget is approaching $300 million a year – quivering in fear. Those of you outside California may not know that Costa is director of People’s Advocate, lead organization in the petition drive to fire Davis.

George W. Bush can’t pronounce “nuclear,” but John Kerry can’t say “idea.” Are we to consider his “i-deer” a quaint regionalism, or are we going to demand correct pronunciation? … Richard Becker of Colorado wonders why Kerry, who was a Naval officer in Vietnam, has home movies that show him “stomping through the jungle John Wayne style,” in which he seems to be clad in a Marine combat uniform. “Even off-duty, respective military personnel are expected to remain in uniform,” Becker writes, noting, “If I recall correctly from my military experience in the mid ’50s, being out of uniform in a military combat zone was a serious offense.” At this remove, it seems a minor point, but the fact is, ex-military personnel like our correspondent are quick to note such details – and to take offense from them. Could be that those who followed the rules don’t take kindly even to what appear to be minor transgressions, particularly when those departures seem to imply special treatment or hidden agendas?

Unintentional humor from the tube: Another reader had one of those “no kidding, Sherlock” moments while watching one of those “Animal Cops” shows when the narrator explained, “The owner has been in the hospital for several weeks for health reasons.” (Yes, we purposely omitted an alliteration, above. This is a family column.) … Our reader also forwards a coupon from a mobile pet clinic that offers “Free! Rabies with purchase of any vaccine package.” We’ll pass, thanks.