Welcome, dear readers, to another thrilling episode of "Ask Boomer With Attitude," live from Charlotte, where you can play a part in the near-collapse of the world economy and still walk away with a hundred million bucks. One of the questions this week is made up; maybe you can spot it.
Dear BWA: If you won't tell us whom you think will win the mayoral race, then tell us which one of the two you'll vote for. -- Boomer Fan
Dear Fan: Thanks for being a fan, but you've got to examine the race for yourself and make up your own mind; this column is just one guy's opinion. With that said, my opinion is that either Lassiter or Foxx would be a better mayor than Pat "Worn-out Welcome" McCrory, but neither one has me wearing shades to protect my eyes from his brilliance. When the only thing you can find to disagree on is a proposed, and so far unfunded, streetcar line, the candidates' similarity speaks for itself. Since the position of mayor in Charlotte is largely a ceremonial one, the real debates should be about which backers will influence which candidate should he win. Both Foxx and Lassiter have strong business connections, although Lassiter is probably more inclined to give businesses whatever they want than is Foxx. Foxx, for his part, has some good ideas about helping small businesses thrive. Frankly, with so little to go on in terms of differences, I'm ready to vote for Foxx simply to have a change of scenery after umpteen Republican mayoral terms in a row.
Dear BWA: How can you say we should get out of Afghanistan? If the United States leaves, the Taliban will take over that whole country! -- Janice Kniedman
Dear Janice: First of all, the U.S. goal is to weaken al-Qaeda. Second, al-Qaeda and the Taliban are two different groups, with different agendas. The Taliban's goal is to take back control of Afghanistan. Period. They are a danger to the United States only if they return to their pre-9/11 policy of offering a safe haven for al-Qaeda. These days, according to U.S. national security adviser James Jones, al-Qaeda has fewer than 100 fighters operating in Afghanistan, and without any bases or capacity to launch attacks on the West. Fewer than 100 fighters. And that was "the maximum estimate." The question practically screams to be asked, "Then why in hell are we losing our young soldiers there?" There are better ways to go after al-Qaeda than fighting yet another impossible guerilla war -- especially if you're not even fighting the people you're really out to get. The absurdity, let alone the tragedy, of this war becomes more obvious every day; I just hope President Obama will have the courage to restore some sanity to our policies in the region. I grant you that if the Taliban retakes control of Afghanistan, they will probably reinstate the repressive laws they enforced before we chased them away. As I wrote before, however, that's simply not our problem; if America had to get rid of every terrible regime in the world, we'd be at war forever -- which may be exactly what neo-conservatives, not to mention defense contractors, want, but it's also the quickest road to ruin for our country. So to answer your question succinctly, I don't give a rat's ass about the Taliban.
Dear BWA: Why would you think that Roman Polanski's crime is any worse than what Bill Clinton and John Edwards did? They all took advantage of someone weaker, but I don't see you saying those two Democrats should go to jail. -- Blessed are the Dekes
Dear Blessed: Well, not to belabor the obvious, but what Bill Clinton and John Edwards did, although dishonorable, was no more illegal than Mark Sanford's affair. No one, certainly not yours truly, has said Sanford should be jailed for skipping off to see his lover in Argentina. Their status as lousy spouses aside, at least those men had sex with consenting adults. Polanski, on the other hand, had sex with a 13-year-old to whom he had given a Quaalude -- even if it had been consensual, it would still be a serious crime. Hopefully, you see the difference now. If not, please consult a shrink, and stay away from teenaged girls.
Dear BWA: What's the creepiest thing you've heard about lately? -- Joe Bleaux
Dear Joe: Two things come to mind, but I can't decide which is creepier. One, a worker at the cryonics place where Ted Williams' frozen head is being kept reported that another worker had smacked Williams' noggin with a monkey wrench while trying to get a frozen tuna can off the top of the baseball legend's head. Two, Oklahoma is preparing to spend over $250,000 per year to publicly post details of women's abortions online. Pick 'em.
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Deliver Us From Weasels, a collection of 50 of John Grooms' best columns and articles, will be published in November by Main Street Rag Press. The book will cost $14.95, but it can be purchased in advance through Oct. 26 for $10 including shipping at www.mainstreetrag.com/store/ComingSoon.php