Arnold will be baaack as a caaahhh-tooon superhero

When we last heard from Arnold Schwarzenegger, my favorite Republican, his term as California governor had expired. And we assumed his shelf life as an action hero had expired as well.
But Arnie, now 63, apparently is not one to allow old age to settle over him like a shroud. No soft-belly decline for the perpetual Mr. Olympia, who once had Sierra mountains for biceps and whose chest was big enough to play the Super Bowl on.
And now past is prologue. Capitalizing on his commanding presence, Schwarzenegger is poised to cut a new path to glory.
He’ll be baaack, as a caaahhh-tooon!
Arnold is going to star as a cartoon superhero called The Governator. A smart move, since cartoon characters never age. After all, Schwarzenegger is at an age when he must stiffen every sinew, conjure up every wile to do the now undoable.
“When I ran for governor back in 2003, and I started hearing people talking about ‘the Governator,’ I thought the word was so cool,” Schwarzenegger said. “The cartoon brings everything together. It combines the governor, the Terminator, the bodybuilding world, the True Lies (in which he played a spy).”
The animated TV show and comic book, due out next year, are being co-developed by the legendary Stan Lee, who is to comic books what Babe Ruth was to baseball, what Adam and Eve were to sin.
The animated TV show and comic book are designed to be launching pads for a franchise that could include films. Schwarzenegger will provide the voice of the TV character.
The show follows the Governator as he trades a career in politics for a crime-fighting venture run out of Arnold Cave, a cyber center hidden under his house in Brentwood.
The superhero comes complete with a collection of super cars, super suits and super sidekicks, including a teenage computer whiz who will help him fight scores of super villains, including the G.I.R.L.I.E. Man.
After all, every day there seems to be bad guys borne on cold, threatening breezes. Perhaps the Governator can be dispatched to clean up Libya, Syria, Tea Party headquarters and the 6th Ward in Reading.

Four Aces may not be enough for the Phillies to take the pot

The Philadelphia Phillies begin their highly anticipated season Friday afternoon against the Houston Astros at Citizen Banks Park. If you have tickets, bring your sled. Apparently a spring Nor’easter could intrude on the proceedings, and that’s no April Fool’s Day joke.
Armed with nothing but aces in their starting rotation, the Phillies should be buoyed by peacock arrogance. But their spring fling in Florida threw them some curves.

From the first peep of spring training, incapacitating injuries and the erosion of too many remorseless years on some stalwarts have taken a toll that requires more than an E-Z Pass. .
Hold off on making World Series plans just yet, Phillies’ fans.

Granted, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt figure to ventilate the opposition in most games.

But not every game. All four of them won’t be unbeaten and untied this season. And if they are, I owe you a beer.

Which means the Phillies will need a panoply of offensive threats besides a Ryan Howard home run.

And good luck with that.

Even with a relatively healthy and robust lineup last year, the Phillies couldn’t play small ball. They couldn’t seem to manufacture runs no matter what foreman was running the assembly line.

Now with second baseman Chase Utley sidelined indefinitely by a knee that must sound like walnuts cracking, third baseman Placido Polanco sporting an elbow more fragile than a glass hammer, Jayson Werth counting his money in D.C., left fielder Raul Ibañez older than dirt and newly minted right fielder Ben Francisco needing to morph from a supporting role into a leading man, the Phillies’ lineup suddenly has sprouted more question marks than my lawn has dandelions in the spring (assuming we have one this year).

Compounding their lineup problems, shortstop Jimmy Rollins is slipping into the twilight shadows of his career and center fielder Shane Victorino may be a fan favorite but hardly is the reincarnation of Richie Ashburn.

Granted, catcher Chico Ruiz was a clutch-hitting marvel last season. The key question for Ruiz is whether he can replicate that production. As you know, some sequels hardly are smash hits.

Meanwhile, Mets’ reject Luis Castillo, once upon a time a solid offensive-defensive threat until the tread came off his tires, will fill in for Utley. Pray that he doesn’t need too many pit stops.

Which means Charlie Manuel, that George Clooney lookalike, better be Einstein and Solomon when it comes to figuring out a lineup that seems devoid of solid No. 3 and No. 5 hitters in the absence of Utley and Werth. The next time Howard gets a good pitch to hit at cleanup it’s because the pitcher has the control of an 80-year-old bladder.

And unless the Four Aces throw a complete game in every start, which seems somewhat unlikely, a bullpen without a closer could leave the Phils naked with nowhere to hide in late innings.

Brad Lidge, with more anxious moments than Houdini even when the former Mr. Perfect Save was healthy, is out until May with a strained right posterior rotator cuff. No wonder his velocity this spring was so slow his fastball wouldn’t have been flagged for speeding in a 25 mph zone.

Ryan Madson is a consistent setup man when not kicking himself but the remainder of the bullpen — Danys Baez, Jose Contreras, Danys Baez, J.C. Romero, Kyle Kendrick and Antonio Bastardo — can be shakier than a belly dancer on amphetamines. And apparently Contreras, another guy on the aging Phillies who hasn’t been carded in light years, apparently is the closer for now.

Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Oswalt and stepchild starter Joe Blanton all better have rubber arms and shoulders because the two most popular words in Philly figure to be complete game.

Of course, it’s early yet so don’t allow my realistic pessimism to flatten your beer at Citizens Bank Park or in front of your plasma TV.

Contradictions abound everywhere in Obama's take on Libya

As the opening act to Dancing With the Stars last night, President Obama — nine days after U.S. forces began engaging in hostilities in Libya — finally got around to addressing the nation.

As usual, he had an eloquent delivery. He’s better with a teleprompter than Albert Pujols is with a bat. But the speech was more style than substance. It was a tough assignment for the president. Convincing America that this conflict and all its contradictions is a prudent thing obviously is a hard sell.

Obama said our foray into Libya principally is a humanitarian mission, and he made the case that as president he could not stand by and let Muammar Gaddafi inflict his reign of terror on the 700,000 civilians in Benghazi.

He trumpeted American exceptionalism by saying that others may “turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries,” but that is not “who we are.”

Granted, we reserve the right to choose when we do opt to have a blind eye.

As to why we are ignoring the plight of other countries being brutalized by dictatorships, Obama rationalized that we can’t be the world’s policeman … except when we want to, adding that it “cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what is right.”

Got that?

And he stressed that we are now handing off the lead on this intervention to NATO and we’re not going to play rehashed chords of George W. Bush’s Iraq in Libya

Let’s explore the contradictions, as detailed in a Washington Times editorial, and please do not suffer orbital fractures to both eyes reading them:

*Obama has started a war that is not a war.

*Obama is using military force, but his secretary of defense says there is no vital American interest involved.
*Obama sold the country and the United Nations on a no-fly zone, but coalition forces are targeting Libyan ground troops.
*Obama’s mandate was to protect civilian lives, but he is actively siding with the rebellion.
*Obama has praised the “legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people,” but many of the rebels are Islamist radicals and even members of al Qaeda.
*Obama has gone to war to prevent a “bloodbath” in Libya but only offers empty words to innocent Syrians being gunned down by the Assad dictatorship.
*Obama has said the United States is not seeking to force regime change but believes that Gaddafi “has to go.”
Like I said, this is a tougher sell than selling Geiger counters in Japan these days.

Put the political upheaval on hold for a moment and ponder why we have two Davids/Cinderellas in the Final Four. Did the Tea Party have anything to do with this?

Granted, March Madness hardly is as exciting as chatting about cutting government spending to eliminate all taxes and all entitlements or justifying why we’re shooting three-pointers at Libya while taking a pass on Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Somalia.
Still, the NCAA hoops tourney sure is concocting a surreal storyline as it dribbles on to Houston for next weekend’s Final Four.
First of all, reportedly only 7.5 people in the entire country picked the Butler did it, Virginia Commonwealth, Connecticut and Kentucky to be in the Final Four.
Underdogs and upsets, like oxygen, have been everywhere and anywhere. Top seeds became extinct. Ohio State, Kansas, Duke and Pitt all vanquished, just like all my brackets.
Suddenly we are left with two Davids in Butler, which somehow made it to the title game last year and now is making a Final Four sequel despite a crummy regular season, and Virginia Commonwealth, the only bank in America that fields a Division I basketball team. Imagine that VCU had to play a NCAA play-in game after gagging hoops analysts for even being granted that!
So how does having two Cinderellas coming to the ball work? Will there be enough glass sneakers, especially when these two face off in Saturday night’s semifinals?
The other semi pits two Goliaths, or ugly stepsisters if you will, in UConn and Kentucky.
UConn and Kentucky have storied but recently sullied traditions. Both teams evidently shower with dirty water.
Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun, older than dirt, was recently suspended for orchestrating a cheating scandal that was uglier than the skinny Star Jones and has pundits calling the school You Con.
Kentucky coach John Calipari is the ultimate car and snake oil salesman. Never try to open a doorknob that Calipari has just opened. You will have no shot because of all the oil he slicked on it. This guy, as one wise guy put it, owns the patent on vacating Final Four berths.

First of all, Calipari had nasty scandals at Memphis and UMass. More than that, he apparently has absolutely no interest in academics. He has taken the one-and-done, don’t-even-pretend-that-you-even-give-a-damn-about-graduating philosophy to a Ph.D level. Calipari couldn’t even throw a textbook at his players because they’ve never even seen one, let alone read one. And these kids get their books, tuition and board for free.
So the Final Four brackets are Good vs. Evil.
So as not to risk divine intervention of a wrathful nature, I’m rooting for Good in the title game, whether it be Butler or VCU.
By the way, don’t swallow that crock that the NCAA rewards the best team in the country. It simply rewards the best team in the tournament. Like the Kentucky Derby or the Daytona 500, it pays off to be hot down the stretch.

Tea Party founder must be drinking something stronger than tea if he thinks Charlie Sheen makes more sense than John Boehner

The melodies you hear coming from Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips are not to be confused with those in the string section of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.
Phillips keeps singing the same nasty old song, hitting all the low notes in crooning that “Charlie Sheen still makes more sense than John Boehner because at least Charlie Sheen is winning.”
Phillips is turning his bazooka on the House Speaker because he’s hissed about Boehner’s efforts to cut government not just to the bone but to the marrow of the bone.
“This is the one message the Tea Party needs to be out there pushing,” Phillips said, ramping up the savage ferocity an octave. “If you don’t live up to your promise, we’re going to throw you out.”
The Tea Party leader has signaled support for a fiscally conservative candidate mounting a primary challenge against Boehner in 2012.
At issue for Phillips are signs, he says, that Boehner won’t fulfill his pledge to slash $100 billion from the budget and instead compromise with Senate Democrats on a proposal that cuts billions less.
Nothing like whistling past the graveyard while you whittle government spending down to a toothpick.

Poor crop of GOP 2012 hopefuls could sprout Michele Bachmann (gag) as a viable contender

I know we’re in the midst of March Madness, so please don’t nail me to the nearest backboard and leave me there just because I once again can’t resist referencing the 2012 presidential campaign.

Granted, I realize it’s early in the ballgame but apparently Republican angst about 2012 and its shallow gene pool of candidates is simmering and could boil over.

Nearly three months into the year, it appears the GOP field of presidential candidates is shrinking because Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin look less likely to run.

So that leaves the Fab Four of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and former Speaker of the House and Georgia Peach Newt Gingrich.

Man, that collection of yawn-inducers couldn’t beat an egg, let alone Barack Obama. And that’s with Obama making more missteps than yours truly trying to dance the Paso Doble.

Not only is the aforementioned foursome flawed, it’s about as appetizing as a zucchini and beet sandwich.

May blisters sprout on my fingertips for tying these very words, but that makes Michele Bachmann even more appealing, even if it is by default.

The Minnesota congresswoman and darling of the Tea Party set supposedly is getting serious about running for president.

At this point of time in the political hourglass, a Bachmann bid would seem to be a longer shot than Evel Knievel trying to jump the Snake River Canyon.

Still, her bombastic in-your-face style could strike a chord with socially conservative caucus-goers in Iowa.

I close by hoping you already have digested today’s lunch.

The more things change, the more things stay the same

With the world boiling over in several directions and places, it seems that the more intense the situation, the more unforeseeable the denouement.
No wonder recent developments seem as shocking as watching a cute cat leap from your lap to dismember a bird.
Whatever is going down these days, we don’t seem to be moving into an epoch of prosperity and light.
For instance, while our school districts and colleges don’t have enough money to educate our kids and when our municipalities and states don’t have enough dough to build highways or repair bridges, America has spent about $225 million so far firing Tomahawk missiles over Gaddafi’s land — a cost that could balloon to $1 billion while you’re sitting in traffic going north on Route 222.
Our Libyan intervention seems to have transformed our president into a human piñata and left the rest of us rubber-legged.