IT WASN'T planned. It just happened. I'll return in due course, maybe.
Meanwhile, this quickie: Never has there been a funnier lede to a Houston Chronicle editorial than . . .
President Barack Obama's much-awaited series of speeches on the economy . . . .
(Editorial, "President Obama needs to clear the air about 'phony scandals'," houstonchronicle.com, August __, 2013)
One is tempted to ask, who exactly has been doing all that awaiting? Not anyone you or I know. Not anyone with common sense. We've all been awaiting for going on five years now for the dude to shut up.
But the question answers itself. Who's been awaiting? Why, the ever-credulous editorial board, its own silly self. The Chronicle's resident Occupsters were evidently poised on pins, not to mention needles, awaiting, awaiting, awaiting. "Turn on the TV now, Lisa, so it'll be warmed up. And kick on the DVR so we can tape'em."
Even funnier than "much-awaited" is the premise of the editorial: that Mr. Obama might have the remotest interest in clearing the air.
There's also additional humor -- unintended black humor -- in the Chronicle's inventory of the scandals.
How can one bemoan the politicization of the IRS without saying "Tea Party" or "conservative?"
Or the Justice Department's abuse of journalists without saying "James Rosen" or "Fox News?"
Or the Benghazi scandal without recalling the administration's campaign of deliberate and well-orchestrated lies, led by the president himself, about what happened?
Well, our local editorial geniuses did all these things. They put themselves on the right side of obvious wrongful acts without even once giving comfort to the greater enemy, conservatives.
Bravo! Bravo! Well done. Well done, indeed.
"The air needs to be cleared," the Chronicle intones piously.
True enough. And there are good ways to do that. But the least useful suggestion is to ask the guy running the fog machine to turn it off.
Better to lend support to congressional critics of the president who would force the issue. But that's out. That would be politics, you see, and Congress's true purpose, the editors remind us endlessly, is to compromise with the president -- to give him at least one-half of what he wants -- not to confront him.
The gutlessness of the Chronicle's approach and the futility of its agonizing about the unphony scandals without also taking sides with the good guys, conservatives, in trying to do something about them -- these are perfectly encapsulated in this unfunny sentence:
The political atmosphere has been affected, some would say poisoned, by the president's characterization of unnamed "phony scandals" without a word of follow-up.
Some would say poisoned? Some would say?
What about you, the editorial board of the Houston Chronicle? What do you say? And what are you going to do about it, aside from wringing your hands and using slippery rhetorical questions to avoid saying what needs to be said?
The favor of a reply is much-awaited.