Forty-seven U.S. Senators – all Republicans – recently signed an open letter to leaders of Iran explaining how American government works. Clearly meant as nothing more than a public service, the letter, prepared by Senator Tom Cotton who has been in office for almost three whole months, has stoked some harsh partisan reaction from the Democrats in Congress and the White House. VP and former long-time Senator Joe Biden fumed that the letter is “beneath the dignity of an institution I revere.” Obama himself – droll character that he is – stated, “I think it’s somewhat ironic to see some members for Congress wanting to make common cause with the hard-liners in Iran. It’s an unusual coalition,”
And Harry Reid – who lately looks an awful lot like Dr. Strangelove with the blacked out eye-wear – remarked, “It’s unprecedented for one political party to directly intervene in an international negotiation with the sole goal of embarrassing the president.”
Alas, poor Harry, such letters from the Senate to foreign governments are far from “unprecedented.” Consider these thoughtful missives sent by our illustrious solons to leaders of the far-inferior countries that occupy planet Earth.
RIP Ernie Hemmings
What red-blooded, all-American adolescent boy in the 1970s didn’t lust after an automobile that could simultaneously secure the attention of the most desired girl in high-school, distinguish its owner from his loser peers, and cure acne? If the young man was a fan of Golden Earring (“Radar Love”) or Blue Oyster Cult (“Dominance and Submission”) he might then desire a sky-blue GTO with an elegantly broad spoiler wing and a 455 HO engine. If he fancied himself a future prince of the world, then maybe a Maserati Mistral or a Lotus Esprit would salve the urge. An artsy fellow? Perhaps an early 1960s Avanti would do the trick.
Unfortunately around that time, most of the world’s automobile makers were spewing out dreck in the form of Chrysler K-cars and Dodge Omni’s. Although little inspiration could be found motoring about the highways and by-ways of America, there was always Hemming’s Motor News to stir the imagination. Hemming’s, a thick monthly magazine full of classified ads for any and every car ever conceived was the collector’s bible. Out of my price range when I was a teenager, I used to thumb through each edition to ogle some of the most voluptuous and exotic cars on the market, thinking to myself, “one day, after I write that best-selling novel, I’m gonna own that XKE.”
The founder of Hemming’s Motor News , Ernie Hemmings died the other day at age 88, 61 years after first publishing the hefty catalog. The heir to his father’s auto parts store, Ernie started the magazine to broker parts between hobbyists. It eventually became in Ernie’s words, “the world’s largest antique, classic, vintage, muscle, street rod and special interest auto marketplace.”
RIP Ernie Hemmings.