Thursday, April 26, 2007

God Bless You, Mr. Moyers

Bill Moyers is back. Two years ago when he announced that he was retiring from television he stated, "Maybe I've finally broken the habit". Forget about it. Bill Moyers is a stone cold junkie of enlightenment. The first rule in overcoming such a devastating habit is to come to terms with some very nasty realities and admit that you have a problem. The man is in deep denial with a serious PBS jones. Apparently he doesn't think he has a problem. Come to think of it, neither do I. The only people on the planet who are going to have a problem with his return to Public Television are the powerful in general and the disgusting administration of George W. Bush in particular.
He placed his toe back in the broadcasting waters a couple of months ago with an excellent documentary called Capital Crimes which documented in riveting detail the evolution of the career of uber lobbyist, Jack Abramoff and the web of theft and corruption of almost everyone in his orbit - in particular, former Texas congressman, Tom DeLay, and Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian (That's right, I said "Christian") Coalition - both of whom are now thoroughly disgraced. It reveals why the 109th Congress will be remembered as the very worst legislative body in modern times. If you missed it, you really should see it. It's available from PBS Video.
Last night's premiere of the newest incarnation of Bill Moyers' Journal was probably the finest piece of broadcast journalism I've ever seen in my life. The program, called Buying The War, was a brilliant expose` on how the Bush administration was able to fool the so-called main stream "liberal" media into signing on to the stupidest foreign policy blunder in American history. If the assassination of President Kennedy was TV and print news' finest hour, the Bush era will hopefully be remembered as its lowest (I say "hopefully" because I can't imagine them sinking any lower - but then again....) The ninety minute program did not waste time mincing words: the fourth estate has utterly failed the American people. What the program didn't mention (it didn't have to) was that this cesspool sea of propaganda and disinformation is a direct result of Ronald Reagan's 1986 gutting of the FCC. When they did away with the Fairness Doctrine, which guaranteed that all sides of any given issued would be given a fair hearing on the people's airwaves, the inevitable rise of half-witted hate radio became a forgone conclusion. We should all demand that the next president correct this dreadful situation.
Whenever you find yourself wanting to throw in the towel with regard to the state of Texas, just remember the fact that, for all its faults, the Lone Star State did, in fact, produce the likes of Molly Ivins, Bob Scheifer, Dan Rather and Bill Moyers. For a man who started his career as a spokesman for Lyndon Baines Johnson, he certainly has come a long way - one of the few people in the country who has actually worked inside the White House (during another unpopular war) and as a reputable journalist. It's not by accident that the man has won over thirty Emmys during his run - nor do I doubt that he will win many more - he's that good. That he has consistently been attacked on the air by Bill O'Riley only endears me to him further. Be honest: wouldn't you love to find yourself on Billo's Enemies List? That's what I call a status symbol!
You'll be able to catch Bill Moyers' Journal every Friday night at 9:00 on your local PBS station. Tomorrow night's show, a comprehensive conversation with Daily Show host Jon Stewart will make the argument that you can sometimes learn more from fake news "than all the Sunday morning talk shows put together".
On C-SPAN this morning, the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol, one of the talking head liars portrayed on Buying The War, was asked if he had seen the program:
"I had better things to do".
Of course he did. The program will be repeated Saturday, April 28 at 1:30 PM EST. It should not be missed.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
To purchase copies of the programs mentioned above, please phone:
Or send $29.95 to:
PBS Video
PO Box 2284
South Burlington, VT 05495

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Baghdad Comes To Virginia Tech

It's amazing. What shocked me the most about the horrible carnage on the campus of Virginia Tech this week was not the act itself - terrible as it was - but my reaction to it:

Oh. So it happened again, huh?

Don't kid yourselves; that was the reaction a lot of people had. Have we really become that desensitized? Or might our perceived apathy lie in the fact that the state of Virginia has what can only be described as the stupidest gun laws on the planet earth and common sense dictates that tragedies such as this are inevitable? George W. Bush - who must be somewhat relieved as this has diverted (for the time being) national attention away from the recent scandals involving the most corrupt administration in American history - told Brian Williams of NBC News (with a straight face, I swear) that now is not the time to be talking about changing the laws with respect to gun control. Would someone please explain to this fucking idiot that now is the perfect time to be talking about it! Sheeeesh!
The first serious debate with respect to gun control (in my memory, anyway) came in the late spring of 1968 following of the assassinations - within two months of each other - of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy. I can still vividly recall Time Magazine's Pop Art/Peter Maxx-style cover of a smoking gun aimed right at the face of the reader. Then, as now, the nation had been forced into a serious discussion about our insane appetite for firearms in the wake of an unspeakable tragedy. Then, as now, an outraged citizenry demanded legislative action. And, as nothing changed in 1968, nothing will change in 2007. Nothing.

Every once in a while, the debate is resurrected - as it was in 1980 after the murder of John Lennon - or in 1981 when an attempt was made on the life of President Reagan - or in 1999 following the Columbine tragedy. But after a week or two of mindless rhetoric, it was always back to business as usual. The sad and undeniable fact is that another massacre on the scale of the Virginia Tech tragedy will happen again - and again and again and again and again and again. Get used to it.
Think about this: three (or more) separate car bombs will be detonated in Baghdad on any given day - as happened yesterday - resulting in the deaths of six times as many people as those killed on Monday in Virginia. At the same time, seventeen recently executed bodies were found buried on the grounds of a school yard in that same city. Did you hear about that? If you didn't you shouldn't be embarrassed. The news of those atrocities (if they were covered at all) were relegated to page eight or eighteen of most American newspapers. Even as I write these words, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez is testifying before a senate committee which is investigating his corrupt and inept handling of the Department of Justice - and all three cable news networks aren't even covering the event - undoubtedly the most important political story of the year. This is beyond crazy; it's despicable. The so-called "fourth estate" has utterly failed the American people. In the mean time, one hundred (or more) innocent people will be killed in Iraq today. Is it because they are Arabs and Muslims - is it because they are non-white, non-Anglo Saxon and non-Christian - that lends itself so readily to our seeming indifference?
Sheriff? Looks like we got trouble right here in Empathy City!

Considering the effect that the killings in one American town - on one American day - have had on the nation's psyche, imagine - just imagine - what it must have been like during the last four years for the men, women and little children of Iraq? Or have they become as desensitized to the slaughter as some of us seem to be? It just boggles the mind anyway you slice it. But, like the thirty-two students killed this week by an English major with serious anger management issues, the death and destruction endured by the people of Iraq has been visited upon them by another unstable, murderous, half-witted little frat boy by the name of George W. Bush. I wonder how much empathy the people of Baghdad might be feeling at this very moment for the students of Virginia Tech? Just a thought.
We have got to take a long, hard look at the second amendment. The two centuries-old argument has been as to whether or not the Founding Fathers were referring to the right of everyone to own a gun or "a well regulated state militia". There is no denying that in the eighteenth century most people, particularly those in rural areas needed a gun for hunting or self-protection and that no laws were passed to disarm them. Back then, the rapid fire, military assault rifle was over a hundred years away from being invented. One of the lies that the NRA loves to drudge up is the idea that gun control is, exclusively, a modern day phenomenon. Really? In the nineteenth century it was against the law for a private citizen to own a cannon. Had the people of that era experienced the problems that the people of the twenty-first century have had to deal with - trust me on this one - laws would have been passed and constitutions amended. If we're really serious about putting an end to this insanity, that is what must be done. And while passing an amendment into law which limits freedom is always a bad idea, the truth of the matter is that a so-called "free society" which lives in mortal terror of when the next attack will occur isn't really free at all but is, in fact, a society held hostage.

This isn't rocket science, folks; it's called "common sense"!

This week, as in times past, we're having all the old, tired cliche`s of the National Rifle Association shoved down our throats: "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." Of course they don't - and I'm seriously considering shooting the next person who tells me that. "If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have them." Yeah right. Were you aware of the fact that gun violence in Britain has all-but vanished since that country banned all hand guns a few years ago? The same is true for Australia! In countries where firearms are difficult or impossible to obtain, the murder rate is extremely low or (in some cases) non-existent. I'm not makin' this stuff up, folks! Do the research!

And while it may be true (as the NRA never tires of pointing out) that a person who wants to kill you will make the attempt regardless of the weapon available, you stand much more of a sporting chance out-running someone with a switch blade than a bullet fired through the chamber of a 9 mm semi-automatic. Can you even imagine the carnage that would have ensued had this crazed VT student tried to strangle his victims with a rolled up scarf? Everyone on that campus would have died laughing!
Maybe I'm a tad sensitive on this issue because I had a loved one killed a number of years ago by some twisted little geek who had been stalking her.

Susan Clements, my beloved, lost cousin, was an accomplished, violinist, pianist and an award winning writer (it runs in the family...OK, maybe not, just bear with me). She was twenty-three years old and had everything to live for (A photo of her may be viewed at the top of this piece). The man who murdered her in cold blood - a German exchange student - could not easily gain access to a gun in Indiana (Susan's native state) so he flew to Arizona - a state where the gun laws are about as stupid as those in Virginia - and was able to obtain two of them. He then flew back to Bloomington and killed her and her boyfriend, Steven Molen, in her dorm room at the University of Indiana on April 23, 1992. She was such a beautiful, sweet and gentle girl. Monday will mark the fifteenth anniversary of her passing and it doesn't get any easier. I once met an elderly man in Toronto whose own daughter had died in the same, horrible manner over thirty years before. He said to me, "You adjust, but you never really get over it." I've come to learn how right he was.
Are there lessons to be learned from what happened Monday on the killing field of what had been just another peaceful college town the day before? Oh, yeah! A whole shitload of lessons! Are the American people finally going to take those lessons to heart? Don't hold your breath.
Pray for peace.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
Photograph of Susan Clements by Mary Dell

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut 1922-2007

Back in January, in a phoned-in appearance on the Imus In The Morning radio program, Kurt Vonnegut said that he was in the process of suing the Phillip Morris cigarette empire. Vonnegut, a lifelong chain-smoker of filterless Pall Malls, stated that the warning label on every pack he's purchased since 1964 has promised to kill him, "and yet I'm still alive". The ultimate irony is the fact that in the end, it wasn't the tobacco that finally killed him but a brain injury as a result of a fall in his New York apartment a couple of weeks ago.

So it goes.

To a generation of young people, what the Beatles were to music, Kurt Vonnegut was to literature. My first introduction to his work was as a freshman in High School. In the early months of 1974, a student teacher named Betsy Neithold gave me a copy of Breakfast of Champions. "Well, Kurt", said I, "this looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship." Vonnegut is the only writer of fiction whose entire body of work I have read. The closing paragraph of that novel, disturbing and beautiful all at once, haunted me for years. The main character, a homeless and unkempt author of pulp science fiction named Kilgore Trout, comes face to face with his "creator", who is, in fact, Kurt Vonnegut, the author of the book in which Trout has found himself as protagonist:

"I somersaulted lazily and pleasantly in the void, which is my hiding place when I dematerialize. Trout's cries to me faded as the distance between us increased.

"His voice was my father's voice. I heard my father - and I saw my mother in the void. My mother stayed far, far away, because she had left me a legacy of suicide...

"Here was what Kilgore Trout cried out to me in my father's voice: 'Make me young! Make me young! Make me young!' "

What was so endearing about Vonnegut was the fact that, while the plot of any of his novels might have been insanely complicated, his prose was always very readable - even to a mixed-up fifteen year old like myself. It was, indeed, Kurt Vonnegut who introduced so many of my generation to the importance and beauty of the printed word. It was refreshing and somewhat shocking that a man who was older than most of our parents could be so incredibly hip! It had never even occurred to many of us that a man born before July 7, 1940 (the day Ringo Starr, the oldest Beatle, was born) could have anything of import to communicate to us. We knew in our gut that war - not just the war in Viet Nam but all war - was wrong. After all, we were the kids weened on the mantra of John Lennon's Give Peace A Chance. But while Lennon drilled it into our minds through endless repetition, it was Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. who articulated it for us with a gentle grace and a comic mastery of the absurdity of the human condition that no other writer in the twentieth century could even come close to expressing. He saw so clearly the self evident truths that the founders of this country hoped would be (but, sadly, are not) obvious to all of us: that life and the pursuit of happiness can be beautiful and wondrous - if only we exercise toward each other common courtesy and simple, human kindness.

As a prisoner of war during WW II, he emerged from the protective underground shelter beneath a slaughterhouse to witness, first hand, the after effects of the infamous 1945 fire bombing of Dresden, Germany. As part of a work crew that was forced to aid in the clean up of the destruction, his nationalism, however strong it might have been up to that point, was utterly and permanently destroyed. All he saw was the suffering; the children - not unlike your own children - whose only crime was that they were unfortunate enough to be born into a society where the rulers - not unlike your own rulers - were disgusting men of murderous ambition. This utter contempt for the barbarism of man never left him. His 1969 novel, Slaughterhouse Five, was the fruit born of that shattering experience amid the smoldering ruins of Dresden all those decades ago. It was his undying hatred of war that was, in many ways, the awakening for many of us; a hatred which he was able to translate and embed, with so little effort, into the consciousness of the generation he spoke so clearly to - or at least, like all great writers, he made it look easy. I guess that was the man's genius.

His last book, A Man Without A Country, published in late 2005, was a series of auto-biographical essays. Here's a little gem from page seventy-seven, the final paragraph of chapter seven:
"Speaking of plunging into war, do you know why I think George W. Bush is so pissed off at Arabs? They brought us algebra. Also the numbers we use, including a symbol for nothing, which Europeans had never had before. You think Arabs are dumb? Try doing long division with Roman numerals."
I'm sure going to miss Kurt Vonnegut.

Hi ho.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Slaughterhouse Five
Breakfast of Champions
Cat's Cradle
Player Piano
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
The Sirens of Titan
Welcome To The Monkey House
Wampeters, Foma and Granfaloons
Mother Night
Jail Bird
Dead Eye Dick
A Man Without a Country

For more recent posts on this filth-ridden site of LIBERAL propaganda, please go to the following link:

"The Rant" by Tom Degan

Horrible commie swill. What kind of American are you for even reading this stuff?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Don Imus: A Flawed Treasure

This is a man who thinks with his heart,
His heart is not always wise.
This is a man who stumbles and falls,
But this is a man who tries....

Oscar Hammerstein
from The King and I

It's ironic. My first exposure to the I-Man was not via the radio but through the late, lamented medium of the comedy album. On Christmas day 1972, my older brother Jack, gave me the LP, "1200 Hamburgers To Go", a compilation of routines and pranks from a morning program I had never heard of called, Imus In The Morning. The "title track" consisted of Don Imus, a former Cleveland DJ who had recently transferred to New York's W-NBC, phoning a McDonald's Restaurant and claiming to be the the head of the local National Guard unit, which was about to violently put down a demonstration at an unnamed college campus (This was not long after the Kent State massacre of May 1970). He then proceeded to give an order that was so mind-numbingly complicated, the poor manager hung up in frustration. His style and approach to morning radio was, for that time anyway, nothing short of revolutionary. There had never been anyone like him before. I was fourteen when I first heard that record and I've been hooked ever since. I still have the same copy of 1200 Hundred Hamburgers that I received thirty-five years ago and, every once in a blue moon, I'll place it on the turntable and drop the needle. It's still a scream.

This week, many of the so-called "experts" are predicting the death knell of the Imus In The Morning radio program. After his unfortunate, off-the-cuff comments a few days ago regarding the Rutgers University woman's basketball team, referring to them as "nappy-headed hos", the explosion of outraged opinion was not unpredictable. It has to be honestly conceded that in recent years, Imus and, in particular, his otherwise talented producer Bernie McGuirk have crossed the line with respect to good taste. But the mistake a lot of people have made has been to compare Imus to others within the main stream media. The argument seems to be this: had the remarks been made by Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News, it would have rightly meant the end of his career. Why does Don Imus get off relatively easy with a two week suspension on MSNBC Television and the CBS Radio Network? The answer to that question must be viewed within the framework of the format with which the Imus program operates. His program is, it should not be forgotten, a topical comedy show . Since his debut in the early seventies, he has made his reputation by pushing the envelope. This is not to excuse what he said last week, but merely to put things in their proper context. As Newsweek's Howard Fineman told him on the air yesterday, "The form of humor you do is risky and sometimes it goes off the rails".
In 1960, while Imus was still working in a copper mine in Arizona, Lenny Bruce walked onto a nightclub stage one evening and asked his audience, "Are there any niggers here tonight"? What, you may well ask, was the point to that? The point, according to Lenny, was that the repetition of the word would deflate it of its "violence and viciousness". His philosophy, right or wrong but nonetheless sincere, was that by repeating the word, over and over, the day would eventually arrive when a seven year old black kid would never again come home crying because someone called him a nigger at school. Almost half a century ago, Lenny Bruce was thrown in jail for his material. Don Imus has merely been suspended for two weeks. That's progress - I guess.
The reaction to the Imus controversy has been, to say the least, curious. On the surface, the general glee of the right-wing media at the fall from grace of this essentially conservative, registered Republican and ordained minister doesn't make a bit of sense. Unless, of course, one takes into consideration the fact that, while Don Imus, on occasion, approaches the troth, he rarely drinks the kool-aid.
With the exception of Washington Journal on C-SPAN, no other morning program on radio or television (his show is simulcast) is more informative than Imus In The Morning. It should also be noted that no commentator within the main stream media has been more outspoken with regard to the crimes and utter incompetence of the Bush administration than Don Imus. This fact should not be forgotten by the left-leaning critics, some of whom have been as giddy as their counterparts on the right by Imus' downfall. That extremists on both sides of the political aisle have been exploiting this unfortunate incident for all it's worth, there can be little doubt. Maybe - just maybe - the phony righteousness of Al Sharpton on the left and FOX News on the right means that the I-man, crude humor aside, has been doing something right!
Here's the nasty little fact that every one of his critics has conveniently chosen to ignore: Don Imus is a good man. I don't need to mention (but I will) his Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer; a place in Ribera, New Mexico where children (of all races, thank you very much!) some of them mortally ill, come to work as cowboys and cowgirls, learn to rope cattle, ride horses and, in the process, regain their self-esteem - all but annihilated by their insidious disease. It is estimated that in the last seven years he has raised at least one-hundred million dollars for the care and treatment of these children. Parse his words if you must but, please, look into the man's soul.
Three years ago, when it was revealed to him that the families of American soldiers being killed in Iraq were receiving a paltry twelve thousand dollars in death benefits, the I-Man made such a hideous national stink over the matter, he was able to shame Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon into raising the amount to well over one-hundred thousand dollars. And it must never be forgotten that it was Don Imus alone, who, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, publicly condemned the overt racism of the Bush White House. He bravely pointed out that the government's pathetic response to that tragedy was due to the obvious fact that the majority of Katrina's victims were poor and black. As he stated at the time, had the disaster occurred in the rich and very white Hamptons or Crawford, Texas, the response would have been instantaneous and complete.
Yeah, yeah, I know. He's grumpy as hell and he occasionally does go "off the rails" - but, dammit, he wouldn't be the I-MAN if he didn't! I tend to think of him as Will Rogers with a bad hangover or Mark Twain after a particularly nasty acid binge. He is to our generation what Fred Allen was to his. Although two entirely different manner of men with geometrically opposite approaches to humor, Don Imus, like Fred Allen (and Lenny Bruce) before him, is unique to his generation in that he is a humorist - not a comedian, mind you, but a humorist (there is a decided difference) - who holds up a mirror to our sick, hypocritical society. Society may not always like what is reflected, but it's a brutally honest if, at times, over-the-line type of humor that is truly valuable - if hardly ever cautious. This might be a good time to remind you that, even as I write these words, there are actually organized groups of people in this country who are trying to have Twain's classic Huckleberry Finn banned from our nation's public libraries. Think about that.
Imus will do his two week suspension beginning Monday, April 16th. He'll have time to make amends, for some personal reflection and to re-evaluate the direction of his career. He'll return on April 30th, humble and chastised....well, maybe not humble but definitely chastised. But most importantly, he will return! That very fact alone is cause for celebration.
To quote the Reverend, Dr. Billy Sol Hargis, an Imus character from the early days: Say Hallelujah!
Pray for peace.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
It has just been announced by Steve Capus, general manager of MSNBC, that the "Imus In The Morning" radio program will no longer be simulcast on that network. Fine. Let's all watch FOX AND FRIENDS. Three cheers for the Thought Police.
Imus has just been fired by CBS radio.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Hillary Problem

Every once in a while, I find myself asking the question, "Just why did I leave the Democratic Party eight years ago?" But no sooner do I ask then they cheerfully remind me. The very fact that Senator Hillary Clinton (at this point in time anyway) is the odds-on favorite to win the nomination in 2008 is enough of a reminder, to be sure. If the Democrats are stupid enough to give her the Big Prize next year, they'll deserve everything that happens to them.

Lets's face some serious facts here, kids: Hillary Clinton is not - under any circumstances - going to be the next president of the United States. 'Tain't gonna happen - not in this lifetime nor the next. Get used to the idea. Come to terms with it. Get a grip. Deal with it. It's not in the cards - marked or otherwise. It's not part of the equation. It's not on the table. It's not under the table. It's not in the stars. It's not in the moons. It's not in any body's horoscope - yours or mine. It's not on the horizon. Let me be as clear and as concise as I possibly can: That's never, ever going to happen. Period.

Could I be any clearer than that?

I do desperately want to see a woman in the White House in my lifetime - Heaven knows we men have messed things up - but, please, not Hillary Clinton! Anyone but Hillary Clinton! Her credibility, as far as I'm concerned, is beyond shot - it's non-existent. Her pandering to the extreme right wing of the political spectrum in recent years can only be described as transparent and shameful. Her support for a constitutional amendment calling for a ban on flag burning is a case in point. As the nineteenth amendment of 1919 banning the consumption of alcoholic beverages made abundantly clear, when the constitution is cynically manipulated to limit freedoms, the end-result is always disastrous. She should have known that - She must have known that - but her political ambition has always come before anything else - facts be damned.
And let's not forget the big reason why she should never be elected president: it's all a question of judgement. In 2002 she came face to face with what will undoubtedly be remembered as the most important vote of her career and she blew it! With a drooling eye on the '08 election, she just had to prove to the electorate that she was as hardened a warrior as any man. When she voted to give this president - of all presidents - the power to wage war without the constitutionally mandated congressional approval, she quite possibly committed the worst blunder an elected representative can make. In the five years since, her support for the obscenity that you and I, as taxpayers, are now funding in Iraq has only compounded the error. People like John Edwards and John Kerry - and even Chuck Hagel, for Pete's sake! - have at least admitted that their support for this stupid, tragic war was a dreadful mistake. Not Hillary Clinton! Her refusal to admit as much should not be confused with a profile in courage: a brave and lonely statesperson standing alone in the political arena, her face "marred by dust, sweat and blood", daring to do battle with public opinion and political expediency. No, it's not that at all. It's stupidity - pure, naked stupidity. To argue otherwise is simply naive.
To expect a victory for Mrs. Clinton in November of 2008 is to ignore some crucial factors: she has not only alienated progressives but moderate conservatives as well. Do you really think that she has any chance of winning in the south? As politically polarized as America has become in the last quarter of a century, how can the Democrats realistically depend on moderates alone to put her over the top? As the old Ringo Starr song once aptly observed, "Pigs will fly and the earth will fry" before that ever happens.
If the Democrats are foolish enough to nominate Hillary Clinton next year they can count on another third party, Ralph Nader-style uprising. That's the reason we're in this mess to begin with. If Al Gore hadn't run away from the party of FDR's natural constituency seven years ago, Nader's candidacy would have been dismissed as irrelevant, George W. Bush never would have been elected and Gore would today be enjoying the final two years of his second term. Trust me on this one, campers: we can't afford that ever happening again.
The fact is, I'll be voting Democratic next year regardless of who the nominee is. But of this you may be absolutely certain: if that nominee is Hillary Rodham Clinton, I'll be holding my nose. The Democrats have come a long way in the last five months by reclaiming the House and the Senate - but they've got a long way to go. Let's hope they don't screw up - again.
Pray for peace.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

PS - This is just a silly afterthought but look at the photograph of Hillary at the top of this posting - Doesn't it look like she's doing a Jimmy Cagney impersonation? "You Doity Rat"!