Thursday, July 5, 2007

Green Chutzpah

You would think that Fourth of July celebrations would provide a mother lode of candidates for this week's chutzpah award; but the morning news seemed pretty mild, at least on the home front. This may be due, at least in part, to the fact that even the usual tub-thumpers have figured out which way the winds of public opinion are blowing and are discovering the exercising caution can have its virtues. For my part the San Francisco Mime Troupe provided the perfect way to celebrate the day with the first performance of their production for this summer, Making a Killing. Both Cheney and Rice are characters in this show, and the actor portraying Cheney could almost serve as a stand-in for the guy. (The Rice actress was a bit too tall for the "genuine article" but made up for her shortcoming (pun intended) with Rice's wonderful technique of clothing her arrogance in sass.) This being "opening night" (actually at 2 PM in Dolores Park), the show was preceded by three of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence leading a responsive reading of about a dozen of the great linguistic gems from the mouth of our President. All this was great ridicule played full-out (as it should have been) but no real source of chutzpah (since, for all of the performers, both "Sisters" and "Mimers," it was just business as usual).

On the other hand the Reuters office down in Los Angeles filed a story that seems to involve an "inconvenient truth" with some amusing "green" coloration:

The 24-year-old son of former Vice President Al Gore was arrested for drug possession on Wednesday after he was stopped for speeding in his hybrid Toyota Prius, a sheriff's official said.

Al Gore III -- whose father is a leading advocate of policies to fight global warming -- was driving his environmentally friendly car at about 100 miles per hour on a freeway south of Los Angeles when he was pulled over by an Orange County sheriff's deputy at about 2:15 a.m.

The deputy smelled marijuana and searched the car, said sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino. The search turned up a small amount of marijuana, along with prescription drugs including Valium, Xanax, Vicodin, Adderall and Soma. There were no prescriptions found, he said.

Gore was arrested on suspicion of drug possession and booked into the Inmate Reception Center in Santa Ana, about 34 miles south of Los Angeles, on $20,000 bail. Although he quickly identified himself as the son of the former vice president, Amormino said Gore received no special privileges.

Gore made bail and was released at 2 p.m., Amormino said. He will receive notice of a court date within 30 days.

Since the week is not over, this is probably a pretty low bar for chutzpah standards, compared with previous weeks; so young Gore may still get bumped out of the running. Nevertheless, there is something about the excess of it all that at least elevates him to candidate status. However, a far more interesting instance of chutzpah could emerge if we find a memo to Toyota dealers citing this example for when customers ask how fast a Prius can really go!

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