Mr. Rooney Goes to UCI

Andy Rooney said something really funny on 60 Minutes. Since we never in a trillion years figured we'd bang those words out in that particular order, let us do that again, with emphasis:


Having obviously not come up with anything better to get all cranky about in the final minutes of the Oct. 23 CBS broadcast, Rooney began harping on websites that apparently misquote him, then he responded to viewer mail. His buddy Letterman kills 10 minutes a week doing the same thing, so why not?

After mentioning and showing a letter from a couple somewhere in Viewerland praising him for a recent segment on wasteful military spending, Rooney said his producers had also received a letter criticizing that report from Roger Crumley, "a professor of head surgery at UC Irvine."

Rooney read this portion of Crumley's letter as it flashed on the screen:

"OK, Morley has not only passed his prime, he's left the mainstream of life. Tonight Morley characterized himself as a typical left-wing newsmonger. Please save and preclude us Morley any more of your presence on the air."

Rooney, his outta control eyebrows somehow frozen in time, then deadpanned into the camera, "I don't mind being confused with Morley Safer, but if he's an expert on heads, it should be easy for him to get his own examined."

Okay, so maybe . . . ANDY ROONEY SAID SOMETHING REALLY FUNNY ON60 MINUTES!!! . . . was stretching it a bit. Maybe we shoulda screamed that Rooney said something "really ironic" or "really bizarre" or "really worth another 400 words of this column so I can file something before I go home," as required under the new Maoist New Times regime.

How could Crumley fire off a letter about Rooney, who we believe has not moved from behind that 60 Minutes desk since the very first flicker of TV light came on, but call him "Morley," who, by the way, is a BIG-TIME commie pinko fag (See VIETNAM WAR, Public-Opinion Changing Television Reporting)? Shouldn't a head doctor have his, um, head screwed on tighter than that?

We went to UC Irvine's Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery website and, sure enough, there is a Roger L. Crumley who is not just a member of the faculty but the friggin' CHAIRMAN of the whole department. Crumley went to medical school at the University of Iowa and his specialties include facial plastic surgery, sleep apnea and laryngology (vocal problems). A Scorpio, he likes long walks on the beach, hot cocoa on his boat, the S.S. Earwig, and firing off dipshit letters to national television news programs.

Remind us to cancel our willed head to the UCI Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

Heck, when Crumley comes to remove it, he'll probably get the names all screwed up like he did with "Morley" and take Gordon Dillow's by mistake.

Okay, DON'T cancel our willed head to the UCI Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

But misidentification is not the only thing screwy about Dr. Douche. The Rooney segment he referred to, which aired Oct. 2, raised questions about whether the United States is getting its bang for the $5.6 billion a month we were pouring into the war in Iraq. Rooney mentioned that nearly 2,000 Americans had died there even though it's unclear why we went to war in the first place, and "now we have the hurricanes to pay for. One way our government pays for a lot of things is by borrowing from countries like China."

He continued: "Another way the government is planning to pay for the war and the hurricane damage is by cutting spending for things like Medicare prescriptions, highway construction, farm payments, AMTRAK, National Public Radio and loans to graduate students. Do these sound like the things you'd like to cut back on to pay for Iraq?"

Rooney blamed the whacked priorities "on our bloated military establishment." He went on to outline some of that bloatiness, and then he concluded with some words from that great, typical left-wing warmonger Dwight Eisenhower, who upon leaving the White House as president in 1961 said this:

"We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. . . ."

"Well, Ike was right," Rooney said just before the CBS stage manager unplugged him for another week. "That's just what's happened."

Rooney's rant was actually a follow-up to a segment that was repeated on Aug. 7 but originally aired in October 2004. That one began with the veteran newsman saying, "Our military budget now is $447 billion. A billion is 1,000 million. Sometimes it seems to this old $250-a-month sergeant as if we're buying too many weapons for wars we no longer fight. Maybe our purchasing agent in the Pentagon ought to be replaced."

Rooney went on to describe something that even the Pentagon would admit: our current armed forces were designed to fight the Cold War; the real threat now is international terrorism, but we have and are continuing to spend billions on the purchase and upkeep of ships, planes and weapons systems designed to fight the dustbinned Soviet Union.

Rooney also wondered why the Air Force needs 30 different kinds of airplanes, and why the Pentagon ordered 21 Stealth bombers at $1 billion, $1 million apiece. Or why we need 50 nuclear submarines at $1.6 billion each or 8,000 Abrams tanks, which cost $3 million per vehicle but could not be used in sandy Baghdad.

Forget about redirecting these funds to social programs like education—which, in all honesty, is something that radical Rooney threw out there—but he also said the military could use that money for other things, like training desperately needed Arabic translators.

"The most effective weapon we have in war is still that poor dogface crawling forward on his stomach with a rifle in his hand," Rooney concluded. "The Pentagon might consider spending more money on our soldiers and on better intelligence, and less on billion-dollar weapons that are as out-of-date as the bow and arrow."

You go, girl!

As for you, Dr. Strangehead: How does criticizing excessive military spending make one a "typical left-wing newsmonger"? Perhaps if we were a fancy pantsy UCI medical department chairman—sucking BIG TIME off the teat of state taxpayers, incidentally—we could afford not to care about the government blowing billions every time that 60 Minutes second-hand ticks.

But that's not really it, is it, Crummy? Sure, because if Rooney or whoever else took a hard-line stance against wasteful spending for Medicare, food stamps and other aid for families—you know: blatant socialism—you'd consider that "fair and balanced" reporting, and certainly unworthy of another letter from the UCI Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery chairman to Morley Safer.


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