Thursday, November 30, 2006

OP ED: Welcome to the Lieberman Senate.

Well… now that the Democrats control the Senate … ah … hmmmmm. What did I just say? The Democrats control the Senate? No. No. No. In fact, the person who controls the Senate is a man the Dems booted … betrayed … insulted. The person who controls the Senate is the newly independent Senator from Connecticut, Joe Lieberman.

His thumping (the new term of art, thanks to Bush) of the Democratic nominee, who was vigorously endorsed by Lieberman’s old colleagues in the Senate, makes Lieberman a truly independent legislator. He is free of party loyalty and entitled to more than a little pay back, which I feel certain will be the case at the most critical moments.

On every close vote, he is going to be the “go to” guy. On any issue where Lieberman is needed to create a Democrat majority, his price can be high. If he decides to vote with the GOP on Iraq, abortion, and some social and economic measures, he creates a tie in the Senate, and Vice President Dick Cheney gets to caste the deciding vote.

At the same time, the guy who might have balanced off Lieberman by crossing over to the Democrat ranks, GOPer Lincoln Chaffee, was retired by the voters. This is truly the “Lieberman Congress.” He is the Majority Leader of Self --- a majority of one.

It is going to be interesting, to say the least.

REACT: If you can't join 'me, draft 'em

In the previous blog, I alluded to the legislation proposed by New York Democrat Charlie Rangel, which would re-impose the draft. As I think about it, this deserves a little more attention.

Who would have expected it? After a significant victory at the polls based on opposition to the Iraq war, the grateful Democrats propose to end all wars by … ya have to love the logic … by bringing back the old draft. If this proposal had seen the light of day during the campaign, it would likely have cost the Democrats the Senate – maybe even the House.

If I happened to be one of the ubiquitous anti war peaceniks who gave the all to the Democrats, I would be a bit upset. Instead of sparing my kids the rigors of war, I now set them on acertain path to participation in the much despised military-industrial complex.

Rangel suggest that if the offspring of the warmongers had to face the enemy, there would be no wars. Well, under that thinking, there would be no United States … no France … no England. There are times an honorable nation has to repel the forces of evil.

But, even in an unpopular war, the draft would make cannon fodder of the children of the hawks and the doves. At least, the hawks, doves, and yes, even the chickens have a choice.

Rangel has it all backwards, as usual. (You know, in D.C. he not considered the sharpest knife in the drawer.) A voluntary military require … well… volunteers. This means that an unpopular war would be difficult to man (or woman). Noble battles tend to draw more volunteers. With conscription, the super hawks in Washington can undertake any war … popular or not without concern for troop levels

Finally, let’s remember that the powerful and influential will always find ways to get around “the system.” Don’t count on THEIR kids to be in the front line. It didn’t happen under the old draft system, and won’t happen in any new one. Those with the means and the desire to exempt their kids will find a way.

They say that Rangel is offering draft legislation just to make a point, with no desire to see it passed – and no ability to get it passed. If that is the case, then his point is well made. Rangel is a contentious fool.

And he now heads the all powerful Ways and Means committee. Ouch!

OP ED: GOP may be the winner in this eleciton.

Since I think political philosophy is much more important than partisanship, I have come to the conclusion that the defeat of the Bush-led Republican party is a good thing – for the nation and for the conservative cause.

I am pleased that the shift in power was accomplished by a very small shift in voter preference. When the nation is just about equally divided along party lines, it only takes a few votes to cause seismic changes in relative partisan power. Contrary to Democrat claims and desires, this was not a mandate for change, but a mild course adjustment for the public. If the Dems actually believe their own utterances, they are likely to pursue an agenda that will put the elephant party back in the driver’s seat in two years.

Much of the Democrat success was through the recruitment of candidates a lot further to the right than had been the case in the past. Pro-lifers and born again Christians were among the Election Day winners. The upcoming Congress will not likely jump too far to the left. It is very likely that the House and Senate leadership, being more of the strident left tradition, will find rebellion in the ranks if the leadership advances an agenda too liberal for their members – and the American people.

If the Democrat victory is not as scary as it first appeared, the GOP defeat is not quite so tragic. This Republican administration lacked a conservative compass. Elements of the Patriot Act invoke a freedom-stealing nationalism that any legitimate conservative would abhor – and we did. The spend thrift ways of the GOP majority was disheartening to the point of despair.

It was not easy supporting the D.C. Republicans merely because the alternative seems so much more egregious. Now we have the alternative. Now we can plan for a future with a renewed (hopefully) GOP most dedicated to principle.

In addition, the Republican leadership in the House and Senate was uninspired, at best. One would think that any change would be an improvement, but looking at the installation of the junior uninspired leadership to the top posts suggests that the congressional Republicans still don’t get it. It is ironic that Dennis Hastert was at once the longest serving GOP Speaker, and the least effective. Senate leader Bill Frist had the moxie, but lacked the charisma. Their good-old-boy approach was one of the under reported reasons for the collapse of the vaunted GOP political machine.

REACT: Milton Friedman's last thrity years are a gift.

The legendary Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman has passed away at the age of 94. That is quite an accomplishment. If you do not think so, you are not aware of how I almost killed him some thirty years ago.

I have two professional relationships with Friedman involving two of his greatest passions. The most recent was as an advisor to the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Way back when, however, I was retained as a senior advisor to the National Tax Limitation Committee, a group founded by my friend Lew Uhler. Friedman was the intellectual powerhouse behind the concept of a tax-limitation constitutional amendment.

One day it was my task to chauffeur our group from our hotel to a meeting in a nearby office building. We were running late. Lew popped into the front passenger seat. Friedman and his wife, Rose, took up the rear seat. I was driving. Since we were running late, I did a bit of a jackrabbit start.

Well … Friedman had not exactly taken up his seat, as I said. He was in the process of taking up his seat, with on foot on the floorboard and the other on the pavement. As the car lurched forward, Freidman flew backward. Rose’s scream brought me to a halt. As I looked back, the rear door was open, the seat behind Lew was empty… and there was some guy rolling around on the ground a few feet behind the car.

Fortunately, he survived without as much as a bruise. Outside of an abrasion on his suit, he was in mint condition. If everyone every thought of Friedman as anything but gracious, you were not there to see his kind assurances, and his assistance that I drive – despite the understandable offer from Lew to take over the wheel.

While I am sad to see Friedman leave this world without the benefit of his contemporaneous wisdom, I am thankful for all the days he has been around since that fateful day.

OUTRAGE: What makes Horist see red?

OUTRAGE #1: Illinois Senator Dick Durban has proposed legislation that would excuse government lawyers from the burden of their student loans. You got it. This special class of public servant will be allowed to opt out of their contractual obligation to repay us taxpayers the money we fronted for their lucrative careers. Since a lot lawyers cum judges spend a least a portion of their career on the public payroll, this could be a pretty big blow to the Student Loan Program, which is not exactly in good shape to begin with. Also, consider that Prosecutorial abuse is reaching pandemic proportions, and these are the very people Durbin would give yet another reward. This also means some other income-limited person will not get his or her student loan. Talk about a program to help the rich at the expense of the poor. How much more can we do to make lawyers a privileged class not seen since we slipped out from under the yoke of royalty? Shakespeare wrote that society could only improve if we kill off the lawyers. (Gotta love the Bard of Avon. <-- That’s a reference to Shakespeare for those of you who attend urban public schools.) While slaying attorneys is a bit extreme (in most cases), fewer lawyers and LESS special privileges would be a healthy move. But what can you expect from lawmakers who mostly are … lawyers. If this trend continues, lawyers well surpass public school teachers as the most coddled class in our society. Yes, there are good lawyers … even great ones … about 20 percent of them, I would estimate. Damn few go on to be judges, however – and almost none work for the big law firms.

OUTRAGE #2: Illinois Senator Dick Durbin.

OUTRAGE #3: Convicted felon and former Illinois Governor George Ryan was given an undeserved Christmas present when the Appellate Court said he could remain a free man until his appeal is heard. Since the appeal could drag on for years, many think Ryan will never serve a day behind bars. No wonder Illinois is the most corrupt state in America. This is a guy whose corruption led to the deaths of six children in an auto/truck accident where the truck driver was operating with an illegal license obtained by cash to Ryan’s campaign fund. Unfortunately, those kids will not have an opportunity to appeal their fate.

OUTRAGE #4: Did you hear about Lisa Jensen, the woman who was ordered to remove a Christmas wreath in the shape of a peace symbol because it offended some (at least one) of her neighbors in the Loma Linda Homeowners Association of Pagosa Springs, Colorado? Seems like Association President Bob Kearns demanded that his Architecture Control Committee (a bit Orwellian?) order the removal of the offending holiday greenery. He said it was an anti Iraq war message, some said a symbol of Satan. The good Committee refused. (Whew! Still patriots among us.), so Big Brother Bob then fired the Committee, and imposed a $25 a day fine on the nice lady. She now owes more than $1000. Let me first say that I understand she was probably sending a somewhat subtle political message about the war. What about the Satan thing, you ask? Well … fruitcakes are not the only thing with lots of nuts. Let me add that I would probably disagree with the woman’s politics and the message –more likely to agree with good ole boy Bob on most matters. However, I do cherish that First Amendment. How can we talk of free speech if a person cannot express something as innocent as a political opinion? This is Christmas, for God’s sake. (ß Notice “Christmas” and “God” in the same sentence. Not something you see often these days.) What a horrid concept – an expression of peace during the Christmas season. Bah humbug!! But, isn’t that what it is all about, love and peace? Or, have I been theologically misled by the Hallmark Card Company. It seems the First Amendment is coming under assault from every direction these days. This kind of stuff worries me because with liberals in charge of Congress and the courts, I now have to worry about MY free speech. Since I am not willing to defend Lisa’s right to the death, a la Nathan Hale, I can at least offer her this testy blog item.

OUTRAGE #5: Newly anointed Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi has indicated her support for the naming of Congressman, Alcee Hasting as head of the House Intelligence Committee. Such a selection only shows that there is not enough intelligence in the House to even form a committee. You may not recall (Pelosi is hoping that you do not) that the now “Honorable” Mr. Hasting was the former Florida federal judge who was impeached and booted from the bench for bribery. Since his unethical activities limited his employment in the real world, Hasting opted to run for Congress – a suitable profession for any rogue. Despite his record (or because of it), he was elected. But, guess who booted him off the bench. The very House of Representatives soon to be lead by Speaker Pelosi. Obviously, Alcee lives by the adage, “If you can’t beat 'em, join “'em.” Hoooweeeeever, seems like the Congress has given Pelosi her comeuppance again. Facing certain defeat, Pelosi has withdrawn her nomination.

Friday, November 10, 2006

REACT: Chaffee kills Bolton in bitter revenge

It appears that Republican Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee, who was defeated (yea!!!) in the recent election has decided to express his bitterness and disloyalty by voting against the confirmation of John Bolton as ambassador to the U.N. – thus dooming a permanent appointment. His historic arrogant, ugly and dishonest attitude was the reason Republicans and Democrats alike were pleased to see him “retired” by public demand.

Just when we had an ambassador who was not more of a society figure than a diplomat. Not since Jean Kirkpatrick has the United States been more effective and firmly represented. Despite the fears or critics, Bolton has proven himself to be an outstanding representative of our country. He has been able to advance American interests as his first priority.

This puts our world interests on hold, with the likelihood of the congressional Dem leadership playing hardball on this appointment. – and others.

As a fan of Abraham Lincoln, I think Chaffee should be stripped of his name too. Hmmmmm. Benedict Arnold Chaffee has a nice ring to it. Don't you think?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

REACT: Finally ... Dan Rather exposed

Former CBS talking head, Dan Rather has finally reached his level of professional standing. You will recall that he was forced into early retirement for broadcasting a patently false story about George Bush. Well he pops up on the election team of Comedy Central, along with pseudo newscasters Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. Rather than not have his face on camera, Rather showed that professionalism and dignity are not obstacles to vanity. He could not have been more ridiculous if he had appeared in baggy pants and bulbous red nose, and sprayed Colbert and Stewart with seltzer water. Of course, as a journalist, Rather has always been ... well... rather of a joke.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

LMAO: Kerry has a way with jokes

It must have been a joke because I can’t stop laughing. I am referring to Senator John Kerry’s statement about the men and women in the armed services. He told a bunch of students that if the completed their education they would have a good life. If not, they go to Iraq.

Well … you can imagine the reaction to that bit of advice. Only dummies go to war. Maybe that is why he served in the military. After all, he is rather stupid.

Kerry then generated another round of guffaws with is apology. He said that if anyone misunderstood his meaning, he is sorry. Hahahaha. Get it. If YOU were so stupid that you did not get his meaning of his joke, then he is sorry.

This makes me think. I should apologize to the Senator for saying he is stupid. So, here goes. “Senator, I wish to humbly apologize for drawing attention to your stupidity.” Whew! That makes me feel a lot better.

Like any good comedians, Kerry saves the really funny line for last. Through his staff he restated his joke to mean that it if you’re a dumb or intellectually lazy, you get stuck in Iraq. “Just ask President Bush.”

Hahahahaha

I think the joke is on me, because it sounds like he just restated the same opinion, but put in George Bush’s name as one of those “I’m still angry that you beat me” things.

I guess the funniest thing about Kerry is the humiliation schtick. The whole episode is like dropping your pants at a wedding party just to get the obvious laugh. How can you not laugh at Kerry. He must be a great comedian, because hardly anyone takes him serious.

Hahahahahaha

Thursday, October 26, 2006

OUTRAGE: Corruption's Double Standard

I still can't get over the extent of news media bias against Republicans when it comes to scandal. I think it is worth repeating the most recent glaring example. GOP Congressman Mark Foley vs. the late Democrat Congressman Gerry Studds.

Foley sends out salacious emails to underage male pages (certainly outrageous, but so far no one is saying illegal). He immediately resigns in the face of certain censure and getting booted out of Congress. He apologizes and seeks treatment. (Granted, the latter is probably a public relations ploy.) He is scorned in the national press. Front page headlines demonize him, stirring up a public frenzy of disdain. There even are calls for the Speaker of the House to resign. Foley is grist for the talk show mills. Pundits pick at the bones of his political career.

Gerry Studds actually f&#ks (sorry for the not-so-disguised word, but his action deserves no euphemism) a 17 year old male page when times were even less tolerant of gayness. He refuses to apologize, and claims he did nothing wrong. His Massachusetts colleague, Barney Frank, also gay, makes minimizing jokes of his behavior. The Democrat party leadership (in control of Congress at the time) does nothing -- not even a note home to his parents. Instead he goes on to being an "honorable member" of the House for 16 more years.

Oh … were this just a rare example.

OP ED: Senator Reid lucky to be a Democrat

You may have missed the latest example of media bias, or how Democrats get away with murder. (Okay, only Senator Kennedy really gets away with murder, but you get the idea).

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has been found ethically challenged, and perhaps criminally culpable, for a very large real estate transaction in his home state. Seem "Dirty Harry," as he is aptly named, invested $400,000 in a land deal in 1998. He then turn around and sold it off to a lobbyist friend three years later. Now this could raise some eyebrows. Was the transaction a real market deal, of was there some hidden profits from his lobbyist friend for "services rendered?"

But wait! THAT is not the deal.

Seems like three years AFTER Dirty Harry dumped the land, the lobbyist sold it for $1.1 million. That must have made the lobbyist really happy, and Dirty Harry sorry he did not hold on to the land. But nooooooo. Because Dirty Harry got the money.

Confused? Let me repeat. Three years AFTER he sold the real estate, the Democrat leader of the U.S. Senate was gifted with $700,000 in "profit" by a lobbyist.

The Senate did not investigate his behavior because Dirty Harry, who was a member of the ETHICS COMMITTEE at the time, did not note the transaction on his ethics statement. Yep! Forget. An honest mistake. Anyone can forget $700,000 here and there. Besides, we was very busy holding press conferences accusing Republicans of corruption.

Sure there was s small drivel of publicity about this outrageous, unethical and arguably illegal behavior. But not enough to suggest anything close to balanced reporting. Not enough to create a public outcry. Not enough to motivate an investigation.

So, where are the media calls for an investigation? Where are the headlines and editorials demanding explanation? Where is the demand for a Senate internal investigation? What was the land deal that turned $400,000 to $1.1 million in so short a time?

Once again Democrats show an extraordinary immunity to scandal. Maybe it is because the public sees Democrat corruption as normal. God knows, there is enough of it. And someone besides God would know if there were balanced responses.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

REACT: Madonna and Child (and not the Christmas story)

Pop Singer Madonna and her hubbie, Guy Ritchie, recently adopted a child through some sort of African express lane. It was more like picking a child off the shelf than a traditional adoption process.

Now it is all shaping up to be a scandal. While other potential parents wait years for sluggish bureaucrats to run a kid through the process, Madonna was able to get instant results based on her celebrity. Ergo, the scandal.

Well, this is surly a first class scandal. Shocking. Disgusting.

Oh! I am not condemning Madonna. No ... no ... no! What is scandalous, shocking and disgusting is “the normal process” that can delay an adoption many months (years), while anxious patents wait and needy children languish.

I am not speaking theoretically. My own adopted daughter was determined to adopt her Jamaican nephew after the separate tragic deaths of her brother-in-law, then sister. It was an uncontroversial adoption. Troy was 13 at the time and more than willing to be with his aunt. No other relatives objected. There were no estate issues. There were no official problems. Just a needy kid and a loving aunt.

Just following normal bureaucratic procedures delayed his happy arrive into our family by four years. Troy was 17 when he strode across our threshold for the first time. He had been denied 4 years of loving security and stability by "the normal process."

Aren't these public official and bureaucrats aware of time? This was a maturing teenager in need of his family. He was denied this by nothing more than "the normal procedure."

Many worry that prospective parents are finding ways ... legal and illegal ... to short cut the system. Well, if the "system" was not so damned heartless and obstructionist, there would be no need to bypass it.

So let’s keep the horror of scandal where it belongs, on the heads of those who find ways to slow down adoptions -- and not those who find ways to speed them up. I am so weary of the so-called do-gooders claiming the system is there to protect the child. That is utter nonsense. One reason children remain institutionalized is that they are little money magnets for the institution.

I say, good for Madonna. I don't care if she went around ... under ... or over ... “the normal procedures” because “the normal procedures” suck.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

LMAO: Obama, say what?

In view of the Congressman Mark Foley's emails to young male pages, and remembering former Congressman Dan Crane's and the (as of late) late Congressman Gerry Studs' turning over a page or two, themselves, I had to laugh when I read Senator Barak Obama's evaluation of a run for president. He said, "We have a long and vigorous process. Should I decide to run, if I ever decide to, I'll be confident that I'll be run through the pages pretty well."

Someone should tell the Senator that pages are not a presidential perquisite. They are CONGRESSIONAL fringe benefits. INTERNS are presidential job benefits. You would think he would know this stuff.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

OP ED: Iraqi: Violence for Votes

As the election closes in, the level of Iraqi violence against Americans and American partisans increases. American military deaths and injuries peak. Innocent Iraqis are rounded up by the scores and beheaded by maniacal butchers. Bombs bursting at public gathering places.

The coming U.S. election and the increase in violence is no coincidence. It only takes a little common sense to know that the international terrorist want to put Democrats in control of Congress. They want to undermine Bush’s determination to destroy the cabal of international murderers. They want the soft policies of the left wing appeasers to gain favor. They want the national media to continue to propagandize against the White House. They want the American people to surrender to world terrorism.

Killing soldiers and innocent men, women and children is the Jihadists’ way of campaigning for a Democrat victory. They are doing their part of convince the American electorate to abandon the war by abandoning the President.

As we lose our resolve to defend ourselves, and the free world, the sadistic killers increase their determination to destroy us. They are now winning the most important battle of the war – the very will to win.

REACT: Greeley off the mark

Andrew Greeley’s animosity toward Republicans overcomes his theology and intellectual integrity. He recently explained why the GOP is likely to retain both the U.S. House and Senate. Most notable of his flawed rationales was his contention that scandals impact harder on Democrats than Republicans.

Hmmmm. GOPer Jack Ryan was forced out of a Senate race merely for having salacious thoughts. Mark Foley recently resigned in disgrace though there is no current evidence that he had sex with underage pages. So far, no one can even tell whether his obnoxious and offensive behavior is illegal.

Now consider the recently departed Gerry Studds. As a Democrat congressman, he had sex with an underage male page. Refusing to apologize, he continued to serve many more years as a “respected member” of Congress. About that same time, Republican Congressmen Dan Crane had sex with an underage female page, and his political career ended.

Consider Democrat Barney Frank. He placed his male prostitute friend on the payroll as an “aide” while his paramour was running tricks out of the congressman’s apartment. He is still serving as a “respected member” of Congress.

Then there is the granddaddy of them all, the “respected” Senator Ted Kennedy. He caused the death of a young lady in a late-night, post-party accident, fled the scene (some medical evidence suggest he left her to die), and produced a Kennedy-scale cover up. Later on, tabloids exposed his bloated naked body on the deck of a yacht during a “pleasure cruise.” He remained a “respected” colleague among his Democrat peers and the press.

Of course, Nixon was forced from office for his cover up – which did NOT include perjury. Media coverage forced him into seclusion. Clinton remains the darling of press and the Dems after endless indiscretions, felons and cover-ups. He could even wind up back in the White House.

Following a term in jail, Illinois Republican Attorney General William Scott was sent off to oblivion. Former Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski is released from prison to be a “respected” television commentator, press pundit and a “must invite” on the social register.

And the list goes on. Whatever one’s partisan position might be, or one’s opinion of any of these guys, the record is clear. The GOP takes a much harder hit on scandals than the Democrats. Greeley needs to relay more on grey matter than bile.

OP ED: Obama: Boom or Bomb

Poor Barak Obama.

It would appear that I am the only one in America … in the world … who feels sorry for Illinois’ junior Senator Barak Obama.

One would have to have been in a coma for the past couple years not to know of the guy. His every action is the subject of ubiquitous uncritical media hype. From the recent cover of Time magazine to the daily reports of his every breath. His omnipresence in virtually every media outlet – from national news providers, Internet blogs, gossip columns, trade publications, society pages, to the most local weekly newspaper – is devoid of even the modest criticism. He is the most renowned and flattered political figure of his day. (He even gets more publicity than the camera crazy Jesse Jackson – which must be a source of great pain to the good reverend.)

What makes Obama’s “coverage” so remarkable is that it surpasses his office, his accomplishments, his power, his almost anything. He has not broken any racial barriers. He is not the first black senator in modern times. That feat goes to former Senator Ted Brooke of Massachusetts. Obama is not even the first black senator from the Land of Lincoln. Carol Mosely Brown gets that honor.

He seems to generate endless puffy publicity because the press loves him. He is lionized and canonized by the leaders of the fifth estate. He is catapulted into the national limelight for things others do without notice. He is reported simply because he is. In that, he is the Paris Hilton of politics – only with a lot more charm and brains.

To be sure, Obama seems to be a very fine person. Maybe THAT is the news angle … a “very fine person” in politics. Hmmmmm. Not something you see every day. He is charismatic to be sure. I sense he is a very honest person – intellectually, morally and ethically. (Another political departure?) You cannot help but like and admire the guy.

So, why the pity for Obama?

Because, there will come a time in the future when the highly inflated and over exposed senator will have to re-enter the real world. As he gets more serious about a future in the White House, it will take more than a fab smile and charming talk to carry the day. In fact, the bigger than life image will turn into a detriment, as it has for those who traveled the rarified air of unbridled publicity before him.

I recall another senator from Illinois who machetted the path now being taken by Obama. Charles Percy, a very ambitious presidential aspirant, was a 29-year-old corporate wunderkind with the looks of a movie star. He too gave a speech at the national convention of his party (Republican, in his case) that set the political world abuzz. He was the most talked about “future president” in America. The likes of Senator Ev Dirksen flatly predicted that “just call me Chuck” Percy most certainly would be sitting in the Oval Office one day – and not as a guest.

Percy was grist for the media mill on a daily basis – and yes, there was even that September 18, 1964 Time magazine cover. He too had a picture perfect family – bright and beautiful. (His one twin daughter is now the wife of Senator Jay Rockefeller. Sadly, the other twin was tragically murdered.)

Percy was young enough to be a presidential prospect for maybe six or seven quadrennial national elections. He had it made, but he never made it. He never got close to being president. Not even a nomination – not even for vice president.

If history repeats itself, the intense exposure that highlights all Obama’s fine points will eventually draw attention to the chinks in his armor. Interest in his personality will give way to interest in his political views. The universality of his appeal will wane. He will find it impossible to live up to his glorified reputation. Disappointment will set in -- disappointment proportionate to the level of past adoration.

Then there is the nature of presidential politics. It is not a process that appreciates those who gain early favor. Initial front-runners almost always fail. There are too many vicissitudes to ensure that ambition and careful planning will result in success. At the moment he is universally beloved by his Democrat peers – largely because his only current role is to raise money. Once he starts to stand in the way of the ambitions of other titans of the donkey party, even his partisan choir will start singing a different tune.

Obama should enjoy the media joy ride for its ego satisfaction. But, if he is serious about the presidency, he should to into hiding for a while. Cool down the klieg lights. Of course, to tell a politician to withdraw from such fawning publicity is like telling an alcoholic to close his lips while submerged in a barrel of beer.

My prediction. Obama gets to the Oval Office only as a guest.

Friday, September 29, 2006

REACT: Daley's Olympics is just so much Greek mythology

In the latest round of “let’s pretend were going to have an Olympics,” Chicago Mayor Daley has selected a site for a new stadium, gone to Washington to urge the Illinois congressional delegation to cheer on the idea (duuuuuh!), and announced that his Olympics will not require any taxpayer funding. (<-- Yeah! He really said that.)

I guess if you are going to talk about a fantasy Olympic bid, you can make it as fictional as a Michael Moore documentary.

Of course the stadium idea only reminds us (again) of the fiasco at Soldier’s Field. Now Mayor Green Space is thinking of tearing up a great park for yet another stadium. And who will use the new stadium after the Olympians go home? Well, not to worry. There will be no Olympians here anyway … ergo no new stadium.

Nice PR move though … going to Washington to get the Illinois delegation endorsing his fantasy. I mean, what would you expect an Illinois legislator to say … “please, please do not give Chicago the Olympics?”

Of course, it is a lot more pleasant answering hypothetical questions about a theoretical event than to deal with inquiries regarding the level official corruption that is lapping political effluent at the door of Hizzoner’s office.

Private funding? No taxpayer money? Geez, even fantasies have to maintain some credibility. First of all, if I were one of those deep pocket business leaders who got hog snaggled into paying for Millennium Park, with all its cost overruns, I would be petrified with fear to guarantee a multi billion dollar spectacle like the Olympics.

And, if any one believes that an Olympic bid can be successful without HUGE amounts of taxpayer money, I have some old Enron stock I would like to sell to you. Support services alone will require hundreds of millions in additional spending. Just making an Olympic bid will cost the taxpayers millions. I mean, who paid for the PR luncheon and press conference in Washington?

OBSERVATION: Rosie news versus real news.

The press is abuzz with the “news” that Rosie O’Donnell is causing all sorts of trouble as the new seat warmer on Barbara "Waa Waa" Walters television show, The View. So … who cares?

I often argue that the press only delivers what the public wants. I no longer believe that. I think the fall off in readership, listenership and viewership is the direct result of the news barons pushing what THEY think is news. Thank God for cable television and the Internet.

OP ED: When does America get attacked again?

Virtually everyone is convinced that the international terrorists will make another strike on United States soil. How can we best protect ourselves from such an attack? Are we safer in the hands of Republicans or Democrats?

Or course partisans will argue for their own team, but common sense will provide a better answer. We are safer under Republicans. Despite the blame game going around political circles, it is clear that the terrorists will see Democrats as softer. History and current rhetoric provide ample evidence – and an election victory for the party of appeasement will confirm the terrorist view.

I suspect that within six to twelve months of a Democratic takeover of either house of Congress, the terrorists will to test America's declining resolve in a major way. Once they see American resolve evaporating, they will intensify their worldwide campaign of terror with American in the bullseye.

I do not anticipate a major terrorist attack on America before the election, because terrorist leaders know that such an event would strengthen Bush in the polls. Bin Ladin and company are most certainly rooting for a Dem victory to embolden their legions. This is not to say the Dems are intentional allies of the terrorists, just that their political positions have mutual appeal. Emboldening the terrorists is just an inevitable outcome of a Democrat victory.

Some note that we withdrew from Vietnam and the world situation did not worsen. Of course the GOP would argue, with some credibility, that the end of the Vietnam War was managed by a Republican administration, which also opened friendly relations with North Vietnam's powerful backer, China. Later Republican administrations adroitly brought down the "evil empire" of the Soviet Union. In other words, our major adversaries of the cold war were transformed into allies of sorts by remarkably well developed and executed diplomacy.

The terrorists do not operate like the Vietnamese leaders, however. They are maniacal radicals who see mass murder and genocide as primary missions. The do not seek land or political power as a primary goal. They are not driven by the defense of a culture. Rather, they are motivated by an obsession to murder. There only victory is the annihilation of unbelievers. There can be no negotiated peace.

The liberal view of appeasement is doomed to failure, and America will suffer even greater losses to the extent the pacifists are successful.

Think it through ....

Saturday, September 02, 2006

REACT: What Does Mayor Daley Know? And When Did He Know It?

Recently, Mayor Daley was asked if city services are tied to elections, and if people get more services closer to Election Day – as political favors. He replied, “No. None whatsoever.”

You can now add this to the long list of common, well-known practices of the Democrat machine of which Mayor Daley is clueless. Where did this man grow up? Who is he trying to fool? (Oh yeah, the U.S. Attorney.)

As a young Republican precinct captain in the old 36th ward, I was once successful in bringing in a GOP majority in an election. That winter, I recall watching the city workers shoveling the front porch of the ward committeemen. When a ploy reached our precinct, the blade was lifted and the truck drove past our homes, leaving only its tire tracks in the snow. When I requested that a curb repair for a neighbor, the alderman bluntly told me that the department (Streets and Sanitation) would not be responsive to requests from our precinct until there was a better election result. My neighbors were unable to get free garbage cans offered through the ward committeeman’s office.

We all knew how city work schedules are arranged to provide maximum service, and minimum disruption, near elections. Street paving is done after elections because it tends to tie up traffic and anger motorists. Free trees for the parkway and new curbs take place closer to elections. The boys at Streets and San laugh about this kind of stuff over brewskis in local taverns.

That mayor of ours sure has a way with good old fashion Irish blarney. He should join the boys from Streets and San at the corner pub. Maybe he would learn something of how the city is run.

REACT: Senator Lieberman Defeat Good for Conservatives

The strident America-is-always-wrong anti-war movement is salivating over the defeat of Senator Joseph Lieberman in the Democrat primary. And well they should. They focused their national resources on the myopic effort to make Iraq the deciding issue, and to demonize Lieberman for a modicum of independent thinking. It was their intent to send a message to the donkey party – that the extreme left as heft.

They now have bragging rights in claiming that the neo-libs have more influence in the Democrat party than they did a few weeks ago. I agree. I am thrilled with the outcome. But, if I am thrilled, shouldn’t the lefties be less than thrilled?

The praising press, the pleased pundits and the pat-themselves-on-the-back partisans seem to have forgotten that they only won a PRIMARY. All that talk about what message the “public” is sending is bad or biased analysis. It is only a fraction of a faction that brought about the Lieberman primary defeat. It appears at this moment that Lieberman will prevail in the general election among the broader range of voters not shackled to the politics of the fuzzy-headed fringe. The tactics of moveon.org and the tens of millions of dollars being spread around on every anti-American cause by gazillionaire George Soros will not be nearly as effective in November.

Since the Dems need to move to the right to get more traction with the public majority if they are to again become the governing party, the Lieberman outcome is good news for the GOP. The more the Dems look like the party of Kerry, Kennedy, Durbin, and Dean, the more they marginalize themselves. Even Hilary Clinton is starting to look like a moderate in the neo-lib dominated party.

Right now, the public is giving the Republicans the equivalent of a spanking in the popularity polls. It is not at all assured that they are ready to throw them out of the house. This would not be the first time the media reported a grim future for the GOP only to have the voters prove them wrong. In fact, that is almost become an American election tradition. The problem with media bias is that it tends to produce wishful thinking as opposed to clear-headed reporting. (Remember when they predicted a big GOP loss in the House and Senate, and the pachyderm party actually made gains in both. And, of course, they virtually gave John Kerry the 2004 election, only to have to curb their enthusiasm as George Bush and Company rolled to a convincing victory.)

I think the public will eventually go with the American vision of George Bush over the very un-American vision George Soros. I suspect mainstream American will trump moveon.org, as has been the case in the past. Perhaps, moveon.org should do just that.

OBSERVATION: Can Undercurrents Sweep Away Chicago's Mayor?

Chicago Mayor Daley may flash that sly and impish Irish grin, but it seems to be there to draw attention from the sweat on his brow. As a former prosecutor, he well knows the serious of the trouble in which he finds himself. As the quintessential politician, he surely knows that his public support is crumbling. As the chief mechanic of the political machine, he knows better than anyone (despite his incredible public denials) how his convicted political team has long operated. His careful nurturing of the Hispanic community is being undermined by newly aggressive opposition from guys like Congressman Louis Gutierrez. His hold on the black community is being dismantled by the likes of Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. and The Reverend State Senator James Meeks. The candidacy of Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown may be yet another sign of African-American dissention. The Mayor’s mishandling and feeble excuses over the police torture cases creates more serious disenchantment in the African-American community.

The white community is not exempting Da Boss from the crass and arrogant bequeathing of Cook County government from the stricken senior Stroger to his scion, Stroger-lite. The odds of a Republican taking over the reigns of Cook County government (inconceivable a few months ago) is looking like a real possibility.
Former Governor George Ryan “pay to play” activities were linked to the highway deaths of six children because the responsible truck driver was given his license in return for political work and contributions. Ryan could not shake the public’s belief in his culpability in the tragedy. Though the mainstream press does not hold Democrats to the same moral and ethical standards as Republicans, the parallel culpability is being advanced by some in the case of Tiara Woods. She is the 9-year-old who fell to her death because the politically connected city inspector falsified his inspection report on the porch construction. It will not help that Daley’s administration inexplicably rehired the politically connected inspector. The passage of the “big box” ordinance over Daley’s objections, and the enactment of what he refers to as “silly” legislation, in the case of the ban on pate de foie gras, suggest a rise in city council independency inversely proportionate to the perception of a weaker mayor.

The mayor, who once led the business community like a nose ringed bull, is experiencing public disenchantment over taxes and other business issues.

The once sycophantic press is suddenly shows signs of objective and criticism. The mayor no longer owns the editorial boards, or controls the news editors, as he once did.

And most of all, politicians and the public await the work of the U.S. Attorney. No one believes that the mayor of Chicago is now untouchable. In fact, many insiders speak of "when" the mayor gets indicted, not "if."

Now when the Mayor Daley gives us that Irish grin, I think of the words to that song, "Smile though your heart is breaking ..."

REACT: No Olympic Gold Medal for Chicago

This is one of those situations where I may have to eat my words, but I will take that risk. Here goes.

There is no way ... nada ... that Chicago will be selected to host the 2016 Olympics. The current "effort" is little more than a well understood charade to stoke a bit of civic pride and divert attention from the increasing ominous clouds of scandal that are gathering over City Hall.

Why no Olympics for Chicago?

First and foremost, the city will not, and cannot, afford it. The mayor's budget is developing more shortfalls in revenue against heightened expenditures. This trend will only get worse in the future. Chicago does not have the facilities for the many Olympic venues. New monstrously expensive arenas will be needed -- including a domed stadium.

(Should I be so rude as to remind the geniuses at City Hall that they approved an open-air renovation of Soldiers' Field? Stupidity tends to catch up with people. And not to mention the monstrosity that Chicago’s icon stadium has become.)

After the cost overruns and financial fiasco that beset Millennium Park, the business community is not likely to write blank checks to underwrite the Olympic project. A few shekels in support of the mayor's public relations is one thing. Tens of millions for actually implementing the plan is quite another.

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is not even sure they will nominate Chicago to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). USOC President Peter Ueberroth has already offered a chilly shoulder in his assessment of Chicago’s bid.

Despite the prestige of the Chicago Olympic booster committee, they have produced an amateurish plan lacking in essential details -- such as just how and where they plan to build the venues. Ueberroth said the Chicago plan would need significant alterations and improvements to even come under serious consideration. The plan did nothing to convince the USOC or the IOC that Chicago even comprehends the task, much less has the human resource skill sets to accomplish it.

Another major factor is stability. The international folks are fully aware that Chicago's leadership is corrupt, and that the future of the mayor is in doubt. Unlike cities that experience leadership transitions as a matter of form, dictatorships tend to fall into chaos when the strongman falls. At the peak of his power, Mayor Daley may have had an outside chance to pull it off. Today, however, the mayor is losing his grip on the reigns of power -- and may eventually have them wrested from his fingers by more than public opinion. In any event, it is not likely Daley will be at the helm of city government ten years from now, but he could be “da mare” for a good portion of the critical planning period. The prospect of some significant level of political instability between now and 2016 is more “when” than “if.”

Finally, Chicago is just not good at attracting top-level world events. The gay games and the restaurant shows are one thing, but an Olympic hosting is quite another. To see the future of this project, you need only review the history of Chicago's most recent bid for Worlds Fair.

Undoubtedly, the work of Daley's Olympic booster committee will create news releases and social events for the months ahead. The press will trumpet every turn of events and announcements. But as the Bard of Avon put it, it is "much ado about nothing."

Monday, August 07, 2006

OBSRVATION: Who Will Die for Political Gain?

I have often said that public opposition to the war in Iraq by the ever present anti war claque, and the politicians who would rather govern a weakened America than allow others to govern over a strong America, will undermine our efforts, create international disunity, embolden the murderous terrorists, and … bottom line … kill a lot more American and allied soldiers, and innocent civilians.

This is not a futuristic view. It is happening. The weakened leadership that America and President Bush deal with in the world today is more the result of homegrown disloyalty than any policies coming out of Washington. We will never know who might have lived had the mass murdering terrorists been seen as the enemy instead of our own leaders. But, we can know for sure that there are many.

One can forgive the well intentioned, albeit misguided, activists, who think Cindy Sheehan is a heroine. There is no reason, however, to forgive the likes of Senators Kennedy, Kerry, Durbin, Schumer, et al, who would advance their career ambitions over the bloodied bodies of so many good people.

REACT: She’s Baaaaaaaack!!

Cindy Sheehan is back in the news.

I was thrilled to have her in Europe selling her unique brand of anti-American drivel to the left-over lefties or the Old World. But alas, she has returned to the United States to the every ready publicity of the Fifth Estate.

The fact that polls show little support for her obsessive antics and extreme rhetoric does not tone down the press reports. Even anti-war activists have turned to critics on the basis of her outrageous statements. They fully understand that the more exposure Sheehan gets, the more the public sees her manifest madness. (I have to confess, I now am all in favor of giving her lots of publicity.)

Of course, those who know her best, her family, have abandoned her. Her husband divorced her, and other family members hardly speak to her at all – and when they speak of her, it is not very complimentary.

Once the mourning of her dead son was seen as an act to gain sympathy and publicity, Sheehan’s popularity plummeted. Even now, polls show an overwhelming percentage of the population find her more of an annoyance. While some say she has created the modern anti-war movement, most seem to think she has made it more unpopular.

In her ego driven need for attention and self worth, Sheehan seeks the public spotlight by standing on the gravestone of her heroic and honorable son, who scarified his life for America’s good cause. She is shameless. She is a civic masochist who finds her justification for being in the punishing derision and criticism of the public.

There is only one true hero in the Sheehan family, and it is not Cindy.

REACT: Mayor Daley: What does he know, and when did he know it?

Recently, Mayor Daley was asked if city services are tied to elections, and if people get more services closer to Election Day – as political favors. He replied, “No. None whatsoever.”

You can now add this to the long list of common, well-known practices of the Democrat machine of which Mayor Daley is clueless. Where did this man grow up? Who is he trying to fool? (Oh yeah, the U.S. Attorney.)

As a young Republican precinct captain in the old 36th ward, I was once successful in bringing in a GOP majority in an election. That winter, I recall watching the city workers shoveling the front porch of the ward committeemen. When a ploy reached our precinct, the blade was lifted and the truck drove past our homes, leaving only its tire tracks in the snow. When I requested that a curb repair for a neighbor, the alderman bluntly told me that the department (Streets and Sanitation) would not be responsive to requests from our precinct until there was a better election result. My neighbors were unable to get free garbage cans offered through the ward committeeman’s office.

We all knew how city work schedules are arranged to provide maximum service, and minimum disruption, near elections. Street paving is done after elections because it tends to tie up traffic and anger motorists. Free trees for the parkway and new curbs take place closer to elections. The boys at Streets and San laugh about this kind of stuff over brewskis in local taverns.

That mayor of ours sure has a way with good old fashion Irish blarney. He should join the boys from Streets and San at the corner pub. Maybe he would learn something of how the city is run.

REACT: The Chicago Alderman have put themselves in a box … in a BIG box.

So eager to punish Wal-Mart for doing nothing more than being a very successful company that proves the superiority and benefits of our free market system, Democrat alderman passed an incredibly ridiculous ordinance that can only cost the city much need jobs, cause the lose of significant tax revenues, terminate further hope of economic and community improvement is some of the neediest neighborhoods, provide bargain prices for every one, and incur a bunch of legal fees to defend its dubious constitutionality. In passing this ordinance, the majority of the council joined the ranks of anti-capitalists and bashers of corporate America who would lead our nation in the direction of excessive government regulation – a concept that has failed all over the world.

Of course, they knew from the experiences of other communities that a war on Wal-Mart alone is unconstitutional. So, the city legislators crafted the ordinance so that a few more retailers, such as Target and Sears would fall under the living wage scheme. Many observers think this will also fall because of the “equal protection” clause of the Constitution.

It is ironic that the first time the otherwise compliant City Council has defied the strongman mayor, it does so with a sudden burst of stupidity.

So determined are the arch-liberals to bring down Wal-Mart that they will defy the Constitution and common sense. No one better personifies this liberal thinking than 46th Ward Alderman Helen Shiller. She could not bring herself to even vote on the measure because it did not single out Wal-Mart. And, the ordinance could imperil the Target tentatively scheduled for her ward. Target was not her target. Wal-Mart was her target. That annoying United States Constitution prevented her from singling out the world’s successful retailer. So, the Honorable Shiller ducked and ran. Now Target has dropped plans for two future stores in Chicago, and the store in her district she hoped to protect may join the exodus.

Time for our good municipal legislators to think outside the box.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

REACT: The Case of the Paranoid Professor

According to newspaper reports, a University of Wisconsin instructor, Kevin Barrett, has come under criticism from Republican legislators for teaching a course on Islam: Religion and Culture which professes that 9/11 was produced by the U.S. government as a pretext to war. That the accused terrorists did not have sufficient skill to fly the plans (despite the cell phone reports of many on-board victims). That the buildings were felled by pre-planted demolitions. Etc. Etc… Etc.

Several things struck me about that story … apart for the overriding absurdity. His neo-Muslim religious affiliation is not enough to explain his sudden allegiance to lunacy.

How does a person so demented get a job as an instructor? Hmmmmm. (Okay, I think I have answered my own question. Having spent a lot of time on college campuses, the out-of-reality ratio is quite high in academia. And of course, campuses incubate a large share of our low self-esteem antiestablishment feelings. This guy, however, is on the linty edge of the liberal fringe.) Amazingly, WU’s Provost Patrick Farrell defends the hiring. He issues the old clichés about academic freedom, and the course will get students thinking. Personally, I am thinking that Provost Barrett is not.

My second observation was the comparison to the teaching of a creation theory. If you cannot offer up a creation alternative, then what concept of academic freedom covers Barrett’s outrageously idiotic theories? Whatever you think of evolution vs. creation, there is a lot more scientific validity to the creation theory than Barrett’s paranoid 9/11 creation.

Finally, I was struck by the opposition of “Republican legislators.” Weeeell … I do know that newspapers like to spin anything that would suggest Republicans to be anti intellectual Neanderthals (and some are). Inadvertently, however, the newspaper appears to have made the unmentioned Democrats look bad. I mean, WHO would not be outraged that a major academic institution getting tons of taxpayer dollars should employ this guy. (We do have to cut a little slack since we are speaking of the University of Wisconsin – which institutionally is a bit off kilter anyway.) Is the inference to be drawn that the donkey party legislators support this guy? I would not even believe that of the most die-hard left-wing Dems. Okay… maybe John Kerry and Al Gore. But certainly not the good Democrats of the heartland.

REACT: PETA and the Dog Days of Summer

A local Chinese government has come under criticism for killing more than 50,000 dogs to curb rabies. In the most extreme cases, dogs were taken from owners on the streets and clubbed to death on the spot. Well ... I am not going to defend the method or even the killing of dogs that could have been inoculated. Of course, the People of Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is up in arms ... or up in paws, as the case may be.

It is more than a little hypocritical for the rabid animal extremists to bare their fangs since a goodly amount of PETA's funding comes form their killing off unwanted pets. Yeah! Your reading it right. One of the main "services" of PETA is to roam the back roads of America in mobile Nazi-style gas chambers and kill off thousands of God's lesser creatures.

Of course, PETA spokeshumans say they dispatch the furry four-legged animals in a "humane" fashion. Humane ... like you would, or should, treat humans. The last time we treated humans like that, we called it a holocaust.

PETA got in a bit of trouble for their good work. Seems like some of their killing teams were dumping the lifeless carcasses in private dumpsters and trash cans. Well, can you hardly blame them? How high can you pile up a bunch of dead dogs on the back of a pick-up truck and still have room for a gas chamber.

Speaking of PETA. They have this promotional campaign where activists go naked in public with the claim that they would rather their bare skin that some animals skin. I first wonder why lunatic fringe liberals always seem to think going naked is an effective means of protest for everything from wars to Oreo cookies. (Personally, I think nakedness and Oreo cookies has some real possibilities ... but my thoughts are definitely of civil disobedience.)

I would also suggest to the hard-core PETA activists, "You look much better in a nice floor-length mink than you do in your wrinkled, sagging human skin. They only prove that au naturale can be au nauseous. Naked animal activist, except for the hopelessly blond movie star types, give me doubts about the perfection of God. Putting a naked Pam Anderson next to a bare-it-all PETA regular is just another version of Beauty and the Beast.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

OBSERVATION: China myths and the American press

I recently had an Internet chat with a friend in China. He observed that the American press seems to be so negative of his country. I explained to him that a lot of my conservative friends are left over Cold Warriors. They still think of China as the antithesis of American philosophy – enemies of the American way. These are the people who actually believe that war between Mainland China and Taiwan is likely, when it is hardly even possible.

Then you have the religious right, (mostly Christians) who see China as a heathen land of religious oppression. Now, I will grant that the level of religious freedom and expression is not as great as in the United States, but it is getting better. (I took the photo at left in one of the Catholic Churches in Harbin.) Religious influence in the media assures that China will be a constant subject of criticism. Would I be too cynical to suggest that blasting China is good for the collection plate … almost as good as a new church roof?

Then you have the labor unions. They work up workers into a frenzy of fear that China has, or will soon be, taking all their jobs. Of course, this is untrue, but the propaganda campaigns of American unions would be the envy of any old guard Chinese sentimentalist.

Trade unions are the much of blame for the flow of cheap goods into the U.S. When China and Russia were outside our commercial trade sphere, unions used every tactic in the book to create a U.S. economy.(wages AND cost of goods) well above the global free market level. Once China came on line as a producer nation, our cushy wages and benefits were to our own disadvantage. And remember, those union-driven wage increases were accompanied by higher consumer prices. In purchasing power… no gain. Those who complain about the use of low cost labor in China should go there and buy three bushels of corn or 12 cents, and a custom made suit for $60.

The problem for the U.S. was made worse but the fact that the old Communist system of China suppressed wages and benefits. This kept the controlled economy of the Middle Kingdom in check, but at great pain to the working class. The system that was to benefit them actually oppressed them. This meant that the wage difference between the U.S. and China was artificially wide. Ergo, manufacturing flows to low cost. So great is the disparity that even high transportation costs did not overcome the wage advantage of China. But alas, this will gradually even out.

While unions complain about the loss of jobs, they do not take into consideration Chinese-influenced or financed job creation in the U.S.. In addition, the American consumer is reaping in the benefits in terms of lower retail costs. That is a benefit to a lot more Americans than the real number of those unemployed by job shifts to China.

We also have to remember that China is now a much better partner in international relations. From the war on terrorism to the handling of North Korea, U.S. foreign policy benefits from Sino cooperation.

So, for all the troublesome issues between China and the United States, and there are significant ones, it is much better having them export retail goods than anti-American sentiment. Perhaps you need to be old enough to personally recall the Cold War to appreciate just how much better things are today.

OUTRAGE POST SCRIPT: Judging Cancer

I recently wrote of my outrage at a judge who ruled that a 16-year-old cancer victim had to take harsh standard medical treatment against his will, and gave partial custody of the boy to the state. He also threatened the parents, who supported their sons decision (after a miserable round of unsuccessful standard medical treatments) with child abuse charges . Weeeeell ... I am happy to report that a Circuit Court judge reversed all the decisons, restored full custody and set a time for a full trial of the case. Now for those who ae quick to say, "See, the judicial system works." Not so fast. Look what the flawed system has already done to these people, the human misery and the costs. NO! That is not a system that works. That's like telling the guy who spent half his life in prison only to be freed on new DNA evidence that the system works. Bah humbug!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

OBSERVATION: Another "View:

Just read the reports about The View's newest panelist Mo'nque showing her hairy legs. Au natural may be ok for female calves, but she admits to shaving her underarms because it is "a different kind of hair" and it stinks. That is the kind of information that is useful every day.

I read a lot in the news about this show, but am I crazy, or what? (No answer needed). Has Barbara (Waa Waa) Walters descended to overseeing a show only slightly less vulgar ... and equally irrelevant ... than Jerry Springer.

Am I too assume that Star Jones lost her minority seat with a "view" because she lost weight? She was literally a star panelist before she shed umpteen pounds. Now she is replaced by Mo'nque, a very chunky black female with the hairy gams (but barren pits). Or maybe Star refused to allow her legs to take on the appearance of a New York nightclub bouncer.

One can only hope that The View quickly slips from ... .

Sunday, July 23, 2006

OP ED: Dems Defy the Public

It is said that those the gods would destroy, they first make crazy. That leads me to believe that the gods are about to destroy Chicgo’s Democrat political machine.

In assuming that the Cook County Board presidency is a private political possession, albeit on permanent loan to the black community, the Democrat machine leaders have displayed more arrogance than common sense. In giving the back of the hand to such Democrats as Forrest Claypool, Mike Quigley and others, I suspect they have driven a lot of white ethnics into the GOP camp for this election season. In giving the back of the other hand to such peoples as Danny Davis and Jesse Jackson, Jr., they even may risk losing a chunk of the reliable black vote.

To make matters worse, the machine boys selected Commissioner Bobbie Steele to complete the term of John Stroger. A major blunder. Not because she is so BAD, but because she is so GOOD. For the rest of the campaign, the public will see Todd Stroger, the unqualified, inept candidate of the back-room-boys, running for a job being performed with professionalism and elegance by the truly qualified Bobbie Steele. The comparison can do young Stroger no good.

The only thing that can prevent a voter backlash from ending Democrat control of the county board is the ability of the local Republicans to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They are the Chicago Cubs of politics. It does appear that the Democrat slating committee is counting heavily on GOP ineptness to trump their own arrogance.

OP ED: Daley in Deep Doo Doo?

However the November and next year’s municipal elections go, it appears the old Chicago “machine” is starting to rust and the master mechanic, Mayor Rich Daley, my be having career problems.

Any of the recent scandals would have brought down the “man in charge.” In Chicago, however, there is an unworthy resiliency for old guard Chicago Democrats led by Hizzoner. The latest report on police torture again brings further evidence that Mayor Daley arguably leads the most corrupt and racist major city in America. Yet, the sycophants are quick to absolve Daley – again and again.

Of course if you believe the Mayor, he knew none of it. Not about political work for cushy jobs. Not about the donations for contracts. Not about the mobbed up backgrounds of his close pals. Not about airport contracts for his wife’s luncheon ladies. Not about the insider casino deals. Not about his brothers’ clout activities. Not about the pay-for-no-work jobs program. Not about police brutality against minorities. Not about prosecutorial abuse, even as state’s attorney. Not about the courts fixing everything from parking tickets to murder cases. Not about the unseemly handling of the Stroger situation, including the anointment of Stroger the Lesser as the party standard bearer. He knew none of it. So sayeth the mayor and his minions.

Born in Chicago, and being involved in its social and civic life, I can say with assurance that virtually EVERYONE knew of these things. We knew how the system worked. Police abuse against minorities and prosecutorial persecution was common knowledge – winked at by public officials from the precinct captain to the mayor. The democratic machine is much like the Democrat leaders of the old south – operated ruthlessly by a click of white pols for their own benefit. Sure, some blacks got rich playing “window dressing,” just as long as they did not get too uppity about the suppression of the black community in general.

It is to the credit of the people of Chicago that a recent poll indicated that more than 70 percent of the citizens (friends and foes alike) simply do not believe the Mayor. And that was taken before the latest round of professed mayoral ignorances. Is there anyone left who DOES believe the mayor?

REACT: Three Cheers for Israel

Judging from the evening news spin and the morning talk show hosts, the Israeli government is an aggressor in attacking Hezbollah, the nation of Lebanon is being invaded and destroyed, scores of civilians are being needlessly killed, and President Bush refuses to call for a cease fire because he is secretly in cahoots with Israel. That is the media take.

Fortunately, the American public is not stupid … and least not to the point the national newsmakers would like. Even from afar, we grassroots citizens know enough to be spin-proof.

I am very sure Israel consulted with its allies, especially the U.S., before embarking on its military assault on Hezbollah. I suspect we have a clear green signal. The attack on Hezbollah is long overdue. It is a good thing. We do not want a cease fire, giving the internationally recognized terrorist group a chance to regroup and rearm. Our position is to destroy their capability to reign terror on the world.

This is a far cry from an invasion of Lebanon. The Lebanese government, itself, is at war with Hezbollah. They blame Hezbollah for this recent outbreak of warfare. They see Hezbollah as agents of Iran and Syria. The Lebanese military are ready to move in to area cleared by Israel in order to establish control of the Hezbollah region. Having just kicked out the Syrian overlords, the Lebanese government has every desire to see the insurrectionists of Hezbollah wiped out.

The deaths in warfare are always a human tragedy – civilian deaths even more so. In modern military engagements, the civilized world makes every effort to limit the injury and death of civilians. It is not always possible. On the other hand, terrorists groups, such as Hezbollah, actually target innocent civilians, slitting their throats and beheading them.

We also need to keep in mind that the fight against terrorism is not a military engagement. Terrorists ARE civilians. They are combatants masquerading as civilians. Rather than set up their operations away from civilian populations, they purposely place installations nears homes, hospitals and schools to both discourage attack and to make public relations hay out of any attack.

Unlike a civilized military, the terrorist ARE civilian women and even children. Children are taught to hate and kill from early on. Many suicide bombers are poor women and young teenagers.

While we cannot determine the culpability of any single victim, we know that not all the civilian casualties were innocents. Many were active supporters – the ones seen celebrating in the streets as the New York Trade Center collapsed or praising the deadly work of suicide bombers. They are the ones teaching their children to be the next generation of terrorists. Those who serve as a shield shall also die by the sword.

The attack on Hezbollah should not end until we are satisfied that they are destroyed – rendered incapable to serve as Iran’s and Syria’s surrogates of terrorism. To destroy Hezbollah is to partially disarm Iran and Syria.

We have a chance to show the world that terrorists cannot incubate where ever they please. They cannot lay claim to the lands of legitimate governments. They cannot engage in terrorism without paying the highest costs.

A cease-fire is not the answer. Unconditional surrender is the only acceptable outcome. We should not only NOT pressure Israel for a cease-fire, but also should support their military effort without hesitation. The only acceptable “cease fire” is when there is not a single terrorist left to pull the trigger.

LATEST OUTRAGES

As I peruse the news, there is an inevitable something to get the adrenalin flowing and the blood pressure skyrocketing. LATEST OUTRAGES is just my way to share a few with you. And, feel free to pass them on. If enough of us get outraged, maybe … just maybe … something good will come of it.

OUTRAGE #1: A Virginia judge ruled that a 16-year-old boy with cancer must undergo conventional treatments against his will. He has suffered through previous treatments, and has decided to try alternative treatments in Mexico. He is supported by his parents in his desire. He fully understands the consequences if the treatments are not successful. Just as his past medical treatments were unsuccessful. Bad enough, but here is the real outrage. They have filed charges against the parents, and a court has awarded partial custody of their son to a state agency. What utter arrogance. Arrrrgh!

OUTRAGE #2: I read in the newspaper that the United States has sent a “secret” shipment of precision-guided bomb. The purchase was made last year, but the shipment was expedited because of the fight with Hezbollah. The article noted that the official spilling the beans requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. The article even noted that disclosure “threatens to anger Arab governments and others because of the appearance that the United States is actively aiding the Israeli bombing campaign in a way that could be compared to Iran’s efforts to arm and re-supply Hezbollah.” There we go again!!! Government insiders giving out confidential information to an all too eager and disloyal press KNOWING that disclosure damages the U.S. Every time the newspapers use disloyal officials to aid and abet the enemy, American soldiers and innocent civilians are going to die. Arrrrgh!

OUTRAGE #3: President Bush gave German Chancellor Angela Merkel a little friendly shoulder massage before the start of the summit meeting. The Looney Ladies of the Left (nee liberal feminists) rose in their own version of outrage and charged the President with “inappropriately touching a woman without her invitation.” (I am initially confused. Not sure how one can “inappropriately touch a woman” WITH her invitation, but that is another matter). I would be more outraged, except this is just too silly. No wonder the left-wing women are no longer taken seriously. One cannot satirize them more than they do themselves. Remember, these are the same gals who gave Clinton a pass for getting a blowjob in the Oval Office from a young employee. Arrrrgh!

OBSERVATION: No Reason For Treason

There are a number of websites that invite readers to invent new needed words. It is so much fun that my wife submitted her own … for collectors … it is “acrapulate.” (If you want to know more about it, check out the website, www.acrapulate.com). However, I am unable to find a procedure to delete unused words. (I mean, have you seen the size of the hernia-producing unabridged dictionary?)

And the first word I propose we delete from the American lexicon is “treason.”

It is clearly an anachronistic word with little or no meaning in modern society. Government officials give up military secrets. Newspapers publish sensitive data. Names of our undercover agents are put on the Internet. Soldiers propagandize against the war on terrorism. Despite it all, the word “treason” is hardly ever mentioned – and when it is those who raise its scepter are trashed in the public media.

Many of the disclosures sure look like the law book definitions of treason. However, no betrayal of oath or action against the interests of the United States is now brought before the tribunals of justice.

Perhaps it was the Pentagon Papers disclosure of the Vietnam War era that placed treason under the protection of the First Amendment. Maybe we do have the right to scream fire in a crowded theater.

Friday, June 23, 2006

REACT: Stroger: No Stroke of Genius

While both the concerned and the critics eagerly await some sign that Cook County Board President John Stroger will soon life a finger on his own behalf, the people's business is grinding to a halt. Stroger wannabes, including son Todd, are performing a political ballet as they attempt to jockey for position while pretending not to be -- and providing minimal details while pretending to be keeping the public informed.

Recently, the Board of Commissioners passed on the opportunity to force the hand of the Stroger inner circle but rejecting a resolution that would force the fallen prince of Cook County to either silently relinquish his throne, or prevent forced abdication by rising in his own defense. In his current condition, however, Stroger is incapable of rising in his own defense. While his name remains on the door, the public has now way of knowing whether there is a function and competent executive operating behind the medical curtain, or whether unelected henchmen have usurped the power of the prince to manipulate events to their short term and long term benefits for as long as possible.

The Commissioners made the right political decision for themselves in rejecting the effort to bring clarity and conclusion to the Stroger melodrama. It just was a very bad decision for the public for whom they ostensibly serve.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

He's baaaaaack!

Whew!!! That was a long time between blog thoughts. Seems a trip to China, moving home and office, and an unbelievable load of work took me off blog duty for several weeks. This is no way to treat my readers … so a sincere apology to both of you.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

OBSERVATION: What a country America is.

You have to admit that this is one great country. Sure, we are having a spat of bad publicity at the hands of foreigners who are hatefully jealous, competitor nations eager to gain global market share and a bunch of local liberal whiners. However, the carping of critics, left and right, cannot negate the implication of hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens within our national embrace demonstrating their desire to become part of America.

Many of my conservative colleagues are offended by televisions images of foreign nationals protesting efforts to deport them. I was not offended. In fact, I found the coast-to-coast demonstrations a reaffirmation of the meaning of America. The demonstrators not only represented themselves, but the millions of people from all over the world who want to be in America … work in America … and become American citizens.

You tell me what country on earth has millions of foreigners risking life and limb to gain entry every year. Cubans drowning at sea and Mexicans suffocating in sealed trucks? Where else on earth have you witnessed so many non-citizens assembled to protest against a government only prospectively their own. In what other country would they have been allowed to exercise their right to assemble and speak freely? “Right?,” you may ask. How can they have a right if they are not citizens – worse yet, here illegally?

It is very simple. The United States Constitution does not grant our citizens the right of free speech or the right to peacefully assembly. It is an inalienable right, some believe granted by God, that is only recognized and protected by the Constitution. The Declaration of Independence makes that very point. The rights are inherent to the person … each and every person. You and me. AND the illegal alien on the streets of Los Angeles. The rights they exercise are not the possession of government to be granted or withdrawn by legislation, adjudication or edict. Government has no right to suspend or limit our inalienable rights.

However those demonstrators arrived in America, they brought with them their basic human rights – and they brought them to one of the few places on earth were they could exercise them freely and openly. That is the attraction of America.

Of course, there is no inherent right of citizenship. Our government has the rightful power to bestow or strip citizenship. That is a whole ‘nother issue. More about that later. For now I prefer to ponder the uncomplicated truth of human rights.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

REACT: The passing of a great American: Cap Weinberger

He has been described as "the best Cabinet member ever." While there is no way to prove such a subjective observation, an honest history will most certainly determine that Casper Weinberger was certainly in the first rank of not only Cabinet members, but also of patriots, in the very best sense of the word, and of human beings.

He was a combination of enormous intellect and compassion. He was determinedly persuasive and yet gently tolerant. He negotiated with the power of the rightness and justice of his causes. He had the ability of being comfortable among the powerful, and of making the less exalted comfortable in his presence.

Among his many great services to America, nothing could be more notable than his alliance with President Ronald Reagan in strategizing and implementing the downfall of the old Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. This was not something that just happened on their watch. It was with intent and foresight that these two men hatched the remarkable plan to bring down half the Communist world. (The Asian half of the Communist world was brought down less dramatically, but no less effectively, by an infectious dose of free market capitalism first administered by President Richard Nixon. Cap played his role in that, too.)

Without his role in ending the Cold War, Weinberger's accomplishments would have been extraordinary. In world affairs he was the Michael Jordan, the Tiger Woods -- a person of singular accomplishments so unique that words cannot adequately describe them.

His books should be re-read, not for their delineation of accomplishment, but for the humble tone and simple language that so well reflected his human side.

It was my great honor to have known him even a little bit. I am thankful for the times we spent together when he visited Chicago. The last time I saw Cap, his slightly hunched and noticeably fragile body was negated by the steadiness in his baritone voice, the clarity of his recollections and the infallibility of his wisdom.

In today's cynical world, Cap Weinberger will not be given the eulogy he so well deserves. Ironically, he would not have sought such post mortem praise, anyway. So, to Cap Weinberger, I say thank you for changing the course of history and for taking time out to spend some of your precious hours with me and my family.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

REACT: Machine vs. Machine

The election is over and the ancient Chicago political machine, tuned up by Mayor Daley, is still purring along. The most contested race pitted old-time machine candidate John Stroger against the young whipper-snapper machine candidate Forrest Claypool. Last minute sympathy, the possibility of committeemen hand picking the next county board president and low turnout seem to have combined to deny Claypool the victory.

Of course, on the eve of the election, Stroger supporters and hangers-on made it sound like the incumbent would be bounding out of bed at any moment. That is not only not the case, but Stroger is not likely to be seen sitting in the presidents chair for some time – maybe never again. If he is as seriously ill as rumor has it, a resignation could come sooner than later.

There has been understandable whispered speculation regarding a successor. However, that eventuality can be affected by the person who will serve as interim president. With or without Stroger at the helm, there WILL be a person making all those contract and patronage decisions. Who will that be? If scandal does not zap his shillelagh, it could be the Daley Dynasty sibling, Commissioner John Daley, the board’s current finance guy. In that case, the absent Stroger may be kept in office regardless of his condition for as long as the public will allow. Or maybe the narrowly defeated Claypool is elevated by the mayor – sort of like the runner up getting the Miss America title if the winner cannot serve. Either way, the machine prevails.

In all the other races, the machine carried the day – without the faux drama that ultimately meant so little. Difference is not reform, and only “difference” was on the Democrat ballot.

Even as the dark clouds of scandal may be gathering over City Hall, the recent election results must have put a wry smile on the face of Mayor Daley, the Mechanic-in-Chief.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

REACT: Stroger stroke creates inevitability

The election eve stroke suffered by Cook County Board President John Stroger may turn out to be a stroke of good luck for Forrest Claypool and Mayor Richard Daley.

Why Daley? After all, isn’t he backing Stroger over his former Chief of Staff? The answer is “yes” … and “no.” Officially, Daley has endorsed his long time African American ally. He had little choice in that. Switching to his close colleague, Claypool, would have set off a “blacklash” that the mayor can ill afford given his increasing scandal-caused vulnerability.

Let there be no mistake. Claypool would not have entered the race without a behind-the-scenes understanding. The optimum situation for Daley is a Stroger defeat without blame. That has been the strategy from day one.

The fact that a number of Daley loyalists have joined the Claypool “insurgency,” including Rahm Emanuel, indicates the tepidity of the mayor’s formal endorsement. The fact that Daley’s favorite campaign consultant, David Axelrod, is managing the Claypool campaign is more than a hint of the mayor's real sentiment. Daley “captains” in the precincts have not been ordered to push to the limit for Stroger. Expect Daley’s white precincts and wards to “defy” the mayor and cast a ballot for Claypool.

The understanding is that IF Stroger entered the final stretch with a insurmountable lead, Daley would stand tall for the incumbent, and take credit for the victory. On the other hand, IF Stroger is looking vulnerable – say less than a ten point lead – the mayor will pay lip service loyalty to Stroger while releasing the trap door under the county board president’s seat. As the race shaped up, Stroger was looking weak, and the trap door creaking.

This idea of supporting, and then undermining at the last minute (if the climate is right), is not a new trick. Candidates on both sides of the aisle have experienced it -- usually resulting in concession speeches.

The mayor talked the talk for Dan Rostenkowski, but his “machine” precinct captains did not walk the walk in Rosty’s district. (They were too busy scuttling the campaing of Glenn Poshard over Daely bud George Ryan). In Rosty’s case, it was not Daley’s opposition to re-election, but a realization that The Chairman was beyond salvation. Though they knew “the numbers” well, the Democrat mouthpieces kept spewing out optimistic predictions to the very end. The compliant Chicago Tribune kindly refrained from publishing earlier polling results that would have foretold the Rostenkowski defeat.

For a GOP example, we only need to recall a visibly shaken and shocked States Attorney Jack O’Malley conceding his election. Three months before, a top Daley “machinist” told me they intended to “take out” O’Malley despite the mayor’s private assurances that they were giving the gullible Republican a pass. I had two meetings with O’Malley’s top campaign aide where I passed along the less than secret information. He scoffed at my report. O’Malley campaigned so confident of victory that he actually slowed down is spending based on bogus polling numbers printed in the Chicago Tribune – a poll my machinist friend claimed they planted “to put O’Malley to sleep.”

The Stroger lead in the recent Tribune poll is no more predictive of the outcome than that old 18 point lead O’Malley trusted. The Stroger stroke will only give the newspaper a more credible explanation for the last minute shift in voter preference.

Now, with Stroger too infirmed to campaign, and likely to debilitated to serve in office, more of the mayor’s clout can surreptitiously tilt the election to Claypool – an election I personally believe he was poised to win anyway – only now it will not be such and upset.