Thursday, November 29, 2007


Well, I am offened again. So, what else is new … eh?

I received an email invitation to visit a traditional holiday event at Chicago’s oldest existing home. It will feature traditional food, traditional decorations, traditional music, and traditional whatever else. The only problem with the invitation, it conspicuously avoids naming THE tradition. Never anywhere in the invitation does the word Christmas appear. I guess it is okay to ASSUME what the tradtion is, but one must not print or utter the naughty word … ah … you know … uh …shhhhhh … Christmas.

About the same time I heard a radio commercial for a special concert of traditional (there’s that word again) holiday music. Again, no mention of Chirstmas. So, in this case I am assuming it must be John Philip Sousa playing patriotic Fourth of July marches.

Then there was the item about a village ordering the exclusive use of white light bulbs in holiday (nee Christmas) decorations because … get this … because red and green are religious. (I wonder if this is the same community where the school officials declared “noose” to be a racial slur?) Interestingly, several churches with which I am casually familiar use all white bulbs for the … uh … holiday decorations. But, don’t tell the poli-correct Gestapo or we will all have to have an unlit Christmas trees in our living rooms.

This stuff gets crazier every Christma … ah … holday season.

REACT: Court decision about abortion is an abortion

There is an old story about a witness who makes a derogatory comment about the court proceedings. The judge angrily inquires, “Are you trying to show your contempt for this court?? The witness answers. “No your honor, I am doing my best to conceal it.”

I think that sort of sums up the public’s growing attitude about our increasingly irrational and abusive judicial system. It is not hard to find examples of courts and judges who deserve contempt. Here is the latest.

A court in Texas ruled that a person can be charged with homicide if they cause the death of a fetus in the commission of a crime, such as murdering the pregnant woman or battering her. As a pro-lifer, I like the ruling so far. It recognizes the fetus as a protectable human life. It gives the fetus the same right to life as a toddler or an adult.

However, the court also ruled that the ruling did not apply to doctors performing an abortion.

In other words, an 8-month-old fetus is a human being if killed by a criminal on the street, but is not a human being if killed by a doctor in an operating room.

It is sort like you getting 20 years to life for strangling granny, but if you take granny to a hospital to be professionally strangled, it is not a crime at all.

So here is the quiz. Do you think the judge in this case is (1) brain damaged, (2) an idiot, (3) on drugs, (4) should be on drugs, or (5) all of the above?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

REACT: Old school ties.

Just when I stopped going “Ho! Ho! Ho! over the last item, I run across yet another nutty example of the over zealous political correctness Gestapo. This time it is those repeat offenders, who place contorted political correctness over common sense – the educators. Seems like a young boy scout was asked if his knot tying education gave him the skill to tie a noose. The young scout proudly (assumedly) answered that he did, indeed, know how to tie a noose.

That exchange got BOTH boys detention because some undies-in-a-bunch school person declared the word “noose” to be a racial slur. Someone should tell this nincompoop that “noose” is NOT the n-word commonly referred to in terms of racial insensitivity.

LMAO: No mo' ho

Believe it or not, but there is a company in Australia that trains “Santas” and dispatches the jolly fellows to retail malls and stores throughout the world to provide a comfortable knee and an eager ear to young believers coveting the latest toy. Personally, I never thought the Santa schtick was that complicated, but what do I know?.

What tickled my funny bone was a report that the new batch of politically correct Santas have been advised against employing the traditional “Ho! Ho! Ho!” as their tummies shake like a bowl full of jelly. Seems that the word “ho” is an insult to women.

First, “ho” ain’t no word. But for the moment, let us accept the fact the “ho” is a shortened version of the word “whore,” as used mostly by black brothas who had the misfortune of graduating, or not graduating, from an urban public school – the distinction of graduation having no real bearing on their education, anyway.

They recommend “hehehe” or “hahaha. Personally, I think “hehehe” is too much of a snicker and too widely used in Internet chat after someone offers up a salacious comment. “Hahaha” can be too mocking, like the laugh that bursts forth when you see a person stumble with a bag full of groceries. .

And I say “so what?” if there is a double meaning. I am sure that every glitter-eyed, four-year-old thinks of ghetto streetwalkers the minute Santa bellows his trade mark laughter. I mean, really!

And think about this. What happens if these political correctness Gestapos apply their cynical thinking to all the other double-meaning words? Do we ban Peter Rabbit? Or Dick Tracy? Rename the movie, “The Owl and the Pussycat?” Rip the “Johnson” pages from the telephone book? Ban the expression “tit for tat?” No more cocktails? No more dancing at society balls? Can we still get a screw at the hardware store? No more door knockers? A ban on roast butt?

So… I say “No! No! No!” to the ban on Ho! Ho! Ho! Hehehe … hahaha ….!!!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

OBSERVATION: God and teenagers.

Everytime I ponder God, I become more impressed with His perfect wisdom. Consider this. When our youngest children need our total attention and nurturing, He makes them sweet and cuddly. We can hardly let them out of our sight for the shear joy of their being. Then, when it is time for those same sweet charming children to begin their exit from the nest, He turns them into teenagers. Think about that.

Friday, November 23, 2007

REACT: Ronald McDonald stomps out Santa

After publishing my blog item on Macy’s de-Christmas’ing the 2000 year old holiday (November 21, 2007), I went to checked out Chicago’s traditional State Street Christmas Parade held each Thanksgiving – you know, the one that welcomes the arrival of Santa Claus.

Well, the anti-Christ(mas) has struck again – this time in the form of another corporate behemoth, McDonald’s. Not sure when this all happened, but there is no Christmas parade any more. Ronald (the Grinch) McDonald booted the Christmas theme, and the event is now known as the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Forget about Christ. Ronald has knocked off even the secularized Santa image in favor of a logo featuring a trite and tacky turkey in a pilgrim high hat.

(As an aside: In the above logo, doesn't that look like the front end of an old Pilgrim-style blunderbust rifle pointing at the turkey from behind the leafy bush? I am sure that is not the intent, but still a fitting bit of symbolism, don't ya think?)

If you were hoping that perhaps the real Christmas parade was rescheduled for another time, you’re out of luck. The only other parade is the Michigan Avenue merchants Parade of Lights produced by Walt Disney. No celebration of Christmas. An obligatory Santa, but certainly nothing to symbolize the real meaning of the holiday.

Corporate America, in a fit of greedy political correctness has changed the “love thy neighbor” holiday message to “love thy neighbor’s money.”

On the other, maybe the Christians got just what we deserved. I mean, most of our religious holidays were superimposed over Pagan celebrations in an effort, successful to be sure, to drive the godless holidays into extinction. It would seem that the neo-Pagans of corporate America are providing pay-back time. They are driving Christians from the public forums in favor or superficial Disney cartoons, holiday trees symbolic of nothing, and irrlevant festivals of lights. Sure, it is all very pretty, but prettiness does not connote significance or relevancy. (Did the name Paris Hilton just pop into your mind, too?)

Kicking Christ out of his name sake holiday is nothing new. The transformation from the elderly St. Nicholas of European origin to the cartoonish pot-bellied, retail-hawking Santa Claus happened more than three generations ago. The “Xmas” abbreviation was the rage at mid-20th Century. The supporting roles once held by shepards were given to a bunch of elves. The drab animals of the manger faded in the face of the bright-eyed and bright-nosed reindeer know as Rudolph – the creation of the advertising department or the now defunct Montgomery Ward & Company.

It would seem that the austere message of Christ is not in keeping with the sales strategies of the big retailers. The maniacally generous iconic characters, such as Santa Claus, make for better sales. Can you image for one moment bringing your child, with a long selfish wish list, to Macy’s to sit on the lap of a actor dressed as Jesus?

The very modern-day buying orgy is an anathema to the biblical Christ. To celebrate this holiday in keeping with its theological origins would require feeding the hungry as opposed to gorging the gluttonous. Clothing the naked, not donning designer duds. Comforting the ill, not imbibing until we are. We are admonished to care for those less fortunate, not over indulge the already blessed.

When you look at it that way, I guess dumping Christ and Christmas makes sense. What has evolved is NOT Jesus' holiday. It is the celebration of the new religion, Consumerism. Maybe … just maybe … the secular iconology is not driving out the Christmas of Christ. Maybe it is just filling in the vacuum we have selfishly provided. Maybe the Grinch is not the politically correct, but the theologically challenged. Maybe it is not “they” who stole Christmas, but “we” who too willingly abandoned it.

Something to ponder as we good Christians begin our annual pilgramage to Wal Mart. At least they still know it is Christmas.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

RECT: Gore gored by British school authorities

In case you missed it, Al Gore’s sci fi movie, An Inconvenient Truth, has been banned from British schools as being political propaganda and fraught with errors. The English school authorities have ordered that any time the movie is used as an educational tool, will have to carry a disclaimer stating that it is basically bull shit. Oh! Well that is not the exact terminology used by the understated and overly polite Brits, but the thought is the same.

FLASHBACK: Greeting cards on sale.

You may recall, I recently posted an item ranting about the high cost of greeting cards (Friday, October 19). Well, good news! The free market works.

I recently ran into a discount card and party store that sells cards for as little as 49 cents. Most around 99 cents. And … these are not chintzy postage-stamp size cards akin to children’s valentines. These are totally competitive with Hallmark.

Sure, greeting cards are still fodder for the paper recycling bin, and I prefer personal greetings and hand made cards over the store bought variety. However, at least you can cover a birthday without taking out a second mortgage.

Even as I was penning the previous submission, I had a feeling that greeting card price competition was just around the corner. The free market abhors price gouging. Now, if only we could bring gasoline, tobacco and casino gambling into the free market world.

REACT: Macy's Christmas. Bah humbug!!

I sent the following as a letter-to-the-editor to a number of major publications. Generally, at least one will publish my epistle. As I prepared this for delivery, the shadow or pessimism crossed my mind. Would, I wonder, any major newspaper publish a letter-to-the-editor so critical of a major advertiser? The answer is … “nope.” I got two calls to confirm that I was author – a practice that most often leads to publication. For a moment, there was hope. But alas, my condemnation of Macy’s was rejected even as the department store ads grew larger and more frequent on the eve of the busiest shopping day of the year.

So, for whatever it is worth. Here is my unpublished opinion.

To: The Editor

Christmas at Macy’s, bah humbug!

On November 10, the Big Apple department store, Macy’s (nee Marshall Field & Company), again insulted Chicagoans and Christians.

In celebration of one of Christianity’s holiest seasons, Macy’s invited convicted felon Martha Stewart to preside at the official tree lighting ceremony – and hawk her designer ornaments. Full-page newspaper ads invited all of us to participate in this event by dropping by and (they hope) giving them some of our hard earned money to send back to New York.

For most of my life, the lighting of the “great Christmas tree” in the Walnut room was one of the highlights of the Christmas season. If you missed the lighting, you could always drop in at the Walnut Room at any time during the Christmas holidays.

But wait! Something is missing. Oh yeah! Christmas. Nowhere in the full-page ad did the word Christmas appear. No Christmas tree. Just a tree. No Christmas ornaments. Just Martha Stewart ornaments. Turns out that the Grinch who stole Christmas is none other than Macy’s.

The ad was devoid of any references to or images of Christmas – the official name of this national holiday. No stars. No angels. No nativity scene. No candles. No cross. No Santa Claus (nee St. Nicholas). The ad featured only bells, birds and bright shiny bulbs of one shape or another.

I am not a religious zealot. In fact, I would have to improve considerably to attain the level of a poor Christian. But why, in the name of tolerance, do we have to pretend something is not what it is. This is the Christmas season, and most of us Christians will be putting up a Christmas tree, decorated with Chirtmas ornaments -- and singing Christmas caroles. We will greet others with “Merry Christmas” – whether the friend is Christian or not, because we are wishing them goodwill not engaging in religious rivalry.

Macy’s has taken the warm and loving feeling of Christmas and turned it into a Martha Stewart make-over. It is much too cold, too sterile, too commercial, too New York. When I was a child, traditionalists fought against the “xmas’ abbreviation with the slogan, “put Christ back into Christmas.” Well the East Coast heathens of commerce have gone one better. They have driven everything Christmas out of Christmas. Not even a teensy weensy bit of religious imagery.

If I was not already boycotting Macy’s for dumping the Marshall Field name, I would certainly have to boycott them for this latest effrontery.

Larry Horist

P.S. The Macy’s windows will feature the Nutcracker this year. Somewhat traditional, but safely on the secular side.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

REACT: Denny, we hardly knew ya.

Illinois Congressman Denny Hastert will step down from Congress before the end of the year. He will leave with the distinction of having served longest in a position he well might never have held -- Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. At the time of his ouster in the wake of the 2006 Democrat election tsunami, Hastert was, with only 8 years incumbency, the longest serving Republican Speaker in American history. He also is among the most undistinguished speakers. (Ironically, he beat the record of fellow Illinoisan, Joe Cannon, who many consider to have been the most powerful speaker in American history.)

Hastert was an accidental speaker, gaining the office only after Newt Gingrich’s successor-apparent, Bob Livingston of Louisiana, was forced to admit some adulterous indiscretions in his past – suffering more from the hypocrisy, after having tossed some sizeable stones at President Bill Clinton on the very same subject.

To me, it is remarkable that in Hastert’s history making tenure, one can hardly find a significant accomplishment. While he may have presided over the Republican majority for eight years, he was never much of a leader on the national scene. Having hardly made a ripple in his own time, Hastert is not likely to endure in historic hindsight – his sole accomplishment being longevity.

In his original acceptance speech, Hastert set forth his priorities in what he called the “four big challenges” -- Social Security stabilization, Medicare reform, economic security, tax relief, a leaner and more efficient government; stronger national defense, and improved K- 12 education. (Yeah, I know he called them the FOUR challenges, but hey, the guy was a wrestling coach, not a math teacher.) Regardless how you count them, by his own challenge, Hastert failed across the board. In addition, his promise to lead a more congenial Congress was quashed by some of the most acrimonious partisanship since before the Civil War. Under his leadership, Hastert not only lost the speakership, he lost the Congress.

While Hastert was initially considered a philosophic brother of his predecessor, Newt Gingrich, they differed dramatically in style, strategy and intellectual power. Unlike Gingrich, Hastert eschewed the spotlight. He seemed to consider public communication as more of an inconvenience of his office than an opportunity to advance his, or the GOP, agenda. For Gingrich, the speakership was an ideological soap-box to espouse unbending conviction, for Hastert it was a pragmatic position for collegial compromise. Gingrich risked survival for his great causes. Hastert seemed to have no greater cause than survival. Gingrich is known for changing the course of a nation. Hastert is known for staying the course. If Gingrich was Meet the Press, then Hastert was Let’s Make a Deal.

Even in Illinois, Hastert’s reputation as an old-style “good ole boy” leaves little for the home town boosters to cheer about. His most memorable actions were dubious accomplishments. He is remembered for passing over fellow Illinoisan, Phil Crane, from the chairmanship of the all powerful Ways and Means Committee --a disservice to tradition, Phil Crane and the people of Illinois. It was a decision that ultimately cost the Republicans Crane's seat.

Hastert again proved himself to be the consummate insider when he joined the corrupt Illinois GOP establishment in attempting to derail the appointment of Patrick Fitzgerald as the new U.S. Attorney for the northern district of Illinois. This effort, too, ran against the longstanding tradition of conceding the appointment to the senior senator of the President’s party – in this case Senator Peter Fitzgerald (no relationship to the appointee).

This was not the only time Hastert had crossed swords with the reform minded young senator on behalf of the boys in the back (nee smoke-filled) rooms – led by the criminal administration of Governor George Ryan. Over Fitzgerald’s attempt as fiscal responsibility, Hastert served up sizzling “pork” for Ryan massive Build Illinois rape of the taxpayers. He tried to shut down Fitzgerald’s efforts to bring accountability to the third airport fiasco. He attempted to thwart Fitzgerald’s effort to prevent Ryan from making the new Lincoln library and museum another cesspool of political cronyism.

Hastert also discovered that his throw-back concept of insider leadership was a relic with little relevance for the modern political game when he botched the handling of the Mark Foley “boys are toys” scandal. He mixed collegiality with Pontius Pilate-like washing of the hands to avoid addressing the issue at the time it was brought to his attention.

Most people do not know of Hastert’s record breaking tenure. His loss of the speakership is largely unnoticed because his presence there was largely unnoticed. He will now retire from Congress with most of America never having known he was even there. Hastert’s only enduring image may be his rotund Nast cartoon physique.

When the inevitable book is written about the career of Denny Hastert, it will be a short tome – lots of pictures and don’t wait for the movie. After noting that he was the accidental Speaker, who stayed a relatively a long time, what more can be said?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

REACT: Burned up over the war

We just past the first anniversary of war protester Malachi Ritscher’s self-torching. You may recall he is the guy who sat on a berm near the expressway, doused himself with some flammable liquid and lit a match. In a so-called “mission statement” he said, “If I am required to pay for your barbaric war, I choose not to live in your world.”

He has become something of a hero to a small cadre of anti war zealots, who consider his action sort of … well … noble. The anniversary was marked by a couple dozen people who gathered in the federal plaza to memorialize his flame out. Interestingly, I did not see any holding the customary memoral candles.

According to one of his sisters, Ritscher was “a casualty of the war.” She denied reports that her brother suffered from mental illness. WHAT? She denied that he was short a few cards in the deck when he lit that match?

Certainly, his death was tragedy. If we are motivated to use his death as a call for action, it should not based on his opposition to the war, it should be to address whatever madness caused him to kill himself. He may have chosen the war has his excuse, but it was not his reason. Hundreds of thousands of people have protested the war … and millions are burned up over it – figuratively only. But, Ritscher is the only person who thought that turning himself into a human torch was a meaningful means of influencing American policy. In that regard, his death was in vain. His impact nil. The opposition movement is so large that his contribution is imperceptible. My god, Cindy Sheehan was only marginally relevant, and she was in the press for months. The only result of Ritscher’s act of desperation is one less voice in the opposition choir.

It does not take professional analyst to know Ritscher suffered some sort of mental illness. No one ignites themselves for any rational reason whatsoever. To oppose violence through an excruciatingly violent act is not the work of a sane person. Not debatable.

I have always believed that suicide, for any reason, is the ultimate selfish act -- without even the opportunity to beg forgiveness. It is illegal. It is immoral. Under the pretense of caring about humanity, Ritscher cared nothing about the feelings of his loved ones. He cared nothing about men, women AND children who had the misfortune of witnessing his horrific death. He cared nothing for all the good he might have done in the world in the years to come. He wanted to check out, but wanted to leave a little guilt trip in his wake – since he was leaving nothing else. His only contribution was to end any further contributions.

Jennifer Diaz, one of the organizers of the small memorial said his act “speaks for itself.” We can all agree on that, but not likely will we agree what it says. She concluded by saying that Ritscher had “made himself into an icon.” No, Jennifer. He made himself into a Roman candle.

REACT: Thank God and John Walton for Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart just introduced the $199 computer. More about that below, but first a little preface …

The broad phalanx attack on Wal-Mart by the various battalions of liberal activists is typical of their hatred of the free market system, free trade and free just-about-anything-else -- except lunch.

The unions grouse about Wal-Mart resisting representation – representation which would do nothing more than increase the costs of goods for the American consumer and make the fat cat leaders of labor a little fatter. They tell how Wal-Mart is paying wages in Asia that are a fraction of the American worker. They forget to mention that you can buy a bushel of corn in China for 12 cents. My tailor makes my pin-stripped power suits for under $100. I can leave KFC stuffed for about a buck and a half. I had $3000 worth of dental work (American dentist estimate) completed beautifully in China for $400. Also had a physical and the complete blood test cost me a Jefferson. (No, not a nickel. Geeez. A two dollar bill.)

In China, Wal-Mart is lifting tens of thousands of people out of poverty at every step of the supply chain. If Wal-Mart was such a damned awful employer, why is it when they open a store in China the job application line runs from Beijing to Shanghai? Unions also grouse about how poorly Wal-Mart treats its American workers. Same question. Why do they receive thousands of applications at every store?

Some of the alderman in my Chicago home town city council are fighting hard to keep Wal-Mart out of the Windy City – thus denying their constituents much-needed jobs and lower prices, and the city coffers some tax revenue. What is their motivation? Blind hatred with a dash of stupidity. Of course, that is only an opinion.

Then there is the crowd that complains that Wal-Mart’s lower prices are ruining the market. Pause and ponder here folks. These libs are so whacko that they think higher prices are good thing – competition is a bad thing. They say higher prices means more pay for the workers. Well, a lot of those wage gains will be eaten up by the higher prices…..duh. And the over-paid union leaders seem completely oblivious to the fact that a company also must serve its stockholders and the consuming public – and there are a lot more of them than workers. Wal-Mart has been a key player in bringing down the prices of tens of thousands of consumer products, even in the face of modest inflation. These are real dollar reductions, not the theoretical stuff we get from economists and accountants. Tee shirts that were once $14 are now $5.

One of my more liberal friends (and yes I DO have liberal friends – quite a few, in fact) criticized Wal-Mart for practically putting FAO Schwartz out of business. If you are not familiar with them, they are a trendy upscale toy store that catered to the rich and famous. It seems that nasty old Wal-Mart began selling a lot of the same toys for a fraction of the prices charged by FAO to the price-is-no-object crowd. (Since my friend’s heart is bleeding for FAO, the term “limousine liberal” suddenly jumped into my mind.)

This is how the free market and competition works. This is a good thing. I mean, yeah, I am sorry to see FAO become more like a Macy toy department. They were a fun store. However, price rules for most people – as it should.

Now … about those $199 computers. I can’t wait for the libs to figure out how to criticize this one.

The left pays a lot of attention to public education (which, in and of itself, serves as an example of the failure of their philosophy). They like to think that they are the vanguard of progressive and innovative education. Everyone agrees that getting computers in the hands of students at an early age is a good thing. The education industry has expressed that need for decades (ever since Al Gore invented the Internet).

The fear and reality is that the computer age created yet another gap between the “haves” and the “have nots.” Those financially-challenged kids trapped in the liberal-run city school systems are at the greatest disadvantage. The affluent parents are buying their kids thousands of dollars of cutting edge electronics to support education, while the kids in the inner city schools are getting the benefit of electronic metal detectors to eliminate cutting edges of a different sort.

There have been scores of programs to try to provide computers. The Holy Grail was always held out to be the $199 computer. Most programs fell far short of success because of the cost of the equipment. Now cometh that nasty old Wal-Mart again, this with the $199 computer. Suddenly, the dream of every kid having a laptop is inching toward reality.

Just think of the impact on our children when we can finally bring modern technology to the disadvantaged. (We do not call them disadvantaged for nothing, folks). There have been tons written on the enormous benefits of computers for kids, so you can only imagine the impact Wal-Mart pricing will have on education.

Next time you hear one of these liberal groups kicking about Wal-Mart, just remember those kids who are getting a better education – something the lip-service libs and the kids-last unions have failed to do for a generation or two.

The free market works. Alleluia!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

OBSERVATION: Tony Periaca not quite cutting it.

By every measure, Cook County Commissioner Tony Periaca is exerting leadership within the frail and floundering Republican Party. He is using his office to expose the nepotism, cronyism and corruption that abounds in Todd Stroger’s government fiefdom. He is runner for higher office, Cook County State’s Attorney. He is challenging the Democrat power structure at every front. His public relations machine is going at full tilt. He is raising money. He shows up at every event with an audience larger than my family reunion. In every way, he is making an effort to fill the huge leadership void that besets the GOP in Illinois.

So, why is he failing?

Some may argue with my view, but there can be no doubt that he is not living up to expectations … especially his own. Either he is a flawed candidate, or he is very poor at managing his public image.

Let me stress that I hope he can bring some leadership to the GOP, and begin to rebuild the party. I do not think he is wrong, but not cutting it with the public.

First and foremost -- and for all his best efforts -- he seems to lack charisma. I don’t mean that pretty boy, Hollywood casting look and Oxford eloquence. I mean that basic connect with the voters. He does not charge a room upon entering. There is no tittle of anticipation that usually surrounds the man on the rise.

This failure to connect cost him what should have been a clear victory over his weak and unqualified opponent in the race for president of the Cook County Board. Never has a Democrat candidate for county office looked so hopelessly and obviously unfit. Not since Republican Dick Ogilvie won the office in a 1966 upset has there been a better opportunity.

Periaca could not carry the county like many of those GOP stars of yore – Chuck Percy, Dick Ogilvie, Jim Thompson, Joe Woods, Bernie Carey, Jack O’Malley, Jim O’Grady, etc. And they had far tougher challenges. (I suppose there has to be some slack given for the number of stolen ballots. Even without concerted effort, the long entrenched Democrat political machine steals thousands of votes automatically. The system is so perfected, it cannot NOT steal votes.)

So, what is it about this guy that lacks curb appeal? Probably a combination of things. Since I don’t really know him personally, maybe my perspective is more valuable. I only see the public personae – the extension of him that will determine his political popularity.

There is a difference between being impassioned and arrogant. Periaca seems to fall on the wrong side of that divide. He does not seem to be the rallying point, the consensus builder or the team player (and even captains have to be team players).

Expanding on this later point, he does not seem to build camaraderie among any of the GOP crowd. He often seems as much at odds with the GOP leadership as he is with the Democrats. Granted, the GOP leadership has lacked a lot – most notably success. However, they do seem to be demonstrate modest improvements here and there. Regardless, the warring within the ranks that has destroyed the effectiveness of the right wing does not reflect any better on Periaca. His feud with Cook County GOP Chairman Liz Gorman detracts from his stature as a candidate.

There is also a thuggishness about him. The election night attack on the Board of Elections was only one example of his seeming pugnacious attitude. He seems to banter about with a political chip on his shoulder.

In observing him in social settings and in the audience, he appears to be a man with all the answers – most eager to express them from the platform or in conversation. He seems to have no need to listen – at least no desire. He has the answers to all the unasked questions. His self appointed mission is to postulate.

In addition, he lacks professed vision. Great leaders produce great visions, if not always the greatest results. We all know that Periaca, like Howard Beale in the movie Network, is “mad as hell” and so not going to take it any more. However, the unrelenting criticism, carping and complaining makes him too much the scold. It is ok to “tell it like it is” as long as you can also “tell it like it will be.”

Then there is the ambition that seems to be worn on his sleeve. Is he a “wannabe” or a “wannado?” Often candidates with a lack of vision are more interested in being this or that, rather than a vehicle for doing. He seems more driven by ego than issues. Of course, he talks about issues, but more like a means rather than an end.

As political leader, the public Periaca appears more like one of those ubiquitous designer knock-offs flowing from Asia. He looks good on first blush, but not quite the quality of the genuine product upon closer examination.

THAT is my perception of the public Periaca -- the only Periaca most of the voters will ever see. Is that really him? I really don’t know.

Friday, November 02, 2007

OBSERVATION: Feeling blue about seeing red

I find myself channeling Dr. Seuss:

Red state? Blue state? What are we to do, mate?
Blue state? Red state? Make me go to bed late.
More red, you dread. More blue, I rue.
Maybe in the morning we'll find a better hue.

Blue state? Red state? More confusing than you think.
Red state? Blue state? All I want is pink
Donkeys are blue. Elephants are red.
Don't know why, but that is what they said.

Red state? Blue state? Always in the news.
Blue state? Red state? How are we to choose?
Red means danger. Blue means sad.
Making these decisions is gonna drive me mad.

Blue state? Red State? Popping on my screen.
Red State? Blue State? Nobody voting green?
Half the country blue. Half the country red.
Turning off the TV and heading for my bed.

The question of the state colors on our national election night news maps got me thinking. When did those broadcast rascals make the switch-a-roo on the colors? In my early days in politics, the election night political maps always showed the Republican states in blue and the Democrat states in red. Sometime between then and now, the big three networks appear to have made a behind the scenes decision to switch the traditional colors. But why?

Is it possible that they just wanted to give their favored Democrat party the more positive color? I am not paranoid, and I even hate to think that those guys in New York would stoop to such a thing. It is just too petty. I mean, they entirely too busy distorting the daily newscasts to bother with such seemingly trivial graphic matters.

Or are they? My problem is that I cannot think of any other reason why they would change the colors.

It probably would not affect a specific election night outcome. But … is there a long term psychological impact? Do voters think more kindly of blue Democrats than they would or red ones?

There is no doubt that blue reflects positive American imagery. It is a cool color, and seems to be more patriotic than red. Yeah, I know red is in our flag, too. Outside of Santa Clause, however, red is a disturbing color in our culture. Everything associated with the devil and hell is red. In 1776, we fought the redcoats. Our contemporary world adversaries have been the “Reds” – the “red menace,” no less. Danger signs are red. Red Alert means an imminent terrorist attack. A Red light means an annoying stop. The Red Cross brings to mind disasters. When we are angry, we “see red.”

Blue is a peaceful color. It reminds us of patriotism. It is the color of a clear sky. The soothing blue water. The only negative connotation is feeling blue -- sad.

Hmmm. Maybe that is it. You know, when I see my native state, Illinois, go blue on election night, I do get sad. As more states go blue across the nation, I can go into a total funk. So, maybe I should not be so harsh on the network bosses. Maybe they understand me. They switched the colors out of respect for my depressed state of mind -- to represent sadness.