Wednesday, July 30, 2008

REACT: Obama's tour de farce.

Was the Barack Obama world tour as successful as his media boosters claim? And … will it resonate and sustain with the voters?

Answering the last question first … probably not. By the time the election comes around there will be two major conventions and a lot of attention grabbing campaign issues and events. The only residual benefit appears to be raw footage for future television advertising – and how much will be aired on this theme is questionable, since most pros think the economic issues will be driving the election.

As far as success, the bar of achievement for this foray was set very low. Since this was purely a public relations tour, without any substantive issues to be addressed and resolved in the various meetings, it was a fail safe gimmick. If you look at the tour, it was nothing but a series of photo-op meetings.

They say there were no major gaffes. How in heaven’s name can a reasonably intelligent (and Obama exceeds that standard) person screw up a social call. His carefully crafted remarks were well delivered.

Some of the John McCain-ites nitpicked a few things – such as Obama’s failure to meet with wounded troops in Germany – but they miss the big picture. The fairer and more substantial criticism of his tour was the superficiality of it all – and the ruse that it was NOT a political junket. (You should remember that he claims he was only part of a Senate delegation [wink wink] that included another Democrat senator and, in the interest of bipartisanship [wink again], included Republican apostolate Chuck Hagel – who is on Obama’s short VP list.)

The “success” of Obama’s tour was a forgone and inevitable conclusion. As long as he did not pee on the Wailing Wall, Obama was assured the acclamation of the predisposed media.

There are two sides of a candidate – actor and policy wonk. So far, Obama has proven himself to be the consummate actor. He has stage presence. Charisma. He delivers his lines perfectly on cue. What is lacking is the policy wonk. To resurrect an old advertising slogan, “Where’s the beef?”

His so-called “plans” for education, healthcare, Middle East wars, gas prices, etc. are vague approaches lacking the specificity by which they can be judged objectively. If his cavalier tendency to promise expensive solutions to every problem were implemented, it would add trillions to the already beleaguered budget. He is, by all measure, a “promising candidate” – promising just about everything to everybody.

After months and months of a highly contested primaries, and a short one-on-one run with McCain, Obama has been able to sustain almost solely on notoriety, uniqueness and personal charm. His world tour is only the latest and grandest example of the “elect me because I am … ME” strategy.

LMAO: The real right wing conspiracy.

My best friend Bernie passed along this thought...

We should let men marry men, and women marry women. And we should allow those who wish abortions to have them. Then in three generations, there will be no liberals to contend with.

I don't care. I think its funny.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

OMG: Wisconsin Man Shoots Lawn Boy.

Keith Walendowski, of Milwaukee, got a teensy weensy over wrought, and was perhaps a bit over served, when his lawn mower failed to perform. Setting aside all rationale and conventional solutions to the problem, Keith dragged out his gun and gave his trusty … oh! make that rusty … Lawn Boy a coup d grace. Briggs and Stratton was no match for Smith and Wesson. An alarmed tenant called the police. Keith was arrested on a series of charges.

In his defense, Walendowski claims to have done nothing wrong. “My mower, my gun, my yard,” is his line of thought. While there is no specific law banning the cold blooded shooting of a lawn mower, there are a bunch of ordinances covering the use of a gun in an urban environment.

This is where the story gets scary. Like most folks, I figured the landscape vigilante would have been in store for a civil citation and $250 fine. If the gun was illegal, of course he forfeits it. But nooooooooo! If convicted, Walendowski faces up to $11,000 in fines and six and one half years in prison. Let me repeat that incase you think you misread it. SIX AND ONE HALF YEARS IN PRISON!!!

I dare say … people have shot the human lawn boy and gotten less punishment. Of course, most of those shootings were perpetrated by husbands arriving home early only to find the kid in the master bedroom with his weed whacker in his hand.

While there is something terribly funny about a half-in-the-bag guy gunning down his unfaithful grass cutter, there is nothing funny about a society that prosecutes minor infractions as if they are serious crimes.

Maybe "my mower, my gun, my yard" lacks the patriotic imperitive of "Don't tread on me!," but it still has a certain John Wayne/Ronald Reagan appeal. Now that the Supreme Court has affirmed our right to bear arms, maybe ... just maybe ... we DO have a right to use them when confronted by an unresponsive machine.

NOTE: In the interest of full disclosure, no, the mower pictured above is not the one plugged by Walendowski. It is a stock photo from another mower shooting. Apparently, attacks on mowers are more common than I ever suspected.

OBSERVATION: Bobby Cesca needs his mouth washed out with soap

My favorite ( <--being facetious here) left-wing radical writer, Bob Cesca, proves that no facts, no standards and no common sense will interfere with the vulgarity-laden stuff that dribbles off his pen in the Arianna Huffington “Huff ‘n Puff” Post. I assume he offers up the same inane fecal formula in his blog, which I have never been enticed to read. An occasional sampling of his putrid prose is sufficient. As bad as his perspective and opinions are, it is his immature and profane school-yard language and name calling that really sinks his writings.

His latest screed raises questions about the possibility of the excessive use of mind-altering ingestibles. He contends that the news media (or what he likes to call the “corporate news media”) is biased. No argument there. He thinks they are unfair (Okay, you ready for this?) unfair to (You’re going to laugh.) to Barack Obama. This really is his view despite all the recent impartial analysis that has shown a clear bias in favor of Obama.

Cesca accuses the press of giving John McCain undeserved positive stories, or occasionally being needlessly critical of Obama, only as an arbitrary and artificial means of maintaining “balance.” He takes the view that the long-accepted professional standard of journalistic balance is a “miscalculated rule.” According to the Cesca theory, Obama deserves massive amount of publicity, and none of it critical. McCain, on the other hand, should be shut out unless the story is negative.

In other words, in Cesca’s indoctrinated and uncritical mind, there is nothing good to say about McCain, and nothing bad to say about Obama. Sort of makes Bob’s life simple. But most of us do not live in the isolation booth of progressive thinking. To arrive at this position, I can only believe he has no skill set for intellectual objectivity.

It would appear the cause of his visceral angst is a video of reporters enjoying some relaxed interchange at a barbeque hosted by the McCains at their Arizona ranch. Civility is not a trait Cesca exhibits or appreciates. He is chagrinned that these reporters were not snarling at the McCain family as they filed stories about how the candidate burned the brats and Mrs. McCain stole the potato salad recipe from the local minister’s wife – and how these deficiencies disqualify McCain from being President. Of course, Cesca would have these stories accompanied by a sidebar praising Obama’s Beef Wellington and Michelle’s peanut butter cookies.

I suppose we can be thankful that he and his ilk are as lost in the far reaches of the left wing fog as they are. Between his sophomoric, pedantic and uninspired writing style, and his view of the world as “I am right and you are evil,” his credibility is shackled in Marley-esque chains– each op ed another link of his own making.

His too frequent reliance on the various forms of the f-word to describe and dismiss all who might diverge from his narrow and brittle view places his writing a short step above the graffiti authors, whose talentless publications adorn the men’s rooms walls across the nation. The only thing missing from Cesca's blog offerings are the ubiquitous crude pubic drawings. One can only assume that Cesca engages in such literary self-humiliation for the attention and platform it has gained him. In that regard, I must admit that Bob has gone quite far with such little to offer.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. (sigh.)

Ed. note to Arianna Huffington: Thank you for providing space for the writings of Bob Cesca (and a few others). You are doing a great service to the nation in exposing the vapidity of contemporary radical thinking (<-- oxymoron?). In addition, you use up space that might be used by those truly intellectual liberals of greater skill and persuasiveness. We appreciate.

Friday, July 25, 2008

OP ED: Obama: Looking good while losing.

The Democrats and the Barack Obama team should know better, but I am thrilled that they do not. They appear to operating under the assumption that they on the verge of a tsunami-level election victory.

The liberal pundits and radio gabbers are orgasmic in their political fantasy of the post-GOP world. Everyday, they wax on and on about the misfortunes of John McCain and his doomed quest. They mock his age. They make fun of his physical handicaps. They brutally lambaste his wife. (Tsk! Tsk! Where is their political correctness now?) They speak with certainty that Obama WILL be the next occupant of the oval office.

They cite polls that show Obama far ahead in all kinds of esoteric comparisons. Likeability. Good for education. More trusted with the economy. They are bewildered, however, by head-to-head polls that keep McCain within the margin of error – and certain that these samplings of public opinion are merely lagging indicators of a future victory.

No doubt Obama is riding a crest of positive exposure. He is the charismatic barnstormer – appropriately dubbed the “rock star” candidate. The ever-biased media has lost their last measure of professional dignity in their zeal to put Obama in the White House. The press has become so imbalanced in their reporting, in both coverage and slant, that even editorialists, columnists and commentators of all hues are chastising their newsroom colleagues.

How can Obama possibly lose, the progressives rhetorically ask?

Easy. This ain’t November.

First and foremost, Obama would have to overcome the enormously significant reality of a very racially divided electorate. (Shhh! We're not supposed to talk about this). His parochial message that is likely to garner him more than 80 percent of the black vote is naturally going to create a racial backlash in the white community. We can argue about the extend of its impact, but not its existence.

While liberals charge “racism,” it is not racism to vote against a candidate who appears to represent the narrow interest of a group of which one is not a member. But, forget the academics. The reality is that Obama is not producing the kind of showing in the non-African-American communities he needs to win the election. This does not take into account the "Bradley Effect," which basically suggests that a lot fewer whites will vote black than the polls indicate. Why? First, becasue early polls are almost never right. Second, because a significant number of those interviewed do not like to say they are voting agains the black guy -- they lie. This is especially true if the interviewer is black, or sounds black.

Liberals like to think that all designated minorities are part of a unified progressive bloc. In reality, Obama has a problem with Hispanics. Even if he gets a better share, their numbers in the voting booth are not that great. Obama has no universal appeal to Asians, who will again show a high degree of independency in their voting patterns. He will not do as well as a Democrat should with Jews -- all his talk about protecting Israel notwithstanding.

These and other reasons explain why all the hoopla is not letting Obama break away from McCain. I would think Obama needs a good 10 to 15 point lead today to even be in the running in November. If he is in a dead heat now, how can he win when his fortunes begin to descend -- as they surely will. Okay! Yeah, he will get a short term boost after the convention, but then it is all down hill.

For the most part, the events and impressions of today will not mean much to the all important undecided voters. It is the post-convention period that is critical in shaping opinions that will finally result in a voting decision. In other words, Obama is having a hot run of great publicity when it doesn’t mean much. Conversely, McCain is being beaten down before it matters. He will have ample time to shore up his exposed weak points.

McCain has a future advantage. To some measure, the press will recognize enough guilt to start balancing off their coverage. McCain will get more and better reporting. Also, the public tends to get tired of unending “over the fold” coverage of one candidate. They will be more sympathetic and response to the future McCain messages. Too much exposure leads to a backlash. It would be hard to argue that Obama is not overexposed at this point.

Outside of a few terse retorts, Obama have not been subjected to the issue debate. The fact is, Obama is much more liberal than the American public. He is counting on novelty, charisma and lkeability to trump the issues disparity. The Republicans are withholding their fusalage of counter advertising for a more critical time. Once the battle is engaged, Obama is going to see his numbers slipping.

The junior senator from Illinois, and his supporters seem to want to win the election every day. Listening to the liberal (hot) Air America, it is astonishing how they analyze every daily event and opinion poll as if they are doing Election Day coverage -- and always projecting Obama as the winner. The GOP national establishment, for all its faults, is better at strategy – recognizing that there is only one day when winning matters.

As I often disclaim. The course events can change in the face of dramatic disclosures or blunders. The Republicans are more susceptible to making such blunders, and theirs are more likely to be amplified by the media. But for now, this race remains McCain’s to lose.

Footnote: Oh! The picture of Obama. Yeah! It has been a while since I used one of him smoking. Just using it in the spirit of full disclosure. There has not been a better kept presidential secret since the public had no idea Franklin Roosevelt was wheelchair-bound. And yes, the McCain photo is among his best. Since he has been getting beat up so badly in the press these days, I thought I would put the thumb on his side of the scale for a change.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

FYI: Strongman form of government for Illinois?

Some things are worth repeating. In jest, political raconteur, Dan Proft, drives home an interesting point. When you consider the corruption of those in power, and the incompetence of those in the lackluster and sometimes TOO loyal opposition, it seems a top to bottom house cleaning is in order. Dan takes the case in the other direction – admit grassroots failure, hire a despot and go golfing. (Oh! I added the photos. The outfit also comes in “short/squatty” to accommodate the typical Illinois politician. You know, in Illinois, if we say a person has “great stature,” we are speaking figuratively). Anyway, here’s Dan’s take on it.

Illinois should go to a military strongman form of government.

Instead of the pretense of representative democracy, we should submit to one of those charismatic, totalitarian dictators with the Captain Kangaroo get-up who makes people disappear.

After all, isn't that what the "Chicago 9" are doing?

The Chicago 9 are the nine Chicago Democrats who live within about five squares miles of one another and who control more than $70 billion worth of government and more than 125,000 public sector jobs in Illinois.

[The 9: Daley, Blagojevich, (Lisa) Madigan, White, Hynes, Giannoulias, Jones, (Mike) Madigan, Stroger]It was reported last week that the Chicago 9 had made more than 6,000 private sector jobs in Illinois disappear between May and June. Only four states in the nation lost more jobs during that period.

The Chicago 9 have Illinois' unemployment rate at a robust 6.8%, nearly 25% higher than the national average (5.5%), and at its highest point since June 1993.

As with your old school despots, the Chicago 9 are not fond of dissent and so over the last decade they have created more than 727,000 Illinois refugees who have sought sanctuary for their families and their pocketbooks in other states.

As a result of this mass exodus, Illinois will lose at least one Congressional seat after the electoral remap in 2010. I say, get rid of them all. Who needs a Congressional delegation when we could have a singular Daley or Madigan or Jones or Stroger do everyone's thinking and deciding for them?

The Chicago 9 have also been quick to recognize that an educated populace is a dangerous populace. Thanks to an effective two-pronged approach consisting of an adroitly engineered brain drain that has made Illinois the 45th ranked state in the nation in terms of attracting college graduates combined with urban school systems run like Stalinist agrarian co-ops, the Chicago 9 have gloriously created the obedient population on which they may feast with impunity.

Give away some state jobs and a few party posts to the useful idiots; buy off the congenitally compliant corporate class with contracts and prestige appointments; and, Presto! no more need for pesky elections.

We Illinoisans have demonstrated the necessary masochistic tendencies to embrace spirit-crushing tyranny.

The last piece to the utopian puzzle is the consolidation of power by the member of the Chicago 9 who possesses the strongest patronage army and the willingness to don the silliest hat--no Generalissimo is complete without their gold-leaf-laden headwear.

It's time to stop tinkering around with nine potentates and get serious about living our lives under the command control of the most worthy (worthy in a "might makes right" sense, of course) Chicago Democrat.

Let's do this.

And I say … Amen!

LMAO: Chicago Cubs worth every penny.

According to insiders, the Chicago Cubs are about to be sold for the most money ever paid for a baseball franchise. No ... correction ... the most money every paid for ANY sports team.

As a life long fan, nothing thrills me more than hearing, in begrudging amazement, the whines of other fans (especially Sox fans), who just cannot understand why the losingest team in baseball history -- 100 years without a World Series crown -- can be so damned popular. It drives Sox Coach Ozzie Guillen to public rage. How can this team keep filling the stadium when teams with impressive winning records play ball in half empty stadiums.

Part of the reason is that while the Cubs are not historic winners, they are still playing baseball like it is a game and not a business -- and playing it in a good old fashion "ball park" instead of a high tech stadium with fireworks, ancillary entertainment and gimmicky contests to attract audience.

I only hope the next owners will have some clue to what makes the franchise so valuable and stick with the winning formula. Image the return on their investment if the Cubs actually pull off a World Series.

Sox angst is easy to understand. Sure, they do a lot of "na na na" when the Sox win the World Series, or the City Series, but they don't get it. Sox fans love winning. Cub fans love their team.

The record breaking sale of the Chicago Cubs proves that winning does not produce revenue. Attendance and viewership does.

If Jack Brickhouse and Harry Carey were around for this sale, you would not have to guess to much to know what they would say. "Hey! Hey!" "Holy Cow!"

Friday, July 18, 2008

TIDBIT: One historic first that seems to have been overlooked.

In this 2008 election of historic firsts -- first black, almost first woman, oldest geezer, first POW, first time Jesse Jackson ever apologized -- one of the most significant "firsts" seem to have been overlooked. I believe this is the first time in American history that BOTH parties nominated an unlelectable candidate. Not wonder the people are confused. How do we NOT elect both one of these guys?

OBSERVATION: Turning the guns on criminals

One of the repeated complaints I get for thinking it is okay for honest and sane citizens to have guns in public is that it potentially turns them into vigilantes. They will be popping off criminals with excessive lethal force. To which, I answer: “So?”

It is a tragedy when a construction worker falls to his death while working on a skyscraper. It has happened before, and will happen again. Yet, no one says we should stop building skyscrapers.

I look at it this way. Crime is a profession, too, and it has risks. One of the risks is death. Certainly, the death of even a criminal is a tragedy. Hell, the misspent life is a tragedy. If gun ownership increases the risk for the criminal, so be it. Then a would-be crook can look at the risk before entering the profession. Maybe the risk will be too high. Good!

There is no shortage of construction workers, even though they know the risk of their profession. The only difference between the crook and the construction worker is that society is better off if we minimize the risk to the worker (hence safety standards), but we maximize the risk to the criminal (armed citizens).

Now don’t get me wrong. I am way not in favor of going out and gunning down every kid stealing a hubcap. But, I think every kid who steals a hubcap should know that being killed is a possibility. Nothing wrong with making crime a little more dangerous for the criminal. When a person is engaging in a criminal activity, they should understand that they are subjecting themselves to possible on-the-spot street justice.

Have you ever had a person point a gun at you? I have, in a street stick up. It is a very, very scary feeling. Believe me. You’re paralyzed. You can't attack and you can't out run a bullet. You just hope and pray that the guy is not going to pull the trigger for the hell of it. I think every criminal should have to face that feeling during the commission of a crime. Like they say in the old cowboy movies, "One false move and your dead."

We train our police to exercise restraint, and use minimum force. There is sort of a theory that if you are not committing a death penalty crime, you should not be subjected to lethal force. I guess that is okay for a well trained police officer, but we cannot expect frightened citizens to respond in the same way.

If a person breaks into a house, a trained, bullet-proof vested police officer (with back-up) will likely point his gun, announce he is an officer, and yell “You’re under arrest.” But you don't have a cop sitting in your home when the break-in occurs. An armed citizen is more likely to shoot the intruder with out asking a lot of questions to determine intent. I think both have acted appropriately under the circumstances.

And even as a tragedy, the death of a criminal may have a benefit to society. Since most criminals are repeat offenders, and often become more dangerous as their careers advances, there is something to be said for the potential of precluding future crimes.
When growing up in the ‘hood in Chicago, there was a widely held belief that gangsters killing each other was not the same level of tragedy as gangsters killing innocent people. Actually, mob hits were not considered much of a tragedy at all – unless a bystander got whacked accidentally.

I really do not see where the right to carry and conceal makes us all vigilantes. This is about personal protection, not community-based volunteer crime fighters. Police are rarely at the scene of a crime as it is unfolding. We are. That makes a gun the real "first responder."

REACT: Crime and punishment, Chicago style.

I suspect Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is steaming, as only he can. Seems that the streets of his kingdom have become significantly less safe. Crime has "spiked," as they say. This means the gang bangers, robbers and rapists are running amok. Public school students are being gunned down at a rate of one a week.

It is sooooo bad that our the ever-grandstanding Governor Rod Blagojevich -- sensing a headline -- proposed sending in the National Guard and helicopters to police the streets of Chicago, calling the Mayor's turf “out of control.” Ouch! Double ouch!!

Of course, the Governor got his headline -- in fact the entire cover of the Chicago Sun-Times with him caricatured as the quintessential cowboy sheriff. I only hope there were no City Hall staffers within paperweight distance when the morning paper hit the Mayor's desk.

Already, the new police superintendent, Jody Weis (left), had been brought to the Mayor's fifth floor City Hall office for a private (leaked to the media) dressing down. He was then dragged before the entire city council for a more public flogging. Maybe the top cop will be the next Daleyite to be tossed under the bus to protect Hizzonor from blame.

Much of the Mayor's angst has to do with the Olympics. Getting a gold medal for crime is not the way to impress the International Olympic Committee.

In response to the crime wave, Daley resurrects his harangue about gun control. Somehow he cannot get it through his stubborn skull that his version of gun control is not the answer. Has not worked. Will not work. In fact, it may be a part of the problem.

For God sake, there is a total ban on gun ownership in Chicago, except for alderman and criminals. (Am I repeating myself here?) What more can you do? Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court may force the city to restore the constitutional right of self protection in the City of Chicago, where police protection is less than assuring. Repealing the gun ban could do more to reduce crime (and the number of criminals) than wimpy regulation and outraged pronouncements.

Daley is also offering a bounty for guns turned into the city -- for pounding into plow shares, I assume. This effort brought in more than 6000 guns in the past (about 10 plow shares worth). But what was he actually gotten off the streets? Broken guns, guns owned by honest citizens who never harmed a soul, stolen guns (yeah, people actually committing a crime to get the bounty), BB and pellet guns and even toy guns. As far as can be determined, it does not appear that the violent crooks (currently busy raising the crime stats) surrendered a single gun.

This year, the program is not going so well. I think it is possible that in view of the Supreme Court decision and the rise in Chicago crime, the people are hanging on to their weapons.

Daley has not figured out that if you cannot disarm the criminals, there is no benefit to disarming the God-fearing public. Maybe if the public had guns, the Governor would not need to send in reinforcements.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

OBSERVATION: Chicago Olympics? Not likely.

According to the latest reports, of the four finalist cities, Chicago is in third place in public support for the Olympics with a luke warm 74 percent. Madrid takes the gold with 90 percent public support. Rio de Janeiro is second with 77 percent, and Tokyo is out of medal range with an embarrassing 59 percent support. The people of Tokyo hosted a summer Olympics in the past. Should their lack of enthusiasm tell us something?

So far, the Chicago Olympic bid is generating nothing but positive civic booster publicity. So much so, that it is ominous that one-fourth of the public is not enthused. I suspect Rio will boost its ranking and Chicago will slip a bit as some of the downsides and objectors begin to surface.

The two big factors are money and infrastructure. While the Chicago Olympic committee talks about the enormous inflow of case from the quadrennial event, most Chicagoans know that optimistic economic b---s--- is the standard in Chicago.

There is the case of the enormous cost overruns for Millennium Park and the short fall in the Grant Park parking garage as a source of funding. One of the major reasons Mayor Daley wants the Chicago Children’s Museum in Grant Park is to shore up the garage revenues – and that probably will be the next disappointment. The foredoomed bottle tax is generating only 25 percent of the revenue the smarty-guy economic forecasters predicted.

It is almost beyond debate that Olympic costs will soar and revenues will fall very short of projections, IF Chicago is selected by the International Olympic Committee. It is the Chicago way.
While much has been said about private sector funding of the Olympic bid, a lot more taxpayer money will be spent than anyone in City Hall will admit. And even the so-called private funding will be provided by CEOs from the corporate treasury – indiscriminately using stockholder money instead of their own. Again, it is the Chicago way.

The lust for the Olympics does not come from grass-level civic pride, but rather from elitist insiders who see the international games as the next cash cow/ego trip. For the Mayor, it is a jewel in the career crown, with tons of dinero to spread around to friends. There are those who will enjoy enormous financial windfalls, and those who will get all the front row seats and headtable assignments --- and those who will get both. The only people who will be left out of the goodies are those paying the tab. Taxpayers and corporate shareholders will be footing the bill, but left fighting for a few tickets in the upper decks. The Chicago way.

If I am correct, however, the only money that will be wasted is the taxpayer and shareholder contributions to the Olympic bid effort. There is an overriding reason Chicago will not get the Olympics, in my opinion. It is C-O-R-R-U-P-T-I-O-N. The political/business environment of Chicago is just too greedy and crooked to be trusted to handle the Olympics.

Perhaps we locals are used to operating within this culture of corruption, but we cannot expect the OIC to embrace our low standards of public service and political performance. The international folks are not fitted with the same civic blinders that prevent us locals from seeing the corruption and criminality that characterizes our political culture.

As Olympic plans move forward, it is likely that controversy will ensue. Who is getting appointed to what? And why? Wired in contracts. Dislocation of neighborhoods. Disruption and environmental denigration of green space.

There is also the emboldenment of the civic community in response to the increasingly autocratic style of the Mayor. The night time destruction of Meigs and the forced imposition of the Children’s Museum in Grant Park were victories for the Mayor. In their wake, however, there appears to be an anti-Daley coalition forming. Behind closed doors, many civic activists see the sinking of the Mayor’s pet Olympic project as the perfect retribution. Given the natural problems the Chicago bid already faces, it will not take a lot of civic turmoil to scare off the OIC.

There is also the question of “the great uncertainty.” The IOC will make the final decision in 2009, but they must envision the Chicago of 2016. Given the growing financial crises at the city and county levels, and the uncertainty of the power of the historic Democrat machine, there is ever reason to question whether Chicago can provide the longer term stability the IOC would be seeking.

If you have any desire to be in the stands for the 2016 Olympics, I would book a flight to Rio.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

REACT: Romrney ... no choice.

I had been hopin’ and a prayin’ that Mitt Romney would carry the GOP standard into this year’s presidential election. I was counting on a Romney/Clinton race as the best option. Obviously, I didn’t get either of my first choices.

On the Democrat side, I am not likely to see Clinton even pull off the second spot. However, the speculation is growing that Romney will be John McCain’s veep. I don’t think that is McCain’s best choice, I think he is his only choice.

Of all the candidates, Romney has the looks. You may think this is petty, but the right look is a BIG part of getting elected. Romney is not only handsome, but also knows how to dress the part. (Big hint here for McCain. BUY A SUIT AND TIE !!!!!)

In addition, the former Massachusetts governor is a pretty good stump speaker. He is every bit a match for Barack Obama’s well developed and effective speaking style.

In terms of issues, Romney's views are probably the closest to those of the American public. He brings much needed credibility to the McCain ticket.

Romney also supplies a cadre of talented political professionals desperately needed on the Republican team. McCain has not been able to benefit from the highly experienced national GOP presidential campaign infrastructure. This may have a lot to do with the troublesome and sometimes controversial McCain personality.

Some conservatives are unconvinced that Romney would add right wing appeal. Hell …. compared to Obama’s policies, Ted Kennedy could add right wing appeal. More about that in the future.

Romney is well equipped to take of the Oval Office if that becomes necessary. While the public normally pays only a modicum of attention to the issue of succession, McCain’s age and health make this a more serious consideration. For some of us, succession would be a good thing. (Okay, slap my hand for saying that, but it is true.)

Some say the "Mormon thing" is a problem. I think it is no more of a problem than the “Muslim thing” is a problem for Obama. Granted, Obama is not a Muslim, but it is still an issue on the fringe. By the time the election is upon us, Mormonism and Muslimism will be a mostly forgotten issue.

There is still those pushing for Senator Joseph Lieberman. As an independent, they say he has appeal across the partisan divide. While I tend to like the philosophic foundation of his independence, I think is he more like the political pariah who has few friends in either camp.

Then there is former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (right). He has a lock on the religious right that McCain needs to cobble together a winning coalition. Unfortunately, he would also have a lot of moderates and potential crossovers – who McCain also needs for his winning coalition – running in the opposite direction. Besides, one comb-over per ticket is enough.

Then there is Governor Charlie Crist (left), of Florida. He getting married -- some say in anticipation of the vice president race. If that is true, he must have a lock on it. I cannot imagine someone actually getting married on speculation that the will be running for Vice President. Okay, maybe its love. Happens on occasion – even in politics.

Crist has major problem, however. He’s too tan. Yeah, too tan. He is George Hamilton without the hair dye. He looks too much like just another sun belt retiree – only this time the gold chain, pinky ring type. Besides, the Florida home base is a constant reminder of the chads issue.

(Is it just a coincidence that McCain and Crist both look like retirees and they both come from states with high populations of … retirees? Hmmmmm?)

Then there is Secretary of State Condolezza Rice (right) Picking Rice would certainly be a bold move. If successful, it would mean the GOP gets credit for the first black and the first woman veep. Her problem is femininity. I do not mean being a woman, but the question of femininity. She’s sexy -- actually datable. (Yeah, i know it is a doctored photo, but try that with Madeleine Albright [left] and you get my point.)

Haven't you ever noticed that women heads of state have a certain “toughness.?” ( I would say a bit on the “butch” side, but the political correct left wingers would accuse me of using coded language.) Pretty and perky is okay for the distaff side, but not for the person in charge. Think. Margaret Thatcher. Golda Meir. Indira Gandhi. Not a looker in the bunch.

Even within the pantheon of U.S. contenders there are no frilly females. Hillary Clinton. Geraldine Ferraro. Former secretaries of state Jean Kirkpatrick and the aforementioned Madeleine Albright. You can’t be too handsome to be President of Vice President if you are a guy (just to tan), but you can be too pretty if you are a gal.

All things considered, Romney is it.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

TIDBITS: Guns, war heros and glass ceilings

#1. A jury in Texas acquitted 62-year-old granddaddy Joe Horn (pictured) after he shotgunned to eternity two illegal aliens, with criminal and drug records, who were robbing his vacationing neighbor’s home. He saw them exiting the window with sacks of goods. He called the police emergency number, grabbed his gun and confronted the crooks. According to his statements, they acted in a threatening manner, he blasted away and called 911 a second time to say he had handled the matter. There is controversy about the verdict because the 911 operator advised Horn against confronting them. The crooks (not victims) were shot in the back. Was it justifiable? The jury said, “yes.” I am in no position to second-guess the judgment. I am too much of a softy to ever want to see anyone killed. I also am not one of those xenophobic individuals on the immigration issue. I tend to lean to amnesty for the good ones. However, I am totally a believer that the risk of crime is possible death. This idea that a private citizen has to defer their own life or property to some concocted rights for a person in commission of a serious felony crime is non-sense. The only bleeding hearts ought to be the criminals – and I am not speaking figuratively. Thanks to gun ownership, a law abiding senior citizen was able to protect his neighbor’s property, his own self and, in the process, end the criminal career to two bad guys – protecting the property and lives of likely future victims. I am honestly sorry they are dead, there is tragedy in that. Bad as they were, they had loved ones. But … they brought it on themselves.

#2. They are military veterans, who claim to have served with the presidential candidate. They say his record is bogus. They claim the candidate was involved in actions contrary to good conduct and the best interests of the nation. The “Swift Boat” veterans? Nay! For all the complaining about the attacks on Senator John Kerry, and for all the promises to be different – you know, the “change” thing – these latest attacks are being directed at John McCain by a group of Vietnam vets who are part of the Barack Obama underbelly support team. Known as Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain, they have a website that dumps on the GOP soon-to-be standard bearer. Change? Riiiiiiiiiight! (We might also note that McCain returned as an America-loving patriot, while Kerry ruthlessly turn on his country AND spread malicious lies about the men he served alongside.)

#3. When General (nuisance) Wesley Clark was maneuvering to be the Democrat presidential candidate, it seems to me his military record was one of his major talking points. Granted, he rose higher than McCain, but where was his battle experience? Where is his Purple Heart? Is a guy who was a product of the military/industrial complex -- a military bureaucrat -- better suited than a guy who faced war on the battlefield? McCain fought in wars, and knows the “hell’ of them. Clark organized and executed wars as a career. He is the guy who sent the McCains of the world to do the dirty work.

#4. Walking the walk can be a problem. For all his left wing rhetoric, especially on feminist issues, Obama is a good old boy politician at home. Seems his staffing places men in the highest ranking jobs with the best pay. He has his own glass ceiling, and equal work does not warrant equal pay. So says a recent analysis of public records. Interestingly, McCain actually has more women in top positions and top pay than men. Go figure.

#5. Recently, on (hot) Air America, the hosts opined that it was there job to get Obama elected. They dismissed the idea that they should even attempt balance and fairness. “We have to do everything possible to make sure Obama gets elected,” they incanted. They amazingly suggested that they should not even be limited to telling the truth because, according to them, the other side lies all the time. Fight fire with fire, they say. I have no problem with talk show biases, having a political point of view, but when does the public license for free speech over the air become illegal campaigning? As taxpayers, we subsidize the privilege of broadcasting personal opinions. However, we do not allow churches and other institutions to use our tax dollars to support partisan campaigns. There is a difference between “I disagree with candidate A’s position, and we must do everything possible with our broadcast privilege to get candidate A elected. I am not sure where the line is drawn, but I think it is clear that (hot) Air America crosses it.

OBSERVATION: Figures do not lie, but liars figure.

I was about to give the progressives (nee radical lefties) the benefit of ignorance. However, I have come to the conclusion that their distortions are malicious propaganda mongering. Shakespeare said “a rose is a rose.” For the off-the-chart-liberals, apparently a rose is what ever they choose it to be.

Hot Seat, one of the informal opinion surveys that pop up on my computer screen posed this question after General (nuisance) Wesley Clark demeaned the military hero record of John McCain. “Should John McCain’s war record be an issue in his presidential bid?”

(Let’s pause here. First, in terms of useful information, I personally think these “informal’ [read that unscientific] opinion surveys are akin to newspaper horoscopes, advice to the lovelorn columns and check-out counter newspapers. Worthless. Second, any reader of this blog will know that I am not the most enthusiastic McCain supporter on the planet.)

Having said all that, I was interested to hear (hot) Air America’s gab maestros noting that according to Hot Seat, 57 percent of the nation said the war record was pertinent. It carried a majority in every state except Maine. Apparently “as goes Maine, so goes the nation” is as anachronistic an adage as “two chickens in very pot.” (For the younger readers, no, the latter was not an advertisement for the soup at KFC. They are both ancient political rallying cries.)

The on-air liberal talk show hosts were all a twitter in their opinion that the pseudo poll validated General Clark’s unseemly assault on McCain’s war record and its value to his perspective on the presidency. A cheap shot, to be sure. It never occurred to these wishful thinkers that maybe a lot of those who said “yes” to the online survey thought his experience was relevant and valuable in a positive way. Duh!

Now least you think this is a stretch. It was only last week that these same counterclockwise media spinners were alleging great public opposition to the Supreme Court’s gun ruling by noting that only 23 percent of the public approve of the work of the highest court in the land. This, they proffered, proves that the conservative court if not very well like.

Again, it did not occur to these ethereal radio voices that a lot of the disdain of the Court is from conservatives who do not like a lot old rulings, such as election reform, abortion, affirmative action, etc. I am an example of what I say. My one-time contempt of court has gradually given way to greater respect as the newer justices have restored a strict constructionist, originalist majority. Without qualifying the source of the disdain, the general opinion cited on (hot) Air America is meaningless. Duh!

The left seems particularly conditioned to using statistics like the drunk uses the lamp post – more for support than enlightenment.