Wednesday, October 14, 2009

No No Nobel Prize ... and why not?

Nothing gives more evidence of the narrow philosophic view of the grantors of the Nobel Peace Prize than the omission of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

The bold diplomacy of Nixon transformed China from dangerous adversary to friendly trading partner. In bringing down the old Soviet Union, Reagan ended the 40 year Cold War. No diplomatic efforts in

modern times have brought more global peace and stability.

The largely failed or nonexistent peace making accomplishments of Nobel winners Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama fade to inconsequential by comparison. If you add Al Gore as another recent political recipient, the Nobel Peace Prize becomes a farce.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Peace prize and past presidents

When it comes to awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to U.S, presidents, the folks in Oslo have had a dubious record. Four American Chief Executives have received the Award: Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter and now Barack Obama.

Roosevelt was famous for his statement that American should “speak softly, but carry a big stick.” Of course, the “big stick” was military might, which he tended to deploy with little hesitancy. The bellicose Mr. Roosevelt was never known to speak softly – literally or figuratively.

Woodrow Wilson let this nation into the “war to end all wars” – which it did not. Perhaps the Nobel committee was impressed with his failed effort to create a League of Nations. They were, and are consistent promoters of unitary global governance. They apparently were not concerned that Wilson was a virulent racist who segregated the armed forces, among other things.

Then there was Jimmy Carter, who produced a series of high visibility summits and peace accords in the Middle East. You may be aware that the good work of Jimmy Carter has not provided a moment of peace in that region.

And into this undistinguished field cometh Barack Obama., taking time away from managing two major wars (in Carter’s Middle East, no less) to accept the Nobel Peace Prize. In one way, he may be more deserving than the others. Where they have all failed, Obama has done nothing.

Nothing Noble about the Nobel Prize for Obama

The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama is not about his accomplishments in advancing world harmony. He has none. In fact, his continuation of the war in Iraq -- despite his campaign promises -- his expansion of the war in Afghanistan, his appropriate threats against Iran’s nuclear program and the unveiling of America's newest super bomb would have brought George Bush the derision of the left-wing Nobel committee.

Why then the prize?

It is quite simple. The Nobel folks did not award Obama the Prize in recognition of any accomplishments, but as a means of promoting his embrace of their “after America” global view in which the United States is only a participant in an international collective, not a noble leader. The Obama doctrine repudiates the concepts of America as an inspiring beacon of democracy, as well as the traditional “America first” perspective of his 42 predecessors. Not since President Franklin Pierce secretly aligned with the Confederacy has a president stood in such opposition to the fundamentals of America.

Obama’s increase in world popularity results from his decision to build himself into a global personality at the expense of a weaker America, political and economically. From community organizer to President of the United States, Obama has always found comfort with the critics of America -- not just differences over policy, but a repudiation our fundamental concepts of limited government, personal freedom and free market capitalism. In many ways, he is the anti-Reagan.

The awarding of this year’s Prize does not reflect Obama’s accomplishments, but reveals in stark clarity the vehemently anti-American view of the Oslo committee. To have them in premature praise and promotion of this President ought to have us significantly concerned about what they find so appealing about him.

A postmortem on the postmortem of Ted Kennedy

Have we passed the mourning period for Ted Kennedy yet? Since his name now appears in the press less than Princess Di, I assume we have. I did not want to seem disrespectful at the moment of the Senator’s internment, and I thought I should wait to see if my reflections of the moment would prevail over time. They did, and I assume it is now safe to be disrespectful.

You see, there was a moment in time that I thought the Kennedy industry would set aside their usual pompous self importance and their habit of putting everything in their lives (and deaths) to some partisan political advantage. They presume that somehow their personal affairs (no pun intended) are of epic historic proportions. If their family constitutes an American dynasty it should be appropriately known as the Dysfunctional Dynasty.

I was hoping for some dignity in the latest Kennedy nationalized funeral. Now, I said “dignity” – not to be confused with pomposity and grandeur. In that, they are without peers. To be brutally blunt, the funeral and the reporting thereof, especially the left wing blogs, made me puke – well, figuratively.

The objectives of the Hyannis Port public relations machine were three-fold. First, was the effort to sanitize a history of debauchery and immorality that characterized the youngest of the Kennedy boys to a greater degree than his older siblings. No small task, to be sure. Second, to advance his legislative agenda. Third, to create the illusion of good standing with his Catholic Church.

I know one does not usually delineate shortcomings in obituaries – although the most dramatically flawed public figures often find their peccadilloes noted along side the accomplishments in the public press --especially if they are conservative or Republican.

However, the Kennedy obits, written and spoken, created an entirely fictional character. Listening to one speaker after another delineating the biography of Kennedy, the man, I was unable to find anything recognizable from my 45-years of observation of his public life (and a few personal involvements with him). Funereal protocol aside, I must say, there was not much to admire about the man other than his successful grasp of fame, fortune and power.

The second mission of the Hyannis Port public relations machine was to put as much steam behind the faltering healthcare legislation as possible. The funeral was less a wake than a lobbying event. “Single payer” and “public option” were as common an uttering as the more conventional “doesn’t he look good” and “he will be missed.”

Any hope of solemnity and dignity, evaporated in the crassly political content of the various memorial events. The Intercessions portion of the high Mass (in which God is called upon to bless specific pleadings) became a roll call of his liberal legislative agenda. Apparently, the Lion of the Senate was channeling his political roar through his own requiescat.

Obituary after obituary favorably referenced Kenney’s political causes, with an array of political guests advancing the illogical notion that Kennedy’s demise should, for some reason, end opposition to the liberal agenda – especially the current healthcare bill. Some suggested that they should pin Kennedy’s name on H.R. 3200 as if that, in and of itself, would de-putrefy the proposal.

Thirdly, there was the painfully obvious effort to turn the apostate into a devout Catholic. I do not think Mother Theresa could have been deemed a more faithful Catholic than the dead Kennedy based on the eulogies.

The low point was the letter to the Pope from the dying senator, carried to His Eminence by none other than President Barack Obama – perhaps the most powerful messenger angel ever so deployed. Keeping with the Democrats’ and the Kennedy’s propensity for the grand scale lie, Kennedy introduced the President to the Pope as a man of enormously deep faith.—who, incidentally, is still trying to figure out where to attend church in D.C.

The epistle to the Pope was nothing less than a pre-posthumous, self-serving stunt to make Kennedy appear to be a devout Catholic. It, too, contained Kennedy’s legislative agenda. The letter carried to the Pope served both the legislative and the canonization purposes.

However, the Holy Father was to smart to be suckered into a backhanded absolution of Kennedy’s Catholic failures. Teddy received a reply from a staffer that was more or less a boilerplate “thanks for your letter” response, with a promise of some prayers on the Senator’s behalf -- much like the letter my wife’s grandmother received posthumously from the previous Vicar of Christ via a staffer.

The grandeur of the Catholic funeral would suggest the demise of one of the Knights of Malta. The praise of powerful clerics reinforced the image. Kennedy’s own priest/confidant gave an obituary that was so biased that even the press called it an attempt to refute any critics who might question Kennedy’s devotion to and good standing with the Church of Rome. Not only was Kennedy given the appearance of a general absolution for his apostasy, but it was alleged that his separation from the Catholic Church never occurred.

Despite the best efforts of the powerful Kennedy media mill, there were hints of the bad Catholic Kennedy. In a sly political move, the funeral was shifted from the likely Boston Cathedral to a lesser church so there would be an excuse for Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley to take a pass on officiating. He had been under considerable of pressure from pro-life Catholics to reject a high ritual canonization-style ceremony. At Arlington Cemetery, it was retired Cardinal Theodore McCarrick who did the honors.

Dealing with the letter from the Pope …er … not the Pope, the Kennedy media spinners began selling the notion that it is the tradition of the Pope to answer through underlings. Of course, this is true for all the mundane mail the Pontiff receives, but the Pope actually does communicate in writing when he see fit. He did not see fit in this case. Put in its proper perspective, the Pope showed more contempt than respect for the public relations gimmick.

According to the Catholic Church, anyone who engages in abortions, patient or practitioner, and anyone who supports abortions exists outside the Catholic communion. It is an excommunicable offense – beyond the simple matter of confession and absolution. Repentance and forgiveness requires a course correction. Senior Church theologians have placed the encouragement of abortions as an automatic excommunication. You will recall that when running for President, Senator John Kerry was denied communion for his stand on abortion.

It seems to me that no amount of power and money, and no level of corruption within the Church, can alter God’s mandates as Catholic teachings state and enforce them. On this issue alone, Kennedy cannot offer himself as a devout Catholic adherent. He may not have been a Catholic at all in the eyes of the true Church.

The Catholic Church’s bending to the power and money of the Kennedys has garnered it significant and well deserved disrespect. Bending dogma to accommodate Kennedy’s cash-on-the-barrelhead annulment of his 25-year marriage to his first wife and mother of his children; to overlook his stand on abortion, the Church’s most fundamental issue of the day; and to turn a blind eye to his public infidelity and his repeated tendency to cause scandal (another major Catholic no-no) have all harmed the Church more than it helped him. The Church’s granting him its highest rituals, honors and endorsements have shown the Boston Catholic hierarchy to be as easily bought off as a Chicago city inspector.

Even from the grave, Kennedy is his own salesman. His recent book is little more than a long press release to spin his tawdry legacy into a Camelot fantasy. To entitle his autobiography “True Compass” is reflective of his unmitigated gall. “Crooked Shillelagh” might have been a more appropriate title.

Following the assassination of brother John Kennedy, there was a folk ballad with the lament “Johnny we hardly know ya.” In hearing the funeral oratory and examining the posthumous autobiography, one can come to the same conclusion about Teddy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Lion of the Senate will roar no more

On the passing of Ted Kennedy, we are being deluged with nothing short of a canonization obituaries – as if extreme praise will obliterate the facts of his personal history. The Kennedy family, their circle of friends and the press have always been treated like royalty. The occasions of their lives are always cast as some seminal historic event. Only the gods of Olympus could equal Kennedy's thundering oratory.

Certainly, Kennedy was a powerful senator, and a political tour de force. I give him that much. I will also respect the left’s affection for a man who carried the standard for so many of their causes.

But there is the other reality. The man had the personal ethics of a back alley crap shooter. Throughout most of his life he was noted for his lapses, not his achievements. He got into Harvard not on the merits of his intellect or academic achievement, but simply due to the pocketbook of his parents – a practice that has brought scandal down on the University of Illinois system. He was bounced out of Harvard twice for cheating. Daddy’s money took care of that.

He was both cowardly and criminal in leaving the scene of an accident that cost the life of MaryJo Kopechne. He ran from the scene in an attempt to conceal his involvement. He called family and political aides before police and medics. Reports suggest that the young lady had enough air trapped in the submerged vehicle to have survived a rescue. One judge said outright that the late senator was the cause of MaryJo’s death. By all accounts, the distinguished senator from Massachusetts was guilty of vehicular homicide. Again the Kennedy money thwarted justice and accountability.

He destroyed is first marriage, and almost destroyed his first wife, with womanizing, drunkenness and belligerence. His fame and financial contributions to a corrupt Catholic Church system bought him a unique annulment after a long consummated marriage with children – and disrespect to the Church that genuflected to the Kennedy power and wealth.

While his office issued central casting photos of a handsome statesman with flowing white hair, the tabloids had a field day showing the real Ted Kennedy as a blubberous drunken sot cavorting with an endless string of women.

The man dubbed as the “Lion of the Senate” by a fawning gallery of liberal leaders was really more of an alley cat.

He slowed down in later years, his body somewhat ravaged by decades of abuse. Once it was obvious the Kennedy clan had no inherited right to the Oval Office, and his flaws were great to win public acceptance as the nation’s leader, Kennedy seemed to focus on his career almost exclusively. Perhaps there was a moment of epiphany -- a redemption that somehow escaped the Kennedy public relations machine. I hope so. I hope he found his way to heaven. I really do. But that does not mean I find his departure from this mortal shore an uncompromised loss. It still could be that he took more from this world than he gave.

It is ironic that the Democrats should lose his voice and his vote as Congress comes to a moment of truth on Kennedy’s trademark issue – nationalized healthcare.

May he rest in peace.

FOOTNOTE: One way to look at the excessive attention given the Kennedys is to look a political family with an equally impressive record of public service – the apparently more humble Bush family. Old Prescott was a U.S. Senator for Connecticut. His son, George H., was in Congress, headed the CIA, served as ambassador to China, Vice President and then President of the United States. In the third generation, George W. was in Congress, then Governor of Texas and on to the White House. George W.’s brother served as Governor of Florida. The Kennedy advantage in gaining public attention may be due to monumental ego, dysfunctionality to the point of repeated scandal, and liberal bonefides that turned the press and historians in to flaks.

Monday, February 23, 2009

OP ED: Burris burrows in ... as well he should.

Many in the pundits in the press conjecture that Illinois Senator Roland Burris (pictured with Senate President Harry Reid) will have to resign as a result of the onslaught of negative publicity fomented by the press, itself. This media feeding frenzy has been given more heft than it deserves by a gaggle or self-serving politicians who either have an interest in replacing Burris with themselves of an ally, or merely see piling on as a hook to get their name and face in the press for another day. The psychology that is driving this hyper hype is the same that leads mobs of otherwise descent people to “take matters into their own hands” as an outcome of irrational hysteria.

So many of those calling for Burris’ resignation claim to respect him and consider him a friend. They cite his distinguished career. He is often described simply, but meaningfully, as “a good man.” Are we to conclude from this that the U.S. Senate is no place for “a good man?”

More specifically, all the jawboning and editorializing in the world cannot force the resignation. Only the U.S. Senate can expel a member, and it is more than likely that the collegial Upper Chamber lacks the authority or resolve to take such action in this case.

There are two major reasons that Burris should not resign. First, he has done nothing that warrants his stepping down. Yes, there have been inconsistencies in his testimonies and affidavits – nothing, according to prosecutors, that rises to the level of perjury. Despite media smears that have label Burris an egregious liar, his inconsistencies are not too far outside the range of anyone being asked questions in different ways on different occasions -- and certainly nothing near the level of prevarication by those who now smugly demand his ouster. Unfortunately, such hypocrisy is pandemic in politics.

The second reason is that Burris needs to complete his current term to have any chance to reclaim his hitherto pristine reputation as public official. For some 30 years, Burris was praised by the political, civic and business communities as an outstanding public servant and honorable man – never even a hint of scandal (quite and accomplishment in Illinois). But even that history has been twisted, distorted and re-written by press and politicians to further demonize him. Once known for his friendly manner, accessibility and humility, Burrs is now labeled an arrogant hack.

If he were to resign today, he would slip into the shadow of public attention as the press created caricature. He would leave the public stage with the unfounded accusations of his detractors as his legacy.

Some say that the controversy leaves him powerless to perform his duties. How so? He still has all the powers of his office, his intellect and his skills. He can and will wheel and deal with the best of them. His colleagues are not likely to shun him for the benefit of the home town lynch mob – especially since they need his vote to stay close to that veto proof number and he still has the distinction and advantage of being the Senate’s token African American.

Once it is obvious that he will not resign, I suspect the media will cool down and shift lens and pens to some new political reality show – new indictments, new scandals, new investigations, the trial of Rod Blagojevich (or maybe just the antics of Rod Blagojevich). This will give Burris an opportunity to settle in as a hard working Senator for another 18 months – and longer if the public suddenly finds their incited anger turning to a sense of guilt.

People in the public eye are often advised to step down at the peak of the career to lock in their future reputation. Conversely, it is not advisable to step down at the nadir.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

REACT: Making your car a tax taxi.

It just goes to show that you cannot rely on Republicans to have any respect for American freedom. They can be as avaricious of tax money and as contemptuous of public privacy and freedom as any so-called progressive Democrat. Big Brother has more than a few siblings in the GOP camp. How bad can it be if President Barack Obama has to oppose a federal government tax increase and power grab proposed by one of his own Cabinet members -- an infamous RINOs (Republican In Name Only), to be sure?

Once again the American public was about to be hoodwinked, or should I say LaHood-winked. Seems that newly minted Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, an Illinois insider Republican (need I say more?) has proposed that drivers be taxed on the miles driven by having a GPS unit mandated for all cars (increasing the sticker price, of course). Essentially, you car becomes a tax taxi.

LaHood proposed to nationalize a concept that is being explored in a few states, including Massachusetts (need I say more?). The mileage charge would vary according to the driving locations. City drivers, where there is more congestion, would pay a higher rate. Rural drivers, where cow flatulence is the most serious pollutant according to our environmental geniuses in Washington, would be taxed at lower rates. The GPS feature, will allow that rate to change automatically as you travel from zone to zone. Of course, government issued cars would not be taxed.

One of the outcomes of this creative taxing is a form of punishment for drivers using low-fuel consumption vehicles. The feds are afraid that lower usage will reduce tax revenues. Duh!

Now … they could just increase the gas tax to achieve the same result. So, why not? Because … this new form of taxation will provide government with two things it loves almost as much as our money. It will give them a reason to establish another cancerous bureaucracy (probably in LaHood’s DOT) and provide a windfall of personal tracking information on every citizen in America.

I suspect the next group in support of this will be law enforcement officials, who will claim that they can track suspects through this system. No one can argue that constant, around-the-clock surveillance of all citizens can reduce the crime rate. But … a police state is not what the founders had in mind.

Fortunately, President Obama has slapped down his Trans Secretary in rather firm tones. This will not be the policy of his administration. Whether he comes to this out of conviction or political savvy – realizing the public backlash that would ensure – is of no consequence. Give him credit where credit is due.

Footnote: Anyone who thought LaHood would bring conservative Republican values to his new post does not know him or the political environment from whence he comes. Putting him at DOT is akin of inviting the fox in the hen house – case in point.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

NOTABLE QUOTABLE: The voice of Ronald Reagan

Sometimes a person writes something that cannot be improved by analysis or editing. I recently read this article by Michael Reagan, son of the late President. Rather then regurgitate his points with less eloquence, I thought you should just read what he wrote. So here it is.

Requiem For A Republic
By Michael Reagan
February 14, 2009

It is not true that grown men don't cry. I'm grown and I'm on the verge of tears. A Republic I have loved all my life is being is being murdered and the crime is an inside job.

If you hear a whirring sound in the background it is my dad Ronald Reagan, who loved and served this nation, spinning in his grave as his latest successor plunges a carving knife into America's vital organs.

In his wildest dreams Ronald Reagan never thought that a president of a United States, now in the throes of a serious economic crisis, would adopt a solution to the problems of our economy that would not only worsen the situation, but set in motion the beginning of a transition of the government of the United States from a Constitutional Republic into a coercive quasi-Marxist regime where Washington is the master of our people instead of their servant.

Let it be said loud and clear: Barack Obama's so-called stimulus bill, feverishly embraced by his sticky-fingered Democratic minions in the House and Senate (and three craven Republican senators), will not do a single thing to revive our ailing economy. Nothing.

Instead it will put Washington's grasping hands into every nook and cranny of America's economic and social life, and bankrupt an already penurious nation for generations to come.

Think about it -- nearly a trillion dollars to be squandered on a host of pork-laden projects, payoffs to pet leftist groups and causes grasping for their share of the booty, and a few bucks to create jobs, mostly in the public sector.

A trillion dollars we don't have and will need to borrow from our grandchildren and their offspring. A trillion dollars created out of thin air that will drastically reduce the value of the dollars in our pockets in an orgy of runaway inflation.

It wasn't all that long ago that spending a billion dollars on government projects and programs was viewed with alarm. As the late Sen. Everett Dirksen once said, "A billion here and a billion there and pretty soon you're talking about real money."

A trillion dollars is $1000 billion, a sum that the imagination cannot comprehend.

If you could have spent a million dollars every day since Christ was born you would not even come close to having spent a trillion dollars, yet Mr. Obama and his wastrel Democratic stooges on Capitol Hill have no qualms about spending that amount -- and more -- on programs that will do nothing to alleviate the current economic crisis, and in many ways worsen it.

Have we forgotten what Thomas Jefferson warned us when in 1791? He said, "To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. If we run into such debts, we (will then) be taxed in our meat and our drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labor and in our amusements. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people under the pretense of caring for them, they (will) be happy."

Jefferson would have refused to believe that a free people would allow their government to saddle them and their children and grandchildren with a debt so enormous they could not even begin to comprehend.

Nor would he have even dreamt of the government wasting money on projects noted by former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr, such as a billion dollars to subsidize money-losing Amtrak, $20 billion to expand the already-bloated food stamp program, about $2 billion diverted from the wallets of hard-working Americans to subsidize childcare, and $2.8 billion to fund advocacy programs studying the global-warming hoax.

There's another $600 million for newer cars for government bureaucrats $44 million to refurbish the Department of Agriculture, $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, and $150 million to spruce up the Smithsonian buildings and more than $400 million to promote anti-smoking programs and programs to fight sexually transmitted diseases.

That's what future generations of Americans will be paying for. I'm sure they'll thank us.

OP ED: Holiday angst

I get a little testy about the February holiday season.

First there is SAINT Valentine's Day. I am by far not a holy roller, but I resent the so-called mainstream transforming this day to simply "Valentine's Day" out of some politically correct secularization. I not only fault the liberal goo goos, but the media and the card, candy and carnation advertisers for censoring the traditional name of the holiday. St. Valentine was a real person, and this celebration of loving kindness has historic roots in the St. Valentine legend.

Then there is Presidents' Day. We once celebrated the individual birthdays of our first President, George Washington, and our greatest President, Abraham Lincoln, with separate days in February. Now we have some nebulous day recognizing all our chief executives. Some how, lumping Washington and Lincoln in with Millard Fillmore, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton is an abomination. I think the Martin Luther King holiday is fine, but it seems ironic that he can have his own day and the likes of Washington and Lincoln are shuffled in a deck with a few too many jokers. In fact, King is the only person in American history now to have his own personal national holiday. No matter how much you admire King, that is just not right.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I TOLD YA SO: Blago hits the celebrity trail

After the booting out of office of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, a lot of the smarty pants reporters and pundits were lamenting their belief that the colorful and headline making public official would sink into some sort of oblivion. I predicted that he would continue to maintain high visibility as a celebrity in his own right. Well, one look at his post-ouster national media schedule and you can see that Blago is going to give Paris Hilton a run as the spotlight hog of the year. He even appeared on the David Letterman Show. That's star status.

Frankly, I'm at a loss to see why so many reporters and columnists think the media tour is so stupid. What do they expect -- that he will sulk at home until the feds carry him off to court for a quick trial before he is marched up to the gallows?

The media schtick makes perfect sense. He is getting a lot of criticism for what some think is an attempt to influence future jurors -- you know, makes him sort of human, funny and maybe some of his protestations of innocence will be persuasive? And why not? What's he got to lose.

Granted ... he could not deflect the impeachment by the Illinois House and conviction by the Illinois Senate. And despite all the swagger in public, it is mostly likely that he is going to get convicted and sent to the pen. In the meantime, he will be one of the more interesting personalities this side of Drew Pearson.

Friday, January 30, 2009

REACT: Recalling the uterus

Warning: This blog is a bit "salty" as they used to say. If you are clueless, it means that there is adult content and language herein. X-rated, as they say today. Maybe only R -- if you are more liberal in these matters.

As they used to say on Monty Python ... and now for something completely different.

Despite the title over this blog, it is not about some reminiscence of the womb. No. It seems a newly introduced toy "plush uterus" (yeah, you read it right) had to be recalled because the ovaries constitute a "choking hazard." (I will not proceed until you stop laughing -- and hopefully you are not now spewing out a mouth full of coffee.) This news report invites an almost endless number of comedic and/or vulgar retorts. However, you will have to think of them on your own since I will not indulge you with mine.

What I will express is my utter bewilderment as to why this toy was ever conceived. (<-- Did I use a poor choice of words in that sentence?) What parent, in their right mind would bring home this furry piece of anatomy for their daughter? And surely not for their son. My suspicion is that this is a product directed at wacko feminist mommies. You know ... the ones that go to the theatre to see a production the title of which refers to a vocal version of the same organ. Someone should tell them that when their darling daughter asked for a furry pussy, she probably meant a cat.

And what can you do with this toy besides sucking off the ovaries? Cuddle with it? Use it as a pillow? Banish THAT image from my mind. I am not sure what this toy is called. I'm thinking maybe Miss Cutie C*nt would work.

Is this to be an educational toy? If so, will these enlightened little girls reach puberty thinking that they will grow fuzz insides like the telltale hair in all those other body places? And what about that smiley face? Frankly, if I had just looked at this "thing" without prior knowledge, my first guess would not have been a uterus. Way no. I would be thinking a colorized Casper the Ghost carrying a couple plums. Or maybe Barney as a baby. How educational is that?

No boys' version? No Mr. Cuddle C*ck? Maybe the manufactures recognized the obvious chocking hazard without having our government have to tell them. Also, how do you market a symbol of manhood to those wacky fems? Still, I think if we want boys and girls to play well with each other, there needs to be some equity here.

I am also disturbed by the concept of "sharing." I am certainly not the type of parent to advise my daughter to share her uterus with her friends. And I do not want to console my little sweetheart because the boy next store took her uterus and won't give it back. Even worse ... I may have to go next door and tell the parents that their son has my daughter's uterus and will not give it back.

Enough already. Next time you take the kids to the local toy store, make sure you check out the X-rated section.

OBSERVATION: Random thoughts on Blago's political demise.

I have a few closing thoughts on the ousting of Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Thought One: Almost unnoticed in the impeachment and removal from office of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was a provision that he be barred from ever again running for office in Illinois. I think this is overkill … piling on. Frankly, I think the Legislature is way out of bounds in preventing him from running for any office in the future – including Governor.

I mean, I wouldn’t vote for him. His chance of being elected to any major office is pretty minimal. However, I think he should have the right to run, and the voting public should have the right to decide to hire him or not – and not be pre-empted by a mob of over heated politicians.

While the odds suggest Blago will get indicted and convicted, that is not a certainty. What if he beats the rap? He is then an innocent man. What then?

Thought Two: I wonder … if this all happened one year earlier, would Barack Obama have made it to the White House. For sure, the world outside of Illinois had no idea just how corrupt is the political environment that spawned President Obama. So much of life is timing. (I put this item in as a shameless means to get a photo of Obama in the Blog and attract search engines. Forgive me ... but it seems the thing to do these day.)

Thought Three: I heard some pundits chagrining the fact that they will not have Rod Blagojevich around to generate news. They opined that he will now fade into the shadows of public attention. I think not. In fact, I expect Blago to continue to be a very highly visible public figure -- continuing to champion his cause in the main spotlight. More interestingly, he is very likely to seek revenge on his enemies – now as a citizen accuser – by dragging them before the same court of public opinion in which he was convicted.

While the self righteous political leaders sell themselves as the noble civic tribunes, I sort of think of them a bit more like Mafia don’s disposing of one of their own – you know – the guy that became a “problem” to the bosses. There is one of these characters in every mob movie.

Also, I am sure Blago knows where a lot of political bodies are buried and the impeachers forgot to take away his shovel. In view of the large volume of taped conversations, I suspect that a lot of others will find their hitherto secret schemes exposing them to a lot of embarrassment, minimally, and maybe criminal complicity. I dare say, old Blago could actually wind up being an unintentional agent of reform.

So cheer up sports fans. We are about to go into extra innings.

Thought Four: Most objective observers seem to agree that the press lost all sense of fairness and impartiality in the coverage of Barack Obama. It would appear that is also true in the case of Rod Blagojevich -- althought it was wrath, not adulation, that powered the disturbing bias. I mean, I don't like Blago at all, but I expect the media to adhere to traditional standards of professional objectivity. Rather than report on the issues, they scolded him, mocked him, belittled him. He was ravaged from every perspective ... news, editorials, columns and talk shows. At times, I could not tell if Blago's antics or the reporting of them was more outrageous. I guess both politicians and the press lose their perspective when offered an opportunity to be pompous.

Thought Five: Is the Blago saga reminding you -- as it is me -- of the Huey Long (right) epic? If you recall, he was the highly corrupt populist governor of Lousiana. He also was removed from office, but by only one disgruntled government employee with a gun. Blago had 59 disgruntled government employees with an impeachment. Ballots. Bullets? Same result ... well ... almost. If you have no idea what I am talking about, go to Blockbuster and rent the movie. All the King's Men. The author of the story claimed it was not about Huey Long. Yeah! Right! Just like Citizen Kane is not about William Randolph Hearst.

REACT: Governor ousted ... but was it proper?

First the obligatory disclaimer: I am no fan of Governor Rod Blagojevich. I did not like his policies. I think he is most likely guilty of criminal conduct, and will be convicted and sent to prison. I think he deserves no less.

BUT …

I am equally distressed by the way he was removed from office. What transpired is the closest thing to a coup that I have seen under our American system of “innocent until proven guilty” and the quoted more than implemented “rule of law.”

First, there was the highly questionable press conference by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (who I admire greatly). According to many legal experts, he was out of bounds in bringing the case against the Governor to the court of public opinion before he was ready to announce an indictment. In fact, to this day Blago has not been indicted of any crime. Without that press conference to stir the public against the Governor, and coalesce his political adversaries, there would not have been any serious discussion of an impeachment – bad as Blago may be.

Second, there is the question of the impeachment process. Repeatedly noting that it is a “political process,” and not a judicial process, the leaders of the Illinois House and Senate still failed to explain why “fairness” should not be a consideration. In a unique irony, the Governor was barred by the U.S. Attorney’s office from obtaining testimony from those who might be on the witness list for his eventual criminal trial. He could not cross examine witnesses. The Senate-as-court could only listen to a few minutes out of thousands of hours of wire taped conversations because most of the real “evidence” was being withheld for the trial.

Third: It was not a secret vote. While one may say this provided transparency for the public, it really put the “jury” under the pressure of the mob. The secret ballot protects the individual from the intimidation and retribution of the public. I am quite confident that a secret ballot would have produced a number of “no” votes.

Fourth, since it was quite obvious that the Legislature could not prove a “high crimes and misdemeanors” case, they switched to the less specific “abuse of power” accusation. This dubious charge is in the eye of the beholder. By most standards, the Governor’s battles with the Legislature would not rise to impeachment and removal from office – in fact, the notion of impeachment was not even hinted at the time he took the actions now condemned. This means that the central charges against the Governor were not the accusations of the U.S. Attorney, but things he did several years ago that angered members of the Legislature. In other words, those sitting in judgment took advantage of the public anger over the unproven criminal charges to oust the Governor on the vague “abuse” charges.

Fifth, the leaders of the impeachment effort have demonstrated both chutzpah and hypocrisy. Not only did they not accuse the Governor of abuse of power at the time of the alleged abuse, but they praised him, endorsed him, and served on his campaign committee for re-election in the interim. His abuses of power were not recently discovered, only recently defined by those who engaged in the very same processes as one time comrades-in arms.

Yes, it is good that Blago is gone. And yes, Patrick Quinn (left, being sworn in) will most probably make a better governor. However, the impeachment should only be the first step in a broader effort to clean up Illinois government. The political assassins need to be brought to justice next -- if nothing more than to be booted from office in the next election. Though they will now blame the former Governor for every ill in Illinois, they are still part of the business-as-usual process that has brought national shame to the Land of Lincoln.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

TIDBIT: Gore gets frozen out?

Is there a correlation, or is it just a coincidence? As the prolonged cold across America reaches record lows in one place after another, I seem to notice a reduction in media interviews with Al Gore, the Pied Piper of global warming.

REACT: Congratulations to SENATOR Roland Burris -- a good man for the job

Today, Roland Burris was sworn in as the junior senator from Illinois, just as he predicted he would be. For the most part, his critics are fools, liars and hypocrites – or people with flagrant self interests.

First and foremost, we should recognize that in Burris the people of Illinois have an outstanding public servant as their new senator -- not withstanding the unfair and scurrilous criticisms flung at him by pandering political leaders and a public press on a feeding frenzy,

Burris has been one of the most descent public officials in recent history. In an Illinois environment of pay-to-play, insider deals, bribery, vote fraud, cronyism, nepotism, abuse of office, etc., Burris has kept his integrity. He has been faithful to the calling of public service.

He was the first African-American to win statewide office. In sixteen years in office, eight as Comptroller and eight as Attorney General, he was not once the subject of scandal. Somehow his unsuccessful bids for later offices are held against him despite the fact that those campaigns were run with dignity, intelligence and integrity. Losing an election is no sin – and consider for one moment the caliber of those who beat him.

Burris’ critics come in two varieties. The first group is composed of the revisionists, who once praised and endorsed him for public office in the past. On the basis of nothing more than their almost crazed desire to “get” Governor Rod Blagojevich (who certainly deserves to be “got,” and will be), they have turned on Burris like rabid dogs.

For the revisionists, the mere acceptance of a seat in the U.S. Senate wiped out a long, distinguished and honorable career in politics. In maligning Burris, they are re-writing history. Burris is retroactively declared to be a hack politician, an ego maniac, a scumbag of sorts.

What Burris did is not illegal. It is not immoral. It is not even the slightest disservice to the public. As a career politician, his interest and willingness to accept a historic senate seat is understandable. I suspect there are a lot of “good people” who would have done the same. I would have.

Then there are those who still say Burris is a “good man” … “qualified” … “competent” … but he should not have been seated due to the sins of the appointer. They say the appointment is “tainted.” There opposition has nothing to do with Burris as a person. It is that damn Blagojevich.

This is nothing less than guilt by association – and a hypocritical double standard, to boot. Many of the very same people who wrap Blago around Burris had, themselves, close working relationships with the Governor. Lt. Governor Pat Quinn was his running mate for re-election even as the feds were closing in. Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan was Blago’s campaign co-chairman. Much of the media that now demonizes Burris by the proxy of Blagojevich endorsed the Governor’s re-election on their editorial pages.

Taking it personal … I have known Roland for almost 30 years as a friend and as a member of the board of the City Club of Chicago, in the days I served as its executive director. Though I generally leaned Republican, he always had my support because of his competency and decency.

Though much has been made of his monumental grave marker, Roland has always been a humble and unpretentious man. I have never known him to use race to his advantage or as an excuse.

No matter how he got there, or who appointed him, or the twisted logic that places the wrongs of the Governor on his shoulders, I know one thing for sure. Illinois has sent a good man to Washington, and I am confident that he will serve the people of Illinois with effectiveness, dedication and integrity.

REACT: Jose Serrano: The man who would have a king

I knew it! I knew it! I knew it!

I recently told my son that I would not be surprised if there was an effort to rescind the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- the one that limits a President to two terms – now that the Democrats have a lock on Congress and a potentially popular President.

The tradition of two terms was established by George Washington, who appreciated the risk of a President amassing too much power by a life time in office. That is the manner of despots, not (small d) democrats.

It was a good tradition and one that was honored out of principle until a (big D) Democrat, Franklin Roosevelt (right, in cape), recognized and seized the opportunity to become America’s dictator – well almost. His authoritarian lust was stopped by what was left of the democratic spirit and by the Creator, who called FDR home before he could complete his quest for power.

Realizing just how close we came to an omnipotent President, the Congress passed the 22nd Amendment. The Amendment legislation was supported and signed by the man best able to see close up the corrupting influence of prolonged power, FDR's own Vice President, Harry Truman (right). Many of those who supported FDR’s policies endorsed the Amendment. It was a close call for America, and they knew it.

Since Democrats tend to be the party of power over principle, one could anticipate that the temptation to institutionalize their advantage and status would manifest itself in a number of ways – and perpetual power for a President is one of them.

Rising to the occasion is Congressman Jose Serrano (left), a New York City Democrat (which says a lot). He has introduced legislation that would abolish the term limit for the President – not just a President, but for HIS President, Barack Obama. It is a flagrant attempt to seize power for his party, nothing more … nothing less.

Serrano’s desire to prolong the tenure of the head of state maybe explains, or is explained by, his unwavering support and affection for Cuba’s long time dictator, Fidel Castro. Serrano obviously has no respect for the “liberty” portion of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

This is such a bad idea that I would hope his constituents would throw him out of office at the very next opportunity. Unfortunately, his overwhelmingly Hispanic district returns him to Congress by margins that have exceeded 90 percent.

I think any member of Congress who signs on as a co-sponsor of this awful and dangerous legislation should be bounced … and any member who votes for it. These are people who have a dangerous lack of appreciation for the safeguards that have preserved our basic liberties for more than 200 years.

Washington was wise and noble to propose the limit on himself and his successors. When voluntary compliance failed, the Congress was wise to include the protection in the Constitution.

This is an issue upon which President Obama must be very clear and convincing in his opposition. Any equivocation should bring down an avalanche of negative public opinion. At least I sure hope so.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

REACT: Blago impeached AGAIN!!! But not in the eyes of his sister-in-law.

It was only a technicality. The newly seated Illlinois House had to reaffirm the vote of the outgoing assembly. This time the vote to impeach Governor Rod Blagojevich was 117 to 1.

The "all in the family" political culture of Illinois did produce one interesting vote -- it was that lonely "no" vote. It was cast by newly elected State Representative Deborah Mell.

The name sound familiar?

Yep! She is the daughter of powerhouse Alderman Dick Mell ... AND sister of Mrs. Blagojevich. She is the impeached governor's sister-in-law.

Frankly, I am shocked and disappointed that she voted "no." I wouldn't expect her to ruin future Christmases with her sister by voting "yes," but I think she had a clear obligation to abstain in view of the obvious conflict of interest.

In one of her first acts as a representative of the people, with a sworn duty to uphold the law, not-so-Representative Mell opted to cast a personal vote for the exclusive benefit of her family. With 117 votes against her, it is preposterous to suggest that she voted on the merits of the issue or the public interest.

It appears that the heirs to the various political peerages in Illinois are no more imbued wtih a sense of propriety, principle and reform than are their elders.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

IDEA: Obama in mint condition

If you follow this blog, you know I’m a great fan of Abraham Lincoln. As such, I have written often against the elimination of the Lincoln penny. I know I am a few years ahead of things, but here is my idea.

First, let’s all agree that unless Obama screws up badly, he is destined to be immortalized on some denomination of coin or currency. Right? Well, what about creating the Lincoln-Obama penny – a double profile impression. This is a case where two heads are definitely better than one. This would most certainly end any talk of doing away with the distinctive copper coin. Yea!

It is also a most fitting match up. The Great Emancipator and the first African-American President. The fact that both claim Illinois as their home state is a charming coincidence. On the reverse, I propose we replace the Lincoln Memorial with the iconic, albeit romanticized, abolition image (left) of Lincoln personally bestowing freedom on a slave.

This also solves another problem. If you don’t double up on the penny, who gets knocked off one of the other coins or bills to make room for Obama? Washington? Jefferson? Roosevelt? Or, you could wind up putting Obama on a denomination that gets no significant circulation.

I think Old Abe would be right proud to share his coin with the first President that at least looks like he could have had slave ancestors.

(A special thanks to my colleague, Xiong Neng Her, for the execution of the design.)

REACT: Club Gitmo to close as part of Obama austerity policy

I see where President-elect Barack Obama promises to close one of the more fashionable Caribbean spas. I am speaking of Club Gitmo, the terrorist vacation facility on the tropical shores of Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay. Where these guests of the United States government will go next is yet unknown, but most likely they will be placed into the hands of some foreign government host – one more in keeping with the hospitality traditions of their homeland.

Like any luxury spa, Club Gitmo is a full service resort, featuring life-style counselors, recreational activities, room service, free medical coverage, gourmet meals (at least compared to what they received back home), religious services, and excellent security. Rooms (right) are designed in the minimalist style that is all the rage these days.

Some complained of the fraternity-like hazing practices, which even at the best campuses always seem to involve some level of nudity, and the more robust health club activities, such as water boarding and sleep(less) therapy. Still, these were pretty tame compared to similar places in other parts of the world.

I am sure once these mass murders are relocated to other facilities in their native lands, they will long for the days of leisure at Club Gitmo. The new accommodations are not likely to be as commodious, nor the service as polite.

It would be interesting to see how they are doing in a year or so, but as so often is the case, one loses contact with such old friends. In all probability, some will never be heard from again.

OBSERVATION: Protect the right to be tortured

I have been giving more thought to all this talk about torture. I don’t get it. I sort of see torture as something people engage in voluntarily. Maybe those who are tortured are masochists of a sort. They not only choose to be tortured, they have a lot of influence on the methods. You see, all torture is a matter of free choice.

Think about it. Some guy is told that if he does not answer a question correctly, he will have his testicles oiled, wired and braised like fresh water clams. Clearly, he has a choice. The fact that a number of people prefer the latter may not be comprehensible to those of us who have no desire be grilled -- figuratively or literally. But everyone is different. Who am I to impose my values on someone else?

Some people are happy to tell you what they know – can’t wait to brag. Some respond to a simple “please,” or a more emphatic “pretty please.” Others might require a little arm twisting, as they say. But then, there are those who seem to want to explore their personal limits of fear and pain. Why should we deny them there right to do so? We are a free country, after all.

To look at it another way, it is like a quiz show. Remember “Truth or Consequences?” Same deal. If you didn’t tell the “truth,” you got the “consequences.” It was a really popular show.

Maybe if we televised torture, it wouldn’t seem so bad. The hooded hostage holders of al-Qaida televise all kinds of torture and even slitting the throats of infidels on camera -- and that seems to be quite well received with their viewing audience.

I’m thinking we produce a contemporary version: “Truth or Consequences – The Reality Show.” Consistent with our current cultural values, violence and blood could be viewed alongside Saturday morning cartoons, but anything involving nudity would be restricted to late night programming.

Finally, the television would be an important source of education for the children by witnessing the use of such retro devices as the Iron Maiden and the Rack (both pictured on left) – not to mention the debilitating affect of hard rock music played at deafening levels over prolonged periods of time (another Iron Maiden, coincidentally).

Of course, sometimes those tortured die. Everything in life has its risk. If a blood-thirsty maniacal terrorist is determined to stay silent in the face of possible death, again it is his choice. Not much different than assisted suicide, I dare say. This would also be consistent with their cultural and religious suicidal tendencies – usually expressed in crowded places. They seem to get a real bang out of it.

Don’t think I am an unsympathetic person. I know what such decisions are like – and so do a lot of other people. One time a guy pointed a gun at me on a dark street in Washington, D.C. He said, “Give me your money or I’ll kill you.” He was kind enough to give me a choice. I could have said “no” and exposed myself to serious injury or death. I chose to eagerly offer him the contents of my wallet – and I threw in a diamond ring and wrist watch as an incentive not to shoot me anyway. Life certainly can be a matter of making the right choices.

It seems to me that the best example we can show those who would destroy our civilization is our ultimate respect for their right to choose. As a just and honorable society, we must always make sure they know exactly what the consequences are if they choose not to answer the questions correctly. It is also important that once they refuse the less painful option, we must apply the promised consequence with speed and certainty. Honesty is, as they say, the best policy.

I can only assume that the campaign against the option of torture is just the latest example of those control freak liberals wanting to deny people yet another freedom of choice.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

LATE BREAKING: Bus runs over White line?

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White (right) is a bitchn' and a moanin'. Seems that U.S. Senate President Harry Reid & Co. now say that the only thing Roland Burris needs to do to be seated in the U.S. Senate is get White's signature on the certification. A mere technicality.
No more talk of barring Burris because of his appointment by Governor Rod Blagojevich. Forget about the letter from half the Senate saying they will not seat the former Illinois Attorney General. No. No. No. Just sweet talk and a small bureaucratic requirement -- a mere technicality.

In response, White is saying that Reid has thrown him under the bus, or down the stairs strapped to a wheel chair, depending on the quote you prefer. This is all "veeeelly interersting," as comic Arte Johnson used to say.

White claims that his signature isn't needed to seat Burris, even though not long ago he said he was stopping the Governor for filling the seat by ... take a guess ... by not signing the document. If White believes that, why did he refuse the sign the certification? Just some silly symbolic posturing?

Regardless of what White's shifting opinion is at the moment, the U.S. Senate thinks his signature is required -- and they sight a Nineteenth Century rule to back up their words.

But White has every reason to be a bit perturbed. He was encourged by Reid to refuse to sign the certification so that Reid could refuse to seat Burris. In fact, Reid called White personally to thank him for his support and courage. White gave Reid the shred of bureaucratic process -- or lack there of -- that gave an appearance of legitimacy to Reid's flagrantly improper scheme to reject the legally appointed Burris.

Proving that in politics no favor goes unpunished, Reid now lays the blame for not seating Burris on White's missing signature, while he plays host to the soon-to-be junior senator from Illinois.

For his part, Reid, who was rolled by Burris like a cheap cigarette, denies that he was out smarted by the Washington neophyte. He just needed a few minutes face time to assure himself that Burris did not have horns and a tail -- and presumably that the former Illinois Attorney General did not talk like those uppity blacks who Reid (excuse the expression) black balled.

White is not alone on the far side of the limb that Reid & Co. are sawing off. Illinois Attorny General Lisa Madigan has offered an opinon that there is nothing in the law that requires White to obey ... the law. Ya gotta love lawyers. Personally, I sort of think that the part of the oath that that says "uphold the law" could be releveant, but then, I'm not a lawyer.

Madigan first tried to get the Supreme Court to declare the Governor incompetent to serve without a shred of medical evidence or legal authority. It was more than a stretch -- but desperate times require desperate measures. Now she supports the Secretary of State not performing his legal duties.

One suspects that she would not undertaket these political suicide missions if the Governor didn't just happen to be her daddy's chief nemisis. As Speaker of the House, he is doing his own version of get-Blago-at-all-costs by establishing a impeachment committee composed of the Governor's most ardent enemies.

At first, the game plan was to get Blago out before he could make a senate appointment. Now the game plan is to get him out before the Burris appointment sets like cement on a sunny day. They hope they can twist, bend and break the rules as a means of stopping Burris.

My bet is Burris wins with or without White's signature.

LATE BREAKING: Burris seat shoved up Reid's

If there is a shortage of eggs on the grocery shelf, blame Democrat Senate President Harry Reid. It appears he is going around with a LOT of egg on his face.

In a stark repudiation of his threats to block the seating of Roland Burris as the new junior senator from Illinois, the Senate Democrats decided that the law had more authority than their hapless leader.

This also marks a baby step set-back for President-elect Barack Obama, who originally knee-jerked in favor of Reid's scheme. His former colleagues in the Senate politely demurred.

Whew. Finally ... score one for the rule of law -- at least in Washington.

Since the seating is still contingent on the signature of Illlinois Secretary of State Jesse White, the pressure is on him to obey the law and sign the certification, as he is obligated to do. He has no authority to use the technical need for a signature to essentially negate the Governor's exslusive right to name a qualified person -- and we the people should be sure that he does not usurp and assume such authority.

One hopes that the Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, will officially advise White of his involuntary legal duty, but nothing is certain. There are indications that she may try to provide specious legal cover for the Secretary of State in the same way she took a sham case to the Illinois Supreme Court to have the Governor declared incompetent to serve.

OBSERVATION: The stupid politics of evil

As an Illinois resident, I have bipartisan disgust.

There is a saying that America is governed by two parties – the evil party and the stupid party. This was always a good insider joke for political gatherings. In the Land of Lincoln, the joke has become a reality. Given the number of indictments and convictions of mistitled “public servants,” there is no doubt that the Democrats have the clear advantage in taking the gold medal in the evil contest. It is equally clear that the clueless and inept Republican leadership has secured the gold with world record breaking stupidity.

Now there are exceptions. Republican Governor/felon George Ryan is most certainly a strong contender in any evil event. After all, his corruption killed a bunch of people, including six little kids, while sparing heinous murders their call to justice. How evil is that? While Democrat Governor/soon-to-be-felon Rod Blagojevich and his team are gold medal winners in evil, who can deny Blago an individual gold for stupidity?

Notwithstanding occasional personal exceptions, the Democrats have a lock on evil in Illinois, and the Republicans dominate stupidity. The evil of the Democrats is seen all over the judicial system. Scores of indictments and innumerable media expose over scores of years layout the intimate details of their evil. It covers every branch and level of government. The Dem leadership gives life to such sayings as … power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely … and … money is the root of all evil.

To their credit, evil makes more sense than stupidity … in fact, it trumps stupidity. That is why the Democrats hold all the major power in Illinois – and now nationally -- while the doofus GOP looks like the Keystone Kops in a Mack Sennett comedy.

The elephant party can take comfort in the fact that stupidity rarely gets a person indicted. Of course, it does not get a person elected, either. GOP stupidity cleared the path for Barack Obama to travel from the obscurity of the Illinois State Senate to his historic world hero election to the presidency. The U.S. Senate campaign of millionaire Jack Ryan collapsed due to the bumbled handling of a “sex scandal” that had no sex.

But this was just the precursor of what might be considered the most incredibly stupid political tactic in American history. The Illinois GOP gave the winnable Senate nomination to a black out-of-stater on the theory that a black Republican trumps a black Democrat. Worse yet. The black right-wing, out-of-stater, Alan Keyes, was a perennial lunatic candidate who has unsuccessfully run for a number of public offices, including the presidency, to the great embarrassment of the Republican party and us normal conservatives.

Keyes is a Bible quoting, homo hating gadfly with some of the most outrageous public policy proposals conceived by man. Think of the ramifications of this stupidity. Thanks to the failure of the loco … oooops …. I mean local … GOP to stop Obama when he was merely another ambitious, but undistinguished, Illinois politician, he led the Dems to an unprecedented victory on the national scene.

Of course, the Obama juggernaut could have been stopped at the national level, but the stupid party proved its calling with the nomination of John McCain. He, in turn, ran a stupid race.

Three times Obama came to office against all odds because the GOP handed him the victory through applied stupidity. The danger for the GOP is that Obama may turn out not to be evil and not to be stupid. In which case, the Republicans will be relegated to a long era of stupidity in the kiddie pool of politics.

(Click on pics to read inscriptions.)

OBSERVATION: Obama bombed on Burris

Belatedly, President-elect Barack Obama has fallen silent on the issue of Roland Burris as his successor in the U.S. Senate. Had he thought things through a bit more clearly in the first instance, he could have left the issue to Governor Rod Blagojevich, Secretary of State Jesse White and Senate President Harry Reid. Or, he could have given the appointment a pass. Instead, he bought into the specious argument that while Burris is a good man and very well qualified, the perceived sins of his sponsor fatally tainted the appointment. Obama ignored both the law and common sense.

This puts the first half African-American President in sync with the legally dubious and arguably racist posture of Reid. Suddenly, Obama is a partisan in a strategy that risks reducing black membership in the World's Most Exclusive Club to zero.

Obama was a follower when he should have been a leader. Had he accepted the appointment as legal and Burris as qualified, there would have been a junior Illinois senator sworn in with the class of '09. He also would have prevented Reid from looking arrogant, stupid and racist.

Now, the drama will continue on the edge of the national spotlight, casting a discernible shadow across the historic inauguration festivities. Oh, the irony of it all.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

RECOMMENDATION: The GOP should let Blago remain in office

Most likely, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will be impeached before all the evidence is considered and testimony taken. The Illinois House, under the leadership of Speaker Michael (I gotta make my daughter governor) Madigan is a hanging jury. Like any kangaroo court, the verdict was predetermined before the articles of impeachment were even drawn up. The impeachment panel is a means to an end, not a deliberative body.

This means that it will be up to the Illinois Senate to hold a mock trial – at which there will be no rules of evidence – and vote conviction or acquittal. This requires a two-third vote of the membership – and that means a few Republican votes will be required to remove the Governor from office.

The fact that it appears that the GOP senators will follow the lead of the Democrat majority is testimony to their lack of appreciation for the democratic process, their disregard for any presumption of innocence, their non-existent party discipline and their abysmal lack of political savvy.

If the Republican leaders had half the testicular virility of the Governor and the political chutzpah of the Democrats in general, they would either abstain or vote against the conviction of the Governor.

On the merits, Governor Blagojevich was duly elected by the people of Illinois. He has been indicted but not convicted of any crime. The legislature would have to both disregard the vote of the people and the highly vaunted presumption of innocence to remove him from office.

What if the Governor is ultimately deemed innocent of all charges? Will he be unimpeached and returned to office? Would his removal by political adversaries be deemed a coup rather than an impeachment? Could he sue for damages?

Since he is indicted, and a judicial process will now move forward, I would rely on a jury of his peers to resolve the question of criminal conduct, and not subject the issue to unconsidered evidence, amateur judgment and political opinion.

I would also remind the public that the leaders of the lynch mob** are the very same people who endorsed his re-election. In fact, the leader of the impeachment effort was his campaign co-chairman.

The Republicans should have no part in this political chicanery.

Okay. Then there is the “other” reason to vote against conviction. It leaves the Governor and the Democrats – friend and foe alike – to hang out to dry for the next two years, or at least until U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald actually convicts the Governor of at least one felony.

The opposition party could be on the verge of total implosion, and the Republicans seem to be on the verge of bailing them out – a move befitting the often designated stupid party.

Now, I know some say it would be irresponsible not to remove Blago so that peace and tranquility can be restored to the governmental process in Illinois. This just means business as usual.

If the Illinois Senate fails to convict the Governor, and the lynch mob sees that their prey has eluded the noose, things will calm down. The critical business of the state will move forward out of necessity. However, the process is likely to be more controversial, more transparent, more open to public sentiment, more bipartisan and more democratic. The idea that democracy is best served by public serenity is bogus. Heated public debated is more beneficial than quiet back room deals.

When I was growing up in Chicago, we used to say that there was no disservice to the public when Mafia members killed each other. Likewise, there is no disservice to good government to have the pre-eminent Democrat party break down into tribal warfare.

Yeah! I think Blago is probably guilty – “probably,” I say. And yeah! I am not a fan of his politics and philosophy. And yeah! I think he is not sharpest knife in the drawer. But I think justice and politics are better served by letting him continue to fill the office to which he was elected by the people (at the recommendation of all those now trying to remove him) until such time as a jury of his peers finds him guilty of the crimes for which he is only accused.

I have to confess … I have a third reason to keep Blago in office. Good theater. This is a political demolition derby. It is awesome. It is spectacular. For the first time in ages, I can’t wait for the next news update. Political conversations and the proverbial grapevine are a twitter with news, speculation, opinions and predictions. I mean … what is more fun than watching arrogant people run around like fools.

Think about this. If they had booted Blago out of office in December, he never could have appointed Roland Burris to the vacant Senate seat. In doing so, the Governor has at once sent a good man to Washington and exposed the hypocrisy and racism of such national Democrats as Senate President Harry Reid. Now Rules Committee Chair Diane Feinstein, who will handle any Senate inquiry into l'affaire Burris, is saying to seat Burris. This gets more delicious by the minute.

For once, I hope the Republicans can be as shrewd and crafty as the Democrats. Hmmmmm. Probably not. Oh well! It was fun while it lasted.

** Yes. I referred to the Democrat leaders as a “lynch mob.” Whether Blagojevich is guilty as hell, or not, is irrelevant to the conduct of his political adversaries. Lynch mobs did not always hang innocent people, but they always circumvented the all important process of justice.


Monday, January 05, 2009

OBSERVATION: Reid the racist.

Staff and supporters are trying to rescue Senate President Harry Reid from his racist gaffe --- pressuring Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to appoint a white person to the Senate over the more logical choices of such African-Americans as Congressmen Danny Davis or Jesse Jackons, or former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, and now Roland Burris. As the spin goes, old Harry is only interested in getting a candidate who is electable in two years. It is not about race, they say. Given who is about to move into the White House, I guess I would sing the same tune, too, if I were in Reid's choir.

The spin is all balderdash, however. Reid's stark contrast between black and white is too distinct and uncompromised to be a matter of "electability." They say Reid would be happy to support a qualified black candidate, just that there is no such thing -- at least in Illinois. Reid does not think blacks are generally electable ... period.

How can Reid think that no black candidate is electable from a state that has twice elected black senators, a black secretary of state, a black mayor of Chicago and, in Roland Burris himself, both comptroller and attorney general? In each instance, the racist political subculture claimed the candidate was unelectable for only one reason ... color of skin. Reid is proffering the same opinion for the same reasons.

REACT: Kick Reid out of the Senate.

I could not believe my eyes as I read the latest audacious comment from the power-crazed, arrogant and slightly nutty Democrat leader of the U.S. Senate, the not-so-honorable Harry Reid.

In referring to the chaos he generated by summarily rejecting the duly and legally appointed replacement for President-elect Barack Obama, Reid opened the door to seating appointee Roland Burris by saying ... here goes ... saying "there's always room to negotiate".

WHAT???

That's right! The one time trial lawyer (<-- Maybe this explains a few things.) said he is willing to "negotiate" the seating of Burris. So ... the sanctimonious hypocrite refused to obey the law so he could "negotiate" something for himself. Isn't that what caused the whole problem in the first place?

What are Reid's terms? That Burris surrender his legal right to run for re-election -- denying the people of Illinois the ultimate decision? Does Burris have to agree to some sort of personal loyalty to Reid on key issues? Does he have to help raise money for the Democrat's campaign committee? Just what is there to negotiate?

First there is the refusal to seat the new Illinois senator. Then Reid is found rejecting all the other likely black candidates in a behind-the-scenes chat with none other than the toxic Governor Rod Blagojevich. Now he wants to "negotiate" a deal if Burris has any chance of winning his approval.

Perhaps it is Reid who should be booted from the Senate.