Monthly Archives: September 2006

>REACT: Daley’s Olympics is just so much Greek mythology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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>OBSERVATION: Rosie news versus real news.

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

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

>OP ED: When does America get attacked again?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Think it through ….

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

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

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

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

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

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

>REACT: Senator Lieberman Defeat Good for Conservatives

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

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

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

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

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

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

>OBSERVATION: Can Undercurrents Sweep Away Chicago’s Mayor?

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

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

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

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

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

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

>REACT: No Olympic Gold Medal for Chicago

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

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

Why no Olympics for Chicago?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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