Monthly Archives: May 2007

>REACT: Sheehan exits stage (far) left

>Oh happy day! Rather than continue the slide into oblivion, war protester and America hater, Cindy Sheehan, has chosen to announce her own political demise – albeit a bit late. Yes, the media hungry lady with the well rehearsed Emmett Kelly-style “sad face” (right) has officially announced her retirement from the war protest movement. In closing off her dubious public career, she characteristically lashed out in anger in all direction, including her onetime cheerleaders in the anti-war movement.

Wallowing in self-pity and whining about the price she has paid — divorce, bankruptcy, physical exhaustion, and disappointment in the new Democrat majority in Congress – Sheehan released her own political obituary. She failed to include the extinguished limelight, lack of credibility and the eventual exposure of her loony anti-everything American views, as additional reasons for her withdrawal from the anti-war war. According to one report, Sheehan read her completed farewell letter, then cried – right on queue I assume.

She signed off as she signed on – abusing the memory of her fallen son. By all measure a patriotic counterbalance to Sheehan’s hateful views, her son died a hero in service to his country. After spending months abusing his views and deeds, Sheehan finally declares he died in vain. In her “retirement” letter she readily admits that she does not love this country. That has always been obvious.

Her exit announcement is anticlimactic. Judging from her disappearance from the tabloids and news shows this past year (even I forget about her), she was terminated as “old news” long before she decided to quit. Without her public letter, she would have simply remained forgotten. It was her last shot at publicity, and she was not about to miss it.

Well … of all the times I bristled at her public coverage, I must admit, this is the best news she has produced so far. And, who said they never print good news?

Adieu dear Cindy. You fared not too well, but certainly too long.

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>OBSERVATION: New Jersey governor gives wrong apology

>New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine has apologized profusely for not wearing his seat belt — and even cut public service safety ad on the importance of buckling up. Somewhere in all this, I missed an even more important apology. His vehicle was cruising at more than 90 miles per hour for the convenience of the governor.

I think this is a much more important apology. In the seat belt infraction, he was risking his own life. For the self-taken privilege of violating the speed laws, he was risking the lives of others in his car, and on the road.

I know he was not driving, but there is no way the trooper-chauffer would have been zipping along at that speed without the tacit approval of his boss.

>REACT: More environmental bees wax … royal bees wax.

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A recent news item reported that the new wax figure of Prince Charles in Madam Tussauds’ London museum was developed in an environmental-friendly manner … green, as they say. This meant recycled wax from his old figure, new bees wax, workers laboring without power machinery. They rode bicycles to work, and worked only in natural daylight. A lot of symbolism … without much substance, I should add.

However, the item that caught my attention was the planting of three trees to compensate for the minimal carbon dioxide they did release into our communal atmosphere.

I recalled representing Motorola (my employer at the time) at an Arbor Day tree planting ceremony where Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, the First, officiated. He waxed on (no pun intended) about the contribution this humble tree (about 12 feet tall at the time) would make to our world’s environment. “Today,” he said, “we add one more tree to our world.”

Well, my mind drifted in wonderment to the question: From whence did this tree come? As surely as we were planting this future mighty Oak, it was brutally extracted from its former resting place. I failed to see the “addition,” the mayor so highly touted.

Since my early experience on that long-ago Arbor Day to the contemporary do-goodiness of Madam Tussauds’ wax artisans, innumerable trees have been ceremoniously planted to make their contribution to the atmosphere. In truth, not once was there a contribution, only a reallocation.

The only meaningful addition of trees to our world is the tree farming work of the lumber industry. Yikes!!! Think about that all you green genes. Driven by the profit motive of ruthless capitalism, more trees are being planted by industry than by all those green activists who so hate the loggers.

Just another little something to think about. You too, Al Gore.

>SIDEBAR: You gotta have heart

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I recently heard the nicest words. “You had a heart attack.”

Its true, just returned from the hospital Intensive Care Unit contemplating a future by-pass surgery.

Why do I say those were such nice words? Well … now think about it for a moment. I am sure some of you figured it out by now, but for those of you still scratching your head, here is the “duh.” A lot of people with who suffer a heart attack do not have the good fortune to hear those words because they are … D-E-A-D. So, consistent with my philosophy that my life is perfect at any moment, I found it comforting to be able to hear the doctor’s report and to be around to even contemplate my future medical needs.

There are four things that make my life — maybe any life — worth living. Belief in an afterlife (though my belief is not always in line with contemporary religious teachings). The belief that our earthly life has meaning and purpose (not always easy to find). No fear of death. (Why should we?) And a realization that our life on earth is perfect at almost every moment (even when you have a heart attack).

>REACT: Radler wears the Black hat.

>David Rat-ler … ooops … I mean Radler, the former friend and business partner of media mogal Sir Conrad Black has finally made it to the stand. He confirmed my opinion of him as a slimy, scheming, lying good for nothing.

Thanks to the generosity of the federal prosecutors, Rat-ler … ooops, there I go again … RADLER has paid off some of the money he stole, will face a short term in jail, and retire a very free and rich man. All he had to do was hang his long time friend, and the guy who made him rich, with the best lies he could conjour.

Not knowing if Black has tripped over some legal land mines, or not, I still hope the jury finds him innocent. This was not my first desire. In fact, I originally was hoping the s.o.b. would be locked up for good. But, as the trial progressed, many of the “crimes” seemed to be technical interpretations. Then there was the testimony of former Illinois Governor Jim Thompson, who, as head of the audit committee, admitted he never read any of the relevant documents. Then enter Radler. After hearing his testimony, I figure if that scumbag can get a light sentence and re-enter life a rich man, the Black should walk.

Radler has lied all his life to save or advantage himself. He lied in business deals. He lied at editorial matters at the Sun-Times. (I know this because he lied to me personally, and I still have the letter to prove it). He lied to the prosecutors. He lied to his OWN attorney. It does not take much more to conclude that he is lying on the stand. As is often the case with “plea bargains,” I think the feds bought his lies, not his testimony.

>REACT: Governor Blago in denial

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I have to admit. Heading into the last Illinois gubernatorial election, I could not see how Rod Blagojevich could possibly be re-elected. Of course, I had to accept the fact that the dysfunctional GOP in the Land of Lincoln could blow the Catholic vote if the had nominated Jesus Christ, himself.

So it is, even one of the arguably worse governors in Illinois history won a second chance at incompetent leadership. Not only is the man called Blago a terrible administrator, he does not appear to be a very nice person – turning on long time friends, engaging in an unseemly family feud with the father-in-law political mentor, hiding behind his children in tough political venues, etc., etc., etc. Not much to like about the guy.

As we start to see the second term take shape, we might consider the possibility that the man has totally taken leave of his senses.

Several months ago, he proposed a business tax increase so huge that it was almost incomprehensible. He hoped for success by taking advantage of a strain of anti-business sentiment in the body politic. “Make those corporate fat cats pay their share,” was his mantra. “It’s about time.” Like a pugnacious little punk, that he apears to be, the Governor said he looked forward to duking it out with the titans of commerce. He was offering nothing less than class warfare.

In an odd way, however, the Guv united the people. From the skyscrapers of Chicago to the rippling streams of southern Illinois, the people rose in opposition to his tax plan. Seems like the public’s angst with the corporate giants did not reach the level of hatred Blagojevich had expected. Like a good liberal, we does not believe in the common sense of the common man.

The Governor failed to explain to the public that you cannot tax a corporation. For them it is a cost of business that is passed on to the consumer. The people pay the tax in the form of increased prices. House Speaker Michael Madigan (pictured with appropriate response to the tax plan) understood that and said his own leader’s tax plan was regressive and would hit hardest on the people who least could afford it.

The Governor’s disturbing immaturity came fully unfurled when the General Assembly was about to vote on a non-binding resolution on the Governor’s tax plan – sort of an official poll in advance of the real vote.

Recognizing that the resolution had overwhelming support, and he was on the cusp of humiliating defeat, the smarmy Guv came up with a childish spin. He called on all legislators to vote “no” on the resolution, proclaiming that a “no” vote only meant that there should be no resolution ahead of a real vote. In other words, he tried to make the utter defeat of his tax plan look like some sort of back-handed victory.

Well he got his “victory.” The general assembly, in rare solidarity opposed Blago’s tax scheme 107 to nothing. That’s right. Not a single legislator voted in favor of the plan – and it was not about the resolution, it was about the plan.

The Governor is probably too arrogant to be humiliated, or at least to recognize humiliation when it is delivered. Will be interesting to see how he responds when the General Assemble trounces his idiotic tax plan. Is this man in denial, what?

>OBSERVATION: Give that man a hug!!

>I saw something really nice the other day. It was at a track meet, watching my 13-year-old son competing.

I noticed one of the other coaches working with his teams. In addition to the obvious pep talk, or post-race congratulations, he hugged his players affectionately – boys and girls alike. Occasionally, he patted a player on the butt as they sped by him.

Why did I say this was something nice?

Well, because it shows that even in these days of anal retentive, hyper-sensitive nut cases, there is still a society that can express caring and encouragement with an supportive embrace. Happily, no parent or student seemed offended by the coach’s actions – in fact, they hardly seemed to be phased at all. Contrary to politically correct paranoia, these were not sexual expressions. They were a way of showing affection and appreciation. They were self-esteem builders. There was a feeling of something really special between coach and athlete, and it was not salacious.

I would like to give personal credit here to this great coach, but I fear revealing his name and school would only sic the sick self-appointed safeguarders of society on him. He would likely be tracked down and made to “stand accused” for transgressions he did not commit outside the midget minds of the moral militia.

POST SCRIPT: I suddenly am reminded of Marva Collins, the founder of Chicago’s Westside Prep school. She was so successful in turning round hardcore inner city kids that they made a movie about her school. Contrary to all the scary warnings of the legal eagles of the school industry, Marva was an on-campus hugger and a kisser.

POST POST SCRIPT: Oh yeah! My son. He came in first in shot put and 4-man relay. Thanks for asking. However, as far as I know, he was not hugged by anyone other than his parents that day.