Monthly Archives: June 2008

>REACT: Alec Baldwin is in deep (you know what)

>I have to admit. I get s smidgeon irritated when one of those antique horse-drawn carriages clops slowly in front of me on a narrow downtown Chicago street. The leisurely romantic ride so enjoyed by the cooing couple or the family of four only serves to obstruct my path and mission of the moment. It annoys me even if I am not in a hurry.

On the other hand … they are a lingering feature in an urban environment where traditional features are too often sacrificed on the altar of convenience, efficiency and pseudo safety. I fear that by the time we choose to “smell the roses,” as they say, we may discover they are all plastic. So, I am a bit nostalgic regarding the one-horse power liveries.

Enter actor Alec Baldwin. You may remember him in his famous role as an abusive parent brutally berating his 11-year-old daughter on a voice mail message. (If you have not heard it, Click here.) Or maybe when he played that America hating zealot wishing harm onto the President of the United States. Oh! Those weren’t roles. He really did those things.

Now, he has turned his arrogant wrath on the aforementioned carriage operators. In lock-step with the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Baldwin is making it his personal cause to rid the city streets of New York and Chicago of these quaint carriages – theoretically freeing the horse to a better life in the corral next to the glue factory.

If I have ever harbored a thought of banning the carriages, I would have had to abandon it on nothing more than Balwin’s taking up the cause. In terms of public policy he is the anti-me. I rejoiced when he promised to leave America forever if George Bush was elected President. I awaited for the post-election announcement in the gossip columns. But noooooooo! Baldwin balked.

His current campaign gave me an idea. Since Baldwin is usually full of (you know what), I have proposed we recognize his campaign against the horse drawn carriages by associating his name with the project in a more fundamental way.

I assume you are all familiar with those “bags” that catch the Palomino poop before it plops to the pavement. Do you know what they are called? Of course not. Because they do not have an appropriately catchy name. Well, I have corrected that oversight in the lexicon by going to the Internet’s Urban Dictionary, where one is invited to add new words and terms to fill gaps in the language. Thanks to moi, those feces sacks shall now be known as “baldwin bags.” It’s perfect, don’t you think? We recognize his civic effort by applying his name to a device as full of (you know what) as he is.

Next time I am stuck behind one of those carriages, I will not be so irritated. I will think of actor Alec and the name-sake baldwin bag affixed to the horses ass that is keeping my city clean. Sack of (you know what) … horses ass …. Alec Baldwin. Oh, what perfect symmetry.

Advertisements

>REACT: The Supreme Court was right (part 2)

>

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringe.”
Second Amendment of the United States Constitution


The words look simple enough, but for liberals and conservatvies they might as well be writtin Chinese and German and read by Ugandans.

For liberals, the words “well regulated Militia” jump out like a neon sign. To them, this means the Second Amendment only provides for an organized military force under the authority of the state – the National Guard. Of course. Liberals naturally see government as the essential source of almost any civic services.

Conservaitves tend to focus on the statement, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This means that no law is constitutional that would prevent an individual from owning a gun. Period. I see no articulated exceptions. The right to “keep and bear” shall not even be “infringed” much less taken away.

We have to understand that the Second Amendment was written when personal weapons were almost the full range of armament. I know. There were a few cannons around, but that was it. We did not have bazookas … hand grenades … rocket launchers … fighter jets … and atomic bombs. The new technology, and all the perils personal possession today presents, led to a broad public acceptance of some level of regulation. This is the slippery slope that the right and left wingers slide down in a form of free fall. The words “…shal not be infinged” seems to mean no regulation. Then, how do we rationalize regulations?

Even as a society that revers the Constitution, we are not about to allow our neighbor, sane or not, to store platoon level munitions in his basement. Although growing up, one of my neighbors did have an authentic gatling gun in his yard as a decoration.

Apart from some regulations, the Second Amendment cleary allows ownership, personal possession. We are entitled by Constitutional right to “keep” arms, as in our home, and “bear” them in open display. So, no regulation can deny us ownership. We can regulate in the absense of specific prohibitions, but we cannot use “regulation” as a vehicle to prevent us from keeping and bearing arms.

We know, with great certainty, that the founder’s did not provide for a militia as an alternative to personal gun ownership. It would take a fool, and a great distortion of history, to argue that the founder’s language even implied the creation of the militia as an opportunity to disarm the general public. They considered the gun as much a tool as a weapon. Hunting was not a sport but a from of shopping in the days before Sam’s Club. Guns were an integral part of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” envisioned by the men of Williamsburg.

The liberal position loses out, I believe, because they do not recognize both rights preserved in the Second Amendment. Conseratives see the right to maintian a state standing militia as being separate from the right to personally “keep and bear arms.” Liberals say the militia language trumps the personal right, but nothing in the Amendment seems to support that theory.

Those who argue that the Second Amendment does not confer the right of individual self protection have not studied that founder’s commentaries on this subject.

“No free man shall ever be debarred for the use of arms.”


“Those who hammer their guns into plows, will plow for those who do not.”

Thomas Jefferson (pictured with his gun)


They viewed the gun as an essential tool of self protection in a nation were danger lurked in every corner – whether conflicts with native Americans, attacks by wild animals, family feuds and the ever-present criminal class. There is no doubt that the “original intent’ was for every citizen to be able to own and openly carry guns. They did even consider regulations, such as registration, background checks, trigger locks and owner-only hand grips. They belived in an unfettered right to own, wear and use a gun at will. Sure, we have fettered that a bit with regulation, but the fundamental right remains

Contrary to some criticism, the Court did not create new law, but strictly adhered to more limited definition of the terms and the ancient explanations of the signers of the Constitution. Critics cite the 1932 decision as conferring unlimited regulatory rights over guns, including banning and confisction. The current Court can only be accused of “judicial activism” IF you accept the 1932 decision as constitutionally correct. In a sense, the Court is correcting that past error.

It is perfectly legitimate to argue that times have so changed that the Second Amendment must be amended, itself, or abolished. In the past, we changed the Constituion to allow for the income tax (BIG mistake). We changed the Constitution to prohibit the sale of demon run (BIG mistake), and then we passed another amendment to reinstate the individual right to liquor up on Friday night at the local pub (corrected BIG mistake). But, until such time as we the people change the Second Amendment, it stands — and the Court honored its obligation to adhere to a strict interpretation of the Constitution.

>REACT: The Supremes … with Guns and Robes.

>The left wing progressives continue to talk like the represent America, or at least that America is coming round to their way of thinking. It has been their trait and fault for a long time. If you had judged the mood of the nation by the statements of liberal politicians, pundits, press and radio personalities, their could not have been a Ronald Reagan, a Newt Gingrich or a Chief Justice Roberts. The so-called progressive Air America would be more than a narrow cast radio network compared to the highly popular conservative talk shows.

This has not been a good week for true believers on the left. Realty has upset their fantasies — again. First and foremost, the Supreme Court threw out a 32-year ban on guns in the District of Columbia – and threw every other local gun ban into the shadow of judicial doubt. They have finally settled the question: Do private citizens have a constitutional right to own guns – albeit with reasonable restriction? For the first time, the high court has affirmed the definition of “well regulated militia” to include the right to personally possess weaponry.

Liberals say “militia” means a government run military, such as the National Guard. The Supreme Court, however, believes that a “militia” can be a locally organized, grassroots outfit which has to rely on their own arms because there is no central procurement authority. In other words, liberals believe that even a “militia” must be a service of government. (No surprise there.) Conservatives, the nation’s founders and the current Supreme Court believe that a “militia’ can be formed even in opposition to the government. (Even by nuns with guns.) The inalienable right to rise up against a tyrannical government requires access to the means. Thus, the right to bear arms. In other words, you do not need the approval of government to form a “militia,” as defined in the Constitution — even a well regulated one.

The liberal gabbers are whining that the new ruling breaks the precedence establish by the 1932 ruling establishing the right to regulate guns, with banning one of the assumptive options. They indignantly argue that precedents are not to be overturned. If that is the case, however, slavery would be legal, 18-year-olds would not be voting, the nation would still be dry and the Dred Scott decision would stand.

In another decision, the liberal members or the Supreme court carried the day by striking down the death penalty for child rapists. Currently, the death penalty is reserved for cases of murder. No death, no death penalty. The justices, at least five of them, were not of a mind expand the traditional death penalty coverage to non-lethal crimes.

The very liberal Barack Obama, however, disagrees with the Court, and favors the expansion of capital punishment to cover child rapists. Obama and John McCain agree on this one. That is because the Court looks at the law and other academic stuff, and the politicians look at public opinion. There is no doubt that the public would support even the most “cruel and unusual” punishments for pedophile rapists. Laws and the Supreme Court are the guardians against unbridled majority rule – the tyranny of the majority, as they say.

On the death penalty issue, Air America is hitting turbulence. They are resorting to parsing and double talk to bridge the conflict between their pleasure with the decision and their unwritten rule to never criticize Obama. I kind of enjoy the verbal squirming.

What is striking terror in the bleeding heart club is the fact that the next president could fill at least three vacancies in his first term – and all three are senior liberals. Should it play out that way, a President Obama could only preserve the ideological balance with three liberal choices. A President McCain, however, could tilt the court further to the conservative strict constructionist viewpoint even with moderate appointments – and he has pledged to follow the Roberts/Alito model. Uh, we’ll see.

The conservatives currently not only have the advantage of majority, but even Air America’s court expert noted that the conservative justices were young and energetic, while some of the older liberal jurists are hardly able to stay conscious through public proceedings.

Three more appointments on the right would create a generational conservative court. It could easily be 25 years before such a “Roberts Court” would give way to a successor.

>REACT: Father Pfleger’s return to his throne … ah … pulpit?

>Father Michael Pfleger is back at the pulpit. Cardinal George, who suspended the priest errant for two meaningless weeks of abstinence from the Saint Sabina sacristy, has given more evidence of his disappointing reign as the bishop of the Chicago Archdiocese.

The mini-banishment was the result of the brouhaha that followed Pfleger’s sexist and racist over-the-top performance at Obama’s former church, where “Trinity” refers to Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan and Michael Pfleger. The latter’s mockery of Hillary Clinton was only the vehicle for a larger rant against non-black America.

Shortly after his satirical impersonation of a black preacher hit You Tube, the very Arian looking Pfleger issued a less-than-apologetic mea culpa. I am sure Pfleger was sorry that he caused Barack Obama to resign from Trinity. I am sure he was sorry he received a personal rebuke from Obama. Even in regret, however, Pfleger never took responsibility for his actions, expressed sincere remorse, or demonstrated a firm commitment not to repeat his transgression – the three requirements for Catholic confession and forgiveness. He gave no evidence that he was sorry for the thrust of his message. His sorrow was more like the regret of a bank robber over getting caught — not the crime. The only people who accepted his apology were those who thought he was right to do what he did, in the first place.

It should have been the last straw, but Cardinal George treated like it was a unique lapse. The punishment was less than the slap on the back of the hand that nuns applied in the days of the old Catholic Church. Perhaps he was intimidated by the lavish media praise the press traditionally bestows on religious apostasy – especially by left-of-center preachers.

Oh, Perhaps it was the zealous demonstration of support from Pfleger’s followers at Saint Sabina, who each Sunday absorb and endorse Pfleger’s homilies of racial paranoia and divisiveness. Their You Tube-captured applauds, cheers and “amens” demonstrated a disturbing resonance with Pastor Pfleger’s anti white diatribes. It would appear that those who take up the pews function more like a cult than a congregation devoted to a good and greater God. Like many other narcissistic, egomaniacal and charismatic personalities, Pfleger has his following.

That is what is so disturbing about his triumphant return. Yes, triumphant. Pfleger returned to HIS throne to the rapturesque cheers and hosannas of HIS congregation. These are clearly HIS people. There was no sense of embarrassment over Pfleger’s statements and rebukes by both Obama and George. Absent was the humility of a true penitent. So powerful is his messianic message that many “members’ of Saint Sabina are not even Catholic. They are there for the political, not the priestly, Pfleger. Every exuberant alleluia was a proverbial fist in the face of Cardinal George.

Pfleger, has been allowed to remain pastor at Saint Sabina’s for more than 25 years – well past the time church policy normally requires a move. He is a good example of why that policy is a good one. It is designed to remind the parishioners that the pastor is NOT the church. It is designed to prevent the cult-ification of a congregation. George had a great opportunity to restore Saint Sabina to the communion of the Catholic Church. Carpe Diem! The Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago failed. Though his stature outside the parish may be deservedly diminished by his antics, Father Pfleger returns to Saint Sabina the clear victor.

>REACT: Obama, the symbol of what?

>Just when I thought the Barack Obama thing was taking on the form of a religion, I discover he now has a “national emblem.” Every candidate has a logo, and Obama has a rather unique stylized “O” that symbolizes a rising sun over an American flag landscape.

I was not a fan of the logo at the onset, but his success (with no credit due the logo) has made the campaign symbol more powerful. If he was now only a long-forgotten also-ran, we would say the logo was amateurish and silly.

Well… as if being the messianic candidate is not enough, Obama has now introduced a new emblem reminiscent of the Great Seal of the United States (upper left). It screams out. “Obama IS the nation.” This is almost getting scary.

The whole thing made me uneasy, but my friend Henry Meers put his finger on it. He noted that the “blue eagle” was the symbol of Franklin Roosevelt’s plunge into facism with the National Recovery Administration (NRA), and agency the Supreme Court abolished as dangerously unconstitutional.

Of course, the idea for the new emblem is to make Obama look “presidential.” However, the audacity of presuming a personal national emblem tends to undermine the campaign’s egalitarian sales pitch.

The variation of the NRA theme (left), and its allusion to Roosevelt’s propensity to usurp Constitutional powers, will not help Obama with the troublesome older voters he needs to attract. We senior citizens have institutional memory of those Rooseveltian power grabs – at least as handed down by our parents, who experienced them first hand.

Since one of the Obama mantras is the abuse of constitutional authority by the Bush administration, he should not be so eager to image his campaign after the greatest Constitution abuser in American history.

“I am the state” was not good when pronounced by French King Louis XIV (being crowned by angels, left), or repeated by Nepoleon Bonaparte (on coronation day, right). If this new campaign image is to be taken seriously, we should all … as they say … be afraid, be very afraid.

>REACT: The Cheneys of West Virginia??

>

What is wrong with Vice President Dick Cheney? I mean, really. After so many years in public life, you would think he would be more careful what he says into microphones.

Recently, the Veep noted that he has “Cheney” ancestors on both his maternal and paternal side. Then he add … “and we don’t even live in West Virginia.” I mean, how stupid can a person get. Everyone knows that he should have referenced ARKANSAS. Geeez.

Maybe he never heard the one … If a couple gets married in Arkansas, but divorced in Illinois, are they still brother and sister?

Country rooooooads, take me hoooome to the plaaaace I beloooooong … West Virginia … mountain momma … take me hoooome, country roads.

Footnote: Sorry about the silliness, but this presidential election thing was getting me crazed.

>REACT: Father Pfleger finally flubs (see videos here)

>They applauded and cheered as Father Michael Pfleger, pastor the St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church, whooped it up as the visiting sermonizer at Trinity United Church of Christ – the one-time home of the racist Pastor Jeremiah Wright and long-time congregant Barak Obama. You would have thought they had learned a lesson about spewing hatred from the pulpit by now. But noooooooo!

Thanks to modern techonology and You Tube, the words of Father Pfleger are no longer just repeated but are available for all to hear. His message of anger and hate is no longer limited to the confines of the black church. You can see both his improper and illegal attack on Hillary Clinton — and his admission that he is causing trouble. The “man of God” knows he is sinning.

Because Father Plfeger is a raging left winger – more interested in a political platform than the pulpit — he has been allowed to be outrageous for years without much criticism from the fawning press. In fact, even the unavoidable criticism of his latest over-the-top stunt is tempered by the media with countervailing reporting on all the alleged good he has done through his ministry.

Methinks that he would not even now be criticized if his racist character and inappropriate comments had not turned out to be detrimental to the most important liberal sacred cow of the day, Barak Obama. This is the same song sheet the media choir have used in the past for Pastor Wright, Jesse “Hymie Town” Jackson, Al Sharpton and the rest of the racist reverends who play partisan politics from the pulpit – flagrantly violating the laws that affords them taxpayer subsidies. You and I pay for the venomous attacks on the non-black communities.

It is reported that Francis Cardinal George (left) has had enough of the bad boy Father Pfleger. I certainly hope so. He should be summarily booted … defrocked … excommunicated. He is the secular wolf lurking beneath the lamb (of God) skin.

Oh sure, Pfleger has apologized – said he is sorry if his brutal, sleazy racist mocking of Hillary Clinton and all non-black people offended her … and all non-black people. If course it offended her, and most likely a lot of us non-black people. It was ugly and vicious. It was about as unChristian as you can get short of bodily harm. It offended anyone with fair judgment and honest heart. I am convinced that Pfleger apologized only when it became obvious that his partisan verbal slashing was going to backlash on his beloved Obama. When has he ever apologized in the past for his bombastic attacks on white people?

The performance on the stage at Trinity was not an exception, but the norm for Father Pfleger. For those who are familiar with Pfleger, his history of radical extremism and abuse of his pulpit privileges are historic and pervasive. Though white, he is a promoter of black liberation theology, often a theological euphemism for racial hatred in the name of God. He uses the same sort of religious contortions that had those long-ago southern white pastors (and a few still hanging around) denouncing the God-given humanity of blacks – using the burning symbol of a loving Christ to convey fear and hatred.

To add a weirdness to his viewpoints, Pfleger takes pride in mimicking the extreme edge of the flamboyant style of black ministers. His imitation is so complete, it borders on psychotic. He channels the most radical black preachers. Pfleger’s black “act” is so out of context with his white boyish looks and carefully coifed blond hair that unless you listen to the scurrilous content of his homilies you might think it a Saturday Night Live skit.

In his ethnic self hatred, Pfleger allies in common cause and friendship with the likes of Louis Farrakhan (left). Like Jeremiah Wright, Pfleger embraces and promotes the misguided Muslim minister. Instead of repudiating Farrakhan, Pfleger praises him and invites him to desecrate the sanctuary of St. Sabina’s with his racist rhetoric. Pfleger finds it impossible to call out anyone who speaks ill of the white community.

I am also more than a little bothered by the reaction of the congregation at Trinity. The congregation’s chortles, guffaws and amens to Pfleger’s message of racial animosity were almost as offensive as the Muslims dancing in the streets as the New York Trade Towers crumbled. After years of Pastor Wright, it would appear that those in the pews have been so drawn to, or indoctrinated by, the extreme preaching of racial victimization at the hands of the evil white majority that they cannot see the wrongness of Wright and Pfleger. It is chilling to think that until recent days the potential President of the United States was among them in holy communion.

What seems to bridge racial lines, however, are the many infamous ministers in America — black, white, Christian, Muslim, Jew – who seem to be the most out of touch with a loving God. Preachers of this ilk seem to find large congregations who prefer to have their prejudices comforted rather than challenged.

I am not sure how much harm Pfleger does to Obama. The candidate does not have the two-decade intimate relationship with Pfleger the he once claimed to have “treasured” with Pastor Wright. He did not spend Sunday after Sunday at the foot of Pfleger’s pulpit. On the other hand, they have been close friends and comrades-in-arms since Obama first appeared on the civic/political scene. Pfleger has been a donor to Obama campaigns. Until recently (post Wright flare up), he served as an official advisor to the campaign. He can be listed, along with Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko, as another close and influential friend who has become radio active — who raises legitimate concern about Obama’s friendships of choice.

There are a goodly number of godly black ministers, and Martin Luther King can be looked at as the role model. King preached consistently and forcefully against racial prejudice and hatred. He never found it necessary to seek justice through retribution. He never proposed inverting the scales of justice to compensate for past inequities. He never demanded special treatment as compensation for past injustice. He sought mutual respect and equality. He envisioned a true post racial world in which the color of a person’s skin was irrelevant.

Credit where credit is due. Thanks to Obama, the issue of black racism and the historic politicization of the black churches has been drawn into the sunlight of public scrutiny. If there is to be a national discord on racism, this is not a bad place to start. Black racism is no longer the protectorate of political correctness. Amen, brother!

>OP ED: Why is she still running?

>Why is Hillary continuing to fight for a nomination most observers believe to be lost?

One of the most popular assumptions should be the first to be eliminated. It is the theory that suggests that she is driven by madness – an irrational and obsessive lust for power allowed to run wild by demented denial. Perhaps it is her formative years devotion to the Chicago Cubs that has made her believe that “all but certain” victory is never certain.

I think these are not the reasons.

Clinton & Co. is far too shrewd to become the victim of such gross self deception or unreasonable expectations — and even if SHE has succumbed, it fails to explain the support she receives from savvy party leaders, seasoned political aides, much of the voting public and a crafty “been there/done that” husband. If it is just the matter of a crazy lady, why are there still so many super delegates withholding their daggers? There is more to Lady Hillary’s tenacious quest than personal blind ambition or unbridled optimism.

First and foremost, despite every attempt to cajole her out of the race – to seal the victory – Barack Obama does not have it yet. Close, maybe. All but certain, arguable. But still no cigar. The declarations of demise have been premature. There is still a pulse – weak and fading – but still there. There is always that long-shot possibility and SOMETHING will happen between now and the convention.

If Obama is nominated, as seems most likely, it will be by the slimmest of margins – more of a technical or circumstantial victory than a mandate of any sort. Her popular vote and delegate count are within a hair’s breath of Obama. Despite the popular consensus of inevitability, it is obvious to every politico and pundit in the world that Obama’s calculated lead languishes within the traditional margins of error. The Democrat party is a house divided. Obama is the candidate of only half the party faithful. A sea change based on some shocking disclosure is always possible – and with numbers so close, it may not take a very big shocker to crate that sea change. It would appear that out of 300 million Americans, it will only take about 150 super delegates to decide on the Democrat candidate.

Though her maladroit allusion to the assassination of Bobby Kennedy was never intended to mean that she included Obama getting knocked off as a victory strategy. It is true, however, that with months to go before the convention’s coronation, many things other than assassination can happen. Obama’s Chicago political machine background is far from fully vetted. There are other issues and other “friends” that can bring revised judgment on the junior senator from Illinois. Maybe there is a blockbuster scandal hidden beneath a rock that Clinton has uncovered.

But even that seems too little of a hope to warrant the expending of both cash and political capital at rates necessary to maintain forward motion. What makes the most sense is 2012.

In all likelihood, Clinton and her people know that she is not going to get the nomination this year. They also know that there is not likely going to be some dramatic event to pull the rug out from under Obama. Never know, but odds against.

It is safe to assume that Clinton still wants to be president, and if 2008 is not going to put her into the race, then the next best thing is to go for it in 2012. Suddenly her seemingly Quixotic campaign makes sense. She builds political infrastructure – lists, donors, endorsements, friends, knowledge, new registered voters.

She also shows political muscle. How many candidates can win primary after primary against the “inevitable” candidate. Several pundits suggest, to their bewilderment, that she is losing bargaining strength with the Obama folks. The prospects of a vice presidential nomination have diminished as she pressed on. She may have put her self out of consideration for Secretary of State of Attorney General. She may have lost Obama’s clout to make her head of the Senate – replacing Harry Reid. What these pundits fail to appreciate is that Clinton has absolutely no interest in bowing to bargain with Obama. She is going after independent political strength.

A lot of Democrats express concern that the never ending Clinton campaign is hurting Obama’s chances in the General Election. Exactly! An Obama defeat would mean an open nomination in 2012. And who would be in the strongest position to take that nomination? You got it. Lady Hillary.

I think Clinton shares my view that Obama is not electable in November – so what harm in making that a bit more certain. In fact, the more decisive the defeat, the less likely she will have to battle him again for the nomination four years hence.

Clinton knows that a signification portion of her voters are never going to vote for Obama. He is too liberal and too black. Many of those new voters she is recruiting in the latter primaries will be McCain voters with Obama heading the ticket.

If it is McCain in 2008, the next presidential election is a good opportunity. Not only will the Democrat nomination be up for grabs, but the normal second term prospects for an incumbent president are altered by McCain’s age. He could easily be a one termer.

So, methinks rather than being mad as a hatter, Clinton may be sly as a fox. While Obama campaigns for 2008, Clinton has already begun the 2012 campaign.