Monthly Archives: September 2008

>OPINION: America (On Line, at least) gives debate win to McCain

>Looking at the current** (Saturday, 5:30 p.m.) results of the AOL Hot Seat (unscientific) poll, John McCain won the first debate by a 57 to 37 margin, with about 6 percent who are clueless. The state-by-state break down confirms my impression of this year’s presidential race. Barack Obama is the clear choice of blacks and left wing loonies. I draw this conclusion because McCain was declared the winner in every state of the Union (including Obama’s home state of Illlinois) except Washington, D.C. and Vermont.

**Results may change as more voters express their preferences.

Now we all know D.C. has the highest proportion of black population of any place in America. The apparent propensity of blacks to vote skin color and even (partial) ethnicity over any and all issues is racist, by definition. So, when the Obama whiners talk about how he will suffer unfair disadvantage due to non-black racism, remind them that he is gaining an offsetting advantage from black racism.

Less known, but easily provable, Vermont is like that candy bar — chuck full of (left wing) nuts. It is the home base of the only truly socialist senator in Congress, Bernie Sanders (left, of course), and the headquarters of Ben and Jerry, who dole out left wing propaganda with ever scoop of their ice cream.

You may recall from past blogs, it is also famous for the alien village of Brattleboro, which voted to have President Bush arrested for violating the U.S. Constitution if he set so much as one toe across the village boundary. The irony that their action is … ah … unconstitutional is lost on the good people of brattleboro.

I have said it before, and I will say it again … the American part of America would glady let Vermont slip out from under the Union if it was not for thier maple syrup.

So … there you have it. The bedrock of Obama’s support are racists and nuts.

DISCLAIMER: In these days of uptight politics and anal attitudes, I find it necessary to note that the above blog is offered as a tongue in (my) cheek commentary. It is not meant to be reverse reverse racism or mean spiritedness. If you cannot see the good natured jest then you don’t get it — or you are uptight with an anal attitude. Lighten up!

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>LMAO: What … and give up show business?

>You know it’s always my desire to bring you valuable behind the scenes information that is often overlook by the major media. Here is one such example.

I am sure you have not read any reports about the guy in the photo just finishing up his important work. This unheralded hero is responsible for cleaning up the bullsh*t after each presidential debate. He claims to be able to determine the winner of the debate by the amount of refuse he has to remove around each podium.

So … how did he judge this debate? After cleaning up the stage, he is reported to have commented, “I’ve seen a lot worse. This was pretty evenly spread around both podiums.”

He tells friends that nothing compares to the Reagan/Carter debate, where he says the entire stage was knee deep in bullsh*t. He regrets not being around for the historic Nixon/Kennedy debate. “I hear stores that the bullsh*t overflowed the stage, but no one kept records in those days,” he said.

When asked why he is assigned to this mission after each presidential debate, he simply replied, “I’m the duty officer.” (No pun intended).

>REACT: Who won? It’s debatable.

>If you think of the first of the four presidential debates as the first quarter of a football game, I say no touchdowns … no fumbles … and minimal yardage gain — mostly John McCain recovering lost yardage due to economic set back and dropping the ball on the pre-debate strategy (as in threatening not to show up for the game).

Despite a lot of attempts, Barack Obama could not get control of the ball. The best sacks of the quarterback were McCain’s remark that he does not have a (presidential) seal yet — alluding to Obama’s past unveiling of HIS seal, which was pretty much trash canned due to negative public reaction to the obvious (execpt to Obama) arrogance and presumptiveness of the gimmick — and McCain’s cleaver comparison of Obama’s persistence in the face of misjudgement to the governing style of the unpopular George Bush.
I think the contest suffered from some bad ref’ing. This game was to be played on the foreign policy field. However, for almost the entire first half, Jim Lehrer, of PBS, had them over on the economic field. This was an inappropriate call, and cannot be explained other than Lehrer’s desire to be the celebrity questioner on the pressing domestic issues of the week. He made a very lame attempt to justify the call by saying the eocnomy impacts on foreign policy. I would call for an official protest on the ruling.

>OBSERVATION: Team Obama off message?

>First we have Bill Clinton appearing on “The View” and “The David Letterman Show” on the same day. Given two major opportunities to push the Barack Obama candidacy, Good ole Bill hardly mentions the Democrat presidential nominee. I would say Clinton damned Obama by feint praise, but he didn’t even offer up any praise, feint or otherwise.

In responding to a number of questions, Clinton was more impartial than the average left-leaning news anchor. Most of his praise we reserved for his wife, with John McCain coming in second. His omission of any mention of Obama was so obvious that comedian Chris Rock, who followed Clinton on the Letterman set, did an impromptu schtick about reminding the former President who won the nomination this year. Rock mocked Clinton’s seeming inability to utter Obama’s name.

As if that was not enough surprises for Obama, his own pick for Vice President, Joe Biden, did a little dumping of his own. The Delaware senator said the “McCain can’t email” television ad put out by Obama was “awful” and if he had known about it in advance, it never would have aired. I had made my own opinion known in a previous blog, but I never expected to get support from Obama’s running mate. The commercial was offenisve because McCain cannot email because war injuries pervent him from useing a keyboard.

Are these guys a wee bit off message?

>FOLLOW-UP: More naked truth?

>

A while back I was wondering out loud why liberals think nudity adds to the relevancy of their various protests. In one of those blogs, I noted the ditzy views of one Earth Friend Gen. She claims you cannot address (or is it undress?) the problems of the world until you are … as they say … comfortable in your skin. And … she believes you cannot be comfortable in your skin unless you are willing to show your comfort level to the mostly unwilling eyes of unsuspecting men, women and children. <–Listed in the ascending order of unwillingness.
I mean … it is okay to be comfortable in one’s own skin, Gen, but that does not mean others are as comfortable with YOUR skin as you are. In many cases, naked bodies are … sorry to say … unattractive at best and nausea-inducing at worst.
Seems my friend Gen (rhetorically speaking, since I never met her) is in the news again. This time for naked skating. She initially sought permission to skate naked in the Portland, Oregon Fourth of July Parade. They turned her down. I guess if you don’t have any place to stick a flag pin you can’t parade in Portland on Independence Day.
Well, despite the parade ban, or maybe protesting it, Earth Friend Gen has been gliding around town wearing only a pair of inline skates. Police report that a number of construction workers have complained.
Whoa! Construction workers complaining about a naked woman whizzing by on roller blades. We all know that construction workers are the number one “bird” watchers in America – and no one appreciates jiggly boobs and bouncing butts more than those guys with the hard ones ….. hats, that is. (Shame on you!) If they are complaining, you would think Earth Friend Gen has to be a bit on the au naturale ugly side. Judging by her photo (left), I would say not pin up pretty, but not bad enough to have the Portland construction gawkers calling the police, for heaven’s sake. They are a hard to please crowd out in Portland. The pot bellied construction workers of my hometown of Chicago would think Gen a Venus — and if they did call the police, it would only be to join in the chorus of wolf whistles.

With all that is going on in the economy and in the war on terror, I should not spend too much time on the antics of Earth Friend Gen. However, this blog has now made it a mission to keep you updated on the latest news in nude protesting. After all, someone has to do it.** Maybe I should add to the banner head, “All the nudes that fit to print.”

Rest assured, I will keep you posted on any future naked protest sightings.

**I don’t usually use the expression, “someone has to do it.” When you read that, don’t you more often than not say to yourself, “No. No one really has to do it” — whatever “it” is?

>INSIGHT: Biden his time … for Hillary

>For a moment in time, there was question whether John McCain would replace Sarah Palin as his vice presidential partner. This seems to be mostly generated by the liberal pundits as an indirect way of exaggerating Palin’s negatives. Now cometh a more persistent backroom whisper — that Barack Obama will trade in Joe Biden for Hillary Clinton.

The rumor that is getting increasing volume in the blogosphere and among mainstream pundits is that Old Joe will resign in the few precious weeks before the election due to health reasons. They even specifically say an aneurism will be the stated malady. This would give Obama a woman, to offset the surprise and effective selection of Palin, and a former adversary a la Jack Kennedy’s selection of Lyndon Johnson.

It certainly is a most cynical theory — so cynical that it is politically feasible. (I wonder if this would be matched by Palin dumping the geriatric McCain for Mitt Romney.)

Would Obama and the Democrats go to such an extreme? Why not? The Democrats are the consummate pursuit-of-power party with an anything-to-win core philosophy. I have long suggested that Obama was unelectable. If the Obamacans and Democrat leaders did not see it quite that way over the long haul, they most certainly have come closer to my thinking since the appearance of Palin on the political platform. Maybe they now see it slipping way.

The question is … Is such a bait-and-switch too cynical for the American public. Will voters be enthralled with the progressive’s dream ticket, or revolted by the chicanery of it all. Of course, much depends on the credibility and believability of Biden’s health claim. Death would be much more convincing than some last minute infirmity of convenience, but not as easy to accomplish.

The more serious question … “Would Hillary actually help?” If not, then the strategy is nothing more than bloggers with more time than knowledge playing head games.

I think the switch is within the realm of possibility because I think the Obamacans could think Hillary would pull them out of a noise dive by checkmating Palin. However, just because they think so, does not make it so.

My own unsolicited opinion is that the Hillary gambit would backfire. Hillary looks good as the also-ran. No reason to think of those pesky Whitewater days, the IRS lists and the stolen White House china. The Clintons are intriguing personalities, but that does not mean that 51 percent of the voting public would like to see them in office again. In some ways, they are political O.J. Simpsons. Their every move generates a celebrity fascination, but behind that, we all know they did it.

If Palin was the “carrot’ to motivate the conservative base, Hillary is just the stick that would whip the right wing into a rabid campaign frenzy.

Furthermore, the suddenly more serious and intense vetting of the Clintons (yes, both of them) would likely lead to the exposure of a number of troublesome issues that will lay dormant as long as they are sideliners. In addition to a re-examination of all those Clinton era accusations and findings, there are more contemporary matters. Her senate fundraising activities have not been without controversy. And then there are Bill’s post-presidency wheelings and dealings with Middle East potentates and liaisons of a more personal nature.

Hillary would do to Obama, what Palin did for McCain. She would shunt him off to the sidetrack of media attention. While the ham-handed McCain needed the temporary diversion of public attention, the charismatic Obama cannot afford to be taken off message in the all-critical final days of this very long, long campaign.

Also, standing next to the Clintons (yes, both of them), Obama would appear diminished — less like a president. He would become the Sarah Palin of is own campaign — a breakthrough novelty who seems a wee bit short of experience. This is a more serious problem for him because he is applying for the boss’s position, not the assistant.

Then there is the question of breaking the racial barrier and glass ceiling at the same time. Is that just too much progress for the nation at one time. Could be.

Maybe Obama thinks this is a way to flip a losing campaign into a winning effort. I can also see Hillary buying in on the hope of preventing Palin from shattering through the ceiling many credit Clinton with cracking.

With the American electorate being so closely divided, it is not easy to forecast the results of such a dramatic turn of events — especially with the potential of other issues, such as Iraq and the economy, to produce their own dramatic surprises.

However, my gut tells me the Hillary maneuver would fail. Instead of boosting Obama’s currently rattling rocket, it may cause a complete flame out. There were many good reasons Hillary was not choosen in the first place, and all those good reasons are still lurking beneath the surface just waiting for the chance to be bite Obama in the butt.

>LMAO: Obama "calling" for reform in Illinois

>While Barack Obama showed not on scintilla of interest in reforming the thoroughly corrupt political machine that produced him, he is not under some pressure to poop, or get off the reform pot. National and Illinois-based media has been wondering out loud why the self described agent of change is not pushing to pass the reform package on languishing in the Illinois Senate — Obama’s form venue. The question is particular pesky since the state senate is headed by Emil Jones, Obama’s fellow African American, close friend and political godfather.

Well I am happy to report the under pressure from the media, Obama has taken action. Well … at least the appearance of action. He said he would “call” Jones to encourage him to pass the reform legislation.

I can hear that call now.

Obama: Hello, Godfather.

Jones: Hello boy. (<– African-Americans can use that word about each other.)

Obama: Godfather, I have been getting a lot of flack about never doing anything about reforming Illinois.

Jones: I’ve been reading that. They just don’t know that Illinois ain’t ready for reform.

Obama: I know, but its getting me some bad press … and you know how I hate bad press.

Jones: Of course, son. You’re not used to it like the rest of us. Just water off the ducks back.

Obama: Well … today I told the press I would call you to ask you to pass the reform legislation.

Jones: Smart move, boy.

Obama: Thank you, sir.

Jones: I’ll be sure to tell the press about your call, and how strongly you pressured me to pass the legislation. I can say I am reconsidering my position. Oh! Better yet. I’ll say I will work to pass it because you are such a persuasive guy.

Obama: Really? You’ll really pass it?

Jones: No! Of course not. You crazy? But I can say I will — at least until after the election. I control enough votes to make sure it never passes. I’ll come in favor of the bill, but make sure it gets locked up in committee anyway. You know how we do these things.

Obama: That’s really great. I knew I could count on you.

Jones: No problem. After all we got to get you elected. The Chicago machine never controlled the White House before. And of course, you need to be President to get rid of that U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald. Maybe you can appoint Mayor Daley’s brother as the new one.

Obama: Sure.

Jones: And brother Bill Daley to the Cabinet if he decides not to be governor.

Obama: Sure.

Jones: Personally, I would not mind being ambassador to Jamaica … or Aruba … or Puerto Rico. Obama: Puerto Rico is part of the United States.

Jones. Oh! Well you decide. I just want a nice tropical island.

Obama: Sure. And thanks for the help with the reform thing. People in other parts of the country seem to take that stuff pretty seriously.

Jones: Sure, son. Any time. And don’t forget … that tropical island.

Obama; You got it. Bye Godfather.

Jones: Bye boy.

>LMAO: In praise of the (con) artist.

>

I have recently written about lunacy in the political world (lots to write about) and lunacy in the education world (ditto), so why not turn to the wacky world of fine art. I have to confess that when it comes to knowledge of fine art, I belong to the I-know-what-I-like-when-I-see-it school of artistic appreciation. So, the art snobs can dismiss me immediately as an unsophisticated oaf. That is ok because I think a lot of them are pseudo-sophisticated, low self esteem elitists.

Case in point.

Just recently, Sotheby’s Auction House sold the works of guy named Damien Hirst. I never heard of this guy, which should come as no surprise. But, I love him. Oh! Not for his art. That’s the lunacy. But for his extraordinary achievement in making fools of snobby art connoisseurs – AND making a lot of money in the process.

You see, I think a lot of modern art is simply … hmmm … trash. It’s just a bunch of no-talent pseudo-art. Not even good enough to be “pseudo.” Hirst makes no pretense at being an artist. None whatsoever. That is the beauty of it. He is actually anti art — you might say a (con) artist.

A lot of modern art exists because of a perfect marriage between (con) artists and the new age art collectors. The artists want money – lots of it – for very little work and creativity. The money bag collectors want to show off their wealth and get their names on public galleries full of this crap.

Here is my theory. What better way to show off one’s obnoxious wealth than to be able to spend enormous amounts on things of no value, artistic or otherwise. I saw this in the antique business. (Yeah, I once owned an antique shop.) There were three types of customers. Those who looked at the price tag, and slapped down the money. Those who negotiated a better price, and then would brag to friends what a “bargain’ they got. And, believe it or not, those who actually preferred to overpay for things so they could brag how much they spent on the item. Texas seems to have a lot of the latter.

I am not talking about the difference between a Lamborghini and a Saturn. Some things are just better made and have greater real value. I’m talking about the person who announces, and usually very loudly, “This here cigar I am smoking cost me $950 smackaroos.” Or, “Take a sip of this (yucky) wine. Cost me $12,000 a bottle. I bought a case.”

These are the folks who spend hundreds of dollars for a $5 tie or $8 t-shirt because it has the name Versace on it. I mean, it’s not even personally autographed. The name is stitched on by a fifty cents an hour worker in Asia – where, incidentally, you can buy all the “Versace” ties you want at the street markets for about a buck a pop. Some even have the name spelled correctly.

The value of such “status symbols” is just that. Showing off that the purchaser can afford to pay extraordinary amounts of money for things of modest real market value. It’s the same thing as dropping $500 tips for a $100 meal. It’s just a means of showing off. The greater the differential between the true market value and the amount paid, the greater the ego fulfillment – the bragging power. It is their way to flex their money muscles on the Venice Beach of life.

Oh yeah! Art. In the Hirst case, they are paying ENORMOUS amounts for almost nothing of value. THAT is power. Hirst merely provides them with the opportunity to show off their wealth. In return, they provide Hirst with tons of money for dubious art.

Let me be more specific.

Recently this guy Hirst put a lot of his “works” up for auction. Someone paid $18.6 million for a dead bull in formaldehyde with a gilted thing-of-a-jig on its head (above right). What taxidermist would not stuff that late bovine for a lot less? It looks like something that should be on display at the Indiana State Fair instead of a metropolitan museum.

But Hirst is not a one trick scammer. No. No. No. He also sells pressed butterflies for millions of dollars. I used to collect butterflies myself – and framed them. It appears I may have pitched away about $6 million worth of the winged beauties – at least at Hirst rates.

But, as they say on those ubiquitous television ads – that’s not all folk. Hirst also makes millions on his “spin” art.

(Excuse me while I pause. I am convulsing in laughter. I mean, “spin” art???)

Yeah! I am talking about the kind of “art” your kids did in the second grade, at the carnival, or on their very own Fischer-Price “Spin-O-Matic.” You put the paper on a rotor, drizzle paint and, voile! You have created “art.”

Sometimes I feel like the kid looking at the naked king. Don’t these money flashing art collectors realize how incredibly stupid they look? While they can certainly show the power of their money, they are also revealing their insecurities and lack of common sense. And no matter how much the pay for this stuff, it isn’t fine art. It hardly rises to the level of “craft.” There is nothing wrong with rich people buying nice things – better cars, larger houses, fancier boats, bigger diamonds – but stuff like this … ???

Well, it is said that a fool and his (and her, to be politically correct) money is soon parted. Personally, I admire the fooler more than the foolee in this case. You go, Damien.

Footnote to Damien Hirst: Have you ever considered Paint-by-Numbers or Etch-A-Sketch?

>FOLLOW UP: Blago’s CTA senior subsidy a loser

>Well the chickens have come to roost on the buses and el trains of Chicago.

I am referring to Governor Rod Blagojevich’s blatantly political, self-serving legislation that gave all seniors, regardless of income, free rides (<= read that, taxpayer subsidized) on the cash starved public transportation system. He seems to think “old” means poor. Or maybe just more liberal politics designed to make everyone beholding to government for damn near everything.

As predicted, the ridership among seniors has increased – along with the budget deficit. The Governor’s plan was never about the poor. I can see some means-tested subsidy for seniors who must travel by public transportation. Give me a reason they need to travel, and show me they cannot afford it, and I say, “”give them a freebie.” Why any sane community would give gazillionaire Sam Zell (who spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on his annual birthday party) a taxpayer subsidized ride is totally beyond me. It is nothing less than welfare for the greedy, not the needy.

Now with the increase in ridership, the CTA is experimenting with the idea of getting more people on each el car by removing seats and provide more standing room. This is where I start to appreciate irony. You know where I’m going … right?

Yep, we add all those shaky old people, with their canes and walkers, and we accommodate them by taking away their seats. This is a joke … a game. You put 50 tottering seniors on an el car and see how many are still standing at the end of the line. You get points for knocking them over like bowling pins. Or, maybe it is more like bumper pool, were the oldsters bounce off the more foot secure passengers until the post-prime riders all topple to the floor.

When we get these kinds of half-ass solutions, just remember that the money to solve these problems has been siphoned off by the insider crooks – which some of us call the “corruption tax.” The problem with the corruption tax is that it gets raised secretly. No budget. No vote. And until U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald indicts someone, we don’t even know where the money went.

Next time you are motivated to give up your seat to an oldster, just remember, they are not paying for the ride much less the seat.
(This gives me an idea. How about we charge extra for seats? People with seating privilege get special “seating tickets.” In fact, we can even provide “season tickets” with designated seating like the pews in the colonial churches. Hmmmm. The only problem … the crazy Governor and is friends in the legislature will probably give away all the valuable seats to the old fogies – except for the ones provided to those who have at least precinct level political clout.

That’s already how the handicap license plates and windshield signs work. I am betting a lot of you … like me … know people who have handicap car signs and are quite able bodied. If you don’t know anyone like that, just hang round a handicap parking spot and you will meet quite of few of them.)

>REACT: Obama a reformer? Puhleeeez

>In a recent Chicago Sun-Times column, Carol Marin advised Barack Obama to start naming his Cabinet as a means to get past the lipstick level journalism of the day. She suggested naming U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald as Attorney General. A splendid choice, but the usually insightful columnist seems to have forgotten where she resides. So, I thought I should send her this letter.

Dear Carol,

I am a great fan of you and your professional work. However, your recent Obama column shocked me for your lack of realization of the world in which you live. Apparently you got suckered into believing that Obama IS a reformer. Oh sure, he is selling that image nationally where people do not know Chicago and Illinois politics. But, you should know better.

Obama is the product of arguably the most corrupt political operation in America. For Mayor Daley to sanctimoniously deny the existence of “the Machine” is as absurd as his father once denying the presence of “the Mob” in Chicago.

(I have to interject here. LMAO The photo on the right of Obama and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is the first photo that pops up on google images when you search for “Chicago political corruption.” And you think life ain’t full of funnyironies? Actually, under that search there are quite a few photos of Obama and nefarious characters. Okay, back to the letter.)

Obama was first elected to office by knocking all the competition off the ballot in the good old Chicago tradition. He was the benefactor of the patronage of some of the sleaziest influence peddlers and inside wheeler-dealers – one of whom, Tony Rezko (left), is now a convicted criminal.

Obama endorsed all the machine candidates, and in doing so he endorsed flagrant cronyism, nepotism and illegal patronage. His political god-father is Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, who supported legislative pay raises while opposing every bit of reform legislation. His chief political consultant, David Axelrod has been the flack for the machine for years. And on and on.

And what about Obama, himself? He has never … not once … produced or supported any reform legislation. He has never voiced criticism of the corrupt practices of the Machine. Most recently, he was asked to encourage Jones to pass ethics legislation. He demurred. Never once has he pointed a reform finger at the corruption within his own political base. He never challenged the establishment. He never voiced his support for whistle blowers and investigators. He never promoted “change” in Illinois – believable or otherwise.

On the other hand, as a state senator, he played Chicago-style politics by doling out taxpayer money to friends and supporters without much oversight and accountability. Several of his community improvement projects failed and the money “vanished.” He left his district not much better than he found it.

On the matter of Fitzgerald (right), Carol, you completely missed the mark. As President, Obama will do what the Machine demands – fire Fitzgerald. The most serious problem the machine has is a truly honest, independent REFORM U.S. Attorney. Whatever promises or lip service you may hear to the contrary, Obama will serve the Machine, not the public interest, in this matter. He owes the Machine bosses that much. He will deliver in the good old Chicago way.