Friday, February 29, 2008

"You've got to nip it in the bud! Nip it!"

Master of ceremonies Mark Davis of radio station WBAP introduced Keyes as an honorable man "whose ideas belong in the Oval Office" and who often can be found "eating some unlucky liberal for lunch." After Keyes finished his remarks to a standing ovation, Davis quipped, "Kind of makes Obama seem like Don Knotts."
Of course, Mr. Knotts was best known for his portrayal of Barney Fife on the 1960s television sitcom The Andy Griffith Show. Ironically, the description of Knott's Deputy Barney Fife on the website of the Museum of Broadcast Communications could serve as an epitaph for Mr. Keyes:
Self-important, romantic, and nearly always wrong *** While Barney was forever frustrated that Mayberry was too small for the delusional ideas he had of himself, viewers got the sense that he couldn’t have survived anywhere else. Don Knotts played the comic and pathetic sides of the character with equal aplomb and aploom.
At last count, the Keyes website had not yet met its
meager goal of 5000 pledges to cast votes for Keyes for President.

I suspect that the late Don Knotts could easily get 6000 votes.

Waukegan's Ritzy Blitz

My favorite nugget from your Chicago Tribune's coverage of Waukegan shops explosion story:
Adding to the initial confusion, mannequins from a tuxedo-rental store were blown into the street, causing some witnesses to believe they were seeing headless bodies.
I imagine that a surprising explosion would rattle anyone's thought processes -- but I can't help but wonder how those witnesses' brains accounted for all those elegantly dressed, decapitated victims.

What internal narrative could explain all those nattily-attired corpses? A gentlemen's-only ballroom dance studio? A meeting of the Cary Grant fan club? A Chippendales franchise?

Thursday, February 28, 2008


US Magazine: So, boxers or briefs? Bill Clinton said he wore boxers in a 1992 interview with MTV.
Sen. Barack Obama: I don't answer those humiliating questions. But whichever one it is, I look good in 'em!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Say It Isn't So!

At 8:38 p.m. on February 27, 2008, Lynn Sweet and Barack Obama broke my heart.

Don't Tell Tom Cruise!

Revealed: Where did Hubbard steal Scientology from?

Which raises another interesting question: What effects, if any, will this revelation of $cientology's secret origin have on the cult's organization's misuse of copyright law to bury the secret "teachings" of L. Ron Hubbard?

Libertarians for Obama

Freedom Communications CEO Scott Flanders says that Barack Obama is the best candidate to work on four top libertarian reforms: 1) Iraq withdrawal, 2) restoring the separation of church and state; 3) easing off victimless crimes such as drug use; 4) curtailing the Patriot Act.

And at least 75% of those issues should be at the top of every freedom-loving voter's list of concerns.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Obama: The Choice of Bollywood Liberals

"They Should Be Ashamed"

"If Barack Obama's campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed." -- Maggie Williams, Hillary Clinton campaign manager.

It appears that the Clinton camp is the source of this photo push. If so, William's statement is the moral equivalent of a candidate's campaign calling a political opponent is "a faggot."

And then, when the other campaign calls them on it, saying, "If his campaign wants to suggest that homosexuality is divisive, they should be ashamed."

I knew that the Clinton campaign machine could be tough and that the Clinton campaign machine could be ruthless, but I never would have guessed that the Clinton campaign machine could be so nakedly, awkwardly stupid.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Don't Just Sing It... Bring It!

"I've got news for all the latte-drinking, Prius-driving, Birkenstock-wearing trust-fund babies crowding in to hear him speak. This guy won't last a round against the Republican attack machine. He's a poet, not a fighter."
-- Thomas Buffenbarger, International Association of Machinists President

And I've got news or all the fat, balding, pasty baby-boomers who lost an entire generation of working-class voters to Ronald Reagan's GOP.

Your time is over.

Now have a seat.

No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!

From the AP:
Ralph Nader could be poised for another third party presidential campaign.

The consumer advocate will appear on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. Nader launched his 2004 presidential run on the show.

A spokesman for Nader did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Kevin Zeese, who was Nader's spokesman during the 2004 presidential race, but is no longer working for him, said Friday that Nader has been actively talking to "lots of people on all sorts of levels" about the possibility of making another run.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Proposed: Citizen Senators

The Blogfather, Eric Zorn, lightheartedly places the cart ahead of the horse and asks the musical question: Who'll take Sen. Obama's place if he goes to the White House?

Here's my (lightly edited) answer:
Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Two birds, one stone.

But let's shift the focus from Illinois politicians to Illinoisans who've made their contributions outside politics:

How about Studs Terkel?

Mr. Terkel might not want to serve time away from his beloved city, but I'll bet all that material for a new book would be nearly irresistible.

Jeff Tweedy: "I am trying to break your heart." A continuous loop of that Wilco lyric could serve as the soundtrack to my political adulthood.

If we must send another lawyer, how about Scott Turow? In addition to being a successful novelist, he was was lead counsel in Operation Greylord.

And if we're gonna replace Sen. Obama with a white guy, how about a white guy born in another country? Jon Langford (Wales) and Martin Atkins (England) are not only accomplished Chicago-based musical entrepreneurs, they both have extensive experience with committee work through their leadership in the Mekons and Pigface, respectively. A record (pun!) of successful results with the strong-willed members of a cacophonous collective should be a prerequisite for any member of the Senate.

No more white boys? Then how about Kanye West? He's not only right on one of the most important issues facing our nation -- "America is set up to help, the poor, the black people, the less well-off, as slow as possible" -- and it would be deeply ironic to replace the President of the Harvard Law Review with a "College Dropout."

And, although I don't know his politics and he hasn't been an Illinois resident for a while, what about Mike Singletary? We have a former Bear kicker as Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, so why not a former Bear as Illinois' junior senator. Singletary was not only a legendary leader on the field, he has aspired to inspire ever since. And unlike other freshman Senators, Samurai Mike would bring the gravitas from day one.

Of the ladies...

Carol Marin. 'Nuff said.

Oprah. See Marin, Carol.

Mary Schmich -- Not because she's a well respected Trib columnist, an inadvertent Kurt Vonnegut ghost writer and EZ's pal. I'd want her in the Senate because I'd be interested in how Mary's Capitol Hill experience would be reflected in the daily adventures of Brenda Starr!

Nan Warshaw. Who? Nan is one of the founders of Chicago's Bloodshot Records and one of the driving forces in Chicago's music scene. Not only does she Get Things Done, Nan has witnessed first-hand -- again and again and again and again and again *-- the price hard-working, but randomly unlucky, Americans pay under our current, disastrous health care system. If Nan was in the Senate, we'd have single-payer, universal coverage in about six months.

Politics is too important to leave to the politicians.

Politics is too important to leave it to the politicians.

Never forget it.

* Updated: and again

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Michelle Obama: Pride and Prejudice

“Hope is making a comeback and, let me tell you, for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country. Not just because Barack is doing well, but I think people are hungry for change.” -- Michelle Obama, Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Although opportunists will try to make much of Michelle Obama's sloppy and unfortunate language, it seems to me that her intention was clear.

Mrs. Obama meant that for the first time in her adult lifetime she is seeing an objectively measurable advancement in civil rights for black Americans.

Most of the key civil rights achievements of the last century occurred before her birth or during her very young childhood. Then, after the Johnson administration ended, black America made few, if any, advancements into mainstream America.

To her, like me, America's great strides away from a racist past of slavery, Jim Crow and discrimination and towards a healed and united future were historical events -- they weren't part of her personal experience as an adult. There have been no great milestones in America's march towards racial equality since her childhood.

Until today.

Until 2008, when Americans of every color, creed, age and background are pinning their hopes for the nation on black man from Chicago -- a black man who stands on the very brink of becoming the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

Mrs. Obama's language was bungled -- she is the (exhausted) mother of two young girls -- and she should probably apologize and clarify her point.

But her intention was unmistakable: She is as proud of America as she has ever been and probably prouder than she ever expected to be.

Me too.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bad News for HD-DVD Owners

Your format
won't be leaving the bunker.

Fallows: Bogus Plagiarism Charge "Really is Contemptible."

James Fallows of The Atlantic Monthly:
The "plagiarism" flap over Barack Obama is bogus and overstated. It makes me think worse about whoever is pushing this complaint, rather than about Obama himself. ***

A plagiarism charge stings when it underscores the idea that the plagiarist is trying to mask some inferiority: The D student looks over the A student's shoulder to copy during a test.

Does any sane person actually think that Barack Obama is incapable of expressing himself? His first book was a "real" book, of a quality most "real" writers would be proud to have matched. (The second one was more of a campaign book, and less in his own voice.)

To the extent this flurry is designed to introduce subliminal concerns -- and, let's face it, concerns tied to racial stereotypes -- that Obama is not quite deserving intellectually, a flim-flam man, it really is contemptible.
In addition to being national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, Fallows was a speechwriter for Jimmy Carter during his general-election campaign in 1976 and for two years in the White House.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Modern Bush Army

So much has changed since I proudly wore the uniform.

For instance, when I was a soldier, the Pentagon didn't offer $40,000
de-enlistment bonuses.

Just like with the environment, national debt, the federal budget and the economy in general, the Bush administration has turned the U.S. military into another ponzi scheme -- where a long-term, systematic collapse is all but ensured so that the Commander-in-Chief can hide the scope of his failures in the near-term.

Bleu Cheesecake

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

HRC: Loyal to a Fault

I thought that George W. Bush's failed presidency had taught everyone about the dangers of treating "loyalty" as the highest virtue -- but Josh Green's story in the Atlantic shows I was wrong:
Even after grasping the magnitude of the [Obama] threat, the Clinton campaign didn't react quickly and stuck to the strategy of trying to project an aura of inevitability. Here, too, Solis Doyle was disastrous; her lack of skill in areas other than playing the loyal heavy began to show. The first public sign of this came just after Clinton's reelection to the Senate. Even though Clinton had faced no serious opponent, it turned out that Solis Doyle, as campaign manager, had burned through more than $30 million. As this New York Times story makes clear, the donor base was incensed.

Toward the end of the Senate campaign, Solis Doyle did her best to bolster the impression of the inevitability of Hillary's nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate, spreading word that Clinton's Senate reelection fund-raising had gone so exceptionally well that $40 million to $50 million would be left after Election Day to transfer to the incipient presidential campaign. But this turned out to be a wild exaggeration — and Solis Doyle must have known it was. Disclosure filings revealed a paltry $10 million in cash on hand; far from conveying Hillary's inevitability, this had precisely the opposite effect, encouraging, rather than frightening off, potential challengers.

Rather than punish Solis Doyle or raise questions about her fitness to lead, Clinton chose her to manage the presidential campaign for reasons that should now be obvious: above all, Clinton prizes loyalty and discipline, and Solis Doyle demonstrated both traits, if little else. This suggests to me that for all the emphasis Clinton has placed on executive leadership in this campaign, her own approach is a lot closer to the current president's than her supporters might like to admit.
Why is it that the leaders who prize blind-loyalty in the face of failure above all else wind-up facing so damn much failure?

Steve Gerber, 1947-2008

Steve Gerber passed away over the weekend.

Comics junkies know Gerber the man behind the best issues of Marvel Comics weirdest and wildest mags of the 70's: The Defenders, Man-Thing, Omega the Unknown, Morbius the Living Vampire, the giant-sized KISS comic...and the creator of Howard the Duck.

But I will consider my life well-lived if, before I die, I make anything as great as Gerber's immortal Dr. Bong.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

S-T: Republican Front-Runner Drops John's Snogs

McCain is far from the first prominent right-winger to have problems with johns or his stance.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Is there still money in the Banana Stand?

Marry Me!

If this
E!xclusive is true, it's best news since the heroic return of Futurama:
Jason Bateman has just confirmed to me that the creative minds behind Arrested Development (Mitch Hurwitz and Ron Howard) have put the wheels in motion toward a major motion picture of the Fox TV comedy so many of us adore. I'm told by insiders that Jason and other Bluth family members have received calls from producers (Hurwitz and Howard) asking if they would be willing to shoot a movie.

"I can confirm that a round of sniffing has started," Bateman says. "Any talk is targeting a post-strike situation, of course. I think, as always, that it's a question of whether the people with the money are willing to give our leader, Mitch Hurwitz, what he deserves for his participation. And I can speak for the cast when I say our fingers are crossed."

Jeffrey Tambor also revealed on XM Radio's the Ron and Fez Show that he has been approached by Ron Howard to see if he's willing to do an Arrested film.
Now I will pray that they can duplicate the remarkable success of
The Simpsons Movie rather than the tragic disappointment of the X-Files movie.

Monday, February 04, 2008

You Know Who to Vote for and Why -- Now Where Do You Vote?

The Obama team has provided this Illinois polling-place locater for those inclined to vote for change tomorrow:

Find Your Polling Place in Illinois

With extremely close races shaping up in states across the country, we need to win every delegate we can in Illinois.

Find your polling place and make sure you vote for Barack this Tuesday, February 5th:

I have no idea where Hillary backers will vote, but I'm pretty sure they cast their ballots on Wednesday.


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