Saturday, June 30, 2007

Free Press v2.0

From The Providence Journal:
WPRI-TV, Channel 12 reporter Jarrod Holbrook had his White House press pass snatched after he shouted “Mr. President!” twice as President Bush greeted Air and Army National Guardsmen gathered on the tarmac at the Air National Guard base in Quonset.

A member of the president’s entourage pointed at Holbrook after he first tried to get Mr. Bush’s attention. The man then ripped the pass from Holbrook’s belt after he shouted again to the president, who was about 10 feet away.

Holbrook said afterward that he just wanted to ask Mr. Bush how he enjoyed his visit to Rhode Island. Members of the media were not told they could not ask the president questions.
And this behavior would somehow have been acceptable if the press
had been told they could not question the president?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Thursday, June 28, 2007


The Chris Benoit murders are officially too damn strange to even have an episode of Law and Order based on them:
In what is either an eerie coincidence or an investigative bombshell, a Wikipedia contributor submitted an addition to [World Wrestling Entertainment] pro wrestler Chris Benoit's entry about his wife's death nearly 13 hours before police discovered her body in the wrestler's Atlanta-area home. ***

At 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time Monday, June 25 -- nearly 13 hours before authorities would make their gruesome discovery inside the Benoit home -- an anonymous poster updated Chris Benoit's Wikipedia entry with the following information:

"Chris Benoit was replaced by Johnny Nitro for the ECW Championship match at Vengeance, as Benoit was not there due to personal issues, stemming from the death of his wife Nancy," the posting read.

The posting, which Wikipedia communications manager Sandra Ordonez confirmed to ABC News, was traced back to a Stamford, Conn., IP address.

WWE headquarters are located in Stamford.

Update - Chris Benoit mystery editor confesses: claims "terrible coincidence"

It's from WikiNews -- so it must be true:
I feel incredibly bad for all the attention this got because of the fact that what I said turned out to be the truth. Like I said it was just a major coincidence, and I will never vandalize anything on wikipedia or post wrongful information. I've learned from this experience. I just can't believe what I wrote was actually the case, I've remained stunned and saddened over it....
Apparently, if you have an infinite number of monkeys typing an infinite number of updates on Wikipedia, they will eventually predict the shocking deaths of everyone in professional wrestling.

Norm Colman: Do as I say, Not as I Doobie

"We have seen more people die last year from spinach than pot."
-- Attorney Norm Kent of NORML in a letter to fellow Hofstra University alum and pot head hypocrite Norm Colman (R - MN).

Cap'n Crunch

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
-- William Ernest Henley, Invictus

From your Chicago Tribune:
Stunned by the continuing loss of its captains -- the critical, mid-career officers who command companies, the basic combat organizations -- the Army has asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates for permission to begin offering $20,000 cash to captains willing to stick it out another three years. If that doesn't appeal, the Army would give them free graduate school -- or find them a slot at the ever-popular Ranger or Jump schools.

The Army needs about 30,000 captains. Today it musters 23,554, about 1,000 fewer than a year ago. The Army will need even more captains as it adds 65,000 more troops over the next five years.

Retaining captains has always been a problem for the Army, but the Iraq war has made the problem worse. Many captains find, after commanding platoons and companies for one or two combat tours, that the thrill is gone and the price of staying in uniform too high. And there is rising anger among today's captains, with many faulting the Army's brass for mismanaging the war.
And the Trib tells us that we should not expect the cap-gap to be filled with black Americans:
The number of blacks joining the military has plunged by more than one-third since the Afghanistan and Iraq wars began. Other job prospects are improving, and more relatives of potential recruits are discouraging them from joining the armed services.

According to data obtained by The Associated Press, the decline covers all four military services for active duty recruits. The drop is even more dramatic when National Guard and Reserve recruiting is included. ***

According to Pentagon data, there were nearly 51,500 new black recruits for active duty and reserves in 2001. That number fell to less than 32,000 in 2006, a 38 percent decline.

When only active duty troops are counted, the number of black recruits went from more than 31,000 in 2002 to about 23,600 in 2006, an almost 25 percent drop.

The decline is particularly stark for the Army. Blacks represented about 23 percent of the active Army's enlisted recruits in 2000, but 12.4 percent in 2006.
It's been said before but it bears repeating: The Bush Administration is abusing our troops and decimating our Army.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

On the Internet, No One Knows You Were a Hulkamaniac.

Apparently, I'm not the only internets geek online satirist to be rattled by rasslin's murder-suicide

click image for full cartoon

This cartoon just confirms my suspicion that that I have a previously unknown, long-lost sister out there drawing Cat and Girl.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

She's as Clever as She is Attractive.

"Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and faith started being used to drive us apart. Faith got hijacked, partly because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, all too eager to exploit what divides us." -- Sen. Barack Obama

"Anyone named B. Hussein Obama should not use the words ‘hijack’ and ‘religion’ in the same sentence.” -- Ann Coulter

"Anyone with a pronounced Adam's apple should not call herself 'Ann' or try to pass as a 'woman'." -- SCAM

Update -- Elizabeth Edwards bitch slaps calls out Mr. Coulter:

A transcript is available here.

Final Update -- Think Progress has provided a nutshell version of Ms. Klinefelter's Syndrome 2007:
Yesterday on ABC’s Good Morning America, Coulter said, “[I]f I’m gonna say anything about John Edwards in the future, I’ll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.” She has previously called Edwards a “faggot.” In 2003, she wrote a column claiming that John Edwards drove around with a bumper sticker saying “Ask me about my son’s death in a horrific car accident.”
Please try to imagine the media and Secret Service consequences if someone on the Left made such statements.

Change of Mood

Discussions about bizarre murder suicides are so depressing... let's change the subject to something we can all laugh about: Police Torture and Abuse

Good Cop, Baby Cop

Okay... that's not funny either...

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Canadian Crippler Killer?

From The Atlanta-Journal Constitution:
A well-known professional wrestler and his family were found dead inside their house in Fayette County Monday afternoon.

Authorities confirmed that Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy and their 7-year-old son, Daniel, were found dead at the home on Quarters and Redwine roads in Fayetteville about 4 p.m.

Officials were investigating the deaths as a murder-suicide.
I swear if I never again see a news story about a guy killing his wife and kids, it will be too soon.

Hard Knocks Update - Some are taking this much, much worse than I:
I apologize if you're cut of a jib that says "everybody's innocent till proven guilty, so just remember the good, and quit rumor mongering." Your optimism and good-cheer certainly help the world go 'round. And I hope against hope that in the coming hours or days, I'll be kissing your asses, praising your restraint, and celebrating how you were right and I was wrong.

But for now: no tribute. No eulogy. Only the wait for stone cold facts, rock hard information, and the knowledge that I'm already sort of suspecting I'm gonna want to un-learn as soon as I hear it.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Sound of Steve Rhodes's Phone

From the Huffington Post:
Official Barack Obama campaign ringtones.

Sweet Mother of God, that is the WORST IDEA EVER.

Remember what we said the other day about Hillary Clinton's Soprano's spoof? That it was indicative of her surrounding herself with a great team? Yeah. Team Obama, not so much, at least based on whoever thought it was a good idea to greenlight Obama's voice over a heavy drumbeat ringing out "We can have universal healthcare in this country! We can do that!" or the synth disco beat behind "America, it is time to start bringing our troops home!"


Watch the Jon Stewart version
here; it required little in the way of embellishment because these are ACTUAL OBAMA RINGTONES.

If you click here, you will find that it actually worse than all that.

Hulk Here! Hulk Queer! Get Used to Hulk!

In honor of Sunday's Pride Parade:

In His Rainbow Boa

Friday, June 22, 2007

Summer is Bottle Rockets Time

Friends, the good Lord has blessed Illinois with three -- yes, three! -- opportunities to see the Bottle Rockets, America's Finest Rock and Roll Combo. (Skeptics like Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens and Zorn should scroll down for audio revelation.)

And as a sign that He loves all of His children equally, the Lord has given us a Bottle Rockets show in Chicago, a show in the suburbs and a downstate show at the capital!

Sunday, July 1 - Naperville, IL

Naperville Ribfest
supporting Los Loney Boys
Main Stage - Martin & West Streets
Tickets: $10 (children under 11 are free)
ALL AGES - Bring the family!
Doors open at Noon
Bottle Rockets on at 5:30pm


Saturday, July 7 - Springfield, IL
American Music Fest
Taste of Downtown
Downtown Springfield
ALL AGES - Bring the family!
Tickets: $2
Doors open at: Noon
Bottle Rockets on at: 10pm


Friday, August 3 - Chicago, IL
Beat Kitchen
1200 W Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
ph: 773-281-4444
Tickets: $12 advance / $15 day of show
Age requirement: 21+
Doors open: 9pm
Opening band on at 10:30pm
Bottle Rockets on at 11:30pm

Yes, brothers and sisters, God loves you and He loves the Rock and Roll. Make sure to give thanks for our many blessings -- and don't forget the Reason for the Season.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Blue is the Colour: "We're all together and winning is our aim"

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" -- Rt. Hon. Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797) (attributed)

"We've tried nothin'... and we're all out of ideas!" -- Ned Flanders' beatnik father, The

As DuPage County's preeminent psudonymous liberal blogger, I was asked a while ago for my opinion of Operation: Turn DuPage Blue, Michael in Chicago's PrairieStateBlue post about OTDB and Amy Tauchman's follow-up.

After taking some time and giving it some thought, here are my observations:

First, I think the idea of a schism among DuPage Democrats may be overstated. It seems that the goal of OTDB is to create a grassroots ground force of precinct workers who can work together to elect Democratic candidates in DuPage County. If this is their goal -- and I've seen no reason to believe it isn't -- then no Democrat in DuPage County should have a beef with them.

Second, the idea that any divisions among DuPage Democrats were caused by a Cegelis cabal clandestinely undermining the party organization is simply absurd.

I like and admire Christine Cegelis. She is one of my political heroes. The courage and character that she demonstrated in her runs for Congress should serve as a model for every Democratic candidate -- DuPage County and around the nation. And, yes, I do think she was screwed over. Royally. But I would never undermine DuPage Democratic candidates as part of some misguided revenge plot. And I don't think that any other Cegelis supporter would. And I can't imagine Christine would want them to.

And the facts back me up.

Some lazy thinkers in Washington and the DuPage Democratic organization continue to peddle the idea that Roskam won because Cegelis supporters didn't get behind Duckworth. I must admit, that is a tempting excuse for not winning an open seat in a year when Democrats otherwise ran the table.

But let's dare to consider the facts:
So let's can we please dispense with the silly argument that Cegelis supporters are undermining the Democratic party in DuPage County. They aren't now and they never have.

And so, finally, we get to the question, "What do I think of Operation: Turn DuPage Blue?"

OTDB has a clear goal: To beat Republicans by getting more Dems on the street. Amy T says OTDB is "incredibly committed to doing just that and will continue to work in concert with anyone or any group who shares that goal."

So, as an advocate of grassroots politics and Howard Dean's 50 State Plan, OTDB is certainly speaking my language.

And it seems that they are actually putting actions behind their words -- OTDB is one of the sponsors of Camp Wellstone at the College of DuPage. OTDB is hosting a training program -- based on the successful strategies of Saint Paul Wellstone -- that will teach progressives how to win on issues and elect good candidates.

And they're doing it here in DuPage County!

One could easily look backwards and ask, "Why hasn't someone done this in DuPage County before?" But I'd rather look forward and ask, "Who got this done? Who's making a difference? Who's working now -- RIGHT NOW -- to elect Democrats in DuPage County in 2008?"

Operation: Turn DuPage Blue is laying the foundation for '08 Democratic campaign victories right now.

And if you haven't yet decided whether or not to get behind their work, I offer this reminder:

"All that is necessary for Republicans to triumph is for Democrats to do nothing."

It's Time To
Do Something.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

"Piss on AT&T" -- A Post in Two Acts

Act 1: Cory Doctorow of Boing-Boing says, "Piss on AT&T":
AT&T DSL should be avoided like the plague. These are the scumbags who illegally wiretapped the entire Internet for the NSA, who broke net-neutrality to find "copyright infringements", and who inspired NBC to call for a law requiring all ISPs to do the same (imagine -- a law forbidding network neutrality!).

Seriously: the only day I wouldn't piss on AT&T is if they were on fire.
Act 2: Cory Doctorow of Boing-Boing says how to "Piss on AT&T":
When AT&T bought out BellSouth, it had to promise the FCC that it would provide a basic, $10/month DSL service. However, AT&T has done everything it can to suppress information about the service.

The Consumerist has found the plan.
The plan provides download speeds of up to 768 kilobits per second and upload speeds of up to 128 kbps, matching AT&T's basic plan.

To take advantage of the plan, you'll need to sign a 1 year contract and you need to be a new customer to AT&T broadband. This plan sounds like a good opportunity for anyone you know who still has dial-up, or for people who don't need cable internet and want something slower and cheaper. And with this plan, the modem is free.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Beachwood Rebuttal

Steve Rhodes of The Beachwood Reporter e-mailed some thoughtful feedback in response to this post.
The problem for Obama is his branding as a different kind of politician, when in fact he has been exposed as a pretty ordinary Illinois Democrat whose record is nothing like his newly crafted national image. Every time he is caught being a hack like the rest of them, his supporters say "But they all do that." Then what is the rationale for Obama's campaign?

He is campaigning as a change agent with no record of being one; as an anti-war candidate who kept his mouth shut when he had a national stage and instead raised money for Joe Lieberman; as a grass-roots movement candidate in his e-mail solicitations while spending his time with the same corporate lobbyists and special interests in fundraising events he tries to keep from the public.

If Obama is merely guilty of being a pol, that makes his entire campaign a charade. But trying to fix his policy decisions to his image rather than the other way around makes him the most cynical exploiter of hope to further his own ambitions who has come down the pike for a long time. He is taking the permanent campaign to a new level.

It's beyond me how anyone can honestly look at Obama and see his fictionalized memoir, phone call to Tony Rezko to help him buy that house, not putting his stock in a blind trust while posing as the champion of ethics legislation, his mentors being Emil Jones, Rezko, and Joe Lieberman, his embrace of Dorothy Tillman and Todd Stroger, his reputation in Springfield for being lazy and aloof, his lackluster record as a U.S. senator, including keeping his mouth shut about the war, voting for the Mexican fence and against the credit card interest cap, and conclude that this is a messenger of hope who ought to be president of the United States and leader of free world because he seems likable, has a great smile, and gave a good speech (though [in my opinion] a speech full of nonsense) once.

Wanting everyone to get along is not a platform, it's a nostrum.

(You can publish this if you like - or not - my Blogger log-on is screwed up so I couldn't post it as a comment.)

Steve Rhodes
The Beachwood Reporter
Although Mr. Rhodes' argument has not convinced me -- I still stand by what I said -- he presents the best and most coherent argument against Obama's campaign that I have encountered* and all is grist for the mill.

And you don't have to agree with Steve on Obama -- I sure don't -- to appreciate the fact that The Beachwood Reporter's analysis of the Obama campaign press coverage -- meta-analysis or meta-meta-analysis? -- is top notch.

*Any perceived damning with faint praise is purely unintentional.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Subliminal Advertising?

"If it's just vitamins and water, why does it taste salty?"

Be very, very careful when pausing your Tivo during a Vitamin Water ad.

The Alias Kid, aka, Kid Alias provided this photographic evidence:

Dirty Water Update:
Bottled water used to be about the water, man -- the water!

Final Update: I can only type the word "water" six times before becoming uncertain of its spelling and its meaning.

"Making of a Candidate Controversy"

Some folks, including some that I both like and respect, are finding deep, smoking-gun, significance in your Chicago Tribune's "Making of a Candidate" series about Barack Obama.

I just don't see it.

From the Trib:
Throughout his time in the Senate, Obama has followed a cautious path, avoiding any severe political bruises. Even before the national mood was turning on Iraq, Obama was a critic of the war, but for most of his time in the Senate he was not a strong voice in opposition. Similarly, the former civil rights attorney and University of Chicago law lecturer did not take to the bully pulpit to speak out publicly on judicial appointments. His strategy called for him to turn away from the cameras when he might otherwise have been a resonant voice.
Yes, we must ask ourselves, "Why didn't Barack Obama spend his first year in Washington D.C. becoming the Dennis Kucinich of the Senate?"

Now, don't get me wrong -- I agree with Mr. Kucinich on nearly every issue. But I also recognize that he would have to moderate his message significantly to even qualify as "a lone voice in the wilderness".

The Trib informs us th
at Obama's actions since joining the Senate were the based on the savvy calculations of a band of political masterminds:
First and foremost, the Obama team placed a high premium on working well with others.
Now there's a smoking gun.

Clearly Obama's so-called "cooperation" was a creation of this Machiavellian cabal. After
his speech at the Democratic convention -- "[W]e are connected as one people *** there's not a liberal America and a conservative America — there's the United States of America" -- no one could have imagined that a Senator Obama would value working with others.


The Trib again:
Obama the candidate for U.S. Senate spoke out forcefully against the Iraq war. For most of his tenure in Washington, though, Obama the U.S. senator has not been a moving force on Iraq.

He left it to others to lead public opinion. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) emerged as the strongest voices against the war. Those critics all spoke out before Obama gave his first major policy speech on the war -- 11 months after he took office.
First of all, let's get something straight: No Democrat in Washington D.C. lead public opinion on The War.

The Democratic base was against The War since before the 2004 election -- the Democratic voters had to drag their representatives kicking and screaming to an anti-war position, not vice versa. And the remainder of Americans has turned on the War due to the Bush administration's self-evident failures.

Perhaps nothing changed the nation's outlook on Iraq quite as much as Katrina and its aftermath. The Bush administration told the exact same litany of lies about New Orleans as they did about Iraq:
  1. It won't be that bad.
  2. It's not as bad as the media is saying.
  3. We're making good progress on fixing it up.
  4. The media is lying about what's happening.
  5. We're right and everyone else is wrong
  6. Repeat.
But unlike in Iraq, the American people could see for themselves what was and wasn't happening on the Gulf of Mexico. They could see with their own two eyes that the Bush administration a) didn't know what it was doing and b) didn't seem to care.

It was simple enough for the public to apply the same analysis to the "Heck of a Job" in Iraq.

Second, even if anti-war Democratic politicians had made a difference in public opinion, it would not have made a damn bit of difference with regard to the Bush administration's actions in Iraq. Today, the vast majority of Americans believe that Bush is leading us in the wrong direction in Iraq and that we should be preparing to pull out. But instead, Bush's Pentagon is sending more and more military men and women into the grinder.

I'm a big fan of Sen. Obama, but anyone who thinks that his voice could have changed the Bush administration's course of action in Iraq holds Obama in much higher esteem than I do.

And third, what does Russ Feingold, a Democratic leader in opposition to The War in the Senate, say about Barack Obama vis-à-vis Iraq? The Tribune says he gives Obama "mixed reviews" but let's let Feingold speak for himself:
I regard him as clearly stronger [on Iraq] than Sen. [Hillary Rodham] Clinton, indeed than [former] Sen. [John] Edwards," Feingold said. "Of all the people I've worked with that are running for president, I think Sen. Obama probably made the proposal that was most helpful in moving the [Senate Democratic] Caucus in the direction I would like to see it go.
Talk about praising with faint damnation. By name he says Obama is "clearly stronger" than the other two top tier Democratic candidates for President.

We should all pray for such "mixed reviews".

What other juicy bits can we pluck from the Tribune's expose?
A broader examination of Obama's voting reveals a decidedly liberal record.

He voted to increase the minimum wage, to permit federal funding of stem cell research and against banning desecration of the flag, votes that could become fodder for GOP critics.
A Democrat who's a Liberal? One who supports workers' pay, science and free speech? One who's votes might be opposed by Republican critics?

Such a revelation.

Thank heavens for the Tribune's "broader examination".
In his second year, Obama began to make use of the bully pulpit that had been at his disposal all along.
May I offer a slightly more accurate version of that sentence -- "In his second year, Obama began to make use of the bully pulpit that, in retrospect, may have been at his disposal all along -- provided the press did not decide that,
by speaking out in his initial year in the Senate, he was an arrogant rookie who needed to be taken down a peg or two."

Not that the press has ever torn someone down after building him up.

Speaking of the press, let's turn back to Tribune coverage of team Obama's cabalistic machinations:
In keeping with the original game plan, staff members spent nights and weekends scouring the chapters [of "The Audacity of Hope"] as they rolled in, looking for potential political pitfalls -- a vetting committee Obama didn't have when he published his earlier, more provocative memoir.
So, as a United States Senator, Obama is now writing more carefully than he did as a recent law school grad?

How calculating!

I certainly hope that the Tribune reveals an instance of authorial malfeasance on the part of Obama's coven of mountebanks...
For instance, when Obama was seeking to name someone as the epitome of left-leaning politics, an aide urged him to use a House member instead of a Senate colleague. So the book names now-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), though Obama's voting record is similar to hers.
A party leader in the House was given as an example when he might have used the example of a party-member in the Senate?


How deep does this deception go?

Clearly everything Sen. Obama has ever written or said is now suspect. But the conspiracy of deception surrounding Barack Obama will be tougher to penetrate than the DiVince Code. The job may simply be too much for the press.

Someone get Patrick Fitzgerald on the phone -- this demands a full investigation!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Springfield in the Spring

Lady Fortune guided me to fair Springfield, Illinois this weekend.

And I think I managed to miss the usual tourist attractions.

Temporarily like a fox!
I believe that this walkway is "temporarily" closed in the same way that the Governor is "temporarily" at loggerheads with the legislature.

hello.jpg!Why didn't anyone tell me that Springfield had a Goatse subshop?

Will I be returning to Springfield for "American Music" on the lucky day of 07/07/07?

The Bottle Rockets take the stage at 10 pm after the amateurs have gone to bed.
Sure could be!

Illegit... Illegit, Now Quit!

Hammer says, "It's time to turn this mother out."

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Attn: Department of Redundancy Department

Dear Chicago Tribune,

On Wednesday, June 6, 2007, John J. Moser's page seven article proclaimed, "Son Volt evolves by going back to basics of Rock 101".

But on Thursday, June 7, 2007, John J. Moser's page four article declared, "Son Volt evolves by going back to Rock 101 basics."

"Basics of Rock 101" or "Rock 101 basics"?

Which is it Tribune?

I presume that there must be a significant difference -- why else would you run the same article two days in a row -- but my attempts at exegesis have failed to tease it from the text.

Perhaps tomorrow's
John J. Moser piece on Son Volt's evolution -- going back to 101 Rock basics? -- will clear things up.

I remain your faithful reader,


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

"Never Been in a Riot"

From your
Chicago Tribune:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama declared the nation has failed to address a "quiet riot" of despair simmering in impoverished black neighborhoods across the country as he spoke Tuesday before one of the oldest and largest annual gatherings of African-American ministers.

Obama offered an ominous portrait of hopelessness pervading many inner-city neighborhoods and its potential to erupt into uncontrolled violence, along with a call to the rest of society for a more determined effort to reduce pockets of endemic poverty.

The Illinois senator described the street corners of ghettos around the country as gathering places for "young men and women without hope, without miracles and without a sense of destiny other than life on the edge -- the edge of the law, the edge of the economy, the edge of family structures and communities." ***

Obama called the Bush administration's slow response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans a metaphor for neglect of poverty-stricken communities. And he repeatedly referred to the Los Angeles riots that broke out 15 years ago after a jury acquitted white police officers of assault charges in the videotaped beating of African-American motorist Rodney King. ***

"Those riots didn't erupt overnight;" Obama said in his speech at the university's Convocation Center in Hampton, Va. "There had been a 'quiet riot' building up in Los Angeles and across the country."

He said that violence is "inexcusable and self-defeating." But, he added, many of the same frustrations continue to build in black America, stoked by poor schools, bad housing, and inadequate job opportunities.

"Those 'quiet riots' that take place every day are born from the same place as the fires and the destruction and the police decked out in riot gear and the deaths," Obama said. "They happen when a sense of disconnect settles in and hope dissipates. Despair takes hold and young people ... believe that things are never going to get any better."
Even as a young half-wit hip-hop hillbilly, I understood that the Rodney King riots had little to do with Rodney King. Although I was disappointed that the nation (of millions) seemed to be shocked when the "quite riot" described by Sen. Obama turned inexcusably and self-defeatingly violent, I held out hope that our country would subsequently address the culture of hopelessness that festered in our underclass...

Well, I told you I was a half-wit.

But instead, we subsequently comforted ourselves with the apparent prosperity of the Clinton years and deluded ourselves that the blossoming of the internet was a techno-miracle that would empower even the lowliest Americans. America willfully ignored the fact that those who had been shut out of opportunity in the previous economy were shut out of the globalized new economy.

I'm still too half-witted -- three-quarters-witted? -- to propose a comprehensive answer to the problems of the underclass, but I feel confident that Sen. Obama and John Edwards are taking the necessary first step by identifying this problem.

Update: Lynn Sweet of your Chicago Sun-Times has posted the full transcript of Sen. Obama's speech
to the Hampton University Annual Ministers’ Conference.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The "R" is for "Ridiculous"

"I'm the Ali of today. I'm the Marvin Gaye of today. I'm the Bob Marley of today. I'm the Martin Luther King, or all the other greats that have come before us. And a lot of people are starting to realize that now." -- R. Kelly

From your Chicago Sun-Times:
It was five years ago today that a Cook County grand jury indicted R&B superstar R. Kelly on 21 counts of child pornography for allegedly videotaping himself engaging in sex acts with an underage girl. ***

The girl, who allegedly was 14 years old when the tape of her and Kelly was made, will celebrate her 23rd birthday in September. The longer the trial is delayed, the less she will look like a vulnerable teenager when she appears on the witness stand.

"It's ridiculous that it has taken five years to get to trial," said New England School of Law Professor Wendy Murphy. "There's no excuse for it. But this is a tried-and-true tactic when it comes to sex-crimes cases: 'victory by delay.' Witnesses end up moving away. They die. You tend to see a lot of delays for defendants who are wealthy. You don't tend to see a lot of delays when the defendant is a poor kid from the inner city."
Since the indictment, Robert Sylvester Kelly has recorded and released 6 studio albums that have sold over 9 million copies.

Dems: "Thank you sir, may I have another... and another... and another..."

Wyoming Senator Craig Thomas, a three-term conservative Republican, died Monday June 4, 2007. He was 74.

But this is the news, from the AP story in your Chicago Tribune, that caught my attention:
Gov. Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat, will appoint a successor from one of three finalists chosen by the state Republican party.
By contrast, this was the story from the AP when Democratic Senator Tim Johnson was downed by a stroke:
The South Dakota senator, 59, suffered from bleeding in the brain caused by a congenital malformation, the U.S. Capitol physician said. He described the surgery as successful. The condition, usually present at birth, causes tangled blood vessels that can burst unexpectedly later in life.

Democrats hold a fragile 51-49 margin in the new Senate that convenes Jan. 4. If Johnson leaves the Senate, the Republican governor of South Dakota could appoint a Republican to fill the remaining two years of Johnson's term - keeping the Senate in GOP hands with Vice President Dick Cheney's tie-breaking power.
Ever wonder how the political party with popular political positions keeps losing to the party with unpopular positions?

Let me suggest that a self-inflicted toxic level of courtesy is partly to blame.

Remember when Rahm Emmanuel suggested "off-cycle" redistricting in Illinois as payback for Tom Delay's Republican redistricting in Texas?
Mr Emanuel said he did not like the idea of changing the rules "in the middle of the game". But he had been pushing for Democrats in his home state of Illinois to consider the move, to retaliate against Republicans.

Illinois Democrats met this week to discuss the matter and "there wasn't really a consensus for going forward", he said, adding that they wanted to put the institution of Congress ahead of party politics. Concern about such a frontal assault on Dennis Hastert the Illinois Republican who is speaker of the House and a chief architect of the state's current map was also a factor.
In other words, the Democrats didn't want to be rude to Denny Hastert -- the man who not only put party politics before "the institution of Congress" but also put his own pecuniary gain ahead of the institution's integrity.

I have nothing but contempt for the GOP's underhanded methods and I don't propose that the Democrats adopt them. But Democrats must understand that the Republican party operates in an underhanded manner and stop pretending that all parties are politely playing nice.

Democrats should always play fair, but it's long, long past time to stop playing nice.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Are you ready? Are you ready? LET'S GET IT ON!

Chicago Wonk asks the musical question: Should “ultimate fighting” be legal in Illinois?

Based on my 10 years of martial arts training, I'm a strong yes:
There are all kinds of sports that some people find unseemly, from hunting or boxing to newer games like paintball. It’s not the state’s responsibility to determine whether such pastimes are good for the human spirit, but whether they can be practiced without risking public safety. Ultimate fighters have proven that they can do so by observing simple rules in a supervised environment. Therefore, the state should not ban these events but tightly regulate them, ensuring that those who do choose to "dance in the Octagon" are not putting themselves in unreasonable danger. (emphasis added)
The argument provided for having UFC events in Illinois is good. But I'll toss out a couple more:
  • Only UFC branded events are banned in Illinois. The UFC will not hold events that are not sanctioned by the the Illinois Athletic Commission. Other mixed-martial arts events -- caged and otherwise -- have taken place after being granted waivers. This bizarre brand-specific ban prohibits fans in Illinois from seeing the major MMA promotion but does nothing to stop caged combat from occurring.
  • Between 1998 and 2006, there were 70 recorded boxing related deaths. By contrast, in the history of MMA, there has been only one fatality directly attributable to competition. That lone death occurred after an unregulated 1998 match in Kiev, Ukraine.
Perhaps the best argument, however, is a simple question: What would Blago do?

Then do the opposite.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Is Your Congress Member Hyde-ing Something?

Frank James, of your Tribune's Swamp, is Chicago's source for the comings and goings in Hustler Magazine:
Can you provide documented evidence of illicit sexual or intimate relations with a Congressperson, Senator or other prominent officeholder?

Larry Flynt and HUSTLER Magazine will pay you up to $1 million if we choose to publish your verified story and use your material.

Hustler: Buy it for the articles -- stay for the porn.

Friday, June 01, 2007

"We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful"

Stevie Morrissey was wrong.

Congrats out to Rick and Jake, 'cause Feedburner is officially Big Time:
Unlike the rumor that FeedBurner is nearly code-complete on a multiplayer Wii edition, the blog posts, phone calls and conjecture about our future as part of the Google family tree are now officially true.

FeedBurner has been acquired by Google. The local weather forecast calls for general euphoria with intermittent periods of off-the-rails delight.

Drinks are on you, Klau.


Blog Archive