Saturday, April 14, 2007

Two for the price of one!

Yessiree, folks, step right up! Double your pleasure!

First of all, we have Susan Petrarca of Lemont, a regular in the corner, a right-wing harpy with a room temperature IQ. This dim bulb opines:
Regarding Nancy Pelosi, they used to have a word for people who consorted with our enemies during wartime, and it wasn't "diplomat." The kindest word I can think of to describe her attempt to set up a parallel foreign policy is "stupid."
Well, Little Susie, 1) we are not at war (if so with whom?) 2) we CERTAINLY are not at war with Syria, 3) she wasn't CONSORTING, she was part of a CONGRESSIONAL delegation and 4) even during a real war, diplomatic contacts take place.

And then we have constitutional scholar Mitch Johnson of Western Springs. This modern-day Justice Story apparently missed freshman civics, and seems to think that there is a right to life, liberty and a radio show, as he pronounces from the bench:
The 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights guarantees us freedom of speech. With all the uproar about Imus and others recently, we should add an asterisk to the Bill of Rights that reads: "As long as it is politically correct."
I would like to thank Mitch for proving that half of America graduated in the bottom half of the class, and to both Susie and Mitch:

In Memoriam: KV

I was raised on Kurt Vonnegut, I've grown to middle age with him. I feel as if I know him better than my own father, who died shy of his 50th birthday, when I was in my mid 20s. It was easy for me to adopt Vonnegut after my dad's death. I was drawn to his ethos, which insisted that human beings can be decent, kind, and loving to one another independent of group-think organized religion and lockstep nationalism. He was the first important author with whom I fell in love (I can't include Poe, who scared the pants off me at age 9, or the transcendent William Blake - who had a profound influence on Vonnegut, but who I didn't learn to love until I was much older). So at some level his death represents a kind of re-enactment of my father's death, as it might have hit me had he lived til now. I will miss Kurt because he STILL had important things to say to me. He was still relevant, years after his "literary prime." As with the aftermath of my father's death, I know that I will be able to take solace in happy memories and lessons learned. I can revisit old works, still vibrant and full of ideas I've yet to ponder as I move closer to being an old man. But it'll not be the same.

Listen, Kurt Vonnegut is dead. So it goes.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

He really didn't say that, did he?

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), who describes himself as "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order," said after joining the ever crazier John McCain in his market "stroll" that
I candidly was not prepared for to find a marketplace where thousands and thousands of Iraqis were moving about like in normal everyday life. Like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime.
See if you can guess which one is Bloomington, Indiana, and which one is Baghdad?


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Much ado about nothing

Well, the mass media has made a seamless transition from Anna Nicole to All Imus All Day, with a detour at American Idol and a kid with bad hair. A morning knucklehead racist says something characteristically stupid and America forgets all about that hell and handbasket thing. So the Justice department fired US Attorneys both to get rid of troublemakers now and install stooges for later, in key swing states for the 08 election. LARRY'S THE FATHER OF ANNA NICOLE'S BABY! The combat deployments of all army units in Iraq have been extended for three months. HE SAID HO! DID YOU HEAR THAT?

An entire nation is fascinated by small shiny objects.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Yosemite Romney

Mitt Romney has checked his dignity at the door and backtracked on every principled stand he has ever taken in order to appeal to the GOP's "Deliverance" wing. This one though is my personal favorite, his bizarre explanation of his new-found love for the NRA and the fact that he has never had a hunting license:
I've always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will. I began when I was 15 or so and I have hunted those kinds of varmints since then.More than two times.
Come outta there ya flea bitten varmint before I blast the fir clean off a your carcass!

Monday, April 09, 2007

And on a lighter note

Washington's beautiful cherry blossoms--and some kid.

The time has come to do as commanded/requested

Some events have transpired over the past 7 months, and then again in the past 7 weeks, that have prompted be to come forth and blog. I changed jobs, which to a great extent removed the gag shackles of typing an opinion. No longer am I forced to sit by silently out of fear of clever retribution. Though while I have some specific insights on matters this doesn’t mean that I’m about to spout forth in some type of cathartic purge.

What happened more recently is that I’ve witnessed a blog-like website slip into obscurity as its' hosts lost interest and creative focus, and its visitors/contributors took a free run of the asylum. Kind of like what happens in the suburbs when someone is away from home for an extended period and the young person who lives down the street figures the empty house would be a great place to hold a good party.

This doesn’t mean I’ll be joining the "President is an idiot" choir. The lead singer here is a good one, and there are a couple of others here who can hold a tune as well. Which leaves pretty much any and every thing else open. Local politics? The mayor may wear Teflon compliments of the local major media outlets but the proposed Olympics bid will be the kind of boondoggle/white elephant that will forever change Chicago at the expense of anyone with a 606 zip code. Sports? I’m the one last September who was picking the Bears to be in the Super Bowl, and my sports depression over their losing (expected) lifted two weeks ago. There are a lot of other things going on that can be blogged and hopefully worth reading.

Anyway, as the moniker suggests I probably live on the other side of town from you, across the tracks or across the river. Does this afford me a better perspective than yours? More likely a different perspective. And when you sit far enough away there are some things you can see so clearly its’ scary. Other things from that same distance just might not matter much at all, it depends on if you’re thinking about it, or just sitting there.

And the Lord said..

According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus condemned the arrogant braying pharisee for his self-centered public prayer in the temple. Jesus said that "everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
Laura and I just had the honor of celebrating Easter Sunday with members of our Armed Forces. I had a chance to reflect on the great sacrifice that our military and their families are making. I prayed for their safety, I prayed for their strength and comfort, and I pray for peace.
You pray for their safety yet send them needlessly to battle. You pray for their strength, yet you don't supply them properly, serve them tainted food and putrid water provided by your corporate owners, and cut back on their care at home. You pray for peace yet continue a pointless war. Looks like there is a double order of humbling coming your way.

What the Imus flap is NOT about

You have probably heard about Don Imus and his idiotic "nappy-headed hos" comment about the Rutgers women's basketball team. Please remember that the one thing about this episode though. It does not involve "freedom of speech." The free speech we treasure refers to freedom from governmental suppression and prosecution. It does NOT involve a relationship with a private employer or access to a microphone.

Was it ignorant, racist and insulting? Of course. If I owned a radio/TV station, would I fire him? certainly. Should NBC fire him? I DON'T CARE. Why? I don't listen to him, and I don't invest in NBC's corporate family. It isn't my business. His employers will resolve it one way or the other, presumably based on rational business concerns. If he is dismissed, however, remember that no harm will have been done to "free speech."