Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Little Bit of Africa Right Here in the USA

Caught this over at the LA Times (via Drudge) this morning:

In Africa, money, ethnicity and family connections still count more toward success than does hard work. Bribes usually trump talent; corruption tops integrity. Young Africans hoping to follow in Obama's footsteps -- even those with the same name -- may face disappointment and disillusionment.

And after reading it I really had to scratch my head trying to differentiate between this description of Kenya and a similar description of this country:

In America today, money (as seen in Obama's election and the kind of power people like George Soros can wield), ethnicity (Roland Burris) and family connections (Beau Biden, Caroline Kennedy, Jesse Jackson Jr, Todd Stroger Jr, Emil Jones III). Bribes usually trump talent (Rod Blagojevich); corruption tops integrity.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Play it!

Bobby Rush on Blagojevich's appointment of Roland Burris to the vacant senate seat.

A passionate Rush, appearing besides the former Illinois AG and the indicted governor, said he challenged any pol to try to block Burris who would become the only "black senator.

Rush -- who defeated Obama in a 1990s congressional race -- went on to implore reporters gathered in Chicago not to "hang or lynch" Burris, despite the bizarre circumstances of his appointment.

"This is a good decision," Rush told reporters. "Roland Burris is worthy. He has not, in 20 years of public service, had one iota of taint on his record as a public servant. He is an esteemed member of this state and this communnity."
When all else fails, don’t forget to play the race card.

Sometimes I am just so proud that people like this are part of my states congressional delegation.

Monday, December 29, 2008

You know Caroline Kennedy?

I know this has been all over, but it still pretty damn funny.

On a related topic, what exactly is Caroline Kennedy’s qualifications for US Senate, besides being a Kennedy? Oh that’s right, she did a lot of fundraising for Obama.

Sounds a lot like pay for play.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Does anyone seriously think this wasn’t staged?

I was near the Kluczynski Federal Building, the same federal building that Obama and the transition team have been meeting, last week with long tube shaped package full of drawings. I saw at least one car observing me, not to mention the many binoculars from rooftops that were on me.

Can anyone imagine a breakdown in security so complete that the secret service wouldn’t pounce on a paparazzi who unknowingly got close enough to Obama at a $5,000/day private resort that if the photographer reached into his camera bag and traded his telephoto lens for a rifle we’d be saying president elect-Biden?

I call fucking shenanigans on this vain attempt in narcissistic pre-legacy construction.

Merry Christmass

Merry Christmas

I got a Sham-Wow and a waffle iron.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Guns from the Russian Bear

Theyre Not So Grrrreeeeaaaatttt!!!

But Russia's RIA news agency last week quoted "confidential sources" as saying that Russia was fulfilling terms of an S-300 contract with Iran, and the official news agency of Iran, IRNA, reported on Sunday that Russia was supplying it with the missiles.

If this is the case, and the missiles are used to defend Iran's nuclear facilities, attacking them would be made more difficult.
Hopefully they work about as well for Iran as they did for Syria.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Resurgent Russian Bear

They send a 25 year old destroyer that probably hasn’t seen dry dock since the day it was launched with a crew that most likely gets less than 30 days a year at sea and this is supposed to be some kind of threat?

Russia today looks like a cross between the demographic train wreck that is Italy and the one dimensional economy that is Saudi Arabia. Long term, the oil will run out and their population’s refusal to make babies makes Russia a doomed culture and civilization (in the Sam Huntington sense of the term). Southern Russia gobbled up by Muslims and eastern Russia gobbled up by the Chinese means that in 100 years a full blooded Russian will be about as rare seeing a Baiji in the Yangtze.

I actually think it’s a shame to see a culture so willing to commit suicide, but what are you going to do?

At the end of the day, this planet belongs to those willing to fuck and have children.

Man Bites Dog at the Times

Did the Times, or John Tierney more specificaly, just rain on Hopey McChange's top science pick?

Does being spectacularly wrong about a major issue in your field of expertise hurt your chances of becoming the presidential science advisor? Apparently not, judging by reports from DotEarth and ScienceInsider that Barack Obama will name John P. Holdren as his science advisor on Saturday.

Dr. Holdren, now a physicist at Harvard, was one of the experts in natural resources whom Paul Ehrlich enlisted in his famous bet against the economist Julian Simon during the “energy crisis” of the 1980s. Dr. Simon, who disagreed with environmentalists’ predictions of a new “age of scarcity” of natural resources, offered to bet that any natural resource would be cheaper at any date in the future. Dr. Ehrlich accepted the challenge and asked Dr. Holdren, then the co-director of the graduate program in energy and resources at the University of California, Berkeley, and another Berkeley professor, John Harte, for help in choosing which resources would become scarce.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lesson Learned

Illinois, the wrong State to do this in:

MACOMB — Two men were stopped for speeding early Thursday in a truck filled with loaded guns, ammunition and military-style paraphernalia, and a comparable amount of weapons was found at one of their homes, authorities said.

Bryce A. Standley, 25, of Macomb and Nicholas R. Holik, 20, of Mount Prospect were charged Thursday in McDonough County court with three counts each of aggravated unlawful use of weapons and unlawful use of weapons.

A sheriff's deputy stopped their pickup truck northwest of Macomb near McDonough County roads East 750th and North 1700th at about 2:40 a.m. Thursday.

Prosecutors said the truck was stopped in the roadway near a home but made a U-turn and drove away as the deputy approached. The pickup was then stopped for speeding 70 mph in a 55 mph zone.

A later search of the vehicle turned up two rifles and two loaded pistols, most or all with paraphernalia including silencers, optical sites and laser pointers attached. One of the pistols, a .22-caliber, was under the driver's seat, while the other was under the passenger's seat.

Also in the vehicle, police found two military gas masks, two sets of military night vision goggles, 22 AR-15 loaded magazines and nearly 250 ammunition shells. Both men were also wearing bulletproof vests.
What’s the lesson here? KNOW THE GUN LAWS IN YOUR STATE AN OBEY THEM! No one but law enforcement can CCW and even with a general class 3 license from the ATF, silencers and fully automatic weapons are illegal in Illinois.

Another equally important lesson is NEVER GIVE THE POLICE THE PERMISSION TO SEARCH YOU OR YOU VEHICLE. Even if you get caught with a fucking M-60 and 1/2dozen HEDP AT4's, the state cannot convict if you get a decent enough lawyer who demonstrates that there was no probable cause or reasonable suspicion for the search. Dont look like an asshole and dont act like an asshole and the polcie will have no reason (legal or otherwise) to search you.

Before someone jumps down my throat about these guys having an arsenal, let me remind everyone of a few things. Standley is a veteran of Afghanistan, and if we can’t trust a combat vet with a recreational weapon out of the uniform, what does that say? Some people might say OMFG! that the two had bulletproof vests with them, but I never go shooting, indoors, outdoors, public or private, without a my Level IIIA vest (with front and back Level III ceramic insert) on. To many idiots at the range, too many things can go wrong.

Rahm's calls on tape

Recently heard on a wiretap:

Sneed hears rumbles President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is reportedly on 21 different taped conversations by the feds -- dealing with his boss' vacant Senate seat!
But rememeber folks, I am sure he was only in there to get directions on how to get away from there. He He.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What happens now with Blagojevich?

A lot of people are wondering what happens in Springfield now. Even as more and more pressure is put on Blagojevich to resign, he just retained Ed Genson and looks to be ready for a fight.

There are a lot of ways for this to end, a combination of events could either take down the Democratic Party in Illinois or let everyone, including Blagojevich skate free.

Option A: Impeachment

The Illinois Republicans have been pushing realty hard for impeachment, and have been getting no where. A real impeachment trial would be long, and would be very damaging to the Illinois Democratic Party. A long public impeachment trial combined with a scorched earth mentality for Blagojevich could wind up revealing many secrets about the political machine in Illinois, damaging not only the Illinois Democratic party, but our new Dear Leader himself. How good would the new administration look if everyone got to see the shit that the fertilized the fields his political carrier grew in.

If impeachment proceedings were to drag on and on look for Blagojevich to continually drive up the stakes. Remember, that his wife Patti, did work with Rezko, and even the threat that she could spill the beans (even if she knew nothing) on Obama would be a strong hand to play.

A good legal team could keep Blagojevich in trial and out of jail for years. He is going to be looking for a promise from the Obama administration for a pardon after Obama leaves office.

Option B: Removal, the Lisa Madigan Way

Lisa Madigan was all over the TV the other day. She was floating the idea of using Article V, Section 6 of the Illinois constitution to oust Blagojevich from office challenging his mental fitness. This is a bit of a long shot, and several legal scholars have taken Madigan to task for the weakness of the brief.

This is a long shot, but one worth trying. Mike Madigan, Speaker of the House and AG Madigan’s dad (cozy nepotism) would like to keep his skeletons clean in any impeachment trial

Option C: Resignation

Blagojevich quits, leaves office. I don’t think he will do this unless someone throws out some carrots, because there aren’t any sticks left to hit him with. As above, the longer he waits to do this, the more desperate the Illinois Democratic Party will be to cut a deal with him.

No one would accept the Senate seat if Blagojevich gave it to them, and the longer he is the governor, the more pressure there is going to be to hold a special election. A special election in this climate would mean that a guaranteed democratic seat in the Senate would be put in doubt (I don’t think they could win it, but the Republican party in Illinois sucks ass too, so who knows).

Also, the longer this goes on, the more pressure there is going to be for an impeachment, and the democrats don’t want that either .

My bet, resignation with a deal. Fight it out in federal court, do a few months in jail and have Obama pardon him.

If this doesn’t happen by Christmas though, it will be well into February before it does.

Dinner with a terrorist

This item about someone paying $450 for a dinner date with Bill Ayers is kind of depressing but comment 2 from David made it worth reading:

His living room, I hear, is A GREAT place to kick off your political career.

The Shoe and the Pipe Wrench

The journalist who threw the shoe at Bush had a profile in the NY Times today:

An Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at President Bush and called him a dog became a huge celebrity in the Arab world and beyond on Monday, with many supporters exalting him for what they called a courageous act in the face of American arrogance about the war.

Barely 24 hours after the journalist, Muntader al-Zaidi, was tackled and arrested for his actions at a Baghdad news conference, the shoe-throwing incident was generating front-page headlines and continuing television news coverage. A thinly veiled glee could be discerned in much of the reporting, especially in the places where anti-American sentiment runs deepest.

Would one of those places where anti-American sentiment runs deepest be the editors desk at the Times?

Anyhoo, something tells me that had Muntader al-Zaidi been a plumber from Ohio the headline would read a bit differently.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Let the Rewriting of This Chapter of Obama History Begin

And so it begins

At the NY Times:
In a sequence of events that neatly captures the contradictions of Barack Obama’s rise through Illinois politics, a phone call he made three months ago to urge passage of a state ethics bill indirectly contributed to the downfall of a fellow Democrat he twice supported, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich.
Really? I though it was an ongoing investigation that began in 2003?

At the Washington Post:
By all accounts, Obama and Blagojevich are not close, though then-Sen. Obama endorsed his fellow Democrat's reelection bid in 2006.
This is just the beginning in of what is sure to be an exhaustive rewrote of the history of Obama (and by extension Axelrod and Emanuel) and Blagojevich.

If the Illinois GOP cant use this as an issue to beat their opponents to death with (much like Ryan was used as an issue) then to hell with them.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

NPR and Ftizmass

One of the casualties of this election was my a preset on my car radio to NPR. Thanks to my father, I have been a frequent listener to NPR since I was 14. Despite some wonderful programming he gave up on them for their bias back in 2000; it took the election of The Dear Leader to do the same for me.

NPR, especially WBEZ my Chicago affiliate, has been so bad about the election that I just couldn’t stomach their shit anymore and the night of the election I erased them from my presets. The though of tuning them in and listening to them ejaculate on themselves during another “Beatification of Barack” segment was too much.

This morning when I heard about the indictment of Blagojevich, I remembered a segment on NPR’s Wait Wait, Don’t Tell me when they had Patrick Fitzgerald on. The crowd gave Fitzgerald a standing ovation when Scooter Libby’s indictment was mentioned.

I wonder how many shows Fitzgerald will be invited on and how many lefties will be giving him standing ovations if his investigations take down Obama?

The deliciousness of a real Ftizmass!

Governors 4 - Mayors 0

What do George Ryan, Daniel Walker, William Grant Stratton all have in common? They and the newest inductee of the club, Rod Blagojevich, are all members of the Illinois gubernatorial felon team.

The fact that four governors have gone to jail in the past 50 years and not even one Chicago mayor has been indicted demonstrates where the real power in Illinois resides. Governors are expendable in Illinois and mayors of Chicago are not. It also demonstrates the bullet proof nature of the Chicago political machine in that no matter how deep a nosey prosecutor or FBI task force digs they never quite get the goods on the real power brokers because so many of their underlings are willing to fall on their swords to protect them.

We all knew this was going to happen, and I am not surprised that Fitzgerald did this before the inauguration and his subsequent dismissal or reassignment at the DOJ. History being a roadmap of future events, I am sure that Fitzgerald took the lesson that his predecessor Jay Stephens learned back in 1993 to heart: if you want to indict a political crony of an incoming president, do so before he can fire you.

And let us all keep in mind that this would have never happened without former Senator Peter Fitzgerald.

How does the Dear Leader react to yet another political crony going to jail? No one knows. Considering that the investigation has now spread to the appointment of Obama’s replacement this could get very interesting.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Because Police Arent People

From the same paper that wouldn’t let John McCain publish and editorial, even though it allowed The Dear Leader to during the campaign, the NY Times once again reinforces my delight over it’s impending collapse by letting William Ayers pollute its pages.

The Weather Underground crossed lines of legality, of propriety and perhaps even of common sense. Our effectiveness can be — and still is being — debated. We did carry out symbolic acts of extreme vandalism directed at monuments to war and racism, and the attacks on property, never on people, were meant to respect human life and convey outrage and determination to end the Vietnam war.

I suppose that since Sergeant Edward J. O'Grady Jr, Sergeant Brian McDonnell and Officer Waverly Brown don’t technically qualify as people to Ayers because of their participation in and propagation of the white male patriarchical corporate fascist states of Amerika.

You know, for someone who rails against white privilege as much as Ayers does, he didn’t mind it too much when his daddy, CEO of Commonwealth Edison and friend of the Chicago Political Machine, used his influence and money to hire Billy boy the best lega team money could buy.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Playing Politics with Human Lives.

Interesting story here on Johnson calling Nixon a traitor for what LBJ saw as his interference on proposed North Vietnam South Vietnam peace talks:

Just days before the pivotal 1968 presidential election featuring Vice President Hubert Humphrey's bid to succeed him, President Lyndon Baines Johnson suspected Humphrey's Republican opponent, Richard Nixon, of political sabotage that he called treason, according to the final recordings of Johnson's presidency to be publicly released.

As Johnson tried to arrange peace talks between North and South Vietnam on the eve of the election, he and his closest advisers received information indicating that Nixon allies had asked that South Vietnam avoid peace talks until after the election, the tapes show.

I wonder if anyone is reminded of the recent pre-election maneuvering of camp Obama with regards to the US Iraqi SOFA agreements? Probably no on in the press is going to make this connection, preferring to continue with there 40 year continuous defecation on Nixon, but it would be nice if someone asked the question.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

On Kenya and Cook County.

From John Kass today.

Back in 2006, Obama visited Kenya and railed about wholesale political corruption there that robbed the people of their right to honest government.

Then, he was campaigning for president of the United States as a reformer, though he forgot to mention that if elected, he'd bring half of Chicago's Daley Machine to the White House.

Excellent observation! In my numerous travels, I am sometimes asked why Chicago has such a reputation for corruption, and why, if it is as bad as is claimed, who don’t the voters throw them out of office or why don’t the politicians go to jail.

Simple, Cook County has mastered the art of leveraging public services, patronage employment, and media collusion to make the most seamless and ruthless political machine this country has seen. Sure some people would argue that the machine style politics as practiced in Chicago is endemic to all large urban areas, but Chicago is quite unique in that it has lasted nearly unscathed to this day and shows little if any sign of going away.

Everyone gets a piece of the action, and in turn they are all taken care of with jobs, earmarks, scholarships, perks for friends and families and most importantly big county and city contracts.

The unions support the machine because although Cook County has been hemorrhaging industrial union jobs due largely to burdensome tax policies and gentrification of formerly industrial areas (see Vienna Beef), the city has expanded its own workforce, all union naturally, and more importantly, has unanimously sided with the unions during contract negotiations that between union contractors and the respective union. The unions play ball with the machine, and they have a powerful ally when it comes time to negotiate pay and benefits with the non governmental employers.

You do campaign work for a politician, and are now qualified for a cushy municipal job. Are you an engineer? Campaign for me and I will get you a job at the Metropolitan Sanitary District (personal note here, I applied and tested for a spot at the MSD and out of 900 candidates, I was one of only 6 who scored a 100% on the exam, and the only one who had greater than 100% after my professional certifications were taken into account and DID NOT get the job. The job was relisted due to lack of qualified applicants, and was given to an alderman’s son in law). Is your son in school and needs some summer work? Campaign for me and he can work for streets and sanitation during the summer.

Support me and convince your congregation to support me, and I will make sure that the legislature allocates money for your congregations. Much like the $200,000 Michael Pfleger received from The Dear Leader.

Finance my campaign, and I will make sure that the neighborhood you want to redevelop is reassessed by the county every year until the holdouts can no longer afford the increase in property taxes and you can buy them out for a song.

And the gangs! Most people are not aware that street gangs in Chicago play a very active roll in politics. Although they cannot vote because most of them are felons, they can intimidate rival politicians and act as political muscle for politicians who court them. The Black Stone Rangers (now known as the El Rukins) and the Gangster Disciples received boatloads of federal state and local money under the guise of reaching out to local community anti-poverty groups in the 1960. Jesse Jackson used El Rukin muscle to man many of his protests (did you know that Jesse’s half brother is an El Rukin, and is jail). Former Gangster Disciples bossman Larry Hoover founded 21st Century V.O.T.E and had the support of former Cook county Commissioner, and Obama crony, John Stroger. A survey by researcher Andrew Papachristos found that 4,500 Chicago gang members claimed to have received monetary compensation for campaign work for politicians.

Basically, everyone gets a piece of the action, and consequentially everyone helps the machine propagate itself. The part about all this is that it’s all quietly understood so no one has to talk about it. My cousin worked for the CHA back in 2000. When Al Gore came to town for a rally in Daley Plaza, everyone in his department was given a ½ day off for an administrator in-service. The half day would provide anyone who wanted with ample opportunity to go to the Gore rally, which my cousin blew off to go fishing with me instead. He was not approved for overtime for the next 6 months, despite the fact that everyone else in his department was putting in between 5-10 hours a week. The understanding was that by being an employee of the city, you read between the lines and do what’s good for the continued survival of the machine and having Daley’s brother in the White House (he was Gore’s chief of staff) .

Young voters and self styled “progressives” support the machine …. Do I really have to elaborate here?

What about the legal system stepping in? Fat chance as the county prosecutor is just another machine hack, this time in the incarnation of Anita Alvarez. The feds do come in about every 15-20 years, Operation Silver Shovel, and clean house, but even when a Cook County machine politician is convicted and sent to jail they still try to pick up right where they left off after their release.

Real reform will come when a prosecutor has the enough time and resources to spend a decade dealing with the corruption, much like Patrick Fitzgerald is doing now. I think it’s a safe bet that The Dear Leader will either fire him, or promote him out of the trenches where he is tearing Obama’s political allies to pieces and give him a do nothing job at the Department of Justice.

And while the machine manages to dole out enough goodies to its supporters to keep getting itself elected, it does that off the backs of people like me who eventually get fed up and move the fuck out. Lower taxes, cheaper homes and better schools beat out any back scratching that the Democratic Machine could dole out.

And the media? The press here in Chicago may make a wave now and again, but a target rich environment like Chicago could be Pulitzer material for a decade; problem is no one has the balls to do as often as it needs to be done.

Remember this the next time Obama talks about cleaning up Washington and his political roots in Chicago. He swam in a cesspool of corruption with lifeguards like Richard Daley, Emil Jones, and Todd Stroger

Light Blogging

I just got Left 4 Dead and between playing that nearly every waking hour of free time and an uptick in work, I have had little time to post.

Nothing like a good old fashoned zombie apocalypse game to eat away at my free time.