Posts Tagged Politics

Politico Still Hilarious

Posted by Matt on Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Each state has certain official items:  state birds, gemstones, etc. All 50 states have state flags. Here’s Wisconsin:

Cue Politico’s reporter, who probably wrote this in the cold sweats of withdrawal from penning repetitive columns speculating about Mitt Romney’s electability.

WH flies labor flag in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE — It’s very clear what side President Obama is on here in Wisconsin.

Behind the stage where he will speak today are two flags: an American one, as usual, and right alongside it — and a flag for the local union, Wisconsin 1848.

The president has been mum in recent months on the battle raging in the Badger State between unions and Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who is facing a recall election largely pushed by labor after he pushed through laws effectively taking away collective bargaining rights in the state.

Here at Master Lock, Obama is speaking about domestic manufaturing and highlighting what he calls “in-sourcing,” bringing jobs back from overseas. The padlock manufacturer brought roughly 100 jobs back from China to this factory —union jobs, the White House has noted.

Walker had been expected to join the president but canceled this morning because his office said he has the flu.

Ohhh, So close! I think Reagan busted local 1848 a few decades ago for writing off some travel expenses and bargaining decent wages for Wisconsin’s middle class.

I don’t know, though. Scott Walker was supposed to meet with me to discuss the history but his office said he had to cancel because a Great Aunt died.

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We’re Already Living In Reagan’s America So Slow Your Roll With The Fucking Hand-Wringing

Posted by Matt on Sunday, February 12th, 2012

When Conservatives harken back to the good ol’ days, they’re not talking about economics. They’re cueing the culture warriors.  The economic pendulum has swung so far to the few that American money-changers might have enough dough to reanimate Calvin Coolidge.

We are living in a Koch-fluffed, conservative wet dream.  That doesn’t mean they’ll tone down the rhetoric.  It can always get stickier.

Job Creators Creating Jobs

Democrats held hearings on “income equality,” not because they’re really planning to do anything about it, but because it’s a great campaign issue.

I’ve posted this one a bunch of times.  Love it or leave it, amirite?!


Why you hating on the 1%, GW?  They just work 12x’s harder than everyone else. Of course they do.


This isn’t really about soaking the rich with taxes, but for the record:

Yes, but what about the 40-some percent of Americans that don’t pay any (federal income) taxes?!?! Flat tax! Bow to the “market” not representative democracy…

Oooohhhhh, that’s right. They don’t have any fucking money:

But Federal Income Taxes are the only taxes people pay! Remember that.  Doesn’t matter if payroll/SSI is regressive, only federal income taxes matter.  States don’t levy taxes at all.

Yeah, but what about their portfolios?!  Get your fucking Bain on and cash that shit out at 15%.

For our plutocrats, it’s already morning in America.  They cry about regulation, taxes + Mexicans in public, but at their Eyes Wide Shut parties, they’re laughing their asses off (after they blow lines off them).

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President ButtSecks?

Posted by Matt on Thursday, September 16th, 2010

you're never gonna be Little Miss Sunshine with that attitude.

For the next couple years, Rick Santorum will be around, pandering to the socially awkward and conservative as he tries to get all up in your face and preside over this country’s government. As Mother Jones points out, Santorum’s blood debt to Dan Savage is presenting an ugly mess that refuses to be wiped away.

Rick Santorum would very much like to be president. For the past few years, he has been diligently appearing at the sorts of conservative events—the Values Voters Summit, the Conservative Political Action Conference—where aspiring Republican candidates are expected to show up. But before he starts printing “Santorum 2012″ bumper stickers, there’s one issue the former GOP senator and his strategists need to address. You see, Santorum has what you might call a Google problem. For voters who decide to look him up online, one of the top three search results is usually the site, which explains that Santorum’s last name is a sexual neologism for “the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.”

Santorum’s problem got its start back in 2003, when the then-senator from Pennsylvania compared homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia, saying the “definition of marriage” has never included “man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.” The ensuing controversy prompted syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage, who’s gay, to start a contest, soliciting reader suggestions for slang terms to “memorialize the scandal.” The winner came up with the “frothy mixture” idea, Savage launched a website, and a meme was born. Even though mainstream news outlets would never link to it, Savage’s site rose in the Google rankings, thanks in part to bloggers who posted Santorum-related news on the site or linked to it from their blogs. Eventually it eclipsed Santorum’s own campaign site in search results; some observers even suggested it may have contributed to Santorum’s crushing 18-point defeat in his 2006 campaign against Bob Casey.


Savage has not forgiven Santorum for his seven-year-old comments: “Rick would have prevented me and my partner from being able to adopt my son,” he points out. But Savage does have a deal for the politician. “If Rick Santorum wants to make a $5 million donation to [the gay marriage group] Freedom to Marry, I will take it down. Interest starts accruing now.” Santorum may want to consider Savage’s offer. Otherwise, he’s kinda screwed.

Santorum/Sanchez ’12

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What Do Ya Know?

Posted by Matt on Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Joan Walsh runs a good website over at Salon. However, I’m rarely captivated by her columns. But last week she hit a home run.

When a couple select members of my Irish Catholic family start broadbrushing “Others,” whether Hispanic or Muslim, Russian or Mongolian, I always like to point out the historical context that so many Americans seem to blissfully ignore. I guess “Always Forget” would be the appropriate motto.

Unless you’re some aristocratic, blue blood WASP, there’s a good chance your ancestors have encountered varying degrees of intolerance from the country’s perpetual crop of nativists. This xenophobic sentiment is far from unique to America. But America is supposed to be unique. When people talk about ‘American Exceptionalism,’ it makes me think we have the capacity to be better - and not just the best at bombing shit, making trash and churning out billionaires and reality tv.  Our virtues, which also value the freedoms of expression, and to worship or not worship in peace, should be emboldened by our shared “melting pot” heritage.  I know haters hate. There will always that vocal, red-faced segment in any democratic society. Yet empathetic hearts should not be turned hard by screaming idiots, pandering to the basest tribalistic instincts. In order for that to happen, the purveyors of cruelty and intolerance need to be called out…So any time now, U.S. Media.

Joan Walsh…

"Look out, Itchy! He's Irish"

I would like to thank New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, on behalf of my Irish Catholic relatives; indeed, on behalf of all Irish Catholics, including the Kennedy family, for reminding us of the debt we owe to anti-Catholic “Nativists.” Yes, even though I was raised to believe the Nativists spread anti-Catholic prejudice and bigotry with lies about who we were and what we believed, Douthat says I was raised wrong (not surprising, given I was raised by Irish Catholics). In fact, Catholics like my family and the Kennedys should apparently thank the Nativists, because, as Douthat patiently explains, “Nativist concerns about Catholicism’s illiberal tendencies inspired American Catholics to prod their church toward a recognition of the virtues of democracy, making it possible for generations of immigrants to feel unambiguously Catholic and American.”

Got that? Until today, I had always thought the belief that Catholics couldn’t be “unambiguously Catholic and American,” or that the Catholic Church had “illiberal tendencies,” represented prejudice, the kind of prejudice that collided with and eventually gave way to American ideals about equality and religious freedom. I didn’t realize my people had to be “inspired” into fully embracing “the virtues of democracy” by Nativists, often by violence: from Charlestown, Mass, where Nativists burned a Catholic convent in 1834, to Philadelphia in 1844 (where thousands of Nativists attacked Irish Catholics, derided as “scum unloaded on American wharfs,” burned Catholic churches and convents, invaded the homes of Irish Catholics and beat residents), to St. Louis, where a Nativist riot against Irish Catholics killed 10 and destroyed 93 Irish Catholic homes and businesses, or Louisville, Ky., where Nativist mobs killed at least two dozen Catholics on “Bloody Monday,” Aug. 6, 1855.

I’m glad all that violence convinced Irish Catholics to stop being dirty, superstitious, lazy, drunken, anti-American Papists — the Nativist line on my people; the Pope was considered as anti-American as Osama bin Laden back in the day — so we’d one day deserve to enjoy the religious and political rights other Americans did. I was raised to believe the election of John F. Kennedy as our first Catholic president represented the triumph of American values of tolerance and inclusion over bigotry. But in Douthat’s bizarro-world version of American history, bigots help their victims, by making them deserve bigotry a little bit less. Is this a great country, or what? Or is Douthat’s argument a little bit like saying African-Americans owe a debt to the KKK, or Jews should thank Nazis?

Not surprisingly, Douthat made his astonishingly ignorant remarks in a column defending prejudice against the so-called “ground zero mosque,” which, again, isn’t a mosque, and isn’t at ground zero. The controversy, ginned up by Republican opportunists and kept alive by cowardly Democrats (thanks, Harry Reid!) is bringing out the “Know-Nothings” in American politics again — and I mean that in both senses of the word. The Know-Nothings were the violent Nativists of the mid-19th century who got their name from their vow to tell police they “know nothing,” if questioned about their foul anti-immigrant conspiracy. Our latter-day Know-Nothings are both peddling prejudice and propagating ignorance toward the Park51 Community Center, proving they indeed know nothing about what makes this country great. In fact, I’d call them un-American, if I’d been raised like Liz Cheney, but I was taught to believe we’re all Americans, even when we disagree.

I’m proud of the work of Salon writers on this issue, so I don’t have to dispel all the ignorance afoot with this one piece. If you read one thing about this issue, make it Justin Elliott’s tick-tock of the way anti-Islam blogger Pamela Zeller and Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post manufactured a controversy where there wasn’t one. (Proof this is a fake issue: Substituting for Bill O’Reilly last December, Fox personality Laura Ingraham praised the project in an interview with the wife of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Daisy Kahn, telling her, “I like what you’re trying to do.”) Just a quick digest of the worst lies: It’s not a “ground zero mosque,” it’s a Muslim community center with a prayer room two blocks from ground zero; there’s another mosque two blocks away; it’s not, as the blowhard Newt Gingrich says, “like the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor.” We’re not at war with Islam, we’re at war with al-Qaida. Muslims died on 9/11, and have died since in the American military, defending our country against al-Qaida since.

It made me sad to debate Republican strategist John Feehery about this issue on “Hardball,” because Irish Catholics should know their own history, and the way prejudice was used to oppress their ancestors and limit their opportunities. Wait, “limit their opportunities” is kind of  wishy-washy language; the way prejudice was used to defend murdering Irish Catholics and burning down their homes, businesses and places of worship. Douthat ends his deeply dishonest column suggesting Muslims “need leaders whose antennas are sensitive enough to recognize that the quest for inter-religious dialogue is ill served by throwing up a high-profile mosque two blocks from the site of a mass murder committed in the name of Islam.” Feehery made a similar point on “Hardball.”

The fact is, Irish Catholics had leaders who were “sensitive enough” to urge their people to try to mollify their enemies. In Philadelphia in 1844, Bishop Francis Kenrick closed all Catholic churches the Sunday after the first Nativist attacks, and told Irish Catholics to trust the government and forgo efforts to defend themselves. Of course the anti-Catholic rioting continued, and no Nativist was ever convicted or punished for it. (In fact, Irish Catholics who defended themselves were sent to jail, and the grand jury blamed the community’s ignorance and bad behavior for the attacks on them.) I asked Feehery if he would have urged his grandparents or great-grandparents not to build churches where people held anti-Irish Catholic prejudices; not surprisingly, he didn’t answer.

The exact same principles — and the same sort of prejudice — are involved in the case of the Park51 Community Center. I’m grateful to Douthat for reminding me of that, and I hope other people wake up.

Joan – May the road rise before you, may the idiot wind be always at your back… 

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People From Jersey

Posted by Matt on Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Some Evangelicals believe Mohammed is the Antichrist. Lutherans believe the Pope is the Antichrist.  Fat people believe broccoli is the Antichrist. What about people from Jersey?

Public Policy Polling’s habit of asking revealing, bizarre questions continues with a survey of New Jersey voters that finds—as President Obama’s approval rating dips slightly—only 79 percent of voters ready to rule out the possibility that their president is the Anti-Christ. Eight percent say he is, while 13 percent are not sure.

 Further breakdowns on that question:

Picture 62

- Twelve percent of McCain voters think Obama is the Anti-Christ. Twenty-one percent are not sure.

- Fourteen percent of Republicans think Obama is the Anti-Christ. Fifteen percent are not sure.

- Eighteen percent of “conservative” voters think Obama is the Anti-Christ. Seventeen percent are not sure.

The big surprise here–the group of voters most likely to think Obama is the Anti-Christ are … Hispanics, who solidly backed Obama in 2008. Only 58 percent of them say, for sure, that their president is not Satan come to wreak havoc here on earth.

In a related poll, 42% of antichrists surveyed said they would only set foot in New Jersey for a lay-over, and 82% of antichrists believe the Antichrist is really some Jersey “Housewife.”  Good stuff.


Nothing metaphysical about these douchebags.

Nothing metaphysical about these douchebags.


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If You Can’t Trust A Former Cokehead, Top 40 DJ, And College Dropout, Who Can You Trust?

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

So the President is set to address school children about staying in school, studying, and all that shit.  Exciting for the children? Maybe. Constructive use of time? I don’t know.  Seemingly mundane exercise likely to ignite the furor of wingnuts? Oh, you betcha.

Nevermind that both Bush and Reagan addressed school children during their presidencies.  This must be different because, as we all know – Obama was born a Kenyan-Muslim-Antichrist.  He’s the biggest threat to school kids since Halloween candy and Father Reacharound.

To the out-of-power Right, everything is a life-and-death issue. Everything is suddenly a conspiracy.  President Obama must be trying to indoctrinate impressionable youth. Here’s the e-mail floating around. Maybe your crazy aunt has forwarded it to you.


th due to the beginning of Socialist Indoctrination of Americas children.Keep your kids home September 8th and twitter, the choice is clear : No school for kids on September 8bloggers, between internetWord is traveling fast on the


 2009 September 1
by DanaLoesch
Take a day of vacation. Go to the zoo. Anything that would save your offspring from what I will bluntly say is just the quasi-fellating the executive branch. That cackling over a bubbling cauldron you hear is the NEA rejoicing.
Picture 4
President Obama’s Address to Students Across America September 8, 2009
I wouldn’t have such a problem with the Department of Education were this presented in a non-Orwellian fashion. Oh yes, it is, as the lesson plan directs, to listen to what t he president, the mayor, et al. says, to respect their “authoritah” </Cartman>, but there is no emphasis in here on why the president and other elected officials should listen to US. The focus is solely on authority. There is no consideration given to the authority of the American people. That’s what concerns me.
There is this mindset that those in Washington are the “elite,” that we should mind our Ps and Qs and blindly follow their directives. That’s not the manner of governance upon which this country was founded – it is quite the opposite; even the hobbyist Constitutional aficionado appreciates this.
So yes, keep your kids home on September 8th and teach them that the power of America rests in the hands of its people, no one else.

And guess who has picked up the torch, pitchfork and kool-aid for this cause? Glenn Beck! What a surprise!

Beck had this to say today:

We have a special 1 hour broadcast, on Tuesday…on the Indoctrination of your children. And we put it on that Tuesday because of Barack Obama speaking on that Tuesday.  Gang, you have a system that is wildly, wildly out-of-control…Stand guard America! You’re Republic is under attack!

Well, I have a pretty good idea what most home-schoolers are going to get to listen to on September 8. If anyone should speak on education, it should definitely be the chemically imbalanced, high school (equivalency) graduate, and surely not the democratically elected President with 2 Ivy League degrees. Beck continues…

Something wicked this way comes. I pray every night for more time…An event is coming and they will use this event to seize power. You are looking at the administration of Chavez…

What the fuck does this even mean?  Of course, this is nothing new for Beck.  He spews the alarmist, fear-mongering, apocalyptic, nonsensical rhetoric for hours a day.  Though the subject may change, the crazy hater basically spoon-feeds other delusional haters.  Actually, it’s quite disturbing.  Dan Savage calls it like it is:


Dan Savage:     I really do think the Michelle Bachmanns of the world and the Glenn Becks of the world are actively and, consciously or subconsciously, trying to get, I’m just gonna say it, trying to get the President killed.  That’s why they’re setting this up as kill or be killed arguments. He’s gonna kill you grandma, pull the plug on grandma, death panels children have to go in front of. This kind of rhetoric, this paranoid style on the religious right, from the birchers to the birthers doesn’t usually end well, and we, somebody’s gotta put the brakes on it, and unfortunately, in the Republican party, there are no adults left in the room, there are only the Michele Bachmann’s and the Glenn Beck’s and the Rush Limbaugh’s running the show.”

Amen.  There is no way around it.  Beck can add all the qualifiers he wants, but his repetition of “Obama is killing this country,” speaks to this point.  He’s mobilizing his viewers through any possible threat:  Obama’s indoctrinated 3rd-grade minions will take your guns, queer up your son, and bite your ankles.  So why is it only grassroots organizations that will call him on this?

 The majority of the country wants health insurance reform, but there sending the birchers and birthers to these meeting to scream and yell and create the appearance of controversy and the media, which is capped by it’s uh, allegiance to always describing every debate as a 50/50 either or, they create the impression that there is a deadlock when there is not,and it is a very conscious working around strategy on the part of Republican strategists.”

If you haven’t contacted Beck’s advertisers to tell them he’s a bigoted douchebag, please look here.  Play Beck’s game and let the free-market sort it out.

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Mighty Johnny At The Bat

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

The Outlook wasn’t brilliant for the McCain Campaign that day:
The score stood fairly even, with but some swing states more to play.
And then when Phil Gramm got the hook, and Fiorina did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the Wingnuts at the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to delusion which springs eternal in the Wingnut breast;
They thought, if only Johnny could get but a whack at that -
Exxon would put up even money, now, with Johnny at the bat.

But Huck preceded Johnny, as did also Mormon Mitt,
And the former was a zealot, and the latter full of shit;
So upon that stricken multitude grim, still his cronies sat,
But there seemed but little chance of Johnny getting to the bat.

But Huck let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Sarah, the much despis-ed pinch-hitter, fooled millions despite her gall;
And when the dust had lifted, and old men saw what had occurred,
There was Sarah safe at second and some Nut a-hugging third.

Then from 40 Million throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled the Ohio Valley, it rattled Wisconsin’s Dells;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Johnny, POW Johnny, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Johnny’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Johny’s bearing and a smirk on Johny’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he broke into a yarn,
‘Bout War Heroes entitled to power, and organizers not worth a darn.

Millions of eyes were on him, despite Rich Cindy’s dress;
And for every time he had no answer, he blamed it on the press.
Then while the opponent spoke with grace, and intelligence to wit,
Defiance gleamed in Johnny’s eye, a sneer curled Johnny’s lip.

And now a question on the economy came hurtling through the air,
And after some classic flopping, he stood silent in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the Arizonan, the question unheeded sped-
“I don’t know that much,” said Johnny. “Strike one,” the nation said.

Blaming liberals and black people, there went up a muffled roar,
From Malkin the self-righteous, to Rush and the alarmist whores.
“Muslim! Flag Pins! Rezko!”  shouted many from the stand;
And Johnny heard the message, sending ads across the land.

With a smile of faux-Christian charity, Johnny’s pale visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He winked right at the pitcher, some rube named W;
Remembering their thick embrace, the nation said, “Strike two.”

“Fraud!” cried indignant conservatives, “we’ll need vast voter-fraud”;
And after one race-baiting speech from Palin, the Wingnuts were all awed.
Some said, he’s still ’Just Ol’ John,’ a ‘Maverick’ he remains,
And they knew that Johnny wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Johnny’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
And Trusty Joe whispers in his ear, words John regurgitates.
And though W still holds the ball, and soon he’ll let it go,
The air remains shattered by the force of what Johnny doesn’t know.

Oh, everywhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere troops come home, and kids with health care shout;
But there is no joy in Nutville – mighty Johnny has struck out.

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I’ll see your banana daiquiri and raise you an asinine diplomat.

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Though only runner-up for “Douchenozzle of the Week” (coming soon), Jorge Bolanos, Cuba’s chief diplomat to the U.S., while talking to the AP in advance of his address to the U.N., compared American trade sanctions to the most unspeakable acts of modern history.

Whined Bolanos, “It’s equivalent to genocide; its intention is strangulation,”

Bolanos is referring to the United States trade embargoes gradually initiated following the Cuban Revolution.  Of course, from Godfather II we know that prior to the Revolution, rich Americans often traveled to Cuba in order to build casinos, go to sex shows, and betray their younger, more talented brothers.

Personally, I believe U.S. policy towards Cuba needs a serious overhaul.  The travel restrictions are ridiculous.  Unnecessary trade sanctions create hardship in the region, limit possible markets for American companies, and foster dysfunctional relationships, both directly and indirectly. But that is neither here nor there. 

Bolanos continued:  “Eleven million Cubans live under the blockade’s effects,” he said. “Each day, each of them, child, woman, man, elder of whatever social position or religion, suffers without distinction, the perverse effects of the blockade.”


He said a few sick Cuban children have been unable to receive proper medical treatment because the United States would not approve the export of catheters. Some material for the blind also is under boycott, and Cuba was unable to purchase washing machines from Mexico because they had parts manufactured in the United States, he said.

I am not insensitive to these people who are unable to receive necessary treatment.  However, millions of Americans can’t get proper medical treatment.  Maybe you can send us some cheap scrips’ and  I’m sure someone will gladly send some catheters, rubber gloves, and so on.  On the other hand, I am mildly insensitive to the Cubans who can’t wash black beans and plantains out of their overalls because of a lack of Mexican washing machines. 

Like the citizens of many countries on this planet, Cubans are poor.  However, despite occasional isolated uprisings, their country functions.  Medical care is available.  While some medical supplies may be sparse, I do not think they have to fight off the Sudanese mujahideen as supplies get air-dropped into the country.

My advice for Jorge (who went on to say, “it typifies an act of genocide”) would be to tone down the rhetoric before addressing the U.N., and maybe avoid eye-contact with the delegations from Armenia, Cambodia, Israel, Rwanda…etc.

Complete story here.

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Mike Royko Knew. A 1990s Perspective on Ayers.

Posted by Matt on Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

No Chicago Columnist in modern times is more iconic than Mike Royko.  Royko passed away in 1997.  Though he passed way too early, his “ghost” hovers over Chicago’s journalistic community.  He worked for the (now defunct) Daily News, then the Suntimes, until Rupert Murdoch purchased the paper, at which point Royko had the prescient inclination to say the following:

“No self-respecting fish would be wrapped in a Murdoch paper,” and that, “His goal is not quality journalism. His goal is vast power for Rupert Murdoch, political power.”

Thus, in 1984 Royko moved to the Chicago Tribune.  On the Tribune’s website today, columnist Eric Zorn rehashes a 1990 Royko column on Ayers.

18 years later, some still need a little bit of perspective.

It’s very clear Royko had considerable contempt for the action of William Ayers and the Weather Underground’s actions.  He essentially dismissed their actions as juvenile and inconsequential:

Anyway, the Weathermen went “underground,” as they liked to put it for dramatic effect. Some later blew themselves up while trying to build a bomb. Apparently they had dozed through their college chemistry classes. A couple of others became robbers, but most universities don’t teach bank heists, or even remedial heisting, so they didn’t have much of a flair for it and wound up in prison…

So in the 1980s, they began drifting out of the “underground” and gave themselves up. The problem was finding someone to give themselves up to. The authorities figured that prosecuting them wasn’t worth the bother.

Albeit tinged with snark, Royko continues and displays much more “Christian” spirit than the current “crusaders” who maintain the righteous indignation over 40-year old Vietnam protests.

With all forgiven, they’ve rejoined society. Some have even used their prominent family connections – clout they once condemned as evil – to land better jobs than the mopes they hoped to lead to revolution have been able to land.

And one of those who has now become a useful citizen is Bill Ayers, now 45, a parent and an assistant professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. You may have read all about him in a recent issue of the weekly Reader.

One thing about Royko is that he didn’t hide his personal feelings behind generalities or ideologies.  He was an investigator, but he wasn’t an alarmist. He spoke his mind. I mean, this guy wrote Boss while Richard J. Daley was still mayor. The article continues:

Back when he was a young radical, I thought he was kind of a jerk. I wanted to see if there was reason to change this opinion. But, no, I still think he’s a jerk.
As the story noted, he was wearing a T-shirt that read: “America is like a melting pot: the people at the bottom get burned and the scum floats to the top.”

That confirms something I’ve always believed about people like Ayers and his fellow well-born, well-bred suburban revolutionaries. Despite all their fine talk about helping the down-trodden, they had nothing but contempt for those at the bottom. They assumed that those who were born poor couldn’t achieve anything without the leadership and teachings of bright people such as Bill Ayers. So it stands to reason, as the T-shirt implies, that those who managed to accomplish something without Ayers’ help must have used sneaky, low-down methods. Thus, they are “scum.”

In fairness to him, he’s now working for a good cause, improving public education. He’s become a leader in the so-called school reform program. (However, he does send his own kids to private schools. No sense in letting your own offspring get scorched at the bottom of that melting pot.)

But what struck me most about the story was that there was nothing in there about the Persian Gulf. Nothing about Ayers revving up his old anti-war sentiments, now that there are a few hundred thousand American youths in the Mideast desert. Not one word about our being on the brink of a questionable war from someone who made Vietnam protest the reason for his existence. And for having a whoopee time breaking other people’s windows…

Royko gets it. He doesn’t like the guy. He says so.  But as much as he doesn’t like him, he recognizes the passage of time and Ayers’ accomplishments. It’s kind of cough “fair and balanced.”

In today’s column, Zorn points out some other interesting details regarding pre-08 campaign coverage of Ayers:

These are only two of  60 references to Ayers in the 1990s I found in local news archives available on Nexis. Twenty one of them make reference to his unseemly past—it was no secret—but 39 do not.

He was publishing books on education, helping lead a charge to get grant money for school reform and being honored as Chicago’s Citizen of the Year in 1997.

Aside from Royko’s “I still think he’s a jerk” column in 1990, I found only two objections to Ayers’ civic rehabilitation in the decade’s news archives: a 1993 letter to the Tribune and a 1999 guest commentary.

If there were protests or organized efforts opposing Ayers, the papers didn’t cover them.

If any of Mayor Richard M. Daley’s feckless opponents tried to use his approval of Ayers as an issue in the 1990s, I can find no evidence of it.

In the 1990s, William Ayers was not considered a terrorist. Obama did not associate with “terrorist” Bill Ayers because I’m pretty sure all of the WU were out of grade school during the Vietnam-era.  If Royko was alive today, he may criticize Obama for having poor taste in acquaintances, but I doubt the descriptor “terrorist” would even cross his mind except to chastise those in his profession who choose to perpetuate this bullshit storyline.  To think that John Kassessentially occupies Royko’s space in the Tribune is enough to make me vomit.  

I understand Ayers is only an issue because the Republicans have nothing else to offer.  I understand increased sensitivities about terrorism after 9/11. I understand the Internet essentially gives anyone a platform from which to preach. I understand the psychos yelling “terrorist” and “kill him” at McPalin rallies are so wrapped in hatred and detached from reality, that the a sensible comment from a journalist, politician, or circus freak won’t mean shit.

In some respect, this is less about Ayers, and more about the state of the Media and electorate in 2008. And damn, was Royko right about Rupert Murdoch.

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John McCain Suspends Campaign, Reality

Posted by Matt on Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Nobody wrangles up the incoherence like the Maverick:

on Fox, McCain spokesperson Tucker Bounds was asked whether there would be a debate on Friday.

“Certainly, John McCain is eager to debate Barack Obama on these important issues, because he has a record of actually performing on the issues that are going to be debated,” Bounds said. “And additionally he’s called on Barack Obama time after time to meet him anytime, anywhere, in joint town hall meetings. So the idea that there’s a debate about the debates, I just think, is absurd.”

So while the campaign is suspended so McCain can finish reading the three page bailout plan, the campaign continues its attacks on Obama.  It’s like being suspended from school, except you can go to class if you desire, and you’re also allowed to smoke pot in the bathroom.

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