Friday, February 26, 2010

Personal Asides: Brady’s 1st Big Problem—Raising Dough!...The 7-1/2 Hour Health Care Summit Theatre.

    Feast of  St. Alexander*
                                            Raising Dough.
               One of the first things handicappers use as they compare notes on viable candidates is the question: Can he raise dough? Up to now the answer on Bill Brady the all-but-declared-victor of the Republican gubernatorial nomination is decidedly no. All his primary campaigns were run on shoe-string budgets and this is no different from others.  I’m not even sure he had a campaign manager during the primary although reportedly he has one now.  
                  This is an important disadvantage for Brady.  One of the first things that seasoned handicappers liked about Kirk Dillard was he can raise dough…not in the lavish amounts Andy McKenna, Jr. did through his old man’s deep pockets and bottomless contacts but satisfactorily enough to get through a general election.   To be successful for governor a candidate should have $10 million either on hand or available for the scooping into his cache. 
                Of course idealistic right-to-lifers…some of whom endorsed Brady…think of nothing else but a 100% voting record aren’t interested in the ability to raise campaign money, essential to win elections.  Not for them.  Their scratch sheets showing 100% pro-life voting record is sufficient.  For them big dough is what they shell out at a silent pro-life auctions in church basements: $50.  
                Let’s be polite and say that Brady is not nearly even in the distant neighborhood of collecting a couple million today--while Pat Quinn has coffers full from Big Labor and other liberal interests.  For which we can all say: Thanks, Jim Ryan and Andy McKenna for your unpredictable  entry into the primary which put us in this spot when without your entry there was a distinctly good chance Republicans could capture the governorship. 
                                         Theatre Helped Democrats. 
             Independents and the mainstream media want to show what they feel is “transparency” and “bipartisanship” which will enable them to feel that Barack Obama is making a good-will effort to work with Republicans…and on TV.  But the real game was revealed just before the end of the 7-1/2 hours when Obama said that in the last analysis he will not tolerate “baby steps” and that if passage depends on just Democrats, so be it. Following the Blair House session, David Axelrod, the Obama courtier appeared on TV saying that the American people want a straight vote up or down on the issue. All of which means that there will indeed be a Herculean effort at “reconciliation”—the jam-through of a procedural vote to obviate the filibuster, starting with the House. 
               But House Democrats really don’t have the votes to pass it. 
               From the image standpoint, the Democrats helped themselves with independents and shored up their base.  But whether they changed any votes to pass health care is undeterminable. Republicans showed up well, particularly Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin…showing that they are not members of the “party of `no’” but have cogent ideas.  In essence, both parties helped themselves but whether or not the Dems switched votes can’t be determined.   
    *: St. Alexander, bishop of Alexandria [AD 328]. He is chiefly celebrated for the strong resistance he showed to the Arian Heresy, propagated by one Arius, a presbyter, who maintained that Christ was not the Son of God, that He was just another creature and that He was capable of sinning. Priests questioned Arius at several sessions. After the first one, Arius was excommunicated.  
            Then Alexander summoned Arius to a council and he appeared before an assembly of clergy in Alexandria. The demeanor of Alexander was so impassive and even-handed that for a time he faced severe criticism—but Arius was again excommunicated. Finally Constantine I called the first Council of Nicea to question Arius.  Alexander traveled there and performed as the finest prosecutor of heresy, winning plaudits after the session which excommunicated Arius, causing the Emperor to banish him to Illyricum, a district in the Balkan peninsula. 
            In retrospect Alexander’s calmness and objectivity carried the day, his demeanor making his scholarly words appear more effective rather than railing and losing his temper as some prelates had done. 
    After this triumph, Alexander returned to Alexandria where he died two years later, having named St. Ananasius as his successor.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Personal Asides: Dillard Will Likely Quit Governor Race Soon…Limbaugh Blasts Brown (Why?)…Schlafly says Palin’s Not Ready (Really?). More.

              Feast of St. Tarasius*
                            Dillard Will Quit Governorship Race Soon.
              The word is that Kirk Dillard will quit soon because in his estimation there will not be sufficient votes to overcome the Bill Brady lead.  He will pledge his support to Brady.  As one hod carrier in the Republican party, I pledge to support and vote for Brady, too…although I’m not sure my help will be welcomed since in the past I zinged Brady somewhat—and politicians never forget.  But in comparison to what we have as governor, he’d be a welcome and refreshing change and I’ll be helpful.  It’s of no great moment to me if my help is welcomed or not since for the past 35 years I’ve been on the outs with every governor, Republican and Democrat. 
             The net gain will be for the Democrats in 2010 because they don’t have to run against Dillard who has more experience in the governorship than anyone else—and Democrats owe a huge debt of thanks to old Jim Ryan of DuPage who whether with their approval or not ran despite huge handicaps and enabled a 3-cushion shot to occur with McKenna’s negative advertising to torpedo both Dillard and Ryan plus himself (McKenna) and succeed in nominating by a hair’s breadth Bill Brady.  Do I think Ryan wittingly helped this to occur: no.  But his supreme ego played into their hands. Do I think the Democrats envisioned this happening?  Yes—but originally they were counting on Bob Schillerstrom who flunked the test.   
              Their wish was McKenna to Schillerstrom to Dillard producing Brady. It ended up McKenna to Ryan to Dillard which produced Brady.  
                              Limbaugh Blasts Brown (Why?). 
             I don’t exactly know where Rush Limbaugh was during the Massachusetts senate race but Scott Brown said over and over again that  he would be “independent” and be in the mould of maverick John McCain.  I pointed this out after he was elected but a chorus of readers told me shhhhhhh because I was spoiling the celebratory occasion.  Didn’t Rush hear that or did he hear it and not believe it?    Anyhow there the Oracle was yesterday bellowing that Brown is a traitor to conservatism because he voted to apply cloture to the Dems’ multi-billion-dollar jobs bill.  Go figure.  I would say that probably more criticism should go to Mitt Romney for endorsing McCain’s reelection.  If Romney’s right that there is a grassroots conservative revolution out there, the guy he should plug is J. D. Hayworth.  
                        Schlafly Says Palin’s Not Ready (Really?). 
             Arrogance doesn’t just reside with liberals. I don’t know whether Sarah Palin is ready to run for president or not.  By the tone of her speech to the Tea Party convention that I heard and read  she is.  But now that Phyllis Schlafly has said she isn’t I guess all that remains is for Palin to fold her tent.  Yes, ma’am. Phyllis did say that Palin’s husband is cute though.  That’s reassuring, coming from Phyllis who will be 86.  
                            Ron Paul Wins CPAC Straw Vote.  
            It’s revelatory that the winner of the straw poll for president of the United States at CPAC last week was the 74 year old libertarian Congressman Ron Paul who not long ago urged America to disband the CIA and its intelligence apparatus throughout the world.  If he seeks the presidency again in 2012 he will be 76.   
            After reading Paul’s books Revolution and End the Fed I’d say his views on the economy are a refreshing antidote to what we’ve had in this country with bailouts etc. I’m in favor of cutting subsidies, returning to the gold standard and curtailing the Fed—not ending it because as Arthur Laffer told me not long ago without it would be like driving on a highway without traffic lights. But neo-pacifist isolationist Paul is a downright menace when he wants to dismantle the intelligence system of the country—and who has repeated what the frenetic Left maintains: that with 9/11 we had it coming…which is what he said in a full-dress 2008 debate with other presidential candidates. 
           What did the straw poll mean? It meant that a lot of university kids got into the hall and voted while the poll was largely ignored by most of the crowd in favor of listening to the speeches.  The same type of kids who chanted for McGovern in `72 and Dean in 2000. Aristotle warned that undue influx of the young and over-idealistic in polity is sure to wreck society since they don’t have the maturity to understand nuance.  They’ve sure wrecked the Democratic party. The great myth propagated by Paul-ites is that he is another Robert A. Taft.   Not even remotely if they read Taft’s 1952 book A Foreign Policy for Americans which is in my library. 
                    Dems Say House Has to Go First on Health Care. 
           The word is that Democrats want the House to go first on health care in order to get reconciliation because the rules say such effort should start with the House since that’s where appropriations come from. Yesterday in the most revelatory comment of all, Senator Kent Conrad when informed of it said “good because that’ll mean it’s dead.”  Take that for what it’s worth. 
     *: St. Tarasius [AD 800. Although a layman and chief secretary to the young (age 10)  Emperor Constantine VI and Constantine’s mother Irene,, he was chosen Patriarch of Constantinople after being recommended by his predecessor who retired to a monastery. Tarasius came from a patrician family and led a life of almost monastic severity. Upon becoming patriarch Tarasius, the Council of Nicaea declared that contrary to some puritanical influence, holy portraits and statues were not forbidden in the Church but on the contrary can lead to holy thoughts, contemplation and prayer. 
        Tarasius restored holy images and labored strenuously to abolish simony (the practice of buying ecclesiastical offices). He lived an austere life, disallowed rich food at his table, allowed himself little sleep and spent all his leisure in prayer and reading. He banished fine clothes among the clergy and forbade entertainments; he took dishes from his own table and distributed them with his own hands to the poor; he visited charitable institutions and hospitals in Constantinople. His big test came years later when Constantine VI became a man and was forced by his tyrannical mother Irene to marry his wife, the Empress Mary. Constantine wanted to divorce Mary and marry one Theodota, a maid of honor to the Empress.  He lobbied the Patriarch saying that he knew his wife as plotting to kill him. 
        Tarasius said sternly to him: “I will suffer death rather than consent to your design.”  The Emperor flew into a rage and drove Tarasius from his presence.  Then he turned Empress Mary out of the palace as well and forced her to take the veil. .  He then prevailed on a weakling prelate…we know all about them today, don’t we?...named Abbot Joseph who “married” Constantine and his beloved Theodota. Thereupon, Patriarch Tarasius was persecuted without cease.  But all bad things come to an end. The marriage of Constantine and Theodota ended the dowager mother, Irene’s influence. So Irene gained the support of officers of the court and army and staged an insurgency which deposed her son.  Then Irene jailed her son and had his eyes put out (not a nice thing for a mother to do, eh?)  Irene reigned for five years but her time came up, too and she was deposed by a general named Nicephorus who banished her to the Isle of Lesbos (a good question: as a resident of Lesbos could she be in fact called a Lesbian?  But I jest). 
        Under Nicwphorus, Patriarch Tarasius served in peace and ruled his sea for 21 years.                                                                       

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Personal Aside: The Eerie Mystery of ObamaCare. Force-Feeding America for a Plan It Hates…More.

     Feast of  St. Matthias*
                                                It’s Spooky.
             The specter of a tall, lugubrious president with the ominous presence of Lurch (as in “you rang?” ), a wispy-voiced Senate majority leader (think of him as Uncle Fester) and a willowy, washed out female Speaker (Morticia) seeking to ram un-digestible massive health care castor oil down the unwilling, gagging throat of the American people is just about an historic first.  
              Probably only the since Kansas-Nebraska act which put slavery or abolitionism to a vote…which the North hated and even the South’s Sam Houston despised…has this spectacle been seen.  Then there’s Pugsley (Dick Durbin), Gomez (Robert Menendez), Cousin Itt (Barney Frank) and Thing, the disembodied hand that emerges from a box and lights Uncle Fester’s cigar (Rahm Emanuel).   The question is why this caste of weirdos want to do it when the eternal misgiving of the voters threatens to pitch them all into ignominy.  
            Three possible reasons.  1.  Lurch was misguided by Thing into not duplicating the Clinton health care debacle where the Clintons micromanaged everything and kept the Democratic Congress from the backroom.  But the opposite was a disaster: Lurch, influenced by Thing, allowed the Congress to build two monstrosities…one in the House and another in the Senate. Recognizing his error, Lurch has now sent his own idea to the Congress’ “bipartisan” session (albeit without CBO scoring since it is very vague). SoLurch wants a final “go” at it to please the Left which believes he was too hands-off.  
    1. Polls taken of the health bill show that point-by-point Americans
favor the details.  Why then aren’t they reconciled to the complete package? Simple. The complete package has an astronomical price tag affixed. But Lurch believes that if somehow the bill can be rammed through, voters will like it…moreover they will remember that the Republicans opposed it. 
               3. And the one I favor—which is really an extension of #2. . Lurch is a Leftist ideologue and believes he is Destiny’s Tot…not just as the first black president but as the leader of humanity who, if he rams the bill home, will be revered from now to time immemorial for his accomplishment.   
             What about Reconciliation, the device invented by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) during budget showdowns which purportedly only pertain to appropriations matters?  Are the Dem Munsters really going to try it?  I think yes.  But it cannot be done. To get the thing active, the House first has to pass the Senate bill with no changes.  Given what happened in the House last time and with the pressures of the election of 2010 breathing down incumbents’ necks, I cannot imagine it would happen. 
                                 Powell Still Likes Obama: Surprise!
              Blood is thicker than water and Colin Powell’s continued support of Barack Obama is based not on ideological grounds…but on racial solidarity.  The question that intrigues: how could Powell be the national security assistant to Ronald Reagan…how could he serve George W. Bush, go to the UN and defend the Iraq invasion and still align with Obama? 
             Answer:   Powell is infinitely malleable but blood comes first. If Obama wasn’t a black man you’d never see Powell in his corner—or Powell attacking Dick Cheney.  Powell was the hire of Cap Weinberger whom I knew from his service on The Quaker Oats board and whom I interviewed following his service as secretary of defense. Powell was an affirmative action find by Weinberger.  He basically followed orders and did an effective job.   But don’t think that Powell ever forgot he was a black man while he did what he felt was indentured service to white conservatives.  
   *: St. Matthias. [1st Century]. He was one of the 72 disciples Christ sent out, two by two: this attested by Eusebius and St. Jerome.  Acts has him constantly by Jesus’ side from His baptism to Ascension. When Peter declared that with Judas’ defection it was necessary to elect a 12th apostle, two candidates were suggested as most worthy: Barsbas and Matthias. After prayer, the 11 cast lots and the winner was Matthias who was ranked with the Apostles. Clement of Alexandria states that Matthias was remarkable for his insistence of mortifying the flesh.  In the first part of his ministry, he went to Judea but thereafter went much further. According to the Greeks, he went to Cappadocia and the coast of the Caspian Sea. He appears in the Greek “Menaia” and is said to have been martyred at Colchia, in what is now Georgia… in the manner of crucifixion. His body was said to have been moved to Jerusalem and later brought to Rome by St. Helen.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Personal Aside: I Told You About Brown—Remember?... The Cynical Obama Health Summit Ploy…Well, What Do We Do NOW?

Feast of St. Peter Damian*                                           
                               Scott Brown: Part Fish, Part Foul. 
                 Yesterday, Scott Brown joined the Senate majority to cut off debate on the Senate “jobs” bill.  I told you about Scott Brown—remember? I said don’t get too used to thinking he’s the conservative savior—that in the Massachusetts campaign he said he was going to be another John McCain. This doesn’t mean he’ll go Left on everything—but I said—and it’s obvious now—don’t count on him.   
                              Obama’s Health Summit Ploy. 
                  Obama has unveiled a health bill that is close to the Senate version…minus public option but which substitutes federal regulation of the insurance industry.  It adds a tax on “unearned income,” capital gains at precisely the time when this serves as a severe dampening agent on business investment. The bill is so expensive…adding an estimated $200 billion to the original Senate version which already cost $850 billion…that the Congressional Budget Office has refused to “score” it, saying there are not sufficient numbers to do so.  Basically some experts say it amounts to a $2 trillion expenditure.   
                 Add to this the fact that Obama has still refused to add tort reform, has neglected to do anything about the devastating amount that trial lawyers add to health bills—the Massachusetts Medical Society maintaining that fully one third of hospital bills are caused by unneeded tests conducted as a defensive measure by predatory shark trial lawyers.  Even Howard Dean has said that the Democratic party is so indebted to the trial bar that it cannot move on tort reform.   Plus the fact that “Reconciliation”…the device used on appropriations bills that obviates filibusters…will be applied in all likelihood to the health bill. 
                  The outlook is that with “Reconciliation” this monstrosity will pass the Senate with a bare 51 votes—although don’t be too sure. What is foreordained is that it willcertainly not pass the House in its present form.  
                  The unmitigated arrogance of Barack Obama and the Democratic congressional majority is unmatched.  With all indices of public opinion showing that the American people are unalterably opposed to ObamaCare, they are going to hold the public’s nose and force-feed the castor oil to America anyhow.  This presages a disaster of massive proportions for the Democratic party and Obama personally—which could well lead to Republican takeover of the House and perhaps the Senate. There is no hope that Obama has learned anything thus far in his first year in the presidency. This is more than just being an unregenerate Man of the Left: but a man of beclouded simplicity and ignorance…a classic case of ineptitude matching and maybe exceeding that of Andrew Johnson the 17th president.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                            Total Recount.
                  It would cost a lot…maybe $1 million if he loses…but I hope that backers of  Kirk Dillard will go for a total recount with the election so close—and I’ll contribute it to it (no, not a million or anywhere near it!: what d’you think I am a zillionaire?). From the outset, I thought there was something very odd when Jim Ryan, from DuPage along with Dillard, jumped into the race with the super-heavy baggage he has and didn’t make much of an energetic move to campaign other than to show up at candidate cattle shows and on TV debates.   
                  It was clear that from the outset, the Dems didn’t want to run against Dillard because he has the expertise of the governor’s job.  The entry of Ryan split DuPage and coupled with the already heavy negative advertising of McKenna (coupled with his frequency of not showing up for debates) produced a triple whammy.  The Democrats profited from Ryan’s entry.   
                   The last few years of Ryan’s service as AG showed him moving to the left on a number of issue (not pro-life)…on guns and gay-rights.  Prior to his surprise entry into the race late last year he was a prominent board member of Ralph Martire’s Center for Tax and Budget Accountability which has been shamelessly lobbying for an income tax hike. Ryan’s entry complicated the Republican side hugely. Whoever planned it is unknown but it was a Hail Mary pass which worked…producing as likely GOP nominee a downstate senator not known for heavy lifting intellectually and who was passed up often for leadership responsibilities.  
                Using another analogy, the Republican gubernatorial primary of 2010 was the equivalent of a 3-cushion pool table shot. Voters were alienated by the barrage of heavy negative arrows shot at (1) Dillard and (2) Ryan and by their bottomless-funded source (3) McKenna. A number of voters wrote all three off…Dillard for purportedly favoring a tax hike, Ryan for purportedly favoring a tax hike and McKenna for being the source of the negative commercial barrage. That left Brady…never a good fund-raiser… who had little money to spend on commercials at all—so the destruction of all three allowed Brady to edge both—which might well produce something very like the famous  denouement of the 1972 film The Candidate where Bill McKay, played by Robert Redford, turns to his driver after he wins the election and asks plaintively, “Well, what do we do NOW?” 
             After Senate President John Cullerton yesterday demanded that Brady show a program for balancing the budget, the ball is truly in Brady’s court.  Brady has never been known for heavy grasp of governmental details.  Gulp: Well, what do we do NOW?  

*St. Peter Damian [1001-72].  He was another John the Baptist…someone who was born to rail against licentiousness and laxity in the Church (although unlike the Baptizer he didn’t lose his head). Born at Ravenna, Italy he was orphaned at an early age and was left in the charge of a brother who treated him as a slave, didn’t educate him and put him to work tending swine. Fortunately another brother, a priest of Ravenna, rescued him and took him to his parsonage to live. So grateful was the young lad that he took the priest-brother’s name as his own surname—Peter Damian. The priest-brother, sensing the lad had a great mind, educated him, sending him to school first at Faenza and later at Parma.  Peter took well to studies and became in time a professor of great intellect. 
        More than that, Peter took to fasting and prayer as with The /Baptizer and joined a strict congregation of Benedictines who lived in a hermitage, each with a separate cell who engaged in austerity, prayer and contemplation. His incessant readings and contemplation brought on bouts of great insomnia and he counseled himself to greater discretion, allowing himself some time to sleep. By unanimous consent of the monks, he was elected Abbot and governed with great wisdom and piety. Under his leadership great contemplative saints were fashioned in the monastery including Dominic Loricatus and John of Lodi.  Then the news of Peter’s sanctity and wisdom reached Rome and he was employed in the service of several popes—including Stephen IX who prevailed on Peter to become cardinal-bishop of Ostia.  Peter was a great bishop but continually lobbied the pope to allow him to return to his abbey.  Stephen IX refused but his successor, Alexander II reluctantly agreed but made Peter promise to accept assignments for the papacy if called upon. 
       To some, Peter Damian was not just austere but a fanatic—criticizing the bishop of Florence for playing chess, leading the prelate to acknowledge his fascination with the game by washing the feet of twelve poor men and reciting the psalter three times.  Peter fought simony, the practice then current of paying for high ecclesiastical office, insisting on clerical celibacy (which sometimes then was observed more by lip-service than actual practice). It was said of Peter Damian that “his genius was to exhort and impel men to perform the heroic, to encourage striking achievements and spur edifying examples…[A]n extraordinary moral force burns in all that he wrote.”  
      Time and again the Vatican used him as a disciplinarian in touchy political situations—such as the case of Henry IV, the young king of Germany who married Bertha, daughter of Otto, Marquis of the Marches of Italy and who desired a divorce under the pretense their marriage was not consummated.  The weakling Bishop of Mainz summoned a council with the understanding that it would make a pretense of listening to the evidence but in reality  agree to the divorce—but Peter Damian, the pope’s man, stood in the way. 
       Peter, then an aged man,  was chosen by Pope Alexander to preside over the phony “council.”  He was having nothing to do with the arrangement but convinced Henry IV to forego the divorce. No sooner did Peter return to his austerities at Fonte Aveliana when the Pope summoned him again—this time when he was in failing health—to discipline the luxury loving archbishop of Ravenna who, it appeared, sanctioned enormous frivolities and carnal occurrences. Arriving at the bishop’s house, Peter found the bishop had just died but he condemned his auxiliaries and priests and sanctioned them to lives of penance they never forgot.  On the way to Rome to report to the Pope, Peter was seized with a great fever and died in the monastery outside Faenza while monks were gathered around his bed reciting Matins on February 22, 1072.  His teachings and writings were voluminous and he was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1828.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Thoughts While Shaving: Catholic Tea Party’ers Should Kill that Goofy Vatican Newspaper, Too!...More.

  Feast of the Chair of St. Peter at Antioch.*
                                   L’Osservatore What?   
             Last week we talked about a Catholic Tea Party to abolish the useless USCCB (U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)   The USCCB’s not a canonical thing but a kind of  liberal bogus UN General Assembly …ego for bishops who gather in a marble palace in Washington…dinged up the late Bernardin to water down doctrine and lobby Rome to pick accommodationist prelates. 
            Dumping the USCCB’s one major objective—but…    
            At the same time, let’s consider cutting off  the source of funding the stupid so-called Vatican newspaper… as soon as we can determine how to sever the exact tendril connected to the root nourishing the fungi that supports   L’Osservatore Romano.  
           The uninitiated…and many of the initiated…have been led to believe it is the Pope’s official house organ.   Hell, no…but has been informally regarded as such since 1861 when it was set up to editorially defend the papal states. I realize that time means nothing to the 2000-year Church—but a news flash: The papal states were dissolved after they lost the battle of Castelfidardo on September 8,1860.  
             Ever since then, people have been wondering if what L’Osservatore writes, in all cases, represents papal thinking or not.  On one hand, it seems to: It has first dibs on  publishing full texts of Vatican documents so it has a distinct source somewhere. But on the other, it definitely free lances with editorial liberalism.  It takes editorial stands such as praising Obama, weeping over the death of Michael Jackson—and it spins Op Eds, some of which are as goofy as the New Age tracts available in Unitarian conclaves.  
           As is, L’Osservatore is so confusing it is antithetical…at least to the Church in the United States…which is waging an eloquent campaign pleading for Catholics to come home. Par for the course, no amount of complaining to Rome  about this rogue paper has effected any change.  That’s because the letters, emails and protests  go to a dead letter office run by faceless monsignori bureaucrats.  That’s the way it has always been with the Vatican since at least Constantine, nurtured by the Italianate easy-come-easy-go mantra. What to do? 
            My suggestion involves sending a message to Rome.   It reads: no serious dough until the Vatican gets rid of that lousy New Age rag…either that or fires the arrogant Twit who edits it who is evidently impervious to change.  Either IT goes…HE goes…or NO DOUGH for Peter’s Pence. You’d think Benedict XVI, a German and John Paul II, a Pole, would have cleaned out the flakes.  But no.  
            As John XXIII said when asked how many people work at the Vatican: 
         “About half.” He could have added that another third free-lance for their own goofy ideas. 
        When L’Osservatore began in 1860 it sold on the street for five baiocchi. Now it’s worth less than ZERO baiocchi. Thus when any serious official or unofficial Vatican paper should be promulgating the essential truths of the Church, what we get is the report that the Vatican’s Top 10 albums are…  
                The Beatles’ Revolver; Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon;  Oasis’ What’s the Story, Morning Glory; Michael Jackson’s Thriller; U2’s Achtung, Baby; Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours; Carlos Santana’s Supernatural; Donald Fagan’s The Nightly; Paul Simon’s Graceland; and David Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name. 
              What’s that last one: If I Could Only Remember My Name?  Remember this one: Professor Giovanni Maria Vian.  He’s the editor: not a priest, not a theologian—termed “a professor or patristic philology”—which means a grammarian…more likely somebody’s brother-in-law on a fat sinecure. Remember, all politics started with the Italianates of Rome in the Church.  
           This is the non-comprehending guy…Professor  Vian …who writes that Barack Obama isn’t a pro-abort at all.  In fact, far from it he tells us.  Of course he’s blissfully ignorant about Obama’s voting record and his pronouncements but is entranced by the secular Messiah’s personal style. Further, Professor Vian has said… 
            …the issue of brain death should be reopened because new scientific evidence has arisen. By which he indicates that harvesting the organs of a seemingly brain dead, purportedly  vegetative patient might be okay.
              Ignored by this Twit is that The New England Journal of Medicine has found that key experts in the medical field have considered the 1968 concoction of “brain death and the later invention of “cardiac death” as insupportable criteria for true death.”  
        What irritates me as one guy in the back pew…but one who has a working knowledge of theology thanks to Ernie…  is that while the declamations coming from Benedict XVI are impeccable…this jerk Giovanni Maria Vian  somehow has sanction from On High to run spec stories that can confuse the hell out of ordinary Catholics…stories with  all the   thumb-sucking depth exhibited in the old  Sun-Times columns Cathleen Falsani. The story that wept over the late Michael Jackson was particularly embarrassing for a supposed Vatican paper (evidently M.J.’s crotch  fondling  had a fan in Dr. Giovanni) as well as the literary spirituality of Harry Potter. 
           Lest you are scandalized by anything that smacks of criticism of the Vatican…understand there’s an canonical anomaly here.  We Catholics believe there is only one Church established by Chris…that which constitutes the one true Church—its “Church-ness” in other words—exists and subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.  But this uniqueness does not guarantee it runs like a fine Swiss watch. Not surprising since the nature of this Church that Christ founded is managed by (as Paul has said in Corinthians) “earthen vessels.” Earthen vessels means the very human beings who run things. Try to complain to the chancery here about some goofball’s free-lancing liturgy with clowns and hoops  at Mass and you either won’t hear back. .  Unfortunately it is that way also in Rome.  
           There is evidently something in the Roman water that causes delays and no responses to serious liturgical and orthodox complaints about Church management.  Most return flavored with the vague word domaini”—tomorrow.

            When you press harder and write yet another letter or email the answer comes back even more relaxed:  “a-domani!” Meaning see-ya! 
        Well I’d like to respond a little more sharply using the same Roman word“A-DOANI!”  See ya.  
         A-domani when the plate passes for Peter’s Pence.  Even Peter had to be reminded once to get some guts (which on correction he demonstrated in  great style). It’s time to tell Rome to either fire the honorable Professor Giovanni Maria Vian a-domani…or-- 
        See ya, pal: Meaning no spare change for Peter until Peter puts change in effect…in other words Vian is outta there and/or a real paper—reflecting the true views of the Vatican-- is launched.  
                Last Week’s Pro-Dem Columns for the Kept Press.  
           Liberal Eric Zorn, in The Trib  tells us that the reason ObamaCare has bombed is that we ignorant mortals don’t understand what’s in it—implying that once we do, as he assures he does, objections as to the tremendous cost and conversion of 1/6th of the U. S. economy may dissolve.

          …Radical feminist Carol Marin, the near 60 russet haired political oligarch commanding a newspaper column and two TV stations for her lefty views says in The Sun-Times (aka The Democratic Digest)  that 27-year-old Jason Plummer the GOP lieutenant governor candidate equals the Dems’ Scott Lee Cohen, prostitute consorter, pawnbroker, wife-abuser, child support deadbeat—and that the parties are responsible for these candidacies happening not the media which failed to report them… 
             …In-educable radical Neil Steinberg in The Sun-Times (aka The Democratic Digest) says that people are stupid to imagine that snowfall throughout the world nullifies global warming—but doesn’t mention the emails or scientists who have resigned and apologized…Esther Cepeda in The Sun-Times (Dem Digest) blames Sarah Palin for zeroing in on the word “retard” to “divide the country”…not mentioning the cartoon series South Park which shows a befuddled baby saying her grandmother ran for vice president…
             …Jesse Jackson’s shamelessly ghost-written boilerplate column in The Sun-Times (The Democratic Digest) warns that Big Business grocery products producers will fight Michelle Obama’s campaign to fight child obesity because there’s money to be made in selling sugared products that make kids fat—and it’s business’ fault (but the companies were good enough to yield to his threats of “boycotts” and fork over extortionate dough for his…ahem…”non-profits”… 
            …Rich Miller in The Sun-Times (The Democratic Digest) has a good idea for what is evidently his chosen party, the Dems: Don’t fill the lieutenant governor slot which will allow them to focus on the Republicans’ Jason Plummer…which also (without his mentioning it) grease the path for liberal favorite Lisa Madigan to succeed to governor if something would happen to  an elected Pat Quinn…. Mary Mitchell in The Sun-Times (The Democratic Digest) deeply resents the people who financed a billboard citing the holocaust abortion makes of black babies because they make black women feel bad… 
             …Steve Chapman, the faux “libertarian” in The Tribune (aka The Democratic Digest Lite) assuages liberal readers that Obama’s low standings by remembering them how low Reagan’s were early in his first term…Likewise Garrison Keillor in The Tribune (the Democratic Digest Lite) consoles liberals that these early days of disappointment about Obama are akin to going to the Bahamas and enduring rain (huh?)…Clarence Page in The Tribune (the Democratic Digest Lite) lip-synchs the Obama administration by writing helpfully that military tribunals are overrated…followed up by pointing a finger at the whack-job who drove his plane into the IRS building in Austin, Texas and braying ominously that this is what happens when people start criticizing Big Government.   
       Tribune’s Far Better than The Sun-Times (The Democratic Digest) 
            While both papers stress liberal and anti-Republican views, there is no doubt that looking at both for the past week, one paper at least presents partially the other side…and that’s The Tribune which is why I call it  The Democratic Digest Lite. But apart from the usually left-slanted commentary, the Trib’s editorials are basically fair…as distinct from The Sun-Times (The Democratic Digest) editorials which are on the same slant as The Daily Kos.     
             Moreover, espite the obvious liberal Democratic drift in commentary, the paper includes pieces from full-timer John Kass (the best columnist by far in either paper), Op Ed writer Dennis Byrne, nationally syndicated Charles Krauthammer, Jonah Goldberg and George Will…with Kathleen Parker being the semi-mush the liberals love because, with a reputation for “moderation” she abandons it happily  to go after social conservatives.  Liberals and hot-fuming Democrats at the Sun-Times (The Democratic Digest)overwhelm conservative, even moderate, thought 10 to 2…the one columnist being Steve Huntley who while conservative in economics and national defense is pro-choice on social issues—and one other…no columnist but even better.  Who?    
            The cartoonist Jack Higgins.    Wonders never cease: By far the best editorial cartoonist in the nation, Higgins appears exclusively in that paper. How he survives in that liberal-Left morass I don’t know but I’m sure glad he does.        
  *: Feast of St. Peter’s Chair at Antioch [circa AD 36]. Why, for goodness sakes, a feast honoring an object? Because from antiquity a chair or throne …i.e. cathedra,represented the seat occupied by a teacher who spoke with authority, the word “cathedra” surviving to this day representing a pronouncement whereby the Pope speaks infallibly as teacher of the Universal Church.  Essentially, there have been two chairs of Peter marked by feasts—the wooden chair at Rome where Bishop Peter sat as he baptized, now enshrined by Bernini (1697) in the apse of St. Peter’s great basilica…and Peter’s chair at Antioch from which he…earlier than Rome… presided as first bishop..  That he went to Antioch near the present city of Antakieh in Turkey (population: now28,000; then 100,000), then the capital of the East,  is recorded by many saints; it was in that town that the name “Christian” was born.  
       St. Chrysostom, the “golden tongued,” says Peter was in Antioch for a long period, within three years after Christ’s Ascension—in the second year of Claudius.  Peter had left Jerusalem after St. Stephen’s martyrdom and remained in Antioch and became the first Bishop of Antioch, until he escaped miraculously from prison and Herod Agrippa. Later, knowing he was in danger at Antioch, Peter went to Rome becoming the first Bishop of Rome, where he remained for 25 years. 

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thoughts While Shaving: The Big Man with His Own Secret Service Detail at Manny’s…Judy Erwin’s Awful Fear…More.

         Feast of St. Conrad of  Piacenza*
                                             King David.
            This in yesterday from The Democratic Party Digest aka The Chicago Sun-Times: David Axelrod, the political TV guru who gave the world Obama and Massachusetts the equally inept Governor Deval Patrick (formerly of The Chicago Squid) was reported playing Big Man, munching at Manny’s (by Sneed) with liberal political soul-buddy Forrest Claypool as…get this…a battery of Secret Service guarded Axelrod’s life.  
            Why, who would want to muss up David? If it hasn’t happened  by  now for all the turkeys he’s elected—including the Messiah, ex-Chicagoan Deval Patrick the incompetent governor of Massachusetts…and the immortal Dennis Archer, ex-mayor of Detroit—it’s not likely to happen.   
           Or would terrorists want to capture the Axe to make him talk?  Why?  Does he hold the code to the  Football? You’d better hope not `cause we’ll be dead if  nuclear war starts and the response depends on him.   I understand not just the Axe but the Rahm has a federal protective detail. Who else?  Valerie Jarrett? God help us: David Plouffe? This should be the first thing the next president does (pray God it’ll take no longer than noon of January 20, 2013): end flagrant ego-foppery of providing Secret Service to non-national security-related presidential pals and pols.  If Karl Rove had his detail…and other choice Bushies… all the worse—and if anybody knows who they were and how many had this Ego-Building status, I’d like to hear.  
                                         Judy, Judy!  
           And now from The Democratic Party Digest (Lite):    Judy Erwin, Ph.D, a longtime friend and former aide to ex-Senate President Phil Rock…now exec director of the Illinois Board on Higher Education…is warning via Capitol Fax Blog—a website always terrified of possibility of diminution of state funds…so much so it often quotes the SEIU newsletter as a credible backup source—that…horrors!... 
           … the state is abdicating “its responsibility to higher education” by being so late with payments so some public universities might…gasp!have to close!  Result: She says Illinois is, in effect “privatizing education!”   Just thinking of this possibility has made my day.  I knew this deficit chaos would produce some good. 
                     Now Even the UN Worries About Iran’s Nukes. 
            The once mealy-mouthed UN atomic energy agency is now worried…make that very worried…that Iran is on the verge of having nukes!  Reason UN has changed its tune is that it now has a new guy in charge of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) who is not a clone of Ahmadinejad—Yukiya Amano who took over at the UN agency last December.  He replaced Mohammad ElBarade who was so cozy with Iran he…of course…received the Nobel prize for peace some years back from the same five Norski Lefties who gave one to Obama.  
           Weasel-worded Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs yesterday sounded a lot like Jimmy Carter—which means that the U. S. under the Messiah has taken a distinctively more liberal tack on Iran than even the UN.  It is reported that Obama is well aware of the new UN report but…first things first…he has to campaign for two all-but-defeated Democratic senators: Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas) and the appointed Michael Bennet (Colorado).  
                           Dennis the Trough Menace. 
           Yesterday the Tribune reported that Good ol’ boy Denny Hastert has taxpayers footing the bill supposedly for wrapping up the final details  involving his official Speaker’s office and staff while he racks up big bucks as a lobbyist—grunting obeisance to his longtime mentor Dallas Ingemunson on occasion.  Sad to say there’s nothing illegal about it but if Hastert had any decency he’d have waited until his business papers are all sorted before he would launch a career as a lobbyist.  But then… 
            …if he had had any decency he would have completed his congressional term before resigning to get to the lobbyist trough. And he’d have the grace not to try to wangle his 31-year-old kid his old congressional seat at the public trough (which failed earlier this month) 
            Denny has come a long way from the time he sat in the back of my classroom and yawned away when I taught him at a special enrichment (I mean intellectual enrichment) class sponsored by the Taft Institute, a program for high school teachers (he was a wrestling coach)  at Loyola a generation ago.  Denny would sit back there, waggle his eyebrows and purse his lips as if he was about to say something.. but then appeared to think the better of it and say nothing. Which, come to think of it, is how he matriculated later through the legislature and the House.  He came to the House and served as a kind of court jester to Tom DeLay, enlivening DeLay the then minority whip  with stories of his Yorkville wrestling days. 
            Then he began up the ladder, taking steps that even now seem imponderable. DeLay got majority whip under Gingrich. Since he was acerbic and a workaholic, he alienated some of the old boys so the Leadership invented a job for Denny to sort of schmooze those whom DeLay had alienated.  They called him deputy majority whip   (nobody ever had a post like that before).  At that time the guy on top was Newt Gingrich, the Speaker; then Dick Armey, the majority leader, then DeLay the majority whip…then you’d skip over that manufactured job of deputy majority whip and go to some of the top committee chairs: beginning with Bob Livingstone, head of appropriations who knew his staff with encyclopedic familiarity.

             Well after a few years the old team began to fall apart through decadence.  Newt, not satisfied with being Speaker, got involved in plans to make some money free-lancing like writing a book and taping a college course while being Speaker… which got him fined heavily by the ethics committee.  Then…the old rascal…he fell in love with a female staffer who was married as was he. He told his first wife he wanted a divorce while she was lying in a hospital bed fighting cancer.  His 2nd wife was supposed to be it but she was bossy.  He met his future 3rd while cheating on his 2nd —and got embroiled in a nasty sexual situation—at the same time he was condemning Bill Clinton’s infidelity.  
              Too much was too much.   So he quit to make some money as a hired speaker and commentator. Last year he become a newly minted Roman Catholic joining his Catholic wife #3 and has plans to run for and become the second Catholic president of the United States. (Barf).  
            Normally Newt’s successor would have been Armey but he had plotted to politically stab Newt ala Brutus and flee, as did Brutus, after the act and not get caught.  But he was caught plotting it so he both denied it—an outright lie—and pointed a finger at his colleagues…so Armey lost every bit of respect he had had.  Reluctantly, he resolved to leave politics.  The logical one to follow Armey would have been DeLay but he was indicted  by a Texas prosecutor for allegedly commingling funds improperly in an effort to redistrict his state so as to add more conservatives.  That indictment still hangs fire, by the way, although the Texas prosecutor is retiring.  
             While waiting to be officially tried, DeLay took up dancing and scored fairly well on TV in Dancing with the Stars but there is more than a little speculation that post-male menopausal late-middle age eccentricity has a lot to do with it. 
             Back to the struggle for succession to the Speakership post-Newt;    
             Everybody breathed a sigh of relief after Armey and DeLay were eliminated, thinking that Bob Livingstone, a brilliant guy, was more than up to the job. Livingstone said he’d accept it but at the last minute turned it down because his wife found out that he was having an affair with a female lobbyist…and laid the law down, saying either he would have to get out of this filthy congressional business or she’d leave him.  He decided to resign.   
              That left only one guy whom everybody could agree on—good ol’ Denny who when confronted with a difficult question would do just as he did in my class, waggle his eyebrows, purse his lips as if ready to say something, would appear to think better of the idea…and shut up.  They told Denny: you don’t have to do serious thinking in this job. Just let the White House do the thinking. You hold the gavel and wait for instructions. 
              That’s what he did. In one of the most disgraceful excesses and abuses of public largesse in the history of the House, George W. Bush in his most “compassionate” mode, decided to go for a massive Medicare drug entitlement arranged by Billy Tauzin, the ex-Democrat chairman of Energy & Commerce who when the GOP captured control of the Congress cut a deal with Newt and switched parties, continuing to serve as chairman of the committee—the first and only legislator ever to hold the same committee chairmanship in two parties.
              New Republican convert Billy called the tune and good ol’ Denny held the gavel.  House rules were bent while Tauzin scoured the floor for votes…finally winning enactment by one vote (with one member voting present).  Then Tauzin left the House and took the job he had been angling for all the time—president of the Big Pharma trade association paying $2 million a year…a job from which he was just fired after cutting a deal with Max Baucus and Rahm Emanuel to get Obama’s health care extravaganza passed.  
      It entailed the drug industry cutting $80 billion from its expenses in return for which Emanuel would forego a key Obama promise to import cheaper drugs from other 1st world countries. The deal passed the House but fell apart in the Senate with incompetent Harry Reid who couldn’t muster 60 votes—leading Rahm to rent two senators: Mary Landrieu who got the “Louisiana Purchase” freeing her state from the necessity to pay Medicaid bills but let the feds do it because of Hurricane Katrina…and Ben Nelson who got the Nebraska Cornhusker pay-off by absolving hisstate from paying Medicaid bills. 
              These blatant rent-offs started a cattle run of senators trying to be rented as well and poor Rahm was running out of money when the Massachusetts special election occurred…electing a Republican due to public outrage with Rahm’s dealings—and the whole thing arranged by Billy Tauzin fell apart.   So Billy got fired by an outraged drug industry. 
              I digressed but anyhow that’s the name of that tune. 
              Oh…back to Denny Hastert. When the Trib called Gingrich to see how much money he spent cleaning up his effects as a former Speaker, he said: “I don’t want to talk about it” and hung up. 
               If anybody…and I mean ANYBODY…in the Republican party thinks seriously of nominating this guy Gingrich for president, , they should remember the late Henry Hyde’s words made to me in dead seriousness. About Gingrich he said “He’s 50% genius and 50% nuts.  The only trouble is you never know what 50% is operative at any one time.” 
             Nobody will say Denny Hastert is 50% nuts and 50% genius—just 50% slow. The only 50% is pure venal.  
                        Prediction: Dem Pundits Will Strike. 
         News that the maddened software engineer in Austin, Texas rammed his Piper Cub into a building housing the office of IRS judges of last-resort appeals… because he was vehement at the tax collectors… will…I predict…start a flurry of Lefty writers deploring the action and claiming that  Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, by assailing Big Government, bear major responsibility for the disaster. I would predict that the backlash could well begin with Neil Steinberg of the local Democratic Digest (Sun-Times) followed by Roger Ebert who seems to be as bored writing ecstatic film reviews of lefty productions like Avatar as I, for one, am reading them. Ebert can’t come close to Joe Morganstern of the WSJ. 
   *: St. Conrad of Piacenza [AD 1351]. Conrad was a very ordinary scion of a noble family of Piacenza, a town located between Bologna and Milan who one day while out hunting ordered his servants to start a fire in the brushwood to drive out game so he could kill them with bow and arrow. They did but made one mistake: A strong wind sent the flames into nearby cornfields.  The fire picked up intensity and roared to a neighboring village. Conrad watched this happen, did nothing and returned home, cautioning his servants to shut up about it—which they obeyed. But then Conrad heard that a poor man who had been caught near the fire was accused of arson and had been sentenced to death. Conrad became tormented by guilt and pangs of conscience.  Thus began his sanctity. 
          Conrad turned himself in, said the innocent man should be freed because he, Conrad, was responsible. The magistrate threw the book att Conrad.  By the time he paid his fine and considerable damages, he was broke—having sacrificed all his possessions and his wife’s dowry as well.  This caused him and his wife to reexamine their lives.  They decided that they would give away whatever was left to them (not much), that Conrad would take up the life of a hermit and attach himself to a small group of  who lived by the Rule of the 3rd Order of St. Francis. Conrad’s wife joined the Poor Clares.  Both did.  
         Conrad began to lead a life of extraordinary piety—but alas his story was so inspiring that crowds of people came to see him at his Monastery. So he left it and crossed over to Sicily and took up residence in the valley of Noto.  There he lived nearly 30 years doing penance and good works.  When people found out about his sanctity they started to bother him there as well—so he packed up once again and took himself to a small monastery near the grotto of Pizzoni, a few miles from Noto.  Once again his fame overtook him—this time when a famine struck and people came to him for solace and alms. Solace he had but no alms until the Bishop of Syracuse visited him to see what the hubbub was all about—bringing with him some monks who carried provisions for the poor. 
         After distributing the foodstuffs, the bishop  pushed his way through the crowd to Conrad and asked if the Holy Man had any provisions to offer the visitors—expecting obviously that the answer would be no. Conrad said he had none but nevertheless he went to his cell to see if he could find at least something.  When he looked in his cell, he was stunned!  He found heavy stores of newly baked cakes!  He brought them out and fed the crowd, the bishop and his monks. The bishop was not surprised because he had reckoned that Conrad was consumed with sanctity. This miracle made it doubly hard for Conrad to live a contemplative life. 
          One more thing. Feeling his life was coming to an end, Conrad traveled to see the bishop in order to make his Confession. Amazingly, when he arrived at the bishop’s home, he became surrounded by chirping birds who fluttered around him and which escorted him back to his monastic cell near Noto.. When he knew death was imminent, Conrad lay on the ground in front of a crucifix and prayed for his benefactors and the people of Noto. He is buried in the church of St. Nicholas at Noto and his tomb has become a favorite shrine at which many miracles have taken place.  For some reason, he is cited as the patron saint of those who have experienced ruptures and hernias—and many people who experienced cure from both have invoked Conrad for intercession. Three popes of the time have validated Conrad as a saint—and it is as a saint that he is revered today.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Personal Aside: Stockholm Syndrome—Is Illinois Stuck on Stupid?

                           Feast of St. Simeon*

            Not long ago, The New York Times’ editorial page columnist Gail Collins surveyed corruption in all 50 states and finds, unsurprisingly, that Illinois now holds the lead.  And to confirm her estimate that nothing daunts the comatose Illinois pro-Dem, pro-Squid voter, a recent poll shows Illinoisans prefer Pat Quinn to Bill Brady 42 to 31.   Isn’t that remarkable?  Every all that’s happened.   
      It comes from an outfit called Victory Research which nobody ever heard of before—which means that it’s probably a prop for Quinn—but I don’t doubt the finding.  A another poll taken by Greenberg-Quinlan-Rosner for its client Alexi Giannoulias has the Golden Greek leading Mark Kirk 49-45.  I imagine it’s right, too.   
       But if there’s hope for Kirk, what about the heavy preponderance for Quinn?  How can that be? 
                      Illinois’ Acceptance of Corruption.  
      If Quinn wins, it proves that The Squid…the name I have selected because it is more appropriate than the old “machine”… is truly unbeatable—more  than Boston, more than Trenton, N. J.  more than New York city--unbeatable because of Stockholm Syndrome (of which more later)despite the botch-up the Dems have made of Illinois while controlling all facets of government.  Normally, defeat should be so deserved and expected those  in all Dem controlled branches ought to flee in terror, allowing the bureaucratic custodians to reason that since their repudiation is so clear, Illinois could save millions by not even holding an election.   
           Surely much blame goes…as it should… to the monolithic black vote, embracing its One Party as Savior. You know, it’s mind-boggling when you look around this town (Chicago) and see conditions in neighborhoods where blacks live and calculate that Democrats have governed this town since 1931. They are victimized by family breakup largely due to the Great Society which drove males out of the homes before females could receive child support. They are victimized by joblessness because Democrats…as in Chicago…fight stores like WalMart coming here because they don’t pay obeisance to white liberals’ demands they pay more. Result: blacks go jobless because white liberals won’t accept them working at a lower wage.  Figure that one out. 
            Blacks are threatened by murder, mayhem, rampant crime because somehow white liberals…like the guilt-ridden white stentorian, media-focused padre from Saint Sabina’s…opposes conceal carry, making it impossible to defend themselves.  Blacks are threatened by all these things because the white liberal media which send their kids to private schools (largely) thrills to the hoary old baloney purveyed by Operation PUSH’s machine-gun purveyor of catchy couplets, Jesse Jackson, Sr. who can’t.. and indeed doesn’t… crusade against illegitimacy because it would be too embarrassing since as the media know, he sired one himself.    
            Black indentured-ness is one thing.  White, Big Business, Big Labor and Big Media…and let’s face it Catholic hierarchal… supine lay-down is quite another.  All Illinoisans who say “nothing’s going to change” are on the way to a malady that has gripped this city.  I call itStockholm Syndrome—the disease where prisoners and the exploited of a system end up loving their abusers. Stockholm Syndrome has afflicted blacks, many liberal whites, big business leadership, gutless clergy, the TV stations and the editorial boards. 
                     Illinois Dem Record Begets Stockholm Syndrome.  
         For readers of this blog outside Illinois…of which there are many…here’s The Squid record in this state—which makes the seeming popularity of its candidates utterly fascinating as a case-study of Stockholm Syndrome.       
           By any normal tally, Democrats in this state should resemble the composite central character played by Sean Penn in the 1995  movie “Dead Man Walking.”  
          The compliant mainstream media here and across the country don’t play it as a disaster but it is.  There was precious little voter turnout on Feb. 2, the earliest election of the year in the nation, because the ungodly early date, involving a blanket of snowstorms, is a throwback to 2008 when The Squid under autocratic co-leader Mike Madigan decided to move up the date to give Barack Obama a head-start in collecting delegates.  Thus everyone must vote early.   
            The Squid’s gubernatorial nominee is heavily unpopular Patrick Quinn, who moved from Lt. Governor after Rod Blagojevich was arrested, impeached and removed by the legislature after being charged with spectacular corruption including, among other things, trying to auction off Barack Obama’s Senate seat for his own political and pecuniary gain.   (By the way, Blago was just re-indicted by the Feds for racketeering, wire fraud, 14 counts of extortion, 16 counts of bribery, 1 count of attempted extortion and 2 of false statements which carry with them 30 years imprisonment and $500,000 fine—the trial to begin this summer while the Illinois governorship campaign is full throttle). 
          Here are some figures which probably influenced Gail Collins to make her judgment:  
           Quinn’s Illinois state government, controlled by Dems from top to bottom has unpaid obligations totaling $12 billion including a $5 billion backlog in delayed bill-paying because the state doesn’t have the money for schools, mass transit agencies, health care providers and vendors who were told they would have to wait, on average, 4 months for reimbursement.    
            Quinn has called for a 50% hike in personal income taxes for individuals which was deferred by the legislature controlled by his own party.  Not a hands-on governor but a hands-off writer of  populist press statements for himself, he tried to save money by ordering his Corrections department to release some prisoners early from penal confinement… except that somehow his instructions got misconstrued and a total of 1,718 inmates—including violent prisoners and repeat DUI offenders--were turned out on the street, who on an average served only 37-days in prison, some as little as 11days. Some robbed and pillaged before they were recaptured and sent back to stir.   The supine media here did not scream bloody murder but merely reported it as a happening. 
             The only chance The Squid get a more popular governor candidate would have been to dump Quinn and nominate the Comptroller, Dan Hynes but it failed. Hynes is a colorless, faceless nebbish scion of a longtime Squid family but not as unctuously self-serving as Quinn. Yet he not only wanted a tax hike but to install a  “progressive” [sic] income tax to soak the “rich.” After a vicious campaign between the two, Quinn edged out Hynes by 5,000 votes.  
                         The Squid’s Squalid U. S. Senate Nominee.
           Now we go to the greatly ethically challenged Dem U. S. Senate nominee who unaccountably won over a clean candidate.  
         He is the scion of a prominent Greek banking family in Chicago who glommed onto Barack Obama early and raised big bucks for his U. S. Senate run.  The Greek kid is  Alexi Giannoulias whose family owned an institution known as Broadway Bank. Lean, spare, single, easily mistaken for Fredo in “Godfather II,” Alexi, now 34, started playing basketball with Obama at the posh East Bank Club, then got his Pop to raise money for Obama via the prosperous Greek community.  Before long the Giannoulias family had bundled a great stash of cash for The Messiah. Sure enough it turned out Alexi wanted something. He wanted to run for state treasurer in 2006, two years after Obama won his U.S. Senate seat. 
              But a problem: As veep of his family’s bank, Giannoulias approved a huge loan ($15 million) for Michael (Jaws) Gioraigo a twice convicted bookmaker and proprietor of buildings housing luxurious prostitution nests. The Squid’s co-head, House Speaker Mike Madigan, demurred on supporting Alexi but Daley didn’t—nor did Obama. The  liberal media hee didn’t push the Gioraigo story. In another town, such as New York which has The New York Post there would be justifiable journalistic hell to pay. Not here.   Result: to the accompaniment of fist-bumps and sly winks from Obama and Daley, Giannoulias was elected state treasurer, the state’s youngest at age 30.   
                            Alexi Goofs Up State Treasurer.
         It’s very hard to goof up being state treasurer which is a custodial not a policy job.  All you do is sit down at a big desk and sign some documents while the staff does the work.  Alexi continued a plan from the Feds that induced Illinoisans to contribute dough through a federally mandated savings plan available to all states  (known as a “529”) which permits a kid’s family to put dough into a special investment program where profits grow tax-free.   The program is known as “Bright Start” and investments can be made via any of 21 funds run by Oppenheimer. Almost all states do it.   
         But even in a no-brainer job, some choices have to be made.  And , Alexi Giannoulias and his staff happened to pick the worst fund of the 21 known as the “Core Plus Fixed Income Strategy.” Then as Don Rose writes in The Chicago Daily Observer, a rogue fund manager at Oppenheimer got cute and in the meltdown plunged the Illinois dough into some very chancy derivatives.  Result: Illinois’ funds contributed by 65,000 Illinois families lost 38% of its value in 2008 while some other bond funds grew by 5%.  
      The first thing Giannoulias did when he found out—probably aside from running to his State Treasurer’s Executive Washroom and throwing up—was to rely on a hoary old Squid stratagem: when you make a gross errorhold back the truth..
                                   When All Fails—Sit on the Facts.  
           First he said everybody should calm down, that he’d get the losses back.  Sure enough, he announced later in a glowing press statement that he recovered an amazing $77 million of a total of $85 million with the remainder on the way (he failed to add “hopefully.”). But then some pesky political enemies fed the press the truth: the total amount Alexi lost was $150 million of which $77 million were salvaged.  Alexi had participated in a cover-up, of course, which produced bad press but the media buried it behind the corset ads. Thus the media…with one notable column-ing exception… is every bit a captive of Stockholm Syndrome as are other major segments of Chicago. 
       Unperturbed, Alexi now determined to run for a higher post— Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat to succeed the retiring Roland Burris.  Burris, renowned for erecting a tombstone on his grave plot with his resume etched on it, was named by Blagojevich to the Senate and lied his way through the Illinois General Assembly confirmation by saying he never, ever promised to raise money to get the job (a lie, held secure while “under study” by the chamber’s so-called “Ethics” committee.
        Again The Squid said “yes”—this time with Autocrat Madigan on board. Giannoulias had two other ideas. He determined to reward his two top Treasurer employees who flubbed up the “Bright Start” deal (possibly to keep their loyalty intact) by running  them to run for statewide financial offices.  They were African American Robin Kelly (treasurer) and his 2nd in command an East Indian with the catchy political name of Raja Krishnamoorthi (comptroller). Through all these deals Daley and The Squid, nodded affirmatively. In the primary, Kelly got nominated.  Comptroller candidate is African American David Lee Miller.  
           Earlier, perceptive people (not Mayor Daley) decided the Democratic party cannot afford to have Alexi Giannoulias the U. S. Senate nominee with his record. So they rushed into the fray a challenger for the Senate—a clean-as-a-whistle guy who was a former assistant U. S. attorney under Patrick Fitzgerald and who served as inspector general—an honest inspector general—in the Daley administration (a signal rarity)…a guy named David Hoffman. But  earlier Hoffman had outraged the mayor by investigating the horrendous mistakes surrounding Daley’s decision to privatize parking meters.   
           And Daley can’t abide seeing anyone who causes him  embarrassment to move up in politics-- so The Squid pushed an 11-alarm alert to all its top precinct captains to stick with Giannoulias…who is striving to fill the seat once held by Everett Dirksen and Peter Fitzgerald.  
           So, to sum up: Now the Democratic ticket has for governor the incumbent, Pat Quinn,  who set hardened criminals out of stir to save the state money and who wants to hike personal income taxes by 50%...and for U.S. Senator Alexi Giannoulias as Treasurer sanctioned an investment  that lost $150 million of hard-earned middle class savings for kids’ college.  
          But the team of Quinn and Giannoulias wasn’t complete. Quinn had to have a lieutenant governor running at his side.  Who was it to be?   
                             The Dem Lt. Governor Winner: Worse.
           With choices of six candidates for this No. 2 office, the veritable heartbeat away from succeeding to the governorship, five were tried and true loyal Squid regulars. But one was a wild card.
           The wild card was one Scott Lee Cohen. He spent $2 million in his own behalf—but few knew his background. At age 44 he is a multi-millionaire pawnbroker from Chicago.  He admitted to have taken injectable steroids, tried to choke his ex-wife, forced himself on her even after she objected, and was forcibly removed from his home by police several times.  
          Moreover, he is being sued by his ex-wife for being a deadbeat in failing to support his children while blowing lots of cash on his run for political office and was sued for $200,000 by his own brother who alleged he was cheat.  Still moreover, in retaliation to his wife, he broke into his house and wrote threatening messages on her bedroom mirror with lipstick. More: He lived for a year with a prostitute who was arrested for the charge twice: but he denied he knew she was a prostitute but thought she was only a masseuse since he met her at a massage parlor.  Later he was charged with trying to stab her on the neck but who, he said, caused her injuries to herself.   
            With the liberal media snoozing on the issue, and with the help of several key defecting Squid leaders  the pawnbroker won the nomination for lieutenant governor of Illinois.  It turns out certain “pragmatic” elements of The Squid helped in return for his financial “campaign contributions” to their organizations. The defectors hustled 47,000 signatures on Cohen petitions to get him placed on the ballot in the first place and pushed enough votes to get him 212.902 votes  or 25% of the votes in a very light turnout which was enough to nominate him comfortably.  
           One of three top Squid aldermen in return for hefty “campaign” donations was Dick Mell, the father-in-law of Rod Blagojevich, known by the Hispanics who dominate his northwest side ward as “the Old Gringo.”   After Cohen sprinkled even more money around, it developed he got “endorsed” by two dozen elected officials. In all he carried 15 of the city’s 50 wards, 18 of suburban Cook’s 31 townships and four of the five “collar counties” in exurbia as well as winning 52 of the remaining 90 counties in the state.
                               Cohen Embarrasses The Squid.
         When Chicago’s lackadaisical press finally revealed all there is  to know about Cohen, The Squid got panicky and wanted to drop him off the North Avenue pier into Lake Michigan. But Cohen at first refused to resign from the ticket. But after some closed-door meetings in a soundproof room he  wavered and finally chose “of his own free will” to step down.  What the Squid inducements were for him to change his mind is anyone’s guess—very possibly (a) threats of his possible consignment to the tender mercies of  gentlemen with pomade dressing on their hair and wearing  expensive, pointed shoes or (b) perhaps inducements to make him even richer. (B) is more likely which means he may find it easier to pay his back child support bills.  Anyhow he tearfully announced his “resignation” while his kids cried on camera.  
          Incredibly this led the tender-hearted Gov., Quinn to say he was touched by seeing Cohen’s kids crying.  He meant not because Cohen was a deadbeat in supporting them…but because they were crying over their father’s defeat. This tells you something about Governor Old Watery Eyes. 
          In order to make it seem even-up, the compliant media represents that because the Republican lieutenant governor nominee is 27…although he is by no means even partly comparable to Cohen…and who has not held office before, who are the Republicans to talk?   That incredible position has been put forward by a good number of so-called pundits…including one wanna-be Access Cable pundit who invented out of whole cloth a fictitious “application form” purportedly filled out by Jason Plummer—the story running for at least a day or so before the wanna-be pundit owned up to the hoax and admitted he had fabricated it.  And he calls himself “an objective journalist.”   By that yardstick so was Jason Blair. 
                              The Unbalanced Dem Ticket. 
            The Democratic state ticket submitted to the placid voters of Illinois is all Chicago…Giannoulias…Quinn…Lisa Madigan…Robyn Kelly…Jesse White—with a vacant Lt. Governor slot to be filled who could either be a black, State Rep. Art Turner (Chicago) or—and this is a very long shot—Tammy Duckworth, the severely disabled former helicopter pilot  who lost both legs in Iraq (from Hoffman Estates)… who if she takes leave of her mind… will have to  resign as assistant secretary of Veterans’ Affairs in Washington.   Everybody from the Chicago area: everybody like peas in a pod stolidly pro-abort, pro-gay rights.  The supine media don’t comment much about this because they are pro-abort and pro-gay rights.

                                Thanks a Bunch, Jim Ryan.  
             Next to the Dems’ sideshow of burlesque antics, Illinois Republicans haven’t done too badly—but were upset by the  vain folly of one overage loser who wanted to justify himself  no matter what happens. 
            The governor’s race ended very light  and very tight—initially just 420 votes separating State Senator Bill Brady (Bloomington) and Senator Kirk Dillard (Hinsdale)…which has been cut down by about 100 votes in Dillard’s favor. Both are conservatives and by a reckoning in every other states—including Massachusetts--either one should defeat Quinn. Should but then this is Illinois encased in the Stockholm Syndrome. 
           .  Brady has a 100% pro-life and social conservative record…meaning anti-abortion and anti-same-sex-marriage. And the liberal “mainstream” (that’s a laugh: The Trib’s  Rick Pearson’s MAINSTREAM?) media are at the battlements hoisting the flag: Let None but Pro-Aborts Stand Guard Tonight!  Eric Zorn has even appropriated a slogan from the Democrats—easy because he and they think alike—Brady—Too Extreme for Illinois! Meaning to oppose abortion when a majority of the nation now has pivoted on the issue significantly…and to oppose gay rights when it is far a climactic issue in a state beset with economic chaos… is extreme.    
        The race would have been Dillard’s but for the aforementioned battle-scarred veteran at age 63, Jim Ryan, tottering with wounds and stuck full of arrows  from earlier battles, not in good health and with an old man’s speaking voice evoking decades…too many decades…of  pitched battles long forgotten.  One who seemingly cannot or will not smile. I guess I understand why since he’s had several bouts of  seemingly fatal illness and his family has been touched by tragedy—but he is a grim, humorless type and was before tragedy stuck.  An anomaly: an Irishman with no humor or smile.   
         For all his family tragedies, condolences…but despite his courageously,  successfully battling illness and tragedies, his baggage was almost inexplicable—and would have been had he won the nomination. They involve serious lapses of judgment.  
       Ryan who styles himself  as a superb prosecutor, has to admit he prosecuted the wrong guy in a sensational murder trial: devastating. And his biggest best financial backer is serving a long stretch in prison for corruption.  
          Why with that serious baggage and having lost to Rod Blagojevich, Ryan decided to run as a vestige of the horrid old past, shows only one reason: ego. He had to make a point. Well, he has: and time will only tell whether he succeeded in botching up the chance for a top-flight candidate to oppose Quinn.  The betting here is that he has.  
        Well, he’s had his last hurrah.  He was the spoiler and now he can go back to his board membership with Ralph Martire’s Center for Tax and Budget Accountability which has been advocating tax hikes since Martire started it and who long touted Ryan as an exemplary Republican…although after which having celebrated as such by Martire denied he was for a tax hike at all.  
                     A  Windsock’s Better Than an Immovable Lefty.    
         Even despite the Stockholm Syndrome it ‘s likely that Mark Kirk, the GOP nominee for U. S. Senate will probably win and defeat Giannoulias. Conservatives are mad and some vow recrimination against Kirk by supporting Randy Stufflebeam of the Constitution Party. I know Stufflebeam, like him and even voted for him against Topinka for governor last time.  But, times are different. We conservatives ran a candidate against Kirk: we had our chance.  I gave Pat Hughes $1,000 in that race…more than most of the malcontents who vow to go 3rd party did… and worked my heart out for him. Now it’s time, I think, to count on the possibility—nay a probability-- that winds of conservative change will more often than not billow this windsock to flutter right.  That’s my conclusion anyhow. 
         *: Feast of St. Simeon [circa AD 107]. The Lord’s first cousin (whose father was Cleophas, brother of Joseph the carpenter) and whose mother was purportedly a sister to the Blessed Mother. He was eight years older than Christ and first appears in  Matthew xiii who is described as a kinsman of the Lord.  Simeon was one of the brethren who received the tongues of fire from the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. When the Jews massacred St. James the Lesser, the bishop of Jerusalem, Simeon, James’ brother, upbraided them. Everyone cringed because it was a bluntly courageous thing to do being as Simeon seemed to be signing his own death warrant.  But it didn’t happen then.  The denouement was to come later from the Roman conquerors.   
        When the apostles met to appoint a successor to James, they chose Simeon,  In AD 66 civil war broke out in Palestine triggered by Jewish opposition to the Romans.  Simeon was divinely inspired to take his flock and leave the city on the heels of Emperor Vaspasian entering Jerusalem.  This Simeon did and settled with his early Catholic followers on the other side of the Jordan, occupying the small city of Pella. After the burning of Jerusalem, Simeon led the Catholics back to the city and settled among the ruins—but too early…after a few years Emperor Hadrian returned with an army and utterly destroyed the city—proclaiming that he was there to destroy all who were “of the race of David.” This meant Simeon who was  of the race of David.   
           Simeon escaped Hadrian’s search and continued to preside as bishop of Jerusalem.  But much later came Trajan to Jerusalem who issued an identical order.  This time, Simeon was captured and brought before the Roman governor, Atticus.  Simeon was tortured, condemned to death and crucified, reportedly well over 100 years old. How these people lived to be over 100 in those days is beyond me.