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.

1 comment:

  1. Your outrage is misplaced. Key presidential staff members should have appropriate security details.