mm509: Hear that sound? It’s the ice skaters in hell!

October 17, 2008
© Associated Press photo by Byron Rollins

© Associated Press photo by Byron Rollins

We’ve written before about our hometown newspaper, the Chicago Tribune.

Taken most seriously in its home town.

But proud of its Republican tradition. Its first editor of any distinction, Joseph Medill, was influential in winning the presidency for Abraham Lincoln.

That Republican heritage caused it to be newspaper non grata in my grandparents’ and my parents’ households, and indeed, our household for many years, until its more favored tabloid competitor, the once scrappy and progressive Sun-Times, was eviscerated by Rupert Murdoch, the first of a series of newspaper bandits that have effectively destroyed it. The latest in that series, Conrad Black, is in federal prison, convicted of fraud in connection with his newspaper properties.

But we digress.

The Tribune is <so> Republican that once, the year yr (justifiably) humble svt was born, they allowed wishful thinking to trump reality, resulting in the headline illustrated at the top of this post, a photograph that Wikipedia rightfully describes as one of the most famous ever published.

That was then.

Times, even for the 161 year old Chicago Tribune, have changed.

chitrib

FROM THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE EDITORIAL BOARD

Tribune endorsement: Barack Obama for president

2:33 PM CDT, October 17, 2008

However this election turns out, it will dramatically advance America’s slow progress toward equality and inclusion. It took Abraham Lincoln’s extraordinary courage in the Civil War to get us here. It took an epic battle to secure women the right to vote. It took the perseverance of the civil rights movement. Now we have an election in which we will choose the first African-American president . . . or the first female vice president.

In recent weeks it has been easy to lose sight of this history in the making. Americans are focused on the greatest threat to the world economic system in 80 years. They feel a personal vulnerability the likes of which they haven’t experienced since Sept. 11, 2001. It’s a different kind of vulnerability. Unlike Sept. 11, the economic threat hasn’t forged a common bond in this nation. It has fed anger, fear and mistrust.

On Nov. 4 we’re going to elect a president to lead us through a perilous time and restore in us a common sense of national purpose.

The strongest candidate to do that is Sen. Barack Obama. The Tribune is proud to endorse him today for president of the United States.

Do you get it yet?

In over 160 years, forty (40!) elections, the Tribune has NEVER endorsed a Democrat for president in a general election.

Until today.

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mm506: What to read when you’re not reading me

October 9, 2008
© Bruno1998 | Dreamstime.com

© Bruno1998 | Dreamstime.com

Away (from blogging — the writing, not the reading) and the economy, and especially the stock markets, continues in free fall.

Everyone is on edge, if not downright frantic, because if you’re too young to be that concerned about your retirement account and pension, you very well might be looking over your shoulder for economy-related pink slips.

The presidential campaign continues its free fall, from idealism and straight talk to Republican distortions and lies, and increasingly strident (and quite rapid, altogether a nice improvement over the “gentlemanly” Kerry debacle) Democratic responses.

And chanting relentlessly about Bill Ayers to mad-dog mobs (did Sarah Palin bring out every last one of this country’s rednecks?) while 401Ks keep decaying and mortgages keep resetting  is making ordinary, moderate people downright angry.

Fiddling while Rome burns, indeed.

My approach to the meltdown? I just don’t look at my funds.

If you’re not spending it tomorrow, why make yourself crazy? If you live long enough, you’ll see the markets come back. And I’m not retiring until my 90th birthday.

Of course those now living off of their pensions and especially their IRAs and 401Ks have a right to be furious with the criminal class of plutocrats running (yeah, and ruining) this country’s biggest financial institutions. And the Republican politicians who made the world safe for their crimes.

I can imagine some really juicy show trials come January.

Meanwhile, I’m reading lots of good stuff, enough so that this past week I find myself rather tongue-tied as a result.

So, rather than fight to get the words out, here’s a laundry list of worthwhile reading.

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mm504: Numb, but thawing

September 28, 2008
© Sharon Kennedy | Dreamstime.com

© Sharon Kennedy | Dreamstime.com

Trying not to feel too guilty about this month’s continuing violations of the blogger’s prime directive: Thou Shalt Blog Daily!

Guilty, your honor, with an excuse.

It’s not like there haven’t been extraordinary events to write about, in the big world out there, and in the not quite silent interior world each of us populate, eternally alone.

Faithful reader will have noted the personal elements that seem to have cost us our creative rhythm.

Complicated, lately, by the recent edition of MUDGElet No. 3’s 50-inch HD plasma television (if the empty nest had to be invaded, at least there’s an extra dividend!), just in time for the football season and the exciting (for Chicagoans, surprisingly exciting) baseball late and post-season.

Football, especially, on the elderly 13-inch conventional TV that sits on a file cabinet in our home office, pales in comparison. And the only laptop in my possession (two, actually, in my custody) belongs to my employer, and it wouldn’t occur to me to blog on those machines. Inappropriate.

So, it’s a tough call, choosing between blogging and high-definition spectator sport, especially in these personally emotionally draining times, and especially on this Sunday evening when the often frustrating home team Bears are giving the Eagles a fight.

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mm502: Overwhelmed

September 24, 2008
© Martin Applegate | Dreamstime.com

© Martin Applegate | Dreamstime.com

Just don’t know where to start.

The news is bleak, nearly everywhere one cares to look.

Somehow, John McCain is still taken seriously, even as he escalates the stunts.

First, adopt wholeheartedly with relish the Karl Rove/Swift Boat outrageous Big Lie protocol that obliterated the last nice guy to try to win the White House.

Next, kowtow to the restive Christian wingnuts by selecting for his running mate wingnut magna, herself, Sarah Palin.

Now, clothe his attempt at abject ducking of the first debate in the name of somehow intervening in Congress’s Wall Street bailout negotiations. Senator “Fundamentally Sound” McCain. Whose economic advisor, the next Secretary of the Treasury should this country wake up to a nightmare on Nov. 5 is Phil “Stop Whining” Gramm. Yeah, I’m certain you can guys can be of assistance.

If it wasn’t so serious, it would be laughable.

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mm501: Noted Cubs fan tees off on McCain

September 23, 2008
© Misty Pfeil | Dreamstime.com

© Misty Pfeil | Dreamstime.com

George F. Will is one of the best known conservative commentators writing for a major daily newspaper. And, he makes no bones about his appreciation for the Chicago Cubs, who in the past few days have reached the next milestones in what should, by all rights, be their Brigadoon Year (go ahead, click the link — it’s one of my favorites, and you read it here first!).

Mr. Conservative Pundit George F. Will had some very cogent observations regarding the character of one John S. McCain, Republican presidential candidate. Unexpectedly, at least to this progressive observer, and to others who have picked up on this today, Mr. Will is not happy with Sen. McCain.

washingtonpost

McCain Loses His Head

By George F. Will | Tuesday, September 23, 2008; Page A21

Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama.

Channeling his inner Queen of Hearts, John McCain furiously, and apparently without even looking around at facts, said Chris Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, should be decapitated. This childish reflex provoked the Wall Street Journal to editorialize that “McCain untethered” — disconnected from knowledge and principle — had made a “false and deeply unfair” attack on Cox that was “unpresidential” and demonstrated that McCain “doesn’t understand what’s happening on Wall Street any better than Barack Obama does.”

Senator, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission regulates the stock-related activities of publicly traded corporations.

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mm479: Change Before It’s Too Late

August 25, 2008
© Debra Saucedo | Dreamstime.com

© Debra Saucedo | Dreamstime.com

MUDGE’s Musings

Confession: Yr (justifiably) humble svt has been watching these past couple of months of virulent right wing zingers aimed at Barack Obama, that are apparently drawing blood among responders to polls, with more than a little tinge of déjà vu.

The rabid Rovian mudflood machine buried John Kerry last time around, using his war record, and his wealthy wife, as its prime weapons. Now, enough true believers are buying Jerome Corsi’s latest fantasy smearfest to make it a best seller. Uh oh.

However, Obama is facing a war hero with a wife so wealthy that he can’t keep track of how many homes they own. Do the Democrats have the bare knuckled instincts to strike back against McCain’s rabid Rovians? Frank Rich of NYTimes is urging that the time for polite cheek turning is long past.

nytimes

Last Call for Change We Can Believe In

Op-Ed Columnist | By FRANK RICH | Published: August 23, 2008

AS the real campaign at last begins in Denver this week, this much is certain: It’s time for Barack Obama to dispatch “Change We Can Believe In” to a dignified death.

This isn’t because — OMG! — Obama’s narrow three- to four-percentage-point lead of recent weeks dropped to a statistically indistinguishable one- to three-point margin during his week of vacation. It’s because zero hour is here. As the presidential race finally gains the country’s full attention, the strategy that vanquished Hillary Clinton must be rebooted to take out John McCain.

“Change We Can Believe In” was brilliantly calculated for a Democratic familial brawl where every candidate was promising nearly identical change from George Bush. It branded Obama as the sole contender with the un-Beltway biography, credibility and political talent to link the promise of change to the nation’s onrushing generational turnover in all its cultural (and, yes, racial) manifestations. McCain should be a far easier mark than Clinton if Obama retools his act.

Obama’s message of change needs an update, Rich says, and he makes a strong case.

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mm466: The Age of Obama … is a problem

August 12, 2008
© Halina Yakushevich | Dreamstime.com

© Halina Yakushevich | Dreamstime.com

MUDGE’s Musings

Grumpy old men. And women. And the grumpitude is a significant challenge to Barack Obama’s candidacy.

Bill Clinton was younger than Obama is now, in 1992, but that was a different generation of over-65 people.

Clinton spoke to that age group about what they cared about most, Social Security, and in so doing secured their votes.

It was prior to the age of the Internet, and it was a different generation of young voting age kids, who, in the main after growing up in the vacant era of Reagan and George II, were apathetic.

Nobody bothered speaking to that age group, because they simply weren’t paying attention anyway.

Now, the new, “millennial” generation of today’s young people are paying attention, and it’s Sen. Obama to whom they are paying all that attention, to an extent that the current generation of post-65 grumpy voters apparently finds off-putting.

After all, how good can anything or anyone be if kids favor it. I hate their music, their movies, their clothing, their refusal to act their age. So I guess I hate their presidential candidate.

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