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.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm488: Grrrrrrrwww wwwaaa ahhhhhhhhh

September 3, 2008
© Dennis Cox | Dreamstime.com

© Dennis Cox | Dreamstime.com

Oops. Sorry. Just made it to the can.

Hardly an unexpected reaction, one supposes, to things one doesn’t like to see or hear.

As in, Night 2 of the Republican Convention.

Angry white male plutocrats (angry because somehow all they have [seven homes? when millions are losing their only one?] isn’t nearly enough) orating to angry white male plutocrat wannabe’s.

And it’s often really, really unseemly, as when in an early hour they put up a black white male plutocrat wannabe, followed shortly by a female white male plutocrat wannabe.

Another ugly night in St. Paul. The entire convention thus far has been a parade of wealthy white guys, female and male, one sleazier than the next. Take Mitt Romney, please! And could that convention crowd be any whiter? 21st Century America? In their nostalgic dreams, only.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm349: What’s Mike really going to do next?

April 16, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Thought I was done with Michael Bloomberg.

Not so fast, tiger.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC for U.S. President 2008

mm024: Bloomberg?
mm038.1: Jews Sorta Like Bloomberg Even Though…
mm051: Bloomberg.com: Bloomberg’s Money, Visibility…
mm054: Chicago Tribune news: An Idea for Bloomberg
mm057: Bloomberg for President?
mm058: What Kind of President would Michael Bloomberg?
mm064: How to take down plutocrat Michael Bloomberg…
mm066: Michael Bloomberg’s Knightly Ambitions
mm069: The Votes Are In for New York’s Mayor Mike
mm086: Bloomberg Takes School Plan… to Midwest
mm110: Grading Mayoral Control
mm117: The cure for the Electoral College is worse…
mm208: Overdue a Bloomberg post
mm238: Bloomberg’s candidacy — closer to real?
mm248: Political Potpourri
mm254: Bloomberg – just won’t go away…
mm263: This man -so- wants to pull the trigger
mm280: Bloomberg for Vice President? Take 2
mm285: Mayor Mike tells some hard truths
mm290: Gassing ’bout birds and supermen
mm300: Bloomberg: I’m not running, but…
mm301: Sorry, Mudge, the answer is no!
mm304: Mike, now I’m done!

This is all good sport in New York City, where, after all, Bloomberg is the two-term mayor, in a term-limit district. What’s a billionaire to do? Next?

Read the rest of this entry »


mm129: Gotta be Larry Craig Day!

September 5, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

So here’s the scenario: Stanley Bing of Fortune magazine is one of my favorite reads. He and Bob “No Asshole Rule” Sutton (both found in the blogroll) represent what I think of as “Dilbert by other means.”

In other words the human -workplace- condition in words not comics.

So Mr. Bing’s post yesterday (and I think enough of both Stanley Bing and Bob Sutton that their RSS feeds are accessible from our sidebar here at L-HC) caught my attention, because he related Craig’s situation from a most intriguing perspective, that of our daily workplaces.

bing

The gentleman at right pictured with the happy little Boy Scout is Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. bing1 Until last weekend, he was the close associate and Republican colleague of poor Senator Larry Craig of Idaho, who was forced to resign after serving nearly two decades in the Senate when he salaciously tapped the shoe of the guy in the next stall. But you know that story.

I have nothing to say about whether Mr. Craig is guilty of anything, even hypocrisy. Listen. If hypocrisy was a punishable offense in politics, the halls of Congress would echo with the hollow sound of tumbleweeds skittering across its nearly vacant floors.

What interests me about the whole thing is what it shows about loyalty among certain people. The point was driven home with clarity on Saturday in the New York Times. You can hit the link if you want to, but here is the portion that tugged my heart strings and sent a little wiggle of ice down my spine:

In Idaho, a person close to Mr. Craig did not say exactly what drove Mr. Craig’s decision, but said that the veteran lawmaker had been stunned by the party’s response to his predicament.

“Larry was shocked by the deafening silence by some and rush to judgment by others, even in his own leadership,” said the person, who is a confidant and adviser to Mr. Craig and asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the behind-scenes deliberations. “He had to evaluate what it would be like to go back into that environment.”

Many of us, sick to death of the hypocrisy so endemic among conservative politicians, especially those of the Republican complexion, have been cheerfully letting this sordid story play itself out.

Not Mr. Bing. He observes that in corporate life, as in political life, your best friends forever can disappear in an instant.

When the field is swarming with enemy troops ready to take the high ground, and ammo is short? They start lobbing guys out of the trench to lighten the load.

Okay, so read the rest, and return to see the upshot of this story.

[Per L-HC’s reformed process, please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

The Bing Blog Who’s in your foxhole? «

Okay, so I switched off after collecting this last evening, and imagine what greeted us today! Sen. Craig has said, “Not so fast!”

This is from Joan Walsh, political columnist of Salon.com:

The return of Larry Craig?

It keeps getting more interesting. At the end of the day Tuesday a spokesman for Sen. Larry Craig said wait a minute, not so fast. That resignation salon announced as news Saturday? Not a done deal. “It’s not such a foregone conclusion anymore, that the only thing he could do was resign,” Craig spokesman Sidney Smith told the Associated Press, adding that the “outcome of the legal case” will “have an impact on whether we’re able to stay in the fight and stay in the Senate.”

Suddenly on cable news they’re parsing Craig’s Saturday “resignation.” CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin is admitting he didn’t notice that Craig merely announced his “intent” to resign that morning. (I didn’t either.) Roll Call has printed a transcript of a voice mail Craig left Saturday morning, reportedly for his attorney Billy Martin (but he actually got a wrong number):

Sure enough, Mr. Craig does seem to have found an aggressive attorney, and as it happens, one friend in the Senate, Arlen Spector:

Indeed, Specter came out over the weekend in Craig’s defense, while Martin is telling reporters that “very serious constitutional questions” had been raised by Craig’s men’s room arrest, and that the senator “has the right to pursue any and all legal remedies available as he begins the process of trying to clear his good name.”

Read the rest of Walsh’s column:

[Per L-HC’s reformed process, please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Joan Walsh – Political Commentary and News – Salon

So, perhaps Craig didn’t read Stanley’s blog (which seems to have come out a day or two later), but the thought process must have been there:

“Do I really have no friends left?” And, so, he’s baaaaaaack!

So, the media is happy (per Walsh’s last graph), because just when they were thinking they didn’t have “easy pickin’s” Larry to kick around any more, he pops back into the picture.

And, MUDGE is probably happy too. We like our hypocrites out where we can see them (even if out also means in the occasional bathroom stall).

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE


mm115: Barack Obama’s Republican edge

August 25, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

Startling! Take a look:

salon

Barack Obama’s Republican edge

If he can win the Democratic primary, will his fans from the opposing party help take him all the way to the White House?

By Michael Scherer

Aug. 24, 2007 | It was sort of like finding a Christmas tree in a cornfield. In late July and early August, Iowa Republican voters were asked to name their choice for president in a University of Iowa poll. Mitt Romney, who leads most Iowa surveys, got 22 percent of the total. Rudy Giuliani came in second with 10 percent. But third place went to a Democrat, Barack Obama, who got nearly 7 percent — more than Mike Huckabee, John McCain and Sam Brownback combined.

Not to worry: The Obama campaign isn’t likely to join the Grand Old Party, and pollsters are convinced that Obama has exactly zero chance of winning the Republican caucus in Iowa. But something is going on. “I don’t want to make too much of it,” says David Redlawsk, the professor who commissioned the poll. “But I do think that the message Obama is putting out right now is the most likely to reach across party lines.”

There are other signs of Obama’s crossover appeal. Over the last several months, Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster, has been holding focus groups for various media organizations like Fox News to find out what the public thinks of the presidential candidates. “I would ask Republicans, ‘Which Democratic candidate would you accept? Who would you consider to vote for?'” Luntz says. “Obama would get more than everybody else combined. Hillary [Clinton] and [John] Edwards have no crossover voters.”

A recent poll by the Washington Post and ABC News revealed a third data point in Obama’s favor: When asked in July which Democratic candidate has the best chance to defeat a Republican in a general election, Republicans and independents were more likely than Democrats to pick Obama over Clinton. In fact, among Democrats, only 22 percent said Obama was the best general election candidate, while 54 percent flagged Clinton as the best in the general election. But among Republicans, 33 percent said Obama was the best candidate, and 37 percent said Hillary. In other words, Republicans were about 11 points more likely than Democrats to see Obama as the best shot for a Democratic White House.

Any political expert will tell you that polls don’t mean much five months before the first caucus. But a pattern may be emerging. In part because of Clinton’s high negatives among Republicans, it appears Obama is gaining momentum as a fresh candidate with a less divisive approach, by constantly appealing beyond the partisan lines of the last decade. His first television ad buy in Iowa included testimony from a Republican state lawmaker from Illinois talking up Obama and his ability to reach across party lines. As Obama reiterated in an appearance in Iowa last week, “The country is hungry for change. It wants something new. We want to chart a new direction for our nation.”

I find this story confounding, confusing, counterintuitive, and any other “c” word that’s appropriate.

Go ahead and take a look at the rest:

[Per L-HC’s reformed process, please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Salon.com News | Barack Obama’s Republican edge

If I hadn’t seen this story in Salon, I might suspect it’s part of a Republican dirty tricks campaign.

It’s a paramount tactic among the Roves of the world to do all that’s necessary to see that the other party nominates the candidate easiest to defeat in the general election. This explains John Kerry.

Because I have to tell you, gals and guys, it is my firmly held belief that what people say to pollsters and what they do in the privacy of the voting booth can differ astonishingly. This explains Harry Truman’s win in 1948.

I think that it’s understood that people tend to tell pollsters an idealized version of their beliefs, or a varnished version, or an aspirational version, and then they go ahead and reelect the (mainly) guys who are, deep down, the most like themselves in all the important ways (i.e., white, male, Christian).

And, I’m ready at all times to be thrilled and impressed with the maturity and intelligence of the U.S. voting public, but I can’t help but be overwhelmed by my curMUDGEonly insistence that the electorate of 2008 will not elect a black man president, nor, to be sure, the particular woman in question.

I’m disappointed with that situation, but here’s the other problem. Whatever those Iowans say, the only chance the Republicans have of having any of their motley crew of candidates win in November 2008 is if the Democrats, whose victory in Congress seems to have led to only (bloody and bloody-minded) business as usual, nominate a candidate sure to galvanize the demoralized Republican troops into the polls in (modern) record numbers.

Call me cynical, but the prospect of staying home and letting a black man, or that woman swear the oath of office on 20-January-2009 might cause even the most dispirited Republican voters to get out and vote for Rudy or Old Man McCain.

And in my opinion, the Democratic center, for all of its brave conversation, has not yet evolved so much further than their Republican counterparts.

Whatever they all say to the pollsters, in the utter privacy of the voting booth, I just can’t see the average citizen doing the right thing.

Finally, none of the candidates have much of a record of executive accomplishment. The more months go by, Rudy’s supposed turnaround of NYC is going to tarnish. Obama and Clinton and many of the rest are lawyers, managers only of assistants and paralegals. A couple of governors might have executive experience, but of small states with tiny local challenges. And Fred Thompson, you’re no Ronald Reagan!

Michael Bloomberg, we’re ready for you!

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE

BTW, Patrick Smith of Salon has a new Ask the Pilot column this weekend. Patrick, I don’t want to incur any further fiscal obligations to you and Salon.com, so I won’t excerpt it or comment further here, except to recommend that my fearless reader get over and check it out. Terrific as always.

–MUDGE

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