Monday, January 4, 2010

Posturing galore on Wednesday

I’m dreading Wednesday.

That is going to be a day for all the gasbags to come crawling out of the woodwork and express their “outrage” over the great injustices that will be committed that day.

WHAT MAKES IT worse is that there isn’t even just one issue that will cause the rhetorical pontification that will spout up that day. Politics and sports – take your pick. There are going to be ticked off people.

Wednesday is the day that an Illinois government commission will meet both in Chicago and at the Statehouse in Springpatch to discuss the “fate” of the Thomson Correctional Center. That also will be the day that the Baseball Hall of Fame will inform us which ballplayers – if any – wind up gaining admission this year.

The big, fat balls of gas will come out on both issues, and we’re going to hear so much pompous rhetoric – particularly if onetime Montreal Expo Andre Dawson (who played a few years with the Chicago Cubs) doesn’t get it, while the other side of town will give us some people seriously outraged at the concept that former Chicago White Sox outfielder Harold Baines never gains more respect from Hall of Fame voters.

The scary thing is that their rhetoric will be just as intense as the cheap talk coming from the political people at the Thompson Center and at the Statehouse.

FOR IT WILL be on Wednesday that the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability will use modern technology to meet without gathering in the same room to express their thoughts about the fact that the federal government wants to purchase the unused maximum-security state prison from Illinois government – so as to provide a place to locate some of the people alleged to have committed acts of terrorism against the United States who now are being held at a U.S. Navy base in Cuba.

State officials even go so far to say that they may reach a decision on what to do with this issue when they meet on Wednesday.


I will be the first to concede this is a serious issue. It is legitimate. It ought not to be ridiculed by anyone.

BUT THE IDEA that anything that will happen on /Wednesday will resolve this issue is a laughable concept. For the bottom line is that this is a federal issue. It is going to be the Congress and the president who ultimately settle this score.

All that is going to happen on Wednesday is that a lot of state officials, some of whom have Election /Day interests at stake come Feb. 2, will make pompous statements meant to make themselves look firm and authoritative to the people of their home districts who foolishly elected them once and likely will send them back to Springfield to continue to do “the people’s business.”

The state at some point will have to take some sort of vote approving the sale of the prison that was meant to be opened in the early 2000s as a way of giving the state a modern maximum-security facility – but never was properly opened because the state’s financial problems made it impossible for them to afford to operate it.

In short, Thomson was the fancy new house that we never could afford, and now someone is willing to take it off our hands at something resembling a fair price.

BUT WE’RE GOING to hear the politicking from Republican officials who will parrott the partisan rhetoric of their federal government counterparts – bringing inmates from Guantanamo Bay to Thomson somehow makes us Illinoisans (and Chicagoans in particular) a target for terrorist plots.

Ignoring the fact that the city’s size and amenities already do that, Wednesday will be another case for political people to manage to say something stupid, all in the name of trying to get themselves re-elected. I wish I didn’t have to hear it.

But we’re going to have to listen to more of this trash talk at our local level, on top of the identical arguments that are made at the federal level. At least there, there is legitimate procedures that need to take place. There are Republicans who can hold up the actual purchase of the prison if they are that determined to try to make President Barack Obama look bad.

Of course, all they will really do is make themselves look inane. But that has never stopped political people before. I’d like to think that I could somehow escape the political trash talk by simply looking elsewhere.

BUT THEN, I’M going to encounter all those Baseball Hall of Fame types who already are polluting the Internet with their tyrades. Bert Blyleven in the Hall of Fame? I hardly think so, although here in Chicago we’re going to get our focus of people either feeling self-righteous indignation that Dawson had to wait nearly a decade before being accepted, or more disgust if he (probably rightfully so) gets overlooked again.

When combined with the complaints about Baines (who despite his quality statistics is now paying for being such a quiet, mild-mannered personality when he was an active ballplayer), it is going to be hard for me to figure out whether the sporting-type or the political-type people are being more ridiculous.

Chicago sports fans might have to settle for cheering the election of Roberto Alomar, the one-time star second baseman who played some non-descript ball with the White Sox toward the end of his career.

In short, Wednesday might turn out to be one of those days I lock myself away in my apartment and hide under the covers while the kooks complain. Somebody wake me up when its Thursday.


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