Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Do Beatty & Dunaway now deserve a fate worse than Bonnie and Clyde?

A part of me wonders if I'm fit to comment on the Academy Awards fiasco, on account of the fact I didn't actually see any of the films involved. Then again, not having first-hand information has never stopped anyone else from spewing an opinion.
This is what happens when you relive history

So here's mine!

I CAN'T HELP but be amused at how what was supposed to be a truly touching moment of this year's ceremony wound up becoming one of the historic gaffes. Actors Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway made the announcement of the "Best Picture" winner exactly 50 years after they were the stars of "Bonnie and Clyde," which won Best Picture for 1967.

I know, I know. That's really not historic, unless you're the type of person who has no real sense of what history is.

The real-life Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker who went through a southwestern U.S. crime spree for a few months at the height of the Great Depression of the 1930s was historic. Seeing Beatty and Dunaway continue to try to live off the reputation of a job they had five decades ago is almost pathetic.

Then, to top it off, it seems that the couple couldn't read a card properly. They informed us that this year's "Best Picture" was the film "La La Land," only to have to cut off that director's film in mid-acceptance speech so we can be told the real winner was "Moonlight."

NOW I KNOW the official explanation was that someone handed Beatty the wrong "envelope" which contained the card saying that Emma Stone won "Best Actress" for her "La La Land" performance -- which led to Beatty stumbling about and Dunaway actually telling us that the film many people thought would take a whole slew of awards actually won the big prize!
The real winner

Which led to the moment when a PriceWaterhouseCooper accountant got his moment of glory when he got to step forward publicly and bring the Academy Awards to a halt with the word that the announcement was wrong. Accountants of the world probably cheered in unison, while the rest of us wondered "Who's this schlub?!?"

What makes me laugh about the way this was handled so publicly in a manner that will embarrass many on the Hollywood scene is that there are those who are convinced of past year conspiracies that say a different film or actor actually won a prize, but that some sort of gaffe caused a public announcement of a different winner -- and the academy was too ashamed to admit it.

I know for a fact there are those people who are convinced Marisa Tomei didn't really deserve that "Best Supporting Actress" award she took for her obnoxiously sensual role as the girlfriend in "My Cousin Vinnie."
Should we rescind this Oscar as punishment?

THERE ARE WEBSITES that traffic in this sort of conspiracy who will insist a wrong envelope was grabbed, or a card was misread, and that there is an actress out there who should have won -- but was robbed!

Not that I expect any of this to put past speculation to rest. Those of us who can't get over certain things usually never do. We carry a grudge to the bitter end of our time in this realm of existence.

Now as for Beatty and Dunaway, I wonder what happens to them -- particularly Beatty, whom it seems is the one that people want to place blame on. After all, you can't hit a girl, particularly one as lovely as Faye herself.

Maybe we can come up with a conspiracy saying that Beatty's Oscar as "Best Director" for "Reds" (he has been nominated 14 times) should somehow be taken back? Although I doubt there are many people who want for "Chariots of Fire" (which took Best Picture that year) to win another award. Could we give it retroactively to Steven Spielberg for "Raiders of the Lost Ark," even though "Reds" really was a spectacular film?

OR MAYBE WE could subject the Beatty/Dunaway pairing to a fate similar to what became of their Bonnie and Clyde characters in the film? Nah, having them blown away in a hail of gunfire would be grotesque -- even if that moment was a historic one in the tales of cinematic action.
Can we now concede Marisa Tomei really won?

The outcome of all of this most likely was that Sunday night's Academy Awards became the Warren Beatty show. It was definitely the only way he'd have a significant role -- since his own film from last year, "Rules Don't Apply," certainly wasn't in the running for any Oscars.

Of course, there were those people who were convinced that the memorable moment of the evening would be some Hollywood snot-nosed punk who'd take it on him/or herself to publicly take a pot-shot at President Donald Trump.

It seems, instead, the focus was placed elsewhere for an evening and nobody cared the least what Trump thought. Which, considering the size of the overbloated presidential ego, probably bothers Donald J. more than anything else; making it more likely he'll go all-the-more over-the-top Tuesday when he delivers his first joint address to Congress.

  -30-

Monday, February 27, 2017

EXTRA: They ALL want our money!

Come March 23, the Republicans will be in Chicago hitting us up big time for campaign cash to cover the costs of their future partisan initiatives.
RYAN: Putting together Trump resistance fund?

Which might seem like those people have a lot of nerve, asking us to tap into our wallets when all we ever hear from the federal government in this Age of Trump is how much of a hell-hole Chicago is and hints of how much we need to be taken over by the G-men (with military assistance) in order to bring us back to the ranks of civilized people.

NOT THAT PRESIDENT Donald J. Trump is ever going to actually do anything, because then he'd become responsible for the problems our city faces and eligible to receive the blame for their failures. If there's one absolute truth, is that it's NEVER Trump's fault! Always somebody else's.

But back to the fund-raiser, which actually is being held by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who plans to split the proceeds between his own fund, his Prosperity Action political action committee, and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

According to Crain's Chicago Business which reported about the upcoming event on Monday, it will cost at least $1,000 per person for the right to set foot in the door of whichever hotel they wind up using to host the event (it's still a GOP secret). To gain the real political access, donations of up to $50,000 apiece are preferred -- although those who wish to give even more will gladly find their money accepted.

I suspect the purpose of this event is to ensure that the Republicans in Congress have money to pay for their own actions -- particularly if it turns out that they become hostile to the interests of the president and have to resist him.

COULD THIS EVENT wind up being billed as a chance to donate to an "anti-Trump" group -- which might be the only way to get significant numbers of Chicagoans to even think of giving up their money?

It will be interesting to see just how many people feel compelled to give to the Republicans these days. Although there always is the old tradition of business-oriented folks who give a bit of money to both sides of a political fight -- so as to be able to claim favors to be called in, regardless of who winds up winning.
PEREZ: Wants cash to begin political fight

On a smaller scale, I also couldn't help but be amused by an e-mail I received informing me that Monday was the first day on the job for Tom Perez as Democratic National Committee head. And wouldn't it be nice to kick in some cash because, "he's going to want to know where we stand."

The Dems are hoping they will be able to claim some 60,000 donations made during the month of February. It won't produce anywhere near the kind of cash (they're asking for donations as little as $3 per person) the GOP will get from their upcoming evening in Chicago, but I'm sure the new party boss would like to think there's some support for his upcoming efforts to resist the Tyrannosaurus Rex that is the Trump presidency.

  -30-

Statehouse 'civil war' to occur this spring on immigration disputes?

It seems the Trump-ites and the sensible people of our society are going to be doing battle this spring at the Statehouse in Springfield. As if we don't have enough nonsense pervading our capitol building, we will get to add the disputes of those factions of our society to the mix.
Statehouse Scene could get gloomier with immigration thrown into mix
As if that wasn't enough, it's going to be over immigration. An issue that always has the potential to add to the insanity of society whenever it comes up.

CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS officials recently informed principals they ought to respond to the presence of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on their campuses by demanding to see a warrant. Officials with the school board for Oak Park-River Forest High School are in the process of creating a similar policy -- actually writing it into their school code to give it more lasting authority.

Which is what led state Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, to introduce a bill before the Illinois General Assembly that would address the issue by giving school districts, hospitals and churches the authority to designate themselves sanctuary zones.

Such a policy would require local law enforcement to show they have a warrant before they can try entering those places' properties.

Some people are getting outraged at the very thought. Although if you want to know the truth, those people are the ones who are scary and suggesting something that we ought to think of as un-American.

THE POINT OF a warrant is to show that police are arriving on the scene for a specific purpose, and not just to harass or go on a fishing expedition -- of sorts -- in hopes of getting lucky and finding something that might lead to an immigration-related bust.

It also says that a judge has given at least cursory review to the evidence that would lead to an arrest, and that there is some reason to believe the allegations are legitimate.

I don't see what is wrong with requiring a warrant -- unless you're the type who believes we ought to live in a police state. Which makes you the ones of a terrifying mentality.
TRUMP: Talk gets people riled up!

Although I know we do have such people in our society who are convinced they are behaving in our best interests. Such is the motivation of people like state Rep. Allen Skillicorn, R-East Dundee, who has his own bill pending that is meant to counter the Welch measure.

HIS BILL WOULD say that local law enforcement entities can negotiate agreements to cooperate with federal Immigration authorities. Under the concept of "sanctuary" cities, such as Chicago and Cook County, the local police are not supposed to concern themselves with any information concerning immigration policy.

The theory being that federal authorities who actually understand immigration policy should do their own work!

We have dueling bills -- one pro- and the other anti-, although it could be argued that what is for and against on this issue depends on where one stands on immigration policy -- and how long it has been since their own families (in my case, it was the grandparents' generation) were directly affected by the immigrant condition.

We even had dueling protests on Saturday; with the State Journal-Register reporting on the two protests that took place just outside of the Statehouse during the noon hour.

THE GROUP TAKING up the concerns of the police and the nativist element of our society gathered by the statue of Abraham Lincoln to try to claim some of his moral authority, while those protesters looking to protect the interests of immigrants who otherwise would face harassment gathered by the statue of Martin Luther King, Jr.
RAUNER: How will he dodge this issue?

Which strikes me as odd, because I know historically Lincoln was among those people who as a member of Congress opposed the war with Mexico that ultimately resulted in the U.S. land grab of California, Texas and other states we crafted out of Mexico. While I also know King's children have expressed support for those who want to close off this country to some of the newcomers.

We can dismiss the Saturday sentiments as being those of people who had nothing better to do with their weekend, I suppose. But the fact is that this immigration hatred that is being stirred up so much by the presidential administration currently in power is going to keep cropping up on our own political front.

Which could wind up being a major source of headache for Gov. Bruce Rauner -- seeing that he has desperately tried to avoid taking a position on any of the nativist nonsense that Trump has been spewing. It will be interesting to see how he tries to dodge this issue when it comes up on his own doorstep.

  -30-

Saturday, February 25, 2017

EXTRA: Who uninvited whom?

I see where President Donald J. Trump says he won't show up this spring at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner, a traditional event in which the presidential press corps winds up interacting for the evening with the president himself, and other top politicos.
Could Alec Baldwin fill in for Trump at correspondents' dinner
The event has taken place for nearly a century. Yet celebrity has added a tinge in the past decade or two -- entertainers like to show that they're also a part of the political scene and use the event to be seen in D.C.

NOT THIS YEAR, though. Trump says he's not going. But many people have said they were likely to skip out because they didn't want to be seen with the Trumpster.

Which is why I really wonder if this is a case of Trump publicly saying he's not showing up -- before anyone could publicly make it known that his presence at the event wasn't particularly desired.

For what it's worth, money raised by the annual event does go toward a college scholarship fund, which is always the noble rhetoric spewed by participants as to why they feel compelled to show up and suck up to each other.

As for those people who go out of their way to deride the event and lambast it as the "nerd prom," I'd have to say they always come across as pathetic losers themselves. Perhaps they're just jealous they weren't able to warrant an invitation for themselves?

IT WILL BE interesting to see if the event continues to take place even without a president present (the last time a president didn't show up was the year that Ronald Reagan couldn't be there because he was still recovering from gunshot wounds).

It might be all the more better if it becomes something where the segment of society that couldn't bring itself to back Trump (the 54 percent) celebrates its opposition. I'm sure it would massively irritate Trump if an impersonator (perhaps actor Alec Baldwin?) fill in for him.

Considering how much of a publicity hound Trump is at heart, I suspect that if the party takes place without him, he'll wind up feeling neglected and ultimately wishing he had been present!

  -30-

Trump makes it just so difficult for anyone of sense to sympathize w/ him

It was just a day ago that long-time WLS-TV sportscaster Mark Giangreco got himself in trouble for using a Twitter account to take pot shots at the president.
 
GIANGRECO: Reconsider his fate?

But in the sense that stuff all too quickly becomes ancient history in the modern-day news cycle, we see that Giangreco’s real offense may be that he was way too mild in dealing with Donald J. Trump.

BECAUSE ONLY THE hard-core idiotic ideologues are going to be ranting and raging about that snotty Chicago sportscaster whose offense, when you come right down to it, is that he agreed with someone else that Trump is – to put it mildly – not a decent public official.

For Trump is the one who on Friday had a spectacle made of himself when his spokesman, Sean Spicer (a.k.a., Melissa McCarthy, in drag) made a point of deliberately excluding specific newsgathering organizations from his daily press briefly.

The only point of which, by the way, is to make the day’s official pronouncements for the benefit of news media organizations!

As it turns out, the Chicago Tribune’s White House correspondent (who also does duties for the Los Angeles Times and the other newspapers that are a part of Tronc, Inc.) was among those given the boot.

WHO’S TO SAY why? There probably isn’t a real reason why, other than they were there. Or maybe Trump thinks he’s snubbing Barack Obama’s hometown newspaper? It’s all a batch of nonsense.

But one day after the ABC-owned station in Chicago suspends their sports guy without pay because he was too harsh about Trump, the president goes and does things that make him seem even more petty and pathetic than we’d ever imagined.

Now perhaps I should make one point clear. Maybe there’s a chance that Spicer took his Friday actions (which limited White House news access to organizations like the Washington Times that want to view the Trump presidency as something heroic) without Trump’s advance knowledge or approval.
 
TRUMP: Too easy to take pot shots at!

Although if that turns out to be true, he ought to be canned for putting his boss in an embarrassing predicament.

BECAUSE THERE’S NO way this controversy of selectively picking and choosing news orgs based on which ones are willing to plant their lips on your bottom does anything other than make the boss look petty and childish.

It makes me wonder if Giangreco is now somehow owed an apology for the negative actions taken against him on Thursday? Or at least to be put back on the payroll and allowed to work again!

For the record, Giangreco agreed with a Toronto Star reporter who used a Twitter account to call Trump, “a hateful, corrupt, ignorant simpleton.” To which Giangreco used his own account to say, “so obvious, so disturbing. America exposed as a country full of simpletons who allowed this cartoon lunatic to be elected.”

Which, by some standards, is a fairly mild thing to write. Anybody who scours the Internet knows full well that much nastier, and cruder, comments are written every day. Including about Trump himself. Truly effective leaders, both in business and government, are the types of people who can rise above it all.

YOU’D THINK HE’D be a “big boy” and capable of handling this – what with him supposedly being the overly successful international business executive. But it seems he’s not.
How over-the-top could Melissa McCarthy (as Spicer) be this week?

Which is why he has his people hand-picking which reporter-types are permitted to hear the official pronouncements being spewed by the spokesman. Because that is the truth of the situation – the reporters excluded didn’t miss anything of substance.

Most news briefings, particularly those of the D.C. persuasion, as so loaded with gunk and partisan spin as to be functionally worthless for getting legitimate information. Any federal reporter worth anything is not relying on the briefing for stories.

Which may be the way in which Trump winds up putting his own boot up his behind – reporters excluded from the briefing will have time to pursue real information that may well wind up making the president look even more ridiculous and realize he should have just let the reporters into the briefing to begin with.

  -30-

Friday, February 24, 2017

Impeach Trump? It won’t be for any reason we, the people, approve of!

I almost find it amusing to see certain politically-motivated people getting themselves all worked up into a lather over the concept of bringing the presidency of Donald J. Trump to an end via impeachment.
 
Maybe it's true; Julia Roberts is putting on weight

Going the route that the conservative ideologues tried – and failed, I might add – to use on Bill Clinton. Giving him the unceremonious boot out of office that would have tainted him for life, similar to how some of our parents’ generation wanted to do with Richard M. Nixon and his assorted crimes and misdemeanors against the people.

IF ONLY HE hadn’t have quit first, then been pardoned.

But back to the modern day, where it seems so many of us are offended at the concept of Trump’s presidency that, after only one month in office, we’re willing to semi-seriously engage in talk about his forcible removal from office.

Heck, the City Council in Richmond, Va. – the mind of the Confederacy of old that Trump probably thinks of as his base – took it upon itself to pass a resolution calling for presidential impeachment.

It’s just a resolution. It has no binding legal authority. One can argue that nobody cares what Richmond thinks about this issue. But it does come across as somewhat scary that Trump could have p-o’ed some people so quickly.

IT MIGHT HAVE made sense if the Chicago City Council had passed such a resolution – what with all the ridiculous pot shots Trump has taken at the city in recent weeks. Although I suspect the more creative political minds of the Second City will come up with a more humiliating outcome for the Trump legacy.
Redeemable at a future Trump hearing?

Something that forevermore taints the Trump name and reputation. Which, for all the times he insists on using his name as part of the buildings he builds and projects he completes is something obviously of importance to him.

My thoughts about all of this were triggered by an e-mail message I received Thursday from the Committee for Hispanic Causes – BOLD PAC.

The Washington-based group is trying to raise money to support its efforts meant to make people seriously contemplate impeachment for Trump.
Really???

BUT AS THE e-mail itself said of their plan to raise $1 million by Wednesday night, “We begged. We pleaded. And we failed!”

Of course, the group also made sure to tell me their records showed I had contributed nothing to their effort. Which was the point of the message; to give me one last chance to redeem myself in their eyes and cough up some cash. Something I still have not done, and am not likely to do.

Because while I am as critical of the Trump presidency and the circumstances by which it came about as much as anybody else, I question the point of focusing on his removal.

Not just because I could see how the concept of a “President Michael R. Pence” would be worse because it would put the federal government firmly in the hands of the conservative ideologues who are desperate to impose their will upon all of our society.

I DON’T DOUBT that it is possible the Republican leadership of Congress could turn on Trump and decide they want to remove him. But if that were to happen, it would be for reasons that the bulk of society would not approve of. Most likely for not being conservative extremist enough to satisfy the alleged alt-right that voted in large-enough numbers to create the Electoral College quirk that put Donald into office.

If there is to be a Trump removal, it won’t be for any of the reasons that progressive-minded people would want him out! Which is why I think it is a waste to focus too much attention on the idea of “impeachment.” I’m braced mentally for the idea of being stuck with Trump for the full four years and think the proper alternative is to focus attention on coming up with a solid presidential challenger come the 2020 election cycle who can undo the damage being done now.

At least we’re not at the point in our society that we’re talking about staging a coup d’etat. Or, with all the negative attention Trump has focused on Mexico, giving Donald a fate similar to the 19th Century Emperor Maximillian – whom the French tried to impose on the Mexican people over their duly-elected President Benito Juarez.
Does anyone envision Trump's fate producing "great" art?
For those who don’t know your history, Maximillian died at the hands of a firing squad. Which may have made for an intriguing series of paintings by Manet, but isn’t the kind of scene we need repeated for the 21st Century!

  -30-

Thursday, February 23, 2017

EXTRA: What warrants Obama brand for posterity (or maybe that long)?

Out in south suburban Markham is an elementary school named for Barack Obama, while a quickie search of the Internet uncovered schools in Dallas, Los Angeles and Milwaukee named for the nation’s 44th president.
 
OBAMA: Does he need a highway too?

Which intrigues me because our federal government’s current leadership seems determined to erase anything and everything that ever occurred during the Obama years. If they succeed, will students of the future attend schools named for someone who left nothing lasting behind?

WE’RE GOING TO spend the next few years, perhaps even decades, pondering the Obama legacy – between those who want to erect tributes to it in marble and whose who want to be the equivalent of the pidgeon that dumps its waste all over it.

So it will be interesting to see how things wind up this year with a pair of bills now pending in the Illinois General Assembly, being sponsored by legislators who want Obama to be something equivalent of John Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower, Adlai Stevenson II or Dan Ryan.

As anybody who drives around Chicago on a regular basis knows, those men all have major highways named after them. In fact, I’d bet most people only know the Ryan as a South Side highway and don’t have a clue who the former Cook County Board president really was!

We do seem to have a split.
 
STEVENSON: Can he share I-55 w/ Obama?

ONE BILL SAYS we ought to rename Interstate 294, also known as the Tri-State Tollway, for Obama. It would be a major road used heavily every day by traffic in the Chicago area, and some think it cute that it connects Illinois to Indiana and Wisconsin – all of which are states Obama took in the Electoral College in his 2008 presidential victory.

Of course, the smart alecks point out that the Tri-State is the road used by traffic to avoid having to enter the Chicago city limits.
 
RYAN: A highway, more than a man?

But there is another bill calling for the bulk of Interstate 55 in Illinois to be named for Obama. As things stand, the Chicago portion of that highway already is named for Adlai.

In fact, I suspect most Chicago motorists would get a confused look on their faces if you speak of I-55; but Stevenson Expressway will create a slew of stories of traffic congestion they have had to endure.
 
FORD: Name has new freeway fame

ALTHOUGH I SUSPECT this bill is politically loaded – there will be the rural Illinois residents who will object to having one of “their roads” being used for an Obama tribute. Yet you try to dump the name of Adlai E. from the Chicago portion of I-55, and that will create a bigger stink because people will have to learn a new name for telling people what road they were caught in traffic on during the morning rush hour.

These measures are going to create quite the political brawl; particularly since I already sense how offended the “loser” (as in the one whose idea gets rejected) will take it personally.

Will we get some people out there determined to hang on to numeric designations because they don’t want to acknowledge the Obama name – similar to how I’m aware of some people who insist on using the “Calumet Expressway” name for Ill. 394 because they don’t want to acknowledge the “Bishop Ford Freeway” and the Rev. L.H. Ford whose cultural significance as international head of the Church of God in Christ apparently didn’t extend into the non-black parts of the South Side.

It is a large part of why I personally hate seeing roads renamed for anybody. The amount of stupid-talk that gets created is never worth the tribute, and it also has the effect of reducing the memory of anyone to nothing more than a future traffic jam or deadly accident.
 
BYRNE: She saw humor in her interchange

IN FACT, ABOUT the only renaming I ever wound up liking was the one that turned the Circle Interchange (just southwest of downtown where all the expressways converge) into the Jane Byrne Interchange, in honor of the first femme to become Chicago mayor.

It’s not that I think the Byrne Interchange moniker has all that special a ring to it.

But Byrne herself was still alive when the change was made, and I’ve heard stories about how much amusement she’d gain whenever she heard radio reports about traffic congestions that inevitably would include the line, “Jane Byrne is backed up.”

  -30-

Feds need a warrant to get into public schools; what’s wrong with that idea?

When you think about it, it makes all the sense in the world. Although I can already envision the nativist element of our society ranting and raging about the unjustness of the Chicago Public Schools’ new policy.

I’m referring to the memorandum sent out this week to principals throughout the city school system, informing them that any agents of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency had better have proper arrest warrants on them if they decide to set foot on any school property.

IF THEY HAVE such warrants indicating they’re looking for a specific individual and also details exactly what it is they suspect that individual of, then no one is going to even remotely think of telling those agents to stop.

But if they think they can come onto school properties on a fishing expedition, of sorts, in hopes of finding evidence of people in violation of federal immigration laws, then it is only proper that such actions ought to be halted. Although it should be noted that officials say that immigration officials haven't actually tried showing up at schools. Not yet!

While I realize some people with a “law and order” mentality think police ought to be given great authority to scour amongst our society, the fact is that we expect law enforcement personnel to show some sort of cause before we allow them to legitimately restrict someone’s freedom.

That is the American Way, even though we now have the Trump mentality developing that thinks a more authoritarian way of doing things is somehow more appropriate.

TO BE SPECIFIC about this new policy, Chicago Public Schools chief education officer Janice Jackson wrote to principals to tell them they should forbid federal immigration officials from setting foot on school property unless they have that warrant.

Which would mean that a federal judge somewhere has given at least a cursory review to the circumstances and decided that there is a legitimate reason to be suspicious.

School officials also are making an effort to gather up more information about their students that would be needed in the event that a parent gets caught up in an immigration situation. The schools want to be informed about who is next in line to be responsible for a child if the parents suddenly “disappear.”

All of this is coming about because of fears that immigration, in this era of Trump, is going to step up its efforts and will be overbearing in its desire to remove people from our society whom some amongst us are determined to believe should never have been here to begin with.

I’VE NOTICED AMONGST my own Facebook friends those who live in neighborhoods with higher-than-average populations of non-Anglo residents warnings that “ICE agents” are out and about, on the lookout for people whom they want to believe are candidates for deportation.

People are feeling the need to be wary. The Obama era of wanting to think that such people have a place in our society and do make worthy contributions is most definitely over.

In fact, I wonder if amongst the Trump-ites, which Obama-era sentiment is a bigger priority to erase – serious immigration reform or health care reform.

It may be amongst the nativist element that foreigners, particularly if they habla en Español, are a bigger threat than having one’s tax dollars help to cover the cost of providing health insurance to all (or as many as possible).

IN LIGHT OF such attitudes spreading through our neighborhoods, it is reassuring that schools officials are showing a little bit of sense. And because they’re asking to see a warrant, it means legitimate law enforcement efforts won’t be thwarted.
Do ideologues hate health care or immigration more?

Just like the concept of “sanctuary cities” does NOT mean that people without valid Visas are capable of hiding out in Chicago, or any other place with that distinction.

It’s about requiring Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to do their own work, which makes sense because they’re the ones trained in the nuances of immigration policy. Local cops have enough to do without being required to add immigration tasks to their work load – even though the new Trump policies seem to want to make just such an addition.

Just as schools officials have enough responsibilities to deal with, without having to monitor their student bodies and try to figure out which ones have parents whose immigration status is questionable!

  -30-

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Is Trump truly determined to make peoples’ worst nightmares come true?

I remember back a few years ago when then-President Barack Obama imposed his executive order that offended nativist ideologues because it tried to impose some sense on our nation’s immigration policy.
TRUMP: Determined to be absurd?

It was the order that proclaimed young people could remain in this country without fear of deportation – even if their immigration status was less-than-solid. It required those young people to register themselves, which had some people fearful that a future administration would use all that information gathered to suddenly put together a list of people to have priority status for deportation.

AT THE RATE that now-President Donald J. Trump is acting, it would seem that’s exactly the direction he’s headed in. And as for those activists who liked to tag Obama with the “deporter-in-chief” label, it won’t be long before Trump will snatch that status up all for himself.

We have a president who made some of his earliest presidential actions measures that indicate there are certain people now in this country whom he thinks have no right to be here.

Personally, I’d argue there are some people now living in the United States whom this nation would probably be better off without. But I’m aware that the notion of deporting the entire populace of Mississippi and Alabama (and maybe Arkansas, too) is something that is ridiculous to contemplate.

Of course, the idea of a mass deportation of people of Mexican ethnic origins (which I’m sure many think will include everyone with ties to any Latin American nation) is even more ridiculous.

BUT IT DOES seem to be the goal of many of the 46 percent of the populace that voted for Trump to be president, and the reason they remain pleased with Trump is that he is engaging in the absurd rhetoric that would indicate their ridiculous fantasies have a chance of coming true.

These are the thoughts running through my mind upon learning Tuesday of the Homeland Security memos that threaten to expand the number of people who get forcibly removed from this nation.

It now will be an enforcement priority to consider for deportation anybody even suspected of a crime – even if the offending act is something as little as a traffic offense.
OBAMA: Longing for days of so-called deporter-in-chief

Many of the places that have declared themselves “sanctuary” cities or counties have done so because they want to try to put people at ease when they have encounters with the police. Trump would seem to want to use law enforcement as the equivalent of local government muscle to harass!

IT IS JUST a matter of time before we start having to endure the embarrassments of the past – history is filled with incidents of U.S.-born people of certain Spanish-tinged origins who got deported because someone didn’t care to make the distinction.

And yes, I think the Trump types are just clueless enough to repeat this mistake – which is about as far removed from making America “great” again as we could possibly get.

Because the latest memorandums include provisions that say people caught by the Border Patrol of the act of entering this country through the U.S./Mexico border can merely be thrown back into Mexico.

Even if they aren’t of Mexican citizenship! Which, believe it is not, does happen quite often.

BUT BECAUSE IN the minds of the xenophobes of our society, all those brown people must be Mexican, our officials think they can just do a dump. Even though it technically means we’re pushing people into Mexico with no legal status to be there.
BAYLESS: Restaurant closures warrant praise?

Would that make the United States responsible for creating a surplus of “illegal aliens” in Mexico? Would we be the cause of the problem?

I couldn’t help but notice the reports of recent days to the business response to last week’s “A Day without Immigrants” protests and boycotts of work – a lot of those small business owners seemed determined to show who the boss really is. Many people lost their crummy jobs as a result.

Which ought to make us show a bit of respect for those Chicago area entities that chose to respect the protest act and wound up closing down, which gave their workers the excuse to take the day off. It may turn out that we are lucky enough to live in a place where sanity and common sense prevails – which is something to keep in mind the next time Trump does a Chicago rant!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Ill. '18 gubernatorial dreamer pool starting to winnow itself down to size

Cheri Bustos, the member of Congress from the Illinois part of the Quad Cities, has let it be known she is not going to be a candidate for governor come next year’s election cycle.
 
BUSTOS: Out, w/o ever being in

An announcement, I’m sure, that elicited a whole lot of yawns from political geeks, particularly those from the Chicago area, who probably figured that a Bustos candidacy wouldn’t have had a chance of succeeding anyway.

THEN AGAIN, I’M figuring there are probably many people who live in the other third of Illinois (a.k.a., downstate) who are thinking it equally ridiculous that 47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar has delusions of someday being allowed to live in the Executive Mansion in Springfield.
PAWAR: Can he gain political traction?

Yet Pawar was the first person to declare himself an actual candidate – a status that Bustos never made it to. Even though there were some who figured that she had a chance to gain some votes just because she would have been the only significant candidate for governor from outside of the Chicago metro area.

Except that I think the kind of people who are inclined to want to vote in elections for someone from outside of Chicago are exactly the kind of people who will unite in 2018 behind Bruce Rauner’s re-election dreams.

Because his “Dump Madigan” strategy is really one that will only appeal to non-Chicago people. Those of us more urban voters will see the strategy for the nonsense that it is – because we know our local political officials aren’t nearly as united behind anybody, particularly the Illinois House speaker, as they want to believe.
Are we really destined for a Kennedy ...

IF IT TURNS out that Rauner dominates the rural Illinois vote, there might not be enough non-Chicago voters left for any other campaign to gain significant political support from.

The real significance of Bustos’ announcement that she prefers to run for another term in Congress is that the gubernatorial field is starting to shrink – even though we have just over a year before any votes are cast in that particular primary election.

Although it may still be a few months before the candidate field winnows down to where we can say who is actually running. And I still won’t be surprised if there’s at least one person who winds up running a serious campaign whose name hasn’t emerged yet.
... vs. Pritzker brawl to see who wins ...

I know some political observers are determined to view this upcoming election cycle as the Chris Kennedy vs. J.B. Pritzker primary. Although I’m pretty sure there are others of the Democratic persuasion who would wretch at the very thought.

THE IDEA OF the politically-top heavy family taking on the family with enough cash that they could afford to match the millions of his own money that Rauner says he will spend to try to get himself re-elected ALONG WITH a Legislature more to his liking than the incumbents.

They may think that a Democratic version of Rauner (ie., a rich guy) is the last thing the party needs, just like some Dems are going to forevermore be convinced that we’d be spared the thought of a “President Donald J. Trump” if only voters last year had dumped Hillary Clinton and gone with Bernie Sanders instead.

But then again, I wonder how many people aren’t going to be enthused about the notion of Illinois getting its very own Kennedy. The family has had members run for political posts in so many states, but our own local Kennedy tales focus on how Chicago supposedly “won” the 1960 presidential election for Chris’ “Uncle Jack.”

I don’t doubt that many voters will be desperately scouring all the other names in search of somebody, anybody, else whose candidacy they can latch onto in their desire to beat Bruce Rauner.
... the right to challenge Rauner come Nov. '18?

BECAUSE THEY FIGURE the absolute last thing Illinois needs is to have eight years without a budget. Yes, political people really are capable of being that stubborn, unless voters themselves take matters into their own hands at the ballot box.

I really do believe that Rauner is vulnerable because of the inability of state government to operate the way it’s supposed to. While some will be willing to blame Madigan, this is still an urban-leaning state politically.

But the inability to pick a credible candidate to challenge Rauner is most definitely why no one should write off his chances of getting “four more years” and giving us voters more partisan agonies to endure.

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Monday, February 20, 2017

EXTRA: Can the Cubs really have a rivalry w/ a ball club called the ‘Nats?’

We want to be the team knocking them out
Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals outfielder

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Harper shot off his mouth, can he back it up
I suspect that at the Mesa, Ariz.-based spring training camp of the Chicago Cubs, somebody has tagged the newspaper clipping  (or maybe a computer printout) on a bulletin board of the Chicago Sun-Times’ story about the upcoming season for the Washington Nationals.

For while Cubs fans want to believe that last year's World Series victory was merely the beginning of a dynastic era that will rival the 1990s stretch of success experienced by the Chicago Bulls and could also top anything the New York Yankees have ever done, it seems that other National League teams want to think of the Cubs as one-and-done.

THAT VIEW EXPRESSED above was that of Nationals’ star Bryce Harper, who says his ball club is determined to be the one of success in coming years. The Cubs’ championship string will have to come to an end at one – or so says Harper.

Now I don’t know if that’s true. If anything, the Nationals of recent years have had contending teams that kept falling short. But if they do manage to contend, it would make that Aug. 4-6 series at Wrigley Field (when the Nationals make their one-and-only appearance in Chicago this season) all the more interesting.
Some Cubs fans already see '16 as greater

I’m sure the Cubs’ boo-birds will be sure to remember that particular line and try to use it against Harper when he plays in those ballgames. Particularly if he winds up having a sub-par season in 2017; it will definitely become a taunt that he’ll never live down at Wrigley Field.

Although it could make him a fan favorite on the city’s South Side, where Chicago White Sox fans would love it if his taunt takes on a taint of truth. It’s just a shame for Harper the Nationals aren’t scheduled for an inter-league game against the Sox this season.

OF COURSE, PART of Harper’s trash-talk against the Cubbies could be in reaction to the reports that it was the Cubs that employed a strategy last year when playing the Nationals that may have caused Harper to start off the season with a slump.
Dusty victory in '17 would ruin his Chicago rep

Specifically, they intentionally walked him so many times that he set a record for the most times getting on base without registering an official at-bat. Which allegedly threw him off his game.

All I know is that Washington is managed these days by Dusty Baker, who may have led the San Francisco Giants to a World Series appearance, but fell short during his time with the Cubs. Remember 2003?

I’m sure if Baker finally achieves a World Series managerial victory with the Nationals, thereby giving Washington, D.C., its first such victory by any team since 1924 and it is perceived at coming at the Cubs’ expense, it will be all the more reason for Chicago Cubs fans to despise the Nats and Dusty Baker far more than we ever will care about anything Donald J. Trump says or does!

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¿Un enemigo? Methinks Trump needs to find himself a hobby for amusement

Much rhetoric has been spewed from all angles with regards to President Donald J. Trump’s need to go on a rant last week in which he labeled those people who work in the newsgathering business as “the enemy.”
TRUMP: Does majority listen?

Which amuses me, in a sense. Because it does not come as a shock to me to learn that certain political-type people are basically insecure enough in their own existence that they see great conspiracies at work by those who serve to keep the public informed as to what takes place in our society.

HECK, I HAVE been called worse. I know of a rant that exists somewhere on the Internet that labels me a subversive and suggests I have no business being in this country.

The person who wrote that did so after I wrote a commentary for a former employer pointing out his own crackpot nature. Besides, I later discovered that the website he used to publish his rant was also filled with rants lambasting several television news anchors and reporters – and in fact the entire Telemundo television network.

I felt in good company then, and I’m going to feel like I’m on the right side of things now by having the Trumpster tremble at the very thought of my news brethren. I can make people of his ilk tremble and quake in their pants just by pulling out my notepad and pen and taking down what they say.

Which is what really bothers the people who have such negative sentiments. The idea that they can’t control every thought they spew out into the world – although the truth is if they only put a little thought into what they said, there’d be no reason for them to be fearful.

JUST LIKE TRUMP’S most recent rant – the one about the terrorist attack in Sweden that apparently never happened. I suspect that what really happened is that Trump became aware of reports indicating an increase in the number of non-native people coming to Sweden.
They're not supposed to be presidential 'friends'
And if they’re foreigners, of course they have to be up to no good. So naturally, there has to be terrorism at its root.

At the very least, it could turn out that a Swedish bikini team (remember those ads for Old Milwaukee beer?) of the future wouldn’t be filled exclusively with blondes whom Trump could fantasize about grabbing by their most personal of body parts.

Oh, the horrors!

IF IT SEEMS like I mock the people who are most critical of my professional life, you’d be correct. It’s just too difficult to take them seriously.
The extent to which Trump likely comprehends Sweden

Besides, I find enough government officials who are secure enough in their personalities that they comprehend the nature of the give-and-take of dealing with a reporter-type person. I’ve also been encouraged by the sense of support I have read coming from many people who are offended at how paranoid our president appears to be.

There may be that poll of a few weeks ago that said some 90 percent of people who voted for Trump back in November were satisfied with his behavior. But I sense that the 54 percent who voted for Hillary Clinton or someone else because they absolutely did NOT want the concept of a “President Donald J. Trump” are emboldened even further.

Society as a whole has the right idea. Besides, I know personally that as a reporter-type person, I’ve never viewed my work as a potential source of material for making friends. Being able to tolerate each other is the best I often hope for in my professional dealings.
Obama relegated to lesser role with each passing day

SO DO I fear being labeled “the enemy” (or the “opposition party,” as Trump aide Steve Bannon put it a few weeks ago)? I do realize that Trump has shown signs of being unstable enough to try to go too far. But I also believe that sense will prevail in our society.

There have been too many times during the three decades I have covered news that government officials have surprised me by doing the right thing. Who knows, it may even turn out to be Trump himself who comes to his senses? Maybe, maybe not!

All I know is that I now find humorous that Columbia Journalism Review study of 2014 that found former President Barack Obama’s press relations to be terrible – he “gives long answers, leaving little time for other questions and rarely makes news.”

Somehow, I sense many now feel a longing for the good ol’ days of a month ago – and the Trump legacy could be that it makes many realize how much more sane and sensible the Days of Obama truly were!

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