Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Politicos’ heads filled with way too many cockamamie ideas for own good

Birthright citizen revocation as legitimate …
Learning of President Donald Trump’s desire to repeal the concept of birthright citizenship for certain kinds of people he thinks are undeserving is a completely stupid idea.

It’s something that goes so contrary to the concepts of the U.S. Constitution whose ideals the president is supposed to be upholding (remember that oath of office?). If anything, the fact that Trump could conceive of such an idea is merely the ultimate evidence that he’s unfit to hold elective office.
… as 3rd presidential term for Obama

BUT IT IS far from the only absurd idea I have heard when it comes to people who think they’re having intelligent discussion about our government operations.

Just the other night, I happened to be a part of a dinner-type conversation with people who came up with an idea for picking the next president. One that I’m sharing solely because I know the very concept will grossly offend the sensibilities of those individuals who think Trump has a good idea with regards to birthright citizenship.

These people would like to see one-time Vice President Joe Biden (who is in Illinois Wednesday for a pair of appearances on behalf of congressional candidates whose election would undermine the president’s political strength) run for president with Obama as a running-mate, then resign upon victory!
BIDEN: Scheming to be president-elect only?

I can already envision the veins bursting in the heads of all the people to whom Obama was everything that could ever be wrong with this country (because he wasn’t exactly like them). I also want to tell all of those people to relax – it can’t happen!

It took just a few minutes for me to look up the law to see that anybody ineligible to be elected president (as Obama is because he’s already maxed out at two, four-year terms) is also ineligible to ascend to the presidency.

BASICALLY, I SUPPOSE Obama could be elected V-P (although I can’t envision why he’d want to be), but he would then be skipped over. The House Speaker would become next in line of succession to be president.
BOLSONARO: Trump's new political idol?

In short, it’s political gibberish. Pure nonsense. Just like the ideas that Trump is now putting out there about birthright citizenship, which is the concept that anybody actually born in within the boundaries of the United States or its territories is a U.S. citizen – regardless of what circumstances brought them here or their parents’ life stories.

Of course, in the mindsets of followers of this Age of Trump we’re now in, it’s the legal loophole that allows a batch of filthy Mexicans to sneak into this country, give birth to kids and have those children be able to claim U.S. citizenship and all its benefits – both for themselves and, by extension, for their parents.

That’s an overly-complex conspiracy theory if you think about it. You probably have way too much free time on your hands if you believe there’s any significant truth to it.

BESIDES, THE IDEA of birthright citizenship has its backing in the U.S. Constitution. Which means Trump could theoretically sign off on an amendment if he could go through the years-long process of getting Congress, then a majority of state legislatures to back it.
Not just the law, would Michelle allow it?

He certainly can’t merely draft an executive order, sign it, then have it be so. Unless he’s envious of Jair Bolsonero, the newly-elected president of Brazil – whom many think is a right-wing tyrant who will take his country in a dangerous direction. The same one that, I suspect, Trump would like to do with the U.S.A.

There are those who think Trump’s real motivation is to stir up a debate in coming days so as to motivate his ideologically-inclined voters to turn out on Election Day, and that the idea could go on the back-burner come Nov. 7.

But even if that’s true, it is scary to think people in positions of power could be vacuous-enough to believe something so absurd is possible. In short, the 2020 election cycle can’t come soon enough!


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

One more week, and then the electoral agony is over (at least ‘til Feb. 26)

We’re one week away from Election Day, which means I’m sure those people determined to support the re-election dreams of Bruce Rauner for governor are doing the countdown big-time.

RAUNER: Counting down the final days
Just seven more days of their guy being smacked about from all sides, and it’s all over. Whether he pulls off a significant come-from-behind victory or becomes just a one-term governor, it will be over and done with for him.

BUT SERIOUSLY, THE blows to Rauner in these past few days make me think seriously that he’s doing the countdown himself.

Consider that Rauner made a point of visiting Murphysboro, Ill., on Saturday to be at the airport when President Donald Trump made his appearance there to tout the congressional campaigns of Mike Bost and all the other Republicans from Illinois whom Trump would like to be retained so as to keep GOP control of the House of Representatives.

Much was made of the fact that Trump went out of his way to give personal plugs to many political types, but somehow fell silent on the topic of Rauner. Did the president even realize the governor was there? Or was it a deliberate snub?

Of course, it could have been worse. Considering how snide and snotty Trump is capable of being when it comes to people he wants to be petty toward, it could have ended with Rauner having to take presidential pot-shots! That would have made Rauner a national joke at the same time that national news was already preoccupied with the Pittsburgh crackpot who brought his firearms to the synagogue and the Florida crackpot living out of his Trump-decorated van who was mailing explosive packages to Dem politicos across the country.

TRUMP: A snub? Or an oversight?
BUT RAUNER MANAGED to enter the final week of campaigning during this election cycle with enough embarrassment from that event. After all, he tried doing his “everyman” act wearing his leather vest that he thinks makes him look like a biker-type kind of guy.

He even wore a sweatshirt of the ABATE of Illinois organization – the group that most prominently argues against laws requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets because they think it’s their right to have the wind blowing through their hair (and to risk having their skulls crushed from an accident’s impact).

But ABATE is upset with an executive order that Rauner signed off on last week. They went so far as to say they’re taking back their endorsement.

PRITZKER: Will he screw up in final week?
Considering that ABATE gets involved politically in support of social-issue conservatives, their support would have helped Rauner respond to those ideologues who are convinced Rauner is a closet liberal who, deep-down, supports all kinds of other people in our society whom they’d like to cram back into the closet.

THE ISSUE IN question that ticks off ABATE? Autonomous vehicles.

As in those motor vehicles that do not require a human being to drive them, and theoretically are capable of operating themselves.

Rauner’s executive order eases restrictions that would allow such vehicles to operate on Illinois roads, even though there are those people who say that many more safeguards are required before we should even think of letting such cars and trucks loose amongst the human population.

Because, after all, we have enough poor drivers on the roads. Although other would argue that it’s usually the people who cause problems, and that driver-less vehicles theoretically are safer.

ONE THING TO keep in mind is that, as an executive order, in can easily be repealed by future governors (the same way that Trump has gone out of his way to repeal just about everything held over from the Barack Obama presidential administration).

Could a repeal of this act be one of J.B. Pritzker’s first gubernatorial actions – if he manages to prevail come Nov. 6? Or will J.B. have many other symbolic ways of starting off a gubernatorial administration to show just how different he is from Rauner?
Saturday was far from first time  Rauner did the 'biker' routine. Photo by State of Illinois
One more week of this nonsense, then Rauner and his backers can rest.

While the rest of us move on to next year’s municipal elections, where we’ll see if all those mayoral candidates manage to knock each other around to the point where Chicagoans decide to give themselves a third incarnation of “Mayor Daley.”


Monday, October 29, 2018

Trump motives: fighting antisemitism? Or won’t be shown up by Joe Biden!

President Donald Trump wound up proceeding with his scheduled campaign stop Saturday on behalf of Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., even though it had been contemplated to cancel the event at the Southern Illinois Airport in Murphysboro out of respect for the incident that morning where people were killed while attending Shabbat services at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
TRUMP: Answering back before attacked?

Trump, the tough-talker who’s particularly vehement when communicating via Twitter, said he ventured to the land of Little Egypt (how the locals think of themselves) because, “we can’t let evil change our life and change our schedule.”

NOW THERE MAY be an element of truth that Trump wouldn’t want to cancel out on his appearance meant to bolster the re-election bid of Bost just because some bigot decided to bust into a synagogue armed with a rifle and pistols and start shooting the place up.

Some 11 were killed, others were wounded, and it is being called one of the bloodiest attacks on Jewish people in this country. Even Trump is calling it an “antisemitic attack at its worst.”

But I can’t help but think of more crass motivations in play for why Trump felt a flight on Air Force One to a remote part of Illinois was so important to make.

It will be just a few days before none-other-than Joe Biden, the former Vice President under the chief executive whose memory Trump would love to erase from the history books, will take place.
BOST: Beneficiary of Trump goodwill?

FOR BOST IS the guy being challenged by St. Clair County Brendan Kelly, who is the Democrat seeking to knock Bost from the House of Representatives, and one of some two-dozen Republican members of Congress whom Democrats think might be vulnerable on Election Day.

Personally, I’m inclined to think that Southern Illinois has changed significantly since the days when it was a working-class region (with many union member coal miners living there). Bost (whose moment of national prominence came back six years ago when he shouted, screamed and threw documents around during a session of the Illinois House of Representatives) may well be safe politically – particularly since that region is the lone part of Illinois where Trump is taken seriously.
HULTGREN: Will he get Trump help?

I have no doubt that Trump on Saturday was in a place where he felt much political love. Reinforcing his belief that he really does represent what this country is about.

Exactly the kind of sentiment that could be threatened if the perception got out there that Trump somehow got scared off, intimidated of sorts, into not showing up in Illinois.

JUST THINK OF how much trash talk Biden could spew come Wednesday when he appears on behalf of Kelly at a union hall in East St. Louis.

Which will come a few hours after Biden appears in suburban St. Charles to campaign for Lauren Underwood, who’s the nurse with political aspirations challenging Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., for his congressional seat.

He’s probably more vulnerable than is Bost, but you can be sure Biden will go out of his way on Halloween to bash both congress members by tying them as closely as possible in every possible way to Trump.
BIDEN: Dumping on Trump come Wednesday?

I don’t doubt Trump would not like the notion of Biden appearing in Illinois twice while Donald himself would not at all. It would probably seem to him like he’s surrendering to the former Vice President. And I suspect an unanswered taunt is the biggest evidence of political cowardice that exists in Trump’s mentality.

SO I SEE a touch of self-righteousness in Trump, feeling the need to answer back Saturday in anticipation of the Illinois-oriented insults he’s likely to get on Tuesday.

He may actually feel a touch of sympathy for Jewish people, although I suspect that’s largely because daughter Ivanka likely would read him the riot act in private if he didn’t (she did convert her religious faith when she married Jared Kushner).
If anything, I wonder if he’ll try to squeeze in a last-minute campaign stop this week in Kane County to benefit Hultgren. Anything is possible, I suppose.

One can talk about high-minded ideals as much as they want. But when it comes to political people, there’s usually a selfish motive behind anything they say or do – particularly when it comes to “the Donald.”


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Mendoza picking the person she’d allow to replace her as comptroller

I happened to be watching the “Chicago Tonight” program (one of the few local news shows worth watching, by the way) this week, when Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza used political-speak to make it known she’d like to be Chicago mayor.

MENDOZA: Picking her post?
The one-time state representative, city clerk and state comptroller has been talked up as a mayoral candidate in the 2019 election cycle – even though she’s on the ballot for the Nov. 6 election for re-election to her state government post.

REPUBLICAN PARTISANS, LARGELY because they don’t have any legitimate objections to her, are trying to make an issue of her political future. They think Mendoza needs to state declaratively now and forever what her intentions are.

They’re trying to make people think it’s an outrage if Mendoza gets elected comptroller, then gives up the post in May IF she were to become elected mayor. Even though this kind of back-door dealing often occurs, and among candidates of both major political parties.

It is why I actually can accept Mendoza’s explanation every time she’s asked by someone who hopes to be the one who puts her “on the record” as to her political intentions.

Her answer usually is something along the lines of she’s focused on running for re-election, with her future to be decided some time in the future. It’s true enough, insofar as it goes.

Preckwinkle could fight with Mendoza … 
BUT THIS WEEK in speaking with the PBS affiliate, Mendoza said she’d be Illinois comptroller so long as Bruce Rauner is governor. Because she sees her filling of that political spot as a watchdog to the governor’s ideological desires.

With her as comptroller, she can impose a check – of sorts – on Rauner and all of his anti-organized labor desires.

Should Rauner manage to be dumped from office in the Nov. 6 elections and leave the governor’s mansion come January, she’d then feel free to contemplate leaving the post that she has held for just over two years to consider running for another office.

… for mayoral votes, as could Chico
Such as mayor, where she’d have some serious competition but also the support of activist types who’d love to see a Latina on the ballot or a younger woman – if noth both.

FOR IT IS those activist-types who are circulating the nominating petitions meant to show support for a Mendoza candidacy. Thereby allowing Mendoza to accurately say she’s not pushing herself for the mayoral post.

Of course, if she truly were opposed to having people talk her up as mayor, she’d have done something along the lines of Jesus Garcia, the Cook County Board member likely to win a seat in Congress next month. When those same activists tried circulating “Chuy for alcalde” petitions, Garcia made it clear he doesn’t want to run for mayor.

They then took up the cause of a Mendoza mayoral bid, and it seems the notion of returning to City Hall appeals to her ego. She could very well start actively campaigning for mayor the moment next month’s Election Day is over.

Admittedly, she’d have some heavy hitters to run against, such as William Daley, Toni Preckwinkle and Gery Chico (the latter of whom would likely be challenging her for the Latino segment of the Chicago electorate).

BUT IN THE same way that the mayoral dreams of Amara Enyia are being backed by people interested in a black woman, but who think Preckwinkle (at 71) is an old lady, there also likely are those who think Chico (at 62) ought to think of retiring and leave the job to the 46-year-old Mendoza.

Could they all clear the way for Daley
Of course, all this kind of political “logic” could be what causes the candidates to knock each other out and clear the path for a “Daley III” mayoral  term for William.

But with the Rauner campaign appearing to run these days on desperation and fantasy, perhaps Mendoza thinks it’s getting safe to hint she’d like to be mayor. If J.B. Pritzker could be the one who replaces her as state comptroller until a special election could be held in 2020, she wouldn’t be abandoning her post.

Mendoza is sitting pretty. She could take a crack at becoming “Latina Jane” (an allusion to Byrne, Chicago’s first female mayor). And if, by chance, she were to run for mayor and fall short, she’d have her comptroller’s to fall back on through 2022.


Friday, October 26, 2018

EXTRA: A double-victory day for Chicago, and a White Sox winner!

It has been 13 years since Chicago baseball fans got their first World Series victory of the 21st Century. In fact, Oct. 26, 2005 was literally the date that the White Sox got the third and fourth victories of that series, which ensured them a spot in history books as 2005 champions.
Remember Geoff Blum, the late-season acquisition from the Houston Astros who literally got only one at-bat the entire series -- and he used it to hit that 14th inning home run that put the White Sox in the lead of Game 3. Which at 5-hours, 41-minutes remains the longest World Series game ever played, and also means the game on Oct. 25 spilled over into the early hours of the following day.
WHICH IS WHY the two teams were back in action that very same night for Game 4, which was a "nail-biter" that ended 1-0, but also could have been another extra-inning affair if not for the sharp defensive play by shortstop Juan Uribe (who also later played in the World Series for the San Francisco Giants and the New York Mets) to end the game and stop a tying run from scoring for the Houston Astros.
Blum, of course, left the White Sox after that season and eventually found himself playing again for the Astros -- for whom he now works as a radio broadcaster. Hence, when I stumbled across this video snippet, I couldn't help but include it. A 2009 game-winning hit by Blum against the Cubs.

Which in this age of chaos and calamity always makes the world seem right. At least to those of us spiritually from the Sout' Side of Chicago. There also are those of us who will remember the celebratory parade that came 13 years ago this Sunday.
Enjoy these memories, as we watch the current World Series and see if Alex Cora, the Red Sox manager who is the younger brother of one-time White Sox bench coach Joey Cora, can pull off a similar four-game sweep for Boston with wins over the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday and Saturday.


Political thugs trying to scare people from voting for Democrats come Nov. 6

It shouldn’t be surprising that the bulk of political candidates for whom I’ve cast ballots for throughout the years have been Democrats – I’m urban in orientation and the modern-day Republican Party is largely a collection of rural types who are openly hostile to my existence.
A sentiment many of us should follow this year on Election Day
But I have to admit that in this year’s election cycle, I’m feeling extra-compelled to vote for Dem politicos – even if they don’t exactly bring to mind fond memories of JFK or FDR.

I MAY WELL go down the line and pick out a straight-ballot ticket. Even though Illinois a couple of decades ago did away with the option of allowing for a straight party-line vote with a single punch. An action, by the way, that was a product of the two-year mid-1990s time period when Republicans had full control of the mechanisms of Illinois government.

Yes, I can appreciate the flaws of the eight years we had of Barack Obama (he wasn’t tough enough in dealing with Republican ideologues who smacked him around all over the place, even though GOP partisans want to believe he was somehow running roughshod over everybody’s rights).
High-minded ideals … 

I’m not an apologist for Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter – the two other Democrats to serve as president in my lifetime. As for LBJ, I was just a newborn back when he was the boss whose record of supporting civil rights reforms offended conservative ideologues, and U.S. involvement in Vietnam managed to offend everybody else.

But I find the bullying nature of President Donald Trump to be so offensive that I feel the need to take whatever ballot action I can to try to undermine it. And realize fully that it will take a great majority of similar-minded voters to do so in order to create a balancing presence within the federal government.
… and actions of the past, or … 

NOT EVEN JUST a slim majority (remember the 3 million-plus more voters Hillary Clinton had in ’16, yet still lost?). It will take many people expressing their outrage at the ballot box.

Because we really need to make a statement come Election Day that a real majority of our society finds this Age of Trump to be downright appalling.

It feeds into the ideologue mentality, which is that everybody who isn’t like them ought to just “Shut the f*** up!!!” and do what we’re told by their like-minded souls.
… more present-day thuggery?

That certainly is how I’m perceiving the actions of recent days during which dangerous packages were sent to former presidents Clinton and Obama, one-time Vice President Joe Biden and even actor Robert DiNiro – who has had the nerve (as they want to perceive it) to express his own opposition.

THERE EVEN WAS an incident Thursday where the Statehouse in Springfield was on “lockdown” status – and a powdery substance in a baggie was found in a public restroom. Maybe some crackpot who thinks he can hit the halls where Democrats led by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, do their work?

It seems to be that the thugs of our society are crawling out of the woodwork to try to terrify people into “voting the ‘right’ way” come Election Day.

And many of those individuals are the ones who get all riled up every time Trump feels compelled to talk up more trash. More “fake news” rants. In fact, I won’t be the least bit surprised if someone feels compelled to respond to this commentary with a ridiculous rant or two.

It actually has me wondering what would happen if the 2020 election cycle were to end with a Trump defeat in the Electoral College – would Trump try to concoct a scheme by which he refuses to leave the White House, and his supporters would mentally justify a coup d’etat on the grounds that we “need” The Donald to complete the chaos he has wrought in recent years.

IT WOULD CERTAINLY be in character with the kind of people who think the recent day’s actions are in any way justifiable.

It even fits in with the concepts being espoused by a new television spot funded by a Ricketts family-funded political committee (Todd is, after all, a Republican National Committee finance chairman); one that says “voting for any Democrat” will cause all kinds of chaos within our society.
Even though many would argue that all it would really do is bring to an end the chaos that has been wrought during these Trump Years.

But when you’re an ideologue inclined to believe everybody not like yourself is evil, then perhaps you’re willing to talk such trash. Which is something we all ought to be opposing in coming days as Step One in making our nation truly great again.


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Just short of a century, long-time So. Chgo ice cream parlor meets its maker

I know many of you are capable of telling me where the best ice cream can be found. It’s probably some place where you can find assorted flavors and toppings and where you can watch as they hand-make your sundae or whatever other treat you desire.
The old Gayety theater (and neighboring ice cream parlor) died in 1982, and its suburban descendants ceased to exist this week
You’re probably prepared to fight to the death in insisting that your place is the absolute best, and I haven’t truly lived until I’ve tried it.

WELL, I’M HERE to tell you that you don’t know beans! No matter what perks your place has, the truly best ice cream parlor is one that is no more.

I’m referring to Gayety’s Chocolates & Ice Cream – a shop dating back to 1920 along Commercial Avenue in the South Chicago neighborhood and that existed at that location until the early 1980s; when a fire destroyed the building.

The family of the man who originally founded the business rebuilt – although they used the destruction as an opportunity to move from the old neighborhood to a suburban base where many of their customers had moved to.

Hence, there were generations of people making a trip to suburban Lansing to get their ice cream fix. In recent years, the Gayety’s “empire” extended to another location in northwest Indiana (Schererville, to be exact).
29 cents for a quart of ice cream

BUT ALL THAT is now history! The shops haven’t been open for a couple of weeks, and vaguely-worded signs alluded to the idea of the shops being closed for remodeling.

Then on Tuesday, the store did what many other people of the 21st Century do when they want to spread the word – they turned to Facebook to say, “after 98 great years, we have officially closed.”

Perhaps it’s just evidence that nothing lasts forever. Every business entity will eventually come to an end. Even the place that did the best banana-flavored ice cream (a personal favorite of mine) ever made.

Which also was a favorite of my mother’s. For what it’s worth, I made the trip back to Gayety’s just before her death and was able to pick her up a half-gallon, which I recall was a treat she particularly enjoyed.
Keep your Frango mints, I'll take Gayety's candies. Photos by Gregory Tejeda
GAYETY’S WAS A neighborhood thing. Facebook is filling up with comments (more than 1,400 statements and 2,800 shares as of Wednesday morning) from people with old ties to South Chicago reminiscing how much they enjoyed the made-in-the-shop ice cream.

And the chocolates. Because for some people, the boxes of Gayety’s candy was an even-bigger deal than the ice cream. Those of us with a South Chicago connection (my parents were raised there and I was born there) think those people who rave about Marshall Fields and Frango mints don’t know what they’ve truly missed.

I know my father and uncles grew up on Gayety’s. Even I had my exposure to those old South Chicago days in that a childhood trip to grandma’s house could usually include a trip to the Gayety’s parlor on Commercial. I hate to say my brother and I only wanted to visit grandma for the ice cream, but you know kids can be so superficial.

Now for some, Gayety’s has been dead for decades. A 1982 fire destroyed the building and its neighboring movie theater, and the remains were torn down to clear the way for yet another McDonald’s franchise. Which I personally think looks so ridiculously out-of-place at the site whenever I have reason to travel through South Chicago.

AS FAR AS the suburban locations, they didn’t quite have the character of the old place. But then again, nothing remains the same as our childhoods. And the ice cream quality still was better than anything you’d find elsewhere.

I actually pity the child who grows up thinking a Dairy Queen is something special, or anybody willing to pay for the highly-priced candied concoctions of a Coldstone (my nephew briefly worked in one of those places last summer). A trip to Gayety’s was a chance to reminisce about what once was.

But now, I can’t even go to Lansing for an occasional taste of my childhood past. The thought does feel like a loss, and having to settle for consuming Ben & Jerry’s “Chunky Monkey” just won’t be the same.
At least we still have Hienie's
That, and also settle for boasting about the best chicken in Chicago coming from Hienie’s, a one-time South Chicago place now located in the South Deering neighborhood (with a second location in suburban Orland Park). Just one taste with a jolt of “hot” sauce and you’ll realize just how inferior a poultry product Kentucky Fried truly produces.


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

EXTRA: To listen to malcontents, everybody in line for a butt whuppin’

There’s something I’ve learned from some three decades of watching the electoral process – some people take themselves far too seriously, have nothing but trash to utter and are convinced that the upcoming Election Day is the one in which the opposition will get trashed beyond redemption.
William Kelly seeking aid of Honest Abe; or is he still busy rolling over from the thought of Rod Blagojevich. Photo provided by William Kelly
This election cycle is no different.

TAKE THE “PRAIRIE State Wire,” an ideologue web site that is reporting how the Communist Party USA is coordinating its efforts to undermine everything good and all-American by offering up support to 24 Democrats in order to ensure the Republican Party loses control of the House of Representatives.

Supposedly, one of the 24 is Sean Casten, the Democratic nominee challenging Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill. Gov. Bruce Rauner has been smacking Casten about with rhetoric claiming he’s nothing more than a Michael Madigan lackey.

Now, we’re supposed to believe he’s a “Commie” (or at least a sympathizer). Perhaps as part of a “Make America Great Again” initiative, we’re supposed to pretend it’s the 1950s and the Red Scare is on.

Personally, every person I’ve ever met who seriously was a Communist was literally someone so inept at politics that they’d be incapable of coordinating any effort that would help them win a thing.

Is it really a Communist plot to take down … 
AND MOST OF them were so uninterested in anything establishment, I can’t see any kind of serious effort that would be worth noting.

This is just more of the nonsense-talk coming from people who are struggling to organize themselves into a winning coalition. Perhaps its just time for the 57-year-old Roskam of Wheaton, following 12 years in Congress and 16 years in the Illinois General Assembly, to start thinking of a new line of work.

His nearly three-decades of time in public service could be complete.

Then, there’s William Kelly, who is leader of the Chicago Republican Party largely because the GOP in the Second City is virtually non-existent.

… to take down Peter Roskam?
KELLY SAYS HE is backing Sam McCann for Illinois governor. As in he’s backing the Republican legislator from Southern Illinois who has created his own political party (the Conservative Party) so that McCann can run for governor.

He’s definitely NOT backing incumbent Bruce Rauner for re-election. Among the reasons Kelly gives for not wanting Bruce? It’s because (in part) Rauner supported Rahm Emanuel for Chicago mayor the last election when Kelly had his own political fantasies of being Chicago’s first GOP mayor since William Hale Thompson of the late 1920s.

I do have to admit one thing – the photograph Kelly provides of himself at Abraham Lincoln’s tomb, pledging to “rebuild the Illinois GOP – free of Raunerites” is just so over-the-top!
LINCOLN: Wishing he could be a Whig again?

Although it does make me wonder how appalled Lincoln himself would be to learn that his name and image were being used by such political rubes. Maybe just enough that he’d want to give second thought to a partisan switch himself, or wondering why he ever abandoned the Whig Party in the first place?


Illinois F***ed? So admits Rauner!

This may well become the election cycle of the candidate who openly admitted what a mess Illinois government has become.

Of course, there also are those who will say the reason Illinois has become so f***ed up is because of Bruce Rauner himself.

SO YES, I find it sort of amusing to learn of the governor’s latest re-election campaign ad – the one called “Unholy Union” that portrays a clergyman presiding over the “wedding” of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and his “bride,” J.B. Pritzker.

With said clergyman ending the service by proclaiming “Illinois f***ed” (with the beep blipping out the use of the obscenity). Implying that a vote for J.B. instead of Bruce come Nov. 6 will be to support a political union that will unleash all kinds of bad things upon the people of the Land of Lincoln.

Kind of odd in the use of gay marriage imagery, since there are those ideologues amongst our state who want to believe Rauner himself has been too lax in fighting against certain moralistic issues such as gay marriage.

But I’m sure Rauner is gambling that many ideologues will view the idea of two men being married, hear the names of “Madigan” and “Pritzker” and will become so grossed out that they will automatically vote “no” to notion of J.B. as governor.

AS FOR THOSE people who will become offended with Rauner for mocking a gay marriage image? He probably figures those people weren’t going to vote for him no how. No real loss there!

Let’s be honest; things did become significantly worse in Illinois during the Age of Rauner – largely because he came in with a solidly anti-union agenda. He wanted to play hardball against organized labor to try to reduce the influence of unions within Illinois government.

That is why we had nothing accomplished for those first two years of Rauner’s time in office, and why most political people have put the concept of dumping Bruce Rauner from office as their priority in this year’s election cycle.
If Madigan were truly the hard-core obstructionist that Rauner has consistently tried to portray him as being, we’d likely have countless horror stories from the many other GOP-oriented governors the House speaker has had to work with. Which we don’t.

SO YES, ILLINOIS is “F***ed.” We heard it from Bruce himself.

Perhaps a step in the right direction to fixing that is to dump Rauner and put people in charge who are interested in operating government – instead of trying to score political points for themselves at the expense of the unions and behaving as though everyone who disagrees with their ideology IS the problem.

Of course, all this “Dump Madigan” rhetoric isn’t new. It was the basis of gubernatorial campaigns in 2010 and 2014. Rauner is merely upping the ante of the campaign tactics that he thinks were successful when he first ran for election. He thinks he won, so it must have worked. Ignoring that he has been a Republican serving as governor, having to deal with a whole batch of Democrats in other political posts.

In fact, one theme I oft have heard from Republican partisans this election cycle is that we need to have Rauner in office to hold in check the actions that other officials might try to do.

ONE COULD ARGUE just as strong that we needed all those Democrats in place to hold in check Rauner’s own ideological leanings – which actually were very clear and open when he first ran for office. He’s anti-union. Everything else (including all those social issues the ideologues get so worked up over) is of lesser importance.

All this anti-Madigan rhetoric is spread throughout the campaigning; from the television spots proclaiming Madigan and congressional candidate Sean Casten to be “two sides of the same coin” to Republican attorney general candidate Erika Harold proclaiming, “I’ll never take orders from Mike Madigan.”
Seriously, what’s she going to do if she wins, then finds her office as the defense attorney for the Illinois House speaker? As much as some want to think of the Illinois AG as a super-prosecutor, she’s actually more likely to find herself defending Illinois when things get screwed up.

Unless she’s also more interested in playing partisan politics, rather than governing for the people. A concept that, to be honest, is “F***ed” up.


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Is it worth it to cast one’s ballot in advance of Election Day? I’d say so

I’m going to be headed to an early voting center some time this week to cast my ballot in advance of the Nov. 6 general election, yet I realize there are some people who do not approve.
Imagery dated, but sentiment the same

And not just because they realize I’m highly unlikely to support the re-election bid of Bruce Rauner – or anybody whose campaign is predicated on the notion of wanting to strengthen the political hand of Donald Trump during the next two years.

THERE ARE THOSE who believe we honestly need to wait until the absolute last minute to learn every single bit of information they can about the candidates before deigning to cast a ballot for anybody.

They actually see merit in the last-minute disclosures in the final weeks, sometimes even days, of the campaign. Usually nasty and spiteful in nature, they want to know these bits of dirt that can sway people to vote against someone.

They’d argue I might wind up voting for someone for whom a scuzzy bit of detail exists. As though there’s anything legitimate about these tidbits of trivial detail.

You may have figured out by now that I don’t think much of these “October Surprise” tactics – which mostly are meant to discourage people who are contemplating support for a particular candidate.

IN SHORT, I’M convinced that anybody who’s seriously holding out detail until the final days of the election cycle is more interested in playing partisan political games rather than disclosing information that truly has any significance.

And I say that regardless of which political party is waiting until the final minute before disclosing their gossipy tidbit. Because I truly admit all political parties are capable of such nonsense tactics.

Seriously, we in Illinois had our primary elections back in March. We’ve had seven months to study the candidates and figure out what they stand for – and who they’d be supportive of if they were to get elected.
Just as much nonsense rhetoric as there was a century or so ago
Which, in all honestly, is what most of us base our ballot actions upon. Most of us are nowhere near as high-minded idealistic as we’d like to claim to be.

TAKE THE RECENT lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court against the J.B. Pritzker campaign, claiming mistreatment of its campaign workers who happened to be of racial or ethnic backgrounds (a.k.a., non-white).

The idea of J.B., the Democrat, being a closet bigot was supposed to be what took him down to defeat despite the huge leads he had in the polls.. Yet there has been such skepticism over the lawsuit’s merits that the people behind the legal action felt forced to have a press conference Monday, trotting out the disgruntled campaign workers, to try to sway the public.

Excuse me for thinking that any accusations that come out in future days will be of even less legitimacy than this lawsuit. Anybody who seriously is waiting to learn something significant is waiting for nothing.

As in they might as well go ahead and cast that ballot of theirs now. Because ultimately, every ballot we cast is a gamble. Everybody is going to have candidates with whom we placed too much faith in, and other instances where it turns out that the opposition candidate was probably deserving of our vote.
Anything more to know about either … 

BESIDES, WHAT HAPPENS if we wind up learning something on Nov. 7, or 10 or perhaps in December? Do we start demanding a “do over,” with the option of changing our vote to the person whom we wished we had voted for? Just as there's no crying in baseball, there's no do-overs in elections!

I really don’t think there would be anything gained by holding out until Nov. 6 before casting my ballot. If anything, this is an election cycle where I wish I could have cast a ballot some two months ago so it would be over and done with by now.
… of these candidates that's relevant?

So I’m likely to show up at a polling place this week to cast my vote – because I can time my vote to when the lines to wait are miniscule and because I’m a firm believer that people who don’t vote have no riht to complain about government actions.

Anybody who really knows me knows full well I’m a malcontent who insists on complaining about everyone and anything I encounter in life. If anything, such active thought is how we truly “make America great again,” not by holding out ‘til the last minute for any trivia that in the long run may turn out to be totally irrelevant to public policy.


Monday, October 22, 2018

Will 2018 be a “might’a been” version of a World Series for Chicago?

It’s one of the quirks of professional baseball these days that its championship event has so many rounds of playoffs and interest declines as teams get knocked out of play.
One-time White Sox ace now Game 1 starter

Which is why there were many people who were delirious this weekend when the Los Angeles Dodgers managed to prevail as National League championships over the Milwaukee Brewers. Having media market No. 2 (as in L.A.) works much better than media market 35 (the land of Laverne and Shirley).

SO WE’RE GOING to get to see a Boston Red Sox/Los Angeles Dodgers World Series – which some are trying to spin as a replay of 1916. Even though the Dodgers themselves were Brooklyn’s ballclub back then.

But I can’t help but perceive this year’s World Series (played one century after that series that used to be Boston’s last victory ever, when they beat the Chicago Cubs) in Chicago terms.

In which it’s the “What might’s been” World Series. We in Chicago can watch the event and speculate what might have happened for our city’s ballclubs – if only certain factors had played out different.

The obvious Chicago connection to this year’s World Series is in the form of the Red Sox’ ace pitcher – Chris Sale. Who actually is set to be the starting game pitcher for Game One, to be played Tuesday night.

WHO ALSO ACTUALLY was once Chicago White Sox property – from 2010 until the trade that sent him off to Boston prior to the 2017 season. The one that got the White Sox several minor league prospects – including Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech; whom some still say could develop into stars who could make the deal seem quite balanced.

Others who will only view Moncada’s mediocre hitting this season and the injury sustained by Kopech that will cause him to miss the entirety of the 2019 season are ready to write off the deal as a rip-off for the White Sox, and wish they could have Sale back in Chicago.
Cubs ace now Dodgers coach

They’re bound to be the ones watching the World Series this year, trying to fantasize how good life could have been in Chicago IF ONLY Sale were still wearing the black-colored hose of the White Sox. Ignoring the fact that Sale most likely would be the malcontent (I haven’t forgotten his jersey-ripping incident) ace pitcher of a third place ballclub.

But some fans are bound to want to find ways to be miserable. Which at times may be the real truth characterizing what Chicago sports fans are all about.

BUT IF CHICAGO fans will be following Sale and the Red Sox, I also don’t doubt that the Dodgers will stir up some interested. Particularly in the form of the team’s bullpen coach – the guy whose job is to make sure relief pitchers are properly warmed up and NOT being distracted by the blonde in the too-tight halter top sitting in the stands.

For the Dodgers’ coach this season was Mark Prior. Remember him?

Prior is the guy whom Cubs fans were convinced was going to be one of their all-time great pitchers, and whose teams of the decade of the Aughts (the 2000s) had the pitching pair of Prior and Kerry Wood. Whom Cubs fans back then were delusional enough to think were the elite of the National League.
One-time White Sox player and coach will see … 

Even though neither one wound up living up to their baseball potential.

PRIOR WAS SUPPOSED to be that elite pitcher who would lead the Cubs to a mid-2000s World Series victory (it didn’t happen). He’s the guy whom injuries would up cutting his playing career short.

But after leaving the Cubs, he filled several roles in the San Diego Padres organization, then this year was offered a coaching job with the Dodgers. Which put him in a position where he’s FINALLY with a team appearing in the World Series.
… if his younger brother can win World Series

As is Sale. One of them is going to get that World Series “ring” that supposedly is what a real ballplayer strives to get his entire athletic career – and that is supposedly the crowning achievement missing from Chicago players such as Luke Appling or Ernie Banks.

Of course, the other potential local angle is in the form of Red Sox manager Alex Cora, whom some are emphasizing is the first Puerto Rico native to manage a championship ballclub. He’s the brother of Joey Cora – who was the Chicago White Sox’ bench coach under manager Ozzie Guillen when the latter became the first Latin America-born (Venezuela) to win a World Series.