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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Planned Move?

Rod Blagojevich has done what has to be considered an amazing job of moving the heat off of himself for a while, and directing it to Senate Democrats, by appointing Roland Burris to fill Barack Obama's empty seat in DC.

Harry Reid and Company now have to figure out how to hold up their promise of not seating Illinois' appointee, while not looking like race baited fools. Good luck on that. Bobby Rush was at the conference to remind Harry & Co. that the only black Senator is now in the White House and there should be another of similar color to replace him.

Illinois, in the meanwhile, gets to look more foolish than it already did. The legislature was in a hurry to block Blagojevich's ability to appoint a replacement, until they figured out a special election was the only way to do it. Knowing that any GOP candidate other than Alan Keyes could probably win the seat, they decided against it, and went for the slow death by impeachment method. Only problem is that Blago is still governor, and decided; I'm sure on the advice of his attorney and others (next paragraph); to fill the seat and say "Screw You" to everyone telling him not to.

Caution, bitter cynicism to follow
I would like to think that President Elect Obama; and the rest of the Democratic establishment in DC; is surprised by this move. However, deep inside me, my gut says they knew it was coming, and may have had a round about hand in it.

Everyone knows Blagojevich is done sooner or later. However, by allowing him time to make the appointment, though legislative inaction in Illinois, they can toss all the grenades his way. It also makes sense in that Burris will be the incumbent in two years, and incumbents usually get to keep their jobs, it's how the system is rigged works.

Reid & Company can make their indignant remarks about being ignored by Blagojevich, and in the end, on a close vote, Burris gets seated. Remarks will be made, as they were yesterday, about him being a good man, and not a bag man for Rod, and everyone will get back to the business of indictments and impeachment here, while the Democrats keep the Senate seat.

America, welcome to Chicago Politics on a national scale. Remember, you voted for it.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

I thought He'd Be Older

So, I told Santa what I want for Christmas. I always thought he'd be a little bit older. But I guess since he caters to kids, being young is an advantage.
For those who haven't figured it out, it's my Grandson John, or JR as he's know around here.
Grandchildren make you do silly things, like buy Christmas gifts that make noise and need batteries, even when the kid lives with you. I used to get a kick out of buying them for nieces and nephews, when I didn't have to hear them. Now I'm subjecting myself to that kind of noise.
I'm becoming fluent in jibberish, and relearning the joys of crawling around the living room floor. His knees crack a lot less when we do that, though. That stuff was a lot easier 20 years ago than it is today.

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas, or if you celebrate something else, that it's happy.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow-maggedon '08

The white death is coming, I'm stocked up on Toilet paper, milk and cigarettes, so I'll be fine. The snow blower is gassed and ready to go. Now if the snow would only get here. We've been having wall to wall news coverage of a storm, that much like that Aunt everyone has, is running hours late. The original prediction had the snow starting a 3pm, now it's close to 10, and it still hasn't started.

Right now the estimate for my area is a foot, give or take a few inches, not that it matters at that point. There is a cool part of this impending disaster, really. The National Weather Service is predicting "Thunder Snow", a winter thunderstorm producing 2 inches of wet, heavy snow per hour. That part is cool. The clean up afterwards isn't. If you've never seen lightning and hear thunder is a snow storm, it's completely different than during rain.

Well, if I don't write for a few days you can figure I'm either busy as hell with work, as I have been the last few weeks, or I had a heart attack trying to get snow blower to deal with this storm.

Hey, FEMA, if you are reading this, I need a 16hp dual stage in my yard before this starts! Better yet, a Polaris 4 wheel ATV with a plow.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Democrat

George Bush may as well just start calling himself a Democrat, as much as he's become in love with the idea of big government and government control of industry.

Senate Republicans, rightfully, blocked the band-aid "rescue" package for Detroit's automakers, and now Bush has decided to look for a way to use the $700 billion bank bailout package to skirt the Senate and help them anyway.

I predicited a few weeks ago that congress would come up with a package just unpalettable enough to get it filibustered so the formerly Big 3 could file bankruptcy. It looks like that is what happened, but GWB doesn't want to see it happen.

I can see his point, to an extent. At the beginning of what looks to be a long recession, having the automakers become wards of the court may deepen the economic downturn. On the other hand, spending billions to prop them up until the time is more appropriate for failure doesn't make fiscal sense when we've already increased the deficit more in 3 months than Bush 41 did in 4 years! Remember back in the 80's when we screamed about Reagan coming up with a $500 billion dollars of deficit spending in his second term. Hell, we've done better than that this quarter!

A month ago the CEO's of the Big 3 begged for $25 billion as enough to get them through. A few weeks later, they said they underestimated, and needed $34 billion. Economists who testified before Congress said that $80-120 Billion was probably a more realistic figure. So Congress of course tossed all those numbers out, and came up with $14 billion as a patch for the hole in the side of the Titanic.

It appears the final outcome will be Chapter 11 for GM and Chrysler; the question is how long do we keep them above water before it happens, and who's the next industry to get bailed out?

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My Lovely Governor

Okay, so the wonderful Governor of Illinois was arrested today. This makes our last two that the feds have gone after. Blagojevich came into office while George Ryan was getting ready to go up the river for his licenses for bribes deals; claiming to be the reformer Illinois needed. It's obvious now the only reform was that he went after much more money than Ryan ever thought about.

Here's the affidavit that lead to the arrest; evidently the talk of selling a Senate seat to the highest bidder caused the feds to move faster than they wanted to. It's scary to think how much more they could have gotten on tape had they not wanted to stop the sale of that seat.

Many Obama supporters are up in arms because folks are supposedly trying to tie Obama to this scandal. While the federal prosecutor; Patrick Fitzgerald of Scooter Libby fame; said Obama doesn't seem to be directly tied to the scandal. I'd direct folks to page 56-62 of the affidavit, which describes in detail conversations with "Advisor A" and "Advisor B" in Washington about what the President Elect could do for both Blagojevich and his wife right after the election.

There's even a description, from the advisors on how Blagojevich could name an SEIU friendly person to the Senate seat, in exchange for SEIU getting him a seat on the board of Change for Win, one of their 529 groups, and the President Elect getting his wife a job on a corporate board.

So while the President Elect may not have been "directly" involved in the pay for play with his former Senate seat, it's obvious his advisors were. It will be interesting to see who on the transition team has "personal matters" to attend to in the next week or so and has to leave the team. You can bet that Advisor's A&B won't be around Obama when their names go public.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Keep Your Friends Close, But...

The warrior saying is keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Watching Barack Obama pick his cabinet, I think he's kept that in mind.

Call me a cynic if you must, but I think that part of the Obama strategy in picking his cabinet is to discredit the Clinton Era, since that's when most of their careers took off. I know where Obama is from, and how politics is played in his neighborhood. When you can't get rid of thorn in your side in Chicago's political world you bring that thorn TO your side. Then, as soon as the time is right, you find a reason to toss it, normally with enough innuendo to destroy the person.

When you look at his economic team, it's nearly all made up of Clinton leftovers. Most have some pretty decent credentials, and no less than "the most evil man on earth" Karl Rove has called the selections excellent. That alone should make those folks wonder what's next.

Simply put, we are in a 24 hours news world. People don't want to hear that we've been in a recession for a year, they want to know why it didn't end yesterday. When it doesn't end by June, Mr. Obama; who last week claimed it would be his vision those Clintonites would be working towards; will start letting on that his economic team has let him down, hasn't shared his vision, and led us astray. And he'll start firing them.

His foriegn policy team, though is where he really gets to make a killing. Keeping Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense has to be driving the netroots nuts. But is truly a good move. And when Gates starts disagreeing with ideas on Iraq and Afghanistan, he's easy to cut loose as a left over from the last administration.

Hillary Clinton though, is the big prize, and not nearly as smart as many thought she was. Secretary of State sounds like a dream job for her, but it will be her nightmare, you can quote me on that one. Her acceptance of this job will be the end of her political career. Unlike her husband she's not a "comeback kid". And when she's dropped like a hot potato, for what ever the reason, she's done. Once she resigns her Senate seat it won't be coming back soon. Her own party will get to fill it, so challenging for it won't be an easy option. Moving "down" to the House won't really be an option either.

Hillary is really the only person in the party with enough horsepower to challenge Obama should his term prove to be troublesome, or worse, Jimmy Carter like. But if he's got her strung up in the State Department, she can't really do much to challenge him. Better, if he comes up with a reason that she "screwed up the State Department" then he discredits her, and can get rid of her and any potential challenges.

Her better option would have been to respectfully decline the offer, behind closed doors and quietly, and pushed for John Kerry who also wanted the post. Then, from the Senate she could have pushed against agenda items she had problems with; cherry picked to be the most damaging to Obama; and in four years if things didn't look good for him, challenge, showing by her Senate actions how she'd have done things differently.

Those in the "rose colored glasses" crew will say that Obama has artfully picked a team with experience to help the inexperienced. And that is true; but they are also a group that he can just as easily say didn't alway share his vision, and are easier to get rid of.

There are some pretty safe folks he's named. Eric Holder, though he has baggage will probably stick around as AG for quite some time. While his involvement in some of Bill Clinton's pardons will come under scrutiny at his confirmation hearings, his body of work since the Reagan administration will get him confirmed.

Bill Richardson at Commerce will have no problems. Disregarding the fact that he was probably the most qualified of all the Democrats in the primaries, he doesn't pose a threat to Obama. In fact, his pick to be at Commerce and not State is strange, he's much more qualified for Hillary's upcoming job than she is. That's part of the reason I think she might be short for the post.

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