Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Can Bob Abboud defeat Don Manzullo?

Barrington Hills Mayor Bob Abboud (right) announced Monday in Rockford that he'll seek the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo next year in the 16th Congressional District of Illinois.

Does Abboud have a chance in what's considered a fairly safe Republican district?

Well, according to somebody named Sean on the Swing State Project (I can't provide a direct link, because the post at issue is gone), a Democratic victory is not out of the question:

What a Democrat must do to win the district is not that hard. They must run at least even in the small counties along the Wisconsin border like Boone, Stephenson, and hold Manzullo to about 53% in Jo Daviess, 55% in Carroll, and to 58% in Ogle. As for the big population centers, they have to win big in Winnebago county(about 57%), and hold Manzullo to 56% in the district's portion of McHenry county.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Gonzo waves goodbye

The Rascal has learned -- well, actually it's an inescapable conclusion based on intensive study of all the factors involved -- that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will resign within the next 96 hours.

Remember where you heard it.

Gonzo's situation is simply untenable. His web of lies is too much of a tangle to straighten out. Virtually everybody recognizes this fact. Consequently, all but the most buttheaded of Republican right-wingers want him out.

The man is saddled with the distinction as the worst attorney general in American history. Nothing's going to change that.

He's gone by Friday night.

Bill O'Reilly is quite the scamp

I don't know for sure what was going on when this photo of Fox News Channel blowhard Bill O'Reilly was snapped, but I now have a pretty good idea.

I knew that O'Reilly was hit with a sexual harrassment suit a few years back, but I never knew the details. Well, thanks to a few links to TheSmokingGun.com provided today by Atrios, I've come across the full text of the initial complaint. It's a doozy.
(Start here and then follow the subsequent links at the bottom of each page.)

No matter how much you previously disliked this guy, you'll never think of him in the same way again.

What about the next 9/11?

Who will perpetrate it?

How will we react to it?

Could a U.S. victory in Iraq have prevented it?

Marty Kapan has some provocative thoughts on the matter.

Democrats moving too far to the left?

Yet again, we can count on Digby to cut through the crap peddled by the self-styled establishment pundits.

When have David Gergen or Cokie Roberts ever imparted anything resembling keen insights or political prescience?

Well, let's see. Uh.... (Cue the crickets.)

Weekly World News, R.I.P.

Only today did I catch the announcement made last week that the Weekly World News, the wonderfully wacky supermarket tabloid, is shutting down its print edition.

This is terrible. We could all do just fine if, say, the Wall Street Journal went away (which actually would be preferable to its impending purchase by Rupert Murdoch), but the loss of the Weekly World News is a tragedy from which society may never recover.

By the way, The New York Times has a nice piece today on WWN columnist Ed Anger, whose right-wing nuttiness pre-dates (but accurately evokes) the rantings of Rush Limbaugh, among others.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Newtie disses Gonzo

Gingrich says Bush's attorney general is "a liability for the United States of America."

See it here.

Iraq reconstruction going well -- NOT!

The damn liberals among us only want to talk about what's going wrong in Iraq, the lousy traitors. They never mention the successful reconstruction program in that country.

Well, yeah, maybe it's not as successful as it could be. And, yeah, the idea that oil money would cover the reconstruction costs hasn't panned out. Yeah, it's costing American taxpayers billions of dollars. But still...

Oh, all right, there are big problems with the program. Yes, yes, a report issued the other day even shows that some of the projects are crumbling and that the Iraqi government is too incompetent to deal with the situation on the whole.

Picky, picky!

All them Muslims are the same, ain't they?

Archie Bunkerism reigns supreme among Republican presidential candidates.

Steve Benen takes a look at the problem.

John Roberts and his activist Supreme Court

A new Washington Post-ABC poll shows that 56 percent of Americans disagree with the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling that sharply restricts the ability of local school boards to use race as a consideration when making school assignments to achieve diverse student bodies.

Even most whites didn't like the 5-4 decision, which broke along right-left lines among the court's nine members.

What I find peculiar about the matter is that we haven't heard a howl from the nation's conservatives about how the court, under Chief Justice John Roberts, is such an activist group.

For decades now, it's been a conspicuous sore point among right-wingers that courts too often overrule decisions made by elected bodies. Such "judicial activism," as it's called, is to be disdained, the conservatives argue.

But in this school case, Roberts and his rightist ilk on the court, none of whom were elected to their posts, substituted their judgement for that of the elected school boards in the cities of Seattle and Louisville. Isn't that the same sort of activism that's been so loudly disparaged by conservatives?

Just asking.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sparring with ill-humored rightists

I was idly poking about the blogosphere this afternoon when I happened upon a site operated by a few specimens who still think of the war in Iraq as a worthy adventure.

An especially imbecilic post caught my attention, which prompted me to add a comment, which, in turn, elicited a reply that included the word "Demoncrat," which is what passes for cleverness among such folks.

Here's the post at issue, replete with the snarky exchange at the bottom.

The Republican obsession with masculinity

Once again, the ever-reliable Digby has provided us cause to ponder the peculiar penchant among Republicans to worry about their political masculinity.

Digby's vehicles this time are Stephen J. Doucat's book "The Wimp Factor: Gender Gaps, Holy Wars, and the Politics of Anxious Masculinity," and the cover story in the latest edition of The New Republic, "The Masculine Mystique of Fred Thompson."

As we've noted here previously on several occasions -- this one, for example -- one can find among males of the americanus republicanus species an innate fear of the loss of masculinity. Consequently, these strange critters are given to pounding their chests and acting belligerent or presuming to protect the females among them -- even when no such protection is required -- just to make themselves feel superior.

Ah, yes, they're an interesting, almost amusing, breed. But their ranks are thinning because of the excesses of the males.

Saturday morning is time for cartoons, kids!

OK, gang! We're going over to Uncle Bob Geiger's place to see what kind of political cartoons he's gathered this week.

Friday, July 27, 2007

These people are just plain wrong

As I said here yesterday, efforts to mount an advertising boycott of Fox News Channel are illiberal and potentially destructive of free and open expression of controversial political opinions on commercial radio and television.

A broader view of the matter is available here.

UPDATE: Lowe's has caved.

5...4...3...2...1...Blast off!

If the American system of law is to remain legitimate and worthy of respect, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should be removed from office -- and perhaps prosecuted for high crimes.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Some liberals can be rather illiberal

I raised this issue a few months ago, and it's time to raise it again in light of this.

The folks at Daily Kos and certain other liberal blogs are trying to bring pressure on national and local businesses that buy ad time on the Fox News Channel or on cable companies that carry Fox. And their efforts are wrong.

Let me clear about this. I hate Fox News as much as the next guy. Its blatant bias and its Orwellian claims to fairness and balance are appalling. But I think there's something terribly illiberal in organizing an advertising boycott against any news outlet or purveyor of political opinions.

If the threat of boycotts makes advertisers wary of being even remotely associated with controversial political opinions expressed on radio or television, the networks and local stations, in turn, will offer us only pablum.

If you choose not to buy a car from a dealer who runs ads during local cable breaks on the channel that carries Fox, that's your business. But it's wrong, I think, for anyone to mount a broad campaign or otherwise put pressure on that car dealer.

You'd think my so-called liberal friends would understand this. Some, I'm sad to say, don't.

"Hey, save me a hit on that bong!"

He looks kind of stoned, doesn't he?

Gosh! Who'da believed it? It turns out that Fred Thompson, Hollywood darling of the Republican Party and former trial lawyer, has a record of arguing against the government's authority to regulate drug paraphernalia or to search a boat packed with 14 tons of marijuana.

No kidding. It's right here in the Washington Post.

Wait a minute! I thought the Republicans hated Hollywood celebrities and trial lawyers! And this Thompson guy took $1.5 million in campaign contributions from lawyers when he was in the Senate.

What's going on here? The front-runners for the Republican nomination are Fred Thompson, a pro-doper trial lawyer from Hollywood, and Rudy Giuliani, a cross-dressing pro-choicer who's been married three times (including once to his cousin)?

Has everybody in the GOP been smoking something?

UPDATE: Now we have word that Thompson's fundraising efforts are lagging badly and that he took in only $3 million last month, which is chump change in presidential politics. A lousy 3 million! Yeah, you can buy a lot of really good weed with that kind of money, but it ain't gonna land you no Republican nomination. You dig?

This is too, too weird

Check out this video from Max Blumenthal on his visit to a gathering of Christians United for Israel, folks who generally are pretty eager for the end times and the Second Coming of you know who.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Talk about burying the lede...

The top story in the latest edition of The Rock River Times, a weekly newspaper here in RascalLand, concerns the competition among four local lawyers for the appointment to succeed Paul Logli as Winnebago County state's attorney.

Logli, who is vacating the office to accept an appointment to a local judgeship, had suggested that the County Board pick his longtime No. 2 man, Chuck Prorok, to serve out the remainder of his term. But Board Chairman Scott Christiansen (right) decided instead to go with Phil Nicolosi, and the choice is expected to be ratified by the full board on Thursday night.

The story in The Times, which is characteristically overwritten and includes some gratuitous Mafia-baiting of the Italian-American Nicolosi, doesn't get to the most interesting passage until about the umpteenth paragraph:

Nicolosi’s brother Paul is president and CEO of The Buckley Companies, LLC (formerly Principal Group). Christiansen’s D-2 campaign disclosure reports show $31,400 in contributions and loans from Buckley to the chairman’s campaign. A third of the $15,000 in loans was forgiven...The Rock River Times asked Christiansen if Buckley’s contributions and forgiven loans were a factor in making his appointment. “No, absolutely not,” Christiansen responded.
One can imagine that many readers moved on to other stuff before learning that Christiansen chose the brother of a financial benefactor rather than the more experienced longtime assistant to the incumbent state's attorney.

And one wonders how much public attention this angle will get before the full County Board decides whether to ratify Christiansen's choice.

Paula's out, but Wolf stays?

I'm no fan of Paula Zahn, and I don't object to CNN cashiering her (although it didn't have to be done so gracelessly). What I don't understand is why Wolf Blitzer still has a job.

As we noted here six weeks ago, and as anyone with an I.Q. above room temperature can discern, Blitzer is awful.

Why not dump him in favor of...oh, I don't know...anybody with a brain?

Don't be smug! I'm onto you bastards!

Some of you who regularly visit this site think you're pretty clever, don't you?

Some of you who submit seemingly friendly comments think you've gained my confidence, right? You're just waiting for the opportunity to turn against me, right?

You thought I didn't know about this, right? Well, think again, buckos!

I can smell an FBI informant even through the mists of the blogosphere. Accordingly, I've changed the codes I use for the texts of my blog posts. Right under your stupid noses, I can still play a role in the grand liberal conspiracy to sap so-called patriotic, conservative Americans of their precious bodily fluids, and there's a not a damn thing you can do about it.

You don't know my real name, and you don't even know where I am. Rockford? Don't make me laugh. I could call myself The Poughkeepsie Rascal, but that wouldn't mean that I'm in Poughkeepsie. But, hey, I'm not saying I'm not in Poughkeepsie. That's for you to find out.

Lots of luck, suckers!

Women, know your limits

Pathological Hillary haters won't see the humor in this video, but people who walk upright will find it hilarious (or Hillaryous, as it were).

(H/T to Crooks and Liars.)

Next year's elections "will change American politics for a generation"

In an op-ed column in The Hill, Brent Budowsky, a former staffer for the late Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, writes:

The stage is set; the die is cast; there is panic in the air from Republicans, and landslide in the air for Democrats. The bell now tolls for the Republican Party, and if they campaign as the do-nothing party of obstructionism to preserve a repellant status quo, the tidal wave is coming and a realigning election will change American politics for a generation.
Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

GOP -- God's Own Party

Here's a very funny video about Republican sex scandals. (Be sure to stay with it through the audio track at the end, where Neal Horsley, a gay basher from the Christian right, actually admits to having had sex with a mule.)

What's the most corrupt institution in Illinois?

Rich Miller over at Capitol Fax Blog wants to know. Here's a link to where you can reply.

Has Dennis Miller EVER been funny?

The man is an embarrassment, as evidenced in this video, wherein his case against Harry Reid rests mostly on Reid being old and having a less-than-great speaking voice.

For comedic chops, Miller pales in comparison to his leftist counterpart, Bill Maher.

Truth be known, I think Dennis became mentally unstuck when his gig on "Monday Night Football" humiliatingly failed.

But, hey, he fits in nicely on the Fox News Channel, where nobody's funny (at least not on purpose).

Monday, July 23, 2007

Hair, schmair!

The John Edwards campaign is out with a good video response to all the foolish media attention paid to haircuts rather than more important matters.

(H/T to Talking Points Memo.)

Why all the filibusters?

Senate Republicans have become filibuster-crazy, and it's not too hard to figure out why.

A majority of senators -- and a majority of the American people -- want certain things enacted that the Republicans oppose. So, the GOPers stage filibusters to block up-and-down votes on those matters.

Kevin Drum offers further explanation here.

Why does the VA hate our troops?

Some wounded (physically and psychologically) veterans of the war in Iraq are fed up with the runaround they get from the Department of Veterans Affairs and have filed suit over the matter.

The Bush administration's treatment of veterans is a disgrace -- remember the Walter Reed scandal? -- and yet this gang persists in wrapping itself in the American flag and pretending that it and its supporters are more patriotic than thou.

Newt blasts away -- and I agree with him

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich used a breakfast speech this morning to belittle all kinds of people, and I can find nothing he said (at least as reported by Bill Sammon of the Washington Examiner) with which I disagree.

I even agree with his unwitting observation that a Gingrich presidency would be "the country's problem." But, of course, it'll never come to that.

Have you ever heard Bush sing?

Well, here's your chance. Dick Cheney and Karl Rove also lend their vocal talents to this effort.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Is this over the top?

I'm not asking that question rhetorically. I'm really not sure what to make of this column by Paul Craig Roberts, a former assistant treasury secretary in the Reagan administration, a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and a contributing editor of the National Review (in short, a bona fide conservative).

Roberts is dramatic, to put it mildly: "Unless Congress immediately impeaches Bush and Cheney, a year from now the U.S. could be a dictatorial police state at war with Iran...The American constitutional system is near to being overthrown."

Man, them's strong words. Even I, a liberal who's ever distrustful of the Bush administration, haven't imagined anything so apocalyptic. And this Roberts guy, as I say, is a conservative.

I hope he's wrong. If he's not, I hope Congress heeds his warning.

POSTSCRIPT: Roberts is the second prominent conservative in recent days to argue strongly for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. A week ago today, I offered here a link to a 25-minute video of Bruce Fein making his case for giving these guys the heave-ho.

The unpopularity that dare not speak its name

This is worse than Nixon ever had it.

An 82-year-old doctor in suburban Philadelphia is suing the local township for false arrest in connection with his having been collared by the cops for carrying an anti-war sign at a campaign event for President Bush a few years ago. The trial is set to begin tomorrow.

The judge in the case has dismissed a motion by attorneys for the township to bar the plaintiff's lawyers from mentioning Bush's name for fear that it will engender sympathy for the plaintiff among jurors.

The story is here.

(H/T to Crooks and Liars)

Why do our troops hate our troops?

It's reported here that more than two-thirds of the financial contributions to presidential campaigns by active-duty U.S. troops in the second quarter of this year went to anti-war candidates.

The ranks apparently are infested by defeatist, cut-and-run surrendercrats, right? What cowards! Why aren't they supporting our brave, patriotic Republican candidates?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Why would Hastert quit in mid-term?

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, whose 14th District of Illinois borders on RascalLand, is expected to announce soon whether he'll run for a 12th term.

Nobody will be surprised if Hastert decides against a bid for re-election. Indeed, several would-be successors in both parties already are champing at the proverbial bit.

But political columnist Bob Novak suggests that a more dramatic departure by Hastert -- a mid-term resignation -- might be in the offing.

And then there's this from Chicago Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet, who says Hastert is running low on campaign money and has spent a bundle on lawyers to deal with any potential hassles arising from last year's Mark Foley sex scandal. Sweet also sees the possibility of mid-term resignation by Hastert.

Would Don Manzullo want President Bush to campaign for him here in Rockford?

Some conservative Republicans are less than eager to have President Bush appear with them on the campaign trail, lest his unpopularity rub off on them.

Which raises this question about the Republican from The Rascal's 16th Congressional District of Illinois: Would Don Manzullo want Bush alongside him on the stump?

If not, why not? After all, Manzullo has consistently voted the Bush line from the get-go, especially on matters related to the war in Iraq. If the administration's policies are worthy of unswerving support, why should Manzullo avoid a public embrace of their author?

Just asking. Hell, for all I know, Manzullo might actually welcome Bush. But, of course, Bush would refuse to appear in a truly public forum. His handlers allow only carefully selected audiences of dependable loyalists at his events.

Sins of the so-called liberal media

As usual, Jamison Foser has it right.

What time is it, kids? It's Saturday cartoon time!

Hey, let's go over to Uncle Bob Geiger's place and look at his weekly collection of political cartoons.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Your liberal media

(Click on image to enlarge)

Pen-pushing pantywaists and labcoat Larrys

Nutty letters to the editor are a staple in almost every newspaper, but this one from a paper in Tennessee is something special.

(H/T to Jesus' General.)

A chickenhawk convention

In this video, Max Blumenthal visits a gathering of College Republicans, all of whom are enthusiastic supporters of the war in Iraq, but none of whom can bring themselves to participate in it.

My favorite in this piece is the guy who wants to "become like a really good like speaker and stuff."


Ray McGovern, a retired CIA officer and now an executive with a church-affiliated publishing venture, invokes the late historian Barbara Tuchman to make a point about the current American crisis.

It's a cautionary tale about "cognitive dissonance" in politics.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mr. Progress speaks out

This nice little 30-second TV spot -- aimed at Sen. Mitch McConnell, in this case -- shows the commander-in-chief stuck in a rut of faux progress.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Newspaper owned by benefactor of the Rockford Institute questions Bush's mental stability

Richard Mellon Scaife, who inherited billions in banking, oil and aluminum money, has funded countless conservative causes over the years, including the Rockford Institute, a paleoconservative think tank headquartered here in Rascal City.

It was Scaife money that dug up enough dirt on Bill Clinton to get the ball rolling toward his eventual impeachment, and it was Scaife's ideology that turned his principal publishing asset, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, into a raging right-wing newspaper.

But now the Tribune-Review has waxed apostate, editorially calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and suggesting that President Bush has perhaps gone bonkers.

Diane Sawyer is just about as politically sophisticated as Tom Sawyer

Diane Sawyer, a former flunky for Richard Nixon during the Watergate years and now a host on ABC's morning show, distinguished herself today by displaying her ignorance of how the filibuster process works in the U.S. Senate.

In recent months, Senate Republicans have been signaling their willingness to filibuster anything having to do with the Iraq War. It's been in all the papers, but Sawyer seems not to have grasped the situation.

And now that Harry Reid and the Democrats are threatening to force the Republicans to wage a real filibuster, not just a pro forma version of such, Sawyer's become more confused than usual.

Said she this morning: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vows to filibuster, talking all night to close out all topics besides a vote on Iraqi troop withdrawals."

Right-wing bloviator Fred Barnes, a guest on the show, chose not to correct Sawyer, preferring instead to compound her error with this bit of brilliance: "In effect, you know, Harry Reid is going to keep everybody in the Senate overnight. All he's doing is filibustering his own bill..."

It's a Republican filibuster, people, a Republican filibuster. It's an effort by Republicans to prevent an up-and-down vote on setting a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. A majority of Senators favor such a timetable, but the Republican filibuster sets the bar at 60-percent just to get a vote on the underlying legislation.

Do you understand now, Diane?

First-class journalism

Is it any wonder that Republican Don Manzullo keeps getting re-elected to Congress from the 16th District of Illinois?

Not when he can play some of the district's news media like freakin' violins.

Witness this piece on the Web site of the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, wherein the following two sentences lead the story:

The U.S. House of Representatives will consider a transportation bill this week that includes $250,000 to extend Algonquin Road west of Route 47. U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo, R-Ill., secured the money for the project, which he said would ease traffic congestion in one of the region’s fastest-growing areas.

But, of course, the bill hasn't yet been approved; hence, the money is not yet "secured." And when you do all the math, the money turns out to be only a little more than one-half of one percent of the total cost of the project.

And when you plow through the rest of the political B.S., you learn that the whole thing is in the beginning stages of a preliminary phase and that the project won't be completed for years, if ever.

You see, all a congressperson has to do is order some minion to issue a press release, and the local media -- or most of them, anyway -- will rush it into print or on the air, no matter if it's real news or not.

The so-called reporters on such stories are not much more than stenographers.

How dumb can you get?

Bill O'Reilly, the dim-witted commentator on the Fox News Channel, waxed offended the other night because a liberal blog site had referred to Pope Benedict XVI as a "primate."

O'Reilly seems not to know that one of the definitions of "primate" is: a bishop of highest rank.

Read about it here and follow the links therein.

Bush is no friend of the military

President Bush likes to pretend that the debate over the war in Iraq comes down to him and the U.S. military on one side and the radical hippies and nervous-nellie womenfolk on the other.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Most of the military veterans in Congress oppose Bush's Iraq policy, as do scads of retired generals.

When active-duty generals express misgivings about his policy, they get fired or otherwise shunted aside in favor of somebody who will toe the line. And then, when his policy fails to produce desirable results, he blames the generals who followed his orders.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Cheating is a baseball tradition

Barry Bonds, who's just four home runs shy of Hank Aaron's career record at this writing, is in Chicago this week for a four-game set between his San Francisco Giants and the Cubs.

The city's boo-birds and sports moralists doubtless are ready for the occasion. They say it'll be an injustice when Bonds breaks Aaron's record. They say the guy is a cheater who took performance-enhancing drugs. They say he's a disgrace to the game.

I say screw the whole lot of them.

Even if Bonds has been a cheater -- although he's never formally been charged as such and has never flunked a drug test -- his sins are only part of baseball's colorful mosaic of cheating, which goes back to the sport's earliest days. Hell, even Albert G. Spalding, the Rockford product who turned baseball into the National Pastime, cheated with his utterly fictitious story that the game was invented by Abner Doubleday. There's no evidence that Doubleday ever even saw a baseball game, much less came up with the idea.

The history of baseball is one long story of cheating and unfairness and inconsistencies that should warrant a giant asterisk of qualification on the whole damn book of records. Consider, for example, that Hank Aaron was the first black player to hit more than 700 homers mainly because black players were barred from the major leagues through most of the first half of the 20th century. If Josh Gibson, the fabled Negro League star, had been given the chance, might he have hit even more homers than Aaron did? We'll never know.

We'll also never know whether Babe Ruth would have hit 714 homers if the live-ball era hadn't dawned early in his career. And then there's the question of the even-livelier-ball era of more recent decades. And the question of who would have hit more or fewer homers if the dimensions of baseball parks were standardized. And the question of how many homers actually were hits that bounced off the field and over the fence back when that was the rule.

Countless other questions arise with regard to the lowering of the pitcher's mound by one-third in 1969, and with regard to the not-so-uncommon practice of pitchers illegally doctoring the ball with saliva, Vaseline, emory boards, sandpaper, thumbtacks and who-knows what-else.

There are questions that arise with regard to bats illegally filled with cork or superballs, or with regard to groundskeepers secretly altering the playing surface to benefit the home team, or with regard to spies in manually-operated scoreboards illegally stealing signs from the visiting team. There are questions about the effects of the designated-hitter rule in the American League and the advent of artificial playing surfaces.

There are lingering questions about the effects of gambling on baseball. And about the effects of multimillion-dollar contracts, which allow players to indulge in physical-fitness regimens that poorly-paid baseballers of yore couldn't afford to pursue in light of their off-season jobs.

Perhaps the most ridiculous reason to begrudge Barry Bonds the career record for home runs is that he's reputed to be a jerk, a sullen, unsociable fellow. Hey, does the name Ty Cobb ring a bell? By all accounts, he was a truly awful person. And how about all the racist players who gave Jackie Robinson a bad time?

So, yeah, go for it, Barry. Baseball somehow will survive the unfairness of it all.

The Rascal sticks his neck out

At considerable risk to my reputation as a political seer non pareil, I'm predicting here that Fred Thompson will not run for the Republican presidential nomination.

Remember where you heard it first -- except if I'm wrong, in which case, I'll delete this post and never admit to having said any such thing.

The tide is rising

More and more newspapers, even such conservative organs as the Detroit Free Press, are editorially calling for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

On other fronts as well, the surge of opinion against the war is growing ever stronger.

If George W. Bush doesn't soon bow to the will of the American people in this matter, the popular demand for his impeachment will become politically irresistible.

If you knew Susie...

Check out Susie Flynn, a 9-year-old who's running for president under the banner of the Children's Defense Fund.

She makes more sense than most of the so-called grown-up candidates.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Twenty-five minutes well spent

Constitutional scholar Bruce Fein (left), a man of impeccable conservative credentials and the author of one of the articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton, makes a good case in this video for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Bill Moyers leads the discussion, which also includes journalist John Nichols.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


(NOTE: I've bumped this post from Tuesday up to this spot so as to give more exposure to the comment attached to it, which arrived only Friday. -- The Rascal.)

Michael Moore gives Wolf Blitzer a little -- nay, a lot -- of what-for on CNN.

Check it out here.

After you watch that video, come on back to check this take on the malarkey peddled by CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

The debate comes down to this

Most of the American people want U.S. troops withdrawn from Iraq.

Most members of the U.S. House want the troops withdrawn from Iraq.

Most members of the U.S. Senate want the troops withdrawn from Iraq.

Most of the Iraqi people want U.S. troops withdrawn from their country.

Most nations of the world, including many traditional U.S. allies, want our troops withdrawn from Iraq.

The only obstacle to this goal is the most unpopular American president in more than a generation -- and one of the most unpopular in our nation's history.

That's where America stands today.

UPDATE: The Iraqi prime minister said today that his army and police are capable of handling security in his country and that the United States can withdraw its troops "any time they want." One of his top aides also said that U.S. troops are an embarrassment to the Iraqi government.

Yeah, but we've got to stay the course in Iraq because it's important for George W. Bush's sense of manhood. Dick Cheney's, too. You see, they've got self-esteem issues, especially since both of them ducked service in the Vietnam War, which they otherwise enthusiastically supported.

It's time for Saturday cartoons!

Let's go over to Uncle Bob Geiger's place and check out his weekly collection of political cartoons.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The death of a theocrat

The Rockford Register Star Web site reported today that eminent theologian Harold O.J. Brown died of cancer earlier this month at age 74.
Brown, as the local article notes, was a distinguished scholar and writer and long was associated with a Rockford-based think tank, the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society.

But it also should be remembered that Brown was a theocrat, as he evidenced in a column of a few years back in Christianity Today magazine, in which he suggested, though not in so many words, that the Supreme Court should tailor its rulings to religious scripture rather than to the U.S. Constitution.

The subject at hand was a court decision that struck down laws against consensual sodomy among adults in the privacy of their bedrooms -- and also struck at the heart of Brown's homophobia:

On July 8, 2003, the United States Supreme Court, by a vote of 6-3 (in Lawrence v. Texas) did not merely forget God: It turned the nation into a pagan state -- not the people, of course, not all the lesser structures and institutions such as churches, schools, and businesses great and small, but the nation. The Supreme Court, in declaring all sodomy laws unconstitutional, has in effect declared the nation pagan -- not in so many words, of course, but in terms that explicitly repudiate historic Christianity, the Bible, the Torah, and the principles of natural law that guided us so long.
The Court did not, of course, declare the legislature (i.e. Congress, the administration, the President, and his cabinet) pagan. It could not do so. Congress has Christian members, Catholics and Protestants, and Jewish members, some even observant and orthodox. The President and some members of his administration are Christians, some outspokenly so. But the nation, which has been slowly losing its Christianity, has now been in essence declared pagan, and all its institutions, agencies, and departments will follow, gradually or speedily.
Lawrence passed by a two-thirds majority. What were those justices thinking? The man who wrote the majority opinion is a Roman Catholic. Does he not know that his church, his spiritual leader the pope, the Bible, and all of the church fathers up to the present, consider the behavior that he now protects an abominable sin, an act against nature? Was it a trivial matter to award the highest court's protection to activities against nature and the laws of God and the church? Do the two Jewish justices not know that their Torah rejects sodomy as an abomination? And the two women on the Court: By what perverted logic do they mock the role that God and nature have given to their sex in conjunction with the male -- to bring children into the world in a matrimonial union -- to support this perverse caricature of the purpose of sex and with it the negation of the irreplaceable role of their sex in the survival of our human race? The logic of Lawrence implicitly steers towards the dying off of the human race, or at least of such parts of it as are guided by our high court.
By this tortured reasoning, if we can call it that, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, has been banned from the scene in the nation whose endeavors he has so often blessed. In his place we have, if anything, the gods of Sodom and Gomorrah. The justices, in their sovereign bliss, with the exception of the dissenters, do not seem to know what they have done. Or do they know and not care? Or know and want to do exactly what they have done?
Those of us who do see and know what has been done must not wait until all of the organs of government are brought under the gods of Sodom: We must look, see, and speak. We cannot change the Court's decision, not now and perhaps not ever, but we can and must say with the Israelites of the past, regarding a crime they had not committed, "Our hands have not done this thing [orig. "shed this blood"], nor did our eyes see it … and do not place the guilt … in the midst of thy people Israel" (Deut. 21:7-8).

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Which GOP prez hopeful leads in Illinois?

Come on. Ask yourself: Which of the 10 candidates for the Republican presidential nomination (11, if you include Fred Thompson) is ahead in Illinois?

If I didn't already know the answer, I probably would have guessed Thompson. Well, according to this American Research Group poll, it's Rudy Giuliani by nine percentage points over Thompson.

I expect that to change. Yes, yes, I know that Illinois Republicans, on the whole, are a bit more moderate than their brethren nationally (and they're becoming increasingly moderate in the suburbs of Chicago). But Rudy's popularity among the GOP rank-and-file in this state likely will fade as his numbers decline elsewhere, as surely they will.

There's simply no way that this thrice-married, pro-choice, pro-gay New Yorker is going to be the Republican nominee. He'll be an also-ran by Christmas.

The ARG poll results for Illinois in the Democratic race also are a bit surprising, in that favorite son Barack Obama is no better than tied with Hillary Clinton when you factor in the margin of error. But that, too, will change before year's end.

Halberstam goes out in good form

I just got my August issue of Vanity Fair, which features the last piece written by David Halberstam, one of the best journalists of his time, before his death in a car accident in April.

It's about efforts by George W. Bush and his toadies to cast his presidency in a favorable historical light. Read it here.

Religious fanatics disrupt U.S. Senate

I told you last night of the fuss among some right-wing Christians over the news that a Hindu cleric would deliver the opening invocation today in the U.S. Senate.

Well, the invocation was delivered, but only after the cops hauled off several self-described "Christian patriots" who had shouted their disapproval.

It's scary to think that there actually are millions of Americans who want religious freedom only for themselves -- which, of course, isn't freedom at all.

POSTSCRIPT: The virtuous adventures of a few other Christian patriots are reported here.

Has "The Simpsons" lost its magic?

This british guy says it has.

And as one who's been following the family's adventures since they were part of "The Tracey Ullman Show" in the late 1980s, I have to admit that they haven't been as sharp in recent years as they were, say, a decade ago.

But the show is still better than most of the dreck on TV, and I'm hopeful that the movie will be good. I'm bothered, however, by word from one of the producers that "if you've never heard of The Simpsons, you can enjoy the film." I would prefer that the movie key on the well-developed personalities of the supporting characters we've come to know and love over the years.

Oh, well. It isn't all that important, is it? It's only a TV show and a movie.

Hey! Some of that was MY money!

Some bad guys in Iraq have stolen $300 million in American scratch from a bank in Baghdad, and I'm pretty pissed about it.

I distinctly remember giving some of my hard-earned bread to Uncle Sam, and now it's gone.

I mean, I'm just a poor little blogger in Rockford, Ill., and I don't get much in response to my humble little plea (see upper right-hand corner of this screen) for tips. And now some of my dough is missing from some bank in a country where it ought not have been in the first place.

As soon as I'm finished dealing with John McCain (as promised here), I'm going after those guys who stole my money. I'll show them what a real surge looks like.

Firefighters rip Rudy a new one

America's Mayor (so-called) gets a pretty good going-over from the International Association of Firefighters right here. (Click on the middle of the photo of Giuliani on the right-hand side.)


Turnabout is fair play.

A few weeks ago, John McCain accused The Rascal of illegal behavior (unjustly, I might add).

Well, I'm here today to accuse the senior senator from Arizona of his own illegality. On Tuesday of this week, McCain apparently committed a blatant violation of federal criminal law.

Accordingly, I hereby call upon Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (Oh, God, I forgot that that incompetent little hack is still running the Justice Department) to take appropriate action against McCain.

Or am I going to have to make a citizen's arrest?

UPDATE: Looks like one of McCain's pals also has run afoul of the law.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Yipes! Hindu to deliver prayer in U.S. Senate

The American Family Association, which claims to support religious freedom in America, has got its undies in a bunch over news that a Hindu cleric will deliver the opening invocation tomorrow in the U.S. Senate.

AFA spokesman Buddy Smith says Christians should "hold lawmakers accountable" for this outrageous promotion of paganism.

"I fear that while God has been so merciful with our country in the past, events such as are about to happen, like this in the U.S. Senate, is angering a just God," says Smith. "I fear that we bring judgment upon our country with such acts."

Whoa! I'm going to lie low tomorrow, just in case. I think I'll hide in the basement.

(By the way, be sure to check the comments at the bottom of the AFA article to which a link is provided in the first paragraph above. They're pretty rabid.)

Manzullo votes no on hike in tuition aid

The U.S. House overcame Republican opposition today -- including a negative vote from The Rascal's representative, Don Manzullo (right) -- to pass a record increase in college financial aid.

When Republicans unsuccessfully pushed a procedural amendment aimed at killing the bill, Rep. George Miller gave them this blistering lecture. (Stay with it to its stirring conclusion.)

Now that's the Catholic Church I remember

When The Rascal was growing up in the Catholic Church in the pre-Vatican II days, we had our masses in a language nobody understood, with the priest's back turned to us, and we believed that Protestants were pretty much full of crap.

Pope Benedict XVI seems bent on bringing back those good old days.

This just boggles the mind

Yesterday, we provided this link to coverage of congressional committee testimony from former Surgeon General Richard Carmona about the interference he encountered from Bush administration officials when he tried to do his job.

Today, we ran across a tidbit in the International Herald Tribune about Carmona having been told by Bushies that he shouldn't attend the Special Olympics because -- get this -- it's an event in which the Kennedy family has long been involved.

Said one Bush flunky to Carmona: "Why would you want to help those people?"

The Big Lie

In history and popular culture, The Big Lie usually is defined as a piece of false propaganda, no matter how fantastic, that is repeated over and over in an effort to convince the public that it's true.

George W. Bush resorted to such false propaganda again Tuesday with his claim that al-Qaida in Iraq, an organization that didn't exist before the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, is comprised of "the same people that attacked us on September the 11th."

The truth, of course, is that Bush's war is a boon to al-Qaida, not a deterrent.

Sun-Times turning left

The Chicago Sun-Times, which The Rascal has been reading for more years than I care to admit -- and which has varied greatly in quality over the decades -- is now declaring that it's going to be a liberal paper.

That's quite a departure from the days when the demonic Rupert Murdoch (he of Fox News infamy) owned the Sun-Times.