Monday, March 31, 2008
Spring has sprung here in Chicago,and hope once again is born on the north side as the nation's most hapless collection of professional mopes strides to the plate in another misguided attempt to wipe out 100 years of misery. Will 2008 be any different than the previous 99?
I say this with no glee in my heart. Truly, it pains me to see the sorry spectacle begin again for the 47th straight year of my life. Already the legions of sorry fans, who expect nothing more from their baseball dollar than a crumbling field with ivy covered walls and an unbroken, unparalleled record of failure, have purchased 2.8 million tickets to watch a team that is congenitally programed for failure. Nothing will change, because nothing ever changes at Wrigley.
The Cubs are where careers go to die, famously disastrous trades are made, and billy goat curses stand in as stooges for the greatest string of incompetent management to ever occupy the offices of any business, any where at any time. Just in my lifetime the '69 Cubs collapsed in spectacular failure (see the above black cat "cursing" the Cubs as it strolls by Ron Santo), Leon Durham's Gatorade sodden glove missed a simple grounder in the '84 unraveling against the Padres, and of course, the awful Bartman incident of '03.
Cubs fans though accept this fate. Hell, they flippin' embrace it and it's damned embarrassing. Somehow, the legions of deluded fools have convinced themselves that this spectacular record of failure is not an indictment of a knowledge-less fan base that refuses to hold an incompetent front office accountable for misdeeds that border on the felonious. Oh no, in the bizarro world of Cubs fans, spectacular incompetence equals lovability!
Don't you just feel it? Instead of Take Me Out To The Ballgame perhaps Cubs fans would be better off singing the refrain of the great Offspring song, Self Esteem, "The more you suffer, the more it shows you really care. Right? Yah!"
I never thought about it, but perhaps they were Cubs fans too.
Ah, I admit it, I too used to belong to this sorry group, but '04 was the final straw for me. After the Bartman collapse literally took the life out of the team - it was just one bad play for heaven's sake - I saw that it would never be. Not then. Not now. Not ever. I swore off the Cubs for good back then and related my defection in this post (can't find it, move on), and there is no turning back.
So, against all hope I wish the Cubs my best, which, against their historic ability to snatch failure from, well mediocrity, gives them absolutely no hope. But hey, the ivy will grow, Ronny Woo Woo will, um, "woo woo", crusty old grannies who have been sitting in the bleachers since "nineteen forty and two" will continue to molder in the sun, and the beer will flow. And most importantly a fresh crop of new Cubs fans will born and cursed by their insane parentage with a love for all things "Cubbie". One or two will even be named Wrigley and be forced to bear witness to their parent's psychosis throughout their entire life. Yup, things will be just as they always have been.
See the circus comes to town every year because as P.T. Barnum said, "A sucker is born every minute".
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
"The problem is that dollar weakness is making both of these problems worse. The flight from the dollar has made U.S.-based investments less attractive, at a time when the U.S. financial system urgently needs to raise capital. And the commodity boom is translating into higher food and energy prices that are robbing American consumers of discretionary income. In the name of avoiding a recession, reckless monetary policy has made one more likely."
Since we know monetary policy is like sex - exhillarating when you first do it, but it takes 9 months to see the full results - and since the Fed first started lowering the discount rate in the fall, perhaps enough is enough. Afterall, much of this problem started with Uncle Alan's Liquidity Party back at the turn of the century, and it is unclear to me that we need a repeat of that fiasco.
So far the broader economy seems to be holding its own without completely tanking and we have both fiscal and monetary stimulus underway so this might be a decent moment to take a breath and say "Steady as she goes".
Come for the economics, stay for the sex jokes and rockin' tunes!
Sunday, March 16, 2008
To be clear, it was no mistake that the Rev. Wright video, which has been in the public domain since the start of the campaign, received broad public exposure this week. Once the Ferraro remarks drew Obama into playing the race card as described below, Hillary's friends in the mainstream media started running stories on Wright as a means of saying, "Oh yeah pal? Who did you say is running around with racists?" This certainly explains why Ferraro agreed to run point on this attack since it was all but certain that once the public was exposed to Wright's noxious racial theories, Ms. Ferraro's comments would drift out of the public consciousness.
Incredibly, Obama continued to fumble this story going into this weekend. First, the Wright attack was brilliantly timed so that it would receive Thursday and Friday news cycle airing, while any Obama denial would land in the Friday night/Saturday morning graveyard of public attention. Further, instead of remaining consistent with his theme of new politics and change we can believe in, Obama seems to have resorted to unbelievable, Clintonesque denials:
"...The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign. I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments.
...Michelle and I look forward to continuing a relationship with a church that has done so much good."
Who does this guy think we are? Whether or not Obama actually sat in the pew during one of this loathsome man's tirades is hardly the point. It simply defies credulity that the good Senator, who titled his book Audacity of Hope after Wright's sermon Audacity to Hope, was blissfully unaware of this Wright's views. Furthermore, if he somehow was unaware of these views, what does this say about his judgement?
Unfortunately for the Senator, there are folks out there on the other side of the political divide looking at the evidence. Check out this post from Rich Lowery over at the corner which seems to indict the truthfulness of Obama's denial of knowledge. Key quote:
"And so it went, a meditation on a fallen world. While the boys next to me doodled on their church bulletin, Reverend Wright spoke of Sharpsville and Hiroshima, the callousness of policy makers in the White House and in the State House. As the sermon unfolded, though, the stories of strife became more prosaic, the pain more immediate. The reverend spoke of the hardship that the congregation would face tomorrow, the pain of those far from the mountaintop, worrying about paying the light bill…"
So Obama is a liar or at the very least, a typical politician looking to cast himself in the light most favorable to his target audience. This second alternative really seems to be the case. In the early part of his career, he apparently adapted his views to those of his predominantly black constituency, nodding in apparent agreement with the Reverend Wright during one of his explosive sermons. Now, the Senator is repackaging his image into a post racial appeal that necessarily requires him to turn his back on some of the more questionable associations that helped fuel the early stages of his career.
As a result, we see today that the good Senator has been caught between his old life, and the sanctimonious image he has crafted for himself in this new stage of his career. These two points are irreconcilable, yet instead of coming clean for the electorate and admitting that he may have made some mistakes in the past, he is choosing to follow the Clintonesque path and lie in order to have it both ways.
The problem is, we already have a Clinton in this race and she, at the very least, is clear about who she is and what she will do to get elected.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Today we have a trick by a real Clinton operative; and it's a good one. Ms. Geraldine Ferraro, last seen in 1984, has turned up as an honorary finance member of the Clinton campaign saying some controversial things in a newspaper interview. By now, everyone is familiar with what she said - essentially that Obama has been successful in the campaign because he is black.
I won't argue the merits or racial aspects of what she said, that is for other, far simpler minds to dwell on since it is essentially a side show. The real meat of the matter is what is going here? Was it a ploy, a slip of the tongue, or something else all together? In my view, this was a planned move by the Clinton campaign from the start. Here is why.
Essentially the Clinton's have realized that Obama has out maneuvered them and gained the high ground in this campaign. The game has almost run out and they need to accomplish one of two goals very soon:
- Either bring Obama down to earth pronto and demonstrate that he is unelectable in a manner sufficient to convince enough super delegates to vote for Hill or,
- Damage him enough so that he cannot win in November against McCain and preserve Hillary's chances to run again in four years
With these two goals in mind, the Clintons needed an expendable minority to go after Obama and execute their diabolical plan. In this role, Ferraro has been perfect.
The plan, works on 4 levels:
- On the first level Ferraro is effective in questioning Obama's readiness for office. A previously unknown candidate with a thin resume and vague promises of change is uniquely vulnerable to this assault. No matter how this turns out, this issue is raised and will not go away.
- The second level is to play to the white blue collar workers in the Democratic party and the black voters who still harbor doubts that a black man is electable in this country. In both cases it plays to the voter's fear that Obama is a gamble, and in the white blue collar voter's mind a potential beneficiary of some sort of electorate granted affirmative action vote, which the white voter believes is unfair and is unwilling to go along with. By themselves these are powerful motivators to swing voters to Hillary and try to save the nomination for her. But there is much more to her plan.
- This next, third level is particularly crafty, and I must say Obama so far has played right into Hillary's hand. You see, up until now much of Obama's appeal to the white wine and intellectual crowd has been, in their mind, that he has been above racial politics. Indeed his message of "change" stands as much for a change in the way that black candidates run their campaigns as it does for anything else. He is running as an American, offering himself for service in a time of need. Powerful stuff. Hillary realizes that to win, she absolutely must pull Obama down and once again make him the aggrieved black candidate and thus distasteful to the white winers. Sadly, Obama has taken the bait, and spent the past two days talking about race in place of the qualities that made him such a successful candidate. All it cost Hillary was an honorary member of her finance committee as Ferraro was booted earlier today.
Of course, at this late date, all this conniving may still not be enough to secure the nomination which is where Hillary's awful plan rises to it's most diabolical level. You see, Hillary, by making Obama crawl down in the mud with her, is trying to install a fatal flaw in the Democrat's most likely nominee. If she can't win now, it is imperative in her view that Obama be stopped in November. If McCain wins, she will have a shot at a 75 year old guy, who already is looking pretty frail, in four years. If Obama wins, he will either cruise to re-election in four years, or lose to a Republican. In either case Hillary is out of the running for 8 years if Obama is elected to the presidency, after which, his vice president will be the most likely successor. Scorched earth politics are all that can save her now.
The bottom line is that the Clintons have never been about the Democratic party, or America, or anything else that the rest of us hold dear. They are all about the Clintons, and one wonders why it has taken the Democrats so long to figure this out.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Monday, March 3, 2008
Tomorrow is a big deal in the Demo race and the funeral dirges for our gal Hill have already begun to softly play in the distance. Convential Wisdom says they'll be in full parade tomorrow night and the "Hillary!" campaign is toast by Saturday.
Hold on just one moment, cuz I ain't sure that is what is happening.
Counterintuitively, I believe the results will show a small trend back to Hillary. She will do better than expected taking Ohio in greater numbers than polling indicated, and deliver a virtual tie-to-ever-so-slight victory in Texas. This will completely screw up the Democratic delegate calculus causing Wolf Blitzer spin into into a masturbatory frenzy the likes of which have been unseen since Limbaugh first witnessed the Dukakis tank video.
O'Bama forces will attribute the results to Republican meddling - the forces of the politics of cynicism donchaknow - but those of us in the know will realize that it is the initial stages of buyers remorse setting in on the Obama campaign.
Place your bets here.