Thursday, January 26, 2006

 

Kerry Calls for Alito Filibuster

And rightly so. As I have been saying, the man is dangerous. I know Durbin will be on board, but with Obama I don't know. The other freshman Dem, Ken Salazar, is said to oppose the filibuster. Doesn't want to make waves, I guess. But Obama is the hottest name the Dems have (even, I daresay, more than Hillary Clinton) and to get him on board would be huge. So, Senator Obama, please consider climbing aboard the filibuster express.

Hang in there, John.

Peace.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

 

Chris Matthews has gone too far.


MSNBC let Phil Donahue go, obstensibly because his ratings were bad(they weren't). Then they pulled Ron Reagan off the air, after he handed one to many Republicans their ass. And I thought John McEnroe was a
good guy who just needed some time to find his rhythm. MSNBC didn't agree. Fine. It's their network, and as long as Keith Olbermann stays I'll at least watch some of it. But the network that pays Tucker Carlson, Rita Cosby (a/k/a enough with Aruba, already!) and Joe Scarborough is bad enough. But Chris Matthews is the worst. He constantly refers to those who support bush's war as "patriots" and likens those who oppose it as terrorist sympathizers. Well, I say enough. Here's the link for a boycott tha's being organized. They say it better than I can.

http://openlettertochrismatthews.blogspot.com/

Other than that, I think Alito has to be filibustered. He will never say no to King Geogre, or any president of his ilk. And we need that to remain strong as a nation. No "unitary" executive for me, thanks.

If you're in or around Chicago, allow me to humbly recommend "Letter Purloined" now playing at the Live Bait Theater on Clark Street. Hard to describe, but worth the trip and the $12 ticket price. Here's a link for it:

http://theateroobleck.com/

That's it for now. The Cubs acquired 2 more players, but my prediction of 80 wins, tops, still stands.

Hang in there, John.

Peace.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

 

First post in a few days.

But if no one is reading this, does it even matter? Maybe not.

I have found, after a bit of blog searching, that Sean Penn is often derisively referred to as "Spicoli" on some right wing blogs. This is no right wing blog, and the name for this blog came from a scene in Fast Times... that I could relate to as a former teacher.

In no way do I mean to knock Sean Penn down. I actually saw the ad he took out in the New York Times (I think) around the time the Iraq war started. I agreed with everything he said in it, too. There was lots of text to read, which is the kiss of death for far too many Americans, but it was worth the time to get through it and digest what it meant.

SO the scene I'm talking about was when Mr. Hand came to Spicoli's house. Spicoli was going to flunk Mr. Hand's class, and so Mr. Hand went out of his way to give Spicoli some extra help to get him over the top. He probably hated Spicoli, and had reasons to. (such as the Spicoli comment of "You Dick!" made in front of a classroom full of students. Bad form to show up a teacher like that). Still, Mr. Hand met Spicoli more than half-way, and in the end he let Spicoli off. Spicoli,of course, was relieved, and he said "Aloha, Mr. Hand!" in a sort of "happy that I'll never have to deal with you again" way. Mr. Hand, after a short pause that every teacher has with students who are dysfunctional beyond all hope, returns the send off by saying "Aloha Spicoli." In that moment, the humanity in the previously cold and uncaring Mr. Hand comes through. It was as if he realized Spicoli is as Spicoli does (to paraphrase Forrest Gump) and that holding it against him would have been counter-productive. Whatever it was that Mr. Hand was thinking as he said those words was a feeling I knew all too well when I was teaching in the Chicago Public Schools a few years back. So that's where the blog name come from.

Lots of typing when I should be in bed instead. Good night.

Hang in there John.

Peace.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

 

Yuck. US News sucks Dick off.

The issue showed up in my mailbox today. Seeing Darth Cheney's arrogant mug on the cover made me rip it right off. But at least I felt better afterwards.

Here's the link:
http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/060123/23cheney.htm

I didn't read the whole thing (life is too short for that), but here's the most revolting part that I saw:

In times of trouble, Cheney turns to the example of George Washington, whose life he has studied in great detail. Washington was criticized for being aloof and imperial, as is Cheney. But the VP believes America's first president had a knack for seeing beyond the crisis of the moment and for not getting thrown off course by "background noise." It's the same path that Richard Bruce Cheney is trying to walk at the dawn of the 21st century.

Wow. This piece is trying to conflate the man who stepped down after 2 terms to avoid becoming a king with the man who thinks a president needs to be a king. My mind just reels at this connection.

Hang in there, John.

Peace.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

 

TYMAWOR--The new Republican brand

The first time this phrase stuck in my head was when I heard it in one of KGB's speeches. I was watching the whole thing on C-SPAN, because otherwise the media plucks a 3-5 second soundbite, if they show him speaking at all. And the bits they choose are probably subject to White House veto, too.

Anyway, he was doing his flipping the pages bit, in the part after the obligatory "and I wanna thank"s that seem to be filler material. Whoever it is, he didn't know their name yesterday, and he will forget the name by the same time tomorrow, so what's the difference? You know that he's just killing time until his next bike ride or fundraiser, anyway. So sit back and pretend he's grateful to anyone for anything.

So in the flipping of the pages, he said, at one point, "in a time of war, ......." Whatever he said afterward didn't much matter. He got the war point out there, and that's what matters most. But the way he said those words was what I remember. He wasn't saying them with any sort of recognition that families were being torn apart, or that sacrifices were being made. There really was no conviction in them at all. It was like he was describing we might consider to be tedious.

And that's when I realized that "TYMAWOR" (which is what is sounded like when he said it) was just a catchphrase, a buzz word, a code of some sort. It's what allows him to tap our phones without a warrant, read our emails at will, and take us into custody and label us "enemy combatants" without ever proving it to be true.

The phrase turned up again when the NSA wiretapping story finally came out. It also turned up in the "we can debate this war, but only in ways that do not give aid and comfort to the enemy" bit that was floated recently. I'm sure we'll hear it in the State of the Union speech too. He may not describe it in tones more appropriate for telling about dental work, but the term will be in there. Guaranteed.

I say this because I don't think "TYMAWOR" justifies what he and his people are doing. The Constitution still applies, even as this never-ending "war" drags on. I am now on the lookout for this term, with its unspoken message of "screw the Constitution. I can do what I want, because I'm the commander in chief." And the term becomes weaker and weaker with each added reference. At least for me, anyway.

Hang in there John.

Peace.

 

The day after Gore's speech.

I don't know what kind of coverage it got, but I'm sure the Republican "response" got some heavy exposure. I would have to be naive to think the media wants us to know what Al Gore said.

Regardless, this is the time for a national debate on whether or not KGB can do all of the things he's been doing (wiretaps, torture, kidnapping, etc.) If he can, America is not what it purports itself to be. If he can't, we'll have preserved the priciples that so many have fought for. I hope it will be the latter.

Peace.

Monday, January 16, 2006

 

Al Gore told it like it is today.

For a transcript, go here:

http://algore.org/


I have to say I did not watch the speech, but I have read the transcript. I'm sure the delivery made it all the more powerful. Kudos to him for connecting Dr. King to the wiretapping story. I didn't know that he had been wiretapped, and I suspect many others didn't, either.

But here's my point: The RNC's response to Gore's speech was simply disgusting. Here's the text:

“Al Gore’s incessant need to insert himself in the headline of the day is almost as glaring as his lack of understanding of the threats facing America. While the president works to protect Americans from terrorists, Democrats deliver no solutions of their own, only diatribes laden with inaccuracies and anger.”

Notice that there is not one civil word anywhere in this response. Nothing like "Although Vice President Gore has a right to his opinion, we respectfully disagree." That would have been taking the high road, and perhaps they would get some style points for that. But this is the rawest, rankest, most vituperative statement I can imagine. It's like the RNC held a contest, and the most repulsive response was chosen. Unbelievable.

It's very obvious that these people don't care about anything but their own hold on power. If Al Gore, a former Vice-President, Senator, and Vietnam veteran, gets this kind of treatment, what would the RNC say about you or me, if they even bothered to comment on us at all?

I said this already, but I'll keep saying it anyway: Hang in there, John.

Peace.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

 

The Bears are done for the year.

I live in Chicago, but I could honestly not care less about the Bears. There will be lots of moaning and whining from the stereotypical "da Bears" types (the Superfans skit from SNL had some basis in truth), but life goes on.

The only thing to do now is ride out the playoffs, get through the NCAA tournament, and then opening day will be here. And the Cubs will still suck. But at least there will be baseball.

Hang in there, John.

Peace.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

 

John Bolton's confirmation was once "inevitable" too.

I remember how the press was covering John Bolton: certain confirmation, Dems can't stop it, etc. And yet they did stop it, at least the confirming part, with a filibuster. The media wasn't nearly so enthusiastic about reporting that, either.

KGB went around the Senate with the recess appointment, but that isn't an option at this level, is it? The point is that CNN and the other media outlets who are pronouncing the Alito confirmation are a little ahead of themselves.

If the Dems want to fight this, as well they should, they need to stretch this out as much as they can. Remember, if the King had his way, Alito would already be hearing cases. And Sandra Day said she would serve until her successor was confirmed, so what's the rush?

THis needs to be not about abortion, or Vanguard, or the Concerned Alumi of Princeton. Those issues aren't selling to the public, not because they aren't good, but because the media will not spin them in a negative way. They still fear KGB too much.

No, the ONLY way this sinks in is if Alito is made into a lapdog for the executive branch. Whatever the president wants (as long as he's a republican, of course) is what Alito is ready to do. Tap your phones? Sure. Release your phone records to anyone who wants them? Why not? Send someone to Gitmo for protesting a speech? Shoot, I'll even pack their bags for them.

It's already clear that the Congress will not stop this president. And they will do whatever they have to do to keep both houses of Congress in their hands (see DeLay and the Texas redistricting for an example). Without the courts, we are in deep shit.

Ask yourself this question: would Alito ever write the words that Sandra Day did in the Hamdi case: " A state of war is not a blank check for executive power when it comes to the rights of the individual?" No, of course not. He'd pretend to look at everything in his judge's way, and set forth the side of freedoms and liberties as a teaser, but then BOOM! we're all going to be 10 year old girls who happen to be on the premises when a vague warrant is being carried out.

Alito is as phony as the day is long. And he needs to be demonized in ways a lot worse than he has been so far. Not personally, because his wife will start to cry again, and the Dems don't have the media savvy to cut through the pity that the media wouldheap upon her again. No, this has to be Sam Alito, who will be more than happy to give KGB and all future republican presidents EVERYTHING THEY WANT. I think Russ Feingold can make this case, but the other dems have to go where he leads them. And even if it looks like they won't succeed, they should push ahead anyway. It's that important.

Peace.

Friday, January 13, 2006

 

Coincidence? Not in my mind.

A thought just came to me about the Alito hearings. On the first day, when all of the senators made their statements and no questions were asked of the nominee, here's a little tidbit from the senator from South Carolina:

"If we don't watch the way we treat Judge Alito, we're going to drive good people away from the judiciary,"

This is before a single question had been asked. Is Senator telegraphing something here? Because two days later, just before the end of the day, Mrs. Alito chokes up at the suggestion her husband could be a bigot. And who made that accusation? Senator Kennedy? Or maybe Senator Schumer? Surely, Senator Durbin is just crazy enough to make that accusation. But no. It was actually Senator Graham of South Carolina! Imagine that!

So the senator who started the hearings off expressing his concern about the "treatment" of Alito is the one who utters the words that sends Mrs. Alito from the room. But it somehow gets pinned on the Democrats, because the Senator planted the seed two days earlier that the hearings would be rough.

I'm calling bullshit on that. This smells real bad. Especially since it was reported that Senator Graham, in a terrible ethical lapse, sat in on some of Judge Alito's preparation hearings. I'm no lawyer, and I'm certainly no senator, but if I had a lawsuit and I saw the other guy's attorney having lunch with the judge who would hear the case, I would think this is improper. And, even if it isn't, the appearance of it all is enough to undermine faith in the legal system in general.

Can I ever prove that senator Graham and Judge Alito's wife were in cahoots? Of course not. They wouldn't be that sloppy. But think about it like this: If my neighbor says there's a chance my house will burn down, and then my house does burn down two days later, am I wrong to wonder what my neighbor's earlier comment was all about? I don't think so.

Peace.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

 

This is unbelievable.

Apparently KGB is inviting the military to smear John Murtha. A 37-year, decorated war veteran and obvious patriot, and a longtime champion of the militery in Congress, being smeared by the original Fortunate Son. Any military man who takes this bait does not represent the country I grew up in. Neither does he, actually, but that doesn't seem to bother as many people as it should.

Here's the link:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2006/01/12/bush-admin-launched-secr_n_13713.html

Oh when will this national nightmare end??

Peace.

 

One day closer to Friday.

There apparently was no mention of Alito's name in the CAP records. Doesn't change my opinion that he should be filibustered, either.

Funny how it was Lindsey Graham, who I'm disliking more and more as this goes on, who said the word "Bigot" thet drove Mrs. Alito to tears. The Dems didn't say that word or make that accusation. The Republicans did. And he's the one saying we have to be careful how nominees are treated. I can think thoughts about people and still hold my tongue. Thoughts aren't enough to drive anybody to tears. But when Lindsey Graham throws that word out, even when it's an attempt to make the Democrats look bad, then he's the one at fault. He should hold his tongue a little better than he did.

Schumer, Durbin, Feingold, Kennedy, et al. did not say, or even suggest, that Alito is a bigot. Let's remind everyone of this fact.

Peace.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

 

A Tremendous read.

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060130/holtzman

With this, the ball has been set into motion.

Peace.

 

My only post of the day.

Not like anyone reads this, but at least it gives me some outlet for all the thoughts running around inside my head.

The Alito hearings got interesting for about 5 minutes today. The whole CAP group that Alito says he can't remember bubbled over very briefly. Beyond that, not too much was interesting. Wolf Blitzer tried to get Schumer to agree it was a done deal, but Schumer was having non of it. Either the filibuster happens, and the nuclear thing, and it all gets ugly, or the Dems roll over. Again. If they do that, then the Republicans really have taken over everything.

I'll say again that Alito does not give a damn about you or me. He got his, and screw anyone else who isn't as fortunate. If the CAP records reveal any sort of lies Alito may have told, it will get really interesting. He doesn't look like a liar, but he does strike me as someone who says whatever is most convenient for him, whether it's the truth or not.

If you doubt what I'm saying, consider this: He could recall some minute details about cases decided 100 years ago, but he can't recall what groups he actually belonged to in the 1980s? Please. At some point between his 1985 application and a 1990 application for some other job, the CAP membership went away. POOF! Sammy conveniently cleared his memory of the whole thing, until it turned up in the Reagan Library papers 15 years later. Whoever was assigned to scrub the records before his confirmation missed that one. Whoops!

In unrelated matters, The Sun-Times called out the 2006 Cubs today. The Tribune won't do it, because they own the team, but everyone else knows this team is woefully undermanned for the upcoming season. Will they be out of it by July 4th? I think so. They were last season, weren't they?

Peace.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

 

Congratulations Bruce Sutter

That's 2 Cubs players in 2 years to get in (3 in three years if you count Dennis Eckersly, which I don't). Hopefully Hawk's day will come soon.

I listened to some of the Alito questioning today. Lindsey Graham is batshit crazy. Going on and on about war and enemy combatants and all. Hey, Senator, the phrase didn't exist until KGB and evil Dick came along. At one point, Alito referenced the Civil War, and old military Graham said "Let's not go back that far." Yeah, you know why? Because your state (South Carolina) started it. You represent a state that actually took up arms against this country! So don't get all sanctimonious about the military, bub.

My senator, Dick Durbin, is leading off tomorrow. He went after Alito more than the others, I thought, in the opening statements, so we'll see what happens. I wonder if he'll go back to the recent mine disaster and lay it at Alito's feet somehow. That could get interesting. And I think Schumer could be laying the groundwork to call for a filibuster. As mild-mannered as Alito is coming across, he's dangerous and needs to be stopped. A CAP bombshell would be nice, but I'm sure the wingers have gone back and scrubbed everything by now. Still, the truth always comes out, doesn't it?

Here's my revised Cubs rant, which I'm going to post on a Cubs board or two before this weekend's Convention. Fine tuned a bit, but the message is still the same.

This is it?

Are the 2006 Chicago Cubs now in place? No other players to add, no other trades to make, nothing? Simply put, it’s not good enough.

Trading Corey Patterson, and adding Jacque Jones in right field, Juan Pierre in center, two middle relievers and John Mabry is not marked improvement over last year. In fact, speaking strictly in terms of player salaries, it’s a large step backward. The Jones signing finally completed filling in the $8.25 million that Nomar received (and can we now admit that trade was a bust?) and some of what Burnitz was paid. I may be only a fan, but I can tell you that the way to improve a 79 win team is not to spend less on player salaries.

And then there’s Sammy’s money. All $15 million dollars plus. Where did it go? Last year it went to Baltimore, because the fans were never going to take him back after he ran out on the team. I understand that. But that’s over now. Where does all that money go for next season? Apparently into the new bleacher seats, which will not help if winning a championship is on the to do list for the foreseeable future.

Misery loves company. And the Cubs’ misery was shared, for way too many years, by the White Sox and the Red Sox. Now, in the course of two seasons, that’s all changed. So why is there no urgency to address this? Jacque Jones, Juan Pierre and the others do not say “urgency” to me.

I’ll give you an example of what I mean by urgency. After the 2002 season, Jim Thome was a free agent. All those stellar years in Cleveland proved that he was a premier player. He’ll be a Hall of Famer some day. And even though he was commanding a high salary, the Tribune has the resources to write a big enough check to get him. I even remember talk of the “home town discount” he would give in order to play for the team he grew up rooting for.

The reason the Cubs didn’t want him is because they were convinced that Hee Seop Choi was good enough at first base. So Thome followed the money and signed with Philadelphia. They rolled the dice. That says urgency to me.

So what happened in 2003, Thome’s first season in Philadelphia? He hit 47 home runs and drove in 131 runs. Adding those numbers to the 2003 team means the Marlins do not clinch the pennant at Wrigley. Steve Bartman and all the other fans with tickets for Game 6 would have needed ticket refunds instead.

And what did Hee Seop Choi do that year? After that scary incident in the Yankees game, where he was taken off the field in an ambulance, he was never really a factor. He had just 43 at-bats after the All-Star break that year, and batted a dismal .140. The acquisition of Derrick Lee after the 2003 season was a clear admission that Choi wasn’t the answer the organization thought he would be.

Lee’s a very good player, maybe even a great player in the making, but the only reason he came to our attention in the first place was because of what the Marlins were able to accomplish that year. And they accomplished it, in large part, because the Cubs (meaning Jim Hendry) let Thome get away.

I have been hearing that Jim Hendry will get a contract extension, and then Dusty Baker will get his extension, and all will be good on the North Side. But not in my mind, it won’t. One division title, one playoff berth, and no pennants (which, thanks to the White Sox, is where the bar will be set for the foreseeable future) is not enough to show after three years of Hendry/Baker.

The Mets and Dodgers are adding players like they have the urgency. And both of them have already won championships during the Tribune’s era of futility (now at 23 seasons and counting). The Cubs, on the other hand, are content to upgrade the ballpark. That’s where their bread is buttered, after all.

Not buying tickets for any home games next year is all I can do to say “enough.” By continuing to flock to the park, Cubs fans are feeding the beast that is the Tribune’s lack of interest in winning. They will deny this, of course, but what has Jacque Jones ever won? Or what about Dusty Baker? He burned out the Cubs’ pitching staff when he came here in 2003, and hasn’t had a whiff of anything since. I would not be surprised if Joe Girardi wins a World Series as a manager before Dusty Baker does.

If something should happen next year and the Cubs start winning, I’ll become a bandwagon jumper for the first time. But this team won’t win the way it is now. And, upon minimal reflection, anyone who knows baseball can see that.

Peace.

 

God Bless America

I don't like the way one group of people in this country (i.e. the people who see the world differently than me) have taken the flag and patriotic songs and tried to make them their own private brand. Nobody loves this country more than I do. And Bush, Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, and all of the crazy people they represent, are more dangerous to America than I ever would be.

I feel much better now.

Peace.

Monday, January 09, 2006

 

Hall of Fame results announced today.

Here's a plug for my two favorite Cubs players (and I've been a fan for many, many years): Bruce Sutter and Andre Dawson. I was happy when Ryne Sandberg made it last year, but these two guys also deserve it.

Sutter was absolutely unhittable in 1977 (look at the stats for that year if you don't believe me) and overall he had a solid career (even after he was traded to the Cardinals by the very short-sighted Wrigley people). Bruce Sutter and Jack Brickhouse and Lou Boudreau and Wrigley Field before lights. Those were the days!

Andre Dawson. Where to begin? The first time I ever sat in the bleachers at Wrigley was his first season with the Cubs. Just watching him play catch between innings was impressive. He had a cannon for an arm, and played the game with everything he had, which in Montreal was enough to ruin his knees. But he played 6 seasons in Chicago after that, and 4 other seasons in other places. If you ever saw the Sammy salaam where people would bow to Sosa in reverence, that was actually carried over from Andre Dawson. When they had Andre Dawson day at Wrigley in his last season in Baseball, I skipped work, got a bleacher ticket, and was out there in right field to wish him well. Somebody had a sign that day that said "Thanks Hawk. See you in Cooperstown." Maybe tomorrow will be the day for it.

Peace.

 

DeLay must have known he was going to lose.

The timing on this to just too coincidental to actually BE coincidental. DeLay steps down from his leadership post on Saturday, and then on Monday we learn that the charges against him in Texas (for money laundering, not Abramoff) are not being thrown out?

Think about the other alternative. Let's say DeLay steps down on Saturday, and then today the charges do get thrown out (after all, isn't that why the House is not in session right now? To buy time for DeLay?). Would DeLay jump back in and say "nevermind, I want my old position back"? Not very likely.

No, I think someone tipped DeLay off (who did it, I will never know) so that he could at least appear to be noble before the hammer fell (a bad pun, I know). It makes it look like he jumped, rather than getting pushed. But it's reasonable to ask if he had some way of knowing the push was coming first. My point is that he wouldn't just jump on his own.

Peace.

 

Alito, day 1

I know that the action hasn't happened yet, but Leahy, Kennedy, et al. are going to rip into Alito. Especially Schumer and Durbin. I can't wait. He's just a humble guy from Jersey, blah, blah, blah. Bullshit. He wants nothing more than to serve the corporate masters who are nominating him. Does he give a damn about me (or, if anyone is reading this, about you?) Not likely.

Funny how the republicans are trying to avoid the name Harriet Miers. If any of them used her name, I sure missed it.But one of the Dems (maybe it was Biden) made it very clear that she did not get the "up or down vote" they harp about so much. And they are prepared to take it out on Alito. As well they should.It's fillibuster or go home time for the Dems. But rough him up first.

And Corey Patterson was traded today. Addition by subtraction if there ever was such a thing. Jim Hendry thinks he's done now. But he's wrong.

Peace.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

 

Barack Obama for President

I've thought this ever since I read his book--Dreams from My Father--last spring. Listening to his podcasts have reaffirmed it. They're all worth a listen, but he hasn't done one since mid-December, so hopefully the NSA spying, the Abramoff story, Alito hearings and the rest will be addressed in a new one soon.

What a breath of fresh air he would be after this current clown.

Peace.

 

A new post, and all of the old ones.

Jusi in case any human is reading these.


The Chronic-What?-Culls of Narnia
Just watched it for the 20th time (give or take. It's not like I count). Funny stuff. The old SNL stuff is a gold mine when they put it on iTunes. My all time favorite is Jackie Rodger's Jr's $100,000 Jackpod wad. Billy Crystal as Sammy Davis Jr, Jim Belushi as Captain Kangaroo (HE INTRODUCES THE ACTS!!) and Martin Short as Jackie. Just the thought of it must be giving Rajiv a chubby.My Northwestern Wildcats are 2-0 and on top of the Big Ten in basketball. Better say that while I can, because it won't be for long.Hope lots of people saw Dr. Howard Dean beat up on Wolf Blitzer today. Here's the link:www.canofun.com/blog/videos/2006/DeanAbramoffDemocrats.asx(Thanks to Canofun)Peace.
posted by Aloha Spicoli @ 1:59 PM 0 comments
Thursday, January 05, 2006



R.I.P. Blog in Horto
If anyone reads this, which I frankly doubt, Blog in Horto is no more (and no, that isn't code for anything). For reasons which even I don't understand, I was thinking about a scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High at work today. It was the scene where Mr. Hand (BTW, thank God Fred Gwynn turned down that role) was at Spicoli's house. Spicoli says "If we don't get some cool rules of our own, pronto, we'll just be bogus too." and Mr. Hand says "that's very close, Jeff." Then Spicoli finds out he is passing the class, and tells him "Aloha, Mr. Hand." and Mr. Hand, after pausing for just a moment, replies "Aloha, Spicoli." Catchy on some weird level. And if anyone else has thought to name their blog or their online identity after this scene, then good for them too. This blog is far more obscure than they would ever want to be.Anyway, I'm a big Cubs fan, and this is a rant I wrote about a week or so ago. Enjoy (if that's the right word for it.Is this it?I know Jim Hendry does not have to answer this question, at least not from me, but I’m asking it anyway. Thirty years of my loyalty, devotion, and money have given me the right to at least ask the question.So I’ll repeat it again: Is this it? Are the 2006 Chicago Cubs now in place? No other players to add, no other trades to make, nothing? Because, if it is, it’s not good enough.Adding Jacque Jones in right field, Juan Pierre in center, Marquis Grissom to do who knows what, two middle relievers and John Mabry is not marked improvement over last year. In fact, speaking strictly in terms of player salaries, it’s a large step backward. The Jones signing finally completed filling in the $8.25 million that Nomar received (and can we now admit that trade was a bust?) and some of what Burnitz was paid. I may be only a fan, but I can tell you that the way to improve a 79 win team is not to spend less on player salaries.And then there’s Sammy’s money. Where did it go? Last year it went to Baltimore, because the fans were never going to take him back after he ran out on the team. I recognize that. But that’s over now. Where does all that money go for next season? Apparently into the new bleacher seats, which will not help if winning a championship is on the to do list for the foreseeable future. Maybe Miguel Tejada will be the “big name” to replace Sammy. That’s a win-win for the Tribune, since not only will they have to pay Tejada less than Sammy made last year, but they would also get to unload Mark Prior’s salary (or maybe Carlos Zambrano’s) to boot. That deal, if it happens, will add millions to someone’s coffers. But would it really improve the team? How does a franchise celebrate an entire century without winning it all at least once? I get the feeling we’re going to find out soon. This team, as presently configured, will win no more than 85 games next season. A winning season may be enough to improve what must be an already fat bottom line for the Tribune, but it is not enough to keep people coming to the park forever.Misery loves company. And the Cubs’ misery was shared, for way too many years, by the White Sox and the Red Sox. Now, in the course of two seasons, that’s all changed. So why is there no urgency to address this? Jacque Jones, Juan Pierre and the others do not say “urgency” to me.I’ll give you an example of what I mean by urgency. After the 2002 season, Jim Thome was a free agent. All those stellar years in Cleveland proved that he was a premier player. He’ll be a Hall of Famer some day. And even though he was commanding a high salary, the Tribune has the resources to write a big enough check to get him. I even remember talk of the “home town discount” he would give in order to play for the team he grew up rooting for.The reason the Cubs didn’t want him is because they were convinced that Hee Seop Choi was good enough at first base. So Thome followed the money and signed with Philadelphia. They rolled the dice. That says urgency to me.So what happened in 2003, Thome’s first season in Philadelphia? He hit 47 home runs and drove in 131 runs. Adding those numbers to the 2003 team means the Marlins do not clinch the pennant at Wrigley. That series would have been over in five games. Steve Bartman and all the other fans would have needed ticket refunds instead. And what did Hee Seop Choi do that year? I remember he got hurt in the Yankees game in June, taken off the field in an ambulance, and was never really heard from again. When the Cubs went out and got Derrick Lee after the 2003 fiasco was over, wasn’t that an admission that Choi wasn’t the answer they thought he would be?Lee’s a very good player, maybe even a great player in the making, but the only reason he came to our attention in the first place was because of what the Marlins were able to accomplish that year. And they accomplished it, in large part, because the Cubs (meaning Jim Hendry) let Thome get away.I have been hearing that Jim Hendry will get a contract extension, and then Dusty Baker will get his extension, and all will be good on the North Side. But not in my mind, it won’t. One division title, one playoff berth, and no pennants (which, thanks to the White Sox, is where the bar will be set for the foreseeable future) is not enough to show after three years of Hendry/Baker.The Mets and Dodgers are adding players like they have the urgency. And both of them have already won championships during the Tribune’s era of futility (now at 23 seasons and counting). The Cubs, on the other hand, are content to upgrade the ballpark. That’s where their bread is buttered, after all.And I count myself as one of the butterers. True, I’ve never had season tickets, so perhaps I’ve buttered less than others have. But I’ve been to at least one game each season, and usually many more than that, over the past two decades. I’ve been to over a hundred games at Wrigley, and each game has stories and memories I’ll always cherish. But that’s about to change for me.I’m just one fan, and I fully understand that someone else will buy the tickets instead of me. But, if I’m feeling this way, I have to believe there are others who are having similar doubts about this organization and what their priorities really are.I won’t quit being a Cubs fan, and I certainly won’t become a White Sox fan either. But I have to say that adding Thome , re-signing Paul Konerko and acquiring Javier Vazquez have impressed me far more than any of the Cubs’ moves have. One title doesn’t seem to be enough for them, and I like to see that.But not going to any games next year is all I can do to say “enough.” By continuing to flock to the park, Cubs fans are feeding the beast that is the Tribune’s lack of interest in winning. They will deny this, of course, but what has Jacque Jones ever won? Or what about Dusty Baker? He gave away the World Series against the Angels in 2002, burned out the Cubs’ pitching staff when he came here in 2003, and hasn’t had a whiff of anything since. I would not be surprised if Joe Girardi wins a World Series as a manager before Dusty Baker does.If something should happen next year and the Cubs start winning, I’ll become one of the bandwagon jumpers that I dislike so much. But the team won’t win the way it is now. And, upon minimal reflection, anyone who knows baseball can see that.
posted by Aloha Spicoli @ 9:43 PM 0 comments

Alito scares me
The article in today's Wall Street Journal suggests he thinks the president has more authority than the other 2 branches of government. It's called unitarism (sounds like a religion or a cult to me).Does this theory also apply to predidents who happen to be Democrats? Would he, if he got on the court, roll over for any old president, or only the ones he agrees with? Let's hope some Senators have the stones to ask him that.I'll post the link once I find it. More to come later.
posted by Aloha Spicoli @ 6:27 PM 0 comments
Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Rose Bowl just ended.....
Texas won the game, so good for them! Even though the worst thing I can think of came from Texas (actually he came from Connecticut, but he doesn't want you to know that), there are some good things about Texas.Molly IvinsStevie Ray VaughnZZ Top (well, maybe that's a stretch)The Riverwalk in San AntonioBut the bad things, like 2 presidents who embroiled the country in endless and senseless wars and the murder of another president in Dealay Plaza and Tom DeLay and John Cornyn and especially Kay Baily Yuck, seem to outweigh the good. But anytime one team keeps on winning and winning and winning like USC did, rooting for that team to lose seems like a duty. Except when Jordan was with the Bulls, that is.Anyway, this post is to call your attention to a story that Reuters ran today, and MSNBC picked up. Here's the link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10707630/. If Congress is going to fight for the Patriot Act and permanent tax cuts for those who don't need them, but will refuse to reopen the Kennedy assassination, then they deserve all the dishonor we can heap on them. Murder has no statute of limitations. And if Castro had anything at all to do with it, we know where to find him. I'm not rah-rah military by any stretch, but if Castro had JFK killed, even if it happened years before I was born, he needs to be captured and he needs to be put on trial. It won't happen, because this country is so fucked up sometimes, but it should. It needs to.
posted by Aloha Spicoli @ 11:34 PM 0 comments

Here's how I see it.
Thanks for finding the blog I created. So much is going on in the world, and there's so little time to reflect on it. The name of the blog is a tribute to the city I love, Chicago, IL, USA. The city motto is "Urbs in Horto," which is Latin for "City in a Garden." Am I blogging in a garden? Not really, but hopefully you get the point.If you missed the beat down of Bill O'Reilly on David Letterman's show last night, here it is:http://onegoodmove.org/1gm/O'Reilly had it coming to him. The way he treats the people who come on his show is horrible. Letterman gave him a dose of his own medicine.O'Reilly's medium--television--has turned the USA into a nation of fat, lazy consumers who accept whatever is told to them. Hopefully the internet and the blogs can set it free.That's it for now. Hopefully I'll be back soon with more.
posted by Aloha Spicoli @ 7:35 PM 0 comments

 

A new day

Looks like another spring day--in early January. How screwy is that?

Frank Rich has a piece in the NY Times today. Here's a link to a summary, but you need a subscription to read the whole thing:

http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Rich_White_House_outrage_over_wiretap_0107.html

He has the drop on KGB, though. If showtime could run a show indicating NSA wiretapping was going on, then other people had to know about it too.

The theory Rich presents is that something far worse was being done, such as maybe wiretapping journalists and political enemies in this country. Or that the "American to American" spying was more than just an accidental thing. That would't surprise me at all. Rich says whatever it is, it will come out eventually. Let's hope he's right about that.

Tom DeLay will not be back as the House Majority leader (certainly a good thing) but there could be a reason for that. The Patriot Act expires just a couple of days after the House comes back at the end of the month. Maybe that short window has something to do with forcing DeLay out. If anyone thinks he WANTED to step down, they're fooling themselves. If all the focus is on DeLay, my theory goes, the Patriot Act extension gets sidetracked, causing some parts of it to expire. And the KGB crowd REALLY wants their Patriot Act. So out with DeLay, and problem solved, right? Maybe not. Hopefully not.

Bring 'em all down. Anyone who took Abramoff's money or ate at his restaurant, or traded the political process for a campaign contribution. They were not sent to Washington to sell the system like that. I'd rather have some guy who knows right from wrong than some guy who lines his pockets. So would most people, if they thought about it. But just getting by and making ends meet is hard enough. Who has the inclination to clean up all this shit too?

Peace.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

 

This pdf says it all.

http://bushcheated04.com/impeach.pdf

Think I'm going to print it out and copy a few hundred. We'll see where they end up.

Peace.

 

Alito hearings begin on Monday.

The philosophy of this man is clearly defined at this point. He can try the Clarence Thomas defense of "I can't comment on that because I may have to agree with Scalia, er, rule on that issue one day," but he has enough of a paper trail to know what he thinks.

The whole Concerned Princeton Alumni group he was in a long time ago, which opposed women and minorities being given the same educational opportunities that he had, is bad enough. But to pretend you weren't in it, or claim that you just "forgot" about it when the truth comes out? That's bullshit. That shows me he is inherently dishonest.

Further, the stuff he wrote when he was Reagan's legal eagle, many years ago, is fair game and should be examined. People become more conservative as they get older (which makes sense, I suppose), not less conservative. And if you're conservative in your 30s because you think that's how you get ahead, you don't drop that as you get older. You move more toward the powers you are serving, in the hope that you become one yourself. And now, as he is poised to become one of the powers he has spent so long serving, he cannot claim that he has an open mind on anything. And to suggest otherwise is insulting.

Finally, the notion that the president has "unitary powers" which trump the other branches of government is fine when you are the president, but if the other branches also come to share this belief, then we may as well declare fascism and be done with it. I want somebody on the Supreme Court, the last word on anything that matters in this country, to think that they have an obligation to step on the president's toes whenever they go too far. And if you don't think KGB has gone too far, you aren't paying attention.

Alito must be defeated. The docile congress will NOT (repeat, NOT) vote him down. He must be filibustered.

Peace.

 

Don't tell me there's no global warming.

I'm doing spring cleaning stuff (raking dead leaves, etc.) today. Any other year, I'd be happy if I could do this on March 7 (I live in Chicago, after all).

But doing it on January 7 tells me something is wrong. I hate winters, and I'll be glad if this one is mild, but on the flipside I don't want 120 degrees in July to become the norm. Especially living in a brick house with no central air.

One of Michael Moore's books pointed out that, although we like warm days in the middle of winter, it's about as natural as the sun rising in the west. So although the warm weather today is nice, I'm not going to revel in it.

Peace.

 

They didn't see it coming.

http://go.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=entertainmentNews&storyID=10779322&src=rss/Entertainment

Unbelievable. Anyone with half a brain could have seen Iraqi resistance to an outside occupier. Disbanding the Iraqi army led directly to this current problem of recruiting and training of Iraqis. This fool (Bremer) and the others need to be put on trial and locked away.

And now he wants us to buy a book about his experiences? Donate a copy to all of the dead and wounded soldiers (if they even print that many copies) and see what they think about him.

Peace.

Friday, January 06, 2006

 

R.I.P. Lou Rawls

What a voice. And a Chicago guy, too. He had a gift and he used it. Never bought any of his work or saw him live, but I have gained a new appreciation of his talent. He sang the "Imagination" song from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and my daughters love it. Maybe I do too.

Peace.

 

Friday--Always a good thing.

I love to see all the Republicans squirming today. They were the ones who conned the public into believing the Democrats were corrupt and they were the "reformers." Turns out they were even more corrupt. Switching back to the Democrats won't be any better, though. What is the answer? Damned if I know. But if you're a Republican and you support all these people, YOU ARE A MORON.

Here's a few good words from Howard Dean on Alito. Well worth a read.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06005/632725.stm

Thursday, January 05, 2006

 

A fun little word-Harrasturbator

Harrasturbator:Noun. 1) Any person who uses another person against their will for purposes of sexual self-gratification. 2) Dysfunctional sex criminal, rapist. 3) Obscene phone caller, exhibitionist, or person who rubs themself against others on a bus. 4) Colloquial: Impotent, angry man, object of intense derision.

The word is not one that I can take credit for. But it's funny anyway. The catch is that it has to be used to describe Bill O'Reilly. He has an enemies list, so using this just might get you on it. Please let me be on the list.....

 

First post on the new blog

The one I created yesterday, Blog in Horto, was my first one, and I already decided that name was lame. So here's a new one. Let's hope it lasts a bit longer than the first one did.

Here's a repost of my Cubs ruminations from the last BIH post. Enjoy.

Is this it?

I know Jim Hendry does not have to answer this question, at least not from me, but I’m asking it anyway. Thirty years of my loyalty, devotion, and money have given me the right to at least ask the question.

So I’ll repeat it again: Is this it? Are the 2006 Chicago Cubs now in place? No other players to add, no other trades to make, nothing? Because, if it is, it’s not good enough.

Adding Jacque Jones in right field, Juan Pierre in center, Marquis Grissom to do who knows what, two middle relievers and John Mabry is not marked improvement over last year. In fact, speaking strictly in terms of player salaries, it’s a large step backward. The Jones signing finally completed filling in the $8.25 million that Nomar received (and can we now admit that trade was a bust?) and some of what Burnitz was paid. I may be only a fan, but I can tell you that the way to improve a 79 win team is not to spend less on player salaries.

And then there’s Sammy’s money. Where did it go? Last year it went to Baltimore, because the fans were never going to take him back after he ran out on the team. I recognize that. But that’s over now. Where does all that money go for next season? Apparently into the new bleacher seats, which will not help if winning a championship is on the to do list for the foreseeable future.

Maybe Miguel Tejada will be the “big name” to replace Sammy. That’s a win-win for the Tribune, since not only will they have to pay Tejada less than Sammy made last year, but they would also get to unload Mark Prior’s salary (or maybe Carlos Zambrano’s) to boot. That deal, if it happens, will add millions to someone’s coffers. But would it really improve the team?

How does a franchise celebrate an entire century without winning it all at least once? I get the feeling we’re going to find out soon. This team, as presently configured, will win no more than 85 games next season. A winning season may be enough to improve what must be an already fat bottom line for the Tribune, but it is not enough to keep people coming to the park forever.

Misery loves company. And the Cubs’ misery was shared, for way too many years, by the White Sox and the Red Sox. Now, in the course of two seasons, that’s all changed. So why is there no urgency to address this? Jacque Jones, Juan Pierre and the others do not say “urgency” to me.

I’ll give you an example of what I mean by urgency. After the 2002 season, Jim Thome was a free agent. All those stellar years in Cleveland proved that he was a premier player. He’ll be a Hall of Famer some day. And even though he was commanding a high salary, the Tribune has the resources to write a big enough check to get him. I even remember talk of the “home town discount” he would give in order to play for the team he grew up rooting for.

The reason the Cubs didn’t want him is because they were convinced that Hee Seop Choi was good enough at first base. So Thome followed the money and signed with Philadelphia. They rolled the dice. That says urgency to me.

So what happened in 2003, Thome’s first season in Philadelphia? He hit 47 home runs and drove in 131 runs. Adding those numbers to the 2003 team means the Marlins do not clinch the pennant at Wrigley. That series would have been over in five games. Steve Bartman and all the other fans would have needed ticket refunds instead.

And what did Hee Seop Choi do that year? I remember he got hurt in the Yankees game in June, taken off the field in an ambulance, and was never really heard from again. When the Cubs went out and got Derrick Lee after the 2003 fiasco was over, wasn’t that an admission that Choi wasn’t the answer they thought he would be?

Lee’s a very good player, maybe even a great player in the making, but the only reason he came to our attention in the first place was because of what the Marlins were able to accomplish that year. And they accomplished it, in large part, because the Cubs (meaning Jim Hendry) let Thome get away.

I have been hearing that Jim Hendry will get a contract extension, and then Dusty Baker will get his extension, and all will be good on the North Side. But not in my mind, it won’t. One division title, one playoff berth, and no pennants (which, thanks to the White Sox, is where the bar will be set for the foreseeable future) is not enough to show after three years of Hendry/Baker.

The Mets and Dodgers are adding players like they have the urgency. And both of them have already won championships during the Tribune’s era of futility (now at 23 seasons and counting). The Cubs, on the other hand, are content to upgrade the ballpark. That’s where their bread is buttered, after all.

And I count myself as one of the butterers. True, I’ve never had season tickets, so perhaps I’ve buttered less than others have. But I’ve been to at least one game each season, and usually many more than that, over the past two decades. I’ve been to over a hundred games at Wrigley, and each game has stories and memories I’ll always cherish. But that’s about to change for me.

I’m just one fan, and I fully understand that someone else will buy the tickets instead of me. But, if I’m feeling this way, I have to believe there are others who are having similar doubts about this organization and what their priorities really are.

I won’t quit being a Cubs fan, and I certainly won’t become a White Sox fan either. But I have to say that adding Thome , re-signing Paul Konerko and acquiring Javier Vazquez have impressed me far more than any of the Cubs’ moves have. One title doesn’t seem to be enough for them, and I like to see that.

But not going to any games next year is all I can do to say “enough.” By continuing to flock to the park, Cubs fans are feeding the beast that is the Tribune’s lack of interest in winning. They will deny this, of course, but what has Jacque Jones ever won? Or what about Dusty Baker? He gave away the World Series against the Angels in 2002, burned out the Cubs’ pitching staff when he came here in 2003, and hasn’t had a whiff of anything since. I would not be surprised if Joe Girardi wins a World Series as a manager before Dusty Baker does.

If something should happen next year and the Cubs start winning, I’ll become one of the bandwagon jumpers that I dislike so much. But the team won’t win the way it is now. And, upon minimal reflection, anyone who knows baseball can see that.


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