Thursday, May 26, 2011

Que Sarah, Sarah

So Sarah Palin says she has the "fire in my belly" to make a run for president in 2012.

That's funny, because I also get a sensation in my belly at the thought of Palin as president, though I somehow doubt it's the same as hers.

Actually, bring it, Sarah; a Palin campaign would be a carnival like few we've seen in recent presidential election years.

How fun it would be to hear what she says next. There'd be thrills and chills and spills. You wouldn't be able to look away, while the "Palin for President" show tours the country, the star speaking to us from the back of its caboose.

At least a snake oil salesman has snake oil to cure whatever ails you. Palin is all talk and no solutions. Her snake oil seems to be nothing more than placebo.

She says she wants to "preserve what is good for America."

If that doesn't sound like the usual "I'm more American than you" blather that the folks on the right incessantly spout, then I don't know what does.

Sarah Palin is an attractive woman, no question. She would not only be our first female president, but also the first real eye-grabber since John Kennedy. President Obama isn't a dog, either, but Palin's looks are sizzling. My opinion.

But sooner or later, you see, you have to stand for something when you run for president. And this is where Sarah falls woefully short of the smell test.

It's oh-so-easy to rail against folks, but sooner or later you have to offer up what you would do in their stead.

Palin, to me, only stands against things. Yes, she makes cornpone sound bites like the one I cited above. But tell me, what does Sarah Palin truly stand for? Better yet, what is her vision? What is her foreign policy agenda? What does she want to accomplish in her First 100 Days?

Where does she want to take the country? What's her plan for Medicare? For Social Security? For handling North Korea? How would she continue to stimulate a sluggish economy? How would she create jobs? What are her views on energy? What plans does she have for fixing our education system?

To name a few.

Come on in, Sarah! The water's fine!

We don't really know her views on any of the above; certainly, we haven't heard her game plans for any of them.

Sarah Palin's supporters, I believe, like the idea of Sarah Palin. They look at her as the anti-Obama, which is true.

But cut a little deeper---say, one layer will do it---and they'll find that Palin has no substance. Not to mention she's an intellectual lightweight that we haven't seen the likes of since Dan Quayle---or maybe George W. Bush.

Regardless, Palin is eye candy and little more. We can all blame John McCain for this, by the way. Had he not made the inexplicable decision to pluck her as his VP candidate in 2008, Palin would still be harmlessly roving Alaska.

And as for this "fire in her belly"?

"It's a matter for me for some practical, pragmatic decisions that have to be made," Palin said on FOX News last week.

What's the over/under as to whether she even knows what "pragmatic" means?

I'm not suggesting that Sarah Palin is a dumb blonde.

Last I checked, she's brunette.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thad Guy McCotter!

Imagine, a kid from Livonia, my hometown, growing up to be president!

No, not talking about me. My political aspirations don't even extend to school board.

I'm talking about Thad McCotter, the Republican House member who is, according to reports, putting together exploratory committees and other things that would-be presidential candidates do about eight months before the primaries.

McCotter plays electric guitar, quotes from Led Zeppelin lyrics, and is in his fifth two-year Congressional term. He would be the first president born after me, which should either make me feel old or wise.

McCotter plans to formally make his announcement in two weeks, according to POLITICO.

Never mind that Thad would be a virtual unknown, because if there ever was a time to enter the fray as an unknown Republican, it's now.

Clinton had his sax, and McCotter might take his licks, too

In a race where "No, not him" and "No, not HER" are the two leading GOP candidates, the Republicans, who badly need new blood at the top of their political totem pole, might be best served to prop up someone like McCotter, who's been praised a few times over at FOX, by people like conservative columnist S.E. Cupp.

McCotter has some moderate in him, and appears as a peacemaker when it comes to labor-management disputes, as opposed to staunchly in favor of one or the other.

Besides, it doesn't look like President Obama can be had; the prez is gaining momentum and as we saw in 2008, he's a marvelous campaigner.

So why not put someone like McCotter at the forefront and see what kind of support someone of his ilk can garner? Yeah, it might be like waving a white flag, but if it helps the GOP cause in 2016, when they won't be running against a sitting president, then what do they have to lose?

Besides the presidency, of course, but they may not be able to snatch that anyhow.

Thad McCotter, Livonia kid made good.

Talk about showing the rest of us up.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

One Man Band

Dave Bing reminds me of the beleaguered high school teacher who is all fired up about his subject, but his students just stare at him, glassy-eyed, not knowing what to make of him, and certainly not jazzed up to share his enthusiasm---even if what the teacher is imparting is invaluable to their well-being.

Bing, the mayor of Detroit, seems, on many occasions, to be the only one miffed at what's going on around him. His populace suffers from social inertia.

When, oh when, will the city's residents stand up and scream that they're not going to take it anymore?

Not going to stand for the corruption and the violence and the misuse of their hard-earned tax dollars?

Not going to put up with lousy city services and response times from emergency vehicles and the police that are obscene?

The latest malfeasance is the misuse of funds at the Human Services Department, in which about $200,000 that was earmarked for helping the poor instead went to furniture purchases.

The mayor has suspended the department's director and several staff members, part of his promise to usher in sweeping changes to crack down on decades of corruption.

That's all well and good, but Bing seems to be a party of one here.

Bing: A lone wolf?

Where's the outrage? Where are the advocates for the people, demanding these changes long before the mayor made them?

Is $200K just a drop in the bucket?

Detroiters apparently don't care about their city anymore. Their inertia, to me, is the ultimate white flag. Perhaps their spirit truly is broken. They are desensitized---their eyes collectively soulless.

The Human Services Department spends $200,000 on furniture instead of on the poor and no one says boo. Who knows how much that kind of stuff had gone on before it was uncovered by a Detroit Free Press investigation last week.

Is anyone going to join Mayor Bing in his watchdog ways?

We'll see what other "sweeping changes" the mayor plans in his fight against corruption. We'll also see who joins him in his outrage.

So far, I'm unimpressed. And not surprised. I wonder which is worse.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Isle of Newt

Already, Newt Gingrich is being described by some in the media as the "embattled" GOP presidential candidate. And this is some 18 months before the election.

It gets worse for Newt, as some are going even further, and changing the word "embattled" to "former."

Newt's fledgling candidacy seems to have the aerodynamics of a lead balloon.

The razor-tongued Gingrich has been praised by supporters for his "honesty" and refusal to pull punches. Looks like that punching bag just snapped back and caught Newt square in the jaw.

Gingrich has been an equal opportunity offender of the right, cutting a swath from Rush Limbaugh to Paul Ryan and many people in between. Newt is becoming an island of one.

On Sunday, fresh off his announcement of his candidacy, Gingrich described the House GOP's plan for Medicare "right wing social engineering," while at the same time being a proponent of individual mandates in health care---which is just the sort of thing that his fellow Republicans couldn't stand about President Obama's plan.

Before those comments, he made a flippant one about Detroit, which was deemed racist, because it had to do with food stamps.

"We don't want all our cities to be Detroit," Newt said, as I barely paraphrase.

Before he contracted hoof-in-mouth disease, Gingrich was already going to have to deal with assassination attempts on his character and charges of hypocrisy, as it turns out that at the same time he was leading the pitchforks and torches against President Clinton's sexual misdeeds, Newt was engaging in dalliances of his own.

Of course, Newt says he has "made peace" with God and his family, and he's a better person now. Funny how an apology is good enough for the accuser, when he's under fire, but not sufficient if the accused offers one up.

But it may all be moot, as Gingrich's candidacy might be finished before Memorial Day---of 2011.

At this rate, with Newt on the ropes and Donald Trump's made-for-TV candidacy self-canceled and Mike Huckabee not running, Mitt Romney might be the frontrunner by default on the Republican side. And Mitt has had verbal mishaps in the past, too.

But in the end, will any of it matter? Suddenly, Obama vs. Candidate X looks like it could be a replay of Clinton-Dole, 1996. The president is on a roll now, but again, we're 18 months away from the general election---but only eight months from primary season.

It may have taken some folks a little while to re-process who Newt Gingrich is/was when his candidacy was whispered about a few months ago, but he was kind enough to remind us, forthwith---like in the first hours of Opening Day.

That promptness might have stalled Newt before he got halfway to the first turn.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mama’s (and Sis’s and Wife’s) Boy

For those who held out a sliver of hope that disgraced Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick would learn from his mistakes and come out of everything a better man, I’m afraid today is a sad day.

Kilpatrick continues to beat the drum of victim, deflecting every attempt to get him to own up to his actions. The latest are his bleatings, through his family mouthpieces, that the text message scandal is making him depressed, angry and fearful of the future.

Those mean old Skytel folks, in the World According to Kwame, are the real villains. Had they not released the highly incriminating and maybe even more embarrassing text messages between Kilpatrick and his aide/mistress Christine Beatty, then everything would be hunky-dory.

Now comes the revelation that Kilpatrick will never be a man, after all. For he has, surrounding him, a fortress of apologists and enablers—all women, by the way—who are feeding into his crocodile tear mentality.

Brian Dickerson, Free Press columnist, wrote in today’s edition that a series of interviews between psychiatrist Norman Miller and the women closest to Kwame—mother Carolyn, sister Aiyanna and wife Carlita—have come to light, which blatantly show why the ex-mayor and current convict just ain’t never gonna get it.

Kilpatrick, with mother Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick at right, celebrates his re-election in 2005

And there go the last vestiges of hope that Kwame Kilpatrick will somehow ever be reformed.

How can he, when he is insulated by people whose only purpose, it seems, is to tell him what he wants to hear, and feed tripe to the rest of us?

Here’s a sampling of what Kwame’s ladies had to say, in case you haven’t already clicked on Dickerson’s link:

Mother Carolyn explaining how corrupt judges and jealous journalists railroaded the light of her life: “My son is a political prisoner … he is just so confused about how all this happened.”

Here’s sister Aiyanna: “It is gut-wrenching [for him] to relive the unfairness … I think his anger is toward the company that released the texts and started this windfall of unjust activity toward him.”

And here’s wife Carlita, lamenting “the emptiness that exists from being away from your children and family so long, especially because we see it is so unfair and we can’t get justice.”

“Do you see the release of the text messages as the primary moving cause?” psychiatrist Miller asked Carlita.

“Yes,” she answered. “I fully believe the release of them really started all of the ball rolling.”

Are you nauseous yet?

I count myself among the fools.

I thought Kilpatrick, because he’s still relatively young, might look at his imprisonment as having hit bottom, and would therefore be a better man five, ten years down the road. Politics would be out of the picture, but perhaps he could re-enter civilian life in the private sector and make something of himself, after all.

But after reading how Kwame’s ladies are covering for him and all but pressing him to their bosom, you can forget about any rehab.

Oh, how it could have been so different.

Kwame Kilpatrick, when he was elected mayor in 2001, could have been the best and brightest thing to hit Detroit since the Model T. He was young, vibrant, and big in both stature and importance. He had an attractive family and Detroit could have, by now, be about 10 years into a revival.

Now look at him, and look at the charges he leaves behind.

I’m not sure which is more revolting—Kwame’s behavior or that of the women who are too eager to give him emotional sanctuary at the expense of his loss of manhood.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Photo Opportunity

The matter of desiring the release of photographs showing a very dead Osama bin Laden has absolutely nothing to do with a thirst for morbidness or a sick desire to see such graphic images.

At least, not through these eyes.

President Obama steadfastly made the decision not to release the graphic photos to satisfy those seeking proof that bin Laden has, indeed, been eliminated. He told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview that will air on Sunday that the decision was fairly easy for him to make.

"Spiking the football" has been the term used to describe what releasing the photos would be, in allegory.

The fear is that releasing such images would put Americans in danger, globally. There are other reasons, too---including that we "don't do that kind of thing."

The words in quotes are not the president's, but rather an overall feeling that many pundits have demonstrated over the past few days.

What hasn't really been discussed too loudly is what the families of the 9/11 victims have to say about all this.

I don't think it's such a slam dunk for them, that these photos not be released.

The real one ought to be seen, too

It's easy for those not directly touched by 9/11---in terms of losing loved ones---to take the high road and declare the photos to be off limits.

Where are the advocates for the families? They ought to be crying for the photos.

You ever hear of closure?

Why hasn't anyone considered how much the viewing of a dead bin Laden might help the grieving process?

It's like in the cases of capital punishment. when the victims of the condemned are invited to witness the execution.

Would all victims' families want to view the photos? Of course not. But would some? You bet your sweet bippy---and more than just some.

I just don't know how much the release of the photos imperils us more as a nation, whether here or overseas. I'm pretty sure that train left the station when it was confirmed that bin Laden had been killed.

You think the terrorists are thinking, "Well, as long as they don't show the pictures of our dead leader, then we're good. But as soon as we see images, then it's on!!"


I respect Obama's decision, because it was made with little emotion and was very presidential.

I'm just a little taken aback that no one is advocating for the families of the 9/11 victims on this hot button issue. If someone is, then I'm missing it or it's not very loud.

Viewing gruesome photos of a dead Osama bin Laden isn't what I crave, personally. But I think those directly affected by his evilness ought to have the option of looking at the images, if they feel it would bring closure and drive home the nail of justice.

This isn't about spiking any imaginary football. It's about compassion for the families of bin Laden's murder victims.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Oh Happy Day...

I'm tired of being told how to act, how to behave.

When I say "I", I mean "we". Confused yet?

I'm talking about the spontaneous displays of celebration that popped up across the country on Sunday night in the wake of the news of the death of master terrorist Osama bin Laden.

Bin Laden's death was the first good news that the United States has had, collectively, in my lifetime. I wasn't around for V-J Day or V-E Day, which marked the end of WWII.

What else that has occurred over the past five decades has been such cause for elation?

Man on the moon in 1969? Perhaps, but we were more enthralled than we were ecstatic.

The hostages being released from Iran in 1981? That happiness was muted by the fact that we were a little red-faced for having had our citizens in the clutches of the Ayatollah Khomeini for as long as he had them. That was more relief than giddiness.

The election of President Obama, the first African-American president, had them dancing in the streets, but that was also very partisan in nature.

I think this country needs something to feel good about, don't you?

I thought it was terrific, the outpouring of patriotism and pride I saw break out. The crowd at the Mets-Phillies baseball game broke into a chant of "USA! USA!"

Yet there were some wringing their hands, both here and abroad, worried about what the rest of the world would think as images of Americans celebrating were beamed across the globe.

That's where I get tired.

Far be it from us to be happy, huh?

Whether we celebrate or not, the U.S.'s taking out of Bin Laden is going to be reacted to, by those who would react adversely, the way they're going to react. We can't help that.

So in the words of Rhett Butler, "Frankly, I don't give a damn."

We deserve to celebrate something, collectively, as one nation. It's been a long time coming.

Granted, the killing of OBL doesn't necessarily make us safer. Doesn't necessarily mean we can all take a deep breath and exhale. There are still bad guys out there who want to do Americans harm, whether it be on our soil or elsewhere.

I get all that.

But you can't tell me that the fulfillment of justice, if only for the thousands of Americans who lost loved ones on 9/11, isn't enough to twist and shout spontaneously on our streets and wherever else we damn well please.

I'm especially perturbed at those here at home---I've heard them on the radio, seen them on TV---who have said that they found the celebrations to be on the distasteful side.

I don't know what they were looking at. All I saw were people---many of them younger---waving U.S. flags, hooting and hollering, having themselves a grand old (and peaceful) time.

The killing of a man who has more American blood on his hands than any other in recent history, ought to be celebrated. You think we were sad, solemn and reflective the day Hitler died? Ask your parents and grandparents about that one.

Then again, I suspect those who winced at the giddiness don't have any loved ones who were lost on 9/11.

I don't, either, thank goodness, but I certainly see why there is joy in the streets. And I can understand why those whose lives weren't directly affected by 9/11 would still feel an overwhelming sense of pride and patriotism.

If this isn't the event that forces us to take off our Democrat/Republican/Tea Party masks, at least briefly, then I don't know what will do it.

We ought to be able to cut loose a little bit and not have fellow Americans frown on us.

If this isn't the time, then when is?

I know---when the troops come home.

Now THERE'S something to boogie to!