A choice between a moron and a crook

I think I’ve mentioned before a long-ago conversation overheard between two ham radio operators.  They were discussing the then-current election of an Illinois governor.  I don’t remember who the candidates were, but basically the choice was between a moron and a crook.  One of the hams said, “when it comes down to a choice between a moron and a crook, I’ll take the crook.”  And so Illinois did.  Obviously we have a long history of doing so; look at the number of ex-governors who have criminal records.

And here we are again, although this time it’s harder to tell who is the crook and who is the moron.  For governor, we have a choice between Governor Quinn (Democrat), who was thrust into the governor’s seat when you-know-who was impeached, and has a few of the usual questions about his own history.  He hasn’t done much since attaining the office, but I’ll give him some slack here: he hasn’t had much to work with.  Illinois is nearly bankrupt.

His opponent is a just-barely-closeted teabagger/flat-worlder who believes in animal torture and is totally anti-abortion, not that that matters a hell of a lot to a bankrupt state.  His qualifications, such as they are, seem to be that he is some sort of businessman.  But there are questions about that.

There are similar questions about U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Alexei Giannoulias, at least on the business end.  He is, you see, part owner of a bank that failed because of questionable mortgage loans.  As far as vote-pandering is concerned, his continual drone about being the son of hard-working immigrants bears an uncomfortable echo of the similar blather of Blagojevich, the perennial Son of Immigrants and also son of something else.  It seems that being the kid of an immigrant is some sort of ticket to sainthood these days, even though it often seems to work out quite another way when some misdeed is revealed.

All that would seem to make the choice easy, right?  I mean, Alexei’s obviously a crook.  Who could vote for him?  Remember that you are in Illinois and it ain’t so simple.

His opponent, Mark Kirk, has been revealed to be a lying moron.  He parrots indefensible teabagger talking points and lies about his military career.  He courted Sarah Palin’s blessing, then fled her, and now doesn’t talk about it.  He can’t seem to decide on his positions until he reads them on some teabagger website; he doesn’t actually seem to believe in anything but getting elected.  There is no nice way to put it; the guy’s bad news.

The way I see it, Illinois has the usual bad choices this election season, between crooks and morons.  It doesn’t feel very good to root for the crooks once again, but for crying out loud, look at the opposition.

Mark Kirk’s Military Record

Mark Kirk on Heathcare Reform

Meanwhile back in la-la-land

You probably know that Rod Blagojevich was convicted of exactly 1 of approximately 20-gazillion counts of whatever.  The jury hung on the other counts because of one juror.  All of the rest were ready to convict him on all counts.  That’s hardly a cause for Blags to celebrate.

Of course, reality is lost on Blags: he’s now claiming that this means he’s “vindicated” and that he possibly has a political future.  I’m sure the national media, especially Fox News which seems to root for all that would harm the U.S., will grab onto that claim and pitch it to the nation, never mentioning how questionable the claim is.

Blags’ trial was marked by Fox-ish grandstanding and reality-show stunts.  The last and saddest attempt to win the jurors’ sympathy, the Blags’ “Take Your Daughter to Court Day” during which one of the daughters wore a totally-inappropriate little black cocktail dress that matched her mother’s totally inappropriate little black cocktail dress, had the opposite effect on a number of them.  One said that he/she thought the Blags were bad parents for doing so.  I just wonder if the Blags clan hoped the jury was populated by pedophiles.  You see, the daughter in question is all of about 14 years old.

Sooner or later, one has to believe that reality will catch up with the Blags clan in a way that even they can’t twist or outright deny.  But in the meantime, He Who is Banned from Holding Public Office in Illinois is starting to crow that he has a political future.

All I can say is, as far as I’m able to tell, Blags’ popularity among Illinoisans is approximately the same as his popularity with that jury.  Plus, like I just said, the Illinois Legislature banned him from public office here — and that’s a life sentence.

If he has a political future, it ain’t in Illinois.  I reckon Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana had better watch out.  (Missouri and Kentucky, I think you’re safe…he wouldn’t dare venture that far south.)

ummmm…that’s stupid

Yep, Bill Brady is going down the typical Teabagger route: he’s urging us not to vote for Lieutenant-Governor candidate Sheila Simon because she’s an “attorney-academician.”

OOOO yes we must beware those who are educated.  It can be very hard to tell them what to think, particularly since our colleges are “lib”cesspools and so all the educated are brainwashed and are the enemies of free-thinkers like those who listen to the Michael Medved show.

Yep, much better to have…well here’s a sample: I was force-fed part of the Michael Medved show just the other day.  His callers all seem to be people who are desperate to have someone tell them what to think (you know…free thinkers!).  And what does he tell them?  Predictable: everything the Republicans do is right and everything the Democrats do is wrong.  No analysis, nothing.  Just sweeping generalizations and of course, Reagan-worship.  (The Reagan part is critical to keep in mind because he is the one who made it okay to be stupid.)

Later I had to sit through part of Weiner’s show.  Let’s just say that guy is nuts. At one point he actually ranted that everyone who agreed with him was intelligent and logical and everyone who disagreed with him was stupid and illogical.  This was just after he reiterated the Birther crap and harangued about how Helen Thomas is “a witch” because she criticized Israel.  How’s that for a towering delusional ego?  I honestly don’t know how anyone can listen to him.  Then again, it works for Glenn Beck.

(An update: Helen Thomas has  resigned — rather “retired.”  Aside from the fact that it’s high time for an 89 year old, one wishes the likes of Beck and Weiner and Medved would be held to the same standards regarding what is “offensive” and what is “not.”)

So that’s what we’re dealing with here.  And so we get this Bill Brady creature trying to make it okay to mass-gas shelter animals because a veterinarian friend of his would find it oh so convenient.  Charming.  And Brady also believes in creationism before Darwinism.  Yup.  That’ll keep us ahead of the curve in science, won’t it.  Uh-huh.  What it really will do is give corporations even more excuses to outsource every job they can, and bring in scores of underpaid immigrants to do whatever jobs are left because “Americans won’t do them” or aren’t qualified to do them.  You can bet on that part.

What we are seeing here is a glorification of stupid, and as I said it started with the Reagan administration.  I can only guess how it continues to roll downhill when it has already reached bottom so many times.

Note to Illinois: We cannot afford Bill Brady.

Case in point: years ago we had a perennially-hysterical state rep from our area.  Her name was Penny Pullen.  She was an early Teabagger.  She saw communism and threats to the family hiding everywhere, that only her eyes could see.  I remember that once she ranted that opening a women’s shelter in our area was “anti-family” because it would allow women to get away from abusive spouses.  She was also the one who came up with the IL state law that couples intending to marry have to have AIDS tests, which promptly drove numerous couples over state lines, seeking cheaper marriage licenses.  She was eventually voted out of office after several terms of screeching about this and that, but not, I believe, before she hinted that her victorious opponent was the anti-Christ and of course dirty deeds had been done.

Note to Illinois: this is just a reminder of what stupid does.

Anyway, a much better analysis of why Brady is so out of touch with Illinois can be found here.  All I can do is repeat that in Illinois, we don’t do stupid very well.  Crooked, yes.  But stupid?  We’ll have to see what happens to Brady if he gets elected.

Something About Sarah

I admit that I find a sort of grim entertainment in reading the numerous blogs, many of them written in Alaska, that address the weirdness of Sarah Palin and the actual harm she has done as a result of being weird.  A lot of the charges made in these blogs have not been mentioned on Civilization Rant, however, and a friend has just asked me why.  I told him it was because some of this stuff is just too weird.  But then sometimes I think that can’t be it.  After all, I used to write at length about Rod Blagojevich.  I addressed that subject once again just the other day, come to think of it.

Anyway, what could be so much weirder about Sarah?  She’s weirder than Rod?  HAH!  And it’s true that Rod’s family life never figured much into his career-ending scandal, except for the part about the wife with the potty mouth.  But the fact is, weird as Blags is, Palin is weirder.  How, you ask?

Well for starters, it seems to make sense that Trig, Palin’s Down-Syndrome affected baby, is actually her grandchild.  It makes more sense than does the story that he is her own baby, especially when you consider the claims she made about Trig’s birth. 

There have also been a few reports about the weirdness of the church Sarah Palin is/was a member of.  Stuff like her being worshipped as the reincarnation of Queen Esther…you know, stuff that makes the stories about witch-hunting sound downright sane. 

There have been reports that Palin’s marriage has been on the rocks for years.  I tend to believe these, if only because her husband does not strike me as the type of guy who is secure enough in himself to put up with a politically ambitious wife — and also, her own ultraconservative politics would not seem to allow for any such ambitions in herself, unless she is a major-league hypocrite. 

There have been reports that Palin is a spectacularly bad mother, which would tend to be verified by the birth story she gave about Trig, if indeed it is true, and also from observations about the lives of her daughters Bristol and now Willow.

The only conclusion I can come to is that this woman is just phenomenally weird.  Possibly there are aspects of her life that are too weird for this blog, even though I have dealt with the subject of a weird governor before.

Who? you ask.  Rod Blagojevich, I answer.

You see, there are Alaskan blogs about Palin because Alaskans give a damn.  Palin is positioned to do real damage, while Blags, on the other hand, is finished.  He was, after all, operating without a safety net — that being the “pro life” shield wielded so effectively by so many right-wing politicians these days.  Blags wasn’t right-wing.  That left him vulnerable.

That’s why to us here in Illinois, Blags was merely the last straw in a bale of weird straws.  He was ultimately dealt with like all the rest of them.  But his removal from the bale only seemed to lead to someone else being added to it.  And it goes on and on — a culture of corruption.  That tends to drain the caring out of you after a while. 

But anyway, he had it all: monumental selfishness, delusions of grandeur, a persecution complex, innate crookedness…you name it.  Like Palin, he refused to live in the governor’s mansion and opted instead to fly back and forth to work, at the expense of the people of his state.

In fact, except for the religion thing (Palin only belongs to a weird church in which she may or may not be worshipped as a reincarnation of Queen Esther; Blags seems to think he himself is the Savior), and the “pro-life” thing (which seems to be the reason some people are still taking Sarah seriously; Blags had nothing like that to save him although he tried to make up for it by becoming a champion of illegal aliens), and the vice-presidential thing (Blags actually wanted to be President)…well, except for all that, these two are almost identical.

I say “almost” because while Sarah Palin was ultimately responsible for a death panel for seniors in Alaska, Blags tried to buy favor by creating a very silly public health-insurance program that covered kids only.  It was called “All Kids;” he somehow created it without consulting the Illinois State Legislature, and it had no funding whatsoever (I believe Blags tried to extort money from an executive of a children’s hospital by threatening to withhold state funds from the hospital, but that “donation” was to be for his own use).  

“All Kids” was immediately rejected by most pediatricians because they knew they would never see payment for their services, and is still languishing somewhere in the ozone because no one wants to become the politician who got rid of it.  But what the hell.  Blags squeezed every last bit of good publicity out of it that he could before the truth got out.  That’s the one thing he was very, very good at.

The thing is, he kept getting caught.  And so does Palin.  But the difference is that Blags paid a high price for getting caught, and the saga of Sarah Palin, on the other hand, just keeps rolling on and on as if she were a real, viable public figure.  That, plus the extra layer of “weird” that surrounds her personal life, makes her dangerous.

Maybe that’s why the bloggers of Alaska are so desperately trying to get the truth out, while we here in Illinois don’t really give a flying one about our weird and crooked politicians. 

Even so, her supporters may be asking what all these weird stories have to do with her ability to govern.  I’d say, judging from my experience here in Illinois with Blagojevich, that the stories have everything in the world to do with it.  They are part of who she is.  The “Pro Life” shield cannot change that fact, but apparently it can deflect attention long enough for a lot of damage to be done.  And so, maybe the bloggers of Alaska are doing a public service by keeping all this out in the open.  If that is the case — if Palin never gets any further in her political career than she has — then all I can say is, “bless them.”

I hope no one reads this…

…I’m talking about Rod Blagojevich’s memoirs, entitled “The Governor.”  (I already know how many people read this blog — very few — which is fine with me because it leaves me free to say whatever I goddamn well please without worrying about yet another wingnut chasing me all over the Internet.)

No, I haven’t read it — the book  I mean — and I won’t because I refuse to buy it.  I won’t check it out of the library, either.    Won’t have to.  Why not?  Because the Chicago newspapers are already ripping it to shreds — every barf-bag word of it.  And apparently there’s quite a lot of barf between the covers.

We already knew from the time between his arrest and his impeachment that this guy had some serious delusional stuff going on, that he was comparing himself to Martin Luther King and Gandhi and even Jesus Christ. 

He also repeatedly declared his love for the people of Illinois.  I can say, as one of the people of Illinois, that the love was not returned by anyone living here legally.  Toward the end his approval ratings were almost in negative numbers, something I’ve never seen any politician accomplish before no matter how hard they tried, or rather, didn’t.  I wrote about this back in January:

Like I said, we’re not even sure what Blags is blathering about. I keep hearing things that sound like, “I am doing this for the people of Illinois.”

If that’s the case, here’s a message for Blags: Oh, thanks. Having you do it all for us is like having a car thief pull your Mercedes out of a ditch. The people of Illinois don’t want you, Rod. You’ve got a nearly 0% approval rating. That’s amazing. I’ve never heard of anything like that before. Even George Bush managed to hang on to about 20% of the delusionals in spite of the fact that he ignored warnings of a terrorist attack, started two hopeless wars, tortured prisoners, left a city in ruins, and finally sacked the global economy (the list goes on, but this article is not about Bush). All you’ve done, Gov, is be your obnoxious self and run the state into the poor house while cementing the notion that its name is synonymous with “corruption.” Nothing much in comparison to Bush’s accomplishments, but lookee — no one likes you. No one. You don’t even have George Bush’s 20% die-hard wingnut cushion against total anonymity. So stop being so nice to us, will you? Please?

What I said then still stands now.

Anyway, then Blags got a book deal, the proceeds of which were apparently not enough to pay off his legal bills, which sent him and his wife down the reality-TV/Elvis impersonator road.  You know, life beneath the D list.  The bottom below the bottom. 

As I remember, I wondered about this book.  He was saying back then that he was going to spill the beans on all those nasty people who were in with him on those nasty things he kept (not) doing for the love of Illinois.  I was wondering, if he were so innocent of any wrongdoing, how there could be any beans to spill.

Apparently that question has not been answered.  Blags still insists he’s as innocent as the Virgin Mary.  He probably thinks he is her as well.  So there’s no bean-spilling here; apparently there is only some schoolyard taunting.  Damn.  There goes any value the book may have had.

And because of this, all that’s become apparent to me in reading these advance book burnings is that we’re dealing with someone who has some serious, serious reality issues.  If he were a Republican, I expect that would not bar him from public office.  After all, there is no shame that can’t be overcome by shouting “pro-life!”   Doubt it?  Look at Sarah Palin, Blagojevich’s closest Republican counterpart.  Everything we hear about her just makes her seem weirder and weirder, which is pretty bad because she seemed weird to a lot of people to start with.  By all rights she should have reached the sub-basement a long time before Blags did, but yet she still has her true believers and Fox News still tries to hint that she can be President in 2012. 

Not so for Blags, who is a Democrat, which means he is really and truly finished as a politician and any dreams he ever entertained of living in the White House are gone for this lifetime.  It’s all his fault; there is no one else to blame, there is no Democratic equivalent of Fox News, and there is no hardcore group of salivating muttonheads for him to fall back on. 

And that’s just fine with me.  Enough, already.  If there is one conclusion to be drawn from this, it is that the people of Illinois have earned some peace.  Long may we enjoy it.

Goodbye, Blagojevich

In all his ranting, the soon-to-be-ex governor of Illinois got one thing sort of right: the fix is on. He’ll likely be out of office by the end of the week.

I’ve been silent about this because there’s nothing more to say except that it’s not fix, it’s just fact: no one knows what color the sky is on the govenor’s planet anymore, but it isn’t the same color as the sky over Illinois. Even if he only violated ethical notions and not actual laws, he is clearly unfit to govern — and that’s the only yardstick the Illinois constitution requires. And so, with the same speed that they usually show when going on recess, the Illinois Legislature is very, very close to getting rid of him. This is something I can give Blags credit for, because normally (outside of running out the door on recess) it takes this bunch years to pick up a dropped paperclip. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that they bequeath the actual act of legislation to their yet-to-be conceived great-grandchildren.

Blags, meanwhile, has decided to ignore the proceedings and has gone on a nonsensical media blitz that will do nothing to forestall the inevitable, and may in fact hasten it. How can anyone remain governor if they have total disregard for the constitution of their own state? Okay, never mind about George Bush just yet. He comes up in the paragraph after the next.

Like I said, we’re not even sure what Blags is blathering about. I keep hearing things that sound like, “I am doing this for the people of Illinois.”

If that’s the case, here’s a message for Blags: Oh, thanks. Having you do it all for us is like having a car thief pull your Mercedes out of a ditch. The people of Illinois don’t want you, Rod. You’ve got a nearly 0% approval rating. That’s amazing. I’ve never heard of anything like that before. Even George Bush managed to hang on to about 20% of the delusionals in spite of the fact that he ignored warnings of a terrorist attack, started two hopeless wars, tortured prisoners, left a city in ruins, and finally sacked the global economy (the list goes on, but this article is not about Bush). All you’ve done, Gov, is be your obnoxious self and run the state into the poor house while cementing the notion that its name is synonymous with “corruption.” Nothing much in comparison to Bush’s accomplishments, but lookee — no one likes you. No one. You don’t even have George Bush’s 20% die-hard wingnut cushion against total anonymity. So stop being so nice to us, will you? Please?

Now back to writing for people who can comprehend what they’re reading…

Opening one’s door on a cold December morning and being slapped into handcuffs has to be an overwhelming shock, especially if one was in denial about being investigated by the Feds even though it was long known to be true. The day before, Blags could play spoiler on Barack Obama’s move into the White House, since even Blags had to know he would never make that move himself — so it was perfect, pissy revenge on the guy from Illinois who did. But the next day, all of a sudden there was only a long, messy, expensive trial and a possible jail sentence to look forward to. Oh, yes — there was also the possibility of being removed from office, and having his political career effectively voided. That’s the part which Blags has greeted with complete and utter denial.

Of course, insisting that the people of Illinois pay your legal bills isn’t going to add to your popularity, but that’s what Blags has been doing when he’s been dealing with reality at all. The rest of the time he’s been comparing himself to people like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, and would probably also put himself in the category of Jesus if only anyone could get away with that in a largely Christian country. Then again, who knows. He may make the comparison any day now; probably he just hasn’t gotten to it yet.

But this is one case where not admitting to the truth, or trying to rearrange the truth, or even trying to invent the truth, won’t change anything. Blags is finished and he has to deal with it. That he clearly can’t isn’t our problem. The state of Illinois is limping, even though it should be strutting because one of its own is now the President. It has to move on and up, and do it soon. There is no use wasting any time on Rod Blagojevich.

To quote a popular phrase, don’t let the door hit you in the testicular virility on the way out, Blagojevich. Enough, already.

No intelligent life down here

Hello?

I knew it.

I knew it because I have lived in Illinois all my life, right through 3 convicted governors and one who at the moment is merely disgraced, but refuses to recognize it.

I knew it because the State Legislature has been in the hospital being treated for total paralysis for the last 8 years. At least.

What do I know? I know all about The Illinois politicians’ Maybe-If-We-Do-Nothing-It-Will-Go-Away syndrome.

That’s all we ever get from politicians in this state: nothing. They all seem to think they have been elected for their debating skills; certainly none — not even Blagojevich — has the balls to claim it’s because of their brains. As a matter of fact, I think he once said something about “testicular virility,” or something. Yep, that’s it — they think with decidedly wrong parts of their bodies, and that obviously doesn’t improve their thinking one bit.

They have one other thing in common: accomplishing nothing. They get elected and then they do doodly-squat except to point fingers at one another and blame each other for getting doodly-squat done.

And so the doodly-squat continues: Blags is still in office, refusing to budge. Lisa Mad-again, the Attorney General, made a really stupid attempt to get the (also do-nothing) state Supreme Court to take him out of office because the charges against him render him the political equivalent of a basket case (yes, the irony here is staggering). The Supreme Court wouldn’t touch it. I have to hand it to Madigan, however — at least she did something, however stupid it turned out to be.

However, there’s a requisite reality check: Lisa Madigan is the ambitious daughter of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. Both have ambitions for her to be the next governor of Illinois. This is why she is the only one who has gotten anything done thus far, however stupid it turned out to be. There’s nothing like a carrot dangled in front of the face of an Illinois politician to get them to actively drool. But once the drool stops…nothing.

The Legislature — which is the only thing left at this point — has, predictably, put the whole thing in committee; they’ve convened some sort of inquiry into impeaching the governor. This is a lot further than they usually get, but it still amounts to nothing.

It could be that nothing is all they can do — after all, Blags is still a free man and officially innocent; the Illinois Constitution, perhaps not surprisingly, does not contain a section on How to Get Rid of an Obnoxious Governor. But still, the nothingness is screaming at us because there has been so much of it over the years.

Much to that point, the state Republican party has suddenly decided to believe that the fact that they already have a Republican ex-governor residing in an Indiana prison is beside the point; they are suddenly the Good Guys in White (yes, very White) Hats. They want an election to fill Obama’s senate seat because they think they can get another Republican senator in Washington.

Again it’s reality check time: this bunch rarely gets anything right. They’re the ones who imported a black man from another state (Alan Keyes) to run against Obama during his Senate campaign. This was the right-wing radio nut who didn’t even seem to know where Springfield, the state capitol, was on the map. He lost by a landslide. He lingered in the state for a few months afterward, refusing to accept that he’d lost, but he lost. Any claim to the contrary would be stretching even Illinois reality beyond the snapping point.

Then they ran the notoriously flimsy Judy Barr Topinka, (a.k.a. Judy Twinkletoes) against Blags in the last gubernatorial-election round. The whole nation knows how that one turned out.

So in effect, the state Republican party is doing nothing except being stupid and slinging mud, both of which they are very good at.

The Democrats are doing nothing by debating about doing something, which they are very good at. They do not want an election because it would, they claim, take too long. They can’t seriously be afraid that a Republican would win, but if there’s a real reason for the delay, it’s that they are afraid a Republican would win.

Actually all of this is little better than some of what Blags has gotten in trouble for. Didn’t he say something similar to, “I’ve got this bleepin’ thing and it’s bleepin’ valuable, and I’m going to get something out of it”? Do you see anything different in the preceding paragraphs?

And so it goes. Blah, blah, blah off into eternity. They just might vote themselves another pay raise, but one thing’s for sure: they will accomplish nothing else. They’re just too friggin good at it.