Friday, March 30, 2012

Miss Noonan! Miss!

Maybe it's the bullshit schoolmarm routine, or maybe it's the way she acts like she's explaining points that nobody in the entire fucking world has considered before. Maybe it's her faux hipness, because let's face it Peggy Noonan clearly thinks she's still something of a youthful thinker. (You can tell by the way she always tosses her hair around like someone who isn't 61 years old.)

Can't quite put my finger on exactly what "it", but this woman makes my fucking skin crawl.

I'm no Obama apologist; plenty of what the guy has done since I voted for him has pissed me off to an extreme. Nonetheless, the mere notion of a McCain/Palin administration today keeps me centered and satisfied that I'd vote for him again.

That said, how in the world can this asshole write this in the Wall Street Journal?

How can the Wall Street Journal print this crap with a straight face?

What is happening is that the president is coming across more and more as a trimmer, as an operator who's not operating in good faith. This is hardening positions and leading to increased political bitterness. And it's his fault, too. As an increase in polarization is a bad thing, it's a big fault.

The shift started on Jan. 20, with the mandate that agencies of the Catholic Church would have to provide services the church finds morally repugnant. The public reaction? "You're kidding me. That's not just bad judgment and a lack of civic tact, it's not even constitutional!" Faced with the blowback, the president offered a so-called accommodation that even its supporters recognized as devious. Not ill-advised, devious. Then his operatives flooded the airwaves with dishonest—not wrongheaded, dishonest—charges that those who defend the church's religious liberties are trying to take away your contraceptives.

What a sour taste this all left. How shocking it was, including for those in the church who'd been in touch with the administration and were murmuring about having been misled.

What, is she fucking kidding?

Polarization is bad, and it Barack F Obama's fault?

The Kenyan, Marxist, Socialist, worst-possible-person-to-be-preisdent, America-hating, he's going to be the end of the country as we know it, he's going to bankrupt us and pass the tab to our grandchildren, pallin' around with terrorists, Bill Ayers/Saul Alinsky disciple?

He's the polarizer?

The shift started January 20th?

Of which year?

The way I recall it, by early January 2009, just around the time Obama was being sworn in, there were people saying he'd fucked up the oath of office because Roberts got the words twisted, and he was therefore not really the president.

Birthers like Trump were skulking around the periphery before he even took office, and the shitbags like Arpaio are still beating that drum. The country has never been so polarized.

Polarization is bad and it's Barack Obama's fault?


Now this week the Supreme Court arguments on ObamaCare, which have made that law look so hollow, so careless, that it amounts to a characterological indictment of the administration. The constitutional law professor from the University of Chicago didn't notice the centerpiece of his agenda was not constitutional? How did that happen?

Maybe a stinging decision is coming, maybe not, but in a purely political sense this is how it looks: We were in crisis in 2009—we still are—and instead of doing something strong and pertinent about our economic woes, the president wasted history's time. He wasted time that was precious—the debt clock is still ticking!—by following an imaginary bunny that disappeared down a rabbit hole.

The high court's hearings gave off an overall air not of political misfeasance but malfeasance.

All these things have hardened lines of opposition, and left opponents with an aversion that will not go away.

I am not saying that the president has a terrible relationship with the American people. I'm only saying he's made his relationship with those who oppose him worse.

How in the fuck can this woman be allowed to open her yap on the Sunday gabs? The Wall Street Journal needs this fucking clown?

Obama has made his relationship with those who oppose him ....worse?

How the fuck could it have gotten worse? That's not possible. It was, is, and will continue to be as bad as it can possibly get for Obama when it comes to those who oppose him. Fucking McConnell said 2 years ago that the most important thing he has to do is make sure Obama loses in 2012.

Everything he's accomplished in 3+ years has been over the wailing, screaming, screeching objection of the fucking Republican opposition.

If you listen to these mindless fucking possible Republican nominees describe Barack Obama you'd swear they think he's trying to cut a deal with the Russians and turn our national security over to...wait, ....they actually did say that.

If you jumped into a time machine to the day after the election, in November, 2012, and saw a headline saying "Obama Loses," do you imagine that would be followed by widespread sadness, pain and a rending of garments? You do not. Even his own supporters will not be that sad. It's hard to imagine people running around in 2014 saying, "If only Obama were president!" Including Mr. Obama, who is said by all who know him to be deeply competitive, but who doesn't seem to like his job that much. As a former president he'd be quiet, detached, aloof. He'd make speeches and write a memoir laced with a certain high-toned bitterness. It was the Republicans' fault. They didn't want to work with him.

He will likely not see even then that an American president has to make the other side work with him. You think Tip O'Neill liked Ronald Reagan? You think he wanted to give him the gift of compromise? He was a mean, tough partisan who went to work every day to defeat Ronald Reagan. But forced by facts and numbers to deal, he dealt. So did Reagan.

An American president has to make cooperation happen.

But we've strayed from the point. Mr. Obama has a largely nonexistent relationship with many, and a worsening relationship with some.

Really, he cannot win the coming election. But the Republicans, still, can lose it. At this point in the column we usually sigh.

Don't tell me what I imagine Peggy, you fucking asshole.

The mere thought of Santorum, Gingrich, Paul, or Romney as president not only would make me wish Obama had won a 2nd term, it would make me sad for the United States. And frightened.

The Bush-trashed economy is improving do recall GW gave the rich tax breaks while the country was going in the economic shitter right? TARP ring any bells with you you fucking quack?....unemployment is dropping, Osama Bin Boogeyman is dead, we're on our way out of 2 wars that your boy Bush started, with no help from the goddamned Republicans!

And you think Obama looks like he doesn't like his job very much? Where the fuck were you when GW was sulking through his last 2 years in office, looking very much like a guy who couldn't wait to go fall off the wagon down in Crawford?

Cooperation? Obama has his own people spitting mad because of how much he HAS compromised with the fucking Republicans you dried up old hagfish.

Yeah, the Reagan speech writing thing bothers me. She basks in her fame as Ronnie's speechifyer. I admit it, it's one reason I can't stand Noonan. So much of what Noonan wrote for that lunatic had the same ring as this shit she's burped up here. Absolutely oblivious to her own surroundings, and oh good gosh oh golly how much do we all love this great country, and why can't people just see things the way they really are?

It's at this point in the column that we usually just say go fuck yourself Peggy Noonan.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Judgment Day

She was wonderful at first. Head over heels I was. You know the drill, me and her against the world. No money, not a care in the fucking world. We lived in a 3rd floor walk-up studio apartment in Evanston that couldn't have been more than 450 square feet, and I loved that little place.

Northwestern undergrad for her, and days of working on houses for me. At night, we'd sit on the roof and smoke dope while we talked about our plans for the future. That was the summer of 1980. Her parents hated me. I was stealing their baby.

Her dad, John, wrote me a letter that dripped with contempt. "Sorry I want what's best for my daughter. Sorry I have hopes and dreams. I thought maybe she'd become the first female Justice on the US Supreme Court. I don't know how to handle you two living together, but I'm really trying to understand."

Probably sent a Fuck-you letter to Sandra Day-O on the same Day-o.

When I say we had no money, I mean we had no money. As it turned out, she had money.

A tearful phone call from her mom, Lenore.

Trust fund.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars as soon as she turned 21. She was 18 at the time. I was 20.

They were already paying for NU, and Lenore wanted her to understand that anyplace she wanted to go, she could go. Harvard, Yale, Chicago. That was assuming she went on to grad school. John and Lenore were certain I wanted her to drop out and have babies or some fucking thing.

John was a Domer. ND Class of '59. Same year I was born. I think that always bothered him.

Lenore was a St. Mary's girl,...a Smick Chick. She wasn't as dazzled by South Bend as John was. John wanted all 5 of his kids to be Domers. I'd already stood in the way of that plan. I was the reason she'd stayed local. So we could live in our little box on the 3rd floor, and smoke dope on the roof. John hated me for that.

That winter, just as John and Lenore were getting ready to hop on a plane for the condo in Snowmass, we told them we wanted to talk. Would Saturday be good?

"Are you getting married?" asked John.

"We'd rather talk to you about it in person." said Mary.

And so we did.

The most uncomfortable conversation I've ever had. This was the same guy who'd had me followed by a PI. The same guy who'd done serious background checking on my family. The guy who'd badmouthed me to his friends, and who made sure that the badmouthing got back to me.

I was in fear for my life at one point. Powerful fucking guy, that John. Dripping with money, and dripping with contempt for me. Contacts up the ass too. Influence, he had it. Still does.

"Can we try to maintain a friendly relationship?" asked Lenore.
"Why start now?" asked me.
"Look, Mike, I don't have anything against you but..."said John.
"Of course you do."said me.

Very uncomfortable.

And Mary was on my side. She was by my side. She was my side.

And so on December 22, 1980, we had a nice 15 minute ceremony with Judge Harold Sullivan. John and Lenore were in Snowmass. My parents were in Ft. Myers. That's a different story. My parents weren't happy, but they weren't dripping with contempt. If I was happy, they were happy. They just thought we were too young.

They were probably right.

And then things improved. John and Lenore saw that I wasn't standing in Mary's way. She breezed through undergrad, after leaving NU for Loyola, and later on killed the LSAT.

Now I'm a swell guy.

Now I'm along for the trips to Snowmass.

Now I'm doing weekends with the bros-in-law in South Bend. They became Domers.

And then the damnedest thing happened.

Trust fund.

Should have been paid out when she was 21, but it was rewritten. Now it would sit there, growing, until she was 30.

All of it invested in bank stock. John's banks. He owned banks. Six of them. Originally purchased at $7 a share. Now worth about half a hunnert per. And growing. Millions.

Didn't care. It wasn't my money, and from what I could tell, Mary didn't think about it either. Except at dividend time. She started to look forward to those checks. Maybe a little too much.

We were still happy, but not like when we were first starting out. Us against the world. Now we had powerful friends, and influence.

Those were the law school years. Living in the Loop, in a nice high rise on Ohio St., close to the Rubloff Building where Mary went to Law School. We lived on the 29th floor of a 29 story building. The elevator buttons went from 1-28, and then there was that PH button.

I hated that button. Someone always made a penthouse remark when I'd push it. I assured them the apartment was the same as the one one floor below, but they always rolled their eyes. Whatever. It was close to school, and the reverse commute was nice. As the psychos were coming into the Loop in the morning, I was driving out to work on houses in the burbs.

John and Lenore were very happy with me. So were the bros-in-law, and the sis-in-law, Lenore Jr. They thought I was the greatest thing that had ever happened to their big sister.

But something else was happening to the big sister. She was becoming arrogant. Very arrogant. I'd never seen that kind of arrogance before. We were arguing about the silliest shit. I figured it was just because she was in school learning to argue for a living.

When she graduated, and killed the bar on the first try, she was sure she'd get bowled over by job offers.

She didn't.

One day John called me at work and asked me to stop by his bank.

"What's up?"

"You have to keep this between me and you. If Mary knew I was talking to you behind her back she'd kill me."

"How can I agree to that if I don't know what you're going to tell me? I don't keep anything from her."

"Look, I know Mary's going nuts over this job thing. I can help. I can call my friend Brian down at the State's Attorney's office, and she'll have a job by tomorrow."

"Well John, we...uh....appreciate any help we can get....I'm not sure why you called me."

"Fuck you Mike. Just say yes or no. Should I make the call?"

This is the same guy who was dripping with contempt for me 10 years ago? The guy who had big hopes for his daughter that I was fucking up? Now he wants me to make a career decision for his daughter without consulting her?


Next day, I walk in our penthouse apartment after working on houses, and she's waiting at the door for me. Bursting. Beaming. Happy.

And I pretended to be surprised.

A job with Richie Daley at the SA's office? Fuckin' terrific. I knew you could do it.

Two years later, she stayed out all night. Drinking with the other assistants at the Randolph Inn. That wasn't unusual. The not coming home part was unusual.

Up all night, with Freddie King. I got ta tell ya, poker's his thing.

By 4 AM, I was frantic.

By 6AM, I called John.

"Have you heard from Mary?"
"What? No! What's going on?"
"I don't know John. Dropped her off at work yesterday, she went out for drinks after. And she didn't come home."

At 7AM, she called me from her brother's house.

We need to talk. She's been unhappy lately. Needs some time to herself.

"What's his name?"
"There's nobody else. I would have told you if there was. I'm just not happy. I think maybe we should separate for a while."

A year later, a guy handed me some papers.

I'm now The Respondent.


I didn't want a divorce, but I didn't want to be married to someone who did. I had 29 things that I'd need before signing. Number 29 was that she'd stop using my last name.

That was the one thing she fought me over.

I held my ground. Maybe I'll get married again. I don't want 2 women out there with my last name. Fuck you. Go back to your boring old maiden name.

But everyone in the lawyer community knows me by this name. I have business cards. I'm in Sullivan's with this name. It's a great name, especially in Chicago.

I know. Fuck you. You can't have it.

After 10 months I signed the papers. Time to move on with life.

I was single again on June 13, 1990.

Two years later, she made headlines in the Rolando Cruz case. Now with Roland Burris at the AG's office. She'd quit her gig at the SA's office. Must have been that thing I said about her dad getting her the job with Richie. Hey sorry John, she needed to know that she'd be nothing without the $ and your influence. Arrogance needs to be knocked down.

The Cruz case. Using my last name. Fuck! Quit her job at the Attorney General's office rather than see to the execution of an innocent man.

Rolando Cruz? That's Larry Marshall's client. Larry was her Constitutional Law prof at NU. How in the fuck did she wind up with that appeal? She told me that Cruz was innocent back when she was at NU. Larry had told her that. She admired Larry very much, but this even possible? She took the case knowing ahead of time that she couldn't prosecute the defendant? What the fuck is going on here?

And she stayed in the news for years. Hero falls on sword. Places what's right ahead of her own career. George Ryan cited her when he cleared Death Row.

It was all a fix. She never planned on prosecuting Cruz. She took the case so she could quit her job. It was a career move alright. I knew what she was doing. She wanted to be a judge. She's going to run for the bench. I know it. She told me.

15 years later, there's a vacancy in the 1st District Appellate Court. Guy named Cahill croaked. 6 people filed the proper papers declaring themselves candidates. She was one of them. This time, under her new name.

She's been working at the Public Guardian's office for the last 17 years. She has no judicial experience. Not even traffic court. What she does have is money. Lots and lots of money. And her dad has influence. Lots and lots of influence. And money. He's swimming in money.

That's how she's able to pay for all these advertisements. The ones that remind people of how much integrity she has. She has so much integrity that she resigned her job over the wrongful prosecution of Rolando Cruz back in nineteen-ninety-fucking-two.

I called a guy from the Tribune back in 1997. He'd been singing her praises in his columns on wrongful convictions. Told him that while I agreed with his premise, the Cruz thing was all a fix. Prosecution for The Defense. Gaming the system. She's grandstanding. It's a political play. She wants to be a judge. Mark my words, some day she's going to use this thing as a platform.

And that day,... is today.

Monday, March 05, 2012

G8 News

It's not being held in Chicago.

President Obama has decided to move the G8 Summit gathering to Camp David, in order to have a more "informal setting."

Not sure how that will impact protester population, as the NATO Summit and the International Security Assistance Force will still be held here in mid-May, but I have to assume any change in potential conflict is diminished, even if only slightly.

Rahm Emanuel pressed hard for both G8 and NATO, so while he's paying lip service to Obama, wishing them well at Camp David, he's probably disappointed. On the other hand, the Chicago police are probably more than a little happy with this news.

Joe Isobaker, with the United National Antiwar Committee called the announcement a great win for the protesters, pointing to the controversy that's been swirling around Emanuel's attempts to beef up police forces and stiffen local ordinances in anticipation of problems in the streets. The UNAC will still be protesting though, as will the Coalition Against NATO/G8.

Nonetheless, people who were halfway through their preparation for G8 are "stunned" by this announcement. I'm surprised, and pleasantly so. Rahm's stated reason for wanting to hold the multiple summits were very much like Richie Daley's stated reason for wanting the fucking 2016 Summer Olympics here. To showcase the city of Chicago to the world and the world to the city of Chicago.

I'd tell Rahm the same thing I told Daley in an old Fray post....the world knows about Chicago and Chicago knows about the world. It's not an emerging city Rahm. We've been around for 175 years or so, and the only changes that tourists may notice are basically down at Grant Park.

Big deal.

And the most important point, one that Daley and Emanuel seem to not fathom is that Chicago, during the spring and summer, already draws huge numbers of tourists. They've been coming here for decades. It's not like these summits are going to boost local business or something. The hotels are booked, the restaurants will do huge business, the theaters, the museums, the lakefront will all be loaded with people. In other words, business as usual.