The Almost Three and a Half Minute Year-end Review

December 31, 2008


Let’s face it: 2008 will go down in history as the year of “Change.” It will also go down as the year that personifies the old axiom. “Be careful what you ask for. You might just get it.”

There’s absolutely nothing I can add to the below year-end review to make it better, more concise, or more fun. So let me just paraphrase Paul McCartney by saying:

“When I find myself in times of trouble, Uncle Jay, he comes to me. Speaking words of wisdom… Tee-Hee-Hee!”


HAPPY NEW YEAR from all of us here at Grand Rants!

CWCID: The Anchoress

Gerry Ashley

Chicago Politics in Post-Racial America

December 30, 2008

Well, it sure didn’t take long to find out what it means to be living in a post-racial, Chicago-based America.

What it really means, at least in Illinois, is that if you’re black, you should get whatever you want, and to question that is to be a racist.

Case in point: IL Rep. and former Black Panther Bobby Rush , in response to Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s naming of Roland Burris to the Illinois Senate seat vacated by Obama, made a point to come to the podium during Blago’s announcement and make the case for Burris by asking the public not to “hang or lynch the appointee as you try to ruin and castigate the appointer.” (Allahpundit at HotAir has the video.)

He also stressed how important it is to remember that there is currently no African American serving in the U.S. Senate. Further, Mr. Rush made it very clear that he would use that fact as his defense of  Mr. Burris’ naming, and defied any sitting Senator to have the gall to try to breach that defense.

Oh goody! Whatever happened to the idea that the brightest and most capable should lead, regardless of race or sex? Oh never mind, this is “Deep-Dish America”… That is, America “Chicago style”.


Revisionist History in Action

December 30, 2008

Shortly after IL Rep. Bobby Rush made his overtly racist plea not to “hang or lynch” Blagojevich Senate appointee Roland Burris, I took a quick look online to see what I could find out about Rep. Rush. Interestingly enough, I came across this Wikipedia entry for Rep. Rush at about 3:30 PM today:


The text outlined in red was part of the entry as of 3:30 (the red outlining is mine). By 3:50, the entry had changed:


Clearly as a result of his impassioned defense of Roland Burris, Rep. Rush is no longer a racist asshole.

Actually, I’m not terribly interested in whether Rep. Rush is a racist asshole or not. I feel the original comment was in hopelessly bad taste. What I found interesting is the speed and the ease by which information is changed on Wikipedia. History can now be changed on a whim, based on the ideals, biases, and outlooks of those who write it, and especially those who can go back and re-edit it. This “airbrushing of history” is nothing new, and what in the past was a labor-intensive and arduous process has now become, given the technology available, the work of an instant.

While those in the know understand that Wikipedia is, in fact, an ongoing and collaborative effort which is constantly changing (and not always for the better or even for the more correct information), there are many who treat it as the font of all knowledge, the be-all and end-all of information services, unchanging and omniscient. This is a mistake.

Once upon a time, it may have been that history was written by the winners. But in the information age, history is written by the persistent. Digital information is subject to constant revision, unless care is taken to document its state over time.

Nowhere is this more apparent than at Wikipedia, where government agencies, public companies, private organizations, and concerned individuals continually revise the online encyclopedia’s entries to suit their respective agendas.

It behooves us all to be careful, not only of what we read, but of what we accept as true, as reliable, as honest.

As Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, “Trust, but verify.” Especially if you’re looking for information on Rep. Bobby Rush.


Blago Backs Dems Into Corner

December 30, 2008

At 3:00PM EST today, beleaguered Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich backed the Democratic party into a corner by naming former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to the senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. This presents the Democrats with several problems:

  • First, should the Dems accept the naming, they destroy the tenuous construct of Obama’s concept of transparency. (Well, OK… I guess that things will be plenty transparent at that point.)
  • Should Blagojevich’s pick actually go through the Senate without a tantrum on The Left, the fact that Burris carries his own pricey “designer Blago baggage” will speak volumes.
  • Should Burris be accepted, that simply offers legitimacy to Blago.
  • On the other hand, if the liberals take the high road and muss and fuss away the naming as Reid says they will, they face the possibility that the citizenry will become so fed up with Chicago politics (note to Obama, stay in Hawaii for a little while longer), that they will demand a special election and perhaps even usher in a Republican. Gasp!

Maybe, just maybe, the very best thing that the GOP could do right now is just go politely mum, and let the Lefties squirm.

Alan Speakman

BREAKING: Blago Names Burris

December 30, 2008

In a political power play just bristling with chutzpah, scandal-enmeshed Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich just named former IL Attorney General Roland Burris to fill President-Elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat.

This presents something of a quandry for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has previously threatened to decline to seat anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich. It also contradicts the statement made on December 17 by the governor’s attorney, Ed Genson:

The attorney, Ed Genson, was asked at a news conference after an impeachment hearing in Springfield if Mr. Blagojevich was planning to appoint anyone against the wishes of Democrats across the state and country including Mr. Obama.

“No,” Mr. Genson replied. “(U.S. Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid said that they’re not going to accept anybody he picks. Why would he do that?”

The entire theatrical gesture may, in fact, be moot. According to the AP, the Illinois Secretary of State has said that he will not certify Burris.

But who is Roland Burris? He will definitely be arriving with his own baggage. In examining his record, the Chicago Tribune reports:

“…Burris has given more than $20,000 to Blagojevich’s campaign fund on his own and through his consulting and law firms, state campaign finance records show. Burris’ consulting company received about $290,000 in state contracts with the Illinois Department of Transportation a few years ago, according to state comptroller records.”

Sounds like Burris knows very well how to play this game.

UPDATE: Chickens coming home to roost, indeed! From the an article published on February 26, 1998 in the Washington Post:

Burris, the only black candidate in the Democratic field of four, issued a cryptic response to reports that he told an African-American community group that his opponents are “non-qualified white boys.”


Suggested New Year’s Resolutions

December 30, 2008

Well, it’s that time of year again, when we all try to think of some sort of easy-to-do resolution so we can impress our friends at parties. I find it’s always best to make public those resolutions that can’t be independently verified. You know, “I resolve to increase the amount of my donations to Save The Armadillos.” That one, in particular worked great at parties. Not only did it make me look like a great nature lover, but a quick visit to Wikipedia before the party and I can spout out armadillo facts as if I were the founder of the organization. Chick magnet!

This year, I have decided to branch out and make recommendations to those public figures who could stand to improve themselves in the eyes of the public. Toward that end, here’s my initial

“List of New Year’s Resolutions For The Rich And (In)Famous.”

1.) Caroline Kennedy – Your initial attempt at a press conference pretty much reminded me why I moved out of Massachusetts, home of the Kennedy Clan. My suggestion: Purchase (and READ) “How To Win Friends And Influence People.” Also study the wit of your father. I’m reminded of Lloyd Bentson’s admonishing of Dan Quayle nearly two decades ago when he said, “I knew John Kennedy, Senator,  and you’re no John Kennedy.” Caroline, you could benefit greatly by studying how your dad approached the media.

2.) Barney Frank – Quit while you’re ahead. You’ve managed to trash the state of Massachusetts, but that wasn’t enough. So you went to Washington and trashed that (while your boyfriend ran a male-prostitution ring from your home that you claimed you knew nothing about). But even that wasn’t enough, so you championed the Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac programs until they were so out of control it’s trashed our economy and will take us possibly DECADES to recover from completely… that is if we are EVER able to climb out from under this massive mess of yours. So please. Quit before you manage to find a way to reverse the magnetic polarity of the planet.

3.) Barack Obama – Join Toastmasters. Listening to you speak off the cuff is as painful as it is listening to Ted Kennedy speak off the cuff. It’s a regular “Battle of the Uh-Stars.” Don’t want to join Toastmasters? Then consider having a mini teleprompter surgically implanted into the palm of your hand.

No, seriously.

4.) Joe Biden – Sit next to Barack at Toastmasters. No, seriously.

5.) Roger Clemens – Ah, never mind. You’re beyond help at this point. More to the point, nobody cares anymore.

6.) Jay Leno – Do as good a job at 10 PM Monday – Friday as you do at 11:30 and we can all get a good night’s sleep. No one’s gonna need to stay up for Conan. And you’ll start getting Christmas Cards from Letterman again.

7.) Conan O’Brien – Pray that CBS and ABC have some bitchin’ programs on at 10PM.

8. ) Jimmy Fallon – See if you can get back on Saturday Night Live before it’s too late.

9.) Jesse Jackson – Give it up. You had a nice long run shaking down corporations for “donations.” The gig is up. For years your subliminal message to the African American community has been “No we can’t!” and they needed YOU to “keep the struggle alive.” Well, America has elected a black President, and not because of you, but because Barak Obama’s message has been, “Oh yes we CAN!” And now that African Americans know they CAN, they just don’t need you’re dog and pony show any longer. Fact is, we never did. Buh-bye…

10.) Jesse Jackson Jr. – Don’t make such a big deal about “getting back my good name.” It really wasn’t all that stellar to begin with. See # 9 above.

11.) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – Borrow the book from Caroline Kennedy when she’s done with it. Oh, by the way. Did you know your Luger P-08 is jammed? Yeah, take a look down the barrel. Now, watch what happens when you pull the trigger. Nothing, right?

12.) Sean Hannity & Rush Limbaugh – The Democrats won. Get over it. Keep in mind it was you who wanted to “Stop The Hillary Express” with your “Operation Chaos.”  Well, there’s an old expression, “Be careful what you ask for… you might just get it.” And President Barack Obama is what you wound up with. Deal with it.

13.) Al Franken – Give it up. And you had the cajones to accuse the REPUBLICANS of stealing Florida in 2000? Bwahahahahahaha!!! To paraphrase the words of your alter-ego, Stuart Smalley, “You’re, dull, you’re a loser and, gosh darn it, you just don’t fool enough people…”

14.) Sarah Palin – Start a comedy troup in Alaska. Do a parody of Tina Fey. Every week. They say that “Payback is a you-know-what.” Well, with all the awards she’s won for parodying you, turnabout is fair play. And that “you-know-what” could stand being taken down a notch.

15.) Brad Pitt – Did you see the current issue of GQ?  Yep, that’s Jen. Your head: get it examined.

Gerry Ashley

The RIGHT Way to Poke Fun

December 29, 2008

They’ve done it again. Unlike the heavy-handed and politically tone-deaf distribution of the “Magic Negro” parody, JibJab comes through with a 2008 Year in Review video that manages to be funny, clever, and (relatively) clean, all at once.


Deception Hurts Cause, Highlights Flaws In Publishing

December 29, 2008

A recent Independent  film, “The Boy In The Striped Pajamas“, told the fictional story of a young boy whose father was a Nazi officer sent to manage a concentration camp. Unbeknown to him, his young son, while exploring the woods near their home, finds one of the barrier fences surrounding the camp. While observing and wondering what this special place is, he meets a young boy who is a resident of the camp. Through the fence, they play, neither of them realizing the horrible fate awaiting “the boy in the striped pajamas.”

Although I was deeply moved by the parable, the fact that I knew it was fiction kept me from losing perspective. Of course it MIGHT have happened, but my knowledge was that this was an excellent work of fiction by John Boyne and brought to remarkable life by screenwriter/director Mark Herman.

But recently a “true” story of romance and hope emerged from the depths of the horror that was Buchenwald. Or so we thought.  “Angel At The Fence” tells the romantic story of love and hope between Herman Rosenblatz and his beloved wife of 50 years, Noma Radzicky. They met on opposite sides of a barbed wire fence as their romance began.

Or not.

The book, scheduled to come out in February, has been cancalled. Rosenblatz now admits he fabricated the whole story. He did not meet her in a concentration camp, but on a blind date in New York.

Beyond the betrayal, this proves yet again, how gullible our press is and how journalism has been taken over by rank amateurs unable (or too lazy) to do their jobs.  Even Oprah Winfrey was taken in by this would-be con.

Note to Oprah. This isn’t exactly the first time you’ve been taken in, either. Shame on you for spreading not just the lie but for opening the door to a far more damaging issue, all because someone on your staff doesn’t know how to do their job of fact-checking.

The bigger issue here is, what can we believe, when journalists, publishers and producers who look to profit from these stories, don’t take the time to verify them? This is precisely why mad men like Mahmaud Ahmadinejad get away with their denial of the holocaust… and find an audience for their bile.

We are all the losers at this game.

Gerry Ashley

Barack the Magic Negro?!?

December 29, 2008

You know… There are times when being a conservative just hurts. No. Seriously… I mean it just aches…

Barack the Magic Negro???

How about “McCain the Magic Whitey?” or “Palin the Magic XO XO?” (And you can fill in the “XO XO”.)

Seriously… Seriously… Seriously! How on Gawd’s Green Earth are we as a conservative movement going to move forward when we have blisteringly raging idiots like Chip Saltsman and Rush (played it on his show in early 2007) distributing this crap (originally penned by Shanklin)? And who can forget that Saltsman is running for the chair of the RNC?

Here’s the deal… Long ago, politics simply became a fun game… A sort of dumbed-down  game of “Chicken” if you will… Nixon probably started it, (“I am not a crook”); Clinton certainly held his own with Monica; Blago is no slouch; and now a leading Republican player distributes “Barack the Magic Negro”…

I say we sack the whole lot of them and start over.

Alan Speakman

Why is This So Difficult to Understand?

December 28, 2008

Israel, a tiny oasis of democracy in a vast desert of dictatorships, theocracies, and stone-aged monarchies, is finally fighting back. After braving treaty after broken treaty, pulling out of “occupied” areas, treating with terrorists as though they had honor, and enduring daily missile attacks from hostile territory, Israel is finally standing up and defending itself. And I say, good for Israel!

Can you imagine if a group of rogue Canadians in Grand Falls, New Brunswick were to fire 4,000 rockets at Caribou, Maine over the course of three years? You don’t have to imagine it, because that is exactly the situation in Sderot, an Israeli town into which Hamas fires an average of 100 rockets every month, deliberately targeting civilians.

Israel has shown an amazing amount of restraint over the years, and it’s actually good to see that the gloves are now off. And as can be counted on from a civilized country, Israel goes out of its way to ensure that their retaliatory targets are actually combatants.

What I don’t understand is why so many otherwise relatively rational people are so obtuse about this situation. We see time and time again, veiled — and not-so-veiled — comments, articles, and interviews which suggest, imply, or outright blame Israel for killing Palestinians, ignoring the fact that Israel is retailiating and defending itself.

Here is a perfect example of an aggressive and accusatory interviewer and a rational (and quite correct) interviewee, Benjamin Netanyahu.

So why is this so difficult for some to understand?

AussieDave is liveblogging the situation on the ground in Israel. He has a lot of interesting information, frequently updated. If you want the latest, check with him.

H/T: Michelle Malkin