Saturday, September 29, 2012

What. He. Said.



And now, a word from my friend, colleague and law school classmate, Stuart Rappaport (originally posted on Facebook; reprinted with permission):
Why am I so intensely partisan and keep on posting pro Obama anti Rommunist stuff? (to the annoyance of most of my facebook friends) It’s because I am a human being, not a goldfish, and my memory goes back more than a few moments. I don’t detest conservatives, nor do I detest the conservative philosophy, but I detest hypocrisy.
Now, there is plenty of hypocrisy and euphemistic double talk to go around on all sides of this, but truly one side wins the hypocrisy war in a landslide.
Your modern Republican party owned Congress and the White House from 2000 to 2006 and turned a budget surplus into a deficit, and put in place the reasons we are still running huge deficits today. You are damned right I am blaming Bush, and I am blaming the Democratic minority of those years for not having the cajones to stand up to him. These were the years that the Washington brain trust started two wars without paying for them, gave us budget busting tax cuts that somehow failed to create millions of new jobs (let’s do it again – not) and doubled down on the “regulation is bad, let Wall Street run free” nonsense that Clinton let slide. Because I am not a goldfish, I remember this stuff. The results were predictable, and we saw them in the fall of 2008 when Wall Street crashed our economy.
After losing the 2008 election, a responsible Republican party (look up “oxymoron”) would have been part of the solution. But rather than get in the room and do the real work of governing, they set out on a course of obstructionism more intense than we’ve ever seen. Is this fact or just my opinion? Count the number of filibusters over Obama’s first three years and compare that number to what Bush had in eight. Everything the Obama administration did was faced with a fierce storm of opposition – even things that Republicans had previously agreed with.
Here is a news flash – our government – any government – must tax, spend and regulate. We can have legitimate differences about the extent. That’s where sane conservatives can and should be part of the solution. As the Obama administration tried to get us out of this mess, the Republicans sat on the sideline jeering, screaming (even in the halls of Congress – no lie) and spreading nonsense. Clutching their little talking point sheets emailed to them by the Koch brothers, these nattering nabobs of negativism showed up on Fox News daily to screech about how responsible attempts to clean up this mess proved that Obama was a socialist.
Everyone knows that the best way to deal with a bully is to find a way to beat his ass, or take away his power. That’s why an overwhelming Democratic victory is so necessary to keep this country going in the right direction. I believe that the best way to get Washington to work again is to give these Republicans the ass whipping they so truly deserve. Perhaps after this happens, they will learn to play nicely, and Congress can partner with the President and stop all of this foolishness. The foregoing is one man’s opinion. But damn it, I am right!
Righteous rant, bro.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Your Friday Clash Song: “Charlie’s Gonna Be A Napalm Star …”



“Charlie Don’t Surf,” recorded live in Tokyo in 1982. Originally from the three-disc Sandinista! LP (1980), the song’s title comes from an infamous line uttered by Robert Duval’s character, Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore, in Apocalypse Now (1979):

Thinking back, it’s somewhat remarkable that the war in Vietnam continued to dominate pop culture well into the ’80s. Several tracks on Sandinista! refer, directly or indirectly, to Vietnam, “Charlie Don’t Surf” being, perhaps, the most obvious. Likewise, the final album featuring both Mick Jones and Joe Strummer, Combat Rock (1982), was littered with Vietnam references, including, of course, “Straight to Hell”:
Wanna join in a chorus

Of the Amerasian blues?

When it’s Christmas out in Ho Chi Minh City …
Maybe the lingering influence of Vietnam into the 1980s stems, at least in part, from the simple fact that people were paying attention. Vietnam was on the news, in the newspapers, a nearly constant topic of conversation. And the draft ensured that almost everyone knew someone who served.
Makes you wonder whether this generation’s twin wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will have the same lingering effect, when, unlike Vietnam, we’ve all but ignored those conflicts, almost from the inception.
While you ponder that, here’s the original album version of “Charlie Don’t Surf”:


Heavy, but outstanding. Amirite?
So, anyway, there you go. Your Friday Clash Song.
Turn. It. Up.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dancing On The Graves Of The Iraq War Dead


So, this happened the other day. Ralph Nader, best known as a consumer advocate and civil attorney, lashed out at Pres. Obama, calling him a “war criminal” and saying he’s worse than former Pres. George W. Bush, “in the sense that [Obama is] more aggressive, more illegal worldwide.”
I don’t know what the phrase “more illegal worldwide” is supposed to mean. I do know that Ralph Nader suffers from a near terminal lack of self-awareness.
Pres. Obama is a “war criminal” who’s worse than George W. Bush? Hmm. There are more than a hundred thousand Iraqis – and a good 4,400 American soldiers and marines – who can’t be reached for comment, given that they died in Pres. Bush’s ill conceived and illegal war against Saddam Hussein and his non-existent weapons of mass destruction. But I’m sure if they could speak from beyond the grave, they’d thank Mr. Nader for helping George W. Bush defeat Al Gore in 2000.
Yes, Mr. Nader helped George Bush win in 2000. The facts are these: When the final, Supreme-Court-approved tally was in, Pres. Bush took all 25 electoral votes from the state of Florida, because, out of 5,963,110 total votes cast there, he received 2,912,790 to Al Gore’s 2,912,253. In other words, Pres. Bush won Florida by 537 votes. Mr. Nader’s vote total in Florida was 97,488, or more than 181 times Pres. Bush’s margin of victory. Had Mr. Nader not run, it’s inconceivable that Pres. Bush would have won Florida. There’s simply no way that all of Nader’s voters would have stayed at home or voted for another, more obscure third party candidate. And all though some of those votes may have gone to George W. Bush as a protest, it’s hard to imagine any scenario where a significant majority of those votes would not have gone to Al Gore – certainly more than enough to make up the 537 vote gap.
And, of course, after the Supreme Court decided Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000), effectively sealing George Bush’s narrow victory in Florida, Bush won the Electoral College with 271 votes – just one more than the required 270. Had Florida gone to Al Gore, he would have won 291-245.
Furthermore, had Gore become president in 2000, there’s little doubt we would have avoided the biggest mistake of George W. Bush’s failed presidency – the unmitigated disaster that was the Iraq War, a war without any conceivable legal justification. I know it was tempting for liberals to think (as Mr. Nader liked to say) that there was no difference between Bush and Gore, but at least on the subject of Iraq, that’s manifestly untrue. The Clinton administration – of which, of course, Vice Pres. Gore was a major part – pursued a much saner strategy towards Iraq … the very strategy, in fact, that ultimately disarmed Saddam Hussein’s regime of its weapons of mass destruction.
Even so, you might say that while Mr. Nader may have helped George Bush win the 2000 presidential election, he can’t be blamed for Pres. Bush’s subsequent mistakes in office, especially his biggest and deadliest mistake. But hold on. Recall that as a candidate for the presidency, Mr. Nader had little if any concern for foreign policy; his focus was on the supposed “corporatist” agenda of both major parties. Candidate Bush, on the other hand, made no secret of his desire to go to war in Iraq. From independent journalist Russ Baker:
Two years before the September 11 attacks, presidential candidate George W. Bush was already talking privately about the political benefits of attacking Iraq, according to his former ghost writer, who held many conversations with then-Texas Governor Bush in preparation for a planned autobiography.


“He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999,” said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. “It was on his mind. He said to me: ‘One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.’ And he said, ‘My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.’ He said, ‘If I have a chance to invade….if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.”

In December 1999, some six months after his talks with Herskowitz, Bush surprised veteran political chroniclers, including the Boston Globe’s David Nyhan, with his blunt pronouncements about Saddam at a six-way New Hampshire primary event that got little notice: “It was a gaffe-free evening for the rookie front-runner, till he was asked about Saddam’s weapons stash,” wrote Nyhan. ‘I’d take ’em out,’ [Bush] grinned cavalierly, ‘take out the weapons of mass destruction…I’m surprised he’s still there,” said Bush of the despot who remains in power after losing the Gulf War to Bush Jr.’s father…It remains to be seen if that offhand declaration of war was just Texas talk, a sort of locker room braggadocio, or whether it was Bush’s first big clinker. ”
If, perhaps, as a candidate in 2000, Mr. Nader had actually paid attention to foreign policy, and, for that matter, to what his opponents were saying about foreign policy, it might have occurred to him that George W. Bush was a dangerous fellow; that even if Mr. Gore was in the hip pocket of Wall Street to the same extent as Mr. Bush, one of them was far more likely to go to war in Iraq than the other. And that, as it turns out, was not an insignificant difference between the two.
In any event, I suspect the victims of Bush’s invasion would’ve been far less blasé than Mr. Nader when it came to U.S. foreign policy in the region. But we’ll never know, will we?
None of this is meant to be an endorsement of Pres. Obama’s actions in the so-called “war on terror.” I’ve made my opposition to those policies clear, and I’ll repeat it here: The very idea of a “war on terror” is nonsensical; it does more harm than good, and we should put an immediate end to it. Full stop.
But when Ralph Nader starts tossing around phrases like “war criminal” just a few weeks before a presidential election, I’ll be damned if I’m going to give him the time of day. Because the truth is, he bears a fair amount of responsibility for why we’re in this mess in the first place.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Your Friday Clash Song: “You Lucky Lady!”



Better late than never: “Janie Jones,” from the debut LP The Clash (1977). (Also on the U.S. version, released in 1979.)
For a coupla a young punks I know on the Twitter machine. And they know who they are.
Listen, I know I say this a lot, but this time I really mean it. This song is the definition of punk rock. Not the political side of punk, just the sound. It’s as pure a punk rock song as ever there was.
And here’s a live version, recorded in France in 1977:


If you don’t dig this, you just don’t get it.
But you do dig it, don’t you. Of course you do.
So … Turn. It. Up.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Why Elections Matter – Veterans’ Jobs Bill Edition


When you consider this:
Eager to shoot down President Obama’s legislative agenda just weeks before the election, Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a measure that would have provided $1 billion over five years to help veterans find work in their communities.
The measure, which would have potentially created jobs for up to 20,000 veterans, was blocked on a procedural point by Republicans, who argued that the bill was unpaid for. Senator Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat and the bill’s main sponsor, said the bill would have covered the costs in part with fees on Medicare providers and suppliers who are delinquent on their tax bills.
The procedural vote was 58 to 40; 60 votes would have been required to waive Republican objections.
… Remember that this guy:
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), who received five deferments to avoid serving in Vietnam, replaced this guy:
Former Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA), who left both legs and an arm there.
Yes, Sen. Chambliss was one of the forty Republican senators who voted to block the  veterans’ jobs bill. How do you think Max Cleland would’ve voted?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Happy Constitution Day




Dennis the Annoying Peasant explains it all: “Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.”

Saturday, September 15, 2012

It’s the End, the End of the ’70s: RIP Johnny Ramone


It’s a sad day in the history of the band that started it all: John William Cummings, a/k/a Johnny Ramone, died eight years ago today:
Johnny Ramone was a founding member of one of the most influential bands of all time, the Ramones. Hailing from Queens, NY, Johnny invented the relentless; down stroke guitar style that defined not only the groundbreaking sound of the legendary Ramones, but the guitar voice of the punk rock movement in general. Listed in Time Magazine’s “10 greatest electric guitar players” and named #16 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 100 guitarists of all-time. 

Johnny was the driving force behind the Ramones, sometimes referred to as a drill sergeant, bringing order and regiment to the band. This is evident in the speed, accuracy and intensity of their music. Johnny kept the Ramones focused and moving forward, ultimately securing their place in rock history. The Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 18, 2002, and nearly a decade later, the seminal band was awarded a Grammy for lifetime achievement. 

Here he is with the band in 1980, at the pinnacle of their career, playing “Rock ’n Roll High School” and my personal favorite Ramones track, “Do You Remember Rock ’n Roll Radio”:



If you need to know why punk rock mattered so much, put your headphones on and turn this up really, really loud. Then you will understand why pop music was so badly broken by the end of the ’70s, and how the Ramones fixed it.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Your Friday Clash Song: “The Judge Didn’t Even Know …”


“What’s My Name,” from both the U.K. and the U.S. versions of the debut album, The Clash. One minute, forty-one seconds of blazingly fast punk alienation. According to the Clash Wiki, “What’s My Name” “apparently [was] inspired by the Sex Pistols’ version of ‘(I’m not your) Stepping Stone’ ”; but it’s significantly better than anything the Pistols ever did.
Boom. There, I said it. The Clash always blew the doors off the Sex Pistols.
And just because I care, here’s an even nastier, more frenetic live version:


And another:



Brilliant. I’ve got nothing to add.
Except: Turn. It. Up.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What Do You Say to a Five Year Old – Reposted


[I wrote this piece a year ago, on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. I thought about it again today, on the 11th anniversary, after a remarkable Twitter conversation with my friend Esma (@ThundarKitteh on Twitter), an Arab American who always has a brilliant perspective on things. This post is about discussing the tragedy with my kids, who were very young at the time, and that explains why September 11 stays with me the way it does. At the same time, though, I agree wholeheartedly with Esma’s comments on Twitter today that our reminiscences often border on exploitation of the tragedy rather than honoring the dead, and that the United States compounded the tragedy of September 11 by launching two unnecessary wars and demonizing Arabs, the people of the Middle East and North Africa, and Muslims in general. As she said: “Life of a civilian in the US = Life of a civilian in Afghanistan = Life of a civilian in Iraq. PERIOD.”]
Yes, it is overkill as a matter of fact. This constant stream of news stories and reminiscences, this obsession with the calamity of September 11, 2001, is complete overkill. Local DJ Lin Brehmer (no ordinary DJ, mind you) refers to our remembrances of days like this as “nega-versaries,” the anniversaries of tragedies that seem to captivate Americans like nothing else.
It’s overkill, but to some extent it’s unavoidable … because we do remember events like September 11 whether we want to or not; and those memories are keener on anniversaries of the event and, I guess, keener still on bigger, “rounder” anniversaries like the fifth and tenth anniversaries. That it seems illogical doesn’t make it less real: We’re hardwired to think there’s something especially significant or poignant about the ten year anniversary of September 11, and to pretend we’re not is an exercise in futility.
So with apologies to my friends who are sick and tired of hearing about it, there’s something about September 11 that I feel the need to recall and to write about today, and I’m just going to go ahead and do it. Because this is a part of the September 11 story that doesn’t get much attention: The way the events of that day affected parents of young children and, more importantly, those young kids themselves. It’s not as gripping as the stories of the first responders, nor as tragic as the stories of those who died and those who lost family members and friends. I’m not trying to compete with those stories; I’m only saying that for someone like me – the father of five and three year old boys at the time – the events of that day presented a unique challenge; and for our boys, who are now 15 and 13, and our daughter, now 9, who was born two months later, the September 11 attacks and what followed may have an effect that’s even harder to fathom.
Harder to fathom, but not altogether unfamiliar.
Anyway, the thing is this: On September 11 and for the next few days, my wife and I did everything we could to shelter our boys from the news, because that’s not really the kind of thing a five and a three year old boy should have to deal with. But we knew we couldn’t keep the story from them for very long, especially because our older boy, Paul, had just started kindergarten at the elementary school down the street and there was virtually no way to prevent him from overhearing older kids or adults talking about it. Moreover, on that Friday, September 14, Paul’s school held an assembly for the kids to address what had happened. The younger kids were spared the gory details, but they were asked to make paper doves for the assembly and they did play some role in it. So at a minimum, Paul was bound to have heard something about the attacks by the end of that week.
It also happened that on that Friday night my wife had plans to meet some friends downtown, and so I was alone with the boys that evening. So after dinner as the three of us were sitting in the boys’ room playing with Legos or whatever, I decided I had to talk to them about what had happened and what they knew. I asked them if they’d heard anything about people getting hurt in New York City earlier in the week. They both looked at me with blank stares. I tried again, asking if they’d heard about a building catching fire or anything like that. Still nothing. So then I asked, “What about a plane crash?”
“Oh, yeah,” Paul said. Mark, our three year old, said nothing. By this point, I thought he’d pretty much lost interest in the conversation.
But Paul went on: “Yeah, I heard about that. But the good thing is, the bad guys got killed too.”
Now bear in mind, he’s five years old at the time. He sees pretty much everything through the prism of superheroes and children’s cartoons and black-and-white good-versus-evil, and so none of this had any real meaning to him. “The bad guys got killed” just means some sort of justice was served, some loose ends of the storyline got tied up. No big deal.
But as we were sitting there, I recalled something I’d read earlier in a special edition of the Chicago Tribune that was published on the evening of September 11 and distributed to every household in the area. In one article, a Tribune reporter had asked various religious leaders for their reaction to the attacks, and Greek Orthodox priest – I wish I knew his name – made the most remarkable observation I had heard at the time. He said in addition to the horrific loss of innocent life, people should mourn the deaths of the highjackers, too, because they were children of God like everybody else; they came into this world as innocent souls and somewhere along the line they were lost. And that loss was tragic too.
Even if you take the religious overtones out of it, the priest had a point. These young men weren’t born highjackers and murders. They were born human beings like the rest of us. They went astray, of course; somehow and for whatever reason the learned to hate and they learned to kill; but they weren’t born that way. Somehow, between birth and death, they lost their way. And that was sad, too.
So that Friday night, sitting in my boys’ room with the world still not making any sense, I tried to convey that idea to my five year old son. I said, no, really it’s not a good thing that the bad guys died too. I said they weren’t always bad guys, but at some point in their lives they turned to bad ideas; they started out good and became bad. And if they hadn’t gone through with the attacks; if, for some reason, they decided at the last minute that they weren’t going to kill innocent people – or if they just chickened out, or got caught – maybe there was a chance that they could come around, that they could learn that whatever grievance they felt they had against whomever the felt they had it, it didn’t justify the wonton murder of thousands of innocent people. Maybe they could have been saved, somehow. So their dying, on top of the thousands of innocent people who died that day, really wasn’t a good thing after all.
I don’t know if that made any sense to Paul. He seemed to understand, at least on some level, but I couldn’t really tell. As for Mark, I’m fairly sure all of this was over his head. But as Paul and I were talking about this, Mark climbed into my lap and held on to me. He knew there was something deadly serious going on, even if he didn’t know what it was.
Did all of this make any difference? I don’t know. All I can tell you is, I did the best I could under the circumstances.
But what’s always bothered me about that day and the events that happened over the next couple of years is this: I realized then that the events of September 11 and what followed were going to be for my kids what Vietnam was for me. Having been born in 1962, I grew up with Vietnam. It was everywhere I looked when I was little. When I was five or six years old, Vietnam dominated every news broadcast on television or radio; it dominated every conversation my parents and older siblings had; it was on the front page of every newspaper and every magazine. There were images of the war everywhere, and even as a young kid I knew that people were fighting and dying overseas every day. And I knew there was a risk that my older brothers could get drafted and might have to go to fight in Vietnam.
And maybe worse than all that, I learned at a very early age that there were serious doubts about the morality and the justification for the war in Vietnam.
I wonder if the architects of Vietnam ever thought about that: That my generation was the first generation in American history to have to ask, at a very early age, whether our country was engaged in an illegal and unjustified war; whether our country had betrayed its most sacred principles. Yes, our country had made grave mistakes before – just ask Native Americans – but most people learn about those things when they’re older, maybe in high school or so, and are better able to balance the good things in our history with the bad. But because Vietnam was ubiquitous in the late 1960s, my generation grew up questioning from a very early age whether our government had ginned up an excuse to wage a war in a foreign country in violation of everything we were supposed to believe in.
So I worry whether in the years since September 11 we’ve bequeathed that same horrible thing on my kids’ generation. After all, the wars that followed the September 11 attacks are more or less all they know, and at least in the case of Iraq the same awful questions linger.
I grew up feeling like a part of my youth had been stolen from me by a government that was willing to lie the country into war in Southeast Asia. Now I have to ask whether we’ve done the same thing to my kids’ generation.

“Let the living let us in before the dead tear us apart.”
[Pictured at the top: Students from St. Joan of Arc School in Lisle, Illinois, forming a human peace sign on September 9, 2011, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001.]

Monday, September 10, 2012

Today Is Monday



So, I’m told today is Suicide Awareness Day, or as I call it, “Monday.” Because when you’ve been down that road, every day is suicide awareness day.
Still, I understand the point. It’s an issue people run from. It’s an issue that makes people put their fingers in their ears and say la, la, la … I can’t hear you. And the only thing we know for sure is, that doesn’t help.
But here’s the thing. There are days when I can talk about it and there are days when I can’t. Or, more to the point, don’t want to. And today is one of those days. Not because it’s something that still weighs too heavily, but because you can’t force yourself to have something profound to say just because somebody said today’s the day to say profound things.
And sometimes it just feels like no matter what you say, nobody really gets it.
So today’ll just be Monday. We’ll talk about it again another time.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Your Friday Clash Song: “You Can Buy Another Singer Like You Got A Lotta Money …”



“Beautiful People Are Ugly Too,” from the unreleased LP, Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg, which eventually morphed into Combat Rock (1982), the last studio album by the real Clash (i.e., with both Joe Strummer and Mick Jones). According to Wikipedia:
Combat Rock was originally planned as a double album with the working title Rat Patrol from Fort Bragg, but the idea was scrapped after internal wrangling within the group. Mick Jones had mixed the first version, but the other members were dissatisfied and mixing/producing duties were handed to Glyn Johns, at which point the album became a single LP. The original mixes were later bootlegged.
Be that as it may, it’s a catchy tune. And now that the conventions are over, it’s hard to resist playing it in honor of Lord and Lady Romney, who just don’t understand why you people aren’t rallying around them the way commoners are supposed to rally around nobility. It’s their turn, after all.
Anyway, sadly for Mittens and Lady Ann, despite having a lotta money, there aren’t a lot of singers they can buy; and, sadder still, there are plenty of singers that Pres. Obama doesn’t have to buy, as Rolling Stone magazine explains:
From Silversun Pickups to Twisted Sister, artists have been lamenting the use of their music by Republicans in the 2012 presidential campaign. Tom Petty can relate. “I’ve been on the wrong side where I’ve had to tell some candidates to stop using my music,” he told Rolling Stone on the MTV VMAs red carpet.
But Petty was pleasantly surprised on Wednesday night, when his song “I Won’t Back Down” played as President Obama walked onstage at the Democratic National Convention, after former President Bill Clinton’s speech. “I got chills,” said Petty. “They knew it would be okay. I’ve had a chance to meet the President and talk to him about the music he listens to.”
Poor Willard. That’s gotta sting. You’ll never be as cool as Chicago’s own Barack Obama.
So, anyway, there it is. Your Friday Clash Song.
Turn. It. Up.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

“Hard Cases Make Bad Law”


… As Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes observed in his dissenting opinion in Northern Securities Co. v. United States, 193 U.S. 197 (1904), citing an age-old legal maxim. But it’s a lesson we never quite seem to learn.
From the Chicago Tribune’s online edition this afternoon:
Retired Bolingbrook [Illinois] police officer Drew Peterson has been found guilty of murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio, the verdict eliciting a gasp from a packed Will County courthouse and ending a case that for years has received salacious tabloid news coverage.
Peterson showed no emotion as the verdict was read. He was shackled, said “Good job” to his attorneys and was led off.
Savio’s family and supporters hugged and cried along with witnesses who testified for the state.
Tonight in Chicago, and perhaps throughout the country, there’ll be much rejoicing, and I suppose it’s a good thing Drew Peterson was convicted. If the media reports were accurate, he probably did kill his third wife, and his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, is missing and presumed dead, possibly by Drew Peterson’s hand as well.
Now, for the bad news. Despite Peterson’s conviction, at least one, if not two, of his ex-wives is still dead; he nearly got away with killing one of them and may yet get away with having killed the other; police and prosecutors horribly botched the original investigation into Savio’s death, quite possibly to protect one of their own; and, in the end, in order to get a guilty verdict – one that is potentially vulnerable on appeal – the Illinois General Assembly and the courts had to gut existing hearsay laws to the detriment of the legal system as a whole … all to make up for the original botched investigation that nearly let Drew Peterson get away with murder in the first place.
I know it will never happen, but in a fair world police and prosecutors would be asking themselves some very hard questions today. And not just in Will County, Illinois.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Who Built That?


Construction workers on the Empire State Building, New York, c. 1929 …

And on the Gateway Arch, St. Louis, c. 1964 …

And on the antenna of the Sears Tower, Chicago, 1972.


And it was Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne and some others who dug the deep holes for the cellars of the tall skyscrapers in the big cities …
Virginia Lee Burton, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel (1939)

These are images you would not have seen at last week’s Republican National Convention. Let’s hope we see images like this when the Democrats take their turn this week.



The highway is alive tonight
But nobody’s kiddin’ nobody about where it goes
I’m sittin’ down here in the campfire light
Searchin’ for the ghost of old Tom Joad …
Bruce Springsteen, “The Ghost of Tom Joad”
Happy Labor Day.