Election Season Follies Part One: Shitstorm in Chicago

There are roughly six months until the presidential election and we’re already witnessing some of the most disgusting, fucked-up, asshole behavior by some of our fellow Americans.

Joe Ricketts (photo from USA Today)

Earlier in the week we heard about the this race-baiting bomb of crap ad campaign that was perpetrated by the patriarch of the family who owns the Chicago Cubs. The Super PAC that Papa Ricketts is funding failed to take into account that the Ricketts fam is desperately trying to get Illinois tax payers to foot the bill for the multi-million dollar Wrigley Field rehab.

Oops.

There’s one thing you don’t do if you want to survive: You don’t fuck with Chicagoans.

We have long memories and rugged attitudes when it comes to folks who try to shit on the city, its denizens and especially its beloved Cubbies. Oh, and we don’t take kindly to anyone — especially well-known, high-profile Chicago businessmen — who diss the President of the United States who, um, also hails from Chicago. (NOTE: I’m not a baseball fan at all, but out of respect for my friends, I’ll hold off on my opinions about the sport & the Cubs.) The team is actually owned and run by two of  Joe Ricketts’s children — daughter Laura who’s active in the LGBT community and is a bundler for the Obama campaign; and her brother Tom, who’s the CEO of  Chicago/Boca Raton, FLA. investment bank, Incapital LLC and is a director of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (father Joe founded the company). In 2006, the other brother, Peter Ricketts ran for US Senate in Nebraska against incumbent Democrat Ben Nelson on the anti-gay marriage, anti-LGBT and anti-abortion train. Mr. Ricketts was soundly defeated.

UPDATE: 4:25 PM, PT. I forgot about Todd Ricketts. Here’s his bio, thanks to Deadspin.com:

“Todd Ricketts, the cool one: Todd’s 42, the baby of the family. He’s on the board of the Cubs. He lives in Chicago. He jokingly called himself “the rebellious one” because he didn’t attend University of Chicago for undergrad—he went to Loyola University—and he dropped out of U of C’s Booth business school before he finished his MBA. But as far as Ricketts siblings go, he’s got cultural cred. He did an episode of Undercover Boss. He owns some bike shops and picks his kids up from school on a bike. He’s on the Ameritrade board, but he’s only on one committee. He gave a little money to three Republicans—Mitt Romney and Illinois Reps. Bobby Schilling and Adam Kinzinger—but he hasn’t run for office.”

I watched as Mayor Rahm Emanuel did his best to control himself as he spoke to the media about the Ricketts’s-backed plan:

“I don’t think that’s fitting in a campaign of any nature,” Emanuel said. “You can have disagreements without being disagreeable.”

“America is too great a country with too great a future with the content they are talking about,” added the mayor. “And it’s insulting to the president, it’s insulting to the country.”

I’m surprised he showed such restraint, but I bet behind closed doors he was swearing like a longshoreman, or like my mother, or let’s face it — LIKE ME.

And, I love the fact that Mr. Emanuel refused to speak with Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts when he phoned the mayor.

There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with Mr. Obama or with anyone for that matter. It’s our right as Americans to voice our dissent — it’s the most patriotic act one can do — short of joining the military. Also, disagreeing with Mr. Obama and his policies does not make one a racist. That argument doesn’t have legs anymore. It’s reactionary and all it does is cause people to shut down. It’s a classic turd-stirrer and counterproductive.

I don’t agree with all of his policies either. Racist? Fuck you & fuck no. I just happen to hate war and pandering to Wall Street and big oil, and screwing the environment — but hey, that’s just me.

However, what the Ricketts Plan was calling for was filled with vitriol and 4-year old arguments that don’t hold water anymore. We’re not that dumb, Mr. Ricketts, and all you did was show the world how desperate you and the Republican party are. Hiring a conservative, well-spoken blac radio host or media personality to go up against Mr. Obama? Paying black business leaders to say Mr. Obama’s bad for business? Aaaaand that’s not racist how?

Oh and yes, let’s dig up Rev. Wright since that was so successful the first time around when Hillary Clinton brought it up when she was running against Mr. Obama. If Mrs. Clinton couldn’t capitalize from it, then no one can.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright (source: mediaoutrage.wordpress.com)

What this shows is that truth no longer matters to the Republican party. Why aren’t the Republican leaders repudiating this plan? Mr. Romney gave a namby-pamby response some hours after being asked about it. I have a feeling while he was jetting to his next campaign stop, he was being re-programmed.

Let us not forget that Mr. Romney is a member of a church that isn’t exactly pro-minorities, pro-woman and hates gays.

Let us not forget that on Sean Hannity’s radio show back in February, Mr. Romney talked about the importance of bringing up Rev. Wright again since it was “obvious” to Mr. Romney that Mr. Obama was touting making America “less of a Christian nation.”

Plus, it’s been proven that Mr. Romney and Mr. Ricketts are pals and it wouldn’t surprise me if the soon-to-be-GOP candidate was well-aware of what the Super PAC was planning.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s gonna get real ugly on both sides before November.

Too bad Joe Ricketts didn’t have the forethought to dump that money into the Cubs.

My Least Favorite Things of 2011 — so far …

Since I’ve already waxed rhapsodic about 2011, I’ll dive right into my least favorite things of 2011 — in no particular order of course.

1) GOP candidates. See yesterday’s post, but I’ll add the Tea Party too. What a bunch of loons. First, I love how they call themselves a “grass roots movement.” Hate to break it to you folks, but it’s not a grass roots movement since it is backed by the Koch Brothers and Fox News. Also, you wear your racism on your sleeve and that’s completely despicable. We have a Black President. Get over it and grow up.

2) Graphics Interchange Format, or aka GIFs. My god I hate these things. To me, they’re the white trash of the Internet, the bratty kid of social media who picks his nose then flings his boogers at you. In my opinion, writers who rely on GIFs to tell a story or to get their point across, are lazy and shouldn’t call themselves writers. You’re a frustrated animator who couldn’t get into CalArts but are in LOVE with ALL THINGS Pixar.

To those of you who don’t know what a GIF is, it’s well, I’m not going to waste perfectly good typing on it so I’ll let webopedia.com do the heavy lifting for me:

Pronounced jiff or giff (hard g) stands for graphics interchange format, a bit-mapped graphics file format used by the World Wide WebCompuServe and many BBSs. GIF supports color and various resolutions. It also includes data compression, but because it is limited to 256 colors, it is more effective for scanned images such as illustrations rather than color photos.

In other words, this:

(you need to click on both to see what I mean)

Aaaand this one.

Make. It. Stop.

 3) Auto-tune. This audio tool from hell was invented to take the talent-free and turn them into stars. Soon, music fans will only want to hear crappy shit that’s been auto-tuned, instead of those with real talent (who also — GASP — write THEIR OWN SONGS) like Paul Weller, the Black Crowes, Los Lobos, Elvis Costello … et-ceteraaaa … et-ceteraaaa …

4) Embracing mediocrity. A society that finds the Kardashian Klan intriguing is a doomed society.

Why are these people famous? They have really nothing to offer society, or anyone beyond their property lines. I find their antics, as well as those people who find them remotely important and newsworthy, to be one of the worst traits of my fellow human beings. I hope someone will explain this whole embracing mediocrity phenom to me soon. Is it because things are so shitty everywhere and folks are that stupid that they feel the need to worship those just as stupid? Is it because they see the success of the room-temperature IQ crowd as obtainable? And, while you’re at it, please show me a Venn Diagram as to why “The Jersey Shore” and Beyonce are useful and important. It pains me to think about the level of the mind that finds any of the aforementioned people necessary for the survival of the human race.

I bet Andy Warhol is rolling over in his grave and is quite amused at how well these folks have stretched out their 15 minutes of fame.

5) Not getting invited to key parties. This needs no further explanation.

6) Being unemployed. Not a new topic for me. It’s a bone of contention for a country where the unemployment rate is hovering around 9 percent. It’s frustrating and unnecessary, but there isn’t much I can do about it except spend two months out west looking for work.

7) War. What IS it good for really?

8) The death of ________. Lots of famous folks died so far in 2011. The ones I will miss are Elizabeth Taylor, Nick Ashford, Christopher Hitchens, Al Davis, Wangari Maathai, Andy Rooney and Andrew Gold.

The ones I will really miss are Steve Jobs …

and Uncle Leo …

and Sidney Lumet.

Finally, I will miss her the most.

Thank you all for contributions, your faults and and letting us see your joy, laughter and pain.

July is the cruelest month

Hot damn, Summer in the city

After last winter, I made a promise to myself NOT to bitch about the hot Chicago summers. February through late-May almost turned me into a meth addict because of the weather–it was depressing as fuck. Also, I’ve been in a less-than-pleasant mood because of my still dire financial situation, frustrating personal challenges and the fact that I haven’t been motivated to get me arse back into the Bikram yoga studio since my return from below the Mason-Dixon. The main reason for no Bikram is I’ve been working as a temp copy editor here, and it’s taking up all of my time, dammit. I mean, really! How dare a temp job that pays me well occupy every dark, sweaty corner of my life?!?

I kid! I kid, of course! I’m grateful for the gig.

But, I digress.

It is hotter than dragon snot outside.
But, I love how sticky and lush it is this time of year–even though it does feel like I’m breathing through a sweaty jockstrap–I’ll take this freckle-searing heat any day over the sub-zero crap we had in February. The downsides are the twice-daily showers, the runny make-up and not having clothing that adjusts from the scorching heat to the sub-zero AC in a nanosecond. Now, there’s an invention I’d like to see. This weather has released some questionable clothing choices from their hiding places. Now, these images aren’t ones I’ve snapped, but they’re very similar to what I’ve witnessed out and about on Michigan Avenue recently. Oy. Stop. My eyes. *Shakes head* Really? Finally, looks like two pigs fightin’ under a blanket.
I can’t look anymore–my eyes are starting to rebel.

I’m riveted by this story. It’s because I’m a journalist and my profession has taken a lot of necessary hits lately because of bad behavior, by not just desperate reporters but by their bosses. It’s also taken a lot of unnecessary hits by sub-mental choads like these fine folks. But, that’s a discussion for another time. Now, I’m not going to delve too deeply into this because there are others out there who’ve already spoken for me. Plus, I’m too damn tired and am in need of some bad tee vee. Our profession ain’t perfect–it’s riddled with bad behavior that’s been chastised vehemently. Good. It should be. What’s going on with Murdoch & his minions is embarrassing and reprehensible. Due to their incessant greed and callous attitudes, they’ve knocked journalism down a few more levels and that makes all of us look bad.

We don’t need that jive–not in this heat.