Friday, February 10, 2006

This Week News & View (Feb 5-10)

This Week News & Views
by Rick Kaempfer

Lots of political news this week...

*Danish Cartoons spark outrage
COPENHAGEN-- Cartoons published in a Danish newspaper (depicting the Muslim prophet), have sparked outrage and rioting throughout the Islamic world. Danish flags are being burned in the streets of every Islamic country.
=My question is this: Where did they get Danish flags? Were those already big-ticket items in Tehran?
=As a symbolic gesture to my Islamic brothers, I had a croissant for breakfast today instead of my usual Danish.
=Marmaduke has hired bodyguards. Not only is he a cartoon; he's a Great Dane.
=Would this be a bad time to mention that Fox-32 Reporter Dane Placko is going to be my guest blogger in a few weeks?

*Coretta Scott King's memorial gets political
ATLANTA--Four Presidents gathered to pay tribute to the late wife of the slain civil rights leader at a memorial service this week. President Bush was attacked by several of the speakers--while he was sitting right behind them. President Clinton greatly upstaged his wife Hillary by delivering a rousing address before her bland one. The first President Bush lost a page of his speech and had to improvise, and President Carter reminded everyone that Coretta's husband was the target of government wiretapping in the 60s.
=I'm not sure about this, but I think someone might have mentioned Coretta Scott King at some point, too.
=You have to give President Bush credit for showing up in front of what he knew would be a very hostile crowd. He might see a spike in his approval ratings among African-Americans. It could go all the way up to 2.5%.

*White Sox to visit White House
WASHINGTON--The World Series champion Chicago White Sox are due to visit President Bush at the White House on Monday.
=Finally, a friendly crowd for the President. A couple of Venezualans, a couple of geez. "Laura, get me a Tylenol."

*John McCain vs. Barack Obama
WASHINGTON--Two prominent Senators, both of whom have been mentioned as future Presidential candidates, got into a tiff this week. Senator John McCain was upset by what he considered insincere comments about ethics reform in a letter he received from Senator Barack Obama. He sent him a scathing letter in return--and released the contents of the letter to the press.
=Although, I must say, I like Obama's response to the response. He said, "I'm rubber and you're glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you."
=McCain replied; "Nuh uh."

*George Ryan still on trial
CHICAGO--Former Illinois Governor George Ryan's trial continued this week in Chicago. Among the revelations: he encouraged his employees to give him cash gifts for Christmas. He received between $1500-$4000 a year this way.
=I had a boss who docked my pay for attending my own father's funeral, but in fairness to him, I never knew about this "give cash to your boss" tradition. No wonder he was such a jerk--I expected him to pay me.

*Former Atlanta Mayor also on Trial
ATLANTA--(AP) Former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell is on trial for allegedly accepting $160,000 in illegal campaign contributions. According to his former mistress, current WMAQ-Channel 5 (Chicago) anchorwoman Marion Brooks, Campbell always carried around plenty of cash while the two enjoyed a romantic relationship. During their four year affair (he was married), they went on more than twenty trips together to places like Jamaica, Paris, San Francisco and Mexico. He always paid for everything with cash.
=That's just not smart traveling. What would he have done if he was robbed? Karl Malden is spinning in his grave right now.
=Thank God he didn't travel to Italy before the Euro was introduced. Can you imagine how many Lira he would have had to carry?
=Brooks also testified that he bought her a $2400 dress in Paris. That's just not smart shopping. We bought a piano for less than that--and that price included delivery and a free tuning. (Although I will admit--the piano doesn't have sequins)

*New Majority Leader rents D.C. apartment from lobbyist
WASHINGTON--House Majority Leader John Boehner (pronounced Bay-ner, get your head out of the gutter) rents a basement apartment for $1600 a month from a lobbyist whose clients had an interest in legislation overseen or sponsored by Boehner, according to lobbying records.
=I'm as against lobbyist abuse as anyone, but $1600 a month for a basment apartment? That's not exactly a sweetheart deal. You can't even get a decent dress in Paris for $1600.

*Gonzales testifies before Congress
WASHINGTON--Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was grilled by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week about the domestic spying program approved by President Bush. Many of the Senators were openly skeptical of the legal justification, including at least three Republican Senators, but Gonzales was steadfast in his belief that the program is completely legal. According to Gonzales, the President's constitutional duty to protect the country in a time of war supercedes any other portion of the constitution (in this case, the 4th Amendment).
=Each party is being reasonable about this. Republicans say that Democrats don't care about the security of this country and want to help out the terrorists. Democrats say that Republicans want to crown a king and take away all of your rights as Americans. Can you tell this is an election year?

=I've only heard of one person publicly changing his mind about this domestic spying issue: Rush Limbaugh. At first he was strongly opposed to domestic spying, but when he found out that they weren't referring to spying on his domestics, he came around to the party line.

(Photo Source:

*Almanac: Aaron Burr birthday (Feb 6, 1756)
+This week marked the 250th anniversary of Aaron Burr's birth. Burr was the Vice President of the United States (to President Thomas Jefferson) when he challenged his political enemy Alexander Hamilton to a duel and mortally wounded him on July 11, 1804.
=This is for those of you who say the vitriol in Washington has never been worse.
=This is also for those of you who say Dick Cheney is the most aggressive VP we’ve ever had. He only told Senator Leahy to go *#&* himself. He didn’t kill him.
=Quintin Tarantino is thinking of making a movie about Burr’s life. He’s going to call it “Kill the $10 Bill.”

*Almanac: ”Good Times” debuts on TV (Feb 8, 1974)
+"Good Times," the show starring Jimmy J.J. Walker, John Amos, and Esther Rolle debuted this week 32 years ago. "Good Times" was set in Chicago’s Cabrini Green public housing project.
=Cabrini Green is gone now, and so is Jimmy Walker’s career.
=Pop star Janet Jackson played the character of Penny on “Good Times.” This was long before her singing career…heck it was five of her brother’s faces ago.
=On a serious note, I saw Jimmy Walker at a Cubs game last year (on 70s night—he threw out the first pitch. I took the picture below). I felt sorry for the guy because nearly every person in the stadium said “Dyno-Mite!” to him when he walked by. Imagine how old that is thirty two years later.

Reader Response

Regarding Bob Dearborn's guest blog "The Day the Music Died"

"Enjoyed Bob’s look back at Buddy Holly and the music of that era. Without a doubt, Bob was one of the most talented guys I ever worked with. He defined smooth, entertaining and class. It’s also not surprising to discover that he can write."
---Clark Weber

Rick's note
: Clark Weber is one of the all-time radio greats. He was one of the most popular disc jockeys in Chicago during the 1960s (WLS), and among his claims to fame, introducing the Beatles on stage at Comiskey Park. (He still works as an announcer in Chicago).

Regarding last week's From the Archives: Creative Kids Speech

"Nice piece on creative kids. One day we should compare notes on a regimented, organized German finding (and requiring) his creative side."

Rick Responds:: That sounds like a sitcom. What do you think of the title, "The importance of being Ernst?" It's just a thought.

Regarding This Week's Suburban Man: The 70s are Back!

"Thank you so much for including a picture of Chris Makepeace in your column. I've loved him ever since 'Meatballs'. Check out this website for more of Chris...

"Thanks for brightening a crappy week. Some 70s thoughts:
*At least the kids favorites are some of the good ones. "Billy Don't Be a Hero" and "Seasons in the Sun" remind me of being in the hospital for three weeks with pneumonia in first grade. Talk about adding insult to injury (or illness)!
*My daughter is obsessed with "Grease," and thinks Travolta is "cute," despite the fact he's almost her grandpa's age. She also has a thing for Davy Jones and David Cassidy, the apples don't fall far from the tree!
*Rick, what's the deal with the hair? You either complain about having too much or having too little. You guys are never happy!"

Rick responds: I can kvetch about anything. That's my gift.

Regarding the QT column (in the Sun-Times) mention of Rick's Blog

"I am soooo enjoying the blog, and it turns out I'm not the only one. It was fun seeing you quoted in Zay Smith's column this weekend - with an accompanying photo no less. Good for you!"

Regarding "The Bald Minute"

"Just read the Bald Minute from this week, and noted the 'glasses on the top of the head' trick. My dad used to try that gambit. It was especially funny when he had one pair of glasses on his nose and another on his head. Anyway, you need to publish a warning: do not use this trick outside on a sunny day. The lenses can focus the sun causing two ultra-sun burned patches, and possibly blinding anyone gazing at the head in question. On the plus side, any spiders that wander into the focus are instantly incinerated."

"I read somwhere that bald men have higher testostorone counts.Usually I've told men that are losing hair that they shouldn't feel bad as they're manlier."

Rick responds: We'll address this subject in next week's special Valentine's edition of the Bald Minute.

Speaking of Valentine's Day, I'm looking for your jokes about love for this Monday's Jokes for a Monday morning. Click on the comments link below and that will send it directly to my e-mail, or click on the e-mail link on the right. Thanks in advance. You haven't let me down yet.