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Presidentin’ Is Hard

20obama1480Though I make no claims of being a financial wizard, or a political maven, even I can see that all is not right on Wall Street, D.C. where the heart and soul of our country is on life support, currently being administered to by second graders who want to be doctors when they grow up.  And, I’m sophisticated enough to recognize that a lot of what I read about our dire national situation is presented in the media by people representing the political party so far out of favor they have to look to bloviating blowhards for advice, or worse, can be made to appear to need to do so.  I get that.  However, in spite of all that, the forces pretending to represent the white-hatted good guys in this classic Adventures in Administration movie, armed with their heralded sky-high approval ratings for their poor man’s Dark Gable leading man, simply can’t mount enough of a stampede to disguise the fact that the dustcloud that follows them like Charlie Brown’s pal Pigpen’s is not the result of riding hard and strong over the dusty trail, but merely the wispy smoke trails from their “throw ‘em off the path,” hastily built, diversionary cookfire.  In other words, they got nothing.

Stalwart bastion of the Obamedia protection service, Salon Magazine, has an article by former Clinton labor secretary and Obacolyte, Robert Reich, in which he pitifully attempts to pooh-pooh rightwing claims that the Obamessiah himself is responsible for our economic woes by trying to lay them at the feet of the finger-pointers:

When it turns out that people like Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, who took home $68 million in 1997, was the only Wall Streeter in a meeting last September at the New York Federal Reserve to discuss the initial AIG bailout with Tim Geithner, then New York Fed chair, among others, at the very time Goldman was AIG’s largest trading partner, a distinct scent of self-dealing begins to emanate. When it turns out that Citigroup got a bailout deal last October far more generous than that given to any other distressed bank, when a top Citi executive was advising the Treasury and Fed, the scent increases. Goldman’s past CEO was treasury secretary at that time, by the way, and another former Goldman CEO was a top Citi official and also a former treasury secretary. I am not suggesting anything so crude as corruption. But could it be, given these tangled webs, that — innocently, unintentionally, perhaps even subconsciously — the entire bailout effort was premised on saving these companies rather than protecting the public? Or that the distinction between the two was lost, and still is?

Yet, Reich gleefully and disingenuously, ignores the fact that the people he’s defending his ObaMaster against are the people who funded his campaign.  Not only that, the central figure in Reich’s little morality play, Turbo Tax Timmy Geithner, tax cheat, (TTTG,tc)  has a family history of sorts with Barry Sutoro, and is currently employed as the Blameless One’s lapdog and whipping boy.  To point out that he may have colluded with the banksters against the public in ripping off the country on the other team’s watch is…well…stupid.

Why would anyone purporting to defend the Obama administration draw attention to the man quickly becoming the public face of its incompetence?  Especially when the author can’t even make it through to the end of his own piece without acknowledging at least some of the complicity of the Obama Drama Troupe?

The Wall Street and Republican media attack machine doesn’t know exactly what to make of this. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, along with CNBC, alternates between attacking Obama for bailing out Wall Street and excusing Wall Street’s excesses. But then again, Obama doesn’t seem to know exactly what to make of it either. He seems to vacillate as well — one moment scorning Wall Street, the next moment justifying further bailouts. I do hope he takes a firmer hand, drawing a clearer distinction and making a clearer connection between clearing up these financial balance sheets and helping average people. Otherwise, the next populist uprising will be born in this moneyed quagmire. It is here — within the muck that was created by AIG, Citigroup, Fannie and Freddie, other giant financial institutions, now in combination with the U.S. Treasury and Fed — that the public is most confused, bears its most serious scars, and is potentially most burdened in future years, by decisions still made in secret.

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Hoodwinker and bamboozler: Burris and Blago

Burris and Blagojevich have no problems kidding the kidders

Burris and Blagojevich have no problems kidding the kidders

Burris and Blagojevich had no problem playing Harry Reid and the rest of a the Senate like a violin. They race-baited, they turned hasty and stupid claims about the Senate’s power back on the Senate, they masterfully orchestrated p.r. And all along any ordinary non-politician knew that these two were just like Paul Newman and Robert Redford in The Sting.

See reports here, here, and here for why that comparison is so apt and see who’s laughing now. Let’s see if the DNC and the DCCC get behind Kirsten Gillibrand’s reelection in 2010 or whether they leave her to fend for herself while they try to vindicate the Burris appointment by a “redemptive” election.

America Jumps The Shark

10-obama-meets-spiderman-100109I’m beginning to think that the art of politics (if there is such a thing) is the ability to get strangers to pretend to understand when you talk nonsense out of both sides of your mouth.  Unfortunately, that is also today’s definition of journalism.  That makes looking for turds of political wisdom among the media bullshit as much fun as a scavenger hunt in a sewer.  And just as obvious.

Politico is reporting that there are landmines ahead for ever-prepared policy wonk, Hillary Clinton, in her upcoming Senate confirmation hearings because she’s married to Bill and she ran against the man who appointed her, while at the same time (same article) reporting that her confirmation hearings are scheduled for only one day and everybody thinks she’ll be confirmed “speedily.”

Rasmussen Reports tells us that “lots” of people, 75% in fact, plan to watch at least “some” of the first black president-elect’s upcoming inauguration, with 28% planning to watch it “all,” while you couldn’t pay 21% to watch “any” of it.  They don’t tell us how many people plan to watch “for sure,” but 61% of black people will watch “all” the festivities, because he’s black, too, while only 22% of whites feel the same way, because they’re not.  Since the stupid networks show every indication of airing every aspect of the stupid inauguration festivities over and over until we “all” puke, I think it’s significant that 21% obviously won’t be turning on their televisions, reading a paper or surfing the net in the foreseeable near future.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s recent support of Rod Blagojevich’s appointee for Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat, Roland Burris, should score her some major points with black voters and colleagues who pretty much liked her anyway, according to CQ Politics.  Fienstein’s support registered well with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, though her reasoning had nothing to do with his skin color; rather, she cited a quaint little concept known as “the law.”

Feinstein’s bold stance on a no-brainer issue nonetheless puts her at odds with her Senate colleagues intent upon prolonging what amounts to a pissing contest during a circle jerk.  Those opposing Burris’ seating because he was appointed by a guy they consider to be a slimeball, (presumably not because he was involved in shady pay-to-play scams, but because he got caught; nobody’s calling for Bill Richardson‘s head or for his duties to be suspended; probably because he doesn’t have a Senate seat to sell like Blago and barely Governor Patterson) are suddenly trying to figure out how to zip up their wet pants and look presentable without washing their hands now that they realize that the curtain’s open and people are watching.

What do you do when you pick the guy you like to give the invocation at your inauguration, in order to make nice with the people who didn’t vote for you, if the people who did vote for you hate him?  Why, you find somebody the people who like you will like, too, and invite him to speak at another event, call it an “inauguration…something” and, sell it on EBay the internet.

But, all of that is just business as usual.  Sure, the outgoing Republican president turning over 350 billion taxpayer dollars to the incoming Democratic president is a little unprecedented (like being a little pregnant) but, not eyebrow-raising in today’s Obamacan political climate.  And, so what if people who read Politico think that MSNBC’s Chuck Todd is a latter-day Walter Cronkite?   Who cares if the FISA guy wants to digitalize medical records?  Multiple wars, impeachments, Gitmo flip-flops, unemployment, sucky economy, scandal, we’re used to all that stuff.

No, what has sent the country into a Happy Days-inspired leap from reality is the recent propensity of popular culture icons to embrace the ridiculous as it relates to Barack Obama.  You’d think they’d never seen a black president before, or something.  First Ms. Magazine, in a move that makes6a00e553cca69a8833010536c23492970c-800wi “The View” and “Playgirl” seem radical by comparison, boasted an improbable cover touting Obama’s non-existent feminist creds, going so far as to depict him as the women’s movement’s very own super hero, a giant leap up, in the wrong direction, from Prince Charming or Barbie’s Ken.

But the “fridge was nuked” waaaay over the rainbow shark when Marvel Comics equally (more) improbably paired Obama with a real-as-it-gets superhero, Spiderman, in it’s latest edition, because the future Geek-In-Chief was once a collector.  I shit kid you not.

The Barack Obama rage has now taken the comic world by storm. Reportedly the president will feature along with the superhero ‘Spiderman’. The fact that the US-president elect was a Spidey collector as a kid, has inspired the Marvel Comics to feature the ‘icon’ for the children’s book.

“When we read that we thought, ‘Oh my God the future Commander-in-chief is actually the future nerd-in-chief,’ the New York Daily News quoted Joe Quesada, Marvel’s top editor, as saying. “With a geek in the White House , we just had to give him a shout back. It’s just the coolest thing ever,” Quesada added.

Unlike Ms., at least they didn’t give the Obamessiah undeserved super powers.  Maybe by this time next week, or more likely, the week after, since “lots” of us will be eating nachos and watching the Super Bowl of Politics on cable next week, (I wonder if they’ll have cool new commercials?) we’ll find out that the wheels on the Obabus are actually jet-propelled wings or something.  I’m sure a rocket fueled, Acme Co. E-ject-O driver’s seat is too much to ask for.

And, the wheels on the bus…

*X-posted over at my place, Cinie’s World, as you would expect.

Is this the hopey hopey change they told us about?

What a difference a day or two makes in D.C. Yesterday, Harry Reid and the Senate refused to seat Roland Burris because of the “taint” of being appointed by Rod Blagojevich.

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Senator Diane Feinstein says that Roland Burris’ Appointment is Legitimate

popcorn_22

Fox News Reports:

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Rules Committee that soon could take up Burris’ case, said Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has the right to appoint a senator despite the allegations of corruption against him.

“Does the governor have the power, under law, to make the appointment? And the answer is yes,” Feinstein said, urging the Senate to settle the matter. “If you don’t seat Mr. Burris, it has ramifications for gubernatorial appointments all over America. … Mr. Burris is a senior, experienced politician.” Continue reading

Obacrats Can’t Be This Stupid

05burris-600Whoever thought maneuvering Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich into a position that allowed U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to officially criminalize machine politics-as-usual for political advantage has got to be the biggest neophyte yahoo rube to come down the pike since…Barack Obama.  Let’s review.  Barack Obama, the only African American in the Senate for two years, mysteriously generates enough money and clout to mount a successful run for the presidency out of a political environment so corrupt that “Lincoln would roll over in his grave,” how?  By being an all-around, all-American, above-board, swell, good guy, of course.  Sure.

Surrounded by his personal band of proselytizing disciples; Rahmbo the Emanuel, Valerie Magdalene, King David of the Astroturf, Antonin of Houses, and Jon, the Groper of Graven Images, to name a few, the Obamessiah scampered above the sewer waters of Illinois corruption as if they were a North Side private gymnasium treadmill.  As a fisher of men, He was often unfortunately touched, but not tainted by, the activities of the unworthy among those He assembled and attempted to make pure, as has been dutifully chronicled by the mainstream media Keepers of the Holy Book of the Obamessiah.  However, Barack remains the Reformer, bathed in the Light.

Clean, bright and articulate by resume, the recent machinations by the Combine Machine of the Obacrats are threatening to reveal enough cracks in the Obamirror of Righteousness to expose His Holy Stupid-as-a-Stumpness in a nationally broadcast Naivete Scene.  Did it never occur to the No Drama Obama crew that manipulating a fellow player not of their clique into a corner carried risks?

When one of their number, Antonin of Houses, stumbled and fell by the wayside, the Obasciples simply stepped gingerly, single-file around him, leaving him where he lay, disavowing him three times as they boarded the Obabus he rolled under when they continued confidently on their preordained journey to the Promised Land.  The Obamessiah did not lay hands upon him, nor did He absolve him of his sin; He simply denied knowledge of him as He brushed His Holy shoulders and allowed Himself to be driven on.  This was a Holy boo-boo.

For Antonin of Houses had special knowledge of Valerie Magdalene and the Obamessiah, and Antonin was pisseth.

Fast forward to the twenty-first century post-election ensconcement of the Obamessiah as President-In-Training Wheels.  Having written and disseminated his own Holy backstory to the Chroniclers, and having consumed their regurgitated praise to his overfill, the Obamesiah, drunk with his own Obamessiah-ness by proxy, allowed Himself to believe He, Jr. Father, Knew Best.  Thus began the chess match, whereby playing unopposed, the Obamessiah cleverly checkmated Himownself.

Seeing a way to eliminate his only real threat to absolute power in His own backyard, Barack of Hyde Park decided to continue to attempt to appear to levitate above the machinations of His betrayed Obasciple of the Houses,  and the locust-and-honey-eating way clearer, the crude Rod the Blagojevich, while shining His Holy Light upon their common evangelical activities, forgetting He too, was bathed in His Own Light.  Thus, He Screweth Himself.

Okay, enough of the Obamessiah allegory; it’s not only making me nauseous, I’m not nearly as good at it as John, South of Melrose over on Liberal Rapture or Gerald Baker; plus I need to be free to call bullshit without all this pseudo-Christian baggage.  So, let’s get back to brass tacks, shall we?

The fact remains that Obama screwed the pooch when he tried to play innocent while pointing the finger at Blagojevich.  Everybody in Illinois knew Blags was under investigation, he even hinted at the worst kept secret in politics the day before he was arrested.  Everybody also knew that even with Rezko’s making like a canary, Fitzgerald didn’t have enough to indict.  He still doesn’t.  But when the president-elect bats his exaggeratedly wide-open eyes and tilts his head in your direction when somebody else calls you a crook, people sit up and take notice.

Obama and company knew that if they dangled the vacant Senate seat plum just right while they dropped unsubtle hints that Fitzgerald was sure to pick up, the investigation against Blags was sure to intensify.  However, methinks they underestimated the existing intensity of the ongoing investigation.  Thinking that the tentacles would subsequently stretch out in all directions, they never considered that they already did, that it wasn’t just one Blagojevich phone that was tapped, and that more of their pre-cleanup involvement was already caught on tape.

Now, the smartest president in the room and his gang have been interviewed in a pay-to-play scam and have proclaimed their innocence, just like Blagojevich, just like Bill Richardson.  Though Blago has been arrested, before his alleged crime could criminally implicate anybody else, he hasn’t been indicted, he was released on a paltry bond, and he remains free to exercise his duties as governor.  And, now that he has done just that, the Obacrats, who for their own nefarious reasons, swept Obama to power, are desperate to get Blags to nullify himself, since they know they have no legal, or moral, authority to do so.  They also know now that Blagojevich knows it, too; by making the appointment, the Obacrats are not only rendered impotent, they’ve handcuffed  and prevented themselves from exercising any power they might once have wielded.  For, even if they impeach Blago, or he now resigns, there’s nothing that would make Roland Burris’ appointment to the Senate retroactively invalid.  From Politico:

The Democrats’ preferred solution to the Burris problem is for the Illinois Legislature to impeach Blagojevich, paving the way for Democratic Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn to take his place and appoint someone other than Burris to Obama’s vacant seat. But even that could create a legal headache, legal observers say, since the Burris appointment would still be pending.

“Even if Blagojevich is impeached, that doesn’t undo all the actions he has taken as governor,” said Andrew Raucci, a former chief justice for the Illinois Court of Claims and now a Chicago-based attorney.

Democrats say that if Burris hasn’t been seated by the time Quinn takes over, he could name someone else to the seat by rescinding Burris’ certification papers.

Burris was having none of it. At a news conference at Chicago’s Midway Airport, the former Illinois attorney general testily said to reporters, “Why don’t you all understand that what has been done here is legal? I am the junior senator from Illinois, and I wish my colleagues in the press would recognize that. All the drama — I guess it keeps you all in a job.”

And, to make bad matters worse, not only is Burris adamant that he is the junior senator from Illinois no matter what ticky-tack maneuvers the Obacrats try to pull, the potential criminalization of day to day political manipulation makes every satellite in the Oba-universe vulnerable.  Just ask Bill Richardson.

The best laid plans of mice and men, gang aft aglae.

Obama the Boxer vs. Blago the Brawler

obama-aliOkay, I admit it, I’m a boxing fan.  Not that I enjoy watching grown men and women pummel each other’s faces into unrecognition, per se; next to making up words, observing the ritualized human drama of mano a mano (hand to hand, not man to man) competition play out in the structured, regulated and supervised environment of the boxing ring is just plain fun.  More honest than wrestling, grittier, more real and less time consuming than a soap opera, and minus the gratuitous sex, boxing is a curious, yet entertaining  mix of theater and thuggery.  I like it.

It’s a simple sport; there are only four kinds of punches; jab, hook, uppercut, and straight right (or left, depending upon whether the boxer is a right-hander or southpaw.)   While boxers are required to be matched according to weight, the best fights feature fighters of comparable experience and skill. Since the rules are basic, (don’t try to kill your opponent, don’t bring anything into the ring to hit him with, like a bat, don’t hit him in the nuts) and those that aren’t standard are negotiable per fight, the most crucial element, in any match, is style.

Again, we’re talking simplicity simplified, here.  There are three basic styles of fighter, imho; “boxers,” guys not concerned with knockouts, content to win on points, primarily throwing flicking, annoying jabs in an attempt to keep the other guy preoccupied  to the point that he can’t mount an offense of his own.  Boxers are skilled at defense, bobbing, weaving, dancing out of the way of punches, all the while sticking their fists in the face of their opponent, but not really trying to hurt him, either, often because they know they can’t.  In fact, boxers don’t want anybody to get hurt, least of all themselves, if they can “hit, without being hit” they’re happy.  It’s even likely that boxers can’t “take a punch,” that’s the reason they’re “boxers,” not “fighters.”  While they may be considered textbook technicians and strategists, and their showy “flash and dash” can delight casual boxing observers, they are pretty much despised by purists and real fans alike, who prefer their champions be a little more rugged, willing to “mix it up” once in a while, and not prissy, wussy, light punching “rabbits.”

Then there are the “punchers.”  These guys are one-half step up from Neanderthal; they want to hit, and hit hard, anywhere, face, body, doesn’t matter; if they hit you, you’ll be hurt.  They often have no defense at all, they don’t need it since they seem to not only be impervious to pain, they enjoy it.  They’re usually not fond of the jab, might not even know how to throw one, the hook, uppercut, right hand, and whatever punch they make up at the spur of the moment in the heat of battle is just fine, thank you,very much.  “Throw hard with bad intentions,” if you miss, do it again.  “He can run, but he can’t hide,” at some point in the match, the “boxer” is going to run out of real estate, energy, or both, then the “puncher” will hit him with the force of a sledgehammer, and the fight will be over.  Whatever punishment is inflicted or received before that is irrelevant.  That is how a puncher “thinks,” that is how he wins, that is how he plans to win.

The style most fans and purists prize most is a combination of the two former ones, the “boxer/puncher.”  This guy knows how to avoid being hit, but if he is, he’s perfectly capable of “shaking it off,” and coming out swinging.  He’s not intimidated by a “puncher,” he can take it, plus, he’s got a fair bit of power in his own hands.  A “boxer” poses no problem for the “boxer/puncher” either, he’s just as skilled both defensively and with the jab, and his is more stinging than annoying.  Also, his “power punches” are often just as devastating as a pure “puncher.”  He’s a thinking man’s fighter, possessing a wide array of skills, he can formulate a strategy to exploit just about any other fighter’s weaknesses, nullify his strengths, and effectively counter with his own.  This is the guy fans and purists love, and opponents fear.

Politically, Barack Obama is a “boxer.”  Since fans enjoy watching the “sweet science,” his ability to avoid trouble has been more than enough, so far.  His  flashy “bob and weave” technique is fun to watch; the trouble is, he hasn’t yet been really hit.  Until now.

Rod Blagojevich is a “puncher.”  In fact, he’s a street brawler with gloves on.  “Style, shmyle, let’s get it on” is his motto.   His blunt, brash, no-nonsense, “whaddya got, whaddaya want?” approach has always gotten him into trouble, and has been easy for Obama to nullify in the past, all the while playing to the crowd, showing off his political dancing skills, and avoiding the clinches.  In fact, when Obama, knowing Blago came into the ring already bloodied by the investigation into his bludgeoning style, employed his “juke and jive” technique of peppering Blago with jabs by dangling Valerie Jarrett as a potential successor for his vacant Senate seat, then snatching her from contention before abruptly making his resignation official, effectively  maneuvered Blago into the corner right before he got hit with the right hand of arrest, it looked like Obama might be a boxer/puncher after all.  Thinking he had delivered a knockout from the accumulation of punches,  followed by the impeachment blow to the gut, and that his opponent was headed out of the ring on a stretcher, Obama allowed himself a brief, poor man’s impression of the Ali shuffle as victory dance.

And got sucker punched.

Hot Rod lunged off the canvas and caught Obama with a head ringing blow just barely above the belt by appointing Roland Burris to Obie’s seat in defiance of just about everybody.   Obama’s supporters, who were heading for the exits, his cornermen, who were headed into the ring, forgot to wait for the count of ten.  All seemed stunned, both that Blags had it in him, and that Obama wasn’t invincible, after all.  Hadn’t Blago heard them declare him dead in one voice?  Didn’t he know he had lost every round on the scorecards?  How did he muster the strength to get up off the floor and throw a haymaker?  They know the game, and they know that wasn’t a lucky punch. That was boxing.  How come Obama the “boxer” didn’t see it coming and get out of the way?  How come the ref didn’t stop the fight?   And more importantly, what do they do now?

Right now, the bell has rung between rounds and the Obama team, with the help of the ref and the timekeeper, are trying to keep their guy on the stool until his cobwebs clear, and they can come up with a winning scenario even the cynical boxing/political public will buy.  They’re also kicking themselves for forgetting that pure “boxing” doesn’t always win fights, for not considering that their guy might have a glass jaw, and  for not knowing that a “puncher” who can “box” will beat even a “boxer/puncher” every time.    Sometimes, with just one punch.  That’s why, when you beat a guy down, it’s best for all concerned to finish him off.

That is, if you can.

*Note: I wrote this post a couple of days ago, but was reluctant to post it here for fear that the subject matter might not be everybody’s cuppa.  But in light of the Chicago Tribune revelation that Rod Blagojeveich was indeed once a boxer, I figured it might now be appropriate.  Interestingly, by stressing his preoccupation with his hair, and his tendency to keep his hands over his face in the ring, the Tribune writer deliberately attempts to portray Blago as a vainglorious wimp without providing any substantiation, like, say, his Golden Glove record.  I seem to remember Muhammad Ali combing his hair in the ring after every fight, and being criticized for not keeping his hands up, but overall, people seem to think he was a pretty good boxer in his day.

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