Good Things about the Trump Disaster

I don’t want to waste much time writing about Trump — I waste too much time reading other people’s writing about Trump, and they are much more thorough researchers than yours truly. I have other projects to shepherd at the moment, balanced with actual activism work.

But really, can you believe he’s only been in office 3 weeks now? If by “change”, his voters envisioned a constitutional crisis, real Nazis in the Oval Office, Cabinet members who can’t get endorsed by anything but a party line vote, and weekends in which SNL skits cause more upset than a lethally botched Navy SEAL raid — then I guess we consulting different dictionaries.

But before getting bogged down in DAYS worth of kvetching and worrying, let’s consider the positive aspects of Cheetolini’s tenure (and never forget, it’s the GOP’s mess to deal with):

  • More people are getting involved in politics than ever before. (Let’s just make sure, all you snowflakes, that it ain’t just on the national level — pay attention to your state and local politics, EVEN IF you agree with them now. Also pay close attention to voting rights protections and redistricting efforts.)
  • People are showing up at meetings with their reps incensed by the idea that their insurance could be taken away or fouled up BEFORE any replacement plan is even discussed. (Geez, what kind of genius came up with THAT plan?)
  • Thousands of people who work in government and take pride in their contribution to the country and its citizens are fighting back, overtly and covertly, against this brainless disaster.
  • Democrats in DC are finally being forced to show some spine, which I hope continues on an exponential scale. (Miracles do happen)
  • Contributions to ProPublica, the ACLU, and Planned Parenthood are going through the roof, which will allow them all to hire more lawyers and advocates to stand up for policies that protect our rights.
  • We all know now that progress is not a given, that it always has to be pushed forward.
  • Be glad that Trump and his troop of bozos are so ham-handed at their game. If someone slicker and more adept at Washington’s culture were to be trying this, the venality, cruelty and criminality wouldn’t be so obvious. It’s the dogshit laying in the middle of the sidewalk that is easiest for everyone to react to.

These are generalities, which unfortunately won’t give comfort to people being deported, communities watching their drinking water fill with sludge, etc. America and its winner-take-all mentality can be unimaginably cruel, and is no way to run a government.

But if the past three weeks are any indication, we won’t have to endure four years of this “corned beef dirigible” (as described in Deadspin). I was more depressed in November and December, when everyone imagined the worst but had no evidence to guide their anger and grief.

Then I saw people flooding the airports on a Saturday night to protest the immigration ban, along with volunteer lawyers squatting with their laptops on the floor of McDonald’s, ready to fight for the rights of complete strangers.

As the sign says, “First they came for the Muslims, and we said NOT THIS TIME, MOTHERFUCKER!”

Whoever came up with that deserves a Pulitzer.

Resist. Persist.

CIA Torture Memo and the Holidays!

nosenseofshameI read this piece last week at The Paper Machete, my favorite reading series in Chicago (weekly and free!). They gave me the option to tackle something a little more light-hearted than CIA torture and cover-up, like the war in Nigeria, but I said no way. If I don’t have the chops to find something funny in a horrendous scandal and terrible abrogation of American (not to mention human) values, then I should just hang up my quill, pour my vitriol down the sink, and start writing greeting cards.

This was greeted alternately with big laffs and stunned silence, so I think I hit my mark. Please read it all the way through.

Liberty Baptisms! Rectal feeding! Cheers!

————————————————————————————————————————-

MEMO:

To: all active and inactive field operatives in Southern Asia

FROM: District Director Colin Braidlowe

RE: Guidelines and suggestions for addressing recent allegations during the holidays

Hello to all you men and women on the hidden front lines of freedom. As the winter holidays begin, many of you will be taking time off and mingling with your family, friends and assorted civilians. The holidays are a welcome break from the daily grind, a time for merrymaking and random surveilling, and as I’m sure you all know from experience, denying to everyone you work for the CIA. (If you need new ideas explaining to prying busybodies what you do for a living, please download the informative PDF, “Tinker, Tailor, Import/Export Systems Engineer, Spy: A Guide to Undercover Professions.”)

When mingling with civilians, the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on our work in Afghanistan is likely to come up. When it does, please do not overreact and call the office to arrange an extradition. These are your fellow countrymen we’re talking about! Besides, just like every other office in the country, we will be short-handed around Langley! Take the time to make this an opportunity for covert education.

LEGALITY

Some civilians will inaccurately claim the Senate Committee report describes activities that are illegal. This is an unveracity. Remember, every activity in the report was deemed legal by the DOJ of President Bush. Therefore, each activity was legal in a strictly legal sense. More importantly — and some civilians might not grasp this quickly — each complied with the law as we see it! If we are to have a government of laws, this is an important distinction. If the CIA followed every legal interpretation from every Dept. of Justice from every administration that happened along, we’d be running around with hoods over our heads, with our hands tied behind our backs in our tighty whiteys. This would distract the CIA from its mission, whatever it happens to be at the time. The law is important, certainly, but it is only one tool in freedom’s toolbox. And it doesn’t even plug in.

TERMINOLOGY

The following are potentially explosive words to avoid in conversation, with their recommended replacements:

The T word. Under no circumstances do agency personnel use the T word. If the NY Times can avoid using the T-word for 13 years, so can you. Our official term for these activities is enhanced interrogation techniques, or EITs. Other substitutions include Truth or Dare, innocent chinwag, Hell’s 20 questions, or the power powwow.

Extended sleep deprivation, can be referred to as non-slumber parties, cramming for finals, and Rockin’ in the Free World.

Extended enforced Isolation: can be referred to as a chance to reflect, a Calgon moment, or a little “me” time.

Waterboarding. Alternative terms include hydro-aversion therapy, Liberty baptisms, and the Neti pot. This is a very emotional subject. Try and deflect discussion of liberty baptisms by talking about old family vacations on the beach. If this doesn’t work, appeal to their sense of nostalgia. Remind everyone that the US Army waterboarded prisoners during the Spanish-American War and the US occupation of the Philippines. To really take control of things, stand up and emotionally declare, “If it’s good enough for Teddy Roosevelt, it’s good enough for me.”

Rectal feeding. This practice has attracted much sensational and unfortunate attention, and will continue to do so unless we reverse the flow immediately. The agency’s new narrative is easy to swallow, and we must feed it to the public in any way we can imagine. If our official narrative has cracks that are not plugged, the constant drip-drip-drip of bad news will foul the air, sap our strength and leave us with a red eye …. A black eye.

Avoid the topic of rectal feeding whenever possible. When helping in the kitchen for the big holiday meal, be careful not to bring it up. Likewise, when the turkey is being stuffed, it is not recommended that you comment, “That’s not how we did it at Baghram,” even as a joke, or that you start screaming at the turkey that you are going to kill his whole brood if he doesn’t spill everything he knows.

Actionable intelligence. You may meet critics who assert that none of the agency’s “innocent chinwags” produced any useful intelligence. These critics unfortunately do not understand the intelligence business. We firmly believe our chinwags do uncover information that is otherwise unobtainable, whether evidence for this exists or not. As CIA Director Brennan told Congress Thursday, “the cause and effect relationship between the application of those EITs and the ultimate provision of the information is unknown and unknowable.”

So turn the tables on critics and ask them why get so angry about something that is unknowable? If we cannot prove our chinwags result in reliable information, doesn’t it follow that we cannot prove other techniques provide good intelligence? What is the nature of knowledge anyway? What proof can be relied on in this imperfect world? This should get some of the philosophy majors off your back. Also, bring up Schrödinger’s cat, firmly locked in a coffin-like box.

Often you can turn accusations into a chance for humor. When someone says, “This brutality in Afghanistan makes us no better than the Nazis,” you can say, “No, it doesn’t. Heh heh. The Nazis kept better records.”

As a final reminder, the Agency is always on the lookout for bright, patriotic individuals to help protect our freedoms, as well as America’s. This latest PR problem will frankly hinder our recruiting efforts for the next several years. So when you are hanging out with your unemployed cousin, or shooting pool in your hometown tavern with your dead-end high school classmates, casually discuss the many job opportunities now available (without mentioning us by name, of course). Remember, not only were many of our Afghan interrogators completely untrained in police tactics, questioning, and even the local languages, but the designers of the interrogation program themselves also had zero experience in the basics of the field. These are the kind of success stories that should excite anyone interested in working for the agency.

Happy holidays to all. Please eat this memo.

 

A Couple Political Nonsense Poems

By which I mean, the politics is nonsensical, not the poems. A friend threw a dinner party over the weekend, and asked everyone to bring a political poem to share. Some read from others, but I felt the challenge was to write our own. So I wrote a couple. This first one is a comment on who want to dismantle FEMA because of various paranoid fantasies:

To those who want to disband FEMA,
Who say it’s just a brown-shirt scheme, a
Thing that saps our moral will
While siphoning money from the till,

Who hold all government in disdain
And think our fundamental plan
Is to leave each other as we are, in
A twisted sort of nod to Darwin,

To deify the individual
And trash the institutional,
Push “survival of the fittest”
And hoist a vengeful God as witness –

To those I say, all well and good.
Don’t call me during YOUR next flood.

And this second one is in response to a news item from the great state of Michigan, where a Court of Appeals has ruled unconstitutional a law that prohibited patrons from entering libraries while strapped. Here’s the story in the Detroit Free Press. Please be careful choosing the people with whom you argue about Norman Mailer today. Or Zane Grey, for that matter.

If America’s exceptional in any way,
I think it might be this’n:
We care less ‘bout packing heat in libraries
Than ‘bout men on TV kissin’.

A Little Taste of ‘Tea Party Fairy Tales’

Time and attention spans are short, so for fans interested in what’s contained in my latest Kindle Single, Tea Party Fairy Tales, here are a couple of samples. To get your copy for the super low price of $1.99, click here:

INTRODUCTION

Get out of bed! No more sleeping! It’s time to wake up, Storybookland!

Some years ago, my name somehow became attached to the leftist “politically correct” movement because my name was attached to a book — Politically Correct Bedtime Stories — that many liberals took to heart. In that volume, I argued we could forge a better world by rewriting familiar stories for our children. By eliminating violence, sexism and prejudice from favorite childhood tales, I thought we could create a better society.

Well, like all social engineering projects, that one failed miserably.

Now the scales have fallen from my eyes. Rising levels of socialism, anarchy and personal cholesterol have alarmed the 50-year-old me, to the point where I realize we need to recast society in a more fundamental way, one that defends liberty, encourages personal initiative and prevents the government from stealing any more of the money I made on my previous books.

The evidence still asserts (if you can believe what pointy-headed academics are saying) that impressionable children can be molded at an early age by their reading material. The crises of the coming decades will require brave, conservative young men and women if the American experiment (bolstered by divine providence, of course) is to survive. America is the greatest country ever, bar none, in the history of this or any other world. That’s why it’s in such mortal danger, from both within and without. That’s why we can’t risk having a younger generation shaped by anything less than true 100% American values, screamed from the highest rooftop and blasted through every media channel. Real truth is strong, incorruptible and eternal. That’s why it needs to be repeated at the top of our lungs, again and again, lest it perish…..

AESOP’S FABLES:The Two Sheep

One morning two Sheep were deciding on the best destination for their grazing.

“I think we should go up the mountain,” said the First Sheep. “Not many other animals go there to graze, so there should be enough clover to eat. Besides, the view is very pretty.”

The Second Sheep said, “No, let’s go down near the river. The grass is very sweet and plentiful there, and we’ll be shaded from the sun and wind.”

“I don’t like that idea,” said the First.

“But I don’t like yours, either,” said the Second.

“Well then, let’s compromise. We can go to the broad plain that lies between the mountains and the river. It should have enough grass to eat, and the weather should be fine for both of us.”

“Agreed,” said the Second Sheep.

And as the Sheep set off down the road to the broad plain, they were both pounced upon by Hyenas and eaten.

Moral: Compromise equals death.

LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

Once upon a time, when everything was as it should be, there lived a young girl named Red Riding Hood. Now, just because she was named Red and liked to skulk around in red clothing and hide her face with a hood doesn’t make her a secret Communist. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean we’ll be letting our guard down, either. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

One day, Red Riding Hood’s mother asked her to take a basket of goodies to her grandmother’s house. She also gave Red a Glock .45 automatic for protection. Old Grandma Hood was fiercely independent, you see, and was still living off the land at age 92. She was also a crack shot and an avid supporter of the NRA (Nonagenarian Rifle Association). At her trailer in her wooded compound, times had grown hard and supplies were getting scarce. And since Grandma’s medication was probably getting low, Red had to be armed and ready in case her beloved granny was getting a little cuckoo and thought Red was from FEMA.

So, free and fully armed, Red Riding Hood set off down the path, pushing her wheelbarrow full of powdered milk, jerky, dried beans and ammunition to Grandma’s compound. Her Grandma was a patriot, and Red Riding Hood loved her.

On the path in the woods, Red Riding Hood was accosted by a Wolf. “Yo, baby, what you got in the cart, huh?” he asked very rudely.

Red Riding Hood took out her Glock and shot him.

“An armed society is a polite society,” she said, and pushed her wheelbarrow along…..

New Kindle Single: Tea Party Fairy Tales!

Finally, some news on the publishing front. This Friday will the the publication of my first Kindle Single!

Tea Party Fairy Tales will be available exclusively in electronic form from Amazon, 48 pages of trenchant social analysis and juvenile humor for the low, low price of $1.99.

For those interested, the genesis of the book is as follows: Last year, in response to what I saw as screaming, spittle-flecked hostility on the part of the Tea Party conservatives, I was noodling around with more strange fairy tales. (Of course, there are Tea Party Republicans out there, but also many folks who think Republicans are just as complicit as Democrats, and equally worthy of tar and feathers, in a revival of a classic American artisan tradition.) First I played with Red Riding Hood a bit, and was happy with the results. Then I tried a few others, some of which worked, others not. I then tried some of Aesop’s Fables, which earlier had not withstood the PC treatment very well, but here lent themselves nicely to pithy, aggressive morals advising the reader to wise up or get eaten.

The humor wasn’t the long-winded, apologetic kind that propelled Politically Correct Bedtime Stories. “Kindness-impaired” and “outside the dominant beauty paradigm” wouldn’t work for this, and frankly I’m tapped out on that anyway. What this topic needed was a combination of paranoia, unshakeable faith in everything American, a soupcon of conspiracy, and lots of anger. I hope I’ve found the humor in Tea Bagger extremism (my editor and reading buddies say I did) just like I did for the PC crowd. What’s sauce for the goose is propa for the ganda.

A problem arose, however: it became clear early that I could not make this into a book as long as PCBS. Either I exhausted the material early, or it exhausted me, but the manuscript came out at around 14,000 words. (God-given, eternal truths don’t need a lot of explanation. They just need to be followed.) But that’s the beauty of Kindle Singles, and electronic publishing in general. A book can be as long as it needs to be, not a word more or less. So the new book treats topics without beating them into the ground, and the format allows me to use a light, surgical touch for a topic that could easily get out of hand.

Couple that with the marketing reach of Amazon, and I couldn’t be happier to publish with them. I really dig the whole e-publishing thing. I think it’s going to revive the age of pamphleteering and short fiction, and maybe already has. Rex Koko, Private Clown is finding its audience with it, I hope the same happens with Tea Party Fairy Tales.

To get your copy, click on the link below. I hope you all will like it.

Buy the Tea Party Fairy Tales Kindle Single here!

The World According to Ozzie Guillen

Well, it didn’t take long for the Mouth from Venezuela to toss off some nonsense that offended the type of people who like to go into screaming fits about stupid things celebrity jocks say. It’s amusing to us in Chicago, because just like hurricanes and killer bees, we thought Florida would’ve been ready for it.

But Ozzie has opinions about LOTS of stuff. He called a friend of mine this week and unloaded about all sorts of hot-button issues, which you can find at the link below.

OZZIE CALLING @ Chicagoside.com

Santorum’s Right: We Must Stop Our Love Affair with Snobs

The Paper Machete is a great reading series that happens every Saturday afternoon, 3 pm, at the Horseshoe in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood. Last week, I was lucky enough to read a little current events piece, about what a socio-economic genius Rick Santorum is. (Spoiler alert: I wasn’t really serious.) In my usual way, I take a premise and completely squeeze the life out of it, then play monkey-in-the-middle with its carcass.

Luckily, in this wired age, host Christopher Piatt took the time to record it, and now you can hear it by going to WBEZ-FM at the link below. Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed all the rest of the show. If you live in Chicago, go check out The Paper Machete. Quality stuff from beginning to end, and it’s free.

Keep Your Kid Out of College, Stop a Snob in the Making!

Tea Party Fairy Tales: Aesop’s Fables #1

The Two Sheep

One morning two sheep were deciding where to go to graze grass.

“I think we should go up the mountain,” said the first sheep. “Not many other animals go there to graze, so there should be enough to eat. Besides, the view is very pretty.”

The second sheep said, “No, let’s go down near the river. The grass is very sweet and plentiful there, and we’ll be shaded from the sun and wind.”

“I don’t like that idea,” said the first.

“But I don’t like yours either,” said the second.

“Well then, let’s compromise. We can go to the broad plain that lies between the mountains and the river. It should have enough grass to eat, and the weather should be fine for both of us.”

“Agreed,” said the second sheep.

And as they set off down the road to the broad plain, they were both attacked and eaten by lions.

Moral: Compromise equals death

Where I Was and How I Heard About It

Fall of Berlin Wall — late Sunday night, falling asleep in front of CNN.

Nelson Mandela released from prison, fall and assassination of Nicolai Ceceascu — on NPR, driving in the snow at night, back to Detroit for Christmas. Developments during the 6-hour drive were regular and dramatic.

Attack on the World Trade Center — on NPR, driving to work. Went out and bought a small TV as soon as Best Buy opened.

Death of the coward Osama Bin Laden — On Facebook, then to CNN, again late on a Sunday night.

I’m very grateful that the fall of tyranny can burn strong memories in my head as vivid as those of great tragedy. It bodes well for my continued sanity. Watching Wolf Blitzer and John King stammer and vamp while waiting and waiting for the White House announcement was funny for a while, but I put up with it because the only alternative was Geraldo Rivera on the graveyard shift on Fox. (I hope he remembered to start the coffee for the morning crew before he left.)

And the college kids in front of the White House butchering the National Anthem made me yearn for a bombastic pro singer from a hockey game to wheel out a PA in a dapper suit and blow em all away. Where’s Fat Bob the Singing Plumber when you need him?

But those were as nothing, compared with watching Obama walk down that red carpet (repressing a swagger, you could just tell) and deliver his news in such calm and measured terms. I wanted more details — how Osama was shot, how many times, who got to chew on his skull first — but will certainly accept his announcement, including his reference to Bush and the reassertion that we were never at war with Islam. Gracious, exact, statesmanlike, cool, and in the end deadly. (The only note that was off was when he called for Americans to show the unity we did back in September 2001. Surely someone on the right is going to chastise him for using this moment to score partisan points! That will be the amusing sloppy seconds for the next few days: watching conservatives find Obama’s failings in this whole operation. Watch for lots of blame going to Bill Clinton for his impotent tossing of cruise missiles at Afghan training camps in 1998. And probably lots of mentions of Jimmy Carter, just to bring up his name to sully this effort.)

I certainly hope Obama allowed himself a WHOOOP when he got back out of camera range. I’d say it called for a drink and a cigarette.

A Salute to Sparky Anderson

The Tigers have lost another legendary personality. George Lee Anderson, better known and loved as Sparky, has died at the age of 76. Along with the loss of Ernie Harwell earlier in the year, it’s a one-two punch to the gut for Bengals fans. Sparky was the genuine article, by all accounts, and never forgot his humble beginnings. As such, he was the perfect fit for a place like Detroit, a place with a very finely tuned bullshit meter (not that it stops them from electing fools and felons, naturally).

For a terrific appreciation of Sparky, check out Joe Posnansky’s excellent piece in Sports Illustrated. It will tell you all you need to know about why this guy was such a classic. However, I’m waiting to read in even one of these tribute articles that Sparky was a member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, for his minor league playing days in Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Royals. (The picture with this post came from their website.)

And so, I felt the need to salute Sparky with a poem on Bardball. It just started with small phrases and kept going. It seems very fitting. Sparky was not an educated man, so a flowery tribute would’ve rung hollow. So long, Sparky. The Hot Stove League in heaven just got livelier.

The snowy hair
The doleful stare
The mangled speech
The subtle preach
The dubious start
The gentle heart
The hook that stings
Three Series rings
The postgame pipe
The misplaced hype
Shaggy dog stories
Humble glories
A light gone dark
We’ll miss you, Spark

Tea Partiers Come Closer to Catching the Car They’re Barking After

From what I gather on some of the political websites, there’s been some kind of tectonic shift in American politics, now that some “Tea Party” candidates have ousted Republican favorites in some Senate and House Primaries. Katie, bar the door, and all that….

I haven’t paid any attention to the Tea Party movement for more than a year. At one time, they seemed like a genuine force to be reckoned with. But as certain “leaders” have emerged, they strike me as little more than telegenic nihilists. Not informed about how government operates, not interested that there can be more than one side to an argument, not particularly honest with the people whose emotions they have stoked and manipulated. They argue that having no government would almost be better than having the government we have now. (If you really think that having no government would create some kind of Rousseau-ian paradise, go visit places with failed governments like Yemen or Sudan, then come back and report.)

Hey, they wanna “throw da bums out”, that’s fine. That’s why we have the system.

But what kind of makes me sick is the way this is treated in the media, like these people are like Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys, swooping down at this particular time in history to reclaim this country. That’s the rhetoric of the movement, but now the trope is worming its way into news coverage about it.

This morning on NPR’s “Morning Edition” (which I was only half listening to), the reporter described the Tea Party movement as a robust threat to the Republican establishment. It was done in such an awestruck and admiring manner, that I had to think to myself:

“Would a serious movement from the left, challenging Democratic incumbents, have received such a glowing report? Or would a “Coffee Party” (or whatever) be treated as a ragtag bunch of crazies that want power and won’t know what to do with it when they get it?”

I think you know the answer. Which all goes back to the way the supposedly liberal elements of the media establishment are still an establishment, and treat conservative power with way more deference and analysis than it deserves. Conservative power is about one thing only: Power. Not good governance, not justice, not equality, not the future of the country. Just power, and holding onto it.

I’m not saying the Democrats can be trusted to act in ways that advance those ideals, or that they don’t crave power like a junkie. It’s just that I get tired of the media giving these Tea Party dress-up whores so much credit, and their government suitors any credibility. IT often looks like the Tea Partiers have stolen the keys to the family van, and are sitting up in a tree taunting the Republican officeholders, and the officeholders are making lots of cooing noises and waving candy hoping to get the keys back. Billionaires are funding the Tea Party movement and pulling the strings behind the candidates, and any doofuses in tri-corner hats who think that these backers have the fate of the average citizen in mind deserves the paddling he’s going to get.

It’s only going to get interesting again when some of these “reformers” get elected to office. But then, that’s me. I’m a cynic, but not a nihilist.

Jack Bauer Enters the War on Christmas

Things turn ugly as Santa is interrogated by Kiefer Sutherland. Pretty funny. Found on The Daily What.

Readers of my book “Recut Madness” might recognize a similar storyline in my Red State version of “Miracle on 34th Street”, wherein Santa is brought before a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay. It has a less happy ending than this video, but then again, I wrote it in 2006. You all can read it right here.

Man, I have got to figure out how to use video editing software! How can a writer get his ideas in front of people if he doesn’t also become a videographer/producer/director/editor/sound editor? It’s nearly impossible.

New true/slant post up, FRESH!

Check it out, and if you’re curious about true/slant, browse around the site and tag me as a commentator you’re “following”. It’s the future, baby!!

GOP: Justice is more than NYC can handle

The announcement from Atty. Gen. Eric Holder that alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other Guantanamo inmates would be tried in federal court was a strong statement of the primacy of the rule of law in this country.

Predictably, the GOP leadership hated it.

Lost Chicago, Post-Olympics

Okay, the big announcement for whether Chicago will get the 2016 Olympics is due in about 90 minutes. Maybe we’ll get it, maybe Rio de Janiero will be the dark horse/sentimental underdog and pull it out in the end. But in case the Windy City does land the games, I wanted to make a list of the things that will inevitably change or disappear in the next 7 years.

–The wide open, quiet, 19th-century feel of Washington Park

–The media neglect of the whole South Side.

–The quiet mornings on the Lincoln Park rowing course, which will be upgraded and lead to a new wave of Sculling-Mania!!

–The days when $1.5 billion seems like a large amount of money.

–the four-star Chicago flag, which will certainly get a fifth for the Games. (How interesting that the six-pointed star is now being graphically used all over the place, from T-shirts to company logos. Why did that take so long to think of?)

–Our feeling of being the Second City (though the condescension from New York will never stop–“It used to be the Hog Butcher to the world, now it’s the locker room.”)

–An affordable cab ride.

–the make-up of a good Chicago hot dog. There are bigger things to worry about, but I’m pretty certain that the recipes for basic local foods — hot dogs, Italian beef, Frango mints from The Store That Must Not Be Named — will all be watered down and homogenized to accommodate the new visitors. The opposite problem might be that every new restaurant in town is going to be a deep-dish pizzeria, “authentic Chicago style”.

–Richie Daley is just going to get scarier and scarier.

UPDATE: Wait, we DIDN’T get it??? Who the hell do they think they are????

Jaun Antonio Sumthinorother? He’s a DEAD man!!! Didn’t he watch The Untouchables??

Read my take at true/slant here.