A View From the Cheap Seats

April 21, 2010

Grab Bag

Filed under: Illinois,Politics,Religion,World — trzupek @ 1:57 pm


By Rich Trzupek

– Not sure which is more remarkable: the flurry of radical proposals that USEPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is churning out on an almost monthly basis, or the way the mainstream media is completely ignoring what she’s been up to. In little more than a year, Jackson has developed new air quality standards that will make it just about impossible to build a new fossil-fuel fired power plant in this country, set up an Ocean Policy Taskforce that will prove more effective than anything at stopping off-shore drilling and is steadily working on a rewrite of storm water regulations that will impact the cost and availability of a whole new host of consumer products previously untouched by EPA’s grasping hands.

If they are seen through to fruition, all of these initiatives will be costly to consumers and drive even more jobs overseas to nations that don’t have a similarly dazzling array of well-intentioned, but ultimately pointless, rules. Veteran readers of the Cheap Seats know that your humble correspondent does battle with the EPA in the day job on a daily basis, so I have certain, well-earned bias against that particular agency. But, Jackson’s EPA is a bureaucracy on steroids. Privately – very privately – many EPA staffers have been shaking their heads in disbelief as well, for they understand that if Jackson has her way, there’s going to be very little industry left for them to regulate.

– Last week Trey Parker and Matt Stone, aka: the last two guys in Hollywood with any guts, took a shot at radical Islam. No, that’s not right. In the April 18 episode of South Park, Parker and Stone were merciless in exposing the cowardly hypocrisy of those who enable the intolerance of the jihadists out fear of violent retribution. The response from the jihadis was predictable. How dare Parker and Stone attack Islamic intolerance and violence. They must be killed! The situation might be termed ironic, if it wasn’t so pathetic.

And how has Hollywood reacted? You know, the Hollywood chock full of “courageous” celebrities ever-ready to defend freedom of expression, diversity and creativity? Nary a word. Oh sure, George Clooney can make a film that goes after Joe McCarthy and that’s gutsy, because Tailgunner Joe has such a legion of admirers fifty-three years after his death. But a couple of their own go after a violent, hateful ideology and the silence is deafening.

– The images of Streamwood police officer James Mandarino beating a motorist were truly horrific and it’s hard to imagine any circumstances that would have justified Mardarino’s actions. I never met him while I was covering Streamwood, but, by all accounts, Mandarino was an exemplary, well-liked cop, which makes this incident all the more puzzling.

There’s plenty of justifiable outrage to be had but, unfortunately, cop-haters will also use this incident to paint with a very broad brush. Among those who should not be tarred nor feathered is Al Popp, Streamwood’s Police Chief. I’ve been privileged to know Al for a lot of years and have watched both him and his department at work more than – I’m sure – anyone who is not employed by the village. Popp is a public servant in every sense of the word, as honorable as anyone I have known and a stand up guy to boot. Knowing the kind of department that Popp runs, I’m sure that he was as shocked to see that film as anyone and, to his credit, he didn’t hesitate to do the right thing. Al will weather this storm and he doesn’t need me – or anyone – to defend him or his department. But, he’s had the backs of the residents of Streamwood for a lot of years, in countless ways that most people don’t even realize, so it’s only right for somebody to have his back now.

– Former President Bill Clinton trotted out the ghost of Timothy McVeigh to warn everyone about the dangers of something called right-wing extremism, which includes soccer moms coming out to tea-party rallies to protest big government, apparently. This is, of course, just another way of telling conservatives to shut the hell up.

It may be useful to look back on how the Clinton administration privately reacted to the Oklahoma City bombing. In his 1999 memoir “Behind the Oval Office” Clinton advisor Dick Morris reprinted the agenda for a White House meeting held four days after the tragedy. Here are the top three items on that agenda:

A. Temporary gain: boost in ratings — here today, gone tomorrow

B. More permanent gain: Improvements in character/personality attributes — remedies weakness, incompetence, ineffectiveness found in recent poll

C. Permanent possible gain: sets up Extremist Issue vs. Republicans

The last is the most significant, in the context of Clinton’s remarks. Liberals love the idea of right-wing violence, because it naturally distances people from conservatives. The tea-parties have been peaceful protests against swollen government, unmarked by violence. So, in the absence of any real violence to fuel fear and outrage, Clinton is more than happy to make some up. Lovely.


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