A View From the Cheap Seats

March 16, 2010

Corruption Squared


By Rich Trzupek

It’s hard to believe that anyone could pick worse candidates than the party that gave Illinois gubernatorial candidates like ex-governor/current convict George Ryan and the unbearably bland Judy Barr-Topinka, but Illinois Democrats are giving the GOP a run for their money this year. First they gave us disgraced former lieutenant governor candidate Scott Lee Cohen and now comes troubling revelations about their Senatorial candidate, state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. One has to wonder: does anybody check a candidate’s background these days?

Giannoulias is a protégé of the current president, which should have set off an alarm bell or two. When you’re tied into the Obama/Axelrod crowd, the chances of having a few skeletons hanging out in your closet rise exponentially. In 2006, Obama had this to say about Giannoulias:

“He’s one of the most outstanding young men that I could ever hope to meet. He’s somebody who cares deeply about people.”

When somebody tells you that an Illinois Democrat “cares deeply about people,” you are well-advised to check to make sure that you still have your wallet. Giannoulis is no exception. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Giannoulis stands to make $10 million off his role as owner of Broadway Bank, even though that bank is almost certainly about to go under.



September 24, 2008

News to Amuse

Bettie probably never spent I dime on attorneys, I'm thinkin'

Bettie probably never spent I dime on attorneys, I'm thinkin'


By Rich Trzupek

-With financial markets imploding, it more important than ever to save a buck. According to published reports, DeKalb attorney Scott Robert Erwin saved himself the trouble of tucking numerous dollar bills into G-strings by using his law degree in a way that would have made John Marshall – or at least Hugh Hefner – proud.

The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission suspended Erwin for 15 months, saying that accepting nude dances in lieu of cash wasn’t an example of sterling legal ethics, or words to that effect.

So much for America, land of “opportunity”.

The story goes that Erwin befriended an exotic dancer working at a strip club in 2001. The attorney agreed to represent her, and they also agreed that she would perform nude dances for him in his office in lieu of reduced bills.

The lass eventually ran up bills totaling $7,000, and Erwin reported credited her for only $534 for her dancing, which suggests that either: a) she was in the Hillary Clinton class as far as lookers go, or b) Erwin is pretty tight with a buck.

In any case, the dancer eventually complained to the authorities and the authorities eventually nailed Erwin. Ah well, when you strip this story down to the bare essentials, the naked truth is that you ultimately get what you play for, bottoms up.

-The long awaited first debate is almost upon us and it represents the one, big chance for McCain to pull this out. Palin vs. Biden doesn’t worry me, despite the mainstream media spin on Alaska’s governor. Biden is a non-entity and that’s not going to change.

Barack Obama Who Is Not A Muslim, on the other hand has been particularly awful when called upon to speak off the cuff, saying “uh – uh – uh” almost as often as he parrots “change” and “hope”, and displaying a sullen arrogance that is remarkable in a political figure. Should McCain manage to press the right button, much as Reagan did against Carter with “there you go again” in 1980, he could stand a chance.

It is still Obama’s race to lose, no doubt about it. However, Barry might be just the guy to do it.

Here’s hoping.

-According to an AP report, at least 86 workers at a Grand Island, Nebraska meat packing plant lost their jobs for leaving work outside of their regular hours. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t raise any eyebrows, anywhere.
However, the workers in question were Muslim and they had an excuse for leaving early: God demanded it. This is representative of the collisions between western culture and traditions and a religion that demands unquestioning obedience.

This episode reminded me of my time working at an oil refinery in Saudi Arabia. “Saudiazation” was all the rage in the kingdom back then. This was the concept that all of the foreigners – Americans, Brits, Indians and Filipinos for the most part – who did the bulk of the work would be dispelled from the Kingdom, to be replaced by native Saudis.

It was a noble idea, to a point, and that point was prayer time. Being devout Sunni Muslims, Saudis were required to stop work, go to the mosque and pray, five times each day. Being Arab Saudis, they really didn’t have any choices in the areas of “devout”, “Sunni” or “Muslim”.

Oil refineries, and a host of other industries, can’t really take five breaks a day, without things blowing up and people getting maimed and/or killed. It just doesn’t work that way. Exhibiting a true international spirit, all of us – Yanks, Brits, Indians and Filipinos would get together and laugh at the thought of “Saudiazation”. Five minutes after “Saudization” began, the Kingdom would grind to a halt.

The American tradition of freedom of religion demands that people should be able to worship as they please, so long as worship remains within the bounds of the law. The American tradition of free enterprise demands that people should also be able to run their businesses as they please, with the same caveat. This case, and many more to come, pits these two principles against each other.

Personally, I don’t have any problem picking a side. If you think that our free enterprise principles detract from your ability to worship the god of your choice, you are more than welcome to find someplace else to live.

-And finally, at Casa Trzupek, the haunting of the dishwasher continues. Based on conversations with other parents, this is not an isolated incident. Kids, it seems, are convinced that dishwashers are haunted, a la Poldergeist, likely to swallow them in should they dare to rinse a used plate and insert it into the appliance.

Maybe they’ve got something here, along the lines of the “if I take the garbage out, then the garbage fairies who normally do this will be annoyed and do terrible things to me in my sleep” theory. It’s possible, one supposes, but probably unlikely.

As is the rest of the news.

Yet, it’s all true.

September 10, 2008



By Rich Trzupek

“I put it on eBay.”

The measure of the effectiveness of those five words is how much they inflamed liberals. Leftist commentators and bloggers fell over themselves to disprove the statement, knowing how much it resonated with the average American voter. They soon “discovered” that their suspicions were correct: Sarah Palin is a liar.

“She didn’t sell the jet on eBay. She sold it to a businessman in a private transaction. Hah!”

Oh. Okay. She did “put” the jet on eBay, and she did find a buyer for the jet when it didn’t sell on eBay, and she didn’t say that she actually sold it on eBay, all of which makes the critics wrong not only in terms of the technicalities, but most importantly, in terms of the implications.

Her message resonated so loudly that the echo continues to drive the left to cover their ringing ears. Here is a woman who understands the “service” part of public service and who will not tolerate personal frivolity at the taxpayer’s expense. She’s a governor who doesn’t mind cooking for her family, or getting rid of an extravagance like a private jet.

“Well, it was also used to transport prisoners,” the critics huffed. “Don’t you know that Alaska is – like – big? How are you supposed to transport prisoners?”

Gee, I wonder if there are any other planes in Alaska? Planes that, you know, can be hired as needed for prisoner transportation? I wonder how many charters you would have to book before you came even close to the $2.1 million that Palin’s sale added to state coffers, not to mention all of the maintenance, personal and fuel savings?

Unless Alaska is overrun with prisoners (and we know that can’t be the case, since the left assures us that nobody actually lives there anyway) the math here should be easy enough for even a liberal to do.

We crabby conservatives watched in amusement as the Palin story developed. The timing of the announcement was designed, of course, to steal The Chosen One’s thunder the day after the Democratic National Convention closed, and it did just that.

This angered liberals everywhere (actually let’s say “further angered”, since they seem to spend their entire lives miserable) and their first reaction was a dismissive sneer. “The Governor of Alaska? What a dope McCain is! She’s been a small town mayor and governor of the least populous state in the union! What kind of qualifications are those?”

It seemed like a head scratcher on our side too, for all of five seconds, before it dawned on us that our number two is more qualified than their number one. Good Lord – McCain is brilliant! Please go after her lack of experience boys and girls, we said to the left. And, since you seem to agree that experience matters, exactly what experience does your guy have?

In terms of executive experience: zero.

In terms of negotiating deals with foreign governments: zero.

In terms of fighting corporations and corrupt commissions to get more dollars back in taxpayer’s pockets: zero.

Compare that to a woman who has actual executive experience, who has negotiated deals with Russia and Canada, who quit the oil commission in her state when it wouldn’t come around and eventually shamed it into cutting a fair deal for taxpayers. I could go on, but if you love Palin, you already know this stuff, and if you despise her, you’re covering your ears and shouting “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”

By any measure, Palin is more experienced in running government than Oprah’s favorite community organizer. The only hope that the libs had was that Palin would be so intimidated by the spotlight that she would stumble all over her “coming out” speech.

That was not to be.

Even the extreme left, like MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann, had to admit (reluctantly) that Palin nailed it. Following “The Speech”, Michael Reagan anointed the Alaska governor as the reincarnation of his father. While that analysis doesn’t hold up when one compares birth and death certificates, it is hard to argue with the comparison. Palin is tough, unimpressed by the trappings of power, and has the courage to say what is on her mind, no matter who it offends.

And so, the left has had to search for another card to play. The “inexperienced/incompetent” message is clearly not going to find traction. In desperation, they have resorted to some truly remarkable, not to mention despicable, ploys.

Palin’s teen-aged daughter is unmarried and pregnant? Can’t let that pass! Liberal commentators and bloggers gleefully attacked the mother for her child’s mistakes, a move that even Obama condemned – to his credit.

“How can she take care of five children and be Vice President at the same time!” the libs shouted. This was a truly remarkable tack. First of all, they once again proved that they are arithmetically-challenged. Palin has a son going into the military and a daughter about to get married. So that’s three kids at home, not five.

More troubling: did I miss something, or isn’t the left the penultimate supporter of the working mom? Shouldn’t a woman Vice President of the United States be an affirmation of this policy, not a condemnation of it?

The left’s spurious arguments against Palin are all the proof that is needed to show how this remarkable, self-made woman has shaken up the political landscape in our county. The Reagan analogy is not without foundation. The left knows that. And they hate it. Having realized that it’s counter-productive (to their cause) to call her “inexperienced” and now knowing that it’s fruitless to label her “incompetent”, they will spend the rest of the campaign trying to label her a lying, arrogant bitch.

Good luck with that libs. When McCain announced his choice for VP, you assumed that you would chew her up and spit her out. How ironic that the reverse will prove to be true.

May 14, 2008

Hail the Chief, and Hope


By Rich Trzupek

It would seem that we have elected our next President, albeit that we still have to go through the formalities of November. Barack Obama would not have been my first choice, nor my second. Come to think of it, he would have ranked somewhere between Ralph Malph from Happy Days and Mr. Haney from Green Acres, but here we are, with a New President, who has New Ideas and it’s time to get with The Program.

And The Program is about Believing In Something. It’s about Healing. And, most of all, it’s about Hope. Not just any kind of hope, mind you, but Audacious Hope. Get rid of that Ludicrous Hope, America. Shed your Atrocious Hope. Forget your Obnoxious Hope. We WILL be Healed. We CAN Believe. Together, we MUST Change, if only we have the audacity to –

(well, you know)

Let us pray…

I Hope that President Obama does not sneer at capitalism, but rather embraces it. I Hope that he doesn’t really Believe that we would be better off if pharmaceutical companies didn’t make a profit, or if less-fortunate Americans didn’t have access to the less-expensive commodities that come with free trade, because I Believe that when you combine protectionism with socialism, you’re pretty much getting the worst of both worlds.

I Hope that the future First Lady, Michelle Obama, can put aside the self-loathing she expresses time and again for daring to have middle class roots and for having worked for corporate America, for I Believe that a great many of us in the middle class kind of depend of corporate America to put food on the table, and I further Believe that – while it would be Absolutely Fabulous if we could all be community activists as Ms. Obama wishes – somebody needs to actually generate the money that community activists spend.

I Hope that our future Greatest President in the History of Presidents can base his foreign policy on what he believes is right, not on what the rest of the world thinks of us, for I Believe that all of this talk about “the rest of the world hating us” is about as relevant as a condom dispenser in a convent. I Believe that you do what is right, because it’s right, not because it’s popular, and I Hope that this particular “Parenting 101” lesson is required reading for anyone who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

I Hope that I can somehow arrange to bowl against Oprah’s Anointed for money, for, while I’m nobody’s Earl Anthony (hell, I’m not even anyone’s Carmen Salvino), I’ll put up at least one of my stepsons on my ability to top Obama’s score of 37 (achieved during a recent “hey look, I’m a regular guy!” media shoot), for I Believe that a blind, drunk, arthritic Bassett Hound could beat that.


I Hope that The Chosen One is kidding when he says he wants to negotiate with thugs like Hamas and Iran’s theocracy, for I Believe that legitimizing liars and murderers will cause more misery, for more people, than almost anything else he could do.

I Hope that Hollywood’s Darling is able to shed his poorly-concealed disdain for Israel, for I Believe that every dollar spent in supporting our most loyal ally in the world’s most troubled region is an investment returned many times over, in terms of support, in terms of a military presence to counter-balance the crazies and in terms of intelligence that has saved countless lives.

I Hope that America’s Savior can forget his roots in Chicago politics and can ignore the siren’s call of hucksters like Tony Rezko, Emil Jones and Jessie Jackson Jr., to whom he owes so much, for I Believe that nowhere is “politics as usual” quite so “as usual” as it is in the Windy City.

I am not sure what to Hope when it comes to His Eminence’s sordid history with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Should I Hope that He was asleep in church for the past twenty years, when Wright was preaching, as the good Reverend was espousing separation and hatred as part of a race-centered “theology” that made persecution, conspiracy and bitterness the focal point of his teaching?

Or, should I Hope that this was all His bad dream somehow, and that Our Hero has now awakened, a modern-day Dorothy, only to realize that all of his pre-conceptions were wrong and He now knows what truly matters? I don’t Believe that I can figure this one out. Politicians, more than anyone, are judged by the company they keep. This one, albeit that He is The One, has shown spectacularly bad judgment at the very least, or incredible arrogance and cynicism at the worst.

And so a brave new world awaits.

I Hope that it’s a happy one.

But I Believe that we’re in for some rough times.

And I Hope that, whatever happens, I will be able to find comfort by buying a gun and going to church.


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