Read this month’s Michigan Avenue Magazine cover story on Emmy by yours truly; it’s on stands now!
This from the president’s itinerary:
“[The president] will continue the ‘Yes, America Can’ bus tour with three stops in Iowa and Wisconsin. The president will participate in events focused on strength, optimism and resolve of the American people in … strengthening our economy, making our communities better and keeping America safe …
“[The president] will discuss his plan for growing the economy and ensuring that every American who wants a job can find one …”
The “Yes, America Can” bus in was made in Canada by Prevost. One of the president’s critics said, “Seeing the president drive around in his Canadian-made luxury bus is just another reminder of [his] failed economic policies.”
This story is not from this week or even this year. It’s not about Barack Obama.
It’s from the spring of 2005, when President Bush was on tour.
So not only did Obama not come up with the concept of tooling around the Heartland in a Canadian-made luxury bus — even the ol’ “Yes We Can” slogan is just an update on “Yes, American Can.”
The wedding of the year
Apparently the wedding of reality-TV creation Kim Kardashian and some basketballer averaging 5.6 points per game in his career is the American version of the royal wedding, which featured one of those prince guys and Pippa Middleton’s sister.
“[A] high-quality candid photograph of the bride in her wedding dress could sell for the same price as a 2012 Porsche Boxter,” reports CNN.
“Kim is our people’s princess,” the editor-in-chief of Life & Style Weekly tells CNN. “People empathize with her … [We’re happy] to see her find her prince.”
We are? OK. We are.
Over/under on the divorce? 2014.
Odds of Kim’s post-divorce quest for happiness becoming a TV show? Bet on it.
Real grinder rules
When A.J. Pierzynski walked into a downtown restaurant for lunch the other day, for a split second I thought he was wearing a Cubs hat. Pierzynski was wearing a bright blue baseball cap — turned backwards, and it’s OK for a man in his 30s to do that when he’s actually a catcher — and I thought he’d a lost a bet, but it was actually a Florida Gators cap.
Pierzynski had a black protective support device around his left wrist. He’d just been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured wrist.
Here’s the amazing thing. In a 14-season career spanning some 1,470 games played at what is by far the most grueling position in the sport, this is the first time Pierzynski has been on the DL. He’s played hundreds of games while battling injuries ranging from nagging to most-of-us-would-be-in-the-emergency-room.
Not that multiple trips to the DL means you’re soft. Consider former White Sox Aaron Rowand and his penchant for playing baseball like a football player, or hard-luck cases such as Kerry Wood, who’s a great teammate and a strong guy but has been on the disabled list 14 times in his 13-year career. I’m not even going to question the likes of Ubaldo Jimenez, who was placed on the disabled list earlier this year with an injured cuticle. Who among us can say we could pitch with an injured cuticle?
According to a study done by blogger Jeff Zimmerman, over the last decade the Kansas City Royals have sent the most players to the disabled list, while the White Sox have sent the fewest.
Look at a guy like Paul Konerko, who was hit in the face with a pitch last year — and got up, dusted himself off and went to first base. In his very next at-bat, Konerko hit a home run. That’s movie-material stuff.
These days Konerko is hobbling around with severe pain in his calf that would most of us popping Vicodin like Skittles and/or crying “Mommy!” Yet he’s up there swinging away, hitting the heck out of the ball as the Sox make an August run for the division crown despite themselves.
Meanwhile, Carlos Zambrano is trying to hit batters and is abandoning the team because he gave up five home runs in a game, waaaaaaaaaaaaaah.
There are different kinds of toughness, and different ways to play the game. If Zambrano needs some lessons, and oh does he need some lessons, he need only look to the South Side.
And the Year of the Heckler continues.
Whether it’s liberals shouting at Mitt Romney, Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann or a Tea Party activist badgering President Barack Obama, hardly a week goes by without another story of some aggravated citizen interrupting speeches or getting into a heated debate with a candidate or an elected official.
Often the speaker will try to talk over or ignore the heckler — but sometimes they just can’t resist mixing it up.
That’s almost always a mistake.
The latest incident occurred last Monday night in Iowa, when one Ryan Rhodes stood up and shouted a question during a Town Hall meeting, and afterward confronted the president as Obama was shaking hands and signing autographs, asking the president how he could call for more civility “when your vice president is calling people like me, a Tea Party member, a terrorist.”
Rhodes was referring to reports that Joe Biden used the word “terrorist” in a closed-door meeting. Biden has denied using the word.
Obama responded to Rhodes by noting he’s “been called a socialist who wasn’t born in this country, who is destroying America and taking away its freedoms,” so he’s all for toning down the rhetoric. A woman in the crowd joined the fun, yammering at Obama, “You do realize that 90 percent of domestic terrorist attacks are done by left-wing, environmental radicals and not people like me!” (Where does she get her figure? Also, does she really believe Biden was saying Tea Party activists are domestic terrorists?)
“You don’t seem to be interested in listening,” Obama said to Rhodes as their little tiff ended.
“Neither do you,” said Rhodes, as casually as if he were debating with his next-door neighbor and not the president of these United States.
Bachmann turns on overdrive
Michele Bachmann has emerged as a rising superstar with the GOP — Sarah Palin without the commitment issues. She’s fresh off a straw poll victory and she was on five — count-’em, five — Sunday morning political talk shows.
But rebel or traditional candidate, there are certain rituals you have to participate in on the campaign trail, including the time-honored practice of eating the local food in diners and at country fairs, and pretending there’s nothing you’d rather wolf down than some barbecue in Kansas City, a cheese steak in Philly — or a corn dog in the Midwest.
So there was Bachmann at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines the other day, downing a corn dog with gusto and inspiring a thousand Google Images and countless easy jokes on Twitter, Facebook and on the comedy shows.
In the meantime, Bachmann continues to deal with the “submissive” question. A few days after the topic was raised at the Iowa debates, Bachmann was asked on “Face the Nation” about saying, “[T]he Lord says, be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.”
When asked if submissive meant subservient, Bachmann said, “You know, I guess it depends on what word people are used to, but respect is really what it means. We respect each other, we listen to each other, we love each other, and that is what it means.”
Of course, that is not what it means. The dictionaries tell us “submissive” means, “inclined or willing to submit to orders or wishes of others,” and that suitable synonyms include “meek, passive, obedient, yielding, docile, dutiful, deferential,” etc.
One can argue about the biblical context, but it’s hard to get away from such quotes as, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands . . . for the husband is the head of the wife.” That seems pretty clear-cut.
Not that it’s going to matter in the end. Bachmann’s chances of actually becoming the next president? I’d say it’s 30-1 against. Iowa straw poll aside, Rick Perry has the best chance of making a serious run at Mitt Romney. (When did the Iowa straw poll become such a national event, anyway, and how do we put an end to that?) A new Rasmussen Poll of likely GOP primary voters has Perry leading with 29 percent, with Bachmann a distant fourth with just 13 percent.
Like Sarah Palin, Bachmann loves needling the mainstream press and playing the part of the rock star who refuses to do things the traditional way. Yet it’s that very attitude — and yes, the fact that both are attractive women — that makes them such intriguing subject matter for the very “lamestream” media for which they have such supposed disdain. It just might be that both Palin and Bachmann are bigger stars and bigger players in the media than they are on the Republican depth chart.
You are currently browsing the blog.richardroeper.com blog archives for August, 2011.