For all of the tongue-in-cheek approval of Chicago and Illinois corruption that we are going through, it should be reminded that, free from any romantic notion of crooks being “Our Crook“, this is the actual Chicago way.

But Democrats, fearful they might lose the Senate seat if it was put up for a vote, essentially stalled talk of a special election. They cited concerns about the multi-million dollar cost of holding the election with state finances in shambles. The lack of action means that Blagojevich still retains the power to appoint Obama’s successor.

From the Chicago Tribune — who has good reason to be the loudest anti-Balgo voice in the world.

That’s right — despite having the most obviously corrupt official in decades, the party with a massive majority both in Illinois and national government is still too afraid of losing a Senate seat through the democratic process it loudly champions when no opportunity is at hand, now turns tail and lets its elite choose another of its elite. This shirking of manly virtue, ironically, demonstrates Blago’s statement about who is packing the proper testicular fortitude to make the right decisions. It wasn’t Blago, and it isn’t the Illinois Democrats.

Their argument about a special election being prohibitively expensive is especially transparent, since there will already need to be a regional special election to replace Rahm Emmanual, who is shirking his elected duty to wield Obama’s Rod of Power as Chief-of-Staff. A Senate run-off will be more expensive than a Representative election, but given the circumstances, (and the golden child of light who vacated the Senate seat when he was bodily assumed into Office), they ought to open that seat up to an election as well.

Truth be told, sending the decision to the Lt. Governor is the constitutional process in Illinois, but notice that is not one of the arguments forwarded by the Illinois Democrats. When Illinois corruption makes the news, it makes it big. But it’s the spineless, worthless, neutered corruption which never makes the news that is the real Chicago way.

This is the kind of thing that I think frankly separates the men from the boys in leadership. Do you have the testicular virility to make a decision like that knowing what’s coming your way? I say I do.”
-Rod Blagojevich

I think the quote speaks for itself. No wonder he got arrested.

As our loyal readers (and anyone not under a rock) must know by now, the Governor of Illinois has been arrested on corruption charges. Given my well known pro-Illinois, pro-Midwest stance, and some previous things I’ve had to say on corruption in Illinois, I would imagine some of you are wondering about my thoughts on the current situation. Given the comments I’ve been receiving on my older article, everybody is completely off base on where I stand. One blogger has even called me “an Illinois citizen who is obviously a Democrat and a blind defender of his party” (Angry Military Man will be amused by this as he constantly calls me a Republican).

The truth is, the arrest of Blagojevich makes me even prouder to be an Illinois citizen, yes that’s right, prouder. I challenge you to name me one other governor (other than Bobby Jindal) who doesn’t belong in prison? At least in Illinois we have a history of political transparency, cooperation with the feds, and locking up our governors in prison. I would put good money on a bet that every high level politician in state or federal positions, belongs in prison. Even our new President-Elect Barack Obama (whom I was a fervent supporter of until he appointed Hillary to his cabinet), is likely neck deep in scandal and corruption just waiting to hit the headlines. You simply cannot reach those levels without getting so deep in corruption it sticks to you for the rest of your life.

And as to the folks pointing out Illinois’ $2 billion budget deficit this year, we’re still doing better than the other top 5 economies in the US (and worlds better than California, Texas, and New York):

* California — -$15 billion [1]
* Texas — -$12 billion [2]
* New York — -$15 billion [3]
* Florida — -$2.1 billion [4]
* Illinois — -$2 billion [5]

Every Governor should serve their last term in jail. But only Illinois is righteous enough to put them there.

-Angry Midwesterner


Southwest Airlines has moved up in my esteem today, as they have truly proved themselves patriots of the highest order. Southwest recently unveiled new livery on one of their planes, honoring the greatest State in the Union. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Illinois One:

I encourage everyone to fly on this patriotic airline and ask that we all applaud them for their support of the greatest place on the Earth. Beyond this, it is also interesting to note that Southwest has honored several other states with distinctive livery on their planes. The Texas One, the Arizona One, the California One, the Nevada One, the New Mexico One, and the Maryland One.

Southwest, my hat is off to you, not only have you honored my state, but you’ve made your planes prettier to look at and more distinctive. I’ve long thought that the planes in an air carrier’s fleet ought to have unique names, but you’ve gone a step further by making them distinctive works of art.

-Angry Midwesterner


As the Glorious Heartland is once again covered with snow to a depth sufficient to fill Southerners with eternal horror for the first time in the season, your gentle (but angry) author feels a burning need to once again rail against the greatest peril of the season: other drivers. So we proudly present this classic rant for your enjoyment and edification. If it forces even one horrible driver off the road, well, then, it’s all worth it, isn’t it. I mean, think of the children!

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These past weeks, we had our first major snowstorm of the year in the Land of Lincoln. Oh, not that there hadn’t been snow before, but this was the first snowstorm that truly deserved the “storm” part. Blizzard Warnings, Blowing Snow Advisories, and all that. Which meant, of course, it was time for Morons on Ice (well, snow).

There is really only one rule to driving on snow: Change is bad. Speeding up, slowing down, turning, changing lanes—these things cause trouble. Remember that, and you’re fine. Forget that, and, well, you’re a moron. This means of course that you can drive 50 mph perfectly safely, if the road is straight, and you’re not surrounded by morons who don’t know about things like braking distance on snow and ice. It also means that you can drive 15 mph and be a complete hazard on the road…apparently a very popular option.

There is a certain type of driving moron who thinks that by driving 10-20 mph slower, they have somehow “paid their dues” to the Snow Gods and are thereafter absolved of any need to modify their other stupid driving habits. So they’ll slam on the brakes, jam on the accelerator, weave through traffic, take turns abruptly, fail to signal and do all the other things that actually cause accidents on snow, ice, or for that matter perfectly clear pavements under a sunny sky.

And, on snow, this has the added benefit of jamming up traffic behind these fools, since often it’s not possible to pass at all, much less safely, due to snow and ice blocking parts of the road or requiring a much greater amount of time and distance to pass cars safely. As I was reminded of why I hate driving to work in the snow (hint: it’s not the snow, the road, or the wind), I compiled this handy catalog of Morons on Ice:

The Scatterbrained/Ungoverned Venturers (S/UVs) These drivers have chosen the “safest” vehicle for snow: a 4WD SUV of monstrous proportions. They then either drive that SUV in the exact same way they would on dry city pavements in Chicago—brake or gas pedal jammed to the floor at all times (these are the ungoverned venturers) or they creep along at 10 mph, despite having the vehicle best able to travel straight lines safely in snow (these are the scatterbrained). Since you can’t see around them, unless you too have decided to express your hatred of the Earth in your vehicle choice, you’re stuck wondering why they bothered to buy a huge SUV instead of the tiny rice burner they clearly think they’re driving.

The Oblivious These drive any sort of vehicle, though they seem to favor larger sedans. They drive fast or slow but either way have apparently decided that driving in snow removes any requirement to observe what other vehicles happen to be doing. I was nearly rear-ended by one of these while stopped, in the only open lane of a road, waiting for someone to turn left, at the end of a line of six cars! The moron never even stopped, but he was able to swerve left at the last moment, into oncoming traffic, and barrel past the line (including the left turning car, who had the presence of mind not to get in front of the charging idiot). You’d think that the driving conditions would indicate that you should pay more attention, not less, but you’d be wrong where these fools are concerned.

NASCAR Rejects Real NASCAR drivers are skilled professionals who are amazingly good at not crashing into other cars in the worst of conditions. But the rejects here drive like NASCAR drivers without the skill, training, or special tires. Every stop light is a starting line, and every intersection is a finishing line. Each start or stop requires full, pedal-to-the-metal acceleration or braking. Strangely this behavior doesn’t mix well with snow, slush, and ice. It does, however, lead to amusing results like fishtailing out of control and spiralling through an intersection into a ditch. Sadly, sometimes they wind up slamming into a car which is actually proceeding through the intersection in an orderly fashion.

The Post-Hoc Expert These are the morons who find themselves in an accident of any sort, clearly entirely their fault, and then make increasingly absurd arguments about why they weren’t really to blame and why they deserve a break from the usual consequences of being either stupid or unlucky on snow. Why everyone else should have to foot the bill for their driving habits is, of course, never addressed. They are the “whiny little bitches” of snow driving, and deserve the contempt reserved for such.

So there we have it, a brief catalog of the worst offenders, who turn a Winter Wonderland into the Demolition Derby, and bring to every snowy intersection the level of stress of a trip “outside the wire” in Iraq. Come to think of it, that’s probably a good solution: ship these people to Iraq and force them to serve convoy duty. After all, there’s not a lot of snow there, and in sandstorms nobody can see anything anyway. And most of their bad habits could be an asset in driving supply convoys, where mad dashes through crowded streets are a survival habit, not a muderous rampage.

But whatever you do, get these people off the streets of the Heartland during Winter!

While paging through News of the Weird, this caught my eye because I’ve been to this church before.

Ex-parishioner Angel Llavano, who had left a phone message for Father Luis Alfredo Rios criticizing one of his homilies, filed a defamation of character lawsuit in September after Father Rios retaliated by denouncing him in front of the Crystal Lake, Ill., congregation. Asked Rios (perhaps rhetorically), “Should we send (Llavano) to hell or to another parish?” [Chicago Tribune, 10-3-07]

After reading through a longer write-up from the local paper, I was thoroughly angry at both parties involved, each for their own actions.

It’s not particularly uncommon for sermons to rub someone the wrong way. The only way to avoid this is to water down the teaching of the Faith so much that one presents a talk that is both useless to give and to receive. While merely offending your congregation is not the sign of a good homilist; good homilists tend to get on the wrong side of the oversensitive in their communities on a fairly regular basis. Commonly, oversensitive parishioners tend to be involved somehow in parish education — an interesting correlation.

I don’t know either of these men. I don’t have a clue what Fr. Rios’ sermon, Mr. Llavano‚Äôs voice message, or Fr. Rios’ response contained aside from what was reported in the articles. I do know that there are better alternatives. If not the parishioner, then the priest should have known better. I’ve seen this situation begin on a handful of occasions, and I’ve seen it handled very well, and now also very poorly. Feelings get hurt, pride gets injured, but public retaliation is out of the question when the harm is only against you.

The Catholic response is: You praise in public, you admonish in private. End of lesson. When involved in an argument, you should never be the one to escalate a private dispute to a more public setting. If you need to make a public comment about an incident, you say nothing that could identify the other party in question — just discuss the incident.

To take a page from our Evangelical friends, (and as a background primer for our non-Christian readers) both men in question should know, being adult Christians and doubly so for both being teachers of the faith, these very straightforward and applicable Biblical passages.

Matt XVIII:15

“If your brother sins (against you), go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.”

Luke VI:29

“To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic.”

Matt V:25

“Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison.”

Now, as a result of failing to remember things that any good kindergartener knows, they both look like petulant children in a name-calling contest. Real men don’t need to go to court to settle petty disputes. They can sit down over a beer and work it out.

I would complain about how the only news anyone prints about Christians is bad news, but a priest unable to resolve a complaint about his sermon in a manly fashion is rightly a topic for News of the Weird, because it’s that rare. The vast majority of priests handle this properly without making national headlines out of it. Perhaps he had a bad week; perhaps he had a bad pizza the night before; but now he’s certainly having bad weeks as he’s getting hauled into the offices of the pastor and bishop for some remedial instruction…

In older, and more civilized times, when men failed as entirely as you have, they would fall down on their swords.”

“Well, I don’t have a sword.”

—The Operative, from Serenity (Joss Whedon)

I would like to annnounce the “Sword for Mr. Blagojevich” campaign — an effort by the Angry Men to provide Mr. Blagojevich with what he so desperately needs. Contributions may be made to the 12 Angry Men, care of Legends (Champaign, IL) where we will use the funds to obtain and send to Mr. Blagojevich a fine katana. We are sure that we will be able to find an operative of the parliament to assist in its use.