chicago bureau

Yes, folks.  Did you think I wouldn’t come out of my undisclosed location to not celebrate the annual tradition of the Stinque Kentucky Derby Open Thread?  For shame.

yummyIt’s been busy here at Chicago Bureau World Headquarters.  Two solid months of writing, interrupted by (a) collapsing in a heap at the end of each work day, (b) hockey, and (c) getting a girlfriend.  But not so busy that the Derby fails to excite.

And it should be extra exciting this year, and not because of the copious amounts of bourbon used to make this refreshing drink here.  The reason for excitement is also cold and wet — the track.  Yes, we got a race in the SLOP!

This preview from the Guardian has video clips of the big names.  But 19 will run, so it’s about impossible to pick.  Unless you talk to a seasoned handicapper.  Who will still be wrong.

Going chalk this year with my picks — Revolutionary and Orb in an exacta box.  We’ll see.  But now — ALL RISE FOR THE DEGENERATE GAMBLER NATIONAL ANTHEM! (Doo-doo-doot doot doot, doot doot doot, doo-doo-doo-dooooot!)

Your erstwhile correspondent has had a bit of trouble picking this grand event of Sport — this celebration of violence and committee meetings.  And like most things for me, it’s ruled by emotions.  How can you pick a Harbaugh over a Harbaugh? (It’s hard.  Yes — Jim led Tree out of the darkness. But John has the same DNA.  Tough.)  How can you root for a team from San Francisco (OF ALL PLACES) who carries a player who’s one carefully-worded press release away from throwing in with the Bryan Fischers of the world?  Swirling controversy over Ray Lewis (swirled by those who couldn’t bother to swirl the controversy that he mighta killed a guy thirteen years ago until, oh, about two months ago) continues to swirl.  It’s a stumper. (Both the game and the Lewis thing.  As you know, I’d prefer to just teach the controversy.)

But: time to decide.  How to do it?

Meet Courtney Lenz.  (Hi, Courtney!)  She’s 23, and a five-year veteran of the Ravens’ cheerleader squad.  But she didn’t make the trip to New Orleans.  Why?  Because over the course of four months, SHE GAINED TWO POUNDS.  And so Courtney — who, at a former stomping grounds of ours, would be described as either HOTT or HAWT — is grabbing some couch like the rest of us slobs.

That tears it.  Take the Niners (-3.5) with the points.  It’s Chicago Bureau’s world famous, often imitated, never duplicated 10,000 STAR LOCK.  And with that, the liveblogish OPEN THREAD XLVII is all yours for the commenting. Ready? BREAK!

“Well, I think they should attack things like that…. with satire. I mean, Ned Sherrin.  Fair’s fair. I think people should be able to make up their own minds for me.” [“Pepperpot,” Python, Monty; Book I, Chapter 5.]

Premises: Americans love violence. (See, e.g., Eastwood movies, Schwarzenegger movies, the NFL, the NHL (1917-2013), etc.)  Americans also love (a) guns and (b) sport.  (See id.)  Americans also love games of chance. (See, e.g., Powerball, Las Vegas, etc.)  Americans particularly love television shows where unknown people can theoretically win something. (See, e.g., game shows, reality TV, etc.)  Indeed, Americans love any television show on which one might appear (see, e.g., signs held up at sporting events where the broadcasting network’s initials are featured); this holds even for shows on which people might not actually like to appear, but provide some sort of thrill anyway (see, e.g., “Cops,” “The Maury Povich Show,” etc.).  And Americans’ love for things grows exponentially when combined.  (See, e.g., value meals, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, etc.)

TOTALLY NECESSARY CONCLUSION: The next mass-shooting must be the subject of a nationwide lottery, so that the location, and the specific victims, are determined in advance — and so that said town, and said victims, can be made the subject of a reality television series in the run-up to the actual tragedy, and the subject of post-event television specials, telethons, and all other kinds of opportunities to be on television, in ways that will allow the maximum amount of public sympathy to result, and that will allow the maximum number of people to royally cash in.

The benefits are obvious. But they are explained anyway, after the jump.

Read more »

You know, the GOP Platform has been kept under official wraps until it was voted on.  But now it is up and available for view, at the link below:


So we will need your help to crowdsource this mother (AND FATHER IN A STABLE FAMILY AS HAS BEEN DONE FOR CENTURIES) while we watch, along with you, the first (or second) day of the GOP clambake, for which an OPEN THREAD is in order (notwithstanding objections from Ron Paul groupies).

In the course of random thoughts about such things over the last few days, I came upon my memories of the way things used to be in, oh, the early 1990s.  The memories are fading, but it is still real close — the closing days of the analog epoch are totally foreign only to those who never lived in a world where the internet was not a ubiquitous presence.

In that age, we had Republicans like Warren Rudman, John Chafee, William Cohen and Jim Jeffords (pictured).  They shared two distinguishing characteristics.  One: they were from New England.  Two: they could actually THINK.

Now?  Maine (The Way Life Should Be) is no longer the state that gave us Olympia Snowe.  She has decided to hit the silk and jump from the GOP plane, in the wake of the wave that gave us the execrable Paul LePage.  Chris Shays is a vague memory.  New Hampshaah is knee-deep in Tea Party types — maybe not as Southern Fried as the rest of the cohort, but still a little bit nuts.  And Massachusetts may yet send Scott Brown back to the Senate.

Resolved: the House believes that the GOP will never go back to the days when sensible moderates were welcomed.  Floor’s open.

(P.S.: I refuse to use the term “Yankee Republican.”  It’s an article of faith, you know.)

Word comes to us that Todd Akin’s going to be on Piers Morgan’s CNN gabfest at 2100 EDT.  In terms of strategy, it is horrendous.  In terms of comedy possibilities?  AWESOME. And thus I am proud to present this OPEN THREAD for y’all.  [BREAKING HARD — Rep. Todd Akin ran away! Bravely ran away, away! When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled!  Oh, man.  That’s POOR.]

[Remainder of post continues with salient info and so on and so forth.  Maybe.]

[A preface.] I know that I’ve been AWOL around here.  Lots of reasons — work, exhaustion, a rough battle with severe depression, yada, yada, yada.  But one other reason?  The bullshit was just too glaring.  If the snark is obvious, I would add nothing of worth.  Don’t speak unless you would improve the silence, and such.

But there was a EUREKA! moment today at Chicago Bureau World HQ this afternoon, which is explained post-jump.

Read more »

All right, all right.  We’ve all seen the opinions, and we’ve all seen the reactions.  Let’s go to the heart of the matter.


I mean, really. This is the M.O. of the Party of Jefferson.  (Who really must want to come back from the dead whenever the words “Party of Jefferson” are spoken aloud.  When he isn’t seeking to haunt those running the University of Virginia into the ground, anyway.)  They’ll come around in September and say — “hey, look: we want to get things done, but those GOP meanies won’t let us. Because they’re MEAN.  Elect us, and we will work with them. Promise. Cross our hearts and hope to die; stick some needles in our eyes!”

Bipartisanship is dead. The Republicans killed it.  Anybody betting that Black Eagle and the Dems figure that out before Columbus Day?  Anyone?

I didn’t think so.

The comment box is open.  Tell me I’m wrong about this. Even though I’m not.