Friday, January 23, 2009

Madison Central High School Class of 1965: Madison Central High School alumnus carries the Olympic torch for China

Madison Central High School Class of 1965: Madison Central High School alumnus carries the Olympic torch for China

Madison Central High School Class of 1965: The Saga of the Shorewood Students - Part One

Madison Central High School Class of 1965: The Saga of the Shorewood Students - Part One

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The day of President Obama's inauguration and the departure of former President Bush, was a safe celebration. It was clearly a reward for the thousands and thousands of the new political activists and voters who found "hope" in the Obama message, style and substance. The visual message of the crowd must have been astounding to the new President and to the professionals in the military and law enforcement who made it a safe day. All the reviewers were articulate on his message, but one message that I noted was not discussed was his chastising of politics. With a Biblical reference President Obama called for the Congress (and I think Illinois in a subtle way) to give up childish ways. The most worrisome phrase in politics, I think, is to "play politics". Politics as a serious and generally successful process in the U.S. has been the "game" in Washington, the states, counties and cities rather than the facilitation process to deliver outstanding policy decisions. The President noted (to the former President and others) that the "ground has shifted" under the system and that new approaches and attitudes are needed. It is difficult to know that a new model might look like and whether it might be dangerous, but it is not difficult to believe that the substance of politics can be more professional, less personality driven and more authentic. Next, an analysis of the President's speech in terms of the "authentic enterprise" from study by the same name from class preparation this week.
My affiliation with ABC's WLS-TV in Chicago has been lively in 2008-2009. Who wouldn't want to get out of bed at 4 a.m. 15 or more times during the presidential campaign and the aftermath? Somewhere begin the creative messages of advertising, the lede of a press release, or the offer of a on-line or print direct promotional; the 3 minutes on-air gives the audience, the interviewer and interviewee a challenge to summarize and find the most poignant ideas to review. The challenge after the election was to provide insight to the corruption charges and impeachment process against the current governor of Illinois - Rod Blagojevich. We were also in a muddle of political game playing in Illinois over the appointment of Roland Burris to become the new junior Senator of Illinois to replace Barack Obama as he assumed the role of President. So, it was a relief to be asked to anticipate the inaugural events and to summarize the event the day after.
The day before: Asked by on-air reporter and talent Judy Hsu "What will we hear in today's speech?" and "what other inaugural themes is he pulling from?": I noted that the audience would hear a continuation of the successful campaign messages (why change?). It was likely to be inclusive, progressive and authentic. I suggested that we might listen for a subtle criticism of Illinois politics which continued to embarrass Obama after the election. Themes from the John F. Kennedy inaugural speech ("ask not") and the same for Franklin D. Roosevelt ("fear itself") were touted by the press as likely messages (and an expectation that Obama would meet the same or higher standards. Now, that's pressure! Obama did indirectly reference JFK by asking us to "pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off" and his request for us to serve. He also invoked fear as a concept to overcome. Asked "How long until 'honeymoon's over': The phrase is applied to CEO's, Mao and presidents. Of course the phrase and the time will depend on other events - in Obama's case the economy. More on the day of the inauguration.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Returning from China and from my home state Wisconsin prepared me to comment on the chaos of Illinois politics that continues here. My friends in China (to my embarrassment) wanted to better understand the concept of "pay for play" in our form of government and my life-long political friends in Wisconsin wanted to watch me squirm and defend my adopted state of Illinois. The folly of political activities in Illinois is not worth defending recently. The State needs a complete overhaul of it's priorities, leadership and processes.

The legislature including the Senate and House have created their own "natural disaster" that will leave the recent voters who were so excited by the election of Illinois' junior Senator Barack Obama to the Presidency with a bitter memory of selfish leadership. As the President-elect selected his cabinet and policy advisers in December; I expressed my concerns as a political pundit for ABC TV in Chicago (WLS) that the Illinois Democrats would embarrass the President-elect and detract from his extremely serious agenda on the domestic front and world stage.

With my second appearance this week on WLS-TV to discuss for a very few minutes the barriers to the appointment of Roland Burris to the Senate of the U.S. for Illinois; the issues are still in limbo. Burris, a good man, but not the most likely to be elected or even appointed to the Senate was willing to put himself in "harm's way" when the current sitting Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich acted mostly legally to appoint Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the Senate. Burris has a record of seeking (mostly unsuccessfully) higher office in this state, but also has a seemingly unimpeachable record that gives him higher ground to stand on during most mud fights in ethically troubled Illinois politics and government.

As the story unfolds there is slightly more Congressional support developing to seat Roland Burris this week (including Diane Feinstein D-CA). The logical request to Sec. of State Jesse White to sign the documents necessary to certify the Governor's seemingly legal but thinly disguised effort to distract attention from his own impeachment threats is likely to occur this week.

This blog effort was just interupted by a call from ABC to return on Friday a.m. at 5:50 to follow up on likely actions on behalf of Burris and Illinois.

The most important issue that must be addressed by all citizens is the failure of the Illinois legislature to act on the "business of the state" for the benefit of the citizens. We have issues that must be resolved that the Democrat leadership and control of both houses and the executive branch of Illinois have not addressed. More on why this power combination is bad for Illinois next.