Sunday, May 27, 2007

Remembering the American veterans is a family affair for me

I didn't have to buy an American Flag on Sept. 11, 2001, although some neighbors treated me like I wasn't an American because they didn't like my Arab ethnicity. And I don't have to commemorate the Memorial Day Weekend at the graveside of a stranger, brave as they may have been serving in our military.

In fact, I often get letters attacking me from so-called "patriotic Americans" who challenge my own patriotism because I question the Iraq War and criticize the failed leadership of our non-serving Commander-in-CHief, President George W. Bush.

Of course, my response is always the same. I served. Did you? Very few of the critics respond, the Sean Hannity's and Glenn Becks of the world who are hypocrites supporting the ar as long as someone else's son or daughter serves. They never di, of course.

I visit the graveside of my father, George John Hanania, and his brother, my uncle, Mousa John Hanania. They're buried not to far from where the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington is buried, along with many other Arab American patriots who are slandered by the growing racist hatred in America that passes itself off as "patriotism." Hatred is NEVER patriotic, just an excuse to cover up the fact that many Americans NEVER served in the U.S. Military and distract you from their failed patriotism by attacking others.

I have the flag the U.S. 5th Army gave my mom when my dad died. Dad served in the 5th Army during World War II. Four and 1/2 years. He was proud to serve because not only was he doing his duty as an American born in Jerusalem, Palestine who immigrated to this country in 1926, but because the war he fought was a Just War, unlike the criminal atrocity our soldiers have been forced to fight in Iraq to satisfy the selfish political agenda of Bush and the criminal conspiracy called the Bush Administration. Towards the end of the war, dad was assigned to the O.S.S. which later became the CIA, although he didn't stay in the service as a Lifer. He served proudly and then went on with his life to face the vicious anti-Arab hatred that dominates this country not just after Sept. 11, 2001 but for decades before.

Uncle Moses also served in the U.S. Navy during that great war of justice and righteousness, to free Europe not because we expected them to be greatful, but because as a free nation we cherished freedom and sought it for everyone. My dad worked at Sinclair for years and later at the Northern Trust Bank where racism and discrimination chased him out of his job before he could benefit from employment pensions. My uncle worked for years at the Rolling Green Country Club in Arlington Heights.

America is a country of hypocrisy and racism. We pretend that we are so great and then undermine our greatness by embracing hatred. We cheer on the racist journalists and commentators in the bigoted and biased American news media as they bash people on the basis of race and religion, and pretend it has to do with "terrorism." And they pretend as if they are the true patriots, although you have to wonder why they never served. (There doesn't have to be a war in order for someone to enlist in the military and serve.)

I served during the end of the Vietnam War. I might have been able to get a draft deferment in 1972, but chose to enlist in the U.S. Air Force, serving in a medical unit at an F-111 base, fighting the Vietnam War. Fortunately, I didn't have to go to the frontline, but I was ready to, was trained to and was prepared to do what had to be done even though I didn't support that war either.

So as most Americans "celebrate" Memorial Day weekend by heaping praise on our fighting men and women, how about remembering that most of those Americans have not served and that most of their children have not served either. In fact, very few of the U.S. Congress has served, very few of the American media demagogues like Rush Limbaugh, Hannity and the greatest bigot of them all Glenn Beck, never served -- why not go serve, morons! Why not put your principles where your mouth is? Cowards! And, most of their children will not serve either.

I could respect Bush more if his two daughters enlisted in the military and served in some capacity in Iraq. Why not?

It's never that way. The burden of serving falls on those who don't use it as a badge of patriotism, but do it because they have come to love true freedom and democracy more than the so-called patriots of today who yell and scream and hate those ho challenge the war. Patriotism is not about putting a flag out in front of your house -- for years, most of my neighbors never put a flag out on Flag Day or Memorial Day, although my family did because we have a tradition of military service that most other so-called Americans don't and never will.

Patriotism is not about shouting a defense of the Iraq War and screaming down the critics like me who challenge the war as immoral, unprincipled and even a violation of international law.

Patriotism is when you defend your name without hiding behind the cheapness of politics, and you do it because you are a real American who respects all Americans, not those of a certain color, nationality or religion. (I am always amazed at the Irish American writers who attack me complaining that I am a "hyphen American," who then turn around and celebrate all kinds of Irish holidays and events. They're not hyphenated Americans? Puhlease!)

This Memorial Day weekend, I will remember what a true patriot is and remind myself that despite the ugliness out there in the American heartland of hatred and vicious racism, that this country is built on a principle of morality that one day real patriots will be able to restore.

A somber Memorial Day
-- Ray Hanania

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The dining experience always varies

I took my wife, Alison, and son, Aaron, to dinner Friday night. We discussed here. Mexican. Been there. Chinese. Been there. Italian. I can make better pasta at home, although I love the stuffed artichokes at Palermos on 95th Street.

So it was to the peanut gallery. The Texas Road House for some meat and potatoes and an evening of cowboy fun south on LaGrange Road just before the I-80 expressway. Now, I don't mind the long wait there because they have two large barrels of Jimmy Carter peanuts that you can scoop up into pails and enjoy. I was cracking the peanut shells and dropping them on the floor, which as littered with broken shells, and then noticed the sign asking everyone to keep them in the pails. Oops!

So much for being a cowboy.

And then we sat down for dinner. I ordered the 18 ounce Texas steak. Medium well. Crisp edges with mashed potatoes. Alison ordered a steak kabob and rice. And that's where the cowboy experience ended. The meat was terrible. She complained -- I always just "take the pain" as they said in the Vietnam War film Platoon. And after paying the bill, she had to tell the waitress and her assistant that the meal stunk. Yikes! I hate it when we complain about the food.

The waitress as concerned and rushed to the boss who chased us down as we were leaving to give us a $15 coupon for our next meal.

Well, my problem is when I "take the pain," I never go back. I used to eat at Poor Phils in Oak Park until one night they served me a spoiled lobster. That's a memory I can never erase and haven't been back there. (I've remained so far from it I don't even know if it exists any more.)

But Saturday as an entirely different experience. I can't allow a bad meal at a restaurant to ruin a weekend, especially since the Iraq War has already ruined the Memorial Day Holiday. So we went out again. And landed at the Olive Garden in Orland Park.

No cowboys there, but a lot of great food. The waitress gave us a complimentary glass of white wine. It was good. Okay. I ordered another glass. (Great idea to get you to buy something. Give them something. If it's good, the customer will buy it.) The soup and salad is endless there. The waitress said some customers come in and order six or seven servings of soup and salad. You can keep getting more. I had two small bowls of the pasta fagioli -- pasta an small chunks of beef. Spicy. Tomato and oily base. My Arabian taste buds were going wild.

We also ordered an appetizer plate. Stuffed mushrooms, calamari and some stuffed pasta squares. Whatever. Do I have to know the name of everything I eat. Just enjoy it!

Alison ordered the soup and salad and I had the mixed plate of chicken and steak with vegetables. It was great.

And you know what, the prices were the same. $44 for the Texas Road House disaster. And $44 at Olive Garden.

I don't know. Maybe the problem at the Texas Road House is that they treat the customers like cattle at a rodeo. Too many girls at the front counter doing what? Handing out beepers and taking names? It should be more like a dude ranch. And all that screaming to celebrate someone's birthday. Too much noise, I guess.

Still, the food wasn't as bad as the memory I still have of Poor Phils. Poor Phil. I might still go back to the Texas Road House again.

-- Ray Hanania

Some in Illinois Congress flip flop and supports continuation of Iraq War

Observations on the vote on the Continuation of the Iraq War bill supported by Bush

Two Illinois Democrats flip flopped on their votes: U.S. Rep. Daniel J. Lipinski voted in support for the war bill, continuing the Iraq War and ignoring the will of the American people, and Rahm Emanuel, the so-called powerhouse in the Democratic leadership credited with helping to takeover the House. What's the point of taking over the House, Rahm, if you are going to play personal cowardly politics and not stand by the will of the American people or support bringing our men and women of the Armed Services back home?

US Senator Barack Obama stuck to his guns and voted against the Iraq War while Senator Dick Durbin voted to continue the Iraq War. Durbin has been a long time visionary and while his vote is troubling, he deserves a closer look. Obama deserves praise for standing firm against the war as did Hillary Clinton.

That coward Mitt Romney and that hypocrite Senator John McCain who is exploiting his POW service during the Vietnam War to support the continuation of the Vietnam-Style Iraq War have attacked Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for heeding the voices of the American people when they voted against the War Funding Bill.

In truth, Obama and Clinton are more patriotic that Romney (Mr. Flip Flop) and Mr. McCain, who made that embarrassing trip to Baghdad wearing a flak jacket and protected by American soldiers. What a show of support for our troops!

Here is some vote history comparison to dshow you how Congressmen voted the first time on March 23, 2007 on the original War Funding vote that President Bush vetoed, and how they voted on May 24, 2007 on the watered-down surrender to President Bush War "mis-funding" bill.

Here is the Associated Press list of how everyone voted:

FIRST VOTE -----------------------------------------------
March 23, 2007
House Vote
The 218-212 roll call March 24, 2007 by which the House passed a war spending bill that would require President Bush to bring combat troops home from Iraq by Sept. 1, 2008. A "yes" vote is a vote to pass the bill. Voting yes were 216 Democrats and two Republicans. Voting no were 14 Democrats and 198 Republicans. X denotes those not voting. Present denotes those who voted they were "present" at the time of the vote but did not vote yes or no on the issue. There is one vacancy in the 435-member House.,1,4382057.htmlstory

And here is the outtake of how Illinois voted:

March 23, 2007
Democrats -- Bean, Y; Costello, Y; Davis, Y; Emanuel, Y; Gutierrez, Y; Hare, Y; Jackson, Y; Lipinski, Y; Rush, Y; Schakowsky, Y.
Republicans -- Biggert, N; Hastert, N; Johnson, N; Kirk, N; LaHood, N; Manzullo, N; Roskam, N; Shimkus, N; Weller, N.

SECOND VOTE ---------------------------------------
May 24, 2007 Vote
Here is the link to the the House Vote:

Here is the link to the Senate Vote:

Here are how Illinois Congressional Members voted in support of the Iraq War and against the Iraq War:

Illinois Senators voting NO:
Clinton and Obama remained strong and voted AGAINST the continuation of the war

Illinois Senator voting YES:
Tragically, Senator Dick Durbin also voted for the the continuation of the Iraq War against the will of the American people.

Changed their vote in House:

Democrats: Voting YES May 24, 2007:

Daniel Lipinski buckled under pressure, and changed his view, voting YES for the watered down bill instead of standing up for the rights of the American People and calling an end to the Iraq War.

So did Rahm Emanuel, the guy who served in the Israeli Army in "civilian clothing." So did Bean,

Democrats Voting NO:
Sticking to their principles were: Davis, Costello, Gutierrez, Hare, Jackson, Rush, Schakowsky

Republicans voting NO:
Judy Biggert, Dennis Hastert, Johnson, Kirk, Ray LaHood, Manzullo, Roskam, Shimkus,

Republicans Not voting:

Note the warmongering Republican blindfaith vote to stand for President Bush's lies and a war that continues to take the lives of three and four or more American soldiers every day. Pathetic!


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Interview with legend Ed McElroy on Comcast Channel 19 Tuesday night was great

The Ed McElroy interview with me ran tonight on Comcast Channel 19 (8 PM) ... Ed McElroy has his own show on Tuesday nights, as I do on Friday nights. I think I'll invite Ed to do an interview with me as host and him as guest on my Friday night show (8:30 PM Channel 19).

The show was taped on early March, I believe. And the 30 minutes went by fast talking about City Hall, the great Front Page reporters like my Sun-Times colleague Harry Golden Jr., and Bob Davis of the Chicago Tribune, who died, I believe, in 1995 (not 85 as I think I said during the show). Davis was one of the best and funniest journalists in Chicago. Golden was probabaly one of the best in journalism itself. The only other journalist at City Hall who I admired was WBBM Radio's Bob Crawford, who also was a great reporter, too. Very good. Retired a number of years ago.

McElroy is no John Calloway, who interviewed my back in January before I traveled with Aaron Freeman to do comedy shows in Israel and East Jerusalem on his Channel 11 Friday night show. But McElroy is a good former reporter himself. And also a publicist. I noticed he enjoyed pointing out I have been involved in some controversy, but then, there as many people who dislike me and like me as there are who dislike Ed and like Ed, too. Controversy is the mark of a good journalist. It means you know how to get to the heart of the fight, don't pull punches and tell readers like it is without sugar coating anything or distorting the news to make your friends appaer better than they are. Good journalists really don't have many friends outside of journalsim. If we wanted friends, we'd get dogs. I have two dogs and they've both taken chunks out of my hands. :)

Anyway, we talked about Jane Byrne. Rich Daley, Daley's father the late great Mayor Richard J. Daley who was my first political interview in 1976. And we talked about Betty Loren-Maltese, who I honestly believed was a good person between 1993 and 1996 when I worked with her, before she succumbed to the dark side and the terrible influence of Ed Vrdolyak, who was just indicted by the phenomenal US Attorney from Chicago Patrick Fiztgerald.

This weeks columns online, by the way, at focus on the Mitt Romney interview on CBS 60 Minutes, and a second Tuesday on the growing controversy around U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who certainly should follow the lead of his top deputies and resign from office. The sooner the better. And another online column this week addresses the topics of convicted murderer Juan Luna, (1993 Browns Chicken massacre of seven owners and employees, killed in cold blood), the death of Rev. Jerry Falwell, someone I never admired and wondered hat he might say about himself if he were to comment on his own death, and a brief remembrance of scandal plagued and convicted felon George Ryan, the former governer ho tried to buy public love by imposing a death penalty moratorium.

Check them out.

I'll also post the McElroy interview of me on Google and have it linked to my own web page at or

-- Ray Hanania

McElroy interview with Hanania tonight on Comcast Channel 19 8 PM

Ed McElroy left me a message to say the show he taped with me will be broadcast tonight, Tuesday, at 8 PM on Channel 19 on Comcast Cable ... hopefully :) ... and remember my show is every Friday night at 8:30 PM on Channel 19 on Comcast Cable TV, too.

Check it out.
Ray Hanania

Monday, May 14, 2007

Loads of email on Mitt Romney ... here's a few (updated 10 PM CST)

Mr. Hanania-
I thought Romney did a great job. Just so you know, a poll of the 60 Minutes interview showed that 70% of viewers had a favorable impression. I guess it shows that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
ali jarvis

(Ray comments: Wow. A respectful critic and Romney fan. Thanks for your note. I never said my opinion represetned the whole country. But you make a good point.)

Dear Ray
Who do you think you're fooling with this as a headline? You would never, EVER vote for any Republican. You DETEST Republicans, which is quite apparent by your article, if I should even call it that. Propaganda is more like it. I hope you don't call yourself a journalist, but you probably do, and you probably think this 'article' is worthy of news. I'm partially glad people like you are still writing this garbage, because it's obvious that you don't know a damned thing. "hiding out in the reserves during the height of the war".....ummm, just who did they call up for duty during that conflict, this war, and every other war? yes, the Guard. Was Kerry a coward too? he hid out in the reserves also, his unit's number was called up, and Bush's wasn't. The NRA has called for national background checks as far back as I can remember. I even saw the president of the NRA and Charles Schumer agree, and shake hands that he would introduce such legislation, but of course he didn't. Do you even care about your article being accurate?
No? I didn't think you were a journalist. Congrats, you make Goebbels proud.
Bruce K
Mission Viejo, CA

(Ray comments: Achtung Libra! Hey, the German reference. Does that come from living in California and knowing certain politicians who know certain other WWII people who knew certain others?)

Dear Ray
Sometimes op-ed writers are better off not writing an on-line column. The column was almost not worth reading. Poor examples and poor reasoning. Moreover, the argument that you might consider voting for Romney was utterly unconvincing. Very silly comments regarding his name. I'm sure you’re a shill for Obama.
I thought being from Illinois, you would be used to abortion flip-flops and obfuscation. You have Obama and Durbin in your backyard, the kingpins of flip-flopping and abortion ambiguity.
Michael P.

(Ray comments: Hoo Rah! Glad you almost understood.)

Dear Ray

Along with all your other points, I wish you'd included this one.Mitt Romney's favorite book (before he remembered it was the Bible) is L. Ron Hubbard's 'Battlefield Earth.'I tried to read it in high school, when working my way alphabetically through the sci-fi section of our school library. Like Dianetics, it was turgid, wordy, and meandering. Like Dianetics, I only read a couple of chapters before giving up in disgust. 'Battlefield Earth' was the only book I returned to the stacks unread. I still think old Buffy, I mean Mitt, might have Scientological sympathies.
He's off my list, too!--

Dear Ray
Great column. Why don't more people in the media hit on these guys who switch back and forth on the critical issues of our time when they decide to run for a different office.
The right answer: My moral code is X. I believe that abortion is wrong and not necessarily a good thing. However, I am not god and I do not make the rules nor am I a woman. I do not believe that I or anyone in the government should be making decisions telling women what they can or cannot do with their own bodies. Now I know that you want me to tell you what you want to hear that I am unwaivering in my views of abortion. I am not. While I can see the merit to the strong beliefs held on both sides of the issue, it would be disengenuous for me to appear to be on both sides of the issue and thus this is where I come out. If you do not believe that abortion is right, then do not ever have one and if you believe in the right to choose, then if you or those you love find themselves in such a situation, I would hope that you would make the decision that protects the mother and also considers the value of human life and whether there is an alternative to abortion. As we are Republicans, who believe in less government intrusion into the private affairs of its citizens, this is not one we should regulate above and beyond the individual's rights over their person.

Dear Ray

Read your article and would have to disagree with you 100%. For me 60minutes did just the opposite and opened the door to the possibility that Imight vote for Mitt Romney. I am a moderate American, like most Americans. Iappreciated his answer on the switching of his opinion and votes, I thoughtit was most honest. In a pool of old-rehashed-same ole-same old politiciansto me, Romney is a breath of fresh air which isn't easy to say aboutpoliticians.
Romney's proven track record as far as being successful in whathe has done is a sign of what could be for this country. GW Bush was afailure in many of his pre-presidential ventures, that is not the case forRomney. The man has it together on a personal and professional level and forme that is refreshing. Where you've been is often a good indicator of whereyou'll go and I think this guy could have something America needs. It isclear to me, none of the other candidates do. So far he is my front runner.
Kristy D.

Hello Ray,
This is not to argue the merits of Mitt Romney vs. other candidates; it is to suggest that you stay open and be as informative as you can. Your provocative title was the reason that I clicked on the many Google entries that showed up this morning. I was curious to see if it was a gimmick to grab the reader (that worked!), you were already disposed to that view, or you actually had some meat in your analysis. It turned out to be an entertainment piece, which made a few familiar comments that could have been made about any candidate. Maybe you might like to consider what you stand for, and write about that. If Mitt fascinates you enough to write about him, maybe you could dig deeper and find something that really adds value.
Writing takes a lot of courage. Keep it up.

"He now is a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the powerful gun lobby that wants to protect the right of every criminal to sneak in and buy a gun at their leisure without having to go through extensive background checks or make them wait long periods of time."

This is a rediculous statement for you to make. You are just another foolish HACK, with a worthless opinion and you are even worse than the worst Candidate from either side in this Presidential race.

I realize that many criminals "abuse" the system at gun shows. That is not what the NRA is advocating and its not the NRA's fault that gunsellers break the law to provide criminals with weapons.

You're so biased you couldn't see the truth if you slipped and fell in it. You're the type of person that blames the truth for being wrong. Just Asssssenine.

Criminals can get guns and keep guns because they are criminals, they don't obey the law! Gun Control only works on those who are willing to abide by the law.



Your article was fairly well articulated, and I actually believed that you could care less about the things you mentioned (such as Romney's religion, etc.) until you started saying you wouldn't vote for someone named Mitt. Pretty lame. That made me think you were just looking for an excuse to bring up everything else that people may not like about Romney before you gave your reason, just in case your reason to hate him wasn't good enough.
My suggestion - end the article with the "Sorry, Mitt." It would be much stronger and seem more sincere. My two cents.


(Ray responds: The ending was pure satire, a play on the idea that people are shallow.)

Ray, I read your column why you are not voting for Rommey because of his flip flop views on 60 min's.
So you rather see the guy go on lying to keep up his image for the likes of you and others?
I was never going to vote for him regardless of what he said before and after 60 min.s But I do admire the man on his new stand on abortion and other issues, and let me say it took guts for him to say so on 30 min's. Who wants another Bill Clinton who felt your pain Ray.
Then you pull out a fast one out off your hat concerning gun control for us who follow the law to wait for months to obtain a weapon. When was it the Last time you looked at the geography of this huge country of ours with over three hundred million people, with so much diversity from different cultures and different back grounds.
Get use to it Ray shit happens, just make sure that you and your love ones are not on the spot when something goes down. Pray to God if in the event that you ever find your self in a tight squeeze that you might have something else beside sticks, and stones to throw at your adversary.
Next time you feel the ache of worrying over small stuff, just think of the big picture....IRAQ!
Frank C.

I enjoyed your article but the 60 Minutes show convinced me more to support
this candidate. I have seen him on a couple of other shows and I thought
his stance on the family was right on. 60 Minutes spun some of the other
stuff so you can't take everything that was said at face value. A little
more research on why he has changed his mind will help. The show last night
didn't cover that well.
Thanks for the article.
Blake R.

I don't really like Romney because I think he's just like Clinton. A chameleon who tries to be everything to everyone and will change colors depending on the audience. I was with you for a while here until I read this.
" He now is a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the powerful gun lobby that wants to protect the right of every criminal to sneak in and buy a gun at their leisure without having to go through extensive background checks or make them wait long periods of time."
While I think it comical for politicians to run out and join the NRA so they can claim to be conservative, stating that the NRA wants to "protect the right of every criminal to sneak in and buy a gun" is insidious. At this point you lost me pal and I find you to be a uninformed, crackpot. You killed your entire line of reasoning here as a fringe, cookoo, liberal alarmist. Get back in your hole retard, your obviously too stupid to be let out among the public.


(Ray responds. Thanks NRA champion!)

Hi Ray,
While reading your column about Mitt Romney, I read your position on
gun control.
I have an idea to revise the gun licensing process.
Furthermore, this license must be co-sponsored by 2 individuals who present photo id at the time the license of the license application. Neither of these co-sponsors should be employees of the purchaser. (To avoid coercion)
Only one of these co-sponsors should be related to the purchaser. (To avoid family feud situations)
There should also be a limit on how many times an individual can co-sponsor. Both these people would need to be physically present with photo IDs at the time the gun license application is made. Obviously, this would not prevent people from illegally purchasing guns.
It would, however, bring the purchase of a licensed gun up as a topic of conversation among those who know the person who wants to purchase a gun. Requiring the physical presence of 2 cosponsons might also be a way to address impulse purchasing.
As a database developer, I respect the usefulness of the FBI database that is currently in place to check for previous convictions.
As recent tragic events in Virginia have unfortunately revealed, people with records of mental illness are not always detected by a database history check.
What better than to engage the participation of people who actually know the potential gun owner in a process of gun licensing.
Feel free to pass this idea on! I've been writing my congressman.
Marcia W.

One thing we can agree on - Romney shouldn't have appeared on Wallace Ambush TV,
otherwise known as 60 Minutes. He spun a web of innuendo and outright lies that
has poor, uninformed saps like yourself completely caught in his web. Romney
balanced the Massachusetts budget WITHOUT raising taxes - Wallace left you
thinking otherwise. Romney did NOT flip flop on gun control - Wallace left you
thinking otherwise. Romney is NOT a draft dodger, unlike Clinton - Wallace left
you thinking otherwise. Romney has changed his stance on one single, solitary
issue - abortion - and he is clear about the fact that he has changed his mind
and why he did it. Have you personally volunteered for the military? If you're
running for political office, or even if you expect to be a decent American,
apparently you'd better do it - that's the point Wallace was hammering home to
the Romney boys. Give me a break. He chopped Romney into convenient 5 seconds
sound bites and promoted his liberal agenda. It sounds like you're a liberal, so you got what you were looking for in the interview. That wasn't an
interview, it was an ambush.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

This week's print column: and hooray for US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald

This week's print column focuses on how much visitors to Chicago will miss if the city wins the 2016 Olympics, because so little of the Olympics are planned for the ignored, orphaned and abandoned Southwest side and suburbs. It also discusses the "assertion" -- and I am being more polite here than I am about Bush's lies regarding Iraq -- that it will only cost us about $5 billion. That's in todya's money. Everything the city does always goes over budget because the taxpayers are patsies. You name, the costs always increase. How else do the politicians, lawyers and fatcat construction contractors make real money?

And, although George Bush is still our president -- sigh! -- at least there is a God in the name of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fiztgerald who today returned an indictment against the slipperiest of slippery politicians, Edward R. "Fast Eddie" Vrdolyak. Vrdolyak was the Godfather of Cicero during the reign of terror there by now-convicted felon Betty Loren-Maltese. He is a politician who has no word. He doesn't keep his word. He's the shadow behind the corruption that has plagued Chicagoland for years, always hobnobbing with people (puppets) who ended up serving time in jail like Loren-Maltese.

Vrdolya once vowed he was going to bury me because I helped the good people of Cicero standup to Loren-Maltese's corruption when it became clear that she was lying about her reform and skimming more than $10 million from the taxpayers in that sad little town. Vrdolyak won that election in 1997 and his client Loren-Maltese was elected to another term despite the mounting evidence of her crimes. But in the end, Vrdolyak lost the war. And if there is something called justice in this world, then Vrdolyal's indictment will lead to the proper outcome. And he won't have to make those long distance calls or visits to say hello to Betty.

What goes around comes around. What a brilliant man, though, Vrdolyak was. To have used his intelligence, wit and mental precision to back so many political low-lifes and sleazy political agendas is one of the greatest tragedies in American political history. He really could have been someone so much better than he has become.

But the real accolade goes to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who was only recently hammered as mediocre by Vice President Dick Cheney, who is probably close to Vrdolyak when it comes to pulling slick political shell games. Cheney's hatchet man, Karl Rove, is accused of having ordered the demotion of a string of U.S. Attorneys who either were investigating Republicans in government or who refused to prosecute Democrats. In the whole mudslinging, it was said that Rove's White House also slammed Fitzgerald.

But it is Patrick the Giant Killer. For years, everyone predicted Vrdolyak would go down. But after decades of being identified allegedly as an "unidicted co-conspirator" in many public crackdowns, it was Fitzgerald who is bringing Vrdolyak down.

Vrdolyak is innocent untiol proven guilty, of course. It is only an indictment. But indictments have a funny way of putting the last nails in the political coffin. It couldn't have come soon enough.


Saturday, May 5, 2007

Two big ethnic holidays clash in Chicagoland, Judge Dufus Pearson and more random thoughts

Ethnic Holidays
It's both Polish Constitution Day and Cinco de Mayo ... wow. What a tough choice. Do I eat Polish at my favorite Polish restaurants, Bobak's, or do I find another Mexican restaurant? Okay. It's Mexican. 191st and Wolf Road in Mokena has a great place where we ate and enjoyed Mexican music Friday night -- a day before each holiday.

Paris Hilton
Why don't they just leave Paris Hilton alone? She's a kid having fun. People jealous? Get off her back.

Judge Dufus in Washington
And what about this jerk Judge in Washington D.C. Roy Pearson Jr? What an a-hole. "Judge" Pearson is suing an Asian couple that own the cleaners where the judge says he lost his pants. What a dufus? The judge is suing for $65 million. He should be thrown off the bench, fired and forced to pay the couple back for every penny in legal fees he has forced them to spend all because Judge Dufus says they lost a pair of pants, which they later found. And then they offered to pay him first a few thousand, then as much as $12,000.

You hear about vrilous lawsuits all the time and now comes a judge that engages in such despicable conduct. He should be prosecuted for abusing his position on the bench and he should be stripped of his credentials as a lawyer. It's almost like a cop who betrays the public trust and engages in misconduct as so many Chicago police officers do these days in Chicago.

Pearson: You're PATHETIC!

Here's a link to one of the many AP stories being published on Judge Roy DUFUS Pearson Jr.

Paul Wolfowitz still there?
Why is Paul Wolfowitz still at the World Bank? He should have been fired long ago. What's the issue. He abused his position, too, at the bank to give his girlfriend a high paying job. Wolfowitz is the moron who helped craft the American lies that sent more than 3,200 of our honorable soldiers to their deaths in Iraq, a wasted war that should never been fought that has nothing to do with fighting terrorism at all. Iraq has in fact created more terrorism and has made American far less safe than we were even on Sept. 11.


Friday, May 4, 2007

Not all the Republicans presidential contenders supported the war

I received this letter:

Mr Hanania,

In the article you wrote about the Republican Debate, you erroneously labeled all 10 Republican candidates as supporters of the current war in Iraq when you wrote the following: "My God the lies are sickening and seeing all 10 of you Republicans who supported those lies through your political fealty or through lack of action or courage to speak out standing on stage together reminds of why you all have to lose."

Meanwhile, Congressman Ron Paul was one of the candidates at the debate and he was against the war from the beginning. He voted against the Iraq War resolution, while almost all other Republicans and many Democrats, including Hillary, voted for it. Paul spoke about that very fact in the debate, as he was questioned on it due to his stance as the only GOP anti-war candidate. My guess is that you missed that part. He also voted against a resolution made back in 1998, when Bill Clinton was in office, which made regime change in Iraq part of our official foreign policy. Those who voted for this war and still defend it deserve to be lambasted for doing so. However, while doing so, do not lump in others into that group simply because of their party affiliation.
Garry Cobb

In all fairness to Ron Paul, I hadn't heard much about him and didn't find much under his name on the war. However, assuming it is true that he opposed the war, I give him some points and lift him about the other 9 ... however, I still think he has not done a good job of opposing the war, he seemed to fall into line during the debate with the others ... and in reading his MySPace page,. I see his main focus is attacking Kucinich ... is that his MySpace page really? DO MORE RON ... and DO A BETTER JOB AT IT TOO

Ray Hanania

Want more input and email on the 2016 Olympics

I would really love it if you would email me at

with your thoughts on the 2016 Olympics. Pros, cons, hopes, fears, or whatever.

You might as well enjoy it a bit since you will be paying for it ... and seeing, in my opinion, so little.

This week's print column is on Burbank author and Reavis High school graduate John McNally who wrote three books based on his experiences here. He'll be at Duke’s Italian Beef at 8115 S. Harlem Ave., Bridgeview, on Saturday, May 12, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. autographing copies of his books.

Check it out. Dukes has been there forever. It's a great place to grab a beef sandwich.

-- Ray Hanania

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Letters on Veto Bush column: and some comments

Ted C. Yadlowsky writes in an email:

"Four years ago, President Bush stood on the deck of an American battleship and
declared that the invasion of Iraq had achieved it's goals."

You may want to do a little more homework. It was a Carrier he stood on not a Battleship. But I am sure you have no clue what the difference's are.

You're right. I served during the Vietnam War in the US Air Force at an F-111 base and never saw a battleship or an aircraft carrier.

I tried to read through the rest of your oped but it was clear you had no clue what you are talking about and you just hate Bush and Republicans.

I do dislike Bush because he is a coward who avoided service during the Vietnam War, but I only hate Republicans who are not smart. Otherwise, I'm married to one and she thinks Bush is a liar, too!

You completely gloss over the fact that more people world wide were convinced of the fact that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction than they are that humans are causing Global Warming.

Well, we know that is not true, don't we?

Could we afford to take a chance with Saddam possibly having WMD and the ability to use them post 9/11?

Yes, we could because he had known. But more importantly -- and try to get
this throughy our thick skull -- Saddam Hussein had NOTHING TO DO WITH Sept. 11.

Saddam was given several chances to comply with the UN. He didn't. What you still have a hard time understanding was it was Mission Accomplished.

Mission accomplished. What a joke!

The mission to invade and secure Iraq with coalition forces and to take out most if not all of Saddam's conventional military was done. The new mission is to rebuild this country, just as we have done in the past with Germany, Japan, Korea...

I guess we have not lost an additional 3,000 soldiers since the war "ended?"

You fail to mention the fact Bush and his staff have said this is not going to be easy.

Do you mean his inability to be a good president?

Success in Iraq has strategic importance for the US.

What strategic importance did it have? Other than to help line Halliburton's pockets deeper and faster than another Bush pal Enron lined their own pockets?

But again you fail to recognize that. It is so easy for you to just hate Bush and blame the US.

It sure is. And boy does it feel good!

The best thing for us to do as a country is to succeed in Iraq. It is what those who have given the ultimate sacrifice would want. You claim this is a useless war. Are we not killing terrorist in Iraq?

No. We are killing many civilians, too. Buit who cares about those civilians as long as they are not ours, right?

Would you rather kill terrorist in your neighborhood or over there in Iraq?

Oh. I can see Osama Bin Laden -- whom you have conveniently forgotten all about -- sitting in his cave on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan pointing to a big map of Orland Park asking, "Okay, who is in charge of this strategic American target?"

The war on Terror is not going to be won with the surrender or death of Bin Ladin.

Obviously, you have bought into the president's lies. What othe roption do you have?

Giving this poor region of the middle east hope and a new way of life by rebuilding it will be a major blow to the terrorist that wish to destroy the west and our way of life.
Oh yea, like you cared about the 10 years we starved thepeople of Iraq to death with the US-imposed embargo, starving 500,000 children to death and 2 million adults. Nice strategy, pal. You a Republkican precinct captain? Can I get a garbage can lid?

This week's column and more

This week's print column looks at the works of Burbank native John McNally who has authored three books including my favorite, "The Book fo Ralph." All threebooks are based on his experiences and growing up in Burbank and the Southwest Side city and suburbs.

Although Ed McElroy invited me to tape his Comcast show two months ago -- and we taped it -- it still has not been broadcast. Anyway, you can catch my Comcast Show every Friday night at 8:30 PM on Channel 19 in the suburbs. I don't know if the problem has to do with politics, Comcast poor track record or something else.

Online, my columns have been focusing on the losing war in Iraq ... Veto the War and Veto Bush. Don't cave in to his poor leadership and demagoguery.

And they've moved the Orland Days festival again, this time from the tight confines of the old Homemakers parking lot at the Orland Mall to the new Costco Parking lot on 159th Street just west of LaGrange Road. Maybe the Village of Orland Park will put some real effort into the festival this year. The past two years' events were poor, nothing like it was in the past.

We host a movie showing every month or so at the Bridgeview Community Center. The last movie was April 24 entitled "Reel bad Arabs," a documentary on the bigotry and discrimination in the Hollywood industry that exists against Arab Americans. The next film is July 24 at the Bridgeview Center (7901 S. Oketo, 2 blocks west of Harlem Avenue) and is about the lying and exaggerations that went into the Bush war in Iraq and how American problems in the Middle East can be traced back to the CIA intervention in Iraq in 1953 when they deposed the Democratically elected Prime Minister because he questioned the policies of the American controlled oil companies. That started a real dominos chain reaction that led to the rise of the Sha of Iran tyranny, his fall and the rise of the Ayatollah religious fanaticism, and then America's support for Saddam Hussein in 1980s. Pathetic.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007, 7 PM Movie StartA documentary on the war crimes of President George Bush, the lies of Donald Rumsfeld and the crimes of Vice President Dick Cheney in the war in Iraq. How the Military Industrial Complex is stealing American freedoms to undermine American Democracy, and the truth behind the war in Iraq.Bridgeview Community Center7901 S. Oketo, (2 blocks west of Harlem Ave)Bridgeview

For more info: email Ray Hanania at

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