(O'Rourke) - The View From the Couch: Poor Losers


Chicago lost its bid for a Federal job stimulus plan, one that would have stretched to 2016. Dealing with the IOC is worse than dealing with Iran. The members of the IOC appear to be a wacky version of the UN, sharks in expensive clothing, selling the Olympic dream, which far too many people have bought into. The "amateur" aspect of the Olympics ended long ago and the Super Bowl-ification of the games grows larger every year. The international goodwill they spawn is best exemplified by the site of the 1984 winter games, Sarajevo, in the former country known as Yugoslavia. Occasionally, during the Clinton-era wars over there, one got to see the post-apocalyptic remnants of all that good fellowship, bits and pieces of the winter games' structures. The Olympics are only another money-making quadrennial Roman circus, meant to divert populations from noticing what is going on in the world.

One reason Ray LaHood, the Chicago-area Republican congressman was made Transportation Secretary was so he could bring to Chicago a lot of pork and holding the Olympics there would certainly have provided major cover for the many hoped-for transfers. But, now, it will have to be done a little more in the public sunshine. Where are the Obama administrations big projects, in any case, the speedy train infrastructure, other improvements that employ many and have long term benefits? Waiting, I suppose, till the spoils can be divided up among the appropriate people.

It was fine for President Obama to travel to Copenhagen to lobby the IOC potentates, but none of his entourage seemed to understand their targets' modus operandi, or the fact that American-style campaigning wasn't going to work with these worldly sophisticates. The Daley machine has its limits.

Roman Polanski's supporters are discovering limits, too. When he was originally arrested for child rape, he was in general decline, with his best work behind him, the Manson murders still lingering, Southern California inventing new lows in debauchery, and Polanski's drug-fueled seduction of the thirteen year old (he was forty-four) seemed pathetic, insofar as it seemed to highlight the fact of his own arrested development, a small man only being able to dominate children. When he flew the coup his main punishment seemed to be his legal exile from America, all the delights it offered.

Now, an old man, some want it all to be forgiven and forgotten. Even the victim. But, Polanski remains yet another symbol of the disparate dispensing of justice in the country, where the rich and connected are treated differently. That is what he chiefly symbolized, until his recent re-arrest. The recent documentary on his case laid out the facts fairly well, but Polanski's current legal troubles has produced an even more startling commentary on American justice. A former assistant D.A. has now recanted his remarks in the 2008 documentary, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired." David Wells, the assistant D.A., now says everything he said in the documentary was a lie. Never happened. He just said it because it was only going to be seen in France. He told CNN he had a spotless reputation among his associates, except now he admits he just lied. This guy should have worked on the O.J. case. Maybe he did.

There are losers everywhere now. It's been reported more of the elderly are taking early Social Security retirement, thereby costing SSS more now, but much less in the future. Now, there's a way to help shore up the trust fund. Retire early. Social Security, at present, makes it tempting to work longer, till 70, when you get a big boost in monthly payments. But, like everything, it is a gamble. It all depends when you die. If you're going to die soon, early retirement is the best; if not, retire when you get full benefits. Only if you like your job, keep working till 70. Like the wonderful Democratic freshman congressman from Florida, Alan Grayson, said on the floor, the Republican health plan is Die Quickly. Supposedly, Grayson was being harsh. Hardly. Health care "reform" is going to leave a lot of poor losers around, both poor and losers. Oh, and unemployment continues to rise. Sorry.


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