Michael M. Bates column
Michael M. Bates
Michael M. Bates has written a weekly column of opinion — or nonsense, depending on your viewpoint — since 1985 for the (southwest suburban Chicago) Reporter Newspapers. Additionally, his articles have appeared in the Congressional Record, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Mensa Journal. He has been a guest on Milt Rosenberg's program on WGN Radio Chicago, the Bruce Elliott show on Baltimore's WBAL, the Jim Sumpter show on the USA Radio Network and the New Media Journal's Blog Radio. As a lad, Mike distributed Goldwater campaign literature and since then has steadily moved further to the Right. He is the author of "Right Angles and Other Obstinate Truths." In 2007, he won an Illinois Press Association award for Original Column.

The futility of trying to train a pig
Michael M. Bates
August 1, 2011

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is an intelligent, insightful man. An example of that came recently when he was asked why he won't hire clerks who have . . .

Social Security checks won't go out. Again.
Michael M. Bates
July 15, 2011

Talk about grim tidings on the debt ceiling. According to the Washington Post: "Yesterday a worried Treasury Secretary . . . sent a letter to (the) House . . .

Fifty years ago, Kennedy and Nixon changed our politics forever
Michael M. Bates
September 26, 2010

On September 26, 1960, Senator John Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon appeared in the first of what came to be called the Great Debates. How great they . . .

Barack Obama: GOP man of the year
Michael M. Bates
September 20, 2010

It wasn't so long ago that the Grand Old Party was rapidly headed toward becoming the Grand Dead Party. Democratic victories in the House, the Senate, state . . .

Where are the apologies?
Michael M. Bates
September 13, 2010

Glancing at a newspaper in the Age of Obama can be hazardous to your mental — if not physical — health. Unemployment is rising. For 18 straight months (not . . .

CNN's Sanchez retracts his claim of a 400 percent increase in presidential death threats
Michael M. Bates
December 4, 2009

CNN's Sanchez Retracts His Claim of a 400 Percent Increase in Presidential Death Threats On August 28, CNN Newsroom anchor Rick Sanchez shared disturbing . . .

On mammogram guidelines, no fact checks for Sebelius or Durbin
Michael M. Bates
November 22, 2009

When outrage erupted this week over a government panel's recommendation that women have fewer mammograms, health and human services secretary Kathleen Sebelius . . .

If ObamaCare wins, Obama loses
Michael M. Bates
August 20, 2009

"It's like déjà vu all over again," noted philosopher Yogi Berra is credited with saying. And so it is. A liberal Democratic president has his heart set on . . .

The "most trusted man in America" reconsidered
Michael M. Bates
July 19, 2009

Just as the media — with the exception of Larry King — were finally getting over the passing of Michael Jackson came the news that former CBS newsman Walter . . .

I'm Barack Obama and I approve this message
Michael M. Bates
May 14, 2009

Cook County board president Todd Stroger has an almost $12,000 lien on his house for unpaid federal taxes. Illinois treasurer Alexi Giannoulias bought a $26,00 . . .

Obama's poster children for tax reform
Michael M. Bates
April 12, 2009

If, as Oliver Wendell Holmes claimed, taxes are what we pay for a civilized society, we have become very civilized indeed. A difficulty is that our tax laws . . .

Obama: yet another sorry Democratic president
Michael M. Bates
April 7, 2009

Watching Barack Obama this past week was painful. The new president went out of his way to display his fresh style of leadership. It won rave reviews from . . .

CNN's Roland Martin misstates Catholic teaching in defending Obama
Michael M. Bates
April 1, 2009

CNN's Roland Martin is hosting Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull for the next eight weeks. On Monday's program, Martin clearly demonstrated he's going to have . . .

Why I quit The Reporter
Michael M. Bates
February 2, 2009

The Reporter, a suburban Chicago newspaper, included on its commentary page last week this editorial announcement: "The Reporter newspaper regrets to inform . . .

Include me out
Michael M. Bates
January 21, 2009

It's numbing. The adulation, the elation, the mirth, the idolatry, the reveling in every possible facet of Obamaness. And that's just the response of the . . .

President Kennedy and the mob
Michael M. Bates
January 14, 2009

Plans are moving forward to complete the Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement. Known also as the Mob Museum, it will be an interactive . . .

Roland will fit right in
Michael M. Bates
January 7, 2009

Senate majority leader Harry Reid can be such a tease. On Sunday, the Nevada Democrat suggested that Illinois Gov. Blagojevich's appointment of Roland Burris . . .

Requiescat in pace, Uncle Sam
Michael M. Bates
December 30, 2008

2008 will be known as the year the United States set aside any pretense of free enterprise. A nation that had flourished with the concept of limited government . . .

Roddy, we hardly knew ye
Michael M. Bates
December 17, 2008

Our president-elect said in 2002: ". . . right now, my main focus is to make sure that we elect Rod Blagojevich as governor. . ." Obama's White House chief of . . .

Bring back test patterns
Michael M. Bates
December 10, 2008

The head of NBC told an investor conference Monday that his network may have to cut back on its programming. "Can we continue to program 22 hours of prime-time . . .

Fun and Game Boys at Guantanamo
Michael M. Bates
December 3, 2008

Raul Castro is, at 77, Fidel's kid brother. When Fidel's health forced him to take a break from full-time dictator duties, he installed baby brother as . . .

Slummin' with Barry
Michael M. Bates
November 19, 2008

Mrs. Clinton assumed full taunting mode in a January Democratic presidential candidate debate. She aggressively battled "bad" Republican ideas, she told Obama, . . .

A nation of Peter Pans
Michael M. Bates
November 12, 2008

Author J. M. Barrie gave literature Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up. Government, by encouraging people to not assume the responsibilities of . . .

Why the race was lost
Michael M. Bates
November 5, 2008

Castro this week described Obama as "more intelligent, cultured and levelheaded than his Republican adversary." The American people agreed. So let the finger . . .

The young will pay for a President Obama
Michael M. Bates
October 29, 2008

It's lamentable that Obama and Biden only tell the truth when people give them money. It was at a San Francisco fundraiser that Obama voiced his belief that . . .

Birds of a feather Barack together
Michael M. Bates
October 22, 2008

An ABC News/Washington Post poll shows more than half the respondents don't think Barack Obama's association with unrepentant 60s terrorist William Ayers is a . . .

Another great depression?
Michael M. Bates
October 15, 2008

It looks as though John McCain is respectfully campaigning himself into the footnotes of history. Polls with Barack Obama winning by double digits are an . . .

Cubs carry a devilish burden
Michael M. Bates
October 9, 2008

This begins with an apology. Last June a column from your humble servant focused on Barack Obama's refusal, after initially approving the idea, to hold . . .

The politics of the bailout
Michael M. Bates
October 1, 2008

So how did they come up with that $700 billion bailout figure? A Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com last week: "It's not based on any particular data point.  . . .

Patriotism, taxes, and charity
Michael M. Bates
September 24, 2008

Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden was interviewed on ABC's Good Morning America last week. With hair plugs set perfectly and dental caps . . .

The truth is not dishonorable
Michael M. Bates
September 17, 2008

John McCain ran an ad criticizing Barack Obama for supporting sex education for kindergartners. The reaction of Obama and his media sycophants was so . . .

Obama's politics of new ideas
Michael M. Bates
September 10, 2008

Barack Obama maintains he's the candidate of new ideas. When clinching his party's nomination, he boasted that it's "our time to bring new energy and new ideas . . .

Obama condemns (wink, wink) sleazy politics
Michael M. Bates
September 3, 2008

For readers who might not yet have memorized last week's column, it consisted of observations from the Democratic Convention's first day. My intent was to . . .

Convention observations
Michael M. Bates
August 27, 2008

The first day of the Democratic convention produced fewer attacks than anticipated on the Bush-McCain administration, as it's now called. Maybe Daddy Yankee's . . .

Dictatorship we can believe in
Michael M. Bates
August 20, 2008

Barack Obama wants to be president. Given his authoritarian tendencies, will that be enough for him? My suspicions were roused last winter when his wife . . .

The power of one
Michael M. Bates
August 7, 2008

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who passed away this week, meticulously documented Communist oppression in his books. The subject was one with which he was all too . . .

Is Obama an alien abductee?
Michael M. Bates
July 30, 2008

When Obamatons aren't renting their shirts or tearing out their hair in sheer ecstasy over his total wonderfulness, they must occasionally speculate about what . . .

Have we gone insane?
Michael M. Bates
July 24, 2008

Last week's poll sponsored by Time magazine and the Rockefeller Foundation found 85 percent of the respondents believe the country is on the wrong track. Time . . .

Smart Hillary bides her time
Michael M. Bates
July 16, 2008

Hillary Clinton can be accused of many things. Stupidity isn't one of them. Waiting in the wings, she's ready to rescue her party if Mr. Wonderful continues . . .

Obama's Supreme puzzlement
Michael M. Bates
July 10, 2008

Tracking Barack Obama's position on many issues is akin to watching the weather. Stick around a little while and it'll change. He can make a U-turn faster . . .

The Mike Bates Independence Day quiz
Michael M. Bates
July 2, 2008

Happy Birthday, America. It's been 232 years since the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed. Take a quick quiz to see how much you know about this . . .

The unsinkable Father Pfleger
Michael M. Bates
June 26, 2008

Chicago's Father Michael Pfleger made a triumphant appearance Sunday at St. Sabina's Catholic Church. Returning from a two-week suspension, the priest . . .

Big bad Barack flinches
Michael M. Bates
June 18, 2008

Democrat Senator Joe Biden described Barack Obama last year: "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a . . .

Hooray for gas pains
Michael M. Bates
June 11, 2008

Paying more at the pump has its benefits. For the first time in a long time, Americans are beginning to pay attention. And, by Jove, I think we've got it! Or . . .

Echoes of 1968
Michael M. Bates
May 28, 2008

It's been 40 years since his passing, but Robert Kennedy is again in the news. One reason is Hillary Clinton's imprudent mention of his assassination. Barack . . .

Where Obama should start
Michael M. Bates
May 16, 2008

Barack Obama presents himself as the voice of hope and change. A transformational figure, he'll set aside the old politics and run a dignified, elevated . . .

I just love Fox News
Michael M. Bates
May 8, 2008

In fact, I don't really love Fox News. I do, however, love saying that I just love Fox News. Simply expressing that view is enough to drive many liberals to . . .

The Supremes uphold election integrity
Michael M. Bates
April 30, 2008

Heaven knows Jimmy Carter is wrong much of the time. Yet even the former president has his better days. One of them occurred during his service as co-chair of . . .

Another liberal profile in pettiness
Michael M. Bates
April 24, 2008

California Senator Barbara Boxer is your standard-issue shrill, humorless, doctrinaire liberal who knows what's best for everyone else and will force it on them . . .

St. Francis should have tried bribes
Michael M. Bates
April 17, 2008

St. Francis Hospital serves a number of low-income people in suburban Chicago. Losing millions of dollars by caring for uninsured patients, four years ago St. . . .

My, Obama, what big ear(marks) you have
Michael M. Bates
April 10, 2008

Senator Barack Obama will reform government. If you don't believe it, just ask him. Demonstrating his devotion to transparency in government, he recently . . .

No uniform answer for the Democrats
Michael M. Bates
April 3, 2008

Unless you're more fortunate than I, you remember erstwhile Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Monsieur Kerry was famous for bringing up he'd been . . .

Green collar jobs to the rescue?
Michael M. Bates
March 26, 2008

It's the latest. It's the greatest. Green collar jobs are going to help turn around the economy if Democrats have their way. Senator Barack Obama last . . .

Not a dime's worth of difference
Michael M. Bates
February 28, 2008

Forty years ago, third-party presidential candidate George Wallace cackled that there wasn't "a dime's worth of difference" between Republican Richard Nixon and . . .

Behind every great man
Michael M. Bates
February 21, 2008

Former first lady Nancy Reagan took a fall last weekend. She reportedly is doing well and I hope her recovery is swift and complete. Nancy Reagan's central . . .

McCain's looking better already
Michael M. Bates
February 13, 2008

Ann Coulter says conservatives should vote for Hillary Clinton if John McCain is the GOP's nominee. Ann Coulter is wrong. For one thing, right now it looks . . .

Trusting in government
Michael M. Bates
February 6, 2008

Call me a nervous Nellie — if anyone still uses that expression — but I find middle-of-the-night phone calls disquieting. So when my telephone rang at 4:19 . . .

Happenings ten years time ago
Michael M. Bates
January 24, 2008

The president of the United States clenched his jaw, narrowed his eyes and wagged his finger. Glaring at the cameras, Bill Clinton ordered: "I want you to . . .

As nasty as an afternoon tea party
Michael M. Bates
January 17, 2008

The Democrats are really going after one another now. It's bare knuckles, brass knuckles, brawling, malicious, vicious, brutal, vitriolic. The contest may . . .

Democrats for dead babies
Michael M. Bates
January 10, 2008

Look at our presidential candidates, brag Democrats. Such diversity, such pluralism, such variety. We have a woman, a black, and a Hispanic running. Heck, . . .

An endorsement that might matter
Michael M. Bates
January 3, 2008

Do celebrity endorsements make much of a difference in elections? Barack Obama's assistance from the unelected queen of the world, Oprah Winfrey, suggests . . .

Honestly, is this the best we can do?
Michael M. Bates
December 26, 2007

In little more than 200 years, we've gone from George Washington, who could not tell a lie, to modern political figures who will never be mistaken for the . . .

Christmas contemplations
Michael M. Bates
December 20, 2007

The Beatles were right when they sang money can't buy me love. I guess if they'd wanted to be more precise, they'd have crooned that money can't buy authentic . . .

Jackson had it right the first time
Michael M. Bates
December 12, 2007

The first President Bush crafted a 1989 taxpayer-funded plan to bail out the troubled savings and loan industry. As usual, Jesse Jackson jumped on the case, . . .

This is America, speak Spanish
Michael M. Bates
December 6, 2007

I find it annoying to call a telephone number and have to press 1 to proceed in English. It seems to me that our national language should routinely be used and . . .

Durbin toys with a new idea
Michael M. Bates
November 29, 2007

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is really, really concerned these days about toy safety. So, as the Dickster is wont to do when he's really, really concerned, he . . .

The Pilgrims, Thanksgiving, and the common good
Michael M. Bates
November 21, 2007

The notion of a common good has traditionally been popular in this democratic Republic. In recent years and among certain public figures, however, the . . .

Judging Clarence Thomas
Michael M. Bates
November 14, 2007

Much of the reaction to Clarence Thomas' new memoir, My Grandfather's Son, has centered on the justice's anger. You have to credit the mainstream media with . . .

Obama, pizza, and the forgotten man
Michael M. Bates
November 7, 2007

Barack Obama has a special appeal to youth, as evidenced by the $4,600 campaign contribution he received from one 8-year-old boy. Sibling rivalry may have . . .

Oprah finds answers aren't so simple
Michael M. Bates
October 31, 2007

Oprah Winfrey's heart was in the right place. She used a significant portion of her abundant wealth to start the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in . . .

Homeless for Hillary no occident
Michael M. Bates
October 24, 2007

Some things never change. The Los Angeles Times last week reported that in New York City Hillary Clinton brings fresh meaning to Chinese take out. Her . . .

A biting assessment of socialized medicine
Michael M. Bates
October 17, 2007

Historian Will Durant wrote that first century Romans had access to dentistry, including "gold teeth, wired teeth, false teeth, bridgework, and plates." Many 2 . . .

Liberals rush to ban Rush
Michael M. Bates
October 10, 2007

When the angry left's lap dogs are told to heel, they readily obey. So as liberal bloggers got their undies in a twist over broadcaster Rush Limbaugh using the . . .

Candidates try to keep 'em laughing
Michael M. Bates
October 3, 2007

Next year's presidential race may be characterized as the campaign of the cackle. You know what I'm talking about: that staged, shrill, joyless hoot emitted by . . .

Still Selma after all these years
Michael M. Bates
September 28, 2007

Jesse Jackson is getting some richly deserved criticism for charging Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) is "acting like he's white" when it comes to the racially . . .

Recalling the indispensable Senator No
Michael M. Bates
September 19, 2007

"Son, just so you understand, I don't care what The New York Times says about me. And nobody I care about cares what The New York Times says about me." That . . .

Even Oprah can't save Obama
Michael M. Bates
September 13, 2007

Oprah Winfrey can shill for Barack Obama. She can host glitzy events and collect cash for him. She can campaign with him, maybe even do some commercials for . . .

Verbal blunders: Not just for kids
Michael M. Bates
September 5, 2007

Miss Teen South Carolina could have resorted to the typical beauty pageant ploy. You know, the one where the contestant simply restates whatever question she . . .

Another law we don't need
Michael M. Bates
August 30, 2007

Let's say you own a retail establishment in Illinois. Some of your employees want you to close on Sundays so they can enjoy the day off. It's not a bad idea, . . .

Don't ask, don't tell, just pander
Michael M. Bates
August 15, 2007

Somewhere, Walter Jenkins is smiling. Mr. Jenkins was at the center of a 1964 White House scandal. A close personal advisor to President Lyndon Johnson for  . . .

Obama is out to clean up
Michael M. Bates
August 8, 2007

Barack Obama says he wants to clean government up. At first blush, you might not think a Chicago machine politician and chum of indicted Democratic fundraiser . . .

Of justice and the fullness of hearts
Michael M. Bates
August 1, 2007

When Charles Schumer speaks, people laugh. Sadly, some folks also listen, possibly because he's the third ranking member of the Democratic Senate leadership.  . . .

Green Acres: Welfare for the wealthy -- and dead
Michael M. Bates
July 25, 2007

We in the Land of Lincoln have many matters about which to fret. Will the budget impasse between the Democratic governor and the Democratic General Assembly . . .

Larry Flynt: Democratic moralist
Michael M. Bates
July 18, 2007

Viewing Larry Flynt merely as a pornographer who's made a lot of money exploiting people's vices doesn't do him justice. He's also the conscience of the . . .

Valenti an LBJ stalwart until the end
Michael M. Bates
July 11, 2007

Jack Valenti's autobiography, "This Time, This Place," was published last May. In terms of promoting the book, it was bad timing. He died in April. Still, . . .

The Declaration of Independence, 2007
Michael M. Bates
June 27, 2007

Many times I think of just how fortunate I am to have been born in the United States. What a blessing! There are so many places on this earth where mere . . .

Mrs. Clinton discovers women with needs
Michael M. Bates
June 20, 2007

Forget about your soccer moms, security moms and NASCAR dads. If Hillary Clinton has her way, 2008 will be the year of women with needs. According to a . . .

Redemption is divine, and so quick
Michael M. Bates
June 13, 2007

Hallelujah, brothers and sisters. Paris Hilton has already seen the light. In a collect call to Barbara Walters, herself most recently known for playing . . .

Giving new meaning to working the polls
Michael M. Bates
June 6, 2007

There are more than 200,000 minutes until next year's presidential election. And I'm starting to think I might hate every one of them. This political junkie . . .

Ripping off old folks, but for a good cause
Michael M. Bates
May 30, 2007

A relative has been in the hospital, and then rehab at a nursing home, for a couple of months. The other day I took the 90-year-old over to his house. We . . .

Joe McCarthy: Gone but certainly not forgotten
Michael M. Bates
May 23, 2007

It would be remiss of me not to note that this month marks 50 years since the death of Senator Joe McCarthy. What would Commies, pinkos, socialists, leftists, . . .

Tommy Thompson tries some bathroom humor
Michael M. Bates
May 16, 2007

If you don't know who Tommy Thompson is, don't feel uninformed. He doesn't rate the media coverage of really important people like Paris Hilton. Like many . . .

Welfare queen welcomed at the White House
Michael M. Bates
May 9, 2007

Pomp and pageantry were the order of the day at the White House Monday. In honor of Queen Elizabeth's journey to the Colonies, President and Mrs. Bush hosted . . .

Packing heat can save lives
Michael M. Bates
May 2, 2007

If only Virginia Tech's mass murderer had read the school's policy handbook. He would have learned the college was a gun-free zone. So then he wouldn't have . . .

Hillary, aka Senator Clinton, plays the name game
Michael M. Bates
April 25, 2007

Kissing up to the Most Reverend Al Sharpton and his associates last week, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton reverted to the singsong Southern drawl she employs . . .

Imus' selective acts of contrition
Michael M. Bates
April 11, 2007

In terms of media saturation, Don Imus is this month's Anna Nicole Smith. The radio host has had a good thing going. His program is broadcast on more than 70 . . .

Mr. McAuliffe's excellent adventures
Michael M. Bates
April 4, 2007

Democratic bagman Terry McAuliffe is one awesome guy. If you don't believe that, just ask him. McAuliffe's new book, "What a Party! My Life Among Democrats, . . .

Searching for the great right hope
Michael M. Bates
March 28, 2007

Conservatives, long the backbone of the Republican Party, are dissatisfied. For many, the current crop of GOP presidential candidates is about as exciting as a . . .

Besieged Bush can stop the nonsense
Michael M. Bates
March 21, 2007

Democrats are having a blast since taking control of Congress. A day without something new to investigate is like a day without sunshine for them. Dismissed . . .

Policy makers look to the stars
Michael M. Bates
March 14, 2007

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is one left-leaning gent, even by Democratic standards. The non-partisan National Journal earlier this month ranked him the most . . .

Mrs. Clinton endorses gay adoption, quietly
Michael M. Bates
March 7, 2007

Struggling with Senator Barack Obama for black votes, Hillary Clinton acquitted herself well in Selma the other day. That Southern drawl she's suddenly . . .

Suze Orman is an expert on what?
Michael M. Bates
February 28, 2007

Being in the same tax bracket as Ralph Kramden, I generally don't need financial advice. Consequently, my awareness of celebrated money maven Suze Orman is . . .

Britney versus Jefferson: No contest
Michael M. Bates
February 20, 2007

We'll start out with a pop quiz. Don't fret. The results won't go on your permanent record. Probably. Here goes. Last Monday the United States celebrated . . .

One reason so many senators crave the presidency
Michael M. Bates
February 14, 2007

Serving as a recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan may not strike you as a good career move. Yet it worked out fine for Senator Robert Byrd. In the early 1940s, . . .

For some, Super Bowl ad was nothing to snicker about
Michael M. Bates
February 8, 2007

Commercials are a major reason to watch the Super Bowl for many viewers. Advertisers pay up to $2.6 million for 30 precious seconds and seek the biggest bang . . .

The initial Obama obstacle is relative
Michael M. Bates
January 31, 2007

Barack, you got some 'splainin' to do. Or so it seems as Senator Obama, a leading Democratic candidate, recently devoted time he could have spent on important . . .

New Congress is a mirthful majority
Michael M. Bates
January 24, 2007

Not only is the new and improved Democratic majority delivering the change, change, change we've all been pining for, it apparently will also provide us with . . .

Class struggle rhetoric obscures the truth
Michael M. Bates
January 17, 2007

There they go again. White House aspirants, themselves extremely rich, attack the wealthy using the customary us versus them framework. Former Senator John . . .

Lollapelosi diverts attention from Democrat mischief
Michael M. Bates
January 10, 2007

The intensity of Nancy Pelosi's coronation last week was almost too much for the heart to bear. There was Madam Speaker-to-be surrounded by her grandchildren . . .

John Edwards and universal health care
Michael M. Bates
January 3, 2007

Taking a much needed break from primping, former North Carolina Senator John Edwards launched his 2008 presidential bid the other day. A campaign cornerstone . . .

Psychic predictions for the New Year
Michael M. Bates
December 27, 2006

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had better hurry up. We're down to the last few hours of 2006 and she hasn't resigned yet. How do I know Justice . . .

Scrooge a man for our times
Michael M. Bates
December 19, 2006

Christmastime is inevitably accompanied by allusions to Ebenezer Scrooge. As portrayed in Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," Ebenezer is a thoroughly disagreeable, . . .

Cupid can strike at any age
Michael M. Bates
December 12, 2006

In the waning days of the 109th Congress, there was little joy on the GOP side of the aisle. The Republicans, tossed out of the majority last month, must give . . .

Mr. Claus goes to Washington
Michael M. Bates
December 5, 2006

Prancer could tell there was trouble. Santa had been downing hot cocoas all afternoon. Straight. The reindeer asked the jolly elf if there were a problem.  . . .

Lights! Camera! Reverend Al!
Michael M. Bates
November 28, 2006

It was what we've come to expect. A fatal police shooting in New York and the Reverend Al Sharpton is on the case faster than you can say the television crews . . .

Chairman-in-waiting Rangel feels a draft
Michael M. Bates
November 21, 2006

It didn't take long, did it? The Democratic Congressional majority is unflinchingly leading us into that promised new direction, bowling us over with . . .

Jonestown tragedy had liberal roots
Michael M. Bates
November 14, 2006

This week marks the deaths of 913 people, including 276 children, in the Guyanan jungle. Most of them died by their own hand, voluntarily drinking a cyanide . . .

Senator Obama hits a speed bump
Michael M. Bates
November 7, 2006

One election is over and another one begins. Things were going swimmingly for Senator Barack Obama's presidential aspirations. One poll showed that the . . .

Republicans had their chance and blew it
Michael M. Bates
October 31, 2006

If the polls are right, next week U.S. voters will place Democrats in control of the House of Representatives. The switch requires the turnover of only 15 . . .

Hillary stuck between Barack and a hard place
Michael M. Bates
October 24, 2006

Mrs. Clinton is not a sympathetic figure. Although there may still be a residue of public empathy because of her husband's bad behavior, many people view her . . .

What a Democratic victory will mean
Michael M. Bates
October 17, 2006

Media analysts and other deep thinkers are touting polls that point to a Democratic sweep next month. Democrats have progressed from thinking in terms of what . . .

A forgiveness that's out of this world
Michael M. Bates
October 10, 2006

The ability to forgive and forget has never been a strong suit of mine. It's been said with some justification that I suffer from Irish Alzheimer's: Forgetting . . .

Congress gave tacit OK to page abuse
Michael M. Bates
October 3, 2006

Excerpts from the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct report are enough to turn your stomach. "The page testified that . . . (the Congressman) . . .

Death by chocolate, at taxpayer expense
Michael M. Bates
September 27, 2006

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) gets over $300 million a year from you and me, purportedly to provide legal assistance to the poor. This is done through . . .

How much good will have we squandered?
Michael M. Bates
September 24, 2006

The word of the month is squander. As in, we have squandered all the good will the United States enjoyed after the 9/11 attacks. The Associated Press picked . . .

OK, Buster, get in that La-Z-Boy
Michael M. Bates
September 12, 2006

Richard Durbin should be relieved. Last year the Senate's No. 2 Democrat compared U.S. treatment of an accused al Qaeda terrorist to that accorded to prisoners . . .

It must be a conspiracy
Michael M. Bates
September 5, 2006

As the anniversary of 9/11 approaches, there's a collective sigh of relief that, at least so far, we've avoided a repeat of that tragic day. Some will . . .

The state of the unions, 2006
Michael M. Bates
August 30, 2006

Especially around Labor Day, union leaders like to act as though they speak for all workers. The truth is they don't even speak for all members of their unions . . .

Hillary may have to hide her brothers
Michael M. Bates
August 22, 2006

Billy Carter, registered foreign agent of the Libyan government and brother of President Jimmy, urinated in public at the Atlanta airport. Sam Houston Johnson, . . .

Summertime and the politicos are prowling
Michael M. Bates
August 15, 2006

Presidential campaigns keep getting longer. They now begin while arguments about who in fact won the last election are still raging. At least a dozen . . .

Democrats head for déjà vu all over again
Michael M. Bates
August 8, 2006

Joe Lieberman is a Democrat through and through. Three terms in the Senate have yielded a voting record that in some respects is as liberal as that of Teddy . . .

So many sensitivities, so little time
Michael M. Bates
August 1, 2006

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who wants to be president, made a big mistake the other day. No, I'm not referring to his use of the term "tar baby" in . . .

She's ready for her close-up now
Michael M. Bates
July 25, 2006

Mrs. Clinton recently coughed up $3,000 in campaign funds for a hairstylist and a comparable amount for a makeup artist, according to the New York Post. One . . .

Bring back literacy tests
Michael M. Bates
July 18, 2006

Arizonans will have a chance in November to approve a proposal that would award a cool million dollars to one voter, chosen by lottery, after each general . . .

The Pope, Richard Speck, and the death penalty
Michael M. Bates
July 12, 2006

Last month the president of the Philippines visited Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. She gave him a copy of a law she signed recently, one that ends the death . . .

A young boy serves a life sentence
Michael M. Bates
July 5, 2006

He's just a normal, average, typical 12-year-old boy. If the normal, average, typical 12-year-old boy has the world's longest-reigning dictator drop by every . . .

Bishop announces what the gay agenda is
Michael M. Bates
June 27, 2006

At the Episcopal Church Convention earlier this month, Bishop Gene Robinson said something astounding. He declared, "The gay agenda is Jesus Christ." I'm . . .

Barack to the future: Is there any there?
Michael M. Bates
June 20, 2006

Illinois Senator Barack Obama has a brilliant future. The media, Democratic activists, fat cat donors and many John and Jane Q. Publics see something special . . .

The ultimate epithet in the liberal lexicon
Michael M. Bates
June 13, 2006

Ann Coulter drives liberals nuts. The late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi didn't qualify for rhetoric as harsh as that directed at the blond, but certainly never bland, . . .

A real confidence builder for geezers
Michael M. Bates
June 6, 2006

The oldest baby boomers are turning 60 this year. Anyone mouthing that twaddle about 50 being the new 30 hasn't checked out my medicine cabinet. I could . . .

MySpace isn't a cyber place for everyone
Michael M. Bates
May 31, 2006

MySpace.com is described as an Internet site devoted to social networking. Any rational adult who's spent more than a few minutes on MySpace might well . . .

Ready or not, here comes Hillary
Michael M. Bates
May 23, 2006

Mrs. Clinton is playing it coy. For the time being, she says, she's just running for re-election to the Senate. Plans for a presidential race aren't yet . . .

Floyd Patterson is a gentle man in a violent world
Michael M. Bates
May 16, 2006

Floyd Patterson, who died last week at 71, isn't considered one of the greatest heavyweight champions. He might well be remembered, though, as one of the best . . .

Biden proves he's a man of his word
Michael M. Bates
May 10, 2006

Senator Joseph Biden is running for president. The man whose platform may include making the world safe for hair plugs won rave reviews for last week's speech . . .

Diann burns over alleged racism
Michael M. Bates
May 2, 2006

Diann Burns, Chicago's highest paid television news reader, and her husband recently built a $3 million mansion in the swank Lincoln Park area. Monday's . . .

A modest proposal to ease our gas pains
Michael M. Bates
April 25, 2006

The war on terror. Illegal immigration. Iraq. Government leaks. Dick Cheney's shooting accident. All pale in comparison to the crisis du jour: the cost of . . .

Oprah blends confusion with compassion
Michael M. Bates
April 18, 2006

You think Tom Cruise hopping up and down on Oprah's couch was as silly as it can get? You must have missed the talk show queen's recent program about people . . .

American flag appropriated by illegal immigrants
Michael M. Bates
April 12, 2006

"We are not criminals," was constantly intoned at rallies around the country Monday. That's nonsense. People who break the law to enter the United States . . .

Miss McKinney regrets, but won't apologize
Michael M. Bates
April 4, 2006

Last week Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney found a new way to multitask with her cellphone. It's alleged the Georgia Democrat poked a U.S. Capitol Police officer . . .

Hillary has her come-to-Jesus moment
Michael M. Bates
March 28, 2006

Today's reading is from the Book of Clinton, Chapter Two for the Price of One, Verse 2008. "Thus saith the angel Hillary regarding the immigration bill . . .

For leftists, junk science 'R us
Michael M. Bates
March 21, 2006

Blogosphere liberals were chuckling to themselves this week. I don't begrudge them that. It's a refreshing change of pace from talking to themselves. The . . .

Ruthie's REMs render a Supreme yawn
Michael M. Bates
March 7, 2006

Feeling drowsy recently, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg took a 15-minute nap. That would have been unremarkable except it occurred while the court . . .

Barney Fife and the way things were
Michael M. Bates
February 28, 2006

Maybe there's a special place in the afterlife for Don Knotts. His comic genius gave us Barney Fife, undoubtedly one of the most memorable characters in . . .

Kids say the darndest PC things
Michael M. Bates
February 21, 2006

In last week's column, I wrote that if Illinois' governor succeeds with his preschool scheme, the kiddies would be sent "off for a fun filled day of government . . .

Watch out, Big Babysitter is in the offing
Michael M. Bates
February 14, 2006

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich wants to be president. The most recent indication is the $7,500 he paid last December to an Iowa political consultant who . . .

When placing blame, one size fits all
Michael M. Bates
February 7, 2006

Are things not going well for you? Are you experiencing problems of any kind in your life? Don't be disheartened. You are probably not responsible for . . .

Illinois governor commits truth: What now?
Michael M. Bates
January 31, 2006

From his boyish bangs to his dressed-for-success wingtips, Illinois Governor Blagojevich is a liar, a man whose word is meaningless. That's not remarkable . . .

Handwringing over government intrusion rings false
Michael M. Bates
January 24, 2006

The debate over wiretapping U.S. citizens has joined critics from both the Left and the Right. There are not yet many details known about the surveillance and . . .

Kennedy claims Capitol Hill cutup title
Michael M. Bates
January 17, 2006

In his first run for the Senate, Edward Moore Kennedy's Democratic primary opponent looked him in the eye and said, "I ask, if his name was Edward Moore, with . . .

DeLay's descent a win for pompous snobs
Michael M. Bates
January 10, 2006

Put me down as one of those disappointed with Tom DeLay's decision to give up his House leader job. No, not just because the guy takes a terrific mug shot, . . .

History, Henry Ford, and the minimum wage
Michael M. Bates
January 3, 2006

On this date in 1914, Henry Ford made history once again. The auto manufacturer established an unheard of $5.00 a day minimum wage in his factories. Former . . .

Dreaming of a Black Christmas nothing new
Michael M. Bates
December 27, 2005

National Public Radio is sometimes unintentionally funny. Propped up with tax dollars from average Americans who have more sense than to waste their time . . .

Christmas, tax cuts and the Bible
Michael M. Bates
December 20, 2005

Last week on WGN Radio's Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg program the topic turned one evening to the increasing secularization of Christmas. The panel . . .

The ACLU and what war on Christmas?
Michael M. Bates
December 13, 2005

It looks like it's official. The war on Christmas we've heard about is nothing more than a figment conjured up by a few extremists. The evidence accumulates. . . .

Part of JFK's legacy lingers in Baghdad
Michael M. Bates
December 7, 2005

It's not surprising that former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark is defending the monstrous Saddam Hussein. If Clark's ever met an enemy of the United States . . .

The culture war knows no season
Michael M. Bates
November 29, 2005

It's that time of the year again. No, I'm not referring to trampling other store customers to get to the doorbusters. I mean that time of the year when anything . . .

Keeping John Lennon in perspective
Michael M. Bates
November 22, 2005

It has already started. With the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death approaching, the adoration of the rocker has begun anew. I was a Beatles fan like . . .

Murrow, McCarthy, and the media
Michael M. Bates
November 15, 2005

Last week's Reporter Newspapers carried a column titled "Where is Edward R. Murrow when you need him?" Written by Donald Kaul, the piece extolled "Good Night, . . .

Veterans Day should be a time for gratitude
Michael M. Bates
November 8, 2005

It was 87 years ago tomorrow that the guns were silenced. At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, peace finally came. World War I was . . .

Is Halloween just a Yankee Doodle celebration?
Michael M. Bates
November 1, 2005

Most of us have fond memories of the Halloweens we enjoyed as children. The costumes, the haunted houses, the parties and the knocking on doors in pursuit of . . .

Walgreens: Let the (gay) games begin
Michael M. Bates
October 25, 2005

The Walgreen Company has given $100,000 to help sponsor the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago. Or, more officially, the Gay Games VII Sports and Cultural Festival, . . .

A year after election, Obama is still a superstar
Michael M. Bates
October 18, 2005

Even for a man who made the cover of Newsweek before he was sworn in, it's an impressive achievement. Senator Barack Obama, according to last week's Tribune/WGN . . .

Washington's adventures in advertising
Michael M. Bates
October 11, 2005

On Monday, the Washington Post ran a story about Medicare's new prescription drug program. The government will spend $300 million over the next three years to . . .

This week, Dubya disappointed
Michael M. Bates
October 4, 2005

Don't get me wrong. I like George W. Bush. I think his heart is in the right place. I believe, deep down, he genuinely is a conservative. That he is a decent . . .

Disasters drive home basic truths
Michael M. Bates
September 27, 2005

We humans sometimes lull ourselves into believing we run the world. We explore outer space, delve deeply into the mysteries of life, and build bigger and better . . .

Ward and June have left the expletive deleted building
Michael M. Bates
September 20, 2005

In the past I've written that never have I heard someone leaving a theater say to the person he's with, "You know, honey, I liked that movie, but I just wish it . . .

The way Supreme Court confirmations should be
Michael M. Bates
September 13, 2005

It was 1962 and everything wasn't magical in Camelot. John F. Kennedy had presided over the failed Cuban Bay of Pigs invasion a year earlier. Deciding the . . .

An American tragedy in black and white
Michael M. Bates
September 6, 2005

In addition to destroying yet uncounted lives and homes, Hurricane Katrina ripped off part of the thin veneer covering the enormous chasm between blacks and . . .

Governor says we're forced to live in a democracy
Michael M. Bates
August 23, 2005

Maybe the hairspray is seeping into his brain. Or perhaps he's taking pills to boost his testicular virility. Regardless of the reason, a few weeks ago . . .

Harry Belafonte: Still bananas after all these years
Michael M. Bates
August 16, 2005

So what do you do if your major claim to fame is as a singer and your last big hit was almost 50 years ago? If you're Calypso has-been Harry Belafonte, you . . .

Hiroshima anniversary drives peaceniks postal
Michael M. Bates
August 9, 2005

Last week marked 60 years since the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Protests were held around the world with some of them condemning America . . .

Ryno, respect, the Cubs and two-way streets
Michael M. Bates
August 2, 2005

Ryne Sandberg's speech on his induction into the Hall of Fame was terrific. The former Chicago Cub talked about respect. The words came straight from the heart. . . .

Politics is breaking up that old gang of whine
Michael M. Bates
July 26, 2005

Union riveter Chester A. Riley would know what to say: What a revoltin' development this is. Two major unions broke away from the AFL-CIO this week with others . . .

You must remember this, a kiss isn't just a kiss
Michael M. Bates
July 19, 2005

It was Sunday evening at a casual Orland Park restaurant. A couple, in their late 20s or early 30s, held hands, deeply kissed and couldn't take their hands off . . .

Reasons to pull the plug on public broadcasting
Michael M. Bates
July 12, 2005

Congress is once again debating the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which partially funds the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National . . .

Shifting and shifty standards for court appointments
Michael M. Bates
July 5, 2005

The word of the week is consultation. As in, it's essential for President Bush to engage in consultation with Democrats before nominating anyone to the Supreme . . .

Religion, government, and the Declaration of Independence
Michael M. Bates
June 28, 2005

This week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on government displays of the Ten Commandments. Apparently some of the justices have enrolled in the John Kerry School of . . .

Durbin takes off the gloves -- and mask
Michael M. Bates
June 21, 2005

Illinois' very own Senator Dick Durbin is a career politician who's been in Washington for more than 20 years. He's maintained a lower profile than Paris Hilton . . .

Getting naked to win friends and influence people
Michael M. Bates
June 14, 2005

Legend has it that in the 11th Century Lady Godiva rode naked through the streets of Coventry to persuade her husband to reduce the taxes he'd imposed on the . . .

Homosexual life expectancy and the gay agenda
Michael M. Bates
June 7, 2005

A press release from the Family Research Institute this week announces a study that purportedly "provides additional evidence that the practice of homosexuality . . .

Yet another remnant of the Clinton legacy
Michael M. Bates
June 1, 2005

It began in New York. An official there found that almost 200 of his state's most dangerous sexual predators got Viagra at no expense. Like Blanche DuBois, the . . .

Remembering the meaning of Memorial Day
Michael M. Bates
May 24, 2005

What does Memorial Day stand for? A day off? The start of summer? Parades and picnics? The opening of public swimming pools? You can — finally! — start wearing . . .

A twin blessing for a party in dire need
Michael M. Bates
May 17, 2005

Things aren't going well for the Republicans. They control the White House and Congress, yet still appear adrift much of the time. Their longtime reputation as . . .

Communism's victims deserve to be remembered
Michael M. Bates
May 10, 2005

On a reviewing stand next to Lenin's tomb, President Bush watched as goose-stepping Russian soldiers paraded by with their hammer and sickle flags. It was a . . .

Runaway bride runs into legal complications
Michael M. Bates
May 3, 2005

I don't purport to be an authority. But it seems to me having as many bridal showers as Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner . . .

Lifestyles of the rich and famous -- and connected
Michael M. Bates
April 26, 2005

Teddy Kennedy's brother-in-law pleaded guilty to fraud charges in federal court last week. Moreover, it appears as though the man is also a confidential . . .

Bob Dole, John Lennon, and what awaits us all
Michael M. Bates
April 19, 2005

It was a singular scene last week: A genuinely unscripted moment on television. I have to ask you a philosophical question, Hardball host Chris Matthews told . . .

In Washington, working folk need not apply
Michael M. Bates
April 12, 2005

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) is in hot water with the Senate ethics committee. A physician, his outrageous impropriety is providing medical care to pregnant ladies . . .

Considering the legacy of Pope John Paul II
Michael M. Bates
April 5, 2005

With the Pope's passing last week, there's been enormous media coverage of his papacy and its impact. Pope John Paul II was widely admired as a principled . . .

Americans and the right to Social Security
Michael M. Bates
March 29, 2005

American philosopher Yogi Berra once sagely noted, "What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so." Or . . .

Terri Schiavo's twisted, tortuous journey
Michael M. Bates
March 22, 2005

Terri Schiavo's situation has people lined up in opposing factions. They're separated by contradictory medical opinions, disputed facts, divergent opinions on . . .

Irish Americans have a rich political tradition
Michael M. Bates
March 15, 2005

Faith and begorrah, it's that time again. Happy St. Patrick's Day. Quick. What are Irish Americans most noted for? No, not that. Or that either. The . . .

Hillary needs more, you know, reinvention
Michael M. Bates
March 8, 2005

It seems like only yesterday that many Americans were introduced to Hillary Rodham Clinton. That was before we learned she's the world's smartest woman. It . . .

Writer Thompson didn't die "like a champion"
Michael M. Bates
March 1, 2005

Writer Hunter S. Thompson was on the phone with his wife last month when he decided to terminate more than the call. He ate the .45 caliber pistol he'd been . . .

William Rehnquist: the lone ranger no more
Michael M. Bates
February 22, 2005

Members of the Supreme Court traditionally toil in relative obscurity. Chief Justice William Rehnquist is no exception. In the early 70s President Richard . . .

It's time to discourage the scoundrels
Michael M. Bates
February 15, 2005

Jack Paar told the joke about asking an old lady why she never voted. "It only encourages them," she explained. During the tax season, it's a good time to . . .

Finally, a modest step toward fiscal sanity
Michael M. Bates
February 8, 2005

On Monday President Bush unveiled his proposed budget for next year. Amid the howling, shrieking, whining, wailing and gnashing of teeth from the usual suspects . . .

Tales of teenage angst still linger on
Michael M. Bates
February 1, 2005

Ray Peterson died last week. Over 40 years ago, Mr. Peterson gave us a memorable description of teenage tragedy in the song "Tell Laura I Love Her." With a . . .

"Equal rights" for some, fewer rights for others
Michael M. Bates
January 25, 2005

On Friday, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich took time out from his breathtakingly courageous crusade against certain video games to sign what's described as a "gay . . .

What I'd like to see in the second Bush term
Michael M. Bates
January 18, 2005

Inauguration Day is a suitable time to think about what President Bush may accomplish in his second term. He didn't ask me, but this is what I'd like to see.  . . .

Remembering the real Martin Luther King, Jr.
Michael M. Bates
January 11, 2005

Another January, another Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. The observance has to a great extent deteriorated, as have many other holidays, into just a paid day . . .

Considering the Illinois Unemployment Act of 2005
Michael M. Bates
January 4, 2005

With the New Year came a new law in Illinois. It will put people out of work, place the state at a competitive disadvantage, increase prices paid by consumers . . .

Look for extreme makeovers in 2005
Michael M. Bates
December 28, 2004

The new year is a fresh beginning in many ways. We set aside past disappointments and start with a clean slate. Some folks have more disappointments to set . . .

My Christmas truce with the Salvation Army
Michael M. Bates
December 21, 2004

It's been said that two keys to happiness are a good sense of humor and a short memory. I've always had trouble with that short memory part. Indeed, it seems . . .

Senate confirmations made simple: A guide
Michael M. Bates
December 14, 2004

President Bush is getting a few well-deserved pokes for nominating Bernard Kerik to be homeland security secretary. Mr. Kerik withdrew his name from . . .

More time won't make a difference
Michael M. Bates
December 7, 2004

Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA) has an idea. Usually when politicians begin doing what they consider thinking, it's a good time for the rest of us to start . . .

Abortion poll highlights bias, confusion
Michael M. Bates
December 3, 2004

On polls, questions are often at least as important as the respondents' answers. The person asking the questions can, by providing inadequate or misleading . . .

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.

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