Monthly Archives: May 2006

The Sneed Watch

Reader Ed keeps track:
As of today [Sun-Times columnist Michael] Sneed has enjoyed 10 vacation days, and 11 “Sneed is taking the day off” days [this year].  In the first five months she has taken more “days off” than she has had vacation time.


Euro’s illegals

Woe is us, woe is them: Daniel Pipes on illegal immigration to Europe, especially Spain:

As Western birth rates plummet, as communication and transportation networks improve, and as radical Islam increasingly rears its aggressive head, Europeans, Americans, and others worry about their economic standards and the continuity of their cultures. After ignoring this issue for decades, reactions in Europe especially have sharpened of late.

The first of his three examples is that France’s lower house has passed “a tough new immigration law”:

The second is Austria’s interior minister’s telling Muslims that 45% of them don’t fit in and they should immigrate somewhere else:

But Spain is the worst case.  Africans used to come through Morocco, but “under intense Spanish and EU pressure,” Morocco took to dumping illegals in the desert without supplies if necessary:

So they flocked to Mauritania to the south, especially South Asians:,,-5789116,00.html.  But Mauritania also cracked down, and farther south they went, to Senegal — 900 miles from the Canaries in open boats, up to two out of five dying en route:

But they keep coming, because it’s so nice once they get there:  So many arrive, in fact, that a volunteer likened it to an “invasion.”:

The Spanish try to buy off the West African jumping-off countries but they prefer the remittances — money sent back to family left behind.  “Mass exodus” and big trouble loom, including armed conflict, as have-nots push their way in:

Pipes’s piece is in today’s NY Sun,, a daily founded four years ago by Hollinger International, then headed by Conrad Black, some NYC businessmen, and its two founding editors, Seth Lipsky, formerly editor of The Forward, a Jewish-oriented weekly, and Ira Stoll, who ran a daily web-based critique of NY Times before the Sun rose on NYC:

Could Chicago ever generate such a quality product?  That’s a very interesting question. 

Many-splendored hospitals thing

“Hospitals get more than they give [says] study” is Sun-Times p-1 splash. 

Chicago area not-for-profit hospitals get three times as much money in tax breaks compared with what they dole out in free health care to poor and uninsured people, an analysis to be unveiled today shows.

Sounds bad, this unveiling.  And while “a nationwide debate rages,” never mind about what.  When debates rage, we better pay attention. 

There’s more.  The unveiled study has a finding that is “too out of whack,” never mind in what respect.  When a finding is out of whack, we better pay attention, especially when the state’s attorney general says so.  (And let’s hear it for her flack, who scores big a lot with female reporters, LORI RACKL Health Reporter in this instance.

The AG wants hospitals “to fork over more free care.”  (Thus Rackl.)  If they don’t, she will take away their tax exemption.  In other words, the long arm of the AG will reach out and smack you.  Yes.

“Hospital trade groups staunchly disagree,” however, noting among other considerations that “Service Employees International Union, which has been a thorn in hospitals’ sides because of their efforts to unionize workers” PAID FOR THE STUDY [upper case added].

What do you know about that?  Seventh paragraph.  Now we have it: lib Dem AG, relying on continued union support, puffs UNION-MADE STUDY [upper case added].  Now is it beyond the pale for the UNION-MADE part to be mentioned higher up, even IN THE LEDE?

What follows is a hospitals-union mouth fight, always a good show, and an analysis of the study BY THE PEOPLE WHO DID THE STUDY.  They have a name, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, which is characterized not at all but is located: “Chicago-based.”

And its executive director writes for, guess what, The Sun-Times:

CTBA’s executive director, Ralph Martire, writes a regular column for the Chicago Sun-Times, that also appears in the Springfield State Journal Register, and the Joliet Herald News. Read Mr. Martire’s most recent column: “‘No new tax” pledges just put state deeper in debt,”

says the study-doers’ web site.  Fancy that!

And while you’re at it, here’s what the hospitals are saying today:

Report Acknowledges Hospitals Provide Community Benefits More Than Five Times Their Tax-Exempt Value
Tuesday May 30, 9:35 am ET
Leading hospital associations blast report’s motive and methodology

And the study-doers are in the fray on their own [but Sun-Times got it first, thanks probably to the Martire connection]:

Tax Breaks for Cook County’s Non-Profit Hospitals Triple Amount Spent on Charity Care, New Study Finds

5/30/2006 11:29:00 AM

And the beat goes on, in this case health and medicine.

Iranian turmoil

To back up Charles Krauthammer in today’s Chi Trib saying Iran’s government is in trouble — “internally weak” — consider this from Gateway Pundit:

Regime Commandos & Hezbollah Thugs Pound Iranian Protesters

Four are dead from weekend protest violence in northwest Iran. Authorities called in the “Yegane Bizhe” special guard, which differs from other troops because of the cruelty it uses to suppress demonstrators…

But, still the protests continue!

SHAME ON THE WESTERN MEDIA! When 200 Islamist thugs are bused in from across the country by the Islamic Republic to hold a rally outside the Danish Embassy the western news medias (BBC, CNN, AFP, Reuters…) are quick to cover the story live on TV making it seem like Iranians are crazy fanatics!

When tens of thousands of Iranians come out denouncing that very same regime that is doing these kind of acts, condemning them for the oppressive rule!!! EVERYTHING GOES SILENT!

Aryamehr at The Spirit of Man 

At least 2,000 Azeris protested in Tehran yesterday.

Iranian policemen try to disperse Azeri demonstrators holding up Farsi banners that read “Long live Azerbaijan” outside the culture ministry in Tehran. Four people have been killed and 43 others injured in northwest Iran during protests. (AFP)

Reports from Iran claim that thousands of Azeris are leaving the northwest for the capital to protest against the regime:

According to information from Iran, thousands of Azeri speaking people have left their homes in northwestern and western Iran to go for a mass protest in front of the clerical regime’s parliament in Tehran.

This is happening as widespread anti-regime protests continue in Azeri speaking provinces in Iran. Some estimates put the figure over 10,000 who are on their way to Tehran.

In the meantime several hundred Azeri speaking students from universities in Tehran tried to stage a protest outside the mullahs’ parliament today but they were stopped by security forces. Students were chanted anti-regime slogans.

Plus lots more.  Wouldn’t it be something to find this with pic by Agence France Press — of Iranian policemen trying to disperse Azeri demonstrators holding up Farsi banners that read “Long live Azerbaijan” outside the culture ministry in Tehran — in tomorrow’s Chi Trib?

Sox clubbed, books listed

Sox were “Canadian clubbed” last night in Toronto, losing 9–2, giving up three homers.  Thus Chi Trib, which gets the headline nod today over Sun-Times, with its strained (hard-copy, not online) “Toronto Rappers,” referring to the homers — rapped, I guess — and the Toronto NBA team, Raptors, I also guess.  Take it away, Trib!

Meanwhile, it was off to the culture-war races in Arlington Heights (who would want to live there? it’s so far away), where the high school board went on for five hours about whether to delist some book titles from the required reading list.  This was not book banning, no matter what Sun-Times has in its head and story in the sense that a library takes books off shelves, not even the school library, but parental objections to making kids read purple-prose-purveyor Morrison, wildly leftist iconoclastic Vonnegut Jr., Freakonomics (?),

Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried; Kate Chopin’s The Awakening; The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World, by Michael Pollan; The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky; Walter Dean Myers’ Fallen Angels, and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, by Julia Alvarez,

about only one of which, Chopin’s, do I have an opinion, a very high one, in fact, thanks to James Tuttleton’s discussion of her in his 1994 book Vital Signs: Essays on American Literature and Criticism (Ivan Dee, Chicago).  That is, I take Tuttleton’s highly refined opinion in the matter even as I take it as to her being shanghaied by radical feminists dying to prove their point.

There’s lots to be said about these works, to be sure, and it is to hear some of it that we entrust our children to English teachers.  So it is that the sole school board member, Leslie Pinney, did all of us a service by objecting to their required use and instigating a long discussion attended by 750 people — number arrived at by adding Chi Trib’s 500 to Sun-Times’ 1,000 and dividing by two.  (Do the math!)

Again, as reported by Rumana Hussain in Sun-Times, and she was there, we presume — the Trib was not or in any event gave it short shrift — this was about a reading requirement, not reading the books and talking about them, unless Hussain and her editors wanted the story to simply avoid this difference, in which case they should memorize “the Lay of the Last Minstrel” by deadline time Monday.

Note, however, the Trib’s short but sweet rendering:

[A] northwest suburban school board rejected early Friday an attempt by one member to remove nine books she considers objectionable from a required-reading list. [Italics mine]

The Arlington Hts-based Daily Herald has the story big on its site, as to be expected, very interestingly deleting with “(expletive)” two words or phrases, thus bowing to the inescapable issue of taste, as in words you use in polite company.  I made that argument in objecting to the Society of Midland Authors’ giving an award last year to a book about poker-playing in sin-city Las Vegas that opened with gore and sex and bloody murder. 

As a nonfiction judge, I told all the judges in an email, I was accustomed to reading from a winning book, as were some other judge-award-presenters.  If I couldn’t read from the book at a Midland Authors annual dinner, it didn’t deserve our award, I said.  But another judge, a high-school English teacher, took me up on that, defending the book in question.

So we have horse races, and I return to the notion that this board member deserves applause for dragging into the open an issue that should not remain under table, entre nous, or relegated to a subject for muttering about.

The baldest and the boldest . . .

. . . statement of raw k.m.a. power comes from the dean of black alderman, William Beaver, who says, regarding his man John Stroger, sick as a dog but propped up by the palace guard as ongoing president of the county board and as Dem candidate for re-election in November until the guard decides otherwise:
“President Stroger is alive and well .. And whoever he decides that he wants to replace him — that’s what’s going to happen. … White folks can do it. Black folks can do it — easily. We got control of the [weighted] votes in the city and the county, so we do what we want to do. Remember that.”
That was yesterday’s paper.  Today Beavers has the nod.  Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th), Mayor Daley’s unofficial City Council floor leader, said, “I’m going to support Bill Beavers. I don’t know if he’s going to be a candidate. . . .  [He] would be a good compromise. . . He’s well-respected by a lot of political leaders. I don’t think he suffers any nonsense. And he’s a pretty straight shooter. When you talk to him, you don’t walk away wondering what his feelings are. That’s not a bad trait.”
Wait.  He’s another Paddy Bauler?  Chicago ain’t ready for reform?  Plain talk, yes.

Point made

Sun-Times sports columnist Telander is on the mark today.  It’s in his discussion of Finger-heavenward Sox catcher Pierzynski, who got Cub pitcher Zambrano’s cork without half trying yesterday, doing a Z-imitation on a home-run trot — chest-pound-lips-touch-finger-up to that Great Umpire in the Sky Who Got It Right This Time.

Was imitating no one, says P, innocent as always.  It was about something “you don’t know anything about” that happened “off the field a few days ago,” he tells Telander, who takes the occasion to say:

Personally, I’m waiting for the first athlete in any sport to point downward after his big moment.

Me too, but we have a long wait.

Stay tuned

In his victory speech late Saturday night, [New O. Mayor Nagin] praised President Bush.

“You and I have probably been the most vilified politicians in the country. But I want to thank you for moving that promise that you made in Jackson Square forward,” Nagin said.

Say wha’?  This after Howard Dean tried to sink Nagin?  (Thus Drudge)  Out-of-state white Dem money was part of Nagin opponent’s Landrieu’s $3.3 million raised (vs. Nagin’s to $541,980), per “preliminary campaign finance reports.” 

ALSO:  Rove indicted?  Not so sure, says, which asserted same 5/13.  (Did this blog report that?  No.)  TruthOut got “too far out in front of the news-cycle” and now takes a “wait and see approach.” 

Yes.  But it’s churlish to blame the sluggish news cycle, which as inanimate object can’t hit back.

All news is local

This by Tara Malone in The Daily Herald, “English First: How Language Bill Translates Here” beats Chi Trib and Sun-Times to the punch.  They each have the AP story that boringly tells White House comme ci, comme sa response.   

A day after U.S. senators declared English the country’s “common and unifying language,” suburban leaders struggled to envision what the edict could mean for city halls, school districts and businesses.

And the early forecast was not much — at least, not much yet.

That’s what people wonder about, right away. 

Re: Good fence, good neighbor

Here’s an idea, from Reader Marta:  I prefer my husband’s idea – build a new canal from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean along the southern US border – require any illegal alien who wants amnesty to work on the project.  Not only would this make it very difficult for people to cross the border, it would have the added benefit of removing our dependence upon the Panama Canal and the political uncertainties of that region. 

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