Monthly Archives: December 2009

Infectious faith

This non-worshiping Jewish lady, a born-again conservative like me, did a bold thing on Christmas Eve: she went to mass.

Beyond the music and pageantry, what moved me the most was being with hundreds of people who loved God. Maybe some were questioning his presence or feeling abandoned. But they showed up, and that’s half of life.


Behind that billboard a motorcycle cop?

Speed traps in Oak Park:

Ridgeland Avenue near Between Filmore [sp] & Harvard Street

A police car will sit facing north in the Washington Irving school lot, well hidden from drivers coming north because they are shielded by the dumpsters – so they’re sitting far enough back from plain sight of drivers. I’ve seen patrol cars sitting there during rush hour traffic and on weekends. They are not visible to the driver but passengers can spot them readily.
May 14, 2008

Way out of date, plus nobody commented one way or other, with these options:

1. Yes! This is a speed trap.

2. No, this is definitely NOT a speed trap.

Others, equally discussed:

Harlem Avenue near North Avenue

North Avenue near Taylor Avenue

Potential speedsters are asked, “Need A Good Traffic Attorney?”  And a list of “NMA Traffic Attorney Referrals” is offered.  NMA is National Motorists Association, whose “main premise . . . is that if motorists will join together in one organization to represent their rights and interests as drivers, they will no longer be ignored and exploited by federal, state and local governments.”

Well, everybody deserves his day in court, but in general, as matters stand in OP, I must say I root for the traffic cops in these situations.

On the other hand, “Speed traps are often used by municipalities as a method of generating revenue,” says NMA in a companion piece, “7 Ways To Shut Down A Speed Trap.”

We won’t blow her cover

This 13–year-old fashion maven knows style.

The youngest of three sisters, Tavi has grown up on a quiet, tree-lined street in a community west of Chicago. (She asked that her suburb go unnamed so that she might remain low-profile in her hometown.)

But page one in Chi Trib is the wrong way to remain low-profile in her hometown. 

(Congratulations, Steve and Berit, on your admirable daughter!)


My favorite newspaper to love and hate, Chi Trib, did me dirt this morning (a) by not being delivered as usual by the abnormally faithful Carlos, whom I have grown to love without reservation (and owe a Xmas check), and (b) by calling Kenwood “Bronzeville” in its lede on-line story about murder on 47th Street

Attention all copy editors at The Tower: Bronzeville stops at Pershing Road (39th Street)!

Go to at its Chicago Landmarks page — Black Metropolis-Bronzeville District — and you find a map! 

Bronzeville map

We know you people have problems, but CAN’T YOU LEARN THE CITY???

Other than that, have a happy Xmas season and an equally happy new year.


Later: Even-Homer-nods category: Shot outside Popeye’s at 818 E. 47th Street, south side of street, so Hyde Park, as Sun-Times (your source for neighborhood accuracy) locates the “restaurant.”  Still not Bronzeville, of course, in fact even less so.

This pesky problem: babies under bus or not?

You can hear a king somewhere complaining to his courtiers, “Who will rid me of this [troublesome] issue?”  (See “Becket”)

In a letter to senators Wednesday, leaders of the influential U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops reiterated their opposition [to Sen. Reid’s bill], contending the Senate language “violates the long-standing federal policy against the use of federal funds for elective abortions.”

Go bishops?  Not so fast:

A lot is being said and written about why national health care legislation is becoming a reality. The simple fact, available for all to see, is that the U.S. Catholic Bishops ensured passage of the bill in the House, enabling the Senate to move forward with its version.


Like “progressive” strategist Robert B. Creamer, the Bishops believe that health care is a right to be guaranteed by government. This position has driven the debate and has rarely been challenged by Republicans. The debate over abortion has been mostly a diversion. Perhaps it has been planned that way

Thus spake Cliff Kincaid, persuasively, I am sorry to say.

As we were the first to disclose, Creamer, an ex-con and husband of Rep. Jan Schakowsky, emphasized using “the faith community” to mobilize support for universal health care by highlighting the morality of providing medical care to people in need. His book, Stand Up Straight! How Progressives Can Win, emphasized that “We must create a national consensus that health care is a right, not a commodity; and that government must guarantee that right.”

Bishops are on same page:

Our approach to health care is shaped by a simple but fundamental principle: ‘Every person has a right to adequate health care,'” they say. They go on, “For three quarters of a century, the Catholic bishops of the United States have called for national action to assure decent health care for all Americans. We seek to bring a moral perspective in an intensely political debate; we offer an ethical framework in an arena dominated by powerful economic interests.”


At least five lobbyists for the Bishops worked with Pelosi and Stupak on the deal that is now also predictably falling apart. Clearly, the pro-life deal was a ploy designed to keep the legislation alive.


Read it and weep, all ye Catholics and others who with Dorothy Day are not ready to look lovingly or even resignedly to Holy Mother the State for health, welfare, and who knows what else.

See also Tom Roeser’s informed and pungent report cum commentary on “tricky Reid language” in his bill and the role of a “so-called pro-lifer” in that sorry development, including Tom’s closer in context of payoffs to compliant senators by White House paymaster Rahm Emanuel:

The Nebraska-Nelson windfall

spurred lawmakers from other states to complain “hey. Why should my state have to take the mandate and Nebraska gets away with it?” One hope is that this would lead to a flurry of lawmakers trying to get their states exempted which means that in the White House, the wily old paymaster, Emanuel, may have to throw up his hands and turn them down…either that or run the cash register repeatedly to buy everybody off…spurring the old hymn to take on a new meaning:

“Come, O Come, Emanuel!”

Which reminds me, it’s Christmas Eve.  Merry Christmas, everyone!

Who regulates regulators?

“The regulators need regulating,” says Wednesday Journal of OP & RF in this week’s “Inside Report”:

More details continue to emerge about opportunities missed and thwarted by federal regulators, leading to the demise of Park National Bank. A recent Crain’s Chicago Business profile  . . . of legendary Chicago banker Harrison Steans’ return [sic] to the banking scene, notes that Cole Taylor Bank, of which he is a leading stockholder, held merger talks with Park National but federal regulators nixed the deal because they had concerns about Cole Taylor.

Steans started a foundation 20 years ago, which has made millions in loans to improve conditions in the North Lawndale neighborhood on the city’s West Side. In other words, if Park National were to be swallowed by another bank, better one led by someone like Steans than U.S. Bank, the eventual acquirer, which has no track record of local community reinvestment.

Nor of being saddled with more bad loans than it can handle.

In any case, regulators always need regulating, I commented, having in mind congressional overseers such as Rep. Barney Frank (D.-Mass.), who encouraged Fannie Mae to multiply loans to marginal borrowers and refused to call a spade a spade when its situation was getting ugly — when the Bush White House was calling for more regulation, by the way.

Park National’s Mike Kelly counted on Frank et al. to do their job and invested millions in Fannie, and this was his mistake. 

Cherchez le governmentally backed agency and its congressional guardians, especially left-wingers who know where the votes are and cater to those who cast them.

Doom for Dems?

For all you Repubs and other objectors to the Harry-and-Barack legislation and feeling low about it, this fellow at Commentary depicts Obamacare as Obamascare:

The collateral damage to Obama from this bill is enormous. More than any candidate in our lifetime, Obama won based on the aesthetics of politics. It wasn’t because of his record; he barely had one. And it wasn’t because of his command of policy; few people knew what his top three policy priorities were. It was based instead on the sense that he was something novel, the embodiment of a “new politics” – mature, high-minded and gracious, intellectually serious. That was the core of his speeches and his candidacy.

He was supposed to be something different, fresh and appealing.

In less than a year, that core has been devoured, most of all by this health-care process. Mr. Obama has shown himself to be a deeply partisan and polarizing figure. (“I have never been asked to engage in a single serious negotiation on any issue, nor has any other Republican,” Senator McCain reported over the weekend.) The lack of transparency in this process has been unprecedented and bordering on criminal. The president has been deeply misleading in selling this plan. Lobbyists, a bane of Obama during the campaign, are having a field day.

Comes the revolution, but not the one Obama has in mind, says this fellow, Peter Wehner, who

served in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations prior to becoming deputy director of speechwriting for President George W. Bush in 2001. In 2002, he was asked to head the Office of Strategic Initiatives, where he generated policy ideas . . .

He argues well, I hope he’s right.

As is often the case, Instapundit sent me there.


Wow.  Chi Trib is on its way to bigger and better things, as is clear from this Steve Rhodes piece for the NBC Chicago blog which was deleted by its high muck-a-mucks after Chi Trib complained, after which Rhodes quit, after which he wrote about it.

The offending item, deleted but Google-cached, remains for all to see, and let this be a lesson to legacy media moguls coast to coast: You get more bad publicity by pulling strings than by ignoring things.

It’s for all to see at the cached site, but here ‘tis in toto as a public service:

Tribune’s New CEO Has a Shocking Past

Zell steps aside for old friend

Updated 12:54 PM CST, Thu, Dec 3, 2009

Sam Zell is leaving control of Tribune Company in the hands of a former shock jock who used to tell jokes about gay people on the air and reportedly roamed the offices of a past employer with a rubber penis tied around his neck.

That would be Randy Michaels, Zell’s chief lieutenant at Tribune and now the once-staid media institution’s CEO, a post Zell abdicated on Wednesday. Zell will remain chairman of the company to provide, you know, a strategic vision until Tribune gets out of bankruptcy. Then Zell will probably be gone.

Michaels, however, reportedly wants to stay. What a nice gift that would be for Zell to leave behind.

Michaels is known for, among other things, believing he is the first to measure reporters’ productivity by the number of words they produce and actually believing that is a legitimate way to measure a reporter’s productivity. That and a lawsuit that once alleged – among other things – that he roamed his old Clear Channel offices with a “flexible rubber penis” tied around his neck as well as a host of other crude rituals. The suit was settled.

As an executive with Clear Channel, Michaels was “an effective but tasteless programmer,” according to Salon.

“Behind the mike he made a name for himself back in the ’70s and ’80s farting on the air, cracking jokes about gays and tantalizing listeners with descriptions of ‘incredibly horny, wet and ready’ naked in-studio guests,” the Salon account reports.

Michaels is “well regarded by the creditors who are expected to control Tribune when it emerges from bankruptcy protection next year,” the New York Times reports.

Michaels, whose real name is Benjamin Homel, was once described as the AntiChrist of radio. He told Radio Ink magazine that “We’d all prefer to be liked, so of course it bothers me. I think I personify uncomfortable change in our business for a lot of people.”

Or at least a certain kind of change.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

First Published: Dec 3, 2009 9:09 AM CST

See also

* WBEZ blog, which has an interview with Rhodes

* “With Both Hands” on the same subject.

Harry, we think we know you by now

He out-Herods Herod?

It’s more than a bit ironic that Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is threatening to work right up until Christmas to pass legislation that could allow federal dollars to pay for the deaths of untold numbers of unborn children.

In the days before Jesus Christ was born in a manger in Bethlehem, another bureaucrat, King Herod, was responsible for what would be called the Massacre of the Innocents, after he ordered all male infants to be killed to prevent the prophesied King of the Jews from replacing him on the throne.

From Penny Starr, at CNS News-dot-com.

Chicago Tribune watchdog given once-over: kill the lobbyists

Wiser if not better self warns me: Do not read Chi Trib’s page one hard copy stories carefully, take in the heads and let it to.  Let it go, you fool, you have church to go to and kind, wonderful thoughts to think.  It’s 7:30 on a Sunday morning!  Let it go!

Oh come on, I tell the wiser if not better self, just this one look, this one shot at analysis why the lede sucks, the head is tendentious and meant to soothe the fevered left, no more, I swear, I swear, I swear . . .

WASHINGTON – David Nexon had a big problem. [Look, I hear once more about David Nexon and his problems, I will scream.] An early version of national health care legislation contained a $40 billion tax aimed squarely at members of the medical device trade association he represents. [Wow.  Medical device trade assciation?  Wow.]

The head:

How health lobbyists influenced reform bill: Ex-lawmakers, ex-staffers push industry agenda

OK. This is more like it.  We hate lobbyists, so the story has our attention.  I don’t hate them, I try to put myself into the supposed left-wing reader whom Chi Trib editors and college-educated reporters etc. assume are out there.  I mean, who knows free-market people anyhow?  Hey, Pauline Kael didn’t know anyone who did not vote for McGovern in ‘72 and couldn’t figure out how Nixon won.

Thank you, Andrew Zajac, of new, improved Tribune Newspapers, and thank your tenured-radical college teachers for doing so much to program you.

But another story idea:

Suggested head: How big government spawns hated lobbyists.  Capitalists use legislative moxy and muscle to defend private property against punitive taxation, regulation.

Suggested lede: Senator Claghorne (D.-Chicago) had a problem.  The latest flood of rules and regs had not flushed out enough high-priced lobbyists who might help his war chest along for the coming campaign.

O.K.  Done with Sunday Trib, off to church, conscience relatively clear (never completely), waiting to hear from God what my next move should be.  Thanks for listening . . .

%d bloggers like this: