2/27/2006

Disguise

Sun-Times has pic of Minister Farrakhan at Savior's Day yesterday at the United Center, with head "FARRAKHAN SLAMS FILMMAKERS."  But the caption (none of it is online), says he
hit "Hollywood Jews" for "promoting lesbianism, homosexuality" and other "filth" and said conservatives and Zionists manipulated President Bush into war.
That headline is misleading, I'd say, and disguises Farrakhan's anti-semitism.  One must think Sun-Times wants to go easy on him, not upset readers, etc.  Why?  Chi Trib, on the other hand, doesn't even have the item.  Why not?
 
Both papers carried the story last week about Gov. Blagojevich's appointment to his Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes of Farrakhan's "minister of protocol" -- the Trib an AP story, S-T its own, by its Springfield bureau chief, Dave McKinney.  Some Jews objected (no one else apparently), citing Farrakhan's history and last year's Savior's Day speech in which he said,
"Jewish people don't have no hands that are free of the blood of us. They owned slave ships, they bought and sold us. They raped and robbed us."
The new appointee invited commission members to attend this year's Savior's Day address, quoted above.  If any attended, they got the usual earful. 
 
One who would have been disappointed was commission member Richard Hirschhaut, director of the Illinois Holocaust Museum, who said the speech would be a "significant litmus test" on whether the new appointee should stay or go.  He had hoped that this woman's presence on the commission could open a dialogue with Farrakhan's group and perhaps moderate the past anti-Semitic tone of its leader.
 
Didn't happen.

2/24/2006

Upshot

This from Chicago Priest Rant supplies some background about M. Sneed of Sun-Times and her sources.  Hurry up and read it.

2/17/2006

Cheney exposed

Was I the only faithful Sun-Times reader to do a double-take (you look once and then right away look again) at the Bobbsey-twin presentation yesterday, page three, under the AP Cheney-got-his-gun story
 
* Lynn Sweet (lsweet3022@aol.com) oozing irony from every pore with her very smart remarks, as "Hey, heard about cell phones?" when he said no press aide was with him and a closing "Mr. Vice President, you have to ask?" when he asked Brit Hume, "Are they going to take my word for what happened?"
 
Doug Elfman seeing Cheney in the mold of "an officer in King Louis VVI's court -- proud of a blase disdain for the people he serves" and looking "non-contrite [showing] the sneer.  The chill." 
 
The issue here is less Sweet's bias in cutesy drag or Elfman's obvious distaste for his subject than editors' placement and featuring of their brief commentaries.  It's the sort of thing that makes an editorial point better than any editorial.  Does Sun-Times have an op-ed page?

2/15/2006

2/13/2006

Today in city called windy

Sun-T:
 
* Zay Smith in QT pretends to be above it all with ref. to "supermarket headline of the month; FOOL AND HIS MONEY STILL TOGETHER AFTER 35 YEARS" by not saying which tabloid had it.  Come on, Zay, cough it up.  Which one?
 
* The exec committees of the priests' council ("presbyteral," including deacons: Presbyterians, watch out, they have your term in hand) and of the association of priests (unofficial but longstanding) defend Cardinal-Archbishop George in a blather-filled letter which hints at why Catholic sermons are so bad.  Grit your teeth and read it, like you grit them and read C. George in The Catholic (vs. what other kind?) New World every two weeks.  Turgid, believe me.
 
* The Bears' Terry "Tank" Johnson, he think he hot stuff.  Told a downtown cop he'd bust him up were it not for his badge and gun, when the cop picked on his illegally parked vehicle on Rush St. at almost 4 a.m.  Which is why cops have badge and gun.  Bad boy, Tank.  Yo mama gonna get you.  (Don't tell him I said this, ain't got no badge, aint' got no gun.)
 
Chi Trib:
 
* Monday with Charles and Dennis gives us K'hammer calling out the Muslim moderates and Byrne tilting at windmills (for power) and all in all giving us stuff to chew on energy-wise, and I don't mean Mars bars.
 
* The NYT obit of Peter Benchley sets me straight: he's GRANDson of Robert, who sat at the Algonquin Hotel round table with "Mrs. Parker" and features prominently in the movie of that name (plus "& the Vicious Circle," about Dorothy.  And a splendid movie it is, with Jennifer Jason Leigh doing a star turn as Mrs. P.  Such a movie.  OPPL does not have it, unfortunately, but got it for this viewer, who is grateful.  It's a good obit, by the way; reads well anyhow and I assume (hope?) is accurate in what it denotes and what it connotes.  Very important that last.
 
* Last but not least, the cruelly literate (cruel to her competition) Julia Keller reviews the latest Stephen King novel, Cell, as in phone, as in signalling  the end of the world.  She starts by characterizing King as a virtual force of nature, at least as writers go.  She notes his "gorgeous phrase," "a kind of haunted avidity" and his character's referring to cell phones -- what I consider the defining character of our age, such as it is, even more than use of Internet -- as the "devil's intercoms."
 
 She does the novel for us -- and the film can't be far away: King writes the BEST stuff for films, and gets the BEST directors and cast -- and tosses in an interview with a Columbia College teacher, author of Technophobia! Science Fiction Visions of Posthuman Technology, Daniel Dinello.  What's more, she tells when and where Dinello is talking about and signing copies of his book -- Hothouse, 31 E. Balbo, 6 p.m., 3/2.  Shucks, I might go there.  It's free.  Call 312 344 7383 for more info.  That's good: a little cultural vitality, tying local to international.

2/12/2006

Mean ol' Cheney

In Chi Trib possession are many pix of V.P. Cheney, but the one they like best is here, curled lip and all, or was there  5:19 PM CST today.  Personally, I picture him looking at Leaky Leahy, the slimy senator from Vermont, with this look on his face, and find it appropriate.

2/09/2006

Political funeral

They came not to bury politics but to practice it, says Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell of the Coretta Scott King obsequies in Atlanta.  "No one says a mean word at a funeral. Even gang-bangers hold their anger until the casket is removed from the sanctuary."  But it didn't work that way this time. 
[I]t was selfish and embarrassing to see so many . . . dignitaries use her funeral as their bully pulpits.
 
At a political gathering, it's fair game to criticize the president.
 
But it was tacky and disrespectful for anyone to launch into a political attack at a funeral.
Rev. Joseph Lowery, for instance:
"We know there were no weapons of mass destruction [in Iraq]," he said. "We know there are weapons of misdirection right down here," Lowery taunted.
And Jimmy Carter, who "also got in his jabs, criticizing the Bush administration's slow response to Hurricane Katrina victims.  'We only have to recall the color of the faces of those in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi to know that inequality existed,' he said."
 
Neither was Mitchell impressed with him who has been acclaimed the first black president: "As often occurs when Former President Bill Clinton shows up, black folks acted as if he had emancipated the slaves."
 
"You used to know what to expect at a funeral," she says.  People "are not there to gawk. They have some connection to the family and they are there to help the relatives bear their grief."
 
"If politicians and civil rights leaders wanted to call Bush out," she concludes, "they should have called him at the White House."
 
Amen, sister.

Zorn today

If I had written Chi Trib's Eric Zorn's column today, "Standing up for message behind cartoons," and just before key-clicking it home did a final check, I would have re-cast the part about inking one's thumb after voting -- which does not do justice to the life-and-death Iraq voting climate and the vote's historic significance -- but would have changed nothing else.  I don't want to overdo this, but it's as if Zorn's newspaper career has led to this column, which oh so neatly presents the situation, or state of the question, as we philosophy students used to say, argues it and concludes:
I'm on the side that says if your good ideas can't peacefully win out over my bad ideas, maybe your ideas aren't so good.
 
I'm on the side that says that any belief worth having-be it love of a country, of a deity, of an ideology or of a person --must be strong enough to absorb criticism and be impervious to mockery.
The column is also posted on his blog site, "Change of Subject," where you can post your own comments.

2/08/2006

Cartoon mania -- more

The NY Press staff protested by walking out when the Press, an alternative weekly, decided NOT to run the offending cartoons -- libs true to lib principles:
For all the talk of freedom of speech, only the New York Sun locally and two other papers nationally have mustered the minimal courage needed to print simple and not especially offensive editorial cartoons that have been used as a pretext for great and greatly menacing violence directed against journalists, cartoonists, humanitarian aid workers, diplomats and others who represent the basic values and obligations of Western civilization. Having been ordered at the 11th hour to pull the now-infamous Danish cartoons from an issue dedicated to them, the editorial group—consisting of myself, managing editor Tim Marchman, arts editor Jonathan Leaf and one-man city hall bureau Azi Paybarah, chose instead to resign our positions.
said the editor in chief in a release.  The NY Sun is a conservative week-daily, for what it's worth.

Hard case

Don't you Chi newspaper readers wonder sometimes why some people happy-birthday'ed by Sun-Times's Michael Sneed are "ageless"?  Most have their ages behind their names, but some are special and suffer no such indignity.  Today's "ageless" is Terry Durkin.  Who the heck is Terry Durkin?  Trying Google, one discovers:
 
An Indiana U. prof whom I have emailed asking if he's ageless in Chicago.  He's at The Open Source Lab, which sounds electronic. 
 
The MVP for 1982 for the Yale (U.) Bulldogs softball team, which means she's a girl.  Ah-hah, we might be getting somewhere. 
 
A charter boat captain in Petersburg, Alaska, who promises "unforgettable fishing."   Does Sneed fish?
 
A Clear Case product manager reachable email-wise at Rational-dot-com.  He has a 781 area code and is clearly (sorry) up to something electronic.
 
The founder (and charter member) of Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo and La Mesa, California who unfortunately died in 2003.  It can't be he.
 
A senior software analyst at Human Resources Canada who gave a speech in 1998 that referred early on to his being "in the middle of one of those sleeps where you are barely above the level of a coma" and being awakened by the ring of his telephone.
 
The first president-elect of PERS (Pacific Estuarine Research Society) at its formation in 1978.  PERS, for those with the need to know, is an Affiliate Society of ERF (the Estuarine Research Federation).  What would be ageless about him (or her; I'd rather not be fooled) is anything but clear.
 
Which leaves us all in the dark.  Will Sneed clear this up for us some day?
 
Wait.  Hold your horses.  I may have it.  What a fool I was not to tell Google it's Terry Durkin Chicago I have in mind!  There it is, third in line, in an Eric Zorn blog, entitled, what do you know, "Aging the ageless," in which, don't tell me, Zorn outs Sneed's ageless birthday boys and girls, including "gaming [gambling] industry attorney Terry Durkin," whom he exposed on Feb. 9, 2005, a year ago almost to the day, that is, the day after Sneed wished him Happy Birthday, calling him ageless, as 48 whole years old!
 
There it is!  All comes to him who knows or learns pretty quickly how to make best use of Google.  Terry Durkin on this day is 49 years old, and he's a gambler's lawyer.  Very interesting.  He's also into Sneed somehow.  She owes him, that is.  In short, he's a SOURCE, and where would Sneed be without sources?  Case closed.
 
One more thing.  Zorn explains his interest in ageless birthdays as in the Sneed column here.  Look it up.  But the sad thing is that this citing of Zorn will go unnoticed by him unless he reads my Chi Newspapers blog because for quite a while he has had a block on my email, maybe because he blocks a lot of inconsequential commentators but maybe also because I have pissed him off in email exchanges, for which I am heartily sorry and to prevent reoccurance am embracing a firm purpose of amendment.  Better stop now.  This has gone far too long.  Cheers.

2/07/2006

Looney

Cartoons came front and center a week ago, with Muslims rioting and protesting.  But Chi Trib took until today, Tuesday the 7th, to come up with a page one story "Why [they] sparked furor: Islamic tradition and freedom of press clash over artists' depictions of Prophet Muhammad," by its dynamic religion duo, and they are good, Margaret Ramirez and Manya A. Brachear, who clearly were given the assignment.  It's a fine Saturday religion-page story, full of citations from various academics and ethnic ax-grinders -- it's what you do to provide what an ad saleswoman once told me is "editorial support," for church-page ads.
 
But this one is just below the page-one fold (on a Tuesday) and a vivid, vivid color shot of a burning Danish flag -- when was the last time you saw a really fiery Danish flag, a sure sign that's something's rotten in Denmark -- the entire spectacle beneath a sparkling quote from some Catholic professor, drawn, I hope out of context because it tends to make a religious act out of rioting and destruction: "In Muslim culture, there is a very strong sense of the sacred."
 
The sacred, yes, the last refuge of Islamo-fascists bent on destroying almost everything that makes life living, incited by clerics who phonied up cartoons of The Prophet to go with those that ran in the offending Danish newspaper -- the one tut-tutted by Boston Globe and other first-amendment heroes for its impolitic behavior -- and spread them around Muslim-land.  The rioters doing it in countries where nothing -- nada, nihil. rien, zilch -- happens without govt say-so.
 
Chi Trib would have us think we really know why Muslims riot, offering various repetitive statements of what is old, old news by now, that the Muslim world is more religion-oriented than we.  But nothing is said about radical imams who plot and scheme and incite riots.  There are days when I want my fifty cents back from 435 N. Michigan.

2/06/2006

More on Julian who?

Sun-Times runs Julian Bond's comments today (no link available). In his QT column, Zay Smith, who is reliably protective of left-wing Dem interests, pairs Bond with Repub senator Santorum, who likened Dem filibuster tactics to Hitler's in 1942.
Now where in heck did Smith learn that? From timely reports, I'd say, such as have emerged about the Bond speech -- no throwaway line but a whole gosh-darned speech -- nowhere in MSM outlets, at least according to Google.
But hand it to Smith, he dug around and got a Republican who had talked that way, ignoring Dem Sen. Robert Byrd of WV, who on March 1 compared Republican tactics on judicial nominees to Hitler's use of power in Nazi Germany. However, give Smith credit: he's trying to be fair and balanced.

2/04/2006

You couldn't make this up

The ACLU is joining the appeal of a man convicted for seeking to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge who wants his conviction overturned because he was “illegally” spied on by NSA.

Back in December, Iyman Faris, the only named American target of the National Security Agency’s secret warrantless wiretap program announced his consideration of a lawsuit against the president of the United States. To accomplish this goal, his lawyer David Smith issued an all points bulletin for civil liberties attorneys and constitutional scholars interested in taking up his client’s case.

“There has to be a real plaintiff with a real injury,” explained  Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU’s Technology and Liberty program, one of many civil libertarians who

Despite Faris’ admitted guilt, . . . were chomping at the bit to get him off the hook,

says StopTheACLU.com.  What did the man say about liberalism?  Yes, James Burnham: “Liberalism is the ideology of Western suicide.”  I think of Chill Wills riding the a-bomb with a cowboy whoop in “Dr. Strangelove.”  That’s ACLU riding its ideology.

Julian who?

What do we think of this kind of talk?

[Prominent public figure] delivered a blistering partisan speech at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina last night, equating the Republican Party with the Nazi Party and characterizing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her predecessor, Colin Powell, as "tokens."

"The Republican Party would have the American flag and the swastika flying side by side," he charged.

Calling President Bush a liar, [he] told the audience at the historically black institution that this White House's lies are more serious than the lies of his predecessor's because Clinton's lies didn't kill people. . . .

He referred to former Attorney General John Ashcroft as J. Edgar Ashcroft. He compared Bush's judicial nominees to the Taliban.

Pretty extreme, huh?  Worthy of slapping into a newspaper, right?  Not necessarily.  That was Civil rights activist and NAACP Chairman Julian Bond speaking, and the coverage is in World Net Daily, an Internet publication.  Where else?  Not in Chi Trib or Sun-Times or in any other MSM outlet, unless you count Fayetteville’s News 14 TV show.

James Taranto calls it “whitewashing a black leader” and likens it to coverage of the late Yasser Arafat,

talking peace in English while inciting hatred in Arabic--except that in this case Bond is speaking a language everyone understands, and reporters, whose job is to report the facts, are instead concealing them. [Italics added]  Bond's mostly black audience at Fayetteville hears his message of division and resentment, while the broader public is told that he has a "positive attitude" and is engaged in a "fight for equal rights."

Let’s hear it for freedom of the press.

Tumblers?

Jesse White, he’s a Democrat, right?  Running again?  Let’s keep watch.

The former director of Secretary of State Jesse White's physical services division and three janitors were charged Friday with scheming to let the janitors collect full pay-- more than $150,000 in all-- for only minimal work.

Treason in the Senate?

West Virignia Senator Jay Rockefeller is the leaker who illegally supplied the New York Times with the details of the NSA program

Jed Babbin of The American Spectator said on a radio show yesterday, reports Hugh Hewitt, via Instapundit.  It’s the blogosphere at work, as it was in the Dan Rather, Trent Lott, and other affairs.

Given that the CIA's Porter J. Goss stated emphatically that the leak had done very serious damage to the United States, if Rockefeller is a suspect, he should be hauled before a Grand Jury asap

continues Hewitt.

Meanwhile, Chi Trib’s Mark Silva had something cute but inconsequential yesterday about Bush saying “good” too often.  It’s the G-word, says a head.  Silva is resting up for a shot at Jay Rockefeller, I bet.

2/01/2006

Sister superior

Bush was "clearly taken aback” when someone asked him what he thought of the gay-cowboy movie “Brokeback Mountain,” says Carol Marin today in S-T.  He “looked like his skin itched.”  It’s “a start anyway” that he had heard about it.

Stop.  I can stand so much droll and no more.  So what, state of union speech last night.  Let’s talk about this delicious “Mountain” story.  The gals and guys at Ric’s (wherever) had such a fun time with it Saturday night.  It told us soooooo much about Dubya, as if we didn’t know already.

He don’t know s—t about unions anyway, gay or any other kind.  Hey.  People Mag — I said People, did you hear me? — says this movie is huge in Waco.  Oh my.  “Bar’s boy [?] needs a lot of help right now.”  Polls, you know.

Switch to thin-lipped, no-nonsense, I’m-not-kidding statement of cold fact:

George W. Bush is an isolated man living in an insular, hermetically sealed world of advisers who don't challenge him, receiving advice born of lethally bad intelligence.

There.  Carol feels better already.

Read the rest for yourself.  It’s damn good moveon.org-the-world-can’t-wait stuff.  Carol has encapsulated beautifully what the gang is saying at Ric’s (wherever).  It’s the base, stupid.