I told Dennis Byrne he would be disappointed to hear that I did not read his entire column in today's Chi Trib to the lady of our house after dinner tonight, only selections. Such as his compromise proposal whereby a fetus's being brain dead or alive suffices to bring us together on whether to respect his life or not.

Why didn't I think of that? I asked my helpmeet. Because I am stuck in Vatican-style (old Europe) thinking, I told her. Look to the American experience for a decent solution, I said.

Seeking common ground, he argued that brain life would qualify the fetus as belonging to the "community," whereby hangs the tale in contemporary parlance.

Fanatical pro-choicers will not buy it, he wrote, but they can be properly marginalized, he implied, once the issue becomes once more debatable and debated, I mean once we (thru the Supreme Ct) return choice to voters by overturning Roe-Wade.

Very good column, hung on the Hillary-as-veering-right peg. Byrne closes by urging her not to oppose Bush's pro-life-leaning judges, who will return choice to voters.


Scare headline here: "Shiite with ties to Iran poised to be Iraqi leader" for story from Baghdad by Liz Sly in Chi Trib in which she says:
it is now almost certain that Iraq's first elected prime minister in half a
century [Al-Jaafari] will be an Islamic scholar with close ties to Iran, a leader whose party once carried out terrorist attacks against U.S. targets
in third paragraph, adding immediately:

But al-Jaafari, currently one of two vice presidents in the interim
administration, also is regarded as one of the more moderate of the Shiite
Islamist politicians, a pragmatist who has tempered his views as he has risen to the top of the political establishment in the new Iraq.

In a recent interview at his offices in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, he said his priority is to see a constitution that enshrines equal rights for all of Iraq's ethnic and religious groups.

"We will not have any laws that oppose Islam," he said. "That doesn't mean we want an Islamic government. The majority of Iraqis are Muslims, and so it is natural that Islam should be the official religion. But the most important thing is to respect the freedom of religion of all Iraqis of
all ethnic backgrounds and traditions."

And farther down the Iran and terrorist links are handled nicely. He fled to Iran when his party faced death and destruction from Sadaam. As for the terrorism,

Al-Jaafari, a physician, has always denied any links to the attacks. Jawad
Maliki, a senior Dawa official, said the attacks were carried out by Dawa
factions that were co-opted by Iranian intelligence agencies, not the mainstream Dawa Party that al-Jaafari leads.

In 1989 al-Jaafari moved to London, where he distanced himself further from the Iranian-influenced Iraqi exile movement. He still maintains his family home in northwestern London, where his wife works
as a physician, and among Iraqi Shiites he is as closely associated with the
West as he is with Iran.
(Italics added)

He is also a religious scholar, and while in exile in Iran he studied in the holy city of Qom, reaching the rank of mujtahid, one rung below that of ayatollah. That qualification will help him when it comes to steering Iraq's government in accordance with Islamic laws, said one of his top
aides, Adnan Ali.

"He's capable of defending Sharia law and he's a moderate," he said.

It's a good story. Why the headline, which misses its main point, that the guy looks good?


If Eric Zorn’s 2/10/05 Chi Trib column, “No eye-rolling: Daley Pledge may just work,” were well argued, it would be dangerous and subversive of good government, because he naively takes Mayor Daley seriously with his most recent declaration of good intentions as regards civic corruption and moreover expects it to make a difference. He presents interviews with several office holders as if their politic and self-serving responses make his point. They do not, because they are politic, except for one that is candid enough to provide good copy that makes the column interesting.

This is by the irrepressible Cook County Board president John Stroger, who, asked if he too would pledge to take no money from people doing business with his branch of government, declined to play to the Zorn-reader gallery and said he would make no such pledge but would follow the law in such matters.

The others – a Gov’s spokesman and three probable gov candidates – all to varying degrees said yes, which is not news. Candidates and office holders do not usually tell a reporter “nonsense” when he suggests taking a good-government (goo-goo) tack, but Zorn seems not to be aware of this.

Nor does he seem aware of how goo-goo professionals can be expected to respond to the sort of statement Daley made, faced as he was with gale-force winds of stinky-poo corruption blasts. Zorn quotes – yes! – the new Terry Brunner in our midst, Better Govt. Assn. director So-and-So, and Cindy-Something, of Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (not identified by Zorn, who is perfectly willing to let its name say it all), both endorsing Zorn’s respect for the “Daley pledge.” Or is the other way around?

Meanwhile, Zorn might refer to his own commendation at year-end 2004 of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald for “bipartisan nailing of corrupt hides to the wall,” wherein lies – with dogged newspaper coverage – the be-all end-all of anti-corruption work. That is to say, there would be no breast-beating and pledge-taking by Daley if it were not for law enforcement by an outsider with no ties to Daley.

Zorn should give this more mention and more prominence. The rest is frosting on cake – gooey and sticky and not very nourishing, especially in newspaper columns.
LET US ADD THIS: Sun-Times editorial same day sang same tune. Daley "takes shot at real reform," said head. "There was no shrugging off the changes announced by Mayor Daley Tuesday," etc. We should not become "jaded to the corruption in City Hall" and should instead put on a happy face, as a cute circle-shaped yellow sticker is pasted to a bulletin board.

So what if it’s "a case of better late than never"? We still must hand it to Daley because "potential long-term consequences" of his pledge "are dramatic and far-reaching."

Yes! Like McCain-Feingold on campaign-donation so-called reform and its spawning of 527s such as the heavily George Soros-bankrolled moveon.org.

No! The mayor is "going beyond earlier unfulfilled promises of reform" in his pledge, says this very editorial in support of using a news conference as grounds for consolation.

Does not the Sun-Times know the man will promise anything to gain a minute’s advantage in his ongoing war with dogged journalism? What on earth is this reference to "skeptics" who say "the mayor hasn't gone far enough, that he has left himself loopholes"? It’s bad to be skeptical?

Sun-Times editorial writer, give us a break.