Dead horse beating, concluded

So the Trice-told Chi Trib story of the woman raped as a 12–year-old by her stepfather, disbelieved by mother and everyone else, ended happily.  That is to say, justice was served, and the son of a b-tch got eight years.  Trice supplied no more verve to the telling than in part one, which ran yesterday, however.  Look, sere writing has its place, but there’s a difference between clean and flat copy.  Maddening.

Reader J. agreed, asking if Trice would tell a friend this story “in similar fashion.”  She doesn’t think so and blames it on lack of reader-consciousness.  “The day of gentle reader, dear reader, kind reader went out with ink wells,” she moans.  “It's authorial narcissism. The story's not the thing. The teller is.”

Reader N., on the other hand, made a plea for forbearance.  “It was a rare D.T. Trice column I actually finished, much to my surprise.” 

For him the story came through.  It was the thing.  But for differences like that, where would horse races be?

Roars of approval

SecDef Rumsfeld blames media for anti-Iraq-occupation feelings among the polled, implies they don’t know the half of it because bad news has driven out good (like bad money).  That can’t be, in view of the drum fire of content that emanates daily from Main streamers.  Take today’s page one head (below the fold, admittedly) of Chi Trib:

A treacherous year since Iraq transfer: `This is not a democracy. This is chaos.'

4th paragraph has man who was optimistic a year ago when U.S. transferred authority to Iraqis, now having “lost all hope for his country after living through a treacherous year in the new Iraq.”  He “no longer has confidence that the U.S. military can effectively fight the insurgency,” he tells Trib staffer Aamer Madhani and/or his (probably Iraqi helpers) Nadeem Majeed and Zaid Sabah.

"Nothing will change until the Americans leave," said al-Deen, 33, at his home in Baghdad's Saydiyah neighborhood. "The resistance will not stop until the Americans go away. Once they leave, we can then only figure out if there is any hope of the Sunnis and Shiites coming together."

Al-Deen’s troubles are “greater than most,” but his “pessimism reflects a growing despondence among Iraqis” in Baghdad.”  Madhani really believes this, we may assume; but we are asked to take his word for it, are we not?  That al-Deen “reflects” what (many? most? how many?) people feel?  This reminds Chi Trib readers of the Michael Tackett page-one analyses out of Washington — columns given quasi-story (article) status, latter-day Carey Orr cartoons that never failed to depict FDR with a long cigarette-holder in his mouth.  Old habits die not easily at the once World’s Greatest Newspaper (WGN, as in radio and TV even now).

We read further of  “dour mood” in Baghdad and “frustration” in the U.S., including among “lawmakers” calling for an “exit strategy.”  Bush “is expected to point to examples of progress” in his speech tonight, “[b]ut in the streets of Baghdad, sovereignty is still a nebulous idea,” says Madhani, who clearly knows better, having discussed the matter with upwards of two people, including Sarah Abdul Kareem, 21, a Shiite, who says, "This is not a democracy.  This is chaos."  And that’s the story’s pull quote for sub head, as you noted above.

However, five paragraphs down, Sarah Kareem says Americans should not leave yet!  Well!  Gen. Abizaid is quoted, ditto Rumsfeld, as confusing Iraqis with “mixed messages.” One paragraph (one!) in the middle of the story allows:

[W]hile violence has overwhelmed hot spots such as Baghdad, Mosul and most of western Anbar province, much of the Kurdish north and Shiite south remain relatively peaceful. In those areas, there were high levels of participation in the national elections in January and greater strides have been made with reconstruction.

The story (analysis? column in article drag?) quotes two (two!) more Iraqis to make its point — “treacherous year . . . not a democracy.  . . . chaos,” says the page-one sub head, remember — including a barber whose fellow barber was shot down by Islamic fascists (such a term! I must mean insurgents) who object to certain kinds of haircuts as “anti-Islamic.”

Ah but the corker is the obligatory Chi Trib frantic-victim four-color picture on the jump-page (front section back page), showing two brothers mourning their slain father.  Sad, sad, sad.  Could moveon.org ask for anything more?


First, do no dead-horse-beating

With all respect to the seriousness of the problem, what do we think of this headline —  “Sexual assault in childhood haunts woman” — as promising a column that will tell us something we do not already know?

What follows, by Chi Trib’s Dawn T. Trice, is an anonymous morality tale (nothing more), told in the simplest of terms and — bless us! — ending with a to-be-continued:

"I loved my mother [who had not believed her story about being raped by the stepfather] and it hurt my feelings that I had to see this man and nobody did anything about it [says the raped woman]. It was like what happened to me meant nothing. So, I did what I did for my two kids."

On Tuesday, I'll tell you what she did.

If she sneaked up one day and shot the son of a b-tch, I’m interested.  Otherwise, we have a tale of horror recounted bloodlessly, which is maddening to most readers, definitely to this one.


Media Monitor - Journalism \Systems\ Go Critical - June 24, 2005

Sherie Gossett at Accuracy in Media (AIM), 6/24/05:

Veteran journalists are speaking out boldly and courageously [about bias and loss of credibility]. "No more conning the public," wrote award-winning journalist and author Bonnie M. Anderson in her groundbreaking book "Newsflash." "We must begin with honesty," she says. "...No more pretending to be fair and balanced when there is a political agenda."

May I add no more pretending to be sure about things that we can’t be sure of or that the writer is not sure of.  This is Journalism 101, I presume (never had the course); so I say what’s presumed taken for granted (for granite?).  But it’s at the heart of the bad-story problem, is it not?

Blogger: Chicago Newspapers :: Edit Post ' Chicago Newspapers '

Blogger: Chicago Newspapers :: Edit Post ' Chicago Newspapers '

The top (latest) posting on this blog is coming up with a long black space between title and text. Don’t know why, except that it happened after I Blogjet’ed direct from Firefox browser. Will have to quiz a guru about it. Meanwhile, down you go to the truly latest posting.

Media bias

Chi Trib’s Rick Morrissey, “in the Wake of the News,” — which once carried “dumbbell pomes” by Jasbo of Old Dubuque — writes of Chisox being ignored by NBC’s Bob Costas at a golf tournament giving interleague baseball scores — Yankees over Cubs, Red Sox over Pirates, and that was it.  Chisox, baseball’s winningest team, had beaten the Dodgers, but so what?  “Probably an oversight” by the experienced, sophisticated Costas, one of the best known faces and names in sports TV, says Morrissey.  Right, and a perfect non-political example of media bias.  Costas just doesn’t think of the White Sox.  They don’t enter his mind.  He has his interests, and they aren’t one of them.  At the top of his game, you might say, he’s biased.  It happens.

Very strange

The top (latest) posting on this blog is coming up with a long black space between title and text.  Don’t know why, except that it happened after I Blogjet’ed direct from Firefox browser.  Will have to quiz a guru about it.  Meanwhile, down you go to the truly latest posting.

Liberal perspective, part 2

Chi Trib Perspective editor on presenting conservative commentators cheek by jowl with liberal ones:

What you are asking is almost impossible, lining up point-counterpoints on issues.  . . . there isn’t always an available counterpoint . . .  Perspective is one of the most popular sections of the Sunday paper because (a) people agree strongly with what it says and (b) people disagree strongly with what it says.

But you could double both pleasure and fun if you also had conservatives agreeing and liberals disagreeing.  On the availability question, for cryin’ out loud, just Google conservative think tank and see what you get.  (Deal Hudson at  thewindow@morleyicc.com would be a natural as counterpoint to Bob McClory in re: the pope, for instance.)  Indeed, #3 Daughter has come to me for names on issues to be discussed on the Neil Lehrer call-in show on WNYC-FM, an NPR station.  You call around for ideas.  It’s what producers and editors do.


Liberal perspective

Bob McClory belongs in Perspective with his liberal viewpoint on will-the-pope-or-won't-he wake up and smell the coffee, as in the Sunday 6/12 paper.  But not without a side-by-side from the right, of which there are many around if not in your tickler file.  I would be glad to supply a list.

                  -- Bowman to Chi Trib Perspective editor, 6/12/05, re column: “POPE BENEDICT XVI: Reading a pope's mind: Conservative Ratzinger once acted more like a liberal: Will he do so again?” by Robert McClory, a former priest and an author and professor emeritus of journalism at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism


“A former priest and an author,” Bowman might have attached to his own name.  And “longtime reporter for the National Catholic Reporter, the liberal Bible, and longtime publicist for Call to Action, the liberal shock troops,” Chi Trib might have also attached to McClory’s, while also identifying his latest book, Faithful Dissenters, but did not, let us say for lack of space.

Perspective indeed.  “Liberal Catholics and many moderates have been in a state of profound shock [nothing serious, we hope] since the election of Pope Benedict XVI,” McClory begins, candidly announcing his perspective — his liberal viewpoint, as Bowman told the editor.  McClory’s is The View from the Left, and Chi Trib would have identified it as such if its editors were not intellectually deprived in the matter, being hampered by their own view, also from the left.  (Yes, the editorials are moderately conservative, but editorials do not a paper make one way or the other: it’s the coverage, stupid; but also in Chi Trib’s case, Perspective.)

McClory does not disappoint us, writing of the new pope as “tireless enforcer of orthodoxy . . . relentless scourge of dissenters . . . determined foe of . . . relativism . . . ‘God's Rottweiler,’" in a sort of hamming it up for dissenter groundlings while providing just enough eloquence and self-conscious overstatement — irony, you know — to pacify the rest. 

He announces “more than a little trepidation in some quarters” — this is too coy — over what to expect from the Rottweiler as pope.  All may not be lost, however, in view of his “amazing ability to reinvent himself,” which McClory proceeds to demonstrate amply, quoting the before-and-after of Ratzinger as liberal-mugged-by-reality-turned-conservative, except for the reality part, which McClory does not acknowledge.

Instead, he implies a falling from liberal grace by the new pope, beginning in the late 60s, when student revolts especially in his native Germany shocked him into new or renewed appreciation of tradition — but wait: McClory assigns no cause for the change of heart and mind except to cite speculation “about inroads of Marxism in the church . . . the decline of Catholic practice in the West” and “concerns of his immediate superior, Pope John Paul II.” 

The new pope “has shown no such openness [as he did previously] to the views of significant groups of Catholics” since the late 60s.  He ignores “the great disagreement . . . within the church” about ordaining women, for instance.  Asking, “What are we to make of the contrast between the two Joseph Ratzingers?” McClory says nothing about reaction to 60s turmoil.

It’s been a “180-degree shift” for Ratzinger, but we should “stay tuned,” apparently for another shift that would put him on his original liberal course.  In support of this advice, McClory cites the new pope’s recently telling an interfaith group, “Let us go forward with hope” in pursuit of the Second Vatican Council goal of  “full communion . . . with true docility to . . . the Spirit.”

It’s not much of an argument — just a sort of liberal’s prayer, in broad daylight in a liberal newspaper.

Zorn unmasked

 It’s good to see Eric Zorn letting his Democrat hair down in his blog, as opposed to his hard-copy Chi Trib column.  Here’s a snippet (scroll down) that goes a long way towards understanding what a condescending con job is his column:

The delightful irony here is that [Durbin’s] conservative Republican critics – oh, you should have heard them wetting their pants last night on WLS-AM! – are overplaying their hand by caterwauling for Durbin’s resignation and bleating that his analogies – and not our apparent brutal violations of the Geneva Convention – are doing the greatest harm to our reputation in the Arab world.  [Italics added, as always]

Now that’s real Democrat nonsense!

Monitoring Moyers

“Public Broadcasting Monitor Had Worked at Center Founded by Conservatives” at NYT site says the Corp. for Public Broadcasting got a right-winger to keep tabs on Ur-lib Moyers.  It’s putting a guard dog in charge of the coop, rather than a fox?  Will have to work on the simile, but in the absence of direct divine inspiration in the matter, it makes sense to hear what the opposition says.  It is lib bias we have to worry about, after all.


Ever fixing, ever arranging

Chi Trib announces that “Ask Jim Why,” by James Coates on computer stuff, is moving from Business section to Tuesday Tempo Digital Page but not from Saturday Business Technology section. 

Very interesting, but odds that are that if you ask Jim why the hell he is moving from one place and not the other, he will say, “Damned if I know.”


Crimestopper Rudy

Having asked how much safer Chi streets would be if Chi Trib devoted as much ink and space to crime-problem solutions as to legal-system abuses (see below), I must alert readers to John Leo’s 6/12 column in which he talks up Rudy Giuliani as crime-stopper:

Giuliani successfully assaulted, though he could not completely defeat, the intractable reactionary liberalism that brought New York City to its knees. Before he was elected in 1993, there were more than 2,000 murders a year there, compared with under 600 today.  . . . Giuliani changed all that. He marginalized the city's racial arsonists, like Al Sharpton, by simply ignoring them and refusing to reward them for disturbances and threats. He ended Mafia control of the Fulton Fish Market and the private trash-hauling industry, two achievements long regarded by nearly everyone in New York as impossible. . . . Nationally, crime fell just 5 percent between 1993 and 1996, while dropping 35 percent in New York.  . . . The old order still snipes at Giuliani and refers to him as Mussolini, but he was an inspiring figure even before 9/11, and certainly after.

How far would such analysis (and reporting!) go with Chi Trib editors?



Can a retraction be far behind?

 "I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood," said the Illinois senator. "I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings: our soldiers around the world and their families at home deserve our respect, admiration and total support."

That would be our man Dick now, wouldn’t it?


Seminary selectivity

No one "who has been part of a gay subculture or who has lived promiscuously as a heterosexual [should] be admitted [to a Catholic seminary], no matter how many years [previously] that might have occurred," Cardinal George said during the bishops’ meeting in Chicago.

In this extraordinarily badly written Chi Trib story, by Margaret Ramirez, billed as religion reporter (a slot that has seemed an afterthought to Trib editors since Steve Kloehn left the beat a few years back [later: make Manya Brachear a nice exception to this]), we don’t know if he said it from the podium or in an interview.  The quote above is doctored (here) for clarity’s sake, but as printed, probably accurately, it sounds off the cuff — not that George is the most articulate of speakers or incapable of making off-wall statements.

In any case, what he said justifies neither lead paragraph — “As the nation's Roman Catholic bishops gathered in Chicago Thursday for a meeting to review their sexual abuse policy, Cardinal Francis George said homosexual men should not be admitted into seminaries” — nor headline — “George: Seminary no place for gays.”

Ramirez’s analysis is like a cartoon: broad outlines of issues are offered, with reference to what “is being debated,” “critics [who] have charged,” “others [who] have said,” and the like.

The zero-tolerance ban may violate Catholic teaching “on redemption,” she writes — an odd usage that implies salvation itself is threatened by church discipline and imposing of penance for sin.  Ramirez may get things just enough wrong no matter what she writes about, but that’s little consolation to readers of news about religion and the church.

Quick, Mrs. Durbin, his medication!

Here’s what Dick Durbin said, for the record:

(6-14) Durbin: "If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime--Pol Pot or others--that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."

Columnist Phil Kadner has the quote in Daily Southtown.  So does Sun-Times and Chi Trib.  And needless to say, so does Aljazeera.   It’s a quote read ‘round the world.  Howard Dean should watch his back; Durbin of Illinois is coming on hard.


Coyotes OK, says expert

Check out Gary Wisby’s story on coyotes as way to keep geese from multiplying, in which he seeks to shoot down pet-owners’ concerns, citing an expert:

[H]umans have more to gain than to lose from the presence of coyotes, who seem to be adapting nicely to the habitat we share. On the rare occasion that an urban coyote kills a cat or a small dog, it makes the newspapers. But in the meantime the animals are performing a public service every day by curbing overpopulations of geese, rats, rabbits and other prey.

"We're starting to show the ecological roles that coyotes play besides eating people's pets," Gehrt said.


Gitmo et al.

1. Reading the breathless account of what captive jihadists say -- all part of the drum beat of optimism from NY Times-Democrat, do we not wonder whatever to do?  Close Gitmo?  Move it?  Release the Jihadists, some of whom don't know any better?  Impeach Bush & Cheney, who by the way won handily in 2004?  It's a world-class conundrum.

2. "It's freedom of speech," said radio host Al Franken, who had just got a Freedom of Speech Award, when urged to end a too-long tirade vs. Bush admin and war.

"It's not freedom to kill everybody's evening, so why don't you wrap it up," replied the MC. 

There are limits, in other words?

3. Re: Coyotes, from Reader Marta:
Unfortunately your instant rebuttal [they don't bother people] isn't completely accurate -- two children were mauled by coyotes that wandered close to an elementary school here in California a couple of years back.  A bigger problem is their habit of eating household pets -- I've lost a couple cats to coyotes.  I can sort of justify it -- circle of life and all that, but I still went through the pet grieving process associated with the loss of a furry family member.
4. The 23-year-old Bears lineman caught with loaded gun is "from another state and not familiar with what's going on here," his lawyer said (here and here).  The state is Arizona.  After high school, where he was also a star volleyballer, he played for U. of Washington.  He weighs 300 pounds now, is 6 feet 2 inches high, broad-jumped farther than any other lineman in Bears training camp.  At U. Wash. he had to sit out a year because his high-school core-curriculum grade point average was lower than the 2.0 required by NCAA's Proposition 48, covering college admissions for student athletes.  Nor had he scored 700 on the SAT or 15 on the ACT, thus further failing the requirement.

The rule affects black players far more than whites:  In a recent year, 87% of freshman held back were black!  These and the other 13% spent their first year on campus acquiring grades from the college of their choice so that the college could profit from their performance on the gridiron, which says a lot about (a) academic hard work by footballers or (b) colleges' eagerness to get over the Rule 48 hump by making sure grades get good enough or courses are easy enough. 

This bad academic showing by blacks is "hugely discriminatory," however, says The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), which "works to end the misuses and flaws of standardized testing and to ensure that evaluation of students, teachers and schools is fair, open, valid and educationally beneficial."    Yessir.

5. Have you ever considered how much safer Chi streets would be if Chi Trib devoted as much ink and space to crime-problem solutions as to legal-system abuses?  If headline after headline blared the message about what works in Chi and elsewhere, like how Giuliani cleaned up Times Square?  Wouldn't that grab the strap hangers on their way to the office?  And help circulation while we're at it, if you please?


Taylor Street that great street, Hillary C., Boggles, Skiles

1. Folks on Taylor Street knew George A. Prado, the Hispanic Dem Org official arrested yesterday for selling heroin, had a lot of money for a $62G-a-year city hoisting engineer -- he had offered Judith Pedraza $1.2 million for her place at Taylor and Bishop, driving up one day in his Mercedes -- but they thought he had won the lottery, Pedraza told Sun-Times.  Erroneously. 
2. ''Don't think that Hillary has the women's vote,'' a disgruntled California Democrat told Robert Novak.  ''I will never forgive her for sticking with her husband after he humiliated her. It's something I can't get over.''  http://www.suntimes.com/output/novak/cst-edt-novak09.html
3. Sun-Times letter writer Susan House's mind "boggles" at what coyotes could do for the city's rabbit-infested parks and thus wins an Items Usage Award for knowing that "boggle" is primarily intransitive and was solely that before being sloppily mongrelized by our orally fixated society, most of whose denizens read a book once but found it borrrring.  Her letter at http://www.suntimes.com/output/letters/cst-edt-vox09a.html is of a piece with her verbal acuity.
"The bunny problem in Millennium and other parks could be easily solved by a few resident coyotes," she begins.  Among possibilities at which the mind boggles she names "a reduction in garden-pilfering rabbits . . . painted Fiberglas coyotes in the parks [and] naming contests.  . . . If there is an Adopt-a-Coyote program, I'll be first in line," she adds, offering from her Edgewater residence an unusually literate bite to relish at breakfast table or while hanging from a Green Line strap.
4. L'affaire Skiles as in Scott, the recently renewed Bulls coach, ended like any good melodrama, with the main characters living happily ever after and the chorus saying silly things.  Scott, Jerry, and John have the good ship Bulls on its way (http://www.suntimes.com/output/bulls/cst-spt-bull09.html and http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-ap-bkn-bulls-skiles,1,493486.story), and yippee for them who are restoring my interest if not my faith in NBA ball.  But the commentators, God love 'em, gave their last going-bananas shot with uproariously contradictory assessments.  On Michigan Avenue Sam Smith confidently adjudged Skiles to have come to his senses as Smith had said he should, in a column hubristically titled "Luckily, Skiles sees cliff, doesn't jump" (http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/columnists/cs-050607smith,1,1392498.column?coll=chi-sportscolumnist-hed), while at the Furniture Mart his mortal opponent Mariotti had Skiles staring down the normally unflappable Reinsdorf, in a column hubristically titled "Skiles brassy enough to make boss blink" (http://www.suntimes.com/output/mariotti/cst-spt-jay08.html).
The allegedly blinking boss was not amused, however,and did the actionable thing on a talk show, calling M-man a liar, as Chi Trib dutifully reported (http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/bulls/chi-0506090240jun09,1,520824.story), because he and Skiles had neither met face to face as M-man said nor haggled over contract in their telephone conversation as he also said.  That's what "[his] newspaper" told him, M. told Chi Trib -- without telling hundreds of thousands of readers, who read only of telephone talks in the above-linked news story, one must add.  However again, M. also said Reinsdorf will be hearing from M's lawyers.  This could be a case of "Reinsdorf lied, Mariotti died" of embarrassment?  Smith should write a column urging Mariotti not to go there?


Saving mayors Daley

"Mayor Daley Summerdale" registers zilch on Google News, about 30 on Google Web, beginning with a U. of Chicago Press site for the Royko compilation, One More Time, and ending with http://www.gamblingmagazine.com/articles/53/53-178.htm, site of a 1999 Gambling Magazine interview with the prolific and dogged and professionally expert Richard Lindberg. 
"Mayor Daley hired truck," on the other hand, gets 78 news references, which is no surprise.  Why compare?  In the vague suspicion that the incumbent Daley might look to his father's Summerdale, now a nothing as news but big (we might even say "huge") in its day and quelled as ruinous scandal by the father's appointment of OW Wilson as police superintendent.  Is the son that bold when it comes to a salvage operation?

Page one smasheroos

Chi Trib went for the hat trick, or maybe trifecta (horse bettors have to help out here), with this pair, yesterday and today, of page one smash-'em stories:

* Sunday's was about a black man brutalized by drunken whites who got short jail terms in Linden, Texas, described by the Texas NAACP head as one of "a few areas in Texas that have kind of bypassed the civil rights era." Linden, said the NAACP man, is "an island of the '50s." One of a few, an island: unusual. What then is the significance of this story for a Chicago, as opposed to a Texas, newspaper? It does rub raw sores of discontent among most readers. Is this what reporter Howard Witt and his editors have in mind?

* Monday's, with the startling head "Critics: Pentagon in blinders: Long before 9/11, the military was warned about low-tech warfare, but it didn't listen" is about "maverick officers, active and retired . . . agitating for change," including "a chief warrant officer in the Marine Reserves who focuses on gang crime in Chicago as a sergeant in the city's Police Department [who] recently returned from Iraq after leading a Marine unit against insurgents." Other "mavericks" are quoted, in their journal articles and in personal interviews. The problem goes back to the Viet Nam war, the article, by Stephen J. Hedges, says. Back to Gen. Billy Mitchell being court-martialed for his stubborn support for developing air power in 1925, it might have said, lending context. Buried in the story is 3rd Cavalry's commander saying they are learning how to do it in Iraq, which would have made a Wash Times lead. All in all, Hedges did a lot of reporting but was given an awful lot of space -- more than 2,200 words! -- and (naturally) used it all up. Are there no editors below O'Shea at Chi Trib, any beside the one who devised that sock-'em-bust-'em head, picking on a time-honored fat target?

Busting drug busting

This from CNSNews.com, at http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.asp?Page=/Nation/archive/200506/NAT20050606b.html, "Medical Marijuana Laws Don't Shield Users From Prosecution," could be (maybe?) a straw that breaks back of drug-law camel.  The decision was made in view of inadvisability of breaking the law (judges don't make laws, legislators do -- "The ruling also said that Congress could allow the use of medical marijuana, if it chooses to do so").  Does it not add impetus to the so far minority notion that lawmakers (not judges) should reassess drug prohibition as presently constituted?  Repeal, anyone?


Social Security a problem?

No reason for Social Security reform to be a partisan issue, says Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner. 

In fact, there is a long history of Democrats offering workers more choice, ownership and control over their retirement funds.  Democrats like former Senators Robert Kerry and Patrick Moynihan were among the earliest proponents of individual accounts. The Democratic Leadership Council and its think tank arm, the Progressive Policy Institute, have been supportive. Even former president Bill Clinton was willing to consider the idea. Some Washington observers believe that only the Lewinsky scandal preventing him from endorsing individual accounts.

That woman in the White House.  Drat!


Deeply Felt

James P. Pinkerton in his Newsday column puts Deep Throat in perspective, noting this among other things about Watergate:

As an impressionable teen back then, I remember the chairman of the Watergate investigating committee, Sen. Sam Ervin (D-N.C.), declaring that the scandal was "the greatest tragedy this country has ever suffered, [worse than] the Civil War."

At the time, I took those words to heart, mostly because there was no voice in the media to simply laugh out loud in derisive response. Watergate was worse than the death of 600,000 people in the War Between the States? Worse than the Depression? Worse than any number of disasters, epidemics, lynchings and assassinations? Please.

As for W. Mark Felt, the #2 FBI man now self-exposed as Deep Throat,

he's a strange kind of hero. In 1980, he was convicted of ordering FBI agents to burgle the homes of political dissidents. Isn't that kind of close to what Nixon's men were guilty of? And after decades of denial, at 91, now he comes forward - or at least his daughter does, on the stroke-ridden old man's behalf. As she explained to Vanity Fair, "Bob Woodward's gonna get all the glory for this, but we could make at least enough money to pay some bills."

And Greg Mitchell, editor of Editor & Publisher, telling of his “secret life with W. Mark Felt,” notes that Felt is a man who “truly knew a thing or two about illegal break-ins,” thanks to his heading up FBI’s “notorious COINTELPRO domestic spying-and-burglary campaign” about the time he was giving good stuff to Woodward and Bernstein.


Let no man call her l-----l

AP story in today’s Sun-Times about Topeka legislator who once said giving women the vote showed “men weren’t doing their jobs” as heads of families, of which women are to be hearts, has critic predicting trouble for her in seeking statewide office, describing the critic as exec director of “a group fighting conservatives in politics.”

That’s not a liberal group?