Voting on paper

Egad, even before I read this of January 29, 2004, I was suspicious of the paper record requirement in Illinois, remembering chads and the like and the contested 2000 Fla. vote:

Howard Dean says on his website, "I support pending legislation to require that all voting machines produce an actual paper record that voters can view to check the accuracy of their votes, and allow election officials to verify votes in the event of irregularities."

It was no passing fancy for Dean, who made “verified voting issues” a cause:

The grassroots movement for election integrity will take a leap forward this Tuesday, July 13 [2004], when supporters of voter-verified paper ballots (VVPBs) rally in 24 cities nationwide. Attendees at this nationwide "Computer Ate My Vote" day of action will present petitions favoring VVPBs and ask state election officials to sign a Pledge for Election Integrity.

It’s quite current, in fact:

The DNC will continue [9/27/2006] working with Congressional leaders, grassroots activists and state parties to build support for federal legislation to mandate a verified voting paper trail for voting machines that has been proven as the best method of securing votes. [Italics added]

Don’t Dems love to mandate things?  However, isn’t paper subject to manipulation and vote theft too?  Isn’t it something any precinct worker can do?  Yes.

Meanwhile, blowback:

“This notion that elections are stolen and that elections are rigged is so common in the public sphere that we’re having to go out of our way to counter them this year,” said Donna Brazile, a Democratic strategist [addressing disillusionment among black voters].

Now who has done more to promote that notion, Republicans or Democrats?


World citizen

BBC man is tagging along with the bad guys.  Anything for a story, or maybe he’s our new version of a man without a country.  If he plays his cards right, he could catch a beheading or stoning of woman caught in adultery.

Truth more naked than usual

Mayordaley II is the complete party animal in his criticizing Forrest Claypool for non-support of Todd (son of John) Stroger in the general election Nov. 7.  Claypool should “move on” after losing in the primary to John, then stroke-disabled but hidden from view of all but fam and handlers, who was replaced by son Todd only after deadline passed for independent filings.  Clever, those Cook County Democrats.

Daley compared it to 1983, when he lost the mayoral primary to Harold Washington, but then supported Washington in the November election.

Apples and oranges, said Claypool, thanks to how Todd got the nod.  Besides, Washington is not to be compared to Todd.  Claypool added,

"I would have hoped that Rich Daley supported Harold Washington because he was a good leader, not because he had to for political reasons.”

Well if that’s not a mortal blow to the resurgent Daley, surviving huge scandal reportage of a few months back and looking to re-election in April, it’s still worth noting by the blogging classes.  Anyhow, electing Todd will depend on swinging Claypool’s ward, the 47th (home of the city’s top recyclers), as noted by S-T’s Steve Patterson in this story.

It’s also noteworthy in Daley’s publicly characterizing Claypool as a political suicide for his intransigence:

"All of a sudden, because you don't get your own way, you decide to walk away?" Daley said. "I lost the election. I didn't destroy myself, I didn't destroy my family, I didn't destroy my political career."

Didn’t destroy his family?  Egad, what has Claypool done?  Mass murder?

(Add to this what Rob Olmstead observes in Daily Herald, that the Daley comment “might be interpreted as a thinly veiled threat to get in line.”  Yes indeed.)

Playing dumb

News feature stories lend themselves to puffing whom you wish, ignoring the obvious.  Thus Sun-Times has this by Dave Newbart, using already heavily puffed Obama cycle on which to hang something really nice about another Democrat:

Political neophyte Dan Seals has been compared to Sen. Barack Obama.

But Seals, who is trying to unseat Republican assistant majority whip Mark Kirk in the northern suburbs, downplays the comparison, saying the only similarity is their complexion -- both are African-American.

And neither looking particularly African, we might add.  Look close and you could swear we had here a North Shoreian with a great tan.

"I'm no Obama,'' he says [which is nice of him], though he enjoys [Barama’s] support.

Newbart supplies context, of course:

Still, eyes are turning to the race in the 10th congressional district as a Democratic surge across the country threatens Republican control of Congress. Challengers like Seals are hoping to turn the tide in a race once considered solidly in favor of the Republican but now looking less solidly red. The first debate of the campaign is tonight at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire.

That’s boiler-plate analysis, which would have made a decent lede if you weren’t looking for the Obama Effect.



Nature of the media beast: 2nd-last paragraph of "Fox Joins Duckworth in Stem Cell Support: Actor campaigns for fed funding of research," S-T 10/25/06, p. 8, ripped from the headlines, as they say in up-to-minute talk shows: 

[Republican candidate] Roskam, at a campaign appearance Tuesday, said he strongly backs stem cell research -- as long as cells derived from embryos aren't used.

He said research using other types of stem cells -- those from adults or from umbilical cords -- has resulted in treatments for dozens of illnesses. That's a much better track record than embryonic stem cell research has so far achieved, he contended. [Question alert!]

Duckworth and her supporters noted that embryonic stem cells have been known to medical science only since 1998 and that research has been stalled by a lack of federal funding

But there's not time. The reporter and his editors, the whole damn newspaper, is on to the next thing. It's why Rush L. calls them "drive-by."

However, there was time for a sidebar, “Limbaugh: Fox just acting sick in ad,” for which someone called a neurosurgeon (one neurosurgeon, enough for any man) at a major New York hospital who thought Rush L. was "ludicrous."

What? No call for anyone on the Roskam claim? No. Not time.

Meeting Stroger

Not that Marietta B. was waiting for him, as the Beckett characters waited for Godot, but there he was, at a Brown Line stop:

I met Todd Stroger outside the Western El stop this
morning. I almost didn't even realize that it was him.
I was handed a flier by a well-dressed man as I was
approaching the station. I took the flier and
responded yes to his comment about the cold morning.
Then as I got closer a few more suited men were
standing near one another. One looked at me as I
approached and said, "Todd Stroger, candidate for
board president" and then kind of turned to the side
as if opening a curtain and the man behind him smiled
and said good morning. Only as I was almost beyond him
did I realize it was Stroger himself and so I stuck my
hand out and said "nice to meet you" both of which he

As I continued on my hurried way (I was running late)
I found myself [wishing] I had thought of
something more to say to or ask him. Preferably a
real doozie of a question that would leave him hemming
and hawing. Isn't that what we all wish for? (Italics added)

Yes, but at least she can verify there is a Todd Stroger or at least someone who looks like him.

Peraica and harassment case

This about Peraica in the Forest Park Review neatly summarizes the case against Stroger, including this, that “the reformer who was trying to work within the Democratic Party system lost the primary to a candidate rendered barely conscious by a stroke.”  Reform lost in the primary, in other words.  However you feel about Republicans, that’s important.  Whatever you consider the merits of Democrats, they dropped the ball this time around.

But most of the telling column, by Carl Nyberg, is about a case Peraica took and won without compensation for a Hispanic family apparently grossly harassed by Melrose Park police.  The account is detailed and clear and focused.  Read it.


She says, he says

There are times when you think Dennis Hastert has nothing to say.  It’s that way with wrestling coaches, you suppose.  But sometimes he does that preconception in:

The United States cannot win the global war on terror if U.S. leaders don't understand it -- and Rep. Nancy Pelosi does not understand it, House Speaker Dennis Hastert said on Tuesday.

Hastert -- who holds the job that Pelosi is eager to assume -- was reacting to Pelosi's remarks on the CBS program "60 Minutes." He said her comments should serve as a "bellwether" [sic] for the American people.

"Democrat Leader Pelosi would trust the terrorists to give up their objective and play nice in exchange for the United States leaving Iraq. This outlook is foolish, naive and dangerous," Hastert said.

To be sure, but in any case it’s not just Iraq, as our ambassador to that beleaguered fledgling democracy said:

"The broader Middle East is the source of most of the world's security problems," said Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. "The struggle for the future of the region is between moderate and extremist political forces. The outcome in Iraq will profoundly shape this wider struggle and in turn, the security of the world."

In this view, which may be old stuff to wiser readers, in a war against a relatively amorphous enemy, surgical strikes are difficult.  Slam-bang the nest of bad guys and — what?  Effect a five-year moratorium on enemy successes in the homeland?  As has been achieved?

Pelosi thinks that enemy will leave Iraq if we do.  Why does she think that?  And if she’s right, where will they go?  To Russia?

Just what stems from what?

Deep in Chi Trib’s p-1 story on Michael J. Fox, (embryonic) stem cell research, and the Mo. senate race, is that which if it were the lede would have sent the story to the city desk spike before it saw the light of the press room, much less my front step:

Terry Jones, a political science professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said [Sen. Jim] Talent's loss of some moderate Republicans [by opposing embryonic research] is likely to be outweighed by the religious conservatives who are stirred by the issue to go to the polls.

"It's a very minor factor in the voters' decision about the Senate race," Jones said.

But then where would Trib be without the touching p-1 pic of Fox embracing Talent’s Dem opponent, Clare McCaskill and puffing Dems’ poster research item?  It would have had to look for something else with matching human interest or political ploy or whatever they think grabs morning coffee-drinkers on train or at Caribou.

That said, one may note two other things:

1. Trib gave sidebar play to Rush Limbaugh, who had noted that Fox skips his meds when going before Congress etc. to make his case for deleting Parkinson’s Disease, the better to look ravaged, according to a listener who said Fox admitted this.  Mainstreamers have Rush in their story-reference tickler file routinely these days, it would seem, which is a far cry from the studied indifference they used to demonstrate.

2. The story has nothing about anything more than “possible” connection between embryonic research and Parkinson’s cure — shot down in this Ill. GOP release naming “72 known cures” and/or working therapies discovered from adult-cell research, vs. zilch from embryonic — which a normally inquisitive person might want to know, not to mention a newspaper reporter.  Nothing either, correlatively, about adult stem cells and their “72 known” cures.  More than a release is required to back this up, to be sure, but why wouldn’t an editor and reporter ask about this?


Rove rocks

Victory architect Karl Rove, the man Dems love to hate even more than GW, tried out some winning-formula lines in Erie PA:

"You can't say I want to win the war but not be willing to fight the war," said Rove, Bush's top political adviser. "And if leading Democrats have their way, our nation will be weaker and the enemies of our nation will be stronger. And that's a stark fact, and it's the reason that this fall election will turn very heavily on national security."

He improved on “basic [Bush] themes — that voters face a stark choice between the parties on taxes and terrorism” — with cracks at Dems who voted against trying terrorist detainees at Gitmo:

"You need to have the ability to try these people without worrying about the ACLU showing up saying, 'Wait a minute, did you Mirandize them when you found them on the battlefield,' " he said. "With all due respect, I don't happen to remember that in World War II, that when we captured Nazis and Japanese and took them to camps, that the first thing we did was provide them legal aid."

And for Nancy Pelosi, for voting against renewing the Patriot Act, warrantless surveillance of terrorist calls, and the war itself:

"With a record like that, you can see why Nancy Pelosi wouldn't want this election to be about national security.”

Of Richard Nixon, Dems asked, “Would you buy a used car from this man?”  Of Dems, Republicans ask or should ask, “Would you trust security to this party?”

Stroger's the man!

While recovering from being aghast at the Murtha story, I gravitated to Sun-Times for what turned out my biggest laugh of the day so far — it was only noon on a Sunday, and church, though satisfying in its way, afforded no laughter as such.  It was the endorsement of Todd Stroger for county board president.  For what well considered reason? 

Because he’s saying nice things about reform and can achieve it BECAUSE HE’S A DEMOCRAT!  “If change is going to happen in this Democrat-dominated body, it's going to come from within the Democratic party.”  Hoo-hah a thousand times.  Lakefront libs may go for Stroger for the sake of abortion and gaiety and disarmament, as Don Rose says, but nobody, I mean nobody says Stroger’s the man for the sake of reform!

Peraica the Republican will be hamstrung and hogtied — “his agenda would founder on the rocks of the county's Democratic domination, paralyzing his tenure” — because Dems will oppose his every effort, says S-T, but Todd S. will have his way, getting them to give up hundreds of jobs!  And to make sure he does this, assuming with S-T that he will have anything to say about it, S-T says, “We're going to assign extra reporters to watch him to make sure that he follows through on his promises.”  As for Peraica, whom S-T endorses for continuing board membership, “[w]e trust [he] will continue to prod Democrats to change the government.”

Is this a newspaper editorial or an early Halloween trick?  What’s going on at S-T?  They have these pseudo-boffo front pages with twice-size head shots about nothing since the editor’s back from New York — why did they take him back, anyhow?  And now this journey into absurdity.

The good part is their news coverage, which has been keeping the heat on Todd S. and friends.  As Jay McMullen used to say about Daily News non-endorsement and other editorials in opposition to Mayordaley I, what he was writing from City Hall would prevail, which it did.


Later, from Reader NJT: 

Regarding the unbelievable endorsement of Todd Stroger for President of the Lake County Board by the Chicago Sun-Times, on the WLS Don and Roma show this morning, Don intimitated hearing from several sources that the Sun-Times' endorsement of Todd Stoger was mandated by the publisher of the paper.  Being that so many of its readers are liberals and African Americans, the paper was fearful of a boycott of readers or advertisers had they endorsed the Republican candidate.  According to Don, the liberal reporters at the CST are steamed about the Sun-Times' endorsement after their harsh criticism of Stroger and the exposure of his inaptness over the past several months through their reporting.

St. John Murtha

Chi Trib’s page 3–dominating story “`And they call me unpatriotic'” about John Murtha, “the gruff Marine and Vietnam War veteran,” is laughably partisan, a feature story in search of an op-ed page or maybe Trib’s own Perspective section, where reporters get to sound off.  The difference is, we know it’s sounding off in Perspective, whereas on page 3 of the front section, even on Sunday, we do expect news with at least a patina of fairness and balance.  As it is, we have a campaign piece for Murtha and/or a daub of anti-war puffery.

It’s all Murtha — “spin from the White House” is the claim of chaos ensuing an Iraq pullout — and Geo. McGovern.  Both are presented as heroes, with naught about chaos that ensued our Viet Nam pullout and certainly nothing about Murtha’s Abscam history that might for some readers, maybe, influence their respect for his credibility.  The picture is a heartbreaker — grieving gold star mother leaning on Murtha in tears — a sort of photo essay in itself.  There’s no other side to this story as reporter Tim Jones has crafted it.


Just checking

Reading along in my EntireWeb email message, I ran across this, done in a hurry and spell-check-proof.  It’s kind of nice, actually, with lots of possibilities:

1. Sound like your dad: be an authority

Authority is essential. You need to speak (well, write) with an air of authority. Talk about your chosen topic in a manor that draws upon your knowledge & experience. Be passionate, too. People will pick up on this and feel compelled to read on. But don't try too hard. No one likes a zealot!  [Italics added]

It’s that manor — the one to which I was born?  Or that to which I aspire?  And what may that be?  Lots here, more than meets the I.

Sign up here for the EntireWeb newsletter, which actually has a lot of good stuff, eye swear.  In it, for instance, you find this:

6. Back to basics: break out the dictionary and check your spelling

Spell check your copy. There's nothing worse than bumping through a website when nearly all of the web pages are chock-full of typos. No amount of design niceness will make up for that. Plus, you lose credibility. No excuses .. oh, and grammar, too. 'Nuff said.

I’ll say.


The lining's the thing to bring down a king (GW)

Forbes has good stuff on the economy — how much, much better off we are than in 1967.  (Rush L. spotted it.)  For instance:

Mr. and Mrs. Median's $46,326 in annual income is 32% more than their mid-'60s counterparts, even when adjusted for inflation, and 13% more than those at the median in the economic boom year of 1985. And thanks to ballooning real estate values, average household net worth has increased even faster. The typical American household has a net worth of $465,970, up 83% from 1965, 60% from 1985 and 35% from 1995.

. . . without realizing it.  For instance:

A Parade Magazine survey (a good source for all things median) performed by Mark Clements Research in April showed that 48% of Americans believe they're worse off than their parents were.

. . . and how it’s envy that drives discontent.  For instance:

And because people generally judge their fortunes not in absolute terms, but by comparing themselves to others, the super-success of the top 1% can make Mr. and Mrs. Median feel relatively poorer.

Come to think of it, when was the last sermon you heard decrying envy as a deadly sin?  Or decrying sin, period, for that matter.  (Don’t get me started.)

Geo. Will calls it seeing “lead lining[s] on silver clouds.” It’s a politically induced or at least aggravated malady.  For instance:

Nancy Pelosi vows that if Democrats capture Congress they will "jump-start our economy.'' A "jump-start '' is administered to a stalled vehicle. But since the Bush tax cuts went into effect in 2003, the economy's growth rate (3.5 percent) has been better than the average for the 1980s (3.1) and 1990s (3.3). Today's unemployment rate (4.6 percent) is lower than the average for the 1990s (5.8) -- lower, in fact, than the average for the last 40 years (6.0).

“Some stall,” says Will.  He calls it “economic hypochondria,”

a derangement associated with affluence, is a byproduct of the welfare state: An entitlement mentality gives Americans a low pain threshold -- witness their recurring hysterias about nominal rather than real gasoline prices -- and a sense of being entitled to economic dynamism without the frictions and "creative destruction'' that must accompany dynamism. Economic hypochondria is also bred by news media that consider the phrase "good news'' an oxymoron, even as the U.S. economy, which has performed better than any other major industrial economy since 2001, drives the Dow to record highs.

The news media?  There he goes again, blaming the messenger for bringing (or accentuating with major stories and big headlines and heart-rending shots of people doing badly) lies.

Attic problem

We have solved the problem problem.  Nothing is a problem any more: it’s problematic.  So welcome Chi Trib sportswriter Phil Rogers: Cubs’ hiring Piniella (since accomplished) could be “problematic.”  More of this to come, I’m sure.


Trib for Duckworth

You’d think there’d be something in this Trib endorsement of Duckworth about her being parachuted into the district by Rahm Emanuel and having no experience in public office.  Wait, that latter sow’s ear is made a silk purse: she’s a refreshing change from politicians!  And Roskam once was venal!  And she’s an apt successor to Henry Hyde, “one of the great voices of conservatism” and a politician since he was in knickers!  Zowie!


Crime story

What newspapers do #575: They sneak in their points with pointed coverage, as in today's Chi Trib, where editors give a huge ride to Kim Barker's story on an aged Gitmo detainee never charged after three-plus years detainment. There’s a huge 9x7 color headshot of the man, back home in Afghanistan.  The story takes up pretty much all of page 8 with a "What is my crime?" head. It doesn't take an advanced degree in anti-Bushism to see that something went wrong in this case. It's the sort of miscue or evildoing that, like shit, happens and newspapers hop on -- justice system gone awry, etc.

But 1400-plus words? Really, on what happened to one man in the war on Islamic fascists? Or on terror if you want the going terminology? Newspapers go for human interest, of course. But why this one, this way?  (Web site buried it, by the way.)  As a paradigm of what's bad about our detainee policy, that’s why. But this is not argued, and even if it were, it would be less argued than cried out by the Passionate Observer Who Hates Injustice. Oh the chicanery of it all. Why not just engage in a blogger's rant? What's the difference, apart from a sort of reasonable tone meant to mask bias?

While the details of [the aged detainee] Khan's Guantanamo experience are hard to verify, his complaints raise questions about who has been sent to the detention facility and how thoroughly the charges against them are investigated, just as a law approved by Congress late last month sets up military tribunals to try some of the detainees. President Bush is scheduled to sign the bill into law Tuesday. [Italics added]

Details hard to verify?  Details, shmails, if you have a good story that fits editors’ bias and passes as more or less conventional wisdom.  Raise questions?  Why, if details are not only hard to verify but impossible, else why wouldn’t Trib smoke them out?  Here’s some digging, however:

Sam Zarifi, Asia research director for Human Rights Watch [where anti-Bushite extraordinaire George Soros is much involved, FYI], said Khan's case appears familiar. He said reviews of unclassified transcripts from tribunals and review board hearings for many of the detainees indicate that some were arrested because the U.S. military does not understand Afghan political rivalries.

"This really fits a pattern of problematic allegations and process at Guantanamo," he said. "It seemed to be arbitrary who was picked up and who wasn't."

It seemed to this fellow anyhow.  The problem here is that a boy (girl) was sent to do a man’s (woman’s) job.  That is, the tools that your working reporter brings to such stories are not adequate, nor maybe is the medium.  Kim (he? she?) worked diligently, talking to lot of people having decided, it seems to me, that she smelled a rat.  A kink in the armor of our people who run Gitmo and prosecute badly. 

It’s daily newspaper-itis here, which is not fatal except when someone uses it to get free of the bee in one’s bonnet.  Barker and Trib’s credibility is at stake here, because they are not disinterested observers.


Puff Central

The city has a new screamer.  Sun-Times has raised the decibels.  And is sounding them in populist manner:

“NOBODY’S WORTH $27 MIL. PER YEAR: Spotlight on Execs’ Monster Salaries on Eve of Big Hike in Your Electric Bill” [Grrrrrrrr]

It’s the Michael Cooke-just-back-from-New York Effect.  See the lede.  It’s journalistic demagoguery:

Stock prices at a near-record high.

Robust profits.

And a top exec who pulled down more than $27 million last year.

Hardly signs of a company on the brink of bankruptcy, according to a growing chorus opposed to ComEd's impending rate hike for its 3.7 million customers.  [Italics added, chorus being cheered on by S-T]

Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn [proven rouser of rabble who once proclaimed, “There's no nice way of doing things,” referring to his tactics] is urging people to fight the hike, blaming it on "inflated egos with inflated salaries."

"It's hard to get a violin out for anyone who makes $27 million," he said Sunday, deriding the compensation package of John W. Rowe, CEO of Exelon, ComEd's parent company.

As if Rowe’s $27 mill would cover the rate hike.  As if it’s a Mom & Pop place.  This from the man who led a constitutional cutback of the legislature characterized by veteran Springfield correspondent Charles N. Wheeler III 20 years after its approval as “perhaps the most regrettable example of short-sighted anger in state history.”  Sun-Times is in his corner.  Has Editor Cooke studied Illinois legislative history?

"Nobody's worth that much, I'm sorry," said Pat Lydon, 61, a legal secretary from Old Irving Park who was visiting downtown Sunday [about Rowe’s compensation].

He did, eh?  Wow.  That does it.  Quinn and the Citizens Utility Board and the two governor candidates had me wondering, but now I’m sure.  Thanks, Sun-Times!

The heck with Forbes Mag, saying as reported by S-T, that ComEd under Rowe (since 1984) was the nation’s best-managed utility in 2005.  So what!


Murtha in news

AP sent out a story 10/14 about Rep. John Murtha’s Wash Post column in which he objects to his and other Dems’ being called “Defeatocrats” by Republicans because they want to pull out of Iraq.

Rep. John Murtha, a decorated Marine veteran who favors withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, wrote an essay for Sunday's Washington Post blasting Republicans for referring to him and other Iraq war opponents as "Defeatocrats."

Why not?  He’s in the news for his anti-war statements.  But would it be fair to cite his Abscam history here too?  To do so would ruin or at least hurt the story, and drama's the thing.  So say it this way without Abscam. But there’s supposed to be a public-trust factor here: fairness and accuracy and the like.  And Abscam is in the news too.  Consider this from Wash Times on Oct. 5:

Rep. John P. Murtha's Republican challenger has accused him  of negotiating a $50,000 bribe and of trying to cover it up for 26 years. 

A recently released FBI video recorded in 1980 shows the Pennsylvania Democrat talking with an FBI agent posing as a representative to an Arab sheik who offers Mr. Murtha $50,000 in cash in exchange for private immigration legislation.

"When you see the video, there was every intent of taking the bribe," said Diana Irey, a Washington County, Pa., commissioner who is running to unseat Mr. Murtha. "For 26 years, John Murtha has been living a lie."

This story is nowhere to be found in Chi Trib or any other newspaper in the EBSCO database, which I found compliments of the Oak Park Public Library, where I hold a card. Why not found?  At best because it did not seem significant to any editor, while Murtha's battling the White House -- that's news? -- does.  At worst?  Skip it.


Nazis controlled media

Columbia U. Republicans recovered from disruption of their last speaker a week ago to host three reformed violent radicals:

Each of the speakers stressed the impact of indoctrination in their youth. Hilmar von Campe explained that the Nazi system of political indoctrination operated not by issuing commands but by controlling key institutions -- such as the media and military -- that effectively manipulated public opinion. The Nazi idea, he said, “was for you to do voluntarily what they wanted you to do.” Under the influence of such indoctrination, von Campe came to believe that World War II was not a war incited by Nazi aggression but a patriotic war to preserve German sovereignty. As a soldier, “I was in my mind defending the country, not fighting for the Nazis,” von Campe said.

I told my students at De Paul U. a few years ago that they were being manipulated, which was news to them.  That control of the media fits with today’s overwhelming leftist bias.

Another speaker got to the point about academia today in the U.S.:

Shoebat noted that the radical recruitment and indoctrination he underwent as a young man [among Palestinians, indoctrinated in anti-Jewish thinking] was also happening in the United States. This happened through clandestine support by Islamic radicals for Middle Eastern terrorist groups; through preaching by radical clerics; and, more subtly, through American universities. In the latter connection, Shoebat singled out several professors -- including Richard Falk, a professor emeritus of International Law at Princeton who once referred to Ayatollah Khomeini as a “moderate” and described Islamist Iran as a “model of human government,” and Columbia’s own Rashid Khalidi, who routinely deplores Israel as a “racist” and “apartheid” state -- as examples of professors who prefer to suppress the truth about Islamic fundamentalism rather than confront it.

What was it they used to say about anti-Catholicism as the anti-semitism of the intellectuals?  For the political left, it’s just anti-semitism.

Islamic wisdom

Here’s a group worth noting and giving wholehearted support:

The Free Muslims Coalition is a nonprofit organization made up of American Muslims and Arabs of all backgrounds who feel that religious violence and terrorism have not been fully rejected by the Muslim community in the post 9-11 era.

The Free Muslims was created to eliminate broad base support for Islamic extremism and terrorism and to strengthen secular democratic institutions in the Middle East and the Muslim World by supporting Islamic reformation efforts.

The Free Muslims promotes a modern secular interpretation of Islam which is peace-loving, democracy-loving and compatible with other faiths and beliefs. The Free Muslims' efforts are unique; it is the only mainstream American-Muslim organization willing to attack extremism and terrorism unambiguously. Unfortunately most other Muslim leaders believe that in terrorist organizations, the end justifies the means.  [Italics added]

Islamic reformation sounds good to me.



“[A] squalid playpen for political cronies who pillage it for jobs and contracts” is what Chi Trib calls Cook County govt. in an editorial endorsing Tony Peraica (R-Riverside) for county board president. 

This sorry government, with a $3.1 billion budget that's bigger than those of many states, needs to be fumigated and streamlined. With those two priorities paramount, the Tribune today opens its endorsements  . . .

There’s more.

[M]illions of tax dollars that could go to helping people are wasted on slow-mo patronage humps, do-nothing bureaucrats and clout-heavy vendors. Democrats and Republicans alike have to stop their complicity in this swindling of poor people who rely on Cook County.

Trib promises the challenger no rose garden.

[E]xpect to hear Peraica accused of many things [between now and Nov. 7]. You won't, though, hear him accused of being less than maniacally diligent about his public work. For four years he has teamed with Republicans and reform Democrats on the County Board to downsize featherbedded offices, expose county corruption and stymie John Stroger's planned tax hikes.

Maniacally diligent, yes.  No candidate has worked harder to be elected or made more sense in the process.  If this be an endorsement, make the most of it.  Meanwhile,

The Democratic politburo prays that a disgusted electorate won't show up, so that party loyalists armed with palm cards can elect Stroger.

So the race comes down to this: Will fed-up Democrats--the thousands of reformers who supported Forrest Claypool in his primary race against John Stroger--now help Peraica? If they do, they can help to finish what Claypool started.



From Reader Jake:

Having worked for Cook County for 16 years, I agree that it is "a squalid playpen for political cronies who pillage it for jobs and contracts."  You wouldn't believe how squalid it is.  If I still lived in Cook County I would certainly vote for Peraica, even though I am a registered democrat.  John Stroger was a con artist, and I'm sure that the same is true for Todd.  Anyway, Todd doesn't know diddly-squat about Cook County.  Hell, I probably know more than he does.


Chi Trib wins a few

Chi Trib has some good stuff in its Metro section today, in which it shows what it can do to beat the smaller-staffed Sun-Times locally.

* Excellent religion story tells of Poles come to study and be ordained here for service here.  Anyone who has checked ordination info in recent years knows how few new priests come from the Chicago area.  This would be no-priest-land if it weren’t for outlanders.  No wonder Quigley (prep sem) is being closed.

The story is in nice contrast to breathless accounts-for-sale by the Sun-Times religion woman, who works hard and gets all over breaking stories but gets a lot of space sometimes at the expense of relevance to most churchgoers, I think.  Today’s, for instance, is a silly thing about what Jesus would sound like, a venture into the merely curious to which newsies are tempted no matter their specialty.  Such stories assume there are not enough readers to justify church stories except in crises or emergencies.

* A very good story about the Principal Who Couldn’t make reform stick is in the Trib (but not in Sun-Times).  The principal rubbed too many people the wrong way, and without the writer spelling it out — the story is played quite straight — it looks as if they trumped stuff against her downtown, as one may deduce from this:

Chicago Public Schools officials said Stoxstell was fired for "disregarding directives" from her area supervisor, but there were no allegations of misconduct. A top administrator said that parents were disgruntled with some of her decisions and that staff morale was a problem. Administrators said one decision--to punish students for a food fight by making them eat peanut butter sandwiches instead of a regular hot lunch--played a role in her firing. 

This came after a year in which the percentage of students meeting test standards rose from 19 percent to 33 percent.

* Both papers have the arrest of the apparent murderer of three women, but again the Trib beats S-T with coverage.  Its “Slain mom pleaded with son, [bond] court told” is missing the S-T story detail about his stabbing her “in the throat,” but has much more detail, even allowing for earlier S-T stories.  It’s a horrendous story that deserves such reporting.   

* The Trib and others are being sued by an ex-U. of Ill. and -NBA player now an announcer for mixing him up with another ex-NBA player in reports of an assault of an eight-year-old girl in Florida.  Trib apologized and retracted the next day, but the man is claiming “reckless disregard” for the truth.  Whether that’s so or not is to be decided, but the term is a stopper.  Not that it’s a new one but that it gives pause to anyone reporting anything, whether in danger of law suit or not and it’s at the heart of much of today’s debate about media reliability, stories gone wrong, etc.  What’s reckless and what isn’t? we may ask.

Trib op-ed writer Victor Davis Hanson gets at this issue, I think, with his commentary about the latest Bob Woodward book and two others, accusing them of presenting “pseudo-history,” replete with endnotes and other scholarly paraphernalia.  They use them to give credibility, but the sources are not identified and so their claims are not verifiable.  But historians cite materials available to all, for checking. 

These writers supply only the “veneer” of history, however.  “Seven knowledgeable” sources are Woodward’s foundations, but even in post-publication discussion these do not come forth.  It’s “gossip,” Hanson says.

[W]ho are these "seven knowledgeable" sources? Since Woodward so far won't name them, how do we really know that they are "knowledgeable" or even "primarily" used? Is the answer because they talked to Woodward (and not to others?), or were [they] pre-selected because they happened to agree with his own views?

In "Cobra II" [another of the books], we wonder why one "former Centcom planner" would talk while others (more numerous?) choose not to. And in "Fiasco” [the third], is the talkative but unnamed "Bush administration official" getting even [with] his rivals by offering only his interpretation of shared past conversations?

These are reasonable questions.

* Meanwhile, Bears players menace reporters at a news conference, and S-T columnist Rick Telander is not amused, even if Bears p.r. people “chuckled” and “Bears family heir and special projects manager Pat McCaskey laughed like a hyena.”  Telander describes a very bad scene.  But you (I) have to wonder, were they getting back at reporters because of that awful Sun-Times front page the other day filled with the Urlacher head shot and the screaming “Pay up, Papa Bear”? 

Urlacher, a bonafide football hero, had been told to increase support payments if he wanted to see more of his and the mother’s child, born out of wedlock.  It’s a messy court case, but the menacing look in a linebacker’s eyes is not to be transposed to the court room, nor is Urlacher to be called “Papa Bear,” even if he’s a father and a Bears player.  That title is reserved for the Bears (& NFL) founder, the late George Halas.  I’m not much of a fan, but that got my cork.

* Finally, we have Mel Gibson telling AP that “even after a couple of drinks you lose all humility . . . and you just become a braggart and a blowhard."  Who?  Speak for yourself, Mel.



From a devoted correspondent, to whom multas gratias:

Pope set to bring back Latin Mass that divided the Church Pope Benedict XVI is understood to have signed a permission for priests to again celebrate the Mass used throughout the Church for nearly 1,500 years

I note:

It never was forbidden by Vat 2, which permitted English.  Very big deal, this.


The new indult would permit any priest to introduce the Tridentine Mass to his church, anywhere in the world, unless his bishop has explicitly forbidden it in writing.

Which puts ball in bishop’s court.  Cardinal Joseph Zen, of Hong Kong, is said to be the source.  (He does not have a book on motorcycle maintenance, by the way.)

“There have been false alarms before, not least because within the Curia there are those genuinely well-disposed to the Latin Mass, those who are against and those who like to move groups within the Church like pieces on a chessboard,” a source told The Times. “But hopes have been raised with the new pope. It would fit with what he has said and done on the subject. He celebrated in the old rite, when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.”

This saves the 1962 missal from gathering dust:

In a lecture in 2001, Cardinal Ratzinger said that it would be “fatal” for the Missal to be “placed in a deep-freeze, left like a national park, a park protected for the sake of a certain kind of people, for whom one leaves available these relics of the past”.

The old mass has the priest with his back to the people  (I missed this earlier.)  Finally, a very important point:

The advantages of the Mass, according to [its supporters], are in its uniformity and the fact that movements and gestures are prescribed, so that there is no room for “personalisation.”

Yes!  Like personalization by the deacon who used to say at the end, “Go, the mass never ends” — his version of “Ite, missa est,” commonly translated, “Go, the mass is ended.”


Later: The Tridentine Mass-sayers who reject the Pope and Vatican 2 smell a rat in this indult business

  1. Any such "Indult" Mass would not be the Traditional Latin Mass, but the Modernized Mass of 1962, which implements four waves of Freemason Hannibal Bugnini's Modernism (1951, 1956, 1960, 1962) into the Traditional Latin Mass.
  2. Any such "Indult" Mass would continue to mix in elements of the invalid Novus Ordo service, as is the case with most "Indult" Masses today.
  3. The "Indult" Mass would continue to be infected with Novus Ordo service practices, such as using the Novus Ordo lectionary, giving the communion/cookie in the hand, using lay "ministers" and "ministresses," using "altar girls," eliminating the traditional Collect prayers and the Leonine prayers, transferring or eliminating traditional holydays, substituting Saturday "anticipated" Masses for Mass on the Lord's Day, virtually abolishing the traditional Eucharistic fast and traditional days of fast and abstinence.
  4. Any such "indult" would implicity deny the canonization of the apostolic Traditional Latin Mass in perpetuum by Pope St. Pius V acting for a Dogmatic Council.

Do not expect wholesale return to current Roman authority by these traditionalists.

Take me out

#4 Daughter keeps me up on NY Times, sends me this about 7–11 shenanigans in the coming championship season:

It is not easy to conjure $500,000 out of the ether, but the Chicago White Sox have discovered a way. Their financial trick was really quite simple.

They changed their evening game times at U.S. Cellular Field.

No more 7:05 p.m. or 7:35 p.m. games, of which there are about 50. They will all begin, for the next three seasons, at 7:11 p.m., courtesy of 7-Eleven, the convenience store giant, which will pay the team an average of a half-million dollars a year to be the name behind the time.

Regarding which #4 says:

I wonder if Slurpees will now be sold at the park.
Hey, they have the guy with the margarita back pack,
so how far off can it be?

Then Daddy:

Slip gin into a Slurpee and you have an instant winner in the left field
bleachers, for sure.

The wit coruscates sometimes, does it not?

McGuire off rehab hook for now

Rev. Donald McGuire SJ need not undergo rehab as sex offender for now, a Wis. judge decided.  It would involve discussing his past, which could be used against him in court, his lawyers argued.  They are not admissible, countered the prosecutor.  His lawyers want probation suspended pending appeal of his conviction, but prosecutors are mulling revoking of it and thus keeping him in jail.  He is currently in jail for violating it.


Meanwhile, busy, cluttered, unstable new website notwithstanding, Sun-Times continues to ignore the McGuire story, as it ignored the seminary fatal crash on St. Mary of Lake grounds some months back.  As if priests’ issues are out of bounds.


Fair & providing balance

Here’s an amazing piece from San Francisco, of all places in the Chronicle, in which Debra J. Saunders makes precisely the point to be made about Fox News:

AS FOX NEWS celebrates its 10-year anniversary, media watchers should appreciate how Fox, which tilts right, has provided balance to major new operations such as CNN and the New York Times, which tilt left.

Many tilt without knowing it.

Go to most newsrooms and you'll find a staff that overwhelmingly voted for John Kerry in 2004, while the rest keep their politics to themselves lest they be considered biased. A survey of the Washington press corps found that 89 percent voted for Bill Clinton in 1992. It's true, most reporters do their level best to tell a story straight and present both sides. To use Fox-speak, most reporters I know strive to be "fair and balanced."

But they can't escape the presumptions that underlie their stories, and they are likely not to notice the presumptions when all the newsroom management thinks alike. That's how illegal immigrants became "undocumented workers" and global warming became a certainty. (Italics added)

It’s the old one about what one fish said to the other: “What water?”

The worst of it is: They have no idea that they're biased. They think their positions are neutral.

And they say Fox is the biased one.

Do I like everything on Fox? No. I hit the remote when feuding talking heads are spouting prefab talking points and I can get a real news story on CNN. (Other times, I turn to Fox to escape the same on CNN.) I also turn to Fox because its coverage on the war in Iraq takes the longer view, and its coverage on intelligence eavesdropping does not read like an ACLU press release.

As for the Chris Wallace-Bill Clinton dustup:

Bill Clinton berated . . . Wallace for a "nice conservative little hit job" -- just because Wallace asked Clinton a question. In a respectful tone, Wallace told Clinton that Fox viewers wanted him to ask why the former president had not done more to stop Osama bin Laden.

A Bubba tirade followed, when an answer would have worked fine.

As Wallace told the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, the surprising thing was that he (Wallace) was the only TV interviewer among many to ask Clinton that question, even though Clinton had been complaining about an ABC miniseries that faulted his handling of bin Laden. It is amazing no one else asked. It goes to show that Fox News keeps American media fair and balanced.

It was as if Wallace broke the rules and Clinton had to hit back (even threatening jobs as he left the studio).

Nostrum bites dust

A fool and his money are soon parted, you say?  Bosh, in view of the Ted Turner experience.  He still has his money.

"I am absolutely convinced that the North Koreans are absolutely sincere," Turner said [in a Sept. 19, 2005, interview on CNN after meeting N. Korean officials]. "There's really no reason for them to cheat" and use nuclear power for weapons instead of generating electricity and other civilian uses.

"I looked them right in the eyes, and they looked like they meant the truth," he added. "I mean, you know, just because somebody's done something wrong in the past doesn't mean they can't do right in the future or the present. That happens all the, all the time." [Italics added]

On the other hand, he proves Barnum was right about suckers.

Muslim cabbies . . .

. . . won't take alcohol-carrying passengers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, Daniel Pipes reports.  The relevant city commission effectively goes along with this as an easy way out.  He's worried about this concession to sharia, rightly so.  Egad, considering all that is forbidden by the Koran, what's next?


Piling on Com Ed

If you are tempted to resent Com Ed’s wanting to raise electricity prices, read Dennis Byrne in Chi Trib and Dan Miller in Sun-Times.  Between the two of them, you will be moved to resent the politicians who want to stop the world so we can all get off.

Byrne on “Playing politics with electricity rates” in part:

Nothing says more about the pandering, spineless nature of our current knot of politicians than their call for a special session of the Illinois General Assembly to zap one of the best deals that electricity consumers in Illinois have ever had.

The deal was made 10 years ago when ComEd, consumer groups, businesses and the politicians agreed to roll back electric rates more than 20 percent and freeze them there. ComEd customers have saved billions.

So what?  It’s close to election time, with the votes meat a-cooking.

Miller, with “New freeze would pull rug out under ComEd”:

Illinois' electricity market for the last 10 years has been based on a complex infrastructure of laws and regulations negotiated and agreed to by all players, from the General Assembly and the Illinois Commerce Commission to the Citizens Utility Board and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, and dozens of other special interest groups in between. Tampering with that infrastructure now threatens the reliability of Illinois' electricity supply, the stability of every business enterprise in the state, and -- make no mistake about it -- the financial survival of the state's biggest utility, Commonwealth Edison.
Read them both.

How To Describe Strategy 101

Look at this week-old story about Dems in pursuit of election victories and compare it with the weakness of a Chi Trib-Tackett or Sun-Times-Sweet column or so-called analysis. Nobody faults Wall St. Journal coverage, just its editorial page, as far as I know. This account of Dem strategy and strategists Schumer and Emanuel is enlightening and balanced. I can rarely say that for our local analyses.

A National Tribune?

Take on the NY Times?  Can Chi Trib do that, as this provocateur suggests? 


Damn the investors, full speed

“Civic concerns, the long-term health of the paper and journalistic values” are losing out to shareholders’ interests, complains ex-publisher of the LA Times John Carroll

It’s a shame they are not more altruistic, like the Chandler family who sold the paper off for $8 billion of those shareholders’ money.

What to do?

On the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides, opposite the northern tip of Scotland, lines are drawn about building a wind farm that would harness the island’s natural resource — it’s a very windy place — and help the warming world.  Or would it?  Environmentalists find themselves between a rock and a hard place:

Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and other groups back the project. Lining up against it, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, among others, argue that the turbines will cause incalculable damage to the flora and fauna of the moor. The RSPB, which has been particularly vocal, speaks of "bird genocide," and even the developers concede that the giant rotors are not ornithologically friendly.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what’s right.

The story is by Chi Trib’s man in the UK, Tom Hundley, and ran Friday with a wonderful color foto on p. 16 showing three residents and an ancient shepherd’s stone shepherd’s hut.  Readers of Walter Scott take notice of such a story: his The Pirate was set in the Shetland Islands, which are north of Scotland and were settled by Norwegians long before the English came.

Modest experiments

Omaha schools are segregated after decades of federally imposed admission guidelines, but there’s nothing to be done about it, says fed court.  One of their ideas, Howard Witt relates, was to

Divide the Omaha Public Schools into three new districts, one mostly black, one mostly Hispanic and one mostly white, so parents of each racial group can control their schools.

Can’t do that, of course.  Official blackdom (NAACP) and Hispanicdom (Chicano Awareness Center) won’t let it.  The courts are acceding to their wishes or at least delaying judgment in the matter.

However, one part of that catches the eye of one who thinks schools are stand-ins for parents, who have primary responsibility.  It’s a sticky wicket, yes, and day to day school workings ought normally be out of bounds.  Indeed, overall schools policy is decided by people elected by parents and other voters.  But is there something to be said for parental choice on an individual household basis?  Try this on for size.

Let parents choose on this basis: a white, black, or hispanic school.  Any parent could choose any one of the three.  What a way to see what the people want.  The choice would be for a year.  Official black or other-dom would stand back and watch.  Prediction: Howls would arise from the various -doms, who would see their power slipping away.  They would never allow it.


A few questions

Wed. Journal column is up:

MY NAME IS JAMES, AND I'M YOUR WAITER: And have some questions. How many Oak Park trustees does it take to pass an ordinance? Four. How many meetings? Don't ask.  . . .

. . . followed by more more more


Come on.  The Sun-Times’s Mike Thomas doesn’t see Fox News as a corrective to the left– and Dem-leaning (fallen over) CNN?  Not to judge by his 10th-anniversary story with its headline that has Fox News “shooting from the lips” and asking, “Right making might?”  The story is chatty and eminently newspaper-journalistic but with head in sand.

The way critics body slam Fox News Channel, which turns 10 on Saturday, you'd think it's the spawn of Lucifer himself -- a swaggeringly jingoistic, missing-white-females-fixated, George W. Bush-toadying curse loosed upon the earth to wreak havoc. And maybe that's true

is the lede ‘graf, with a “then again” follow-up says it may have “simply found a formula that sets it apart from the pack” etc. — without giving the formula.  The formula is its willingness to depart from the Dem-lib line.  Has Thomas looked in on Lou Dobbs lately?

The story is quick to note Fox ratings are falling faster than “its cable rivals,” without saying how far behind they are:

FOX - Aug 2005 -- 1,001,000 -- Aug 2006 -- 933,000 - 7% drop
CNN - Aug 2005 -- 433,000 -- Aug 2006 -- 584,000 - 35% increase
MSNBC - Aug 2005 -- 220,000 -- Aug 2006 -- 277,000 - 26% increase

The writer asks around.

"They've found their audience," says Jon Petrovich, sector head of broadcast and electronic media at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. "The proof's in the pudding, right?"

The pudding?  “As Fox famously claims, [it’s being] Fair and Balanced.”  It’s a “much-lambasted” claim, “especially” (only? mostly?) by libs.  Example?  A glitch the other day when Mark Foley was labelled a Democrat.  That’s what drives libs nuts?  The occasional glitch?  Come on.

There’s nothing here about giving people what they want, just a sort of dancing around and mystification at success achieved by Roger Ailes, who “positioned Fox to the right of center,” per the Medill man, and thus supplied a gaping hole in coverage, say I; and in the process “poked a slumbering lion,” CNN. 

Poked a sleeping giant makes more sense, namely viewers who wanted a straighter version than is available from CNN, whose man in Baghdad, by the way, played along with Sadaam before the invasion, did he not, admitting it after the war.


Freeze rates, leave us in dark

Sun-Times talks sense about price-setting by government:

Freeze on electricity rates could leave us all in dark

Tempting as it may be to jump on the rapidly accelerating bandwagon calling for our electric rates to remain frozen, count us out. Sure, it's good politics -- cheap power for everyone!

more more more

Man bites dog in Philly

Phila. Inquirer, Frank Wilson book editor, reviews a blog:

If you're tired of negative media reporting coming out of Iraq (and, increasingly, Afghanistan), Matthew Currier Burden's The Blog of War: Front-Line Dispatches From Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan will be a welcome respite.

A first for a mainstream daily?  One of the first?


McGuire jailed after eviction from nursing home

Fr. Donald McGuire went to jail after being “evicted from a Jesuit nursing home,” according to the Wis. state Department of Corrections, says Janesville Gazette.  It was Terrace Nursing Home in Waukegan, Ill., whose “charter does not allow it to house a convicted felon.”  The home is described in part as a “religious nonmedical health care institution.”  It has 115 beds.  It is not listed on a “map” of Jesuit installations and so is probably not a Jesuit nursing home as such.  The nearest Jesuit installation is the men’s retreat house in Barrington.

McGuire's probation, which he is serving during his appeal, will apparently be in Illinois.  Sent back to Wisconsin from the nursing home, he lived at a Lake Geneva motel but then was returned to jail Sept. 25 for refusing — on his lawyers’ advice — to take a lie detector test whose results could be used in a new trial if his conviction is reversed.  They cited his Fifth Amendment right to silence.

"The only way we can protect our client's rights is by instructing him to refuse to participate or answer," reads a letter from defense attorney Steve J. Watson to McGuire's probation agent.

He has been meeting with Wis. probation officials but would not “participate fully in sex offender classes, sign related documents and take a lie-detector test,” according to a motion filed Tuesday by his appellate attorneys.

If he complied with the requirements, information from the sex-offender class or from a lie-detector test could be used against him in a new trial if his appeal is successful, the motion says.  A hearing is set for Oct. 10 to stay the probation, in addition to the prison sentence, pending appeal.  A stay would relieve him of the requirements which have led him to jail.

Suit Alleges Jesuits Sat On Sex Abuse Information

A civil suit has arrived saying Jesuits kept abuse quiet.  Fr. Donald McGuire and Fr. John Powell are named but also a Loyola Academy counsellor from 1980 to 1981 named George Lee. 

The suit claims the Chicago Province of Jesuits, Loyola University and Loyola Academy all "have information about a number of suspected child molesting agents that it has never disclosed to law enforcement or the public at large, causing people such as the plaintiffs to be harmed as children or vulnerable young adults.

. . . .
The suit alleges that the Jesuits received reports of McGuire's alleged sexual abuse of minors from 1970 through the 1990s, but they failed to report this information to the police or the public.

. . . .
The suit seeks to have the defendants release the names of any agents of the order or the two schools who have been accused of sexual abuse of minors, and to share that information, as well as any other documents that are evidence of sexual abuse of minors, with law enforcement and the public.

Lancaster Amish

The terrible, awful news from Lancaster area led me to recall what I saw of the Amish in a 2003 trip.  They were part of the scene at the Green Dragon:

. . . Back to Pennsylvania, which in its SE corner is quite traversible. Last night to a small-animal auction at the Green Dragon market near Ephreta, where Amish men and boys in straw hats, some of them black fedoras, others in usual straw, and a wide assortment of other citizens watched the chickens, doves, furry critters, etc. went to the highest bidder.

We sat in the bleachers and were careful not to scratch nose during bidding, lest we end up holding some hamsters at a price low but not low enough to justify the purchase. Mennonites and Brethren and even some apparent Yuppies there, women wearing lace beanies tied under chin, not bonneted like out and out Amish. Not Yuppies, who had their own uniforms but did not flaunt their circumstance.

Some of these Mennonites, Brethren, etc. apparently use the birth control method recommended by our family doc for many years, the late, great Gregory White MD, namely breast feeding. Yes, I know you call people using that method parents, but so what?

Much sobriety and serenity and indeed relaxation seen among all such folks I have seen on this trip. This Green Dragon market is Fridays only. There are at least three others in the general neighborhood, including Roots Market, near Manheim, to which vendors repair on their given days. We had root beer floats and (one of us) a hot dog at the round-stool winding counter where we might also have gotten a variety of hash house food.

And all over the place, families with kids, stopping at dozens of various counters for food, flea market items, antiques, clothing, you name it. It closed down about nine-thirty, with families who run booths sitting in back of theirs sampling the ice cream or pina colada drink, for instance. Friday night out in the great American boonies.

Into this idyl strode a demon.


Al Qaeda slipping, Chi Trib sleeping

“I missed this when it came out last week,” says John Hinderaker at Power Line,” referring to this from an Al Qaeda leader, admitting, “The path is long and difficult, and the enemy isn’t easy, for he is great and numerous and he can take quite a bit of punishment as well, which the PL editor notes “is very different from how al Qaeda wrote about the U.S. after the flight from Somalia.  It’s in

a new document at West Point's Combating Terrorism Center . . . a letter from a high-ranking al Qaeda officer named Atiyah, who passes on criticisms of Zarqawi that apparently originated with bin Laden, Zawahiri, or other top al Qaeda leaders. The document was found . . . in Zarqawi's "safe" house after he was terminated with extreme prejudice by an American bomb.

He shouldn’t feel too bad about missing it.  So did Chi Trib, while featuring these stories that tell how bad things are:

Frist Says Afghan War Can't Be Won

Frist says Taliban can't be defeated

CIA chief warned Rice, records show

White House counters `Denial'

You can’t blame the Trib, which knows the real news is the latest from Bob Woodward.  The heck with Al Q admitting it’s in trouble.

As for the entire Sun-Times group (your source for AP), not even the Winnetka Talk reporter has unearthed the message in Zarqawi’s house.  His bosses are busy with those screaming headlines, apparently.

Father McGuire jailed, more details

Chi Trib catches up to Janesville Gazette from Saturday, supplying a good deal more detail. Zilch, however, from entire Sun-Times Group (your source for AP):

Molester priest is jailed twice Probation violated, authorities say

A Chicago Jesuit priest convicted in Wisconsin earlier this year of molesting two boys in the 1960s has been jailed for the second time in a month for violating the terms of his probation, said a spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

Rev. Donald McGuire, 76, violated a 20-year probation sentence by failing to "complete programming needs" set forth in the terms of his probation, John Dipko said.

Dipko declined to elaborate . . . but said the department was preparing to ask an administrative law judge to revoke McGuire's probation. If his probation is revoked, Dipko said, McGuire could face up to 30 years in prison for the violation.

. . .

The Wisconsin online sex-offender registry listed McGuire's current address as Walworth County Jail. But Barbara Blaine, a spokeswoman for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said that until last week, the Web site had listed his address as 300 E. Main St., Lake Geneva, a Comfort Suites hotel.

Dipko said McGuire had been staying at the hotel while the county searched for housing for him. McGuire had been staying at a Waukegan nursing home as a condition of his probation. But the home evicted him in July because the nature of his conviction violated its policies, Dipko said.

. . . .

McGuire's first probation violation occurred in late August, when he came to Chicago to attend the funeral of a Jesuit priest at St. Ignatius Church in Rogers Park, according to church officials.

He attended funeral services Aug. 30 and was given permission by his probation officer to stay in Evanston that night on condition that he register with the local police department, Dipko said. But McGuire never informed police he had arrived in Evanston, thus violating his probation, Dipko said. He spent three days in the Walworth County Jail for the violation.

Rev. James Gschwend, the Jesuit province's delegate for conduct inquires, said McGuire remains a Jesuit priest, though his status is under review. The review board's decision depends on the result of McGuire's appeal.


Brown law

Mark Brown offers “man law” contributions a la the beer commercial from “Pittsburgh John,” a friend:

• If it's not broken, don't fix it (not just a law, a commandment.)

• If you can't stretch out all the way, it's not a couch.

• If you're not a professional bike rider, don't wear the shorts.

Etc.  “Let me hear from you,” he tells male readers.  Hmmm.  This is today’s column, Oct. 1.  Smart fella, Brown.  That closing request will be good for another column.  And if he doesn’t hear from anyone, he can go to Lipstick Chronicles for Sept. 22, where Rebecca the Bookseller has a bunch of suggestions from “several men from varying backgrounds and geographic locations,” with helpful commentary:

* Man Law on Food:  Regardless of weather, the grill is always the cooking appliance of first choice.  A Man from the midwest contributes: further, salmon is a fish, and not a color.  And a Navy Man serving overseas reminds us that No Man shall use a utensil of any kind to eat ribs.

Etc.  Such a deal.  Brown has his second column written already.  Rebecca asked for more laws too.  Maybe she and Brown can collaborate.  If this doesn’t work out, he can fish around in REO Horror Story: Man Law - Don’t Let Beer Cans Pile to the Ceiling, also of Sept. 22.  I’ll bet there are other places too.

Fr. McGuire in jail

Fr. Donald McGuire, the Jesuit convicted in Wisconsin on molesting charges, broke probation and is in jail.

Illinois representatives of a support group for those abused by priests were leafleting a Lake Geneva neighborhood with news that McGuire was closer to them than they might have thought.

The jail gave McGuire's home address as 30 E. Main St., Waukegan. However, according to Wisconsin's online sex offender registry, McGuire was living at the Lake Geneva Comfort Inn, 300 E. Main St., Lake Geneva.


Jeff Anderson of St. Paul, Minn., an attorney representing McGuire's two victims in civil suits against McGuire, said he was informed that McGuire refused to take the periodic lie detector tests required as part of his probation.


[He had been] sentenced in July to 20 years probation with a seven-year stayed sentence, pending [his] appeal of his conviction.