Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Because their inaugural fundraising dinner is tonight -- at Ashyana Banquets, 1620 75th St. in Downers Grove, IL according to the tickets I've seen -- I doubt if Christine Cegelis will mind if I post a slightly edited version of her Q&A post about the Greater Chicago Caucus.
And I'm sure they will let you buy a ticket at the door:
Q & A about the Greater Chicago CaucusSo if you are looking for a way to put your money where your mouth is -- and to put your mouth where the food is -- swing by Downers Grove this evening and see what all the fuss is about.
by: Christine Cegelis
I get a lot of questions about the Greater Chicago Caucus and I thought I might answer some publicly here.
Q: Who all is involved in the group?
A: Many of the people that worked closely with me in my congressional campaign have also been working with the Greater Chicago Caucus. We have leaders from the African American Methodist churches and peace and justice area, we have several leaders from the Muslim community and we have leaders of the immigration movement from the Latino community. All of us are committed to peace and economic justice.
Q: Was the Greater Chicago Caucus your idea?
A: No, though I have put a lot of time into making it a success. Leaders from various organizations came together because of the realization that we need to work together if we are going to accomplish our goals. I was invited to join because I have a long history of working on peace and justice issues even prior to my running for Congress.
Many of our leaders met during the immigration march in Chicago It is important to note that the immigration movement could mobilize a half million people but it did little to change the dialog on immigration.
For me prior to the Iraq war I protested, organized prayer vigils, said novenas, and circulated petitions to send to Washington. I know that many of you did similar things as well; We still went to war and our Government did not listen to us. It was then I decided if my representatives would not listen I needed to do what I could to change the representation in Washington. As you know I ran for Congress unsuccessfully but it opened a door to work in other parts of the country and to help get other anti-war candidates elected.
I am hoping with the Democratic majority we will now see a change in the policy toward Iraq for the better. The rejection of escalating the troop level will be the first test.
Q: I heard this is a faith base group. Is this a religious organization?
A: No, we are not religious organization we are a 501c(4) because we intend to have an affect on the political climate. Many of us, myself included, come from a religious perspective. There is often a frustration about how far a church or religious based organization can go before it crosses the line. We believe in the separation of church and state but many of us also feel strongly that as people of faith we are to work for the least among us. Others in our organization are more secular in their views but they also believe in justice and building a world where we can live in a sustainable peace. We do not all agree on any one faith or any faith perspective but again there are many things that we can agree on and have committed to work together for that purpose.
Q: Why another group? There is already ADA, IVI-IPO, and DFA in the Chicago area, why not just work with one of these?
A: There is a different philosophy with the Greater Chicago Caucus. We are not really a progressive group, nor will we consider ourselves as affiliated with one political party or the other. We will identify issues that we all can agree on such as the need for a living wage, adequate funding for public education and fair immigration policy and support candidates that support our issues. We will work on a consensus basis and talk with our communities about not letting the wedge issues divide us. We recognize that there are some issues we will not have consensus on but the underlying social justice and peace issues are at the heart of all of us.
Q: Why take this approach?
A: Because we are bringing to the table leaders from various communities. Each group will determine what the best way to reach their own constituency is. It is not about getting out the vote in the Latino or African American community but getting a seat at the table to help determine public policy. I can tell you that a politician will listen to only two groups, people that can deliver money or people that can deliver votes. It is easy to find people willing to deliver money for a say in the direction of policy. It is harder to show that you have the ability to deliver the votes. However, there are many races across the country that have proved that the electorate will respond to issues and deliver the vote regardless of the how much money is spent on TV and mailers.
Q: Will you be working just in Chicago?
A: No. Many of us are suburbanites and we will be looking at races both inside and outside the city.
Q: How can we help?
A: Our inaugural fundraising dinner is coming up on January 27, 2007. Tickets are $40.00 and you can get them by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Congressman Danny Davis will be a keynote speaker but it will also give you the opportunity to meet some of the other leaders that are helping to put this together.
This is going to take funding and we will be looking for grant money but the initial start up funding will have to come from our communities.
Friday, January 26, 2007
Last week, [Dan Malloy], a Bears season ticket holder, found out he'd won the right to buy two Super bowl tickets and was told he'd have to pick them up in person at Soldier Field on Thursday, today or Saturday.So congratulations to the Chicago Bears organization!
One problem: He returns from a business trip to Japan after the ticket office closes on Saturday.
In desperation, he offered to pay a Bears ticket clerk to stay late Saturday. They said no.
He offered to send his wife to pick up the tickets. No again.
He sent the Bears proof he was overseas. Too bad. ***
Finally, Malloy's wife told the story to a United Airlines representative and the woman arranged to have Malloy fly home early so he'd make it in time to pick up his tickets Saturday.
No matter the outcome of the big game, you can take pride in the fact that even an airline has better customer service than you.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
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[A]nd seemingly from nowhere [he] gloriously appeared, fully formed.Oh wait... Did I say that was an analysis of Sen. Barack Obama?
All at once there was the detached, distracted wit; the knowing charm; the arch self-mockery; the bemused awareness of his audience, with whom he was sharing a joke (a quality that made him simultaneously cool and warm) *** And, not least, the good-natured ease combined with a genius[.]
Moreover, he suddenly created a new hybrid, combining qualities that hadn’t before mixed[.] He was oddly unplaceable: *** appeared both American and quintessentially [other]; at once subtle and rollicking, he seemed *** to anticipate nothing less than “a new social type"[.]
[He] married an extraordinary, intelligent handsomeness with an attractiveness beyond the sexual -- one equally appealing to men and women[.]
“We smile when we see him; *** it makes us happy just to look at him.”
Moreover, with his sui generis accent *** his subtle phrasing, and the clean bite of his diction, he [spoke] with a precise sparkle never equaled.
In his blending of the urbane and the rambunctious, he found a way to be true to his own background, which he plainly adored, while reconciling that background to the vision of a suave man-about-town that he had aspired to as a working-class young man.
[His] “romantic elegance is wrapped around the resilient, tough core of a mutt, and Americans dream of thoroughbreds while identifying with mutts.”
[He] sparked "a delight so innocent and perfect that the attempt to analyse its sources seems an act of ingratitude," [but] such efforts to comprehend this ultimately ungraspable self-invention have nonetheless proved irresistible.
Sorry about that.
Actually, those quotes all refer to Mr. Archie Leach, i.e. Cary Grant.
But you can understand my confusion.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
But unlike some, the fine folks at the Hindustan Times don't seem to have an interest in smearing Sen. Obama:
Many Indonesians madrassas today are Saudi-financed and propagate the ultra-orthodox Wahhabi school of Islam. ***
Indonesian experts noted that Saudi influence on Indonesian schools was minimal in the time Obama lived there. His family lived in Indonesia from 1967 to 1971. They left the country when he was 10 years old. ***
The present controversy is already fading from the news and has left no perceptible mark on Obama. However, the two-year long campaign has just started and the issue can be expected to return again.
Take Richard Roeper (the C-list Siskel), who urges FHM readers to “Stay Single!” His sermonette to the boys’ choir, which captures perfectly the laddies’ acute fear of girlfriend, was about the closest thing to the Playboy Advisor I could find in the lad mags ***For the record, I've met Mr. Roeper and he's not little.
And for comparison’s sake with the Advisor, here’s Roeper’s tongue-flaccidly-in-cheek list of the advantages of single life:
- Never having to pay alimony.
- Pizza for breakfast. And nobody to give you a hard time about it.
- You know those baseball hats, video games and autographed sports stuff guys store in the garage when they get married? I have it all on display in my guest bedroom. If I was married, that room would be a nursery.
- You don’t have to pretend to be interested in Desperate Housewives.
- Vegas. Guilt-free.
- Softball on Mondays, poker on Thursdays, boys’ night on Fridays, football all weekend. And never having to check with anyone to see if that’s OK.
- Women. Plural.
What sort of man reads FHM? Apparently the sort who fetishizes his own headgear and hasn’t charm or confidence enough to negotiate the tricky ritual of breakfast for two; the sort who gets a licentious thrill from not having to ask permission to stare at his TV all weekend.
In short, a weird little nebbish.
And lets have some perspective -- criticizing someone for a piece written for FHM is like critiquing the literary merit of something you read on the bathroom wall. I suspect it took Rich 15 minutes to write and that he was paid handsomely for it.
Probably more than I made last year.
Damn you Richard Roeper.
Monday, January 22, 2007
The Touch and Go 25th Anniversary Video DiaryAnd if that gets your motor running, remember: the Hideout hosts first rate shows even in the dead of winter.
The first in our series of videos from the Touch and Go 25th Anniversary at the 10th annual Hideout Block Party is live!
Go to www.touchandgorecords.com to see an introduction to the event which will be followed next week by the start of band-specific clips. The segments blend live performance and exclusive interview footage from the festival.
We don't want to give too much away about the first few posts, but you can expect to see a little old-school, some more recent faves, and even one from a band so new to Touch and Go, we haven't released an album from them yet.
In the weeks and months to come, check back every Monday for a new video from a different act.
About 100 computer discs with 1.3 million Chicago voters' Social Security numbers have been distributed to aldermen and ward committeemen, and the whereabouts of at least an additional six CDs with the same information are unknown, according to the Chicago Board of Elections. ***Can we at least find out if the birth dates, addresses and Social Security numbers of Chicago voters are in the hands of this alderman and her friends?
[I]t will be difficult, if not impossible, for the Board of Elections to retrieve sensitive data physically scattered on more than 100 discs throughout the area.
The discs also contain voters' birth dates and addresses -- information that along with Social Security numbers can be used to commit identity theft.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was testifying before a Senate panel, doing what she does best: keeping to the official line.My wife is a big fan of Debra Pickett's columns -- I am less so.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) was trying to get a rise out of the frighteningly unflappable Rice, so, in a rhetorical flourish, she asked, "Who pays the price [for the administration's deadly policy blunders in Iraq]?"
Boxer continued, alluding to the fact that very few of the soldiers in harm's way happen to have senators or White House officials in their families, and said, "I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young."
Then, addressing Rice, she added, "You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family." ***
Would Condoleezza Rice have a different view of the situation in Iraq if she had a son (or a daughter or a sister or a brother) serving in uniform there? Would President Bush be more inclined to bring the troops home now if his twin daughters had gone to West Point?
But the very fact that such scenarios are virtually inconceivable should give us some pause. Whose loved ones are fighting this war? And who speaks for them?
Those are the questions that Rice and the administration spin-meisters didn't want you to be thinking about this week.
Although Ms. Pickett is sharp and a fine writer, I think her columns suffer from... hmm... Let's call it "a lack of editorial direction."
By that, I mean that even the folks running the Sun-Times don't seem to know what kind of column Ms. Pickett is supposed to be writing. For example, her column appears on the "Lifestyle" pages of the print edition of the paper, but on the ST website it is listed under "News and Views."
"Who cares?" you ask.
"Besides me?" I reply. "Probably no one."
But I do think that it is emblematic of the "neither fish nor fowl" nature of Ms. Pickett's columns that does not suit my taste. Maybe it is a function of writing a column just once a week, but it seems that Ms. Pickett's columns often try to do too many things -- baby talk and a foreign policy discussion in the same column -- all in the same column.
Or maybe this is the product of a well-reasoned plan to create a column that simply does not appeal to me.
Nearly three years ago *** Obama sat with me in public at a cafe on South Michigan Avenue and talked about his faith.Hmmm... so it appears that Barack Obama is a professing, mainstream Christian.
He didn't hesitate. No one coached him. He didn't choose his words carefully or tailor his responses. He shot from the hip, giving me candid and complicated answers to my inquiries about his religious history, beliefs and doubts.
At the time, Obama said he was a Christian, that he has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, that he reads the Bible regularly and prays constantly. He described his conversion experience in his mid-20s, how he walked the aisle at Trinity United Church of Christ one Sunday in a public affirmation of his private change of heart. But we didn't talk labels, I didn't ask him for one, and he didn't offer.
A few weeks ago, during a visit to the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board, I had a chance to ask Obama that lingering question:
"Are you an evangelical?" ***
"Gosh, I'm not sure if labels are helpful here because the definition of an evangelical is so loose and subject to so many different interpretations. I came to Christianity through the black church tradition where the line between evangelical and non-evangelical is completely blurred. Nobody knows exactly what it means.
"Does it mean that you feel you've got a personal relationship with Christ the savior? Then that's directly part of the black church experience. Does it mean you're born-again in a classic sense, with all the accoutrements that go along with that, as it's understood by some other tradition? I'm not sure."
He continued his answer: "My faith is complicated by the fact that I didn't grow up in a particular religious tradition. And so what that means is when you come at it as an adult, your brain mediates a lot, and you ask a lot of questions.
"There are aspects of Christian tradition that I'm comfortable with and aspects that I'm not. There are passages of the Bible that make perfect sense to me and others that I go, 'Ya know, I'm not sure about that,'" he said, shrugging and stammering slightly.
My gramma would call some of that talk about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ "witnessing."
When one considers the abuse that Tom Roeser has heaped upon Ms. Falsani, it is a wonder to see how her piece effortlessly, even casually, sweeps away any possible basis for Roeser's Grand Inquisition of Barack Obama.
Maybe that's why some folks write for Chicago newspapers and some folks write blogs.
Note: Because the "issue" of Barack Obama's religious faith will be of interest throughout the upcoming presidential election and because some readers may find this post after the Sun-Times has imprisoned Falsani's piece behind an archives firewall, I have reprinted her piece, in full, here.
Update: Media Matters has more
Today, in pursuit of his ongoing Inquisition regarding Sen. Obama's religious faith, Roeser tries and fails to portray snopes.com as an "Obama fan's website".
Snopes.com -- named after a family in the works of William Faulkner -- is also known as the Urban Legends Reference Pages. The mission of snopes.com is to debunk or confirm widely spread urban legends, including Tom Roeser's favorite:
But Snopes.com does not just blindly declare myths true or false.
Snopes.com also provides carefully cited evidence for their debunking and confirmation as well. In the case of the Obama rumor that so plagues the mind of the Roeser, the snopes.com team cites four sources -- Obama's two books and two published profiles -- for its determination that Obama is as Christian that he claims to be.
But Obama's repeated public profession of his Christian faith cannot satisfy the Roeser Inquisition.
Roeser declares that the accused is to blame for the Inquisition's unsubstantiated allegations. "[I]t is the Obama people’s fault for neglecting to lay out the cards on his religion. *** And I’m going to keep at this until Obama speaks for himself and allows reporters *** to question him in depth."
Yes, the Grand Inquisitor says that Obama will be presumed to be a blasphemer or heretic until he presents himself before the Tribunal.
So what are we to make of Tom Roeser?
When one considers his fossilized views and the amount of filthy muck that he casts about, one imagines a dinosaur wildly flailing about in a pool of tar -- desperately trying to find footing as it sinks slowly, inevitably, into oblivion.
But then one remembers that not all fossils were mighty dinosaurs.
There are also the fossils trapped in amber -- the insects. The flies and gnats who once flitted about, pestering and nipping at beasts much larger than themselves.
One cannot know the mind of a fly, but one can wonder if it was motivated by something more than merely its love for the taste of blood.
Did the fly also long for the attention of the much bigger beings that it orbited about? When the fly found itself trapped in sticky amber, did he think back to a time when his tiny nips were acknowledged by a swish of a tail or the flick of an ear? Did the fly say to itself, "Behold. Look at how mighty I was. I confronted the might beast and engaged it in battle. Verily, I must have been mighty indeed."
But perhaps I am over-thinking my lithification metaphors...
After all, we are talking about baseless, ad hominem attacks on a man's personal religious faith. And so, the fossil equivalent now becomes clear:
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Time Inc. laid off nearly 300 people today at its top magazines, including its most profitable title, People, which is shutting down its bureaus in Washington, Miami, Chicago and Austin, Texas.
People is laying off 44 editorial employees, though it is also creating 7 new jobs, for a net loss of 37.Time, the company’s flagship magazine, is also cutting about 50 people, and is shutting down bureaus in Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta.Thus Time Inc. affirms the corporate news assertion that the United States of America consists solely of New York, NY and Washington D.C.
Mayor Daley is saving twenty bucks for the elite Bears fans who:
a) can afford to pay $400 and up for a ticket to a football game, and
b) refuse to take public transportation to the game.
And why would affluent Bears fans steer clear of public transportation?
Because, under Mayor Daley and CTA president Frank Kruesi, the CTA has become a "Third World transit system."
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Stop hiding Phil Rosenthal on page three of the Chicago Tribune business section.
Writing like his should be featured more prominently:
Everyone knows hiring Rich Little to perform at this year's White House Correspondents Dinner is playing it safe, a response to the blogstorm of controversy from last year's savaging of the president and press by Stephen Colbert. ***Hiding an asset like Phil Rosenthal may constitute a breach of the Tribune's fiduciary duty to its shareholders.
If you visit Little's Web site, RichLittle.com, check out the page with a sampling of some of the many voices he does. Roughly two-thirds of the more than 150 people on the list are dead.
That's not comedy. That's a seance.
Welfare for American Citizens May Be Cutting Into Corporate Welfare!
Even if you believe that the elevation of American people over multi-national corporations is truly a "reason for concern", I propose that there is an even greater reason for concern with this column.
The sole source for the Heritage Foundation president's claim that caring for human beings is about to plunge America into the abyss is an "economic freedom report card" issued by -- say it with me -- the Heritage Foundation.
I wonder if the Sun-Times would give me a column to trumpet the dogmatic conclusions of 'The So-Called "Austin Mayor" Foundation'...
The United Nations said Tuesday that more than 34,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in sectarian violence last year, nearly three times the number reported dead by the Iraqi government.Your Chicago Tribune put the Iraqi civilian death toll in the fifth paragraph of its page one story.
Underscoring the peril faced by Iraqis, 142 were killed or found dead Tuesday.
Gianni Magazzeni, the chief of the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq, said 34,452 civilians were killed and 36,685 were wounded last year.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq.Carrier strike groups cannot help our ground troops fight the insurgency in Iraq's cities. Patriot air defense systems cannot be used to win the guerrilla war taking place in Iraq's streets.
Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq. We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence-sharing and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies.
When Saudis supported by Afghanistan attacked the U.S., Mr. Bush attacked Iraq. And now that our troops dying by the score in Iraq and Mr. Bush... attacks Iran?!?
It doesn't make sense, but it does follow a pattern.
Update: I'm not the only one.
Update II: More...
Update III: From Mark Silva of your Chicago Tribune:
The White House wants to make one thing perfectly clear: The U.S. is not preparing for war in Iran or Syria.Well, that would be reassuring if the Bush White House had any -- ANY -- credibility left.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Here is the photo that has your Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet -- and some members of my household -- all atwitter:
Friends, if I was in that kind of shape I would never wear a shirt again.
Friday, January 05, 2007
Here's my two cents:
Saddam Hussein was convicted and executed for the 1982 killing of 148 men and boys in the town of Dujail who were accused of participating in an anti-government plot. The families of those killed in Dujail deserved justice. They deserved to have their stories heard in a court of law.
But what about the thousands of thousands of other victims of Saddam?
The Shi’ites government's rush to execute Saddam was an affront to the Kurdish people of Iraq who suffered under the tyrant. Between March 15 and 19 in 1988, during the Iran-Iraq War, Saddam's forces dropped poison gas bombs -- chemical weapons -- on the men, women and children in the Kurdish city of Halabja, then held by Iranian troops and Iraqi Kurdish guerrillas allied with Tehran. Between 4,000 and 5,000 people, nearly all civilians, died during the bombing of Halabja or shortly thereafter.
But Saddam will never be tried for the crimes against them.
Saddam also used chemical weapons and other means in an attempt to exterminate the Marsh Arabs of southern Iraq who rose up against him after the first Gulf War.
But, again, those victims will never have the opportunity to see Saddam tried for those abominable crimes.
Many insist that the death penalty is necessary for those who have been convicted of particularly heinous crimes. The example given is often the Nuremberg trials.
But even if one accepts that position, there was nothing about the trial of Saddam that in any way resembled the due process afforded those who were tried and then hanged at Nuremberg.
The trial was a kangaroo court and the execution that followed was a lynching by gangsters.
Saddam Hussein did not deserve better justice, but the people of Iraq did.
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