Monday, March 27, 2006

Relatively Short Takes

• The idea, propounded by the minister-pol, that State Senator James Meeks would be attractive to social conservatives and thus could get votes beyond the African American community as the nominee of an “Honesty and Integrity” third party is ridiculous. Meeks is proposing an income tax hike to cover a $1 billion hike in educational spending and supports further gun-control. These don’t go hand-in-hand with social conservatism, a philosophy that needs a perfect four—pro-life, anti-special favoritism for gays, anti-gun control and no new taxes in order to be effective. But if his candidacy really got going, it would depress Blagojevich’s numbers, that’s for sure…

• Those blog contributors who predict a bright future for Bill Brady (a U. S. Senate bid, another governor bid) don’t appreciate that Brady has a big reconstruct job to rehab his candidacy after his spoiler campaign which zeroed in on Oberweis and left Topinka alone. A poster symbol: the so-called “Judas kiss” bestowed on him by Topinka, followed by her whispered thank you in his ear. A lot of water will have to go under the bridge before that will be forgotten…

• The greatest newsmagazine in the world—and the only profitable one—the London-published Economist is out with a wonderful report on Chicago, spreading out a good deal more meaningful statistics and insight than either daily newspaper published here. And it has only one thing wrong: the factr that the city may have a “whiff of scandal.” As Winston Churchill would say, “some whiff, some scandal.” But it’s a marvelous issue and you should read it…

• Why does this blog concentrate on the vacuous in the Sun-Times when there is so much that is good , i.e. local news coverage, City Hall, politics, Higgins’ cartoons, QT, Sneed? Because the vacuous is there, probably. Take Debra Pickett’s stupid column asking that “Guys do us women a favor; turn down the manliness dial.” She’s purportedly commenting on the belief of Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield (one of the few conservatives at Harvard) that there is a crisis of manliness in the nation. Of course, Pickett whose “V for Vendetta” style grimace adorns the newspaper wherever it appears in several categories: stories about whom she dines with, reviews of the fluffy “Smart Girls Book Club” and her regular column which is a really remarkable 700 words ever to be produced by a would-be hipster in search of an idea. Anyhow, Pickett believes the war in Iraq was caused because President Bush wanted to be manly. After watching Ms. Pickett do her commentaries on Channel 11, she convinces me she is at bottom a self-promoter wielding clichés to nihilistic effect who writes columns where nothing happens at least twice…

• Denny Byrne is one of Chicago conservatism’s greatest assets, writing a weekly Op Ed in the Tribune. In fact, he is the only local conservative now allowed a regular voice in either daily newspaper or the suburban Herald which shows you how successful Mono-Media has been in snuffling out contrary views. Therefore as a friend of Denny’s, I support his views almost always in their entirety, a record of two who think almost alike. Without Denny, no newspaper reader in Chicago or suburbs would ever catch wind of any countervailing local views not espoused by the editorial boards. Nevertheless now allow me to make a gentle correction in this Monday’s piece. Catholic Byrne’s take on the crisis in the Catholic archdiocese was right-on except for an understandable but unfortunate inaccuracy at the conclusion. Denny concludes: “For many of us, it is reminiscent of a church that may have ignored the evils of the Holocaust.”

Not so. The fiction that Pius XII was uncaring and indifferent to the sufferings of the Jews first began with fiction, in the play The Deputy, Rolf Hochhuth’s stage presentation of 1963 which caused a sensation. It was The Da Vinci Code potboiler of its day (I saw it in New York and even as an amateur papal historian I saw through some of its many faults and contrived utterances, Hochhuth, an East German Communist with an interest in sowing anger in the West writing with the nihilism of the `60s). The complete answer has been documented by Margherita Marchione, a nun who has devoted her life to rectifying the injustice whom I interviewed in Chicago on the radio in 2000. She is professor emerita of Italian Language and Literature at Fairleigh Dickinson University and author of Pope Pius XII Architect of Peace [Paulist Press: 2000].

Marchione documents painstakingly, as an old-fashioned nun would, the fallacies in the play and the subsequent charges by British author John Cornwall in his fallacious book Hitler’s Pope. Far from being insensitive to the plight of the Jews, Pius by brilliant diplomatic action saved the lives of some 200,000 and won praise from not just the Chief Rabbi of Rome but the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Isaac Herzog who wrote, “The people of Israel will never forget what His Holiness and his illustrious delegates…are doing for our unfortunate brothers and sisters in this most tragic hour of world history.” Golda Meir’s valedictory to Pius reads: “When fearful martyrdom came to our people, the voice of the Pope was raised for its victims.” Subsequent investigations following Cornwall’s book show that Pius’ relative silence during the war was a stratagem agreed upon by leaders of the World Jewish Congress who feared that dramatic indictments from the Pope would result in even worse outrages against the Jews. Pius, all Holocaust experts agree, orchestrated the saving of many thousands of Jewish lives.

In summary, the poisoned pen of Hochhuth still endures through willful first impression, just as, ironically, twisted revisionism itself has presented the film “Munich” by Stephen Spielberg which represents Islamic terrorists and Israeli justice in despicably equivalent terms. Denny is not to be faulted for his erroneous impression because spawned by Hochhuth, the father of the lie, it is still all too prevalent. His scorching of the archdiocese, similar to my own, is justified, not the misbegotten historical allusion to Pius for which Denny is not responsible


  1. Tom,

    Taking a reverse angle here. Could it be that Jim Oberweis was the spoiler and Bill Brady was the legitimate candidate? After all, Brady would have a much better shot in the fall that Oberweis. If only Oberweis would have stepped aside, Brady could have won.


  2. He was pro gun control and voted for increased spending in the Senate. He rightly failed your 4 part social conservative test.

    Didn't you endorse him anyway? Your endorsement of this combine member, and your blind eye to Blagojevich and Bob KJ, and your helping Big Bob make his vacation home and Ferrari payments make me think he is funneling money your way.

    Your inconsistency with Peter and gun control might make it past a lesser analyst, but not me. Tom, this is full proof that you've been flipped by the combine.

  3. Several years ago, I read Cornwall's book just to see what all the controversy was about. It was obvious that it was more a polemic than a work of history. I'm surprised that someone named you a member of the combine. That's a laugh! From your writings it's evident that you wear your heart on your sleeve for all to see. Combine members don't have a heart.