Saturday, April 8, 2006

One Word Led to Another: Brass & Gas…The Greatest Jewish Magazine…the Bob Creamer Conviction and the Gospel of Judas

Brass and Gas.

With Judy Baar Topinka, the Illinois GOP has a low-rent candidate…one who got away with being a saucy “irrepressible” character as a lower ballot figure…but whose mouth will continue to get her into trouble. When she isn’t chain-smoking Marlboro’s she’s either talking about gas or addressing her opponents as morons. Remember the consternation from the mainstream Illinois media whenever Jim Oberweis expressed a non-politically correct view? When Gidwitz wasn’t warm and cuddly? What you have here, folks, is double-standard as she unloads her verbal gas and most of the media look the other way and clear their throat with embarrassment. The accordion-player says the Governor has “little weasel eyes.” Classy.

Basically, she’s low-rent…sounds low-rent, is-low rent. Her language is low-rent. She tells George Will about the governor: “His staff rats him out”…”some of his staff have been wired”…all with no basis whatsoever. She’s Miss Duffy, daughter of the owner of Duffy’s Tavern (the oldsters will understand that). She’s cultural low-life. She couldn’t back Fitzgerald as State Chairman because those who put her there wouldn’t like it. Then after refusing to endorse him she denied she did that, when a vast radio audience heard her refuse to endorse.

The truth isn’t in her. She’s pocket change as is her staff. Pesumably the staffer quoted in Will’s column was Nancy Kimme. About the President, the staffer said, “We just want him to raise money.” He should come into town “late at night.” Where should he raise money for her? “In an undisclosed location.” Topinka had no comment at that point; just a giggle (until Will printed it and a staffer was sent out to fudge. Late at night and in an undisclosed location. That’s loyalty for a president who’s top political staffer fought for her to win, loyalty, too, to Bob Kjellander who had been lobbying the White House for her. He goes into the junk pile with all those who helped her on the way up—the social conservatives she disowned, the conservatives she once hung with and then defamed. What I never understood is what they once saw in her. One thing never changed: her being low rent.

I’ll bet Kjellander loved that one—he who had been defending her all these months and now, when the president is down in the polls, Kjellander’s pick insults him (or her aide did without Topinka correcting it until it was published). If you wonder why she was the mainstream media favorite in the primary, now you know. They knew her. They knew she’s low rent. They’ve never been for her—just favoring the most liberal candidate. They’ll not weep tears when she goes down. Why should they? They knew she would all along.

It all ratifies my original judgment about Topinka: I knew her since she was a state Rep. Light, light, light with a kind of endearing vulgarity that seems charming at first, but a Liza Higgins who never left the flower stall, who still says the political equivalent of “aooowww” and who can’t grow. She started as a pro-lifer and sold out; she was State Treasurer for years, wanted to run for governor for years, and enters the primary without any in-depth program because she doesn’t have any feel for governing. The primary debates, whenever she attended them, showed you she wasn’t prepared—and she’s not prepared now. The debates with Blagojevich will feature him—with all his faults—as being the depth and content candidate, she being somewhat brassily vulgar, a rogue elephant, someone to giggle at but dismiss. In the GOP primary you had three who knew issues, were prepared, had been successes—plus one low-renter. That’s what she was, what she is and she’ll go down like a ton of bricks. At least I hope so. The worst thing that could happen to this state, and to the Republican party she’s gulled, would be if she won.


The Greatest Jewish Magazine.

As we approach Passover, the greatest Jewish magazine…no, I’ll correct that—the greatest magazine I read Commentary, put out by the American Jewish Committee. It’s writing is supurb; it’s take on international affairs cogent, it’s perspective on culture is outstanding. Now in its April edition it has a phenomenal article on Jewish humor—“Why Jews Laugh at Themselves” by Hillel Halkin. You must get it: even if you’re like me and not Jewish…but especially if you’re Jewish. I’ve grown up with a variant of Jewish humor for years: somehow my father was in touch with kids from a Jewish neighborhood and became a Jewish humor carrier. Those of you old enough to remember the Ed Sullivan TV show recall that whenever Myron Cohen appeared, he was the unrivaled star.

And who was Myron Cohen? He started in the Depression as a silk salesman in New York city…and as a salesman developed a knack for telling Jewish stories—stories that were so funny (not just the stories themselves but his way of telling them) that he gave up the silk business and became a multi-millionaire impresario on television, traveling coast-to-coast including, when here, the Chez Paree. I would never miss him. What kind of stories would Cohen tell? It’s not that Jews are telling them, or that Jews are the butt of them but stories that convey the nature of the genre. One I remember is ”What if Famous People Had Jewish Mothers?” Mona Lisa’s mother says, “This you call a smile? After all the money your father and I spent on braces?”

The cardinal Jewish story, if I can express it that way, tells the nature of the Jewish people: with this genius of a story told to author Halkin by a friend who heard it from another friend, an Orthodox Jew who in turn had heard it from an ultra-Orthodox Jew. It has to do with the biblical injunction, “Thou shalt not boil a kid [a young goat] in its mother’s milk” from which ancient rabbis formulated the prohibition against mixing meat with dairy in any form.

Moses is copying down these instructions from God’s mouth on Mount Sinai and when he hears the injunction, he looks up and says, “Lord, you obviously wouldn’t be bothering us with a law that’s just about baby goats. You must mean that we shouldn’t eat any kosher animal at all that’s boiled in its mother’s milk.”

“Well,” God says, “all I told you was: `Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.’”

Moses asks, “But how often do we eat animals boiled in their mother’s milk? There must be more to it than that…I’ve got it! We’re not supposed to eat meat with milk in general.”

God says, “Moses, just write down what I said: `Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.’”

“But,” Moses says, “what’s the difference between milk and milk products, like butter or cheese? And if we’re not supposed to eat meat with butter, surely we shouldn’t be cutting it with a knife that’s been used for butter, either.”

“Look, Moses,” says God. “We have only 40 days on this mountain. Do whatever the [explective] you want and let’s move on to the next law.”

This told by Jewish fundamentalists!...


The Bob Creamer Conviction.

The Tribune’s John Kass wrote a brilliant analytic column about this in yesterday’s paper which you should read.

Were he alive today, here’s how the late George Tagge, political editor of the same paper, would have reported it—and you can see the similarity that his journalism would be to that of Lynn Sweet. Sweet didn’t touch it but would have flown in for an interview if the defendant had been spouse to a Republican member of Congress:


By George Tagge

The husband of one of the most liberal Democratic members of Congress in the nation—Rep. Jan Schaikowsky (D-IL)—was convicted today to at least five months of imprisonment for writing bogus checks worth millions of dollars to support a far-left organization which she served as board member and treasurer and failing to pay $50,000 in withholding taxes concerning his private consulting firm.

As Robert Creamer was sentenced, Schaikowsky, tied with Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) as possessor of probably the farthest left voting record in the Congress said she was proud of him. “More than anything else, I am proud of who Bob is…He has for his entire adult life devoted himself to fighting for a better future for others.”

What she meant by being proud of Creamer was ambiguous since Creamer had not turned himself in but was caught—for the second time after having been warned once for dishonesty by the feds in 1990. Creamer said he paid back all the money he mis-appropriated but didn’t deny that the fraudulent checks he wrote allowed him to make free use of many thousands of dollars for his far-left organizations which benefited his wife’s political aspirations.

Court watchers were amazed at the almost five years the federal prosecution took to gain a conviction as well as the extraordinarily light sentence Creamer, whose residence is in Evanston, got from U. S. District Judge James Moran who represented Evanston as a Democratic state legislator. Both men know each other from joint political work in the past; in addition, Creamer’s longtime political mentor and publicist, Peter Giangreco who served on the board of one of Cramer’s many organizations is a son-in-law of the judge. Peter is the brother of ABC’s prominent TV sports authority, Mark Giangreco. The fact that this the Moran-Giangreco father-in-law son-in-law relationship strikes some as a conflict of interest didn’t concern Judge Moran in the slightest who didn’t recuse himself from the case because, he said, the prosecution didn’t object.

Why the prosecution made no objection to Judge Moran is a matter of intense speculation, raising the question as to why U. S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who has spent millions of dollars prosecuting Republican Lewis (Scooter) Libby for supposed obstruction of justice has gone so lenient with

a Republican who was purportedly told to leak a story in national security interest by President Bush. Notwithstanding, Fitztgerald has said that Libby’s trial will go on.

A former prosecutor [here Tagge would insert a name after calling around to get somebody—ex fed or ex-state—to make the statement], commenting on Moran’s failure to be challenged or to recuse himself, said, “This is the most egregious example of preferential treatment I have seen in my [fill in the number of years he has been a lawyer]. This smacks of clout that is entirely in line with the longstanding ability of key Democrats either to avoid prosecution or getting sentences that are outrageously lenient considering the offense. You can’t tell me Fitzgerald is unaware of the heavy Democratic involvement in this case. A host of Democratic luminaries including Sen. Dick Durbin wrote personal testimonials in behalf of Creamer to Moran, based on their long familiarity with the judge during his political career.”

Also giving a warm friend-of-the-defendant send-off was Abner Mikva, formerly of Evanston, who represented Creamer’s and Schaikowsky’s district in Congress. Mikva went on to become a federal judge as result of his friendship with President Jimmy Carter. Mikva resigned an appellate court judgeship to become the ethics czar of the Clinton White House where he said his job was not difficult because the Clinton people knew the rudiments of ethics and applied them so stringently. After Mikva left, Clinton became the second president of the United States to be impeached. The impeachment involved Clinton’s lying under oath that he didn’t have sex with Monica Lewinsky when in fact his involvement was proven.

Rep. Schaikowsky, along with Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) have been strong critics of Rep. Tom DeLay and President Clinton, Schaikowsky frequently decrying the “culture of corruption” under a Republican president and GOP Congress. When asked at Creamer’s sentencing by this reporter whether she could find any reason to doubt the ethics of her husband now that he is going to jail, Schaikowsky bit her lip, then burst into tears, saying, “Oh, sir, do you have no decency at last?”


The Gospel of Judas.

My goodness, the release of the so-called Gospel of Judas came just in time for Easter, didn’t it? A miracle of timing. Disclosure that a parchment exists, although written 300 years after Christ, caused Katie Couric on NBC’s “Today” show to propound the thesis that the finding could possibly change the entire rubric of Christianity. Leaning over her anchor desk and tossing her blond hair thoughtfully, Couric who is going to become managing editor of the CBS Evening News, said:

“Gee, this changes everything. I mean, like we always thought of Judas as a bad guy but now who knows he might have been set up to turn Christ in by Christ himself! Wow! This would mean that Christ must have wanted to be turned in, knowing he’d be crucified! What this tells me is this: Christ wanted to commit suicide—in so many words, no? Which means that what they call the whole Judeo-Christian structure of Christianity has to be re-thought (is there such a word? I think so!) re-thought. That would mean that with all Christian morality being re-examined it could knock out the underpinnings of President Bush’s belief in pro-life, his belief in marriage between man and woman and his preemption strategy in Iraq, basing it as he did on the Just War theory of Thomas Aquinas who is out-of-date now,too. Now that Judas has come into the picture, it all changes. But I’ll leave it there, to bring it up again in May on the CBS Evening News.”

Actually, so-called Gospels turn up all the time, the last one being the Gospel of Thomas. But there is one known as the Gospel of Mary Magdalen and it’s not surprising there’s one purportedly by Judas. They are generally unauthorized accounts, written at least several centuries after the time of Christ and cannot be verified except by those who want to speculate. One man, Dan Brown, appropriated…whether legitimately or not we don’t know…speculation about Magdalen from another source which made him many millions of dollars with The Da Vinci Code.

What we do know is that these latter-day writings all fall into the category of Gnosticism, the doctrine that says esoteric knowledge of divine mysteries is reserved to an elite—which makes any newly-found information, whether credible or not, on the Scriptures very compellingly interesting to liberals. With The Da Vinci Code the liberal wish became the mother of the thought: Christ was, after all, as the song goes in “Jesus Christ Superstar” a man—“just a man.” He married Magdalen; they had children and the terrible secret has been buried by the Catholic Church for centuries, the reason being that the great financial and political superstructure of the Church would be wiped out if people learned the truth. The tantalizing part of Gnosticism is that finally some people are beginning to learn the truth and now we—you and I—will be ushered into that band of elitists, too.

Gnosticism is an equal opportunity heresy. When it encountered Judaism it scrapped the concept of God the Creator with a demiurge, a subordinate manifestation of the Deity who did not know light or goodness. Thus the material world it created was evil. .Man must seek liberation from the evil world of created matter in order to ascend to God. When it encountered Christianity in the second century, where the Gospel of Judas was supposedly written, it taught that the world was made by an evil God and that only a few (sound familiar, readers of Dan Brown?) possess the secret knowledge given the Apostles by Jesus. The real skinny of this idea is possessed by only “spiritual men” who alone knew the true interpretation of cosmic events. In the second century it became quite the thing, and was pursued by people who called themselves Valentinians, Marcionites or Basilidians. They and only they know the real story: everybody else is trying to keep it from us. Pursue it long enough without sufficient sleep and it becomes an aberration which it did for an old monk named Valentinian who was ultimately taken away talking to himself and engaging in a dreadful argument with his “evil nature.”

Knowing how liberals love to identify with the elites, it is easy to see how these heresies come about that separate the ordinary working stiffs like you and me from them. And in this case—wonderful!—it comes just in time for the big Easter marketing push! Great for TV, great for radio talk shows, great for book sales.


  1. Tom,

    What did Couric really say about the gospel of Judas? Those comments had to be made up because she must know that you don't take a document at face value just because it's old.

  2. Bravo, Tom.
    You're comments regarding Topinka are dead-on accurate. This latest episode only confirms what many of us have known for years about Topinka. To be blunt, and perhaps rude, she's a GOP hack who never developed the traits of a strong leader despite being elavated to leadership positions.

    In fairness, the Dems have plenty of hacks of theirs own. I'm not a Democrat. I'm a Republican, and I consider Topinka an embarrassment to the party and to the state at large. I've always thought of her as George Ryan in a clown's wig.

    BTW, I don't care if she smokes. I believe she has the right to kill herself slowly, if she so desires.

    I do thank you for calling 'em as you see 'em. Keep up the good work.

  3. The JBT comments show a real sense of style.