Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Personal Asides: Just Asking--Does Obama Also Dream of His White Mother?...Big Daddy Beavers is Hurting Todd Stroger’s Case…Frank Nofzinger Wins “Cool Water” Quiz Hands Down…Oberweis and Franks on Sunday’s Political Shootout



Taking a risk that I will once again run afoul of the rigid czar of political correctness and secularism, the Tribune’s Eric Zorn, I nevertheless deign to comment further on Barack Obama. The last time I did, I offended some by saying that if Obama’s complexion were as black as, say, John Stroger’s and his nose not as slender as a Caucasian, he would not be as popular with the wine and brie near North Side crowd who see in him the perfect half caste they would want their daughters to marry. Zorn nearly had a heart attack, entitling his piece “What in the world has happened to Tom Roeser?” implying that I have offended all African Americans. No blacks I know were upset--just white liberals like Zorn.

This time I will merely ask a question, having read the latest Lynn Sweet adulatory column on the Senator run in the Democratic newspaper of record. Recording all his journeys, like Boswell did Johnson, she says Obama will travel to Kenya next month where his father lived. This is the latest in a series of Obama references to his father, including his best-selling book, Dreams From My Father. Which leads me to wonder why he dwells so much on his absent black father, who skipped out on the family when Obama was a child in order to attend Harvard, never to return…and so little on his white mother from Kansas who raised the children alone and remained with them throughout their lives?

Perhaps Ms. Sweet who is better versed in liberal theology could tell us if it is more politically romantic in this pre-presidential primary season for a black candidate to dwell on the absent black father than the white Mom who stuck it out. If so, that wistfulness is germane only to liberal Democrats. Gerald Ford, for instance, tells us that his father, Leslie King, came to see Ford once when the future president was a teen-ager, introduced himself and left. Ford never cared to follow up the association: very understandable…but then Ford did not have an absent black father but a very irresponsible white one. Is Obama by his frequent references telling us things are different with blacks? A future Obama biographer may tell us (and maybe it will be Ms. Sweet): why the longing for the black father and not more praise for the white mother who stayed by him? No, on further reflection, I don’t think it will be Ms. Sweet. Had my father abandoned me, I don’t think I’d be writing books fantasizing about him but would probably do one about my mother.

There: that will strike dainty political correctionists as terribly impolitic to ask but I did. An aside: as a white, I couldn’t dare ask even this mild question in either ultra-correct major Chicago newspaper, folks, because we would not want this to seem a slur at departed black fathers even though sociologists note that much of urban poverty and suffering has come from their having abandoned their progenies. Only journalists who are entitled to ask this question must be black, like the estimable Mary Mitchell, who, to her great credit, often does. It is indelicate for whites to ask. See how absurd this political correct business is?

Note: Zorn, incidentally, is offended that Obama uses generalized religiosity and spiritual imagery in his speeches, evidently believing the world just flew together, piece by minute piece to become, from a sea of atoms, something as complex as humanity, all bits and pieces plopping together on one day with a Great Bang yet with no Designer or First Cause. Obama’s references concerns Eric who obviously believes the line between church and state is crossed in this way. Possibly ten gorillas sitting down before ten electric typewriters could, pressing their fingers on the keys, by the barest mathematical probability produce “The Merchant of Venice.” Zorn is welcome to that view which is what Darwin fanatics who don’t believe in the inculcation of the soul insist, but why is he critical of those who wish to believe—and expound—the more logical scenario like Obama? Perhaps we should ask his paper’s marketing department which has constructed the ideal paper for Winnetka white shoes for whom the mention of God twice in the same cocktail party by the same person means the presence of a fundamentalist odd ball. There: that explains the interminable deathless colloquies between Eric and Mary…Mary Schmich, is it?

Big Daddy Beavers

Cook county government has had its share of bosses, from Anton Cermak to Dan Ryan to Bill Erickson to Dick Ogilvie to George Dunne to John Stroger, but it always has rewarded bosses who got there on their own. If the putsch to put the very tiny chip off the old block Todd Stroger in his father’s seat is successful, it will be evidence that government has become more decadent: allowing a master wire-puller to all but run county government who has not been elected to do so, i.e. Alderman Beavers, who unashamedly reels off as his personal goals “power, jobs and contracts.” With Beavers pulling the strings of the marionette, in this age where reformers are succeeding in taming even the Daleys, the county is reversing course. Some are warning that there will be a mighty backlash in the African American community. How long, 0 Lord? How long?


There is no doubt that Connecticut’s Frank Nofsinger has won the cup for correctly identifying the song “Cool Water” and the group that made it a hit, “Sons of the Pioneers.” His erudite justification can be found in Reader’s Comments. He initially did it without use of a search engine, the same pretext that all players of these games must follow. Congratulations, Frank—and for all of you including Frank, ladies and gentlemen, rest your search engines and use your own cerebral equipment to answer this one.

There is a legendary one-upmanship response involving George Bernard Shaw. When he turned ninety, he was feted at a banquet and appeared to be dozing off, possibly indicating that the once-mighty intellect was slowing down. Believing he was asleep, the Master of Ceremonies, a lexicographer, observed this:

“It may interest you to know that most students believe there is only one word in the English language that is spelled `s-u’ and is pronounced `shhh’. That is the word `sugar.’ I ask you, Mr. Shaw, is this assumption incorrect?”

Whereupon Bernard Shaw opened his eyes, shook his head to clear it of the fog and announced one word--.

What was that word?

Oberweis and Franks

Jim Oberweis, just returned from China where he will open an office for Oberweis Securities, will be my guest Sunday on Political Shootout along with Democratic State Rep. Jack Franks, a favorite of this program, the young chairman of the House Committee on State Government Operations. Welcome to them both.


  1. Long time reader;first time scribbler:

    Speaking frankly about race in this City is like eating cotton candy through spun glass - you want to but you always get bloodied up.

    Tom Boyle of the "Irish American News" spoke to this issue in the July edition.
    Rick Kogan and I talked about on his 'Sunday Papers' show. Race matters but it is always an unbalanced ride.

    When, several years ago, the Southwest Catholic Grammar School Conference ugliness surface - WTTW engaged in ambush journalism by pitting plumber Hank Lentzen against Laura Washington, a lawyer for St. Sabina, and an African American clergyperson from the Office of Racial Justice to hit Hank over the head with 'systemic racism.' Phil Ponce took turns giving Hank the boots as well.
    BTW- Hank Lentzen aquitted himself very well.
    The Media loves race it boils the blood and often gets some spilled. Newspapers have been doin so since the 1904 Meatcutters Strike was broken.

    As for Senator Obama, Tom, he is playing to the bleachers.

  2. Obama's rhetorical ploy seems to be fooling the mainstream media quite well. His disingenuous plea that we will “refuse to treat faith as simply another political issue with which to score points”, while he campaign before a left-wing religious group sounds more like a plea for everyone else to give up, so that the leftists can rule.

    Obama's demonizing of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson as the forces of intolerance, also strikes me as uncharitable. The leading forces against the Left are Fr. Robert Sirico, Michael Novak, and Pope Benedict XVI, hardly the punching bags that Obama is swinging at.


  3. Betcha it was "sure."

  4. Betchaitwas"sure."

  5. I see someone beat me to the puch with

  6. Considering his consistent record of failure as a candidate, is it not time for someone to tell Oberweis it's time to hang up his hat? I think he's become a spoiler. He has enough money and name recognition to be a candidate and to divide the conservative vote, but he can't win an election.

  7. Is it the only word? Sure.

  8. Betchaitwas"sure."

  9. Betchaitwas"sure."

  10. Betchaitwas"sure."