Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Personal Asides:

Tony Peraica 3
Jesse Taylor Wins the Trivia Contest…Tribune is Really Starting to Reclaim the Old Bite on Big Box…Tony Peraica and Russ Stewart on “Shootout Sunday”…Censure Durbin Signatures Hit 1,000…Gen. Schwartzkopf’s Views on Forgiveness…Oh-oh, We May Have Spoken Too Soon About the Trib…And Another Trivia.


Jesse Taylor, one of several twice-weekly dinner and Saturday afternoon lunch partners who get together with me from Haymarket Center, has won the big Trivia Contest which no one else has even tried to decipher. The erudite Taylor supplied the correct answer to the puzzle which I will re-state thusly:

Comedian Joe Frisco, a man afflicted with a terrible stutter who used it as a standup comic to make a good living in Hollywood in the `30s, was also addicted to playing the ponies. One day Bing Crosby was at the San Anita track when Frisco lumbered up and said, “B-b-b-bing, you gotta twenty?” Crosby peeled off a twenty from his wallet. Frisco said, “N-n-never forget this, B-b-bing. If I w-w-w-win I’ll repay you.” Frisco plunks down the $20 on a 10 to 1 long shot and it comes home paying him a lot of cash. He goes up to the stands and finds Crosby conferring with a number of Kraft Food execs with whom he has just signed a renewal contract for the top-rated Kraft Music Hall Starring Bing Crosby.

Frisco comes over, tosses the twenty in Crosby’s lap. As everybody looks up, he says: “Here k-k-k-kid, sing us `Melancholy Baby.”


I’m delighted to say that yesterday’s Tribune on the subject of Big Box—whether Wal-Mart and other big stores should be forced to raise the minimum wage—was generally—not in all points—a delight, a glimpse of a return to the old era of the old hair-on-the-chest editorial and news bite. The front page headline which lampooned the city council for regulating Chicagoans but not saying no on its salary hikes was superb and was the editorial against the ridiculous Big Box special minimum wage.

Eric Zorn did his expected thumb-sucking rationale. He bobs right, feints with a left and then with a deep frown veers left letting us think he’s made a reasoned decision. He served cooked up with statistics from liberal sources, only one of which he freely acknowledged was liberal to make the following rationale. He says the hiked minimum wage will have no effect on the economy and part of his citation was the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development which reflects the views of liberal Democratic governor Jim Doyle, a union darling, there. Another source is, guess what: “economists at the University of California-Berkeley. Yet another, one whose slant he disclosed is the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

The sources there said that “living wage” in Santa Fe did not deter private sector employment growth in that town that outpaced the average of New Mexico. There is no direct correlation in the statistics about what happens if a Big Box leaves or if and when a Big Box leaves as result of an ordinance like that what happens to the poor. But Zorn thinks they’ll stay.

It’d be fun to see Zorn explain this to the poor who may well be deprived of work by the short-sighted ordinance. But then Eric never has been much to do public confrontations like that. It has struck some that Zorn resembles the late Paul Simon about whom it was said, “Paul loves humanity; it’s just people he doesn’t feel for.” As when the sainted Paul decided to leave politics and didn’t raise a finger to help place his staff in other jobs, one of the only lawmakers not to do so. I know people who have testified to that.

The Sun-Times weakly editorialized against the special minimum wage hike but in line with its role as the city’s Democratic paper of record doesn’t really have its heart in it because big unions are so supportive. The contrast on this issue between the two papers is really great.

Peraica & Stewart.

Cook county board president Republican nominee Tony Peraica will be on WLS on Political Shootout Sunday (8 p.m.) featuring the articulate, fighting challenger to the handpicked Democrat Todd Stroger and one of the most well-researched journalists in the business, attorney Russ Stewart of the Nadig newspapers. Stewart has made a career of analyzing battles such as the one between Peraica and Stroger. Don’t miss this one.

Censure Durbin.

Censure Durbin signatures hit 1,000 yesterday. Now’s the time to add yours at Someone called and asked about the anomaly of my serving as chairman of the City Club of Chicago and the City Club’s announcement of Durbin to speak there. The president of the City Club is my good friend Jay Doherty, a good Democrat. I would expect to be on hand to take notes. The bifurcated nature of this club is one reason why it’s the premier public affairs club in the state. My suggestion: add your signature to the list and go to the City Club to hear him—thus you can have it both ways.

Gen. Schwartzkopf.

The most vexing question confronting Christians and other people of faith is forgiveness. How can you forgive someone of horrendous and horrific acts such as planning the bombing of the World Trade Center? General Norman Schwartzkopf supplied this answer: “I believe that forgiving them is God’s function. Our job is to arrange the meeting.” What’s your view? Does forgiveness automatically weaken our resolve into a whimpering, simpering wuss nation? Isn’t the answer: We can forgive but not forget? Your responses will be interesting.

Too Soon?

The Trib editorial on Big Box was superb—but lower down the editorial page the paper was again suffering from the wobblies but it narrowly rescued itself—indications that there are some on the editorial-writing staff who are wedded to the old pro, con, on-one-hand, but-then, malady that has infected it for years. The subject is John Bolton, the fore-square UN ambassador who was denied Senate confirmation because his tough-talk offended some pip-squeaks in the Senate. One was Republican George Voinovich of Ohio who actually wept on the floor which caused some to think he is very strange, which is verifiable from some who know him well. Anyhow, the wilted lily solon has now decided to endorse Bolton and wrote in his behalf in the Washington Post. That should have been enough for the Trib to weigh in with affirmative might in Bolton’s behalf. Which it did ultimately but before it rendered judgment, it sounded as if the days of The Whisperer, evasive and temporizing Don Wycliffe, had returned. The editorial veered first to quoting the New York Times as if it were a dispassionate source (“As praise grows at home, envoy faces UN scorn”).

Then the editorial goes: “Of course, one person’s stubborn blockhead is another’s reformist provocateur.” True Wycliffe. Then it replays some of the revisionist Voinovich (“…if he and his Senate colleagues don’t confirm Bolton at a time when he’s spearheading so many U.S. priorities, that decision will `jeopardize our influence in the United Nations”. After an agonized pause the paper concludes “Voinovich is right.” Gee, a masterly display of guts for a simple decision. That the editorial has so many varied ingredients in it leads one to suspect it may have been concocted by Marcia Lythcott whose prior experience was editing a cookbook.


Some say a search engine turned up, for some, the answer to the Joe Frisco thing but to find the answer to this Trivia I don’t think it will. A public official who was a song-writer earlier in his life once went to a ship christening and unwrapped a speech his staff had prepared for the occasion. The official was so good at reading a script, even before he saw it the first time, the words came trippingly off the tongue meticulously. As he started the speech he said he had a joke for the audience. Then he read it. When he finished he howled with laughter saying, “I never heard that one before! It’s terrific! I’ll have to remember it!”—a clear indication his stuff was not only ghost-written but not even perused by him before he delivered it for the first time. Who was the public official? You probably will have to be (a) as old as this writer and (b) as much a political junkie as he to solve it.


  1. Forgiveness should be given... if it is asked for. I've heard no regret from those who killed Americans in the towers, who plant roadside bombs, who use their own people as shields. All I've heard is that they only wish to do more of the same.

  2. Lovie's LeatherJuly 26, 2006 at 7:12 AM

    I agree with Freidrich, "if it is asked for." But when it comes to things like the death penalty, if we had a policy of, "Forgive and live" or some crap like that, there would be no point in having the death penalty. Every murderous con would say, "Oh Lord, please forgive me of my transgressions." Also, how could we forgive them for killing 3,000 people and not kill them if they wanted to kill 30,000 more? How can we forgive someone if they ask for it? Asking forgiveness is just using words. They must prove their forgiveness to be forgiven!

  3. SWAG (silly wildass guess)= Fiorello LaGuardia. Or was it Al Smith?

  4. I stand with Stormin' Norman. It is up to the individual families of those lost on 9/11 to consider this matter. The rest of us should make every effort to support those who are trying to prevent another dastardly attack, and thank God that we were spared. Don't lose any sleep waiting for these vicious bastards to ask forgiveness of anyone.

  5. I'm glad Tony is on the show again. He is by far the only credible candidate on the ballot and hopefully enough liberals will either stay home or consider the shady politics involved and vote for a reform candidate - a candidate who voted several times with another "reform" candidate - Forest Claypool on several issues before the board over the past few years.

    Crook County needs reform as much if not more than Chicago - Tony can hopefully lead the way!!!

  6. As an aside, I am acquainted with Eric Zorn and your comment about him not caring about people on an individual basis is far off the mark.

    Regarding forgiveness, it can only be given to one who wants it. Do you think any of the terrorists behind 9/11 want forgiveness?

  7. Patrick McDonoughJuly 26, 2006 at 5:29 PM

    Russ Stewart never fails to amaze me at his insite into chicago political trends. Mr Russ Stewart is a Political Gem. Patrick McDonough.

  8. Saying he will not lift a finger to do anything to prevent abortions at Cook County Hospital and bragging to be the only Republican and the Pro Illegal Alien Amnesty Rally will turn off many conservatives. Sounds like a Judy Baar Topinka Republican to me. Oh wait, he is a JBT Republican.

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