Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Personal Asides: “That’s Stella”…Adding to the List…Noonan vs. Parke on “Political Shootout” Sunday…Is It a Conspiracy Theory on Why Some Democrats Want Topinka?



The latest John Barron-edited Sun-Times debasement of the public taste came yesterday in Stella Foster’s column which like all others of the Democratic newspaper of record’s offerings is designed to fill marketing niches. You’re supposed to understand and forgive Stella’s writing rather style-lessly as with a crayon about middle-aged blacks (and evidently expected to attribute it to African American genre) just as you are to tolerate Neil Steinberg’s dotings on youngish upwardly-mobile youth. Stella’s an ex-understudy promoted to chronicle affirmative action gossip about people twenty blocks south and fifteen blocks west of the main line. She’s as dated as Louella Parsons’ chant: “Now for my first exclusive!”

But as a niche-filler she is no different from these: Debra Pickett to write about youngish married and single remorselessly liberal white women, Richard Roeper for beer and pretzels-chomping movie-watching liberal white males, Father Andrew Greeley for still dissenting (as per the fantasized “spirit of Vatican II”) Call to Action-style liberal Democratic white Catholics, Mary Mitchell for angry black women, caustic they’re ignored yet still subservient to the black male Democratic party-run machine hierarchy and Cathleen Falsani, supposed to write religion news, but concentrates with liberal guilt over her enjoyment of air conditioning although it despoils the environment. (This is religion Sun-Times style). No one at the paper worries about polluting the taste environment, though, least of all Foster who signs off her column with the hackneyed “that’s Stella in the city” hoping no one remembers it’s a takeoff from the late Earl Wilson (a New York Post long-dead pal of Kup’s) who concluded: “that’s Earl, brother!” Only someone in the last stages of ageist decrepitude would know that.

No other niche-columnist at the paper should lord it over Stella. They all deal in pie-tin-shallow social climbers but Stella’s marketing notch is evidently about older African Americans and many have died off. The remaining names have served since she was ghosting for Kup with the mission to add a sprinkling of bold-faced black celebrities to the long list of his Hyde Park and Hyde Park-North Evanston friends who picked up his long lunch tabs. But how often can one recycle Dempsey Travis or the pathetically guilt-ridden whitey Father Michael Pfleger anyhow?

Kup religiously stayed away from writing blue—but Stella, with a diminishing lineup of inherited old-timers has to do something to doll-up the ancient black bold-print faces. So she has to crib blue from Essence about Janet Jackson’s being thrilled with her long-time (5 years) boyfriend Jermaine “JD” Dupri. You know him, I’m sure. Huh, you don’t know JD? “I know why she is always smiling,” Stella quotes Janet as saying. “`I feel like I finally met my [sexual] match. In relationships, it was always the guy telling me, `OK, hold on, wait a minute.’ I’d ask my girlfriends, `Aren’t we supposed to be the ones who say, `Wait, not tonight. I have a headache?’ This happened through two marriages for me. I thought, `Something’s not right here.’ But with Jermaine I `don’t have to say anything; he knows I’m ready. Any time any place.’” To which Foster adds, “Hey, too much information…but I understand!”

No subtle writer, she’s rather like someone who tells you a dirty joke and keeps nudging you in the ribs, leeringly and repeating: get it, get it? How can this salacious tripe be regarded as anything but demeaning to African Americans and embarrassingly vapid as a supposed celebrity column? If the marketing niches must stay, how about a column that presents the best of the black community, John Barron? Or doesn’t your demographic study allow for even rare references to socially conservative (as reflected by their church membership), circumspect, morally upright and successful African Americans?

It is impossible to get a working knowledge of Illinois politics without receiving which beginning today this Blog will offer as a permanent link. An important corollary is to subscribe to the Capitol Fax newsletter which covers Illinois politics like the proverbial blanket. Rich Miller is certainly the hardest working…often the most perceptive…political reporter and analyst in the state. The thought of the hours he must put in is really staggering. Often his views are not those of this Blog but his insight and hustle regularly out-performs any of the opposition he faces. He is the epitome of the old-school, scoop-driven political reporter.

Noonan vs. Parke.

State Representative Terry Parke, (R-Hoffman Estates), a stalwart Republican and veteran supporter of social conservatism will be paired opposite Mike Noonan, former campaign manager for Lisa Madigan when she was elected attorney general of Illinois in 2002. Noonan has just been named the campaign manager for Todd Stroger, Democratic nominee for president of the Cook county board. This will be Mike’s formal debut as manager of one of the highest visibility posts in Illinois and Terry Parke is a thoroughly knowledgeable expert on state finances so it should be very interesting. That’s Sunday at 8 p.m. on WLS-AM (890).

Conspiracy Theory?

A respondent named William writes in Readers’ Comments that it is a conspiracy theory that a good number of Democrats want Topinka to be elected governor, to serve for one-term, sign a general income tax increase and leave the way clear to Lisa Madigan to serve a beatific and generally fiscally trouble-free term. Hmmm. Then how do you explain the fact that State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock), highly regarded by this Blog and an outstanding leader in the legislature who has refused to endorse Blagojevich for reelection said confirmed on “Political Shootout” the same scenario when questioned? Jack Franks’ great virtue is that he is absolutely candid on many things, is not duplicitous and is regarded by this Blog as a future leader of the state. Just asking, William.


  1. Tom, your post from Monday included the following sentence, which I quote in its entirety:

    "Now, however, they are evidently pro-Topinka and are urging businesses not to miss the boat in giving to her, citing the imperative of her savvy to business issues…not mentioning the obvous: that by not taking a no tax hike pledge, she is passing the word to Democrats that, if elected, she will raise taxes and thereby eliminate the deficit…while serving one term…and making it easy for Lisa Madigan to run, get elected and serve without fiscal problems."

    Specifically, Tom, the clause "By not taking a no tax hike pledge, she is passing word to Democrats..." is a conspiracy theory.

    Your statement that Judy is passing messages is ridiculous.

    This is hard to take seriously.

    As I said earlier, Tom, I don't think you really believe that.

    With all due respect, Jack Franks didn't address your statement from Monday that Judy was obviously sending messages to Democrats saying that she'd raise taxes. His statements on your show several weeks ago have no bearing Monday's blog comments.

  2. I've started a new blog about Illinois Politics, specifically the nationally-important race to fill Rep. Henry Hyde's seat in the Sixth District (Dupage County), Illinois. The Blog is called: Republicans for Duckworth: A View of the Illinois 6th District Race from Tom Paine's Perspective.

    It's online at:

    Please post a comment on the blog, mention it in your blog, and let me know if you'd like to be on my blogroll. I appreciate your support.


    Thomas Paine
    Glen Ellyn, IL