Friday, September 29, 2006

Personal Asides:

Tony Peraica and Russ Stewart on “Political Shootout” Sunday…States Attorney Dick Devine, Federal Judge Bill Bauer, to Speak at Roosevelt …Oprah-Daley Promo Leads “Sun-Times” Front Page As Experts Try to Stop Circulation Hemorrhage…Falwell and Robertson: a Heavy Burden for Evangelicals.


Tony Peraica, fresh from an encounter with the energized anti-right wing devil exorcist Todd Stroger, will be on my WLS-AM “Political Shootout” Sunday along with Nadig newspaper commentator and prescient news analyst Russ Stewart. Peraica will seek to prove that he does not emit sulphur from his nostrils. And that he won’t sign legislation to force all women to conceive more and more children if he becomes county board president. Nor will he give a top job to Alan Keyes. Stewart, a noted wizard of electoral statistics will calculate a change from what initially looked like a Peraica defeat to the beginnings of a very slight chance Peraica can win. Question: can a Republican candidate with not-so-great funding capitalize on unparalleled county corruption to win? Stewart is one of the few who can chart the heavy odds.


Cook county states attorney Dick Devine, a popular Democrat, will be guest lecturer on my Roosevelt University political science course on Thursday, November 16th at 6 p.m. Devine was born on the North Side, one of five children of William Devine, a city employee and Helen, a housewife. He attended Loyola Academy, Loyola University where he received a degree in history and Northwestern University law school. He went to work for the city, became an executive assistant to Mayor Richard J. Daley. Three years later he left for private law practice; then in 1980 returned to public life as first assistant states’ attorney to then States Attorney Richard M. Daley.

After three years in law partnerships, Devine ran for state’s attorney in 1996 and scored what many saw as a surprise upset of Republican Jack O’Malley. He lives in the same north side neighborhood where he grew up with his wife Charlene. They have three sons and a daughter—including two high school teachers, a law student and a police officer. If you were to drop by Hoops, the gym on Chicago’s near West Side at noon any Monday, Wednesday or Friday you would see a group of middle-aged men playing basketball in the Windy City Senior Basketball League, one of which is the 59-year-old Devine. The states attorney will speak on state prosecutors and the Courts at 6 p.m. Thursday, November 16.

Another guest lecturer who will talk about prosecutors and the Courts from a wide perspective will be retired federal Circuit Court of Appeals Judge William Bauer, a candid, witty and no-holds-barred speaker who is famous for his memorable lectures on the circuit. Bill Bauer started off as the elected states attorney of DuPage…was named U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois where he hired Jim Thompson as his first assistant…ran the office that prosecuted Otto Kerner…after which Bauer was named a federal judge and then elevated to the Court of Appeals. We’re very lucky to have him speak to us on his many roles: elected state prosecutor, appointive federal prosecutor, appointive federal district judge and appointive circuit court of appeals judge. He will speak on Thursday. November 2 at 7 p.m.

Circulation Hemorrhage.

In an attempt to stanch its circulation hemorrhage, the “Sun-Times” under new editor Michael Cooke spun up yesterday as its front page story POWER LUNCH (aping the back sports page) featuring Oprah and Mayor Daley at pro-abort Hedy Ratner’s Women’s Business Development Center lunch. Ratner should pinch herself at her luck. It would have rated placement on page 57 behind the corset ads at any normal newspaper era. But John Barron didn’t give the paper enough oomph and now the crass sensationalist Michael Cooke will try.

In the story, Oprah, who earlier endorsed Barack Obama for president (wonder why?), told a pathetically groveling Rod Blagojevich that she is grateful for all he does (huh?). Inside the taste-debased paper, huge railroad gothic headlines proclaim juicy divorce stories and black exploitative sensational stories. The style is based on the New York “Daily News” format of sticking a little ginger under the editorial horse’s tail to purportedly promote style. Question: are Chicagoans truly so drugged by entertainment that they will not read newspapers—reacting like the people in Aldous Huxley’s novel “Brave New World” who only responded to sensations transmitted from screens known as “the feelies”? If so, God help us all.


I used to think Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson are getting bad press because they do not share mainstream media’s liberal preoccupations…but after meeting them both I have to say they are so medieval, laced with mindless staccato biblical quotes, that they richly deserve the opprobrium. When he was running for president, Robertson told me about a terrific storm that was headed for his mammoth television studio in Virginia Beach. He said he knelt down to pray and the storm detoured and took out a third of Front Royal. Anyone who believes God acts that way…that he is on such a wave-length with Almighty God…and that by force of his prayer can re-direct a storm to hit innocent people (God being convinced Robertson is worth more than they) is a nut-bar…which unfortunately threatens to hold all Protestant evangelicalism to be held in disrepute.

Likewise, the clownish Falwell, complete with pinky ring, who could easily be cast as Willy Loman in any second-rate theatrical production, brings cynicism to true evangelism. He recently said Hillary Clinton resembles the devil incarnate. When he spoke at the City Club 29 years ago, picketers showed up with “Down with Falwell” signs. They stirred up excitement. I thought they were rather illiterate leftists when they talked to me, and sure enough one told me they were hired by Falwell’s people to gin up media excitement. Suffice it to say he belongs in the same Jesus Jumper cadre as the late Amy Semple McPherson and the fictional Elmer Gantry…a disreputable stereotype which blackens all legit evangelical ministers. Robertson and Falwell are seldom mentioned—because they are an embarrassment—in the most impressive, classic evangelical Protestant publication in the country which I read every week, “World” magazine.


  1. As an evangelical (who makes no pretensions to sainthood), I have to agree with you about Falwell and Robertson. The stunts they've pulled over the years have given us a bad name. On the day of judgment, I have no desire to be standing next to either of them considering how God isn't so hot on people who put words in His mouth.

  2. While Falwell has his eccentricities, we can assuredly count on the press to magify them by distortion (e.g., the fabricated story about him criticizing the TeleTubbies). Having said that, I won't deny that he periodically makes himself the very sort of target his enemies are seeking.

    In any event, I must still admit that when I was a high school freshman - around which time the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops was issuing its pastoral letter on nuclear weapons - I found myself listening to Falwell and asking myself, "Now, why can't Cardinal Bernardin be more like him?"


    PS: McPherson's first name is spelled "Aimee", not "Amy".

  3. If you go to the web address
    you'll see the original article in Falwell's National Liberty Journal.

  4. May the Sun Times and all its works perish or, better yet, may it live on but be taken over by sane people, ie., conservatives, some of them at any rate.
    What a shame that Rupert Murdoch was forced to sell the Sun Times back to the liberals in order to buy a TV station here for his Fox network. (An FCC rule that, ever so conveniently, didn't apply to the Trib which was "grandfathered" in to such purchases.) It wasn't exactly the Washington Times under Rupert but it did have columnists like Buckley and Sobran and a much saner editorial slant. How the liberals howled and rent their garments when Rupert took over the Sun Times! Remember the exodus of columnists like Royko and quite a few others at the time? Ah, yes, Tom is so right, the power to change the political climate that a newspaper has far exceeds all the electronic media put together. The liberals, as crazy as they are, seem to understand this rather obvious fact of political and cultural life quite well, conservatives don't seem to be able to get it. Well, keep preaching Tom, maybe just once your sermon will be heard by that man or woman of action with deep pockets, an iron will and the sense to listen. Such a one must be out there somewhere. As long as the liberals have a death grip on the media in Chicago as they now do, conservatives will continue to find themselves in a perpetual state of political erectile dysfunction. The Revolution begins with the printed word, comrades. Thus it is now, thus it has always been!

  5. The link certainly does prove that Falwell's journal reported the allegation; and, I can see why the generic link to "Dr. Falwell's Comments on the article below" might give the impression that it is endorsed by Falwell.

    However, neither the link nor even the site's search engine yield any commentary on the subject by Falwell.

    Moreover, Wikipedia's article on Falwell reports that "Falwell denied any personal involvement with the original article, and made clear he never had any prior knowledge of or concern with the Teletubbies."

    Hence, without a smoking-gun citation of Falwell, the allegation remains unsubstantiated.

  6. Considering that Falwell is the publisher of the National Liberty Journal, it's hard to believe his denials of not knowing anything about the story beforehand. It wouldn't be the first time that Falwell has tried to shade the truth. He did so a few years ago when he denied that his Old Time Gospel Hour has lost its tax exempt status in 1986 and 1987 for partisan political activity.