Friday, August 17, 2007

Personal Asides: It’s Howard Brookins and Russ Stewart on Sunday’s “Shootout.” Nuanced Opinion on Kjellander but Not Inconsistent…”Tribune” Editorials Getting Much Better….But It’s Columnists? Aside From Kass & Byrne I’d Say Nada, except maybe Zorn


Brookins & Stewart.

Alderman Howard Brookins (26th), a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Cook county States Attorney will be paired with Russ Stewart, lawyer and political analyst for Nadig Newspapers this coming Sunday (WLS-AM, 890) at 8 p.m.. Of interest is that Mike Noonan, the leading young political manager in the Democratic stable, will likely be running the campaign for Brookins which tells you how significant the Brookins candidacy is to the Cook county Democratic party. Noonan took over the foundering Todd Stroger campaign for president of the Cook county Board and turned it into a winning race. His taking over the campaign shows that it evidently is of four-star importance to the Cook county Democratic party.

Nuanced Opinion.

A question has been raised by several readers through the chiaroscuro . What has been my stand on Bob Kjellander continuing as national committeeman? The opinion has been nuanced, unable to be understood by either the scribe or a blog-meister who registers hard-line disapproval with repetitive words “sad-sad-sad” and “outrage-outrage-outrage” followed by “utterly outrageous”. Those who don’t understand nuance could not appreciate the tack that had to be taken by, say, Lincoln in the pre-Civil War days…declaring that the Union should be preserved at all costs with or without abolition of slavery…then saying that a house divided against itself (as it was with slavery) cannot stand. Not inconsistent but pointing generally to inevitability which confounded black-white mindsets of his day but was brilliantly evocative of nuanced opinion. But to some of his day and today, anything other than slogans written with crayola or in capital letters are not valid.

Okay. Looking at my past words on the issue there is no inconsistency. I criticized Kjellander for not either resigning as committeeman to pursue his lobbying business or declining the lobbying account with Bear-Stearns…suggesting that he should resign. Indeed at one point I suggested he should be let go. But when the screaming from the black-white boys got so intense as to preclude any other discussion…and when it was suggested that no progress could be made within the GOP without Kjellander’s going, I disagreed with that approach. Strictly speaking there was never a time when Kjellander’s staying on jeopardized the Republican party except with the Johnny-one-notes who cannot think of more than one issue at a time.

I maintained that the furor over Kjellander was uncivil and out of joint. I followed up by saying that personally I would not continue to serve were I Kjellander but that Kjellander’s appointment was made under legitimate electoral processes. Kjellander is a friend of mine…just as Eddie Vrdolyak is a friend of mine. Their unpopularity has nothing to do with friendship or the loss of it. Those who conduct tirades with one eye cocked to see that their employer approves of their ranting are craven, cheap and unworthy of having a discussion with…which is the case with my former critic. With respect to another one, I have no doubt that this will be billed as “sad” or “outrageous” or “extremely outrageous” but similar to the initial critic,one who cannot find different words to express disagreement is poverty-stricken and with whom no reasonable discourse can be pursued.

Please understand that any further abridgment of words and phrases to effect a dis-constructionist argument…one which I fully expect… is not worth reply. And let this be the last word I will utter on this so called “major issue.”

“Tribune” Editorials.

No one has difficulty understanding the blunt point of views expressed in the “Sun-Times” editorials…which is now just (with one notable exception) about the best thing remaining in the paper after the demise of Mark Steyn, Mary Laney, Betsy Hart and other writers of a firmly conservative view (I do not consider George Will’s thumb-sucking which use allusions to 1066 A. D. equivalent). The great exception to mediocrity in the “Sun-Times” is assuredly its terrific cartoonist Jack Higgins who to me is the finest practitioner of the great newspaper art in the country.

Earlier the “Tribune’s” editorials have been mashed potato sandwiches: here are the facts…pro this…anti-that…and for the future who knows?

Happily this has changed somewhat…not perfectly at the good grey “Tribune.” Perfection has not arrived yet (and I deem perfection the way the “New York Times” and “The Wall Street Journal” write editorials, remembering that I universally disagree with the former and almost always agree with the latter. The “Tribune” editorial “A Very Cold War” says that the U. S. cannot make any claim on the North Pole with its priceless resources since it hasn’t planted a flag there and we don’t have a seat on the UN panel. Weak tea. The “Tribune’s” old hero of 1912 TR would not agree. You mean to say that the depth soundings that Admiral Peary took at the North Pole which are ratified by soundings of today should not be taken into consideration just because a bunch of Russians sank a flag? Nonsense he would say. But not the limp-wristed “Tribune.”

But the paper states a a position anyhow.

“A Six Month Spy Fix” is admirable—affixing the blame on the Democratic Congress for adjourning for vacation without fixing the country’s ability to secretly eavesdrop on suspected terrorists. The old “Tribune” of, say, a month or so ago would say…some think this is too bad and others think it is too important a subject on which to act rashly…hence time will tell. Not this time. Excellent.

“The Kiss of the Unknown Sailor,” pegging the Navy gob who was pictured nationally celebrating VJ Day by kissing a girl, is interesting but is a feature story and doesn’t belong as an editorial.

“Growing McCormick Place” does urge the legislature to restructure the convention center’s debt takes a stand but is old-fashioned boosterism, urging public dough for a project that should have been privately supported anyhow. But it takes a stand.

However “Noriega’s Next Stop” is a reversion to the old “who knows?” editorials with the flabbyness that made the paper the best dry-goods you can buy for 50 cents. It reports that both France and Panama want Noriega to stand trial…Panama for money laundering (10 years) and France for murder (20). But instead of making a decision the paper punts, saying that Panama will probably get him and then we’ll see if they mean business. Weak-weak tea from the old days.

“The Failure of Abstinence Ed” takes a stand and for this the paper should be praised—but it reflects the mindset of the Hinsdale country club with which the paper is so intimately connected. Because two pro-abort organizations diss abstinence education—the AMA and American Academy of Pediatrics—Congress should not spend money on it. No mention of other highly significant findings. But it is important to recognize that the business office runs the editorial department; so it’s important to appease big advertisers and soulless money people anyhow who are led by their noses by their wives who, angry at being left home while the big guys lunch at the big clubs, take out their wrath by instilling a bit of feminism which causes the old guys who say “yes m’dear.”

“If Schools Win More Money…” declares it is lockstep with the teachers’ union, that more money should be poured into the failing public schools in line with the “Trib’s” innocuous series that was stuck together with placating platitudes, “From Here to Excellence.” Awful. But it does take a stand even though it is comfortably Hinsdale Country Club.

“Still the Master of the Game” heralds Hank Aaron vs. Barry Bonds asterisk showing. It takes a position for Aaron but very predictable. So-so but in the old days it’d say, who knows?

“Tribune” Columnists.

As previously stated, the “Tribune’s” columnists are eminently forgettable except for John Kass and Op Ed’er Denny Byrne…but here I make an addition. I think Eric Zorn has come a long way recently since his views have become less predictably liberal and more nuanced…which doesn’t meant that he has shucked his liberalism but that his way of putting it is often memorable. Maybe I’m getting senile but I am even starting to like Mary Schmich…so long as she and Eric don’t write back and forth anymore.

The syndicated ones with the exception of Charles Krauthammer are dreadful. Why in God’s name the grinning mug of Hinsdale county club’s favorite sardonic son, Garrison Keillor, is included is anyone’s guess. He is the male equivalent in predictability of the “Sun-Times’” Cathleen (Ding-Dong-the-Witch-is-Dead!) Falsani.


  1. Don Tomas,

    Howard Brookins had some trouble with the City a bit back - seems he had some dangerously unkempt and unsafe properties right here in the community.

    Before he rolls up his sleeves on this new venture, maybe he had better take care of the 'incidental.' The devil is in the details.

  2. Peter Granata, a name I haven't heard for years and years. It belonged to his son, also, who attended Marmion at the same time I did. Wonder, too, if the Bill Small who was a stand out player for University of Illinois and from Aurora was any relation to this other Small of whom you write.

  3. "Kjellander is a friend of mine...just as Eddie Vrdolyak is a friend of mine."

    You think your friends are people who are so special that: rules, laws, the things ordinary people have to do in a civil society; these mundane things don't apply to them?

    How Dirkheimian of you!

    From (Émile Durkheim; April 15, 1858 – November 15, 1917, sociologist.)

    I encounter Durkheim's POV, Point Of View, often and I usually disagree with him. For instance, when I served on a Suicide Board at Rush-Presbyterian-St.Lukes, most of the Board followed his logic on analysis and treatment the of suicidal patient.

    I respectfully disagreed.

    And I respectfully disagree with you about how to "nuance" or apply "chiaroscuro" to the lives of Kjellander and Vrdolyak.

    They exist on a continuum, where at best they are characters...liars...rascals...scoundrels...hustlers...con-men and at worst are bullies...crooks...thugs...criminals.