Wednesday, October 28, 2009

4 Thoughts While Shaving—4.


1. The Heartland Institute.

One of the nation’s finest think tanks is located right here in Chicago—but has exerted national influence. It is The Heartland Institute which has helped me in multifarious ways with innovative research and excellent speakers on current topics ranging from the economy through its superb discounting of the global warming baloney (now called by liberals “climate change” since lack of warming is so obvious). Heartland is celebrating its 25th anniversary tomorrow (Thursday) with its annual dinner at the Hilton downtown.

Here are just a few of the many-many accomplishments it’s chalked up in the last quarter century: helped defeat tax subsidies for sports stadiums, convention centers and municipal broadband ventures…all of which should be paid by private funds…thus saving taxpayers billions…helped defeat hundreds of proposals to hike income, sales, excise and property taxes at federal, state and local levels…has become the country’s finest advocates of school choice, helping write legislation creating vouchers, tax credits and charter school programs that enroll 2 million students every year…

…helped defeat ClintonCare and is doing a great job educating the unwary on ObamaCare now…has led the way on the follies of global warming: the principal reason only 36% support it now. I remember when, before Heartland started on the issue, a heavy majority of Americans supported it, misled by faulty liberal reasoning…distributed more than a million books and a million videos on multitudinous topics but primarily debunking the propaganda on climate change—running nearly $2 million in advertisements, including one that challenged Algore to debate (he finked out)…hosted three international conferences on the issue featuring scientists from 26 countries.

To accomplish these thing it has benefited from a tremendous leader all those years in Joe Bast, its first employee. At his side is a brilliant guy who possesses great resources as one of the best communicators I have ever met: Dan Miller, the former editor of Crain’s who was business editor of the Sun-Times who was a regular for many years on Chicago Week in Review.

There’s still time to attend its birthday banquet. Call them NOW at

(312) 377-4000 and tell them you want to support them for the fine work they are doing to save this country.

2. Reward the Experiment by Tuning in CBS-2 Chicago.

While I’m in such a good mood about Heartland, I want to commend a great experiment in sold news content—the CBS-2 news show at 10 p.m. It’s no secret that they have had a rocky couple of years with their ratings…but lo and behold…they have totally revised their news presentation by stressing solid Chicago content at 10 p.m. (I haven’t caught the other hours). What I like about them is that it has no glitz, no endless happy talk, no joshing and giggling…but also they have dropped stories that fill their competitive stations with brain-dead and inane cotton candy-type fare such as…happy puppies with ribbons at a doggy fair…a 5-year-old weight lifter ad vomit which passes for “news.”

The news staff is one of the finest I’ve seen covering the news and I first started watching…gosh…when Fahey Flynn was on with his jowls and bowtie. The best anchor I’ve seen here in years is Rob Johnson…supported by Jay Levine…superb investigations by Pam Zekman who I’ve known since she was a faux bar owner of The Mirage which we at the Better Government Association set up to catch Old Man Daley’s crooked plumbing inspectors.

Do turn to it at 10 because I for one want to see a first-class content-wise news operation succeed…which may spur competitors to imitate them with content not fluff.

3. Why Won’t The Economist Subscription Run Out?

The biggest disappointment in many years has been the gradual turning from a brilliant news/commentary publication…The Economist…to another liberal, pro-gay, pro-death-with-dignity publication that has lost its soul. It is tedious to keep on receiving it…waiting for my subscription to run out. I have studiously ignored it ever since it greeted Obama with wild huzzas, pointing out that with luck he can duplicate Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal which “conquered the Depression.” As if a succession of good economic historians like Amy Shlaes haven’t pointed out how the Depression was never conquered until World War II set the economy to churning.

Well I reserve vapid reading for the bathroom and yesterday, ensconced on my throne, I reluctantly turned to the magazine (which calls itself a newspaper)…hoping that for these few moments of solitary self-communion I could find something not banal. But—sure thing—there is a review of two books about Ayn Rand. Now I am not critical of Ayn Rand, enjoyed while young “Atlas Shrugged,” loved “The Fountainhead” film…regarding Ayn’s studiously embraced atheism as erratic but redeemed somewhat…somewhat…by her steady drumbeat that said this country’s innovative freedoms are being ground to bits by liberal statism..

But get the headline extolling her in The Economist: “Capitalism’s Martyred Hero.” How’s that again—martyred hero? The loose appellation “martyred” has been applied to almost everyone who has been killed. Our sloppy media call JFK “the martyred president.” Lincoln was “a martyred president.” Both assassinations were tragic—but were they “martyred”? The definition of martyr is this: One who accepts death rather than yield his religious convictions.

That doesn’t fit many people. Lincoln was laughing his guts out at a vulgar show “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s on Good Friday when a nutty actor blew his brains out. Kennedy was riding in a motorcade in Dallas, he being in that town to stabilize the Democratic party which was warring between factions, one headed by John Connally and the other by Ralph Yarborough. Ayn Rand martyred? The Economist cites favorably two biographies that claim she had her critics—evidently the pretext for the claim she was martyred. She died in her bed a multi-millionaire from her books with millions of adulatory followers. She was a carnal pig—desirous of an expanded sex life, she told Nathaniel Brandon her acolyte that she had arranged it with his wife that they could share him. She insisted that her husband wear a bell on one shoe so that when she approached her while she was reading she could hear him coming. When Brandon tired of her and left, she was disconsolate.

But Ayn Rand a martyr? Then just before tossing this dreadful pagan publication to the other side of the room from my seated position, I glanced at the obligatory simpering obituary which appears every week. This was a lachrymose piece detailing a great loss…as usual about someone no one ever heard of except some fruit loops in England—this about one Sir Ludovic Kennedy who crusaded for “the right to a good death”—voluntary euthanasia.

Martyr and advocate of “the right to a good death.” My God how soon will it take for that subscription to run out?

4. A Conservative Genius in Herscher, Illinois.

I’ve praised Jim Ridings before. He’s the gifted author of the only book written about the most crooked, most venal Illinois governor…and no I don’t mean Blago. Blago was an amateur. I mean Kankakee’s Len Small. Jim is a retired, aged 59, former investigative reporter for some southern Illinois newspapers. Now it turns out he varied his great writing with a cartooning skill that easily…very easily…surpasses anything Doonsbury has done, or Charles Schulz with “Peanuts”—or anyone else. So excited was I when I received his book of cartoons that I phoned him and asked if he would please draw and write for The Chicago Daily Observer.

Jim said he’d consider writing for it but he’s abandoned cartooning. I want to tell you that’s a great shame because his book of cartoons easily rivals in its way anything I’ve read that skewers liberalism. His cartoon book, written some years ago, is entitled “The Politically Incorrect Cheese Weasel.” I don’t know but it’s probably still available along with his Len Small bio which I definitely know is available. You can inquire by writing Jim Ridings at “Side Show Books, P. O. Box 464. Herscher, Illinois 6094.

No comments:

Post a Comment