Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Personal Asides: Look at the On One Hand and On the Other in Trib Cops-Gang Meeting Editorial and Elitism with the Ground Zero Mosque!... France’s Economic Minister: Is She a Looker or What? A Plebiscite.

  Feast of St. Cloud*  
               Ask what is wrong with Tribune [sic] which is wallowing in bankruptcy and you find there are one major reason. Its editorial positions are largely (1) evasive and (2) elitist. It is ill-suited for what has been called “the most American city.”   
             Here is one example. 
               1. WEIS-GANG MEETING.
            If the Tribune wants to learn why it’s in bankruptcy, it should list as Item A its editorial on Jody Weis and the gang bangers which is gutless and weasel-worded in the extreme. Ill-suited for the most American city, Chicago. Its views could reflect Cedar Rapids, Ia. or Manhattan—but not Chicago.  On key editorial blood and guts issues endemic to this city,  it plays hop-scotch between the cautious political correctness which smacks of the faculty lounge and the legitimate anger that every index of public opinion shows that most Chicagoans rightly feel.  On fiscal issues, as the ones pertaining to Illinois, the paper is pretty good—and explicit. But it usually passes the buck on heavily controversial issues…like Weis and the gangs.  
       The Tribune likely won’t parse its editorial even in the sancto sanctorum of its editorial offices…so I’ll do it for them.
       The top editorial…days in the creating…deals with Police Superintendent Jody Weis’ private meeting with leaders of this city’s most murderous gangs.  
       Here we go.  It’s entitled Weis’ Thin Reed.  
       On one hand the word “negotiate” smacks of appeasement—
        But on the other, Weis says that’s not what occurred.
        On one hand this paper has used lots of trees and ink to advise the city to use “imaginative and firm” tactics to lower the crime rate and true it has… 
        But on the other, young people and police officers still are dying.
        On one hand, “we hope to the heavens” the meetings succeeds because “it’s perfectly legal for members of law enforcement to threaten that they’ll enforce the law”and the gangs were goofy to allege they were harassed.  
         But on the other,  “news of a police chief meeting with chiefs of death dealing gangs” is risky because it may give gangs the idea they’re on equal footing with the cops. 
          On one hand “that doesn’t make Weis wrong to try to stop the killing” — 
           But on the other, “any communication with cold-blooded criminals is bound to be controversial”…so—
          On one hand we hope Weis succeeds in Chicago…but—
          On the other, “we hope his outreach to gangs doesn’t raise their stature.”
           The End. 
           Now the most pitiful cliché of them all where as designated above by the asterisk (*) the paper feels compelled to say it’s   *: “[P]erfectly legal for members of law enforcement to threaten that they’ll enforce the law”!
Boy, that’s calling `em straight from the shoulder, isn’t it?  
            It falls right in line with the limp Daley-supported Weis-Gang meeting.   If the CPD has to meet with murderers and tell them now quit the killing you guys because this is really going to make us angry…doesn’t that communicate the supine-ness of city government?   
         Notice in this editorial the paper has not taken a stand on the rightness or the wrongness of the cops-gang meeting. It punts. It doesn’t come right out and say it supports the gang-meeting.  Yet it doesn’t say it opposes it. It merely hopes for the best.   If this “editorial” sounds like it’s written by a committee… likely it has been. 
       God knows, I’m not in favor of an editorial policy following the polls…but the paper ought to take notice of the tough nature that is Chicago. If there’s one thing Chicago newspaper readers aren’t, it’s namby pamby reflecting the elitism of the University faculty lounge.  In tackling this issue, the editorial does its usual dance around the mulberry bush and them comes out for support of the mosque built near Ground Zero.    
     There’s no doubt the 1st amendment sanctions the building of the mosque anywhere.  The question is: Is it a moral offense?  Presumably one can build a McDonald’s on the battlefield at Bull Run—but should one be built?  After familiar parsing and see-sawing it comes down on the elite side: let the Muslims build the mosque…arrogantly ignoring passionate religio-patriotic sentiment following the murder of 3,000 by adherents of a religion acting in its name. Identical to The New York Times and Michael Bloomberg, a soulless billionaire pol who has not taken the care or time to fill the hole left by the murderers.   
       That editorial decision was heedless of the passionately patriotic sensibilities of people who understand that while the 1st amendment gives Moslems the right to build it, there is such a thing as sacrilege.  Because the paper is a totally secular instrument, it does not understand the heritage of Judeo-Christian religious feeling—which is tied to patriotism. 
        In this it is identical to Obama’s dead-fish “so what?” attitude toward Christianity and Jewish historical tradition which makes notable exceptions for Muslims.  Witness its coverage of religion is by someone who calls herself by the nihilistic title “The Seeker.” Tribune sanctions building the mosque there because frankly it does not understand sacrilege. And it does not understand sacrilege because it has no interest in religion. And because it does not understand religion it is unable to recognize its offspring, patriotism--based on love of country tied to the belief of exceptionality in God’s eyes as is clearly the case with our becoming the most successful and longest lasting republic in world history. 
        Frankly, I’ll buy a pricey fillet mignon steak dinner at Capitol Grille with for any Tribune defender who can refute the claim  that Tribune  supports the Obama concept of neuter exceptionality… which negates the particular greatness of America as did Obama.  I.e.: : Greece is exceptional to the Greeks, Britain is exceptional to the Brits…so what’s the big deal with American exceptionality?  Tribune as it likes to call itself knew this when it endorsed him in 2008 despite his being the most mysterious albeit un-vetted major presidential candidate in U.S. history.  
         Literary evasion, glaringly apparent in the first case (Weis and gang bangers) and the inability to recognize  sacrilege (the Ground Zero mosque) in the second, shows why the once hallowed Trib is headed for the dust bin of history.  
      To be joined a short time later by The Sun-Times. .  To which I say to both: Good riddance.  
      But I’ll miss The Sun-Times more because it does the better job of covering hard Chicago news. Although I’ve blistered it for its insensate liberalism, it’s the first paper I pick up among those four—Sun-Times, Tribune, Wall Street Journal and New York Times –the paper guy deposits on my front walk every morning. .     
                           France’s Gorgeous Finance Minister. 
         Because I am an octogenarian, married 50 years, father of four grown people and grandfather of 13,  I hope I am exempt from being regarded as passion’s plaything, a leer-er of attractive women.  But every time I look at a photo of Mme. Christine Lagarde I am fascinated because she proves that a woman can be on the cusp of elderly and still be gorgeously attractive. She is 56, the Minister of Economic Affairs, Industry and Employment (read: Finance) for France.  
           I am all the more fascinated because in some ways she is beautiful but in others decidedly not so:  in fact grotesquely memorable. I ask you to help me decide once and for all what she is: beautiful or grotesquely memorable. 
            Anyhow, she is brilliant, educated at all the best schools of France, then an intern in the Senate during the days of near-impeachment of Richard Nixon.  Then she worked as a legislative aide to Sen. William Cohen (R-Me.).   She is Catholic and got a law degree from a highfalutin university in France.  For a time she was a Chicagoan, serving as chairman of the blue-chip law firm Baker & McKenzie headquartered here.  She was the firm’s head of global economic practice, is married although I don’t know if she has any children.  
         But her looks are what gets me.  Judge for yourself at Google [Christine Lagarde] (link here).  She has an almost perpetual tan, is tall, willowy and aristocratic. But is she a looker or not? On balance I say yes. Anyhow, if she were just pretty she’d likely be forgettable.  When I see her photo I decide that to be memorable looking a woman need not be young.  
          Anyhow, give me your views. A plebiscite. 
   *: Saint Cloud [circa 522].  There are other options for the saint of this day but I chose Cloud because of the years I spent near the Minnesota city of that name,  at Saint John’s and the succeeding years as city editor of its daily newspaper.  Its population when I lived there was 25,000 plus; now it’s about 60,000.  Eighty percent Catholic. Some of the very best years of my life were spent as a journalist there while I was so poor I didn’t have a bank account but carried the residue of my weekly wages ($67.50.my last raise before I moved out in my wallet which I supplemented by playing piano three nights a week in a local bar.  Enough of the town. 
      The saint for which it was named was the grandson of Clovis, founder of the Kingdom of the Franks and his wife Saint Clothilde and was an heir to the throne. When his father died, a group of relatives tried to seize his family largesse and plotted the death of Cloud and his two brothers.  Cloud escaped and sought sanctuary with a man who became Saint Remigius, the bishop of Rheims located a few miles from Paris.  Thus Cloud spent his youth in the very exemplary company of two saints—his grandmother Clothilde and Remigius. Cloud decided to spend his life in contemplation and worship of God, as a hermit. To signal this decision, Cloud appeared in his royal robes before the Bishop of Paris accompanied by members of his royal family but carried a coarse woolen garment in one hand and a scissors in the other.   
       To signify his decision, he discarded his royal robes while the Bishop of Paris invested him in the coarse garment. Then the Bishop took the scissors and cut Cloud’s long hair (long because it was a symbol of royalty). Cloud lived in the forest near Paris alone as a hermit, studying scripture and praying in solitude. In 551the bishop of Paris complied to a widespread appeal and ordained Cloud a priest.  He was assigned as pastor of a church in a small village not far from Paris.  Today that village—a suburb of Paris—is called Saint Cloud.  He died serenely in 560 at the age of 38.  He was canonized by Leo XIII.   

1 comment:

  1. Tom, you gotta be kidding.....she looks like Mr.Ed !!!! I wouldn't go bowling with her!!!