Monthly Archives: September 2010

Gene K. gonna love those Daleys till he die!

Chicago City Hall, shortly before construction...

The Hall, where greatness and magnanimity reign

In this paean to everything Chicago, Gene Kennedy is long on word analysis:

Noble fits Daley in other ways as well. Its root is gno and means “to know how to” — as in knowing how to run a large city that, when he took office, had been termed “Beirut on the Lake” because of the “City Council Wars” and the racist and stuttering management of the previous years.

Or:

Who could argue that noble applies to Daley in its meaning, “possessing heraldic rank in a political system”? The Daleys have also displayed the “greatness and magnanimity” that the term connotes. Both father and son brought a love for Chicago into their fifth floor office in City Hall.

But it is short on backup data, as in this, among many instances:

Against all calculations and claims to the contrary, Chicago probably has the cleanest elections in the country if only because they are watched so intently by all interested parties and some disinterested ones — such as the Feds and the State’s Attorney’s office.

Probably? There’s no way to check?

The Zell man speaketh — 2

More from Sam Zell on Obama and the national problem — of what he said 9/17 at U of Penn:

Zell at Penn

Obama’s America: “We have a political situation in the U.S. today that for the first time in my life represents a challenge to the entrepreneur… to the freedom that our society has created. This never has been a society of people who aren’t striving, who aren’t trying to make a difference. What has made America different is our individualism…

“I’m very concerned that the current political environment and current situation is geared toward making the entrepreneur an endangered species.”

What Obama should do: “Obama could start by announcing he’s going to do nothing for the next 24 months… If I were President Obama I would repeal health care, I would repeal the Dodd (bank reform) bill, I would go back to where we were in January ’09.”

What he wrote to Obama aide Rahm Emanuel when Obama took power:  “Dear Rahm, I met you in 1992. At the time you were working for the Clinton campaign. You sat me down and said, ‘Sam, understand, the theme of the campaign is, ‘It’s the economy, stupid.’ Well, guess what? It’s the economy, stupid, and you ought to do nothing more than focus on jobs and the economy.

“He wrote back, ‘You want to delay healthcare, you want to delay cap-and-trade?’ I said, ‘You bet…'”

The slow economy: “The economic ‘malaise’ is the result of the fact that people who have the ability (to invest), both resources-wise and emotionally, are uwilling to take the risks because there is no certainty, there is no conviction, on the part of the government, to leave us alone. Every time you turn around, the government has a new 2000-page bill” that limits business. “That’s going to destroy America.”

Where to invest: Even smart investors lose if they don’t pay attention to “what risks they’re taking. I’m buying (U.S.) distressed debt (because) I don’t have any confidence in tomorrow for what the U.S. is going to do. “

“On the other hand, I’m buying equity outside the U.S. where it’s much clearer where we’re going. Confidence is the No. 1 ingredient. This administration… by bashing the business community… by destroying Las Vegas, by destroying the meeting business in this country (by limiting bankers’ travel junkets during the bank bailouts)… those are all stupid gratuitious acts that have materially impacted the confidence level in this country…”

How to get more people working: “Unemployment will only be solved by the private sector. As soon as you see this administration get its foot off the neck of the private sector, you will see growth returning in the United States.”  [Posted by Joseph N. DiStefano at the Inquirer and Daily News’ Philly Deal$ blog]

The Zell man speaketh

Cover of "Death of a Salesman/ Private Co...

"Nothing gets bought, everything gets sold"

In the middle of a fascinating exchange with U. of Penn. students in Phila., Sam Zell offers this on Obama (HT Chicago Daily Observer, quotes pulled together by Joseph N. DiStefano):

“I’m from Chicago. Barack Obama came to my house for dinner. He’s a brilliant man. But he’s an ideologue. When you’re an ideologue you don’t see (business reality).  There’s no question he doesn’t see it.”
It’s a zinger, to be sure, a bull’s-eye.  But see what Zell means when someone’s “brilliant,” followed by that “but” condemnation, even dismissal, as ignorant, hopelessly so.
It means potential, nothing more: Obama is a guy wearing blinders, and that’s the most charitable thing you can say about him.  He’s also a know-it-all, the kid you can’t tell anything.  That too is relatively benign.  Cocky, incredibly so.  Makes me wanna holler.
That said, Zell is marvelous in this series of quotes.  For example:
Innovation: “Build a better mousetrap and the world will come to you? That’s a crock… There are many examples of (simple) products that have done much better than truly better products. It’s all about being easy to execute…

Business education: “Econ 101, Supply and Demand… Nothing else really matters.”

Liberal arts: His fellow University of Michigan graduate Arthur Miller‘s play, Death of a Salesman, did a “disservice” to American business: “He demonized the salesman as a womanizer, a drunk, as somebody staying in these dingy motel rooms and attempting to pitch his wares.. Truth of the matter is, nothing gets bought, everything gets sold, and an entrepreneur has to be a salesman… advocating ideas.”

Give me an entrepreneur any day.  He cuts through stuff, as here:
Who needs a degree: “There’s a lot of people in college today that shouldn’t be there.” At one of his firms, Anixter International, “we make complex fasteners, we can manufacture them right outside of Chicago and be competitive with China. We’re running two shifts. If we could, we would run three shifts. Except we can’t find enough people in the Chicago area who know how to read plans, who can work in a manufacturing scenario… So we’re going to set up a program at a local junior college to solve that.

“Here we are, 9% employment, or maybe 16%,” depending on how you count, “and I’m sitting here with 300 jobs we could fill tomorrow” if there were trained candidates. While recent college grads go unemployed.

Read it.

This tot lot rocks

Speed bump sign in Belize.

We don't need no stinkin' speed bump sign!

Don’t want to let another day go by without celebrating the instant and continued roaring success that is the Randolph Tot Lot, here discussed and cavilled at as hazardous to tots because it had an alley running through it.

Forget about that, even if the park district has not posted the yellow caution signs an aide told me weeks ago were on order.  Yes, the alleged speed bump is not enough to slow down a tricycle, but it doesn’t matter: there is almost no foot traffic from the tot side of the alley to the lovely sitting and reading-on-bench side, no little ones darting forth, there being nothing to attract them on the multiple-bench-equipped other side.

As for the tot side, from Grove east to the alley, it’s practically standing room only at some times of the day, and has been since the Aug. 10 grand opening.  Just tonight, strolling down our alley toward Randolph, I spied a veritable flotilla of strollers, each with a young one aboard and a young mother or nanny pushing.

And the tots in the lot have a glorious time, the parents and other overseeing adults having an only slightly less glorious one, it seems to the stroller going by on a daily basis.  Chortles aplenty, sometimes quiet intensity as a little guy navigates the hummock left over from the previous lot, moving up to the top with gravity befitting a high-wire walker.

The mockup of a railroad train is immensely popular, affording many nooks and crannies whence one can peek out from a sort of porthole or peek in from near or far.  The swings are sling jobs for infants and sit-alones for older ones.  Lovely to peak at the parent pushing the infant oh so gently on the sling job.

So codgers including those with grandchildren in another state can find much to enjoy.  However, their main place is across the alley in the bench-rich area, where they can sit and soak up old sol and read or chat.  This one read the other afternoon as the late afternoon September sun warmed his bones while Ezra Pound warmed his spirit with advice about poetry and discussion of 12th century troubadours in the south of France.

One could imagine himself there in that halcyon climate, or one could just enjoy it, with now and then a look across the alley at the play of the little children.

Focus, people, focus!

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of th...

He's so glad he wasn't a Democrat

First, Obama’s hard-core supporters offended by his scolding, as at Talking Points Memo, relayed by James Taranto:

“It’s just too damn bad he couldn’t have gotten mad at his enemies at any point since becoming President and instead saves his disdain and anger for his allies. It’s kind of the story of his Presidency.”

“If Obama is serious about closing the gap and convincing people who are so angered about administration policy that they’re thinking of simply not voting, he needs to take their frustration more seriously, take more responsibility for things that have gone wrong, and promise something different in the next two-to-six years. Instead we get this preemptive finger pointing.”

“He is, in essence, lecturing them for using their hearts rather than their heads in the face of looming catastrophe. . . . Does the President really think lecturing them will move them to do that? If so, he is as guilty as they are of letting his passions overwhelm his judgment.”

Second, Obama’s hard-core supporters defending the scolding, also at TPM, similarly relayed:

“Obama is not scolding anybody he is just pointing out the futility in venting your frustrations in a way that will certainly ensure all you value is destroyed. Don’t vote its your choice and it is the GOP’ers choice too. . . . Sit out the election and sit in on the GOP’s plans for you. It’s that simple and it’s that stupid.”

“Wow, the folks complaining about Obama’s comments strike me as really huffy and indignant.”

“I, however, think that scolding is necessary. . . . The idea that within eighteenth months Obama was going to transform thirty years of supply-side, values-voting American politics seems foolish. We should know better.”

And this five weeks before an election.  “One group resents being talked down to by the president, the other group identifies with the president and resents the first group,” comments Taranto. “It’s about as edifying as–though admittedly a lot more fun than–watching high school girls squabble over who is more conceited.”

Father Owino plea

Father Owino pleaded:

FAIRFAX, Va. — The Rev. Felix Owino entered a guilty plea to aggravated sexual battery Wednesday in Fairfax County, Va., Circuit Court according to court officials.

He will be sentenced Dec. 17.  He is

a former Associate Professor [sic] at Wheeling Jesuit University [where he had taught for two years] and also had a residence at St. Paul Parish in Weirton [WV, 30 miles north of Wheeling],

where he was an associate pastor. Associate pastor yes, associate professor not likely.  Rather, instructor, as below.

He is being held at the adult detention center in Fairfax, will serve no more than five years in prison, could be (after that) deported to his homeland of Kenya, according to officials cited by the Charleston (WV) Daily Mail.

Prosecutors said Owino was drinking the night he inappropriately touched an 11-year-old girl in Herndon.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) wants to hold officials’ feet to the fire.

“We suspect there are other crimes for which Owino could be prosecuted and convicted, which would likely keep him away from kids and behind bars even longer,” SNAP Outreach Director Barbara Dorris said in a news release.

SNAP is asking Wheeling Bishop Michael Bransfield and others to disclose any other allegations of sexual abuse made against Owino.

“Church and college officials have a chance to help law enforcement by aggressively seeking out others with information about Owino,” SNAP Director David Clohessy said in a news release. “It is their moral and civic responsibility to keep this child predator in jail and away from children.”

Later: Here’s a succinct, well-written account by Wash Post man Tom Jackman that adds key details:

A Catholic priest from West Virginia pleaded guilty in Fairfax County on Wednesday to aggravated sexual battery for inappropriately touching an 11-year-old girl while he was visiting the girl’s Herndon home.

The Rev. Felix Owino, 44, was arrested after the girl told her parents of the incident in July, which occurred while Owino, the girl and others were watching a movie on television. Police described Owino as a family friend.

Owino, originally from Nairobi, Kenya, is a member of the Apostles of Jesus missionary congregation, an African congregation of priests and brothers. He was serving as a philosophy instructor at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia and as an associate pastor at St. Paul Roman Catholic Church in Weirton, W.Va. [italics added]

Yet later, yet other accounts (from Mike Fahy):

Washington Post [as above]

Centre Daily Times [AP]

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

A priest who lived at St. Bede Parish in Point Breeze [PA] on and off between 1997 and 2006 pleaded guilty Wednesday to molesting an 11-year-old girl in Virginia.

. . . . .

After learning about the criminal charges against Owino, Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik sent a letter to St. Bede parishioners urging them to contact the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office and the diocese if they knew of anyone with whom the priest might have had inappropriate contact.

There were no accusations against Owino during the time he lived at St. Bede, and nobody came forward after the bishop sent his letter to parishioners, said the Rev. Ronald Lengwin, spokesman for the Pittsburgh diocese.

He spent a good deal of time in Pittsburgh:

Owino, who is a native of Nairobi, Kenya, lived at St. Bede from September 1997 to May 2001 and again from September 2003 to January 2006, while attending graduate school at Duquesne University. He earned a master’s degree in philosophy in 1999 and a doctorate in philosophy in 2005, according to school officials.

WTRF-TV-7- (CBS)

WTOV-TV-9

He confessed to the judge:

Prosecutors said the Rev. Felix Owino was drinking the night he inappropriately touched an 11-year-old girl.

“I did what they said,” Owino told a Fairfax County, Va., judge in a soft-spoken voice.

. . . . . .

Prosecutors said Owino was watching a movie at the family’s home when he moved to the back of the room next to the victim and rubbed the girl’s hands and feet. He then touched her in inappropriate places and told the girl, “Do not tell.”

The child told her mother, and the mother kicked Owino out of the house and ordered him to stay on the steps until police arrived. Prosecutors said Owino admitted he touched the girl and told police he’d not done anything like that before.

Prosecutors said the victim’s family accepted the plea deal, and victims’ advocates said families usually do that to protect their child from going to court.

Although Owino made a plea deal with prosecutors for a maximum of 5 years, the judge made it clear the decision is ultimately up to him. He could reject the plea bargain out and give Owino the maximum sentence of 20 years.

Owino could also be deported because he’s not an American citizen.

Yet later:

Comment by Judy Jones of SNAP:

This brave little girl is to be commended for doing the right thing by immediately telling her mom. Then her mom did the right thing by calling police.

Now hopefully others, who have been harmed by Owino, will also speak up and contact police. This predator priest needs to be kept in jail and away from kids.

— Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, 636-433-2511, snapjudy at gmail dot com

Very important observation.

Gummint autos: buy one and get Dem donation free

Logo of General Motors Corporation. Source: 20...

The logo with two names

Did you know General, or Government, Motors has started giving again to politicos?

Maybe you missed [it].  I say that because last week I saw only one story on the subject, and it was buried in the Wall Street Journal. The GM PAC has donated more than $90,000 to candidates in the 2010 cycle, and guess what, most of the candidates GM supports are Democrats.

Hey, the government that owns an auto company calls the tune.

— from the Weekly Standard Newsletter, by Matthew Continetti.  Want to receive it?  Go here. —

Yelling “justice” in a crowded public square

March 31, 1966: "Watch That Carpet, Fella...

LBJ: "Watch that carpet, fella .. . "

It’s wonderful how National Catholic Reporter can make a moral issue out of an economic one, that is, one that depends on economics and lots of data.  Amazing, I mean, to be marveled at.  Until you see how they do it in this remarkable sentence in its latest editorial, “Radical individualism and the poverty rate”:

Substantively, as most any economist worthy of the name will attest, tax cuts for the wealthiest are among the least efficient means to promote the economic growth that produces desperately needed jobs. [italics added]

See where the required prestidigitation takes place?  That “worthy of the name.”  Once an editorial writer has a laser-accurate phrase like that at the ready, no problem.

An earlier item in the same editorial might lead to (not beg) further questions:

More than 43 million Americans — the highest number ever recorded — are officially “poor.” That’s one in seven of us. Forty-two years after Lyndon Johnson declared a “war on poverty,” it appears poverty is winning. [italics added]

Such as if Johnson’s war wasn’t won, why do they think more of the same will win?  Maybe because it’s a bad strategy, rather than a “national disgrace,” as the editorial avers.  Which exemplifies another facet of ideological argument that brooks no opposition: use of colorful language that begs the question (and I do not mean raises or prompts it).

Not a chicken-and-egg proposition

Rahm Emanuel (right) and Senator Dick Durbin (...

Jan with two accomplices

Dem Congresswoman Schakowsky: The Right to Abortion Creates Obligation For Tax-Payers to Fund Them

Actually, Madam Schakowsky, it’s the other way around. We have obligations and therefore the right to what we need to meet them. Like private property. It’s a right because without it we can’t meet our responsibilities as free children of God.

Think about it.

Rare baseball play

Omar Vizquel

Omar Vizquel, maker of history

This recent quadruple play pulled off by the White Sox has been underreported.  It happened when second baseman Omar Vizquel immediately after a triple play — forceouts at home, third, and second, threw to first to beat the runner whose swinging bunt with the bases loaded had landed in front of Sox catcher Pierzynski.

There already were three outs, but Vizquel threw anyway.

“It wasn’t me. Something took over my body and made that throw for me. It was like some, eh, renegade spirit trespassed into my soul and became my essence, and the only way for it to atone for its sins that was keeping it in this world and ascend to the glorious afterlife . . . was to catch that ball, turn around and throw it over to Paulo.”

He refers to the first baseman, Konerko, who treated the throw as just another one of the hundreds he has caught this season.  It

easily beat Betancourt to the bag, as [he] had watched the play unfold and understandably headed back towards the dugout, believing his run down to first base to now be superfluous.

It was not, however.  The umpire, caught up in the moment,

called him out emphatically, getting down on one knee and throwing a fierce uppercut at an invisible . . . boxing opponent while screaming “JYERIIIAAOUUUTT” in a grunge-rock falsetto.

The upshot?

After a brief conference, the umpires decided that Kansas City would start the fourth with one out.

“Initially, I thought that idea was ridiculous”, said crew chief Lloyd Robertson, “but [first-base ump] Gzowski convinced us. He was right: it was friggin’ awesome. I mean, who’s ever seen a quadruple play? Awesome. An Awesomely Awesome play of Awesome Awesomeness.”

I can’t believe it.  History was made, and no screaming headlines.

It was reported, by the way, by Dave Rutt, who says of himself he’s a

Teacher by day, sleeping by night. I also enjoy watching, playing and writing about baseball and other sports . . . . I recently returned from Barranquilla, Colombia, where I was teaching middle school math for a year, and am still finishing up all the blogs I want to write about my travels in Colombia and Peru.

His blog is Bottom of the Fourth, where he has lots more about baseball etc.

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