Wednesday, April 02, 2008

John McCain: Meet John Kass!

Today's Reuters piece reports that John McCain feels that Americans are too cynical - really? Sorry- comes with being a life-long smart-ass and punching bag. And there in lies the rub; I make a crack and expect one in kind. Not so, too many very loud Public voices in Cable TV, Print and especially on Talk Radio. Say anything - no consequences.

Senator John McCain at 71 years of age and five of those years being tortured with great regularity, is sprinting around the country, while a bloated fop on MSNBC- The Tool Shed, Keith Olbermann makes cracks about his age and lifetime of service.

"But when healthy skepticism sours into corrosive cynicism our expectations of our government become reduced to the delivery of services. And to some people the expectations of liberty are reduced to the right to choose among competing brands of designer coffee."

Olbermann and his androgynous twin Rachel Maddow make a point of sneering at Honor, Service and Commitment, because they were spawned by the forces of indulgence and self-satisfaction.

Not so, Chicago Journalist, Columnist, wit and 'fly-in-the-ointment' that greases Illinois public corruption, The Chicago Tribune's John Kass. John McCain would have no difference of sentiment from John Kass - identical values it seems to me. From Wikpedeia - My C-Minus Intellect's Canon of Facts:
John Kass is a Chicago Tribune columnist.

The son of a Greek immigrant grocer, Kass was born June 23, 1956, on the South Side of Chicago and grew up there and in Oak Lawn, IL. He held many jobs - retailer, ditch digger, waiter - before becoming a student of film at Columbia College in Chicago. There, he worked in the student newspaper and gained the attention of Daryle Feldmeir, president of the media department and previous editor of the Chicago Daily News. Feldmeir and media professor Les Brownlee helped Kass to obtain an internship at the Daily Calumet in 1980, where Kass worked as a reporter until he left for the Tribune.

Kass lives in the southern suburbs of Chicago with his wife and twin children.

[edit] Style of Writing
Kass uses his bully pulpit to rail against corruption in government and highlight the impact of corruption on taxpayers. In September 2003, he wrote about Federal indictments handed down in a scandal involving city contracts. Kass wrote, "what drives the criticism is the obscene amounts of taxpayer dollars that go to [Mayor Daley's] pals. In deal after deal after deal, the attitude is that his guys can take what they want and the people in the neighborhoods better shut up about it, while higher taxes put more and more pressure on families to pay for the deals."[1]

Kass often writes nostalgically about Chicago's bygone days. He describes one of Chicago's famous steakhouses by writing, "[Gene and Georgetti's] is a hangout where information is traded, among politicians, insiders, reporters, wise-guys, salesmen, consultants, from the buttoned down to the gold chains crowd. And what makes it work is that they serve the best steak in the city, period. The service is impeccable without being showy and the drinks are honest. Gene's is a part of the old Chicago, the city as it was before so much of the downtown was turned into a theme park."[2]

A frequent target for Kass is Richard M. Daley, the long-time Mayor of Chicago. Kass once wrote, "Investigations into massive affirmative-action contract fraud and the Hired Truck scandals, and a series of convictions have pressured the mayor and his inner-circle, who, when it came to cronyism and contracts, once behaved as if they were untouchable. Now, the mayor has jumped on the reform bandwagon, at least publicly, frantically offering good-government initiatives, even as the feds bore in on the source of his absolute power: His patronage armies that dictate politics and policy on the local, state and federal levels, electing his favored candidates, but also crushing those he doesn't like, getting rid of them in party primaries."[3]

In his columns Kass is a frequent critic of what he terms as the "combine" of Illinois politics, wherein powerful elements of the Illinois Republican and Democratic parties unite for the purposes of political corruption.

Kass also writes about lighter topics, particularly beer can chicken.
Kass's column appears on page 2 of the Tribune's news section.

John Kass goes out of his way to pin-prick the vanities of public men and women whose public actions indicate that they feel somehow above the Law and those they were elected to serve. Kass is the best Chicago Public Writer since Finley Peter Dunne, who invented the 'Public Persona' style of writing with his character Mr. Dooley. Only the Chicago Tribune's Daniel B. McGrath, the Sports Editor, is Kass's superior in crafting simple declarative sentences. Dan McGrath is recognized nation-wide as a great sports writer. Writer indeed,

John Kass is no cynic - far from that group of wily Greeks who used words to circumvent the Law and even Ethics.

Kass is locked to ethikos - what ought to be. The Romans touted morals ( mores - customs or traditions, the Greeks locked ethics into Man. John Kass does not give - in Chicago terms - a 'fat rat's ass' about niceties or politically correct boondoggles. Like Dryden, Swift, Pope, Thackeray, Twain, and Mencken, Kass roots out the deeds that make life miserable for most of us.

Senator John McCain, meet John Kass.

Senator McCain worries that,

"Many Americans are indifferent to or cynical about the virtues that our country claims," the former Vietnam prisoner of war will say.

In part, he says, it is because some have suffered economic dislocations while others profit as never before, and in part, it is a "reaction to government's mistakes and incompetence and to the selfishness of some public figures."

He comes close to calling some Americans spoiled, saying they are cynical because "the ease which wealth and opportunity have given their lives led them to the mistaken conclusion that America, and the liberties its system of government is intended to protect, just aren't important to the quality of their lives."

Senator, point to John Kass and more of us will get things right.

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