Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Out There - MSNBC Race-Baiters Celebrate Black History Month With "Whitey Week"

How about this knee slapper?

University of Pennsylvania Professor Anthea Butler offered her joke, in which she poked fun at her days in grad school when she and most of her fellow students were impoverished. “If a black person said they were broke, it meant that they had negative in their bank account,” Butler began. “A white person says they’re broke, we never believed them, because it meant that they had $500 in their bank account. They don’t know the meaning of being broke.”

Ms. Butler!  You IZZZZZZZZZ Bad. 

Not really new, though. Back when we all became Post-Racial in 2007, Washington Mutual ran these swell promos with an Obama look-alike tweaking stupid greedy old white dudes.

You Go, B.. . .Mister!

Then Washington Mutual*, which was notorious for  mortgage fraud straw-buyers and helping check-kiters and fixed-income check burglers cash out while assets plunged, went belly up.

Washington Mutual

2.5 star rating
6 reviewsRating Details
1556 S. Michigan Ave
ChicagoIL 60616
Neighborhood: Near Southside
(312) 341-1061

Spooky, huh?  I was really starting to take  a shine to MSNBC's  Meissa Harris-Perry - I thought only Irish broads that ran for judge went all hyphenated.

*With respect to total assets under management, Washington Mutual Bank's closure and receivership is the largest bank failure in American financial history.[3][4] Before the receivership action, it was the sixth-largest bank in the United States.[13] According to Washington Mutual Inc.'s 2007 SEC filing, the holding company held assets valued at $327.9 billion.[14]
On March 20, 2009, Washington Mutual Inc. filed suit against the FDIC in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking damages of approximately $13 billion for what they claim to be an unjustified seizure and an extremely low sale price to JPMorgan Chase. JPMorgan Chase promptly filed a counterclaim in the Federal Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, where the Washington Mutual bankruptcy proceedings had been continuing since the Office of Thrift Supervision's seizure of the holding company's bank subsidiaries.[15][16]

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"I Got the Pope Right Here; His Name is Paul . . ."Papal Morning Line from Paddy Power

The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified him, took his garments, (and they made four parts, to every soldier a part,) and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. John 19:23 Douay-Rheims Bible

Like this Horse?  Like This Horse?  I LOVE this Horse!  I could Eat This Horse! - 
the late Dave Feldman dean of Chicago Track Writers: Chicago Sun Times

 Betting on anything is the sucker's game. A Fool and his money is soon parted; a gambler and his kids' money, the Dude at the End of the Bar's money, OG's Pay Day Loans money, Maxed out Credit Card's Money, and the Last Person Who Will Make Eye-Contact With You's nickel is parted real fast.   This I know.  I am a recovering gambler.  No Skye Masterson, this boy. 

I am now Nicely-Nicely Hickey having seen the light and been slapped silly by family and friends - clean since 2005.

Nevertheless, while I eschew this occasion of sin; nevertheless, understand the attraction.  Betting on the next Pope, like Keno/Caribbean Stud/Roulette and especially the slots is a House Game. It's fixed.  Sure 86 Cardinals vote, but fix is in - the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit -AKA The Third Person/ Paraclete/ The Bird - picks the Pope.

The Tote Board has the odds going to this trifecta
1-Archbishop Angelo Scola 2-1
2-Peter Cardinal Turkson 5-2
3-Marc Cardinal Ouellet 11/2

I like long odds - which explains why I am boo'd at GA meetings -and I love Chicago's Francis Cardinal George. 200-1

Sit Down Hickey!!!!!!!!! You're Mocking the Pope!

Not a jot.  

Man, He do favor Stubby! 


Blue Lightning!

Last night, in the waning hours of Chicago's forty degree President's Day Holiday, I went out of the house to pick up some good sized branches blow off the three parkway trees on my side of 108th Street.  The wind was getting fierce and the sky was spitting of moisture, when all of a sudden WHAM!!!!! Blue Lightning!

Ionized Nitrogen particles put on a great show. Thanks God. The Man knows what he's doing.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Eric Zorn Cheers for a Pelvic Papacy

Teaching is tough.  It requires patience, good listening skills and most of all should, anyway, require that the teacher knows something about his subject.  There can be, and should be, some diversity of opinion, but that usually is rooted in an individual teacher's preferences and predilections with regard to focus of study - in the teaching of English, let's say, one might prefer Thoreau, over Henry James. or Alice Walker over Margaret Mitchell.

A history teacher might suggest to his students that Truman's decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan was not based on a desire to save hundreds of thousand of Japanese lives should an invasion of home islands be necessary. but rather one based on the cynical desire to keep Progressive former Vice President Henry Wallace from ever posing a threat to the burgeoning military industrial complex.

That teacher would be an opinionated ninny parroting what he recently watched on Showtime's moronic revision of American history with Oliver Stone. Stone teaches that his vision is no theory, but history.  It is not anywhere close to history. It is a Stalinist fabrication.

You see, with the passing of the greatest generation, hypocritical louses are free to re-write the history written in blood by the vanishing old guys who lost all of their buddies at Saipan, Guam, Iwo Jima and Okinawa and would have joined those said buddies, had President Harry not give the go-ahead to drop the bombs that ended Japan's world genocide. 

Those few 87,88,89 and God Bless 90 year old heroes die at a rate of 1,500 men a day.  Ten years ago they would collectively kicked Oliver's ass. Safe now, Oliver Stone goes full Chomsky.

In matters theological, I know very little.  I know more than Eric Zorn, who knows only what he cares to hear from lisping lordlings like Chris Hayes of MSNBC.  Chicago's own nitwit and hack Andy Shaw's son-in-law, (Boy, talk about the nepotism in journalism), Chris Hayes hissed the Catholic Church by digging up the comments of a disgraced professor of ethics Daniel C. Maguire.

Maguire, like Noam Chomsky,  is a political player noted for his pamphleteer-ing in favor of abortion, sexual permissiveness and gay lifetstyle everything being meanly smashed upon the Rock of St. Peter.  Maguire worked with DNC in parsing Geraldine Ferraro's position on 'choice.'

In 2007, just in time for the 2008 Presidential Election, Professor Maguire mailed out some of his pamphlets to 200 plus American bishops.  Daniel went into the lions den wearing a pork chop suit.

The theologian, Daniel C. Maguire, teaches religious ethics at Marquette University, a Jesuit institution in Milwaukee. He is a 75-year-old former priest and a prolific writer, educated at the prestigious Gregorian University in Rome, who has been challenging Catholic teaching on sexuality for years.
Last summer, Mr. Maguire mailed two of his pamphlets, “The Moderate Roman Catholic Position on Contraception and Abortion” and “A Catholic Defense of Same-Sex Marriage” to 270 Catholic bishops. In them, he argued that the Catholic position on these issues was “pluralistic,” and that Catholic theologians through history had taken a variety of acceptable stances on these issues.
The bishops’ Committee on Doctrine denounced the pamphlets as “irresponsible.” The bishops said that it was a “serious error” to claim “that the teaching of the pope and the bishops represents merely one voice among many legitimate voices within the Catholic Church.”
The Catholic Church is unyielding on abortion and marriage.  Professor Maguire, is an ex-priest who happens to have a job at a Catholic University and under sanctuary of academic freedom micturates out of the protective tent. Even after the bishops said that he was full of . . .pith, Daniel Maguire could not howling in the desert - 
“They’re simply uninformed,” Mr. Maguire said of the bishops. “There is no one Catholic view on contraception, abortion or same-sex marriage. There’s a diversity of views. And it’s not just Dan Maguire versus the bishops. There’s a large school of thought that agrees with everything I’ve said in these pamphlets.”

Listen to me!!!!!!!!!!  You mitre'd bullies and Bush Bishops!!!!!!!!!  I am a tenured Professor!!!!!!!  Thank gods for Chris Hayes and Eric Zorn!

Professor Maguire wrote a couple of books that challenged the Vatican; the Vatican took up the challenge.  Professor Maguire was not teaching Catholic doctrine, though he argued that he was.  This is a progressive flaw similar to the fat boy who tells the  Illinois DMV Maiden that his weight is 190 lbs, when in fact that morning he registered 265 lbs.  With an arched eye-brow, the DMV Maid good-natured-ly records, " Five feet; 5" and . . .One hundred and Ninety pounds? You go, Playah!"  

Last week, the Illinois State Senate overwhelming approved the Heather Steans Religious Freedom and Gay Marriage legislation 31-24-2; now, the impetus to stuff this legislation down the throats of Illini is going full bore.

To that end, journalism water boys like Eric Zorn and the editorial boards of most papers will lobby the Illinois House of Representatives in the newspapers, which will be handed off to iconic yaps of Carol Marin's WTTW cheerleaders.  Not only is Gay Marriage a Civil Rights-Social Justice Crisis Issue That Can't Wait, but great way to say I LOVE EVERYONE! and tea-bag the Bishops and Catholic.

"What Right Wing Catholics piously desire is a Pelvic Zone Papacy, one that will rail against contraception, abortion and same-sex marriage, and, would you believe it, even masturbation, will leave the greedy to their grasping ways. They studiously ignore a whole tradition of left-wing Catholic social doctrine, espoused by popes and general councils of the church which is well-grounded in the Bible. They run from all that just as they ran from “Blessed” Pope John Paul II when he presciently sent a cardinal to tell George W. Bush that an invasion of Iraq would be a “defeat for humanity.” Daniel Maguire
Kind of excited there, huh, Prof? 

You see, Maguire's latest bacchatur stultus littera, contorts an economic statement by the Vatican into a collating of Catholics are the Tea Party  in need of Pelvic Papacy's Purge.

Read it, it is joyful noise!

Teaching is tough. The Greek word ethics translates to mean " ought" - what ought to be.  Theology and ethics are lug-nuts and oranges.  What "ought" does not translate to "want." that would erasthai, which means intense desire.  I have an intense desire to see better journalism before I die.  As if.

That intense desire is not sexual.  That would be erotikos - all that sex stuff.  Heterosexual males are said to erotic thoughts once every 4. 275 seconds.  There is no way that my erotic thoughts will include Eric Zorn, epistemologically speaking.

I just can't bat from that side of the plate.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Andy Shaw's BGA Bullshit Boulevard:Chuck E Cheese Deserts Lead to DWB?

BGA Andy Shaw and the his usual cast of numbers-numbing deep thinkers (Fox-32 Dane Placko and University of Chicago professor of race-baiting Craig Futterman) always take a short-cut to Bullshit Boulevard. In this particular case, that would be a stretch of US Route 20 commonly known on the southwest side of Chicago, Evergreen Park & Oak Law as 95th Street.

This week Andy Shaw's BGA/FOX/University of Chicago's Bullshit Boulevard mapped Evergreen Park as ground zero for race-hate while driving.

More than 93,000 minority drivers, mostly blacks, were stopped in Evergreen Park from 2004 to 2011, compared to 41,331 whites during the same period, according to Illinois Department of Transportation data analyzed by FOX 32 News and the BGA.
What’s more, as the total number of traffic stops in Evergreen Park increased over that eight-year span, the number of whites who were pulled over remained flat at about 5,000 a year, while the number of minorities rose sharply to 14,656 in 2011 from 9,600 in 2004, according to IDOT.The data shows some real red flags,” said University of Chicago law professor Craig Futterman, an expert on civil rights and police accountability. “Unlike the rest of Illinois, racial disparity (in stops) is going up in Evergreen Park.”FOX 32 News reported last month that Evergreen Park police were engaging in a controversial and possibly dangerous practice — offering drivers a break on traffic tickets if they helped cops find illegal handguns. The motorists who were interviewed believed they were singled out because of race.

That would and will be compelling to simple folks who like their high dudgeon served up smoking hot and tasty and lawsuit spicy.

The hard question neglected in this latest dodge goes unasked, " Why are there no Chuck E Cheese outlets in under served communities?"

Chuck E Cheese is a handy haven for busy families with legions of young ones who might become a bit uneasy while waiting for mom and pop to make purchases ( Aunt Gert can take the wee bairns in to Chuck E Cheese for fun and fast food, while Mom and Dad get the shopping done) , as well as a festive place for wholesome family fare and fun.  It is the venue for choice for many struggling families seeking a birthday, anniversary, graduation or family reunion .  In these hard economic times, families must be as accountable for budget as our government. Chuck E. Cheese means value. The company mission statement Promise states just that.

Every member of a party – adult and kid; family or group – who enters Chuck E. Cheese’s gets a unique hand stamp that is verified upon their exit to assist in our objective that families who come together leave together.
We clean and sanitize the bathrooms, showroom, gameroom and other areas of the store throughout the day. If you see a table or bathroom that needs attention, let one of our managers know. We’ll get right to it.
We are very choosy about which games are allowed into Chuck E. Cheese’s. Whether it’s a video game or a game that encourages physical activity, like our Skytubes®, we believe all our games should be fun to play and fun to watch.
When it comes to food, our priorities are freshness and high-quality ingredients. Every pizza is made to order, fresh (never frozen), and we use only 100% real mozzarella cheese. Our salad bar is always full of fresh items prepared by hand daily.
We have different games for different ages. But if a grownup wants to have a turn, we promise not to make fun of you. 
 95th Street is a commercial zone linked to traffic exits for 1-57, I-94/90 and Interstate 294.  Running east/west, 95th provides goods and services to a number of communities: auto dealers, medical hugs, pharmacies, eateries, Mega-stores, malls, insurance and two hospitals.  One hospital is a major trauma -center, Christ Advocate, home to treatment serious automobile and gunshot injuries, as well cut and abrasions from a visit to Chuck E Cheese at 95th & Cicero.

Chuck E Cheese is located at Cicero Ave. & 95th St.; in order to go and return from Chuck E. Cheese, as well as patronize the hundreds of other fine commercial venues on this thoroughfare, requires passage through Evergreen Park, Illinois.

Is is possible?  Is it plausible, that many motorists making this east/west 95th street odyssey just might be distracted by the joyful noise of youngsters within the SUV, sedans and coupes en-route to this mecca of wholesome family fun?

I would venture to say, most definitely.  The sober exercise of good-motoring and attention to the traffic signage is an Augean task on a solo trip, but in vehicle packed with happy campers a soul- crushing crucible.

Taking Prof. Craig Futterman's time-line of 2004-2012, I have Googled reports, tales, stories, yarns investigative series related to Chuck E Cheese, Oak Lawn. This poor man's Disney World and Lou Malnati's is the only game in town.  There is a vast Chicagoland Chuck E Cheese Desert!

Chuck E Cheese is not located in Englewood, Robbins, Hazel Crest, Gresham, Deering, Grand Crossing, Canaryvile, Bridgeport, Chatham or South Shore.  There is no Chuck E Cheese in Hegewisch!  It is located in Oak Lawn on 95th Street and it has a flourishing revenue stream seven days a week.

Andy Shaw, Dane Placko and Craig Futterman, ask the hard question - Would more Chuck E Cheese venues in under served communities help us all avoid charges of racial insensitivity, provide more wholesome fun and food close to home and ease the flow of traffic on this busy commercial thoroughfare?

OR, are you more content with driving your BGA clown car along Bullshit Boulevard??

Hmmm? Find that Microphone, Andy!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dancer BroMance in the Moment

Obama 2012

“Those who are most moral are farthest from the problem.” 
― Saul D. AlinskyRules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals
Rahm Emanuel May Be Toying With 2016 Presidential RunObama’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel might make a go for 2016, two well-connected Democrats tell Lloyd Grove—as long as Hillary doesn’t. And the potty-mouthed Chicago mayor could win.

Rahm Offers Valentine to Gay Community

This just in:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama will spend the long holiday weekend in Florida, relaxing with friends.
The White House said this week that Obama would head to the West Palm Beach area on Friday, after a stop earlier in the day in Chicago, his hometown, to discuss economic proposals in his State of the Union address.Spokesman Josh Earnest said Thursday that Obama would spend a few days on Florida's Atlantic Coast relaxing with friends he did not identify. No public events were scheduled.
"The president of the United States is the president of the United States 24 hours a day, and will fulfill his responsibilities as president even while he's getting some well-deserved downtime with some friends this weekend," Earnest told reporters traveling with Obama. "I don't think the American people will begrudge him that."

And so saga plays on!

Friday, February 15, 2013

John Coltrane's Son- Isaiah Collier of Chicago High School for Arts

One of my early morning stops is Bronzeville, where I pick up three Leo students Johnny, Joe and Daylon.  Daylon is a 6'4" freshman who has slimmed down from his doughy 340 lbs. football heft to a trim and fit 315.   Daylon lives on 35th Street in an apartment complex conveniently located across the street from a Dunkin Donuts.  I meet Daylon there at 6:30 AM.  As I tend to early for any and every occasion I enjoy some quality Me Time with the working folks,cops, trades folks, EMTs and two high school students from the Chicago High School of Arts.

Festooned in my Leo habiilments, people easily fall into the trap of making eye-contact and conversation with this most garrulous of gents.  One of my salon now is young master Isaiah Collier who asked me if I knew his cousin who attends Leo.  This was before Christmas.  We are now daily communicants of Dunkin Donuts products and conversant on matters Leo/local/and lyrical.  Isaiah is a gifted, but more importantly hard-working musician.  He is a jazz student and saxophonist of great gifts.

This past weekend, Isaiah played in a jam session at the Fine Arts Building on Michigan Ave. and last week at live performance at the school. The Chicago High School for the Arts is a credit to public schools.

Here is a fine young man perfoming with a quintet of like-souled young gents performing Wood and Mellin's My One and Only Love ala Coltrane..  Isaiah Collier is a credit to his craft. Coltrane has son and his name if Isaiah

Every day on this earth is a blast!  How one could whine, " I'm bored........."  remains beyond me.  I remember one of my teaching mentors,  American philosopher restrauteur,  chick magnet and jazz scholar, Nick Novich's reply to whining high school kid beefing about how boring her life in Kankakee happened to be, Nick pulled himself to his fullest height and asked, " And what, exactly, are you doing about that Miss Mope?" Indeed.

Every morning, Isaiah is pouring over his notes, his charts, or reading thick novels. He could never be bored.
I am never bored, but I am huge sap.  Here is voice of America singing this beautiful song.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

State Senator Bill Cunningham Voted Yes on Gay Marriage

My State Senator, William Cunningham, entered the Illinois Legislature as a replacement for Illinois State Representative Kevin Joyce who represented the voters of the our district with courage, integrity and profound commitment to fighting abortion, the American Holocaust.  Our Senator retired and William Cunningham moved into that position.

Kevin Joyce was a rarity, an elected official who actually listened to voters, but voted his convictions.  More so, Kevin Joyce was very upfront and honest about legislation that he would support, or oppose.  No one knows what position William Cunningham holds on anything. My State Senator voted with the herd.

Mr. Cunningham voted for the Religious Freedom and Gay Marriage Bill, which overwhelmingly passed the Senate -34-21-2 .
I am a Catholic.  I believe that this legislation is political theater of the absurd.  It is power politics playing at social justice.  I guess Mr. Cunningham disagrees with the Catholic Church and saw nothing wrong the civil union aftermath. William Cunningham voted for Gay Marriage.

State of Illinois
98th General Assembly
Senate Vote
Senate Bill No. 10
Feb 14, 2013
 . . . Y Cunningham Y Koehler Y Muñoz Y Trotter
Y Delgado Y Kotowski N Murphy P Van Pelt
N Dillard N LaHood Y Noland Y Mr. President
N Duffy Y Landek N Oberweis . . .

I wrote several notes to Mr. Cunningham expressing my concerns that Gay Marriage Illinois would become a political weapon against my Church, as the Religious Freedom and Civil Unions law proved to be just that -immediately upon Gov. Pat Quinn's signing that bill into law Catholic Charities was bullied out of decades of care for families wanting to adopt children.

Mr. Cunningham, to my knowledge, has never stated his position on Gay Marriage publicly or privately.  In fact, my notes to him were merely acknowledged by his secretary without comment, or an attached position of this important legislation.

Mr.Cunningham has made a career in public service, rather he has had political jobs. I will not vote for or support Mr. Cunningham, or any of his political allies.  He has a right to his vote and I still have a right to my own.

Happy Ballantine's!

Carl Ballantine of McHale's Navy

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thank God It's Lent! The Burial of Mrs. Teddy Lent

Mrs. Theodore Lent (1834–25 March 1860) buried just the other day.

Now, I have done some rotten $hit in my life. Deeds that make me shudder with humiliation.  I pray on me knees each morning never forgetting the mean, shabby and thoughtless acts words and deeds and in the hope for grace to avoid any such repetitions.

But like a chubby guy at the beach who pals up with a morbidly obese behemoth, Man I am stripping off my shirt and soaking up the rays!

Folks Meet Lewis B. AKA Theodore "Ted" Lent!!!!
Born in Mexico in 1834, Julia Pastrana suffered from hypertrichosis and gingival hyperplasia, diseases that gave her copious facial hair and a thick-set jaw. These features led to her being called a "bear woman" or "ape woman".
During the mid-1850s, Pastrana met Theodore Lent, a US impresario who toured the singing and dancing Pastrana at freak shows across the United States and Europe before marrying her.
In 1860, Pastrana died in Moscow after giving birth to Lent's son, who inherited his mother's condition. The son died a few days later, and Lent then toured with the mother and son's embalmed remains. After changing hands over the ensuing decades, both bodies ended up at the University of Oslo in Norway.
Finally, the poor woman was laid to rest in her native land 150 years after her sad death 

Odd, with this day being the start of Lent, a dead SOB named Lent should give us all pause in our conduct through this vale of tears.  I usually feel very remorseful, but the saga of Old Ted Lent's misdeeds and malevolence put a spring in my step and song in my heart!

Now, Lewis B. AKA Theodore "Ted " Lent was what being an a$$hole is all about!!

Bring on that Judgement Day, Oh, Lawd!  Ted step over and tell St. Peter about yourself! Yes,Sir its Ash Wednesday!!!!!!!!!!

So, To the SOTU . . .6,500 Words and no mention of Benghazi, or Ambassador Chris Stevens

I watched the President give a State of the Union (SOTU) address again last night.  It was pretty much what I had expected:

1. The President really enjoys his own company: "Just three weeks ago, she was here, in Washington, with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration.  And a week later, she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school, just a mile away from my house."  - Now, you tell me what you think of me!
2. Congress is Bi-Polar
3. There are some really homely elected officials
4. Standing ovations at each preposition uttered by Our President, Commander-in-Chief
5. It is what it is; it is what it is ; it is what it is
6. And there is President Barack H. Obama

I was a bit dismayed that the President never addressed the issue of Religious Liberty in connection to his HHS Mandates, nor did he mention any on-going problems with his Administration: Solyndra stuff, Eric Holder's gun-running operations and that sort of stuff. Nothing is his fault. Catholics must be paranoid, or something. Shucks he didn't even give Pope Benedict XVI a shout-out on upon his announced retirement.

Our President is a Progressive and a Progressive is prickly.  President Obama was prickly.  

I thought that at the very least the President's SOTU might mention the murder of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans by terrorists in Libya - not a chance.

6,500 words of self-praise, threats and padded rhetoric.  It was a stump speech. A very long, dull, embarrassingly egocentric stump speech.

He will pay back GE Green Energy for its long and tireless support of his perch in the White House - by Executive Order.

The President stuffed his box with victims of gun violence and paid fair and moving tribute to the slain and how much each victim meant to him personally:

I remember how much murdered Ambassador Chris Stevens meant to the President, his Administration and his Re-Election Team - The formerly-mustachioed David Axelrod gave it to Chris Wallace when Wallace asked him about the President's run to "about the president’s decision to fly to Nevada for a campaign event “within hours” of the Sept. 11 attack – compared to the decision late last month to suspend campaigning for three days to deal with superstorm Sandy" upon learning of the massacre:

“Chris, as I said, immediately when word of the attack came, the president was meeting with his top national security folks. He was talking to them well into the night. He was in touch with them during the day, as – during the next day as well. So, there is no question about the fact that he was focused on this.”
“But, why did he feel he could campaign within hours after a terror attack?” Wallace asked.
Well, everything – everything was put in motion that he could put in motion,” Axelrod replied. “Everything – every conversation that needed to be had was being had between him and his top national security officials.. . . The president has said, we want to get to the bottom of it. We want to share it with the American people. We want to get it right,” 


Bringing it all back home to gun violence, President Obama neglected four victims of gun, RPG and mob terrorism in Benghazi:

Hadiya’s parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence.  They deserve a vote.
Gabby Giffords deserves a vote.
The families of Newtown deserve a vote.
The families of Aurora deserve a vote.
The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence – they deserve a simple vote.

No votes, mention, or responsibility for

The Family of Chris Stevens
The Family of Sean Smith
The Family of Tyrone Woods
The Family of Glen Doherty

SOTUS 2013 is what it is -

The President Obama is coming home to Chicago on Friday to do exactly what I have not a clue.  I know this, I would not walk across the street to listen to him even if he were announcing my appointment to some ghost pay-rolling job, like Valerie Jarrett's gig.

Three more BHO SOTU to go. Unless of course . . . His gang manages to give him President for life . . .could be; MSNBC and GE are all over it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Martin Marty's Fedora “How can Catholic education be saved?” - Play Small Ball

I read an interesting article by University of Chicago scholar Martin E. Marty. The article rather whimsically treats Catholic Schools as reified artifacts - a fedora e.g.  things that fade out of fashion and necessity.   I'm no scholar, but I have taught and worked in Catholic high schools since 1975.  So, since we are doing metaphors, Catholic schools remain the Cadillac of American education; back in 1975 more Americans could afford a Caddy.

I taught at Bishop McNamara High School in Kankakee, Illinois. The Clerics of St. Viator(CSVs) operated this co-educational high school under aegis of the Joliet Diocese.  There were five Viatorian priests in the Administration and teaching staff and there were also nine Sisters of Notre Dame(CNDs)  in teaching and clerical positions.The balance of the faculty were lay persons.  Together we served the 400 young men and women from diverse backgrounds.  The school was mirror of Kankakee County - heavily French with African Americans and Dutch Protestants filling out the demographic.  The students were the sons and daughters of farmers, factory workers, tradesmen, white collar workers, doctors, lawyers and a couple of bankers.

1975 saw the fall of Saigon and my baby steps in teaching.  The American economy began to tip due to OPEC and Jimmy Carter responded by manfully donning a sweater.  Kankakee had been home to many big sized businesses, Roper, AO Smith, Armstrong Tiles & Pharmeceuticals.  These operations as well as the foundries, metal fabrication and pallet operations provided a robust employment.  Tuition, which would be considered invisible by today's Catholic school prices, was set at $ 787 per year, sans fees and books.

I was paid a salary of $ 6, 800, with medical and allowed to pay into a retirement plan.  My salary every two  weeks amounted about $ 264.00 every two weeks.  I paid $ 225 a month for an apartment near the school, as I did not own a car.  I walked for two years.  Things were good. I received a modest raise each year according to the Levels and Steps Salary Scale of the Joliet Catholic Schools.

The economy broke bad. The Shah was bounced, America held Hostage, OPEC kicked sand in our eyes and Jimmy Carter paddled away from a rabbit.  Malaise.

AO Smith and Roper went to Mexico and so did the secondary industries.  Our parents were laid off.  One gentleman, Mr. W, had three kids in Catholic schools and was a shift manager at Roper in 1977.  In 1979, he was bagging groceries at Grocery World and Mrs. W. babysat. The kids all graduated, but they had moved from four bedroom bi level home in the  the very upper middle class west  side  Kankakee Parish of St. Martin of Tours to rental slab home in Bradley, IL. The W Family were heroic.

Other families just could not hack it and parted for the Kankakee, Bourbonnais, Momence, St. Anne and Herscher School districts.  The enrollment and the tuition revenue plunged. The faculty went without raises, but kept the school operation first rate. The athletic and academic programs blew away the competition from the tax-fueled public schools all over the county and beyond.

In 1981, due to declining vocations, the CSVs ended their operational ties to the school.  Shortly thereafter the CNDs did the same.  More lay persons swelled the salary slot in the budget ledgers.  That same year the school and the parents initiated the Negotiated Tuition program to keep as many of the students in the school.  Parents agreed to bring in their W-2 forms and negotiate tuition, or opt to meet the $1,400 tuition.

Regardless of the struggle, Catholic families sent their sons and daughters to Bishop McNamara.  The school held on.  After three years, the negotiations ended and tuition was set once again.  No miracles.  This was small ball*.

The faculty was an immensely talented body of teachers who sent Kankakee kids to Yale, Brown, Rutgers, University of Chicago, West Point, Annapolis, and the Air Force Academy, as well as Illinois, Purdue, DePaul, Loyola, ISU, EIU and Olivet.

Graduates stood out - Lori Hoekstra became a producer for Saturday Night Live, Letterman and now manages Norm McDonald, Kara Zediker is a movie star, America's first Casualty in the Operation Iraqi Freedom was Capt. Ryan Beaupre USMC (dec.) and there are so many more like  Napoleon Harris and Ron Young in civil and public service. There is also a thick handful of Catholic priests brothers and nuns who graduated from Bishop McNamara at the end of the last millennium.

No miracles.  This was small ball played out with huge sacrifices.  In piece linked to Marty Marty which uses the metaphor of Fedoras for Catholic schools misses a point. I continue to work in Catholic schools; did I mention I work at Leo High School?

Fedoras can still be purchased at vintage boutiques and they tend to cost a hell of lot more than the original price.  Fedoras might not be worn by a huge male demographic anymore.  Some folks worry that a Catholic education might become available only to the elite, the affluent and label conscious - like Notre Dame University. Catholic schools exist because of Catholics.  Catholics who take of precious things - faith, family, and freedom are not fads.

Fashion - even grown men wearing bow-ties- fades.  Fads even faster.  Catholic education is no fad; no matter how much public school educators try ape the school traditions - a Cadillac is no Prius. Catholic schools like the Dodo bird?  Like the Fedora, Marty?

I don't believe that to be the case at all.  I work at a school that 'smart' people insisted would close 'next year' with the same passion and precision that a Cubs fan sees a Cub World Series trophy.  The Cubs won one in 1908; Leo has been closing since 1967.

Here's your Fedora; see you next year Marty!.

* Catholic League football is remarkable for slugging it out yard for yard and eating the clock as well pounding to the goals.  However, small ball is more of a  baseball term:"When Paul Richards took over as the manager of the Chicago White Sox in 1951, his team had few power hitters, so he decided that he needed to manufacture runs by emphasizing speed as well as a strong defense.[6] The White Sox became a contender and eventually, the team known as the Go-Go Sox won the American League championship in 1959 by relying on speed and defence."

Monday, February 11, 2013

Eric Zorn calls the Papacy Dysfunctional Institution

In less time than it usually takes for Eric Zorn to say something really stupid, quicker than a Forrest Claypool job- hop and faster than a Tony Preckwinkle denunciation of some dead white man from Western Culture, EZ beat the Las Vegas Odds Makers with his latest Anti-Catholic musing on the occasion of the Pope's retirement announcement:
I was shocked to learn that he's the first to resign rather than to die in office (is office the right word?) since 1415. And I would think that Catholics would be glad, at least in general terms, at the violation of this dysfunctional tradition. Not only does it seem to increase the likelihood that the Pope will rule with clarity and vigor, but also the likelihood that the transitions will be smoother.
I am not shocked to learn that Eric Zorn is shocked. Eric strikes me an opinionated opinion-slinger whose sum total understanding of history and culture is gleaned from PBS premium gift discs of Ken Burns and Bill Moyers lectures, rounded out with solid HBO viewing.

Not having had the pre-packaged melange of intellectual stuffing gobbled up by the Chicago Tribune's editorial cabal and its house mice (EZ & Scmich), another person with a robust appetite for learning might counter with this -" well Eric, I mean Mr. Zorn, you may be interested to learn that while the Pope is bishop of Rome, he is also the Head of State and the last Pope to call it quits did so to end the Avignon Schism. That was a dispute with real political repercussions like war and stuff.  Gregory X!! resigned and the Council of Constance ( a place not a girl) selected Martin V over the three contestants Gregory Benedict and John. There was Teutonic issues and Hussite heresy as well as the vote for Marty.

Subsequent Popes, likewise had all of this historical stuff too - alliances with Austria ( Holy Roman Empire) against Italian States, and Norman Naples and Spain and Reformation Protestants and Enlightenment goofballs like Rousseau who begat Italian secularists of the 19th Century who attacked and sacked Rome, and later Bismark who hated Catholics like a Medill and more sieges and riots and then the Nazis and Joe Stalin kind of kept Popes busy.  Too busy to think about retirement.

Manya Brachear The Seeker is an adept at hooting off her anti-Catholic bazoo only seconds after she chips the china along with "journalists" of her gender in the Cardinal's parlor.

The dysfunctional tradition????  You mean like the Supreme Court, or being Andy Shaw?

Naw, Popes stay on the job because they have quite a bit to do. The Popes I knew Pius XII, John XXIII ( for real one; not the anti-Pope of Council of Constance), Paul VI, Pope John Paul and Pope John Paul II  all displayed remarkable wit, charm and intelligence all the way to the end. Benedict XVI resigned a step or two ahead of "the Final Call."  None displayed the ravages of senility so evident in Congressman Jan Schakowsky, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, or Richard Roeper.

To mime Eric, "Dude, Popes don't have an Illinois Pension."

Monstrous Handsome Basketball Manifesto

Had a bit of ague over the weekend. Thought I'd whine a bit, as is my wont.  I'm a male, you see and, by Jove's huckle, I'll vent splenetic to all and sundry my aches, pains, slights, disappointments and missed opportunities. 'Tis what we do!  I had the flu, dammit!

Woman!  Childbirth?   My eyes are rheumy and my joints ache! I have an elevated temp!  How can I recover worrying about other people?

With those wholesome thoughts, my umbicular vision curled natal-ly self-satisfying!  Now to my Basketball Manifesto!

Due this weekend's endothermic mishap,  I missed Friday's basketball game and hibernated away with Encore Western Channel Leo Sweats, toddies of Barry's Irish Tea laced with Lemon and honey, and a solid contemplation of my own

You see, early in my career as a Corinthian, a willful young colt was I, my dreams of becoming a 3-point dagger shooting, sky-high Prince-ling of Mid-Aire and backboard shattering hoop hanging Converse-All-Star Titan of the hard wood were dashed by one Coach Elmo Dolan.

We had "try-outs" in those halcyon days of yore and the twined oak branch coronas were doled out to not one and all, but those given the starting nod -A baker's dozen of 11/12 year old striplings adept with Naismith's leathery- orb.

Be-decked in T-shirt and baggy shorts and shod with Chuck Taylor Black High Tops I sprinted after a fashion ( dead last) and calisthenic-ly challenged my Temple of Christ with twists and turns and bends and stretches.

(Whistle)  Line-up, Gents! Here's Five balls!  They go in the baskets up there,  Take these balls . . .one at a time . . .and run as fast as you can shile dribbling the ball.  This is how you dribble the ball.  Set your feet so you are balanced  hold the ball even with your hip . . .drop the ball and pat it back down. . .. the length of the gym.

We lined up and counted off 1-2-3-4-5; 1-2-3-4-5;1-2-3-4-5; 1-2-3-4-5; 1-2-3-4-5 . . .I was in the first set of # 3's and each tossed a ball and asked to dribble the length of the court without fumble-tumbling or killing ourselves.

I took the leather orb and bounced it far above my hip and lost control of the ball and knocked two other guys out of their sync.

Use  the hand you usually  use, for Chrissakes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Jesus, Mary and the Lather!   Try again.  Try again.

The set of three contained three of my peers who would not only make the cut, but go on to high school fame and glory, win basketball scholarships at Loyola, Loras and Illinois State and go ont to achieve acclaim as civic and business leaders.

After all sets of candidates had been tested and tempered on the hardbood griddle with feats of passing, catching and shooting the basketballs, it was annoumced that thirteen names would be posted on the gym door - the following day.  Always, a ready welcome the good news, I immediately asked rhetorically, " So, the name Hickey gonna be on that list Mr. Dolan?"

Did you have polio a couple of years ago, Hick?

No, Mr. Dolan.

Spend a few weeks in an iron lung?


You boinking Vicky Carr?


Any more questions?

Did I make it?

Let's see . . .No Polio . . .Lungs Fine . . .No attachment to Vicky Carr . . . Nope.

Alas, it was not to be Vicky, or Hickey of the Hardwood and my interests require no hip or knee prosthesis, unlike the limber lads whose names adorned the list on the gym door at 81st & Honore in 1964.  I have that going for me.

However, I has the ague this weekend and it was really awful and . . .

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Charisms in Catholic Schools: Keeping Important Instruments in the Orchestra

“Knowledge and wisdom seek a covenant with holiness.” Pope John Paul II alluding to St. John Cantius

In the introduction to John Sullivan's 2001 study of Catholic schooling Catholic Education: Distinctive and Inclusive the author developed a metaphor that struck me as profound.   The book discusses the polarities of Catholic education as distinctive from the other educational paths; public and independent as well as other denominational schools, while inviting all to participate. In Chapter One, Sullivan notes the diminished influence of religious orders on Catholic education and remarks "The 'orchestra' now plays without benefit of some interesting 'instruments.'  By that he mean the charisms that marked the educational methods which distinguished the religious orders operating individual schools.

Vatican II ( 1962-'65) seemed to accelerate the growing secularism in America. Post-WWII GI Bill Catholics viewed themselves more American than Catholic, especially those with college and post-graduate educations. By the 1970's Catholic education, in particular religion departments, adopted more Clown Jesus Superstar undercoating than the more durably simonized protective coatings of a Jesuit, Augustinian, Carmelite, or Dominican education.  Ask too many Catholics today what is the different and you would most likely be answered, "Hey, they're all the same."  

Religious discernment and judgement in general has suffered from an almost universal dumbing down.

What has occurred through vocation decline and the Catholic-lite religious education dynamics is the absence of charisms that marked, distinguished and glorified Catholic education. Religious Orders have distinct charisms. An example, noted in a recent monograph by a member of the Congregation of Christian Brothers (Irish Christian Brothers) notes the crisis that order has faced - "The charism usually proposed for Edmund Rice is that 'he heard the cry of the poor' and there has been a stress on his clothing, feeding and teaching the extremely poor and marginalised urban underclass to assist the condemned, the gaoled, the deprived, the oppressed and the desperate. While true as far as it goes, 'he heard the cry of the poor' has tended to be interpreted in an increasingly secular world in an increasingly secular way. It is true that the poor need bread (or rice!) or the skills to plant better grain, but, In fact, the desperately poor need Christ. The increasingly marginalised require salvation as much as the rich, the middle-class or anyone else. This tends to be obscured."  The article concludes - The charism of Edmund Rice was to instruct ignorant boys and young men in the Catholic faith - Gerald Kilmartin, c 1989

Brother Kilmartin seems to be addressing the diluting of the charism during the 1960s.  Ignorant boys can have Dads with comfortable bank accounts as well as boys who come to school without a square meal in their bellies or two nickels in their jeans.  The charism was stretched by some in the Congregation in order to avoid the classroom and opt to be Junior Joseph the Workers, living in a monastery with three hots and cot, while working at a factory in Clearing as a personal ministry.  A teaching order teaches.  When the mission statement gets skewed, why bother?  Vocations plunged.

All Catholic schools and especially the first Irish Christian Brother school in Chicago, Leo High School, operate like vineyards: grapes differ.  A connecting branch must get the operating growing and eventually the finished products flowing. There are no brothers at Leo and there has not been one teaching, coaching or administering since the death of Brother Francis R. Finch in 1999 and the Congregation's forced retirement of Brother John Steve O'Keefe in 2005. The brothers withdrew from Leo as a congregation in 1991. Leo High School remains a Catholic school of the Archdiocese of Chicago and managed to maintain something of the charism of the Irish Christian Brothers.  Alumni who were educated by the brothers make up a good portion of the faculty.  Alumni support for the school is robust.  Most encouraging is the presence of former Brother Peter W. Doyle.

Peter Doyle, now married, began his teaching career at Leo in 1967 and served many years as an English teacher, religion teacher, coach and was hired by Leo President Bob Foster as a principal. When Mr. Foster retired Pete Doyle returned to serve as teacher, coach and campus minister.  The Alumni are delighted.  The older silver maned contemporaries of mine still call him Bro Doyle and the young gents Mr. Doyle. Mr. Doyle is a an important cut of the vine, because he is a direct link to the charism that sparks Leo's mission.  He still reads the Divine Office daily and generated great interest in the rosary, especially among the non-Catholic African American students.

Catholic schools were built in order protect the faith of children from the radical Protestant, now Progressive secular, doctrines imposed on students.  Catholic schools developed within a tradition of scholarship and methodology - in fact many methodologies - with the result of training the children of the faithful enact the rituals, immerse themselves in the stories and traditions of the Catholic faith, and live the learned virtues as adults.

It matters that there are distinctions.  A Jesuit education is different from the one a Leo Man received, all the while both are powerfully Catholic.  When distinction is obscured, diluted, neglected, or ridiculed, the whole is diminished.  Catholics who accepted anything will swallow anything.  If that is the case, why bother?

Catholic schools must strengthen identity through the distinctive and inclusive qualities of the many charisms.
The orchestra needs the right instruments.