& a farewell to Gordon Lightfoot
Thank you for your tribute to Gordon Lightfoot. I just want to add one more song to your list of his best, “Beautiful”, from the 1972 album Don Quixote. One of his best love songs.
The "Hot Cross Buns" tweet had me weeping with tears as I remembered the times when my (now 30-yr old retired Marine) son and (now graduate student) daughter each proudly brought home their elementary school-issued plastic recorders to torture us with "Hot Cross Buns" for weeks. If and when they have children of their own, each of their little tykes will get percussion sets as Christmas gifts.
Criticism of No Mow May from an association of grass cutting companies?
At least I didn't need to search far to call out their misleading quote from "Rusty-Patched Bumblebee." Thanks for including the link to last year's well-written PS column on the subject.
Mary's demolition piece, remembering Gordon Lightfoot and an excellent batch of Tweets makes for a good Thursday!
Didn’t Madigan’s successor make noise about ethics reform? At any rate, can we come up with a way to get ethics reform on the ballot?
The specter of paying $2.6 million for a four flat, only to demolish it for your personal $7 million home, is a good argument for more progressive taxes!
For me the Gordon Lightfoot song is "Song for a Winter's Night." Kills me. An especially awesome experience is when it has been performed by Irish Christmas in America (our other annual Old Town School winter tradition) sung by the beautiful voice of Niamh Farrell. It was an especially powerful night when she sang it at the first show back after COVID shutdown.
Thanks for the Oklahoma piece. I was not aware of this decision. I hate guns and believe that the second amendment is being misinterpreted. Even then I’m troubled by the decision of not showing guns. In order to address a problem we must show it, not hide it. Besides the issue with guns is not about cowboys. There are grizzly depictions of violence much worse than Oklahoma in most museums. Another issue is that the options in the voting could have been written differently. Just because I don’t agree with the decision does not mean I condone censorship. Wrong choice of words, and it’s likely that the liberal crowd that supports you (including me) would never pull the censorship lever. The poll seemed bias based on its wording. Thanks again for your outstanding contributions.
Bribery, as we all know , is already illegal. Why do business and government people, usually well-off already, engage in it, knowing this? It’s because they are morally despicable and greedy. Any ethics reform won’t change who they are. People will still elect them and defend them for partisan advantage.
The voters have to decide that they refuse to support these people at the first whiff of them. Not defend them right up to the day they’re charged, and then murmur about waiting for the jury to convict.
Why do you have such a negative and sometimes racist opinion of Willie Wilson? I refer to your mocking his speech, always mentioning that he didn't finish elementary school, etc. His first editorial in the Tribune was spot on and very thoughtful. I have heard you say similar things during your Mincing Rascals podcast. Mr. Wilson is a self-made millionaire, compassionate, committed to Chicago, and someone who has a greater sense of what impoverished south and west side communities need that you and I will ever have.
I really liked Christine Ledbetter’s piece about why the loss of newspaper cultural critics hurts us as citizens. Art, literature, and music have the power to affect deeply all people, emotionally and spiritually, regardless of their political or cultural views. Consider the way politicians of all different stripes at their appearances and rallies play songs before the event starts. The power of art, literature, and music to connect with us and powerfully affect us, regardless of our differing views, can and should remind us, “conservatives” and “liberals” alike, Russians and Ukrainians alike, Chinese and Americans alike, of our shared humanity. I sing in two different choral groups. There are progressives like me in each group and there are “conservatives” in each group. I am of the view that if the human race does not destroy itself, it will be because of the power of art, literature, and music, to help us see what is beautiful and divine in the people who are different from us. For the same reason I am troubled by developments in colleges and universities that are discouraging the study of the Humanities.
I am not the least bit surprised by the feigned concern of our politicians to the ComEd verdict. I also expect nothing from them, as they are all well aware that this stuff always blows over without any effect on them. Especially since the emphasis is Com Ed Bribery, so evil corporation corrupting with money. But Pramaggiore did not organize the scheme. She participated in the scheme that had been run by Madigan cronies for decades.
But I also think the BGA recommendations, while useful, still miss the mark. The trial was not about bribery or lobbying. Illinois corruption is a sophisticated replacement for the old patronage system. It is the subtle extortion of any group, individual, or company that needs government approval, services, or legislative attention. Executives know that if they don't give contracts to the law firms of legislators, or fail to hire people referred to them, or fail to contract with their lobbyist cronies, or fail to provide favors in the right wards, that the pols will be unhappy. Which means you won't get a permit, or your request will get a slow roll, or you will not get a hearing. Executives know that hiring spouses, or relatives, or cronies (or their companies) is the price of an entry permit. And then there are the 'community investments' and contributions to community groups and the regular campaign donations.
I thought that the 'Oklahoma' decision was more related to performer safety than gun rights. The performers still have prop guns, but they are completely non-functional, and the sound effect is provided in another way. So, there is no risk of any injury from an improperly loaded or discharged prop gun. How many prop guns are used in theater performances that aren't part of the plot or characters? Seems reasonable for high school.
Corruption is endemic in Chicago, Cook County and Illinois to an extent that it is an undeniably prominent part of their brand on a national basis. Polls repeatedly affirm that the overwhelming majority of Illinois residents acknowledge this (and to use one of Eric's favorite dismissive terms) clutch their pearls in shock and disgust every time it is uncovered.
Who is primarily to blame for this? Just look in the mirror, good voters of Chicago, Cook County and illinois. Because people who are part of the corruption, turn their eyes away from corruption, and refuse to make changes to combat corruption, continue getting elected and re-elected over and over again.
"Aldermanic Privilege" is designed to make the respective alderperson the Monarch over everything in their ward, which makes it a necessary price of doing business to pay them homage with campaign contributions, perks, benefits
and often payments under the table to simply conduct business there. It would seem like a no-brainer to get rid of this corrupt system, right? Recall that Mayor Lightfoot entered office vowing to do away with it, but quickly had to back down in the face of fierce opposition of the overwhelming majority of alderpersons. So why don't the voters of Chicago demand that all candidates explicitly promise to vote to abolish aldermanic privilege? Why don't they?? Because they are passively okay with this, and their votes prove it.
The French philosopher Maistre famously said that in democracy, people get the government they deserve. That being the case, it is difficult not to believe that the people of Illinois deserve all the corruption they continue to wallow in.
Found your 1980 column on your grandparents feelings on their German heritage most interesting. Was surprised that the column was so long, as I thought part of the purpose was to help train greenhorns how to write a newspaper column. Anyway, I had a personal interest in the story, since just about everything I learned about my German side was about German ancesters living in the German-populated Banant region of Yugoslavia. One (my half uncle) died in the war after being drafted by the NAZI conquerers of Yugoslavia, His family, his parents (by great grandparents), his wife, and children were killed in a Yugoslav concentration camp (designed like a NAZI one to ensure massive death (if not outright murder, death by horrible conditions). A frequent thought is how did so many of the average joe Germans, like my German ancestors, become so fanatical that they would commit atrocities, spew intense hatred, and commit suicide when the NAZI regime lost the war.
“Understandable and no big deal”
“Censorship and sensitivity run amok.”
You could make a good living as a poll-writer.