31st Street Beach
Lake Michigan in Chicago

By John Ruberry

As the tenth anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina approaches we will come across many retrospectives of the storm that killed over 1,800 people and destroyed large swaths of the Gulf of Mexico coastal area–particularly in New Orleans.

But we won’t see too many like this one from the Chicago Tribune’s Kristen McQueary, whose Thursday column, originally titled, “In Chicago, wishing for a Hurricane Katrina,” was created an uproar along the Gulf Coast and beyond.

And yes, she does wish for one, although in quick follow-up column she backed off a bit–and the headline of her original piece was changed to the milder “Chicago, New Orleans, and rebirth.”

From that column:

But with Aug. 29 fast approaching and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu making media rounds, including at the Tribune Editorial Board, I find myself wishing for a storm in Chicago — an unpredictable, haughty, devastating swirl of fury. A dramatic levee break. Geysers bursting through manhole covers. A sleeping city, forced onto the rooftops.

That’s what it took to hit the reset button in New Orleans. Chaos. Tragedy. Heartbreak.

Residents overthrew a corrupt government. A new mayor slashed the city budget, forced unpaid furloughs, cut positions, detonated labor contracts. New Orleans’ City Hall got leaner and more efficient. Dilapidated buildings were torn down. Public housing got rebuilt. Governments were consolidated.

An underperforming public school system saw a complete makeover. A new schools chief, Paul Vallas, designed a school system with the flexibility of an entrepreneur. No restrictive mandates from the city or the state. No demands from teacher unions to abide. Instead, he created the nation’s first free-market education system.

While McQueary does mention the despair of 2005 NOLA, somehow those 1,800 deaths and the tens of thousands of homes and businesses destroyed were overlooked, as was the carnage Katrina brought to Florida and Mississippi.

The following day in her explanation of her editorial debacle, McQueary left out three words: I am sorry.

Worse, like a spoiled Hollywood celebrity, she blamed her audience for misinterpreting her words:

Many readers thought my premise — through my use of metaphor and hyperbole — was out of line. I certainly hear you. I am reading your tweets and emails. And I am horrified and sickened at how that column was read to mean [emphasis mine] I would be gunning for actual death and destruction.

Chicago’s problems are human-caused. One party rule has destroyed the city. Chicago hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1931. It hasn’t had a Republican alderman since 2011. Only one GOP member in the state general assembly is from Chicago. Too many residents vote Democratic for no other reason other than the candidate is a Democrat. For instance, in last fall’s gubernatorial when Republican newcomer Bruce Rauner ousted weak incumbent Pat Quinn–a Chicago Democrat–96 percent of the voters in the 34th Ward stuck with Quinn. Interestingly enough, Quinn’s running mate was the aforementioned Vallas. Louisiana Sign

Rauner and the General Assembly–which is controlled by two Chicago Democrats who created supermajorities with obscenely gerrymandered legislative maps–are locked in a six-week long budget stalemate. In a potential grand bargain that can end the deadlock, Rauner is proposing many reforms that will improve Illinois and Chicago–including removing the power of legislative reapportionment away from the General Assembly so the politicians are unable to create permanent majorities. Unlike his hapless predecessor, who only nibbled at pension reform–Rauner wants to confront Illinois’ unfunded pension debacle head on. But Illinois’ public-sector unions, who are major campaign contributors to Democratic pols–are balking. Pensions are a statewide problem, but the millstone is hitting Chicago the hardest. Moody’s rates Chicago’s bonds as junk.

America’s third largest city, Ms. McQueary, doesn’t need your Lake Michigan Katrina. It needs more new leaders. Human-caused problems can be fixed by humans, after all.

Yes, even you.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

I speak to Author Declan Finn at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

his web page is here, his twitter account is here.

This is huge news:

StemExpress, one of the tissue companies that works with Planned Parenthood, is cutting its ties with the women’s health organization after a series of sting videos that have prompted congressional inquiries, sources tell POLITICO.

The small biomedical tissue procurement company is distancing itself from Planned Parenthood after finding itself tangentially linked to what abortion opponents allege is Planned Parenthood’s illegal trafficking of fetal tissue and organs.

The videos and images like this didn’t help but I suspect a lot had to do with this:

The Court also rejects StemExpress’ argument that they are entitled to injunctive relief because CMP violated California criminal and civil law against taping a conversation without consent. That law, the court points out, allows a victim to get damages and to prevent further illicit recording, but not to prevent distribution of the recording.

The court’s comments suggest that StemExpress will have an uphill battle convincing the court to turn the temporary restraining order into a preliminary injunction, and will probably dissolve the TRO and let CMP distribute its recording of a meeting with StemExpress executives.

Steven Miller put it well on twitter:

Life news says this about Stem Express:

StemExpress is one of a handful of biotech firms that works with Planned parenthood by purchasing aborted babies and their body parts and selling them to scientists at research universities for medical experiments. But Politico is reporting that the biologics company is breaking its ties with the abortion corporation.

How bad does it have to be if you buy dead baby parts for a living but planned parenthood is a bridge too far for you. Ed Morrissey notes how it is:

But if they are willing to cut ties with the single largest source of fetal tissue in the country by far, they must think this last video and the videos to come will be bad indeed — like, Category 5 bad.

and it’s not good news for Planned Parenthood either:

StemExpress’s abandonment of Planned Parenthood in the midst of a concerted effort by the abortion provider to get supporters to “Stand With Planned Parenthood” speaks volumes about the effects of the videos on Planned Parenthood’s bottom line. StemExpress, after all, is a key Planned Parenthood ally and even went to court to prevent the release of additional undercover videos that tar the taxpapyer-funded non-profit abortion provider.

If a business that exists solely to act as a middleman between the buyers and sellers of aborted baby body parts thinks a mere association with Planned Parenthood is bad for its image, things must be really bad.

It will be interesting to see how the media reacts to this development.