Chicago’s lakefront

By John Ruberry

“Decent people shouldn’t live here. They’d be happier someplace else.”
Jack Napier/The Joker in Batman.

Often, I’m asked, “Why is Chicago so corrupt?” The short answer? It’s always been that way.

Now let me expand a bit.

Earlier this month the Department of Justice released a report that excoriated the Chicago Police Department for use of excessive force, slipshod training, and soft discipline within its ranks. The report was produced because of the shooting in 2014–with sixteen bullets–of an unarmed teen black Laquan McDonald by a white Chicago cop.

But the Chicago Tribune’s John Kass noted a significant omission in that report: Chicago’s corruption culture.

It wasn’t the Chicago cops who shaped the police culture. The political corruption and cynicism of politicians over decades in a one-party Democratic machine town shaped the culture.

Kass adds that it was City Hall that sat on the damning police video of McDonald getting shot. It was released over a year later–seven months after Mayor Rahm Emanuel was releected. Kass, without mentioning his name, reminded readers that longtime CPD chief of detectives, William Hanhardt, was placed in that position by his political friends. Hanhardt, a mob cop, ran a jewelry theft ring while he was chasing select other bad guys.

But why is Chicago so corrupt?

Chicago, like other Midwestern cities, was settled first by New Englanders and upstate New Yorkers, white Anglo-Saxon protestants mainly. But Irish people fleeing the Potato Famine and seeking work on such projects as the Illinois & Michigan Canal, along with Germans, were the first wave of immigrants to Chicago. My great-great grandfather, another John Ruberry, was part of this wave. But the Irish already knew English and the arguably more numerous Germans initially did not. Which meant that the Irish were able to qualify for government jobs. Then some of them made the logical next step–run for political office.

The eighteenth-century Irish were unwilling subjects of the British Empire–they viewed government as an alien force and many didn’t see anything wrong with stealing from that government. Old habits are hard to break–and many Irish-Americans saw public service as an opportunity to stuff their pockets with bribes and kickbacks–and to place their friends and relatives in other government positions. Or to offer other friends and relatives government contracts, who might reward their patrons with “gifts.”

So Chicago’s culture of corruption was born.

Other immigrants followed–many with similar backgrounds. Poles didn’t have their own nation for the entire 18th century, the majority of Chicago’s Italian immigrants came from southern Italy, and there was no love between them and the Italian royal house, which emerged from the northern half of the peninsula. The Czechs and the Croatians were part of Austria-Hungary.

Abandoned South Side home

Even newcomers to Chicago who were Americans fit the bill.

Until the mid-1960s blacks who came to Chicago as part of the Great Migration were subject to Jim Crow laws and could not vote. Clearly local government was not their government. Puerto Rican corruption is even worse than that of Chicago.

You can make the same argument about Mexico, the latest source of mass-immigration to Chicago.

Another Chicago newspaper columnist, the legendary Mike Royko, often quipped that Chicago’s official slogan should be “Where’s mine?”

Roughly once every 18 months a Chicago alderman is sentenced to prison. One of Chicago’s dirtiest secrets is the coziness between politicians and street gangs.

My point is not to demonize any group but to explain how Chicago got to the unhappy place where it is. For instance, my father, another John Ruberry–he went by Jack–once told my mother, “I’d like to work in politics.” She replied, “That will never work out–you are too honest.” My dad was 100-percent Irish-American. And yes, my mother was right–and my father never ran for public office. This decent man moved his family out of Chicago in 1968.

Meanwhile, Chicago, and yes, the rest of Illinois is a cesspool of cronyism and corruption.

Oh, you WASPs, particularly Republican ones reading this post–I’m coming for you.

Much is made of Chicago not having a Republican mayor since 1931. But that mayor was William Hale Thompson, a Boston-born Protestant who was probably Chicago’s most corrupt mayor. Thompson was a protector and sponsor of Al Capone. Thompson, a crook, was able to reap dishonest benefits from a crooked bureaucracy that was already in place. After his death two safe deposit boxes containing nearly $2 million were discovered. Although Thompson’s successor, Czech immigrant Anton Cermak, founded the modern Chicago Democratic machine, he was a better mayor than Thompson.

I began with a quote from one Batman movie and I’ll end this post with a quote from another, this time from Batman Begins.

The League of Shadows has been a check against human corruption for thousands of years. We sacked Rome, loaded trade ships with plague rats, burned London to the ground. Every time a civilization reaches the pinnacle of its decadence, we return to restore the balance.

John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

Chicago is clearly in decline. Payoffs to public-sector union members, pensions that weren’t properly funded, gave Chicagoans–including of course the decent ones–their largest property tax hike ever two years ago, followed by more tax increases last year. No serious person believes there won’t be more soon. Last year more Chicagoans were murdered than those killed in New York City and Los Angeles–combined.

Chicago is at its lowest population in one hundred years, coincidentally, that was when Chicago was still a boom town and William Hale Thompson was mayor.

While there is no League of Shadows, Chicago is long overdue for a check against human corruption.

Where is Chicago’s Bruce Wayne?

Or its Bruce Waynes?

And no, I’m not calling for bubonic plague in Chicago. The city is emptying out just fine on its own.

John Ruberry, a decent man who moved his family out of Chicago in 1999, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit. 

On Inauguration day I interviewed three people about the election of Donald Trump, the first was Mike Rogers of Granite Grok who hosted the inauguration party that I attended.

Among Mike’s guests was Former GOP speaker of the NH House of Representatives Bill O’Brien who was one of Ted Cruz’s co-chairs and hosted one of the events that I covered exclusively during the campaign. He also gave me some time.

We both agree that Cruz will be an invaluable ally for Trump if he advances conservatives causes.

My final interview was with Documentary Filmmaker Andrew Mudge who attended the event as part of a Documentary on the first year of the Trump administration. I interviewed him while at the same time he interviewed me for the Documentary

It will be interesting to see if I make the cuts, but he isn’t the final editor as he is one of several filmmakers around the nation working on this project.

My gist from talking to people at the event is that most are impressed with the cabinet choices that Trump has made but are more impressed by is gutting of the MSM and exposing their weaknesses combined with the absolute insanity he produces from the left. The worse they get the more these people embrace Trump.

If the stunts like the woman’s march and the pussy hats continue at this rate by the time 2020 rolls around the GOP will have solidly embraced him nationwide and will pull the lever for him with much more enthusiasm than they did this time.

by baldilocks

Sabo triggers Hollywood liberals yet again.

A conservative street artist famous for lampooning liberal Hollywood is celebrating the inauguration of President Donald Trump at an anti-Trump rally Friday in Los Angeles using faux posters of Fox’s revival of the hit TV show 24.

The artist, who goes by the pseudonym Sabo, is also attacking a bunch of musicians scheduled to perform at an anti-Trump rally, also in Los Angeles.

Some Grand Master-level Trolling of Liberals

Protesters gathered Friday in and around L.A. City Hall and L.A. Live — an entertainment area near the Staples Center where NBA’s Lakers and NHL’s Kings play — for something called “United Against Hate Inauguration March,” where Sabo posted several fake advertisements for 24: Legacy.

I watched the feed of the Inauguration and the parade yesterday. It was especially thrilling and gratifying to see the Talladega College (AL) Marching Tornadoes as they fulfilled their mission: they came to entertain. (I wrote about them last week at my blog.)

Former President Obama and Mrs. Obama are now hanging out around my way for a post-presidency vacation: Palm Springs, CA. I guess they wanted to be among their people–oh and do some golfing, of course. One of my Kenyan cousins—and Obama fan, to be sure—would be thrilled to give the former president some tips on the green.

President Trump has restored the bust of Winston Churchill—a loan to the White House from the British during Former President George W. Bush’s Administration–to its former place of honor in the Oval Office. It had been rather infamously removed from the Oval Office by then-President Obama back in 2009, and replaced by a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. A TIME Magazine reporter claimed that President Trump had subsequently removed the King bust, but that turned out to be false.

Oh and today: a lot of women are on the march for some reason.

ht: Andrew Marcus

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on February 2017! Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

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baldilocks

As I write this post, I’m totally entranced with the TV coverage of the Trump inauguration.

My favorite so far is Varney & Co. on Fox Business Network (you can watch live at the link).

Mr. Varney was born in England and became a U.S. citizen, and peppers his commentary with notes on the stock market: He checked the price of GM stock when the motorcades headed to the Capitol building. He wondered if Tiffany stock would go up while Melania handed Michelle the signature Tiffany-blue box:

What is more entrancing is the crowd waiting outside. Thousands of Trump supporters wearing Make America Great Again hats peacefully gathering in an organized manner, which also makes me admire the massive security effort this occasion requires. In other parts of town, anarchists are breaking windows.

The importance of a peaceful and amicable transition from one administration to the next is part of what defines a true democracy. As the day enfolds, I invite you to pray for our great country and for the President. From the Book of Common Prayer:

Prayers for National Life

18. For our Country

Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

19. For the President of the United States and all in Civil Authority

O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world: We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that, being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to the President of the United States, the Governor of this State (or Commonwealth), and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful
of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.

Starting tomorrow the rubber hits the road we will now see if he can cut down the mightiest tree in the forest with a Herring govern.

If he can win the war on terror and turn the economy around he’ll be a winner in my book.

DaTechGuy Jan 20th 2009

8 Years ago I wrote a post titled President Bush rank:  Obama where I ranked the Bush presidency vs others presidents.  After ranking Bush I said this about the incoming Obama administration:

President Elect Obama has the potential to end up anywhere on his list. The trick is not to under rate him due to unreal expectations or overrate him due to his unique place in history. Lets hope he earns high ratings due to high performance. As of today it will come down to the economy and the war on terror but who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Well it’s eight years later and now we know so let’s again look at my grouping from the past.

I grouped them into 5 sections the top teir one being

TR, Cleveland, Lincoln, Polk, Washington 

As I said at the time both Cleveland and Polk are great presidents who don’t get enough credit these days.

The 2nd group was

Reagan, Truman, FDR, McKinley, Monroe, Madison

As the years go by Reagan continues to knock at the door of that top level but in my mind still doesn’t get in, and while many of my fellow conservatives would disagree I say victory in WW 2 when the world was at Stake trumps FDR’s socialist New Deal

The 3rd Group was

Kennedy, Ike, Coolidge, Hayes, Jackson, Tyler, Jefferson, John Adams and now George W Bush

The Obama years particularly the comparison concerning the war on give the temptation to move Bush 2 into the higher level but I’m not quite there yet, plus his foolish response to the financial crisis at the end of his term enabled a lot of the trouble that Obama made during his years.

Put simply Barack Obama has no business being mentioned in the same league with with any of those first three tiers

The 4th group was

Clinton,GHW Bush, Ford, LB Johnson, Taft, Andrew Johnson, Pierce, Fillmore, Taylor.

And Obama doesn’t rank with any of the.   Ford did yeoman’s work restoring the country, Clinton while a walking scandal was able to work with a GOP congress, Johnson for all the disaster of the great society has the civil rights act and was actually winning in Vietnam before the left undercut him, Taft while no TR continued man of his policies and while Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce, Millard Fillmore and Zach Taylor either failed to stop a coming civil war or failed to unite a nation after one, all respected the rule of law or the Constitution.  And the First Bush not only won the 1st Iraq war but managed to build a international group to support it.

The bottom tier of US presidents is

Carter, Nixon, Hoover, Harding, Wilson,  B. Harrison, Garfield, Grant, Buchanan, WH. Harrison, Van Buren, JQ Adams.

Barack Obama owns this bottom tier and the question really is where within it does he lie?  It’s a measure of how bad the Obama years were that it forces us to make levels in the bottom tier of presidents in order to find his true ranking.

The best of that bottom tier are:  Wilson, Nixon and WH Harrison and Ben Harrison his grandson and Obama can’t compete with any of them

He easily ranks below Wilson because Wilson’s win in the 1st World War Trumps Obama’s failures, He also ranks below Nixon because not only did Tricky Dick have many actual accomplishments he only talked about weaponizing the IRS to use against his foes the Obama administration actually did it.  In many ways the Obama years where an image of what the Nixon might have been if the press was solidly republican and saw their duty as defending him.  Ben Harrison managed to blow the country’s surplus by giving it out to civil war vets and creating a giant deficit that still haunts us today and his tariff policies were awful which is the reason why his successful foreign policy agenda doesn’t get him out of this level  He ranks below WH Harrison because Harrison died within a month of being sworn in and doing nothing would have been better than the Obama years.

How sad is it that a literal “Do nothing” president is far superior to Obama

The next level of that bottom tier are  Garfield and JQ Adams Obama is not as good as either

Adams is the best of this batch, he came in under a cloud and accomplished little despite his incredible skills, but he also didn’t have any big failures, Garfield didn’t get much of a chance getting shot very early in his terms but his fight over patronage in NY puts him over obama.

That leaves Carter, Hoover, Harding,  Grant, Buchanan, Van Buren and  can Obama beat any of them?

There are two distinct groups here, Buchanan, Van Buren and  Hoover served at a time of Crisis and failed

Grant, Carter and Harding all came in after a crisis and either didn’t succeed or made things worse.

of the six Harding is the easiest to rank above the others simply because of the economic state of the country.  His scandals were unable to make things worse.

Hoover and Van Buren both served in times of crisis and despite good records proved unequal to the task but both of them rank above Obama as neither was able to make a bad situation worse and made honest efforts to solve problems.

That leaves Grant, Carter and Buchanan  vs Obama This is tough.

Grant likely has to make the top of the list here, His presidency was scandal ridden but had at least four years of prosperity and his foreign policy was mixed rather than a failure.

Carter has to come in next, his policies harmed the economy tremendously, his foreign policy was for the most part disastrous from giving away the panama canal to the Iran Hostage crisis and only his hijack of the talks between Israel and Egypt save him from dead bottom.  The line that Jimmy Carter was a best case scenario for Obama which started to be said around 2012 turned out to be very true.

So that puts it down to Obama vs Buchanan as to who is the worst president of all time.

The Failures of the Obama years from the massive corruption, the use of government as a weapon against political enemies, the enabling of our foes and the subjugation of our friends combined with a dismal economy and the war on Christianity both overseas and at home makes Barack Obama unique among president in that you have to go back to Jefferson Davis to find an American president more dedicated to harming the United States of America than him.

However while Obama’s failures might have lead to civil war Buchanan’s actually did.  While one could argue that the crisis was building for years so you can’t blame Buchanan one might also argue that he saw it coming and did not act to prevent it.

In both cases Obama’s actions and Buchanan’s inaction were consistent with their worldviews.  Buchanan’s sympathy to both Slavery and the south and Obama’s dislike of America and embrace of our enemies made any other result unlikely.  Obama suffers because in comparison because of the high expectations the people had of him but Buchanan suffers because unlike Obama he actually had years of experience in both the House and Senate as well as being Secretary of state to an ambassador to both Russia and England.

Frankly in my mind you could choose either as the worst of the lot and not have a bad pick but if I’m pressed to choose I’d have to put Obama above old Buck simply because Obama was an inexperienced and incompetent Chicago machine pol who had no business being president thus his failures, while deliberate, are not entirely unexpected.  Buchanan was an experienced and seasoned pol and diplomat so in my mind his culpability for the failures which led to incredible bloodshed are considerably worse.

So as of right now I rank Barack Obama as 43rd out of 44 presidents of the United States edging out James Buchanan.  I’m sure others can make a case to reverse this order but that’s how I see it.

Meanwhile we have Donald Trump coming in.  He has two intrinsic advantages:

The media and those who write history absolutely hate him so not failing will be seen as a success.

He follows the worst administration in 156 years so he can’t help but do better.

I think for Trump success or failure will come down to three things:

  1. The Economy.  If growth returns then that is what people will remember
  2. War on Terror.  Trump has a tough call here, he wants to both fight the war while keeping the US out of nation building.  That’s a tough combo to pull off but if he can stop ISIS while securing the US he’ll be a success
  3. The Southern border.  Normally this would not be as important but because he made it an intrinsic part of his campaign if a wall is not up or at least substantially built that will hurt him

Again like Obama he could end up anywhere on this list but if he manages these three things he will likely make at least tier 2.  If he manages at least 2 of them tier 3.

Eight Years ago I said it would be fun to find out where Barack Obama would end up on my list.  I was wrong, so rather than say the same about Trump let me just say it won’t be boring.


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We’re in the midst of crazy season:

James O’Keefe finds anarchists planning to commit felonies in order to disrupt the Trump inauguration on Friday, including

an actual plot to release acid at events, chain up DC subways, and assault people at the inauguration

Because that’s how anarchists show their respect for Americans.

There’s the Washington Post covering Marla Maples’s hairdresser, instead  of covering O’Keefe’s investigation. Because that’s how you show journalism worthy of a national newspaper.

Then there are the Code Pink women doing a flashmob dance at Union Station while wearing “pussy hats.” Because flashmobs and silly hats are how you show you are a serious woman of substantive standing on the issues.

And let’s not forget the Congresspeople saying they’ll boycott the inauguration. Because that’s how you show your standing on partisanship, an issue you decry only when you accuse Republicans.

In the midst of all this, at least we get some comic relief. Last night Tucker Carlson opened his show with this, which was actually funny, especially the Peyton Manning line:

A man using the alias “Dominic Tullipso” said Tuesday on Fox News Channel — well, it was hard to figure out what he was trying to say, but it was also clear that he wasn’t running a business that involved spending thousands on hiring activists.

“It’s pretty darn easy these days to just say whatever the heck you want on national TV and have it pass off as truth,” he told host Tucker Carlson. “I don’t know, it’s pretty incredible to me how easy it was to get the coverage we got.”

The unidentified prankster then added, “By the way, I’m not saying that anything of this a hoax and any of this isn’t true.”

At least the Washington Times realized they had been had.

With all this circus going on, is anyone surprised that Ringling Brothers is shutting down?

Why go to the circus when the circus comes to you?

UPDATE
This one promises to be a humdinger: Anthropologists and other scholars plan read-in of Michel Foucault to mark inauguration of Donald Trump

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.

You know Christopher Harper & I are old enough to remember when these kinds of things were done by the media

But because the media have become democrats with bylines such things are left to James O’Keefe and Project Veritas

Well it’s kind of sad that this kind of work has to be done by a James O’Keefe vs the MSM but if I’m wrong about the MSM & the “Democrats with bylines” bit and given their claimed commitment to real news, an actual plot to release acid at events, chain up DC subways, and assault people at the inauguration , particularly with said revelations on video, might just be considered newsworthy by places like CNN:

and CBS

and NBC

and ABC (whose ads kept overriding the results forcing me to use the ad blocking Brave Browser in order to see them)

and PBS

and the NYT

Or perhaps not.

But even if national news services didn’t cover it, you would think surely the Washington Post would carry the story if not because of it’s national importance but because it affects their local metro area


You would think wrong.

Remember these are searches of their web sites. So not only are they not covering this in print or on camera, not a one of them even bothered with a throw away piece buried online.

I guess well have to wait for Trump to tweet the story out for them to cover it.

If you wonder why this administration calls the MSM fake news and likes DaTechGuyblog’s reporting more than theirs, you don’t have to wonder anymore.

Closing thought, it’s interesting to note via several of the graphics that during the presidential campaign the networks seemed to be willing to coordinate attacks on O’Keefe to hide the evidence of Democrat operatives trying to foment violence at Trump events

Closing thought 2. I guess this proves Christopher Harper’s point:


All told, journalists did seem to be better once upon a time. At least my students and I will be able to delve into what once was to determine if we can use the lessons of the oldies but goodies to adapt to today’s environment.


2016 Fabulous 50 Blog AwardsIt’s 2017 and we have a new chance to make our annual goal which requires $61 a day.

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As I prepare to teach the history of journalism this semester, I’ve been thinking about whether reporters used to do a better job.

The notions of objectivity, fairness and balance are standards that occurred in the 1950s when leaders of the media sought a more favorable impression of journalists as professionals. The standards also aimed at a better business model by getting all sides to read a story. Many European journalists eschew such an approach, providing a set of facts and then arguing from a distinctly partisan point of view.

I like the European approach much better. That way I don’t have to parse the political leanings of a journalist who’s hiding behind the alleged standards of objectivity. I think journalists should admit their biases and their partisan beliefs. I like accuracy and transparency as better standards for good journalism.

For example, John Hersey’s “Hiroshima,” which chronicles the stories of six survivors of the atomic bomb, is generally considered the finest work in journalism during the 2oth century. The article and book are not balanced. The story describes the horror of what happened and how people lived and died in horrific conditions.

Paul Fussell, the late academic who might have been one of the estimated one million Allied casualties had the bomb not been used, offered a useful and not-so-objective look at the alternative in his 1981 essay in the New Republic, “Thank God for the Atom Bomb!”

In his excellent book, “Getting It Wrong: Debunking the Greatest Myths in American Journalism,” American University professor W. Joseph Campbell dispels a number of myths held strongly by reporters. For example, the evidence that Richard Nixon won the 1960 first debate with John Kennedy on radio and lost among television viewers has little basis in fact. The evidence simply does not exist.

Campbell argues successfully that Woodward and Bernstein did not bring down Nixon as a result of their Watergate reporting. The Washington Post’s efforts dovetailed with the work of Congress, the judicial system and other perhaps more important actors in the scandal.

I would add some other examples of getting it wrong. The Tet Offensive got widespread attention as an example of how the United States was losing the war in Vietnam. In fact, the Viet Cong suffered huge losses—a fact that did not get much play in the media.

Joe McCarthy may have used extreme tactics in his attack on Communism. But his underlying belief that Communists had infiltrated the U.S. government after World War II proved to be accurate once Soviet archives became available. Based on documents made available after the collapse of the Soviet Union, U.S. Library of Congress historian John Earl Haynes concluded that of the 159 people identified as subversives on lists cited by McCarthy, nine had almost definitely aided in Soviet espionage (and many others could be considered security risks for various reasons).

Nevertheless, I found some of the writing of leftists of bygone eras much more palatable than today’s screeds. For example, Martha Gellhorn’s account of the bombing of Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War provides a great deal of insight into the “collateral damage” of that war.

Gellhorn, an avowed leftist, got it right in my view when she declared that objectivity was nonsense, particularly when she was reporting about the Nazi death camps.

Jimmy Breslin, another lefty writer, was able to talk with ordinary people—an ability lost by the current generation of reporters. “It’s An Honor” is Breslin’s account of the death and burial of Kennedy in which one of the key characters is the guy who dug the grave for the assassinated president. Here is the column: http://www.newsday.com/opinion/digging-jfk-grave-was-his-honor-jimmy-breslin-1.6481560

Richard Ben Cramer’s account of the 1988 election campaign, “What It Takes,” is a far more insightful analysis that anything we have seen since then, particularly his evisceration of Joe Biden, the plagiarist who became vice president. Cramer’s book is also far better than the acclaimed “Making of a President, 1960” by Theodore White about JFK’s campaign, which we now know had widow Jacqueline as the chief architect of the book’s meme.

You have to respect someone like the recently deceased Nat Hentoff, a lefty who also opposed abortion despite losing many friends and some writing gigs because of his pro-life stance.

All told, journalists did seem to be better once upon a time. At least my students and I will be able to delve into what once was to determine if we can use the lessons of the oldies but goodies to adapt to today’s environment.

Note for transparency purposes: W. Joseph Campbell is a friend. I knew Richard Ben Cramer.


Christopher Harper is a longtime journalist who teaches media law and history of journalism.

Yesterday we wrote about democrats continuing to duck the inaugural and continuing to call Donald Trump “illegitimate”

Well apparently James O’Keefe has discovered that leftist groups in DC are taking this to heart.

So given this very public stance by the Democrats on Trump’s legitimacy and the video of these leftists planning criminal violence I’ve sent the following letter to both of my senators via email:

Good Evening:
As you might be aware several members of congress from your party have said they were boycotting the inauguration of Donald Trump, several from John Lewis to one of the candidates for DNC chair have stated that the president elect is not legitimate.
However you might not be aware that a group of people are apparently running with this planning on criminally disrupting the inauguration even to the point of deploying butyric acid to disrupt gatherings.
Therefore I have the following questions:
1.  Will you publicly declare that Donald Trump is the legitimately elected president of the United States?
2.  Will you publicly disavow any group or individual attempting to criminally disrupt the inauguration or events surrounding it based on Donald Trump being an “Illegitimate President” and condemn any such acts
3.  Will you publicly call upon other elected democrats, regardless of their opinion of President Elect Trump to do the same?
Be Aware that this email is being published and later this week I will be publishing your response if any to it.
Thank you
Peter “DaTechGuy” Ingemi
Datechguyblog.com
Featuring DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven
Have Fedora Will Travel
Incidentally to any of you objecting to me calling on these senators to disavow this, let me remind you of the Todd Akin rule that was applied to republicans namely that it is valid journalism to demand that republicans comment and condemn any statement by any republican anywhere that the press might find objectionable.
Well I find violence against the inauguration objectionable.
I think it would be a good idea for you to contact the offices of any Democrat senators and reps too and ask them the same questions I have, particularly John Lewis and his crowd.  Let’s get them on the record either supporting or denouncing this violence

I’ll let you know what they say, if anything later this week.


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By John Ruberry

Last night Feld Entertainment, the owner of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus since 1967, announced that it is pulling up stakes and shutting down the circus for good.

For a very brief period I was one of its center ring performers. More on that later.

Steeped in history more than any other American entertainment offering, the Greatest Show on Earth can be traced to the 1860s with a circus run by James Anthony Bailey. In 1881 he teamed up with P.T Barnum, a circus latecomer who made his name as an oddity museum and freak show operator, creating Barnum & Bailey Circus. Its first big attraction was Jumbo, purportedly the world’s largest elephant–and an unintended result was the adding of “jumbo” to the English language.

Three years after Barnum & Bailey was founded, the five Ringling brothers, entertainers from Baraboo, Wisconsin, started their circus.

Technology was at first kind to these circuses, trains allowed the shows to travel quickly from city to city, abandoning wagons except for the parades with wild animals that served as priceless publicity for drumming up ticket sales. Trains gave Barnum & Bailey the opportunity to travel outside of its base in the Northeast–and the Ringlings weren’t confined to the Midwest anymore.

The Ringling family purchased Barnum & Bailey in 1907 and the shows were consolidated in 1919.

An elephant helped establish Barnum & Bailey and the combined circus was partly brought down by elephants.

Sometime around 2000 animal rights organizations, notably PETA, began protesting circuses and the Greatest Show on Earth was of course its biggest target. The mud and dung started flying with animal cruelty accusations from these groups, particularly regarding elephants. But Feld Entertainment collected $25,2 million in a settlement from animal rights activist groups over their charges of cruelty to pachyderms.

The battle was over but the war was lost. Two years ago Ringling Brothers announced that its elephants would be retired from the circus in 2018, but that date was moved that up to May of last year, largely because of what Ringling CEO Kenneth Feld called “anti-circus” and “anti-elephant” local ordinances.

When he announced the shutdown of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Feld didn’t cite one item but offered, “The competitor in many ways is time.” People, particularly children, are less patient than ever in the age of smartphones, tablets, and YouTube–and the length of its shows has dropped by nearly an hour since Feld Entertainment purchased Ringling Brothers. Technology now worked against the circus.

But Feld’s daughter, Juliette, went in a different direction, stating “We know now that one of the major reasons people came to Ringling Brothers was getting to see elephants.” Ticket sales, which have been declining for a decade, dropped noticeably when the shows became elephant-free.

Of course it’s the goal of the animal rights activists to have all circuses to be strictly human affairs. They’ll never deny that. So the camels, alpacas, lions, and tigers that are part of the Ringling menagerie will be retired, likely ending up in reserves.

Mission accomplished.

Meanwhile, 500 Ringling employees will be out of work, and it’s my fear that it will be tough going for them, as circus life tends to be a multi-generational endeavor.

Interviewer: “So, what makes you think you can be a good fit at our big box store?”

Job seeker: “Well, I’ve worked at Ringling Brothers for thirty years and I’ve lived on circus trains all of that time. I was educated at circus schools because my parents worked for Ringling Brothers too.”

Thanks for hanging in there, I’m getting to my center ring moment now.

Twice I attended Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey shows. My dad took my brothers and I to a performance at Chicago’s International Amphitheater in 1967. It was a dazzling experience–and the hall was packed. Nearly forty years later I brought Little Marathon Pundit to the Ringling circus, this time at the Allstate Arena in suburban Rosemont. Yes, the show was shorter, there was a motorcycle daredevil act in addition to the animal performers, but there was no big band this time–a rock combo offered music and there were a lot of empty seats. Outside the auditorium there were protesters even though it was snowing.

John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

Back inside, as David Larible, a clown, descended the stairs of the arena I snapped a photo of him with my then-exotic smartphone. He motioned me to follow him, brought me to the center ring, where I, along with a few other lucky attendees, participated in a musical instrument comedy skit, as my daughter heartily laughed. It was one of those unforgettable father-daughter moments.

Yes, I’m a former Ringling performer.

You can argue that Ringling Brothers was dying then–but certainly the animal rights radicals hastened its death. And when this venerable circus is dead–a part of America will have died with it.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.