Why Does President Bush Hate the Cubs?

Not long after repeating statements attributed to Osama bin Laden in an address on the “Global War on Terror,” President Bush welcomed members of the St. Louis Cardinals to the White House.

I was shocked to hear that Bush repeated the name of the still-at-large al Qaeda leader no less than 17 times in a 45 minute speech — apparently losing sight of the fact that bin Laden is only happy as a Hitler to have his rhetoric repeated and disseminated by the man who put a $50 million price tag on his head.

But what really killed me was this: In the thick of all world events, Bush was able to remember that Cardinals backup catcher, Cub-killer and otherwise hack, Gary Bennett, hit a walk-off grand slam last week against the Cubs:

“He’s one of the most powerful men in the world. He’s got a lot more important things on his mind,” Bennett said. “To remember something relatively meaningless in the grand scheme of things … it’s pretty impressive.”

bin laden... Cubs fan???I’m surprised the president didn’t slip during his speech and warn the National League of an imminent threat should Osama bin Laden himself buy out the Cubs from the Tribune and re-stock their pitching staff and lineup accordingly.

While Bush seems to have already forgotten about recent Supreme Court demands on the executive branch to curttail domestic surveillance and examine the use of military tribunals in breach of Geneva Conventions in a more conventional sense, his lord only knows how happy he is to find that the true saviors of the universe — the Chicago Cubs — have fallen into last place.

Webzines: The Birth of e-Cit. Journalism

Thumbing through Chicago Magazine, of all things, I found an excellent article (written by David Bernstein) profiling Jamie Kalven, son of a prominent First Amendment scholar who found himself fighting his own press-rights battle this summer as the first Chicago-area journalist to be served a subpoena by the City of Chicago in recent history.

Since 2001, Kalven has published the Webzine “View From the Ground,” a fine collection of journalism that should have been — but never was — published in the mainstream media.

Kalven has been documenting his observations and those of the residents of Stateway Gardens, arguably the most decrepit of South Side projects and at this point almost completely torn down. He has not been shy about openly criticizing gang or police conduct, most notably the conduct of a group of plainclothes officers known as the Skullcaps.

Now that a case charging members of the Skullcaps has gone to court, city attorneys subpoenaed Kalven for his notes, which he is protesting on First Amendment grounds. In July, a judge denied the motion for Kalven to submit his papers.

Coincidentally (or, perhaps not) as many as 8 elite Special Operations officers stripped of their powers this week, reportedly for involvement in various thefts in and around Stateway Gardens.

An investigation into a corrupt police force in Chicago? Who woulda thunk?
This is a great story, the only must-read I’ve ever seen in Chicago Mag to be honest — also highly recommended is Kalven’s “Webzine,” View From the Ground.

Donald Rumsfeld: Anti-American Fascist?

In my general (unspoken and impossible) boycott of political blogging, I’ve passed up many opportunities to conjure up nausea by evoking even images if not quotes of Don Rumsfeld. As reported widely throughout the blogosphere, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann delivered a KO-punch for the ages, evoking Murrow. Like his “Nexus of Politics and Terror” report last October, I cannot pass up hosting this commentary. Lay it down once and for all who the real fascists are. Is the U.S. media finally figuring it out, or is it just the “hacks” like Olbermann and Stewart? At least the blogosphere is flexing its muscle(s).