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The [Friday] Papers

Illinois schools now require students to observe a moment of silence every day.

Brought to you by the Democrats.

"Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood), the bill's chief sponsor, denied he was promoting school prayer but instead said a moment of silence possibly could avert tragedies like the recent school shooting in Cleveland, where a troubled 14-year-old shot two students and two teachers before killing himself," the Sun-Times reports.

"Just think if that student had an opportunity maybe to sit and reflect," Davis said.

Yes. Just think.

Of course, Davis didn't offer, to my knowledge, any evidence that, say, states that require moments of silence experience less violence in their schools.

Because that would be absurd.

"Our children deserve . . . a moment of silence," said Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago), another one of Springfield's guiding lights. Perhaps students will use that moment, she says, to "listen to the rustling of leaves, to listen to the chirping of a bird."

Is school funding so dire that classes are now meeting in the woods?

"Maybe we don't have that go give," Davis says. "Maybe we love having this rushed, exciting world in which they live that helps to create the violence."

Um, one question, Rep. Davis. What?

"Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood), chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said she sought to make the moment mandatory this year after visiting schools in her district and finding that some teachers provided students with a moment of school silence and some didn't," the Tribune reports.

"Lightford said the quiet time at the beginning of a school day could provide children with a chance to wrestle with difficult personal issues such as abuse or bullying."

Um, one question, Rep. Lightford. What?

In that brief moment students are going to wrestle with, oh, let's say, abuse?

"Okay, students, let's all take a moment of silence to wrestle with our difficult personal issues, and then take your books out and turn to the War of 1812."

"We support the wholesome value of time to pause and reflect each day as a matter of good hygiene," Wayne Miller, Lutheran bishop for Chicago, told the Trib.

Well, we all like the wholesome value of time and good hygiene, but shouldn't that start at home every morning before kids get to school?

(Chicago kids who rely on the CTA to get to school have the added blessing of all those moment of reflection waiting for their bus to come.)

Now, if the legislature wanted to mandate a moment of silence for students to think about their elected representatives and whether they deserved re-election, that would be fine with me. Or what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they separated church and state. Or how to best organize a protest against disingenuous adults who act like children.

But even that, sadly, can't be mandated. You can lead students to a moment of silence, but you can't make them think. Or pray. Somehow that's a saving grace.

Moment of Silence
Where has everybody been?

Tax Revolt
Speaking of disingenuous adults who act like children, the mayor is positively in tears about the fiercely negative reaction to his proposal for the highest property tax increase in the city's history.

Forgive him for thinking the citizenry would react by saying thank you, sir, may I have another?

After all, that's kind of the way it's been around here for, oh, about 18 years.

Still, the mayor's sense of media victimhood continues to stun.

"You've done a lot to me over the years," he told the press corps, "You try to put me in different images. And you have the power of the pen. You have all the ink you want. But I hope you never say I don't understand the people of Chicago."

At least he didn't accuse reporters of being racist.

Meanwhile, this nugget was buried in the 12th paragraph of a 15-paragraph story in the Sun-Times.

"[A]ldermen . . . will benefit from the mayor's plan to raise the $33,280-a-year aldermanic expense allowance to $72,280 per alderman."

That will cost us $2 million right there, according to the Tribune.

Unmentioned is that the mayor and aldermen raised their salaries last year. That's called the City Hall Salary Tax. And don't even get Ben Joravsky started about TIFs.

Gaming Commission
John Kass thinks Daley's uncharacteristically dire budget is about a casino. I'm not sure about that; a Chicago casino is always the easy default explanation when we haven't yet figured out the politics behind something, like, say, putting the Chicago Children's Museum in Grant Park. But this sure was an interesting exchange Kass had with the mayor.

"Me: Your Honor, do you support the plan to create a Chicago gaming commission to oversee a city casino and cut out the Illinois Gaming Board?

"Daley: No. I don't know anything about that.

"City Hall suit sitting next to Daley: I don't know anything about it.

"Daley: Gee. I don't know.

"But it turns out that at 10 a.m. Wednesday on the 16th floor of the Thompson Center, there will be a public meeting about proposed Chicago casino legislation, including a plan to let the mayor appoint a board that would govern a casino.

"According to a Better Government Association analysis of the legislation, there would be no competitive bidding for professional services contracts to manage the casino. And once passed, City Hall could never lose its license, even if it runs the casino as it ran the scandal-plagued Hired Truck program."

Ferdy's Film Fest
"What's great about Roy Andersson films is their look," our very own Marilyn Ferdinand writes in her continuing coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival. "Andersson has fashioned a color palette that is washed-out blues and yellows, the colors of the Swedish flag. His characters look pasty or deformed. This film features a lot of short people, especially men. He revels in putting strange actions at the edges of the screen or in the background, making the experience of watching his films a bit like a game of Where's Waldo."

The Beachwood Tip Line: Tax-free.


Posted on October 12, 2007

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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