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The [Tuesday] Papers

Jim DeRogatis gives Bob Dylan's new Christmas album zero stars today, but his review sure makes it sound fantastic to me!

For example:

"When the star stumbles through 'I'll Be Home for Christmas,' he sounds like the family's disinherited black sheep embarrassment, delivering the sentiment as a threat rather than a promise."

Perfect!

"In 'Winter Wonderland,' when the chrous coos, We'll have lots of fun with Mr. Snowman, he sounds psychotic as he answers, Until the other kids knock him down!"

Love it! Best Christmas record ever!

"And by the time he starts slaughtering the familiar Latin refrain of 'Adeste fideles - Venite adoremus Dominum becomes, no kidding, Benito adore-a-moose domino! - you don''t know whether to wince or guffaw."

Or run out and by another ten copies for your friends!

DeRo even rips "the faux-Currier and Ives cover art," which I happen to think fits right in with both a Knocked Out Loaded and old-timey Dylan "Theme Time Radio Hour" vibe.

I mean, I'm sure the album sounds awful. Just sayin', though.

*

Greg Kot gives it two stars.

*

All proceeds from the record go to charity.

Church And State
The $31 million construction bill signed by Gov. Pat Quinn in July includes more than 100 grants to religious organizations, the Tribune reports.

Including:

* $750,000 to St. Anthony W.W. Temple for "costs associated with capital improvements."

* $700,000 to St. Malacy for "capital improvements."

* $500,000 to the new Christ the King Jesuit College Prep high school on West Jackson Boulevard.

* $250,000 to the Christian Love M.B. Church for "capital improvements."

* $100,000 to Telshe Yeshiva for renovations.

* $100,000 to New Life Covenant for "upgrading the facade and installation of energy efficient windows."

Didn't we just go through this with Rod Blagojevich?

"Money going directly to religious organizations for maintenance or construction of buildings used for religious purposes - that I think is constitutionally suspect," Sheldon Nahmod, a Chicago-Kent College of Law professor and constitutional law expert, told the Trib.

I'll say.

But noted constitutional law expert LaShawn Ford, a state representative from Chicago, doesn't see it that way.

"These areas include a large gym-auditorium, computer labs, the cafeteria and the library," Ford said in a written response to the Tribune.

1. A large gym-auditorium where religious programs may take place?
2. Computer labs where kids can research the Bible on the Internet?
3. A cafeteria where kids will say blessings over their meals?
4. A library where books on evolution just might well be banned?

There is no separating religious and non-religious areas of a school. It either is or isn't - as a whole.

Now, some will argue - and the U.S. Supreme Court appears to agree - that state funding of secular activities performed by religious organizations is acceptable. I disagree. While the social services many religious organizations provide is important, that is also the work of government. Religious organizations are free to do what they want with their own money, but we seem to have not only blurred the lines between the private and public sectors, but between the public and religious sectors.

Just look at the health care debate. Private insurers - and providers - may have a role to play, but health care is the government's responsibility. Meaning our collective responsibility for ourselves and our fellow citizens.

It certainly isn't the responsibility of employers; shareholders, employees and customers would all be better off getting employers out of the business of providing health care.

And while charity is great, social services are the province of government as well. In fact, it wouldn't upset me to see corporations give up all their charitable giving. Let business do their job, let government do its job, and let religious organizations do, um, their job.

We'd all be a lot better off.

*

And oh, Ford just happens to be a trustee on the board of the West Side Jesuit school that just happened to land half a million bucks.

*

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Why does the Tribune - and any other news organization - find written responses acceptable? If a public official will not submit themselves to questions from a reporter, then screw 'em.

"State Rep. LaShawn Ford refused to answer reporters' questions, instead insisting on providing only written answers, which is against the policy of this newspapers because you can't question a piece of paper."

See?

*

And if Ford's statement came in response to an e-mail, stop asking questions by e-mail. It's no different than presenting your questions to your subject in advance, and that, of course, is a no-no.

Our Country
"If you feel like you're getting nickel and dimed to death, you probably are," CBS News reports.

"In an attempt to create 'sticker swoon,' - an irresistibly low price - an increasing number of businesses are advertising bargain prices for everything from cell phone service to hotel stays before tacking on hidden fees and charges to boost the final cost and make it tougher to shop around.

"'The common denominator is the drive to disguise what the true cost is,' said Joseph Ridout, consumer services manager at Consumer Action, a San Francisco-based advocacy group."

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Can't we live in a society where everybody isn't out to screw everybody else? What kind of people are we? It would certainly be less exhausting. Really. Is this how we teach our kids to behave?

More Villainry
* Sam Zell Is Doing The Samba. Why he rooted for Rio.

* Hynes And Quinn Fight Lies With Lies. The truth isn't out there.

* Saving The CTA. Isn't it about time?

* Protecting Yuppie Scum. In I Am A Security Guard.

For Your Pleasure
* BCS HAL's worst nightmare. In The College Football Report.

* What are BTO, Kansas, Sammy Hagar, Kiss and Kim Wilde trying to tell us? In Existential Rock.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: To East California.



Permalink

Posted on October 13, 2009


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Slow TV Chicago.
POLITICS - The Geographic Politics Of Immigrant Detention Centers.
SPORTS - The Ghost Of Dayan Viciedo.

BOOKS - Meet Chicago's American Writers Museum.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: American Spring.


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