The [Tuesday] Papers
"E. Duke McNeil, a well-known Chicago civil rights attorney who used his commanding voice to captivate audiences in the courtroom and on the airwaves as host of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition's weekly forum, died Sunday, Feb. 21," the Tribune reports. "He was 74.
"Mr. McNeil died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack, his daughter J. Rita McNeil-Danish said.
"Every Saturday morning for more than 20 years, Mr. McNeil's deep bass resonated on Rainbow PUSH broadcasts heard across the nation."
McNeil was the first person to appear in my Chicago magazine profile of Jesse Jackson Jr. a few years ago.
Here was my lead:
"The natty emcee, E. Duke McNeil, sauntered to center stage and took the microphone as the choir delivered its jubilant arrangement of 'We Shall Overcome.' The guest of honor, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., sat stone-faced stage left. Television cameras moved into position, the expectant crowd settled into the pews, and another Saturday morning forum at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition headquarters on the South Side was under way, live and on the air worldwide via radio, cable TV, and satellite.
"'Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters!' exhorted McNeil, in the beguiling baritone that serves him so well as a criminal defense lawyer. 'Don't touch that dial! The PUSH is on! The PUSH is on! The PUSH is on!'"
Mark Allen, who worked on the show with McNeil, told the Trib "His voice was like a general in the army giving orders."
Indubitably. When McNeil spoke, the push was indeed on.
"Finally, our Web editors had to shut down the commentary site for the series," the paper says. "The dozens of vile comments - many far more offensive than what we've quoted here - were taking too much staff time to monitor and, when necessary, delete.
"What are we to make of this?
"Bigots love the anonymity of the Web, where they can say the dumbest things without getting punched in the nose. It's a problem online at every newspaper."
There is no such thing as "the anonymity of the Web." The Web is not inherently anonymous. The technology of the Internet doesn't depend on anonymous comments to work. This is entirely the Sun-Times's own responsibility and its own choice as far as how it wants to run its website. Plenty of newspapers and other sites prohibit anonymous comments (including this one) and the Sun-Times can too. And until you do, stop bitching.
Is there really such a thing as an Internet rumor?
Sure, there are rumors that spread throughout an Internet niche, like, say, a rumor that gets picked up by the major political blogs of the right or left. But you would never call something a "TV rumor" or a "newspaper rumor," would you?
Beyond that, just name the damn site!
And remember, sometimes Internet rumors are posted on, you know, newspaper and TV web sites. What do you call those?
If I Ever Get Engaged . . .
The Flower Hole
CALLER: Good evening, Larry and Judge Judy. I have to tell Judge Judy, you are my American Idol. I love you and love your show. In your opinion, how do you feel President Obama is doing overall, considering all the crises facing our country? Thank you.
KING: I know you liked him very much and supported him.
JUDY: I liked him and I voted for him. I think that he made lots of promises to lots of constituencies. And for some reason, different from other politicians, everybody who believed in him believed that he was going to do and could do what he said he was going to do. Unfortunately, I think he over-extended himself, and he's got himself into a position where he's disappointed a lot of the people who did, in fact, support him. And that's unfortunate.
Most of us who were skeptics for a good deal of our lives after we got to know a good deal about politics, we heard all the rhetoric, I'm going to do this; I'm going to lower taxes; I'm going to raise your standard of living; everybody's going to have two chickens in the oven and have a cake for dessert every night; and we said, yes, just let us be peaceful and spend eight years with you.
But for some reason, we thought this was going to be different. And it turns out that we have the same problems that we had before. They're getting a little bit better, maybe. But there's a lot of disappointments. He's not going to be able to get through health care, I don't think, not the reform that he wants. I think that generally the American public is fed up with Congress. I think they're fed up with their own institutions and their own jurisdictions in their own states.
Public servants don't recognize that that's what they're supposed to be, public servants. They're there to serve the public. They think they're there to serve themselves. And I think that America, who had high hopes for change, isn't seeing the kind of change that they anticipated.
KING: Can it still happen, though?
JUDY: I don't know. I don't know. I just have a sense that it's going to take a long time for us to recoup from this recession. Until that happens, nobody's going to be a hero.
KING: Why is there so much acrimony?
SHEINDLIN: Maybe we just forgot where our roots are. We're supposed to agree to disagree, that you have a Republican party, and they are as well meaning and as well intentioned as the Democrats, even though the Democrats and the Republicans have a different sense of what government is supposed to be. And instead of respecting each other, it's so divisive and becomes personal.
And I believe that that's counter productive. I believe when it becomes personal - and it does become personal - and I - bottom line is, I think that the people who serve us. in Congress and in the state government, do so not always out of the best of intentions for the public.
Dear John Cullerton
The Mysteries of Curling
Pancakes With Miss Illinois
The Beachwood Tip Line: Fluffy and filling.
Posted on February 23, 2010
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