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The Week in WTF

1. Bad teachers, WTF?

Something rotten - you can decide what for yourself - makes public schools lousy. Forget about the fat cat suburban prep palaces with fencing and water polo teams. For the rest of them, the record in Illinois is crummy.

But try to pick on any cause - go ahead, try - and the chorus of denial screeches into hysterics. The latest is this study, which points out that the largest producers of teachers in the state (Southern Illinois U. and Northern Illinois U.) do a particularly lousy job.

Based on the response from the ed fortress, the researchers might just as well have called them Al-Qaeda bombmakers.

But here's the thing, Bunky. If our public education ranks just below Mozambique, there's a problem. And chances are it's either bad teachers, or stupid students. As comic Ron White says, you can't fix stupid. So maybe we better work on the teachers.

Here's the disturbing operative paragraph from the Trib story:

"Last year, the Illinois State Board of Education approved a new policy that limited aspiring teachers to five attempts at passing the basic skills exam - another complaint in the NCTQ findings. The state also required applicants to pass all four subjects: reading, math, language arts and writing. Just 22 percent of test-takers passed in September under the new requirements, said Linda Tomlinson, an ISBE assistant superintendent who oversees teacher certification."

Twenty-dos percent. Let the congregation rise and give us a WTF hosanna.

2. Carolee Bildstein, WTF?

Some news events defy any ability to summon cogent commentary. Or any words, for that matter. WTF has met its effing match. We surrender. This is that story. But before you go to the link, we leave you with the operative sentence:

"She . . . assaulted the officer . . . with . . . a rigid feminine pleasure device."

We will refrain from suggesting she needs a stiff sentence or should do hard time, because we shun vapidity. It's beneath us.

Now, break into small groups and discuss.

3. George W. Bush, WTF?

Depending on which estimate suits you, the U.S. invasion of Iraq cost 4,427 American lives, 32,900 wounded and 300,000 more who suffered brain injuries. Seven hundred or so America amputees. At least 100,000 Iraqis died and maybe as many as 600,000. As a nation, we don't care to be too precise on that number.

In any case, it's the price two nations paid to catch and execute Saddam Hussein.

Does Dub regret the decision to invade? Or any decision? Nope, not at all.

In his national book tour now being inflicted on the nation, he reveals a man still living a stupendously unreconsidered life. Never had a serious thought before. Still doesn't. He's mostly upset that Kanye West called him out on TV as indifferent to black people. And, of course, the photo of him looking out of Air Force One's window at a drowned New Orleans. Bush laments public relations gaffes but not body bags?

We get it. He's the same person now that he was before. As Ron White says, you can't fix stupid.

4. Douglas Rivlin, WTF?

Is there a worse job than PR flack for a Chicago Democratic Party official? Well, doing road kill autopsies are sort of lousy on hot summer days, and Tariq Aziz's PR job will leave him hanging.

So after decades of doing public advocacy and developing a network of DC connections, Doug Rivlin's entire reputation now hinges on him not being deceived by his most recent boss, Rep. Luis Gutierrez.

Lots O' Luck with that.

Rivlin, in response to assertions that Gutierrez got a sweetheart deal from Blago henchman-in-chief Tony Rezko, says: "The congressman never received any free 'upgrades' - or anything else for free - on his home at River Walk, and certainly never told anyone that he did. Any report that he did is completely false."

In other words, Rivlin is asserting that the Sun-Times's sources are lying. The Sun-Times, in standing by its story, is asserting that Rivlin - and Gutierrez by proxy - isn't telling the truth.

Road kill is nasty business, Doug.

5. Pat Quinn, WTF?

Governor Gumby sees a "mandate" to raise taxes in his goobernatorial victory but but we see a mandate mostly to be anybody else but Bill Brady. He says poe-tah-toe; WTF says "rigid feminine pleasure device."

Anyway, Simba, we need to make a better effort so all the words we use reflect what they really mean. Refer to Ron White quote above.


David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, a Sun-Times Media property. He welcomes your comments.


Posted on November 12, 2010

MUSIC - DeRo, Hero.
TV - John Oliver Robocalls The FCC.
POLITICS - Steve Chapman's Misplaced Trust In Airlines.
SPORTS - Cubs Building A Mystery.

BOOKS - A College Admission Scam How-To.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicago's Muslims React To New Zealand.

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