Like most, I felt for the Wambier family of Cincinnati Ohio. If you are behind on your news, their son, Otto was the young man detained in North Korea in January 2016, having been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly tearing down or stealing a propaganda poster from a hotel. By the time the Trump Administration was able to bring him home, after failed attempts by the Obama Administration, he was in a coma and passed away six days after his return. At this time, it is unknown of what killed Mr. Wambier.
As a side note, one wonders what the hell that kid was doing in North Korea in the first place. The sheer invincibility and naivete of the youth never ceases to amaze the elders of every generation going all the way back, I suppose, to when man first stood up on two legs, more than likely in order to smack his offspring in the back of the head. And one wonders what those parents were thinking for allowing him to go, surmising they paid for it. I don’t mean to Monday-morning-quarterback the Wambiers, but jeez, traveling into North Korea, home of that spoiled nut job Kim Jong Un, in this day and age, makes about as much since as me getting on my bad-ass motorcycle and leisurely cruising the streets of the south side of Chicago on a hot weekend. There are some snakes you don’t have to touch in order to know they will kill you.
As a news junkie, I was painfully aware at most times of exactly what was going on with the 22-year-old junior at the University of Virginia. (My point to this blog is, that I shouldn’t have been.) On a trip to China, he signed up to go visit North Korea. I saw the never-ending clips of his trial and pleadings for his release, as well as North Korean guards dragging him from court to whatever hell-hole they stashed him in. I watched his father, Fred, patiently answering endless reporter questions, wearing his sons jacket, while more than likely dying on the inside himself. It was a sad story, and one made readily available to me constantly by just about any news outlet. We evidently consider this important news nowadays.
In the same time-frame that Otto arrived back on American soil and the time of his death, there were nineteen people murdered on the streets of Chicago. Quick – name one!
Did you hear anything of 78-year-old Gene Gordon being shot in the West Englewood neighborhood at 5:00 in the afternoon? Shot in the head in broad daylight, yet we know nothing more of a life that had existed on this earth for 78 years. If you search the Internet deeply, you will find out a little more about the man they called Big Red, but it took me about 15 minutes to find anything.
How about 15-year-old Julio Garcia-Lara who was shot while riding in the backseat of a car one night? I couldn’t count how many times I went joy-riding in the back of cars when I was 15 and always came home no worse for the wear…well, for the most part.
The point is, folks, we have our priorities screwed up, led in a large part by corrupt governments and their media outlet trying to shape our thoughts. Until poor Otto came home, there were a total of 16 people being detained in North Korea. (I wouldn’t have known that if Otto hadn’t come home.) At the time Otto was released 313 people had been killed in Chicago in 2017. At yet, the media decides to focus irritatingly and ad nauseum on the Wambier family and for the most part, ignores the killing fields of Chicago.
Every Tom, Dick, and Harry knows that people are getting massacred on the streets of Chicago, and with the exception of a brief acknowledgement by the local news sensationalizing the killing that day, we know little of why the carnage is not being stopped. If you do, please explain it to me. Where was the outcry by Secretary of State John Kerry, Al Sharpton, or Jesse Jackson to help clean up “Obama’s hometown?” Why doesn’t current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson get involved in safeguarding the people here on our soil, who are being mowed down in their own American neighborhoods? Little girls are being shot while sitting on their own porch or watching TV inside the house! Where is the National Guard? What the hell is Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago alderman doing about this? Why is there not non-stop wall-to-wall media coverage of the bloodshed, exposing the vermin that are wreaking this slaughter on innocent people just living their lives?
I’m not saying Otto asked for his demise, but in a sense, he knew he was living dangerously when he stepped over the North Korean line. That’s what 22-year-old kids do, sometimes with terrible results. But, these people in Chicago are just trying to live their lives. And they have every right to expect that their government will protect them from predators – it’s why we have governments.
It’s about time for the national media to start focusing on what’s important, rather than the “flavor of the week” that sells. We don’t need to know incessantly what college Otto Wambier attended or that his dad wore the son’s jacket during yet another press conference. We need to relentlessly know what is going to be done to clean the blood off the streets on the south side of Chicago so that little girls can sit on their porch and not have to dodge gunfire! It's an American city for Christ's sake, not a third world country. And it’s about time the city of Chicago and/or the state of Illinois step up to help them, or get out of the way and let the Federal government do it.
I'm sure President Trump would have no problem cleaning it up.
Eight months removed from watching one of the three biggest sports spectacles in my life, the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, I find myself still watching and checking in on the Cubs frequently. Oddly, the losses, of which there has been too many this season, don’t have the same effect on me as they used to. It’s as if just knowing that that damn goat is dead and the curse is gone, at least in my lifetime, an immense weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m reasonably sure there will be another World Series title in my future. (The other two spectacles were the 1980 US Hockey Team win over Russia and the 1995 Green Bay Packers winning the Super Bowl – just in case you were interested.)
I got home late Friday night but managed to catch the end of the game, in which the Cubs were one down in the ninth to Pittsburgh and came back to score 6 runs in the top of the ninth to win the game. Catching up what had transpired earlier, I learned that first baseman Anthony Rizzo had homered in his third consecutive game at the lead-off position, only to have the umpire take it away from him AFTER it had already been called a homer. This led to Joe Madden getting ejected before the first out had been made, a major league record.
In many ways, Rizzo reminds me of my very first favorite Chicago Cub, Ernie Banks. They seem to have the same aura, respect, and exuberance for the game. They aren’t the most talented players on the field, but they give 110% once they don those Cubby Blue uniforms. It’s really hard to explain, but one just feels it. Does that make sense to you?
To say I was a rabid Ernie Banks fan would be a colossal understatement. I named my first puppy, who lived past 15 years – well into my married life – after Ernie Banks. While some would not believe it to be an honor to have a dog name after them, I assure you, as an 11-year-old boy, that was the highest tribute I could give to my favorite ball player.
Ernie Banks, the player (not the dog) was well past his prime by the time I was old enough to appreciate his talents and accomplishments, which were many. Looking back on it now, I can’t even honestly say why he became my favorite player – he just was! Both of the other rabid Cubs fans I hung with at the time, Chris and Tracy, hated Ernie because Ron Santo was their favorite player – which was a sentiment quite common at the time. Just like the fact you can't be both a Sox fan and a Cubs fan, at that time, you could not like both Ronnie and Ernie – one was to be cherished and the other despised. Just because.
The following is a list of Ernie’s accomplishments, and I would bet most every ardent Cub fan reading this doesn't know most of them:
Obviously, there was quite a bit more to the man than what most people remember as an old ballplayer running all over Chicago with a million-dollar smile saying “let’s play two today.”
For some reason, watching Anthony Rizzo play baseball for the Chicago Cubs reminds me in some way of Ernie. I don’t know why – he just does. I never got that sensation watching the other schmucks who played first base since, notably (or infamously) such Jim Hickman, Billy Buckner, Leon Durham, Mark Grace, Fred McGriff He-Sop Choi, or Derek Lee. Maybe it’s just the confidence and/or the shear love of everything that is Chicago Cubs that you didn't feel in those other first sackers.
Someday, I envision Rizzo’s #44 retired by the Chicago Cubs, hopefully atop the right field foul pole where he knocks balls over frequently.
Did you see Dennis Rodman got traded again? In a master stroke of genius, Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson and the State Department traded the 46-year-old, 6’7” former strong forward from the Bulls to Pyongyang, North Korea for a wrongfully imprisoned University of Virginia undergraduate student, Otto Wambier...and a concubine to be named later. Tillerson even got PotCoin to pay for Roadman’s expenses! (In case you are unaware, PotCoin is a digital currency website for transactions between marijuana retailers and their customers.) It was learned Mr. Rodman landed in the nation's capital at just about the same time Mr. Wambier returned home, thus ensuring a seamless transaction. Although he could not be reached for comment, it is believed that Dearest Leader (Jr) Kim Jung Un is still under the impression that Mr. Rodman is former President Barack Obama and actually believes that the US will pay dearly to get our former president returned. More on this developing story as it breaks.
Having run out of people within the Trump Administration to harass with yet more independent committees and councils, and with more taxpayer money to burn, it has been rumored that Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi will call on John Q. Smith, Congressional Executive Men’s Restroom Attendant, to testify before the Senate next week. It is believed Mr. Smith overheard a secret conversation between President Trump and Russian Diplomat Sergey Kislyak while they were in adjacent bathroom stalls last month. Senator John McCain, who was apparently sleeping in a nearby stall at the time, was awakened by the sound of flushes and became suspicious of the two men as they left the facility. He questioned Mr. Smith about the two men relieving themselves at the time, and, as evidently now required, reported back his findings to Rep’s. Pelosi and Waters, and Senator Schumer - affectionately known as the Gang of Obstructionists. At the time of this press release, nothing has been said about any possible official inquiry into the $2.35 million-dollar donation to the Clinton Foundation, nor the $500,000 Bill Clinton speaking fee, that transpired shortly after the State Department (run by Hillary Clinton at the time) sold 20% of the US uranium supply to Rosatom, Russia’s atomic energy agency. More on Mr. Smith's testimony and the sanctimonious Congressional hearings next week.
Notwithstanding my published novel, this reporter must have finally made the big time at last. As reported in the previous blog, I took issue with a certain piece of compost printed in the Kankakee Daily Journal last week by Francis Wilkinson of the Bloomberg View. My rebuttal appeared in the Journal this past Monday, June 12th, in the Voice of the People section. Someone (note the italics) must have read it because, upon arrival to my office this morning, I had been bestowed with a revolting voice mail left on my office phone. Whoever (note the italics) left said message was incensed that I might defend President Trump, and went so far as to suggest it had something to do with tax breaks and the position of my head and Mr. Trump’s backside. I was so thrilled to get my first hate-voicemail I have decided to keep it for the memory. Too bad someone, couldn’t leave their name.
UPDATE - THE K3 DAILY JOURNAL DID PRINT THIS POST ON 6/12 IN THE "VOICE OF THE PEOPLE" SECTION OF THEIR PAPER.
Last Wednesday, the Kankakee Daily Journal printed an opinion piece from Francis Wilkinson (pictured) with the Bloomberg View that so irritated me I penned my response that very evening. I sat on it overnight before sending in order to avoid sounding irrational, but by the next day, my mind had not been changed. I sent the rebuttal, which, as of the time of this blog entry, has not been published in the Journal. I'm not sure why they have chosen at this point not to print it, so I have released it to this blog. Seems odd they did not print it since they daily mention that they "love to get hear from their readers."
The Bloomberg View is a creation of Michael Bloomberg, ex-mayor of New York City. Mr. Bloomberg, the 10th wealthiest person in the world, has been a member of the Democratic party, changed over to the Republican party to become a two term mayor, then changed over to an Independent for a third term in order to avoid term limit laws. He endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, which might explain the allowance of the commentary published by Wilkinson.
Below my commentary, I have included a link to the ridiculous original column in case you want to read what prompted my response. I should warn you, it will upset most. In my mind, to allow such dribble to appear before the public, unchallenged, amount to nothing more than "a death of a thousand cuts."
REBUTTAL TO FRANCIS WILKINSON:
It is hard to believe the (Kankakee) Journal, in the June 7th edition, would reprint, in the Opinion Section, the diatribe written by Francis Wilkinson from the Bloomberg View. In a juvenile rant entitled "A pop star accomplishes what the president can't do," the former writer for that notable think-tank-tabloid, Rolling Stone, Mr. Wilkinson gushes with near teen-aged desire for pop-singer Ariana Grande. Upon reading the piece, one wondered which was greater, his lust for the young diva or his hysterical hatred for President Trump. A Google check of his past bird-cage-fodder reveals it unquestionably to be an obsession with his loathing for Trump.
In case you missed reading his opinion, consider yourself fortunate. I did as I consider this type of propaganda as “death by a thousand cuts.” Wilkinson spent ten paragraphs waxing poetically how much more compassionate and presidential the young lady is than our president because evidently...she cares more. According to Wilkinson, Ms. Grande, whose first concert in Manchester England has the misfortune to be remembered for yet another terrorist bombing that killed 22 people and maimed 60 more, "returned to the city to hallow ground and soothe the survivors." This was all going on, again according to Wilkinson, while President Trump, "gutter-tweeted argle-bargle and played another round of golf." Later in the same paragraph, he warbled on about her concert, "Watching the concert streaming online, it was obviously more than a good time. Tears flowed. So did joy." For crying out loud, is this a 23-year-old pop diva worth $35 million dollars or the reincarnation of Mother Teresa?
Most every paragraph contained a snide remark about our president. Terms such as "dull-witted sexism;" "white-male-only photo ops;" "culturally barren;" and "politically toxic" were used to describe the current occupant of the White House. It is as if the multi-billionaire tycoon, who defeated 17 other Republicans and an all-but pre-ordained Queen to ascend to the top spot on the world stage, is a moron. Since when did a US President deserve the type of rancor and “guttersnipe” thrown Mr. Trumps way by fellow American citizens? This is the man who, since taking office, has repeatedly tried to curtail the immigration of Muslim Extremist terrorism, and illegal immigration, only to be thwarted smugly by President Obama’s non-elected judicial appointees. Perhaps had England and France done a better of job of vetting their immigrants and standing up to rampant political correctness, as is President Trump trying to do, the waves of terrorism they are suffering might have not become as commonplace.
And, in case you missed it, the real keystone to this editorial slobber was the line, "But horrific assaults similar to those in Manchester...inspire a longing for connection, and a need for affirmation of liberal values, that Trump can't even understand how to meet." Mr. Wilkinson, last November, sixty-three plus million American citizens decided they didn't want any more affirmation of liberal values by elitist politicians or their left-leaning media arm.
I don't know what the Journal paid Bloomberg or Wilkinson for that piece of yellow-journalism, but whatever it was, Mr. Small should get his money back.
Alan N. Webber
Governor? - Have you seen those sappy TV commercials for billionaire venture capitalist JB Pritzker, who wants to be Illinois’ next governor? Pritzker, Democrat and buddy to imprisoned ex-governor Rod Blagojevich, claims Illinois has problems, current governor Bruce Rauner has made it worse, and that he, big-thinking JB is just the guy to “fix” it. Bet some of you didn’t hear of another “fix” JB orchestrated. Seems "big" JB has lived in a nice mansion on Chicago’s Gold Coast since 2006. When a smaller mansion next door, inhabited for 40 years by a banker and his wife, came up for sale, JB bought it...too. The 133-year-old mansion was bought for a mere $3.7 million, although it was valued at $6.7 million. He must have been a hell of a negotiator to get the price down that much. But wait, he wasn’t done. He allowed the mansion to come into a state of disrepair, going so far as to remove/disable the toilets, and then he and his lawyers claimed the mansion was uninhabitable. In a scheme that might even make Mike Madigan blush, he was then able to bring the value of the home from $6.7 million down to $1.1 million, “fixing” it so JB’s tax bill, the money that goes to schools, roads, etc., was reduced by $230,000, which he pocketed in tax savings and refunds of back taxes. Do you really think this political insider is just the man we need to “fix” this laughing stock of a state? "Fix this, JB!"
London Falling – No, this isn’t about my granddaughter – she’s peachy and growing like a weed. However, the not-so-peachy Islamic mayor Sadiq Khan of London (yes you read that right - mayor from the big city on the Thames) is verbally sparring with President Trump. (I don’t know why President Trump would bother tweeting with a twat-waffle like Khan, but that is a blog for another day.) Unless you’ve completely shut off all news sources, you should know that London has been besieged by terrorist’s attacks from Islamic Extremist Muslims on nearly a weekly basis now. Scores of people are getting killed or maimed and their mayor accepts that should just be a daily part of life in the land across the pond. Our president doesn’t particularly agree with that sentiment and has said so in several pointed tweets.
You see, England has long allowed for political correctness to run amok in their country and is now suffering the consequences of not controlling their borders and protecting their own people. The English folks are being over-run with Islamist who are hell-bent in making England their own. Possessing a hefty sense of clarity, our president does not want the same fate in our country, despite the shrieks and heckles of the liberal left, the media, and Obama’s fleet of henchmen…including his appointed (and unelected) judges. In these crazy times we now live, of course those from the left are going to side with the Muslim Mayor of a foreign country before they would back someone like, oh, I don’t know, a sitting president of the United States. Perhaps those on the left would change their minds if it was their sons or daughters being slaughtered on the streets in the name of Allah. They obviously learned nothing from 9/11 and are therefore doomed to repeat it.
Paris Climate Agreement - speaking of the Left and the American Media, now they have their sphincter muscles pinched over President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the PCA. It will be the end of the world as we know it! The Washington Post, that beacon of all things liberal, and usually wrong, reported that former VP “Al Gore, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work raising awareness about global warming…, said the president’s decision was “reckless and indefensible.” He blathered on “It undermines America’s standing in the world and threatens to damage humanity’s ability to solve the climate crisis in time.” This pomposity from the guy who’s net worth went from $700,000 in the year 2000 to $172.5 million in 2015, all from his misguided global-warming prophecies. You may recall he predicted in his 2006 book and movie “An Inconvenient Truth” the world would reach a 'point of no return' within ten years and that it is a 'true planetary emergency.” Well, it’s 11 years later and Ma Earth seems to be just fine doing her own thing. The polar caps did not melt and the East Coast did not drown, so one would do well not to interview Al Gore on any matters of substance. His Nobel Prize should have been for how to fleece the American taxpayer.
Furthermore, Elon Musk, the billionaire who takes billions of dollars from the government (that’s our money, folks) to start energy companies that don’t turn profits, criticized President Trump’s decision and then promptly quit the Presidential Council. By God, he showed The Donald! He didn’t say if he was going to give any of our money back.
And then there is Jeff Immelt, chief executive of General Electric, who tweeted: “Disappointed with today’s decision on the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government.” This is the guy that had no problem with shutting American factories in NY and WI and moving them overseas…while he was Obama’s JOB’S CZAR!
Nevertheless, the Washington Post did not expound any on the billion dollars per year the PCA was costing the American taxpayer, nor how it might make other countries step up to pay for and follow their own clean-air rules and policies for a change. Let's see how they do dancing with China and India.
Nothing to see here, folks, give us your money and keep on walking.
On A Positive Note - I started the 1st grade with a gal who went on to a long and distinguished career at a college. I often said I wouldn’t have gotten though grade school without her. Although seemingly very liberal, I suspect she might even read this blog. Anyway, she scolded me once on Face Book when I posted on yet another liberal hypocrisy, “Have you nothing positive to say, Alan?” So, I feel obligated to report on something possibly positive for my finale.
According to respected sports journalist, Peter Gammons, 2015 MVP, Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals baseball club, who is nearing free agency, is interested in joining his old Nevada buddy Kris Bryant on none other than the World Champion Chicago Cubs. Harper clobbers the ball in Wrigley Field! Can you imagine this stud in the line-up with Bryant, Rizzo, Heyward, and Schwarber? That would be like the '27 Yankees! Now that is something positive to look forward to.
Although...his agent is Scott Boras who thinks Bryce might be worth $400 million. To play baseball!