Tag Archives: John Kass

At least be relevant for Chrissake

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass must have trouble reading.  Here's his analysis of a passage from a recent Obama speech:

"I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth," said Obama at a campaign speech in Ohio last week. "Michelle wasn't. But somebody gave us a chance — just like these fine folks up here are looking for a chance."

The spoon flashed as he stepped forward and tried to slip it somewhere between Romney's political ribs, the message unmistakable: Romney is the rich man, caring only for the rich, and I am the anti-Romney, born poor and guardian of the people.

Naturally, the class warrior didn't mention charging regular folks $1,000 for a handshake at a fundraiser, but class warfare is the theme of the Democrats in 2012. The Republican is of the equestrian class that rides over the poor, leaving hoof prints on their necks. And Obama is of the people, so please forget that presidential media guru David Axelrod just dropped $1.7 million on a gorgeous Chicago condo.

Even the selected passage makes it clear that Obama is talking about fairness and opportunity.  So the argument would be something like this: "I had a chance to improve myself, I want the same for others." 

But what's more hilarious is that Kass then goes classic fallacious ad hominem: attacking irrelevant things about the President's current economic situation regarding (1) the realities of Presidential fundraising and (2) the amount of money an extremely successful political advisor on his team paid for his condo.  These two facts have nothing to do with anything Obama has claimed about fairness.  And they don't make him a hypocrite.  Or a "class warrior."

In all seriousness, it cannot be that hard to criticize Obama.  You might argue, for instance, that our system is not unfair.  I'd disagree, but at least that rises to the level of relevance. 

UPDATE: here is piece from The Colbert Report which underscores the degree to which Kass's mind has been occupied by Fox and Friends.

It’s not only mistaken, it’s also wrong

John Kass, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, argues in today's column that requiring health-insurance plans to include contraception for women in their health insurance plans is a "clear" violation of the First Amendment.  He offers this puzzling argument:

But then, recently, he decided to challenge the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. And his new policy to force religious hospitals and schools to offer abortion-inducing drugs and birth control in health care plans for employees is a clear violation of religious freedom guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

It demonstrates to Americans that their government is not only willing but eager to dominate faith, by telling religions how to practice their beliefs. And if they refuse, then the faithful will feel the federal wrath.

So the president's policy is not only mistaken and insensitive and wrong, it is the perfect expression of everything Americans fear about the ever-increasing federal leviathan.

It is not only mistaken–it's also wrong.  Mistaken is the most wrong kind of wrong.  The article (and the comments) are worth reading for the factless cocoon in which some people seem to live.  Nowhere in the piece does Kass bother to (1) cite the facts about the actual policy; (2) consider reasonable objections to such non-restrictions; (3) discuss what the actual position of the Catholic Church is:

The Catholic bishops have called the new health coverage rule "an attack on religious freedom" and argue that all employers who object to contraception–not just faith-based organizations–should be exempt from having to provide it to their employees.

“That means removing the provision from the health care law altogether," said Anthony Picarello, general counsel for the USCCB, "not simply changing it for Catholic employers and their insurers."

He added, "If I quit this job and opened a Taco Bell, I'd be covered by the mandate."

That's not a slippery slope, that's their stated objective.  So imagine the following etiam tu quoque (offered, by the way, by a commenter on the Tribune page): the Chicago Tribune has now changed hands, it's owned by Jehovah's Witnesses.  However life saving blood transfusions may be, they are not covered on their plan because Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in them.  Sorry John Kass, no blood transfusions for you so long as you work at the Tribune.  In addition, the JWs think it immoral to refer you to outside plans that would cover blood transfusions.  You must find insurance and pay for that out of pocket on your own.  A discount from you current plan to cover it would violate their beliefs (these are, by the way, objections actually offered to compromise plans by the Catholic Church).    Would you support the law then?

Anyway, the point is that it is not super-obvious to everyone that this is a religious freedom issue.  I would say that it's one worthy of some careful discussion.  Kass isn't offering that.

Weinies

My grandmother called hot dogs "weinies."  That used to send my brother and I into fits of laughter when she served them to us for lunch.  This reaction isn't a whole lot different from the coverage of the recent "Weiner" scandal.  If only his name had been something else. 

The question has been raised as to whether Weiner should resign.  There seem to be two reasons for this. 

1.  He broke some kind of law or congressional code of ethics.

or

2.  He is now politically castrated.

Ad. 1.  He didn't break any laws–I think.  Other people have done far worse (looking at you Senator Vitter).

2 seems to be the strongest reason.  Nonetheless, it is reasonable to make a distinction between the two reasons.  And it's also reasonable to think of analogous cases (Vitter, etc.).  This seemst to be something local columnist John Kass does not grasp.  He writes:

There's not much fun left in watching that New York liberal, U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-Pervert, twist in the political winds.

But there's a great deal of amusement still to be had watching liberal commentators twist themselves into all sorts of bizarre and unseemly shapes trying to protect Congressman Priapic.

They're hysterical.

"He lied to his wife, he lied to us, he lied to his colleagues," cried Bill Press, a liberal radio talk show host and rabid Weinerista who still doesn't think Weiner should resign.

"That is totally unacceptable," Press said of Weiner's behavior on "The Ed Show" on the liberal MSNBC the other day. "I pointed it out. Others have lied. Lying in Washington, D.C., is not a cause for losing your job, or else this would be a ghost town."

Lying isn't cause for losing your job if you're a politician, though it certainly should be.

But lying about taking your clothes off and about sending rather urgently excited photographs of your special purpose to random women — including a blackjack dealer, a porn queen and two college girls — kind of disqualifies you for public office, doesn't it?

And though the liberal press just doesn't get it, many Democrats have finally realized what Republicans would have known instinctively:

You don't want Weiner as the poster boy for your party.

Weiner sent around photos of his weiner.  People apparently do that, but it's a real question as to whether someone deserves to lose their job over it; as it is not, by most accounts, actually illegal (unlike, say, prostitution).  And asking that question doesn't constitute twisting yourself "into all sorts of bizarre and unseemly shapes."  Nor does it really amount to "defending" weiner.