Archive for April, 2023

By John Ruberry

Late in 2021, the father of Chicago Tribune City Hall reporter Gregory Pratt, died. Father and son shared the same name, but the younger Pratt hadn’t seen his dad since he was five. That is, until shortly before the passing of the older Pratt, which the reporter, in a behind-the-pay-wall column, movingly wrote about in the Tribune. 

Last week, the Chicago City Wire, a newspaper often dismissed as “fake” and “pink slime” by liberals, noticed something in Pratt’s column, a link to a GoFundMe page organized by a cousin for the reporter, to defray the senior Pratt’s medical bills, That GoFundMe link should have immediately raised eyebrows. But it was the “fake” source that got the scoop.

The Chicago Tribune’s lead City Hall reporter Gregory Pratt solicited and received at least $1,790 in donations in a fundraiser benefiting his family from sources he covers– including elected officials, political consultants and lobbyists.

The donors included Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who gave him $150, along with Evelyn Chinea-García, the wife of recent mayoral candidate, U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia ($500) and former Illinois Deputy Governor and State Attorney General candidate Jesse Ruiz ($100).

Three members of the Chicago City Council Pratt covers – Ald. Gil Villegas (36th), Ald. Samantha Nugent (39th) and Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th)– also contributed to Pratt, along with Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner and lobbyist Michael Alvarez ($250) and Chicago political operatives Rebecca Carroll, Eli Stone, Carolyn Grisko and Joanna Klonsky, who recently worked for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Chicago City Wire, and several other papers, are published by Local Government Information Services, which was founded by conservative activist and WIND-AM radio personality Dan Proft in 2016.

I wrote about these publications here at Da Tech Guy last year.

A Twitter fight between Proft and Pratt ensued, which led former Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass to respond in the comments thread, “When a news organization gives editorial control to billionaire Bolshevik like George Soros, that news organization has no credibility. Any comment @chicagotribune @CTGuild @royalpratt???

Kass’ referral to @CTGuild is in regard to the Chicago Tribune Guild, the union representing Trib reporters. It is the organization that fought with the longtime conservative columnist at the Tribune over a 2020 column highly critical of Kim Foxx–you know, Jussie Smollett’s protector–where Kass brings up how Foxx and other big city Democratic catch-and-release prosecutors are funded by leftist billionaire George Soros. The Guild, of which Kass was not a member, in a biased manner deemed that column as anti-Semitic. The Guild’s protest led to a de facto demotion for Kass.

Pratt, whose Twitter handle is @royalpratt, displays the Chicago Tribune Guild logo on his Twitter page. 

As legendary baseball announcer Mel Allen used to say, “How about that?”

To be fair, for all I know, Kass and Pratt are best pals. Then again, probably not.

Proft and Kass’ objections to the GoFundMe linkage are fair. Could those donors who work in politics, and who Pratt is expected to cover without bias, expect more sympathetic coverage if he knows they contributed to his dad’s GoFundMe page?

I don’t know.

Here’s what the New York Times, on its ethics page, says about possible improprieties.

Personal relations with sources: Relationships with sources require the utmost in sound judgment and self discipline to prevent the fact or appearance of partiality. Cultivating sources is an essential skill, often practiced most effectively in informal settings outside of normal business hours. Yet staff members, especially those assigned to beats, must be sensitive that personal relationships with news sources can erode into favoritism, in fact or appearance. And conversely staff members must be aware that sources are eager to win our good will for reasons of their own.

Which brings me to beat reporting. Years ago, the Trib used to move around reporters in a seemingly bizarre fashion. For instance, Bruce Buursma went from the religion beat to covering the Chicago White Sox. Such transfers create more-rounded journalists –and since Chicago’s two baseball teams went nearly a century for one–and over a century for the other–between World Series titles, a faith reporter might have been just what baseball fans reading the Tribune needed at that time.

Sadly, for reporters coving elected officials, mostly but not exclusively on the left, politics is their religion. They are not journalists, they’re activists playing on the same team.

Here’s one more old story. Jay McMullen, who later married Chicago mayor Jane Byrne, was for over twenty years was the City Hall reporter for the Chicago Daily News and the Chicago Sun-Times. Eventually his bosses viewed McMullen as being too cozy with the pols he covered–so he was exiled to the real estate page. McMullen later worked for his wife during her single term in office.

Note: Two days ago, I emailed Gregory Pratt about my intention to write a blog post about the GoFundMe page controversy. I received an out-of-office reply that suggested I contact another person. As of the evening of April 30, I have not received a non-automated response from either of them.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

I’ve noted in the past that the biggest problem for Anheuser Busch is that it’s very very easy to boycott Bud Light so if they want to stop the bleeding in the US they will have to take actual pro-active action to do so.

Everyone knows this but nobody knows this more than the folks at the LGBTQ community so called “human rights campaign” who realize that their ability to push their agenda through cooperate intimidation can come to a screeching halt if companies decide that the potential cost of keeping the professional protester class appeased is outweighed by the cost to the bottom line, particularly for companies where there are easy alternatives to their product available.

So they are keeping the pressure on Anheuser Bush not only to just stay silent on the matter but to double down:

The Human Rights Campaign is calling on Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Bud Light, to publicly reaffirm its support for the transgender community following weeks of right-wing pushback over the brewing company’s recent partnership with transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

In a letter sent this week to Anheuser-Busch’s head of human resources, Jay Brown, a senior vice president at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, slammed the company’s response to the controversy as insufficient and cowardly.

“In this moment, it is absolutely critical for Anheuser-Busch to stand in solidarity with Dylan and the trans community,” reads the April 26 letter obtained by The Hill.

So far Anheuser Busch has declined to meet with these folks as they understand how it would be received by a customer base already walking away. The real danger for the Bud folks is that one people start getting used to buying another brand it becomes easier for them to continue to do so, that’s marketing 101.

It all comes down to this: Is the potential permanent damage the Mulvaney business has caused greater than the damage the HRC folks can do, or to put it another way. Are the HRC crowd Anheuser Bush drinkers in general and/or Bud Light drinkers in particular?

If the answer is “yes” then Anheuser Bush will likely at best wait this out and take the hit they’ve gotten or at worse cave and risk a 2nd drop.

If the answer is “no” and I suspect it is, then our best move is to keep the pressure on because many other companies are watching to see how this plays out.

Those companies are the real target of the HRC letter and those companies are the reason why we need to dramatically demonstrate that caving has a price and until they are more scared of us then they are of them, nothing will change.

I was at a major Catholic Shrine today frequented by devout Catholics and noticed something interesting.

They had a large book section in their gift shop and a very small clearance section for books. All the clearance books there were either by Pope Francis or about him.

It seems that Ron DeSantis is about to form an exploratory committee for a presidential run.

He seems to be moving slow, I think this is smart as his foes keep making mistakes that can only benefit him, the longer it’s drawn out the more missteps they’ll make.

RFK is still making news which is causing trouble for Biden, and as much as this is amusing to us we should not forget that RFK for all his straight talk on some subjects is still a liberal, still a climate change fanatic and is not going to be a friend.

While enjoying all of this we should not forget these facts.

Oregon is getting ready to legalize tents camps.

That they haven’t figured out what this will do to their state amazes me, or maybe they just don’t care.

Perhaps some conservatives simply need to make camp on the property of prominent liberals in the state. That will change a few minds.

Apparently Ukrainian drones have been targeting Russian Command Posts, This would account for the large amount of General officers among casualities.

High ranking officers had better get used to this as this will become standard operating procedure for any country at war. The old days of getting promoted high enough to get out of the firing line are gone.

The military OPHOLDs are here!

Posted: April 29, 2023 by navygrade36bureaucrat in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Truth be told, I thought it would be towards the end of the year. Guess I was wrong. Remember my list of “things the military does to fix numbers?”

  1. Not kicking people out for physical fitness test failures
  2. Waiving darn near everything, from age to non-violent felonies
  3. Asking people to pretty-please stay around a few more years
  4. Opening OCS and other admissions
  5. Raising bonuses
  6. Make life better for officers
  7. Reduce opportunities to leave early
  8. Op-Hold people

Pepperidge Farm remembers too. That last bullet says OPHOLD, which means the military says “You know how we said we’d let you go? Yeah, about that…” Or, in meme form:

Now, while today’s story isn’t a true OPHOLD…it’s basically the same. The Army allowed officers that commissioned as aviators to serve two different requirements concurrently (as in, at the same time), then it said “actually, we meant to say consecutively,” and is now telling these officers they owe three more years of service. Up unitl that point, the Army’s HR department was telling officers that it was totally concurrent…until it wasn’t.

Previously, officials with Army Human Resources Command treated the flight school commitment as a contractual obligation, the letter said. That policy allowed officers to simultaneously serve it alongside their three-year branch of choice obligation and thus immediately resign six years after receiving their pilot’s wings, if they wished.

“We went back and we did kind of audit all of those out there,” he said. The general cautioned that the service is still “refining” the number of officers, estimated at “a little over 600.” They now can’t leave immediately after finishing their flight school commitment.

From Army Times

Whoopsie! Our bad! Sorry to majorly screw up your life!

I’m sure plenty of HR officers will be disciplined for this…said no sane person ever.

Here’s the crux though…the Army needs these officers more than the officers need the Army. Aviation is a difficult skillset that can’t be easily acquired. The Army seems to believe it’ll just order these officers to fly and they’ll just fly. That’s a Communist way of thinking about it…we tell people what to do and they just do it.

In America, you have to compete for skills, and if someone doesn’t want to provide their skills, there is little you can do about it. I predict that we’ll see the following behaviors:

  1. A lot of aviators will smoke weed in the hopes of being kicked out. This, ironically, might make the Army legalize the substance.
  2. Plenty of officers will begin having “headaches” or other symptoms that stops them from flying. A few sharp officers will conveniently fly enough to stay off the radar, but do little else. The Army will either have to punish them, which could result in dismissal and them leaving when they wanted, or relax the medical rules and put expensive aircraft at risk.

No one will outright strike…that would be a stupid move. Instead, people will deny the Army the use of their skills, and the Army’s aviation effectiveness will drop. On paper, the Army will look OK, but the force will be hollow, and it’ll simply be a matter of time before the Army fails against one of our adversaries.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.