Archive for the ‘News/opinion’ Category

By John Ruberry

By all accounts, crime was the biggest issue in this year’s Chicago mayoral election. Voters in America’s third-largest city had a choice between two Democrats in the runoff matchup in April, Paul Vallas, a moderate who ran on a law-and-order agenda, and Brandon Johnson, who until late last year was a defund-the-police advocate.

Johnson won and he was sworn in as Chicago’s 57th mayor on May 15. 

But his brief time as mayor-elect was rough. While Johnson of course denounced a late April downtown flash-mob riot, he did so with a caveat, declaring that the riotous thugs “shouldn’t be demonized,” even though they acted demonically. A few days later outside Illinois’ state capitol building, Johnson doubled down on his naivete, explaining his feelings about the rioters, “They’re young. Sometimes they make silly decisions.”

A big test for any Chicago mayor is Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer is also traditionally when violence ramps up. 

One new wrinkle for this year’s holiday weekend was implementation of yellow-vested “peacekeepers” to control the mayhem, including 30 funded by the state. While I don’t believe Johnson dispatched any of his own peacekeepers, he’s on board with the concept. 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it, Johnson’s not even been mayor for a month, but if Memorial Day weekend’s crime fighting results are any indication, Chicago is in for a tough four years.

The last weekend in May was Chicago’s most violent Memorial Day weekend since 2016–eleven people were shot to death, 42 others were wounded, and one woman was beaten to death. Let’s take a closer look at that last one. The deceased was brutally and fatally beaten with a baseball bat two blocks from Johnson’s West Side home–the alleged murderer lives across the street from the mayor.

The beating victim and nine of the eleven weekend shooting victims were killed last Saturday. Only Hey Jackass Chicago among the local media noticed that it was one of the few double-digit murder days in the last decade the city has suffered. 

Now, back to the yellow-donned peacekeepers. The concept is ripe for a parody. For instance, on my own blog, I noted that Leslie Barbara, one of the less imposing cadets of the motley class in “Police Academy,” was wearing a yellow blazer when he was tossed by hooligans into a river from a bridge–along with his photo kiosk. The aforementioned Hey Jackass Chicago is selling official peacekeeper T-shirts on the “Buy Crap” section of its website.

One of those real peacekeepers, whom a veteran of the Obama administration hilariously defended as someone who “mishandled the stress” of being a peacekeeper, was arrested after allegedly beating and robbing a man. The accused, an ex-con who was on parole, was allegedly in the process of removing his yellow peacekeeper vest as the cops approached him.

Okay, skeptics may object and tell me that Memorial Day weekend was just one weekend, and a long one at that. What about this weekend?

Well, as of 9am Sunday morning Chicago time, nine people have been shot to death this weekend so far and at least 33 others wounded. Included in those numbers is mass shooting in Johnson’s neighborhood in Austin, where one person was killed and six others were wounded.

Let’s go Brandon!

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

When does a local crime story become a national one? Outside of a mass shooting, a local crime story becomes a national one when there is a race element. 

On May 1, a deranged homeless man, Jordan Neely, was threatening passengers on a New York subway train. A former marine, Daniel Penny, aided by two other passengers, placed Neely, who by the way had 42 prior arrests, in a chokehold. Penny has since charged with second-degree manslaughter. I’m sure that you know these details: Penny is white, Neely is black.

The mainstream media, to use an old radio term, still has the Neely killing on heavy rotation.

On May 6 a much more troubling homicide occurred on Chicago’s South Side. Aréanah Preston, a Chicago police officer, had just finished her shift. As she exited her car in front of her home, Preston, who was still in uniform, was shot to death. Jakwon Buchanan, 18, two 19-year-olds Trevell Breeland and Joseph Brooks, and a 16-year-old, Jaylen Frazier, have been charged with her murder.

Preston, 24, was to have been awarded her master’s degree from Loyola University on Saturday. 

Here is the headline about the arrest of the alleged murderers from CWB Chicago, 4 people, all with extensive juvenile criminal backgrounds, killed off-duty Chicago cop during armed robbery: prosecutors.

By now you probably know why the murder of Preston is not a national news story. Preston, and the alleged killers, are African American. If the accused murderers were white, reports about this homicide would dominate the news outlets, particularly MSNBC and CNN, who would introduce each segment on the cop killing with a custom graphic and somber music. 

There are additional chilling details about the alleged perpetrators, all of whom are in jail, bail has been denied.

Their crime spree began early on the morning of May 6, according to a Cook County assistant state’s attorney, because the girlfriend of Jakwon Buchanan needed money for a barbecue. That’s right, a barbecue. Buchanan, by the way, has a pending carjacking case in juvenile court. 

First, the four teens, who were dressed in black and wore face masks, stole a Kia Forte, after robbing a woman of her charge cards, her smart phone, and a Louis Vuitton belt. As for the youths’ look and their criminality, think Alex and his “Droogs” from A Clockwork Orange crossed with ninja warriors from a 1980s action film. Next, a 62-year-old woman and her son’s girlfriend were robbed by at least three of the teens of a phone and a Coach purse. Then two of the accused allegedly robbed a man as he was leaving his car.

Then Preston was murdered. Her gun was taken and one of the accused allegedly sold her weapon.

I can describe the four accused killers with two words, ones that the holier-than-thou media has deemed racist: “Career criminals,” despite their youth, and “super-predators.” Remember how CWB Chicago portrayed the four, “all with extensive juvenile criminal backgrounds.” And CWB Chicago, citing a law enforcement source, said of two of the accused, “Brooks and Buchanan ‘are by far in the top 10 for prolific juvenile carjackers over the last two years.'”

Here’s another recent story from CWB Chicago about two different thugs–that’s right, I said it, thugs: Chicago boys charged with 16 armed robberies and carjackings. They’re 15 and 16 years old.

On Monday, Brandon Johnson, a Democrat who is essentially a creation of the far-left Chicago Teachers Union, will be sworn in as mayor of Chicago. Until his mayoral campaign began Johnson was a “defund the police” guy. Among other things, Johnson favors sending social workers, instead of cops, to domestic disturbances. After a riot last month in downtown Chicago, the mayor-elect had this to say about the creeps, “It is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities.”


If people do demonic things, they can expect to be demonized.

A few days later, Johnson doubled down on those initial remarks about the rioters. “They’re young,” Johnson said. “Sometimes they make silly decisions! They do. So we have to make sure that we are investing to make sure that young people know that they are supported.”


Johnson is a big proponent of summer jobs programs for young people. I don’t believe such employment would cause youths like Buchanan, Frazier, Brooks, and Breeland to alter their destructive life decisions for $15-an-hour make-work jobs.

Chicago is stacked with career criminals and super-predators. My solution to the city’s crisis is simple, aggressively prosecute these lawbreakers and imprison them when they are found guilty. Johnson, Cook County’s so-called prosecutor Kim Foxx, and Cook County Circuit Court chief judge Tim Evans don’t agree with me. They’re “root causes” people. 

Sadly, even though some moms rise to their challenge, there is one root cause the media and left-wing politicians refuse to discuss. Over eighty percent of African American births in Chicago are to single mothers

I don’t know what the solution to that problem is. But admitting there is a problem is the first step in confronting it. 

On Wednesday, four days after she was to receive her master’s diploma from Loyola, the funeral for Preston will be held.

John Ruberry regularly blogs five miles north of Chicago at Marathon Pundit.

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.

By John Ruberry

A societal seismic shift, a black swan moment, occurred for the American elite, our “betters,” on April 1. Yep, April Fools Day, but the joke was on the elites. It was April 1 when on his–yes his–Instragram page, the transgendered influencer, Dylan Muvlaney, announced his sponsorhip deal with Bud Light, a beer brewed by Anheuser-Busch that is, or was, favored mainly by macho types.

The backlash was immediate. A boycott of the brew–with conservative celebrities leading the charge began–and Anheuser-Busch has since lost $5 billion in value.

Receiving the blame for this debacle is Alissa Heinerscheid, Bud Light’s vice president of marketing, who went on a leave of absence last week.

It’s likely that Bud Light triggered a tripwire, likely, to use Bill Maher’s words, Americans are angry because “they’ve had an agenda shoved down their throat.” Like the dimwitted sheep in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, many elites, particularly in the media, believe transgendered women are women. Most Americans disagree. 

And most Americans, unless they are woke, aren’t dopes. They know that males have an inherent physical advantage over women in most sports. If they decide to think about it–they know that the annual physical for Rachel Levine, the Biden administration’s assistant secretary for health who is transgendered, consists of a prostate exam. They are aware that after “gender-affirming” surgeries, some trans people want to switch back.

These same people are horrified of reports that some school officials, without knowledge of their parents, are encouraging minors to “transition.”

And these same folks are fed up with being called a bigot or some sort of “phobe” when they raise their objections to the transgender ideological movement.

And they are sick of transgendered women appearing in clothing ads wearing garments designed for females. 

Unlike Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, most Americans are able define what a woman is. And they know that men cannot give birth to babies.

As for the elites, many of whom like Heinerscheid have an Ivy League education, they’re the types of folks who don’t interact with smelly people who drink Bud Light. These smug know-it-alls are stupefied that the Mulvaney sponsorship has damaged the brand. 

The elites live in their bubble, which makes them quite vulnerable to a black swan moment.

What has happened to Bud Light takes me back to 1979 and the Disco Demolition stunt that was part of a Chicago White Sox Teen Night promotion during a twi-night doubleheader with the Detroit Tigers. Oh, “Disco Sucks” wasn’t just a Chicago thing, I saw my first “Disco Sucks” T-shirt a year earlier on sale on the boardwalk at Ocean City, Maryland.

I was a 17-year-old when Steve Dahl, a morning disc jockey for rock station WLUP-FM, began humorously “blowing up” disco records during his show. He’d play some crappy–aren’t they all?–disco tune for thirty-seconds or so, and then blow them up, not for real, but with sound effects. Dahl also took his act on the road, including a mock “takeover” of a suburban disco club, and the same thing happened at each event. Crowd control was an issue–too many people in too small of a space.

Surely, Mike Veeck, the son of White Sox owner Bill Veeck, thought that Comiskey Park, the home of the White Sox, could comfortably host Dahl and his minions, known as the Insane Coho Lips. The ballpark had a capacity of 45,000. 

But the doubleheader sold out and there were an estimated thirty thousand others outside Comiskey Park clamoring to get in. Teens who deposited disco records at the turnstiles were admitted for 98 cents, which was dirt cheap even in 1979. 

Dahl, in faux military garb, as you’ll see in the YouTube clip, exploded the records in spectacular fashion as the Insane Coho Lips chanted “disco sucks” following the conclusion of the first game of the doubleheader, a White Sox defeat. Immediately afterwards, about 7,000 of the rockers stormed the field and a riot broke out, one that included destroying the batting cage and igniting the crate from where the records were exploded. It was rock and roll’s first saturnalia. Police in riot gear promptly ended Disco Demolition 90 minutes later, and because the field was deemed by the umpires as unsafe for play, the second game was forfeited to the Tigers.

I watched the game at home on television with my parents and my brother. I hated disco and loved rock and roll, so I looked on with mixed emotions because I was also a Sox fan. I didn’t object when my brother pointed at me and said, “Hey, mom and dad, there are thousands of them on the TV, who are just like your son, tearing up the field.” Hey, don’t forget, I was 17 at the time.

Retro historians, often people who were born years after Disco Demolition, have tried to turn that night into a racist or anti-gay thing. Wrong. The people I knew who listened to disco were shallow and vapid–just like the music. It was love at first sight for them.

Here’s the disco black swan moment. 

The Disco Demolition coverage from the media, particularly the national media, was one of shock. Even more so than now, the elite media was based in New York, and they were the people who hung out at disco’s hallowed temple, Studio 54 in Manhattan. They lived in their ’70s bubble, one that didn’t include people who loved rock music and wore “Disco Sucks” T-shirts.

Up until Steve Dahl blew up those records, disco was seemingly everywhere–on TV shows, in commercials, and in the movies, most notably, with John Travolta dancing in Saturday Night Fever. Rock acts, including the Rolling Stones, the Kinks (sadly, one of my favorite bands), and Rod Stewart, recorded songs with a disco beat.

But post-Disco Demolition Night, the media, as well as the advertising and marketing “experts,” realized, after the totality of the riot, that more people hated disco than liked it. Disco didn’t die that night–even a freight train experiencing engine problems can’t be stopped on a dime, but disco went into a fatal tailspin. A month after Disco Demolition, Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall, a disco album, was released. It enjoyed brisk sales and a lot of airplay. But Jacko’s next album, Thriller, was more of an R&B album, it even included the King of Pop’s only hard rock song, “Beat It,” which was graced by guitar work from Eddie Van Halen.

Rockers had stopped cutting disco tracks well before Thriller was released.

A couple of weeks before Off the Wall arrived in record stores, principal photography began on a movie starring the Village People, Discoland . . . Where the Music Never Stops. Sensing trouble because of the anti-disco backlash, the film’s producer, Allan Carr, changed the name of his project to Can’t Stop the Music. It’s remembered as a legendary Hollywood box office bomb.

As the saying goes, “History doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes.” One of supporting actors in Can’t Stop the Music was Bruce Jenner, who now goes by Caitlyn. 

By the early 1980s, the expression “As dead as disco” was common. 

Transgenderism isn’t going away. Over my life I’ve known a few men who have gone thru procedures that allows them, sort of, to live as women. Fine, it’s their life. If, as an adult, men and women want to transform themselves into something different, well, no one should stop them. The same goes for people who want to obliterate their faces with tattoos.

On the other hand, don’t shove your choice down our throats and demand us to celebrate you.

In the advertising and marketing world, using transgendered spokespeople to promote mainstream products just might be as dead as disco.

No one wants to be the next Alissa Heinerscheid. Her job was to sell Bud Light, not to drive people to avoid it.

There was never a Can’t Stop the Music sequel.

Marketing people must not be good at math. One percent of the population identifies as transgendered. Which means of course means 99 percent doesn’t.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.