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Fr. John P. Foley, SJ, honored by White House

Fr. John P. Foley, SJFr. John P. Foley, S.J., the founding president of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, has been named a Champion of Change by the White House and President Barack Obama.  Fr. Foley served as president of the original Cristo Rey High School in Pilsen.  He later served as president of the Cristo Rey Network, and now serves as the Chair Emeritus and Chief Mission Officer of the Cristo Rey Network.  Wonderful news and a wonderful honor for a man who has made a meaningful difference in the lives of many.  Read more

Let Buddy Roemer Debate… He’s Not Asking You to Jackknife into a Live Volcano

Presidential Candidate Buddy RoemerI recently announced to the nine guys with whom I play fantasy football that I would be voting for Buddy Roemer in the Illinois primary and the general election, whether or not he is on the ballot.   Before delving into the swift, decisive, and derisive response I got, it’s worth explaining why I’ll support Roemer.

Roemer earned a BA in economics and an MBA from Harvard.  He served in Congress from 1981 to 1988 as a conservative Democrat who regularly broke ranks.   From 1988 to 1992, he served as the governor of Louisiana, both as a Republican and a Democrat.  Since leaving public office, he founded a community bank, which now has over $1 billion in assets, and did not take any federal bailout money.   As governor of Louisiana, Roemer inherited massive deficits but managed to balance the budget every year he was in office.  He also succeeded in linking teacher pay to performance and in passing major campaign finance reform legislation.  Roemer–the only candidate with executive, legislative, and private sector experience–is eminently qualified to lead this country, but that’s not even why I like him. (Continued)

Why I support the dazed and confused Occupy Wall Street protesters

Occupy Wall Street Protesters in Zucotti Park

Occupy Wall Street Protesters in Zucotti Park

The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protesters have been widely critiqued, and, in my opinion, they deserve most of it. (Here are a couple of the more amusing critiques from David Harsanyi and Barton Hinkle).

While elements of the critiques border on being unfair, the  critics have rightly pointed out that many of the protesters don’t seem to know exactly what they’re protesting nor what they’re demanding.  Over and over the protesters have been described as new age hippies who, upon learning that the world is not an easy place and that their degrees in anthropology won’t get them jobs that pay them enough to support the lifestyles they desire, have lashed out at those who have more and demanded a bigger piece of the pie.

I don’t disagree with these characterizations. Despite that, and though it may seem illogical, I fully support the OWS protesters for the following reasons (Continued)

Some good arguments against term limits served with a side of idealism

Run: A novel about one man's quest to save this country from itself

In Run, a long shot presidential candidate gains traction by pushing for term limits

I had some good, albeit brief, dialogue/debate with a good friend recently about term limits. He is one of the six people who have read Run (, the book in which I make a strong case for term limits through Noa Kalakaua, a fictional independent presidential candidate who pushes for congressional term limits.

Our conversation started when my buddy, a former Marine and investment banker who just completed his MBA at Kellogg, shared a blog post which called for three things: 1.) no more bailouts; 2.) dissolution of any too big too fail banks; 3.) limitations on Wall Street money flowing into Washington.

I responded that, while I don’t necessarily like the impact Wall Street has on DC, I thought it unfair to single out one particular industry and suspected the Supreme Court would agree. I remarked that I still thought term limits were the answer.

He responded, “…I’m still not sold on term limits working. I see the logic that term limits prevent sitting reps from needing to raise money for reelection, but at that point they no longer have the potential of a long political career so they need to worry about getting a job after. A lot of corporations would hire ex-reps that “had seen things their way,” no?” (Continued)

Rick Perry would sleep with you for $1 million… or something like that

Gov. Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry

When Michelle Bachmann criticized Rick Perry for issuing an executive order that she said would have forced “government injections” of the Human Papillomavirus vaccine on innocent 12-year-old girls, she suggested he may have done so for money.  Perry’s former chief of staff had become the chief lobbyist for Merck, the pharma giant who manufactured the vaccine, and they had made over $5,000 in contributions to Perry’s campaigns.

Perry’s response was telling. “I raised about $30 million,” he said. “And if you’re saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I’m offended.”

Let’s think about some other possible responses Perry could have offered up. (Continued)

What do sexually abusive priests and members of the supercommittee have in common?

Red. Dave Loebsack (D-IA)

Roughly five years ago, a young, dynamic Catholic priest I had recently met was arrested and charged with sexually abusing a number of boys in the parish he ran in Chicago.  A good friend of mine had worked with the priest in a professional capacity and knew him much better than I did.  A day or so after the arrest, I asked my friend if he thought the allegations were true.  I’ll never forget his answer.

“He’s had 24 hours.  What would you do in 24 hours if you hadn’t done anything wrong and were accused of something like this? You’d hold a press conference, look the world in the eye, and tell them you hadn’t done anything and that you would fully cooperate with the authorities.  You’d tell them you understood that these allegations created uncertainty and suspicion and you’d plead with them to reserve judgment until you’d had a chance to demonstrate the allegations were baseless.  And then you’d tell them, again, and again, that you hadn’t done anything wrong.”

The priest, of course, hadn’t said any of this. (Continued)

Why aren’t we talking about how to fix education?

Great story in the current issue of Newsweek titled “Why Can’t American Students Compete?”  Newsweek Let's Fix It Coverby Eric Hanushek and Paul Peterson.  Hanushek is a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution.  Peterson is a professor of government and director of Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance.  He’s also a senior fellow and the Hoover Institution.

Basic summary of the story is that the United States is (surprise) doing a lousy job of educating its students.   Only 32% of U.S. public and private school students in 2011 are deemed proficient in math.  That places the U.S. 32nd out of 65 nations that agreed to participate in the study.  7% of American kids perform at an advanced level in math.  By comparison, 20% of (Continued)

Three More Syrians Killed As Tom Weighs Merits Of Drafting Neil Rackers | The Onion Sports Network

Three More Syrians Killed As Tom Weighs Merits Of Drafting Neil Rackers | The Onion Sports Network.

Disclaimer: For over ten years (with the exception of a one-year hiatus) I have participated in a fantasy football league with nine friends from high school (I won for the first time in 2010-2011, thanks to the savvy waiver wire pickups of Michael Vick and Peyton Hillis).

Kudos to the Onion for continuing its evolution into the collective conscience of the modern American.  For those that don’t know, The Onion is a satirical newspaper.  And for those that don’t know or may have forgotten, satire is:

(n) 1. the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.

The folks at the Onion are comic geniuses.   But they also have an agenda, which I would sum up as an ongoing effort to shame people into intelligence or some semblance thereof by ridiculing stupidity/folly. (Continued)

Revisiting 9/11 – Chicago Tribune Letter to Editor

I wrote the following Letter the Editor on the night of September 11, 2001.  It was published in the Chicago Tribune on September 16, 2001.  Not surprisingly, I remember the writing being much better than it is.  Interesting to share again though.

As a child I slept squaChicago Tribune: Breaking News Since 1847rely in the middle of my mattress. What if, I wondered, someone was under my bed? And what if he had a gun? (Continued)

Unions are killing American schools… so now what?

Atlantic Cover

June 2011 Atlantic

The current issue of the Atlantic includes a really interesting piece by Joel Klein, outgoing chancellor of the New York public schools.  The many problems facing the American education system have recently crept back into our collective consciousness (I believe this to be a good thing) in part because elements of the educational crisis set up well for the adversarial left vs. right battle that fuels so much of our modern media.

The right loves to bash unions and suggests that cuts could / should be made to educational budgets/pensions/teacher benefits to move toward a balanced budget.  The education system, those on the right argue, isn’t working as it is, so it’s crazy to keep spending more on it.  The left believes education isn’t working because so many of the students who don’t succeed live in poverty.  We have a responsibility to serve them.  Cutting spending on their education would be unjust.  And, we need to take action to address poverty. (Continued)