Saturday, August 3, 2013

A DAY IN THE LIFE (of Chicago): Should employer stand by worker?

I’m finding it encouraging that Millikin University, a Decatur-based institution of higher learning, is willing to stand by the employment of the head of its psychology department.

Because the very notion that the professor, James St. James, caused the death of his parents and sister nearly a half-century ago would scare many companies into thinking that they have to do whatever is necessary to break their ties.

IN THIS PARTICULAR case, St. James was born under the name James Wolcott. When he was 15 back in 1967, his parents and sister, Elizabeth, were found shot to death in their house in Texas.

James was put on trial for the slayings, but he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, he was ordered held in an institution – and six years later, he was he was released.

That means the criminal case was resolved. Wolcott (now St. James) did his time for this incident. It is resolved. It’s not like St. James is a long-hidden fugitive who has been on the lam.

So the people who are eager to have the professor’s head on a pike are being irrational. They’re letting their personal hang-ups overcome any sense of sense.

WHICH IS WHY I’m glad to learn that Millikin says they expect him to continue to teach there when classes resume come autumn.

I’m not that worked up over it, and I wonder about the Texas newspaper that stirred up this particular story (which is now being picked up by the Chicago “press”). It was meant to focus on the aftermath of the slayings of nearly an entire family. They searched for what became of the son, and found St. James under his new name living in Decatur.

Because we ought to consider that St. James is a case of someone who screwed up in life, yet managed to fix up his situation and get the higher education needed to help make a productive life out of his. Isn’t that what we want to happen more often?

Closer to Chicago, what else is pending in the minds of Second City residents?

GETTING AN EXTENSION?: Former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., has 11 more days to go until he faces sentencing for his guilty plea on criminal charges related to his using campaign contribution money to buy all kinds of tacky memorabilia for his office.

For which he’s expected to make financial restitution. But a federal judge in the District of Columbia on Friday gave Jackson more time to come up with the cash – some $750,000.

The judge postponed until Oct. 25 a hearing that would allow the federal government to seize his homes in the South Shore neighborhood and in Washington, along with an individual retirement account. So he may manage to come up with some cash in order to keep a roof over his kids’ heads.

Although many of those items (including some that once belonged to people like Michael Jackson and Muhammad Ali) will be auctioned off at some point. Will they gain additional cachet from once having been in Jackson’s possession?

A SEE-THRU SIGN?: The squabble between the Chicago Cubs and the owners of those buildings across the street who make money by letting people on their roofs to see into Wrigley Field to catch a glimpse of ballgames is getting more twisted.

The owners reached a deal that still has a decade to go that allows them to sell their views of Cubs games – with the Cubs getting a share of the proceeds. Yet the Cubs’ desires to revamp Wrigley Field include erecting advertising signs that would block the views.

But the Chicago Sun-Times reported Friday about the see-through advertising signs the team is considering, if the owners don’t lighten up in their threats to sue the Cubs.

It makes me wonder who would want to advertise on a see-through billboard – Victoria’s Secret?!?


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