Thursday, February 28, 2013

A DAY IN THE LIFE (of Chicago): Selective editing of first lady?

President Barack Obama has been pushing for Congress to pass federal laws restricting firearms, particularly those types of combat-intended weapons that can spew the rounds of ammunition faster than most people can count.
OBAMA: Self-preservation?

So perhaps first lady Michelle Obama thought she was doing her part to support “the cause” this week when, during an interview with the “Good Morning America” program, she pointed out that the recent shooting death of Hadiya Pendleton was caused by an “automatic” weapon.

JUST ONE PROBLEM. Chicago police have said they don’t have the weapon, and based on evidence at the crime scene, they think it was more likely a pistol used when two young men trying to shoot at someone else wound up hitting Hadiya instead.

So when the interview aired on ABC affiliates across the nation, Michelle’s answer had a line blipped out of existence. The bit about “automatic” weapons.

The ideologues are convinced this is some sort of effort to protect the first lady from her own mistake, although broadcasters said it was merely a matter of making her answer fit into the couple of seconds of time that was available.

I’m not sure whether there’s any truth to that, although the idea that the ideologues are p-o’ed strikes me as a whole lot of hooey. Those people are always upset. I can’t take them all too seriously, particularly when their obsession is Obama-related.

PERSONALLY, I LIKE the idea of a quotation with a factual inaccuracy being deleted. I know there are times I have refused to use comments from people because they didn’t fully comprehend what they were talking about.

But I doubt that ABC editors were thinking in such high-level terms when they edited this particular interview. Editing on deadline often arouses the practical over the proper.

So Michelle Obama being spared the embarrassment of having said “automatic” weapons were involved in the death of Pendleton? Not a conspiracy by any means. More dumb luck than anything else!

What other issues are of concern along the shores of Lake Michigan?

A DELAY? OR HARBINGER OF THINGS TO COME?: I’m wondering if the conservative ideologues amongst us thought they achieved a victory of sorts this week when an Illinois House committee didn’t act when it was supposed to on the issue of gay marriage.

The matter was postponed for several hours, although the Illinois House executive committee (a committee whose membership consists of party leadership and is the place where bills of special interest to House Speaker Michael Madigan are sent) eventually reconvened and gave their recommendation late Tuesday.

Officials say that when the issue of gun control came up before the full House of Representatives on Tuesday, it wound up angering Republican types so much that committee officials felt that pushing for an immediate vote on gay marriage might backfire.

Yes, political people have been known to base their votes not on the merits of the issue, but on a willingness to “get back” at someone or something totally unrelated. Now, the full House of Representatives will get its say in coming weeks. And the Republican Party will consider dumping their chairman because he implied that perhaps the ideologues are wrong.

COURT’S CLOSED?!?: We’re getting a lot of “scare tactics” reports these days about the local effects of sequestration – the mandated federal budget cuts that will have to take effect Friday because our political officials can’t reach a long-term agreement through negotiation.

The one that caught my attention the most was that the U.S. District courts in Chicago would have to scale back and would only be open four days a week (instead of five). I’m sure that would do devastation to the already-crowded courts.

I also noticed a report saying that the control tower at Gary/Chicago International Airport would have to be shut down. The air traffic controllers would be laid off.

Which sounds scary, until one realizes that most smaller airports (the “International” in the airport’s name is so distortive) do not have controllers, thereby putting pilots on their honor to regulate themselves and control their own landings and takeoffs.


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