Blagojevich, Santo and other inscrutable questions

Updated 12/8/2011 10:40 AM

An array of short subjects today:

• First, one of the sorriest, if not saddest comments I've heard related to the Blagojevich sentencing, from executive editor Madeleine Doubek as Wednesday's news meeting came to a close: "Do we have archived somewhere our graphic on previous governors who have been convicted?"

• That said, I still find a little disturbing this common tone in many responses to the Blagojevich case suggesting it's some sort of joke. It's really serious business on many levels. How unfortunate that the former governor did so much mugging for talk and reality television. It made his situation feel like entertainment rather than justice or government. I believe and hope that our coverage today emphasizes the latter themes.

• On Ron Santo, I call your attention to Mike Imrem's column of this week responding to Santo's election a year after his death to the baseball Hall of Fame. It summarized an issue that has weighed on me. What changed about Santo in the past year to elevate his stature? Only one thing, his death. His elevation now suggests either that voters previously were cruelly withholding from him something he ardently desired or that their judgments were easily swayed by guilt or sympathy. Imrem's column helped me see it's possible, even desirable, to stick to one's principles and still respect a sometimes inscrutable process.

• It's not generally within my purview to reflect on celebrities behaving badly but I see some media connection in this question: How much free advertising did Alec Baldwin earn for the mobile app Words with Friends by getting kicked off an airplane because he couldn't resist playing the Scrabble-like game?

• I think sometimes that an unintended but important consequence of Sept. 11 was to remind us of the value of Pearl Harbor Day. With each year that took us that much further from Dec. 7, 1941, the occasion seemed to get increasingly less attention. To some extent, that's inevitable and it's surely bound to happen with 9/11 sometime as well. But I think 9/11 also helped those of us who weren't alive in 1941 understand a little bit what a world-changing disaster really feels like. I sense that recognition in stories like the Page 1 centerpiece we carried Wednesday on the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, and I hope it carries through to later generations that won't know what it felt like to experience the terrorism of Sept. 11, 2001.

• Executive sessions always make newspaper people uneasy -- as they ought to make anyone interested in good government uneasy. So, along with an editor in one of our news meetings, I have to wonder what Bartlett village leaders who were so worried about the image created by a village president who was late paying his taxes think about the image created when they went into private session to discuss his successor? We had a responsibility to report the facts of the situation involving former Bartlett Village President Mike Kelly. It seems something less than candid to withhold from us and the public such an important development in the aftermath of his resignation.

• Finally, speaking of inscrutable processes, understanding investors on Wall Street can be as confusing as understanding voters for the MLB Hall of Fame. How else does one explain that a simple statement by France that it would never be too risky to invest there apparently helped get seasoned stock buyers to turn around a sliding market Wednesday? As I often say -- and a common theme, I find, among many of the items in this missive -- we just report the news; we can't predict what people will do with it.

Jim Slusher,, is an assistant managing editor at the Daily Herald. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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